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May Day madness, or, You have more to lose than just your
Like drunken frat boys during the big game, May Day marchers got
themselves involved in some May 1 fun:
In Seoul, South Korea, riot police fired tear gas to disperse
20 000 people protesting job losses caused by the economic crisis that
has swept East Asia. "No to layoffs!" South Korean workers chanted
amid the yellow haze of tear gas that filled a central section of the
South Korean capital.
The workers and student supporters dispersed but quickly regrouped,
hurling rocks and garbage at police. The district reverberated with exploding
tear gas, the workers' staccato slogans and labor songs blaring from loudspeakers.
May Day injuries were reported in Istanbul. Turkey, after hundreds
of leftist demonstrators attacked police with stones and clubs. Police
responded with water cannons and truncheons, injuring at least 10, although
witnesses said dozens were hurt. Two police officers were also injured.
Communists and trade unionists held separate rallies in Moscow,
each side drawing thousands of supporters. Still, it was a far cry from
the millions who thronged the city on May Day in Soviet times to mark
one of the great festivals of socialism. After Boris Yeltsin became president,
he put an end to official parades on Red Square.
Masked demonstrators burned car tires and smashed the windows
of a bank in Zurich, Switzerland, before police dispersed them with water
cannons and tear gas. U.S. and Swiss flags were burned.
Workers marked the day by burning U.S. flags in Baghdad, Iraq
and blaming the United States for the suffering of their people under
Republican senators clash over Microsoft...we like only
one of them
Senate Judiciary Committee chairman Orrin Hatch attacked Microsoft on
May 1 and was in turn attacked by a senator from the company's home state
in an escalating battle between the two senior Republicans.
Slade Gorton of Washington state called the Utah lawmaker's remarks "nonsensical"
and said he was "completely outraged" by them. Hatch, by the
way, is a friend of Microsoft foe Novell.
At issue was a letter to the Justice Department's top trustbuster, Joel
Klein, written by 26 high-tech executives. The letter, made available
by Microsoft on April 30, asked the government to permit the release of
the Windows 98 operating system without delay in May.
Hatch said through a spokeswoman that the letter made it appear "that
Microsoft is contacting potential witnesses and urging them to voice public
opposition to possible law enforcement actions."
Hatch, his spokeswoman said, found it "troubling that the target
of an investigation might be using its relationship [with computer-makers
and others] to encourage [witnesses] to participate in a public relations
campaign seemingly designed to frustrate legitimate efforts to enforce
Gorton responded to his fellow Republican with unusual fury.
He said through a spokesman that he was "completely outraged that
the chairman of the Judiciary Committee would suggest that 26 high-tech
CEOs should not be able to exercise their First Amendment rights and defend
themselves against unwarranted intervention."
And he said that for Hatch to "presume that he knows more about the
high-tech industry and what they need than the 26 CEOs...is nonsensical."
A Microsoft spokesman said, "The letter speaks for itself,"
and added that Hatch may have been misinformed about the letter.
It would appear that Hatch is misinformed about a number of things.
What happens when you don't serve
Recently the Army Reserve had its anniversary celebrations, but
the Clinton Administration -- long friends of the army -- just plain
The White House did send a letter to the Pentagon on plain letterhead,
mentioning the wrong anniversary date. On the other hand, congratulatory
messages on White House stationery (mentioning correct dates) found their
way to organizations celebrating Secretarys Day, Earth Day, National
Jewish Week, Child Care Professionals´ Day, National Volunteers
Week, and last but not least, U.S. relations with Turkmenistan.
No one missed her
In a recent interview with CNN, American expatriate Lorna Birdsall
discussed the 40 years she's lived in Communist Cuba. Everything, says
Birdsall, is peachy.
Of course, it's easy when you were married to Manuel Pineiro.
If you're unfamiliar with the name, he served as a member of Fidel Castro's
inner circle and for years served as head of intelligence. Nice work if
you can get it.
While she may miss some of the conveniences in this economically
depressed island, she doesn't miss them enough to move back to the United
"I'm defending the Cuban revolution in the sense that I live here
and I work here," Birdsdall says. "Let's imagine there is no
free speech, no free press...I mean, are people suffering because of this?"
When asked to define herself, Birdsall had some problems.
"I don't know what I am any more," she says. "I'm
a Cuban, I'm an American. I'm a...I don't know...I'm Lorna."
How about "idiot"?
An argument for term limits?
Sen. Robert C. Byrd, the 80-year-old lawmaker from West Virginia who has
spent half his life in the Senate, on May 5, extended his own record by
casting his 15 000th vote.
"I still feel a sense of pride when I walk through those chambers
and stand on the Senate floor," Byrd, a Democrat, said after the
vote on a job training bill. "It never gets old to me."
Byrd entered the Senate in January 1959 and is serving his seventh six-year
term. He became the record-holder for most votes in 1990 at 12,134, and
remains 137 votes ahead of the Senate's other abiding institution, 95-year-old
Republican Strom Thurmond of South Carolina.
Among the things that Byrd has fought during those 15 000 votes was the
line-item veto and the balanced budget amendment. Byrd is also known as
one of the premier porkmeisters in history, bringing massive amounts of
taxpayer dollars from across the United States to his fiefdom.
One reason to like Bill Clinton
If Americans think their government loves taxes, they've got nothing
on Canadian politicians.
Reluctant to give up what could be a huge cash cow, Ottawa is balking
at a U.S. drive to guarantee that Internet and global electronic commerce
remain tax free.
U.S. Trade Representative Charlene Barshefsky said May 5 she has convinced
most major countries not to impose import duties or other taxes on electronic
"We already have a critical mass of countries that agree with the
duty-free cyberspace concept," said Barshefsky. "We virtually
have all heavy Internet user countries."
She added that the U.S. has bilateral agreements with the governments
from which about 96 per cent of Internet traffic now originates.
But Canada is one of the few countries refusing to sign on so far, telling
a trade negotiators' meeting in Geneva in early May it would only consider
a four-year moratorium on taxing Internet transactions, said Ottawa trade
consultant Peter Clark. "The Internet is a huge potential revenue
Ottawa insists it has not yet made up its mind whether it will tax Internet
transactions. So far, only the goods and services tax is levied on Internet
sales at the federal level.
