January, 2002 link archive

Salon's Eric Boehlert on Andrew Sullivan's selective Enron outrage. Sullivan responds.

David Podvin writes that big media has received a big financial boost from the White House.

Love Bombed Former Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan is smitten with President Bush, his State of the Union address and his "new vision for the world": "Mr. Bush is talking life and death, love and honor and they're [Democrats] running around talking like accountants."

Where's the Love? The Independent editorializes that "America is already envied and disliked because of its domination. The danger is that Mr. Bush's speech, with its simple certainties and pronounced unilateralist flavour, will merely fuel that resentment further."

Iran, Iraq and North Korea respond to Bush's "axis of evil" accusation.

British journalist John Pilger on President Bush's new vision thing.

Bill Clinton and Neil Bush work the Saudi circuit. Plus: Neil on how to win American hearts.

The U.S. is concerned that al-Qaeda fugitives are fleeing Pakistan for Saudi Arabia, disguised as Islamic pilgrims on their way to the Haj in Mecca.

U.S. news execs say they have no plans to pull reporters or photographers from Pakistan.

In an interview with an Israeli newspaper, Ariel Sharon says he's sorry that Israel didn't kill Yasser Arafat in 1982 while he was under siege in Beirut: "In Lebanon, there was an agreement not to liquidate Yasser Arafat. In principle, I'm sorry that we didn't liquidate him."

Apparently bolstered by its unique approach to war coverage, the FOX News channel has scored its first monthly ratings win over CNN.

The FOX News Web site picks up an AP story on Afghanistan's Shibergan prison, but edits out the last three paragraphs, which mention a report by Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights that condemns the U.S. for its role in the "appalling conditions" there.

In the biggest single-event government advertising purchase ever, the White House is buying time during FOX's Super Bowl broadcast to launch a campaign tying together the wars on drugs and terrorism.

The New York Times' John Burns reports from the frontlines at Gardez, where "heavy fighting" broke out after Pashtun warlord Padsha Khan stormed the city to claim the governorship of Paktia Province, to which he was just appointed by Hamid Karzai.

Under the guise of rooting out Taliban and al-Qaeda forces, rival warlords in southern Afghanistan are calling themselves "local Americans" and carrying out a campaign of reprisals that includes beating villagers, stealing cars and looting houses.

The Washington Post has obtained minutes of Enron meetings, which suggest that as early as four years ago board members approved aggressive accounting actions, including moving debt off the company books.

Requests for George W. Bush's gubernatorial documents are being met with lengthy delays, confounding reporters who are trying to research his correspondence with Enron officials.

A Changed Man The State of the Union address you didn't see.

Hawking the Threat New York Times military analyst Michael Gordon writes that President Bush has significantly expanded his "doctrine" by including Iraq, Iran and North Korea: "he seemed to be building an argument in some cases for potential, pre-emptive military action."

Analysts analyze Bush's speech.

In spite of an acknowledgement by Defense Secretary Rumsfeld that "according to some estimates we cannot track $2.3 trillion in transactions," the Pentagon's war on waste was another casualty of 9/11.

How to get a ringside seat at the State of the Union address? Sue Rumsfeld.

Intelligence analysts scoff at a new White House claim that as many as 100,000 terrorists trained in Afghanistan. The Pentagon had previously estimated 15,000 to 20,000.

Sierra Club Executive Director Carl Pope responds to a fast one that VP Cheney tried to get past the "Today" show audience: "If the Bush administration really thinks their energy plan includes 11 of 12 Sierra Club solutions, then Arthur Andersen must be checking their math."

As the GAO decides to sue the White House, the San Francisco Chronicle publishes a memo from Kenneth Lay to Cheney outlining their energy proposal discussions.

The president and vice president want to spike public hearings on intelligence failures leading up to 9/11.

Slate's Scott Shuger on the military screw-up nobody talks about.

A sophisticated trap snared Wall Street Journal reporter Daniel Pearl, who abductors are threatening to execute within 24 hours unless their demands are met.

A reporter visits Afghanistan's central bank to see if it's capable of handling $4.5 billion: '"My banking system is still in the 1940s,' says Abdul Q. Fitrat, the interim central bank governor -- in effect, the Alan Greenspan of Afghanistan. He is an optimist: The 19th century might be more accurate."

An Afghan warlord who has been accused of calling in U.S. air raids on his local enemies, says that 800 to 1200 al-Qaeda forces have regrouped near Zurmat in eastern Afghanistan.

It's official. The U.S. formally declares Afghanistan Taliban-free.

But She's Black "Melody Twilley seemed like an ideal Southern sorority pledge: rich parents, natural beauty, and endless social ambition," writes Jason Zengerle in The New Republic.

The New Republic's new deal and Harper's indispensable weekly review.

"When [Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day] O'Connor is on the bench, we have to read what she writes. Luckily, when she is in the bookstore, we don't," concludes a supreme pan. "Lazy B" is a scary window on the psyche of one of the five architects and as a book to curl up with it's as repellent as a wagonload of ocotillo." That bad?

Enronitis The Los Angeles Times has obtained a five-page letter from a Global Crossing executive warning the firm's top attorney in August that the company's financial condition was being enhanced with misleading accounting techniques. And the auditor is?

FAIR documents how New York City newspapers are smearing activists in coverage leading up to the World Economic Forum's annual meeting.

New York City police invoke no mask law, last used against the Ku Klux Klan.

Mother Jones reports on big political contributor Gary Winnick, the founder and Chairman of Global Crossing. On Monday the company filed for Chapter 11 -- the fifth-largest bankruptcy in U.S. history.

Pakistani officials are denying a CBS report that bin Laden received kidney dialysis in a Rawalpindi hospital on the night before the 9/11 attacks.

Faint of Heart California public radio station KPCC gets the real story behind President Bush's pretzel attack. Plus: How the President is playing fast and loose with the facts in his statements about Enron.

Bethany McLean, the Fortune reporter who is credited with being the first to question Enron's business model, explains why the fallout from the company's bankruptcy has only just begun.

The Enron scandal spreads to Downing Street.

Robert Scheer on "WWJD?": "It's a no-brainer; he would leave the Christian Coalition, take a consulting job with Enron and then use his divine power to make George W. Bush president."

Poor Kenneth In a "Today" show interview, Linda Lay stands by her man, and claims that the family is on the verge of personal bankruptcy, even though her husband reportedly received $101 million from selling Enron stock between October 1998 and November 2001.

How the Lay family reached out for help-- to a PR pro -- in preparation for the interview.

Part two: Linda Lay says she coined "Kenny Boy" nickname!

