Saturday, September 08, 2012

What his speech writers missed

Ann Belser  (Pittsburgh Post-Gazette) reported today:

Fewer than 10 hours after President Barack Obama accepted the Democratic nomination for a second term, the campaign for which the economy is expected to remain at center stage, the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the report on unemployment in August.
The national unemployment rate dropped from 8.3 percent in July to 8.1 percent in August, with the number of jobs rising by a lackluster 96,000.
While it was not a good report for the president, it also was not the story of an economy in free-fall that would help his Republican challenger, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
Stocks were up slightly on the day. The Dow Jones Industrial Average gained 14.64 points or 0.11 percent to close at 13,306.64. The Standard and Poor's 500 Index rose 0.4 percent or 5.8 points to 1,437.92 and the Nasdaq rose 0.02 percent, or 0.61 points, to 3,136.42.

That is not good news to put it mildly, not at all.

As I was saying earlier this week, the undecideds are not going to play on the one hand, on the other.  They are going to ask themselves if they are better off now than they were when there was another person occupying the White House.

The answer will most likely be "no."

For most people, they were better off.  Food prices weren't as high, gasoline wasn't as high, we weren't in year four of the Great Recession.

That speech Barack gave?

Even more awful.  When you have f**ked up, you need to own that.  You don't need to make it about what other people do.

Let's say I cheated on you.  When I come to the point where I am honest with you about that, you do not want to hear about how many people cheat or do this or do that or how these friends of ours are also cheating.  You want to hear me apologize for my screw ups.  If I don't, you don't trust me. 

People don't seem to understand that, certainly Barack's speech writers didn't.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Friday, September 7, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue,  Tom Hayden crawls out of his rock to spin (and spin badly), people take to the streets to show their support for Bradley Manning, Jill Stein appears on Bill Moyers' new program, and more.
Old Whore Tom Hayden resurfaced to distort, lie and smear.   Tom Hayden is a joke.  He is so much of a joke that Barack Obama publicly and repeatedly derided what he termed "Tom Hayden Democrats" in 2007 and 2008.  Possibly demonstrating that men who abuse women are nothing but big cowards, Tom Hayden's never called out Barack but instead worked overtime to talk up the man who has repeatedly and publicly mocked him. 
Hijacking the E-Train to Crazy Town and packing plenty of stupid, Tom rabidly barks at everyone including Paul Krugman -- anyone who might question the politics of  Barack Obama -- in total or partial as he tries to whip people in line for his abuser Barack Obama.
Dirty whores don't speak for the campaign.  Which is why Tom Hayden goes on at length about ObamaCare and how it was up to politicians and the people are just too stupid to grasp this but last night in Charlotte, North Carolina, Barack was stating it's not "what can be done for us, it's about what can be done by us."
There are many decisions Barack's made and actions Barack's taken that I will hold against him.  The lunatic ravings of Tom Hayden, however, are not on that list. Here Tom  is molesting the topic of Iraq:
Many in the peace movement did not believe it then and dismiss it now. To the extent this is a rational objection - and not blindness - it rests on two arguments. First, some claim that Obama was only following the withdrawal plan already agreed to by George Bush. It is an interesting question for future historians to uncover what shadow entity orchestrated the Iraq-US pact between the end of Bush and the coming of Obama.
Oh, history will be the judge?  Seriously?  I seem to recall most of us on the left ridiculing Bully Boy Bush when he responded to questions about the Iraq War with statements like that.
That aside, it is logical to conclude that the immanence of Obama's victory pushed the Bush administration to wrap up the best withdrawal agreement possible before the unpredictable newcomer took office.
It isn't logical to conclude any such thing.  If the opinion of the people of the world didn't matter to Bully Boy Bush before starting the illegal war, if the opinions of world leaders didn't matter to him, why in the world would the election of Barack matter?
People like Tom Hayden live in their own fact free world.  Never having spoken to even one person who worked on the SOFA, Hayden 'just knows' exactly how it happened.  The SOFA replaces the UN mandate for the occupation.  The UN mandate was yearly -- each year it had to be renewed.  Nouri renewed it on his end twice.  Outraging the Iraqi politicians both times.  The first time (the end of 2006), he insisted he wouldn't do that solo again, that he'd get approval from Parliament.  But then he turned around and did the exact same thing at the end of 2007.
The Bush White House realized early on (late 2007), that an agreement that replaced the UN mandate would need to run longer than one year because there was too much anger over these yearly renewals.  For that reason, it was a contract that ran three years.   Even something that basic is beyond the Tom Haydens.  They bought into the lie -- and how popular it was -- that Nouri was sticking it to the White House and dictating the terms.  Other than the amount of 'rewards,' Nouri didn't dictate a thing.  And the SOFA was written prior to the November 2008 election.  (Is Tom even aware of that?)  November was about fine tuning it and about surveying Parliament and greasing palms (the Parliament was adament that they would be voting on this contract). 
In addition, Obama increased his previous withdrawal commitment in February 2009 to include virtually all American forces instead of leaving behind a "residual" force of 20-30,000.
Tom's spinning so hard that even he has to admit the reality in the next sentence:
It is true that as the endgame neared, Obama left open the possibility of a residual force after American ground troops departed, saying he would be responsive to the request of the Baghdad regime.
Yes, Barack gave an interview to the New York Times as candidate about residual troops.  I remember that very well.  And you know what I remember most about that?
On the subject of Iran, Barack Obama appears on the front page of this morning's New York Times. War pornographer Michael Gordon and Jeff Zeleny who lied in print (click here, here and here -- the paper finally retracted Zeleny's falsehood that should have never appeared) present a view of Barack Obama that's hardly pleasing. Among the many problems with the article is Obama as portrayed in the article -- and his campaign has issued no statement clarifying. The Times has the transcript online and from it, Barack Obama does mildly push the unproven claim that the Iranian government is supporting resistance in Iraq. Gordo's pushed that unproven claim repeatedly for over a year now. But Obama's remarks appear more of a reply and partial points in lengthy sentences -- not the sort of thing a functioning hard news reporter would lead with in an opening paragraph, touch on again in the third paragraph, in the fourth paragraph, in . . . But though this isn't the main emphasis of Obama's statements (at any time -- to be clear, when it pops up, it is a fleeting statement in an overly long, multi-sentenced paragraphs), it does go to the fact that Obama is once again reinforcing unproven claims of the right wing. In the transcript, he comes off as obsessed with Hillary Clinton. After her, he attempts to get a few jabs in at John Edwards and one in at Bill Richardson. Here is what real reporters should have made the lede of the front page: "Presidential candidate and US Senator Barack Obama who is perceived as an 'anti-war' candidate by some announced that he would not commit to a withdrawal, declared that he was comfortable sending US troops back into Iraq after a withdrawal started and lacked clarity on exactly what a withdrawal under a President Obama would mean." That is what the transcript reveals. Gordo really needs to let go of his blood lust for war with Iran.
And then over at Third that Sunday (November 4, 2007), we offered "NYT: 'Barack Obama Will Keep Troops In Iraq" which was taking the transcript and writing the report as the Times should have covered it.  Tuesday November 6, 2007 (see that day's snapshot), Tom Hayden finally discovers and writes about the article with rah-rah for Barack because he didn't read the transcript (and he actually misread the printed article) resulting in this garbage.  After we called him out, he would write another article suddenly 'discovering' the transcript and find that things were not as sunny as he'd made out to be.
Point being, he's no one to trust for facts.
Tom-Tom's thrilled Barack doesn't have 'residual troops' in Iraq but for Barack to have residual troops, the SOFA would need to be extended or replaced.  With nothing to extend it or replace it,  it had to be followed.  That's how a contract works.
Here, some on the left seized on these remarks to later claim that Obama had to be forced by the Iraqis to finally leave. There is no evidence for this claim, however. It is equally possible - and I believe more credible - that Obama was simply being Obama, knowing that the Iraqis could not possibly request the Americans to stay.
Dissecting diplomacy, like legislation, is like making sausage, in the old saying. Obama certainly knew that he would gain political cover if he could say with credibility that he was only following Bush's withdrawal plan and Iraq's request.
There is evidence for that claim.  I know Tom doesn't care for Arabs.  Remember it was only during his Iraq War makeover that he finally 'apologized' for being a tool of the right-wing Israeli government while he was a small-fry state legislature who stupidly thought he would end up president done day.  There was Tom, cheering on the murder of Palestinians.  He really hasn't changed his anti-Arab views.  Try to remember that when everyone was telling Jane Fonda that Rollover was an iffy project, Tom was telling her it was political, prescient and important (in the film, the world's financial downfall is caused largely by greedy, you know this is coming, Arabs).  If Tom weren't so 'allergic' to Arabs, maybe he'd read the Arab press.  You can find many articles that argue Iraqis forced Barack to back down.  Those articles generally note that Iraq refused to grant immunity to US service members and that the White House had already made that a deal breaker.
 Having ignored the mountain of articles on that point, Tom wants to then argue:
A more bizarre left criticism of Obama on Iraq is that the war itself never ended but instead morphed into a secret war with tens of thousands of Americans fighting as Special Ops or private contractors.
Is he drunk again?  Is that it?  I have no idea.  But last week,  Sean Rayment (Telegraph of London) reported:
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.
 3,500 killed over the last two years.  Seriously, Tom-Tom, you're going to ignore that?  You who tries to reference the Honduran death squads in how many articles on Iraq?  You're going to ignore that 3,500 Iraqs have been 'taken off the street' as a result of being captured by US and British forces?  And that "several hundred" have been killed during this time?
The wars on Latin America in the 70s and 80s targeted which groups?  The citizens the oppressive regimes wanted to shut up.  And we're not bothered by the news from the Telegraph?
And this isn't 'conspiracy' talk.  This is what's been reported by the few reporters who've bothered to report.  In December of last year, while everyone was filing 'withdrawal, Ted Koppel filed an important report on Rock Center with Brian Williams (NBC).