A government-appointed task force recommended in early May that Ottawa
not be tempted to overtax electronic commerce.
But Revenue Minister Herb Dhaliwal said in releasing the report that Ottawa
wants to make sure tax laws are "appropriately applied" to electronic
commerce. "The department wants to ensure the integrity of Canada's
tax base continues to be maintained," he said.
"In trade terms, the Internet is pristine," said Barshefsky.
"There are very few, if any, international restrictions."
She said there are no customs duties on cross-border telephone calls or
fax transmissions or computer data links and so electronic commerce should
also remain duty free.
The U.S. is pushing to have the issue included in what could be the next
round of global trade talks, something else Ottawa is fighting.
An international meeting on electronic commerce is scheduled to be held
in Ottawa in October.
You can ignore the law...if you're the leader of a nation
Internet users who were forced to pay an illegal tax to register
under the top three domains should not expect a refund anytime soon.
Casting aside a federal court ruling that found the fee was illegal,
President Clinton signed into law a bill that will retain the money, approximately
$60 million, in the National Science Foundation's Intellectual Infrastructure
The money, collected by Network Solutions Inc. of Herndon, Va.,
on behalf of NSF, originally had been earmarked by Congress for upgrades
and development to the Next Generation Internet, the faster, more comprehensive
Internet network envisioned for the future.
Roughly $23 million of that funding had been allocated to the
NSF for various Internet projects. But the entire fund was frozen in January
after a Washington lawyer claimed the fund was illegal.
U.S. District Court Judge Thomas F. Hogan agreed.
In his ruling, Hogan found the fees collected from domain name
registrants constituted an illegal tax because it was never approved by
Congress. However, he wrote that while Congress had not yet granted the
NSF authority to collect the fees, it still "retains the power to
ratify the collection."
Clinton walked through that open door on May 1.
"We are pleased that Congress has enacted, and the President
has signed, a bill which enables the NSF to use money collected in the
domain name Internet Intellectual Infrastructure Fund to support Internet-related
activities," said NSF spokeswoman Beth Gaston.
As part of his ruling, Hogan also dismissed nine of the 10 counts
filed in the class-action suit by domain name registrants, including charges
that NSI's deal with the U.S. National Science Foundation gave it an illegal
monopoly over registration of top-level domains.
You have to wonder why they want stuff like this
The Canadian Government is contemplating legislation that would require
mandatory key recovery and/or key escrow on all forms of encryption technology.
Similar to the US Department of Commerce position, Ottawa is considering
strict limitations on the import and export of strong encryption technology.
In late February, the Canadian Task Force on Electronic Commerce, a bureaucracy
mandated to direct the future of Canada's encryption policy, requested
public input on its policy paper "A Cryptography Policy Framework
for Electronic Commerce Building Canada's Information Economy
The paper presents several legislative scenarios being considered by Ottawa.
These range from moderate regulation to extreme restrictions (or outright
bans) on the access, use, development and distribution of unregulated
Canadians and the world can get copies of Pretty Good Privacy
(PGP) here while Canadians and Americans
can download it here.
Get it before its too late.
It's hard to believe that this actually happened in 1998
It seems every month that Enter Stage Right tells you about some
kooky anti-freedom action that Canada's province of Quebec engages in. In
May, one of the most bizarre statist actions took place in the home of language
That month saw Quebec's Registrar of Civil Status announce that it found
Ivory an inappropriate name for a child. The couple received a letter from
the registrar urging them to reconsider because the name went against "Québécois
tradition." The provincial arbiter of names advised Ivory's parents
- Michael Janacek and Kelly Levis - to either reconsider their choice or
Interim registrar Pierre Bouchard suggested the change because he was concerned
the name could eventually make Ivory the target of ridicule.
Levis was told Ivory wasn't acceptable because people will think of soap.
"I didn't name my child after a bar of soap!" said Levis. "The
name just came to us one night and it's a beautiful name."
Quebec maintains a vigilant approach when it comes to names. About 85 000
births are registered each year and, in about 20 of those cases, officials
step in and suggest parents reconsider.
The Quebec Civil Code states that if child's name invites ridicule or threatens
to discredit the child, the Registrar of Civil Status has the right
to suggest the child's name be changed. See what happens when you get people
thinking that society has a right to do something?
As of May 4, Marie Claude Lanoue of the registrar's office said Ivory "has
not been refused yet. We just want more information.
"The registrar is doing his job and if (the parents) convince us, we'll
let it go," she said.
This isn't the first time that La Belle Province has stepped in after it
received word of a name it didn't like. The bureaucrats have previously
put a stop the names Lucifer and Cowboy as first names for children.
Well, the parents of Ivory decided to fight back. They recruited lawyer
Brent Taylor, an outspoken critic of Quebec's separatist government, who
called the name statute "social engineering" and threatened a
On May 6, the registrar's office said it had reconsidered Ivory and decided
it was acceptable.
Three cases have gone to court since 1994, when Quebec's civil code was
amended to give the registrar the power to strike down names "that
invite ridicule or that may discredit the child."
In one case - the child named Spatule - the courts agreed the name must
But the registrar lost court battles over the middle name C'est-un-Ange
(It's an angel) and Tomas. The registrar objected Tomas to because it had
an acute accent over the "a" - a form that doesn't exist in French.
Would you believe that I don't even have to look hard to find
Remember you're paying for this
If the Microsoft antitrust fight is ever set to music, two senators have
It started May 5 on the Senate floor when Sen. Orrin Hatch, a frequent
critic of Microsoft, poked fun at the software company's selection of
music three years ago to release its Windows 95 software, "Start
Me Up" by the Rolling Stones.
Hatch, R-Uta, complained about alleged pressure by Microsoft on computer
makers to publicly support the company and on computer users "increasingly
beholden to Microsoft for software products."
Hatch's suggestion: Microsoft should adopt another Rolling Stones song
for Windows 98, "Under My Thumb."
Republican Sen. Slade Gorton, whose home state of Washington includes
Microsoft's headquarters, didn't let it end there. He fired back later
in the day from the Senate floor, arguing that Microsoft's theme song
might as well be "Satisfaction," and he accused Hatch of listening
too much to "Sympathy for the Devil."
