DECEMBER 31-20, 03 Archives

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Return of U.S. war dead kept solemn, secret December 31, 2003 By Gregg Zoroya, USA TODAY The most touching moment of a slain soldier's homecoming, say those who witness it, is when the chaplain steps forward to pray. Standing over a flag-draped coffin that arrived from Iraq this month, Air Force Chaplain Robert Cannon chose this invocation: "We pray and long for the day when war will be no more." An honor guard removed the aluminum "transfer case" containing the body from the aircraft, as other military officers present to receive the slain servicemember snapped salutes. The honor guard process here at Dover - repeated hundreds of times since the Iraq war began - is dignified and reverent. And it's carried out in secret, off-limits to the media.

A Soldier's Return, to a Dark and Moody World December 31, 2003 By Jeffrey Gettleman The New York Times Sgt. Jeremy Feldbusch, a fit, driven, highly capable Army Ranger, left home in February knowing the risks of combat. Two months later, he came home blind. On April 3, Sergeant Feldbusch, a 6-foot-2-inch, thickly built mortar man, heard the shriek. He and his platoon of Rangers were guarding the Haditha Dam, a strategic point northwest of Baghdad along the Euphrates River, when a shell burst 100 feet away and a piece of red hot shrapnel hit him in the face. The last thing he remembers was eating a pouch of chicken teriyaki. The inchlong piece of steel, part of the artillery shell's casing, sliced through his right eye, tumbled through his sinuses and lodged in the left side of his brain, severely damaging the optic nerve of his left eye and spraying bone splinters throughout his brain.

The World is Too Much With Us Christmas Under Bush December 31, 2003 By ELAINE CASSEL I think there is something else, he said. I think it is that there is so much wrong going on in the world and we know too much of it. I thought of how Halliburton is charging us, the taxpayers, outrageous fees for importing oil to occupied Iraq and how there is not a damn thing we can do about it. I am saddened by the gut-wrenching feeling shared by many that this war was about Bush and Co. greed, and not at all about the people of Iraq. Let alone the people of the U.S. I thought of the joke of the Medicare "reform" bill and how almost no one has read it-let alone the legislators who voted for it. How there will not likely be any Medicare for me, in a few years. How helpless the electorate will be when they find out years hence that they sat idly by watching their elected representatives sell what little security they had to the insurance companies and the HMO's, thanks to Bill Frist. Frist, by the way, counts that bill as one of his grand accomplishments. And well he should. But it benefits him and his big-money constituents, not you and me.

Weapons of the New World Order: Updated December 31, 3003 By Rixon Stewart In the past week there have been FIVE major earthquakes, culminating in the most recent one in Iran. The media have barely mentioned these other quakes, largely because they occurred in remote areas and caused little damage and loss of life. However a spate of earthquakes in such a brief a period is curious in itself. But what is really unusual is the actual timing of the Iranian quake. Just as Iran was about to challenge Israel’s nuclear supremacy in the Middle East, it is rocked by a devastating quake that could claim up to 50,000 lives and take years to recover from. Was it a coincidence that Iran was moving into a position to challenge Israel’s nuclear dominance of the region when the tremor struck? The ability to trigger earthquakes, floods, hurricanes and even effect peoples brains and the Earth’s own tectonic plates is now a very real possibility; the research has been done, the tests completed and the weaponry has been deployed, and maybe even used. It’s called HAARP (High-frequency Active Aural Research Program) and was developed as part of the “Star Wars” initiative.  

EVIDENCE MOUNTS THAT PAUL WELLSTONE WAS MURDERED! DID DICK CHENEY GIVE THE ORDER? December 31, 2003 By JIM FETZER Evidence indicates that Wellstone crash was no accident. Minnesota Sen. Paul Wellstone was a serious man who cared profoundly about his fellow citizens. He took courageous stands against an administration that he viewed with profound suspicion, arguing eloquently against tax cuts for the rich, the subversion of the Constitution, and violating international accords. He would have led the opposition to the war in Iraq if only he had had the chance. Everyone knew it and he may have died because of it. For nearly a year now, evidence has been accumulating about the event that ended the life of this magnificent human being. Whatever caused the crash was not the plane, the pilots or the weather. In spite of what you may have heard, the plane was exceptional, the pilots well-qualified and the weather posed no significant problems. Even the National Transportation Safety Board's own simulations of the plane, the pilots and the weather were unable to bring the plane down.

Bush Bros. Wrecking Company Time Runs Out for the Everglades December 31, 2003 By ALAN FARAGO This has been a terrible year for the environment. In Florida, the fundamental balance has vanished that we hoped would protect the Everglades from the water demands of agriculture and Florida's exploding population. A 2003 review shows why those who care about the environment must direct new energy and leadership to Florida and to the nation. In Washington, key environmental laws are buckling under pressure from special interests. We conclude the fall 2004 elections are more important than any we have experienced in our lifetimes

Brazil judge orders US citizens fingerprinted December 31, 2003 A Brazilian judge, furious at US plans to fingerprint and photograph Brazilians entering the United States, has ordered Brazil to do the same to US citizens. The order, set to go into effect on January 1, came after a Government office filed a complaint in federal court over the US measure aimed at millions of foreign travellers.

Milosevic trial sets precedent: US granted right to censor evidence December 31, 2003 By Paul Mitchell Clark’s testimony would be given in closed session, the normally simultaneous broadcast of the testimony would “be delayed for a period of 48 hours. Clark was commander of the 78-day NATO bombing campaign against Yugoslavia in 1999 that destroyed much of Serbia’s industrial infrastructure and left thousands of civilians dead. There have been several attempts to prosecute Clark himself for war crimes committed during the NATO bombing. In that year a group of Canadian lawyers and academics asked the ICTY to investigate and indict Clark and others for war crimes in Yugoslavia saying that there was “overwhelming evidence that the attack was unlawful and that the conduct of the attack [was] on civilian objects.” Former US Attorney General Ramsey Clark has also accused Clark and other leaders of war crimes and crimes against humanity and in September 2000 a Belgrade court found Wesley Clark and other Western leaders guilty.

10 Good Things About a Bad Year December 31, 2003 by Medea Benjamin No two ways about it, 2003 was a demoralizing year for those of us working for peace and justice. With George Bush in the White House, Arnold Schwarzenegger in the California State House, and Paul Bremer ruling Iraq, it was a chore just to get out of bed each morning. But get out of bed we did, and we spent our days educating, strategizing, organizing and mobilizing. As we greet the new year, let’s remember and celebrate some of our hard-fought victories in a time of adversity. 1. We organized the most massive, global protests against war the world has ever seen. On February 15 alone, over12 million people came out on the streets in over 700 cities in 60countries and on every continent. So impressive was this outpouring of anti-war sentiment that the New York Times, not known for hyperbole, claimed there were now two superpowers: the US and global public opinion. 

What Will Happen in 2004? Safe Predictions for the New Year and Years to Come December 31, 2003 by Jerre Skog Only people who vote for the Republicans will be able to live on one job only (the new voting machines know who they are!). But, BOY, how well some of them will live!! New job opportunities for the lower classes will be created by a concerned administration; such as doormats on uneven pavements. Bush determined to build on past successes in 2004 Crawford, Texas: US President George W. Bush expressed his determination to build in the new year on successes achieved in 2003 and urged Americans to show compassion to those less fortunate.

The terror threat at home, often overlooked December 31, 2003 As the media focus on international terror, a Texan pleads guilty to possessing a weapon of mass destruction. | Staff writer of The Christian Science Monitor It began as a misdelivered envelope and developed into the most extensive domestic terrorism investigation since the Oklahoma City bombing. Last month, an east Texas man pleaded guilty to possession of a weapon of mass destruction. Inside the home and storage facilities of William Krar, investigators found a sodium-cyanide bomb capable of killing thousands, more than a hundred explosives, half a million rounds of ammunition, dozens of illegal weapons, and a mound of white-supremacist and antigovernment literature.

Kissinger and Argentina: a case study in US support for state terror December 31, 2003 By Bill Vann Only days before the US government and media launched their propaganda campaign over the capture of Saddam Hussein, the US State Department was obliged to release a set of 27-year-old, previously classified documents. These documents provide a revealing glimpse into the real attitude of successive US governments toward dictatorships and terror.

Earth loses its magnetism December 31, 2003 By Molly Bentley Scientists have known for some time that the Earth's magnetic field is fading. Like a Kryptonite-challenged Superman, its strength has steadily and mysteriously waned, leaving parts of the planet vulnerable to increased radiation from space. Some satellites already feel the effects. What is uncertain is whether the weakened field is on the way to a complete collapse and a reversal that would flip the North and South Poles.

Our So-Called Boom December 30, 2003 By  PAUL KRUGMAN It was a merry Christmas for Sharper Image and Neiman Marcus, which reported big sales increases over last year's holiday season. It was considerably less cheery at Wal-Mart and other low-priced chains. We don't know the final sales figures yet, but it's clear that high-end stores did very well, while stores catering to middle- and low-income families achieved only modest gains. Based on these reports, you may be tempted to speculate that the economic recovery is an exclusive party, and most people weren't invited. You'd be right.

