Ryan Crocker, the US ambassador, issued public assurances that the deal granted Baghdad the right to determine how long foreign forces remained in the country. He said: "It is an important agreement that fully restores Iraq's sovereignty while allowing US forces to continue for a temporary time to assist Iraqi security forces."
Iraqi proponents of the American presence justify the extension on the grounds the country will not be able to defend itself from external attack for at least three years. But a popular backlash to the draft accord has jeopardised efforts to finalise the deal before the end of the year.
The above is from Damien McElroy's "US ambassador defends deal to stay Iraq for three years" (Telegraph of London). Search in vain for an article in US papers today on the topic. Flip the pages madly but you won't find it. Meanwhile AFP reports that the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen, is attempting to bully Iraq into approving the treaty and that "Admiral Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, also charged that Iran was working hard to scuttle passage of the so-called Status of Forces Agreement, or SOFA." Mullen's bluster betrays the calm the US State Dept attempted to project at yesterday's press briefing where deputy spokesperson Robert Wood attempted to act as if everything was fine and dandy and kept stressing the democratic process, refused to speculate on going to the United Nations to talk of possibly extending the mandate (which expires December 31st).
Claire Schaeffer-Duffy's "Soliders ask fundamental question: To kill or not to kill" (National Catholic Reporter) covers a documentary:
"Soldiers of Conscience," the latest documentary by husband and wife filmmakers Gary Weimberg and Catherine Ryan, looks at how individual combatants grapple with war's fundamental question -- to kill or not to kill. Made in cooperation with the U.S. Army, the film profiles eight American soldiers, four who become conscientious objectors and four who believe in the duty to kill when necessary. All wrestle with the morality of killing, not as an abstraction but as soldiers experience it. Interspersed with the soldier’s narratives are images of casualties from the Iraq war not seen on our nightly news and some intriguing background on conscientious objection.
[. . .]
Two of the conscientious objectors, Joshua Casteel, an Evangelical Christian, and Aidan Delgado, a Buddhist, are given honorable discharges for their refusal to kill. But the military imprisons Camilo Mejia, the first Iraq combat veteran to publicly refuse to return to war, and Kevin Benderman, a 10-year Army sergeant from Tennessee. All four eloquently describe their transformation from willing enlistee to refusenik. Delgado encounters Iraqi prisoners of war, who look just like the men in his own unit "but with brown skin," and the fighting spirit "bleeds" out of him. The war's devastating affects on civilians, leads Benderman to ask, "Why are we even doing this anymore?"
The documentary was airing on PBS' P.O.V. In some areas, it's already aired but you can use the link for broadcast and rebroadcast information.
In US presidential race news, Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney will appear Wednesday October 22nd on NPR's Talk of the Nation and Saturday October 25 on NPR's Weekend Edition Saturday. And the McKinny campaign will be campaigning in Seattle:
Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney in Seattle October 26-27
Monday, 20 October 2008 23:44
For Immediate Release:
Monday, October 20, 2008
Green Party 2008 Presidential Candidate
Cynthia McKinney in Seattle October 26-27
Contact: Peggy Wolf, WA State Power To The People Campaign Media Liaison
Details of Cynthia McKinney's Campaign Stop in Seattle announced:
SEATTLE, WA -- The Washington State Power To The People Campaign has announced that Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney will be visiting Seattle on Sunday, October 26th and Monday, October 27th. Scheduled activities include:
Sunday, October 26, 2008
* 3pm - 7pm
From The Day After The Election Onward: Strategies for Community Organizing, Greening & Reconstruction"
Umojafest Peace Center
24th Ave & E Spring St, Seattle
The public is invited to attend.
Cynthia McKinney will be speaking in support of grassroots and institutional solutions to violence and other issues plaguing urban communities nationwide. This event is hosted by the Umojafest Peace Center and the McKinney/Clemente 2008 Power To The People Campaign. The program will include hip-hop and spoken word performances, speakers from youth and community based organizations, and a showing of the award-winning film, American Blackout.
Monday, October 27, 2008
* 11am - 12:30pm
"The Power of Student Movements: How to Use Your Campus as a Tool to Change the World!"
Broadway Performance Hall
Broadway at Pine Street, Seattle
The public is invited.
Ms. McKinney will address the growing concerns of students, the need for student leadership, and how students can organize on campus to engage in and impact social justice struggles and make meaningful contributions to communities outside school. This event will be hosted by the Black Student Union of Seattle Central Community College.
