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ISSUE 168 TABLE OF CONTENTS

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Embarrassed U.S. Starts to Disown Basra Operation

Analysis by Gareth Porter As it became clear last week that the "Operation Knights Assault" in Basra was in serious trouble, the Bush administration began to claim in off-the-record statements to journalists that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had launched the operation without consulting Washington


Iraq Backs Down in Confrontation With Sunni Militia

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail The Sahwa accused government security forces of carrying out further attacks against Sunni people in and around Baqouba. Sahwa forces then cut all ties with government and occupation forces, and left their security posts. But after March 1, the provincial government seems to have agreed to many of the demands made by the Sahwa. This development shows the increasing power the Sunni group has against the Shia-dominated government


China Lashes out at Olympic Torch Protesters

Analysis by Antoaneta Bezlova Televised scenes of aggressive protests that have accompanied the Olympic torch relay in Paris have sparked an outrage among Chinese bloggers and people on Internet forums. While the relay had attracted anti-China protests in London and San Francisco too, the chaotic scenes in Paris where pro-Tibet demonstrators were seen attempting to grab the flame from Paralympic fencer Jin Jing had inflamed the biggest anger


Hillary's Ball and Chain

by Alexander Cockburn These past few months have been bad for Bill Clinton, disclosing him as a corrupt lobbyist for top-tier scum, including President Alvaro Uribe's blood-sodden gang of butchers in Colombia. His capacity for serial lying continues at full stretch. Furthermore, he cannot stop opening his mouth, each time dropping his wife another couple of feet through the trapdoor of public disesteem


Again the Brits Get an "F" in Technology

by Alexander Cockburn In the case of T5, the planners had forgotten to create parking spaces for the baggage handlers. When the handlers finally got to the doors of T5, their security passes didn't work. The few that managed to get through didn't know where their workstations were. The baggage handling software had already failed. My two bags I had complacently supposed were being whirled at tremendous speed to the Boeing 747 at Gate 38 in Terminal B had in fact joined a vast logjam in the center of the baggage maze. Everything came to a standstill


Rev. Wright a Breath of Fresh Air

by Alexander Cockburn People have puzzled about Wright's timing, which from Obama's point of view could not have been worse. I'd bet that there was no plan. In the press club, Wright felt the wind at his back and gave the folks his basic sermon. It's the way he is, and 95 percent of it makes total sense and is a breath of fresh air, as Wright ushers the Real America onto the stage, as opposed to the political candidates' flattering fictions


C'est Terrible

by Alexander Cockburn President Nicolas Sarkozy, derided by the French as a lightweight, rushed off at the end of March to launch Le Terrible, the fourth in France's fourth generation of such submarines. Thus he seizes the torch of 'massive retaliation' from his predecessor, Jacques Chirac, who said that a state-terrorist onslaught on France or even the EU might require a nuclear missile lobbed into the perp's presumptive backyard, wherever that might be. Le Terrible is itself powered by a nuclear reactor, and the range of its 16 missiles, each armed with three warheads, is just under 5,000 miles, so M'sieu Ahmadinejad had better watch his tongue, otherwise it might be Teheran frappe


Israeli Soldiers Targeted Slain Reuters Photographer, Witnesses Say

by Mohammed Omer Fadel Shana was among many journalists and photographers who had come to film the children and civilians injured by earlier Israeli air strikes and tank shelling. At least 20 Palestinians have been killed since dawn on Wednesday, among them Fadel and eight children. Abu Mezyed said that after filming some children, Fadel turned to film Israeli tanks. That was when a tank immediately fired a missile in his direction, killing him


Real Clear Numbers: 101,000 U.S. Casualties a Year

by Alexander Cockburn Here's how the figures add up, just for Americans. The wars in Afghanistan and Iraq have thus far produced 300,000 psychological casualties, 320,000 brain injury casualties, plus 35,000 (probably understated) officially reported 'normal' casualties. This adds up to 655,000 U.S. casualties in Iraq and Afghanistan, an average of just under 101,000 Americans killed or wounded every year since the wars began


