Saturday, September 13, 2008

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The policeman, who declined to be identified because he is not authorized to speak with the news media, said the explosives-packed vehicle blew up amid grocery stalls and butcher shops on the main street just across from the town’s barricaded police headquarters.
The impact of the blast destroyed a building that housed several clinics and set at least 10 vehicles ablaze. At least seven women and four children were among the dead, and distraught residents rushed to the scene to search for loved ones, he said.

The above is from Sam Dagher's "31 Killed in Car Bomb Attack on Iraq Shiite Enclave" (New York Times, A2) on yesterday's bombing. The paper did not file from Iraq yesterday despite multiple e-mails to the public account claiming otherwise.

What the paper ran Friday was a report filed from Tokyo, not Iraq. (It was a bad report which contained errors. Instead of calling it out, we just overlooked it because it was not an Iraq report and the topic had already been covered in Thursday's Iraq snapshot.)

In other news, Jim Michaels (USA Today) reports today (online, USA Today's next print edition comes out Monday) that Gen David Petraeus, eager to assume control of CENTCOM and no longer be the 'top [US] commander' in Iraq, managee to send off "a farewell letter issued Saturday".

Among today's violence includes a bombing. BBC reports: "A roadside bomb killed six Kurdish peshmerga fighters in Khanaqin town in Diyala province, north-east of Baghdad." Earlier this week, tensions escalated with counter-claims -- the central government in Baghdad claimed they weren't targeting the Peshmerga and Kurdish officials expressed concerns otherwise. The roadside bombing (likely planted by resistance fighters) will only inflame speculation in the Kurdish region where the belief is already that the Peshmerga are under attack.

The following community sites have updated since Friday morning:

Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Betty's Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
Ruth's Ruth's Report;

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Naeema al-Gasseer: the United Nations' embarrassment in Iraq

Four employees of an independent TV station were abducted and killed today while filming a reality show that bestows gifts on needy people during the holy month of Ramadan.
The victims, killed in the northern city of Mosul, were among at least 12 people slain nationwide, including four in a bomb blast in eastern Baghdad and four Kurdish soldiers in northern Iraq.
The attack on the Sharqiya TV employees was stunning for its brazenness and brutality. Police in Mosul said the victims were grabbed as they filmed an episode of a program known as "Breaking the Fast Is on Us," which airs only during Ramadan.

The above is from Tina Susman's "Iraq TV employees killed while filming show marking Ramadan" (Los Angeles Times). That's today.

Yesterday, a press conference was held in Baghdad during which is was noted, "The disease is epidemic in Iraq." The disease is cholera. Participating were Iraq's Minster of Health Dr. Salith al-Hasnawi, Dr. Tahseen al-Sheikhly and WHO's Dr. Naeema al-Gasseer (who was a public menace). And there was plenty of time to slam the press, excuse the puppet government, blame individual Iraqis and what has to be seen as encouragement of attacks on Iraqi women. It was a complete embarrassment and the United Nations should be ashamed that a rep for the World Health Organization not only participated but launched her own attacks.

Dr. al-Sheikhly started the conference insiting that "we decided today that the Iraqi government is going to deal with this topic with total frank". Apparently that decision required him immediately handing off to al-Hasnawi who gave the figures for cholera as "36 confirmed cases: 20 cases in Babil Province, 1 in Maysan, 13 in Karkh District in Baghdad. We had 6 but the confirmative test added 7 -- 3 in Mahmudiyah, 4 in Yusufiyah. Rusafa District had 1 case coming from Kut, it was dected in Rusafa. Today we confirmed a scond case in Mada'in."

Moving from confirmed to suspected cases, he declared, "It is 86 cases: 20 in Maysan, they are new, suspected; 39 in Karkh suspected; 6 in Karbala; 1 in Nasiriyah; 1 in Najaf cases. All of them would cause...would make 86. The mortalities of cholera were 6 only." Later, he would add, "In Hillah now, we have 19 suspected cases."

"Total frank" flew out the window early on. al-Sheikhly declared there was six deaths from cholera at the opening of the press conference and would later insist "only five death . . . mortalities." The numbers given were in doubt and anyone counting on WHO representative Dr. al-Gasseer to clear up the numbers was hoping in vain. She stayed clear of the number issue although she did find time to play journalism professor: "Media can be negative affect also. Your role is to deliver the information rapidly in order to help us stop spreading the disease." Much later in the press conference, al-Hasnawi would chime in with his own journalism lesson, "The media buzz. it has maybe negative results that would affect the social life and affect the people."
Iraq doesn't have a free press and while it's easy to snicker at 'advice' from the puppet government, WHO shames itself and the United Nations by participating in attacks on the press in a region that knowingly attacks the press. That was disgaraceful and the United Nations should be ashamed for taking part in that farce. They allowed themselves to be a shield. If you're missing that fact, much later in the press conference, al-Sheikhly would reply to a question with, "If you would allow me, I would like the WHO to answer as being neutral side."

The World Health Organization made a joke out of themselves in the press conference. That was only more evident when it was left to Free Iraq Radio (and not WHO) to point out the obvious to al- by stating "the cholera disease is epidemin in Iraq. All these decades you have not taken special procedures to stop this disease? Where is the role of the minister of health now to stop the cases? Who is the responsible side for spreading this disease, especially this is growing a suitable environment, which is a lack of potable water environment? Who is the responsible part in your opinion? What is your future plans? I’m sure you have future plans to stop this disease. Where is the awareness procedures through the TV channels?"

Admitting that lack of potable water was the cause ("the big reason"), al-Hasnawi declared "the committee is going to have plans. We're going to have rapid procedures and strategies for the long term, for the midterm." Oh really? Much later in the press conference, a timefram would be mentioned by al-Hasnawi, "Within 10 years, our infrastructure is going to be finished for the first 8 centers and providing treatment and the staff. The outcomes are going to be witnessed after years." Well isn't that something to take pride in? In 10 years, 8 centers (the first eight, mind you) will be functional.

In addition As-Salam Satellite Channel pointed out that despite promises from Nouri al-Maliki (puppet of the occupation) that villages would receive water tanks, the tanks have not been received. al-Sheikhly replied, "Mr. Prime Minister allocated 16 water tanker to be sent to the areas that are having shortage due to some cuts in the water pipe...waterline. Also, the area that you are talking about, maybe within the coming days they would reach the tank...they would receive a tanker." He went on to declare that the promise was made when a water pipe was broken.

So why wasn't anything done?

al-Hasnawi would go on to declare that there was nothing to worry about because WHO was assisting. There is a cholera outbreak and WHO is allowing it to be minimized. al-Hasnawi asserted, "The shortages of medications, who said that the Ministry of Health now needs medications with an expiration to the cholera cases? WHO is present." He then declared of the outbreak, "It happens in everybody -- in every country in the world, not only in the ministry of Iraq." Golly, it's hard to think of another country with all the billions Iraq has (not to mention the billions the US is spending) that faces cholera outbreaks every year.

As if the press conference could not become more of a joke, the United Nation's figure began not just using outdated terminology ("housewife") but blaming women for the outbreak of cholera, " As you are individual responsible at your house, if you do not control your family – how they cook food, how they wash their food, if the woman...the housewife there does not have correct information about how to deal with food – this is your responsibility. I would tell...there is a formal responsibility and local responsibility."

The idiot then returned to the issue of lecturing and hectoring the media. Someone explain to the United Nations that the good doctor needs a good ass kicking. That was so shameful and so embarrassing and it sullies the reputation of the UN. And no one needs her climbing on the cross about how 'rough' things are for her: "I cannot call everyboyd from the international community." No? Well how about you just trying doing your damn job and if that's too much work for you, how about you try finding another job because all you are is a public embarrassment.

WHO again took an issue of potable water and attempted to turn the puppet government's failures into a lacking in individual Iraqi citizens: ". . . how to deal with food and personal hygiene. I have asked the minister that the clergymen need and do have a big responsibility. They need to spread this line of cleanliness." That statement is all the more offensive when you consider the attacks on women and when you take in what "cleanliness" connates in a fundamentalist society. Repeating, the United Nations SHOULD BE ASHAMED.

When not hecotring the press, the WHO represenative snarled that there was a web page on cholera and Iraq at WHO's website and that correct information could be found there. Oh really, Dr. Dumb Ass? Here's the page -or at least the most obvious place for it to be, under Iraq and, under that, under epidemics. You'll note the most 'recent' posting was October 3, 2007.

