July, 2002 link archive

The U.S. Justice Department is forging ahead with Operation TIPS, despite Congressional opposition.

We stand united, but we'll snoop divided. And, look out if the cable guy gets a lot friendlier.

An SEC rule requiring the heads of large companies to sign sworn statements by mid-August, declaring that financial reports are accurate and complete, has CEOs diving for legal cover.

James Surowiecki on how Lee Iacocca launched the myth of the CEO as superhero.

"I yell 'Yee-haw!' Because I'm getting excited again, see, more excited than I've been since Watergate."

The New York Times reports that Citigroup manipulated the written record of its dealings with Enron to allow the company to improperly avoid the requirements of accounting rules and the law, thus keeping $125 million in debt off its books.

The head of the subcommittee probing the dealings, Sen. Carl Levin, said that "The maze of financial transactions that Enron constructed to make its financial statements look good makes Rube Goldberg look like a slacker." Plus: Milking Martha.

The verbal clash between Senators Hillary Clinton and Russ Feingold over campaign finance reform legislation highlights the dramatic differences between the worlds in which they travel.

Student gadfly clashes with American University officials over taping of Tipper Gore speech. His Web site, named after the university's president, is big news on campus.

Network TV ads for "alcopops" give liquor companies a back-door way to advertise their brand names to young drinkers.

Drug giant blames renegade promoters after a 16-year-old Florida boy gets a month's supply of Prozac in the mail. The 2001 introduction of generic competition has depressed Prozac sales.

Newly appointed Archbishop of Canterbury comes out swinging, blasts "the Disney Empire" for its marketing to children.

Yucca Mountain decision extends Nevada's history as a dumping ground for the country's castoffs. Plus: Nevada voters split on pot legalization.

Where's Geraldo? PBS garners 41 Emmy Awards nominations for broadcast journalism and documentaries, 15 more than runner-up CBS. Fox News gets skunked.

U.S. and British governments reportedly renting the loyalty of key Afghan warlords.

Afghans marvel at how an al-Qaeda convoy of 1,000 cars and trucks gave U.S. forces the slip.

A New York Times on-site review of 11 locations finds that "The American air campaign in Afghanistan, based on a high-tech, out-of-harm's-way strategy, has produced a pattern of mistakes that have killed hundreds of Afghan civilians."

The Times finds evidence to substantiate Afghans' claim that at least 65 civilians died last November when a U.S. bomb aimed at a building that was thought to harbor Jalaluddin Haqqani, a senior Taliban military commander, hit a mosque.

In defending the U.S., a spokesman for Afghan President Karzai tells the BBC that fewer than 500 civilians were believed to have been killed in U.S. air strikes.

As Israel appears to be backing away from its plan to deport relatives of Palestinians accused of suicide bombings to the Gaza Strip, Prime Minister Sharon is quietly moving ahead with a stealth plan of settlement construction designed to make any two-state solution impossible.

What's one of the best-kept secrets in Israel?

Operation TIPS-TIPS seeks to rat out informants. Plus: A week in the life of an Operation TIPS volunteer and gunning for terrorists.

How ghost writers have free reign to invent details of the lives of celebrities who don't even read their "autobiographies." Plus: Ann Coulter keeps trying to get Phil Donahue to talk about her new book.

Green Party delegates debate spoiler role at national convention and Ralph Nader says corporate scandals are "a major opportunity for change."

In a Newsweeek cover story on the parallels between the presidencies of George W. Bush and his father, former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin says that the 10-year, $1.5 trillion tax cut is a much bigger threat to the economy than the corporate scandals. Rubin's proposals for restoring confidence in the system.

The New York Times editorializes that "it's hard to imagine an administration in a worse position to deal with the crisis of confidence in American business."

Todd Gitlin writes that the Bush administration represents "an economic clique whose interests are only superficially tied to the well-being of the country" and that the people in it "cannot be relied on to solve problems that their entire careers were devoted to creating."

Calling Bush's 18 months in office "among the most disastrous in U.S. history," The Consortium's Robert Parry proposes an Agnew-Nixon solution.

"Wagging the dog no longer cuts it," writes Frank Rich. "If the Bush administration wants to distract Americans from watching their 401(k)'s go down the toilet, it will have to unleash the whole kennel. When John Ashcroft, in full quiver, told Congress that the country was dotted with al-Qaeda sleeper cells 'waiting to strike again,' he commanded less media attention than Ted Williams's corpse."

Rich notes that the Center for Public Integrity has obtained a new batch of internal Harken documents, including minutes of board meetings. The Washington Post examined the documents and found that "Bush was deluged with confidential information about the financial plight of Harken before he sold the majority of his holdings."

Spooky! Fortune asks "What happened to Harken?" since George W. Bush left the company, and finds losses of hundreds of millions of dollars and a rumor that Harken was a CIA front.

An Observer investigation into VP Dick Cheney's tenure at Halliburton reveals that government banks loaned or insured loans worth $1.5 billion during the five years that he was chief executive, compared with only $100 million during the previous five years.

In an article on Cheney's potential liability to the GOP, the Washington Post reports that although Cheney's staff says that he has yet to be contacted by SEC investigators, he has hired a D.C. law firm -- the same one that represented the Clintons.

Spinsanity charges Robert Scheer with using cheap jargon and innuendo to broaden the standard attack against Cheney over corporate misconduct.

John Dean writes that presidential scandals "often happen when the public is suddenly not as tolerant as it once was of a president's behavior - his conduct, or even a mindset that existed before he assumed office and was fully known to voters at that time. History suggests either Bush or Cheney are a presidential scandal ready to happen."

In hard times, the American public's historic distrust of the rich takes center stage in political and cultural arenas.

Irrationally Exuberant? Critics are charging Federal Reserve Chairman Alan Greenspan with feeding the stock-market bubble.

Orville Schell examines the media's failure to notice that many of America's biggest corporations were financial houses of cards. Plus: Journalists debate coverage of the market meltdown and Bush and Cheney's business dealings.

Call Bush's Bluff? A former UN humanitarian aid coordinator for Iraq writes that if Saddam lets the arms inspectors back in, America's case for war will be exposed as fiction.

How Saddam might reply to President Bush's sabre-rattling.

Ha'aretz quotes French government sources who say that the U.S. will attack Iraq soon, possibly "in the middle of August, while Bush is seen vacationing at his Texas ranch." And a UPI commentary says "Bet on this year rather than next and sooner rather than later."

Jordanian prince being touted as the successor to Saddam.

Are Americans ready to get their war on over Iraq? Plus: The phony foreign policy debate.

"Let's get Saddam!" U.S. soldiers gung ho during visit by Commander in Chief.

In "The Anthrax Files," Nicholas Kristof drew a bead on a possible suspect. Now, Kristof describes how the U.S. Army misplaced anthrax and Ebola kept in a lab outside Washington D.C.

The Smoking Gun has Zacarias Moussaoui court documents and a partial hearing transcript. Complete transcript here.

U.S. Postal Service flips on TIPS. Plus: "Overheard on the line at the Jones household."

The New Republic's Michelle Cottle writes that while there's no hard evidence (yet) that Bush or Cheney broke the law, recent revelations about their private sector experience have put the lie to the notion that their experience in corporate America made them top-notch managers of the federal government.

Liberal billionaire and philanthropist George Soros, along with the Harvard Management Corporation and others, was once an owner of Harken Energy. Soros gives David Corn his mid-80s impression of Bush: "I didn't know him. He was supposed to bring in the Gulf connection. But it didn't come to anything. We were buying political influence. That was it. He was not much of a businessman."

Press should smoke out buyer of Bush's stock.

Senators barrage Army Secretary Thomas White with hostile questions. View a chart that shows the timing of White's sale of Enron stock, and how he was burning up the phone lines to Enron as the company was flaming out.

Q: Whose binge was this, anyway? A: Take your "we" and shove it.

The Guardian reports that Gerhard Schröder's chances of remaining Germany's chancellor were "dealt a savage blow" when ten weeks before the election, he was forced to fire his defense minister, who reportedly received $70,000 from a PR consultant with links to the arms industry. Earlier: Hair Schröder.

Israel rocked by "traitor settlers" arms scandal.

Sharon's West Bank clampdown assailed by critics from left and right. Plus: The risks of breaking curfew.

A migration of voracious Asian carp has been making its way up the Mississippi since entering the river from Arkansas fish farms during heavy floods in the early 90s. The carp are now just 25 miles from Chicago and a possible introduction into the Great Lakes, where biologists fear they could pose a major ecological threat.

