One of the great challenges before us as a nation is remaining steadfast in our fight against terrorism while preserving our commitment to the rule of law and individual liberty. As a senator from New York on September 11, I understand the importance of taking any and all necessary steps to protect our nation from those who would do us harm. I believe strongly that we must modernize our surveillance laws in order to provide intelligence professionals the tools needed to fight terrorism and make our country more secure. However, any surveillance program must contain safeguards to protect the rights of Americans against abuse, and to preserve clear lines of oversight and accountability over this administration. I applaud the efforts of my colleagues who negotiated this legislation, and I respect my colleagues who reached a different conclusion on today’s vote. I do so because this is a difficult issue. Nonetheless, I could not vote for the legislation in its current form.
The legislation would overhaul the law that governs the administration’s surveillance activities. Some of the legislation’s provisions place guidelines and restrictions on the operational details of the surveillance activities, others increase judicial and legislative oversight of those activities, and still others relate to immunity for telecommunications companies that participated in the administration’s surveillance activities.
While this legislation does strengthen oversight of the administration’s surveillance activities over previous drafts, in many respects, the oversight in the bill continues to come up short. For instance, while the bill nominally calls for increased oversight by the FISA Court, its ability to serve as a meaningful check on the President’s power is debatable. The clearest example of this is the limited power given to the FISA Court to review the government’s targeting and minimization procedures.
But the legislation has other significant shortcomings. The legislation makes no meaningful change to the immunity provisions. There is little disagreement that the legislation effectively grants retroactive immunity to the telecommunications companies. In my judgment, immunity under these circumstances has the practical effect of shutting down a critical avenue for holding the administration accountable for its conduct. It is precisely why I have supported efforts in the Senate to strip the bill of these provisions, both today and during previous debates on this subject. Unfortunately, these efforts have been unsuccessful.
What is more, even as we considered this legislation, the administration refused to allow the overwhelming majority of Senators to examine the warrantless wiretapping program. This made it exceedingly difficult for those Senators who are not on the Intelligence and Judiciary Committees to assess the need for the operational details of the legislation, and whether greater protections are necessary. The same can be said for an assessment of the telecom immunity provisions. On an issue of such tremendous importance to our citizens – and in particular to New Yorkers – all Senators should have been entitled to receive briefings that would have enabled them to make an informed decision about the merits of this legislation. I cannot support this legislation when we know neither the nature of the surveillance activities authorized nor the role played by telecommunications companies granted immunity.
Congress must vigorously check and balance the president even in the face of dangerous enemies and at a time of war. That is what sets us apart. And that is what is vital to ensuring that any tool designed to protect us is used – and used within the law – for that purpose and that purpose alone. I believe my responsibility requires that I vote against this compromise, and I will continue to pursue reforms that will improve our ability to collect intelligence in our efforts to combat terror and to oversee that authority in Congress.
Hillary voted against the proposal by Orrin Hatch-etface (GOP). The proposal would expand spying on Americans. It is a betrayal of our democratic beliefs. It is a betrayal of all we are supposed to believe in. Guess who Barack voted? He voted for it. He stabbed America in the back. I'm sure CounterSpin will provide another cover-interview for him. The way, two Friday's ago, Janine Jackson made a FOOL of herself schilling for Barack's broken promise on public financing. She disgraced herself, CounterSpin disgraced themselves and FAIR turned itself into a joke. They brought on a Chicago 'radical' (Communist) to justify the LIAR BARACK breaking a promise by LYING that he hadn't. And Janine Jackson was just eating up. (Of course she was, the interview wasn't sprung on her. They booked the interview to LIE to people and they want to lecture the MSM about standards? Barack breaks a promise and they're trying to LIE that he didn't.)
So I guess Friday, on CounterSpin, we'll hear Janine Jackson say something like ____ "joins us to explain how Barack saved the country by voting to expand the spying on Americans." Is there any belief they won't whore out in order to push the Anti-Christ Barack is quickly becoming? It's as though Damien, of Omen fame, got the Democratic Party nomination.
I've had it with pretty much all of 'independent' media at this point. They LIED non-stop for Barack and now the Democratic Party may be stuck with him. And he's another Bully Boy. He'll be just like the current occupant of the White House.