It also needs to be noted that Dr. Dumb Ass defined the government's responsiblity in an interesting way. She insisted that the Iraqi government was only responsible for food eaten in public places. They apparently had no obligation to the general welfare of the Iraqi people. Her statements go against every stated principle the United Nations claims to adhere to. She has lost all distance and detachment and her ass needs to be reassigned. She is no longer a voice that can be trusted. Your first indication may be how she repeatedly said "we" and then needed to correct herself that she was speaking of the Iraqi government.

There were over 4,000 cholera cases last year. They broke out at the same time. This year's epidemic was not unforseen. WHO really needs to get it's act together and that would include pulling the dumb ass doctor who's been there for five years and has ACCOMPLISHED NOTHING. Her ass needs to be reassigned before she does more damage (both to the Iraqi people and to WHO's image).

While sliming and smearing women, the doctor never held the Iraqi 'government' accountable for refusing to address the situation. That goes far beyond refusing to use any of the billions to repair the infrastructure (year after year). It goes to the sorry and unhealthy squalor that Iraqis are forced to live in. Zaineb Naji offered "Baghdad's Trash Problem" (Baghdad Life, Wall St. Journal) earlier this week:

In our neighborhood, the municipal council placed large, yellow garbage containers on many road sides. People said it cost millions of Iraqi dinars but after a month, we can no longer see these containers since they have been stolen or destroyed. And garbage and piles of debris are back again.
In other areas, municipal councils have not taken such steps. Instead, they chose to use an empty land for litter. Those empty spaces were supposed to be used by the Iraqi government to build housing complexes in the city, which is overflowing with people because of the growing population and the displaced who have lost their homes due to sectarian violence. This has led poor or displaced families to build houses near the garbage piles, as this has become a source of livelihood for families who suffer hardships.

And at the start of the month Sarmad Ali offered "Despite Iraq's Oil Oases, Its Citizens Still Live in Darkness" (Baghdad Life):

But while I can understand Americans' fears about fuel prices and availability, I have a harder time understanding why Iraqis -- with their oases of crude oil reserves and untapped oilfields in the south and the north -- have had to put up with high oil prices and severe shortages of gasoline, diesel and cooking gas.
report issued recently by the U.S. Government Accountability Office estimated that Iraq's government could generate between $73.5 billion and $86.2 billion in total revenue for 2008, with oil exports accounting for $66.5 billion to $79.2 billion.
And yet ordinary Iraqis still face fuel shortage and high rates. These days, there are three-hour lines of cars queued up for gas, according to one friend of mine in Baghdad. He said officially the government blames this problem on the lack of power that gas pumps need to operate. In Baghdad, he said, people are only getting two hours of electricity a day. The government says the nearly total absence of power in the capital is due to the lack of new power projects.

While giving a pass to the central government in Baghdad and blaming Iraqi women (to the point that her words could be seen as encouraging men to batter them), the WHO doctor didn't mention any of the above. Piles of garbage sitting on the streets? Not a damn word. Women, the doctor told us ("housewives," actually) should be made to boil the water -- with what, doctor, when they have no electricity in many areas (STILL) and the fuel shortage applies to cooking.

Again, that woman needs to be pulled from the region immediately. She has embarrassed the United Nations and her five years in Iraq have made her care more about a puppet government than about the people she is supposedly there to help. She is an embarrasment and she is a joke. Her continued presence in Iraq will mean that that the United Nations is seen in the same light.

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Friday, September 12, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Friday, September 12, 2008.  Chaos and violence continues, the theft of Iraqi oil is still pursued, tensions remain between the puppet government and the "Awakening" Council, Charlie Gibson makes a huge error in his interview with Sarah Palin, and more.
Starting with Iraqi oil.  Edward S. Herman (ZNet) noted at the start of this month, "On the oil front, in late June the newspapers featured the announcement of the Iraqi oil minister Mohamad Sharastani that contracts had been drawn up between the Maliki government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq. No competitive bidding was allowed and the terms announced were very poor by existing international contract standards. The contracts were written with the help of 'a group of U.S. advisers led by a small State Department team.' This was all in conformity with the Declaration of Principles of November 26, 2007, whereby the 'sovereign country' of Iraq would use 'especially American investments' in its attempt to recover from the effects of the American aggression."  Thursday Andrew E. Kramer and Campbell Robertson (New York Times) reported on a Tuesday press conference, held by Hussain al-Shahristani (Iraq's Minister of Oil) at OPEC's meet-up, where it was announced that the contracts with western corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP) were being cancelled which the coporations "confirmed on Wednesday."  Ernesto London (Washington Post) reports on the cancellations today and notes that the companies "are expected to submit bids in coming weeks for deals" and explains it was not just public outrage that killed the contracts, "The oil companies were not surprised by the Iraqi decision, given the political sensitivities raised by the issue, according to an executive at one of the five companies. Speaking on the condition that he not be identified further, the executive said the deals had become less attractive because Iraqi officials had shortened the proposed length of the contracts from two years to one in response to criticism." The cancelled contracts aren't the only bad news for those hoping to play Let's Steal Iraqi Oil! Not all that long ago, with much happy gasbagging in the press, Iraq announced Iraq's Energy Expo and Conference to be held October 17th through 19th. Ben Lando (UPI) reports that, woops, no one bothered to think about construction -- the convention center's not done yet -- so the Expo's dates have been moved to December 3rd through 5th. The puppet government can't get it together to hold provincial elections and they can't even pull off a conference they got a ton of positive press for when they announced it.  And Andy Rowell (Oil Change International) offers, "Oh it's so good to be back. After a 35 year absence Shell has become the first western oil company to land a major deal with the government in Baghdad since the invasion of the country five years ago. They will be smiling in the Hague and London. Shell has been awarded a $4bn contract in the south of the country to supply gas for Iraqi domestic use but also for export. Shell's project is intended to make use of the gas flared off by the oil industry in the south of Iraq. In that region alone, an estimated 700m cubic feet of gas is burned off every day -- enough to meet the demand for power generation in the entire country."
Yesterday's snapshot noted the Thursday meet up between the puppet government in Baghdad and the "Awakening" Council members. Saif Rasheed and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) report on it today noting,the supposed impending melding of "Awakening" Council members and the Iraqi 'government': "Leaders of the so-called Sons of Iraq disputed Iraqi plans to absorb only 20% of the fighters into the Iraqi military and police, and they expressed doubts that their members would be protected when the U.S. military turned over responsibility for the units to Iraqi officials. . . . The plan worries many Sons of Iraq leaders, who say Maliki's government already has begun a campaign of arrest and intimidation against them. U.S. officials, who embraced the program last year as a way to turn around the Sunni insurgency, now say the Iraqi government has the right to arrest fighters it suspects of crimes."
Today's bombings include an attack in Salaheddin Province.  AFP puts the death toll at 31 plus the "suicide bomber" whom they note "detnoate his explosives-filled truck near the police station of the central Iraqi Shiite town of Dujail".  AP says the count rose to 32 dead (forty-three wounded) citing police and hospital sources. Reuters adds, "They said casualties were a mix of civilians shopping at a nearby market as well as police."  While Al Bawaba notes, "Police said the bombing occurred just before dusk, when many people were on the streets before the breaking of the fast during the month of Ramadan."  Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) provides the historical background, "The mainly Shiite city is best known as the site of a campaign of vengeance by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein following an assassination attempt against him there in the 1980s. After the attempt on his life, the Sunni leader ordered the roundup of young Shiite boys and men and destruction of homes in the town. Hussein and six others were convicted in 2006 in the killings of 148 Dujayl residents, and Hussein was hanged for the crimes later that year."  Al Jazeera goes with more recent history, "The last major suicide attack occurred on August 26, when a  bomber thwarted a security checkpoint in Jalawla, a police recruiting centre, and blew himself up, killing at least 25 people."
In other reported violence today . . .
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombng that left five people wounded, a Baghdad grenade attack that injured thirteen people, a Nineveh bomber who killed themselves outside a Shi'ite mosque and claimed 3 more lives with fifteen more people injured and a Salahuddin Province car bombing which claimed 27 lives with forty more wounded.
Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul home invasion that resulted in the deaths of "parents and their son".

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.
Turning to the US presidential race and starting with indepdent presidential candidate Ralph Nader who appeared on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (CNN) Wednesday (click here for transcript).  Blitzer asked Ralph his goal in the election?
RALPH NADER, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well if we're in the presidential debates, it might be a Jesse Ventura, three-way race. But
-- yet today, we put together --  

BLITZER: Three presidential debates, but the Presidential Debate Commission has set a bar that's pretty hard for you to overcome.     