Get Rich Quicker Read how two Enron insiders may have parlayed a $6,000 investment in one of the company's limited partnerships into $1 million in just a few weeks time.

TV networks dumb down Enron coverage to keep viewers from reaching for the remote control.

Since 9/11, European governments have become increasingly willing to show terror suspects the door, extraditing them to countries previously shunned because of records of torture and execution.

Boston-based Physicians for Human Rights charges that the U.S. is responsible for appalling conditions in an Afghan jail where more than 3,000 Taliban and al-Qaeda fighters are being held, claiming that inadequate food and medical supplies have led to epidemic illness and deaths.

The AP reports on an encampment of Afghan refugees who took to the road in a futile search for relief aid, and are now literally holed-up in more than 200 closet-sized cavities dug into the earth.

As the FOX News channel aggressively cheerleads for the U.S. armed forces, describing their opponents as "rats," "terror goons" and "psycho Arabs," an Extra report asks: "Will Geraldo set the tone for future war coverage?"

Eight months after Cursor published Bill Salisbury's "Jesse's Dangerous Game," questioning Minnesota Governor Jesse Ventura's claim to have "hunted man," the St. Paul Pioneer Press follows-up with its own investigation, and finds that Ventura did not see combat action in Vietnam.

In May 2001, Cursor posted Ventura's military discharge document, showing that he had never received a Combat Action Ribbon. His lack of a CAR became the smoking gun, forcing Ventura to admit to the Pioneer Press that "To the best of my knowledge, I was never fired upon.''

Was Enron a cult? "Everything was about the company and everything was supposed to be on the edge," says a former employee, "sex, money, all of it." Plus: life on planet Enron and the "fall of the arrogant."

The Houston Chronicle demystifies the nature of Enron's independent partnerships, many of which appear to have existed for the sole purpose of goosing the company's financial statements.

In two excellent "NewsHour" reports, "Accounting Alchemy" and "Silent Watchdogs," Paul Solman examines Enron's financial shenanigans and the failure of government and financial overseers.

The New York Times reports that a German company called off a proposed 1999 merger with Enron after discovering that it was cooking the books.

When the business of business is politics, and a solution to the Enron debacle: drain the swamp.

Former President Bush recently railed against John Walker Lindh as "a misguided Marin County hot-tubber," but his real beef might be with Walker Lindh's attorney, a nemesis from Bush's Iran-Contra past.

The Observer attempts to make sense of celebrity, with a dozen articles exploring the star-making machinery and its beneficiaries.

Local Boy Makes Wood Residents of a northern Minnesota mining town react to a not-so-favorite son's transformation into the diva of gay porn.

BuzzFlash interviews a Sarasota TV news reporter who's set to challenge Florida's Secretary of State Katherine Harris for a Congressional seat. Harris has vowed to raise $2 million -- more than the retiring incumbent raised in 10 years.

A Kremlin-backed group called "Walking Together" urges Russians to reject pro-Western views and go back to the "glory" of Soviet Russia. Critics charge that it's attempting to set up a "cult of personality" around the president

Time Bombs The Guardian documents the rising civilian death toll from cluster bombs that explode long after being dropped from U.S. warplanes.

The U.S. has shifted its strategy of relying on proxy troops in Afghanistan, with special forces now going it alone in the hunt for al-Qaeda holdouts.

The U.S. military may have been fed false intelligence preceeding a Green Beret raid that left 21 dead, 15 of whom were reportedly pro-government local leaders.

Howard Kurtz reports on a new study finding newspapers to be twice as likely as television to carry criticism of the Bush administration. He also details Enron's pundit payoffs.

A memo to media moguls makes a pitch for "Leftwing Blondes."

Indefensible The price to be paid for a $390 billion military budget.

For the Bush administration, it's the American way or the highway.

The Washington Times reports that Secretary of State Colin Powell has asked President Bush to reverse his decision on al-Qaeda and Taliban "detainees" and declare them prisoners of war.

Pakistani captors of a Wall Street Journal reporter demand better conditions for countrymen held at Guantanamo Bay and in the U.S.

Enron for dummies and Enron the musical.

As the GAO signals that it will sue the Bush administration to release the identities of people its energy task force consulted last year, former Enron executives disclose that a top Bush campaign adviser served as the company's key conduit to the White House.

The Sierra Club has just filed suit for release of the energy task force names.

An environmentalist finds that U.S. solidarity in the face of terrorism cuts only one way.

An article in the British Medical Journal predicts that unless life-prolonging drugs are made available to the 40 million people living with HIV/Aids, it will likely surpass the Black Death as the world's worst pandemic ever.

The Houston Chronicle reports that sources familiar with the death of former Enron executive, J. Clifford Baxter, say Enron was mentioned in a suicide note. Baxter resigned in May and was later named as one of 29 defendants in a federal lawsuit.

Baxter was also named in a letter from Sherron Watkins to Kenneth Lay, as having "complained mightily" about the inappropriateness of Enron's transactions with LJM, one of the company's partnerships. Baxter was scheduled to be interviewed by congressional investigators next week.

Bill Moyers on Enron's place in history and his begrudging admiration for Kenneth Lay: "This son of a Baptist preacher understood the power of the collection plate. Every time a politician passed one, he filled it, until he owned the right to fleece the flock."

More on Moyers' trip into the belly of the Enron beast.

The Telegraph's Philip Smucker comes face-to-face with three "bin Laden desperadoes" in eastern Afghanistan.

The Times of London reports that a renegade army of 5,000 Taliban soldiers is locked in a tense stand-off with U.S. special forces in Afghanistan.

Robert Fisk from Beirut, on the car bomb murder of militia leader Elie Hobeika, "Lebanon's most hated man" and a key witness for the prosecution in a war crimes indictment against Israeli Prime Minister, Ariel Sharon.

Fisk says Hobeika was the "Al Pacino of Lebanon" -- "suave, intelligent, ruthless and, like many war criminals, a lady-killer."

Lebanon's Daily Star editorializes that Ariel Sharon has to be a prime suspect in Hobeika's murder. Sharon issues a "no comment" on the hit.

Sharon's OK Corral.

Howard Zinn expands on what the New York Times did so well after the 9/11 terrorist attacks -- put a human face on numbers that are unimaginable to most of us. Plus: Americans make it happen in Afghanistan.

Smoked Out Although most of the criticism for failing to prevent the 9/11 attacks has been directed at the Clinton administration, recent revelations prompt Aaron Marr Page to conclude that "compared to President Bush, Clinton was practically Wyatt Earp."

Greg Palast's BBC Newsnight report asked: "Did Bush Turn a Blind Eye to Terrorism?"

President Bush plugs book advancing liberal media myth.

