Albion Monitor Issue 169 MAY 2008
Albion Monitor
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FREE! Picture January 20, 2009, the day George W. Bush has to vacate the Oval Office.

There is little question that the majority of people on the planet -- those who suffered under both the corporate globalization of the Clinton years and the imperial globalization of George W. Bush -- deserve something better. However, it is far from certain that social justice advocates who want to encourage a more democratic approach to world affairs and global economic well-being will be able to sway a new administration. On the other hand, the damage inflicted by eight years of neo-con rule and the challenges of an increasingly daunting geopolitical scene present a conundrum to the corporate globalizers: Is it even possible to go back to the way things were?

One of the more curious aspects of the Bush years is that the self-proclaimed "uniter" polarized not only American society, but also its business and political elites. These are the types who gather at the annual, ultra-exclusive World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and have their assistants trade business cards for them. Yet, despite their sometime chumminess, these powerful few are now in disagreement over how American power should be shaped in the post-Bush era and increasing numbers of them are jumping ship when it comes to the course the Republicans have chosen to advance these last years. They are now engaged in a debate about how to rule the world.

Cluster Bomb Ban Passed Over U.S. Objections

Washington was pressuring allies and lobbying hard behind the scenes to weaken any deal

Ocean Scientists Can't Keep Pace With Rapid Climate Changes

Apparently less CO2 being absorbed by oceans, more staying in atmosphere

Senate Passes No-Strings War Funding Bill

Democrats again back down from fight with Bush over control of Iraq policy

Quake, Not Olympic Hoopla, Unites China

Tremor was literally felt by half of the population, and the accompanying tragedies now stir the entire nation

China Bows to Pressure, Allows Mourning of Quake Victims

First national mourning allowed to commemorate ordinary people rather than political leaders

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

"For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me"

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

Militia street battles spread throughout nation



food crisis
© 2008 Aislin/Montreal Gazette, All Rights Reserved

The bad news: There is no quick fix to the world's food crisis -- and it's been coming for a long time.

One cause of the rice shortage is due to the push towards rice cultivation on an industrial scale that promoted monoculture, where a few high-yield rice varieties that needed large doses of chemicals were held up as the answer to growing demand. Small farmers, who used local knowledge over centuries to generate new varieties of paddy seeds that blended with the local environment were marginalized. And it wasn't just Asian rice farmers who were pushed to the sidelines; the EU, the U.S. and other industrialized countries pay large growers a billion dollars a day in subsidies, an unfair advantage that affected all small-scale, local farms.

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, the logical result of the transformation of food from a basic human need to an economic "commodity." This has made it easier for investors and trading houses to regard agricultural food as a legitimate target for speculation, hoarding and market manipulation, especially though the futures market.

And then there's the combined crisis of the crashing U.S. economy and rising petroleum prices, which have created a Perfect Storm of a disaster that is ethanol. The United States and the European Union have taken a "criminal path" by contributing to an explosive rise in global food prices through using food crops to produce biofuels, according to the UN special rapporteur on food. More land in the U.S. is pressed into planting corn for biofuel use, even though corn-based ethanol takes more energy to produce that it provides. Much of the rest of the leftover corn kernel also goes to livestock feed, and is a hidden subsidy to yet another wasteful food industry


The Hidden Battle Over the World Food System

What is Really Causing 'Agflation?'

Rice Crisis Was Warned About Years Ago

Food Futures Behind Rising Prices

Ag Subsidies Feeding Food Scarcity

UN: Biofuel Production is 'Criminal' FREE!

Bush Admin Backs Off From "Fascism" Language

Out with pejoratives like "Islamo-fascists," "jihadis" and "mujahadeen," and in with "words that work"

China's Quake Response a Credibility Test

Death toll, details of disasters was state secret until three years ago

Hezbollah's Resurgence the Main Topic of Bush Mideast Tour

Strength of Hezbollah, Hamas, both direct result of failed Bush peace efforts

Cheney vs the Whales FREE!

Siding with shipping companies against protection for one of the most endangered animals in the world

FBI Raids Home, Office, Of Bush Special Counsel

Protector of federal whistleblowers accused of retaliation against whistleblowers

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

FBI Director denies that the Bureau had direct role in illegal interrogation methods

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

Can't even agree on a definition of what is Tibet

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

TV networks, cable news outlets mostly silent about media manipulation

Burma Refuses to Reschedule Vote on New Constitution

Homeless, starving cyclone victims told to cast ballots May 25

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

Doug Feith book also reveals Rumsfeld cancelled search for Bin Laden

U.S. Finally Revokes Patent for Common Mexican Bean

Alleged American "inventor" bought yellow beans at a market in Mexico in 1994

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

Residents of town near Gaza border traumatized by frequent sirens warning of incoming


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

Agreement on protecting Iraq against foreign intervention could be used as a cover to attack Iran

Pentagon Plan Flops to Showcase Iran-Made Weapons

Couldn't even find a Persian pop gun to make case for Iran "meddling" in Iraq

U.S. Backing Iran-Backed Forces in Iraq

And it all goes back to Ahmed Chalabi

Congress Reluctant to Pay for Continued Iraq Reconstruction

As Iraq's oil revenue in 2008 estimated at $70+ billion

Corruption Eats Into Iraqi Food Rations

Some rations also unfit to eat

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

Has made reconciliation more difficult by choosing tribal sides


McCain's Evangelical Problem(s)

Name another presidential candidate with both a Pro-Hitler and anti-Islam reverend

