Saturday, November 01, 2008


The weekend! :D Yea! Great Halloween. Hope you had a great one too. Doing a horse race post and will be so glad when those are no more.

Let's start with my candidate. Ralph Nader and Bob Barr debated this week and they were also on CNN this morning. Here's part of their CNN exchange:

CHETRY: Ralph Nader, what about you? What do you think some of the biggest issues that we’re not discussing are?
NADER: Well, as elaborated on our Web site, to which contributions are greatly accepted. The Obama and McCain campaigns are not doing anything about enormous waste where these corporations are ripping off the military budget. For instance, they’re getting taxpayer subsidies and hundreds of billions of dollars for mismanagement, corruption, i.e. the Wall Street bailout. There’s no crackdown program on corporate crime, fraud and abuse against consumers, workers, taxpayers by Obama or McCain.
They love these international trade agreements, pulled down trade agreements on our standards of living where they give tax benefits to corporations who shutdown plants and unemployed workers and ship them to fascists and communist dictatorships abroad.
I think we need a living wage in this country. The minimum wage, it was adjusted from 1968, Kiran, on inflation would be $10. Instead, it’s $6.55 an hour. Who can live on that? (CROSSTALK)
NADER: And we need full Medicare for all. Full Medicare for all.
CHETRY: I want to ask you about that issue as well. And I’ll let former Congressman Bob Barr weigh in first on this. You talk about the fact that you think people should be able to opt out the things like Social Security and Medicare. How would they secure their future especially in a shaky economy like this if they were to do that?
BARR: Well, by investing wisely. Even with all of the ups and downs in the stock market over the years, the rate of return that an American citizen not putting money in a private investment account as we have called for as opposed to simply dumping it in to government coffers so they can use the money for all sorts of other things is still significantly higher than the about the one percent rate of return that a citizen gets on Social Security.
And if, in fact, the citizen who’s been paying in to Social Security for decades were to die, they have no ownership interest in that. That is absolutely immoral for the government to take money from the citizens, force them to put it into a low interest government account which there’s nothing there right now and then not even give them an ownership interest in it.
CHETRY: All right. I want to let Ralph Nader weigh in on this as well. Because you said that -- you said last night, you posed a question, what would the elderly be doing now in this collapsing system if they didn’t have that Social Security check? But as we are able to do those projections, the costs are going to get away from us. How would we possibly continue to pay for the programs into the future?
NADER: I disagree with Bob Barr on that one. I think it would be horrible today if Social Security plans were in this collapsing stock market. Social Security, it’s Social Security, not social insecurity. There are elder workers who are being laid off now and they’re being squeezed on their private pensions which are being looted and drained by these Wall Street crooks and swindlers and speculators.
The only solid thing is Social Security and the trustees of Social Security say every dollar will be paid out until 2042, assuming a 1.7 percent GDP increase a year. And that’s actually been going up 4 percent since World War II. Its Medicare that’s being blown through the roof by the gouging drug companies, hospital chains, and health insurance companies.
That’s where -- we have to get full Medicare for all, free choice for doctors and hospitals and quality and cost controls on the private delivery of health care. That’s much more efficient and that’s elaborated on our Web site, and supported by the majority of American people and doctors.

My candidate's Ralph Nader, in case you didn't know. Ann Arbor News reports:

Ralph Nader brought his presidential campaign to campus Friday, urging young people to get involved in civic affairs and take back government from corporate interests.
Nader gave a stump speech and took questions for more than an hour before an audience of 200 mostly college-aged people at a ballroom at the University of Michigan.

Nader, who is not accepting corporate dollars or political action committee money, raised more than $1,000 in contributions after a campaign staff member took to the podium to call out for donations like a barker at an auction. Posters and videos of Nader were given out in return.

And now let's turn to Barack's corporatist campaign. This is from Brian C. Mooney's "Public funding of campaigns at crossroads:"

Public financing of presidential elections is on life support, and Barack Obama, a Democrat who has always embraced the concept, appears to have pushed the program nearer to extinction.
As the first major-party candidate to forgo public financing for the general election since the reform measure took effect in 1976, Obama has continued to raise private funds at an astounding, record-smashing rate.
With the election only four days away, he was still pitching yesterday with a new gimmick, a blast e-mail soliciting new donations with a promise of prime seats at his planned, massive Grant Park rally Tuesday night in Chicago for five individuals who make their first donation to his campaign. Not only that, "We'll fly you in and put you up in a hotel for the night," Obama said in the e-mail.
As of Oct. 15, his campaign had raked in $639 million and is on pace to exceed $700 million. The previous record was held by President George W. Bush, who collected $270 million four years ago, while his Democratic rival, John F. Kerry, took in $235 million. However, both accepted public financing - and the spending limits that went with it - for the post-convention phase of their campaigns.

It's amazing how willing people are to trash everything they believe in. All we've ever heard from Panhandle Media is we need publicly financed elections. Barack trashes the minimal public financing we do have -- thereby weakinging any chance of ever having publicly financed elections -- and people rush to act like it's not big deal. Barack didn't destroy the left, the left allowed themselves to be destroyed.

And we needed public financing for a reason which is now forgotten. It's more important that Barack get illegal money from his aunt living in Boston (illegal because she's not a US citizen and can't contribute), it's more important that he destroy the system. Because it's all about Barack.

That's how pathetic the left is. They're all about Barack. All about how they can serve Barack. Who knew the left was so full of subs? They only know S & M apparently.

I had a question asking if I considered myself left anymore?

My automatick reaction is: Of course.

But in reality, although my positions and beliefs haven't changed, my opinions of the left have. I don't want to be associated with them. They're racists and sexists and sell outs and liars. I'm certainly not a 'progressive' because I'm not hiding in a political closet.

I'm just so disgusted with all the liars. And the thing is, you expect politicians to be liars. But alleged media? You expect them to tell the truth.

Among the many I will never again believe are: Marjorie Cohn, Norman Solomon, Laura Flanders, Amy Goodman, Matthew Rothschild, David Corn, Jeffy Cohen, Peter Hart, Steve Rendell . . . The list never ends. They're all liars. They're incable of being honest and they aren't journalists. They're James Carville and Pat Buchanan. Spinners. Weak minded, lazy assholes. Who all need to be put on the next space shuttle and sent on a long, long trip.

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

Friday, October 31, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the treaty remains in doubt, four US Senators speak out on behalf of Iraqi Christians, and more.

Starting with Iraqi Christians. The
Saudi Gazette notes that Professor Ekmeledding Ihsanoglu (Secretary General of the Organization of the Islamic Conference) declared, "As we have consistently demanded that the rights of Muslim minorities be respected all over the world, we do emphasize the need to respect the rights of all minorities across the Islamic world." UPI reports that US Senators Sam Brownback, Bob Casey, Carl Levin and Mel Martinez have "called on Iraqi President Jalal talabni and Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to take the steps needed to end the violence plaguing the Christian community in nothern Iraq." This is the press release in full from Levin's office:

In a letter spearheaded by U.S. Senator Bob Casey (D-PA), Senators Carl Levin (D-MI), Sam Brownback (R-KS) and Mel Martinez (R-FL) today urged Jalal Talabani, President of the Republic of Iraq and Nouri al-Maliki, Prime Minister of the Republic of Iraq, to take all necessary measures to end the violence in the north against Iraqi Christians. According to the United Nations, thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled Mosul in reaction to the increased violence and intimidation.
"This violence is emblematic of a larger pattern of severe persecution by extremists that threatens to deprive Iraq of her non-Muslim citizens. It also highlights the possibility of increased violence ahead of provincial elections," the Senators wrote.
They went on to write, "We urge your government to take all necessary measures to increase security in the north on behalf of all Iraqis."
Full text of the letter is below:
Dear Mr. President and Mr. Prime Minister:
We write to express grave concern over the recent violence in Mosul that has driven away large numbers of Iraqi Christians. This violence is emblematic of a larger pattern of severe persecution by extremists that threatens to deprive Iraq of her non-Muslim citizens. It also highlights the possibility of increased violence ahead of provincial elections. We urge your government to take all necessary measures to increase security in the north on behalf of all Iraqis.
To this end, we welcomed statements of support from Prime Minister al-Maliki's office calling for an end to these vicious attacks and committing the Iraqi security forces, particularly the additional security forces sent to Mosul, to protect all Iraqis regardless of sectarian affiliation. These actions send a strong signal to the extremists that they will not succeed in spreading division, hatred, and mistrust among Iraqis.
We also hope the Iraqi Parliament will seriously consider the issue of minority representation in the provincial elections law. We believe Iraq's leaders can play a critical role in ensuring that the Iraqi government remains a representative body of all of Iraq's people, including its minorities.
For over one-thousand years, Iraq has been home to people of many faiths who have lived and worshipped side by side, including Shiites, Sunnis, Jews, Yazidis, and Christians. This long and proud tradition has made Iraq a cradle of human civilization. It is a tradition we hope will be restored.
Robert P. Casey Jr. Carl Levin Sam Brownback Mel Martinez

