Tuesday, September 23, 2008

War, what is it good for? Shell Oil

Gulf Daily News quotes UK Defense Secretary Des Browne stating, "The Iraqi armed forces, supported by British and US forces, have taken on and defeated the militia in Basra. We have reached a turning point in our involvement." The Gulf Daily News sees this as an indication that British troops (approximately 4,000) might be leaving Iraq shortly.

Meanwhile BBC notes the deal between the 'government' of Iraq and Royal Dutch Shell ("the second between the government and a foreign firm since the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003") that was Hussein al-Shahristanti (Minister of Oil) signed off on yesterday. In this morning's New York Times, Sam Dagher's "Shell Opens an Office in Baghdad After a 36-Year Absence" observes:

The company described its decision to open an office here as a milestone that partly reflected the vast improvement in Iraq's stability compared with conditions during the worst years of the war. But in a sobering reminder of the underlying dangers of doing business here, the company would not disclose the location of its office, and the senior Shell official who announced the gas deal was accompanied by a phalanx of armed guards.
"We are ready to establish a presence," the official, Linda Cook, executive director of the company's gas and power unit, said during a news conference in Baghdad's heavily guarded Green Zone.

Turning to US presidential politics, we're noting one new item from Team Nader in both entries. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate. In case anyone's missed the debate issue, we'll first again note "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.
1. Write
Letters to the editor, to your friends, family and anyone in your address book, companies and corporations who sponsor the presidential debates.
2. Phone
The Commission on Presidential Debates, Obama and McCain Campaigns, Talk Shows, Newspapers, and National and Local Media Outlets.
3. Create
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.
4. Protest
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
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.
Donate to Nader/Gonzalez.
We're in the middle of our Three Way Race fundraising drive.
And we need to hit $150,000 by the end of the month.
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
Emily Przekwas

The Nader Team

And with that, we'll note "Call Barack Obama, E-mail Janet Brown Now:"

Okay, time for action. The first Presidential debate is Friday. And we're getting stonewalled. They won't let Ralph Nader into the Presidential debates. So, here's what we're going to do. It's a two step process.
Step one -- call Barack Obama.
Tell Obama he should demand that Ralph Nader be included in the debates. And step two -- e-mail the Commission on Presidential Debates. And let them know you are onto their game. Here are the details.
Step one:
Call Barack Obama at 866-675-2008.
Hit 6 to speak with a campaign volunteer.
Once connected, politely deliver the following message:
Hi, my name is ... I was wondering if Senator Obama, being a believer in equal opportunity and equal rights, could insist that Ralph Nader and other ballot qualified third party candidates be included in the upcoming Presidential debates? After all, Nader is on 45 state ballots. And he's polling well nationwide. And he could help Senator Obama challenge the corporate Republicans. True, Ralph would critique Senator Obama for his corporate ties also. But isn't that what democracy is about? Could you please leave this message for the campaign manager? Thank you.
Step two: E-mail Janet Brown, the executive director of the Commission on Presidential Debates.
Here's a sample e-mail:
Dear Janet Brown: Greetings. You must be busy. Preparing for the first Presidential debate this Friday. So, I won't take much of your time. Just wanted to let you know that the American people were not born yesterday. We know the deal. Take that little private corporation that you run. Controlled by the two corporate parties. And funded by big business. For the purpose of excluding independent minded candidates. Friday, two Wall Street candidates are scheduled to be in the ring. Barack Obama and John McCain. The one candidate who represents the American people, Main Street, if you will, will be on the outside looking in. So, here's a simple request. Drop your exclusionary restrictions. And let Ralph Nader into the debates. It will be good for your conscience. Good for the American people. (I believe it was The League of Women Voters that called your corporatized debates "campaign-trail charades devoid of substance, spontaneity, and honest answers to tough questions.") And good for democracy. Let the American people have a real debate for once. Main Street vs. Wall Street.
Thank you. Signed your name.
Onward to November
The Nader Team

The e-mail address for this site is common_ills@yahoo.com.

the new york times
sam dagher