Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Edwards wins

Tuesday. Hope everyone had a great weekend. Got a lot to try to note tonight. Including the thing C.I. gives a heads up to in the snapshot. I called C.I. and said, "Could Edwards go in the snapshot and could he be the first candidate quoted?" C.I. said yes and that Wally had already made that request. :D Great minds. So C.I. goes, "Do you want to talk about John Edwards debate performance because I've got to edit out 10K and if you're going to talk about it, I'll just put in a link to you and pull what's already in there." Yeah, I wanted to talk about it.

This is from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:" "CNN has the transcripts in three parts, here, here and here." So there's transcripts at those links (and later on, I'll have the snapshot in full in here and there's also links to video).

John Edwards won last night's debate. Now I've got fifty bucks on Edwards so remember that and if you don't think he did, that's cool but I think he won. Here's why.

He came off like a president. This was his best debate performance and the only one that was consistent. He had moments before but I don't think he ever won a debate in this race. There's one I'd even give to Bill Richardson. But Edwards won this one.

He was tough when he needed to be tough, he was able to rise above when he needed to rise above. He showed this amazing range and really came off like a president. I've never seen him do better. He was human and folksy and commanding and leader-like and just shifting from gear to gear and back again as needed.

Yeah, I've got fifty bucks that his campaign is going into high gear finally but even I didn't expect to see anything like that.

Maybe there was a point to all those Hillary attacks in that he was addressing her in the first part of the campaign and now that everyone knows where they are different and where they are alike (like health care on the latter) and he was saving Barack for the second part of the campaign?

Barack lies about everyone and he punked Edwards last year because Edwards wouldn't call him out. Barack thought he was going to punk him last night (and Bambi had all his little jokes as usual) but Edwards wasn't taking it from the start. The first time Barack tried to distort him, here's what Edwards said:

Well, first of all, what I have proposed for green-collar jobs will create jobs within 30 or so days, so we will have an immediate impact on the economy and stimulate the economy. Second, no one has to explain to me what these trade deals have done to South Carolina, to North Carolina. My father, who's sitting right out there in the audience, worked in the mills for 36 years and we have seen what these trade deals have done to people who have worked hard all their lives.
And the problem with Peru, Barack, is you are leaving the enforcement of environmental and labor regulations in the hands of George Bush.
I wouldn't trust George Bush to enforce anything, certainly no trade obligations.

There Barack had just been slimey and acting like he was a Big Brain while he distorted Edwards. That wasn't the strongest exhange but that's where I first sat up. I was really afraid this would be where John Edwards tanked. I was glad to be wrong, really wrong.

Now the next time was where Barack was being an ass. He was and his groupies may not like that but Bill Clinton is not his debate partner. Read Elaine tonight on what's going to happen if he keeps bringing spouses into it. By attacking Hillary's spouse, he's inviting attacks on his own. That was just disrespectful and something you don't do. Elizabeth Edwards has offered a lot of strong (and true) critiques of Barack. He knows better than to go after her. But if he's going to go after Bill, then it's going to be open season on Michelle Obama. He better lay off Bill.

But here's where Edwards came in on that:

And I also want to know -- I also want to know on behalf of voters here in South Carolina, this kind of squabbling, how many children is this going to get health care? How many people are going to get an education from this? How many kids are going to be able to go to college because of this?
We have got to understand -- you know, and I respect both of my fellow candidates -- but we have got to understand this is not about us personally. It is about...
... what we are trying to do for this country and what we believe in.

See, that's one of those moments where he showed leadership. To be clear, I don't think before he spoke that Hillary looked bad. She was sticking to what Barack did, what he said. Barack's the one who suddenly starts bringing up a candidate's spouse.

That's another way you know Bambi's not up to president. He doesn't even grasp what's a foul and what's out of bounds. He's got no leadership and no common sense.

That's really clear in the following where Hillary's pointing out his vote and he's claiming he didn't like something in the bill -- a bill he co-sponsored. Watch when Edwards comes in on this:

CLINTON: Now, let me start with the claim about the bankruptcy bill. I said very clearly I regretted voting for it and I was happy that it didn't get into law.
By 2005, there was another run at a bankruptcy reform, motivated by the credit card companies and the other big lenders. I opposed that bill. I said very forcefully I opposed that bill.
There was a particular amendment that I think is very telling. It was an amendment to prohibit credit card companies from charging more than 30 percent interest.
Senator Obama voted for it. I voted against it. It was one of the biggest lobbyist victories on that very bad bill that the bankruptcy bill represented.
And I think it's important. You know, if you look at the recent article about Senator Obama's work on health care reform in the Illinois legislature, it's a very interesting piece about how he basically did the bidding of the insurance companies during that effort.
Now, I'm just saying that if we're going to...
OBAMA: That's...
CLINTON: ... be hurling these charges against one another, I'm used to taking the incoming fire. I've taken it for 16 years. But when you get into this arena...
... you can't expect to have a hands-off attitude about your record. And it is perfectly fair to have comparisons and contrasts. I voted against a 30 -- I voted for limiting to 30 percent what credit card companies could charge.
Senator Obama did not. That's a fact.
OBAMA: Absolutely. It is a fact, because I thought 30 percent potentially was too high of a ceiling. So we had had no hearings...
... on that bill. It had not gone through the Banking Committee. I don't know about a lot of folks here, most folks here, if they've got a credit card, are paying 29 percent. So under this provision, that would've been fine.
And we had not created the kind of serious...
EDWARDS: You voted against it because the limit was too high, is that what you just said?
OBAMA: That is exactly what I just said, John, because...
EDWARDS: So there's no limit at all.
OBAMA: ... there had been no discussions...
Hold on, John. Hold on. Listen to this. There had been no discussion about how we were going to structure this and this was something that had not gone through the committee and we hadn't talked about.
It didn't make sense for us to cap interest rates...
CLINTON: So you voted with the credit card companies.
CLINTON: That's the bottom line.

Did you get that? Obama's lying again and John Edwards stops him to ask a question. Bambi walks right into and Edwards makes the obvious point that Barack's saying there's no limit to what the credit card companies can charge us. Boom. That's what I've been waiting to see from Edwards. That was a strong jab.

And that's the set up. Watch him jab here:

Can I just ask, though, before I do -- I mean, I hear the back and forth on this one particular vote, but it is -- I do think it's important, and I mentioned this about Senator Clinton earlier, to be fair, about Social Security. I do think it's important whether you are willing to take hard positions.
I mean, the members of the Congressional Black Caucus who are sitting in front of me right know they have to go to the floor of the House every day and vote on hard issues. And they have to vote up or down or not show up to vote -- one of those three choices. What I didn't hear was an explanation for why over 100 times you voted present instead of yes or no when you had a choice to vote up or down.

Barack didn't offer an explanation. He never did. Not when Clinton asked him and not when Edwards followed up. It was another solid jab. And it's driving home Edwards point that he will take stands and that Barack's just going to be 'present.' It's really underscoring the differences between him and Obama. And he's able to just float in and do that and then leave the ring. Bambi looked dazed throughout. And Edwards was always picking and choosing his moments.

EDWARDS: The question is, why would you over 100 times vote present? I mean, every one of us -- every one -- you've criticized Hillary. You've criticized me for our votes.
OBAMA: Right.
EDWARDS: We've cast hundreds and hundreds of votes. What you're criticizing her for, by the way, you've done to us, which is you pick this vote and that vote out of the hundreds that we've cast.
EDWARDS: And what -- all I'm saying is, what's fair is fair. You have every right to defend any vote. You do.
OBAMA: Right.
EDWARDS: And I respect your right to do that on any -- on any substantive issue. It does not make sense to me -- and what if I had just not shown up...
OBAMA: John -- John, Illinois...
EDWARDS: Wait, wait, wait. Wait, let me finish.
OBAMA: Hold on a second.
EDWARDS: What if I had just not shown up to vote on things that really mattered to this country? It would have been safe for me politically. It would have been the careful and cautious thing to do, but I have a responsibility to take a position...
OBAMA: John, you...
EDWARDS: ... even when it has political consequences for me.
(APPLAUSE) consequences. This -- most of these were technical problems with a piece of legislation that ended up getting modified.
But let's talk about taking on tough votes. I mean, I am somebody who led on reforming a death penalty system that was broken in Illinois, that nobody thought was good politics, but was the right thing to do.

Edwards wiped the floor with Bambi right there. Bambi was dazed and on the ropes. He didn't see it coming and Edwards was moving so quick. This was his best debate. He won it. You can disagree with me and that's cool but you better be disagreeing for a reason other than "I love Bambi!" John Edwards cleaned his clock.

