Friday, September 12, 2008

I don't want Bill campaigning for Barack

To be really clear, I don't want to see Bill Clinton campaigning for Barack Obama. Now I'm sure Barack's Cult doesn't want to see it either. They've tarred and feathered Bill and attacked him non-stop.

That's why I don't want to see Bill do a damn thing for Barack.

And I started wondering exactly who does want to see it? If Barack's most loyal supporters don't want it and if people like me sick of the way Barack treated both Clintons don't want to see it, who the hell wants to see it?

C.I. was on the phone with a friend in the Clinton camp outlining what to watch for. I'm going to write about that here (with C.I.'s permission). Bill will be encouraged to hit the McCain-Palin ticket hard.

Bill's core ability is to clarify why you're a Democrat or a Republican.

Bill should reject any advice to hit hard and the reason for that is Barack's camp is more than willing to yet again s**t all over Bill.

They'd love nothing more. An attack on McCain's age or some other topics that was judged out of bounds would get plenty of attention. It would plant whatever message Team Obama wanted. And then Team Obama (as is their pattern) would wait a day to respond and call out Bill for what he did.

Let's say it was John McCain's age, okay? Barack would give interview after interview saying how ashamed he is of Bill Clinton's remarks and, of course, age doesn't matter and blah blah blah, keeping whatever topic is in the news in the news. And by disowning Bill, he could yack it up forever.

You cannot trust Barack, C.I. said on the phone, he will gladly nail Bill to the wall if it allows him to yet again play 'America's healer.'

There is no win in Bill campaigning for Barack.

I'm very hopeful he will be busy with his own organization for some time because that was C.I.'s advice. The closer it is to the election, the less damage Barack can do to Bill because the cycle is actually someone does something and Barack let's it play in a days news cycle, the next day Barack calls it out, the next several days columns and editorials praise him. So Barack would need an extended time to reap the s**t he loves to sew and he really can't do that when the election is four (or better three, C.I. said) weeks down.

The only thing that saved Bill, in my opinion, is that people started seeing Barack pull the same stunt over and over in the primaries and the fact that many of us knew, whatever faults he has, racist is not what Bill Clinton is. But the way the Barack campaign tried to smear both Bill and Hillary, I honestly wouldn't do a damn thing for Barack if I were them.

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

Friday, September 12, 2008. Chaos and violence continues, the theft of Iraqi oil is still pursued, tensions remain between the puppet government and the "Awakening" Council, Charlie Gibson makes a huge error in his interview with Sarah Palin, and more.

Starting with Iraqi oil.
Edward S. Herman (ZNet) noted at the start of this month, "On the oil front, in late June the newspapers featured the announcement of the Iraqi oil minister Mohamad Sharastani that contracts had been drawn up between the Maliki government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq. No competitive bidding was allowed and the terms announced were very poor by existing international contract standards. The contracts were written with the help of 'a group of U.S. advisers led by a small State Department team.' This was all in conformity with the Declaration of Principles of November 26, 2007, whereby the 'sovereign country' of Iraq would use 'especially American investments' in its attempt to recover from the effects of the American aggression." Thursday Andrew E. Kramer and Campbell Robertson (New York Times) reported on a Tuesday press conference, held by Hussain al-Shahristani (Iraq's Minister of Oil) at OPEC's meet-up, where it was announced that the contracts with western corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP) were being cancelled which the coporations "confirmed on Wednesday." Ernesto London (Washington Post) reports on the cancellations today and notes that the companies "are expected to submit bids in coming weeks for deals" and explains it was not just public outrage that killed the contracts, "The oil companies were not surprised by the Iraqi decision, given the political sensitivities raised by the issue, according to an executive at one of the five companies. Speaking on the condition that he not be identified further, the executive said the deals had become less attractive because Iraqi officials had shortened the proposed length of the contracts from two years to one in response to criticism." The cancelled contracts aren't the only bad news for those hoping to play Let's Steal Iraqi Oil! Not all that long ago, with much happy gasbagging in the press, Iraq announced Iraq's Energy Expo and Conference to be held October 17th through 19th. Ben Lando (UPI) reports that, woops, no one bothered to think about construction -- the convention center's not done yet -- so the Expo's dates have been moved to December 3rd through 5th. The puppet government can't get it together to hold provincial elections and they can't even pull off a conference they got a ton of positive press for when they announced it. And Andy Rowell (Oil Change International) offers, "Oh it's so good to be back. After a 35 year absence Shell has become the first western oil company to land a major deal with the government in Baghdad since the invasion of the country five years ago. They will be smiling in the Hague and London. Shell has been awarded a $4bn contract in the south of the country to supply gas for Iraqi domestic use but also for export. Shell's project is intended to make use of the gas flared off by the oil industry in the south of Iraq. In that region alone, an estimated 700m cubic feet of gas is burned off every day -- enough to meet the demand for power generation in the entire country."

Yesterday's snapshot noted the Thursday meet up between the puppet government in Baghdad and the "Awakening" Council members. Saif Rasheed and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) report on it today noting,the supposed impending melding of "Awakening" Council members and the Iraqi 'government': "Leaders of the so-called Sons of Iraq disputed Iraqi plans to absorb only 20% of the fighters into the Iraqi military and police, and they expressed doubts that their members would be protected when the U.S. military turned over responsibility for the units to Iraqi officials. . . . The plan worries many Sons of Iraq leaders, who say Maliki's government already has begun a campaign of arrest and intimidation against them. U.S. officials, who embraced the program last year as a way to turn around the Sunni insurgency, now say the Iraqi government has the right to arrest fighters it suspects of crimes."

Today's bombings include an attack in Salaheddin Province.
AFP puts the death toll at 31 plus the "suicide bomber" whom they note "detnoate his explosives-filled truck near the police station of the central Iraqi Shiite town of Dujail". AP says the count rose to 32 dead (forty-three wounded) citing police and hospital sources. Reuters adds, "They said casualties were a mix of civilians shopping at a nearby market as well as police." While Al Bawaba notes, "Police said the bombing occurred just before dusk, when many people were on the streets before the breaking of the fast during the month of Ramadan." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) provides the historical background, "The mainly Shiite city is best known as the site of a campaign of vengeance by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein following an assassination attempt against him there in the 1980s. After the attempt on his life, the Sunni leader ordered the roundup of young Shiite boys and men and destruction of homes in the town. Hussein and six others were convicted in 2006 in the killings of 148 Dujayl residents, and Hussein was hanged for the crimes later that year." Al Jazeera goes with more recent history, "The last major suicide attack occurred on August 26, when a bomber thwarted a security checkpoint in Jalawla, a police recruiting centre, and blew himself up, killing at least 25 people."

In other reported violence today . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombng that left five people wounded, a Baghdad grenade attack that injured thirteen people, a Nineveh bomber who killed themselves outside a Shi'ite mosque and claimed 3 more lives with fifteen more people injured and a Salahuddin Province car bombing which claimed 27 lives with forty more wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul home invasion that resulted in the deaths of "parents and their son".

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Turning to the US presidential race and starting with indepdent presidential candidate
Ralph Nader who appeared on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (CNN) Wednesday (click here for transcript). Blitzer asked Ralph his goal in the election?

RALPH NADER, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well if we're in the presidential debates, it might be a Jesse Ventura, three-way race. But-- yet today, we put together -- BLITZER: Three presidential debates, but the Presidential Debate Commission has set a bar that's pretty hard for you to overcome. NADER: Yes, since it's controlled by the two parties, as you know. Today I think is an historic day because we, Ron Paul and the candidate for the Green Party, the candidate for the Constitutional Party, and me, and Bob Barr, agreed on four major areas: foreign policy -- get the soldiers back, end the war in Iraq, stop being imperialistic, privacy, deal with the repeal of the Patriot Act; the revision of FISA -- Military Commissions Act and you know, get rid of torture; and a third is the national debt. Deficits are now used for reckless government adventurism. The -- BLITZER: The national debt has nearly doubled over the last -- NADER: Yes, and the Iraq war is financed from deficit spending. BLITZER: And the fourth issue? NADER: And the fourth issue is the Federal Reserve is now a government within a government. It is totally out of control. Congress doesn't control it. It's funded by the banks. And we either have constitutional government or we don't because of this. Well -- here's the question: Is there anything left for the American people to decide about their country?

