Tuesday, October 7, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, tensions escalate between Turkey and northern Iraq, Barack tries to scramble away from another friend, and more.
As of last weekend, Poland is now officially out of Iraq. The 'coalition' continues to shrink.
Reuters reports Zoran Kojanovski, Macedonia's Defence Minister, declared today that his country's will leave at the end of the year and he stated, "Their mission is over and local authorities there are capable of running their own territory."
From who's leaving to what's going on. The law for provincial elections? Leila Fadel knew what was what but no one else did. Dropping back to Friday's snapshot:
In Iraq today . . . confusion. Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the presidency council "has agreed to approve a long-delayed law that will allow most of the country to hold provincial elections early next year, officials said Friday." However, China's Xinhua reports that the "presidential council had not approved the provincial election law passed by the parliament, local media reported Friday." Al Jazeera does not say that they have agreed to pass it, Al Jaezeera states that it is passed. AP also states it has passed and, in fact, signed into law by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani: "Firyad Rawndouzi, a Kurdish lawmaker, told The Associated Press that the three-member panel led by President Jalal Talabani had signed the law Friday and asked the parliament 'to solve the minorities problem'." Article 50 issue was never addressed. It is the one that has been called out by everyone from Iraqi Christians to Moqtada al-Sadr and puts minority representation at risk. Nouri al-Maliki did express some public statements and there is said to have been concern on the part of the presidency council. But if it's signed, it's the law. The Parliament can try to fix it but the law is what was signed by Talabani.
Saturday Sam Dagher (New York Times) reported: "Meanwhile, Iraq's presidency council, made up of the president and his two deputies, issued a statement Friday saying the body had ratified a provincial election law that the Parliament passed 10 days ago. This paves the way for local elections . . ." Today Erica Goode and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) declare, "The law, passed on Sept. 24, still requires the approval of a three-member presidential panel led by President Jalal Talabani before it can take effect, clearing the way for elections to be held in most of the country early next year." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explained it yesterday, "That evening a petition of 50 parliament members demanded the law back from the presidency council, lawmakers said. They would add the article to the law before the council decided to pass or reject it." It had not been passed. Despite claims to the contrary. Reuters states today, "Iraq's president and vice presidents have formally approved a long-awaited provincial elections law, paving the way for the vote to take place by Jan. 31 next year." And that the council asked the Parliament to restore Article 50 (minority represenations).
And attempting to cite 'progress' in Iraq today, the State Dept ran into a few problems. Reuters reports US Dept Secretary of State John Negroponte's Green Zone based press conference was the site of a mortar attack shortly before the press conference began. Negroponte was the topic of interest at the US State Dept press briefing yesterday held by Deputy spokeperson Robert Wood who delcared of Negroponte's visit, "The Deputy Secretary -- as you know, he was an Ambassador there. He goes from time to time to check on how things are going on the ground in Iraq. Obviously, the SOFA and the strategic framework agreement will come up in the conversations, but he's not necessarilly there to negotiate. But it's not unusual for the Deputy Secretary to go to Iraq." The press pointed out that the treaty had to be in place by December 31st (when the UN mandate authorizing the occupation ends) and that the White House promised the treaty would be completed in July. Wood replied, "No, I understand your point. You know, this is a -- we're talking about a very complex agreement. This is something that many in the Administration have been working hard on. As you know, there's a team from the United States that's there and that's been working hard on these negotiations. But, yeah, the fact that it slipped, you know, these things happen. But it's important that we get a good agreement for both Iraq and the United States -- you know, one that obviously allows us to operate there in a legal framework and also that upholds Iraqi sovereignty. And those are two very important issues for us." Today CBS and AP cite Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's Foreign Minister, stating that the US and the puppet government are "very close" to finalizing a treaty. Zebari was speaking at the same press conference as Negorponte. Deborah Haynes (Times of London) quotes Zebari stating of the treaty, "This issue needs, I think, some bold political decisions. And we are at that stage. And that's why I suggested that soon you and your colleagues will see hectic political meetings here in Baghdad on this issue to determine the fate of the agreement." Jeffrey Fleishman (Los Angeles Times) adds this perspective, "The negotiations come at critical times for both nations. The emboldened Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, determined to show he is independent of Washington, wants more control over security and is insisting on an American troop withdrawal by the end of 2011. The U.S. is facing a widening financial crisis at home and a public growing wary of the high costs of keeping more than 146,000 soldiers in Iraq."