"Microsoft has been satisfying their customers for 20 years, and
that's what they want to continue to do," Gorton said. "To the
senator from Utah and everyone at the Justice Department who wants to
stand between Microsoft and its customers, all I can say is: You can't
always get what you want."
Court upholds firing of man who refused to put flag up
Connecticut's free-speech law does not protect a defense worker who said
he was fired for refusing to display an American flag at his workstation,
the state's second-highest court ruled May 6.
The state Appellate Court ruled that private employees have the right
to speak out on the job on issues of public or social concern, but that
a company policy on flag-waving was not such a concern.
"The issue of whether the employer should have 'expected' the plaintiff
to display a flag may be the subject of a grievance involving a condition
of employment, but it is not a matter of public interest," Judge
Antoinette Dupont wrote.
Gonzalo Cotto sued Stratford-based Sikorsky Aircraft, complaining that
he had been fired in 1992 for refusing to put up the flag during a Gulf
He also claimed he was singled out for speaking publicly against the company
for allegedly pressuring employees to display the flag.
But Sikorsky officials said the company had no policy requiring employees
to display the flag, and that Cotto was fired for creating a disturbance
after employees were asked to display flags at their workstations.
"He threw the American flag on the floor, and he was sent home,"
company spokesman William Tuttle said. "On return to work, he wore
the flag hanging out of his back pocket and used it as a handkerchief."
Cotto's attorneys argued that his firing violated a state law passed in
1983 that expanded free speech rights to private workplaces.
A lower court dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that the state and federal
constitutions do not extend free speech rights to activities "on
private property, against the wishes of the owner ..."
The three-judge appeals panel ruled unanimously to uphold the dismissal
of the lawsuit.
Cotto's attorney said she planned to appeal.
"My position is that you can be a good machinist without being willing
to wave a flag at a workstation or support the particular war going on
at the time," Karen Lee Torre said.
Sikorsky, a division of United Technologies Corp. of Hartford, makes military
helicopters. Over 700 Sikorsky-made helicopters were flown during the
House rejects ban on affirmative action in admissions.
So much for that color blind society dream
Are you sure that a conservative revolution occurred in 1994?
A proposal to ban college admissions preferences based on ethnicity, gender
or race was rejected May 6 in the House after both sides said they were
pushing fairness for students.
The 249-171 vote effectively endorsing a continuation of such affirmative
action programs occurred as Congress moved toward passing a bill covering
federal aid to college students and increasing federal efforts to train
and recruit teachers.
The bill includes provisions guaranteeing a drop in student loan interest
rates and raising the amount needy students may receive in Pell Grants.
The proposed affirmative action ban had the support of House GOP leaders,
who said admission preferences force college officials to discriminate
against other students, for example Asians, who belong to minority groups
not recognized by preferences.
"Whenever public institutions of higher education sort, divide and
classify applicants for admission into racial groups, they send a powerful
and perverse message that we should judge one another on the basis of
race," said Rep. Charles T. Canady, R-Fla.
It was the second vote on affirmative action this year.
In March, the House rejected, 225-194, an amendment to remove contract
set-asides for women and minorities from a transportation spending bill.
The Senate rejected that amendment 58-37.
Among those supporting a continuation of affirmative action in college
admissions Oklahoma Rep. J.C. Watts, the only black Republican in the
House. He signed a letter to colleagues with liberal Rep. John Lewis,
"This is not the time to eliminate the one tool we have -- imperfect
though it may be -- to help level the playing field for many minority
youth," the letter said. Later, black, Latino and female lawmakers
argued that the country has yet to overcome the discrimination that made
The amendment, Lewis said, "is not color blind. It is blind to centuries
of discrimination, it is blind to the racism that is still deeply embedded
in our society, it is blind to the barriers that continue to confront
generation after generation of African-Americans and other minorities."
President Clinton has pledged a veto if the final bill includes the ban,
sponsored by Rep. Frank Riggs, R-Calif. The measure would deny federal
support to public institutions that make admission decisions on the basis
of gender or race.
"I acknowledge that discrimination continues to exist in our society
and that it is morally wrong, but I believe that we will never end discrimination
by practicing it," Riggs said. He said the measure was based on Proposition
209, which California voters approved in November 1996.
The Senate still must pass its version of the bill. After that, House
and Senate negotiators must work out a compromise.
Failed Canadian socialist leader sees human rights erosions
Right-wing governments are reneging on principles signed 50 years ago
in the Declaration of Human Rights, former Canadian politician Ed Broadbent
said May 7.
Broadbent led the neo-socialist federal wing of the New Democrats, never
having brought the party remotely close victory. Broadbent retired at
the beginning of this decade to accept a government job.
An understanding in Canada and Western Europe that government had to take
care of its citizens through universal pensions, health care and unemployment
insurance began to unravel in the early 1980s, he said.
"The principle was accepted by all parties at that time," said
Broadbent, who was appointed the first president of the International
Centre for Human Rights in 1990.
"That's no longer the case. Things began to unwind with social and
economic rights in our part of the world."
Broadbent spoke at a reception honoring Kamloops, British Columbia people
and organization for their contributions to social justice and anti-racism
A new breed of small-C conservative no longer believes government has
a duty to provide for the social and economic well being of its citizens,
he said. But the two principles are a central part of the Universal Declaration
of Human Rights, signed in 1948, three years after the end of the Second
World War. One more reason to get out the U.N. I think.
Conservative governments in the 1940s believed the only way to assure
evil political forces such as Nazism never rose again was to ensure citizens
everywhere "could live with dignity," said Broadbent, who assumed
the J. S. Woodsworth Chair in the department of humanities at Simon Fraser
University last year.
However, the pensions and social programs that ensure that dignity have
been stripped away in the last two decades, encouraging social advocates
to stand against the conservative tide, he said.
Believing in social justice does not mean endorsing handouts, Broadbent
said. Encouraging people who have become dependent on government to work
is right, provided there is a social network to help them.
The thing I find funny about Broadbent is how much of a failure he was
and the collectivist programs that his party inspired. Both are in disrepute,
but being a man of his times, Broadbent just doesn't realize it.