UPI reports that many "Christian communities in northern Iraq are setting up ad hoc militias to secure their neighborhoods, rights advocates said Wednesday." In the last few weeks many Christians in Mosul have fled for safety (and very few have returned). International Medical Corps announces they have "delivered 142 tons of emergency food rations, hygience kits, and household items to more than 2,000 families, or 8,044 displaced persons" and they note "International Medical Corps' most recent reports from field monitoring teams indicate that approximately 173 families have returned to Mosul, 106 families to Hamdaniya, and 67 families to Tel Kef. The Government of Iraq is offering displaced families and returnees financial assistance; however, fears of further violence have prevented many from returning." This page contains links to a slide show of photos from that assistance mission as well as to their [PDF format warning] report entitled "Forced from Their Homes: Mosul Emergency Response Action Report." The report includes a day by day synopsis starting with October 8th:

IMC Iraq's Baghdad headquarters was alerted by field staff in Mosul that groups had been using loudspeakers to intimidate Christians in the western and central areas of this district and that Christians were fleeing the area. IMC's humanitarian programs manger confirmed this report with IMC staff in other locations in Ninewa Governorate and learned that at least 40 families had arrived unannounced in Tel Sqof and were staying at the Assyrian Aid Society, with some families campaing in the facility's garden.

Assyria Times reports that tomorrow in San Jose, there will be a support rally for Iraqi Chrisians (from one p.m. to three, Courthouse and Federal Building): "The support rally will exhibit a unified stance for the reinstatement of Article 50 of the Iraqi constitution; a key clause whose original intent was to erserve seats on Provincial Councils for Christians and other minorities."

And let's stay with Iraqi politics for news of the SOFA, Article 50 and more. First,
Abeer Mohammed and Katherine Zoepf (New York Times) explain that Iraq's Defense Minister Abudl-Kader Jassem al-Obeidi has instituted a policy of being "politically neutral" which is thought to be in response to Iraq's Minister of the Interior Jawad al-Bolani and his Iraqi Constiutional Party. Meanwhile on Article 50, UPI reports that provincial elections could be delayed even further: "The Iraqi Independent High Electoral High Commissions Thursday said, following a meeting with officials from the U.N. Assistance Mission to Iraq, that lawmakers needed to address the articles for minority representation before Wednesday, Voices of Iraq reported." That's the issue of religious minority representation, Article 50, which was pulled. UPI notes this may delay the elections "in 14 of Iraq's 18 provinces." From provincial elections to the treaty the White House wants to force off on the puppet government in Baghdad. The Tehran Times reports that Nouri al-Maliki, in conversations with Abdul Aziz al-Hakim (Supreme Islamic Iraqi Council chief) has stated, "We do not call agreement with America a security agreement, but (we) call it a pact of retreating of (US) troops and regulating their presence during the specified time." Iran's Press TV quotes Hoshyar Zebari (Iraq's Foreign Minister) stating, "We must clarify some points such as that on jurisdicition that is to say that the American law has precedence inside their bases but not in the streets. . . . And finally, the sovereignty of the country is at stake over certain aspects such as that of the air space which, for the time being, is still under their control."

Did someone say sovereignty? Sunday the US attacked Syria. Jordan's
Al Bawaba reports Syria has announced it is severing "diplomatic ties with Iraq". Iraq's Alsumaria adds, "However, Government spokesman Ali Al Dabbagh denied in a statement to Alsumaria reports about cutting off relations with Syria hoping it would not reach that point." Farrah Hassen (Asia Times) reminds that 8 Syrians died ("including a farmer, three children, and a fisherman") and that while "numerous questions" continue, no answers are provided. Hassen notes, "By violating Syrian airspace and apparently not consulting the Syrians about its supposed intelligence on Abu Ghadiya ahead of the attack, the Bush adminsitration has confirmed, yet again, its disdain for international law and the principles of the United Nations Charter." Mohammad Akef Jamal (Gulf News) observes that an agreement allowing cross borders raids is one thing but, "Breaking into the borders of any country without a similar agreement is considered a hostile act and a violation of this country's sovereignty, besides being a breach of international laws. This attack raised many questions about its targets and content. First, the US never carried such attacks when the Syrian-Iraqi borders were almost open and Syria was accused of allowing hundreds of militants to infiltrate into Iraq to carry out vandalism operations. However, the situation has changed lately as these accusations decreased and Syria was no longer the country that allows militants into Iraq. Syria has also taken steps to mend its relations with Lebanon and France, which should bring it closer to the US, not the opposite." Yoav Stern (Haaretz) notes, "The Syrian government has demanded Washington apologize for the strike of the Abu Kamal border community and earlier this weeek threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security if there are more American raids on Syria territory." Atul Aneja (The Hindu) speaks to the fallout, "The news of the attack has strongly echoed in neighbouring Iraq, whose territory was used to mount the raid by U.S. commandos, who used military helicopters for the strike. Analysts say the raid has reinforced the argument within the Iraqi political circles, who have been insisting that an agreement for extending the stay of American forces in Iraq beyond 2008 should be considered only if Washington accepted the condition that it would not use Iraqi soil to mount military strikes against neighbouring countries."

At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Sean McCormack declared, "We did have -- our charge Maura Connelly on the 29th so that's two days ago -- was called into the Syrian Ministry of Foreign Affairs. We reported that and I think we talked about that. And she received a verbal demarche communicating the Syrian government request that the Damascus Community School known as -- known in Damascus as 'the American scool' be closed by November 6. We are considering our response to that demarche. It is the weekend in Damascus right now. These facilities, in any case, wouldn't be scheduled under normal circumstances to reopen until Sunday."

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bicycle bombing that resulted in no deaths or wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that left one woman and three Iraqi service members injured and another Mosul roadside bombing that left two people injured

Reuters notes a Mosul shooting that left a police officer injured.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Turning to the US presidential race and starting with
Ruben Navarrette Jr. (San Diego Union-Tribune):

After defending Sarah Palin, I heard from a member of the angry left who wrote: "Your (sic) from a Third World country, or your family is, stop trying to be white." I also heard from baby boomer activists who regret -- as they see it -- yanking me off that landscaping crew and sending me to the Ivy League. Or as one put it: "Unbelievable that you can sit there and defend Sarah Palin. I broke down doors for you to have a foot into the society you now participate in."
When I praised McCain, a liberal asked: "What are you, the Uncle Tom of Latinos?" She advised, "Make your people proud because you are shaming them."
When trying to assert control over freethinking Latinos and African-Americans, the liberal catchword is "disappointed." Lately, I've received dozens of e-mails from readers who use that word to describe how they feel about me. In the liberal tradition, most of the missives are condescending. Like this: "At one time, your articles were interesting to read but ... it seems you have lost your way." Or this: "You are feeding the ignorant and twisting truths so badly they become lies ...One day my words will resonate, sorry you lost your way in the meantime."
To read their complaints, it seems the last time I had my bearings was -- coincidentally -- the last time I wrote something with which they agreed. It's part of how broken our political discourse has become. We're not allowed to say that we think either Obama or McCain would make a fine president. We can't agree to disagree; we have to destroy the other side. We're trapped in an all-or-nothing paradigm where partisans demand complete agreement and undying allegiance.

It would probably be very wise for certain White Anglo 'helpers' to grasp that they do not control the world or anyone else. That's a point
Marcia makes regularly at her site (including this week with White Tim Wise attempting to tell the African-American community what their lives are like). It is offensive and it needs to stop. Something else that needs to stop is Robin Morgan's public tantrums. It's an election, Robin, and you are not ruler of the universe. Robin's back with more nonsense at (Democratic) Women's Media Center and the latest garbage is entitled "Moose, Mousse, and Spalinism". No surprise, there's no attempt by Robin to apologize for her GROSS FACTUAL ERRORS (also known as LIES) in her previous writing on Palin. It's just more scattered, bitchy comments from a woman who truly should know better but apparently will bow and scrape before any man until her dying day. Wally and Cedric grabbed the previous crap from (Democratic) Women's Media Center this week [see their "Women's Media Center -- fact free for most of 2008..." and "THIS JUST IN! KEEP HER AWAY FROM A KEYBOARD!"] because I was too enraged to tackle that 'historian.' Now Robin shows up for one last cat-fight. It's all so damn pathetic.