Cashing in our future at the Bush pawn shop December 30, 2003 By John Atcheson Before America allows President Bush to take bows on the economy, let's take a closer look at this recovery. A simple thought experiment -- the kind former President Reagan used to like to do -- will help. Imagine for a moment that you took all your credit cards and maxed them out. Now take your mortgage and borrow the maximum on it. Cash in the kid's college fund, your rainy day savings, your 401(k) retirement savings. While you're at it, stop paying for your health insurance and the maintenance on your house, your car and your yard. Now take all that money and spend it. Feeling pretty flush? Sure you are. You just pumped tens, maybe hundreds of thousands of dollars into your pocket.

At year's end, signs of dictatorship abound in Washington December 30, 2003 Wayne Madsen As 2003 winds to a close, it is perhaps timely to assess the state of affairs in the nation's capital. As a long time resident of Washington, DC, it is striking how this city has changed-and not for the better. The telltale signs of dictatorship and fascism abound in this city on the Potomac. Some of the signs-concrete barricades and 8-foot walls around monuments-are apparent. Others, like video cameras, although more subtle, are every bit as ubiquitous. For those who have never visited Washington, DC, or who traveled here during better times, the city that is suppose to represent the aspirations of the American people is now a hollow shell of its former self.

Will George Orwell's 1984 Become A Reality In 2004? December 30, 2003  By Chuck Baldwin The current edition of Insight magazine features an article in which the former commander of the military's Central Command, Gen. Tommy Franks, warns that constitutional government could be subject to a sudden demise if another major terrorist attack took place in America. Insight declares, "Gen. Tommy Franks says that if the United States is hit with a weapon of mass destruction that inflicts large casualties, the Constitution will likely be discarded in favor of a military form of government." Insight refers to an interview the retired general gave to a men's lifestyle magazine, Cigar Aficionado. The interview appears in the magazine's December edition.

Dollar slips as consumer confidence falls December 30, 2003 By Jennifer Hughes The dollar extended its slide to new lows against the euro on Tuesday after three separate sets of US data all disappointed market expectations, triggering a new round of dollar selling.

Army's suicide rate has outside experts alarmed December 30, 2003 By Michael Martinez Most died serving in Iraq after major combat phase The day after Father's Day, Suell died in Iraq, reportedly after taking a bottle of Tylenol. His death was classified as "nonhostile," but a military chaplain told Suell's wife, Rebecca, it was a suicide. Suell's death comes as the military is investigating the growing number of suicides by American forces in the Persian Gulf region. Since the U.S.-led coalition invaded Iraq last spring, 18 soldiers and two Marines have committed suicide, most of them after major combat was declared over May 1, the military said.

Ashcroft Recuses Self From CIA Leak Probe December 30, 2003 The Associated Press Attorney General John Ashcroft Will Recuse Himself From Probe Into Who Leaked Name of CIA Operative Justice Department sources said Tuesday. The investigation will be headed by the U.S. attorney in Chicago, Patrick Fitzgerald, who will report to Ashcroft's new deputy, James Comey, the officials said. It was not immediately clear why Ashcroft made the decision. Investigators want to know who leaked the name of Valerie Plame, an undercover CIA officer, to syndicated columnist Robert Novak in July. Plame is married to former Ambassador Joseph C. Wilson, who has said he believes his wife's identity was disclosed to discredit his assertions that the Bush administration exaggerated Iraq's nuclear capabilities to build the case for war.

Bush's Worst Enemy December 30, 2003 By William Rivers Pitt When Ambassador Joseph Wilson speaks of the White House, he tries to take the high road. "It's hard to imagine the government being irrational," he told me over the telephone on Monday afternoon, "and revenge is an irrational act." One breath later, however, Wilson showed why the Bush administration has a great deal to be worried about. "If they thought I was going to go away after they raped my wife," said Wilson, "they were dead wrong."

The Relatively Charmed Life Of Neil Bush December 30, 2003 Despite Silverado and Voodoo, Fortune Still Smiles on the President's Brother By Peter Carlson Ah, it's nice to be Neil Bush.When you're Neil Bush, rich people from all over the world are eager to invest money in your businesses, even though your businesses have a history of crashing and burning in spectacular fashion.

Hard Time on the Killing Floor December 30, 2003 By JEFFREY ST. CLAIR All is not right at the IBP Inc. plant in Pasco, Washington, one of the nation's biggest slaugherhouses. According to workers, meat at the plant is routinely contaminated with cattle feces because workers on the processing line are not give enough time to wash their hands. Under pressure from aggressive plant managers, meat that falls on the floor, which is often littered with meat byproducts and entrails, is often immediately placed back on the line without being cleansed. Cutting tools and conveyor belts, workers tell CounterPunch, are also regularly coated with pus from abscesses and tumors that haven't been properly cut out of the meat. Meat cutters at the plant also told me that often cows are not rendered unconscious before being sent down the line. Instead, workers say they often hear cows frantically mooing as they are skinned and dismembered alive.

Wexler urges printers for touch-screen voting machines December 30, 2003 By George Bennett BOCA RATON -- U.S. Rep. Robert Wexler, D-Delray Beach, told conspiracy-minded Democrats Monday they can't trust the results of the 2004 elections unless new paperless electronic voting machines are outfitted with printers so voters can verify their ballots. Wexler spoke to about 200 people at a meeting of the Committee to Defeat Bush, a local group whose chairwoman said Republicans stole the 2000 election and "will likely steal it once more" in 2004 by somehow tampering with electronic machines. Wexler stopped short of calling the new touch-screen machines part of a GOP plot.

Camps' - A US Prison Guard's Story December 30, 2003 By Martin Brech In October, 1944, at age eighteen, I was drafted into the U.S. army. I was sent to guard a POW camp near Andernach along the Rhine. In Andernach about 50,000 prisoners of all ages were held in an open field surrounded by barbed wire. The women were kept in a separate enclosure I did not see until later. The men I guarded had no shelter and no blankets; many had no coats. Quickly, they grew emaciated. Dysentery raged, and soon they were sleeping in their own excrement. Many were begging for food, sickening and dying before our eyes. We had ample food and supplies, but did nothing to help them, including no medical assistance. These prisoners, I found out, were mostly farmers and workingmen, as simple and ignorant as many of our own troops. As time went on, more of them lapsed into a zombie-like state of listlessness, while others tried to escape in a demented or suicidal fashion, running through open fields in broad daylight towards the Rhine to quench their thirst. They were mowed down.

The Exploitation of the American Soldier December 29, 2003 By Manuel Valenzuela Hidden behind the illusory fantasy the corporate media portrays of noble fighting in tumultuous wars, lies a world of death, suffering and lifelong sacrifice, a world of psychological trauma and physical torture, a world of Veteran abandonment by the same government that has sent millions to kill and be killed, a world where America’s finest, along with their families, are swept underneath the rug of indifference and a world in which ethnicity, class structure and society’s deadly ills mix in a noxious concoction to form that most clandestine of military drafts that is based on poverty, lack of education and the caste one is born into. Our soldiers have become mercenaries to the elite few, neither defending the illusions of freedom or democracy abroad, instead fighting, killing and destroying for the sake of the oligarchy, a small band of miscreant chickenhawks in both government and business enriching themselves through the collective exploitation of low and working class men and women.

Jobless Count Skips Millions December 29, 2003 By David Streitfeld  Times SAN FRANCISCO — Lisa Gluskin has had a tough three years. She works almost as hard as she did during the dot-com boom, for about 20% of the income. When Gluskin's writing and editing business cratered in 2001, she slashed her rates, began studying for a graduate degree and started teaching part time at a Lake Tahoe community college for a meager wage.It's been a fragmented, hand-to-mouth life, one that she sees mirrored by friends and colleagues who are waiting tables or delivering packages. In the late '90s, the 35-year-old Gluskin says, "we had careers. We had trajectories. Now we have complicated lives. We're not unemployed, but we're underemployed."

Bush is author of dark chapter for America December 29, 2003 HAROON SIDDIQUI CONOOR, India—Up here in the tea estates of Nilgiri Hills, where teak-floored bungalows with vast verandas offer spectacular vistas, one feels grateful for the distance from the ubiquitous American media and for the time and tranquility to think and reflect. As the year of the war on Iraq draws to a close, the larger perspective that emerges is clear: George W. Bush, a small man in a big job, has dragged America into one of its darkest chapters. He commands unprecedented military power, but his word carries little or no weight in much of the world.

Amnesty International blasts US for human rights violation December 29, 2003 Press Trust of India The US-led war on terrorism violates international law and justice, and has encouraged various governments to ignore human rights in the name of national security, the Amnesty International has said. "The war on terrorism has actually worsened global security. Far from making the world a safer place, the global security doctrine promulgated by the US has made it more dangerous," Irene Khan, the General Secretary of London-based human rights watchdog said here yesterday. Addressing a seminar on 'Global Peace and Security', she said, western nations, in order to ensure their own security, are increasingly threatening the security of underdeveloped countries following which the people of these nations are becoming victims of human rights violations. She also accused the United States of undermining the "best systems of collective security" in the world -- the United Nations and the International Criminal Court.