Molly Ivins thinks that the U.S. is hated "for the sheer bloody arrogance of having it both ways all the time," while a Brit sees America as just too big of a brand to care what other countries think.

Star Wars Hollywood's obsession with blockbuster "talent" takes over TV news. Could it be the last gasp of the celebrity culture?

"KrugEnron" heats up, as Paul Krugman addresses his Enron past, but fails to satisfy his number one critic, who had his own conflict of interest problem.

After pocketing $25,000 to $50,000 from Enron (at $250 an hour!), Peggy Noonan writes that she bailed, "in part because I realized I just didn't get modern big business."

Wanna Ralph? The New York Times quotes "close associates" of Karl Rove who say that in 1997, as George W. Bush was weighing a run for the presidency, Rove recommended former Christian Coalition head Ralph Reed for a lucrative consulting position at Enron, as a way to keep Reed's allegiance to the Bush campaign without putting him on the Bush payroll.

Artful Ari Slate's William Saletan on Ari Fleischer's Enron evasions.

The Enron scandal has left more than just documents in shreds. Plus: more Enron next door.

Finally, some good news related to the collapse of Enron.

As security hassles add to air travel time, one calculation finds that it's now faster to travel by car for trips of 530 miles or less.

Noticing a lack of communication in recent weeks by those close to Osama bin Laden, U.S. intelligence officials speculate that he may be executing a ruse to convince Washington he's dead. Thomas Friedman finds widespread support in the Arab-Muslim world for a fugitive Osama.

Afghanistan is breaking apart faster than the new government is coming together, according to a Stratfor analysis: "Warlords who have a stake in the government are only behaving long enough to receive international aid while those outside the government are motivated to cause its collapse."

A military and economic alliance between Iran and Ismail Khan, the legendary warlord and self-styled "emir" of western Afghanistan, further threatens the stability of Kabul's new government.

As warlords begin arming refugee camps, the UN estimates that Afghanistan may need 30,000 peacekeepers, six times as many as are currently planned.

The Independent reports on the forgotten detainees, Afghan asylum-seekers housed in "a grim detention centre in the South Australian desert," who are resorting to increasingly desperate measures -- refusing food, sewing their lips together and trying to poison themselves by swallowing shampoo and painkillers -- to advertise their plight.

In December The Progressive launched "McCarthyism Watch," -- a chronicle of post 9/11 threats to free speech -- with an essay titled "The New McCarthyism." An exhibit on the man, "Joseph McCarthy: A modern tragedy," has just opened in Wisconsin. Take a virtual tour and read AP and Guardian coverage of it.

A glaring omission in antiterrorism legislation is tougher gun control laws. A Brady Center to Prevent Gun Violence report calls the U.S. the "great gun bazaar" for international terrorists.

Politicians are still junketing on the special interest's dime. Said one: "We weren't going to let terrorists shut down our government."

Read an anatomy of a press junket to the most TV-centric event on the planet.

Andrew Sullivan on the gods of Tina Brown, and the last word on Talk.

Contemplating a U.S. return to Somalia, Mark Bowden, author of "Black Hawk Down," revisits what began as a "purely selfless act, one without precedent in American history, and one that saved hundreds of thousands of lives," but became "a lesson in the virtues of nonintervention."

Phantom Threat Former UN weapons inspector Scott Ritter takes on the bomb Baghdad lobby and the mainstream U.S. media that promotes it, by giving "prominent coverage to sources of information that, had they not been related to Hussein's Iraq, would normally be immediately dismissed."

Rep. John Dingell asks "Who Helped Cheney?" and Rep. Henry Waxman calls for the Bush administration to put "All Enron Cards on the Table."

The Houston Chronicle's difficult transition from cheerleading for Enron to scrutinizing it.

Army Brat Writing in Parameters, the Army War College journal, a retired officer questions the U.S. obsession with maintaining global stability: "America's finest values are sacrificed to keep bad governments in place, dysfunctional borders intact, and oppressed human beings well-behaved."

Another advocate of military restraint expresses no regrets for his heavily criticized, post-9/11 challenge to U.S. policy.

Four Americans who lost family members in the 9/11 attacks ended their eight-day visit to Afghanistan by presenting compensation claims to U.S. officials on behalf of Afghan civilians who lost family or homes as a result of the U.S. bombing campaign.

Pashtun commanders in eastern Afghanistan, whose support is critical to the success of the country's new government, have ramped up their criticism of the U.S. following the Zhawar bombing.

Arrogant Brown And the winner of the "Charlie Rose Memorial Bloviation Award for Afghanistan Coverage" is?

In previewing President Bush's state of the union address, the Guardian's Matthew Engel writes that since 9/11 "The world has not become more interdependent. Instead, as seen from the Oval Office, it has become divided into three: the United States; countries willing to do the U.S.'s bidding; and nuisances/enemies. It's not a good idea to be a nuisance/enemy."

Business Week details the FTC's sneaky attempt to cede oversight of high-profile media mergers to the Justice Department. In a TomPaine.com interview, the director of The Center for Digital Democracy discusses the potential impact of four major decisions that the FTC is scheduled to make in the next six months.

The New York Times reports on a watershed event in 1997, when the S.E.C. granted Enron an exemption from a Depression-era law that would have prevented its foreign operations from shifting debt off their books and barred executives from investing in partnerships affiliated with the company.

More on the accounting alchemy that followed, from PBS' Paul Solomon.

The Wall Street Journal sounds the alarm about the "runaway blob" known as asbestos litigation, quoting a fund manager who told Reuters that "half the industrial companies in America could face bankruptcy." One that's at risk is Halliburton, formerly headed by VP Dick Cheney.

Media Whores Online reminds readers that in the 2000 VP debate, Cheney falsely denied that the government had anything to do with his and Halliburton's success over the previous eight years. MWO goes on to speculate that the company's asbestos woes could lead to an Enron-like collapse.

While Haliburton claims that its asbestos liability is under control, TheStreet.com also paints a bleak picture. Since June, Haliburton's stock price has dropped from $49 to $10 per share. It reports 4th quarter earnings after the market closes on Wednesday.

Cheney is also coming under increased criticism over the administration's refusal to detail his contacts with company officials while developing the National Energy Plan.

The Los Angeles Times produced the most extensive reporting on the formulation of the energy plan, in an exhaustive investigation that documented "how the administration relied on familiar faces who stood to benefit from the process."

In arguing that "Enron Got Its Money's Worth," Robert Scheer notes that although Republicans presumably favor state's rights, "the Bush energy plan emphasized increased federal power over utility pipelines that forced local utilities to carry Enron's product."

