Friday, November 14, 2008

Sharif Nashashibi, Iraq

Friday! The weekend! So is Hillary going to be the next Secretary of State? And should she?

My attitude is the same as during the v.p. search, if she wants she should take it. If she doesn't, she shouldn't. After she makes her decision, I'll probably share some thoughts but after the crap they threw at her during the primaries, I just want her to do what is going to make her happy. So I'll table my own thoughts.

Instead, let's note Sharif Nashashibi's "How US claims about Syria became media factsUnwary journalists who repeat US army claims about Syria and Iraq become tools in a propaganda war:"

There were several fundamental failings in the British press coverage of the recent US raid into Syria. For example, Richard White in the Sun and the Independent correspondent Patrick Cockburn both reported as fact that the raid killed Abu Ghadiya, an alleged al-Qaida figure who smuggled fighters into Iraq.
Similarly, the
Times diplomatic correspondent Catherine Philp reported as fact that American commandos entered Syria and fought "a brief gun battle with Abu Ghadiyah and members of his cell".
Such news justifies the raid to readers because the target was important enough to violate the sovereignty of another country. However, Abu Ghadiya's death, and the fight against him, were uncorroborated US claims. The news was not identified by the reporters as coming from American sources.
Furthermore, the Independent and Sun did not publish concise, polite letters I had written pointing this out. However, the Daily Telegraph diplomatic editor David Blair responded promptly, politely and commendably to my email questioning why he reported Abu Ghadiya's death as fact:
"Thank you very much for your email. The point you make is entirely valid, and I have amended the web version of my story accordingly. You might have noticed that the print version is entirely different, and did not make the particular claim that you raised. What happened was that the web version was updated by someone unknown to me, who inserted that late at night, so we have corrected that mistake…Thank you for bringing this to my attention."
Reporting of the US raid included reminders of Israel's bombing, last year, of what it claimed was a nuclear site (a claim Syria vehemently denies). Despite Israel's claim being unproved, it was reported by some as fact. Again, this may encourage readers to see the bombing as a necessary means of halting nuclear proliferation in a volatile region. At fault were an anonymous piece in the Daily Mail, and a
Guardian editorial. Guardian analyst Simon Tisdall accounted for this, describing the target as "a supposed nuclear facility", though here, too, Syria's denial was absent. The Guardian published my letter pointing this out. The Mail did not.

Yeah, Patrick Cockburn's gotten very sloppy lately and there's also the fact that like most Communists (in Europe or here) he seems to follow the party-line of "Kurds good. Kurds always right." That's nothing new but it has become more noticeable. He'll do anything to push that which is how he took a story of a woman who may or may not have been stoned and turned it into she was hanged. We're dropping back a year on that.

And that he can get away with that just shows you how little attention ever gets put on Iraq today. But the freaks of 'independent' media have to sweep Iraq under the rug because Barack's not ending the illegal war and they don't want anyone focusing on Iraq and realizing that.

So my big question this weekend is whether the treaty ('SOFA') is rammed through? Seems like it might be. And it sure is great that Amy Goodman has a whole hour to waste with yammering and ignore the treaty, right?

Guess what else the trash ignored? Amy Goodman's a damn racist. And she proved it this week. Remember, only some hate crimes matter to Goody. It's time for a boycott of her ass stink program.

I know we're covering what she didn't at Third so check that on Sunday and that's going to be it for me because I'm tired.

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

Friday, November 14, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the treaty gets vocal supporters and foes, Blackwater finds out the life of a mercenary isn't all fun and games, and more.

Earlier this week,
Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "The State Department is preparing to slap a multi-million dollar fine on private military contractor Blackwater USA for shipping hundreds of automatic weapons to Iraq without the necessary permits. Some of the weapons are believed to have ended up on the country's black market, department officials told McCarthy, but no criminal charges have been filed in the case." Today Brian Ross and Jason Ryan (ABC News) add, "A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, has learned" and ABC's consultant John Kiriakou (formerly CIA) states, "The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone." Tod Robberson (Dallas Morning News) wonders why Blackwater continues to get tax payer money, "I guess it wasn't enough that Blackwater gunmen slaughtered Iraqi civilians on the streets of Baghdad and helped undermine the U.S. war effort in Iraq. . . . And ye, its current $1.2 billion in federal contracts curiously seem unaffected. If the American public only knew how cozy the relationship is between State Department personnel and its biggest contractors, they'd be appalled." Though there have been many slaughters, September 17, 2007 was the one which recieved the most attention AP reports today that that slaughter of 17 resulted in prosecutors drafting an indictment against six employees of Blackwater Worldwide". Today Robert Brodsky (GovernmentExecutive) notes New America Foundation's October report calling for the utilization of the State Dept's Bureau of Diplomatic Secuirty and not mercenaries/private contractors "to protect U.S. assets and personnel" and he also points out "An August Congressional Budget Office study found that roughly $1 out of every $5 the U.S. government has spent in Iraq has gone to contractors. The budget analysts said there is roughly one contractor on the ground in Iraq for every member of the military, although most are not American and only a fraction are private security contractors."

At the US State Dept, spokesperson Robert Wood declared of the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement, "We certainly hope to get that deal. We think it's a good agreement and the Iraqis will have to take it through their political process. And we'll see what goes -- you know, see where it goes from there." Where it goes next is an expected Sunday vote.
Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that Jawad al-Bolani, Minister of the Interiror, is endorsing the treaty and quotes him stating, "The security agreement is important for Iraq to ban and stop foreign influence and interference. The Iraqi people need this security agreement." BBC noted in June 2006 that al-Bolani declared (upon being voted into his post), "The interior ministry will preserve Iraqi blood." A laughable claim since the thugs of the Interior Ministry are infamous for spilling blood (and for expelling Iraqis from their legal homes).

al-Bolani is one of the Iraqi officials targeted by the US State Dept and it appears to have paid off. (Rumors are he sees himself as the next al-Maliki.) Supposedly, there is one more Iraqi official among those currently pressured that the State Dept thinks they can publicly flip before the Sunday meeting. al-Bolani by himself has very little impact (Kurds have never taken to him and Sunnis don't believe he's done much of anything to tackle the Ministry's assaults on Sunnis while most Shi'ites in the government see him as too sectarian) so the hope is that one or more flipping publicly ahead of Sunday's meeting could create a wave leading into the meeting that would put pressure on others to support the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement.

UPI reports that KRG president Massoud Barzani has declared, "If the pact is not signed, the situation in the country may deteriorate to the point of a civil war." In a live Washington Post online chat yesterday, Dana Priest declared of the treaty, "Still a stand-off with the clock ticking." In the most recent update, Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki declared today "that he now supports a security agreement with the United States, a Shiite Muslim legislator [Sami al Askari] who's close to the premier said Friday. . . This would represent an about-face for the Shiite prime minister, who was a hard-line holdout throughout the negotiations and had publicly criticized early drafts of the agreement."

Rania Abouzeid (Time magazine) states Moqtada al-Sadr "threw down the gauntlet: he threatened to resume attacks against U.S. troops if they don't leave Iraq 'without retaining bases or signing agreements" al-Sadr is quoted declaring, "I repeat my demand that the occupier leave the land of our beloved Iraq unconditionally, without retaining bases or signing agreements. If they remain, I will support the resistance . . . as long as their weapons are directed exclusively against the occupier." Iran's Press TV adds, "Moqtada al-Sadr has called on supporters to gather next week for weekly Friday prayers in a central Baghdad square to voice their protest to the pact." Robert Craig (Indianapolis Star) notes that the White House wants to "maintain more than 58 military bases indefinitely" and wonders, "So why would Iraq renew SOFA if it is apparently anxious to rid itself of occupation? Is this because the U.S. is holding $50 billion of oil money hostage in the New York Federal Reserve Bank? Why not simply release this money to help rebuild Iraq and futher its independence and national integrity?" Moqtada al-Sadr wasn't the only cleric issuing a call not to sign the treaty. Hamza Hendawi (AP) reports Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has "vowed to intervene if he concludes that a proposed agreement governing the presence of U.S. forces infringes on national security." At Real News Network (video), Paul Jay addresses the obstacles to the treaty and other dimensions.

While the White House attempts to extend the US engagement in the illegal war,
AP reports that Bulgaria is leaving (155 soldiers) and quotes their prime minister, Sergei Stanishev, declaring yesterday the departure was necessary because "the presence of the Bulgarian military contingent on a humanitarian mission in Iraq ends on Dec. 31." And they aren't the only ones leaving. Russia's Novosti reports Azerbaijan's parliament voted today to pull their "150 peacekeepers" out of Iraq by an 86 to one vote ("The troops are currently protecting a hydroelectric power station in the town of Al-Hadida, which supplies Baghdad with half of its electricity.") David Williams (The Daily Mail) cites Iraq's National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubaie as the source for the assertion that the UK will pull all troops out of Iraq "by the end of next year" (4,000 "mostly based near the southern city of Basra"). Deborah Haynes (Times of London) expands on the story by quoting al-Rubaie's statements to their paper, "By the end of next year there will be no British troops in Iraq."

