up, tacky, tacky, tacky. what else to expect from michelle obama but
that dress last night? omg. she already suffers from huge hips, no
waist and small breasts. wearing a black dress with read across the
hips and boobs only emphasized her faults. without the red it would
have been a fine dress. with the red, along with maximizing her flaws,
it made the dress look like a cheap t-shirt.
we'll leave out
what red might have meant just like we'll pretend closeted lesbian
katharine hepburn wasn't making a political statement by wearing pink
to decry mccarthyism.
we'll instead move onto another elderly actress.
8 of you e-mailed to ask why jane fonda is returning to broadway?
i got on the phone (and didn't call c.i. - to be clear, c.i. wouldn't have given me any dirt on jane).
has no career. georgia rules flopped like a dying fish and she is as
much responsible for that as crazy lindsay. equally true is that she
was calling out lindsay when the film was debuting and it's thought
that didn't help the box office.
she attacked hillary which
irritated a number of people and this was after she was box office
poison. as c.i. has noted, she took to hanging out with the wrong crowd
and that only lowered her further.
there were no film offers
and the only thing she had prospects of were t.v. roles (and not strong
1s). she's been insanely jealous of the praise estelle parsons has been
she's put some of her own money into the production which helped guarantee the role.
now for non-gossip i did call c.i. because i've read 800 different things. c.i. cleared up the numbered items.
jane was not a lead in strange interlude. it ran briefly on broadway as
a benefit for the actor's studio. jane had the small role of madeline.
the production starred geraldine page and others in the cast included
franchot tone, ben gazzara, pat hingle, richard thomas and betty field
(among others). jane is only in the last 2 acts and doesn't have much
to do in those acts. she wasn't praised for her acting. that was her
final broadway performance. (her only stage work since was reading
monologues in eve ensler's laughable vagina monologues.) repeating,
that was her last broadway appearance.
2) her 1st was there was
a little girl. the press gets this wrong as well. c.i. says joshua
logan directed and the playwright was daniel taradash and fonda was the
lead, a woman who was raped. c.i. says jane got huge praise for her
broadway debut. she won the new york drama critics award for this
3) jane next did invitation to a march. c.i. says,
'i know too many people - some now dead - in that cast so you list
every 1 or you don't list any.' fair enough. the cast was celeste holm,
madeleine sherwood, jeffrey rowland, eileen heckart, tom hatcher, jane
fonda, james macarthur and richard derr. and that was the order of the
billing. it debuted on broadway oct. 29, 1960 at the music box theatre.
arthur laurents directed and he was also the playwright. jane got
strong reviews for this play as well (c.i. says the new yorker's
kenneth tynan was among the strongest but also notes walter kerr) but
jane wasn't the lead and was playing 'the girl' in a heavy cast.
jane's disaster that had her walk away from broadway is not mentioned.
while 2) and 3) ran for a few months and 1) was a benefit performance
that was not supposed to have a long run, jane signed for a comedy and
it was an outright bomb. in fact, c.i. says it is 1 of the biggest
bombs of its day and it's surprising that the press hasn't mentioned
it: the fun couple. as part of the publicity for this expected broadway
hit, the defense department named jane "miss army recruiting of 1962.'
she was the female lead and ben piazza was the male lead, the
supporting leads were a very young dyan cannon (a wonderful actress!)
and bradford dillman. jane wanted the director to be her then boyfriend
and drama coach, the bi-sexual andres voutsinas. the play was a bomb
(dyan got some nice notices). the new york post said of the bomb: 'the
most incredible thing about the play is that two such talented young
performers as jane fonda and bradford dillman were willing to appear in
the title roles.' they called it 'an epic bore.' ('they' is richard
watts. had to call c.i. back because i didn't write down the reviewer's
name.) the play was written by john haase and neil jansen. c.i. notes
that there is a documentary entitled jane that was made during the
lead-up to the fun couple. the new york herald tribune critic walter
kerr appears in the documentary because his review of the fun couple
included: 'i find it impossible to believe that the fun couple ever
went out of town. if they'd gone out of town, they'd have closed it.'
for the documentary, kerr told the camera, 'if you asked me for a list
of the 5 worst plays of all time, the fun couple would be on it.' the
lay opened october 26, 1962. its last performance was october 27, 1962.
yes, it closed that quickly. it was a huge bomb. the only 1 who
entertained the audience was dyan cannon. it was the end of andreas'
directing career (and really of jane and andreas' relationship) and the
end of jane's stage career. strange interlude, again, was a benefit
performance and an ensemble cast.
so there's some gossip for you. i wasn't going to do a heavy post tonight. let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snaphot:'
November 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the empire gets a new
ruler, Nouri al-Maliki claims credit, the treaty remains stalled,
Iraqis are far from overwhelmed and more.
goes on to contrast his campaign with that of Obama as not having any
hoopla, hope or rhetoric; Ralph continues to campaign on the real
issues affecting the people in spite of overwhelming odds -- he is a
champion despite Obama's victory. Along the same line and with
applause, his lack of hoopla and rhetoric is still so out-of-sync with
the media cartel's disinformation campaign that he was once again
ignored by the mainstream. What we have here is a man who refuses to
sell out and complacently surrender to the status quo, he is a man
based on strong principle who perceives reality for what it is -- a
sham directed by the controlling institutions of power, of which Obama
is just another cog in their finely-tuned machine. But what do we
really know about Mr. Barack Obama? Here we have a candidate who
received hundreds of millions in campaign donations by corporate
America and Wall Street. Nader sensibly asks something I've pointed out
many times, "Why are the corporations investing in Obama?" By looking
at his voting record it is obvious who he supports with approbation for
illegal surveillance, a permanent presence in Iraq with a potential
spread to neighboring countries, offshore drilling which he used to be
against, an economic bailout lacking oversight and transparency, and so
forth. Where is this great change that he has been spewing forth to the
public for the past twenty months? It is likely just more of what the
public wants to hear, but it's apparent by voter turnout that they fail
to feel the hot air blowing by them. Part of the problem with
Obama, as Nader points out, is that while Obama is pulled to the right
by the corporate establishment, there are no demands being put on him
by organized groups such as labor and unions to pull him the other
direction and thus "make him better."
have learned that Black politicians and activist-poseurs have an
infinite capacity to celebrate not having engaged in struggle with
Power, and that the Black masses can be made drunk by the prospect of
vicariously (through Obama) coming to power. Having failed to make even
the mildest of demands on Obama in return for unquestioning support,
Black misleadership vowed they would press for firm commitments on
issues of importance to African Americans once Obama had passed the
final hurdle. (White progressives who were similarly self-neutered
during the campaign also promise to begin acting like real people's
advocates, any day now...just you wait and see.) We have already
learned that "Progressives for Obama" of all ethnicities, who failed to
put pressure on the candidate early on, when it might have made a
difference, are full of crap.
Yes, they are full of crap.
Including the Agency-fronted political closet case who has already
shown up with a pep-talk about how the economic crisis is a good thing,
a really, really good thing! Those in the closet politically might want
to check their language so they don't expose themselves by accident.
But lets' move to the economy. The San Francisco Business Times observes,
"A day after the United States made history by electing Barack Obama
president, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 486 points
Wednesday, ending at 9,139.27." The Phoenix Business Journal notes that news as well:
"The election is over and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has taken a
dive of nearly 500 points." No, there was no magical 'cure' nor was
there going to be. Any zowie-wowie article on the election today notes
in cautionary tales how things will have to be scaled back or dropped.
That's your preparation for expecting nothing from the man who promised
even less. Larry Pinkney (Information Clearing House) offers a list of things to expect:
relative short order - inside the United States itself - under a Barack
Obama presidency, the living conditions of the majority of Black,
White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples will continue to steadily and
massively deteriorate while the corporate Wall Street barons prolong
their glut of the every day people's finances, resources, hopes, and
dreams. Under an Obama presidency those non Blacks who stand in
opposition to Barack Obama's de facto pro Wall Street backers and their
blood-sucking policies will be branded as racists and traitors, while
those Blacks who oppose Obama's policies will be ignored and/or branded
as fringe radicals and traitors. Thus, the horrors of the U.S. Empire
will continue unabated, and in many respects, under Barack Obama,
actually worsen. The blame for the deteriorating economy and continued
war will of course quickly be laid by the Obama / Biden regime and the
Democratic Party Republicrats on the previous Bush / Cheney regime,
despite the fact that it was the complicity of the Democratic Party
itself with the Bush / Cheney Republican Republicrat regime that
facilitated the despicable policies and practices of the Bush / Cheney
regime. The fact is that the Democratic and Republican Parties are de
facto Republicrats with the objective of exploiting the majority of
people and maintaining U.S. Empire abroad.After the Democratic Party
Republicrats so-called election euphoria and celebrating is over, the
Obama / Biden Republicrat regime will get down to the business of
placing the ongoing exploitation of the every day people of this nation
on fast track. The masses of Black Americans, along with the oppressed
and exploited Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples of this nation will
learn first hand that, notwithstanding the deceptive Obama rhetoric,
exploitation nationally and internationally will be intensified. The
"clash between those who want freedom, justice, equality for everyone
and those who want to continue the system of exploitation" about which
Malcolm X referred, will be intensified under Barack Obama, with Obama
representing the interests of the oppressors. The political
contradictions in this regard will also be increasingly obvious.Those
so-called leftist and progressives who were and are collaborators with
U.S. Empire will, for a time, try to pretend that their support of
Barack Obama was not a sell out, and that they simply need more time to
persuade the U.S. Empire's colored corporate emperor to do the right
thing. Meanwhile, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples will be
enduring an unprecedented rate of economic and social suffering. The
anger of the people will ultimately peak and explode, as a result of
having bought into false hope and raised expectations. This is
precisely why the U.S. corporate government has already made military
contingency plans to contain and massively quash dissention within the
United States. Barack Obama will serve to provide his corporate /
military masters with colored political cover for political repression
in this nation; and he will have already provided a small respite of
wiggling room for them in this regard. Nevertheless, as brutal reality
forces the proverbial scales of blindness to drop from eyes of the
masses, it will become crystal clear that the supposed "change" to
which Barack Obama referred in his campaign rhetoric, was nothing more
than a vicious ruse of double-speak by him, backed by his corporate and
military handlers. Indeed, the emperor will be shown to "have no
clothes." But what of the fate of millions of Black, White, Brown, Red,
and Yellow peoples inside the U.S.? How many horrible sacrifices will
have been, and will yet need to be made by the people in order to get
the boot of economic blood-sucking and political repression off their /
to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments
and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten
corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is
shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand." In other words: Don't worry, world. The bad old days of George Bush are over. "To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you." In
other words: Under my administration we Americans will continue to
simplistically conceptualize the existence of an enemy that is pure
evil and wants to destroy the world, and imagine we can "defeat" it
through the War on Terror.
Exit polls demonstrate that the
economy was the number one issue, ahead of the illegal war. Going
unnoticed is how Iraq was taken off the table by All Things Media Big
and Small. When the faux activists of CODESTINK are protesting Wall St.
-- not for the war machinery they manufacture and sell but over the
economic meltdown -- and Jodi's given everything but her uterus to
Barack's campaign, don't pretend anyone's being encouraged to give a
damn about ending the Iraq War. To really ensure that it be a
non-issue, did someone else take it off the table? Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports
that Nouri al-Maliki is claiming to "close aides" that he gave the
election to Barack because "he took the Iraqi issue 'off the table' for
Obama by endorsing his timetable during his visit to Baghdad in July."
Don't be too angry with al-Maliki, CIA assets tend to face very violent
rub-outs when they've exhuasted their usefulness and al-Maliki's pretty
much squeezed out. al-Maliki reportedly believes he can get further
concessions from Barack on the treaty between the White House and the
puppet government. At the US State Dept today, Sean McCormack was asked
about the treaty and the spokesperson stated that the US has not yet
responded (officially) to the amendments suggested by Iraq and that US
Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will convey communications to
al-Maliki. As for whether the amendments will fly or not, McCormack
declared, "Well, again, I go back to what -- you know, what I've said
and what Dana Perino has said over at the White House in terms of the
bar for any changes. You know, it's a pretty high bar for any changes.
But again, we'll take a look at what is suggested. We're formulating
our responses. The Iraqis took some time to think through what they
wanted to provide us by way of comments, and we're taking our time in
providing that response back to them."
One thing Ambassador
Crocker already conveyed to the Iraqi government was, "While this
historic election has changed a great many things, we will also have
full continuity of policy and purpose as we move through our
transition." NPR's Corey Flintoff (All Things Considered) reported
that today and on the reaction of Iraqis to the election results with
Abu Osama stating, "We don't know whether he'll change now that he's
elected" and Rana Sa'ad Diyab stating she's not seen any
improvements in six years and "she'll wait and see whether Obama's
policies bring any changes in security or her family's standard of
living, but she doubts that will happen." Hameed Kamil Hilal tells Leila Fadel and Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers),
"We have seen nothing positive from any American president, and McCain
and Obama are two faces of one coin, one policy." Meanwhile Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times of London) explains
that it's not just Iraqis who are doubtful that any 'change' will take
place, "On Iraq, the Illinois senator campaigned on a pledge to remove
US combat troops within sixteen months, but some military officers
privately argue that he will show more flexibility on timing after
assuming responsibility for the war started by George W. Bush."
In some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
a Baghdad car bombing where the driver killed him/herself and 4 people
with nine more wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing where three people
were wounded and a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 1 life with
three more wounded.
peace news, Cindy Sheehan ran for the US Congress from California's 8th
district. She lost to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday. While
others tried to hop a bandwagon and refused to challenge Democrats,
Cindy had the strength to stand up. At Information Clearing House she shares her thoughts:
past month, I kept on saying to my supporters, staff, interns,
volunteers and myself, that no matter what happened on November 4th
that we could hold our heads up high and be very proud of our campaign.
Until yesterday, I wasn't sure that what I said would be true, but I
feel an incredibly sense of peace and pride in our accomplishments.
There were so many victories over the last year that the American
paradigm of "winner-take all" just doesn't fit.We moved into San
Francisco a little over a year ago with less than nothing. We used
savings and credit cards to open our office and sometimes to keep it
open. We transformed a former "sex shop" to a fully functioning and
vibrant campaign office. Our "natural base" never materialized, so we
had to build a foundation in less than a few months.In August, we
historically gained ballot access as only the 6th independent campaign
in California history to do so. Our platform based on humane economics
was in place long before the recent collapses and resultant bailouts.
Our labor platform was hailed all over the world, while unions here in
SF supported the corporate "rescuer" Nancy Pelosi.Cindy for Congress
never once sold out our solid principles based campaign and would never
sell out the voters of San Francisco like Nancy Pelosi has. Nancy
Pelosi ran from my campaign and our demands to debate me and we
persevered and did so amazingly well after a near total media black out
and several attempts at political intimidation.We got to the end of
this stage with a barrel full of integrity and a boatload of dedication
and love. Dozens of activists came from all over the country to be here
to help us spread our progressive, peace based message and thousands
donated to help keep our campaign afloat.We have moved right through
November 4th because this is a movement for peace and against corporate
control of our political system. Movements can't stop, we must keep
November 4, 2008 from Matt Lavery: Both
the ”hope” and “change” elements of the Obama candidacy have been
roundly debunked by thoroughgoing progressives (i.e. ones who don’t
cave in on warrantless wiretapping, nuclear energy, continued/
ratcheted UP militarization, etc.), nowhere better than in Alexander
Cockburn’s powerful “Against Obama” in the last The Nation of October
(his too-quick slagging of Cynthia McKinney’s “5,000 post-Katrina
executions” aside). But with him looking very strong in the exit
polling and early EST reporting, it does seem time to talk more clearly
about how his election and a more empowered Democratic majority
(they’ve already picked up two senate seats, one in VA and one in NH)
could actually create some hope for progressives. Here’s my thought: a
strong marginalizing of the GOP should create an opportunity to really
push the Dems. to be more responsive to (a) progressive agenda(s). This
is a traditional “role” of third parties that can easily be lost as we
push to run more candidates. Reduced temptation to pander to the
“right”–which has kept Dems. from disavowing or marginalizing their own
progressive caucuses–should definitely give (especially) Greens hope
that we will have more influence to peddle in any upcoming new “New
Deal” body politic. We all know “on-the-fencers” who may even be
tempted to call themselves “Progressive Democrats” in the furor of an
Obama landslide. We mustn’t forget how to speak to them; how to make
them see that it is progressives whose votes may be lost to them in the
future as the country continues to turn blue.
that's from kimberly wilder's site and she's live blogging election night so you can visit on the wilder side for more. i agree with pretty much everything matt says about the future.
have no idea how long matt's followed politics but there will be no
'progressives' in congress. get over it. and i really loathe that term
which is nothing but something for political closet types to use.
here's what happens if barack wins and dems significantly increase their numbers in congress: nothing.
we're told 'that's great but we don't have the money.' and 'if it weren't for the economic crisis . . .'
as ava and c.i. documented sunday,
senator chuck schumer was on charlie rose last week bragging, delighted
that barack as president meant nuclear energy was on the table. that's
more importantly, barack is the corporatist candidate
and all a win by him does is convince themselves to sell out even more
to corporate america.
people are really idiots and i'm not talking about matt in this section.
talking about liars like norman solomon who want to argue that you can
hop on board corporate train and the dems will be so thrilled they'll
support your needs. uh-uh. the lesson, the take-away, is that they need
to whore themselves out to big money even more - just like bambi did!
it's: whore yourself out cause where else are the people going to go?
get over the idea that there's about to be some left movement in this
country. it's not happening. the dems have caved non-stop since 2006
and even with the worst polling numbers, they held on to their seats in
congress. so quit lying to yourself that they're going to 'learn'
something from this election that is helpful to the people.
thoughts for tonight. check out kimberly's blog for her thoughts and
for other people's. she's following more than just the presidential
race, by the way.
November 4, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the illegal war is not
ending anytime soon judging by most signals, Talabani and Barzani
continue to have conflict, the treaty is said to be progressing . . .
to a national referendum (?) and more.
In the US voting takes place today. It does not mean life stops or that the entire world does. Gina Chon (Baghdad Life, Wall St. Journal) writes
of "Samir Ahmed, a government employee, said he had also once assumed a
different U.S. administration would mean a different policy towards
Iraq. The presidential race he was thinking of was between Bill Clinton
and the first George Bush. Mr. Clinton won, but continue a tough stance
against Iraq. Today, he expects that no matter who wins the current
race, American policy toward Iraq will remain the same." Mariam Toma
agrees and tells Chon, "Both of them will not withdraw U.S. forces. In
contrast, maybe the will actually find another reason to stay even
longer in Iraq." Meanwhile Stephen Farrell, Mudhafer al-Husaini and Abeer Mohammed (Baghdad Bureau, New York Times) did a snap-poll,
"an informal snapshot of Iraqis living or working in the Green Zone. Of
200 Iraqis spoken to after they streamed out of two Green Zone exists
into the 'real' Baghdad on Monday, just over a third of them wanted the
Americans to leave Iraq as soon as possile while just under half wanted
them to stay. The remainder offered options somewhere in between."
These are Green Zoners and they do fear the fall of the Green Zone and
the puppet government. They're protected while, everywhere else, Iraqis
aren't so lucky.
Meanwhile Germany's increasingly pathetic Der
Speigel (which has been justifying and supporting the illegal war for
sometime if you'd bothered to pay attention) runs the craked musings of
Peter Ross Range who just knows Barack will win
the presidency and calls for him to "revise" the 16-month 'plan' for
'withdrawal.' PeePee Ross Range is a DLC-er (Der Spiegel calls him
"moderate") and he cheerleader the illegal war before it started and
justified it for years and years. As late as July 22, 2005, he was
whining that 'liberals' and 'progressives' needed to praise Saddam
being disposed and be less criticisl ("Liberal's War" published in the
DLC bible). January 8, 2004, he was writing that the US shouldn't
withdraw or even "pull-back" ("Remembering the Middle Class," ibid).
October 21, 2005 PeePee was whining, "Many war opponents, often still
traumatized by Vietnam, are preoccupied with what invading Iraq says
about America rather than what it does for the Iraqis" ("War of
Conscience"). Der Spiegel's become an embarrassment but for those who
know PeePee's work, it's probably worth a chuckle -- September 30,
2002, he was wondering if Germany was "Anti-American" or "Anti-Bush"?
Translation, the two deserve one another.
Here's the interview Panhandle Media couldn't tell you about: Stephen
Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops]
when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is
a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a
commitment is it?Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in
whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances
are going to be like in January 2009. We can'te ven tell what Bush is
up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not
rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as
a US Senator.
When Power gave that interview, she was still his
foreign policy advisor. And backing up her claims that promises weren't
really promises, here's Barack speaking to Candy Crowley June 5th on CNN when asked about his 'promise' to withdraw (combat troops): Well,
you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in
which I'd change my mind." Obviously, I'm open to the facts and to
reason. And there's no doubt that we've seen significant improvements
in security on the ground in Iraq. And our troops, and Gen. Petraeus,
deserve enormous credit for that. I have to look at this issue from a
broader perspective, though. In April Power tells the BBC that
Barack's 'pledges' and 'promises' on Iraq are non-binding and, if
elected, he'll decide what to do then. June 5th, Barack echoes that to
CNN. And Panhandle Media works overtime to ignore reality. And if you
like being played, you'll love what they have planned.
of excerpt. Get it. No 'plan,' no 'promise.' That's reality. So why is
PeePee asking Barack to rethink a non-pledge? Because PeePee's audience
isn't Barack, it's you. PeePee wants to soften the public up to the
idea that Barack in the White House doesn't have to mean an end to the
illegal war. If elected, Barack can't break what so many wrongly
believe was a 'promise' on his own. He needs a lot of liars who can
soften up public opinion.
There's no rush to leave Iraq or even
a desire. That needs to be grasped. Iraqi General Nasier Abadi made
that pretty clear during Sunday's press conference in the Green Zone.
Questioned by the Washington Post's Mary Beth Sheridan as to when the
Iraqis would be able to handle "their own internal security . . . how
many years are you away from reaching that goal," Abadi tried to
distract by listing duties before declaring, "We have no duties or
missions to protect the air on the borders of the country. But in case
we have this responsibility, there is a brief that -- to the minister
of defense, if he ask us to -- task us with that, a reportw ent also to
the Prime Minister, what are the capabilities and the army's specifics
to do those duties?" Asked how many years again, he responded,
"Building an aerial force, building an Army is not easy, but it's still
easier than building naval and air force. The naval force, as I said
before, that the first ship will come in 2009 and the fourth will
arrive in . . . at the end of 2011. In regard to 200- . . . Air Force,
the first aircraft we will receive in 2011 until 2015. And that depends
on the support and the help that the coalition forces can secure to
Iraq so we can be able to maintain and defend our airspace and
territories. Without that, there will be also agreements with the
neighboring countries on the security of Iraq. But it's possible that
we will go with those missions without having an air force or naval
force because this is a common battle, it's not just an army's duty."
Setting aside the naval force and focusing only on the air, if the
period they'll be taking possession of aircraft will last from 2011
through 2015, how likely is it that they will be prepared to handle
their own airspaceby the end of 2011?
At the Pentagon today,
spokesperson Bryan Whitman informed reporters that there was a plan in
place for transition from the Bully Boy to the winner of today's
election. A comparison was rightly made between LBJ and Tricky Dick.
Nixon didn't end the illegal war, he only continued it. Whitman
declared, "One of the important components of this is ensuring that
we've identified and highlighted some of the key department events,
actions, milestones that a new administration will face in its first 90
Turning to the topic of the Status Of Forces Agreement masquerading as a treaty, CNN reports Sami al-Askari (Nouri al-Maliki adviser) states
that the White House "has signaled to Iraqi officials that it is
seriously considering proposed changes to an agreement that would set
the terms for U.S. troops in Iraq". Al Jazeera notes
that al-Askari has no official response from the White House and that
Iraq's Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi is advocating that the
treaty be put up for approval to all Iraqis (not just the Parliament),
"This agreement is an important and sensitive subject . . . Iraqis
should have their say." Khalid al-Ansary, Missy Ryan and Kevin Liffey (Reuters) add
that al-Hashemi is indicateing that the agreement be placed on the
ballot with "provincial elections scheduled to take place by the end of
January." At which point, who would be in Iraq? The United Nations
mandate that governs the occupation expires December 31st at which
point, if no new agreement has been reached, there is no legal
authority for foreign forces to be on Iraqi soil. The White House has
attempted political blackmail insisting that they will cut off this and
that if Baghdad won't sign off on the treaty. Richard Tomkins (UPI) notes,
"Iraq, with no air control capability at present, nonetheless would
have to take over air traffic control and also assume total
responsibility for guarding its borders." Al Bawaba notes
that today's "Baghdad edition of the London-based newspaper Asharq
Al-Awsat said the Americans had agreed to three of the five latest
changes proposed by Iraq. It said, quoting unnamed sources, that
Washington had dropped the clause that authorises Baghdad and
Washington to seek an extension for retaining troops in the cities
beyond 2009 and in the country beyond 2011." Maria Appakova (UPI) explains:
Americans are in no hurry to raise this question at the U.N. Security
Council. Staying in Iraq in accordance with an international mandate is
one thing, but having a strategic partnership treaty and receiving
dividends from it is quite another matter. Yet Washington has no
choice -- it cannot take offense at Iraqis and pull out its troops from
Iraq. It won't be able to attach the blame for withdrawal to Russia,
since Moscow does not mind Americans continuing their presence there
for a while, and Russia is not in favor of an upsurge of terror in the
region, after all. [. . .] [US} House Armed Services Committee
Chairman Ike Skelton stated that he is "deeply concerned" with what he
heard. Skelton is referring to the agreement's provisions that recently
leaked to the press, which include, for example, the Iraqi government's
ability to put American servicemen and private security companies'
personnel on trial for cirmes they committed while on leave and outside
military bases. It must be said that if this provision really has been included in the draft, it is quite a victory for the Iraqi government.
Meanwhile Gulf Daily News notes
continued conflict between the Baghdad government and the Kurdish one
with the country's President Jalal Talabani stating the US cannot set
up bases anywhere in Iraq "without the approval of the central
government" in Baghdad which was a strong rebuke to KRG president
Massud Barzani who stated last week that, should the US and Baghdad not
sign off on a treaty, the US could just set up bases in the Kurdish
region. The tensions between the Kurdish region and Iraq are never not
on display. Last Wednesday, at the White House, Barzani was being translated when he cut in to correct the translator:
Translator: And in terms of SOFA, we do believe that it is in the interest of the Iraqi government --
Massud Barzani: Iraqi people.
-- it's in the interest of this country and we have been and we will
continue to support it and support its ratification.
Hoda Abdel-Hamid (Al Jazeera) notes
that the US popularity in the Kurdish region is sinking (after years of
sucking up) and quotes Barzan Mohamed stating, "America was not honest
with the Kurds. They've let them down in the past and they only follow
their interests. They can leave the Kurds any time and I don't trust
having an alliance with them or even friendship. Yes, they rid us of
dictatorship, but they came here to control the region and the Middle
East." Iran's Press TV states
that Talabani made a point to praise Iran Sunday for their help with
Iraq's security and that Talabani also cited Syria and that, on the
treaty, Talabani "said that Iraq is a unified country and no one has
the right to object the Iraqi government's decision, should it refuse
the security deal. Talabani was referring to a recent interview by
Massud Barzani, the president of the local government of Iraq's
Kurdistan during which he said that the Kurdistan region would provide
the U.S. with military bases if Baghdad refuses to sign the security
deal with Washington."
We've noted the Iraqi Air Force twice
in today's snapshot. 1) It's not due to be ready until 2015 at the
earliest and 2) the US is using the lack of one to threaten Baghdad
into signing off on the treaty. For those not grasping how "shambles"
is too mild a word to be applied to IAF, let's drop back to October
24th. M-NF trumpeted "Iraqi Air Force celebrates another milestone."
Sounds good, right? Yeah, as long as you don't go beneath the headline.
If you do, you find: "The Iraqi Air Force surpassed another milestone
Oct. 22 when an all-Iraqi flight crew took to the air in the King Air
Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft for the first
time in support of an Iraqi Special Operations Forces training
exercise." Five years after the start of the illegal war (six this
March) and that's where the IAF is? They've just finished their first
"all-Iraqi flight crew" flight?
Moving on to some of today's reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
a Baghdad sticky bomb wounded three people (all family members),
another Baghdad sticky bombing reulted 1 person being killed and seven
more wounded, a third Baghdad sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left
five wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing resulted in 4 deaths and eight
people being wounded and another Baghdad bombing claimed 7 lives with
eighteen people wounded. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) updates the seven dead by 4 for eleven and notes that the bomb was "hidden in a car at a bus stop" (wounded rose to twenty-one). Reuters notes
a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left one person
wounded and another Mosul roadside bombing resulted in five people
being injured and a Mosul "suicide car" bombing left four police
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
1 Iraqi police officer was shot dead in Baghdad (three more wounded)
and 1 "Lieutenant Colonel working for the ministry of interior affairs"
was shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 police officers was shot dead in Mosul while 2 civilians were shot dead in different incidents.
Today Michael Birnbaum (Washington Post) reports
that DoD "announced yesterday the death of Pfc. Bradly Shane Colemn of
Mratinsville, VA, who had been serving in Iraq" and whose October 29th
death is under investigation. His death brings the toll to 14 for the month of October.
