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Pentagon Plan Flops to Showcase Iran-Made Weapons

Analysis by Gareth Porter The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki refused to endorse U.S. charges of Iranian involvement in arms smuggling to the Mehdi Army, and a plan to show off a huge collection of Iranian arms captured in and around Karbala had to be called off after it was discovered that none of the arms were of Iranian origin

U.S. Chose Short-Term Gains in Iraq Over Real Progress, Report Finds

by Ali Gharib 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

Soldier Refuses Iraq Duty, Cites "Stomach-Churning Horrors"

by Aaron Glantz 'As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter service members' stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors of the crimes taking place in Iraq,' said Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, 24, in an announcement under the rotunda of the House of Representative's Cannon Office Building

First the Slowdown, Then the Crash

by Alexander Cockburn Since the subprime meltdown, there's been a lull. But now the so-called Alt-A loans, made to supposedly more credit-worthy borrowers and amounting to a trillion dollars, are about to go down the tubes, carrying banks and insurers with them. And this time Ben Bernanke, chairman the Federal Reserve, has no bailout strategies left. He can't lower interest rates to banks below the current 2 percent, a level partially responsible for oil costing almost $130 a barrel. Round the corner looms hyperinflation

Scenario Set for Attack on Iran

by Alexander Cockburn In the White House now is our top prisoner of war, the war in question being the one in Iraq. Will Bush compound this disaster by an attack on Iran? Many have predicted it, though I've never thought it would come to full-scale open conflict. But Bush and Cheney are certainly upping the ante

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

Hillary's Skin-Deep Populism

by Alexander Cockburn Hilary's populism has been skin-deep in the literal sense of the term. It's not been about rich developers or predatory subprime loans. It's only about the color of Obama's skin

Israelis Stay in Sderot, Although Children Fear it Might Rain Rockets

by Peter Hirschberg Islamic militants in Gaza have fired over 4,000 rockets at communities in southern Israel since former prime minister Ariel Sharon pulled the army and the settlers out of the coastal strip in August 2005. Fifteen people have been killed by the rockets

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

Burma Refuses to Reschedule Vote on New Constitution

by Moe Yu May This new charter, to replace the 1974 one, is supposed to lead to multi-party-elections in 2010, but skeptics abound. The last balloting in 1990 was won by the opposition National League of Democracy, led by Nobel peace laureate Aung San Suu Kyi, but the military did not recognize the results of that vote

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. the guise of John 'Thank You Jeremiah, Sean, Rush, BillO, Fox' McCain

Most Race-Baiting Column EVER!

by Steve Young Short of saying that Barack Obama wants to sleep with your pearly-white daughter, O'Reilly uses just about every button meant to alarm his white fans to the fact that Barack Obama is BLACK and that just his running for, let alone becoming, president, could set off race-laced fireworks

Hillary's Concession Speech Better Be Her Best

by Steve Young In the next few days (weeks? months?) Hillary Clinton has the opportunity to make her concession, not only her best, but the best ever. And it just may have to be for Barack Obama to win in November

Evening At The White House Press Secretary Improv

by Steve Young Using an absurdity and speaking it as if it's actually the truth is harder than it looks

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

Florida Considers Laws Supporting "Intelligent Design" Teaching

by Mark Weisenmiller One bill would have required that school instructors teach 'scientific critical analysis' of evolution, while the other would prevent school administrators from 'punishing' instructors who used 'scientific information' to teach anti-evolution courses

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

Israel Blockade of Gaza Puts Thousands of Fishermen Idle

by Mohammed Omer Of the 40,000 fishermen and others who make a living from the catch, only about 700 are still busy, according to the Fishing Syndicate in Gaza. The boats need oil, and Israel will not let the fishermen have it

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

McCain vs Hillary: Neo-con vs Neo-Liberal

by Robert Scheer In the increasingly unlikely event of a McCain-Clinton election, folks who care about the peace issue would have serious reason to worry. Both of these candidates are inveterate hawks, and what we would be up against is a choice between the neo-conservatives and the neo-liberals as to who could be more adventurous in getting us into unjustifiable foreign wars

Bush Admin Backs Off From "Fascism" Language

by Khody Akhavi Talking tough on terror has been the main currency of the Republican Party, and the main project of neo-conservative pundits in Washington. But in the aftermath of the Bush administration's failed Middle East policy, many officials, including the bullhorn-in-chief himself, have pushed to reform the public diplomacy machinery, and to correct the rhetorical missteps that unintentionally serve to legitimize groups who share al Qaeda's ideology