NADER: Yes, since it's controlled by the two parties, as you know.  Today I think is an historic day because we, Ron Paul and the candidate for the Green Party, the candidate for the Constitutional Party, and me, and Bob Barr, agreed on four major areas: foreign policy -- get the soldiers back, end the war in Iraq, stop being imperialistic, privacy, deal with the repeal of the Patriot Act; the revision of FISA -- Military Commissions Act and you know, get rid of torture; and a third is the national debt. Deficits are now used for reckless government adventurism. The --

BLITZER: The national debt has nearly doubled over the last --

NADER: Yes, and the Iraq war is financed from deficit spending.

BLITZER: And the fourth issue?

NADER: And the fourth issue is the Federal Reserve is now a government within a government. It is totally out of control. Congress doesn't control it. It's funded by the banks. And we either have constitutional government or we don't because of this. Well -- here's the question: Is there anything left for the American people to decide about their country?
Is there anything left to decide?  Earlier this week, Steve Horn (The Badger Herald) hit on similar points:
We've been conditioned by the mass media to believe there are only two political parties worthy of our attention. Because only the Republican Party and the Democratic Party receive significant coverage, especially during election cycles, it's easy to forget that other parties do indeed exist.
Case in point: While Democratic presidential-nominee Barack Obama filled the Kohl Center to an over-capacity crowd of over 17,000 during his trip to Madison in February prior to the Wisconsin presidential primaries, Independent candidate Ralph Nader, running for president for the fifth time, struggled to fill the small Orpheum Theatre this past Friday on State Street, which has a capacity that is only 10 percent of the Kohl Center at 1,700. 
Most students here probably didn't even know Nader would be speaking at the Orpheum, and those who did know scoffed at the idea of him running for president again. The situation is shameful -- because over the past eight years, the two mainstream parties have failed us and no one really seems to care, nor do they really want to do anything about it. 
With wars on two fronts both deemed failures by the general public and key congressional leaders involvement in Jack Abramoff's money laundering scandal, the odds were rightfully stacked against the Republicans for the 2006 midterm elections. And indeed, they resulted in sweeping changes in the United States' political landscape from the local level all the way on up. 
Democrats gained 31 seats in the House of Representatives and five seats in the Senate, drastically altering the landscape of Congress. Democrats won these seats under the premise that Washington -- under the leadership of the Republican Party -- was broken, and a change in leadership was necessary to fix it. Two years later, looking at the voting records of the spineless Democrats, they have, by-and-large, failed us.
On the campaign trail, Ralph will be heading to New Orleans September 17th where he will speak at Tulane University where he will hold a press conference at the Freeman Auditorium starting at 2:30 p.m. and a rally starting at 3:00 p.m.
Turning to Sarah Palin who is John McCain's running mate on the GOP ticket.  This is a quote from her when she was speaking to her church:
Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right.  Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God.  That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.
That's what Palin said in her church.  Here for text (Glen Beck, CNN), here for audio (KPFK's Uprising -- and Sonoli Kolhatkar notes that the clips are cutting off short during the segment).   Note it because Charlie Gibson distorted her words.
ABC News has the first interview with Governor Palin.  Charlie Gibson conducted the interview.  One segment aired 'dealing' with Iraq.  Russell Goldman (ABC News) summarizes it as follows:
Palin defended a previous statement in which she reportedly characterized the war in Iraq as a "task from God."  
Gibson quoted her as saying: "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God."  
But Palin said she was referencing a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.  
"I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."   
Actually, Goldman, Gibson got what she said wrong.  Click here for World News Tonight's official transcript, click here for the video.
GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?   
PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.  
GIBSON: Exact words.  
PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.  
But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.   
That's what that comment was all about, Charlie. And I do believe, though, that this war against extreme Islamic terrorists is the right thing. It's an unfortunate thing, because war is hell and I hate war, and, Charlie, today is the day that I send my first born, my son, my teenage son overseas with his Stryker brigade, 4,000 other wonderful American men and women, to fight for our country, for democracy, for our freedoms.   
Charlie, those are freedoms that too many of us just take for granted. I hate war and I want to see war ended. We end war when we see victory, and we do see victory in sight in Iraq.
GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln's words, but you went on and said, "There is a plan and it is God's plan."  
PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That, in my world view, is a grand -- the grand plan.  
Charlie quoted Palin stating, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God."  That wasn't a sentence, that was part of a sentence with additions to it by Charlie Gibson.  Again, what Palin actually said:
Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.
When Palain said, "I don't know if that was my exact quote," Gibson insisted, "Exact words."  No, they were not.  Gibson was also wrong when he stated, ". . .  you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan'." She did not say that, she asked her church to pray that there was.
Even Sarah Posner told Sonali, "I mean, in a way, she was right with respect to the words that Gibson was quoting."  And note that MSM Gibson got it wrong and did not play clips of Palin's remarks while left-wing Sonali was more than happy to play the clips and allow a discussing (with Posner) and for listeners to make their own judgments.  If Gibson had access to a recording of Palin's remarks, then he lied.  If Gibson was using a secondary source, he practiced bad journalism.  Sonali showed more fairness than he did (not at all surprising considering Sonali's track record, but it needs to be noted).   
Staying with the topic of religion, US House Rep and Idiot Steve Cohen was back in the news this week.  Jake Tapper (ABC News, link has video) points out, "Last seen in election 2008 comparing Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to the villain played by Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" -- having survived an anti-Semitic primary challenge -- Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., feels liberated to come on the House floor and say that 'Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate a governor'." No, JPT, that's not what Cohen said.  The video shows Cohen stating, "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about, Pontius Pilate was a governor."  So Cohen -- that would be Jewish Cohen for those not paying attention -- was 'endorsing' Barack on the House floor by comparing him to Jesus?  Or as the Jews might say, "You know, him."  Jewish people do not believe in or pray to Jesus (unless they are "Jews For Jesus").  Exactly what belief does Cohen have left and, if there is one, has put a price tag on it already?  And for the record, Christian theologians will dispute Cohen's crackpot claim re: Jesus and historians will say, "Not so fast" on the Pilate claim.  Meanwhile Laura Strickler (CBS News) provides a fact check on several rumors about Palin currently making the rounds while Women's Media Center highlights Republicans for Choice's Ann E. W. Stone weighing in on the meaning of Sarah Palin's being the GOP's choice for v.p.:
Also, we are incensed by the petty and misogyny of the small-minded statement the Obama campaign released totally dissing her background! Couple that with Obama telling the Hillary folks to "get over it" and I would think disenchanted Hillary supporters should flock to the GOP.  
We need to reach out to Palin and try to find common ground--social issues are not her front and center agenda. No nonsense, no BS--Palin is a doer, not a talker, and not afraid to take the boys on.   
Did we mention she is a feminist for life?  Again, her position on abortion means we will never endorse her, but even her selection advances all women.   
The Democrats stood by while the media and others, including extreme elements in our own party, trashed Hillary Clinton and did not speak up to defend her.  Many were baseless attacks and jabs having to do more with her hairstyle or clothing than with her policies.  That stops now.  
As Sarah Palin said when she thanked pro-choice Democrat icons Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton during her first speech upon being selected, they led the way but women are not finished yet and we will crash through the glass ceiling.  
Tell it to the The Daily Toilet Scrubber -- and their squeaked voice tiny-tot 'leader' -- which continues their smears on Palin.  The latest recalls what Bully Boy did to McCain in 2000 -- spreading lies about John and Cindy McCain's daughter Bridget.  The trash being spread shouldn't be surprising, Toilet Scrubber is not left.  Joseph (Cannonfire) explores that latest nonsense and notes, "This is the first election that finds me observing Democrats 'from the outside.' My god. My good god. Have we always been this foolish, this clueless, this self-defeating? Have lefties always gone so far out of their way to alienate huge voting blocs?"
"I try to take the reigns and lead me somewhere better, I try to keep on moving on," sings I Am Three ("I Try") which sums up World Can't Wait's Sunsara Taylor who hides in no political closet and refuses to silence herself in the latest in the never ending Quiet Game To Elect Democrats.  Taylor spoke in Denver during the DNC convention (no, she didn't speak to the convention) and Revolution has an edited transcript:  "I know Recreate '68 had to go up against this. I'm going to be really blunt because it matters. United for Peace and Justice, Leslie Cagan, she said maybe we should call off the protest today and advocated instead that we should mingle with the delegates. I'm all for going and talking to order to get them to join us in the streets, okay? But Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America, where were they today? . . .  I'm not going to prettify this. We are in the belly of an empire. It is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have legalized torture and both parties, the whole system, is involved in that. History is going to judge us by how we act. If your allegiance to the Democratic Party is bigger than your allegiance to the people of the world then you have foreclosed your right to call yourself an 'anti-war leader'."  Use the link to read all of Taylor's strong speech.
Turning to public televsion,  NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on most PBS stations (and it will stream online) with topics that include: "Are tactical mistakes by Obama going to cost him the election? Maybe, says psychologist and Democratic political consultant Drew Westen. The author of "The Political Brain," talks to NOW's David Brancaccio about how appealing to voters' emotions reaps bigger electoral rewards than hammering home policy proposals. Westen is a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and the founder of Westen Strategies, LLC, a political and corporate consulting firm."  PBS' Washington Week (begins airing tonight, check local listings) features Gwyn being joined by ABC News's Martha Raddatz, Time's Karen Tumulty, the New York Times' Jackie Calmes and Slate's John Dickerson.  And Krystalline Kraus has an article on an important topic.

