Friday, December 28, 2007

NATIONAL & WORLD DIGEST December 28, 2007

**IF YOU CAN'T ACCESS THE FULL ARTICLE, CONTACT US AT and we'll be happy to send the full article.


New York Times

The Long Run: Under Attack, Drug Maker Turned to Giuliani for Help

December 28, 2007

In western Virginia, far from the limelight, United States Attorney John L.Brownlee found himself on the telephone last year with a political and legalsuperstar, Rudolph W. Giuliani.

For years, Mr. Brownlee and his small team had been building a case that themaker of the painkiller OxyContin had misled the public when it claimed thedrug was less prone to abuse than competing narcotics. The drug was believedto be a factor in hundreds of deaths involving its abuse.

Mr. Giuliani, celebrated for his stewardship of New York City after 9/11,soon told the prosecutors they were wrong.

In 2002, the drug maker, Purdue Pharma of Stamford, Conn., hired Mr.Giuliani and his consulting firm, Giuliani Partners, to help stem thecontroversy about OxyContin. Among Mr. Giuliani's missions was the job ofconvincing public officials that they could trust Purdue because they couldtrust him.

So it was no small success when, after the call, Mr. Brownlee did what manypeople might have done when confronted with such celebrity: He went out andbought a copy of Mr. Giuliani's book, "Leadership."

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Clinton, Obama Seize on Killing
Reactions Illustrate Their Key Differences

By Anne E. Kornblut and Shailagh Murray
Washington Post Staff Writers
Friday, December 28, 2007; A01

DES MOINES, Dec. 27 -- News of Benazir Bhutto's assassination came justhours before Sen. Barack Obama delivered what his campaign had billed as the"closing argument" in his bid for the Democratic presidential nominationThursday, forcing his campaign to scramble to incorporate the Pakistaniopposition leader into his message of change.

For his chief rival, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.), Bhutto's deathhelped underscore the line she has been driving home for months -- about whois best suited to lead the nation at a time of international peril. In hercomments Thursday, Clinton described Bhutto in terms Obama (D-Ill.) couldnot: as a fellow mother, a pioneering woman following in a man's footsteps,and a longtime peer on the world stage.

The differing reactions of Clinton and Obama to the assassinationcrystallized the debate between the two just a week before Iowans willdecide the first contest in the battle for the Democratic presidentialnomination.

While aides said Clinton was anxious not to appear to be politicizingBhutto's death, they nonetheless saw it as a potential turning point in therace with Obama and former senator John Edwards (D-N.C.).

"I have known Benazir Bhutto for more than 12 years; she's someone whom Iwas honored to visit as first lady when she was prime minister," Clintonsaid at a campaign event in a firehouse in western Iowa. "Certainly on apersonal level, for those of us who knew her, who were impressed by hercommitment, her dedication, her willingness to pick up the mantle of herfather, who was also assassinated, it is a terrible, terrible tragedy," shesaid.

more . . . . .


Boston Globe

Terror debate could alter dynamics of primaries
Giuliani and Clinton seen as benefiting

By Peter S. Canellos and Marcella Bombardieri, Globe Staff
December 28, 2007

DES MOINES - The presidential primary races, which had focused almostexclusively on domestic issues in recent weeks, yesterday shifted to adiscussion of terrorism, leaving some campaigns wondering whether the crisisin Pakistan was the kind of unforeseen incident that could changeexpectations for the Jan. 3 Iowa caucuses and beyond.

Voters view the candidates of both parties differently depending on whetherthe spotlight is on foreign or domestic policy. And the beneficiaries of arenewed focus on terrorism are clear, according to polls conducted late lastmonth by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center: Democrat Hillary Clinton andRepublicans John McCain and Rudolph Giuliani.

Giuliani, whose campaign appears to have been hurt in the polls when it hasbeen centered on domestic issues, was the first candidate to release astatement after the assassination of former Pakistani prime minister BenazirBhutto yesterday, linking her killing to the threat of terrorism against theUnited States.

