Saturday, September 01, 2012

The never-ending hatred

I don't know what the heck is going on these days.

I am going to assume it is a desperation factor on the part of the Cult of St. Barack but I can't remember this kind of nonsense my entire life.

I loathed Bully Boy Bush but look at what I wrote -- which was rude and called him out and did so loudly -- and you won't find the crap that's going around right now.

I don't understand it.

The hatred and the lack of professionalism among journalists.  The head of Yahoo's news (who used to be the head of ABC's) gets fired because he's caught on mike saying that the Romney's don't care about Black people dying?  Ellen Barkin insisting today that Clint Eastwood wants to kill Barack?  Jason Biggs' ridiculous sexism as he makes rape 'jokes' and worse about the wives of Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan?

Roseanne Barr, after saying she was running for office to talk about issues, talking about no issues but doing one hateful Tweet after another?

It's all crazy.  Jill Stein's the only one who's keeping her head down and focusing on the work.  That should win her non-stop applause and votes.

But look around and find some outlet that wants to talk issues?

Not The Progressive, not The Nation, no one seems to want to. 

They'd much rather try to outdue one another in a Bitch-fest.

I don't understand it at all.

It's not just Barack that's given up on hope as a campaign strategy.

I think a lot of people should be ashamed of themselves.  In most election cycles, if I think that, I'm referring to the right-wing.  This go-round, I'm talking about the left.

I hope this cult realizes you can't put this crap out there and it not have an effect.  It is a cause and they better prepare to be responsible for what the effect is.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, August 31, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, war resister Kimberly Rivera appeals publicly to remain in Canada, Barack lies that the war is over, the US press whores whatever's left of their name to lie for him, the Telegraph of London (however) reports that British and US forces have killed over 3,000 Iraqis in the last two years alone (no, the war hasn't ended), Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani calls for the security forces to stop the increase in assassinations across Iraq, the UN and Human Rights Watch call out the executions the Iraqi government is carrying out, Jill Stein focuses on real issues in her campaign for the presidency, and more.
"My biggest fear is being separated from my children and having to -- having to sit in a prison for politically being against the war in Iraq," declared Kimberly Rivera in Canada this afternoon.  Yesterday, Kim Rivera was informed that the Canadian government planned to deport her by September 20th.  Today, Kim took part in a press conference with War Resisters Support Campaign's Michelle Robidoux.  Here's a transcript of the video the Toronoto Star has posted.
Michelle Robidoux: We are calling on the government not to deport this family.  We think it's unfortunate that this government and, in particular, the Minister of Immigration [Jason Kenney] has seen fit to intervene in a process that should that should be fair and impartial by putting forward Operation Bulletin 202 which directs immigration officers to red flag the cases of US soldiers like Kim Rivera who are applying for status in this country and to label them criminally inadmissable.
Kim Rivera: If you want to know my biggest fear is being separated from my children and having to -- having to sit in a prison for politically being against the war in Iraq which I had experience in.  Without that experience, I know that I would not have come to the decision I had made to leave and also be here in Canada for people to know that experience which I had spoken many of.  So the only thing that I guess I can really ask is that all of my legal applications that I applied be considered and my agency application also get a decision.   That's pretty much all I have.
Michelle Robidoux: It's a matter of public record that Canada did not participate in the Iraq War, that two motions were passed in Parliament calling on the government to allow war resisters to stay in Canada and that also there have been a number of federal court and federal court of appeal decisions which are upholding the arguments that war resisters have made that they face differential punishment if they're returned to the United States, that they are punished more harshly for having spoken up against the war.
Kim took a great personal risk and did so for what she believed in.  Once in Canada, she spoke out when the issue needed her.  She didn't try to turn herself into a celebrity.  If you ever read her blog on Liveblog (I can't find it there anymore), you know she was focused on her family and on her kids and she was trying to teach them ethics and how to lead a solid life.
Kim's someone I would be friends with.  She's someone I would make a point to go up and hug when I saw her in church on Sundays.    She's a regular person like you or me and that came out in her blog where, like me, she'd write about food or about her kids.
And now this woman who was so glad and so grateful to be in Canada and so wanting to become a Canadian citizen may be forced out of the country.
Kim is not a person who tried to grab the spotlight.  She's just a mother who couldn't live with returning to what she saw in Iraq, couldn't live with herself if she returned.  And she also had to make sure that whatever did happen, it kept her family together.  Canada was the best possible answer and I just can't believe that Canada's going to force her to leave.
Casey Irvin (Torontoist) explains, "While on leave in 2007, Rivera came to Canada to avoid a second tour of duty in Iraq, a war with which she had become disillusioned. Rivera lives here with her husband and their four children (the two youngest were born in Canada). The family and their lawyers are looking into their options, but Rivera probably faces jail time if she goes back. "  Jeanette Torres (ABC News Radio) notes that "Robin Long and Clifford Cornell, two American war resisters deported to the U.S., wound up facing year-long jail sentences because they refused deployment to Iraq."  Patty Winsa (Toronoto Star) reports:
On Friday, the quiet Texan spoke out for the first time after learning this week from the Canada Border Services Agency that she had been given a negative pre-removal risk assessment and must leave the country by Sept. 20.
"I'm just a bit overwhelmed. I don't want to face reality. I respect Canada's law. I'm going to take it one step at a time so I don't have a meltdown," said Rivera, who was surrounded by supporters and peace activists. "But it's is very difficult."
Rivera said quietly that she hoped her application for permanent residency status on humanitarian and compassionate grounds, which she made in 2009, would still be considered.
Charmaine Noronha (AP) adds that Kim "stepped away during a press conference Friday when she became visibly upset" and quotes Kim's attorney Alyssa Manning stating, "The 6 percent of (war) deserters who are punished through incarceration include service personnel who have been publicly outspoken about their criticisms of the Iraq war while AWOL.  The government has failed to assess that risk that Kim faces and that needs to be considered."  Alexandra Posadzki (Canadian Press) continues, "Manning said federal officials failed to consider the fact that Rivera has been outspoken about her opposition to the Iraq war when they evaluated her assessment."
Kim and the man now trying to force her out of Canada, Minister Kenney, have met.  Here's a trasncript of the video.
Minister Kenney at the University of Toronto
March 18, 2009
Michelle Robidoux:  Hello my name is Michelle Robidoux.  This is Kim Rivera.
Kim Rivera: (Shaking his hand)  Hi.
Jason Kenney:  Hello.