Casualty rate for U.S. forces in Iraq jumps December 29, 2003 WASHINGTON POST The number of U.S. service members killed and wounded in Iraq has more than doubled in the past four months compared with the four months preceding them, according to Pentagon statistics.

"Mrs. Mariani's racketeering suit against Bush December 29, 2003 Is designed to protect and defend the United States Constitution and bring an end to the illegal, international war on terror..."- Phil Berg, attorney for Ellen Mariani and former deputy attorney general for Pennsylvania9/11 widow Ellen Mariani (shown left with a friend), has filed a lawsuit against Bush and other White House officials, charging them with foreknowledge of the attacks, failure to prevent them or warn the public, passive abetment for personal and political gain, intentional organized criminal activity, obstruction of justice, etc. Mrs. Mariani has refused the $1 million in pay-off money from the government-allocated 9/11 compensation fund. Click here for more information, including new press conference video footage from INN World Report. / mariani

If this is freedom, what exactly is dictatorship?... December 29, 2003 Qasim Let me see if I have this right. In the United States of America: 1. The president now has the unrestricted power to declare war against a country that has not attacked the United States, wreaking death and destruction on both sides of the conflict. 2. The president now has the unrestricted power to round up unlimited numbers of American citizens within the United States and incarcerate them in military brigs or concentration camps for the rest of their lives and keep them from ever again communicating with friends, families, and attorneys, simply on the president's certification that the incarcerated Americans are "terrorists," as he has done with Jose Padilla and Yaser Esam Hamdi. 3. The president now has the unrestricted power

Dollar depressed December 29, 2003 Mark Milner The dollar saw little sign of seasonal goodwill yesterday, plunging to a low against the euro as the single currency broke through the $1.25 level for the first time.

America's War for Global Domination December 29, 2003 by Michel Chossudovsky We are the juncture of the most serious crisis in modern history. The Bush Administration has embarked upon a military adventure which threatens the future of humanity. The wars on Afghanistan and Iraq are part of a broader military agenda, which was launched at the end of the Cold War. The ongoing war agenda is a continuation of the 1991 Gulf War and the NATO led wars on Yugoslavia (1991-2001). The post Cold War period has also been marked by numerous US covert intelligence operations within the former Soviet Union, which were instrumental in triggering civil wars in several of the former republics including Chechnya (within the Russian Federation), Georgia and Azerbaijan. In the latter, these covert operations were launched with a view to securing strategic control over oil and gas pipeline corridors. US military and intelligence operations in the post Cold War era were led in close coordination with the "free market reforms" imposed under IMF guidance in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union and the Balkans, which resulted in the destabilization of national economies and the impoverishment of millions of people.

Where are our human rights? December 29, 2003 Dahr Jamail So far, every single journalist I've spoken with here has told me that they had followed the news closely prior to their arrival. But after being here even just a day, they have been astonished at how terrible the situation truly is. It has now been over 9 months since the 'war' ended. The country of Iraq remains in chaos, and the lack of consistent basic services such as petrol, security, electricity, and running water continue to afflict Iraqis. So many times I've heard people discuss that even though Saddam Hussein was a ruthless dictator, he still managed to get the electricity, water, and communications systems back up and running three months after the Gulf War. For the record, several engineers I've spoken with have stated that these portions of the infrastructure suffered far greater damage then, than during the more recent Anglo-American Invasion.

Bogus Terror Threats and Bush's Police State December 29, 2003 by Kurt Nimmo Bomb Las Vegas, America's gambling Mecca and glittery playground built on desert sands by mobsters such as Bugsy Siegel, Meyer Lanksy, and Frank Costello? Only al-Qaeda, we are assured, would contemplate such a depraved act -- and it stands to reason because those varmint Muslims hate our way of life. They are envious of our freedom to play the nickel slots and idle away carefree hours perched over blackjack tables -- or get no fuss, no muss marriages at Circus Circus. As it turns out, the ubiquitous al-Qaeda harbored no such plans to bomb Las Vegas -- or, for that matter, any other target in America over the most cherished and commercialized of holidays. Apparently, the whole thing was idle speculation on the part of the Washington Post.

American Government Terrorizes America After 9/11 Attacks December 29, 2003 by Stan Moore "It does not take too long before the public will wary of the "sky is falling" routine. There might be another life-destroying disaster to keep the fear levels up, or to intensify them so as to remove more American freedoms."Apparently, all Al Qaeda has to do is to "chatter" via nameless radio communications and the Homeland Security Department will declare "Code Orange" or "Code Red" and the American people will be terrorized into fear of an imminent attack. Al Qaeda does not have to lift arms, expose personnel to danger, do any actual damage or violence -- just chatter away and Tom Ridge will do the real work of terrorizing the American people.

RecommendedThe fish that threatened national security December 29, 2003 College student Lara Hayhurst was not prepared to let officials treat her little pet like Osama 'fin' Laden. Like many college students who flew home for the holidays, I had to endure the latest airport safeguards in the name of homeland security. A lot of us have stories to tell, but only mine is a fish tale, a contemporary melodrama of the absurd to prepare you for future travels. My boyfriend Trey and I arrived by taxi at the US Airways terminal of La Guardia airport. We had four bags apiece, and one more precious piece of cargo -- MJ, my pet fish. MJ is a gorgeous fighting Betta fish, his palate a perfect pastel rainbow. He had become quite a solace to me in New York, a city that can make you feel so small and alone.

Rumsfeld backed Saddam even after chemical attacks December 29, 2003 By Andrew Buncombe in Washington  Fresh controversy about Donald Rumsfeld's personal dealings with Saddam Hussein was provoked yesterday by new documents that reveal he went to Iraq to show America's support for the regime despite its use of chemical weapons. The formerly secret documents reveal the Defence Secretary travelled to Baghdad 20 years ago to assure Iraq that America's condemnation of its use of chemical weapons was made "strictly" in principle. The criticism in no way changed Washington's wish to support Iraq in its war against Iran and "to improve bi-lateral relations ... at a pace of Iraq's choosing". Earlier this year, Mr Rumsfeld and other members of the Bush administration regularly cited Saddam's willingness to use chemical weapons against his own people as evidence of the threat presented to the rest of the world.

When God goes to war December 29, 2003 Karen Armstrong Religion is the creation of human beings, who are biologically programmed for aggression. We dream of peace but slaughter our own kind, and from the very start our faith systems have reflected this tragic dualism.

Claim vs. Fact: 2003: A Year of Distortion for the American People December 28, 2003 By the Center for American Progress On December 13, the White House issued a document entitled "2003: A Year of Accomplishment for the American People." The document made various inaccurate and deceptive claims about the Administration's record over the last year. This report by the Center for American Progress seeks to correct those distortions, matching White House's rhetoric with facts. 
DRUG COVERAGE WHITE HOUSE CLAIM: "The historic legislation the President signed will create a modern Medicare system, providing seniors with prescription drug benefits." 
"The insurance plan would provide little relief for about 3 million people with moderate assets and incomes near the poverty level and would cost seniors with drug expenses under $835 a year more than they currently spend." - Boston Globe, 11/18/03
WHITE HOUSE CLAIM: "President Bush's economic leadership is producing positive results."
FACT: "More than 2.2 million jobs have been lost since Bush took office. Bush is still on pace to be the first President since Herbert Hoover to have a net job loss over his four year term." - BLS Data
DEFICITS WHITE HOUSE CLAIM: "Maintaining Fiscal Discipline: [The President has] continued to restrain spending."
FACT: "For the 2003 budget year, which ended Sept. 30, the government recorded a deficit of $374.8 billion, according to revised figures. In November alone, the deficit swelled to nearly $43 billion." - AP, 12/12/03
'HEALTHY FORESTS' WHITE HOUSE CLAIM: "As part of the President's Healthy Forests Initiative, he signed bipartisan legislation to improve forest health and reduce the risk of catastrophic wildfires while upholding environmental laws, restoring our nation's forests, and preserving the forest economy."
FACT: In fact, the bill was sought by the timber industry "not because they wanted to remove brush and chaparral" which can cause forest fires but because it would "increase commercial logging with less environmental oversight." - CBS News, 12/3/03 Get this document in Rich Text Format /

In the last election, we knew the election was stolen; in this election, we may not even know that much December 28, 2003 By John Greeley Things such as poll taxes were clearly instituted to keep poor people from voting. In the South, poor black people. Everyone understood that. The same can be said for literacy tests and also for property qualifications. History shows us that the rich and powerful have always worked very hard to prevent "the masses" from ever getting the vote. And when such public controls were not available, ballot boxes could get lost or stuffed with bogus ballots and proudly paraded around town as proof of the rightness of riches and the meaning of power.

Kucinich calls terror alert a government scare tactic December 28, 2003 Associated Press The Bush administration is using elevated terror alerts for political gain while confusing Americans and accomplishing little, Democratic presidential hopeful Dennis Kucinich said. The Ohio congressman, campaigning at a library services company in central New Hampshire on Friday, said if administration officials have information about terror threats, they should act on it, instead of advertising the threat to scare Americans. "Why didn't they just put extra security out?" he asked. "They are building up fear to become more powerful politically."