Is there anything left to decide? Earlier this week,
Steve Horn (The Badger Herald) hit on similar points:

We've been conditioned by the mass media to believe there are only two political parties worthy of our attention. Because only the Republican Party and the Democratic Party receive significant coverage, especially during election cycles, it's easy to forget that other parties do indeed exist.Case in point: While Democratic presidential-nominee Barack Obama filled the Kohl Center to an over-capacity crowd of over 17,000 during his trip to Madison in February prior to the Wisconsin presidential primaries, Independent candidate Ralph Nader, running for president for the fifth time, struggled to fill the small Orpheum Theatre this past Friday on State Street, which has a capacity that is only 10 percent of the Kohl Center at 1,700. Most students here probably didn't even know Nader would be speaking at the Orpheum, and those who did know scoffed at the idea of him running for president again. The situation is shameful -- because over the past eight years, the two mainstream parties have failed us and no one really seems to care, nor do they really want to do anything about it. With wars on two fronts both deemed failures by the general public and key congressional leaders involvement in Jack Abramoff's money laundering scandal, the odds were rightfully stacked against the Republicans for the 2006 midterm elections. And indeed, they resulted in sweeping changes in the United States' political landscape from the local level all the way on up. Democrats gained 31 seats in the House of Representatives and five seats in the Senate, drastically altering the landscape of Congress. Democrats won these seats under the premise that Washington -- under the leadership of the Republican Party -- was broken, and a change in leadership was necessary to fix it. Two years later, looking at the voting records of the spineless Democrats, they have, by-and-large, failed us.

On the campaign trail,
Ralph will be heading to New Orleans September 17th where he will speak at Tulane University where he will hold a press conference at the Freeman Auditorium starting at 2:30 p.m. and a rally starting at 3:00 p.m.

Turning to Sarah Palin who is John McCain's running mate on the GOP ticket. This is a quote from her when she was speaking to her church:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.

That's what Palin said in her church.
Here for text (Glen Beck, CNN), here for audio (KPFK's Uprising -- and Sonoli Kolhatkar notes that the clips are cutting off short during the segment). Note it because Charlie Gibson distorted her words.

ABC News has the first interview with Governor Palin. Charlie Gibson conducted the interview. One segment aired 'dealing' with Iraq.
Russell Goldman (ABC News) summarizes it as follows:

Palin defended a previous statement in which she reportedly characterized the war in Iraq as a "task from God."
Gibson quoted her as saying: "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God."
But Palin said she was referencing a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.
"I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."

Actually, Goldman, Gibson got what she said wrong.
Click here for World News Tonight's official transcript, click here for the video.

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?
PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.
But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.
That's what that comment was all about, Charlie. And I do believe, though, that this war against extreme Islamic terrorists is the right thing. It's an unfortunate thing, because war is hell and I hate war, and, Charlie, today is the day that I send my first born, my son, my teenage son overseas with his Stryker brigade, 4,000 other wonderful American men and women, to fight for our country, for democracy, for our freedoms.
Charlie, those are freedoms that too many of us just take for granted. I hate war and I want to see war ended. We end war when we see victory, and we do see victory in sight in Iraq.
GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln's words, but you went on and said, "There is a plan and it is God's plan."
PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That, in my world view, is a grand -- the grand plan.

Charlie quoted Palin stating, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." That wasn't a sentence, that was part of a sentence with additions to it by Charlie Gibson. Again, what Palin actually said:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.

When Palain said, "I don't know if that was my exact quote," Gibson insisted, "Exact words." No, they were not. Gibson was also wrong when he stated, ". . . you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan'." She did not say that, she asked her church to pray that there was.

Even Sarah Posner told Sonali, "I mean, in a way, she was right with respect to the words that Gibson was quoting." And note that MSM Gibson got it wrong and did not play clips of Palin's remarks while left-wing Sonali was more than happy to play the clips and allow a discussing (with Posner) and for listeners to make their own judgments. If Gibson had access to a recording of Palin's remarks, then he lied. If Gibson was using a secondary source, he practiced bad journalism. Sonali showed more fairness than he did (not at all surprising considering Sonali's track record, but it needs to be noted).

Staying with the topic of religion, US House Rep and Idiot Steve Cohen was back in the news this week.
Jake Tapper (ABC News, link has video) points out, "Last seen in election 2008 comparing Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to the villain played by Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" -- having survived an anti-Semitic primary challenge -- Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., feels liberated to come on the House floor and say that 'Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate a governor'." No, JPT, that's not what Cohen said. The video shows Cohen stating, "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about, Pontius Pilate was a governor." So Cohen -- that would be Jewish Cohen for those not paying attention -- was 'endorsing' Barack on the House floor by comparing him to Jesus? Or as the Jews might say, "You know, him." Jewish people do not believe in or pray to Jesus (unless they are "Jews For Jesus"). Exactly what belief does Cohen have left and, if there is one, has put a price tag on it already? And for the record, Christian theologians will dispute Cohen's crackpot claim re: Jesus and historians will say, "Not so fast" on the Pilate claim. Meanwhile Laura Strickler (CBS News) provides a fact check on several rumors about Palin currently making the rounds while Women's Media Center highlights Republicans for Choice's Ann E. W. Stone weighing in on the meaning of Sarah Palin's being the GOP's choice for v.p.:

Also, we are incensed by the petty and misogyny of the small-minded statement the Obama campaign released totally dissing her background! Couple that with Obama telling the Hillary folks to "get over it" and I would think disenchanted Hillary supporters should flock to the GOP.
We need to reach out to Palin and try to find common ground--social issues are not her front and center agenda. No nonsense, no BS--Palin is a doer, not a talker, and not afraid to take the boys on.
Did we mention she is a feminist for life? Again, her position on abortion means we will never endorse her, but even her selection advances all women.
The Democrats stood by while the media and others, including extreme elements in our own party, trashed Hillary Clinton and did not speak up to defend her. Many were baseless attacks and jabs having to do more with her hairstyle or clothing than with her policies. That stops now.
As Sarah Palin said when she thanked pro-choice Democrat icons Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton during her first speech upon being selected, they led the way but women are not finished yet and we will crash through the glass ceiling.

Tell it to the The Daily Toilet Scrubber -- and their squeaked voice tiny-tot 'leader' -- which continues their smears on Palin. The latest recalls what Bully Boy did to McCain in 2000 -- spreading lies about John and Cindy McCain's daughter Bridget. The trash being spread shouldn't be surprising, Toilet Scrubber is not left.
Joseph (Cannonfire) explores that latest nonsense and notes, "This is the first election that finds me observing Democrats 'from the outside.' My god. My good god. Have we always been this foolish, this clueless, this self-defeating? Have lefties always gone so far out of their way to alienate huge voting blocs?"

"I try to take the reigns and lead me somewhere better, I try to keep on moving on," sings
I Am Three ("I Try") which sums up World Can't Wait's Sunsara Taylor who hides in no political closet and refuses to silence herself in the latest in the never ending Quiet Game To Elect Democrats. Taylor spoke in Denver during the DNC convention (no, she didn't speak to the convention) and Revolution has an edited transcript: "I know Recreate '68 had to go up against this. I'm going to be really blunt because it matters. United for Peace and Justice, Leslie Cagan, she said maybe we should call off the protest today and advocated instead that we should mingle with the delegates. I'm all for going and talking to order to get them to join us in the streets, okay? But Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America, where were they today? . . . I'm not going to prettify this. We are in the belly of an empire. It is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have legalized torture and both parties, the whole system, is involved in that. History is going to judge us by how we act. If your allegiance to the Democratic Party is bigger than your allegiance to the people of the world then you have foreclosed your right to call yourself an 'anti-war leader'." Use the link to read all of Taylor's strong speech.