As Katharine Q. Seelye (New York Times) points out,
"The fact is, there is plent of mystery -- nad there is only one poll
that counts." It is election day and anything can happen. Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) will
live blog the election tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST. So check out
her site which will go beyond the D and R to include other letters in
the alphabet. Including "G" (Wilder is a Green.) Starting with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez. Team Nader notes:
We're having a party! A Nader/Gonzalez party! Tonight, we celebrate. If you are a skeptic, you might be asking -- what, pray tell, are you celebrating? To which we answer -- The power of the people. The power of you -- our loyal supporters. Against all odds -- and in the face of a major media blackout -- together, we have given the American people a choice today. For the Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda. With eight months of hard work, we have put that agenda on the ballot in 45 states and the District of Columbia. Ralph has campaigned in all 50 states. And
together we have organized a network of American citizens to press
onward for single payer health insurance, a living wage, a cut in the
bloated, wasteful military budget, for a reversal of U.S. policy in the
Middle East -- everything the Nader/Gonzalez campaign stands for. So, today, if you haven't already done so, vote with pride for Nader/Gonzalez. And then, no matter what the outcome tonight, celebrate! Congratulations! With the coming disintegration of two party domination of our politics, you have chosen to be on the winning side of history. So, celebrate tonight! And while celebrating, follow Ralph's results on the net or television. (Unfortunately,
most of the major news outlets apparently will not include third party
and independent candidates in their result totals -- but Fox News' map
apparently will (fair and balanced?) -- county by county and nationwide. Check it out here. And finally, only 500 copies left! Let's move them today! Get one of the last copies now! It's autographed by Ralph! And is bound to be a collector's item! Of
course, we're talking about the 40th Anniversary edition of Unsafe at
Any Speed -- Ralph's classic expose of the American automobile industry. And we have only 500 copies left! If you donate $100 or more today
-- up to the legal maximum of $2,300 -- we will ship to you one of the
last copies we have of this classic -- autographed by the man
himself.Let's move the last 500 copies today -- and hit our goal of $4 million by midnight tonight. Onward
What is your opinion of Obama? "Clever." What is your opinion of Palin? "Developing." How much money did you raise for your campaign? "Insufficient." Why do you keep running for president? "Justice." Will you be elected president? "No." When do you think you will win? "Sometime." What should Bush do on his last day in office? "Surrender." Will Obama be able to provide tax cuts to 95 percent of the population? "Impossible." What is your opinion of the media? "Servile."
a long strange journey it's been. Dad I love you so much and am so
proud to be your daughter every day. If you need to know why you should
vote for Dad, click here.
Thank you to everyone for everything... And yes, we will be posting
about election night. You didn't think I would leave my loyal readers
hanging, did you? Now get out and vote!
campaigning coast to coast on Monday, Sarah Palin caught a few winks on
a red-eye flight to her home state, where fresh snow glistened in the
early-morning moonlight as the temperature hovered around 14 degrees.
Palin voted early this morning inside the tiny City Hall building where
just six years ago she presided as mayor of this once unknown frontier
town outside Anchorage. Proudly donning her "I Voted Today" sticker,
the Alaska governor delivered a short statement to reporters and took a
few questions before she heads to Phoenix to find out whether she'll
become the first female vice president of the United States. It's been
a whirlwind couple of months for Palin, who has fallen under perhaps
more scrutiny than any vice presidential candidate in the nation's
history. But as usual, she portrayed an almost mystifying sense of
calm, considering all that she has been through in such a relatively
And Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) notes,
"Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney will be spending
Election Night with California Congressional Candidate and Peace Mom
Cindy Sheehan. There will be live streaming here starting at 8pm."
have never been able to identify with the Republican Party. I struggled
with the Democratic party, identifying more with them - but still not
feeling quite right about it. Even as a young teenager I had distrust
for our politicians and our media. Some struck me as empty people,
others seemed like outright liars to me. I never understood the whole
concept of labeling people as either conservative or liberal. I have
varying views on different topics - where do I fit in?
when I was 18 years old, I realized that the labels were another way to
manipulate and control the populace, a way of saying "Who do you hang
with?" So the 2000 election came and I felt the need for change. It was
the first time I got to vote! Al Gore seemed like a nice guy but I cast
my vote for Nader feeling that he was honest and a man who could get
things done. To my horror I watched our whole democratic process fall
down around us as Gore won the popular vote but Bush still took the
election. I had never felt so trapped in my life. Wasn’t this the
country of choice and freedom? Where was the peoples’ voice? Why was no
one doing anything? How could the Democrats sit back and let this
I was living on Long Island, NY, when 9/11 happened, and like every other American I was glued to my TV.
I was so shocked, angry and saddened. A few days went by and an
overwhelming feeling of panic came over me as I realized something
wasn’t right with our media. I just felt that something was being left
out, something wasn’t right. Since then I have watched in disbelief as
Bush has committed crime after crime.
Our representatives and
media have let him get away with it with minimal protest, and so have
many of our American Citizens. 2004 came and went, and again my vote
went to Nader with many family and friends telling me that I was
throwing my vote away. I took these arguments passively and still
watched politics as an observer. I would raise awareness of issues, but
always with a feeling of defeat and complacency.
2008 has been
my breaking point. I am in my 29th year of life and in April I gave
birth to a beautiful baby boy named Quentin Michael. I have never felt
the need to protect our future the way I do now. I can’t have him grow
up in a world where he is just another cog. He deserves freedom and a
clean environment. I can’t just do my part at home and quietly stand by
while others abuse this world and kill it for their own personal wealth
I have always felt that Nader was someone who truly
stood for the people - but now I say it loud! We need to take our
rights back and really change the course of this country. Our children
deserve it. The theme of this election year has been about change and
hope and that is why I am voting for Nader/Gonzalez for 2008. I am
voting for my son. I am voting for the future. Thank you Ralph Nader
for giving me a choice.
—Maureen Nicholson Schramm
have been at my breaking point for several years now. I am 26. I
graduated from college with a Bachelors of Music degree. Thanks to
hefty student loans, I couldn’t afford to work an internship and live
at the same time. The interest on my loans was 95% of my monthly
payments and I had (have) to work dead end jobs just to break even. I
feel myself further and further off the path I started down when I was
in college, and I have a void inside. I am finding myself too depressed
to listen to or write music. Add to this the fact that I have no health
insurance. My wife and I can barely afford the bare necessities and I
have to hear arguments on the semantics of the word "recession" on the
radio. I can’t afford to get sick, or worse, hurt.
Now there are
$700 billion dollars for bank bail outs? I have been dying to start my
own business for years and I can’t come up with capital to start it,
and now credit markets are dry. What am I supposed to do? Be depressed
Photo above provided by Tom Gibbons.
If you haven’t reached your breaking point, visit www.breakingpoint08.com. Send me your Breaking Point story to share at firstname.lastname@example.org, so the growing numbers of independent voters can join our voices, and together, we can change the system.
Loralynne Krobetzky Communications Director Nader for President 2008
remember you can make a point of letting robin morgan know how damn
little she matters by voting for ralph nader whom robin loathes and was
ripping apart not all that long ago. pull the lever for barack and
you're saying, 'suck on it, robin!'
the two major-party presidential candidates traveled the country with
huge media entourages on the final day of the campaign, Ralph Nader was in his Washington headquarters, giving interviews by telephone and complaining about being ignored. "I
believe in a competitive democracy," he said after his staff quickly
put him on the phone, "and a competitive democracy cannot occur without
the Fourth Estate giving it a chance to have a chance." Nader, 74,
is making his third consecutive run for the presidency, and, according
to his campaign, is hopeful that he will receive his largest number of
votes ever. One campaign aide said that Nader is hoping to receive at
least 1 million, and that he would not be surprised if he garnered 2
million. Both totals would outpace Nader's tally of slightly less
than 500,000 four years ago but would be less than the nearly 3 million
votes he received in 2000, when some Democrats believed he cost
then-Vice President Al Gore the election. Toby Heaps, Nader's spokesman, said the campaign has been encouraged by several developments.
so hopefully that article will grab some attention and remember he is on the ballot in d.c.
fact, for those who may not know, you can vote for ralph in any state
except ohio. if he's not on the ballot, he is a write-in in all states
except ohio. let's stick with ralph for this from team nader, 'The Election of 1844:'
Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Toby Heaps, 202-441-6795
Why Third Parties That Might Not Win Elections Still Matter: The Crucial Role of Third Parties in the Abolishment of Slavery
important third party candidacy for abolishing slavery took place in
1844. James G. Birney, of the Liberty party ran against James K. Polk
of the Democratic Party and Henry Clay of the Republican Party.
Democrats were running on a platform of immediate territorial
expansion, war with Mexico, and the continuation of slavery. The
Republicans, knowing the popularity of territorial expansion took a
very nebulous stance. They were for territorial expansion, but only
gradually. Slavery -- either abolishing it or maintaining its legality
-- was not on their platform.
James G. Birney ran on the Liberty
ticket with an anti-slavery platform. He’d run in the previous
election, winning only 0.4% of the vote. But in 1844 he did
significantly better with 2.3% of the vote.
The election was close:
Candidate James K. Polk Henry Clay James G. Birney Party Democratic Whig Liberty Platform Invade Mexico Now Invade Mexico later Anti-slavery (Pro-Slavery) (More liberal slavery laws) % of Pop. Vote 49.54% 48.09% 2.30% Electoral Vote 170 105 0
election is close. Some scholars charge that James G. Birney got enough
votes in New York to tip the election for Polk. In that state, Polk
beat Clay by little over one percent. James G. Birney had 3.25% of the
vote there. Henry Clay would have won the election if he had New York’s
36 electoral votes by a margin of 7 electoral votes (141-134).
the election happened today, Birney would have been lambasted as a
"spoiler" for taking a principled stance on slavery and "stealing"
votes from Clay.
As history shows, the strong third-party
showing in the elections from 1844 through 1852 led to tumult in the
Whig party that eventually broke it in two. The Whig party divided over
the issue of slavery. The "Cotton" Whigs went to the pro-slavery
Democrats. And the so-called "Conscience" Whigs went on to Free Soil,
and eventually the newly formed Republican party.
If those who
voted for Birney, instead decided to cast a "strategic" vote for the
Whigs, the party may have held together longer than it did. Birney’s
strong showing proved that the abolitionist movement was not something
politicians could ignore if they wanted to stay in office.
the third party run that agitated the Whigs, who had become a party
that was closely aligned with the Democrats, abolition may have taken
much longer. Only 21 years after that, the 13th amendment, banning
slavery, was added to the Constitution. A marginal candidate’s platform
became the law of the land.
i went with that 1 because
- as i've admitted here many times - in 2004, my attitude was 'ralph's
a spoiler!' and c.i. really talked to me about that nonsense. c.i.
voted for (and donated to) john kerry in 2004 and that was among the
reasons her words registered. i knew she wasn't just sticking up for
her candidate. i also know c.i. and how important fairness is to her.
really excited to be voting for ralph this year. i hope you're excited
by who you are voting for. that's what it should be. if some 1 doesn't
excite you, if they don't really speak for you and share your issues,
why are you voting for them?
that's the question you should ask
barack supporters but they won't be able to answer so don't even bother
with it. it will only confuse them. you really can't use logic with a
cult member. their programming has prevented free thought.
November 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the treaty is still
iffy, Syria still wants answers, Article 50 comes back . . . maybe, a
Democrat 'explains' Barack's mentor, and more.
Starting with the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. Sameer N. Yacoub (AP) quotes
Iraqi news editors Ahmed Abdul-Majid ("Out coverage of the U.S.
election is not heavy because we believe that the result of the
elections will not have a direct impact on the future of Iraq") and
Adbul-Halim Saleh ("In the end, strategic policies made in the United
States will not be affected by the changing of the administrations") on
the US election and explains, "The agreement, under negotiation for
months, would keep American troops in Iraq for three more years but
give Iraqis a greater role in deciding U.S. military operations."
China's Xinhau notes
al-Sabah (Baghdad newspaper) is reporting three of the five amendments
have been agreed to by DC. Among the rejected are supposedly the issue
of immunity for US troops and among the agreed to changes is that US
forces would leave in 36 months and that the treaty will be called
"agreement on withdrawal of US forces." Indo-Asian News Service adds,
"British Ambassador in Iraq Christopher Prentice told the Kurdish
newspaper al-Taakhi that Britain was keen on reaching an agreement with
the Iraqi government since 'very little time remains until the end of
this year'." The United Nations mandate allowing foreign forces to be
on Iraqi soil expires December 31st. Without something in place, there
is no legal authorization for foreign forces on Iraqi soil. This
mandate covers the occupation, there was no mandate that allowed for
the illegal invasion. The UN Wire notes
the Washington Times story that "American officials are looking to the
UN Security Council to extend the mandate for U.S. troops to remain in
Iraq beyond Dec. 31 as direct negotiations with Iraqi officials on a
deal remain plagued by 'numerous' differences." At the White House
today, spokesperson Dana Perino addressed the negotiations and talk of
seeking an extension on the UN mandate:
We are working towards
responding to the Iraqis. Our negotiating team, led by Ambassador
Crocker, is finalizing that and we expect to be talking with the Iraqis
over the next week. And I think that their parliament is back in
session starting next Tuesday, so hopefully we'll make some progress
soon. And I think reports about us looking at an alternative are
overwritten. We are focused on getting this agreement done. I think the
Iraqis recognize that it is their interest, and it's certainly in
America's national security interest for us to finalize it. So we're
working through all the requested changes that they had, and there
might be some that we can support, there might be some that we won't be
able to support. I'll just let the negotiators work that out with them
At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Robert Wood
said of the SOFA, "Nothing new to report. We're taking a look at the
material we got from the Iraqis last week, and we'll be replying in due
course. But I don't have anything further than that." Iran's Press TV maintains
the treaty allows for attacks on foreign countries: "Under the US
-sought agreement, American military and civilians planes will be able
to use Iraqi airspace without Baghdad's oversight." The treaty faces
more hurdles as a result of the US creating a crisis two Sundays ago by attacking Syria, AP reports
that Walid al-Moualem, Syria's Foreign Minister, has used the word
"painful" to describe the responses from Syria to the US should the
White House and its agencies continue to stonewall regarding the
attack. Iran's Press TV quotes
al-Moualem stating: "Syria may resort to more painful measures if the
United States does not give an official explanation for the attack."
Meanwhile AKI reports
that the US Embassy in Syria reopened yesterday (it was closed Thursday
due to protests and closed Friday as well although the State Dept
maintained that was due to a holiday). The US school has been closed
and Sami Moubayed (Asia Times) explains,
"A belated victim of the United States raid on Syira on October 27 was
the American school in Damascus. The institution has been a
controversial satellite of US interests in Syria since its founding
more than a half-century ago, and it has often been featured as
political football during the two nations' turbulent, often bitter
relationship." In the US, the White House, Defense Dept and State Dept
have refused to speak publicly about the attack -- despite the fact
that the US is supposed to be a democracy with leadership answerable to
the people -- and Phil Sands (UAE's The National) explains that the stonewalling has taken place in Baghdad as well:
officials would stand in the safety of the Green Zone and lecture
journalists -- lecture Iraqis -- about all the progress that was being
made even as, out there beyond the concrete barriers, the country
collapsed and descended into a sectarian chaos that has claimed tens of
thousands of lives. Regardless of what was actually said, however, the
Americans were at least willing to stand up and publicly answer
questions. It was something. Last week, however, they finally made a
mockery of even that basic principle. The usual press conference was
held, as planned, on Wednesday afternoon and was attended, as always,
by the dwindling Baghdad press corps. Brig Gen David Perkins, the US
military spokesman for Iraq, sat down in front of an American flag and
read out a bland statement. It mentioned the Status of Forces Agreement
negotiations, interference by Iran and progress in training Iraq's
security agencies.He failed to address just one small issue: the
cross-border attack into Syria by US forces that took place on the
Sunday before. Given that the airborne assault, which left at least
eight people dead, was carried out from Iraqi soil and supposedly
targeted an al Qa'eda figure who was helping launch attacks inside
Iraq, you might consider it worth talking about. In light of the fact
that it was technically an act of war by both the US and Iraq on Syria
and made international headlines, you might imagine something would be
said. Instead, there was a deafening silence. After reading his
opening statement, Brig Gen Perkins asked if there were any questions.
One of the Iraqi reporters duly asked about the attack on Syria. The
officer's response was brief and to the point: "Umm," he said, "I've
nothing to add on that." A few minutes later, another reporter, this
time an American, asked about the poor quality of water supplies in
Iraq and the US attack on Syria. Brig Gen Perkins entered into a
lengthy treatise on the improving security situation and reconstruction
efforts, before stating: "I have nothing to add on any other subjects." In
the course of the press conference, two more reporters asked about the
raid inside Syria and Brig Gen Perkins simply pretended as if the
questions had not been asked. He did not so much as acknowledge them.
US Embassy in Syria remains the only US outlet issuing statements. Last
week, it announced the Embassy would be closed due to protests (and
later that day the State Dept refused to confirm that announcment).
Today the Embassy's website
displayed: "Public Announcement, November 3, 2008 In response to the
Syrian government's request, the American Cultural Center is
unavailable to the Syrian public as of October 30, 2008 until further
notice, and classes at the American Language Center have been cancelled
until further notice." Asked about it and if that meant that the
Cultural and Language centers were only closed to Syrians, Robert Wood
declared, "Well, that's right. It is closed to the Syrian public. But
we still -- we have, you know, officers, officials there." Associated
Press' Matthew Lee pursued this.
Matthew Lee: What if you're not
Syrian? What if you're -- if you're not a Syrian citizen and you happen
to be living in Damascus, can you still go to the American Cultural
Robert A. Wood: Well, if -- it's closed to the general -- the Syrian general public and so --
Lee: Yeah, but I -- you know, I'm sorry. When the Syrian government
came to you, they didn't just say to close it to the Syrian public, did
they? They said to close it down.
Robert A. Wood: Well, it's --
let me just say, Matt, it is closed to the Syrian general public, as
far as I know, to the general public at large. But our work continues.
We have people who are there who work at the Cultural Center, and
they'll continue to do their business. But it is closed to the public.
Lee: So your interpretation of their request is not that they told you
to close the thing down, but rather they just told you to close it to
Robert A. Wood: THe only thing I can say, Matt, is it is closed to the public.
Meanwhile IranVNC reports
that country's Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki, visited Syria
today for a meet up with Bashar al-Assad (Syrian President) and Faroq
al-Shar'a (vice president) during which he declared, "Instead of being
a show of American strength aiming to weaken Syria, this action
demonstrates Washington's own weakness and desperation." Yesterday
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced:
"Syrian Foreign Minister Waleed Al Moallem, made a phone call with His
Excellency Foreign Hoshyar Zebari on Saturday 1st November, 2008. Both
sides discussed the ways to encircle and contain the repercussions of
U.S. military raid against the Syrian region Albu Kamal. The two sides
stressed their joint keenness to support and strengthen the bilateral
relations between both brotherly countries and peoples and the need to
pass the tension on the relations after the raid. The understanding
between both sides was discussed on the practical measures to correct
the path of Syrian-Iraqi relations and placing those relations in its
proper frame to serve the interests of both brotherly countries."
unrest comes at a time when the puppet government tightens the economic
belt (around the neck of the average Iraqi) and when the security
situation grows more iffy internatlly. Yesterday the New York Times
finds Suadad al-Salhy and Katherine Zoepf explained
the price of oil per barrel going up and slightly down has Iraq's
concerned about their budget for next year and have cut it by $13
billion dollars. And what do they plan on cutting? It's not detailed;
however, Liz Sly (Chicago Tribune) reported:
"The Iraqi government plans to cut salaries for the estimated 100,000
members of the Awakening movement whose revolt against Al Qaeda in Iraq
played a key role in bringing about the sharp fall in violence in Iraq.
The move is certain to aggravate building tensions between the Sunni
volunteer force and the Shiite-led government, which assumed
responsibility for the Awakening movement from the U.S. military
earlier this month."Sly notes $300 is how much members were paid but
leaders were paid $400 to $500 a month and that both are being cut. Gen
David Petraeus (now over Centcom but until recently the top US
commander in Iraq) has credited the "Awakening" movement with the fall
in violence as has US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. October 1st, the
central government in Baghdad took over payment of approximately 50,000
"Awakening"members and one month later (next checks go out November
10th), they can't even maintain the payment level. It's not as if they
didn't know how much the US was spending. So obvioulsy, just as they
never planned to absorb the "Awakening" into police, military and
security forces, they never intended to pay them. Sly notes the hopes
of one "Awakening" who believes the US will pick up the difference.
However, that's not going to be the case according to the article.
That, however, was supposed to be the case when the handover was made.
That was one of the promises the US made to the "Awakenings." Not even
a month later and the handpicked and handtrained "Awakenings" are
seeing the US go back on their word.
Now might not be the best
time for Iraq to monkey around with it's internal security. Iraqi
Christians have been under attack since they protested the dropping of
Article 50 in the provincial elections law. Hurriyet reports:
"Iraq's parliament voted on Monday to guarantee religious minorities
seats on provincial councils to be selected next year, but drew ire
from Iraqi Christians by setting aside fewer spots than a U.N. proposal
had urged." China's Xinhau provides
the breakdown the vote (106 out of 150 MPs voted for it) and notes that
it's six seats: "A seat will give to each Christians and Sabeans in
Baghdad, and a seat for each Christians, Yazidies and Shabak in
Nineveh, and a single seat for Christians in Basra." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
that the religious minorities say the number is too small and quotes
Yonadem Kanna (Assyrian Democratic Movement) stating, "They failed in
the examination of democracy. . . . Getting nothing is better than this
insult." On the topic of Iraq's Christians, CNN reports
Iraqi President Jalal Talabani has promised $900,000 (US
equivalent)will be spent in some manner on protecting Iraqi Christians
and that the distribution of the money will be supervised. Saturday in
London, there was a demonstration in support of Iraqi Christians. Independent Catholic News reports
protestors marched to No 10 Downing St on behalf of Iraqi Christians. A
petition was presented and citizens and residents of Great Britain who
wish to sign the petition can click here.
In some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
a Baghdad bombing not far from Sahib Salman ("under secretary of the
oil ministry") which wounded Salman and "one of his guards," 4 Baghdad
roadside bombings that claimed 6 lives and left twenty-nine people
wounded, 2 Baghdad sticky bombings that wounded five people, 2 Mosul
roadside bombings that claimed 2 lives and left four wounded and a
Baquba roadside bombing that wounded nine people.
Turning to the US presidential election. To The Contrary's Bonnie Erbe (US News & World Reports) notes, "The only prediction I have made, and with which I shall stick, is that Tuesday is going to be a long, long night." Erbe also notes, "If nothing else is obscene about this presidential election (and plenty is IMHO), then the fact that together the candidates will be spending $8 per vote
to win the White House clearly meets and exceeds the obscenity
descriptor." Erbe's referring to the Democratic presidential ticket and
the Republican ticket only. There are other candidates. But starting
with the Republican presidential ticket, John McCain is the nominee and
Sarah Palin is his running mate. Scott Conroy (CBS News) reports
Palin's agenda today was "six cities in five states" and that she flies
late tonight back to Alaska to vote Tuesday morning only to fly to
Phoenix later Tuesday. At the McCain - Palin '08 blog, Matt Lira offers:
Cindy McCain (disclosure, I know and like Cindy) is John McCain's spouse and they have four children -- one of whom, Meghan McCain (McCainBloggette), wrote the following at her site yesterday: "America
is worth fighting for" is my favorite line of my father's speech. I
think it is so poignant, and essentially, it captures the reason why I
have always loved, supported and believed in my father. It is why I
believe he would be the best President for our country now, at a point
where we face many challenges abroad and also at home, where so many of
our fellow Americans are going through difficult times. The fact that
our country is and always will be worth for fighting for is the essence
of why I have been so inspired to participate in this campaign, and
throughout this process I have been even more inspired by the people
and the places I have encountered along the way, around our great
country. We are truly the luckiest people in the world, and I have
been very fortunate to be a part of this experience on the campaign,
and to be able to share it with so many of you. The next three days
will fly by and no doubt be pretty crazy, so let me just say thanks
right now for getting involved too. This is what was at the heart of
what I hoped to achieve with my blog, and it has gone beyond my
expectations. Stay tuned for more from the trail tomorrow!
John and Cindy McCain issued a statement today:
"We offer our deepest condolences to Barack Obama and his family as
they grieve the loss of their beloved grandmother. Our thoughts and
prayers go out to them as they remember and celebrate the life of
someone who had such a profound impact in their lives." Meanwhile Brian
Montopoli (CBS News) reports that Democratic Party presidential
candidate Barack Obama finally found an 'issue' he could sink his teeth
into: "Having said that, brothers should pull up their pants. You are
walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear showing.
What's wrong with that? Come on." Come on, indeed. Barack with an issue
that matters to him and finally a concrete plan for an issue. It only
took until the day before the election for the fashionista and Men's
Vogue cover boy to find an issue.
Harold Evans (at Guardian of London) notes the media's attempt to elect Barack: But
the press bias towards Obama doesn't represent a simple revulsion for
the Republican party. It was on display in the Democratic primaries
with the persecution of Hillary Clinton. Worst of all, in the
primaries, the press let the Obama campaign get away with continuous
insinuations below the radar that the Clintons were race-baiters.
Instead of exposing that absurd defamation for what it was - a nasty
smear - the media sedulously propagated it. Clinton made the
historically correct and uncontroversial remark that civil rights
legislation came about from a fusion of the dreams of Dr Martin Luther
King and the legislative follow-through by President Lyndon Johnson.
The New York Times misrepresented that as a disparagement of King,
twisting her remarks to imply that "a black man needed the help of a
white man to effect change". This was one of a number of manipulations
on race by the Obama campaign, amply documented by the leading
Democratic historian, Princeton's Sean Wilentz. Clinton came close to
tears in a coffee shop in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, which many thought
helped her to win an upset victory there. MSNBC television gave a
platform to the Chicago congressmen, Jesse Jackson Jr, where he
questioned her tears and claimed that she'd not shed any tears for the
black victims of Katrina, and that she'd pay for that in the South
Carolina primary, where 45% of the electorate would be
African-Americans. In fact, MSNBC ran a non-stop campaign for Obama
propelled by the misogyny of its anchors, Chris Matthews, Keith
Olbermann and David Shuster. Chelsea Clinton joining Clinton's campaign
prompted Shuster to report she was "pimping" for her mother.
Meanwhile Democrat Jerry Nadler raised the issue of Jeremiah Wright in Florida. Jake Tapper (ABC News -- link has video) quotes
Nadler stating, "Think of the history here. You have a guy who's
half-white, half-black. He goes to an Ivy League school, comes to
Chicago . . . to start a political career. Doesn't know anybody. Gets
involved with community organizing -- why? Because that's how you form
a base. OK. Joins the largest church in the neighborhood. About 8,000
members. . . . Why did he join the church? . . . Because that's how you
get to know people. Now maybe it takes a couple years [before Barack's
thinking] 'Jesus, the guy's a nut, the guy's a lunatic.' But you don't
walk out of a church with 8,000 members in your district. . . He didn't
have the political courage to make the statement of walking out."
IMMEDIATE RELEASEContact: Marc Abizeid, 202-471-5833,
email@example.comTUESDAY, NOV. 4 - Nader to Hold One-Word
Response Press Conference *NOTE CHANGE OF DATE Special
questioning/interview opportunities for members of the foreign mediaIn
deference to the sound bite journalism that dominates presidential
political media coverage, independent presidential candidate Ralph
Nader will host a press conference at which he will only issue one-word
responses to questions for the first 30 minutes.Who: Ralph NaderWhat:
Special One-hour Press Conference. For the first half of the Press
Conference, Mr. Nader will answer all questions with just a one-word
response. For the second half of the press conference, foreign press
credentialed media will be given priority.Where: National Press Club,
Murrow Room, 13th Floor - National Press Building, 529 14th Street NW,
Washington, DCWhen: 12 Noon, Tuesday, November 4
Many people will be breaking the two-party strangle-hold. Team Nader periodically highlights voices who have made the break and here is the latest: My
name is Pat and I am a resident in Nutley, N.J. Today, I took my ten
year old son to the Nutley Public Library, where a mock election was
being held for all elementary school students. Over the last two weeks,
flyers came home with my son's homework about the event. The flyer
promoted the event to kids and told them they could have their photos
taken with their favorite candidate. My son, who is aware of my
support for Mr. Nader, said me "Dad, I bet they don't have a picture of
Mr. Nader there at the library." I agreed with him and he deceided he
wanted to participate in the mock election on November first. We
left for the library with our camera in hope of seeing Mr. Nader. Upon
arrival, we were directed to the Stockton Room, where the election was
being held. As we entered the room, two life sized cardboard cutouts of
Sen, Obama and Sen, McCain were in the center of the room. I laughed to
myself when I saw that Sen. McCain was standing on the left and Sen.
Obama on the right. Mr. Nader's cardboard cutout was nowhere to be
found. We were greeted by two women and a young girl, who were poll
workers. They greeted us and asked my son his name. They had him
sign his name in a book and proceeded to give him a ballot. This ballot
contained only two names: John McCain and Barack Obama. Again, Mr.
Nader's name was not on the ballot. The children were not even given a
place for write in candidate. After giving my son the ballot , he was
directed to one of three voting booths, where he could make his
selection. From behind the cutrtain my son called to me, "Hey Dad, how
do you spell independent." I told him I-N-D-E-P-E-N-D-E-N-T. He told me
he wrote that below the other choices and placed a large check mark
next to the word. He also wrote down Mr. Nader's name and placed his
ballot in a collection box. Upon emerging from the voting booth, my
son was asked if he would like to have his picture taken with his
candidate. He said he would and he stood off to the far left away from
the two cardboard cutouts, next to an American flag standing in the
corner. As, I flashed the picture, the two women said, "No, stand next
to your candidate and take the picture" With that my son said, "But my
candidate is not here" All we heard from the women was a puzzled "Oh!!" Teach civics in the schools. -- Pat Sweeney Nutley, NJ
job is to present a benign, even progressive face that will revive
America's democratic pretensions, internationally and domestically,
while ensuring nothing of substance changes.Among ordinary Americans
desperate for a secure life, his skin colour may help him regain this
unjustified "trust", even though it is of a similar hue to that of
Colin Powell, who lied to the United Nations for Bush and now endorses
Obama. As for the rest of us, is it not time we opened our eyes and
exercised our right not to be lied to, yet again?
Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate and Rosa
Clemente is her running mate. We'll again note Kimberly and Ian
Wilder's "Vote Green Party On Tuesday!"
(On The Wilder Side):November 1, 2008This is an exciting time for us!
