Saturday, June 07, 2008

Norman Solomon cries oink-oink

"Women bombers show shifting insurgent tactics in Iraq" (Kim Gamel, AP):
IRBIL, Iraq (AP) -- A girl strapped with explosives approaches an Iraqi army captain, who dies in the suicide blast. A woman posing as a mother-to-be to disguise a bulging bomb belt strikes a wedding procession as part of a coordinated attack that kills nearly three dozen people.
The attacks last month were among the latest blows by female suicide bombers — and further evidence of shifting insurgent tactics amid an overall drop in bloodshed around Iraq.
U.S. military figures show the number of female suicide attacks has risen from eight in 2007 to at least 16 so far this year -- not including a suicide bombing Friday near Ramadi that Iraqi police believe was carried out by a woman. That compares with a total of four in 2005 and 2006, according to the military.

Wednesday, in "Who's standing up for Iraqi women?," I emphasized C.I.'s Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot," because it is NEWS that the US government is paying Iraqi males $10 a day for a job and yet they pay Iraqi women $8 a day for the same job. It's news, it is wage discrimination and the US is encouraging already sexist attitudes in Iraq to harden even more. I do not support the "Awakening" Councils. If the US is going to utilize them, the males and the females (who do the same work) need to be paid the same sum. At some point, allegedly, the puppet government in Iraq will take over payment for the "Awakening" Council members. When that happens, don't expect them to raise the pay of Iraqi women. Expect to see them take the attitude of, "Well, even the US conceeds that women are worth less than men. Let's cut them down to $6 a day and save a little money."

Digging into the e-mails. Jordan Taylor, I don't know who you are, I don't know what you are. You're writing to see me speak in person. What are you wishing to hear me speak on?

C.I., Ava and Kat are going around speaking out against the illegal war. From time to time, I am able to join them on that. C.I. has been doing it since February 2003, one month before the illegal war broke out. C.I., Ava and Kat are on the road every week speaking out. Are you a student? Do you belong to a labor group? A woman's group? If so and you don't live in Alaska (the only state C.I. has not repeatedly visited -- or even once visited since 2003), you have opportunites to catch them.

In getting out the vote for Hillary, I joined them in South Dakota and Puerto Rico.

Are either of those events you are writing about?

I have no idea.

For strong writing check out Ava and C.I.'s ""TV: Grime & Grit TV " and Marcia's "Spare us your 'help'."

Now for Norman Solomon. Mike found the pig's article and was going to write about it. I told Mike, "Rebecca couldn't get away with saying what needs to be said. Let me." That's because C.I. loves Norman. C.I. will call out Norman when he goes off the deep end (more and more these days) but the easiest way for him to be called out is to let me do it.

I like Norman Solomon. I have only met him five times in my life. All were functions C.I. dragged me to. While my interaction with Normal Solmon is sleight, C.I. knows I do not loathe Norman. (Rebecca doesn't loathe him either, however, she's made fun of his hair for years.) (Approximately two years ago, Norman finally got a haircut that suits him.)

So Norman Solomon decided to (again) weigh in on the primary process. It's the sort of cheerleading for Obama that Norman's become infamous for and has led to more charges of "gatekeeping" than any attacks he made on the 9-11 Truth Movement. (For the record, I have no opinion on that movement. As C.I. always said, "If it's your issue, have at it.") Norman wrote an insulting article and I'm sure it popped up everywhere but, of course, it popped up at the anti-woman Common Dreams -- apparently those dreams do not include women.

The article is entitled "Obama, Clinton and Anger to Burn" and Norman pretends like he wants to talk about sexism but he doesn't. Here's his 'analysis': "The anger that’s churning among many Hillary Clinton supporters is deserving of respect. For a long time, she’s been hit by an inexhaustible arsenal of virulent sexism, whether from Tucker Carlson, Rush Limbaugh or Chris Matthews."

Where's Keith Olbermann? He's not listed. He will never be listed because FAIR, which Norman is a part of, refuses to call out their beloved Keith.

Equally true is that the MSM was where the sexism bubbled up. It started in Panhandle Media and Norman will never bite the hands that feed him.

Norman wants women to 'get over it' in terms of the misogny that's paraded through the country non-stop for months and months. He pretends that it's equal to the racism on parade. Racism hasn't been on parade. Barack's not Black, he's bi-racial. Calling him "Black" is racist because, as Betty has so often pointed out, it's as insulting as the use of the term "octoroon." Ava and C.I. have hit hard on that issue because they know the damage Dream Boy has done to the bi- and mutli-racial movement. It used to be considered a social justice movement but then people like Solomon fell in love with a bi-racial man and felt the need to call that man "Black."

"Racism" in the campaign has been such nonsense as accusing anyone who noted that Barack did drugs as being "racist." Barack did drugs. He wrote about it in two books. He cracked jokes about it with Jay Leno on NBC. It's not racism to point out that he did drugs. (In fact, it's one of the reasons Dave Lindorff supports Barack, see the snapshot at the end.) "Racism" was a phony charge and it showed up when the Obama campaign played dirty and tossed in a trash bin the mantra of "hope."

That was South Carolina and it's really important for Norman to pretend South Carolina never happened. Not just because it allows him to make false charges of racism but also because if he brings that up, his nonsense of everyone needs to support Barack falls apart.

South Carolina was where the lies start from the Obama campaign, true. It's also where the campaign demonstrated that they'd use anything to pull ahead. In South Carolina, that was homophobia.


The 'ism' least remarked upon by the gas bags.

Barack put homophobes on stage despite protests from his own supporters as well as human rights groups. He put them on stage at his campaign event and allowed the hate speech to be broadcast.

No, Norman, we don't "all" have to pull behind Barack.

Norman and Barack are two of a kind in my mind. They both lie.

They both lie and beg you for money.

Norman's one up on Barack in that regard. I've tossed a few nickles at Norman over the years. Barack, by contrast, revealed that he was not planning to fight to end the illegal war (if elected to the Senate) and C.I. and I stormed out of his radical fundraiser. That's the one the MSM never tells you about. I might think it never took place were it not for the fact that I have so many snapshots of that evening. C.I. and I were going to be around a number of people we hadn't seen in years. It was a reunion of sorts. I have photos of them. I have photos of them with the candidate.

People like Norman Solomon lying for Barack are the sort of people that will lead me to posting those personal photos at this website and, you better believe, that will create a media firestorm.

Norman wasn't there, to be clear. He doesn't have the money to be a high roller.

But it was really amazing to see the group that ____ and ____ turned out. (I was invited. C.I. was going to be in town and I asked if C.I. could come along -- knowing it wouldn't be a problem, you always want C.I.'s checkbook at any fundraiser.) It was amazing to see all of these 'radical' minds be taken in. They'd come back from their face time all excited about how Barack was "the real deal." I might have been taken in as well. I hope not. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

As various radicals showed up squealing with joy over being next to Barack, it was amazing to hear them say (it was a predominately White crowd) that Barack was good looking and well spoken and blah blah blah. I did wonder whether they thought the Beatles had landed but chalked it up to the excitement of the evening.

But when C.I. went up for our face time, I flat out asked the question, the only one that mattered, was he going to fight in the Senate to end the illegal war. His response was "no" concelaed in many words. I was shocked and speechless. Two conditions that C.I. never exhibits. C.I. immediately pressed him for clarification and Barack had obviously never been pressed on anything before. If he hadn't been attempting to beg for money, he probably would have told C.I. off (then there really would have been fireworks because C.I.'s never at a loss for words). Instead, he got petulant but answered the questions.

No, he had no interest in ending the illegal war. His position was that the US was there now and would have to stay. It was important to "win." It was blah, blah, blah. We turned and walked off. As we were leaving, a friend caught up with us to ask how much money we were giving? I responded not a dime. There was disbelief. C.I.: "In the words of Mama Cass, I wouldn't piss on him if he was on fire." With that, we left.

Norman's not a player in the world of money. If he were, he wouldn't have to beg for money. So what you're seeing these days are the radicals without money responding the same way the ones with money did that night.