China's Quake Response a Credibility Test

by Antoaneta Bezlova As the death toll from a devastating earthquake in southwestern China continues to climb, the disaster is proving a credibility test for the government, whose mandate is derived from maintaining stability and social order

Iraqi Leaders Suspicious of Maliki Defense Talks With U.S.

by Mohammed A. Salih Iraqi parliamentarians are increasingly concerned that they are being left out of talks between Iraqi and U.S. officials over a strategic deal to determine the future relationship between the two countries

Few Punished for Killing Journalists, Study Finds

by Mirela Xanthaki Over the last 15 years, at least 500 journalists were killed directly because of their work. But in less than 15 percent of cases have the perpetrators been brought to justice

Texas to Execute Another Mexico Citizen in August

by Diego Cevallos On Mar. 25, the Supreme Court rejected a 2004 International Court of Justice (ICJ) ruling that the convictions of Medellin and the other Mexicans on death row violated the 1963 Vienna Convention, which states that people arrested abroad must have access to consular officials from their home country

Portrait of how Immigration Raids Panic Community

by Amanda Martinez By noon, the district had received so many calls from concerned parents that they set up an automated voice message system, assuring parents that that there was no way they would allow ICE officers to pick up students from school campuses

The Twilight of the Coral Reefs

by Stephen Leahy Coral reefs will be the first global ecosystem to collapse in our lifetimes. The one-two punch of climate change that is warming ocean temperatures and increasing acidification is making the oceans uninhabitable for corals and other marine species, researchers said at a scientific symposium in Spain

Cyclone Exposes Burma Junta's Indifference

by Larry Jagan Burma's worst natural disaster in living memory has reinforced the image of the military in that country as a force interested solely in perpetuating its grip on power, regardless of costs to the people it claims to protect

McCain's Shocking Discovery

by Joe Conason From the beginning, the McCain team has been thoroughly infested with representatives of corporate special interests, from the campaign's national co-chairs, finance chairs, policy and political directors, and deputies of all descriptions down to the chairman of Young Professionals for McCain, who just happens to lobby for Airbus, the European aviation firm that benefited from the Arizona senator's long inquest against Boeing

Cindy McCain Flaunts Her Privilege

by Joe Conason While her personal net worth is estimated somewhere north of $50 million, she can surely rely upon the discretion of right-wing media organizations and commentators, which so far have given her and her husband a free pass on the income tax question. In contrast to their unrelenting demands for absolutely complete disclosure by Bill and Hillary Clinton over alleged or suspected conflicts of interest, the so-called conservative media have remained mum about Mrs. McCain

Pemex Oozes Corruption

by Diego Cevallos Funds belonging to the Mexican state oil monopoly, Pemex, have paid in recent years for liposuction treatment for the wife of the company's chief executive, a presidential candidate's campaign, contracts with firms facing legal action, and the whims of trade union leaders who are not required to account for their expenses

U.S. Finally Revokes Patent for Common Mexican Bean

by Diego Cevallos After eight years of red tape and legal efforts, the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in late April revoked the patent for a type of common bean that it had granted to a U.S. citizen whose claims to have invented the bean were backed by dubious empirical evidence

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

Ocean Scientists Can't Keep Pace With Rapid Climate Changes

by Stephen Leahy Ocean science lags far behind research on the atmosphere, mainly due to lack of funding. There are few sets of measurements about conditions in the oceans that extend back more than 20 years, and most information is from a very small proportion of the oceans

China's Talks With Dalai Lama's Envoys Leading Nowhere

by Antoaneta Bezlova The two sides cannot even agree on which Tibet they are talking about. The Dalai Lama believes he represents all seven million Tibetans, while the Chinese mean the 2.8 million that live in the Tibet Autonomous Region. Most Tibetans live in Sichuan, Yunnan, Gansu and Qinghai provinces as a result of borders drawn by the Chinese communist leaders in the 1950s

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

Pentagon Blocks Release of Report on FBI, Civilian Contractor Role in Torture

by Abid Aslam While the documents were most notable for their description of illegal interrogation methods used by military interrogators, they also raised serious questions about the FBI's participation in abusive interrogations, the actions of FBI personnel who witnessed abusive interrogations, and the response of FBI officials to reports of abuse

On 60th Birthday, Israelis See War in Near-Future

by Peter Hirschberg As Israel marks its 60th anniversary, Israelis are deeply pessimistic about the prospects of peace with their neighbors, with an overwhelming majority believing they will be at war again within the next five years

Hillary Plays the Crazy Card

by Joe Conason Were we not so inured to the most savage rhetoric by now, it might be considered ironic for a presidential candidate to endorse such a monumental crime against humanity in defense of the Jewish state. Does Clinton not understand the difference between the mullahs' regime and the people of Iran? Does her notion of military strategy contemplate the incineration of millions of innocents?

