Saturday, October 04, 2008

Thoughs on Robin Morgan

"Why is Robin Morgan lying?" (Dr. Violet Socks, Reclusive Leftist):
In the comments someone pointed me to this
ridiculous essay by Robin Morgan. Ridiculous because it’s full of lies. You know, if I were going to write an Eminent Feminist’s missive to the world — which Morgan clearly thinks she’s doing — laying out the Eminent Feminist viewpoint on Palin, I think I’d least check my facts.
Morgan obviously didn’t. In her piece she repeats long-debunked lies that it would have taken her only seconds to investigate: that Palin claimed the war was part of God’s plan, that she didn’t know what the Vice President does (it was a rhetorical question, for chrissake), that she denounced Hillary supporters as “whiners,” that she opposes sex ed, that she’s against contraception, that she opposes funding for pregnant teens, that she made a point of charging victims for rape kits, that she believes in “praying away” homosexuality, that she’s a crazy fundamentalist who wants to put us all in calico dresses, and on and on.
Those are all lies.
I don’t mean to pick on Morgan in particular; I could ask the same question of Eve Ensler, Gloria Steinem, Naomi Wolf, Erica Jong.
Why the lies?

Indeed. Why did Robin Morgan feel the need to play "Bash the Bitch"?

That was a very ugly thing Robin did.

If she was foolish enough (as it appears she was) not to fact check claims against Palin before turning in her piece, that doesn't excuse "Bash the Bitch." The whole country knew it was time to bash Palin. You had people trashing her across the country. Into that Robin thought the feminist thing to do was to wade in with her own trashing of Governor Sarah Palin?

She should be ashamed of herself.

In 1984, I argued for female friends to support Geraldine Ferraro and how historical it would be for a woman to become vice president. I argued that to independents and to Republicans. I made the point that we were women and we needed to support other women.

I have not trashed Governor Palin. I would be a hypocrite if I did and I still have many friends locally, who are Republican, who did end up voting for Mondale-Ferraro. They would throw it in my face if I was even tempted to go after Governor Palin.

A few have made that point that we are all women. I do listen to them. I do understand what they are advocating for and why. I politely explain that the illegal war is the biggest issue to me and I cannot vote for anyone who is not planning to end the Iraq War. That is why I voted for Mike Gravel in my primary.

They know that about me and they do not take offense to the fact that I am not voting for Governor Palin.

But I'll tell you something right now, even though she will not be getting my vote, I have a lot of respect for her and I wish her well.

The egg heads sneer at Sarah Palin and say things like "she went to six state schools!" I always find that amusing first of all because the egg heads have no reason to hop on a high horse. I laugh loudest when it's an egg head in Panhandle Media who's begged me to give them money before (for themselves, their outlet or their own bills). You have no high horse to mount, kiddies. If it's an egg head I turned down a money request of, I laugh about how they sneered at me as a "trust fund baby."

I freely admit that I am one. I have never had to worry about money and I never will. I also don't play the "snob" but was born into circumstances which would allow me to play that role while the same can't be said for our egg heads. So it is hilarious to watch them sneer at Governor Palin's educational experiences.

Governor Palin grew up working class, the daughter of a father who taught public schools. (I have no idea what her mother did -- whether she worked solely in the home or also out of it.) I also know that she entered a beauty contest to try to get a college scholarship. Sarah Palin was determined to get a higher education and she worked for it. While they scoff at her for six state schools, the fact of the matter is that shows real determination.

Sarah Palin has the kind of strength that the egg heads do not. I admire her strength and find it worthy of applause.

From her working class roots, she went on to get an education and to run for public office. She became a state governor ultimately. Talk about hard work. She is now the vice presidential nominee of a political party. Do not tell me she's not someone who has worked for everything she (and her family) have because she clearly has worked.

A part of me really does wish that I could vote for her. But the illegal war is my most pressing issue. But the fact that I won't vote for her does not preclude my enjoying her run and feeling very proud for women that we've seen this day arrive.

When I am asked by Republican friends to support Palin, I explain just what I've explained above and I appreciate that they are not angry with me or do not make a point to belittle me. It helps that I am much more vocal in my own life about the Iraq War than I ever could be here so everyone knows my opinions on that. But what really strikes me is that I made the case in 1984 for Ferraro and expected other women to at least hear me out. All of my friends did, no matter how they voted. Women like Robin Morgan also made that case in 1984. Yet today they define 'success' as ripping apart another woman.

That's hypocrisy.

"Goodbye to All of That 2" was apparently a momentary feeling for Robin. It is too important -- even in her advanced age -- that Democratic Party men love her, so she's willing to be a Queen Bee ruthlessly (and deceitfully) attacking another woman.

Robin's first book (and I have a personally autographed copy that I didn't have to stand in line for, remember Robin?) was entitled "Sisterhood Is Forever." [Elaine note, actually I mean "Sisterhood is Powerful." That was her first book and the one I have autographed. "Forever" comes later in her canon.]

Who knew "Forever" actually meant, "Until I need to shore up my cred with men"?

Robin, your column was an embarrassment and you need to publicly disown it. An apology is required.

You also need to grasp that after that little hit job on women, you can't reach across the aisle in the movement. Feminists who are Republicans or third party feminists will not be listening to you in the future. You have done a very non-feminist thing and until you apologize for it, you are the woman who used to be a feminist but is now a Handmaiden to the Democratic Party. You've blown your credibility within the movement. Hope it worked out good for you. Hope Barack groupies stopped saying nasty things about you.

Too bad that was more important to you than defending women.

Too bad that was more important to you than your own damn reputation.

C.I. was far kinder in "I Hate The War" but our points are similar. C.I. is generally kinder than me (though that always surprises people who just know us online). I laughed out loud when I read C.I.'s early line, "Robin, love you though I do, you're a damn liar."

That was funny for a number of reasons but it also underscores the differences between C.I. and Robin. On Monday, in the snapshot, C.I. had said that any 'leader' or leader who lies about Palin's record needs to be called out with, "You are a dam liar." C.I. could have blinked. C.I. could have played the hypocrisy game that Robin played. Instead, that's one of the earlierst points in C.I.'s entry.

You either work from an actual belief system or you're like Robin today, writing pieces that don't match up and anyone reading Robin's "Goodbye to all of that 2" will surely notice that her rant this week against Sarah Palin did not match up with that. Not only did it not match up with that, Robin's entire previous body of work does not match up with her hideous piece this week.

Robin better grasp that women are paying attention and that, while some my age may know her work, the bulk of women today do not know what she did ten or twenty or thirty years ago. It is ancient history and they're not going to give her a pass today for what she did in the past. Nor should they.

Robin used a non-feminist measure to judge Palin and backed up her judgment via lies and smears long since discredited. That is who Robin Morgan now is until she refutes her own bad writing. It may not be pretty, it may not be nice; however, it is the truth.

Once upon a time, women like Robin grasped that the movement always came first. Apparently, that reality has fallen by the way side in Robin's rush to be loved by the very same crowd that was ripping her apart last winter.

What's espeically ironic is that she can court that crowd all she wants and they will never embrace her. But her actions have put her at odds with feminists.

She could have stood tall. She could have been a giant for women. Instead she demonstrated just how Queen Bee-ish she can be. It is a very ugly week for the feminist movement.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, October 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Rosa Clement (Green Party) and Matt Gonzalez (independent) take part in a vice presidential debate this morning, Sarah Palin (Republican) and Joe Biden (Democrat) took part in a vice presidential debate last night, what got signed in Iraq today?, and more.

Megan Feldman (Dallas Observer) notes the suicides of war veterans Andrew Valez, Ted Westhusing, Nils Aron Andersson, Jeff Lucey, Derek Henderson and Chad Barrett and explains:

A series of recent reports reveals that record numbers of active-duty troops are committing suicide, raising concerns about the military's ability to adequately screen, diagnose and treat soldiers with mental health problems.
An Army report released in May showed that at least 115 soldiers killed themselves in 2007, the highest rate since the Army began keeping records in 1980. One of the officials to present the study cited extended and multiple deployments, frequent exposure to "horrifying" experiences and easy access to loaded weapons.
This year's suicide tally among active-duty troops -- 62 confirmed and 31 other deaths still under investigation -- is on pace t surpass last year's and push the rate of suicides per 100,000 service members above that of the civilian population for the first time ever, Army officials announced in early September.
The reports follow the controversy that enveloped the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs earlier this year when the agency was caught deliberately hiding high suicide rates among veterans. An e-mail to colleagues from Ira Katz, the VA's head of mental health, began "Shh!" and estimated the unreleased number of suicide attempts at 1,000 per month. "Is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?" he wrote. That was after the agency told CBS there were just 790 suicide attempts in all of 2007. After a three-month investigation, the network reported "a hidden epidemic" of suicides among veterans, especially the youngest ones who had served most recently.

In November of last year, CBS News aired a story entitled
'Suicide Epidemic Among Veterans.' On April 21, 2008, CBS News aired a story 'VA Hid Suicide Risk, Internal E-mails Show.' The reports (Armen Keteyian reported and Pia Malbran was the producer of the reports) were noted in an May 6th hearing of the House Veterans' Affairs Committee entitled "The Truth About Veterans' Suicides." The chair of the committee is US House Rep Bob Filner who pointed to these reports in his opening states and reminded Dr. Ira Katz (one of the witnesses appearing before the hearing) that not only had CBS News reported on this after being misled by the VA in November, but that Katz had told Congress in December 2007 that "from the beginning of the war through the end of 2005 there were 144 known suicides among these new veterans." Katz' e-mail that Feldman refers to in her report was replied to by Ev Chasen (VA's chief communication director) who declared, "I think this is something we should discuss ourselves, before issuing a release. Is the fact that we're stopping them good news, or is the sheer number bad news? And is this more than we've ever seen before? It might be something we drop into a general release about suicide prevention efforts, which (as you know far better than I) prominently include training employees to recognize the warning signs of suicide."

