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Rounding Out the Pennsylvania Primary Story

By Dave Lindorff

The corporate media have been quick to buy into and promote the Hillary Clinton campaign claim that she won the Pennsylvania primary by "double digits," but the truth is, that involves a bit of creative rounding.

The final figures for the vote are that Clinton won 1,258,245 votes out of 2,300,542 cast, compared to 1,042,297 for Barack Obama.

If you do the math, that works out to 54.71 percent for Clinton, and 45.31 percent for Obama.

Now granted, if you use the convention of rounding up numbers 5 or above and rounding down numbers below 4 and below, you get 55 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Obama. But if you take the actual numbers, 54.71 and 45.31, and calculate the difference, it works out to 9.40 percent. And that is a number closer to 9 than to 10.

Hillary Clinton's Monstrous Threat

By Dave Lindorff

Tough guy Hillary Clinton, on the morning of a critical primary vote in Pennsylvania, uttered a monstrous threat, saying on ABC's "Good Morning America program today that if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel while she was president, "we would be able to totally obliterate them."

Think about that a moment! A country that we view as a theocracy, run dictatorially by a bunch of self-appointed religious fanatics, whose rule is enforced by an army of equally fanatic quasi-military thugs and enforcers, launches an attack on America's ally Israel, and Clinton says her response would be to incinerate the people of that country--people who are as powerless to stop such an attack as would be the people of Israel or the United States.

Is this the way we want the world the work? Is this the way we want our government to act?

The US Economy and the Costs of War

By Dave Lindorff

Is the Iraq War to blame for America’s long-term economic decline and for the current economic crisis?

Martin Neil Baily, a chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, and now director of the business initiative at the Brookings Institution, in an opinion piece that ran Sunday in the New York Times, says no. Claiming to be opposed to the Iraq War, he nonetheless suggests that the nearly $500 billion spent on Iraq to date—all of it borrowed money—cannot be blamed for the credit crisis, or for high oil prices.

O' When CODEPINK Came Marchin' In (To New Orleans For Eve's V-Day)

For my entire life - years before Hurricane Katrina - I've fantasized about New Orleans. I dreamed of being decadent in the French Quarter in clubs where my music heroes played. I dreamed of tasting the food, studying the architecture, hearing the accents, and being cradled in the arms of the city – in the cream, black, brown and white blended arms of the city. I wanted to earn my beads at Mardi Gras, search the bayous for magic, and be transformed beyond the boundaries of my physical world. But the rigors of my life quashed my momentum and I didn’t visit the one American city I'd always longed to see -- until just last weekend -- nearly three years AFTER Katrina.

In Praise of Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground

By Dave Lindorff

The pundits are having a heyday with Hillary Clinton's sleazy McCarthyite attack on Barack Obama during the April 16 debate, trying to link him to the Weather Underground because of his having served on a charity organization board with one of the Weathermen, Bill Ayers, who is currently a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois, and who is married to Bernadine Dohrn, another Weather Underground veteran.

What has them in a lather is Ayer's comment, made a few years ago, that he has no regrets for the organization's having set off several bombs back in the early 1970s, and that in fact they "should have set of more." (Incidentally, as Robert Parry notes, those comments were made before 9-11, not, as Hillary Clinton charged duplicitously in the April 16 Philadelphia debate, right after 9-11.)

Notes from the "Bitter and Frustrated" Heartland

By Dave Lindorff

I find it interesting that among the responses to my recent column about Obama’s “bitterness and frustration” comments regarding rural Americans, those that came from rural folks—including from the two towns I mentioned in Upstate New York—backed him up.

I don’t know how this will all play out in Pennsylvania’s primary next Tuesday. I’m terrible at predicting these things. But I have a suspicion that the people who are in a snit over Obama’s comments are either rabid Republicans or are already firmly committed Hillary Clinton fans (who seem perfectly happy to have this $100-million net worth child of wealth and privilege pretend, Bush-like, to be a good 'ol gal). Those who support Obama are unlikely to change their views, and may even become more committed to making it to the polls. In the end, it all could be a ratings-driven media dust-up. But meanwhile. It’s worth reading what some country folk have to say about it all.

