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Undernews For March 13, 2008

Undernews For March 13, 2008

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Editor: Sam Smith

The Party seeks power entirely for its own sake. We are not interested in the good of others; we are interested solely in power. Not wealth or luxury or long life or happiness: only power, pure power. What pure power means you will understand presently. We are different from all the oligarchies of the past, in that we know what we are doing. All the others, even those who resembled ourselves, were cowards and hypocrites. The German Nazis and the Russian Communists came very close to us in their methods, but they never had the courage to recognize their own motives. They pretended, perhaps they even believed, that they had seized power unwillingly and for a limited time, and that just round the corner there lay a paradise where human beings would be free and equal. We are not like that. We know that no one ever seizes power with the intention of relinquishing it. Power is not a means; it is an end. One does not establish a dictatorship in order to safeguard a revolution; one makes the revolution in order to establish the dictatorship. The object of persecution is persecution. The object of torture is torture. The object of power is power. - George Orwell, 1984



Ferraro told the truth. Name one other state senator ever invited to keynote a Democratic convention. Even Bill Clinton was a governor before he was invited. Obama got his national kickoff because the powers that be were looking for a fresh look for the party and you couldn't come up with a much better branding cliche than a young, attractive black Harvard Law grad.

There's nothing unusual about this nor racist in noting it. It is the way politics has worked from the beginning. In fact, it's one of the reasons politics works: you look for where the votes are and how to get them. Sometimes it's a white labor guy, sometimes it's a war hero, sometimes it's a woman and sometimes it's a young, attractive black Harvard law grad.

Ferraro had to resign not because she said anything wrong but because you don't help your candidate by hanging around after you've caused so much ancillary noise, especially when liberal activists and media types believe that what you say is more important than what you do.

Ferraro knew it was true because she had experienced it herself: "In 1984 if my name had been Gerald Ferraro, not Geraldine, I would never have gotten nominated," she said. "Was I qualified? Absolutely."

The same goes for Obama. Said Ferraro: "Why is his candidacy historic? Can you give me another reason why it is an historic campaign? Why are we afraid to say this?"

As Ferraro said of David Axelrod, "He knows damn well that the best thing to do in a situation like this is to come back and hit with race." That's one of the things that campaign managers are there for: to make a big deal out of nothing.

Ferraro told another uncomfortable truth: "It's OK to be sexist in some people's minds. It's not OK to be racist."

Obama in attacking Ferraro, misquoted her. He said that if someone in his had suggested that Hillary Clinton "is where she is only because she is a woman" she would be offended. Ferraro never said the Obama choice was only because he was black.

In the end, the pomposity posse had its day, a good woman lost her gig, and Obama gave an uncomfortable signal that you're not only meant to vote for him, but also have the right attitude about him.


WASH POST A publicly traded affiliate of the Carlyle Group said that lenders were seizing its assets, sending the fund, Carlyle Capital, into insolvency. The collapse of Carlyle Capital is the first time a Carlyle Group fund has failed and is a stinging embarrassment for the District private-equity powerhouse, which has built an international reputation with a client list that reaches around the world.

The high-profile downfall, part of the broad turmoil in credit markets worldwide, followed a week of frantic negotiations between the Carlyle Group and a number of lenders. Carlyle Group's three founders as recently as Monday were considering injecting cash into the fund as a way to usher it through the credit crisis.

By yesterday the fund had defaulted on $16.6 billion of debt and said it expected to default soon on its remaining debt. The fund's $21.7 billion in assets were exclusively in AAA mortgage-backed securities issued by Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, traditionally considered secure and conservative investments, which it was using as collateral against its loans.

In a statement, Carlyle Capital said that it had been unable to meet margin calls in excess of $400 million over the past week and that it expected its lenders to take control of its remaining assets. The lenders, headed by Deutsche Bank and J.P. Morgan Chase, began selling the securities last night, according to a report on the Wall Street Journal's Web site.