The Green Party has never been as relevant as it is today. As Congress
offers trillion-dollar bailouts to Wall Street, people living on Main
Street struggle to stay in their homes and pay for basic needs. Why is
Congress bailing out corporations while the public slides into economic
insecurity? Because the industries that will benefit from the bailout
are some of the largest campaign contributors to political
campaigns.But never fear because you can VOTE GREEN on Tuesday and
choose People Power over corporate power. Support Cynthia McKinney for President andRosa Clemente
for Vice President; and, support other Green candidates running in your
community. Greens are running for office across the country for 60
types of office. Check them out! To find out who's running in your community, click here.Once
elected, Greens will not betray the public interest for corporate cash.
We accept no corporate money because we believe corporate influence is
what's wrong with politics.If you believe healthcare is a right for
all, not to be governed by the profit motive of insurance companies,
support the Green Party and our campaign for Single Payer Healthcare.If
you believe offshore drilling furthers our national addiction to fossil
fuels; and want to see positive solutions like renewable energy, local
food production, local businesses and better public transportation-
Help elect Greens who will make it a reality.If you believe every vote
must be counted, that higher education should be available to everyone,
that climate change is real, that the war on drugs is racist, and that
the privatization of public goods and services is wrong and that we
need to BRING OUR TROOPS HOME NOW stand up and support the party that
will stand up for you The Green Party.If you want to see a clean, healthy future for our children, make sure we have a strong Green Party today
so it is thanksgiving. the 2nd 1 for my baby. yes, we dressed her up again this year and, yes, i took a ton of a pictures. flyboy and i along with trina and her husband took the kids (the baby and trina's grandbaby) out for an hour of trick or treat early in the evening. that will be more fun next year when both will be 2-years-old plus. but it was fun for the adults.
there was a nader article i was going to quote. if you want to read it, click here. everytime i try to copy and paste an excerpt, the page starts loading and re-loading.
and i just saw something and had to call c.i. ap reports the dallas, texas area had an earthquake today:
A 2.5-magnitude quake at 11:25 p.m. Thursday near Grand Prairie was followed by a series of other small earthquakes in the Dallas suburb, then a 3.0-magnitude quake at 12:01 a.m. Friday in nearby Irving, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
so i called to c.i. to see if she heard anything about it from any the texas community members. she has and the members who have e-mailed have actually found it amusing (no 1 was harmed). she said i could put in that sabina and domingo are writing a piece on it for polly's brew so check that out sunday. when i saw that, i freaked out. 1st afraid something might have happened to a community member, 2nd because who ever heard of earthquakes in texas? i have never heard of such a thing.
meanwhile the idiots at hullabaloo are raving over war hawk rachel maddow and war hawk barack obama who did a circle-jerk on msnbc:
It's a fascinating, and utterly refreshing, experience to listen to an American politician answer direct questions in a reasonably direct way. One hopes she gets a chance to sit down and talk to him many, many more times. These two are meant for each other.
yes, the 2 are meant for each other. they're both frauds.
i always laugh at the liars who just discovered rachel. were it not for the idiot rachel and bird-brained lizz, i wouldn't have started this site. but the 2 jerks went after 1 of my friends and not only did i start this blog as a result, i saw it as my duty to call them both out.
rachel uglies up the world a little bit at a time. give her 1 year, and she will have no viewers. the same way she ran off listeners with her ugly and restrictive views on unfiltered. there was rachel maddow on the 'left' air america radio arguing week after week, monday through friday, that the u.s. could not and should not leave iraq.
people don't know her real history. they don't grasp that's she's a war hawk and actually highly conservative. i've heard her crap, i know who she is.
she's repackaged by msnbc and she'll fool people for maybe a year - maybe that long. then it's over for madcow.
sherry e-mailed saying she would scream if this never ending election did not end soon. she also asked if there's a more annoying man on pbs than charlie rose?
charlie rose is pretty disgusting. i'll pass on to ava and c.i. your irritation factor and see if they can tackle some of his garbage sunday. i know they're thinking of working in tavis' pbs program because they watched the labelle reunion on his show. i tivoed it (they have a disc of it) because it aired tonight and, obviously, i wasn't in front of the tv. labelle is patti labelle and sarah dash and nona hendrix. they had many great recordings and most people know at least 'lady marmalade' if nothing else. of the many recordings of their's that i love is gonna take a miracle, the album they did with laura nyro.
i just scrolled up thinking i had written a ton and, sadly, i hadn't. i always think i've written a ton and then after realize i barely wrote anything.
Ralph Nader is the next best man to vote for. He is on the ballot in 45 states. He is for constitutional government. Dominic Cuchara
i haven't voted yet. i keep getting e-mails asking if i've early voted. i honestly don't know if that option is even available in my state? i'm sure it is. but i believe in voting on election day. i think fly boy's early voted (but he's registered at his family home's address and votes in another state). i will be voting for ralph.
Friday, October 31, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the treaty remains in doubt, four US Senators speak out on behalf of Iraqi Christians, and more.
Starting with Iraqi Christians. The Saudi Gazette notes that Professor Ekmeledding Ihsanoglu (Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference) declared, "As we have consistently demanded that the rights of Muslim minorities be respected all over the world, we do emphasize the need to respect the rights of all minorities across the Islamic world." UPI reports that US Senators Sam Brownback, Bob Casey, Carl Levin and Mel Martinez have "called on Iraqi President Jalal talabni and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take the steps needed to end the violence plaguing the Christian community in nothern Iraq." This is the press release in full from Levin's office:
In a letter spearheaded by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) today urged Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, to take all necessary measures to end the violence in the north against Iraqi Christians. According to the United Nations, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul in reaction to the increased violence and intimidation. "This violence is emblematic of a larger pattern of severe persecution by extremists that threatens to deprive Iraq of her non-Muslim citizens. It also highlights the possibility of increased violence ahead of provincial elections," the Senators wrote. They went on to write, "We urge your government to take all necessary measures to increase security in the north on behalf of all Iraqis." Full text of the letter is below: Dear Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister: We write to express grave concern over the recent violence in Mosul that has driven away large numbers of Iraqi Christians. This violence is emblematic of a larger pattern of severe persecution by extremists that threatens to deprive Iraq of her non-Muslim citizens. It also highlights the possibility of increased violence ahead of provincial elections. We urge your government to take all necessary measures to increase security in the north on behalf of all Iraqis. To this end, we welcomed statements of support from Prime Minister al-Maliki's office calling for an end to these vicious attacks and committing the Iraqi security forces, particularly the additional security forces sent to Mosul, to protect all Iraqis regardless of sectarian affiliation. These actions send a strong signal to the extremists that they will not succeed in spreading division, hatred, and mistrust among Iraqis. We also hope the Iraqi Parliament will seriously consider the issue of minority representation in the provincial elections law. We believe Iraq's leaders can play a critical role in ensuring that the Iraqi government remains a representative body of all of Iraq's people, including its minorities. For over one-thousand years, Iraq has been home to people of many faiths who have lived and worshipped side by side, including Shiites, Sunnis, Jews, Yazidis, and Christians. This long and proud tradition has made Iraq a cradle of human civilization. It is a tradition we hope will be restored. Sincerely, Robert P. Casey Jr. Carl Levin Sam Brownback Mel Martinez
Meanwhile, UPI reports that many "Christian communities in northern Iraq are setting up ad hoc militias to secure their neighborhoods, rights advocates said Wednesday." In the last few weeks many Christians in Mosul have fled for safety (and very few have returned). International Medical Corps announces they have "delivered 142 tons of emergency food rations, hygience kits, and household items to more than 2,000 families, or 8,044 displaced persons" and they note "International Medical Corps' most recent reports from field monitoring teams indicate that approximately 173 families have returned to Mosul, 106 families to Hamdaniya, and 67 families to Tel Kef. The Government of Iraq is offering displaced families and returnees financial assistance; however, fears of further violence have prevented many from returning." This page contains links to a slide show of photos from that assistance mission as well as to their [PDF format warning] report entitled "Forced from Their Homes: Mosul Emergency Response Action Report." The report includes a day by day synopsis starting with October 8th:
IMC Iraq's Baghdad headquarters was alerted by field staff in Mosul that groups had been using loudspeakers to intimidate Christians in the western and central areas of this district and that Christians were fleeing the area. IMC's humanitarian programs manger confirmed this report with IMC staff in other locations in Ninewa Governorate and learned that at least 40 families had arrived unannounced in Tel Sqof and were staying at the Assyrian Aid Society, with some families campaing in the facility's garden.
Assyria Times reports that tomorrow in San Jose, there will be a support rally for Iraqi Chrisians (from one p.m. to three, Courthouse and Federal Building): "The support rally will exhibit a unified stance for the reinstatement of Article 50 of the Iraqi constitution; a key clause whose original intent was to erserve seats on Provincial Councils for Christians and other minorities."
And let's stay with Iraqi politics for news of the SOFA, Article 50 and more. First, Abeer Mohammed and Katherine Zoepf (New York Times) explain that Iraq's Defense Minister Abudl-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi has instituted a policy of being "politically neutral" which is thought to be in response to Iraq's Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bolani and his Iraqi Constiutional Party. Meanwhile on Article 50, UPI reports that provincial elections could be delayed even further: "The Iraqi Independent High Electoral High Commissions Thursday said, following a meeting with officials from the U.N. Assistance Mission to Iraq, that lawmakers needed to address the articles for minority representation before Wednesday, Voices of Iraq reported." That's the issue of religious minority representation, Article 50, which was pulled. UPI notes this may delay the elections "in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces." From provincial elections to the treaty the White House wants to force off on the puppet government in Baghdad. The Tehran Times reports that Nouri al-Maliki, in conversations with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim (Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council chief) has stated, "We do not call agreement with America a security agreement, but (we) call it a pact of retreating of (US) troops and regulating their presence during the specified time." Iran's Press TV quotes Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq's Foreign Minister) stating, "We must clarify some points such as that on jurisdicition that is to say that the American law has precedence inside their bases but not in the streets. . . . And finally, the sovereignty of the country is at stake over certain aspects such as that of the air space which, for the time being, is still under their control."
Did someone say sovereignty? Sunday the US attacked Syria. Jordan's Al Bawaba reports Syria has announced it is severing "diplomatic ties with Iraq". Iraq's Alsumaria adds, "However, Government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh denied in a statement to Alsumaria reports about cutting off relations with Syria hoping it would not reach that point." Farrah Hassen (Asia Times) reminds that 8 Syrians died ("including a farmer, three children, and a fisherman") and that while "numerous questions" continue, no answers are provided. Hassen notes, "By violating Syrian airspace and apparently not consulting the Syrians about its supposed intelligence on Abu Ghadiya ahead of the attack, the Bush adminsitration has confirmed, yet again, its disdain for international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter." Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) observes that an agreement allowing cross borders raids is one thing but, "Breaking into the borders of any country without a similar agreement is considered a hostile act and a violation of this country's sovereignty, besides being a breach of international laws. This attack raised many questions about its targets and content. First, the US never carried such attacks when the Syrian-Iraqi borders were almost open and Syria was accused of allowing hundreds of militants to infiltrate into Iraq to carry out vandalism operations. However, the situation has changed lately as these accusations decreased and Syria was no longer the country that allows militants into Iraq. Syria has also taken steps to mend its relations with Lebanon and France, which should bring it closer to the US, not the opposite." Yoav Stern (Haaretz) notes, "The Syrian government has demanded Washington apologize for the strike of the Abu Kamal border community and earlier this weeek threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security if there are more American raids on Syria territory." Atul Aneja (The Hindu) speaks to the fallout, "The news of the attack has strongly echoed in neighbouring Iraq, whose territory was used to mount the raid by U.S. commandos, who used military helicopters for the strike. Analysts say the raid has reinforced the argument within the Iraqi political circles, who have been insisting that an agreement for extending the stay of American forces in Iraq beyond 2008 should be considered only if Washington accepted the condition that it would not use Iraqi soil to mount military strikes against neighbouring countries."
At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Sean McCormack declared, "We did have -- our charge Maura Connelly on the 29th so that's two days ago -- was called into the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We reported that and I think we talked about that. And she received a verbal demarche communicating the Syrian government request that the Damascus Community School known as -- known in Damascus as 'the American scool' be closed by November 6. We are considering our response to that demarche. It is the weekend in Damascus right now. These facilities, in any case, wouldn't be scheduled under normal circumstances to reopen until Sunday."
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
After defending Sarah Palin, I heard from a member of the angry left who wrote: "Your (sic) from a Third World country, or your family is, stop trying to be white." I also heard from baby boomer activists who regret -- as they see it -- yanking me off that landscaping crew and sending me to the Ivy League. Or as one put it: "Unbelievable that you can sit there and defend Sarah Palin. I broke down doors for you to have a foot into the society you now participate in." When I praised McCain, a liberal asked: "What are you, the Uncle Tom of Latinos?" She advised, "Make your people proud because you are shaming them." When trying to assert control over freethinking Latinos and African-Americans, the liberal catchword is "disappointed." Lately, I've received dozens of e-mails from readers who use that word to describe how they feel about me. In the liberal tradition, most of the missives are condescending. Like this: "At one time, your articles were interesting to read but ... it seems you have lost your way." Or this: "You are feeding the ignorant and twisting truths so badly they become lies ...One day my words will resonate, sorry you lost your way in the meantime." To read their complaints, it seems the last time I had my bearings was -- coincidentally -- the last time I wrote something with which they agreed. It's part of how broken our political discourse has become. We're not allowed to say that we think either Obama or McCain would make a fine president. We can't agree to disagree; we have to destroy the other side. We're trapped in an all-or-nothing paradigm where partisans demand complete agreement and undying allegiance.
It would probably be very wise for certain White Anglo 'helpers' to grasp that they do not control the world or anyone else. That's a point Marcia makes regularly at her site (including this week with White Tim Wise attempting to tell the African-American community what their lives are like). It is offensive and it needs to stop. Something else that needs to stop is Robin Morgan's public tantrums. It's an election, Robin, and you are not ruler of the universe. Robin's back with more nonsense at (Democratic) Women's Media Center and the latest garbage is entitled "Moose, Mousse, and Spalinism". No surprise, there's no attempt by Robin to apologize for her GROSS FACTUAL ERRORS (also known as LIES) in her previous writing on Palin. It's just more scattered, bitchy comments from a woman who truly should know better but apparently will bow and scrape before any man until her dying day. Wally and Cedric grabbed the previous crap from (Democratic) Women's Media Center this week [see their "Women's Media Center -- fact free for most of 2008..." and "THIS JUST IN! KEEP HER AWAY FROM A KEYBOARD!"] because I was too enraged to tackle that 'historian.' Now Robin shows up for one last cat-fight. It's all so damn pathetic.
But if any actual feminists are concerned about the effect on Women's Movement institutions and energy of this clutch of "formers" (a former chapter official of a national feminist organization, a former editor of a feminist publication, former Democratic funders, former Hillary supporters, and so forth), let me reassure you. The "trust date" had already long expired on these women, who'd been voted off feminist leadership posts, or fired, or quietly asked to resign. Some are confessed consultants to the campaign whose candidates they now--surprise!--endorse. I never imagined I'd see a "feminist" mercenary. But then I never heard of rats climbing onto a sinking ship, either.
I think Joni Mitchell best dealt with crap like Robin's churning out when noting of Rickie Lee Jones, that Rickie thought she could own jazz and it was her own private sidewalk. Robin writes as if feminism belongs just to her but she will dole it out in morsels to whomever she deems worthy. That's not how it works. Robin's got to have a screaming tantrum again because things aren't working out the way she wants. Someone needs to correct her on her sense of entitlement. She does not own feminism.
There will never be an excuse for Robin's actions in the last three months. She has chosen to attack Sarah Palin repeatedly and she's done so with lies. There's no excuse for her shameful behavior. Certainly not 'an election.' And love Joe Biden though I do, let's stop building him into "feminism salvation." But possibly when you're as frail and pathetic as Robin's become, you need a man to save you.
I'm not voting for McCain - Palin. That's been stated before Palin was on the ticket but, unlike Robin, I at least have enough ethics not to try to tear Sarah apart with lies. Unlike Robin, I have enough sense not to join in Bash the Bitch and, unlike Robin, I realize that actions like Robin's aren't about feminism or empowerment (they're about whoring yourself out to the patriarchy). All week, numerous strong women (many I know) have stepped foward and I've kept it out of the snapshot but let's bring it in since Robin wants to have her tantrum. Elaine Lafferty is one of the unnamed women Robin's hissing at. Yes, Robin is hissing at Elaine. In public. That's how pathetic Robin's become. That's how decreipt and useless Robin's become. Elaine wrote "Sarah Palin's a Brainiac" (The Daily Beast):
For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That's it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel--the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision--is nonsense. I digress.) Palin's role in this campaign was to energize "the Republican base," which she has inarguably done. She also was expected to reach out to Hillary Clinton "moderates." (Right. Only a woman would get both those jobs in either party.) Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.
First, although I disagree with several of her positions on social issues, I do not fear that she is a threat to the rights we have as Americans. As Governor of Alaska she vetoed a bill that would have denied hospital rights to gay couples because the bill violated the Alaska constitution. In her debate with Joe Biden, she clearly stated her tolerance, with the same position on gay couples as her opponent. Although she is personally pro-life, Palin has proven she will uphold the law of the land. Like McCain, she will work with a Democratic Congress on acceptable judicial appointments. It is time to stop allowing the Democratic Party to scare voters into believing only they can protect a woman's right to choose. Second, the attack on Palin's qualifications is sexist, a bias abetted by the media. On CNN, Obama contrasted Palin's experience to his own by saying Wasilla has only 50 employees and a budget of $12 million a year while his campaign has 2,500 employees and a budget of $36 million per month. Excuse me, but she is Governor of a State with 29,000 employees and a budget of $11 billion. She has actually reduced taxes and cut spending.
The party I believed in wouldn't look down on working people under any circumstance. And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations. Our economy is in the tank for many complicated reasons, especially because people don't have enough money. So let them keep it. Let businesses keep it so they can create jobs and stay here and weather this storm. And yet, the Democratic ideology remains the same. Our approach to problems--big government solutions paid for by taxing the rich and big and smaller companies--is just as tired and out of date as trickle down economics. How about a novel approach that simply finds a sane way to stop the bleeding? That's not exactly the philosophy of a Democrat. Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign from Joe the Plumber to the bitter comments, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. At first, certain Democrats and the press called Senator Clinton "dishonest." They went after her cleavage. They said her experience as First Lady consisted of having tea parties. There was no outrage over "Bros before Hoes" or "Iron My Shirt." Did Senator Clinton make mistakes? Of course. She's human. But here we are about a week out and it's déjà vu all over again. Really, front-page news is how the Republican National Committee paid for Governor Sarah Palin's wardrobe? Where's the op-ed about how Obama tucks in his shirt when he plays basketball or how Senator Biden buttons the top button on his golf shirt?
First, with the candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won 18 million popular votes from the people of the United States and was ridiculed, marginalized, and put in her place when she wasn't even offered the vice presidency slot. But the really big attack on women occurred when John McCain selected only the second woman in history to be on a major-party ticket. He chose a governor of a state critical to our energy crisis. She is a very popular governor with an 80-percent approval rate. She was elected on her own merit without previous political ties. She is her own political creation, not the wife, daughter, sister or mistress of a politician. I thought Americans would be proud of her nomination, whether we agreed or disagreed with her on the issues. Was I in for a shock. The sexism that I believed had been eradicated was lurking, like some creature from the black lagoon, just below the surface. Suddenly it erupted and in some unexpected places. Instead of engaging Palin on the issues, critics attacked attributes that are specifically female. It is Hillary's pantsuit drama to the power of 10. Palin's hair, her voice, her motherhood, and her personal hygiene were substituted for substance. That's when it was nice. The hatred escalated to performers advocating Palin be "gang raped," to suggestions that her husband had had sex with their young daughters, and reports that her Down syndrome child really was that of her teenage daughter. One columnist even called for her to submit to DNA testing to prove her virtue. Smells a little like Salem to me. I was present at an Obama rally at which the mention of Palin's name drew shouts of "stone her." "Stone her"? How biblical. Or take the one and only Linda Bloodworth-Thomason. From Reuters:
Bloodworth-Thomason and others seemed especially critical of the way MSNBC -- and other media -- has attacked Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin while demeaning her supporters. "We should stop the demonizing," she said, adding that Democrats have been worse than Republicans as far as personal attacks on candidates are concerned. "It diminishes us," she said of her fellow Democrats. Bloodworth-Thomason even suggested a defense of Palin and her supporters should be written into TV programing, just as she went out of her way to portray Southern women as smart in her hit TV show "Designing Women."
Now grasp that all these women and more are "wrong" and only Robin is right. In Robn's mind that's how it works. She really needs to stop embarrassing herself in public. Instead of scraping and bowing before a man, WomenCount is calling on action: The next president, whomever he or she may be, should "create, withint the first 100 days, a presidential commission on women that will bring together the best thinkers from all backgrounds, sectors, and political parties, to impact the future of women in our nation." Or let's take The New Agenda where Cynthia Ruccia writes:
As women, we have several positions that we fall back on. One is exhaustion, which is where I believe many find themselves now. How can we not be tired when everywhere we turn these days there is one heinous example after another of our national disease: Misogyny. Unlike racism, which we are growing to tolerate less and less in America, sexism is absolutely acceptable. If this campaign year has proven anything, it is that Americans not only tolerate discrimination against women, in many instances they revel in it. Another position we women take is denial. And why not deny? Who wants to spend a lifetime screaming about this inequity? It's exhausting, and let's face it, joy is a much more pleasant way to live. But our best position by far is when we decide we are all in this together and we rise up against this injustice. Believe it or not, we have so much to be grateful for having watched these two courageous women, Hillary and Sarah, buck the system. By going where no woman has gone before, they have been human targets, willing to take the incoming fire. Although what Hillary withstood has receded a little in our memories, we have the spectacle of Sarah being eviscerated with glee by the Democrats. They are taking her apart with great creativity and total impunity. Why? Because as a society, we still permit the exercise of sexism without shame. I could list many examples of what Governor Palin has endured--the ridiculous clothing flap (who cares?), the trashing of her family (after all, women must pay for their sins of the family—Geraldine Ferraro did and Hillary paid for the sins of her husband), the c**t t-shirts that the creators wore with glee (they got more "attaboys" for having the courage to do it than shame for having done it), the constant minimizing of her accomplishments, since, after all, she's only a woman. The list goes on, day after day, on and on and on. And on. At first we're mad, then we can't stand it and hide, and then we realize that since NO ONE is stopping it, we must make that step ourselves. But once again I note how lucky we have been to have two brave women, Governor Palin and Senator Clinton, who have shown us what courage is. And if they can summon this courage, so can we.
Imagine that, the notion that women matter. A notion Robin no longer subscribes to which is why she hisses and snarls from (Democratic) Women's Media Center in attempts to bully the (small number of) readers into voting her way. She doesn't respect women. We're stupid -- in Robin's eyes. If it weren't for Robin, we wouldn't know how to vote. Or that's what she likes to kid herself. The failed child star who's hold on reality has become increasing fragile (never a good thing for a writer or non-fiction) is going out in one of the most embarrassing slow fades. Robin's hardly the only one embarrassing herself. Kim Gandy's doing a delightful job, such an 'amazing' job that she may be responsible for NOW losing its tax status since NOW's not allowed to endorse a candidate. (NOW PAC is, NOW is not.) As Mike pointed out last night, Kim Gandy's latest scribble promotes a 'scary' theme at NOW's website: dressing like McCain and Palin. This follows, as Elaine pointed out last month, Gandy using NOW's mailing list and official NOW stationaiy to promote Barack Obama's campaign.
Turning to Kim and Robin's crush Barack Obama, Jake Tapper (Political Punch, ABC News) reports: "The Obama campaign has told three reporters they have to drop off the campaign plane this weekend. All three work for papers that endorsed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: the New York Post, the Washington Times, and the Dallas Morning News." Tapper explains St. Barack got a little snitty over the fact that the editorial boards of all three papers endorsed McCain. Tapper explains the Post and Times importance but skips Dallas. The Dallas Morning News is the paper with the largest circulation in Texas. Not only that, pay attention Cult of Barack, it (actually Belo) also owns cable and broadcast channels in the area -- including WFAA Channel Eight (which also reaches as far north as into Oklahoma). The reporters for the Dallas Morning News are expected not only to file text reports, they also provide reports for the TV channels. In addition, they supply to the the paper's Spanish language paper as well as to the freebies (such as Quick). To the north of Dallas county, to the south of Dallas county and to the east of Dallas county, the broadcast channels and the paper are widely available. As far to the east as Smith County, the Dallas Morning News is the dominant paper (Tyler has one paper under two names, it is not the dominant paper in Smith County -- under either name). (The Dallas Morning News' reach to the west is non-existant due to the understanding it and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram worked out to avoid another paper war -- the sort that allowed the Morning News to take out the Dallas Times Herald.) So this was a vanity move on the part of the Cult of Barack that effects a huge number of people. If the Cult wants to reduce it to 'voters,' no Barack's most likely not going to carry Texas (no Democrat has since Jimmy Carter in 1976) but for a candidate who claims to stand for reaching out, it was a really petty and juvenile move.
Scott Conroy (CBS News) reports Mike Ditka of Chicago Bears fame campaigned in Pennsylvania with Governor Palin today and explained, "I'm not here because I'm a Republican, which I am, and I'm not here because I'm a conservative, which I am. I'm here because I am an American. It's time in this country you put party lines on the backburner and you put your country first." Meanwhile, the Latino vote was never Barack's -- not in the primary and not in the general. But he didn't really want to compete for it and his Cult in Panhandle Media was too busy ignoring Latinos. Point, the campaign is freaking out about the new numbers (which don't just include Florida where Barack's own polling says he's losing the Latino vote). This as McCain-Palin '08 announces:
Today the McCain-Palin campaign announced the endorsement of Maria Conchita Alonso, a Latin American actress who has starred in television and film for three decades. Alonso, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, recently appeared on CSI: Miami and Desperate Housewives and starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man. "As a Latina and a new American citizen, I believe in this country and its people, and I believe that we need more than just 'change.' We need a leader who can bring about the right kind of change, and John McCain has the experience and judgment necessary to lead us in these uncertain times," Alonso said. "I grew up in Cuba and Venezuela, and I am appalled that Barack Obama apparently wants to emulate the "spread the wealth" economic policies of those countries and negotiate with their leaders. For me the choice is clear, and I believe it is my duty to share my views even though it might not make me popular in Hollywood." After a successful career in Venezuela as a beauty queen, telenovela star, film actress and singer, Alonso emigrated to the United States from Caracas, Venezuela in 1982. She has appeared in dozens of films and television shows since then and was the first South American star to star on Broadway. Apparently Marica Conchita Alonso, like many women, do not take their marching orders from Robin Morgan. Someone help Robin off the floor. Let's see Robin's insulted all religious people, she's insulted Ralph Nader specifically and all third-party candidates and she's insulted a lot of women. At some point, in a functioning feminist movement, she would have been pulled aside and told to cool her damn jets. She would have been informed just how ridiculous she looked and just how much damage she was doing to the movement. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Robin Morgan thinks you're an idiot and an awful person if you vote for him too. So reject Robin Morgan, make it clear to her that she is not in charge of America's vote. Declare your independence from Robin Morgan -- a declaration that's necessary only because her ego is greater than her intelligence (or her reach). Matt Gonzalez is Ralph's running mate and Team Nader notes:
Happy Halloween. Today, you can help us Freak Out the Corporate State. How? Donate $4 to Nader/Gonzalez now. Why? Ralph Nader is pulling four percent among registered voters in the latest CNN poll in battleground states. Four percent in Arizona. Four percent in Nevada. Four percent in Ohio. Four percent in Pennsylvania. Let's say the predictions are right and 130 million Americans vote. And let's say the four percent holds up. That's 5 million voters for the Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda. From the corporations back into the hands of the people. That's enough to freak out the corporate state. Even the thought of that this Halloween is enough to freak them out. But to get there, we need to hit our last fundraising goal of $4 million by election day. And we're $170,000 away. So, today, Halloween, 2008, let's freak out the corporate state. We need 4,000 of you -- our loyal supporters -- to hit that there donation button. And donate $4 now. We're driving toward a winning election day. When we send a strong message. We're here. We're near. We're not going anywhere. Get used to it. Onward to November and beyond. Public TV notes. On most PBS stations, NOW on PBS begins airing tonight but check local listings. The topic for the latest broadcast is:What Women Voters Want[Streaming video of this program will be available online after broadcast]Election 2008: Tough decisions for undecided women voters in the swing states.There are roughly eight million more female voters than male, and more women than men say they are still undecided. Senator Hillary Clinton and Governor Sarah Palin have undoubtedly changed the debate for many women voters, but the question is: how will they ultimately respond in the booth?This week, NOW on PBS travels to the swing state of Colorado to get insight from a diverse group of women. These pro-choice, pro-gun women don't fit into neat categories, but they do respond to issues built around working moms: pay equity, family leave, and child care. On the show, NOW also interviews former Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro for her take on the role of women in this election.Will the women's vote decide the election?Also on PBS (begins airing Friday on many stations, check local listings) Washington Week where Gwen sits down for a ghoulish chat and chew with Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), David Broder (Washington Post), a mystery guest who shows up costumed as a Bobbsey Twin and, as a special treat, Time's Karen Tumulty offers up her impression of Bette Davis from Beyond The Forest. Watch in wonder as she really digs into the line, "What a dump." Marvel as truer words were never spoken. Oooh. Scary. That's the trick, the treat comes Monday, on commercial TV: Cher makes her first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.
Thirteen campaign workers for Barack Obama yesterday yanked their voter registrations and ballots in Ohio after being warned by a prosecutor that temporary residents can't vote in the battleground state. A dozen staffers - including Obama Ohio spokeswoman Olivia Alair and James Cadogan, who recently joined Team Obama - signed a form letter asking the Franklin County elections board to pull their names from the rolls.
you can't blame them too much, it's not like they're stupid. they know barack can't win in a fair fight so they tried to break the law to help him out. again, they aren't stupid. just criminal.