Record number of wiretaps asked for in U.S. in 1997
Law enforcement agents sought a record number of court orders last year
to allow them to secretly listen in on more than 2 million private conversations,
a government wiretap report released in May shows.
The 1 186 wiretap requests approved by federal and state judges in 1997
marked a 3 percent increase over 1996 and surpassed the 1 154 logged in
1994. The total is believed to the highest since Congress in 1968 started
requiring the Administrative Office of the U.S. Courts to compile such
As in past years, the bulk of the wiretap requests -- 73 percent -- were
spurred by narcotics investigations. Other crimes most often cited included
gambling and racketeering.
The telephone wiretap was the most common device used, but other surveillance
tools were authorized as well.
Investigators actually installed 1 094 wiretaps, and each intercepted
an average of 2 081 conversations -- a total of 2.27 million. Only in
1994 were more conversations -- 2.35 million -- subjected to reported
Federal judges authorized 569 wiretaps; state judges 617. The most orders
were issued in New York (304), New Jersey (70) and Florida (57). California,
the nation's most populous state, ranked fifth with 29 authorized requests.
Pennsylvania was fourth with 42.
In all, 23 of the 42 states in which courts can authorize wiretapping
reported at least one such authorization last year.
Under federal law, prosecutors who apply for court permission to install
wiretaps are required to submit reports unless a court order is issued
with the consent of one of the parties whose conversations are to be intercepted.
Clinton dedicates building named after Reagan
A massive new home for thousands of federal workers in the nation's capital
was dedicated on May 5 in honor of President Reagan, who decried big government
during his two terms in office.
And President Clinton, who repeatedly declared "the era of big government
is over" during his 1996 re-election campaign, delivered the honor.
Clinton, joined by former first lady Nancy Reagan and Commerce Secretary
William Daley, officially dedicated the Ronald Reagan Building and International
Trade Center, just a few blocks down Pennsylvania Avenue from the White
The $816 million building bearing Reagan's name is a sprawling mix of
government and private offices surrounding an atrium. The second-largest
government building ever constructed, after the Pentagon, it already houses
5,000 workers and ultimately will accommodate 7,000.
Inside are restaurants, offices, part of Johns Hopkins University and
government agencies, including the Agency for International Development,
the U.S. Customs Service and the Environmental Protection Agency.
Legislation providing for the building was approved by Congress and signed
by Reagan in 1987. That legislation projected a cost of $362 million and
a completion date of 1993. Clinton signed a bill in 1995 naming the building
It is not the only capital area facility named for Reagan. Earlier this
year, the Republican-controlled Congress passed legislation signed by
Clinton that renamed Washington National Airport in suburban Virginia
as Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.
That move angered local officials who say Congress usurped their power.
Most local residents still call the airport by its old name noting that
Reagan fired 11,000 unionized air traffic controllers who went on strike
in 1981 and barred the government from rehiring them. Clinton lifted that
ban in August 1993.
Klein denies Microsoft jihad is political
During a recent Forbes forum Assistant Attorney General Joel Klein denied
that the Justice Department attacks against Microsoft are political in
"The White House didn't know, nobody outside the building knew I
was going to do Microsoft until the very day I filed suit," said
Klein on May 8.
"There was no political pressure brought to bear in the process,"
he said. "The notion that this was a political play is so far removed
Klein said Microsoft's lobbying presence in Washington, which until recently
was relatively small, had nothing to do with the Justice Department's
The real reason behind the Microsoft antitrust suit?
During a weekly press conference on May 14, U.S. Attorney General Janet
Reno admitted that she doesn't know how to use her computer and that she
uses a pencil and piece of paper exclusively.
According to Reno, her problems began in 1993 when she moved from her job
as chief prosecutor in Dade County, Florida to Washington D.C.
"I was doing OK with the office computer in Miami," she told reporters.
"I was getting fairly fluent with it. And then I came to Washington
and had to learn anew. I didn't do a very good job of it.
"...It got so confusing, as to what was on the computer or what wasn't
on the computer, what was on the hard drive, what was on the soft drive,
that it made it easier for me just to do my work with paper and pencil.
"At this moment," Reno said, "I do not have a personal relationship
with a computer."
We'll leave that obvious joke alone.
Memo to politicians: The latest proof tax cuts work -
or Kennedy and Reagan were right
"Last year's capital-gains tax cut is already proving this point.
In January, [the Congressional Budget Office] raised its estimate of annual
capital-gains realizations by an incredible $177 billion. In April alone,
says CBO director June O'Neill, capital-gains taxes exceeded CBO estimates
by about $12 billion. Hmmm: a lower tax rate yields higher tax revenues.
Sound familiar?" -Wall Street Journal's Paul Gigot.
So it finally happened
The U.S. Department of Justice, 20 states and the District of Columbia
filed two separate lawsuits on May 18 charging that Microsoft illegally
has exploited its monopoly power in an effort to gain what Attorney General
Janet Reno called a "chokehold" over Internet commerce, betraying
an apparent lack of knowledge.
The suits both ask a federal court to force Microsoft to either separate
its Internet Explorer browser from the forthcoming Windows 98 operating
system or ship it with a rival browser from Netscape Communications Corp.
"This initial step will begin to enable consumers to have a fair
choice of products that can compete in the marketplace on their own merits,"
said the failure Netscape in a statement. "We believe government
investigators have examined the case thoroughly and would not have brought
action against Microsoft unless their investigations had uncovered serious
violations of the law."
Or had Netscape not whined enough.
Some industry executives were appalled at the prospect that Microsoft
could be forced to distribute a competitor's product.
"What I want to know is why the Department of Justice picked Netscape
Navigator, said Sheldon Laube, chief technology officer of an Internet
services company, USWeb Corp. "Why does Netscape get the Department
of Justice to help them market their product?"
"It makes it look like they (antitrust regulators) are no longer
in the business to protect the consumer," said Rob Enderle, an analyst
with Giga Information Group, a market research firm. "It looks like
they are in the business to protect Netscape."
Funny thing though. Days after the suits were filed, CNN reported
that advance sales of Windows 98 were huge.
"We're forecasting there will be more [copies of] Windows
98 sold in the first six months than there was in the first six months
of the launch of Windows 95. When we look at the penetration of [PCs in]
small businesses and home consumers, it's ... going to surprise a lot
of people," said Channel Marketing president David Goldstein.
