Saturday, November 08, 2008

The cabinet, Robert Fisk

"US military announces another death" (The Common Ills):

Community member Stan started his own site yesterday entitled Oh Boy It Never Ends. He's still playing around with it and has so far offered "Good for Nader" and "Stan 411" and "Robin Morgan". Also posting yesterday, Mike's "Joshua Frank, Murphy, Cocktail Weinie Norman" covers the strong and the pathetic, Marcia's "A lot including my cousin is blogging!" is a grab bag post on a multitude of topics, Ruth's "McKinney results, Doug Ireland" continues Ruth's following of election results, Kat's "Pathetic Green Party" explores the planned uselessness of a political party, Cedric's "And she smells like urine" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! TINA FEY'S A SKANK!" (joint-post) pulls a Jim and assigns Ava and I an article (joking, it falls under the topic we're already covering) and Rebecca's "gail collins is an idiot" covers the embarrassment of Collins.

So Stan has started his own website and I wanted to include the above both to note Stan's new blog and also to throw around some link-love. I am among the worst about providing links to community members. I was never great about it; however, I was once better. But these days, each blog post is just me rushing through to be done quickly. So that provides links.

In terms of Stan, I think he will have a very strong blog. That is based on some things he has done for the community newsletters. So, if you are a community member, remember that and check out his website. If you are not a community member, consider that my insider's tip to you on Stan's blog.

Reuters offers up 14 potential cabinet members in Barack's administration and, no surprise, only two names listed are women. Sworn in, the Bully Boy's first cabinet had 20 people (plus Dick and himself) and four were women. Only two of those 20 original memebers are still serving (one is Secretary of Labor Elaine Chao). The 20 member cabinet (plus Dick and Bully Boy) currently has five women serving.

In terms of Barack's appointments, this is interesting.

"Obama has to pay for eight years of Bush's delusions" (Robert Fisk, Independent of London):

Indeed, there's a growing concern among America's allies in the Middle East that the US military has to be brought back under control -- indeed, that the real reason for General David Petraeus' original appointment in Iraq was less to organise the "surge" than it was to bring discipline back to the 150,000 soldiers and marines whose mission -- and morals -- had become so warped by Bush's policies. There is some evidence, for example, that the four-helicopter strike into Syria last month, which killed eight people, was -- if not a rogue operation -- certainly not sanctioned byWashington or indeed by US commanders in Baghdad.
But Obama's not going to be able to make the break. He wants to draw down in Iraq in order to concentrate more firepower in Afghanistan. He's not going to take on the lobby in Washington and he's not going to stop further Jewish colonisation of the occupied territories or talk to Israel's enemies. With AIPAC supporter Rahm Emanuel as his new chief of staff -- "our man in the White House", as the Israeli daily Maariv called him this week -- Obama will toe the line. And of course, there's the terrible thought that bin Laden -- when he's not shopping at US military post offices – may be planning another atrocity to welcome the Obama presidency.
There is just one little problem, though, and that's the "missing" prisoners. Not the victimswho have been (still are being?) tortured in Guantanamo, but the thousands who have simply disappeared into US custody abroad or -- with American help -- into the prisons of US allies. Some reports speak of 20,000 missing men, most of them Arabs, all of them Muslims. Where are they? Can they be freed now? Or are they dead? If Obama finds that he is inheriting mass graves from George W Bush, there will be a lot of apologising to do.

As C.I. notes in the snapshot today, she knows Rahm. I thought I'd follow up on that to make sure it is clear. When Joe Biden acted like a jerk (twice) during the campaign, C.I. did make editorial comments regarding that. Should Rahm do something similar that applied to what the snapshot was covering, C.I. would do that. Otherwise, unless there's a dog pile on Rahm, C.I.'s not bringing Rahm up. If there is something by someone else -- like Joshua Frank and Tariq Ali today -- then C.I. will quote it and move on without comment.

That should be clear from the snapshot but, in case it isn't, I've reviewed it here.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 7, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, the pathetic voices of the left continue cooing while stronger voices from the left speak to realities, Talabani makes an announcement, and more.

Tuesday a presidential election was held in the US. It could have been about something but that would have required actual issues. Instead it was stroke, fondle and feather-kiss Barack by All Things Media Big and Small while real candidates were shut out of the coverage -- by all outlets and Amy Goodman a crappy once a month nod to Ralph or Cynthia didn't mean s**t when every day you swung that tired ass under the street lamp once more for Barack. In 2004, we heard "never again." Never again would we allow the movement to end the illegal war to be derailed by a presidential campaign. That got tossed aside and ripped to shreds, now didn't it?

Let's move over to Loony Tune Stephen Zune who
lied in a 2008 article, never corrected it and, before you knew it, all the simple minded were running with (Dahr Jamail, come on down!). No, Hillary did not visit Iraq only once. "Dr." Zunes, correct your lying mouth. He, of course, refused to. And he's back to lie some more at ZNet: "Obama's honest and prescient understanding of Iraq prior to the invasion gives hope that as president he will be less inclined to engage in such acts of reckless militarism." Apparently Zunes is back on the meds that regulate his intense mood swings (sadly, the meds do nothing for his delusions). The 2002 speech was an embarrassment and nothing for the peace movement to praise. There's been some question about that speech so let's put Zuney to the side for a moment. The speech did take place. It is recorded. On video. The reaction from the crowd is the only reason Team Barack had to lie and claim that the speech didn't exist. The crowd wasn't applauding, they weren't cheering. It was a meek and embarrassing speech (delivered to a sparse crowd, it should be noted). When Barack finished there wasn't even polite applause. But Zuney liked it and, if you're off your meds, you may as well.

