Friday, August 13, 2010

Maxine, Science Friday, Hillary Is 44

"The Audacity Of Dopes" (Hillary Is 44):
It’s Friday the 13th and Barack Obama and Madame Michelle are planning another V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. This very short vacation of 27 hours in Florida is a politically necessary V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N. It is politically necessary to pretend concern for Gulf Coast residents so that “The One” and Only Barack Obama and Madame Michelle can then fly off for 10 days V-A-C-A-T-I-O-N among the lofty in the $50,000 a week “Blue Heron Farm” in Martha’s Vineyard.
Fools will be fools and will continue to defend the sumptuous lifestyles of the inexperienced and undeserving.
Some fools are waking up however slowly:
“In 2008,” Michelle Rena Jones says with a laugh, “we cheered, hollered, partied, celebrated.” The party’s over in 2010, though, and she knows it. Jones says promises haven’t been fulfilled, and now she feels as though she made a mistake — and she’s not the only one. The Wall Street Journal tells a story that George Stephanpoulos notes Democrats “don’t want to hear” in this midterm cycle, a story of hype and disillusion that has voters looking for change in 2010 — real change:”
No doubt, because the story originates in the Wall Street Journal, this “Michelle Rena Jones” is a RACIST. How dare “Michelle Rena Jones” steal Madame Michelle’s glorious first name to attack The One and Only Barack Obama! How dare this “Michelle Rena Jones” say the outrageous things she says! She sounds like one of them Big Pink People who so unfairly trash The One and Only Barack Obama.
She surely is a racist:
“Now, the 40-year-old is rethinking her lifelong support for the party. She has been without steady work for two years, lost her home and car and began receiving cash assistance from the state for the first time. This year, she says, “I’m willing to take a chance on something different.” Another possibility, she says, is that she won’t vote at all.”

I think a lot of people around the country are doing the same sort of rethinking Michelle Rena Jones is. Barack brought it on. At one point in early 2008, Ava and C.I. had this whole skit/parody they did of the Cult of St. Barack like the movie with Nicole Kidman The Invasion. It was very funny. And it has turned out to be highly accurate.

"Maxine Waters speaks against ethics charges" (Richard Simon, Los Angeles Times):
In her most spirited defense against ethics charges, Rep. Maxine Waters (D- Los Angeles) on Friday refused to wait quietly for her trial, denying that she used her influence to aid a bank in which her husband has a financial interest. She also attacked ethics investigators for drawing the wrong conclusions from what she said was her lifetime work of trying to aid minority-owned businesses in general.
"I won't cut a deal," Waters vowed in her first Capitol Hill news conference since charges were brought.
It featured a PowerPoint presentation led by her chief of staff, who is also her grandson, aimed at rebutting the charges. When it concluded, the words: "No Benefit, No Improper Action, No Failure To Disclose, No One Influenced: No Case" flashed on the screen.

Barack's the one that needs to be up on ethics charges, not Maxine. Maxine has always been there. And that's why she's being targeted. If she was a go-along to get-along, they'd leave her alone but she actually fights for what matters and that makes her a target.

You can click here for CBS' coverage and here for the New York Times' coverage.

"Scientists Search for Endangerd Amphibians" (NPR, Morning Edition):
RENEE MONTAGNE, host: Some genes are fast being lost - those of frogs and toads, which are among the planet's most endangered creatures. Still, among the many species now thought to be extinct, scientists hope a few are actually hanging on. Those scientists have launched a hunt for them across 18 countries. One of the researchers is Claude Gascon of Conservation International. He co-chairs the Amphibian Specialist Group. Welcome to the program.
Mr. CLAUDE GASCON (Amphibian Specialist Group): Thank you very much.
MONTAGNE: Why have frogs in particular, and maybe amphibian populations in general, been declining?
Mr. GASCON: Well, amphibians over the past several decades have suffered pretty much from every impact that humans have had on the environment, from habitat loss to filling in wetlands to the use of pesticides, the hole in the ozone which created UVB radiation that killed off populations, and finally sort of the last straw in the camel's back has been the emerging disease, which is a fungus, and it kills them off mainly because they've been stressed by other environmental impacts.
MONTAGNE: So what gives you hope that some of these species that are thought to have been extinct might still be out there?
Mr. GASCON: Well, every couple of years there's always a rediscovery of either an amphibian species, a bird species, a species essentially that was thought to be lost and is found again in a small patch of habitat somewhere. We are sending out teams of researchers in the hope of finding some of these long lost frog species.

And that's for science Friday but with no comments from me because I'm so tired. I was honestly asleep at the computer after I copied and pasted the above but my daughter (who should be asleep) came over and grabbed my to scare me.

That's her new big thing. She loves scaring people. But if her brothers scare her, she will stomp her feet and scream and cry. And I can relate because I hated hiding when I was a kid. And when other kids would get close to finding me in hide & seek, my palms would start sweating and my heart would beat like crazy. I have no idea why, I just knew my body took the game more seriously than did my mind.

So she ended up screaming. Why? I jerked awake and she thought I was trying to scare her.

She thought I was pretending to be asleep so she could scare me.

But we're going to go get a snack and then she's going to bed.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, August 13, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the political stalemate continues, rumors swirl throughout Iraq, and more.

Today on the second hour of
The Diane Rehm Show (NPR), Diane discussed Iraq with Daniel Dombey (Financial Times), Yochi Dreazen (National Journal) and Susan Glasser (Foreign Policy).

Diane Rehm: And now we have Iraq's most senior soldier saying the Iraqi army will not be ready until 2020. What does that mean, Dan?

Daniel Dombey: Well I think one of the things that it really means is that if you were a betting person, I think you would be very advised to bet that there will still be US soldiers in Iraq after the 31st of December 2011.

Diane Rehm: The question is how many?

Daniel Dombey: Well at the moment there supposed to come down to 50,000 by the end of this month. That from a peak of over 140,000 when President [Barack] Obama took office. I have to say they talk a lot about the combat mission ending. I would say a large part of that is just semantics. They're still going to be involved in counter-terrorism, they're still going to be an essential part in terms of communication and logistics and transport -- all the really difficult actions against al Qaeda or against insurgengents are going to likely rely on US forces for some time to come, I would say.

