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Inside the system

April 13, 2001 | Page 6

The right's right to kill

IT'S O.K. for anti-choice terrorists to publish hit lists of abortion providers on the Internet. That's what a U.S. Federal Appeals Court in San Francisco ruled in late March.

But even more outrageous was the logic they used in the decision. The Federal Appeals Court said anti-choice Web sites that advocate murdering abortion providers are protected as "free speech" under the First Amendment.

But the court had the gall to compare these right-wing nutcases to labor activists, anti-war organizers, abolitionists like John Brown, and colonists who fought against British rule! "Extreme rhetoric and violent action have marked many political movements in American history," wrote Judge Alex Kozinski. "Patriots intimidated loyalists in both word and deed as they gathered support for American independence.

"John Brown and other abolitionists...committed murder in pursuit of their cause. In more modern times, the labor, antiwar, animal rights and environmental movements all have had their violent fringes. As a result, much of what was said, even by nonviolent participants in these movements, acquired a tinge of menace."

The day after the ruling, the anti-choice Web site was back up and running, calling for new volunteers to harass abortion providers and protect "God's little babies."
-- Los Angeles Times, March 29, 2001

Government 101

ONE OF the seldom discussed benefits of Florida's election slugfest was the crash course in civics that the whole country enjoyed. For example, Florida Secretary of State Katherine Harris recently recalled the visit of some fourth graders to her office.

Harris asked the kids what tasks fall to the secretary of state. "I called on one beautiful little girl and asked, 'What do you think the secretary of state does, what are her responsibilities?'" Harris remembered. The girl replied, "You get to choose the president of the United States."
-- Chicago Tribune, April 2, 2001

They call this belt tightening?

THE INVESTMENT bank Credit Suisse First Boston (CSFB) has asked its bankers to tighten their belts. "Given current market conditions, try to keep dinners below $10,000, particularly when no travel is involved," wrote Tony James and Chuck Ward, co-heads of investment banking at CSFB, in a memo to colleagues.

This noble self-denial and restraint follow sharp declines in CSFB business. CSFB executives are also considering a smaller budget for "weekend-long celebrations once deals have been completed," according to the Financial Times.

CSFB bankers have also called for a lighter touch when ordering trophies, known as lucites, which are given away to mark deals. Bankers treasure these trinkets as a sign of their "skill." "Keep costs of lucites below $2,500 and do not order for senior bankers," said the CSFB memo said.
-- Financial Times, April 6, 2001

U.S. says play nice

THE U.S. has warned Qatar not to beat up WTO protesters. "We've been telling Qatar there are certain lines they cannot cross," one U.S. official says.

They fear the undemocratic emirate might turn protests at November's World Trade Organization meeting there into a public-relations disaster. In Qatar, there is no constitution, and all demonstrations are illegal.

If only the U.S. spent less time lecturing, maybe the cops wouldn't have turned the Seattle WTO meeting into such a debacle.
-- Wall Street Journal, February 8, 2001

Heard it through the grapevine

"THESE LEADERS--they are so illegitimate that a city has to be sealed off to protect them."
-- Toronto civil rights lawyer CLAYTON RUBY on the sealing off of Quebec City during the FTAA negotiations

"AS THE proverb says, 'If you want peace, prepare for war.'"
-- SERGE MENARD, Quebec's minister of public security, on police preparations for anti-FTAA protests in late April

"SOMETIMES I get up in the morning and wonder who we're going to offend today."
-- Unnamed senior diplomat in the U.S. State Department

"WE HAVE a President who stole the presidency through family ties, arrogance and intimidation, employing Republican operatives to exercise the tactics of voter fraud by disenfranchising thousands of Blacks, elderly Jews and other minorities. Why be afraid to speak out and remind the public of what happened last November? Maybe it's because some of you are up for reelection and, therefore, might be afraid to rock the boat."
-- Singer BARBRA STREISAND on timid Democrats

"REPUBLICAN IN the dictionary comes just after 'reptile' and just before 'repugnant.'"

"YOU'D THINK I ordered the murder of their first-born."
-- Minnesota Gov. JESSE VENTURA after he was forced to rescind an order that Capitol reporters wear a press credential bearing his picture, pointing Uncle Sam-style at the camera and designating the wearer an "Official Jackal"

"WE KNOW what's happening in the Third World, but we don't act. We can't deny that we try to focus on top markets--cardiovascular, metabolism, anti-infection, etc. But we're an industry in a competitive environment--we have a commitment to deliver performance for shareholders."
-- Spokesperson for pharmaceutical giant Aventis on why his company doesn't innovate new drugs for the vast number of tropical diseases that need treatment

"KARL MARX can be quoted today without fear of punishment, even here...[He was] an early advocate of globalization and consequently also a forefather of the World Economic Forum."
-- Swiss President MORITZ LEUENBERGER, addressing the World Economic Forum meeting in Davos attended by financial big wigs from across the globe

"I CONFIRMED to the prime minister that we appreciate our friendship."
-- George W. Bush

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