Tuesday, October 14, 2008


"Time's running out for reaching a security agreement with the U.S., and an accord is unlikely before the end of this year, Iraq's Sunni Muslim vice president said Monday," opens Leila Fadel's "Iraqi VP: U.S., Iraq won't reach accord on troops this year" (McClatchy Newspapers). The Sunni vice president would be Tariq al Hashimi and the security agreement is the treaty that the White House and the puppet government is trying to pretend will be a SOFA. As Fadel notes, the occupation of Iraq (though not the invasion) was authorized via a UN mandate and that authorization expires December 31st. For the last several weeks, the US State Dept has been on a very extensive diplomatic push. Last week US Dept Sec of State, John Negroponte arrived as part of that push. From Fadel's article:

Susan Ziadeh, a U.S. Embassy spokeswoman, said the talks are still under way. "Both sides are working hard to come to an agreement, and we should leave the discussions to those who are negotiating," she said.
However, Hashimi said that even if the two negotiating teams can agree on a final text, the draft must then win the approval of Iraq's cabinet, a special political council for national security and the parliament. "I'm not sure that the time we have left is enough for all of these organizations to study it, revise it and agree on the text," he said.

Which may go to the problem on the US side. First, the White House has made clear their desire to circumvent the Constitution in their efforts to bypass the Senate. (Which is why the White House pretends the treaty is a SOFA.) And, if you think about it, there hasn't been an outcry from Congress in some time. And party leaders have rarely called it out to begin with. In real time, on the Democratic side, the most prominent names calling out the circumventing of the Constituation were Senators Hillary Clinton, Russ Feingold and Joe Biden. Being on the Democratic Party's presidential ticket hasn't resulted in Biden calling this out more forcefully (and he has a larger audience than he did then) but it certainly has removed one of the most passionate opposition voice from the Senate.

Setting the few aside (there were many more vocal members of the House than the Senate), the bulk have gone along with it the same way they've gone along with the last eight years. In control of a house or not, they go along. As the opposition party, they're ineffectual and as the party in control they refuse to seize the power. So for eight years, the US Congress has been Bully Boy's rubber stamp with all the spine of a FISA court -- actually, that court has shown more spine in the last eight years than Congress. As a result, the White House may not grasp just how difficult it can be to pass something in a legislature. They may still wrongly assume that if Nouri al-Maliki agrees, it's a done deal. If so, that's because that's how the US Congress has behaved for the last eight years.

McClatchy is regularly offering a feature at the end of the articles, a listing of other Iraq articles. We won't include it every time we note a McClatchy article but for those who don't use links, if you went to Fadel's article, you'd find this at the end:

U.S. troops now serve as welcome wagon in Baghad

Iraqis are being attacked and killed for returning to their homes

New U.S. intelligence report warns `victory' not certain in Iraq

Assassinations replacing car bombs in Iraq

Ned Parker's "Iraq: Crunch time for the Iraq-U.S. security agreement" (Babylon & Beyond, Los Angeles Times) reminds that the White House has already missed their own self-imposed deadline for the treaty (July) and he writes:

The failure to make headway has convinced some Iraqi officials familiar with the negotiations that Maliki and some other Shiite lawmakers are reluctant to sign an agreement in part because they fear it would damage their political prospects. U.S. officials have blamed Iran for meddling in the process.
Shiite cleric Muqtada Sadr has also been a fierce opponent of a deal and has planned a demonstration for central Baghdad this Saturday to protest the five-year anniversary of the American presence in Iraq -- after postponing demonstrations last April.
One senior Iraqi official said the planned talks by the presidency council and Barzani could provide Maliki the political cover to put the agreement before parliament. The U.N. Security Council resolution that sanctions U.S. troops in Iraq expires on Dec. 31.

Barazani is Massoud Barzani who is the president of the Kurdistan region. As for his power in a meeting . . . I believe there's a big meet-up in Baghdad going on right now and there was no rush to bring in Kurdistan's officials. (The meet-up is between Iraqi and Turkish officials to discuss the PKK and how to address it. The PKK in Iraq is located in the Kurdistan region.)