European Mountain Top Vanishes

by Julio Godoy The peak of the Stubai Mountains in the Austrian Alps has vanished. It was around a couple of months back, but since then no one can say exactly when it disappeared. Similar phenomena are occurring in other Alpine regions, but also in Alaska, Canada, Norway, Russia and the South Pole, Heissel said


Wright and the Right

by Steve Young The fact is, the Wright story has not gone away, and if the right has anything to do with it, it will continue to ride with the fury of a runaway swift boat through November 4. And unless the left starts rocking soon, they will be rolled right into four more years of George W. Bush...in the guise of John 'Thank You Jeremiah, Sean, Rush, BillO, Fox' McCain


Bill USO'Reilly Picks His Patriots

by Steve Young Once again, Bill O’Reilly used his weekly column to skewer Hollywood for not visiting our troops nor making the kind of movies the Folks want


It's Not Politics Anymore - It's Sport

by Steve Young The royalty of right wing talk radio figured out quite a while ago that politics is not political. It's sport. And it's their ball, game and playing field


Judge Ye by Their Friends

by Steve Young If you didn't know already -- with all the harm this unrepentant friend of John McCain has done to our country, by now, right-wing radio must be shouting it to the roof tops -- John McCain supporter and unrepentant close associate, George Bush, who he has had a relationship for close to 20 years, has lead a cabal that invaded a sovereign nation, leading to thousands of American young men and women and hundreds of thousands Iraqi civilians to be killed, perpetrating the ruination of the economy of at least two countries


Falluja Starts 5th Year of Lockdown

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail The road into Falluja from the main Amman-Baghdad highway is safer today, but nobody is allowed into Falluja who is not from the city and can prove it by providing elaborate identity documentation. That can only be obtained by undergoing biometric identification by the U.S. military -- a process which includes retina scans, body searches and finger-printing before issuance of a bar-coded ID badge


Food Shortages, Rising Prices, a Global Emergency, Says UN

by Ranjit Devraj Global food prices have been rising steadily since 2002 and since January have risen 65 percent. In 2007 alone, according to the FAO's world food index, grain prices have soared 42 percent. 'We have seen riots in Egypt, Cameroon, Haiti and Burkina Faso,' Diouf said. 'There is a risk that this unrest will spread in countries where 50 to 60 percent of income goes to food.' Indonesia, Ivory Coast, Mauritania, Mozambique and Senegal have also seen unrest over the last few weeks that was attributed to food and fuel prices


Fuel Shortages Leave Iraqis Cold, Unable to Work

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail The demonstrations have drawn in people from all around Iraq's volatile Diyala province. The streets have filled with people hoisting protest banners. The Sahwa here want to show they are a power that Baghdad cannot ignore


Endangered Species Sold in Mexico Markets

by Diego Cevallos In the south and east, where Mexico's jungles are found, illegal wildlife trade and hunting are especially harmful to jaguars, songbirds and ornamental birds, wild boars, spider monkeys and howler monkeys, crocodiles and other reptiles, as well as plants, including rare orchids. For every animal that reaches the hands of a buyer, it is estimated that another four die during capture or transport, and in addition the birds' nests and eggs are often destroyed


No Country for Old Men

by Robert Scheer Aging, as opposed to skin color or gender, does have a deleterious effect on one's physical and mental functioning, and to deny this evident biological reality is as nonsensical as denying evolution itself


Trillion$ Wasted on Pentagon Contracts

by Robert Scheer The explosion of spending on expensive weaponry after 9/11 had nothing whatsoever to do with the attacks of that day. The high-tech planes and ships commissioned for trillions of dollars to defeat an enemy with no navy, air force or army, and using $3 knives as its weapons arsenal, were gifts to the military-industrial complex that will go on giving for decades to come


U.S. Needs to Make Deal With Iran for Stable Middle East

Analysis by Trita Parsi By negotiating a Shiite truce, Tehran embarrassed Washington last week and arguably proved itself to be a more potent stabilizer of southern Iraq. Iran's role in Iraq came as a sharp reminder that the Bush administration's accusations of Iranian mischief notwithstanding, Iranian influence in Iraq is both undeniable and multifaceted. As Washington starts to come to terms with this reality, the Middle East inches closer to its moment of truth: Is the United States ready to share the region with Iran?


