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Signs of the Times for Thu, 07 Sep 2006

By STANLEY HELLER
September 2 / 3, 2006
CounterPunch
The Israeli paper Ha'aretz reports that the head of Germany's Jewish community accused a minister in Angela Merkel's German government of "anti-Semitism" because of the minister's statement on Israel's use of cluster bombs. Development Aid Minister Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul had asked for a United Nations probe into Israel's use of cluster bombs in civilian areas of Lebanon.

Charlotte Knobloch, president of the Central Council of German Jews, complained about what she terms a growing "anti-mood [sic] against Israel and the Jews" in Germany. [Ha,aretz August 30] Merkel, who made absolutely no criticism of Israel during the fighting, immediately met with Knobloch to "soothe Jewish ire" according to Deutche Welle [August 31]

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By DAVE LINDORFF
September 6, 2006
CounterPunch
Here's a headline you won't see in your local paper:

"U.S. Accused of Using Cluster Weapons Against Civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan"


We all saw the headline about the State Department investigating Israel's use of US-made cluster weapons in Lebanon, because they had been dropping these deadly and indiscriminate munitions in civilian areas of southern Lebanon, with the prospect of killing large numbers of non-combatants including children. This allegedly violated restrictions placed by the U.S. on how the weapons could be used by the Israeli Defense Force.



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SkyNews
Thursday September 07, 2006
Tony Blair is expected to outline his exit timetable this afternoon, after an eighth Labour MP quit in protest at his refusal to say when he will stand down as PM.

Hartlepool MP Iain Wright, a Parliamentary Private Secretary in the Department of Health, resigned from his Government post, telling Mr Blair he "no longer believed that the party and the Government can renew itself in office without urgently renewing the leadership".

Earlier, sources within No 10 let it be known that Mr Blair will use a pre-planned photo opportunity with Education Secretary Alan Johnson on Thursday to make his intentions plain after 24 hours of turmoil at Westminster.

During the day another seven MPs quit, starting with junior defence minister Tom Watson.

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Philip James
Thursday September 7, 2006
Guardian Unlimited
For the first time in 12 long years, the balance of power in the House of Representatives may tip back to Democrats, according to pollsters from both parties. Dissatisfaction with the Iraq war, which will soon have dragged on longer than US involvement in the second world war, is the main factor, along with unease about the economy.

After over a decade of powerlessness, congressional Democrats can smell victory but they dare not shout it from the rooftops, mindful of how skilled they've been at plucking defeat from the jaws of victory in recent history, most notably in 2000, when they lost the House and the presidency by the slimmest of margins.

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By MICHAEL GRACZYK
Associated Press
September 6, 2006
HOUSTON - Kinky Friedman, the proudly politically incorrect entertainer running for governor, said Wednesday he wouldn't put just 1,500 National Guard troops on the Texas-Mexico border, he'd send 10,000.

"We've waited 153 years for the feds to help us," Friedman said. "They haven't yet. We have our own army. I want 10,000 Texas National Guard troops on the border and I want them now."

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By MIKE ROBINSON
Associated Press
Wed Sep 6, 2006
CHICAGO - Former Gov. George Ryan, who was acclaimed by capital punishment foes for suspending executions in Illinois and emptying out death row, was sentenced Wednesday to 6 1/2 years behind bars in the corruption scandal that ruined his political career.

"When they elected me as the governor of this state, they expected better, and I let 'em down and for that I apologize," the 72-year-old Republican said in court before hearing his sentence.

Federal prosecutors had asked for eight to 10 years in prison. Defense attorneys argued that even 2 1/2 years would deprive Ryan of the last healthy years of his life.

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Radar Online
06/09/2006
Anderson Cooper has long traded on his biography, carving a niche for himself as the most human of news anchors. But there's one aspect of his past that the silver-haired CNN star has never made public: the months he spent training for a career with the Central Intelligence Agency.



Following his sophomore and junior years at Yale-a well-known recruiting ground for the CIA-Cooper spent his summers interning at the agency's monolithic headquarters in Langley, Virginia, in a program for students interested in intelligence work. His involvement with the agency ended there, and he chose not to pursue a job with the agency after graduation, according to a CNN spokeswoman, who confirmed details of Cooper's CIA involvement to Radar.

"Whatever summer jobs or internships our anchors had in college couldn't be less consequential," she added. He has kept the experience a secret, sources say, out of concern that, if widely known, it might compromise his ability to travel in foreign countries and even possibly put him at greater risk from terrorists.



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Comment: If Cooper is CIA, he is one of many in the mainstream media.

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