While the same statements continue to be made, conflicts continue between Turkey and the northern region of Iraq. Monday Ellen Knickmeyer (Washington Post) reported on the air raids Turkey launched Sunday following the deaths of 15 Turkish soldiers. Monday Ibon Villelabeitia (Reuters) reported Turkey continued air strikes. The Turkish Press reports that Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Prime Minister of Turkey, declared today that "cross-border operations" would continue. Huriyet quotes him stating, "The sole target of a possible cross-border operation will be the terrorist organization" and that, "The best choice for the regional administration of northern Iraq is to cooperate with us against terrorist elements because the terrorist organization is a cause of regional unrest and tension." Asked about Turkey and the Kurdish PKK on Monday, the State Dept' Robert Wood stated, "Look, the PKK is a terrorist organization. We want to see it go out of business. That's been very clear. And, you know, we've obviously conemned the attack and expressed our concolences to the people of Turkey." In this morning's press briefing, Wood was asked if the US was sharing intelligence with Turkey and he replied, "Well, we do cooperate with the Turks on intelligence with regard to dealing with the PKK. We have good cooperation. We also have good cooperation with Iraqis as well in dealing with some of these issues with regards to the Kurds."
Turning to some of the other reported violence . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad car bombings that left five wounded and a Mosul car bombing that claimed 2 lives and left ten people wounded.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 "shop owner" shot dead in Mosul, 1 "governmental employee" shot dead in Mosul and a "butcher" shot dead in Mosul (with his son left wounded). Reuters notes, "Two minority Christian men were gunned down on Tuesday in northern Mosul."
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Kut.
Today the US military announced: A Multi-National Division -- North Soldier died of wounds sustained from a small-arms fire attack in Mosul, Oct. 7." The announcement bring to 4179 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 3 for the month thus far.
Tonight Dem. presidential nominee Barack Obama and Rep. presidential nominee John McCain debate. Alexander Cockburn (The First Post) observes of last Thursday's debate between the Democratic vice presidential nominee, Senator Joe Biden, and the Republican vice presidential nominee, Governor Sarah Palin, that only Palin has passed the test of the Democratic and Republican candidates: "Palin, despite somewhat excessive folksiness, with 'gosh-darneds' and the like, did look as though she and Todd had spent some time at their kitchen table in the not-too-distan past figuring out how to pay the bills and deciding they couldn't afford health insurance. . . . Alone of the four candidates [Obama, Biden, McCain and herself], she spoke to the fury and fear of Main Street America about the
$700bn bail-out . . . More than once last night, I thought Palin must have been watching re-runs of Reagan's speeches, though decades of deference to Hollywood tycoons made Reagan far more respectful of Wall Street than the Alaskan Governor, who even presumed to introduce the antique phrase 'working class' into the debate."
As noted in yesterday's snapshot, following the New York Times lead on Saturday, Palin has been bringing up Barack Obama's ties to Weather Underground's Bill Ayers. Today on Democracy Now! Amy Goodman lied (it's a lie, the Red Diaper baby damn well knows better), "Obama was eight years old when Ayers was a Weather Underground member." That's how the media's worked it. Obama says it's so it's 'true.' In the debate with Hillary, that was one of the lies regarding Weather Underground that Barack uttered, "And the notion that somehow as a consequence of me knowing somebody who engaged in detestable acts 40 years ago, when I was 8 years old, somehow reflects on me and my values doesn't make much sense, George." The press has run with the lie ever since. However, George Stephanopoulos actually asked the question correctly (and that's part of the reason George was attacked by the Cult of Obama), "A gentleman named William Ayers. He was part of the Weather Underground in the 1970s. They bombed the Pentagon, the Capitol, and other buildings. He's never apologized for that." Idiots and liars run with that garbage of eight years old.
