Politics

940 posts

CNN to Al Jazeera: Why Report Civilian Deaths?

April 15, 2004, Fairness & Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) As the casualties mount in the besieged Iraqi city of Fallujah, Qatar-based Al Jazeera has been one of the only news networks broadcasting from the inside, relaying images of destruction and civilian victims– including women and children. But when CNN anchor Daryn Kagan interviewed the network's editor-in-chief, Ahmed Al-Sheik, on Monday (4/12/04)– a rare opportunity to get independent information about events in Fallujah– she used the occasion to badger Al-Sheik about whether the civilian deaths were really “the story” in Fallujah. Al Jazeera has recently come under sharp criticism from U.S. […]

Heads Up… from Michael Moore

[ FYI: Here’s the latest from Michael Moore. –BL ] April 14th, 2004, www.michaelmoore.com Friends, I have never seen a head so far up a Presidential ass (pardon my Falluja) than the one I saw last night at the “news conference” given by George W. Bush. He’s still talking about finding “weapons of mass destruction” — this time on Saddam’s “turkey farm.” Turkey indeed. Clearly the White House believes there are enough idiots in the 17 swing states who will buy this. I think they are in for a rude awakening. I’ve been holed up for weeks in the editing room […]

How Will the U.S. Respond to Genocide?

[ From the article: “And what should parents do when the Janjaweed seize their children, or gang-rape their daughters? Should they resist, knowing they will then be shot at once in front of their children? Or what about the parents described by Human Rights Watch who were allowed by the militia to choose how their children would die: burned alive or shot to death? …. We can save many tens of thousands of lives in the coming weeks — but only if Mr. Bush and Mr. Annan speak out more boldly, if the U.N. Security Council insists on humanitarian access […]

Remember Rwanda, but Take Action in Sudan

[ From the article: “Today, roughly 1,000 miles north of Rwanda, tens of thousands of Africans are herded onto death marches, and Western leaders are again sitting in offices. How sad it is that it doesn’t even seem strange.” –doclalor ] April 6, 2004, New York Times by Samantha Power Ten years ago this week, Rwandan Hutu extremists embarked on a genocidal campaign in which they murdered some 800,000 Tutsis and moderate Hutus — a genocide more efficient than that of the Nazis. On this anniversary, Western and United Nations leaders are expressing their remorse and pledging their resolve to prevent […]

US Marines Shoot Ambulances in Fallujah

[ Although the U.S. has sought to prevent news agencies such as Al-Jazeera from covering the U.S. massacre of Fallujah, a number of independent and alternative media have managed to get stories and footage out — including this story Free Speech Radio filed with Democracy Now!, this coverage by ahr Jamail, and by Voices in the Wilderness. Below is another such report. –doclalor ] Pacifica Network Reports from Iraq, April 13, 2004 BAGHDAD, IRAQ — Speaking from his ranch in Crawford, Texas the President the United States, George W. Bush told reporters American soldiers have acted against, quote: “lawlessness and gangs” […]

Iraqi ‘beaten to death’ by US troops

14apr04, The Australian AN Iraqi has died of his wounds after US troops beat him with truncheons because he refused to remove a picture of wanted Shiite Muslim leader Moqtada Sadr from his car, police said today. The motorist was stopped late yesterday by US troops conducting search operations on a street in the centre of the central city of Kut, Lieutenant Mohamad Abdel Abbas said. After the man refused to remove Sadr’s picture from his car, the soldiers forced him out of the vehicle and started beating him with truncheons, he said. US troops also detained from the same […]

Conscientious Objectors in the U.S. Military go to Canada

Facing Iraq duty, two U.S. G.I.’s head north to seek asylum: Soldiers Choose Canada by Alisa Solomon Village Voice, April 6th, 2004 TORONTO – Army private Brandon Hughey got in his silver Mustang around midnight on March 2, rolled past the gates at Fort Hood in Texas, and headed northeast. All he had to guide him was a deepening dread and principled objection to the war in Iraq and a promise of help from a complete stranger he’d found on the Internet. His unit was deploying to the Middle East the next morning and, as Hughey, 18, wrote in a […]

U.S. Helped Impose Death Sentence on Democracy in Haiti

[ “Tom Griffin, part of a delegation sent by the National Lawyers Guild to Haiti to meet with victims and their families, witnesses and grassroots leaders,” reports that the de facto leaders of Haiti — praised by the U.S.-installed interim leader, Gerard Latortue — are military thugs who have been summarily executing supporters of the popular Lavalas Party (i.e., the party of Aristide, the leader deposed in a recent U.S.-backed coup). Based on previous reports, we know that the rebels had freed human rights violators from jail, and used violence against Lavalas supporters. In the interview introduced below, Griffin reports […]

Americans Slaughtering Civilians In Falluja

[ The following is a representative description of the carnage in Fallujah from correspondent Dahr Jamail, who was there on Sunday capturing the story untold by the corporate media. (Follow the link below to see Jamail’s photographs.) As I was there, an endless stream of women and children who’d been sniped by the Americans were being raced into the dirty clinic, the cars speeding over the curb out front as their wailing family members carried them in. One woman and small child had been shot through the neck — the woman was making breathy gurgling noises as the doctors frantically […]