But if any actual feminists are concerned about the effect on Women's Movement institutions and energy of this clutch of "formers" (a former chapter official of a national feminist organization, a former editor of a feminist publication, former Democratic funders, former Hillary supporters, and so forth), let me reassure you. The "trust date" had already long expired on these women, who'd been voted off feminist leadership posts, or fired, or quietly asked to resign. Some are confessed consultants to the campaign whose candidates they now--surprise!--endorse. I never imagined I'd see a "feminist" mercenary. But then I never heard of rats climbing onto a sinking ship, either.

I think
Joni Mitchell best dealt with crap like Robin's churning out when noting of Rickie Lee Jones, that Rickie thought she could own jazz and it was her own private sidewalk. Robin writes as if feminism belongs just to her but she will dole it out in morsels to whomever she deems worthy. That's not how it works. Robin's got to have a screaming tantrum again because things aren't working out the way she wants. Someone needs to correct her on her sense of entitlement. She does not own feminism.

There will never be an excuse for Robin's actions in the last three months. She has chosen to attack Sarah Palin repeatedly and she's done so with lies. There's no excuse for her shameful behavior. Certainly not 'an election.' And love Joe Biden though I do, let's stop building him into "feminism salvation." But possibly when you're as frail and pathetic as Robin's become, you need a man to save you.

I'm not voting for McCain - Palin. That's been stated before Palin was on the ticket but, unlike Robin, I at least have enough ethics not to try to tear Sarah apart with lies. Unlike Robin, I have enough sense not to join in Bash the Bitch and, unlike Robin, I realize that actions like Robin's aren't about feminism or empowerment (they're about whoring yourself
out to the patriarchy). All week, numerous strong women (many I know) have stepped foward and I've kept it out of the snapshot but let's bring it in since Robin wants to have her tantrum. Elaine Lafferty is one of the unnamed women Robin's hissing at. Yes, Robin is hissing at Elaine. In public. That's how pathetic Robin's become. That's how decreipt and useless Robin's become. Elaine wrote "
Sarah Palin's a Brainiac" (The Daily Beast):

For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That's it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel--the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision--is nonsense. I digress.) Palin's role in this campaign was to energize "the Republican base," which she has inarguably done. She also was expected to reach out to Hillary Clinton "moderates." (Right. Only a woman would get both those jobs in either party.) Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.

That's Elaine's 'crime.' (It's a well written piece.) I know Elaine, I know
Lynn Forester de Rothschild (The Daily Beast):

First, although I disagree with several of her positions on social issues, I do not fear that she is a threat to the rights we have as Americans. As Governor of Alaska she vetoed a bill that would have denied hospital rights to gay couples because the bill violated the Alaska constitution. In her debate with Joe Biden, she clearly stated her tolerance, with the same position on gay couples as her opponent.
Although she is personally pro-life, Palin has proven she will uphold the law of the land. Like McCain, she will work with a Democratic Congress on acceptable judicial appointments. It is time to stop allowing the Democratic Party to scare voters into believing only they can protect a woman's right to choose.
Second, the attack on Palin's qualifications is sexist, a bias abetted by the media. On CNN, Obama contrasted Palin's experience to his own by saying Wasilla has only 50 employees and a budget of $12 million a year while his campaign has 2,500 employees and a budget of $36 million per month.
Excuse me, but she is Governor of a State with 29,000 employees and a budget of $11 billion. She has actually reduced taxes and cut spending.

Staying with Tina Brown's The Daily Beast,
this is Wendy Button:

The party I believed in wouldn't look down on working people under any circumstance. And Joe the Plumber is right. This is the absolutely worst time to raise taxes on anyone: the rich, the middle class, the poor, small businesses and corporations.
Our economy is in the tank for many complicated reasons, especially because people don't have enough money. So let them keep it. Let businesses keep it so they can create jobs and stay here and weather this storm. And yet, the Democratic ideology remains the same. Our approach to problems--big government solutions paid for by taxing the rich and big and smaller companies--is just as tired and out of date as trickle down economics. How about a novel approach that simply finds a sane way to stop the bleeding?
That's not exactly the philosophy of a Democrat. Not only has this party belittled working people in this campaign from Joe the Plumber to the bitter comments, it has also been part of tearing down two female candidates. At first, certain Democrats and the press called Senator Clinton "dishonest." They went after her cleavage. They said her experience as First Lady consisted of having tea parties. There was no outrage over "Bros before Hoes" or "Iron My Shirt." Did Senator Clinton make mistakes? Of course. She's human.
But here we are about a week out and it's déjà vu all over again. Really, front-page news is how the Republican National Committee paid for Governor Sarah Palin's wardrobe? Where's the op-ed about how Obama tucks in his shirt when he plays basketball or how Senator Biden buttons the top button on his golf shirt?

Or take
Helen McCaffrey's insightful column for the Philadelphia Inquirer that begins with her encountering a male student wearing a t-shirt on campus proclaiming Palin is a c-word:

First, with the candidacy of Sen. Hillary Clinton, who won 18 million popular votes from the people of the United States and was ridiculed, marginalized, and put in her place when she wasn't even offered the vice presidency slot.
But the really big attack on women occurred when John McCain selected only the second woman in history to be on a major-party ticket. He chose a governor of a state critical to our energy crisis. She is a very popular governor with an 80-percent approval rate. She was elected on her own merit without previous political ties. She is her own political creation, not the wife, daughter, sister or mistress of a politician.
I thought Americans would be proud of her nomination, whether we agreed or disagreed with her on the issues. Was I in for a shock.
The sexism that I believed had been eradicated was lurking, like some creature from the black lagoon, just below the surface. Suddenly it erupted and in some unexpected places.
Instead of engaging Palin on the issues, critics attacked attributes that are specifically female. It is Hillary's pantsuit drama to the power of 10. Palin's hair, her voice, her motherhood, and her personal hygiene were substituted for substance. That's when it was nice.
The hatred escalated to performers advocating Palin be "gang raped," to suggestions that her husband had had sex with their young daughters, and reports that her Down syndrome child really was that of her teenage daughter. One columnist even called for her to submit to DNA testing to prove her virtue. Smells a little like Salem to me. I was present at an Obama rally at which the mention of Palin's name drew shouts of "stone her."
"Stone her"? How biblical.
Or take the one and only Linda Bloodworth-Thomason.
From Reuters:

Bloodworth-Thomason and others seemed especially critical of the way MSNBC -- and other media -- has attacked Republican vice presidential candidate
Sarah Palin while demeaning her supporters.
"We should stop the demonizing," she said, adding that Democrats have been worse than Republicans as far as personal attacks on candidates are concerned. "It diminishes us," she said of her fellow Democrats.
Bloodworth-Thomason even suggested a defense of Palin and her supporters should be written into TV programing, just as she went out of her way to portray Southern women as smart in her hit TV show "Designing Women."

Now grasp that all these women and more are "wrong" and only Robin is right. In Robn's mind that's how it works. She really needs to stop embarrassing herself in public. Instead of scraping and bowing before a man,
WomenCount is calling on action: The next president, whomever he or she may be, should "create, withint the first 100 days, a presidential commission on women that will bring together the best thinkers from all backgrounds, sectors, and political parties, to impact the future of women in our nation." Or let's take The New Agenda where Cynthia Ruccia writes:

As women, we have several positions that we fall back on. One is exhaustion, which is where I believe many find themselves now. How can we not be tired when everywhere we turn these days there is one heinous example after another of our national disease: Misogyny. Unlike racism, which we are growing to tolerate less and less in America, sexism is absolutely acceptable. If this campaign year has proven anything, it is that Americans not only tolerate discrimination against women, in many instances they revel in it.
Another position we women take is denial. And why not deny? Who wants to spend a lifetime screaming about this inequity? It's exhausting, and let's face it, joy is a much more pleasant way to live.
But our best position by far is when we decide we are all in this together and we rise up against this injustice. Believe it or not, we have so much to be grateful for having watched these two courageous women, Hillary and Sarah, buck the system. By going where no woman has gone before, they have been human targets, willing to take the incoming fire. Although what Hillary withstood has receded a little in our memories, we have the spectacle of Sarah being eviscerated with glee by the Democrats. They are taking her apart with great creativity and total impunity. Why? Because as a society, we still permit the exercise of sexism without shame.
I could list many examples of what Governor Palin has endured--the ridiculous clothing flap (who cares?), the trashing of her family (after all, women must pay for their sins of the family—Geraldine Ferraro did and Hillary paid for the sins of her husband), the c**t t-shirts that the creators wore with glee (they got more "attaboys" for having the courage to do it than shame for having done it), the constant minimizing of her accomplishments, since, after all, she's only a woman. The list goes on, day after day, on and on and on. And on.
At first we're mad, then we can't stand it and hide, and then we realize that since NO ONE is stopping it, we must make that step ourselves. But once again I note how lucky we have been to have two brave women, Governor Palin and Senator Clinton, who have shown us what courage is. And if they can summon this courage, so can we.