In July, the VA was stated that their suicide hotiline had received calls from more than 22,000 veterans (the number is 1-800-873-TALK). And, apparently keeping Ev Chasen's words in mind ("Is the fact that we're stopping them good news, or is the sheer number bad news?") declared that their work had prevented 1,221 suicides.

The May 6th hearing would include testimony from Dr. Roger Maris (University of South Carolina) where he would note that "the vast majority of VA facilities, in fact, do not have suicide coordinators." Monday
Mike Mount (CNN) reported, "The U.S. Army is establishing a suicide prevention board to examine the mental health of its recruiters around the country after the fourth suicide in three years by Houston, Texas-based recruiters, according to Army officials. The board will look at how to handle the high-stress climate facing recruiters who may be both under pressure from their job and victims of post-combat deployment stress, according to Douglas Smith, a spokesman from the U.S. Army Recruiting command." CNN refers to a recent suicide in the article and states they've chosen not to name the victim. AP reports there were two recent ones (Staff Sgt. Larry G. Flores Jr in August and Sgt 1st Class Patrick G. Henderson in September) "from the same Houston-based battalion" for a total of five from that battalion. Linsay Wise (Houston Chronicle) quotes Texas Tech's psychology chair David Rudd stating, "Clearly, there's a problem. Somebody needs to look and see if there's a broader national problem outside of this one battalion. Is it a problem placing these combat veterans in recruiting positions?" Wise also notes that US Senator John Cornyn has asked the Secretary of the Army "for a briefing on the ongoing investigation and on the policy of returning soldiers from combat and reassigning them to a recruiting office."

Kathlyn Stone (Twin Cities Daily Planet) reports on the work of Penny Coleman who runs PTSD workshops (and states, "It's not a disorder, it's an injury") including one in August at the Veterans For Peace conference and notes, "The VA is in denial about PTSD contributing to the high suicide rate of combat veterans, she says, adding that official counts aren't accurate. Speaking of Vietnam vets, Coleman said, 'There are more suicides than names on the [Vietnam Memorial] wall.' Veterans For Peace members agree that the United States must be better prepared to provide not only care for physical wounds but also better mental health support for soldiers now serving or just returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. Coleman cited figures released by CBS News documenting over 6,256 military suicides in 2005." At the start of the week John C. Bersia (McClatchy-Tribune) observed, "Most Americans are familiar with the official Iraq toll -- as of last week, 4,169 U.S. dead, along with a several hundred from allied nations. Missing from that list, though, are Americans who fulfilled their duties and returned home unable to cope with the complexities of life after Iraq, often compounded by post-traumatic stress disorder. One such person died last week; his name was Dominic D.H. Pritchard, a resident of Ovideo, Fla. He was a U.S. Marine, a student, a citizen-soldier who volunteered with the Florida Army National Guard because of his desire to serve his community in times of clamity, and an emerging writer with a particular passion for history, military affairs and art."

Meanwhile retired Army Col and retired US State Dept
Ann Wright pens a column for The Fayetteville Observer:

As a former army officer who once served proudly at Fort Bragg, I'll be returning here Wednesday. I'm going to join in a commemoration of the deaths of three military women, and the suffering of the many other victims of military-related domestic violence and sexual assault.
The commemoration will start with a vigil at the Yadkin Road gate of Fort Bragg at 11 a.m. The vigil will be followed by a luncheon-discussion at 12:30 p.m. at the Quaker House and conclude with a wreath-laying at the grave of another victim of military spousal homicide.
We invite the military and civilian communities of Fayetteville and Jacksonville to join us.
We'll be especially mindful of the three women soldiers who were murdered in this area in the first six months of this year, allegedly by male GIs: Army Spc. Megan Touma, who was seven months pregnant; Fort Bragg nurse 2nd Lt. Holley Wimunc; and Marine Lance Corp. Maria Lauterbach, who had been raped and also was pregnant.

AP is reporting that arrrests have been made in the death of Sgt Christina E. Smith ("the third off-post killing of a Fort Bragg servicewoman in four months") -- her husband, Sgt. Richard Smith, is "charged with first-degree and conspiracy to commit murder" and "Pfc. Matthew Kvapil, 18, faces the same charges, and [Theresa] Chance [spokesperson for Fayetteville police] said he was hired by Smith to kill the wife as the couple walked together Tuesday evening."

In Iraq today . . . confusion.
Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that the presidency council "has agreed to approve a long-delayed law that will allow most of the country to hold provincial elections early next year, officials said Friday." However, China's Xinhua reports that the "presidential council had not approved the provincial election law passed by the parliament, local media reported Friday." Al Jazeera does not say that they have agreed to pass it, Al Jaezeera states that it is passed. AP also states it has passed and, in fact, signed into law by Iraqi President Jalal Talabani: "Firyad Rawndouzi, a Kurdish lawmaker, told The Associated Press that the three-member panel led by President Jalal Talabani had signed the law Friday and asked the parliament 'to solve the minorities problem'." Article 50 issue was never addressed. It is the one that has been called out by everyone from Iraqi Christians to Moqtada al-Sadr and puts minority representation at risk. Nouri al-Maliki did express some public statements and there is said to have been concern on the part of the presidency council. But if it's signed, it's the law. The Parliament can try to fix it but the law is what was signed by Talabani.

Erica Goode and Mohammed Hussein (New York Times) report on Samarra and among the details provided by the reporters is that the reconstruction of Askairya Shrine (after the 2007 bombing) is not only expensive (expected to cost $8 million), the reconstruction is being done "without blueprints." Samara, like everywhere in Iraq, suffers from the same problems: "few jobs available, that the water is not potable, that the electricity is intermittent at best, that they have not received their pensions and that there are shortages of medicine." At Baghdad Bureau Blog (the paper's blog) Mohammed Hussein has written of the journey taken to report that story and notes, "The Awakening and National Police and Iraqi army all manned different checkpoints. It took one and a half hours to drive only 70 miles. There was some risk along the whole journey, but during the 90-minute drive I was really worried for only five minutes, near Meshahda. Five minutes can be a big deal." Hussein shares impressions of all the areas they traveled through, by the way.

Wednesday, the US 'handed over' the "Awakening" Councils to the puppet government in Baghdad.
Scott Peterson (Christian Science Monitor) reports today: "Fresh concern is washing over Iraq of a new wave of insurgent violence as the bands of mainly Sunni Muslim Iraqis, trained, armed and paid by the US military to fight Al Qaeda in Iraq are now coming under the control of a skeptical Shiite-led government. While the group called the Sons of Iraq (SOI) has been critically imporant in improving security, the US military and many leaders within the SOI worry that their foot soldiers -- many of them ex-insurgents -- will simply return to their old ways if they are not paid or brought into Iraq's official security forces." The Charleston Post and Courier editorializes on the same topic, expresses similar concerns and notes: "Doubts about the ability of the two sides to quickly develop a satisfactory relationship is a major reason why the Pentagon on Wednesday announced plans for sending additional forces to Iraq next year. The reinforcements, if needed, would maintain U.S. troop strength in Iraq at the present level of about 152,000 through 2009." Meanwhile UPI reports on the female branch of "Awakening" (also called Daughters of Iraq) and states that "is taking on a new role under U.S. financing as part of the counterinsurgency strategy there, officials said." They are paid 20% less than males and that wage discrimination was put in place by the White House. On the issue of counter-insurgency, Karen DeYoung and Walter Pincus (Washington Post) report on the US Defense Department's latest contracts ("up to $300 million") which will "produce news stories, entertainment programs and public service advertisements" in Iraq aimed at Iraqis in a program called "information/psychological operations" that is part of the counter-insurgency strategies. The US has a lengthy history of attempting to use the media within Iraq to propagandize to the Iraqi people. For an earlier effort, you can refer to Borzou Daragahi and Mark Mazzetti (Los Angeles Times) explaining the process in 2005 which noted the US military penned articles and that many were then "presented in the Iraqi press as unbiased news accounts written and reported by independent journalists. The stories trumpet the work of U.S. and Iraqi troops, denounced insurgents and tout U.S.-led efforts to rebuild the country."

It's Friday so little violence gets reported but some of today's violence includes:.


Reuters notes a Sulaiman Pek roadside bombing which resulted in two people being injured.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Center Soldier was killed when an improvised explosive device exploded near his vehicle south of Amarah Oct. 2." That is the first announced death for the month and brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq to 4177 since the start of the illegal war.

Democracy Now! today, a vice presidential debate took place between Matt Gonzales (Ralph Nader's running mate) and Rosa Clemente (Cynthia McKinney's running mate). During their debate, they were shown clips of GOP v.p. nominee Governor Sarah Palin and Democratic v.p. nominee Joe Biden weighing in on various topics from last night's debate.
From the transcript (and remember, it is watch, listen or read at DN!):

JUAN GONZALEZ: Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Biden, talking about the war in last night's debate. Rosa Clemente, Green Party vice-presidential nominee, what's your viewpoint on the war?