Panel Says Bush Saw Repeated Warnings

Reports Preceded August 2001 Memo by Dana Priest April 14, 2004; Page A01, Washington Post By the time a CIA briefer gave President Bush the Aug. 6, 2001, President’s Daily Brief headlined “Bin Ladin Determined To Strike in US,” the president had seen a stream of alarming reports on al Qaeda’s intentions. So had Vice President Cheney and Bush’s top national security team, according to newly declassified information released yesterday by the commission investigating the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks. In April and May 2001, for example, the intelligence community headlined some of those reports “Bin Laden planning multiple operations,” “Bin […]

Misery in Iraq: The Latest

[ “The head of US Central Command in Iraq, General John Abizaid,” says he needs at least 10,000 more troops in Iraq. Before the war neither Rumsfeld nor Wolfowitz would hear anything about this from the experts. From CBS, Feb. 28, 2003: It’s also unclear how long the U.S. will maintain a presence in post-war Iraq, and how many troops will have to be there. This week, Army chief of staff Gen. Eric Shinseki guessed “several hundred thousand” soldiers could be needed, but Rumsfeld predicts far fewer will be required. The article below is captures the situation in Iraq now. […]

Hospitals in Fallujah Report Deaths of Children, Women, Elderly

April 12, 2004 | Democracy Now! The town of Fallujah is under siege and there are reports of a massacre of Iraqis at the hands U.S. troops. The death toll in the town has now topped 600 with over 1,000 injured. Local hospitals reported the majority of the dead were women, children and the elderly. The U.S. maintains 95 percent of those killed were members of the resistance. This according to the Guardian of London. More than 60,000 women and children fled the city during a brief ceasefire on Friday but the US blocked any men of military age from […]

How Did Iraq Spin Out of U.S. Control?

[ From the article: “[The paper] Al Hawza was closed March 28 for what US administrators deemed its tendency to incite violence…. It proved a miscalculation.” –doclalor ] Uprising in Iraq March 28 US-led coalition authorities close Moqtada al-Sadr’s newspaper, Al Hawza. March 31 A guerrilla ambush on two vehicles in Fallujah kills four American military contractors. Images of their mutilated bodies are shown worldwide. April 3 The arrest of Mustafa al-Yacoubi, a close aide of Sadr and a lieutenant in Najaf, provokes demonstrations and attacks in Baghdad and southern Iraq. April 4 Dozens of militants belonging to Sadr’s Mahdi army […]

Ashcroft’s Record of Lying to Congress About 9/11

April 13, 2004 | Misleader.org With Attorney General John Ashcroft testifying before the 9/11 Commission today, a quick analysis of his previous statements shows he has repeatedly lied to Congress about the Bush Administration’s counterterrorism record. Specifically, when questioned by Congress in 2002 about why he tried to de-prioritize and slash funding for counterterrorism before 9/11, Ashcroft resorted to dishonest denials — even in the face of budget documents that proved he was not telling the truth. For instance, in testimony before the House of Representatives, Ashcroft said that before 9/11, his “number-one goal” at the Justice Department “was the […]

Taxpayers’ total contribution to military is close to 40 cents of every dollar

APRIL 8, 2004 | National Priorities Project Nearly Half of Every Tax Dollar Goes to Military, National Debt NORTHAMPTON, MA – April 8 – As April 15 approaches and people prepare to pay their 2003 income taxes, they should know that nearly half of every dollar they owe will be used to support military spending and interest on the national debt. Military spending in 2003 required 29 cents of every income tax dollar, with the debt taking another 20 cents, according to the National Priorities Project. By comparison, education and veterans benefits receive only four cents of every income tax […]

‘US is bigger threat than terror’

BBC NEWS, April, 9, 2004 Globalisation and the US pose a more serious threat to the world than war and terrorism, according to a BBC poll. Corruption came second on a list of the biggest problems facing the world, the survey of BBC viewers worldwide found. Conflicts – war and terrorism – ranked third, with 50%, followed by hunger, 49%, and climate change with 44%. BBC World asked 1,500 viewers of its news and international channel for the biggest problems in the world with 52% saying the US and globalisation. Respondents from Europe, Asia, North and South America, the Middle […]

US tactics condemned by British officers

[ British commanders in Iraq are thinking, “[t]he US will have to abandon the sledgehammer-to-crack-a-nut approach – it has failed.” From the article: British rules of engagement only allow troops to open fire when attacked, using the minimum force necessary and only at identified targets. The American approach was markedly different: “When US troops are attacked with mortars in Baghdad, they use mortar-locating radar to find the firing point and then attack the general area with artillery, even though the area they are attacking may be in the middle of a densely populated residential area.” –doclalor ] London’s Telegraph, April 11, […]

Untruths from Condie Rice and Scott McClellan

by Brendan Lalor The stream of misinformation from the White House continues to flow. National Security Adviser Condoleezza Rice stated in testimony before the 9/11 Commission that RICE: … [the August 6 Presidential Daily Brief] did not warn of attacks inside the United States. It was historical information based on old reporting. There was no new threat information. And it did not, in fact, warn of any coming attacks inside the United States. As Lerxst points out, she later appeared to contradict her crucial “old reporting” claim: KEAN: This is the last question, Senator. KERREY: Actually it won’t be a […]

Will the 2004 Election Be Called Off? Why Three Out of Four Experts Predict a Terrorist Attack by November