Michelle Robidoux:  We're just absolutely desperate and we're just sort of pleading with you.  If there's anything you can do to stop the petition.  The family has been here for almost two years. 
Jason Kenney:  Okay.
Michelle Robidoux:  She's an Iraq War resister who has refused to fight in Iraq, who has refused to continue to fight in Iraq.  And we know that you have the ability to do something to hopefully help this family in distress. They are in considerable distress.  We know there's an arrest warrant for her for deporation.  She will be arrested when she crosses the border when she's forced out next week.  So we're just asking for your intervention.  Some compassion for this family --
Pleae call Peter Van Loan, Minister of Public Safety: 1-877-738-3748 or 613-996-7752.
Jason Kenney:  Okay.  Well, actually, it's-it's the Minister of Public Safety that deals with removals, not me.  If you want to send me the particulars on the case . . .
Michelle Robidoux:  Absolutely.  But the -- the humanitarian situation she's in, she did apply for humanitarian compassionate consideration and we're just desperate trying to --
Jason Kenney: Okay.  I'm sorry ma'am because I'm not aware of your particular case because we receive thousands of applications for agency and they're generally dealt with by department officials but --
Michelle Robidoux:  She faces deporation next Wednesday.
Jason Kenney:  But if you send me the particulars, I will have my office look into it. I'm afraid I'm late for my next thing.  Thank you.
Canada's Parliament has adopted two motions calling on the federal government to allow war resisters to stay in Canada. But Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Jason Kenney has publicly labelled Iraq War resisters as "bogus refugee claimants". In July 2010, he issued a bulletin to all Immigration Officers requiring them to red-flag applications that involve US war resisters, labeling them as 'criminally inadmissible'.
Amnesty International Canada and former Immigration and Refugee Board Chair Peter Showler have called for Citizenship and Immigration Canada (CIC) Operational Bulletin 202 to be rescinded because it "fails to recognize that military desertion for reasons of conscience is in fact clearly recognized as a legitimate ground for refugee protection" and it "misstates the law and seeks to intrude on the independence of both IRB members and Immigration Officers."
He told them it wasn't his department in March of 2009.  Then he issued orders in 2010 and now he's trying to force Kim out of Canada.  Is it his department or not?  Is any grown up in the Canadian government or is Kenney just allowed to make up whatever rules he wants?
An upcoming event, next week, in Toronto is planned:
Please attend an emergency community meeting to support U.S. war resister Kimberly Rivera and her family!

WHEN: Wednesday, September 5, 7:00 PM

WHERE: Parkdale United Church, 171 Dunn Avenue, Toronto


When Kimberly Rivera saw with her own eyes the devastation of war, and the trauma it inflicts on children and families, she followed her conscience and refused to go back. Instead, she and her husband and their (then) two children came to Canada.

Since that day in 2007, the Riveras have been fighting to live their lives in peace. But despite the widespread support of the Canadian people for U.S. war resisters, and despite two votes in Parliament calling on the government to let war resisters stay, the Harper Government continues to target war resisters for deportation.

Kim and her family - which now includes two children born in Canada - now face deportation on September 20. In the U.S., Kim faces court martial, jail time, and a felony conviction that will follow her for life. All for the "crime" of refusing to participate in the invasion, destruction, and occupation of Iraq.

Kim stood up for peace at great risk to herself. Now we must stand up for Kim, and for other war resisters who face the same struggle. Please join the War Resisters Support Campaign for an emergency community meeting to support the Riveras, and to call on Immigration Minister Jason Kenney to stop the deportation.