The choice on that vote was obvious. If you don't get that, here's "Senator Boxer's Statement on Dodd Amendment:"Tuesday, July 8, 2008
Washington, DC – U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer (D-CA) spoke today on the Senate floor in favor of an amendment by Senator Chris Dodd (D-CT) that would strip a provision from the FISA bill that grants immunity to telecom companies that participated in the Bush administration’s warrantless wiretap program.
The following is the text of Senator Boxer's statement:
This amendment would strike the provision from the bill providing immunity to the telecom companies who assisted the President with his warrantless surveillance program.
In supporting this amendment, I am not seeking to punish those telecom companies who went along with the President’s secret and, I believe, illegal program.
As I have said, I understand their predicament. I would have supported indemnification for the telecom companies.
But we cannot place the interests of these companies ahead of the constitutional rights of our citizens who seek justice in our courts.
We cannot allow this Administration to hide its warrantless surveillance program from the constitutional scrutiny of our federal courts.
We cannot sacrifice the truth for convenient expediency – that is not the American way.
We have a system of government built on checks and balances.
Right now, the federal courts are doing their job by checking this Administration’s broad exercise of executive power.
Last week, Chief Judge Walker of the Northern District of California issued an opinion rejecting this Administration’s claim to have “inherent authority” to eavesdrop on Americans outside of statutory law.
Judge Walker wrote “Congress appears clearly to have intended to – and did – establish the exclusive means for foreign intelligence activities to be conducted. Whatever power the executive may otherwise have had in this regard, FISA limits the power of the executive branch to conduct such activities and it limits the executive branch’s authority to assert the state secrets privilege in response to challenges to the legality of its foreign intelligence surveillance activities.”
The current process is working – our system of government is working. The federal courts are exercising their constitutional duty to review executive power.
So why, in this bill, are we seeking to stop that process? Why are we attempting to tie the capable hands of our federal courts, and deny our citizens their day in court?
Covering up the truth is not the way to gain – or re-gain – the trust of the American people.
Since learning in late 2005 that the President violated the trust of the American people by spying on American citizens shortly after 9/11, Congress and the American people have struggled to find out exactly what happened – with absolutely no help from the Bush Administration.
Ironically, last week we celebrated July 4 – the day we adopted the Declaration of Independence.
In that historic document is the following phrase – That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed.
The Bush warrantless surveillance program did not have the consent of the governed, and it was certainly not just.
Truth is the centerpiece of justice.
The immunity provision in this bill effectively sweeps the warrantless program under the carpet, along with the rights and civil liberties of those whom we are sworn to protect – the American people.
The immunity provision hides the truth from the American people.
They deserve better from us.
I want to close with a quote by former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, who wrote, “It is during our most challenging and uncertain moments that our Nation's commitment to due process is most severely tested; and it is in those times that we must preserve our commitment at home to the principles for which we fight abroad.”
These are extraordinary and difficult times. But the America that I know and love does not sacrifice one set of freedoms for some other, false sense of freedom and security.
I strongly urge my colleagues to stand up for the American people and restore balance to this bill by supporting the Dodd-Feingold-Leahy amendment.
Some people could stand up. Even Harry Reid stood and said "no." But not the Christ-child, not Barack. If you're part of the Cult of Barack, you better grasp that Barack long ago showed who he really was and you've been fooled.
As it stands, America still has one shot at a democracy. Here's the latest Nader challenge, "Five More States, $60,000, July 20" (Nader-Gonzalez):
Ladies and gentlemen.
Today, it is July 9.
And thanks to you, we have met deadline one - get Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in ten states by July 6.
Now, on to deadline two:
Fifteen states by July 20.
That's five more states - Missouri, Massachusetts, South Carolina, Rhode Island and Arkansas.
All by July 20.
And to get there, we need to raise $60,000.
In eleven days.
Here is what we propose.
Donate now - in whatever denomination suits you - $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.
And if you choose, your name will pop up on our fundraising widget - which shows every dollar we raise as we approach our $60,000 goal.
You will be supporting Albert, Nicole, David and Deborah.
They are four of more than 50 valiant roadtrippers - who have spanned out around the country to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot.
Thanks to them - and thanks to you - we are on our way toward our goal of 15 states by July 20.
In South Carolina, we need 20,000 signatures. Fourteen of our roadtrippers, led by Albert Marino, David Peyton and Tom Hanson (pictured above), collected 3,500 signatures over the July 4 weekend. We now have 14,000 in hand. We need another 6,000 in five days. Come on, Carolina, help get us there now.