MR. KOPPEL: I realize you can't go into it in any detail, but I would assume that there is a healthy CIA mission here. I would assume that JSOC may still be active in this country, the joint special operations. You've got FBI here. You've got DEA here. Can, can you give me sort of a, a menu of, of who all falls under your control?

AMB. JAMES JEFFREY: You're actually doing pretty well, were I authorized to talk about half of this stuff.
Back during Vietnam when he had a little bit of guts, Tom Hayden wouldn't have accepted this as 'withdrawal' but today he's just an old whore.  In fact, didn't Tom-Tom just affect outrage over 600 US troops in Honduras?  (He did, click here.) As Barbra Streisand tells Robert Redford in The Way We Were, "Hubbell, people are their principles."  How sad for Tom Hayden that he no longer has any principles.
You know who does appear to have principles?  Bradley Manning.

Monday April 5, 2010, WikiLeaks released US military video of a July 12, 2007 assault in Iraq. 12 people were killed in the assault including two Reuters journalists Namie Noor-Eldeen and Saeed Chmagh. Monday June 7, 2010, the US military announced that they had arrested Bradley Manning and he stood accused of being the leaker of the video. Leila Fadel (Washington Post) reported in August 2010 that Manning had been charged -- "two charges under the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The first encompasses four counts of violating Army regulations by transferring classified information to his personal computer between November and May and adding unauthorized software to a classified computer system. The second comprises eight counts of violating federal laws governing the handling of classified information." In March, 2011, David S. Cloud (Los Angeles Times) reported that the military has added 22 additional counts to the charges including one that could be seen as "aiding the enemy" which could result in the death penalty if convicted. The Article 32 hearing took place in December.  At the start of this year, there was an Article 32 hearing and, February 3rd, it was announced that the government would be moving forward with a court-martial.  Bradley has yet to enter a plea and has neither affirmed that he is the leaker nor denied it.  The court-martial was supposed to begin this month has been postponed until after the election . 
Yesterday, protests took place across America as people showed their support for Bradley.  Yael Chanoff (San Francisco Bay Guardian) reports on the action in San Francisco where participants included Iraq Veterans Against the War's Joshua Shepherd:

"It's a process to turn around once you've joined the military and committed so much of yourself to this institution," Shepherd told protesters today.
Shepherd was one of six veterans arrested at Obama campaign headquarters in Oakland Aug. 16. 
After the rally, protesters marched and protested a group watching Obama's DNC speech.
"I find it hypocritical that Obama promised to protect whistle blowers four years ago," said David Zebker, a San Francisco CPA who attended march.
A group of about 20 local DC area people, who are affiliated with the Bradley Manning Support Network,arrived at the DNC headquarters to meet with a representative of the Obama 2012 campaign to deliver our letter with our concerns for Bradley Manning (see below).
We were met at the main entrance of the DNC by security who refused entrance to about 4 people from the group who wanted to go inside and deliver our letter and to request that it be faxed to President Obama. The security guards told us to get off the front steps as were on private property. We explained that we were there on business. They refused us entry. We said we would not leave. Police were called. US Capitol Police showed up in four police cars and one police wagon. We talked with the police and explained were there with important business we needed to engage the campaign with and President Obama. After a while the US Capitol Police all left presumably because they didn't want to get involved, probably telling the security guards that it wasn't their jurisdiction and that we hadn't broken any laws.
The report also includes photos by Ted MadjoszMax Obuszewski (Baltimore Non-Violence Center) adds of the DC protest, "When we arrived we were chanting "President Obama Free Bradley Manning." Kevin Zeese an attorney who is a member of the steering committee of the Bradley Manning Support Network explained why the charges against Manning should be dismissed and why we were focused on President Obama. He noted that the decision to hold Manning in solitary confinement was made by a three-star general at the Pentagon and it would be surprising if he acted without the approval of the president, Joint Chiefs of Staff or Secretary of Defense, in other words the decision to illegally torture a U.S. soldier being held in pre-trial detention was made at the highest levels of government."  The Bradley Manning Support Network notes that protests took place "in 34 cities across the United States [and] targeted local Obama campaign headquarters to demand the President free accused WikiLeaks whistleblower and Nobel Peace Prize nominee PFC Bradley Manning.  International supporters, in Australia and the U.K. also protested at U.S. embassies."
The San Jose Mercury News has a photo essay (by Kristina Sangsahachart) of the San Jose protestWorld Can't Wait's San Francisco chapter notes:

In San Francisco Thursday night, about 80 people met up tonight in the Mission District at a BART (subway) plaza, lofting colorful banners and signs.  We came from different movements – antiwar, Occupy, veterans – and people were feeling fierce.  A short rally brought up speakers from the Bradley Manning Support Network, Courage to Resist, Code Pink, World Can't Wait, and Veterans for Peace.

Nancy Siesel (Demotix) notes the NYC protest with a photo essay.  In the comments of a post at Naked Capitalism, Jill shares her experience protesting:
I want to relay my experience protesting the torture and illegal imprisonment of Bradley Manning.
As two people tried to enter the office to deliever a letter to Obama on Manning's behalf, the staffers locked the door and closed the curtains. That says a lot. But here's what I thought was most interesting.
They weren't prepared for protest. I am convinced peaceful protest is a good avenue to pursue. They think they've locked everything down, that people are too afraid, too tired, too progagandized to take them on. They need to know that isn't true.
And here's one more thing. They wouldn't let anyone in while we were picketing. If there was a large enough group to form 24 hour picket lines around the Obama and Romney campaign HQ's, it might be worth trying. It would be necessary to offer voter registration while picketing because this is offered at the HQ and this should not ever be stopped. But if their response to protest is to shut down their office, well, it's something to think about!
Protests against war took place yesterday as well.  CODEPINK notes:


Charlotte, NC—At 4:15pm today, Thursday, September 6, hours before President Obama's acceptance speech at the Democratic Convention, five CODEPINK activists dropped a 40 foot giant pink slip banner that read "YES WE CAN END WAR" off of a parking garage at S. College and 3rd Street near the Democratic Convention.  CODEPINK national organizer Alli McCracken, 23, from Washington, DC, was arrested and charged with a misdemeanor for "attaching a banner to private property without permission." 
"When the war in Afghanistan started I was only 12 years old, and for my entire adult life the US has continued to squander precious tax dollars on war, while young people like me can hardly afford college or healthcare, and many can't find jobs," said McCracken.  "Both the Republicans and Democrats continue to pour money into the bloated Pentagon budget instead of addressing people's real needs.  I'm sick and tired of the huge amount of corporate and super-PAC money going into elections that keeps our politicians funding war, killer drone strikes, and weapons to Israel.  Let's put people before profits!"

There were 34 police officers involved in arresting this one peace activist, clearly a huge waste of taxpayer money," said Medea Benjamin, cofounder of CODEPINK.  "At a convention that is supposed to be the most open convention in history, it's tragic that a young activist would be arrested for peacefully expressing her desire to end war, a position that the overwhelming majority of Democratic delegates support."

