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Tough-on-Crime Groups Cut to the Chase

Only in America can elected officials go on TV and confess to felonies (including torture and warrantless spying, not to mention aggressive war) and the resulting debate focus around the question of whether investigating the "possibility" of wrong-doing would be too radical. This week a coalition of dozens of human rights groups including the Center for Constitutional Rights, the National Lawyers Guild, and the Society of American Law Teachers released a statement, as drafted by The Robert Jackson Steering Committee, cutting to the chase.


Obama Plans to End Combat Mission in Iraq by August 2010

President Obama arrived at one of the nation’s most storied military bases Friday morning to unveil plans to pull most troops out of Iraq by August 2010 after receiving support from an unlikely quarter — Senator John McCain, the Republican he beat in last year’s election.


Farmers Call For NAFTA Reforms

NAFTA has produced winners, mostly multinational corporations and a long list of losers, which includes farmers. The trade agreement has been the source of much discontent and has become an easy target. NAFTA is so badly flawed, but it is only one part of our failed trade and economic strategy. It has hurt many farmers in the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Just as there are calls to reform energy, investment, labour and environmental provisions of NAFTA, many are also demanding changes to agricultural clauses found in the agreement.

NAFTA has essentially pitted farmers from all three countries against each other. Some have sought to establish more control over the marketing of farm produce only to be harassed.


Mayor to quit over Obama watermelon e-mail

The mayor of a California city says he will resign after being criticized for sharing an e-mail picture depicting the White House lawn planted with watermelons under the title "No Easter egg hunt this year."

Grose came under fire for sending the picture to what he called "a small group of friends." One of the recipients, a local businesswoman and city volunteer, publicly scolded the mayor for his actions.


An Insider Spills the Beans on Offshore Banking Centers

The oil industry created the practice of countries (SHIPS?) flying "flags of convenience" as a means of avoiding income taxes nearly a century ago. Since the 1960s the U.S. Government itself has encouraged American banks to set up branches in Caribbean hot-money centers and more distant islands as a means of attracting foreign money into the dollar. The initial aim was to help finance the Vietnam War by turning America into a new Switzerland for the world's hot money.


Crisis in the US newspaper industry

If the economic crisis goes on much longer, will there be any newspapers left in the US to write about it?

"You take readers and advertisers who were already migrating away from print, and add a steep recession, and you've got serious trouble," writes the New Yorker's James Surowiecki.

Of course, print circulation losses are being partially offset by increases in online readership.

The problem for the newspapers has been finding a way to turn increased readership into increased revenue.


Senate to investigate CIA's actions under Bush

Officials said the inquiry was not designed to determine whether CIA officials broke laws. "The purpose here is to do fact-finding in order to learn lessons from the programs and see if there are recommendations to be made for detention and interrogations in the future," said a senior Senate aide, who like others described the plan on condition of anonymity because it had not been made public.


Gregg had stake in, won aid for base

President Barack Obama's former nominee to become commerce secretary, Sen. Judd Gregg, steered taxpayer money to his home state's redevelopment of a former Air Force base even as he and his brother engaged in real estate deals there, an Associated Press investigation found.


Anthrax spores don't match dead researcher's samples

Poisonous anthrax that killed five Americans in the weeks after the Sept. 11, 2001 terror attacks doesn't match bacteria from a flask linked to Bruce Ivins, the researcher who committed suicide after being implicated by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, a scientist said.

Michael analyzed letters sent to the New York Post and offices of Senators Tom Daschle and Patrick Leahy, and found a distinct "chemical signature" not present in the flask known as RMR-1029, which Ivins could access in his laboratory at Fort Detrick, Maryland.


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