The BBC reports that the film "Black Hawk Down" is coming under international fire for its "jingoistic" portrayal of the heroism of American troops and for not using actual Somalis as extras -- tens of thousands of whom live in the U.S. and Britain. Plus: Mickey Kaus on what's left out.

Somalis get their 10 cents worth, cheer at scenes of U.S. helicopters going down. More on Mogadishu's skeptical audience.

"The Greatest American Writer" says goodbye to Talk, and Jimmy Breslin on Tina, Donald and the plural of mediocre.

Chelsea Clinton reaches for the stars.

Former Enronites take to the airwaves, with one claiming that documents were being shred at headquarters as recently as last week, and another describing a meeting during which Ken Lay was asked: "are you on crack?"

The Washington Post offers an insider's look at Whitewing, a complicated Enron partnership that favored outside investors to the detriment of the company's shareholders. Plus: Kenneth Lay, debtor.

How Enron and al-Qaeda used the same rules to play different games.

If bin Laden hopes to defeat modern capitalism, he must figure out how to do away with the installment plan and revolving credit.

The Red Cross accuses the U.S. government of violating the Geneva Convention by releasing the photos that led to earlier accusations that it violated the Geneva Convention!

Justin Raimondo on the bizarre intersection of fashion and foreign policy.

Salon's Eric Boehlert reports on how four of the country's most influential news organizations combined to ruin the career of an innocent University of South Florida professor by pandering to anti-Arab hysteria.

FAIR's reality check for "Bias" author Bernard Goldberg: "The mainstream media are no more liberal than the conglomerates that own them or the advertisers that pay their bills."

Foils Again The White House has reintroduced a Clinton administration tactic to steer press briefing questions away from Enron.

In the latest installment of "Ari & I," Russell Mokhiber's transcription of the uncomfortable questions he poses at White House press briefings, he asks Ari Fleischer: "Is the President concerned that his buddies at Enron are going to jail?"

Michael Kinsley wrote that "Most of the reviews dismiss him as an evasive bore. This doesn't give Fleischer nearly enough credit: He is a great evasive bore."

As an "air of menace" pervades Kabul following a reported bomb blast at the U.S. embassy, a summary of Afghanistan's rebuilding needs finds that it's difficult to know where to begin.

When Pakistani Army officers serving as Taliban advisers were reportedly airlifted out of Kunduz in November, the Pentagon denied knowing about the operation. Now, the New Yorker's Seymour Hersh reports that the evacuation was approved by the Bush administration, and that Taliban and al Qaeda fighters joined the exodus.

Appearing on "Meet the Press," Secretary of Defense Rumsfeld continued to deny any knowledge of the widely-reported airlift.

Rumsfeld also dismissed criticism of the U.S. treatment of "detainees," widening a rift between the U.S. and British governments. View the photos that have sparked the protests and get a feel for life inside Camp X-Ray, which is becoming a clearinghouse for all manner of terror suspects.

Down With the Count The Boston Globe reports that the U.S. government has quietly begun to investigate the cause and number of civilian casualties in Afghanistan, despite past insistence from the Pentagon that no such reviews existed.

James Ridgeway writes that "Members of Congress have recovered their nerve enough to question the president's propriety in the Enron scandal, but when it comes to war they sound like precocious children tugging on a parent's sleeve." (2nd item).

The Enron Model: "A Preamble for the Constitution of the Corporations of the USA."

Newsweek reports on Alan Greenspan's awkward acceptance of the "Enron Award for Distinguished Public Service," handed out just days after the company admitted filing misleading financial reports. Plus: "Enron spotlight falls on VP Cheney."

Read a profile of analyst John Olson, a longtime Enron skeptic and now a Houston celebrity. In June, Kenneth Lay sent this note to Olson's boss: "Don -- John Olson has been wrong about Enron for over 10 years and is still wrong. But he is consistant [sic]. Ken."

With Enron, short-sellers finally get their due.

How Indian novelist and activist Arundhati Roy also helped author Enron's downfall. Read an excerpt from Roy's book, "Power Politics."

Arianna Huffington contrasts the external leadership of elected officials with Martin Luther King's internal leadership. Read King's "I Have a Dream" speech.

Ya Gotta Dream The dean of the Columbia Graduate School of Journalism suggests banning companies whose primary business isn't gathering news from owning news organizations.

Doris Kearns Goodwin meets Stephen Ambrose.

Hartford Courant reporters break the story of lost anthrax spores at the Army's biowarfare research facility at Fort Detrick, Md.

Software Tsunami AOL Time Warner is in talks to acquire Red Hat Inc., the world's leading seller of the Linux operating system. The purchase would "position the media giant to challenge archrival Microsoft Corporation."

Talk magazine was never a magazine, writes the New York Post's Paul Tharp, "it was a swirl of celebrity, ego, corporate synergy and mediocre content."

A New York book editor says Talk's Tina Brown can "write her own check" when she pens her memoirs.

The party may be over for Talk, but at the Pentagon it's in full swing.

Somalis in Minnesota fear a backlash from the film "Black Hawk Down."

While a new CBS presidential poll finds that 82% of respondents approve of the job President Bush is doing, more than half responding to a CBS Enron poll say that members of his administration are hiding something or lying.

Frank Rich writes that "Though the Bush administration has been in office only a year, Enron's oily fingerprints are all over its actions as well as its résumés and stock portfolios. Then again, who in either party hasn't cashed an Enron check?"

Republicans are gearing up to make the war on terrorism the centerpiece of their strategy to win votes in November.

Turks accuse Saudis of "Taliban mentality" over destruction of an ancient Ottoman fortress in Mecca.

Within the next six months the FCC is due to make four major decisions that will greatly impact the U.S. media landscape, and the public interest is not high on the agenda.

Lay dumped stock within days after receiving accounting warning.

How the Bush administration is still supporting legislation that would benefit Enron.

How much do you know about President Bush's first year in office?

Wiliam Greider surveys crime in the suites and finds more Enrons waiting to happen. Plus: Paul Krugman on the story of a system that failed.

Andrew Sullivan and Virginia Postrel on Krugman's Enron connection.

Earlier this week, Sen. Carl Levin said that the U.S. may need to close its military base in Saudi Arabia because of restrictions placed on female military personnel. Now the Saudis say that the U.S. has "overstayed its welcome."

Saudi Crown Prince Abdullah blasts Al-Jazeera for "harming its members' royal families, threatening stability in the Arab world and encouraging terrorism."

The U.S. government seeks to have it both ways in bin Laden pursuit rhetoric.

A former International Red Cross delegate explains why the organization's findings at Camp X-Ray will be strictly confidential.

