Friday, March 28, 2008

Not that into Ms. these days

Make a point to read Ralph Nader's "Don't Listen to Senator Leahy" -- I would excerpt but it's too short. As some of you may remember when a website ran an editorial by the 'editor' Marc Ash, C.I. delinked from them. Telling any candidate to drop out is wrong. It's not democratic. Whether it's Hillary Clinton right now, Ralph in 2004 or Al Gore in 2000 during the recounts. We need people to start fighting and you better get that. Used to it was "Don't run" in the general election. Now it's seeped into the primaries. You stand up to it or the "Don't Run" crowd will be screaming when someone just floats the idea of running.

Patrick Leahy's an idiot. A tired, old idiot. Thank you, old man, for telling the first viable woman candidate in one of the two major parties to drop out.

Someone e-mailed wondering about highlighting Ms. magazine. I really don't think you'll see much of that. The reality is that C.I. promoted Ms. and we were happy to go along but we're all kind of sick of it. As Dona pointed out, they had no point in including a push-up bra feminist in their 35th anniversary issue. She regularly insults the magazine and she did just that in her little quote in the 35th issue. She's not a feminist, she's an ego-maniac. The fact that Ms. couldn't tell the difference is upsetting. The fact that Ms. is a feminist magazine and has done nothing to document Hillary's campaign is APPALLING.

They should have had a daily blog. They could have turned it into a book at the end of the campaign. It didn't have to be pro-Hillary, it could have been neutral. But no woman has ever made it this far in the race for president. Exactly why does Ms. exist if not to cover that sort of thing? They didn't do it for Hillary. Cynthia McKinney is battling for the Green Party presidential nomination and they didn't do it for her. I'm sorry but in 2004 they ran another PATHETIC cover story on First Ladies. We have two women running for presidential nominations. I think Cynthia's a lock on the Green Party nomination and Hillary's in there fighting for the Democratic Party nomination. Where the hell is Ms?

I blame it in part on Donna Brazille who's nothing but corporate swill. She never should have been added to the roster. She brings nothing to the table but steering the magazine to the right. She's a DLC centrist and parties with Republicans (like that awful party at Dick Cheney's assistant house which served as a coming out for Norah O'Donnell).

Go to the website, there's nothing. Yeah, I read the new issue back in January. It's April next week. What do you got? Why should anyone visit your website in the last six weeks? No reason at all. Feminist Wire Daily? They don't cover Hillary most weeks and have had no interest in Cynthia. There are no more blogs at Ms. They have NO online presence.

At a time when you have two serious women candidates running for president. That's disgusting. I mean, can you imagine if this was 1972 and Ms. was starting but had the web as well? They'd be all over Cynthia and Hillary. Instead, they're just embarrassing themselves and making themselves look useless. This is a point that we've all brought up with C.I. and, as a result, C.I. most likely won't be highlighting it. Ms. is supposed to be a magazine for feminism. Letting Donna Brazille in means it's a magazine featuring women and feminism isn't necessary. Regardless, the reality is that it should be covering the races and it hasn't. Two women and it's done s**t. That's why most of go to Women's Media Center instead.

And, no, it doesn't help that the article they tried to pimp is by a Barack Obama supporter. You go, girl! Set us all the way back to the days of yore! Hey, maybe Ms. could make Patrick Leahy their 'cover girl' when the next issue finally comes out.

C.I. and Ava are the nice ones. The rest of us? Fed up. Sick of it. As Ruth's often pointed out, in her day, feminists weren't making nice with the magazines. But, jeez, The Nation magazine, in 2007, runs 491 male bylines and only 149 female ones and where the hell is Ms? Do you get that not only is that not one half, it's not even one third. Where was Ms? It's becoming as dopey as Eve Ensler with her 'love retreat' next month that's nothing but a woman who can't say "I'm a socialist" and can't admit that all the 'actions' are really just one more attempt to plug her tired play.

Compare what Ms. doesn't do to what the women in this community do. (And note that all the men with sites are feminists as well.)

1) You've got Gina and Krista who started the first community newsletter (the gina & krista round-robin). In addition to Gina and Krista's writings and polls, each week you've got Pru. Pru's pop-questions to US MSM journalists was only the first of many wonderful features she filed from England.

2) You've got Polly who followed with Polly's Brew covering European members. And American teenager Goldie files a column each week.

3) You've got El Spirito which is the newsletter run by three members, one of which is Maria. You've got Ava and C.I. reviewing Spanish language programming. (And of course C.I. does a weekly column for every community newsletter except UK Gurus because that's a technical newsletter and published every three weeks.)

4) You've got Hilda's Mix which is geared to address the disabled community. Ruth contributes a weekly column and Ava and C.I. do their weekly radio column.

And then there are the websites.

5) The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ava and C.I. Three of the strongest female voices around.

6) Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude who is like no one else.

7) Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, Doing the online comic novel of Betinna's experience with colonial globalization.

8) C.I. of The Common Ills. C.I. whom we all spring from! All of it, it's all due to C.I. who came out swinging at the end of 2004 and never treated women as second-class citizens or bothered to stop in the midst of writing to ponder, "Do I have a right to weigh in?" Braver than anyone knows (including herself!).

9) Trina of Trina's Kitchen. What's it like to be a working class mother who has raised eight children? It's about keeping it real.

10) Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz. Didn't want to do a blog. Just filling in for Rebecca in the summer of 2005. Drafted into starting one by the community and it's always one of the most surprising blogs day after day. (Third is an online magazine, The Common Ills is a website.)

11) Ruth of Ruth's Report. When I think about the amazing things that have come from The Common Ills, Ruth is always near the top. She lost her husband of so many years. And that was so hard for her. Her grandchildren were trying to get her out of her deep funk. Her grandson Jayson came out one Sunday and Ruth was back among the living. Shortly after, she started contributing at The Common Ills and now she also has her own site. It has been a long journey for Ruth and she is so strong and so inspiring.

12) Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ. What ticks a radical African-American lesbian off? Seeing Hillary smeared day after day. And finally, she can take no more and starts her own website. We were all shocked only because Marcia's been a community member for so long and no one really thought she'd start a site.

13) And me!

I mean, it's just insane that the magazine of the feminist movement is doing so damn little.

Here's some Hillary news via Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Bold and Progressive:"

If You Read One Thing Today: Paul Krugman writes in today's New York Times, "...[T]he substance of [Hillary's] policy proposals on mortgages, like that of her health care plan, suggests a strong progressive sensibility...[and] continue to be surprisingly bold and progressive." Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary makes stops across Indiana, where she hosts a series of "Solutions for the American Economy" town hall and roundtable events.
Real Solutions: Yesterday in North Carolina, Hillary kicked off her six-day "Solutions for the American Economy" Tour with the announcement of a new $2.5 billion per year workforce training program.
Read more.
If You Watch One Thing Today: Hillary says, “If the phone were ringing, [Senator McCain] would just let it ring and ring and ring."
Watch here.
Erie, Pennsylvania: Yesterday, more than 300 people packed the opening of Hillary’s newest office.
Read more.
Fayetteville, North Carolina: Yesterday, more than 1,000 tarheels gathered to see Hillary at a town hall event here. One, a 25-year-old freshman at Fayetteville State University, said, “She showed she has the heart to help the average person. It made me go wild." "It would be crazy not to vote her into office," said another woman, who arrived for the speech at 6:30 a.m. to hear Hillary speak at 3:00.
Read more.
By the Numbers: A new Rasmussen tacking poll shows Hillary leading Senator Obama nationally (46-44).
See the results here.
The Hillary I Know: The Student Body President of West Virginia University on why he’s supporting Hillary: "To hear Hillary talk about the big goals she's setting for our country … really should inspire all of us to join with her to bring real change to America." Read more.
On Tap: This Saturday, Hillary visits Louisville, Kentucky and attends the annual state Governor Ruby Laffoon Dinner in Madisonville.
Just the Facts: One week after Sen. Clinton called for a "second stimulus package" with $30 billion to help states and localities fight foreclosures, Sen. Obama announced a "second $30 billion stimulus package". Response from policy director Neera Tanden: "...When it comes to fixing the economy, we need leadership, not followership."
Read more.