Please share this information with your friends and neighbours. We hope to see you there!
In peace and solidarity, the War Resisters Support Campaign
While Kim fights for her family, US President Barack Obama fights for re-election.  If only Kim Rivera had a pack of Devin Dwyer's to lie and whore for her.  ABC News' Devy, still so excited about sprouting pubes, can't be bothered with things like reporting.  When not rubbing his fingers in the tangle of his new downy growth and then sniffing his fingers, Devy assumes reporting is transcribing what Barack said and transcribing what Barack's "top aides" told him.  There's no attempt at facts, there's not an even attempt to get a response from any of the other presidential campaigns.   No, Devy, a response the Romney campaign gave on Wednesday is not what members of the press do when printing new attacks made on Friday.  Less fingers on yourself, more attention on your job.
Devy quotes Barack stating, "I told the American people that all our troops would be out of Iraq by the end of" and Devy adds" [2011]."  Don't general studies majors learn math?
You'd think since Devy's always got his fingers next to his nose, he could also use them to count.  Barack promised -- in those tent revivals that gave the Cult of St. Barack such tingles -- that all troops would be out of Iraq sixteen months after he was sworn in.  He was sworn in January 2009.  How many months does Devy think is in a year?  It's 12, Devy, twelve.  So what he promised was 2010.  By the first fourth of 2010.  Not the end of 2011. 
What you did was not reporting, Little Devy, and sorry to drop this in the midst of your horny frenzy, but ALL the US service members have not returned home nor are they all out of Iraq.  Earlier this month, when US General Martin Dempsey, Chair of the Joint-Chiefs of Staff, visited IraqRTT reported, "More than 225 U.S. troops, seven Defense Department civilians, 530 security assistance team members and more than 4,000 contracted personnel are currently in the office at the Iraqi government's invitation."
225 still in Iraq.  Over 15,000 moved into nearby Kuwait -- and the Senate Foreign Relations Democratic half issued a report stating those troops needed to stay for several more years to ensure that Iraq is 'stable' --  in fairness, the report  [PDF format warning] "The Gulf Security Architecture: Partnership With The Gulf Co-Operation Council" did advocate dropping the number down to 13,000.   (Refer to the June 19th snapshot.)
is it really that hard for Devin Dwyer to stop self-pleasuring and start reporting? Devy quotes White House spokesperson Jay Carney declaring his "surprise" that GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney did not includ "the 70,000 men and women who are serving in Afghanistan" in his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention yesterday. 
I'm more shocked that a sitting president stood in front of service members today and lied that all US troops were out of Iraq.  I'm also appalled that this fact is vanished from the press. 
Kathleen Hennessey (Los Angeles Times) at least offers some perspective, "Two years ago, as he declared the end to a long and divisive war, President Obama promised troops he would not be taking a 'victory lap.' On Friday, the president allowed himself something of a brief victory dance."  But perspective would also include that after Barack gave his August 31, 2010 speech, when the Iraq War 'combat operations' 'ended' and it was rechristened Operation New Dawn ("now he's soaking in it," as Isaiah noted),  66 American service members died in Iraq, 38 of whom even the Pentagon classifies as dead from hostilities.
Those deaths are perspective as well and how very sad and telling about the whore class trying to pass itself off as a press corps that they don't have the decency or common sense to even acknowledge those deaths.
The Iraq War has not ended.  But when you keep head in the sand (and Devin keeps his hand in his pants), you may miss that.  Remember this from Monday's snapshot: "Dar Addustour reports 5 British citizens were arrested in Baghdad yesterday -- they did not have passports or i.d. on them."
Golly gee, why would any British people be in Iraq?  The war 'ended,' right?
More than 3,500 insurgents have been "taken off the streets of Baghdad" by the elite British force in a series of audacious "Black Ops" over the past two years.
It is understood that while the majority of the terrorists were captured, several hundred, who were mainly members of the organisation known as "al-Qa'eda in Iraq" have been killed by the SAS.
The SAS is part of a highly secretive unit called "Task Force Black" which also includes Delta Force, the US equivalent of the SAS.
Wow.  The war's 'over' but Iraqis are being killed by Brits and by the US Delta Force.  Killed and captured.
In 'sovereign' Iraq this takes place.  The war's not over and only a dishonest whore would ever claim otherwise.  Barack has ended nothing. 
David Swanson went into the belly of the beast, a Barack rally, to call out the continued War Crimes and assaults on liberty.  David Swanson (War Is A Crime) reports:
Three of us went into the event. I had tickets, which were free and which the campaign could barely give away, while back in 2007 Obama had sold out the same venue. We didn't go in so as to spend hours in the hot sun just to hear an Obama speech like the one he'd given the day before in another town which we could have watched on Youtube. Thousands of people did that. We went in to disturb the war.
We wanted to shout. But what could we shout? We were only three. We were not near the front. (I recommend taking 10 to the front of one of these events if you can. You'll own the place.) We would have to be loud and clear. We couldn't mention the kill list which would be like mentioning UFOs to these people. We couldn't mention Social Security because they pretend Obama's not threatening it. We couldn't mention peace because people would think it was a pro-Obama chant. We decided to say this: Get out of Afghanistan! End the sanctions on Iran!
Here's how the Washington Post's blog reported on that:
"Protesters drown out Obama
"Posted by Amy Gardner on August 29, 2012 at 3:58 pm
"CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. — An outdoor political rally erupted into a moment of chaos as protesters drowned out President Obama's speech at a downtown amphitheater here — and then the rest of the crowd drowned out the protesters. It was unclear what the protesters were saying, but several members of the crowd said a few minutes later that they heard 'Get out of Afghanistan!' The shouts prompted a flurry of Secret Service activity, and they also prompted an enthusiastic crowd of more than 7,000 to shut down the protesters with two cacophonous chants: 'Four more years!' and 'O-ba-ma!' Obama couldn't continue for a long moment, but when the noise finally died down, he said: 'I couldn't hear what those young people had to say, but that's good that they got involved.' To the rest of the crowd, he said: 'Don't just chant! Vote!'"
Obama was pretending the crowd was all young people. He'd tried to speak at the University of Virginia which had turned him down, but he gave his speech as if he were there. The crowd didn't shout us down till we'd run out of breath. They were not nearly as fast as Republicans are with their "U-S-A! U-S-A!" In fact, they seemed tremendously proud of themselves when they managed to discover that they could yell "O-BA-MA! O-BA-MA!" Voting, in the pretense of those in power, constitutes more activism than chanting or any other activity. Don't just hold teach-ins, vote! Don't just occupy the square, vote! Don't just risk your life to expose injustice, vote! If Bradley Manning had just voted, that would have been the last full measure of devotion.
As to the flurry of Secret Service activity, an Obama campaign guy started standing next to us, and a mean possibly drunk guy started shoving and threatening us. After various additional disruptions of the war (not the peace) by us, the Obama guy called the local police over who asked us to leave, and asked for our names, etc., to tell them to the Secret Service. The police had earlier refused numerous requests by the Obama staff and volunteers to evict our poster demonstration. The police had mentioned freedom of speech. The local media, as well as the police, were surprisingly decent. The Obama campaigners, on the other hand, would have exiled us all to Gitmo if they'd been able, and if they weren't suffering under the misconception that it's been closed.
WMC Live with Robin Morgan is the new radio talk show that airs live on DC's WPWS (1480 AM) on Sundays from three to four p.m. -- and streams live online -- audio and video.
Sunday is the second show and her guests will include US House Rep "Eleanor Holmes Norton on the election, Jodie Evans (CODEPINK) from the conventions; El Diario's Erica Gonzalez on Latina politics; author Ariel Levy on books and vaginas."  If you missed the first episode of the radio show from the Women's Media Center, you can stream it at the link and, because WMC understands the need for being inclusive, the transcript is here.  Realizing that a stream doesn't reach every computer user -- due to platform or connection issues or due to hearing issues -- WMC plans to transcribe each broadcast -- which will also allow for a very strong archive.
Who listened live on Sunday?  As Robin noted at the top of her broadcast, "And a special welcome to the international family online from (that I know of) Brazil, Egypt, Germany, India, Italy, Kenya, the Philippines, South Africa, Spain, the United Kingdom, and the pioneering feminists in Kurdistan." 
In the KRG, women have achieved a lot in the last few years by fighting for what is needed.  As Human Rights Watch noted earlier this week, there are still things to be done:
The practice of female genital mutilation continues in the Kurdistan region of Iraq a year after a landmark law banning it went into effect because the Kurdistan Regional Government has not taken steps to implement the law. The Family Violence Law, which went into effect on August 11, 2011, includes several provisions to eradicate female genital mutilation (FGM), recognized internationally as a form of violence against women.
The regional government has begun to run awareness campaigns, train judges, and issue orders to police on the articles of the law dealing with domestic violence. But it apparently has not taken similar steps to implement the FGM ban, Human Rights Watch found. Between late May and mid-August, 2012, Human Rights Watch spoke with over 60 villagers, policemen, government officials, lawyers, and human rights workers in the districts of Chamachamal, Choman, Erbil, Penjwin, Pishdar, Rania, Soran, Shaqlawa, and Sulaimaniya about the problem.
"The KRG parliament took a huge step forward when it passed the Family Violence Law," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "Authorities now need to begin the difficult process of putting a comprehensive plan in place to implement the law, including informing the public, police, and health professionals about the ban on FGM."
In June 2010, Human Rights Watch issued an 81-page report, "They Took Me and Told Me Nothing: Female Genital Mutilation in Iraqi Kurdistan," which urged the Kurdistan Regional Government, parliament, civil society, and donors to take steps to end the practice. The report described the experiences of young girls and women who undergo FGM and the terrible toll it takes on their physical and mental health. The KRG parliament passed the Family Violence Law in June 2011.
In the recent interviews, Human Rights Watch spoke with more than 20 villagers who had daughters in the age range when FGM is traditionally performed – between ages 4 and 12. Some said they were no longer intending to have the procedure performed on their daughters, as a result of awareness campaigns conducted by representatives of nongovernmental organizations who had visited their villages, but a few said they planned to have the procedure done. None had seen any action or awareness efforts by the government.
"Okay, so there's a law now, so people don't talk about it as much now, but if people in my village or another village want to have it done to their girls, they can easily still do it secretly," said a woman from Rania.
This week, Iraq has executed at least 26 people.  Today Human Rights Watch noted:
Human Rights Watch has previously documented the prevalence of unfair trials and torture in detention, particularly in national security and terrorism-related cases.
"There is no doubt that Iraq still has a serious terrorism problem, but it also has a huge problem with torture and unfair trials," said Joe Stork, deputy Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. "The lack of transparency around these convictions and executions, in a country where confessions that may have been coerced are often the only evidence against a person, makes it crucial for Iraq to declare an immediate moratorium on all executions."
Human Rights Watch opposes the death penalty in all circumstances because it is unique in its cruelty and finality, and is plagued with arbitrariness, prejudice, and error.
Iraqi authorities rarely announce executions beforehandand have not made public the total number of executions in a given year, Human Rights Watch said.