I didn't. I care about ending the illegal war.

Norman pretends to. He really can't care too much about it and act as Barack's pimp. So, in his column, he tosses it out once, to note that "children are dying" there -- quickly adding in Chicago and elsewhere. (Sidebar: Tony Rezko's slums, well known in real time, made a lot of children from poor families live even harsher lives. Where was Norman's concern for the children in Chicago then?) Well, Norman, Barack's not ending the war and it's really pathetic to see you prostitute what's left of your reputation and beliefs to promote a candidate who is not going to end the illegal war.

Sorry, Norman, I do care about the children of Iraq. I also care about the LGBT community. I also care about self-respect which is why this woman will never vote for Barack Obama.

You may be able to fool some people with your efforts to use your once good name to pimp Barack, but you're not fooling me.

Let me explain to you what happens next, Norman, because I don't think you know. You can share it with your rag-tag set because it's a lesson you'll all be learning.

There will be no avalanche of money coming your way for your foundations and organizations. The Democratic with big money will not say, "Oh, Norman's making sense!"

You are paraiah to them because, in the past, you actually showed independence. It is too late in the game for you to suck up and expect them to be taken in. They will not be putting you on the payroll. Leftists with moeny -- a small group, however, we do exist -- also will not rush to invest your outlets. Their attitude will be, "You've whored yourself out for a corporatists, War Hawk already so why don't you just go peddle it on a street corner?" Unlike many, Norman's cute enough that he probably could make some money doing just that. Not that he would, but including that compliment will make C.I. laugh and not ask me, "Elaine, how could you?" Norman could be Midnight Older Cowboy and make a living at that (though he wouldn't want to).

So all you've done is lost the group that has supported you in the past and your efforts to recruit Democratic money are for naught. Your track record is too long. They don't want questions raised about Bosnia, Serbia, et al. They don't want the 'right' to brutal war challenged. Your credentials on that front are well known and will keep donations from flooding your way.

You'll see a drying up because no one's going to respect your efforts to pimp Barack as a candidate of peace. Through good times and bad, you always had your self-respect, Norman. Now you've tossed that aside.

Good luck in the future. If I feel comfortable leveling this criticism at you, I'm sure others feel the same (and that will most likely include in C.I.).

I lost both my parents before I was a teenager so I missed out on many "life lessons." But my father did like to dabble in gambling for sport. Whether he was good at it or not, I have no idea. There was plenty of money to burn so he could have been the worst gambler in the world and I'd never have known. But what I do know, what I do remember, is his advice: Never back a loser if you want to win.

I think many of Norman's past supporters will take that attitude with regards to his future fundraising attempts and, as I stated before, his past work ensures he will never be warmly embraced by Democratic partisans.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, June 6, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Barack isn't 'pledging' to do anything on Iraq, the VA computer systems lack all security, Nader qualifies for Arizona ballot, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
Teviah Moro (The Orillia Packet & Times) reports that the Quakers in Orillia will demonstrate tomorrow in an attempt to register their support for war resisters in Canada. Ottawa, Nelson, B.C., Victoria, B.C., Port Dover, Sarnia and Strathory will also hold demonstrations. Moro notes: "Organizers of the Orillia rally, to be held outside the Opera House from 12:30 to 1:30 p. m., aim to explain the underlying issues of the pending deportations and will have petitions on hand."The rallies will be taking place to underscore the recent action in Canada's Parliament. Tuesday Canada's House of Commons passed a motion granting war resisters safe harbor. The motion is non-binding but it is hoped that the country's prime minister, Stephen Harper, will honor it. It is especially important with regards to US war resister Corey Glass. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. That is six days from now. Will the non-binding motion prevent the conservative Harper from ordering Glass' deportation? Rick Salutin (Toronto Globe & Mail) doesn't seem optimistic noting that from an AIDS conference (global conference) to any other issue, Harper loves to say no to the people: "Lately, it's been no to a safe-injection site in Vancouver; provincial climate plans; Ontario's budget; an inquiry into the Bernier case; letting U.S. war resisters stay. For a government, the Conservatives are uniquely, bizarrely litigious, the sign of a mentality that loves to fight."With more on that, this is from Michael Werbowski (OhmyNews International) reports that the vote on the motion "comes just in time for US army recruit Corey Glass, 25, a war resister who came to Canada in 2006 and was recently told to leave Canada by June 12 or face removal to the United States, welcomed the vote. Upon hearing the news of the motion passed by the lower house, Glass expressed his appreciation for the parliamentarians, "I'm thankful that the MPs voted to let me and the other war resisters stay in Canada. I'm also thankful to all the Canadians who urged their MPs to support us."

Meanwhile, It was two years ago today, as
Austin Jenkins (OPB News) notes, that Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse deployment to Iraq in June 2006. In August 2006, he faced and Article 32 hearing. In February, he faced a kanagroo court-martial. Judge Toilet (aka John Head) declared a mistrial over defense objection as Watada was about to take the stand (after which the defense would have rested and the military jury would have reached a decision). Judge Toilet forgot a lot that day. He announced that a new court-martial would take place in March but that was really beyond his call (and why no court-martial took place then). He also forgot about the US Constitution, popularly known as "the law of the land," and it's provision against double-jeopardy. In November of last year, as Judge Toilet repeatedly tried to force another court-martial, US District Judge Benjamin Settle ruled that no action could take place until the double-jeopardy was resolved. Watada has been in limbo since. William Cole (Honolulu Advertiser) speaks to Ehren's father, Bob Watada who has "suggested to his son's attorneys that they somehow force a conclusion to the issue" and whom Cole quotes stating, "The attorneys are talking to the Army. They aren't telling me what they are saying, but they are talking to them." Austin Jenkins (OPB News) quotes one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan, declaring, "It's conceivable that the appeals process in the 9th Circuit could consume anywhere from 18 months to three years. So that is a limbo that is very hard for Lt. Watada to imagine but he's prepared to do what he needs to do."

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

Shhhh. Listen? It's the sound of hundreds of computers in
Panhandle Media booting up over their sobs as they force determination to yet again sell their political crush as someone who will end the illegal war. Media anointed Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is not 'anti-war' and is not seriously opposed to the illegal war. But if you didn't have Tommy Hayden, Laura Flanders and the gang lying for him non-stop, people wouldn't think otherwise, now would they? (Those two named because they have both -- in February -- talked about how Barack's feet need to be held to the fire and yet they've never done so. Someday I suppose, as the Mighty Bosstones once sang.)

The Press Trust of India reports that Barack told CNN he would "not tule out the possibility that conditions on the ground could alter his policy of immediately beginning a troop withdrawal and that Barack insisted of his 'pledge' to end the illegal war, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind."
Confronted with his statements on withdrawal policy, Obama replied, "Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind". He spoke of "broader perspective"s and offered praise for Gen David Petraeus. It's shocking only if you've trusted the liars of Panhandle Media. Barack has changed his position on the Iraq War repeatedly. While running for the US Senate, he told
Elaine and I at a big money, private fundraiser that he didn't favor withdrawal. His attitude was that the US was in Iraq now and had to win. (Neither Elaine nor I contributed to his run. We both immediately walked out of the fundraiser.) At that point he was a myth of the radical left, an "anti-war" candidate. The press picked up on that and he became the "anti-war" Senator which required ignoring not only his public statements (his many public statements) but his continued voting for the illegal war once he got into the US Senate. Throughout the campaign, he has signaled (and sometimes stated) to the mainstream press that his stance is far from it's portrayed. "Hopelessly Devoted To Barack" Tom Hayden made a real ass out of himself doing a quickie write up of an NYT article co-written by Michael Gordon. The reality of what was what was in the transcript of the interview which the paper posted online. In February, after his advertsiments where he robotically declared that his mother died of cancer, the campaign went into overtime with an advertisement that played like the Pepsi Generation (truly, it was the late 60s and early seventies Pepsi generation commercials). To a bad 'rock' guitar, the commercial opened and featured quick shots of Barack barking out sentences while groupies swooned. "We want . . ." he barked over and over, a laundry list of demands. The Iraq War was on it. But Barack wasn't running to be "we," he was running to become the nominee of the Democratic Party and then the president. There were no "I will end the Iraq War." All he did was offer what "we" wanted. It got the psychos in Panhandle Media excited. Of course, were he serious about ending the illegal war, his campaign would have stolen not the Pepsi commercials of that period, but the Coke commericals: I'd like to teach the world to sing, in perfect harmony . . .