Presence of U.S. "trainers" on Philippine' soil sparks criticism.

Online Journalism Review's Tim Cavanaugh takes aim at the blogs of war.

El Diablo Chris Mooney on the many and varied strategies for demonizing Tom Daschle.

George Clinton Arianna Huffington writes that President Bush "was particularly Clintonesque after a reporter asked when he had last spoken to Kenneth Lay. Choosing his words carefully, Bush responded that he last 'saw' Lay in the spring in Houston, at a fundraiser for literacy sponsored by his mother. Was this also the last time they spoke?"

Hard Times The Internet VP for General Media, parent company of Penthouse magazine, on being appoached last year by Enron executives who hoped to strike a partnership: "If someone goes to porn they're desperate."

Flippin' Media! In the war on terrorism, the media and the military have flipped roles, says a Stratfor analysis. "The media have become cheerleaders, creating expectations of replicable victories, while the military has been objective and restrained, saying the war will be long and hard."

In "Where's Ernie Pyle?" John Bloom writes: "Call me old-fashioned, but I'm the type who believes the press, righteous war or not, ought to always be second-guessing the government."

The Guardian's Hugo Young writes that an issue such as the treatment of prisoners at camp X-Ray is something "the big U.S. papers would normally be full of. Instead, it succumbs to the fog of loyalty that has choked the oxygen out of controversy in the citadels of the U.S. media ever since September 11."

Lack of debate leads to everyday mundane warmongering.

The New York Times reports that Pashtun tribal leaders in heavily-bombed Eastern Afghanistan are just saying no to aiding the U.S. in the hunt for Taliban and al-Qaeda troops.

When the body count doesn't count.

Post 9/11 facts at odds with the myths.

No hablo Espanol aqui.

The Hindustan Times reports that files on Pakistani militants went up in smoke when a building housing the Pakistani Interior Ministry burned.

Bin Laden's Kashmir connection: the cartoon version.

War of Opportunity CBS is airing a terrorist training video obtained from a William Morris agent representing a U.S. Special Forces veteran who claimed to own it. The veteran is now serving as a consultant to the Northern Alliance.

Opportunity of Politics Enron and its affiliates reported spending about $1 million in the first half of 2001 on a "star - studded lobbying team" that included a former Clinton White House counsel, a former Gore adviser and Sen. Joseph Lieberman's former top aide.

Legislators are as anxious to get rid of Enron money as they were to get it!

With nearly 900 subsidiaries in tax havens, Enron avoided paying income taxes for four out of the last five years. Scroll the entire list of subsidiaries. (long load time, but worth the wait)

Trillion Dollar Hideaway Ken Silverstein reports from the tax-free tropics, where big American banks are doing land office business on the islands.

In a speech at the National Press Club, Sen. Ted Kennedy calls for postponing $350 billion in scheduled tax cuts for Americans making more than $130,000 a year.

How to know when Enron has become another "Incomprehensible Washington Scandal." Plus: Who's doing Enron's bidding now?

Read the text of the August 24 letter from an Enron employee to Ken Lay, warning that all hell could break loose: "I am incredibly nervous that we will implode in a wave of accounting scandals."

CNN's Lou Dobbs delivers an on-air lecture to reporter Tim O'Brien about being "balanced," after O'Brien pointed out that the business community, energy industry and Enron tend to favor Republicans with their political contributions.

The Center for Responsive Politics reports that since 1990, 74% of Enron's $5.9 million in contributions has gone to Republicans. The energy and natural resources sector has given 69% of its $237.9 million to Republicans.

"Democrats also took serious amounts from Enron," writes the Guardian's Julian Borger, "but they are also beholden to other interest groups, like unions and minorities, tempering corporate control. In the president's case, corporate influence appears almost unmitigated."

In a commentary published in the Times of India, Bill Clinton offers a plan of attack for his successor.

Doctor says President Bush fell, but not off the wagon.

As Russia claims that the U.S. is meddling in its internal affairs, both come under fire from Human Rights Watch. HRW's Opportunism Watch keeps tabs on countries that are using the war on terrorism to crack down on religious or political groups.

How the war on terrorism has put Central Asia within reach for the U.S.

Debka is at its speculative best with two January 12 posts: one contending that bin Laden and thousands of al-Qaeda forces crossed into Iran and were smuggled out by sea, and another outlining al-Qaeda assassination plots aimed at destabilizing Middle East and West European countries.

Osama: brand on the run.

Sen. Carl Levin says that the U.S. may need to act on one of bin Laden's demands, suggesting that the restrictions placed on U.S. female military personnel in Saudi Arabia argue for relocating military operations to another country.

Bad Light Israeli sources acknowledge that last week's demolition of Palestinian homes "photographed poorly" and created problems for Israel in the international arena.

Zap This! As TV commercials become less effective, advertisers are creating their own shows.

A CIA intelligence analysis concludes that bin Laden has escaped from Afghanistan, most likely leaving the region by sea after fleeing the Tora Bora cave complex in early December. If true, reporter Philip Smucker may have had the story first.

The CIA calls ABC's report incorrect: "we have reached no such conclusion."

As the U.S. continues to seek an al-Qaeda link to Iraq, Sen. Joseph Lieberman hawks it up, saying that the U.S. should be prepared to go it alone. Plus: Is Saddam's biggest sin defying the President's daddy?

"The administration fears, and the press suspects, that the latest revelations in the Enron affair will raise the lid on crony capitalism, American style," writes Paul Krugman. "Sad to say, none of this is clearly illegal -- it just stinks to high heaven."

Howard Kurtz finds the media split -- mostly along party lines -- on the political significance of the Enron story.

A just-released report from the Center for Public Integrity finds that the average net worth of 15 of the top Bush cabinet officials was more than ten times that of the cabinet officials who were their immediate predecessors.

Arthur Andersen's plan to spin its way off of the front page.

Killer Act Richard Roeper on his early pick for 2002's entertainer of the year.

China's icy tribute to America memorializes the 9/11 attacks.

Pete Hamill on "Mr. Enron & His Buddy Mr. President."

It takes an angry liberal to ask: "What Was Bush Drinking With Those Pretzels?"

The Independent reports that the U.S. government is "jittery" over an upcoming meeting in Afghanistan between Americans who lost family members in the 9/11 terrorist attacks and Afghans who lost family in the U.S. bombing attacks.

Medea Benjamin, director of the human rights organization sponsoring the trip, has called for a compensation fund for Afghan victims of the U.S. bombing: "Shouldn't our hearts and helping hands go out to those people who were every bit as innocent as the victims of the September 11 attack?"