Meanwhile, Iraq has set January 31st as the date for provincial elecitons. (Unless they're delayed again.) Today Staffan de Mistura, UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Iraq, informed the UN Security Council, "The Government of Iraq should be commended for the progress so far achieved. It will now be called upon to deliver services, security guarantees, conditions for free and fair elections, credible and independent institutions and to resolve tensions among its various communities." de Mistura continued, "
The forthcoming elections are rightly viewed as an opportunity to establish a more inclusive sectarian balance and shape a new political landscape and are the most significant political event in the coming months. It is therefore all the more important to ensure that they be perceived as free and fair and that the Iraqis, with the support of the United Nations and the international community, be able to ensure respect of operational timelines, with an IHEC free of political pressure." The UN notes on provincial elections, "According to the report, the passage of the provincial election law on 24 September was a milestone, as it instituted an open-list system and ensured female representation on governorate councils. In addition, the Independent High Electoral Commission demonstrates the ability to mobilize a nationwide voter registration update without serious security or logistical problems. However, there is still potential for election-related violence and instability, as witnessed recently in Mosul. It is, therefore, essential to organize the elections in a secure environment and in a transparent manner." In addition, they also point out, "He and several other speakers also expressed concern about the recent incursion into Syria which had resulted in civilian deaths. That incursion was a violation of the United Nations Charter."
Violence? The wire services are silent. China's
Xinhau notes, "Two American soldiers died in separate non-combat related incidents in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Friday." Both are noted here: The US military announces, "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died as the result of a non-combat related cause at approximately 3:50 a.m. Nov. 13 in Baghdad." And the US miliary announces: "A Coalition force Soldier died as a result of a non-combat related cause at approximately 11:52 a.m Nov. 13 in western Iraq." But we'll note them again because the announcement were made late. The two deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4197.

In US presidential news,
Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report) begins the first of
a multi-part series on holding the incoming administration accountable:

It is not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama's career since 2004 has been all about soaring promises to capture ardent voters followed by lowering standards to please his biggest financial contributors. An early foe of the Iraq war and Patriot Act during his US Senate
campaign, Obama voted to continue one and pass the other once in office. Obama's pledge to withdraw from Iraq has more loopholes by now than swiss cheese. His promise to filibuster warrantless eavesdropping and immunity for telecom lawbreakers morphed into
a vote for both, and his campaign trail promise to pursue Dr. King's unfinished quest for economic justice flipped into lobbying the
congress in support of the multi-trillion dollar no-strings-attached
Wall Street bailout.
The first appointments of the new regime are truly disturbing. Illinois
Rahm Emanuel, the new White House chief of staff is a
Democratic neocon who helped strongarm NAFTA, welfare reform
and the Telecom Act of 1996 though congress for Bill Clinton. He
served on the board of Freddie Mac while it was busy inflating the housing bubble, and was
an early and unrepentant advocate of invading Iraq and bombing Iran. As head
of the DCCC, responsible for recruiting and funding 2006 Democratic c
ongressional candidates, Emanuel used corporate contributions to try to
knock more than a twenty antiwar Democrats out of primary races in favor of
pro-war Democrats. Confronted with choices between pro-war Democrats and
pro-war Republicans, voters rejected most of Emanuel's picks, costing
Democrats as many as ten Congressional seats.
Larry Summers, early front-runner to succeed Bush Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, was happy to be Enron's eyes and ears at Treasury, according to a handwritten note to his pal Ken Lay you can find at Summers famously remarked that third world countries were "
underpolluted". His
solution to this "problem" is encouraging them to sell their share of "rights" to poison the planet's oceans and air to wealthy western corporations through a system like the present futures and commodities exchanges. Both the outgoing Bush and the incoming Obama administrations are enthusiastic advocates of
this "market-based" approach. So much for a Change We Can Breathe In.

On the same topic,
Media Lens' "Obama: Wiping the Slate Clean -- Appearance And Reality In The Relaunch Of Brand America" (Dissident Voice):
It was a dawn of the dead - Blair left behind him the almost unimaginable horror of Iraq and Afghanistan.
A rare poll conducted by Ipsos last January of 754 Iraqi refugees in Syria
found that "every single person interviewed by Ipsos reported experiencing at least one traumatic event in Iraq prior to their arrival in Syria."
UNHCR estimated that one in five of those registered with the agency in Syria
over the previous year were classified as "victims of torture and/or violence."
The survey showed that fully 89 per cent of those interviewed suffered depression and 82 per cent anxiety. This was linked to terrors endured before they fled
Iraq – 77 per cent of those interviewed reported being affected by air bombardments, shelling or rocket attacks. Eighty per cent had witnessed a shooting... and so on.
John Pilger was a lonely voice in 1997 warning that Blair was a dangerous fraud, a neocon in sheep's clothing. As Pilger later pointed out, the media could hardly plead ignorance:
Blair's Vichy-like devotion to Washington was known: read his speeches about a new order led by America. His devotion to Rupert Murdoch, who flew him and Cherie Booth around the world first class, was known. His devotion to an extreme neoliberal Thatcherite economics was known…
Over the past two weeks -- one decade and three wars later -- the same media have been insisting, as one, that US president-elect Barrack Obama is another "new dawn". A Guardian leader
They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world…
Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.
In the Guardian's news section, Oliver Burkeman
described the victory as "historic, epochal, path breaking". But there was more:
"Just being alive at a time when it's so evident that history is being made was elating and exhausting."
In 2003, the Guardian's foreign editor, Ed Pilkington, told us:
"We are not in the business of editorialising our news reports."
Someone forgot to tell Burkeman, indeed the entire Guardian news team. At times like these, the media's claims to balanced coverage seem to belong to a different universe. Over the last two weeks, the public has been subjected to a one-way delusional deluge by the media. The propaganda is such that comments made by independent US presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, appear simply shocking:
What we're seeing is the highest level of resignation and apathy and powerlessness I've ever seen. We're not talking about hoopla. We're not talking about 'hope'. We're not talking about rhetoric. We're not talking about 'rock star Obama'. We're talking about the question that is asked everywhere I go: 'What is left for the American people to decide other than their own personal lives under more restrictive circumstances year after year?' And the answer is: almost nothing.
Nader says of Obama: "This is show business what you're seeing." The crucial point: "Obama doesn't like to take on power."

MediaChannel has opened MEDIA STORE for the holidays: "The Economy may be crashing, but we as a culture still believe in a season of giving. That's why MediaChannel and GlobalVision are opening an online store, as others close theirs, to share books and films we believe offer food for the mind and make for valuable gifts. Buying through us helps support MediaChannel. Your support in this season means alot to us. Our last fundraising drive has helped keep us alive! Your continuing help will keep us online and on the issues we all care about."
Public broadcasting notes.
NOW on PBS explores green collar jobs:Can something as common as building materials represent an opportunity to create jobs, help the needy, and save the planet? This week, NOW looks at two "green" projects keeping furniture, paint, cabinets, and other building supplies out of landfills and getting them into the hands of those who need them most. Will they be devastated by the economic meltdown, or do they signal a possible way out?Based in the Bronx, New York, Greenworker Co-operatives aims to set up worker-owned green businesses. The first of these is Rebuilders Source, a store that sells recycled and donated building materials at affordable prices--items that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill."My vision now is a completely green South Bronx," says Bronx-born entrepreneur Omar Freilla, the founder of Greenworker Co-operatives, "with businesses throughout the area that are owned and run by people living in the area together."On the other side of the country, in Southern California, Materials Matter matches donations of furniture and high quality building materials with individuals, organizations, and homeless shelters that use the materials to literally rebuild lives. But the faltering economy has had an impact."We have to decide whether the value of that donation will be worth the cost of transportation," says Materials Matter co-founder Alison Riback on her blog. "[The economic downturn] put a huge dent in our 'always say yes to a donation' philosophy."This show is part of Enterprising Ideas, NOW's continuing spotlight on social entrepreneurs working to improve the world through self-sustaining innovation.