Press Release FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE Contact: Ryan Mehta, 202-471-5833, firstname.lastname@example.org
RALPH NADER ASKS OBAMA AND MCCAIN TO SUPPORT THE LIBERTY BILL
"After eight years of Bush, the next President will need to Consitution. Printing the Constitution on the dollar bill is an easy, inexpensive, trans- partisan start off on the right foot," said Indpendent Presidential Candidate, Ralph Nader.
It began as a civics class project, an idea developed by students of Liberty Middle School in Ashland, VA, but now it is a bill before Congress, an example of citizens taking ownership of their government. The "Liberty Bill Act," first introduced in 1998, is a bill proposing the printing of an abbreviated version of the U.S. constitution onto the back of one-dollar bills.
Working with their teacher, Randy Wright, the students of Liberty Middle School believed that changing the design of one-dollar bills would lead to greater awareness and appreciation of our constitution. By viewing the constitution during our daily purchases, citizens would constantly be reminded of our right to assemble, our freedom of speech, and our right to a fair trial. "Other interactions can be envisioned.” states Mr. Nader, a strong supporter of the bill. "When police try to order you out of a public park while you are petitioning your government, show the constables what is on that dollar bill in your pocket.”
The students believed that by making our constitution more accessible, citizens would take more pride in our history and become more aware of the laws of our country. Our nation’s story of progressive reform, from the abolition of slavery to women’s right to vote, would be etched into our everyday commerce. Newly printed bills would remind us that "We The People" founded this nation.
With two-thirds of our currency circulating abroad, the "Liberty Bill Act" would also inspire citizens of other nations. Using the small space on the back of the bill, our founding principles would be seen and discussed in developing countries. Soldiers stationed abroad would also have ready access to the principles for which they are serving. Moreover, the seven billion one-dollar bills would pass through many hands and would freely promote American values—something the US Information Agency currently spends half a billion dollars to accomplish. The "Liberty Bill Act," conversely, would cost only a half million dollars to implement, a fraction of those costs, and the educational benefit to citizens would be priceless.
Originally presented in the House and Senate in 1998, the "Liberty Bill Act" has been reintroduced in every Congress since then. During the 106th Congress, one hundred and seven representatives cosponsored the bill—one of only five bills in the House cosponsored by both the Speaker and the House Minority Leader. During the 107th Congress, students from Liberty Middle School spoke in the East Wing of the White House and testified on the design and security of currency before the House subcommittee on Domestic Monetary Policy, Technology, and Economic Growth.
The bill has received broad, bipartisan support, with praise coming from the Military Order of the Purple Heart, The Wall Street Journal, and Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States. And once again the "Liberty Bill Act" has been reintroduced in the House, sponsored by Congressman Eric Cantor of Virginia.
The "Liberty Bill” would serve as a daily civics lesson for millions of Americans who increasingly cannot name the rights guaranteed to them under their own Constitution. It is Mr. Nader’s hope that citizens then "might strive to hold their elected and appointed officials to these ideals in practice, not just in the latter’s rhetoric.” An informed populace is an empowered populace.
It has been ten years since the "Liberty Bill Act" was first introduced, but it remains a strong example of how citizens can engage the democratic process. Encouraging passage of the bill, Ralph Nader states, "One can expect billions of conversations and debates arising from this constructive use of space."
The one-dollar bill is redesigned approximately every ten years. Let’s make this incarnation of the bill an educational, as well as fiscal, tool.
The Liberty Bill Act—HR 4856—deserves our support.
and i have a crying baby. i'll write about some stuff tomorrow night. flyboy's going to finish this for me.
Thursday, October 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, treaty looks even more iffy, everyone issues a report on conditions in Iraq today, Barack whips it out again, and more.
As Hannah Faifield notes in today's New York Times the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction released a report on Iraqi spending today. The 232 page(through end notes, not countine appendi) report [PDF format warning] is online. In the intro to the report, the Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr. explains this quarterly report is the product of "seven audit reports and three inspections". The report continues the office's pattern of referring to 2008 as "the Year of Transfer."
The report makes many observations including that the Iraqi Security Force "suffers from a leadership shortage." The report notes that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently cited two specific areas of concern". That was during the House Armed Services Committee hearing on September 10th. And the report is referring to Gates' opening remarks. He noted more than two specific areas of concern in his testimony:
* Political progress remains too slow -- as seen recently by the inability of the parliament to pass an election law. This means that provincial elections, which we believe will continue and enhance the process of reconciliation, will in all likelihood be pushed back until at least December. Elections also mean the possibility of increased violence.
* There have been some worrisome reports about sectarian efforts to either disrupt or slow the process of assimilation of the Sons of Iraq ["Awakening" Council] into the Iraqi Security Forces. It is a reminder that sectarin tenaions still exist and have the potential to undo recent progress at the local and national level.
* Despite Iran's pledges last year to stop providing weapons, training and funding to armed militias, evidence suggests that this support continues. [These are Gates' words. There is no proof/evidence that Iran has supplied anything. There has never been proof of that.]
* Iraqi security forces still lack many key capabilities. Many of their operations would simply not have been possible without Coalition enablers. That will remain the case for some time to come.
* The threat from al Qaeda and other militant groups has receded, but is still very real. In the last few months, we have seen a number of suicide attacks -- as well as tactical shifts, such as the increased use of women. This is a reminder that al Qaeda still retains the ability to inflict mass casualties, the operational capacity to assess and change strategies and is still trying to sow chaos and reassert itself. [Again, Gates' words. al Qaeda in Iraq has always been inflated and was not present until after the illegal war started. The administration tends to blame any and all violence on "al Qaeda in Iraq" unless they're targeting Iran for blame that day.]
* Similarly, there is the possiblity that Jaish al-Mahdi could return.
The SIGIR report notes only two and one of the two is elections which includes provincial and national when Gates -- opening statement (prepared) and in responses -- was focused on provincial elections. The report says that Provincial Eleciton Law was passed and it states:
* Of Iraq's 15 majority-Arab provinces, all but Tameem (Kirkuk) must conduct provincial elections by the end of January 2009.
* Provincial elections in the three Kurdish provinces must occur sometime later in 2009.
* 25% of the seats on each Provincial Council (PC) must be reserved for women.
* No seats on PCs will be reserved for Christians and other religious minorities.
The report also notes the Iraqi refugee crisis including that fiscal year 2008 finally saw the US government meet their goal on admitting Iraqi refugees (they went over the minimum of 12,000 by 118 Iraqis) and that a recent report from the European Commission "estimated that there are approximately 1 million - 1.5 million refugees from Iraq in Syria and 450,000 - 500,000 in Jordan. The EC report concluded that approximately '5 million Iraqis [are] living in temporary conditions in several countries,' of which 2.8 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) adrift in their native land."
Moving to reconstruction, the report states, "Since 2003, the government of the United States and Iraq, along with the international community, have collectively provided $125.73 billion to support reconstruction in Iraq." It further notes, "Iraq's total budget for 2008 now exceeds $72.1 billion, which includes therecently passed Iraqi supplemental of just over $20 billion. Iraq has the second-largest budget among neighboring Middle Eastern and North African counties with similar populations. But this rich budget has not translated into a proportionate increase in per capita income. At only $1,214, Iraq's per capita income is well behind the regional front runner, Saudi Arabia, which has a bugget of $118 billion and per capita income of $15,440. By contrast, Algeria has a budget close to Iraq's and a per capita income of $3,620, which is triple that of Iraq." The report also maintains that the bulk of US funds for reconstruction in Iraq go to "security and justice programs". The report notes this on judges:
Since June 2003, 38 judges have been assasinated (7 killed in 2008), and 6 family members of judicial employees have been killed (none this quarter). Since June 2004, 99 other judicial staff members have been targeted. The United States provides secure housing for 29 judges and their families. The US built an "$11.3 million courthouse" in Rusafa which "includes a witness protection facility". The witness protection facialities in Rusafa, Karkh and Basrah have cost $6.8 million so far (all but Basrah are completed). Iraq's judicial system currently has "482 new judges, 287 investigative judges, 689 investigators, 313 prosecutors, and 4,482 protection staff.".
On reconstruction, the report states the contracts are handled by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division; Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/ Afghanistan; Multi-National Corps-Iraq; Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment; USAID; and DoS. They have awareded many contracts but the top ten recipients have received over $12 billion. The top ten (in order of biggest pig on the tax payer's dole):1) Bechtel National, Inc2) FluorAMEC, LLC3) Parsons Global Services, Inc.4) Parsons Iraq Joint Venture5) Kellogg, Brown & Root Services, Inc.6) Washington Group International7) Environmental Chemical Corporation8) Research Triangle Institute9) Anham Joint Venture10) Symbion Power, LLCIn Congressional hearings, the issue of CERP funds have come up repeatedly. Think of it as petty cash. It's intended to be used for short-term issues. Cerp is: Commander's Emergency Response Program. Most recently the issue came up during a September 10th House Armed Services Committee hearing (see this entry by Mike) between Committee Chair Ike Skelton and DoD's Under Secreatry of Defense for Policy, Eric S. Edelman :Ike Skelton: The department's understanding of the allowed usage of CERP funds seems to have undergone a rather dramatic change since Congress first authorized it. The intent of the program was originally to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Iraq through small projects undertaken under the initative of brigade and battalion commanders. Am I correct?Edelman: Yes, sir.Ike Skelton: Thank you. The answer was "yes." Last year the Department of Defense has used millions of CERP dollars to build hotels for foreign visitors, spent $900,000 on a mural at the Baghdad International Airport and, as I understand this second piece of art, that CERP funds were used for. I'm not sure that the American tax payer would appreciate that knowing full well that Iraq has a lot of money in the bank from oil revenues and it is my understanding that Iraq has announced that they're going to build the world's largest ferris wheel. And if they have money to build the world's largest ferris wheel why are we funding murals and hotels with money that should be used by the local battallion commander. This falls in the purview of plans and policy ambassador.Edelman: No, no, it's absolutely right and I'll shae the stage here -- I'll share the stage quite willing with uh, with Admiral Winnefeld with whom I've actually been involved in discussions with for some weeks about how we provide some additional guidance to the field and some additional requirements to make sure that CERP is appropriately spent.Edelman then tries to stall and Skelton cuts him off with, "Remember you're talking to the American taxpayer." Edelman then replies that it is a fair question. He says CERP is important because it's flexible. It's important because they're just throwing around, if you ask me. They're playing big spender on our dime.Skelton: The issue raises two serious questions of course. Number one is they have a lot of money of their own. And number two the choice of the type of projects that are being paid for. I would like to ask Mr. Secretary if our committee could receive a list of expenditures of $100,000 or more within the last year. Could you do that for us at your convience please?Edelman: We'll work with our colleagues in the controller's office and - and . . . to try and get you --Skelton: That would be very helpful.
In addition to the above, the report notes: "The recent Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2009 imposed a ceiling of $2 million on the amount of CERP money that DoD could allocate to a single project. The new NDAA futher requires the Secretary of Defense to approve CERP projects costing over $1 million, certifying thereby that the project will meet Iraq's urgent humanitarian relief or reconstruction needs."The report lists some CERP projects, the ten most costly. Skelton wanted all costing over $100,000 Table 2.20 of the SIGIR's report lists the following and all dollar amounts are in the millions:1) Electrical Distribution in Muhalla 312 $11.682) Fallujah Sewar Pump Stations F1, F2 $7.603) Electrical Distribution in Muhalla 310 $6.574) Rehabilitate Two BIAP Domestic Terminals $6.565) PIC Sewage Installation - Karmat Ali $6.566) Kirkuk City Clean-Up Supplies and Materials $6.137) Al Faw, Redundancy and Mitigation $5.928) Fallujah Solar Lights Phase II $5.509) Sulaimnyah Votech new construction $5.2010) Transformers for Baghdad PC $4.82That's just the top ten and, no, that's not how the CERP funds are supposed to be used. They are discretionary funds, petty cash. The report notes that 216 "CERP projects are ongoing" and that 432 "are in the planning stages".
Press attention for the lengthy report has been scant. When it has covered the report, it's genearlly focused on the issue of contractors. Tim Cocks (Reuters) does the best job on that topic: "One dollar in eight of the $48 billion paid out by U.S. taxpayers to rebuild Iraq since the 2003 invasion was spent on private bodyguards, a U.S. government audit published on Thursday shows." In addition, CBS and AP note that the report reveals:
More than $125.7 billion has now been committed to rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and government since U.S.-led forces overthrew the government of President Saddam Hussein five years ago. Though not all of that has been spent, it includes $50.77 billion in money appropriated by the United States, almost $58 billion in Iraqi funds and $17 billion pledged by other international donors, the bulk of it in the latter in loans and under $5.3 billion in grants. Iraq's rule-of-law system remains broken, most evidenced by the fact that Iraqi judges continue to be assassinated across the country. In 2008, terrorists killed seven judges, compared with 11 killed in 2007 and bringing the number to more than 40 judges and family members since 2003. A serious problem remains with corruption, which Bowen long has called a "second insurgency" in Iraq for the challenge it poses. For instance, auditors noted that a local contractor asked to be released from his work on three schools in Baghdad's Sadr City this quarter because he and his family were threatened when he refused repeated requests from government officials that he pay them bribes.
"There has been some improvement in recent months, both in terms of security and essential services. More people now have access to health services and clean water. But far too many Iraqis still have no choice but to drink dirty water and live in insalubrious conditions," said Juan-Pedro Schaerer, the ICRC's head of delegation for Iraq. "This leads to more sick people seeking treatment in a health-care system already stretched to the limit."The ICRC is particularly concerned about people living in households not connected to a water network (some 40 per cent of the total, and mainly in the countryside and suburbs). They must either buy water -- at an average cost of 50 US cents for 10 litres -- or, if they are too poor to do so, collect it from rivers and wells, which are often polluted. Even households that do have piped water regularly experience problems owing to a chronic lack of maintenance and innumerable illegal connections to the network. Furthermore, many Iraqis have to live with the health hazards of uncollected household waste and untreated sewage.As a result, many people contract water-borne diseases, further straining hospitals and clinics already struggling with a lack of resources. "My daughter is here because she drank dirty water," said a mother at Abu Ghraib General Hospital, near Baghdad. "We have no clean water at home. The only water we get is from the river."Medical staff are struggling with chronic shortages of supplies and equipment. Dilapidated and sometimes outdated medical facilities lack proper maintenance and sanitation. Electricity shortages are common and many facilities have to rely on back-up generators. Many Iraqis simply cannot afford the treatment they need. Specialized surgery and treatment for diseases such as cancer are often available only in certain hospitals in the main cities.
Imogen Foulkes (BBC) spoke with the ICRC's Beatrice Megevand who noted the cholera outbreak (the now yearly cholera outbreak) and "said she was especially concerned about the lack of clean water supplies. Ms Megevand Roggo said even the most basic infrastructure in Iraq is not functioning." Meanwhile external Iraqi refugees are the subject of a new report by Refugees International whose summary notes: "Since the beginning of the displacement crisis, the Government of Iraq has refused to acknowledge the impact refugees have had on their host countries, as well as the scope of their needs. It was at Iraq's request that Syria imposed a visa regime on Iraqis in October 2007. Only after heavy international pressure did the Government of Iraq finally agree to provide financial assistance to its neighbors to help them deal with the situation. The assistance was meager --- $25 million in all --- and it took over a year for the payments to be made. In the past year, the Government of Iraq has started providing incentives for Iraqis to return. The best solution for most refugees would indeed be to return home when the conditions to ensure their safety and dignity are met. According to the UN Refugee Agency, this is not yet the case, as many parts of Iraq are still too insecure to allow for safe returns and essential services are not widely accessible to the civilian population. According to a UNHCR survey, 70% of those who returned to Iraq became internally displaced." The report itself (PDF format warning) is entitled "Iraqi Refugees: Plan For Ongoing Support In An Unstable Region." It makes five policy recommendations:
1) The US and other donor governments must fully fund the UN's Comprehensive Appeal Process (CAP) and increase resettlement numbers.
2) The US must establish a high-level presence in Syria and pressure the Government of Iraq to provide assistance to displaced Iraqis and establish conditions for return.
3) Donor governments must fund the WFP appeal for drought in Syria and respond to the Resettlement Service Flash Appeal for Palestinians.
4) UNHCR, with the support of donor governments, must engage Syria and Lebanon on expanding residency rights and securing work and education for Iraqi refugees.
5) UNHCR must work with the Government of Lebanon to ensure that the Government's flexible approach and policies towards Iraqis are implemented throughout the country and at all levels.
Noting the report by Refugees International, Missy Ryan (Reuters) adds, "According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), some 2.8 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes within Iraq. Another 2 million are believed to be outside the country, mainly in Syria and Jordan."
Yesterday, the Bully Boy entertained Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region of Iraq, for a White House photo op. Though both expressed hope (it's all around, didn't you hear?) regarding the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement while the cameras were rolling, Dan Eggen and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) report today that Barzani told the paper, "Personally, I'm doubtful it will pass." Within Iraq, the most solid support the White House has had for the treaty has come from the Kurdish bloc in Parliament. Barzani's words are only more troubling for the White House since he apparently is factoring in that segment of support. Speaking for the White House today, Dana Perino declared of the paper's news and quote, "Well, I do think it will be hard for Iraq to pass it. If it was easy it would already have been done. And if you stick around, I'm sure by tomorrow you'll have a different Iraqi politician or leader with a different sentiment. So a lot of this is being played out in the public on the Iraqi side. What the president said yesterday remains true: We remain hopefula nd confident that we'll be able to get an agreement done. But there are certain underlying principles, basic principles that we're not going to compromise on. And so we've received their list of requests for changes and our negotiators in Baghdad are taking a careful look at them." Perinos was asked about the upcoming US election (next Tuesday) and whether that has any impact. She responded, "Well, we're going to continue to try to get an agrement because we've gotten this far, we might as well try to -- continue to work on it. And we remain hopeful that we can help solve these last remaining issues." She noted that Bully Boy had spoken with puppet of the occupatioin Nouri al-Maliki earlier in the week.
At the US State Dept today, Robert Wood handled the press briefing. He handled Tuesday's briefing and had told the press he couldn't comment on amendments to the treaty because he hadn't received them. They were received yesterday and Sean McCormack handled Wednesday's press briefing. Today Wood was asked to comment and he replied, "Well, we've received the amendments and we're going to give them, as Sean said yesterday, a thorough review. And I don't have anything else for you on that at the moment." Matthew Lee (AP) characterizes "hopes for sealing" the treaty as "fading" and notes that Wood stuck with "good text" to describe the treaty (as the State Dept has for some time). Lee summarizes a conversation with an unnamed official: "One official said there was a chance that some of the four main points of contention -- the withdrawal deadline, demand for inspections of U.S. arms shipments, a ban on using Iraqi territory for attacks on neighboring states and Iraqi demands for more jurisdiction over American soldiers -- could be 'finessed.' But Iraqi demands for more control over American troops likely crossed a 'red line' for the administration and Congress" On the last aspect, Sam Dagher (New York Times) pointed out today, "Under the current draft, American military personnel would be guaranteed immunity from Iraqi law, except in cases of serious or premeditated felonies committed outside their official duties."
Yesterday's State Dept press briefing found McCormack avoiding the issue of whether or not the US Embassy in Syria would shut down Thursday due to protests over the attack on Syria Sundy by the US. Yesterday the US Embassy in Syria issued a press release which read in full: "Due to Security Concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus will be closed on Thursday, October 30, 2008." The single sentence appeared twice, first in larger, bold print, and then in smaller, regular print. Bassem Mroue (AP) reports that "tens of thousands" showed up for the protests, carrying sings and flags. Al Jazeera adds: "Some demonstrators carried banners denouncing the United States, as well as national flags and pictures of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. 'America the sponsor of destruction and wars,' one of the banners read." Iran's Press TV offers more on the banners: "Demonstrators waved Syrian flags and banners reading "No to American terrorism" and "American democracy: the killing of civilians at Abu Kamal," the border area targeted in Sunday's US raid. 'Colonialists, listen, the people of Syria will never be brought to their knees,' chanted the protesters as they gathered in the heart of Damascus."
Asked about the closing of the Embassy, Wood declared that it would be closed tomorrow due to "a holiday. But again, it all depends on the situation on the ground. That will be a decision made by, you know, our folks at the Embassy". He noted that the cultural center Syria had said they were closing were closed and that the American school is due to close November sixth.
"This is the closest to hell I can imagine," said Mutassem Hayatla, a UNHCR field officer who stayed in the camp during the downpour. "With no electricity, the camp was full of the sound of crying, terrified children. We did our best, but it was a blessing when the night was over." Nine-year-old Aya said she was terrified. "The lights were all off, there was water everywhere. My mother was crying. She is pregnant and the baby will come soon. Please get us out before my brother is born. I am scared he will die if we have to live here after she delivers." The situation was even worse in Al Waleed, a nearby camp hosting more than 1,400 refugees just inside Iraq, where more than 100 families were left homeless after their tents were destroyed in the storm. UNHCR was rushing supplies on Wednesday to both sites, but it was taking longer to get to Al Waleed due to security considerations. [. . .] UNHCR on Thursday reiterated its appeal to the international community to provide resettlement places for Palestinians from Iraq, with no other option currently available for the refugees. "We urge more countries to open their doors to resettle the Palestinian refugees and bring their precarious situation to an end," said Daniel Endres, UNHCR's representative in Iraq.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded five people, another Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left six people wounded and a Salahuddin Province car bombing that wounded one police officer.
Yesterday the US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier died as a result of a non-combat incident south of Mosul Oct. 29. The injured Soldier was transported to a nearby combat support hospital in Mosul." The announcement brings to 4189 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
There is likely some truth behind Biden's seemingly bizarre words. Bush has authorized the establishment of the Presidential Transition Coordinating Council at an earlier date than in any other election year. High level staffers from the Obama and McCain campaigns have been engaged in security briefings with the Bush administration and are also in the process of obtaining FBI security clearances, the first time that has happened prior to election day. Bush doesn't want to head back to Texas without insuring that his doctrine remains firmly in place after January 21st. The plans for continued American military aggression are already underway and Biden can't keep quiet about it. Biden made his statements during a Seattle fundraising trip that took in a cool million dollars. Yet he wasn't just making a plea for cash, he made a plea for support of whatever action the Obama administration may take. "Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going 'oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down, why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us." The Obama/Biden doctrine must be truly awful. If Big Mouth Joe is already pleading for patience from the faithful we are looking at Bush/Cheney the Sequel.
The problem with that explanation, of course, is the slanted coverage in favor of Obama has happened since the day he announced close to two years ago. It was slanted in favor of him and Hillary Clinton, while far more electable candidates such as Edwards (before the successful blackmailing him out of political life--how convenient) were shoved aside in favor of the identity politics narrative. And THEN, when it became a two-person contest in the primaries, it was open season on both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Not a word of protest by the mainstream media for the 24/7 shitting upon them because they were not run out of the Beltway in the 1990s for refusing to kiss the Beltway Slut's ass. Hell, no, they were right in there with the Obama campaign with the "racist" filth, the RFK filth, the NAFTA filth, the caucus filth and so forth, but never, ever seriously vetting Obama despite his numerous problems. Criticisms were brushed aside or tagged as racist, and believe me, the race card is about all Obama had to get as far as he did. Nobody DARED to criticize him then, and nobody dares to do it now for fear of being tagged racist.
John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee, Sarah Palin is his running mate. Scott Conroy (CBS News) notes that yesterday in Ohio, Governor Palin made a "funny observation" : "Someone I'd like you to meet--he didn't come out on stage with me. I'll have to find him, but it's my husband, Alaska's First Dude. I know he looks like one of the Secret Service guys, and so if you read any gossip about any spotting of me holding hands with a Secret Service guy, it's my husband Todd." The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, was in Missouri today and Jake Tapper and Matthew Jaffe (ABC News) observe, "Ever since the Ohio arrest remarks and Seattle fundraiser comments that the world would soon test a young President Obama and his reaction wouldn't obviously be the correct one (in some way responsible, perhaps, for Obama's loss in the polls in who Americans trust to handle an unexpected crisis), Biden seems much more toned down, much more under wraps. "
Obama opposes the withdrawal of US troops in Iraq in favor of redeployment; the relocation of US troops from combat zones to training and logistical positions, contingent on the military capability of the Iraqi Army to defeat the resistance. Obama opposes a clearly defined deadline to withdraw US forces from Iraq because US troops in Iraq are essential to pursuing his overall policies in the Middle East, which include military confrontations with Iran, Syria and Southern Lebanon.
In the final 100 hours before the election, we need your help to implement our get out the vote (GOTV) plan. To make tens of thousands of phone calls, knock on doors in hundreds of communities, and pass out thousands of flyers and leaflets. To remind voters that Nader/Gonzalez is the independent choice on November 4th. It's a simple five step process. Here's what you need to do: Step One: Vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Get your friends and family to vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Vote early. Vote on election day. But vote independent. Vote Nader/Gonzalez. Step Two: Connect with Nader Supporters in Your State. Go to our state-by-state map. Connect with your state, regional, community, and campus coordinators to find out how you can help. Step Three: Spread the Word. Great Nader/Gonzalez literature is available in every state. Click here to see the location of the campaign literature nearest you. You can download GOTV flyers to help pass out in your local community. You can knock on your neighbors' doors. Canvass door to door, telling your neighbors why you're voting for Nader/Gonzalez. Urge them to do the same. Step Four: Create Visibility. Help us distribute Nader/Gonzalez buttons, window signs and more. We've unloaded all of our materials to our coordinators around the country. Click here for people with campaign materials in your state. To find a state or local coordinator with bumperstickers and other Nader/Gonzalez merchandise, click here. Step Five: Join our Nationwide Phone Bank. Are you willing to help phone bank supporters and independents across the country? If yes, please contact email@example.com to sign up for our national GOTV phone bank effort. Over the next 24 hours we'll be sending them information on how to vote for Nader/Gonzalez in your state and sharing with them a GOTV video from Ralph that he shot last night on why they should join the GOTV effort. That's five simple steps. History will look back on this effort as the end of the two party domination in this country and the beginning of a new era of citizen politics. We can't make that happen unless you help us get millions of votes for Nader/Gonzalez on November 4th. Onward to November.
VIRGINIA Judy Black, National Co-Chair, Women for McCain: "Enough is enough! Senator Obama has stooped to a new low in his constant attacks on Governor Palin with his new ad titled, 'His Choice.' Barack Obama's choice has been to attack, demean and ridicule women, first Sen. Clinton and now Gov. Palin. American women do not need any more of Obama's sexist choices or attacks. John McCain made the choice to put a strong leader with a proven record forward as his running mate. As a woman, I am outraged by the over-the-top treatment of Gov. Palin and I urge all women to reject the double standard put forward by a man who was just a state senator in Illinois three years ago by voting McCain-Palin this Tuesday." Patty Denton, Washington County Republican Chairwoman: "We, as a country, should be past the days in which women were treated as inferior. Women are the backbone of this country. It's disappointing for Senator Obama, who has proclaimed change' as his mantra, to disregard the monumental progress women have made in this country. Governor Palin is an exceptional leader and has fought on the side of all Americans, regardless of race or gender. These types of ads show that the Obama campaign is willing to do anything to score a few political cheap shots at the expense of women. On November 4th, women will go to the polls and demand respect for themselves and their daughters from the type of negative attacks perpetrated by Senator Obama." MISSOURI Representative Jo Ann Emerson: "With more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined, Governor Sarah Palin holds her own on the national scene and embodies the values that Americans want in those who will lead our country. This ad is just one more example of the constant attacks from the Obama-Biden campaign. With each attack, they attempt to dismiss the intelligent, qualified, and experienced woman who will soon become our next Vice-President of the United States." Sharon Barnes, Missouri State Chair Women for McCain: "These attacks on Governor Sarah Palin show the desperation of the Democratic Party to try to stem the overwhelming support for the maverick Republican team of John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin - a team dedicated to bringing about the right kind of change for the people of this country. The voters of this great nation will not be fooled. Gov. Palin is a proven leader and serious reformer with experience in economics, defense and foreign policy that the Democratic candidate for president can only wish he had." CALIFORNIA Shelly Mandell, President of Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women: "I am outraged by the new ad put out by Barack Obama. It is sexist and demeaning to women. These tactics started with Hillary Clinton and continue, growing even more disgusting with Gov. Palin. I was a Hillstar for Hillary and an avid supporter. Trashing two women clearly in a sexist manner in one election is an outrage and must be identified and stopped. There must be consequences. Let female Obama supporters take a good look at this and still believe their candidate supports women's rights and women's dignity." Prameela Bartholomeusz, DNC Platform Committee Member: "I am once again stunned at the personal and sexist attacks by the Obama campaign against Gov. Palin. This latest ad is sexist and offensive. The Gov. of Alaska has been managing and balancing a budget of $10 billion; I think she knows a bit about economics. Sen. Obama never spoke up against sexism during the primary season, and is not speaking out against misogyny during this phase of the election season -- he is contributing to it. I have no confidence that Sen. Obama will fight for women's issues if elected. This sets women back decades." PENNSYLVANIA Christine J. Toretti, PA Women For McCain Co-Chair, PA National Committeewoman: "Vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, is an experienced public servant. As governor of Alaska and as mayor of Wasilla she proved to be an effective leader and businesswoman. Senator Obama's baseless attack on Governor Palin is preposterous. God forbid a leader is not only competent, but beautiful and wears a skirt!" Bernie Comfort, Pennsylvania Women for McCain State Chair: "Senator Obama's ad simply mocks Governor Palin. The real truth is Gov. Palin has experience dealing with the economy as an executive running the state of Alaska and as a business owner. She is the experienced leader we need to lead this country with John McCain." Stephanie Bressler, Ph.D, Hillary Clinton supporter, University of Scranton women and politics professor: "It's a sexist example of reducing a woman to an object - a wink - and denying her a voice. Her lips are actually moving, but she's not allowed to be heard." OHIO Barbara Rosier-Tryon, Member of the Warren Republican Women's Club: "This is yet another sexist cheap shot on Gov. Palin's image from the Obama-Biden campaign. Sarah Palin's record of reform and experience as governor of Alaska and commander of the state's National Guard is more distinguished than Barack Obama's one and only term in the U.S. Senate." NORTH CAROLINA Martha Jenkins, North Carolina Women for McCain State Chairman: "Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to make up for his own lack of foreign policy expertise. He has absolutely no reason to criticize McCain's pick of Palin. Gov. Palin is infinitely more qualified than Barack Obama. In running this ad, Obama is acknowledging that Gov. Palin is an effective and a positive part of John McCain's candidacy; otherwise, why focus on her at all? Barack Obama is using this ad to divert attention from the fact that the American public is realizing that Obama is just as radical as his associates, and that he lacks the experience and judgment to be President of the United States." FLORIDA Albert Chang, Regional Director of Citizens for McCain, a group that includes Democrats and Independents: "We look forward to winning Tampa and the surrounding counties for McCain-Palin. This ad is a distracting personal attack on an experienced executive and the voters of Florida will see through it. This campaign will remain focused on issues impacting the everyday lives of Floridians and Americans." Mary Calderon, Tampa, former Senator Clinton supporter: "I'm disappointed that Senator Obama has resorted to personal attacks at this point in the campaign. Would any male candidate for vice president of the United States be afforded similar treatment by the Obama campaign? I would say not." INDIANA Judy Singleton, Indiana Women for McCain Co-Chair: "Obama seems to have a problem with strong, smart women. Ask Hillary. Running an ad like this is an affront to talented women everywhere. To imply that Gov. Palin doesn't understand economics because she's pretty and winks is ridiculous. As a governor, she's proved she understands the economy better than Barack Obama, who hasn't completed his first term in the Senate, does. All one has to do is look at her record of leadership on economic development and then look at his." NEW YORK Amy Siskind, Ambassador for Hillary: "When Senator Hillary Clinton was demeaned and degraded during the Presidential Primary, many of us of, myself included, vowed 'never again'. The treatment of Governor Palin by both the main stream media, and now the Obama Campaign, shows that the misogyny fest is alive and well in our country. There has been a complete and utter smear job of our fellow citizen, Sarah Palin, who is only trying to serve her country." iraqthe new york timessam dagherhannah fairfield the washington postkaren deyoung dan eggen mcclatchy newspapers margaret kimberley jake tapper scott conroycbs news james petras
sexism that I believed had been eradicated was lurking, like some
creature from the black lagoon, just below the surface. Suddenly it
erupted and in some unexpected places. Instead of engaging Palin on
the issues, critics attacked attributes that are specifically female.