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

"When you get even a 40 percent turnout verses the historical 15 percent turnout, the electoral machinery just crashes"

The Republican Albatross That is Bush

25 pt. loss in "safe" Mississippi district a shocker

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

Now positioning herself as a Ralph Nader for Hillbillies

Hillary's Doomed Horse Race

Awkwardly said to bet on Kentucky Derby horse who killed itself to come in 2nd place

Balkanized Democrats Could Give White House to McCain

This Hillary-Obama split has exposed fundamental class, race and even personality differences between the Democrats



Burma crisis With the final death toll expected close to 100,000 and over a million hungry or fishing in rivers filled with corpses, aid orgs find their greatest obstacle is getting past Burma's generals, who want to give the impression locally and internationally that their relief efforts under control. The regime insisted that the only kind of assistance welcomes is cash donations or aid in kind given directly to the generals in power.

Any hope that UN officials harbored of a change in attitude were dashed a press conference given by three ministers on May 10 dashed. This trio, which included Social Welfare Minister Gen. Maung Maung Swe, informed the media that the Burmese government was "in control of the situation,' and that thanks to the government's response "nobody has died except as a direct result of the cyclone' and that it was "grateful for the international aid provided."

"Myanmar is pleased to receive assistance, but distribution is to be done by the government and foreigners are not allowed in affected areas,' Gen. Maung Maung Swe had said. "If you want to visit, write to us; we will consider on a case-by- case basis and go together at the appropriate time."


UN Gambles With Burma's Generals, Forgets History

Has repeatedly welcomed UN, then takes a hostile turn, reinforcing the notion that the military has to have absolute control of the country, with no exceptions

Burma Cyclone Destroyed Much of Rice Supply FREE!

Junta opposed to foreign aid will need foreign aid to feed public even after crisis over

Burma's Neighbors Won't Pressure Junta

All have financial interests in keeping generals in power

Emergency Aid Orgs Face Gauntlet of Burma Bureaucracy FREE!

Only supplies given to junta's "Disaster Management Committee" fast-tracked

Foreigners, Cameras Banned in Burma Disaster Areas

"If you want to visit, write"

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

Army not only grabbed UN food aid shipments Thursday, but also refused to allow humanitarian aid workers into country

Cyclone Exposes Burma Junta's Indifference

Meteorologists kept country's leaders up-to-date on approaching deadly storm

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

UN's main rapid response teams are still waiting for approval from junta

"Going Green" Sometimes Another Name For Biopiracy

Chemical companies also seek protection for damage caused by genetically modified plants

Hundreds Arrested in Protest of Sean Bell Verdict, Police Abuses

"We are all Sean Bell," the crowd outside the police headquarters roared in unison as police began to make arrests

Stonings a Sign of Taliban Resurgence

Two executed for adultery in April

Few Punished for Killing Journalists, Study Finds

Iraq, Sierra Leone and Somalia the worst, but most of top 13 countries are peacetime democracies

Pemex Oozes Corruption

Mexico's state oil company a secret society that operates far from public scrutiny

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

Molecule that never breaks down tied to immune system damage

The Twilight of the Coral Reefs

"In 30 years or so corals will be so thin and brittle if you breathe on them they will fall over"

Florida Considers Laws Supporting "Intelligent Design" Teaching

Expected to be considered after legislature returns from break

Bush's Knesset Speech a New Low FREE!

Using an historic occasion to take a cheap political shot

Portrait of how Immigration Raids Panic Community

Feds target families in "sanctuary" cities

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

Adults die 5 years younger, up to 5x infant mortality

Israel Blockade of Gaza Puts Thousands of Fishermen Idle

Fishing season almost over, but no fuel allowed in for boats

For Palestinians, 60 Years of Eviction

Yousef al-Hums still holds the key to what was once his house. (PHOTO: Mohammed Omer)

675 Palestinian villages built over as Israeli towns or covered over with tree plantations

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

3 in 4 Israelis expect war with "one or more Arab states" in the next five years

Texas to Execute Another Mexico Citizen in August

After Supreme Court refuses to recognize decision by international court

Plenty of Obstacles in Way of Israel, Syria Peace Deal

Mainly that Israel wants the entire Golan Heights


Joe Conason

Blame to Share in Primary Farce

McCain's Shocking Discovery

Cindy McCain Flaunts Her Privilege

Hillary Plays the Crazy Card


Robert Scheer So Where's the Outrage?

Paying for War at the Pump

Tortured Evidence on Torture

McCain vs Hillary: Neo-con vs Neo-Liberal


Alexander Cockburn

First the Slowdown, Then the Crash

Hillary's Skin-Deep Populism

Scenario Set for Attack on Iran


Steve Young Evening At The White House Press Secretary Improv

Hillary's Concession Speech Better Be Her Best

Bush Channels the Dixie Chicks

Most Race-Baiting Column EVER!

Obama RFK


When Senator Clinton alluded to the assassination of Bobby Kennedy to explain her reasons for staying in the race, the shock from her graceless comparison may have ended her hope for winning the White House. She contended that it was a misinterpreted comment, but clips soon emerged showing that she's used it repeatedly over the last few months.

But she also inadvertently highlighted the stark generational differences at play in this election. For a generation of voters who has grown up under the presidencies of Bill Clinton and two Bushes, the Kennedy legacy isn't the tragedy of the assassinations, but the spirit of optimism and hope -- the same qualities they find in her opponent, Barack Obama

Albion Monitor
Issue 169

Editor: Jeff Elliott (

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