[ WARNING: the possibility discussed in the article below — of the “suspension of the U.S. Constitution and the installation of a military form of government” led by Bush — is sure to cause the onset of a deep sense of gloom … But it’s a must-read — not because there’s an overwhelming probability that this will come to pass, but because it’s a grave and, unfortunately, plausible (if not probable) scenario. –doclalor ] April 6, 2004, BuzzFlash.com by Maureen Farrell On Dec. 31, 2003, New York Times columnist and former Nixon speech writer William Safire offered his standard New Year’s […]

The Bad Intelligence Cited by Colin Powell

[ Secretary of State Colin Powell claimed before the U.N. Security Council, just weeks before the bombing of Iraq, to have “firsthand descriptions of biological weapons factories on wheels and on rails.” But David Kay, who was in charge of the U.S. search for illicit weapons after the bombing of Iraq, has retorted, that “Powell’s account was ‘disingenuous’, and added: “If Powell had said to the Security Council: ‘It’s one source, we never actually talked to him, and we don’t know his name,’ as he’s describing this, I think people would have laughed us out of court.” The article below […]

Richard Clarke on ABC’s NIGHTLINE tonight

by Brendan Lalor Announcement: On ABC’s NightLine, former head of counterterrorism for the Administration, Richard Clark, will respond to Condoleezza Rice’s testimony before the 9/11 Commission earlier today. Here’s how NightLine plugged the event: TONIGHT’S FOCUS: At long last, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice testified this morning before the 9/11 Commission about what the White House knew and when they knew it. Time and time again the questions and answers returned to the testimony and public statements of former counterterrorism chief, Richard Clarke. Tonight we’ll let you hear the highlights of Rice’s testimony – and Ted Koppel’s guest will be […]

The International Republican Institute, McCain, and the Coup in Haiti

[ As the “coalition” occupation of Iraq seems to spin out of control, it is easy to forget about U.S. interventions elsewhere in the world, for instance, in Haiti — which is very much an expression of U.S. hegemony in the region. While I would like to see more solid documentation of the claim in the article below that the International Republican Institute (IRI) trained and funded the violent, anti-democratic forces in Haiti, there are other reports that corroborate Jordan’s theory. Earlier this week, Dr. Luis Barrios, on DemocracyNow!, reported that on his recent fact-finding mission to the Dominican Republic, […]

Bush: ‘Bring on’ attackers of U.S. troops

7/2/03; WASHINGTON (AP) — President Bush said Wednesday that American troops under fire in Iraq aren’t about to pull out, and he challenged those tempted to attack U.S. forces, “Bring them on.” “We’ll stay the course in Iraq,” Bush said. “We’re not leaving until we accomplish the task, and the task is going to be a free country run by the Iraqi people.” He and his aides offered no timetable for the withdrawal of American forces. More than 65 U.S. troops have died in Iraq since Bush declared on May 1 that major combat had ended. Twenty-six were killed in […]

U.S. Soldiers Contaminated

[ The small number of depleted uranium stories from a year and a half ago are back to haunt us — thanks this time to the New York Daily News’ Juan Gonzalez. Although the Pentagon downplays the effects of DU exposure, DU contamination is arguably responsible not just for skyrocketing birth defect and cancer rates among Iraqis after Gulf War I, but also serious health problems in U.S. soldiers who have served in Iraq. According to the AP story (below), “Army spokeswoman Cynthia O. Smith would not comment Monday on whether other troops have complained of similar ailments or whether […]

The Illegality of the Coup in Haiti

[ Legal expert Marjorie Cohn does a nice job of spelling out the illegality of the recent U.S.-assisted coup in Haiti, and calls for an investigation. This article came via Popi and Tom Natsoulas. –doclalor ] The Illegal Coup in Haiti: The Kidnapping of Aristide Violated US and International Law March 31, 2004, CounterPunch.orgby MARJORIE COHN Beginning in early February 2004, the democratically elected President of Haiti, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, faced an armed rebellion starting from the North of his country and moving South. The rebel leaders, whom U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell characterized as “thugs and criminals,” include former members […]

A Heretical View of File Sharing

[ Two economists conclude that illegal “Downloads [of music] have an effect on sales which is statistically indistinguishable from zero” — contrary to what the music industry has claimed, based on a simplistic “single-bullet theory” of why Top 10 CD sales have decreased over the last four years. –doclalor ] April 5, 2004, New York Times by JOHN SCHWARTZ The music industry says it repeatedly, with passion and conviction: downloading hurts sales. That statement is at the heart of the war on file sharing, both of music and movies, and underpins lawsuits against thousands of music fans, as well as legislation […]

Defying Bush, Senate Increases Child Care Funds for the Poor

[ Although the Bush Administration opposed an increase in child care monies for welfare recipients, Republicans and Democrats in the Senate opposed the Administration because “Congress could not require welfare recipients to work longer hours without more child care.” Why does the Administration oppose making it easier for welfare recipients and people with low-wage jobs to get child care so that they can pursue job training, or make being employed financially feasible? According to George Lakoff’s metaphor-based analysis of moral politics, “From the Bush perspective [based on the strict-father model of politics], it is … a moral obligation to eliminate […]

Bush and Blair made secret pact for Iraq war

Decision came nine days after 9/11 Ex-ambassador reveals discussion David Rose April 4, 2004, The Observer President George Bush first asked Tony Blair to support the removal of Saddam Hussein from power at a private White House dinner nine days after the terror attacks of 11 September, 2001. According to Sir Christopher Meyer, the former British Ambassador to Washington, who was at the dinner when Blair became the first foreign leader to visit America after 11 September, Blair told Bush he should not get distracted from the war on terror’s initial goal – dealing with the Taliban and al-Qaeda in […]

“Free Trade” Trumps Environmental Protections?