It is Hillary's pantsuit drama to the power of 10. Palin's hair, her
voice, her motherhood, and her personal hygiene were substituted for
substance. That's when it was nice. The hatred escalated to
performers advocating Palin be "gang raped," to suggestions that her
husband had had sex with their young daughters, and reports that her
Down syndrome child really was that of her teenage daughter. One
columnist even called for her to submit to DNA testing to prove her
virtue. Smells a little like Salem to me. I was present at an Obama
rally at which the mention of Palin's name drew shouts of "stone her." "Stone her"? How biblical. All
this is at a time when women are regularly being raped as they try to
cross the border into the United States; bloody, broken women haunt the
emergency rooms of hospitals; and abuse and disrespect for women and
girls is rising faster than bank bailouts. That is the atmosphere in
which people, including women, choose to attempt to destroy a woman who
is a legitimate political leader. Agreement on issues is not required, but Palin merits respect. It is dismaying that misogyny and sexism are so excessively m arbleized
into our daily interactions that some of us cannot even recognize their
existence when confronted with it or when staring at it directly in the
But the point being that you haven't been so bruised by some of the
double standard, the sexism on the campaign trail, to say, "I've had
it. I'm going back to Alaska." PALIN: Absolutely not. I think that,
if I were to give up and wave a white flag of surrender against some of
the political shots that we've taken, that ... that would ... bring
this whole ... I'm not doin' this for naught.
that ari mebler (the nation) starts insisting palin's declared she's
focusing on 2012 - from the above exchange. then the tiny-dicked,
no-nuts ari wants to hedge his bets by saying cnn jumped to that
the exchange indicates no such thing. ari wanted to push the LIE because he's a SEXIST pig.
isn't it cute how they smear sarah palin with 'ambition.' heaven forbid
a woman is ever ambitious! only a man can be, right! a little nothing
piece of chicago gutter trash, 1 the rumors just swirl around (yeah,
we've all heard those rumors) can serve 2 years in the senate and
announce he's running for the presidency? but that's cool.
like it's cool the way the entire press knows various rumors about
barack that they're happy to whisper about both loathe to report.
but the press will lie for barack, will cover for barack. over and over.
there's punk ass ari mebler repeating a falsehood about palin and then
trying to blame it on cnn. what a weasly ass f**ker.
The Trail of Broken Promises By MATT GONZALEZ Watching
the Democrats in the final weeks of the presidential election has been
a lesson in revisionist history. While they lament the terrible crimes
perpetrated against the American people by George Bush and vow to keep
fighting for our rights, they conveniently gloss over the fact that
they have no standing to make such claims. Indeed, the Democrats,
including Senator Barack Obama, have actually voted with President
Bush’s agenda, making them complicit in his acts, not valiant opponents
defending our liberties. PELOSI’S PROMISE TO END THE WAR Democratic
Congresswoman Nancy Pelosi said that if she became the speaker of the
House of Representatives she would end the war in Iraq. Remember that?
The Boston Globe noted, "Pelosi vows no ‘blank check’ on Iraq funds.”
(1/8/07). In her own words: "If the president wants to add to this
mission, he is going to have to justify it. And this is new to him,
because up until now the Republican Congress has given him a blank
check with no oversight, no standards, no conditions.” Rick Klein of
the Globe noted "Pelosi’s comments mark the first suggestion by a
Democratic congressional leader that Congress could use its authority
over the nation’s finances to hasten an end to the war. Her remarks
point toward an aggressive stance on Iraq from Congressional Democrats
in their opening days of control of the House and Senate.” Yet after
she became the speaker of the House in Jan 2007, war appropriations
actually went up by $50 billion, with no strings attached and no date
for the withdrawal of troops. This year, 2008, they’ve gone up by
another $25 billion for a two-year total of $350 billion, with no end
in sight. So what happened to the promise of "no blank check?” REID’S FILIBUSTER RULE Sen.
Harry Reid, the leader of the Democrats in the Senate, has complained
that the Republicans have filibustered (a procedure used by the
minority party to delay voting on legislation) more times in the last
two years than in the entire history of the United States to explain
why he can’t move forward a progressive agenda. First he said it was
over 70 times, then adjusted it by saying it was 65 times (Las Vegas
Sun 3/6/08); yet still the highest for any two-year period (the
previous record was 57 filibusters) (Politico, 3/6/08; Gov.Track.us
4/15/08). But Sen. Reid’s frustration has proven to be a red-herring.
Did you know that Reid lets the Republicans filibuster telephonically,
meaning that he doesn’t require that they physically present themselves
on the floor of the Senate? Why is he making it easy on them? Is this
what an opposition party looks like? REPUBLICAN CLASS ACTION REFORM Sen.
Barack Obama, the Democratic Party nominee for president, has a long
history of voting against the interest of the American people, and
specifically, the working class. Before entering the presidential
contest, he supported the Republican Class Action Reform Bill, which
made it harder for class-action lawsuits to be brought in the state
courts. State courts are exactly where consumer protection lawsuits and
recent wage and hour claims have succeeded in improving the lives of
workers and helped them obtain better wages and breaks during work
hours have succeeded. Progressive commentators at the time called it
a thinly veiled special-interest extravaganza. Journalist David Sirota
noted "Opposed by most major civil rights and consumer watchdog groups,
this Big Business-backed legislation was sold to the public as a way to
stop ‘frivolous’ lawsuits. But everyone in Washington knew the bill’s
real objective was to protect corporate abusers.” (The Nation,
6/26/06). So why did Obama vote for it? PATRIOT ACT & FISA AMENDMENT Sen.
Obama supported one of the worst attacks on civil liberties in recent
history, the reauthorization of the Patriot Act, which extended an
earlier law granting law enforcement expanded powers to search
telephone, e-mail, and financial and medical records, in addition to
granting the federal government a host of other powers to combat
so-called domestic terrorism. After saying he would oppose it if
elected to the U.S. Senate (NOW questionnaire, 9/10/03), in July 2005,
Obama voted for it. But this wasn’t enough. After entering the
presidential race and running on a "change” message, Obama vowed in
February of 2008 to vote against—and filibuster if necessary—the FISA
bill amendment (Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act) that gave
immunities to telecommunications corporations that cooperated with the
Bush administration’s warrantless surveillance program. This
eavesdropping program clearly violated the privacy of law-abiding
Americans at the behest of the president, and made the FBI under J.
Edgar Hoover seem tame by comparison. Those voting in favor of the bill
didn’t even first require full disclosure to see how deep the illegal
conduct extended and agreed to apply the law retroactively. Despite
his promises to the contrary, and despite the vehement protests of many
of his supporters, when the FISA bill came to the Senate for a vote
this past July, Sen. Obama voted for it without explaining how this
vote fit in with his change message or reconciled with his repeated
claims he was going to protect the American people from repeated
assaults on civil liberties by President Bush. Here was his chance to
lead and make good on his promise, and what did he do? The American
Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) called the FISA bill "an unconstitutional
domestic spying bill that violates the Fourth Amendment and eliminates
any meaningful role for judicial oversight of government surveillance"
(ACLU press release, 7/9/08). Caroline Fredrickson, Director of the
ACLU Washington Legislative Office called the bill "a Constitutional
nightmare” and noted "with one vote, Congress has strengthened the
executive branch, weakened the judiciary and rendered itself
irrelevant.” Obama even voted to stop debate on the bill so he could
get back to the campaign trail. How ironic is it that he was in a hurry
to give more speeches about change and hope but couldn’t find the time
or integrity to convert these ideas into action? On the eve of the
vote MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow noted "I’m betting that [Pres. Bush’s]
wildest dreams did not include the prospect that Congress — a
Democratic-led Congress — would help him cover up his crimes. Yet that
is exactly what the US Senate is poised to do.” (Countdown with Keith
Olbermann, 7/8/08). OFF-SHORE DRILLING As Sen. John McCain
started to call for domestic drilling to ease our dependence on foreign
oil, rather than debate the scientific and economic illogic of the
position, Sen. Obama announced that he agreed with McCain. Reversing a
25-year ban on off-shore oil drilling, Sen. Obama led his party’s
reversal, offering no explanation for how this would ease oil prices,
particularly as experts noted that drilling would likely have an almost
imperceptible impact on oil prices in the near future. As Lester
Brown and Jonathan Dorn of the Earth Policy Institute noted in
"Drilling For Oil Is Not The Answer” (9/30/08) "The U.S. Department of
Energy projects that lifting the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS)
moratorium [of the lower 48 states] would not increase production
before 2017 and that by 2030 production would only amount to 0.2
million barrels per day—less than 1 percent of current consumption.” Furthermore
"The U.S. Department of Energy projects that opening the Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) would lower gasoline prices at the pump
by a mere 2 cents per gallon.” Even if we combined the two regions in
question, it wouldn’t amount to much of an impact on oil prices:
"Lifting the moratoria on drilling in ANWR and the OCS would reduce the
price of a gallon of gasoline by at most 6 cents—and this would not be
seen for at least another decade.” Proponents of drilling have also
exaggerated theenvironmental safety of current off-shore drilling and
oil production technology in general. There is widespread evidence that
current drilling in the Gulf of Mexico is already leading to serious
pollution and spills. After reviewing data from the National Response
Center, the Houston Chronicle found there had been 595 oil spills
across four state coastlines, totaling roughly 9 million gallons
spilled in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita ("Spills from
hurricanes staining the coast” by Dina Cappiello, 11/13/05). So why is
Sen. Obama, who claims to care about the environment, now advocating
off-shore drilling? DEATH PENALTY In June of 2008, the
conservative Supreme Court struck down the use of the death penalty in
cases of child rape (Kennedy v. Louisiana held that states may not
impose the death penalty for the commission of a crime that did not
result in the death of the victim), a decision that surprised even
death penalty opponents who hailed it as an important step toward full
abolition of the death penalty. Sen. Obama’s response? He quickly
called a press conference to denounce the decision. Obama stated that
he agreed with the extreme conservative minority, comprised of Chief
Justice Roberts and Justices Alito, Scalia and Thomas. Despite the many
known racial and class inequities inherent in the death penalty, a
practice abolished and abhorred in most of the rest of the world, Obama
celebrates that he has always been a supporter of it. On the
campaign trail, Sen. Obama likes to highlight death penalty legislation
that he sponsored while a member of the Illinois legislature, to show
his commitment to reform. But let’s be clear, he didn’t work on laws to
address the disproportionate rate of death penalty convictions of
African-Americans, but rather a law to require videotaped
interrogations of death penalty suspects. Yes, something we can
applaud, but something many critics have noted merely greases the
wheels of this injustice. Most disquieting of all, as a state
legislator, Obama voted "to expand the list of death-eligible crimes”
(Chicago Tribune, 5/2/07), despite admitting in his own allegedly
soul-searching memoir that the death penalty "does little to deter
crime.” (The Audacity of Hope, 2006). AFGHANISTAN On foreign
policy, Sen. Obama’s approach is hawkish. He wants to deploy more
soldiers to Afghanistan, which will only further destabilize the
Afghan-Pakistani border. He simply ignores the historic reality that no
invading army has ever managed to successfully win a war in this area
or subjugate the Afghani people. During its ill-fated 10-year war,
between 1979 and 1989, the Soviet Union deployed 620,000 soldiers to
Afghanistan and sustained 470,000 casualties (sick and wounded,
including infectious diseases such as hepatitis and typhoid fever). Why
does Obama want to ignore these facts and risk further destabilizing
the area and creating another Vietnam/Iraq occupation there? IRAQ With
respect to Iraq, Sen. Obama has conceded the main argument of Sen.
McCain’s campaign and said the so-called "surge” worked (despite
significant evidence and analysis to the contrary). And he has vowed to
keep soldiers in Iraq to fight counterterrorism. John Podesta, former
chief of staff to President Bill Clinton who now leads the Center for
American Progress, estimated this would take a 60,000 troop presence to
achieve. Moreover Obama "will not ‘rule out’ using private security
companies like Blackwater Worldwide in Iraq” according to Democracy
Now! Correspondent Jeremy Scahill. And Obama did not plan on signing on
to legislation that seeks to ban the use of such forces by the U.S.
government by January 2009, according to one of his senior foreign
policy advisors. (Democracy Now! 2/28/08). (This is one promise Obama
unfortunately has kept, refusing to sign onto the Stop Outsourcing
Security Act, introduced by Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont). In an
interview with Amy Goodman, Sen. Obama stated his intention of leaving
140,000 private contractors in Iraq because "we don’t have the troops
to replace them.” He also stated the need to keep an additional "strike
force in the region … in order to not only protect them, but also
potentially to protect their territorial integrity.” Summarizing the
interview, Amy Goodman concluded that it sounded as if Obama "would
leave more than 100,000 troops, close to 200,000 in Iraq. ‘Troops’
meaning U.S. soldiers and military contractors which some call
mercenaries.” (4/1/08). Even concerning a possible timetable to
withdraw troops from Iraq, Obama has diminished his promises. He now is
committing only to "reducing the number of combat troops within 16
months,” presumably to "bolster efforts in Afghanistan so that we can
capture and kill bin Laden and crush al Qaeda.” (Obama/McCain debate,
9/26/08). What we know for certain, though, is when given a chance
to commit to a complete withdrawal of troops from Iraq, Obama said
"no.” When Tim Russert asked him, during a debate in New Hampshire in
September 2007, if he could promise having American troops out of Iraq
by 2013, he would not do so. MILITARY SPENDING According to
military policy analysts at the Arms Control Center, in their report
"U.S. Defense Spending, since 2001” military spending has risen from
$333 billion in 2001 to $696 in 2008 (including $189 billion for the
wars in Iraq and Afghanistan). It’s expected to rise even more in 2009,
to $706 billion. Despite this, Sen. Obama has joined Sen. McCain and
called for increased military spending. "I’ve said that we have to
increase the size of our military,” Obama told ABC’s This Week
(9/7/08). The details of which he has previously noted in a speech to
the Chicago Council on Global Affairs: "I strongly support the
expansion of our ground forces by adding 65,000 soldiers to the Army
and 27,000 Marines.” ("Obama surrenders on military spending” by Glen
Ford, The Progressive, 1/15/08). WALL STREET CRISIS The current
financial crisis has generated perhaps the most fascinating political
rhetoric of all. Obama has blamed the Republicans for deregulation and
in doing so, his poll numbers have given him a healthy lead as we
approach the final days of the campaign. The only problem is that the
economic crisis is not just the fault of the Republicans. It is the
direct result of bipartisan bills enacted into law by a Democratic
president, Bill Clinton. In 1999 Clinton signed into law the
Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act. This repealed the last vestiges of an important
Depression-era law, the Glass-Steagall Act (1933), which prohibited
banking, brokerage, and insurance companies from merging together, thus
compartmentalized the financial industry and protected it from future
collapses. Equally significant in 2000, President Clinton signed the
Commodity Futures Modernization Act, which repealed 20-year-old
agreements between the Security and Exchange Commission and the
Commodity Futures Trading Commission, so that financial institutions
could sell credit derivatives such as the now notorious "credit default
swaps” without any oversight and with no regulation. Two of its
cosponsors included Democratic Senators Tom Harkin of Iowa and Tim
Johnson of South Dakota. The measure had such bipartisan support that
it was never even debated in the Senate and was passed by unanimous
consent. This resulted in the repackaging of mortgages into
securities and the failure to regulate institutions that then
over-leveraged themselves as they sold credit derivatives to investors
who wanted protection from risky investments. This is what led to this
financial crisis whose ramifications we have only begun to understand. Both
Obama and McCain voted for the $700 billion taxpayer-funded bailout
despite the plea of 200 economists (including Nobel Prize winners)
urging them not to do so (Open Letter to Congress regarding Treasury
bailout plan, 9/24/08). Obama keeps emphasizing that the mess was the
fault of Republicans alone. But how is this argument credible when the
law responsible for the financial meltdown enjoyed unanimous support
from both parties? NAFTA It was quite emblematic of Sen. Obama
that he has changed his position on the North American Free Trade
Agreement (NAFTA) to suit whatever situation he is in. First, while
running for the Senate in 2004, he said he supported NAFTA and thought
there should be more trade agreements like it. (AP story 2/26/08).
Then, while running against Hillary Clinton he blamed her for NAFTA’s
impact on workers in the "rustbelt” states of Wisconsin and Ohio. But
once he won the primary things changed. When asked if he would truly
invoke the six-month clause in NAFTA for unilateral withdrawal, Obama
showed his signature political reversal. NAFTA created a trilateral
trade bloc encompassing the United States, Canada, and Mexico, which
was meant to foster greater trade between its members. It primarily
lifted tariffs on goods shipped between the three countries but has
caused economic turmoil both among American and Mexican labor, with
unexpected loss of jobs and negative environmental impacts. Nina
Easton, a Washington editor for Fortune, noted in a June 18, 2008
article that "the presumptive Democratic nominee backed off his
harshest attacks on the free trade agreement and indicated he didn’t
want to unilaterally reopen negotiations on NAFTA,” something he had
promised to do when locked in a close primary race with Sen. Hillary
Clinton. Asked directly about whether he would move the U.S. out of the
trade agreement, Obama said "Sometimes during campaigns the rhetoric
gets overheated and amplified.” Fortune magazine concluded that,
despite once calling NAFTA "devastating” and "a big mistake,” Obama
"was toning down his populist rhetoric” and had no intention of
following through with his anti-NAFTA promises now that the primary
battle was won. In light of this evidence, can we believe any of the other commitments he‘s made? THE FEDERAL JUDICIARY Those
who think Sen. Obama will appoint good Supreme Court justices should
just take note of his long history of supporting some of the worst Bush
appointees to the federal bench, including Thomas Griffith (D.C. Cir.),
Susan Blake Neilson (6th Cir.), Milan Smith (9th Cir.), Sandra Segal
Ikuta (9th Cir.), and Kent Jordan (3rd Cir.). The Neilson vote was
particularly troubling as both senators from her own state "blue
slipped” her for being "too extreme.” And even when he does manage
to muster the courage to vote against conservative appointees, he does
it in a lukewarm and perfunctory manner, refusing to join Democratic
Party filibuster efforts. This is deeply troubling. He voted cloture
(to end any voting delay) on Priscilla Owen (5th Cir.) and Brett
Kavanaugh (D.C. Cir.) both extremely conservative jurists, thus
ensuring they would be confirmed. SEN. JOE BIDEN AS VICE-PRESIDENT Obama’s
selection of Sen. Joe Biden as a running mate is particularly troubling
and does not bode well for the decisions Obama is likely to make if
elected president. Obama has presented Biden as someone who never
forgot his roots, is a working class, regular guy. The only problem
with this characterization is Sen. Biden’s voting record. He was one of
the main supporters of the Republican Bankruptcy Reform Bill that Pres.
Clinton vetoed twice, only to have it signed into law by Pres. Bush in
2005, with Sen. Biden’s ardent support. Criticizing the Bankruptcy
Reform Bill, Arianna Huffington noted that the bill "makes it harder
for average people to file for bankruptcy protection [average annual
income of Americans who file for bankruptcy is less than $30K]; it
makes it easier for landlords to evict a bankrupt tenant; it endangers
child-support payments by giving a wider array of creditors a shot at
post-bankruptcy income; it allows millionaires to shield an unlimited
amount of equity in homes and asset protection trusts; it makes it more
difficult for small businesses to reorganize while opening new
loopholes for the Enrons of the world; it allows creditors to provide
misleading information; and it does nothing to rein in lending abuses.”
(Salon.com, 3/05) Jackson Williams noted, in "Joe Biden: No True
Friend of Working Men and Women” (Huffington Post, 10/27/08), that
Biden "didn’t just vote for it, he helped carry the water on it. Some
Democrats tried to soften the bill with a series of amendments; for
example, exempting military personnel at war in Iraq. Biden joined the
majority of his colleagues—the Republicans and too many Democrats—in
knocking down every possible change that was offered.” Sen. Biden
has built a reputation as someone who works tirelessly for credit card
companies, with some critics even referring to him as the senator from
Mastercard—rather than the senator from Delaware. In addition, Biden
voted for the War in Iraq and the Patriot Act, so it’s hard to
understand how Sen. Biden is going to help bring about change in the
new administration. OTHER FOREIGN POLICY ISSUES Obama called
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez an enemy of the United States and urged
sanctions against him. (Interview with Jorge Ramos, El Mercurio,
6/11/08) He heaped praise on the first George Bush saying, "You
know, one of the things that I think George H.W. Bush doesn’t get
enough credit for was his foreign policy team and the way that he
helped negotiate the end of the Cold War and prosecuted the Gulf War.
That cost us $20 billion dollars. That‘s all it cost. It was extremely
successful. I think there were a lot of very wise people.” (Larry King
Live 3/23/08). And in a much-anticipated speech to America’s
pro-Israeli government lobby, AIPAC (The American Israel Public Affairs
Committee), Obama towed the typical pro-Israel line. He urged that
Jerusalem would belong to Israel, despite peace efforts currently
underway which would allow the holy city to be shared among both
Israelis and Palestinians. He unequivocally stated "Israel’s security
is sacrosanct.” And "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and
it must remain undivided.” (AIPAC speech, 6/08). MAKING A DEMAND Before
you vote for someone with such a checkered voting record, it might be
worthwhile to make some demands on him, don’t you think? Or at the very
least we should ask him to explain why he’s capitulated so many times. I’m
sure Sen. Obama would find such questions uncomfortable. In fact, even
progressives find such inquiry bothersome: they are aware of Obama’s
lamentable history of capitulation on votes that take away our civil
rights, but nevertheless cling to their wish that Obama will be
something other than what he has already proven himself to be. But
it’s not likely that he will be a transformative leader. He’s already
announced economic advisors whose ideas are at the heart of the
economic meltdown, like Austan Goolsbee, an aggressive free trader and
subprime loan advocate, and former Clinton advisors, David Cutler and
Jeffrey Liebman, supporters of market-oriented solutions to social
welfare issues such as the partial privatization of Social Security.
("Subprime Obama” by Max Fraser, The Nation, 1/24/08). He has
foreign policy advisors who helped take us into war, like Colin Powell,
who in 2003 addressed the United Nations on behalf of the Bush
Administration, outlining the reasons the U.S. had to invade Iraq (he
also disturbingly, as a young Army Major, worked to suppress key
evidence about the My Lai Massacre in Vietnam). But that’s not all.
Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman spoke with journalists Allan Nairn and
Kelley Beaucar Vlahos who discussed Obama’s foreign policy advisors
(2/10/08). They noted that Obama proudly brought on to his team old
cold warrior and former National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski,
who has boasted of having created the whole Afghan Jihadi movement;
Anthony Lake, who was behind the U.S. invasion of Haiti during the
Clinton years; General Merrill McPeak, who delivered U.S. fighter
planes to Indonesia shortly after the Dili massacre in East Timor in
1991; and Dennis Ross who has pushed to subordinate the rights of
Palestinians to the needs of the Israeli government. What do you think the likelihood is that Obama will listen to us, once we’ve voted for him, without making any demands on him? As
Robert Scheer, a noted columnist for the San Francisco Chronicle, noted
on July 23, 2008, shortly after Obama voted for the FISA bill, "Barack
Obama is betraying his promise of change and is in danger of becoming
just another political hack.” And Scheer made these remarks before
Obama decided to support off-shore drilling, denounce a Supreme Court
death penalty decision, and before he voted for the Wall Street bailout. CONCERNING RALPH NADER But
we don’t have to vote for either Senators Obama or McCain, do we? Ralph
Nader has a more impressive legislative record as an outsider than do
Sen. Obama and Sen. McCain combined. And he has a proven record of
fighting the culture of Washington. Just think of the Freedom of
Information Act, Clean Air, Clean Water, automotive safety, and the
Environmental Protection Agency. Yet despite these accomplishments,
Obama and McCain do not believe they should even have to debate him. What
they don’t tell you is that the so-called independent Commission on
Presidential Debates is actually a private corporation run by former
leaders of the Republican and Democratic parties. The Commission, which
was formed in 1987, is currently led by Frank Fahrenkopf, a former head
of the Republican National Committee, and Paul Kirk, the former head of
the Democratic National Committee. No wonder they won’t debate Nader or
anyone else. Of course they justify this by saying Nader isn’t
polling well enough to include him in the debates. Yet, interestingly,
both McCain and Obama were losing their respective primary races until
they were let into televised debates. And there are well-known examples
of how letting a candidate debate "mainstream” candidates can lead to a
different outcome. Jesse Ventura won the governor’s race in Minnesota
in 1998 when he was allowed to debate the Republican and Democratic
Party candidates, going from 9 or 10 percent in the polls to ultimately
winning the contest. Ralph Nader polled at five percent and above at
least four different times this year in national polls, and he even
reached 10 percent in one poll in the state of Michigan (conducted by
Lansing-based EPIC-MRA, 4/15/08). This should have been sufficient to
gain access to the presidential debates. Ross Perot got in the debates
in 1992 even though he was polling below 10 percent. Perot went on to
win 19 percent of the vote, and his warnings about NAFTA and deficit
spending influenced Clinton policy and proved prescient. Afterwards,
the two parties retaliated by creating a 15% threshold which ironically
no candidate is likely to reach without being included in televised
debates. The worse part of the so-called presidential debates as
they are currently produced is that two-party control ensures that the
questions are not sufficiently hard-hitting. Isn’t it appalling that we
saw three debates between Obama and McCain at a time our country is
suffering its worst economic crisis, and no one asked these men "Why
should Americans have any confidence either of you is the best choice
to tackle these problems given that both of your political parties
helped pass laws that made this crisis possible—or even inevitable?” They
also like to say that voting for Nader is throwing your vote away. The
Democrats often cite the 2000 election to blame Nader for Bush’s
victory. But they noticeably never mention the 1992 election, when Bill
Clinton won because Ross Perot "spoiled” the race for George Bush’s
father, an incumbent president. By the way, Clinton got only 43 percent
of the vote in 1992 compared to 48 percent by Bush in 2000. And they
offer no explanation for why they haven’t worked on election reform
since 2000. Imagine claiming your political party lost the presidency
because the "winner” was declared even though he hadn’t won a majority
of the votes cast? Then imagine doing nothing to make sure it wouldn’t
happen again. Isn’t it odd that the Democrats haven’t worked on
election reform in the past eight years? They never will change the
system because the way things are now, they can be assured that they
will be in office roughly half the time. They also count on people to
accept their arguments that Nader and other third parties aren’t
polling high enough to get your vote; that the real contest is between
just two candidates. If all else fails, they argue that it’s the
most important election of your lifetime. I’m 43 years old and I’ve
heard this argument each time the presidential race has come up. If
you accept these arguments, you are in effect rewarding the two parties
for not fixing how we do elections in this country. You reward them for
creating the Commission on Debates. You guarantee that things will not
change. And you ensure that candidates that support single-payer health
care, decent wages and pensions for workers, controls on corporations
and a foreign policy based on achieving peace rather than driven by
self-interest, cannot ever be heard. Nader wants a more humane and
democratic society. He’s seen that you can’t get anything done in
Washington because senators like Obama and McCain ignore what’s good
for Americans in pursuit of their own interests. Sure McCain talks like
a maverick and Obama talks like a revolutionary, but look closely and
you will see repeatedcapitulations to the very entities our government
needs to get away from if we are to build a more democratic society. WOMAN’S SUFFRAGE & EUGENE DEBS Eugene
Debs ran for president several times in the early 20th century. He
advocated the right of women to vote at a time when it was not popular
to do so and while other more successful politicians openly argued
against giving women the right to participate directly in elections. The
general attitude among men was exemplified by Elihu Root, a former
cabinet secretary to presidents McKinley and Roosevelt and winner of
the 1912 Nobel Peace prize who said: "Suffrage would be a loss for
women. I think so because suffrage implies not merely the casting of
the ballot, (…) but suffrage, if it means anything, means entering upon
the field of political life, and politics is modified war. In politics
there is a struggle, strife, contention, bitterness, heart-burning,
excitement, agitation, everything which is adverse to the true
character of woman. Woman in strife becomes hard, harsh, unlovable,
repulsive…” (N.Y. Constitutional Convention, 1894). President
Theodore Roosevelt, himself, said "Personally I believe in woman’s
suffrage, but I am not an enthusiastic advocate of it, because I do not
regard it as a very important matter.” (Letter to Dr. Lyman Abbott,
11/10/1908). And President Grover Cleveland said, "Sensible and
responsible women do not want to vote.” (1905). Despite these
sentiments Debs advocated this right. Yet he never obtained more than 6
percent of the vote. Let me ask you: Were the men who voted with Debs
throwing their vote away? If you had lived in that era, would you have
voted for him? Or would you have come up with an excuse for why it
wasn’t important enough? CONCLUSION On the street when I am
approached by an Obama/Biden volunteer or someone who tells me they’re
voting for Obama, I usually ask "What about the FISA vote?” And each
time I hear in return "What’s that?” Or if I say, "You know he supports
the death penalty,” I usually hear in response, "No he doesn’t.” At
what point will there be intellectual honesty about what ishappening?