An August 30 statement released by Iraq's parliament said that members of the Human Rights Committee had met on the previous day to discuss "a mechanism for slowing down executions." Members told Iraqi media that they had contacted Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimmari to inquire about concerns expressed this week by politicians and nongovernmental organizations that executions of about 200 prisoners now on death-row were being accelerated in anticipation of the passage of an amnesty law currently before parliament. Al-Shimmari denied these claims.
On August 29, Human Rights Watch spoke with two Justice Ministry officials as well as a guard in a prison run by the ministry and an inmate currently in another facility. All said that hundreds of inmates had begun hunger strikes on August 28 in Baghdad's Taji and Rusafa prisons to protest the recent executions and concern about the alleged plan to accelerate other executions. According to the inmate, guards had told prisoners about such a plan in the days preceding the latest executions. Human Rights Watch could not confirm the existence of such a plan.
Carol J. Williams (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Iraq has long featured in the dubious ranks of the Top Five countries carrying out the most executions each year. In 2011, China led Amnesty's list with executions estimated at more than 1,000, but it also eliminated the death penalty for 13 crimes that previously could draw the ultimate punishment. Iran acknowledged executing at least 360 people, followed by Saudi Arabia with 82 reported executions, Iraq with 68 and the United States 43."  The UN News Centre adds:
The United Nations agency tasked with defending human rights voiced renewed concern today over the sudden spate of executions in countries around the world following the recent use of capital punishment in Gambia, Iraq, and South Sudan.
"We urge all States, who have not yet done so, to introduce – or reintroduce – an official moratorium on the use of the death penalty aiming to abolish it," Rupert Colville, spokesperson for the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), declared in a briefing to the press in Geneva.
Violence continued today in Iraq.  Alsumaria reports that there was an armed Baghdad attack in which 1 person was shot dead and one person was kidnapped in Kirkuk (the police managed to rescue the victim after seven hours)All Iraq News notes an assassination attempt on a cleric in Baghdad -- the cleric survived, the driver was shot dead and one person was shot dead outside a Baghdad mosqueKitabat notes that Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani called in his sermon today for the security forces to stop the escalating assassinations taking place in Iraq.
In terms of the US presidential election, we're interested in the two presidential campaigns made up of four women.  The four: Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her running mate is Cheri Honkala and Roseanne Barr has the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party and her running mate is Cindy Sheehan. Click here to sign a petition calling on Ms. magazine and Women's Media Center to cover her campaign and the other female candidate for president Roseanne Barr's campaignOver 250 people have signed onto the petition so far.  Some sign and leave comments and we noted some of the comments in Sunday's "Women Win When Women Run: The conversation Roseanne and Jill are inspiring" at Third -- and "women win when women run" is a theme that repeats in the comments with several people signing noting that theme or expanding on it.
While Jill Stein continues to focus on issues, Roseanne's campaign can't find any.  Part of coverage is analysis and the analysis I'm offering for Roseanne's campaign right now is not positive.
Roseanne's on a one-woman public hatred tour.  I'm deeply disappointed in a number of people including one friend who was going to get a rave review for her new show from Ava and I but  now we're on the fence about whether or not we're even going to cover it.  You do not accuse people of wanting to kill other people, Ellen Barkin.  That is disgusting and it is appalling.  And you're ensuring that your career in TV will be as dead as your film carreer was when the 90s started.  Somewhere, somehow, you and a bunch of other actors forgot the first rule: To have a career, you need an audience.  It's fine and dandy to take a polticial stand for something.  It's antoher thing to pour on hate and distortions.  Clint Eastwood, who I know and do not care for, does not want to kill anyone, certainly not a politician.  Ellen Barkin crossed a line. 
(And Clint gave a great speech.  I would have preferred not to have seen it but I said "Hold on" and stopped dictating to go and stream it since I was stating that Clint would not threaten to kill anyone.  Clint gave a great speech.  He stumbled once that might not have been intentional.  But the speech was great.  He wasn't dottering and only the dumb and foolish would say that.  What Clint did was steal a page from Jane Fonda.  Something we all should do.  She is the most effective speaker and one of her standard tricks is to start off nervous, hesitant and, as she speaks, grow more sure in her delivery.  That allows the audience to witness a transformation and have it be due to beliefs.  In other words, the effective speech sells the beliefs as strength.  Clint didn't do as well as Jane -- again, she's the best speaker alive.  But he's obviously borrowed a page for her book and, yes, his speech was effective.  You can stream it at the Washington Post.)  (And on Jane, this week she's blogged about her latest film role.)
Roseanne is doing the same as well.  And NBC's not backing her new show.  They're making that decision right now.  NBC won't back it, none of the networks will.  Because she's going beyond political into hateful.  To have a career in the performing arts, you're going to need an audience.  When you go around trashing people, making up disgusting claims about your peer group (as Ellen did to Clint), you destroy everything.  I'm all for taking stands, I'm all for calling out and I can be bitchier than anyone but when you accuse someone of wanting to kill, you've crossed a line and what's really sad is you are so far gone into a world of hatred that you can't even see that.  And if you are trying to help Barack Obama, you're hatred Tweeted is of no help to him.  It saddles him down with an ugly hatred that his campaign is not engaging in.  You desire to pollute the world with hate is harming you, harming your career and harming Barack's chances at re-election.  You really need to rethink your actions.
And the hatred of women needs to stop right damn now.  This is inexcusable:
I'd totes dip a pinky or two in Paul Ryan's wife's bleached asshole (she obvs bleaches her asshole). #RNC
Jason Biggs (@JasonBiggs)
August 30, 2012
As is this:
@JasonBiggs "@GODisSanta420: @JasonBiggs How dare you ignore Ann Romney's asshole. Ur un-American." Sorry ur right. I bet hers is un-bleached and hairy.
Those are only two of the Tweets that are unacceptable.  They do not help Barack Obama.  They do not help anyone.  They are why the basic cable network is now considering dropping Jason Biggs.  His film career is over.  As a sitcom star, he struck out.  (Though he wasn't the problem in that sitcom and was actually funny and appealing.)  Now all he has is voice work.  When you are on thin ice, Jason, you do not jump and down.  Those statements were repugnant and offensive.  That you can't grasp that says there is something seriously wrong with you.  Maybe it's temporary and you need to get out in the world.  Maybe it's something more serious and you need therapy.  But there is no excuse for what you have Tweeted -- and it's more than just those two Tweets.  You need to stop and you need to stop now.  Not only does it hurt Barack, your hero, but Barack will be called upon to apologize for your actions.  He may or may not take that step to distance himself.  But you are distracting from the campaign.  If for no other reason, that should cause you to cease and desist.  But, repeating, your comments are offensive and they are sexist.  There is not an excuse for them.  They need to stop.
Roseanne needs to find her way back to focusing on issues.  If she can't, she's accomplishing nothing and hurting the Peace and Freedom Party.  She said she was running to raise issues.  So, Roseanne, when is your big mouth going to be used to tackle an issue other than smoking pot?  Is that all you have?  If that is all you have, the Peace and Freedom Party will distance itself from you -- there were already efforts underway to make that happen.  How would it feel to be the first presidential candidate whose own party publicly rebukes them?
I noted months ago here that I would not vote for Roseanne because she's governed by fear.  I know Roseanne and I like her as a person and as an artist.  But I don't back putting fear into the White House or our election cycles.  I could end up voting for Jill Stein who continues to run a campaign based on issues.  (At this point, my plan is still not to vote for that office.)
Jill Stein took her campaign to Maine.  Deidre Fulton (Portland Phoenix) reports:
After her public speech, I asked her what it's been like trying to convince people that we're at a tipping point in terms of breaking the endless (and fruitless) back-and-forth between the two establishment political parties. She likened her experience to being a "political therapist, helping people get out of an abusive political relationship." There will always be excuses as to why people should continue voting for status quo candidates, why they should stay within the confines of a system that isn't helping them, and in fact may be hurting them. 
"The politics of fear has delivered all the things we were afraid of" Stein said. 
What's that adage about being insane? Doing the same thing over and over but expecting a different result every time?
Perhaps its time to try something new, before we all lose our minds. 
During a series of campaign stops in Maine, Stein gave the keynote address during a Green Party rally in Monument Square. Local Green Party candidates for the state legislature and school board.Stein said it's time to take back people's jobs, their health care and their educations. She said people want to take back their democracy."It needs fixing at every level," she said. "It won't get fixed ... unless it's challenged."Stein, who lives in Lexington, Mass., has a long history of activism and political involvement outside her work as a doctor.
It was during the discussion on the debt ceiling last year that Stein became more involved with the Green Party. She said both political parties made proposals to cut the debt that dismantled programs like Medicare and Medicaid and removed the social safety net.
Attached to the Stein ticket as vice president is Cheri Honkala -- a renowned anti-poverty activist based in Philadelphia.
While Roseanne continues to wallow in hatred, Jill's talking about issues including how her own outlook was transformed and about ballot access.  Scott Bernarde (Patch) speaks with Dr. Stein and reports:
As a mother of young kids and a doctor in a clinic, she saw the epidemic of chronic diseases descend on this generation's children.
"It took becoming a mother to feel the incredible vulnerability of our future, and to take it personally," said Stein.
Diabetes, obesity, ADHD and others were among her biggest concern. Some even hit close to home.
"To learn that we have effectively poisoned our own nest," she said, "not only the air, but the food that we're eating, and that it has fundamentally contaminated the womb, drives home the imperative to protect it all."
It was that realization that became the catalyst for her political career. While she is on target to be on 45 separate state ballots, she recently learned that she will not appear on the Georgia ballot. Georgia has "the most antidemocratic ballot in the country," according to Stein. Instead, she is encouraging a grassroots write-in campaign
While Roseanne spews hatred and loses focus and wastes time, Jill's campaign is focused on reality.  Craig Lyons (Portland Daily Sun) reports:
Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein said she recognizes that it's unlikely that a third party can take the White House but at least another presence in the election can turn attention to the voters who are fed up with the current policies of the two major parties.
"We're in at a unique breaking point moment right now," said Stein, during an interview with the Daily Sun. "People are ready to turn that breaking point into a tipping point."
Jill Stein has to work for coverage and is getting it.  Roseanne's a household name and the press has a natural interest in her as such but the only press she's getting is about how hateful she's being.  It's not highlighting any issues, it's not helping anyone -- including Roseanne.  November's not that far away, has she already tossed in the towel and lost interest in her own campaign?  Those are tough words.  I'd really prefer not to have to write them.  But I don't whore for anyone.  And Roseanne needs to get her act together.  (Cindy Sheehan is not top of the ticket.  She is the running mate.  But, yes, Cindy is focusing on issues.  Roseanne is the distraction.  The plan for today was actually to highlight the Roseanne-Cindy ticket with an interview Cindy did but Roseanne's appalling behavior is the story of the day for the Roseanne-Cindy ticket. And it will remain the story of the day until she stops this nonsense and starts talking about issues.)