I wonder if Ms.' original readers ever pictured the day when a woman would run for president, be tied for the nomination and Ms. would treat it like it was nothing?

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

Friday, March 28, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Moqtada al-Sadr is still standing and then some, Patrick Leahy attacks democracy, Barack Obama tries out another story about his relationship with Jeremaih Wright, and more.

Moving quickly. War resisters in Canada are attempting to seek asylum. They need support as a measure is expected to be debated next month. For those in Canada, the nation's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes 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, 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, 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

The assault on Basra continues.
CBS and AP report that, added to the mix, "U.S. warplanes bombed sites in the southern Iraqi city of Basra overnight, targeting Shiite militia members". Robin Stringer and Camilla Hall (Bloomberg News) cite UK Maj Tom Holloway stating that the US bombed "positively identified militia targets". Of course they did. And, no doubt, Basra being an inhabited city, they also cleared out all civilian populations as well, right? (No.) US planes aren't the only ones dropping bombs. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reported this morning, "British warplanes have carried out bomb attacks on Shi'ite militia positions in Basra, directly entering the fray for the first time since the Iraqi army began the crackdown in the southern city." Meanwhile Sudarsan Raghavan and Sholnn Freeman (Washington Post) report, "U.S. forces in armored vehicles battled Mahdi Army fighters Thursday in the vast Shiite stronghold of Sadr City, and military officials said Friday that U.S. aircraft bombed militant positions in the southern city of Basra, as the American role in a campaign against party-backed militias appeared to expand." Appeared to expand?

Tuesday, the word was that the British were sitting it out. And from the start we've heard of 'Commander' Nouri, rushing to Basra, to oversee the battle. A decisive battle, we were told. CNN gushed, "Al-Maliki is said to be personally overseeing efforts to restore order in Basra". That was Tuesday. By Wednesday (when it was obviously a failed effort) the Pentagon was hoping to grab some bragging rights but it was still "It's All Nouri!" -- and meant it in a positive manner. By Thursday, displeasure wasn't being murmured, it was being stated clearly and on the record such as when Sudarsan Raghavan and Sholnn Freeman (Washington Post) reported that "independent Kurdish legislator" Mahmoud Othman was quoted declaring, "Everybody is asking, 'Why now?' . . . . People have ill-advised Maliki. The militias like the timing. Iran likes the timing. They want to show there's no progress in Iraq." It was falling apart before the assault was ever launched. But as late as Thursday, that still wasn't grasped as evidenced by James Glanz (New York Times) reporting how "American officials have presented the Iraqi Army's attempts to secure the port city as an example of its ability to carry out a major operation against the insurgency on its own. A failure there would be a serious embarrassment for the Iraqi government and for the army, as well as for American forces eager to demonstrate that the Iraqi units they have trained can fight effectively on their own."

Today, Bully Boy declared at the White House that "any government that presumes to represent the majority of people must confront criminal elements or people who think they can live outside the law. And that's what's taking place in Basra and in other parts of Iraq. I would say this is a defining moment in the history of a free Iraq. There have been other defining moments up to now, but this is a defining moment, as well. The decision to move troops -- Iraqi troops into Basra talks about Prime Minister Maliki's leadership." As usual, it would appear someone left Bully Boy out of the loop. "Criminal elements" echoes Nouri's statements throughout the week but let's note that if you're going to tackle alleged criminal elements, you give the Parliament a heads up. This is a turf war. Wednesday on NPR's
The Diane Rehm Show featured McClatchy Newspapers' Leila Fadel.

Leila Fadel: Well Basra has been spiraling out of control for months now, the British military pulled out late last year basically handing it over to Shia militias in a city that are battling for power. Maliki, the prime minister here, finally declared a security operation on Monday night and the battle has been fierce mainly between Iraqi government forces and the Mehdi Army which is loyal to the Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Basra is a strong-hold for the Mehdi Army and the Sadrists are saying this is a battle against them to consolidate power for their Shia rivals, the Supreme Council here in Iraq.

The latter would be the party that provides Nouri with his largest support these days after his own Da'wa party. Provincial elections are supposed to be held at year's end and this is seen as one of the primary reasons for the assault on Basra. Another reason was that US Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker are due to put on another show for Congress next month and Petraeus has actually grumbled publicly about al-Maliki. As have many Democrats and Republicans serving in the US Congress. If the puppet is fingered as one of the failures, how does that look for those pulling his strings? So this was a rock 'em, sock 'em p.r. bonanza. If you were an idiot.

Moqtada al-Sadr's power was at the weakest. He'd declared the cease-fire/truce with US and occupation forces in August of 2007. The truce was very unpopular in the Sadr City section of Bahgdad where al-Sadr's supporters were. al-Sadr wasn't there. al-Sadr was assumed to be in Najaf. So when Sadrists felt they were being openly targeted. Then came February when al-Sadr (still not home) declded to renwer the cease-fire/truce. Objections were strong before the truce was renewed and just the act of renewing it led "loyalists" to criticize al-Sar openly and to the press. al-Sadr's influence was diminishing. When a people feel attacked and their designated leader isn't with them, questions will naturally emerge and they were starting to. And possibly those in the US government who've long plotted the 'departure' of al-Sadr felt, "This is the perfect moment!" No, it wasn't. And whomever okayed the operation immediatly up to Bully Boy miscalculated (Bully Boy always miscalculates) because when someone you see as an enemy is naturally weakening themselves through their own actions, you do not 'assist' them by lifting them to a higher stature. That's what the assault on Basra did.

Maybe the hope was al-Sadr would stay silent. He didn't. He called it out. Who's winning hearts & minds in Iraq? Moqtada al-Sadr because, across Iraq, Iraqis saw only one person stand up to the occupation. Iraqis has seen Falluja slaughtered (twice), has seen their neighborhoods physically carved up with "Bremer" walls, they've seen that, five years after their country was invaded, not only are occupation forces still present (in direct opposition to the wishes of the Iraqi people) but Baghdad is pretty much off limits to most Iraqis. Who stood up? Moqtada al-Sadr.

Nouri al-Maliki painted himself into the corner as did the US. Wednesday on
The Diane Rehm Show al-Maliki's ultimatums were noted.