Peggy Wolf, WA State Power To The People Campaign Media Liaison
John Judge, McKinney/Clemente 08 Press Secretary (national)
202.584.1021 / fax 240.491.3311
Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House
Video: Cynthia McKinney discusses major issues
Video: Rosa Clemente discusses major issues
Video: Cindy Sheehan endorses Cynthia McKinney for President
Scott McLarty, Green Party USA Press Secretary
~ END ~
WA State Media Liaison
Vernon notes this posted by Matt Lira to the McCain-Palin campaign blog:
ICYMI: Chicago Superintendent Gives Obama An F
The former head of the Chicago education system has spoken out against Barack Obama. The education foundation headed by Barack Obama "failed to monitor projects and funded school 'reform' groups that campaigned against boosting academic standards."
Paul Vallas, who was the superintendent of the Chicago school system when Obama chaired the Chicago Annenberg Foundation, said "There was a total lack of accountability. If you went back and asked, you'd be hard-pressed to find out how the money was spent."
Click here to read the full article.
And John McCain has picked up more newspaper endorsements including Diario Las Americas. From "John McCain Para Presidente De Los EE.UU. De America:"
"John McCain Para Presidente De Los EE.UU. De America"
Diario Las Americas
October 18, 2008
Los Estados Unidos de America estan viviendo dias de peligro, no solo nacionalmente sino tambien internacionalmente. A nivel nacional, el pais se enfrenta a peligros economicos y fiscales; un presupuesto federal enorme, trillones de dolares de deficit y hay un segmento de la poblacion que sera elegible dentro de los proximos diez anos para recibir los beneficios del Seguro Social y Medicare, cuyos programas en la actualidad no cuentan con el financiamiento adecuado. A nivel internacional esta el creciente peligro de la inestabilidad en Afganistan y Pakistan. Iran continua insistiendo en que Israel debe ser destruido; Rusia esta preparada para atacar sin importarle las consecuencias; el eje marxista en Iberoamerica amenaza con crecer y el terrorismo continua siendo un peligro muy real. Estos tiempos requieren la mano fuerte y firme de un verdadero lder con un fuerte caracter moral. Ese lder es el Senador John McCain.
Hay que tener presente que el Senador McCain es un heroe de la Guerra de Viet Nam y ha servido inteligentemente a su pais con honor e integridad. El entiende los importantes problemas de la epoca y ha demostrado valor al impulsar iniciativas que encierran grandes riesgos politicos, como es la reforma migratoria y limitar la indebida influencia del dinero en las campanas politicas. Sus esfuerzos bipartidistas para lograr metas legislativas son bien conocidos.
And the campaign also notes "The San Diego Union-Tribune And San Antonio Express-News Endorse John McCain:"
"McCain For President"
The San Diego Union-Tribune
October 19, 2008
More than at any other time in a generation, Americans want change in the White House. The global financial upheaval and lingering wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have left most families weary and fearful, solidly convinced that the country needs to strike out in a new direction.
So, for voters on Nov. 4 the fundamental question is, which presidential candidate would provide the essential change that a strong and prosperous America demands in the turbulent years ahead?
In our analysis, Republican candidate John McCain has a documented record of enlightened leadership in Washington -- leadership that often has run counter to the status quo and challenged the folly of senior members of his own party. McCain never has been a conventional politician. He thinks for himself and acts on what he believes to be in the best interests of the nation, and not necessarily in the interests of his party or his own political fortunes. In an era of dismaying partisan paralysis in Washington, McCain has stood out as a bipartisan force, best illustrated by his collaboration with liberal Democratic lion Edward Kennedy on a comprehensive solution to America's immigration dilemma.
What's more, McCain's character has been thoroughly tested, from his POW confinement in Hanoi to decades of legislative battles on Capitol Hill. The same is not true of Democratic contender Barack Obama, who is intelligent, thoroughly versed on the issues and a truly gifted orator, but one of the least tested men ever to win his party's nomination.
[. . .]
"McCain Is The Best Choice For President"
San Antonio Express-News
October 19, 2008
The United States faces unprecedented economic, security and political challenges. The nation needs a leader with both the judgment and the experience to deal with these challenges.
That leader is John McCain.
McCain brings a proven track record of fighting the bipartisan fiscal irresponsibility that prevails in Washington.
He is a powerful opponent of wasteful earmarks, which the Arizona senator properly describes as a "gateway drug" to corruption. There can be no doubt that he would wield the veto pen against the excesses of Congress, no matter which party sits in the majority.
With deficit spending soaring, his dedication to responsible fiscal policy is desperately needed in the White House.
During his military career and 26 years in Congress, McCain has become an expert on foreign policy and security issues. From Latin America to the Caucasus to the Middle East and Asia, McCain has intimate knowledge of the issues and the personalities.
McCain's understanding of the world and the nation's security needs is a crucial asset in these tumultuous times.