The problems at Carlyle Capital have preoccupied the top leaders at Carlyle Group. The firm's founders, David M. Rubenstein, William E. Conway Jr. and Daniel D'Aniello, had been in meetings with lenders in an effort to resolve Carlyle Capital's problems, not only to protect their own investment and that of employees who have put millions of dollars into the company, but also to preserve Carlyle's Midas-touch reputation.

CNBC Fears that more private equity groups, hedge funds and mortgage lenders are struggling with their financing are putting heavy pressure on global equity markets, which have tumbled in recent months on fears of a U.S. recession and the widening fallout from a global credit crunch. . .

Managers at Carlyle Group own about 15 percent of Carlyle Capital, which listed in July 2007, as the credit crunch began to take hold of the global financial system.

The Carlyle Group, based in Washington, DC, has more than $75 billion under management and has attracted a string of high-profile advisers including U.S. President George Bush in the early 1990s and former British Prime Minister John Major.

One of the world's largest private equity firms, The Carlyle Group owns a range of companies including TV ratings firm Nielsen, doughnut seller Dunkin' Brands and former General Motors unit Allison Transmission.

According to CCC's annual report, counterparties for its repurchasing agreements as of the end of 2007 were Bank of America, Bear Stearns, BNP Paribas, Calyon, Citigroup, Credit Suisse, Deutsche Bank, ING, JP Morgan, Lehman Brothers, Merrill Lynch and UBS.


DOWN EAST MAGAZINE - Unless someone blinks, after May 11 air travel for Mainers will get a lot more complicated. So will entering a federal office building or courthouse. That is the day the Department of Homeland Security institutes new regulations that will gradually turn drivers´ licenses into national identification cards. . .

"The vote opposing Real ID in the legislature wasn´t about the money," Secretary of State Matthew Dunlap explains. "Every caucus, Republican and Democratic, House and Senate, said we don´t trust the government to create databases of personal information and controls on how we move around."

"Real ID fundamentally undermines Mainers´ privacy and security," declares Shenna Bellows, executive director of the Maine Civil Liberties Union. "The federal government is foisting a national identification card on Americans without any debate on the pros or cons."

Opposition to the new regulations has brought together an unusual assortment of players, from the MCLU to George Smith of the Sportsman´s Alliance of Maine to legislative leaders of both parties. In truth, it´s difficult to find anyone in Maine who supports the measure outside the few dozen members of Mainers for a Sensible Immigration Policy, who hope that Real ID is the solution to the illegal immigration problem. . .

Mainers who cannot produce an acceptable ID after the May 11 deadline - a passport or a military ID card, for example - will face additional screening at airport security checkpoints. "There are practical implications for residents of states that don´t participate," acknowledges DHS spokesperson Amy Kudwa. "The IDs of states that opt out are no longer valid for federal purposes. This is the law, and we are the enforcing agency."

"Even if just Maine stays out of the program, it´s going to cause chaos at the airports in Portland and Bangor," Dunlap says, "and in Chicago and Boston and Los Angeles, too, because Mainers travel. But it´s not just Maine - Montana, Georgia, New Hampshire, all those other states have refused to join the program."

"DHS is trying to scare Maine into backing down," warns the MCLU´s Bellows. "What´s really going to happen on May 11 is nothing is going to happen. It´s hard to believe that DHS is going to prevent the residents of all these states from boarding planes unless they go through enhanced security procedures. It would be a nightmare.". . .

There are other issues with Real ID beyond flight delays. Bellows points out that Chertoff could end up explaining himself to a federal judge if citizens are barred from entering a federal courthouse or office building without showing a Real-ID compliant document. "There are serious First Amendment problems relating to the right to assemble and right to petition the government for redress of grievances," she notes. "If people are forced to show a Real ID license to enter a federal building, it imposes an unreasonable restriction on their access to their public servants.". . .

Bellows says barring people who lack approved identification could be seen as imposing limits on the right of a federal court defendant to face his or her accuser or the right of a witness to testify. "The regulations do not address the constitutionality issue at all," Bellows notes. "We think Real ID is constitutionally unsound, and the Department of Homeland Security is opening itself to immediate legal challenge."