Following her return from Afghanistan in November, Benjamin noted that American journalists were frustrated by the lack of support for substantive stories that might call into question some aspect of U.S. policy.

A Guardian reporter travels to Zhawar -- site of al-Qaeda camps that the U.S. has been bombing for almost two weeks -- and interviews residents of nearby hamlets. Said one: "The village is completely flattened. My house was destroyed, and my neighbours were killed. There were so many bombs I lost count."

Read a Q & A with Larry Flynt about his lawsuit seeking to allow reporters expanded access to U.S. forces in Afghanistan.

Liberation Blues A Wall Street Journal reporter who accompanies U.S. forces as they sift through the rubble of Mullah Omar's Kandahar "estate," writes that "at the moment of their liberation, Afghans have never seemed so defeated."

As U.S. and European authorities warn of a continued al-Qaeda threat, the Telegraph reports that Pentagon officials are being advised to draw up budgets on the assumption that the war on terrorism will last until 2008, and perhaps longer.

Coincidentally, a Russian military astrologer claims that if the U.S. doesn't get bin Laden in February, March or May of this year, "it will be possible to kill him only in 2006-2008."

The Times of London on how U.S. military officials have quietly changed their war aim to help mask the failure to capture bin Laden and his senior lieutenants.

Time reports that four days before Enron's first public disclosure of its financial woes, an Arthur Andersen attorney e-mailed auditors, directing them to destroy all audit material relating to Enron except for the most basic "work papers." Plus: Arthur Andersen's checkered recent past.

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman write that "much of the history of corporate crime and violence in this country has never seen the light of day because of corporate executives who follow closely the advise of corporate counsel -- when in doubt, shred it."

A New York Times graphic charts the increasing incidence of Enron's contacts with officials in Washington as its stock price went into free fall, while a Times analysis of the bubble finds not much of a company, but executives who "made sure that it was one hell of a stock."

Pat Buchanan and Ralph Nader find common ground, bashing Enron and the two-party political system on "Meet the Press."

In a pre-election investigation titled "George W. Bush Gets Layed," CorpWatch examined the symbiotic relationship between Bush and his largest financial benefactor. And in a post-election report for the BBC, Greg Palast followed the Bush money trail on a toxic tour of Texas.

A widely-circulated AP photo of George H.W. Bush speaking with Enron's Kenneth Lay, has George W. in the foreground walking away from the two. But Yahoo has cropped the photo, with no mention that both Bushes were there.

Alexander Cockburn and Jeffrey St Clair separate the wheat from the chaff regarding conspiracy theories surrounding 9/11.

The International Red Cross charges that the U.S. treatment of captured al-Qaeda and Taliban forces -- who are being denied POW status -- is in violation of the Geneva Convention. More on the U.S.' refusal to use the "P" word.

Fore Score Australian TV broadcasts footage from a six-hour al-Qaeda video that shows training exercises for what appears to be a plan to assassinate world leaders at a golf tournament. Plus: Mullah Omar's driver.

No-Look Pass The Sydney Morning Herald's Gay Alcorn on the civilian casualty toll in Afghanistan: "The Pentagon doesn't keep count, and the media keep silent."

How conservatives have effectively sold the idea of "liberal bias" in the media, while working below the radar to fund right-wing content.

Northern Alliance militia go on a crime spree as the Kalashnikov rules Kabul.

And the gay capital of south Asia is?

Musharraf attempts national image makeover in propaganda war with India.

As President Bush tries to distance himself from Enron, Texans for Public Justice crunches the numbers to dispute his claim that Kenneth Lay supported Ann Richards during Texas' 1994 gubernatorial race.

Did President Bush have relations with that man, before 1995?

Washington is electrified as "the perfect storm" breaks around President Bush.

Partnerships named after Star Wars characters allowed Enron to cook the books.

Many news reports about the Enron debacle refer to its accounting firm as Arthur Andersen, but that's no longer its name. How Andersen lost its Arthur.

Although nuclear energy companies contributed thousands of dollars to Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham's 2000 Senate bid, they may end up cashing in because he lost.

Got Energy? A striking picture of the day shows where the Earth's lights are on at night.

The honeymoon may soon be over between President Bush and his new buddy.

And what's in the stars for the President? "The Enron debacle won't be President Bush's Whitewater," writes MarketWatch's David Callaway. "It will be much worse."

For Nevadans, nothing could be worse than implementation of the Energy Department's plan to bury tons of nuclear waste at Yucca Mountain.

A tale of two cities: with the haves and have nots in Buenos Aires.

An estimated 5,000-plus Taliban -- still sporting black turbans and long beards -- freely walk the streets of Kandahar. Said one: "Many of the soldiers are here and all have their weapons. Many of us hope that one day we will resume our duty of jihad."

As former Taliban jockey for positions in the new Afghan government, saying they were never "real Taliban," a former Taliban supporter is named U.S. envoy to Kabul.

U.S. intelligence sources say that "hardline anti-American elements" in the security services of Iran and Pakistan are helping al-Qaeda fighters escape from Afghanistan.

An ABC correspondent describes narrowly escaping death in Afghanistan.

Leaner & Meaner Former CIA operative Reuel Gerecht writes that the war in Afghanistan could make al-Qaeda a more focused, careful, and lethal organization. Reuel redux.

The man who investigators now believe has been picked by bin Laden to carry out future attacks on the West, doesn't even appear on the FBI's Most Wanted list.

Employees of Eagle Picher Technologies tell CBS that the company knowingly shipped defective batteries for use in cruise missiles and "smart bombs."

Law enforcement agents characterize the informant who revealed the plot to blow up Jeb Bush with a truck bomb as "51% pathological liar, 49% truthful."

Confessions of a 10 Percenter With President Bush garnering 90% approval ratings, a critic finds that it's a lonely world.

Lawyers for UPS are trying to halt the sale of "Billy," a "well-endowed" gay doll dressed to look like one of the company's delivery drivers.

Bush administration "dumbfounded" by Afghan side-switching that allowed Taliban leaders to walk.

Peter Maass, who profiled Kandahar Governor Gul Agha for the New York Times Magazine, estimated during a CNN interview that 90% of the power in Afghanistan is in the hands of the warlords. (2nd-half of show)

Stratfor reports that inexperienced agents are being fed bad intelligence by wily warlords, causing a CIA/Pentagon rift: "The CIA has dozens of 30-something, earnest field agents running around Afghanistan, keeping one hand on a satellite phone and the other on a case full of hundred dollar bills."

Read a New Yorker excerpt from Ahmed Rahsid's new book, "Jihad: The Rise of Militant Islam in Central Asia."

As Feds launch Enron probe, who's the asshole now?

