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Today's Stories

July 29, 2009

Franklin C. Spinney
Winning Hearts and Minds, Pentagon Style

July 28, 2009

Jean Bricmont
Bombing for a Juster World?

Uri Avnery
Obama, Netanyahu and the Settlements

Dean Baker
Right to Rent: a Remedy for the Foreclosure Crisis

Heather Gray
Stupid Cop Tricks: Driving Too Close to a White Female and Other Episodes in Racist Policing

Jonathan Cook
Can an "Arab Soul" Yearn for Israel's Anthem?

Winslow T. Wheeler
Beyond the F-22: the Future of Pentagon Reform

Belén Fernández
Thomas Friedman Does Afghanistan

Carl Finamore
The Hotel Workers' Kickass Local 2

Eli Jelly-Schapiro
Striking the World Cup

Harvey Wasserman
We All Stand Before Peltier's Parole Board

Website of the Day
Behind the Wheel

July 27, 2009

Ishmael Reed
Gates: Post-Race Scholar Yells Racism

Patrick Cockburn
Elections Shake Kurdistan

Roger Burbach
Hillary and Obama Nix Change in Honduras

Steve Breyman
Bomber Joe and Russia: Why is Biden Channeling Cheney?

Ramzy Kysia
Gaza: On the Right of Resistance

Stephen Soldz
Will the American Psychological Association Renounce the Nuremberg Defense?

Raymond J. Lawrence
Sexual Hocus Pocus in the Episcopal Church

Greg Moses
The Color Line is Black

Binoy Kampmark
Swine Flu Panic

Kim Ives
Lavalas and Haiti's Student Union Unite

Website of the Day
Meet the Paid Assassins of Health Care

July 24-26, 2009

Alexander Cockburn
"A Damned Murder, Inc."

Clifton Ross
Surreal Honduras

Patrick Cockburn
Party of "Change" Challenges Old Guard in Kurdistan

William Polk
Report Card on Obama From a New Frontiersman

David Sterritt
Screening the Politics Out of the Iraq War

Ray McGovern
Hooded in Bush's Hood

David Lindorff
Cops Gone Wild

Hannah Mermelstein
"The War is With the Arabs"

Carl Ginsburg
The Actually Existing Health Care System

Helen Redmond
The Selling of Single-Payer Features

John Ross
The Song of the Guerrilla

Bill Simpich
Fair Play for Cuba and the Cuban Revolution

Mark Weisbrot
Learning From China on How to Beat the Recession

Lee Sustar
U.S. Labor in Crisis

David Macaray
Union Workers Forced to Accept Massive Cuts

Felipe Matsunaga
Obama's Slow (and Familiar) Dance With Cuba

Sara Mann
Why Health Care Will Kill My TV

Martha Rosenberg
Which is Worse? Germs in Our Food or the Antibiotics That Kill Them?

Missy Beattie
Cha-ching Culture

David Ker Thomson
Empty Nest: a Natural History of Now

Ron Jacobs
United4Iran, a Footnote

Stephen Martin
The Crying of Lots 1 Thru 50

David Yearsley
Psst, I Show You a Feelthy Gluck

Gilad Atzmon
Bruno: a Glimpse Into Zionism?

Kim Nicolini
Guilty Laughter in the Dark: Seeing Brüno Twice

Poets' Basement
Kakak and McLellan

Website of the Weekend
Dead Prez: Summertime

July 23, 2009

Jeffrey St. Clair
The Masters of Perfidy: AIG and the System

Saul Landau /
Nelson Valdés

Hypocrisy and the Honduran Coup: Term Limits Only Apply When Governments Help People

Jonathan Cook
The Reality of Israel's "Open" Jerusalem

Nadia Hijab
Israeli Warships in the Red Sea

Dave Lindorff
Living in a Police State: the Gates Incident

Laura Carlsen
21st Century Coups d'Etat

Steve Breyman
Bankers Beware?

Ellen Brown
How California Could Turn Its IOUs Into Dollars

Norman Solomon
Spinning Health Care

Jorge Mariscal
Youth Activists Demand Military-Free Schools

Website of the Day
Copy-Editing Sarah Palin

July 22, 2009

Bernard Chazelle
How to Argue Against Torture

Nikolas Kozloff
The Coup and the U.S. Airbase in Honduras

Carl Ginsburg
The Recovery, Phase Two

Clifton Ross
Back to the Future? Return to El Salvador

Anthony DiMaggio
Health Care, Media and the Case for Socialized Medicine

Michael Donnelly
The Whoppers Behind WOPR

Nadia Hijab
Memoirs of a Lost Arab World

Dedrick Muhammad
Structural Inequality: News Not Fit to Print?