Barack was born in August of 1961. Weather Underground is not "Weatherman." Weatherman did the Days of Rage in 1969. Weather Underground emerges with the "Declaration of a State of War" (read by Bernardine Dohrn). You can find a transcription here (as published in Berkeley Tribe, July 31, 1970 and released May 21, 1970). 1970 is when Weather Underground emerges. Prior to that Weatherman existed. 1970 is when the bombings begin and they are not a one-year thing. Barack was prepped for that debate with Hillary, coached to toss out a lie the press could run with and obsesses over: " Look, I'm going to have to respond to this just really quickly, but by Senator Clinton's own vetting standards, I don't think she would make it, since President Clinton pardoned or commuted the sentences of two members of the Weather Underground, which I think is a slightly more significant act." The campaign then prepped all reporters that Bill Clinton had pardoned the two women (there was no pardon) and look for yourself and see who LIED. Did anyone do their own work? No. David Corn, when forced to 'correct' at Mother Jones made a real ass of himself insisting that "commuted" and "pardon" were basically the same thing. No, they are not. But the press went running where Barack told them to do like the good little doggies they are. George Stephanopoulos was correct and most (including Diane Rehm) knew he was correct, it was the 1970s. And yet the liars repeatedly lie (including Diane who's tired ass needs to retire). As Mike pointed out last night, Ben Smith (Politico) can get it right: "On the other hand, Obama's not that young. He started at Columbia University, for instance, in 1981, when their names were certainly in the New York tabloids, which haved always loved the story of upper-middle-class radical cop killers. Kathy Boudin's role in a botched, fatal 1981 Brinks roberry was huge news. Bernardine Dohrn was imprisoned in 1982 for refusing to testify against fellow Weather Underground members. And Ayers' past was hardly a secret in Chicago, where he was regularly quoted as an ex-radical and ex-fugitive."
As Nathaniel Sheppard Jr. explained in "Bernardine Dohrn Gives Up To Authorities in Chicago" (New York Times, December 4, 1980): "Still espousing revolutionary causes, Bernardine Dohrn, the 38-year-old reputed leader of the radical Weather Underground, surrendered to authorities here today, 10 years after going into hiding to avoid Federal and local riot charges. . . . Mr. Ayers was also indicted on Federal charges in connection with the disorders, but the Federal charges against Miss Dohrn, Mr. Ayers and other Weathermen were dropped in 1979 when a court ruled that the Government's evidence had been obtained through illegal telephone wiretaps. . . . An associate of Miss Dohrn said privately that she might have come forward now partly because of fear that her treatment under the administration of Ronald Reagan could be harsher than under the Carter Administration." Joe Boyle (BBC) explains Weather's actions: "From 1970 to 1975 the group bombed police stations and patrol vehicles and court and government buildings.
In 1970 there were fatalities - a police officer died from his injuries after a pipe bomb was detonated in a San Francisco police station, while three of the group blew themselves up while building explosives in their New York apartment."
The ever-changing story from Barack. What was the earliest lie? Who knows? One claimed, as Ava and I noted, that all their kids went to school together: "The focus wasn't helped when the Obama campaign attempted to lie that Ayers and Barack were friends because they had children the same age. As The Guardian of London's Daniel Nasaw pointed out Dorhn and Ayers' son Zayd is 30-years-old, Malik is 27-years-old and Chesa Boudin, Kathy Boudin and David Gilbert's son that Ayers and Dorhn raised, is also 27, while Barack and Michelle Obama's daughters 'are 6 and 9, respectively'." Believe it or not, the lie of "kids go to school together" was bought and re-sold by the press without question for months. Geoff Earle (New York Post) quoted Team Obama leader David Axelrod telling CNN that Barack didn't know all this public history. He then repeated the eight-year-old lie. Or maybe, what he's trying to say is Barack doesn't condemn the bombings of the Pentagon and the State Dept which took place after he was eight-years-old? As Elaine pointed out last night, Geoff Earle repeats without question the latest spin. The McCain-Palin campaign issued this statement yesterday:
Does Barack Obama truly expect the American people to believe that he had no idea about his friend's past as the infamous founder of the domestic terror group 'The Weather Underground' or is he just lying? If Obama didn't know in 1995 about the bombings Ayers was responsible for, when did he find out -- because Obama was promoting Ayers' book in 1997, serving on boards with him until 2002, and trading emails and phone calls with him as recently as 2005. If Obama really was unaware of Ayers' radical past, learning the truth doesn't seem to have had any effect on their friendship. Whether Barack Obama is lying to voters about his previous support for higher taxes on the middle class, his votes against funds for American troops in the field or his associations with an unrepentant terrorist, voters are left wondering who Obama is and what he stands for.
