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Iraq Razes Thousands of Acres of Farmland

Facing international economic sanctions after Iraq's invasion of Kuwait in 1990, Saddam re-allocated this land in a bid to expand the country's agricultural areas, al-Hir said. Within a few years, peasant farmers transformed the barren land near Kerbala into fertile farms growing a range of produce, such as tomatoes, wheat, fruits and potatoes

New Book Documents Growth of Neo-Con Delusions

by Jim Lobe It is characteristic of neo-conservatives to depict virtually every foreign policy challenge -- from the Sandinista government in Nicaragua 25 years ago to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad -- to U.S. (or Israeli) hegemony as a potentially cataclysmic replay of the 1930s. The neo-conservatives, according to Heilbrunn, 'have shaped a romantic narrative for themselves in which they are the new Churchills staring down the forces of evil'

Women to the Rescue for Hillary

by Alexander Cockburn In Iowa, Barack Obama won the women's vote by more than 5 %age points over Hillary Clinton. In New Hampshire, Hillary got 47 % of the women's vote, more than 34 % of women went for Obama. After looking at the devastating numbers in Iowa, the Clinton campaign rushed out mailers stressing Obama's supposed softness on the abortion issue. Hillary Clinton's moment of tearful victimhood with New Hampshire women was clearly effective, as was the footage of a post-debate session where the Democratic and Republican male candidates fraternized jovially, uncertain how to deal with the only woman in the locker room

Obama, Huckabee and the Also-Rans

by Alexander Cockburn It's hard to see any future for the Edwards campaign, unless it's as some kind of Hillary surrogate to siphon votes away from Obama in New Hampshire and South Carolina. There's no evidence that economic populism doesn't sell in Iowa. It's simply that this time around, Democrats and Independents didn't see Edwards as a persuasive salesman

Obama's Latino Vote Problem

by Alexander Cockburn From the first few contests, it's clear that Obama is picking up his support from the better-off and the young, who like his moderate style. But he also has to capture the support of millions of blue-collar working people -- many of them Hispanic -- and thus far he has not registered any decisive impact. Clinton, by contrast, has successfully recruited labor icon Dolores Huerta, cofounder of the United Farmworkers, and also Los Angeles mayor Antonio Villaigorosa, a national chair for the Hillary Clinton campaign

Hillary and McCain Both Party Outcasts

by Alexander Cockburn Setting aside such well-known traits as ill temper toward subordinates, what Hillary Clinton and John McCain certainly do have in common is a readiness to hang their own party out to dry when it's a matter of personal advancement

Pentagon Officials Exaggerated Threat in Iran Speedboat Story

Analysis by Gareth Porter Senior Pentagon officials, evidently reflecting a broader administration policy decision, used an off-the-record Pentagon briefing to turn the Jan. 6 U.S.-Iranian incident in the Strait of Hormuz into a sensational story demonstrating Iran's military aggressiveness, a reconstruction of the events following the incident shows

Clinton Knives Come out for Obama

by Alexander Cockburn Obama led a charmed life, and then he won Iowa. Already in New Hampshire, Hillary's campaign manager, Billy Shaheen, had warmed up voters by reminding them Obama was unelectable because of his past 'drug use' as a pot-smoker and a cokehead. Between the tears that established her femininity, Hillary snarled that whereas the black Martin Luther King was a merchant of dreams, it took a white president, Lyndon Johnson, to get the civil rights bill through Congress

Egypt Stands Aside as 700,000 Desperate Palestinians Flood Across Gaza Border

by Adam Morrow and Khaled Moussa al-Omrani Hundreds of thousands of Palestinians flocked into the Sinai Peninsula last week after the border fence separating Egypt from the Gaza Strip was partially destroyed by a series of explosions. In a direct challenge to the Israeli-imposed siege of the territory, Cairo -- citing humanitarian concerns -- appears to have tolerated the influx

Lords of Loud Attempt Satire, Fail

by Steve Young If either Levin or Hannity wanted to truly earn their satire wings, they would have never let their audience in on the joke. Ever. Number one, telling a joke, then explaining that it was a joke, is the mark of a comedy club open-stager who doesnÕt have confidence in his material. But even more, it is a sign that a comic doesnÕt trust his audience to be smart enough to get the joke. And certainly no one would ever claim that those who listen to talk radio arenÕt smart enough to think for themselves