NOW on PBS begins airing tonight in most PBS markets, check local listings.
Washington Week also begins airing on some PBS stations tonight (and later throughout the weekend on others). Gwen's joined by Greg Ip (The Economist), Dan Balz (Washington Post), Janet Hook (Los Angeles Times) and Karen Tumulty (Time magazine) and topics will include the proposed auto bailout, Barack, Bully Boy transitioning to civilian war time (okay, Karen won't really discuss that, but she should) and Congressional races. On Barack, CBS' 60 Minutes gets the first extended television interview with him since the election (Steve Kroft interviews him) and that airs this Sunday.That's public broadcasting TV, public broadcasting radio includes WBAI and we'll note these programs airing Sunday and Monday on WBAI:Sunday, November 16, 11am-noonTHE NEXT HOURFormer WBAI News Director and Dan Rather writer, Paul Fischer's latest newsical in the series "What's the Freqency, Kenneth?" This time, Paul goes one joke over the confess his lifelong addiction to drug songs.Monday, November 17, 2-3pmCat Radio CafeFeminist author Vivian Gornick on her latest book of literary criticism, "The Men In My Life," downtown icon Edgar Oliver on "East 10th Street Self-Portrait," a play by and about him; and playwright Stephen Belber on his newest work, "Geometry of Fire,"about an investment-banker-turned Marine sniper returned from Iraq and a Saudi-American who just wants to get laid. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer." Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FMStreaming live at WBAIArchived at Cat Radio Cafe

Turning to utter trash. May 28, 2008, Amy Goodman declared on Democracy Sometimes!:In other campaign news, Senator Obama says he's accepted Senator Hillary Clinton's explanation for controversial comments invoking the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kenney to justify her continued stay in the Democratic presidential race. In an interview in South Dakota Friday, Clinton cited Kennedy's assassination as an example of a contest continuing through June.

Hillary: My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it.

Goody then stated: "Clinton explained she was trying to cite a historical precedent for a June presidential contest." Trying to? She was asked that as Goody well knew (but Goody is the trash who chose to publish in LARRY FL**T's H**TLER MAGAZINE). As
Jake Tapper noted May 23 (five days earlier than Goody) the editorial board (South Dakota's Argus Leader) asked her "about calls for her to drop out." And Hillary responded "This is part of an ongoing effort to end this before it's over. I sure don't think it's over." A comment Goody CHOSE to leave out because SHE"S A LIAR. After "I don't understand it," Hillary says "And there's a lot of speculation about why it is." Why she's being pushed to drop out. But to include that wouldn't have fit GOODY LIAR's non-stop attempts to sell Barack.

There's a reason Bernardine Dohrn's always been the partner in charge of that marriage. Bill Ayers is the Barbara Bush of that pair and only more so with each passing year. Liar Goody brought them on Democracy Now and she never asked about Prarie Fire.

In May, Goody wanted to distort Hillary's remarks and make it appear she was trampling on the memory of RFK. Today, Goody brought on Bill and Bernardine and never asked them about the dedication in their book Prarie Fire to Sirhan Sirhan (RFK assassin).

Bill Ayers is on a publicity blitz that included Good Morning America today. I know Bill and Bernardine and we're not going to let lies stand. First off Bernardine, you know not to speak without knowing the facts. So let's start with your error:

I think my favorite -- our favorite moment of this whole election campaign -- and there were certainly, really, many unprecedented and moving movements of the last year and a half -- was when, at the height of the primary campaign, Senator -- then-Senator Obama was asked, "Who would Martin Luther King support? Would you support you or Senator Clinton?" And without his frequent pauses in thinking, he said, "He wouldn't support either of us. He's be out in the street building an independent social justice movement."

No, no, Bernardine. No, Barack's not MLK ("Would you support you or Senator Clinton?"). No, Barack didn't say what you said he did. No, it wasn't Hillary and Barack alone on stage.
CNN debate, Wolf Blitzer the moderator. He started with John Edwards, "And, Senator Edwards, let me start with you. If Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today, unfortunately, he's not, but if he were alive today, why do you think he would or why should he endorse you?" Edwards replied than Wolf's full question to Barack was, "Senator?" Barack didn't say "either of us," he said MLK wouldn't "endorse any of us" and Barack did not say "He's be out in the street building an independent social justice movement." in that debate. You may wish he had and certainly it would help your friends if he had; however, he DID NOT SAY THAT. You know facts matter. That was embarrassing. It was all the more sto for Democracy Now! which didn't catch your multiple mistakes.

Hillary: Well, there is no doubt that change comes from the extraordinary efforts of the American people. I've seen it in my life. I'm sitting here as a result of that change. It is also true -- and Dr. King understood this. He campaigned for political leaders. He lobbied them. He pushed them. He cajoled. He did everything he could to get them over the line so that they would be part of the movement that he gave his life for. There are people sitting in this audience right now, John Lewis, Jim Clyburn, they were part of those kinds of efforts, going so far as they could to make it clear that we had to live up to our values and our ideals. And then there was a meeting of morality and politics. And the political leaders finally responded.

That's the closet anyone came to making the remark Bernardine wrongly attributes to Barack ("He's be out in the street building an independent social justice movement.").
Bill declared, "We were asked by our state senator if we would hold a coffee for him some, I don't know, twelve or fifteen years ago, and we did . . ." Bill, you're lying. You're lying because Alice Palmer has already stated she did no such thing and you're lying because I know you and I know who talked Barack up to me back when he was running for the US Senate. It wasn't Alice Palmer (whom I've never met), care to get honest Bill? (Those late to the party on this tale shared here and at
Elaine's site since 2005 -- Elaine and I went to the private, big money fundraiser for the 'anti-war' candidate with the intention of writing checks for the maximum donation only to discover an 'anti-war' candidate who did not believe in withdrawal because 'the troops were there'. Once Elaine and I clarified that point, we immediately left without donating a cent.)

Here's Bill rambling on about Weather Underground (Bernardine was the leader, not Bill, of WU and that's something the right refused to get correct because they were blinded by their own sexism):

But on the other hand, I don't expect somebody to today endorse what we did forty years ago or even to understand it. To me, nothing that he said is either, you know, false or wrong or terrible. The other thing I guess I would say about it is, we would disagree on our evaluation of what went on forty years ago, but we disagree on many things, so it's not surprising.

Bill, many of us disagreed with you in real time. And, no, you were not of the peace movement. I fully understand what Weather did and I have no need to condemn you, Bernardine or anyone else for it. But I also have no reason to lie about it.

You chose the road of violence. I've often said, "Weather was a violent response to a criminal government that used violence." But Weather was a violent response. The US government behaved in a criminal manner. I don't deny it. But, no, Bill, the peace movement was not Weather and many disagreed with you and some, like Toad Gitlan, have insisted Weather's violence destroyed the left. (I disagree with that and have always disagreed with that.) What Weather did was not about ending the illegal war and let's not pretend it was. It was an attempt to bring revolution into the streets (which is why you lived in working class neighborhoods despite your own financial circumstances) and it was an armed revolution. But they wanted to set the stage for the armed revolution and that wasn't about Vietnam so stop lying. When Bernardine made her ridiculous statement about Sharon Tate's murder, that wasn't about Vietnam either. So stop the lies.

Well, you know, I would say calling those acts despicable forty years ago, I guess I would disagree with. But more to the point is that it's an irrelevant--it's an irrelevant issue in this campaign.

No, it's not irrelevant. Domestic terrorism is what Weather engaged in. There's no need to deny that and you've certainly never denied it one-on-one.

Bill then needs to lie hard and starts talking about the sixties. Weather's actions were in the chronological seventies. Bill's attempting to couch his argument on grounds he can't stand on and he knows it.

On the other hand, I think that it's a sad thing that we've never really had a truth and reconciliation process about the war in Vietnam, about the black freedom movement and what happened. And that means, among other things, that we haven't learned the lessons of invasion and occupation. We haven't learned the lessons of what happens when people get involved in direction action and struggle, and both the advances that can be made and also the limits of those struggles. We haven't learned the lessons that might make for a more peaceful, more just future. I think that's the problem.

Well if you believe that, maybe you should have worked for such a process. But you didn't. You were underground and active in Weather at that time, remember? And long after US troops left Vietnam, you were still hiding out. If you think people need to get honest, well go for it, sport. Start cataloguing your own actions. Nixon's dead. Henry Kissinger should only have a few more years left. But if you want 'honesty,' then start offering some.

Repeating, Weather was a violent response to a violent and criminal government. It's not surprising, it's not shocking. But it's not the peace movement and shouldn't be passed off as such. Toad Gitlin and The Nation magazine disgraced themselves during 2008. Both had long called out Bill and Bernardine's actions in Weather and suddenly they wanted to act like they never had. I don't find the actions shocking. I can make a political defense for them. I cannot and do not confuse Weather's actions with the peace movement. I don't think they destroyed the left or the peace movement. But I don't lie about what Weather did. And consider how often (and how loudly) Bill laughed a few decades back at the couple mocked as "The Mork & Mindy of the Left" (we'll be kind and not name the couple), it's a sad moment to see him do just what he accused "Mork" of -- minimize his actions for respectability.

iraqthe washington posternesto londonodana priestmcclatchy newspaperswarren p. strobel
leila fadelmedia lensjohn pilger
bruce dixon
Brian Ross
deborah haynes
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nprall things considered

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Jeff Cohen the Damned Liar

Thursday! One day until the weekend! Are you ready? I can't wait.