Charles Thomson
Cronyism at the Tate

Alan Farago
Ted Williams and the Florida Keys

Website of the Day
Himmelstein: Howard Dean is a Liar

July 21, 2009

Sasan Fayazmanesh
The Iranian Election and Its Aftermath

Uri Avnery
Breaking the Silence on Israeli War Crimes

Dean Baker
Séance on Wall Street

Jonathan Cook
Team Twitter: Israel's Internet War

Dave Lindorff
Saving Private Bergdahl

Andy Worthington
Interrogating the Uighurs

David Macaray
Heat, Dust and OSHA

Carl Finamore
The Deferential Party

Harvey Wasserman
Cronkite and Three Mile Island

Walter Brasch
The Marie Antoinettes of Health Care

Website of the Day
Linebaugh: Magna Carta and the Commons


July 20, 2009

Pam Martens
Judicial Apartheid

Nikolas Kozloff
Honduras and the Big Stick: Obama's Bullish Behavoir in Latin America

Paul Craig Roberts
Threatening Iran

Deepak Tripathi
Obama's Policy on China and Iran

Ira Glunts
Netanyahu's Time Bomb: Building in the Vineyard of the Mufti

P. Sainath
Put Your Money Down, Boys

Binoy Kampmark
The Moon Landing and the Cold War

Stephen Fleischman
The First Anchorman

Norman Solomon
Cronkite and Vietnam: Beyond the Hype

Andy Worthington
Predictable Chaos as Gitmo Trials Resume

Ron Jacobs
Out of the Haze, Into the Darkness: Recalling 1979

Website of the Day
Why Publishing Can't be Saved (as it is)


July 17-19, 2009

Alexander Cockburn
"Watch What We Do, Not What We Say"

Nikolas Kozloff
Chiquita in Latin America: From Arbenz to Zelaya

Joanne Mariner
CIA Apples: Bad at the Top of the Tree

Joe Bageant
America's White Underclass

Jonathan Cook
Israeli Road Signs: Wiping Arabic Names Off the Map

Saul Landau
Why So Much Sympathy for Madoff's Dupes and So Little for the Poor?

John Ross
Jurassic Fallout in Mexico

Sue Sturgis
Senator Sessions, Race and Impartiality

Anita Sinha /
Daniel Farbman
The Ricci Case and the Myth of Special Treatment

Peter Morici
Obama's Donut Economics

Pervez Hoodbhoy
Whither Pakistan? A Five-Year Forecast

Ramzy Baroud
Gaza and the Language of Power

Greg Moses
The Real Demand Crisis

Kia Mistilis
The Niger Delta Crisis

Missy Beattie
The Placebo President

David Ker Thomson
How Not to See: Things to Tell Your Eyeballs

James G. Abourezk
Evil Spirits: the Booze Strip in Indian Country

Paul Richards
Why Does Jon Tester Want to Log Wild Montana?

Dave Lindorff
Dark Days for Working People (With Three Small Rays of Light)

Marc Levy
Just Like Hanoi Jane

Matt Siegfried
The Good War Goes Hot

Stephen Martin
Panopticon Blues

Ben Sonnenberg
Sembène's Faat Kiné

David Macaray
Casablanca: When Melodrama Trumped History

Charles R. Larson
A Pakistani, Victorian Novel Celebrating Women

David Yearsley
That's Women for You: Abbas Kiarostami's Così

Lorenzo Wolff
Death Rattle and Roll: the Sound From England's Gutters

Poets' Basement
Payne, Anderson and Williams

Website of the Weekend
Hitler Learns of Sarah Palin's Resignation

July 16, 2009

Paul Craig Roberts
What Economy?

Afshin Rattansi Iranian Planes and the Hidden Toll of Economic Sanctions

Gregory V. Button
The Search for Environmental Justice in Perry County, Alabama

Evan Knappenberger
Profile of a Deserter

Michelle Bollinger
Why is Leonard Peltier Still in Prison?

Russell Mokhiber
White House to ABC News: No Obama Single-Payer Doc

Belén Fernández
Iranian Penetration, Oh My!