US Military using Brutality, Fear, Intimidation in Al-Adamiyah December 28, 2003 Dahr Jamail Baghdad: On September 24th, there was a huge demonstration in the Al-Adamiyah sector of Baghdad in support of Saddam Hussein, but even more, the demonstration was in opposition to the US occupation of Iraq. Photos were taken of the demonstrators by the Americans, and that night there were home raids and over 100 people detained, from teenagers to old men. Even some women were detained.  The next time there was to be a demonstration here, the US military showed up in force, literally filling the streets with tanks, Humvees, and soldiers as Apaches circled like vultures overhead. Needless to say, there was no demonstration. 

Revealed: how MI6 sold the Iraq war December 28, 2003 Nicholas Rufford (The Times) THE Secret Intelligence Service has run an operation to gain public support for sanctions and the use of military force in Iraq. The government yesterday confirmed that MI6 had organised Operation Mass Appeal, a campaign to plant stories in the media about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction.

Saddam Threatens to Expose US December 28, 2003 P.K. Abdul Ghafour Arab News Staff JEDDAH, 27 December 2003 Former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, now being grilled by American investigators, has reportedly warned US authorities that he will expose Washington’s “political games” and its behind-the-scene role in the occupation of Kuwait.

Top Ten Bush Administration Outrages December 28, 2003 by Ben Ehrenreich 1 The War. At last count: 530 coalition soldiers dead, between 8,000 and 10,000 Iraqi civilians killed and many more uncounted Iraqi military casualties, all of these dead shamelessly defamed by Bush administration lies, from the fictional Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and al Qaeda ties which provided the pretext for the war to the staged spectacles of the toppling of Saddam Hussein’s statue in Baghdad and Jessica Lynch’s “rescue,” to the daily press-briefing play-acting about how it’s all going Just Fine. The president continues to debase the dead with bottomlessly hypocritical macho posturing — his clownish May 1 flight-suit stunt on the USS Abraham Lincoln; his brave “Bring ’em on” challenge to Iraqi insurgents; his braver Thanksgiving oath to the troops, during his 140-minute tour of duty in Iraq, that “We will stay until the job is done.” And guess who still hasn’t attended a single soldier’s funeral for fear he might be associated with the rising Iraqi death toll?

Iraq has old-school Marine regretting support for Bush December 28, 2003 By Thomas E. Ricks The Washington Post Vice President Dick Cheney was also there, delivering a speech on foreign policy. Sitting on stage behind Cheney, Zinni grew puzzled. He had endorsed Bush and Cheney two years earlier, just after retiring from his last military post, as chief of the U.S. Central Command, which oversees operations in Iraq. But he was alarmed at Cheney's words: "Simply stated, there is no doubt that Saddam Hussein now has weapons of mass destruction," Cheney said. "There is no doubt that he is amassing them to use against our friends, against our allies, and against us." Cheney's certitude bewildered Zinni. At Central Command, Zinni had been immersed in U.S. intelligence about Iraq. He was all too familiar with analysts' doubts about Iraq's programs to acquire weapons of mass destruction, or WMD. "In my time at Centcom, I watched the intelligence, and never — not once — did it say, '(Saddam) has WMD.' "

Fuel shortages, blackouts heighten Iraqi opposition to American occupation December 28, 2003 By Kate Randall More than nine months after the US invasion, the Iraqi people enter the new year facing rolling electricity blackouts, fuel rationing, a devastated communications system and a general crisis in the country’s infrastructure. Most glaring is the rationing of gasoline in a country with the world’s second-largest oil reserves. In mid-December, Iraq’s oil ministry announced new restrictions on gasoline distribution, allowing motorists only 30 liters of gas per fill-up. Huge lines of motorists waiting to fill their tanks, some as long as two miles, are to be found in cities across the country.

The damage done December 28, 2003 by George Ochenski If they did the crime, they should do the time There seems to be some general cognitive dissonance these days on who is doing the greatest damage to our state and nation. While some would like us to believe it is a disheveled 66-year-old man recently dragged out of a 6-by-8-foot hole in the ground, the evidence suggests otherwise.

Bulletin Board Posters Beware December 28, 2003 Chat rooms, Bulletin Boards and Message Boards run by Lycos, Microsoft, and Yahoo such as Raging Bull and others are being used by government agencies such as the Securities and Exchange Commission, Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve Bank, the FBI, the CIA, Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security to spy on Americans without their knowledge. Government agents may have used such boards for counter intelligence operations in an attempt to discredit information being posted by whistle blowers who have been ferreting out government crimes and wrongdoing with the full knowledge of President Bush and the intelligence community. Public web surfers, who visit government monitored web sites can, and in many cases, have had the entire contents of a person’s computer siphoned out and transferred to a massive database in Virginia for further analysis and additional counter intelligence measures.

CHRISTMAS OF BLOOD FOR BUSH December 27, 2003 By Alexandra Williams ELEVEN US soldiers were killed in Iraq during Christmas week. A roadside bomb killed one soldier yesterday as he travelled in a convoy near Baquba, north of Baghdad. A second soldier died while trying to defuse a bomb near the town. Two other troops were killed on Christmas Day in a mortar attack on a US camp nearby. And on Christmas Eve, four US soldiers and five Iraqis died in bomb attacks in Samarra, Irbil and Baghdad. Three other soldiers died when their vehicles struck roadside bombs earlier in the week. The deaths are the heaviest losses suffered by the US since the recent capture of Saddam Hussein. A total of 331 US troops have died since Washington announced the end of major combat in Iraq on May 1.

Hunger and homelessness in US continue to rise in 2003 December 27, 2003 By Jamie Chapman Hunger and homelessness in the United States continue to rise at double-digit rates in 2003, according to a December 18 report released by the US Conference of Mayors (USCM). In the 25 cities that responded to its survey, requests for emergency food assistance were up 17 percent over last year, while requests for emergency shelter increased by 13 percent on average.

US Corps Pick Up Pace Sending More US Jobs Overseas December 27, 2003 (Reuters) - U.S. corporations are picking up the pace in shifting well-paid technology jobs to India, China and other low-cost centers, but they are keeping quiet for fear of a backlash, industry professionals said. Morgan Stanley estimates the number of U.S. jobs outsourced to India will double to about 150,000 in the next three years. Analysts predict as many as two million U.S. white-collar jobs such as programmers, software engineers and applications designers will shift to low cost centers by 2014. But the biggest companies looking to "offshoring" to cut costs, such as Microsoft Corp. (MSFT.O: Quote, Profile, Research) , International Business Machines Corp. (IBM.N: Quote, Profile, Research) and AT&T Wireless (AWE.N: Quote, Profile, Research) , are reluctant to attract attention for political reasons, observers said this week.

A Truly Wide-Awake American December 27, 2003 Name Wittheld I am one American who IS wide awake on what is going on in my country and around the world. I could explain things that would curl your toe nails. As a free nation, the United States is done. Via the pre-planned "inside job" 9-11, and the subsequent Patriot Acts, Dept of Homeland Security, Presidential Executive Orders, and new "enforcement" laws buried deep in legislation passed by our "zombied" Congress, the peoples of the United States are being placed under increased "lockdown", and, with another pre-planned 9-11 looming on the horizon, the endgame is total lockdown. Hitler's concentration camps for the Jews and other undesirables will pale in comparison for what the U.S. government has in store for its "undesirables".

Some US Slaughter Houses Specialize In Downer Cattle! December 27, 2003 Patricia Doyle, PhD It is not widely known but there are a number of slaughter houses in the US which *specialize* in butchering downer assumes there is a price discount for retailers who can CHOOSE to purchase the flesh of downer cattle. Or, they can opt to purchase only meat from 'regular' cattle...or they can 'mix and match' and buy both.

President bypasses Congress to install 12 December 27, 2003 Associated Press Bush went around Congress on Friday and installed 12 people to government panels after their nominations stalled in the Senate. The nominations had languished in the Senate for periods ranging from six weeks to 22 months. By approving them during the congressional recess, Bush bypassed the Senate confirmation process.

'Super-TB' created by scientists December 27, 2003 A virulent form of tuberculosis was created in the laboratory by experts trying to alter its genetic structure. The mutant form of the bug multiplied more quickly, and was more lethal than its natural counterpart. "This is one of the very few hyper-virulent organisms ever created," said scientist Dr Lisa Morici. They disabled these genes, and expected to find a weakened form of TB as a result. Instead, the organism grew in virulence. It killed laboratory mice within seven months of exposure, while those infected with normal TB survived the experiment.

Bush guilty of the real obscenities December 27, 2003 Hugh Dunne When it comes to obscenity, the current incumbent has them all beat. Actions such as shredding the Constitution, gutting decades of environmental protections, closing schools and hospitals to fund tax cuts for millionaires and waging war on the basis of lies are far more obscene than any four-letter word.