There was no "pledge" or "promise" made to end the illegal war, despite the groupies like Tom Hayden going bug-eyed crazy in their efforts to pretend otherwise (a fleeting sentence delivered in Houston, TX, as ginned up by Hayden into a new plan for Iraq). Then came the crash and burn of his advisor (a counter-insurgency supporter and War Hawk) Samantha Power. The pathetics in Panhandle Media made themselves laughable -- and include John Nichols, Davey D and BuzzFlash at the top of that list. Poor Samantha "fired" (Power resigned) for calling Hillary Clinton a "monster." Poor sweet Sammy. No, she resigned because of the damage she did with the press in England. The "monster" insult was the trivia the MSM pumped out. On that same trip, she insulted Gordon Brown, Prime Minister of the UK and presumed ally of the next US administration regardless of who becomes president, and
she gave an interview (that Panhandle Media refused to cover) to the BBC where she explained that Barack would be not be held accountable, if elected president, to any 'pledges' about Iraq he's making on the campaign trail. She explained, as an advisor to Barack and a campaign insider, that any plans about what to do in Iraq would be decided only after he entered the White House. Had that interview gotten the attention it should have, Barack would have faced tough questions. That didn't happen. It wasn't of interest to the corporate media (which still wants the illegal war) to give it much traction and the rejects of Panhandle Media are in love with Barack because of his 'connections' (his using of) Saul, Bernardine and Bill. They deluded themselves into believing he was a Socialist when he is just a user who will use anyone regardless of political ideology in his efforts to climb to the top.

The Queen of the Beggars,
Amy Goodman, wanted credit for a few minutes (two?) she aired of her speaking with Barack. In it, he basically repeated what Samantha Power had said. Goody never pursued that in panel discussions (all panel discussions accepted the lie that he was against the illegal war and would immediately end it). Goody never connected it with the Samantha Power BBC interview (though Barack was making the same points Power had months prior) and she never wrote one of her bad columns, where she recycles some segment of her show, on the topic. It was lie, lie, lie, denial, denial. They worked overtime not to include Eli Lake (New York Sun) report in the narrative. Lake reported that the "day-to-day coordinator" of Barack's campaign had just written a paper which argued for 60,000 to 80,000 US troops to remain in Iraq "as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."

Among the very few who have tried to maintain perspective and stick to reality about War Hawk Barack are
Phyllis Bennis, John Pilger, Doug Henwood and Juan Gonzalez. It's a very small list. By contrast, most have offered 'reasons' of support for Barack like the insane Dave Lindorff who believes Barack should be supported because Barak is "a black candiate who has risked jail by doing drugs."

The violence continues every day in Iraq and Barack, not even having the nomination, already signals it's a-okay with him. In some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a home bombing in Sulaiman Beck, a Jalwla roadside bombing that wounded one person. Reuters notes a woman blew herself in at a Ramadi police station claiming the life of 1 police officer and injuring four more and, dropping back to Thursday, that 4 people were killed in Sadr City from a US air strike.

Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 suspects shot dead in Al Anbar Province, 1 police officer shot twice in Al Anbar Province and wounded and 1 civilian shot in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 3 police officers were shot dead in Dour.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person kidnapped in Kirkuk.

Yesterday CNN's Jamie McIntyre broke the latest Department of Defense news on
CNN Newsroom:

JAMIE MCINTYRE, CNN SR. PENTAGON CORRESPONDENT: Asked to resign, which is code for firing, is the top civilian in charge of the Air Force, Air Force Secretary Michael Wynne and the top military general in charge of the Air Force, Air Force Chief of Staff General Mike Moseley. The two top leaders of the Air Force are being replaced because Secretary Gates has received a highly critical report of how the Air Force has reacted to an embarrassing incident last year which a B-52 bomber flew across country with six nuclear-tipped cruise missiles that nobody knew were live nuclear weapons until the plane landed in Barksdale , Louisiana .There were supposed to be big changes made from that. But a recent inspection of the base was less than satisfactory, and Secretary Gates just got a report on his desk from an independent investigator, a Navy admiral who has been in charge of reviewing what the Air Force has done to take care of this. It's not just this issue though. There have been a number of leadership issues in the Air Force including questions about a conflict of interest around a high-profile public relations contract that was left from the Air Force. And all of that together led Secretary Gates to decide that he was going to take decisive action.It's not unlike what he did when he heard about the shortcomings at Walter Reed Army Medical Hospital . In that case, he fired the Army secretary and head of the hospital there, as well -- Brianna.

There have been a number of issues with the Veterans Administration Dept as well but no heads are rolling. At the start of the week,
Mary Mosquera (FCW) reported, "Sensitive data on about 1,000 patients at Walter Reed Army Medical Center and other military hospitals might have been compromised, Walter Reed spokesman Chuck Dasey said. The names of the patients, who are enrolled in the Military Health System, their Social Security numbers and birth dates were among the personally identifiable information in a computer file that was shared without authorization, officials said June 2." AP broke this news about the May 2006 breach at Walter Reed. The key point of the reports is how the Office of Management and Budget issued orders, in 2006, for increased securit on the part of the VA. But they broke it with the government explaining this week about the 2006 computer breach. We (Ava and C.I.) revealed earlier this week that there's a VA breach that took place after the breach the government is now admitting to. This breach has nothing to do with Walter Reed. The basics are that an over-forty-years-old male (who name rhymes with "Los Lobos" and who is a veteran) used a civilian computer to access veterans records. The government is not only aware of the breach, they investigated it. They didn't do a very good job. The government does not know what the person viewed or changed. They know that, from the basement of a non-federal government building, he used a PC to enter the VA's computer database without permission or authorization. Present when he did this was a woman (also a civilian and one who has never served in the military) whom the government never questioned. What the government did do was call together the suspect's superiors at his place of employment -- a four story building whose fourth floor is not used for anything (the basement counted as a floor makes for five floors) -- on the second floor in what passed for an investigation. Those civlians 'assisting' in the investigation of the breach that happened at their place of business were known as "administration." (E.g., they spoke with "administration.") The investigation could not figure out whether the supsect was telling the truth about why he entered the VA system without permission and, certainly, to know about that they should have spoken with the woman present when the breach occurred. The suspect offered two versions of his story and that may be what confused the investigators (though it was very simple for us to track down the particulars). They do know, due to the suspect admitting to it, that the records of someone who served during Vietnam (and only during Vietnam) were accessed. (Hint to reporters, that leads to your human interest angle). The suspect briefly told government investigators a story regarding that Vietnam era veteran that the investigators did not buy; however, it was easily checked out had they bothered to speak to the Vietnam veteran (which they never did). There is fear that the suspect altered the Vietnam veteran's record (we are told by civilian sources that no alteration of that record took place). Why does the government think that? It goes to the human interest angle. In terms of hard news, the angle is the "how." The "how" of it goes to a huge flaw that was supposed to have been addressed and was never addressed. It goes to lack of oversight at the VA.

We're not here to spoonfeed news outlets, get off your lazy asses and don't expect two media critics to do all your work. (It's as if today's Woodward & Bernsteins expect you not only to spill the beans, but also type up their reports and then wipe their asses.) The federal goverment made a big deal this week about honesty and 'fessed up to problems in May of 2006. The 2007 breach is more serious not because of the suspect or what he may or may not have done but how he got into the system without authorization. The breach should never happened and were basic guidelines followed (guidelines that any civilian computer system would follow), it never would have happened. The big story is the "how" of the breach, not the "who." And it goes to the OMB's orders not being followed. The first three digits of the civilian location where the breach took place are "312." The street has "East" in it. And the street's name was also the name of a long running TV show but in singular not plural. We're done spoonfeeding the press except to advise NYT that Ralph should have had this story.