[ Engler and Martinez document below the way Costa Rica is being strong-armed “to back down on enforcing [its] environmental laws” by the Harken oil company — in the name of “free trade.” NAFTA-style trade agreements (like CAFTA and FTAA) allow companies to sue countries for lost profits. In one famous 1998 case, the Ethyl Corporation sued Canada over its public health ban on MMT, a fuel additive. Canada chose to overturn its environmental provision and pay $13 million to Ethyl rather than risk $251 million in damages. Should Canadians really have to give up their right to an environment […]

Utility Companies Write EPA’s Mercury Emissions Policy

Mercury Uprising Bush's mercury proposal draws heat from both sides of the aisle 30 Mar 2004, Grist Magazine A handful of Beltway wags are contending that mercury is the new arsenic, the latest symbol of official disregard for environmental health. Their claim is lent credence by an ongoing flurry of controversies surrounding the Bush administration’s plan for dealing with the toxic pollutant. A revealing article published in the Los Angeles Times two weeks ago intensified the commotion. According to reporters Tom Hamburger and Alan C. Miller, five career U.S. EPA employees charge that President Bush‘s political appointees railroaded the administration’s […]

New Evidence on the “School of the Americas”

[ Below is a new contribution to the evidence damning the so-called “School of the Americas,” run by the U.S. Army in Ft. Benning, GA. –doclalor ] New Research Findings Further Incriminate the Notorious SOA/WHINSEC Last Updated 3/23/04 by SOA Watch Introduction — Since 1990, Latin American human right and justice advocates have worked to make known the human rights violations committed by graduates of the US Army School of the Americas. These include the high profile killings of Archbishop Oscar Romero in El Salvador, the 4 U.S. Churchwomen in El Salvador, the 6 Jesuit priests and their coworkers in […]

Media Obfuscates Appointment Processes in Iraq, Misrepresenting them as “Elections”

[ U.S. officials claimed that elections in Iraq were not feasible because “there was no way to hold a nationwide census in time for a vote.” That, it turns out, was known by the U.S. to be false, according to the FAIR report below, which calls into question the “prevailing storyline about an administration committed to Iraqi democracy.” To add insult to injury, the U.S. media are obfuscating the ramifications of the U.S.’s “caucus” policy: Take, for instance, the word “caucus,” which is how the occupation authority characterizes its favored mechanism for selecting a sovereign government…. [T]he terminology is misleading. […]

Growth of the Military Industrial-Complex Under Bush

by Brendan Lalor William Hartung, senior research fellow at the World Policy Institute at the New School, reports in the article below on some of the most prominent welfare recipients: the weapons makers–Lockheed Martin, Boeing, and Northrop Grumman–which together digested $42 billion in Pentagon contracts in fiscal year 2002 alone. The number and placement of their former executives in government and para-government organizations that directly influence policy, on the one hand, and former government execs in those corporations, on the other, is astounding. And there are, of course, those in both worlds at once. For example, Richard Perle is a […]

Caribbean Community Requests Inquiry To U.S.’s Chagrin

[ The 15-nation Caribbean Community, CARICOM, has not recognized the U.S.-installed replacement leader of Haiti, Gérard Latortue, who arrived in Haiti from Florida in a U.S. Black Hawk helicopter. The rightful president, deposed in a U.S.-backed coup, Jean-Bertrand Aristide, returned to the hemisphere (to Jamaica) on March 15, against protests from Washington, which is pressuring Jamaica to send Aristide to Nigeria.   Could it be that Washington wants the rightful leader out of the hemisphere so it can more smoothly secure a government compliant with U.S. interests? Presumably. But Washington may not get its wish. As reported in the article below, […]

The Bush Administration’s Public Statements on Iraq

[ The new Waxman report, dealing with Administration statements on Iraq, is a welcome sequel to his August, 2003, Politics & Science: Investigating the State of Science Under the Bush Administration. –doclalor ] About Iraq on the Record Iraq on the Record website, presented by Henry A. Waxman, Ranking Member, Committee on Government Reform, U.S. House of Representatives On March 19, 2003, U.S. forces began military operations in Iraq. Addressing the nation about the purpose of the war on the day the bombing began, President Bush stated: “The people of the United States and our friends and allies will not […]

Cheney, Oil, and the Invasion of Iraq

[ This article came to my attention due to Robi Sarlos. Thanks! –doclalor ] Cheney, energy and Iraq invasion Supreme Court to rule on secrecy March 21, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle by Larry Everest The case Cheney vs. U.S. District Court is scheduled to be heard before the Supreme Court next month and could end up revealing more about the Bush administration's motives for the 2003 Iraq war than any conceivable investigation of U.S. intelligence concerning Iraq's purported weapons of mass destruction. The plaintiffs, the Sierra Club and Judicial Watch, the conservative legal group based in Washington, argue that Vice President […]