Dunlap notes that there is already talk of requiring Real ID- compliant identification for voters. "The Carter-Baker Commission on Federal Election Reform included it in their final recommendations," he says. If that happens, the state will not be allowed to charge a fee for a driver´s license, because it would be interpreted as a poll tax, which is illegal.

George Smith, executive director of the Sportsman´s Alliance of Maine, has some experience with that issue. He fears that Real ID is a foot in the door to increasing government surveillance of citizens. "Look what happened with our Social Security numbers," he says. Many older Mainers have Social Security cards from their youth that say prominently "Not to be used for identification." Now the number is required for all sorts of things.

"I was refused a fishing license in Florida and a pheasant hunting license in North Dakota because I refused to give them my Social Security number," Smith recalls. To him Real ID "smacks of needing a passport to travel in your own country."


MARCUS BARAM, ABC Shahram Ahari, who spent two years selling Prozac and Zypraxa for Eli Lily, told a Senate Aging Committee chaired by Sen. Herb Kohl, D-Wisc., that his job involved "rewarding physicians with gifts and attention for their allegiance to your product and company despite what may be ethically appropriate." Ahari claims that drug companies like hiring former cheerleaders and ex-models, as well as former athletes and members of the military, many of whom have no background in science.

"On my first day of sales class, among 21 trainees and two instructors, I was the only one with any level of college-level science education," Ahari told

During their five-week training class, Ahari claims that instructors teach sales tactics, including how to exceed spending limits for important clients, being generous with free samples to leverage sales, using friendships and personal gifts to foster a "quid pro quo" relationship, and how to exploit sexual tension.

"The nature of this business is gift-giving," says Ahari. He claims that he's heard stories about sales reps helping to pay the cost of a doctor's swimming pool and another doctor who was routinely taken to a nightclub where a hostess was paid to keep him company.

Drug reps develop a positive view of their drug and a negative view of the competitors, according to Ahari. "You drink the Kool-Aid. We were taught to minimize the side effects and how to use conversational ploys to minimize it or to change the topic.". . .

Included in his prepared remarks, Ahari cites a quote from a senior marketing executive at Parke-Davis: "I want you out there every day selling Neurotonin. Neurotonin is more profitable than Accupril, so we need to focus on Neurotonin. Pain management, now that's money.. I don't want to see a single patient coming off Neurotonin before they've been up to at least 4,800 milligrams a day. I don't want to hear that safety crap, either."

A spokesman for Parke-Davis did not immediately respond to ABC News' request for comment.




STEVEN FINK, CBS TV - Following the New York Times' revelation that the girl known around the world as "Kristen," the $4,000 call girl behind the Eliot Spitzer sex scandal, was really 22-year-old Ashley Alexandra Dupre, aka Ashley Youmans, aka Ashley Rae Maika DiPietro, an outpouring of both support and mockery came from the hundreds of thousands who flocked to her MySpace profile. . .

Play around on it, and you'll find a blog from Aug. 30, 2007 where the aspiring singer-turned-prostitute describes her summer as a "roller coaster with so called friends, lovers, and family." She goes on to provide her advice when it comes to deciding who to trust and become close to in life, writing: "Will that person be an asset to your life...(will that person have value): doesn't have to be financial, i am talking respect, courage, and umm RESPECT.". . .

ADAM FRESCO, TIMES UK - Emperors Club VIP has many clients around the world but one British-based customer is attracting more attention than most. Named in documents filed with a US court as "Client 6", he paid L500 to a prostitute known as Astrid in London on January 12. The pair met at about 9 am at an undisclosed location for about an hour. After the appointment Astrid said that "everything was fine" but Client 6 called the company to say that, while she "was very nice", "next time he wanted to see someone else", the documents show. It is not known if he was just visiting London on business or lives in the capital. Either way, he joins a list of other clients around Europe who are worried that they, too, will be caught up in the FBI investigation. . .

