For those needing a laugh today, check out Carl Hulse's "Democrats Reluctantly Embrace Offshore Drilling, but Link Bill to Clean Energy" (New York Times). "Reluctantly" should make you laugh. They are going to rape the environment but, understand, they are doing so "reluctantly." Imagine a rapist appearing in court and saying, "Yes, your honor, I did rape that woman, but I did so reluctantly." You think the judge will say, "Oh, well if it was reluctantly, let's just forget the whole thing. People of the jury, he was reluctant in raping so you can go home now. Case dismissed."?
Mr. Hulse offers, "For decades, opposition to new offshore oil drilling has been a core principle of Congressional Democrats, ranking in the party pantheon somewhere just below protecting Social Security and increasing the minimum wage." So why the cave? Those wily Republicans!
You know they control both houses of Congress, right? No, they do not. The Democrats control both houses and even being the party in power they refuse to stand up.
From Mr. Hulse's article:
Anna Aurilio, director of the Washington office of Environment America, said Congress was on the verge of sacrificing 30 years of coastal protection. "It is a huge power grab on the part of the oil industry and its allies," Ms. Aurilio said, "and it won't do anything to help the public and will hurt the coast."
This is the party who rode to power in the 2006 mid-term elections on the promise that they would end the illegal war. The illegal war did not end. They have done nothing repeatedly.
Now they want to allow offshore drilling. While asking us to vote for them again?
Do they not grasp how weak and pathetic they look?
If you ask me, Ralph Nader should use the above cave in an advertisement. It explains better than anything that the Democrats have become a do-nothing party. In October 2006, they were the minority party in both house. The November elections changed that and gave them control of both houses. They did nothing. Now they argue vote for them and for Barack Obama and they will do something. The time to do something was when they took control of Congress.
All their current record offers is that they will continue cave but "reluctantly." That is not a strategy I support. It is one more reason I am voting for Ralph Nader.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
Thursday, September 11, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, at least 23 Iraqi deaths are reported today, cholera continues to grip Iraq, Japan says bye-bye, distrust remains between the "Awakening" Council and the puppet government, and more.
Matt Brown (Australia's ABC) observes, "The general in charge of American soldiers in Iraq has given a mixed assessment of progress in the country." That's Gen David Petraeus on his way out as top US commander in Iraq as he moves on to take over CENTCOM. And his remarks on BBC's Newsnight (click here for BBC text summary of the interview and a brief clip). BBC reports, "When asked if US troops could withdraw from Iraqi cities by the middle of next year, he said that would be 'doable'." Withdraw from Iraq cities, not withdraw. They'll move to those bases US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists aren't "permanent basis" because, philosopher Nancy points out, nothing is permanent. BBC also notes that Petraeus stated there would be no declared victory in Iraq. That might strike some as 'enlightened' because there is no victory in Iraq and the US long ago lost. But that wasn't what Petraeus meant as he made obvious by immediately referring to the "long struggle" he sees in the future for Iraq. The illegal war hits the six year mark this March and Petraeus sees what to come as a 'long struggle'? Exactly what does he think has gone on thus far?
Yesterday the US House Armed Services Committee held a hearing at which US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified and offered that the US would remain in Iraq for many "years to come -- although in changing and increasingly limited ways." Petraeus' interview echos the view of Gates that the illegal war is no where near an "end game" (Gates used that term yesterday) and that it will continue for many years to come.
There were a lot of lies told to start the illegal war and for it to continue a lot of lies continue to be told. Among the big liars today, the editorial board of The Detroit Free Press which isn't content to play dumb with War Hawk Barack Obama's remarks, they 'improve' (lie) about them. Lying through their teeth, they offer: "Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama wants to get all American forces out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office and focus more on Afghanistan. Leaders of the Iraqi government have said such a timetable could work. But Republican candidate Sen. John McCain believes a large-scale pullout would come at the risk of the current hard-won but fragile stability in Iraq." Not even aged groupie Tom Hayden lies like that for Barack today.