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Ryan Lizza's an idiot

Ryan Lizza poses as a journalist.  Clearly, he doesn't know his profession. 

Today, Yahoo fired David Chalian.

Good.  They needed to.

The fact that Lizza can't grasp that goes to how much of an idiot he is.

After Chalian was fired, the Washington Post notes, Ryan Lizza posted this:

Terrible, cowardly decision by Yahoo! to fire @DavidChalian, 1 of the best and fairest political journalists in this business. RT if u agree

Chalian's past work includes being over political content for ABC News. He was no intern but an experienced journalist.

He was caught on microphone lying about Mitt and Ann Romney.  He didn't realize the microphone was live.

So there he is saying that the Romney's don't care about dying "Blacks" from Hurricane Issac.

Unlike Ryan Lizza, I have an actual job, a real job.  I don't live in Florida, so with every patient now having PTSD, I really don't have the time to follow every bit of news.  However, I wasn't aware that Issac was the new Hurricane Katrina.  At present, I thought rainfall was its biggest threat.

I could be wrong on that but, again, I do real work.

I do know that if Chalian says something that stupid, he has to be fired.

It doesn't matter if he has 101 infants to raise and feed.  It only matters that he's now blown Yahoo's (and ABC's) ability to be seen as impartial.

Ryan Lizza's lucky he works at the pathetic New Yorker (that magazine is an embarrassment and I thought it was bad when Tina Brown took over.

If Lizza can't get how Chalian's idiotic remarks have harmed the credibility of Yahoo and ABC, Liza needs to find a new job.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, August 29, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, Ibrahim al-Jaafari makes an idiotic statement, 400 Camp Ashraf residents move to Camp Liberty, Osama al-Nujaifi and Massoud Barzani meet up, two prisons in Iraq are now on a hunger-strike for an amnesty law to be passed, Roseanne Barr's campaign releases its first ad, Mitt Romney talks to the American Legion and offers a great proposal for veterans who go to college, and more.

In the land of orphans and widows, Al Mada reports, the poor -- including the widows and the orphans -- labor in the heat in places such as the brick plant where their faces are saturated with smoke and they're exposed to harsh conditions, verbal abuse and worse.  Jmria Ali explains that he starts working at six a.m. and continues to four p.m. with only 30 minutes for lunch.  He says he works alongside children and that he makes 15,000 dinars to the 10,000 the children are paid.  With so many living in poverty, unemployment so high and with inflation hitting Iraq, there are serious money issues in Iraq.  Thus far, Nouri's refused to share money from the oil surplus -- share that money with the people and his Cabinet recently insisted there wasn't any money to share leading Moqtada al-Sadr to politely call that assertion a lie.   Al Mada notes a meeting of political parties and blocs in Basra yesterday in which the consensus was that 25% of the proceeds from oil should be going to the Iraqi people.  This proposal would be popular throughout Iraq. 

While Nouri clutches tightly to the money, he freely orders people to the knoose.  AFP notes Iraq has executed 5 more people today which, when combined with Monday's 21, makes for 26 executions so far this week and "at least 96 the number of people executed so far this year."  The five today were not just Iraqi, they were also foreign nationals.  Alsumaria reports 1 Syrian and 1 Saudi were among those executed and that there are approximately 50 crimes which can result in the death penatly in Iraq.  Yesterday, Human Rights Watch's Joe Stork told Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN), "Our main concern is what were these people actually convicted of?  Terrorism does not tell us very much."  Dar Addustour adds that there are at least 200 executions still to be carried out.  The news outlet notes that an Iraqiya youth leader is calling for Iraq to stop the executions at least until the much talked of amnesty bill is passed into law.  The student accused the government of rushing to carry out executions for sectarian reasons.  Al Rafidayn notes that MP Haider Mulla is stating that they will vote on the amnesty last this Monday.

The claims of voting on an amnesty bill have been put forward repeatedly leading some to doubt that it will happen which is why prisoners in Mosul began a protest yesterday.  Dar Addustour notes that hunger strike continues, with all prisoners also doing a sit-in and stating that they will continue it until the amnesty bill becomes an amnest law -- in addition, the outlet notes that the hunger strike has now spread to the Abu Ghraib prison in Baghdad as well and is expected to spread to other prisons. 

 Al Rafidayn notes that Brigadier General Nazim Tayeh, with the Interior Ministry, was shot dead in Baghdad as his car passed the airport and they note that a Kirkuk roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer and left another injured, a Riyadh bombing killed 3 security forces and left four more injured and another Kirkuk roadside bombing left two Peshmerga injured.   Bahrain News Agency adds that Brigadier-General Sardqader survived an attempted assassination in Kirkuk which left 3 police officers dead and another three injured.  AFP notes 1 Sunni sheikh was shot dead in Baghdad.

In addition, Dar Addustour reports that thieves dressed as police and driving apparent police vehicles robbed a car of 600 million dinars.  In a security addition, Daughters of Iraq are being brought into the system.  Al Shora reports:

"A decision was made to integrate members of the Banat al-Iraq organisation, the women's armed wing of the Sahwa forces that fought al-Qaeda in Diyala, into the local police force," said Amer al-Khuzaie, the Iraqi government's national reconciliation advisor.