Bush Pays Lipservice to Vets, Then Slashes Their Health Care

December 23, 2003 | Misleader.org Late last week President Bush visited combat veterans at Walter Reed Medical Center. During his visit, he said “We have made a commitment to the troops, and we have made a commitment to their loved ones, and that commitment is that we will provide excellent health care – excellent care – to anybody who is injured on the battlefield.”1 His comments stand in stark contrast to the policies he has pushed – and the record he has amassed – as President. Just this year alone, the President “announced his formal opposition to a proposal to […]

President Bush’s Stated Commitment to Veterans Not Reflected in Budget

November 10, 2003 | Misleader.org President Bush often emphasizes his commitment to veterans, saying in 2001, “My administration understands America's obligations not only go to those who wear the uniform today, but to those who wore the uniform in the past: to our veterans.”1 But the 200,000 veterans waiting six months or more for their first appointment at a VA facility would be denied access to VA health care under Bush's plan. Others would be charged $250 annual enrollment fees, doubled prescription costs and increased co-payments.2 The same day the President met with wounded soldiers and said that America “should […]

Sick, Wounded U.S. Troops Held in Squalor

October 17, 2003, UPI by Mark Benjamin FORT STEWART, Ga. — Hundreds of sick and wounded U.S. soldiers including many who served in the Iraq war are languishing in hot cement barracks here while they wait — sometimes for months — to see doctors. The National Guard and Army Reserve soldiers’ living conditions are so substandard, and the medical care so poor, that many of them believe the Army is trying push them out with reduced benefits for their ailments. One document shown to UPI states that no more doctor appointments are available from Oct. 14 through Nov. 11 — […]

U.S. Troops Buying Own Armor for Iraq Duty

[ The Administration often claims that it considers our troops heroes. That’s hard to square with a number of facts, including the reprehensible treatment of soldiers’ medical needs upon their return from Iraq, the harsh cutting of benefits for veterans after paying vets lip service, and now this: “Nancy Durst recently learned that her husband, a soldier with an Army reserve unit from Maine serving in Iraq, spent four months without body armor. She said she would have bought armor for her husband.” Let’s hope Congress passes a bill to reimburse the soldiers who have purchased their own armor. But […]

Condoleezza Rice’s Credibility Problems

[ Condoleezza Rice's claims about issues pertaining to the Administration's alleged attention to the al Qaeda threat prior to 9/11 have not only contradicted chief counterterrorism official Richard Clarke’s claims, but also Vice President Cheney's, Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage's, Acting President G.W. Bush's, and even her own previous statements. A public that cares about truth should see this as indicative of a wider pattern of very serious lies. The two articles below originally appeared together on the truthout.org website. –doclalor ] In Rush to Defend White House, Rice Trips Over Own Words The Washington Post, 26 March 2004 by Walter […]

“We should have had orange or red-type of alert in June or July of 2001”

A former FBI translator told the 9/11 commission that the bureau had detailed information well before Sept. 11, 2001, that terrorists were likely to attack the U.S. with airplanes. – – – – – – – – – – – – By Eric Boehlert, Salon March 26, 2004 | A former FBI wiretap translator with top-secret security clearance, who has been called “very credible” by Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, has told Salon she recently testified to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States that the FBI had detailed information prior to Sept. 11, 2001, that a terrorist […]

U.S. Use of Depleted Uranium Munitions Kills Civilians

[ The effect of the U.S.’s armor-piercing shells made of depleted uranium (DU) lingers long in Afganistan and Iraq, leaving high levels of radiation, and causing birth defects and cancers. Last year, Congressmember Jim McDermott (D-WA) introduced a bill which called for the study of the health effects of DU; to my knowledge, no action has been taken on the bill.  Thanks to Ola Dadlez for the article below.–doclalor ] Silent Genocide March 25, 2004, Tribune Media Services by Robert C. Koehler “After the Americans destroyed our village and killed many of us, we also lost our houses and have nothing to […]

Bush Oiling the Draft Machine?

[ In recent months, the Bush Administration has been oiling the draft machine, reactivating draft boards and even entertaining the possibility of drafting those with computer and language skills. Why? The Cochran article below reports that according to a poll conducted by the military newspaper Stars and Stripes, a whopping 49 percent of soldiers stationed in Iraq say they don’t intend to reenlist — even with the Army offering a $10,000 bonus…. the first [draft] lottery could happen as early as June 15th, 2005. –doclalor ] The Coming Draft March 25, 2004, AlterNet by Connor Freff Cochran In 1973, forced conscription […]

Beware of Attempts to Revive Military Draft

December 22, 2003, New York Newsday by Bob Keeler It has been 30 years since the last time an American entered the armed forces through the not-so-tender mercies of the draft, on June 30, 1973. The next time could be just around the corner, if President George W. Bush is re-elected. No, no, no, a thousand times no, say the White House, the Pentagon and Congress. They insist they have no plans for a draft. In any case, take this to the bank: It will not happen before Nov. 2, 2004. Still, the rumors refuse to die, and it was […]

‘Special skills draft’ on drawing board

Computer experts, foreign language specialists lead list of military’s needs by Eric Rosenberg, Hearst Newspapers March 13, 2004, San Francisco Chronicle Washington — The government is taking the first steps toward a targeted military draft of Americans with special skills in computers and foreign languages. The Selective Service System has begun the process of creating the procedures and policies to conduct such a targeted draft in case military officials ask Congress to authorize it and the lawmakers agree to such a request.

