Thursday, March 27, 2008

Gene Lyons, WalkOn

Thursday and we just finished the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin. If you're a community member, be sure to read that first thing in the morning! It's intense and probably the best round-table Gina and Krista have ever done (and they've done some great ones).

One of the things that came up in the roundtable was about how more could be done to get the word out on Hillary's campaign? C.I. mentioned an article in the New York Times (I didn't read it) and how they were ga-ga over a Bambi campaign video getting 500 links online. So some of us tonight are including Howard Wolfon's "HUBdate: Creating Jobs" because it has a link to a video:

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

Okay, this is from Gene Lyons' "Wright's anger is part of the problem:"

Granted, more malignant nonsense such as Rev. Wright's crackpot rants is vended in the name of God than all other topics combined. Are his views more objectionable than Pat Robertson's or John Hagee's ? I'd say less. At least he doesn't predict the future or blame events like Hurricane Katrina or the 9 / 11 attacks on people's sex lives. Wright peddles DVDs of his inflammatory sermons on the church Web site. Could Obama possibly imagine they'd help build that coalition that King dreamed of ? Second, what do the Obamas, Harvard Law graduates, tell their two little girls about Wright's downright delusional contention that the United States government created the AIDS virus to exterminate African Americans ? Anybody named Clinton or Gore who sat still for something like that would be derided as an inauthentic phony patronizing black folks for political gain--a faker, a con man. Cosseted and protected all his life, Obama's speech shows that he understands that the Rev. Wrights of this world do as much to keep blacks down as white racism does. All this selfpitying obsessing over the sorrows of history leads nowhere. So how come he’s been sitting there for 20 years pretending he doesn’t ?

Now did you read Rebecca's "no, it's not over" last night? It was on a topic that has MoveOn aka enraged. They've e-mailed out the following and I'll comment and when I'm sick of it, I'll just stop quoting their candy-ass e-mail:

This is pretty outrageous: a group of Clinton-supporting big Democratic donors are threatening to stop supporting Democrats in Congress because Nancy Pelosi said that the people, not the superdelegates, should decide the Presidential nomination.1

Pretty outrageous? Wouldn't that be you LOSERS refusing to allow your 'members' (ha!) to vote for the candidates of their choice in that lousy poll?

It's the worst kind of insider politics--billionaires bullying our elected leaders into ignoring the will of the voters.

It's the worst kind to WalkOn which are like all the 'elite' gas bags, poor-rich. That's why they use "billionaires." They're only millionaires from their lousy toaste screen saver. There's no bullying go on. I know about this and knew about it before it was in the news (as did Rebecca) because this is one of the things that the group C.I. and Elaine belong to is doing. One of the many actions. MoveOn's upset because they can't buy their way in. For one thing, they don't have the money. For another, it's limited to real Democrats.

But when we all pool our resources, together we're stronger than the fat cats. So let's tell Nancy Pelosi that if she keeps standing up for regular Americans, thousands of us will have her back. And we can more than match whatever the CEOs and billionaires refuse to contribute. Clicking here will add your name to our statement:

Okay, MoveOn, gather your pennies. But you're not going to match the funds of the people involved. You're not even going to match how much Elaine's given to the Democratic Party, in just this decade. And as Elaine will tell you, C.I.'s a softer touch so you won't even match the amount C.I. gave in the last election cycle. Even if all your mythical 'members' donated $100 bucks, you still wouldn't match it.

The statement reads: "The Democratic nomination should be decided by the voters--not by superdelegates or party high-rollers. We've given money--and time--to progressive candidates and causes, and we'll support Speaker Pelosi and others who stand up for Democracy in the Democratic Party."

"High-rollers." Oh that's racist! :D Seriously, Panhandle Media and it's twit-like ilk, of which MoveOn is a part, thought they were home free. As Rebecca noted last night, C.I.'s response was, "This is where it gets fun." And it does. You're talking about people who have given and given to the Democratic Party. Of course they're going to be heard, MoveOn. That's not money, despite what MoveOn wants to make you think, that they got interest off of. That was money, big money, handed over for Democratic races. That wasn't their being 'selfish' or "high-rollers," that was their being there for the party when most of us didn't have the money to give. In good times and bad times, these people have opened their checkbooks so that Dems around the country could run for office.