Tonight let's just focus on an idiot. Little Jeffy Cohen. The man MSNBC kicked to the curb. The man who started the ironically named "FAIR." The liar pimping it old school.

As Jeffy Cohen's already proven, short stumped though he may be, and b.o. shrouded, he can still sit in front of the keyboard -- mainly because he gets off on his stink. So Jeffy serves up s**t on a shingle and tries to call it writing. It's titled "What Indy Media Heroes Can Teach Us." Are your sides aching yet? Are you 'digging it?' What can Panhandle Media voices teach us? That they're frauds. Remember how many times Panhandle Media exposed itself this year?

Little Jeffy writes, "Independent media outlets that contributed so mightily to the stunning election result are about to be tested as to their 'independence.' With Democrats in control, will these outlets be guided by principle or just partisanship? Will they speak truth to power and expose corruption and injustice over the long haul -- no matter who’s in charge?"

He's funny! Jeffy's a funny little boy! "Will they speak truth to power"? LOL. THat's hilarious. They didn't provide truth during the Democratic Party primaries, they didn't provide it during the general election.

They decided to install a Corporatist War Hawk and it didn't matter to them how. So they lied. They lied and lied over and over. They're worthless whores. And now they don't get as much money and they're getting desperate.

They don't deserve as much money. They've been passing it around all over, lowering their market value. :D

But they think they can lie to us and play us for fools and still reach down in our pockets and grab our money.

Doesn't work that way Jeffy Cohen.

Maybe you need to try begging MSNBC to hire you back?

Maybe you can go ask Phil Donahue if he and Marlo need a manservant?

Or maybe you can just troll the streets again, swing that flabby ass, and hope and pray someone tosses a little money your way.

In one of his most hilarious statements, Jeffy declares, "As Amy Goodman of Democracy Now! urges: 'Go to where the silence is and say something'." You mean lie to your audiences? Like Liar Goody did when she brought on Melissa Harris Lacewell in January from New Hampshire. Hey look, everyone, it's Liar Lacewell talking to Liar Goody and they're both pretending Melissa's objective and niether note that Liar Lacewell isn't objective and has already been working on Barack's campaign.

2008 when 'independent' media turned into old and ugly whores and grasped that it was going to require them to really work it in order to stay out of carboard boxes and under the interstate dwellings. Work that fat ass, Jeffy!

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

Thursday, November 13, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, a plane crashes in Iraq, Military Families Speak Out calls out VA Secretary James Peake, and more.

Earlier this week the
US Secretary of Veterans Affairs appeared on PBS' NewsHour and Military Families Speak Out has issued a press release rebuttal:

Nationwide -- Members of Military Families Speak Out are condemning comments by the Secretary of Veterans Affairs suggesting that the dramatic increase in the suicide rate among young veterans is not connected to the war in Iraq. The suicide rate among male veterans under the age of 29 is now twice that of the general population.
In an interview aired Monday November 10th on PBS's NewsHour, Secretary of Veterans Affairs James Peake said that Veterans' suicides are the result of:
"the same kinds of issues that have to do with suicide in the general population. It is issues of failed relationships, senses of hopelessness, transitions in life, that are at the root cause . . . we're not making a direct correlationw ith combat."
Specialist Scott Eiswert committed suicide in May after being told by a friend that his unit of the Tennessee National Guard would be returning to Iraq. His widow, Tracy Eiswert, a member of Military Families Speak Out, expressed outrage at Secretary Peake's comments:
"I am not a statistic. We are a military family. We are real people with real experiences as a result of my husband's PTSD and his suicide. He wasn't that way before he went to Iraq, he came back changed."
After returning from a tour of duty in Iraq, Spc. Eiswert had been diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder by civilian doctors, but the Veterans Administration denied that his condition was the result of his experiences in Iraq. The Veterans Administration reversed that ruling in August. Tracy Eiswert said: "It took him having to put a gun in his mouth for the military to admit that the changes in my husband were a result of the war. If they had admit that the changes in my husband were a result of the war. If they had admitted that earlier he might still be alive."
Kevin and Joyce Lucey are members of Military Families Speak Out and the parents of Corporal Jeffrey Lucey, a Marine Corps Reservist who suffered severe Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a result of his service in Iraq in 2003. Shortly after being turned away from a Veterans Administration hospital, Corporal Lucey killed himself on June 22, 2004. Kevin Lucey said:
"Secretary Peake's words are the kind of self serving comments that this nation does not need to hear from the Veterans Administration and its leadership. This is why many regard this VA administration to be steeped in disgrace and dishonor when it comes to our loved ones. They feel that they need to explain away, rationalize, justify or minimize -- instead of committing their resources, time and efforts to create the best healthcare system on God's earth."
Joyce Lucey also had strong words for Secretary Peake:
"This is dishonorable, disgraceful and shameful behaivor from someone who is charged with giving the best of care to our warriors. With this type of message and thinking, is it any wonder that many of our troops and veterans don't seek help from those who are so callous and uncaring?"
Specialist Joe Hafley, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War and Military Families Speak Out who has had to fight to get treatment for his own Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, agreed. Hafley served in Iraq with the U.S. Army Reserves from 2004 - 2005, and his brother, a Major with the U.S. Army Reserves is scheduled to deploy to Iraq early next year.
When Hafley returned from Iraq, the Veterans Administration diagnosed him with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, Social Anxiety Disorder, and severe depression -- but ruled that none of those conditions were the result of his service in Iraq. He said:
"My treatment at the VA was belittling and frustrating. To have them diagnose me with PTSD and not attribute it to my service in Iraq is a slap in the face. To have them tell me the problems could be the result of a failed relationship rather than the result of my experiences in combat makes me feel that as a veteran I have no place at the VA.
"The thing that is most baffling to me is that this 800 pound gorilla in the room, not being addressed. Why are we feeling hopeless? Why do we have failed relationships? The common denominator is we all served in Iraq. Maybe my feeling of hopelessness is that I served my country with honor and I am still trying to figure out for what reason? For what just cause?
"Secretary Peake, it doesn't matter how many additional mental health workers you hire if you as the person at the top still feel we are just losers that failed to adjust or that we entered our military service unit. No amount of false support will help us."

For The NewsHour report (link has text and video), Tracy Eiswert explained of her husband to Betty Ann Bowser, "He said he felt belittled because they didn't take what he was saying seriously. 'This is what it happened to me over there.' You know, and they wanted to talk about, 'Well, how's your marriage? Or how was your childhood? How was your dad with you?' And he's like, 'Well, what's this got to do with why I'm here today?'" Meanwhile Aaron Glantz (OneWorld) reports that Vietnam Veterans of America and Veterans of Modern Warfare "filed a class action lawsuit this week to help ensure bureaucratic delays no longer keep disabled U.S. veterans from getting the financial help they need, when they need it most" and they are asking "a federal court to order interim benefits to be paid to a veteran if an initial claim for disability compensation takes longer than 90 days to be processed or an appeal of a denied claim takes longer than six months."

Reuters reports a civilian plane, Falcon Aviation Group Ltd, with FedEx cargo has crashed in Iraq "killing all seven people on board".

Moving to yesterday's Mosul shooting.
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that eight US soldiers were shot yesterday with two of them being shot to death and alleged shooter Barzan Mohammed reportedly used an AK-47 submachine gun in "the shooting spree". Sam Dagher (New York Times) explains what Iraqi officials and eye witnesses are saying: Mosul police's Brig Gen Abdul-Karim al-Jubouri, "a senior official in the Ministry of Defense and an officer of the Nineveh Operations Command" all say there was "a quarrel between an American and Iraqi soldier" at the onset; 2 Iraqi soldiers and one Iraqi Army officer (all witnesses) described the US patrol arriving at the Iraqi post and "[a] heated arugment" taking place "between one of the American soldiers and an Iraqi soldier identified as Barzan Mohammed Abdullah, prompting the American to curse at the Iraqi, spit in his face and slap him, the Iraqis said. The Iraqi soldier then opened fire on the American, they said, and other American soldiers responded with a barrage of gunfire at the Iraqi." Ernesto Londono and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) note that US Maj. Gen. Mark P. "Hertling dismissed reports by Iraqi officials who suggested that an altercation between Iraqi and American soldiers preceded the gunfire in Mosul, but he said he had no information on the shooter's motive. He said U.S. and Iraqi officials are jointly investigating the incident."