Loony Tunes Zunes goes on to argue that if the War Hawk Barack isn't a dove, so what, because "he owes his nomination -- and therefore his election -- to those who opposed the invasion of Iraq". Yeah, try collecting on that, Stephen. Hey, remember Stephen Zunes' snit-fit at Barack a few months back? When Barack picked Joe Biden as his running mate? The Joe Biden who supported the illegal war? But Loony wants you to believe that Barack's indebted to the 'anti-war' 'movement.' (That would be the same Barack who punked Iraq Veterans Against the War in Denver -- they were protesting and getting attention, he sent out a Texan known for lying -- one who even lied for W. -- out to trick them and they fell for it and gave the media a lot of statements about how groovy Barack was. As soon as the protest ended so did Barack's 'promise' to them.) Zunes uses phrases like "surely Barack is aware of this" and what's really hilarious is that someone who whored his ass for Barack as hard Stephen did has to guess as to what Barack is and isn't aware of. But a debt is owed, Zunes maintains, and pressure will be applied! In the real world,
Mickey Z points out:

While the savvy strategist/activists of the Left harbor their delusions of grandeur about their ability to sway the Prince of Hope, here's a tiny bit what they--and all of us--have allowed to happen without exerting our "influence": epidemics of preventable diseases; the poisoning of our air, water, and food (including mother's breast milk); global warming, climate change, animal and plant extinctions, disappearing honeybees, destruction of the rain forest, topsoil depletion, etc.; one-third of Americans either uninsured or underinsured in terms of health care; 61% of corporations do not even pay taxes; presidential lies, electoral fraud, limited debates, etc.; the largest prison population on the planet; corporate control of public land, airwaves, and pensions; overt infringement of our civil liberties; bloated defense budget, unilateral military interventions, war crimes committed in our name, legalization of torture, blah, blah, blah...
Before you know it, the US government will start spying on American citizens and detaining prisoners without charges while allowing corporations to ravage the earth in pursuit of profit, wiping out entire eco-systems in the process. Oops . . . sorry: they're already doing all that and the mighty Left is fighting back by supporting Obama?
Everywhere I went on Election Day, I was asked by friend and stranger alike: "Did you vote?" Once the polling booths closed, I could be 100% certain I'd not be asked another politically motivated question by such people for another four years. No one would be rushing up to me and demanding to know if I was planning to do anything about, say, FISA, the death penalty, the PATRIOT Act, homelessness, or factory farming. The election is over. Obama has won. For 99% of the Left, that means their work is done until 2012. It's time to gloat and reap all the rewards, right?
My prediction: The only pressure that will be consistently exerted by those on the Left will be the pressure of their soft butts on their couch cushions as they sit back to smugly watch Jon Stewart, Keith Olbermann, Stephen Colbert, and Bill Maher.

Zunes can never stick to the facts and, having a word count, has to resort frequently to falsehoods. Which is how you end up with his claim that the likes of Susan Rice (she works herself into a war frenzy at the drop of a hat) and Our Modern Day Carrie Nations Samantha Power (Sammy, get the axe!) are "innovative and enlightened members of the foreign policy establishment". Keep dreaming and keep lying Zunes. If you told the truth at this late date, your head might fall out. For reality on the likes of Sammy Power, see John R. MacArthur's "
Pro-War Liberals Frozen in the Headlights" (Common Dreams). Or maybe you want to refer to Howard Zinn on Power's "myopia":She believes that "there is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective." Of course, there's a difference, but is there a "moral" difference? That is, can you say one action is more reprehensible than the other? In countless news briefings, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, responding to reporters' questions about civilian deaths in bombing, would say those deaths were "unintentional" or "inadvertent" or "accidental," as if that disposed of the problem. In the Vietnam War, the massive deaths of civilians by bombing were justified in the same way by Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and various generals.

Or maybe you'd prefer
Edward S. Herman (ZNet) explaining Power's belief system?She believes that "there is a moral difference between setting out to destroy as many civilians as possible and killing civilians unintentionally and reluctantly in pursuit of a military objective." Of course, there's a difference, but is there a "moral" difference? That is, can you say one action is more reprehensible than the other?In countless news briefings, Donald Rumsfeld and Dick Cheney, responding to reporters' questions about civilian deaths in bombing, would say those deaths were "unintentional" or "inadvertent" or "accidental," as if that disposed of the problem. In the Vietnam War, the massive deaths of civilians by bombing were justified in the same way by Lyndon Johnson, Hubert Humphrey, Richard Nixon and various generals.

No, it doesn't sound very enlightened but then Stephen Zunes is the Minute Rice 'Scholar' of the campus set. Here's
Noam Chomsky (via ZNet) explaining the basics re: Sammy Power, "I don't think, incidentally, that it would be fair to criticize Power for her extraordinary services to state violence and terror. I am sure she is a decent and honorable person, and sincerely believes that she really is condemning the US leadership and political culture. From a desk at the Carr Center for Human Rights at the Kennedy School at Harvard, that's doubtless how it looks."

Let's spread the joy and turn to the Pathetic
Dave Lindorff who writes (at CounterPunch), "And don't tell me 'Good, we should have all voted for Ralph Nader.' The political left in the US is a pathetic joke." Some parts of it are. Such as Dave Lindorff. Dave Lindorff is a PATHETIC JOKE. He will die one because he made himself one. In February, Third noted a Barack supporter and his IDIOTIC reasons for supporting Barack:

I think it is ridiculous not to acknowledge that a black candidate at this level is fundamentally different from all white candidates who have come before or who are now competing. the more so a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs, and who has relatives TODAY living in the Third World (Kenya).

The person making a PATHETIC FOOL of himself? That's Dave Lindorff. Yes, Dave Lindorff supported Barack because he was "a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs". It doesn't get anymore pathetic than that. Davey-Boy thought Barack was fighting the brave fight, just, no doubt, as Amy Winehouse does on the streets of London today. The same 'civil rights' battle that River Phoenix gave his life for, Dave?