Imagine that, the notion that women matter. A notion Robin no longer subscribes to which is why she hisses and snarls from (Democratic) Women's Media Center in attempts to bully the (small number of) readers into voting her way. She doesn't respect women. We're stupid -- in Robin's eyes. If it weren't for Robin, we wouldn't know how to vote. Or that's what she likes to kid herself. The failed child star who's hold on reality has become increasing fragile (never a good thing for a writer or non-fiction) is going out in one of the most embarrassing slow fades. Robin's hardly the only one embarrassing herself. Kim Gandy's doing a delightful job, such an 'amazing' job that she may be responsible for NOW losing its tax status since NOW's not allowed to endorse a candidate. (NOW PAC is, NOW is not.) As
Mike pointed out last night, Kim Gandy's latest scribble promotes a 'scary' theme at NOW's website: dressing like McCain and Palin. This follows, as Elaine pointed out last month, Gandy using NOW's mailing list and official NOW stationaiy to promote Barack Obama's campaign.

Turning to Kim and Robin's crush Barack Obama,
Jake Tapper (Political Punch, ABC News) reports: "The Obama campaign has told three reporters they have to drop off the campaign plane this weekend. All three work for papers that endorsed Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz.: the New York Post, the Washington Times, and the Dallas Morning News." Tapper explains St. Barack got a little snitty over the fact that the editorial boards of all three papers endorsed McCain. Tapper explains the Post and Times importance but skips Dallas. The Dallas Morning News is the paper with the largest circulation in Texas. Not only that, pay attention Cult of Barack, it (actually Belo) also owns cable and broadcast channels in the area -- including WFAA Channel Eight (which also reaches as far north as into Oklahoma). The reporters for the Dallas Morning News are expected not only to file text reports, they also provide reports for the TV channels. In addition, they supply to the the paper's Spanish language paper as well as to the freebies (such as Quick). To the north of Dallas county, to the south of Dallas county and to the east of Dallas county, the broadcast channels and the paper are widely available. As far to the east as Smith County, the Dallas Morning News is the dominant paper (Tyler has one paper under two names, it is not the dominant paper in Smith County -- under either name). (The Dallas Morning News' reach to the west is non-existant due to the understanding it and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram worked out to avoid another paper war -- the sort that allowed the Morning News to take out the Dallas Times Herald.) So this was a vanity move on the part of the Cult of Barack that effects a huge number of people. If the Cult wants to reduce it to 'voters,' no Barack's most likely not going to carry Texas (no Democrat has since Jimmy Carter in 1976) but for a candidate who claims to stand for reaching out, it was a really petty and juvenile move.

Scott Conroy (CBS News) reports Mike Ditka of Chicago Bears fame campaigned in Pennsylvania with Governor Palin today and explained, "I'm not here because I'm a Republican, which I am, and I'm not here because I'm a conservative, which I am. I'm here because I am an American. It's time in this country you put party lines on the backburner and you put your country first." Meanwhile, the Latino vote was never Barack's -- not in the primary and not in the general. But he didn't really want to compete for it and his Cult in Panhandle Media was too busy ignoring Latinos. Point, the campaign is freaking out about the new numbers (which don't just include Florida where Barack's own polling says he's losing the Latino vote). This as McCain-Palin '08 announces:

Today the McCain-Palin campaign announced the endorsement of Maria Conchita Alonso, a Latin American actress who has starred in television and film for three decades. Alonso, who was born in Cuba and raised in Venezuela, recently appeared on CSI: Miami and Desperate Housewives and starred alongside Arnold Schwarzenegger in The Running Man.
"As a Latina and a new American citizen, I believe in this country and its people, and I believe that we need more than just 'change.' We need a leader who can bring about the right kind of change, and John McCain has the experience and judgment necessary to lead us in these uncertain times," Alonso said. "I grew up in Cuba and Venezuela, and I am appalled that Barack Obama apparently wants to emulate the "spread the wealth" economic policies of those countries and negotiate with their leaders. For me the choice is clear, and I believe it is my duty to share my views even though it might not make me popular in Hollywood."
After a successful career in Venezuela as a beauty queen, telenovela star, film actress and singer, Alonso emigrated to the United States from Caracas, Venezuela in 1982. She has appeared in dozens of films and television shows since then and was the first South American star to star on Broadway.
Apparently Marica Conchita Alonso, like many women, do not take their marching orders from Robin Morgan. Someone help Robin off the floor. Let's see Robin's insulted all religious people, she's insulted Ralph Nader specifically and all third-party candidates and she's insulted a lot of women. At some point, in a functioning feminist movement, she would have been pulled aside and told to cool her damn jets. She would have been informed just how ridiculous she looked and just how much damage she was doing to the movement. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Robin Morgan thinks you're an idiot and an awful person if you vote for him too. So reject Robin Morgan, make it clear to her that she is not in charge of America's vote. Declare your independence from Robin Morgan -- a declaration that's necessary only because her ego is greater than her intelligence (or her reach). Matt Gonzalez is Ralph's running mate and
Team Nader notes:

Happy Halloween.
Today, you can help us Freak Out the Corporate State.
Donate $4 to Nader/Gonzalez now.
Ralph Nader is pulling four percent among registered voters in the latest CNN poll in battleground states.
Four percent in Arizona.
Four percent in Nevada.
Four percent in Ohio.
Four percent in Pennsylvania.
Let's say the predictions are right and 130 million Americans vote.
And let's say the four percent holds up.
That's 5 million voters for the Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda.
From the corporations back into the hands of the people.
That's enough to freak out the corporate state.
Even the thought of that this Halloween is enough to freak them out.
But to get there, we need to hit our last fundraising goal of $4 million by election day.
And we're $170,000 away.
So, today, Halloween, 2008, let's freak out the corporate state.
We need 4,000 of you -- our loyal supporters -- to
hit that there donation button.
And donate $4 now.
We're driving toward a winning election day.
When we send a strong message.
We're here.
We're near.
We're not going anywhere.
Get used to it.
Onward to November and beyond.
Public TV notes. On most PBS stations,
NOW on PBS begins airing tonight but check local listings. The topic for the latest broadcast is:What Women Voters Want[Streaming video of this program will be available online after broadcast]Election 2008: Tough decisions for undecided women voters in the swing states.There are roughly eight million more female voters than male, and more women than men say they are still undecided. Senator Hillary Clinton and Governor Sarah Palin have undoubtedly changed the debate for many women voters, but the question is: how will they ultimately respond in the booth?This week, NOW on PBS travels to the swing state of Colorado to get insight from a diverse group of women. These pro-choice, pro-gun women don't fit into neat categories, but they do respond to issues built around working moms: pay equity, family leave, and child care. On the show, NOW also interviews former Vice Presidential Candidate Geraldine Ferraro for her take on the role of women in this election.Will the women's vote decide the election?Also on PBS (begins airing Friday on many stations, check local listings) Washington Week where Gwen sits down for a ghoulish chat and chew with Doyle McManus (Los Angeles Times), David Broder (Washington Post), a mystery guest who shows up costumed as a Bobbsey Twin and, as a special treat, Time's Karen Tumulty offers up her impression of Bette Davis from Beyond The Forest. Watch in wonder as she really digs into the line, "What a dump." Marvel as truer words were never spoken. Oooh. Scary. That's the trick, the treat comes Monday, on commercial TV: Cher makes her first appearance on The Ellen DeGeneres Show.


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like maria said pazmikey likes it

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Take away NOW's tax status since they endorse

Thursday, one day until the weekend! :D

Does Kim Gandy have any ethics or she just a miserable little liar?

