Wednesday, July 30, 2008

John Murphy, Sean Hanft, Ralph Nader

For Immediate Release: July 28, 2008
For Further Information: John Murphy (610) 384-4460

HARRISBURG, PA -- John Murphy the independent Congressional Candidate in the 16th district filed close to 5,000 signatures with the Department of the Commonwealth on Friday morning. Pennsylvania's egregious ballot access laws required Murphy to submit 2,300 signatures but, as the press has been reporting under the topic of "Bonus Gate", independent and third-party candidates have to collect at least twice as many signatures as required by law because the Democrat Party will even use state employees, on taxpayer time, to ensure that independent and third-party candidates never make it onto the ballot unchallenged or at all.

"While the Democrat and Republican candidates were able to spend the last four months campaigning and raising funds, our resources were completely absorbed in securing my position on the ballot" explained John Murphy. "It's bad enough that we have the most anti-democratic state in the union, singled out even by the Helsinki Accords Group, but the Democrat Party has taken these already draconian ballot access laws and exacerbated the situation by making use of the minutia embedded in those laws. It's one thing to remove the signature of a person who is clearly not a citizen of Pennsylvania, it is quite another to remove a signature because ‘Lucinda’ signed her name as ‘Cindy’ or somebody printed their name in the column where you're supposed to sign your name. That’s how the Democrats removed the independent Presidential candidate Ralph Nader in 2004 and the Green Party’s Senatorial candidate Carl Romanelli in 2006."

John Murphy further explained that there may be some good news on the horizon for the citizens of Pennsylvania. "There are two ways you can defeat democracy" said John Murphy. "One way is by preventing people from voting, the other is by preventing worthy candidates from ever appearing on the ballot. In Pennsylvania the Democrat Party has chosen the latter method. Fortunately State Senator Mike Folmer has introduced legislation into the Pennsylvania Senate entitled the ‘Voters’ Choice Act’ which would redefine minor party's requirements by lowering the threshold to .05% of the registered voters and then allowing the minor parties to nominate their candidates by convention and, like the candidates of the two older parties, have no signature collection requirements for the General Election.

"Independent candidates like me would simply have to collect the same number of signatures that candidates from the two older parties have to collect for their Primary Election ballot. I hope everyone urges their state senators and representatives to support this important piece of legislation by Senator Folmer. If we can accomplish this in Pennsylvania we will be at last in compliance with the Pennsylvania Constitution which mandates 'free and equal' elections and on our way to fighting for Instant Runoff Voting", concluded John Murphy.


Community member e-mailed the above asking if C.I. would highlight it tomorrow morning? C.I. will but Ruth saw it and she and I are both highlighting it. Murphy recently wrote "Something's Rotten in the State of Pennsylvania" (Dissident Voice) which is a must read. I'll also assume, with a name like Murphy, he's got some Irish in him. Let me do a solid for a fellow Irish-American.

So what's the political scene shaping up like in your area? This is from Sean Hanft's "In Historic Presidential Year, Ithacan Third Party Politics Still Percolate" (Ithaca Times):

Ithacans have always disregarded the old-school politicians that will say or do anything to get elected, so John McCain is hardly on anyone's radar screen in this area. Obama's reluctance to appease special interests, running an honest and forthright campaign, and creating new social programs is the backbone of his appeal and would seem a match made in heaven for progressives. Still, as Obama weaves his way into the general election process, politics as usual rears its ugly head and, to some, Obama becomes less and less liberal as campaigning goes on. Ralph Nader has always been an Ithaca favorite, having spoken here numerous times and polling very strongly during the 2000 election. That said, while he does carry the stigma of "ruining" the 2000 election for Democrats, Nader denies this argument and is backed up by more than 200,000 disenfranchised Florida Democrats who accidentally voted for Bush because of faulty voting systems. Love him or hate him, Nader has certainly struck a chord with many Ithaca voters who agree with his independent platform of corporate and education reform, universal healthcare, and creating a true living wage for American workers. Nader has stayed relevant with his own independent campaign for 2008, and while there is some grass roots support here, most support is found in campaign signs scattered on street corners across town.
Christina Dobrescu, 27, showcases a Nader/Gonzalez sign outside her home, and believes that Nader gets a bad rap for the 2000 election and has been pushing policies that have affected the political landscape for almost a decade.
"Nader supports the majority issues. I like that he talks about specific change and how it would come about rather than a much more vague Obama platform. More than anything, I think it's shameful that Nader doesn't get the ability to debate with the other candidates. The large parties work more like private organizations than instruments of public discourse and free speech," said Dobrescu.

Nader supporters are all over the country. If they show up to vote, watch out. I am not joking. And I have heard from so many college women around the country that they are voting for Nader but telling their friends they're voting for Obama. A woman -- and we saw this during the primary -- who says, "I'm not for Obama" quickly becomes the object of scorn and abuse. I don't think the Cult of Obama grasps how strongly they turn off everyone around them. They may think being able to shout people down is helpful but, guess what Cult, you won't be going into the ballot box with anyone.

Team Nader is posting a lot of content so I'll drop back to Monday to be sure everyone saw this, "Nader on Greider, Hightower and Kuttner" (Team Nader):

Posted by The Nader Team on Monday, July 28, 2008 at 09:47:00 AM
Dear Bill Greider, Jim Hightower, and Bob Kuttner:
I write this letter of inquiry out of respect and wonderment to my three friends whose progressive writings over the past generation have been second to none in the community of public intellectuals.
You write cogently - as if people matter first, as if responsive elections, politics and government are critical for a resourceful society that is functionally and institutionally dedicated to the pursuit of justice.
There is one exception to the above generalization with which I have direct familiarity.
In your recent writings and interviews, where you have had pertinent and relevant opportunity to inform your audiences, you declare your dissatisfaction with the two major parties and their leaders over specific issues and records of evasions and neglect.
But you make no mention of the Nader/Gonzalez campaign and its policies that are square on with your positions.
You ignore the areas of action and engagement we are representing or furthering and that McCain and Obama either oppose or ignore.
We're not inferring any endorsements here - just pointing out candidates who are reflecting your kind of political and economic advocacy.
My question is this:
If, year after year, the two major parties oppose or ignore our policy prescriptions, and often facilitate making conditions worse for the people, how do you propose to jump start or spark some movement inside the presidential electoral arena?
You and most of your policy colleagues, whether they write, speak, interview or conduct conferences, almost never choose to recognize or mention the positions and records very similar to yours that were taken, or are being taken, inside the presidential electoral arena by Nader/Camejo (2004) or Nader/Gonzalez (2008).
There are times during interviews on television or radio when the comment or question thrown out at you begs for some mention that someone out there, whom you have known for a long time, is contrasting and challenging the two party "elected" dictatorship that defiantly excludes or marginalizes competition - through state ballot laws and closed debates (a serious civil liberties issue, if nothing else).
The corporate Democrats who control the Party know that they will not be taken to task by the leading writers and polemicists of the progressive community in a way that will discomfort them - i.e. pointing out that their voters can avail themselves of other options on the ballot.
Is there any other language that they understand inside the electoral process?
It is as if your predecessors in the nineteenth century spoke out for abolition, suffrage, labor and farmer empowerment without mentioning or recognizing the existence of those small parties and independent candidates who pioneered, along with parallel civic movements, those great social justice advances we now take for granted.
None of these political candidates ever won a national election, but active speakers, writers, and conveners did not treat them as non-persons.
A very few of your colleagues are beginning to write about the number three presidential and vice presidential candidates in this race. (In Wimbledon or the NCAA tournament, the number 60th seed or team is given a chance to play.)
They realize what an effort it takes just to place one's candidacy on the playing field of a rigged system.
You should empathize enough to cover us on the road after Labor Day.
One journalist - Chris Hedges - found his breaking point and has written columns supporting our campaign.
What is your breaking point in this context?
Is that a valid question to ask as our country is being driven into the ground and its global corporations are tearing at its heart and soul?
Have you ever visited our websites in 2004 and 2008 -
I know about the uni-directional jackhammer nature of Washington's opinion oligopoly.
What I have difficulty understanding is what is its antonym in the progressive media when it comes to reporting and commenting about those who are contending inside the electoral arena?
I look forward to your considered response.
In the meantime, all of us at the Nader/Gonzalez campaign continue to absorb and value your insights and proposals but with a growing sense of puzzlement over the missing gap.
Sincerely yours,
Ralph Nader
P.S. Look at the near blackout nationally of the indictments this month brought by the Pennsylvania Attorney General against state Democratic legislators and legislative aides using government time and taxpayer money to move against electoral and political opponents, including removing Nader/Camejo from the ballot during the 2004 presidential campaign. It was headline news in Pennsylvania but nationally, even the civil liberties groups were not moved. Without candidate rights, how valuable are voter rights in a gerrymandered nation?

Who is Bob Kuttner? I'm not being sarcastic. I don't recognize his name. Greider? His mind went soft. I can't stand to read him today and have felt that way for about two years. He's like someone with a mid-life crisis that ran to EST. It's all touchy-feely and, though he thinks he's writing about and concerned for others, it's all about him. Jim Hightower?

He's even worse. First, he now works for The Progressive and Matty Rothschild won't let a kind word be said about Ralph. Second, he's one of those Cult of Obamas -- or was before the FISA cave. I think you can tell a lot about a person from the books (or 'books') they write. Jim Hightower has been running on empty since about mid-2003. If you think I'm being harsh to Hightower, I have the Hightower report from C.I. Trust me, I'm biting my tongue.

They should be asked where their beliefs went? (I assume Bob Kuttner as well but I don't recognize his name, sorry.) One of the biggest shocks was realizing this year how many 'alternative' media types really see their role as "Democratic Party operative." I think Norman Solomon just needs to go away before he disgraces his reputation further. FAIR has demonstrated it is nothing but a Democratic Party organ. It's been very sad to see alleged media critics turn themselves into party hacks. When we listen to CounterSpin these days (not very often) we laugh at it and treat it as a sitcom. It's such an embarrassment.

So is a woman in Seattle who thinks anyone needs her thoughts on Neil Young. She's trashing him and CSNY. She thinks she's so aware and picks a Bob Dylan song as the best! Too bad for her, she's so stupid she doesn't realize that little known Dylan song (it's not one that most people remember) is actually one of his more sexist ones. "I went to war and Mommy it's your fault!" What an idiot.

I'll be kind and not name her or her outlet.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, July 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Parliament takes their summer recess, a war resister tells his story, for-show actions continue in Iraq, a new report on waste in Iraq is released, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Alex Atamanenko is a Canadian MP from the New Democratic Party. He writes a letter to the editor of Arrow Lake News:

Tuesday, July 15th will go down as a black day in Canadian history. The first Iraqi War Resister from the American military was deported from Canada for refusing to fight in a war that Canada refused to get involved in, that the United Nations has called illegal, and that much of the world sees as an invasion of a sovereign country for oil resources. Robin Long, 25, was one of hundreds of U.S. men and women who have struggled with the decision to risk life-long separation from their families, friends and their country to stay in Canada. If they return to the U.S. they can face arrest, court martial, prison sentences, deployment to Iraq and being blacklisted from employment and education opportunities for the rest of their lives. Many of these youth have been targeted by an 'economic draft', a US recruitment effort that targets the poor with offers of employment, health care for family members, higher education and more if they sign up. These promises are not always kept. Our country has a history once known for peacekeeping, for the art of diplomatic negotiation, for refuge in times of war, for welcoming conscientious objectors like the Mennonites, the Quakers, the Doukhobors, and the Vietnam draft dodgers. These immigrants have made huge contributions to the life of their communities and to our country. Prime Minister Harper's Conservative government chose to direct the deportation of Mr. Long DESPITE the June 3rd House of Commons vote in favour of a resolution introduced by my colleague, Olivia Chow, Federal NDP Immigration Critic. This motion called on our Government to cease any removal or deportation actions against conscientious objectors who have refused or left military service related to a war not sanctioned by the UN. It called for the government to immediately set up programs to allow their application for permanent residency status, so that they can remain in Canada. Further, on June 27th Angus Reid released a poll showing that 64% of Canadians believe that US War Resisters should be allowed to stay in Canada, re-enforcing the fact that the vote in Parliament was reflecting the will of the Canadian people.On July 4th the Federal Court of Canada acted, and ruled that war resister Joshua Key should have his denied refugee claim reviewed by the Refugee Board of Canada. The court found that someone who refuses to take part in military action which "systematically degrades, abuses or humiliates" combatants or non-combatants might qualify as a refugee. On July 9th, the Federal Court further ruled that war resister Corey Glass's order for deportation the next day should be stayed for an indefinite period of time.The Canadian people and the Parliament of Canada have spoken. I call upon Minister Day, Minister Finley and Prime Minister Harper to respect the will of Parliament and the Canadian people and to stand up to President Bush to ensure that American soldiers who oppose that war receive a welcome in Canada.Alex Atamanenko, MP BC Southern Interior

And, of course, "draft dodgers" and "deserters" were both welcomed into Canada during Vietnam. On Robin Long, the
War Resisters Support Campaign states:

Against the wishes of Canadians and Canada's Parliament, the federal government deported U.S. Iraq war resister Robin Long to the United States, where he faces punishment for refusing to participate in the Iraq War. Robin is currently being held at Fort Carson, Colorado. People can send letters of support to Robin at the following address: Robin Long, CJC 2739 East Las Vegas Colorado Springs, Colorado USA 80906 Robin is allowed to receive hand or type-written letters. They must not include anything like drawings made with markers, lipstick, crayons, stickers etc. or print articles. There can be no enclosures, with the exception of standard size photographs (ie. up to 4x6 inches). These must be printed at a photo developing place (i.e. not photocopies, or from a home printer, or Polaroids), and there must be LESS than ten photos, otherwise they will get put in lockup with his personal belongings and he won't see them. The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters across Canada to urgently continue to put pressure on the minority conservative government to immediately cease deportation proceedings against other US war resisters and to respect the will of Canadians and their elected representatives by implementing the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3rd. Please see the
take action page for what you can do.

War resisters in Canada need your help. 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 -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at ""). 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. Long expulsion does not change the need for action and the War Resisters Support Campaign explains: "The War Resisters Support Campaign is calling on supporters across Canada to urgently continue to put pressure on the minority conservative government to immediately cease deportation proceedings against other US war resisters and to respect the will of Canadians and their elected representatives by implementing the motion adopted by Parliament on June 3rd. Please see the take action page for what you can do."

Thank goodness for The Canadian Press. Were it not for their article,
the CBC, the Welland Tribune, the Globe and Mail and the Buffalo News (among others) might have blank spaces. Instead, all work from the same TCP article to tell you that Deltona, Florida's 23-year-old Tyrone Pachauer was arrested by US Customs and Border officers as he attempted to enter the US following a self-checkout while on leave (December 19th through January 1st). He was reportedly living with relatives in Brampton, Ontario while AWOL. Precious Yutango (Toronto Star) is the only one filing a report and cites US Customs and Border Protection's Kevin Corsaro stating, "Supposedly, he had left boot camp in December for Christmas break. I guess he decided he didn't want to be in the army anymore so he fled to Brampton." Meanwhile AP reports Casey Anne Hardt (18-years-old, from Chiloquin, Oregon) was arrested in . . . Louisiana -- which may hold the record for the most arrests of AWOLs during the Iraq War. She was arrested at a traffic stop in Bossier City (right next to Shreveport). AP states she had a desertion warrant and was now awaiting "extradition to Fort Leonard Wood", MO.

Courage to Resist speaks with Michael Thurman (audio interview) about how he signed up, at seventeen-years-old, for the delayed entry program in 2005 while in high school, "I was really interested in aviation and having a career in aviation. . . . One day the air force recruiter came to school and I was talking to her about joining the military as an air force maintenance technician and eventually working to become a pilot." He described himself at that time as "indifferent," "young," "motivated by self-interests" and in "a conservative right-wing household."

In his senior year he "found some new friends" who provided him with "more of a liberal lean towards politics. So I started seeing it through those eyes and that's when I started becoming a little discontent with the war and the government. . . . But I was still ready to go."

Thurman was then sent to Lackland Air Force Base for basic training where, "I just questioned a lot of things I was being taught." In one class the training was videos of violence -- people being shot, people being blown up -- which led Thurman to questioning. As did "one of the chants was about killing people" which all indicated that "it just seemed like a really hateful, angry situation I didn't want to be in."

Michael Thurman: I didn't really want to be part of killing people but I was already in and I didn't really have a choice so I just advanced and kept telling myself it might get better. So I went through tech school with that . . . with that kind of -- I was a little bit angry about my situation and I got depressed about it a lot. And from there -- It was actually during tech school that I started studying a lot of Eastern philosophy and thought and Buddhism and Taoism and that kind of changed my perspective in a spiritual way towards humanity and towards existence. So . . . I guess I could say at that point I could say I was totally opposed to the situation I was in.

Eventually, he ended up at Beale Air Force Base:

Michael Thurman: I started working out on the flight lines. And every day I was out there I just thought of all the indirect killing I was contributing to and I just couldn't take it anymore. So one day I told my supervisor that I didn't agree with any of it and I didn't want to be in the military anymore. And I told him, if there was any way I could get out, I'd like to get out. They took me off of flight run. He's actually the one who told me about consientious objector. I actually didn't know about the term until I was introduced to it by him. So I looked into it and I read down the criteria and I thought, "Wow, yeah, this is what I am, this is what I'm going to apply for so I can get out of the military." So I applied for consientious. objector status and it took me a long time to it was a really arduous process. They put me in -- they put me in the office. They took me off of flight line and put me in an office. And I was just doing personnel work just pushing paper and filing. I was like a file clerk and that sort of stuff which I was still contributing to it. So every day that I was in, I was in constant turmoil about even the little, the little stuff -- like mopping or taking out the trash. It still contributed to this huge system that I was totally opposed to being.

Courage to Resist: So from the time you first asked to get out until you were discharged, how long was it?

Michael Thurman: It took a very long time, eight months for me to get discharged by the time I applied for conscientious objector status. What happened was, when I applied I had to write a huge paper about what I believe and how it came to be and why I couldn't contribute to war anymore. And at that point, I had to talk to a psychiatrist to make sure I was still sane. I guess they thought I might have been crazy . . . I talked to a lawyer at the legal office and she's actually the one that processed all my legal stuff and determined whether or not I was actually a cons obj and she recommended me to my base commander and it basically went up the chain of command so that's why it took a long time. Oh and I also had to talk to a chaplain and the chaplain gave me a report about my religious and spiritual beliefs. And, so yeah, from that, from those interviews it goes to legal office on base and then it just goes up the chain of command. And it went all the way up to the Secretary of the Air Force and it took eight months for that to happen.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Andrei Hurancyk, 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).

In the US today, the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstuction issued a report. Stuart Bowen Jr. issued a note to the report [
PDF format warning] explaining, "The United States has now appropriated more than $50 billion in taxpayer dollars for Iraq's reconstruction." The report notes its basis is "seven new audit products" between May 1st and June 30th of this year. The US has outsourced and done so badly if that's not redundant. As is well known, the US government has provided no oversight. Most recently, Dana Hedgpeth and Amit R. Paley (Washington Post) reported Monday on a finding from the Officie of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, "The U.S. government paid a California contractor $142 million to build prisons, fire stations and police facilities in Iraq that is has nver built or finished". The report released today notes these oversight problems on the part of the US government:

* Inappropriate payment of award fees.
* Insufficiently defined scope of work.
* Inadequate preparation of detailed and independent cost estimates.
* Not initiating timely action to close out task orders.