Dave Lindorff is an idiot, he is pathetic and he has proven that
In These Times had good reason to end their relationship with him over his 'curious' assertions. We stood by Crazy Ass back then. We walked away after he made a frothy-mouthed fool of himself in February. You can't go home again, Crazy Ass. This is the world and bed you made, live with it. Pablo Ouziel (Dissident Voice) tracks the continued disengration of left 'voices':

The new era of voting for the lesser of the two evils has penetrated the core of America's critical intellectual community, and some of the biggest voices for change have endorsed Obama. In effect, what has taken place is the union between those opposed to imperial ideology and those endorsing it. Although this serious event has gone largely unnoticed, American intellectuals will need to reflect on its consequences seriously if they are to contribute to the building of a stable future for humanity as a whole, and in particular to mending the tarnished corrupt fabric of American society.
One American intellectual, James Petras, has been able to identify the direct social consequences of such a paradigm shift and prior to the elections has publicly expressed his views in an article titled "
The Elections and the Responsibility of the Intellectual to Speak Truth to Power: Twelve Reasons to Reject Obama and Support Nader/McKinney."
As the title of the article clearly states, Petras voices the reasons why intellectuals have the responsibility of voting against Obama just like they should vote against McCain. In regards to those intellectuals who have endorsed Obama he says:
They are what C. Wright Mills called 'crackpot realists', abdicating their responsibility as critical intellectuals. In purporting to support the 'lesser evil' they are promoting the 'greater evil': The continuation of four more years of deepening recession, colonial wars and popular alienation.
After listening last night to Obama's first speech after his victory, a victory he said was of the people, what Petras is saying seems disturbingly accurate when looked at through the prism of critical discourse analysis. One can look back now to the presidency of George W. Bush and listen to his rhetoric. What has been his message throughout the last 8 years? When Obama's core messages are compared to Bush's, it becomes apparent that the coming presidential plans are not too different to current presidential policies.
Even more disturbing, is the fact that when Bush spoke throughout his presidency there was always a slight cynical reaction by the majority of the public, as most of the surveys have shown time and time again. However, last night the cynicism seemed to have vanished and the hope of a new American century was reborn with full force, to the clapping thunder and joyous splendour of the reborn American people. With every word uttered by Obama one could see how the empire was not gone, Bush almost killed it, now Obama the symbol of hope, together with all the American people in unity, are going to reconstruct their country and the world, restabilising America's faltering hegemony.

All of the above effects the illegal war. The defocusing on what mattered, the hijacking of the peace movement result in the illegal war being prolonged. The decisions Barack will be making (and receiving excuses on from Panhandle Media) will prolong the Iraq War. All of the appointments will say something (usually, "Empire! Empire! Empire!"). We'd planned to be dark after this day so you can see some of the above as raided from what would have been the year-in-review but it's also true that some topics we'll ignore.
Rahm Emanuel is now Barack's Chief of Staff. I know Rahm. If he makes a real ass out of himself, we'll call him out here or have a laugh over it, otherwise we'll ignore him. (You can think back to the way Joe Biden was covered here after he became the v.p. nominee.) You can go elsewhere community wide for negative criticism of Rahm (Rebecca doesn't like him) and we can highlight that here (or other trusted voices from outside the community) but unless Rahm makes a real ass out of himself on a particular day, I'm not going to be weighing in on him here. (And no compliments or defense unless he's the target of a pile-on.) Example, Joshua Frank (Dissident Voice) offers, "For starters, Emanuel is a shameless neoliberal with close ties to the Democratic Leadership Council (DLC), even co-authoring a strategy book with DLC president Bruce Reed." Tariq Ali (CounterPunch) opines, "The same day that Spain denied the son of Osama Bin Laden political asylum, Obama appointed the son of an Irgun terrorist as his Chief of Staff. Osama's son declared that he did not agree with his father's actions or opinions. Rahm Israel Emmanuel is an Israel-firster, a pro-war DLC hack and bully."

Meanwhile the
Whig Standard editorializes today that Barack should use "soft power" and argue Barack "should start by reaffirming his greatness by demonstrating to the world the 'enduring power of our ideals.' He should start by reaffirming his campaign pledge to stand is in U.S.-occupied Iraq where Assyrians -- an ancient Christian people indigenous to northern Iraq -- are the victims of a jihadist campaign of ethnic cleansing. The U.S. must accept some blame for this crisis. By deposing Iraiq dictator Saddam Hussein, the U.S. unwittingly unleashed sectarian forces that are bent on destroying religious pluralism in Iraq." Meanwhile the National Council of Churches in Australia issues an alert and calls for their country to take in more Iraqi reufgees and to provide more funds for external and internal Iraqi refugees. They note:

Violence and persecution against minority groups in Iraq continues, including communities of Christians which have been in existence for over 1500 years. The Assyrian Church of the East, as one of the Churches most affected, has mobilised itself worldwide to call attention to the crisis, and seek help where help can be found. Other Churches under extreme duress are the Syrian Orthodox, Coptic Orthodox, Armenian Apostolic, and Chaldean. Prior to 2003, 4% of Iraq's population was Christian. Yet 40% of Iraq's 2.2 million refugees are Christian, which indicates the seriousness and disproportionate degree of violence and persecution to which Iraqi Christians are being exposed. "No one has been untouched by grief either by personal loss or to see their country torn apart by violence," said Bishop Mar Meelis Zaia, Australian head of the Assyrian Church of the East. According to Church sources this exodus is the result of a campaign of violence, murder, terrorism, threats, and intimidation targeted at the Christian minority. Attacks have escalated since September, when the electoral law was changed to remove the system of quotas that ensured minority groups representation on provincial councils. The result of government investigations and the arrest of about 12 people in relation to the latest wave of attacks are being awaited. The international Assyrian Christian community is raising money to help. Local parishes are collecting money to help the Assyrian Church of the East Relief Organisation (ACERO) provide aid for people in the city of Mosul, where the recent escalation of attacks has been most severe. In the long run the hope of those fleeing the country is for a self-governing administrative region within Iraq.