A public service announcement. You are responsible for
third world debt
According to England's Guardian at least. In mid-May the English
paper began a campaign to end the third world's foreign debt, stating
that it "...is crippling parts of Africa, Asia and Latin America:
21 million children will die because of debt. Millions more will grow
up unable to read or write as government budgets for health and education
are dwarfed by debt repayments to the West."
So who owns this foreign debt? Why the generous nations of the first world
where you're probably sitting right now reading this, which means that
you are ultimately responsible for this genocidal campaign of
hooking third world countries on this crack-like debt.
"In a special report starting Monday May 11 the Guardian
will explore the inherent instability and injustice of economic globalization
and the enormous human costs," said the Guardian, oblivious
of that crazy objective stuff and revealing their real agenda
According to the Guardian, it isn't the men behind the Hutu and
Tutsi massacres who are responsible for poverty, or men like Laurent Kabila
who run dictatorships disguised as semi-free states. Going back decades,
the many third world nations have not done one iota of work to improve
their nations and move to a free society. But the Guardian says you and
globalization are responsible.
I'll freely admit that the first world doesn't have clean hands when it
comes to some countries in the third world, but guilt-ridden campaigns
like the one the Guardian ran are just another attack on capitalism
and some nation's responsibilities to their citizens and the rest of the
What communism really teaches children
We all know that leftists love to load their pet societal engineering
projects into the curriculum of a nation's courses, but their cousins
the communists are true masters of it. A recently found Khmer Rouge textbook
provided proof of that.
The textbook, innocent enough at first glance, belonged to a schoolgirl
who recently fled the Khmer Rouge's last stronghold at Anlong Veng in
northern Cambodia after fighting broke out between the hard-line leadership
and war-weary mutineers.
The girl, who reportedly only reluctantly parted with her book, lives
in a camp of 7 500 guerrillas and their families who have defected to
the government since March. The worn paperback was one of her sole possessions.
The book offers a rare glimpse into how the Maoist-inspired Khmer Rouge
kept forming new generations of revolutionaries after it was deposed when
Vietnam invaded Cambodia in 1979.
The book's lessons, including a list of words the schoolgirl was expected
to memorize, weren't standard curriculum:
Guerrilla warfare is defined in handwritten print as "a
small attack, an ambush or a mobile attack without any rules."
Treason is defined as "selling out your country."
The prime example given is Cambodian leader Hun Sen, Cambodia's strongman
since the 1980s. Hun Sen and the Khmer Rouge are sworn enemies.
A bamboo spike is a sharp object dipped in poisonous tree sap.
Students learn that piercing someone with the object causes the victim
"to break into convulsions and die."
Other terms to know: infiltrate, detonated mines and ancient
Another chapter in the 120-page book, published in 1994, includes
examples of how to write letters to soldiers battling government troops,
praising them in carefully constructed sentences for their courage and
Wilson vetoes bilingual education
Calling bilingual education a dismal failure, California's governor endorsed
a proposal that would require schools to teach almost exclusively in English
as he rejected an alternate plan.
Gov. Pete Wilson vetoed a bill May 18 that would have let schools in the
nation's most populous state choose how to teach 1.3 million "limited
Under the current system, immigrant children are taught primarily in their
first language, and English is gradually introduced.
The bill from Sen. Dede Alpert, a Democrat, would have allowed school
districts to keep that system, use the "English immersion" technique
advocated by Proposition 227 or develop their own approach.
Wilson, a Republican, instead backed Proposition 227, which is on the
June 2 ballot.
"Bilingual education in California has been a serious failure,"
Wilson wrote. "(Alpert's bill) fails to provide much hope of improvement."
Alpert criticized Proposition 227 for imposing a one-size-fits-all solution
for California, where schools recognize 55 languages and even more dialects
are spoken on playgrounds and in cafeterias.
"This veto is simply shortsighted," she said. "Yes, some
of these children will survive academically, and anecdotal evidence will
be that one or two may even excel. But too many will fall hopelessly,
and unnecessarily, behind their classmates."
The backers of Proposition 227 were less than thrilled to have Wilson's
Wilson alienated many immigrants with his support of Proposition 187,
a 1994 ballot measure denying most social services to illegal immigrants.
In contrast, recent polls find Proposition 227 is supported by about half
of the Latino households surveyed.
"It is very unfortunate that the governor has chosen to endorse our
initiative," said Ron Unz, author of Proposition 227 who unsuccessfully
sought the GOP nomination for governor in 1994.
Alpert's bill would have been largely superseded by Proposition 227, if
it is approved. But if Proposition 227 were challenged in court and suspended,
the bill would have taken effect.
National symbol "Smokey Bear" sold to hawk Japanese
autos, in violation of law
From the National Centre for Public Policy Research.
A deal brokered by the National Forest Foundation that would permit
the Japanese automaker Subaru to use Smokey Bear (also known as "Smokey
the Bear") to sell one of its new products not only violates federal
statute, but raises serious questions about U.S. Forest Service management,
according to The National Center for Public Policy Research. It also raises
the question, the group says, as to whether or not independent organizations
are being permitted to set Forest Service policy.
The National Forest Foundation (NFF) is a private foundation set
up by the U.S. Forest Service to help solicit private sector donations
in support of Forest Service conservation programs. As a private entity,
it does not have the authority to make commitments for the U.S. government.
Nonetheless, the NFF signed an agreement with Subaru that commits Smokey
Bear to attend 10 auto shows, the primary purpose of which is to promote
sales of Subaru's new "Forester" Sports Utility Vehicle. In
return, the NFF received $25,000, the use of 30 sports utility vehicles
for two years and the promise of $150 for every Forester vehicle purchased
by a NFF member.
But the Smokey Bear trademark was removed from the public domain
in 1952 (PL 82-359). A subsequent amendment to the law in 1974 (PL 93-318)
gave the Secretary of Agriculture the authority to protect the symbol
of Smokey Bear for fire protection. Forest Service regulations make the
limits on the use of Smokey Bear even more explicit. According to Title
36 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Section 271.4, "The Chief
[of the Forest Service] may authorize the commercial manufacture, importation,
reproduction, or use of 'Smokey Bear,'" but only if the use of Smokey
"shall contribute to public information concerning the prevention
of forest fires" and "does not in any way detract from"
Smokey's status as the symbol of forest fire prevention. Participating
in auto shows and selling automobiles would violate these restrictions.