During the Democratic Party primaries, Barack did use the "16 months" figure. He did not use for "all American forces." He stated "combat troops" and always stated that US service members would remain in Iraq for "training" and "terrorism" activities. He never said "all America forces out of Iraq" and that an editorial board doesn't know that is beyond belief so the term is "lie." Campaigning in Houston, Texas, Barack suddenly dropped the timetable down to "ten months" but he was still referring to "combat forces" only. That was his campaign 'promise' but it wasn't a promise. Dropping back to the June 6th snapshot:
The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not rule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind." Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus. It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media. Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly. While running for the US Senate, he told Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal. His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win. (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run. We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.) At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate. The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate. Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed. "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon. The reality of what was in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online. In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials). To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned. "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands. The Iraq War was on it. But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president. There were no "I will end the Iraq War." All he did was offer what "we" wanted. It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited. Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .
There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power. The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list. Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." Poor sweet Sammy. No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England. The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out. On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail. She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House. Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions. That didn't happen. It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill. They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.
It was never a promise, it was empty words offered on the campaign trail as Samantha Power revealed to the BBC in an interview taped while she was a foreign policy advisor to Barack and aired after she left the campaign (she has since come back -- no one's supposed to notice that either). Had there been any adults, Samantha Power's statements would have immediately led to reporters questioning Barack non-stop about his advisor's statements. Had the press not been in the tank for Barack, his own statements on CNN June 5th would have led to hard grilling because he had clearly led the American people to believe he was making a promise when, in fact, it was no promise on his end. Everyone played dumb. From the July 4th snapshot:
Arab News notes, "For Obama, who recently changed his positions on campaign finance and a wiretapping law, the suggestion that he was also changing course on a central premise of his candidacy holds particular peril. While Obama has long said he would consult commanders in the field when withdrawing troops, that point might have been lost on many Democratic primary voters who supported his call to end the war." What's going on? A bit of reality on War Hawk Barack. Suzanne Goldenberg (Guardian of London) puts it this way, ".Barack Obama was yesterday fending off charges from right and left that he had abandoned the core premise of his candidacy - the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office - in an attempt to attract voters from the political centre." Suzanne's a little out of it. So were Katrina vanden Heuvel and Arianna Huffington on ABC's This Week last Sunday. Withdrawal in 16 months? That's 'so January 2008.' Barack promised withdrawal of all (combat) troops within 10 months in a speech in Houston, Texas. Always one to carry water for Barack, Tom Hayden immediately penned "End the War in 2009" (which popped up online at The Nation, Feb. 20th and elsewhere a bit later). Hayden: "In his victory speech in Texas Tuesday, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war in 2009, a new commitment that parallels recent opinion pieces in The Nation. Prior to his Houston remarks, Obama's previous position favored an American combat troop withdrawal over a sixteen-to-eighteen-month timeframe. He has been less specific on the number and mission of any advisors he would elave behind." (The Texas primary was in March. Barack was in Texas campaigning, for any more confused than usual by Tom-Tom's bad-bad writing.) Texas community members saw the 10 month 'promise' pushed in advertising as well as on the campaign trail. Those were his words (and Tom-Tom notes 'words matter') so let's all drop the nonsense that Barack's plan was 16 months (or at least leave the lying to Katrina who's become so very good at it). Goldenberg's uninformed, ignorant or lying -- take your pick. In her piece (dated tomorrow), she traces the uproar to Thursday when Barack said he might 'refine' his Iraq 'plan.' If that's when the uproar started, is Arianna Huffington psychic? Arianna was calling him out for 'refining' on Iraq Sunday on This Week. More water carrying from the allegedly 'independent' Guardian of London (which never wrote about the Downing Street Memos because 'independence' did not include informing people that Tony Blair lied England into an illegal war -- no time for 'truth-telling' while Blair was in office at any rate.) CNN reports that presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain and the RNC are calling Barack a "flip-flopper" and they quote Barack's 'clarification' where Barack lies and says he has always said 16 months. No, Barack, you went to ten months in February. AP reports he celebrated the 4th of July in Butte, Montana (Kansas, he's done with you, he got what he needed) eating a hot dog. Tom Baldwin (Times of London) observes, "Grassroots activists whose energy and donations have helped to propel Barack Obama towards the White House are suddenly choking on the bitter pill of disillusion.
In less than a month since clinching the Democratic nomination, he has performed a series of policy pirouettes to assuage concerns about his candidacy among a wider and more conservative electorate." Geoff Elliott (The Australian) points out, "Barack Obama has started a dramtic reversal of the policies that helped him defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination, softening hardlines stances on the Iraq war and troop withdrawals.
Campaigning in North Dakota, Senator Obama said that while the US could not sustain a long-term presence in Iraq, his trip to the Gulf nation this month might prompt him to "refine my policies" on the war." John Bentley (CBS News) quotes Brian Rogers of the McCain campaign stating, "Today, Barack Obama reversed that position, proving once again his words do not matter. He has now adopted John McCain's position that we cannot risk the progress we have made in Iraq by beginning to withdraw our troops immediately without concern for conditions on the ground. Now that Barack Obama has changed course and proven his past positions to be just empty words, we would like to congratulate him on taking John McCain's principled stand on this critical national security issue. If he had visited Iraq sooner or actually had a one-on-one meeting with Gen. Petraeus, he would have changed his position long ago." Jonathan Weisman (Washington Post) terms it Barack exploring "the possibility of slowing a promised, gradual withdrawal from Iraq". NPR has two audio reports here. How bad it is? A friend just called to laugh at ____'s latest nonsense. In place of a now killed feature for Third, we may address ____'s latest nonsense and his plethora of lies throughout the campaign. Poor ____, it's even harder to airbrush out reality today than it was following his expulsion from the Red Family commune in his "smash the state" days (when he fancied himself Chris Jones in Wild In The Street).
Despite being publicly insulted and dismissed by Barack ("Tom Hayden Democrats"), Hayden made the year (and most of 2007) all about cheerleading and lying for War Hawk Barack. On July 4th, he showed up at Aging Socialite's Cat Littler Box with a meltdown column ("Obama's Position on Iraq Could Put His Candidacy at Risk"") short on facts as he tried to pretend no one could have guessed what was then going on with Barack (saying he could change his 'plan' for withdrawing combat troops). Desperate to maintain his already strained credibility, Tom-Tom sought to lash out others and pin the blame on them:
The most shocking aspect of Samantha Powers' forced resignation earlier this year was not that she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" off-camera, but that she flatly stated that Obama would review his whole position on Iraq once becoming president. Again, no one in the media or rival campaigns questioned whether this assertion by Powers was true. Since Obama credited Powers with helping for months in writing his book, The Audacity of Hope, her comments on his inner thinking should have been pounced upon by the pundits.
First, here's the BBC interview on Iraq:
Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.
In his column, Tom-Tom pinned the blame on the media and rival candidates but, note, he grabbed no slice of the blame pie for himself. Tom doesn't have internet access? He missed the interview in real time? He had a hand cramp and couldn't write about it March when it took place or later in June when Barack made similar statements on CNN? Some in the US media did cover it in real time. The Washington Post covered it and you can click here for only one example of them covering it as the news broke (March 7th). Rival campaigns? Hillary Clinton's campaign called it out repeatedly but the trash in Panhandle Media wasn't about to stop their non-stop sliming of Hillary long enough to note reality.
The day after the news broke, March 8th, the Clinton campaign issued "MEMO: Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words:"Once again, it looks like Senator Obama is telling voters one thing while his campaign says those words should not be mistaken for serious action. After months of speeches from Senator Obama promising a hard end date to the Iraq war, his top foreign policy adviser that counseled his campaign during that period is on the record saying that Senator Obama will 'not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. Voters already have serious questions about whether Senator Obama is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Now there are questions about whether he's seriou about the Iraq plan he's discussed for the last year on the campaign trail. Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal. It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?
The Clinton campaign has since taken down the bulk of the campaign website (can't be critical of Barack!) but you can google the title and you will find it, you can google the title and almost any community site and find it running in real time. That wasn't the only press release from the Clinton campaign on that Power's statements re: Iraq. They repeatedly tried to raise the issue and Panhandle Media attacked them for it while rushing to defend counter-insurgency guru Samantha Power. July 6th, Third offered "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq" to Tom-Tom about all the cover ups that went on 'independent' media and how Tom-Tom was part of the cover up but he was far from alone:
So did John Nichols. C.I. called out John Nichols nonsense on Saturday March 8th (the day after Power's remarks were known) when Johnny Five-Cents was lamenting "Samantha Power and the Danger of Gotcha Politics." Not only did John Nichols cover for Samantha Power (his post at The Nation is labeled "03/07/2008 @ 11:28 pm" meaning his article went up that Friday hours and hours after the "Iraq snapshot" calling out Power did -- isn't Johnny Five-Cents supposed to be a 'journalist'?), so did you. You want to show up on July 4th and blame the lack of attention to this story on the MSM when The Washington Post was blogging about it as the story broke, when they would go on to do a print report on it and yet Panhandle Media couldn't even be bothered with it? Like Nichols, they were all lying. Davey D would go on to lament -- on KPFA's The Morning Show -- that Samantha "Powers" (it helps to know the name of the person you're broken up about, Davey) had left the campaign for (he said) calling Hillary a "monster." But let's stay with The Nation where Tom-Tom sits on the board. It never got into The Nation and he damn well knows that. Not on March 7th, not on March 8th. March 20th, Eric Alterman would feel the need to weigh in Power's leaving the campaign in "The Ritual Sacrifice of Samantha Power" and though he would note "monster" and "NAFTA," he never said a DAMN word about the BBC interview that entered the press cycle March 7th. He didn't say one DAMN word. It didn't stop there. Michael Massing's "The Power Conundrum" (published online May 22nd and in the June 9th issue of The Nation) found time to recount the "monster" remark which was rather strange since he was reviewing Power's book on the UN involvement in the Iraq War. Wouldn't the better thing to have referenced when reviewing a book on Iraq have been Power's remarks on Barack's so-called "promise"? June 12th, John Nichols was back on the scene ["Students for Hillary, er, McCain (or McKinney)" -- what a wit and joy he must be for the others at the SciFi conventions] quoting a missive that referred to the "monster" incident. No need on his part to enlarge the topic and note Power's interview to the BBC. March 12th -- five days after the Power remarks were in the news -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- Air Berman was offering "It's Okay to be Intemperate!" (at The Nation's blog Campaign '08) and yet again recounting Samantha Power's 'unjust' departure over the "monster" remark (when not licking Hendrick Hertzberg's aging sack). Never once -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- did Berman mention Power's remarks to the BBC. He would conclude his sad eulogy to Sammy (and presumably devote full attention to "Rick") with this, "Thanks to the events of the past week, campaign officials will be even more guarded when dealing with the media, and I don't blame them. It's an outcome that benefits no one." Apparently Ari thought he could help fight that trend by not telling readers what Samantha Power said about the Iraq 'promise'? It needs to be noted that the day the news broke, Ari Berman attempted to distract from Power's statement by filing "Clinton Does McCain's Bidding" which was nothing but his rummaging through old chat & chew transcripts in an effort to discredit Hillary on Iraq. Needless to say, he said nothing about Power. [As we noted in our March 9th in "Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia."] What we got from the alleged 'independent' media (including The Nation) and from the alleged 'independent' web was inane defenses of War Hawk Samantha Power that avoided her Iraq remarks. Check out Josh Michah's Marshy & Hairy Butt Crack where Greg Sargent posted "New Hillary Campaign Video Seeks To Revive Samantha Power Controversy." It's a March 19th post and what does Sargent conclude of the commercial featuring Power revealing that Barack's 'promise' isn't a promise? A snippy: "Given that this is weeks-old story, the timing of its release is pretty obvious: The Hillary camp is hoping to use it to overshadow Obama's big Iraq speech today." That's from mind reader Greg Sargent and even then (and terming the commercial an "attack video"), check out the reaction of Josh's groupies (conditioned to salivate at the mention of Barack's name): "Ah, Hillary. Desperation becomes her," purrs one while Patagonia and das2003 lead the sizeable number who are offended and outraged that the video was even posted at Joshy's site.
Over at Mother Jones, David CornNuts kind-of sort of covered it (as C.I. noted March 10th) huffing ("An Ugly Moment for the Clinton Campaign," March 10th) that the campaign "took the unusual step of convening a second conference call of the day for reporters. And it was a sorry spectacle." (CornNuts, you went nuts.) Davey C writes "the Clintonites pounced on the comments" -- comments, pay attention Tom Hayden -- that Davey C immediately dismissed: "In other words, a campaign proposal is just that: a proposal. And only a fool would think that a military plan would be applied to reality unchaged a year after it was first devised." That's what happened Tommy Hayden -- AS YOU DAMN WELL KNOW -- Panhandle Media mainly ignored it and then the CornNuts crowd excused it and attacked Hillary for raising the issue. They lied repeatedly and we can outline that (mainly because we already have -- starting with John Nichols' LIE that Samantha Power and Hillary knew each other very well when Power told Charlie Rose they'd only met once). C.I. led on this at The Common Ills, but we all called it out at community sites and we didn't do it for one day or one week. We stayed on the story. The one Tom Hayden couldn't bother to write about until July 4th -- even though it took place March 7th. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and others in the MSM did cover it and the response was silence from 'independent' media and attacks from the Barack groupies in comments and e-mails to the outlets.
Tom Hayden is a flat out liar who has disgraced himself. July 4th he wanted to claim that Real Media ignored it (they didn't) and that the Clinton campaign didn't attempt to highlight Power's interview when they did (and got slammed for it by Panhandle Media over and over). Tom Hayden and many others provided non-stop cover for Barack. They refused to call him out and then want to act shocked today that he's not the man they repeatedly lied to assert he was. Today The Detroit Free Press chooses to join the Liars Club by insisting that Barack has promised to pull all US troops out from Iraq in 16 months. It's exactly all this covering and looking the other way for Barack that goes to how he has never been vetted and how his 'anti-war' credentials are nothing but hype.
That's not how the media is supposed to work -- Real Media or Panhandle Media. But all this time later, it's still the story. A few voices explore the reality (Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon are among the few). Last week, there was another voice speaking the truth but no one wanted to explore that, no one rushed to book him on Panhandle Media programs, no one rushed to explore his observations. From Chris Floyd's "Surge Protectors: Obama Embraces Bush-McCain Spin on Iraq" (Baltimore Chronicle): "But it is Obama's surrender on the Iraq War front -- or rather, the anti-Iraq War front -- that is most striking, and most disheartening. On the very night that John McCain was putting the 'success' of the surge at the center of his campaign, Obama was openly, cravenly laying down one of his chief weapons at the feet of Bill O'Reilly. Obama's cheerleading for the surge -- 'beyond our wildest dreams!' -- surpassed anything that McCain himself has claimed for the escalation." Instead, we pretend we don't see what's before our eyes, instead The Detroit Free Press lies that Barack's promised a complete withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq in 16 months. As bad as Tom Hayden's been this entire election cycle (pretty bad), even he has gone that far to lie. It should also be noted that the Obama campaign has floated the notion that, should Barack be elected, he might keep Robert Gates on as his Secretary of Defense. Change you can believe in?
Wednesday, Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) noticed that the Bully Boy's Tuesday speech on Iraq and Afghanistan indicated that other countries are leaving the so-called 'coalition': "The presence of other countries in Iraq, even if the troop contribution was modest, has long been used by the Bush administration as a way of deflecting criticism that its actions in Iraq were "unilateral." Now, Bush is portraying their departure as a sign of "return on success," his policy of bringing home troops as conditions improve in Iraq." Today AFP reports, "Japan said Thursday it was ending an air mission in Iraq, wrapping up a military deployment which was historic for the pacifist nation but deeply unpopular among the public."
Yesterday afternoon the Los Angeles Times' Raheem Salman and Ned Parker reported at the paper's blog (Baghdad & Beyond) on the issue of provincial elections in Iraq, noting that the Parliament had created a working body "to strike a compromise" on legislation that would address the issue. The United Nations is working on a proposal they will release at the end of the month or early in October. In the meantime, they've joined the chorus of "Kirkuk Can Wait!" -- that the issue of the oil-rich Kirkuk (whether it remains with the central government or becomes a part of the Kurdish region) can yet again be delayed. The issue of Kirkuk has been delayed repeatedly. Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that Kirkuk Stadium remains filled with Kurdish refugees kicked out of their homes and forced to Kirkuk in an effort to pack the city with pro-Kurdish voters for when the election deciding the fate of Kirkuk is ever held but in the meantime they live in "mud and cinder-block huts beneath the stands, in the parking lots and the luxury boxes, and it's no longer beautiful. It's a dirty, sewage-ridden slum and Rasoul is the unofficial mayor." Stephen Farrell's "As Iraqis Vie for Kirkuk's Oil, Refugee Kurds Becomes Pawns" (New York Times) reported on these conditions back in December and there has been no improvement. But, apparently, Kirkuk can wait. Even as a cholera outbreak grips Iraq. AP reports that Salih al-Hasnawi (Iraq's Minister of Health) held a press conference in Baghdad earlier today to note that Baghdad (and surrounding areas) were now also seeing the outbreak and that the region of Iraq has seend the deaths of 5 from the disease with at least 36 people confirmed as having cholera in the region. Note, that's "Baghdad and sourthern areas." The United Nations notes 10 deaths thus far with "174 suspected cases" and that: "The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing technical support to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, and, along with other UN entities, has been aiding cholera-affected governorates since the disease resurfaced three weeks ago. WHO has taken on a coordination role in efforts to tackle cholera and is working to fortify Iraq's disease surveillance system in identifying new cases. It is also supplying emergency supplies to laboratories to enhance their testing capability."Meanwhile the "Awakening" Council is back in the news. These are the Sunni thugs on the US payroll ($300 a month for males, $280 for females) because, as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told Congress repeatedly in April, paying them off means they don't attack US equipment or soldiers. That's a lot of lunch money to fork over each money to be safe on the 'playground.' Puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, has long been vocally opposed to the "Awakening" Councils. That's because he staffed with Shi'ite thugs. The two most extreme segments of Iraq are at war with one another. al-Maliki has made it very clear he has little use for the "Awakening" Councils and his staff has echoed that repeatedly. With US Senators and House Reps loudly objecting to the tax payer monies being spent on this program (one Petraeus hails) last April, there's been a push to have the puppet government (sitting on billions) pay the "Awakening" Council itself. (Senator Barbara Boxer was especially vocal in April asking why the puppet government wasn't paying them.) The new talk is that al-Maliki will begin paying them but distrust remains on both sides.
Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al-Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that despite for-show motions in public on the part of the puppet government, "Awakening" Council leaders remain skepitcal (with one saying after the latest press conference, "I don't trust a word they say") that the puppet government will take charge and pay the 99,000 "Awakening" members or that 20,000 will be absorbed "into the police and army" starting October 1st. Thursday's press conference found Gen Abud Ganbar declaring, "The government has ordered that monthly salaries be paid until we can put (Awakening members) into security forces or ministires. Payments will continue until they find jobs." That leaves "Awakening" leaders skeptical and the reporters quote various voices explaining why including the claim that the puppet government has hired al Qaeda members. Khalid al-Ansary and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) report on the puppet government side where grave doubts are repeatedly raised ("But he also expressed distaste for some members of the predominantly Sunni Arab Awakening movement, an aversion shared by some other officials.") as is the argument that there is need "to weed out" certain members. In other words, Thursday's press conference reassured no one and the tensions remain.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people and a Baghdad truck bombing that claimed 1 life and left three more wounded. Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing claimed 2 lives and left seven more people wounded, a Baghdad mini-bus bombing that claimed the lives of 3 "civil servants from the housing and construction ministry" and a Kerbala mini-bus bombing that claimed 2 lives and left twenty people injured.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Rokan Al Kayali ("tribal sheikh") was shot dead in Diyala Province along with "his infant son". Reuters notes "a Shi'ite man and his wife and son" were all shot dead in Mosul, that Iraqi police officers shot dead 2 suspects, a Sadiyah home invasion that resulted in the deaths of 5 family members,
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul.
Turning to the US race for president, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader promises to end the illegal war. Team Nader notes:
Drop $6 on Nader/Gonzalez.
We're pulling solid numbers in key swing states.
Including 6 percent in Michigan, according to yesterday's CNN/Time poll.
Nobody can say what will happen over the next seven weeks.
What we can say is this:
Independents are now positioned for an historic breakthrough.
Yesterday, Ron Paul appeared with Ralph Nader on CNN.
And together they announced a joint breakaway from the "evil of the two lessers" -- the Democrats and the Republicans.
We need to continue to ratchet up the pressure on the corporate controlled, illegitimate two party system.
To break through the media blackout.
To break through into the debates.
To let the people know --
There is a choice in November.
A candidacy that will deliver full Medicare for all.
A living wage.
A peaceful solar economy.
Reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Let's keep the pressure on.
Don't let up.
Here's one thing you can do.
Donate $6 now to Nader/Gonzalez.
To help meet our goal of $80,000 by Constitution Day -- September 17.
(Remember -- Ralph Nader will appear on Lou Dobbs tonight at 7:00 pm EST.)
Together, we are making a difference.
Onward to November.
michael abramowitzthe washington post
mcclatchy newspapersnicholas spanglerthe new york timesstephen farrellmohammed al dulaimythe los angeles timesraheem salmanned parker