Journal of Turkish Weekly reports that Chaldean-Assryian Council chair Jamil Zito declaring, "Iraq's Christians were hoping that various political factions would accept the UN Mission in Iraq proposal". Iraq may hold provincial elections in January (or not). Article 50 provided for religious minority representation. Article 50 was stripped out of the bill before Parliament passed it. A compromise was proposed this week which Iraqi Christians find insulting. Earlier this week, Sam Dagher and Mohammed al-Obaidi (New York Times) explained that Christians would get one seat each on Baghdad, Basra and Nineveh council
while Yazidis would get one seat on Nineveh for a total of 4 seats combined while Article 50 guaranteed the religious minorities 13 seats and the UN proposed 12 (the United Nations proposal came after Article 50 was deleted). Today
Waleed Ibrahim, Tim Cocks and Philippa Fletcher (Reuters) report that the office of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani issued a statement yesterday about his meet up with Christians, "They expressed worries about the negative impact of the law passed in parliament, which they said gives them a small number of seats and does not protect their rights. They asked the [presidency] council to reject this law. The president showed full support to Christian and other minorities (and) . . . promised he will not sign any law that could deprive any Iraqi group of their rights." If you thought that or the treaty might have resulted in questions at the White House today you missed Tony Fratto's and the press' embarrassing performances.

The treaty?
Leila Fadel, Nancy A. Youssef and Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) report, "Many Iraqi officials are now calling the status-of-forces accord, or SOFA, 'the withdrawal agreement,' possibly as a way of marketing it to a wary public." Ernesto Londono, Mary Beth Sheridan and Karen DeYoung (Washington Post) quote government spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh, "Iraqis would like to know and see a fixed date" and that the US has to be prepared for more negotiatings while the US Embassy maintains (as does the US State Dept) that what Iraq has been given is the "final text." Daniel Williams (Bloomberg News) adds that Hoshyar Zebari, the country's foreign minister, has stated that the treaty will be finalized with "the current administration." AFP reports that al-Sadr follower Sheikh Sattar al-Batat, "Every Iraqi should read this agreement and decide for himself whether he agrees or disagree with it. . . . No one in his right mind can accept this agreement, so how can we?" NYT's Katherine Zoepf (for the paper's other holding, International Herald Tribune) quotes al-Batat declaring, "We will continue to condemn the Iraqi-American pact because it will legislate the American presence in Iraq. Sadr City has lost 4,300 martyrs since the invasion, so how could we accept this agreement? We say no to the Iraqi government if it wishes to sign anything." And Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) notes that Sunnis are also nervous over the treaty and Rubin also notes, "The Iraqi government, made up of exiles who were able to rise to power only as a result of the American invasion, has been looking for a way to support the pact without appearing to be kowtowing to Americans."

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing killed Haider Hassoon (an Iraqi refugee who'd just reclaimed his home) and left six people wounded, a Baghdad sticky bombing that claimed 2 lives and left seven people injured and a Diyala Province roadside bombing targeting "Awakening" Council members -- two were killed, five more wounded.

Today the
US military announced: "A Coalition force Soldier died in a non-combat related incident Nov. 6 in Kirkuk province. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The incident is still under investigation." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4191.

Public radio note, Monday on
WBAI (2:00 pm EST), Cat Radio Cafe features: "Writer/performer Danny Hoch on Taking Over, his hip-hop infused play about New York gentrification; and Coney Island documentarian Charles Denson, photographer Claude Samton, and PS 225/ Shell Bank JHS/Abraham Lincoln HS graduate Sheila Samton on The Puffin Room's multi-media celebration of Coney Island Maybe. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer." And TV note, Sunday on CBS' 60 Minutes Steve Kroft explores president-elect Barack's "brain trust," Scott Pelley explores the final destinations for discarded cell phones, monitors, etc and Morley Safer speaks with pioneer Ted Turner.

Community member
Stan started his own site yesterday entitled Oh Boy It Never Ends. He's still playing around with it and has so far offered "Good for Nader" and "Stan 411" and "Robin Morgan". Also posting yesterday, Mike's "Joshua Frank, Murphy, Cocktail Weinie Norman" covers the strong and the pathetic, Marcia's "A lot including my cousin is blogging!" is a grab bag post on a multitude of topics, Ruth's "McKinney results, Doug Ireland" continues Ruth's following of election results, Kat's "Pathetic Green Party" explores the planned uselessness of a political party, Cedric's "And she smells like urine" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! TINA FEY'S A SKANK!" (joint-post) pulls a Jim and assigns Ava and I an article (joking, it falls under the topic we're already covering) and Rebecca's "gail collins is an idiot" covers the embarrassment of Collins. On the Green Party, Kimberly and Ian Wilder (On The Wilder Side) are advocating for action and not waiting around until Januray 2012 to start figuring out what to do:What next for the national Green Party? Let's send Malik Rahim to CongressThe Green Party has a golden opportunity to elect a Congressperson next month. Let's work together, in this lull after the election, to focus on a powerful strategy and a winnable race.It has created such interesting timing, that the election for Congress, District 2, in Louisiana was changed to December 6, 2008. And, we have one of our strongest Green Party candidates running in that race. In the vacuum of the November elections being over, this is a chance for green throughout the country to focus their energy in one place, on one candidate, who has the qualifications, resume and charisma to win.Malik Rahim has credentials. He was a member of the Black Panther Party. He was a founder of Common Ground, an organization dedicated to supporting poor and working class people in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Malik's story has been in a variety of national media outlets. And, Malik's work after Hurrican Katrina is a story in Amy Goodman's book, "Standing Up To The Madness." Malike gave one of the most compelling and inspiring speeches at the Green Party National Convention in Chicago this summer. (Video of his speech is: here.)