The United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq issued the following statement:

The Special Representative of the Secretary-General for Iraq (SRSG) Staffan de Mistura expressed his shock and outrage at the continued targeting and killing of religious minorities, following the murder of two Christian sisters in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, which has recently seen thousands of its inhabitants flee their homes after a campaign of threats and attacks.
The SRSG noted that this cowardly attack came hours after the UN High Commissioner for Refugees reported that some recently displaced Christian families are beginning to return to Mosul as the security situation in the city shows signs of improvement.
He said Mosul has historically been and must remain the cradle of religious and ethnic diversity, reiterating the United Nations' position that respecting and guaranteeing the rights of minorities in Iraq is "absolutely fundamental to a stable and democratic future for our country."
Mr. de Mistura called on the Iraqi Government authorities to do everything in their power to safeguard the human rights and protection of Christian, Yezidis, Shabak and other minorities -- all of whome have been the victims of terrible attacks -- and to ensure that those responsible for these attacks are swiftly brought to justice. The SRSG also urged local authorities, as well as the Kurdistan Regional Government, to assist in protecting the rights of minorities and their religious identity, as well as in ending impunity for these criminal attacks.

That's in reference to the Mosul attack that left 2 women dead and a third wounded.
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) notes, "On Wednesday, two Christian sisters were gunned down in Mosul and their mother was wounded. When police responded, unknown assailants detonated a roadside bomb, wounding three officers. The shooting underscores Christian fears in the city. Ten thousand or more Christians fled the city last month after a spate of about 15 killings of Christians in just two weeks." Sam Dagher (New York Times) explains that the older sister was Lamia Subaih Daoud, who worked for the municpal government and was the mother of three small children, was murdered first while waiting outside the family home on a bus and the assailants then stormed the house and shot dead the woman's twenty-three-year-old sister and wounded the women's mother. Dagher notes that Lamia's three children were asleep in the home "and survived the attack." The Melbourne Herald Sun supplies the name of the younger sister, "The intruders killed Lamia and Walaa Sabih and wounded their mother before booby-trapping the house. When police arrived a bomb went off, wounding two of them, an officer said on condition of anonymity." Asia News explains while both sisters were shot, the mother was attacked with a knife, that both sisters worked for the Office of the Treasurer of the Municipality of Wala, that their names were Lamia Sobhy Salloha and Walaa Sobhy Salloha and, "According to eyewitnesses the attack was carried out by a gang of 16-to-18 year olds who after attacking the residents of the house placed a bomb at the entrance and detonated it when a group of police agents came to the scene, killing two and wounding others." Aid to the Church in Need's John Pontifex (at Australia's Christian Today) observes, "Christians and other minorities are saying that the incident casts doubt on the Iraqi government's bid to improve security with a massively increased police presence in the city. . . . Speaking from northern Iraq in an interview with ACN, Fr Bashar Warda, who has overseen the charity's emergency relief programmes for people fleeing Mosul, said today's incident was having a 'dramatic' effect on the faithful, who now fear another wave of attacks against them. Fr Warda said: 'It is clear that many would think of leaving Mosul again. The government is trying to say the city is now safe and then suddenly you have incidents like this'." UPI notes: "Iraqi Christians began issuing accounts of targeted attacks against their community in July when parishioners claimed an Islamic group called "The Battalion of Just Punishment, Jihad Base in Mesopotamia" sent threatening letters to several churches." ZENIT quotes an Iraqi "Catholic leader" stating, "The government is trying to deceive the outside world, making them believe that they are acting correctly and that Christians are safe. In reality the situation is still very challenging."

Raheem Salman, Usama Redha and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) offer an overview of violence in Iraq:

Since Monday, according to police statistics, roadside bombs, car bombs and suicide bombers wearing explosive belts have killed 58 people in the capital. Deaths elsewhere included two Christian women who police said were killed by unidentified gunmen in the northern city of Mosul, where Christians say they have been caught in the middle of a war for power between Kurds and Arabs.Several Iraqis who witnessed the violence noted the heavy presence of Iraqi security checkpoints near Saadoun Street, in the eastern part of the capital, and elsewhere and said it showed that nobody could be trusted to keep them safe. Some also said it was a sign that Iraqi forces were not ready to protect the city if U.S. troops withdrew. U.S. military officials said that this week's violence, coming after a steady downward trend in attacks, does not mean insurgents are staging a comeback, and they disputed the casualty figures provided by Iraqi sources. Baghdad and its environs continue to experience an average of four attacks a day on security forces and civilians, compared with more than 20 a day about a year ago, Army Brig. Gen. William Grimsley, deputy commander of U.S. forces in Baghdad, said Monday after bombers killed 31 people in northeast Baghdad's Kasra district.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that claimed 1 life and left seven injured, a Baghdad roadside bombing that left six injured, a Mosul car bombing that claimed 1 life and left sixteen injured and a Mosul roadside bombing that left 2 people dead.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 police officer shot dead in Diyala Province.

In diplomatic news,
Iraq's Ministry of Foreign Affairs notes the department's minister Hoshyar Zebari and his Syrian counterpart Walid Moallem held a press conference yesterday in Damascus where they "discussed ways to develop and activate bilateral relations between the two countries," Zebari alluded to Iraq sending an ambassador to Damascus and he "explained the positive results of his visit and his meetings with President Bashar al-Assad, and delivered the letter of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to president Asaad regarding the Iraqi government's stance on the US-Iraqi security agreement and stages of negotiation. Foreign Minister Zebari also stressed the Iraqi government's refusal to use Iraqi territory as a platform to launch military operations against Syria or any of the neighboring countries and expressed sympathy and solidartiy with the Syrian people."

Tuesday's snapshot noted on IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh's court appearance for being the victim of police state actions carried out Oct. 15th in Hempstead, NY on himself and thirteen other IVAW members who were trying to deliver debate questions for Senators John McCain and Barack Obama.. Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) provides an update, "I attended court today in the stands for Adam Kokesh. Adam was there with his attorney, and some other supporters. More to follow, and possibly a few photos of Adam and his attorney. The main outcome: Adam Kokesh will have his trial on Thursday, December 11th. Sounds like the trial would happen sometime after 10am. In addition, Wednesday, December 10th and Thurs. Dec. 11th are appearance dates for some of the other Hempstead 15. So, we will standby for which dates the IVAW folks would prefer the community come out in full force for." Adam (Adam Kokesh - Revolutionary Patriot) explains, "In requesting that I be released on my own recognizance (or ROR as everyone else had been) so I could get my bail money returned, my attorney was told by the prosecutor that he would like to have my bail raised! The judge declined, but that would have put me in jail again until I could get bail posted at the raised amount. The judge also declined Mr. Moore's motion to dismiss, or take an ACD, adjourn in contemplation of dismissal. The prosecutor conferred with the police officer who would be testifying, and came up with a date to schedule the trial. So trial is now scheduled for 9:30 AM on December 11th. For reasons I can't discuss, we are very excited about this going to trial." IVAW has just published Winter Soldier: Iraq and Afghanistan: Eyewitness Accounts of the Occupation in book form.

Turning to the 2008 presidential election,
On The Wilder Side notes that Green Party of Connecticut officials have registered an objection that "'REGISTERED' WRITE IN votes were not counted in all towns across the state, as required by state law". Rebecca addressed the topics of write-ins Friday and noted that Cynthia McKinney (Green Party presidential candidate) received only 53 votes in Connecticut and Rebecca focused on Texas where the Ralph Nader - Matt Gonzalez ticket allegedly received 3,053. It appears many states have areas that were 'selective' in their counting. [That is not questioning the outcome or saying "The election was stolen!" That is noting write-in votes appear not to have been counted.] Joel S. Hirschhorn (Dissident Voice) reviews the election numbers:

This year, among the four most significant third-party presidential candidates, Ralph Nader without a national party did the best with 685,426 votes or 0.54 percent of the grand total (a little better than in 2004 with 0.4 percent but much worse than in 2000 running as a Green Party candidate with 2.7 percent). He was followed by Bob Barr the Libertarian Party candidate with 503,981 votes or 0.4 percent of the total (typical of all Libertarian candidates in recent elections, including Ron Paul in 1988), followed by Chuck Baldwin of the Constitution Party with just 181,266 votes or 0.1 percent, and then Cynthia McKinney of the Green Party with only 148,546 votes or 0.1 percent.
Showing the problem of ballot access, engineered by the two major parties, is that there were only 15 states where all four were on the ballot. In all but one, Nader received more votes than the other three third-party candidates. In four states only one of the four candidates was on the ballot; in one state none of them were ( Oklahoma ).
Nader's best state was California with 81,434 votes, as it was for McKinney's with 28,624 votes. Baldwin was not on the ballot there. Alan Keyes received 30,787 votes in California . Barr's best state was Texas with 56,398 votes. None of the other three were on the ballot there. In his home state of Georgia where he had been a Representative Barr received 28,420 votes (and none of the other three were on the ballot). Baldwin's best state was Michigan with 14, 973 votes. Nader was not on the ballot there.
In round numbers, Barack Obama raised $639 million or about $10 per vote, and John McCain raised $360 million or $6 per vote, compared to Ralph Nader with $4 million and $6 per vote, Bob Barr with about $1 million or $2 per vote, and Cynthia McKinney with only about $118,000 or less than $1 per vote. Money matters, but the ability of the two-party duopoly to keep third-party presidential candidates out of nationally televised debates matters more for media attention, money and votes.

