Alissa J. Rubin's "Ambush Kills 20 Iraqi Men Searching For Weapons" (New York Times) covers some of yesterday's violence with an emphasis on the Diyala Province attack that saw 20 Iraqis -- "a joint force of National Police officers and members of the local Awakening Council" -- killed in an attack and cites "Awakening" Council member Muhammad al-Dulaimi explaining that "most of the military operations" in Diyala Province "were done with air support from the Americans" as if to explain why the Iraqi forces are still dependent upon the US. Rubin also notes "reports of widespread cyberattacks on the Web sites of Shiite clearics. An Iranian news agency reported that about 200 sites had been hacked."
Corinne Reilly and Hussein Kadhim cover the Diyala Province attack for McClatchy with "Al Qaida gunmen kill dozens of Iraqi policemen in Diyala province:"
Police said the battalion entered the village thinking it was safe because the area had recently been raided and cleared.
But soon after the battalion arrived, the gunmen opened fire in a wooded area. It's unclear how many attackers were involved. None of them was killed, officials said.
"They were shooting from all sides," a policeman who survived the attack said. "It was like we were fighting ghosts." The policeman told officials that three high-ranking police officers were captured and executed.
In the US presidential race, an important question is raised. Sarah notes this from Team Nader:
Greg Kafoury: Who Will Represent the Rest of Us?
Senator McCain has suspended his campaign in order to return to Washington to work on the proposed bailout situation. McCain said, "We must meet as Americans, not as Democrats or Republicans, and we must meet until this crisis is resolved." The Nader campaign wishes to point out that more than a third of registered voters are neither Republicans nor Democrats, and that Ralph Nader is registering between 5 and 8 percent in many major states, including swing states. Is Senator McCain suggesting that only Republicans or Democrats are entitled to be heard on the most important domestic political crises in the last 70 years? If the future of all Americans is at stake in the current crisis, shouldn't all Americans have representatives at the table? We suggest that Mr. Nader, former Congressman Barr and any others who show significant levels of popular support should be included in any gatherings that are convened to resolve this crisis.
Further, the fact that the Presidential debates scheduled for this Friday can be simply canceled by the Republican nominee shows the extent to which the debate commission is nothing but a creature of the two major parties, designed largely for the purpose of excluding third parties and independent candidacies form having a voice in our most vital public forum. We call upon Senators McCain and Obama to recognize that we are all in this together, and to give representatives of the entire American electorate a seat at the table and a voice in the debates.
Greg Kafoury is a trial lawyer and political activist in Portland, Oregon.
And still on the meltdown, KeShawn notes this from Team Nader:
Wise Guys, Shock and Awe, and the Great Depression Sequel
The top of the news is still dominated by fears of Great Depression II. No mention of hope fever, field stripping moose, or lipstick.
I'm sure that the Democratic and Republican presidential candidates are tirelessly working behind the scenes to insure a better deal for voters. Yet, from the ghost-like details of their bailout and accountability plan, it seems more like they are in the Federal Witness Protection Program.
To be fair, there was a little item reporting that Senator Obama thought the bailout needed a more “muscular regulatory” component. A cool observation. John McCain has gotten deregulation religion, and he is angry -- angry, my friends, demanding a 9.11-type commission to get to the bottom of this, dammit.
Sneaking a glimpse of Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson -- heralded as “King Henry” on the cover of Newsweek -- testifying before the Senate reminded me of Godfather II. But this time, it is not Michael Corleone at the table.
The new wise guys of Wall Street have brought their remorseless schemes from the corporate syndicates to Washington –the taxpayers -- for a $700 billion bailout, which some predict will likely balloon to $ 1 trillion.
It’s kind of like when things get tight and the wise guys need more money. There is no real fretting, they just shake down the neighborhood -- customers, neighborhood businesses, ordinary citizens, and everything is fine. Like in Good Fellas, “Just pay me!” Hauntingly similar to William Greider, writing in The Nation, predicting that this bailout will be one the great swindles in American history. Something you can tell your grandchildren about.
To switch analogies, the media atmosphere driven by the Bush Administration is starting to feel like a 9.11 moment, complete with CNN alerts (minus the flags) that bipartisan and passive compliance with its dictums is urgent to save the nation from catastrophic collapse. No time for annoying questions about the fine print, executive accountability, and certainly don’t bring up that little quaint document called the Constitution.
Senator Mitch McConnell bravely warned the skeptics on Capitol Hill, “When there’s a fire in your kitchen threatening to burn down your home, you don’t want someone stopping the firefighters on the way and demanding they hand out smoke detectors first or lecturing you about the hazards of keeping paint in the basement.” The good senator from Kentucky is a great one with metaphors, but rather than firefighters I think arsonists would be a better one to suit this burning house. Still, there is a “shock and awe” feel to King Henry’s media campaign to save Wall Street -- sorry, I meant the nation.
President Bush is looking a bit befuddled these days. Always the courageous and mighty cheerleader, however, he is at his best with the much-rehearsed line about “protecting the American people,” a kind of template for media consumption. But, no questions please, time is of the essence. Foot-dragging is un-American and a danger to national economic security. To beat back the quarrelsome skeptics, all we need now is a Power Point presentation from Colin Powell. This time in the U.S. Senate rather than the UN.
Re-tool the message from WMD to GFM -- “Global Financial Meltdown.” Instead of “invade,” they could just use “give us all the money we want from taxpayers with no questions asked, no strings attached. Now.”
Powell could even hold up a little vial and announce that is all of the money left in the U.S. unless we fork over the bailout.
Mercifully, we have not heard Bush bellowing warnings about mushroom clouds. The problem with the boy crying wolf is that when there really was a wolf, no one believed him. As for the Wall Street wise guys, we should have heeded the warning that if we didn’t fight them there, they would just follow us to Washington and we would have to fight them here. That is the fierce urgency of now.
The Nader Team
Yesterday on The CBS Evening News, anchor Katie Couric spoke (link has video and text) with GOP nominee Senator John McCain:
Katie Couric: Sen. McCain, why is it necessary for you to take this extraordinary step of suspending your campaign?
John McCain: 'Cause these are extraordinary times. The financial crisis is on the verge of a very, very serious, most serious crisis since the end of World War II. That's according to Mr. Bernanke, Secretary Paulson and others. Any expert. This is a most serious situation. And it could … not only be United States markets, but world markets as well.
Couric: In fact, you met with economists this morning, and a number of financial experts, and it seems to me they really shook you up.
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alissa j. rubin