ROSA CLEMENTE: Well, the Green Party's viewpoint -- and Cynthia has been very clear, and the party has been very clear -- an immediate end to the war, an immediate withdrawal of troops in Iraq, but also in Afghanistan. And, you know, one thing Cynthia agrees with a former colleague of hers, Dennis Kucinich, is that we now have to talk about creating departments of peace. And we have to also talk about withdrawing troops wherever they reside in other people's homelands. I always found it interesting -- or, you know, the fact that we, as the United States government, and we, as the people in this country, allow our military to be placed in other people's homelands. And being from Puerto Rico, I'm very clear on why the military does what it does. But we would never allow another country to have a military base there. And that might be a little simplistic kind of thing to throw out there, but I also think it speaks to the way we want to move forward in the future. And I don't think that either party is planning on ending the war. I think that the Democrats are more about transferring troops to Afghanistan and potentially preparing for a war in Pakistan. And even yesterday, Joe Biden talked about the possibility of putting troops in in Darfur. And I think that's something that we have to say immediately is unacceptable and that the majority of young people in this country have been clear for the last five years that we want an end to the war right now.

AMY GOODMAN: Independent vice-presidential candidate Matt Gonzalez?

MATT GONZALEZ: Well, I certainly -- and Ralph Nader supports getting our troops out of Iraq and Afghanistan immediately. I think the problem with a lot of the rhetoric that we're hearing is that if you concede that the surge is working, which we do not concede--but the moment you do that, you are going to run into a problem with the so-called timetable. Are the Democrats going to stick to a timetable if, as they start to draw down troops, there's increased sectarian violence? And I think the answer to that is really unclear, and probably no. I think the only way that we can successfully get out of this country is if, at the outset, we make it clear we're going to -- we're going to work quickly to get our troops out of the region, that we're part of the reason why the region remains unstable.

And we'll also note
this section of the debate:

AMY GOODMAN: Matt Gonzalez, I know you have to leave, so I'm going to give you the first stab at this, as you catch a plane. And also, a correction: in 2004, yes, Ralph Nader was an Independent candidate, as well. He was, 2000, the Green Party candidate. Your comment on same-sex marriage?

MATT GONZALEZ: Well, obviously, Nader and I support marriage rights for all. I think it's insulting to hear these candidates want it both ways. They're essentially trying to appeal to both conservative voters who are opposed to gay marriage and somehow also appeal to progressive voters who want to see equality. You know, I think Ralph Nader, you know, when you step back and look at his history, he is somebody who is an enormously important voice against the growing corporate greed in this society and what concentrated capital does when it's left alone. And I think he's not somebody who has decided to fight against the two parties. You know, he has, his entire life, been fighting against these parties -- it's not a recent conversion -- on a host of issues. And I think he should have been in this debate. I think he has a legislative record that's stronger than the candidates that we saw in that debate. I mean, Joe Biden should have been asked about his support of credit card companies in Delaware, of the federal sentencing guidelines that he helped pass in the 1980s that, you know, has disproportionately hurt people of color. These were things that were absent. And I think if Rosa and I had been in that debate, it would have been a better debate.

AMY GOODMAN: And, Rosa Clemente, your perspective on gay marriage?

ROSA CLEMENTE: I mean, full 100 percent equal rights for everybody. I also take it a step further for it being about human rights. LGBT people are human beings, and they have a right, like anyone else, to get married, to get divorced, to not get married. But if I could just quickly just say, yes, Cynthia did leave the Democratic Party after twelve years, but while she was in there, it was Cynthia McKinney that had a hearing on the issue of political prisoners, the first-ever congressional hearing on that. It was Cynthia that pushed the envelope about what happened on 9/11. It was Cynthia that wrote the articles of impeachment. And I think that speaks highly to someone who will leave a party, finally, based on principles and values and then pick someone that truly represents what the majority of this country is going to look like. I think if me and Matt were on there, and if Cynthia, Bob Barr, [Chuck] Baldwin, Ron Paul and Ralph Nader were allowed to debate, the presidency on November 4th would look radically different and would represent the majority of American people.

Green Party presidential nominee
Cynthia McKinney took the "super pledge" Thursday:
I, Cynthia McKinney, pledge to use my candidacy, whenever feasible, to advance the preservation of democracy. I will officially challenge the results of the election as provided by law if the combination of election conditions, incident reports and announced election results calls into question the reliability of the official vote count. I will wait until all valid votes are counted and all serious challenges resolved before declaring victory or conceding defeat. I will involve my campaign volunteers in actions to enhance the accuracy and verifiability of the election in which I am a candidate. I will speak out publicly during the pre-election period about the importance of fair, accurate and transparent elections and about this pledge. I will designate a liaison between my campaign and "Standing For Voters" so that "Standing For Voters" can alert me to any red flags they are aware of regarding my election.

Meanwhile independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader weighs in on the economic bailout.
Click here for his post before the House voted today (it passed) and here were his thoughts prior to vote:

People often ask me -- what forces shaped you, Ralph? I reply simply: "A lucky choice of parents." Among other things, my parents passed down many traditions. Traditions that were handed down from generations before them. Traditions that served as a counterweight to the addictions. And fads. And technologies.

Of modern life. Traditions such as: The tradition of listening. The tradition of scarcity. The tradition of discipline. And the tradition of civics. A couple of years ago, I sat down at my manual Underwood typewriter and wrote a book titled The Seventeen Traditions (Harper Collins, 2007). It's about growing up in my hometown of Winsted, Connecticut (above is a picture of me standing next to my mother Rose). And it details the seventeen traditions of my youth. It's the only book that I've written that everybody loves. When you get a copy, you'll know why. Flipping through a copy of the book the other day, I asked myself -- If the majority in this Congress was governed by the traditions that we grew up with in the New England of my youth -- wouldn't they have acted to prevent Wall Street's "sustained orgy of excess and reckless behavior" -- as Richard Fisher, the president of the Dallas Federal Reserve Bank put it last week?
Surely they wouldn't then turn around and reward that behavior with a $750 billion bailout? By now you know that McCain, Obama and Bush all support the bailout. And Nader/Gonzalez are opposed. And we again urge all members of the House to vote against the bailout today.

But no matter how the House votes today, Nader/Gonzalez will be barnstorming the country in October. Putting front and center our platform of shifting the power from the corporations back into the hands of the American people. We're on the ballot in 45 states and the District of Columbia. We've deployed a contingent to each state to coordinate our get out the vote drive. And we're raising money to drive the campaign home to election day. But we need to raise $1,000,000 in October to get it done. Our first October goal is to raise $250,000 by October 12. Yes, that's a heavy lift. But it's been heavy before, and you've come through every time. So, here's the idea:
If you donate $17, or $170, or $10, or $50 -- whatever you can afford to donate -- by midnight tonight, we'll e-mail to you tomorrow a signed one pager listing the 17 traditions.

You can share it with your friends and family.Or just stick it in your drawer for posterity's sake.If you
donate $100 now, we will send you a copy of the 150-page hard cover edition of The Seventeen Traditions -- my favorite book. And I'll autograph it.In my humble opinion, this book makes a wonderful present -- for the upcoming holidays, as a wedding present, birthday present, Mother's Day present, or for a baby shower. (This Seventeen Traditions book offer expires on October 12, 2008 at 11:59 p.m.)So, stock up now.The more the merrier. The proceeds will power our campaign during this momentous October.Thank you again for your generous support.Together, we are making a difference.
Onward to November

Thursday night, Governor Sarah Palin and Senator Joe Biden debated.
The John McCain - Sarah Palin campaign issued this statement regarding the debate:

Statement From Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker
ARLINGTON, VA -- McCain-Palin 2008 Communications Director Jill Hazelbaker issued the following statement on tonight's Vice Presidential Debate: "Tonight, Governor Palin proved beyond any doubt that she is ready to lead as Vice President of the United States. She won this debate, putting Joe Biden on defense on energy, foreign policy, taxes and the definition of change. Governor Palin laid bare Barack Obama's record of voting to raise taxes, opposing the surge in Iraq, and proposing to meet unconditionally with the leaders of state sponsors of terror. The differences between the Obama-Biden ticket and the McCain-Palin ticket could not have been clearer. The American people saw stark contrasts in style and worldview. They saw Joe Biden, a Washington insider and a 36-year Senator, and Governor Palin, a Washington outsider and a maverick reformer. Governor Palin was direct, forceful and a breath of fresh air."

The McCain - Palin campaign also quotes Geraldine Ferraro, the first women to make the ticket of one of the country's two major parties (1984, the Democratic ticket of Mondale - Ferraro). Ferraro stated on NBC: "I really wanted her to get up there and do a good job, and I think she did. . . . I think it was a good evening for -- certainly for Governor Palin. . . . . I think she showed she is certainly capable of going toe to toe with a man who is more than qualified to be vice president, if not president of the United States."

Quickly, TV notes,
NOW on PBS offers a look at New Mexico which is seen as a battleground state in the 2008 election and speak to various voting groups as well as to Governor Bill Richardson. Washington Week finds Gwen sitting around the table with four journalists including the AP's Charles Babington. (And for others, 'journalists' is being generous.) In a book note, independent journalist David Bacon's latest book is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press) which came out last month. The Oakland Institute notes: "Since NAFTA's passage in 1993, the U.S. Congress has debated and passed several new trade agreements - with Peru, Jordan, Chile, and the Central American Free Trade Agreement. At the same time it has debated immigration policy as though those trade agreements bore no relationship to the waves of displaced people migrating to the U.S., looking for work. Meanwhile, a rising tide of anti-immigrant hysteria has increasingly demonized those migrants, leading to measures that deny them jobs, rights, or any pretense of equality with people living in the communities around them. To resolve any of these dilemmas, from adopting rational and humane immigration policies to reducing the fear and hostility towards migrants, Uprooted: The Impact of Free Market on Migrants, a new Backgrounder from the Oakland Institute, suggests the starting point has be an examination of the way U.S. policies have both produced migration and criminalized migrants."

the new york timeserica goode
armen keteyianpia malbran
democracy now
karen deyoungwalter pincusthe washington postthe los angeles timesborzou daragahimark mazzetti
scott peterson
david bacon
now on pbspbswashington week

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Talking post

"Why Won't Obama Go for the Knockout?" (Lance Selfa, Dissident Voice):
What about the main foreign policy difference between McCain and Obama -- the issue that has been the subject of the hopes of millions over the last two years -- namely their attitude toward the war in Iraq?
Obama's best barbs against McCain were the series of "you were wrong" charges Obama flung at McCain's predictions that Iraq possessed "weapons of mass destruction," that the U.S. occupation would be welcomed and so on.
But that's about the past. Regarding the future, Obama noted that "in 16 months, we should be able to reduce our combat troops."
Perhaps lost on most listeners, Obama’s choice of the word "reduce" rather than "withdraw" may be a tip of the hand. Formerly, Obama had pledged to withdrawal "combat troops" from Iraq, which would have still left thousands of support troops and mercenaries deployed in Iraq. On September 26, he pledged only to lower the number of combat troops in Iraq.
We'll see if this was merely a rhetorical misstep in the heat of a debate. But if it isn't, Obama may be laying the ground for backing off even his original promise to withdraw combat troops within 16 months once he is president.
At that point, opponents of the Iraq war who voted for Obama may ask themselves just why they voted for him.