Leila Fadel: Well Prime Minister Maliki is saying that he wants every weapon in the hands of the government. He wants all weapon smugglers, this is a very important city, 90% of Iraq's oil comes from there, it's a border town. It has the main port of Iraq there. And a lot of the weapon smuggling, oil smuggling happens there. And so the main families that deal with oil smuggling, weapon smuggling have been targeted in Basra. He has given what he calls outlaws 72 hours to surrender while the battle continues it seems that the main targets and the people fighting back are the Medhi army and the Sadrists are saying that they are the targets, the sole targets, of this operation.

al-Maliki was in no position to give ultimatums. But it was 'strong,' it was 'bravery' -- or that's how it was supposed to play.
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) cited al-Maliki calling al-Sadr loyalists "criminal gangs". Leila Fadel (McClatchy) quoted Nouri insisting, "The government does not negotiate with a gang; the government does not sign understanding memorandums with outlaws." Big tough Nouri? Italy's AGI reports that Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, has now extended his 'deadline' (April 8th now and not Saturday) and Al Jazeera notes that he declared, "All those who have heavy and intermediate weapons are to deliver them to security sites and they will be rewarded financially." al-Maliki's reputation was on the line, as James Glanz noted, and the US government knew for sure that their puppet was going to be able to pull this off but only because they've deluded themselves into believing that Iraqis see Nouri as a legitimate ruler. They dodn't. Protests started the minute the assault on Basra began. When Moqtada al-Sadr spoke out, the protests only got heavier -- across Iraq. Moqtada al-Sadr called for a political solution and Nouri al-Maliki insisted he doesn't deal with 'outlaws' (which would mean he ignores his own ministries). Today in Iraq, al-Sadr's not only the one who stood up to the occupying powers (a big thing in and of itself), he's the one who did so and got concessions.

Xinhua noted the "extraordinary session" in the Iraq Parliament that Speaker Mahmoud al-Mashhadani called today and the press conference announcing it where he was joined by Ibrahim al-Jaafari (Iraq's previous prime minister) and others. AP reports that 78 members of Parliament were present and that the committee met for "about two hours" on the issue of Basra. Missing the point, as usual, at the White House Bully Boy was still issuing talking points, calling the assault "a test and a moment for the Iraqi government". If it was a test for Bully Boy he failed as he fell back on all his tired answers ("democracy" and mothers wanting their children to go to school are especially overused). Standing next to him was Australia's Prime Minister Kevin Rudd who avoided all questions on Iraq and only addressed that nation in his opening remarks where he mentioned "an assistance package of some $165 million" of which "a large slice" is planned to "train their people better in agriculture and in the wider economy." Train "their people better" in farming? Is Rudd unaware that Iraq was considered one of the breadbaskets of the MidEast?

Let's stay with Bully Boy and mistakes. Not last Monday, but the Monday before (March 17th),
Michael R. Gordon presented the usual unsourced junk his infamous for. But because it was pleasing, many picked up on it. Amy Goodman pimped it but, apparently grasping even her declining audience wouldn't accept a report from Gordo, just credited it to the New York Times. We didn't link to it the morning of the 17th, we're not going to link to it now. We noted the morning of the 17th, "At the New York Times Gordo's raving about his insider interviews and access. No link to trash. The thrust is that L. Paul Bremer issued a decree that disbanded the Iraqi military (true) and that this was something Bremer came up with on his own. Collie Powell declares that he was out of the country and called Condi Rice about it to object and Rice explained that it had already been done. The big villian of the piece is Bremer and Bully Boy is painted as someone who was apparently in a daze. (Maybe he was thinking of My Pet Goat?) How true is it? Who knows? It's Gordo and the ship is sinking so the rats are bailing. If Powell knew it was a mistake (as he insists to Gordo), then Colin Powell should have something in real time -- even as an anomyous source. That's the least he should have done. Anyone with real courage would have stepped down and gone public. Again, the ship is sinking and since Bully Boy won't be working anywhere, they'll finger him as out of it (which is believable) and make Bremer the fall guy. While Bremer wins nothing but boos and hisses here, it is equally true that anyone -- not just Bully Boy -- could have objected. (That includes but is not limited to Rice.)" It wasn't news. The tip-off should have been the byline if not the whisper nature of the story. But the paper then had to offer an editorial 'loosely based' on Gordo's 'reporting' entitled "Mission Still Not Accomplished" and Paul Bremer responded to the apportioning of blame Monday March 24th in a letter to the editor (A24). Bremer's claiming that there was no military to disband and we're not in the mood for that nonsense but we will note some of his comments just because the disaster that is the illegal war has many parents and none should be left off the hook:

I take strong exception to your assertion that I "overrode" President Bush's national security team on disbanding the Iraqi Army. Whatever one's view on the issue, there should be no confusion about the process leading to this decision. President Bush's instructions to me were to report to him through Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld. I did.
[. . .]
On May 9, two weeks before the decision was made, I sent a draft order based on these discussions to Mr. Rumsfeld, copied to Gen. Tommy Franks, head of the Central Command, and other senior defense officials. A copy went to Gen. Richard B. Myers, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and to the commander of the coalition forces in Iraq.
All had ample opportunity to comment on this and subsequent drafts of the order before it was issued on May 23. Defense Department civilian leaders and military staffs provided only minor suggested revisions.
On May 22, I briefed the president at a National Security Council meeting attended by Condoleezza Rice, then the national security adviser; Deputy Secretary of State Richard L. Armitage; Secretary Rumsfeld; and General Myers. No one raised concerns or objections.
Colin L. Powell, then secretary of state, says he was unaware of the plan; that is regrettable. But this suggests a problem with the interagency process in Washington.
General Myers told The New York Times (front page, March 17) that there had been no "robust debate" about the draft decree. If any top officials felt strongly at the time that the decision was misguided, as some of them now claim, they had every opportunity, and the responsibility, to make those concerns known to the Pentagon's leadership, or directly to the commander in chief.

Paul Bremer is correct that anyone wanting to claim they were out of the loop needs a better excuse. If Colin Powell wants to claim he was out of the loop, that's an issue with his then Deputy Secretary. Bremer is also correct that those opposed (none were) "had every opportunity, and the responsibility" to speak out. They chose not to. Now, as resume shock sets in and they realize what they own, it was very cowardly to try to add their blame to Bremer. Bremer's not innocent and bears responsiblity for his actions. But when you want to whisper and shove your blame off on someone else -- and you're in power -- you rush straight to Michael Gordon. And it's a sure sign of how pathetic
Panhandle Media is that they merely stripped Gordo's name from it as they rushed to repeat it. Over and over. I'm unaware of anyone noting Bremer's reply which ran Monday and I waited until Friday to see if any would bother with "in an update to . . ." but none did.

Basra wasn't the only victim of a US air assault.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Baghdad bombings from the air with the US killing "3 gunmen, injuring 8" in the first instance and killing "12 people" with "60 injured" in the second. Robert H. Reid (AP) also notes the air bombings on Baghdad and refers to a Sadr City incident which may be the second one Issa noted or yet another bombing when "a U.S. aircraft fired a Hellfire missile in the Sadr City district -- the Baghdad stronghold of the Mahdi Army -- after gunmen there opened fire on an American patrol. The U.S. military said the missile strike killed four militants, but Iraqi officials said nine civilians were killed and nine others wounded."

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack "near Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi's residence inside the Green Zone injuring 2 of his security detail," a Baghdad mortar attack on "the supension bridge (one of the entrances to the Green Zone) in Karrada" that wounded three people.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Qurna city resulted in 5 losing their lives and injured two. Robert H. Reid (AP) reports armed clashes in "Mahmoudiya, Nasiriyah and Kut" resulted in "[a]t least 26 people" dead. Reuters notes 3 dead in an armed clash in Kerbala, 6 in an armed clash in Hamza and that "the mayor of Ghmash neighbourhood in Diwaniya" was shot dead today.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 kidnappings of police patrols in Baghdad -- in one instance two police officers were released, in the other three are missing.


Reuters notes 7 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division-Center Soldier was killed as a result of wounds sustained from an improvised explosive device attack south of Baghdad March 28."