Yochi Dreazen: Two quick points. One on this issue of semantics, it's important also to look at what General Zubari -- Babaker Zubari -- was actually saying. He was asked about Iraq's ability to defend its borders externally. Which is a very different issue when it has Iran on one side, Turkey on other side, I mean it has multi-powerful countries on almost all of its borders. That's a very different question from its ability to patrol within its borders. And clearly the US focus rightly has been can you get Iraqi security forces capable of fighting insurgents, controlling areas, operating on their own. And there's been really remarkable progress. I mean, admist all the bad news from Afghanistan, I've spent a lot of time with Iraqi forces over the years, they've gotten markedy, markedly better. So the question of what their main mission is in the near future, they're already doing it. I would also add that I totally agree with Dan's point. I think that there's no question in the mind of anyone I talk to in Afghanistan -- I'm sorry, in Iraq or the Pentagon, that there will be an amendment to the deals to allow for some number -- usually in the low thousands is the number I hear -- to stay after 2011 when they're supposed to all leave.

Susan Glasser: I think those are all really important points. I think a couple of things I would add. One, is Iraq unlike Afghanistan had a large standing army that was to maintain internal and external order. This was Saddam Hussein's police state which functioned in a very militarized way so they had something they were reconstructing there which is very different from in Afghanistan which has hadn't a very meaningful army in a long time.

Could Yochi explain this: "One on this issue of semantics, it's important also to look at what General Zubari -- Babaker Zubari -- was actually saying. He was asked about Iraq's ability to defend its borders externally. Which is a very different issue when it has Iran on one side, Turkey on other side, I mean it has multi-powerful countries on almost all of its borders." Is he implying that Iraq installed new borders after 2003 (when the illegal war started)? Or is he implying everyone overseeing the illegal war is so stupid they didn't know basic geography? Iraq's borders were well known. I believe a considerable amount of press ink was spent in 2002 and 2003, for example, on how Turkey might or might not allow the US to fly over (they decided not). Iraq's defense is its borders. It's stupid to act as if this just popped up or to say, "Woah, they can do the internal, just not the external!" That's stupid and crazy. And, point of fact, Iraqi forces can't protect the country internally. As
AP notes, "Bombings continue almost daily in Baghdad and around the rest of Iraq, a grim reality illustrated by the fact that the number of civilians killed by insurgents in July was the highest in two years. Though violence is far lower than it was between 2005 and 2007, when revenge attacks brought the country to the edge of civil war, Iraq is far from secure." Matthew Rusling (Xinhua) speaks with Statfor's military analysist Nathan Hughes who also sees realities different than Yochi.

Michael Jansen (Irish Times) observes, "Iraq has just begun to receive some of the equipment it needs to defend the country. Eleven of 140 US battle tanks have arrived but crews will not be trained and the rest of the tanks will not be in service until mid-2012. Iraq has no independent air cover, an essential component of any defence strategy. Last March the government contracted to purchase 18 US F-16 fighter jets, but these are not set for delivery before 2013." Arab News notes the following in an editorial:

Lt. Gen. Babaker Zebari went on to claim his troops might not be able to take control of the military situation for another decade. It is hard to imagine what the general thought he was going to achieve by this outburst, which surely cannot have been authorized by any government figure, if for no better reason than the deplorable fact that over five months after elections, Iraq still has no proper government.
It will be suspected, of course, that Washington may have been behind Zebari's words, since they constitute an invitation for the US to continue its occupation. However, there are powerful factors arguing against US complicity. Barack Obama won the presidency with a clear promise to quit Iraq. The American message has been that the Iraqi police and armed forces have reached a level of competence and equipment where they can assume responsibility for security. Indeed in recent months, much has been made of the fact that very few US troops have been out on the streets, leaving the job of dealing with the violence to the Iraqis. Only in the field of sophisticated signals intelligence is the US likely to have any future role alongside the Iraqi military. That contribution probably need not involve the continued presence of US boots on the ground.
Besides, if Washington's assurances about the standards achieved by the Iraqi security forces really are nonsense, what does it say about similar protestations over the level of training and efficiency currently being claimed for the Afghan police and military?

And the line Yochi's attempting to draw -- "security" relegated to internal -- is as false as the claim that "combat" missions are now over and the US has housed Iraq with "non-combat" troops.

March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. The
Guardian's editorial board notes, "These elections were hailed prematurely by Mr Obama as a success, but everything that has happened since has surely doused that optimism in a cold shower of reality." 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 5 months and 6 days. Andrew England (Financial Times of London) visits the Parliament and speaks with an unidentified MP who tells him, "Ten per cent of parliamentarians [those involved in political negotiations] are active, the other 90 per cent have nothing to do. The whole of Iraq is a vacuum, for God's sake. You know when you get a black hole in the universe? It's exactly the same now." Hayder Najm (Niqash) states:

Iraqis have no idea when both the US and Iran have agreed to throw their combined support behind Nouri al-Maliki's candidacy for Prime Minister . The leader of the State of Law coalition has never been a 'key ally' to Tehran or Washington. In fact, he has probably been more of a source of concern for both. The US and Iran have managed to align their interests on the future of Iraq, despite their clashes over many issues. The US accuses Iran of supporting armed groups in Iraq, Lebanon, Palestine and Afghanistan. Iran is critical about Washington's stances on Israel at the expense of its neighbours' interests. The Iranians recently detained three US citizens who crossed the border, who it accuses of spying. Iran's nuclear ambitions also remain on the US file.

Salah Hemeid (Al-Ahram Weekly) runs through a number of possibilities on what's taking place (including that the stalemate lives on). As Azzaman notes, many rumors are flying around and they provide a list of some of the more popular ones:

· The crime of killing medical doctors is back in Baghdad in full force.
· Al-Qaeda is luring Sahwa Councils -- the Sunni militia the U.S. raised and armed -- by paying them salaries higher than those the U.S. offers.
· The Iraqi army is asking U.S. troops to extend their occupation of the country for another decade. The reason is that the army comprises mainly candidates from sectarian parties who are not capable of guarding the country.
· Iran wants free shipments of Iraqi oil in return for compensations of the 1991 Gulf War.
· The bombing of fixed U.S. military bases is easier than smoking a cigarette.
· Militia leaders have returned to Baghdad camouflaged in parliamentary garb and quiet and moderate turbans.

The Iraq War did create some things. Such as the refugee crisis.
Michael Otterman pens a column about the refugee crisis for the Christian Science Monitor:

And there are currently 4.5 million displaced Iraqis languishing on the outskirts of Iraqi cities and scattered throughout nearby Jordan and Syria. This represents the largest urban refugee crisis in the world.
Most displaced Iraqis fled Iraq amid the height of the civil war in 2006 and 2007. At the time, as many as 30,000 Iraqis per month poured into Syria. Thousands fled to Jordan everyday. The torrent slowed by 2008, but the refugees remain.
Dozens of them have shared their stories with me.
"I don't own a thing and even if I owned the world, if Iraq would become a country again, I would never return," said an Iraqi I met two years ago in Jeramana, a hub for Iraqis in Damascus, Syria. He told me between sobs about the kidnapping of his youngest son, whom he later found dead in an abandoned Baghdad schoolyard. He fled to Syria with his wife and two surviving children the day after he recovered the body.
"Everything is gone," an Iraqi living in a crumbling apartment in East Amman, Jordan, told me in 2008 while his pregnant wife paced nearby. In 2006, his house in Baquba, Iraq, burnt down amid crossfire between Iraqi insurgents and US forces. He sat at home and smoked cigarettes while pondering the future. "I never want to go back. [Iraq] will be divided," he said.

