These quotes are in reverse order the first posting for January, 2002, is at the bottom,
with the most recent quotes for February, 2002 at the top:
It's time for the vice president to 'fess up that all this principled
posturing is a load of rubbish. A linguistic smoke screen designed to
obscure the fact that Cheney is fighting tooth and nail to hide something
incriminating. But it's not his information to withhold. He doesn't own it.
Quietly, the Pentagon and CIA are now admitting that far from being
dismantled by America's attacks on the Taliban, Al-Qaeda is regrouping,
under the apparent leadership of a high-ranking Palestinian named Abu
Zubaydah...The development confirms the well-known idiocy of the U.S.
fixation on Bin Laden (and, for that matter, Al-Qaeda itself) as being the
primary locus of anti-American terrorism.
Today, it is widely believed that our efforts in Afghanistan have yielded tremendous victories. The Taliban, we are told, have been destroyed. No more will they harbor terrorists or threaten American interests. The facts, however, speak differently. In a recently disclosed classified CIA report, that agency warned of looming chaos in Afghanistan if the warlords and their tribes are not brought under some kind of control. At the end of the day, the Taliban were no more than a gang ruled by warlords like bin Laden and Mullah Omar. Rather than destroying the threat such warlords represent, we have done little more than rearrange the dust.
Civil war looms in Afghanistan, of the same breed that brought the Taliban to power in the first place. If we intended to make the world safer by bombing that nation, we have failed miserably. Afghanistan is as disorganized and dangerous as it ever was. Exacerbating this disorder are the bodies of thousands of Afghan non-combatant civilians, killed by our bombs on the roads and homes of that nation.
As a new and glaring rift emerges between the White House and America's allies over how to pursue the next phase of the war on terrorism, something odd has happened: President Bush and his top aides now seem to welcome, even to egg on, the sharp differences prompted by Mr. Bush's determination to expand his battle against what he calls "evil" regimes.
In private, his friends and closest aides report, Mr. Bush fumes about weak-kneed "European elites" and scared Arab leaders who, in his view, lack the courage to stand up to states that may one day provide terrorists with nuclear or biological weapons.
...In appearances across the country, he has built on the "axis of evil" phraseology of his State of the Union address, knowing full well that each repetition irritates and divides the countries he once hailed as his great coalition partners...
[His national security aides] compare Mr. Bush's mission to Ronald Reagan's single-minded goal of ridding the world of Communism. They describe their boss as a man who emerged from the first phase of the war more convinced than ever that the United States alone has the power to complete its task, with the coalition if possible — and without them if necessary. It is an America-first position.
...the president wants to spend close to $100 million to help Occidental
protect an oil pipeline unwisely built in war-torn Colombia...
Maybe I missed the memo, but I thought the Bush administration was all about
promoting the "genius of capitalism" and foursquare against the government
bailing out capitalists who make bad business decisions...Occidental's
decision to build an oil pipeline in a country in the midst of a bloody
civil war isn't exactly the kind of boardroom brainstorm that gets taught at
"What makes this pipeline unique is that it is such a major source of
income." Income for whom? It's the new, improved Powell Doctrine: "U.S.
military might should never be used unless it helps Corporate America
turn a profit."...
The reckless decision to elevate corporate interests above the public good
in Colombia risks dragging American troops into a military quagmire.
The Pentagon is developing plans to provide news items, possibly even false
ones, to foreign media organizations as part of a new effort to influence
public sentiment and policy makers.
...a broad mission ranging from "black" campaigns that use disinformation
and other covert activities to "white" public affairs that rely on truthful
news releases, Pentagon officials said. "It goes from the blackest of black
programs to the whitest of white," a senior Pentagon official said...
Mingling the more surreptitious activities with the work of traditional
public affairs would undermine the Pentagon's credibility with the media,
the public and governments around the world, critics argue...disinformation
planted in foreign media organizations, like Reuters or Agence
France-Presse, could end up being published or broadcast by American news
This week, President George W. "Hey, Dad, look! I'm a statesman now!" Bush
will travel to China...And it will be a spectacle of pure, unmitigated,
...money talks. And right now, what it's saying is that the same companies
and industries that help bankroll most of America's high-level political
careers (in both parties) are either making big piles of money by making
things in China, or dreaming of making big piles of money by selling things
to China. Or both...