In Massachusetts, we need 20,000 signatures. We have 12,000 in hand and need another 8,000 in the next 10 days to push us over the top. Bay Staters - push us over the top.
In Missouri, we need 20,000 signatures. As of today, we have collected 12,000. We need another 8,000 in the next ten days. Missouri - show us the money.
In Rhode Island, we just flew in five roadtrippers for Ralph to launch our New England team. They will be led by Nicole Brooks (pictured here) and Deborah Schagen. After Rhode Island, this team will help push us over the top in New Hampshire and Maine. Little Rhody, let's get it done.
And in Arkansas, we're just getting started. We need 2,000 signatures. Please, Razorbacks - step up now.
It's a happy crew.
Because happiness is participation in power.
Feeling down about the corporate takeover of our democracy?
Donate now to Nader/Gonzalez.
You'll feel better.
And you'll help us meet our goal of $60,000 by July 20.
And we'll put your name in lights (if you choose).
Remember you can keep giving whenever you feel the urge - right up to the legal limit of $4,600 per person.
You might feel the urge, for example, this afternoon if Obama and McCain vote for the telecom immunity bill.
Again, thanks for your strong support.
Together, we are making a difference.
The Nader Team
PS: We invite your comments to the blog.
Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.
I need to get the mail address. C.I. was talking about that today. Some members do not donate or buy anything online. So I'm making a promise that tomorrow I will have the address (physical) for anyone who wants to use regular mail to send in a donation. That's a promise so give me hell if I don't keep it.
There's really no excuse for cowards lilke Matthew Rothschild not to start covering Ralph now. Barack's stabbed the Democrats (not just the left) in the back today. He's demonstrated (yet again) that everything you warned about was true. There was an e-mail in the public account that I know C.I.'s not going to respond to. There's no time. So I'll note the question here and answer it. Why did The Common Ills (and all community sites, actually, though the e-mailer didn't know that) warn against Barack throughout 2007? How did C.I. know?
C.I. and Elaine both knew. They went to a pricey, big-donor scare up for Barack when he was running for the US Senate. They were prepared to max out. They got their turn to speak to Barack and Elaine asks him about how he's going to work to end the illegal war. Barack gives a song and dance about how the US is there and has to stay. Elaine's mouth drops open and she's speechless. This is the 'anti-war' candidate (for the Senate) and that's what he's saying. C.I. jumps in with questions, nailing Barack down. Barack's not sure the Iraq War is wrong and he's not sure of this and that. But he does know the US is in Iraq now and so people need to accept it.
Elaine and C.I. left immediately. No donations. The reason we never fell for his campaign hype in 2007 or 2008 was due to the fact that we all know that story. Long before Elaine had her own site, she used to write for the community newsletter (the gina & krista round-robin -- it was the first newsletter and for the longest time, the only one) and she would write about that and she would follow Barack's latest lies now that he was in the Senate. She wrote about the townhall that he got booed in (in Chicago). He'd just been elected and came to town and got pressured on the illegal war and just dismissed it.
So we never bought his nonsense. We knew better thanks to Elaine and C.I.
The guy e-mailing called this C.I.'s "mantra," "Barack needs to get honest." The guy listed all the times that pops up going back to January of 2007. Barack's a liar. That's the reality.
Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, July 9, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Barack Obama revists his sexist notion about women 'feeling blue,' and more.
Starting with war resistance. "But in the meantime, these people need sancturay whether it's in Canada, in Europe or even in our own communities -- because increasingly there are AWOL GIs living right amongst us and the progressive community is providing them refuge in the United States," Gerry Condon explained today on KPFA's The Morning Show, Aimee Allison (Allison co-hosts with Philip Maldari).
Aimee Allison: This week we've covered the latest on Americans who have left the US military, deserted the US military, and are awaiting refugee status in Canada. There have been some victories of late and we covered one just yesterday
Aimee Allison: Give us the latest on Robin Long.