This is our third (
here's the second) and last spoonfeeding. After the "how," the "who" still isn't the next big story. The big story then is how the federal government attempted to bury the breach. That wasn't just by still not telling the public about it. It also included a rush to wrap up the investigation before it was complete (the orders for the wrap up came from high up). That's why the woman who witnessed the breach was never interviewed. It was that woman's computer that was used to breach the VA system. There's no reason not to interview her. All this time later, she's still not been interviewed by the government. When the investigation was ongoing, a family emergy meant she was "unaccessible" (to her place of employment but nothing prevented the investigators from seeking her out away from her place of her work) and the rush to wrap up the investigation and keep the entire matter on the down low meant she was never interviewed. The big story is the "how" and goes to the lack of security. The next angle is the rush to keep the story as quiet as possible which includes rushing through an investigation. The suspect himself is really not a huge part of the hard news story. (And the suspect, for the record, is the only person we have not spoken to.) (There are feature articles to be found throughout.)

In other news,
the UN Rights of the Child Committee is calling out the US government for (a) the imprisonment of juvelines in Iraq, Afghanstan and Guantamo and for (b) military recruitment of under-18-year-olds in the US.

Turning to US political news,
Team Nader reports that US presidential candidate Ralph Nader needed nearly 22,000 signatures to get on the ballot in Arizona and that over 65,000 were collected. Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez should now be on the ballot in Arizona -- barring any dirty tricks on the part of the DNC. Despite Nader's strong polling when his name included in the polling, there is an effort on the part of the MSM and Panhandle Media to ignore his campaign. Today, Team Nader points to another example of how the independent candidate is shut out of the discussions and argues the case for Nader-Gonzalez as the only agents of change:

"How do you get people to vote against their own self interest? That's the trick.
One way is to make people believe in a dream. That's what all of the mainstream politicians are doing - feeding that dream. Obama is feeding a dream - a dream of change and renewal. He's feeding a dream that the conditions that surround us - Iraq, the economy, the racial divide, the class divide in this country - that they are magically going to go away by voting for this centrist Democrat. That is nonsense, of course. Obama is not proposing any structural changes. McCain is feeding us the dream, the fantasy of power and control. That somehow the military might of the U.S. will prevail across the globe. These are fantasies that are being fed by the politicians. They are not so much lies, as delusions. But we will have brought it on ourselves by supporting these politicians.
By ignoring any candidate or any ideas that might conflict with those dreams. The Obama moment is a feel good moment. It makes us feel good. But the programs Obama is proposing - up and down and all around - are the same centrist Democratic positions.
The same people are going to be running the show. All of the corporations are rapidly switching their contributions to the Democrats."
These are the words of the American novelist Russell Banks.
We heard Banks the other day interviewed by Chris Lydon on Radio Open Source. (
Listen to the interview here.) What wasn't mentioned was Nader/Gonzalez. So, let us say it loud and clear. Nader/Gonzalez. Shift the power from the few to the many. Free our government of corporate domination. Restore the sovereignty of an engaged people. Don't fall for the trick. Help us put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot. We're on our way to give the American people a choice in November. But we need your help. And we need it now.
You can give up to $4,600. But please, give whatever you can. Shift the power.
Feed the living, breathing people-powered alternative.
Support Nader/Gonzalez.

iraqcorey glassteviah moroehren watadaaustin jenkinsrick salutinmichael werbowskiwilliam cole
cnn newsroomjamie mcintyrejohn walcott

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Who's standing up for Iraqi women?

In Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot," C.I. broke news but we all know the media (big or small) doesn't give a damn about women so the idea that they'd suddenly develop an interest in Iraqi women was absurd. Even so I waited to see if anyone would pick up on it. They did not.

The Iraq War is an illegal war. There is no justification for it -- not for it beginning nor for it continuing. However, the lie for the continuation of the illegal war is that it's needed because it is helping Iraqis.

As C.I. pointed out, the "Awakening" Council members are paid $10 a day by the US government (paid not to attack the US). Those are males. The US government is now recruiting women and wants credit for that and offers up how these are 'widow women' and they have children to support.

How much are they paying these women?

$8 a day. That's two dollars a day less than the US government. They are being paid 20% less on the dollar (the same pay discrimination in the US) and they are doing the exact same job.

Actually, they are more needed than the males since women are becoming bombers in Iraq more and more often and since Iraqi males cannot 'pat down' Iraqi women. They are being trained in shooting guns. If you missed it, no one likes a turncoat and that's why the male "Awakening" Council members have been targeted with assassination. As more women 'graduate' from the program just implemented, you better believe they'll be targeted the same way.

But though the US admits they need these women, the US government refuses to pay them the same daily rate they pay the men for doing the same job.

How does saying sexism in wages is okay, how does sending that message in a society where women are more oppressed now than before the start of the illegal war, constitute as helping?

It doesn't.

The US government is again re-inforcing sexism in Iraq.

In a world that mattered it would be news.

We don't live in that world. We live in a world where Feminist Wire Daily pretends Hillary wasn't running for president, for instance.

So let's not hold our breath waiting for anyone to stand up for Iraqi women.

C.I. did and I will gladly join C.I. in doing so and note C.I. is always standing up for the things that matter.

Whatever Hillary does now or doesn't do, C.I. didn't let Iraq fall off the radar. Monday through Friday, you had the snapshot. C.I. covered war resisters when no one else would. Covered them Monday through Friday minimum.

You need to be looking at your 'brave' media outlets and asking who was covering Iraq in the last months?

I'm not talking about blogs.

I'm also not going to buy the crap that Jeremy Scahill's dense and plodding book on Blackwater coming out in paperback qualifies as covering Iraq. Though isn't that all Amy Goodman can offer?

The primary season is over. Hillary may or may not go on to the convention.

She'll make her decision. While she does, you need to look at all the 'names' on the 'left' who've torn her apart non-stop for the last few months while ignoring Iraq and ignoring war resisters. Do your own report cards.

I think you'll be surprised by how many failing grades you'll be handing out.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, June 4, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, a Baghdad bombing results in mass deaths, the war resisters in Canada score a historic victory but work remains, and more.

Starting with war resistance. As noted in
yesterday's snapshot, Canada's House of Commons voted on the motion to grant safe harbor to war resisters and it passed (137 in favor, 110 against). The motion was first proposed in December of 2007. It took Corey Glass and other war resisters to make it happen as much as it took any political party. May 21st, US war resisters and Iraq War veteran Glass was informed that he had until June 12th to leave Canada or he would be deported. Maggie Farley (Los Angeles Times) notes of Glass, "he became the first deserter to receive orders to leave the country -- and ended up a symbol of Canada's conflicted sentiments about the war. On Tuesday, Canada's House of Commons passed a motion urging the government to allow deserters to stay. The measure, though nonbinding, could lead to a last-minute reprieve for Glass and nearly 40 others who have asked for refugee statues." UPI files a brief and quotes NDP's Olivia Chow stating, "Ordinary people want the Iraq war resisters to stay. The Harper Conservatives must respect this and immediately implement this motion." Joanna Smith (Toronto Star) explains how US war resisters Megan and Chris Bean (husband and wife) went to Ottawa to observe the House of Commons Vote. Megan Bean explains of their decision to come to Canada, "We were over there to maintain the peace and we were trying to hand it over to the Iraqis. This is what we always heard. You don't sign up for (the U.S. Navy) to see a bunch of people kill for no reason." Paige Aarhus (London Free Press) quotes war resister Rich Droste on the vote, "I almost wanted to cry when I heard, it was amazing. This just shows that support is growing and Canada can still be a refuge against militarism." He wasn't the only one excited by the verdict. "We are very happy that we won. We're hopeful that the government wll respect the democratic process," Phil McDowell tells John Ward (Canadian Press via Nova Scotia News) who also quotes Joshua Key: "We've had one hand tied behind our back because we can't argue the illegality of the Iraq war, which we all know is illegal. But, with that we just take it one step at a time. I just hope it continues going forward." Janice Tibbetts (CanWest News Service) offers an overview of the resistance today explaining how Canada's Federal Court of Appeals refused to grant the first two public war resisters in Canada, Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey, who went on to appeal that decision to Canada's Supreme Court and were denied on November 15, 2007. Vietnam era war resister Gerry Condon (writing at Courage to Resist) notes the "historic vote" and how "all the opposition parties -- the Liberal Party, the New Democratic Party, the Bloc Quebecois and the Green Party" came together to vote in favor the motion. Condon outlines a number of steps to take here. In addition, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a truck bombing that claimed 5 lives (add in another for the driver of the truck) and left ten wounded, a Baghdad car bombing that claimed the lives of 3 police officers and left three police officers and "three civilians" wounded and an Al Anbar Province roadside bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers with four more wounded. Deborah Haynes (Times of London) reports "Up to 18 people were killed and many more wounded today when a truck exploded near the house of a police commander in Baghdad" while CBS and AP note over 50 individuals are injured from the blast "near the northeast Baghdad home of a top Inetrior Ministry official".