Mark Levin Threatens Expose of O'Reilly "Porn"

by Steve Young This past week the Right Wing whack attack took an even darker turn...inwards. And when I heard the light and lilting modulated tones of talk show host Mark Levin on his daily show throwing down the gauntlet at the feet of journalist Bill O'Reilly yesterday, I nearly fell off my No Spin Recliner

Radio Talkers Eat Their Own, Part II

by Steve Young It's an explosion of blaring disagreement all born out of what is a new ball game for conservative talk radio, a Republican presidential selection process that's anything but slam bang vote for one man

Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert: Do As I Say, Not As I DO

by Steve Young What Stewart, Colbert and friends are doing is alleviating the necessity for AMPTP (meaning the producers, etc). to get back at the table. Why should they? Their shows and stars are coming back and so are their viewers. Without the writers, pension, health benefits and daily fresh fruit they're NOT paying for now, they're actually able to do these shows even cheaper

Crossing The Line Is Crossing The Line: No Exceptions

by Steve Young The same questions, even more so, surround The Daily Show and Colbert Report. I love both shows to death, but not to the point of scabbing content. Stewart and Colbert are WGA writers. Award-winning to boot. As with Leno and O'Brien, they should not be able to write/perform their own material or they too will have ignored the protecting the jobs of writers intent

U.S. Contractor Abuses in Iraq Rarely Punished, Groups Say

by Ali Gharib Just one contractor has been tried for violence or abuse towards local nationals, says the report, which examined over 600 classified Serious Incident Reports (SIRs) on incidents involving the use of force by or attacks upon private security contractors in Iraq over a nine-month period in 2004-2005

U.S. TV Foreign News Reporting Back to Pre-9/11 Levels

by Jim Lobe With the exception of the Iraq war, foreign news coverage by the three major U.S. television networks declined significantly in 2007, according to the latest annual review by the authoritative Tyndall Report. Indeed, the foreign news bureaus of the three networks, ABC, CBS, and NBC, had their lightest year in 2007 since 2001, suggesting that the era of expanded international coverage that followed the 9/11 terrorist attacks on New York and the Pentagon is now over

Fuel Shortages Leave Iraqis Cold, Unable to Work

by Ahmed Ali and Dahr Jamail Fadhly estimates that only 10 % of the cars in the city remain on the streets. 'Most petrol stations are closed,' he said. 'People now leave their cars at home and go to work by bus or taxi.' If they can find them. People have begun to use animal-drawn carts to move people and goods, and sometimes even as ambulances. Many feel nostalgic about the days of Saddam Hussein when petrol was in abundance, at just a few pennies a litre

The Other Women Hostages in Colombia

by Constanza Vieira While the international spotlight was shined on two women hostages released by Colombia's FARC guerrillas, a significant proportion of the invisible women thrown into prison on charges of 'rebellion,'merely because they live in rebel-controlled areas. Unlike the cases of former politicians Clara Rojas and Consuelo Gonzalez, who were freed Thursday by the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia) amid great fanfare, these women's stories are seldom if ever told

Voting for Hillary In Spite of Herself

by Robert Scheer Does it not matter that Hillary's key foreign policy advisers are drawn heavily from the ranks of the neoliberals, who cheered as loudly for Bush's war as did the neo-conservatives? Are they not concerned that Richard Holbrooke, who exploited his experience and access to secret information during the Clinton presidency to back the Iraq invasion, is a likely contender for secretary of state should she win?

Defense Contractor Gets Contract 2 Months After Making Former Pentagon Exec a VP

by Tim Shorrock A Pentagon office that claims to monitor terrorist threats to U.S. military bases in North America has just awarded a multi-million-dollar contract to a company that employs a top aide to former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld. That aide, Stephen Cambone, helped create the very office that issued the contract

New Estimate of 151,000 Iraqis Dead in 3 Years of Occupation

by Haider Rizvi Credible estimates for the period March 2003 until June 2006 have ranged from a high of 600,000 to about 47,000. The first figure was reported by researchers from Johns Hopkins in The Lancet, a venerable British medical journal, back in October 2006. The second one was projected by the independent organization Iraq Body Count. This week, the World Health Organization and the Iraqi Health Ministry released a joint survey suggesting that no less than 151,000 Iraqis died violently during that time frame

Beijing Tensions From Advancing Desert and Rising Olympic Construction

by Antoaneta Bezlova In the run-up to the 2008 Summer Games, Beijing appears to have been transformed into the world's largest construction site. By some accounts, there are currently 10,000 building projects in the capital albeit not all of them Olympics-related