The Iraq War was also a 'growth industry' for ophans.
Kelly McEvers (NPR's All Things Considered) reports, "The war in Iraq has taken a heavy toll on children, many of whom saw their own family members kidnapped, tortured and executed during the brutal sectarian fighting from 2006 to 2008. More recently, orphanages are filling up with children left without parents after attacks from insurgent groups, including al-Qaida. But there are very few services for Iraq's estimated 4 million to 6 million orphans. Plans to open the country's first ever child-psychiatry clinic have been approved. But the project has stalled because there is still no government amid political wrangling after the March election."

And file it under "rumor," Samir Sumaida'ie is weighing in with his 'knowledge.'
Caroline Alexander and Margaret Brennan (Bloomberg News) report that the the Iraqi Ambassador to the US is insisting that all US forces will be out of Iraq at the end of next year. Realities come in Jamal Dajani's column for the Huffington Post:

But will the U.S. actually withdraw from Iraq?
Not really. Tens of thousand of U.S. troops will remain in the country to train the Iraqi army and provide it with logistical support. If need be, they will be engaged in combat missions. Meanwhile, the number of private contractors working for the U.S. in Iraq in sectors such as security, communications, utilities, and commerce is estimated at 100,000. This number is likely to increase significantly once the "combat forces" are gone, especially in the security sector.
Move on US Marines, here come
Xe Services (better known as Blackwater)!

This week on
Antiwar Radio, Scott Horton spoke with Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan. Click here for the interview at Antiwar Radio and here for it at Peace of the Action. Excerpt:

Cindy Sheehan: Well, you know I've learned in the last five years, I think I've learned -- I couldn't even measure how much I've learned. But I know in the last five years I've learned more than the previous years I lived put together. And I've learned, Republicans will be Republicans. And you know they're very unapologetically pro-war. Not every Republican but, you know, most Republicans are unapologetically pro-war. The faction that I learned the most about, I think, would be the anti-war movement or the so-called anti-war movement. The people who are supposedly on the left, the progressives. And, you know, it's just very disheartening that all of my -- my colleagues -- most of my colleagues, or friends or associates that I worked with before Obama was elected have basically fallen off the face of the earth or they support now what Obama is doing or they're not as energetically against it as they were when Bush was president. So the major thing that I've learned, I think, is that we have one party system in this country and it's the War Party. And it just depends on if you have an "R" or "D" after your name if you support what's happening or if you're against what's happening. So that's what I've learned. There's no noble cause for war, there never has been, there never will be. And, you know, we just have to stop being such hypocrites and such supporters of empire depending upon who is president. It doesn't matter who's president. The empire is what has the momentum, not political parties.

Scott Horton: Well, you know, I think one of the things about your story that really captured everybody's attention is the specificity of your complaint -- particularly that your son was sent off to die for -- in a war that should have never been fought. That he was betrayed. And I read -- you know me, Cindy, I'm, into this. I read about it all day. And yet still the casualty reports come in -- 'A couple of soldiers died in Iraq today.' That's still going on. Summer of 2010 here if you're listening to this on MP3 format years from now, doing your thesis on it. Soldiers still dying. Soldiers still dying obviously more than ever in Afghanistan as the war escalates there. And often times, even for those of us who deliberately try to not think this way or whatever, you know, 'a number's a number. Some soldiers died, some soldiers died.' But, you know, I've been reading -- you just get desensitized to it. It's not a scene that you see. It's words and a headline, you know what I mean?

Cindy Sheehan: Right.

Scott Horton: That's what you get to picture -- is the shape of the news article, not the event that actually happened. So I've been reading
The Good Soldiers by David Finkel which is about a group of guys, a battalion, that were part of the surge in 2007 in Baghdad. And they were basically -- they were part of the ground crew from that Collateral Murder video actually. But anyway, it's the story of 'Hey these are real people driving around in aluminum Humvees getting their bodies torn apart by EFPs and IEDs on the side of the road, getting their brains sniped out by some guy hiding behind a wall. These are -- you know, there names are Gary and Dave and Bob and DeShawn and, you know, Juan and whoever, they're our friends and our neighbors. Their names are Casey.

Cindy Sheehan: Right.

Scott Horton: And they're out there dying for nothing. Real people, individuals, crippled for life, brains scrambled by shock waves and by the things that they've seen. And that's if they're lucky! That's if they come home with their arms and legs and life intact. This is not playing around. It's not some movie scene we're talking about here. These are people's sons and brothers and brand new husbands and fathers in a lot of cases as well.

Cindy has her own radio show,
Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and this Sunday the guest is Tommy Chong. This past Sunday, she had on Ethan McCord, Iraq War veteran and on the ground during the assault captured in the Collateral Murder video and who says there was no threat and he perceived no threat prior to the assualt. Ralph Lopez (OpEdNews) reports of the interview:

At one point McCord criticized media war analysts, whom he called "these supposed war analysts [who] were going over this video, who knew nothing of what happened that day..."
In the wide-ranging interview with Cindy Sheehan on her weekly radio program Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, McCord also again attested to witnessing a high-level war crime, that of
random execution of civilians in retaliation for an attack on U.S. forces, a crime which was successfully prosecuted after World War II. McCord's allegation was broadcast widely across the Internet two months after he first made it in an interview in April.