Independent presidential candidate
Ralph Nader sounds warnings (at CounterPunch) today:

To its everlasting credit, the conservative American Bar Association sent to President Bush three reports in 2005-2006 concluding that he has been engaged in continuing serious violations of the Constitution. This is no one-time Watergate obstruction of justice episode ala Nixon that led to his resignation just before his impeachment in the House of Representatives.
Nearly two years ago Senator Obama, contrary to what he knows and believes, vigorously came out against the House commencing impeachment proceedings. It would be too divisive, he said. As one of one hundred Senators who might have had to try the President and Vice President in the Senate were the House to impeach. He should have kept impartial and remained silent on the subject.
As President, he cannot remain silent and do nothing, otherwise he will inherit the war crimes of Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney and become soon thereafter a war criminal himself. Inaction cannot be an option.
Violating the Constitution and federal laws is now routine. What is routine after awhile becomes institutionalized lawlessness by official outlaws.
Domestic Policy abuses are also rampant. Just what are the limits of the statutory authority of the U.S. Treasury Department or the government within a government funded by bank assessments known as the Federal Reserve?
Don't read the $750 billion bailout law for any answers! The Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and the Majority Leader of the Senate, Harry Reid just sent a letter to Bush asking whether the White House believes the bailout law could be interpreted to save not just the reckless banks, but also the grossly mismanaged Big Three auto companies in Michigan.
Didn't Congress know what they were or were not authorizing? Or did the stampede started by the demanding Bush result in blanket, or panicked ambiguity by a cowardly Congress?

Last week
Raed Jarrar (Raed in the Middle) addressed the election:

1- I didn't find this in the English media, but Arab media (including Al-Jazeera) reported today:
Iraqi Presidency Council said in its first reaction to Barak Obama winning the U.S. presidential election: there is only one U.S. policy in Iraq, and the changes that may occur during Obama's time "would be only technical."2- As you've heard already, Obama picked congressman Rahm Emanuel to become the White House's chief of staff. Mr. Emanuel, an Israeli citizen who has served in the Israeli Army (he denies both), was the only one out of Illinois' nine congressmen who voted for the invasion of Iraq in 2002. I know that the confetti has not settled down yet, but I think it's time already to ask the Obama-Biden campaign some questions about their foreign policy plans, especially regarding the U.S. role in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and regarding ending the U.S. occupation of Iraq.

And winding this up, the GOP ticket was John McCain and his running mate Sarah Palin. The Republican governor's conference took place today and Texas Governor Rick Perry explained it was focused on "what's the Republican Party going to look like going forward." He then stated, "It gives me great deal of pleasure to introduce one of our collegues, one of America's great republican governors, Governor Sarah Palin."

Gov Sarah Palin: Thank you [to Rick Perry], thank you so much [to those assembled]. Thank you, Governor Perry. Thank you governors. Thank you very much. Thanks. Honored to be here and to speak with and to my fellow governors. It hasn't been that long since we all gathered. I don't know about you, but I managed to fill up the time. [Laughter] Let's see I had a baby, I did some traveling, I very briefly expanded my wardrobe [Laughter], I made a few speeches, I met a few VIPs including those who really impact society like Tina Fey [Laughter] and aside from that it was pretty much the same-old, same-old since we last gathered. But in the great campaign that has come and gone . . . And it was great. One of the nicer experiences that we had along the campaign trail was seeing so many of my RGA colleagues and I think you guys so much for your assistance with John McCain's good run. Each of you gave your all to the cause and were helpmates and positive additions to Senator McCain's good run. You were there to help when things were looking good and you were there to help when -- once in a while -- things weren't looking so good. And where I'm from in Alaska, life would be pretty lonely if all we had were fair weather friends. And you have been friends in all seasons and for that I will forever be grateful and I know Senator McCain also would be so appreciative.

Palin noted the campaign in her remarks.
Gov Sarah Palin: Along the trail, it was my husband, Todd, who was my right hand. And among his many willing -- winning qualities is the gift that he has of optimism and just thankfulness in all situations that he finds. And going forward, I'm going to count on those qualities a little more even. Because of course there was a disappointment after a loss in a national election like that. You run to win. You run the race to win. It's kind of relying on Todd with that optimism and the thanfkulness in all situations that I'm certainly going to be there with him along those lines. But far from returning to the great state of Alaska with any sense of sorrow or regret, we carried with us the best of memories and joyful experiences that really do not depend at all on political victory. For years to come, I'm going to remember all the young girls who came up to me at rallies to see the first woman having the privilege of carrying our party's VP nomination. And they inspired me. With an extra hurdel or two in front of us and in front of these young girls, I fell that we've got this mutually beneficial relationship now -- me and these young girls -- where we're going to work hareder. We're going to be stronger. We're going to do better. And one day, one of them will be the president because in America there will be no ceilings on achievement -- glass or otherwise. [Applause begins and grows ] And if I can help point the way -- [Pauses for applause to die down.] If I can help point the way for these young women or inspire them to tap into their own gifts and talents and strengths -- to find their own opportunities -- Well, it is a privilege.

military families speak out
pbsthe newshour
aaron glantz
leila fadelmcclatchy newspapersthe los angeles timestina susman
the los angeles timesusama redharaheem salmanthe new york timessam dagherthe washington posternesto londonoqais mizher
kimberly wilder
adam kokesh
iraq veterans against the war
raed jarrar

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Volcker, Leopold

Hump day, hump day. I feel like I need a whole month off. How about you? I know Thanksgiving is coming up and that's really what I'm holding out for. I can't wait. Now I want to share something about human scum, this is from Patrick Bond's "Against Volcker:"

Volcker's decision to raise rates so high to rid the US economy of inflation and strengthen the fast-falling dollar had special significance in Africa, write British academics Sarah Bracking and Graham Harrison: "1979 marked a radical change in global economic policy, inaugurated with the 'Volcker Shock' (so called after Paul Volcker, then chairman of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve) when the United States suddenly and dramatically raised interest rates, [which] increased the cost of African debt precipitously, since a majority of debt stock was held in dollars. The majority of the newly independent states had been effectively delivered into at least twenty years of indentured labor. From that point on access to finance became a key policing mechanism directed at African populations."
Adds journalist Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine, "In developing countries carrying heavy debt loads, the Volcker Shock was like a giant Taser gun fired from Washington, sending the developing world into convulsions. Soaring interest rates meant higher interest payments on foreign debts, and often the higher payments could only be met by taking on more loans... It was after the Volcker Shock that Brazil's debt exploded, doubling from $50 billion to $100 billion in six years. Many African countries, having borrowed heavily in the seventies, found themselves in similar straits: Nigeria's debt in the same short time period went from $9 billion to $29 billion."
The numbers involved were daunting for low-income countries. According to University of California economic geographer Gillian Hart, "Medium and long-term public debt shot up from $75.1 billion in 1970 to $634.4 billion in 1983. It was the so-called Volcker Shock... that ushered in the debt crisis, the neoliberal counterrevolution, and vastly changed roles of the World Bank and IMF in Latin America, Africa, and parts of Asia."

Volcker's sleeze and he's an Obama adviser. What's more disgusting is that Katty-van-van Heuvel of The Nation was praising Volcker yesterday on TV. Remember, Katty-van-van is garbage herself. She's not left and she just wants to rise to some level her father never did -- in other words, she wants to rise to at least bowel level if not tank.

Another idiot is Jason Leopold and, for a good laugh, read his "Obama: 'New Mission in Iraq: Ending the War'". Jase goes goo-goo-gaa-gaa and gets all sticky in his shorts over Barack's website. We looked at it this weekend in terms of an article for Third and, as C.I. and Jim pointed out, "It's not withdrawl. He's not even pretending. It's 'combat' troops out and everyone else stays." But Jason Leopold's not all that good with the facts. Hey, Leopold, remember when you told us Karl Rove was going to be indicted by Patrick Fitzgerald over Plamegate? And we waited. And waited. And it never happened. But you wrote another article telling us it was happening, just wait a bit longer.

So we waited and waited. And it never happened.

During all that time, Leopold and the Truth Out guy were saying if it didn't happen, they'd out Leopold's source. Never happened.