"Her death is a reminder that terrorism anywhere - whether in New York, TelAviv, or Rawalpindi - is an enemy of freedom," said Giuliani, the former NewYork mayor who has sought to reignite memories of the 9/11 attacks in theUnited States with his latest TV ad. "We must redouble our efforts to winthe Terrorists' War on Us," his statement declared.

Over the past two days, Clinton and McCain have also released new TV adsciting the war on terrorism, indicating that they, too, wanted to shift thecampaign agenda toward national security. Bhutto's slaying could keep theissue alive until next week's caucuses, analysts said.

more . . . . .


Boston Globe

CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK: For Thompson, gender appears to be among top criteria in'08 race

December 28, 2007

URBANDALE, Iowa - Fred Thompson doesn't have a problem with a female headinga government. But he's not ready for it in this country, at least not yet.

Speaking yesterday to a small group of supporters in the last campaign rushbefore the Iowa caucuses next week, Thompson railed against those whoopposed - and ultimately assassinated - Pakistan's former prime ministerBenazir Bhutto.

"They're driven to distraction by the notion that a secular woman would behead of government," the Republican presidential hopeful said of the womanwho was slain yesterday as she campaigned for her country's presidency afteryears in exile.

But in America, Thompson said, repeating remarks earlier in the week, nowoman is up to the job just yet.

"This year, it's a man, and next year, it's going to be a man," said theactor and former US senator from Tennessee. "I can see no one else who'squalified to be president of the United States."

more . . . . .


USA Today

Assassination steals key to U.S. strategy for Pakistan

For the United States, Harvard-educated Benazir Bhutto was a combination ofwhite knight and Trojan horse - the key piece in a belated-but-promisingattempt to bring stability to the world's most dangerous nation.

The hope was that the popular former prime minister could recapture the jobafter parliamentary elections next month, then strengthen democraticinstitutions, helping to keep Pakistan's nuclear weapons away from its largeradicalized Islamic population.

That strategy was left in ruins Thursday by Bhutto's tragic assassination.

Not only did the killing remove Bhutto from the picture without any obvioussuccessor, it further weakened strongman President Pervez Musharraf, who forall his dictatorial ways is a foe of the extremists. Pakistan is now at riskof escalating street violence and stepped-up suicide bombings that wouldinvite a new, harsh crackdown by Musharraf. Such a spiral would encouragemore political instability. It would also complicate efforts to find Osamabin Laden, believed to be hiding in Pakistan, and to uproot al-Qaedatraining camps there.

While the killing underscored the limits of U.S. influence, it doesn't meangiving up on the only strategy that can prevent the cauldron that isPakistan from exploding. In the short term, the United States has no choiceother than to support Musharraf. For the longer term, it must find newchampions of democracy.

more . . . . .


USA Today

Bhutto's death thrusts Pakistan into chaos

By Zafar M. Sheikh and Paul Wiseman, USA TODAY

RAWALPINDI, Pakistan - The best hope of Pakistan becoming a stable democracyanytime soon may have died with Benazir Bhutto.

She was the closest thing Pakistan had to a Kennedy. Regal, heir to atragedy-stricken political dynasty, her rhetorical skills sharpened atHarvard and Oxford, the two-time prime minister was the public face of thedemocratic, pro-Western leadership the U.S. government wants to see runningPakistan.

But Bhutto on Thursday became a victim of the extremist violence shedeplored, killed by a suicide bomber as she left a political rally in hercar. Her death ignited rioting across Pakistan, dashed hopes for a smoothtransition from a military dictatorship to democracy and raised thepossibility of lasting chaos in a nuclear-armed Muslim nation that is on thefront lines of the U.S. war on terror.

ASSASSINATION: Pakistan's Bhutto killed in suicide attack
BHUTTO PROFILE: Leader's epic life cut short
COMMUNITIES STUNNED: Pakistani-Americans ponder futureEXPERTS WEIGH IN: Pakistan's stability threatened, they sayHundreds of thousands of mourners paid last respects to Bhutto as she wasburied Friday at her family's mausoleum in Garhi Khuda Bakhsh, in southernSindh province.