[China is] executing exponentially more prisoners than any other country on
earth, using prison, child, and (essentially) slave labor, and still
betraying a constitution that guarantees individuals every right imaginable
with a legal and judicial system that, in fact, is one of the most
repressive on earth...
The sad truth is that on almost every one of those counts the prisons,
the executions, the prison labor and exploited workers, the rights
guaranteed in theory but betrayed in practice it is America's standards,
not China's, that are changing.
Reprehensible as Milosevic's conduct was...it was not, as such things go,
qualitatively much different from Croatian atrocities at the time the U.S.
was secretly funneling arms to that group of thugs. Nor...does it compare
unfavorably to the behavior of NATO member (and U.S. ally and arms
recipient) Turkey vis-a-vis the Kurds, or the long-running Maoist regime
that spent decades terrorizing Albania...[or] Africa, a continent so plagued
by Western-backed kleptocratic dictators and mass murderers...We also have
Israel, whose politely tolerated military occupation of foreign territory
for the last 35 years is made possible only by enthusiastic American
support. And, of course, the cavalcade of Arabic and Islamic tyrants, from
whose ranks George Bush has a ready-made supply of bogeymen...Lost in the
September 11 cataclysm was the lawsuit filed on September 10, accusing Henry
Kissinger of war crimes for his actions regarding Chile. One could add to
his list at minimum the genocides in Cambodia, East Timor, Angola,
Iraq, and, of course, Vietnam. And...Gerald Ford (East Timor), Elliot Abrams
and other Reagan era vets (illegal wars and support for death squads in
Central America), Reagan himself (illegal attacks on Nicaragua, El Salvador,
Guatemala, Grenada, and Libya), Bush Sr. (Panama, the Gulf War, and
Somalia), Colin Powell (refusing to genuinely investigate My Lai, plus all
of the above), and the newly obscure Bill Clinton (sanctions and continuing
bombings of Iraq, plus attacks or threatened attacks against Bosnia, Haiti,
Sudan, Afghanistan/Pakistan, Kosovo, and Colombia, blocking international
intervention in Rwanda, and whatever covert actions we haven't heard of
yet). Clinton also notably ramped up the favorite pastime of every president
since Carter, that of arming most dictators and one or both sides in almost
every war in the world.
President Bush has proposed the most preposterous military buildup in human
history annual spending of $451 billion by 2007...There is not an item in
the Bush budget that will make us more
secure from the next terrorist attack...
astonishing budget makes sense only if we are planning to use our mighty
military in a pseudo-religious quest to create a super-dominant Pax
Americana. Bizarre as that sounds, it may be the real framework for Bush's
proposed spending orgy. In any case, almost every non-American speaker at
the World Economic Forum
in New York expressed fear at this specter. Even our own Bill Gates was
alarmed at the United States' apparent hubris: "People who feel the world
is tilted against them will spawn the kind of hatred that is very dangerous
for all of us."
...it is time for other governments to break their silence,
especially the Blair government...
The al-Qaeda training camps are
kindergartens compared with the world's leading university of terrorism at
Fort Benning in Georgia. Known until recently as the School of the
Americas, its graduates include almost half the cabinet ministers of the
genocidal regimes in Guatemala, two-thirds of the El Salvadorean army
officers who committed, according to the United Nations, the worst
atrocities of that country's civil war, and the head of Pinochet's secret
police, who ran Chile's concentration camps.
There is terrible irony at work here. The humane response of people all
over the world to the terrorism of September 11 has long been hijacked by
those running a rapacious great power with a history of terrorism second to
none. Global supremacy, not the defeat of terrorism, is the goal; only the
politically blind believe otherwise.
...a favorite calling card of Colombia's paramilitaries is chainsaw
dismemberments which would lead to more urban guerrilla warfare, and so
on toward catastrophe. And the United States is providing the high-tech
The talk in Bogotá these days is of a 50-year cycle of tragedy, and how the
United States is not only walking right into it, but encouraging it. Soon,
perhaps, inflicting it.