The 400 Souls in Amiriya Shelter December 27, 2003 By Dahr Jamil The Amiriya Bomb Shelter in western Baghdad is a reinforced concrete building that sheltered up to 1,000 civilians throughout the first Gulf War. The walls are several feet thick, designed specifically to withstand the blast of many types of bombs. It was always regarded as a safe haven for the civilians in the area. Each time the air raid sirens of Baghdad sounded, women and children, sometimes complete families, would seek shelter within its walls. The Coalition waging war on Iraq had the coordinates to the shelter, along with the acknowledgement that it was simply a shelter for civilians. On February 13, 1991 at 4 in the morning it was hit by two American bombs, which incinerated the building, including all but ten of the 400 women and children seeking refuge inside of it. People in the community today tell the horrible tale of the two bombs. They believed they were designed specifically to carry out the slaughter. The first gave off a terrible high pitched whine as it spiraled its way into the reinforced ceiling, creating an entrance for the second bomb, which entered immediately behind the first, releasing the instant incineration of all those inside. It turned their safe haven into a fiery inferno for the group comprised primarily of women and children.

Washington scuttles six-nation talks over North Korean nuclear crisis December 27, 2003 By Peter Symonds Attempts to negotiate an end to the ongoing confrontation over North Korea’s nuclear programs have effectively been scuttled by US Vice President Richard Cheney in a move that threatens to significantly raise tensions in North East Asia next year.

IS AMERICA THE REVIVED ROMAN EMPIRE? December 27, 2003 By Chuck Baldwin Biblical prophecy foretells of a coming revived Roman Empire. Many Bible students, including me, assumed that this future evil empire would come from old Europe. It is still very possible that the emergence of the European Union will yet be the fulfillment of that prophecy. However, during the last 50 years, it is the United States of America, more than any European nation, that has developed a propensity to act as world sovereign. Such an attitude has led us to the brink of empire status. The desire for world dominion is certainly nothing new. Since the dawn of time, tyrants of all creeds and colors have attempted to assert their authority globally. Some have even succeeded-for awhile. Ultimately, however, all empires are doomed to disaster, because God alone is sovereign and will share His sovereignty with no man.

Government Officials Profited From Illegal Arming of Iraq December 26, 2003 By Bush Concealed Iraqi Chemical Weapons Plant in Florida which shipped WMD to Saddam Just Prior to Gulf War I  Shockingly, Houston’s Baker & Botts law firm -- owned by George Bush Sr.’s Secretary of State James Baker -- was mentioned in a billing statement ( for legal services rendered ) by a Florida chemical company headed by an Iraqi terrorist and bio-chemical engineer. The Iraqi -- Ihsan Barbouti -- had close ties to World Trade Center bomber Ramzi Yousef, but was also the main contractor for the Rabta chemical weapons plant in terrorist Libya. Baker’s law firm was linked to the Iraqi terrorist’s Boca Raton chemical company via multiple contracts for secret formulas and enzymes. But Baker & Botts was also mentioned with Joint Venture Agreements connected to Barbouti’s attorney during the period when illegal nerve gas precursors were shipped by the Boca Raton company to Iraq just months prior to the outbreak of Gulf War I hostilities.

BSE: Markets shaken and dollar tumbles to a record low December 26, 2003 By Philip Thornton The infection of a single cow with BSE had massive ramifications across already jittery financial markets. Fears of an outbreak of BSE rocked US financial, grain and livestock markets. The dollar tumbled to an all-time low against the euro, and the stock market fell as shares in restaurants and food companies sank. "Mad cow[disease] really put a bad taste in everyone's mouth," said Peter Dunay, chief market and options strategist at Wall St Access. The euro rose to $1.2470 against the dollar as confidence in the greenback was knocked by the BSE developments as well as mounting fears of an imminent terrorist attack and unexpectedly grim news on the economy.

Last Meals? How Corporate Power Taints Safety Rules December 26, 2003 by Anne Lappe "Producing safe food is not impossibly difficult," writes Marion Nestle, professor of nutrition and food studies at New York University, in "Safe Food, " the companion to her critically praised "Food Politics." But if it's so easy, then why are 76 million of us getting sick, 325,000 becoming hospitalized and 5,000 dying every year from unsafe food?

Iraq through the American looking glass December 26, 2003 By Robert Fisk in Baghdad Insurgents are civilians. Tanks that crush civilians are traffic accidents. And civilians should endure "heavy doses of fear and violence" Something very unpleasant is being let loose in Iraq. Just this week, a company commander in the US 1st Infantry Division in the north of the country admitted that, in order to elicit information about the guerrillas who are killing American troops, it was necessary to "instill fear" in the local villagers. An Iraqi interpreter working for the Americans had just taken an old lady from her home to frighten her daughters and grand-daughters into believing that she was being arrested. A battalion commander in the same area put the point even more baldly. "With a heavy dose of fear and violence, and a lot of money for projects, I think we can convince these people that we are here to help them," he said.

France finds no evidence to support US scare over Air France flights December 26, 2003 PARIS (AFP) - French authorities said they had found no evidence to support US suspicions of a Christmas Day extremist attack using Air France planes that prompted the cancellation of flights between Paris and Los Angeles and sparked a major international alert. Interior ministry and anti-terrorist police officials said a careful screening and questioning of passengers on the cancelled flights turned up no link to Al-Qaeda or other militant groups. Six Air France flights -- three heading to and three coming from Los Angeles -- were cancelled Wednesday and Thursday after US officials contacted the French government to warn they had specific intelligence that Al-Qaeda intended to use the planes for an attack similar to the ones on September 11, 2001. An emergency meeting of the French foreign, interior and transport ministries resulted in Prime Minister Jean-Pierre Raffarin ordering the cancellation of the flights Wednesday on the basis of the US information. But French officials said Thursday careful checks of the passengers stranded in Paris had found nothing to suggest any terrorist link. "No material or human element -- no matter how slight -- has been discovered. There have been no arrests, no detentions, no confiscations," a French police source told AFP.

Bush's loyalty, patriotism in question December 26, 2003 First of all, we have a person in the White House that was appointed - not elected! Let freedom ring. Second, Vice President Cheney immediately meets with all big energy reps and forms our energy policy. The populace was never told who attended the meeting, let alone the context! Let freedom ring. Third, not too long after that we had the rape of California, energy companies bought energy (mega watt unit cost approx. $35 per unit) and resold it, after transferring it on paper two or three times, for as much as $700+. The residents in many cases could not pay their utility bills and make their mortgage payment. Gov. Davis asked Bush to put on price caps. Bush said no. I will let the market determine the price. Let freedom ring! Fourth, now this man in the White House is sending our young men and women to serve and die in a war that is all about controlling oil - period. This same man had the opportunity to put on a uniform and serve his country - but no! It has been reported he was even AWOL from the National Guard. Let freedom ring!

Bush paves way for logging in Tongass December 26, 2003 By John Heilprin The Bush administration opened 300,000 more acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest on Tuesday to possible logging or other development. The decision allows forests which were put off-limits to road-building by the Clinton administration, to have roads built on them and be opened to use by the timber industry. John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA, accused the administration of "gutting the last pristine temperate rain forest" in the United States.

Antiwar Family's Conflict December 26, 2003 By Tomas Alex Tizon KENT, Wash. Fervent peace activists sort through complex emotions as they mourn a son killed in Iraq. He died a hero, they say -- a parents' contradiction. — Joe Colgan glances at it almost every time he walks into his bedroom: a cardboard box sitting inconspicuously in a corner. It's a care package he had prepared for his son Ben. Inside are items Ben requested: a couple of books, pistachios, canned salmon, beef jerky and a big bag of candy from Costco. Ben liked to pass out candy to children in the street. Joe assembled the package on Nov. 1, not knowing that on the same day, 6,800 miles away in Baghdad, Ben, a second lieutenant in the Army, would be killed by a roadside bomb.

Israel troops fire on peace rally December 26, 2003 The incident took place when about 100 protesters demonstrated near the Palestinian village of Mahase against the barrier Israel is constructing. One of the demonstrators, Jonathan Faulk, told the Israeli Haaretz newspaper that soldiers opened fire with no warning, adding that the soldiers' lives were never in any danger. The demonstrators came from peace groups including the International Solidarity Movement.

Hungarian President Refuses to Sign Legislation Outlawing Criticism of Jews December 26, 2003 by Jeff Hook RECENTLY, Jews living in Hungary were able to push through a law, adopted earlier this month by parliament, stipulating that any person who publicly expresses hatred toward Jews could face three years in prison. And, someone who publicly insults a Jew could be found guilty of a misdemeanor and sentenced to up to two years of imprisonment.

Town Says 'No' to Nativity Scene, 'Yes' to Menorah December 26, 2003 PALM BEACH, Fla. — The town of Palm Beach, Fla., told a federal judge Thursday that he has no authority to demand that they come up with a good reason why Jesus Christ in a manger should not be displayed next to a menorah on public property. The judge had given the town until 5 p.m. Thursday to give the reasons why town officials are saying "no" to putting up a Nativity scene next to a Jewish menorah in a popular park on public property.