Alice Walker
What is Torture Like? A Letter to Obama

Nicholas Dearden
Paying the Climate Debt: the G-8's Troubling Model

Albert Osueke
Sotomayor and the Identity Mountain

Website of the Day
Sotomayor for the Prosecution

July 15, 2009

Manuel Garcia, Jr.
The Assassination Bureau

Vijay Prashad
A Political Recession

Dean Baker
Stimulus Arithmetic

Ray McGovern
Cheney Sweating Bullets

Jonathan Cook
Jenin's Model of "Economic Peace"

David Rosen
Shouts From the Gallery: the Sotomayor Hearings and the Culture Wars

Eric Walberg
Uighurs vs. Afghans: a Study in Contrast

Greg Moses
Three Dimensions of a Complete Stimulus Plan

Sousan Hammad
Decolonizing Israel

Binoy Kampmark
The Trial of Charles Taylor

Tracy McLellan
The Story of My Arrest

Website of the Day
11 Days in Saudi Gitmo

July 14, 2009

Eamonn McCann
The Emperors of Bombast: Bono, U2 and the Crisis of World Capitalism

Joanne Mariner
Obama's New Euphemism

Franklin Spinney
The Taliban Rope-a-Dope

Steve Heilig
Walking Mount Tam: an Interview with Gary Snyder

Ali Abunimah
Hamas' Choice

Dave Lindorff
The End of "Nice" Health Care Reform

Nikolas Kozloff
The Politics of Destabilization: McCain and Honduras

Ellen Brown
From Golden State to Subprime State

Alice Slater
How US Missile Defense Plans Sabotaged Nuclear Disarmament Talks With Russia

Ron Jacobs
Protest U.S. Aggression

Joe Allen
The Fight to Save James Hickman in Jim Crow-Style Chicago

Website of the Day
Mel Brooks Does the French Revolution

July 13, 2009

Uri Avnery
The Essence of the Regime

Mike Whitney
The Deflating Economy

P. Sainath
How the World Depression Hits Orissa

Gareth Porter
A US / Iraq Conflict on Iran

Paul Moore
Rap in the Streets, Rap in the Suites

Tim Wise
Off the Deep End: Private Clubs, Public Prejudice

Andy Worthington Former Insider Shatters Credibility of Military Commissions

David Macaray
Cartoon Voices: Serf's Up in Hollywood

Cal Winslow
The Healthcare Worker War

Niranjan Ramakrishnan
Spring in the Time of Obama

Website of the Day
Washington's Deep Game with China

July 10-12, 2009

Alexander Cockburn
Obama's Biden Problem

José Pertierra
The Cuban Five: a Cold War Case in a Post-Cold War World

John Ross
After the Honduran Coup

Conn Hallinan
The Settlements and the Quartet

Nikolas Kozloff
C Street Band: Sex Scandals, Moral Hypocrisy and the Far Right Agenda in Latin America

Clifton Ross /
Marcy Rein

U.S. and Honduras: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Good Neighbor

Carl Ginsburg
Summers' Clouded Crystal Ball

Michael Neumann
Say It Loud, Say It Proud: There is No God!

Gilad Atzmon
The Left and Islam: Thinking Outside of the Secular Box

Jeffrey St. Clair
The Parable of the Golden Parachute

Ellen Hodgson Brown
California Dreamin': How the State Can Beat Its Budget Woes

Jim Goodman
Rural America Needs More Than Listening Sessions

Christopher Bickerton
Europe's New Politics of Hard Times

Wendell Potter
Health Care Industry Adopts Tobacco Lobby's Tactics

Dave Lindorff
CIA Lies: Why Isn't Congress in Open Revolt?

David Ker Thomson
Switchbacking Toward Bastille Day

Anthony DiMaggio
The Michael Jackson Feeding Frenzy

Raymond Lawrence
Michael Jackson as Sexual Pervert: the Calumnies of Peter King

Walid El Houri
Neda and Marwa: a Tale of Two Murdered Women

Stephanie Westbrook
Yes, We Camp

Roger Gaess
The Shades of Highgate Cemetery

David Yearsley
Tara, America's Dream House

Kim Nicolini
Caution: Men at Work, Robbing Banks

Poets' Basement
Five Poems From the Japanese

Website of the Weekend
Free Tiga and Hugh!






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July 29, 2009

Will the General be Relaunched?

Musharraf, Imran Khan and Overseas Pakistanis


Although their politics is polls apart, there is one thing that Musharraf and Imran Khan have in common. Both have more support abroad than within Pakistan . Pakistani expatriates, often disturbed by the poverty, lacking social welfare infrastructure and corruption they find on annual trips home, come back pining for “radical change,” a familiar refrain of Imran Khan’s support base. It was this yearning for radical change in fact that led many overseas Pakistanis to initially back Musharraf’s military coup against Nawaz Sharif’s elected government in October 1999.

To be honest, by late 1999, Nawaz Sharif had alienated most of his voters, in spite of the fact that in February 1997 he had swept the polls with a formidable majority. Draconian press controls, a dollar freeze that led the rupee to tumble, constant changing of army chiefs and a desire to become the ameer ul momineen (ruler of the faithful) which smacked more of an archaic kingship than a modern day democracy led few to shed tears for Nawaz Sharif when Musharraf announced a coup in mid-air and took over the reins of power.