Lloyd notes this from Karen DeYoung's "Lacking an Accord On Troops, U.S. and Iraq Seek a Plan B" (Washington Post) on the topic:

Neither side finds the options attractive. One possibility is an extension of the United Nations mandate that expires at the end of the year. That would require a Security Council vote that both governments believe could be complicated by Russia or others opposed to the U.S.-led war. Another alternative would amount to a simple handshake agreement between Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and President Bush to leave things as they are until a new deal, under a new U.S. administration, can be negotiated.
Negotiators have been stuck for months on the question of legal jurisdiction over U.S. troops and immunity for possible crimes. But even if the sides reach a deal in the next few days or weeks, it is not clear that a formal status-of-forces agreement could be approved by the end of the year. Maliki has pledged to submit an accord to Iraq's divided parliament before he signs it -- a promise he reaffirmed last week during a visit to Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani, Iraq's most influential Shiite cleric. Sistani has said he will not endorse any document without the support of Iraq's population and political factions.
If the parliament refuses, Maliki would have "no choice" but to request a U.N. extension "because the American forces will lose their legal cover on Dec. 31," he told the Times of London in a weekend interview. "If that happens, according to international law, Iraqi law and American law, the U.S. forces will be confined to their bases and have to withdraw from Iraq," Maliki said.

Turning to the US presidential race, Mia notes this from Team Nader about Ralph's TV appearances -- yes, TV, and these take place today:

Nader on CNN, FOX, CNBC and PBS NewsHour Tuesday


Nader on CNN, FOX, CNBC and PBS NewsHour Tuesday .

It's time to bring it on home.

We are within shouting distance of our goal of $250,000 by midnight tonight.

We're bumping up against the top of our widget.

But we need just one more push.

So, please.

If you haven't given yet to Nader/Gonzalez, do so now.

Whatever you can afford -- $5, $10, $15, $50, $100.

Is there a hero out there who can give $500?

Is there a hero out there who can give $1,000?

Drop it now on Nader/Gonzalez.

We’ve got about four hours to go.

Let's get it done for Nader/Gonzalez.

And remember, if you donate $100 or more now, we will send you an autographed copy of Ralph’s classic -- The Seventeen Traditions (HarperCollins 2007).

This 150-page hardcover book details the seventeen traditions that Ralph grew up with and is the closest thing so far to a Ralph Nader autobiography.

So, don’t miss out on this limited edition offer. (This offer expires tonight at midnight.)

We need just 100 more of you -- our loyal supporters -- to step up and snap up The Seventeen Traditions.

And we will meet our goal.

So let's crank it up.

And get it done.

And now, the News Flash!

Tomorrow, Ralph be moving from TV studio to TV studio, breaking the down the walls of enforced media silence.

Ralph will be on CNBC with John Harwood between 2 and 3 p.m. EST.

He will be on CNN with Rick Sanchez at 3:30 p.m. EST.

He will be on the NewsHour on PBS between 6 and 7 p.m. EST.

And he'll be on Fox with Shepherd Smith at 7:30 p.m. EST.

So, grab your remote, and look out for Ralph.

Tomorrow, Ralph's the cable guy!

Okay folks.

Let's kick it in.

And watch that there widget go.

Onward to November

The Nader Team


Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Wednesday October 15, Ralph Nader will speak at Cooper Union (NYC) at six p.m. and the following day the independent presidential candidate at noon "Ralph will take to the street in front of the NYSE to protest the bailout at Federal Hall, 26 Wall St. NYC."

And Carole asks if we can note the speech given by Republican candidate John McCain and include the video:

Remarks By John McCain in Virginia Beach, VA

ARLINGTON, VA -- U.S. Senator John McCain delivered the following remarks at the McCain-Palin 2008 rally in Virginia Beach, VA:

Three weeks from now, you will choose a new President. Choose well. There is much at stake.