Gerry Condon: Robin Long has been apprehended -- we believe illegally -- by the Canadian Border Services Agency in British Columbia. He's being held now and threatened with deportation. Neither he nor his lawyer were notified that the decision made to deport him. He's been denied his right -- his legal right -- to appeal this deportation. And we think the Canadian Border Services Agency is acting outside the law and certainly acting against the wishes of the Canadian people. We just had a poll from last week showing 64% of Canadians believe that US war resisters should be allowed to remain in Canada. The Canadian Parliament has recently called on the government to allow US war resisters to immigrate. And then on the Fourth of July a Federal Court in Canada rejected the narrow basis for the denial of refugee status to Iraq veteran and war resister Joshua Key. So the Conservative government -- this minority Conservative government in Canada -- is totally isolated on this and yet they're going ahead like a rogue government and illegally arresting and threatening to deport people. There's a lot of people very upset about this in Canada and in the United States. Today Veterans for Peace, Courage to Resist, Project Safe Haven, Iraq veterans and others will be going to Canadian consulates in 14 US cities to demand an end to these deportation proceedings -- against not only Robin Long but Iraq veteran Corey Glass -- and to call on the Canadian government to follow the will of Parliament and the Canadian of the people and allow US war resisters to immigrate to Canada.
Aimee Allison: Now Robin Long and Corey Glass are just two former military members who have gone with their families to Canada and are applying for refugee status. Robin Long was in the application process still?
Gerry Condon: Yes, he had been denied his refugee status but then he was in what's called the pre-removal risk assessment phase which is prior to possible deportation and he was not informed that they had ruled against him on that. So he and his lawyer were not allowed to their legal right to appeal it. So this has happened several times now that the Canadian Border Services Agency in British Columbia has . . . made some very, very questionable arrests of US war resisters. Actually, Robin Long was arrested once before under similar circumstances and it seems like somebody in the chain of command there really has an axe to grind against US war resisters and perhaps some people in the Conservative government eager to set the precedent of finally actually deporting one of these guys .
Aimee Allison: Well let's talk about that because have any US war resisters been deported in this era -- the Iraq War era to date?
Gerry Condon: No, none have been deported yet. There have been -- Although Corey Glass was given until tomorrow -- Thursday -- to leave Canada or face deportation and that's really sparked a political crisis in Canada over this issue. But so far, no, there have been no deportations. And we intend to keep it that way. Nobody should be punished for refusing to participate in an illegal, immoral war and that's the bottom line.
[. . .]
Aimee Allison: Let's talk about how many people are in Canada in Robin Long's situation.
Gerry Condon: Right. There are about 200 estimated to be in Canada at this time. And that includes men and women from all four branches of the US military and many of them are Iraq veterans. About 50 of them have applied for refugee status and generally they are being turned down and then appealing. And this has, you know, come to a point now where, like I said, we have the support of the large majority of Canadians -- from 70% in Quebec to 52% in Alberta -- and we have the Parliament behind us. Looks like the courts are starting to turn our direction finally because this decision last week by the Federal Court in Canada to . . . order the refugee board to redo the hearing for Iraq veteran Joshua Key is very significant.
Aimee Allison: Well today there are actions at Canadian consulates in 14 US cities and then in Germany as well. Can you tell me a little bit about what you hope to accomplish and some of the logistics.
Gerry Condon: Well we believe that pressure from people in the US has been very helpful. Courage to Resist, based in the Bay Area there, of course, has managed to organize 10,000 people in this country to send letters to the Canadian government and political leaders and I think that really helped actually tip the balance toward the Parliament's decision finally to formally call for the government to allow US war resisters to immigrate. One concern that some Canadians have is that by allowing US war resisters to remain in Canada, they may be offending the United States and we're here to tell them that, you know, just like in Canada, the majority of people in this country, the large majority are against the war in Iraq. want to see the occupation -- US occupation of Iraq -- come to an end. And we are happy that Canadians are providing sanctuary for our war resisters and we're thanking the Canadian people for this and urging their government to follow the will of the people to do the right thing and allow US war resisters to remain in Canada.
Aimee Allison: That's Gerry Condon, director of Project Safe Haven, who is organizing support efforts for US war resisters seeking refugee status in Canada.