Other Items

I have noticed and so did my colleagues that many Iraqi officials say while talking to media "I demand the government" as if thye are not from the government. Some ministers use this phrase also while they talk about their responsibilities.
Using this phrase by the officials tell one fact only. It tells us that those officials dont work for Iraq and its people. It is a big evidence that those officials had lost the sense of patriotism.

The above is from "September 12, 2008" (Inside Iraq) written by an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers. Yesterday's snapshot noted the Thursday meet up between the puppet government in Baghdad and the "Awakening" Council members. Saif Rasheed and Tina Susman's "Iraq, U.S.-funded militia at loggerheads" (Los Angeles Times) covers the topic of the supposed impending melding of "Awakening" Council members and the Iraqi 'government':

But the government has made it clear it has little trust in many of the Sons of Iraq fighters, or in the numbers of them provided by the U.S. military. In Baghdad alone, the United States says, there are 54,000 Sons of Iraq, each receiving $300 a month. It puts the total nationwide at roughly 100,000.
The Iraqi government has said it suspects that the U.S. military number is far too high, and an order signed by Maliki this month requires Sons of Iraq to submit paperwork to Iraqi security forces in their areas of operation so their identities can be checked against U.S. records. Only then will they be paid.
"We want to protect the program from being infiltrated," explained Iraqi army Lt. Gen. Aboud Qanbar. The government has given Sons of Iraq fighters until only the end of September to handle the paperwork and report to their area security force stations.
The plan worries many Sons of Iraq leaders, who say Maliki's government already has begun a campaign of arrest and intimidation against them. U.S. officials, who embraced the program last year as a way to turn around the Sunni insurgency, now say the Iraqi government has the right to arrest fighters it suspects of crimes.

Sarah Palin is John McCain's running mate on the Republican ticket. I am noting the photo below from the McCain campaign's blog on their event in Virginia (Wednesday).

Joan e-mailed asking if we could note this People magazine story on Palin's son. It's Lorenzo Benet's "Sarah Palin Sees Her Son Off to Iraq" and Joan notes, "The son's name is Track. Track, not Trig. A fact that neither Amy Goodman or her 'expert' could get right last week. Trig isn't shipping off, he's an infant." Joan says see this by Ava and myself on how Goody and her 'expert' on Sarah Palin didn't know the basics on Palin (for Goody, that ignorance included not knowing how to pronounce Palin's last name).

Wally's mother asked that we note this from Team Nader (and advises Trina's going to as well in her weekend post):

My Mom's Cookie Recipe


My Mom's Cookie Recipe .

I was sitting at my dinner table last night eating a two two two cookie.

It's my mother's recipe.




It's called a two two two cookie because it has two cups of oats, two cups of flour, two cups of . . you get the idea.

As I'm biting into my two two two cookie, I'm asking myself:

What was the number one issue in the Presidential horse race for the past couple of days?



And then I asked myself: Why are Presidential campaigns so cosmetic?

Why can't they be more substantive -- like my mother's cookies?

This got me to thinking about an idea that would help us raise money to push our substantive agenda onto the front burner of American politics.

If you donate to Nader/Gonazlez by midnight tonight an amount that has the number two in it, we'll e-mail to you Rose Nader's two two two recipe.

That simple.

So, you can give $2.

Or $12.

Or $20.

Or $22.

Or $200.

Anything up the to the maximum of $2,300.

But it has to have at least one two in it.

If it has a two in it, we'll e-mail you the recipe.

(Of course, your two two two donation will help us reach our current fundraising goal of $80,000 by the September 17 deadline. Your donation will help us fund our get out the vote drive over the last seven weeks of this campaign -- which translates into putting the substantive Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda front and center in this crucial election year.)

Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication.

Onward to November.

Ralph Nader

PS: Remember, if you give $100 or more, we will also send you In Pursuit of Justice, the 520-page book of essays by yours truly -- essays on corporate power, the Constitution, and transforming our country. If you donate $100 or more now, we will send you this historic collection -- and I’ll autograph it. (This book offer ends at 11:59 p.m. September 17, 2008.)


NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on most PBS stations (and it will stream online) with topics that include:

Are tactical mistakes by Obama going to cost him the election? Maybe, says psychiatrist and Democratic political consultant Drew Westen. The author of "The Political Brain," talks to NOW's David Brancaccio about how appealing to voters' emotions reaps bigger electoral rewards than hammering home policy proposals. Westen is a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and the founder of Westen Strategies, LLC, a political and corporate consulting firm.

And I believe PBS' Washington Week (begins airing tonight, check local listings) features Gwyn being joined by ABC News's Martha Raddatz, Time's Karen Tumulty, the New York Times' Jackie Calmes and Slate's John Dickerson. (I believe because a friend at PBS is on the phone plugging it but the website has that show for September 5th -- I'm told that's a mistake at the website and these are the guests for this weekend's show.)

The e-mail address for this site is

mcclatchy newspapers
the los angeles times
 tina susman
saif rasheed
 now on pbs
 washington week


Ernesto Londono's "Iraq Rejects No-Bid Contracts" (Washington Post) reports on the cancellation of the contracts with Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP and referring to the Ministry of Oil's spokesperson's Assem Jihad they state, "He said the ministry decided to end the talks because they had dragged on for too long. But he said Iraq looks forward to working with those companies in the future."

AP's Anna Johnson offers "Iraqi women take aim at expanded police roles"

The 30-year-old recruit and the 20 other women training at the academy are a critical part of the U.S. and Iraqi response to the latest deadly tactic of al-Qaida in Iraq: female suicide bombers.
But the academy -- the only one of its kind in Iraq -- is taking that response one step further. For one month, the women stay and train at the academy in the volatile Diyala province with 680 male colleagues.
Unlike many other security programs for women, where they come only during the day and where classes are confined mostly to search methods, this academy offers women the same lessons as men -- including weapons training.
Women have been serving as auxiliary members of Iraqi security forces in markets and during pilgrimages, but these recruits will be full-time policewomen once they graduate next week. They also will receive an official police certification from the Ministry of Interior.

These are not "Awakening" Councils members, the article is about the actual police. It notes resistance in Diyala Province to using women. Consider it one of the 'accomplishments' of the illegal war, police women are nothing new to Iraq, they only became an issue after the illegal war.
In US political news, Levi Pulkkinen's "McDermott joins call to oust Bush" (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) offers:

Seattle Congressman Jim McDermott wants to see George Bush impeached, whether or not, he says, Bush is still in office.
The long-serving Democrat and outspoken advocate for liberal causes made his displeasure with the president official Tuesday, joining a call from Rep. Dennis Kucinich, D-Ohio, to launch impeachment proceedings against Bush.
Chiefly at issue, McDermott said, is Bush's decision to mislead the country to war with Iraq.
"It's increasingly clear to me that we were led into a war without any justification whatsoever," McDermott said in an interview Wednesday. "And the president deliberately did this. It wasn't an accident of any kind."

Kendrick notes this from Team Nader:

CNN/Time Poll: Nader at 6 Percent in Michigan


CNN/Time Poll: Nader at 6 Percent in Michigan .

Drop $6 on Nader/Gonzalez.

We're pulling solid numbers in key swing states.

Including 6 percent in Michigan, according to yesterday's CNN/Time poll.

Nobody can say what will happen over the next seven weeks.

What we can say is this:

Independents are now positioned for an historic breakthrough.

Yesterday, Ron Paul appeared with Ralph Nader on CNN.

And together they announced a joint breakaway from the "evil of the two lessers" -- the Democrats and the Republicans.