Daughters of the Iraq were the female counterparts of the Sons of Iraq or Sahwa, also known as "Awakening."  From violence to weapons, All Iraq News reports that the US Embassy in Baghdad announced Monday that they had transferred the last 9 Abrams tanks to the Iraqi government -- making 140 US tanks (worth over $815 million) transferred to Iraq.  In related news, AKnews reports that Monday saw NGOs protesting in Erbil to register their opposition to the US government's plan to sell Baghdad F-16s and that the NGO's issued a statement which included:

The US is selling F-16 fighters to the Iraqi government while the majority of the Middle East regimes who used heavy weapons against their peoples are being pressed on to leave power and to get stripped of their heavy weapons.  The Iraqi government is not under any external threats from the air or the ground from borders.  The purchase of these fighters is not necessary.  Each of these planes have been purchased with a huge amoung of money which the Iraqi government could use on providing services to the people and reconstructing the country.  The government could buy passenger planes instead of F-16s.  Our concern and fear of the Iraqi government's purchase of those planes stems from our experience with the former Iraqi governments that used heavy weapons against their people.

On the political crisis front, Al Mada reports that Ibrahim al-Jaafari has declared that there's an open door for reconciliation between Baghdad and Erbil.  At one point, that might have meant something.  Maybe not.  But the reality is that the Kurds don't trust Ibrahim, didn't trust him in 2005, don't trust him today.  And since 2005, they've gotten additional reasons not to trust him.  So the idea that he can reach out with an olive branch is rather laughable.  After the US government, the Kurds were the biggest objection to Ibrahim getting a second term as prime minister following the 2005 elections.  AFP's Prashant Rao re-Tweeted this today:

(Would you support 3rd term for PM?) Jafari: Personally I think 2 terms are enough. However, constitution places no limit on number of terms

And it's those sort of stupid comments by Ibrahim that guarantee no one outside of a small segment of the National Alliance will take him seriously. 

For the record, the press went crazy, in early 2011, over Nouri's 'promise' not to seek a third term.  They were silent for the most part when Nouri walked that promise back the next day.  The promise was made mainly because protests were taking place throughout Iraq and leaders in surrounding countries were at risk of being overthrown.  Iraqis weren't pleased that they went to the trouble of holding an election and ended up with the exact same prime minister, the exact same president and the exact same two vice presidents.  (A third vice president would be added.  At the time of Nouri's promise, there were two.) 

For months now, many have attempted to pass a law limiting people to two terms.  State of Law has very vocally opposed this; however, many Shi'ite politicians have issued public remarks indicating they supported it.  Sunnis and Kurds are opposed to Nouri having a third term.  And now Ibrahim issues his stupid remarks today which make him seem out of touch with the bulk of Iraq's political blocs.

Jalal Talabani may have a little bit more credibility than Ibrahim with the Kurds, Jalal is, after all, Kurdish;  however, he fled to Germany for a reason and remains there for a reason so maybe not.  Dar Addustour reports that Jalal is saying he'll return to Iraq in September and that he's agreed to meet with Osama al-Nujaifi, Speaker of Parliament, when he returns to Iraq.   He is also scheduled to meet with KRG President Massoud Barzani and there are rumors of a meet-up with Barzani, al-Nujaifi, Iraqiya leader Ayad Allawi and Moqtada al-Sadr.

Karwan Yusuf (AKnews) reports al-Nujaifi and Barzani met today and the two addressed the issue of Nouri al-Maliki and "also discussed the repercussions of the crisis in Syria and the seriousness of it moving into Iraq due to escalating violence in neighboring country."

The UN News Centre notes that another 400 Camp Ashraf residents were moved to Camp Liberty (also known as Camp Hurriya) today and quotes Martin Kobler, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq, stating, "Three-fourths of the residents, 2,400 persons, have now moved to Camp Hurriya.  I thank them for their cooperation, and call on those remaining in Camp Ashraf to act in the same spirit and start preparations for additional moves without delay, in order to peacefully complete the process."

Kobler made no mention of Monday's violence (see yesterday's snapshot) when approximately 20 residents of Camp Ashraf were left injured by Nouri al-Maliki's forces. 

Despite that legal status and the the legal obligation on the part of the US government to protect the residents, since Barack Obama has been sworn in as US president, Nouri has ordered not one but two attacks on Camp Ashraf resulting in multiple deaths.  Let's recap.  July 28, 2009 Nouri launched an attack (while then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was on the ground in Iraq). In a report released this summer entitled "Iraqi government must respect and protect rights of Camp Ashraf residents," Amnesty International described this assault, "Barely a month later, on 28-29 July 2009, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp; at least nine residents were killed and many more were injured. Thirty-six residents who were detained were allegedly tortured and beaten. They were eventually released on 7 October 2009; by then they were in poor health after going on hunger strike." April 8, 2011, Nouri again ordered an assault on Camp Ashraf (then-US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was again on the ground in Iraq when the assault took place). Amnesty International described the assault this way, "Earlier this year, on 8 April, Iraqi troops took up positions within the camp using excessive, including lethal, force against residents who tried to resist them. Troops used live ammunition and by the end of the operation some 36 residents, including eight women, were dead and more than 300 others had been wounded. Following international and other protests, the Iraqi government announced that it had appointed a committee to investigate the attack and the killings; however, as on other occasions when the government has announced investigations into allegations of serious human rights violations by its forces, the authorities have yet to disclose the outcome, prompting questions whether any investigation was, in fact, carried out." Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) observes that "since 2004, the United States has considered the residents of Camp Ashraf 'noncombatants' and 'protected persons' under the Geneva Conventions."

The residents are trapped in a kind of purgatory.  Unable to leave Iraq, they're being moved to former US military base Camp Liberty.  Approximately 2,000 have been moved so far with 400 more scheduled to be moved this week.  Why can't they leave Iraq?  During Bill Clinton's administration the MEK was delcared a terrorist organization.  Ignoring a federal court order for over two years to re-examine that classification, the Obama administration has kept the MEK labeled "terrorists."  As a result of that label, countries are reluctant to take in the residents.

AP reports that the residents are saying they were beaten and Nouri's adviser Gorges Bakoos is insisting that "we needed to search some of them by hand" -- and apparently a pat down is now done with a clenched first and possibly billy clubs?

Also avoiding mention of Monday's violence is the US State Dept.  The department's spokesperson Victoria Nuland issued the following statement this afternoon:

The United States welcomes today's safe arrival of the sixth convoy of approximately 400 
Ashraf residents to Camp Hurriya, the first such convoy in over three months. We welcome 
and are encouraged by this resumption of cooperation by the Ashraf residents in the 
relocation process as set forth in the December 25, 2011 Memorandum of Understanding 
(MOU) between the Government of Iraq and the United Nations. We call on the Camp Ashraf leadership to continue this progress by cooperating with the expeditious relocation of the approximately 800 remaining residents at Camp Ashraf.
The Government of Iraq has made considerable efforts to achieve a peaceful and secure resolution for the residents of Camp Ashraf, and we urge continued steps to address humanitarian concerns raised at Camp Hurriya by the residents. Recent progress includes 
the commencement of construction on a water purification station linked to an outside water source. The United States encourages these efforts and reiterates its commitment to work towards resolution of humanitarian issues at Hurriya, including sustainable means for the continued supply of water and electricity. The United States also reiterates its commitment to support the safety and security of the residents throughout the process of their relocation outside of Iraq.
As the Secretary of State said on February 29, 2012, "given the ongoing efforts to relocate the residents, the Mujahedin-e Khalq's (MEK's) cooperation in the successful and peaceful 
closure of Camp Ashraf, the MEK's main paramilitary base, will be a key factor in any 
decision regarding the MEK's [Foreign Terrorist Organization] status."

Camp Ashraf residents aren't the only targeted population in Nouri's Iraq.  Success Ucime (Ground Report) observes:

The exodus of the Christian population in Iraq has continued unstopped with the escalation of violence in the country.
This indication is contained in a report by the Open Doors ( a United Kingdom (UK) Registered Charity adding that July 2012 was one of the deadliest months in Iraq since US troops withdrew in December 2011.
Quoting AFP news agency, it observed that attacks took place on at least 27 of the 31 days in July, leaving at least 325 people dead adding that in May, 20 Christian families living in Mosul received threatening letters.