To the terrible trio of Iran, Iraq and North Korea, we've now got to add
millions of American kids. At least that's the cock and bull story the
commander in chief is peddling with a slick new $10 million ad campaign that
is one of the most offensive displays of drug war propaganda ever...the
twisted reasoning that, since drug profits have found their way into the
pockets of terrorists, any young Americans who use drugs are therefore
guilty of aiding and abetting the enemy...
In the single largest ad buy the federal government has ever made, the White
House spent nearly $3.5 million to get these commercials on the Super
Bowl $3.5 million spent not on treatment but on demonizing America's
young people. Our tax dollars at work.
...bin Laden and al-Qaida used tens of millions of dollars in profits from
the diamond industry to fund their operations. So how come we didn't see a
commercial with a woman, say, a senator's wife, fingering the diamonds on
her sparkling tennis bracelet and admitting: "I helped kids learn how to
Turns out, after years of yelping and preening about deficit spending by
both parties, that we didn't need a balanced budget at all it was just a
rhetorical device to justify axing popular programs that big business didn't
It shouldn't require political pressure to improve the health and well-being
of the country's citizens, and to help out the less fortunate. Policy-makers
should be asking for budget money for these programs simply because it's
good public policy, aka The Right Thing To Do. But that's not, at present,
how our political system works.
Enron may be as much a cultural scandal as it is a business and political scandal. It is, as one friend puts it, as if a window had opened and revealed the way it all really works. What we see is a world in which insiders get to play by one set of rules — entree to Enron side partnerships that could turn minimal investments into millions overnight — while the unconnected and uninitiated pick up the bill.
the violence characterising human societies in the new millenium be
linked with violent structures and institutions we have created to
reduce society to markets and humans to consumers?
Animals of any species tend to become violent when they are treated with
Pigs love to root in the fields, wallow in the mud, grunt to each other.
However when denied this freedom in factory farms where they are
confined in over crowded, steel barred crates or multiple stacked cages
known as battery cages, pigs become bored, stressed and anxious. They
start knawing cages, picking on each other, biting each other's tails
and ears and resorting to what agribusiness industry has called
Operators of pig
factories chop off the tails of week old piglets without any anaesthics
to prevent other pigs from chewing them off. They also remove eight
teeth with wire cutters. Male piglets have their testicles cut off to
reduce their aggression in crowded areas.
While removing tails and teeth is the solution offered to violent
behavior in pigs, chicken in factory farms are debeaked, and cattle are
Humans are animals. As a species we too have basic needs - for meaning
and identity, for community and security, for food and water, for
Could terrorism be the human equivalent of the abnormal behavior of
"cannibalism" in animals exhibit under factory conditions?
...message: if you use illegal drugs, then you support terrorism...it is not users of illegal drugs who are supporting terrorism, but the ONDCP’s [Office of National Drug Control Policy] own prohibition policies. By its very nature, drug prohibition creates inflated prices and a black market through which billions of untraceable dollars flow. One need only look at the failure of alcohol prohibition, which created domestic terrorists like Al Capone, to see that it is not alcohol and other drugs, but rather prohibition that feeds the coffers of terrorism...
By restricting individual choice in the matter of what one takes to alter his or her consciousness, our national drug policy stomps on the exact freedoms it claims to protect. Rather than paint illegal drug use as unpatriotic, the U.S. government should recognize that the freedom to control one’s own consciousness is a fundamental right.
[Bush] has launched the most deeply anti-democratic presidency in modern
American history... A man who technically should not even be president, but,
as it turns out, also shouldn't have the job because its primary requirement
is loyalty to the United States constitution, and he has none.
In Washington, covering up uncomfortable truths with misleading language is
an art form "collateral damage," "daisy cutters," and "USA PATRIOT Act"
being only three notable current examples. It is the normal, repugnant first
line of defense against accountability.
...the United States invaded an entire country, displaced its government,
and captured troops employed by that government to defend its country
against foreign invaders. The Geneva Convention explicitly states that if
there is any ambiguity over whether someone is a prisoner of war, they are.
...some of the United States' new "anti-terrorism" measures could literally
be photocopied by any dictator seeking to suppress his people.
...for decades, democracy has mostly not been what we've been exporting. And
at Guantanamo, we can see what the rest of the world has also frequently
seen more clearly: that we don't practice it very well at home, either. We
just say we do...for decades, democracy has mostly not been what we've been
exporting. And at Guantanamo, we can see what the rest of the world has also
frequently seen more clearly: that we don't practice it very well at home,
either. We just say we do.