A Shred of Evidence Enron's auditor, Arthur Andersen, discloses that a "significant but undetermined'' number of documents related to the company were destroyed.

The White House moves to contain political damage after revealing that Chairman Lay phoned cabinet members to warn that Enron was heading South. Plus: Revisiting the glory days of the "World's Leading Company" and everything you need to know in five easy panels.

A judge declines to freeze the profits of 29 Enron execs and directors who are being sued for dumping $1.1 billion worth of stock while knowing the company was in danger of collapse -- an average of $37 million.

A just-released report from the Center for Public Integrity finds that 24 of the 29 Enron executives made political contributions totalling nearly $800,000 from 1999 to 2001.

See the long list of Bush administration officials who held Enron stock.

Bob Herbert calls Enron a case study in what happens when "unrestrained corporate greed is joined at the hip with the legalized bribery and influence-peddling that passes for government these days."

The Los Angeles Times reports on how United Defense Industries-- whose major investor is the politically well-connected Carlyle Group -- rode 9/11 to the bank.

As the Washington Post fronts an article on the U.S. airstrikes that killed dozens of civilians at Qalaye Niaze, FAIR shows how the New York Times buried the story.

The President's New Hampshire speech on education reform was interrupted when a student in the "hand-picked audience" shouted: "What about the dead Afghani children, President Bush?"

Bill Moyers is launching a weekly, prime-time news show on PBS.

The media's patriotism is providing a shield for President Bush's policies, writes Joan Konner: "A curtain of prescribed patriotism has dropped over our TV news screens, obscuring all but the most ratings-driven stories."

United We Brand Patriotic ads wear out their welcome.

In "Bin Laden: The Forbidden Truth," two French authors say that the U.S. considered waging war against the Taliban last summer -- over oil, not Osama. The Taliban was given a choice: "carpet of gold or a carpet of bombs."

Read the transcript of a CNN interview with the authors, follow-up analysis and more on their charges.

As Omar and Osama remain on the lam, the hunt intensifies for Abu Zubeida, who authorities believe has been entrusted with keeping al-Qaeda's global network of cells alive and operational.

The Orlando Sentinel interviews a Florida inmate who says he learned of the 9/11 plot while serving time with bin Laden associates in a British prison, and then informed the FBI in August that terrorist attacks on New York City would occur "very soon."

Westerners have to get used to living in two kinds of societies at once -- great wealth and great risk -- writes John Lloyd: "Most of that risk lies in those weapons we have created to defend ourselves -- nuclear, chemical and biological."

Monty Python's Terry Jones on why putting bags over suspect's heads is good for business -- and breakfast.

Read transcripts of interviews with Donald Rumsfeld (C-SPAN) and Gen. Tommy Franks (PBS NewsHour). Rumsfeld responds to professor Marc Herold's civilian casualty study and Franks says the Pentagon may never provide its own count.

Apparently, dead enemy soldiers are easier to count than dead civilians.

Hang Time Alexander Cockburn on Afghanistan's kinder, gentler leadership.

More ammunition for the bomb Saddam lobby?

The FCC backs down from a First Amendment fight over Eminem lyrics, and Muhammad Ali gets real.

Although the "Arab street" may not appear to be bustling, Robert Wright argues that it shouldn't be counted out.

When the stars are bigger than the news.

Another reporter joins the parade to Houston's Art Car Museum, to find out what kind of "anti-American activity" FBI and Secret Service agents were looking for when they interrogated museum officials.

Asia Times reports that after March, a renewed anti-U.S. struggle is likely to begin in Afghanistan, led by various Afghan factions inside and outside of the country but not al-Qaeda or the Taliban.

Proxy Blues Richard Cohen charges that the U.S. is fighting the war in Afghanistan "on the cheap."

Been There, Spun That As yet another reporter inspects the carnage at Qalaye Niazi, the Pentagon continues to deny that anything went wrong.

Ashcroft Made Me Do It Christopher Hitchens renounces his plan to become a U.S. citizen. Plus: How the Attorney General quietly made one of America's most precious freedoms all but disappear on October 12.

With the U.S. government calling on law enforcement personnel to remain vigilant against domestic terrorism until March 11, here are 10 things to do during the high alert.

TNT on CNN A 15 second promo that refers to CNN's Paula Zahn as "sexy," accompanied by the sound effect of a zipper, has been yanked off the air by execs who claim to have never seen it.

False Advertising? Not according to the 600-plus members of Zahn's Yahoo fan club -- "Dedicated to the Sexiest Woman in News TV." Poll: Is Larry King sexy?

At FOX News channel, officials were "clearly gleeful," with one calling the promo a sign of desperation. More on the bad corporate blood between FOX and CNN.

When In Riyadh America's most senior female officer and top woman pilot is suing the Pentagon over its regulation that women serving in Saudi Arabia must wear a burqa-like robe, and be escorted and chauffered by men when they leave the U.S. base there.

Read excerpts of recent Saudi government press attacks on the U.S.

A war between India and Pakistan -- the world's second and sixth most populous countries -- could be the biggest since WWII. Plus: How offensive was President Bush's "Paki" remark?

Doubleya E.J. Dionne writes that President Bush is trying to have it both ways on the economy.

Will Enron be President Bush's first big scandal, or will the "liberal" press continue to snooze?

Michael Wolff on the nearly 1,000 pieces of organized hate mail he received after writing an article asking why President Bush was above criticism. Read "Saint George" and the response it generated after being posted at FreeRepublic.com.

Slate's Jacob Weisberg writes that Bush's shallowness makes him a good war president.

HarperCollins does an about-face, agreeing to publish Michael Moore's "Stupid White Men" as is. It had wanted Moore to rewrite up to 50% of the book -- due in stores last October -- because it was critical of the President and his administration.

Novel Trend As men give up on fiction, book publishers give up on men.

The Washington Post and the Telegraph on criticism of the Pentagon's "flawed strategy" in Afghanistan -- relying on a proxy army that has allowed most of the top fugitive leaders to escape. Plus: Mullah Omar plays Steve McQueen.

As the U.S. extends its proxy war policy to other countries, Debka estimates how many al-Qaeda forces went where after fleeing Afghanistan.

Bloody Wrong After a U.S. commander assures that "Follow-on reporting indicates that there was no collateral damage" at Qalaye Niazi, a Guardian reporter finds the "bloody evidence of a U.S. blunder."

Smart Birds Migration is down as warplanes dominate Afghan skies.

For sellers of Afghan rugs, war is good for business.

The U.S. government is under fire over a doctored image of bin Laden and an ad that contains inaccurate information about Mohammed Atta.