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

Blame to Share in Primary Farce

by Joe Conason It is truly remarkable to hear her argue now that discounting or disqualifying the votes in Michigan and Florida will make the Democratic Party primaries comparable to sham elections in other nations

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.

Tortured Evidence on Torture

by Robert Scheer Now comes news that charges have been dropped against the so-called Sept. 11 attack's 20th hijacker, one of dozens so identified, because the 'evidence' he supplied under torture and later recanted is not credible enough to go to trial

Lebanon Crisis Starts to Mirror Iraq's Sunni-Shiite Civil War

by Khody Akhavi The outburst of violence that erupted on the streets of West Beirut last week now threatens to rip apart the small patchwork state, with analysts here and in Lebanon saying that the events over the next days will determine whether the fighting will push the country over the precipice of sectarian bloodshed, or whether a lull in violence will bring the political actors to the negotiating table

Burma's Generals Silent as Cyclone Toll Expected to be 10,000+

by Larry Jagan By admitting to foreign diplomats on Monday that the death toll could be as high as 10,000, Burma's foreign minister Nyan Win may have been hinting that the generals were prepared to receive outside help

Japan to Consider Law Against Possession of Child Porn

by Katie Vandever 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

Cluster Bomb Ban Passed Over U.S. Objections

by Peter Hirschberg After more than a year of contentious negotiations, diplomats from 109 countries meeting in Dublin agreed May 28 on a treaty that would outlaw the use, production, transfer, and stockpiling of cluster munitions, which have killed and injured thousands of civilians over the last four decades

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

UN Gambles With Burma's Generals, Forgets History

by Marwaan Macan-Markar Late last year the junta played a similar card. That followed international condemnation of the junta for brutally crushing a peaceful pro-democracy public protest led by thousands of saffron-robed monks in September. In a sign of concession, Than Shwe agreed to meet with UN envoy Ibrahim Gambari. But hope for change to a more inclusive democracy was short-lived. Once the heat was off its back, the regime dismissed Gambari's relevance, breaking all the promises for political reform

Burma's Neighbors Won't Pressure Junta

by Andrew Lam On the eve of an emergency summit of Asian nations, the death toll in Myanmar continues to rise, and the cyclone-ravaged country's ruling junta has not been taken to task by its powerful neighbors

Foreigners, Cameras Banned in Burma Disaster Areas

by Marwaan Macan-Markar The junta's attempt to keep this Southeast Asian country's worst natural disaster from the public eye is part of a strategy that has become painfully clear during the 10 days since the cyclone struck. The regime in Burma, also called Myanmar, wants to give the impression locally and internationally that it has the relief efforts under control

Bush's Knesset Speech a New Low

by Michael Winship Bush's recent speech before the Knesset, ostensibly to celebrate Israel's 60th birthday, was not only a display of political cynicism at its worst -- using a diplomatic occasion to perpetrate an unseemly attack on Barack Obama -- but a microcosm for the disregard with which the President holds the rest of the world. And vice versa

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

Congress Reluctant to Pay for Continued Iraq Reconstruction

by Jim Lobe The argument that Baghdad must bear more of the burden gained momentum last week when the Pentagon's Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction reported that Iraq's oil revenue in 2008 should exceed $70 billion, twice as much as had been forecast just a few months before

U.S. Backing Iran-Backed Forces in Iraq

by Ali Gharib Violent Shia-on-Shia hostilities officially came to an end this week when a formal ceasefire was declared between government forces of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's Mahdi Army, but sporadic fighting still continues. And questions remain about the role that the U.S. is playing

Rumsfeld Called for "New Regimes" in Iran, Syria, 4 Other Nations in Days After 9/11

by Gareth Porter Three weeks after the 9/11 terror attacks, former Defense Secretary Rumsfeld established an official military objective of not only removing the Saddam Hussein regime by force but overturning the regime in Iran, as well as in Syria and four other countries in the Middle East

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

America Not Prepared for Big Nov. Voter Turnout, Report Says

by Hazel Trice Edney Record turnouts at polling places across the nation during the Barack Obama-Hillary Clinton battle for the Democratic nomination have revealed a continuation of serious flaws in America's electoral process that could cause a fiasco Nov. 4, according to a non-partisan report

