Iraqi MP Mithal al-Alusi was in the news earlier this month for visiting Israel and the reaction to his visit by some in Iraq. Sameer N. Yacoub and Vanessa Gera offer "AP Interview: Maverick Iraqi lawmaker pays a high price for advocating peace with Israel:"
"What has happened was a catastrophe for democracy," Al-Alusi told The Associated Press in an interview in his Baghdad home. "Within an hour's time, the parliament became the policeman, the investigator, the judge, the government and the law. It was a sham trial."
Al-Alusi said he went to Israel to seek international support for Iraq as it struggles against terrorism, and insisted that the outcry reflects Iranian meddling in Iraq's internal affairs — an accusation often leveled by Sunnis like himself against Iraq's mostly Shiite neighbor.
"Iran is behind Hamas and Hezbollah and many other terrorist organizations. Israelis are suffering like me, like my people. So we need to be together," he said. "Peace will have more of a chance."
Iraq sent troops to three Arab wars against Israel, and fired Scud missiles at it in the 1991 Gulf War. It remains technically at war with the Jewish state. Iraq's once-thriving Jewish community has shriveled to just a few people, most having fled after Israel was founded in 1948.
"Al-Alusi has insulted the hundreds of Iraqi martyrs who fell while fighting the Israelis," said Osama al-Nujeifi, a Sunni lawmaker. "It was a provocative visit to a historical enemy."
In Al-Alusi's living room, decorated with oriental rugs and paintings, his two dead sons, aged 19 and 29, smile from a photo hanging next to a stately grandfather clock.
A secular Muslim, he lit a cigarette during an interview even though this is the Muslim month of Ramadan, when food, water and smoking are forbidden during daylight hours.
Meanwhile an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy offers "Its Hard to fix the broken image" (Inside Iraq) about how suddenly Iraqi politicians are tossing out words of concern for the people:
Nowadays, the political blocs concentrate on the services file. They criticize basically the ministry of electricity for the great shortage that Iraqis suffer from as if it's our only problem. Today and during the speech of the Friday prayers; the Shiite sheikh who is theoretically an independent lawmaker talked about the electricity issue again saying that since the ministry started its work two years ago; it didn't make any contract to increase the production.
I don't know where our great politicians were and how couldn't they touch or feel the suffering of Iraqis. Why did they remember our suffering now?
At the New York Times Iraq blog, Iraqi cartoonist Qassem H.J. offers "The Daily Puzzle."
We'll again note this from Team Nader:
This Thursday National Day of Action to Open the Debates
William Greider put it best yesterday when he called Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson's upcoming bailout of Wall Street: "All sugar for the villains, lasting pain and damage for the victims."
"As I have been saying for several months, this crisis has the potential to bring down one or both political parties, take your choice," Greider said.
And investment analyst Christopher Whalen chimed in:
"The joyous reception from Congressional Democrats to Paulson's latest massive bailout proposal smells an awful lot like yet another corporatist lovefest between Washington's one-party government and the Sell Side investment banks."
Strip aside the rhetoric of the two major parties.
And what is left is one party devoted to Wall Street.
Who represents Main Street?
So, why is that when the Presidential debates open this Friday, only Wall Street will be in the ring?
And the man who predicted the disaster of deregulation is out?
Because the Commission on Presidential Debates is controlled by the two parties and funded by the corporations.
That's why we're sponsoring a National Day of Action to Open the Debates.
This Thursday, September 25, 2008, the day before the first debate.
Once again the Commission intends to silence the majority of Americans by shutting out Nader/Gonzalez from the debates.
We're asking all of our supporters to get ready.
Because on Thursday, there are four ways you can take action to Open Up the Debates.
Letters to the editor, to your friends, family and anyone in your address book, companies and corporations who sponsor the presidential debates.
The Commission on Presidential Debates, Obama and McCain Campaigns, Talk Shows, Newspapers, and National and Local Media Outlets.
Posters, fliers and literature to pass out and hang up at college campuses and other high traffic areas and banners to display to morning and evening rush hour traffic -- Check out our "Open the Debates" section on the website for downloadable materials.
Outside the Democratic and Republican headquarters in your community, at corporations that sponsor the debates, at radio stations, newspapers and media outlets not covering Ralph Nader.
(Phone numbers, e-mails and addresses will be available tomorrow at votenader.org/debates.)
Many Americans believe they are getting the full story when they tune into the televised and highly publicized debates.
What people don't see is that behind the scenes the debates are controlled by a corporate funded entity.
Third party and independent candidates are arbitrarily required to be polling at 15% according to five national polls in order to participate in the debates, even though these third parties are forced to devote all resources to get on the ballot in all 50 states during the months leading up to the debates -- costing well over a million dollars!
Who decides who gets into the debates?
The so-called "non-partisan" Commission (as described by the New York Times today). Non-partisan? Headed by Paul Kirk and Frank Fahrenkopf, the former heads of the Democratic and Republican parties?
Since the media blithely adopts the framing of the corporate parties, we must take it upon ourselves to expose the Commission on Presidential Debates as the real spoiler of the democratic system in this country.
Just recently Green party candidate Elizabeth May was included into the debates in Canada.
Massive e-mailing, phone calls, and letters to the editor, including one from former Prime Minister Joe Clark, displaying public outrage prompted the debate commission to invite Elizabeth May to participate.
We can do it too!
So on Thursday, take action.
And then send us your videos and photos and we'll post them on our Open the Debates page.
And here is something you can do right now.
We're in the middle of our Three Way Race fundraising drive.
And if you donate $100 now, we'll ship to you a copy of The Ralph Nader Reader, a 441-page collection of Ralph's writings on Wall Street vs. Main Street, the battle for democracy, the corporate state, and our hyper-commercialized culture. If you donate $100 now, we will send you this historic collection -- autographed by the man himself -- Ralph Nader. (This offer ends at 11:59 p.m. September 30, 2008.)
Onward to November
The Nader Team
Lauren had asked that it be noted and Dona and Jim noted it while filling in last night (thank you to Dona and Jim for filling in).
The e-mail address for this site is firstname.lastname@example.org.
the new york times