We need to continue to ratchet up the pressure on the corporate controlled, illegitimate two party system.

To break through the media blackout.

To break through into the debates.

To let the people know --

There is a choice in November.

A candidacy that will deliver full Medicare for all.

A living wage.

A peaceful solar economy.

Reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East.


Let's keep the pressure on.

Don't let up.

Here's one thing you can do.

Donate $6 now to Nader/Gonzalez.

To help meet our goal of $80,000 by Constitution Day -- September 17.

(Remember -- Ralph Nader will appear on Lou Dobbs tonight at 7:00 pm EST.)

Together, we are making a difference.

Onward to November.

The Nader Team

PS: Remember, if you give $100 or more now, we will send you In Pursuit of Justice, the 520-page book of essays by Ralph Nader -- essays on corporate power, the Constitution, and transforming our country. If you donate $100 now, we will send you this historic collection -- autographed by the man himself -- Ralph Nader. (This offer ends at 11:59 p.m. September 17, 2008.)


In the public e-mail account, a visitor notes this from Team Nader:

Nader Issues Statement on 9/11 Anniversary

Thursday, September 11, 2008 at 12:00:00 AM


Press Release
Contact: Toby Heaps, 202-441-6795


Statement by Ralph Nader on the 7th anniversary of 9/11:

The Massacre of September 11, 2001 -- before, during and after -- continues to raise many questions among millions of Americans who believe they have not been told the truth about what really happened that day. These questions include ones relating to the procedures of the 9/11 Commission, its independence, the depth of the inquiry, and the scope of the explanations as to what happened in each of these three stages.

From the beginning, public skepticisms were fed by the early refusal of the Bush Administration to authorize an independent investigation into the attacks -- a response that would have been automatic for a prime minister of Canada, the United Kingdom or Australia, for example. Only the tenacity and probing efforts of the bereaved families changed the White House's mind. Then the 9/11 Commission aborted its expected or prudent objectives by announcing at the outset that it would neither name names nor assign responsibility for various segments of the sequences that led to the tragedy and delineated its aftermath. By failing to name names, or assign responsibility, the commission betrayed its duty to the American public.

The White House helped to fan the flames of skepticism further by initially allocating only $3 million for the 9/11 Commission's work, a paltry sum compared with, for example, the $50 million spent to investigate the Columbia shuttle disaster -- a far less complex, deadly event.

Public confidence was additionally eroded by unexplained concessions to the closed, secret testimony by President Bush and Vice President Cheney which was not under oath. No recording was made of the session, no stenographer was allowed in the room, and no transcript exists.

Not surprisingly, when public confidence in such a commission's work erodes, criticism ranges from the very sound, to the heuristic, to the plausible to the outlandish. Plausibility is not evidence. But that does not vitiate the need for more evidence -- an insufficiency only partly of the Commission's own making. But partly is still significant in an episode with many dimensions and penumbras.

Closing the books on the federal government's 9/11 Commission is a syndrome nourished by fatigue and the desire for "closure" or "for putting it behind" the nation. Unfortunately, the sense that the commission was unnecessarily incomplete and unfinished seems to be growing with more commentary, criticism, documentaries, rumors and charges. Other jurisdictions may see the need for extending the investigation -- most notably New York City, New York State, Virginia and Pennsylvania. An effort to establish such an independent commission of inquiry, by registered voters backing a referendum, seems to be continuing in New York City.

It helps our country little to stereotype the critics of the 9/11 Commission categorically. Their range covers nearly the entire spectrum of the human imagination, critical analysis, and capacity for suspicion. That is to be expected with major sudden traumas to a society. What should not be expected is to use stereotypes as the basis for dismissal of all the critics, regardless of the quality of their procedural and substantive queries. A further authoritative and properly funded inquiry is in order.

For starters, why not a four hour debate at the National Press Club (with an intermission) between a leading proponent of the 9/11 Commission's performance and a leading critic on the other side? This may join, clarify or jettison issues that have festered.



It's Friday. On the weekends some members only check on home computers and some have dial up. Point. We don't do videos on Friday. But a strong argument was made in the public account for this video of Green presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney.

And this is a video of Ralph Nader speaking at the same event Wednesday.

The e-mail address for this site is

Thursday, September 11, 2008

I Hate The War

Before we get to anything else, the acoustic group I Am Three has a MySpace page. I Am Three is Andy, Hughes and Irving. They are selling their latest CD at their page as well. Sometimes, music is all that matters so I'm happy to note them and note them at the top.

In terms of other e-mails to the public account, we (Eli, Martha, Shirley, Jess, Ava, Dona, Jim and myself) go through as many as we can. If you (as someone did last week) e-mail something at the last minute and I don't get to it, I don't get to it. I'm thinking specifically of a late Friday e-mail about a Saturday action. I didn't see it until Monday. I'm the only one who works the public e-mail account on the weekend and I'm paying more attention to the two private e-mail accounts for members. I do not go through every e-mail to the public account on the weekends. I wouldn't have the time even if I had the desire. That's just how it is. Had your e-mail come in sooner, it would have been noted. Seeing it on Monday, there was no reason to note an action that was taking place two days before.

To those repeatedly sending e-mail invites to FaceBook, I'm not interested in FaceBook.

I'm really not interested in MySpace but for musical acts we will note a MySpace page.

With much fanfare, Iraq announced Iraq's Energy Expo and Conference to be held October 17th through 19th. Ben Lando (UPI) reports that, woops, no one bothered to think about construction -- the convention center's not done yet -- so the Expo's dates have been moved to December 3rd through 5th. The puppet government can't get it together to hold provincial elections and they can't even pull off a conference they got a ton of positive press for when they announced it. Meanwhile UPI also reports on the Center for American Progress' new study of Iraq which finds no political gains: "The report points to divisions among major Iraqi factions that have marked differences over the structure of the future state of Iraq as well as varying ethnic and religious groups that harbor either "latent tensions" or have yet to resolve lingering issues left over from the past regime." The Center is a partisan organization which is supporting the Obama-Biden ticket so, hopefully, they gave credit for the quoted point to Joe Biden who made those points in a public Senate hearing back in April. The Lexington Institute's Loren B. Thompson offers a column at UPI exploring the similiarites between GOP candidate John McCain and Democratic candidate Barack Obama and how they both agree what what has come to be known as the Rumsfeld Policy (after former US Sec of Defense Donald Rumsfeld):

Nine years ago this month presidential candidate George W. Bush, the governor of Texas, gave the most important defense speech of his campaign at a military school in South Carolina called The Citadel. In that speech, he set forth the framework for dealing with national security that he would use if elected: "If elected, I will set three goals. I will renew the bond of trust between the American president and the American military. I will defend the American people against missiles and terror. And I will begin creating the military of the next century."
That last item became known as military transformation and was the central goal of Rumsfeld's tenure as defense secretary. During the six years he served under Bush, Rumsfeld carried a card spelling out the key precepts behind what Bush's speech had called "a new architecture of American defense." Defeat asymmetric threats. Optimize intelligence. Bolster homeland security. Build global partnerships. Improve counterinsurgency skills. Integrate military and non-military instruments. Become better at stability operations. Reform Pentagon processes.
You could easily conclude from the media coverage since Rumsfeld's resignation that this agenda has been discredited. Guess again. The key security initiatives favored by both McCain and Obama echo the assumptions of the Bush-Cheney-Rumsfeld worldview.

[. . .]
Obama seems to agree with all of these views. He says, "We must meet the full-spectrum needs of the new century, not simply recreate the military of the Cold War era." He then goes on to call for funding of special operations forces, information operations and, surprisingly, missile defense.
Obama endorses Bush's call for a bigger military, but he also says, "We must rebalance our capabilities to ensure that our forces can succeed in both conventional warfighting and in stabilization and counterinsurgency operations." His positions on cyberwarfare, rebuilding global partnerships and reforming the acquisition process all sound similar to those of McCain. More strikingly, both candidates sound like they think Bush and Rumsfeld were right about what the future requires, even if Iraq was a mistake.

No Barack is not "change." After his July calling out (even by the Hopelessly Devoted like Tom Hayden), Barack's response was that people weren't listening to him. They honestly haven't been. They've excused what he's said, practiced "I know he said ___, but what he meant . . ." and other forms of self-deception. Sadly, they then turned it around on the public which makes them no better than Judith Miller. Regardless of the outcome of the election, history will not be kind to those in Panhandle Media who revealed themselves to be dishonest brokers interested not in conveying information and news but in manipulation.