Barack Obama is not about ending the illegal war and a real press would have long ago noted that. Instead Big and Small Media sells the lie that Barack's going to end the Iraq War. It is not happening.

A reader e-mailed a piece by Ray McGovern and asked me what I thought of it?

As a general rule, I don't applaud spooks, sorry.

He's a Hillary Hater but I've not seen him call out Barack. I don't trust Ray McGovern, I never have. Again, I don't rush to applaud the spooks.

Nor do I rush to applaud friends or supporters of sexual predators. I have no plans to highlight Ray McGovern.

Which was the reader's point, by the way.

As a general rule, never trust a spook. They are trained to deceive. You'll never know if they're making a genuine case or if they're just spinning you.

My only exception to that rule would be Larry Johnson. With Johnson, he and I usually come down on different sides of the issue but he writes with conviction and no attempt to hide. Reading McGovern, it makes no sense at all. I don't believe he's come out and endorsed the idea that 9-11 was an inside job but he's come close to doing so. So why would he believe that and believe that Barack, with much the same backers, was any different? It makes no sense. When a spook makes no sense, generally it's because they're attempting to manipulate you.

Johnson's a little too law and order to play that game. I do not mean that as an insult. I think he would have been happier in the FBI which is more nuts and bolts. The CIA works on the theoretical and plays chess games with the world.

There are spooks in the peace movement, obviously, and they may be part of the reason that it has accomplished nothing. All this time later. I am not very 'jazzed' on the peace movement. They, like Ray McGovern, are working for Barack. That's not a peace movement. During Vietnam, we didn't play cheerleaders or apologists. Tom Hayden, of course, tried to but that's among the reasons he was drummed out of the peace movement.

This may come off a little flippant and, if so, sorry. But as one of the many spied on during Vietnam, I don't have a lot of respect for a number of people. When C.I. and I went over our files (via Freedom of Information) all that time ago, the first thing we noticed was how there was no point in blacking out anything. We were able to narrow down every first-hand informant. There were a ton of spies in the peace movement and a number were 'names.' So the thing to take away if you're in the peace movement today is look for action, not words. Look to see who is working on ending the illegal war and who folds tent from time to time.

Back then, I trusted many. I don't today.

I also do not care for ____ who started the rumor in my government file that I had an abortion on the day I was in fact having dental surgery. No one's ever going to write a book about me (which is fine) but I thought about how the files on others could be used as 'facts' to future biographers and the really appalling thing is how very inaccurate they are. I'll gladly cop to anything I did, but don't pin something on me that never happened. I wasn't into violence so we're not talking about crimes here but my file was rife with inaccuracies that actually spoke more of the ways they see women and the ways they smear than it did about me. When C.I. and I were helping a war resister across the border, a man (we know who, only one showed up at that hotel) reported back that we were having a three way and that we were "perverts" (that word is in my file) because the man was African-American.

Now we didn't have sex with the war resister. We didn't even know him. We were asked by friends to help him which we gladly did. But the story tells you about where some minds go. Put two women and one man together and it must be sex!

We already know that peace groups have been spied upon (and the big concern there is the spying going on by military intelligence but no one wants to explore that, have you noticed?). So if you're part of the peace movement, just be aware.

Monty McFate's sister was only able to infiltrate because the people who trusted her were stupid. She dropped in and out and no one ever thought that was strange? That's generally your first clue.

C.I. has a great memory but C.I. also kept a journal for many, many years. If you're curious about your life as it happens and as it's recorded by the government, I would encourage you to do the same. Whenever we couldn't pinpoint something in our files, C.I. would pull out the journals and say, "Okay, the only person we spoke to that day was ___." We were able to identify every 'informat' and 'asset' blacked out as a result. Even if we'd been at a rally that day and spoken to many people. (C.I. generally wrote five to six page entries at the end of each night. They were very detailed and in code because you couldn't go through an airport without having snoops go through your things.)

I'm not trying to scare anyway away from activism. I am recommending you be wary of certain types and I am suggesting you keep a record of some form because it will allow you the luxury of dumping people when you see your file. (You will see your file if you want because the spying going on today has been reported on and is not hidden. It may be five years, it may be ten, but there will be Congressional outrage.)

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, October 1, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Iraq falls off the news radar, the big 'handover' takes place, and more.

Today was 'handover' for the "Awakeing" Council (also known as Sawha and "Sons of Iraq"). The Sunni 'movement' began in Al Anbar Province in 2005 when the US military put Sunni thugs on the US tax dollar payroll. Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki, who staffed his ministries with Shi'ite thugs, has long seen the "Awakening" Councils as a threat to his supremacy in the puppet government.
The late Lt Gen William E. Odom testifed before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee April 2nd and noted of the "Awakening" Council members:

Let me emphasize that our new Sunni friends insist on being paid for their loyalty. I have heard, for example, a rough estimate that the cost in one area of about 100 square kilometers is $250,000 per day. And periodically they threaten to defect unless their fees are increased. You might want to find out the total costs for these deals forecasted for the next several years, because they are not small and they do not promise to end. Remember, we do not own these people. We merely rent them. And they can break their lease at any moment.

The US has armed, trained and paid both sides in the conflict. Some might point out that to be 'needed' in the region, it helps to play both sides. During the same hearing, War Hawk Stephen Biddle of the Council on Foreign Relations got the attention of Senator Barbara Boxer:

Barbara Boxer: Did you just say that Maliki uses the Iraqi security forces as his militia? Did you say that?Biddle: Yes.Barbara Boxer: If that's true and Maliki uses his military as a force to bring about peace -- that's scandalous and that we would have paid $20 million to train [it] and someone that we consider an expert says it's a militia, that's shocking.

Now the two extremist groups (neither of whom represent the bulk of Sunni and Shia Iraqis) are being 'partnered' and at a time when distrust runs high. Last month
Charles Levinson (USA Today) reported on some of the suspicions of "Awakening" Council members and quoted Mullah Shihab al-Safi stating of the al-Maliki government sudden rush to arrest "Awakening" Council members, "Our government is after us. We sacrificed hundreds of our sons to drive al-Qaeda out. Now the government says we are no different than terrorists." And this tension was well known long before today. Dropping back to the September 11 snapshot:

Meanwhile the "Awakening" Council is back in the news. These are the Sunni thugs on the US payroll ($300 a month for males, $280 for females) because, as US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker told Congress repeatedly in April, paying them off means they don't attack US equipment or soldiers. That's a lot of lunch money to fork over each money to be safe on the 'playground.' Puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, has long been vocally opposed to the "Awakening" Councils. That's because he staffed with Shi'ite thugs. The two most extreme segments of Iraq are at war with one another. al-Maliki has made it very clear he has little use for the "Awakening" Councils and his staff has echoed that repeatedly. With US Senators and House Reps loudly objecting to the tax payer monies being spent on this program (one Petraeus hails) last April, there's been a push to have the puppet government (sitting on billions) pay the "Awakening" Council itself. (Senator Barbara Boxer was especially vocal in April asking why the puppet government wasn't paying them.) The new talk is that al-Maliki will begin paying them but distrust remains on both sides.

Nicholas Spangler and Mohammed al-Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) report that despite for-show motions in public on the part of the puppet government, "Awakening" Council leaders remain skepitcal (with one saying after the latest press conference, "I don't trust a word they say") that the puppet government will take charge and pay the 99,000 "Awakening" members or that 20,000 will be absorbed "into the police and army" starting October 1st. Thursday's press conference found Gen Abud Ganbar declaring, "The government has ordered that monthly salaries be paid until we can put (Awakening members) into security forces or ministires. Payments will continue until they find jobs." That leaves "Awakening" leaders skeptical and the reporters quote various voices explaining why including the claim that the puppet government has hired al Qaeda members. Khalid al-Ansary and Waleed Ibrahim (Reuters) report on the puppet government side where grave doubts are repeatedly raised ("But he also expressed distaste for some members of the predominantly Sunni Arab Awakening movement, an aversion shared by some other officials.") as is the argument that there is need "to weed out" certain members. In other words, Thursday's press conference reassured no one and the tensions remain.

September 23rd,
Erica Goode (New York Times) reported on the tensions in Baghdad as the transfer of "Awakening" to the puppet government approaches and notes that "Awakening" Councils in Adhamiya "have posed increasing problems. . . . Some residents complain that the men, not a few of them swaggering street toughs, use their power to intimidate people. Sometimes violence erupts." At the start of last month, Rania Abouzeid (Time magazine) was quoting the "Awakening" Council spokesperson Mohammed Mahmood al Natah on his dismay over the 'handover', "We wanted it to be postponed but the decision had already been made by the government and we cannot change it." Despite the very public nature of the tensions and the fears on both sides, things appear to have been rushed through with very little planning.