Iraqis Say 2 U.S. Soldiers Killed Were Abusing Woman

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail On Dec. 26, an Iraqi soldier opened fire on U.S. soldiers accompanying him during a joint military patrol in the northern Iraqi city Mosul. He killed the U.S. captain and another sergeant, and wounded three others, including an Iraqi interpreter. Conflicting versions of the killing have arisen. Col. Hazim al-Juboory, uncle of the attacker Kaissar Saady al-Juboory, told IPS that his nephew at first watched the U.S. soldiers beat up an Iraqi woman. When he asked them to stop, they refused, so he opened fire

China trying to Expand Into Energy-Rich Disputed Border Areas

by Antoaneta Bezlova Even as it expands economic cooperation with its wary Southeast Asian neighbors, China's thirst for energy is compelling it to resurrect territorial claims to resources-rich spots in the region that have lain dormant for years

Afghan Journalism Student Sentenced to Death for Internet Posting

by Tahir Qadiry An Afghan court has sentenced a 23-year-old journalist to death for blasphemy, apparently after criticizing the Prophet Mohammed's views on women's rights, and downloading and circulating material from the Internet

Impoverished Serbs Expecting Windfall Fortune

by Vesna Peric Zimonjic Serbs have their mind more on visions of free wealth that they believe will be theirs, after the Law on Free Distribution of Shares came into force last week. The law provides for free distribution of 15 % of shares of six state-owned entities, the family silver of Serbia, due to be privatized by the end of 2008. 'This means that each of the four million (adult) citizens of Serbia will have at least 1,000 euros in his or her pocket,' economy and regional development minister Mladjan Dinkic told reporters. His estimate was based on the assumption that the six companies could be sold for more than 12 billion euros ($18 billion), an amount much disputed among experts

Bush Admin Version of "Iran Incident" Starts to Unravel

by Gareth Porter Despite the official and media portrayal of the incident in the Strait of Hormuz early Monday morning as a serious threat to U.S. ships from Iranian speedboats that nearly resulted in a 'battle at sea,' new information over the past three days suggests that the incident did not involve such a threat and that no U.S. commander was on the verge of firing at the Iranian boats

Why Bloomberg?

by Joe Conason The immediate charm of a Bloomberg candidacy -- or the candidacy of any other such supposed savior -- is that it serves as a blank screen suitable for the projection of whatever obsessions, beliefs, projects or personal qualities are desired. He is not only independent, but free-floating, at least in the imaginations of his would-be supporters; he is not only devoid of ideology, but practically free of content altogether, like nonpartisanship itself. Or at least that is how he appears until he is subjected to closer scrutiny

Back Off, Bill

by Joe Conason Whether he has done that much harm already remains to be determined in the primaries ahead. At the very least, however, the former president has begun to change the polarity of his own presence in her campaign from positive to negative -- and to raise real questions about the meaning of his return to the White House

Day Laborers at Soup Kitchens Another Sign U.S. Economy in Trouble

by Ketaki Gokhale Hunger and homelessness among day laborers have always been cyclical in nature, says Meghan Woods, a case manager for the Oakland Street Level Project, a nonprofit agency that provides food and medical care for day laborers. But this winter, the number, and the desperation, of the homeless has exceeded expectations. Many speculate that it is a harbinger of hard times to come

Musharraf Tries to Pin Blame for Bhutto Assassination on Pro-Taliban Pashtuns

by Ashfaq Yusufzai Musharraf's initial assertion that the pro-Taliban, Baitullah Mahsud, a Pashtun tribal leader, was behind the assassination of former prime minister Benazir Bhutto has not gone down well in the restless North West Frontier Province

Mortgage Industry Targeted Minorities for Risky Loans, Says Think Tank

by Abid Aslam People of color -- mainly African-Americans and Latinos -- will have lost betewen $163 billion and $278 billion to subprime loans taken during the past eight years by the time the crisis runs its course, researchers said

China Finding Opportunity in U.S. Recession

by Antoaneta Bezlova China's infusion of five billion U.S. dollars into the financial titan Morgan Stanley in December to help rebuild its capital base has been portrayed by some experts as a successful inroad into the Wall Street fortress that should be used by Beijing to acquire more power to influence opinions in U.S. political backrooms