U.S. newspapers shun responsibility for injuries suffered by young carriers.

An Iowa judge has ordered Planned Parenthood to turn over records of pregnancy tests it administered, to help investigators find the mother of a newborn whose body was dumped in the trash.

Anti-abortion cybersquatter sued by newspaper and junk food companies. Read the long list of URLs directed to abortionismurder.org.

The Boston Globe's Thomas Farragher reports the harrowing story of five former altar boys for a charismatic Kansas priest, all of whom committed suicide.

Michael Wolff ponders the possibility that "It really could come apart. And not just the economy. But the central organizing faith of our time -- that personal ambition, relentless salesmanship, financial savvy, and, well, greed were the most efficient and even liberal agents of societal advancement and harmony."

A new CBS/New York Times poll puts President Bush's overall approval at 70%, but finds that he - and to a greater extent his administration - is seen as more concerned about the interests of big business than those of the public at large.

Senior advisors have reportedly asked President Bush to stop repeating his fictitious "trifecta" story. Plus: Remembering the rebates.

Spread the Costs! In a Washington Post op-ed, Ralph Nader details how "Corporate socialism" -- the privatization of profit and the socialization of risks and misconduct -- transfers the costs of corporate misdeeds and recklessness onto the larger citizenry.

Spain offers to withdraw troops from "Parsley Island" if Morocco agrees not to reoccupy it.

Election officials say Mexican President Fox may have accepted illegal foreign contributions during his 2000 campaign.

The BBC is trying to avoid a legal bill of up to $15 million after admitting to libeling an African diamond firm that it said was a front for bin Laden's organization. The BBC made what was described as a "humiliating and unprecedented" apology last November.

Eric Boehlert sees Phil Donahue bringing "a little decency and tolerance into the rabidly right-wing jungle of cable TV," and notes that when Sen. Russell Feingold, who cast the only vote against the Patriot Act, appeared on "Donahue," it was the first time in the last six months that he was on a national broadcast to discuss the act or the people detained since 9/11.

CNN head talks of world-class journalism, but delivers "Connie Chung, too many Larry King interviews with shirtsleeve relatives of Elizabeth Smart and too much thinly veiled aping of Fox's self-aggrandizing punchiness." Plus: CNN's breakout comedy hit.

The Washington Post reports how AOL used "unconventional transactions" to hit its numbers. AOL responds.

Ted Turner finds another group to anger.

A Forward reporter describes the strained relationship between Jewish and Arab journalists and organizations working in Washington, which he attributes to the Arab and Muslim world's closed attitude toward the media.

As Operation TIPS hits a snag, the Boston Globe calls TIPS "a scheme that Joseph Stalin would have appreciated" and Sen. Patrick Leahy says "I think this turns us into a nation of paranoids." Plus: "It's like they aren't even trying to pretend anymore."

Attorney General Ashcroft busted by Daily News.

Ravers join with the ACLU to challenge a U.S. Senate bill that would expand the existing federal crack house law to cover promoters of raves and other events. See raver's petition here.

Paula Abdul is back, and she's what's wrong with America.

Jesse's Legacy? "With the end of Ventura's career as governor comes the end of some well-known merchandise."

Which authors are the most popular with shoplifters?

With al-Qaeda in hiding and scattered across the globe, the real action in radical Muslim politics is now in a jungle of Web sites, bulletin boards, e-mail lists and chatrooms on the Internet. Plus: Is eBay crawling with terrorists?

Dinesh D'Souza and Gore Vidal square off over why the U.S. is hated.

A House report concludes that pre-9/11, intelligence was lacking.

A co-author of the French bestseller, "Bin Laden: the Forbidden Truth," responds to David Corn's charge that he's a conspiracy theorist, which Corn made in The Nation. The book has just been published in the U.S. as "Forbidden Truth," by The Nation's book imprint.

The Pentagon is quick to rebut an officer who wouldn't say unequivocally that the AC-130 that attacked an Afghan wedding party had been fired upon.

Meet what must be some of the world's lowest paid workers.

The Pakistani army's support of Kashmiri militants at all costs could be placing it on a collision course with General Musharaff. Plus: Al-Qaeda's Kashmir distraction.

With weapons makers running at full tilt, it's "lock and load" for investors in defense.

Faith-Based Pierre Tristam writes that "At some point in the late 1980s the market stopped being a bet and became a religion."

The SEC lawyer who investigated President Bush for insider trading -- and currently represents former Enron CEO Jeffrey Skilling -- says that no pressure was put on him to drop the investigation even though Bush's father was president at the time. Plus: Did a Saudi buy Bush's stock?

The New Republic's Martin Peretz writes that as a member of Harken Energy's audit committee, Bush had an obligation to ensure that the company's books were honest. But when he "was supposed to be exercising fiduciary oversight, Harken was pioneering the very tricks that Enron and WorldCom have now made famous."

What really compromises the Bush administration's crusade against corporate malfeasance, according to The New Yorker's Hendrik Hertzberg, is that "the substance of its domestic policy has been to use the power of government to augment the wealth of the already wealthy, regardless of the country's circumstances."

A revealing look at The New Yorker's table of contents.

A new Washington Post/ABC poll finds President Bush's job approval rating at 72%. The latest Zogby poll puts it at 62% and an Ipsos-Reid/Cook Political Report poll finds that among registered voters, 45% would "definitely" vote to reelect Bush, the first time this year that the percentage has dipped below 50%.

Critics say that a bill introduced by House Republicans to shut down the Bermuda tax loophole, would also create two permanent tax breaks that combined are worth $60.8 billion, nearly 10 times the size of the loophole.

An analysis by Russell Mokhiber and Robert Weissman that compared the first Bush White House with Clinton's, found that under Clinton, prosecutions of white-collar crime dropped by one-quarter and convictions by one-third. Scroll down for "Attorneys Siphon Enron Spoils."

"How many of corporate America's new breed of robber barons will ever actually see the inside of a jail cell?" asks Arianna Huffington. "If the past is indeed prologue, the answer is very, very few."

Learn the secrets of cooking the books from the real pros.

Four Israeli soldiers arrested for allegedly selling ammunition to Palestinians.

As Israel's army signals that it plans to spend months -- perhaps as much as a year -- occupying Palestinian cities, residents adapt to curfew.

Interviews with Hamas activists betray the behind- the-scenes debate over suicide bombing.

"Donahue" debut draws 1.1 million viewers, more than double the number that MSNBC had averaged in his time spot. In conjunction with its programming overhaul, MSNBC has joined CNN in making complete transcripts available online. Fox News still only teases.

How news on the supposed all-news channels has been usurped by personality and blather.

Leaks Memo Leaked In a July 12 memo obtained by the Los Angeles Times, Defense Secretary Rumsfeld warned officials at the Pentagon that classified information obtained by the press is being used by al-Qaeda operatives to plan attacks on the U.S. He was reportedly infuriated by a recent New York Times report on the Pentagon's plans to invade Iraq.

The Observer examines the various motivations behind the Iraq leaks, including the possibility that they were intended to distract attention from corporate scandals.

The corporate reform legislation unanimously passed by the U.S. Senate does not require companies to expense stock options. That's being hailed as a legislative victory for Silicon Valley.

Why repairing the campaign rules is as urgent to the future of American capitalism as repairing the accounting rules.

A Miami Herald investigation found that more than 50 Bush administration appointees had served as troops in the Florida recount battle: "The distribution of plum jobs to those who worked in Florida after the 2000 election suggests that service became a kind of political merit badge that carried a special benefit."

The Economist revisits Al Gore's campaign and finds that his people-versus-the-powerful rhetoric is looking more far-sighted by the day. Is the renomination of Gore inevitable?

Why Sen. Joseph Lieberman's pro-business views may come back to haunt him. Plus: Lieberman's backers.

Ralph Nader does Cuba and explains the secret world of banking.

During the 2000 campaign, Dick Cheney hailed Halliburton as a "great success story." Now the Washington Post's Dana Milbank calls it "a troubled behemoth fighting for its life," which "raises doubts about Cheney's stewardship there and, by extension, his reputation as a smart executive bringing a businessman's acumen to the White House."

The Boston Globe examined the Cheney-engineered merger between Halliburton and Dresser Industries, which has exposed Halliburton to billions of dollars of potential asbestos liability. Dresser has long ties to the Bush family. George H. W. Bush worked there for 2 1/2 years and called Dresser's former president ''a mentor second only to my father."

Times Two: Paul Krugman and Nicholas Kristof look at George W. Bush's investment in the Texas Rangers.