Near the end of September, Lt Gen Lloyd Austin gave a briefing where he praised the "Awakening" Council and declared, "One of our primary focus areas as we move foward is transitioning the Sons of Iraq program to the Iraqi government. The volunteer movement that started in Anbar and spread across the rest of the country significantly contributed to the security successes that we are now taking advantage of. The Sons of Iraq have paid a heavy price fight al Qaeda and other insurgent groups, and it's important that the government of Iraq responsibly transition them into meaningful employment. Prime Minister Maliki has assured me that the government will help those who help the people of Iraq. And so next week in Baghdad the government will accept responsibility for approximately 54,000 Sons of Iraq, and we will be there to assist in the transfer." And yet for all the words expressed, no planning appeared to have gone into what happened next, a point NPR's JJ Sutherland repeatedly attempted to explore. The exchange ended with this:

JJ Sutherland: Sir, I understand that but I'[m saying, "What happens in October? I understand eventually you want to have them be plumbers or electricians. But in October, there are a lot of checkpoints that have been manned by the Sons of Iraq. Are those checkpoints all going to go away? Are they only going to be staffed by Iraqi police now? That's my question. It's not eventually, it's next month.

Lt Gen Lloyd Austin: Yeah. Next month the Iraqi government will begin to work their way through this. And there's no question that some of them, some of the checkpoints, many of the checkpoints, will be -- will be manned by Iraqi security forces. In some cases, there may be Sons of Iraq that will be taksed to help with that work. But in most cases, I think the Iraqi government will be looking to transition people into different types of jobs.

That was September 22nd and the US military was apparently operating under the notion that things could be figured ("begin to work their way through this") at some point in October.
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reported this morning on the new Pentagon report to Congress which cited the Pentagon's belief in the importance of the "Awakening" Councils and also noted the "[t]ension between the government and Sunni volunteers . . . in Diyala Province, where the Sunni population is fearful that the government is using military opeations ostensibly aimed at al-Qaeda in Iraq as a pretext to 'arrest, intimidate, or kill moderate Sunnis and SOI groups who are otherwise interested in participating the political process'." The Pentagon's report to Congress is [PDF format warning] "Measuring Stability and Security in Iraq" and it hails the "Awakening" Councils:

The emergence of the SoI remains one of the major developments of the past 18 months; however, the integration and employment of SoI remain a significant challenge. The SoI provide significant security benefits to their local communities by protecting neighborhoods, securing key infrastructure and roads, and identifying malign activity. What began primarily as a Sunni effort has now taken hold in many Shi'a and mixed Sunni-Shi'a communities as well. Today there are over 98,000 SoI contributing to local security.

If the Pentagon believes that one has to wonder how they missed the various "Awakening" Council members speaking to the press repeatedly about either being on strike (while at a checkpoint) because there was an arrest warrant out for an "Awakening" member or telling the press that they'd learned their checkpoint would be shut down after the 'handover'?

Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) sketched out the basics, "Unemployment in Sunni areas remains high, basic services are still poor, distrust of the United States and the Shiite-led Iraqi government is widespread and fears of Shiite militias persist. On Wednesday, al Qaisi and 54,419 other men in Baghdad province will transition to Iraqi government control. That's more than half of the Sons of Iraq (SOI) who're now being paid by the U.S. military to protect neighborhoods -- and in some cases not to shoot at American troops." John Hendren (ABC News) reports: "Iraqi government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh told ABC News Iraq plans to give 20 percent of the nation's 100,000 Sons of Iraq jobs to the police force and army. 'I don't think that the Iraqi government neither the Multi National Forces could achieve such success and security without their participation,' al-Dabbagh told ABC News. But here in the small village of Jambariyah, an al Qaeda stronghold north of Baghdad until early this year, just one of 70 Sons of Iraq has been hired to date, and of the 1,200 in the city of Dujail, none." Despite those (and other) realities, the 'handover' took place today. Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post) reports, "The handover of the armed groups was a low-key affair in Baghdad, where government offices are closed for a six-day holiday marking the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The transition was largely symbolic, since the U.S. military plans to stay involved with the groups for several months as the Iraqi government begins paying their salaries and decides how to employ them." Last month, Erica Goode and Muhafer al-Husaini (New York Times) noted that Brig Gen Tarek Abdul Hameed declare that the puppet government in Baghdad would indeed pick up their payrolls for the "Awakening" Councils -- as did many outlets. However, Tim Albone (Times of London) explains, "Senior US military sources said that America would pay the salaries of any members of the force who did not find alternative employment." UPI cites KUNA to inform that, according to Maj Gen Jeffery Hammond, though the 'handover' took place today al-Maliki's government will not begin paying until November 10th. Meanwhile Nizar Latif (UAE's The National) offers this evaluation, "However, the US military and the Sahwa themselves are concerned that the Iraqi government may simply disband the councils and push the former insurgents back into the role of active insurgents. In essence it would be a repeat of a former devastating mistake, when America disbanded the Iraqi army in 2003, leaving thousands of trained soldiers without jobs and a score to settle against the US military."

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


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded four people .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Diyala Province that claimed 2 lives and four police officers wounded.

Moving over to the US presidential race.
David Hoff (Education Week) explores what the presidential choices mean in terms of the No Child Left Behind Act (also known as "No Learning, Just Crib Notes") since both GOP presidential nominee John McCain and Democratic presidential nominee Barack Obama support it. Hoff notes three who are for quality education (first step, end NCLB):

Ralph Nader, who is running as an independent, says "federal policy needs to be transformed from one that uses punishments to control schools, to one that supports teachers and students; from one that relies primarily on standardized tests, to one that encourages high-quality assessments. Broader measures of student learning are needed that include reliance of classroom-based assessments along with testing."

Bob Barr, the Libertarian Party candidate, writes: "Turning education over to the federal government, as through such legislation as the No Child Left Behind Act has not worked. Trying to fix failing schools with more money and regulations also has failed to do anything other than waste taxpayer money without results." He proposes ending the federal government's role in education and turning decisions back to state and local governments.

The Green Party, which has nominated Cynthia McKinney to be its candidate, writes in its draft platform that "the federal Act titled No Child Left Behind punishes where it should assist and hinders its own declared purpose. It should be repealed or greatly redesigned." The federal government's roles should be limited to ensuring students across states have a "level playing field," the platform says.

Hoff notes that Barr and McKinney did vote for NCLB in 2001 while both were members of the US House of Representatives.
Anita Zimmerman (The Chetek Alert) covers many presidential candidates and we'll note this section:

The state's Green party has many of the same challenges. They don't get much media coverage, their candidates are rarely invited to debates, and their resources are too limited for national advertisement. Like the Constitution party, there are "scattered individuals" but no cohesive Barron County organization, says Jeff Peterson, co-founder of the Wisconsin Green Party. Peterson, a 20-year veteran of the party and a Luck resident, believes presidential candidate
Cynthia McKinney appeals to urban voters and young people. Peterson's been "politicking from his computer," he adds. On the national level, the Green party's base is split between 20-somethings and 50-somethings, Peterson explains. While the party enjoys support on college campuses, it has never succeeded in garnering the 5-percent vote necessary to "unlock all sorts of resources," especially the monetary kind. Peterson's goal for the election is to "maintain a presence." Voters need third-party options, he believes, and candidates like McKinney, a former congresswoman from Georgia, take stances on issues Republicans and Democrats may not address.

Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and
Team Nader's Ashley Sanders explains:

Many people tend to see the economic crisis as a problem from nowhere, divorcing it from the deliberate and systematic dismantling of regulation and oversight waged by the corporate sector in its fight for ever-greater profits. Many of these same people view Barack Obama's candidacy in similar but opposite terms, seeing him as the change candidate from nowhere who will save our economic and political our economic and political system--divorcing his hope message from his actual platforms and legislative history.
In part two of her February analysis of Obama's campaign, Pam Martens makes the connection between our rootless critiques of the economy and our rootless support of Obama. When the same people causing a crisis are funding the man claiming to solve a crisis, we can expect more of the same.

Governor Sarah Palin is the GOP nominee for vice president and
yesterday Katie Couric interviewed the McCain-Palin ticket for The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric (link has text and video and click here for transcript):

"I do," Palin said. "I'm a feminist who, uh, believes in equal rights and I believe that women certainly today have every opportunity that a man has to succeed, and to try to do it all, anyway. And I'm very, very thankful that I've been brought up in a family where gender hasn't been an issue. You know, I've been expected to do everything growing up that the boys were doing. We were out chopping wood and you're out hunting and fishing and filling our freezer with good wild Alaskan game to feed our family. So it kinda started with that."

the McCain-Palin campaign released the following:

Today, Chief Warrant Officer 4 Michael J. Durant (Ret.) issued the following statement on Joe Biden's apparently false accounts of near-misses on the battlefields of Afghanistan and Iraq:
"Senator Biden claimed at a debate last year that he'd been 'shot at' while visiting Iraq. And he has claimed repeatedly, most recently last week, that his helicopter was 'forced down' in Afghanistan -- leaving his audience with the impression that it was fire from the Taliban which had grounded the aircraft. Neither of these stories appears to be true, and Senator Biden has never accounted for the discrepancies.
"I've been on a helicopter that was 'forced down' by enemy fire, and I've been 'shot at.' Neither is easily confused with being caught in a snow storm or awakened by a loud bang in the night. Senator Biden has a responsibility to come clean on what actually happened, and explain why he would ever say such things to the American people. And with the Vice Presidential Debate coming up on Thursday, it is incumbent on the news media to ask Senator Biden the tough questions -- as they have so far failed to do -- and examine his responses closely for inconsistencies of the kind we've witnessed in recent months.
"The American people expect and deserve leaders who tell the truth about their record and their experiences, and a news media that holds all candidates -- no matter their party -- to the same standard."