howard zinnnoam chomskyedward hermanjohn r. macarthur
tariq ali
joshua frank
mickey z.
the new york timessam daghermohammed al-obaidi
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mcclatchy newspapers
nancy a. youssefthe washington postmary beth sheridanernesto londonokaren deyoungbloomberg newsdaniel williamsalissa j. rubinthe new york times
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Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Barack the gift horse

"WIBDI: A Prism for the New Paradigm" (Chris Floyd, Empire Burlesque):
This user-friendly analytical tool provides a quick and easy way of determining the value of any given policy while correcting one's perception for partisan bias. Simply take a particular action or proposal and submit it to the WIBDI test: If Bush did this, would you think it was OK? Or would you condemn it as the act of a warmonger, or a tyrant, or a corrupt corporate tool, etc.? The just-concluded campaign has already shown us how hordes of our quondam dissidents have signally failed this test, excusing, countenancing, defending or even embracing the actions and positions enumerated below by Chris Hedges:
Sen. Barack Obama’s vote to renew the Patriot Act, his votes to continue to fund the Iraq war, his backing of the FISA Reform Act, his craven courting of the Israeli lobby, his support of the death penalty, his refusal to champion universal, single-payer not-for-profit health care for all Americans, his call to increase troop levels and expand the war in Afghanistan, his failure to call for a reduction in the bloated and wasteful defense spending and his lobbying for the huge taxpayer swindle known as the bailout...

To which we could add his bellicose saber-rattling at Iran, his promise to roll back "Russian aggression" and extend war-triggering treaty protection to an aggressive Georgian regime (which cluster-bombed its own people, as we learned this week), his advocacy of destabilizing and civilian-shredding military strikes in Pakistan, his opposition to gay marriage (and campaigning with gay-bashing preachers), and his support for extending the death penalty to cover non-fatal offenses, and so on.Any one of these positions would be roundly condemned by "progressives" if they were taken or advocated by George W. Bush -- as in fact many of them have been.
Indeed, one of the most remarkable things about this campaign is how Obama has managed to embody the deep and desperate thirst for change among millions of Americans -- hence the genuinely moving scenes of jubilation and revived hope that have greeted his victory -- while his actual positions in many if not most key areas track very closely with Bush's, if they are not actually identical with them.Take Iran, for example. Obama has taken what is regarded as a more nuanced position, holding out the promise of direct negotiations with Iranian leaders. Yet he has repeatedly stated what the outcome of these "negotiations" must be: Iran must "abandon its nuclear program." If it does not, then more and more draconian sanctions will be applied, with the clear threat of military action if these don't bring Tehran to heel. This is, chapter and verse, the precise policy followed by Bush, who has also repeatedly offered to "negotiate" with Iran as long as they agree to surrender on every point before talks begin.
And, as with Bush, Obama's stern warnings apply not only to any nuclear weapons program (which even Bush's intelligence services say Iran no longer has), but to any nuclear energy program whatsoever. Obama has repeatedly and consistently said that Iran must not even be allowed to enrich uranium, which is necessary to any nuclear energy program. (The fact that Iran is legally entitled to pursue nuclear energy development under international non-proliferation treaties which it has signed -- while nuclear-armed U.S. allies like Israel and India have not -- is of course entirely irrelevant in the discussion. The Washington hegemon decides which laws apply, and to whom, and when.)

That's who America elected. It's going to be a fun four years. First problem in Barack and Michelle's marriage and, even if she doesn't talk, her friends do and then the scandals really rock America. It's going to be four years of fun.

It will be four years of more homophobia . . . from the left, you understand. The likes of Katrina vanden Heuvel will explain why it's okay when the homophobia comes from the left. To whom? The Nation, in 2004, had a weekly circulation of over 125,000. Today? It's barely at 50,000. It's really going to sink now. It will be back to the meager 12,000 to 20,000 it was at during the Clinton years. The CIA has always kept The Nation afloat (one of those dirty secrets no one's ever supposed to) so it won't go under but it won't have any influence. It will struggle on as a cut-out for the Agency. Only more so than before due to Katrina and her Spy Daddy.

Barack's coronation may also begin to reveal the links of the left and the CIA. One of America's most untouchable subjects. They fund lefty activities. Why? Maybe we'll start pondering that? Maybe we'll start asking ourselves why so many Agency assets are passing as independent actors?

Barack's election really is a gift and we can enjoy it and use it to find out who is bought and paid for and who is independent. As if we don't know already.

Look at Barack as the gift that keeps on giving.

"Iraq snaphot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, November 5, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the empire gets a new ruler, Nouri al-Maliki claims credit, the treaty remains stalled, Iraqis are far from overwhelmed and more.

Yesterday the US elected a new ruler for the empire, War Hawk Barack Obama.
David A. G. Fischer (Dissident Voice) reports on an election night panel independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader took part in:

He goes on to contrast his campaign with that of Obama as not having any hoopla, hope or rhetoric; Ralph continues to campaign on the real issues affecting the people in spite of overwhelming odds -- he is a champion despite Obama's victory.
Along the same line and with applause, his lack of hoopla and rhetoric is still so out-of-sync with the media cartel's disinformation campaign that he was once again ignored by the mainstream. What we have here is a man who refuses to sell out and complacently surrender to the status quo, he is a man based on strong principle who perceives reality for what it is -- a sham directed by the controlling institutions of power, of which Obama is just another cog in their finely-tuned machine.
But what do we really know about Mr. Barack Obama? Here we have a candidate who received hundreds of millions in campaign donations by corporate America and Wall Street. Nader sensibly asks something I've pointed out many times, "Why are the corporations investing in Obama?" By looking at his voting record it is obvious who he supports with approbation for illegal surveillance, a permanent presence in Iraq with a potential spread to neighboring countries, offshore drilling which he used to be against, an economic bailout lacking oversight and transparency, and so forth. Where is this great change that he has been spewing forth to the public for the past twenty months? It is likely just more of what the public wants to hear, but it's apparent by voter turnout that they fail to feel the hot air blowing by them.
Part of the problem with Obama, as Nader points out, is that while Obama is pulled to the right by the corporate establishment, there are no demands being put on him by organized groups such as labor and unions to pull him the other direction and thus "make him better."

Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes this refusal to make demands on Barack as well:

We have learned that Black politicians and activist-poseurs have an infinite capacity to celebrate not having engaged in struggle with Power, and that the Black masses can be made drunk by the prospect of vicariously (through Obama) coming to power. Having failed to make even the mildest of demands on Obama in return for unquestioning support, Black misleadership vowed they would press for firm commitments on issues of importance to African Americans once Obama had passed the final hurdle. (White progressives who were similarly self-neutered during the campaign also promise to begin acting like real people's advocates, any day now...just you wait and see.) We have already learned that "Progressives for Obama" of all ethnicities, who failed to put pressure on the candidate early on, when it might have made a difference, are full of crap.

Yes, they are full of crap. Including the Agency-fronted political closet case who has already shown up with a pep-talk about how the economic crisis is a good thing, a really, really good thing! Those in the closet politically might want to check their language so they don't expose themselves by accident. But lets' move to the economy. The
San Francisco Business Times observes, "A day after the United States made history by electing Barack Obama president, the Dow Jones Industrial Average dropped 486 points Wednesday, ending at 9,139.27." The Phoenix Business Journal notes that news as well: "The election is over and the Dow Jones Industrial Average has taken a dive of nearly 500 points." No, there was no magical 'cure' nor was there going to be. Any zowie-wowie article on the election today notes in cautionary tales how things will have to be scaled back or dropped. That's your preparation for expecting nothing from the man who promised even less. Larry Pinkney (Information Clearing House) offers a list of things to expect:

In relative short order - inside the United States itself - under a Barack Obama presidency, the living conditions of the majority of Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples will continue to steadily and massively deteriorate while the corporate Wall Street barons prolong their glut of the every day people's finances, resources, hopes, and dreams. Under an Obama presidency those non Blacks who stand in opposition to Barack Obama's de facto pro Wall Street backers and their blood-sucking policies will be branded as racists and traitors, while those Blacks who oppose Obama's policies will be ignored and/or branded as fringe radicals and traitors. Thus, the horrors of the U.S. Empire will continue unabated, and in many respects, under Barack Obama, actually worsen. The blame for the deteriorating economy and continued war will of course quickly be laid by the Obama / Biden regime and the Democratic Party Republicrats on the previous Bush / Cheney regime, despite the fact that it was the complicity of the Democratic Party itself with the Bush / Cheney Republican Republicrat regime that facilitated the despicable policies and practices of the Bush / Cheney regime. The fact is that the Democratic and Republican Parties are de facto Republicrats with the objective of exploiting the majority of people and maintaining U.S. Empire abroad.After the Democratic Party Republicrats so-called election euphoria and celebrating is over, the Obama / Biden Republicrat regime will get down to the business of placing the ongoing exploitation of the every day people of this nation on fast track. The masses of Black Americans, along with the oppressed and exploited Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples of this nation will learn first hand that, notwithstanding the deceptive Obama rhetoric, exploitation nationally and internationally will be intensified. The "clash between those who want freedom, justice, equality for everyone and those who want to continue the system of exploitation" about which Malcolm X referred, will be intensified under Barack Obama, with Obama representing the interests of the oppressors. The political contradictions in this regard will also be increasingly obvious.Those so-called leftist and progressives who were and are collaborators with U.S. Empire will, for a time, try to pretend that their support of Barack Obama was not a sell out, and that they simply need more time to persuade the U.S. Empire's colored corporate emperor to do the right thing. Meanwhile, Black, Brown, Red, Yellow, and White peoples will be enduring an unprecedented rate of economic and social suffering. The anger of the people will ultimately peak and explode, as a result of having bought into false hope and raised expectations. This is precisely why the U.S. corporate government has already made military contingency plans to contain and massively quash dissention within the United States. Barack Obama will serve to provide his corporate / military masters with colored political cover for political repression in this nation; and he will have already provided a small respite of wiggling room for them in this regard. Nevertheless, as brutal reality forces the proverbial scales of blindness to drop from eyes of the masses, it will become crystal clear that the supposed "change" to which Barack Obama referred in his campaign rhetoric, was nothing more than a vicious ruse of double-speak by him, backed by his corporate and military handlers. Indeed, the emperor will be shown to "have no clothes." But what of the fate of millions of Black, White, Brown, Red, and Yellow peoples inside the U.S.? How many horrible sacrifices will have been, and will yet need to be made by the people in order to get the boot of economic blood-sucking and political repression off their / our necks?

Emperor Barack gave his victory speech in Chicago.
Gary Leupp (Dissident Voice) decodes it:

"And to all those watching tonight from beyond our shores, from parliaments and palaces, to those who are huddled around radios in the forgotten corners of the world, our stories are singular, but our destiny is shared, and a new dawn of American leadership is at hand."
In other words: Don't worry, world. The bad old days of George Bush are over.
"To those -- to those who would tear the world down: We will defeat you."
In other words: Under my administration we Americans will continue to simplistically conceptualize the existence of an enemy that is pure evil and wants to destroy the world, and imagine we can "defeat" it through the War on Terror.