The Emperors Club website, now taken down, is said to have boasted that "introducing the most impressive models to leading gentlemen of the world is our expertise ... We act for a select group of educated, refined and successful international clients who give their best in all they do and who, in return, only wish to receive the best. Catering to clients who will not compromise in any area of their life . . . "

The high-class escort agency is run with almost military precision and secrecy, something that may have appealed to the Duke of Westminster, who was exposed as an alleged client in the News of the World last year. A Scotland Yard spokeswoman said that there was no investigation into Emperors Club, despite its notoriety. It is not illegal [in England] to run an escort agency supplying women as companions.

GEOFFREY LEVY, DAILY MAIL, FEBRUARY 2007 Britain's richest man was exposed as a serial user of prostitutes yesterday. The Duke of Westminster, who is worth L6.6billion and is the country's biggest landowner, paid for four vice-girls in six weeks to visit his mews house in the West End of London. Gerald Cavendish Grosvenor, 55, who is head of the Territorial Army, was said by the News of the World to have openly discussed military matters and Osama Bin Laden. He declined to comment on the claims. . .

Incredibly, the same man was also entrusted by the Prince of Wales with the responsibility of acting as private mentor and guide to Prince William, now an Army officer himself. For the past six years the young prince's mind has been filling up with the duke's thoughts, beliefs and attitudes since, encouraged by Prince Charles, he began having regular chats with his father's intimate friend before his 18th birthday. . .

Gerald is a trustee of Princess Diana's will and went out with her elder sister Lady Sarah in their younger days. His 51-year-old sister Lady Leonora - ex-wife of the late photographer and Royal Family cousin Patrick (Earl of) Lichfield -is Lady in Waiting to Princess Anne. . .

The 26-year-old Lithuanian Zana Brazdeck - who spent two hours at his home on December 28 and left after a couple of hours with L2,000 in cash in an envelope marked Eaton Estates - heaped on the humiliation.

She claimed that he haggled over her price and that his conversation was boring: "He talked about the Army, going to Afghanistan and Bin Laden. And he wanted unprotected sex. I refused." . . .

Within a fortnight of Zana's visit, an Asian girl in knee boots and heavy make-up passed through the duke's imposing black front door - but only after a discreet glance to see anyone was looking.

She was ushered out an hour and a half later.

On January 30, it was a girl who called herself Stella, again for an hour and a half. When the duke poked his head around the door to wave her off, she blew him a carefree kiss.

This is an escort who, in a heavy Russian accent, later told a reporter her clients liked whips and stilettos and that, "at six o'clock, I stop to be a good girl".

The fourth was a brown-haired Brazilian Brazilian who, wearing a pink coat and under cover of darkness, was let inside the house last week, on February 7. After the customary hour and a half, the duke waved her off wearing just a brown dressing gown.

SMOKING GUN - Meet "Kristen," the high-priced hooker who trysted with Eliot "Client-9" Spitzer last month at that Washington, D.C. hotel. The 22-year-old prostitute's real name is Ashley Alexandra Dupre (though she was born Ashley Youmans), according to a New York Times report. You'll find an assortment of photos that the young prostitute has previously uploaded to her MySpace page, which describes Kristen/Ashley as an aspiring musician who left home at 17 and has been in New York City since 2004.

RADAR Tanya Hollander, the woman charged with arranging prostitutes for the Emperor's Club VIP, appears to have been leading a secret double life as both a hippie-ish holistic healer and a power broker's madam. Tanya, as the media has been spelling her name, is alleged to have booked girls for New York Governor-for-the-moment Eliot Spitzer. Meanwhile, Tania, an alias listed in charges unsealed by the U.S. Attorney's office on March 6, appears to have maintained an extensive "health counseling" website (now taken down but cached) and a MySpace page (last login February 8), where she describes herself as "a grounded, creative, adventurous, and wise spirit," a practitioner of holistic healing in the Manhattan and Hudson Valley area who is "known to get lost in health food stores and wander for several hours." Also, she's into "tribal fusion bellydance."

MySpace Tania, 36, of Rhinebeck, New York, bears a remarkable physical resemblance to the busted Tanya (also said to be 36 and hailing from Rhinebeck) shown in newspapers (and a pretty strong resemblance to to Alanis Morissette, while we're at it). Though the vital stats, names, and looks match up, Tania comes off as the woman least likely to schedule gloveless love for the New York gov.