Israel Snubs Jimmy Carter

by Peter Hirschberg Three decades after he brokered the first-ever peace treaty between Israel and an Arab country, former U.S. president Jimmy Carter has become persona non grata in the Jewish state. In a highly irregular move, Israel's Shin Bet security service refused to assist U.S. agents guarding Carter. The Shin Bet, which is overseen by Olmert's office, is routinely involved in assisting with the protection of visiting dignitaries


Shiite Infighting Spreads to Baqouba

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Many in Baqouba believe the root of the conflict is control of money and power in the province ahead of elections slated for October. They say this was behind the recent attempt of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take control of Basra, an attempt that failed miserably


Stop 'Demonizing' Dalai Lama, Europe Leader Tells China

by David Cronin Hans-Gert Poettering, the European Parliament president, has angrily dismissed allegations by the Beijing authorities that recent violence in Tibet had been fomented by the Buddhist spiritual leader


Pakistan's Child Suicide Bombers Created by Religious Schools

Many of the bombers who blew themselves up were children, while teenagers who have been arrested provide chilling accounts of how they had been imbued into carrying out similar attacks. 'These young boys are as much the victims of terrorism as those they kill. They are victims of the most brutal exploitation'


IMF Predicts 2 Years of U.S. Recession

by Abid Aslam The United States will fall into recession this year, dragging down global economic performance for the next two years, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said on Wednesday. When the fund last updated its semi-annual World Economic Outlook report, in January, it predicted the worst global performance in five years but stopped short of using the word recession. On Wednesday, however, it admitted the global slump could prove worse than predicted. There is a one-in-four chance that a global recession


Israel's Extremists Outraged Over Public Sale of Bread

by Peter Hirschberg The religious establishment in Israel, including their political representatives in Olmert's governing coalition, are seething over a court ruling last week that permits the sale of bread by restaurants and groceries during the Passover holiday, which falls later this month. Jewish religious law prohibits the consumption of leavened bread during Passover and stipulates that Jews must eat only unleavened bread known as matzah


Bush Calls Surge in Iraq Deaths a "Positive Moment"

Analysis by Khody Akhavi Fighting raged for more than four days since Maliki last Tuesday ordered the security forces to raid strongholds of Shi'a militiamen loyal to the cleric Muqtada al-Sadr in the southern port city of Basra. On Sunday, Sadr ordered his militiamen to stop fighting Iraqi security forces, but as of that day, 488 people had been killed and more than 900 wounded, according to reports from the Iraqi Interior Ministry


Bush Climate Plan a Joke, Say Enviros

by Jim Lobe Seven years after rejecting the Kyoto Protocol, Bush Wednesday called for halting the growth in U.S. greenhouse-gas emissions by 2025, a goal greeted with derision by Democrats and environmental groups


U.S. Planned to Overthrow Palestinian Government in Summer 2007

Analysis by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani A recent article in Vanity Fair magazine exposing a U.S.-planned coup attempt against Palestinian resistance movement Hamas last year has ignited a storm of debate about Washington's Middle East policies. Yet for more than nine months, details of the plot were reported in the independent Arabic press -- and elsewhere -- leading some observers to ask: where was the mainstream media?


Whose Elitism is Worse?

by Joe Conason It's hard to blame John McCain for mocking Barack Obama as an 'elitist' following that silly remark about bitter folks who cling to guns and religion. Rarely does the Arizona senator -- one of the wealthiest members of Washington's most exclusive club -- encounter such a tempting chance to masquerade as a populist


Are We Closer to "Victory?"

by Joe Conason Yes, everything is getting better and better every day in Iraq -- and it will always be getting better and better, even if we have to stay for a hundred or a thousand years. To promote these illusions, John McCain and his sidekicks, Lindsay Graham and Joe Lieberman, repeatedly cite statistics showing violence has fallen since last summer, a trend that was real, while neglecting to mention the ominous recent toll, which is equally real