These are hard times. Our economy is in crisis. Financial markets are collapsing. Credit is drying up. Your savings are in danger. Your retirement is at risk. Jobs are disappearing. The cost of health care, your children's college, gasoline and groceries are rising all the time with no end in sight. While your most important asset -- your home -- is losing value every day.

Americans are fighting in two wars. We face many enemies in this dangerous world, and they are waiting to see if our current troubles will permanently weaken us.

The next President won't have time to get used to the office. He won't have the luxury of studying up on the issues before he acts. He will have to act immediately. And to do that, he will need experience, courage, judgment and a bold plan of action to take this country in a new direction. We cannot spend the next four years as we have spent much of the last eight: waiting for our luck to change. The hour is late; our troubles are getting worse; our enemies watch. We have to act immediately. We have to change direction now. We have to fight.

I've been fighting for this country since I was seventeen years old, and I have the scars to prove it. If I'm elected President, I will fight to take America in a new direction from my first day in office until my last. I'm not afraid of the fight, I'm ready for it.

I'm not going to spend $700 billion dollars of your money just bailing out the Wall Street bankers and brokers who got us into this mess. I'm going to make sure we take care of the people who were devastated by the excesses of Wall Street and Washington. I'm going to spend a lot of that money to bring relief to you, and I'm not going to wait sixty days to start doing it.

I have a plan to protect the value of your home and get it rising again by buying up bad mortgages and refinancing them so if your neighbor defaults he doesn't bring down the value of your house with him.

I have a plan to let retirees and people nearing retirement keep their money in their retirement accounts longer so they can rebuild their savings.

I have a plan to rebuild the retirement savings of every worker.

I have a plan to hold the line on taxes and cut them to make America more competitive and create jobs here at home.

Raising taxes makes a bad economy much worse. Keeping taxes low creates jobs, keeps money in your hands and strengthens our economy.

The explosion of government spending over the last eight years has put us deeper in debt to foreign countries that don't have our best interests at heart. It weakened the dollar and made everything you buy more expensive.

If I'm elected President, I won't spend nearly a trillion dollars more of your money, on top of the $700 billion we just gave the Treasury Secretary, as Senator Obama proposes. Because he can't do that without raising your taxes or digging us further into debt. I'm going to make government live on a budget just like you do.

I will freeze government spending on all but the most important programs like defense, veterans care, Social Security and health care until we scrub every single government program and get rid of the ones that aren't working for the American people. And I will veto every single pork barrel bill Congresses passes.

If I'm elected President, I won't fine small businesses and families with children, as Senator Obama proposes, to force them into a new huge government run health care program, while I keep the cost of the fine a secret until I hit you with it. I will bring down the skyrocketing cost of health care with competition and choice to lower your premiums, and make it more available to more Americans. I'll make sure you can keep the same health plan if you change jobs or leave a job to stay home.

I will provide every single American family with a $5000 refundable tax credit to help them purchase insurance. Workers who already have health care insurance from their employers will keep it and have more money to cover costs. Workers who don't have health insurance can use it to find a policy anywhere in this country to meet their basic needs.

If I'm elected President, I won't raise taxes on small businesses, as Senator Obama proposes, and force them to cut jobs. I will keep small business taxes where they are, help them keep their costs low, and let them spend their earnings to create more jobs.

If I'm elected President, I won't make it harder to sell our goods overseas and kill more jobs as Senator Obama proposes. I will open new markets to goods made in America and make sure our trade is free and fair. And I'll make sure we help workers who've lost a job that won't come back find a new one that won't go away.

The last President to raise taxes and restrict trade in a bad economy as Senator Obama proposes was Herbert Hoover. That didn't turn out too well. They say those who don't learn the lessons of history are doomed to repeat them. Well, my friends, I know my history lessons, and I sure won't make the mistakes Senator Obama will.

If I'm elected President, we're going to stop sending $700 billion to countries that don't like us very much. I won't argue to delay drilling for more oil and gas and building new nuclear power plants in America, as Senator Obama does. We will start new drilling now. We will invest in all energy alternatives -- nuclear, wind, solar, and tide. We will encourage the manufacture of hybrid, flex fuel and electric automobiles. We will invest in clean coal technology. We will lower the cost of energy within months, and we will create millions of new jobs.