A funeral procession began Friday afternoon at her ancestral residencenearby in the southern town of Naudero.

more . . . . .


Boston Globe

Delahunt says Obama will restore US image abroad

December 27, 2007

US Representative William Delahunt of Massachusetts, a leading foreignpolicy voice in the Democratic Party, will endorse Barack Obama forpresident today, saying he believes the senator will repair the image of theUnited States overseas.

"If Barack Obama is elected president, I daresay America will present a newface to the world, will restore, simply by his election, hope - not justwithin the United States, but from all corners of the world, that America'sclaim to moral authority is back on track and that our leadership in worldaffairs will see a renaissance," Delahunt told the Globe.

Delahunt's endorsement - Obama's first from the Massachusetts congressionaldelegation - will be made as Obama and Senator Hillary Clinton of New Yorkspar about their respective foreign policy credentials. Clinton has arguedthat her experiences during her husband's presidency, including extensiveinternational travel, make her the better candidate to deal with foreignleaders and potential terrorist threats.

But Delahunt, declining to criticize Clinton by name, dismissed that notion."Please do not equate experience with judgment. That's what this is about,"Delahunt said. Voters should not "confuse experience with time inWashington," he said, noting that John F. Kennedy, Ronald Reagan, and BillClinton all had limited direct foreign policy experience before takingoffice.

Obama opposed the Iraq war from the start, Delahunt noted, while veteranlawmakers voted to authorize force. Delahunt said he was also influenced byObama's stated willingness - criticized by the Clinton campaign - to meetwith rogue world leaders. Delahunt has met with President Hugo Chávez ofVenezuela, negotiating a deal for home heating oil for his constituents froma Latin American leader who once referred to President Bush as "the devil."

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Poll: Voters Still Sampling Candidates

The Associated Press
Thursday, December 27, 2007; 1:06 PM

WASHINGTON -- Dig beneath the surface of the raucous Republican presidentialrace and you will find even deeper turmoil: Four in 10 GOP voters haveswitched candidates in the past month alone, and nearly two-thirds say theymay change their minds again.

Mike Huckabee, who has roared to a tie with longtime front-runner RudyGiuliani, has little reason to feel safe, according to an ongoing nationalsurvey conducted for The Associated Press and Yahoo News.

Half of all voters _ including four in 10 Republicans _ know too littleabout Huckabee to even say whether they have a favorable impression of him,let alone whether he is conservative, liberal or moderate. That could beominous, because it gives his rivals the opportunity to define him. WitnessMitt Romney's criticism of the former Arkansas governor on immigration andFred Thompson's contention that he raised taxes "like a Democrat."

The Democratic side is less chaotic, with Hillary Rodham Clinton maintaininga clear lead nationally over Barack Obama, though voters are still doingplenty of shifting. About one in five backs a different contender than inNovember, and nearly half say they still may settle on someone else,according to the poll conducted by Knowledge Networks.

This ground-level view of the 2008 race is made possible by an AP-Yahoo Newssurvey that will periodically question the same 2,000 people until ElectionDay, repeatedly seeking their views about politics, the country and theirown lives. That will produce a picture of how the campaign is playing outfrom the perspective of voters like Matthew Larson, 29, of Mankato, Minn.,who since last month has moved from Giuliani to Huckabee.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

The Legacy of Benazir Bhutto

By David Ignatius
Friday, December 28, 2007; A21

Try to imagine a young Pakistani woman bounding into the newsroom of theHarvard Crimson in the early 1970s and banging out stories about collegesports teams with the passion of a cub reporter. That was the first glimpsesome of us had of Benazir Bhutto. We had no idea she was Pakistani politicalroyalty. She was too busy jumping into her future to make a show of herpast.

I saw this effervescent woman many times over subsequent years, and I neverlost the sense of her as an impetuous person embracing what was new -- forherself and for her nation. I remember encountering her once when she was agraduate student at Oxford, shaking up the august and occasionally somnolentOxford Union debating society as its president. She was wearing a RollingStones T-shirt, the one with the sassy tongue sticking out, and I recallthinking that Pakistani politics would never be the same once she returnedhome.