The AP reports that two and a half months before Bush sold his stock in Harken Energy, he signed a letter promising to hold onto the shares for at least six months.

Harken Head Fake Last week President Bush told journalists that "You need to look back on the directors' minutes" of a Harken Energy board of directors meeting. Now the White House is using the same tactic that then-spokesman Karen Hughes used in 1994 during Bush's first gubernatorial run in Texas, saying that they have no way to make Harken release those records.

The above article doesn't say whether or not anyone in the press has tried to obtain the minutes directly from Harken, but if you'd like to phone CEO Mikel Faulkner and request their release, his office number is 817-424-2424. Let us know what he says.

Think Cold War Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz told troops in Afghanistan that the campaign against al-Qaeda and Taliban fighters is "going to be a long struggle. Maybe not as long as the Cold War, but it does not hurt to think (in terms) of the Cold War."

Robert Fisk on the unanswered questions surrounding the death of Daniel Pearl.

The editor of the London based al-Quds al-Arabi magazine says that bin Laden's associates told him that bin Laden is alive and well and that al Qaeda had regrouped and is determined to strike the U.S.

Yahoo!'s Chinese-language Web site has reportedly signed a pledge designed to purge the Web of content that China's communist government deems subversive. Plus: "Pompous little wanker" dares to criticize the "Blogosphere."

The New York Times reports on the strange odyssey of Miss China. She was declared second runner-up at the Miss Universe contest in May, but because Chinese officials don't approve of such beauty pageants, her "Miss China" title had been bestowed in an underground competition that was held despite official threats and bans.

"Donahue" debuts and Howard Beale lives.

Mr. Ashcroft's Neighborhood A U.S. government pilot program has a goal of recruiting one million American workers in ten cities to act as domestic informants. That's at least four percent of the population, a higher percentage of citizen spies than in the former East Germany. Volunteer here.

Bill Berkowitz wrote about the pilot program, Operation TIPS, in "Spying Eyes" and "Shrouded in Secrecy."

What does Operation Tips have to do with "The Jerry Springer Show?"

A San Jose Mercury News review of Ashcroft's record in politics finds "a long pattern of using extraordinary measures to shape public policy to his political agenda and religious beliefs."

Two days after the Washington Post editorialized against Congress becoming "distracted" by the Harken Energy issue -- arguing that the SEC investigated George W. Bush and found no evidence of insider trading -- the Post reports that 16 days before Bush sold his Harken stock, he got a notice that the company was going to report losing $9 million, four times as much as the company lost in the previous quarter.

The Los Angeles Times examines the reasons why the SEC closed the case on Bush's sale of Harken Energy stock.

Molly Ivins and Laura Ingraham mix it up over the media's coverage of Bush's Harken Energy dealings. (scroll down) Plus: Why did the mainstream media fail to report the Harken Energy story in the run up to the 2000 presidential election?

The Department of Corporateland Security is open for business.

Is Bush at risk of becoming a Cinderella president?

A study of firms in the Standard & Poor's 500 index found that corporate America appears to be overstating its earnings by at least 20 percent. Plus: America's CEOs play the Sgt. Schultz dumbo card.

Companies troll for government business at the Homeland Security Summit and Expo.

Are there really the same number of al-Qaeda terrorists and their supporters in the U.S. as in Afghanistan and Pakistan combined?

Brendan O'Neill writes that "The Bush administration's contradictory statements about the size and strength of al-Qaeda get more embarrassing by the day."

The U.S. has rejected a plan proposed by six Afghan governors designed to rein in America's marauding military.

Unhappy Campers Most leaders of the 16 million Pashtun tribesmen in Pakistan's frontier provinces defiantly oppose the hunt for al-Qaeda troops on their lands.

Israeli reservists are guarding West Bank settlements consisting of only two or three families. Plus: Young Israeli settlers claim hill.

As the U.S. rattles sabres in an attempt to provoke Saddam, anti-Saddam Kurds are linked to al-Qaeda.

Sam Slam Portland teens say military recruiters called them "fucking bums" and "worthless kids" for refusing to enlist.

Photographers are detained for shooting photos of an oil refinery and a nuclear plant, and a National Review contributor has "a harder time leaving the State Department than many Saudis have had entering the country."

Alabama's governor says President Bush should cease his political fundraising activities until he can claim victory in the war on terrorism.

Ann Coulter gets pranked by a blogger pretending to be hosting a radio show called "What's Your Beef?"

In the interview, Coulter accuses many in the Left of attacking the physical appearance of conservative women, and says that "there is no equivalent of that on the Right." She's wrong about that and many other "facts" that appear in her new book, "Slander."

Read how FoxNews.com reported as news a fantastical UPI commentary that claimed al-Qaeda operatives had infiltrated scandal-ridden companies in a conspiracy to undermine the U.S. economy. (Item # 4)

"Donahue" debuts on MSNBC. Is he cable-ready and will liberals vote with their remotes?

As an increasing number of newspaper Web sites require registration, the Los Angeles Times is considering a pay to play model.

White House reporters are said to be deeply frustrated with the lack of access that's the hallmark of the Bush administration.

In questioning the post-9/11 sense of irresistible U.S. global superiority, the Guardian's Martin Woollacott argues that nobody should want a weak America -- or a falsely inflated one. Plus: "America Aloof"

Mikhail Gorbachev not keen on U.S. and British plans to attack Iraq and topple Saddam Hussein.

Top Israeli officers warn of a "volcanic eruption" unless the government loosens its grip on the West Bank.

An Israeli warns: Arabs are stealing our land!

How Arthur Andersen found its way into the scandal at the Catholic Church.

Paul Krugman writes that "the current crisis in American capitalism isn't just about the specific details -- about tricky accounting, stock options, loans to executives, and so on. It's about the way the game has been rigged on behalf of insiders. And the Bush administration is full of such insiders."

Krugman suggests that pundits who dismiss questions about Bush's business career as unfair, because it was long ago, look into the more recent example of Bush's "extraordinarily lucrative investment in the Texas Rangers which became so profitable because of a highly incestuous web of public policy and private deals. As in the case of Harken, no hard work is necessary; Joe Conason laid it all out in Harper's more than two years ago."

Conason remains on story in his new daily blog on Salon. And, Salon's Anthony York reports that contrary to the president's statements that he did not know Harken Energy was in bad financial shape when he sold more than 200,000 shares of stock, company memos show he knew that the firm was headed for trouble.

In a Los Angeles Times account of Harken's sale of Aloha Petroleum, which was approved by board member Bush, one accounting expert says "The people at Enron could have gone to school on this thing. They sold to themselves and recorded a profit. That's exactly what Enron did on a number of those off-balance-sheet transactions. On this one transaction at least, it's almost identical."

The Center for Public Integrity has posted more Harken documents.

Norman Solomon writes that media responses to Bush's "sermon" on Wall Street made it clear that pro-corporate institutional reform is on the mainstream agenda.

Do Americans see a few bad apples among corporate execs or a bushel full?

Read how an Independence Day petitioner for campaign finance reform ended up being placed under citizen's arrest by a member of his local Chamber of Commerce.

Sen. John McCain said "the fix is in" after Senate Democrats blocked his proposal -- also opposed by high-tech firms -- that would have required companies to subtract the cost of stock option grants from their reported profits. Plus: Former WorldCom CFO fingers Ebbers.

William Saletan describes the radical difference -- both in substance and style -- between corporate corruption speeches delivered this week by President Bush and Sen. John McCain.

McCain's speech was delivered at the National Press Club, which has become a victim of a long-running cybersquatting campaign by abortionismurder.org.

A U.S. official points the finger at Germany, saying that pre-9/11, its police and intelligence agencies "were basically pretty much AWOL." Plus: How 9/11 turned a columnist into an opiner.

USA Today loses "control over publishing" after Web site is hacked.

The Independent's Mark Steel on Britain's decision to soften the enforcement of marijuana laws, and what kind of advice might make people actually listen to a drug czar: "I wouldn't touch that skunk knocking around south London at the moment. Wait till the weekend and there'll be some cracking grass round at Dave's house."

Find out why LA's rats are going upscale.

Bush administration officials tell UPI of plans for a "massive, full-scale military conquest of Iraq," involving 200,000-plus U.S. troops.

The Times of London offers an extensive package of articles on Iraq, including a typically excellent graphic.

By creating bases of operations in at least seven Middle Eastern countries: Jordan, Turkey, Kuwait, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, and Oman, the Bush administration may have completed its "arc of American firepower" around Iraq.

Michael Kinsley asks: "Who wants this war? And why don't we find out before we start one?"