Turning to the isssue ov violence,
Reuters notes 1 police officer was shot dead last night in Garma and that an attack in Samarra on a Sahwa leader and police with over eighteen injured. Sinan Salaheddin (AP) reports a Baghdad home invasion which claimed the life of 1 woman who was stabbed to death. In other violence news, the PKK has declared a ceasefire for the holiday and state the ceasefire will last through September 20th.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Pig-Pen Ambassador," from April 5, 2009, commented on Chris Hill's confirmation hearing (see the March 25, 2009 snapshot and the March 26th snapshot ). Today Anthony Shadid (New York Times) reports Chris Hill is out of Iraq and "Hours before his departure from Baghdad, he said a power-sharing arrangement between the main winners in the March election was just weeks away." Though Hill makes that assertion, Shadid notes Iraqi officials are not rushing to agree with it. It's a portrait of the manic depressive Hill that comes as close as the press will probably ever come to telling the truth about the uninformed Hill. The Iraqis are the most honest in their assessment. Hill spoke no Arabic and struggled with the basics. He goes on to outline some of James Jeffrey's past work experience (Jeffrey is the new US Ambassador to Iraq) and see how many in 'independent' media bother to comb over that.Also worth noting is this from the article, "Preparation for the election, the vote and the negotiations on a new government have dominated the tenure of Mr. Hill, who took over the American Embassy at a time when Iraq was less violent and more stable, but only in comparison to the anarchic months of 2006 and 2007." Good for Shadid for not applying the false baseline/benchmark when evaluating the violence. Alsumaria TV reports, "In an interview with a US TV station, Hill explained that the political situation in Iraq is normal and doesn't differ from any other country where the difference is slight between two winning parties." Hill has a tendency to repeat himself (heavily scripted) in one interview after another; however, they may be referring to the interview Steve Inskeep did with him for NPR's Morning Edition earlier this week.

National Lawyers Guild has issued their [PDF format warning] Summer/Fall 2010 publication. You can check out a photo of the new federally trademarked NLG Legal Observer caps with Heidi Boghosian and Joel Kupferman wearing them and Jamie Munro contributes "Lynne Stewart re-sentenced to 10 years in prison" which contains this quote from NLG President David Grespass.It appears that being a vigorous and conscientious advocate for one's clients is becoming ever more dangerous. As you know, our former president, Peter Erlinder, was held in a Rwandan jail for the better part of a month because of his representation of a client before the ICTR. From Puerto Rico to the Philippines, lawyers who display principle and courage face dire consequences, including assassination. I know it is cold comfort, but you have long since joined that illustrious company. Our colleagues in Pakistan were arrested and beaten for defending the rule of law but they, in the end, triumphed. We hope the same will be said of you and we remain committed to you and to doing all we can to secure your freedom. Whatever you call upon us to do, we stand ready. There's much more in the issue but those are two things that stood out. And remember that Heidi co-hosts Law and Disorder with Michal Ratner and Michael Steven Smith -- WBAI airs it on Mondays and other radio stations air it throughout the week. Lynne Stewart is a political prisoner.

TV notes. On PBS'
Washington Week, Charles Babington (AP), Dan Balz (Washington Post), Todd Purdum (Vanity Fair) and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) join Gwen around the table. Gwen now has a weekly column at Washington Week and the current one is "Leaning Left and Right: Why Labels Won't Help This Year." This week, Bonnie Erbe will sit down with US House Rep Donna Edwards, Avis Jones-DeWeever, Darlene Kennedy and Sabrina Schaeffer on the latest broadcast of PBS' To The Contrary to discuss the week's events. And this week's To The Contrary online extra is an interview with Nancy Pelosi. Need To Know is PBS' new program covering current events. This week's hour long broadcast (Fridays on most PBS stations -- but check local listings) features a look at youth violence in Chicago. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

Swiss bank accounts offered people, including American tax cheats, a safe place to hide money. But Switzerland's largest bank has given authorities formerly sacrosanct information on its American customers because of tips provided by whistleblower Bradley Birkenfeld, who tells Steve Kroft some of the secrets Swiss bankers never tell.
Watch Video
130 Million Tons of WasteIf coal ash is safe to spread under a golf course or be used in carpets, why are the residents of Kingston, Tenn., being told to stay out of a river where the material was spilled? Lesley Stahl reports.
Watch Video
Al PacinoIn a rare sit-down interview, Oscar-winning actor Al Pacino talks to Katie Couric about his films and how he prepares for them, including his latest movie in which he starred as Dr. Jack Kevorkian.
Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, August 15, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.

nprthe diane rehm show
antiwar radioscott hortoncindy sheehan
the financial times of londonandrew england
the irish timesmichael jansen
gulf times
the world today just nutscomicchris hillthe pig-pen ambassadorthe new york timesanthony shadidalsumaria tvnprmorning editionsteve inskeepthe national lawyers guildjamie munro
bloomberg newscaroline alexander
morning editionsteve inskeepall things considered
kelly mcevers
law and disorderwbaimichael ratnermichael smithheidi boghosian
need to know
60 minutescbs newsto the contrarybonnie erbe
washington week

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Things to discard, things to value

'"They need some serious come-uppance or we're all f***ed."'" (Hillary Is 44):

Time for us to “cackle”. The first in our series of articles “Obama Is The Third Bush Term” was published on November 13, 2008 – less than a week after the November 2008 elections (don’t miss our pictorial representation of “Obama is the Third Bush Term” on the lower right hand column). This week Obama thug Robert Gibbs lost his mind over that one.

“Culture of Corruption”? We began to expose the Obama Dimocrat “Culture of Corruption” before Michelle Malkin even dreamed of her book (see, June 2, 2008’s The Democratic? Party Fractures; see, June 4, 2008’s Rezko Convicted – Culture Of Corruption – Barack Obama“; see July 2, 2008’s “Barack Obama’s Chicago Culture Of Corruption” as examples).

We hit the bulls-eye with those prescient evaluations. But only now are the Hopium Guzzlers beginning to understand how right we have been with this:The antidote to the poison which is Barack Obama is devastating defeat for his drone Dimocrats.”

When we wrote “Tough Times Ahead For Hillary Clinton Supporters” the central thesis of our argument was resisted. We argued that

“The tough times will come because in order to do what is best for the country and to resurrect the now dead Democratic Party of FDR and Hillary Clinton we will have to assist in the destruction of the Obama Dimocratic Party.

Lifelong Democrats will find the purposeful destruction of a party disguised as the Democratic Party a difficult decision to make. [snip]

We still believe that in order to bring sanity to the process we must make sure that the Obama Dimocratic Party suffers devastating defeat in election after election after election.

The resistance to our strategy of doom, destruction, defeat was a misguided call to think first of “the issues” and “principles”. Our response was “what principles? – Obama has no principles other than self-agrandizement”. We asked a devastating question:

“The argument is we must support Dimocrats who stabbed us in the back. Where does that get us? Where has that argument gotten the Nutroots?

We now have an answer from the Nutroots. The very same answer the PUMA movement came up with in 2008, the very same answer we gave in 2008, is now dawning on the “creative class” Nutroots. Here is what happened, courtesy of JournoLister Ben Smith:

A prominent progressive who backed Obama early doesn’t buy my theory that the White House’s attitude toward the “professional left” comes from a sense that Obama won Iowa without its help.