This Halloween, nothing could be more frightening than . . .
McCain's White House of Horrors
Halloween comes just days before one of the most important presidential races of our lives, so why not do double duty with your holiday celebrations? Encourage your friends, family, and even complete strangers to think critically about the upcoming election by showing them what a McCain-Palin administration could hold for our future.
Costume and Action Ideas
Spread the Spook with our Halloween/Election themed e-cards and flyers!
Costume and Action Ideas:
Here are a few of our favorite ideas for nightmares that could be turned into reality under a McCain-Palin administration. Each costume has point by point highlights to make it easy to replicate on your own -- you may have the makings for a great costume and not even know it!
Take action! Get your friends together and -- in costume! -- hold an action in your community on Oct 31. You could protest outside of a local conservative headquarters, outside of a McCain rally, or outside of city hall.
Sarah PalinNightmare: Sending the feminist movement back to the drawing board.
"Safe-Sex Pusher"Nightmare: If birth control is made illegal, where will you get it?
"Back In The Closet"Nightmare: Equality shmality, it'd be back to hiding for LGBT individuals!
The Rich Get RicherNightmare: Continuing the legacy of giving to the rich and richer.
"Dr." McCainNightmare: Getting medical advice from the government, not our doctors.
More Costume Ideas

That's not NOW PAC, it's NOW. Here's the address

You want to tell me DUMB ASS KIM GANDY that's not endorsement? It's a f**king endorsement and your tax status needs to be pulled. You have repeatedly violated NOW's guidelines for their current tax status. The government needs to fine you and pull your tax status. And maybe then your DUMB ASS can try getting a real job.

You really are a joke, a sad, sad joke.

No one needs your scowling face and your bad participation in panels where your pout and then snap out a line that's generally half-wrong. You're a lousy face for a movement and a DAMN FOOL.

So take a long vacation, Gandy, and resurface somewhere that you can do less damage.

Kim really needs to tear Sarah Palin apart and you have to wonder why that is unless you've ever seen her do her tight-lipped little act on Democracy Now right before she finally speaks (she's all pursed like Lily Tomlin's Ernestine) and embarrasses herself and the left.

Kim Gandy hates my candidate, by the way. Ralph Nader. She hates him. Just the thought of him makes her stomp her feet and snarl. This is from Team Nader:

Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?
Posted by The Nader Team on Wednesday, October 29, 2008 at 10:54:00 PM
Brother, can you spare a dime?
We get ideas every day for fundraising.
Here’s one we liked a lot.
It is estimated that the average household has an average of $90 in spare coins lying around the house.
In bottles.
In sofas.
On the floor.
So, here’s something you can do now for a better and more just America.
Go around and collect the spare coins lying around your house.
Take your coins to the local supermarket or bank — where they have coin counting machines.
send that amount to Nader/Gonzalez.
Can you think of a better use of spare change?
We can’t.
So donate that $90, or $9 — whatever you estimate your spare change total to be.
In this last five days before the election, we’re in dire need.
We’re over $180,000 away from meeting our goal of $4 million by November 4.

We haven’t missed a fundraising goal all year.
And we surely don’t plan on missing our last and most important one.
So, please,
whatever spare change you can afford.
We could use.
So, go empty those bottles.
invest in America’s future.
Send it along to Nader/Gonzalez.
Onward to November and a brighter future.
The Nader Team
PS: Remember, if you
donate $100 or more, we will ship to you the hard cover 40th Anniversary edition of Unsafe at Any Speed — Ralph’s historic expose of the American automobile industry — autographed by the man himself. It was the book that launched the American consumer movement and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. This autographed edition is bound to become a rare collector’s item after the election. So, get it now. Only a limited number left. (This book offer ends November 4, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.)

NBC's Chuck from Monday was pretty cool. First the ending. Sarah got him a college degree. Chuck's 12 hours short of a degree from Stanford. What happened was his friend Bryce got him kicked out of college. Bryce set up so it looked like Chuck was cheating. Chuck wasn't cheating but Bryce wanted Chuck out before the professor could recruit Chuck for the CIA. So that's how Chuck ended up at the Buy More (Best Buy like store). And his sister is always on him to apply himself and all. So Monday's episode ended with Chuck getting his degree.

What else? Chuck did a game exhibition on some 80s video game. That was pretty cool too. And they've got some sort of efficiency expert at the Buy More who's going to be back in two weeks. No Chuck Monday night. Instead, it's all blah-blah-blah election.

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

Thursday, October 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, treaty looks even more iffy, everyone issues a report on conditions in Iraq today, Barack whips it out again, and more.

Hannah Faifield notes in today's New York Times the Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction released a report on Iraqi spending today. The 232 page(through end notes, not countine appendi) report [PDF format warning] is online. In the intro to the report, the Inspector General Stuart W. Bowen Jr. explains this quarterly report is the product of "seven audit reports and three inspections". The report continues the office's pattern of referring to 2008 as "the Year of Transfer."

The report makes many observations including that the Iraqi Security Force "suffers from a leadership shortage." The report notes that US Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently cited two specific areas of concern". That was during
the House Armed Services Committee hearing on September 10th. And the report is referring to Gates' opening remarks. He noted more than two specific areas of concern in his testimony:

* 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.

The SIGIR report notes only two and one of the two is elections which includes provincial and national when Gates -- opening statement (prepared) and in responses -- was focused on provincial elections. The report says that Provincial Eleciton Law was passed and it states:

* Of Iraq's 15 majority-Arab provinces, all but Tameem (Kirkuk) must conduct provincial elections by the end of January 2009.

* Provincial elections in the three Kurdish provinces must occur sometime later in 2009.

* 25% of the seats on each Provincial Council (PC) must be reserved for women.

* No seats on PCs will be reserved for Christians and other religious minorities.

The report also notes the Iraqi refugee crisis including that fiscal year 2008 finally saw the US government meet their goal on admitting Iraqi refugees (they went over the minimum of 12,000 by 118 Iraqis) and that a recent report from the European Commission "estimated that there are approximately 1 million - 1.5 million refugees from Iraq in Syria and 450,000 - 500,000 in Jordan. The EC report concluded that approximately '5 million Iraqis [are] living in temporary conditions in several countries,' of which 2.8 million are internally displaced persons (IDPs) adrift in their native land."

Moving to reconstruction, the report states, "Since 2003, the government of the United States and Iraq, along with the international community, have collectively provided $125.73 billion to support reconstruction in Iraq." It further notes, "Iraq's total budget for 2008 now exceeds $72.1 billion, which includes therecently passed Iraqi supplemental of just over $20 billion. Iraq has the second-largest budget among neighboring Middle Eastern and North African counties with similar populations. But this rich budget has not translated into a proportionate increase in per capita income. At only $1,214, Iraq's per capita income is well behind the regional front runner, Saudi Arabia, which has a bugget of $118 billion and per capita income of $15,440. By contrast, Algeria has a budget close to Iraq's and a per capita income of $3,620, which is triple that of Iraq." The report also maintains that the bulk of US funds for reconstruction in Iraq go to "security and justice programs". The report notes this on judges:

Since June 2003, 38 judges have been assasinated (7 killed in 2008), and 6 family members of judicial employees have been killed (none this quarter). Since June 2004, 99 other judicial staff members have been targeted. The United States provides secure housing for 29 judges and their families. The US built an "$11.3 million courthouse" in Rusafa which "includes a witness protection facility". The witness protection facialities in Rusafa, Karkh and Basrah have cost $6.8 million so far (all but Basrah are completed). Iraq's judicial system currently has "482 new judges, 287 investigative judges, 689 investigators, 313 prosecutors, and 4,482 protection staff.".