A Christmas Carol 2004 December 25, 2003 Joyce Walker It seems the Scrooges of this earth, led by our own U.S. government, have joined in an unholy alliance to gain dominion over our planet home and its inhabitants. Considering the atrocities that they have initiated against the weak of the world, one would imagine that it would take more than a few ghosts to bring that uncaring lot to their knees. What I'm proposing is that we, the Cratchett's of this country, have more than enough information to reveal the truth of what's going on and ought to stop cowering under the intimidation of the Bush administration and face up to our responsibilities for getting the nation on track. Our representatives are selling our rights out from under us, and we need to face the ghosts of this country's transgressions and our roles as citizens in a democracy, or else the last vestiges of freedom may be taken from us.

Our Sham Economic 'Recovery' December 25, 2003 On Christmas Eve, a time for some hard reflection. We've all heard that our economy is recovering, and politicians are patting themselves on the back while at the same time pointing fingers at each other in blame for the downturn or the slowness of the recovery. Economic statistics disguise the real truth. Politicians assume that we're all like their friends... that we can absorb a slowdown... that we can pay a little more in taxes... that if we lose a job we can just find another. Some people don't even notice such changes because they have enough disposable income that such problems are miniscule. Many others can tighten their budgetary belts without giving up any necessities. Not all of us are so fortunate.

Durable goods orders plunge December 25, 2003 November order for goods fall an unexpected 3.1% versus expectations for a 0.8% rise. New orders for long-lasting U.S. manufactured goods plunged unexpectedly in November, falling at the steepest rate in more than a year across a broad range of categories, a government report said on Wednesday. The Commerce Department said orders fell 3.1 percent to a seasonally adjusted $180.07 billion -- defying Wall Street economists' expectations for a 0.8 percent rise.

The Battle of Darkness & Light December 24, 2003 by Mary Sparrowdancer From her personal experience, Dr. Light confirmed not only the revolving door I had described in my paper, but in addition, the corruption within the "government" taking place just on the other side of that door. Here, from an eyewitness, came the truth that individuals representing corporations are not only holding key government positions, they have also been determining which studies are done, who receives grants, and they have been "adjusting" the reports in order to create a false sense of security about their favored products and services. With the promise of corporate gain and personal profit, the industry "representatives" have been making important decisions affecting all of us profoundly. For the most part, the general public has been unaware of this partnership between private business and our publicly funded federal government. Of special interest to Luise was what I had presented as the "absurd American food pyramid" - a dietary guide that first came out in the 1980s, and in which our "government" recommended starch as the foundation of our diet. This was of particular interest to Luise because, as I read in awe, it was she and her team of nutrition experts who had created the concept of the food pyramid - but with a very major twist. The real food pyramid, Luise wrote, was completely different from the "adjusted" pyramid that was distributed to an unsuspecting American public.

Enter Emmanuel Goldstein December 24, 2003 Is "Al Qaeda" the modern incarnation of "Emmanuel Goldstein", the arch-villain manufactured by the state to rule the population with fear? Is it really far-fetched? If one can accept a real terrorist organization willing to kill people for their political aims, is a fake terror organization willing to kill people for their political aims any less possible? Once you accept that there can be one group of people willing to commit acts of terror you must accept that there can be a second group equally willing to commit acts of terror to blame on the first group.

Who's Keeping Saddam's Secret Safe? December 24, 2003 By Rory O'Connor Most Americans don't know the hidden history of Saddam's relations with America, because it has been kept from them by administrations of both parties and their cronies in the press, writes Rory O'Connor. In the week since Saddam Hussein was captured, the news pages and airwaves of the mainstream media have been filled with instant histories, purporting to tell you everything you need to know about the evil Iraqi dictator. Here's what they didn't tell you: Saddam and the United States share a long and mutually beneficial alliance. It began as far back as 1959, when the CIA put young Saddam on its payroll as part of a plot to assassinate then-Iraqi Prime Minister General Abd al-Karim Qasim. Although the coup failed, Saddam survived and later succeeded in seizing control of Iraq. As its ruler, he did business with a succession of United States presidents, from Jimmy Carter to Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush

World's biggest importers ban U.S. beef December 24, 2003 By Mark Stevenson MEXICO CITY (AP) -- The biggest markets for U.S. beef around the world slammed shut Wednesday amid fears about a suspected case of mad cow disease in the United States, as Mexico, Japan and South Korea closed their borders to U.S. beef. The three largest importers of U.S. beef were among more than a dozen countries that halted imports _ the source of billions of dollars of sales for U.S. cattlemen.

Families Sue U.S., Reject 9/11 'Bribe' Ignore Deadline for Compensation December 23, 2003 by Tim Harper WASHINGTON For some, it's blood money, a repugnant payoff they feel they have no choice but to accept. For a handful of others, the process of claiming compensation is too painful: they find themselves paralyzed by grief and unable to reopen emotional wounds barely healed from the deaths of their loved ones in the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks. But as many as 73 families see the process of U.S. government compensation as an attempt to protect those who should be held accountable for what they believe was mass murder. They ignored a midnight deadline last night, their last chance to apply for government cash.And today, they begin a new stage in an arduous odyssey and will sue their government, airlines and state and local authorities.

US media, government scramble to obscure criminal dealings with Hussein December 24, 2003 By Joseph Kay and Alex Lefebvre Despite the orgy of self-congratulation that greeted the capture of Saddam Hussein, this is yet another “victory” that is proving to have unforeseen and bitter consequences for the Bush administration. As reports begin to seep into the press of the history of dirty dealings between the former Iraqi president and the administrations of Reagan and Bush senior, one must suspect that the present occupant of the White House, not to mention his Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld, regret that the military forces that located Hussein did not shoot him on the spot rather than take him into custody.

'Bleeding Strategy' Comes Home December 23, 2003 By Nicholas Berry Conversations with Russian, EU and Chinese officials strongly suggest that the bleeding strategy is now being used against Bush's America. Major powers in Europe and Asia see Bush's grand strategy as weakening American power almost daily -- power that they see as misguided and harmful. This weakening is good. Major powers are now content to let the United States bleed itself. Little help is given to the expensive occupation of Iraq. China, EU countries, Russia and Japan are lending money to the United States to the tune of $2 billion daily, thus aiding and abetting huge budget deficits that will eventually squeeze Washington's financial ability to maintain its imperium. Interest payments overseas mount. The dollar weakens. This bleeding makes the United States less able to engage in militarism elsewhere, such as toward North Korea or Iran. It burdens the United States, thereby lessening its international economic clout. Because Bush's strategy is unsustainable because of its enormous costs, its failure to deal with a wide variety of important issues and its dramatic denigration of diplomatic influence, major powers know that Bush's grand unipolar design cannot last long. Bushism, like Bonapartism, is not forever.

Computer Voting Is Open To Easy Fraud The Year Democracy Ended  December 23, 2003 By Bob Fitrakis As the year ends, 2003 will be remembered by future historians as the year the pretense of democracy in the United States ended. Since the 1940s, conservatives have accepted the assumption of economist Joseph Schumpeter that democracy in a mass society existed of little more than the following: the adult population could vote; the votes were fairly counted; and the masses could choose between elites from one of two parties.

United States leaps back into nuclear arms race December 23, 2003 Buried in the energy bill signed by the president earlier this month are three little lines. The amounts are small, but together they do nothing less than put the United States on the road to developing and eventually testing new nuclear weapons for the first time since the end of the Cold War.

Orange alert in US—terrorizing the American public again December 24, 2003 By Bill Vann For the first time in six months, the Bush administration has raised its “terrorist attacks threat advisory” from elevated, or “Code Yellow”—its default status—to high, or “Code Orange.” The action combines the ominous with the ridiculous. It immediately translates into heavily armed troops and specialized police patrolling US airports, train stations, government buildings, the Wall Street stock exchange in New York City, bridges, tunnels and other sites. Missile batteries are deployed near the White House and F-16s are scrambled for round-the-clock combat patrols over New York and Washington. Foreign visitors to the US are subjected to intense scrutiny and some are turned back for no justifiable reason, while immigrants residing in the US are once again threatened with arbitrary interrogations and arrests.

Message to Republican College Kids: Vote for Bush and You'll Get the Draft! December 23, 2003 A BUZZFLASH EDITORIAL According to a poll released this fall by Harvard's Kennedy School, 61 percent of college students -- about 10 percent more than the general public -- approve of President Bush's job performance. The percentage hadn't budged since April, 2003, when a similar poll was conducted. These numbers show that despite stereotypes of young, liberal Democrats running college campuses, most college students are, in fact, the president's staunchest supporters. But that support is likely to drop faster than a "smart" bomb if Bush brings back the draft -- and bring back the draft he will.

Congress Gives Lump of Coal to Unemployed December 23, 2003 By Marie Cocco You might say it's becoming a congressional holiday tradition. Mass-mail the greeting cards, linger at a buffet table set by a corporate benefactor or two - and skip town without extending unemployment benefits to jobless workers, whose checks will stop arriving in mailboxes right about the time Santa is supposed to appear. Congress shamed itself with this Dickensian tale a year ago. Now it's lived up to its reputation for knowing no shame: It's done exactly the same thing.