Now follow this section and watch the way Edwards handles Barack. He just wasn't taking it. And he didn't lose his temper and he didn't back down:

OBAMA: And, John, both you and Hillary have a hardship exemption, where, if people can't afford to buy health care, you exempt them, so that you sort of don't count them.
EDWARDS: But we would cover them. We cover them, Barack.
OBAMA: But you don't cover them.
EDWARDS: Yes, we do.
CLINTON: Yes, we do.
EDWARDS: Yes, we do. It's not true, Barack.
CLINTON: That is not true.
EDWARDS: No, no. Here's the problem. The problem with this argument is you can make exactly the same argument about Social Security.
I mean, you think about the analogy. What George Bush says is he wants people to be able to get out of the Social Security system, choose, elect to get out of the Social Security system. Well, that's exactly what this argument is.
EDWARDS: This argument is you shouldn't have to have health care. If you choose not to have health care, you shouldn't have to have it.
And that is a threshold question. It is a judgment. It's a fair policy debate.
EDWARDS: There's nothing wrong with us arguing about this, but I believe that there is not a single man, woman, and child in America who's not worthy of health care. Everybody should get health care.

I don't think Obama realized how lame he came off. Here's Edwards in the middle of a question:

EDWARDS: And the only thing I would say -- and I think it has nothing to do with race and gender. Let me be really clear about that. It's amazing now that being the white male...
OBAMA: You're feeling all defensive about it, John. It's all right, man.
EDWARDS: ... is different.

Catch that? Is Obama trying to run for president of the United States or president of the Sweathogs? Was he about to add a "Mr. Kotter" to that?

And of course Edwards had this moment:

John Edwards: He's wrong because George Bush himself said the entire reason for the surge was to create an environment for political progress. Everyone from the Iraq Study Group, to even Bush recognized -- and if Bush recognizes it, man, it's really got to be out there. Even President Bush recognizes that unless the Sunni and Shia reach some political reconiciliation, there cannot be stability in Iraq. And the problem with this definition and evaluation of where the progress has been made is that there has been no meaningful political progress. There has been a little bit, in fairness. A little bit, but very little. And I don't think it changes anything. The one thing I would say is -- and I would actually like for both of them to have a chance to respond to is this -- what I have said very clearly, all of us has said, we would end the war. And I don't have any doubt that all of us are committed to that, I don't doubt that. But how aggressively and how quickly is an important question. And I have said in the first year that I am president, I will have all combat troops out of Iraq. All combat missions will end in Iraq, and there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq. I have no heard -- now, admittedly, just to be fair, I don't hear everything they say on the campaign trail, but I have no heard either of them say that definitively. So I would be interested in knowing whether they will commit to having all combat troops out and ending combat missions in the first year.

Funny thing, Amy Goodman didn't have any of it on her program. But she's just about Obama and had to push him again today: Hooker for Obama. That's all she is these days. What was the lengthy interview today, the 40th testimonial for Obama. We never get that for Edwards or for Clinton.

So I say Edwards won. Rebecca argues it was Hillary and I see her points. She's going to write a little about that tonight so check her out tonight. Let's talk The Third Estate Sunday Review:

Truest statement of the week -- I agreed with Betty, Keesha needed the sole spotlight. Keesha's one of the earliest members of The Common Ills community and as responsible for what all of us do at our sites as anyone else.

A Note to Our Readers -- Jim breaks down the edition. It was a long edition but longer for them. It could have gone up about five hours earlier but when we got done, the gang (Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.) were exhausted and took a long nap before they started typing stuff up. I think Jim's covered everything else in his note.

Editorial: Kumbaya -- Ty and C.I. have been wanting to do a piece about how "Kumbaya" was being spit on by the right and the left, about the historical significance of the song. We didn't have an editorial topic and Ty and C.I. were saying we needed to do "Kumbaya" as a feature so Dona and Jim decided to do it as an editorial.

TV: Democracy Sometimes? -- Ava and C.I. What do you say? The rest of us stand in awe of them. They write on a whole other level and then some. Here they're tackling Amy Goodman who wants to be seen as a journalist but also wants to pimp Obama. She did that again today, didn't she? Ava and C.I. cover it as only they can, with facts, with anger and with humor. This is a masterpiece.

Roundtable -- I like this roundtable a lot and I especially like Ava and my final comments. :D I'm getting real sick of the candy-ass 'left' and their whining. IVAW announced their event ahead of time. They are not preventing anyone from noting the 5th anniversary of the illegal war because they have nothing planned on that day. What you have is the sour grapes of a bunch of candy-ass 'lefties' who never plan, never act, but always want to hitch a ride.