In later years, I would see her during her periodic visits to Washingtonafter she assumed her family's mantle of political leadership and becameprime minister in 1988, at age 35. She changed in her outward appearance,wearing a head scarf and traditional clothes as she matured, but not in herinner passion for change.

Bhutto was fearless, from her college years in America to her cruelassassination yesterday. She had an unshakable belief that Pakistan shouldembrace the modern world with the same confidence and courage that she had.She believed in democracy, freedom and openness -- not as slogans but as away of life. She wasn't perfect; the corruption charges that enveloped hersecond term as prime minister were all too real. But she remained the mostpotent Pakistani voice for liberalism, tolerance and change.

A less determined person would have backed off when her conservative Muslimenemies tried to kill her after she returned home in October. But Bhutto hadcrossed that bridge a long time ago. She was a person who, for all herbreeding and cultivation, ran headlong at life. Her father and two brothershad died for their vision of a country where Islam and the modern world madean accommodation. Her only real fear, I think, was that she might fail inher mission.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

The Void Left Behind

By Ahmed Rashid
Friday, December 28, 2007; A21

LAHORE, Pakistan -- The assassination of Benazir Bhutto has left a hugepolitical vacuum at the heart of this nuclear-armed state, which appears tobe slipping into an abyss of violence and Islamic extremism. The question ofwhat happens next is almost impossible to answer, especially at a momentwhen Bhutto herself seemed to be the only answer.

Pakistanis are in shock. Many are numb, and others are filled withunimaginable grief. Thousands have taken to the streets, burning vehiclesand attacking police stations in an explosion of violence against thegovernment. Bhutto's death yesterday will almost certainly lead to thecancellation of the Jan. 8 parliamentary elections (already, the nation'ssecond-largest opposition party has called for a boycott if the vote isheld) and the possible imposition of extraordinary measures by themilitary -- another state of emergency or even martial law. President PervezMusharraf's own political future has never been less certain.

Bhutto's death leaves the largest possible vacuum at the core of Pakistan'sshaky and blood-stained political system. Twice elected prime minister inthe 1990s, twice dismissed on charges of corruption and incompetence by themilitary, Bhutto was a giant of a politician in a land of political pygmiesand acolytes of the military.

Benazir Bhutto and her Pakistan People's Party were the closest anyone inthe Islamic Republic of Pakistan has ever gotten to espousing a secular,democratic political culture. In a country where political advances havebeen made recently only by the Taliban, the role Bhutto filled, trying tobring modernity to this nation of 165 million people, was immensely braveand absolutely necessary if Pakistan is to remain in the polity of nations.Whatever her shortcomings, she loved her country and gave her life for it.

She and her party commanded the die-hard loyalty of at least one-third ofthe electorate. Her supporters were vehemently against army rule and Islamicextremism.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Pakistan at an Uncertain Hour

By Teresita C. Schaffer
Friday, December 28, 2007; A21

Benazir Bhutto's assassination leaves slim possibilities for a democratictransition that now matters more than ever to the United States. Bhutto andthe Pakistan People's Party (PPP) illustrate what's best and worst aboutPakistani politics. The party and the drive for democratic politics areremarkably resilient. The PPP boasts a nationwide following, with adedicated core in Sindh and southern Punjab. But the tragedy of Pakistan isthat the PPP and other major parties are family fiefdoms, built on personalloyalty, with no record of developing new leaders or permitting oppositionwithin the ranks. This structure strengthens the tendency to view politicaloffice as a possession. Corruption and unaccountability are naturalbyproducts. Talented second-tier party members had no prospect of emergingfrom Bhutto's shadow.

I first met her in 1974, when she was a slightly impish 21-year-old homefrom Oxford on summer vacation. Her father, Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, was primeminister, a political virtuoso, part Napoleon, part Peron. My husband and Iwere diplomats just arrived in Pakistan, but Benazir had already been partof our lives indirectly while she and my brother were students at Harvard.