Her heroes are "women who successfully walk the line of being strong, self-assured and sensual." Tania is employed in the lucrative field of "helping people to find balance &inspiration in their lives through dietary & lifestyle changes. I love working with performing singers who have health issues that get in the way of peak performance. I also help people address mood disorders without drugs." In her spare time, she enjoys the music of the Pixies, dead songwriter Jeff Buckley, Beck, Led Zepplin [sic], and, naturally, Tori Amos, favorite films Dead Poets Society and the Lord of the Rings trilogy (Risky Business isn't on her list, but Vanilla Sky is), and "the ritual of drinking loose tea from a beautiful teapot."

This crunchiest of ladyhealers is looking to meet "creative types who are spiritually evolved," potential business partners in a health food or music store, and "songwriters to collaborate with."

MySpace messages sent to Tania Hollander seeking clarification on her identity were not answered, and phone messages left at the number on her cached website were not returned.

TANIA'S BLURBS About me: There is enough darkness in the world right now. I would like to spread good energy and Light within my sphere of influence. On the career front: I work as a health counselor helping people to find balance & inspiration in their lives through dietary & lifestyle changes. I love working with performing singers who have health issues that get in the way of peak performance. I also help people address mood disorders without drugs. On a personal level: I have let go of a lot of my masks over the years. It's still fun to put them on for a while every now and then, but basically, what you see is what you get - a grounded, creative, adventurous and wise spirit. I am known to get lost in health food stores and wander for several hours. Who I'd like to meet: Creative types who are spiritually evolved; Nature lovers to go hiking with in the Hudson Valley & Catskill region; Music lovers to go hear live music in NYC or Hudson Valley; people seeking Holistic Health & nutritional services; Other holistically-oriented practitioners for networking and friendship; potential business partners for holistic health, real estate investing or some other really interesting business opportunity[e.g. joint venture health-food restaurant, music store, etc.]; songwriters to collaborate with; interesting people in the Hudson Valley to hang with real time on occasion. If you feel you connect to my profile in some way, there is probably a reason and you should certainly reach out to me!

As a Holistic Health Counselor, I am your personal advocate for living an energized and passionate life. Whatever your concerns are, my job is to help you find which foods and lifestyle choices work best for you.

It is my belief that a true holistic approach toward food also includes other things that nourish you. These include love, intimacy, enjoying your work, moving your body, touch, and time with friends and loved ones, to name a few. As a Holistic Health Counselor I work with you to help find balance in all of these areas.

Could one conversation change your life?

I invite you to meet with me for an initial consultation to discuss your top concerns and goals, your history and what you have always imagined for your life. This 90 minute session is a great way for you to get a feel for how I work with clients and to see if we are a good match. I welcome you to consider that this conversation may be a turning point in your life.

Contact me today and let's see if I can help.

MARKETING MAG, CANADA - Virgin Mobile moved quickly this week to produce an Eliot Spitzer print ad as part of its "You call the shots" campaign. To promote its dedication to a more personalized approach to customer care, Virgin will run a full-page ad this week in Metro and 24 commuter dailies in Toronto featuring the now-former Governor Spitzer with a thought bubble above his head that reads: "I´m tired of being treated like a number." The ad copy reads: "At Virgin Mobile, you´re more than just a number. When you call us we´ll treat you like a person, not a client. Whether you´re #9 or #900, you´ll get hooked up with somebody who´ll finally treat you just how you want to be treated."


SLEUTH, WASH POST Sinbad, along with singer Sheryl Crow, was on that 1996 trip to Bosnia that Clinton has described as a harrowing international experience that makes her tested and ready to answer a 3 a.m. phone call at the White House on day one, a claim for which she's taking much grief on the campaign trail.

Harrowing? Not that Sinbad recalls. He just remembers it being a USO tour to buck up the troops amid a much worse situation than he had imagined between the Bosnians and Serbs.

In an interview with the Sleuth Monday, he said the "scariest" part of the trip was wondering where he'd eat next. "I think the only 'red- phone' moment was: 'Do we eat here or at the next place.'"