Bush Mideast Visit Underscores Hamas-Fatah Split

by Mohammed Omer While the red carpet was being laid for Bush in Ramallah for the meeting with Abbas, Israeli siege of Gaza, less than two hours drive from Ramallah, continues. Bush's visit has again highlighted the divisions between Hamas and Fatah Š and between the two big Palestinian areas, the Gaza Strip ruled by Hamas and the West Bank ruled by Fatah

Operation Condor Reached Into Peru, New Documents Show

by Angel Paez Legal investigations in Italy and declassified U.S. government documents prove that Peru was also involved in Operation Condor, created by the military regimes ruling South America in the 1970s and 1980s to cooperate in the elimination of dissidents

Growing Number of Suicide Attacks by Children

by Thalif Deen The study says the United Nations remains 'disturbed' by reports of children being used to perpetrate attacks and, in some cases, as human shields by the Taliban and other insurgents in Afghanistan. There have been reports that the Taliban have recruited and used children in their activities, such as suicide attacks

Malaysia Orders Certain Arabic Words Only for use by Muslims

by Baradan Kuppusasmy In a move that may hurt Malaysia's multi-religious social fabric the government has announced that certain Arabic words like 'Allah' cannot be used in the literature, gospel and speeches of non-Muslims faiths. Three other commonly used words ordered excluded from non-Muslim lexicon are 'Baitullah' (House of God), 'Solat' (prayer) and 'Kaabah (Sacred House)

Neo-cons Lose Their "Islamofascist Expert" in the Pentagon

by Khody Akhavi Neo-conservative hawks lamented the latest casualty in the war on terror last Friday, as the axe fell on Stephen Coughlin's job. The Pentagon decided not to renew the contract of its 'foremost' specialist on Islamic law and Islamic extremism when it ends in March, citing budget cuts

That Dismal Democratic Debate

by Joe Conason By focusing on obscure votes in the Illinois legislature and old corporate ties, Sens. Clinton and Obama showed that their differences on real issues must be narrow indeed. Their attempts to besmirch each other's character and commitment were distasteful, especially because those attacks could so easily be mirrored against the attacker

McCain's Chances Rest on "Progress" in Iraq

by Joe Conason The revival of McCain's moribund candidacy over the past few weeks would have been impossible without the media's endorsement of 'progress' in Iraq. Indeed, war propaganda itself has surged lately on the strength of casualty statistics from December 2007

The Coming Attack on Barack

by Joe Conason Whether he can go on to claim the nomination is yet to be determined. Much more predictable is the nature of the campaign that would be waged against him -- and the fickleness of the national press corps if and when that ugly process eventually reaches its nadir

Israel High Court Okays Power, Fuel Shutoff to Gaza

In what human rights groups are calling a 'devastating' decision, the Israeli High Court issued a verdict on January 30 rejecting a petition by ten groups and clearing the way for Israel to cut electricity and fuel supplies to the Gaza Strip

What "Good Time Charlie" Brought

by Robert Scheer While the war on terror is used as the justification for U.S. meddling in Pakistan's politics and wasting at least $10 billion in funding to prop up the Musharraf government, it is rarely noticed that the general-turned-dictator and his key opponents are all more or less equally compromized by past support of the Taliban

Playing the Class Card

by Robert Scheer As long as Hillary Clinton, and now Gloria Steinem, has chosen to play the women's card against the race card, let me throw in a third one: the class card. What is radical about voting for a corporate lawyer who, in defense of her Arkansas savings and loan shenanigans, once said you can't be a lawyer without working for banks?

Suharto: The 'Kemusuk Thug' Is Finally Dead

Analysis by Andreas Harsono In May 1998, Suharto stepped down from his 32-year rule after the Indonesian rupiah all but collapsed. He claimed that it was time for him to be a sage. But even in retirement, he blamed his ministers for the killings and corruptions of his time. He avoided prosecution on grounds of failing health. He was hospitalized 14 times between 1999 and 2007, thus avoiding personal accountability for the genocide, destruction and corruption he inflicted upon those he ruled over

The "Illegal Immigrant" Skeletons in Romney's Closet

by Henry Fernandez Presidential candidate Mitt Romney has been running ads decrying the horrible impact of 'illegal immigrants,' yet, he is the only candidate whose father was born in Mexico and whose family took advantage of the porous border between Mexico and the United States

