Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Other Items

The raid on Syria highlighted the tense relations between Iraq and its neighbors Iran and Syria, which vehemently oppose any long-term American presence in Iraq and want Baghdad to reject the agreement.
[. . .]
"The Iraqi government rejects the strike by the U.S. planes on Syrian territories as part of the policy of the Iraqi government and its constitution which does not allow the Iraqi land as a base to conduct such attacks on neighboring countries," [Ali al-] Dabbagh said in a statement. "The Iraqi government has initiated an investigation on this incident and called for the U.S. forces not to repeat such an act."
The Iraqi parliament criticized the U.S. forces for launching the raid at a time when relations were improving with Iraq's neighbor and vowed "its land will not be used to attack any state."

The above is from Ned Parker's "Iraq condemns U.S. assault on Syria" (Los Angeles Times) and it is outrageous that all this time later Americans still do not have an official statement from on our government as to what happened Sunday. Ruth covered that yesterday so be sure to check out her "Syria, Norman Solomon." The White House approach appears to be to stonewall and ignore -- as if they aren't answerable to and as if they do not serve the American people. Syria is not dropping the matter. From Ellen Knickmeyer's "Syria Protests U.S. Raid To U.N., Orders Closures" (Washington Post):

In a letter Tuesday to leaders of the United Nations and U.N. Security Council, Syria said the eight people killed in the raid were civilians, including a woman and one man killed with his four sons, Syria's state-run news agency said. Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem had said Monday that seven civilians died in the raid.
In the same letter, Syria urged Iraq to investigate the U.S. raid and said the attack came as Syria had been increasing efforts to stem the flow of foreign fighters into Iraq.
"In this regard, we refer that this unjustified act of aggression comes at a time when the Iraqi and US sides recognize Syria's efforts exerted to preserve Iraq security and prevent any illegal infiltrations into its territories," the letter said. The Syrian news agency did not specify which Syrian officials signed the communication.
Underscoring the possibility that the raid could hinder U.S. efforts to stabilize Iraq, Syria on Tuesday indefinitely postponed Syrian-Iraqi talks on regional cooperation that had been set for Nov. 12 in Baghdad.

In today's New York Times, James Glanz offers "Report on Iraq Security Lists 310 Contractors" which notes:

The new report shows that there are far more companies to track than previously known, with backgrounds that are far more varied than earlier disclosures had suggested. And research by the federal investigators indicates that more than five years into the conflict, there is still no central database to account for all the security companies in Iraq financed by American money.
The investigators pieced together information from individual rosters at the Pentagon, the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development, as well as several independent federal databases that track procurement and contractors. The agencies alerted investigators that none of their repositories of information were believed to be 100 percent accurate.
Indeed, the Pentagon disputed some of the inspector general's findings, saying it could confirm only 77 of the entries, involving about $5.3 billion in contracts. But by using the overlapping if incomplete databases, the investigators say they have determined that at least another 233 companies shared $662 million in additional work for guards, escorts and possibly less dangerous work like computer security.
Because all of the databases are incomplete, estimates of the number of security companies and the money spent on their contracts are likely to grow, the report indicates.

Turning to the US presidential race, Hannah notes this from Team Nader:

Solomon v. Greider/Cockburn/Kilkenney


Solomon v. Greider/Cockburn/Kilkenney .

Donate $3 now to Nader/Gonzalez.


Three is the number of principled journalists who this week recognized the long term benefit behind Ralph’s run for President. (That’s a big number for the week before the election — trust us.)

Before we get to the three, check out one Norman Solomon, who again this week makes the tired old argument that Obama is the least worst of the two major party candidates.

And therefore educated citizens should not risk a vote for Nader/Gonzalez.

Compare this lily-livered Norman Solomon approach to the three principled ones who weighed in on the Nader/Obama/McCain contest.

Number one, we have Alexander Cockburn, writing in this week’s issue of The Nation magazine.

Cockburn has been looking this month for one positive reason to vote for Obama. He’s still looking.

In an article titled "Against Obama," Cockburn makes the point that:

"Abroad, Obama stands for imperial renaissance. He has groveled before the Israel lobby and pandered to the sourest reflexes of the cold war era. At home he has crooked the knee to bankers and Wall Street, to the oil companies, the coal companies, the nuclear lobby, the big agricultural combines. He has been fearless in offending progressives, constant in appeasing the powerful."

Number two, we have William Greider.

Greider wrote an article, also in The Nation this week, titled "Nader’s Stubborn Idealism."

In it, Greider argues that Ralph is "a man of political substance trapped in an era of easy lies."

Greider quotes Ralph as saying "So long as progressives are willing to settle for the least worst alternative, they will remain ignored and excluded from power."

And number three, we have Allison Kilkenny who makes a similar point in the Huffington Post this week, in an article titled "The Least Worst Trap."

So, you have your three principled journalists.

And your Norman Solomon style unprincipled ones.

The principled ones will join with us — the Nader/Gonzalez campaign and you, our loyal supporters — on the winning side of history.

With the end of corrupt political party domination of our society.

When Obama/Biden engage in another risky foreign war.

When a Democratic Congress rubber stamps their rightward drift.

But to build toward victory, we need your help now.

To drive upward our vote totals.

And to send a message to corporate Washington — we’re here, we’re organized, we’re not going away.

So, donate your $3 today.

Join Nader/Gonzalez on the winning side of history.