I wrote:

But after Iowa, from the vantage point of Gibbs and others who had begun two years earlier, was very late in the game. If you were with Obama before Iowa, you were making an investment. If you were there after Iowa, you were jumping on the bandwagon, going with the front-runner. You would still incur gratitude — but the risk you were taking just wasn’t the same.

My correspondent furiously e-mails:

F*** them. We were with them pretty damn early on, and they still treated us like sh**, after they used us, and then came back and begged for more help when the going got tough in September. [Economist Joe] Stiglitz was with them from the beginning, and they treated him like sh**. So, with all due respect, f*** them. This isn’t about them not liking people who came late to the ball game. It’s about the smartest people in the world and the smartest candidate in the world thinking they don’t need anyone’s help, because they’re just so much damn better than everyone else, and thinking they did it all without anyone’s help. They need some serious come-uppance or we’re all f***ed.

That “prominent progressive” Hopium Guzzler, now gets it. They need some serious come-uppance or we’re all f***ed. Only now does he understand what we said for so long. The only way to deal with thugs, Obama thugs, Chicago thugs, is to punch them in the face. No words just punch them in the face. F**k ‘em.

And that's the only way to deal with Barry O and the She-Hulk. They are thugs. They are vain thugs. Their children will be selfish and vain as well. They're already there most likely. (Remember Barack saying they were 'jaded' from flying on Air Force One. Guess what, little spoiled girls grow up into whiny, ugly women who don't get to ride on Air Force One.)

Have you visited the NOW blog? They're tackling some big issues over there. Their blog is entitled Say It Sister! and here's a sample entry to give you an idea of what you're missing if you haven't checked it out.

Burris Amendment Seeks to (Finally) Expand Abortion Rights for Servicewomen

by Norma Nyhoff, Field Intern

On May 27, the Senate Armed Service Committee approved an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would repeal the prohibition on female service members obtaining abortions at military medical facilities using their own funds. The amendment, introduced by Senator Roland Burris (D-Ill.), is a revolutionary step toward ensuring abortion rights and equal medical access for servicewomen, and should the military appropriations bill pass with the amendment intact, a step toward fighting the unfair and discriminatory abortion restrictions placed on all U.S. women.

Currently, according to a code that has been a part of TRICARE (the military health plan) since 1996, U.S. servicewomen are prohibited from using military medical facilities to obtain an abortion unless the pregnancy is the result of rape or incest or is life-threatening. Adding insult to injury, servicewomen seeking abortion care that fits within these narrow parameters must take leave, report the reason for their leave to a superior, pay for the abortion out of pocket and potentially face stigma from their fellow soldiers, the denial of promotions, or military discharge as a result. Current TRICARE restrictions force service women seeking abortion care to violate their privacy and potentially destroy their military careers.

An abortion for any pregnancy that falls outside of TRICARE's narrow parameters necessitates that servicewomen independently seek and fund services off-base, which may be impossible or nearly so if they are stationed in a country where abortion is illegal, caught in a conflict zone or low on money. If they are unable to obtain an abortion off-base where they are stationed, servicewomen are forced to fly home to obtain abortion care, risking their financial security, their careers and the respect of their colleagues in the armed forces. Women in the military, who already face enormous hardships over the course of their service, are disgracefully restricted in their access to abortion care even more than the typical U.S. woman.

The Burris Amendment is by no means perfect, as it maintains restrictions on government funding for abortion and allegedly contains a conscience clause which allows individual doctors to deny service, but it would force the military to allow its servicewomen to obtain self-funded abortion care in its medical facilities -- a step toward reaffirming and expanding servicewomen's rights and the rights of U.S. women as a whole.

If you missed it, I elected to go with that one because it noted Senator Roland Burris. He will be out of the Senate shortly but he was a real asset in the Senate. And no one had more obstacles thrown in front of them. He was appointed by a sitting governor. But the Senate refused to seat him. Their only Black senator and they refused to seat him. Then he had to basically audition for Simon and Paula (Harry Reid and Dick Durbin) before they'd agree to seat him.

Then he was trashed by the White House which didn't want him to run for election.

But through it all, he called out racism, he called out homophobia, and he called out sexism.

Senator Roland Burris was exactly the type of senator we say we want. When we got him, however, we apparently wanted something else.