Turning to public televsion,
NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on most PBS stations (and it will stream online) with topics that include: "Are tactical mistakes by Obama going to cost him the election? Maybe, says psychologist and Democratic political consultant Drew Westen. The author of "The Political Brain," talks to NOW's David Brancaccio about how appealing to voters' emotions reaps bigger electoral rewards than hammering home policy proposals. Westen is a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and the founder of Westen Strategies, LLC, a political and corporate consulting firm." PBS' Washington Week (begins airing tonight, check local listings) features Gwyn being joined by ABC News's Martha Raddatz, Time's Karen Tumulty, the New York Times' Jackie Calmes and Slate's John Dickerson. And Krystalline Kraus has an article on an important topic.

the new york timesandrew e. kramer
campbell robertson
the washington posternesto londono
ben lando
andy rowell
jake tapper
i am three
sunsara taylor
mcclatchy newspapersthe los angeles times
tina susmansaif rasheed
kpfkuprising radiosonali kolhatkar
womens media center
edward herman
now on pbspbswashington week

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Nancy Pelosi: The fold-out politician

Why is Nancy Pelosi House Speaker? This is from Carl Hulse's report on the latest Democratic cave (New York Times):

Ms. Pelosi and her fellow Democrats say that they are making the change reluctantly but that the political climate rendered it impossible to try to retain the drilling ban this year. So rather than see the moratorium expire and open the way to drilling as close as three miles from the coast, they said they were pushing any drilling at least 50 miles offshore, requiring states to agree to it and tying the whole package to a series of clean energy initiatives that have so far languished in Congress.
"The reality," Ms. Pelosi told reporters Thursday, is "if we don't have something in the bill, it's drilling three miles offshore."
Just weeks ago, Ms. Pelosi was adamant that she would not clear the way for a House vote on new coastal exploration. But Republicans, with the help of well-financed advocacy groups, had been making political inroads on the drilling question, making some Democrats, especially those from swing districts and those facing difficult re-election fights, anxious enough that they began clamoring for a chance to vote for more offshore drilling.

Here's reality for Pelosi, she could have (as she promised she would) sat on the bill. She could have refused to allow it to come to a vote. She has that power as Speaker of the House. She refused to use it. Had she stood up, you might have seen Americans across the country galvanized. But it's really hard to get people to support the Democratic Party when they repeatedly fail to lead, fail to stand up and fail to do the right thing.

Caving in, failing to stand up, does not inspire trust or increase support. Someone might need to tell that to Nancy. Her latest stunt has led to friends on the fence calling me today to say, "Okay, I'm voting for Cindy." That's Cindy Sheehan who is running for Congress in my district -- the seat Nancy currently occupies.

And a tip to Cindy Sheehan's campaign: You lost a lot of support when Cindy went after Hillary while refusing to call out Barack. Not only did Gavin Newsom support Hillary, so did many Democrats in the eighth district. To win the election, you will need a lot of votes. You can't get them antagonizing the voters.

KPFA may present San Fran as some Barack rah-rah land but that's not reality. Asian-Americans in the region especially supported Hillary as did Latino Americans (true across California). Cindy's campaign suffered a huge backlash when she decided to interject herself into the Democractic primary and did so by repeatedly attacking Hillary while ignoring Barack's War Hawk feathers.

It's a mistake she can't afford to make again. The election is not months and months away. Pelosi's latest stunt really fuels Cindy's campaign. There's no time for anymore mis-steps.

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

Thursday, September 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, at least 23 Iraqi deaths are reported today, cholera continues to grip Iraq, Japan says bye-bye, distrust remains between the "Awakening" Council and the puppet government, and more.

Matt Brown (Australia's ABC) observes, "The general in charge of American soldiers in Iraq has given a mixed assessment of progress in the country." That's Gen David Petraeus on his way out as top US commander in Iraq as he moves on to take over CENTCOM. And his remarks on BBC's Newsnight (click here for BBC text summary of the interview and a brief clip). BBC reports, "When asked if US troops could withdraw from Iraqi cities by the middle of next year, he said that would be 'doable'." Withdraw from Iraq cities, not withdraw. They'll move to those bases US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists aren't "permanent basis" because, philosopher Nancy points out, nothing is permanent. BBC also notes that Petraeus stated there would be no declared victory in Iraq. That might strike some as 'enlightened' because there is no victory in Iraq and the US long ago lost. But that wasn't what Petraeus meant as he made obvious by immediately referring to the "long struggle" he sees in the future for Iraq. The illegal war hits the six year mark this March and Petraeus sees what to come as a 'long struggle'? Exactly what does he think has gone on thus far?

Yesterday the US House Armed Services Committee held a hearing at which US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified and offered that the US would remain in Iraq for many "years to come -- although in changing and increasingly limited ways." Petraeus' interview echos the view of Gates that the illegal war is no where near an "end game" (Gates used that term yesterday) and that it will continue for many years to come.
There were a lot of lies told to start the illegal war and for it to continue a lot of lies continue to be told. Among the big liars today, the editorial board of The Detroit Free Press which isn't content to play dumb with War Hawk Barack Obama's remarks, they 'improve' (lie) about them.
Lying through their teeth, they offer: "Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama wants to get all American forces out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office and focus more on Afghanistan. Leaders of the Iraqi government have said such a timetable could work. But Republican candidate Sen. John McCain believes a large-scale pullout would come at the risk of the current hard-won but fragile stability in Iraq." Not even aged groupie Tom Hayden lies like that for Barack today.

During the Democratic Party primaries, Barack did use the "16 months" figure. He did not use for "all American forces." He stated "combat troops" and always stated that US service members would remain in Iraq for "training" and "terrorism" activities. He never said "all America forces out of Iraq" and that an editorial board doesn't know that is beyond belief so the term is "lie." Campaigning in Houston, Texas, Barack suddenly dropped the timetable down to "ten months" but he was still referring to "combat forces" only. That was his campaign 'promise' but it wasn't a promise. Dropping back to the
June 6th snapshot:

The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not rule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind." Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus. It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media. Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly. While running for the US Senate, he told Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal. His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win. (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run. We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.) At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate. The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate. Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed. "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon. The reality of what was in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online. In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials). To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned. "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands. The Iraq War was on it. But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president. There were no "I will end the Iraq War." All he did was offer what "we" wanted. It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited. Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .

There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power. The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list. Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." Poor sweet Sammy. No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England. The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out. On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and
she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail. She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House. Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions. That didn't happen. It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill. They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.

It was never a promise, it was empty words offered on the campaign trail as Samantha Power revealed to the BBC in an interview taped while she was a foreign policy advisor to Barack and aired after she left the campaign (she has since come back -- no one's supposed to notice that either). Had there been any adults, Samantha Power's statements would have immediately led to reporters questioning Barack non-stop about his advisor's statements. Had the press not been in the tank for Barack, his own statements on CNN June 5th would have led to hard grilling because he had clearly led the American people to believe he was making a promise when, in fact, it was no promise on his end. Everyone played dumb. From the
July 4th snapshot:

Arab News notes, "For Obama, who recently changed his positions on campaign finance and a wiretapping law, the suggestion that he was also changing course on a central premise of his candidacy holds particular peril. While Obama has long said he would consult commanders in the field when withdrawing troops, that point might have been lost on many Democratic primary voters who supported his call to end the war." What's going on? A bit of reality on War Hawk Barack. Suzanne Goldenberg (Guardian of London) puts it this way, ".Barack Obama was yesterday fending off charges from right and left that he had abandoned the core premise of his candidacy - the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office - in an attempt to attract voters from the political centre." Suzanne's a little out of it. So were Katrina vanden Heuvel and Arianna Huffington on ABC's This Week last Sunday. Withdrawal in 16 months? That's 'so January 2008.' Barack promised withdrawal of all (combat) troops within 10 months in a speech in Houston, Texas. Always one to carry water for Barack, Tom Hayden immediately penned "End the War in 2009" (which popped up online at The Nation, Feb. 20th and elsewhere a bit later). Hayden: "In his victory speech in Texas Tuesday, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war in 2009, a new commitment that parallels recent opinion pieces in The Nation. Prior to his Houston remarks, Obama's previous position favored an American combat troop withdrawal over a sixteen-to-eighteen-month timeframe. He has been less specific on the number and mission of any advisors he would elave behind." (The Texas primary was in March. Barack was in Texas campaigning, for any more confused than usual by Tom-Tom's bad-bad writing.) Texas community members saw the 10 month 'promise' pushed in advertising as well as on the campaign trail. Those were his words (and Tom-Tom notes 'words matter') so let's all drop the nonsense that Barack's plan was 16 months (or at least leave the lying to Katrina who's become so very good at it). Goldenberg's uninformed, ignorant or lying -- take your pick. In her piece (dated tomorrow), she traces the uproar to Thursday when Barack said he might 'refine' his Iraq 'plan.' If that's when the uproar started, is Arianna Huffington psychic? Arianna was calling him out for 'refining' on Iraq Sunday on This Week. More water carrying from the allegedly 'independent' Guardian of London (which never wrote about the Downing Street Memos because 'independence' did not include informing people that Tony Blair lied England into an illegal war -- no time for 'truth-telling' while Blair was in office at any rate.) CNN reports that presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain and the RNC are calling Barack a "flip-flopper" and they quote Barack's 'clarification' where Barack lies and says he has always said 16 months. No, Barack, you went to ten months in February. AP reports he celebrated the 4th of July in Butte, Montana (Kansas, he's done with you, he got what he needed) eating a hot dog. Tom Baldwin (Times of London) observes, "Grassroots activists whose energy and donations have helped to propel Barack Obama towards the White House are suddenly choking on the bitter pill of disillusion.
In less than a month since clinching the Democratic nomination, he has performed a series of policy pirouettes to assuage concerns about his candidacy among a wider and more conservative electorate."
Geoff Elliott (The Australian) points out, "Barack Obama has started a dramtic reversal of the policies that helped him defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination, softening hardlines stances on the Iraq war and troop withdrawals.
Campaigning in North Dakota, Senator Obama said that while the US could not sustain a long-term presence in Iraq, his trip to the Gulf nation this month might prompt him to "refine my policies" on the war."
John Bentley (CBS News) quotes Brian Rogers of the McCain campaign stating, "Today, Barack Obama reversed that position, proving once again his words do not matter. He has now adopted John McCain's position that we cannot risk the progress we have made in Iraq by beginning to withdraw our troops immediately without concern for conditions on the ground. Now that Barack Obama has changed course and proven his past positions to be just empty words, we would like to congratulate him on taking John McCain's principled stand on this critical national security issue. If he had visited Iraq sooner or actually had a one-on-one meeting with Gen. Petraeus, he would have changed his position long ago." Jonathan Weisman (Washington Post) terms it Barack exploring "the possibility of slowing a promised, gradual withdrawal from Iraq". NPR has two audio reports here. How bad it is? A friend just called to laugh at ____'s latest nonsense. In place of a now killed feature for Third, we may address ____'s latest nonsense and his plethora of lies throughout the campaign. Poor ____, it's even harder to airbrush out reality today than it was following his expulsion from the Red Family commune in his "smash the state" days (when he fancied himself Chris Jones in Wild In The Street).

Despite being publicly insulted and dismissed by Barack ("Tom Hayden Democrats"), Hayden made the year (and most of 2007) all about cheerleading and lying for War Hawk Barack. On July 4th, he showed up at Aging Socialite's Cat Littler Box with a meltdown column ("Obama's Position on Iraq Could Put His Candidacy at Risk"") short on facts as he tried to pretend no one could have guessed what was then going on with Barack (saying he could change his 'plan' for withdrawing combat troops). Desperate to maintain his already strained credibility, Tom-Tom sought to lash out others and pin the blame on them:

The most shocking aspect of Samantha Powers' forced resignation earlier this year was not that she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" off-camera, but that she flatly stated that Obama would review his whole position on Iraq once becoming president. Again, no one in the media or rival campaigns questioned whether this assertion by Powers was true. Since Obama credited Powers with helping for months in writing his book, The Audacity of Hope, her comments on his inner thinking should have been pounced upon by the pundits.

First, here's the
BBC interview on Iraq:

Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

In his column, Tom-Tom pinned the blame on the media and rival candidates but, note, he grabbed no slice of the blame pie for himself. Tom doesn't have internet access? He missed the interview in real time? He had a hand cramp and couldn't write about it March when it took place or later in June when Barack made similar statements on CNN? Some in the US media did cover it in real time. The Washington Post covered it and you can
click here for only one example of them covering it as the news broke (March 7th). Rival campaigns? Hillary Clinton's campaign called it out repeatedly but the trash in Panhandle Media wasn't about to stop their non-stop sliming of Hillary long enough to note reality.

The day after the news broke, March 8th, the Clinton campaign issued "
MEMO: Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words:"Once again, it looks like Senator Obama is telling voters one thing while his campaign says those words should not be mistaken for serious action. After months of speeches from Senator Obama promising a hard end date to the Iraq war, his top foreign policy adviser that counseled his campaign during that period is on the record saying that Senator Obama will 'not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. Voters already have serious questions about whether Senator Obama is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Now there are questions about whether he's seriou about the Iraq plan he's discussed for the last year on the campaign trail. Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal. It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?

The Clinton campaign has since taken down the bulk of the campaign website (can't be critical of Barack!) but you can google the title and you will find it, you can google the title and almost any community site and find it running in real time. That wasn't the only press release from the Clinton campaign on that Power's statements re: Iraq. They repeatedly tried to raise the issue and
Panhandle Media attacked them for it while rushing to defend counter-insurgency guru Samantha Power. July 6th, Third offered "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq" to Tom-Tom about all the cover ups that went on 'independent' media and how Tom-Tom was part of the cover up but he was far from alone:

So did John Nichols.
C.I. called out John Nichols nonsense on Saturday March 8th (the day after Power's remarks were known) when Johnny Five-Cents was lamenting "Samantha Power and the Danger of Gotcha Politics." Not only did John Nichols cover for Samantha Power (his post at The Nation is labeled "03/07/2008 @ 11:28 pm" meaning his article went up that Friday hours and hours after the "Iraq snapshot" calling out Power did -- isn't Johnny Five-Cents supposed to be a 'journalist'?), so did you. You want to show up on July 4th and blame the lack of attention to this story on the MSM when The Washington Post was blogging about it as the story broke, when they would go on to do a print report on it and yet Panhandle Media couldn't even be bothered with it? Like Nichols, they were all lying. Davey D would go on to lament -- on KPFA's The Morning Show -- that Samantha "Powers" (it helps to know the name of the person you're broken up about, Davey) had left the campaign for (he said) calling Hillary a "monster." But let's stay with The Nation where Tom-Tom sits on the board. It never got into The Nation and he damn well knows that. Not on March 7th, not on March 8th. March 20th, Eric Alterman would feel the need to weigh in Power's leaving the campaign in "The Ritual Sacrifice of Samantha Power" and though he would note "monster" and "NAFTA," he never said a DAMN word about the BBC interview that entered the press cycle March 7th. He didn't say one DAMN word. It didn't stop there. Michael Massing's "The Power Conundrum" (published online May 22nd and in the June 9th issue of The Nation) found time to recount the "monster" remark which was rather strange since he was reviewing Power's book on the UN involvement in the Iraq War. Wouldn't the better thing to have referenced when reviewing a book on Iraq have been Power's remarks on Barack's so-called "promise"? June 12th, John Nichols was back on the scene ["Students for Hillary, er, McCain (or McKinney)" -- what a wit and joy he must be for the others at the SciFi conventions] quoting a missive that referred to the "monster" incident. No need on his part to enlarge the topic and note Power's interview to the BBC. March 12th -- five days after the Power remarks were in the news -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- Air Berman was offering "It's Okay to be Intemperate!" (at The Nation's blog Campaign '08) and yet again recounting Samantha Power's 'unjust' departure over the "monster" remark (when not licking Hendrick Hertzberg's aging sack). Never once -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- did Berman mention Power's remarks to the BBC. He would conclude his sad eulogy to Sammy (and presumably devote full attention to "Rick") with this, "Thanks to the events of the past week, campaign officials will be even more guarded when dealing with the media, and I don't blame them. It's an outcome that benefits no one." Apparently Ari thought he could help fight that trend by not telling readers what Samantha Power said about the Iraq 'promise'? It needs to be noted that the day the news broke, Ari Berman attempted to distract from Power's statement by filing "Clinton Does McCain's Bidding" which was nothing but his rummaging through old chat & chew transcripts in an effort to discredit Hillary on Iraq. Needless to say, he said nothing about Power. [As we noted in our March 9th in "Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia."] What we got from the alleged 'independent' media (including The Nation) and from the alleged 'independent' web was inane defenses of War Hawk Samantha Power that avoided her Iraq remarks. Check out Josh Michah's Marshy & Hairy Butt Crack where Greg Sargent posted "New Hillary Campaign Video Seeks To Revive Samantha Power Controversy." It's a March 19th post and what does Sargent conclude of the commercial featuring Power revealing that Barack's 'promise' isn't a promise? A snippy: "Given that this is weeks-old story, the timing of its release is pretty obvious: The Hillary camp is hoping to use it to overshadow Obama's big Iraq speech today." That's from mind reader Greg Sargent and even then (and terming the commercial an "attack video"), check out the reaction of Josh's groupies (conditioned to salivate at the mention of Barack's name): "Ah, Hillary. Desperation becomes her," purrs one while Patagonia and das2003 lead the sizeable number who are offended and outraged that the video was even posted at Joshy's site.
Over at Mother Jones, David CornNuts kind-of sort of covered it (as
C.I. noted March 10th) huffing ("An Ugly Moment for the Clinton Campaign," March 10th) that the campaign "took the unusual step of convening a second conference call of the day for reporters. And it was a sorry spectacle." (CornNuts, you went nuts.) Davey C writes "the Clintonites pounced on the comments" -- comments, pay attention Tom Hayden -- that Davey C immediately dismissed: "In other words, a campaign proposal is just that: a proposal. And only a fool would think that a military plan would be applied to reality unchaged a year after it was first devised." That's what happened Tommy Hayden -- AS YOU DAMN WELL KNOW -- Panhandle Media mainly ignored it and then the CornNuts crowd excused it and attacked Hillary for raising the issue. They lied repeatedly and we can outline that (mainly because we already have -- starting with John Nichols' LIE that Samantha Power and Hillary knew each other very well when Power told Charlie Rose they'd only met once). C.I. led on this at The Common Ills, but we all called it out at community sites and we didn't do it for one day or one week. We stayed on the story. The one Tom Hayden couldn't bother to write about until July 4th -- even though it took place March 7th. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and others in the MSM did cover it and the response was silence from 'independent' media and attacks from the Barack groupies in comments and e-mails to the outlets.