The Truth About Gloria -- I love this one. It may be the feature article I'm proudest of this year even though the year has only started. This is correcting the lies. Not all of the lies because so many were told last week. Gloria Steinem is a leader and a hero. And leave it to Ava and C.I. to find out what everyone missed: the attacks on Gloria from the Bambi supporters were attacks on Bambi's mother.

Talking with Isaiah -- This is a really good interview with Isaiah. It's actually longer but this was edited. Isaiah's a great comic artist. This is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Mystique Candidate"


I just wanted to squeeze that in there.

Memo to Cindy Sheehan -- This was written without the rest of us. It took the place of another feature we did. I understand why. I also know that Jim was pushing for a second late-breaking feature but Dona says she told him, "Jim, we're tired, we're all sick of each other, don't push it." :D

Hillary wins Nevada, The Nation magazine spins & sobs -- The plan was for many short features but this was the only one we did. Here we're following how The Nation will lie for Bambi.

Highlights -- Kat, Betty, Rebecca, Cedric, Wally, Elaine and I wrote this and picked out the highlights unless otherwise noted.

Here's who worked on the edition plus Dallas:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,

Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,

C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,

Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),

Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,

Mike of Mikey Likes It!,

Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,

Ruth of Ruth's Report,

and Wally of The Daily Jot

And here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:""

Tuesday, January 22, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, Amy Goodman continues to turn over a news broadcast to Bambi Love, the US military announces another death, the theft of Iraqi oil gets closer, Iraq is raised in Democrat debate, and more.

Starting with war resistance. As
UPI noted yesterday, it was 30 years ago that "President Jimmy Carter pardoned American Vietnam War-era draft evaders and ordered a case-by-case study of deserters." 30 years ago. This week actions take place allowing us to show support for some of today's war resisters.

A number of war resisters have gone to Canada and attempted to be granted asylum.
November 15th, the Supreme Court of Canada refused to hear the appeals of war resisters
Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Parliament is the solution.Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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. Both War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist are calling for actions from January 24-26. The War Resisters Support Campaign has more on the action in Canada:

The War Resisters Support Campaign has called a pan-Canadian mobilization on Saturday, January 26th, 2008 to ensure : 1) that deportation proceedings against U.S. war resisters currently in Canada cease immediately; and 2) that a provision be enacted by Parliament ensuring that U.S. war resisters refusing to fight in Iraq have a means to gain status in Canada. For listings of local actions, see our
Events page. If you are able to organize a rally in your community, contact the Campaign -- we will list events as details come in.

Courage to Resist notes:

Join and support January 25 vigils and delegations in support of U.S. war resisters currently seeking sanctuary Canada.
Actions are being planned in Washington D.C., New York, Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles. Supporters will meet with officials at Canadian Consulates across the United States in order underscore that many Americans hope that the Canadian Parliament votes (possible as early as February) in favor of a provision to allow war resisters to remain. Download and distribute Jan. 25-26 action leaflet (PDF).Supporting the war resisters in Canada is a concrete way to demonstrate your support of the troops who refuse to fight. Help end the war by supporting the growing GI resistance movement today!
Details January 25-26 actions/events in support of U.S. war resisters.
Sign the letter "Dear Canada: Let U.S. War Resisters Stay!" and encourage others to sign.
Organize a delegation to a
Canadian Consulate near you .
Host an event or house-party in support of war resisters.

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

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.
Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'."

Dropping back to Friday when
NPR's Anne Garrels (Morning Edition) followed up on the claim by Iraq's Minister of Defense claiming US forces would be needed in Iraq "until 2018" by speaking with "Iraqi ground forces" who "say their units are under strength and that better weapons are needed." Garrels noted complaints about training, complaints about the quality of recruits, the fact that the Iraqi air force still doesn't fly missions, high desertion rates, lack of treatment for Iraq soldiers wounded in battle, no death benefits for Iraqi soldiers who die in battle, infiltration and host of other issues. How the US addresses the above is important and some aspects were raised in a debate yesterday; however, indymedia's too busy propping up Bambi to go into reality.