Turning to US presidential politics. US Senator Patrick Leahy attacked democracy AND LIED today.
Johanna Neuman (Los Angeles Times) reports that Leahy is calling "on Hillary Rodham Clinton to drop out of the presidential race, saying there is no way the New York Senator can wrest the nomination from her rival Barack Obama." Let's remember that Leahy is the OLD FOOL who endorsed John Roberts for the Supreme Court. Now let's walk through slowly. A) If there's no way for Hillary to garner the nomination, what's the big concern with her dropping out? We'll come back to that. The Obama campaign got a spook today and are hoping the press doesn't get wind of it. B) If Barack has the nomination, it doesn't matter what Hillary does. C) Neither Hillary or Barack appeared able to reach the magic number of delegates from primaries or caucuses. Patrick Leahy needs to sit back down. His ass, like the rest of him, is obviously tired.

Let's cover the attack on Democracy angle. Vermont held their primary on March 4th. Leahy didn't think it was important to stop the process then, now did he? Today Bob Casey Jr. endorsed Barack. Let's see Bob Casey Jr. echo Leahy, let's see Bob Casey Jr. tell the voters of Pennsylvania that Hillary needs to drop out. Pennsylvania holds their primary on April 22nd so let's see Bob Casey Jr. stand with Leahy and see him tell the voters of his own state that they don't matter, that their votes don't matter and that their voice doesn't matter.

That is what Leahy is doing and everyone -- regardless of party -- should be offended by this attack on democracy. Now this nonsense was pulled on Al Gore privately in 2000. Leahy is so brazen that he thinks he can now do it publicly. Leahy is not the Director of Democracy and it's past time that he and others got that message. It's past time that someone held these little chiefs in check. And the people will. Leahy's not only offended Pennsylvania and all states and regions still to hold primary, he's also offending Vermont which is a state with a long history of allowing the process to go through. His offensive lies and attacks need to be called out.

Let's get it straight, the primary/caucus system is gamed over and over. But the lie those who don't live in Iowa or New Hampshire are told each election cycle is that their votes matter to. They're told that if it's ever close, they'll certainly get a say. They're told that just because the runway is cleared for Iowa and New Hampshire each year while everyone else is left in holding pattern, it's still fair, it's still equal. No, it's not. Which is why
Bill Nelson is proposing legislation. But under the current system, the race continues. Under the current system, it's not expected that either Barack Obama nor Hillary Clinton will meet the magic number of delegates required to win the nomination. The super delegates would decide the nominee.

Everyone knows that. Leahy knows that though he lies to make it look better for his heart-throb Bambi. As someone who is lobbying super delegates, you better believe I know it. But while that battle's gone on, a new battle emerged today, totally unexpected. It sent the Barack Obama campaign into a tizzy. On NPR's
The Diane Rehm Show today, a caller named John from Dallas, TX spoke. He explained he supported Barack Obama. He explained he voted for him. He explained he caucused for him. He explained he was selected as a delegate to represent Obama. Most importantly, he explained he could no longer support Barack Obama. Hillary Clinton won the primary in Texas.

That's why Leahy was sent out. Clamp down on this quick! Stop it before it bleeds further! Jeremy Wright is toxic and viral and it has destroyed Barack Obama. Not Hillary or anything she's said. The fact that Wright damned the United States of America is not going down easy despite media lies. The caller referenced an earlier section of the program and may have meant the embarrassing discussion of polls which included Obama's 'good' news from a
PEW poll. 51% rated him well on his speech last week. But there's the other side which wasn't addressed on the broadcast. Seven percent didn't know. 42% rated Fair to Poor. The most heavily pimped speech of the campaign, by any candidate. The source of endless columns (bad columns) and non-stop gas baggery. The media was in full force on that speech, trying to shape the minds of Americans. But they didn't. 42% said Fair to Poor. (That's the general population but it's also the number for those self-describing as "Independent" in the poll.) When the US media decided to hop on board the selling of the illegal war, Bully Boy soared in the polls. 51% is very disappointing and that number is only going to continue to lower. Wright is toxic and viral and Obama showed no judgement.

That's what the caller told Rehm and her panel. And they characterized what he was going through as buyer's remorse. Wright has not gone away. He was back in the news for his "I will tour!" which didn't work out that well (it was cancelled for him but he tried to save face) and then came more offensive remarks including "garlic noses" for Italians.
Jeffrey Weiss (Dallas Morning News) covers the religious beat and offers this prediction today: "Barack Obama will face more questions about Rev. Wright. Yes, Obama has disavowed the sentiments in the endlessly YouTubed excerpts. But the entire sermon offers a view of America and the American government that stands in sharp contrst to Obama's message. It's one thing for him to say he hadn't heard his pastor call God's wrath down on America that day. But surely some of the broader themes of that sermon about the role and history of the U.S. government were woven through other sermons? And we have not heard how or whether Obama took those up with his pastor and friend." On ABC's The View, Obama offered yet another version of conflicting stories passed off as truth. Today's lie is he would have left the church if Wright had "not retired" and that's a new one. It's equally true that it wouldn't take most people 20 years to make such a decision. Jake Tapper (ABC News) notes that he also claimed Wright "had said he had deeply offended people" and Tapper questions that only to get a "What he meant" from the campaign. Tapper notes:

Okay, except Obama wasn't "clearly" saying that at all.Here's a clear way to say that: 'Had the reverend not retired I would have confronted him about his remarks. If after that Wright still refused to acknowledge that what he had said had deeply offended people and were inappropriate and mischaracterized what I think is the great character of this country -- for all its flaws -- then I wouldn't have felt comfortable staying there at the church.'

Taylor Marsh tracks Obama's changing story and how this new "I would have left if he hadn't been retiring" nonsense is just that. Brad Warthen (South Carolina's The State) explores the offense of the most famous sermon Wright delivered (and then sold online):

But what Mr. Wright said is clear. The six-minutes-plus of context that went before "G** Damn America" was exactly what I would have guessed went before it. Essentially, it was a review of history, mixed with a small dollop of political partisanship (the comparison of not-so-bad presidencies with the current one). Short version: The government has upheld oppression of black people during the course of American history.
Folks, I'm an American history major, and I've lived in this country for most of 54 years. What part of the rather sketchy overview in that sermon do you think I didn't know already? If I'd been sermonizing, I could have added a lot to it -- including the fact that the blood offering of the Civil War, as horrific as it was, seems to have been an inevitable sacrifice to expiate the sin of slavery. And I would have said the evil didn't end there, nor could it, there being original sin in the world, and no one of us since Jesus Christ born free of it.
But I wouldn't have said "G** Damn America." Not in a million years. For me, the point of bringing up evil is to try to overcome it -- as I believe two people Mr. Darby mentions (King and Bonhoeffer) were trying to do.
Sorry, but I can't accept that the Rev. Wright was saying "things that challenge America to rise above its sins of prejudice and greed." No, if he'd said America was in danger of damnation, or headed straight thataway, rather as Jesus said to the Pharisees
in the example cited by my colleague Warren Bolton this week, that might have been seen as a challenge, perhaps even a well-intentioned warning. (Personally, although he had more right, being God, than anyone else to do so, I don't remember Jesus ever damning anything more sentient than a fig tree.)
But Mr. Wright didn't call on us to do anything. Instead, he called on G** to damn America.