People are voting for Obama because they find him to be an engaging
public speaker and like his message regardless of his history of being
part of the very problem he professes to want to fix. Most people don’t
want the actual facts to interfere with the desperate hope that he is
everything they want him to be. Do you really want to vote for
someone who has already voted to take away your civil liberties because
of some vague wish that he’ll act differently as president? Obama
himself, speaking of Sen. Hillary Clinton, made a remark that could
just as easily apply to him, and, unwittingly makes the case for why no
one should vote for him: "We can’t afford a president whose positions
change with the politics of the moment. We need a president who knows
that being ready on day one means getting it right from day one.”
(Salem, OR, 3/21/08). If voting for war appropriations and taking
away civil liberties was bringing us closer to a more democratic and
egalitarian society, well, I would advocate it. But it isn’t doing that. What is your breaking point? At what point do you decide that you’ve had enough? What do they have to do to lose your vote? Matt Gonzalez is Ralph Nader’s Vice-Presidential running mate on an Independent ticket. ShareThis
so that's going to be it from me. let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
October 29, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the SOFA updates, Bully
Boy's bored in the White House, Iraq launches an investigation into the
attack on Syria, Palin talks energy, Gonzalez talks values, and more.
US Secretary of State Condi Rice met in DC with Massud Barzani who is
president of the Kurdish region of Iraq and he told the press that the
main point stressed by Rice was the treaty masquerading as a Status Of
Forces Agreement. Today Barzani went to the White House to meet with
the Bully Boy.
Seated side-by-side, the two provided an Oval
Office photo op and Bully Boy declared, "We had a discussion today on
uh on several major topics. We talked about the progress on the
election law and on the hydrocarbon law, but we also talked about the
strategi -- Status Of Forces Agreement, called the SOFA. President
Barzani has been a very strong advocate of the Iraqi government passing
the SOFA, and I appreciate that. I informed the President we received
amendments today from the government. We're analyzing those amendments.
We obviously want to be uh we want to be uh helpful and constructive
without undermining basic principles. And I remain very hopeful and
confident that the SOFA will get passed. And Mr. President, you get a
lot of credit for your leadership on that issue." Barzani chose to
speak through a translator. His final statement (other than "thank
you") was translated into English as: "And in terms of SOFA, we do
believe that it is in the interest of the Iraqi government, it's in the
interest of this country, and we have been and we will continue to
support it and support its ratification." That led to Barzani
correcting the translator with "Iraqi people."
Translator: And in terms of SOFA, we do believe that it is in the interest of the Iraqi government --
Massud Barzani: Iraqi people.
-- it's in the interest of this country and we have been and we will
continue to support it and support its ratification.
That is not a minor point especially considering the seperation impulses re: the Iraqi government on the part of the KRG. Dan Eggen (Washington Post) describes
Bully Boy's remarks and attitude as "mild encouragement" which comes
after "strong suggestions from other administration officials that a
compromise is unlikely. White House press secretary Dana Perino said on
Tuesday, for example, that the "door is pretty much shut" on further
negotiations." "Mild encouragement" might be too strong. When speaking
Bully Boy rarely looked at Barzani and when Barzani spoke (except
during the "thank you" sentence), Bully Boy was looking everywhere else
and making weird grimaces (most notable when Barzani referred to "some
Yesterday at the US State Dept, deputy
spokesperson Robert Wood refused to comment on the amendments being
reported stating he had no seen them: "But until the Iraqi government
compiles these concerns into a, you know, onto a piece of paper and
forward it to us officially I can't really respond." Today spokesperson
Sean McCormack handled the press briefing and the amendments were the
first thing raised by the press. We did we received some comments from
the Iraqi government. . . . The SOFA, yes, indeed we did. However,
you'll be disappointed, I suspect, in my response Matt [Matthew Lee,
Associated Press]. Since we just received these today we're going to
take a careful look at them, give it a thoughtful review and once we
have had a chance to assess them we'll provide a reply to the Iraqi
government. So the process continues." [This echoed Dana Perino's
earlier comment at the White House today, "I've not seen them. Our
negotiating team in Baghdad has them. It's possible somebody else here
in the building has, but I have not seen them. And we're going to
decline to comment on the content of them and our reaction to them
until we have a little bit more time to look at them more closely.")
Matthew Lee pointed out how little time was left ("you've got a
two-month lifespan" before the UN mandate expires December 31st) and
McCormack replied, "I'm not aware of any substantial work at all on any
alternative." He then clarified that with, "I don't think anybody's put
pen to paper on anything."
Unrelated to Iraq -- unless you
ask a question about Iraq -- the US State Dept does take seriously
those random polls. And they are trying to provide more video content.
State Dept spokesperson Sean McCormack wants you to ask questions
directly and to do so by video ("less than 60 seconds"). They're
calling it "Briefing 2.0."
McCormack: The idea is that you will be able to ask questions of me
directly by posting a video on YouTube. So what you need to do in order
to participate in this is go to the State Dept channel on YouTube,
click on this video and follow the instructions after that. It's pretty
easy. This should be a lot of fun. I know it's going to be fun for me.
I get to hear from the press corps and their questions every single day
and give them answers. This is opportunity for me to hear directly from
you and for you to hear directly from me, whatever happens to be on
your mind. So give it a try. We're going to try to get to as many of
your questions as we possibly can. If we don't get to it first time
around, keep trying. So go to www.youtube/statevideo and follow the instructions after that.
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported
this morning on the proposed amendments to the treaty which "would give
Iraqi authorities the right to determine whether a U.S. service member
was on- or off-duty when he or she committed an alleged crime outside
American bases, where such an American would be tried. It also would
allow authorities to inspect all U.S. cargo enterting the nation. Iraqi
politicians see the changes as a way to preserve Iraqi sovereignty." Mary Beth Sheridan and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) explain
al-Maliki's "cabinet now wants the agreement to include language to
'confirm that Iraqi land would not be the center for aggression'
against its neighbors, said Planning Minister Ali Baban, who attended
Tuesday's meeting. . . . The inspection demand, along with an explicit
ban on attacks on neighboring countries, reflects concerns that the
United States might launch an attack on Iran from Iraqi territory." Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) notes
that the changes sought by Baghdad include killing the clause that
allows Iraqis to ask the US to remain in their country past 2011.
Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshya Zebari told the BBC today,
"The Americans have accepted to look seriously into this amendment.
Some of them, actually, are language-related formulations, not
substantive, but some other amendments are substantive changes, which I
personally doubt will go down well with the American side." Arash Parsa (Iran's Press TV) explains,
"Iraqi groups have reacted to the security pact in different ways. For
example, certain ultranationalist Kurdish leaders have welcomed SOFA
and the US military presence, in line with their traditional policy,
just because they believe it might lay the groundwork for realizing
their dream of an 'independent Kurdish country'. However, Iraqi Sunni
groups which mainly rely on an Arab nationalist ideology, see the US
military presence in their country as a serious infringement on Iraq's
sovereignty, hence they are reluctant to get too close to the
Americans. Shia groups have also a clear picture of the situation in
their mind; after the Shia clergy adopted an uncompromising stance
against the pact, every Shia politician is aware that he or she must
pay a heavy price for supporting such a humilating pact. Of course,
that is, if there were any Shia politicians who are ready to sacrifice
their country's sovereignty for short-term interests."
the State Dept today, Sean McCormack also declared that despite the
announcements by the Syrian government, the US school and cultural
center remain open. That he knew or said he did. But will the US
Embassy in Syria shut down today? He didn't know. Will the US Embassy
close due to protests that were scheduled for today? He didn't know. He
said that was something each embassy determines based on their own
security assessment. Earlier at the White House, Dana Perino had
directed the press to the State Dept for questions regarding "the
possible closure of the embassy". Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) quotes
al-Maliki's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh declaring, "The Iraqi
government rejects the strike by the U.S. planes on Syrian territories
as part of the policy of the Iraqi government and its constitution
which does not allow the Iraqi land as a base to conduct such attacks
on neighboring countries. The Iraqi government has initiated an
investigation on this incident and called for the U.S. forces not to
repeat such an act." Parker also notes Iraq's Parliament also condemned
the US attack on Syria. Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) reported
this morning on a letter to the United Nation and its Security Council
that Syria delivered which "urged Iraq to investigate the U.S. raid and
said the attack came as Syria had been increasing efforts to stem the
flow of foreign fighters into Iraq." The Iraqis are going to
investigate and Reuters reveals
that Iraq's National Media Center declared today, "The Syrian side will
be provided with all details and information when investigation is
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 people working
for the Ministry of Education, a Baquba roadside bombing that claimed 1
life and left fifteen people wounded and a Mosul car bombing that
claimed the life of 1 police officer. Reuters notes
six other police offiers were wounded in the Mosul car bombing and
notes another Mosul bombing that wounded three Iraqi soldiers and
another Mosul roadside bombing which left three police officers
injured, a Ramadi roadside bombing claimed 1 life and wounded another
person, and a Kirkuk sticky bomb resulted in two police officers being
injured. Reuters also notes a roadside bombing near an ice cream shop claimed 5 lives and left seventeen people wounded.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports
a Balad Ruz home invasion in which 3 people were murdered ("the father
of the Sahwa leader, his daughter and her husband") and fourteen more
ere wounded. Reuters notes 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Mosul and 1 Iraqi police officer shot dead in Mosul.
doesn't have sovereignty currently, let's not assume it has justice.
Two years ago three American service members were killed: Thomas
Tucker, Kristian Menchaca and David Babineau. Tim Cocks and Peter Graff (Reuters) explain
that two of the three accused in the attack "were found not guilty"
yesterday but the third, Ibrahim Karim al-Qaraghuli, was judged to be
guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. Whether he's guilty or not,
who knows? Whether there's justice in Iraq is debatable. However, David
Babineua was killed while Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker were
spirited off and tortured before they were killed. So we'll note the
conviction. Equally true is that statements were made connecting the
assault to the gang-rape and murder of 14-year-old Abeer Qassim al-Janabi, the murder of her 5-year-old sister and both parents by US soldiers (not Babineua, Menchaca or Tucker). In 2006, Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported
on how Justin Watt (who was not part of the conspiracy) came forward
with what he had been hearing. This was while US soldiers Kristian
Menchaca and Thomas Tucker were missing and, though the two were not
involved in the war crimes, they were the ones chosen for 'punishment' as The Sunday Telegraph revealed in December 2006. Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) explains
today, "The attack was one chapter in a brutal history of this army
unit. Just four months earlier, American soldiers from the same unit
raped a 14-year-old Iraqi girl and then killed her, her parents and
sister, burning the bodies afterward. Four soldiers were convicted
and sentenced in the rape case and a fifth soldier was discharged from
the military. A sixth had already left the military when the others
were court-martialed; he is scheduled to be tried in federal court.
None of the soldiers captured and killed on June 16 were among those
implicated in the rape and murder case." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) also notes Abeer and explains that the trial involved testimony "from witnesses who were unwilling to show up in court." October 22nd, Mike wrote, "Abeer
is the 14-year-old girl who was gang-raped while her parents and
five-year-old sister were killed in the next room. Then Abeer was
murdered. All the US soldiers involved in the war crimes have been
punished except for Steven D. Green." Mike noted Brett Barrouquere (AP) reporting
on what happened after Steven D. Green was taken into custody -- he
became a "chatterbox" and was "voluntarily making nearly two dozen
statements while in custody". Green, who was admitted in the military
on one of their moral waivers, has been fingered by the other soldiers
as the ring leader. He has maintained he is innocent in the past but
his lawyers are now floating an insanity plea. Unlike the other
soldiers, Green had already been discharged before the war crimes were
revealed. For that reason, he will be tried in a civilian court.
Turning to the US presidential race. Julia Preston (New York Times) reports
Democratic presidential nominee Barack "Obama embraces new
law-and-order language adopted in the Democratic Party platform at the
convention. Although Americans are 'welcoming and generous,' the
platform states, 'those who enter our country's borders illegally, and
those who employ them, disrespect the rule of law.' Instead of the
Democrats' emphasis, as recently as last year on integrating illegal
immigrants into society, the platform says, 'We must require them to
come out of the shadows and get right with the law.' Heather
Higginbottom, the Obama campaign's director for policy, said Mr. Obama
had not altered his basic views. If elected, Mr. Obama would insist
that illegal immigrants pay back taxes and fines, learn English and go
to the back of the immigration line to become legal." That is so
offensive but not at all surprising. Latinos didn't favor Hillary
Clinton in the Democratic Party primary a 'little,' they favored her
overwhelmingly and it was because there was a relationship and a
record. It was ignored by the liars of Panhandle Media but Latinos can always be discarded and trashed by the likes of Amy Goodman, Laura Flanders, et al. (Phillip Rodriguez' Latinos '08
documentary told the truth the liars of Panhandle Media refused to.) So
it's no surprise that the vindictive Obama political machine would
create one of the most offensive party planks regarding undocumented
workers as a form of punishment. Independent journalist David Bacon has long covered the challenges immigrants to the US face and his latest written report is "Silence on Immigration"
(Foreign Policy In Focus) which notes of the next president, whomever
he or she is, "Something is clearly wrong with the priorities of
immigration enforcement. Hungry and desperate workers go to jail and
get deported. The government protects employers and seeks to turn a
family-based immigration system into a managed labor supply for
business. Yet national political campaigns say less and less about it.
Immigrant Latino and Asian communities feel increasingly afraid and
frustrated. Politicians want their votes, but avoid talking about the
rising wave of arrests, imprisonment, and deportations." Bacon's latest
book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) and it was published last month. Yesterday Dissident Voice featured Lance Selfa calling out PDA (Pathetic Democrats of America). Today Joshua Frank offers "Note to Progressives for Obama: What Happens After Election Day?" which includes the following:
[Norman] Solomon even understand what it means to "put up a fight"? And
what's with the notion that progressives will "apply pressure" once
Obama wins? They have no cash and he's already going to receive most of
their votes. What are they going to do to pressure him, poke him in his
ribs? Cause a stink by farting through the halls of Congress? Obama may
actually listen to us if he thought progressives were considering to
vote for a guy like Ralph Nader, which is the point Nader seems to be
making by campaigning in swing states this week. Nader knows how to put
up a real fight, one not mired in hypotheticals and fear-mongering, so
he's pressuring Obama where it matters most. Of course, such a
direct confrontation to Obama's backward policies ruffles the slacks of
many devout liberals. But that is the point. Progressives are not flush
with cash and as we all should know, flashing the almighty buck is
usually the best way to grab a politician's attention. But the only
thing we have at our immediate disposal now is votes. These crooks need
us to get elected. Obama already has the majority of left-wing support
shored up despite his resistance to embrace our concerns. Imagine if he
had to earn our votes instead of receiving our support without having
to do a thing for it? So let's prepare for what's ahead. Obama may
win next Tuesday, but what will happen to the movements that have been
sidelined in order to help get the Democrats elected? What will become
of the environmental movement after January 20? Will it step up to
oppose Obama's quest for nuclear power and clean coal? Will the antiwar
movement work to force Obama to take a softer approach toward Iran?
Will they stop the troop increase in Afghanistan? These are but a
few of the questions I'd like progressive supporters of Obama to
answer. I've yet to hear exactly how they will pressure an Obama
administration. In fact, I don't think they will. George W. Bush will
be gone and that will be enough for most. Progressives faced a similar
confrontation in 1992 when Bill Clinton took office, but without much
of a fight we saw neoliberalism take hold in the form of NAFTA and we
endured the Telecommunications Act, Welfare Reform, a forest plan
written by the logging industry, the dismantling of Glass-Steagall, the
Iraq Liberation Act, and much much more. What makes the Democrats
believe that they even deserve our support now? President Bush has
indeed been bad, but his most egregious policies were upheld and
supported by the majority of Democrats. They gave Bush the green light
to whack Saddam while they controlled the Senate. They supported the
PATRIOT Act (Obama voted for its reconfirmation), the War on Terror,
Bush's increased Pentagon budget, a no-strings Wall Street bailout and
two awful Supreme Court confirmations. You may also remember that two
years ago we ushered Democrats back into office with the belief that
they might actually fight Bush on Iraq. Instead we've had nothing but
complicity, with Democrats time and again supporting increased war
Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate
and Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Staying on a the topic of the
foolish such as Norman Solomon, we'll note this from Team Nader:
Donate $3 now to Nader/Gonzalez. Why? Three
is the number of principled journalists who this week recognized the
long term benefit behind Ralph's run for President. (That's a big
number for the week before the election -- trust us.) Before we get to the three, check out one Norman Solomon, who again this week makes the tired old argument that Obama is the least worst of the two major party candi
Solomon v. Greider/Cockburn/Kilkenney Posted by The Nader Team on Tuesday, October 28, 2008 at 07:26:00 PM ShareThis Donate $3 now to Nader/Gonzalez. Why? Three is the number of principled journalists who this week recognized the long term benefit behind Ralph’s run for President. (That’s a big number for the week before the election — trust us.) Before we get to the three, check out one Norman Solomon, who again this week makes the tired old argument that Obama is the least worst of the two major party candidates. And therefore educated citizens should not risk a vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Compare this lily-livered Norman Solomon approach to the three principled ones who weighed in on the Nader/Obama/McCain contest. Number one, we have Alexander Cockburn, writing in this week’s issue of The Nation magazine. Cockburn has been looking this month for one positive reason to vote for Obama. He’s still looking. In an article titled "Against Obama," Cockburn makes the point that: "Abroad, Obama stands for imperial renaissance. He has groveled before the Israel lobby and pandered to the sourest reflexes of the cold war era. At home he has crooked the knee to bankers and Wall Street, to the oil companies, the coal companies, the nuclear lobby, the big agricultural combines. He has been fearless in offending progressives, constant in appeasing the powerful." Number two, we have William Greider. Greider wrote an article, also in The Nation this week, titled "Nader’s Stubborn Idealism." In it, Greider argues that Ralph is "a man of political substance trapped in an era of easy lies." Greider quotes Ralph as saying "So long as progressives are willing to settle for the least worst alternative, they will remain ignored and excluded from power." And number three, we have Allison Kilkenny who makes a similar point in the Huffington Post this week, in an article titled "The Least Worst Trap." So, you have your three principled journalists. And your Norman Solomon style unprincipled ones. The principled ones will join with us — the Nader/Gonzalez campaign and you, our loyal supporters — on the winning side of history. With the end of corrupt political party domination of our society. When Obama/Biden engage in another risky foreign war. When a Democratic Congress rubber stamps their rightward drift. But to build toward victory, we need your help now. To drive upward our vote totals. And to send a message to corporate Washington — we’re here, we’re organized, we’re not going away. So, donate your $3 today. Join Nader/Gonzalez on the winning side of history. Onward to November The Nader Team PS: Remember, if you donate $100 or more, we will ship to you the hard cover 40th Anniversary edition of Unsafe at Any Speed — Ralph’s historic expose of the American automobile industry — autographed by the man himself. It was the book that launched the American consumer movement and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. This autographed edition is b ound to become a rare collector’s item after the election. So, get it now. Only a limited number left. (This book offer ends November 4, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.) ShareThis
good for team nader. norman solomon's a joke. and so is his precious little fair. they sent out a top ten list that i've already told jim i want to carry over to 3rd this weekend or i'd be doing it here but i will tell you get ready to laugh at the liars and hypocrites of so-called fair. in fact laughing at the hypocrites is probably true of so many on the left.
like howard zinn. howie wants you to know that barack is who you have to vote for.
have to, howie?
howie's an old man where it hurts: on the inside.
he's scared and no longer able to dream.
so he tries to herd his followers into the barack tent and tries to pass selling out off as a sign of maturity. maybe senility but not maturity.
if all these losers had used even 1/4 of their barack loving time just to cover barack we'd be looking at a completely different election.
i'm voting for ralph and i'm proud to do so.
i'm voting for ralph because i refuse to give up on myself or give in to fear.
i'm voting for ralph because i believe in a future full of promises, not ever more restrictions.
i'm voting for ralph because he is standinng up and when some 1 stands up you can stand with them or play like you don't know them. i know nader. he is the heart of this country that demands fairness, equality and forward movement.
Nader explained some of his differing viewpoints at an area library on Tuesday, for instance he favors Medicare insurance for everyone. He said he wants to reduce the military budget and devote more money locally to things like road repairs. He said he would implement a six-month withdrawal plan from Iraq.
however, you vote, make sure it's what you can live with. that's it for me tonight. let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'
Tuesday, October 28, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the White House speaks of two US soldiers who died in Iraq yesterday . . . even though there were no reported deaths, the treaty continues to create tensions as does the US attack on Syria, and more.
Yesterday in Turkey, Hurriyet reports, General Ilker Basbug became "the first Chief of General Staff to ever attend a cabinet meeting" when he briefed the Council of Ministers on the country's "ongoing fight against terrorism". Deutsche Welle notes, "The Turkish Air Force conducted bombing raids Tuesday on suspected Kurdish separatist positions in nothern Iraq in the latest upsurge of violence between the two sides." RTT News adds, "The army said that its warplanes succssfully carried out a bombing operation on Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) hideouts in the regions of Hakurk, Avashin-Basyan and Zap in northern Iraq. The army said that the air raid was backed by heavy artillery firing, but did not mention the causalities among the rebel ranks." Iran's Press TV reminds, "Turkey has stepped up operations against PKK since the rebels attacked a Turkish border outpost in October 3 and killed 17 soliders." Middle East Online does the math, "It was the sixth Turkish air raid in nothern Iraq since October 3 when PKK rebels crossing from their base in the region attacked a Turkish border outpost, backed by heavy weapons fir from the other side of the border." At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Robert Wood declared, "Look, we, our case, look, the PKK is a terrorist group, we've said over and over again that it needs to go out of business, our position hasn't changed on this." AFP notes, "Earlier this month, Turkey's parliament extended by one year the government's mandate to order cross-border military action agains the PKK in northern Iraq, which has been in effect since October 17, 2007." The tensions and attacks have been going on since the start of the illegal war; however, this month was supposed to see some changes including alleged talks between Ankara, Baghdad and DC according to Ali Babacan, Turkey's Foreign Minister. Hurriyet explains potential changes, "The weekend U.S. raid into Syrian territory will hamper Turkey's efforts to create a more stable Middle East through mediating between rival Israel and Syria, according to experts." Hurriyet maintains Turkey had no advance knowledge of the attack on Syria and notes, "Turkey has so far hosted four rounds of indirect talks between Israel and Syria with the aim of bringing the bitter enemies together for direct talks. The fifth round, originally scheduled for Septemeber, was postponed after former Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert resigned amid corruption claims. . . . Washington has remained silent on the Olmert-led Israeli government's initiative to engage in indirect talks with Syria under Turkish auspices."
This is the Bully Boy of the United States speaking to the United Nations September 23rd:
Sixty-three years ago, representatives from around the world gathered in San Francisco to complete the founding of the Charter of the United Nations. They met in the shadow of a devastating war, with grave new dangers on the horizon. They agreed on a historic pledge: "to reaffirm faith in fundamental human rights, and unite their strength to maintain international peace and security." This noble pledge has endured trying hours in the United Nations' history, and it still guides our work today. Yet the ideals of the Charter are now facing a challenge as serious as any since the U.N.'s founding -- a global movement of violent extremists. By deliberately murdering the innocent to advance their aims, these extremists defy the fundamental principles of international order. They show contempt for all who respect life and value human dignity. They reject the words of the Bible, the Koran, the Torah, or any standard of conscience or morality. They imperil the values of justice and human rights that gave birth to the United Nations -- values that have fueled an unprecedented expansion of freedom across the world. To uphold the words of the Charter in the face of this challenge, every nation in this chamber has responsibilities. As sovereign states, we have an obligation to govern responsibly, and solve problems before they spill across borders. We have an obligation to prevent our territory from being used as a sanctuary for terrorism and proliferation and human trafficking and organized crime. We have an obligation to respect the rights and respond to the needs of our people.
Eric Schmitt and Thom Shanker (New York Times) cite the above (beginning with "As soveriegn states . . .") as what unnamed "administation officials" cub "the clearest articulation" of the White House's position. The clearest articulation is international law and the US is in violation of it when it enters another country without the host country's permission to conduct any activity. The idea that unnamed weasels can point to remarks made regarding "sovereign states" without anyone (including Schmitty and Shanks) pointing out that "sovereign states" have "sovereignty." But what's to be expected when Schmmitty and Shanks writes, "This month, Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former top commander in Iraq, said that the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq has dwindled to less than 20 a month from a peak of more than 120 a month a year ago." Really? The US is now only sending 20 a month? Because, pay attention Boom-Boom Boys, the US make up "foreign fighters." All non-Iraqis security/military forces on Iraqi soil are "foreign fighters." But you have to write with a strong sense of entitlement if you're not going to cite any legal objections to the created-out-of-whole-cloth 'logic' for bypassing a nation-state's sovereignty. The first clue that there's no real legal underpinning is that the writers have to cite Israel as an example -- actions condemned widely in the international community.
Unnamed officials whispering to the press say that the illegal raid was targeting 'terrorists' and some say it was CIA-led. Were that the case, it would need to be addressed with the American people frankly as would the White House's notion that they can create their own legal 'understanding'. If you factor in recent remarks by Democratic vice presidential candidate Joe Biden -- on how if Barack Obama's elected president he will be tested and you won't like his 'solutions' but you must go along like good soldiers and you will eventually see the wisdom of his ways -- the attack on Syria is even more appalling and even more frightening. Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) reports Syria's response today included closing an "American school and cultural center in Damascus" and she reports that Ali al-Dabbagh, speaking on behalf of the Baghdad government, "denounced the helicopter raid" declaring, "The Iraqi government rejects the U.S. aircraft bombardment on Syria territory, considering that Iraq's constitution doesn't allow its land to be used as a base for launching attacks on neighboring countries." At the US State Dept today, Robert A. Wood briefed the press and, asked about the closings, stated, "I've seen, actually heard about the reports but we have not been officially notified by the Syrian government. So until we do, I don't have much further to say on it." Wood then attempted to stick with his intent not to comment stating, "I'm not going to comment on it" and then, "Nothing to add." However, he then went on to make a statement.
Robert A. Wood: No, I don't. But let me just say as Sean [McCormack] said yesterday with regard to, you know, the flow of foreign fighters across the border. The Syrians have made in the past, taken some steps in the right direction, but there's a lot they need to do. And we have spoken to Syria about what they need to do. One of those things that we'd like to see happen is for them to better screen individuals coming inot Damascus Airport. For them to better patrol their borders. And, uh, you know, we want them, third, on this third point, we want them to deny foreign fighters safe haven in Syria. And so Syrians know what they need to do. We want to see those things happen. And that's just a general overview of what we'd like the Syrians to do with regards to foreign fighters.
"These are things we've been saying for some time," Wood declared when he was asked why the State Dept couldn't make those comments yesterday and he added that this is general policy with regards to Syria and has been "for some time."
Wood was also asked about the treaty masquerading as Status Of Forces Agreement in terms of had the Iraqis proposed any changes and he stated t
Robert A. Wood: As we've said many times, as I've said over and over again last week, this is a good agreement. It was carefully negotiated by both sides, if the Iraqis have some concerns about the text, they can certainly compile those recommendations and forward them on to us officially. That has not yet happened. There are lots of voices in Iraq that you know have problems with various aspects of the agreement. That's understandable. Iraq's a democracy. But until the Iraqi government compiles these concerns into a, you know, onto a piece of paper and forward it to us officially I can't really respond.
He then went on to declare, "I never talk about deadlines on anything but we obviously have a December 31st deadline, that's the only real deadline." December 31st is when the United Nations mandate that allows foreign fighters to be on the ground in Iraq. Without the mandate, there is no legal basis for the US to remain in Iraq. At the White House this morning, spokesperson Dana Perino was asked about any "Plan B" should the treaty not go through and would they pursue a renewal of the United Nations mandate? Dana Perino: It's certainly not our preference. It wouldn't be what we want to do. We want to be able to move forward with both a strategic framework agreement that we've organized with the Iraqis that talks about the broad contours of our relationship, both economic and diplomatic and also political. So we want to be able to move forward with that with them. But when it comes to the strategic -- I'm sorry, the Status Of Forces Agreement, we remain confident that we'll be able to get one. However, if we don't, there will be consequences for that. And Secretary [of State Condi] Rice and Secretary [of Defense Robert] Gates have both talked about that. And I don't think there are Iraqis -- I don't there are any Iraqis who think that they are ready to do this all on their own -- deep down. They might say that and it might help politically for them in their own country domestically to be able to say that they could do it on their own, but even just yesterday we saw two of our soldiers who were killed in a suicide bombing, So Iraq still has a lot of violence that they have to deal with. Our soldiers are the ones who are there to help them deal with it, and they're going to need our help for some time. And that's how we got to the agreement that we have, with the broad outlines that you've seen reported in the press. So we'll continue to work with them. We'll see what the amendments say. There might be something that we can work with, it might not. So I need to see those amendments and I need to hear from Abassador Crocker before I say any more.