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports "Col. Dhafir Al-Ani of the general inspector office in the interior ministry" was shot dead in Baghdad (his brother was wounded in the assassination) and a jewelry shop owner and his son were shot dead in Zubair.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad. CBS and AP report 13 corpses discovered in Latifiyah (and that 10 were discovered Tuesday in Baghdad).

Kadhim also notes the continued attacks on journalists which includes a TV crew filming a special entitled "The Death Road" in Al Anbar Province and were targeted in a roadside bombing that may have been aimed at the Iraqi military (the military was with the TV crew) while a camer operator for an Iraqi TV station was wounding in a Basra roadside bombing.

Today the
US military announced: "Three Multi-National Division -- North Soldiers were killed as a result of a small-arms fire attack in Al Hawijah near Kirkuk June 4." As Haynes (Times of London) notes, this brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4090.

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

Turning to US political news. Two primaries were held last night, the last two in the contest: South Dakota and Montana. The press told the country Barack Obama was a winner. While he did win Montana, he lost South Dakota. The Christ-child lost South Dakota to Hillary by over 10% --
55.35% for Hillary, 44.65% for Barack. The same media that told you all day yesterday that Hillary would conceed (see Bob Somerby's piece today) spends today asking when she will drop out of the race? Hillary Is 44 observes, "Obama is unelectable and not qualified to be president. On the night Obama lost South Dakota (Obama's own projections had him winning South Dakota by 15 percent) he spoke in the same hall in which Mondale conceded to the Reagan landslide. Obama will either concede now or in November. Obama won't win Democrats he needs to win (like the Democrats on this very website). In state after state many Democrats clearly state they will either NOT vote, vote for the unacceptable John McCain, or write in Hillary's name. That Democrats, many who have never voted for a Republican or nightmared about voting for a Republican, to say they will vote for a Republican is shocking and foreshadows doom for the Democratic? Party in November - if Superdelegates actually vote for Rezko/Ayres/Pfleger/Wright/Farrakhan's friend - Obama." Actually, some will vote for Ralph Nader if Barack's the nominee. Yesterday, CBS Evening News offered a roundtable (link has transcript and video) featuring some Hillary supporters in Penn.

Sandra Miller, former county commissioner: I think from the very beginning she's been mistreated. I know -- I watched a lot of interviews and so forth where Sen. Clinton was referred to as "Mrs. Clinton" whereas Sen. Obama was "Sen. Obama." Meredith Ciambrello, teacher: It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had, that we're speaking of, that it's influencing the voters. And when I talk to young men or other young women and they say, "I hate Hillary" and just the venom that comes out of them. And I wonder where is that coming from. Kathleen O'Dell, sales manager: I think we have a little different standard with sexism than we do with, say, racism. I mean there have been people who go to their rallies and stand up - the guy who stood up and said, "hey, iron my shirt." Now consider that if somebody had showed up at an Obama campaign and had a banner saying something about his race or about somebody's religion, we'd be up in arms. Everybody would be like, "how disgusting."

An idiot ("fuzkida") posting at CBS states, "Any so-called Hillary supporter who votes for McCain is not a true progressive. NO progressive wuould [sic] be that spiteful as to screw up the country for another 4 years just bc. they are sore losers." No true "progressive" (unless that's The Idiot Lakoff's 'framing' for "closted Communist") could support a candidate who used homophobia in South Carolina to scare up votes, who demonized gays and lesbians because it could help him recover momentum after losing New Hampshire. So spare us the lectures "fuzkida."

No feminist could support Barack in the primaries. Any who said she was a feminist and did was either uninformed (and didn't know about the use of homophobia) or she's not a feminist because she elected to ignore it. There's no middle ground on this. Some may come around to Barack. But the reality is a number of 'feminists' exposed themselves as not by refusing to call out the use of homophobia as a campaign strategy. "fuzkida" is not a feminist, obviously. And women don't need to hear you lecture. I believe the idiot Mark Karlin of BuzzFlash tried that after Hillary won New Hampshire. It certainly was cute to see those pieces throughout the campaign, where men lectured women telling them over and over that they shouldn't vote based on gender (naturally, they assumed that only by voting based on gender could a woman support Hillary -- working from the sexist premise that no woman could be worthy of the nomination). But, thing is, did they ever lecture any group supporting Barack? Nope. It was only women they thought they felt comfortable trying to boss around. Why was that?

Ellen Willis ("Up from Radicalism: A Feminist Journal") explaining it in 1969:

A genuine alliance with male radicals will not be possible until sexism sickens them as much as racism. This will not be accomplished through persuasion, conciliation, or love, but through independence and solidarity; radical men will stop oppressing us and make our fight their own when they can't get us to join them on any other terms.

True then, true today. But no one was supposed to notice and it was easy not to as
Panhandle Media worked overtime not just to smear Hillary Clinton with lies but also to ignore the sexism in the MSM (while contributing their own sexism). Take CounterSpin, the weekly radio program by 'media watchdog' FAIR, which ignored the sexism non-stop and finally, when called out loudly and, repeating, I never asked for that, those were unsolicited e-mails from FAIR) and repeatedly, managed to include Hillary being called a bitch in their May 24th broadcast. Here is CounterSpin's criticism of sexism in the 2008 race in full: "CNN viewers were treated to one pundit explanation that people might call Hillary Clinton a bitch because well isn't that just what some women are." You'll note they don't identify the program or the gas bag speaking. That's a funny sort of 'media criticism,' isn't it? And sadly, that's all the weekly radio program CounterSpin can point to. How very proud they must be. Then there's Free Speech TV's laughable Grit TV ("with Laura Flanders!") which not only brought on sexists who had slammed Hillary to say there was no problem but also got off a joke that Latinos and Latinas in California can't speak English. I guess that was supposed to pass for 'progressive' as well? It was especially hilarious to see Laura Flanders and Betsy Reed move away from Hillary to actually fret over sexism and homophobia (!) as 'applied' to John Edwards who is neither a woman nor gay.

"Now there were days when I had the strength enough to fight for all of us,"
declared Hillary last night, "and on the days that I didn't, I leaned on you, the soldier on his third tour of duty in Iraq who told his wife, an Iraqi veteran herself, to take his spending money and donate it to our campaign instead. The 11-year-old boy in Kentucky who sold his bike and video games to raise money for our campaign. The woman who came to a rally hours early, waited and waited to give me a rosary. And all those who whispered to me, simply to say I am praying for you."

Peggy Simpson (Womens Media Center) reports:

Hillary Clinton preempted the morning-after critics. She asked the question herslef in a Tuesday night speech after the delegate count from South Dakota and Montana pushed Barack Obama over the top as the Democrats' probably nominee for president.
"I understand that a lot of people are asking: 'What does Hillarywant? What does she WANT?"
Ignoring mounting speculation that she had told the New York congressional delegation that she'd be open to the vice presidential position, which some cynics said was the start of overt lobbying for that post, she said instead:
"Well, what I want is what I have always fought for in this whole campaign. I want to end the war in Iraq. I want to turn this economy around. I want health care for every American. I want every child to live up to his or her God-given potential."
And then she added significantly: "And I want the nearly eighteen million Americans who voted for me to be respected, to be heard, and no longer to be invisible."
The Hillary skeptics who bemoaned her ambition should read that and absorb the message. It means far more than being on a national ticket.