Wall Street is telling you that
"a recovery is around the corner" - that it's once again
time to spend with passion...or buy with lust. They're lying through their
teeth...The flood of bankruptcies and defaults has
barely begun. And the stock market rally is just another hot-air
balloon - hype from Wall Street and spin from
Japan, Indonesia, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, and
the Philippines are sinking fast. Europe's a mess. All
suffer from ailments that are similar to Argentina's.
In fact, the collapse of Argentina is far worse than
anyone dreamed possible...
Nearly every nation is on the verge of a debt-and-
deflation blowup, threatening to drive its economy into
the gutter and its stock prices into the toilet...
Don't underestimate this. Earnings are the most powerful
force driving the stock market. And right now, the stock
market has recovered...but earnings have not!...The real bottom is yet to
come, and it's going to be FAR
George Bush...still seems inclined to combat terrorism almost entirely
through reliance on raw power military force abroad, expanded
governmental authority at home.
...not only is Osama bin Laden likely to survive, but terrorism itself is
guaranteed to do so. George Bush's War, as presently constituted, may be
popular, but it has also failed. It could hardly do anything else. When
Osama reappears, and significant parts of the world laugh at the U.S. in
response, perhaps someone somewhere in the Executive Branch will have the
sense to suggest rethinking the whole approach.
...surely there must be a special Circle of Hell
reserved for the perpetrators of the kind of deliberate deception we now
know that Ken Lay and his cronies foisted on those who had given them their
trust and their futures in the form of their life savings.
makes visible a more profound scandal the failure of market orthodoxy
itself. Enron, accompanied by a supporting cast from banking, accounting
and Washington politics, is a virtual piñata of corrupt practices and
betrayed obligations to investors, taxpayers and voters...
The rot in America's financial system is structural and systemic. It
consists of lying, cheating and stealing on a grand scale, but most
offenses seem depersonalized because the transactions are so complex and
remote from ordinary human criminality...
These and other
deformities will not be cleaned up overnight (if at all, given the
bipartisan political subservience to Wall Street interests)...
Global Crossing went from
$60 a share to pennies (as with Enron, the market had said it was worth
more than General Motors). CEO Gary Winnick cashed out early for $600
million, but the insiders did not share the bad news with other
shareholders. Workers at telephone companies bought by Global Crossing had
been compelled to accept its stock in their retirement plans. (Winnick
bought a $60 million home in Bel Air, said to be the highest-priced
single-family dwelling in America.) Lucent's stock price tanked with
similar consequences for employees and shareholders, while executives sold
$12 million in shares back to the failing company. (After running Lucent
into the ground, CEO Richard McGinn left with an $11.3 million severance
package.) There are many Enrons, as the lawyer said...
The corporate transgressions could not have occurred if the supposedly
independent watchdogs in the system had not failed to execute their
obligations. Wendy Gramm, wife of Senator Phil, the leading Congressional
patron of banking's privileges, is an "independent" director of Enron and
supposedly speaks for the broader interests of other stakeholders, from
the employees to outside shareholders. Instead, she sold early too...the "independent" directors on most corporate boards
are a well-known sham typically handpicked by the CEO and loyal to him,
even while serving on the executive compensation committees that ratify
bloated CEO pay packages. The poster boy for this charade is Michael
Eisner of Disney. As CEO, he must answer to a board of directors that
includes the principal of his kids' elementary school, actor Sidney
Poitier, the architect who designed Eisner's Aspen home and a university
president whose school got a $1 million donation from Eisner. As Robert
A.G. Monks and Nell Minow, leading critics of corporate governance, asked
in one of their books: "Who is watching the watchers?"...