Onward to November

The Nader Team

PS: Remember, if you donate $100 or more, we will ship to you the hard cover 40th Anniversary edition of Unsafe at Any Speed — Ralph’s historic expose of the American automobile industry — autographed by the man himself. It was the book that launched the American consumer movement and saved hundreds of thousands of lives. This autographed edition is bound to become a rare collector’s item after the election. So, get it now. Only a limited number left. (This book offer ends November 4, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.)


Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate, Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Doug highlights this from Team Nader:

Pass It On: Healthcare not Wealthcare


Pass It On: Healthcare not Wealthcare .

Once again, the claim that Ralph Nader is a fringe candidate is contradicted by raw numbers and a broad base of support for nonpartisan reform. This time, the reform issue is healthcare, a cause that has united people from all over the political spectrum and ranged them against rapacious insurance companies and lobbyists. Niether Obama nor McCain supports single payer, and the majority of Americans are starting to notice. On yet another issue, Nader appears to be the majority candidate getting a minority of attention. And if Americans voted their consciences on even this issue, Nader and local third party candidates could win in landslides.

Today’s Pass It On article was written by Daina Saib and appears in Yes Magazine. You can read the original article here.


The Republican presidential candidate is John McCain and Sarah Palin is his running mate.
Vernon notes this posted to the McCain - Palin blog by Matt Lira:

Stand Up and Fight

The cheers are getting louder, the energy is getting stronger - people are excited about the McCain-Palin ticket. Be sure to visit your state page here on to find out how you can volunteer and attend events in your area.

Tags: None

And Becky notes this from McCain - Palin:

ICYMI: "Sarah Palin's A Brainiac"

"I'm a Democrat, but I've worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin's nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women's rights. What is often called her 'confidence' is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is." --Elaine Lafferty

"Sarah Palin's A Brainiac"
By Elaine Lafferty
The Daily Beast
October 27, 2008

It's difficult not to froth when one reads, as I did again and again this week, doubts about Sarah Palin's "intelligence," coming especially from women such as PBS's Bonnie Erbe, who, as near as I recall, has not herself heretofore been burdened with the Susan Sontag of Journalism moniker. As Fred Barnes---God help me, I'm agreeing with Fred Barnes---suggests in the Weekly Standard, these high toned and authoritative dismissals come from people who have never met or spoken with Sarah Palin. Those who know her, love her or hate her, offer no such criticism. They know what I know, and I learned it from spending just a little time traveling on the cramped campaign plane this week: Sarah Palin is very smart.

I'm a Democrat, but I've worked as a consultant with the McCain campaign since shortly after Palin's nomination. Last week, there was the thought that as a former editor-in-chief of Ms. magazine as well as a feminist activist in my pre-journalism days, I might be helpful in contributing to a speech that Palin had long wanted to give on women's rights.

What is often called her "confidence" is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

Now by "smart," I don't refer to a person who is wily or calculating or nimble in the way of certain talented athletes who we admire but suspect don't really have serious brains in their skulls. I mean, instead, a mind that is thoughtful, curious, with a discernable pattern of associative thinking and insight. Palin asks questions, and probes linkages and logic that bring to mind a quirky law professor I once had. Palin is more than a "quick study"; I'd heard rumors around the campaign of her photographic memory and, frankly, I watched it in action. She sees. She processes. She questions, and only then, she acts. What is often called her "confidence" is actually a rarity in national politics: I saw a woman who knows exactly who she is.

For all those old enough to remember Senator Sam Ervin, the brilliant strict constitutional constructionist and chairman of the Senate Watergate Committee whose patois included "I'm just a country lawyer"...Yup, Palin is that smart.

So no simple task then, this speech on women's rights. For the sin of being a Christian personally opposed to abortion, Palin is being pilloried by the inside-the-Beltway Democrat feminist establishment. (Yes, she is anti-abortion. And yes, instead of buying organic New Zealand lamb at Whole Foods, she joins other Alaskans in hunting for food. That's it. She is not a right-wing nut, and all the rest of the Internet drivel---the book banning at the Library, the rape kits decision---is nonsense. I digress.) Palin's role in this campaign was to energize "the Republican base," which she has inarguably done. She also was expected to reach out to Hillary Clinton "moderates." (Right. Only a woman would get both those jobs in either party.) Look, I am obviously personally pro-choice, and I disagree with McCain and Palin on that and a few other issues. But like many other Democrats, including Lynn Rothschild, I'm tired of the Democratic Party taking women for granted. I also happen to believe Sarah Palin supports women's rights, deeply and passionately.

Elaine Lafferty has nothing to explain to this community. The speech she's referring to by Palin is noted in "The speech Barack wouldn't give" at Third and here in Thursday's "Iraq snapshot." Those who missed Palin's speech, can click here to view it at The Confluence, here to view it at Reclusive Leftist. It was a major speech and one that should have received considerable attention. Along with Palin's speech Friday on special-needs children, it was largely ignored by the press. Today Palin is expected to give a speech on energy and, no doubt, the press will instead running with backbiting whispers of "She's a diva!" or about her clothes or her shoes or her hair. And feminist 'leadership' will continue to fail feminism by refusing to call that nonsense out. Governor Palin is a politician. And when she's turned into something less than that by a press so eager to run with misogyny it hurts all women. Lafferty (who I know) owes no explanations and certainly no apologies but feminists do owe her a thank-you for speaking up and speaking out. Thank you, Elaine Lafferty. Thank you for never assuming that a woman 'has it coming' or that only 'some women' are worthy of defense from sexism. Thank you for grasping that when high-profile women are attacked it is rarely ever just about an individual woman. Thank you for believing that women matter. And thank you for taking that belief and turning it into action. Thank you for demonstrating true leadership.

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