Hillary's a fighter and as long as she wants to be in the race, she will be. She won the popular vote. (My own personal feelings -- and those of the community -- are that she should carry this to the convention.) It's cute how the goons and loons want to lecture. They pull that nonsense every four years and whine between about how a message should be sent. The difference for all Hillary supporters is that we saw the pass Barack was given over and over and we found him vapid and lacking. The difference for women especially is that we're not Spastic Keith Olbermann spewing his 'thoughts' instantly. As with Anita Hill earlier, the treatment of Hillary was about all women and it's not about 'sore losers.' The 'unity' talk ignores that (a) there's nothing in the Obama campaign for voters and (b) why would women want to 'unify' with their attackers. Now when the vile Ike Turner died, many of the male gas bags online didn't get it. They thought Tina Turner should forgive her torturer of many, many decades. But that's not how it works.

And I'm down to
Your last cigarette and
this "We are one" crap
as you're invading . . .
-- "Taxi Ride," written and recorded by
Tori Amos

'Unity' says the press today just as they said it when Bully Boy stole Florida from Al Gore. The bit players are all the same, they just had facial reconstruction. And I think you'll see a number of women who refuse to play cheerleaders for
Princess Tiny Meat Barack. Not all, as Susan (Random Notes) point out, someone will gladly sell out. For the record, whomever the Democratic nominee is, Gloria Steinem will campaign for them. She does that every four years. I am not talking about Gloria. I have not and will not ever insult Gloria. But Gloria's always been the sweetest. Which isn't denying that's she's also very strong. It is pointing out that if Barack's given the nomination, don't expect to see a crowd of feminists skipping happily along -- several paces behind him. Women have witnessed non-stop sexism and grasped that feminism is needed now more than ever. This is the rebirth, not a time to be afraid. (True regardless of whom the Democratic nominee is in August.) And some can be cast aside like Christine and her beau Bernie who launched an attack on our own Kat -- demanding that she change a written opinion and demanding that she do so in his words and act like it was her opinion and her words -- that should have clued us into just how sick and vapid so many passing for 'contemporary' and 'popcult' 'feminists' actually were. So it's a good time for feminism and one in which faux feminists can hit the road and take their (at best) half-assed 'principles' with them.

John Bentley (CBS News) reports John McCain, presumed GOP presidential nominee, stated, "There are many of Sen. Clinton's supporters who believe that I am by far the best qualified to secure this nation's future, who don't want us to sit down with Ahmadinejad and other tyrants. I think there's a lot of Sen. Clinton's supporters who will support me because of their belief that Sen. Obama does not have the experience or the knowledge or the judgement to address this nation's national security challenges when we're in two wars."

Ralph Nader has selected Matt Gonzalez as his running mate and Team Nader's "
The Uprising" notes yesterday's Democracy Now where the hosts and guest David Sirota talked a good game about an "uprising against Wall Street and Washington" but somehow avoided ever mentioning the Nader-Gonzalez ticket:

On Democracy Now, Sirota said that there is great anger and disaffection in America directed at not just the government, but also at corporate America, at big business, at banks and the financial system.
And for twenty minutes, he talked and talked and talked about the uprising in this momentous Presidential election year.
But not once did Sirota mention Ralph Nader's candidacy -- which polls indicate millions of people support.
And not once did Amy Goodman or Juan Gonzalez ask him about the Nader/Gonzalez candidacy.
Anger at corporations, big business and banks.
Presidential election year.
And no mention of Ralph Nader?
What we are to make of this?
That David Sirota doesn't really give a damn about the uprising.
If he did, he would happily welcome Nader/Gonzalez into the political arena as the most meaningful political expression of the uprising in 2008.
Sirota has spent hundreds of hours surveying the uprising, but refuses to even acknowledge the work of hundreds of young people working non-stop around the country to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot for what is shaping up to be a four way Presidential race -- McCain, Obama, Nader, Barr.
And Nader/Gonzalez will be the Presidential campaign for the uprising against corporate power in this Presidential election year.
And Sirota doesn't say a peep about it.
Why not?
Because he's concerned but not serious about change.

Meanwhile presumed Green Party nominee Cynthia McKinney has bigger problems now than defining 'victory' as getting 5% of the votes (revealing her campaign as not a real run for the office), she now has to deal with her online supporters running voters off. (Yeah, I heard about the e-mails. We'll probably address "Miss Prissy for Cynthia" at Third this weekend.)

So what do we know?
Hillary's still in the race. Supporters want her to go to Denver (but that will be her decision -- and after the way she and her family have been smeared and slimed, even her strongest supporters would understand her deciding the victory was in staying in the race when everyone said drop out, staying in the race and winning the popular vote, staying in the race and showing the world just how strong women are). Nader's running a real campaign.

Tuesday, June 03, 2008

CBS Evening News, etc.

"Where Will Sen. Clinton's Supporters Turn?" (CBS Evening News):
Sandra Miller, former county commissioner: I think from the very beginning she’s been mistreated. I know - I watched a lot of interviews and so forth where Sen. Clinton was referred to as "Mrs. Clinton" whereas Sen. Obama was "Sen. Obama." Meredith Ciambrello, teacher: It bothers me to think with the kind of coverage that we've had, that we’re speaking of, that it's influencing the voters. And when I talk to young men or other young women and they say, "I hate Hillary" and just the venom that comes out of them. And I wonder where is that coming from. Kathleen O'Dell, sales manager: I think we have a little different standard with sexism than we do with, say, racism. I mean there have been people who go to their rallies and stand up - the guy who stood up and said, "hey, iron my shirt.” Now consider that if somebody had showed up at an Obama campaign and had a banner saying something about his race or about somebody's religion, we’d be up in arms. Everybody would be like, "how disgusting."

That's from tonight's CBS Evening News and, if you click on the link, there is video and text. Good for Katie Couric for covering it. It's not like The Nation ever did. Male and female, everyone at The Nation has been using non-stop sexism.

Is Hillary out of the race?

I don't believe she is. I don't believe Barack's the nominee.

I believe, based on super delegates I've spoken to, that he's being allowed to present himself as the nominee and one more thing surfacing will lead to him being asked to drop out for the good of the Democractic Party. That's what I heard today. (It's also what C.I. and Ava were told.) He's crowning himself. But if there's something else that surfaces (and most likely it will), he'll be asked to step down.

So I wouldn't say Hillary's out of the race.

She appears to be winning South Dakota.

"HUBdate: Election Day in South Dakota and Montana" (Howard Wolfson,
Crowds in South
Dakota: During the last day of campaigning in South Dakota, Hillary greeted voters across the state. "In Yankton hundreds turned out to see her. In Sioux Falls, campaign officials estimate 3,500 to 4,000 people attended the event at the W.H. Lyons Fairgrounds. Many stood outside listening to the speech on speakers." One supporter said, "I'm really impressed she's taken the time to listen to South Dakotans." Read more.
Automatic Delegate Watch: Yesterday, Tompkins County Democratic Committee Chair and New York automatic delegate Irene Stein announced her support for Hillary Clinton. Louisiana Democratic State Party Chair and automatic delegate Chris Whittington also announced his support for Hillary Clinton yesterday saying: "There is no question that she is the strongest Democrat to go toe-to-toe with John McCain in a general election. It is our responsibility as automatic delegates to choose the candidate we believe best fit to beat Senator McCain. That candidate is Senator Clinton."
An Absentee Ballot in SD: From her hospice bed six weeks ago, 88-year-old Florence Steen marked an absentee ballot for Clinton, fulfilling a life-long dream for a woman born in 1920, months before federal law guaranteed women the right to vote. When Steen died…her vote went with her…[Steen's] dying wish will be multiplied many times in the official vote tally by people who intend to vote or have already filled out absentee ballots for Clinton, with Florence Steen in mind…The first of those votes was the most meaningful. It came from Steen's husband…He decided to do something he hadn't done in years: He voted -- also by absentee ballot -- for Clinton."
Read more.
Leading the Popular Vote: According to Real Clear Politics, Hillary's popular vote lead over Sen. Obama has grown with her Puerto Rico victory. She has won 17,916,763 votes compared to 17,723,200 for Sen. Obama when every state that has already voted is included in the tally.
Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary celebrates Election Night at Baruch College in New York City.