Not then. Not now. Nearly 3 years ago.

So now we're left with Leopold having ample time to out the source and refusing to do so. Which brings up his past work and past questions about it.

This is from Paul McLeary's "Jason Leopold Caught Sourceless Again:"

We wonder if the folks over at are rethinking their affiliation with reporter and serial fabulist Jason Leopold. Leopold, you may recall, is the freelance reporter who was caught making stuff up in a 2002 article, self-admittedly “getting it completely wrong” in pieces for Dow Jones, and had his own memoir cancelled because of concerns over the accuracy of quotations.
Leopold’s latest addition to his application for membership in the Stephen Glass school of journalism came on May 12 of this year, when he got what appeared to be the scoop of a lifetime. Now writing for, Leopold
reported that Karl Rove “told President Bush and Chief of Staff Joshua Bolten, as well as a few other high level administration officials,” that he was about to be indicted in the Valerie Plame CIA leak case, “according to people knowledgeable about these discussions.”
Leopold claimed that multiple sources “confirmed Rove’s indictment is imminent. These individuals requested anonymity saying they were not authorized to speak publicly about Rove’s situation.”
Well, today we learned that special prosecutor Patrick Fitzgerald said he would not seek charges against Rove.

Larceny. Believe the Washington Post covered that story in 2005 -- three days in jail for the for Leopold. For more on Leopold, you can check out this page at SourceWatch.

Wolf Blitzer interviewed Sarah Palin on CNN. Check it out, she's not an idiot. She's a smart woman. I don't agree with her politically but the smear campaign against her needs to stop.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, November 12, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, 2 or 4 US soldiers are dead, Iraqi refugees who make it to Michigan continue to struggle, truth tellers John Pilger and Paul Street show the play 'left' how it's done, and more.

Faisal Sidiq and Zoe Magee (ABC News) report that 4 US soldiers were shot dead in Mosul -- reportedly following "an argument" with an "Iraqi soldier, Barazen Mohammed, and an American colleague" which led Mohammed to allegedy shoot dead the 4 and then he was shot dead. The deaths bring to 4197 US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 7 for the month thus far. Gregory Viscusi and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) notes that "at least two" US soldiers are dead and argue that it wasn't "clear what prompted the incident and whether the Iraqi soldier killed himself or was shot by American forces" and they quote US Sgt Chris Stagner stating, "The situation is fluid and we are investigating." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) cites US Navy Commander Abram McGull stating the US service members "were dismounted, going back to their convoy" and that two are dead and six are wounded. Tim Cocks (Reuters) notes two US service members dead and adds, "A local morgue said it had received the body of the Iraqi soldier, riddled with bullets." Sam Dagher (New York Times) adds, "While the deaths of the [2] American soldiers were confirmed by the United States military, the circumstances surrounding the Mosul shooting remained in dispute." James Hider (Times of London) offers, "The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the soldier opened fire after he had been publicly slapped by an American colleague. Many Iraqi men, especially in the military, are intensely proud and conscious of any perceived slight to their honour."

George Frey (AP) reports that US army Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr. will move straight to a court-martial following his decision to waive his Article 32 hearing into the deaths of four Iraqis who were shot dead while they were bound and blindfolded and then their corpses were dumped in a canal. Frey notes, "Leahy is the fifth of seven soldiers implicated in the incident to face a judge since August." Last week Seth Robson (Stars and Stripes) provided an overview of the cases and he noted, "Leahy is also charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice in the deaths of the four detainees in March or April."

We'll come back to the topics of violence and justice but this morning, the United Nations World Food Programme issued this press release entitled "
New Report Says Iraq Food Security Better But Situation Still Volatile:"Baghdad, 12 November 2008 -- The number of people without adequate access to food in Iraq has fallen dramatically, according to the findings of a joint assessment carried out by the Iraqi Government and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).The assessment -- which shows a significant improvement in food security - found some 930,000 people were without adequate access to food last year, down from around four million in 2005. The Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) was carried out in late 2007 in collaboration with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as a follow-up to the last food security survey in mid-2005. "We can give a cautious welcome to these figures," said Edward Kallon, WFP Country Director for Iraq. "I say cautious, because 930,000 is still far too many for a relatively wealthy country. Moreover, there are a further 6.4 million people who would slide into food insecurity if it were not for safety nets, such as the Public Distribution System (PDS)." Under the Government-run PDS, every Iraqi is entitled to a monthly food basket to fulfill their nutritional needs. However, frequent shortfalls and delays in the distribution of certain commodities have made it difficult for vulnerable households to manage their monthly food needs. As well as surveying the food security of 26,000 people across the country, the CFSVA also examined the nutritional status of 24,000 children under five. It found an improvement in national acute malnutrition rates and little change in chronic malnutrition rates. However, in five districts, stunting rates among children were described as alarming. "This report gives us crucial insights into the current state of food security in Iraq," said Dr Mehdi al-Alak, chairman of the Central Organization of Statistics and Information Technology of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. "And that, in turn, is vital for the country's economic recovery, reconstruction and improvements in basic services." "For the first time, we have a comprehensive report covering all parts of the country. This makes it an extremely valuable tool for working out policies and strategies in the future," said Dr. Jamal Ameen, the head of Kurdistan Region Statistics Office. WFP is currently providing food assistance to 750,000 of the most vulnerable among the estimated 1.5 million people displaced inside Iraq since February 2006, who do not have continuous access to a PDS ration because they are unable to register in the places where they are currently living. Kallon attributed the reversal of declining food security to increased economic activity across the country, stimulated by a marked improvement in security and the humanitarian efforts of the international community. "But the situation remains volatile and any deterioration could undermine the whole process," he said. The report recommends continued food assistance to the most vulnerable in collaboration with the Iraqi government's efforts to reform the PDS. It calls for support to initiatives to improve mother and child nutrition and caring practices, scaling up micronutrient programmes and providing food for education in the poorest areas, with a particular emphasis on girls' school enrolment and attendance.

Related, as noted in yesterday's snapshot,
Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reported Syria refused to allow a World Food Program ship to unload rice "at the country's main port" due to "the percentage of cracked rice in the cargo" (according to a Syiran official). The rice was intended for some of the estimated 194,000 refugees from Iraq currently living in Syria. Staying with the topic of refugees, Barbara Ferguson (Arab News) reports on the process for Iraqis who make it to the United States, "Once in the US, for example, refugees must over time reimburse the US government for the cost of their plane ticket, usually well in excess of $1,000. Though some are given small stipends, they lament that they start life in the US already in debt. In the US, many new arrivals say life hasn't improved much. Many subsist on food statmps, housing supplied by refugee services, and get whatever medical care they need from Medicaid. . . . The immediate resettlment -- finding a house, giving three months' worth of cash assitance -- is the easy part. The hard part comes afterward, when the money has run out, the economy is still bad and affordable is hard to come by." At the White House today, spokesperson Dana Perino said the Bully boy was "very well aware of" Michigan's 9% unemployment rate. NPR's Jamie Tarabay (Morning Edition) reported yesterday on the Iraqi refugees in Michigan and notes that "the economy is so bleak that the State Department no longer wants to allow Iraqis to settle in Michigan unless they have immediate relatives already living there. Iraqi engineer Raed Jabro has been looking for a job in Detroit for four months now and told Tarabay, "It's not easy to find a job now." Rawa Bahou is an Iraqi widow living in Detroit with her three young children and she explains that after leaving Syria (where she and her family were refugees for three years), she was settled in Atlanta despite having family in Detroit, "We stayed in an apartment they rented for us. I didn't go out. I closed the door, rang my in-laws to come get me." The city's Chaldean federation is headed by Joe Kassab and he makes clear that the refugees are not putting a strain on any government system, "Those who aren't working, their families are supporting them. They are not a burden on the government or the state. They are a clannish people. They live among each other, and if I lose money, I have my cousin -- my ungle going to help me." Of all Iraqi refugees, Marc J. Sirois (Pakistan's Daily Star) notes the US has "been dowright stingy, for instance, about helping to care for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees." Johanna Berrigan (CounterPunch) reports on the refugees who've sought shelter in Syira and Jordan. Of a 2007 trips, she writes, "Throughout the trip, the works of war came vividly to life in the stories and sorrowful eyes as each person spoke. They eagerly and openly shared with us their experiences of the war in Iraq, the circumstances under which they were forced to flee, the indignities, uncertainty, and suffering that they continue to endure. We spent time with individuals and families whose lives have been utterly devastated by the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Iraqi people are barely eking out an existence in these countries were they cannot claim residence and don't know when or if they will be resettled to a third country. One man expressed it rather poetically, yet tragically, 'we cannot touch the sky, we cannot touch the earth, we are nowhere, we are in limbo without hope, all we want is peace.' Neither Jordan nor Syria is a signatory of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees which guarantees certain minimal rights. Niether government refers to the Iraqis in their countries as 'refugees,' but rather as 'guests.' Both countries are concerned that the Iraqi refugess will become a long term presence."