The Republican Albatross That is Bush

by Ali Gharib and Jim Lobe It's still going to be an uphill fight, they concede. The president -- usually a symbolic head of the party -- is so low in opinion ratings that he will likely be an albatross around the neck of most party candidates this fall

Hillary Appeals to the Old, White, Poor, Uneducated, and Subtly Racist

by Russell Morse If Hillary Clinton was sincere about helping the people of West Virginia, she might have told the story of that state's most famous resident: Lynndie England

Congress Seeks Probe of Pentagon's Propaganda "Media Generals"

by William Fisher As TV networks continue their silence about their use of retired military officers to 'sell' progress in Iraq, members of the House of Representatives are calling on the Defense Department Inspector General to investigate the Pentagon-sponsored public relations effort

UN: Biofuel Production is 'Criminal'

The U.S. and EU have taken a 'criminal path' by contributing to an explosive rise in global food prices through using food crops to produce biofuels, the United Nations special rapporteur on the right to food said April 28

Ag Subsidies Feeding Food Scarcity

by Julio Godoy The EU, the U.S. and other industrialized countries pay their farmers a billion dollars a day in subsidies. The economic consequences of such policies are increasing unemployment and poverty among farmers in Africa, Asia and Latin America, Bode said. This leads on to food scarcity because farmers lose the means to grow more

Food Futures Behind Rising Prices

Analysis by Anil Netto With stock markets and the property sector in the United States weakening, speculative investors are turning to fuels and the food sector as a 'safe haven,' driving up prices in the process, say some food security activists

What is Really Causing 'Agflation?'

by Mario Osava The swift rise in prices at present is also due to countries banning or surtaxing exports in order to control inflation and secure domestic food supplies, as Argentina has done in the case of wheat, he maintained

Rice Crisis Was Warned About Years Ago

by Marwaan Macan-Markar World Bank figures help to explain why these new avenues for growth in the region were attractive. In China, the emerging Asian economic powerhouse, the gross domestic production (GDP) from agriculture during the 1981-1985 period was 28.7 percent, while industry accounted for 26 percent. But during the 2001-2006 period, agriculture's contribution to China's GDP had dropped to 8.7 percent, while industry rose to 49.1 percent

The Hidden Battle Over the World Food System

by Sandip Roy We have millions of farmers who grow our food, and there are six billion of us consuming it. But between the farmers and us is just a handful of corporations, and they control the world market in whatever food you care to think of. In tea, it is Unilever that controls 90 percent of the market. In most agricultural products, it's usually four or five companies controlling more than half of the market

Corruption Eats Into Iraqi Food Rations

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail Amidst unemployment and impoverishment, Iraqis now face a cutting down of their monthly food ration -- much of it already eaten away by official corruption

Stonings a Sign of Taliban Resurgence

by Ashfaq Yusufzai The Taliban have confirmed that their sympathisers have executed by stoning a runaway couple in this remote tribal region bordering Afghanistan -- their first known use here of this long drawn-out death sentence for a so-called 'honor crime'

For Palestinians, 60 Years of Eviction

by Mohammed Omer Holding up an old copper key, Yousef al-Hums settles down to retell the story of his eviction from what was once his home, and now is Israel. Because only the 60th anniversary of the creation of Israel is over, the occupation of home of which al-Hums still keeps a key is not

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

So Where's the Outrage?

by Robert Scheer Are we Americans truly savages or merely tone-deaf in matters of morality, and therefore more guilty of terminal indifference than venality? It's a question demanding an answer in response to the publication of the detailed 370-page report on U.S. complicity in torture, issued last week by the Justice Department's inspector general

Paying for War at the Pump

by Robert Scheer The other winners in this folly have been the oil kingdoms that Hussein periodically threatened, led by the Saudi royal family. Seizing upon the opportunity presented by the 9/11 attacks, Bush knocked off not the Saudis, who had produced Osama bin Laden and 15 of his hijacker minions, but rather the royal family's sworn enemy in Iraq, who had absolutely nothing do with 9/11

McCain's Evangelical Problem(s)

by Khody Akhavi At a crucial point in his party's nomination battle in February 2008, McCain won the endorsements of John Hagee and Rod Parsley, two prominent evangelical televangelists who identified with the Christian Right and who held extreme biblically-rooted views on Islam and the U.S. obligation to defend Israel. No sooner had McCain won the endorsements than the Republican presidential nominee's campaign stopped talking about the issue altogether

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

Bush Channels the Dixie Chicks

by Steve Young Wow. Overseas, in another country, the President demeaned the man who may well become our next President...with our men and women in harm's way, yet

