Saturday, July 19, 2008

Patty Murray, Hillary Clinton, Ralph Nader

"Senators Murray and Clinton Call On HHS To Stop Plans To Obstruct Family Planning Services" (Patty Murray and Hillary Clinton):
For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
(Washington, DC) – U.S. Senators Patty Murray and Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY) today called on the Secretary of Health and Human Services to stop misguided plans to put in place new obstacles for women accessing family planning services. This proposed rule change is a poorly-veiled attempt to roll-back women's health care options before the current Administration leaves office.
In a letter to Secretary Michael Leavitt, Senators Clinton and Murray underscored that new planned regulations will increase barriers to obtaining health care services, while weakening health care providers’ ability to obtain funding and provide services.
“It is outrageous that the Bush administration is once again putting ideology over women’s health. Instead of undercutting access to contraception and family planning services, the Bush Administration should put prevention first,” said Senator Clinton.
"On the first day of his administration, the President reinstated the Mexico City global gag clause, a harsh, anti-family planning policy that hurt the world's poorest women and children. Now, on his way out the door it appears that he is trying to limit women's health care options here at home," Murray said. "This misguided attempt to restrict health care services and limit access to contraceptives defeats our common goal of reducing the number of abortions in this country."
Senators Murray and Clinton have worked tirelessly to stop efforts by the Bush Administration to put in place ideological barriers to contraception. Senators Murray and Clinton successfully led the fight to secure an administration decision on the over-the-counter sale of Plan B emergency contraception after more than three years of Administration delay.
The text of the Senators' letter follows:
Secretary Michael O. LeavittThe U.S. Department of Health and Human Services200 Independence Avenue, S.W.Washington, D.C. 20201
Dear Mr. Secretary:
It has come to our attention that the Department of Health and Human Services may be preparing draft regulations that would create new obstacles for women seeking contraceptive services.One of the most troubling aspects of the proposed rules is the overly-broad definition of “abortion.” This definition would allow health-care corporations or individuals to classify many common forms of contraception – including the birth control pill, emergency contraception and IUDs – “abortions” and therefore to refuse to provide contraception to women who need it.
As a consequence, these draft regulations could disrupt state laws securing women's access to birth control. They could jeopardize federal programs like Medicaid and Title X that provide family-planning services to millions of women. They could even undermine state laws that ensure survivors of sexual assault and rape receive emergency contraception in hospital emergency rooms.
We strongly urge you to reconsider these regulations before they are released. We are extremely concerned by this proposal’s potential to affect millions of women’s reproductive health.
Thank you for your attention to this matter.
Sincerely yours,
Senator Patty Murray Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-NY)

You know, if Hillary was the nominee, she'd still be addressing this issue. That's because she doesn't need for-show travel to make herself look ready for the job. She is ready for the job. I'm reminded of the line Debra Winger says in Black Widow, "Thing is, this isn't over."

It really isn't. Barack's struggling in the polls. He's caving everytime you turn around.

Hillary's doing what she always does, rolling up her sleeves and getting down to work. It would have been great to have someone like that in the White House.

Oh well, maybe Barack will pick a good babysitter. I bet Dick Cheney's available or willing to recommend someone.

But it's probably not a good idea, when you've pissed off a number of voters by using sexism in the primary over and over, to skip being present for this issue.

"Nader makes presidential ballot in Nevada" (Las Vegan Sun):

Matt Griffin, deputy secretary of state for elections, said Friday that he has received information from the counties that Nader has nearly 5,000 signatures of registered voters on a petition to qualify for the presidential ballot. He said about 4,700 are needed to qualify for the ballot.
Nader supporters said they had 12,000 signatures. Griffin said he should receive the official numbers next week.
Nader hopes to be on the presidential ballot in 45 states by Sept. 20.
His vice presidential candidate is Matt Gonzalez, and his Nevada electors are Richard Murakami and Frank Kunovic, both of Las Vegas, and Michele Patterson, Miranda Humphrey and Thomas Farrell, all of Reno.

The Ralph Nader campaign is another worker campaign. It's not flash and sizzle. It's not hype and empty slogans. I see my support for Nader as support for someone who shares most of my beliefs and for someone who wants to work. I don't see Ralph Nader needing a 'nanny' for a vice-president. He chose someone qualified, Matt Gonzalez, who can work on issues. Barack's going to need a Cheney. A Scary Poppins. He tires so easily. Especially for such a young man.

We have had seven years of immaturity in the White House. I won't vote for four more.

Nader's making strides and his campaign is progressing. In a world with a real independent media, they'd do being cartwheels. But they can find no happiness in Ralph's success. They can only see a threat.

45 states is his goal and I think he's going to reach it. It is the true grassroots campaign. It's the one that those who support real change can get on board with.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, July 18, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, who is harrassing IVAW co-chair Adam Kokesh, the White House issues a statement the State Dept doesn't want to touch, the US military announces another death, and more.

Starting with war resistance -- because Amy Goodman never can -- this was a busy week. Monday US war resister in Canada Robin Long was the subject of deportation of hearing. Which he lost. (Mainly because Judge Anne Mctavish doesn't know her job.) He was deported Tuesday from Canada with the Canadian government keeping everything hush-hush to try to clamp down on public shows of support for Robin. On Wednesday, US war resister James Burmeister faced a court-martial: "
The court-martial of the kill-team whistle blower." He was busted in rank, given six months of time and stripped of his rights and benefits. The latter is especially shocking when you realize he has Traumatic Brain Injury and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. The government gladly shipped him to a war zone where he was injured and then they spat him this week by refusing to pay for the injuries their illegal war caused James -- life-long injuries. Amy Goodman (Democracy Sometimes!) continued the silence she's long maintained on James -- she never mentioned his name. James is the one who blew the whistle on the kill teams -- groups of US soldiers assigned to leave US property (such as cameras) out in the open in Iraq while snipers then wait for an unsuspecting Iraqi to touch them at which point, living up to the team name, they kill the Iraqis. It was big news and and Mark Larabee (The Oregonian) broke the news domestically July 16, 2007. That wasn't something to amplify. Apparently no one in Panhandle Media had slept with James or wanted to. If so, we could have seen the kind of embarrassing moment that had the 'left' recruiting talk show hosts not all that long ago. Call it The Critic and the Young Chippie or -- as they prepared to play it -- The Greatest All Time Threat to Democracy. Nothing gets a fire burning for our 'fearless' 'leaders' as much as the thought that one of their old 'lions' might finally get laid. So James, who was actual news, got ignored in 2007 and, if you missed it, got ignored Wednesday, Thursday and today. Free Speech isn't worth a damn when it's also Meaningless Speech -- and didn't so many prove just how meaningless they could be.

AP (Real Media) filed a better version of their earlier story, one that noted, "He said he was disturbed by a military tactic of planting equipment to lure Iraqis that American snipers could then kill. Burmeister said he complained to superior officers that the snipers couldn't know for sure whether the people they shot were actually insurgents, or presented any threat to U.S. forces." The Oregonian did a brief that noted, "Burmeister said he complained to superior officers that the snipers couldn't know for sure whether the people they shot were actually insurgents or presented any threat to U.S. forces. Eventually, the soldier from Cheshire, near Eugene, was injured by a roadside bomb and sent to Germany to recuperate. While there, he left his unit and went to Canada, where he campaigned against the use of the small kill teams." Kill teams. War crimes. But Panhandle Media had something else to cover. While whining about the silence from Real Media on some stories, they censored themselves. Call it Learned Pathetic. The only maturity in the story came from James himself. Ten months ago, Mina Al-Oraibi (Asharq Alawsat) quoted the then-in-Canada James Burmeister stating he did not regret self-checking out, "Because I feel it's the right thing to do -- even if I face prison or a dishonorable discharge from the army. I can't go back to the killing."