When it was Hillary, it was BIG NEWS. Was it just because she's a woman? Was it just because the press wants to elect Barack? Tomorrow night Joe Biden and Sarah Palin are scheduled to debate. Prior to the start of the vice presidential debate,
(3:45 p.m. local time), Senator McCain will be participating in the Women's Town Hall Meeting in Denver.

mcclatchy newspapersnicholas spanglermohammed al dulaimy
leila fadel
the new york timeserica goode
mudhafer al-husaini the washington postann scott tysontim albone

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

CBS Evening News and more

Nat Resnikoff allegedly would like an education at NYU so allow me to assist him with the first step. Entitling a piece "Countdown to the VP Debate: Let's Get Retarded in Here" is insulting and offensive. It does not show maturity, it does not show a gift for communication. That NYU didn't grasp the problem goes to how sad things truly are.

Many people in this world have challenges. There are also people who are just mean and hurtful. What plays on South Park is not adult, it demonstrates no thirst for knowledge, no longing for higher learning. NYU should be ashamed that the title went up. It is offensive.

A community member e-mailed me that piece and she didn't find it 'funny.' She is the parent of a child who is mentally challenged. Resnikoff is old enough to know better and NYU should close up shop if they don't. It is rude, it is hurtful and it is phobic. That is not about P.C., that is about the 21st century when the r-word is not a word educated people use anymore than they would use the n-word. In both instances, it is an insulting, hateful word meant to degrade.

If NYU now sees South Park as the 'academic' standard to meet that may be the saddest thing of all.

"Palin Opens Up On Controversial Issues" (CBS Evening News with Katie Couric):
The governor told us though she's not a member of any church, she visits a couple of them regularly when she's home. She took issue with news reports that one of them, The Wasilla Bible Church, sponsored a conference where gays could be made straight through prayer.
Palin: Well, it matters though, Katie, when the media gets it wrong. It frustrates Americans who are just trying to get the facts and … be able to make up their mind on, about a person's values. So it does matter. But what you're talking about, I think, value here, what my position is on homosexuality and you can pray it away, because I think that was the title that was listed on that bulletin. And you know, I don't know what prayers are worthy of being prayed. I don't know what's prayers are going to be asked and answered. But as for homosexuality, I am not going to judge Americans and the decisions that they make in their adult personal relationships. I have one of my absolute best friends for the last 30 years happens to be gay, and I love her dearly. And she is not my "gay friend," she is one of my best friends, who happens to have made a choice that isn't a choice that I have made. But I am not going to judge people.

People may judge her after Thursday's debate, where she'll be unfiltered and unedited - something reporters complain the campaign has resisted.
Palin: The campaign knows that I am an open book. My record is out there and my life is out there.

I really think the Barack campaign has made yet another tactical error. They and their surrogates (such as Ian Masters) have made Palin out to be a buffoon thereby lowering expectations so that all she has to do is stand upright and not drool for the media to applaud her performance.

I don't think they grasp how the media works. They love to tear down and they love to build up. If Palin is judged a 'bomb,' they have little to offer for the weeks prior to the election. They want the jockeying to continue. Where there is no conflict, they will create it.

Joe Biden makes multiple gaffes and if anyone had their thinking caps on, the Obama campaign and its surrogates would have repeatedly attempted to lower expectations.

I'm voting for Ralph Nader.

"Column: Don’t let Nader haters bar him from debate" (Gerald Flynn, Destin Log):
The race between Barack Obama and John McCain is a virtual tie. This has been a wild, unpredictable election year. An election that will likely be decided by who wins the independent votes and swing states.
Well guess what? McCain and Obama are not the only contenders. This year, America’s presidential choices include lifelong consumer advocate, Ralph Nader, and two former members of Congress, one running as a Green, another as a Libertarian. These are not minor characters. These are viable candidates with growing support. They deserve to be heard and deserve to be in the debates.
This is an important factor of the 2008 election that the media is overlooking. While the Democrat and Republican camps bicker over pigs and lipstick and try to out-shout each other in reckless calls for offshore oil-drilling, independent candidates have been steadily rising in the polls.
Why aren’t you covering this story? There’s strong evidence that third-party candidates from both sides of the spectrum will play a significant role this year. Said the San Francisco Examiner’s Igor Derysh on Sept. 10: “While all of the Sarah Palin hype and the 24-hour-scandals will eventually be forgotten, the biggest factor in this election is one that has for the most part gone unmentioned. Independent candidates Bob Barr (Libertarian Party) and Ralph Nader appear to be commanding a big chunk of the vote in a recent CNN poll.”
It’s true. Ralph Nader is polling at 6 percent nationally according to new CNN polls, and as high as 6-8 percent in key battleground states of Colorado (7%), Michigan (6%), Pennsylvania (7%), New Mexico (8%), Nevada (6%). Yet the Commission on Presidential Debates (CPD), a corporation created by and for the Republican and Democratic parties, has complete control over the three presidential and one vice-presidential debates, and will not let Nader, or anyone else participate.
This week the Ralph Nader campaign announced that Nader/Gonzalez will be on the ballot in 45 states plus D.C. That includes populous California and New York. That’s the most ballots Nader has ever been on — 12 more than in 2004, [two] more than in the infamous election 2000. Don’t you think your readers would want to know all this? Don’t they have a right to know? Our nation is mired in two wars, sinking deeper into recession, financial institutions collapsing around us, foreclosures and soaring oil prices our bleak new economic landscape. Both main parties — the one in the White House and the one with a slim majority in Congress — played a part in the policies and decisions that got us into this mess.
Is it any wonder that a growing number of Americans are looking for another option? On all the key issues, Ralph Nader’s positions mirror those of the majority of Americans. Most of us want an immediate end to the Iraq war, true single-payer healthcare, and accountability for the ravages of the Bush/Cheney years. So does Nader. But not Obama or McCain. Nader has a right to be heard. In the media and in the presidential debates. You have a duty to report on him and other third-party candidates. You short-change your readers by not covering them. You are also missing a potentially big story.
Our democracy depends on free speech and open debate. The fourth estate has an important responsibility to keep our electorate informed. Only then can voters make sound decisions and cast intelligent votes. The American public relies on you, to report on all relevant aspects of the story. Clearly the third-party candidates this year are very relevant.
I urge you to live up to your responsibility and tell the American people about their alternatives. Report on the third-party candidates. Give them a fair hearing. And urge the Commission on Presidential Debates to include other voices in the debates. For the sake of American voters, for the sake of democracy, please do your job.
I am a total Nader backer, and he expresses the views I believe. The other two candidates are shills for corporation backers. Ralph Nader is NOT!
Gerald Flynn is a resident of DeFuniak Springs.

I really enjoyed that letter and thought Mr. Flynn was worth sharing. It really is sad that people have to take to the letter page to ask the press to live up to its obligation. What is the point of an allegedy free press if it cannot inform the people? I also find it very interesting that Dennis Kucinich's statements on Monday's Democracy Now! have not received attention from the press. Maybe not so suprising, they've been in the tank for Barack for some time. But if you missed it, the reason the bailout bill did not include protection for Main Street (home owners) was because, Kucinich was told in the caucus, Barack didn't want them in.

"2007: The Year of Living Useless (Year in Review)" (C.I., The Common Ills):
The world is beautiful today
More beautiful by far
Than any other day
I only know
That I'm in love with such green earth . . .
Nothing's Sacred was turned into a Broadway musical entitled Hazel Flagg and, if lacking any other realities she should have grown up with, Nation editor and publisher Katrina vanden Heuvel appears familiar with the score and damn determined to regularly sing it (the score Time magazine called in real time overly loud -- a bit like those annoying "Sweet Victories" posts). But we'll get back to that.
2007 was the year independent media should have been sent to their rooms -- with no TV or computer privileges.
For those who missed it, 2007 was not an election year, though you'd never know it to sample independent media. Much has been made of the public exhaustion with what passes for coverage of candidates (you always know it's a trend -- real or media created -- when the Times rushes to weigh in), but never forget that independent media was first out of the gate in the horse race coverage.

Community member Lloyd was wanting C.I.'s year-in-review noted so we're all picking a favorite section and highlighting it tonight. The Iraq War is hardly in the papers today. But blame Panhandle Media which has made the last two years all about an election. Imagine how far along the peace movement would be if they'd spent those two years not cheerleading a candidate (who is a War Hawk) but actually addressing real issues?

Naomi Klein and others said never again after the 2004 election but no one listened and judging by an appearance of Klein's (to promote her just out in soft cover book), she didn't listen either. Or maybe she thinks 'jokes' about Sarah Palin are somehow addressing ending the illegal war?

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, September 30, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Iraqi refugees forced out of Jordan, a 'turnover' takes place tomorrow, and more.