Find out more tonight when PBS airs "Saddam's Ultimate Solution."

Earlier this year government officials put al-Qaeda numbers in the U.S. at more than 100 active members with hundreds of sympathizers. Now, the Washington Times reports the incredible claim of an unnamed U.S. intelligence official that there are up to 5,000 people in the U.S. connected to al-Qaeda.

The Spook Awards William Safire names the world's best espionage agency.

Reasons why the U.S. may be wearing out its welcome in Afghanistan go beyond bombing civilians.

U.S. evangelical Christians are bankrolling the emigration of American Jews to Israel, increasing financial support to settlements and financing ads on Israeli television stressing their "unwavering friendship" with Israel. Plus: Fisk on Jewish and Christian fundamentalism in the U.S. and a new report finds Israelis hacking up a storm.

Award-winning investigative journalist Robert I. Friedman, who died July 2, outraged many hard-line supporters of Israel with "The False Prophet," his biography of Jewish Defense League founder Meir Kahane and "Zealots for Zion: Inside Israel's West Bank Settlement Movement."

Friedman was interviewed for NPR's "Fresh Air" after "Zealots for Zion" was published, but the segment never aired. Some of Friedman's views were deemed "too extreme," but the show was unable to find a West Bank settler whose views were "moderate" enough to counter him.

Read an excerpt from "Red Mafiya," Friedman's investigation of Russian organized crime in the U.S.

The Guardian interviews Barry Minkow, the once celebrated teenage CEO, who spent more than seven years behind bars for defrauding investors in his ZZZZ Best carpet cleaning company. Minkow describes duping accountants who toured a restoration project that was "just like Enron's fake trading floor."

Minkow says efforts to rein in business corruption won't have any meaningful effect unless crooked execs face tough prison sentences. See him in action, delivering a sermon in his orange prison jumpsuit.

A 1996 Arthur Andersen promotional video has surfaced that features then Halliburton CEO Dick Cheney singing the company's praises: "I get good advice, if you will, from their people, based upon how we are doing business and how we are operating, over and above the normal, by-the-books auditing arrangement."

The Washington Post reports that President Bush received two low-interest loans from Harken Energy when he was on its board, engaging in a practice he condemned this week.

A New York Times article on the loans details the mysterious nature of Bush's sale of 212,000 shares of Harken Energy stock. He was approached by a broker representing an unnamed institutional investor who offered to buy Bush's shares.

According to this excerpt from "The Buying of the President 2000," evidence suggests that the unnamed institutional investor was the company that manages Harvard University's multi-billion dollar endowment, and which had invested at least $20 million in Harken one month after George W. Bush came on board.

The Times has a handy chart detailing Bush's Harken stock dealings from 1986 to 1991.

"It isn't often that a major issue in U.S. politics -- perhaps even a potential watershed issue -- comes with such a juicy related scandal," writes Kevin Phillips. "Not long ago, this vulnerability of Texas royalty and Texas philosophy would have been hard to imagine. Now, market extremism is in the dock of public opinion."

"The enemies of reform will be spending millions of dollars -- and every waking hour -- making sure there are enough loopholes in the small print to keep the pigs gorging at the trough," warns Arianna Huffington. "The only thing that will make it possible for the handful of real reformers to keep the corporate swine at bay is public outrage."

Shill for the Pill Salon reports on how pharmaceutical companies, under the guise of "public service," are quietly paying celebrities to appear on TV talk shows and promote their drugs.

In the U.S., pharmaceutical companies spend $8,000 to $13,000 per physician per year on marketing. A psychiatrist's conference attendee discovers the going rate on shrinks.

An advocacy group offers a plan to help Nevadans cope following the Yucca Mountain decision.

Nevada pins its hopes on the courts after the U.S. Senate approves a nuclear waste dump for Yucca Mountain.

Las Vegas Review-Journal columnist John Smith writes that the vote "proved once again what some Nevadans have known for generations: We are not like other states. We are not one among 50 equals. We are other. We are the Outlaw State, the Pariah State."

More of the Review-Journal's extensive coverage here. Plus: If you hear the whistle blowin', pray them boxcars ain't a-glowin'.

Spiking radioactive shells with plutonium is what makes U.S. bombs glow.

Salon's Michele Goldberg on visitors to ground zero: "So they go to the rubble-strewn graveyard; they snap photos and buy trinkets. It's become just another place where something famous happened, and where a few dollars will get you your very own piece of the fading drama."

CNN reports that bin Laden was eyeing a move to Indonesia's Aceh province in 2000. Exxon Mobil is being sued for alleged human rights abuses committed there during the 1990s.

Al-Qaeda spokesmen continue to talk the talk and U.S. officials bemoan Islamic militants' mastery of the Web.

The group and the ad agency behind a TV spot bashing the Bush administration over corporate responsibility, have significant links to the Clinton administration, including former press secretary Joe Lockhart and James Carville.

In response to President Bush's corporate accountability speech, Robert Kuttner writes that "There is no way that Bush can do a Nixon-to-China on this issue and get back ahead of the curve because Bush's closest cronies epitomize precisely the kind of capitalism that is imploding."

William Saletan doesn't see any way to square the rules Bush applied to himself on Monday with the rules he applied to others on Tuesday. Plus: Bush's dance.

Judicial Watch announces that it will file a shareholder lawsuit alleging that VP Cheney and Halliburton engaged in accounting fraud.

The SEC fails to tackle the Bermuda loophole and analysts speculate on how low the stock market will go.

The New York Times editorializes that if Bush "expects to restore confidence in corporate America, he needs to get his own house in order first."

Robert Scheer writes that "George W. was saved from repeated financial disaster by one merger after another, business maneuvers that made no economic sense to the new partner beyond the acquisition of the presumed clout of the son of a CIA chief turned vice president turned president."

James Ridgeway traces the blue-blood network that put Bush in business and the family's history of business scandal. Ridgeway utilizes the Center for Public Integrity's reporting from "The Buying of the President 2000." CPI has also posted SEC documents from its investigation of Bush's tenure at Harken Energy.

Writing in October 2000 about the collaboration between the CPI and Talk magazine, Eric Alterman asked: "Why the media silence on Bush's shaky business ethics?"

Maureen Dowd asks: "How can Mr. Bush crack the whip on Big Business when he's a wholly owned subsidiary of it?"

MSNBC's editor in chief criticizes Howard Kurtz for conflict-of- interest over CNN gig.

Christian malls are restoring the faith in shopping.

With TV viewers ignoring ads, sponsors are increasingly integrating their spiels into the shows themselves.

Restatement of earnings has become the "Ebola virus of corporate America," writes Arianna Huffington, with close to 1,000 U.S. corporations becoming infected since 1997.

As President Bush fields a barrage of questions about his Texas oil dealings, a new television ad questions his administration's commitment to corporate responsibility. Read the transcript of Bush's press conference and the text of the ad.

David Corn on George and Martha, "a symbolic first couple of insider capitalism." Plus: "CEOnistas" make a run for the border.

Who's Easy Now? William Saletan argues that the shift from debating terrorism to debating corporate treachery is more than a change in the issue of the week. It's an opportunity for Democrats, who since the 1960s have been viewed as the party of permissiveness, to foist that label on Republicans.

Robert Borosage blames corporate scandals on "laissez-faire, anti-government zealots" who weakened the cop on the beat "by trashing government, cutting regulatory budgets and authority, and blocking needed reforms."

The Rev. Jesse Jackson tells the NAACP convention that President Bush and Attorney General Ashcroft is "the most threatening combination in our lifetime" and Gore Vidal predicts that Bush will leave office as the most unpopular president in history. Plus: Poppy's pinocchio nose.

Justin Raimondo asks: When are we going to get some answers to the unsolved mysteries of 9/11?

Florida officials have taken offense at Deputy Defense Secretary Paul Wolfowitz's claim that Jacksonville is host to an active al-Qaeda cell.

Brendan O'Neill warns of the danger in creating a fantasy al-Qaeda and an Arab American explains why Osama bin Laden is his hero.

Are mall kiosks hotbeds of international terrorism?

The New York Times reports on the eroding fortunes of Pakistan's General Musharraf who has become "isolated in his own land, increasingly a figure of ridicule and the focus of a growing anti-Western fury that is shared by Islamic militants and the middle class alike."

An former adviser to prime ministers Nawaz Sharif and Benazir Bhutto, says that Musharraf's problem is that he hates Pakistan's politicians almost as much as he dislikes India.