Wright isn't going away. And let's be clear that what happened today was an Obama delegate -- voted for him in the primary, caucused for him -- announced on NPR that he wasn't able to support Obama and wouldn't be, that he was switching his vote to someone else. It's the story the campaign doesn't want noted.

the following US military retired endose Hillary:
General Wesley Clark General Henry Hugh Shelton Admiral William Owens Lt. Gen. Joe Ballard Lt. Gen. Claudia Kennedy Lt. Gen. Donald Kerrick Vice Admiral Joseph A. Sestak, Jr. Major General Roger R. Blunt Major General George Buskirk, Jr. Major General Paul D. Eaton Major General Antonio M. Taguba Brigadier General Michael Dunn Brigadier General Evelyn "Pat" Foote Brigadier General Virgil A. Richard Brigadier General Jack Yeager Brigadier General John M. Watkins, Jr. Rear Admiral Roland G. Guilbault Rear Admiral Stuart F. Platt Rear Admiral David Stone

The lettter reads:

As retired flag and general officers, we have devoted our lives to our country. We have hundreds of thousands of men and women on the front lines that have done the same. At this critical time in our nation's history, our men and women in uniform deserve better than a presidential debate mired in trivia. The stakes are simply too high. As we are poised to choose our next Commander-in-Chief, we should not allow the media to divert attention from the real issues. What matters is who is ready and inspired to lead -- who can be Commander-in -Chief on Day One.
It is imperative that our new President knows how and when to use force and diplomacy judiciously, to know how to deploy the olive branch and the arrow. The President needs to be ready to act swiftly and decisively in a crisis. And we think our next President must restore our moral authority and leadership around the world with the courage to meet with our adversaries when appropriate, and the wisdom to pursue diplomacy wisely.
It is especially important to understand the military and diplomatic challenges facing us in Iraq, and to end the Iraq war responsibly and safely. It is also important to rededicate ourselves to winning in Afghanistan, the forgotten front line in our fight against terrorism.
In these critical areas, it is clear to us that Senator Clinton is the candidate best qualified to be our nation's next Commander-in-Chief.
We believe that she has real understanding of the military through her diligent service on the Senate Armed Services Committee. She has worked tirelessly to ensure our men and women in uniform are properly trained and equipped to be sent to battle. And she has fought to make certain that they are treated with dignity when they return home. We have personally and closely observed her respect for our armed forces, and she has earned their respect. And ours.
We hope that as a country, we will now turn our attention to the critical issues that will determine the future of our great nation.

mcclatchy newspapers

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Tired 'folkies'

"HUBdate: Creating Jobs"
by Howard Wolfson, Communications Director
3/27/2008 9:34:12 AM
Today In The Tar Heel State: Hillary will deliver a major economic policy address on rebuilding the middle class by creating new jobs and promoting job training in Raleigh.
If You Watch One Thing Today: Rep. John Murtha (D-PA) tells voters in Fayette County that Hillary is the only candidate with the strength and experience to be president on Day One.
Watch Here.
Family Ties: Big and enthusiastic crowds have continued to greet Chelsea at her campaign stops, including in Washington, DC yesterday, where she introduced her mother at a "March To Victory" rally.
Read more.
Michigan Counts: Following yesterday’s court ruling regarding Michigan's January 15th primary, Campaign Manager Maggie Williams issued a statement "urg[ing] Senator Obama to join our call for a party-run primary and demonstrate his commitment to counting Michigan's votes."
Read the statement here.
If You Read One Thing Today: "Clinton Finds Warm Welcome Among Pennsylvania Voters."
Read More
Hoosiers For Hillary: Hillary will be joined on her Indiana campaign swing this Friday, March 28, by two winners of the "Hoosiers For Hillary" contest. Congratulations to Lynn Schwartzberg from Bloomington and Kelly White from Newburgh.
The Hillary I Know: Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (D-FL) supports Hillary because "[she] has fought for over 35 years…and Hillary will fight for us every day in the White House."
Read More.
Just Words: "Sen. Obama knows that if he focused on his experience, he'd get questions about the shortcomings in his record and the efforts he has made to embellish it."
Read more.

That's from and probably my only excerpt because I've been speed surfing and found nothing. Well, not nothing, I found another 'folk musician' trashing Hillary (and ANSWER, what a combo platter that was). I've actually reviewed him before. I won't be doing so again.

I find it hilarious that "folk musicians" who -- by their very nature -- are supposed to be the voice of the downtrodden, the voice of the working class, work overtime to smear Hillary Clinton. Possibly that's why so many "folk musicians" don't have careers? They can't connect with the people, with the working class. They want to smear the choice of working class Democrats and then want to go and . . . entertain the working class. I don't think it works that way. But most folkies are just yuppies with a nasty hangover anyway and that's why they're wild about Bambi Obama. I really hope the folkies hear from their audiences. I know, for instance, that there's a folky performing in Mike's neck of the woods and we'll be there again this weekend but we won't be attending. Which is a real shame but Bambi Obama declares war on Iran, declares war on Hugo Chavez, declares war on all of Latin America, supports counter-insurgency in Iraq and so much more so folkies really shouldn't be endorsing him.

But some watch or listen to Amy Goodman's increasingly toxic (as NPR is finding out) program and they think Amy has ethics. They've slept through the last two years. Amy Goodman has regularly brought on her show Obama supporters and known that but not told her audiences that. She had that crazy freak from Las Vegas on, who hates Hillary and is clear about that in his printed rants, and presented him as a reporter, as objective. That was the only person she brought on to speak about the Democratic race in Nevada. Or take when she brought on sweet litte Francy Fox Piven who had publicly endorsed Obama and somehow Amy Goodman forgot to tell her audience that. There was academic Francy, who didn't tell the audiences she was supporting Barack, just opining 'objectively.'

Take her slanted 'headlines.' A story about Hillary can be on the front page of the New York Times (and last week was) and Amy ignores it because it's good about Hillary. But if she can find something to 'chuckle' over, she includes Hillary in the headlines. She's sick. She really is just sick. When I'm off the road for good, my first objective is going to be getting her crap-ass program aired ONLY ONCE on KPFA. There's no reason KPFA has to give two hours a day to her NYC show. We need more news from the Bay Area. Amy should lose a spot and we should get some local programming as opposed to "Let's talk about the sex scandal in NYC!" or "Let's meet the new NY govenor!" No one cares, Amy Goodman. Outside of NY, no one gives a damn. You are not the center of the earth and you're certainly not the center of the Bay Area. That crap-ass program gets two hours a day Monday through Friday on KPFA and yet WBAI in NYC only airs it once. If WBAI can get away with only airing it once, why do the other stations have to fawn over Amy's garbage?

Could you imagine how much more informed we'd be in the Bay Area if her one hour show wasn't taking up ten hours a week Monday through Friday?

It's past time KPFA listeners started demanding original programming.

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

Thursday, March 27, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Puppet al-Maliki painted in a corner, Bully Boy apparently high, fighting continues in Basra and throughout Iraq, and more.

Lawrence Toppman (Charlotte Observer) disses Kimberly Peirce's brave new film Stop-Loss but we'll noting his opening paragraph, "Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Born on the Bayou" sears the soundtrack, a young man chooses between a tour of duty overseas and exile in Canada, an unpopular president sends people to war against their will -- did I fall into a time machine before the screening of 'Stop-Loss'? It felt as if I'd flown back 40 years, as I watched somebody go AWOL while dealing with a "de facto draft" that shoves soldiers into combat more than once." Stop-Loss opens tomorrow.