On Robin Long,
Stefanie Fisher (Party for Socialsim and Liberation) provides a run-through, "On July 15, Robin Long became the first Iraq war resister to be deported from Canada back to the United States. In 2005, Long went to Canada because he would not fight in an 'illegal war of aggression.' Like thousands of young recruits, Long discovered that the Iraq war was based on lies only after he had joined the military. The court denied Long sanctuary based on a so-called 'lack of evidence' that he would face harsh treatment if he were sent back to the United States. The court was fully aware that Long would be unjustly tried as a deserter, could face prison time and be deployed to Iraq against his will. As an example to others, on July 16, James Burmeister, a resister who turned himself over to the U.S. government was sentenced to 9 months in jail and dishonorably discharged. Protests in the U.S. and Canada have demanded sanctuary for Iraq war resisters. Two-thirds of Canadians believe that war resisters should be allowed to stay in Canada." Jeremy Deutsch (Kamloops This Week) reports on NDP's Michael Crawford's reaction to the deportation and quoted him stating, "We have a government in Canada hell-bent on pleasing the American administration. . . . If we believe it's an illegal war, why should we not give some form of sancturary to people who are refusing to fight that war?" This follows NDP's Bill Siksay's earlier statements this week, prior to the deportation of Robin, "Stockwell Day, Diane Finley and Stephen Harper should respect the will of Parliament and the Canadian people and stop this deportation immediately. The House of Commons has passed a motion supporting a special programme that would allow conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the war in Iraq to remain in Canada. The government must respect this action by the House and stop deportation action against Robin Long and other Iraq war resisters. The Canadian government and the Canadian people do not support George Bush's illegal war in Iraq. We must have the courage of those convictions and back them up by ensuring that Americans who take a stand against that war receive a welcome in Canada. Robin Long must be allowed to stay." Meanwhile Keith Jones (WSWS) examines the situation and concludes:

As for the Canadian government, in 2005 when the Liberals held office, it took the highly unusual step of intervening at [Jeremy] Hinzman's refugee hearing--the first for an Iraq war resister--to successfully urge the Immigration and Refugee Board to exclude any arguments concerning the legality of the US's invasion of Iraq. The pretext invoked by the government was that only the International Court of Justice at the Hague has the authority and jurisdiction to adjudicate on the legality of a war. (See
"Canada denies asylum to US soldier who refused to serve in Iraq")
During the Vietnam War more than 50,000 US draft-dodgers and "deserters" found refuge in Canada. Today, however, the Canadian judiciary, immigration board, and government are determined to ensure that the country not become a safe haven for those in the US military who refuse to be party to the US's wars of aggression in Iraq and Afghanistan.
This is not just because Canada's elite does not want to rile the Bush administration and US military. The Canadian ruling class is determined to jettison the myth of Canada as a peace-keeping nation--a myth closely bound up with Pearson and Trudeau Liberal governments' attitude toward the Vietnam War and decision to allow Vietnam war resisters to apply for landed immigrant status in Canada--because they see it as cutting across their efforts to revive Canadian militarism and use the Canadian Armed Forces (CAF) as a means to assert their predatory interests on the world stage.

Canadian Christianity notes: "Christian Peacemaker Teams (CPT) Canada held a public prayer vigil July 10 on behalf of Robin Long, a US war resister who was scheduled to be deported from Canada July 15. Long joined the US military in 2003, but became disillusioned with the US war in Iraq, deserted and fled to Canada in 2005. He applied for refugee status in 2006, but his final court appeal was turned down July 14. There are about 200 US resisters of the Iraq War currently in Canada. The CPT Canada vigil, which took place in Winnipeg, drew participants from the 'People's Summit for Faithful Living,' a joint meeting of delegates from Mennonite Church Canada and Mennonite Church USA."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, 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, Jose Vasquez, 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, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

IVAW's co-chair, Adam Kokesh, has been regularly targeted by the US government for speaking out. Wednesday he wrote (Revolutionary Patriot) "The Cops Are Everywhere -- Especially Where I Am." Thursday he posted a video of one encounter. Friday, his report also included a police report (pages of the police report are clickable to make them larger to read) which reveals that one of the people who have been hassling/harassing him is an FBI agent. So what's going on? I have no idea. But Adam has been targeted before and there's no denying that an FBI agent is going out of his way to target Adam now.

Staying on
IVAW, they've posted a copy members of Congress sent to the White House. The letter is signed by House Reps Yvette D. Clarke, John Conyers, Lynn Woosley, Barbara Lee, Jan Schakowsky, Sheila Jackson-Lee, Dennis Kucinich, James McGovern, Pete Stark, Edolphus Towns, Tammy Baldwin, William Jefferson, and Eleanor Holmes Norton. The letter [PDF format warning] reads:

We, the below signed Members of Congress, voice our support for current, present, and future members of the United States Armed Forces who oppose the War in Iraq and who are working to bring it to a speedy and safe conclusion. These brave men and women, who have served our nation so honorably, represent the best aspects of our democratic tradition. While we cannot condone the actions of any service members who translates their personal opposition to the war into a deliberate decision to go Absent Without Leave (AWOL), we offer our most sincere support to every service member affected by the War in Iraq. This war has placed many of armed service members, like Sergeant Matthis Chiroux, in an untenable dilemma. Sgt. Chiroux has served as an active duty service member for the last 5 years -- serving tours of duty in Afghanistan and the Philippines. In July of 2007, having served his country with distinction, the Sergeant was discharged to the Individiual Ready Reserves. As the civil war raging inside Iraq intensified, Sgt. Chiroux was moving on with his life and leaving behind a war with which he disagreed. Unfortunately for the Sergeant, the war's unpopularity has taken a heavy toll on the Army's recruitment efforts. As such, in February of this year, he was recalled to active duty and received his deployment orders for Iraq. We in the Congress oppose this type of forced redeployment, as well as the military's so-called 'stop-loss' policy. As such, we in the Congress reaffirm our support for ending the War in Iraq by all means available to us. We also reaffirm our support for all military members who speak out, advocate, and otherwise support efforts to bring the troops home.

If the letter seems a little weak, let's go to
Howard Zinn who isn't campaigning for any office and, even if he was, could probably still tell the hard truths. From his "Memo to Obama, McCain: No one wins in a war" (Boston Globe):

For someone like myself, who fought in World War II, and since then has protested against war, I must ask: Have our political leaders gone mad? Have they learned nothing from recent history? Have they not learned that no one "wins" in a war, but that hundreds of thousands of humans die, most of them civilians, many of them children?
Did we "win" by going to war in Korea? The result was a stalemate, leaving things as they were before with a dictatorship in South Korea and a dictatorship in North Korea. Still, more than 2 million people - mostly civilians -- died, the United States dropped napalm on children, and 50,000 American soldiers lost their lives.
Did we "win" in Vietnam? We were forced to withdraw, but only after 2 million Vietnamese died, again mostly civilians, again leaving children burned or armless or legless, and 58,000 American soldiers dead.

This morning in Tucson, Arizona, the traveling White House press corps heard from Scott Stanzel, Deputy Press Secretary, regarding the continued treaty negotiations between the White House and its puppet in Iraq, Nouri al-Maliki. Stanzel stated, "And as the statement says, we have reached a point in Iraq where we can have these discussions about continuing to transition more control of the security situation to the Iraqi forces. . . . But these are aspirational goals, not arbitrary time lines based on political expediency. So we want to get to a point where we have sustainable security in the country, and our forces are able to come home and transition into a role there of more overwatch and training." What was Stanzel referring to? This statement issued by the White House Press Secretary:

President Bush and Prime Minister Maliki spoke yesterday in their regularly scheduled secure video conference, about a range of matters including the improving security situation and the performance of Iraqi Security Forces across Iraq, from Basra, to Maysan, Baghdad and Sadr City, and Mosul. The two leaders welcomed the recent visit of Prime Minister Erdogan to Baghdad and the successful visit of Prime Minister Maliki to the UAE. They also discussed ongoing initiatives to follow security gains with Iraqi investment in its people, infrastructure, cities, and towns, which will be aided by a $21 billion supplemental budget now before the Iraqi parliament.
In the context of these improving political, economic, and security conditions, the President and the Prime Minister discussed the ongoing negotiations to establish a normalized bilateral relationship between Iraq and the United States. The leaders agreed on a common way forward to conclude these negotiations as soon as possible, and noted in particular the progress made toward completing a broad strategic framework agreement that will build on the Declaration of Principles signed last November, and include areas of cooperation across many fields, including economics, diplomacy, health, culture, education, and security.
In the area of security cooperation, the President and the Prime Minister agreed that improving conditions should allow for the agreements now under negotiation to include a general time horizon for meeting aspirational goals -- such as the resumption of Iraqi security control in their cities and provinces and the further reduction of U.S. combat forces from Iraq. The President and Prime Minister agreed that the goals would be based on continued improving conditions on the ground and not an arbitrary date for withdrawal. The two leaders welcomed in this regard the return of the final surge brigade to the United States this month, and the ongoing transition from a primary combat role for U.S. forces to an overwatch role, which focuses on training and advising Iraqi forces, and conducting counter-terror operations in support of those forces.
This transition and the subsequent reduction in U.S. forces from Iraq is a testament to the improving capacity of Iraq's Security Forces and the success of joint operations that were initiated under the new strategy put in place by the President and the Prime Minister in January 2007.

What's it mean? Nothing.
BBC may come closest to that reality when they note: "The BBC's Adam Brookes in Washington says the announcement is designed to encourage the idea that US troops are coming home, without committing to any dates." In which case, the hope would be to lull the American people into a sense that the illegal war is drawing to a close, so everybody calm down. Who is 'everybody'? Our pathetic 'peace' organizations who are focused on Iran and have forgotten Iraq? Roger Runningen and Ken Fireman (Bloomberg News) note that "White House spokesman, Gordon Johndroe, said the new statement doesn't reflect a shift in the U.S. position." At the State Dept today, spokesperson Sean McCormack attempted to play dumb. Responding to questions about the discussions between the puppet and the White House, McCormak first declared, "I think the -- well, the White House issued a statement about this." The next question was answered with, "And they -- the Iraqis -- also put out language." And then, "What am I going to add to the statement that has been issued?"