"By allowing the National Forest Foundation to lease Smokey
to Subaru, the Forest Service has permitted an independent foundation
without direct accountability to the U.S. taxpayer to determine how a
government resource will be used," said David Ridenour, Vice President
of The National Center for Public Policy Research. "One wonders what
other taxpayer resources and what other policy decisions the Forest Service
has surrendered to outside groups."
The NFF also agreed apparently on behalf of the Forest Service
that the 30 Forester SUVs would be used, complete with U.S. Forest Service
shields, in high profile areas of the nation's National Forests.
The National Center for Public Policy Research protested the sale
at the House Resources Committee beginning on May 13. National Center
activists, one donning a bear costume with a "Sold" sign affixed,
distributed press materials outside the hearing.
Did you hear anything in the media about it?
New England Journal of Medicine urges making hay off school
From Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership.
Jews For The Preservation of Firearms Ownership came out swinging
after once again the New England Journal of Medicine (NEJM) has shown
its extreme bias against the individual right to keep and bear arms. The
lead editorial in the May 7, 1998 issue of NEJM (pp. 1375-76) openly called
for "gun control" advocates to "try to make political hay
out of the Jonesboro shooting."
The author, Jerome P. Kassirer, M.D., editor of NEJM, urged that
"it is time to eliminate semiautomatic firearms from private homes."
Why? Because of the "unmistakable role of [semi automatic] firearms"
in the Jonesboro murders. After listing and summarily dismissing a multitude
of other factors which could have contributed to the boys' shooting their
classmates, Kassirer wrote: "Though we may never know precisely why
the boys did what they did, we certainly know how."
After explaining how the boys burglarized homes and stole weapons,
methodically planted themselves in a position to kill efficiently, and
used telescopic sights to assure accurate shooting, Kassirer concluded:
"Given these facts, how can anyone accept the contorted logic that
lawful arms ownership has nothing to do with this tragedy, or that this
is not a gun issue? The vast array of powerful firearms available to the
boys is remarkable.... Would so many people be dead if such lethal weapons
had not been [available to steal]?"
Disregard that Kassirer's conclusion does not follow from the
facts. Disregard that the young killers committed several serious felonies
before they ever started shooting people. Disregard that the killers were
not lawfully possessing firearms at the time.
Consider instead how Kassirer's logic applies to three other heinous
murders that occurred in Daly City, California, the day before the Jonesboro
incident. Megan K. Hogg, 25, methodically bound the hands and faces of
her three children, aged 7, 3, and 2 years, using duct tape. The police
reported that "she did them one at a time. She took them into the
bedroom, suffocated them and came back and got the next one." (Associated
Press story, 3/24/98)
In spite of all of the evidence that Ms. Hogg was either psychotic
or that she committed intentional, premeditated murder, Kassirer would
have to say: "Given these facts, how can anyone accept the contorted
logic that lawful duct tape ownership has nothing to do with this tragedy,
or that this is not a duct tape issue? The vast array of powerful duct
tape available to Ms. Hogg is remarkable.... Would so many people be dead
if such lethal weapons had not been readily available at any hardware
Apparently not content with one logical embarrassment, Kassirer's
editorial actually blames the Waco massacre on the "large stashes
of firearms ... [that] were found at Waco." (Piles of hidden guns
forced government agents to smash the building and gas the people inside?)
The Oklahoma City bombing would not have occurred, he says, except that
money obtained from the sale of stolen weapons was used to fund the bomb.
The editorial proceeds also to call for registering all firearms and for
banning weapons with "large ammunition clips" which have been
modified to have a "sporting appearance." (And we thought the
law banned guns that lacked a "sporting purpose.")
Kassirer defines "a dangerous arsenal" as "a single
semiautomatic weapon left loaded, unlocked, and accessible." One
gun is an arsenal. Then he asks the rhetorical question: "Does anyone
need to have a private arsenal of high-powered weapons?" He answers
NO to that question, because such weapons "are of no value for hunting,"
their "use for target practice seems dispensable," and they
"are certainly not needed for protection against crime."
Kassirer, of course, is wrong on all three counts, but that doesn't
really matter. The right to keep and bear arms helps people defend against
the mega-killers: tyranny and genocide. Kassirer predictably ignored that
factor - - but then again, he would ban duct tape.
Hong Kong votes for democracy, gets continued tyranny
Critics of communist China dominated Hong Kong's first post-handover
election, final results showed May 25. The Democratic Party, led by Martin
Lee, pledged to use the outcome to press Beijing for more democracy, both
in Hong Kong and mainland China.
But only a third of the 60 seats in the Legislative Council are elected
by popular vote, so the pro-democracy legislators will be in the minority.
Lee, who was kicked out of the assembly by China's communist rulers, won
back his seat. So did other outspoken pro-democracy advocates such as
Emily Lau and Christine Loh.
Beijing booted them from the legislature last July 1, just hours after
Britain returned its colony to China. Beijing named a provisional legislature,
which quickly passed a voting law to ensure the democratic camp would
be a minority after Sunday's election.
"Hong Kong people want democracy and they want it now, and we see
absolutely no reason ... why the government should delay the democratic
process," said Lee.
Forty of the 60 seats in the legislature were chosen in elections by professions
in which fewer than 140 000 people were eligible to vote, and by an 800-member
election committee. Those two tiers ensured that a pro-Beijing business
and professional elite would retain control.
Of those 40 seats, five went to pro-democracy candidates and the remaining
35 went to pro-China politicians.
In a theme he is sure to hone in on in coming months, Lee called for direct
elections for all 60 seats in the next legislative election in 2000 and
for Tung's chief executive post in 2002.
More than 1.48 million people, 53 per cent of registered voters, cast
ballots in the direct part of the election for 20 seats.
That was above the previous record of 920 500 voters, or 35.8 per cent,
in the final election under British rule in 1995.