Exit polls demonstrate that the economy was the number one issue, ahead of the illegal war. Going unnoticed is how Iraq was taken off the table by All Things Media Big and Small. When the faux activists of CODESTINK are protesting Wall St. -- not for the war machinery they manufacture and sell but over the economic meltdown -- and Jodi's given everything but her uterus to Barack's campaign, don't pretend anyone's being encouraged to give a damn about ending the Iraq War. To really ensure that it be a non-issue, did someone else take it off the table?
Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) reports that Nouri al-Maliki is claiming to "close aides" that he gave the election to Barack because "he took the Iraqi issue 'off the table' for Obama by endorsing his timetable during his visit to Baghdad in July." Don't be too angry with al-Maliki, CIA assets tend to face very violent rub-outs when they've exhuasted their usefulness and al-Maliki's pretty much squeezed out. al-Maliki reportedly believes he can get further concessions from Barack on the treaty between the White House and the puppet government. At the US State Dept today, Sean McCormack was asked about the treaty and the spokesperson stated that the US has not yet responded (officially) to the amendments suggested by Iraq and that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker will convey communications to al-Maliki. As for whether the amendments will fly or not, McCormack declared, "Well, again, I go back to what -- you know, what I've said and what Dana Perino has said over at the White House in terms of the bar for any changes. You know, it's a pretty high bar for any changes. But again, we'll take a look at what is suggested. We're formulating our responses. The Iraqis took some time to think through what they wanted to provide us by way of comments, and we're taking our time in providing that response back to them."

One thing Ambassador Crocker already conveyed to the Iraqi government was, "While this historic election has changed a great many things, we will also have full continuity of policy and purpose as we move through our transition."
NPR's Corey Flintoff (All Things Considered) reported that today and on the reaction of Iraqis to the election results with Abu Osama stating, "We don't know whether he'll change now that he's elected" and
Rana Sa'ad Diyab stating she's not seen any improvements in six years and "she'll wait and see whether Obama's policies bring any changes in security or her family's standard of living, but she doubts that will happen."
Hameed Kamil Hilal tells Leila Fadel and Corinne Reilly (McClatchy Newspapers), "We have seen nothing positive from any American president, and McCain and Obama are two faces of one coin, one policy." Meanwhile Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times of London) explains that it's not just Iraqis who are doubtful that any 'change' will take place, "On Iraq, the Illinois senator campaigned on a pledge to remove US combat troops within sixteen months, but some military officers privately argue that he will show more flexibility on timing after assuming responsibility for the war started by George W. Bush."

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing where the driver killed him/herself and 4 people with nine more wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing where three people were wounded and a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 1 life with three more wounded.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 police officers shot dead in Mosul.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Mosul Tuesday night and, also Tuesday night, 2 corpses discovered outside of Kirkuk.

In peace news, Cindy Sheehan ran for the US Congress from California's 8th district. She lost to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi yesterday. While others tried to hop a bandwagon and refused to challenge Democrats, Cindy had the strength to stand up.
At Information Clearing House she shares her thoughts:

This past month, I kept on saying to my supporters, staff, interns, volunteers and myself, that no matter what happened on November 4th that we could hold our heads up high and be very proud of our campaign. Until yesterday, I wasn't sure that what I said would be true, but I feel an incredibly sense of peace and pride in our accomplishments. There were so many victories over the last year that the American paradigm of "winner-take all" just doesn't fit.We moved into San Francisco a little over a year ago with less than nothing. We used savings and credit cards to open our office and sometimes to keep it open. We transformed a former "sex shop" to a fully functioning and vibrant campaign office. Our "natural base" never materialized, so we had to build a foundation in less than a few months.In August, we historically gained ballot access as only the 6th independent campaign in California history to do so. Our platform based on humane economics was in place long before the recent collapses and resultant bailouts. Our labor platform was hailed all over the world, while unions here in SF supported the corporate "rescuer" Nancy Pelosi.Cindy for Congress never once sold out our solid principles based campaign and would never sell out the voters of San Francisco like Nancy Pelosi has. Nancy Pelosi ran from my campaign and our demands to debate me and we persevered and did so amazingly well after a near total media black out and several attempts at political intimidation.We got to the end of this stage with a barrel full of integrity and a boatload of dedication and love. Dozens of activists came from all over the country to be here to help us spread our progressive, peace based message and thousands donated to help keep our campaign afloat.We have moved right through November 4th because this is a movement for peace and against corporate control of our political system. Movements can't stop, we must keep moving.

gary leupp
glen fordblack agenda report
larry pinkney
nprcorey flintoffdemetri sevastopulo
leila fadel
mcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhim
corinne reilly
damien mcelroy
cindy sheehan

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

La la la

Look at the headlines below and pay attention to the ones with times listed. All are from the same Google page. Some say there's a winner, some say there isn't.

Obama seizes command of race for the White HouseThe Associated Press - 1 hour agoWASHINGTON (AP) - Barack Obama seized command of the race for the White House Tuesday night, defeating John McCain in Ohio and building a near insurmountable Electoral College advantage as he bid to become the first black president.

Obama beats McCain in Virginia presidential vote-Fox Reuters

Obama Wins in Ohio, Dealing Blow to McCain’s Hopes New York Times

The Miami Herald - Christian Science Monitor - International Herald Tribune - Reuters all 177 news articles »

Obama's hometown giddy with prospect of victoryThe Associated Press - 43 minutes agoCHICAGO (AP) - Thousands of Barack Obama supporters in the senator's hometown gathered in Grant Park for a huge election-night rally they hoped would be a historic victory celebration.
Video: Chicago Gets Ready for Obama Rally AssociatedPress
A massive celebration in Chicago Boston GlobeBBC News - Charlotte Post - Washington Times - Chi-Town Daily Newsall 684 news articles »
Voice of AmericaBarack Obama on verge of election victory over John McCainNew York Daily News - 21 minutes agoBY HELEN KENNEDY and RICH SCHAPIRO Sen. Barack Obama holds up an "I voted" paper after casting his vote at a polling place in Chicago, Tuesday.Obama wins Iowa, site of his initial '08 victory ReutersObama has wide support among New York voters NewsdaySin Chew Jit Poh - San Francisco Chronicle - Portsmouth Herald News - The Miami

Multiple Factors Pushed Voters to ObamaWashington Post - 16 minutes agoBy Alec MacGillis and Jon Cohen Sen. Barack Obama capitalized today on a tidal wave of disenchantment with President Bush, deep worry about the teetering economy, and notable demographic shifts away from the Republican Party among young people, ...