Do not count on "independent" auditors, as Arthur Andersen vividly
demonstrated at Enron. While previous scandals did not involve massive
document-shredding, Andersen's behavior is actually typical among the Big
Five accounting firms that monopolize commercial/financial auditing
worldwide. Andersen already faces SEC investigation for its role in
"Chainsaw Al" Dunlap's butchery of Sunbeam and has paid $110 million to
settle Sunbeam investors' damage suits. A decade ago Andersen fronted for
Charles Keating's notorious Lincoln Savings & Loan, which bilked the
elderly and then collapsed at taxpayer expense despite a prestigious seal
of approval from Alan Greenspan (Keating went to prison; Greenspan became
Federal Reserve Chairman). But why pick on Arthur Andersen? Ernst & Young
paid out even more for "recklessly misrepresenting" the profit claims of
Cendant Corporation $335 million to the New York and California
public-employee pension funds. Cendant itself has paid out $2.8 billion to
injured investors, but hopes to recover some money by suing Ernst & Young.
PriceWaterhouseCoopers handled the books at Lucent, accused of inflating
profits by $679 million in 2000 and prompting yet another SEC
The other obvious deformity exposed by Enron is the
insidious corruption of democracy by political money...The
market ideology has produced the best government that money can buy. The
looting is unlikely to end so long as democracy is for sale.
Bush's own dealings within the energy industry carry a disturbingly familiar echo to the Enron situation: once upon a time, he was a high-ranking officer of a petroleum interest called Harken Oil. On June 22, 1990, Bush sold his Harken stock and made $848,560, earning him a 200% profit. One week later, Harken announced a $23.2 million loss in quarterly earnings and its stock dropped sharply, losing 60 percent of its value over the next six months. Bush made a bundle while the other investors lost millions. Harken was Enron in miniature, and might have served as a warning to the American people if the press had chosen to pay any attention to it during the 2000 Presidential campaign...
Bush and his people may well have to answer for actions that make the Enron catastrophe look like a jaywalking offense, actions that led directly to the incredible carnage in New York and Washington, D.C
...the Bush administration had a vested interest in strengthening and stabilizing the Taliban regime, because a stable regime would compel investors to revive the Turkmenistan natural gas pipeline deal. The Taliban, demon of the moment, was the Bush administration's idea of a 'stable' government. Stable enough, anyway, to see the pipeline through...
O'Neill was the FBI's chief bin Laden hunter, in charge of the investigations into the bin Laden-connected bombings of the World Trade Center in 1993, the destruction of an American troop barracks in Saudi Arabia in 1996, the African embassy bombings in 1998, and the attack upon the U.S.S. Cole in 2000. O'Neill quit the FBI in protest two weeks before the destruction of the World Trade Center towers. He did so because his investigation was hindered by the Bush administration's connections to the Taliban, and by the interests of American petroleum companies...In essence, the Federal agent who knew more about bin Laden than any living American was kept from investigating terrorist threats against this country...If these allegations prove true, Bush and his friends allowed this affinity to hamstring investigations that could have thwarted bin Laden's September plans.
The distinctive characteristic of the Enron fiasco, of course, is precisely that the malfeasers have not paid any consequences. The executives who cooked up Enron's crooked schemes sold hundreds of millions of dollars worth of stock, while unsuspecting employees have borne the brunt. The broader victim is the public's trust that ordinary people won't fall prey to crooked machinations by inside operators a trust upon which capitalism itself depends. The Bushies seem not to recognize this larger failure, either. Enron isn't considered a political scandal because it hasn't impugned Bush's character. But far more damning, it has impugned his ideology.
On the face of it, the sudden political storm over Enron is puzzling. After
all, the Bush administration didn't save the company from bankruptcy. But
then why did the administration dissemble so long about its contacts with
Enron? Why did George W. Bush make the absurd claim that Enron's C.E.O.,
Kenneth Lay, opposed him in his first run for governor, and that the two men
got to know each other only after that race? And why does the press act as
if there may be a major scandal brewing?
Because the administration fears, and the press suspects, that the latest
revelations in the Enron affair will raise the lid on crony capitalism,
...the Bush administration will try to keep the Enron story narrowly
focused on one company during its death throes. Just remember that the
real story is much bigger.
There is, as yet, no evidence that the Bush White House did anything illegal
or out of the ordinary on behalf of Enron. And that's the problem...First is
the Bushites' enthusiasm for the various non-renewable energy
industries...Imagine what this country's security would be like at the
moment if it had spent the last half-century writing blank checks not for
the development of ever-more-sophisticated weapons of conquest, but
ever-more-sophisticated (and clean) domestic energy sources...his policy
yardstick is greed. Government should be larger, and spend more, when it
benefits Bush's friends, allies, and business supporters.