I will always be glad that he was senator. I will also always be glad that when the attacks came, I was not silent. A lot of people can't say the same. (In this community, no one was silent. I know C.I. was hugely vocal as was Elaine, Marcia, Ruth and others. We were vocal as a group at Third.)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Thursday, August 26, 2010. Chaos and violence continue, the political stalemate continues, the spinning continues, Robert Gates lets some 'withdrawal' talk slip, Lt Col Victor Fehrenbach takes on the Air Force, Big Oil gets richer, and more.
Today Teri Weaver (Stars and Stripes) quotes US Maj Gen Terry Wolff stating, "The ministries are still operating. It's not like they're shut down." What the heck is he talking about? He's minimizing the political stalemate. March 7th, Iraq concluded Parliamentary elections. 163 seats are needed to form the executive government (prime minister and council of ministers). When no single slate wins 163 seats (or possibly higher -- 163 is the number today but the Parliament added seats this election and, in four more years, they may add more which could increase the number of seats needed to form the executive government), power-sharing coalitions must be formed with other slates, parties and/or individual candidates. (Eight Parliament seats were awarded, for example, to minority candidates who represent various religious minorities in Iraq.) Ayad Allawi is the head of Iraqiya which won 91 seats in the Parliament making it the biggest seat holder. Second place went to State Of Law which Nouri al-Maliki, the current prime minister, heads. They won 89 seats. Nouri made a big show of lodging complaints and issuing allegations to distract and delay the certification of the initial results while he formed a power-sharing coalition with third place winner Iraqi National Alliance -- this coalition still does not give them 163 seats. They are claiming they have the right to form the government. In 2005, Iraq took four months and seven days to pick a prime minister. It's now 5 months and 5 days.
And the ministries are not 'still operating.' There's no Minister of Electricity and if any Ministry in Iraq needs leadership, it would be the Ministery of Electricity. Iraq is plauged with blackouts, has electricity in most areas for only a few hours each day. There is no Minister of Electricity. He tendered his resignation months ago. Nouri al-Maliki has one of his cronies acting as the minister but the Constitution is very clear that ministers are approved by Parliament and Parliament's never approved this 'acting' minister who is also the Minister of Oil. Erdal Safak (Sabah) explains, "The Iraqis have access to electricity for only three or four hours a day and they do not have access to [potable] water. Iraqi politicians gather every day and negotiate for hours and hours. Although five months have passed since the elections in Iraq, the chances that a government will form are bleak. President Obama is so desperate that he sent a top secret letter to Shiite leader Ali al-Sistani, encouraging him to step in and use his influence."
What a stupid thing to say, "The ministries are still operating. It's not like they're shut down." The elections were supposed to take place in 2009. Everyone's ignoring the fact that Nouri is operating in some quasi-legal territory when he pretends to be Prime Minister. His term expired. Can you imagine the outcry if, in the US, Bully Boy Bush had attempted to occupy the White House through May 2009?
If oil is all that matters, Maj Gen Terry Wolf, then you are indeed sitting pretty. Jung Seung-hyun (JoongAng Daily) reports on the announcement by the Korea National Oil Corporation, "After 10 months of work drilling 3,847 meters (12,621.4 feet) into the earth from October 2009 to August this year, the KNOC estimated a maximum 970 barrels of crude oil and 3 million cubic meters of natural gas could be produced at the site every day. The average daily production expectancy for crude oil was placed at 200 barrels per day." Meanwhile London South East reports, "Shares in Gulf Keystone Petroleum rise as much as 9 percent touch a year high after the oil explorer says tests at its Shaikan-1 well in Iraq's Kurdistan show a ten-fold increase in flow rates, raising expectations for future production rates." AMEinfo explains, "Baker Hughes announced it has signed a three-year strategic alliance with Iraq's South Oil Company (SOC) to provide technical services to SOC's wireline logging department in Burj Esya, Basra south Iraq. Under the terms of the technical services agreement (TSA), Baker Hughes will supply wireline technologies to SOC and other Iraqi oil and gas producers as well as help develop local Iraqi wireline logging capabilities." Dow Jones notes that the Kirkuk pipeline that was carrying oil from Kirkuk to Turkey and was bombed earlier this week is 'back in business' having "resumed the pumping at 11 p.m. local time (2000 GMT) on Wednesday." And Al Bawaba notes:
The exploration of Iraq's rich oil and gas fields will be under the spotlight during a top meeting of oil executives and Iraqi energy regulators in Istanbul in October as global companies that have won contracts prepare to start the development of various fields.
The programme director of Iraq Future Energy 2010, Claire Pallen, says "with the recent awarding of rights to develop various oil and gas fields in Iraq the world's oil and gas executives now await the formation of the government bodies following the recent general elections as well as the eagerly awaited third licensing round that is scheduled for September. Top representatives from global oil giants as well as lawmakers from Iraq will meet in October to prepare for the road ahead with regards to the short to medium term development of Iraq's oil and gas sector".
Of course, Iraqis can't eat oil and the tag sale on their national assets will ensure that the Iraqi people don't profit from the boomtown. And IRIN notes that over "a tenth of Iraq's 2009-2010 wheat crop has been infected by a killer fungus, according to authorities." But Maj Gen Terry Wolf thinks Iraq's functioning just fine. How Iraq's functioning was addressed today on Morning Edition (NPR -- link has audio and text) when Steve Inskeep discussed the country's current status with Thomas E. Ricks.
Thomas E. Ricks: The problem in Iraq is none of the basic political questions facing the country have been solved, and this is one reason that weve gone so many months now without the formation of an Iraqi government. But the basic questions are: How are these three major groups in Iraq going to get along? How are they going to live together? Are they going to live together? How are you going to share the oil revenue? What's the form of Iraqi government? Will it have a strong central government or be a loose confederation? What's the role of neighboring countries, most especially Iran, which is stepping up its relationship with Iraq right now, even as Uncle Sam tries to step down its relationship?
All these questions have been hanging fire in Iraq for several years, in fact before the surge.
Steve Inskeep: Aren't --
Thomas E. Ricks: All of them have led to violence in the past and all could easily lead to violence again. The only thing changing in the Iraqi security equation right now is Uncle Sam is trying to get out.
Steve Inskeep: Aren't these last few months helpful in some way? Ambassador Hill in his interview suggested that while Iraqis have gone months since this election without forming a government, at least they're talking and maybe making progress.
Thomas E. Ricks: Yeah. It strikes me as whistling past the graveyard. I think what's happening in Iraq is everybody is waiting for Uncle Sam to get out of the way so they can get on with their business. No one wants get in a fight with Uncle Sam again. The American troops know Iraq well, the commanders know how to operate there, and they can smack down anybody who turns violent. But President Obama has said we're not going to get involved in that. And so I think a lot of people in Iraq are simply keeping their powder dry.
Steve Inskeep: Is America really getting out of the way? There still going to be 50,000 troops there, for example.
Thomas E. Ricks: Yeah. And actually, the mission becomes more violent and more dangerous with the passage of time, not less violent. I would much rather be on an American combat infantry patrol than, say, be with an advisor to Iraqi forces. That's a more dangerous position to be in. Also, as you draw down American forces, you withdraw a lot of the forces that make things safe and/or limit the consequences of violence. For example, a medical evacuation of wounded people. Intelligence - these are the type of support functions that get cut because youre trying to bring down the troop numbers but are essential to somebody whos wounded, to getting them treatment quickly and getting them out of the country.
As Arnie (Leonardo DiCaprio) tells Gilbert (Johnny Depp), "We're not going anywhere, Gilbert. We're not going anywhere, you know? We're not going anywhere" (What's Eating Gilbert Grape?), Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) reports:

Iraq will need U.S. military support for up to another decade to defend its borders because the Iraqi army won't be ready to guard the country when American troops leave at the end of 2011, according to U.S. and Iraqi commanders.
Commanders say they are reasonably confident in the Iraqi security forces' ability to keep order while facing insurgents or other internal threats. But when it comes to their capacity to protect against attacks from other nations, it is inconceivable that the Iraqi army will be able to stand alone by the time U.S. troops go home, said Lt. Gen. Michael Barbero, commander of the U.S. military training program in Iraq.

Al Jazeera adds:

A top White House advisor meanwhile suggested that the US military presence in Iraq after the main pullout in 2011 could be limited to "dozens" or "hundreds" of troops under the embassy's authority.
"We'll be doing in Iraq what we do in many countries around the world with which we have a security relationship that involves selling American equipment or training their forces, that is establishing some connecting tissue," said Anthony Blinken, national security advisor for vice president Joe Biden.
"When I say small, I'm not talking thousands, I'm talking dozens or maybe hundreds, that's typically how much we would see."

Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "On Wednesday, a senior Iraqi military leader, Gen. Babaker Zubari, stated publicly what most Iraqi officials say more privately – that he believed there would need to be a continuing US presence here after 2011. Under current plans to expand Iraq's armed forces, destroyed and dismantled by the US in the war, Iraq will not have the capability to secure its land borders and air space for almost another decade." Bob Higgins offers his take at Veterans Today. Hugh Sykes (BBC News) offers his take here (sidebar mid-page). Martin Chulov (Guardian) reports, "The Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, has made a sudden visit to senior defence officials a day after the country's most senior soldier declared his forces would not be capable of securing Iraq's borders until 2020." As the White House and Nouri continue to soft-peddle a US presence/occupation after 2011, Lara Jakes (AP) reports on what slipped out of the cabinet today:
But within hours, while talking to Pentagon reporters en route to a military ceremony in Tampa, Fla., Defense Secretary Robert Gates left open the door that troops could stay in Iraq as long as Baghdad asks for them.
"We have an agreement with the Iraqis that both governments have agreed to that we will be out of Iraq at the end of 2011," Gates said. "If a new government is formed there and they want to talk about beyond 2011, we're obviously open to that discussion."
"But that initiative will have to come from the Iraqis," he said.
Joseph A. Kechichian (Gulf News) offers, "A beaming US Commander in Iraq, General Ray Odierno, freshly reiterated that US forces will stay as long as the Iraqi government wishes them to, ostensibly to deny foreign powers -- read Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia -- from meddling in the country's internal affairs. Still, it was unclear what that actually meant, especially after President Barack Obama prognosticated that the US has not 'seen the end of American sacrifice in Iraq'. While few should expect a White House banner on August 31 to claim 'Mission Accomplished', combat missions will then fall under a new soubriquet: training Iraqis to fight on their own." Meanwhile the US is avoided by Iraqi candidates the way Democrats in tight races avoid Barack Obama. Rahmat al-Salaam (Asharq Alawsat Newspaper) reports that Iraqiya's Jamal "Al-Battikh criticized the US role and said 'the United States is the origin of the disease afflicting Iraq, especially as it has helped complicate the situation', adding that 'it wants a candidate acceptable to Iran and a friend to it and this is what it is working for behind the scenes'." Meanwhile Stephen Farrell (New York Times) gauges Iraqi reactions via the media, "This year the Iraqi channel Al Sharqiya has been promoting a satirical comedy, 'Kursi Tamleek.' Roughly translated as 'Holding on to the Chair', it is a sideswipe at Iraq's reluctant-to-depart caretaker government headed by Prime Minister Nuri Kamal al-Maliki. A musical number from the show has already become popular and made its way onto YouTube." And an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers shares this at Inside Iraq:

Since the March election, we have been waiting for the new government forming and it looks that we are going to wait for another month or maybe even more. Every day, we hear and read news about new agreements and new negotiations among the political parties but nothing really happens, no progress at all. Today and while I was watching TV at the office, a politicians said during an interview on TV that forming the government might not take place before the new year.
In spite of this long period and although the winning blocs are only four main blocs that represent most of the Iraqi people, they could not reach any kind of agreement about anything and they are still blaming each other for the delay. Each bloc claims that it is the patriotic one and that it is the one that aim to (SERVE THE IRAQI PEOPLE) The painful truth is the following. These blocs which fight now for the privilege of ( SERVING IRAQIS ) are the very same blocs which formed the government in 2005. The very same government that did nothing for Iraqis.
No one is expecting any announcement on a government in the coming days or weeks. For one thing, many Iraqis are in the midst of regligious observation. Yesterday Secretary of State Hillary Clinton delivered this message:

On behalf of the United States Department of State, I wish all Muslims around the world a happy and blessed Ramadan.

Ramadan is a time for self-reflection and sharing. American Muslims make valuable contributions to our country every day and millions will honor this month with acts of service and giving back to their communities.

Along with dozens of our Embassies, I will host an Iftar in Washington, DC, for Muslims and non-Muslims to join together and reflect on our common values, faith and the gifts of the past year. At our Iftar, we will also celebrate dozens of young American Muslims who are helping shape the future of our country with their energy and spirit. These young business and social entrepreneurs, academics, spiritual leaders, and other young Muslims around the world are leading the way to a new era of mutual respect and cooperation among all the citizens of our world.

During this month of peace and renewal, I wish the 1.5 billion Muslims around the world Ramadan Kareem.