On Sunday,
Deborah Sontag (New York Times) followed up her earlier report (with Lizzette Alvarez) on crimes being committed by veterans who are being failed by the White House wants to pass off as 'health care' by zooming in on the case of Walter R. Smith who saw combat in Iraq ("We were opening fire on civilians. We were taking out women and children because it was them or us," he remembered of one incident) and disintegrated leading to him being discharged and left with no care program which may very well be why he now is on trial for murdering of the mother of his children, Nicole Marie Speirs. Meanwhile Mary McCarty and Margo Rutledge Kissel (The Dayton Daily News) explain the reactions to the death -- assumed murder -- of US marine Maria Lauterbach's whose pregnant corpse was discovered buried in the backyard of the man she had accused of raping her, Cesar Laurean, with Marsha Williams delcaring, "Absolutely she would still be alive if the Marines had taken her seriously. She was missing for three weeks yet it took them until Jan. 7 to come to that house? That's too much of a gap." Mary Lauterbach, Maria's mother, speaks to the reporters and clears up some of the distortions that have been put out by the presss and also quotes her stating, "My instinct tells me the majority of rapes are not reported. For a woman to come forward and complain about a rape takes a lot. It took Maria a lot." Another person who had to show tremendous courage to step foward was Suzanne Swift who was harassed, abused, assaulted and the victim of command rape while serving in Iraq. No Congressional investigation ever resulted from the crimes against Suzanne. None will probably result from the death of Maria Lauterbach. But, probably after the illegal war ends, there will be some show hearings in the US Congress where members pretend to be shocked by what's going on. We've seen that repeatedly. Congress refuses to utilize its oversight and the US military command knows they can ignore rape charges.

On Monday,
War Pornographer Michael Gordon and Eric Schmitt (New York Times) reported that Davey Peteraeus -- who is both commander in Iraq and the one whose fanciful tales to Congress in September have now fallen apart -- is in line for a promotion: chief of NATO. Reuters reports today, "The Pentagon sought on Tuesday to cool talk about future assignments for Army Gen. David Petraeus, the U.S. Commander in Iraq, following reports he was a candidate for the top NATO command post." The Pentagon's press secretary Geoff Morrell briefed reporters today and the issue of Army General John Creddock -- current head of NATO -- came up: "Does the secreatry [of Defense, Robert Gates] expect General Craddock to serve the standard three-year term as Supreme Allied Commander Europe?" Morrell responded, "As it stands right now, the secretary is very pleased with the leadership that's being provided by General Craddock in his current role. He's very pleased, obviously, with the leadership that's being provided by General Petraeus in his current role. And until the secretary recommends to the president otherwise and the president approves otherwise, those two commanders will continue in the roles that they now have." He dismissed talk of anything else as mere "contingency plans" noting they have them "for virtually everything in the world." That doesn't mean Gordo was wrong.

In another press briefing at the Pentagon, General Mark Hertling appeared via video link (from Iraq) to take questions from reporters. He sang the praises of the "Awakening" Councils, declaring that there were 14,900 Iraqis signed up approximately and, "We think of that -- and in fact as we've signed up new concerned local citizens, we literally give them a paper to fill out, a form to fill out, and we ask them how many of them would prefer to go in there to Iraqi security forces. We're getting, on average, depending on the twon, anywhere from 15 to 20 percent who say they would like to stay in some type of Iraqi security force." He spoke of how some wanted to become part of the Iraqi police, some the army, la-di-da, la-di-dah. What he didn't speak of was the realities of those willing to turn for a buck.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reported an al Hajjaj bomber killed himself and 15 others (eight more injured) while attempting "to assassinate the security deputy of Salahuddin province Ahmed Abdullah was was in the mourning tent of his dead uncle". Dean Yates (Reuters) reported the number wounded in the attack on the US collaborator jumped from eight to ten and notes, "Monday's attack took place in al-Hajaj village, 5 km south of Baiji, home to Iraq's biggest oil refinery. The city, 180 km (112 miles) north of Baghdad, has been the scene of a number of bombings in the past few months. On Dec. 25, a suicide bomber killed more than 20 people in the city." Today, Reuters reports the death toll from the bombing was 17. And Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reported today, "Meanwhile, in the wake of a suicide bombing on Sunday near Falluja in Anbar Province local tribesmen burned the house of the young suicide bombger's family and prevented a female cousin from collecting the bomber's head for burial." Those "local tribesmen," as Rubin words it, are members of the "Awakening" Council. The bomber, a young teenage boy, blew himself up, but the thugs thirst for blood was so great, they burned the family's home down and refused the boy's head for a burial. Those are the thugs who, if offered coin, will turn at least temporarily.

In news of the air war,
Reuters noted yesterday, "U.S. military aircraft hit more than 30 targets with 35 bombs weighing a total of 19,000 pounds in air strikes in Al Jabour".