Hamid Ahmed (AP) reports a Baghdad car bombing claimed 4 lives today (fifteen more wounded) and it was "the third consecutive day of morning rush hour blasts in the Iraqi capital" which also included a roadside bombing that left seven wounded while, in Mosul, two Iraqi Christians (sisters) were shot dead outside their home and their mother was left wounded. Louise Ireland (Reuters) notes, "In Wednesday's incident, gunmen killed one woman outside her home, then stormed the house, killing her sister and wounding their mother." Sam Dagher (New York Times) identifies one sister as Lamai Subaih Daoud (and the mother of three young children) and notes the other was twenty-three years old.As the report released Monday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted (this is the link, click on language of choice -- such as "English" -- and remember it's PDF format):Starting in August, attempts at intimdation aginst Christians in Mosul were reported with a dramatic increase in violence in the first two weeks of October. Over 2,200 families, more than 10,000 individuals, have reportedly fled their homes and most have sought temporary shelter in the Ninawa plains, leading my Special Representative to publicly express concern and strongly condemn the killing of civilians on 12 October. The development comes at a very sensitive time, and against a backdrop of heightened political tensions regarding the unresolved issues of minority representation in the provincial elections and disputed internal boundaries. Didn't puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki swear the assaults had resulted in stronger measures to ensure protection? Some of the over 2,000 families have returned to the area and it appears some may flee for their own safety again.
In other violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left seven wounded, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 2 lives (ten more wounded), another Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people, another Baghdad car bombing that claimed 12 lives and left at least sixty more people wounded, a Mosul car bombing at the home where the 2 sisters were shot dead which resulted in three police officers being wounded (the bombing followed the shooting), a Kirkuk sticky bomb that wounded four people, a Mosul car bombing that wounded one Iraqi soldier and a Mosul roadside bombing that left one person wounded. Reuters notes the Kirkuk sticky bomb targeted (and wounded) "Christian plitician Ashur Yalda" (and also wounded two of his bodyguards).


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person shot dead in Irouba.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

At the US State Dept today, deputy spokesperson Robert Wood was asked of the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agrement and he responded, "My understanding is that the Iraqis are studying the text, and we await to hear back from them. We think it's, you know, a good agreement that serves both countries' interests. China's
Xinhua quotes Ali al-Adeeb speaking to the Iraqi press on the treaty and stating, "Washington's response over the Iraqi proposed amendments on Status of Forces Agreement only have some positive points, but it seems not enough for the Iraqi side"; and they quote Iraq's Minister of Finance Bayan Jabr Solagh stating, "The cabinet will meet either on Saturday or on Sunday to review the last version of the SOFA draft and then will vote." People's Weekly World Newspaper quotes Iraq's Communist Party secretary of the central committee (and Iraqi MP) Hamid Mejaeed Mousa stating, "Our party is seeking, with others, to amend the agreement, because it is unacceptable in Iraqi society in its current draft. It will also not pass in the Parliament in this format, and we will be the first to reject it. . . . There has to be an agreement that ensures the evacuation of the foreign troops . . . their evacuation cannot take place by total rejection. It must be regulated by an agreement between the two sides. In all countries, regardless of the situation where there are foreign troops, their exit does not take place by only ignoring mutal dialogue and talks, but through an agreement. What matters, therefore, is the content of such an agreement, and what the principles and basis were for concluding it. That is the correct approach." Real News Network files a report on the treaty:

The Iraqi government has made more demands for more changes to the Status of Forces Security Agreement with the United States. The government of Prine Minister Nouri al-Maliki had already demanded changes to the agreement last month and last week the US sent an amended draft proposal back for approval. But even with the US acquiescence to Iraqi demands on Tuesday, Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh told the London based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, "The US reply to the Iraqi amendments is not satisfactory and there are many points that still need clarification and amendment." The agreement must be approved by the Iraqi parliament before the 31 December 2008 deadline of the U.N. mandate that allows US troops to operate legally within Iraq. Without an agreement the US would have to go back to the Security Council to get an extension.

The report includes an analysis by Gareth Porter whose work at IPS we've noted often [such as "Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud in Nineveh" (IPS) from November 2005.] Real News Network is always video and usually text as well.

While the treaty remains iffy, one thing was approved today. The
Saudi Gazetter reports al-Maliki's cabinet signed off on the $67 billion 2009 budget and that it now goes to the Parliament (which will ratify or turn thumbs down).

At the State Dept today Wood also noted that Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister, was in the US for an economic meet up with the White House and that Secretary of State Condi Rice will be meeting with him during the visit. Turkey and northern Iraq are in continous conflict and it is a rare day when the Turkish military's airplanes are not bombing northern Iraq. Whether that topic will figure into any talks or not is not being dicussed. Another Iraqi neighbor is in the need.
Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reports that despite the US assault on Syria October 26, the Syrian government has decided it will go through with a planned conference on November 22nd. The conference has invited Iraq, its neighbors, the US, the UK and others.

On the change of emperors in the US,
Paul Street (Black Agenda Report) weighs in with a must read and we'll excerpt this from it:

An old friend used to be a very smart Marxist and was an early member of SDS -- a real New Leftist. She refused to be given -- yes, refused to be given -- a copy of of my very careful and respectful book on the Obama phenomenon. "I can't read that," she said. Some of the names on the back of the book (Adolph Reed Jr., Noam Chomsky, and John Pilger) are former icons of hers (she introduced me to the writings of Adolph Reed, Jr. in the mid-1990s.) but now she's in love with Obama. "It's the best thing that could happen," she says about his election. She's repudiated her radical past and agrees with centrist American Enterprise Institute (AEI) "scholar" Norman Ornstein's recent ravings on how "the left" must not press Obama for very much right now (Ornstein's AEI-funded admonitions have recently been broadcast again and again across America's wonderful "public" broadcasting stations ("N" PR and "P" BS) because of, you know, "the economy" and all.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times (a left-liberal Obama critic during the primary campaign) says there's "something wrong with you" if you weren't "teary-eyed" about Obama's election. Yes, numerous other radicals and I need to be put under psychiatric care because we didn't cry over the militantly bourgeois and openly imperialist Obama's presidential selection.
We have the increasingly unglued white anti-racist Tim Wise screaming "Screw You" to Obama's harshes radical critics -- this after recklessly charging racism against working-class whites and Hillary Clinton supporters who had any issues with (the racially conciliatory) Obama.
[. . .]
The local bookstore, run by progressives (left-liberal Edwards supporters during the Iowa Caucus), is willing to sell my book but "too scared" to have an author event.
Few if any of these people have bothered to read a single solitary word of Obama's blatantly imperial, nationalist, and militarist foreign policy speeches and writings. And my sense is they never will. They do not care about such primary sources in the ongoing history of the Obama phenomenon.
For the last two years talking to many liberals and avowed "progressives" I know about Obama -- who I picked to be the next president in the fall of 2006 (I thought he was too simultaneously irresistible to both the power elite and the liberal base not to prevail) -- has been like talking to Republicans about George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2004; no room for messy and inconvenient facts.
I am hearing people of color identify with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that would be unimaginable without Obama. This may be the worst thing of all.

Paul Street's book is
Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics [Link takes you to] Independent journalist John Pilger (at Dissident Voice) continues his truth telling:

No serious scrutiny of this is permitted within the histrionics of Obama-mania, just as no serious scrutiny of the betrayal of the majority of black South Africans was permitted within the "Mandela moment." This is especially marked in Britain, where America's divine right to "lead" is important to elite British interests. The once respected Observer newspaper, which supported Bush's war in Iraq, echoing his fabricated evidence, now announces, without evidence, that "America has restored the world's faith in its ideals." These "ideals", which Obama will swear to uphold, have overseen, since 1945, the destruction of 50 governments, including democracies, and 30 popular liberation movements, causing the deaths of countless men, women and children.
None of this was uttered during the election campaign. Had it been allowed, there might even have been recognition that liberalism as a narrow, supremely arrogant, war-making ideology is destroying liberalism as a reality. Prior to Blair's criminal war-making, ideology was denied by him and his media mystics. "Blair can be a beacon to the world," declared the Guardian in 1997. "[He is] turning leadership into an art form."
Today, merely insert "Obama". As for historic moments, there is another that has gone unreported but is well under way -- liberal democracy's shift towards a corporate dictatorship, managed by people regardless of ethnicity, with the media as its clichéd façade. "True democracy," wrote Penn Jones Jr., the Texas truth-teller, "is constant vigilance: not thinking the way you're meant to think and keeping your eyes wide open at all times."

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