MoveOn's so ridiculous because the reality is that, even today, the Democratic Party wouldn't exist if it weren't for the big donors who regularly pony up so that we can all play.

Of course they're going to be listened to. They have funded the party. Over and over. In good times and bad. And they're using their power (earned) now to make sure that a real Democrat, one supported by the working class of America, isn't shoved aside by a flash in the panties.

And, hate to break it to MoveOn, the letter was only signed by some. You've got a lot of people doing face to face lobbying on this issue. And they're being listened to. Because they have funded the party time and again. Mondale goes down in flames? They're back to fund Dukakis. He goes down in flames, they're back again. They aren't a craze or a cult, they are the ones who have always been able to be counted on. You call them up and you say, "Look, there's a man/woman in Tenn. who's running hard but doesn't have the money and . . ." They cut you off and say, "How much?"

They do that over and over again. They have done that over and over again. The Democratic Party knows that and knows they need these people. They don't need MoveOn. MoveOn's a joke. It's an astro-turf organization with no real members. They do a candle-light vigil 'against' the war. They do nothing. They're a joke.

Who are you going to listen to if you're one of the ones in charge of the party? MoveOn or the big donors who are always there? Even if MoveOn managed to raise $30 million, it still wouldn't put a dent into what these people provide in every election cycle.

But one good thing, while they raise for Obama -- and that's all this is -- they run the risk of depressing the fundraising for his actual campaign. Can Bambi supporters afford to double-dip? Hasn't paying their cult dues tapped them out? :D

They're the old guard, and this is how the Democratic Party used to function--the big donors called the shots. But the small donor revolution has changed that. The 20 people who signed this letter have given Democrats an average of $2.4 million per year over the last 10 years. 5 Small donations now dwarf that: In February alone, Obama and Clinton raised $47 million in small donations.6

Do you get how stupid that is? Elaine and C.I. have both given the Dem party much more than that each election cycle. Elaine said she didn't know where MoveOn was getting the info about the signers. But $2.4 million a year is huge because it's one donor and it comes year after year. It's not dependent upon a cult or craze. It is steady income and HUGE income. The brain trust (as Rebecca's nicknamed it) actually accounts for a yearly figure much higher than that. But let's use MoveOn's laughable figures and say 20 signed, 20 gave $2.4 million. That's 4.8 million from 20 people. That's a lot of money. And it's money the Dems have always been able to depend upon. And again, they get calls all the time, these donors, about House races, governor races, after they've already tapped out on the major Dem candidates and on the DNC and all the rest. And they dig out the checkbooks and write another over and over. Think how many states there are in the union. Billionaires is right, that's the only thing MoveOn got right. And year after year, they pay so that the underfunded Democratic candidates can run.

I think it's hilarious that they include Hillary -- whom they hate -- in the February total. But if they just went with Obama, it wouldn't look all that much would it?

They're standing up for the working class, they're standing up for Hillary. We could all point out how these 'small donors' have more money than the working class and yet here they are trying to influence the election. MoveOn's a joke. And they can write whatever petition they want but the reality is Nancy Pelosi needs them and knows she does. The Dems, latest scenario, could lose control of both houses. There is DNC polling that shows that. It goes to Obama getting the nomination and that just plays further into the points the brain trust is making. Again, this group has something like 100 donators in it with more hopping on board every day. So, using MoveOn's mistaken figure of 2.4 million, we're talking about $240 million a year. It's higher than that but use that figure and then pretend that MoveOn's measely pennies are going to matter, they aren't going to matter.

But what does matter is that Naomi Wolf's org just lost links because she has Wessy Boyd in her organization and we won't promote little Wessy. And on Naomi Wolf, it takes a lot of nerve for her to call her book a letter to a young patriot and to continue to endorse Obama after learning that his pastor used the pulpit to damn America.

Poor little MoveOn, founded by just-millionaires and now they have to pout that some people have more money than they do. Boo-hoo. Boo-hoo.

They're pathetic.

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

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

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

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

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum. Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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