Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Green Party, Robin Morgan

Patrick Kelly ILGP Media Coordinator 773-203-9631 http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=media@ilgp.org
Phil Huckelberry Chair, ILGP Government & Elections Committee 309-268-9974 http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=phil.huckelberry@ilgp.org

Voters who hoped to participate in the Illinois' first ever statewide Green Party primary are receiving a very rude reception at many polling places, especially in Chicago.
In the early hours of voting, Green Party officials began receiving reports from frustrated voters across the statewho, in many cases, had been told by pollworkers that there are no Green Party ballots available at their polling places, or that they had to vote on suspect electronic voting machines, even while other parties use paper ballots.
Some of the most outrageous incidents, however, occurred across the wards of Chicago, where Green Party ballots have been apparently tampered with so they can't be read and accepted by voting machines, voters are given Democratic ballots despite requesting Green ballots.
What follows are a few examples of reports. Check ilgp.orgfor more reports as they are received. More information will also be available at the Green Party gathering tonight atDecima Musa Restaurant, 1901 S. Loomis, Chicago (in Pilsen).

A voter reports that all of the Green Party ballots had been folded in half, causing them to not feed through the machine properly. The Republican and Democratic ballots were not folded. Because his first ballot kept getting rejected bythe machine, the voter was asked by pollworkers to fill outanother Green Party ballot, which also had been previouslyfolded. That ballot was not able to be read and was rejectedas well.
Pollworkers didn't have any green ballots available and were asking voters if they wanted a Democratic or Republican ballot (but not Green ballots).
25th WARD, 24th PRECINCT
A voter asked for a Green Party ballot three times, and wasgiven a Democratic paper ballot each time. Finally, on the fourth time, the voter was told only touch screen available for Greens.
31st WARD
Mary Ann Esler, Green Party Committeewoman in the 31st Ward, went in to vote in the Green Primary this morning. The election judges refused to give her a Green Party ballot. The Democratic Precinct Captain, who was supervising the judges told them that there were no ballots for the Green Primary because the Green candidates were running unopposed.
The confrontation ended when Mary found the ballots hidden under some papers on the judge's table. The judges then went into a big huddle with the Democratic Precinct Captain while Mary marked her ballot.
35th WARD
Jeremy Karpen, live blogging from the 35th Ward polling place, gives the following reports:
9:00am: After reporting an election judge for not orally offering Green Party ballots (when he is offering Dem and Rep) he was visited by the Board of Elections and then he called me [an expletive]. I asked him first to either list all three ballots or simply ask people what ballot they prefer, he said "I can if I want to."
9:09am: Craig (my committeeman and roommate) was just handed a "green" democratic ballot and got all the way to the little voting booth before he realized what had happened.Dear lord.
9:45am: The Election Judge, who now seems to have an attitude, when asked if Green is a real party, said "unfortunately" and stated that it "isn't a real party." The person he was talking to was an electioneer for Bradley's campaign and not a voter but there certainly were other voters in the room.
47th WARD
A voter was told there were no Green Party ballots. During a call to report the incident, the pollworkers told him that he could vote using an electronic voting machine, but they did not have any paper ballots available (although paper ballotswere available for the Republican and Democratic parties).
Green committeeman reports that the election judge is only offering Republican and Democratic ballots.
An election judge reports that judges were instructed to keep a tally of Green voters on a tally sheet that numbersup to 50. There is no such tally for the Democrats and Republicans.
A voter writes: "At approximately 11:30 am, at the polling place at 74 Park Drive, Glenview, Green Party ballots were still in shrink wrap, in the box, in the cabinet. Officials at the desk were indignant about my disappointment, andchallenged me to "have credentials" in order to register my complaint.
A pollwatcher reports that and election judge asks voter "which parties' primary ballot do you want?" The voter seemed confused by the question and the judge clarified by stating "Republican or Democrat". The pollwatcher immediately interjected and corrected the judge and asked her to please state all three parties in the primary from now on.
A voter writes: "A judge repeatedly tried to give me a Democratic ballot, which I refused. The Green ballots were still wrapped up and semi-out of sight. As I approached the tables, I could hear only "Republican or Democrat?" over and over.
A voter writes: "As I was leaving, the head lady was making a call about getting more Green ballots because they had onlybeen sent three and at 7:30a they had already used 2 of them and she was worried about a run on Green voters."

Imagine that. Even in the primaries, the 'two' parties would work together to shut out the Greens. You're only surprised if you don't grasp how sick those in charge are. It's why the League of Women Voters is no longer over the debates, it's why we do not have campaign finance reform. It goes to the heart of a dead and dying system desperate to hold on to what isn't their's to hold on to.