CODEPINK has demonstrated at both the RNC and DNC, including speaking out every night at the RNC and Wednesday night, September 5, when CODEPINK co-director Rae Abileah
unfurled a pink banner inside the convention that read "Bring Our War $$ Home" during Democratic Whip Steny Hoyer's speech. 
In the wake of the Citizens United case, with corporate and super PAC money in politics polluting democracy and drowning out the will of voters, CODEPINK will also be calling for money out of politics. "We want people-powered elections that prioritize human needs over war and greed," said CODEPINK co-director Jodie Evans.  "And we'd like the police to go after the real war criminals instead of nonviolent protesters."
CODEPINK, founded in 2002, is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the war in Iraq, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into health care, education and other life-affirming activities.
Wow.  The war's 'over' but Iraqis are being killed by Brits an
Violence continues in Iraq. The month's not even a week old and already Iraq Body Count can count 29 violent deaths in the country -- and that's just through Wednesday.

Think about that.  The month started on Saturday and already 29 reported deaths.   Just through Wednesday.  Think about that and ask yourself where the US reporting on that has been.  Seems Iraq was 'in the news' with US outlets this week -- in terms of what was said at the DNC.  But no one has talked about 29 dead in 5 days.   And already today Alsumaria reports an attack today on a military checkpoint outside Baghdad killing 2 Iraqi soldiers and a Shi'ite shrine in Kirkuk was attacked leaving 3 people dead and eleven more injuredKitabat adds the death toll has risen to 8 and that the number injured now stands at thirty-three.   In addition, All Iraq News notes Turkish war planes shelled northern Iraq last night and that there was an attempt on Sheikh Ali Shuwaili (cleric for Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani) in Sadr City yesterday with unknown assailants using guns with silencers shooting at himSam Dagher (Wall St. Journal) counts 8 dead today and 88 injured.  Margaret Griffis ( counts 12 dead.
In the US, the Green Party has made Dr. Jill Stein their presidential nominee and Jill's campaign notes:
This week on Moyers & Company, Bill talks with Green Party presidential and vice presidential candidates Jill Stein and Cheri Honkala about their campaign platform and what they've learned about American politics. 
The episode, appropriately entitled "Challenging Power, Changing Politics,"  delves into the history of the candidates' civic engagement and their vision for a just, sustainable future. Don't miss it!
"Moyers & Company airs weekly on public television – Check your local listings  and learn more at

Wednesday, September 05, 2012

More nightmares at the DNC

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Needed Extension"

the needed extension

Meanwhile Sandra Fluke's had her time in the spotlight, stick a fork up her ass, she's done.

You want birth control, pay for it or go to Planned Parenthood.

I don't know where you got the idea that you were so very damn special that you're different than other women.

You're an adult and then some.

You've behaved like angry little child.

No one will give a damn about you after this election cycle.

You've allowed yourself to be whored.

But they don't need you after 2012.  They don't need you and they don't want you.

So keep pretending that you are something special and that you've been embraced.

You've been used.

Mainly you allowed yourself to be used.

Sandra Fluke always told a pleasing story.  Not always factual, mind you and it didn't always make sense.   She got to step in front of the national audience tonight and proved just how much she could lie to try to scare up a few votes.

I'm not in the mood.

Poor little law student, no money for the pill.  Grow the hell up, little girl.  There are people in this world with real problems and few are fortunate enough to be able to go to Georgetown. 

It was another night of whines from the overly self-entitled.

The DNC appears to be a wonderful recruiting commercial for the Green Party.

 Good,  Let the Green Party rise up and destroy the useless Democratic Party already.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Wednesday, September 5, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, the US accuses Iran of using Iraqi airspace to fly weapons into Syria, Nouri's security forces attack social clubs in Baghdad, one year after the assassination of a journalist there is still no one charged in the death, the lies about war fly out of North Carolina, and more.
Yesterday the embarrassing Democratic National Convention began.  Ruth Conniff (The Progressive) was late in getting her whoring on but this is the woman who bragged on KPFA that she didn't know anyone who'd fought in the Iraq War.  Didn't know them and apparently didn't want to get to know them because it's really not that hard, Ruth.  Nor are facts though Ruth is a fact molester who should be on a neighborhood watch. Writing today, she gets her whore on in a number of ways.  First, she praises Michelle Obama's embarrassing speech.  As Marcia noted yesterday, "The Washington Post reports that Michelle Obama explained today her role in the DNC convention tonight was to explain her husband.  That may be but there's something very sad about the fact that anyone has to explain who the president is and goes to the fact that he is so hollow at his core and so meaningless."  Four years later and she had to explain, to the American people, who her husband was?  Apparently all that golfing didn't leave much of an impression.
Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act does not, as Michelle Obama claimed, "help women get equal pay for equal work" at all.  As Rebecca pointed out last night, all that act does is let you sue a little longer.  If Barack wanted equal pay for equal work, he could have pushed that.  He didn't.  But now he wants to inflate his meager resume?
Michelle got creative with this claim as well, "That's why Barack has fought so hard to increase student aid and keep interest rates down, because he wants every young person to fulfill their promsie and be able to attend college without a mountain of debt."  No, that would be Dr. Jill Stein's desire, the Green Party candidate.  Barack doesn't give a damn.
From the left, Nancy Hanover (WSWS) explained that back in May:
The dirty secret in all of this, carefully hidden in the media, is the active role of the Democratic Party and specifically the Obama administration in the assault on higher education. At the most fundamental level, the Democrats have colluded with the Republicans in the systematic starvation of education while diverting society's resources into endless wars, tax cuts for the rich, and bank and corporate bailouts.
Despite Obama's claims that he is doing all he can to "make college more affordable," he has implemented a whole battery of measures to attack student borrowers—a broadside attack on the young generation.
Effective July 1, 2012, the federal government has ended the in-school interest subsidy for graduate and professional students with Stafford Loans. This relatively little-reported event was enacted as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. It will substantially increase the cost of graduate school, already notoriously expensive, and will add an estimated $18 billion to student debt burdens over 10 years. Seventy-six percent of US graduate school students borrow to cover tuition, and their yearly costs vary from $15,000 to $45,000 for tuition alone.
The Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2012 eliminated the grace period benefit (a six- or nine-month window after a student leaves school when no payments are due) for loans made in academic years 2012-2013 and 2013-2014, automatically increasing the net cost of the loan.
Also effective immediately and retroactively, students are only eligible for six full-time years of the Pell Grant, a decision primarily affecting low-income adults working their way through college. The measure will eliminate benefits for 63,000 recipients. Also, students may no longer receive two Pell Grants in a year or receive summer school funding. The government has also modified the amount families are expected to pay, the Expected Family Contribution, so that fewer students will be eligible for the grants.
Smaller Pell Grant awards of $277 to $550 have been cut completely. Also eliminated are the Pell Grants for students who pass the "ability to benefit" test but have not been awarded a high school diploma or GED.
The convention itself is an assult on education by being held in anti-teacher Charlotte (anti-teacher, anti-union) and by the little film attacking education which then featured a panel with human education leper Michelle Rhee. may have been forced to drop Rhee and her lunatic fringe group (which wants to end the "public" in public education to allow for a corporate take over) but damned if Barack didn't make sure that piece of trash had a prominent spot at his convention.
If you're like Ruth Conniff and barely pay attention to the world around you, not only do you not know anyone who served in Iraq, you also don't recognize an assault on education when it's right before your eyes.  If only Ruth could work as hard as she did in 2004 when she wrote that hit piece on Ralph Nader for her trashy magazine.
Ruth wants you to know that, "The most progressive side of the Democratic Party was on full display (after Rahm Emanuel left the stage)." Really?  What about when Tammy Duckworth was on the stage?
Is anyone less informed than Ruth Conniff?
Tammy Duckworth was hand picked by Rahm to run in 2006.  A lot of people forget that race now or just remember it because Tammy lost big on what should have been a Democratic seat.  But Emanual and Tammy thought she could run in this district (that she wasn't living in) and jump over Christine Cegelis who had taken on Henry Hyde in 2004 and come close to toppling Hyde.  Now it was supposed to be Christine's race.  (If you're late to the party on this, there are many articles you can refer to but the strongest is probably Matt Renner's September 2007 piece for TruthOut. If audio archives existed, we'd point to Laura Flanders radio show in 2006, during the primary where she talked up Tammy Duckworth like crazy only to have her listeners explaine that the progressive candidate in that race was Christine.  To Flanders credit, she didn't rage or act like she was perfect.  She acknowledged her mistake and booked Cegelis onto the show.)
But the problem was Christine actually was and is a progressive.  For example, she wanted an end to the Iraq War -- a clear difference between herself and Tammy Duckworth -- one no one's supposed to comment on today.   If there's anything more oblivious than Ruth Conniff, it's POLITICO which is surpised that "Right applauds Tammy Duckworth's speech."  That's not a surprise, she is a right-winger.
What is a surprise is that a member of the failed Veterans Administration could run for office and not have to answer as to how the backlog has repeatedly increased in the last four years.  That is truly surprising.  She felt comfortable slamming GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney for not mentioning Afghanistan but can someone explain why this fromer Assistant Secretary for Public and Intergovernmental Affairs at the VA didn't mention the backlog?
That number is huge and it's so huge that the VA tries to backpeddle and present it as less than it is.  Most recently we saw that in the July 18th House Oversight Subcommittee on National Security, Homeland Defense and Foreign Operations hearing.  VA's Undersectretary for Benefits Allison Hickey was testifying.  From that day's snapshot:

Jason Chaffetz:  Madam Under Secretary,  Mr. Manar,  I think accurately points out in his testimony that in order to solve the problem, you need to know exactly what the problem is.  And I see a major discrepancy in some of the numbers and I want to help clarfiy that.  In youre testimony in talking about the integrated disability evaluation system, you say, "We went from 240 day average in the legacy system to 56 days" and it goes on.  And there's a definition of the backlog.  The House Armed Services Committee staff and the House Veterans Affairs Committee staff on July 13 of this year which was not too long ago gave a briefing to these two Committees.  It says in here that the current monthly average completion time is 408 days.  You say it's 56 days -- 54 days -- yeah, 56 days -- and they say it's 408 days.   Can you help clarify that for me please?

Allison Hickey:  Thank you, Chairman Chaffetz for your question. First of all, allow me to clarify by stating a few basic definitions so also, as I say things, you can understand what words I'm using and their context  We have, in the inventory and pending an overall number of 854000.  That's not backlog.  Those are claims that even as we've been sitting here for the last ten to fifteen minutes, more claims have come into us from veteran service members  and

Chair Jason Chaffetz:  Okay, let me stop you -- let me stop you right there. Let me stop you right there.  On July 16th, which is not very long ago, the Monday morning workload report says there are 919,461 claims.  You say that number is -- what did you say that number is?  860,000 something?

Allison Hickey:  The numbers I'm using are 854,000 --

Chair Jason Chaffetz:  Okay, so we're off by about 50 or 60 thousand.  And we're talking about something that is just  couple of days old.  Why the discrepancy on those number?

Allison Hickey:  Chairman Chaffetz, our backlog -- I mean our inventory is a dynamic inventory.

Chair Jason Chaffetz:  I know but that's less than ten days so --

Allison Hickey:  Chairman, I'm happy to answer the questions if I'm allowed an opportunity.

Chair Jason Chaffetz:  Sure I want to know.  You're saying that that number is 800 and something thousand and I'm just saying that the VA's report says it's 919,461.  That's of July 16th --

Allison Hickey:  Chairman, I'm happy to answer the question if I'm allowed an opportunity.

Chair Jason Chaffetz:  Ma'am, just answer the question.  Yes.

Allison Hickey:  Thank you very much.

Chair Jason Chaffetz:  --  That's why I asked the question.

Allison Hickey:  Thank you very much, Chairman.  The numbers that I'm using are from the endpoint of a month.  Probably the end of May.  So you probably are using the end of this week's report.  I chose not use a floating number that continues to change over time and over dates and over weeks.  So I used an end of month number to be able to to talk to you, to be able to have a solid number to hvae a discussion around.
US House Rep and Subcommittee Chair Jason Chaffetz had the correct number. Notice the disregard on VA's part.  They could have used a number only a few days old.  Didn't want to do that.  And Allison Hickey, who is offering the number, can't even state what the numbers from: "Probably the end of May."  Probably?  You're testifying that the backlog is X and you can't tell the Subcomittee when that number was generated?  Can't or won't?  There's no one in the VA that should be running for public office.  Everyone of them should instead be begging veterans for forgiveness.
And if Mitt Romney had any brains at all, he'd unearth the story the press buried, where Eric Shinseki, VA Secretary, admits in an open session of Congress that he knew nearly nine months before the start of the fall 2009 college semester that the GI bill checks would not be ready.  For those who've forgotten, VA's idiocy and refusal to do its job left many veterans forced to take out short term loans, left them without apartments and some didn't get checks until after Christmas 2009, which meant their children did without Christmas.  Tammy Duckworth was a part of the VA during that, she has a lot of nerve trying to run for office on her 'record.'
If you missed that moment -- the press buried it to protect Shinseki and the White House, we covered it -- you can drop back to October 14, 2009, when Shinseki told the House Committee on Veterans Affairs:
Secretary Eric Shinseki: I'm looking at the certificates of eligibility uh being processed on 1 May and enrollments 6 July, checks having to flow through August. A very compressed timeframe. And in order to do that, we essentially began as I arrived in January, uh, putting together the plan -- reviewing the plan that was there and trying to validate it. I'll be frank, when I arrived, uh, there were a number of people telling me this was simply not executable. It wasn't going to happen. Three August was going to be here before we could have everything in place. Uh, to the credit of the folks in uh VA, I, uh, I consulted an outside consultant, brought in an independent view, same kind of assessment. 'Unless you do some big things here, this is not possible.' To the credit of the folks, the good folks in VBA, they took it on and they went at it hard. We hired 530 people to do this and had to train them. We had a manual system that was computer assisted. Not very helpful but that's what they inherited. And we realized in about May that the 530 were probably a little short so we went and hired 230 more people. So in excess of 700 people were trained to use the tools that were coming together even as certificates were being executed. Uhm, we were short on the assumption of how many people it would take.
He was told the plan wasn't executable.  He brought in independent consultants.  They told him the same thing.  Congress was never, ever informed of this problem nor were veterans.  And when fall 2009 rolled around, veterans didn't have their checks.
This wasn't a surprise as the press has apparently agreed to pretend.  By Shinseki's own testimony, early in his term, he was told the plan couldn't be executed, he even brought in independent consultants who told the same thing.
He refused to inform Congress.  Veterans suffered as a result.  He should have been fired but Barack Obama's provided no oversight of the VA and that's why the VA backlog has grown and grown and grown.
There's no excuse for it and Tammy Duckworth is the last person to finger point at anyone else.
The ridiculous Ruth Conniff claimed, "A full-throated defense of labor and of keeping American jobs at home was also a rousing theme, with many, many references to Obama's rescue of the auto industry."  Who got rescued, you idiot?  The managers, the owners?  Yeah.  The workers?  No, they got screwed in the bail-out.  All those dollars tossed at Big Auto which then wants to tell the workers that they'll have to give us this benefit and that cost of living . . .  As Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) observes today, "Frankly, who wants to be the one to point out, in the middle of the festivities, that Michelle Obama was just a Chicago Daley machine hack lawyer who was rewarded with a quarter million dollar a year job of neutralizing community complaints against the omnivorous University of Chicago Hospitals? She resigned from her $50,000 seat on the board of directors of Tree-House Foods, a major Wal-Mart supplier, early in her husband's presidential campaign. But, once in the White House, the First Lady quickly returned to flaking for Wal-Mart, praising the anti-union "death star" behemoth's inner city groceries offensive as part of her White House healthy foods booster duties. "
What an idiot Ruth Conniff is.  But look where she works -- at the so-called Progressive which was started by followers of a third-party but is today so wedded to the Democratic Party that Socialist Matthew Rothschild can't stop embarrassing himself.  They finally 'cover' Jill Stein.  Why, she's even the cover story!  "The Third-Party Dilemma."  This is where a pudgy, middle-aged man who lied to his readers and listeners for years and only came out as a Socialist in early 2009 after he was outed (here and at Third) as one.  So what's this third-party dilemma? 
In nine brief paragraphs, Matty Roth ponders -- never finding an answer -- whether it's worth voting third party or not?
Of course, Rothschild will never write a piece like that about the Democratic Party.  So what we're left with is that hideous cover -- where what's supposed to be Jill Stein is given a neck like a giraffe -- a neck that in shape, contour and length portrays her as a snake -- but you're not supposed to notice that, kids.  And you're not supposed to notice that she's got more lines o her face than either Barack or Mitt Romeny.  You're not supposed to notice that her drawn eyebrows aren't just on different levels, one is actually significantly bigger than the other.  You're not supposed to notice what they've done to her hair or all the way the cover poisons you to Stein and third-parties. 
A nine paragraph cover story.  And this only after Jill Stein speaks to Matthew who, in turn, writes another article about himself.  Matthew, your hand wringing is not more important than the issues Jill Stein is attempting to raise, issues you choose to ignore. 
Ed Krayewski (Reason) notes that last night's speakers offered that Barack "ended the war in Iraq [. . .]  but the 'status of forces agreement' that governed the departure of U.S. troops was actually negotiated between Iraqi and U.S. officials in late 2008, under the auspices of President George W. Bush.  In fact, none other than the Huffington Post actually pointed out that as president, Obama was actually interested in keeping troops in Iraq past the agreed-upon 2011 deadline, explaining that 'the president ultimately had no choice but to stick to candidate Obama's plan -- thanks, of all things, to an agreement signed by George W. Bush.' Just six months before the Bush deadline, Obama tried to foist 10,000 U.S. troops on the Iraqis past 2011." 
Barack provided no peace and no leadership.  After Vietnam, Presidents Gerald Ford and Jimmy Carter both provided a path to amnesty for war resisters.  Not Barack.  A Republican and a Democrat both were willing and able to do what Barack refused to.  Which is why people like Kimberly Rivera are left hanging.  She's a US war resister and last week the Canadian government announced they would be deporting her by September 20th.
Kimberly Rivera and her family (husband and two kids) went to Canada in early 2007 with only what they could carry on their small family car.  She was on leave from Iraq and horrified by what she saw while serving.  Already a believer in Jesus Christ when she deployed, the horror deepened her spirituality and her conviction to do the Lord's work as she understood it.