Before we got any further, what is Perino speaking of regarding "yesterday"? ". . . even just yesterday we saw two of our soldiers who were killed in a suicide bombing . . ." She said that today. There's been no announcement of any US service members dying in Iraq yesterday. What is she talking about? Are their two deaths that haven't been announced? Did she misspeak? ICCC lists the last US service member death as having taken place October 24th (Cody J. Eggleston). (4188 is the current total of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.)
Returning to the treaty, Wood wants something in writing before he will comments. He may soon get it. Mariam Karouny and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) report that amendments to the proposal were drawn up today and "Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki will now send U.S. negotiators the proposed amendments to the security deal, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said." Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports of the amendments, "Iraq has demanded a clear commitment from the US that its forces will have left its soil by the end of 2011. The stance was revealed in a newly toughened-up version of a draft military pact that could eventually see the US presence forced to make their exit much sooner." CNN states it's "unclear" when the proposed amendments would be submitted. Today Leila Fadel updates her Sunday report with Roy Gutman "U.S. threatens to halt services to Iraq without troop accord" (McClatchy Newspapers) which informs that Gen Ray Odierno is the heavy throwing around threats to Iraqis that they'll lose $6.3 million in US aid as well as "$10 billion a year in foreign military sales" if they do not accept the treaty (or the UN mandate is not renewed) and that the US would no longer share intelligence "and would cease to provide air traffic control, air defense, SWAT team training or advisers in government ministries". And that's only one of the pressures on the puppet government regarding the treaty. The attack on Syria has created another and Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post) covers the bind al-Maliki is thought to be in with regards to Iran: "If Maliki pushes the U.S.-Iraq security agreement through parliament without support from his Shiite partners, 'the Iranians will turn his life into hell. He will have no chance of winning in the south,' Attiyah, the political analyst, said. Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has said the Iraqi people have a 'duty' to resist the Americans. The Iranian parliament speaker, Sli Larijani, wanred of 'unpleasent impacts' is Iraq sings the deal. And a senior cleric with ties to Iraq's Shiites, Ayatollah Kadhim al-Husseini al-Haeri, has pronounced the accord 'haram,' or forbidden under Islam."
US Secretary of State Condi Rice met with Massud Barzani, president of Iraq's Kurdish region, in DC today. AFP quotes him stating, "The issue of the strategic agreement was the main theme of the meeting." Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported this morning on the failure of the oil law which was rejected and on the Kurds rejection of al-Maliki's efforts to create a new form of "Awakening" Councils for the areas that the central government in Baghdad and Kurds dispute: "It has become an article of faith for Kurdish political leaders that the Kurds have a right to fold Kirkuk into Kurdistan. The Kurds are also seeking to maintain influence over a number of other disputed areas along their borders with the rest of Iraq. The centeral government has long opposed Kurdistna's claims to Kirkuk because it wants access to the region's oil wealth, and also because historically many other people have lived there: Turkmens, Arabs and Christians, many of them Assyrians." The paper's Sam Dagher reported that "al-Maliki is squeezing out Kurdish units of the Iraqi Army from Mosul, sending the national police and army from Baghdad and trying to forge alliances with Sunni Arab hard-liners in the province, who have deep-seated feuds with the Kurdistan Regional Government led by Massoud Barzani." On the issue of Iraqi Christians in that region, Dagher notes:
Mr. [Atheel al-] Nujaifi and his brother Osama, a member of Parliament in Baghdad, blame the Kurds for instigating a campaign against the Christians in Mosul to deflect the central government's pressure. One Kurdish leader called the accusations "ludicrous," and the United States military said it was most likely the work of militants linked to Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia. But a group of Christian leaders who met with General Thomas last week in the town of Qosh, outside Mosul, blamed the struggle between the central government and Kurdistan for the plight of their people. Sweeping out both sides, they said, may be the only way to restore calm and trust."You have done a great job removing Saddam's regime," the Rev. Bashar Warda told the general. "Continue with removing this regime, and start over again."
Meanwhile Reuters reports that Yunadim Kanna (MP, Christian) states "a few hundred" of the approximately 2,200 Iraqi Christian families who fled Mosul have returned to their home while Jawdat Ismail of the Displacement and Migration Ministry in Mosul places the number as being around eighty.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left four people wounded, another that wounded three people, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 3 lives and left thirteen more people wounded, a second Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left five more injured, a Baghdad sticky bombing that injured two people, a Tuz roadside bombing targeting LT Col Shamal Mohammed (who survived), a Diyala Province roadside bombing that wounded three people and an Al Anbar Province bomber ("explosive vest") who took his/her life as well as the lives of 2 police officers with three more wounded.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Nineveh Province attack on police recruits in which 4 recruits were killed and four more were injured, an armed clash in Kirkuk that resulted in two participants being injured, also in Kirkuk a driver for an "Iraqi Christian lawmaker" (Yonadim Kanna) was wounded in a shooting,
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad. China's Xinhua notes 20 corpses were discovered in Nineveh Province ("80 km west of the provincial capital of Mosul") and they remind that 34 corpses were discovered last week outside of al-Qaim. Hammouci explinas they were found in a house's basement on a tip "from local residents." Reuters notes 1 corpse was discovered in Tal Afar and another (police officer) was found in Hilla.
Next week the US elects a new president. The Republican presidential candidate is John McCain, Sarah Palin is his running mate. Brian Montopoli (CBS News) reports that Joe Wurzelbacher -- better known as "Joe the Plumber" -- has made his endorsement: "Wurzelbacher campaigned for McCain in Columbus, Ohio this morning. He said Barack Obama wants to redistribute wealth and would make America a socialist nation, according to the Associated Press. He also said he believes Obama will raise taxes on the middle class, despite Obama's promises to cut their taxes." Jake Tapper and Matthew Jaffe (ABC News' Political Punch) report that Joe Biden introduced himself in Florida stating, "I'm Joe -- not the plumber -- Joe the Biden." Tapper and Jaffe also note a polling setback for Barack and wonder how that . . . "Oh, right …his running mate said the world would test the mettle of a young President Obama with an international crisis and it wouldn't be apparent initially that the Obama response was the correct one." Scott Conroy (CBS News) reports weather and bus breakdowns on the road with the Palin camp. Conroy also notes that Governor "Palin will deliver a policy speech on energy security Wednesday morning in Toledo, Ohio". Will that get coverage? Her speech Friday on special-needs children didn't. And let's be really clear that the press refusal to cover that and instead focus on a woman's clothes said much more about their own bias and immaturity.
McCain-Palin 2008 Launches New Television Ad: "Compare" ARLINGTON, VA -- Today, McCain-Palin 2008 released its latest television ad, entitled "Compare." The ad highlights the clear choice Americans have at the polls this year. For higher taxes, policies that spread the wealth around, increased government spending and pain for small business, Barack Obama is the clear choice in this election. For policies that promote economic growth, help working Americans, lower taxes and eliminates government waste, the choice is John McCain. The ad will be televised in key states.VIEW THE AD HERE: Script For "Compare" (TV :30)ANNCR: Your choice...For higher taxes ... for workin' Joe's.Spread your income ... keep what's yours.A trillion in new spending ... freeze spending, eliminate waste.Pain for small business ... economic growth.Risky ... proven.For a stronger America, McCain.JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.
Today is a big day for Nader/Gonzalez. Thanks to you, beginning today -- our radio ads will air in 22 markets in 12 states. Click here to listen to the 30 second version and 60 second version of the radio ads. Today through election day -- the ads will run six times a day on radio stations in the following areas: Upstate New York Northern California Michigan Ohio Connecticut Oregon Florida Minnesota North Dakota Pennsylvania West Virginia Virginia Please forward these radio ads to your address book, friends and family. Also, we'd like to move these ads into as many markets as possible. We can make it happen. But we'd need to raise a boatload of money. And soon. So, if you haven't given yet, please donate whatever you can to Nader/Gonzalez today. Our goal is to hit $4 million by election day. We're about $190,000 away. So, let's crank it up. And help drive our last widget upward to the finish line. Onward to November.
We need your videos. And we need them now. With one week to go, we need your help to convince undecided voters to vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Over the last seven months, we've received countless stories and written testimonials from you -- our loyal supporters -- about why you plan to vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Now, we need you to help us show the country the full spectrum of Nader/Gonzalez supporters -- among them Independents, Republicans, Democrats and Greens. So, we've come up with a video contest. You send us your video testimonial telling us why you are voting for Nader/Gonzalez. We'll pick our favorite ones and post them to our official Nader/Gonzalez YouTube channel. And then we'll send them to our supporters to forward to their friends. So, here is how it's going to work: In your video, tell us your name, where you live, a little bit about yourself and your family, and most importantly, why you are voting for Nader/Gonzalez. Your video testimonial should be 60 seconds or less. Make the video. You can do it from your webcam on your computer, from your videocam, high quality, low quality -- it's the message, not the quality, that we're looking for. We need your video testimonials to convince America that it's time to break away from the corrupt two political parties. So, send along your "Why I'm Voting for Nader/Gonzalez" videos now. And we'll post the best ones later this week.
Ralph's running mate is Matt Gonzalez. Ralph gets some attention at CBS News' website via a reposting of William Greider from The Nation, "Why Ralph Nader Runs:"Nader stood at the podium and read from a lengthy speech describing the corporate dominance of politics, the stranglehold exercised on dissent by the two-party system, the presidential candidates packaged like soap and cars, the failure of left-liberal progressives (including The Nation) to demand conditions on their support for the Democratic candidate. "The hypocrisy of liberals, which may in some ways be unconscious, is empowering the forces that are destroying our nation," Nader asserted in an even-tempered voice. "The left in this country has been successfully cowed by the Democratic Party," he continued. "The votes of progressives are taken for granted by Democrats.... By allowing ourselves to be manipulated, we have demonstrated that we have no moral substance. We have no line that can be never be crossed, no stance so sacred and important that we are willing to stand up and fight back."So long as progressives are willing to settle for the "least worst" alternative, they will remain ignored and excluded from power, he suggested. This kind of talk from Nader drives some people to rage against him. He returns the favor by discussing "the rage that many in our nation feel towards liberals." Barack Obama, he insists, does not intend to alter anything fundamental about the causes. "This rage is a legitimate expression of very real betrayal," Nader explained. "The working class, most of whom do not vote, watch Democratic candidate after Democratic candidate run for office promising to support labor and protect jobs and then, once elected, trot off to Washington to pass the corporate-friendly legislation drawn up by the 35,000 lobbyists who work for our shadow government."
What has unfolded is a two-pronged approach. On the one hand, minimize or ignore Obama's gestures or actions that fly in the face of progressive values. On the other, accentuate the differences between him and McCain, no matter how small they might be on particular issues. A good example of the former was the reaction of Progressive Democrats of America (PDA) to the recent Wall Street bailout bill and Obama's support for it. To its credit, PDA opposed the legislation as a "sellout to greedy fat cats," as PDA National Director Tim Carpenter called it in an October 2 press release. Carpenter pointed out that Senate changes to the bill (what he called "lipstick") and renaming it a "rescue plan" didn't change its essence as a "blank check bailout." Yet two days later, Congress passed that blank-check bailout. The administration's efforts to round up support got a boost from Obama, who campaigned for the bill and persuaded leading members of the Congressional Black Caucus to switch from "no" to "yes." In many ways, Obama and the congressional Democratic leadership led the way to the bill's passage. And what did PDA say about that? Nothing. Its next official press release, dated October 10, quoted Carpenter as saying, "We're stepping up our efforts during these closing weeks to elect Obama and a more progressive Congress. We've already started. New-voter registration coordinator Bruce Taub and a team of Massachusetts volunteers just returned from a four-day trip to Pennsylvania." Given that PDA and other progressive Democrats are invested in an Obama win and substantial Democratic coattails, it's unlikely they would have taken the opportunity to denounce Obama or the Democrats. But then, that's not their modus operandi anyway. Progressives for Obama initiator Tom Hayden even explained: "I have no problem with Barack Obama supporting the bailout package as long as it keeps him on track to the presidency. He needs to be critical, to offer amendments, and to promise to return to the crisis the day after November 4." [. . .] This is the way "progressive" politics oriented on the Democratic Party is played -- because when all is said and done, it is no more than liberal gloss on the politics of the "lesser of two evils."
a 2001 radio broadcast included barack as a guest. john mccain states barack told about redistribution of wealth.
now let me stop real quick because most of you know about barack's 1995 tv interview where he did that as well. apparently the press hasn't caught on to that. this is not the tv interview, this is a radio interview.
so what did barack say?
that's where james confuses us.
he tells us what a guy who was on the program with barack (and who also gave $500 to barack's 2008 campaign) says what barack means.
i guess barack was the guy's boyfriend.
i mean that's always the excuse, right? we say, 'i know he said ---- but he meant ---'. that's what we do with our boyfriends.
Monday, October 27, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq has new 'neighbor problems,' Dana Perino will not comment -- she won't -- she really, really won't, Iraqi Christians get some global attention and more.
Iraq has serious problems with its neighbors. Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that northern Iraq was bombed by Turkey today and last night. The tensions between Turkey and the northern region of Iraq have been ongoing. World Bulletin News reports a political development that emerged last week and was little noticed, US Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama weighed in with an announcement at his campaign website last week which spoke of "resotring the strategic partnership with Turkey" and in which he said, "That relationship has been deeply strained in recent years, most importantly by the Bush administration's misguided and mismanaged intervention in Iraq, which has helped revive the militanst threat posed to Turkey by the PKK. . . . Barack Obama and Joe Biden will lead a diplomatic effort to bring together Turkish and Iraqi Kurdish leaders and negotiate a comprehensive agreement that deals with the PKK threat, guarantees Turkey's territorial integrity, and facilitates badly needed Turkish investment in and trade with the Kurds of nothern Iraq." How that will play out with some of Barack's Cult members in the US is unknown. A number of them with outlets (especially in the northern west) have been public in their ardent support for the PKK. Meanwhile Turkish Daily News reports that former CIA agent Charles Sam Faddis' book Operation Hotel California: The Clandestine War Inside Iraq asserts that, "Turkish soldiers and CIA teams were nearly involved in an armed clash during America's invasion of Iraq in 2003".
Turkey is Iraq's northern neighbor and this week it takes second place on the tensions list. Syria is Iraq's western neighbor (actually, northwestern). Yesterday Reuters reported that US and Iraqi officials were summed by the Syrian Foriegn Ministry following an attack which the Telegraph of London described as follows: "In an echo of the Israeli air strikes which last year targeted a suspected Syrian nuclear facility, US military helicopters were reported to have crossed into Syria to drop troops who then executed the mission.The state news agency Sana reported that eight civilians had been killed in the raid. 'Four American helicopters violated Syrian airspace around 16:45 local time (1345 GMT) on Sunday,' it said. 'American soldiers' who had emerged from helicopters 'attacked a civilian building under construction and fired at workmen inside, causing eight deaths. The helicopters then left Syrian territory towards Iraqi territory,' Sana said." Tony Perry (Babylon and Beyond, Los Angeles Times) wondered, "Was the weekend raid a way for the U.S. to warn the insurgents, and their Syrian cohorts, that although the U.S. is retreating from the border, it is still on watch and able to strike?" Today Ellen Knickmeyer and Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) explained, "U.S. attacks inside Syria are extremely rare, though the U.S. military has stepped up security along Iraq's border with Syria in recent months to stem the traffic of fighters and weapons into Iraq. U.S. officials say many insurgents, particularly suicide bombers, arrive in Iraq via the Syrian border." Reuters reports: "A deadly raid on the Syrian side of Iraq's border, blamed by Syria on the United States, targeted an area used by insurgents for attacks on Iraq, Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said on Monday." CNN cites Sgt Brooke Murphy as one military spokesperson stonewalling: "Unfortunately, we cannot confirm anything at the moment." Borzou Daragahi and Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) explain, "In Washington, several military representatives who were asked about the operation did not deny that a raid had taken place. Although they would not confirm the attack, they used language typically employed after raids conducted by secretive special operations forces." AFP quotes an unnamed "American official" who states "The operation was successful" and claims the attack was targeting a 'terrorist'. Martin Sieff (UPI) reminds, "Cross-border attacks in any conflict carry the risk of widening it uncontrollably. That is especially the case here, since Syria is the main Middle East ally of Iran, and tensions between the United States and Iran remain high over Tehran's drive to acquire long-range ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. And the risks of escalation are far greater when ground troops are involved in the incident, not just airstrikes."
At the White House this morning, spokesperson Dana Perino repeatedly refused to comment although she did, at one point, invite the press to attempt to physically force a comment out of her. Here are Perino's responses to questions about the attack on Syria:
*"The United States government has not commented on reports about that and I'm not able to here either."
*"I can't comment on it at all, no."
*"I'm not going to comment in any way on this; I'm not able to comment on that."
*"I'm not going to comment on the reports about this, no, I'm not. Anybody else?"
*"I'm not going to comment on it at all. This could be a really short briefing."
*"I don't know. I don't know."
*"Jim, all I can tell you is that I am not able to comment on reports about this reported incident and I'm not going to do so. You can come up here and try to beat it out of me, but I will not be commenting on this in any way, shape or form today."
*"I don't believe anybody is commenting on this at all."
*"To give you an answer to that would be commenting in some way on it and I'm not going to it."
"*I understand the reports are serious but it's not something I'm going to comment on in any way."
While the White House refuses to comment, all tongues are not being held. Caroline Alexander and Thomas Penny (Bloomberg News) quotes Walid al-Moualem, Syria's Foreign Minister, stating, "We consider this criminal and terrorist aggression. We put the responsibility on the American government and they need to investigate and return back to us with the result the investigation of why they did it." Al Jazeera quotes al-Moualem stating, "All of them were unarmed and they are on the Syrian territories. This killing of civilians in international law means a terrorist aggression. The Americans do it in the daylight, this means it is not a mistake it is by determination, by planned determination. [Some sources spell the name differently such as Moullem and Muallem -- we're using the United Nations' spelling: Moualem.] BBC informs that Syria's spokesperson Jihad Makdissi tells them the attack is "an outrageous crime and an act of aggression. If [the US has] any proof of any insurgency, instead of applying the law of the jungle and penetrating, unprovoked, a sovereign country, they should come to the Syrians first and share this information." And Syria's reaction is not isolated. Borzou Daragahi and Ramin Mostaghim (Babylon & Beyond, Los Angeles Times) report, "The pro-U.S. faction within the Lebanese government condemned the U.S. move. Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora accused the U.S., which funds his military, of an 'unacceptable' violation of Syrian sovereignty. 'Any military attack against an Arab country or on a small country by a larger country is an act we reject,' said a statement issued by his office." And the situation has created fallout outside of Syria. Catherine Philp and Deborah Haynes (Times of London -- link has text and video) explain that "Britian and Syria cancelled a planned joint press conference of their foreign ministers in London today as the fall-out continued over an American military raid into Syrian territory that left eight civilians dead.
"But Syria is problematic for me but, more importantly, for the Iraqis because it doesn't seem that there's much being done on the other side of the border to assist this country in terms of maintaing the border and the integrity of, you know, Iraqi sovereignty." That may be the most recent statement on Syria from someone speaking on behalf of the US government. US Gen John Kelly made that statement (from Iraq via videolink) in a press briefing at the Pentagon October 23, 2008. Among his other comments regarding Syria was in noting a physical barrier was being constructed: "Syria, different story; it's a long border. It's the longest border really. There hasn't been much, in the way of a physical barrier, along that border for years. We're in the process of rebuilding. And that's really at this point just building a large berm of sand and some ditching to keep certain vehicles from crossing the border and from the Jordanian border all the way up north. And we're working our way north, past the Euphrates River."
The US attack on Syria wasn't the only one over the weekend with fall-out. Al Jazeera reports that a US attack on Falluja Friday resulted in Saturday assertions by the Iraqi Islamic Party ("biggest Sunni Arab political party" and head by Iraq's Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi) stated there was a "hidden political motive" behind the killing of one Iraqi so, as a result, the party "suspended dealings with American military personnel and civilians". Staying with Falluja, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction released a new report which included details of a sewage treatment plant for Falluja. Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) explains how $100 million can be spent on doing nothing in Falluja: "Sewage continues to run in the streets, and the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction found that the system may never be properly connected to individual homes, lacks the necessary fuel to operate and is unlikely to ever cover the full city." Though budgeted for 32.5 million, the cost now stand at $98 million. Kim Gamel and Pauline Jenkins (AP) add: "The report describes U.S. Embassy officials frozen in 'indecision' over how to finish and pay for the project. Last Nov. 2, 'after more than 15 months of meetings, briefing charts, official memorandums, and countless e-mail exchanges,' the report says, the officials decided to terminate outstanding contracts that were to be paid for by Iraqis and complete the remaining work with U.S. money, but make the project smaller." Ernesto London (Washington Post) adds, "South Carolina-based FluorAMEC began work in July 2004. By September 2005, amid concerns over delays and unforeseen costs, the contract was terminated. U.S. officials awarded 45 contracts to Iraqi companies to finish the work. The report does not allege that money was stolen and does not fault FluorAMEC." In related floundering, Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) examined the issue of what happens to Iraqi prisoners as Iraq takes over control of its own country, "Under the proposed new rules, the United States military would need Iraqi permission to make arrests and then would have to turn suspects over to the Iraqi authorities within 24 hours. Less clear, however, is what will happen to those already in detention -- about 1,000 people in all." And staying with corruption, Saturday James Risen (New York Times) covered a new finding by the Pentagon that KBR is in "serious contractual noncompliance" and the paper ads that there are more records about safety violations than were previously known (at least 18 lives have been lost due to electrical 'work' by US contractors in Iraq).
On the subject of crisis confronting Iraqi Christians, Pope Benedict XVI publicly addressed the crisis again yesterday. Catholic News Agency reports:Following Mass in St Peter's Basilica that concluded the Bishops' Synod, Pope Benedict XVI on Sunday defended Christians in Iraq and India who are "victims of intolerance and violence."Greeting the thousands of faithful present in St. Peter's Square, the Holy Father noted that the synodal assembly is a clear example of ecclesial communion because the Word of God, that is the person of Christ, is the center of attention. According to the meaning of the word "church," the Pope expounded, "We experienced the joy of being gathered around the Word." Pope Benedict reflected on the relationship the Word of God and Sacred Scripture. The Second Vatican Council document Dei Verbum teaches that good biblical exegesis includes both the historical-critical method and the theological because "Sacred Scripture is the Word of God in human words." Each text must be read and interpreted remembering the "unity of Scripture, the living tradition of the Church and the light of faith." Scientific exegesis and lectio divina are both necessary and complementary to understand the spiritual meaning that "God wishes to communicate to us today."
Vatican Radio reported yesterday (audio link), "Pope Benedict announced today he will be visiting Cameroon and Angola in March of next year. He was speaking during the final mass of the Senate of Bishops where he also appealed for the defense of Christian minorities in Iraq and India. Chris Altieri has this report."
Chris Altieri: The Holy Father made the announcement in his homily during mass on the 30th Sunday during Ordinary Time in St. Peters Basilica which he celebrated with over three hundred bishops and priest con-celebrate to mark the closing of the 12th Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops. After mass in St. Peters' Basilica, Pope Benedict prayed the Sunday Angelus with the faithful gathered in St. Peter's Square. In remarks before the Angelus Prayer, Pope Benedict spoke of the suffering of Christians in several places around the world especially recalling the persecutions of the faithful underway in Iraq and India. The Pope said he makes his own the appeal launched by the Patriarchs of the Eastern Churches on the final day of Synod deliberations in which the pratriarchs sought to bring the tragedy underway in certain countries of the east to the attention of the international community of religious leaders and all persons of good will. The Holy Father said Christians there are victims of intolerance and cruel violence. They're murdered, threatened and constrained to abandon their homes in search of refuge. The Pope said that he's sure that the ancient and noble peoples of those countries where Christians are a minority have learned over the course of the centuries to appreciate the contribution the small but diligent and industrious communities of the faithful make to the common good. Pope Benedict called on civil and religious authorities in all nations to make every effort to ensure that the rule of law and civil concord be restored as quickly as possible and that honest citizens be able to count on adequate protection from the institutions of the state. In his homily, the Holy Father said that all those who participated in the work of the Synod will bring home the renewed knowledge that the Church's principle task at the start of this new millenium is above all to let itself be nourished by the word of God in order to make the new evangilazation more effective. The Pope said it is now necessary that the Ecclesiastical Experience of the Synod reach every community and that all the faithful must understand the need there is of translating the word we have heard into gestures of love because this is the only way to make the Gospel Proclamation credible despite human weaknesses that mark individuals. I'm Chris Altieri.
Asia News also quotes the Pope declaring, "I am certain that the ancient and noble populations of these nations have learnt through centuries of respectful coexistence to appreciate the contribution made by the small but hard-working and skilled Christian minorities to the development of their common homeland. They do not ask for privileges; they only want to continue to live in their own country alongside with their fellow countrymen and women, as they have always done." Deborah Hayndes (Times of London) reports, "The mass exodus from Mosul, which was condemned yesterday by the Pope, has eased but many families remain too traumatised to follow the lead of Abu Masarra, 39, preferring to squat in monasteries and the spare rooms of houses in towns and villages to the north and east of the city. Questions also remained about who carried out the attacks, which left more than a dozen Christian men dead and three houses destroyed. Allegations ranged from al-Qaeda fighters, who have killed Christians in the past, to power-hungry elements linked to the northernmost Kurdish region of Iraq. The Kurdish authorities denied any connection." Luca Galassi (Italy's Peace Reporter) adds, "The attacks have motivations that are both religious and political. Anti-Christian pamphlets have surfaced in the city in recent days. Last Saturday, armed men blew up three houses owned by Christians in the al-Sukar district. The houses were empty: at least a thousand families have fled from Ninive province, an exodus which, according to the governor Duraid Kashmulah, is destined to continue, if not increase." Lebanon's Daily Star editorializes, "There is another disturbing element to the latest round of ethnic cleansing to take place in Iraq since its government was overthrown by the US-led invasion in 2003: The loudest Arab voices trying to call attention to the crisis are here in tiny Lebanon, where Christian religious and political leaders have been joined by their Muslim counterparts, both Sunni and Shiite, in condemning the attacks and demanding action to stop them. That speaks well (for once) of this country's frequently divided elites, but it says something far less flattering about most of the Arab world. It will be recalled that during the run-up to the illegal invasion that led to years of bloodletting in Iraq, hundreds of thousands of people took to the streets of Western capitals and other cities to voice their rejection of the entire project. Most of them were Christians, and there they were standing up for the rights and interests of mostly Muslim Iraqis whose fates were about to be tossed into the maelstrom of war." Catholic Culture notes two other voices issuing calls -- Cardinal Emmanuel-Karim Delly ("patriarch of the Chaledean Catholic Church) declared of the international community, "Up to now you have been silent and you have not spoken about us despite all of the sufferings we have had to bear the past three or four years and more than half a century"; while Bishop Rabban Al Qas of Arbil "took a harder line, saying that the Iraqi government and its American defenders share the blame for allowing the intimidation to continue unchecked." Kenneth Timmerman (Global Research) asserts, "The Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) has taken the Assyrian Christians in Ainkawa and in the Nineveh Plains hostage in their efforts to win more territory in the coming votes on the status of Mosul and Kirkuk. On Oct. 17, Iraqi security forces arrested six men in connection with the most recent targeted killings of Christians, and found four of them had ties back to the KRG militia, not al Qaeda. While Kurdish leaders protest they have made efforts to protect freedom of religion and have allowed evangelical Christians to proselytize in Muslim areas, nevertheless they are engaged in a cynical effort to use the Assyrian Christians as political pawns to expand their own power."
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 3 lives and left five wounded, another that left two wounded, a Baghdad 'sticky' bombing that claimed 2 lives and left seven injured and a Mosul car bombing that claimed the life of the driver and 1 police officer with two more police officers wounded. Reuters notes a Dour roadside bombing that claimed 1 life (government employee) with six more wounded and a Tuz Khurmato bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier.
Ralph and Matt,I just wanted to drop you a line from here in Florida. I am proud to have voted for you today. It is the first time I have voted since 1992…and I know that you represent me and millions of others who have been seeking truth and liberty. I voted in Lee County Florida and the turn-out at my precinct was in my estimation a record. I waited in line for aproximately 1 1/2 hours (which was well worth it) and as luck would have it there was a guy in from of who had an Obama button on. He asked me who I was voting for and I said, "I am voting for a third party." He said, "You can tell me, you're voting Nader right?" I thought OK I'll play his game.He went on to ask me the obvious question. (I saw it coming--I was licking my chops!!) He asked me why I would vote for a candidate who can't win. I said because "today I am voting my conscience and not the Evil of two lessers." I told him I would not vote for either corporate candidate -- Obama or McCain. By the time I was through explaining to him about the erosion of the Constitution, the MSM Blackout, Wall Street Bail Out, etc, I had him thinking at the very least.Mr. Nader and Mr. Gonzalez, it has been a gratifying experience for me to have watched you two unite millions of Americans behind truth, justice, liberty and the foundation of the Constitution. "We The People"…WE Will Decide!!!Sincerely, -- Patrick Brian Lee
Staying with Ralph (and this is what Ava and I wrote Sunday with one word changed), Saturday Ralph was trying for a world record: Most speeches in a 24-hour time period. Early this morning (midnight), they announced Ralph had made the world record. 15 speeches were required (each at least 10 minutes long) and -- no surprise for the campaign whose motto should be "Surpasses All Expectations" -- they made the work with 21 speeches. Always going the extra mile, Ralph Nader. Team Nader notes, "In the coming days, the Nader/Gonzalez campaign will submit all the paperwork, photography and video footage to Guinness World Records to be evaluated and decided upon. For more information and to see a full itinerary, please visit http://www.votenader.org/events/marathon/".
