Sunday, November 02, 2008

And the war drags on . . .

Today's New York Times finds Suadad al-Salhy and Katherine Zoepf offering "Iraq and U.S. Confer on Iraqi Economy." With the price of oil per barrel going up and slightly down, Iraq's concerned about their budget for next year and have cut it by $13 billion dollars. And what do they plan on cutting? It's not detailed; however, Liz Sly (Chicago Tribune) reports:

The Iraqi government plans to cut salaries for the estimated 100,000 members of the Awakening movement whose revolt against Al Qaeda in Iraq played a key role in bringing about the sharp fall in violence in Iraq.
The move is certain to aggravate building tensions between the Sunni volunteer force and the Shiite-led government, which assumed responsibility for the Awakening movement from the U.S. military earlier this month.

Sly notes $300 is how much members were paid but leaders were paid $400 to $500 a month and that both are being cut. Gen David Petraeus (now over Centcom but until recently the top US commander in Iraq) has credited the "Awakening" movement with the fall in violence as has US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker. October 1st, the central government in Baghdad took over payment of approximately 50,000 "Awakening"members and one month later (next checks go out November 10th), they can't even maintain the payment level. It's not as if they didn't know how much the US was spending. So obvioulsy, just as they never planned to absorb the "Awakening" into police, military and security forces, they never intended to pay them. Sly notes the hopes of one "Awakening" who believes the US will pick up the difference. However, that's not going to be the case according to the article. That, however, was supposed to be the case when the handover was made. That was one of the promises the US made to the "Awakenings."

When people find their pay cut, are they going to say, "Great!"? Are they going to go on strike? Will the "Awakenings" again take up arms against the puppet government and the US?

They're just there to try and make the people free,
But the way that they're doing it, it don't seem like that to me.
Just more blood-letting and misery and tears
That this poor country's known for the last twenty years,
And the war drags on.
-- words and lyrics by Mick Softly (available on Donovan's Fairytale)

Last Sunday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4,188. And tonight? 4189 is ICCC's count. Just Foreign Policy's counter estimates the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war to be 1,284,105 finally up from 1,273,378 where it remained without updating week after week.

Turning to some of the reported violence today . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 Baghdad roadside bombings which resulted in 1 police officer being killed and seven people being wounded and a Diyala Province roadside bombing targeting an "Awakening" Council leader that resulted in his death along with 2 women and 3 childrenm a Hawija roadside bombing that wounded three people. Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 Iraqi soldiers.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province home invasion (by unknown persons "wearing the Iraqi army uniform") that resulted in 3 deaths (a woman and 2 daughters) and two more people being wounded (two of the women's other daughters), a Kirkuk sticky bombing that wounded one person and another Kirkuk bombing that claimed the lives of 2 children and left two more wounded. Reuters notes 1 person shot dead in Mosul.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Iraqi army uniforms were also worn by the persons who "kidnapped three Kurdish truck drivers" outside of Kirkuk, no word on what the kidnappers of a 14-year-old girl were wearing (she was also kidnapped outside Kirkuk).


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 4 corpses discovered in Al Anbar Province.

Turning to the US presidential race. Becky, Vernon, Robert, Sofia and Stuart note a number of things for the John McCain - Sarah Palin campaign. McCain is the Republican Party's presidential nominee and Palin is his running mate.

New Hampshire Union Leader Endorses John McCain

ICYMI: "Secret Service Shuts Down Pueblo Businesses for Obama Rally"

What They're Saying On Barack Obama's Attack on Agriculture

ICMYI: "Sen. Mel Martinez: John McCain Will Bring The Right Type Of Change"

ICYMI: Albuquerque Journal Endorses John McCain

ICYMI: Pittsburgh Tribune-Review Endorses John McCain

With so much to offer, we'll note the links above and note this one in full:

What They're Saying On Barack Obama's Attack on Agriculture
"This incident reveals a true anti-farming slant to the Obama campaign"
Gov. Tim Pawlenty on ABC's Good Morning America: Obama Not Offering "Positive Vision" for Iowa Farmers. BILL WEIR: "People want to follow hopeful, optimistic, civil, decent leaders. Are those qualities what has him so far ahead in the polls, do you think? And how would you relate those qualities to the McCain campaign?" GOV. TIM PAWLENTY: "Well, I think whether its Barack Obama or anyone else, people want to see a hopeful, positive vision for the future of the country, but that's not what Barack Obama's been offering. For example, here in Iowa, he said recently to Joel Klein of Time magazine, that agriculture is to blame for the nation's health problems partly, including diabetes and heart disease and others. You can imagine what Iowa farmers are going to think of that." WEIR: "Well, I think he was talking about corn syrup in soda and fast food. That's a little bit out of context. I won't ask --" GOV. PAWLENTY: "But Bill, farmers don't grow soda, they grow corn." (ABC's "Good Morning America," 11/1/08)
Commentary Magazine's Jennifer Rubin: Obama's Rural "Condescension" Slips Out. "In loose moments, Obama's lack of understanding of and condescension toward rural and small-town America always slips out. And really, is his point that if farmers grew less food, Americans would be thinner? The mind reels." (Jennifer Rubin, "Obama to Farmers: Stop Growing Food," Commentary Magazine Contentions blog,", 11/1/08)
Bemidji (MN) Pioneer: Sen. Grassley: "It Is Ludicrous to Blame Farmers for Obesity." "'It is ludicrous to blame farmers for obesity and pollution,' Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, told reporters during a Friday conference call. 'I think he really doesn't understand agriculture.'" (Don Davis and Scott Wente, "CAMPAIGN NOTEBOOK: Obama comments upset GOP farmers," Bemidji Pioneer, 11/1/08)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Sen. Grassley: Obama "Doesn't Have a Very Good Foundation." "In a conference call arranged by the McCain campaign, Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, called it 'ludicrous to blame farmers for obesity and pollution.' Said Grassley: 'It shows that Sen. Obama doesn't have a very good foundation in American agriculture.'" (Tom Webb, "McCain faults Obama's comments on farming," St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/1/08)
St. Paul Pioneer Press: Sen. Grassley: Obama Gets Ag Ideas From "Professor At Cal-Berkeley." "(P)eople in agriculture need to know that if Sen. Obama is going to get his ideas on agriculture from a professor at Cal-Berkeley, they should think twice about what they are voting for." (Tom Webb, "McCain faults Obama's comments on farming," St. Paul Pioneer Press, 11/1/08)Des Moines Register: Farmer Ron Litterer: "No Question About" Obama' s Conflicting Message to Farmers. "But Ron Litterer, a Greene farmer who is chairman of the National Corn Growers Association, said Obama's comments in the Time interview were 'in conflict with what he's been saying about agriculture, no question about it.'" (Philip Brasher, "Obama links health issues to farming, then backs off," Des Moines Register, 10/31/08)
Hoosier Ag Today's Gary Truitt: Obama's "True Anti-Farming Slant." "In my view this incident reveals a true anti-farming slant to the Obama campaign and demonstrates a fundamental lack of support for farmers." (Gary Truitt, "Obama, Open Mouth-Insert Foot," HAT CHAT, the official blog of Hoosier Ag Today,, 10/31/08)
· Truitt: "Major Blunder" "Obama, however, has made a major blunder by quoting (Michael) Pollan, an outspoken critic of agriculture and an environmental radical." (Gary Truitt, "Obama, Open Mouth-Insert Foot," HAT CHAT, the official blog of Hoosier Ag Today,, 10/31/08)
· Truitt: "Unlike Obama, McCain Stuck to His Position" "Early in the campaign John McCain was criticized by the ag community, and this blog, for his comments on the ethanol subsidy. Unlike Obama, McCain stuck to his position and explained he was against all subsidies and had nothing against ethanol." (Gary Truitt, "Obama, Open Mouth-Insert Foot," HAT CHAT, the official blog of Hoosier Ag Today,, 10/31/08)

Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Brenda notes this from Team Nader:

He Can't Win
Posted by The Nader Team on Sunday, November 2, 2008 at 04:25:00 PM
"He Can’t Win"

The biggest threat to our democracy and our way of life today are those three words. Bigger than terrorism? Bigger than losing our homes, our jobs, our healthcare, our education? Yes, for the very simple reason that once we believe these three words we will refuse to even consider, let alone support, the candidates for office that may well have, not simply the best, but perhaps the only, solutions to all of these threats.
I wish I had a nickel for every time I have heard someone who, after having heard so called "minor” candidates said, "Yes I agree with this person, I would like to vote for him, but I won’t because HE CAN’T WIN”. But I don’t have those nickels and neither do they or they would be able to buy all the "air time” they needed so that no one could say the other thing I hear so often, "Who’s he, I never heard of him?” And they don’t have those nickels for the simple reason that the people like you and me that these candidates represent are running out of them and have to spend them on other things like food, clothing, housing, education and healthcare.
I have been around long enough to have seen how far down both "major” parties have brought us, and, although I am a "registered” member of one of them, try as I might I cannot believe in their candidates anymore. This country was founded on principles not parties, on ideas not ideology. When the parties have abandoned their principles and their ideology trumps our ideas, in short, when they have abandoned us, it’s time to abandon them.
There was a time the ‘law of nature” was perverted in order to physically subjugate one group of human beings to another based on the color of one’s skin. Now it is the "law of markets’ that is being perverted to financially subjugate an even bigger group of all colors to another much smaller one based on the size of one’s purse. But the end result of both perversions is the very real loss not only of freedom but of the ability to make our and our children’s lives better.
And the way this travesty is being foisted upon us is very simple – just convince folks that "there is no alternative” and that anyone who suggests there is "can’t win”. Astonishing, isn’t it, that such a simple idea can be so destructive. Amazing that we can be so easily convinced to not "spoil” the chances of either of the "major” parties that have both done so much in the last few decades to spoil OUR chances for a better life. Have our ideals become so shriveled that we use the ballot box, won for us by the blood, sweat and tears of so many, to vote, not for what we need and aspire to, but only for the table scraps the media tells us is the most we can hope for, or just to "beat the other guy”.
150 years ago we had to fight an actual war to free victims of that first perversion. This time we don’t have to use guns, we CAN use the ballot box to reclaim that heritage and defy the establishment once again to free ourselves from that second perversion, but only if we truly understand that we can. It is time, past time, for us to do so. If we do not believe in the power of the ballot to achieve a revolution, then what is democracy for?
And to remind yourself to "never doubt that a….group of thoughtful committed citizens can change the world…”, every time you hear or are tempted to think those three words of mass destruction, silently say a prayer of thanks for those men and women of the Revolution who refused to say, "I like Washington’s ideas, he’s right, but I won’t support him because HE CAN’T WIN.”
(I apologize if this is not so very eloquent; I am not a professional writer. But I wrote it because I believe it and I would post it on every tree I could find (instead of at your door), but there aren’t so many of those anymore, either….)
--Sue Hammond

New content at Third:

Truest statement of the week I
Truest statement of the week II
Truest statement of the week III
A note to our readers
Editorial: Silence
TV: The Uglies
Robin Morgan: Troll (Ava and C.I.)
Heroes and villains
Only Once (Ty, Betty, Cedric and Marcia)
Film quotes
Matt Gonzalez asks the big question

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