Tom Hayden is a flat out liar who has disgraced himself. July 4th he wanted to claim that Real Media ignored it (they didn't) and that the Clinton campaign didn't attempt to highlight Power's interview when they did (and got slammed for it by Panhandle Media over and over). Tom Hayden and many others provided non-stop cover for Barack. They refused to call him out and then want to act shocked today that he's not the man they repeatedly lied to assert he was. Today The Detroit Free Press chooses to join the Liars Club by insisting that Barack has promised to pull all US troops out from Iraq in 16 months. It's exactly all this covering and looking the other way for Barack that goes to how he has never been vetted and how his 'anti-war' credentials are nothing but hype.

That's not how the media is supposed to work -- Real Media or Panhandle Media. But all this time later, it's still the story. A few voices explore the reality (Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon are among the few). Last week, there was another voice speaking the truth but no one wanted to explore that, no one rushed to book him on Panhandle Media programs, no one rushed to explore his observations. From Chris Floyd's "
Surge Protectors: Obama Embraces Bush-McCain Spin on Iraq" (Baltimore Chronicle): "But it is Obama's surrender on the Iraq War front -- or rather, the anti-Iraq War front -- that is most striking, and most disheartening. On the very night that John McCain was putting the 'success' of the surge at the center of his campaign, Obama was openly, cravenly laying down one of his chief weapons at the feet of Bill O'Reilly. Obama's cheerleading for the surge -- 'beyond our wildest dreams!' -- surpassed anything that McCain himself has claimed for the escalation." Instead, we pretend we don't see what's before our eyes, instead The Detroit Free Press lies that Barack's promised a complete withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq in 16 months. As bad as Tom Hayden's been this entire election cycle (pretty bad), even he has gone that far to lie. It should also be noted that the Obama campaign has floated the notion that, should Barack be elected, he might keep Robert Gates on as his Secretary of Defense. Change you can believe in?

Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) noticed that the Bully Boy's Tuesday speech on Iraq and Afghanistan indicated that other countries are leaving the so-called 'coalition': "The presence of other countries in Iraq, even if the troop contribution was modest, has long been used by the Bush administration as a way of deflecting criticism that its actions in Iraq were "unilateral." Now, Bush is portraying their departure as a sign of "return on success," his policy of bringing home troops as conditions improve in Iraq." Today AFP reports, "Japan said Thursday it was ending an air mission in Iraq, wrapping up a military deployment which was historic for the pacifist nation but deeply unpopular among the public."

Yesterday afternoon the Los Angeles Times'
Raheem Salman and Ned Parker reported at the paper's blog (Baghdad & Beyond) on the issue of provincial elections in Iraq, noting that the Parliament had created a working body "to strike a compromise" on legislation that would address the issue. The United Nations is working on a proposal they will release at the end of the month or early in October. In the meantime, they've joined the chorus of "Kirkuk Can Wait!" -- that the issue of the oil-rich Kirkuk (whether it remains with the central government or becomes a part of the Kurdish region) can yet again be delayed. The issue of Kirkuk has been delayed repeatedly. Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that Kirkuk Stadium remains filled with Kurdish refugees kicked out of their homes and forced to Kirkuk in an effort to pack the city with pro-Kurdish voters for when the election deciding the fate of Kirkuk is ever held but in the meantime they live in "mud and cinder-block huts beneath the stands, in the parking lots and the luxury boxes, and it's no longer beautiful. It's a dirty, sewage-ridden slum and Rasoul is the unofficial mayor." Stephen Farrell's "As Iraqis Vie for Kirkuk's Oil, Refugee Kurds Becomes Pawns" (New York Times) reported on these conditions back in December and there has been no improvement. But, apparently, Kirkuk can wait. Even as a cholera outbreak grips Iraq. AP reports that Salih al-Hasnawi (Iraq's Minister of Health) held a press conference in Baghdad earlier today to note that Baghdad (and surrounding areas) were now also seeing the outbreak and that the region of Iraq has seend the deaths of 5 from the disease with at least 36 people confirmed as having cholera in the region. Note, that's "Baghdad and sourthern areas." The United Nations notes 10 deaths thus far with "174 suspected cases" and that: "The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing technical support to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, and, along with other UN entities, has been aiding cholera-affected governorates since the disease resurfaced three weeks ago. WHO has taken on a coordination role in efforts to tackle cholera and is working to fortify Iraq's disease surveillance system in identifying new cases. It is also supplying emergency supplies to laboratories to enhance their testing capability."Meanwhile the "Awakening" Council is back in the news. These are the Sunni thugs on the US payroll ($300 a month for males, $280 for females) because, as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told Congress repeatedly in April, paying them off means they don't attack US equipment or soldiers. That's a lot of lunch money to fork over each money to be safe on the 'playground.' Puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, has long been vocally opposed to the "Awakening" Councils. That's because he staffed with Shi'ite thugs. The two most extreme segments of Iraq are at war with one another. al-Maliki has made it very clear he has little use for the "Awakening" Councils and his staff has echoed that repeatedly. With US Senators and House Reps loudly objecting to the tax payer monies being spent on this program (one Petraeus hails) last April, there's been a push to have the puppet government (sitting on billions) pay the "Awakening" Council itself. (Senator Barbara Boxer was especially vocal in April asking why the puppet government wasn't paying them.) The new talk is that al-Maliki will begin paying them but distrust remains on both sides.

Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al-Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that despite for-show motions in public on the part of the puppet government, "Awakening" Council leaders remain skepitcal (with one saying after the latest press conference, "I don't trust a word they say") that the puppet government will take charge and pay the 99,000 "Awakening" members or that 20,000 will be absorbed "into the police and army" starting October 1st. Thursday's press conference found Gen Abud Ganbar declaring, "The government has ordered that monthly salaries be paid until we can put (Awakening members) into security forces or ministires. Payments will continue until they find jobs." That leaves "Awakening" leaders skeptical and the reporters quote various voices explaining why including the claim that the puppet government has hired al Qaeda members. Khalid al-Ansary and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) report on the puppet government side where grave doubts are repeatedly raised ("But he also expressed distaste for some members of the predominantly Sunni Arab Awakening movement, an aversion shared by some other officials.") as is the argument that there is need "to weed out" certain members. In other words, Thursday's press conference reassured no one and the tensions remain.

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


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people and a Baghdad truck bombing that claimed 1 life and left three more wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing claimed 2 lives and left seven more people wounded, a Baghdad mini-bus bombing that claimed the lives of 3 "civil servants from the housing and construction ministry" and a Kerbala mini-bus bombing that claimed 2 lives and left twenty people injured.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Rokan Al Kayali ("tribal sheikh") was shot dead in Diyala Province along with "his infant son". Reuters notes "a Shi'ite man and his wife and son" were all shot dead in Mosul, that Iraqi police officers shot dead 2 suspects, a Sadiyah home invasion that resulted in the deaths of 5 family members,


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul.