US, Iraq Far Apart on Security Pacts

ORIGINAL

BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. and Iraqi negotiators are far apart over key issues in talks to replace the U.N. mandate that governs American military operations in this country, Iraqi officials said Monday.

Talks began last month on a strategic framework agreement providing for long-term bilateral ties and a separate status of forces pact that spells out the regulations governing U.S. military operations in Iraq.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said the two sides have exchanged "a number of drafts and proposals." She refused to give details because negotiations continue.

However, Iraqi officials familiar with the discussions said significant differences exist on the major issues of immunity for U.S. personnel and contractors, authority to order raids and attacks and detention of people believed a threat to security.

Finding Voters 'Bitter and Frustrated,' Obama is Sounding Like Nader

By Dave Lindorff

I haven’t lived in rural Pennsylvania or in rural Indiana, but I have lived in rural upstate New York, in towns where there are so few Democrats that on some local election ballots, not a single position, from town council to justice of the peace, has a contest. As in China, your option is to vote for the Republican candidate, or to leave that line blank.

And many of the people in these towns, uniformly white, when they talk politics, spend a lot of their time complaining about black people, immigrants (neither of whom can even be found in the vicinity) and the threat to their guns.

Barack Obama is exactly right.

On Waking Sleeping Giants

By Dave Lindorff

During my six-year sojourn in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, one of the things I came away with was a sense of how generally un-nationalistic and non-patriotic the Chinese people were.

Caught up in the struggle first to simply survive and then, in the mid-90s, to try and grab onto the moving train that was China’s new Great Leap into Capitalism, average mainland Chinese, whether out in the remote farmlands of western Anhui Province or in the rundown house lining the hutongs of Shanghai or Beijing, had no time for patriotic displays or nationalistic concerns.

When Chinese Communist Party leaders in Beijing would beat the drum of nationalism over Taiwanese independence efforts in the 1990s, it evoked mostly yawns among average Chinese people, and in fact, to Beijing’s embarrassment, a popular computer game featured a war-game in which Taiwan defeated the People’s Liberation Army.

Listen to the General on Iraq (No, not Petraeus!)

By Dave Lindorff

“It gives me pause to learn that our vice president and some members of the Senate are aligned with al Qaeda on spreading the war to Iran.”
--Lt. Gen. (ret.) William Odom

In a couple days, Americans will be deluged with effusive, praise-filled stories in what passes for news organizations, print and electronic, in the US, quoting Gen. David Petraeus on the glories of his and President Bush’s brilliant so-called "surge" strategy in Iraq.

There will be little critical comment on his report, which will claim that the surge is working but that Iraqi’s “need to do more” to take advantage of the surge in stability to create a stable government in Baghdad.

Thoughts on April 4

By Dave Lindorff

For the first 18 years of my life, my birthdays were purely celebratory occasions, but since 1968, the day has always come tinged with a shadow. April 4 is the day Martin Luther King was shot.

I actually learned about King’s death, appropriately, in police custody, and had to think about its implications locked in a jail cell.

I was a freshman at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and had been given an assignment in my philosophy class to write a paper on Henry Thoreau’s influence on Mahatma Gandhi, and of course through him on Martin Luther King. Being 18 at the time, and it being spring, I decided I should write the paper not at school, but at Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

Bush's "Defining Moments"--In Iraq, and Back Home in D.C.

By Dave Lindorff

Bush may not be the greatest of wordsmiths, but he certainly nailed it when he said that the battle in Basra, in which the puppet governent of Nuri al-Maliki and the Iraqi military were attacking the entrenched Mahdi Brigades of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for control of Iraq’s crucial port city, was a “defining moment” in the five-years-and-running Iraq conflict.

That battle, which saw al-Maliki fly down to the presidential palace in the country’s second largest city to direct the army’s fight, only to be spirited away by an American air rescue team when he was in danger of being captured or killed, is indeed a defining moment.

