Friday, October 10, 2008

Breast Cancer Awareness Month

On any given day, C.I. has a hundred and one things members and friends want noted. Last night, Gina asked (during the roundtable in today's gina & krista round-robin) what one thing did you (C.I.) want to note that you weren't able to? C.I. said Laura Bush's remarks about Breast Cancer Awareness. There were just too many other things going on, C.I. said.

So I thought I would note First Lady Laura Bush speaking October 7th:

Mrs. Bush's Remarks at a Breast Cancer Awareness Month Event
North Lawn

6:58 P.M. EDT

MRS. BUSH: Welcome, everyone. I'm so happy you're here at the White House. Thanks to all of the researchers, the doctors, the advocates, and the others who have joined us tonight in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

This October we recognize breast cancer survivors who -- those struggling with the disease, and the many family members and friends who support them. And we reaffirm our commitment to saving women's lives by raising awareness of breast cancer around the world.

The north side of the the White House turned pink on the evening of Oct. 7, 2008 to raise awareness about breast cancer. The unique view of the North Portico and the side of the house facing Lafayette Park was in observance of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer awareness is a cause Mrs. Laura Bush has worked on around the world. The World Health Organization estimates that each year more than 1.2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with it and breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for women.  White House photo by Grant Miller Here to begin our event is breast cancer survivor, Erin Walsh. Erin traveled with me in October 2007 on the trip to the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Jordan. She was instrumental in setting up the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Research and Awareness, which is bringing together researchers and advocates from the United States and those three countries. Thank you, Erin, for sharing your story with us tonight. (Applause.)

(Erin Walsh shares her story.)

MRS. BUSH: Thank you, Erin. And thank you for telling us your story, and thank you for being the one who really thought of reaching out around the world, for all American women to reach out to our sisters around the world to talk about breast cancer. Thank you very much, Erin.

I want to acknowledge Ambassador Nancy Brinker, my good friend and the founder of -- she's the Chief of Protocol for the United States, and the founder of the Susan G. Komen Foundation, named for her sister, Susan, who died of breast cancer. Thank you so much, Nancy. (Applause.) Jedd Medefind is here. He's the Acting Director of the White House Office of Faith-Based and Community Service. Thank you very much, Jedd, for coming.

Twenty-three years ago, October was designated Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Then, when -- 23 years ago when it was first named that, most American women knew nothing about breast cancer. They didn't know how to protect themselves, and then the disease was often diagnosed too late for successful treatment.

A lot has changed in 23 years -- and we can thank the advocates, the researchers, and medical professionals here tonight for much of our progress. Today, American women know to perform breast self-exams and to get yearly mammograms. They know to research their family histories to see if they have breast cancer in their family. And they're speaking out to share their experiences with the disease. Increasingly, they are telling stories of survival -- like Erin Walsh, who just shared her story with us tonight.

Mrs. Laura Bush prepares to push the button, Oct. 7, 2008, to light up the White House in a pink glow as part of Breast Cancer Awareness. Preventing and curing breast cancer is a cause that Mrs. Bush has worked toward around the world.  White House photo by Chris Greenberg Breast cancer does not respect national boundaries. And neither can our nation's efforts to stop it. The World Health Organization estimates that more than 1.2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer each year. Many live in countries where the disease carries stigma and shame. By sharing the lessons we've learned, Americans can empower more women to detect breast cancer early, which today is the closest we have to a cure.

In 2006, I announced the U.S.-Middle East Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research. This partnership, funded by the Middle East Partnership Initiative, unites the medical expertise of the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center and the educational resources of Susan G. Komen for the Cure with local organizations in Saudi Arabia, Jordan, and the United Arab Emirates. Already, the Partnership has reached more than 17,000 beneficiaries. And at the end of this month, it'll expand its influence with a historic regional conference, bringing together more than a hundred breast cancer advocates from 15 different countries.

This outreach is showing results. In Jordan, the number of women who received mammograms jumped from 431 in October 2006 to 1,700* in October last year. At Jordan's King Hussein Cancer Foundation, Suzanne Murad testifies to the importance of these screenings. Four years ago, Suzanne discovered an abnormality in her breast and began receiving treatments for cancer. Today, this mother of three remains cancer free. She tells other women that many factors helped her, but "the most important was that the cancer was detected early."

In Saudi Arabia, Dr. Samia Al-Amoudi is living proof of a survivor's power to speak out and save lives. In a culture where many women are ashamed to discuss breast cancer, Dr. Samia was one of the first Saudi women to share her experience with the disease. She uses her weekly column to write about her struggle with breast cancer, and she continues to share her story in books, newspapers, and television interviews.

Last year, Dr. Samia showed me the Abdullatif Cancer Screening Center in Riyadh. Since my tour, the number of women receiving breast cancer screenings at the Center has increased almost five-fold, from an average of six patients a day to more than 25 patients a day now. Dr. Samia is here with us today. Thank you, Dr. Samia, for encouraging Saudi women to take charge of their health. (Applause.)

In the hope of achieving similar results in our region, I announced the Partnership for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research of the Americas in July 2007. This effort is building collaboration among researchers and advocates in the United States, Brazil, Mexico, and Costa Rica. Dr. Maira Caleffi is here today from Brazil. She founded the breast health institute that's giving thousands of women in her country access to breast cancer screenings and treatment. Thank you, Dr. Caleffi, for your work. (Applause.)

Floodlights turned the north side of the the White House pink on the evening of Oct. 7, 2008 to raise awareness about breast cancer. The unique view of the North Portico facing Lafayette Park was to observe Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Breast cancer awareness is a cause for which Mrs. Laura Bush has worked to motivate both public and private sectors, worldwide, as as she has encouraged collaborative research to find a cure. The World Health Organization says each year more than 1.2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with it and breast cancer is one of the leading causes of death for women. White House photo by Grant Miller The United States' efforts around the world rely on the resources and the expertise of private institutions -- institutions like the Susan G. Komen for the Cure, the M.D. Anderson Cancer Center, and the Avon Breast Cancer Crusade. This afternoon, the State Department hosted a symposium highlighting international work by each of these organizations. Thank you very much for your contributions. And thanks to everyone here for your commitment to ending breast cancer. From foundations to hospitals, from support groups to citizen advocates -- no matter how you take part in the cause, your work is helping save lives.

We can still do more to support breast cancer treatment and awareness. In honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, I sent a letter inviting ambassadors at every United States embassy to participate in these efforts by displaying a pink ribbon, hanging a banner, or taking other appropriate steps. Many of our embassies are already involved. In February, the embassy of New Delhi helped organize the city's first-ever 5K walk for breast cancer awareness. And last December, our embassy in Kosovo launched the Balkans Breast Cancer Initiative to raise regional awareness of the disease.

Tonight in Washington, we're showing our support of breast cancer awareness and research in a historic way. In recognition of the mothers, daughters, sisters, and wives who struggle with this disease, we're lighting the White House in pink, which is the color of the cause. May our lights tonight shine as beacons around the world -- a signal of the United States' commitment to saving lives from breast cancer.

Are ready? (Applause.) Okay.

(The White House is lit pink.)

Mrs. Laura Bush applauds after pushing the button to flood the north front of the White House with a sea of pink, in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, on Oct. 7, 2008. Bush addressed breast cancer survivors and advocates and members of the diplomatic corps just before the light display. The First Lady has encouraged worldwide efforts in preventing and curing a disease that is the leading cause of death in women. Each year more than 1.2 million people worldwide are diagnosed with breast cancer. The United States is working with countries in the Middle East, Europe and the Americas to empower women to take control of their health, raise awareness about the importance of prevention and early diagnosis, and support collaborative research to find a breast cancer cure.  White House photo by Chris Greenberg Thank you all very much. Thanks so much to all of our great workers. (Applause.)

I appreciate that she spoke on the issue and agree with C.I. that it should have been noted. When C.I. mentioned that I was totally lost and was glad to know I was not the only one. I did not read anything on Ms. Bush's remarks and had not heard or seen any reports on it.

I am just going to focus on this topic tonight. In my lifetime, I have seen a shift in breast cancer. It used to be an 'unmentionable.' You could not talk about it. You might whisper about it to a few friends but it wasn't anything you discussed openly. So there has been a real change in our awareness of it.

This is from Tina Stevens' "Celebrate Breast Cancer Awareness Month with facts" (The Daily Journal) explaining some basics about breast cancer:

Anyone can get breast cancer. For example, did you know?
n The older a woman is, the more likely she is to get breast cancer.
n White women are more likely to get breast cancer than any other racial or ethnic group. They also have a better chance of survival, primarily because their cancer is usually detected earlier.
n African-American women are more likely to die from breast cancer than white women.
All women are at risk for breast cancer. The majority of women who get breast cancer have no known risk factors except being a woman and getting older.
Just because other family members have had breast cancer doesn't mean their disease was inherited. Some breast cancers are inherited from your parents. However, only 5-10 percent of all breast cancer happens because of genetics.
Your chances of surviving are better if a cancer is detected early, before it spreads to other parts of your body. In fact, when breast cancer is confined to the breast, the five-year survival rate is over 95 percent. That is why it is so important to take steps to detect breast cancer in its earliest stages.

Dave Mejias addresses some other aspects in "October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month" (Farmingdale Observer):

Breast cancer is the second leading cause of cancer death in women. Although less common, males also suffer from breast cancer. The American Cancer Society estimates that in 2007 some 2,030 new cases of invasive breast cancer will be diagnosed among men in the United States.
If you're worried about developing breast cancer, or if you know someone who has been diagnosed with the disease, one way to deal with your concerns is to get as much information as possible. Nassau University Medical Center offers free mammographies at the hospital in East Meadow. If you are unable to get to the hospital, my legislative office, in conjunction with NUMC offers free mobile van mammographies in the district twice a year. You can contact my office at 571-6214 and we will direct you towards local organizations or medical services to fit your needs.

The most important thing we can do to combat this epidemic is to reach out to family, friends, neighbors and community members and be sure our loved ones are receiving one mammography per year. The Best Protection is Early Detection.

I do not normally link to Fox "News"; however, they are one of five outlets I can find that covered First Lady Laura Bush. Greta Van Susteren interviewed her for On The Record (which Ms. Van Susteren hosts and link has transcript and video option):

VAN SUSTEREN: Mrs. Bush, nice to see you.

LAURA BUSH, FIRST LADY: Thank you, Greta.

VAN SUSTEREN: And I can't help but notice you're wearing pink.

BUSH: I'm wearing pink, that's right, for breast cancer awareness month, October, which is a good time for everyone, all women, to get their mother and their sister and make their appointments for a mammogram and really pay attention to it.
Because we know that the best thing we have for a cure is early detection. So it's really important for women to take charge of their health and make sure they have the screenings that are necessary.

VAN SUSTEREN: You've amped up the notice. Last year, of course, we went to the Middle East, but I can't help but mention how spectacular the White House looked--the "pink house," I should say.

BUSH: That's right. Didn't it look so pretty?
I got an e-mail this morning. Last night we lit the White House pink for breast cancer awareness. There was a symposium across the street at Blair House that included women from around the world, spouses of ambassadors and women ambassadors from around the world to talk about the way women can reach out to each other everywhere, like we did in Saudi Arabia and Jordan and UAE. You went with me on that trip last year.
But I got an email early this morning from one of the White House operators, who couldn't come out while we were turning the lights, the pink lights, on the White House because she was working answering the phone at the White House. But she said she finally got a break about 10:40. And so she asked the policeman that was there, she said, "Is the White House still pink?" And she had a chance to run over and stand in front of it.
And she said-and this sort of makes me want to weep-that when she stood there--she's a breast cancer survivor and her sister is suffering from breast cancer right now-that it made her want to weep standing there.
And she was so thrilled to see the White House pink for breast cancer awareness, for all the women, you know, both who have breast cancer now and are struggling with it or the many good friends and family members that we've lost to breast cancer.

And this is from Mary Gottschalk's "Battles against breast cancer are told in display of aprons" (San Jose Mercury News):

"We All Have a Story to Tell" is the title of the exhibit of these aprons, opening Oct. 5 at Commuknity, 1345 The Alameda, as part of its annual breast cancer awareness programs.
Tosca Lewis' apron has a tree of life in the center representing herself. She surrounded it with the names of all the women she has known who have had breast cancer because, she writes, "I honor those who have gone before me for their courage."
Mary Ellen Presta's apron always brings a smile as observers read her warning, "Hand over the tumor and no one gets hurt!"
The single piece in the exhibit made by a man is by Wayne Gray in memory of his late wife Anne Mills Gray.
Gray made a sculpture of a coastal redwood with photos of his late wife and their life together. Anchoring the tree is a photo of Anne above a miniature apron wrapped around the tree trunk.
The genesis of "We All Have a Story to Tell" was a plain white apron that Saratoga artist Bonnie Stone sent to her friend Anne Gaigenbaum.
Stone wanted to support her friend as she battled a rare form of stomach cancer, so she sewed

a large plastic pocket on the front and suggested Gaigenbaum fill it with notes, mementos and anything else that would help her.

Do something to raise awareness of breast cancer this month. On a different topic, Elaine's "The Common Ills" went up tonight and is a wonderful piece of writing. This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Friday, October 10, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, another journalist is killed, yesterday's assassination causes more suspicions of the US, Iraqi Christians are targeted says an Archbishop, and more.

Yesterday at the White House, spokesperson Dana Perino was asked about Iraqi Christians "losing representation in Iraq's Muslim-dominated legislature" and Perino responded that "I think that that was resolved and the Christians' rights were restored." (Full answer: "I'll check, but I think you should double check, because I think that that was resolved and the Christians' rights were restored.") No, they were not. Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "a separate bill" will be sent "to parliament to restore" Article 50. The bill may or not pass. But the provincial elections bill, which passed by Parliament, passed the presidency council and was signed into law by Iraqi president Jalal Talabani, eliminated Article 50 which guaranteed representation to religious minorities. Yesterday, Kim Gamel (AP) reported that in Mosul so far this month, 7 corpses of Iraqi Christians have been discovered, notes that a person's religion is listed on the state i.d., that there are approximately 800,000 Iraqi Christians still in the country, and quotes Chaldean Archibishop Louis Sako stating, "We are worried about the campaign of killings and deportations against the Christian citizens in Mosul." The Kurdish Globe reported yesterday that the Yazidis and the Christians continue protesting over the elimination of Article 50 and quotes Jamil Zeito ("head of the Seriaques-Chaldeans Public Council") stating, "We will demonstrate and protest until we achieve autonomous rights for Christians in our districts as well as fair representation for religious minorities, including Christians, in the provincial elections. The protests and demonstrations will not stop till we accomplish our fair rights; ignoring the rights of minorities indicates incomplete democracy in Iraq." And, as AINA reports, the issue has led to protests elsewhere as well such as the Iraqi embassy in Sweden where protestors gathered and Isak Monir ("spokesman for the Chaldean Federation in Sweden") explained, "Since the decision to exclude minorities representatives was taken by the Iraqi parliament the violence against Christians has increased remarkably. The groups who want Iraq cleaned from other ethnic and religious groups maybe felt that they are backed up by the parliament and consequently have begun to kill Christians again. They want a homogeneous Iraq -- cleaned from other ethnic and religious groups." Ethan Cole (Christian Post) notes the 3 Iraqi Christians killed on Tuesday in Mosul and he explains of Mosul "the city is a historic center for Assyrian Christians, who view it as their ancestral homeland. It is home to the second-largest community of Christians in Iraq, after Baghdad." Asia News (via Catholic Today) identifies the dead:

More Christian blood in Mosul. On October 7, a father and son were killed in the neighborhood of Sukkar while they were working. Amjad Hadi Petros and his son were killed because "they were guilty of being Christian" in a place where a "systematic persecution" is being seen. In a second attack, recorded in another of the city's neighborhoods, a fundamentalist group broke into a pharmacy and killed an assistant, also of the Christian religion.
We also recounted the execution, on Monday, October 6, of Ziad Kamal, a 25-year-old disabled shop owner in the city. The young man owned a store in the neighborhood of Karama: he was taken by an armed group from inside his store and brought to a nearby spot, where he was shot to death. Also, on Saturday, October 4, two more men were barbarously assassinated in two other areas of Mosul: Hazim Thomaso Youssif, 40, was killed in front of the clothing store he owned, while 15-year-old Ivan Nuwya was shot to death in the neighborhood of Tahrir, outside of his house in front of the local mosque of Alzhara.

Vatican Radio offers a report:

Vatican Radio: Concern is growing once again over violence against Christians in nothern Iraq where, in the last week alone, seven of them have been killed in the city of Mosul. Attacks have tapered off amid a drastic decline in overall violence nationwide but these latest killings have sparked renewed fears. The Chaldean Archbishop of Kirkuk, Luis Sako, has condemned the violence.

Archbishop Sako: In Mosul the situation is terrible especially for the Christians and many families left the city, children cannot go to the school and also people cannot go to work they are staying in their houses. Just a real tragedy for them. I made an appeal to the Mosul population because I am from Mosul -- I lived years in Mosul, in a parish -- and I had many, many relationships with Muslims most of them so I made a call and an appeal. This appeal has been delivered in all the local medias. This could be helpful to encourage Muslim moderates to react and to do something.

The United Nations and Peoples Organization notes the Wednesday meeting of the European Parliament of the EPP-ED in Brussles which addressed "Christian Communities in the Muslim World: Iraq". Archbishop of Mosul Basile Georges Casmoussa called the crisis "heartbreaking" and stated Iraq Christians make up 40% of the refugee population despite being only 4% of Iraq's population. He also noted that that "aid was not reaching Christians in Iraq". The report also notes: "Kirkuk was identified as a crucial issue by Ms. Naglaa Elhag, of the IKV Pax Christi organization, in her presentation on 'The Situation of Refugees in Iraq' -- the topic of the final panel. Until this was addressed and Europe adopted a cohesive policy there were few positive signs to be seen in the region Ms. Elhag concluded. Even outside Iraq, Christians continued to find themselves excluded from basic social services and had to face ongoing intimidation and violence. There was also a pressing need to hold the Iraqi government accountable for its failure to adequately protect the Iraqi Christian minority." Marwan Ibrahim (AFP) reports Archbishop Louis Sako declared today, "We are the target of a campaign of liquidation, a campaign of violence. The objective is political. . . . We have heard many words from Prime Minister Maliki, but unfortunately this has not translated into reality. We continue to be targeted. We want solutions, not promises." So, to toss back to Dana Perino, no, "that" was not "resolved."

Dana Priest (Washington Post) was online at her paper yesterday afternoon for a discussion with readers and the topic of the National Intelligence Estimate [] was raised. Priest: "The jist of the NIE has been known for a while, since all the reporting that the Washington Post and other major news organizations have been doing over the past year says, basically, the same thing. In this sense, the NIE does not offer a big revelation; it just brings the series of daily intel/military analysis on Afghanistan to a higher level with more visibility. Unlike the days before the Iraq war, many people have access to what's happening in afghanistan and are willing to share it with reporters, in part because they are frustrated it's not getting more attention and they believe it should if, as we have said since 9-11, defeating terrorism is a priority." Wednesday Jonathan S. Landay, Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reported on the upcoming National Intelligence Estimate (which may or may not be released prior to the US elections in November), "The draft NIE, however, warns that the improvements in security and political progress, like the recent passage of a provincial election law, are threatened by lingering disputes between the majority Shiite Arabs, Sunni Arabs, Kurds and other minorities, the U.S. officials said. Sources of tension identified by the NIE, they said, include a struggle between Sunni Arabs, Kurds and Turkmen for control of the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk; and the Shiite-led central government's unfulfilled vows to hire former Sunni insurgents who joined Awakening groups." At the White House yesterday Dana Perino noted that US Secretary of State Condi Rice has not read the report. Not a slam at Condi, just noting that the report is under wraps. Rice noted she hadn't read it in brief remarks to the press before meeting with Maris Reikstins (Lativian Foreign Affairs Minister) in DC, "Well, in fact, I have actually not seen the NIE. I will -- I assume that we'll be briefed on it shortly. But in any case, we had asked for the intelligence community to take a look. It's important that it do so." The issue of the NIE was raised at Thursday's State Dept press briefing conducted by Sean McCormack who noted, "She [Rice] has not yet seen it, and I don't believe any of the policy makers in the State Department have seen any drafts of this assessment. I would expect at some point that they will be briefed on it."

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Iraqi MP Saleh al-Auaeili was assassinated yesterday. al-Auqaeili had been one of the 30 member Sadr bloc in Parliament. Tensions are high over the assassination and Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) reports overnight fighting in the Sadr City section of Baghdad between, on one side, Sadr supporters and, on the other, Iraqi and US forces. Fleishman also notes that Ahmed Massoudi ("a Sadr spokesman") states, "The occupation sent us a message by staging this attack [the assassination] because of our stance against the agreement." Sam Dagher (New York Times) quotes Sheik Salah al-Obeidi (Moqtada al-"Sadr's chief spokesman") stating, "By killing Ugaili they are silencing a major opponent of the agreement" -- which would be the treaty the White House and the puppet of the occupation want to pretend is a SOFA. Sheik al-Obeidi ties the assassination in with other pressure to push on the treaty including US Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte's visit to Iraq this week and he also notes that a demonstration will take place October 18th in Baghdad "against the American presence in Iraq." Ernesto London (Washington Post) quoted MP Ahmad al-Massoudi stating, "We have laid the blame on the occupation forces and the Iraqi government for the martyrdom of [the lawmaker] because the explosion happened in an area that is under the control of" the US military (the Green Zone). Marwa Sabah (AFP) reports that the "[m]ourners shouted anti-American slogans . . . as relatives hugged each other and wept while the wooden coffin of Ogayly was brought out of his home early on Friday draped in the tri-colour Iraqi flag." Khaled Farhan (Reuters) notes a statement released by Moqtada al-Sadr: "The martyr gave most of his time to eject the occupiers. . . . And for this reason the hand of the hateful occupation and terrorism killed him." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explains that observers (US and Iraqi) are noting a shift from acts of violence targeting mass numbers of people to assassination attempts "using magnetic bombs, weapons with silencers and bicycle bombs. As provinicial elections approach, some officials worry that assassinations will increase as political parties try to eradicate their competitors." Leila Fadel (McClatchy) quotes the statement by al-Sadr reading, "Here is another star that brightens in the sky of martyrs, of Sadr followers and the sons of Iraq. Another martyr waters the land of Iraq with his blood, a martyr that sacrifices himself for the sake of Iraq and the people of Iraq, a martyr that gave all of his time to expel the occupier and not to sign agreements with him."

Tensions in Baghdad also include the ongoing conflict between northern Iraq and Turkey. Hurriyet notes reports coming out stating that Turkey will be "direct talks with the regional administration in the northern Iraq in its fight against the terror organization, PKK". CNN notes that Turkey bombed northern Iraq again today. Reuters provides the catch-up for the latest tensions, "Turkey's parliament on Wednesday approved a government request to extend for another year a mandate to launch military operations against PKK rebels based in northern Iraq from where they are suspected of crossing into Turkey to attack soldiers. Turkish authorities are under mounting pressure after a series of deadly attacks on Turkish security forces and police, which has left more than 20 dead in recent days." Meanwhile the Turkish Daily News offers this observation, "It looks like the [Turkish] government will not bow to pressure from the opposition which calls for a ground incursion to Iraq as well as setting up a security zone in the border." At the US State Dept today, spokesperson Sean McCormack was asked about Prime Minister Tayyip Recep Erdogan's statements regarding " a buffer zone in northern Iraq" to prevent attacks by the PKK on Turkey and McCormack replied, "We are working with the Turkish and Iraqi governments on a common problem, and that is the threat of terrorism from the PKK." An October 17th vote for a non-permantnet seat on the United Nations' Security Council will be held and that Turkey is a candidate for that seat. Asso Ahmed (Los Angeles Times) quotes PKK "senior leader" Bozan Takeen declaring in a phone interview "from his hideout in Iraqi Kurdistan," "We are ready and our forces are ready. We are not afraid of them. If they want to attack Iraq's Kurdistan, then the Middle East will turn into a fire ball."

Meanwhile Wednesday, in the Green Zone, US Maj Gen Jeffery Hammond declared:

Now, take for example, the transition or transfer of the Sons of Iraq to Government of Iraq control. Now, we have two phases to this plan. The first one is the transfer of the Sons of Iraq to the, to the Government of Iraq control, which will include the assumption and the payment of their salaries starting this month in October. We're working very closely with our Iraqi counterparts to make sure this works. The Government of Iraq has committed to accept responsibility for the Sons of Iraq and it's been mandated in the Prime Minister Order No. 118‑C, and we're going to be there to assist in the transfer. We spent the last few weeks working hand in hand with the Iraqi Security Forces, the IFCNR, our Iraqi partners and I'm confident ‑‑ I'm confident this is going to go well. But again, effective this month, the Government of Iraq will start paying the salaries for the Sons of Iraq.

Actually . . . Anwar J. Ali, Sam Dagher, Stephen Farrell, Erica Goode and Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) report on the tensions brewing among the "Awakeing"s including graffiti appearing that is "the motto of a feared paramilitary unit during Saddam Hussein's era": "Allah. Homeland. Salary" -- which "Awakening" Sgt. Alaa al-Janabi ("Dora Awakening") states is "our slogan." al-Janabi goes on to cite that the Iraqi government is not paying them enough money to live on and offer "We're not going to fight again. Unless they make us." Saleh al-Jubori ("a leader of the Awakening Council in Dora") states that "there is no trust between us and the National Police" and, "if the Awakening is let go, Dora will go back to worse than it was before. I hope you don't consider this a threat." And staying with the topic of "worse," Robert Fisk (Independent of London) reports "that secret executions are being carried out in the prisons run by Nouri al-Maliki's 'democratic' government. The hangings are carried out regularly -- from a wooden gallows in a small, cramped cell -- in Saddam Hussein's old intelligence headquarters at Kazimiyah. There is no public record of these killings in what is now called Baghdad's 'high-security detention facility' but most of the victims -- there have been hundreds since America introduced 'democracy' to Iraq -- are said to be insurgents, given the same summary justice they mete out to their own captives."

Staying with violence, Reuters notes that 28-year-old journalist Diyar Abbas was shot dead in Kirkuk today joining "at least 135 journalists [who] have been killed in the line of duty since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003." Tuesday the Committee to Protect Journalists featured Robert Mahoney's report on 27-year-old Iraqi journalist Jehad Abdulwahid Hannoon who had surived a shooting in Baghdad and, with help from the international journalism community (including CBS News' Lara Logan), was able to come to the US where he had "successful surgery in a California hospital to repair his bullet-shattered right leg." CPJ notes "135 journalists and 50 support workers" have died in Iraq. Here, we say 185 journalists. "Support workers" are doing a great deal more than that classification implies. So Diyar Abbass becomes at least the 186th journalist to die in Iraq.

In some of today's other reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives and left twelve wounded, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 12 lives with twenty-two more wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives and left fourteen wounded. On the Mosul roadside bombing, China's Xinhua cites a police source who explains, "A roadside bomb detonated in the afternoon at a popular marketplace in the Bab al-Tob neighborhood".


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

In legal news, mercenaries in Iraq got a setback today. Matthew Barakat (AP) reports that KBR contractor Ira L. Waltrip -- caught with child pornography -- was informed by US District Judge T.S. Ellis III that he wasn't any getting any special breaks and that the argument that Waltrip was doing the same duties soldiers do so should be punished the same way one of them would have been was bunk. The Judge informed Waltrip's attorney that, "He wasn't there because he volunteered. He was there to get some money."

Public TV notes. NOW on PBS examines the American Dream as gas prices soar and home values crumble. PBS' Washington Week finds Gwen sitting down with Washington Post's Dan Balz, National Journal's James Barnes, Wall St. Journal's David Wessel and mystery guest Karen Tumulty (Time magazine) who may or may not do her Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte impersonation. Both programs air tonight in some PBS markets, check local listings.

Turning to the US presidential race, Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate and Rosa Clemente is her running mate. Rosa has the following upcoming campaign event this weekend in New York:

Jericho 10th Anniversary Weekend of Resistance

Saturday, October 11, 2008 @ 12 Noon

Rally at the Harlem State Office Building
(Corner of 126th St. & A.C. Powell Blvd.)

March through Harlem @ 1 p.m.

Closing Rally in Morningside Park @ 2 p.m.
Between 112th & 114th near Morningside Ave. entrances

Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Sunday he will be Fairfax, VA to speak at a press conference and rally at Geroge Mason Univeristy beginning at 5:00 p.m.

Barack Obama is the Democratic presidential candidate, Joe Biden is his running mate. As Wally and Cedric noted yesterday, Barack seemed to offer some sort of Born Free/Elsa excuse for his friendship with Ayers whom he called "rehabilitated." Jake Tapper (ABC News) ponders rehabilitation:

And Ayers has made it clear that he is unrepentant.
''I don't regret setting bombs,'' Ayers told the New York Times in 2001. ''I feel we didn't do enough.'' Asked if he would do it all again, Ayers said ''I don't want to discount the possibility. I don't think you can understand a single thing we did without understanding the violence of the Vietnam War."
In a comic strip that Ayers recently posted on his blog, Ayers tried to explain the "we didn't do enough quote" from seven years ago, writing, "It's impossible to get to be my age and not have plenty of regrets. The one thing I don't regret is opposing the war in Vietnam with every ounce of my being. During the Vietnam War, the Weather Underground took credit for bombing several government installations as a dramatic form of armed propaganda. Action was taken against symbolic targets in order to declare a state of emergency. But warnings were always called in, and by design no one was ever hurt.
"When I say, 'We didn't do enough,' a lot of people rush to think, 'That must mean, "We didn't bomb enough s---."' But that's not the point at all. It's not a tactical statement, it's an obvious political and ethical statement. In this context, 'we' means 'everyone.' The war in Vietnam was not only illegal, it was profoundly immoral, millions of people were needlessly killed. Even though I worked hard to end the war, I feel to this day that I didn't do enough because the war dragged on for years after the majority of the American people came to oppose it. I don't think violent resistance is necessarily the answer, but I do think opposition and refusal is imperative."
(He doesn't think violent resistance is NECESSARILY the answer?)
So today, with today's facts, does Obama think Ayers has been "rehabilitated"?
No, he doesn't think so, a source at the campaign tells me.

Mike did a press roundup on Barack's Ayers stories last night, Kat called out AP's Philip Elliott who does not seem to grasp the number of "40," Ruth contemplated the press mistakes, Rebecca noted the lack of standards and Marcia congratulates Oklahoma community members (as have Kat, as did Elaine and Mike). Oklahoma community members are supporting the Republican ticket of John McCain and Sarah Palin.

The McCain-Palin campaign has a new TV ad entitled "Ambition" (click here to read more about it):

ANNCR: Obama's blind ambition.

When convenient, he worked with terrorist Bill Ayers.

When discovered, he lied.

Obama. Blind ambition. Bad judgment.

Congressional liberals fought for risky sub-prime loans.

Congressional liberals fought against more regulation.

Then, the housing market collapsed costing you billions.

In crisis, we need leadership, not bad judgment.

JOHN MCCAIN: I'm John McCain and I approve this message.

Today McCain-Palin 2008 announced that Bill Bruins, a dairy farmer from Fond du Lac County, Wisconsin, joined the McCain-Palin Farm & Ranch Team National Steering Committee. Bruins joins a distinguished team of elected officials and leaders in agriculture who share a common goal with John McCain: to provide the leadership necessary to create prosperity in America's rural heartland.

"John McCain understands agriculture's need for a comprehensive national energy policy that will combat rising energy costs," Bruins said. "I support John McCain because he will foster greater opportunities for agriculture to thrive in a market-driven society by reducing taxes and government regulations. Most importantly, he understands that reducing trade barriers expands international commerce and increases farmers' income."

In addition to serving on the McCain-Palin Farm and Ranch Team National Steering Committee, Bruins joins former Wisconsin Secretary of Agriculture Jim Harsdorf as a Wisconsin state co-chair on the Wisconsin McCain-Palin Farm & Ranch Team.

"Bill's understanding of agriculture from both state and national public policy involvement makes him a great addition to the McCain-Palin team in Wisconsin," Harsdorf said. "Bill Bruins is a hands-on dairy and crop producer who understands the importance of John McCain's support for free trade, his commitment to reducing the inheritance and capital gains tax on farmers and his plan to reduce high energy costs by pursuing domestic energy sources."

The continuing success of American agriculture and the health of America's rural heartland require a leader who understands that productivity and innovation are created by the effort, ingenuity and investment of individual Americans. As president, John McCain will address the key issues facing agriculture and rural America:

  • Establishing a comprehensive energy strategy
  • Controlling taxation and regulation
  • Judicial restraint and preserving property rights
  • Providing a sustainable, market-driven risk management system for farmers
  • Promoting agricultural markets and reducing trade barriers
  • Improving incentives to invest in technology and rural infrastructure
  • Encouraging common-sense conservation and food safety measures
  • Securing America's borders and implementing a fair and practical immigration policy
  • Recognizing the role of agriculture in national security
  • Strengthen America's economic competitiveness by eliminating wasteful government spending
The benefits of American leadership in agriculture extend well beyond our borders -- America's contribution to meeting the food, fiber, feed and energy needs of a growing world population through efficient production and technology innovation are critical to our national security.

More details on John McCain's statement on "Prosperity for Rural America" can be found on the McCain-Palin 2008 web site at

And finally, Team Nader notes:

This morning, as markets around the world are crashing, Nader/Gonzalez is on the rise.
And we need your help right now.

Here's why:
We have a chance over the next week to run inexpensive radio ads.
In battleground states all across this country.
To expose The Bailout Boys -- Obama and McCain.
And to let the American people know that on November 4, they have a choice.
The people's candidate -- Independent Ralph Nader.
The man who stood against the bailout of Wall Street crooks.
And for regulation that would have prevented the current crisis.
Here's the problem:
We want to run the radio ads from October 21 to Election Day -- November 4.
In thirty markets all across this country.
Our radio guy tells us he needs the money by Monday to be able to reserve air time for the last two weeks before the election.
Throughout this year, when we have asked, you have delivered.
Thanks to you, we have not missed one fundraising deadline this year.
Now, we are in a corner.
Over the past week, you have donated $130,000 to our October Surprise Fund.
On our way to our goal of $250,000 by Sunday midnight.
Now, to reach our goal, we need 12,000 of you -- our loyal supporters -- to kick in $10 each.

We know that many of you have dug deep for the past seven months.

So, after you hit that contribute button, pick up the phone and get your friends, relatives, neighbors -- who are angry about the bailout and looking for an independent outlet -- to support the one candidate who has stood with the American people against the corporate criminal elite on Wall street.

To give you a sneak preview, we have cut a demo tape.

If we reach our goal by Sunday night, we will be professionally producing a version of this demo ad and getting it out to our radio guy in Los Angeles.
As the Dow collapses, the Nader/Gonzalez shift the power platform is on the rise.
So, donate now -- whatever you can afford -- $10, $100, $1000 -- up to the legal limit of $2,300.

Help us fund our nationwide radio ad buy.
Inform the American public.
There is a choice on November 4.
Vote Independent.
Vote Ralph Nader for President.

Onward to November.
The Nader Team

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kim gamel
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