Clinton, during a late December campaign appearance in Iowa, described a hair-raising corkscrew landing in war-torn Bosnia, a trip she took with her then-teenage daughter, Chelsea. "They said there might be sniper fire," Clinton said.

Threat of bullets? Sinbad doesn't remember that, either.

"I never felt that I was in a dangerous position. I never felt being in a sense of peril, or 'Oh, God, I hope I'm going to be OK when I get out of this helicopter or when I get out of his tank.'"

In her Iowa stump speech, Clinton also said, "We used to say in the White House that if a place is too dangerous, too small or too poor, send the First Lady."

Say what? As Sinbad put it: "What kind of president would say, 'Hey, man, I can't go 'cause I might get shot so I'm going to send my wife...oh, and take a guitar player and a comedian with you.'"


SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE - CNN said it shouldn't have used a former U.S. attorney who quit his job after allegedly biting a stripper as an analyst about New York Gov. Eliot Spitzer's prostitution scandal.


MARY CARMICHAEL, NEWSWEEK Many fallen politicians fit a personality type known as a "sensation seeker," defined in the early 1970s. Sensation seekers crave novel and intense experiences more than other people do, and, as part of that, they tend to have many sexual partners. . . . .The problem is that they never seem to get enough excitement. . .

Sensation seekers don't just lust after things--they take them, often disregarding the risks that block their way. . .

For these types, the risk itself is part of the reward. "Breaking rules is a thrill for them," says Frank Farley, a psychologist at Temple University. . . .

Alpha males are high on testosterone, the hormone that underlies almost all the typical traits of the politico-sexual animal: high levels of testosterone make for a high sex drive, a love of risks, aggressiveness and competitiveness. . . . Success sends their testosterone spiraling up, while a loss brings the levels down - a phenomenon that's been documented in the lab as well as in athletes and chess champions.

Not everyone wants to be a high-profile politician. It takes, among other things, supreme confidence - the kind that may shade into egocentrism and lead to downfall. "For high-profile offices - we're not talking about the school board, but mayors, governors, senators, some members of Congress and the presidency - you have to have a kind of personality where you are very interested in yourself and your personal needs, as well as the needs of others," says John Gastil, a University of Washington political scientist. "When the gratification of your desire for social change becomes the justification for so much of what you do in your career, it's not a leap to then say, 'Well, my other desires and needs are equally justified.' You come up with elaborate justifications. 'Hey, 23 hours day I'm working hard for the people of New York. Time for a little me time!'". . .

As the saying goes, power is also an aphrodisiac - and that's been true, says Kruger, as long as humans have been around. "In our evolutionary history, men who had lots of resources and status and power were able to have more than one partner. . .



JOHN WARD, THE CANADIAN PRESS Canadian politicians, by and large, don't seem to get tripped up by sex, but are as much ruined by the bottle or plain, old-fashioned wads of currency stuffed into envelopes. It may be that Canadian voters are simply less interested in sexual shenanigans than their American counterparts. . . Perhaps Canadians just don't care, muses Grace Skogstad, a political scientist at the University of Toronto. "I think, in some ways, Canadians are a bit more like Europeans; that this is a private domain, that's it's not really our business. . .

"The big difference that I'm always aware of between Canadians and Americans is just how much more morally conservative Americans are and how much more religious they are."

And because people don't care so much, perhaps politicians don't have to pursue things in airport washrooms or hotel rooms, she said.

The last incident in Canada comparable to the Spitzer affair was more than 70 years ago, when John Brownlee, the United Farmers premier of Alberta, resigned after he was found guilty on the quaint charge of "seduction." He was convicted of having an affair with a young government employee. . .

While sex seems not to be a political tripwire in Canada, demon rum remains a contender.

Gordon Campbell, the British Columbia premier, took a hammering after a drunk driving conviction in Hawaii.

Alberta's Ralph Klein went on the wagon after a publicized, boozy, late-night shouting match at an Edmonton homeless shelter.

Tory up-and-comer Bernard Valcourt left cabinet in 1989 after he lost an eye in a motorcycle crash while impaired.