Today Athena Jones (NBC) explains, "Reporters pressed Barack Obama's chief strategist David Axelrod on when the senator became aware of William Ayers' radical past during the flight from Asheville, NC to Nashville for tonight's debates. When asked to clarify when it was that Obama learned about Ayers' history of planning bombings to protest the Vietnam War, Axelrod said it was some time after their first meetings but that he did not know the exact moment." Jake Tapper and Sunlen Miller (ABC News' Political Punch) add, "The Alaska governor has been blurring what Axelrod said to make it seem as though Obama was claiming that he didn't know about Ayers' history until recently, which is not what Axelrod said. Not that there's been any clear explanation of this relationship forthcoming from the Obama campaign. So when did Obama find out that Ayers had been a member of an organization the FBI called a 'domestic terrorist' group, and had been for years a fugitive from the law?" On the campaign trail today, Palin again raised the issue. Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post) quotes her stating in Jacksonville, Florida, "Now our opponent's campaign is claiming for the first time Barack Obama wasn't aware of Ayers' radical background. He didn't know he launched his own political career in the living room of a dometic terrorist? What's next, claiming he didn't know that two of his biggest supporters were running Fannie Mae? . . . Maybe he thought they were just guys in his Washington neighborhood." ABC News' Political Radar includes the next statement, "And since he got called out on his plans to meet unconditionally with terror state leaders like [Iran's President Mahmoud] Ahmadinejad, will he now claim he was unaware of his radical backround? Ladies and gentlemen, this election is about the truthfulness and judgment needed in our next president. John McCain has it and Barack Obama doesn't." The McCain-Palin campaign site is highlighting the issue and clicking here takes you to Obama LIAR Anita Dunn now insisting (CNN transcript) that Barack was seven at the time, seven! What a pack of liars. For more McCain-Palin releases on Barack and Bill, click here and here.
And, in more news for Barack, CBS News' Laura Strickler, Sarah Fitzpatrick and Ariel Bashi reported yesterday:
CBS News has learned that two donors to the Obama campaign that gave a total of $7,722 appear to have made their contributions under fake names that look like they were written by a mouse running across a keyboard: Dahsudhu Hdusahfd of Df, Hawaii with the following employer CZXVC/ZXVZXV and Uadhshgu Hduadh listed as living in Dhff, Florida listed their employer as DASADA/SAFASF. CBS News did not find any records of these last names, towns or employers anywhere else. Newsweek reported two questionable Obama donors over the weekend named "Doodad Pro" and "Good Will". Contributions from the two donors Hdusahfd and Hduadh were made on the same day starting on July 16, 2008. Federal Election Commission (FEC) records show the campaign began refunding the donations as early as August 6, 2008. Despite numerous refunds from the Obama campaign, Hdusahfd still has a record of giving a total of $7500 to Obama which is well over the legal limit for the primary and general election of $4600. Hduadh gave $14,200 but the Obama campaign returned all but $222.00.