As noted in yesterday's snapshot, Independent High Electoral Commission Chair Faraj al-Haidari and Commission members Karim al-Tamimi and Osama al-Ani "were found guilty of graft" and received a "suspended one-year prison" term.  Prashant Rao (AFP) obeserved, "There is bad blood between Haidari, a Shiite Kurd, and Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's State of Law list over the aftermath of 2010 parliamentary elections, in which the premier's list came in second to the mainly Sunni-backed Iraqiya list of Iyad Allawi."  Alsumaria recaps the long campaign State of Law has waged against the commission since April.  They leave out the fact that a new election law was supposed to have been approved by now for the Electoral Commission and that provincial elections are supposed to take place early next year.  Among the disputes is how many commissioners should be on the board.  All Iraq News reports that Iraqiya declared today that they do not support increasing the number of commissioners and believe it should be left at its present number of 15.

July 19th, Martin Kobler, the UN Secretary-General's Special Envoy to Iraq, appeared before the UN Security Council and stated:

As we speak, my political deputy, Mr. [Gyorgy Busztin], is engaged in facilitation efforts to bring about the formation of a new, Independent High Election Commission which is representative of the main components of Iraq -- including women and children and minorities.  The urgent selection of the commissioners is essential for ensuring that the provincial council elections due to take place in March 2013 can be conducted on time. I'm concerned that the ongoing political stalemate is hindering the process however.  In recent days, I have discussed with political leaders -- including Prime Minister al-Maliki -- the need for a swfit conclusion of this political process and the need for an adequate representation of women and minorities in the commission. Today, I would like to re-iterate my appeal to all political blocs to expedite the selection of professional commissioners.  UNAMI stands here ready to actively assist.  

Earlier this month came news that Parliament thought they'd arrived at a stop-gap measure: they'd tack on 35 days to the current Electoral Commission.  AK News quoted the Chair of the Electoral Commission Faraj al-Haidari stating, "A new board of commissioners was supposed to be formed because the delay creates confusion.  The required period to complete the commission's procedures after the ratification of the election law and the budget according to international standards is six months."   Ayad al-Tamimi (Al Mada) reports a new problem today: Test on applicants for the next commission find them confused as to whether Iraq is a royal monarchy or a republic.  Prashant Rao (AFP) speaks to a variety of MPs who see the future commission as neither fair nor independent and an unnamed "Western diplomat" states, "This is no longer about an independependent electoral commission.  You cannot look at the IHEC issue in isolation . . . The consequences could be bigger."

Turning to veterans issues,  Sherry Mitchell (Hendersonville Star News) reports that Henderson, TN is holding a bass fishing tournament on September 15th and "[a]ll the proceeds from the tournament will be used to support veterans, returning military and their families."  Vietnam Veterans for America has (PDF format warning) the rules and entry form hereSabrina Wu (Patch) reports on the Walk All Our Soldiers Home parade planned for September 22nd in Darien, Illinois.  The Darien Chamber of Commerce notes that the "parade will honor our local military heroes.  Community involvement will be the cornerstrone of the event and we have invited all Darien families to participate in supporting the event by gathering pledges for marching in the parade.  A post parade fun celebration will be held at Darien Community Park." Meanwhile antiMusic notes  country music artist "Tim McGraw just wrapped his HomeFront program this past weekend in Boston, capping off a summer long campaign to award mortgage-free homes to veterans in need at each stop of his summer tour."  At the start of his tour last spring, Tim McGraw announced he'd present a veteran with mortgage-free home on each of his tour's 25 stops.  ABC News Radio reports he kept that promise and states, "Each family had touching stories and made an indelible mark on me.  From the Delucia family's amazing story of recovery and strength through physical injuries the first night in Tampa to the Connor family, who we suprised this past weekend at their new home with a puppy for their daughter Molly. . . I will never foget any of them."  The Call notes the homes were "part of a three-way partnership to recognize the sacrifices of military veterans involving McGraw, Chase Bank and San Antonio, Texas-based Operation Homefront, a non-profit program that provides mortgage-free homes to wounded soldiers. "  Country music artist Faith Hill joins her husband Tim  from December through April when the two of them headline at the Venetian  in Las Vegas.
The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead notes Suicide Prevention Month is next month and among the events in North Dakota:

Resource fair, 8:30 a.m. to noon, Sept. 10. Programs will include caregiver support, health care for homeless veterans, female veterans, health promotion, disease prevention, minority veterans, suicide prevention and more.• Sept. 9, First Link Walk of Hope for Suicide Awareness and Remembrance, Fargo Civic Center courtyard, 207 4th St. N. Registration begins at 1:30 p.m. For more information, call (701) 293-6462 or email
• Sept. 23, Out of the Darkness Fargo-Moorhead Community Walk, Lindenwood Park, Fargo. Registration begins at 1 p.m. and the walk begins at 2 p.m. To register or for more information, visit

And Out of the Darkness notes:

In the United States, a person dies by suicide every 15 minutes, claiming more than 36,000 lives each year. It is estimated that an attempt is made every minute, with close to one million people attempting suicide annually. Suicide is the fourth leading cause of death in the U.S. among adults 18-65, the second leading cause of death among teens and young adults, and individuals ages 65 and older account for 16 percent of all suicide deaths. This is a public health issue that does not discriminate by age, gender, ethnicity, or socio-economic status. Walk to save lives, find an event near you and register today!

Lonny Shavelson (Center for Investigave Reporting -- link is text and video) speaks to Iraq War veteran, Marine Cpl David Smith:

Smith: When I got out of the Marine Corps, I chalked everything that I was feeling up to just being normal. And I met a friend, and he happened to be a Marine. And we just kind of started talking about Iraq and stuff like that, and he could tell that I had some things that I was dealing with.
[On-screen text: That friend was Clay Hunt.]
[He also was waiting for disability benefits.]
Smith: He was the first person who I'd ever really talked to about Iraq, about, you know, some of the more tragic events or some of the more frightening things that happened.
The only way that it was going to happen is if another veteran came and got me and said, "Hey,   I've been there, too, and I know what you're going through."
Clay was just an amazing dude, but definitely had some other issues that he was dealing with.    We became extremely good friends. We'd literally go mountain biking, like, every single weekend – I guess try and clear our heads a little bit.
In March, 31st, I was asleep and my girlfriend came in, and she said, "Clay killed himself."
Clay? My Clay?
It's just kind of wild. Clay was also working on getting a claim through the VA. It's kind of     ironic – I think it was a week or two after he passed that, you know, his approved disability    rating showed up at his house.
From the time that I applied for disability to the time that my disability was finalized, it was        414 days.

Access to medical care -- and timely medical care -- is an important issue for veterans.  Karen Jeffrey (Cape Cod Online) reports:

Veterans on Martha's Vineyard are one step closer to having local medical services restored -- services that will enable them to get treated on the island rather than having to travel to the Providence VA Medical Center in Rhode Island.
U.S. Rep. William Keating, D-Mass., announced this week that a contract for veterans services on Martha's Vineyard has cleared one major hurdle: approval by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs. The contract must now be approved by the Providence VA Medical Center and Martha's Vineyard Hospital, where many of the services would be provided.