Turning to the US race for president, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader promises to end the illegal war.
Team Nader notes:

Drop $6 on Nader/Gonzalez.
We're pulling solid numbers in key swing states.
Including 6 percent in Michigan, according to
yesterday's CNN/Time poll.
Nobody can say what will happen over the next seven weeks.
What we can say is this:
Independents are now positioned for an historic breakthrough.
Yesterday, Ron Paul appeared with Ralph Nader on CNN.
And together they announced a joint breakaway from the "evil of the two lessers" -- the Democrats and the Republicans.
We need to continue to ratchet up the pressure on the corporate controlled, illegitimate two party system.
To break through the media blackout.
To break through into the debates.
To let the people know --
There is a choice in November.
A candidacy that will deliver full Medicare for all.
A living wage.
A peaceful solar economy.
Reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Let's keep the pressure on.
Don't let up.
Here's one thing you can do.
Donate $6 now to Nader/Gonzalez.
To help meet our goal of $80,000 by Constitution Day -- September 17.
(Remember -- Ralph Nader will appear on Lou Dobbs tonight at 7:00 pm EST.)
Together, we are making a difference.
Onward to November.

iraqchris floyd
michael abramowitzthe washington post
mcclatchy newspapersnicholas spanglerthe new york timesstephen farrellmohammed al dulaimythe los angeles timesraheem salmanned parker

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Nader, Biden, Barack

The CNN appearance below has already taken place but there's an audio link for a press conference so I'm putting it in "Nader and Ron Paul with Wolf Blizter on CNN Today" (Team Nader):

Ralph Nader and Ron Paul will appear this afternoon on CNN's The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.
CNN says the segment will run sometime between 4:15 and 4:40 p.m. EST today.
Hope you get a chance to see it.
The press conference with Ralph and Ron Paul and other independent candidates this morning went great.
Thank you Ron Paul for hosting it and for your determination to bust up the two party system.
C-Span was there and will run the event in its entirety. (
Check schedule here or the C-SPAN Video Library here.)
We'll be posting some highlights from the press conference here soon.
And tomorrow, Ralph Nader will appear on CNN with Lou Dobbs for his Independent Convention.
Onward to November
The Nader Team

Though I don't always agree with Joe Biden, this item from Jimmy Orr's "Biden endorses Hillary for VP, kind of" (Christian Sciene Monitor) is typical of why I've never hated Biden:

Mr. Biden actually was being gracious when an attendee at an event in New Hampshire in a rambling almost nonsensical endorsement said he wasn’t a fan of Hillary Clinton and thought Barack Obama made a wise move in selecting the Senator from Delaware.
Biden, who has yet to win the coveted Mr. Humility award, flashed a little modesty however by stating that Senator Clinton was not only qualified but could have been the better choice (see video below).
"Hillary Clinton is as qualified or more qualified than I am to be vice president of the United States of America," Biden told the crowd. "Let's get that straight. She’s a truly close personal friend; she is qualified to be president of the United States of America. She’s easily qualified to be vice president of the United States of America and, quite frankly, it might have been a better pick than me, but she is first-rate."

The article plays it like 'rare side of humility' but Joe Biden has had many such moments. Yes, he loves to talk. (C.I. says -- in all seriousness -- that Biden should be on a univeristy campus teaching law.) But he often says very nice things about his colleagues. The idea that he's vain and self-involved is not anything I've ever seen in his press coverage (and I've met Biden twice when C.I. wanted to say hello to him). He is a nice man and with anyone else at the top of the ticket, I would gladly vote for Biden. With Biden at the top of the ticket, I would vote Democrat. I'm not voting for Barack. Sexism, homophobia, cozying up to anti-choice people and always the non-stop lying.

It actually reminds me of 1988. I always thought Lloyd Bensten was more presidential that Mike Dukakis. I voted Dem that year but the difference was Michael Dukakis didn't strike me as a liar. I thought Dukakis would have to hit the ground running but I thought he had the experience that would allow for that.

I'm voting for Ralph Nader and I have no qualms about that vote. Ralph has the experience, has the issues, has the whole package.

I'm really starting to think the landslide against Barack is going to come true. I don't mean Ralph will win. I hope he does. I'm not predicting the winner. But I'm going by what I'm hearing. I was talking to Ava and C.I. about how people keep saying Barack will pull off California and they reminded me of how bad the polling was on Ahnuld and that the reason was because Latinos are not polled properly. They're underpolled. There are a number of Latinos and Latinas in the last few days (in my state) who've decided to support McCain.

The addition of Palin was a huge boost for him. It was a nervy choice and it destroyed any in-roads Barack was making. It's ridiculous for him to assume he has California. He lost it to Hillary and he lost it because he could not connect with Latinos (or Asian-Americans). So he was second choice in California and his me-act-Spanish routine was seen as offensive.

So, no, I don't think he has it sewn up. Also the Latino vote is what delivered Ahnuld to the governor's mansion. They do not know how to poll the Latino community in California.

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

Wednesday, September 10, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Barack gets semi-called on sexism and makes more insulting remarks in response to being called out, the House Armed Services Committee holds a hearing, Ron Paul holds a press conference with Chuck Baldwin, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader, and more.

Today the US House Armed Services Committee held a hearing on the Security and Stability in Afghanistan and Iraq: Developments in US Strategy and Operations and the Way Ahead. Appearing before the committee were US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates, the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Adm Michael Mullen, DoD's Under Secreatry of Defense for Policy, Eric S. Edelman and the Director of Strategic Plans and Policy for the Joint Chiefs of Staff Vice Adm James Winnefeld. Ike Skelton is the chair of the committee and his opening remarks included that "I remain concerned about the pace of political progress. The Iraqis have still not been able to even come to an agreement on holding provincial elections, much less address more fundamental questions like the future of Kirkuk. Given this, I have a real question of why we are not redeploying additional forces -- both to bolster our efforts in Afghanistan and to keep the pressure on the Iraqis to come to a sustainable political accomodation." Later in the hearing he would note the "Sun Tzu precept that says 'A war should not be entered into without considering the end of that war'."

The highest ranking Republican on the committee, Duncan Hunter, made a fool of himself as was expected. His dubious statements included, "We are winning in Iraq. The United States is going to be leaving in victory." During Robert Gates' opening remarks he noted these "challenges:"

* Political progress remains too slow -- as seen recently by the inability of the parliament to pass an election law. This means that provincial elections, which we believe will continue and enhance the process of reconciliation, will in all likelihood be pushed back until at least December. Elections also mean the possibility of increased violence.

* There have been some worrisome reports about sectarian efforts to either disrupt or slow the process of assimilation of the Sons of Iraq ["Awakening" Council] into the Iraqi Security Forces. It is a reminder that sectarin tenaions still exist and have the potential to undo recent progress at the local and national level.

* Despite Iran's pledges last year to stop providing weapons, training and funding to armed militias, evidence suggests that this support continues. [These are Gates' words. There is no proof/evidence that Iran has supplied anything. There has never been proof of that.]

* Iraqi security forces still lack many key capabilities. Many of their operations would simply not have been possible without Coalition enablers. That will remain the case for some time to come.

* The threat from al Qaeda and other militant groups has receded, but is still very real. In the last few months, we have seen a number of suicide attacks -- as well as tactical shifts, such as the increased use of women. This is a reminder that al Qaeda still retains the ability to inflict mass casualties, the operational capacity to assess and change strategies and is still trying to sow chaos and reassert itself. [Again, Gates' words. al Qaeda in Iraq has always been inflated and was not present until after the illegal war started. The administration tends to blame any and all violence on "al Qaeda in Iraq" unless they're targeting Iran for blame that day.]

* Similarly, there is the possiblity that Jaish al-Mahdi could return.

Gates insisted the US had "now entered that end game" in Iraq "and our decisions today and in the months ahead will be critical to regional stability and our national security interests for the years to come."

Chair Skelton had serious concerns about a number of issues and they included where the US money is going and why the Iraqi billions are not being spent. He noted two chief concerns, first that "they [Iraqis] have a lot of money on their own and number two the choice of projects" on which they spend money. At this point he requested that the committee be supplied with a list of all US expenditures over $120,000. He expressed concern over Iraq's stated plan "to build the world's largets ferris wheel" and wondered "why are we funding" construction such as hotels with US tax payer money when the central government in Baghdad sits on so many billions that are not being used?