Let me give you a heads up to Third. C.I. and Mike run every morning if they're in the same city (they run every morning, period, but if they're in the same city, they run together) and Jim went with them this morning. They pretty much outlined the upcoming edition of Third. If all that's planned is dealt with (the "if" there has to do with time), it will be a very hard hitting, unflinching look at sexism. I heard about it from Jim and Mike (C.I. was either speaking all day or on the cell phones over and over, it was a very busy day for C.I.) and a number of things will be addressed. It sounds like a very strong edition. I also know (don't ask, Jim, I'm sworn to secrecy) what Ava and C.I. want to do with their TV commentary and if they get to that (meaning if nothing else pops up during the rest of the week that they have to tackle instead), that's going to be very strong as well.

I don't know what's going to happen with the Democratic presidential nomination. No one does because no rules are being followed anymore than they were followed last Saturday.

What I do know is that war resisters got a huge victory today and that's something to be thrilled about. C.I. covers it in the snapshot.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, June 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, US war resisters get a huge win in Canada, Iraqi women are told they are worth 20% than Iraqi men (told that by the US government), and more.

Starting with war resistance. Earlier today
John Ward (Canadian Press via Nova Scotia News) reported on the vote that would take place in Canada's House of Commons this afternoon -- on whether or not to grant US war resisters safe harbor: "The House of Commons votes today on a motion uring the government to allow deserters and their families to stay in Canada as permanent residents, as was done for the draft dodgers and" deserters during Vietnam. The issue was always a pressing one but only more so after last month. May 21st US war resister and Iraq War veteran Corey Glass was informed by the Canadian government that he had until June 12th (ten days from now) to leave the country or he would be deported. LondonTopic noted that US war resisters Tim Richards, Josh Randall and Rich Droste "will be in the gallery of the House of Commons as Parliament votes on an NDP motion to allow them to stay in Canada." As Greq Quinn (Bloomberg News) reports, the motion ("non-binding") passed -- "aimed at pressuring the government to freeze deportations of U.S. soldiers who fled to Canada after refusing to fight in the war in Iraq."

Maggie Farley (Los Angeles Times) notes that Corey "Glass and a busload of resisters came to Ottawa to watch the pivotal hearing, and cheered from the gallery when the motion passed 137-110" and Farley quotes Glass stating, "This is just great. We hope the will of the Canadian people will be carried out. We will see what happens next."

The NDP issued "
NDP motion to let war resisters stay passes:"

Iraq War Resisters residing in Canada received overwhelming support from the House of Commons following today’s passage of an NDP motion to let them stay in the country.
NDP Citizenship and Immigration critic, Olivia Chow's (Trinity-Spadina) motion reflected ordinary Canadians' belief that George Bush’s war in Iraq is wrong and that resisters should not be deported to jail.
The motion calls on the Harper Conservatives to allow American war resisters who have refused or left military service related to the illegal invasion of Iraq and their immediate family members to stay in Canada and be able to become permanent residents. Furthermore, the motion would force the government to immediately withdraw any removal or deportation orders against War Resisters.
NDP MP Bill Siksay (Burnaby Douglas), moved a similar motion a year ago on May 8, 2007 at the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration. His motion was rejected by the Conservatives, Liberals and Bloc.
Through ongoing campaigns and mobilizations, supporters have finally been able to sway the Liberal and Bloc vote in support of the war resisters
"Ordinary people want the Iraq war resisters to stay," said Chow. "The Harper Conservatives must respect this and immediately implement this motion."

The War Resisters Support Campaign notes:

The Canadian Parliament passed an historic motion today, June 3, 2008, that calls on the Canadian government to make a program to allow US war resisters to apply for permanent resident status in Canada and to cease all deportation and removal proceedings against US war resisters.

The next step is to write to the Minister of Citizenship and Immigration, Diane Finley, and prime minister Stephen Harper to ensure that the will of Parliament is implemented.

Minister of Citizenship and Immigration Diane Finley
phone 613.996.4974
fax 613.996.9749
email and

Prime Minister Stephen Harper
phone 613.992.4211
fax 613.941.6900

The above took place with no help from Queen of the Beggars Amy Goodman who,
as Mike noted yesterday, continued to refuse to even mention Corey Glass let alone war resisters. Today was day 12 of Goody's silence. Maybe she'll finally discover the story tomorrow?

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Yesterday's snapshot noted US Maj Gen Douglas Stone's attempted Happy Talk of Iraqis imprisoned by the US. Late yesterday Anna Badkhen (San Francisco Chronicle) filed a report on the "Awakening" Council members treatment of prisoners: "Deep gashes lacerated the detainee's head. Purple bruises and scarlet abrasions covered his face and neck. His eyes were bloodshot, his arms hung limply, and he could barely walk. U.S. soldiers were forced to carry him to an Army medic." These are the thugs on the US payroll who are 'allies' (at the moment) because a few coins were tossed at them. From the April 8th snapshot when The Peraeus & Crocker Variety Hour took to their revue to the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee and faced questioning by Senator Barbara Boxer:

She then turned to the issue of monies and the militias, "You are asking us for millions more to pay off the militias and, by the way, I have an article here that says Maliki recently told a London paper that he was concerned about half of them" and wouldn't put them into the forces because he doubts their loyalty. She noted that $182 million a year was being paid, $18 million a month, to these "Awakening" Council members and "why don't you ask the Iraqis to pay the entire cost of that progam" because as Senator Lugar pointed out, "It could be an opportunity" for the Iraqi government "to turn it into something more long term." This is a point, she declared, that she intends to bring up when it's time to vote on the next spending supplamental. Crocker tried to split hairs.

Boxer: I asked you why they couldn't pay for it. . . . I don't want to argue a point. . . I'm just asking you why we would object to asking them to pay for that entire program giving all that we are giving them in blood and everything else?

Badken observes: "The US military pays each member $300 a month to man thousands of checkpoints throughout Iraq. The Americans have credited Sons of Iraq for the waning Sunni insurgency and the decline in sectarian violence in Baghdad. But questionable loyalties, often brutal conduct and an uncertain future make these groups a wild card in the ongoing effort to stabilize Iraq. In April, Sen. Joseph Biden, D-Del., said these U.S.-funded militias may one day 'turn their guns on us'." But that cautionary note is dismissed by the White House and, on Friday, Jim Frederick (Time Magazine) reported on the lastest twist to the "Awakening" Council: Female recruits! US Capt Michael Starz told Frederick that "this is an employment program" and that "many of the women around here are widows and have no way of supporting themselves." What a load of crap.