It's all very Nixonian, this 'plan' that no one can know about but everyone should know that peace is just around the corner.
It echoes US Senator John McCain (presumptive GOP presidential nominee) claiming yesterday that the Iraq War could now be considered a 'win.' And, as with Nixon and his secret 'peace plan,' no one appears eager to probe McCain to explain what happens after a 'win'? Mitt Romney took to NBC's Today show this morning to speak vaugely of John McCain's 'goals' to end the illegal war to Matt Lauer but Matt was more interested in cracking resume jokes and asking about polls. Didn't even appear to note Romney's "sweet talk" jab at Barack ("I think in the final analysis that sweet talk is going to give into straight talk."). Maybe because Matt Lauer was too busy laying on the "sweet talk" ("Can I just recite your resume here?").

James Risen (New York Times) reports that KBR's electrical work is even worse than thought -- and this was with it thought that only 13 US service members had died from being electrocuted in the showers due to cheap and shoddy work -- with people receiving daily shocks and Risen notes, "During just one six-month period -- August 2006 through January 2007 -- at least 283 electrical fires destroyed or damaged American military facilities in Iraq, including the military's largest dining hall in the country, documents obtained by The New York Times show. Two soldiers died in an electrical fire at their base near Tikrit in 2006, the records note, while another was injured while jumping from a burning guard tower in May 2007." Meanwhile Hurriyet reports that northern Iraq was bombed today by Turkish warplanes.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Nineveh Province car bombing that killed the driver and 3 members of the Iraqi military with seven more left wounded, an apparent assassination attempt on Laith Salih in Diyala Province -- Salih ("Awakening" Council) wasn't wounded but his brother was.


Reuters drops back to Thursday to note 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul with three more injured.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Monsters and Critics reports, " The Voices of Iraq (VOI) news agency quoted a statement by the US Department of Defense saying a US soldier died of injuries after a car accident in Nineveh's capital some 400 kilometres north of Baghdad."

"Decades ago it was full of victories in the sixties and seventies," said
Ralph Nader when asked about the changes in consumer advocacy. "Full of victories. You know, regulated the lack of safety in motor vehicles, flamable fabrics, Product Safety Commission, all kinds of -- going after usary interest rates for the poor and many other pieces of legislation. But now it's purely defensive. It's trying to hold the gains of the sixties and seventies and that's become a losing fight because the Democrats are not going after the Republicans on this issue, even in this campaign. The Republicans are terrible on consumer protection and the Democrats are not fighting back." Hold the line? You could apply the comments to reproductive rights (except Barack's now attacked them with his demeaning of Doe v. ). Nader was speaking to John Bachir and about the 2004 campaign (video here). But what about the consumer aspect? Yesterday the US Food and Drug Administration issued an announcement noting: "FDA is updating its warning to consumers nationwide concerning the outbreak of Salmonella serotype Saintpaul. As of today, FDA officials believe that consumers may enjoy all types of fresh tomatoes available on the domestic market, without concern of becoming infected with Salmonella Saintpaul. The agency is removing the warning that has been in place since June 7, which states that consumers should avoid certain types of fresh tomatoes due to a potential connection to the Salmonella Saintpaul outbreak. Consumers may resume enjoying any type of fresh tomato, including raw red plum, raw red Roma, and raw red round tomatoes. While we are changing our consumer guidance about tomatoes, we reiterate our guidance to consumers that those in vulnerable populations (infants, the elderly, and immune-compromised people) should avoid eating jalapeno and serrano peppers as the investigation continues." In what world is that acceptable? For those who remember the earlier e-coli outbreak in spinach, in March of this year Consumer Reports' blog noted "a report recently released by the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform called 'FDA and Fresh Spinach Safety.'
The findings paint a most unappetizing picture of food safety and once again underscore the need to give the Food and Drug Administration more resources to oversee the safety of the nation's food supply. The committee's investigation was prompted by the
September 2006 outbreak of E. coli 0157:H7 that caused hundreds of reported injuries and several deaths—an outbreak that was ultimately traced to packaged fresh spinach. So where is the House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform? June 7th was when the FDA issued their warning on tomatoes. A working Congress, a working committee would have called for public hearings immediately. But apparently the public safety takes backseat to showboating for elections so everyone has to wait until the end of July for any hearings. Jim Downing (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that "Americans have continued to get sick -- at a rate of about 20 people per day -- even after" the FDA issued their alert, even after they studied the spinach outbreak. US House Rep Diana DeGette issued a statement yesterday: "It is absolutely outrageous that we are 90 days into the salmonella outbreak and the FDA and CDC still cannot determine the source of contamination. Currently, over 1200 cases of salmonella have been reported, hundreds have been hospitalized, while the outbreak has affected 41 states, including Washington, DC and even Canada. The salmonella outbreak continues to spread, with nearly 30 cases a day, because we do not have a national, comprehensive food traceability system that would quickly track our foods from the field to the fork. . . . Now the FDA is saying that tomatoes are safe, but only because they have a short shelf life. We still don't know the source of the contamination and that is inexcusable." And it's inexcusable that Congress has done nothing but issue press statements while this has taken place. Stephen J. Hedges (Chicago Tribune) quotes a letter Senator Tom Harkin sent to Michael Leavitt, Secretary of Health and Human Services, "It seems highly unlikely that tomatoes harvested in April would still be consumed fresh by consumers in late June." And it seems highly unlikely that an effective Congress 'addresses' this issue by sending letters instead of immediately calling hearings.

On a possibly related note, Bill Moyers and Michael Winship (PBS'
Bill Moyers Journal ) point out:

But we also get into these terrible dilemmas -- where the big guys step all over everyone else and the victims are required to pay the hospital bills -- because we refuse to recognize the connection between money and politics. This is the great denial in democracy that may ultimately mean our ruin. We just don't seem able to see or accept the fact that money drives policy. It's no wonder that Congress and the White House have been looking the other way as the predators picked the pockets of unsuspecting debtors. Mega banking and investment firms have been some of the biggest providers of the cash vital to keeping incumbents in office. There isn't much appetite for biting -- or regulating -- the manicured hand that feeds them. Guess who gave the most money to candidates in this 2007-08 federal election cycle? That's right, the financial services and real estate industries. They stuffed nearly $250 million dollars into the candidate coffers. The about-to-be-bailed-out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac together are responsible for about half the country's $12 trillion mortgage debt. Lisa Lerer of reports that over the past decade, the two financial giants with the down home names have spent nearly $200 million on campaign contributions and lobbying. According to Lerer, "They've stacked their payrolls with top Washington power brokers of all political stripes, including Republican John McCain's presidential campaign manager, Rick Davis; Democrat Barack Obama's original vice presidential vetter, Jim Johnson; and scores of others now working for the two rivals for the White House." Last Sunday's New York Times put it as bluntly as anyone ever has: "In Washington, Fannie and Freddie's sprawling lobbying machine hired family and friends of politicians in their efforts to quickly sideline any regulations that might slow their growth or invite greater oversight of their business practices. Indeed, their rapid expansion was, at least in part, the result of such artful lobbying over the years." What a beautiful term: "artful lobbying." It means honest graft.

Team Nader notes:

Last week, we set a fundraising goal of $60,000 by Sunday July 20 midnight - to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in a total of 15 states.
In one week, we have raised $44,000.
Now, we need your help to raise the remaining $16,000 over the next three days - by Sunday midnight.
If only 8,000 of you, our loyal supporters,
donate $2 now, we will meet this goal.
Why is it important to have Ralph Nader on the ballot in November?
Without him, the plight of the Palestinian people will not be an issue in this year's election.
How do we know?
Because Obama/McCain stand with the militaristic right wing AIPAC lobby in the United States.
Nader/Gonzalez stand with the Israeli/Palestinian peace movements.
You will be hearing a lot this weekend about Obama's upcoming trip to the Middle East.
To keep Obama's trip in perspective, check out our new video -
Nader on Obama/Israel - here.
Pass it around to friends and family this weekend.
It is also important to keep in mind that Obama is to the right of some Mossad Israeli hawks. (
See recent Mother Jones article here.)
Even these Mossad Israeli hawks - along with the majority of the Israeli people - would open talks with Hamas.
Obama/McCain would not.
Nader/Gonzalez would reverse U.S. policy in the Middle East.
Obama/McCain would not.
We stand with the courageous Israeli and Palestinian peace movements.
We stand against the AIPAC militarists.
So, if you care about peace in the Middle East.
help us out today.
meet our goal by Sunday night.
Together, we are making a difference.