On the medical front,
Jormana Karadsheh (CNN) reports that along with allowing Iraqi doctors to carry guns, Nouri al-Maliki's council also decreed that they cannot be "detained by police without Ministry of Health approval" and notes the International Committee of the Red Cross' March report (PDF format warning, click here) which stated over " 2,200 doctors and nurses have been killed and more than 250 kidnapped since 2003" and that there were "34,000 register doctors in 1990" but "at least 20,000 have left the country." Karadsheh goes on to site the Iraqi government's figure of 8,000 having "left their jobs" (and "some fleeing the country") but "about 800 doctors have returned to their jobs". The Iraqi government figures are bunk. (Credit to Karadsheh for crediting the source on those figures -- other outlets present them as facts with no sourcing.) As noted in the August 4th snapshot, Dr. Essan Namiq (Deputy Minister of Health for Grants and Loans) and Dr. Kahmees al-Sa'ad (Administrative deputy Minister of Health) held a press conference in the Green Zone August 3rd in which many fanciful claims were floated in which Dr. Essan Namiq declared that "more than 80% of the Iraqi doctors" had returned. They just make up the numbers with whatever they think make looks them good and never worry about their own figures matching up at a later date with . . . their own figures. 80% of 8,000 is not 800.

That's really what told on them immediately in the Myth of the Great Return -- they released a figure over the weekend and, by Monday, you had to add more zeros to the abusrd claim. The myth started in the fall of 2007. Fall is here again and it's time to make it appear the Iraqi refugee situation isn't all that bad . . . really. The country's oil wealth allows them to call in favors.
Hani Hazaimeh (Jordan Times) reports that 74,000 barrels of oil were shipped to Jordan from Iraq "in the past 10 days" and quotes Jordan's Minister of Energy and Mineral Resources Khaldou Qteishat declaring, "The ministry is cooperating with its Iraqi counterpart to overcome several challenges in order to meet the daily target of 10,000 barrels as stipulated in the agreement, to be increased gradually to 30,000 barrels." The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) estimates there are at least 4.7 million Iraqi refugees -- internal and external. Of the over 2 million external refugees many are in Jordan or Syria (with some estimates of 700,000 in each country; others of 750,000 in Jordan and as many as 1.5 million in Syria). But when Iraq buys you off on oil, you're happy to eject refugees. IRIN reports, "The Iraqi embassy in Amman is organising the repatriation by planes of dozens of Iraqi families who wish to return home, despite warnings from UN agencies about the security situation. Iraqi diplomats in Amman said they had charted a plane to repatriate the Iraqis later this week, during the Muslim holiday of Eid al Fitr. Disabled people and the elderly will be among the Iraqis leaving in what, according to the Iraqi ambassador, will be the first official return by air to the homeland since the US-led invasion in 2003." The disabled and the elderly. The most vulnerable. Sent back to the violence in Iraq. China's Xinhua reports that 2 "busloads of Iraqis" have already been shipped out and that some on the buses "said they were forced to return due to difficult economic conditions in Jordan." To be clear, Jordan turned a penny on the refugees long before the oil infusion. Nicholas Seeley (Christian Science Monitor) reported at the start of July that while Jordan refused to allow the refugees to work and while they were dependent upon assistance, Jordan was spending aid money for the refugees: "In 2007, 61 percent of UNHCR's operational budget was given directly to Jordan, along with millions of bilateral aid from the European Community and the United States" "a large portion of the aid . . . has gone to address Jordan's own urgent national priorities." Turning a profit from human misery, that's all it was. Meanwhile the UNHCR set up tents for Ramadan in Amman, "For the second straight year, the UN refugee agency has provided iftar to needy Iraqis and Jordanians during the month of Ramadan, which ends on Tuesday. Muslims believe that feeding someone iftar (the evening meal during Ramadan) as a form of charity is very rewarding." It's apparently a thought passed over the Jordanian government -- which represent a citizenry that is 94% Muslim.

External refugees that return frequently become internal refugees. That's due to the fact that (a) they left the region due to violence and threats and (b) their former homes are often occupied. The Institute for War and Peace Reporting's
Zaineb Naji (via Kansas City Star) states that Iraq's internatl refugees are not registering (72,000 have registerd to vote in what may (or may not) be upcoming provincial elections, "just 2.6 per cent of the total figure for those uprooted by the conflict") and reminds, "According to a report in July by the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, IDPs do not have adequate shelter or access to drinking water, food, health care, education and electricity. Many are squatting in public buildings, mud huts, or in houses abandoned by other families. The latter is a widespread problem preventing many IDPs from returning home. Surveys have shown that more than 60 per cent of the displaced want to go back to their towns and villages."

Meanwhile, the
New York Times' Erica Goode (at the paper's blog, Baghdad Bureau Blog) writes of spending the night at the home of an Iraqi friend which required her to wear a a black abaya and hijab and climb a darkened staircase to ensure that no neighbors grasped an American visiting. In the apartment with her friend, her friend's husband and the couple's three-year-old daughter on a 114 degree day, they saw frequent 15 minute burst of electricity (apparently making up -- when combined -- the few hours of electricity outside the Green Zone Baghdad sees each day): "The electricity shortage, they said, is a problem not just for comfort but for the refrigerator in the bedroom, which goes off and on all day, making it difficult to store food. The water in the sink and shower, too, is unpredicatble, sometimes working, sometimes not. . . . We drank fruit juice and bottled war -- even when there is tap water, it is not potable." And that's Baghdad (outside the Green Zone), not a distant province in the country. Five years after the start of the illegal war, that's life in Baghdad. An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy Newspapers reports (at Inside Iraq) on taking a taxi through the Dora neighborhood of Baghdad: "Meanwhile, we saw graffiti on the walls. 'There is no place for betrayers in the Islamic State of Iraq,' someone had spray painted on one wall. The saying refers to the Islamic state, a front for a Qaida in Iraq."

Moving to the the oil-rich northern region,
Anna Fifield (Financial Times of London) reports that Ibril is the 'hot spot' in the Kurdistan region of Iraq where "prices have almost doubled in the past two years and are still climbing" in the "English village -- complete with cul-de-sacs lined with identical two-storey houses, garden gnomes on front lawns and Range Rovers in driveways". A British investor, Russell Jones, raves, "There is an enormous amount of free money here being kept under people's mattresses." It helps to have name oil and, of course, name lobbyists to advocate for you. But in Baghdad? Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers) notes, "Dumped bodies are once again appearing along Baghdad's streets. Two years ago, Iraqi police recovered an average of 50 bodies a day across the capital, most of them shot in the head with their hands tied behind their backs. By this summer, the bodies had all but disappeared, but this month, they began to show up again, usually one or two a day." The corpse count climbs as a 'handover' approaches. The US military is due to hand the "Awakening" Council members over to the puppet government in Baghdad. Pakistan's Daily Times reports: "The US military will this week begin handing over control of 100,000 Sunni anti-Qaeda fighters to Iraq's Shiite-led government, a move that risks undermining hard-earned security gains. The Iraqi government and the US military have agreed in principle to the transfer of responsibility of all 'Sons of Iraq' from October 1, beginning with 54,000 men in the province of Baghdad. . . . Iraq will start paying the salaries of Sahwa men in Baghdad -- a monthly bill of around 15 million dollars -- from November 10, Major General Jeffery Hammond, commander of US forces in the Iraqi capital, told reporters." This transfer will come at a time when unemployment is already a big issue around the country. Corrine Reilly (McClatchy) notes
"most approximations put unemployment across Iraq at between 30 percent and 60 percent. . . Iraqi and American officials agree, the country's soaring unemployment rate must come down. They say that if more Iraqis don't find work soon, people here will pay the cost in blood. . . . The link between unemployment and bloodshed is in especially sharp focus right now, as the U.S. military prepares to hand authority over the Sons of Iraq to the Iraqi government. . . . If the government fails to pay the Sons of Iraq and they don't find other employment, many fear the former insurgents will turn back to violence."

Returning to the issue of provincial elections, eNews 2.0 offers "
Iraq's unity threatened by lack of minority quota" which explains that the bill that passed the Iraqi Parliament on provincial elections last week continues to be a source of scorn -- specifically for failing to provide "a clause that defines the quota of minorities in provincial councils" and Ageel Abdel-Hussein of Moqtada al-Sadr's movement states, "Minorities should be given their rights in the provincial councils to contribute to the building of the Iraqi state." The write-up also informs that in Nineveh Province, Iraqi Christians protested Sunday in numbers exceeding 5,000.The bill will be nixed or approved by the Iraqi presidency council made up of the president and Iraq's two vice presidents. Iraq's president is Jalal Talabani and The Jordan Times reports that he returned to Iraq Monday after spending "nearly two months in the United Sates for medical treatment" (not noted in the article was his wife, Hero Ibrahim Ahmed, visiting Los Angeles in attempt to find a distributor for her film Saturday) and that he is stating the treaty between the US and the puppet government (wrongly called a SOFA) must go through.

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 4 lives (with nine people wounded) and a Diyala Province roadside bombing that targeted the Kudristan Democratic Party's Jamal al Sayd Khalili who was wounded in the bombing.

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two police officers wounded in a Mosul shooting.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mosul yesterday.

Today the
US military announces: "A Multi-National Division - Baghdad Soldier died of wounds at approximately 12:45 p.m. at a Coalition force's Combat Support Hospital Sept. 30. The Soldier was wounded when his patrol came under small-arms fire in northern Baghdad at approximately 12:15. The Soldier was medically evacuated by air to the medical facility, however, the Soldier later succumbed to the wounds. The Soldier's name is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and official release by the Department of Defense." The announcement brings to 4176 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 25 announced for the month thus far. That is one shy of the July figure (13) which was trumpeted as 'big news' and yet another 'turned corner.' It is two more than the number of deaths for August (23).

