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May 25, 2001 | Issue 369

FRONT AND BACK PAGES

Big Oil pulls their strings
They want to wreck the planet
From top to bottom, the Bush administration's energy plan, unveiled in mid-May, aims to dismantle or disregard environmental regulations so that the administration's friends in the energy industry can drill for oil, mine for coal and build nukes to their hearts' content.

Warplanes bomb Palestinian town
Israel's terror from the skies
Israel's war against the Palestinians took a huge leap in firepower as Israeli warplanes bombed a Palestinian police station May 18. This was Israel's first use of jet fighters against Palestinian targets since the 1967 war.

Edward Said speaks out
"We want an end to Israeli occupation"
Edward Said, perhaps the best-known voice of the Palestinian resistance in the U.S., talked to David Barsamian, director and producer of Alternative Radio in Boulder, Colo., in an interview for the International Socialist Review. Here, we reprint a brief excerpt of that interview.

SW SPECIAL FEATURE

How the credit card bosses wreck lives for profit
Crushed by debt
In this special report, Matt Nichter exposes the credit card crooks--and their servants in Washington.

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WHAT WE THINK

White House con men sell their tax and energy schemes
Double-dealing by Dubya
Dubya wants working people to know that he's concerned about the high price of gas and skyrocketing electric and heating bills. His solution? Get Congress to pass his $1.35 billion tax cut right away.

Drug warriors march on
It seemed like the U.S. "war on drugs" might be in for a dose of sanity. But in a unanimous decision, the Supreme Court ruled against the medicinal use of marijuana for AIDS and cancer patients. And Bush nominated John Walters, a right-winger whose views on drug policy verge on the fanatical, to be his new drug czar.

Time to flunk standardized testing
For growing numbers of students around the country, May has become the month of do-or-die tests. High-stakes exams are the centerpiece of the Bush administration's education proposal, now under discussion in Congress--and Democrats have fallen over one another to offer their support.

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NATIONAL NEWS

McVeigh case latest in a series of high-profile fiascoes
FBI blunders exposed
Attorney General John Ashcroft was forced to delay the scheduled execution of Oklahoma City bomber Timothy McVeigh for a month after he had to admit that the FBI messed up one of the highest-profile criminal cases in U.S. history.

Will the U.S. lift Iraq sanctions?
Isolated and on the defensive about economic sanctions that have strangled Iraq, the U.S. and British governments are proposing a restructuring of the nearly 11-year-old embargo. But opponents of sanctions have good reason to fear that the changes will be more about spin than ending the suffering of millions of Iraqis.

The bully gets a slap in the face
It's always nice to see someone get what they deserve. And it was especially nice when the U.S. government was voted out of its seat on the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Commission.

THE DIRT ON DUBYA'S GANG
Lying lawyer in hot water
Theodore Olson, George W. Bush's choice for solicitor general and a hardened right-winger, was expected to sail through his confirmation hearing--that is, until he was caught in a bald-faced lie before the Senate Judiciary Committee about his role in the $2.4 million campaign organized in the 1990s to smear Bill Clinton.

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INTERNATIONAL NEWS

TURKEY
Huge protests against harsh cuts
Turkey rocked by new unrest
The political and economic crisis in Turkey sparked new unrest in May, while a hunger strike by hundreds of political prisoners took more victims.

PHILIPPINES
Election setback for Arroyo
Congressional elections held May 14 produced no clear winner after one of the bloodiest campaigns in the history of the Philippines.

HAITI
Orange workers fight anti-union violence
Orange workers and local farmers who occupied a plantation in northern Haiti are appealing for support in their fight against anti-union harassment and violence.

CANADA
Forgotten victim of a rubber bullet
The media have forgotten April's Summit of the Americas and the protesters who braved repression to speak out against the bosses' free-trade agenda. But Eric Laferriere can't forget. That's because he was silenced--literally--by a rubber bullet fired in Quebec City.

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COLUMNS AND REGULAR FEATURES

The Bush gang's answer to high energy prices
"Real men go nuclear"
It's hard to imagine what more the oil and gas industry could want. The Bush administration's energy "solution," announced in May, scraps environmental protections right and left to clear the way for more drilling, more mining and, incredibly enough, new nuclear energy reactors.