What happened to her is no uncommon.  Agustin Aguayo also was a practicing Christian when he deployed to Iraq.  Seeing war up close deepened his own faith and religious beliefs.  That is why he stopped carrying a loaded gun while deployed in Iraq and why he found he could no longer participate in the Iraq War.

Faith. like any relationship, is not static nor is it taught to be.  Regardless of the religion, there is the belief that, for example, in times of crisis, the power of religion can carry you through the experience when you could not make it through on your own.  (Hence the modern day parable of the two sets of footsteps in the sand that becomes one as your higher power carries you in the darkest of times.)  Faith is not stagnant which is why religious scholars spend so much time pursuing knowledge, why followers do not attend one service their entire life but continue to attend to deepen their understanding and beliefs.

Kim and Agustin's experiences are in keeping with their religions which do allow for faith to grow and deepen.  The US military has refused to recognize that and has found itself in the questionable (legally questionable) position of interpreting faith and judging faith.  The US military will not allow an Agustin Aguayo or Kim Rivera to become a conscientious objector, they will argue that they were practicing a religion when they went to Iraq and that if they had objections they should have been lodged prior to deployment.  (Lodging the objection prior to deployment, to be clear, does not mean someone will get C.O. status.)  They will refuse to recognize that faith and spirituality are not fixed and that they can grow and deepen over time and due to experience.
While alleged man of peace won't do a thing to help war resisters,  Charlotte Sheasby-Coleman writes a letter to the editors of the Toronto Star advocating for Kimberly Rivera to be allowed to stay in Canada:

There is a reason why there are now more young American and Canadian soldiers who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, who have taken their own lives than there are soldiers who have died in combat. There is a reason why our dear family friend -- 23 years old -- returned from service in Afghanistan, a fractured and struggling young soul. There is an age old question "What if they gave a war and nobody went?"
What Kimberley Rivera and others like her are courageously saying is that when young soldiers go into combat and look long and hard at those they are fighting against, they often recognize the inherent humanity of their "enemies," understand that they too have children and elderly parents and pets who love and depend on them, and recognize that destroying this other soldier's or civilian's life and soul would also destroy their own.
Kimberley Rivera took that long hard look. And she made a very courageous choice. Please contact Stephen Harper and tell her that we want Kimberley and her family to stay in Canada.
The War Resisters Support Campaign has many activities planned to raise awareness on the need for Kim and her family to stay in Canada.  Labor Day found them walking in the Labor Day parade in Toronto with the United Steelworkers and Vietnam Veterans Against the War.
That's some reality, it's not coming out of the DNC or their squad of pretenders.  As Ann passed on, Jon Gold notes reality at Cindy Sheehan's Facebook page:
All the pro-DNC posts I'm seeing on my wall from people who should know better are making me nausea. It's amazing how people have forgotten the last 4 years of invasions, the increase in drone bombings, the use of States Secrets Privilege, continuing the Patriot Act, the harassment and retaliation against whistleblowers, essentially torturing Bradley Manning, warrantless wiretapping, Bagram Air Force Base, the kangaroo courts of GITMO, protecting the Bush Administration from any and all prosecutions, lying about the Gulf and the BP Oil Spill... I am sad for America. - (Jon)
In Iraq, the violence continues.  Xinhua reports female judicial investigator Amal Ahmad and a police officer were shot dead by assailants on motorcycle as the two were leaving the Tux-Khurmato court building.  AFP adds that an attack on a Samarra checkpoint left 1 Sahwa dead and three more Sahwa were injured in a Baladruz bombing.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports 2 attacks in Ramadi have left 5 police officers dead.
In other violence,  Alsumaria reports that armed forces in police uniforms attacked various social clubs in Baghdad yesterday, beating various people and firing guns in the air.  They swarmed clubs and refused to allow anyone to leave but did make time to beat people with the butss of their rifles and pistols, they then destroyed the clubs.  AFP adds, "Special forces units carried out near-simultaneous raids at around 8:00 pm (1700 GMT) on Tuesday 'at dozens of nightclubs in Karrada and Arasat, and beat up customers with the butts of their guns and batons,' said an interior ministry official, speaking on condition of anonymity. 'Artists who were performing at the clubs were also beaten,' the official said."  The assaults were ordered by an official who reports only to Nouri al-Maliki. In related news the Great Iraqi Revolution posted video Friday of other attacks on Iraqi civilians by security forces and noted, "Very important :: a leaked video show Iraqi commandos during a raid to Baaj village and the arrest of all the young men in the village .they threatened the ppl of the village they will make them another Fallujah and they do not mind arresting all village's men and leave only women . they kept detainees in a school, and beating them, u can see they burned a car of one of the citizens"
Continuing with violence, we drop back to the September 8, 2011 snapshot:

In Iraq, a journalist has been murdered.  In addition to being a journalist, he was also a leader of change and part of the movement to create an Iraq that was responsive to Iraqis. 
Al Mada reports Iraqi journalist Hadi al-Mahdi is dead according to an Interior Ministry source who says police discovered him murdered in his Baghdad home.  Along with being a journalist, Al Mada notes he was one of the chief organizers of the demonstrations demanding change and service reform that began on February 25th -- the day he was arrested by Iraqi security forces and beaten in broad daylight as he and others, after the February 25th protest, were eating in a restaurant. The New York Times didn't want to tell you about, the Washington Post did.  And now the man is dead. Gee, which paper has the archives that matter to any real degree.  Maybe it's time to act like a newspaper and not a "news magazine" with pithy little human interest stories?  (That is not a dig at Tim Arango but at the paper's diva male 'reporter' who went on NPR to talk of an Iraqi college this week.)  So while the Times missed the story (actaully, they misled on the story -- cowtowing to Nouri as usual),  Stephanie McCrummen (Washington Post) reported:

Four journalists who had been released described being rounded up well after they had left a protest at Baghdad's Tahrir Square. They said they were handcuffed, blindfolded, beaten and threatened with execution by soldiers from an army intelligence unit. "It was like they were dealing with a bunch of al-Qaeda operatives, not a group of journalists," said Hussam al-Ssairi, a journalist and poet, who was among a group and described seeing hundreds of protesters in black hoods at the detention facility. "Yesterday was like a test, like a picture of the new democracy in Iraq."

A picture of the new democracy in Iraq, indeed.