And in the unstable Iraq, UPI reports rumors floats over an upcoming confrontation between Iraqi forces and the Kurdish Peshmerga forces which have acted on their own and with no oversight from the central government in Baghdad. In other where does the truth lie news, UPI reports that the country's Minister of Defense Abdul Qadir Obeidi stated Wednesday that the government was in possession of proof "that the dissident People's Mujahedin of Iran, based in Iraq's Diyala province, has carried out criminal activity". That conflicts with Jalal Talabani's statements at the White House this week that Syria and Iran were good neighbors for Iraq. Talabani is the president of Iraq. Notice the conflict in the two men's accounts.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh

-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

Last Thursday, ICCC's number of US troops killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war was 4154. Tonight? 4155. Just Foreign Policy lists 1,255,026 as the number of Iraqis killed since the start of the illegal war.

The e-mail address for this site is

Iraq snapshot

Thursday, September 11, 2008.  Chaos and violence continue, at least 23 Iraqi deaths are reported today, cholera continues to grip Iraq, Japan says bye-bye, distrust remains between the "Awakening" Council and the puppet government, and more.
Matt Brown (Australia's ABC) observes, "The general in charge of American soldiers in Iraq has given a mixed assessment of progress in the country."  That's Gen David Petraeus on his way out as top US commander in Iraq as he moves on to take over CENTCOM.  And his remarks on BBC's Newsnight (click here for BBC text summary of the interview and a brief clip). BBC reports, "When asked if US troops could withdraw from Iraqi cities by the middle of next year, he said that would be 'doable'."  Withdraw from Iraq cities, not withdraw.  They'll move to those bases US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi insists aren't "permanent basis" because, philosopher Nancy points out, nothing is permanent.  BBC also notes that Petraeus stated there would be no declared victory in Iraq.  That might strike some as 'enlightened' because there is no victory in Iraq and the US long ago lost.  But that wasn't what Petraeus meant as he made obvious by immediately referring to the "long struggle" he sees in the future for Iraq.  The illegal war hits the six year mark this March and Petraeus sees what to come as a 'long struggle'?  Exactly what does he think has gone on thus far?
Yesterday the US House Armed Services Committee held a hearing at which US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates testified and offered that the US would remain in Iraq for many "years to come -- although in changing and increasingly limited ways."  Petraeus' interview echos the view of Gates that the illegal war is no where near an "end game" (Gates used that term yesterday) and that it will continue for many years to come.
There were a lot of lies told to start the illegal war and for it to continue a lot of lies continue to be told.  Among the big liars today, the editorial board of The Detroit Free Press which isn't content to play dumb with War Hawk Barack Obama's remarks, they 'improve' (lie) about them.  Lying through their teeth, they offer: "Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Barack Obama wants to get all American forces out of Iraq within 16 months of taking office and focus more on Afghanistan. Leaders of the Iraqi government have said such a timetable could work. But Republican candidate Sen. John McCain believes a large-scale pullout would come at the risk of the current hard-won but fragile stability in Iraq."  Not even aged groupie Tom Hayden lies like that for Barack today. 
During the Democratic Party primaries, Barack did use the "16 months" figure.  He did not use for "all American forces."  He stated "combat troops" and always stated that US service members would remain in Iraq for "training" and "terrorism" activities.  He never said "all America forces out of Iraq" and that an editorial board doesn't know that is beyond belief so the term is "lie."  Campaigning in Houston, Texas, Barack suddenly dropped the timetable down to "ten months" but he was still referring to "combat forces" only.  That was his campaign 'promise' but it wasn't a promise.  Dropping back to the June 6th snapshot:
The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not rule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind." Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus.  It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media.  Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly.  While running for the US Senate, he told Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal.  His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win.  (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run.  We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.)  At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate.  The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate.  Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed.  "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon.  The reality of what was  in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online.  In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials).  To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned.  "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands.  The Iraq War was on it.  But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president.  There were no "I will end the Iraq War."  All he did was offer what "we" wanted.  It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited.  Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .
There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power.  The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list.  Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster."  Poor sweet Sammy.  No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England.  The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out.  On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail.  She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House.  Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions.  That didn't happen.  It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill.  They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.
It was never a  promise, it was empty words offered on the campaign trail as Samantha Power revealed to the BBC in an interview taped while she was a foreign policy advisor to Barack and aired after she left the campaign (she has since come back -- no one's supposed to notice that either).  Had there been any adults, Samantha Power's statements would have immediately led to reporters questioning Barack non-stop about his advisor's statements.  Had the press not been in the tank for Barack, his own statements on CNN June 5th would have led to hard grilling because he had clearly led the American people to believe he was making a promise when, in fact, it was no promise on his end.  Everyone played dumb.  From the July 4th snapshot:
Arab News notes, "For Obama, who recently changed his positions on campaign finance and a wiretapping law, the suggestion that he was also changing course on a central premise of his candidacy holds particular peril. While Obama has long said he would consult commanders in the field when withdrawing troops, that point might have been lost on many Democratic primary voters who supported his call to end the war."  What's going on?  A bit of reality on War Hawk Barack. Suzanne Goldenberg (Guardian of London) puts it this way, ".Barack Obama was yesterday fending off charges from right and left that he had abandoned the core premise of his candidacy - the withdrawal of all US combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office - in an attempt to attract voters from the political centre." Suzanne's a little out of it.  So were Katrina vanden Heuvel and Arianna Huffington on ABC's This Week last Sunday.  Withdrawal in 16 months?  That's 'so January 2008.'  Barack promised withdrawal of all (combat) troops within 10 months in a speech in Houston, Texas.  Always one to carry water for Barack, Tom Hayden immediately penned "End the War in 2009" (which popped up online at The Nation, Feb. 20th and elsewhere a bit later). Hayden: "In his victory speech in Texas Tuesday, Barack Obama promised to end the Iraq war in 2009, a new commitment that parallels recent opinion pieces in The Nation.  Prior to his Houston remarks, Obama's previous position favored an American combat troop withdrawal over a sixteen-to-eighteen-month timeframe.  He has been less specific on the number and mission of any advisors he would elave behind."  (The Texas primary was in March.  Barack was in Texas campaigning, for any more confused than usual by Tom-Tom's bad-bad writing.)  Texas community members saw the 10 month 'promise' pushed in advertising as well as on the campaign trail.  Those were his words (and Tom-Tom notes 'words matter') so let's all drop the nonsense that Barack's plan was 16 months (or at least leave the lying to Katrina who's become so very good at it).  Goldenberg's uninformed, ignorant or lying -- take your pick.  In her piece (dated tomorrow), she traces the uproar to Thursday when Barack said he might 'refine' his Iraq 'plan.'  If that's when the uproar started, is Arianna Huffington psychic?  Arianna was calling him out for 'refining' on Iraq Sunday on This Week. More water carrying from the allegedly 'independent' Guardian of London (which never wrote about the Downing Street Memos because 'independence' did not include informing people that Tony Blair lied England into an illegal war -- no time for 'truth-telling'  while Blair was in office at any rate.)  CNN reports that presumed GOP presidential candidate John McCain and the RNC are calling Barack a "flip-flopper" and they quote Barack's 'clarification' where Barack lies and says he has always said 16 months.  No, Barack, you went to ten months in February.  AP reports he celebrated the 4th of July in Butte, Montana (Kansas, he's done with you, he got what he needed) eating a hot dog. Tom Baldwin (Times of London) observes, "Grassroots activists whose energy and donations have helped to propel Barack Obama towards the White House are suddenly choking on the bitter pill of disillusion.  
In less than a month since clinching the Democratic nomination, he has performed a series of policy pirouettes to assuage concerns about his candidacy among a wider and more conservative electorate." Geoff Elliott (The Australian) points out, "Barack Obama has started a dramtic reversal of the policies that helped him defeat Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination, softening hardlines stances on the Iraq war and troop withdrawals.   
Campaigning in North Dakota, Senator Obama said that while the US could not sustain a long-term presence in Iraq, his trip to the Gulf nation this month might prompt him to "refine my policies" on the war." John Bentley (CBS News) quotes Brian Rogers of the McCain campaign stating, "Today, Barack Obama reversed that position, proving once again his words do not matter. He has now adopted John McCain's position that we cannot risk the progress we have made in Iraq by beginning to withdraw our troops immediately without concern for conditions on the ground. Now that Barack Obama has changed course and proven his past positions to be just empty words, we would like to congratulate him on taking John McCain's principled stand on this critical national security issue. If he had visited Iraq sooner or actually had a one-on-one meeting with Gen. Petraeus, he would have changed his position long ago."  Jonathan Weisman (Washington Post) terms it Barack exploring "the possibility of slowing a promised, gradual withdrawal from Iraq". NPR has two audio reports here. How bad it is?  A friend just called to laugh at ____'s latest nonsense.  In place of a now killed feature for Third, we may address ____'s latest nonsense and his plethora of lies throughout the campaign.  Poor ____, it's even harder to airbrush out reality today than it was following his expulsion from the Red Family commune in his "smash the state" days (when he fancied himself Chris Jones in Wild In The Street).
Despite being publicly insulted and dismissed by Barack ("Tom Hayden Democrats"), Hayden made the year (and most of 2007) all about cheerleading and lying for War Hawk Barack.  On July 4th, he showed up at Aging Socialite's Cat Littler Box with a meltdown column ("Obama's Position on Iraq Could Put His Candidacy at Risk"") short on facts as he tried to pretend no one could have guessed what was then going on with Barack (saying he could change his 'plan' for withdrawing combat troops).  Desperate to maintain his already strained credibility, Tom-Tom sought to lash out others and pin the blame on them:
The most shocking aspect of Samantha Powers' forced resignation earlier this year was not that she called Hillary Clinton a "monster" off-camera, but that she flatly stated that Obama would review his whole position on Iraq once becoming president. Again, no one in the media or rival campaigns questioned whether this assertion by Powers was true. Since Obama credited Powers with helping for months in writing his book, The Audacity of Hope, her comments on his inner thinking should have been pounced upon by the pundits.
First, here's the BBC interview on Iraq:
Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?

Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can't even tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.
In his column, Tom-Tom pinned the blame on the media and rival candidates but, note, he grabbed no slice of the blame pie for himself.  Tom doesn't have internet access?  He missed the interview in real time?  He had a hand cramp and couldn't write about it March when it took place or later in June when Barack made similar statements on CNN?  Some in the US media did cover it in real time.  The Washington Post covered it and you can click here for only one example of them covering it as the news broke (March 7th).  Rival campaigns?  Hillary Clinton's campaign called it out repeatedly but the trash in Panhandle Media wasn't about to stop their non-stop sliming of Hillary long enough to note reality. 
The day after the news broke, March 8th, the Clinton campaign issued "MEMO: Obama's Iraq Plan: Just Words:"

Once again, it looks like Senator Obama is telling voters one thing while his campaign says those words should not be mistaken for serious action. After months of speeches from Senator Obama promising a hard end date to the Iraq war, his top foreign policy adviser that counseled his campaign during that period is on the record saying that Senator Obama will 'not rely on some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or a U.S. Senator. Voters already have serious questions about whether Senator Obama is ready to be Commander-in-Chief. Now there are questions about whether he's seriou about the Iraq plan he's discussed for the last year on the campaign trail.  
Senator Obama has made hard end dates about Iraq a centerpiece of his campaign and has repeatedly attacked Senator Clinton for not being clear about her intentions with regard to troop withdrawal.  
It turns out those attacks and speeches were just words. And if you can't trust Senator Obama's words, what's left?  

The Clinton campaign has since taken down the bulk of the campaign website (can't be critical of Barack!) but you can google the title and you will find it, you can google the title and almost any community site and find it running in real time.  That wasn't the only press release from the Clinton campaign on that Power's statements re: Iraq.   They repeatedly tried to raise the issue and Panhandle Media attacked them for it while rushing to defend counter-insurgency guru Samantha Power.  July 6th, Third offered "Letters to An Old Sell Out: Iraq" to Tom-Tom about all the cover ups that went on 'independent' media and how Tom-Tom was part of the cover up but he was far from alone:
So did John Nichols. C.I. called out John Nichols nonsense on Saturday March 8th (the day after Power's remarks were known) when Johnny Five-Cents was lamenting "Samantha Power and the Danger of Gotcha Politics." Not only did John Nichols cover for Samantha Power (his post at The Nation is labeled "03/07/2008 @ 11:28 pm" meaning his article went up that Friday hours and hours after the "Iraq snapshot" calling out Power did -- isn't Johnny Five-Cents supposed to be a 'journalist'?), so did you. You want to show up on July 4th and blame the lack of attention to this story on the MSM when The Washington Post was blogging about it as the story broke, when they would go on to do a print report on it and yet Panhandle Media couldn't even be bothered with it? 

Like Nichols, they were all lying. Davey D would go on to lament -- on KPFA's The Morning Show -- that Samantha "Powers" (it helps to know the name of the person you're broken up about, Davey) had left the campaign for (he said) calling Hillary a "monster." But let's stay with The Nation where Tom-Tom sits on the board. It never got into The Nation and he damn well knows that. Not on March 7th, not on March 8th. March 20th, Eric Alterman would feel the need to weigh in Power's leaving the campaign in "The Ritual Sacrifice of Samantha Power" and though he would note "monster" and "NAFTA," he never said a DAMN word about the BBC interview that entered the press cycle March 7th. He didn't say one DAMN word. It didn't stop there. Michael Massing's "The Power Conundrum" (published online May 22nd and in the June 9th issue of The Nation) found time to recount the "monster" remark which was rather strange since he was reviewing Power's book on the UN involvement in the Iraq War. Wouldn't the better thing to have referenced when reviewing a book on Iraq have been Power's remarks on Barack's so-called "promise"? 

June 12th, John Nichols was back on the scene ["Students for Hillary, er, McCain (or McKinney)" -- what a wit and joy he must be for the others at the SciFi conventions] quoting a missive that referred to the "monster" incident. No need on his part to enlarge the topic and note Power's interview to the BBC.  

March 12th -- five days after the Power remarks were in the news -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- Air Berman was offering "It's Okay to be Intemperate!" (at The Nation's blog Campaign '08) and yet again recounting Samantha Power's 'unjust' departure over the "monster" remark (when not licking Hendrick Hertzberg's aging sack). Never once -- FIVE DAYS AFTER -- did Berman mention Power's remarks to the BBC. He would conclude his sad eulogy to Sammy (and presumably devote full attention to "Rick") with this, "Thanks to the events of the past week, campaign officials will be even more guarded when dealing with the media, and I don't blame them. It's an outcome that benefits no one." Apparently Ari thought he could help fight that trend by not telling readers what Samantha Power said about the Iraq 'promise'? It needs to be noted that the day the news broke, Ari Berman attempted to distract from Power's statement by filing "Clinton Does McCain's Bidding" which was nothing but his rummaging through old chat & chew transcripts in an effort to discredit Hillary on Iraq. Needless to say, he said nothing about Power. [As we noted in our March 9th in "
Editorial: The Whores of Indymedia."]   

What we got from the alleged 'independent' media (including The Nation) and from the alleged 'independent' web was inane defenses of War Hawk Samantha Power that avoided her Iraq remarks. Check out Josh Michah's Marshy & Hairy Butt Crack where Greg Sargent posted "New Hillary Campaign Video Seeks To Revive Samantha Power Controversy." It's a March 19th post and what does Sargent conclude of the commercial featuring Power revealing that Barack's 'promise' isn't a promise? A snippy: "Given that this is weeks-old story, the timing of its release is pretty obvious: The Hillary camp is hoping to use it to overshadow Obama's big Iraq speech today." That's from mind reader Greg Sargent and even then (and terming the commercial an "attack video"), check out the reaction of Josh's groupies (conditioned to salivate at the mention of Barack's name): "Ah, Hillary. Desperation becomes her," purrs one while Patagonia and das2003 lead the sizeable number who are offended and outraged that the video was even posted at Joshy's site.