On reconstruction, the report states the contracts are handled by the US Army Corps of Engineers, Gulf Region Division; Joint Contracting Command-Iraq/ Afghanistan; Multi-National Corps-Iraq; Air Force Center for Engineering and the Environment; USAID; and DoS. They have awareded many contracts but the top ten recipients have received over $12 billion. The top ten (in order of biggest pig on the tax payer's dole):1) Bechtel National, Inc2) FluorAMEC, LLC3) Parsons Global Services, Inc.4) Parsons Iraq Joint Venture5) Kellogg, Brown & Root Services, Inc.6) Washington Group International7) Environmental Chemical Corporation8) Research Triangle Institute9) Anham Joint Venture10) Symbion Power, LLCIn Congressional hearings, the issue of CERP funds have come up repeatedly. Think of it as petty cash. It's intended to be used for short-term issues. Cerp is: Commander's Emergency Response Program. Most recently the issue came up during a
September 10th House Armed Services Committee hearing (see this entry by Mike) between Committee Chair Ike Skelton and DoD's Under Secreatry of Defense for Policy, Eric S. Edelman :Ike Skelton: The department's understanding of the allowed usage of CERP funds seems to have undergone a rather dramatic change since Congress first authorized it. The intent of the program was originally to meet urgent humanitarian needs in Iraq through small projects undertaken under the initative of brigade and battalion commanders. Am I correct?Edelman: Yes, sir.Ike Skelton: Thank you. The answer was "yes." Last year the Department of Defense has used millions of CERP dollars to build hotels for foreign visitors, spent $900,000 on a mural at the Baghdad International Airport and, as I understand this second piece of art, that CERP funds were used for. I'm not sure that the American tax payer would appreciate that knowing full well that Iraq has a lot of money in the bank from oil revenues and it is my understanding that Iraq has announced that they're going to build the world's largest ferris wheel. And if they have money to build the world's largest ferris wheel why are we funding murals and hotels with money that should be used by the local battallion commander. This falls in the purview of plans and policy ambassador.Edelman: No, no, it's absolutely right and I'll shae the stage here -- I'll share the stage quite willing with uh, with Admiral Winnefeld with whom I've actually been involved in discussions with for some weeks about how we provide some additional guidance to the field and some additional requirements to make sure that CERP is appropriately spent.Edelman then tries to stall and Skelton cuts him off with, "Remember you're talking to the American taxpayer." Edelman then replies that it is a fair question. He says CERP is important because it's flexible. It's important because they're just throwing around, if you ask me. They're playing big spender on our dime.Skelton: The issue raises two serious questions of course. Number one is they have a lot of money of their own. And number two the choice of the type of projects that are being paid for. I would like to ask Mr. Secretary if our committee could receive a list of expenditures of $100,000 or more within the last year. Could you do that for us at your convience please?Edelman: We'll work with our colleagues in the controller's office and - and . . . to try and get you --Skelton: That would be very helpful.

In addition to the above, the report notes: "The recent Duncan Hunter National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2009 imposed a ceiling of $2 million on the amount of CERP money that DoD could allocate to a single project. The new NDAA futher requires the Secretary of Defense to approve CERP projects costing over $1 million, certifying thereby that the project will meet Iraq's urgent humanitarian relief or reconstruction needs."The report lists some CERP projects, the ten most costly. Skelton wanted all costing over $100,000 Table 2.20 of the SIGIR's report lists the following and all dollar amounts are in the millions:1) Electrical Distribution in Muhalla 312 $11.682) Fallujah Sewar Pump Stations F1, F2 $7.603) Electrical Distribution in Muhalla 310 $6.574) Rehabilitate Two BIAP Domestic Terminals $6.565) PIC Sewage Installation - Karmat Ali $6.566) Kirkuk City Clean-Up Supplies and Materials $6.137) Al Faw, Redundancy and Mitigation $5.928) Fallujah Solar Lights Phase II $5.509) Sulaimnyah Votech new construction $5.2010) Transformers for Baghdad PC $4.82That's just the top ten and, no, that's not how the CERP funds are supposed to be used. They are discretionary funds, petty cash. The report notes that 216 "CERP projects are ongoing" and that 432 "are in the planning stages".

Press attention for the lengthy report has been scant. When it has covered the report, it's genearlly focused on the issue of contractors.
Tim Cocks (Reuters) does the best job on that topic: "One dollar in eight of the $48 billion paid out by U.S. taxpayers to rebuild Iraq since the 2003 invasion was spent on private bodyguards, a U.S. government audit published on Thursday shows." In addition, CBS and AP note that the report reveals:

More than $125.7 billion has now been committed to rebuilding Iraq's infrastructure and government since U.S.-led forces overthrew the government of President Saddam Hussein five years ago. Though not all of that has been spent, it includes $50.77 billion in money appropriated by the United States, almost $58 billion in Iraqi funds and $17 billion pledged by other international donors, the bulk of it in the latter in loans and under $5.3 billion in grants. Iraq's rule-of-law system remains broken, most evidenced by the fact that Iraqi judges continue to be assassinated across the country. In 2008, terrorists killed seven judges, compared with 11 killed in 2007 and bringing the number to more than 40 judges and family members since 2003. A serious problem remains with corruption, which Bowen long has called a "second insurgency" in Iraq for the challenge it poses. For instance, auditors noted that a local contractor asked to be released from his work on three schools in Baghdad's Sadr City this quarter because he and his family were threatened when he refused repeated requests from government officials that he pay them bribes.

the International Comittee of the Red Cross issued a warning regarding Iraq's water:

"There has been some improvement in recent months, both in terms of security and essential services. More people now have access to health services and clean water. But far too many Iraqis still have no choice but to drink dirty water and live in insalubrious conditions," said Juan-Pedro Schaerer, the ICRC's head of delegation for Iraq. "This leads to more sick people seeking treatment in a health-care system already stretched to the limit."The ICRC is particularly concerned about people living in households not connected to a water network (some 40 per cent of the total, and mainly in the countryside and suburbs). They must either buy water -- at an average cost of 50 US cents for 10 litres -- or, if they are too poor to do so, collect it from rivers and wells, which are often polluted. Even households that do have piped water regularly experience problems owing to a chronic lack of maintenance and innumerable illegal connections to the network. Furthermore, many Iraqis have to live with the health hazards of uncollected household waste and untreated sewage.As a result, many people contract water-borne diseases, further straining hospitals and clinics already struggling with a lack of resources. "My daughter is here because she drank dirty water," said a mother at Abu Ghraib General Hospital, near Baghdad. "We have no clean water at home. The only water we get is from the river."Medical staff are struggling with chronic shortages of supplies and equipment. Dilapidated and sometimes outdated medical facilities lack proper maintenance and sanitation. Electricity shortages are common and many facilities have to rely on back-up generators. Many Iraqis simply cannot afford the treatment they need. Specialized surgery and treatment for diseases such as cancer are often available only in certain hospitals in the main cities.

Imogen Foulkes (BBC) spoke with the ICRC's Beatrice Megevand who noted the cholera outbreak (the now yearly cholera outbreak) and "said she was especially concerned about the lack of clean water supplies. Ms Megevand Roggo said even the most basic infrastructure in Iraq is not functioning." Meanwhile external Iraqi refugees are the subject of a new report by Refugees International whose summary notes: "Since the beginning of the displacement crisis, the Government of Iraq has refused to acknowledge the impact refugees have had on their host countries, as well as the scope of their needs. It was at Iraq's request that Syria imposed a visa regime on Iraqis in October 2007. Only after heavy international pressure did the Government of Iraq finally agree to provide financial assistance to its neighbors to help them deal with the situation. The assistance was meager --- $25 million in all --- and it took over a year for the payments to be made. In the past year, the Government of Iraq has started providing incentives for Iraqis to return. The best solution for most refugees would indeed be to return home when the conditions to ensure their safety and dignity are met. According to the UN Refugee Agency, this is not yet the case, as many parts of Iraq are still too insecure to allow for safe returns and essential services are not widely accessible to the civilian population. According to a UNHCR survey, 70% of those who returned to Iraq became internally displaced." The report itself (PDF format warning) is entitled "Iraqi Refugees: Plan For Ongoing Support In An Unstable Region." It makes five policy recommendations:

1) The US and other donor governments must fully fund the UN's Comprehensive Appeal Process (CAP) and increase resettlement numbers.

2) The US must establish a high-level presence in Syria and pressure the Government of Iraq to provide assistance to displaced Iraqis and establish conditions for return.

3) Donor governments must fund the WFP appeal for drought in Syria and respond to the Resettlement Service Flash Appeal for Palestinians.

4) UNHCR, with the support of donor governments, must engage Syria and Lebanon on expanding residency rights and securing work and education for Iraqi refugees.

5) UNHCR must work with the Government of Lebanon to ensure that the Government's flexible approach and policies towards Iraqis are implemented throughout the country and at all levels.

Noting the report by Refugees International,
Missy Ryan (Reuters) adds, "According to the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), some 2.8 million Iraqis have been displaced from their homes within Iraq. Another 2 million are believed to be outside the country, mainly in Syria and Jordan."