NOW on PBS will focus on "the forgotten war' Afghanistan (begins airing Friday on most PBS stations). Bill Moyers Journal (check your local listings, begins airing on PBS in most markets tonight, it also streams online -- transcript, video, audio) looks at the housing crisis and spotlights the continued decline of a once strong voice who guests on the program to talk about the 'up' of the housing crisis (for Democrats!). Gwen's fronting polls as a 'draw' for viewers of this week's Washington Week which should give everyone pause. Dan Balz is among the scheduled guests and the only one who might be able to penetrate the spin. And independent journalist David Bacon continues to explore the issue of immigration, his latest is "THE RIGHT TO STAY HOME" (New American Media). Bacon's latest book is set for release in September, Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press).

iraqjames burmeisterrobin longjeremy deutschmark larabeekeith jonesstefanie fisher
mina al-oraibi
howard zinn
iraq veterans against the war
adam kokesh
mcclatchy newspapers
now on pbs
bill moyers journal
the new york timesjames risen

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Adolph Reed Jr. and the 'movement'

"Where Obamaism Seems to be Going" (Adolph Reed Jr., Black Agenda Report):
So we "don't have time" to have the strategic political discussion about how to try to change the terms of debate during the election year, and "we don't have time" to have it between election years because (a) there are other, equally instrumental objectives that consume everyone's time as immediately more pressing - some other 8% adjustment to fight for or against - and (b) the dilettantish left persists in the belief that some gimmick - some Special Candidate, some clever slogan ("No, we're really the ones who ‘support the troops'" or "We need a policy that helps ‘working families' and the ‘middle class'") - can magically knock the shackles from the eyes of the majority that already exists as our constituency but doesn't yet know it, if we could only find the right one. Then we're back to the next election year, and some new candidate becomes the embodiment of all our hopes and dreams and the one who'll call that majority together for us. Frankly, I've begun to suspect that the election year version of the "now is not the time" argument and its sibling, the "get him elected first then hold him accountable" line, as well as their first cousin, "Well, that's what they all have to do to get elected," reflect nothing better than denial of the grim reality that we can't expect anything from them or make any demands of them. After all, how can we hold them accountable once they're in office if we can't do it when they're running, when we technically have something we can withhold or deliver?
The fact is that they know we don't have the power to make them do or not do anything and treat us accordingly, and they will until we develop the capacity to force them to do otherwise. I know this is a difficult message for those who like to believe that politics is about good people and bad people, or that writing really smart position papers that demonstrate the formal plausibility of a win/win agenda that satisfies everyone's concerns should be enough to counter the influence of those $30,000 per head corporate and hedge fund contributors, but that's just not the way the deal goes down.

I think that sketches out the biggest problem we face. Every year there's some excuse why we shouldn't call out the Democrats. Every year, there's some excuse for not doing so. I thought Cindy Sheehan had caught on to the game and how useless it was but then she ended up a Barack cheerleader. Yes, she 'awakened' again recently. But isn't it a little late?

How many times are we going to be fooled? At this point, we are begging to be fooled and tricked. We can't complain about the liars because we insist that they lie to us. We prove, over and over, that we will not stand up, that we will not demand and that we can be walked over. There is never a cost for doing any of that.

Barack used homophobia to scare up votes in South Carolina and everyone tries to pretend it didn't happen. We must not say a word! What would it mean to Barack if we did!

What does it mean to the United States when we stay silent while a candidate uses homophobia?

We're too eager to cheer and to scared to call out.

That's why the peace 'movement' has accomplished nothing and will again accomplish nothing this year.

CODESTINK is the perfect example of that.

Reader Lance e-mailed me their latest thinking I would get a laugh out of it.

I did. I see that they've finally found a Democratic male to target. Guess it was too uncomfortable for them having it pointed out that this supposedly pro-woman group ripped apart women. I also loved the signature, where Medea tried to be just 'one of the girls.' But the biggest laugh was still to come. It was time to beg Barack to stop pounding the war drums on Iran.

Beg him.

It wasn't a threat. It wasn't an ultimatum.

It was more pathetic non-action from CODESTINK. (They'll never call out Barack during the election, Jodi's put too much time and money into his campaign.)

How about, if e-activism is the only activism available, asking people to tell Barack they won't vote for him?

That would be an ultimatum.

But they can't do that because CODESTINK loves Barack.

It's so hilarious that they never made demands on the 'anti-war' Senator, just provided cover for him. You'd think a 'peace' group would want to hook up with the 'anti-war' Senator and that, if he brushed them off, they'd call him out.

But it's always been feather kisses for Barack.

They aren't an anti-war group. They are more interested in electing Barack than in ending the illegal war.

"Nader's Campaign to Receive Presidential Matching Funds" (Emily Cadei, CQ Politics):
Ralph Nader and five now-defunct presidential campaigns will receive a total of $7.4 million in public matching funds for their primary campaigns, the Federal Election Commission announced Wednesday. The funding for each candidate was determined by the amount each raised in individual contributions, up to a given limit.

There's one candidate running for the White House who will end the war. (Possibly two. As far as I know, Bob Barr hasn't stated he's not running for the White House, just for a percentage of the vote.) Ralph Nader will end the illegal war if he becomes president. But CODESTINK and all the rest that want to pretend they're against the illegal war would rather provide cover for War Hawks than do their part to get the word out on Ralph.

Resistance is futile. I don't mean that you shouldn't resist, I mean that what CODESTINK and others sell as resistance is futile. Oh, please, Barack, don't be so tough on Iran -- that's going to accomplish anything? No.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, July 16, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, reactions to US war resister Robin Long's deportation, today's scheduled court-martial, Katty-van-van takes it on the chin and nose, BonusGates still ignored by
Panhandle Media, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
As noted yesterday, US war resister Robin Long was deported from Canada. Robin's story makes the New York Times today (A14) with an article by Ian Austen and a photo by Darryl Dyck (The Canadian Press) of Sarah Bjorknas. Austen notes, "Mr. Long was expelled a day after the Federal Court of Canada rejected his request to delay his removal order pending further legal appeals. That decision and Mr. Long's expulsion were somewhat unexpected. Two other American deserters received Federal Court permission this month to stay in Canada to continue their appeals. . . . Sadia Qureshi, a spokeswoman for Diane Finley, the immigration minister, said agents from the Canada Border Service Agency sent Mr. Long back to the United States from British Columbia, where he had been living, at 9:55 a.m. local time." Petti Fong (Toronto Star) speaks with War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver's Sarah Bjorknas, "In Ontario, where he lived for a time, Long was engaged to be married and had a child, according to Sarah Bjorknas, one of his supporters. About 50 American deserters are currently making refugee claims to stay in Canada, said Bjorknas, and a couple of hundred are presumed to be living quietly underground." Robin and Renee had a child (the child and Renee are Canadian). That should have been enough for any Canadian court. Some form of immigration status should have been granted Robin since he was the father of a Canadian child. Check the laws -- something Judge Anna Mactavish appears not to have done. As Ruth noted last night, "Today is very sad because Robin was deported. It is also very sad because a Canadian judge decided to break up a family. I hope the young boy is able some day to ask Judge Mactavish why she sent his father out of the country." Chris Cook (Gorilla Radio) interviewed Sarah Bjorknas Monday night. UPI cites 'word warrior' army Major Nathan Banks who "said Long would be returned to Fort Knox, Ky., for disciplinary procedures, which could include prison time." Courage to Resist explains, "Courage to Resist has made civilian legal representation available to Robin and will be doing everything possible to provide him our full support. We plan to collaborate with many other groups in our efforts to help Robin in the coming weeks. Refusing to fight in an illegal war is not a crime--except under the Uniform Code of Military (In)Justice."

Liam Lahey (The Villager) explores the reactions and notes: "Dale Landry is wanted by the U.S. Air Force for refusing to fight in Iraq after serving in Afghanistan. Landry spent the night of July 14 in full uniform outside the U.S. Consulate on University Avenue in support of Long. The Parkdale resident, who turned 23 this past week, lives with two other American military personnel in a small apartment." Tom Banse (OPB News -- link has text and audio)
speaks with
Iraq Veterans Against the War Ash Woolson US war resister who states, "The Canadian people are not for the war in Iraq. It seems that the government is really pushing against these veterans and it's not the people." Meanwhile Janice Tibbetts and Linda Nguyen (Canwest News Service) dig into the legal aspects: "'We've got a divided court,' said Toronto lawyer Geraldine Sadoway, whose client, Justin Colby, recently lost his refugee bid, after fleeing to Canada two years ago following a one-year stint as a medic in Iraq. Ms. Sadoway says she cannot figure out why the Federal Court rejected Mr. Colby's claim on June 26, only one week before it handed the first ever victory to deserter Joshua Key, who also served in Iraq."