Robert Fisk reports from Lebanon on a Saudi billionaire's bid for political power and the nation's worst-kept secret.

A Jordanian magazine says that Yasser Arafat is expected to step down in the coming weeks through an agreement between the U.S., Israel and certain Palestinian and Arab parties.

A conservative watchdog group, The Parents Television Council (PTC), is smacked down to the tune of $3.5 million, for falsely claiming that televised wrestling was responsible for the deaths of four children.

Read PTC President L. Brent Bozell III's letter of apology to Vince and Linda McMahon, who themselves were recently pinned by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF).

More on Bozell, including who foots the bill for his Media Research Center.

The Salt Lake Tribune's reader advocate says to watch out for the "tsunami of hungry sharks" when correspondents for national magazines, TV cable news and tabloid newspapers come to town.

One of the creators of "Bumfights," a best-selling video that features altercations between homeless people, tells the Christian Science Monitor that "We were interested in the inherent humor of something that hasn't been touched upon in mainstream entertainment, which is homelessness."

Read an excerpt from "The Money Shot: Trash, Class, and the Making of TV Talk Shows."

The news about the news since 9/11.

Now that the Fourth of July holiday is over, intelligence agencies are warning about terror attacks to coincide with the one-year anniversary of 9/11. Plus: Why bin Ladenism is dead, even if bin Laden's still alive.

A U.S. military expert says that Afghanistan is now primarily a "war in the shadows," as Special Forces troops and CIA operatives replace conventional military forces.

Outraged Afghans claim that U.S. soldiers stormed the homes of villagers after they were bombed in a U.S. air-raid last weekend and barred people from treating their wounded relatives. And a New York Times reporter, on the scene, writes of the "unspeakable gore" caused by U.S. killing of innocents.

Matt Welch argues that President Bush is losing the benefit of the doubt: "Last September, Bush had it handed to him. Now it's time for him to earn it."

Paul Krugman writes that the Bush administration hopes that a narrow focus on the reporting lapses in the president's sale of Harken Energy stock "will divert attention from the larger point: Mr. Bush profited personally from aggressive accounting identical to the recent scams that have shocked the nation."

David Lazarus suggests focusing on five words that Bush uttered when running for governor of Texas in 1994 -- his defense against charges of insider trading: "I absolutely had no idea."

The Baltimore Sun editorializes that "Pals, connections, inside dope, duplicity and political pull characterize an unsavory corner of the business world -- and the president was very much a part of it."

Senate Majority Leader Daschle calls for the replacement of SEC chairman Harvey Pitt and the release of the SEC case file of the 1991 insider trading investigation of Bush, saying that discrepancies in the president's account have raised new questions.

Ralph Nader calls on the SEC to reopen its investigation into Bush's stock sale.

In a New York Times op-ed, Sen. John McCain joins Daschle in calling for Pitt's resignation. Plus: McCain appears on "Reliable Sources" to discuss his legislation ordering free airtime for candidates and how it's being blacked out by the major TV networks.

A Washington Monthly article charging that the "new tone" that George W. Bush brought to Washington isn't one of integrity, but of permissiveness, quotes an aide to Army Secretary Thomas White, who says that when Bush was at the West Point commencement on June 1st he pulled White aside and told him: "As long as they're hitting you on Enron, they're not hitting me. That's your job. You're the lightning rod for this administration."

In "All the President's Enrons," Frank Rich contends that "Playboy has done a better job of exposing the women of Enron than the Bush administration has done at exposing its men."

A Senate report concludes that Enron's board closed its eyes to evidence the company was heading for financial disaster.

Robert Borosage writes that the conservative doyens of Wall Street "are discovering that if they want to save capitalism from itself, they'll have to rely on liberals to lead the way."

A new survey finds that rich investors in the U.S. and Europe lost $2.6 trillion in 2001's plunging markets, leaving them with about $40 trillion in assets.

A study by the World Wildlife Fund to be released on Tuesday, warns that the human race is plundering the planet at a pace that outstrips its capacity to support life and that it will be necessary to colonize two planets within 50 years if natural resources continue to be exploited at the current rate.

The Los Angeles Times reports on a controversial plan by Bikram Choudhury -- yoga's "trash-talking, Rolls Royce-driving guru" -- to franchise his "torrid version" of the stretching discipline.

A Washington Post correspondent's journey through Central Asia takes him to Turkmenistan, where President Saparmurad Niyazov has built a personality cult around "Turkmenbashi the Great," his glorified identity.

An Australian columnist describes the vitriolic responses that he received -- 1000 plus e-mails, mostly from the U.S. -- after Matt Drudge and FreeRepublic.com linked to a Bush-bashing column that he wrote.

The San Francisco Chronicle's Mark Morford and New York magazine's Michael Wolff also describe the hate mail they received in response to anti-Bush columns "Is It OK To Hate Bush?" and "Saint George."

The Telegraph reports that Secretary of State Powell, in referring to his usurpation by Pentagon hardliners, is telling U.S. allies that he "won't let those bastards drive me out."

A video obtained by the BBC appears to contradict Israeli claims concerning the killing of two Palestinian children.

The general manager of a company that is trying to build a chain of shopping centers in the midst of the Israeli re-occupation of Palestinian cities, describes life under curfew and how some uninvited guests occupied his neighborhood.

Palestinians debate whether suicide bombing is in their self-interest.

TomPaine.com celebrates Independence Day with articles of and about dissent.

A U.S. correspondent for Scotland's Sunday Herald writes that "This July 4, with patriotism and commercialism as central to the American way as ever, the land of hype and glory is in full swing."

President Bush's national security advisers reportedly considered raising the terror threat from yellow to orange, a move that, in effect, would have canceled July 4th festivities by mobilizing the Armed Forces and restricting access to public events.

D.C. moves up introduction of video surveillance cameras to coincide with July 4th.

Afghans say no more friendly-fire blunders and a guest describes the wedding party, which looked like a slaughterhouse after being attacked by U.S. warplanes.

A BBC correspondent says that the surest way for military authorities to lose the PR war that follows a bombing blunder is to offer dogmatic descriptions of what they think happened, and then have to change their story.

Read an excerpt from John Pilger's "The New Rulers of the World," in which he argues that the war on terrorism is just "the 'great game' speeded up, and now more dangerous than ever."

Zacarias Moussaoui says "I, slave of Allah must be free to appear in front of the Congress hearing relating to the September 11 attack and the FBI."

Philip Smucker travels to Kashmir and finds that al-Qaeda is thriving. Estimates of the number of soldiers who have entered the country range from hundreds to thousands and many militant groups "banned" by the Pakistani government are operating in the open, with the tacit approval of Pakistani intelligence. Smucker on the story behind the story.

There's political quicksand in Pakistan, where bin Laden and associates have sparked a media war.

A Pakistani tribal council ordered four men to gang-rape an 18-year-old woman to punish her family, after her 11-year-old brother was seen walking with a girl from a higher tribal caste.

In an interview with Salon, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph Stiglitz talks about the corporate looting spree and charges President Bush with woeful mismanagement of the economy.

The president "defended in a snappish tone" his business experience with Harken Energy, after a reporter asked for his reaction to a Paul Krugman column that said Bush's recent campaign against corporate malfeasance draws on "firsthand experience of the subject."

The Washington Post follows up on Krugman's column and finally gets around to obtaining the SEC memo that said Bush had filed reports up to eight months late for four Harken stock transactions totaling $1 million. The Center for Public Integrity, which gave the memo to the Post, reported on it in October 2000 and on Bush's insider connections in April 2000.

Bush spokesman Ari Fleischer's explanation of the stock sale reporting contradicts the one Bush himself offered during his 1994 campaign for governor of Texas.

Continuous stock scandal updates at Media Whores Online.

Dubya Does Nader Mollly Ivins on how to pretend you're a populist in 10 easy steps.

Hallibutrin Customized anti-depressants for dealing with the headlines?

Spinsanity takes media watchdog groups on both the right and the left to task for twisting the facts to fit their existing biases.

The UN warns that the spread of Aids has only just begun and will kill an estimated 70 million people unless rich nations more than triple the money being spent to curb the epidemic. Worldwide Aids graphic.

Last Word The New Yorker's Mark Singer covers a conference of obituary writers.

One day after Secretary of State Powell said that he would no longer talk to Yasser Arafat, the Times of London profiles and interviews Mohammed Dahlan, a former Palestinian Authority security chief who is being touted as a possible successor to Arafat. The other contenders.

In a Guardian commentary, Dahlan accuses President Bush of demanding a 'coup d'état' against Arafat and declares that "as long as the Israelis are against Arafat, I'm with him -- whatever reservations I have about some of the decisions that have been made."