Yesterday, the Bully Boy entertained Massoud Barzani, president of the Kurdish region of Iraq, for a White House photo op. Though both expressed hope (it's all around, didn't you hear?) regarding the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement while the cameras were rolling, Dan Eggen and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) report today that Barzani told the paper, "Personally, I'm doubtful it will pass." Within Iraq, the most solid support the White House has had for the treaty has come from the Kurdish bloc in Parliament. Barzani's words are only more troubling for the White House since he apparently is factoring in that segment of support. Speaking for the White House today, Dana Perino declared of the paper's news and quote, "Well, I do think it will be hard for Iraq to pass it. If it was easy it would already have been done. And if you stick around, I'm sure by tomorrow you'll have a different Iraqi politician or leader with a different sentiment. So a lot of this is being played out in the public on the Iraqi side. What the president said yesterday remains true: We remain hopefula nd confident that we'll be able to get an agreement done. But there are certain underlying principles, basic principles that we're not going to compromise on. And so we've received their list of requests for changes and our negotiators in Baghdad are taking a careful look at them." Perinos was asked about the upcoming US election (next Tuesday) and whether that has any impact. She responded, "Well, we're going to continue to try to get an agrement because we've gotten this far, we might as well try to -- continue to work on it. And we remain hopeful that we can help solve these last remaining issues." She noted that Bully Boy had spoken with puppet of the occupatioin Nouri al-Maliki earlier in the week.

At the US State Dept today, Robert Wood handled the press briefing. He handled Tuesday's briefing and had told the press he couldn't comment on amendments to the treaty because he hadn't received them. They were received yesterday and Sean McCormack handled Wednesday's press briefing. Today Wood was asked to comment and he replied, "Well, we've received the amendments and we're going to give them, as Sean said yesterday, a thorough review. And I don't have anything else for you on that at the moment."
Matthew Lee (AP) characterizes "hopes for sealing" the treaty as "fading" and notes that Wood stuck with "good text" to describe the treaty (as the State Dept has for some time). Lee summarizes a conversation with an unnamed official: "One official said there was a chance that some of the four main points of contention -- the withdrawal deadline, demand for inspections of U.S. arms shipments, a ban on using Iraqi territory for attacks on neighboring states and Iraqi demands for more jurisdiction over American soldiers -- could be 'finessed.' But Iraqi demands for more control over American troops likely crossed a 'red line' for the administration and Congress" On the last aspect, Sam Dagher (New York Times) pointed out today, "Under the current draft, American military personnel would be guaranteed immunity from Iraqi law, except in cases of serious or premeditated felonies committed outside their official duties."

Yesterday's State Dept press briefing found McCormack avoiding the issue of whether or not the US Embassy in Syria would shut down Thursday due to protests over the attack on Syria Sundy by the US. Yesterday the US Embassy in Syria issued a press release which read in full: "Due to Security Concerns, the U.S. Embassy in Damascus will be closed on Thursday, October 30, 2008." The single sentence appeared twice, first in larger, bold print, and then in smaller, regular print.
Bassem Mroue (AP) reports that "tens of thousands" showed up for the protests, carrying sings and flags. Al Jazeera adds: "Some demonstrators carried banners denouncing the United States, as well as national flags and pictures of Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian president. 'America the sponsor of destruction and wars,' one of the banners read." Iran's Press TV offers more on the banners: "Demonstrators waved Syrian flags and banners reading "No to American terrorism" and "American democracy: the killing of civilians at Abu Kamal," the border area targeted in Sunday's US raid. 'Colonialists, listen, the people of Syria will never be brought to their knees,' chanted the protesters as they gathered in the heart of Damascus."

Asked about the closing of the Embassy, Wood declared that it would be closed tomorrow due to "a holiday. But again, it all depends on the situation on the ground. That will be a decision made by, you know, our folks at the Embassy". He noted that the cultural center Syria had said they were closing were closed and that the American school is due to close November sixth.

Meanwhile the border of Syria and Iraq has been plauged with heavy downpours and
the Office of the United Nations High Commioner for Refugees notes that Palestinian refugees in camps along the border are suffering:

"This is the closest to hell I can imagine," said Mutassem Hayatla, a UNHCR field officer who stayed in the camp during the downpour. "With no electricity, the camp was full of the sound of crying, terrified children. We did our best, but it was a blessing when the night was over."
Nine-year-old Aya said she was terrified. "The lights were all off, there was water everywhere. My mother was crying. She is pregnant and the baby will come soon. Please get us out before my brother is born. I am scared he will die if we have to live here after she delivers."
The situation was even worse in Al Waleed, a nearby camp hosting more than 1,400 refugees just inside Iraq, where more than 100 families were left homeless after their tents were destroyed in the storm. UNHCR was rushing supplies on Wednesday to both sites, but it was taking longer to get to Al Waleed due to security considerations.
[. . .]
UNHCR on Thursday reiterated its appeal to the international community to provide resettlement places for Palestinians from Iraq, with no other option currently available for the refugees. "We urge more countries to open their doors to resettle the Palestinian refugees and bring their precarious situation to an end," said Daniel Endres, UNHCR's representative in Iraq.

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


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded five people, another Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left six people wounded and a Salahuddin Province car bombing that wounded one police officer.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province attack on "Awakening" Council members in which three were injured.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday the
US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier died as a result of a non-combat incident south of Mosul Oct. 29. The injured Soldier was transported to a nearby combat support hospital in Mosul." The announcement brings to 4189 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.

Moving to the US presidential race,
Margaret Kimberley (Black Agenda Report) zooms in on Democratic vice presidential Joe Biden's bizarre words about the crisis 'a coming:

There is likely some truth behind Biden's seemingly bizarre words. Bush has authorized the establishment of the Presidential
Transition Coordinating Council at an earlier date than in any other election year. High level staffers from the Obama and McCain campaigns have been engaged in security briefings with the Bush administration and are also in the process of obtaining FBI security clearances, the first time that has happened prior to election day. Bush doesn't want to head back to Texas without insuring that his doctrine remains firmly in place after January 21st.
The plans for continued American military aggression are already underway and Biden can't keep quiet about it. Biden made his statements during a Seattle fundraising trip that took in a cool million dollars. Yet he wasn't just making a plea for cash, he made a plea for support of whatever action the Obama administration may take.
"Because I promise you, you all are gonna be sitting here a year from now going 'oh my God, why are they there in the polls, why is the polling so down, why is this thing so tough?' We're gonna have to make some incredibly tough decisions in the first two years. So I'm asking you now, I'm asking you now, be prepared to stick with us." The Obama/Biden doctrine must be truly awful. If Big Mouth Joe is already pleading for patience from the faithful we are looking at Bush/Cheney the Sequel.

Susan (Random Notes) takes on a bad scribble from a bad outlet and offers her thoughts on the Obama 'strategy':

The problem with that explanation, of course, is the slanted coverage in favor of Obama has happened since the day he announced close to two years ago. It was slanted in favor of him and Hillary Clinton, while far more electable candidates such as Edwards (before the successful blackmailing him out of political life--how convenient) were shoved aside in favor of the identity politics narrative. And THEN, when it became a two-person contest in the primaries, it was open season on both Bill and Hillary Clinton. Not a word of protest by the mainstream media for the 24/7 shitting upon them because they were not run out of the Beltway in the 1990s for refusing to kiss the Beltway Slut's ass. Hell, no, they were right in there with the Obama campaign with the "racist" filth, the RFK filth, the NAFTA filth, the caucus filth and so forth, but never, ever seriously vetting Obama despite his numerous problems. Criticisms were brushed aside or tagged as racist, and believe me, the race card is about all Obama had to get as far as he did. Nobody DARED to criticize him then, and nobody dares to do it now for fear of being tagged racist.

John McCain is the Republican presidential nominee, Sarah Palin is his running mate.
Scott Conroy (CBS News) notes that yesterday in Ohio, Governor Palin made a "funny observation" : "Someone I'd like you to meet--he didn't come out on stage with me. I'll have to find him, but it's my husband, Alaska's First Dude. I know he looks like one of the Secret Service guys, and so if you read any gossip about any spotting of me holding hands with a Secret Service guy, it's my husband Todd." The Democratic vice presidential nominee, Joe Biden, was in Missouri today and Jake Tapper and Matthew Jaffe (ABC News) observe, "Ever since the Ohio arrest remarks and Seattle fundraiser comments that the world would soon test a young President Obama and his reaction wouldn't obviously be the correct one (in some way responsible, perhaps, for Obama's loss in the polls in who Americans trust to handle an unexpected crisis), Biden seems much more toned down, much more under wraps. "

James Petras (Information Clearing House) reminds that it's not a two ticket race and comes up with 12 reasons why people should be supporting indepent presidential candidate Ralph Nader or Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. We'll focus on Iraq:

Obama opposes the withdrawal of US troops in Iraq in favor of redeployment; the relocation of US troops from combat zones to training and logistical positions, contingent on the military capability of the Iraqi Army to defeat the resistance. Obama opposes a clearly defined deadline to withdraw US forces from Iraq because US troops in Iraq are essential to pursuing his overall policies in the Middle East, which include military confrontations with Iran, Syria and Southern Lebanon.