In the meantime, war resisters in Canada need support as a measure is expected to be debated next month. For those in Canada, the nation's Parliament remains the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes 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, 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, 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Before we get to Basra, a factoid from
UPI's "The almanac" worth noting, on this day "In 2003, U.S. President George Bush, seeking to calm concerns that the war in Iraq is proving tougher than expected after its first week, said the United States and Britain will battle Saddam Hussein's forces 'however long it takes to win'." And you can be sure that, five years ago, some idiots not only applauded, they high-fived.

Turning to Iraq where the assault on Basra receives more criticism. This morning
Sudarsan Raghavan and Sholnn Freeman (Washington Post) reported that "independent Kurdish legislator" Mahmoud Othman was staing that there was no discussion of the assault "with parliament or other political groups" and is quoted declaring, "Everybody is aksing, 'Why now?' . . . . People have ill-advised Maliki. The militias like the timing. Iran likes the timing. They wnat to show there's no progress in Iraq." People have ill-advised puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki? Who could do advise a puppet? Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the US government is concerned over bragging rights with both the White House and the Pentagon rushing forward yesterday to attempt to grab "partial credit for the Iraqi government's new military offensive". This despite the fact that, as Youssef notes, "There was no sign from the ground, however, that the new offensive, which involves 15,000 Iraqi troops and police units, was suceeding." Let's see, even Gen David Petraeus, due to 'report' to Congress next month, is calling out al-Maliki. Democrats and Republicans in both houses of the US Congress are calling out the puppet. Who would think a 'show of strength' would go over well? The US administration. How's it going over in Iraq?

Sudarsan Raghavan, Sholnn Freeman and Howard Schneider (Washington Post) report, "Thousands of supporters of hard-line cleric Moqtada al-Sadr poured into the streets of the Iraqi capital Thursday to protest an ongoing security crackdown against Sadr's militia . . . Demonstrators rallied in the Shiite stronghold of Sadr City and the neighborhood of Kazimiyah, carrying a coffin decorated with a picture of Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki -- a symbol of the political risks Maliki has run by ordering Iraqi security forces to move against Sadr's Mahdi Army and other politically backed armed gangs in Basra." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explains that on the coffin, under the photo, "were the words 'The New Dictator'." Today's chant goes, "Maliki, keep your hands off. People do not want you." Leila Fadel and Ali al Basri (McClatchy Newspapers) described a popular chant in Najaf on Tuesday, "Oh Nouri, you coward. You spy of the Americans." James Glanz and Graham Bowley (New York Times) note, "In direct confrontation with the American-backed government in Iraq, thousands of supporters of the powerful Shiite cleric Moktada al-Sadr and his Mahdi Army militia took to the streets of Baghdad on Thursday to protest the Iraqi Army's asault on the southern port city of Basra, an intense fighting continued there for a third day." The photo by Joao Silva of those demonstrating should make the front page of the Times tomorrow -- note how many are marching. Adam Brookes and Crispin Thorold (BBC) quote a Baghdad protestor declaring, "We are very patient but if the government does not respond to our demands, something bad will happen" and the demands are defined "the prime minister must resign; foreign troops must leave Iraq; the operation in Basra must be halted." Glanz and Bowley quote demonstrator Jabbar Azem Hassan: "They are killing our sons and they are harming innocent people. We need to reform the national government from all parts of the Iraqi populace."

CNN plays stupid so before we get to the violence and its effects on the Iraqi people, let's address the nonsense Michael Ware pushes that "the Iranians" have a relationship with Moqtada al-Sadr. No more so than with al-Maliki. But the reality that's being missed is that al-Sadr was neutralized and on his way to little importance before the assault. It was widely accepted that, as he continued his education, he was a hotel clerk in Najaf. Not the stuff of legendary rebels (even allowing for the "Pirate Jenny" aspect). He was out of Baghdad and that had turned some followers against him for the basic reason that while he was seen as 'getting on with' his own life, they felt they were under daily attack from al-Maliki's forces and militias. The break-aways going public and criticizing were doing a very natural thing -- if your leader abandons you and the movement (and that's how it looked), he is no longer in charge. Had the Basra assault not taken place, al-Sadr would have continued to decrease in influence. What al-Maliki has done is 'rebrand' al-Sadr, turn him into Moqtada! and make him even more influential (regardless of the outcome) than he was before. His influence was fading and it had nothing to do with "the Iranians" which CNN chatters on about (having absorbed that crap from the US military brass). Basic realities, when a leader and his/her followers are apart and the leader appears to have things easier, the followers toss him or her aside. al-Sadr's strength was waining and without the assault on Basra someone (more likely someones) would step forward claiming to be the true leader of Sadr City in Baghdad. That person would have to gather strength slowly (and ward off rivals). That was six to eight months time the US and al-Maliki would have had without any real issues. Instead, they've armed al-Sadr by turning him into a rebel all over again. No matter what happens in Basra, al-Sadr now has more power today than he ever had and that power will only continue. Should he be killed, he will only be even more power and mythic. But as it is, he is now seen as the one person in Iraq who is defending the Iraqis, defending the country. This elevates him higher than in 2004 because in 2004 he had others on the scene to compete with. Today, thanks to actions by the US and the puppet, he is Iraq.

Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) underscores how al-Maliki has yet against set himself against the people of Iraq in his referring to those associated with al-Sadr was "criminal gangs". Leila Fadel (McClatchy) quotes Nouri insisting, "The government does not negotiate with a gang; the government does not sign understanding memorandums with outlaws." Not only has the assault increased al-Sadr's power, it's weakened al-Maliki's. This morning, James Glanz (New York Times) reported, "American officials have presented the Iraqi Army's attempts to secure the port city as an example of its ability to carry out a major operation against the insurgency on its own. A failure there would be a serious embarrassment for the Iraqi government and for the army, as well as for American forces eager to demonstrate that the Iraqi units they have trained can fight effectively on their own." Patrick Cockburn (Independent of London) offers, "A new civil war is threatening to explode in Iraq as American-backed Iraqi government forces fight Shia militiamen for control of Basra and parts of Baghdad. . . . The gun battles between soldiers and militiamen, who are all Shia Muslims, show that Iraq's majority Shia community -- which replaced Saddam Hussein's Sunni regime -- is splitting apart for the first time."

A point missed by the Bully Boy of the United States. Speaking at the Wright Patterson Air Force Base's National Museum of the United States Air Force today, Bully Boy declared, "The military achievements in Iraq have been accompanied by a political transformation." Whatever he's smoking, shouldn't he be arrested for it? He spoke of non-existant political gains and claimed his 'surge' was a success ("But this much is clear: The surge is doing what it was designed to do.") With Tony Blair and John Howard gone from power, Bully Boy needs a new boy-crush so he inflates and elevates Nouri, "And as we speak, Iraqi security forces are waging a tough battle against militia fighters and criminals in Basra -- many of whom have received arms and training and funding from Iran. Prime Minister Maliki's bold decision -- and it was a bold decision -- to go after the illegal groups in Basra shows his leadership, and his committment to enforce the law in an even-handed manner. . . . Prime Minister Maliki has traveled to Basra to oversee it firsthand." That last statement may have been a speechwriter getting in a jab over Bully Boy's failure "to oversee" the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina "firsthand." In terms of Iran, there is still no proof, only baseless accusations intended to sell another illegal war. As
Ruth noted yesterday, the New York Times' Steven Lee Myers appeared on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show and continued to insist -- with no proof -- that the Iranian government was supplying weapons to Iraqi resistance fighters. He needed to insist on that even when, as Ruth noted, Rehm pointed out that weapons tend to travel over borders all on their own without government assistance of any kind leading Myers to reply that this was true which was why he wasn't sure which branch of the Iranian government was passing on the weapons but . . . He has no proof and repeatedly lied to claim a connection he can't back up. Bully Boy did the same today. The paper has enlisted in selling the next war. Anna Mulrine (US News & World Reports) notes the "postive spin" Bully Boy attempted today and that US military officials do not share his upbeat evaulation. One is quoted explaining, "It' snot a sign of success. . . . It's too early to tell." Adam Brookes and Crisipin Thorold (BBC) note that Nouri's deadline has less than 48 hours left yet "the militiamen -- in particular those of Mehdi Army, loyal to the cleric Moqtada Sadr -- show no signs of doing so. . . . Mehdi militiamen are holding key points around Basra, say local sources, and are harassing Iraqi troops from alleyways and back streets, where armoured vehicles find it hard to manoeuvre." Sam Dagher and Abdul-Karim al-Samer (Christian Science Monitor) report, "At the moment, witnesses in Basra say there appears to be no sign of any letup in fighting between government forces and the Shiite gunmen, who are said to still control 75 percent of the city."