Getting the Most Out of the Nation’s Teachers

[ Virginia Postrel reports in the article below that “the chances of getting a really smart teacher have gone down substantially” since the 1960s. The research on which she reports also supports the view that increasing teacher salaries will increase quality of education. Of course, for any of this to matter, we will need to see a shift away from the militaristic and corporate-friendly priorities of the current Administration. –doclalor ] March 25, 2004, New York Times by VIRGINIA POSTREL PUBLIC-SCHOOL teachers just aren’t as smart as they used to be. After all, women have more job opportunities. Bright women who […]

Chemical Weapons Lost in the U.S.

[ The White House has been fixated on the search for chemical weapons in Iraq while ignoring a pressing chemical weapons threat within U.S. borders. From the article below: The Army Corps of Engineers is currently investigating some 200 sites in 35 states where the military and its contractors cannot account for missing chemical-warfare agents…. The military insists that it’s unlikely that terrorists would be able to locate any of the lost chemical weapons, many of which were buried in unmarked and unmapped dumps, but the prospect of such a discovery is horrifying. Less than five miles from the White […]

Addiction to Oil May Cause More Widespread Pain

[ Economist Jeremy Rifkin warns that “As long as the US and global economy are increasingly dependent on an ever-dwindling supply of oil from the Middle East, the conditions for a perfect economic storm will continue to haunt us.” This is all the more reason that “tougher fuel efficiency standards, greater energy conservation measures, support of hybrid vehicles and a switch to renewable sources of energy” should be issues that loom large in the coming election.   Thanks to Matt Miller for forwarding the article below. –doclalor ] The perfect storm that’s about to hit: Rising oil prices and a weak dollar […]

Sudan: Ethnic Cleansing, Again

[ During the mid-90s, as the Hutus attempted to eliminate the Tutsis in Rwanda, the Clinton Administration refused to call the genocide ‘genocide’, perhaps because that would have obligated the U.S. to intervene under the 1948 Genocide Convention. Instead, it reprehensibly chose to hide its eyes behind bureaucracy and failed to save hundreds of thousands of lives at relatively little cost. Has the world learned its lesson yet?   Samantha Power reports In his [careful, semi-apologetic] 1998 remarks in Kigali [President Clinton] pledged to “strengthen our ability to prevent, and if necessary to stop, genocide.” “Never again,” he declared, “must we […]

U.S. on Rwanda: Bystanders to Genocide

[ Samantha Power shows in the article below that “the U.S. government knew enough about the genocide early on to save lives, but passed up countless opportunities to intervene.” Romeo Dallaire, the Canadian commander of the UN Assistance Mission in Rwanda, says that after the U.S. had effectively lobbied to reduce the peacekeeping forces from 2,500 to just a few hundred, My force was standing knee-deep in mutilated bodies, surrounded by the guttural moans of dying people, looking into the eyes of children bleeding to death with their wounds burning in the sun and being invaded by maggots and flies. […]

Medicare Cost Analyst Says He Was Ordered to Provide Skewed Figures

March 13, 2004, Knight-Ridder by Tony Pugh WASHINGTON – The nation’s top Medicare cost analyst confirmed Friday that his former boss, Thomas Scully, ordered him to withhold from lawmakers unfavorable cost estimates about the Medicare prescription drug bill. He said the estimates exceeded what Congress seemed willing to accept by more than $100 billion. Richard Foster, the chief actuary at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, said Friday night that he received a handwritten note from Scully, then the centers’ administrator, in early June ordering him to ignore information requests from members of Congress who were drafting the drug […]

Bush Administration Ordered Medicare Plan Cost Estimates Withheld

[ Also check out the follow-up piece. –doclalor ] March 12, 2004, Knight-Ridder by Tony Pugh WASHINGTON – The government’s top expert on Medicare costs was warned that he would be fired if he told key lawmakers about a series of Bush administration cost estimates that could have torpedoed congressional passage of the White House-backed Medicare prescription-drug plan. When the House of Representatives passed the controversial benefit by five votes last November, the White House was embracing an estimate by the Congressional Budget Office that it would cost $395 billion in the first 10 years. But for months the administration’s own […]

Medicare has Become Problematic Issue for Bush Camp

Friday, March 19, 2004, Knight-Ridder by William Douglas WASHINGTON – Enactment of a sweeping Medicare reform law last year was supposed to be the crowning achievement of President Bush’s “compassionate conservatism” as he readied himself for re-election. By providing a federally subsidized prescription-drug benefit for senior citizens, albeit a limited one, administration officials felt they usurped a major issue from the Democrats and cut into Democratic support among seniors age 65 and over – an especially important voting bloc in key battleground states such as Florida. But less than four months after he signed it into law on Dec. 8, […]

Bush Sought “Way” To Invade Iraq?