Florida's Cubans Tell Repubs: You Have to Earn our Vote

by Louis E.V. Nevaer Miami Cubans' move away from the Republicans coincides with other demographic changes taking place among Florida's Hispanics. While Hispanics from South America lean towards the Republican Party, Hispanics from Central America and Mexico do not. And the American-born children of Cubans tend to identify with -- and vote for -- the liberal social views of Democrats

Obama Anointed by Kennedy Dynasty

by Ali Gharib The surprise endorsement is widely viewed as a repudiation of Sen. Clinton's campaign -- particularly the negative tone it has taken over the past weeks -- amid press reports that Sen. Kennedy had become involved in a Democratic effort to cool off the attacks of Clinton's husband, former president Bill Clinton. Sen. Kennedy reportedly called President Clinton and asked him to tone down his rhetoric after Clinton had sought to cast doubt on Obama's record of opposition to the Iraq war and his preparedness to occupy the Oval Office

Afghan Prison Compared to Gitmo

by William Fisher As the world marked the sixth anniversary of the arrival of the first orange-jumpsuit-clad prisoners at the U.S. Naval Base at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, human rights groups are attempting to focus public and congressional scrutiny on what some are calling 'the other Gitmo'

Kenya Violence Continues, Hundreds of Bodies Piled In Morgue

by Kwamboka Oyaro Reports that more than 200 bodies of Kisii people have not been identified for burial in neighboring Kericho district has sparked anger in the community which has been taking care of thousands of internally displaced persons since post-election violence broke out four weeks ago

Bush Trying to Lock Next President Into Iraq

by Ali Gharib Democrats have been railing against the idea that Bush is in a position to make these commitments. Presidential hopefuls Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama both say they will pursue legislation requiring President Bush to seek congressional approval for the Iraq status of forces agreement, and a joint subcommittee meeting was convened on the topic

India's Ultra-Cheap Car: More Problem Than Promise

by Praful Bidwai Above all, it will set back the all-important fight against global warming, in which the Indian government is at best a reluctant partner that refuses to accept any time-bound commitment to reduce its greenhouse emissions, which are now growing three times faster than the world average

Bush "Signing Statement" Okays Permanent Bases in Iraq

by Aaron Glantz Bush used a signing statement to say he wouldn't follow four provisions of the act, which he said 'could inhibit the president's ability to carry out his constitutional obligations.' Those provisions would have mandated increased Congressional oversight of military contractors, banned construction of permanent military bases in Iraq and forbade the use of U.S. troops to exercise United States control of Iraq's oil resources

The Five Lessons of Iowa

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson Lesson number one in the smash victory of Obama and Huckabee: Iowans and Americans crave change. They are fed up with the lies, corruBushption, cronyism, politics-for-sale, war mongering, political bungling and economic wreckage wreaked by Bush, Congress, and legions of on-the-make politicians. Obama and Huckabee -- though neither can be considered maverick, establishment-challenging elected officials -- at the very least, are energetic, fresh, new faces on the national scene. They have been savvy enough to figure out how to talk the talk of change, and for now that's enough for voters

U.S. Ramps up Terror War in East

by Jim Lobe The Pentagon's announcement that it is dispatching some 3,200 marines to Afghanistan underlines both Washington's mounting concern about the strength of the Taliban insurgency and the growing sense here that the central front in its nearly six-and-a-half-year-old terror war has moved back to its South Asian roots

Affordable Housing Activists Tasered, Arrested at New Orleans Hearing

by Bill Quigley In a remarkable symbol of the injustices of post-Katrina reconstruction, hundreds of people were locked out of a December 20 public New Orleans City Council meeting addressing demolition of 4500 public housing apartments. Some were tasered, many pepper sprayed and a dozen arrested

At One Year, "Surge" Leaves Doubts About Iraq's Future

by Jim Lobe Many analysts also point to the pre-surge decision by key Sunni tribal groups, initially in al Anbar province, to turn against al Qaeda in Iraq. By deciding that al Qaeda was the dangerous enemy, the so-called Sunni Awakening movement, led in many cases by former Ba'athists, became de facto U.S. allies, effectively pacifying the region where U.S. forces had suffered the highest casualty rates in the war. Similarly, the decision by Shi'a cleric Muqtada al Sadr to order his powerful Mahdi Army to stand down -- largely as a result of the popular backlash caused by its operations in Najaf, according to one Pentagon consultant, ret. Gen. Barry McCaffrey -- has also helped reduce bloodshed