On the ground,
Alexandra Zavis and Peter Spiegel (Los Angeles Times) observe, "Basra residents trapped in their homes by raging gun battles worried that food was running out with no end in sight to the clashes between Iraqi security forces and followers of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr and other armed factions." At McClatchy's Inside Iraq, an Iraqi correspondent explains that their mother's eye surgery was scheduled for Tuesday but due to the strikes in Baghdad, the clinic the surgery was to take place had shut down and they had to make multiple trips just to get to a hospital (Sadrists turned them away on the first three attempts). Charles Levinson (USA Today) observes, "Al-Sadr's ironclad control over Iraq's health system and other key ministries has come under renewed scrutiny following recent clashes between his Mahdi Army militia and the Iraqi army. . . . The Health Ministry has been under al-Sadr's control since 2005, when his political party gained more seats than any other group." AFP counts "[a]t least 105 people" who "have died countrywide in clashes since" the assault on Basra began. Richard Beeston (Times of London) cautions, "The battle for Basra now raging on the streets of Iraq's second city shows every sign of turning into a nightmare for the dwindling British forces near by" and notes that British troops might have to be added to the region or "[t]he only other option would be for Britain to admit finally that it has lost the fight in southern Iraq."

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an east Baghdad mortar attack that claimed 1 life and wounded two people, a central Baghdad mortar attack that wounded one person, a Baghdad car bombing damaged one wall of the Red Crescent office, the Baghdad Da'wa Party (al-Maliki's party) was "torched, causing only material damage" a Baghdad mortar attack on a bus station claimed 2 lives and left fifteen wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack on a commercial area wounded two people, a Baghdad mortar attack on the Ministry of Interior claimed 1 life (an employee) and left four more wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack on an apartment complex wounded two people, an RPG attack on Amara's Badr Organization Bureau which left a civilian wounded, a Baiji bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier, a Khanaqin roadside bombing wounded two people, a Kirkuk car bombing claimed the life of Capt. Tayib Mahmoud ("a Kurd security intelligence agency" officer) and wounded two "of his security detail" plus five more people, the torching of the Hilla "offices of al-Da'wa and the Supreme Council" that resulted in the deaths of 3 police officers (four more wounded) and, on Wednesday, Mona Ajaj was killed from a Baiji mortar attack that also wounded two adults and three children. This morning Reuters reported: "A giant column of black smoke was visible near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone on Thursday after an apparent mortar strike, a Reuters reporter said." CBS and AP note 1 "American was killed . . . a government employee whose identity was being withheld" and CBS News Lara Logan "reports the Green Zone, not long ago one of the safest areas of Baghdad, has become in recent days one of the deadliest. In a visit to one of the foreign embassies inside the area, Logan says she and her crew had to quickly move into protecitve bunkers four times with one hour due to the relentless rocket fire. She says all non-essential movement of personnel within the Green Zone has been restricted." AFP notes a Basra car bombing targeting Maj Gen Abdul Jalil Khalaf (police chief) that he walked away from but in which 3 police officers died.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "the Commander of Garmian Peshmerga Forces" was shot dead along with 4 members "of his security detail," 5 Iraqi soldiers were shot dead in Basra, a Salahuddin Province home invasion targeting a member of the "Awakening" Counil that claimed the life of the US collaborator and his son (wounding two women), 2 people were shot dead at Yugoslav Bridge (seven more wounded) from the crossfire exchanged by the Iraqi and Mahdia armies, 1 Iraqi soldier and 2 police officers shot dead in Hilla during an armed clash that also wounded thirty others, seventeen Iraqi soldiers were wounded in Basra (and transferred to Baghdad for treatment), three Iraqi soldiers were wounded in Baghdad, in Talbiyah's armed clash eight Iraqi soldiers received injuries, 1 father a thirteen-year-old son were shot dead in Talbiyah and a Baghdad shooting that wounded one person. Reuters notes 3 police officers killed (three more wounded) in Hamza


Sudarsan Raghavan, Sholnn Freeman and Howard Schneider (Washington Post) report "gunmen seized a well-known member of Maliki's government, storming the home of Tahseen al-Sheikihli and taking him prisoner. Sheikhli is a chief spokesman for the Baghdad security plan, in charge of a big to build public support for Iraqi efforts to quell violence in the city." It does not appear that his job has worked. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) notes that "at least one of" his bodyguards is reported wounded during the kidnapping and that "Sheikhly has appeared frequently at news conferences alongside U.S. officials discussing what they consider progress of the security plan. The bold abduction, in the middle of the afternoon, was a sign of the spreading insecurity since the Basra offensive began."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 5 discovered outside Baquba, 4 were discovered "south of the town of Baladruz," and 4 corpses were discovered "south of the town of Baladruz."

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed at approximately 4:30 p.m. March 27 after being struck by an improvised explosive device in eastern Baghdad while conducting a combat patrol." The announcement brings the number of US service members to 4004 killed in the illegal war since it started.

Returning to the violence and economcis.
Mark Mooney (ABC News) notes "a bomb blasted a crucial oil pipeline in Basra, triggering a massive fire and threatening the country's ability to export oil" causing the price of crude oil barrel to rise to $107. Remember the shock months ago when oil reached a hundred dollars a barrel? Atul Aneja (The Hindu) states that the bombing's impact will be huge, "Oil exports are expected to be affected in a big way as Zubair 1 -- the main pumping station -- has also been shut down. Nearly one-third of the oil produced in the area is transported through the affected pipeline." Mark Shenk (Bloomberg News) states that prices have actually risen "above $107 barrel". Australia's Sydney Morning Herald notes, "US crude oil futures ended higher for the third consecutive day on Thursday, fueled by a rally in heating oil futures and as traders remained edgy over a major oil pipeline explosing in Iraq."