Today Prashant Rao (AFP) notes, a year later, despite claims that they weren't responsible and that they would get to the bottom of it, the government has still not solved the assassination (or, I'd argue, even really investigated).  Rao notes:

Mehdi's friends and supporters insist he has not been forgotten, with the radio station he worked at planning a special day of programming, and journalists and activists organising events and demonstrations in his memory this week.
"Hadi would say what people wanted to say but couldn't -- they didn't have his courage," said Karnas Ali, technical director at the Demozy radio station where Mehdi broadcast three 90-minute shows a week.
"His programme was the kind of work that makes enemies," Ali said.
"Whenever I read his comments, I would tell him he was writing a suicide note."
Mehdi's radio show, Ya Sameen al-Saut ("You, Who Can Hear This Voice"), was known for its sharp criticisms of official incompetence and corruption.
In other news of assaults on journalists, Reporters Without Borders notes:
Reporters Without Borders expresses its concern over an official investigation of journalist Mohamed Abdu Hamu, better known as Biradost Azizi, who was summoned to a police interrogation concerning reporting of his that angered major political forces in the Kurdish autonomous region of Iraq.
Azizi was summoned to the Siwan police station in Sulaymaniyah on 5 September for questioning. The order to appear followed a complaint concerning Azizi's reporting involving the Syrian civil war filed by two members of the Democratic Union Party (PYD). The party is the Syrian offshoot of Turkey's armed separatist Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). He was released after several hours, but the investigation is ongoing.
"This interrogation of a journalist following a simple complaint, without formal charges being filed, raises deep concern over the functioning of the Iraqi Kurdish justice system," Reporters Without Borders said. "The apparent aim is to muzzle a journalist who has reported critically on the PKK's use of the Syrian conflict for the organization's own regional ends."
Azizi is a native of Qamlishli in northeastern Syria who took refuge in Iraqi Kurdistan after Syria expelled him. The complaints against him followed publication on the website of Nawa radio of his reporting on a confrontation between supporters of the Syrian uprising and PYD members in Amuda, in the Kurdish region of northeastern Syria, near the Turkish border. "This case is about politics," Bazizi said when contacted by Reporters Without Borders.
Last June, the press freedom organization expressed its concern over Azizi's safety, following threats against him by the PKK and its Syrian affiliate, as well as a murder attempt. At the time, Reporters Without Borders demanded that authorities in Iraqi Kurdistan investigate the matter and take all steps necessary to protect Azizi's safety.
Likewise, the organization called on the PKK to openly condemn the threats against Azizi. In an email, the party responded: "We have never and will not threaten anyone because of his opinion and attitudes, as we stand solid in the face of violence and the policy of threat and intimidation, whether it is physically or verbally, and we believe in constructive dialogue approach as the only way for the convergence of political views".
Nevertheless the PKK and PYD have never publicly condemned the threats that Azizi faces because of his professional activities.

On the political front,  Dar Addustour reports that US Vice President Joe Biden will present a plan ("roadmap") to Nouri in the coming days on how to resolve the ongoing political stalemate.  Biden was supposed to have already visited Iraq, the outlet reports, but has been waiting for President Jalal Talabani to return. 

While Joe Biden's arrival is delayed, three US Senators are in Iraq.  Senator John McCain Tweeted this morning:

McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham are all in Iraq.  When McCain calls it "the final tour of the three amigos," he's referring to the fact that Senator Joe Lieberman's term is expiring and he chose not to seek re-election.

AP notes that the three have called out what they say are flights of weapons to Syria by the Iranian government with Iran using Iraqi air space for the flights.  Nouri is saying he wants proof from the US first.  Silly Nouri.  Has he forgotten what happened to Afghanistan when they asked for proof of Osama bin Laden's connection to the 9-11?  Colin Powell declared they'd get the proof after they handed bin Laden over and then the US began bombing Afghanistan.  AFP adds, "Senators John McCain, Joe Lieberman and Lindsey Graham told reporters in Baghdad that while Tehran had told Prime Minister Nuri Al-Maliki the planes were carrying humanitarian aid, the US believed they had military equipment on board."  This evening Alexander Marquardt and Dana Hughes (ABC News) report that Nouri's spokesperson declared "that the U.S. has not proven its claims that Iran is sending arms to support the forces of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad."

Tuesday, September 04, 2012

It's a yes or it's a no

 Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Economy"

 the economy

Isaiah has another comic but we decided we'd highlight that one tonight.  Also,   Kat's worked her ass off coming up with three -- THREE -- reviews over the holidays: "Kat's Korner: Susanna Hoffs and Joss Stone, who can figure it out?," "Kat's Korner: Animal Collective goes instinctual"  and "Kat's Korner: All Hail The Queen of F**ked Up"

So NPR has a story entitled "Are You Better Off? Democrats In Charlotte Say It's Complicated" -- please.

That's a yes or it's a no.  Don't try to legal-eeze every answer.  You're better off or you're not.  That's how most Americans are going to look at it.  There's probably 80% of Democrats that will say yes and 80% of Republicans that will say no just based on party i.d.  But the middle, the ones who don't have strong party i.d. are not going to play that game.

They're going to ask the question and give it a yes or no answer.

They are not going to sit there and play, on the one hand, on the other.  They are going to make a decision and it's going to be yes or no.

"Media: Anger wasted, anger utilized" (Ava and C.I., The Third Estate Sunday Review):
Robin Morgan was an actress, many years ago when she was a child.

She's now the host of the latest offering from the
Women's Media Center, the Sunday afternoon talk show WMC Live with Robin Morgan.   The show debuted last Sunday and it revolves around current events, interviews with guests and Robin's rant.

Robin's rant isn't lovely and sweet.  No one will mistake it for that.

But it's also not offensive.

How is she able to cover the same topics that an Ellen Barken Tweets about and Robin pulls it off?

For one thing, if she has a target, it's an individual.  She's not glomming hatred on the great masses.  Thus far, when she has a target, it is a worthy target.

Equally true, she's speaking as a woman.  Women are oppressed.  As a woman, she can sound off for women and it's perfectly acceptable.

But Ellen and a large number of journalists last week though they could sound off on behalf of the President of the United States of America.  That's not truth to power, that's teacher's little suck up.  Equally true, when you are shut out of power, as the left was under Bully Boy Bush, you can get away with a great deal.  But when your supposed great leader is swept into the White House and all you're doing is bitching and moaning and whining and attacking?  You look like the most miserable person in the world.

Robin's taken an outsider position for her radio show and we hope she keeps it.  It would be so great to have a woman on the radio who is there for women.  It would be so wonderful to have a woman who calls out all the people and all the systems that oppress women and all the ways in which women are oppressed.  To have someone show that kind of strength is true liberation because it provides behavior which can be modeled.

Robin's show last week was the best thing in radio of the year.  We have high hopes for it and hope she continues to be the outsider who will defend women and fight for them.  That's not anger wasted, that's anger channeled and that would do more for the state of women, for the state of humanity, than a million and one Twitter feeds.

I think Ava and C.I. had a really important article this week.  If you read it in full, you'll find many other topics but that was my favorite part.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