Five years later, the elder Bhutto was dead, and Benazir had inherited hisparty. She spent her first years as a political leader under house arrest.In those years, Benazir captured people's imagination. Senior civilservants, staid businesspeople and prominent personalities saw in her amodernizing influence, someone who could propel the country beyond militarygovernments and dysfunctional politics. More than one told me that they sawher as a beacon of hope for young Pakistani women.

She took the United States by storm during her first state visit, in 1989.Her address to Congress and a speech she gave at Harvard emphasized hope fordemocracy and for a world of possibilities. She and President George H.W.Bush had a warm relationship.

Less than a year later the country's relations with India were in crisis andthe United States was edging toward cutting off aid over its nuclearprogram. In August 1990, Benazir was overthrown at the army's instigation.For 10 years, she and her political rival Nawaz Sharif alternated terms asprime minister. Each was pushed out amid deepening disillusionment andaccusations of corruption. Finally, in October 1999, Pervez Musharraf's coupushered in a long exile for both.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

A Crisis Intrudes On Iowa

By E. J. Dionne Jr.
Friday, December 28, 2007; A21

DES MOINES -- The assassination of Benazir Bhutto came as a brutal reminderof the gravity of the decision Iowa's voters will be rendering in theircaucuses next Thursday night. Its impact may be felt most powerfully byDemocrats who have been thinking less about issues than about the style ofleadership they are seeking from their next president.

All of a sudden, the politicians' endless loop of television advertisementstook on a somber significance. During coverage of Bhutto's murder on "GoodMorning America," up popped a Hillary Clinton ad where the message overgrave music is that the moment "demands a leader with a steady hand who willweather the storms." No kidding.

A short while later, a Joe Biden commercial looks as if it had been producedprecisely for this moment. "We don't have to imagine the crises the nextpresident will face," intones a very serious voice. Indeed not.

Clinton, of course, is hoping that the chaos in Pakistan will fortify herrelentless arguments about the importance of experience. Biden's refusal toback away from his insistence that this should be a foreign policy electionseems shrewder now than it did last week. Biden has been warning not formonths but for years that the United States faces its gravest challenge inPakistan.

The images from Pakistan ratified that Biden was no Chicken Little. He notedyesterday that he had "twice urged President Musharraf to provide bettersecurity for Ms. Bhutto and other political leaders." Biden was suddenlyrelevant -- to television bookers for sure, but also, perhaps, to voters.

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Mich. AG: Only Legal Residents Can Drive

The Associated Press
Thursday, December 27, 2007; 7:43 PM

LANSING, Mich. -- Illegal immigrants are ineligible for driver's licenses,Michigan's attorney general said Thursday in an opinion that affects one ofthe few states that have been granting licenses to undocumented residents.

Attorney General Mike Cox's opinion is legally binding on state agencies andofficers unless reversed by the courts. It was not immediately known howsoon any changes would take place or what the opinion means for illegalimmigrants with currently valid licenses.

Michigan law prohibits the secretary of state from issuing a driver'slicense to a nonresident. Cox, a Republican, said it would be inconsistentwith federal law to regard an illegal immigrant as a permanent resident inMichigan.

The opinion supersedes a 1995 opinion by former Democratic Attorney GeneralFrank Kelley.

Kelley suggested that denying a driver's license to an illegal immigrantmight violate the U.S. Constitution's equal protection clause, according toCox. But Cox said "there can be no doubt that a rational basis exists fordenying driver's licenses to illegal aliens."

more . . . . .


Washington Post

Priests Scuffle Inside Bethlehem Church

The Associated Press
Thursday, December 27, 2007; 7:27 AM

BETHLEHEM, West Bank -- Robed Greek Orthodox and Armenian priests went ateach other with brooms and stones inside the Church of the Nativity onThursday as long-standing rivalries erupted in violence during holidaycleaning.