Of course a key problem was the awarding of no-bid contracts on what appears to be a crony system. Parsons is always in the news . . . when it comes to corruption. The report is not different and notes Parsons re: fire houses, "SIGIR reviewed the largest task order, Task Order 51, which called for Parsons to design and construct 21 fire stations in Anbar and Baghdad. Because of multiple delays and cost increases, the U.S. government reduced the number of stations to be constructed to 100. Later another fire station was eliminated before construction began because of land ownership issues, and a second was terminated for the convenience of the government after it was bombed twice during construction leaving nine. In 2006, Parsons completed the nine fire stations and transferred them to the GOI. The award fee paid to Parsons for wok on this tark order was $296,294 -- 23% of the total available award fee."

Parsons bills itself as "a leader in many diverse markets such as infrastructure, transportation, water, telecommunications, aviation, commerical, environmental, industrial manufacturing, education, healthcare, life scienes and homeland security." The company was formed in 1944 and moved to Pasadena in 1992 -- a move James F. McNulty instituted four years prior to be coming CEO and President of the company. McNulty is currently the Chair of the Board (and has been since 1998) and he joined Parsons upon retiring from the US army (Col.) in 1988. What a ride it's been for McNulty.
Griff Witte (Washington Post) reported at the end of the 2006 that Parsons and McNulty felt under attack from Congress and McNulty was blaming others and that he "suggested the government needed to rethink its heavy dependence on the private sector for reconstruction, security and support in a combat environment. The comments are unusual for the leader of a firm that makes much of its money doing work for the government. Then again, few have been battered as badly as Parsons, an employee-owned, California-base compnay with a six-decade track record. Since the spring, when news of the stumbling health clinic program first broke, the company's preformance has been derided in the press and upt under the microscope at congressional hearings. At a hearing in September, Rep. Henry A. Waxman (D-Calif.) spoke of a $75 million police academy that Parsons was responsible for but that wend badly awry: 'This is the lens through which Iraqis will now see America. Incompetence. Profiteering. Arrogance. And human waste oozing out of ceilings as a result'." On a June 23, 2004 broadcast of PBS' NewsHour, Waxman called it what it was: "It is looked at as profiteering. And we shouldn't have that go on a time when we've got brave. American men and women who are facing the possibility of giving their lives to help the U.S. effort." McNulty rejected that and insisted that there was no way "we are somehow taking advantage of either the Iraqi people or our government." In January of last year, KCET's Life & Times was returning to the difference of opinions between Waxman and McNulty with Waxman arguing, "I don't think anybody ought to get paid and be able to keep the money if they didn't do what they were supposed to do. Then they found that the Iraqi subcontractors didn't do the work, so why should the United States taxpayers pay for that? We should get our money back." To which McNulty responded, "There is nothing wrong with our firm having made a profit on that work that we did over there in Iraq. It was legitimately earned. It was honestly earned and none of our employees nor our firm should feel the least bit bad about that." That 'honest' work that McNulty's so proud of is best evaluated by Jackie Northam (NPR) reporting in May of 2007: "Getting a definitive answer on the number of clinics completed by Parsons is not easy. Of the original 151 promised, the construction company says it handed over 20 fully equipped, completed health-care centers. The Army Corps of Engineers disputes that number, saying it received only six completed clinics. Some of those needed additional work, the Corps says."

The SIGIR report notes that "Iraq's oil revenues will crest $70 billion by the end of the year." meanwhile approximately $40 million in US tax dollars was wasted on a prison outside Baquba (Kahn Bani Sa'ad) which was turned over to the central government in Baghdad (to finish).This prison was a Parson's 'effort'. The report notes, "About $142 million was spent on various Parsons projects that were ultimately canceled or not completed, including Kahn Bani Sa'ad. The report notes Iraq's deputy prime minister (Barham Salih) stating, "Iraq does not need financial assistance."
BBC explains, "This . . . meant the government was capable of fundign reconstruction projects itself. The report also criticised the Iraqi authorities for failing to improve sewage and drainage facilities. . . . Roger Hardy, the BBC's Middle East analyst, said the report was the latest in a string of criticisms by the watchdog of the way in which American taxpayers' money is being spent in Iraq" Click here for HTML folder containing links to the -- PDF format warning -- sections of the report. Peter Spiegel (Los Angeles Times) points out, "Democratic leaders in Congress are pushing the administration to pressure the Iraqi government to fund its own infrastructure projects through rising oil revenue."