Ha'aretz's Yoel Marcus offers 12 helpful hints to get Arafat started on the reforms that will turn the Palestinian Authority into the "democracy founded on tolerance and liberty" that Bush is calling for.

Gaza protesters chanting "We want jobs! We want food!" break into Arafat's compound.

The UN warns in a new report that Arab societies are being crippled by a lack of political freedom, the repression of women and an isolation from the world of ideas that stifles creativity.

The U.S. defends its bombing of an Afghan village and a U.S military spokesman says "We don't know anything about a wedding party."

U.S. forces in Afghanistan are gaining a reputation for shooting first and asking questions later.

What's behind America's attacks on Afghan wedding parties?

Cities across the U.S. are quietly staging a revolt against the USA Patriot Act.

An Oregon attorney examines the fallout from the 1987 repeal of the Fairness Doctrine, which led to the takeover of talk radio by right-wing commentators.

How come Eminem can no longer get a rise out of the family values crowd?

In an interview with the Independent, John Kenneth Galbraith, now 93, says that the large modern corporation has grown so complex that it is now almost beyond monitoring and that these new entities "have grown out of effective control by the owners, the stockholders, into nearly absolute control by the management and the individuals recruited by management."

Paul Krugman calls for a public airing of President Bush's 1989 run-in with the SEC over his failure to report sales of Harken Energy stock in a timely manner when he was a member of Harken's board of directors.

In October 2000, the Center for Public Integrity reported on an SEC determination that Bush had violated federal security laws at least four times by failing to promptly report insider stock transactions involving Harken.

A Salon article refers to Bush as the hypocrite in chief for "talking tough about pinstriped rip-off artists, while ignoring the skeletons in his and Cheney's own corporate closets."

Reflections on the Cheney presidency: Enjoying the down time and palling around with the "fat pack" in Vegas.

Stolen Promises? A Washington Post discovery adds to the intrigue surrounding the president's "trifecta" claim.

The Observer analyzes the cable news channel's obsession with the Elizabeth Smart abduction in an article tagged "TV news presenters hound suspects after gunman seizes 14-year-old from her bed."

CNN's Larry King and Connie Chung are chasing and interviewing anyone within six degrees of separation from the Smart case, including this guy.

Marc Klaas, whose daughter Polly was kidnapped and murdered in 1993, has drawn fire for mixing advocacy and criticism in his role as a Fox News analyst.

After only four weeks, "Elizabeth Smart" returns almost as many Google hits as "Chandra Levy."

The FTC has warned seven Internet search engines to make it clearer to their users when companies have paid to be included in search results.

Amid predictions that two to five percent of the population will be infected by HIV within five years, Russia stands on the brink of an epidemic of African proportions.

Permanent Occupation? Arguing that President Bush blinked because he didn't want to alienate Jewish voters, Thomas Friedman wonders if we're witnessing the end of the idea of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

As Secretary of State Powell announces the U.S.' intention to freeze out Yasser Arafat, the Observer's Will Hutton notes that "As Ariel Sharon and Israel's armed forces have violently dismantled the institutions and physical infrastructure of the Palestinian Authority one has remained intact - and that is Hamas."

A former CIA station chief in Pakistan suspects that the real source of most of the threat alerts keeping the U.S. on edge is a 5,000-page al-Qaeda training manual that U.S. intelligence has had for about five years.

Norman Solomon responds to a New York Times report that CIA and FBI investigations had determined that the war in Afghanistan failed to diminish the threat to the U.S. and may have complicated counterterrorism efforts by dispersing the militants: "Such a flat-out conclusion might seem to merit more than a few dozen words. But the Times did not belabor the point and it seemed to cause little stir in American news media."

Michael Wolff asks: "So what's wrong with this picture? Not just with the Times' portrait of a resurgent al-Qaeda, but with virtually all the breathless media accounts of the international jihad, as well as with the more and more detailed presentations by the White House, FBI, CIA, and Homeland Security representatives depicting this elusive threat."

Eric Margolis writes that the Times' report provided further evidence that "Afghanistan, billed only last fall as a triumph for America and President Bush, is now looking less and less like a victory and more like the beginning of a long, bloody struggle that could and should have been avoided."

According to the Washington Post, U.S. officials believe that after al-Qaeda was driven from Afghanistan, bin Laden sanctioned his operatives to ally themselves with helpful Islamic-based groups, which resulted in increased cooperation between Hezbollah and al-Qaeda on logistics and training for terrorist operations.

The Telegraph reports that "Senior officials in the Prime Minister's office have launched an astonishing attack on America's handling of the hunt for Osama bin Laden and al-Qaeda fugitives."

Brendan O'Neill writes that "The bickering between British and U.S. forces captures an essential contradiction in the war on terrorism: It looks good on paper and in the love-ins between Bush and Blair -- but the reality has been a lot more ugly, and a lot more complicated."

The story of President Bush's favorite joke about 9/11 gets another telling. Plus: Did you hear the one about the loya jirga?

David Corn writes that President Bush's response to the Pledge of Allegiance ruling -- "We need common sense judges who understand that our rights were derived from God and those are the kind of judges I intend to put on the bench," -- is a major -- and stunning -- policy declaration: "Bush was announcing a new litmus test for judges."

In a freewheeling interview with law.com, the judge who wrote the pledge opinion said that he was disappointed in President Bush, who called the decision "ridiculous": "I'm a little disappointed in our chief executive -- who nobody ever accused of being a deep thinker -- for popping off."

Mark Morford asks: "In the most religiously diverse country in the world, why should God get the only plug?"

An atheist group takes pious pleasure in the Pledge of Allegiance ruling.

Brazilians credit divine intervention for World Cup victory. Plus: Rio party pics.

The day WorldCom's world was turned upside down and how insider information makes the rounds.

Synergy's New Frontier CBS' Salt Lake City affiliate has hired a former "Survivor" contestant as a reporter for its morning news team.

At another CBS station, "strangling deep throat" is the order of the day.

If he runs again, Al Gore says, "To hell with the polls."

Paul Krugman samples the many flavors of fraud offered up by the big business scandals, each of which involved a different scam.

Today's Flavor Xerox Corp. says it will restate five years of results to reclassify more than $6 billion in revenues.

Will there be a political price to pay for the growing bad news?

National Review columnist Lawrence Kudlow argues that both the American spirit and Wall Street could benefit from the shock therapy of decisive war.

Appearing on "Crossfire," one of the three House members who voted against a resolution protesting the Pledge of Allegiance ruling, said that it's inappropriate for lawmakers "to grandstand over the vindication of someone's Constitutional rights in the courts." (follows Coulter vs. Carville in transcript)

A Grand Stand AP reports that it was an atypical day on Capitol Hill where "virtually the entire Senate showed up for a morning prayer Thursday" and "a nearly full House gathered for an enthusiastic recitation" of the pledge. "Both houses of Congress start each working day with the pledge, but typically only a few lawmakers are in the chambers to recite it."

Corporations tell congressional spouses: Welcome aboard.

The New York Times notes that the Supreme Court's ruling on vouchers will not end the debate over school choice: "Rather, it will move that debate to state courts, state legislatures and the ballot box. While a handful of voucher programs are now in operation, they have been defeated consistently in referendums."

The Supreme Court's ruling was of special interest in Milwaukee which has the nation's largest voucher program. But, no one knows if it works. More on the privatization and commercialization of public schools.

In what elected officials in Pakistan see as a major power grab, General Musharraf has unveiled a plan that would give him constitutional power to dissolve parliament, appoint or dismiss a prime minister and establish a National Security Council above any elected government.

With Pakistan becoming a more important front in the war on terrorism than Afghanistan, a former U.S. diplomat says that having Pakistani soldiers in combat with al-Qaeda "is Musharraf's worst nightmare."

The Israeli army has triggered a new war of words between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, by releasing a photograph of a toddler dressed as a suicide bomber that it claims was discovered in a Palestinian militant's house in Hebron.

Family says baby bomber photo was "just a joke."

Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia all embrace democracy -- for the Palestinians.

Arafat calls for democratic elections -- in the U.S.

The Guardian's Martin Woollacott argues that the Bush administration is making the same mistake in the Middle East that the U.S. made in Vietnam: Not listening to people on the ground.

A Washington Post reporter trashes his own story to send a message to Dick Cheney.

The managing editor of the Sarasota Herald-Tribune loses her job over a remarkably candid e-mail, sent to a reader who complained that the paper was giving short shrift to Democratic opponents of Katherine Harris.