In 1977, then-Quebec premier Rene Levesque hit and killed a man while driving home from a late-night party with his girlfriend.




HUFFINGTON POST - The U.N. torture investigator said y that American officials are refusing him access to U.S.-run detention facilities in Iraq even though he has received credible reports that conditions there have improved. Manfred Nowak, one of the global body's independent human rights experts, said Iraqi officials had agreed in principle that he can visit the country later this year. British officials have also agreed to let him visit detainees held by their forces, he said. "The U.K. said yes, the U.S. said no," Nowak told reporters in Geneva, adding that he was still hoping to win approval for a visit to American-run facilities before deciding whether to travel to Ira


AP The Oklahoma Supreme Court has adopted rules cutting off public access to court records now available on the Internet. When the rules go into effect on June 10, online access to court documents in the Supreme Court and district courts would be limited to court dockets only. "The individual pleadings and other recorded documents filed of record in state court actions shall not be publicly displayed on the Internet," according to an order signed by Chief Justice James R. Winchester and four other justices. . . The ruling was criticized by Joey Senat, past president of FOI Oklahoma and a journalism professor at Oklahoma State University, and Mark Thomas, executive vice president of the Oklahoma Press Association. "It sounds like a knee- jerk reaction to technology that gives the public greater access," Senat said.

AP- The Justice Department's inspector general reported that the FBI continued to improperly obtain personal information about Americans for terrorism investigations during 2006, citing 34 instances. He reserved judgment on whether corrective actions under way would work. "It is too early to tell whether these measures will eliminate fully the problems," Inspector General Glenn A. Fine said in his second report in two years on the use of national-security letters to obtain personal information. Fine said the FBI and Justice Department had made significant progress in implementing revised procedures since last year but some measures still were not fully in use or tested.. . .




IPS- The United States government is drawing fire from international legal experts for its treatment of American Indians, Blacks, Latinos and other racial minorities. The U.S. is failing to meet international standards on racial equality, according to the U.N. Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination based in Geneva, Switzerland. . . This is the second time in less than two years that the U.S. government has been found to be falling short of its treaty obligations. In March 2006, The CERD had harshly criticised the U.S. for violating Native Americans' land rights. Taking note of racial discrimination against indigenous communities, the Committee said it wants the U.S. to provide information about what it has done to promote the culture and traditions of American Indian, Alaska Native and indigenous Hawaiian peoples. It also urged the U.S. to apply the U.N. Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.


ALEX SPILLIUS, TELEGRAPH, UK - In the "open" Democratic primary in Texas last week Republicans turned out in numbers to back Hillary Clinton - their favored opponent in November for the Republican candidate John McCain. Republican votes skew Democrat primaries Republicans think Clinton would be an easier opponent for Mr McCain. . . Exit polls support the contention that thousands of Republicans contributed to the former first lady's narrow victory over Barack Obama in the state. . . Although Mrs Clinton is a hate figure for right-wingers, [Rush] Limbaugh agrees with most opinion polls that she would be an easier opponent for Mr McCain. Even if Mr Obama eventually wins the nomination, the broadcaster hopes a prolonged struggle will weaken him and his party. Speaking to Fox News before the vote, Mr Limbaugh said: "I want Hillary to stay in this. We need Barack Obama bloodied up politically, they are in the midst of tearing themselves apart." Starting with Mississippi on Tuesday, five of the 12 states left to vote operate the open primary system. . . Exit polls in Texas and Ohio show that nine per cent of voters in both were self-declared Republicans.

GREG CRAIG There is no reason to believe. . . that [Hillary Clinton] was a key player in foreign policy at any time during the Clinton Administration. She did not sit in on National Security Council meetings. She did not have a security clearance. She did not attend meetings in the Situation Room. She did not manage any part of the national security bureaucracy, nor did she have her own national security staff. She did not do any heavy-lifting with foreign governments, whether they were friendly or not. She never managed a foreign policy crisis, and there is no evidence to suggest that she participated in the decision-making that occurred in connection with any such crisis. As far as the record shows, Senator Clinton never answered the phone either to make a decision on any pressing national security issue - not at 3 AM or at any other time of day.