Nevertheless, it was during the eight years of Musharraf’s military rule that Pakistanis realized the importance of well-functioning democratic institutions and the rule of law. A courageous two-year lawyers’ movement led to the restoration of a judiciary that now works independent of pressure from the executive and legislature. A vibrant and free press, initially supported by Musharraf’s government, was thwarted when it criticized the ruling regime. But the media, like the lawyers, refused to comply with unreasonable restrictions and fought for their freedom. Most importantly, for the first time in Pakistan ’s history, the military was openly blamed for the ills of society. A new and fresh transparency within Pakistan led many to conclude that democracy, with all its ills, is the best alternative and that in order to benefit from it fully Pakistanis would have to develop mechanisms to hold their leaders accountable. Thus, reform-minded Pakistanis have focused their energies on attaining an independent judiciary, a free press and a neutral army.

Yet, overseas Pakistanis, often unaware of how rapidly democratic institutions are evolving within Pakistan and how quickly the politics is maturing, are still searching for one-man saviours. A newly-formed London-based group called the “lovers of Musharraf” is looking to re-launch the retired general into politics. Comprising mostly of well-connected businessmen who had financially benefited from investing in real estate and the stock market during Musharraf’s time and are entirely unaware of the large sections of society who never saw the trickle down effect of his economic policies, not to mention the looming charges of treason against Musharraf for imposing a second martial law on November 3, 2007, think that Musharraf was the best thing that ever happened to Pakistan and must be brought back into power.

On the other end of the spectrum, are the Imran Khan supporters. For them, nothing in Pakistan has ever gone right. In spite of the fact that in a recent poll eighty percent of the country is supporting the military in its fight against the Taliban, the Imran Khan supporters continue to refer to it as “ America ’s war” and Mr. Khan insists that the Pakistani army is playing a mercenary role. His supporters deride the VIP culture of the politicians in power and constantly blame the west generally, and America in particular, for propping up corrupt leadership that does not think in the national interest because their own assets and children are abroad. Conveniently, they overlook the fact that Mr. Khan’s own children are also abroad and are, in all likelihood, being funded by assets abroad, even if those assets do not belong to Mr. Khan himself.

Within Pakistan however most potential voters are looking to the mainstream political parties to reinvent themselves. In addition to an assertive judiciary and vigilant press, several politically active pressure groups are organizing for change and yielding positive results. A few days ago, for the first time in Pakistan ’s history and owing to the efforts of some dedicated activists, a feudal lord, who had illegally appropriated village land, was forced to return it to its rightful owners, the Kashkeli peasants. In other news, President Zardari’s handpicked nominee for the Ambassador to Paris post was collectively rejected by the Foreign Office and several retired ambassadors. Since the members of the Foreign Service refused to accept the President’s choice, the Prime Minister intervened and reversed the President’s decision.

The Prime Minister, Yousaf Reza Gillani, is slowly but surely asserting himself. A conciliatory personality and not a beneficiary of the controversial National Reconciliation Ordinance that has pardoned other allegedly corrupt politicians (including President Zardari), Prime Minister Gillani is trying to be responsive to the critiques of the press and the needs of the people. In a recent interview, he declared that he wanted to make appointments based on merit, and not on the liking of any one individual, hinting at President Zardari’s nepotistic style. Gillani also spoke out against a recent law initiated by President Zardari’s cronies that sought to punish those who poked fun at Zardari through text messages and emails. If there is one thing that can bring a government down in Pakistan , it is restricting free speech. It contributed to both Nawaz Sharif and Musharraf’s downfall. The late Benazir Bhutto never attempted to curb freedom of expression and yet President Zardari is slow to learn, but Gillani is an older hand at politics and were he to assert himself further, he would find support from many corners.

Neither is the close scrutiny of the public representatives limited to those in government. The opposition has also felt the heat lately, as one prominent Pakistani recently confided to me, “It has become very difficult to be a politician in Pakistan .” Four members of Nawaz Sharif’s party have recently been the subject of public disdain and there is considerable pressure on Mr. Sharif to expel them from his party. One of his party members has been accused of rape, another of harassing customs officials, and a third, a female member of the national assembly, has been caught on CCTV buying jewellery on a stolen credit card. While previously the rich and powerful could get away with much in Pakistan . Things are different today. With a media able and willing to disgrace and a judiciary with a mind of its own, the threat of accountability is far more real than it used to be.

The future of Pakistan ’s politics thus belongs to men and women from the mainstream political parties who are able to distinguish themselves from their colleagues and demonstrate that they really have the people’s interests at heart. It does not belong to fringe politicians like Musharraf and Imran Khan, both of whom claim to represent the silent majority but cannot prove it at the polls.

The writer is a London-based lawyer turned political commentator. Website: www.ayeshaijazkhan.com














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