In violence being reported today, Reuters notes an attack on a Mosul checkpoint which claimed the life of 1 Iraqi soldier (one more injured), a Baaj car bombing yesterday which injured four people and an attack on a Garma police checkpoint yesterday which claimed the life of 1 police officer and injured five people. "Almost daily attacks on police and traffic police in Baghdad and Anbar Province west of the capital in the past two weeks have killed almost 30 police," Jane Arraf (Christian Science Monitor) observes.
Yesterday Barack Obama had a "national security" meeting on Iraq at the White House and it's telling that whatever outlet you go to (try here, for example, or here), you fail to get a complete listing of who attended the meeting. What did Jackson Browne once say? "I want to know who the men in the shadows are, I want to hear someone asking them why, they can be counted on to tell us who are enemies are but they're never the ones to fight or to die." Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) notes one attendant, NSA James L. Jones, and his recap he offered on CNN (blather) as well as his remarks on Don't Ask, Don't Tell. Read the following that he stated on CNN and see if you don't find it offensive: "The standard for service in the armed forces of the United States ought to be based on good order and discipline. And we found ways to modify eligibility to serve in the armed forces for other groups, you know, whether it was based on race or religion or whatever." Eligibility was 'modified'? As if "race or religion or whatever" couldn't meet the benchmark? As though the problem wasn't the racism, wasn't the religious bias? There was never any reason that, for example, an African-American male couldn't serve except for racism. And there's no reason today that a gay man or lesbian can't serve except for homophobia. Or, in the words of the White House philosopher James L. Jones, "whatever."
"Whatever." It's not whatever to the many men and women losing their jobs and, in many cases, their identies because they see themselves as members of the military but the military can only see them as gay or lesbian. Lt Dan Choi is an Iraq War veteran. He is also a strong fighter who publicly fought the policy of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. July 22nd, he learned he had been discharged for the 'crime' of being gay. The following day, he appeared on PRI's The Takeaway.
Lt Dan Choi: A big surprise. It's painful as much as much as I'm prepared for that. Anytime somebody knowingly breaks Don't Ask, Don't Tell for the sake of integrity and telling the truth about who we are, we still have to be prepared for the consequences --
John Hockenberry: Which were what? What did your commander say to you?
Lt Dan Choi: He said that I'd been discharged under Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
John Hockenberry: You're out.
Lt Dan Choi: I'm fired.
John Hockenberry: He said fired or he just said -- 'You're being honorably discharged'?
Lt Dan Choi: I'm being honorably discharged. That is an end to an entire era that I've started since I was age 18 --
John Hockenberry: How long have you been in the service?
Lt Dan Choi: -- I'm sorry. I have not been a civilian since then. And as much as you might be interested in how it was said and what was in the letter, to me, it's all a summation of the entire journey and it says it's all over. As much as you can prepare yourself and build up the armor to get ready for that, it's hard, it's very painful to deal with that. I think about every moment of being in the military since starting from West Point eleven years ago and preparing for deployments and infantry training and then going to Iraq and coming back and then starting a relationship and then all of the emotions of this entire journey just came right back at that moment when he said that your - your - your service is now terminated. I got the letter. He e-mailed me the letter, I got the letter yesterday morning, and in very cold words, it just said that I'm finished.
Earlier this month, Trina addressed the homophobia involved in these discharges and the systematic hatred behind them. Lt Col Victor Fehrenbach is taking the issue to the courts as the Air Force attempts to discharge him for the 'crime' of being gay. Servicemember Legal Defense Network (which is representing him) explains the basics:
* Lt. Col. Fehrenbach will reach his 20-year retirement in September of 2011; just 14 months from now. He has been on desk duty at Mountain Home Air Force Base in Idaho awaiting the results of nearly two years of investigations and discharge proceedings. If Lt. Col. Fehrenbach is discharged, he will lose his retirement benefits.
* In May of 2008, Lt. Col. Victor Fehrenbach was notified that his commander was seeking to separate him from the US Air Force under "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" (DADT) after the Air Force received information from a civilian. He decided to fight his discharge after hearing then-Presidential candidate Barack Obama pledge to end Don't Ask, Don't Tell.
* Lt. Col. Fehrenbach served in the Former Yugoslavia, Afghanistan, and Iraq. He flew the longest combat sorties in his squadron's history, destroying Taliban and Al Qaeda targets in support of Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom. And after the Sept. 11th attacks, Fehrenbach was hand-picked to protect the airspace over Washington, D.C.
* Lt. Col. Fehrenbach's awards include the Meritorious Service Medal, nine Air Medals -- including one for Heroism -- the Aerial Achievement Medal, five Air Force Commendation Medals and the Navy Commendation Medal.
James Dao (New York Times) reports, "Lawyers for Colonel Fehrenbach assert that his case is among the most egregious applications of the policy in their experience. The Air Force investigation into his sexuality began with a complaint from a civilian that was eventually dismissed by the Idaho police and the local prosecutor as unfounded, according to court papers. Colonel Fehrenbach has never publicly said that he is gay. However, during an interview with an Idaho law enforcement official, he acknowledged having consensual sex with his accuser. Colonel Fehrenbach's lawyers say he did not realize Air Force investigators were observing that interview; his admission led the Air Force to open its 'don't ask' investigation."
In other news, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani is on a diplomatic mission to Denver this week (he's D.C. based most weeks) and Al Bawaba notes, "In addition to his official events and meetings, Mr. Talabani's top priority while in Colorado is to express the deepest gratitude from the people of Iraq and the Kurdistan Region to the U.S. Military and their families for their role in liberating Iraq from tyranny. While in Colorado, he will also visit with families who paid the ultimate price of losing a loved one in the fight for Iraq's freedom and democracy."
We'll note this from Debra Sweet's "How YOU Can Help People See the Truth Exposed by Wikileaks" (World Can't Wait):

When an activist from World Can't Wait sent me a link to Thursday's Pentagon press conference, and called Geoff Morell, their spokesman a "pompus ass," I thought that wasn't really a news flash.

But really, to get the full impact of the government's threat to Julian Assange & Wikileaks for revealing the government's "property," you have to see Morell's sneer as the Pentagon reacted to Wikileak's posting of its huge "insurance" file, presumably designed to make sure the information is still available if their sites are shut down, or they are rounded up.
Tired of Democrats who abandon their base, who mock the left and sneer at it? There are many other choices -- including choosing not to vote. Mid-terms can be the ideal time to send Democrats in office the message that if they don't work for you, you'll hire/elect someone who will. And with that, we'll close with this from the Green Party of Michigan:

Green Party of Michigan
** News Release **
** ------------ **
August 11, 2010

For More Information, Contact:
Dianne Feeley
(734) 272-7651

John A. La Pietra, Elections Co-ordinator / GPMI
(269) 781-9478

Green Party of Michigan Holds Nominating Convention
(Lansing) -- The Green Party of Michigan selected candidates over the July 31-August 1 weekend at its nominating convention in Lansing. Harley G. Mikkelson, from Caro, is the Green Party's candidate for governor with Lynn Meadows, from Ann Arbor, as lieutenant governor.

In the wake of the oil spill on the Kalamazoo River, Mikkelson pointed out that "accidents always happen" when our society is dependent on oil and coal. "In a state known for its manufacturing we have to prioritize an alternative energy policy. Manufacturing plants running under capacity or closed should be converted into building mass transit. If private business is unable to do this, the state government should be working with communities and the work force to begin this transition."

The oil spill points to the intersection of two central issues in the 2010 Green Party campaign: tying the need for jobs to the need for move away from using non-renewable energy, whether oil or hydrocarbons, and transitioning toward wind, water and geothermal power. The party also opposes nuclear energy as a solution -- it also poses grave safety issues.

In the interim, as Julia Williams, of Fraser, who is running for U.S.

Congress in the 12th District, pointed out, regulations must be strengthened: "We need to get away from allowing corporations to write the laws. They can't be dictating our future. That means tough regulations and an oversight process that prioritizes safety and sustainability. We need to walk the walk when we talk about protecting our water and our air."

It was clear to Green Party activists attending the convention that both the BP oil catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico and the 35-mile long Enbridge Energy Company spill along the Kalamazoo River are the result of depending on corporate promises to do the right thing. But both cases are examples of how inadequate and unprepared the corporations really are. Both have been cited by various agencies but did not face immediate shutdown or takeover.

For those who ask, "Where can the money come from to convert our manufacturing?", Green Party candidates point to a federal war budget that only brings more war and destruction as well as starves our social programs and infrastructure. As Harley Mikkelson remarked: "The first priority naturally has to be people. We need to make education, continuing education and early education, more and more available. That has to be the number one priority, that and the environment, passing on an environment that's better than what was passed on to us."

For more information about all Green Party candidates in Michigan, go to:
# # #
created/distributed using donated labor
Green Party of Michigan
548 South Main Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48104

GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental
issues in Michigan politics. Greens are organized
in all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Each
state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its
own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

Ecological Wisdom
Grassroots Democracy
Social Justice
Community Economics
Respect for Diversity
Personal/Global Responsibility
Future Focus/Sustainability
the takeaway
john hockenberry