Allison, co-author of Army Of None with David Solnit, interviewed US war resister Joshua Key and Jeff Paterson of Courage to Resist on yesterday's The Morning Show -- the broadcast and today's are archived. Key's interview was noted in yesterday's snapshot as was Robin Long's arrest. Travis Lupick (Georgia Straight) reports the CBSA informed Robin "he would be deported to the U.S. by as early as Monday (July 14)". The Canadian Press quotes Bob Ages (War Resisters Support Campaign) stating, "This is quite a bombshell in what we thought was a pretty routine administration hearing." Rod Mickleburgh (Globe & Mail) notes, "There had been no warning to Mr. Long that he was in danger of being sent back to the United States so quickly, and it came as a particular shock to his lawyer, Shepherd Moss, in light of last week's court decision upholding deserter Joshua Key's appeal of his failed refugee application." Allison Cross (Vancouver Sun) explains Robin took part in yesterday's hearing via "phone from Nelson" and that "he was told officials had decided in May Long wouldn't be at risk to torture or punishment if he was returned to the US". The War Resisters Support Campaign issues a press release which includes the following:
"The actions of the CBSA amounts to harassment," says Lee Zaslofsky, spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign. "This young man has complied with his requirements and his whereabouts were well-known. The Harper government is ignoring the will of the House of Commons and the Canadian people. It is doing the bidding of the Bush administration in seeking to remove these soldiers of conscience to face persecution in the US." Bob Ages, of the Vancouver War Resisters Support Campaign said, "Ourlegal counsel will be asking that Robin Long be immediately released andmembers of Parliament will be taking up this matter with the government andthe Canadian public."
Oxford Review notes US war resister Rich Droste took part in the Port Dover Canada Day parade by providing information and raising awareness on the issue and the urgency: "Supporters of war resisters are rallying across Canada this Thursday July 10, the date when resister Corey Glass has been ordered to leave Canada." Meanwhile Straight Goods joins New Catholic Times in running the "Appeal from Canada's faith communities to the Government of Canada."
To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail http://firstname.lastname@example.org -- that's "finley.d" at "parl.gc.ca") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail http://email@example.com -- that's "pm" at "pm.gc.ca"). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Moving to Japan where (US) White House spokesperson Dana Perino declread today that
"we don't have timetables for troop withdrawals, we don't have timetables for negotiations." Perino was responding to questions about the treaty the White House wants with Nouri al-Maliki and al-Maliki's floating of the notion that timetables for US withdrawal may be included in the treaty. Perino and other White House staff arrived with the Bully Boy in Japan on July 6th. Asked when Bully Boy had last spoken to al-Maliki, Perino declared this morning, "he just spoke to him right before we left. I can't remember what day we left, but the President had a secure videoteleconfrence" with al-Maliki and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker "checks in with the president daily. Almost." Perino attempted to spin talk of withdrawal as a positive in a sort of 'And before the US invasion, no one ever talked in Iraq!' manner. As though an eviction notice would ever be seen as a sign of progress? In this morning's New York Times, Campbell Robertson became the first to get the White House on record regarding al-Maliki's withdrawal statements. Robertson quoted the White House's Gordon D. Johndroe stating, "Negotiations and discussions are ongoing every day. It is important to understand that these are not talks on a hard date for withdrawal, but are discussions on a security horizion that reflects the Iraqis' increasing capacity, as well as improved conditions on the ground that should allow for a further reduction of U.S. forces." Meanwhile Ernesto Londono and Dan Eggan (Washington Post) quote Mowaffak al-Rubaie (the National Security Advisor of Iraq) stating, "There should not be any permanent bases in Iraq unless these bases are under Iraqi control." Londono and Eggan go on to state that the White House maintains recent statements by Iraqi officials are "aimed at local and regional audiences and do not reflect fundamental disagreements with the Bush administration." Reuters offers two theories for al-Maliki's floating of the idea. 1) Local elections are supposed to take place in October (which would go along with the White House's call that the remarks are aimed at local populations -- Iraqis want all foreign troops out of their country). 2) "Iraq's Arab neighbours -- sensitive to any U.S. military presence on Middle Eastern soil -- have long been reluctant to extend full legitimacy to Maliki's Shi'ite-led government partly because of its heavy reliance on American soldiers."
Meanwhile 38 year-old AP camera journalist Ahmed Nouri Raziak has been held by the US military since last month and AP has been informed he will be held for at least six weeks. He has worked for AP Television for five years and was stopped by the US military (or rounded up, let's be honest) in Tikrit. I can't find a link for this but will get one for the next entry. AP notes: "The decision came as a surprise to the AP, which had earlier been led to believe that the cameraman, Ahmed Nouri Raziak, was likely to be released because of lack of any evidence against him."
