U.S. Government

Appealing to Feelings

Until recently, the U.S. government rarely included any emotional content in its press materials, knowing that public relations that pander to emotions are often dismissed as propaganda. But the State Department's newest venture, a Web-based pictorial documenting life in New York City three months after the attacks, is unabashedly sentimental.


The Saudi Connection

Previous Spin of the Day postings have discussed the Bush administration's backdoor ties to Saudi Arabia through the Carlyle Group. Now the Boston Herald has picked up the story, with a two-part series that reports, "A steady stream of billion-dollar oil and arms deals between American corporate leaders and the elite of Saudi Arabia may be hindering efforts by the West to defeat international Islamic terrorism." Terrorism suspects have been arrested in more than 40 countries since Sept.


Muslims and the West

As the endgame approaches in the war against Osama bin Laden, Pakistani professor Pervez Hoodbhoy has written a thoughtful essay, published in two installments, which ponders the next steps that must be taken. "If the world is to be spared what future historians may call the 'Century of Terror,' we will have to chart the perilous course between the Scylla of American imperial arrogance and the Charybdis of Islamic religious fanaticism," he writes.


The War For Public Opinion

"In 1922, social critic Walter Lippmann wrote, 'Decisions in modern states tend to be made by the interaction, not of Congress and the executive, but of public opinion and the executive.' Never has this been truer than in the war on terrorism," writes Alternet senior editor Tamara Straus. "The Bush administration has justified its bombing campaign against Afghanistan not with a Congressional declaration of war, but with polls indicating that close to 90 percent of Americans want military action.


Ashcroft's Attack on Dissent

In his appearance before the Senate Judiciary Committee last Thursday, Attorney General John Ashcroft argued that critics of the Bush administration's domestic anti-terrorism measures "only aid terrorists." The next day, Justice Department spokeswoman Mindy Tucker told journalists that they had mischaracterized Ashcroft's statements and, in doing so, "became a part of the exact problem he was describing." Such statements by a leading public official and a prominent spokesperson for the administration constitute an attempt to shut down rational debate over the administration's policies by as


Lobbyist Tells of Graham's War on Health & Safety Regs

John D. Graham founded the industry-funded Harvard Center for Risk Analysis that last week issued a whitewash report on mad cow risks in the US. Now Graham has a new government post at the Office of Management and Budget where he is leading the Bush administration's assault on environmental, health and safety regulations. The secret plotting between business lobbyists and Graham has even angered a lobbyist who leaked information to the Washington Post. The documents "provide another glimpse of behind-the-scenes strategy-setting by business lobbyists" such as the U.S.


Bush and the Bin Ladens

On September 28, The Wall Street Journal published a story titled "Bin Laden Family Could Profit From a Jump In Defense Spending Due to Ties to U.S. Bank." The story touched on the relationship between President Bush and family members of Osama Bin Laden through the Bin Ladens' investments in the Carlyle Group, which employs George Bush Sr. and other prominent Republicans.


Same Questions, Same Answers

President Bush has displayed a phenomenal memory: he has now learnt by rote entire sentences and phrases which he repeats endlessly. But the great wonder is that every word spoken by him about the war or Osama bin Laden or Al Qaeda is greeted by analysts as adding something significant to the course of events. The more cliched the president sounds, the greater the zeal of commentators to dissect his words and hold intensive discussions about the president's thoughts.


Russia Checkmated Its New Best Friend

When Pakistan ditched its ally, the Taliban, in September, and sided with the U.S., Islamabad and Washington fully expected to implant a pro-American regime in Kabul and open the way for the Pakistani-American pipeline. But, while the Bush administration was busy tearing apart Afghanistan to find Bin Laden, it failed to notice that the Russians were taking over half the country.The Russians achieved this victory through their proxy--the Northern Alliance. Moscow, which has sustained the alliance since 1990, rearmed it after Sept.



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