Union mob attacks seniors' home under construction...Ayn
Rand was right
A group of non-union construction workers watched helplessly as more than
40 people tore apart a seniors' home under construction in Kleinburg,
"They just went on like fleas, ripping off the drywall with pipes
and cutting the wires with pliers," said witness Tony Fiorini. "I
was really shaken."
Police were called to the two-hectare site in the Islington Ave. and Nashville
Rd. area in Kleinburg the morning of May 25 as a mob, allegedly from a
striking drywallers' union, caused more than C$50 000 in property damage.
Some 2 000 drywallers, belonging to the United Brotherhood of Carpenters-Drywall
Acoustic Local 675, went on strike May 1 over wages.
"(The vandals) just stormed the place, tearing down everything they
could reach. There's little we could do," said Fiorini, president
of Kleinburg Rotary Non-profit Housing Corporation, the sponsor of the
35-unit project which was to have been completed by the end of July.
During the 30-minute rampage, security guard Gus Athana handcuffed two
of the vandals and brought them back to an on-site trailer.
"Fifteen of them just swarmed the (six-metre) trailer and started
shaking it," said Athana, who started his first day at the site May
"At one point, the trailer was moving a few feet off the ground and
they stuck braces from scaffolding through the windows," said the
The two men in custody were finally freed and they fled in handcuffs along
with others in 12 vans and Jeeps parked on both sides of Islington Ave.,
Site superintendent Ed Ross said three men visited the site last May 23
complaining that the developer had hired a non-union company and threatening
to set up a picket line the week of the mob attack.
"At no time, (were we) told to stop the work to support the union,"
Police said there have been similar occurrences in Markham, Newmarket,
Barrie and other parts of Greater Toronto in the last few weeks.
John Lewis, business manager and general counsel for the union, declined
to comment, except to say the incident "wouldn't surprise me. Some
people may take it on their own volition to take action."
Fiorini said all of his six non-union drywallers left him the day of the
mob assault, fearing repercussions.
"We still have all this drywall to fix and replace and I think it's
going to take us another month (until August) to finish this project,"
said Fiorini, adding two more guards and dogs have been brought in.
Now this wasn't the only incident by the union. And two of three men charged
after a near-completed house in Durham Region was trashed May 26 for the
third time in six days are top officials in the union.
A mob of 80 men wielded pickaxes, hammers and hatchets and caused $10
000 damage to a nearly completed house on Sagewood Ave. in Courtice. The
home was being built by a non-union crew.
Also on May 26, about 50 men caused $6 000 damage at a subdivision site
Clinton urges businesses to hire from welfare rolls
On the first anniversary of his administration's welfare-to-work initiative,
President Bill Clinton once again called on businesses to hire more people
from the welfare rolls.
"The Welfare to Work Partnership was based on the simple premise
that now that we have passed the welfare reform law, which required all
able-bodied people who could work to work, we had a moral obligation as
a society to provide a job to all those people who were about to lose
their guaranteed benefits for idleness," Clinton said May 27 in the
White House's East Room.
"Today, there are fewer than nine million people on welfare -- 3.3
percent of the population -- the lowest percentage of the population on
welfare since 1969," Clinton said, but he urged American businesses
to help improve those statistics by hiring more.
"First, we have to find more private-sector jobs," Clinton said.
"I would like to ask the Welfare To Work Partnership in 1998 to double
the number of people they hire and to double the number of companies that
Once again Clinton shows his true colors as a statist, arguing that society
has a moral obligation to the less fortunate, that jobs are a right. The
sad thing is that this so-called welfare to work program was largely a
Conservative's conservative passes away
Republican conservative patriarch Barry Goldwater, a former Arizona senator
and presidential candidate, died May 29 at age 89, his wife said.
"He is soaring," KTAR-AM Radio in Phoenix quoted Goldwater's
wife, Susan, as saying in announcing his death.
"Mr. Republican" to many in the GOP, Barry Goldwater was "a
conservative's conservative." Outspoken and earthy, he was never
afraid to call things as he saw them.
Goldwater was first elected to the Senate from Arizona in 1952. Twelve
years later, he was ready for bigger things, becoming his party's candidate
for president 1964.
During the campaign he was accused by Democrats of extremism. Goldwater's
response? "Extremism in defense of freedom is not a vice. Extremism
in the defense of liberty is a virtue."
On Vietnam, Goldwater called on Lyndon Johnson to do what was necessary
to win. Appearing on CNN's "Larry King Live" 25 years later,
his feelings about the war had not changed. "I'd rather kill alot
of North Vietnamese than one American and we've lost enough of them,"
In his bid for the White House Goldwater lost nearly every state. He blamed
the defeat on a nation still shocked by the assassination of John Kennedy.
Nevertheless, in 1968, Arizonans sent Goldwater back to the Senate where
he was a strong supporter of Richard Nixon's first five years as president.
But Watergate left Goldwater disillusioned.
He would later call Nixon the most dishonest men he ever met.
It took Ronald Reagan's election for Goldwater to see many of his ideas
become law, including tax reform and government deregulation.
Goldwater retired in 1986 to write his autobiography and work as a news
Republican calls on Clinton, Gore to release Kyoto papers
Republican National Committee Chairman Jim Nicholson called on
Bill Clinton and Al Gore to "stop stonewalling" the release
of internal documents that discuss the devastating economic impact of
their proposed "Global Warming" treaty.
"The Clinton/Gore White House once again is putting personal
political gain ahead of the interests of the people they were hired to
serve,"Nicholson said. "Gore, following orders from environmental
extremists, negotiated a global warming treaty last December that apparently
even his own advisors say will be a job killer. And it wouldn't even help
improve the environment."
Top administration officials, who testified before the House International
Relations Committee yesterday, attempted to downplay the economic impact
of the sharp energy cuts required by Al Gore's Kyoto Treaty. When pressed
by members of the committee, they refused to release internal documents
that show many of Clinton/Gore's economic advisers believe the treaty
will cause substantial job losses, slow economic growth and cut into America's
"Most economists say Gore's treaty will lead to big hikes
in gas, heating oil and food prices and cost millions of American jobs.
Now White House advisors are refusing to let the American people see the
economic models and other materials requested by a bi-partisan delegation
from Congress," Nicholson said. "Clinton/Gore should stop stonewalling
and tell the American people the truth."