Jan. 11, 2004, 60 Minutes (CBS) A year ago, Paul O’Neill was fired from his job as George Bush’s Treasury Secretary for disagreeing too many times with the president’s policy on tax cuts. Now, O’Neill – who is known for speaking his mind – talks for the first time about his two years inside the Bush administration. His story is the centerpiece of a new book being published this week about the way the Bush White House is run. Entitled “The Price of Loyalty,” the book by a former Wall Street Journal reporter draws on interviews with high-level officials who […]

What I Didn’t Find in Africa

July 6, 2003, New York Times by Joseph C. Wilson 4th Did the Bush administration manipulate intelligence about Saddam Hussein’s weapons programs to justify an invasion of Iraq? Based on my experience with the administration in the months leading up to the war, I have little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat. For 23 years, from 1976 to 1998, I was a career foreign service officer and ambassador. In 1990, as chargé d’affaires in Baghdad, I was the last American diplomat to meet with […]

The Man Who Knew

Feb. 4, 2003 This is a 60 Minutes II broadcast from Feb. 4, 2004. In February, Secretary of State Colin Powell made a surprising admission. He told The Washington Post that he doesn’t know whether he would have recommended the invasion of Iraq if he had been told at the time that there were no stockpiles of banned weapons. Powell said that when he made the case for war before the United Nations one year ago, he used evidence that reflected the best judgments of the intelligence agencies. But long before the war started, there was plenty of doubt among […]

New Info.: Bush Ignored 9/11 Warnings

[ Bush Administration former counterterrorism czar Richard Clarke has come under vindictive attack from the White House for criticizing the Administration’s failure to heed urgent warnings regarding the al Qaeda threat before 9/11. These sorts of counterattacks are nothing new. They are becoming common place necessities for Team Bush, as high-level officials continue to defect, unraveling the fabric of lies which clothes Administration policy. Notable defectors include Richard Foster, the Medicare program’s actuary who blew the cover on Administration lies to Congress; Greg Thielmann, the analyst in charge of assessing the Iraqi weapons threat for Colin Powell’s intelligence bureau, who […]

Clarke’s Take on Terror

60 Minutes, March 21, 2004 (CBS) In the aftermath of Sept. 11, President Bush ordered his then top anti-terrorism adviser to look for a link between Iraq and the attacks, despite being told there didn’t seem to be one. The charge comes from the adviser, Richard Clarke, in an exclusive interview on 60 Minutes. The administration maintains that it cannot find any evidence that the conversation about an Iraq-9/11 tie-in ever took place. Clarke also tells CBS News Correspondent Lesley Stahl that White House officials were tepid in their response when he urged them months before Sept. 11 to meet […]

Nuggets from the Recent Slew of Anti-Bush Books

[ The books Hertsgaard reviews below are some good ones. Other important, recent books in the topic area include Craig Unger’s House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World’s Two Most Powerful Dynasties (in which Unger shows that starting between 9/11 and 9/13, 2001, when all other private planes were grounded, 140 Saudis, including dozens of members of the bin Laden family, were given safe passage out of the U.S., unbothered by the FBI, thanks to clearance by the Bush White House … and much more) Richard Clarke’s Against All Enemies (in which then top counterterrorism […]

Bush Misrepresents Kerry’s Position on Intelligence Funding

[ While I am no apologist for John Kerry, it is worth countering the false Bush claims about Kerry’s voting record on defense and intelligence. Even Republican Senator John McCain, who is supporting Bush, defended Kerry’s voting record on defense. –doclalor ] Bush Misrepresents Kerry’s Position on Intelligence Funding Posted on the DBunker section of John Kerry’s website by Peter Daou on March 16, 2004 BUSH FICTION: In 1995, John Kerry proposed “deeply irresponsible” cuts in intelligence spending that “gutted” intelligence funding. FACT: The so-called “deeply irresponsible cuts” mentioned by Bush “represented about the same amount Sen. Arlen Specter (R-Pa.), then […]

Small Soldiers: Anti-War Movie

Small Soldiers by Louis Proyect | link It should be recorded that Stephen Spielberg was involved with one solid antiwar film in 1998. That film is Dreamworks’ “Small Soldiers,” not the flag-waving “Saving Private Ryan.” “Small Soldiers” received some praise for the animatronic designs, which give the Small Soldiers life-like motion and three-dimensionality, but the underlying story will last with you much longer than the special effects. “Small Soldiers” is a clever satire on the culture behind the testosterone-laden combat toys hawked to little boys on Saturday morning television. Denis Leary plays the head of a huge conglomerate that began […]

The Catholic Church is Pro-United Nations

by Brendan Lalor It’s worth underscoring a secret about Catholicism that many American Catholics do not know: The Catholic Church is pro-United Nations. Below are numerous passages from encyclicals and other documents, available though the Vatican website or that of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, documenting years of solid Catholic support for the United Nations, from John XXIII to JP II. Often these documents implore peoples and governments to empower and respect the U.N. Pacem in Terris Encyclical of Pope John XXIII promulgated April 11, 1963 On establishing universal peace in truth, justice, charity and liberty 142. As is […]

Democrats and the Catholic Vote

[ In the article below, Bill Berkowitz considers how Catholics might view Kerry, given his positions on issues like gay marriage and abortion, particularly in light of the Bishops' “task force aimed at holding Catholic politicians accountable for their political positions.” The task force ought to be aware that its efforts will be manipulated by the right for political advantage against the Democrats. Personally, I think it would be useful to educate Catholics about the lesser-publicized components of Catholic Social Teaching (CST), which would make it clear that even conservative Catholics ought to think hard about the Bush-vs.-Kerry choice. Although […]