Robin is from Idaho and the
Idaho Statesman notes, "A Boise native is believed to be the first deserter from the Iraq war to be deported back to the U.S. from Canada. Late Tuesday, Robin Long, 25, was en route from Canada to Fort Lewis, Wash., said Army Capt. Greg Dorman. From there, the private first class will be taken to Fort Carson, Colo., where he was assigned to the 2nd Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division, which was recently renamed the 4th Brigade, 4th Infantry Division, said Dorman, a Fort Carson spokesman." Robert Matas (Globe and Mail) explains that "Canadian authorities failed to co-ordinate the deportation with U.S. military police. Mr. Long spent last night in a jail cell at the Whatcom County prison, just south of the Canada-U.S. border" and quotes police Sgt Ernie Stach declaring, "We're in the process of co-ordinating the transfer. I don't know when he will go." We know where he won't go: Fort Knox. After ignoring the story all week -- declared today, "He's expected to be returned to his unit at Fort Knox, Kentucky." Pravda on the Hudson. Linda Nguyen (Canwest News Service) quotes Fort Knox spokesperson Ryan Brus who states Long will be going to Fort Carson until a recommendation is made by the unit commander about what to do next and that he is returning in time to "witness the case of James Burmeister, an American deserter who is currently facing criminal charges at Fort Knox." July 4th, Louisville's WHAS11 reported (text and video) on James Burmeister

Renee Murphy: . . . But first here, our top story, we're looking at the charges being brought against a US soldier. Supporters say that Private 1st Class James Burmeister should be back in Oregon with his family this Fourth of July holiday but instead he is being held at Fort Knox facing a court-martial on AWOL and desertion charges. WHAS11's Kelsey Starks joins us now ith more on our top story. Kelsey?

Kelsey Starks: 23-year-old James Burmeister is being held at Fort Knox for five months now. He is charged with deserting his army unit while on leave from Iraq. Yesterday he got a court-martial date but his friends and family say because he suffers from head injuries Post Traumatic Stress Disorder after surviving a roadside bomb attack in Iraq, they're hoping some of those charges can be dismissed.

Helen Burmeister: My son is an Iraqi War veteran. And I'm very proud of him today. He fought bravely in Iraq. He followed orders. He was wounded in a roadside bomb. And he's been diagonsed with PTSD and a possible brain injury.

Kelsey Starks: Video blogger James Pence followed Helen Burmeister to Fort Knox last week where she was fighting for her son, hoping to get him out of Fort Knox. PFC James Burmeister enlisted in the army in June of 2005. Two years later while on leave he went AWOL -- Absent Without Leave -- to Canada. After ten months, he turned himself in to Fort Knox.

Nina Benson: He went AWOL after six months of being there when he was back in Germany on his rest and recuperation because he didn't feel that the treatment that he was getting for his injuries were proper -- were up to par with what he should be getting.

Kelsey Starks: Fort Knox is one of only two processing centers for army deserters. Nearly 5,000 army army soldiers were charged with deserting last year -- that's a number up 92% from 2004.

Harold Trainer: They really do need to find more solutions.

Kelsey Starks: Harold Trainer and his wife Carol [Rawert-Trainer] are following James' case very closely here in Louisville. They both served in the military during Vietnam.

Carol Rawert-Trainer: It's not rare that there are so many suffing from PTSD today that aren't getting help. That part's not rare. And it's not even rare that we have AWOLs anymore. The rare thing is how aggressive the army is going after James instead of just giving him a discharge.

Harold Trainer: Those young men and women give our country and our government a blank check when they sign to go into the military. The country and the government really needs to give them a blank check back to take care of them.

Kelsey Starks: Now a Fort Knox spokesperson did not return our phone calls this afternoon. If James is convicted of desertion, he could get a dishonorable discharge and even face time in prison. His court-martial date, by the way, is scheduled for July the 16th. Kelsey Starks, WHAS11 News.

On coverage of Robin Long, many, like the
Detroit Free Press and the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, cover the story in their around-the-world briefs roundup. Marcia noted The Canadian Press' article, Rebecca noted Dan Karpenchuk's report for Australia's ABC, Kat noted the roundup in the Minneapolis Star Tribune, Mike noted the Bombay News Net's coverage and that instead of writing their own article Sydney Morning Herald just ran AP's -- Ruth noted which did write their own article -- while Elaine noted Al Jazeera's coverage and the idiot Suzanne Goldberg (Guardian of London) of whom Elaine points out, "Stupid Goldberg should know that it war resisters leaving the US during Veitnam were not just war resisters 'fleeing the Vietnam draft.' She should know that because war resisters -- deserters and draft dodgers -- also went to England. England had no Pierre Trudeau and would cowtow to Richard Nixon in such a craven manner that it makes Tony Blair's lackey days to the Bully Boy look almost like 'independence'." In addition, the story was picked up by Thaindian News, the BBC, and RTT among others.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, 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, Jose Vasquez, 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, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In Iraq today one handed, one halted.
Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports that Qadisiyah Province was handed over to Iraqi control -- or what passes for it. That's one handed. Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) reports that the handover of Al-Anbar Province "could be delayed because of a dispute between Sunni Arab trial leaders and politicians in the vast desert region. . . . The row hinges on who should be in charge of security in the former insurgent heartland. The council wants ultimate control, which normally happens when U.S.-led forces transfer security, while tribal leaders want Iraq's military to have the final say." Handed, halted and still the violence continues. As Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) observes today, "For all the statistics showing improved security in Iraq, many parts of the country remain astoundingly violent, places where bullet-ridden bodies turn up every day and bombs destroy lives and families in an instant." The BBC reports a Tal Afar car bombing that "targeted afternoone shoppers." Xinhua notes that 16 died and 94 were wounded. Iran's Press TV reports, "The town's mayor said all the dead were civilians."

In other reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad roadside bombings that left six people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing that left two people wounded, a Mosul car bombing that claimed 2 lives with either more injured, and another (this would be the third) Mosul car bombing that killed the driver of the car and left six people wounded. CBS and AP report: "A female suicide bomber blew herself up Tuesday evening inside the Baghdad house of a municipal leader who was planning to establish a U.S.-allied Sunni group in the area" -- "Awakening" Council -- with 3 left dead (plus the bomber) and seven injured. Reuters notes a Mosul mortar attack that left two people injured and an Iskandariya roadside bombing that left one "Awakening" Council member injured.


Reuters notes 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Mosul and 1 Shi'ite cleric shot and Basra and left wounded.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Force - West Marine died of wounds he received in action against an enemy force in al-Anbar Province July 14." The announcement brought the total number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4121.

Before anything else, Martha, Shirley and Eli advise about several topics in the e-mails. First,
Ava's response to one bit of b.s., "When you go out of your way to insist you're not Latino -- to the point that your statements are insulting -- you really have no right to then try to speak for Latino. Stick to Queens -- where you're still not hanging around with Latinos -- and stick to speaking for the racial group you have chosen to self-identify with. You have given up the right to speak for or to Latinos. And we don't need your lies. Hillary had huge Latino support. You can try shutting your damn mouth instead of lying. And shame on KPFA for playing that nonsense -- but note that it was a Hillary Hater who did the interview. As a Latina based in California and on the road across the country every week, I think I know my own community a little better than someone who rejected them publicly and repeatedly. Shut your damn mouth, dear." This is something we can explore further in our TV piece Sunday. And e-mail complaints about the nonsense passing for 'journalism' at too many outlets is not being ignored. The TV program (entertainment) Ava and I are reviewing this Sunday allows us to pull all the nonsense in. That includes the disaster broadcast today which included "And US war resisters may see refuge in Canada." When the piece runs (which we haven't written yet), it'll be clear why Ava and I have both alluded to things here but otherwise just walked on by them. The trash that's passed for 'news' this week fits perfectly with the program we're reviewing and we're both taking plenty of notes and reading the e-mails.

Turning to US presidential politics. The presumptive Democratic presidential nominee is getting back slaps and ass pats from his fawning press which refuses to note (a) he's only promising a partial-withdrawal, (b) his 'promises' are meaningless and (c) this is a reversal of his earlier statements that the US would leave (combat troops only) Iraq in 10 months. Remember that? He declared it in Houston Texas. One single sentence. Had Tom-Tom Hayden so excited he stretched that one-liner in a "Gosh, Wally . . ." column. Speaking of Jerry Mathers,
Little Andy Malcolm (Los Angeles Times) blogged this morning, "A funny thing happened over on the Barack Obama campaign website in the last few days.The parts that stressed his opposition to the 2007 troop surge and his statement that more troops would make no difference in a civil war have somehow disappeared. John McCain and Obama have been going at it heavily in recent days over the benefits of the surge." Does it all seem so very familiar? From the January 10th snapshot:"But since you raised the judgment issue, let's go over this again. That is the central argument for his campaign. 'It doesn't matter that I started running for president less a year after I got to the Senate from the Illinois State Senate. I am a great speaker and a charismatic figure and I'm the only one who had the judgment to oppose this war from the beginning. Always, always, always.' " "First it is factually not true that everybody that supported that resolution supported Bush attacking Iraq before the UN inspectors were through. Chuck Hagel was one of the co-authors of that resolution. The only Republican Senator that always opposed the war. Every day from the get-go. He authored the resolution to say that Bush could go to war only if they didn't co-operate with the inspectors and he was assured personally by Condi Rice as many of the other Senators were. So, first the case is wrong that way.""Second, it is wrong that Senator Obama got to go through 15 debates trumpeting his superior judgment and how he had been against the war in every year, numerating the years, and never got asked one time, not once, 'Well, how could you say, that when you said in 2004 you didn't know how you would have voted on the resolution? You said in 2004 there was no difference between you and George Bush on the war and you took that speech you're now running on off your website in 2004* and there's no difference in your voting record and Hillary's ever since?' Give me a break. "This whole thing is the biggest fairy tale I've ever seen...So you can talk about Mark Penn all you want. What did you think about the Obama thing calling Hillary the Senator from Punjab? Did you like that?" "Or what about the Obama hand out that was covered up, the press never reported on, implying that I was a crook? Scouring me, scathing criticism, over my financial reports. Ken Starr spent $70 million and indicted innocent people to find out that I wouldn't take a nickel to see the cow jump over the moon. "So, you can take a shot at Mark Penn if you want. It wasn't his best day. He was hurt, he felt badly that we didn't do better in Iowa. But you know, the idea that one of these campaigns is positive and the other is negative when I know the reverse is true and I have seen it and I have been blistered by it for months, is a little tough to take. Just because of the sanitizing coverage that's in the media, doesn't mean the facts aren't out there. "

Bill Clinton offering some reality to the delusional. As Glen Ford and Bruce Dixon's "
In Search of the Real Barack Obama: Can a Black Senate Candidate Resist the DLC?" (Black Agenda Report) documented during Barack's US Senate run, Barack loves to disappear Iraq from his campaign websites. It's a scary thought to the delusional in Panhandle Media -- the Todd Browning version. Adolph Reed Jr. (Black Agenda Report) addresses the sickness in so many so-called 'independent' 'journalists' and that includes The Peace Resister herself, Katrina vanden Heuvel:

A friend called me a few days ago from Massachusetts, astounded at a WBUR radio program featuring Glen Greenwald from and Katrina vanden Heuvel of The Nation, in which vanden Heuvel not only unflaggingly defended Obama's open and bald embrace of right-wing positions during the last few weeks against Greenwald's criticism, but also did it from the right herself, calling him a "progressive pragmatist." She affirmed Tom Hayden's insistence on the Progressives for Obama blog that the candidate is a progressive, but a new kind of progressive, or some such twaddle. In response to Greenwald's sharp rebuke of Obama's FISA sellout, she acknowledged that he had 'missed an opportunity to lead.' Defending his June 30 patriotism speech that included a gratuitous rehearsal of the right-wing line about anti-Vietnam War protesters from the "counterculture" who "blamed America for all that was wrong in the world" and the canard about antiwar activists "failing to honor" returning Vietnam veterans, which Obama asserted "remains a national shame to this day" despite the fact that is an utter lie, vanden Heuvel pointed again to Hayden's endorsement as a sign that Obama's cheap move must be okay because, after all, Hayden was a founder of SDS. And perhaps most tellingly, despite their disagreements, Greenwald and vanden Heuvel both supported Obama's practice of going out of his way to attack black poor people, most recently in his scurrilous Father's Day speech and again before the NAACP. (And, by the way, he grew up without a father and is running for president, no?) To vanden Heuvel, Obama's contretemps with Jesse Jackson, who, ironically, has his own history of making such attacks, around this issue reflects a "generational division" among black people, with Obama representing a younger generation that values 'personal responsibility.' She also, for good measure, asserted that Obama has been 'nailed unfairly' for his cozying up to the evangelicals and promising to give them more federal social service money. In explaining that he comes out of a 'community organizing' tradition based in churches in Chicago, she didn't quite say that the coloreds love their churches. But she didn't really have to say it out loud, did she?

Reed recommends an article with a link that's not working currently. I think this is the
Liza Featherson, Doug Henwood and Christian Parenti article ("Action Will Be Taken") referred to. When Reed's hard hitting column ends, you can scroll down to comments for Tom-Tom's running buddy rushing to lie yet again. I'm really not sure, maybe this is just me, that a New Alliance Party (Marxist) member is really the person to rush to defend Barack or Tom-Tom. But have at it, Carl, it's your funeral. Meanwhile John Murphy (Dissident Voice) examines the Democrats' BonusGate scandal in Pennsylvania in light of the criminal charges that have emerged against Democrats for their illegal efforts to keep Ralph Nader off the state ballot in 2004 (Amy Goodman hasn't said one word about this since proof emerged, has she?): "The grand jury report described a 'massive' effort by House Democrats to oust the independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader from the ballot in 2004. The report also says that in 2006 the same machine was fired up again to remove Carl Romanelli, the Green Party candidate for U.S. Senate. The grand jury found that as many as 50 Democrat House Caucus staff members participated in the Nader petition challenge and contributed a staggering number of man hours." Peter Jackson (AP) quotes Nader's attorney Oliver Hall stating, "We are going to aggressively pursue every avenue to oppose this judgment. It now appears to be clear that (the judgment) is the result of a criminal conspiracy." Here's a thought on the silence from the 'independent' journalists -- maybe when you devalue and disrespect democracy so much that you launch and join "Don't Run ___" campaigns, it's just a short step to breaking the law to prevent a candidate from making the ballot? Maybe their silence is due to their own guilt?

Nader is running as an independent presidential candidate this year and
Heidi Przybla (Bloomberg News) reports that Morley Winograd ("former chairman of the Michigan Democratic Party") could get a considerable number of votes in Michigan if his campaign gets on the ticket, "You have in Ralph Nader's candidacy a genuine Arab-American who has a lot of notoriety and publicity." Winograd estimates Nader could receive a qurter of the Arab community's vote. Kris Alingod (AHN) reports Nader is now on the ballot in 12 states.

The Nader Team notes:

Drop a ten spot on Nader/Gonzalez now.
Because that's about the price of a movie ticket.
Instead of going this weekend to see Hellboy II or Hancock.
Take that ten dollars and
support Nader/Gonzalez cinema.
And catch some of our classics.
Like 1984.
Seven Things You Won't Hear in 2008.
Or, hear audio messages from Ralph Nader such as
Nader on Iraq and Nader on Rush Limbaugh (The Kingboy of Corporatist Radio).
With Nader/Gonzalez being blocked out of the mainstream, we have to create our own media.
Thousands of Americans have learned about the Nader/Gonzalez campaign from our videos.
Sometimes, the medium is the message.
By supporting Nader/Gonzalez media, you'll be supporting the Nader/Gonzalez message - shift the power from the corporations back into the hands of the people.
And you'll be supporting our current ballot access drive. (We're approaching our goal of $60,000 by Sunday.
Help us get there now.)
So, check out our new home page - featuring our video player -
front and center.

Lastly, Andrea Lewis debuts as the host of the
Sunday Morning Show on KPFA this weekend. The two hour broadcast (which streams online) airs Sunday from nine in the morning until eleven in the morning. Lewis was formerly co-host of The Morning Show with Philip Maldari (Aimee Allison took over for Lewis).

iraqrobin longjoshua keyian austenthe new york timesjanice tibbettslinda nguyenliam laheypetti fong
the los angeles timesandrew malcolmglen fordbruce dixonrichard a. oppel jr.the new york times

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Robin Long deported

"Canada deports US deserter" (Al Jazeera):
Canada has deported a US army deserter who fled three years ago, marking the first time a resister to the US war in Iraq has been expelled from the country.
The Canada Border Services Agency (ASFC) confirmed that Robin Long, 25, had been deported, but would not reveal Long's destination.
Long, who had volunteered for the US military in 2003, fled to Canada in 2005 to avoid serving in Iraq.
He claimed he would suffer irreparable harm if he were sent back to the US and said he sought refuge in Canada because the US army wanted him to participate in what he called an "illegal war of aggression in Iraq".
The ASFC arrested Long last October after his request for asylum was rejected and he was ordered to leave Canada.

25-year-old Robin Long has been deported by a heartless judge who appears to have no concerns about either the illegal war or deporting a father, thereby removing him from his child. Judge Anne Mactavish, what a piece of work you are.

What a piece of work the press is. So many ignored it and continue to do so. But let's take a movement to note that the 'movement' wasted five years jaw-boning about how it was during Vietnam with the 'draft.' As someone working on war resistance back then, let me make the point C.I.'s made loudly for the last 2 years: There is no draft today and the draft was not cited by the Canadian government (Trudeau or anyone else) in deciding to welcome US war resisters during Vietnam. Draft dodger or deserter, they welcomed you.

The 'movement' has to take some responsibility because they refused to make the most basic argument: "During Vietnam, we welcomed deserters. We need to do so today."

If you missed it, Tom Hayden took to The Nation again today. To write about war resisters? Please. Tom Hayden never gave a damn about war resisters.

Tom Hayden didn't work on the issue. He's one of the most damaging people to today's war resistance and he's so wrong in his facts because he didn't give a damn back then. He used college to get out of going and then he was too old. (There's also his underground period.)

If you want to disagree with me, you weren't active in war resistance back then. If you need to grasp the reality, go to The Nation and you'll see Tom's decided to write today about . . . Barack Obama.

Tom was always a pathetic lackey. That's all he is today.

If he were going to write on a topic today or yesterday (or Sunday for that matter) and he gave a damn about war resistance, he would have written about Robin Long.

When he doesn't bother to gas bag on it, you know he doesn't give a damn.

"US soldier who deserted over Iraq is deported" (Suzanne Goldberg, Guardian of London):
Some 200 other US soldiers are in Canada, counting on its history of welcoming 50,000Americans fleeing the Vietnam draft.
Last month, Canada's parliament urged the government to allow war resisters to remain.
However, opponents of granting refugee status to deserters argue that, unlike during the Vietnam war, the United States does not now have a military draft and members of its military are volunteers who know the potential risks.

Suzanne Goldberg is another idiot. Unlike Al Jazeera, her outlet is British. Stupid Goldberg should know that it war resisters leaving the US during Veitnam were not just war resisters "fleeing the Vietnam draft." She should know that because war resisters -- deserters and draft dodgers -- also went to England. England had no Pierre Trudeau and would cowtow to Richard Nixon in such a craven manner that it makes Tony Blair's lackey days to the Bully Boy look almost like "independence."

Goldberg's writing for an outlet that should know better. She is a stupid, stupid reporter, putting out misinformation to confuse the issue.

Also, for those foolish enough to think, "Tom Hayden was involved with Jane Fonda!" Jane Fonda was involved in the war resistance movement. It was before she and Tom got together.

Tom Hayden was not a part of that movement. It didn't spring from SDS so he couldn't hijack it. Fred Gardner was really one of the big leaders on that movement (as I remember it). There were many leaders but I would point to Fred. Now my memory isn't C.I.'s (never forgets anything) and I may be forgetting someone but Fred was an organizer, a fundraiser, a planner and did just about everything. I know he has other issues he focuses on today but I really wish he would write about this topic. It would give some reality in a land where the Tom Haydens self-presents as experts and actual participants.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, July 15, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, US war resister Robin Long has reportedly been deported from Canada, England wants to stay in Iraq "long-term," Barack Obama wants to get his sticky fingers on all of Bully Boy's wars and vows Afghanistan is the fight he's going to throw down in, Bully Boy gets a message from the Baath Party, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Chris Cook (Gorilla Radio) explained last night, "To recap if you've just tuned in, Robin Long the American war resister, who has been in Canada for some time, more than a year at least, was arrested last year in Nelson and has been going through these various court processes to avoid deportation. His hearing was today in Vancouver where he was petitioning for an extension so he could work on an appeal to try to stay in the country because he faces arrest in the as a deserter in the United States. Justice Mactavish in Vancouver denied that appeal so it looks like Robin Long is on his way back to America to face what passes for American justice." The War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver issued a call for action last night:

Supporters of Robin Long and the War Resisters coming from both sides of the border will gather in a peaceful protest under the Peace Arch at the border at 9 am Tuesday July 15. (while the Peace Arch is neutral ground, supporters should bring appropriate identification in the unlikely event they are required to pass through Canadian Customs) In the meantime, please take a moment to email or phone Stockwell Day, Minister of Public Safety, and ask him to immediately stop the deportation of U.S. Iraq war resister Robin Long. (The Canadian Border Services Agency falls under his ministry). Also ask him why the federal government is refusing to respect the clearly expressed will of Canada's Parliament, that U.S. war resisters should be allowed to stay and that deportation proceedings against them should cease?In a recent Angus Reid poll, almost two-thirds of Canadians said they want U.S. Iraq war resisters to be allowed to stay in Canada. Demand to know why the Harper government is unwilling to be accountable to Canadians. Minister of Public Security Stockwell Day Email: (Ottawa office); (Penticton constituency office) Phone: 613.995.1702 (Ottawa); 250.770.4480 (Penticton constituency office)Fax: 613.995.1154 (Ottawa); 250.770.4484 (Penticton) Please check the War Resisters Support Campaign website for updates on Robin's status and on emergency actions. For more information about the campaign please visit:

October 2, 2007, Long was arrested.
October 4, 2007, he was released and Canada's CBS interviewed him (video link is on upper right hand of the page). Robin told them, "When I got arrested and was sitting in the detention cell in Nelson, I was pretty sure I was going home right away. I was pretty sure I would be deported. The way that the immigration officer made it sound, I would be deported Friday. That's not quite what happened and I'm very thankful for that." He was asked how he felt "about the challenges ahead" and Robin responded, "I have at least a couple more months in Canada and hopefully something will happen in the next couple of months within the government and maybe some kind of legal action will let us stay here other than the refugee protection. But if not I'm prepared to go back to the United States and face up to desertion. It's better than going to Iraq." The arrest was over documents sent but not received because he had moved for work. That one incident triggered everything that followed for Robin Long in spite of Canadian Judge Robert Barnes decision regarding Joshua Key's claims for refugee status issued on the Fourth of July as well as the motion the House of Commons passed June 3rd.

25-year-old Robin Long is from Boise, Idaho and enlisted in July 2003. In March 2005, he was told he'd be going to Iraq and ordered to report to Fort Carlson in April of 2005. Instead, he self-checked out. Long remained underground for two months and went to Canada only for a wedding (June, 2005). While in Canada, liking what he saw, Long decided to stay. He and his partner Renee have a son (born in Canada). The decision to deport Robin will break up a family. A detail not noted in the press coverage of the decision. Nor is it noted that, by Canadian law, as the father of a Canadian citizen, Long could apply for (and be granted) citizenship. "A good person and sort of a gentle soul" is how she's always heard Robin described,
Sarah Bjorknas explained to Chris Cook last night.

Chris Cook: Is there another avenue of appeal Sarah for Robin or is he just going to be whisked out of the country as we've seen other people that Americans want to extradite done -- John Marshall comes to mind?

Sarah Bjorknas: We understand that there are no other legal avenues. And that indeed they have him and we don't know precisely where he is. They don't have to tell us where and when they move him anywhere including across the border.

Bjorknas also explained that Robin was not being extradicted. Canada doesn't (and didn't during Vietnam) have any treaty with the US that would cover military desertions.

Robert Matas (Globe and Mail) reports that Robin "was troubled by evidence of abuse of Iraqi detainees that came out in May of 2004, Mr. [Shepherd] Moss said. Mr. Long concluded the abuse was systemic and condoned by the U.S. administration, Mr. Moss said. After some soul-searching, Mr. Long decided he would not go to Iraq and would not participate or be complicit in what he believed were war crimes, the lawyer said." Jeff Hodson (Metro News) explains attorney Moss "argued Long faced lengthy jail times and could even get the death penalty. The judge ruled that a death sentence was only a 'theoretical possibility' as the last soldier sentenced to death for desertion was during the Second World War." Kim Bolan and Suzanne Ahearne (Vancouver Sun) and Brian Hutchinson (National Post) point out that Long would be the first war resister deported from Canada since the start of the illegal war. Judge Anne L. Mactavish long career has included being the president of the Human Rights Tribunal Panel back in the nineties. Apparently, that temporary post carried only temporary awareness. Bob Ages, chair of the War Resisters Support Campaign - Vancouver, tells The Canadian Press, "I don't think there's time to even file papers. We're down to the wire here. She's [Mactavish] refused us the ability to follow due process and exhaust all his legal avenues in Canada." Catherine Elsworth (Telegraph of London) notes Mactavish "rejected his last-ditch plea for a stay of his deporation order, saying he had failed to provide convincing evidence he would suffer 'irreparable harm' if he returned to the US." Apparently, Mactavish either didn't care about splitting up a family or wasn't informed of it. Canada's New Democratic Party issued the following this afternoon:

NDP MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby-Douglas) is calling on the Conservative government to stop the deportation of American Iraq war resister Robin Long, scheduled for today.
"Stockwell Day, Diane Finley and Stephen Harper should respect the will of Parliament and the Canadian people and stop this deportation immediately," said Siksay. "The House of Commons has passed a motion supporting a special programme that would allow conscientious objectors who refuse to serve in the war in Iraq to remain in Canada. The government must respect this action by the House and stop deportation action against Robin Long and other Iraq war resisters."
The Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration reported to the House of Commons about the need for such a programme, and on a motion moved by MPs Olivia Chow and Siksay, the House concurred in that report.
"The Canadian government and the Canadian people do not support George Bush's illegal war in Iraq. We must have the courage of those convictions and back them up by ensuring that Americans who take a stand against that war receive a welcome in Canada," noted Siksay.
"Robin Long must be allowed to stay," Siksay concluded.

UPI 'covers' the news of the judge's ruling by undercounting war resisters. Linda Nguyen (Canwest News Services) notes, "There are an estimated 200 American army deserters who have sought refugee status in Canada." Greg Quinn (Bloomberg News), CBC, Dan Slater (Wall St. Journal), Candace Heckman (Seattle Post-Intelligencer) and AP are among the other outlets reporting on the news. Among those who have ignored it? Democracy Now!, The Progressive ("Peace and social justice since 1909" is apparently an empty slogan), The Nation and just about every outlet in Panhandle Media.

Robin Long described his position on the Iraq War, on staying in Canada and more back in October 2007:

Because I feel the war in Iraq is an illegal war of aggression and it's an indiscriminate killing of the Arab people and I believe it's all for lies and the wrong reasons so I couldn't with good conscience take part in that conflict. . . . When I joined the army, I thought that the war in Iraq was a good thing. I was lied to by my president. The reasons that were given, I thought they were valid. But just because I joined the army didn't mean I abdicated my ability to evolve intellectually and morally and what I saw in the independent media and even in mainstream media changed my view of what was going on over there and based on what I had learned I made a decision to desert. . . . When people coming back from Iraq were proud of what they had done, bragging about killing people and showing me pictures of their first kill with big smiles on their faces and that just didn't sit right in my stomach. So I made the decision then. That was probably the turning point right there.

Laura Baziuk (Peace Arch News link has text and video) descibes approximately 30 people gathering at the Peace Arch this morning to show their support for Robin Long. The group carried signs with slogans such as "ROBIN LONG BELONGS IN CANADA" and "war Resisters welcome here." Demonstrator Carleen Pickard declared, "We believe he was deported this morning so he is already in the United States." Allan Dowd (Reuters) has just had confirmation that Long is out of Canada: "The Canada Border Services Agency confirmed Long's removal, but declined to give other details, citing privacy laws. Long's refugee claim had already been rejected and he could not appeal Monday's court ruling."

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, 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, Jose Vasquez, 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, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, 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. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

While Long is ordered deported, the British aren't leaving anytime soon, aren't leaving Iraq.
The Independent of London notes Prime Minister Gordon Brown has announced he will not set a time for withdrawal and "Mr Brown is due to deliver a statement on Iraq to MPs before the summer recess of Parliament on 22 July. Labour MPs said they were disappointed by his response." James Kirkup (Telegraph of London) explains, "Military commanders have told the Prime Minister that UK troops will have to remain in Iraq in significant numbers well into next year. The need to stay in southern Iraq to support . . . the Iraqi forces has dashed any hopes ministers had of announcing a major withdrawal from Iraq this summer." This follows Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reporting yesterday on British Maj-Gen Barney White-Spunner's declaration that the British military role in Iraq would be "long-term". Haynes also reminded that the United Nations resolution expiring on December 31st with talk of it not being renewed means the UK must come to an agreement with Iraq for the British forces to remain.

Richard A. Oppel Jr. and Ali Hameed (New York Times) reported that "the Anbar Provincial Council" was arguing that Al Anbar Province is not ready to be handled by its own inhabitants and no transfer should take place until after the elections. The elections are scheduled for October whether they take place or not -- this is a White House defined 'benchmark' that has long been delayed -- only time will tell. Withing the region, there is a split between the council and members of the "Awakening" Council -- it's a power struggle with the latter feeling the requested delay is nothing but a way to influence the upcoming elections. Al Anbar Province is a border province and an influx of Iraqi refugees (presumably from that province only, unless the rules for voting have been changed) from Jordan, Syria and Saudi Arabia could also effect the outcome -- a point the journalists didn't make. Today Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) reports that the elections are yet again in jeopardy as a result of the Iraqi parliament being unable to reach an agreement (specifically regarding Kirkuk) and that no one is sure when the measure will come up again. While there may or may not be elections in October, the Baath Party leader issued a statement today. Nancy A. Youssef and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) report that Izzat Ibrahim al Douri released a recording where he vowed "the Iraqi people will fight you [the US] until doomsday". They note that he was vice-president under Saddam Hussein and also the nation's military commander who became the party leader once Saddam was dead. They also noted that in today's recording Izzat Ibrahim al Douri "demanded that Bush withdraw American troops from Iraq and called on him to reveal the true U.S. troop death toll, suggesting that the American military was withholding information."

Also today,
Richard A. Oppel Jr. (New York Times) reports, "Two suicide bombers posing as army recruits struck an Iraqi base just east of Baquba on Tuesday morning, killing at least 35 Iraqi recruits and wounding 63, according to the Iraqi police and medical officials in Diyala Province." BBC (link has text and video), citing Iraqi military sources, states, "The two attackers mingled with a crowd of would-be recruits at an army base in the city of Baquba and then blew themselves up". Baquba is the capital of Diyala Province and China's Xinhau notes that the province "stretches from the eastern edges of Baghdad to the Iranian border". United Arab Emirates' The National Newspaper is calling the bombings "one of the deadliest attacks of this year". Nancy A. Youssef and Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "After the first bomber detonated himself at around 8 a.m., the survivors began to flee. The second bomber chased them into a corner and detonated into the crowd seconds later, said a man working at the center who wanted to be identified only as Maj. Ghassan out of fears for his safety." KUNA declares, "The second bombing targeted the crowd that rushed to rescue the victims of the first". Camilla Hall (Bloomberg News) cites Iraqi president Jalal Talabani's message on the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan web site today stating at least 30 people were killed in the Baquba bombings while the US military insists the death toll was much lower. Going with "more than 30" dead, Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times -- link has AP video) notes, "The attack took place near a joint U.S.-Iraqi security station, but there were no reports of American casualties." The Times of India quotes wounded eye witness Falah Ali Hussein who states, "We were about 30 people standing at the entrance. They had just called our names when suddenly there was a big explosion." Sunday, The Gulf Times reports that "a major crackdown" on Diyala Province is about to commence. Pakistan's The Daily Mail adds today, "The Interior Ministry has not given a date for the start of the Diyala crackdown but says U.S. forces, which have been conducting operations there since January, will take part." In some of today's other reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two, a Baghdad mortar attack that claimed 2 lives and left nine wounded, a Tikrit car bombing that wounded one police officer, a Kirkuk roadside bombing that wounded five people, a Mosul car bombing that killed the occupant of the car and 1 police officer and another Mosul car bombing that left six people wounded. The Daily Mail counts three bombing in Mosul and states the worst "killed eight people and wounded a policeman at a police checkpoint, the U.S. military said." AFP reports Karim Wahid, Minister of Electricity, was targeted with a Baghdad roadside bombing that he emerged from safely; however, "three of his bodyguards" were left wounded.


CBS and AP report, "Gunmen in Baghdad also killed two members of a Sunni force allied with U.S. troops, police said." Reuters notes an armed clash in Iskandaria that resulted in 2 deaths.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

In news in the US presidential race,
Brett Lieberman (The Patriot News) reports, "The bonus scandal stole millions from the public, but it could end up saving third-party presidential candidate Ralph Nader $81,000 in legal fees he was ordered to pay after being tossed from the Pennsylvania ballot in 2004." Barack Obama gave a speech today. Yawn. Free Speech Radio News includes the nonsense and you know they never actually LISTEN. He's promised nothing. "Can" is the word. "Can" is ability. "Can" is not a vow. That's very difficult for the insane Cult of Obama to grasp. There was nothing new offered in his dull, lip-smacking (maybe he needs to go back to wearing lip gloss?) speech. It's the same non-specific garbage he's said for 18 months now. He does not give specifics on "residual" troops left in Iraq. It's a non-plan. And his alarmist talk about "finishing" Afghanistan sounds not all that different than the current White House occupant's yammering. He wants to "fight against al Qaeda and the Taliban" and that's "a war that we have to win." Remember when people were appalled by Bully Boy speaking like? Remember when people (rightly) pointed out a 'war' on terror was like a 'war' on drugs and Americans needed to grow up and get realistic? At this point, he's even worse than John Kerry's 2004 run.

Meanwhile the
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iraqrobin longjoshua keyrobert mataskatie mercerkim bolansuzanne ahearnejeff hodsonbrian hutchinson
chris cook
richard a. oppel jr.the new york times
mcclatchy newspapers
nancy a. youssef
the los angeles timesalexandra zavis
free speech radio news