We need publicly financed elections, we need the people's airwaves to be open to all and we need instant run-off voting. Until those arrive, we don't have a democracy. What we have instead is two tired, overstuffed parties, pretending they have a tiny difference long enough to trick voters in election cycle after election cycle. Instant run-off is what they fear most because when you know, for instance, that no one can scream at you for "wasting your vote" if you voted Nader in 2000 and ranked Gore as your second choice, then a lot more people will vote for the candidate they believe in. The two parties depend upon the myth that votes are wasted to maintain their percentages of the vote. Instant run-off would mean they'd actually have to compete for votes and not take citizens for granted with a "Where else you going to go?" attitude.

I voted for Mike Gravel today. My vote was not wasted. I voted for the candidate I believed in. "Electability" wasn't the basis for my vote. I did not hold my nose to vote for the candidate of my choice. I voted as I believed and I am very proud to have had the honor of voting for former Senator Gravel.

I hope, whomever you voted for, you are proud of your vote. I'm not suggesting you shouldn't be. I am saying I hope you believe in your vote. If you voted, if you are totally sick of the whole rigged process and didn't vote, that is your right.

Oprah's going to tell people "how to get the love you want" tomorrow. I've got the TV on because I'm trying to catch the results and they just showed a commercial for Oprah. That's interesting. Oprah, who sold the illegal war on her own show by booking Liar Judith Miller, wants to sell Barack Obama as a must-vote because he was against the 'dumb' war (he really wasn't). Now Oprah, whom everyone believes is romantically involved with her friend Gail, wants to counsel on how to find love. That is Oprah for you.

The whole process, as I was saying, is perverted and screwed up and not meant to up the turnout or the involvement. The two parties want the system we have because they can game it and shut out third parties.

It only works for so long. What happens is a party falls out of touch and a third party sweeps past it. However, then the third party becomes just like what it replaced over time which is why it's important to reform the system (or change it) and not just elevate a third party up to one of the two majors.

"Goodbye To All That (#2)" (Robin Morgan, Women's Media Center)
"Goodbye To All That" was my (in)famous 1970 essay breaking free from a politics of accommodation especially affecting women (for an online version, see http://blog.fair-use.org/category/chicago/).
During my decades in civil-rights, anti-war, and contemporary women's movements, I've avoided writing another specific "Goodbye . . ." But not since the suffrage struggle have two communities--joint conscience-keepers of this country--been so set in competition, as the contest between Hillary Rodham Clinton (HRC) and Barack Obama (BO) unfurls. So.
Goodbye to the double standard . . .
--Hillary is too ballsy but too womanly, a Snow Maiden who’s emotional, and so much a politician as to be unfit for politics.
--She's "ambitious" but he shows "fire in the belly." (Ever had labor pains?)
--When a sexist idiot screamed "Iron my shirt!" at HRC, it was considered amusing; if a racist idiot shouted "Shine my shoes!" at BO, it would’ve inspired hours of airtime and pages of newsprint analyzing our national dishonor.
--Young political Kennedys—Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr.--all endorsed Hillary. Senator Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort "See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him." (Personally, I'm unimpressed with Caroline's longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe's suicide, and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)
Goodbye to the toxic viciousness . . .
Carl Bernstein's disgust at Hillary's "thick ankles." Nixon-trickster Roger Stone's new Hillary-hating 527 group, "Citizens United Not Timid" (check the capital letters). John McCain answering “How do we beat the bitch?" with “Excellent question!” Would he have dared reply similarly to “How do we beat the black bastard?” For shame.
Goodbye to the HRC nutcracker with metal spikes between splayed thighs. If it was a tap-dancing blackface doll, we would be righteously outraged--and they would not be selling it in airports. Shame.
Goodbye to the most intimately violent T-shirts in election history, including one with the murderous slogan "If Only Hillary had married O.J. Instead!" Shame.
Goodbye to Comedy Central's "Southpark" featuring a storyline in which terrorists secrete a bomb in HRC’s vagina. I refuse to wrench my brain down into the gutter far enough to find a race-based comparison. For shame.
Goodbye to the sick, malicious idea that this is funny. This is not "Clinton hating," not "Hillary hating." This is sociopathic woman-hating. If it were about Jews, we would recognize it instantly as anti-Semitic propaganda; if about race, as KKK poison. Hell, PETA would go ballistic if such vomitous spew were directed at animals. Where is our sense of outrage--as citizens, voters, Americans?
Goodbye to the news-coverage target-practice . . .
The women's movement and Media Matters wrung an apology from MSNBC's Chris Matthews for relentless misogynistic comments (http://www.womensmediacenter.com/). But what about NBC’s Tim Russert's continual sexist asides and his all-white-male panels pontificating on race and gender? Or CNN’s Tony Harris chuckling at "the chromosome thing" while interviewing a woman from The White House Project? And that’s not even mentioning Fox News.
Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are white . . .
Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities, abilities, sexual preferences, and ages--not only African American and European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Arab American and--hey, every group, because a group wouldn’t exist if we hadn’t given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may exist--but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free from other discriminations, she remains a female human being in a world still so patriarchal that it’s the "norm."
So why should all women not be as justly proud of our womanhood and the centuries, even millennia, of struggle that got us this far, as black Americans, women and men, are justly proud of their struggles?
Goodbye to a campaign where he has to pass as white (which whites--especially wealthy ones--adore), while she has to pass as male (which both men and women demanded of her, and then found unforgivable). If she were blackor he were female we wouldn’t be having such problems, and I for one would be in heaven. But at present such a candidate wouldn’t stand a chance--even if she shared Condi Rice's Bush-defending politics.
I was celebrating the pivotal power at last focused on African American women deciding on which of two candidates to bestow their vote--until a number of Hillary-supporting black feminists told me they're being called "race traitors."
So goodbye to conversations about this nation’s deepest scar--slavery--which fail to acknowledge that labor- and sexual-slavery exist today in the U.S. and elsewhere on this planet, and the majority of those enslaved are women.
Women have endured sex/race/ethnic/religious hatred, rape and battery, invasion of spirit and flesh, forced pregnancy; being the majority of the poor, the illiterate, the disabled, of refugees, caregivers, the HIV/AIDS afflicted, the powerless. We have survived invisibility, ridicule, religious fundamentalisms, polygamy, teargas, forced feedings, jails, asylums, sati, purdah, female genital mutilation, witch burnings, stonings, and attempted gynocides. We have tried reason, persuasion, reassurances, and being extra-qualified, only to learn it never was about qualifications after all. We know that at this historical moment women experience the world differently from men—though not all the same as one another--and can govern differently, from Elizabeth Tudor to Michele Bachelet and Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
We remember when Shirley Chisholm and Patricia Schroeder ran for this high office and barely got past the gate--they showed too much passion, raised too little cash, were joke fodder. Goodbye to all that. (And goodbye to some feminists so famished for a female president they were even willing to abandon women's rights in backing Elizabeth Dole.)

I didn't vote for Hillary. Good for those who did and shame on those who attacked her just for being a woman. Shame on those who built up a difference between her and Obama that didn't exist. As I noted last week, if I had to choose between the two, I would've gone with Hillary because she is a fighter. The only real differences between Hillary and Bambi were: (a) Hillary's got a plan for health care (see Paul Krugman), (b) Hillary is on record as a supporter of women (Laura Flanders is a cheap, tacky liar) while Bambi's 'record' is one of 'present' not support, (c) Hillary's a fighter who's worked, (d) Hillary's not a homophobe. I have no respect for Laura Flanders after her latest crap.

I didn't have that much left to begin with. Sunny yelled today in the office. No one was there, it was lunch time. I thought, "Oh no." I rushed out to her desk to check on her. She was happy because Laura Flanders had shot off her dumb mouth about Robin Morgan.

C.I. wasn't including Morgan (or the woman at The Chicago Tribune) in the snapshot. After the way Gloria Steinem was wrongly ripped apart, C.I. was noting women in the newsletters (and had noted Morgan in the column for Hilda's Mix). With The Chicago Tribune writer, she flew under the radar and didn't get attacked. (Notice how I'm not even noting her name.) When Laura Flanders tried to go after Robin Morgan today, it meant Robin Morgan was going into the snapshot.

I think community wide, we've been supportive of Laura Flanders. I'm sorry she can't stand up to Katrina vanden Heuvel, I'm sorry that she can't fight for her own show. But those are her problems and she's no friend of women or of LGBTs. She can whine about how bad things are with her show now all she wants (and has) but the reality is she destroys her own show because she's so damn weak. It takes a real weak woman to do that 'sly' bit of trashing of Robin Morgan. She probably thought she'd get away with it. The real question now is how much further she has to go to piss C.I. off?

See, Blue Grit can't stand up to a real critique. C.I. knows that. C.I. pulled comments about Flanders' idiotic writing on Lupe Valdez in that book -- a commentary that ended with something like, "Of course, if she'd actually gone to the area and not just read clippings, she might know what she's talking about. As it is, if you asked her to run down Oak Lawn and Oak Cliff, she'd probably say, 'Huh?'" That's because C.I. was already covering what Flanders writes about. That's because C.I. has been all over the country (except Alaska) over and over since the start of the illegal war. What did Flanders do? A brief promo tour for her radio show. Then she grabbed some clippings and wrote about places she'd never visited.

C.I. was kind and pulled it but I was one of the ones saying, "Don't pull that comment. She's writing about it like she knows what she's talking about and you've just outlined how she doesn't know what she's talking about." She didn't. That was the only problem in the book. But we focused on the positives. Hopefully, Flanders will churn out another book before the sites go dark or, possibly, we can review Blue Grit again now that it has come out in paper back and now that she's using the terms "reddest of red" to describe some states -- a term that is totally against her book. But that's Laura Flanders, a little huckster who changes her tune based on her mood.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
February 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the Iraqi refugee crisis gets little attention, Super Duper Tuesday takes place, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Bruce Elder (Sydney Morning Herald via The Canberra Times) reviews Joshua Key's book The Deserter's Tale (written with Lawrence Hill) and notes, "Most nights on SBS's NewsHour With Jim Lehrer there's a silent roll call of American soldiers killed in Iraq and Afghanistan. They are, with few exceptions, teenagers or young men in their twenties. Who are these casualties of war? What is their background?" and concludes, "This is the raw, front-line story of America at war and it makes ugly, deeply disturbing but essential reading. Key's final line -- 'I owe one apology and one apology only, and that is to the people of Iraq' -- neatly sums up the tragedy of the war." Joshua Key recognized what he saw on the ground in Iraq: an illegal war. Today, he and his family lives in Canada and are among the ones hoping to be granted safe harbor status. Stuart Netbydrou Oja Jay (The Dominion) reviews the month of January and notes this, "Three hundred supporters of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, the first two war resisters to cross into Canada after refusing to deploy to Iraq with the US military, gathered in Toronto calling upon the Canadian parliament to pass a motion allowing them to remain in Canada. The rally was attended by Liberal foreign affairs critic Bob Rae, as well as Toronto NDP MP Olivia Chow. Similar rallies and actions were held in 11 cities across the country. Days before, a rally of 50 Iraq veterans gathered at the Canadian Embassy in Washington urging the Canadian government to provide sanctuary to all military service personnel looking to escape deployments with the US military. In November the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the cases of Hinzman and Hughey, on the grounds that they had previously been turned down by the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, which considered the illegality of the Iraq war under international law inadmissible."

You can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

IVAW is organizing a March 2008 DC event:

In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.
Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth.
Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan.
Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers.
In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.
Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & Afghanistan

March 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation.
Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." As part of their fundraising efforts for the event, they are holding houseparties and a recent one in Boston featured both IVAW's Liam Madden and the incomprable Howard Zinn as speakers.

Refugee International released a statement declaring, "The number of Iraqi refugees resettled in the United States remained low last month with only 375 Iraqis resettled in January 2008. In response to the latest numbers released today, Refugees International expressed disappointment at the U.S. administration's continual failure to meet its resettlement targets. In September of 2007, the State Department announced its goal of resettling 12,000 Iraqi refugees by the end of the fiscal year. Thus far, the U.S. has only resettled 1,432 Iraqi refugees in FY 2008. In 2007, the U.S. government only resetteled 1,608 Iraqi refugees, despite the fact that the UN Refugee Agency referred 15,477 Iraqis to the U.S." The UNHCR places the number of Iraqis who are refugees at 4.2 million with 2 million displaced externally and 2.2 million displace within Iraq. Last month, the UNHCR's William Spindler noted a study on Iraqi refugees in Syria, "The survey . . . showed that every single person interviewed reported experiencing at least one traumatic event (as defined by the Harvard Trauma Survey) in Iraq, prior to their arrival in Syria. One in five of those registered with UNHCR since January 2007 -- more than 19,000 individuals -- are registered as 'victims of torture and/or violence' in Iraq. . . . Seventy-seven percent of the Iraqi refugees who were interviewed reported being affected by air bombardments and shelling or rocket attacks. Eighty percent reported witnessing a shooting. Sixty-eight percent said they experienced interrogation or harassment by militias or other groups, including receiving death threats, while sixteen percent had been tortured. Seventy-two percent were eye witnesses to a car bombing and seventy-five percent know someone who has been killed." The International Red Cross and Red Crescent states, "In 2008, Iraq is the ICRC's biggest humanitarian operation worldwide, with increased emergency assistance for the civilian population affected by the conflict."

And yet the US State Department's not overly concerned about not meeting their announced goals -- announced when not only were Jordan and Syria embarrassing the US by taking in refugees but so were European countries who were seen as part of some-sort war 'coalition' at one point. Yesterday the State Dept held a press briefing in DC with Homeland Security's Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Iraqi Refugee Issues Lori Scialabba, The State Dept's Deputy Assistant for Consular Affairs Tony Edson, and the Senior Coordinator on Iraqi Refugee Issues Ambassador James Folely. Scialabba vouched for Homeland Security by maintaining, "DHS is committed to working closely with State Department and we have worked closely with State Department to meet the goal of 12,000 admissions. Our role in the process, as Jim described, is to interview and adjudicate the cases, perform certain security checks, not all of them but certain ones, and make sure that the cases get finally approved once all the necessary steps have been completed. We've been doing this on a timely basis in coordination with the other program partners and we'll continue to do so." As Scialabba insisted any hold up or slow-down wasn't the fault of Homeland Security, there was also the issue of numbers which, Scialabba claimed, were 7,700 individuals interviewed by the department out of 17,000 referred. The briefing was a pass-the-buck joke. Bloomberg New's Janine Zacharia attempted to pin down the speakers on general numbers and practices and the best that can said is that the US has set the total number of refugees which is 70,000. The total number of Iraqi refugees the US is stating it will admit is 12,000. The 12,000 is not in addition to the 70,000 (all refugees admitted) but coming out of the 70,000. Scialabba gave this as the qualifications required, "You have to have a well-founded fear of persecution based on one of the five grounds: race, nationality, membership in a particular social group, religion, political opinion. Any number of stories can fit that definition. I mean, if you lost your house because of your political opinion and you can't find anyplace else to live, you don't have anywhere else youc an go, you could be a refugge based on that." Rusch added, quickly, that the refugees are mainly "referred by UNHCR" and "They determine when, in their dealings with individual cases, who are most in need of this particular durable solution, resettlement in a third country." CNN's Elise Labott pressed the State Dept on their previous promise to settle 7,000 last year and Foley stated it didn't happen. Labott pointed out that, yes, it did ("Ellen Sauerbrey stood up -- stood in front of all of us and said the U.S. hopes to resettle 7,000 this year.") while Foley then hid behind "I came on board in September". That's the kind of press briefing it was -- reporters asking for accountability and a lot of refusal to answer questions by the designated spokespeople. But Foley says he can be held to 12,000 for this year.

This is not a new problem. In January of 2007,
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) was reporting on a Senate hearing on this issue and the reality is nothing's been accomplished since that hearing and the Senate needs to demand a hearing to determine what's going on in the State Dept. AP notes that the US needs to "accept 10,568 Iraqi refugees in the next eight months if it is to reach 12,00 the number the administration has pledged to resettle in the current budget year, which began in October 2007 and runs until Sept. 30." While Congress is figuring out the State Dept's problem with refugees, they might also try to figure out why the Pentagon needs, according to the White House, $515.4 billion for fiscal year 2009 as Josh White (Washington Post) reported today.

In Iraq today,
CNN reports that the Iraqi flag "flew for the first time in Baghdad". It's not the "new" flag so much as it's the latest one, the latest temporary one. As Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) observed last month, "The latest version of the Iraq flag . . . is temporary . . . another band-aid solution. The constitution requires that the parliament pass a new law to pick a flag for Iraq and a national anthem. . . . In technical terms Iraq still has no flag and no anthem. Little has been decided that lasts in Iraq." AFP notes, "In northern Iraq, the autonomous Kurdish minority rarely allows the Iraqi flag to fly over official buildings, perferring its own national banner with its golden sunburst motif. But for many Arabs in the rest of Iraq, the traditional national banner, with its stars, had become a rallying point for an often divided people in the difficult and violent years since the US invasion. . . . So far, the new banner can only be seen over the prime minister's office." They also note that this is the second "new" flag for Iraq since the illegal war started.

Meanwhile the theft of Iraqi oil hits a snag.
Roula Khalaf and Dino Mahtani (Financial Times of London) report that the central (puppet) government in Baghdad is telling Big Oil to come on board, don't worry about the lack of oil laws and, "In a sign that the oil law the US has been pressing for is unlikely to be agreed by parliament any time soon, Hussain Shahristani, Iraq's oil minister, said in an interview with the Financial Times that Iraq was now determined to push ahead with plans to raise production from a current 2.5 m barrels per day to 6M bpd in five years." This comes as Reuters reports that Hussain al-Shahristani also declared today that the bpd on Iraqi oil was "the highest since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003". al-Shahristani was in London for the big meet up with Big Oil. Dow Jones reports, "Iraqi oil officials and oil company executives were greeted by demonstrators in London Tuesday protesting long-term oil contracts being signed in Iraq, which they say are handing control of the country's oil wealth to private foreign enterprise." Protestor Greg Muttitt is quoted as stating, "They give control of Iraq's oil to multinationals for 20-30 years. It's like giving my house to a decorator and renting a room back from him." Also speaking in London today was BP PLC's chief exec Tony Hayward who stated that BP is registered and ready to go into Iraq. Yesterday, Robin Pagnamenta (Times of London) reported that a deal was in the works where "ExxonMobil, Chevron, ConocoPhillips and Shell would be paid in oil rather than cash to help develop the fields."

Following yesterday's reports that the
US military had stated they accidentally killed 9 Iraqi civilians, Reuters writes today of the admission by US command that US forces "killed an innocent woman during a raid in Iraq on Tuesday".

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that left two people wounded while a bombing in Al Anbar Province claimed the lives of 3 'Awakening' Council members and left five more wounded.. Reuters notes a Baghdad bombing near an internet cafe claimed the lives of 1 "member of a neighborhood police unit and a civilian".


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed crash in Misan led to three Iraqi military officers being shot dead. Reuters notes that US forces in Tirkit state that they accidentally killed 2 men and one woman while wounding a young girl. Al Bawaba reports that the toll was higher and that the men were father and son and that there were two young girls wounded and one of them has alreday died. Al Bawaba reports a roadside bombing outside Taji in which a bomber killed himself and 8 people who were members of the 'Awakening' council.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Meanwhile, Michael Holden and Paul Tait (Reuters) report that a mass grave with at least 50 corpses was discovered today outside of Baghdad

Turning to US political campaigns.
Mike Gravel is running for the Democratic Party nomination for president. Tomorrow he will be on the UC Berkeley campus, at the IGS Library (Moses Hall) speaking from five to six p.m. Today he will also be in Berkley for an open house sponsored by World Can't Wait at Spud's Pizza, 3290 Adeline. Gravel's Deputy Campaign Manager Jonathan Kraus explains at American Chronicle, "He would cut the defense budget by 60%, and give us a stronger, more efficient military. He would institute a carbon tax right at the source (the lump of coal and barrel of oil), which would filter through the system and shift our infrastructure to carbon-free, zero-emissions technology very rapidly. He has said 'we can get off of gasoline in 5 years, and off of carbon in 10.' He has accurately pointed out that in 1940, the United States had no military capacity, and within 3 years, they were producing a Liberty Ship every day. This was over 60 years ago." Gravel is the only Democratic in the race calling for an immediate withdrawal of US troops from Iraq -- and not a withdraw of only "combat" troops: "Senator Gravel's position on Iraq remains clear and consistent to commence an immediate and orderly withdrawal of all U.S. troops that will have them home within 120 days. The sooner U.S. troops are withdrawn, the sooner we can pursue aggressive diplomacy to bring an end to the civil war that currently consumes Iraq. Senator Gravel seeks to work with neighboring countries to lead a collective effort to bring peace to Iraq. One of the leading opponents of the Vietnam War, Senator Gravel was one of the first current or former elected officials to publicly oppose the planned invasion of Iraq in 2002. He appeared on MSNBC prior to the invasion insisting that intelligence showed that there were indeed no weapons of mass destruction, that Iraq posed no threat to the United States and that invading Iraq was against America's national interests and would result in a disaster of epic proportions for both the Unitd States and the Iraqi people. . . . As President, Senator Gravel will call for a U.S. corporate withdrawal from Iraq and hand over reconstruction contracts to Iraqi businesses which will empower Iraqi nationals to reconstruct their own country."

At The Wilder Side, it's noted, "I think most Americans are tired of the war. I know I am passionately against it. We may disagree on who is exactly the best peace candidate, or what is exactly the best strategy. But, whichever candidate or strategy you believe in, please keep peace at the forefront of your thinking tomorrow. Peace is the biggie. It is the issue that the corporate parties want us to forget." Kimberly Wilder is a Green and the Green Party's candidates vary. We'll start with the Illinois Green Party. Kent Mesplay, Cynthia McKinney and Howie Hawkins as a stand in for Ralph Nader. (Jared Ball has dropped out the race.) That's one of five states with a Green primary today. The Green Party notes that the others are Arkansas where McKinney, Mesplay and Kat Swift are running; California where Jesse Johnson, McKinney, Mesplay, Nader and Swift are running and Massachusetts where McKinney, Mesplay, Swift and Nader are still in the race -- Hawkins is a placeholder for Nader on those ballots. Streaming interview with McKinney here. Sarah Terry-Cobo (Contra Costa Times) spoke with a number of voters including James Achee who "said he will most likely vote for Ralph Nader, but was not aware that Cynthia McKinney . . . was on the Green ballot." Laura Norton (The Press Democrat) spoke to some voters in California -- one of whom was Coral Becker who stated, "I wanted to stay green and make a point. I voted for Ralph Nader." Kevin Zeese (writing at Al Jazeera Magazine), notes, of voters attempting to figure out who is the 'peace vote,' "Others, will look to the Green Party which has two strong peace candidates in Ralph Nader and former congresswoman Cynthia McKinney or other third parties like the Libertarians and Constitution Parties which also are running anti-war candidates. Nader has questioned whether Obama has the backbone to stand up to the special interests on the issue of militarism and points out how Bush justified the war based on Clinton policies, McKinney seeks to lead a 'peace slate' to end the war and, like Nader, opposes the bloated military and intelligence budgets."

Meanwhile out lesbian Laura Flanders writes at The Nation (no link to trash), "I wish I felt what Robin Morgan feels. 'Our President Ourselves!' she cheers, in a rousing pitch for Hillary Clinton." Laura, we all just wish you'd have the self-respect to call out the homophobia by the Barack Obama campaign instead of writing that ridiculous "please, Bambi, break with Richard Daley" whimper. It was stupid because Michelle Obama was assistant to who? Richard Daley, that's right. Information is power and lack of it is weakness -- thereby explaining RadioNation with Laura Flanders (again, no links to trash). It was disgusting because when a gay woman won't call out homophobia, what will she call out? Nothing.

Flanders likes to talk about "people power" and used to enjoy rocking out to Patti Smith's "People Have the Power" but Laura herself has none because she refused to call out of homophobia. It was more important to her to 'fit in' and be 'one of the gang' than it was to stand up for justice, to stand up for what was right. If you haven't already, be sure to read Marcia's "
Laura Flanders the self-hating, disrespecting lesbian." Apparently having a girl-crush on Michelle Obama, Laura Flanders concludes, "Today, with fingers crossed, I'm voting for Barack and Michelle Obama. At least we can call their community organizers' bluff." What? Flanders has never called Barack or Michelle out on anything. Homophobia was okay with little Laura when it was blasted onstage in South Carolina. Not a peep. Can't speak up when it matters then maybe you shouldn't have a voice.

But this is the woman who wanted to get up in arms that Obama's campaign was using a song by a child molestor (yes, that was over a year ago, she fell in line because she knows who signs her checks and keeps her on air) but had no problem booking Pig-Boy who was twice busted for online predatory activities with younger women. It's a funny kind of 'strength,' a temporary one. She's weak. And that may be the worst we can say about someone who's tried to self-present as strong.

She might try to argue that she's applauded the 'movement' and not the candidate previously. When the 'movement' utilizes homophobia, applauding it and refusing to call it out makes Flanders the Andrew Sullivan of the 'left.' She was once a strong voice. The Nation cut her great radio program down from six hours a week to one. It took Flanders to cut herself down from greatness which she has. And all these people using their 'name' and 'image' this campaign cycle don't seem aware of the damage they've done to themselves. These things will not be forgotten, regardless of today's outcome. They have trashed their own nests and, for chuckles, picture ten years on down the line when it's, "Ms. Flanders, clean up an aisle twelve." Hopefully, someone other than Bambi -- and of course Flanders herself -- will have stood up for the rights of LGBT so she'll have some work place protections left.

Robin Morgan, the one and only Robin Morgan, puts it into perpsective, puts it on the table, in "Goodbye To All That (#2)" (Women's Media Center) and that's because it takes a woman not afraid to be called a woman -- or any of the slurs on women -- to speak the truth. A woman who hides, who says, "I'm gay but if I call out Bambi's homophobia they might cancel my radio show and no one listens to it anymore and I can't get a real job so I have to make nice . . ." can't speak for any woman because she can't even speak for herself. Morgan's never been a Flanders. Morgan explains the double standard in place that exists to knock down a female candidate no matter what.

-- Young political Kennedys -- Kathleen, Kerry, and Bobby Jr. -- all endorsed Hillary. Senator Ted, age 76, endorsed Obama. If the situation were reversed, pundits would snort "See? Ted and establishment types back her, but the forward-looking generation backs him." (Personally, I'm unimpressed with Caroline's longing for the Return of the Fathers. Unlike the rest of the world, Americans have short memories. Me, I still recall Marilyn Monroe's suicide and a dead girl named Mary Jo Kopechne in Chappaquiddick.)
[. . .]
Goodbye to pretending the black community is entirely male and all women are white . . .
Surprise! Women exist in all opinions, pigmentations, ethnicities, abilities, sexual preferences, and ages -- not only African American and European American but Latina and Native American, Asian American and Pacific Islanders, Arab American and -- hey, every group, because a group wouldn't exist if we hadn't given birth to it. A few non-racist countries may exist -- but sexism is everywhere. No matter how many ways a woman breaks free from other discriminiations, she remains a female human being in a world still so patriarchal that it's the "norm."
[. . .]
Goodby to some women letting history pass by while wringing their hands, because Hillary isn't as "likeable" as they've been warned they must be, or because she didn't leave him, couldn't "control" him, kept her family together and raised a smart, sane daughter. (Think of the blame if Chelsea had ever acted in the alcoholic, neurotic manner of the Bush twins!) Godbye to some women pouting because she didn't bake cookies or she did, sniping because she learned the rules and then bent or broke them. Grow the hell up. She is not running for Ms.-perfect-pure-queen-icon of the feminist movement. She's running to be president of the United States.
[. . .]
Goodbye to some young women eager to win male approval by showing they're not feminists (at least not the kind who actually threaten the status quo), who can't indentify with a woman candidate because she is unafraid of eeueweeeu yucky power, who fear their boyfriends might look at them funny if they say something good about her. Goodbye to women of any age again feeling unworthy, sulking "what if she's not electable?" or "maybe it's post-feminism and whooosh we're already free." Let a statement by the magnificent Harriet Tubman stand as reply. When asked how she managed to save hundreds of enslaved African Americans via the Underground Railroad during the Civil War, she replied bitterly, "I could have saved thousands -- if only I'd been able to convince them they were slaves."
I'd rather say a joyful Hello to all the glorious young women who do identify with Hillary and all the brave, smart men -- of all ethnicities and age -- who get that it's in their self-interest, too. She's better qualified. (D'uh.) She's a high-profile candidate with an enormous grasp of foreign- and domestic-policy nuance, dedication to detail, ability to absorb staggering insult and personal pain while retaining dignity, resolve, even humor, and keep on keeping on. (Also, yes, dammit, let's hear it for her connections and funding and party-building background, too. Obama was awfully glad about those when she raised dough and campaigned for him to get to the Senate in the first place.)
I'd rather look foward to what a good president he might make in eight years, when his vision and spirit are seasoned by practical know-how -- and he'll be all of 54. Meanwhile, goodbye to turning him into a shining knight when actually he's an astute, smooth pol with speechwriters who've worked with the Kennedys' own speechwriter-courtier Ted Sorenson. If it's only about ringing rhetoric, let speechwriters run. But isn't it about getting the policies we want enacted?

That's a lengthy excerpt but not even
the entire piece. Take a moment to grasp how much the Womens Media Center is needed. It's not going to be cross-posted at Common Dreams -- just, as Jess pointed out, they refused to cross-post Gloria Steinem's "Women Are Never Front-Runners" but were happy to post a 'rebuttal.'

Jess: What is known is that Common Dreams posted an idiot's response to Gloria Steinem but failed to have posted, before or since, Gloria Steinem's column "
Women Are Never Front-Runners." And for anyone trying to give Common Dreams a pass on that by saying, "It was a New York Times column," Common Dreams regularly reposts NYT columns and editorials in full with their "fair use" tag at the end. They made a decision on Tuesday, when the column ran, not to post it. On Thursday, they made a decision to post a Bambi's groupies' trashing of Gloria Steinem.

What the election cycle has demonstrated on the Democratic side is how much women are still devalued and hated. Don't kid that it's not so. Like Laura Flanders has no problem bringing the Pig (twice busted for attempting to set up sex with an underage female online) onto her radio program, Common Dreams has no problem posting him. They've got him up today. But they didn't post Steinem and they didn't post Morgan. With Pig, we're supposed to overlook the busts. It's more important that his 'voice' be heard than that he's a predator and, thing is, women know that argument because we've heard it over and over, decade after decade. Gender is the greatest barrier. All women are told to wait -- over and over. Ask Flanders why she was so offended about Gary Glitter but thought nothing of repeatedly booking Pig on her program? Ask her to explain that. Ask Amy Goodman to. Ask Katrina vanden Heuvel why she, the mother of a teenage daughter, thinks his rambles are worth carrying at The Nation? Big media had the sense to wash their hands of him when the arrests came out. Not little media. Because you've got a lot of queen bees who won't use their voices, they don't want to look 'bitchy' or 'assertive' or 'demanding.' How's that working out for you?

So let's not pretend that the alleged "Progressive Community" is at all interested in women. They're not. If women say what they want to hear, they can't wait to post. Rosa Brooks, for instance, says exactly what Common Dreams wants and they post her like crazy. But let a woman write from a position of self-respect and not rush to play the boys' game and suddenly there is just silence. Go to their "about" section and you'll see praise and shout outs . . . from man after man . . . plus self-loathing Flanders. Or go to the stench of all slime, BuzzFlash, where bashing women is the norm and you'll find one attack on Hillary after another and the only authors are women who praise Bambi -- many described as 'feminist' which is a shock to those of us who are feminists.

On the Democratic side this election has demonstrated that Little Media isn't objective, isn't interested in a full exchange, isn't interested in truth. Women were tossed under the bus, the bi and multi-racial community was tossed under the bus, the LGBT community was tossed under the bus, the Palestinian people were tossed under the bus . . . And a whole lot more. Little Media signed up to do p.r. for Bambi and wanted to pass it off as journalism. In the process, they twisted every fact possible to villify Hillary for . . . being so similar in positions to Obama. Then they want to show up and argue about the 'movement' -- the one their spin created -- and claim it's proof of something. It's proof of nothing.

We're including a photo. It's at
Larry Johnson's No Quarter. Yesterday, Amy Goodman was schilling for Bambi again in the headlines and it was rah-rah-rah, people turn out! Here's a photo of the Los Angeles speech -- not the tight shot Goodman offered on the TV version of her program

Oops! The Obama and Orpah Show didn't exactly pack them in, did it? UCLA. Isn't that a 'youth' paradise? But it was billed as rah-rah, pack 'em in. Those lies should remind you of another photo-op -- the pulling down of Saddam's statue in Baghdad which -- in a tight shot -- had tons of cheering Iraqis but -- in a wide shot -- demonstrated there was no crowd. Goodman pointed the first one out, you may remember, and called it out. The second? Oh, cookie, journalistic standards get tossed aside for the Bambi standard.