John McCain is the GOP presidential candidate and Sarah Palin is his running mate. Jimmy Orr (Christian Science Monitor) reports, "The Republican nominee for President slammed Barack Obama for comments Obama made in a radio program seven years ago which surfaced early this morning. The McCain campaign says these remarks are further proof that Obama's fundamental philosophy is one of higher taxes in order to spread the wealth around." Orr quotes McCain stating, "It is amazing that even at this late hour, we are still learning more about Senator Obama and his agenda. In a radio interview revealed today, he said that one of the quote -- 'tragedies' of the civil rights movement is that it didn't bring about a redistribution of wealth in our society. That is what change means for Barack the Redistributor. It means taking your money and giving it to someone else."
JOHN MCCAIN: The last eight years haven't worked very well, have they? I'll make the next four better. I know your life savings have been hit hard, but we'll rebuild them. Barack Obama wants to increase taxes on your savings. You can't afford that. He's quite a talker. But that's just bad judgment. ANNCR: Experience. Leadership. McCain. JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.
Sarah Palin today picked an issue close to her heart for her first major policy speech -- special needs children. Palin, whose 6-month-old son Trig has Down syndrome, told a crowd in Pittsburgh that the federal government should do more to help those children and their families, and give parents more choices. "The truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable," said Palin, who has said that, if elected, she would me an emissary for those families in the White House.
that's from foon rhee's 'Palin focuses on special needs kids' (boston globe) and maybe if foon would focus more on actual issues (like special needs) instead of sexist gossip (palin's clothes), rhee wouldn't be typing 'she would me an emissary for those families in the White House'? a major speech and foon can't wait to ditch it (after 3 paragraphs) and start gossiping. never forget, this is your press. if they were on drugs, they'd probably be providing better coverage.
Advocates for children with disabilities welcomed the speech. "For the candidate for the vice president of the United States to give a 30-minute speech -- in a swing state -- 10 days before an election is historically very significant from our perspective," said Andrew Imparato, president and CEO of the American Association of People with Disabilities. Specifically, Palin proposed that parents of children with disabilities should be able to choose what school their children will attend. "When our public school system fails to render help and equal opportunity, and even parents are prevented, sometimes, from seeking that help and those choices elsewhere, that to me is unacceptable," Palin said. "Under reforms that I will lead as vice president, the parents and caretakers of children with physical or mental disabilities will be able to send that boy or girl to the school of their choice -- public or private."
Palin's pledge to fully fund IDEA would direct billions to the program over the next few years, though her proposal would not immediately cover the entire gap in funding that exists now. Thirty-three years ago, the federal government adopted a system in which it would shoulder 40 percent of the burden of educating disabled children, while states would fund the remaining 60 percent. At the moment, the U.S. government spends just under $11 billion annually on the program, whereas it would have to devote $26 billion a year to live up to its initial commitment. [...] In her speech, Palin said the federal government could finance the new investment by taking some of $18 billion it spends each year on earmarks, specific projects that are designated by members of Congress."That's more than the shortfall to fully fund the IDEA," she said. "And where does a lot of that earmark money end up? It goes to projects having little or nothing to do with the public good -- things like fruit fly research in Paris, France, or a public policy center named for the guy who got the earmark. In our administration, we're going to reform and refocus. We're going to get our federal priorities straight, and fulfill our country's commitment to give every child opportunity and hope in life."
Parents with special needs children applauded the speech. Invitations went out through local groups that serve special needs children, including Children's Hospital of Pittsburgh and The Children's Institute of Pittsburgh. "She definitely understands this," said Nhiem Nguyen, 42, of Cranberry. His 7-month-old son, Noah, has Down syndrome. Palin's call to make information more easily available to parents struck at the heart of what Nguyen said is the most difficult part of raising an infant with special needs: "the unknowns of what to expect." Amy Halter, 36, of Vandergrift said she was moved to tears when, as Palin was shaking hands along the rope line, she stopped to talk about Halter's autistic son, Jacob, 5. "It just meant so much that somebody was listening," Halter said. They spoke about using flexible spending accounts to pay for new tests and treatments insurance companies normally don't cover, she said. "When we go to a doctor today -- it's just too much. This was just exactly what I wanted to hear."
i've talked about this before but it bears repeating (and some drive-byer will e-mail asking why), in college, i grasped special-needs children and did so because this was a huge issue for c.i. i think i would have been empathetic regardless; however, actually hearing about this issue, actually listening on this topic and seeing c.i. fight for special-needs children really drove home to me how important the issue was (even back then) and how many obstacles there are in the way.
so governor palin, running for the vice presidency, making this speech is a very big deal. it is news and it's not being treated as such. if you doubt me, try using a news search engine and you will find many more 'articles' about palin's wardrobe than you will about her speech. that tells you a great deal about our society and our press and c.i.'s been pointing that out with regards to crap-ass pacifica radio for over a month now.
okay, now that we've covered some very important news, i can do my campaigning for my candidate, ralph nader. he is the independent presidential candidate with matt gonzalez as his running mate. and this is from his campaign:
Pass It On: Obama Brand Democracy Posted by Ashley Sanders on Friday, October 24, 2008 at 11:03:00 PM ShareThis Ralph Nader has consistently warned about the dangers of mixing money and politics. His criticisms are particularly pointed for Obama and McCain, who have accepted millions from corporations and lobbyists alike. But the collusion between politics is more dangerous and more expansive than anyone could have imagined, and this year’s multi-billion dollar election looks more like an auction where politicians are bought and sold than a democracy. Perhaps the most insidious aspect of this financial free-for-all, however, is how much politics, media, and big business stand to gain from each other and how much the average voter stands to lose. As Obama moves to become the world’s biggest brand, brand democracy enters its final phase—what could be rightly called the political-industrial complex, where everyone benefits but the voters. Onward! Ashley SandersThe Nader Team Today’s Pass It On article was written by Amy Goodman and appears on TruthDig.com. You can read the original article here. http://www.truthdig.com/report/item/20081022_change_big_donors_can_believe_in/
so that's it from me. hope every 1 has a great weekend. oh, i was asked about heroes (nbc show). i did catch it monday, we try to catch it now. i did enjoy it. i want more claire and i want to see more women. there are too many male characters on the show.
Friday, October 24, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, concerns rise regarding Iraqi Christians, the "Awakening" members forgotten?, and more.
Today Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post) observes, "But the violence diminished with the creation of 'Awakening' groups, U.S.-paid patrols of mostly Sunni fighters who broke with insurgents and allied with U.S. forces." 'Awakening' members are Sunni thugs put on the US payroll in order to stop the attacks on the US. It's the "fork over your lunch money" strategy playground 'strategy' as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Gen David Petraeus made clear in their testimonies to Congress in April. For some US currency, the attacks would stop and the US would step out of the way and let the "Awakening" take over various regions providing 'security' which struck many residents as a reign of terror. October 1st, the puppet government in Iraq was supposed to take over nearly half the "Awakening" members (but even that portion remains on the US payroll). Nouri al-Maliki has never trusted the "Awakenings" and has staffed his ministries with his own Shi'ite thugs. Petraeus has repeatedly praised the "Awakenings" as providing security to Iraq. Where do things stand now? Earlier in the week, Surdarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reported on the issue and noted it "is already touching off new conflicts that could deepen without U.S. military backing for the movement. They have stripped traditional tribal leaders of influence. They have carved up Sunni areas into fiefdoms, imposing their views on law and society and weakening the authority of the Shiite-led central government. Divisions are emerging among the new breed of tribal leaders, even as they are challenging established Sunni religious parties for political dominance." The "Awakening" presence was felt last year after repeated kick start attempts (always hailed as a 'turned corner' by the press) going back to 2005. The pay-offs were one aspect of the counter-insurgency strategies being deployed against Iraqis. Barack Obama, Democratic presidential nominee, supports counter-insurgency and has the bulk of those responsible for the assault on Iraqis on his advisory board (Sarah Sewell, Samantha Power, et al). So it's no surprise that Time quotes him insisting, "The Sunni awakening changed the dynamic in Iraq fundamentally. It could not have occured unless there were some contacts and intermediaries to peel off those who are tribal leaders, regional leaders, Sunni nationalists, from a more radical messianic brand of insurgency." [Note: Time is down for "scheduled maintenance session" -- that web address was given to me over the phone. If it does not work, Google the quote and you will find it.]
Tim King (Salem-News) observes: "At least half of them are being cut loose and Iraq is expected to take over the payments for a little more than half the program. Most members of this group believe they will not see any payments from their now country. Cutting off the payments to the Sons of Iraq is a colossal mistake. The checkpoints operated by the Sons of Iraq are exactly what has brought the peace to Iraq. Ending them is foolish, but we are doing it. These are mostly Sunni Muslims and they had a place in the Shiite government with the Sons of Iraq, but we are allowing one of the war's few success stories to end, and likely have not even begun to see the repercussions that are sure to come." The "Awakening" members fear they will be arrested or worse and on the issue of arrests, Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reported Monday, "Police arrested three Sahwa members in Mustafa neighborhood in Baquba, according to arrest warrants." (Sahwa and Sons Of Iraq are other names for "Awakening" members.)
Meanwhile the crisis continues for Iraqi Christians. Mark MacKinnon (Globe and Mail) speaks with Father Sabri al-Maqdessy who explains, "Christians have always been targeted by different groups in the Middle East because we are the only people without a tirbal system to protect us or that political power to give us security. The church is weak. The Vatican does not have tanks. . . . Everyone is leaving. If the situation continues the way it is for another 10 years, 20 at most, you won't see any Christians left here." Mission News Network via Crosswalk.com quotes Open Doors USA's president Carl Moeller, "I'm afraid it's actually getting worse. The Christian community continues to be terrorized by extremists and basically are being forced out of homes at gunpoint, children and elderly people being murdered. This is a real crisis. Not just a Christian crisis, but a real humanitarian crisis for the country of Iraq." UN High Comissioner for Refugees spokesperson Ron Redmond addressed the topic in Geneva today:
UNHCR is helping thousands of Iraqi Christians who have fled the northern city of Mosul over the past fortnight, most of them to villages elsewhere in Ninewa province but also about 400 who have crossed into Syria. It is still not clear who is behind the intimidation that caused them to flee. More than 2,200 families, or some 13,000 people, are estimated to have left Mosul by mid-week, mostly to safe areas to the north and east of the city. That is more than half of Mosul's Christian population. They have also fled to the neighboring governorates of Dahuk, Erbil and Kirkuk. Most have been taken in by other Christian families. The displacement now appears to be slowing, according to UNHCR staff in the region. UNHCR Iraq and its partners have delivered aid to at least 1,725 of the displaced families in about 20 ares of northern Iraq. In Syria, meanwhile, UNHCR Representative Laurens Jolles reports that many Christians from Mosul have been systematically targeted and no longer feel safe there. UNHCR will provide support for those Iraqis who seek refuge in neighborhing countries and we very much appreciate that Syria countinues to welcome refugees. Syria already hosts at least 1.2 million Iraqis.
This as Assyrian International News Agency reports that Yonadam Kanna ("leader of the Assyrian Democratic Movement and member of Iraq's parliament") has called for the troops in Mosul to be pulled and new ones to be sent in, "We call for an exchange of the troops who failed to protect the Christians in their areas with new troops who are able to bring security to these areas." And in a new development, AINA reports, "The auxiliary bishop of the Chaldean Church of Babylon in Iraq, His eminence Shlemon Warduni, expressed support on Friday for the establishment of an administrative area for the minorities living in the Nineveh Plain. Speaking to the reporter of the webzine ankawa.com, the high ranking church leader made it clear his church has changed its stand on the administrative unit issue. . . . The Iraqi constitution allows for the establishment of local rule for minorities in areas where they have considerable numbers. The Assyrian Democratic Movement, the political party supported by an overwhelming majority of Assyrians from all church denominations during the last national elections, announced during a 2003 conference in Baghdad it endorses the idea of making the minority dense Nineveh Plain area into an administrative unit according to the Iraqi constitution. Since then, an increasing number of Assyrian representatives from the political and religious sphere have supported the plan."
In some of today's reported violence, Reuters notes a Kut mortar attack that claimed the lives of 3 children (two more wounded). AndReuters notes 1 Iraqi soldier was shot dead outside Tuz Khurmato and wounded two others.
Stopping for the public airwaves (and all listed can be streamed), in public radio news, WBAI Monday features Judy Collins. Collins and Kenny White appear on Janet Coleman and David Dozer's Cat Radio Cafe along with playwright Shem Bitterman. The program airs Monday at 2:00 p.m. EST. Public television? NOW on PBS offers a report on the nursing crisis: "According to a government study, by the year 2020, there could be a nationwide shoratge of up to one million nurses, which could result in substandard treatment for hundreds of thousands of patients. Just as alarming, fewer nurses are choosing to teach the next generation of professionals, resulting in tens of thousands of applicants being turned away from the nation's nursing schools." NOW on PBS begins airing on many PBS stations tonight (check local listings) as does Washington Week which finds Gwen joined by journalists Shailagh Murray (Washington Post), Michael Viqueira (NBC) and David Shribman (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) and, for the child-at-heart, Gwen also provides two circus clowns on the panel.
Turning to the US race for president. Barack Obama is not a Socialist or a Communist (or a socialist or a communist). He is a Corporate War Hawk. But the confusion is understandable considering all the efforst to prop Baby Barry up throughout the Democratic Party primary by non-Democrats. It's the general election and Barack's just received his latest endorsement from a Socialist or a Communist: Howard Zinn. (Zinn is a Socialist.) Watch him make an ass out of himself via the so-called "Real" News. Mickey Z (Dissident Voice) provides the takedown for that pathetic sort of cowardice: "This strategy of choosing an alleged 'lesser evil' because he/she might be influenced by some mythical 'popular movement' would be naive if put forth by a high school student. Professors [Noam] Chomsky and Zinn know better. If it's incremental change they want, why not encourage their many readers to vote for Ralph Nader or Cynthia McKinney? The classic (read: absurd) reply to that question is: 'Because Nader or McKinney can't win.' Of course they can't win if everyone who claims to agree with them inexplicably votes for Obama instead. Paging Alice: You're wanted down the ______ rabbit hole." And on the subject of Noam Chomsky, let's drop back to 2007 when Panhandle Media was far less concerned with propping up Weather Underground. This is Michael Alpert of ZNet (ZMag) speaking to Amy Goodman in April of 2007:
Michael Albert: One example was, Weatherman was a group that was engaged in activity at the time. It was part of SDS, not a part I was belonged to, but they wanted to recruit me. At a particular moment, I went into Noam's office, and I asked him about it, this recruitment effort by them and whether -- you know, how I should relate. Noam was loath to give people advice about what to do in their life or about strategy.
Amy Goodman: And explain what the Weathermen were.
Michael Albert: The Weathermen were a very -- they were the most militant, most violent wing of SDS. Their analysis was a bit peculiar. I don't think we need to go into details. But in any case, so I asked him about that, and he was very loath to do that, but in this particular case -- we were already pretty close, and he -- you know, he didn't want me to make an error, so he did make a suggestion. And he sort of said very quickly, he said, "They're wonderful people. They're great people. They're moved well. I mean, their motives are good. Some of them are going to die. Some of them are going to hurt others. They're going to have very little effect on the well-being of people around the world because of what they're doing." And in a phrase, right, he captured what was there, and his advice was important. I don't think it was a difinitive in my choice not to join, but it certainly would have been a big factor.
And there's actually a lot more to the above anecdote. (I know Michael, I've heard the anecdote repeately over the years in expanded form.) But Chomsky is warning Albert against the Weathermen. The Weathermen, Chomsky is arguing, is too dangerous. The Weathermen is the group that breaks off from SDS and will become Weather Underground. The Weathermen do the Days of Rage in Chicago (1969).
And let's do a book plug. Paul Street's Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics came out last month and Street's one of the few on the left who has not embarrassed himself in 2008. And here's Street mentioning his book at ZNet: "It shows Obama and his marketers working effectively to create a false left impression among certain targeted voters. As I demonstrate, Obama posed as a left-leaning antiwar and social justice progressive, donning deceptive rebel's clothing in numerous speeches, town hall meetings, and television commericals through much of the primary campaign. He claimed falsely to be a dedicated opponent of American emprie, war and inequality, even going to the sickening point of telling Iowa voters that they could 'join the movement to stop the [Iraq] war' by Caucusing for him. For all his claims to be a nobel reformer 'above the fray' of America's plutocracy and 'ideological' politics, the real Obama excavated in my study is no special exception to -- and is in many ways an epitome of -- what the still-left Christopher Hitchens called (in his 1999 study of the Bill and Hillary Clinton phenomenon) 'the essence of American politics. This essence, when distilled,' Hitchens explained, 'consists of the manipulation of populism by elitism'." If you use the link to the article, you should check out the comments as well (Street's contributing to the comments). But to clarify something for this site: As repeatedly stated here, Barack is not a Socialist. However, as Ava and I noted -- addressing Leela's brave piece of writing:
First, thank you to Dee Dee for finding that post and e-mailing to ask that it be highlighted. Second, read what Leela's saying. We don't agree with her view of Democrats. We do, however, know where's she's coming from on that view. Her view is the sort of thing that can start a conversation. It may never bring feminists into one political party's tent (we don't think that should be a goal of the feminist movement short of a feminist party being started), but conversations can illuminate and increase our understandings.Leela is obviously upset (first hint, her title), so even though we disagree with her view of the Democratic Party (re: Socialism), we would have first registered that she was upset and then attempted to engage. That didn't really happen on the thread and we'll assume that was due to the anger/ill will her view caused others.But here's the reality: some people do see the Democratic Party as a Socialist Party. Some people see the Republican Party as an Evangelical Party. Neither belief is accurate but to understand each other, we need to understand where we are all coming from."
That is the reality of perceptions. (And of course alleged brainiac Rachel Maddow doesn't grasp that there is a difference between Socialism and Communism.) For this site, we are a left site and see no Socialism in Barack. But the right insisting Barack's a Socialist are not necessarily lying or even wrong. The terms are largely undefined in discussions today (again, allegedly educated Maddow -- from the center -- expressed on her bad MSNBC show this week that Socialism and Communism were the same thing). Leela is among the women blogging at Citizen Girl, by the way. And the US has a Socialist in Congress, Senator Bernie Sanders. But -- as is usually the case -- 'helpers' and the 'shocked' obscure reality by referring to him as 'independent.' He is a Socialist openly and the refusal to apply that label goes a long way towards explaining how screwed up US politics are. Another sign of the sickness in the US is this country's Socialist Worker and crap like Ashley Smith's "Fighting for what we want" that wants to argue there's no difference on the wars between the McCain-Palin and Obama-Biden ticket (there isn't) but uses pejoratives for McCain-Palin ("moronic," "knuckle dragging") but not for Obama-Biden. It's not even-handed and it does imply -- by insulting only one side -- that one ticket is 'better.' There is no difference on the Iraq War between the tickets for the two major parties. One would assume an allegedly Socialist periodical would have no reason to take sides between two Corporatist candidates. There's a lot more honesty -- from their political perspective (right-wing) -- in Stanley Kurtz' most recent National Review piece: "In short, the New Party was a mid-1990s effort to build a 'progressive' coalition to the left of the Democratic party, uniting left-leaning baby boomers with minorities, relatively militant unionists, and 'idealistic' young people."
Moving over to political lies, Mark Hosenball (Newsweek) underscores a big lie that passed with little attention, "'All the public reports suggested,' Obama said, that people shouted 'things like 'terrorist' and 'kill him'.' Making a death threat against a presidential candidate can be a crime. But even before Obama cited "reports" of the threats at the debate, the U.S. Secret Service had told media outlets, including NEWSWEEK, that it was unable to corroborate accounts of the 'kill him' remarks--and according to a law-enforcement official, who asked for anonymity when discussing a political matter, the Obama campaign knew as much. Now some officials are disgruntled that Obama gave added credence to the threat by mentioning it in front of 60 million viewers. At this point in the campaign, said one, candidates will 'say anything to make a particular point.'" [For more on that topic, see this snapshot from last week.]
On the subject of political lies, yes, people in the US do have the right not to vote. That is their decision and it can be a perfectly acceptable one despite the harping from certain quarters that insist "YOU MUST VOTE!". Linda Averill (FSN via Information Clearing House) explains that position and also provides some history:
Outrageous rules, media censorship, private financing of campaigns, and sheer thuggery have marginalized political parties that compete with labor's fake friend, the Democratic Party. This includes even parties like the Greens, who simply want to reform capitalism.It's not people who vote socialist or Green who throw away their votes. The system does it! U.S. elections are "winner take all." If a socialist gets 20 percent of the vote, a Green gets 15 percent, and a Democrat gets 51 percent -- all votes go to the Democrat.Things weren't always so sewn up. At the start of the 20th century, socialists ran on explicitly pro-labor, anti-capitalist platforms. And they won seats -- more than 1,200 offices nationwide.To eliminate the threat this posed, the Democrats and Republicans launched a political witch-hunt. Socialist party offices were raided, pro-labor representatives were denied their seats, radicals were tossed in jail, and restrictive ballot laws were passed.
Averill closes by quoting Mother Jones: "I have never had a vote, and I have raised hell all over this country. You don't need a vote to raise hell! You need convictions and a voice!"
Those who wish to vote will have many choices to chose from (except for the state of Oklahoma whose restrictive laws allow voters to only pick the Democratic or Republican presidential ticket). Ther is the Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney who will appear Saturday October 25 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. Cynthia's running mate is Rosa Clemente and Cynthia will be in Seattle: The Washington State Power To The People Campaign has announced that Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney will be visiting Seattle on Sunday, October 26th and Monday, October 27th. Scheduled activities include:Sunday, October 26, 2008* 3pm - 7pm"Vote...Then What?From The Day After The Election Onward: Strategies for Community Organizing, Greening & Reconstruction"Umojafest Peace Center24th Ave & E Spring St, SeattleThe public is invited to attend.Cynthia McKinney will be speaking in support of grassroots and institutional solutions to violence and other issues plaguing urban communities nationwide. This event is hosted by the Umojafest Peace Center and the McKinney/Clemente 2008 Power To The People Campaign. The program will include hip-hop and spoken word performances, speakers from youth and community based organizations, and a showing of the award-winning film, American Blackout.Monday, October 27, 2008* 11am - 12:30pm"The Power of Student Movements: How to Use Your Campus as a Tool to Change the World!"Broadway Performance HallBroadway at Pine Street, SeattleThe public is invited.Ms. McKinney will address the growing concerns of students, the need for student leadership, and how students can organize on campus to engage in and impact social justice struggles and make meaningful contributions to communities outside school. This event will be hosted by the Black Student Union of Seattle Central Community College.
"And as governor, I've succeeded in securing additional funding and assistance for students with special needs. By 2011, I will have tripled the funding available to these students." -- Governor Sarah Palin, 10/24/08 Governor Palin Has A Proven Record Of Commitment To Special Needs Children: Governor Palin Has Increased Funding For Special Needs Education. Overall funding for Special Needs students has increased every year since Sarah Palin entered office, from $219 million in 2007 to a projected $276 million in 2009. Breakdown below: FY07: $219,358,041 FY08: $220,420,268 FY09: $275,827,909 On March 28, 2008, Governor Palin Signed Legislation That Will Nearly Triple Per-Pupil Funding Over Three Years For Special Needs Students With High- Cost Requirements. Per-pupil breakdown below: FY08: $26,900 FY09: $49,320 FY10: $61,380 FY11: $73,840 Governor Palin Has Directed State Funds To Other Special Needs Programs. This funding includes $500,000 for diagnostic services for autistic children and $250,000 for training in early autism intervention in her FY2009 budget. The Executive Director Of The Association Of Alaska School Boards Called The New Funding Palin Fought For A "Historic Event." "Carl Rose, the executive director of the Association of Alaska School Boards, praised the changes in funding for rural schools and students with special needs as a 'historic event,' and said the finance overhaul would bring more stability to district budgets." ("Alaska Legislators Overhaul Funding," Education Week, 4/30/08) Families Of Special Needs Children "Have Been Flocking To Palin Rallies ... They Say, Because Her Story Is Theirs, Too." But in the sea of faces, nearly everywhere she goes, she encounters people who aren't really there for the politics. ... Families of children with Down syndrome have been flocking to Palin rallies. They come to shake her hand, grab a hug or snap a picture, drawn there, they say, because her story is theirs, too." (Savannah Guthrie, NBC "Nightly News," 10/14/08)
Too often, even in our own day, children with special needs have been set apart and excluded. Too often, state and federal laws add to their challenges, instead of removing barriers and opening new paths of opportunity. Too often, they are made to feel that there is no place for them in the life of our country, that they don't count or have nothing to contribute. This attitude is a grave disservice to these beautiful children, to their families, and to our country -- and I will work to change it.One of the most wonderful experiences in this campaign has been to see all the families of children with special needs who come out to rallies and events just like this. We have a bond there. We know that children with special needs inspire a special love. You bring your sons and daughters with you, because you are proud of them, as I am of my son.My little fella sleeps during most of these rallies, even when they get pretty rowdy. He would be amazed to know how many folks come out to see him instead of me. When I learned that Trig would have special needs, honestly, I had to prepare my heart. At first I was scared, and Todd and I had to ask for strength and understanding.
I did a lot of praying for that understanding, and strength, and to see purpose. And what's been confirmed in me is every child has something to contribute to the world, if we give them that chance. You know that there are the world's standards of perfection, and then there are God's, and these are the final measure. Every child is beautiful before God, and dear to Him for their own sake. And the truest measure of any society is how it treats those who are most vulnerable. As for our baby boy, Trig, for Todd and me he is only more precious because he is vulnerable. In some ways, I think we stand to learn more from him than he does from us. When we hold Trig and care for him, we don't feel scared anymore. We feel blessed. Of course, many other families are much further along a similar path -- including my best friend who happens to be my sister, Heather, and her 13-year old son Karcher, who has autism. Heather and I have worked on this for over a decade. Heather is an advocate for children with autism in Alaska. And as governor, I've succeeded in securing additional funding and assistance for students with special needs. By 2011, I will have tripled the funding available to these students. Heather and I have been blessed with a large, strong family network. Our family helps make sure that Trig and Karcher have what they need. But not everyone is lucky enough to have that strong network of support. And the experiences of those millions of Americans point the way to better policy in the care of children with special needs. One of the most common experiences is the struggle of parents to find the best and earliest care for their children. The law requires our public schools to serve children with special needs, but often the results fall far short of the service they need. Even worse, parents are left with no other options, except for the few families that can afford private instruction or therapy. Many of you parents here have been through the drill: You sit down with teachers and counselors to work out the IEP -- an individual education plan for your child. The school may be trying its best, but they're overstretched. They may keep telling you that your child is "progressing well," and no extra services are required. They keep telling you that -- but you know better. You know that your children are not getting all of the help they need, at a time when they need it most. The parents of children with special needs ask themselves every day if they are doing enough, if they are doing right by their sons and daughters. And when our public school system fails to render help and equal opportunity -- and even prevents parents from seeking it elsewhere that is unacceptable. In a McCain-Palin administration, we will put the educational choices for special needs children in the right hands their parents'. Under reforms that I will lead as vice president, the parents and caretakers of children with physical or mental disabilities will be able to send that boy or girl to the school of their choice -- public or private.
And McCain picks up another endorsement today, South Carolina's The State which asserts that "we prefer Sen. McCain. First and foremost, he is far better prepared not only to be commander in chief, but to lead the nation as it deals with a complex array of global challenges, from Iran to North Korea, from Russia to Venezuela. Consider two widely different areas of foreign policy, Iraq and Colombia. Sen. McCain has often led the charge against the Bush administration when it was wrong on national security, from the 9/11 Commission (working with Joe Biden to make that happen) to the use of torture. But the most dramatic case regards Iraq. For years, he insisted we needed to send more troops. When Mr. Bush finally agreed to the "surge," Sen. McCain was Gen. David Petraeus' most conspicuous supporter. The surge worked. Sen. McCain was for it, and Sen. Obama was against. That's no accident. Sen. McCain's support arose from his superior understanding of the situation and how to approach it."
Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. The campaign has toured all fifty states and this Saturday? "Nader to Attempt Guinness World Record on Saturday: Massachusetts Marathon, Most Speeches in 24-Hours:"This Saturday, Ralph Nader will hold campaign events in 21 cities across Massachusetts in an attempt to set a sanctioned Guinness World Record to give the most speeches in a 24-hour time period. The minimum threshold he must meet is 15. He is scheduled to deliver over 315 minutes of speeches and drive over 365 miles. Each speech will last at least 10 minutes and will tackle a separate issue.Nader/Gonzalez campaign events are scheduled to be held in the following cities:Boston, Cambridge, Belmont, Somerville, Medford, Arlington, Lexington, Concord, Waltham, Watertown, Newton, Worcester, Auburn, Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, Northampton, West Springfield, Westfield, Stockbridge and Sheffield.There is an additional van for intrepid journalists who want to chronicle the adventure from start to finish.For a full itinerary or other related inquires, please contact Ryan Mehta at 408-348-0681, or Rob Socket at 202-471-5833.
And events are lined out throughout the final days of the race. One just announced will take place November 2nd: PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RALPH NADER TO SPEAK IN ALLENTOWNWHO: Ralph NaderWHAT: Campaign rally/speech on the Wall Street bailout and other current issuesWHEN: Sunday November 2 at 7:30pmWHERE: Scottish Rite Cathedral, 1533 Hamilton Street, Allentown, PA 18102On Sunday, November 2 at 7:30pm, consumer advocate and Presidential candidate Ralph Nader will hold a press conference followed by a rally in Scottish Rite Cathedral. He will speak about the Wall St. Bailout, single-payer health care, the Iraq War, the environment, and the state of the Presidential debates from which he was excluded.Ralph Nader is the only Presidential candidate who recommends jail time, not bail time for Wall Street fat cats (and the only one who has been pointing out the risks of deregulation for the last 20 years). He is the number three contender for the Presidency, America's number one consumer advocate, and he has real solutions to our economic woes.