Christian Zionists Buy Access to Israel's Top Leadership

by Bill Berkowitz In late December, the Jewish Agency for Israel, which helped found the State of Israel, announced that the IFCJ will be declared a funding partner of the Jewish Agency, essentially saying that pro-Israel Christians are joining with the Jewish community worldwide in helping aliyah [Jewish immigration to Israel] and in strengthening the security and welfare of the State of Israel. That has never happened before

"Clean Coal" Project Scrapped Hours After Bush Speech

Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman sent America's clean coal program back to square one Wednesday when he tossed out the FutureGen low emissions coal gasification plant that the Bush administration has supported for the past five years

Who Will Take on the Banks?

by Robert Scheer With a military budget that has more than doubled since 9/11, soaking up trillions of dollars in obligations for future generations, it is stupid to argue about whether the Democrats or Republicans will spend more on needed domestic programs, because the money will not be available. Kucinich was the one candidate on the Democratic side willing to do what Rep. Ron Paul has in the Republican debates -- challenge the phony patriotism of ripping off the taxpayers for war-fighting expenditures in Iraq and elsewhere, leaving us less secure

Those Ungrateful Saudis

by Robert Scheer What more can this president do to curry favor with the Saudis? He forgave them for nurturing the Wahhabism that spawned al-Qaida, and he never embarrasses them with the fact that bin Laden and 15 of the 19 hijackers who attacked America on 9/11 were born and raised in the kingdom. Nor did Bush let the inconvenient fact that the Saudi government had backed the Taliban until 9/11 intrude on his cozy relations with the royal family

2008 State of the Union: Another Year of the Same

Analysis by Jim Lobe The outlook for 2008 is for continued deadlock between a Democratic Congress that favors a relatively rapid withdrawal of U.S. combat forces from Iraq and greater diplomatic efforts to engage its neighbors, including Iran and Syria, and a president who believes as strongly as ever that last year's controversial 'surge' of 30,000 additional troops there has enabled him to snatch victory from the jaws of defeat and that even talking to Washington's regional foes is morally repugnant

Yushchenko Dioxin Poisoning Remains Unsolved

by Zoltan Dujisin The investigation into the 2004 alleged poisoning of President Viktor Yushchenko when he was a candidate for the presidency remains unsolved, but there is no lack of chilling theories, some of which stain the President himself

Tourists of the Apocalypse

by Stephen Leahy Ecotourism and nature tourism -- which would include 'climate tourism' -- is growing perhaps three times faster than the industry in general, estimates Ezaki, of the International Ecotourism Society. While Society members in nearly 100 countries promise to follow a green code of conduct, there is no inspection and no one has ever been kicked out for violations, she says. Mass tourism, like the typical tropical beach holiday that forms the bulk of the industry, is not sustainable and will continue to be the major problem into the future. National governments will have to step in and make every aspect of mass tourism as green as possible, according to Ezak

Christian Zionists Feel "Betrayed" by Bush's Road Map

by Bill Berkowitz Their anger revolves around both the future status of Jerusalem and whether a peace agreement lessens the chances for a preemptive strike against Iran. While Bush appeared to reassure Christian Zionists that Iran was 'the world's leading state-sponsor of terror,' the issue of Jerusalem remained disconcerting

Despite Primary Hoopla, Bush'll Still be Around for Another Year

by Michael Winship Despite there being less than 51 weeks to go, it would be dangerous to forget that boy and write him off as the hapless lame duck he might appear. A president can do a lot of damage in his last year. Especially this one

McCain's Two Wars

by Michael Shank John McCain, the self-dubbed straight-talker, is indeed a unique candidate. The New Hampshire victory breathed life into his faltering campaign. Whether he can maintain the momentum remains to be seen. In the meantime, analysis into President McCain's foreign policy is needed. It turns out that 'least bad' and 'least unfavorable' maintains the status quo on two critical foreign policy issues: the war on terrorism and the war on global warming

Captured Al Qaeda Docs Profile Foreign Fighters in Iraq

by Khody Akhavi Many recruits indicated they were students. One fighter listed 'massage specialist' as his previous occupation. Suleymani was the youngest recruit, only 16 when he crossed into Iraq; the oldest was 54. Of the 389 fighters that listed their 'work' in Iraq, more than half expressed interest in suicide bombing