Hillary Under Fire

By Dave Lindorff

So Hillary Clinton, her campaign sagging as it becomes clearer and clearer that she’s not going to get the Democratic nomination unless she can destroy her opponent, insists she would have quit Barack Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago after hearing the allegedly “hateful” words of its pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

News of Rapid Glacial Melting Raises a Big Question for Presidential Candidates

By Dave Lindorff

Okay. Enough about race.

We've got a bigger problem here than how to get along with each other, as important as that may be, and that's how to make sure that any of us--or our children and grandchildren--are around in another hundred years.

4000 US Dead in Iraq: Maybe What We Need is a National Spittoon in D.C.

By Dave Lindorff

Well, the toll of wasted American lives in Iraq has hit 4000. But hey, who’s counting?

Certainly not the folks in the White House and the Pentagon, and certainly not John McCain, the prospective Republican nominee for president, who thinks the war is going just dandy.

Truth On CNN! Pundits Defend Obama! Anderson Cooper Is Perplexed! (As Usual)

In this seemingly endless presidential campaign, parsed through the drama and hyperbole of media, it is a rare and welcome occasion when reason and honesty eclipse tantrums and untruths. It is particularly rare when pundits buck the popular trend and speak truth to corporate power. Such an occasion, or mitzvah as some might say, occurred on March 20th (2008) on CNN, when veteran political analyst David Gergen, renowned reporter and author Carl Bernstein, and CNN commentator Roland Martin, shredded the race card and taught a lesson in truth to neophyte Anderson Cooper.

For the past several days, Anderson Cooper, an unseasoned political observer, has been pushing the race card as far as possible on all things Barack Obama. It's not that Cooper is any worse at assailing Obama than his counterparts at Fox, MSNBC and conservative talk radio. It's just that Cooper as a political anchor, is sorely unskilled. He's fine traversing the planet, reporting from rugged terrain. He loves pitting himself against nature -- be it a hurricane, tornado, earthquake or drought. He's terrific in stories on wildlife, and daring in the throes of war. But a savvy political anchor he is not. Nor is he a host much concerned with the ramifications of his remarks. Sadly, CNN in this election cycle, is nearly as treacherous as Fox. But on one brilliant evening in March, three media pundits put Cooper in his place by refusing to derail Barack Obama.

Here's how it happened:

Vermont Vets Risk All for the Truth

by Dan DeWalt
“I can’t go back in time and take back what I’ve done… At one point I was a monster, and I created hate and destruction amongst many people. I am sorry for doing so and I will never turn back into the monster I

Five Years of a Disastrous War and the Bills are Coming Due

By Dave Lindorff

It’s appropriate that on this week of the fifth anniversary of the criminal US invasion of Iraq, we are also seeing several other things: the death toll of American troops in that doomed adventure is rising past 4000, the economy is sliding into a recession which could be deep and long, and the financial markets are teetering on the edge of a possibly historic collapse.

The conjunction of all of these dire things is no coincidence.

Corporate Media Ignored Winter Soldier. Senators Biden & Kerry - Will YOU??

Corporate owned networks and cable TV are private for profit enterprises driven by MONEY -- not by truth. Network and cable "news" is private for profit infotainment driven by MONEY -- not by truth. Delivering truth and educating viewers are not the goals of corporate media. Increasing viewership, attracting advertisers, and cronyism are. Even when reporting the invasion of Iraq, corporate media mitigates or inflames the story to advance its selfish goals.

Censorship and the Anemic State of Political Discourse in America

By Dave Lindorff

When I lived in China in the early 1990s, there were things that you could not discuss. One was Tibet. Another was Taiwan, "referred to in my daughter's public elementary school in Shanghai as "China's largest island." Another was the 1989 massacre of students and workers in Beijing. I used to be grateful at the time that I was an American and that back home, we could talk about anything.

Except that in a way we can't. Not in public discourse, anyhow.