I think it's a big mistake to couch worthwhile ideas in the propagandistic
rhetoric of President Bush and his cronies... Perpetuating the illusion that the US actions are a "War Against Terrorism"
ends up promoting a program of world domination instead of a movement for
In a lightly reported decision published last week, a federal appeals court
greatly narrowed the types of tax shelters and investment strategies that
the IRS can disallow as having no purposes other than tax avoidance...In
last week's 5th Circuit case, Compaq Computer had, in the space of one hour,
used 46 trades to buy and sell more than $900 million in Royal Dutch/Shell
stock; the essentially fictitious transactions saved Compaq more than $2.7
million in U.S. taxes. According to the circuit court, because there was
risk involved even though the risk was nearly zero, given the
instantaneous nature of the trades it was a "legitimate" investment, one
that just happened to carry enormous tax benefits...In the weeks and months
since September 11, it has become fashionable for big corporations
entities that span the globe and owe their allegiance to no country to
loudly proclaim their patriotism, wrapping themselves, and their products,
in the U.S. flag. Far more of those corporations will now be able to
completely skip paying taxes.
Real leadership is about creating a consensus where none
exists. It's one thing to ride the crest of a current crisis, and quite
another to be able to look ahead and address the tough issues before they
become crises...[Bush has] nudged us back to our daily lives but doesn't
seem to have given much thought to how those lives could be better. For far
too many on the losing end of the new New Economy, "getting back to normal"
isn't such an inviting prospect.
2001 ended with 11.6 million children living in poverty, 40 million
Americans without health insurance, and 8.3 million Americans out of work,
an increase of over 800,000 since Sept. 11. And just how did our
Congressional leaders respond? Not by voting to increase unemployment
benefits but by giving themselves a holiday stocking stuffer: a $4,900 pay
Uniting a citizenry against an external threat is one thing.
Doing the same thing against less easily definable threats at home now
that's true leadership.
The "American way of life" refers not just to unparalleled consumption, but
to its inevitable companion, conquest...The present, indefinite war doesn't
seem to be aimed at terrorists; it's being aimed at whomever the U.S.
government doesn't like...
Unlike the smug assertions of Albright, Rumsfeld, et al, most Iraqi people,
along with most of the rest of the world's people, blame the U.S., not
Saddam Hussein, for their suffering and death over the last decade.
...we invade because we can, because we want to. This is now such a normal
state of affairs that a perpetual war has been declared, to almost universal
domestic acclaim, and the news analysis of pros and cons of a particular
target doesn't even think to question whether there should be a target, let
alone whether the war is itself a crime against humanity.
...the War On Terrorism, like all wars, is a war on people. The people
underneath the bombs are somehow always the least enthusiastic about wars,
and the Saddam Husseins of the world are somehow always among the last to
The U.S. government will no longer consider a business's
environmental track record when awarding federal contracts, following
the Bush administration's decision to rescind 11th-hour Clinton-era
"blacklisting" regulations. The regulations required a business to
have a satisfactory record on ethical, environmental, tax, labor,
antitrust, and consumer protection laws to win government contracts
worth more than $100,000. Repeal of the regulations was a
significant triumph for the private sector but a blow to
environmental and labor organizations, which argue that the
regulations are necessary to prevent the administration from doing
business with companies that violate the government's own laws.
...this may ultimately be a far more significant story than 9-11...the
people of Argentina the wealthiest country in South America have
fought back, not merely against one or another political party, but against
the entire system of foreign debt, resource extraction, forcibly opened
markets, and economic colonialism that is steadily widening the gap between
rich and poor throughout the world...
While media accounts here focus on finding a new government for Argentina
...the current system...is what must be replaced...
The United States and other lender countries, and the financial institutions
(like the IMF) that they control, need to get serious about debt relief and
improving the fate of the world's dispossessed. Otherwise, Americans'
security and comfort, and the economic empire that makes it possible, will
be threatened by far more than a few zealots in a cave in 2002. The anti-WTO
protests in Seattle inspired like-minded people across North America and
Europe to launch similar protests.
Argentina could mark a similar, but far more serious, watershed.
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