McCain Could Pull Latino Vote Away From Democrats

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson McCain's unique challenge to Democrats for the Latino vote comes down to simple math: his GOP rivals' zeal to win white votes with anti-immigrant appeals is perceived Latinos as severely anti-immigrant and anti-Latino, if not racist. McCain's calls to treat immigrants 'humanely' during the Spanish-language GOP debate contrasted strikingly with the get-tough talk of his shrill opponents. Latin voters heard the mantra of McCain alongside the hallowed Kennedy name during daily Spanish-language media reports about 'reforma migratoria' for nearly two years

What to Expect from an Obama White House

by Earl Ofari Hutchinson For all his hope and change rhetoric, a closer look at Obama's voting record in the Illinois legislature and his history of deal-making with Republicans gives a closer look to what he'll really be like as President

Iowa Youth Push Obama Over the Top

by Russell Morse It's not Obama. It's not the pending doom of a nuclear Pakistan toppling into the laps of lunatics or Iran swallowing Iraq. It's not four dollar gas or dead polar bears. It's not student loans or Mexican dishwashers without paperwork. It's just time for us to take the wheel and do something right. Or even something dastardly wrong. But something different

"We Are Haunted By a War Begun Under False Pretenses"

Interview with Chuck Lewis, founder of the Center for Public Integrity "We found 935 false statements... Bush made the most statements; McClellan the fewest. No one has ever done this for any other U.S. war, to my knowledge, a public and private chronology of what they said versus what they knew internally. There is no comparison to the past"

Pakistan Survey Shows U.S. Intervention Feared More Than Taliban

by Jim Lobe Amid reports that the Bush administration is considering aggressive covert actions against armed Islamist forces in western Pakistan, a new survey released here Monday suggested that such an effort would be opposed by an overwhelming majority of Pakistanis themselves

Real Goal of Bush "Peace" Tour: Beat War Drums Against Iran

Analysis by Trita Parsi The Arab outreach to Iran -- which largely is a response to a perception of the likely failure of Washington's Iran policy -- has made the U.S. effort to contain Tehran all the more unfeasible. Against this backdrop, the idea of an U.S.- Arab-Israeli alliance being formed to counter Iran's rise -- a key impetus for President Bush's Mideast tour -- seems more farfetched than ever. In this context, the incident between five Iranian vessels and three U.S. Naval ships in the Strait of Hormuz this past Sunday may not, as the Bush administration may have hoped, clarify the threat Iran poses to the region

Bush Admin Rushes to Approve Oil Wells Before Polar Bear Status Change

by J.R. Pegg Markey, the chair of the House Select Committee on Energy Independence and Global Warming, convened the hearing in the wake of an announcement on January 7 by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service that it will delay a decision on whether the polar bear should be listed as "threatened" under the Endangered Species Act. The delay makes it likely the decision on listing will come after the U.S. Minerals Management Service sells oil and gas leases in Alaska's Chukchi Sea, inhabited by some 2,000 polar bears

IMF Predicts Worst Global Economic Downturn in Years

by Abid Aslam The warning comes days after Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the IMF managing director, broke with tradition and asked governments to spend more -- even at the cost of increasing budget deficits, which the agency normally considers a cardinal sin -- to stimulate their economies. Strauss-Kahn cited the severity of the unfolding downturn

Iraqi Police, Soldiers, Sidelined by U.S.-Backed Sunni Fighters

by Ali al-Fadhily and Dahr Jamail Most are former resistance fighters, now being paid $300 a month to stop attacking occupation forces and to back them instead. The groups, which the U.S. military claims are 82 percent Sunni, are viewed as a threat by the government in Baghdad

Mountains of Garbage in Italy as Dumps Close

The European Commission giving the government of Italy just one month to clean up the waste crisis plaguing Naples and the rest of the Campania region or face a potentially costly lawsuit. Since just before Christmas, thousands of tons of garbage have been left uncollected by the roadsides because waste disposal sites are full.

Zapatistas Under Siege From Army, Paramilitary

by Diego Cevallos The Zapatista guerrillas and their supporters in the southern Mexican state of Chiapas are experiencing the worst onslaught by state forces in the last ten years, although most people are unaware of the fact, according to reports from a research center working in the area

Pentagon Won't Concede Iran's Role in Calming Iraq Violence

Analysis by Gareth Porter These differing views on whether Iran has been playing a positive role in Iraq are the first clear evidence of a split between Gates and Rice over how to deal with Iran. Rice's State Department is now leaning toward treating Iran as something other than an outright enemy in regard to Iraq, whereas Gates is not ready to soften the administration's position of casting suspicion on Iranian intentions

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