Tuesday, September 4, 2012.  Chaos and violence continue, the political stalemate continues, the Iraqi ministries undercount the dead, Cindy Sheehan announces she is no longer on the Peace and Freedom Party's presidential ticket, Jill Stein fights Google and Jill Stein wins, and more.
Starting with the US and the presidential race there.  A surprise announcement was made today when Cindy Sheehan issued a statement at her website.  Sheehan was Roseanne Barr's running mate on the Peace and Freedom Party ticket.  Due to health reasons, Cindy has stepped down and also due to personal reasons: "As to the personal reasons, Candidate Barr and I have irreconcilable differences on how best to serve the Peace and Freedom Party."  Cindy goes on to off her "hope that the Party/Campaign would take my suggestion to replace me with the worthy and talented Ms. Cynthia McKinney."  Former US House Rep Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party's presidential nominee in 2008.
I can't speak for Cindy Sheehan.  I can repeat what I noted last week which is one person was doing work and one person was Tweeting.  Cindy was the vice presidential candidate.  She was going to the media, being interviewed.  At her site, she and Jon Gold had upped the publishing so that new content was coming from the campaign.
And Roseanne was playing like the stereotype of a pajama blogger.  Roseanne being Roseanne was supposed to be a good thing.  She was supposed to bring extra attention to the race which is why the Peace and Freedom Party gave her the nomination -- they had people running for that nomination, Roseanne showed up at the last minute like a Bush trying to for admission for Harvard and grabbed the nomination.  That was fine because the Peace and Freedom Party is trying to build their party ("Because of changes in election law, Peace and Freedom must almost double its registration by the end of 2014 to stay on the ballot. By registering Peace and Freedom, you are joining with tens of thousands of others who want to take control of our political system away from the ruling capitalist class.") and a big name could help them do that by getting the word out.
But, as I noted Friday, right now there is movement do dump Roseanne by some members of the Peace and Freedom Party ("How would it feel to be the first presidential candidate whose own party publicly rebukes them?").
Cindy worked her ass off -- Cindy and Jon Gold both did.  And Roseanne Tweeted.
And Tweeted hateful Tweets that led to complaints from the Peace and Freedom Party which led Roseanne to say 'This is my personal Tweet feed and this is my campaign Tweet feed.'  Yeah, let's pretend like you can draw that line and run for public office.  Roseanne's ticket was the ticket to cover because it is so f**ked up.  I'm glad Cindy's off the ticket for that reason.  I'm sad she's off the ticket because she really using the platform in a way that spotlighted issues and that raised the profile of the Peace and Freedom Party. 
I like Roseanne as a person and as an artist but months ago I said I wouldn't vote for her and that's why: The crazy.  She's governed by fear and can't let go of the hate.  We've had more than enough fear and hate the White House.  In fact, we've had so much for so long that there are elements on the left that see the country in terms of Hatfields and McCoys.  (The right has seen it that way for some time.  I never thought we on the left would fall victim to that as well.)  And we want to demonize Republicans as a result of that view.
Republicans are your friends, your lovers, your co-workers.  They're not the enemy.  They may have different ideas and an exchange about those ideas might make both sides stronger but no exchange ever takes place when people demonize.  If there are politicians you do not care for, call them out in any tone you want.  But politicians don't necessarily represent the people -- if the Green Party or the Peace and Freedom Party honestly thought politicians represented the people, they wouldn't be working to build a political party, they'd just join one of the two dominant ones.
If 15 Republicans nationwide switched to the Peace and Freedom Party this cycle, the party would consider it a success and should.  They wouldn't say, "Ew, former Republicans?  We don't want them!"   But it's unlikely that they'll recruit from that group or many groups when Roseanne can't stop Tweeting hate which, yes, does include wishing cancer on people.  When you're crossing those lines as a comedian, you're in trouble.  When you're doing it as a political candidate, your campaign's dead. 
I don't think, my opinion, Cynthia McKinney could revive it.  If she were asked, I would hope she would say no.  What would be the point?  Cynthia's an elected politician who served in Congress.  She ran last cycle for president and knows the hard work involved.  So now she's going to join on to Roseanne's campaign and bust her ass -- but not so much that she steals attention -- to keep the campaign in the news?  How does that help Cynthia in any way?  It doesn't.
In Roseanne's art, she is caring and loving and embracing.  It's a shame she did not bring that side into her campaign.
As Roseanne's campaign falls apart (maybe this will allow her to rise from the ashes and be a better candidate, who knows), Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein announces a victory.  Google TV was refusing to show the Stein campaign's ad.  This was a violation of federal law.  This afternoon, the campaign updated their announcement to note that the "ad are now running on TV, cable, and satellite nationally.  Thanks for your support."
Robert Mackey (New York Times) reports that Google relented and notes that Ben Manski, Jill's campaign manager , states that the "ad was primarily intended to be shown on cable and satellite channels, like MSNBC and Comedy Central, which, like the Internet, are not subject to government regulation of objectionable language in the way that words and images broadcast over the airwaves still are."  The word in question was "bulls**t" -- according to Mackey, it was partially bleeped for the TV ad -- and you can stream the commercial -- unbleeped -- at the Times' report.
John Hockenberry:  So we've got a little time here and I want to do a couple of things.  First, I want to give you your chance to lay out your platform, if you can relatively briefly.  What is the Green Party's message in 2012?
Jill Stein:  The message is we need an economy that works for every day people -- not for the bankers who control not only the economy but certainly our political system as well.  So as the only political party that does not accept corporate money, we actually have the unique ability to reflect the urgent needs and desires of the American people.  And we are not bought and paid for, we can actually call for the real solutions that the American people are clamoring for.  And I would add to this that several polls recently have showed that between 50 and 60% of the American electorate is actually calling for a third party and saying they would seriously consider voting for one.  So why is it?  Number one, we're calling for jobs -- not simply tax breaks or corporate tax breaks or favors for the so-called job creators who are creating jobs in India and China.  We're calling for 25 million jobs here in this country through a Green New Deal.  We know how to do this.  It got us out of the Great Depression in the 1930s.  It can get us out of this Great Recession right now.  And we're calling for a Green version of this New Deal because it would also jump start the Green economy that could spell an end to climate change and make wars for oil obsolete.  That's number one.  Number two, health care as a human right.  Through Medicare for all -- basically simply extending the elegibility of Medicare to start at the moment of conception so that everybody is covered comprehensively.  It puts you back in charge of making your health care decisions, not a profiteering CEO and it saves us trillions of dollars.  A well kept secret: It doesn't cost us, it saves us because it eliminates the massive, wasteful health insurance bureaucracy.  Number three, tuition-free public, higher education.  We have a generation of students who are locked out of a future.  They are endentured servants under the current system.  Both Mitt Romney and Barack Obama are promising they will stay the course on student debt.  That's not what we need.  We've bailed out the bankers who caused this problem through waste, fraud and abuse on Wall Street.  We can bail out the students who've been the victim of that problem and provide free, public higher education that is tuition-free.  We know that it pays for itself.  We did this through the GI Bill after WWII.  We know for every dollar we tax payers invest, we get seven dollars back in benefits to the economy.
John Hockenberry:  Okay.  We're talking with Jill Stein, Green Party nominee for President of the United States.  Students are victims of the bank crisis because they're holders of this debt and their interest rate reflects some of the consequences of the financial crisis, is that what you're saying there?
Jill Stein: Well, it's not only the debt --  the sky rocketing of tuition so that state legislators have been able to provide big tax breaks to the wealthy.  The burden has fallen on the students because the public support for higher education isn't there --
John Hockenberry: Right.
Jill Stein: Add to that the unemployment crisis which falls hardest on their backs with 50% unemployment  and underemployment for students.  That really locks them into endentured servant status.
John Hockenberry: It was a miserable summer for college students, absolutely, as you point out, Dr. Jill Stein.  Alright, how come climate change is almost no part of the debate in 2012 between the Republicans and the Democrats where it seemed to be on both party platforms in 2008?
Jill Stein:  Yeah, well I think, you know, it's no secret our parties have been bought and paid for by Wall Street and multi-national corporate interests and, of course, oil, fossel fuel, nuclear -- nuclear power, etc., you know, all the dirty energy stands to benefit from staying the course.  So you see de-regulation of energy, the continuation of the current crisis which is not only causing drought, heat waves, the melting of the Artic and beyond, rising prices of food, fires, etc.  You know, we have a disaster that is really beginning to hit the American people.  The American people are calling for real solutions to climate change.  They are told, over and over, that it's a choice between your job or your climate and, in fact, that's not true at all.
It's a very lively segment and The Takeaway deserves credit for doing it -- not just the interview with Jill, the segment is also about political conventions, American voters and other issues with various people sounding off.
In Charlotte, North Carolina, the Demcorats have kiced off their national convention.  And on the subject of the implosion of Roseanne's campaign (a) it is news, (b) I'm glad we made time for the campaign (again, it was news), (c) Roseanne may pull herself out of her spiral, (d) if she doesn't that might make for an even more interesting story -- meaning no one ever had an excuse not to cover the Roseanne campaign.  They made excuses. They ignored her and they ignored Jill.  It's their loss.
On lively and sounding off,  Archbishop Desmond Tutu shook things up over the weekend.  As War Criminal Tony Blair banked more blood money by speaking Thursday in South Africa, he faced protests and also saw Archbishop Desmond Tutu bow out of the speaking engagement with his office stating the Archbishop could not share the stage with Blair due to his Iraq War actions.  Saturday, Tutu had a column on the matter which the Observer has published:

If leaders may lie, then who should tell the truth? Days before George W Bush and Tony Blair ordered the invasion of Iraq, I called the White House and spoke to Condoleezza Rice, who was then national security adviser, to urge that United Nations weapons inspectors be given more time to confirm or deny the existence of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq. Should they be able to confirm finding such weapons, I argued, dismantling the threat would have the support of virtually the entire world. Ms Rice demurred, saying there was too much risk and the president would not postpone any longer.
On what grounds do we decide that Robert Mugabe should go the International Criminal Court, Tony Blair should join the international speakers' circuit, bin Laden should be assassinated, but Iraq should be invaded, not because it possesses weapons of mass destruction, as Mr Bush's chief supporter, Mr Blair, confessed last week, but in order to get rid of Saddam Hussein?
The cost of the decision to rid Iraq of its by-all-accounts despotic and murderous leader has been staggering, beginning in Iraq itself. Last year, an average of 6.5 people died there each day in suicide attacks and vehicle bombs, according to the Iraqi Body Count project. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict since 2003 and millions have been displaced. By the end of last year, nearly 4,500 American soldiers had been killed and more than 32,000 wounded.
On these grounds alone, in a consistent world, those responsible for this suffering and loss of life should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to answer for their actions in the Hague.
It quickly became the column read 'round the world.   Tom Foot (Independent) explains, "Archbishop Desmond Tutu today brands Tony Blair and George Bush war criminals and calls for both former leaders to be hauled before an international court.Adam Sich (ITN) added, "As for the call for Mr Blair and Mr Bush to face justice in The Hague, he said different standards appeared to be set for prosecuting African leaders than western ones, and that the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict was sufficient on its own for them to face action."  BBC quoted War Criminal Tony Blair insisting, ""I would also point out that despite the problems, Iraq today has an economy three times or more in size, with child mortality rate cut by a third of what it was. And with investment hugely increased in places like Basra."  Pakistan's The Nation covered it.   CNN covers the story and notes, "Tutu detailed some of the costs of the war. More than 110,000 Iraqis have died in the conflict, while millions have been displaced, he said. Close to 4,500 U.S. soldiers have been killed and more than 32,000 wounded, Tutu added." The Irish Times covers the story as well, "As for the call for Mr Blair and Mr Bush to face justice in The Hague, he said different standards appeared to be set for prosecuting African leaders than for western ones, and that the death toll during and after the Iraq conflict was sufficient on its own for them to face action. 'On these grounds, alone, in a consistent world, those responsible should be treading the same path as some of their African and Asian peers who have been made to
answer for their actions in The Hague'."  The Oman Observer carries an AFP report.  Thanks to Archbishop Tutu, two War Criminals are getting some of the long overdue condemnation they've had coming.  Today George Monbiot offered "We're one crucial step closer to seeing Tony Blair at The Hague" (Guardian):
When Desmond Tutu wrote that Tony Blair should be treading the path to The Hague, he de-normalised what Blair has done. Tutu broke the protocol of power – the implicit accord between those who flit from one grand meeting to another – and named his crime. I expect that Blair will never recover from it.
The offence is known by two names in international law: the
crime of aggression and a crime against peace. It is defined by the Nuremberg principles as the "planning, preparation, initiation or waging of a war of aggression". This means a war fought for a purpose other than self-defence: in other words outwith articles 33 and 51 of the UN Charter.
That the invasion of Iraq falls into this category looks indisputable. Blair's cabinet ministers knew it, and told him so. His attorney general warned that there were just three ways in which it could be legally justified: "self-defence, humanitarian intervention, or UN security council authorisation. The first and second could not be the base in this case." Blair tried and failed to obtain the third.
Saturday the month of September started.  Iraq Body Count tabulated 393 people dead in Iraq from violence for the month of August.  Meanwhile the official number from the Iraqi ministries is 164.  AFP noted their own count of 278 killed and 51 injured and that their figures for June, July and August demonstrate "the death toll nationwide has been almost unchanged."  Mohammed Tafeeq (CNN) noted CNN's count is 270 dead last month.  Like IBC, keeps their own independent count based on media reports.  Margaret Griffis reports her outlet's count is 511 deaths for the month of August.  Like AFP,'s count shows no real variation (June was 544 and July was 545).
Violence didn't stop in August.  Today, Press TV reports that 2 bombings between Al-Adhaim and Tuz Khurmatu claimed the lives of 6 Iraqi soldiers with another two left injured.  AFP notes that 16-year-old Ali Mohammed Ali was discovered outside Kirkuk "his hands, feet and head cut off."   Alsumaria notes a Kirkuk roadside bombing has left a Peshmerga captain and two members injured today.  In adddition, Dar Addustour reports a Basra cafe frequented by Emo teens and young people was bombed.
The Iraq War hasn't ended -- even if the press interest in it has.  NPR's Scott Horsley won "Biggest Damn Liar Of The Week" on Sunday from Third for his 'report' on Weekend Edition Sunday in which he proclaimed, "There are no more US troops in Iraq."  At Third, we noted that last month,  RTT 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." We pointed to the December 13th, Talk of the Nation which noted all US troops would not be out of Iraq by the end of 2011. The guest was Ted Koppel and he noted the 157 who guard the US Embassy, the "few hundred U.S. military trainers."  (That's not counting contractors.)  And we noted that, as last week closed, Sean Rayment (Telegraph of London) was reporting:
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.
Fars News Agnecy reports that Ammar al-Hakim, leader of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq, is stating that the situation in Iraq has improved and the country "is moving towards progress and development" making him Iraq's home grown Tony Blair -- a liar supreme, able to stand out even in a world of liars.

Al Mada reports today that the National Alliance is in disagreement with Article 140.  Article 140 takes its name from being the 140th article in Iraq's Constitution passed in 2005.  And it's law, not proposal, not bill, not a notion.  Law.  The Constitution was passed in 2005.  The US installed Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister in the spring of 2006.  Article 140 was supposed to have been implemented by the end of 2007 per the Constitution.  Nouri refused to do so.

Kirkuk is disputed.  It is oil-rich and the Kurdistan Regional Government says they have a right to it and the Baghdad-based central government says they have a right to it.  That's what "disputed" means (we're going slow in case Chris Hill's joining us this morning -- at his 2009 confirmation hearing he showed indifference to and ignorance of the issue).  Article 140 calls for a census and a referendum.  And Article 140 has been repeatedly ignored.

In March 2010, Iraq held parliamentary elections.  Nouri's State of Law came in second to Iraqiya which meant no second term for Nouri unless Iraaqiya imploded in the 30 day process of naming a Cabinet.  (When named prime minister-designate, you have 30 days to name a Cabinet.  If you don't succeed within 30 days, another prime minister-designate is supposed to be named.)  Nouri threw his fit and had the White House backing him.  This brought the government to a standstill for over 8 months (Political Stalemate I).  During this time, Nouri made spectacular promises in an attempt to sway people to his side.  He even (finally) scheduled a census for Kirkuk.

The US brokered a contract with the various political blocs.  It gave Nouri a second term in exchange for various concessions.  Among those was implementing Article 140.  This contract is called the Erbil Agreement.   The day after it was signed, Parliament held their first real session in over 8 months and Nouri was named prime minister-designate.  Nouri then trashed the Erbil Agreement and called off the the Kirkuk census that had been scheduled for the beginning of December.

Resolving the issue of the disputed territories is seen as very important and instead addressing it, it has been ignored and ignored and ignored.  That doesn't resolve anything and only breeds further tensions.

So now the National Alliance -- of which Ammar al-Hakim is a part -- wants to act as if Article 140 of the Constitution is optional?  And al-Hakim wants to pretend that things are better in Iraq?

This as Nawzad Mahmoud (Rudaw) reports, "Several Kurdish lawmakers in Baghdad believe that the situation is not yet ripe for negotiations between the Kurdistan Region and central government."  Speaking to various Kurdish MPs a portrait of a distracted Nouri quickly emerges:

Last week, the Non-Aligned Summit was held in Tehran where leaders discussed solutions to the current situation in Syria. During the summit, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki proposed an initiative to end Syria's violence.
"Maliki should have proposed an initiative to end Iraq's political turmoil instead," Abdullah said.
He added, "It's surprising that Maliki is busy finding a solution for Syria while his own country is in crisis."

In more political turmoil, All Iraq News reports that Ismail al-Jubouri has been arrested.  He is a member of the Diayala Provincial Council and is also a member of Iraqiya.  He's been arrested on charges of terrorism.  It would appear to be political especially when an uproar over the arrest forced the security forces to release al-Jubouri shortly after he was arrestedHe has stated he was arrested for political reasons including that he has announced he is running for governor of the province.  (August 18th, Governor Hashim Hayali died.)  Along with needing a new governor, Diyala's also facing another problem. 
All Iraq News reports people are setting fires to the many orchards in the province and farmers are demading the authorities do something.