No surprise, no one had an answer for Skelton though a list might be workable at some point.

US House Rep Susan Davis also wanted to know what was happening with the money. She pointed out that the Iraqi air force is lacking in training and equipment and that it went far beyond that with Iraqi security forces stating that even "batteries that are needed for communication" aren't in supply and "they're saying it's just not getting to them." Was it an issue of corruption, she wanted to know, where was the breakdown? Edelman replied, "We're now in the process of getting to those issues." Now? Five years after the illegal war began?

There were no answers supplied to the questions and neither side seemed overly surprised by that (Congress or the witnesses). Gates spoke of success while also maintaining that the United States would be in Iraq for many "years to come -- although in changing and increasingly limited ways." US House Rep Solomon Ortiz wondered, "What planning and work has been done to enable the next administration to make its own decision about force levels upon taking office after who wins the presidency? And what limits does the president's recent decision place on force level changes?"

Robert Gates: Mr. Ortiz, I think first of all, that the new president will have a full array of options when he enters office in terms of troop levels in -- in -- in Jan- in Iraq. Uhm. As I indicated in my opening remarks, I hope that whoever the new president is will listen closely to the commanders in the field and senior military leaders. I've made the comment before that those who worry and are concerned that the military view was not taken sufficiently into account at the beginning of the war would not neglect it as we get deeper into the end game. But-but there is nothing in place that would contrain the decisions of a new president in terms of policies or anything else that, uh, that a new president could not -- could not change. So new president will have complete flexibility and constrained only by his view of our national security interests.

He? There is a woman running for president. (Rep Michael Conway also referred to "our guys" repeatedly in the hearing. Just as Gates can't picture a woman as president, Conway is unaware that women serve in the US military.) Ron Paul ran for the Republican Party's presidential nomination and lost to John McCain. Last week, he held a rally with his supporters in Minnesota.
NOW on PBS has an online exclusive with Paul and they also examined his campaign in 2007. Today, he held a press conference with Ralph Nader (independent presidential candidate, now to be on the ballots in 45 states), Cynthia McKinney (Green Party presidential candidate), Chuck Baldwin (Constitution Party's candidate) and Bob Barr (Libertarian Party presidential candidate). Ralph Nader explains, "Today, along with other third party candidates, I joined Congressman Ron Paul to endorse a common agenda that stands up for the US Constitution by ending illegal wars, and protecting the privacy and civil liberties of all persons under US jurisdiction. We also jointly called for an immediate halt to the increase in the national debt, an end to corporate subsidies and taxpayer bailouts of corporations, and to start aggressively pursuing prosecution of corporations that commit crimes and frauds. Both Congressman Paul and I also support holding President Bush and Dick Cheney to account for their transgressions against our Constitution. Today's coming together of third party candidates marks the beginning of the realignment of American politics." Third Party Watch reports:

Dr. Paul turned the podium over to the others, and Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party's presidential candidate, thanked him for bringing this group together. She recalled that "it took 72 years of struggle and sacrifice, from the beginning of the women's suffrage movement, for women to get the right to vote. I believe today we are starting a new movement of independence from the orthodoxy of our day." (Let's hope it doesn't take 72 years to achieve most of this group's goals!)
Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party's presidential candidate, said "the real issue in 2008 is not between Republicans and Democrats, liberals and conservatives, but between globalists and constitutionalists. McCain and Obama are globalists. Baldwin is a constitutionalist."
McCain, Baldwin said, always refers to the U.S. as an "interdependent nation." "But the Founders didn't sign a Declaration of Interdependence. We are fighting for the preservation of our very form of government, and that's why what Ron Paul is doing today is so important, and why our coming together today is so important."
And, as Baldwin always reminds his audiences: "I supported Ron Paul. It's because the GOP rejected Ron Paul that I'm here today as a candidate."
Ralph Nader, the Independent candidate for President, seemed the most enthusiastic and optimistic about Paul's coalition. "I think when McKinney, Barr, Baldwin and Nader agree with Ron Paul on these four major areas--I think that's the beginning of a realignment in American politics." And later: "I'm very proud that we've been able to put aside our differences on other subjects--such as health and safety regulations [chuckles from the audience]--to come together on these four important subjects."

"Awakening" Councils were cited by Gates.
Tom A. Peter (Christian Science Monitor) argues that female members are essential: "To combat this threat, Iraqis have begun recruiting women for the Daughters of Iraq, a female counterpart to the Sons of Iraq community policing program largely credited with reducing violence in Iraq. While female security guards remain a small minority, they've stopped many female insurgents. And, some say their example could help change perceptions about the role of women in Iraq." That's a nice little fantasy since female members are paid 20% less than their male peers and, remember, all "Awakening" Council members have been and are currently paid by the US government. Translation, the White House has said a man doing the same job as a woman is worth more.

Moving over to provincial elections which were mentioned repeatedly in today's hearings.
Nicholas Spangler and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) explain the stalemate remains the oil rich city of Kirkuk, "A loose but powerful coalition of Arab parties is wary of Kurdish control prior to elections; Kurds remain adamentally opposed to any law mandating power sharing in Kirkuk, as the current [election] bill does. The reporters explain the stalemate has some floating the option of going with the a 2005 election law. The United Nations is working on their proposal which is to be presented later this month or at the beginning of October. The United Nations' Staffan de Mistura met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani on Sunday as part of the research required for the plan they intend to present.

Yesterday Bully Boy gave his speech on Iraq.
Nancy A. Youssef and Jonathan S. Landay (McClatchy Newspapers) examine it and note, "President Bush's announcement Tuesday that he'll maintain troop levels in Iraq through the end of his presidency suggests that despite his claim that the surge of additional U.S. troops in Iraq has succeeded, the security gains could be temporary, defense officials and experts said." Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) noticed that the speech also indicated that other countries are leaving the so-called 'coalition': "The presence of other countries in Iraq, even if the troop contribution was modest, has long been used by the Bush administration as a way of deflecting criticism that its actions in Iraq were "unilateral." Now, Bush is portraying their departure as a sign of "return on success," his policy of bringing home troops as conditions improve in Iraq."

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


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Salahuddin Province car bombing wounded three people. Reuters notes an Iskandariya roadside bombing that left two police officers wounded.


Reuters notes 1 "Christian man" was shot dead in Mosul.

Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 4 in Mosul.

Back to the race for the US presidency. War Hawk Barack Obama's in trouble for doing something so it was time for all his lovers in the press to come out in full force and defend their Christ-child.

Here's what he said.

Barack Obama: Let-let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change too. Exc-and-and so I guess his whole angle is 'Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington." That's not change. That's-that's just calling some the same thing something different But you know you can't e-e-e-e You know you can put uh liptick on a pig, it's still a pig.

When he says "You can put lipstick on a pig," what is Barack doing? What is he physically doing? Chicago's gutter boy is flipping the bird and when the finger goes up the howls start. You can see it in
the video his campaign/campaign surrogates issued as a response. We see Dick Cheney speak, no bird flipping.

You can watch it at
Joe Garafoli's post (San Francisco Chronicle) which reads like "He's Sure The Boy I Love." Barack goes on to make a comment about fish smell. It's not in the video, they cut it before that point. CBS contributes, "CBS News reporter Maria Gavrilovic reports that as the crowd laughed, Obama added: 'You can you can, wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after 8 years. We've had enough of the same old thing'." Last week, Ruth took on sexist pig Ellen Susman who also had a "fish" 'joke' in her smear of Palin. Writing as if she was Susman, Ruth observed, "And let me call my post 'A Fish Called Sarah.' I will pretend like I think it is a Monty Python film and mention other Monty Python films. But even as stupid as I, Ellen Susman, am, I know it is not. Even as dumb as I am, I do know the "two things smell fish" 'joke.'" And so does Barack.

They weren't even his own words he was speaking -- which is why he stumbles (no teleprompter).
Joseph (Cannonfire) explains, "His comments were cribbed -- word for word -- from a Washington Post cartoon. Why is Obama allowed to plagiarize when others are not?" Why indeed and this isn't the first time he's been caught stealing.