Monday the
US military announced: "A Marine assigned to Multi-National Force - West was killed while conducting combat operations in Al Anbar province Jan. 19." And they announced: "A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack in Arab Jabour Jan. 19. " Today, the US military announced, "A Multi-National Division - North Soldier died from injuries sustained during a vehicle rollover while conducting operations in Kirkuk Jan. 22. Additionally, one other Soldier was wounded and evacuated to a Coalition hospital." ICCC's totals currently stand at 27 for the month adn 3931 since the start of the illegal war.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded one police officer, a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left six workers for the transportation ministry wounded and a bomber "blew himself up near Al Mutatawira high school in Baquba, injuring 21 among them four women teachers and 5 students." AP's Christopher Chester notes, "The target of the latest bombing was unclear: The school is next to the provincial governor's office and a municipal building in Baqouba, 35 miles northeast of Baghdad."


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a police officer was shot dead in Basra while "one body guard of Salahuddin police chief" was shot dead and another wounded in Al Shirqat.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 school teachers were kidnapped in Tikrit.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports three corpses discovered in Baghdad and a woman's corpse found in Kirkuk. Reuters reports 7 corpses -- family members -- were discovered "outside Iraq's volatile city of Baquba" -- "a father and his five sons as well as a nephew" with "all bearing signs of torture and shot execution-style".

Turning to Iraq's Parliament,
Aseel Kami and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) reports that the 2008 budget has still not been passed, that there are disputes about where the money will be allocated and that Speaker Mahmoud Mashhadani is urging members of Parliament to pass it when they meet next on Thursday. Earlier today Waleed Ibrahim reported that the Iraqi Parliament had made time to decide on a new flag.

In economic and theft news,
Dow Jones reports, "An Iraqi Oil Ministry delegation will meet in Amman later this week with senior executives from five oil majors to discuss the possibility of signing technical support agreements to help develop five oil fields, an Iraqi oil ministry spokesman said Tuesday." Citing an unnamed source, they list the five companies as Chevron, ExxonMobil, Royal Dutch Shell, BP and Total.

Turning to the US, in South Carolina yesterday the Democratic party's presidential debate took place, participating were John Edwards, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. Noting that Senator Crazy (aka John McCain) loved the escalation in Iraq, moderator Wolf Blitzer asked Edwards why McCain was wrong?

John Edwards: He's wrong because George Bush himself said the entire reason for the surge was to create an environment for political progress. Everyone from the Iraq Study Group, to even Bush recognized -- and if Bush recognizes it, man, it's really got to be out there. Even President Bush recognizes that unless the Sunni and Shia reach some political reconiciliation, there cannot be stability in Iraq. And the problem with this definition and evaluation of where the progress has been made is that there has been no meaningful political progress. There has been a little bit, in fairness. A little bit, but very little. And I don't think it changes anything. The one thing I would say is -- and I would actually like for both of them to have a chance to respond to is this -- what I have said very clearly, all of us has said, we would end the war. And I don't have any doubt that all of us are committed to that, I don't doubt that. But how aggressively and how quickly is an important question. And I have said in the first year that I am president, I will have all combat troops out of Iraq. All combat missions will end in Iraq, and there will be no permanent military bases in Iraq. I have no heard -- now, admittedly, just to be fair, I don't hear everything they say on the campaign trail, but I have no heard either of them say that definitively. So I would be interested in knowing whether they will commit to having all combat troops out and ending combat missions in the first year.

Barack Obama responded first and, as usual, he used a lot of words. The answer was "no," Bambi can't commit to that (he offered maybe "some time in 2009"). And that's just combat troops. Please note, combat troops pulling out of Iraq does not mean "TROOPS HOME NOW!" But Bambi couldn't commit to it. While Bambi meandered, Hillary Clinton's first two sentences gave her answer: "What I have said is that I will move as quickly as possible. I hope to have nearly all out within a year." She then raised the issue that an independent media with an ounce of life left in it would have made the focus daily.

Hillary Clinton: We don't know what we're going to inherent from President Bush, but there is a big problem looming on the horizon that we had better pay attention to, and that is President Bush is intent upon negotiating a long-term agreement with Iraq which would have permanent bases, permanent troop presence. And he claims he does not need to come to the United States Congress to get permission, he only needs to go to the Iraqi parliament. That is his stated public position. He was recently in the region, and it is clear that he intends to push forward on this to try to bind the United States government and his successor to his failed policy. I have been strongly opposed to that. We should not be planning permanent bases and long-term troop commitments. Obvioulsy, we've got to rein in President Bush. And I've proposed legislation and I know that members of the Congressional Black Caucus are looking at this, as well. We need legislation in a hurry which says, "No, Mr. Bush, you are the president of the United States of America. You cannot bind our country without coming to the United States Congress." This is a treaty that would have to be presented and approved, and it will not be.

