Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Katie Couric interviews the McCain-Palin ticket

Today on The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric, Ms. Couric sat down with Governor Sarah Palin and Senator John McCain (links has text and video):

Then it's off to the McCain campaign plane, where CBS News was invited up front to ask a handful of questions. Couric asked Palin whether she considers herself a feminist. "I do," Palin said. "I'm a feminist who, uh, believes in equal rights and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway. And I'm very, very thankful that I've been brought up in a family where gender hasn't been an issue. You know, I've been expected to do everything growing up that the boys were doing. We were out chopping wood and you're out hunting and fishing and filling our freezer with good wild Alaskan game to feed our family. So it kinda started with that."

I believe Ms. Couric's interview with Governor Palin and Senator McCain is also Mr. McCain's first sit down with a newsmaker in some time. I know Tom Brokaw has spoken of attempting to land him for NBC's Meet The Press. Good for Ms. Couric. As Ava and C.I. have long documented (probably best in their "TV: Katie Was a Cheerleader"), Ms. Couric was attacked in the most gruesome and sexist manner for becoming an evening news anchor . . . months before she ever anchored her first evening news cast.

This was a months long war on Ms. Couric and it did not stop when she began anchoring. As they have pointed out, in a piece that I am not linking to because I cannot remember the title, the 'media' 'watchdog' CounterSpin elected to critique her performance . . . via her ratings.

And where was Laura Flanders? No where to be found. Allged feminist, alleged defender of women against sexism. Ms. Flanders never called out the trashing of Ms. Couric. But Ms. Flanders started out with the so-called FAIR and that 'watchdog' loathes CBS News and has for many, many years. They run interference for MSNBC these days so I do not know anyone that takes them seriously. Ava and C.I. have written that the best way to listen to CounterSpin these days is to assume it is intended to be a half-hour sitcom. You will become far less angry and instead be amused by the lame characters like Steve Rendall.

I will toss in my two-cents: It probably was very threatening to CounterSpin that a woman would anchor the evening news. That might mean they would have to shake up their own program. Each week has two hosts on. There are three hosts. Janine Jackson and Mr. Rendall and Peter Hart. The males are White males. It must have been very scary for the male heavy CounterSpin (part of the male heavy FAIR) when Ms. Couric became an anchor.

Whatever the outcome of the 2008 election, FAIR will find it increasingly harder to find an audience. They will continue to feed off Soros money (such as with the so-called "Democracy in Action") but they have blown their credibility. They are far from alone but I have mentioned the newspaper photo editor I know before. The very loud and vocal photo editor who has just realized that Keith Olbermann is not, indeed, the Lord and, in fact, is a propagandist. The other realization has been that CounterSpin does not in any way "comment" on the news. I was in the supermarket and heard "RUTH!" and really wanted to run; however, I did not and stood there with a frozen smile on my face. But instead of what I expected, there was a happy ending. (And, for the record, I had never brought up CounterSpin, not today or in the past.)

They are blowing their credibility and it will be very difficult for them to ever build that back up. When you have claimed to be a "media" "watchdog" and yet you have refused to apply a "FAIR" standard, you break the trust with the audience.

A lot of people have broken the trust with their audiences regarding Governor Palin. We have heard that she made rape victims pay for their own rape kits. But FactCheck.org looked into it and despite a number of 'trusted' women repeating that claim in print, online, and on the airwaves, it is not true. As Ms. Couric's interview with Governor Palin reveals, most of the rumors that 'feminist' 'leaders' have repeated about Governor Palin were, in fact, false.

At what point does Women's Media Center (also in bed with Soros money) intend to correct Gloria Steinem's column (which ran in The Los Angeles Times as well)?

Someone needs to inform Ms. Steinem, Kim Gandy and several other 'leaders' that they do not own feminism and that feminists are getting pretty sick of being lied to and let down by so-called 'leaders.'

Community member Lloyd e-mailed Mike and Mike passed on Lloyd's request to all of us. At the end of each year, C.I. does a year-in-review and Lloyd wanted Mike to highlight the most recent one. He explained why and Mike not only agreed, he thought we would as well. We do, so we will all be noting C.I.'s "2007: The Year of Living Useless (Year in Review)" tonight. This is one of my favorite sections:

If independent media went out of their way to avoid Iraq and all Iraq related stories, what did they cover? 2007 was when the bulk of little media enlisted in the Barack Obama presidential campaign -- a Katrina coffee fetcher even went to work for it. Bambi would walk on his own and go to potty all by himself in 2008, indy media insisted, but right now he needed coaxing. And what better way to guarantee that than by lavishing him with non-stop praise.

As they crowded around the potty chair, they produced many embarrassing moments.

And, if you think about it, it only become more true in 2008. When everyone was sleeping on the job, C.I. called it. So many adults embarrassing themselves including: Katrina vanden Heuvel, Matthew Rothschild, Amy Goodman, Jeremy Scahill, Norman Solomon, . . . The list is so long. So very long.

Any hopes of a left movement in this country died with the sell-outs who decided lying for Barack Obama was more important than being independent.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Tuesday, September 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Iraqi refugees forced out of Jordan, a 'turnover' takes place tomorrow, and more.

On the medical front,
Jormana Karadsheh (CNN) reports that along with allowing Iraqi doctors to carry guns, Nouri al-Maliki's council also decreed that they cannot be "detained by police without Ministry of Health approval" and notes the International Committee of the Red Cross' March report (PDF format warning, click here) which stated over " 2,200 doctors and nurses have been killed and more than 250 kidnapped since 2003" and that there were "34,000 register doctors in 1990" but "at least 20,000 have left the country." Karadsheh goes on to site the Iraqi government's figure of 8,000 having "left their jobs" (and "some fleeing the country") but "about 800 doctors have returned to their jobs". The Iraqi government figures are bunk. (Credit to Karadsheh for crediting the source on those figures -- other outlets present them as facts with no sourcing.) As noted in the August 4th snapshot, Dr. Essan Namiq (Deputy Minister of Health for Grants and Loans) and Dr. Kahmees al-Sa'ad (Administrative deputy Minister of Health) held a press conference in the Green Zone August 3rd in which many fanciful claims were floated in which Dr. Essan Namiq declared that "more than 80% of the Iraqi doctors" had returned. They just make up the numbers with whatever they think make looks them good and never worry about their own figures matching up at a later date with . . . their own figures. 80% of 8,000 is not 800.

That's really what told on them immediately in the Myth of the Great Return -- they released a figure over the weekend and, by Monday, you had to add more zeros to the abusrd claim. The myth started in the fall of 2007. Fall is here again and it's time to make it appear the Iraqi refugee situation isn't all that bad . . . really. The country's oil wealth allows them to call in favors.
Hani Hazaimeh (Jordan Times) reports that 74,000 barrels of oil were shipped to Jordan from Iraq "in the past 10 days" and quotes Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaldou Qteishat declaring, "The ministry is cooperating with its Iraqi counterpart to overcome several challenges in order to meet the daily target of 10,000 barrels as stipulated in the agreement, to be increased gradually to 30,000 barrels." The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are at least 4.7 million Iraqi refugees -- internal and external. Of the over 2 million external refugees many are in Jordan or Syria (with some estimates of 700,000 in each country; others of 750,000 in Jordan and as many as 1.5 million in Syria). But when Iraq buys you off on oil, you're happy to eject refugees. IRIN reports, "The Iraqi embassy in Amman is organising the repatriation by planes of dozens of Iraqi families who wish to return home, despite warnings from UN agencies about the security situation. Iraqi diplomats in Amman said they had charted a plane to repatriate the Iraqis later this week, during the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr. Disabled people and the elderly will be among the Iraqis leaving in what, according to the Iraqi ambassador, will be the first official return by air to the homeland since the US-led invasion in 2003." The disabled and the elderly. The most vulnerable. Sent back to the violence in Iraq. China's Xinhua reports that 2 "busloads of Iraqis" have already been shipped out and that some on the buses "said they were forced to return due to difficult economic conditions in Jordan." To be clear, Jordan turned a penny on the refugees long before the oil infusion. Nicholas Seeley (Christian Science Monitor) reported at the start of July that while Jordan refused to allow the refugees to work and while they were dependent upon assistance, Jordan was spending aid money for the refugees: "In 2007, 61 percent of UNHCR's operational budget was given directly to Jordan, along with millions of bilateral aid from the European Community and the United States" "a large portion of the aid . . . has gone to address Jordan's own urgent national priorities." Turning a profit from human misery, that's all it was. Meanwhile the UNHCR set up tents for Ramadan in Amman, "For the second straight year, the UN refugee agency has provided iftar to needy Iraqis and Jordanians during the month of Ramadan, which ends on Tuesday. Muslims believe that feeding someone iftar (the evening meal during Ramadan) as a form of charity is very rewarding." It's apparently a thought passed over the Jordanian government -- which represent a citizenry that is 94% Muslim.

External refugees that return frequently become internal refugees. That's due to the fact that (a) they left the region due to violence and threats and (b) their former homes are often occupied. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting's
Zaineb Naji (via Kansas City Star) states that Iraq's internatl refugees are not registering (72,000 have registerd to vote in what may (or may not) be upcoming provincial elections, "just 2.6 per cent of the total figure for those uprooted by the conflict") and reminds, "According to a report in July by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, IDPs do not have adequate shelter or access to drinking water, food, health care, education and electricity. Many are squatting in public buildings, mud huts, or in houses abandoned by other families. The latter is a widespread problem preventing many IDPs from returning home. Surveys have shown that more than 60 per cent of the displaced want to go back to their towns and villages."

Meanwhile, the
New York Times' Erica Goode (at the paper's blog, Baghdad Bureau Blog) writes of spending the night at the home of an Iraqi friend which required her to wear a a black abaya and hijab and climb a darkened staircase to ensure that no neighbors grasped an American visiting. In the apartment with her friend, her friend's husband and the couple's three-year-old daughter on a 114 degree day, they saw frequent 15 minute burst of electricity (apparently making up -- when combined -- the few hours of electricity outside the Green Zone Baghdad sees each day): "The electricity shortage, they said, is a problem not just for comfort but for the refrigerator in the bedroom, which goes off and on all day, making it difficult to store food. The water in the sink and shower, too, is unpredicatble, sometimes working, sometimes not. . . . We drank fruit juice and bottled war -- even when there is tap water, it is not potable." And that's Baghdad (outside the Green Zone), not a distant province in the country. Five years after the start of the illegal war, that's life in Baghdad. An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers reports (at Inside Iraq) on taking a taxi through the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad: "Meanwhile, we saw graffiti on the walls. 'There is no place for betrayers in the Islamic State of Iraq,' someone had spray painted on one wall. The saying refers to the Islamic state, a front for a Qaida in Iraq."

Moving to the the oil-rich northern region,
Anna Fifield (Financial Times of London) reports that Ibril is the 'hot spot' in the Kurdistan region of Iraq where "prices have almost doubled in the past two years and are still climbing" in the "English village -- complete with cul-de-sacs lined with identical two-storey houses, garden gnomes on front lawns and Range Rovers in driveways". A British investor, Russell Jones, raves, "There is an enormous amount of free money here being kept under people's mattresses." It helps to have name oil and, of course, name lobbyists to advocate for you. But in Baghdad? Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) notes, "Dumped bodies are once again appearing along Baghdad's streets. Two years ago, Iraqi police recovered an average of 50 bodies a day across the capital, most of them shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs. By this summer, the bodies had all but disappeared, but this month, they began to show up again, usually one or two a day." The corpse count climbs as a 'handover' approaches. The US military is due to hand the "Awakening" Council members over to the puppet government in Baghdad. Pakistan's Daily Times reports: "The US military will this week begin handing over control of 100,000 Sunni anti-Qaeda fighters to Iraq's Shiite-led government, a move that risks undermining hard-earned security gains. The Iraqi government and the US military have agreed in principle to the transfer of responsibility of all 'Sons of Iraq' from October 1, beginning with 54,000 men in the province of Baghdad. . . . Iraq will start paying the salaries of Sahwa men in Baghdad -- a monthly bill of around 15 million dollars -- from November 10, Major General Jeffery Hammond, commander of US forces in the Iraqi capital, told reporters." This transfer will come at a time when unemployment is already a big issue around the country. Corrine Reilly (McClatchy) notes
"most approximations put unemployment across Iraq at between 30 percent and 60 percent. . . Iraqi and American officials agree, the country's soaring unemployment rate must come down. They say that if more Iraqis don't find work soon, people here will pay the cost in blood. . . . The link between unemployment and bloodshed is in especially sharp focus right now, as the U.S. military prepares to hand authority over the Sons of Iraq to the Iraqi government. . . . If the government fails to pay the Sons of Iraq and they don't find other employment, many fear the former insurgents will turn back to violence."

Returning to the issue of provincial elections, eNews 2.0 offers "
Iraq's unity threatened by lack of minority quota" which explains that the bill that passed the Iraqi Parliament on provincial elections last week continues to be a source of scorn -- specifically for failing to provide "a clause that defines the quota of minorities in provincial councils" and Ageel Abdel-Hussein of Moqtada al-Sadr's movement states, "Minorities should be given their rights in the provincial councils to contribute to the building of the Iraqi state." The write-up also informs that in Nineveh Province, Iraqi Christians protested Sunday in numbers exceeding 5,000.The bill will be nixed or approved by the Iraqi presidency council made up of the president and Iraq's two vice presidents. Iraq's president is Jalal Talabani and The Jordan Times reports that he returned to Iraq Monday after spending "nearly two months in the United Sates for medical treatment" (not noted in the article was his wife, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, visiting Los Angeles in attempt to find a distributor for her film Saturday) and that he is stating the treaty between the US and the puppet government (wrongly called a SOFA) must go through.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 4 lives (with nine people wounded) and a Diyala Province roadside bombing that targeted the Kudristan Democratic Party's Jamal al Sayd Khalili who was wounded in the bombing.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two police officers wounded in a Mosul shooting.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mosul yesterday.

Today the
US military announces: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 12:45 p.m. at a Coalition force's Combat Support Hospital Sept. 30. The Soldier was wounded when his patrol came under small-arms fire in northern Baghdad at approximately 12:15. The Soldier was medically evacuated by air to the medical facility, however, the Soldier later succumbed to the wounds. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and official release by the Department of Defense." The announcement brings to 4176 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 25 announced for the month thus far. That is one shy of the July figure (13) which was trumpeted as 'big news' and yet another 'turned corner.' It is two more than the number of deaths for August (23).

Reuters notes, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted on Monday that growth in U.S. military spending would level off in the coming years but not face severe cutbacks, despite the current economic crisis." No surprise there. Chalmers Johnson (at The Asia Times) explains, "On Wednesday, September 24, right in the middle of the fight over billions of taxpayer dollars slated to bail out Wall Street, the House of Representatives passed a $612 billion defense authorization bill for 2009 without a murmur of public protest or any meaningful press comment at all. (The New York Times gave the matter only three short paragraphs buried in a story about another appropriations measure.) The defense bill includes $68.6 billion to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is only a down payment on the full yearly cost of these wars. (The rest will be raised through future supplementary bills.) It also included a 3.9% pay raise for military personnel, and $5 billion in pork-barrel projects not even requested by the administration or Secretary of Defense Robert Gates." Meanwhile Joseph Gerth (Kentucky Courier-Journal) reports on a state poll which found "54 percent of Kentuckians support the U.S. presence in Iraq, and 62 percent favor the U.S. presence in Afghanistan."

Turning to the US presidential race.
Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes (link has text and video), the US top commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, explained to Lesley Stahl that he doesn't vote and why: "I will say this. I made a decision when I got promoted to colonel that I would not longer vote in national elections because I feel it's my job to serve the commander-in-chief. So I have not voted. Probably a bad American for not voting, but I made that decision because of the position that I have." Voting or not voting is a personal decision. So is taking accountability which the Democratic presidential nominee cannot apparently do still. CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic reports that Barack Obama thinks the meltdown is just groovy because it allows talking about issues: "I mean, there was a time pretty recently when we were talking about lipstick and pigs." We? We? Barack plagiarized a Washington Post comic and made insulting remarks but it's "we". He can always grab credit for what he hasn't done, he just never takes accountability for what he did do. Where it gets really funny is if you compare Maria Gavrilovic's reports today. In one, Barack is saying that the economic meltdown is "not a time for politics" and, less than an hour later, Barack's stating the economic meltdown allows for a good test of the candidates. But who will he cheat off of?

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential nominee and here's an important statement regarding her campaign:Green Party National Women's Caucus challenges NOW to support the historic McKinney/Clemente presidential campaignMonday, 29 September 2008 19:38Distributed by the Green Party of the United States National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States For Immediate Release Monday, September 29, 2008 Contact:Morgen D'Arc, Spokesperson, 207-761-7797, morgenizer@yahoo.com Linda Manning Myatt, Spokesperson, 248-548-6175, lmmyatt@wowway.com Green Party National Women's Caucus challenges NOW to support the historic McKinney/Clemente presidential campaign WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States has sent an open letter to the National Organization for Women (http://www.now.org) urging support for the Green Party's presidential ticket. The text of the letter is appended below. The letter cites Green nominee Cynthia McKinney's six terms in Congress and her unmatched dedication to the principles of equality and human rights championed by NOW. The National Women's Caucus emphasizes the historical role that alternative parties have played in the struggle for women's suffrage and rights, and notes that NOW has failed even to recognize the significance of America's first national campaign by two women of African descent: Ms. McKinney is African American and running mate Rosa Clemente is Black Puerto Rican. OPEN LETTER TO NOW, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMENNational Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United StatesSunday, September 28, 2008Dear National Organization for Women leadership and members: The National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States is dismayed that your recent endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States did not acknowledge the first all-female ticket in recent U.S. history. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are running for President and Vice President, respectively, on the Green Party ballot line. Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the U.S. Congress and two terms in the Georgia General Assembly. She is a global human rights and peace activist with a substantial voting record supporting women. Rosa Clemente is a community organizer and journalist who was one of the founders and primary organizers of the first national Hip Hop political convention. Their "Power to the People" campaign goal is to ensure that public policy reflects the Green Party values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. Cynthia McKinney has been a steadfast supporter of full reproductive rights for women throughout her legislative career, including funding for contraception and UN family planning, and opposition to "abstinence only" sex education. Rosa Clemente has been an outspoken advocate on issues affecting people of color, particularly women, and has directed her campaign toward the 48% of young people who don't vote, to encourage participation in the electoral process. Additional positions of the McKinney/Clemente campaign that will benefit women include: - Equal Rights - End to forced sterilization and coerced or uninformed consent procedures, - Immediate end to the War in Iraq and reinvestment of the money into our communities - Single-payer, universal "Medicare for All" - Election integrity where every vote is counted - Right to same-sex marriage - Free higher education - End to the drug war - Right of return of survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - Withdrawal from corporate trade agreements such as NAFTA that are devastating economies worldwide - Promotion of renewable energy (no coal or nuclear) to create hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing, construction and service jobs Neither Obama nor his Republican opponent John McCain support these positions. The National Organization for Women PAC repeatedly praised Congresswoman McKinney during her six terms in U.S. Congress; and her record, on every relevant issue, surpasses those of the male endorsees. But now, these two women of color -- powerful and power-challenging, real choices, and nominated by a political party that proudly boasts Feminism & Gender Equity among our Ten Key Values -- don't even receive acknowledgment. The National Organization for Women, at all levels, has long struggled over diverging feminist paths -- choosing either to press for change within the existing power structure, and its institutions, or to step outside of the expected and challenge the institutions themselves. In the view of the National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States, NOW has best served women when NOW has recognized, in the words of Audre Lord, that "when you look back on the road you've come, and see pain, and look forward to the road you're on, and see pain, then, step off the road, and make a new path." We recall when NOW distributed buttons proclaiming that "Women were not born Democrats, Republicans, or YESTERDAY." We recall when the heroines of our heritage were Belva Lockwood, Alice Paul and Sonia Johnson, each willing to form her own political party, or run for president independently, or both. They were willing because that path provided fewer barriers to telling the plain truth, the truth that needed to be heard, than did service to the establishment parties. We even recall when NOW announced the formation of its own, alternative, political party, the "Party for the 21st Century," with Dolores Huerta at its head. We rejoiced when NOW sought to make a new path, because the old political road was simply too filled with the pain of condescension and compromise, deferment and settling for what was offered. Even when NOW, through its political action committee, decided in the last two decades to bestow its endorsement on candidates from the over-represented political parties, it was to reward them for actually moving closer to the day when a woman might be president, with a Geraldine Ferraro and a Hillary Clinton sitting in the candidate car, and not just trudging behind it, pushing. But this past week, that endorsement reward was offered without even that, out of the same "fear of the alternative" that has driven women to set our own hopes, dreams and destinations aside, time and again, to let the men drive the car. Belva, Alice and Sonia did not become president of the United States, but, with the support of the feminists of their time, speaking truth, each re-formed the vision that America had about women. While men can be feminists too, their institutions can only be deemed feminist if they produce equality. The dearth of elected women, at every level, is its own condemnation of the party structures that are the paved road of American democracy. It disappoints us greatly, that earlier this month, NOW has not made a new path. By failing to commend, or even comment on, the presidential candidacy of Cynthia McKinney and her Green Party running mate, Rosa Clemente, NOW is driving on the wrong side of history. We invite the National Organization for Women, and feminists everywhere, to support the Green Party and the McKinney/Clemente campaign. Come walk the walk with us, and make a new path. Sincerely, National Women's Caucus, Green Party of the United States Nan Garrett, Co-Chair Ginny Marie Case, Co-Chair National Women's Caucus Member Claudia Ellquist, National NOW Board member, 1990-94, participated in the drafting of this letter National Women's Caucus Green Party of the United States 1711 18th Street NW Washington, DC 20009 202-319-7191 202-319-7192 MORE INFORMATION Abortion and contraception: McKinney is a firm supporter of abortion rights, appearing on EMILY's List of pro-choice women. She has also supported federal funding for contraception and U.N. family planning programs. Quite a long statement on Women, Families and Children [. . .] * Voted YES on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)* Supported funding child care, child health, & child housing. (Jul 1999) McKinney immediately challenged Georgia House rules requiring women to wear dresses by wearing slacks Green Party of the United States 202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN Fax 202-319-7193 Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House http://votetruth08.com http://www.runcynthiarun.org Cynthia McKinney on video http://www.youtube.com/user/RunCynthiaRun http://www.youtube.com/profile_videos?user=RunCynthiaRun • Press conference, September 10 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w_5ivgS4asc • Speech in Denver, August 24: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rPxgcjOjUEc • Music video: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gx1NPlQjkqo

For more on the embarrassment that was the NOW PAC endorsement, see the
Sept. 16th snapshot. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate, Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Team Nader notes:

Got $3?
Donate it now to Nader/Gonzalez.
We're just $25,000 from reaching the $3 million mark.
Three million dollars for the year!
That might be peanuts to McCain and Obama.
But it's real nutrition for Nader/Gonzalez.
And it's literally three times what any other third party or independent campaign has raised so far this year.
October promises to be a month of surprises -- for both Obama and McCain -- but also for Nader/Gonzalez.
But before we deal with October, we have to finish off September.
And we need to reach our $3 million goal by midnight tonight.
So, we need 8,400 of you, our loyal supporters, to donate $3 now.
Because we've always liked Ralph. (pictured here in his hometown of Winsted, Connecticut at age 11.)
And because at midnight tonight we close our books for the month of September. And report to the FEC.
All the national pundits will ask -- hey Nader/Gonzalez.
How much money have you raised with one month left until the election?
And we can say -- $3 million.
Donate $3 dollars now -- or whatever you can afford.
If 8,400 of you do it, we'll meet our goal of $3 million by the end of tonight.
And we'll also meet our most recent Three Way Race fundraising goal of $150,000 by midnight tonight.
So, let's crank 'er up.
And get it done.

iraqhani hazaimehthe jordan timesjoseph gerthanna fifieldjomana karadshehcnn
mcclatchy newspaperscorinne reillylaith hammoudithe daily times
the new york timeserica goode

Monday, September 29, 2008

KPFK: Disaster

From yesterday morning, this is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Boys Do Cry"


And I'm also noting Kat's two CD reviews, "Kat's Korner: Chris Martin's cold play" and "Kat's Korner: Hold Me Down."

Now it is time to talk KPFK which did an awful Friday night broadcast of debate 'coverage.'

I thought Pacifica was the home of free speech radio and that it existed to increase understanding; however, they appear to think otherwise.

Increasing understanding requires putting on supporters of John McCain. For the entire 'analysis' that followed the debate you got an echo chamber. It was appalling.

KPFK is not supposed to be the home of propaganda.

Not one guest was a supporter of McCain who, for the record, was one of the two candidates debating.

Instead of doing public affairs, KPFK provided listeners with an echo chamber and how anyone was supposed to learn a thing from that is beyond me.

A McCain supporter is someone I probably would have disagreed with; however, Senator McCain was in the debate and for listeners to understand the election, they need to know what all sides are saying.

KPFK's broadcast gave the impression that Barack Obama is such a weak and undeserving candidate that he can only be applauded if McCain supporters are shut out and the bulk of the guests (all but one, Chris Hedges who supports Ralph Nader) are supporters of Mr. Obama.

That was the overall impression.

Now we will move to specifics.

1) Larry Bensky is an ass.

I regret every listening to him in my life. He is a smug, self-righteous man who thinks he knows everything but flaunts how very little he knows. Mr. Bensky should retire from 'analysis' because he has nothing to offer. Which includes claiming that MSNBC is the closest thing the left has to its own network.

2) Sonali Kolhatker made a fool of herself. Ms. Kolhatker wanted to back up her opinions with a poll; however, in order to do so, she had to be very creative with the poll. She stated the poll measured something that, in fact, it did not measure nor could it. She really needs to check her own ego because if it is so great that she thinks she can pull off that feat, she is not a temporary fool, she is a fullblown and forever fool.

3) Dr. Drew apparently picked up a new field: Mind-reading.

Quack professor Dr. Drew 'informed' that Senator John McCain thinking the junior senator who has yet to finish his first term was not prepared to be president was, you know it is coming, racism. He called him "boy!" According to Dr. Drew. That is what Senator McCain's actions were. No, you simpleton, we are talking about two senators and we are talking one who disrespected the other in 2006 and then was forced to issue a mealy mouth apology. After Senator McCain felt stabbed in the back by the Chosen One, he never had respect for Barack Obama again. That is reality.

And someone thinking a light weight is a light weight is not "racism," it is an opinion. Dr. Drew is one of the quacks who believes anyone who does not want to put the fate of the country into the hands of a man with no record is a racist. It must be very nice for Dr. Drew in his land of delusions.

4) Ian Masters is a fool and a sexist.

I believe the term is "chicken s**t." Waiting until after the Honorable Cynthia McKinney is off air to insult her and insult her intelligence is "chicken s**t."Ms. Kohlhatker's refusal to call out Mr. Masters makes her a "chicken s**t" as well. I really do not think America needs a BBC refugee telling us what American elections are really about to begin with; however, when a pompous ass decides to try, he should have his facts straight. Ms. McKinney knew what she was speaking about regarding Florida. Mr. Master did not.

Mr. Masters is a sexist. Only Ms. McKinney, of all the guests, was called out after she was off air. She was one of only two female guests and the other flattered Mr. Masters. The remarks Mr. Masters made about Ms. McKinney and Governor Sarah Palin were not only uncalled for, they were sexist. In one case a woman was nuts and in the other she was a "train wreck." Listening to Mr. Masters on Friday, there is no need to watch this week's debate because he already knows what will happen in that debate. Possibly he picked up mind reading from Dr. Drew?

Here is a tip for KPFK and Pacifica: When choosing moderators, they need to be able to at least give the impression that they are unbiased. The long, long monologue Mr. Masters did attacking Governor Palin was nothing but hate, scorn and sexism.

Ms. Kohlhatker's refusal to interrupt it suggests that she agreed with it. She ought to be ashamed.

Britsh Mr. Masters might try learning a bit about the election he thinks he is an expert on. The only time Ms. Kohlhatker corrected him was after he had done this long bit about how there were three independent candidates: Bob Barr, Cynthia McKinney, and Ralph Nader. Ms. Kohlhatker had to correct him that Chuck Baldwin was also in the race. It is a shame that Ms. Kohlhatker did not correct him that Mr. Nader was the Green Party nominee in 2004. He was not. And before Ms. Masters claims "in some states . . ." -- it was a national broadcast. The Green Party nationally ran another candidate in 2004. The fact that Mr. Masters made so many basic mistakes on air goes to the fact that he never should have been on air.

5) The "undecided" voter.

KPFK, when bringing on guests, you need to do research.

An "undecided" voter who admits he was leaning towards Senator Obama before the debate is not "undecided." Joss appeared to be booked solely to scare people away from voting for an independent or third party candidate.

As I listened to that garbage, I realized why Pacifica struggles for listeners. It has become an echo chamber. It is not enough that the hosts take sides, they must also book only guests who agree with them. KPFK broadcasts on the public airwaves. It is not MSNBC. It has an obligation to use the public airwaves wisely. An echo chamber is not a wise way to utilize the public airwaves, it does not provide information, and it does nothing to increase anyone's understanding.

If you wish to hear a channel that promotes one candidate and attacks another over and over, then Pacifica is the place for you to go. But if you think that maybe you should hear another side, not because you agree with it but because you will be able to grasp where another side is coming from, Pacifica is one more outlet you should avoid.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Monday, September 29, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, the US Secretary of Defense declares no withdrawal happening if Obama or McCain become president, Friday's non-debate and more.

Basil Adas (Gulf News) covers the continued efforts to of the White House and the puppet government in Baghdad to push through a treaty (circumventing the US Senate and the US Consitution, though the Iraqi Parliament will supposedly be able to give a thumbs up or thumbs down)masquerading as a SOFA. Adas reports that the issue of the immunity of US troops is something the US now signals they're willing to discuss according to the Kurdistan Alliance's Feriad Rawanduz who is hopeful that a treaty can be pushed through before the end of the year. Abdul Aziz al Hakim tells Adas that possibly their could be a judicial body comprised of both Iraqis and Americans who would rule on the actions of individual US service members. Ryan Crocker, US Ambassador to Iraq, is optimistic and claims the 'movement' is some sort of rebuke to Iran (from Iraq). Adas says the path after a treaty is drawn up is the Executive Board, then the National Security Council and the Iraqi Parliament. Finally, Adas notes: "Meanwhile, Defence Minister Abdul Qader Jasem Mohammad confirmed yesterday that Washington had offered a number of Beechcraft spy planes to bolster the Iraqi security forces." Iran's Press TV reports that rumors state the White House and the puppet have "settled their main differences over a controversial security agreement." Nothing was said about the treaty in Robert Wood's press briefing at the US State Dept today nor did Tony Fratto mention it in his White House press briefing today. US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker has repeatedly blamed the Iranian government for the US failure to control the puppet and did so again in an interview with AP's John Daniszewski where he stated, "The evidence is pretty clear. It is the stream of public statements coming out of Tehran, political and clerical figures, all criticizing the agreement. So they are being very open about their interference."

From the treaty to provincial elections. Last week a bill passed the Parliament that is now awaits a thumbs up or down from the presidency council. On Sunday, Iraqi Christians took to the streets to protest the bill.
AP noted that "hundreds of Christians staged protests" today in Iraq and those protests were probably most effective on the world stage. al-Maliki's shown no concern for the rights of any of the religious minorities in Iraq; however, the puppet knows that persecution of Christians won't play well with the Americans still supporting the Iraq War so he moved quickly to insist that he supports seats in Parliament being reserved for religious minorities. Sadly, some will play that development out as if it matters. It doesn't matter at all. Parliament voted on the bill, it is sent to the presidency council who will either sign off on it (making it law) or reject it. al-Maliki's way too late to impact anything unless the bill is rejected and the Parliament takes another shot at it. Reuters notes that al-Maliki's claiming Parliament can add things to the bill. Well that would actually make it a new bill and not what the full Parliament voted on. Reuters quotes Iraq's Chaladean Catholic leader, Cardinal Emmanuel III Delly, stating, "I call on the presidency council not to approve the cancellation of article 50 of the provincial law which is an oppression against our presence and representation in Iraqi society." Shamiram Daniali (Assyria Times) declares, "Just when we thought things cannot possibly go any worse for the most persecuted population of Iraq, its indigenous people who are Assyrian Christians, we witnessed the biggest injustice yet by the Iraqi Parliament."

Staying with the weekend, Saturday
AFP reported a Jalawla raid by the Iraqi police on the Kuridsh pesh merga and, citing Salah Koikha ("spokesman for the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan"), 1 pesh merga member was killed during the raid. Reuters adds that 1 Iraqi police office officer died. The raid took place in Diyala Province where the pesh merga has prevented Iraqi forces from enterting certain areas such as Khanaquin (see last Monday's snapshot). India's Economic Times observes, "In a mirror image of Kirkuk, the Kurdish town of Khanaqin near the border with Iran that holds sizeable oil reserves is being exposed to ethnic tensions and rival territorial claims. The local Kurdish political leadership warns that the area could see an ethnic explosion, as they call for Khanaqin to join the adjoining autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of northern Iraq."

This morning
Basil Adas (Gulf News) reported, "Meanwhile, Defence Minister Abdul Qader Jasem Mohammad confirmed yesterday that Washington had offered a number of Beechcraft spy planes to bolster the Iraqi security forces." Vanessa Gera (AP) reports that it was 12 planes and that Mohammed al-Askari, Defense Minister, has confirmed that "six King Air planes had been delivered and the other six were expected soon." In a possible related item, Aseel Kami (Reuters) reports Iraqi doctors can now pack heat thanks to a new decree from al-Maliki's cabinet.

Violence continued over the weekend and Sundays bombings gathered attention. Reporting on that (and the Iraqi Christians),
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) observed, "The violence and the protests showed the tensions that still exist in Iraq despite progress on security and political reconciliation. The blasts were particularly jarring because they came around sunset, when the markets are filled with people buying food for the evening meal that breaks their daylong fast during the holy month of Ramadan." Susman quoted bombing victim Hidar Abdulhussein stating, "We are innocent and peaceful people. Why are they targeting markets and shoppers? How were they able to get in? There are so many army and police checkpoints." Sam Dagher and Muhammed al-Obaidi (New York Times) cite Mizher Abed Hanoush who "echoed concerns voiced by many Iraqis in recent weeks about the fragility of the security situation in Baghdad. 'The situation is turning to the worse again, I do not know why,' he said." AP notes that the death toll from yesterday's bombings have climbed to at least 35. Turning to some of today's violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack which wounded five people, another which wounded three people and a third which wounded one person while a Mosul car bombing left nine people wounded "including 5 Peshmerga members of the PDK." Reuters notes 1 "Sunni Arab tribal leader died on Monday of wounds inflicted by a bomb attached to his car that exploded on Sunday in Mosul," an Iskandariya roadside bombing that claimed 1 life (three people wounded) and a Samarra roadside bombing that left Samarra Mayor Mahmoud Khalif (and four of his guards) wounded.


Reuters reports 2 brothers were shot dead in Mosul. Vanessa Gera (AP) reports Sheik Ahmed Salim was wounded in a Diyala Province shooting which also claimed the lives of his 2 sons.


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

Reuters notes, "A U.S. soldier was killed by small arms fire when his patrol was attacked in eastern Baghdad, the U.S. military said."

Meanwhile, speaking in DC at the National Defense University today, US Secretary Robert Gates joked about the run away defense budget, "Resources are scarce -- and yes, it is a sign I've already been at the Pentagon for too long to say that with a straight face when talking about a half trillion dollar base budget. Nonetheless, we still must set priorities and consider inescapable tradeoffs and opportunity costs." He further made clear that McCain or Obama, there's no withdrawal from Iraq happening: "In Iraq, the number of U.S. combat units in country will decline over time. About the only argument you hear now is about the pacing of the drawdown. Still, no matter who is elected president in November, there will continue to be some kind of American advisory and counter-terrorism effort in Iraq for years to come."

Moving into the US presidential race.
Lynette Long is supporting the McCain - Palin ticket and Long is a feminist. Bill Clinton cited her last week on ABC's The View and yesterday on NBC's Meet The Press. At her site, Long compiles a list of reasons as to why Governor Palin is "Good For Women" which includes "keeping the issue of sexism in the United States of America front and center" and expanding "the definition of feminism." She also writes that following speaking at a McCain - Palin rally, "An executive member of the National Organization for Women contacted me the very next day. It was a friendly conversation tinted with sarcasm. 'How do you feel about your speech?' she asked me. 'Great.' I responded. 'Why shouldn't I feel great. I gave a speech about women's rights in front of a large audience. I highlighted the under-representation of women in every branch of government, the sexism in the media, and the unfair treatment of Hillary Clinton by the Democratic Party.' 'Where did you give your speech?' A rhetorical question deserved a quip answer, 'Before thirty-thousand Americans.' Republicans are Americans, aren't they. 'By speaking at a McCain-Palin event people will think you are endorsing McCain.' That's the point, I am endorsing McCain-Palin." We're starting with this because a number of members of the Cult of Obama are repeating the lie that many 'feminists' have. (And it will be 'feminists' until they correct that and other lies they've spread.) 'Sarah Palin wants rape victims to pay for their own rape kits!' Prove it. September 24th, FactCheck.org published their item on it and they found nothing to prove that rumor. No proof. That's how the Cult took down Hillary, they repeated lies and piled on more lies. Usually, the most effective lie was the one that turned a Hillary strength into a liability -- a strength Barack didn't posses. So when 'feminists' rush to tell you Sarah Palin hunted wolves from a helicopter, the appropriate response is, "You, ma'am, are a damn liar." And when they insist that Palin forced rape victims to pay for rape kits, the same reply should be followed by pointing to Barack's "Faith, Family, Values Tour" with headliner Doug Kmiec who is both a homophobe (and actively fighting to overturn marriage equality in California) and an anti-choice advocate who admitted to the New York Times last month that he wanted Roe v. Wade overturned. If 'feminists' think that's feminism, they have more problems than lying.
As the press continues digging around Palin's past can someone help me out here? I thought during the Democratic Party primaries, when Barack kept suggesting that there was something evil in Hillary and Bill Clinton's tax returns, that Barack himself made a promise. There was nothing evil in their tax returns as was demonstrated when the Clintons released them. But didn't Barack promise to release his papers from when he was in the Illinois legislature. It was hard, he whined, because he didn't have that much money. Well he's sitting on a large wad of Wall St. money and surely, all these months later, the papers must have been compiled. Exactly when will he be making them public?
Violet Socks (Reclusive Leftist) explains, "Whenever women in a patriarchal society buck male opinion, there's hell to pay and they know it. Women in America really went out on a limb this year by backing Hillary in the face of withering derision from men (and from young women attempting to curry favor with men, consciously or not). Now they're making amends by piling on Palin. Ridiculing Sarah Palin as a moron -- which she clearly is not -- is de rigueur for everybody now in the Obama camp. It's their preferred sport. It's true that Palin is verbally awkward in interviews, but then, Obama himself is a man whose unscripted remarks are so ignorant and confused they defy belief. A teleprompter-deprived Obama thinks there are 57 states in the Union, believes Oregon is in the Great Lakes region, doesn't know which states border his own state of Illinois, and has no idea which Senate committees he's on." And, yes, in response to some e-mails today, the ridicule Palin faces is sexism and just because some self-proclaimed 'feminist' online wants to pretend Tina Fey's sexist (and, yes, bitchy) portrayal of Palin is nothing to fret over doesn't make it so. Staying with stupidity, the I-stalk-my-ex-and-trash-his-younger (and prettier)-new-partner 'feminist' Katha Pollitt who offered up that Palin was an "affirmative action babe." First, there's nothing wrong with affirmative action when someone is qualified. Second, when Katha's sold out feminism (as she freely admitted doing in April) for her hero Barack, maybe calling a candidate an "affirmative action" hire isn't the way to go because Barack's qualifications are non-existant. Katha wipes the sweat from underneath her many chins, hunkers down at the keyboard and comes up with one falsehood after another. At one point, she has to drag Carly Fiorina into it because Katha longs for a girlfight (longs for anything that will get her fat ass some attention but it's not 1996 and most stopped reading Katha long ago) so she rushes to type that Carly Fiornia was "ushered off the stage after she pointed out that Sarah Plin couldn't run a major corporation". Just as Katha has to insist that she was dumped by the one who got away because of his own problems (not the story everyone else heard), Katha has to omit a lot of reality when pretending to talk politics. CNN quoting Fiorina, "Well I don't think John McCain could run a major corporation, I don't think Barack Obama could run a major corporation, I don't think Joe Biden could run a major corporation." It must be very sad to be Katha Pollitt. It's even sadder to have to read her (no link to trash so no link to Katha). Long after the election's over, feminists will be addressing what went down and Liars for Barack like Katha will be the new Susan Brownmillers (and that's not anything to wish for, read Susan Faludi's Backlash). And since Katha crossed my line-you-do-not-cross (special needs children), let me toss out that each passing day finds Katha looking more and more like Bill Clinton's ugly brother. And for Katha's friend who sometimes e-mails, ask Katha to watch her words about special needs children before you beg me not to comment on Katha's Butt Ugly-ness. Meanwhile Mollie (Get Religion) explains how the press regularly distorts Palin's religion and, no surprise there, she just had to look to the Los Angeles Times.

Barack participated in
a two-party presidential 'debate on Friday. Susan (Random Thoughts) offers this evaluation, "Thank God it's over. I call it a draw; both were equally boring, equally deceptive, equally unfit for the job of president." Klownhaus notes the Cult reaction and attempts to break it down for TalkLeft's Jeralyn: "Do you want to know what the difference between spinning and outright lying is? There isn't one." Patrick Martin (WSWS) found the debate underscored "that there is no choice in the 2008 presidential election within the confines of the official two-party system. Two candidates stood facing each other, espousing nearly identical positions in defense of Wall Street and American militarism which would, in any other country in the world, immediately identify them as representatives of the ultra-right. . . . Obama said that the lesson of Iraq was 'we should never hesitate to use military force, and I will not, as president, in order to keep the American people safe, never hesitate to use military force'." Asked by moderator Jim Lehrer ("how do you see the lessons of Iraq, Senator Obama?"), Barack responded, "So I think the lesson to be drawn is that we should never hesitate to use military force, and I will not, as president, in order to keep the American people safe. But we have to use our military wisely. And we did not use our military wisely in Iraq." That was a good catch by Martin and one I honestly missed. After the question is asked by Lehrer, Barack takes six paragraphs to get that point (six paragraphs according to CNN transcript). Speaking to PBS' Ray Suarez following the debate (transcript and audio), presidential historian Michael Beschloss noted that "John McCain was repeatedly on the offensive and, to some extent, Obama was on the defensive. I was surprised by that. In terms of strategy, we'll see what works. But oftentimes in debates, if a candidate does go on the offensive, it does tend to work. That's what Kennedy did in 1960. It's what Ronald Reagan did in 1980. And it is what Bill Clinton did in 1992." PBS' Washington Week did two broadcast on Friday instead of their usual one. The first was pre-debate (standout there was the Washington Post's Dan Balz reporting from the debate location) and the second was a post-debate discussion. From the second broadcast:

Gwen Ifill: I was struck Michele that Barack Obama didn't seem to have much of an answer to that experience question.

Michelle Norris (NPR): I was surprised because it was basically John McCain's closing statement. He said that he had been involved in virtually every major national security crisis over the last 25 years and he said directly --

Gwen Ifill: He named half the leaders he'd met with.

Michele Norris: Yes. And he said I don't think Barack Obama has the experience or the judgment to be president and Jim Lehrer didn't say anything and basically let Barack Obama respond and the first thing he said was my father came from Kenya It was not directly dealing with that and I was very surprised by that.

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader offers his thoughts regarding the 'debate':

It isn't who won. It's what won. Always ask after you watch a debate, not who won, but what lost and what won. Militarism won. Boondoggle star wars won. Corruption won. Corporate crime won. Bailouts for Wall Street won. Nuclear power won. Aggressive NATO won.
What Lost? Peace advocates lost. Consumers lost. Workers lost. Solar energy really lost. You ought to ask what they don't talk about, what they ignore, what they avoid. Both of these candidates are vying to get into the White House so they can take orders from their corporate paymasters. That's what it's all about. Corporate government or the people's government? That's why we're running: to make a people's government. When you ask what won you get a clear view that these two candidates are really afraid of challenging corporate power. It's our job to make them more afraid of the people than big business.

Video of Ralph's critique can be viewed here. KPFK broadcast the debates (click here for KPFK archives -- it's Friday under "Special Programming" at 5:03 p.m.) with commentary provided by, among others, Sonali Kolhatkar (host of Uprising) who stated, "I think Obama lost a lot of opportunities to strike back at McCain. Obama was on the defensive, as you said, Obama sounded like he was on the defensive and overall, I think, the debate was quite a bit more boring than I think most people thought." The only worthwhile guest not running for office was Chris Hedges who noted of the debate, "A lot of empty talk. It's pretty clear nothing's going to change in Iraq. Both candidates are going to ramp up the war in Afghanistan. Neither of them would address the real issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict because their hands are tied by the Israeli lobby and the Israeli government." You can also laugh at many crackpots if you listen (Dr. Drew -- and add counting to the many skills Dr. Drew lacks). You can hear Sonali's co-host Ian Masters -- aka Babbling Brook or maybe just "Trainwreck" -- utilize non-stop sexism in his 'commentary' on this week's debate (the one that hasn't taken place). It wasn't just enough that he deploy SEXISM against Palin, after Cynthia McKinney was off the air he mocked her and called her "loopy" for her Florida analysis which, for the record, was correct. Ian Masters is a sexist idiot. It's pathetic that KPFK aired that embarrassment. It's linked for three reasons. 1) Audio for those who want to listen to the debate. 2) Cynthia McKinney. 3) Ralph Nader. Sonali asked Cynthia whether she supported the withdrawal of US troops from Afghanistan and Iraq?

Cynthia McKinney: Absolutely, there's no way that -- I think the Democrats and the Republicans are on the wrong track when they say that we need to have more troops in Afghanistan. No. the people of Afghanistan don't want more missiles, more deaths, more bombs, more violence. They want peace. They want justice. They want self-determination. And that is what the United States ought to be offering the people of Afghanistan. And they want legitimate government which Ha mad Karzi does not represent.

Asked of differences between the Democratic Party and the Republican Party, Cynthia replied:

Well of course I understand the Democratic Party very well after having served four years in the Georgia legislature as a Democrat and after having served twelve years in the United States Congress as a Democrat. What I can say is that voters never lose when they vote their values and that is really the message that we should be sending. And for voters who might be torn because of what the corporate press has told them to support -- the corporate political parties about the election of 2000, basically what has been told to voters has been told to them in an effort to prevent them from voting their values because if they voted their values and their values included peace then they would not vote Democrat or Republican, they would vote Green. . . . If their values were social justice, they would not vote Democrat or Republican, they would vote Green. And what the corporate press has failed to tell us is that the corporate political parties were engaged in the rankest form of disenfranchisement to the tune of one million Black people all over the United States being disenfranchised, being denied the right to have their votes counted in 2000. 78,000 of them were right there in the state of Florida and the Democratic Party did nothing to protect the right of their own voters, which the Black community represents, to have their votes counted. And then in 2004, the further insult was made by John Kerry who made a commitment, a recorded commitment, that we weren't going to see a repeat of 2000 where one million Black people had their votes not counted and then despite the fact that reports were coming in from Ohio of tremendous disenfranchisement in the Black community, John Kerry conceded the very next day.

Following McKinney, Aura Bogada (
Free Speech Radio News) spoke to Ralph Nader.

Ralph Nader: I think something needs to be done for the millions of home owners who are going to be foreclosed. There are a lot of good ways to save them from losing their homes. The progressive economist Dean Baker in Washington suggests that they be allowed to rent their homes until the situation is stabilized -- rather than be evicted from their homes, they become tenants so that's one approach. But by and large the White House has not made the case that there needs to be a gigantic bailout and Congress is not investigating having a series hearing of deliberative hearings the way they did for a tiny bail out of Chrysler in 1979. So they haven't made the case and if there is to be a bailout they haven't shown what kind of bailout, how much is needed, should it be injection of capital, how do they evaluate the distressed assets, how are they going to pay for it, when are they going to pay for it. It's nothing but a blank check. $700 billion. George Bush wants. King George the IV, and that's it. This is dictatorial rule-making and unfortunately the Democrats with a few tweaks here and there are going to roll over.

The measure Ralph spoke of died in the House today. Offering a Green perspective,
Kimberly Wilder (On the Wilder Side) writes about the topic (one attempt by the House to kill the bill doesn't mean it's over) and her suggestions include:
-Demand the absolute moratorium on foreclosures that some people have already envisioned might be needed. -Demand a moratorium on apartment evictions. -Encourage our friends and neighbors to truly evaluate their resources now, a few days or weeks before something happens: Make a network with 3 or 4 family members. Where would everyone go, who would they live with, if one by one they got kicked out of their homes? -Start thinking of laws to propose, or amendments to this bailout bill, that either punish landlords with residential property not rented out, or make squatting rules so simple that there will not be empty apartments rotting around the country, while some people are homeless and looking for a place to lie their head. -Start thinking about a way to put a moratorium on the enforcement of "keeping my neighborhood affluent laws" such as in the town I live in, where it is illegal to have a home with two front doors. Or, rules that only one family can live in a home. (Which should be well thought out, I realize. Because, they could be misapplied by bad landlords to overcrowd, or create burdens that make impossible parking/traffic situations if there is not an emergency.)

We're working that topic back to the presidential election via US House Rep Dennis Kucinich.
On Democracy Now! today, he revealed that Barack Obama was said, by House Democrats not to want bankruptcy protection for the home owners:

Amy Goodman: Congressman Kucinich, can you explain how it is that the Democrats are in charge, yet the Democrats back down on their demand to give bankruptcy judges authority to alter the terms of mortgages for homeowners facing foreclosure, that Democrats also failed in their attempt to steer a portion of any government profits from the package to affordable housing programs?
Dennis Kucinich: Well, I mean, those are two of the most glaring deficiencies in this bill. And I would maintain there was never any intention to -- you know, well, many members of Congress had the intention of helping people who were in foreclosure. You know, this -- Wall Street doesn't want to do that. Wall Street wants to grab whatever change they can and equity that's left in these properties. So --

Amy Goodman: Right, but the Democrats are in charge of this.

Dennis Kucinich: Right. You know, I'll tell you something that we were told in our caucus. We were told that our presidential candidate, when the negotiations started at the White House, said that he didn't want this in this bill. Now, that's what we were told.

Amy Goodman: You were told that Barack Obama did not want this in the bill?
Dennis Kucinich: That he didn't want the bankruptcy provisions in the bill. Now, you know, that's what we were told. And I don't understand why he would say that, if he did say that. And I think that there is a--the fact that we didn't put bankruptcy provisions in, that actually we removed any hope for judges to do any loan modifications or any forbearance. There's no moratorium on mortgage foreclosures in here. So, who's getting --who's really getting helped by this bill? This is a bailout, pure and simple, of Wall Street interests who have been involved in speculation.

Hardly surprising considering where Barack's campaign money comes from. But see if that gets any more news traction than Biden's speaking error did last week. Barack and John got to stand on stage in a so-called presidential debate. Shut out were presidential candidates
Cynthia McKinney, Ralph Nader, Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin. Team Nader reports that Trevor Lyman is attempting to organize a debate in NYC for McKinney, Nader, Barr and Baldwin as well as (invited even if they don't show) Barack and McCain. Lyman explains: "Please join us for a third party candidate debate and money bomb (date to be announced as we approach 10,000 pledges mark, location in New York City). All of the major candidates will be invited to participate. The event will be broadcast via BreakTheMatrix.com and many others (details to come). Remember, all of America is on the Internet. Together we can break the media blackout on third party candidates. Be sure to tell your friends and family to tune in." And before any e-mails come in, no, all of America is not online.

the los angeles timestina susmanthe new york timessam daghermuhammed al-obaidi
shamiram daniali
basil adasjohn daniszewski
kpfkuprising radiosonali kolhatkar

Friday, September 26, 2008

Nader, Cher

Trina's Kitchen. Dateline? Marcia and I are blogging early tonight to try not to miss the debate tonight.

My candidate isn't in the debate tonight: Ralph Nader. Foon Rhee (Boston Globe) blogs:

Since Ralph Nader wasn't invited to tonight's presidential debate, his campaign is urging supporters to push his message by posting to the numerous websites and blogs accepting comments.
"Want to join in?" the Nader campaign said in an email this evening. "This is what you need to do. Fire up your computer by 9 p.m. EST. Dozens of online websites will allow for live blogging from around the world.

And for those looking for an audio report, click here for Free Speech Radio News' interview with Ralph Nader today.

I hope everyone read C.I.'s "I Hate The War" last night. I knew something major was coming just from remarks C.I. made in the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin. But it sill left me amazed when I read it. And if you have not yet read it, C.I.'s making the very basic point that FAIR has not done a thing this year to try to open the presidential debates. In the past they have but FAIR's nothing but a Barack Obama cheerleader today. It is not a media watch dog, it is is an angry, defensive girlfriend of Mr. Obama. So third parties are told to silence themselves, independent candidates are told they do not matter. This is what FAIR stands for today. It was not always that way. But that is how it is today.

Last week, Kat wrote about Cher ("Cher and more" and "Ralph Nader and Cher") and Cher is among the many rockers I can remember when they first came on the scene. For Cher, that was 1965. She was both part of a top selling duo (Sonny & Cher) and a solo artist hitting the charts that far back; however, she is not in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame. "Rockers" Johnny Cash and the Bee Gees are in the Hall, but Cher is not. If that surprises you, you need to read the piece we wrote at Third Sunday ("Cock Rock Hall of Fame") to grasp that of the 159 artists inducted as performers into the Hall, only 24 are women.

Who else is calling it out because I am not seeing it called it out. If you divide 150 by 25, you get 6. I am keeping the math really simple. Less than 1/6 of the members in the Hall are women.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Friday, September 26, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announced another death, did the Obama-Biden plan for Iraq slip out accidentally, and more.

Starting in Iraq. The Parliament passed a bill for provincial elections that now awaits approval (or rejection) by the presidency council. This afternoon, the New York Times'
Eric Owles posted at Baghdad Bureau an audio conversation between the paper's Iraq-based correspondents Alissa J. Rubin and Stephen Farrell discussing the bill. Excerpt:

Alissa J. Rubin: Well they were under pressure to pass a law actually three or four months ago. The idea had originally been -- and the requirement was that they would hold provincial elections by Oct. 1st. That was in one of the previous laws they passed and I'm not, I cannot remember in which one. And that, obviously, that deadline was missed when they were unable to agree pretty much in May to an election law. And then as the summer wore on it became clear that they may not even be able to have them this year. But there was a gathering upset, some anger, frustration from political groups that were not represented or are not represented now in the provincial councils and there was a strong feeling that if they wanted to maintain stability they needed to give those people a place at the table -- at least, although perhaps not the size place that they wanted but at least they have to include them in some way.

Stephen Farrell: So it's not just a technical question, it actually matters for the future stability of the country is that what you're --

Alissa J. Rubin: Yes, it matters a great deal. And there are two levels on which it matters. First, it matters because in some areas, notably Anbar Province to some extent and in Salahuddin and in several of the other northen provinces where there are large numbers of Sunnis there is this new movement, the "Awakening" Councils which are more tribal, local people, which are beginning to really represent a lot of the interests of the people living in those areas but the provincial councils which are the centers of power in these largely Sunni provinces are dominated by one political party -- the Iraqi Islamic Party -- and a few other smaller parties but that is the dominant one and those people don't necessarily represent or don't, in some cases, don't at all represent the people in the region. And so the "Awakeing" Councils and the "Awakening" leaders would like to have a chance to be elected and to weild power there. So that's very important and if they don't weild power they will -- or if they aren't allowed to weild power, there's a real risk that they will return to violence. Many of them were insurgents, not all, but certainly some of them. And it would not be a very representative situation. The same to some extent is true in the south as well which is predominately Shia. You have a large numbers of people loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shi'ite cleric, and they're very much -- in some provinces they are absolutely the majority and they don't have any place on the provincial councils or they have just one or two seats and the council? Say thirty, thirty-five members . So they are not able to influence how the council is governed. So it's important for stability to have those people also have their voices heard and be able to sort of plot the course of events.

Stephen Farrell: The provincial election laws sounds incredibly technical but what it seemed to me when I was thinking about it is that we hear all the time out on the street out in the provinces that it's a bit like a game of musical chairs. That the last time the music stopped four years ago some people weren't sitting on a chair, some people weren't in the room, some people weren't even in the country -- in those blunt terms. Broadly speaking, is that roughly what we're talking about? People demanding that the new reality on the ground be recognized.

Alissa J. Rubin: Absolutely that's what's happening and it's very important not just for the provincial elections. But these provincial elections are going to be something of a dress rehearsal for the national elections -- the Parliamentary elections that will be held at the end of 2009. And so it's quite important that more people be included before those elections are held so that those elections also, or that body, Parliament, begins to represent a bit better the country as a whole. At the moment, there's still quite a few people left out. Many of them didn't vote in the last election because they didn't want to vote in the country that they viewed as an occupied nation -- occupied by the Americans. So they abstained but the result is that they didn't end up with any power and yet they are here and there more and more influential for a variety of reasons depending upon which part of the country you're in.

Stephen Farrell: So boiling it down, what we have is that the Sunnis would argue the Kurds are very over represented in areas such as Mosul where the Sunnis did not take part in the last round of elections and I think that certain Sunni parties in Anbar who didn't even exist four years ago would now be saying, "Well we are the Awakening. We are the ones who brought peace to Anbar. It's time for the old guard to move aside and for our contribution to the country to be recognized." I mean, in effect, people crying out for recognition of realities of achievements made over the last four years.

Before moving on further with the various factions in Iraq, last
Friday's snapshot mentioned an article by Leila Fadel. As noted Saturday, "U.S. strike kills civilians, Iraqis say" was written by Leila Fadel and Laith Hammoudi. That was my mistake. My apologies. This is in the Friday snapshot because Trina and Betty post that one and it saves them having to copy and paste from another snapshot during the week.

Back to factions. Kurdish friend Peter W. Galbraith makes a series of hypothesis in "
Is This a 'Victory'?" (New York Review of Books) but what should raise eye brows is a declaration he makes. (Someone get Tom Hayden a chair. He'll need to sit down. We'll get to it.) Galbraith sketches out a scenario where all the factions are in direct competition and opposition. That's in part to his own desire to represent the desires of the Kurdish region by advocating that Iraq not be a nation but a federation. Tom-Tom's long had a problem with Senator Joe Biden's support for a fedeartion. The popular term for that, which Biden rejects, is "partition." Galbraith has long favored a partition. This is not the Iraqis making that decision but it being imposed upon them. (The Kurds have long favored partition.) Near the end of the article, Galbraith -- an Obama inner-circle accolade of many years -- makse some critiques of Sentator John McCain including: "He has denounced the Obama-Biden plan for a decentralized state but has said nothing about how he would protect Iraq's Kurds, the only committed American allies in the country."


The Obama-Biden plan? That was once Biden's proposal, long before he was on the Democratic Party's presidential ticket in the v.p. slot. But Obama supports partitioning Iraq? Again, Galbraith is part of Barack's inner circle. It's not fair to call him an "advisor" because he goes so very far back. (He is the one who, in fact, introduced Barack to Samantha Power in a kind of War Hawk mixer. Power, who, for the record, also supports partition.) What was once the Biden plan, Galbraith inadvertantly alerts, is now the Obama-Biden plan.

Tuesday's snapshot noted the Defense Dept press briefing by Lt Gen Lloyd Austin III where he attempted to sell the October 1st 'inclusion' of (some of) the "Awakening" Councils into the central government. NPR's JJ Sutherland attempted to figure out what the 54,000 members being moved over means and what their duties will be in Baghdad since, at present, they run checkpoints. Repeatedly, Austin demonstrated no awareness of what Sutherland was asking:

JJ Sutherland: Sir, I understand that but I'[m saying, "What happens in October? I understand eventually you want to have them be plumbers or electricians. But in October, there are a lot of checkpoints that have been manned by the Sons of Iraq. Are those checkpoints all going to go away? Are they only going to be staffed by Iraqi police now? That's my question. It's not eventually, it's next month.

Lt Gen Lloyd Austin: Yeah. Next month the Iraqi government will begin to work their way through this. And there's no question that some of them, some of the checkpoints, many of the checkpoints, will be -- will be manned by Iraqi security forces. In some cases, there may be Sons of Iraq that will be taksed to help with that work. But in most cases, I think the Iraqi government will be looking to transition people into different types of jobs.

Tim Cocks (Reuters) quotes Maj Gen Jeffrey Hammond declaring in Baghdad today, "This cannot be something that's allowed to fail. If the programme were to fail, obviously these guys would be back out on the street, angry, al Qaeda out recruiting them ... We don't need that." An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy raises the issue of the checkpoints noting, "The Iraqi people and especially Baghdad is fed up with promises by officials and security commanders of the improving of the security situation. Millions of students in schools and universities started their new studying year this week which will add more traffic in Baghdad and more targets for the car bombs. If the check points lessen the car bombs, we are happy with them. Instead, we have soldiers and policemen who wave for the cars to move like traffic policemen who are useless." Meanwhile Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on a new questionnaire being distributed by Iraqi soldiers which asks a home's occupant for the a copy of their house deed, the names of their children and the name of the family's tribe "which identifies his religion and ethnicity. In Iraq, such a request has often been the first step toward death."

Back to the topic of elections, Iraqi elections, Alsumaria's "
What's after approving Iraq elections law?" offers an overview of the steps for approval as well as the basics on the legislation: "The law stipulates to use an open list electoral system where voters can choose specific candidates while the old law refers to a closed list system where they could only select political parties. The new law does not cover the three provinces of Kurdistand. Polls there will be conducted according to a separate law that the region's parliament needs to write and pass." Tom A. Peter (Christian Science Monitor) observes that if the provisional elections are scheduled, they "will stir debate over the lack of central services, such as electricity and water. Many suspect that incumbents will have a hard time getting voter support because of an ongoing lack of basic utilities" and quotes Baghdad Univeristy poli sci professor Abdul Jabbar Ahmad stating, "Democracy does not only mean having an election or passing a law in the legislature. A real government provides services." And a government that doesn't puts the citizens in jeopardy. From yesterday's snapshot: "Meanwhile AP reports 327 case -- confirmed cases -- of cholera in Iraq." Leila Fadel (McClatchy's Baghdad Observer) notes the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction most recent report which found "only 20 percent of families outside of Baghdad province have access to sewage facitlities. Driving through Iraq's province is all the proof one needs. In many southern provinces the sewage runs like rivers through the towns while children play nearby and young kids swim through the dirty river water." Remember what professor Abdul Jabbar Ahmad stated? "A real government provides services"? Cholera's outbreak in Iraq is now an annual summer event. It is completely expected and little is done to prevent it. The UN's WHO pushes societal obligations off as individual ones as if individuals are the ones at fault for the lack of electricity nad the lack of potatable water? There has been no improvement in providing potable water, electricity continues to falter in Iraq and purchasing fuel to heat water (and make it safe) is problematic as fuel prices continue to rise. But the 'answer' is to repeat what they repeat every year and pretend that the central government in Iraq is not failing and that Nouri al-Maliki isn't sitting on billions that should have long ago been used for reconstruction. The UN is working on one water project in Iraq. Jiro Sakaki (The Daily Yomiuri) reports that the UN's Environment Program's International Enivornmental Technology Center is attempting to save the marshlands.

In diplomatic news,
Xinhua reports today a reception took place in China "to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Iraq diplomatic relations." In other diplomatic news, at the end of this year, the UN mandate that the US has been operating under in Iraq (a mandate put in place after the start of the illegal war) expires December 31st. Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki has twice extended it (circumventing Parliament). The White House is attempting to push through treaties (and, to circumvent the Senate, is calling them SOFAs). Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that US Ambassador Ryan Crocker is stating Iran is attempting to prevent the puppet and the White House from reaching an agreement and that "Crocker also speculated that Iran may be tightening its ties to Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq and co-opting them from anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr, who for the last year has ordered his followers to largely refrain from violence. He said Iran has a history of using members of political or other opposition groups in other countries to its advantage." Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) adds, "Iran has condemned leaked drafts of the bilateral agreement to replace the mandate. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, replaced professional diplomats on the negotiating team with members of his private office in August, a development that has pro-Iranian politicians at the heart of the negotiations. Baghdad maintains that US efforts to secure immunity from prosecution in Iraq for troops and contractors is an unacceptible demand. David Satterfield, the top US negotiator, travelled to Baghdad with a counter proposal but Mr Crocker admitted Mr Maliki was unwilling to concede the principle when popular opinion in Iraq was overwhelmingly opposed." Yesterday Michel Ghandour (Al-Hurra) interviewed US Secretary of State Condi Rice at the Women Leaders Working Group in NYC:

Michel Ghandour: Madame Secretary, why do you think there's no agreement yet with the Iraqis regarding the American presence in Iraq, and what role do you think Iran is playing in this regard?

Condi Rice: Well, I don't know what role Iran is playing, but it's not for Iran to determine. It's for the Iraqi Government and the represenatives of the Iraqi people to determine. And it's a negotiation that's continuing that I think has actually got a good spirit of cooperation. People do understand that without an agreement -- American forces can only operate on a legal basis, and so we need a legal basis. But we're working very well with the Iraqis on this. They're not easy issues, and so it takes time. But we are working very well and we're working toward agreement.

The take-away is a question: If the US Ambassador to Iraq is telling the truth, why didn't Rice also grab the talking point yesterday? (The question offered it to her.)

In a readily established conflict between Iraq and another country,
Hurriyet reports that Turkish military planes bombed northern Iraq Thursday night "and hit 16 locations" thought to belong to the PKK. Al Jazeera states 10 military planes were used in the bombing. BBC quotes an unnamded PKK spokesperson saying three people were wounded in the bombings.
It's a Friday. Very little violence gets reported on Fridays.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Anbar Province (four more wounded) and 1 police officer shot dead in Anbar province (one more wounded). Reuters notes 2 "Awakening" Council members shot dead outside Samarra and 1 person killed in Mosul.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed Sep. 25 when a roadside bomb struck a vehicle that was part of a combat patrol near Iskandariyah. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and official release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq to 4173 since the start of the illegal war with 22 for the month thus far.

Turning to TV, check your local listings.
NOW on PBS explores the bailout and attempts to answer for "Americans: How will this affect me? This week, NOW on PBS goes inside the round-the-clock efforts in Washington to craft a bailout plan of monumental proportions." Meanwhile, tonight's debate is on -- for both of the corporatist candidates at any rate. PBS' Washington Week is going to do two live broadcasts on Friday. One before the debate and one after. Gwen's guests will include Michele Norris (NPR), Michael Duffy (Time), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) Dan Balz (Washington Post), and a scribe for the New York Times.

Four presidential candidates are shut out of tonight's debate. Two are Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin. The other two?
Cynthia McKinney is the Green presidential candidate and she notes on the economic meltdown:

Last week, I posted
ten points (that were by no means exhaustive) for Congressional action immediately in the wake of the financial crisis now gripping our country. At that time, the Democratic leadership of Congress was prepared to adjourn the current legislative Session to campaign, without taking any action at all to put policies in place that protect U.S. taxpayers and the global community that has accepted U.S. financial leadership. Those ten points, to be taken in conjunction with the Power to the People Committee's platform available on the campaign website at (http://votetruth08.com/index.php/resources/campaignplatform), are as follows:1. Enactment of a foreclosure moratorium now before the next phase of ARM interest rate increases take effect;2. elimination of all ARM mortgages and their renegotiation into 30- or 40-year loans;3. establishment of new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices;4. establishment of criteria and construction goals for affordable housing;5. redefinition of credit and regulation of the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are completely eliminated;6. full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership;7. recognition of shelter as a right according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which the U.S. is a signatory so that no one sleeps on U.S. streets;8. full funding of a fund designed to cushion the job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions;9. close all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners; and10. fairly tax corporations, denying federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas repeal NAFTA.In addition to these ten points, I now add four more:11. Appointment of former Comptroller General David Walker to fully audit all recipients of taxpayer cash infusions, including JP Morgan, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, and to monitor their trading activities into the future;12. elimination of all derivatives trading;13. nationalization of the Federal Reserve and the establishment of a federally-owned, public banking system that makes credit available for small businesses, homeowners, manufacturing operations, renewable energy and infrastructure investments; and14. criminal prosecution of any activities that violated the law, including conflicts of interest that led to the current crisis.Ellen Brown, author of "The Web of Debt" writes at http://www.webofdebt.com/articles/, "Such a public bank today could solve not only the housing crisis but a number of other pressing problems, including the infrastructure crisis and the energy crisis. Once bankrupt businesses have been restored to solvency, the usual practice is to return them to private hands; but a better plan for Fannie and Freddie might be to simply keep them as public institutions."Too many times politicians have told us to support the "free market." The unfolding news informs us in a most costly manner that free markets don't work. This is a financial system of their making. It's now past time for the people to have an economic system of their own. A reading of the full text on the Congressional "Agreement on Principles" for the proposed $700 billion bailout reveals the sham that this so-called agreement truly is. Today our country faces an economic 9/11. The problem that is unfolding is truly systemic and no stop-gap measures that maintain the current bankrupt structure will be sufficient to resolve this crisis of the U.S. economic engine.Today is my son's birthday. What a gift to the young people of this country if we were to present to them a clean break from the policies that produced this economic disaster, the "financial tsunami" that former Comptroller General David Walker warned us of so many months ago and instead offered them a U.S. economic superstructure that truly was their own.Power to the People!

McKinney's running mate Rosa Clemente will be speaking at the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) Saturday, September 27th. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and he is also shut out of tonight's debate. Nader notes that, more than any cash infusion, the country needs leadership with spine:

Congress needs to show some backbone before the federal government pours more money on the financial bonfire started by the arsonists on Wall Street.
1.Congress should hold a series of hearings and invite broad public comment on any proposed bailout. Congress is supposed to be a co-equal branch of our federal government. It needs to stop the stampede to give Bush a
$700 billion check. Public hearings should be held to determine what alternatives might exist to the four-page proposal advanced by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson.
2.Whatever is ultimately done, the bailout plan should not be insulated from judicial review. Remember there is a third co-equal branch of government: the judiciary. The judiciary does not need to review each buy-and-sell decision by the Treasury Department, but there should be some boundaries established to the Treasury Department's discretion. Judicial review is needed to ensure that unbridled discretion is not abused.
3.Sunlight is a good disinfectant. The bailout that is ultimately approved must provide for full and timely disclosure of all bailout details. This will discourage conflicts of interest and limit the potential of sweetheart deals.
4.Firms that accept government bailout monies must agree to disclose their transactions and be more honest in their accounting. They should agree to end off-the-books accounting maneuvers, for example.
5.Taxpayers must be protected by having a stake in any recovery. The bailout plan should provide opportunities for taxpayers to recoup funds that are made available to problem financial institutions, or to benefit from the financial institutions' rising stock price and increased profitability after being bailed out.
6.The current so-called "regulators" cannot be trusted. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), "the investigative arm of Congress" and "the congressional watchdog," must regularly review the bailout. We cannot trust the financial "regulators," who allowed the slide into financial disaster, to manage the bailout without outside monitoring.
7.It is time to put the federal cop back on the financial services beat. Strong financial regulations and independent regulators are necessary to rebuild trust in our financial institutions and to prevent further squandering of our tax dollars. The Justice Department and the SEC also need to scrutinize the expanding mess with an eye to uncovering
corporate crime and misdeeds. Major news outlets are reporting that the FBI is investigating American International Group, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers.
8.Cap executive compensation and stop giving the Wall Street gamblers golden parachutes. The CEOs who have created the financial disaster should not be allowed to leave with millions in hand when so many pensioners and small shareholders are seeing their investments evaporate. The taxpayers are bailing out Wall Street so that the financial system continues to function, not to further enrich the CEOs and executives who created this mess.
9.Congress should pass the Financial Consumers' Information and Representation Act, to permit citizens to form a federally-chartered nonprofit membership organization to strengthen consumer representation in government proceedings that concern the financial services industry. As the savings and loan disasters of the 1980s and the Wall Street debacles of the last few years have demonstrated, there is an overriding need for consumers and taxpayers to have the organized means to enhance their influence on financial issues.
10.The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, separating traditional banks from investment banks, helped pave the way for the current disaster. It is time to re-regulate the financial sector. The current crisis is also leading to even further conglomeration and concentration in the financial sector. We must revive and apply antitrust principles, so that banking consumers can benefit from competition and taxpayers are less vulnerable to too-big-to-fail institutions, which merge with each other to further concentration.
11.Congress should impose a securities and derivatives speculation tax. A tax on financial trading would slow down the churning of stocks and financial instruments, and could raise substantial monies to pay for the bailout.
12.Regulators should impose greater margin requirements, making speculators use more of their own money and diminishing reckless casino capitalism.
Ask your representative a few questions: "What should be done to limit banking institutions from investing in high-risk activities?" "What should be done to ensure banks are meeting proper capital standards given the financial quicksand that has spread as a result of the former
Senator Phil Gramm's deregulation efforts?" And, "What is being done to protect small investors?"
P.S. Shareholders also have some work to do. They should have listened when Warren Buffett called securities derivatives a "time bomb" and "financial weapons of mass destruction." The Wall Street crooks and unscrupulous speculators use and draining of "other people's money" out of pension funds and mutual funds should motivate painfully passive shareholders to organize to gain greater authority to control the companies they own. Where is the shareholder uprising?

We've highlighted some of
Jo Freeman's outstanding reporting on the 1976 political conventions recently. Freeman also covered this year's Democratic and Republican convention for Senior Women Web and you can find her articles here. We'll note this from her "Sarah Palin: A Risky Move and A Gift to the Women's Movement" (Senior Women Web):

Like Hillary's 2008 run for President, Ferraro's 1984 run for the second spot brought all sorts of sexism out of the closet. It was an eye-opener for everyone. In the end, this bold, risky choice didn't seem to affect the outcome. The exit polls showed that having a woman on the ticket was a prime concern for only a few. These voters about equally divided between those who told pollsters that they voted for a woman and those who said they voted against one. Ferraro's candidacy had a bigger effect on those who answered the annual polling question (in a different poll): Would you vote for "a well-qualified woman of your own party for President"? After Ferraro a party gap appeared. Republicans were 50 percent more likely than Democrats to answer "No." Republicans have continued to say they would not vote for a well-qualified (but unnamed) woman for President at a much higher rate than Democrats. Wonder what they will tell the pollsters this year?

Governor Sarah Palin is the v.p. nominee on the Republican ticket.
Yesterday The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric aired the second part of Couric's interview with Palin. Excerpt:

Katie Couric: As we stand before this august building and institution, what do you see as the role of the United States in the world? Sarah Palin: I see the United States as being a force for good in the world. And as Ronald Reagan used to talk about, America being the beacon of light and hope for those who are seeking democratic values and tolerance and freedom. I see our country being able to represent those things that can be looked to … as that leadership, that light needed across the world. Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers … and Internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world. Palin: I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world. No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.

Part one aired Wednesday evening and both links have text and video. As Jo Freeman noted, Palin is following in Ferraro's footsteps (Palin has publicly acknowledged that and that she follows in Hillary Clinton's footsteps as well). Genevieve Roth (Glamour) spoke with Ferraro to get her tips for Palin and Ferraro offers many worthwhile reflections and suggestions but probably sums it up the best with this: "The bottom line is, Sarah Palin doesn't need advice from me or anyone. She wouldn't be in the position she's in if she wasn't able to deal with the campaign."

alissa j. rubin
the new york timesstephen farrell
mcclatchy newspapersleila fadellaith hammoudi
the los angeles timestina susmanthe washington postjoby warrick
derek kravitznow on pbspbswashington weekmichele norrisdan balzdavid wesseldamien mcelroy
katie couricthe cbs evening news
jo freeman
thomas friedman is a great mantrinas kitchen