Susan (Random Notes) sums up, "Well, Barack, if you'd have paid attention to presidential campaigns of the past, you would know better than to consider yourself immune to blasphemy, er, criticism, even fake criticism, from the other side." Delilah Boyd (A Scrivner's Lament) lays it out as plain as day, "Before you Obots go all 'Obama didn't call Palin a pig' on me, hear this: How much longer will men get away with 'I was just kidding,' 'I wasn't talking about you,' and 'What's the matter? can't you take a joke?'" miq2xu (Klownhaus) [language warning], "Regarding Obama's 'Lipstick on a Pig' comment, I call bull**it on Christy Hardin Smith, Marc Ambinder, D-Day, Taylor Marsh and Whoever Kidnapped Jeralyn Merritt (WKJM²) Each of these people has taken the position that not only were Obama's comments completely innocent, but that the McCain campaign is trying to manufacture a controversy because no reasonable person could possibly get the idea that Obama was calling Sarah Palin a pig. Even if someone truly believed that it was an innocent gaffe (I don't) it is easy to see how that connection could easily be made. I didn't need anyone to explain it to me, nor did most former Hillary supporters, because we 'periodically' saw these types of misunderstandings before." Lambert (Corrente) weighs in on Barack's pig remarks, "You know, if Obama hadn't indulged himself by getting snarky in front of a friendly crowd, he could be talking about the economy right now -- and winning P.T.A. moms too, who like those kitchen table issues." madamab (The Confluence) advises, "Case in point: When you call your opponent's vice president a pig and say she smells like fish, you do not try to pretend you didn't do it. You did it, in front of God and YouTube. So apologize and move on, otherwise you will engender anger and resentment."

On the topic of sexism, it bears noting that
Feminist Wire Daily finally got active calling out sexism against Palin, "Donny Deutsch recently made sexist comments about Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Deutsch appeared on CNBC's Squawk the Street (Watch the video here) and made several misogynistic comments including praising Palin for earning respect through her ability to make men 'want to mate with her' and calling Senator Clinton's loss in the Democratic Primaries a direct result of the fact that she 'didn't put a skirt on.'" Egalia (Tennessee Guerilla Women) points to another with a need to sexualize Palin Salon's Gary Kamiya who needs to Palin as "a whip-wielding mistress". Last night Kat took on 'progressive' Ed Garvey's need to compare Palin to erectile medications, "The comparison is insulting; however, it may indicate what's in Garvey's own medicine cabinet."

Now before we get to today's remarks by Barack (which are even more insulting to women -- if anyone actually listens),
Kirsten Powers (New York Post) provided the backstory leading up to Palin's speech last week, "No, Obama didn't engage in the mass sneering at Palin - but he did fall into the trap of disrespecting her. When McCain chose her, the Obama campaign's first response was to ridicule the size of her town. Then the candidate himself began referring to her as a "former mayor" when she is in fact a sitting governor. When she retaliated (justifiably) by mocking his stint as a organizer, the Obama camp was clearly rattled. Obama himself actually began arguing about the importance of community organizing. His supporters amplified this cry - claiming Palin's attack was a racist slur and passing around e-mails titled 'Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.' Meanwhile, the rest of the country was probably wondering what being a community organizer has to do with being president."

Today, Barack spoke. And what did the Christ-child say? It's wowed some of the usual PIG MEN, Queen Bees and Gender Traitors.
From CNN (text and video), this is Barack: "We have real problems in this country right now. The American people are looking to us for answers, not distractions, not diversions, not manipulations. They want real answers to the real problems we are facing."

Sexism isn't a real problem to Barack Obama. It's an annoyance for him to have to address sexism. He's laughing in the video. He finds it all so funny. (I find his attempt to grow a mustache hilarious. That's day two by the way.) "This is what they want to talk about," insists Barack. And talking about it means he's not able to address "the issues that matter to you." Barack, you sad PIG, sexism matters to me and to many. It's not a "diversion" or a "distraction" (his words), it is a very real issue.

And it took
Katie Couric calling it out to finally get the MSM to notice it. And what was the Obama campaign's response? Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bosman (New York Times) reported in June what US House Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz told them on behalf of Team Obama, "She said Mr. Obama had no specific plans for a speech on sexism, partly because he already incorporates themes of discrimination as a societal problem into his speeches."

But Barack's bothered that he had to even get near the topic today. He calls it unfair.
He didn't think it was unfair when his Cult was tarring Bill Clinton as a racist for using "fairytale." He used the odor of fish and lipstick on a pig to insult a woman. All Bill Clinton did was point out Barack was a damn liar about his positions on the illegal war.

Sexism can be used by Barack's campaign and by Barack but the Christ-child must never have to address the topic and sends out flunkies (he hides behind a lot of women) to insist that he's already addressed an "ism" and wasn't that enough? No. No, it is not enough.
In March 2008, he decied to bore the country with a never-ending stream of words (4,683) allegedly on the topic of race. (It wasn't about race it was about the only topic he enjoys getting wordy on: Himself.) He can't address sexism?

He has two daughters and he can't address sexism? He said of Hillary Clinton that "periodically" when Hillary was "feeling blue" "the claws come out." He's now going after Sarah Palin and wants yet another pass? He can't address sexism but, as Marie Cocco's "
Obama's Abortion Stance When 'Feeling Blue'" (Washington Post Writers Group) pointed out, he's got plenty of time to speak to anti-women men:

Obama says that these women should not be able to obtain a late-term abortion, because just "feeling blue" isn't the same as suffering "serious clinical mental health diseases." True enough. And totally infuriating. During the recent Obama pander tour -- the one in which he spent about a week trying to win over conservative religious voters -- the presumptive Democratic nominee unnecessarily endorsed President Bush's faith-based initiative, a sort of patronage program that rewards religious activists for their political support with public grants. Then in a St. Louis speech, Obama declared that "I let Jesus Christ into my life." That's fine, but we already have a president who believes this was a qualification for the Oval Office, and look where that's gotten us.Obama's verbal meanderings on the issue of late-term abortion go further. He has muddied his position. Whether this is a mistake or deliberate triangulation, only Obama knows for sure. One thing is certain: Obama has backhandedly given credibility to the right-wing narrative that women who have abortions -- even those who go through the physically and mentally wrenching experience of a late-term abortion -- are frivolous and selfish creatures who might perhaps undergo this ordeal because they are "feeling blue."

When Palin entered the race and made her "lipstick" line, the game changed. If Hillary had been the Democratic nominee and had chosen Joe Biden for her running mate, John McCain could declare that they were negative and refer to their "dark vision" for America's future. With Barack as the nominee, his use of that term would be called out immediately. With Barack in the race, the game changes. It's the same thing with Sarah Palin being in the race. Barack's remarks yesterday were pre-pared as evidenced by the fact that he stole a huge chunk from a cartoon. If he and his team are too stupid to grasp how those remarks would play, that's their own damn fault. He should have apologized.

Instead, he hides behind women and has them trot out to offer excuses and attacks. It's not going to work anymore than it does in a court room when a rapist hires a female attorney or a rapist's defense team uses the sole woman to cross examine the rape victim. If Barack can't even address sexism what does that really say about him? And what does it say about the women who allow him to hide? President of
NOW's New York state chapter Marcia Pappas offers "To Women Who Love Their Political Party Too Much" and all -- men and women -- would benefit from reading that. And on a similar note,
To The Contrary's Bonnie Erbe (writing at US News & World Reports) explains:

Women can be sexist, too, you know, just like persons of color can be racist. As the
media debate whether Gov. Sarah Palin's public treatment is sexist or not, take this punch, socked to Palin by a woman, that's as clearly out of bounds as a husband slapping his wife in the face in public.
As related by The Washington Post's Ruth Marcus today:

My colleague Sally Quinn put it most provocatively. "Is she prepared for the all-consuming nature of the job?" Quinn wondered. "When the phone rings at three in the morning and one of her children is really sick, what choice will she make?"
Has Quinn ever asked the same question of a man running for vice president? Of course not, nor would she. What if the answer is, Sarah Palin would take the call at 3 a.m. and jump on any plane to anywhere in the world, confident that her husband would care for the sick child? To pose the question is to promote idiotic and sexist media viewpoints, while ignoring the much more important flaws in the Palin candidacy.

iraqmcclatchy newspapersnancy a. youssefjonathan s. landaymichael abramowitzthe washington post
katie couricthe cbs evening news
the new york timeskatharine q. seelyejulie bosman
bonnie erbe
marie cocco
mcclatchy newspaperssahar issanicholas spanglernow on pbspbs