Doors drummer John Densmore reveals how the band has been manipulated, begged, extorted and bribed to allow its songs to be used commercially. Plus: Is it time to pull the plug on Rolling Stone?

Auditor warns that there is "substantial doubt" about Salon's prospects for survival.

Leslie Savan writes that the reaction to Martha Stewart is so bitter that you can't help thinking that she's in trouble "less for her investments in ImClone than for our investments in her image. It's as if public humiliation of such a woman were the most perfect way of all to put our own house in order."

As icon after icon falls, America's psyche slips into a deepening funk.

The U.S. is losing its luster for foreign investors, as the "American gospel of how business should be done" takes a beating abroad.

"The greed, the fraud, the crash. Another U.S. giant falls to earth." Plus: "Hometown pride ... now disgust."

How WorldCom lost billions in the biggest pyramid scheme of all time and "As the WorldCom Turns: A blog about WorldCom."

Church-state law specialist and blogger, Eugene Volokh, tells the Washington Post that the Pledge of Allegiance ruling is "eminently defensible," but suggests that a majority of the court may ultimately decide that "under God" in the pledge, qualifies as "ceremonial deism" -- traditional references to a higher power so frequently invoked that they have lost any specific religious meaning.

Slate's Dahlia Lithwick concurs, writing that it looks like an "unconstitutional 'Establishment' of religion by the state. Which leaves us in the unfortunate position of ridiculing the decision (as I suppose we must) for its conviction that the words 'under God' amount to a prayer, an endorsement, or religious proselytizing. Which they don't."

The suit was brought and argued by Michael Newdow, a Sacramento atheist and emergency room doctor who also has a law degree, but has never practiced law. He was surprised by the furor over the ruling.

An AP interview with Newdow generated 350 responses within five hours of being posted at FreeRepublic.com. Sample: "There's something weird about the guy. Is anyone watching the Connie Chung interview with him? He seems like an America Hater."

In an interview on CNN's "Talkback Live," Newdow asks if a critic in the studio audience would mind reciting "'we are one nation under Buddha' every day, or 'one nation under David Koresh' or 'one nation' under some religious icon that he doesn't believe in."

How the media was blindsided by the Pledge ruling.

The crash and burn journalism career of master fabricator Stephen Glass is the subject of "Shattered Glass," a movie scheduled for production this fall. Glass' "Prophets and losses: the futures market for phone psychics," reads as if it's too good to be true.

Is the story of Iraq's fake baby funerals a fake too?

Why anti-Arafat talk may backfire on the U.S. and why the leaders of Hamas are in high spirits.

The parents of an Israeli girl who was killed by a suicide bomber, blame the "terror of Israeli occupation" for her death.

How euphemisms for Israeli settlements confuse the coverage.

U.S. investigators are concerned that al-Qaeda operatives are developing the expertise necessary to launch a cyber-attack against the systems that run power, water, transport and communications grids.

Word of a new bin Laden video renews the debate about granting him airtime and the Christian Science Monitor asks: "Where's Osama?"

The Los Angeles Times handicaps the possibility of a worst-case scenario for Pakistan, in which the "Axis of Extremists" come together to try and topple General Musharraf.

The two faces of Musharraf: Dictator and Taliban's friend or secular liberal?

Ten Pakistani soldiers and two suspected al-Qaeda fighters have been killed in a gunbattle in the lawless tribal area bordering Afghanistan.

James Ridgeway reports on an e-mail making the rounds of military and law enforcement circles that describes a captured al-Qaeda tape, said to reveal the group's expertise in small arms and close commando situations in urban settings like New York, Washington, and Chicago.

Bush administration officials float a smoking gun reason for the president's decision to call for the removal of Yasser Arafat, telling the New York Times that Bush received intelligence information last week showing that Arafat had authorized a $20,000 payment to Al Aksa Martyrs Brigades.

When asked if Bush's call for a change in Palestinian leadership referred to him, Arafat said: "Definitely not." A senior aide says that Arafat will run again in January.

Israel has barred foreign correspondents from entering major occupied West Bank cities, while Palestinian journalists are among the 700,000 Palestinians who remain confined to their homes.

U.S. media outlets are coming under intense pressure, primarily from pro-Israeli advocates who are issuing press releases, withholding advertising and organizing reader boycotts.

A Belgian court has thrown out a lawsuit against Israeli Prime Minister Ariel Sharon over alleged war crimes in connection with the 1982 massacre at the Sabra and Shatila refugee camps.

Robert Fisk wonders why Bush doesn't let Sharon run his press office: "It would spare the American President the ignominy of parroting everything he is told by the Israelis."

Washington correspondents for As-Safir and Ha'aretz discuss Arab and Israeli reaction to Bush's proposal. Plus: More world reaction.

The Guardian's Jonathan Freedland argues that President Bush's Middle East plan will strengthen those who want war, not peace, and suggests that "America needs to snap out of its post-9/11 torpor of consensus and realise there is a leadership problem in the U.S. -- and his name is George Bush."

WorldCom said that it had overstated its cash flow by more than $3.8 billion during the last five quarters in what may be one of the largest cases of corporate fraud in U.S. history. Plus: Corporate scandals take their toll on the markets, as the business pages read like a crime blotter.

Over the past 27 months, the nation's stock markets have lost about $5.5 trillion in value, or nearly three times what the U.S. government spends annually.

Go For Brokerage The head of an independent ratings firm says that "Even when there was abundant evidence that companies were on the verge of bankruptcy, over 90 percent of the latest ratings issued by brokerage firms continued to tell investors to hold their shares or buy more."

The New York Times cites unnamed current and former Enron executives who say that federal prosecutors are seeking to establish whether individual bankers may have illegally benefited from deals with Enron and its various partnerships.

The Wall Street Journal reports that prosecutors have widened the probe of Martha Stewart to include possible obstruction of justice and making false statements related to the sale of ImClone shares. Read an excerpt from Christopher Byron's "Martha, Inc."

What you should know before golfing with a CEO.

As Democrats attempt to exploit the corporate abuse theme, Robert Scheer suggests that the Bush administration might be overplaying the terror card to obscure the floundering economy.

Ralph Nader's 2000 campaign manager responds to charges by Media Whores Online that Nader is sleeping with the enemy.

In a Fortune cover story titled "System Failure," Joseph Nocera writes "Phony earnings, inflated revenues, conflicted Wall Street analysts, directors asleep at the switch -- this isn't just a few bad apples we're talking about here. This, my friends, is a systemic breakdown."

Commenting on the potential threat to Martha Stewart's image, "Martha Inc." author Christopher Byron says "the CEO corner office in American business is becoming a crime scene." Plus: Does her stock answer wash?

The only way to seriously weigh the Enron-Bush tie, according to Kevin Phillips, "is by a yardstick the American press has never really employed: the unseemliness of a 16- or 17-year interaction by the members of an American political dynasty in promoting and being rewarded by a single U.S. corporation based in its home state."

Paul Krugman on the Bush administration's infallibility complex.

Hot Stats What's the cost of U.S. withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol on Climate Change and who's footing the bill?

In an article headlined "Jerusalem delighted, Palestinians distraught," the Jerusalem Post quotes the head of an Israeli political party who called President Bush's speech the most favorable to Israel ever delivered by an American president addressing the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

A Washington Post analysis of the speech begins "After months of fits and starts, President Bush yesterday distilled his Middle East policy to a simple proposition: Peace depends almost entirely on the Palestinians."

When is a state not a state? Slate's William Saletan writes that "The raw deal for Palestinians isn't the hoops they'll have to jump through to get their prize. It's the dubiousness of the prize."

Calling Bush's speech "a huge triumph for Ariel Sharon," a Ha'aretz correspondent writes that "Yasser Arafat, the seemingly immortal leader of the Palestinian national movement, was politically assassinated Monday by President George W. Bush."

David Brooks calls Arafat "the most bizarre political leader in the world today, in that he has obliterated all considerations of ordinary living and has fused himself completely with his cause."

In a bitter denunciation of Ariel Sharon, Ha'aretz's Yoel Marcus writes that "Recent public opinion surveys show that the public's love affair with Sharon is over. Prime ministers are elected to solve problems, not to tell us that our enemies are bastards and their leader is no partner."

Former ABC Middle East correspondent Charles Glass details the many parallels between Israel's invasions of Lebanon and of the Palestinian Authority zones.

A television industry analyst says that CNN's recent efforts to make amends with Israeli viewers may be based on the network's concern about its image among millions of conservative Christian viewers in the U.S., who are an important factor in the ratings war between CNN and Fox News.