Craig was director of the policy planning office under Bill Clinton



NOTE: You can post your comments on any of the above stories by going to our Undernews site and searching for the headline. Once posted, a copy is immediately mailed to the Review and we pick some of the most interesting to publish here. READER COMMENTS


- Instead of running around insulting people , whether intending to or not , Ms Ferraro could be more valuable in the public sphere were she to use her position and influence with the Clintons and advise them that they need to reveal their tax returns now. Ms Ferraro, a member of the Clintons Finance Committee , knows firsthand how problems with tax returns can torpedo a campaign. Information found in her tax records were a major negative in her 1984 campaign. Ms Ferraro should advise Hillary Clinton to prove her financial integrity now and get this issue off the table , so the GOP won't do to her what they did to Ferraro in 1984. - Greg Fuller


- Not all accredited teachers are properly prepared to teach, so why on earth would we assume that all parents are automatically prepared to do so? Home schooling can be the best thing that can happen to a child academically, but only if the child is being taught by parents who are fully motivated and prepared to carry out the task for the long haul; and I would agree that some type of formalized standards need to be in place, to ensure that the child is capable of performing at or above the academic levels of his peers who are enrolled in public schools.


- The overlords are getting precisely what they've wanted all along-- a nation of poor, ill-housed (when housed at all) malnourished, and sickly near-slave laborers. These price increases are no accident at all. They are part of a well-organized plan to return the ownership of the country to a handful of fabulously wealthy plutocrats, in much the same manner as existed up to the early part of the twentieth century, when something resembling an actual people's government began to wrest some of their obscene wealth, power, and privilege away from them. The ownership has have been mounting a determined counterattack on that ever since, and the last 20-25 years have seen them make enormous strides toward just that end. Sharply rising food prices are just one more miserable example of their success.


- Please Sam, I come here for the news. If I wanted more than I needed to know information on a story that's only big because it happened in NY, I could go to CNN or Entertainment Tonight.

- While the persecution of Spitzer is undoubtedly politically motivated, he has earned it with the hypocrisy of his prosecution of prostitutes and other victimless violators of irrational social rules.

- The big story, in my view (apart from the obvious organized crime connections) is that this is the oldest story on the books, and in the 21st century we still have a system in which the women are held accountable (and prosecutable) and the men are protected.(Nevada was actually pretty progressive when they chose to legalize it, which got the pimps out of the equation and required licensing which meant the women were checked and treated for diseases and allowed to run their own enterprises without either pimps or political kickbacks.). - SD, NM


- Even the U. of Calif. at Santa Cruz thinks people are more important than the millions in scientific equipment that would be damaged in a not immediately fought fire. Instructions: Pull the alarm and get the hell out. The extinguishers are also gone. Each floor has monitors to check everyone has left before they leave. Activated sprinklers electronically direct the fire crew to the affected lab. - bc


Another to add to Irish and Italians: How's about the Slavs? Slav is a Indoeuropean term for "slave." Yet we are considered Anglo here in the States. We are not Anglo and do not support the vilification of any minority yet, we stand accused as Caucasians.

Yeah, I look white. But my culture is not. If a history check is made, we were sold into slavery by the same people who sold African Americans down the river. I am a working class progressive and not a well heeled liberal. If my sin is to be "what I look like" what can I say today?

"Honky" is a term derived "Hunky" meaning Hungarian day laborers. "Bo- hunk" is a term originally aimed at Ukrainians but also applied to Czechs and Slovakians. . . "Pollack" is self descriptive.William F. Klein, Walnut Creek, CA


"Instead, they could have just asked a black Latina about it. "The Latin American white is much more racist than American whites," says Claribeth Valencia, a Colombian national of African descent, in her thirties, who works in marketing and real estate in Miami. Why Hispanics wouldn't vote for Obama because of his racial makeup is beyond her. "In my point of view it would be silly for Latinos not to vote for Obama, because Latinos and blacks are both minorities," she reasons."



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