Neo-Nazis on Trial in Portugal

by Mario de Queiroz In the 240-page accusation, the prosecutors mention several examples of racist propaganda on neo-Nazi web sites, in which the defendants 'promote hatred against blacks, gypsies, Jews and homosexuals.' The document also cites the Portuguese band Odio (Hatred), which performs exclusively at concerts organized by white power skinheads. The band recently taped 'Morte aos traidores' (Death to Traitors), an album that includes the song 'The Horrible Jew,' whose lyrics say 'Oh horrible Jew! You are going to die tonight/You are going to die tonight for the victory of our night/Die, die'


Pope's U.S. Visit Underscores Church Hypocrisy

by Arlene Chang The visit of Pope Benedict XVI to the United States this week may have inspired renewed devotion in many Catholic faithful, but progressive church organizations here say that it's time for the Vatican to rethink its more rigid stances on issues like women priests, contraception and homosexuality


Maliki Sabotaged U.S. Plan For Showdown Battle With Mahdi Army

by Gareth Porter This plan for a major foreign troop deployment to the south for the first time since the U.S. battles against the Mahdi Army in April 2004 did not sit well with al-Maliki. In 2006 and 2007, he had repeatedly blocked U.S. proposals that U.S. and Iraqi forces target Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army in Baghdad as well as in the south


Want to End Poverty? Close Tax Havens, Experts Say

by David Cronin Some $11.5 trillion is held in offshore accounts across the world, according to Tax Justice Network, a grouping of economists, accountants and academics. Because tax authorities are unable to touch this money, they effectively lose $250 billion per year: the equivalent of five times what the United Nations estimated in 2002 as needed to finance its Millennium Development Goals of reducing poverty


Mexico Draws Tourists With Controversial Dolphin Aquariums

by Gareth Porter Mexican law allows the capture of dolphins only for scientific purposes, but also accepts the animals' use in travelling or permanent shows. Until 2001, when dolphin aquariums came under regulation, such businesses had grown without any standards. Officially reported are some 270 dolphins in captivity in Mexico. From 1997 to 2005, 48 died. But the book's authors, who visited all operating dolphin aquariums, argue that the numbers fall short of reality, because the people in charge of the aquariums are hiding information


Iraq Violence Resurgence a Wake-Up Call to Candidates

by Ali Gharib Built into all three narratives was the persistent question of what is the central front in the so-called 'global war on terror' -- whether the most important battle with Islamic extremism is in Iraq or the war in Afghanistan and its border regions with Pakistan where al Qaeda's central leadership is based, and how the two theatres stand to affect each other


Trials of Muslim Charities Compared to Witch-hunts

byDahr Jamail The U.S. government's anti-terrorist financing programs are based on the guilt by association tactics of the McCarthy era and have had a widespread negative impact on U.S. charities, critics say


Top Members of Congress Have Investments With War Contractors

by Abid Aslam Members of Congress invested nearly $196 million of their own money in companies that receive hundreds of millions of dollars a day from Pentagon contracts to provide goods and services to U.S. armed forces, say nonpartisan watchdog groups


Israel Runs Drill to Simulate Massive Attack

by Peter Hirschberg Salvo after salvo of missiles and rockets fired by Syria, Hezbollah and Gaza militants thudding into Israel's major population centers. Hundreds dead. Thousands injured. That's the scenario Israel is preparing for, and it was the working assumption during the five-day civil defense drill conducted last week -- the largest ever exercise of its kind in the country


He's 'McSame' on Social Security, Too

by Joe Conason Certainly the troop escalation helped to revive McCain's fortunes in the Republican primary contest, quelling any dissent among his rivals (except for the indefatigable, unelectable Rep. Ron Paul). Yet the escalation appears to have had little political impact outside the GOP, despite all the promotional hype. If McCain is truly depending on the surge to elect him in November, he won't find the data reassuring


Why Celebrate Rev. Wrong?

by Joe Conason How Obama can escape his toxic mentor is not clear. His remarkable speech on our persistent racial divisions necessarily pierced the illusion of transcendence raised by his campaign, but then resurrected the possibility of perfecting our union. Recognizing the fallible humanity in Wright as in himself and the rest of us, he hesitated to enunciate a complete rejection. Now it may be too late


The Ritual Flaying of Jimmy Carter

by Joe Conason Certainly Carter understands the nature of Hamas, an Islamist group not so different in its orientation from the radical students whose takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran ultimately ended his presidency. What he also understands these many years later is that those once shunned as terrorists and criminals, forever beyond redemption, may eventually be recognized as the only possible partners in negotiation


JDL Regroups to Back Far-Far Right Israeli Politico

by Paul Weinberg Once targeted by the FBI as domestic extremists and linked to two banned anti-Arab racist groups in Israel, the JDL now considers Feiglin, leader of the hard-line Jewish Leadership faction of the already right-wing Likud party, its political mentor.


What His President Wants to Hear

by Robert Scheer By undercutting the widespread support for getting out of Iraq, Petraeus did indeed betray the American public, siding with an enormously unpopular president who wants to stay the course in Iraq for personal and political reasons that run contrary to genuine national security interests. Once again, the president is passing the buck to the uniformed military to justify continuing a ludicrous imperial adventure, and the good general has dutifully performed


Bush to Troops: You're in Iraq for the Duration of my Presidency

Analysis by Jim Lobe As Bush himself made clear Thursday when he pledged that Petraeus will 'have all the time he needs' to decide whether he could afford to further reduce U.S. military presence in Iraq after July without jeopardizing what security gains have been achieved over the past year, an exit strategy that will almost certainly not materialize between now and Jan. 20 next year when the Bush administration comes to an end


Gore Launches $300 Million Media Campaign on Climate

by Jim Lobe The 'we' campaign, as it is being dubbed, will, among other things, run ads on the most-watched U.S. network television shows featuring pairs of ideological adversaries who stress the overriding threat posed by climate change and the necessity of strong action to drastically curb greenhouse emissions


Japan to Consider Law Against Possession of Child Porn

by Catherine Makino A 1999 law prohibits the sales of child pornography and the posting of related images on the Internet. The law was revised in 2004 to regulate the production and possession of child pornography, but applies only to people who intend to distribute such material. Japan's ruling parties are considering the submission of an amendment bill, during the current session, that would prohibit the possession of child porn and punish violators, even if they do not intend to sell such images


Climate Change Transforming Yucatan

by Louis E.V. Nevaer If a tree is felled by a hurricane and no one hears it, it's not breaking news on any network. But the hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of felled trees created large amounts of dead and dry biomass. The forests have now begun to burn. This spring's warmer temperatures are drying out the broken branches in the forests that cover almost four million square miles throughout the peninsula


Poll Finds Economy Beats Terrorism

by Jim Lobe The price of oil and other international economic issues are rapidly taking center stage among the dominant foreign policy concerns of the U.S. public, which has also become increasingly skeptical about the effectiveness of military action to further Washington's interests abroad


Jordan was Hub for U.S. Renditions, Report Says

by William Fisher Jordan, often described in the mainstream press as the most moderate country in the Arab Middle East, was the first to receive prisoners 'as a true proxy jailer for the CIA' and has received more victims of 'extraordinary rendition' than any other country in the world, according to a new report by Human Rights Watch


European Arms Sales Fuel Violence in Kenya

by Ketaki Gokhale Located in the west of the country, Eldoret is also home to an ammunition factory opened in the mid-1990s by the Belgian company FN Herstal. The plant has been blamed earlier for providing supplies to armed factions in the genocide that swept through Rwanda in 1994. Now Amnesty International has documented human rights violations by Kenyan forces using weapons manufactured at the same site


250,000 Kenyans Flee Homes

The violence that erupted after the declaration on December 30 of the disputed presidential election results was initially confined to the Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces of western Kenya and the capital Nairobi. The victims were mainly members of the Kikuyu community. Revenge attacks by Kikuyu youths against communities they perceive to be rivals have, however, spread to areas not initially affected by the unrest