The Los Angeles Times profiles U.S. interrogators in Afghanistan and reveals some of the methods they use to pry secrets from captured al-Qaeda and Taliban operatives.

Last week USA Today reported that U.S. officials were scouring the Web for the reappearance of alneeda.com, which purports to carry official al-Qaeda and the Taliban statements. It appears to have resurfaced as www.drasat.com.

Andrew Sullivan on the American mood in the summer of 2002. "It's a weird, strained, emotionally unstable time." But is it the End Time?

Sam's Scam The New York Times interviews current and former Wal-Mart workers who say that their managers, under pressure to hold down costs, often force or press employees to work hours that are not recorded or paid.

Norman Solomon proposes a tax on commercials for food and drugs, with the proceeds going to pay for ads from independent researchers to keep the public informed about the latest scientific findings on the benefits and risks of such products. Plus: Is junk food, the new tobacco?

Watergate II "This time the cancer is not on the presidency but on the economy," writes Frank Rich, "where the malignancy is a flood of corporate transgressions whose scope and scale, in the words of The Wall Street Journal, 'exceed anything the U.S. has witnessed since the years preceding the Great Depression.'"

"Shareholder Nation" gets the jitters and failure is the new success.

Dissidents accuse Iraq's government of torturing children and faking mass baby funerals.

The latest Israeli offensive in Ramallah expands on an operation that has left more than 600,000 Palestinians confined to their homes.

CNN says it erred in giving more programming time to the family of a Palestinian suicide bomber than to his Israeli victims. Plus: Palestinian kindergartners get an early education in Jihad against Israel.

Sen. John Kerry criticizes President Bush's Middle East Policy and the administration's handling of the war in Afghanistan: "The prime target, al-Qaeda, has dispersed and in many ways is more dangerous than it was when it was in the mountains of Tora Bora."

USA Today reports on the loyalty to al-Qaeda in Pakistan's tribal areas: "Every chance I get, I lie," says a shepherd. "I see the American soldiers. They ask me, 'Where is al-Qaeda?' and I lie. We are all doing our part."

Osama Bin Laden is alive, well and will make a video statement soon, according to a recording said to be of an al-Qaeda spokesman that was broadcast on Al-Jazeera. Plus: Wild in the (Karachi) streets.

The U.S. mainstream media is taking a pass on "Massacre in Mazar," a documentary that raises the possibility that U.S. troops collaborated in the torture and killings of thousands of Taliban prisoners near Mazar-i-Sharif.

A letter writer to "Media News" argues that whether "Massacre in Mazar" is a legitimate story of U.S. war crimes or a bunch of propagandistic claptrap, it's still an eminently newsworthy story. (scroll down)

Why does the case of missing teenager Elizabeth Smart get so much media coverage? Plus: How the Fox News Channel has turned the abduction into a 24/7 drama.

Although universally ridiculed by the French news media, the book "L'Effroyable Imposture," or "The Horrifying Fraud," which contends that the 9/11 attacks were organized by right-wing elements inside the U.S. government, has become a best-seller in France.

Foreign rights to "L'Effroyable Imposture" have been sold in 16 countries. It will be published in the U.S. in July as "The Big Lie."

Baba Wawa's Whitewash Justin Raimondo blasts a "20/20" report on five Israeli men who were apprehended in New Jersey hours after the WTC was hit and contends that an increasingly important question about the background to 9/11 is: "What did the Israelis know ­ and how did they know it?"

John Prados argues that last week's National Security Agency revelation concerning messages that were intercepted on September 10, suggests that the 9/11 plot could have been foiled.

The official in charge of ferreting out information about the FBI for a joint congressional intelligence panel investigating 9/11, allegedly obstructed a Justice Department probe of the bureau's role in the Waco debacle.

A provision in the bill seeking to create a Homeland Security Department will exempt its employees from whistleblower protection. Plus: John Dean tells Karl Rove that secrecy is for losers.

Editorial cartoonists complain of pressure to toe the patriotic line and the patriotic irreverence of Mark Twain.

What's the big deal about prisoner 2,401?

One more reason why Al Gore lost Florida: A conservationist claims that candidate Gore's refusal to denounce an airport proposed at the edge of the Everglades cost him "conservatively, at least 10,000 votes."

According to a organization that recruits homosexuals to run for office, out-of-the-closet gays and lesbians represent only 218 of the more than 500,000 Americans in elective office.

Critics are referring to the White House's pattern of making controversial environmental announcements too late in the day for them to be reported on the evening news as the "5 o'clock follies."

In a New York Times article on how the pool of suicide bombers is becoming larger and more varied, an Israeli security official says "The bottleneck on the Palestinian side is not the suicide attacker, it's the bomb."

Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Ben-Eliezer is visiting potential suicide bombers in jail to find out what makes them tick. Ha'aretz publishes transcripts of two interviews and then gets Ben-Eliezer's reaction to the encounters.

As dread spreads throughout the West Bank, Yasser Arafat says "enough is enough," and that he is prepared to accept a plan put forward by Bill Clinton in December 2000 as a framework for a peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinians.

VP Dick Cheney resurfaces to chastise the House and Senate intelligence committees about leaks of classified information and warn of a "gathering danger" in Iraq.

"Cheney is Bush's pit bull," writes Juan Andrade. "When Cheney senses danger, he puts on his fighting face, characterized by his snarling monotone manner of speaking, barely opening his mouth and using only one side to deliver his bite."

Take a peek inside Dick Cheney's personal diary.

Opensecrets.org, which just won another Webby for best politics Web site, has published a handy chart that shows the corporate connections (w/colorful logos!) of President Bush's cabinet and advisors.

Spinsanity calls Bush on his continued use of a fictitious "trifecta" campaign statement to justify deficit spending, and then fends off a blogger challenge.

As "Politically Incorrect" ends its 1,600-plus show run, Arianna Huffington writes that "the appropriate farewell is not a eulogy but a 21-pun salute to a man -- and a show -- that encapsulate what our culture needs now more than ever: independence, fearlessness and an increasingly rare willingness to speak truth to power."

Ken Tucker thinks that "Politically Incorrect's" mixing of politicians and celebrities makes for a "tiresome shout-fest".

NPR sparks Web outrage for attempting to keep linkers at bay.

King George Michael Kinsley on the role of George Stephanopoulos in our constitutional system.

The warlords were the big winners at Afghanistan's loya jirga.

A new poll of college students, sponsored by Bill Bennett's "Americans for Victory Over Terrorism" (AVOT), found that 37% of respondents said they would be "likely to try to evade the draft" if one were reintroduced, while another 21% would be willing to serve but "only if stationed in the U.S."

Bennett and pollster Frank Lutz discuss the findings.

Read reviews (1,2,3) of Steven Spielberg's "Minority Report," about a futurist police agency called "Precrime." It was adapted from a Philip K. Dick short story.

The movie's star, Tom Cruise, has just been dethroned from the top spot that he held on Forbes' "Celebrity 100" list, which combines earnings with media exposure "to calculate the relative status of a vast array of stars."

Read a Salon interview with Christopher Byron, author of "Martha Inc." WNYC, an NPR affiliate in New York, rejected underwriting dollars from Byron's book for fear of offending station supporter Martha Stewart. Plus: Sorting out the Martha mess and Tauzin's in the kitchen with Martha.

The Independent's David Usborne takes the pulse of the Mafia following John Gotti's death and finds that there's still plenty of life in the New York Mob. View the flower arrangements at Gotti's funeral.

What Are the Odds? The FBI is investigating a Las Vegas man's claim that he picked up a conversation in Arabic on his cell phone during which someone said "We are going to hit them on the day of freedom." The man said he's a naturalized U.S. citizen who was born in Lebanon and speaks Arabic.

U.S. investigators are scouring the Web for the reappearance of alneda.com, a "mouthpiece for al-Qaeda in exile."

"There comes a time when reporters rely on so many anonymous sources that their work is, simply, impossible to trust," writes Richard Blow. "The bigger the story, the more reporters turn to anonymous sources -- exactly the opposite of the way it should be."

Quoting anonymous sources, the Washington Post reports that the National Security Agency intercepted two messages on the eve of the 9/11 attacks warning that something was going to happen the next day, but the messages were not translated until Sept. 12.

An anonymous financial adviser blows the whistle on Ernst & Young, telling the New York Times of possibly illegal techniques that the accounting firm has been selling to wealthy Americans to help them eliminate or sharply reduce income taxes.

August, 2002 Link Archive