By Alex Distefano
By Scott Snowden
By Anna Merlan
By Steve Almond
By Jena Ardell
By Jon Campbell
By Alan Scherstuhl
By Tessa Stuart
Most other states have adopted language developed by the insurance industry that allows terrorism exclusions if property damage from an incident of terrorism exceeds $25 million or if the incident involves biological, chemical, or radioactive materials, according to the National Association of Independent Insurers. This raises the question whether a person receiving an anthrax-contaminated letter in the mail would be excluded from home-owners coverage.
The Bush administration is borrowing a tactic long employed by the religious right in an effort to change environmental policies it doesn't like. This involves less of an attack on the policy itself, but more on the science that underpins it. Last week the Natural Resources Defense Council made public a memo from ExxonMobil to Bush, written in the early days of the administration, laying out a game plan for getting rid of government scientists raising alarms over global warming.
The main target of the oil company's attack then and now is Robert Watson, who has been chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) since 1996. This 2500-member group, under UN auspices, provides governments around the world with information issued in consensus and widely respected as authoritative when it comes to global warming. Its third comprehensive assessment of climate science, issued last year, said, "There is new and stronger evidence that most of the warming observed over the last 50 years is attributable to human activities," and predicted that temperatures around the world would rise from 3 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century.
These conclusions were confirmed last spring at the request of the White House. But so what? In a memo dated February 6, 2001, the environmental lobbyist in ExxonMobil's Washington office referred to Watson as being "handpicked by Al Gore," along with three other Gore adherents promoting their own "aggressive agendas" in reaching an assessment "driven by a political schedule to help the Gore campaign." Under "Recommendations," ExxonMobil urged the Bush administration to "restructure the U.S. attendance at upcoming IPCC meetings to assure none of the Clinton/Gore proponents are involved in any decisional activities." And get rid of Watson. Last week the coal and electric utilities industries, along with the automakers, all called on Bush to get rid of Watson.
Always ready to grab a headline, the white-power crowd wants to cash in on the Palestinian women suicide bombers. A statement posted on the Aryan Nations Web site last week by the group's Pennsylvania state officer, Joshua Caleb Sutter, warned that unless the U.S. stops providing support to Israel and lays off Saddam Hussein, we may see a rash of suicide bombings in the U.S. "Is there a price to be paid for our inaction?" he asked. "Will it be your son or daughter next who is the suicide bombernot in the distant land of Palestine, but here on American soil? Will the sons and daughters of YHVH God be joining with the zealous soldiers of Mohammed, rising up in righteous indignation? Will the Phineas Priests and Phineas Priestesses begin awaking all over this country" to carry out vengeance?
While the far right in recent years has concentrated on small underground cells to carry out its revolution, there has been a growing tendency for its adherents to act as lone figures in carrying out the white revolution. These lone attackers have gone after abortion clinics, Jewish temples, and anything else they don't like. Eric Rudolph, wanted in a North Carolina abortion clinic death and for the bombing of the Atlanta Olympics, is arguably in the Phineas priest tradition, based on a Bible story in which Phineas rose up and slew a mud person (i.e., a Jew or person of color) whom he caught screwing a white woman. However, no one has ever suggested that anyone on the far right has the guts to be a suicide bomber.