White House: Duration Of Troop Deployment In Iraq Unknown December 23, 2003 WASHINGTON (AP) Even with a buildup in Iraqi security forces, "It is not possible to know at this time either the duration of the military operations or the scope and duration of the deployment" of U.S. troops, the White House said in a report to Congress that emphasizes the successes of the U.S.-backed coalition in restoring order and security to Iraqis. The report, obtained by The Associated Press, also states that Iraq still suffers serious energy and communications shortages and harbors an increasingly sophisticated insurgency.

GOP Hypocrisy December 23, 2003 by Rep. George Miller The recent report that Republican Michigan Representative Nick Smith was offered support for his son's Congressional campaign if he would vote in favor of the Medicare bill reminds me of just how hard the Republicans have to work to get their radical bills through Congress despite being in the majority. In fact, on several critical votes this year, the only way they could win was to insure their own wavering members they would be exempt from the drastic changes that their legislation would bring about.

Feds delay and alter pro-breastfeeding ads under pressure from infant formula industry December 23, 2003 by Melody Petersen The New York Times Federal officials have softened a national advertising campaign to promote breastfeeding after complaints from two companies that make infant formula, according to several doctors and nurses who are helping the government with the effort. The original campaign focused on "the risks associated with not breastfeeding,'' according to the Ad Council's newsletter, and included statistics from studies that have found that babies fed formula have a higher risk of developing asthma, diabetes, leukemia and other illnesses.

Bush administration opens 300,000 acres of Alaska forest to logging December 23, 2003 Associated Press WASHINGTON - Reversing a Clinton-era policy, the Bush administration opened 300,000 more acres of Alaska's Tongass National Forest on Tuesday to possible logging or other development. John Passacantando, executive director of Greenpeace USA, accused the administration of "gutting the last pristine temperate rain forest" in the United States.

The CIA Is Staging Terror Attacks In Southeast Asia December 23, 2003 One by one, the world’s terror attacks bear more of the hallmarks of US Intelligence, “Black Ops,” than of Islamic terrorism. The signs are unmistakable, the CIA backed industrio-religious crusaders are staging terror campaigns throughout the world - absolutely - positively. The despicable US media giants were silent when undisputed proof surfaced that the CIA, NSA, British Intelligence, the US Secret Service and the FBI were all involved in the May 16th 2002 blast in a Philippine hotel room when their agent, Michael Meiring accidently blew his own legs off while constructing a bomb which was intended, if ignited as planned, to be a staged “Al Queda” terror attack, justifying a tightened US- Philippine military alliance.

Avoid Israeli women, foreign workers told December 23, 2003 ASSOCIATED PRESS JERUSALEM An Israeli company has required thousands of Chinese workers to sign a contract promising not to have sex with Israelis or try to convert them, a police spokesperson said today. According to the document, male workers cannot come into contact with Israeli women — including prostitutes — become their lovers or marry them, spokesperson Rafi Yaffe said. He said there was nothing illegal about the requirement and no investigation had been opened against the company.

Banned in the USA December 23, 2003 Maureen’s troubles began in February, when she arrived in Los Angeles after an 111/2-hour journey via Edinburgh and London for a short visit to coincide with Brianna’s birthday and her son-in-law’s birthday. She was stopped and told to see an immigration officer, who informed her she had overstayed five years ago. Maureen had been allowed in the country for 90 days, but had stayed for 103. Those 13 extra days were enough for Maureen to be told by the official, “You have broken a rule and you have to be punished for it.” Despite appealing to the US Embassy in London, she has been told she cannot go back to see her daughter Anita and six-year-old grand-daughter Brianna. “I am no threat to them. I am just a granny who wants to see her granddaughter growing up,” she said. “It’s been absolutely awful. I will be 73 by the time I can visit my family again.”

Is Ashcroft Waging a War on Terror, or a War on Freedom? December 23, 2003 by Tom Engelhardt  Australian journalist Sue Smethurst, who writes for New Idea, a woman's magazine, was passing through Los Angeles on her way to New York when she ran into our new version of "homeland security." Her "adventure" included a number of full body searches and a perp walk through the airport in handcuffs. Her questioning began this way: "What sort of stories did she write? What kind of magazine was New Idea? Where was it published? What was its circulation? Does it print politically sensitive articles? When would her interview appear? Who would be reading it? Who was her father? His occupation? Her mother's maiden name and occupation? I thought at that stage something was quite wrong,' Smethurst says, 'so I asked if there was some problem.' "'I will tell you when there's a problem,' he abruptly snapped, according to Smethurst. Then he pointed to a nearby sign: Your Silence Is Appreciated."

Seven Nations Stop US Beef Imports December 23, 2003 TOKYO By Audrey McAvoy (AP) - Japan and South Korea halted imports of U.S. beef on Wednesday after a cow in Washington state tested positive for mad cow disease, depriving American exporters of two of their largest overseas markets. Singapore, Thailand, Malaysia, Taiwan and Australia followed suit. Japan's Agriculture Ministry said the ban applied to beef and beef products and took effect immediately.

Man Gets 3 Years For Barroom Remark About Bush December 23, 2003 (St. Louis-AP) A federal appeals court has upheld the sentence for a man who had suggested that President Bush might be set ablaze. Humphreys says he got into a barroom discussion with a truck driver a day before Bush's March 2001 visit to Sioux Falls, South Dakota. A bartender who overheard the conversation told police that Humphreys talked about a "burning Bush" and the possibility of someone setting Bush on fire. Comment Alton Raines - It would be one thing to take this man aside, question him, even keep him locked down while the President was in town -- all would be reasonable precautions to protect the President "just in case" the guy might be someone who decided to do the honors of the molatov cocktail. But 3 years in prison?? For mere words??? These are just the initial symptoms of the fascist disease which will spread like a cancer, destroying personal liberties and freedoms. Count the days, folks. It's just going to get worse.

Monitoring Yellowstone December 23, 2003 Recent eruptions, 200 degree ground temperatures, bulging magma and 84 degree water temperatures prompt heightened srutiny of park's geothermal activity... BILLINGS, Mont. -- Yellowstone National Park happens to be on top of one of the largest "super volcanoes" in the world. Geologists claim the Yellowstone Park area has been on a regular eruption cycle of 600,000 years. The last eruption was 640,000 years ago making the next one long overdue. This next eruption could be 2,500 times the size of the 1980 Mount St. Helens eruption.

It's greed, not ideology, that rules the White House December 23, 2003 Naomi Klein Why the US wants Iraq's debts cancelled - and Argentina's paid in full Contrary to predictions, the doors of Old Europe weren't slammed in James Baker's face as he asked forgiveness for Iraq's foreign debt last week. Germany and France appear to have signed on, and Russia is softening.

Merry Christmas, Dubya - Love, the Pathetic Media December 23, 2003 By W. David Jenkins III I swear, if I hear one more idiot blaring at top volume and foaming at the mouth over the "liberal media" I'm gonna shoot my television. I both pity and loathe those who have irresponsibly succumbed to the misfortune of believing what they are told through that miserable squawk-box and the idiots with the blown-dry hair who act as nothing more than an empty extension of that device.

WHEN WORKERS DIE U.S. Rarely Seeks Charges for Deaths in Workplace December 22, 2003 By DAVID BARSTOW Every one of their deaths was a potential crime. Workers decapitated on assembly lines, shredded in machinery, burned beyond recognition, electrocuted, buried alive — all of them killed, investigators concluded, because their employers willfully violated workplace safety laws. These deaths represent the very worst in the American workplace, acts of intentional wrongdoing or plain indifference that kill about 100 workers each year. They were not accidents. They happened because a boss removed a safety device to speed up production, or because a company ignored explicit safety warnings, or because a worker was denied proper protective gear.

Health deteriorates in the two-class society December 22, 2003 By Harley Sorensen If there was any doubt that rich conservative America wants its boot on the neck of poor people, Ronald Reagan, a Republican from California, put that to rest when he became president. Reagan's policies extolled the rich and helped make them richer. He blamed the poor for being poor, and he helped them stay that way. "studies overwhelmingly show that for every health condition, for every disease, for every cause of death, those who have lower incomes have it much worse than those who have fatter paychecks." In comparison with other countries, health in the United States has deteriorated over the years. Today, there are some 25 countries that are healthier than we are."

Reforms Penalize Diverse Schools Study Finds December 22, 2003 /U.S. Newswire/ -- Thousands of schools are falling short of Washington's new standards, not due to faltering achievement overall, but because their student diversity triggers federal sanctions more readily than schools serving less varied children, according to a new study. The No Child Left Behind Act, championed by President Bush reveals that schools serving more than one student subgroup -- whether in suburban or urban areas -- face longer odds in reaching federal growth standards, "We discovered hundreds of suburban schools that the feds have penalized, schools that are improving but guilty of enrolling diverse children," said John Novak a statistician at the University of Southern California who coauthored the study.

Analysts say future budget outlook gloomy December 22, 2003 By ALAN FRAM (AP) Keeping the federal budget at or near balance over the next 50 years could require painful tax increases, spending cuts or both, the Congressional Budget Office says. In a look at the government's long-term budget outlook, Congress' nonpartisan fiscal analyst offered possible combinations of tax and spending changes, all of which would leave lawmakers choosing among politically unpalatable options.

