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Gone But Not Forgotten: Alberto Gonzales and the Long Arm of the Lawyers

Fired Attorneys Build Case Against Gonzales
by Jason Leopold
John McKay, the former US attorney for the Western District of Washington, pieced together thousands of pages of internal Justice Department (DOJ) emails released earlier this year, reviewed public documents and pored through hundreds of pages of sworn testimony his former boss, Alberto Gonzales, gave to Congress about the firings of at least nine US attorneys last year.
 
McKay said evidence in the public record demonstrates the former attorney general and his underlings may well have obstructed justice.


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Star Chamber Revival:The Trials of Omar Khadr

Resurrecting the Star Chamber
by Scott Horton
When the Founding Fathers looked for a model that reflected the abuses they objected to—in short what they intended to forbid by their new Constitution and Bill of Rights—they turned to an English institution, the Court of Star Chamber.
 
It was a state security court with ancient roots which flourished under the Tudor and Stuart monarchs.
 
The Star Chamber court operated in secrecy, was not bothered by the picky evidentiary rules that emerged in other courts, and did not believe that those appearing before it on state security charges had many rights—certainly not the right to counsel, nor even the right to conduct a defense.
 
 
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A World of Squat

The Squatters Won’t Go Away
by Philippe Revelli
From Morro do Osso -- Bone Hill -- in Itapecerica da Serra, on the southwest fringe of greater São Paulo, you can see rows of homes made of black plastic sheeting supported by wood or bamboo poles.
 
 
Here and there a column of white smoke rises from a fire on which the morning coffee brews.
 
Some 3,000 families from the city’s favelas have occupied an area of private land beneath the banner of the Homeless Workers’ Movement (MTST).
 
 
 
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Repackaging the Princess President-in-Waiting

Princess Ferragamo at the Barricades: The Push for “Regime Change” in Pakistan
by Mike Whitney
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why the crooked Princess Ferragamo — Benazir Bhutto — has returned to Pakistan. Bhutto’s been traipsing all over Washington trying to garner support from think-tank heavies and establishment powerbrokers to help her stage a political comeback in Islamabad.
 
She even hired a high-powered public relations firm to polish her image so the media wouldn’t focus too much attention on her past transgressions.
 
 
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Minot: Loose Nukes and a Cluster of Dead Airmen

The Mystery of Minot: Loose nukes and a cluster of dead airmen raise troubling questions
by Dave Lindorff
The unauthorized Aug. 29/30 cross-country flight of a B-52H Stratofortress armed with six nuclear-tipped AGM-29 Advanced Cruise missiles, which saw these 150-kiloton warheads go missing for 36 hours, has all the elements of two Hollywood movies.
 
One would be a thriller about the theft from an armed weapons bunker of six nukes for some dark and murky purpose. The lead might be played by Matt Damon. The other movie would be a slapstick comedy about a bunch of bozos who couldn’t tell the difference between a nuclear weapon and a pile of dummy warheads.
 
The lead might be played by Adam Sandler, backed by the cast of “Police Academy III.”


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Executing Privilege: Politics of the Noose in Iraq

Executions Not Leading to Reconciliation
by Ali al-Fadhily
The executions of former regime officials are creating greater division, rather than reconciliation, among Iraqis.

Special courts formed by the American occupation authorities in Iraq are issuing death sentences -- like that carried out on former Iraqi President Saddam Hussein, on 30 December 2006 -- on what many Iraqis are interpreting as a political basis.

"Executing Saddam cost Iraqis a lot of hatred and more division between the sects, " Walid Al-Ubaidi, post-graduate law student at Baghdad University told IPS.

"Now they [U.S.-backed Iraqi Government] are executing the Ex-Minister of Defense, Sultan Hashim Ahmed, who was very well known for being a professional general who led the Iraqi army against Iran," Al-Ubaidi said, stressing that, "This man represents a symbol for the Iraqi army that defended Iraq."


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Dumbing Down Democracy: CNN Thinks You Are An Idiot

Debating for Dummies
by Eric Alterman
I've seen debates on TV before, of course, and attended them from journalists' pens and spin rooms. But sitting in the audience of CNN's November 15 Democratic presidential debate at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas, focused my mind on the egregious manner in which our media dumb down the process by which we pick our Presidents.

It was less a debate than a two-hour advertisement; not only did viewers see CNN = Politics graphics everywhere but unbeknownst to the television audience a network producer ran around the stage, ginning up the crowd like a high school cheerleader.
 
(This backfired when a group of rowdies -- angered by the inanity of the questions -- shouted down Wolf Blitzer and had to be removed from the auditorium.)



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Ghost in the Machine: Government "Loses" Millions of Vital Statistic Files

The Nature of the Beast  
by William Bowles
Two computer discs holding the personal details of all families in the UK with a child under 16 have gone missing.
 
Alistair Darling, the chancellor, urged people to monitor their bank accounts. — BBC News Website 20/11/07[1]

The Child Benefit data on them includes name, address, date of birth, National Insurance number and, where relevant, bank details of 25m people.




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Studs Terkel's People

Studs's People
by Harry Maurer
One day in 1974, I got a call from my agent.

"I've got an idea," she said. "What if you did a book of interviews on unemployment, like Studs Terkel's Working, only with people out of a job?"
 
So I bought a tape recorder, tried my hand at "oral history" and found I loved the interview crucible, the savor of creating in collaboration as a long conversation clicks.
 
I traveled around the country, and after some vicissitudes, Not Working was published in 1979. I stole not only Studs's technique and format but also his title. Whereupon he called me up and asked me to appear on his radio show.


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Martin Amis and the Gentile Racists

Scribes of Hate: Culture Vultures and the Terror War        
by Chris Floyd     
I'm sure that a great many Americans don't know who Martin Amis is. If they do, they are more likely to know him as the author of "The Rachel Papers," which was made into a quirky teen-comes-of-age movie years ago, or perhaps as the son of Kingsley Amis, whose acerbic, slightly racy (for their day) novels were once mainstays on the British literary scene. 
 
But Martin himself has become something of a Brit mainstay in his middle age, routinely touted as one of the island's top writers and definitely one of the glitterati on the literary scene.

He is also one of a number of writers on both sides of the Atlantic who were so traumatized by 9/11 that their political polarities were completely reversed.

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The Politics of Angst: Middle Class Lemming's Leap

Middle Class Angst: The Politics Of Lemmings (Part I)      
by Stan Goff
Suburbia is also a spiritual wasteland, a place where the wonder of nature is desecrated ubiquitously with corporate logos and all the artifacts of late technological society.
 
image

There is a common misconception among environmentalists and peak-oilers (I count myself among both) that cars created the suburbs. The car suburb, however, became what it is with regard to cars only incidentally. The real motive for the suburbs was plain garden-variety white supremacy. Cars simply became necessary to facilitate the spatial segregation that simultaneously confined African America largely to decaying urban spaces and built the ‘burbs as white enclaves.
 
It's not that simple any more, of course. All things change all the time - as we'll see momentarily - but it was white fear and loathing of the Dark Other that set the whole process in motion.


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