Team Nader's Jason Kafoury writes:

In the final 100 hours before the election, we need your help to implement our get out the vote (GOTV) plan.
To make tens of thousands of phone calls, knock on doors in hundreds of communities, and pass out thousands of flyers and leaflets.
To remind voters that Nader/Gonzalez is the independent choice on November 4th.
It's a simple five step process.
Here's what you need to do:
Step One: Vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Get your friends and family to vote for Nader/Gonzalez. Vote early. Vote on election day. But vote independent. Vote Nader/Gonzalez.
Step Two: Connect with Nader Supporters in Your State. Go to our
state-by-state map. Connect with your state, regional, community, and campus coordinators to find out how you can help.
Step Three: Spread the Word. Great Nader/Gonzalez literature is available in every state.
Click here to see the location of the campaign literature nearest you. You can download GOTV flyers to help pass out in your local community. You can knock on your neighbors' doors. Canvass door to door, telling your neighbors why you're voting for Nader/Gonzalez. Urge them to do the same.
Step Four: Create Visibility. Help us distribute Nader/Gonzalez buttons, window signs and more. We've unloaded all of our materials to our coordinators around the country.
Click here for people with campaign materials in your state. To find a state or local coordinator with bumperstickers and other Nader/Gonzalez merchandise, click here.
Step Five: Join our Nationwide Phone Bank. Are you willing to help phone bank supporters and independents across the country? If yes, please contact to sign up for our national GOTV phone bank effort. Over the next 24 hours we'll be sending them information on how to vote for Nader/Gonzalez in your state and sharing with them a GOTV video from Ralph that he shot last night on why they should join the GOTV effort.
That's five simple steps.
History will look back on this effort as the end of the two party domination in this country and the beginning of a new era of citizen politics.
We can't make that happen unless you help us get millions of votes for Nader/Gonzalez on November 4th.
Onward to November.

Meanwhile, Barack couldn't keep it in his pants. He's put out a sexist ad against Sarah Palin (
Ruth noted it last night) and today the McCain - Palin '08 campaign issued these responses:

VIRGINIA Judy Black, National Co-Chair, Women for McCain: "Enough is enough! Senator Obama has stooped to a new low in his constant attacks on Governor Palin with his new ad titled, 'His Choice.' Barack Obama's choice has been to attack, demean and ridicule women, first Sen. Clinton and now Gov. Palin. American women do not need any more of Obama's sexist choices or attacks. John McCain made the choice to put a strong leader with a proven record forward as his running mate. As a woman, I am outraged by the over-the-top treatment of Gov. Palin and I urge all women to reject the double standard put forward by a man who was just a state senator in Illinois three years ago by voting McCain-Palin this Tuesday." Patty Denton, Washington County Republican Chairwoman: "We, as a country, should be past the days in which women were treated as inferior. Women are the backbone of this country. It's disappointing for Senator Obama, who has proclaimed change' as his mantra, to disregard the monumental progress women have made in this country. Governor Palin is an exceptional leader and has fought on the side of all Americans, regardless of race or gender. These types of ads show that the Obama campaign is willing to do anything to score a few political cheap shots at the expense of women. On November 4th, women will go to the polls and demand respect for themselves and their daughters from the type of negative attacks perpetrated by Senator Obama." MISSOURI Representative Jo Ann Emerson: "With more executive experience than Barack Obama and Joe Biden combined, Governor Sarah Palin holds her own on the national scene and embodies the values that Americans want in those who will lead our country. This ad is just one more example of the constant attacks from the Obama-Biden campaign. With each attack, they attempt to dismiss the intelligent, qualified, and experienced woman who will soon become our next Vice-President of the United States." Sharon Barnes, Missouri State Chair Women for McCain: "These attacks on Governor Sarah Palin show the desperation of the Democratic Party to try to stem the overwhelming support for the maverick Republican team of John McCain and Governor Sarah Palin - a team dedicated to bringing about the right kind of change for the people of this country. The voters of this great nation will not be fooled. Gov. Palin is a proven leader and serious reformer with experience in economics, defense and foreign policy that the Democratic candidate for president can only wish he had." CALIFORNIA Shelly Mandell, President of Los Angeles chapter of the National Organization for Women: "I am outraged by the new ad put out by Barack Obama. It is sexist and demeaning to women. These tactics started with Hillary Clinton and continue, growing even more disgusting with Gov. Palin. I was a Hillstar for Hillary and an avid supporter. Trashing two women clearly in a sexist manner in one election is an outrage and must be identified and stopped. There must be consequences. Let female Obama supporters take a good look at this and still believe their candidate supports women's rights and women's dignity." Prameela Bartholomeusz, DNC Platform Committee Member: "I am once again stunned at the personal and sexist attacks by the Obama campaign against Gov. Palin. This latest ad is sexist and offensive. The Gov. of Alaska has been managing and balancing a budget of $10 billion; I think she knows a bit about economics. Sen. Obama never spoke up against sexism during the primary season, and is not speaking out against misogyny during this phase of the election season -- he is contributing to it. I have no confidence that Sen. Obama will fight for women's issues if elected. This sets women back decades." PENNSYLVANIA Christine J. Toretti, PA Women For McCain Co-Chair, PA National Committeewoman: "Vice presidential running mate, Sarah Palin, is an experienced public servant. As governor of Alaska and as mayor of Wasilla she proved to be an effective leader and businesswoman. Senator Obama's baseless attack on Governor Palin is preposterous. God forbid a leader is not only competent, but beautiful and wears a skirt!" Bernie Comfort, Pennsylvania Women for McCain State Chair: "Senator Obama's ad simply mocks Governor Palin. The real truth is Gov. Palin has experience dealing with the economy as an executive running the state of Alaska and as a business owner. She is the experienced leader we need to lead this country with John McCain." Stephanie Bressler, Ph.D, Hillary Clinton supporter, University of Scranton women and politics professor: "It's a sexist example of reducing a woman to an object - a wink - and denying her a voice. Her lips are actually moving, but she's not allowed to be heard." OHIO Barbara Rosier-Tryon, Member of the Warren Republican Women's Club: "This is yet another sexist cheap shot on Gov. Palin's image from the Obama-Biden campaign. Sarah Palin's record of reform and experience as governor of Alaska and commander of the state's National Guard is more distinguished than Barack Obama's one and only term in the U.S. Senate." NORTH CAROLINA Martha Jenkins, North Carolina Women for McCain State Chairman: "Barack Obama chose Joe Biden to make up for his own lack of foreign policy expertise. He has absolutely no reason to criticize McCain's pick of Palin. Gov. Palin is infinitely more qualified than Barack Obama. In running this ad, Obama is acknowledging that Gov. Palin is an effective and a positive part of John McCain's candidacy; otherwise, why focus on her at all? Barack Obama is using this ad to divert attention from the fact that the American public is realizing that Obama is just as radical as his associates, and that he lacks the experience and judgment to be President of the United States." FLORIDA Albert Chang, Regional Director of Citizens for McCain, a group that includes Democrats and Independents: "We look forward to winning Tampa and the surrounding counties for McCain-Palin. This ad is a distracting personal attack on an experienced executive and the voters of Florida will see through it. This campaign will remain focused on issues impacting the everyday lives of Floridians and Americans." Mary Calderon, Tampa, former Senator Clinton supporter: "I'm disappointed that Senator Obama has resorted to personal attacks at this point in the campaign. Would any male candidate for vice president of the United States be afforded similar treatment by the Obama campaign? I would say not." INDIANA Judy Singleton, Indiana Women for McCain Co-Chair: "Obama seems to have a problem with strong, smart women. Ask Hillary. Running an ad like this is an affront to talented women everywhere. To imply that Gov. Palin doesn't understand economics because she's pretty and winks is ridiculous. As a governor, she's proved she understands the economy better than Barack Obama, who hasn't completed his first term in the Senate, does. All one has to do is look at her record of leadership on economic development and then look at his." NEW YORK Amy Siskind, Ambassador for Hillary: "When Senator Hillary Clinton was demeaned and degraded during the Presidential Primary, many of us of, myself included, vowed 'never again'. The treatment of Governor Palin by both the main stream media, and now the Obama Campaign, shows that the misogyny fest is alive and well in our country. There has been a complete and utter smear job of our fellow citizen, Sarah Palin, who is only trying to serve her country."

iraqthe new york timessam dagherhannah fairfield
the washington postkaren deyoung
dan eggen
mcclatchy newspapers
margaret kimberley
jake tapper
scott conroycbs news
james petras