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Bush packs US federal courts with right-wing ideologues

By Patrick Martin, 30 June 2003

Largely shielded from public attention by the war in Iraq and its aftermath, the Bush administration is pushing ahead with plans to pack the federal judiciary with extreme right-wing nominees. It aims to consolidate a sweeping legal retrogression, shredding the gains in democratic rights made in the 1950s and 1960s in such landmark decisions as Brown v. Board of Education, Roe v. Wade, the Miranda case and those cases establishing the principles of one-man, one-vote and the right of poor defendants to government-paid legal counsel.

El imperialismo en Iraq: lecciones del pasado

30 June 2003

WSWS : Español

Letters to the WSWS

30 June 2003

Below we post a selection of recent letters to the World Socialist Web Site.

SARS reveals public health breakdown in Taiwan

By John Chan, 30 June 2003

Although the World Health Organisation (WHO) lifted its SARS (serious acute respiratory syndrome) travel advisory on Taiwan on June 17, the island’s people are still bearing the cost of an epidemic that resulted directly from the erosion of conditions in the public health system. By mid-June, 698 people, many of them medical personnel, had been infected and 83 had died.

The politics of US Medicare “reform”: cynicism, cowardice and social reaction

By Kate Randall, 30 June 2003

Only the incurably naïve could believe that the most reactionary administration in American history, and a Congress controlled by a party that has opposed Medicare from its inception, have suddenly embraced a huge expansion of the federal program that pays for medical care for the elderly and disabled. Yet that is the picture being presented by the American media, which has largely hailed Friday’s passage by the House and Senate of conflicting bills establishing a limited prescription drug benefit under Medicare.

Washington presses India to send troops to Iraq

By K. Ratnayake, 30 June 2003

India is under pressure from the Bush administration to make a substantial commitment of troops to assist in shoring up the US occupation of Iraq. As US troops come under hostile fire, Washington is eager for other countries to join the so-called stabilisation force in Iraq, both to bear the burden of suppressing the growing resistance and to provide a veneer of international support.

France: Court dismisses charges in tainted blood scandal

By Alex Lefebvre, 28 June 2003

On June 18, France’s highest appeals court sustained a decision to dismiss for lack of evidence the trials of all those accused in a scandal involving the distribution of AIDS-contaminated blood to the French public. The ruling by the Court of Cassation put the finishing touches on the official cover-up of one of the most horrifying crimes of the Socialist Party (PS) government that ruled France in the early 1980s. The politically explosive character of the case stemmed not only from the justified outrage of the victims’ families, but also from the fact that the highest levels of the political and business elite were implicated in this social crime.

Ireland: Ulster Unionist Party could split

By Steve James, 28 June 2003

David Trimble, leader of the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) and First Minister of the suspended Northern Ireland Assembly, narrowly won a majority in his own party to avoid a rejection of the April 2003 Joint Declaration of the British and Irish governments. At a special June 16 meeting of the party’s leading body, the 860-strong Ulster Unionist Council (UUC), Trimble defeated his long-standing opponent Jeffrey Donaldson by 54 to 46 percent.

New formula to further cut financial aid for US college students

By Joseph Kay, 28 June 2003

A change in how the US federal government determines financial need will have serious consequences for the amount of aid made available to college students. The little-noted alteration occurs as public and private institutions are sharply increasing tuition across the country, further restricting access to higher education for all but the more wealthy sections of the population.

Quebec: Liberal budget initiates new anti-working class offensive

By Guy Charron, 28 June 2003

In the name of “reinventing the state,” Quebec’s two month-old Liberal government has launched a new drive to slash public and social services, gut labor and environmental standards and dramatically cut the taxes of the rich and super-rich.