Both of the above are important. Naturally Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) ignored both. She did, however, elect to promote Bambi full time and even offered a lengthy interview with
Grace Lee Boggs, a noted intellectual -- and someone who has done a lifetime of amazing work -- but who states there is no difference in the records of the front runners for the Democratic Party therefore people should vote for Obama because of the engineered mania around him or, as Grace Lee Boggs put it at one point, because "he has unleased that, though his policies are not that different from Clinton, but he has unleashed an energy" -- when elders start trying to play rate-a-record on American Bandstand, it's not pretty. Hitler unleashed an energy, Mussolini unleashed an energy. Bambi is about high-voltage as Pat Boone. What does the candidate stand for and what does s/he say? Pointing those factors out qualify as "wisdom." Anything else is just being a disappointment, a huge disappointment. Even more so considering what Amy Goodman (naturally) didn't explore Rezko -- we'll get to him.

The segment also continues Goodman's practice,
noted and charted at length by Ava and myself at The Third Estate Sunday Review Sunday, of shutting out Hillary Clinton supporters, booking Barack supporters with no opposition voices and asking on difficult questions of them. Is Democracy Now! ever planning to explore the issues raised by Hillary Clinton above? Or does the program intend to continue to stack the deck and call that 'fair'?

We've noted this before here, the arrangement Bully Boy and al-Maliki are trying to force on two countries is against the constitutions of both the United States and Iraq. It is a big issue. It is a violation of the laws of both countries, it is a violation of the seperation of powers in both countries. It's just not important to Amy Goodman. She's into covering for slum lords.
Here's Hillary after she's talked about Bambi praising the Republican movement of the 80s (and she didn't mention Reagan's name, check the record -- Bambi lied again), "It certainly came across in the way that it was presented, as though the Republicans had been standing up against conventional wisdom with their ideas. I'm just reacting to the fact, yes, they did have ideas, and they were bad ideas. . . Bad for America, and I was fighting against those ideas when you were practicing law and representing your contributor, Rezko, in his slum landlord business in inner city Chicago."

All the Bambi groupies tremble (apparently including Amy Goodman). Rezko, Antoin "Tony the crook" Rezko. Under federal indictment, accused of buying influence, kickbacks and much more.
Taylor Marsh (TalyorMarsh.com) observes, "Clinton took what was aimed at her and gave it back. Obama said Wal-Mart. She countered with Rezko. Clinton also didn't flinch at the heckling and booing at her when she mentioned 'slum lord' and Rezko, the word the press still hasn't found how to spell. . . . The other big problem for Obama was his answer on Rezko. That's because he didn't answer it. He talked about being an associate laer, but that's not good enough, especially once the trial heats uup. It's not going to be enough when the stories start hitting the front pages." On Sunday, David Jackson (Chicago Tribune) reported, "Democratic Presidential candidate Barack Obama said Saturday that his campaign would give charities $40,350 in donations linked to his former friend and fundraiser Tony Rezko, a Chicago businessman who has pleaded not guilty to federal influence-peddling and bank fraud charges." Jackson noted Obama "was the unnamed 'political candidate' referred to in a Dec. 21 court document that accuses Rezko of orchestrating a scheme in which a firm hired to handle state teacher pension investments first had to pay $250,000 in 'sham' finder's fees. From that money, $10,000 was donated to Obama's successful run for the Senate in the name of Glenview enterpreneur Joseph Armanda, the story said." Jackson goes on to report that, in 2005, Obama would hire Joseph Armanda's son as an intern for his DC office "after Rezko recommended him."

Tim Novak (Chicago Sun-Times) reported on Bambi and the Kingpin in April of last year (not Novak's first report) and noted that, in 1997, refusing to turn on the heat for the apartments Rezko and partner Daniel Mahru were the slumlords of: "Rezko and Mahru couldn't find money to get the heat back on. But their company, Rezmar Corp., did come up with $1,000 to give to the political campaign fund of Barack Obama, the newly elected state senator whose districts included the unheated building. Obama has been friends with Rezko for 17 years." Novak notes Bambi "took campaign donations from Rezko even as Rezko's low-income housing empire was collpassing, leaving many African-American families in buildings riddled with problems -- including squalid living conditions, vacant apartments, lack of heat, squatters and drug dealers." Novak explains how Bambi's law firm steered "more than $43 million in government funding to" Rezko.