40 Years Later, Many Still Ask Who Killed Martin Luther King

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The verdict of history stands that Ray killed King. But the other truth is to know what government agencies did or didn't know about the King killing. The House Select Committee on Assassination that investigated King's murder ordered the files sealed for 50 years. They are still sealed. The files might answer many questions about the secret war the FBI waged against King from the late 1950s to his murder


U.S. Planning to Deport All Undocumented Immigrants by 2012

by Peter Micek Recent raids by Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) netted hundreds of undocumented immigrants -- the raids are a part of 'Operation Endgame, ICE's strategic plan for 'removing all removable aliens' by 2012


Iraqi Refugees in Syria Sit Idle, Blocked From Working

by Maki al-Nazzal and Dahr Jamail The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees says there are at least 1.5 million Iraqi refugees in Syria. If they seek work, they will lose their status as refugees. And so Iraqi refugees who were once doctors, engineers, athletes, artists and businessmen sit it out in Syria with nothing to do


"Blackwater Fever" Threatens 1000s of Iraqi Lives

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail The deadly disease, never before seen in Iraq on at least this scale, seems to be spreading across the country. And Iraq lacks medicines, hospitals, and doctors to lead a campaign to fight the disease


Book Charges Albanians Murdered Serbs for Organs

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic According to excerpts from Del Ponte's book, her team of investigators had been informed that some 300 Serbs were killed for organ trafficking after being transferred from Kosovo


Karzai Assassination Attempt Part of Ongoing Afghan Security Collapse

by Anand Gopal On Sunday, Afghan President Hamid Karzai escaped an assassination bid while attending a military parade in Kabul. A member of parliament and a 10-year-old child were among the dead. A spokesman for the Taliban said the fighters wanted to show they can infiltrate such high security events


"Anybody but Obama" Racism Apparent in Penn. Primary

by Tonyaa Weathersbee That so many other Pennsylvania Democrats are willing to jump party lines to vote for someone who doesn't represent their economic self-interests rather than take a chance on a black man illustrates that old fears, and not new hopes, remain a potent persuader in this election season


Religious Right Tearing Apart in Generation Gap

by Bill Berkowitz Nearly every new initiative brought by the young turks is countered by the old-timers. Two years ago, when the Evangelical Environmental Network (EEN) announced its Evangelical Climate Initiative -- a document recognizing the seriousness of global warming and signed onto by a group of mega-church pastors, Christian college presidents and theologians -- the response from the old timers was swift and critical


China Clamps Down on Another Minority as Protests Spread

by Antoaneta Bezlova As the outburst of anger among China's restive ethnic minorities spreads, the danger for Chinese communist leadership is more than a a public relations fiasco ahead of the all-important Beijing Olympic games but a serious threat to its mandate, analysts here say


Iraq's Children Face the Worst of It

by Jahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail A report from the non-governmental relief organization Save the Children shows Iraq continues to have the highest mortality for children under five. Since the first Gulf War, this has increased 150 percent. It is estimated that one in eight children in Iraq dies before the fifth birthday: 122,000 children died in 2005 alone


U.S. Must Make Deal With Taliban, Arab Press Says

by Jalal Ghazi The Taliban have changed their tactics in order to capitalize on anti-occupation sentiment in Afghanistan. Now Arab media commentators say the United States and NATO will have to negotiate with a resurgent Taliban in order to reassert control over Afghanistan


Chinese Unite to Defend Olympic Torch

by Jun Wang The Tibet protests have become a rallying cry for Chinese around the world awaking both a sense of victimization as well as calls for boycotts of some Western products


CIA Stonewalls Release of 7,000+ Torture, Rendition Papers

by William Fisher The CIA claimed that it did not have to release the documents because many consist of correspondence with the White House or top Bush administration officials, or because they are between parties seeking legal advice on the programs, including guidance on the legality of certain interrogation procedures. The CIA confirmed that it requested -- and received -- legal advice from attorneys at the Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel concerning these procedures