Meanwhile, the pagentry of puppety . . . Diyala Province.
Campbell Robertson (New York Times) reports, "Military officers, both Iraqi and Americans, said the insurgents had probably fled the are after news media reports that the sweep was to begin soon, though officials had been saying publicly that it would be likely to begin in early August." Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) explained, "Iraqi soldiers and national police encountered no resistance as they knock in Baqubah and the town of Khan Bani Saad, about 15 miles south. But this is well-trod ground for the Iraqi forces and their U.S. counterparts, who have conducted repeated operations in the area since last year." It's a for-show effort that (a) props up the puppet Nouri al-Maliki and (b) makes the war seem 'winnable.' In the real world, Reuters reports that Moqtada al-Sadr has "called on Iraq's leaders not to sign a security deal with the United States, offering to throw his support behind the government if the talks were scrapped." Iraq's parliament is out of session now (for one month); however, Reuters reports that Parliament Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani has called a special session for Sunday to address the electoral issues.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier and left three more wounded as well as "3 policemen and 4 civilians" injured.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul and 1 judge shot (wounded not killed) in Mosul (as well as the judge's bodyguard).


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Dora.

Turning to the US presidential race,
Jonathan Duckles of Team Nader notes:

Last Friday on Capitol Hill, the House Judiciary Committee weighed in on "executive power and its constitutional limits" in an inconsequential discussion of King George's imperial presidency.
There would be no vote on impeachment, no discussion of the dereliction of Congressional duty, and no Ralph Nader.
Ralph Nader, who has long championed the necessity of impeachment for W's repeated, defiant high crimes and misdemeanors, was not invited to testify at the Rayburn Building on Friday morning. Writer DC Larson summed the situation up, proclaiming that the "Democrat-led Congress are as unconcerned about political justice as is any neo-con in Rupert Murdoch's Rolodex."
The Nader campaign
was there to observe, along with hundreds of other concerned citizens, but couldn't crack the guest-list, despite a run-in with Ms. Kucinich . Only 16 individuals were granted admission into the hall to observe testimony from the following witnesses:
Panel I:
Hon. Dennis KucinichU.S. House of Representatives10th District, OH
Hon. Maurice HincheyU.S. House of Representatives22nd District, NY
Hon. Walter JonesU.S. House of Representatives3rd District, NC
Hon. Brad MillerU.S. House of Representatives13th District, NC
Panel II:
Hon. Elizabeth HoltzmanFormer U.S. House of Representatives16th District, NYDepartment of Justice
Hon. Bob BarrFormer U.S. House of RepresentativesU.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement7th District, GA
Hon. Ross C. "Rocky" AndersonFounder and PresidentHigh Roads for Human Rights
Stephen PresserRaoul Berer Professor of Legal HistoryNorthwestern University School of Law
Bruce FeinAssociate Deputy Attorney General, 1981-82Chairman, American Freedom Agenda
Vincent BugliosiAuthor and Former Los Angeles County Prosecutor
Jeremy A. RabkinProfessor of LawGeorge Mason University School of Law
Elliott AdamsPresident of the BoardVeterans for Peace
Frederick A. O. Schwarz, Jr.Senior CounselBrennan Center for Justice at NYU School of Law
Said Chairman John Conyers with regard to his committee's inaction, "we are not done yet, and we do not intend to go away until we achieve the accountability that Congress is entitled to and the American people deserve."
Let's hold Congress to this.
Let's reclaim the Constitution.
Let's start now.

iraqtyrone pachaueralex atamanenko
mcclatchy newspapersamit r. paleythe washington postdana hedgpeth
alexandra zavisthe los angeles timesthe new york timescampbell robertson