It's the "Oh Shit!" Moment on Iran

By Dave Lindorff

Every horror movie has that "Oh Shit!" moment, when the hero or heroes are huddled in some creepy hideout, and suddenly something happens that tells you that the monster is just around the corner, or just about to attack. In "Jurassic Park" it was the pulsing ripples in a cup of water, heralding the arrival of a T-Rex. In "Jaws" it was the deep base music, letting you know that a monstrous shark was about to attack.

The Presidential Assasination Attempt That Didn't Bark

Huh:

An exhaustive review of more than 600,000 Iraqi documents that were captured after the 2003 U.S. invasion has found no evidence that Saddam Hussein's regime had any operational links with Osama bin Laden's al Qaida terrorist network.

Spitzer Bust Provides a Warning Regarding NSA Spying

By Dave Lindorff

I have no sympathy for New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer, the hot-shot prosecutor of call-girl operations who was hoist on his own petard, as it were. I mean, what a jerk! And aside from the hypocrisy, what a fine message he was sending to his three teenage daughters about the role of women.

Having said that, Spitzer's bust should give pause to those in Congress who are ready to hand President Bush a free pass to continue his six-year campaign of warrantless spying on Americans.

Is Spitzer Being Targeted By The Anti-Abortion Right?

Isn't it odd that just when New York Governor Elliott Spitzer has introduced the RHAPP Bill -- the Reproductive Health and Privacy Protection Act -- which guarantees women the right to choose or refuse birth control and abortion, he is simultaneously the subject of a highly publicized sex sting that threatens to destroy his career and possibly send him to prison?

America: Lying Politicians, Gullible Voters and the Long Slide Ahead

By Dave Lindorff

Well, fellow Americans, we are finally going to get our just rewards.

That “Almighty Dollar” you used to hear about is heading straight towards the scrap heap of junk currencies (think Ruble, Rupee, Lira, Escudo).

Iraq War To Cost $12B A Month In 2008

Iraq War To Cost $12B A Month In 2008
Book Projects War's Cost In 2017 To Be $1.7T To $2.7T

The flow of blood may be ebbing, but the flood of money into the Iraq war is steadily rising, new analyses show.

In 2008, its sixth year, the war will cost approximately $12 billion a month, triple the "burn" rate of its earliest years, Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz and co-author Linda J. Bilmes report in a new book.

Racist KellyAnne Conway Sends Obama To THE BACK OF THE BUS

On last night's Larry King Live show (Friday, March 7th), Republican strategist and owner of The Polling Company, KellyAnne Conway, stated that Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama were

"arguing about whether she should let him SIT ON THE BACK OF THE BUS of her presidential ticket."

Even by CNN standards, with its ample chicanery and spin, Conway's remark was brutal. Larry King's nightly program, usually more schmooze than news, was plunged to a Limbaugh-like low. Gratefully, Democratic strategist and Obama supporter, Jamal Simmons, was on hand to challenge Conway. Taking the high road, Simmons said:

"Larry, we have to address that. We have to address that. This BACK OF THE BUS comment is really beyond the pale. I think Senator Clinton, whatever our disagreements are between the two candidates, Senator Clinton has never done or said anything that would imply that she would rather have Barack Obama sit in the back of her campaign bus."

A Manchurian Candidate in the White House?

By Dave Lindorff

With a viral campaign underway via email, right-wing radio, and on the street suggesting that Barack Obama is a black “Manchurian Candidate,” secretly trained as a Muslim fanatic who will insinuate himself into the White House, thence to undermine all that we hold dear, perhaps it is time to look at the Manchurian Candidate we already have in the White House, who, together with his handler over in Blair House, has pretty much done all the damage already.

Welch Whitewash: We Still Don't Know What That Aug. 30 Nuke Incident Was About

By Dave Lindorff

A new report on the August 30 incident in which six nuclear-armed advanced cruise missiles were effectively “lost” for 36 hours, during which time they were, against all regulations, flown in launch position mounted on a pylon on the wing of a B-52H Stratofortress, from Minot AFB in North Dakota across the continental US to Barksdale AFB in Louisiana, has left unanswered some critical questions about the event.

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