The Clintons Learned Their Lessons Well

by Robert Scheer How proud the Clintonistas must be. They have learned how to out-slime what Hillary once termed the vast right-wing conspiracy in the effort to destroy a viable Democratic leader who dares to stand in the way of their ambitions


McCain, the Man Who Would Be Bush

by Robert Scheer By so unabashedly embracing the most glaringly failed U.S. president ever, McCain has surrendered the right to be considered an independent candidate, judged on his own merits and personal history. A vote for McCain is a vote for that rancid recipe mixing religious bigotry, imperial arrogance and corporate greed that he had stood against in the run-up to the 2000 presidential election, when he challenged George W. Bush, but to which he now has capitulated


Hillary's Gender and Generation Gap

by Russell Morse It occurs to me, though, that it is not strictly a gender issue. I also take issue with these women because of their age. I am not a declared Obama supporter (though if I vote, I might vote for him), but the attitude of these women is pushing me toward his camp. Every event I go to, I see them circled up, uttering the phrase, 'it's our turn.' I don't know what that means


El Salvador Using Mara Gangs as Scapegoats for Mafia, Criminal Cops

by Raul Gutierrez El Salvador, a Central American country of 21,000 square kilometres bathed by the Pacific ocean, is the battleground of a shadowy war between mafias, street gangs and death squads, in spite of having formally achieved peace 16 years ago


Dittoheads for Hillary

by Steve Young In the spirit of our forefathers who forged out country and our soldiers who have fought and died heroically over the centuries, Rush Limbaugh has created a campaign to corrupt the presidential primary into a Machiavellian game of pretend


Mexico Catholic Church Uproar Over Drug Mafia Charity

by Diego Cevallos A senior Catholic bishop's acknowledgement that drug traffickers contribute money and buildings to their communities, and occasionally seek out priests to redeem themselves, was merely a restatement of old news. The novelty here was the angry reactions from within the Church


Did Clinton Win Ohio on a Lie?

by Paul Rogat Loeb As the Ohio primary approached, Obama was steadily closing what a month earlier had been a 20-point lead in the polls. He pointed out that the NAFTA trade agreement was a centerpiece of Bill Clinton's term and that it cost massive numbers of industrial jobs. Then, on Feb 27, the Canadian network CTV reported that even as Obama was publicly attacking Bill Clinton's role in NAFTA, and arguing for a drastic overhaul, he'd had a top staffer call the Canadian ambassador and arrange a meeting to reassure the Canadians that this was all just pandering for campaign trail. But as the CBC report and others makes clear, the core of the story turned out to be false


Non-Presidential Putin Shifting to be Russia's Cheney

by Kester Kenn Klomegah In his last days as President, Vladimir Putin has prepared to bring federal representatives under control of the cabinet in an effort to influence policy after he takes over as Prime Minister


The Novelty of Not Talking Down to America

by Michael Winship As Republican Peggy Noonan, a virtuoso of speechwriting for Ronald Reagan, observed in Friday's Wall Street Journal, 'He didn't have applause lines. He didn't give you eight seconds of a line followed by clapping. He spoke in full and longish paragraphs that didn't summon applause. This left TV producers having to use longer-than-usual soundbites in order to capture his meaning. And so the cuts of the speech you heard on the news were more substantial and interesting than usual, which made the coverage of the speech better. People who didn't hear it but only saw parts on the news got a real sense of what he'd said'


Rev. Wright Controversy Was Mostly Media Creation, Critics Say

by William Fisher Amid the explosive controversy over remarks made in sermons by Sen. Barack Obama's former pastor, critics are charging that the U.S. mainstream media has distorted his comments, failed to understand the African American church, and sought to punish the Democratic Party presidential hopeful through guilt by association


Can Bernanke Keep Greenspan's Economy From Sinking?

by Richard Hylton Ben Bernanke has his work cut out for him holding the financial system together. Consumer spending, the engine of our boom time growth, is dropping fast. It's enough to keep you awake at night. Unless you're Alan Greenspan