Nicholson noted that the highly respected, non-partisan Wharton
Econometric Forecasting Associates (WEFA, Inc.) says under Gore's treaty
gas prices would skyrocket 50 cents a gallon, family energy bills will
go up $440 and every man, woman and child will have to fork over an extra
$308 a year.
Legislators also pointed out that Gore's treaty would cause the
U.S. pain even though the administration itself says the treaty would
do almost nothing to slow the buildup of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere
as long as it exempts developing countries. Furthermore, only 19 per cent
of members of the American Meteorological Society and the American Geophysical
Union say 'greenhouse gasses' are overheating the planet.
Court strikes down a prevalent union political dues collection
The United States Supreme Court ruled 7-2 May 26 in a critical
National Right to Work Foundation-led case that halts organized labor's
widespread practice of forcing employees into union- dominated "arbitration"
proceedings. These proceedings are used to thwart employee objections
to compulsory union dues demands.
The sweeping worker victory in Air Line Pilots Association (ALPA)
v. Miller, applies to millions of public and private workers who until
now have been unprotected against this union scheme.
The Court's decision stated, "The (union's) interest does
not overwhelm (workers') resistance to arbitration to which they did not
consent, and their election to proceed immediately to court for adjudication
of their federal rights."
Under Foundation-won Supreme Court precedents like Communications
Workers v. Beck, workers have the right to reclaim all dues not used for
collective bargaining purposes. But in these so-called "arbitrations,"
experience shows that unions' calculations of the objectionable amount
are generally rubber- stamped.
"In order to protect their political-spending racket, union
officials have created an array of obstacles which workers must overcome
before they can reclaim their compulsory dues which are used for politics,"
said Foundation President Reed Larson. "One of their favorite tactics
has been forcing teachers and workers into phony union 'arbitrations'
which are nothing more than kangaroo courts."
Last year, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia
Circuit struck down the use of mandatory "arbitration" proceedings
to thwart employees' compulsory union dues challenges. Foundation attorneys
won the appeal on behalf of 150 Delta pilots who objected to the union's
computation of how it spends their compulsory union dues for non-bargaining
activities, including politics.
This precedent-setting Supreme Court opinion in ALPA v. Miller
rejects attempts by ALPA union officials to bar the pilots from access
to federal court by forcing them to exhaust internal union proceedings
-- to which the nonunion pilots never agreed -- presided over by union-paid
"arbitrators" hand-picked from the ranks of the American Arbitration
The giant AFL-CIO and the National Education Association (NEA)
labor union teamed up with ALPA union against the 150 Delta Air Lines
pilots in this crucial case which directly attacks the illegal collection
of forced union fees.
"This victory in Miller directly impacts the AFL-CIO's massive
forced- dues-for-politics machine," said Larson. "That's what
union power brokers across the country fear the most."
Participate in Julian Simon memorial service
A Free-Market.Net bulletin
Back in February, when the great libertarian scholar Julian L.
Simon passed away, a number of people asked how they could send condolences
to his family, or if there was anything else they could do to honor his
Here in Chicago, we [Free-Market.Net - ed.] are co-hosting
a memorial service with The Heartland Institute on June 10. But for all
of you who aren't in Chicago, you are invited to participate in the memorial
Please come post a few words in the Remembering Julian Simon Forum.
The more people who post their comments, the more fitting a memorial it
will be. These postings will be available to Rita Simon and the others
gathered in his memory on June 10, and they'll be available on the Web
pages for everyone to see. This forum is not just for people who knew
Julian Simon personally -- if you appreciate what he accomplished, let
the world know this.
Go directly to the forum at: http://www.free-market.net/forums/simon9806/
The forum doesn't require any registration or special software.
Just click over and leave a few words of remembrance.
If you are not already familiar with his work, or want to be reminded
of his significant and continuing impact, there is also a Remembering
Julian Simon home page at: http://www.free-market.net/features/heartland/simon.html
The home page has links to Julian Simon resources online -- e-texts,
tributes, interviews, home pages, etc., including audio clips of Simon
Unions outspend paycheck protection groups 9-to-1
Financial disclosure reports submitted to the California Secretary of
State¹s office by the campaigns both for and against Proposition 226 show
opponents of the paycheck protection ballot initiative were outspent supporters
by a margin of more than 9 to 1.
Opponents of Proposition 226, comprised mainly of labor unions that see
the initiative as a threat to their continued use of mandatory union dues
for political activity, reported spending $19.3 million two weeks before
the vote. Supporters of Proposition 226, on the other hand, reported expenditures
of only $2.1 million.
Much of the money paying for the opposition campaign came from the political
accounts of labor unions at the state and national level, some even coming
from special dues assessments earmarked specifically for the campaign.
Canadian gun control is no less stupid then American
Just to prove that Canada has its own anti-gun law loving politicians,
here's an update about Bill C-68, a Canadian law which will force the
registration of all (legal) firearms in the country creating a central
database of who owns what.
The law, which comes into effect on October 1, 1998, is already C$40 million
over budget. Originally slated to cost $85 million, the central registry
is has already reached $130 million with one even one firearm being registered!
Critics have pegged the cost of registering Canada's estimated seven million
rifles and shotguns at over $1 billion.
Does this concern the federal government? Truth is hardly one its strongest
points. Recently Royal Canadian Mounted Police Commissioner Philip Murray
criticized the Department of Justice for grossly inflating gun crime statistics.
In a letter, Murray stated that in 1993 the RCMP investigated 88 162 crimes,
among which 73 involved the use of firearms. That translates into .08
per cent of crimes investigated by the RCMP involving firearms.
But the Department of Justice decided to count guns seized or recovered
(but unrelated to the actual crime), and inflated that 73 to over 600
incidents, and then using those bloated statistics to sway public opinion
and help make C-68 the law. Those same numbers were used by the federal
government during a legal challenge to C-68 heard in the Alberta Supreme
Court last fall.
So do we need this law? According to recent numbers, the number of police
is dropping across Canada. Rather then spending money to insure the safety
of Canadians, the federal government is using taxpayer dollars to register
legal gun owners.
Yup, Canadian politicians sound remarkably like their American counterparts.