Today one Mosul bombing (there were others) gets some attention from the press. Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) explains of the bombing that claimed at least 14 lives with thirty-five wounded, it was "a suicide car bomb that targetedd Nineveh Operations Command Major General Riyadh Jalal Tawfeeq." AFP quotes Tauffiq stating, "The bomber drove his car into my convoy in the Al-Faisaliya neighbourhood of east Mosul. When my guards tried to arrest him, he detonated his car." Al Jazeera reports, "General Riyadh Jalal Tauffiq, the head of the security operations in Mosul and the surrounding province of Ninawa, escaped unharmed when the suicide bomber drove his car into the convoy on Wednesday." BBC explains, "The victims were his bodyguards and civilians in the area." Al Bawaba offers this perspective, "The violence came as Iraqi officials issued data showing attacks have declined sharply over the past year."
In some of today's other reported violence . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Falluja bombing (fifteen minutes apart) which claimed 5 lives and left seventeen people wounded, a Mosul car bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer, another Mosul bombing wounded one member of the Iraqi military and a Kirkuk bombing in Kirkuk resulted in "destroying a tower for Atheer cell phone net company". On the Falluja bombings, RTT adds, "The incident occurred outside a bank when police and a crowd gathered in the area after an explosion at 6:30 a.m. local time."
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Iraqi police and military shot dead 1 person during a raid, 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul, one member of the Iraqi military was injured in a Mosul shooting.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad and 11 in Ramadi. CBS and AP up the corpse count by 11, noting that twenty-two corpses were discovered in Ramadi "most of them under concrete in a playing field." Reuters notes 1 corpse ("young girl" was discovered in Kut and 1 in Tuz Khumato.
Today the US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier was killed in an explosion while conducting operations in Salah ad-Din July 9. Additionally, two other Soldiers were wounded in the explosion." The announcement brought the total number of US service members who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4116.
Turning to the US presidential race. Team Nader announces that the "ten states by July 6" target was reache and the new goal is "15 states by July 20." Ralph Nader is an independent candidate for president. As such he has to fight for ballot access. The five that they are going for next are Arkansas, Massachusetts, Missouri, Rhode Island and South Carolina. "And to get there, we need to raise $60,000. In eleven days. Here is what we propose. Donate now - in whatever denomination suits you - $5, $10, $20, $50, $100.
And if you choose, your name will pop up on our fundraising widget - which shows every dollar we raise as we approach our $60,000 goal." And Ralph Nader notes:
Listen to Ralph Nader's audio message on the Senate vote on FISA - here.
This is Ralph Nader.
Today is Wednesday July 9, 2008.
And I'm listening now to the debate on the Senate floor over legislation that will give President Bush new warrantless eavesdropping powers.
The bill will also grant immunity to telecom companies for cooperating with Mr. Bush in his illegal warrantless wiretapping on Americans - on any one of you.
We were taught as young children that in our democracy, under our system of justice, nobody is above the law - nobody.
But this bill puts the President and the telecom companies above the law.
It also conveniently assures a coverup of Mr. Bush's past crimes in this area - of wiretapping and surveillance.
On the Senate floor, Senator Feingold has just warned his colleagues that the Senate "will regret that we passed this legislation."
As my home state Senator, Christopher Dodd, said:
"If we pass this legislation, the Senate will ratify a domestic spying regime that has already concentrated far too much unaccountable power in the President's hands and will place the telecommunications companies above the law."
What does it say that Senators Dodd, Feingold, Harry Reid, and Patrick Leahy have led the valiant fight against this bill, but Senator Obama has said he will vote for it?
Again, this bill gives the President vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and allows the government - for the first time ever - to tap into America's telecommunications networks with no judicial warrant requirement.
President Bush and the Democrats who support him argue that the telecommunications companies were only doing what they were told by the President and were acting as "patriotic corporate citizens."
This is pure hogwash.
First of all, corporations aren't citizens.
Second, the President can't order anyone - citizens or corporations - to break the law.
This legislation, which the Senate is debating right now, sets up a double standard of justice.
Break the law as a citizen, go to jail.
Break the law as a corporation, go to Washington and get immunity.
Remember, there were telecom companies, such as Qwest, that refused to follow President Bush's illegal wiretap orders and chose instead to obey the laws of the land.
The Senate is now poised to bury the rule of law.
What to do?
Join Nader/Gonzalez - the candidacy that will shift the power from the corporations back into the hands of the people.
We strongly oppose the wiretap surveillance legislation that Obama and McCain support.
We stand strongly with the American people and for the Constitution.
The Nader/Gonzalez campaign is now at six percent in the most recent CNN poll.
We're in the middle of a fundraising drive right now to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in 45 states by September 20.
Help us get there now.
Go to votenader.org.
Donate to your heart's content.
For the Constitution.