Over the weekend, Iraq War veteran Joshua Casteel passed away and IVAW's Jose Vasquez noted, "Joshua believed his illness was a result of his service in Iraq where he was exposed to the toxic fumes from burn pits and had submitted a compensation claim with the Veterans Administration." Across the country, hundreds of thousands of veterans -- nearly one million per the numbers the VA provided to Congress in July -- are waiting for their claims adjudicated.   Aaron Glantz (Center for Investigative Reporting via the San Diego Union-Tribune) reports:

California veterans who file with the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for a war-related disability claim are waiting more than nine months on average for a decision, according to a review of VA data.
The review by the Center for Investigative Reporting found that San Diego performs better than the state's other two regional offices in terms of pending claims that have languished longer than the agency goal of 125 days.
In San Diego, the rate of such delayed cases is 66 percent, compared to 94 percent in Oakland and 96 percent in Los Angeles. San Diego claimants are waiting 291 days on average, compared to 363 days in Los Angeles and 346 in Oakland.

In the US,  the presidential election is underway.  Tom Brokaw offered (link goes to video at Huffington Post) that last night at the Republican convention, neither Iraq nor Afghanistan was mentioned despite the fact that both wars were "started by the Republican party and promoted by them in the early stages, with the assent of the Democratic Congress and Democratic Senate."  This morning, Kasie Hunt (AP) reported GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney will speak to the American Legion in Indianapolis today, face-to-face, while appearing at the Republican National Convention in Tampa via satellite to take part in a discussion of veterans' issues with Senator John McCain.  Sarah Huisenga (CBS News) reports, "Romney reiterated his desire to modify the post-9/11 GI bill so that veterans are eligible for in-state college tuition regardless of residency. He also promised to make reforming the Department of Veterans' Affairs 'a personal priority,' citing the 'reproachable failures' in swiftly processing claims, and vowed not to raise rates for Tricare, the military's health care program."  The in-state residency for veterans is a smart idea and something all the candidates for president should support.  It's so obvious now that Romney's suggested it that you wonder why it wasn't part of the original bill.  Huisenga and Hunt are two women covering the campaigns and women reporters are in the minority this election cycle.  Rachel Larris (Women's Medica Center) reported yesterday:

On Monday the Women's Media Center released the shocking statistic, calculated by The 4th Estate Project, that from the presidential primary period (January 1 to April 15) to the general election (April 15 to August 25), 72 to 76 percent of newspaper stories covering the 2012 presidential election were written by men.
The numbers come from a selection of 35 influential newspapers from across the country. Today we wanted to share some of the byline breakdowns for individual newspapers. The numbers reflect only news reports and excludes blogs and opinion columns. For any article with two bylines, the gender of the first name was coded for the entire article.

Though women appear to be fewer in the presidential election press corps, as candidates, they're making real strides.  For example, the vice presidential candidate for the Socialist Equality Party is Phyllis Scherrer (Jerry White is the presidential candidate)  and this election year there are two presidential campaigns made up of four women.  The four: Jill Stein has the Green Party's presidential nomination and her running mate is Cheri Honkala and Roseanne Barr has the nomination of the Peace and Freedom Party and her running mate is Cindy Sheehan. Click here to sign a petition calling on Ms. magazine and Women's Media Center to cover her campaign and the other female candidate for president Roseanne Barr's campaignOver 250 people have signed onto the petition so far.  Some sign and leave comments and we noted some of the comments in Sunday's "Women Win When Women Run: The conversation Roseanne and Jill are inspiring" at Third -- and "women win when women run" is a theme that repeats in the comments with several people signing noting that theme or expanding on it.

Johnny Green (The Weed Blog) notes and posts Roseanne's first campaign video.  Here's a transcript.

OBAMA On Medical Marijuana

[Footage of Barack speaking at a Minnesota Town Hall in August 2011, via CSPAN]

Barack Obama:  You know a lot of states are making decisions about medical marijuana, uh, [long pause] as a controlled substance.  The issue then is is it being prescribed by a doctor as opposed to, uh, [pause] you know, well -- I'll - I'll - I'll leave it at that.

ROMNEY On Medical Marijuana

[Romney speaking to a man at a campaign event]

Mitt Romney:  And you have syntheic marijuana that is available.

Man:  Makes me sick.  I have tried it and it makes me throw up.  I have tried all the medications there are and all the forms that come in [inaudible] stimulators or steroids.  I have muscular dystrophy, that's completely against my DNA

Mitt Romney:  I'm sorry to hear that.

Man:  My question for you is would you arrest me and my doctors if I get medical marijuana?

Mitt Romney:  I'm not -- I'm not in favor of medical marijuana being legal.

Man:  So would you have me arrested?

Mitt Romney:  I'm sorry --

ROSEANNE On Medical Marijuana

Roseanne Barr: Dave, you know one thing I want to say is Obama is trying to take our medical marijuana  over there in California and trying to send in federal troops to get our medical marijuana and I'll tell you this, Obama, you'll get my joint when you pry it ouf of my cold, dead fingers.  That's when.  And I know -- I don't want to get Obama's kill list.  You know, I got to look out for drones on my way home now I know.

Supports your right to medical marijuana

The only serious comedian running for President.

Show your support
SEPT 27th, 2012
Oakland, Ca.

Montclair Womens Cultural Arts Club
1650 Mountain Blvd
Oakland, CA 94611-2258 US

6-30 - 8:30 pm
Thursday, 27 September

Roseanne Barr: I'm Roseanne Barr and I approved this message.

Barr/Sheehan 2012

Announcer: Paid for by Rosanne for President 2012

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On Labor Day, this coming Monday, September 3rd, we recognize the past sacrifices of working people in their struggles for emancipation, and rededicate ourselves to the movement for workers power in the year ahead. Please join Jill Stein, Cheri Honkala, and the rest of the campaign team in marking this holiday by taking part in your local Labor Day events. 
We know that many of you already have Labor Day plans for tabling, marching, and flyering. Check out our revised our flyer (CLICK HERE), and also have a special Labor Day editorial (CLICK HERE) by Jill Stein which you can print out and distribute.
Please be sure to contact to let us know how much you spent on copies.
If you have not already made plans, and don't know where to start, here are three easy steps:
  1. What to do: Round up a few other volunteers (friends, family, coworkers, you name it) ready to help get the word out on Labor Day.
  2. Where to go: Find your local Labor Day events here:
  3. What to bring: Plenty of copies of our halfsheet flyers (CLICK HERE TO PRINT OUT) and of our special Labor Day editorial (CLICK HERE), as well as other campaign materials you have on hand. Please be sure to contact to let us know how much you spent on copies.
Let's get the word out that while the bosses may own two political parties, working people finally have at least one: The Greens.

Another place women are visible in the presidential election this year is in the protest segment.  CODEPINK is currently protesting at the RNC.  Hopefully, they'll have the guts and courage to do as they did in 2004 and protest at the DNC as well.  Jean MacKenzie (Global Post) reports on last night, inside the convention hall:

But as Santorum wound down his speech, a commotion could be heard in the upper reaches of the cavernous hall. A young woman was screaming at the top of her lungs, although her words were indistinguishable to many down below.
It was Alli McCracken, coordinator for the Washington, D.C. office of CODEPINK, a women's organization dedicated to "working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into health care, education and other life-affirming activities."
McCracken, just 23, created quite a commotion.
"I got to speak for three or four minutes before they escorted me out," she said.
Her message was simple: If you claim to be pro-life, then do things that strengthen life. Stop the wars, help women get access to quality health care. Make education affordable.
"I don't think Rick Santorum is any worse than the rest of them," said McCracken. "They are all egregiously offensive in their own way."