Turning to US presidential politics, why does Amy Goodman distort for Bambi? (We know why.) Today on her crap-ass show, which she claims informs (she also claims she's an author but Ava and I will put that lie to rest next month at Third), she declared, "In other campaign news, Senator Obama's former pastor has canceled scheduled appearances in Texas set for this weekend. The Reverend Jeremiah Wright has come under heavy criticism from political pundits for linking the attacks of September 11 to US foreign policy in the Middle East and for saying the United States was founded on racism. In a statement, Reverend Wright cited safety concerns for his decision to cancel his appearances." Jeremiah Wright has come under heavy criticism for damning the United States. Amy Goodman may pretend otherwsie but that is what he's under fire for. As for his cancelling apperances, those appearances were cancelled for him. When institutions that had invited you make it clear that you're no longer wanted, you really don't need to cancel. In the real world,
MSNBC's First Read notes that Barack Obama is attempting to target Pennsylvania's 30% Catholic voters (not a chance) and will do so so by attempting to "play down the Rev. Jeremiah Wright issue." The issue's not going away. Play it up, play it down. It's here to say and liars like Amy Goodman (who is in real danger of losing NPR outlets due to her 'ethics') can keep lying through their yellowed teeth but the controversy will continue. First Read also notes that "Clinton backers Kathleen Kennedy Townsend and Robert F. Kenney Jr. last week wrote a letter to Pennsylvania Catholics emphasizing her plans on health care, mortgage foreclosures and fuel costs." Bruce Fisher (ArtVoice) appears to right the obituary for the Obama campaign today and cites Jeremiah Wright. Joe Wilson (via No Quarter's reposting) notes, "Among other things, Wright preaches that the United States government unleashed the HIV virus in Africa to kill blacks. (Having worked in African for much of my adult life, including with one of the early AIDS researches, Dr. Jonathan Mann, I can safely say that there is absolutely no evidence to sustain Wright's reckless charge.) Obama had no choice but to address his 20-year close relationship with a man he still considers, as he made clear in his speech, a mentor." Joe Klein (Time magazine) weighs in on the topic of what he calls "Jeremiah 'G-- damn America'" Wright. Democrats will soon learn how damaging that relationship might be in a general election." And this morning on NBC's Today, Andrea Mitchell offered some of the latest:

Andrea Mitchell: And now even more controversy regarding Rev. Wright. An internet search reveals church bulletines over the past year with controversial pastor pages from the reverand. Some reprint anti-Israel writings from a range of people -- from Archbishop Desmond Tutu to an advisor to Elijah Muhammad and Louis Farkahn of the Nation of Islam and Hamas leader Musa Abu Marzook. One of Marzook's columns, reprinted by the church from the Los Angeles Times, says "Why should any Palestinian recognize the monstrous crimes carried out by Israel's founders and continued by its deformed modern apartheid state?" Obama told the Jerusalem Post the church was outrageously wrong to reprint the article and he denounced Hamas. And Trumpet, a magazine run by Wright's daughters quotes him as saying "White supremacy is clearly in charge" and slurring Italian's quote "garlic noses" and he also calls Jesus' crucifixion "a public lynching Italian style."

And that, which is offensive, is the only thing that Michal Tomasky (American writing for the Guardian of London -- no link to Tomasky's trash) is bothered by, calling the slur against Italians "inconceivable". Mitchell also a noted a Wall St. Journal - NBC poll which we're not interested because of the oversampling error
Taylor Marsh draws to everyone's attention. It wouldn't fly in any research and methodology class and it's amazing that the two outlets didn't scrap the poll when they learned of the oversampling. In other campaign news, Taylor Marsh highlights MSNBC's Race for the White House where Richard Woffe (a Brit still nursing his political crush on Joe Lieberman) gets called to the carpet by Joe Scarborough who pounces on Wright's "we" to point out, "We? You said that's how 'we' decided it? If that's the way the Democratic Party decided it then they wouldn't have super delegates! Let me tell you what 'we' love to do. 'We' in the media love to tell everybody, which 'we' have been telling everybody for months that the numbers don't add for Hillary Clinton, she can't get enough delegates . . . Well guess what? The numbers don't add up for Barack Obama but 'we' don't tell that side of the story, do 'we'?" The super delegates are the rules of the Democratic Party and they can go any way they want."

In other news, Mike Gravel has left the Democratic Party.
AP reported yesterday that Gravel sent out an e-mail to supporters stating that the party "no longer represents my vision for our great party. It is a party that continues to sustain war, the military-industrial complex and imperialism -- all of which I find anathema to my views. . . . I look forward to advancing my presidential candidacy within the Libertarian Party, which is considerably closer to my values, my foreign policy views and my domestic views." Meanwhile Cynthia McKinney, who also left the Democratic Party, is running for the Green Party presidential nomination. Larry Pinkney (Black Commentator) notes, "Sister Cynthia McKinney has both the credibility and the capacity to truly excite the people in a substantive vs. superficial fashion; and can inspire people to see that they themselves/we oursevles are the only viable solution to the Republicrats and their flawed and corrupt electoral system. We must move the people from being excited about meaningless superficialities that do nothing to address systemic change -- to being excited about substance that is the catalyst for systemic change." The indepdent Ralph Nader and Matt Gonzalez ticket is collecting signatures for ballot access and have currently set up a location in Albuquerque where they are gathering signatures.

And we'll note
this statement from the Hillary Clinton campaign:

Yesterday, a Pennsylvania editorial board asked Sen. Clinton how she would have "responded if [her] pastor had said some of the things that Rev. Wright said?" In response, she said Rev. Wright would not have been her pastor, an honest view shared by many Americans.
The Obama campaign's response? Attack Sen. Clinton and accuse her of trying to divert attention from the Bosnia trip story and her record of foreign policy experience.
Sen. Clinton's response was sincere. The Obama attack was disingenuous.
We are happy to discuss Sen. Clinton's foreign policy experience and her record overall. Unfortunately, the Obama campaign doesn't want to discuss its candidate's record and prefers personal attacks instead.
Sen. Obama knows that if he focused on his experience, he'd get questions about the shortcomings in his record and the efforts he has made to embellish it.
He'd have to deal with the fallout from this week's Washington Post report on his gross exaggeration of his role on immigration reform and housing policy.
Sen. Obama would have to explain why the New York Times reported that he claims credit for passing nuclear leak legislation that never got out of committee.
He'd have to confront reports from and other independent organizations that say his claims of providing a universal health care plan are based on selective, embellished and out-of-context quotes from newspapers.
He'd have to discuss the LA Times story that reported on how his fellow organizers say he took too much credit for his community organizing efforts.
He'd have to explain why he regularly claims he was a law professor when in fact he held no such title.
Sen. Obama seems to think disingenuous attacks on Sen. Clinton will address the concerns voters have about his record and readiness to be the Commander-in-Chief and the steward of our economy. They won't.
In the end, Sen. Obama's words cannot erase Hillary's 35-year record of action because when all is said and done, words aren't action. They are just words.

West Virigina University's student body president Jason Parsons explains his support for Hillary's presidential campaign, "As the student body president at West Virginia University and as an ordinary college student, I talk to my friends everyday who are saddled down with debt and college loans. They face the dilemma of tuition going up while financial aid is going down, and many have fallen victim to predatory student loan companies. Hillary Clinton, throughout the course of her presidential campaign, has talked consistently about the challenges college aged people face and she has offered solutions. That's why I support her. The 35 years of experience she brings to this race is so important at a time when our country needs real change and when young people need to believe that our best days are still ahead." To be creeped about by Obama groupies, check out the video noted by intranets (Corrente) which is like a Hitler moment and there's no other word for it. As intranets notes, it is "creepy". Truly, like Hitler campaign propaganda. (If you view, pay attention to the background and not the cult-like testimonials, pay attention to the subliminals. It truly is the GOP's 2000 campaign.) And as the topic returns to Bambi, Anibal Acevedo Vila, governor of Puerto Rico and pledged super delegate for Barack Obama "was charged Thursday with 19 counts in a campaign finance probe, including conspiracy to violate U.S. federal campaign laws and giving false testimony to the FBI."

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