Burma Junta Seizes Relief Aid, Then Reverses, Agrees to Work With UN

by Thalif Deen The military government of Burma, in a dramatic turnaround, has offered to cooperate with the United Nations in its massive relief efforts in the cyclone-devastated country where the death toll could exceed 100,000

Hundreds Arrested in Protest of Sean Bell Verdict, Police Abuses

by Haider Rizvi In solidarity with Paultre Bell, thousands of New Yorkers took to the streets and shut down traffic in several parts of the city to protest last month's judicial ruling exonerating the three undercover police officers

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

Balkanized Democrats Could Give White House to McCain

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Clinton and Obama's divvying up of North Carolina and Indiana between them further deepens the two perils the Democrats face. One is that neither heavy hitter can deliver the knockout punch that the Democrats desperately need to get on with the business of mounting a united front against McCain. The other is the much talked and much worried about peril of a divided party and what that means

Senate Passes No-Strings War Funding Bill

by Mohammed A. Salih The bill, which was approved by a margin of 70 to 26, did not impose any new conditions on how the Bush administration can spend the money, much to the disappointment of Democrats and some Republicans who had worked hard in recent weeks to attach amendments to the appropriation

Israel's Arab Citizens Have 2nd Class Health Care, Study Finds

According to official numbers, there is about a five year difference between the life expectancy of Jews and Arabs. Muslim-Arabs have an infant mortality rate of 7.3 for every 1,000 births -- and among the Bedouins it was 15.5 -- compared to just 3.1 for Jewish citizens

Hillary's Doomed Horse Race

by Russell Morse Horse races are exciting because they are quick and decisive. There are no horse marathons. Yet four months after Super Tuesday, we are exhausted, disgusted and find ourselves looking to places like Guam for salvation

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

Quake, Not Olympic Hoopla, Unites China

by Andrew Lam The Chinese government had hoped the Beijing Olympics would serve as the country's coming of age and would unify its people. It turns out that the recent earthquake seems to have done just that, and very effectively, too

Hezbollah's Resurgence the Main Topic of Bush Mideast Tour

Analysis by Jim Lobe Apart from Israel, to which Bush has been by far the most indulgent president in the Jewish state's history, he is likely to get his warmest -- if most anxious -- reception when he meets with the assembled Sunni leaders, many of whom are as concerned about Hezbollah's show of force as is Israel. Like Bush himself, not to mention Israel, they see Hezbollah's victory as another in a series of advances by Iran in its effort to shift the balance of power in the Gulf and the wider region against Washington and its allies

FBI Raids Home, Office, Of Bush Special Counsel

by William Fisher In one of the more ironic episodes of the Bush administration, the FBI last week raided the office and home of the senior official in charge of protecting federal whistleblowers on suspicion of whistleblower retaliation within his own agency -- while he was investigating possible criminal acts within the White House

Chemical in Non-Stick Coatings Linked to Health Risks in Large Study

A chemical used to make non-stick coating for pots and pans, food wrappers and stain-resistant fabrics may harm the immune system, liver and thyroid and cause higher cholesterol in children, according to the initial findings of a study of 69,000 people who live near a DuPont manufacturing plant

Burma Cyclone Destroyed Much of Rice Supply

The havoc wrought by Cyclone Nargis -- and the massive sea surge in its wake -- on Myanmar's most important rice-growing area has raised new fears about the country's food security and potential pressure on global rice prices

Emergency Aid Orgs Face Gauntlet of Burma Bureaucracy

Every country has customs procedures. And the logistics departments of relief agencies earn their living getting urgent cargo through the byzantine bureacracies and fearsome terrain. Nonetheless, UN officials and diplomats have called on the Government of Myanmar to streamline customs and clearance procedures for the massive crisis response needed and to release cargo that has been held so far

Cheney vs the Whales

by Michael Winship For more than a year Cheney's office and the White House Council of Economic Advisors, coordinating with the White House Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs, have been holding up a National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) rule that would protect the North American right whale, one of the most endangered animals in the world

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

"Going Green" Sometimes Another Name For Biopiracy

by Julio Godoy Major biochemical companies are either trying to boycott tougher international regulations against genetically modified organisms, or they are ignoring rules on intellectual property rights in order to profit from traditional knowledge in developing countries

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

China Bows to Pressure, Allows Mourning of Quake Victims

by Antoaneta Bezlova Bowing to public calls, the government has now declared three days of official mourning, closing cinemas and karaoke clubs, cancelling entertainment shows on TV and ordering all state newspapers to publish editions in black

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