If the concern was providing women with opportunities, the US could have done so long ago, could have fought to protect and ensure women's rights instead of installing radical thugs in the puppet government. Most importantly, while the men make $300 a month, they're paying the women eight dollars a day -- that would be two dollars a day less than their male peers while claiming that there "are widows" who "have no way of supporting themselves." The US government wants credit for 'creating' employment opportunites for Iraqi women but the US is paying them $2 less a day than the males while claiming that the women needs these jobs because they're supporting themselves and children. Can you say "exploitation"? The real reason the US is using women, as Capt Starz readily admits is that female bombers are now an issue. The women are being trained to 'inspect' and search other women. And apparently that's not a job important enough to warrant equal pay -- at least not according to the US. And the reason for including Senator Boxer's April remarks was to make it clear that the US government is the one paying the "Awakening" Council members, nothing has changed on that since April. So the US government is sending the message in Iraq that a woman's work is worth 20% less than a male's. If that figure sounds familiar,
Nancy Clark (Womens Media, link has audio) was noting that figure last year: "Women are paid 80 cents for every dollar men are paid and that does NOT include any part-time workers! If it did, it would be even lower." The women in Iraq are being asked to do the exact things the males are being asked to do and the US government is sending the message that, for the same work, it is okay to pay a woman 80 cents while paying a man a dollar. Capt Starz tells Frederick that the increase in female bombers means, "It is a critical security issue that we find a way to have women searched at high-traffic areas." It's 'critical' but, apparently, work but apparently not critical enough to offer the same rate of pay. Repeating, US tax dollars are paying for this program. (US Ambassador Ryan Crocker repeatedly bragged in April, before Congress, that paying them off meant attacks on US service members was down. It's the hand-over-your-lunch-money-to-the-bully-and-you'll-be-safe-in-the-playground 'strategy.') Should it be funded by the US? I don't think so but as long as the US funds it, it certainly doesn't need to endorse gender discrimination. But that is what's taking place.

Yesterday, US Maj Gen Jeffery Hammond held a Baghdad press conference. In it he noted that the resistance and others were "using unwitting women and children to execute attacks." He then goes on to cite an example, however, all examples don't hold up. Last month
Erica Goode (New York Times) was reporting on the denials that the two women taking part in the Feb. 1st Baghdad bombings were mentally ill. Hammond stated that the US is in Iraq "to protect the people." If the US government is going to pay "Awakening" Council male members $10 dollars a day and protecting the people is so important, why are Iraqi women only worth $8 a day?

NPR's Tom Bowman filed no report on Hammond's press conference because Bowman had a great deal to say during that press conference.

Tom Bowman: General, it's Tom Bowman with NPR. You mentioned that there are a thousand filed claims in Sadr City. You paid out about 70,000. Can you give us a breakdown on those claims? How many for property damage? How many for injured or killed civilians?

Jeffery Hammond: Tom, I can't give you a specific -- I don't have the numbers in front of me. But I'd probably guess and say probably 85 percent is for property damage, much of that property damage coming at the hands of indirect fire that was shot from Sadr City. Much of that fell short. We had few mortar rounds that fell short in Jamila market, which I think you know is the critical market that provides much to the rest of Baghdad, and about 25 percent to one-third burned down as a result of short rounds. But probably 85 percent is paid out for propert damage -- as a result of that and just the direct combat fighting.

Hammond went on to make some fluff but quickly found out that it wasn't going to die so quickly with questions coming about this fifteen percent of "injured or killed civilians" and how this would mean "dozens, at least, of injured or killed civilians". [
Anna Badkhen's Iraq dispatches for Salon are here, some of her previous Iraq reporting for the San Francisco Chronicle is here.]

Meanwhile the White House's attempt to force a treaty with their puppet government in Iraq hits a new wrinkle.
AP reports: "The agreement, which both sides hope to finish in midsummer, is likely to be among the issues discussed this weekend when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is due to visit Iran - his second trip there in a year. Ahead of the visit, his party sought to calm worries by insisting that the deal would not allow foreign troops to use Iraq as a ground to invade another country - a clear reference to Iranian fears of a U.S. attack." Iran was a topic today on CNN when Kyra Phillips grabbed the first interview with Adm. William Fallon since he was ousted as Centcom Commander on CNN's American Morning. Here for video. Fallon insisted he didn't "believe for a second President Bush wants a war with Iran." Kyra Phillips asked, "Would you have done that? Would you have negotiated with Iran?" Fallon replied by repeating throughout that he didn't believe the White House "really wants to go to war with Iraqn. We have a lot of things going on." As for why he had been replaced, Fallon danced around the question even when Phillips asked it directly ("Do you feel you were pushed out, admiral?").

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


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left six civilians wounded, a Kirkuk roadside bombing wounded nine police officers, another Kirkuk roadside bombing wounded "[t]wo farmers," and a Diyala Province roadside bombing wounded ten Iraqi soldiers.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports: "Gunmen assassinated a city hall member and the public relations manager of PUK (Patriotic Union of Kurdistan) in Jamhouriyah neighborhood of Tuz Khurmatu (south of Kirkuk and north east of Tikrit). The majority of this neighborhood are Kurds."


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 corpses discovered in Baghdad and the corpse of a young boy ("kidnapped two days ago") was found in Baquba.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died from a non-battle related cause at approximately 8 a.m. June 3."

Turning to the US political race where Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama vie for the party's nomination as Montana and South Dakota vote. In not at all surprising news, Barack attacks another woman but he does nothing but attack women so why is that a surprise at this late date? Wally's "
THIS JUST IN! NOW HE THROWS SUPPORTERS UNDER THE BUS!" and Cedric's "Barack attacks another woman" notes this AP story by Kelley Shannon:
A Texas Democratic superdelegate who endorsed Sen. Barack Obama disputed claims Monday by state party officials and an Obama aide who say she may no longer be a superdelegate after the state party convention this weekend.Roy LaVerne Brooks of Fort Worth, vice chair of the state party, said she got a call last week from an Obama campaign worker who tried to persuade her to get out of the race for state Democratic chair against incumbent chairman Boyd Richie to avoid a divided Texas convention.
Even his own supporters aren't safe. Imagine that, Barack trying to force a woman out of a race for office. Shocking only if you've never heard of Alice Palmer.

Hillary will be in NYC this evening and there's been speculation all day and it continues.
Carolyn Lochhead (San Francisco Chronicle) observes, "The inevitable will soon arrive. More interesting is Clinton's speech in Manhattan tonight. Listen very carefully. Tonight is Clinton's, even though Sen. Barack Obama will be the victor. It's an odd moment. Rest assured Obama will be bending over backward to smooth Clinton's feathers. She's got much of the Democratic base that Obama has been unable, despite weeks of bowling and waffle-eating, to win over. They are not convinced. He needs her." One Hillary will not be watching. Kevin Woster (Rapid City Journal) reports on Florence Steen who voted for Hillary via absentee ballot and passed away shortly afterward at the age of 88-years-old. Her ballot has been thrown out; however, her daughter Kathy Krause states, "I can't tell you the number of people who have come up to me and said they either changed their registration and voted for Hillary, or that they were going to vote for Hillary because they heard about all that" -- all that includes the fact that it was her mother's "life-long drream" to see a woman elected president. Cheryl Linsey Seelhoff (Women's Space) notes, "Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows I have never supported Hillary Clinton’s candidacy (nor do I support Obama’s and certainly not McCain’s; I support only my own, and if not my own, then Cynthia McKinney’s), but I’m feeling Clinton very deeply these days. I think she has been made to be the focus of, and to bear up under, free-floating misogynist, sexist resentments and fears of decades and even centuries. The way she has been imagined and treated in this campaign does not bode well, not only for Clinton’s candidacy but for feminism, for the lives of girls and women everywhere."

Hill Is 44 quotes Bill Clinton:

It's part of the national media’s attempt to nail Hillary for Obama. It’s just the most biased press coverage in history. It’s another way of helping Obama. They had all these people standing up in this church cheering, calling Hillary a white racist, and he didn’t do anything about it. The first day he said ‘Ah, ah, ah well.’ Because that’s what they do-- he gets other people to slime her. So then they saw the movie they thought this is a great ad for John McCain-- maybe I better quit the church. It’s all politics. It’s all about the bias of the media for Obama. Don’t think anything about it.”
“But I’m telling ya, all it’s doing is driving her supporters further and further away-- because they know exactly what it is-- this has been the most rigged press coverage in modern history-- and the guy ought to be ashamed of himself. But he has no shame. It isn’t the first dishonest piece he’s written about me or her.”

To be clear, he's speaking on a process but also noting a specific reporter -- or thought to be -- and I am not commenting on that. I've avodied that article. Do not take the above to be agreement with that or disaggreement. Repeating, I have avoided that article. (I know Bill and Hillary and I know TSP. I'm not interested in reading the article.)

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