Intelligence officials wait for the other shoe to drop, fearing that Richard Reid may have been a "foot soldier" who was sent to check the destructive power of shoe bombs against civilian targets.

Married to A Mob Newsweek interviews the wife of an al-Qaeda operative who was convicted of conspiracy in the bombings of the U.S. embassies in Africa.

Harper's publisher John MacArthur writes that "A serious and just policy against terrorism would begin with the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Saudi Arabia and end with enough energy conservation to free us from our addiction to oil-based realpolitik."

In a "Reliable Sources" segment on Pentagon obfuscation, Howard Kurtz accuses a CNN correspondent of "drinking the Pentagon kool-aid."

CNN continues its Foxification, this time by renaming "Mornings with Paula Zahn" to "American Morning with Paula Zahn."

TV insider News Blues names its best and worst TV writers and critics.

The More Things Change "It's inhuman, as well as impossible, to function on constant alert," writes Frank Rich. "But must a return to normal mean a return to the same complacency and civic fatuity of Sept. 10?"

A recent book by Stephen Ambrose, about B-24 crews in World War II, contains long passages that are nearly identical to those in a 1995 book by a university history professor.

The Afghan government's unwillingness to demand a halt to U.S. bombing has a Paktian tribal leader promising revenge: "These planes will not be here forever. We will have a reckoning with these people in Kabul when the time is right.''

A Defense Department spokesman refuses to respond to charges that it has downplayed civilian deaths in order to maintain popular support for the war effort.

Larry Flynt goes to court to force the Defense Department to allow reporters to accompany troops to the front lines.

Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman get the goods on "The Ten Worst Corporations of 2001."

Don't miss "Ari and I," where Mokhiber shows up at White House press briefings and makes Ari Fleischer squirm by asking him substantive questions.

America the Intolerant "The U.S. political system protects freedom of speech from formal suppression better than any other nation on earth," writes Michael Kinsley. "But American culture is less tolerant of aberrant views and behavior than many others, and that tolerance has eroded further since Sept. 11."

How nonviolence became a "hot potato" subject and jokes that didn't make the cut.

A new study finds that anger, fear or disgust are the driving forces behind willingness to believe -- and forward -- e-mail myths, making 9/11 the stuff of (Internet) legends.

Paul Krugman crunches the income numbers and finds "America the Polarized."

Dogging Bill Freepers use the death of "Buddy" as an occasion for more Clinton-bashing.

The U.S. drops up to 200,000 lbs. of bombs on an al-Qaeda complex near Khost. Intelligence sources say that bin Laden may have been there.

He was looking haggard, but now the Pentagon has given bin Laden a shave and a haircut, hoping to convince Afghans that he sold them out.

Citing an unconfirmed report, the UN says that unarmed women and children were chased and killed by U.S. helicopters during an attack on Niazi Qala village that left 25 children dead.

Calling for an inquiry into the attack, a British politician says: "The U.S. always pride themselves on seeking to defend their own military. I think their allies should demand they have the same stringent tests to protect civilians."

Defense Secretary Rumsfeld tells the Washington Post: "I can't imagine there's been a conflict in history where there has been less collateral damage, less unintended consequences." But a Times of London report suggests that he should imagine Yugoslavia.

Wanted. Dead or Alive? Six weeks ago it was widely reported that Mohammed Atef, al-Qaeda's military chief, was killed by U.S. bombs, but he's still on the FBI's most wanted list.

The Afghan warlords who fought for the U.S. at Tora Bora are proving to be more successful at seizing food shipments than they were at capturing al-Qaeda troops.

Turn, Turn, Turn David Vest on how "everything became a kind of everything else in 2001."

The Guardian and Telegraph dispatch reporters to the "slaughterhouse," a refugee camp in western Afghanistan that few journalists have visited and where an estimated 100 people are dying each day from exposure and starvation.

The fall of the Taliban has brought a smuggling boom to Afghanistan.

Salon's David Talbot chronicles his journey from dove to hawk.

Why India means business in its standoff with Pakistan.

The San Francisco Weekly's Matt Smith argues that journalists are playing into the hands of President Bush when they "unthinkingly insist" that everything is different since 9/11.

Robert Scheer continues to connect the dots between Enron and the Bush administration. Read his earlier Enron columns and more on Bush's Enron ties.

Panamanians, Hondurans and Ecuadoreans burn bin Laden effigies to usher in the new year. In Brazil, he's a popular pitchman.

A retired American rear admiral predicts that bin Laden will become "the Elvis Presley of the East."

What might the U.S. gain from not capturing or killing the "bearded phantom?"

The Nation's BIG MEDIA issue includes a manifesto for taking on the conglomerates, the effects of cartel culture, media commentary from Al Franken, Ani DeFranco and others, and an instructive graphic on the holdings of the Big Ten.

Eric Boehlert on Time's "Person of the Year" pick: "synergy trumps integrity."

The dangers of presenting the war on terrorism as "light entertainment."

Read a profile of the Afghan warlord who's accused of providing the U.S. with phony intelligence that resulted in the bombing of his political rivals and innocent civilians.

The Irish Times' Vincent Browne looks at how civilian causalties are given short shrift, even when they are mentioned in the mainstream media.

A British Web site featuring census data from 1901 logs more hits than Cursor!

Thomas Friedman's New Year's wish: "I wish Al Gore were president." Plus, a wish for peace.

How the Arab world views Friedman.

A Washington Post examination of Monsanto's internal documents reveals decades of deceit over the dumping of PCBs in Anniston, AL. "Monsanto did a job on this city," said one resident. "They thought we were stupid and illiterate people, so nobody would notice what happens to us."

The Fuzziest Math Continuing its pattern of complete denial, the Pentagon said that no civilians were killed in a weekend bomb attack that reportedly left more than 100 dead.

Killing Off the Extras Azmi Bishara writes that many villages "provided the backdrop for America's real life blockbuster, the Afghan thriller that came complete with 'dead or alive' leaflets. And no one is counting the dead. In action movies you don't do that. You just keep your eyes on the lead actors."

The Afghan government hopes that the next wave of American visitors will be dropping bucks, not bombs.

Bombing to Prosperity At a penny a pound, the scrap metal itself would be a boon to Somalia's economy.

Before 9/11, the U.S. "was already close to a domination of international society that no previous empire ever possessed," writes William Pfaff. "It lacked the political will to impose itself. Sept. 11 supplied that will."

An intercepted phone call from Iran suggests that bin Laden is still alive, but less than inspiring: "you should keep [bin Laden] off of the television. He looks bad, he looks sick and it is demoralizing to his people." (2nd item)

February, 2002 Link Archive