The basilica, built over the grotto in Bethlehem where Christians believeJesus was born, is administered jointly by Roman Catholic, Greek Orthodoxand Armenian Apostolic authorities. Any perceived encroachment on onegroup's turf can set off vicious feuds.

On Thursday, dozens of priests and cleaners came to the fortress-like churchto scrub and sweep the floors, walls and rafters ahead of the Armenian andOrthodox Christmas, celebrated in the first week of January. Thousands oftourists visited the church this week for Christmas celebrations.

But the cleanup turned ugly after some of the Orthodox faithful steppedinside the Armenian church's section, touching off a scuffle between about50 Greek Orthodox and 30 Armenians.

Palestinian police, armed with batons and shields, quickly formed a humancordon to separate the two sides so the cleaning could continue, thenordered an Associated Press photographer out of the church.

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Victoria Lavin
Daily Queer News

Creeping Fascism: History's Lessons

By Ray McGovern
December 27, 2007

"There are few things as odd as the calm, superior indifference with which Iand those like me watched the beginnings of the Nazi revolution in Germany,as if from a box at the theater. ... Perhaps the only comparably odd thingis the way that now, years later...."

These are the words of Sebastian Haffner (pen name for Raimund Pretzel), whoas a young lawyer in Berlin during the 1930s experienced the Nazi takeoverand wrote a first-hand account. His children found the manuscript when hedied in 1999 and published it the following year as "Geschichte einesDeutschen" (The Story of a German).

The book became an immediate bestseller and has been translated into 20languages-in English as "Defying Hitler."

I recently learned from his daughter Sarah, an artist in Berlin, that todayis the 100th anniversary of Haffner's birth. She had seen an earlier articlein which I quoted her father and e-mailed to ask me to "write some moreabout the book and the comparison to Bush's America. ... This is almostunbelievable."

More about Haffner below. Let's set the stage first by recapping some ofwhat has been going on that may have resonance for readers familiar with theNazi ascendancy, noting how "odd" it is that the frontal attack on ourConstitutional rights is met with such "calm, superior indifference."

more . . . . .


Forwarded from Susan Frishkorn

We Are All Prisoners Now

By Paul Craig Roberts
December 26, 2007

"They're locking them up today
They're throwing away the key
I wonder who it'll be tomorrow, you or me?"

The Red Telephone (LOVE, 1967)

At Christmas time it has been my habit to write a column in remembrance ofthe many innocent people in prisons whose lives have been stolen by the UScriminal justice (sic) system that is as inhumane as it is indifferent tojustice. Usually I retell the cases of William Strong and ChristopheGaynor, two men framed in the state of Virginia by prosecutors and judges aswicked and corrupt as any who served Hitler or Stalin.

This year is different. All Americans are now imprisoned in a world of liesand deception created by the Bush Regime and the two complicit parties ofCongress, by federal judges too timid or ignorant to recognize a rogueregime running roughshod over the Constitution, by a bought and paid formedia that serves as propagandists for a regime of war criminals, and by apublic who have forsaken their Founding Fathers.

Americans are also imprisoned by fear, a false fear created by the hoax of"terrorism." It has turned out that headline terrorist events since 9/11have been orchestrated by the US government. For example, the allegedterrorist plot to blow up Chicago's Sears Tower was the brainchild of a FBIagent who searched out a few disaffected people to give lip service to theplot devised by the FBI agent. He arrested his victims, whose trial endedin acquittal and mistrial.

Many Europeans regard 9/11 itself as an orchestrated event. Former cabinetmembers of the British, Canadian and German governments and the Chief ofStaff of the Russian Army have publicly expressed their doubts about theofficial 9/11 story. Recently, a former president of Italy, FrancescoCossiga, said in an interview with the newspaper, Corriere della Sera[Osama-Berlusconi, November 30, 2007,] that "democratic elements in Americaand Europe, with the Italian center-left in the forefront, now know that the9/11 attack was planned and executed by the American CIA and Mossad in orderto blame the Arab countries, and to persuade the Western powers to undertakemilitary action both in Iraq and Afghanistan."



[Send your comments about articles to]

No comments: