Thursday, July 10, 2008


In the New York Times today, Steven Lee Myers offers "A More Confident Iraq Becomes a Tougher Negotiating Partner for the U.S." which is dubbed an analysis

But Mr. Maliki's once enfeebled government, emboldened by several recent military successes, is eager to assert its sovereignty.
The Iraqi demands have put Mr. Bush in a politically awkward spot.
The president has explicitly opposed any binding timetables -- either from the Iraqis or from the war's critics here at home -- but he also pledged less than a month ago to abide by the will of Iraq's leaders.
"You know, of course, we're there at their invitation," Mr. Bush said in Paris during his recent European tour. "This is a sovereign nation."
This new Iraqi confidence is easy to overstate, and many of the statements simply prove that Iraq’s democracy has matured to the point that elected leaders there must pander to important constituencies, even if they quietly acknowledge the need for American military support for the foreseeable future.

It's a strange sort of analysis in that it leaves out why al-Maliki might float the notion domestically (Iraq is supposed to hold elections in October). Stronger Times coverage can be found in Sabrina Tavernise's "Iraq Military Commander Survives Suicide Bomb Attack:"

A suicide bomber detonated his car outside a regional traffic police building in Mosul, where Lt. Gen. Riyadh Jalal Tawfiq, the chief of the Iraqi military command for the city, was holding a meeting. General Tawfiq was not hurt, but five of the eight killed were civilians, and 41 people were wounded, including seven of his bodyguards, Iraqi officials said.
Mosul, home to many former military officers loyal to Saddam Hussein, continues to be violent as attacks in much of Iraq have declined. An aggressive sweep of the city by the American military and the Iraqi Army in the spring brought the number of attacks down, but violence still flares.

James Risen's "General Misled Lawmakers on KBR Work, Senator Says" (New York Times) details why US Senator Byron L. Dorgan accuses General Jermoe Johnson of lying to the Senate Armed Services Committee when providing testimony in April of last year on KBR's work supplying water to US forces during which time Johnson denied that there was "widespread problems with water supplied by KBR" despite "the Pentagon's inspector general" stating that there was (and, yes, there were huge problems). On the front page of the Washington Post, Ernesto Londono's "U.S. Troops in Iraq Face A Powerful New Weapon" explores IRAMS (Improvised Rocket Assisted Munitions) which the US military is stating has become the weapon of choice in attacks by resistance fighters with "at least 21 peoplce, including at least three U.S. soldiers" dying from them so far in 2008. Sally Buzbee's "Drought threatens Iraq's crops and water supply" (Los Angeles Times)explores the growing season in Iraq:

It's been a year of drought and sand storms across Iraq -- a dry spell that has devastated the country's crucial wheat crop and created new worries about the safety of drinking water.
U.S. officials warn that Iraq will have to increase wheat imports sharply this winter to make up for the lost crop -- a sobering proposition with world food prices high and some internal refugees already struggling to afford food.
"Planting ... is totally destroyed," said Daham Mohammed Salim, 40, who farms 120 acres in the al-Jazeera area near Tikrit, 80 miles north of Baghdad. "Even the ground water in wells is lower than before."

Barack supports spying on American citizens and made that clear yesterday. Rebecca's "your frankenstein monster has escaped," Kat's "Hillary and Barbara stand up, Barack crawls," Marcia's "Ralph Nader, Jesse Jackson, Barack, Hillary," Ruth's "Barack, Hillary, Ralph, Glen Ford," Mike's "He tore apart the Democratic Party, now its families," Elaine's "Who stood up? The woman they attacked.," and Cedric's "Jesse Jackson Jnr. has a new Daddy" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! GUESS WHO GOT A NEW DADDY!" (joint-post on the last two) address it.

Senators Hillary Clinton, Barbara Boxer and Russ Feingold were among those voting against the proposal and standing up for the rights of the people. (Links under names go to the senators statements on their opposition to expanding spying on Americans, Feingold provides audio as well as text.)

Megan notes independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader's position on yesterday's expansion of spying:

Nader Audio on Telecom Immunity

Nader Audio on Telecom Immunity .

Listen to Ralph Nader's audio message on the Senate vote on FISA - here.

Good morning.

This is Ralph Nader.

Today is Wednesday July 9, 2008.

And I'm listening now to the debate on the Senate floor over legislation that will give President Bush new warrantless eavesdropping powers.

The bill will also grant immunity to telecom companies for cooperating with Mr. Bush in his illegal warrantless wiretapping on Americans - on any one of you.

We were taught as young children that in our democracy, under our system of justice, nobody is above the law - nobody.

But this bill puts the President and the telecom companies above the law.

It also conveniently assures a coverup of Mr. Bush's past crimes in this area - of wiretapping and surveillance.

On the Senate floor, Senator Feingold has just warned his colleagues that the Senate "will regret that we passed this legislation."

As my home state Senator, Christopher Dodd, said:

"If we pass this legislation, the Senate will ratify a domestic spying regime that has already concentrated far too much unaccountable power in the President's hands and will place the telecommunications companies above the law."

What does it say that Senators Dodd, Feingold, Harry Reid, and Patrick Leahy have led the valiant fight against this bill, but Senator Obama has said he will vote for it?

Again, this bill gives the President vast new warrantless eavesdropping powers and allows the government - for the first time ever - to tap into America's telecommunications networks with no judicial warrant requirement.

President Bush and the Democrats who support him argue that the telecommunications companies were only doing what they were told by the President and were acting as "patriotic corporate citizens."

This is pure hogwash.

First of all, corporations aren't citizens.

Second, the President can't order anyone - citizens or corporations - to break the law.

This legislation, which the Senate is debating right now, sets up a double standard of justice.

Break the law as a citizen, go to jail.

Break the law as a corporation, go to Washington and get immunity.

Remember, there were telecom companies, such as Qwest, that refused to follow President Bush's illegal wiretap orders and chose instead to obey the laws of the land.

The Senate is now poised to bury the rule of law.

What to do?

Join Nader/Gonzalez - the candidacy that will shift the power from the corporations back into the hands of the people.

We strongly oppose the wiretap surveillance legislation that Obama and McCain support.

We stand strongly with the American people and for the Constitution.

The Nader/Gonzalez campaign is now at six percent in the most recent CNN poll.

We're in the middle of a fundraising drive right now to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in 45 states by September 20.

Help us get there now.

Go to

Donate to your heart's content.

For the Constitution.

For liberty.

For freedom.

For justice.

For shifting the power from the corporations, back into the hands of the American people.

"We the people" are the first words of the Constitution - we should always remember.

Thank you.

PS: We invite your comments to the blog.

Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.


The e-mail address for this site is