For shifting the power from the corporations, back into the hands of the American people.
"We the people" are the first words of the Constitution - we should always remember.
Marcia and Ruth noticed confusion online regarding Nader's appearances Saturday -- there are two and the one in Richmond is in the afternoon. So we'll join them in noting Ralph Nader's upcoming events:Sat. July 12th 1-3pm Nader for President 2008 Rally Richmond, VA Virginia Holocaust Museum 2000 E Cary St. Richmond, VA Contact John: 804-432-1611 Suggested contribution: $10/$5 student Map it **** Sat. July 12th 7:30-10pm Nader for President 2008 Rally Raleigh, NC St Mary's School (Pittman Auditorium) 900 Hillsborough St. Raleigh, North Carolina 27603 Contact: Thomas (919) 828-6236 Suggested contribution: $10/$5 student Map it ***** Sun. July 13th 2-4pm Nader for President 2008 Rally Charlottesville, VA Gravity Lounge 103 South First Street Charlottesville VA 22902 Contact: Michael: 520-906-8661 Suggested Contribution $10/$5 student Map it
Brian Montopoli (CBS News) examines presumed Democratic nominee Barack Obama. Montopoli explores an interview Barack gave to the Christian outlet Relevant magazine. During the course of the interview, the magazine publisher (Cameron Strang) sums up a position for Barack which includes this opening, "You've said you're personally against abortion . . ." To be really clear, were the person Strang speaking to Dianne Feinstein, Nancy Pelosi, Barbara Boxer, Hillary Clinton or any other number of women in Congress, it would be one thing. But when it's the man who refused to vote "yes" or "no" and went with "present" while in the Illinois state legislature, that's a different matter. Equally true is a woman making that statement may or may not have found herself in the position where she had to take the theoretical into practice. Though the press credits the Christ-child with amazing powers, it's highly unlikely that Barack has ever found himself pregnant. The summary (and the fact that Barack doesn't object to it) should (at the very least) raise eyebrows. Roe v. Wade as a scare tactic is not going to work. And one of the main reasons is Barack won't talk to women. He sneers at women. When it's time to talk abortion, why is he running to a 'Christian' magazine and allowing that he is "personally against abortion"? More insulting -- and this is insulting to women, to pro-choice advocates of both genders and to medical professionals (especially those in the mental health field) -- is this remark: "I absolutely can, so please don't believe the emails. I have repeatedly said that I think it's entirely appropriate for states to restrict or even prohibit late-term abortions as long as there is a strict, well-defined exception for the health of the mother. Now, I don't think that 'mental distress' qualifies as the health of the mother. I think it has to be a serious physical issue that arises in pregnancy, where there are real, significant problems to the mother carrying that child to term. Otherwise, as long as there is such a medical exception in place, I think we can prohibit late-term abortions." Barack is an IDIOT about the law -- obvious when he didn't grasp who the plantiff and defendent were in the landmark case Loving v. Virginia -- but that series of sentences contains something to offend just about everyone. A) He's talking about banning late-term abortions which isn't really something he campaigned on while pretending to be 'liberal.' B) Barack has no medical degree so he doesn't know the first damn thing about "mental distress." That's insulting to those in the mental health practice as well as women. Repeating, Barack has most likely never been pregnant. He sure seems to think he knows a great deal, doesn't he? Despite being a basically C-average student most of his life. Marie Cocco (Washington Post Writers Group) breaks it down:
Obama says that these women should not be able to obtain a late-term abortion, because just "feeling blue" isn't the same as suffering "serious clinical mental health diseases." True enough. And totally infuriating.
During the recent Obama pander tour -- the one in which he spent about a week trying to win over conservative religious voters -- the presumptive Democratic nominee unnecessarily endorsed President Bush's faith-based initiative, a sort of patronage program that rewards religious activists for their political support with public grants. Then in a St. Louis speech, Obama declared that "I let Jesus Christ into my life." That's fine, but we already have a president who believes this was a qualification for the Oval Office, and look where that's gotten us.
Obama's verbal meanderings on the issue of late-term abortion go further. He has muddied his position. Whether this is a mistake or deliberate triangulation, only Obama knows for sure.
One thing is certain: Obama has backhandedly given credibility to the right-wing narrative that women who have abortions -- even those who go through the physically and mentally wrenching experience of a late-term abortion -- are frivolous and selfish creatures who might perhaps undergo this ordeal because they are "feeling blue."
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