Bob Somerby (Daily Howler) notes Rezko (as well as pointing out that Bambi praised Reagan in his first book), "But for Dems, it's a good idea to bring Rezko out now, just as it would have been good for Demas -- and for Michael Dukakis, a superlative person -- to explore the prison furlough program during the 1988 primaries." How bad was it? Even Hillary Hater Ruth Conniff (The Progressive) had to note, "Still, some of Hillary's points were valid: Obama did praise Ronald Reagan, and not just in the qualified terms he claimed in the debate. He did have a business relationship with Tony Rezko, the indicted businessman Clinton called a 'slum landlord.' Not only did Obama do legal work for Rezko in association was a 'church group' that had a parternship with him, as he explained in the debate, he also bought land from Rezko, and the now-indicted REzko has been a longtime contributor. The relationship has been a problem for Obama, because Rezko is such a shady character and because it is more than a passing association, as a detailed investigation by The Chicago Sun Times reveals." Conniff is wrong about Edwards performance -- Edwards was challenging Obama on his voting records and other issues. Mike will be covering that tonight while Elaine will be explaining why Obama doesn't need to bring Bill Clinton's names into debates.

Amy Goodman wasn't interested in exploring Rezko or even noting him. Nor was she interested in airing a clip from John Edwards. This is the same Goodman who devoted an entire broadcast to one candidate (Kucinich) because he was 'shut out' of a debate. What she did have time for, what she wanted the world to know that Grace Lee Boggs -- based on feel-good 'energy' -- was endorsing Bambi. Bambi got another endorsement Goodman left out.
Taylor Marsh notes Bambi continues his practice of "embracing homophobics" with his endorsement from Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell who believes in homophobia and puts it online, "But this latest development is very interesting. Now Rev. Caldwell's ministry, after he endorsed Obama, has nuked the page everyone was linking to yesterday that outlines his church's mission statement, which trumpets homosexuality as something a person 'seeking freedom' from 'habitual sins' should seek out." Ruth Rendon (Houston Chronicle) reported Saturday, "The Rev. Kirbyjon Caldwell, longtime spiritual adviser to President George W. Bush and senior pastor of Windsor Village United Methodist Church, plans to campaign on behalf of Illionis Sen. Barack Obama." Noting the pattern of Bambi's homophobia, "Charli" commented, "This issue seems to be coming up frequently with regard to Barack Obama and begs the question of whether he truly believes in equality under the law for all or in some cases simply for those who are 'saved' from their sins."

Sorry, "Charli," Bambi believes in "equality" as given by church denominations. As
Ava and I explained two Sundays ago:

Loving v. Virginia was a breakthrough, a legal landmark, for the United States. In a debate, Barack Obama was asked, "Senator Obama, the laws banning interracial marriage in the United States were ruled unconstitutional in 1967. What is the difference between a ban on interracial marriage and a ban on gay marriage?" Obama mouthed a lot of nonsense about 'equality' and then went on to state it's a decision for different denominations to make. There should have been a gasp heard round the country.Barack is a lawyer, a trained legal mind. Though we find it difficult to believe he's never studied Loving v. Viriginia (as difficult to believe as Clarence Thomas Senate testimony that he'd never thought about Roe v. Wade), we'll allow that maybe it fell into some gap in his education. But as a trained legal mind, he does grasp court billing. "v. Virginia" means versus state. Not versus a denomination.In that historic case, the Supreme Court of the United States found the laws of the state of Virginia to be unconstitutional and illegal. That finding meant that all states could no longer refuse to issue marriage certificates to couples of different races. Obama's weak-ass response should have been considered weak ass. (John Edwards also embarrassed himself in that debate noting he was against "gay marriage" and "I do not" support it leading us to shout back at the screen, "Gee, John, we weren't aware you were being inundated with proposals!") But it was also dishonest. A law student, forget the former president of the Harvard Law Review, grasps that Loving v. Virginia was not about whether "denominations" could make a decision, it was about what the government could do. To provide perspective, imagine the issue was illegal search and seizure on the part of the government (forbidden by the Constitution) and Obama had responded, "I think it's up to denominations." The government was discriminating and the Supreme Court stood up for the rights of all. A trained legal mind should grasp that. If Obama didn't, he's either not much of a student or he's a really bad liar.

CNN has the transcripts in three parts,
here, here and here. In addition, they have video highlighting Edwards and Obama 'debating' Iraq (Bambi's in his feel good mode).