Over at Mother Jones, David CornNuts kind-of sort of covered it (as C.I. noted March 10th) huffing ("An Ugly Moment for the Clinton Campaign," March 10th) that the campaign "took the unusual step of convening a second conference call of the day for reporters. And it was a sorry spectacle." (CornNuts, you went nuts.) Davey C writes "the Clintonites pounced on the comments" -- comments, pay attention Tom Hayden -- that Davey C immediately dismissed: "In other words, a campaign proposal is just that: a proposal. And only a fool would think that a military plan would be applied to reality unchaged a year after it was first devised." That's what happened Tommy Hayden -- AS YOU DAMN WELL KNOW -- Panhandle Media mainly ignored it and then the CornNuts crowd excused it and attacked Hillary for raising the issue. They lied repeatedly and we can outline that (mainly because we already have -- starting with John Nichols' LIE that Samantha Power and Hillary knew each other very well when Power told Charlie Rose they'd only met once). C.I. led on this at The Common Ills, but we all called it out at community sites and we didn't do it for one day or one week. We stayed on the story. The one Tom Hayden couldn't bother to write about until July 4th -- even though it took place March 7th. The Washington Post, The Boston Globe and others in the MSM did cover it and the response was silence from 'independent' media and attacks from the Barack groupies in comments and e-mails to the outlets.
Tom Hayden is a flat out liar who has disgraced himself.  July 4th he wanted to claim that Real Media ignored it (they didn't) and that the Clinton campaign didn't attempt to highlight Power's interview when they did (and got slammed for it by Panhandle Media over and over).  Tom Hayden and many others provided non-stop cover for Barack.  They refused to call him out and then want to act shocked today that he's not the man they repeatedly lied to assert he was.  Today The Detroit Free Press chooses to join the Liars Club by insisting that Barack has promised to pull all US troops out from Iraq in 16 months.  It's exactly all this covering and looking the other way for Barack that goes to how he has never been vetted and how his 'anti-war' credentials are nothing but hype.
That's not how the media is supposed to work -- Real Media or Panhandle Media.  But all this time later, it's still the story.  A few voices explore the reality (Robert Fisk, John Pilger, Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon are among the few).  Last week, there was another voice speaking the truth but no one wanted to explore that, no one rushed to book him on Panhandle Media programs, no one rushed to explore his observations.  From  Chris Floyd's "Surge Protectors: Obama Embraces Bush-McCain Spin on Iraq" (Baltimore Chronicle): "But it is Obama's surrender on the Iraq War front -- or rather, the anti-Iraq War front -- that is most striking, and most disheartening. On the very night that John McCain was putting the 'success' of the surge at the center of his campaign, Obama was openly, cravenly laying down one of his chief weapons at the feet of Bill O'Reilly. Obama's cheerleading for the surge -- 'beyond our wildest dreams!' -- surpassed anything that McCain himself has claimed for the escalation."  Instead, we pretend we don't see what's before our eyes, instead The Detroit Free Press lies that Barack's promised a complete withdrawal of all US forces from Iraq in 16 months.  As bad as Tom Hayden's been this entire election cycle (pretty bad), even he has gone that far to lie.  It should also be noted that the Obama campaign has floated the notion that, should Barack be elected, he might keep Robert Gates on as his Secretary of Defense.  Change you can believe in?
Wednesday, Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) noticed that the Bully Boy's Tuesday speech on Iraq and Afghanistan indicated that other countries are leaving the so-called 'coalition': "The presence of other countries in Iraq, even if the troop contribution was modest, has long been used by the Bush administration as a way of deflecting criticism that its actions in Iraq were "unilateral." Now, Bush is portraying their departure as a sign of "return on success," his policy of bringing home troops as conditions improve in Iraq."  Today AFP reports, "Japan said Thursday it was ending an air mission in Iraq, wrapping up a military deployment which was historic for the pacifist nation but deeply unpopular among the public."
Yesterday afternoon the Los Angeles Times' Raheem Salman and Ned Parker reported at the paper's blog (Baghdad & Beyond) on the issue of provincial elections in Iraq, noting that the Parliament had created a working body "to strike a compromise" on legislation that would address the issue.  The United Nations is working on a proposal they will release at the end of the month or early in October.  In the meantime, they've joined the chorus of "Kirkuk Can Wait!" -- that the issue of the oil-rich Kirkuk (whether it remains with the central government or becomes a part of the Kurdish region) can yet again be delayed.  The issue of Kirkuk has been delayed repeatedly.  Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that Kirkuk Stadium remains filled with Kurdish refugees kicked out of their homes and forced to Kirkuk in an effort to pack the city with pro-Kurdish voters for when the election deciding the fate of Kirkuk is ever held but in the meantime they live in "mud and cinder-block huts beneath the stands, in the parking lots and the luxury boxes, and it's no longer beautiful. It's a dirty, sewage-ridden slum and Rasoul is the unofficial mayor." Stephen Farrell's "As Iraqis Vie for Kirkuk's Oil, Refugee Kurds Becomes Pawns" (New York Times) reported on these conditions back in December and there has been no improvement. But, apparently, Kirkuk can wait.  Even as a cholera outbreak grips Iraq.  AP reports that Salih al-Hasnawi (Iraq's Minister of Health) held a press conference in Baghdad earlier today to note that Baghdad (and surrounding areas) were now also seeing the outbreak and that the region of Iraq has seend the deaths of 5 from the disease with at least 36 people confirmed as having cholera in the region. Note, that's "Baghdad and sourthern areas." The United Nations notes 10 deaths thus far with "174 suspected cases" and that: "The World Health Organization (WHO) is providing technical support to the Iraqi Ministry of Health, and, along with other UN entities, has been aiding cholera-affected governorates since the disease resurfaced three weeks ago.  WHO has taken on a coordination role in efforts to tackle cholera and is working to fortify Iraq's disease surveillance system in identifying new cases. It is also supplying emergency supplies to laboratories to enhance their testing capability."

Meanwhile the "Awakening" Council is back in the news.  These are the Sunni thugs on the US payroll ($300 a month for males, $280 for females) because, as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told Congress repeatedly in April, paying them off means they don't attack US equipment or soldiers.  That's a lot of lunch money to fork over each money to be safe on the 'playground.'  Puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, has long been vocally opposed to the "Awakening" Councils.  That's because he staffed with Shi'ite thugs.  The two most extreme segments of Iraq are at war with one another.  al-Maliki has made it very clear he has little use for the "Awakening" Councils and his staff has echoed that repeatedly.  With US Senators and House Reps loudly objecting to the tax payer monies being spent on this program (one Petraeus hails) last April, there's been a push to have the puppet government (sitting on billions) pay the "Awakening" Council itself.  (Senator Barbara Boxer was especially vocal in April asking why the puppet government wasn't paying them.)  The new talk is that al-Maliki will begin paying them but distrust remains on both sides. 
Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al-Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that despite for-show motions in public on the part of the puppet government, "Awakening" Council leaders remain skepitcal (with one saying after the latest press conference, "I don't trust a word they say") that the puppet government will take charge and pay the 99,000 "Awakening" members or that 20,000 will be absorbed "into the police and army" starting October 1st.  Thursday's press conference found Gen Abud Ganbar declaring, "The government has ordered that monthly salaries be paid until we can put (Awakening members) into security forces or ministires.  Payments will continue until they find jobs."  That leaves "Awakening" leaders skeptical and the reporters quote various voices explaining why including the claim that the puppet government has hired al Qaeda members.  Khalid al-Ansary and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) report on the puppet government side where grave doubts are repeatedly raised ("But he also expressed distaste for some members of the predominantly Sunni Arab Awakening movement, an aversion shared by some other officials.") as is the argument that there is need "to weed out" certain members.  In other words, Thursday's press conference reassured no one and the tensions remain.   
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people and a Baghdad truck bombing that claimed 1 life and left three more wounded.  Reuters notes a Mosul car bombing claimed 2 lives and left seven more people wounded, a Baghdad mini-bus bombing that claimed the lives of 3 "civil servants from the housing and construction ministry" and a Kerbala mini-bus bombing that claimed 2 lives and left twenty people injured.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Rokan Al Kayali ("tribal sheikh") was shot dead in Diyala Province along with "his infant son".  Reuters notes "a Shi'ite man and his wife and son" were all shot dead in Mosul, that Iraqi police officers shot dead 2 suspects, a Sadiyah home invasion that resulted in the deaths of 5 family members,
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul.
Turning to the US race for president, independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader promises to end the illegal war.  Team Nader notes:
We're pulling solid numbers in key swing states.
Including 6 percent in Michigan, according to yesterday's CNN/Time poll.
Nobody can say what will happen over the next seven weeks.
What we can say is this:
Independents are now positioned for an historic breakthrough.
Yesterday, Ron Paul appeared with Ralph Nader on CNN.
And together they announced a joint breakaway from the "evil of the two lessers" -- the Democrats and the Republicans.
We need to continue to ratchet up the pressure on the corporate controlled, illegitimate two party system.
To break through the media blackout.
To break through into the debates.
To let the people know --
There is a choice in November.
A candidacy that will deliver full Medicare for all.
A living wage.
A peaceful solar economy.
Reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Let's keep the pressure on.
Don't let up.
Here's one thing you can do.
Donate $6 now to Nader/Gonzalez.
To help meet our goal of $80,000 by Constitution Day -- September 17.
(Remember -- Ralph Nader will appear on Lou Dobbs tonight at 7:00 pm EST.)
Together, we are making a difference.
Onward to November.