Let me give you the state of the race today. We have 22 days to go. We're 6 points down. The national media has written us off. Senator Obama is measuring the drapes, and planning with Speaker Pelosi and Senator Reid to raise taxes, increase spending, take away your right to vote by secret ballot in labor elections, and concede defeat in Iraq. But they forgot to let you decide. My friends, we've got them just where we want them.

What America needs in this hour is a fighter; someone who puts all his cards on the table and trusts the judgment of the American people. I come from a long line of McCains who believed that to love America is to fight for her. I have fought for you most of my life. There are other ways to love this country, but I've never been the kind to do it from the sidelines.

I know you're worried. America is a great country, but we are at a moment of national crisis that will determine our future. Will we continue to lead the world's economies or will we be overtaken? Will the world become safer or more dangerous? Will our military remain the strongest in the world? Will our children and grandchildren's future be brighter than ours?

My answer to you is yes. Yes, we will lead. Yes, we will prosper. Yes, we will be safer. Yes, we will pass on to our children a stronger, better country. But we must be prepared to act swiftly, boldly, with courage and wisdom.

I know what fear feels like. It's a thief in the night who robs your strength.

I know what hopelessness feels like. It's an enemy who defeats your will.

I felt those things once before. I will never let them in again. I'm an American. And I choose to fight.

Don't give up hope. Be strong. Have courage. And fight.

Fight for a new direction for our country.

Fight for what's right for America.

Fight to clean up the mess of corruption, infighting and selfishness in Washington.

Fight to get our economy out of the ditch and back in the lead.

Fight for the ideals and character of a free people.

Fight for our children's future.

Fight for justice and opportunity for all.

Stand up to defend our country from its enemies.

Stand up, stand up, stand up and fight. America is worth fighting for. Nothing is inevitable here. We never give up. We never quit. We never hide from history. We make history.

Now, let's go win this election and get this country moving again.


Again, Oklahoma community members are supporting the McCain-Palin ticket and I'm tossing it to them to find the things they want highlighted. (That's not, "I'm not covering the ticket in the snapshot!" The McCain-Palin ticket will be covered in the same way the Nader ticket is.) Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential nominee. Rosa Clemente is her running mate. The campaign notes:

Missouri Write-In Possible for Cynthia McKinney
Monday, 13 October 2008 13:07
Progressives qualify as write-in candidates
Updated: 2008-10-12 15:50:30

The Progressive Party of Missouri announced that they have filed therequired paperwork with the Missouri Secretary of State's office to allow Green Party presidential nominee Cynthia McKinney to be a certified write-in candidate in the November 4th general election.

McKinney, a former six-term congresswoman from Georgia was nominated to be at the top of the Green Party's historic all woman presidential ticket at their July nominating convention in Chicago. Rosa Clemente, a hip-hop activist journalist from New York was chosen to be the Green Party's nominee for vice-president.

Midge Potts, state co-chair of the Progressive Party of Missouri, said, "I am proud to be able to write-in Cynthia McKinney for president on my ballot this year. Missourians are demanding real change in the American political system, and Congresswoman McKinney's Power to the People movement is appealing to many." Potts is herself running as a write-in candidate for US representative against House Republican Whip Roy Blunt in Missouri's 7th Congressional District.

McKinney has earned a reputation for seeking honest answers from Bush administration officials. While serving in the US House of Representatives, she vigorously questioned former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld in regard to the $2.3 trillion missing in the Pentagon's budget. McKinney also filed articles of impeachment against George W. Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice. As president, McKinney claims she would responsibly end the US military occupations of Iraq and Afghanistan, work to create a Department of Peace, and implement a not-for-profit single-payer health care system.

Isaiah's political cartoon "Private Dancer Bambi" went up Sunday and I'm noting that here because, once this goes, up, you'll have to use the link to see it (or go to the archives for this week).

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