Number of hungry families in U.S. rising

From the AP wire through bread.org: http://www.bread.org/ – – – – – – – – – – – – By Emily Gersema Oct. 31, 2003 | WASHINGTON (AP) — About 12 million American families last year worried that they couldn’t afford to buy food, and 32 percent of them actually experienced someone going hungry at one time or another, the Agriculture Department said Friday. It was the third year in a row that the department has seen an increase in the number of households experiencing hunger and those worried about having enough money to pay for food. Based on a […]

Easter Island a Metaphor for Environmental Damage to Our Planet

[ This is from the fascinating review below: Land birds disappeared completely from the diet, for the simple reason that every species became extinct from some combination of overhunting, deforestation, and predation by rats introduced accidentally as stowaways in the colonists' canoes…. Why were Easter Islanders so foolish as to cut down all their trees, when the consequences would have been so obvious to them? This is a key question that nags everyone who wonders about self-inflicted environmental damage. I have often asked myself, “What did the Easter Islander who cut down the last palm tree say while he was […]

International Election Monitors Take on Florida

[ Catholic peace group Pax Christi will bring international monitors to Florida to help ensure fair elections this time around, according to the Reuters. This is especially important, given what happened last time around. –doclalor ] Mon Mar 8, 3:38 PM ET by Michael Peltier TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (Reuters) – An international group that usually monitors elections in developing democracies said Monday it would take up posts at Florida precincts in November in hopes of averting another debacle when voters pick the next U.S. president. Four years after Florida became the object of international ridicule, officials for the Catholic group Pax […]

Chomsky on the History U.S. Policy on Haiti

[ In the article below, Chomsky provides a nice context by reference to which to interpret current events in Haiti. Highlights include (1) “the United States[‘] outrage[] and fright [at Haiti,] the first nation in the world to argue the case of universal freedom for all humankind, revealing the limited definition of freedom adopted by the French and American revolutions’,” (2) the Clinton policies that decimated Haiti’s ability to provide food for itself, (3) the guilt that continues to lie with France, Haiti’s former colonial “master.” –doclalor ] US-Haiti ZMag, March 09, 2004 by Noam Chomsky Those who have any concern […]

Right-Wing Home Schoolers Have Pipe-line to the Bush White House

College for the Home-Schooled Is Shaping Leaders for the Right New York Times, March 8, 2004 By DAVID D. KIRKPATRICK PURCELLVILLE, Va. — As one of 12 siblings taught at home by their parents in St. Croix Falls, Wis., Abram Olmstead knew he would fit right in at Patrick Henry College, the first college primarily for evangelical Christian home-schoolers. But what really sold him was the school’s pipeline into conservative politics. Of the nearly 100 interns working in the White House this semester, 7 are from the roughly 240 students enrolled in the four-year-old Patrick Henry College, in Purcellville. An […]

Bush Admin. sides with industry rather than with EPA (again)

[ The Bush Administration continues to pander to corporate interests against the better advice of science. Yes, Bush-appointee Gail Norton’s Interior Department is siding with Newmont Mining Company over the EPA. This is from the article below: The Environmental Protection Agency, which has the most experience with mine cleanups but no direct authority over mining on federal lands, had argued fiercely that $33.5 million would be needed to prevent groundwater pollution, according to official records of the dispute. The mining company countered that a fund of $408,000 would be sufficient. In February, the Bureau of Land Management in the Interior […]

Godfather Colin Powell: The Gangster of Haiti

[ The Black Commentator article below is lengthy. Here are some highlights. (1) It provides an under-reported perspective on the violence against the Haitian poor, citing independent journalist Kevin Pina's report: The poorest of the poor who supported President Aristide and democracy are being slaughtered by the former military and FRAPH. There is a 6 p.m. curfew imposed by the international forces but it does not seem to apply to these killers. (2) The article also chides the corporate media for ignoring the obviously relevant politico-economic context in which the events leading up to the U.S.-backed coup against Aristide took […]

See Assistant Secretary of State Roger Noriega Dodge the Truth Before Congress

Click here to see and hear Roger Noriega basically lie to House of Representatives’ International Relations Subcommittee on the Western Hemisphere regarding what he knows about a number of figures who had been in exile from Haiti, but who had returned and helped precipitate the recent U.S.-favored coup. Among the many human rights violations of these anti-democratic forces, Noriega denied knowing about these, presented to him by the Subcommittee: Guy Phillipe: trained by the U.S. military in Ecuador, killed 26 members of the Lavalas party, trafficked drugs Andy Apaid: American citizen and owner of more than 10 Haitian sweatshops, supported […]

Diebold, Electronic Voting and the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy

[ A trustworthy voting system is a necessary condition of a democracy. John Locke argued that When, by the arbitrary power of the prince, the … ways of election are altered, without the consent, and contrary to the common interest of the people, there … is the legislative altered. (Second Treatise of Government, para. 216) Locke argued that such an alteration renders the resulting government illegitimate and justifies its “dissolution,” as it does not have the authority of the people behind it. He’s on to something important. Hence, Adam Cohen is right when, in the New York Times, he remarks, […]