And few leaders in U.S. history have had more first-hand knowledge of the toll war takes on military personnel and their families.
Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate. Megan notes this from Team Nader:
Breaking Point: Rehabilitated Apathetic
—Photo above provided by supporter
Dear Ralph Nader,
I went thirty-two years without voting for U.S. President. I was a street reporter during the 1968 Democratic Convention, and the "police riot" as the Kerner Commission rightly called it, radicalized my politics. For thirty-two years I listened to apologists and propagandists for big business and American imperialism run the country, and every four years, I renewed my personal protest not to vote. The corrupt system would receive no help from me, thank you very much.
Then you surged into view, plain-spoken, erudite and earnest, and you convinced me in 2000 that you meant what you said. You wanted votes, but more than that, you wanted to be right, corporate America be damned. In bull sessions with my friends, there were gasps when I announced, "I’m voting for Nader." You’ve heard their complaints a million times -- that I was "throwing away my vote" on someone who couldn’t win. Didn’t matter. I said, "I’m finally getting the chance to vote for someone I want to be President."
I voted for you again in 2004, and figured you’d probably had enough, that you’d earned a political retirement. But, my god, here you are again, and it’s 2008, and you’re still as tough and truthful as ever, and politicians from both parties think it’s open season on Nader…but still you keep on.
Okay. You’re in, I’m in. I’m on a fixed income, but I’ll give what I can. I’m a writer with limited time to volunteer, but I’ll volunteer. Thank you for your chutzpah and your principles. I was convinced after Chicago that I’d never again vote in a U.S. presidential election, and yet here I am, ready to do it a third straight time. Maybe, if sadness ever overtakes you on the campaign trail, you will remember the radical you rallied to your side, and smile.
All good luck and best wishes,
—Nolan Zavoral, MN
If you haven’t reached your breaking point, visit www.breakingpoint.org.
Send me your Breaking Point story to share at email@example.com, so the growing numbers of independent voters can join our voices, and together, we can change the system.
Nader for President 2008
Ralph Nader was on NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams yesterday and the following video is additional footage that was "web only."
And Kyle notes this from Team Nader:
Nader's Massachusetts Marathon
Well, because while some people run the Boston Marathon.
Ralph Nader will be running the Massachusetts Marathon.
And we’re hoping to put Ralph in the record books for most campaign stops in one day.
As a result, Ralph Nader and the Nader/Gonzalez road crew are in for the sprint of their lives.
Twenty-one campaign stops.
In 21 towns and cities across Massachusetts.
In one day — Saturday, October 25.
We’re looking for 1,000 of you — our loyal donors — to contribute $21 to help defray the costs of the Massachusetts Marathon.
We’re hoping for a big Nader voter turnout in Massachusetts — where Ralph got his third largest vote total (6.4 percent) in 2000.
But pulling off the logistics on this one will be a minor Massachusetts miracle.
We’re sending a dozen Nader’s Raiders into Massachusetts.
We’re planning on having an advance team, a Ralph team, a van for the press, traveling musicians, and a clean up van bringing up the rear.
We need your donations to pay for rental cars, vans, gasoline, flyers, and multiple GPS units.
As you can imagine, this is a work in progress. But as of now, on Saturday, we’ll be holding combinations of press conferences, rallies and campaign events in:
Boston, Cambridge, Belmont, Somerville, Medford, Arlington, Lexington, Concord, Waltham, Watertown, Newton,Worcester, Auburn, Springfield, Chicopee, Holyoke, North Hampton, West Springfield, Westfield, Stockbridge and Sheffield.
We’re heading into the Massachusetts Marathon with our heads held high.
To bring the word from one end of the Commonwealth to the other — Ralph Nader stands with the American people.
And against Wall Street crime and Washington corruption.
But to pull this off, we need your help now.
Help us raise the $21,000 we need to fund the historic Massachusetts Marathon.
Also, please tell your friends and relatives in Massachusetts to come out on Saturday and give a cheer to the Nader Team as we zip across the Commonwealth.
Thank you in advance.
Onward to November.
The Nader Team
PS: If you donate $100 or more now, we will ship to you our corporate crime package. The package includes two books and a DVD: Gangster Capitalism by Michael Woodiwiss, The Cheating of America by Charles Lewis, Bill Allison and the Center for Public Integrity, and a DVD of our Wall Street rally. (This offer ends October 24, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.)
PPS: Of course, the Massachusetts Marathon is only one leg of the Nader/Gonzalez USA Marathon. Here's a neat little video snapshot of the USA Marathon that the Nader/Gonzalez Media Team has just completed.
Also, in case you missed it, here's Ralph's appearance last night on the NBC Nightly News with Brian Williams.
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