Ashcroft Can Now Collect ALL Of Your Financial Records December 22, 2003 By Bram Eisenthal On Dec 13 - The Day Saddam Was Captured - H.R. 2417 was signed into law. In this attack on American civil liberties, John Ashcroft's power was extended to the collection of info on every possible financial record of an individual, from banks to travel agents to casinos to CAR DEALERS. The person does not even have to be officially under investigation!

US Military Metes Out Collective Punishment To Iraqi City December 22, 2003 By Peter Symonds  Despite the attempts of the Bush administration and international media to claim the capture of Saddam Hussein as a major breakthrough in suppressing armed resistance, events on the ground in Iraq speak otherwise. As the attacks on US troops and Iraqi collaborators continue unabated, the response of the US military has been to intensify its heavy-handed repression aimed at terrorising the Iraqi people into submission.

Russia Deploys Fresh Batch of Missiles December 22, 2003 By VLADIMIR ISACHENKOV, Associated Press Writer MOSCOW - Russia has deployed a fresh batch of its top-of-the-line strategic nuclear missiles after a break caused by a funding shortage, and military officials presented ambitious plans Monday for building weapons even more potent. Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov inaugurated the new set of Topol-M missiles at the Tatishchevo missile base in the central Saratov region Sunday, describing them as a "21st-century weapon" unrivaled in the world. "This is the most advanced state-of-the-art missile in the world," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov said in remarks broadcast by Russian television stations Monday. "Only such weapons can ensure and guarantee our sovereignty and security and make any attempts to put military pressure on Russia absolutely senseless."

Judge Halts Forced Military Anthrax Shots December 22, 2003 By PAULINE JELINEK, Associated Press Writer WASHINGTON - Saying American soldiers should not be used as "guinea pigs for experimental drugs," a federal judge Monday ordered the Pentagon to stop mandatory anthrax vaccinations started in 1998. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan said he was persuaded by plaintiffs in a class action suit that the vaccine is experimental and being "used for an unapproved purpose" — that is, for exposure to airborne anthrax as well as exposure through the skin.

Stores Hope to Recoup Lost Holiday Sales December 22, 2003 By ANNE D'INNOCENZIO, AP A late-buying binge this past weekend didn't turn out to be robust enough for Wal-Mart Stores Inc., Target Corp. and other merchants to offset modest sales trends throughout the holiday season, according to preliminary data.

"Guilty of Being a Palestinian in Iraq" The Two Troublemakers December 22, 2003 By KATHY KELLY "We said that we had citizen IDs and we are students," said Fadi, but the soldiers insisted, with guns pointed at their heads, "You are in Iraq and you are terrorists." Fadi, age 24, had been living in Baghdad for six years. At the Mustansariya University, he was three months short of achieving a degree in environmental engineering. Jihad, age 23, studied hotel management. "It was inhuman, the way they treated us," said Fadi. "For the first seven days we were given no food or water." On the first day, they were handcuffed and taken to the Hasan Al Bakr Palace where they stayed overnight on wet ground, outdoors. "We tried to bury ourselves in the sand to keep warmer," Fadi recalled. "All the time they were pointing their guns at us. They made us feel that we are going to die now, they gonna kill us now."

Dollar's drop becomes more ominous December 21, 2003 By Nick Olivari NEW YORK (Reuters) - After months of looking at nothing but the bright side of a weaker dollar, investors are starting to look at the dark side of its struggle against the euro. Demand for the dollar has been dampened by concerns about the widening U.S. current account deficit and expectations that benchmark U.S. interest rates will remain low. Several large companies said the weak dollar continues to be a boon to corporate results:

Across US, jobless losing benefits
December 21, 2003 By Susan Milligan, Globe Staff, Proposals that would extend aid spark debate WASHINGTON -- More than 90,000 people who have been out of work for months will lose their federal benefits today, when a program to aid the long-term unemployed expires.During the first six months of next year, more than 2 million unemployed people across the country will be cut off from the extra assistance, unless Congress acts.

U.S. Stock Strategists Scale Back Forecasts for 2004 Gains December 21, 2003 (Bloomberg) After predicting three years of rallies that never came, Wall Street's stock-market forecasters finally got the direction right this year. They are restraining their optimism for 2004.

A Shunned Kucinich Blasts Corporate Media December 21, 2003 By PUENG VONGS Pacific News Service The campaign of presidential candidate Rep. Dennis Kucinich, an Ohio Democrat, has not garnered the same high media profile enjoyed by some of his Democratic opponents such as former Vermont Gov. Howard Dean and retired U.S. general Wesley Clark. ABC News has announced it will stop having producers travel full time with the candidate’s campaign. Kucinich says it is this kind of corporate control of media, industries and government that he will fight against as president. It is stifling free speech, he says. There used to be monopolies in such industries as steel and shipping, but today the monopolies are “in media, energy, health care and banking,” Kucinich said. “The media should not dictate presidential debates based on polls and endorsements. How can they tell voters who to vote for?” Kucinich said. He told an audience of ethnic media on Dec. 15 in San Francisco that he supports more community access in media and that he would go on with his grassroots campaign.

Cheney faces prosecution: report December 21, 2003 A French official is examining whether to prosecute US Vice President Dick Cheney over alleged complicity in the abuse of corporate assets dating from the time he was head of the services company Halliburton, the French newspaper Le Figaro said.

Dubya's news-free presidency December 21, 2003 By DAN K. THOMASSON Will Rogers said that all he knew is what he read in the newspapers. That certainly is not true of George W. Bush, who verified what has been suspected for some time. He doesn't read them, even though he gets to his office pretty early in the morning and chances are a news summary is one of the things on his desk when he arrives. That somewhat startling revelation was about the only news to emerge from a highly touted one-hour interview with ABC's Diane Sawyer. It was a curious mixture of defiance, anger, boredom and strained humor that seemed to reflect Bush's true nature somewhat better than the rehearsed appearances that are the usual way Americans see him.

BUSH AND BLAIR: THE BIG FALL-OUT Relations in 'deep freeze' since Saddam caught December 21, 2003 By Chris Mclaughlin TONY Blair and George Bush's love-in has collapsed over the rebuilding of Iraq. The two leaders have fallen out over plans for the reconstruction of the country and the heavy-handed action of American troops against the civilian population. And the rift has been deepened by a Washington ban on a proposed morale-boosting visit by the PM to British troops in Iraq during the Christmas holiday. According to diplomats, relations between the allies have gone into "deep freeze" since the capture of Saddam Hussein last weekend.

Palestinians Say Hamas Leader Arrested December 21, 2003 By GAVIN RABINOWITZ Associated Press An Israeli soldier shot and killed a 5-year-old Palestinian boy in the Balata refugee camp near Nablus, witnesses and hospital officials said. Hospital officials said the boy, Mohammed Al Araj, was killed by a bullet to the chest. ``He was coming out the house, holding a sandwich when he was shot,'' said Sami Sitan, a neighbor who brought him to the hospital. In Gaza, troops entered the Rafah refugee camp along the Israel-Egyptian border and demolished five houses, witnesses and camp officials said. The troops also destroyed the remains of 20 previously demolished houses, The army had no immediate comment.

Government's 911 Coverup Falling Apart December 20, 2003 By John Kaminski Even phony Kean commission concedes something wrong with the official story. "If what I say is right, the whole U.S. government should end up behind bars." --Andreas von Bulow To most Americans, the first inkling that something was wrong with the official story of the 9/11 catastrophe occurred about a year after the event, when President Bush resisted setting up a panel to investigate the events of that dark day. Why would he not want to investigate the greatest crime in American history? many wondered. Then, he badly underfunded it. Then, he tried to name infamous power broker Henry Kissinger to head it. Since then, Bush has stonewalled a committee of his own choosing, one stacked with political functionaries that is ill-equipped to conduct either a police or forensic investigation " and, perhaps most revealing, one that accepted the government's version of who the guilty parties were before they examined any evidence!

Recommended'A Shroud of Secrecy' December 20, 2003 According to U.S. News and World Report, "the Bush administration has quietly but efficiently dropped a shroud of secrecy across many critical operations of the federal government – cloaking its own affairs from scrutiny and removing from the public domain important information on health, safety, and environmental matters." Here are some of the most egregious examples: BUDGET, CONGRESS, GLOBAL WARMING, 9/11, HEALTH, POLLUTION, PRESIDENTIAL RECORDS, ENERGY, CIVIL LIBERTIES, ECONOMY:CASUALTIES, NUCLEAR WEAPONS, DEPT. OF JUSTICE.

America is a Police State! -AND YES, WE ALL KNOW THE MEANING OF "IS!" December 20, 2003 Ted Lang But we are the freest nation in the entire world!  Yes, but that’s only for the immediate moment!  And it is only because of the cultural constraints placed upon a soon to be totally out-of-control bureaucracy poised for just the right moment!  And as General Tommy Franks recently suggested, that moment will come when yet another serious terrorist attack, provoked and instigated by our own meddling, interventionist, imperialistic government, occurs on our soil.

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