Ruth noted the CBS news item last night in her round-up of the presidential campaigns. And Kat pointed to the biggest liar or the most uninformed in the press, Jason Szep of Reuters who claimed Weather Underground "was involved in bombings in the 1960s" -- uh, Szep, what bombings are you referring to? McCain and Obama debate tonight or 'debate'. And the other presidential candidates are shut out of the debate. Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential candidate. Kevin Alexander Gray (Progressive via Some Carolina) writes, "McKinney, who served as a Democrat in the U.S. House of Representatives for twelve years, left the Democratic Party last year to join the Greens. In Congress, she had one of the most progressive records. And as a Presidential candidate, she offers up a coherent agenda. In her acceptance speech at the Green Party convention in Chicago on July 12, she denounced what she called 'Democratic Party complicity' in 'war crimes, torture, crimes against the peace' and 'crimes against the Constituion, crimes against the American peopke, and crimes against the global community.' She said, 'Those who delivered us into this mess cannot be trusted to get us out of it.' She told her supporters, 'A Green vote is a peace vote,' and 'A Green vote is a justice vote.'"
Rosa Clemente is Cynthia's running mate. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and his running mate is Matt Gonzalez. Nader - Gonzalez notes:
To protest the sheer arrogance of the Gallup Organization.
In a recent WSJ/NBC national poll, Ralph Nader pulls 5 percent.
Contrast that to the most recent Gallup national poll, where Nader polls a fraction of one percent.
Why the big difference?
Answer: Gallup, the 800-pound gorilla of the polling world, doesn't list Ralph Nader as one of the Presidential candidates in the primary polling question.
Are you kidding me?
We are not kidding you.
And guess who the Commission on Presidential Debates depends on to do its polling to see which Presidential candidates get to debate before tens of millions of Americans tonight in Nashville?
You guessed it: Gallup.
I called Frank Newport. (pictured above)
Newport is the editor-in-chief at Gallup.
I asked Newport:
Is there an objective standard you use to keep Ralph off your primary polling question?
"No," Newport said.
"We use our internal judgment to decide."
Gallup's "internal judgment" keeps Ralph Nader out of their polling.
So, I tried again.
Any ballpark levels of support Gallup looks to as a threshold?
"No," Newport said.
Again, it was just subject to unidentified "internal judgment criteria."
What a total crock of you know what.
There are some polling agencies -- such as Ipsos/McClatchey and CNN/Opinion Research Corp. -- that include all the major third party candidates.
So, we propose two ways to protest Gallup's arrogance in keeping Ralph Nader out of the Gallup polls, thereby denying him the chance of having a chance to debate McCain and Obama.
Protest method number one:
Donate $5, $10, $100 -- whatever you can afford -- up to the legal limit of $2,300 -- to Nader/Gonzalez now.
The stronger we become in October, the more difficult it will be for even Gallup's "internal judgment" to ignore us.
We're in the middle of our October Surprise fundraising drive.
And we need to reach $250,000 by the end of the week.
So, if you haven't donated yet, hit that there contribute button now.
Protest method number two:
Call up Gallup's Frank Newport.
Give him a piece of your mind.
Nader/Gonzalez is on more state ballots (45) than any other independent or third party candidate.
And we're polling five percent and higher in other polls nationwide.
Why is Gallup keeping Ralph Nader out of their polls?
What standards does Gallup use to determine who is included in their Presidential polls?
You can call Newport at: 609-924-9600
Or you can e-mail him directly at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Onward to November.
National Media Coordinator
Though shut out of the corporation's debate between the corporatist candidates, Ralph Nader will be addressing the debate tonight:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Ryan Mehta, 408-348-0681, email@example.com (National HQ)
PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE RALPH NADER TO RESPOND TO DEBATES IN WINSTEAD
WHO: Ralph Nader
WHAT: Debate response
WHEN: Tuesday, October 7 from 9:00pm until after the debates
WHERE: Founders Hall Auditorium, Northwestern Community College, Park Place Winsted, CT 06098
On Tuesday, October 7 starting at 9:00, consumer advocate and Presidential candidate Ralph Nader will be in Founders Hall Auditorium at Northwestern Community College. After the debates, he will give his response and take question about the debates.