Vets Ask Why McCain Won't Stand Behind New GI Bill

by Aaron Glantz A leading political action committee founded by Iraq and Afghanistan veterans has launched a new internet video and petition demanding Republican presidential candidate Sen. John McCain throw his support behind a new G.I. Bill to provide improved education benefits for soldiers returning home from the two wars


Supreme Court Voter ID Decision Helps Repubs

by Jim Lobe In a decision with major implications for the November national elections, the Supreme Court Monday upheld a controversial state law that Democrats and a number of national civil rights groups believe could undermine the right of tens of thousands of poor and minority voters to cast ballots


New GOP Anti-Obama Ads Made by Infamous Wille Horton Ad Team

by Bill Berkowitz The unveiling this week of a new campaign advertisement by the North Carolina Republican Party -- using video of controversial remarks made by Senator Barack Obama's former pastor, the Rev. Jeremiah Wright, and attacking two North Carolina Democratic candidates for governor -- is a reminder that the race for the presidency will likely only get uglier


New Jewish Lobby Seeks to Show "Pro-Israel" Not Same as "Pro-Neo-Con"

by Jim Lobe A new group of prominent U.S. Jews who believe that the so-called 'Israel Lobby' has been dominated for too long by neo-conservatives and other Likud-oriented hawks has launched a new organization to help fund political candidates who favor a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and a stronger U.S. role in achieving it


Sean Bell Verdict Complicates Things for Obama

by Roberto Lovato His candidacy already mired in the racial machinations of his opponents, Hillary Clinton and John McCain, Obama will find himself having to maneuver between the need to speak out on the most egregious, high-profile example of institutional racism and police brutality since the Rodney King beating and the need to deflect Clinton and McCain's racialized attacks aimed at fomenting white fear of blacks and other non-white


Sean Bell Cops Acquitted in Classic Police Shooting Defense

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Defense attorneys for the New York cops didn't have the advantage of a potentially pro-police jury. They requested and got a bench trial. But this wasn't a disadvantage to the defense. In a racially and emotionally charged case such as the Bell shooting, they figured they'd stand a better chance trying to massage and hone their evidence and testimony to a judge


Convictions Unlikely for Cops in Sean Bell Killing

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson The trial of New York police officers in the killing of bridegroom Sean Bell will face the same hurdles other cop trials have faced. When police go on trial for overuse of deadly force, their testimony still tends to trump that of other witnesses


N Korea Facing Another Famine Year

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Such an urgent need for food aid to a country that has long depended on similar assistance could not have come at a worst time. The rapid global price hike of commodities, including rice, poses a challenge that relief agencies like the WFP did not have to deal with when buying rice and other cereals in previous years to feed North Korea's most vulnerable people


Muqtada al-Sadr Now Running Iraq's Main Humanitarian Org

by Ali Gharib The ongoing fragmentation of Iraqi society well beyond pre-U.S. invasion levels -- caused by the flawed U.S. occupation and even encouraged by some of it and the nascent Iraqi government's policies -- has left militias and other neighborhood strongmen the only ones able to effectively provide food, shelter, oil for heating and cooking, and the semblance of a judiciary system


Recession May End Anti-Sweatshop Efforts

by Andrew Nette Recession in the United States is endangering a unique experiment that has seen Cambodia become a leading player in the campaign to eradicate sweatshops in the textile industry


The World Bank's Carbon Offset Scam

by Janet Redman The World Bank's plan to use its existing carbon-offset portfolio as the model from which to scale up to a "low carbon" economy should sound alarms for anyone seriously concerned about avoiding climate chaos. The Bank's foray into the carbon market paves the way for business-as-usual, while short-changing clean, renewable energy, the poor, and ultimately the climate. The Bank, on the other hand, stands to gain enormously


Panic Buying in Asia as Rice Costs Skyrocket

by Larry Jagan Panic buying, rationing and hoarding are increasing alarmingly, fuelled by fears that rice and other foodstuffs may run out soon in many Asian countries, despite repeated government calls for calm. In Bangladesh, and parts of Southeast Asia in particular, panic buying of rice has been reported for fear that stocks in the stores and markets will run out



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Albion Monitor Issue 168 (http://www.albionmonitor.com)

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