Reuters notes, "Defense Secretary Robert Gates predicted on Monday that growth in U.S. military spending would level off in the coming years but not face severe cutbacks, despite the current economic crisis." No surprise there. Chalmers Johnson (at The Asia Times) explains, "On Wednesday, September 24, right in the middle of the fight over billions of taxpayer dollars slated to bail out Wall Street, the House of Representatives passed a $612 billion defense authorization bill for 2009 without a murmur of public protest or any meaningful press comment at all. (The New York Times gave the matter only three short paragraphs buried in a story about another appropriations measure.) The defense bill includes $68.6 billion to pursue the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, which is only a down payment on the full yearly cost of these wars. (The rest will be raised through future supplementary bills.) It also included a 3.9% pay raise for military personnel, and $5 billion in pork-barrel projects not even requested by the administration or Secretary of Defense Robert Gates." Meanwhile Joseph Gerth (Kentucky Courier-Journal) reports on a state poll which found "54 percent of Kentuckians support the U.S. presence in Iraq, and 62 percent favor the U.S. presence in Afghanistan."

Turning to the US presidential race.
Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes (link has text and video), the US top commander in Iraq, Gen Ray Odierno, explained to Lesley Stahl that he doesn't vote and why: "I will say this. I made a decision when I got promoted to colonel that I would not longer vote in national elections because I feel it's my job to serve the commander-in-chief. So I have not voted. Probably a bad American for not voting, but I made that decision because of the position that I have." Voting or not voting is a personal decision. So is taking accountability which the Democratic presidential nominee cannot apparently do still. CBS News' Maria Gavrilovic reports that Barack Obama thinks the meltdown is just groovy because it allows talking about issues: "I mean, there was a time pretty recently when we were talking about lipstick and pigs." We? We? Barack plagiarized a Washington Post comic and made insulting remarks but it's "we". He can always grab credit for what he hasn't done, he just never takes accountability for what he did do. Where it gets really funny is if you compare Maria Gavrilovic's reports today. In one, Barack is saying that the economic meltdown is "not a time for politics" and, less than an hour later, Barack's stating the economic meltdown allows for a good test of the candidates. But who will he cheat off of?

Cynthia McKinney is the Green Party presidential nominee and here's an important statement regarding her campaign:Green Party National Women's Caucus challenges NOW to support the historic McKinney/Clemente presidential campaignMonday, 29 September 2008 19:38Distributed by the Green Party of the United States National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States For Immediate Release Monday, September 29, 2008 Contact:Morgen D'Arc, Spokesperson, 207-761-7797, Linda Manning Myatt, Spokesperson, 248-548-6175, Green Party National Women's Caucus challenges NOW to support the historic McKinney/Clemente presidential campaign WASHINGTON, DC -- The National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States has sent an open letter to the National Organization for Women ( urging support for the Green Party's presidential ticket. The text of the letter is appended below. The letter cites Green nominee Cynthia McKinney's six terms in Congress and her unmatched dedication to the principles of equality and human rights championed by NOW. The National Women's Caucus emphasizes the historical role that alternative parties have played in the struggle for women's suffrage and rights, and notes that NOW has failed even to recognize the significance of America's first national campaign by two women of African descent: Ms. McKinney is African American and running mate Rosa Clemente is Black Puerto Rican. OPEN LETTER TO NOW, THE NATIONAL ORGANIZATION FOR WOMENNational Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United StatesSunday, September 28, 2008Dear National Organization for Women leadership and members: The National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States is dismayed that your recent endorsement of Senator Barack Obama for President of the United States did not acknowledge the first all-female ticket in recent U.S. history. Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente are running for President and Vice President, respectively, on the Green Party ballot line. Cynthia McKinney served six terms in the U.S. Congress and two terms in the Georgia General Assembly. She is a global human rights and peace activist with a substantial voting record supporting women. Rosa Clemente is a community organizer and journalist who was one of the founders and primary organizers of the first national Hip Hop political convention. Their "Power to the People" campaign goal is to ensure that public policy reflects the Green Party values of ecological wisdom, social justice, grassroots democracy, and nonviolence. Cynthia McKinney has been a steadfast supporter of full reproductive rights for women throughout her legislative career, including funding for contraception and UN family planning, and opposition to "abstinence only" sex education. Rosa Clemente has been an outspoken advocate on issues affecting people of color, particularly women, and has directed her campaign toward the 48% of young people who don't vote, to encourage participation in the electoral process. Additional positions of the McKinney/Clemente campaign that will benefit women include: - Equal Rights - End to forced sterilization and coerced or uninformed consent procedures, - Immediate end to the War in Iraq and reinvestment of the money into our communities - Single-payer, universal "Medicare for All" - Election integrity where every vote is counted - Right to same-sex marriage - Free higher education - End to the drug war - Right of return of survivors of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita - Withdrawal from corporate trade agreements such as NAFTA that are devastating economies worldwide - Promotion of renewable energy (no coal or nuclear) to create hundreds of thousands of new manufacturing, construction and service jobs Neither Obama nor his Republican opponent John McCain support these positions. The National Organization for Women PAC repeatedly praised Congresswoman McKinney during her six terms in U.S. Congress; and her record, on every relevant issue, surpasses those of the male endorsees. But now, these two women of color -- powerful and power-challenging, real choices, and nominated by a political party that proudly boasts Feminism & Gender Equity among our Ten Key Values -- don't even receive acknowledgment. The National Organization for Women, at all levels, has long struggled over diverging feminist paths -- choosing either to press for change within the existing power structure, and its institutions, or to step outside of the expected and challenge the institutions themselves. In the view of the National Women's Caucus of the Green Party of the United States, NOW has best served women when NOW has recognized, in the words of Audre Lord, that "when you look back on the road you've come, and see pain, and look forward to the road you're on, and see pain, then, step off the road, and make a new path." We recall when NOW distributed buttons proclaiming that "Women were not born Democrats, Republicans, or YESTERDAY." We recall when the heroines of our heritage were Belva Lockwood, Alice Paul and Sonia Johnson, each willing to form her own political party, or run for president independently, or both. They were willing because that path provided fewer barriers to telling the plain truth, the truth that needed to be heard, than did service to the establishment parties. We even recall when NOW announced the formation of its own, alternative, political party, the "Party for the 21st Century," with Dolores Huerta at its head. We rejoiced when NOW sought to make a new path, because the old political road was simply too filled with the pain of condescension and compromise, deferment and settling for what was offered. Even when NOW, through its political action committee, decided in the last two decades to bestow its endorsement on candidates from the over-represented political parties, it was to reward them for actually moving closer to the day when a woman might be president, with a Geraldine Ferraro and a Hillary Clinton sitting in the candidate car, and not just trudging behind it, pushing. But this past week, that endorsement reward was offered without even that, out of the same "fear of the alternative" that has driven women to set our own hopes, dreams and destinations aside, time and again, to let the men drive the car. Belva, Alice and Sonia did not become president of the United States, but, with the support of the feminists of their time, speaking truth, each re-formed the vision that America had about women. While men can be feminists too, their institutions can only be deemed feminist if they produce equality. The dearth of elected women, at every level, is its own condemnation of the party structures that are the paved road of American democracy. It disappoints us greatly, that earlier this month, NOW has not made a new path. By failing to commend, or even comment on, the presidential candidacy of Cynthia McKinney and her Green Party running mate, Rosa Clemente, NOW is driving on the wrong side of history. We invite the National Organization for Women, and feminists everywhere, to support the Green Party and the McKinney/Clemente campaign. Come walk the walk with us, and make a new path. Sincerely, National Women's Caucus, Green Party of the United States Nan Garrett, Co-Chair Ginny Marie Case, Co-Chair National Women's Caucus Member Claudia Ellquist, National NOW Board member, 1990-94, participated in the drafting of this letter National Women's Caucus Green Party of the United States 1711 18th Street NW Washington, DC 20009 202-319-7191 202-319-7192 MORE INFORMATION Abortion and contraception: McKinney is a firm supporter of abortion rights, appearing on EMILY's List of pro-choice women. She has also supported federal funding for contraception and U.N. family planning programs. Quite a long statement on Women, Families and Children [. . .] * Voted YES on reducing Marriage Tax by $399B over 10 years. (Mar 2001)* Supported funding child care, child health, & child housing. (Jul 1999) McKinney immediately challenged Georgia House rules requiring women to wear dresses by wearing slacks Green Party of the United States 202-319-7191, 866-41GREEN Fax 202-319-7193 Cynthia McKinney/Rosa Clemente 'Power to the People' Campaign for the White House Cynthia McKinney on video • Press conference, September 10 at the National Press Club in Washington, DC • Speech in Denver, August 24: • Music video:

For more on the embarrassment that was the NOW PAC endorsement, see the
Sept. 16th snapshot. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate, Matt Gonzalez is his running mate. Team Nader notes:

Got $3?
Donate it now to Nader/Gonzalez.
We're just $25,000 from reaching the $3 million mark.
Three million dollars for the year!
That might be peanuts to McCain and Obama.
But it's real nutrition for Nader/Gonzalez.
And it's literally three times what any other third party or independent campaign has raised so far this year.
October promises to be a month of surprises -- for both Obama and McCain -- but also for Nader/Gonzalez.
But before we deal with October, we have to finish off September.
And we need to reach our $3 million goal by midnight tonight.
So, we need 8,400 of you, our loyal supporters, to donate $3 now.
Because we've always liked Ralph. (pictured here in his hometown of Winsted, Connecticut at age 11.)
And because at midnight tonight we close our books for the month of September. And report to the FEC.
All the national pundits will ask -- hey Nader/Gonzalez.
How much money have you raised with one month left until the election?
And we can say -- $3 million.
Donate $3 dollars now -- or whatever you can afford.
If 8,400 of you do it, we'll meet our goal of $3 million by the end of tonight.
And we'll also meet our most recent Three Way Race fundraising goal of $150,000 by midnight tonight.
So, let's crank 'er up.
And get it done.

iraqhani hazaimehthe jordan timesjoseph gerthanna fifieldjomana karadshehcnn
mcclatchy newspaperscorinne reillylaith hammoudithe daily times
the new york timeserica goode