White House pushes plan for weapons in space
Making the world more dangerous
Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld's bizarre talk about killer satellites, laser weapons and, of course, the Pentagon's national missile defense scheme known as "Star Wars" would be funny if it wasn't so terrrifying.

WHICH SIDE ARE YOU ON?
U.S. kicked off UN human rights panel
Why did it take so long?
U.S. conservatives are up in arms because the U.S. has been voted off the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Commission. But their words of outrage can't hide the U.S.'s shameful record on human rights around the world.

WHAT DO SOCIALISTS SAY?
Exposing the myth of youth predators
With so much media attention on juvenile crime, it seems that youth today have become more violent and dangerous. In the early 1990s, John Dilulio described these teen "superpredators" to Congress as "a new horde from hell that kills, maims and terrorizes merely to become known, or for no reason at all." But this "theory" is based on lies and racism.

THE MEANING OF MARXISM
Is it enough to curb the system's excesses?
When someone is described as having "liberal" ideas about, for example, women's rights or racial equality, that's positive. But in the world of politics, "liberalism" has a more definite meaning.

INSIDE THE SYSTEM
Seattle's water hog
Seattle Public Utilities has asked its residents to reduce water use by 10 percent. But it turns out that the 5-acre estate of Microsoft billionaire Bill Gates uses 60 times as much water as a typical homeowner--so cutting back 10 percent would supply about six homes with water for a year.

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ON THE PICKET LINE

"They want to take my job--and call it cost-effective"
Gas workers on strike in Chicago
Gas workers here began walking the picket lines May 19 at midnight after voting down Peoples Gas' second contract offer. On May 10, members of Service Employees International Union (SEIU) Local 18007 rejected the company's offer, 828-129.

Support the Charleston Five!
The struggle to defend the Charleston Five is heating up in South Carolina. South Carolina Attorney General Charles Condon broke off negotiations with the International Longshoremen's Association (ILA), saying that the five dockworkers would only get "jail, jail and more jail."

Strikers win retirement plan at Hollander
After 10 hard weeks on strike, 450 garment workers at Hollander Home Fashions scored what they called a total victory on May 18. Workers, represented by UNITE, voted overwhelmingly to approve the new contract after the company finally caved on attempts to hold down wages and agreed to provide a 401K retirement plan.

Labor in brief

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NEWS AND REPORTS

Northeastern student occupation for African American Institute
"We've been lied to for so many years"
Hundreds of Northeastern University (NU) students occupied the intersection of Huntington and Massachusetts Avenues on May 10, blocking traffic for hours in reaction to University President Richard Freeland's decision to tear down the African American Institute and recreate it within a new, larger building.

Stop the death penalty
San Francisco, Los Angeles and Oakland, Calif., have been the sites of recent anti-death penalty events.

More reports from the struggle

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LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

Calif. consumers forced to pay for energy crisis
When the power crisis first hit California in January, Gov. Gray Davis was talking tough. But actions speak louder than words.

Using McVeigh to "save" the death penalty
Why we need to stop executions
Yes, he's guilty of murder--mass murder in fact. Yes, he's a right-wing, neo-fascist scumbag. But we must nonetheless oppose his execution.

Nurses need to fight back!
Nursing is plagued with a social disease. It's called capitalism--with pharmaceutical companies and HMOs making billions of dollars in profits. Meanwhile, nurses are exploited, overworked, stressed out, burnt out, devalued and underpaid.

Other letters

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REVIEWS

Telling the story of the song "Strange Fruit"
A song that changed the world
It's easy to see why Time magazine voted "Strange Fruit" the Best Song of the Century, and why the British magazine Q called it one of "10 songs that actually changed the world." David Margolick's fascinating book Strange Fruit: The Biography of a Song tells the history of the song's creation--and how it's been received over the past 60 years.

Court ruling okays censorship
Silencing a parody of Gone with the Wind
A U.S. District Court last month ruled that The Wind Done Gone can't be published because it infringes on Gone with the Wind's copyright. The Wind Done Gone turns Gone with the Wind on its head. It's told from the perspective of the slaves who lived on Scarlet O'Hara's plantation.

A powerful indictment of Israel's occupation
Given the near-total pro-Israel bias of mainstream U.S. publications, prize-winning journalist Amy Wilentz's first novel is a breath of fresh air. Written with an eye for detail and immediacy, the novel tells a story about Israeli violence at a military checkpoint between Jerusalem and Ramallah.

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