America votes: Choosing the course for change _ and fretting about ... Los Angeles Times

Economy voters' main worry, exit polls show CNN

Boston Globe - The Associated Press - Dallas Morning News - DetNews.comall 880 news articles »

So who has won? I'd argue no one has yet. We're going to watch movies. We ordered some Mexican food and it just arrived. Around one in the morning, we'll turn on the TV and look to see if there's a winner.

For those who've forgotten, around midnight in 2000, the press had declared a winner. Thirty minutes later, the race was up in the air again.

I'd worry less about exit polls and more about votes counted.

Whatever happens, as C.I. has pointed out repeatedly, life will continue. This was not a historic election in that both major party candidates were pretty much the same.

I wouldn't worry about it.

"Iraq snapshot"
Tuesday, November 4, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the illegal war is not ending anytime soon judging by most signals, Talabani and Barzani continue to have conflict, the treaty is said to be progressing . . . to a national referendum (?) and more.

In the US voting takes place today. It does not mean life stops or that the entire world does.
Gina Chon (Baghdad Life, Wall St. Journal) writes of "Samir Ahmed, a government employee, said he had also once assumed a different U.S. administration would mean a different policy towards Iraq. The presidential race he was thinking of was between Bill Clinton and the first George Bush. Mr. Clinton won, but continue a tough stance against Iraq. Today, he expects that no matter who wins the current race, American policy toward Iraq will remain the same." Mariam Toma agrees and tells Chon, "Both of them will not withdraw U.S. forces. In contrast, maybe the will actually find another reason to stay even longer in Iraq." Meanwhile Stephen Farrell, Mudhafer al-Husaini and Abeer Mohammed (Baghdad Bureau, New York Times) did a snap-poll, "an informal snapshot of Iraqis living or working in the Green Zone. Of 200 Iraqis spoken to after they streamed out of two Green Zone exists into the 'real' Baghdad on Monday, just over a third of them wanted the Americans to leave Iraq as soon as possile while just under half wanted them to stay. The remainder offered options somewhere in between." These are Green Zoners and they do fear the fall of the Green Zone and the puppet government. They're protected while, everywhere else, Iraqis aren't so lucky.

Meanwhile Germany's increasingly pathetic
Der Speigel (which has been justifying and supporting the illegal war for sometime if you'd bothered to pay attention) runs the craked musings of Peter Ross Range who just knows Barack will win the presidency and calls for him to "revise" the 16-month 'plan' for 'withdrawal.' PeePee Ross Range is a DLC-er (Der Spiegel calls him "moderate") and he cheerleader the illegal war before it started and justified it for years and years. As late as July 22, 2005, he was whining that 'liberals' and 'progressives' needed to praise Saddam being disposed and be less criticisl ("Liberal's War" published in the DLC bible). January 8, 2004, he was writing that the US shouldn't withdraw or even "pull-back" ("Remembering the Middle Class," ibid). October 21, 2005 PeePee was whining, "Many war opponents, often still traumatized by Vietnam, are preoccupied with what invading Iraq says about America rather than what it does for the Iraqis" ("War of Conscience"). Der Spiegel's become an embarrassment but for those who know PeePee's work, it's probably worth a chuckle -- September 30, 2002, he was wondering if Germany was "Anti-American" or "Anti-Bush"? Translation, the two deserve one another.

Barack's 'plan' for withdrawal? Are we actually back to that lie? Droping back to a
Third editorial from June:

Here's the interview Panhandle Media couldn't tell you about:
Stephen Sackur: You said that he'll revisit it [the decision to pull troops] when he goes to the White House. So what the American public thinks is a commitment to get combat forces out within sixteen months, isn't a commitment is it?Samantha Power: You can't make a commitment in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008 about what circumstances are going to be like in January 2009. We can'te ven tell what Bush is up to in terms of troops pauses and so forth. He will of course not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US Senator.

When Power gave that interview, she was still his foreign policy advisor. And backing up her claims that promises weren't really promises,
here's Barack speaking to Candy Crowley June 5th on CNN when asked about his 'promise' to withdraw (combat troops):
Well, you know, I'd never say there's 'nothing' or 'never' or 'no way' in which I'd change my mind." Obviously, I'm open to the facts and to reason. And there's no doubt that we've seen significant improvements in security on the ground in Iraq. And our troops, and Gen. Petraeus, deserve enormous credit for that. I have to look at this issue from a broader perspective, though.
In April Power tells the BBC that Barack's 'pledges' and 'promises' on Iraq are non-binding and, if elected, he'll decide what to do then. June 5th, Barack echoes that to CNN. And Panhandle Media works overtime to ignore reality. And if you like being played, you'll love what they have planned.

--- End of excerpt. Get it. No 'plan,' no 'promise.' That's reality. So why is PeePee asking Barack to rethink a non-pledge? Because PeePee's audience isn't Barack, it's you. PeePee wants to soften the public up to the idea that Barack in the White House doesn't have to mean an end to the illegal war. If elected, Barack can't break what so many wrongly believe was a 'promise' on his own. He needs a lot of liars who can soften up public opinion.

There's no rush to leave Iraq or even a desire. That needs to be grasped. Iraqi General Nasier Abadi made that pretty clear during Sunday's press conference in the Green Zone. Questioned by the Washington Post's Mary Beth Sheridan as to when the Iraqis would be able to handle "their own internal security . . . how many years are you away from reaching that goal," Abadi tried to distract by listing duties before declaring, "We have no duties or missions to protect the air on the borders of the country. But in case we have this responsibility, there is a brief that -- to the minister of defense, if he ask us to -- task us with that, a reportw ent also to the Prime Minister, what are the capabilities and the army's specifics to do those duties?" Asked how many years again, he responded, "Building an aerial force, building an Army is not easy, but it's still easier than building naval and air force. The naval force, as I said before, that the first ship will come in 2009 and the fourth will arrive in . . . at the end of 2011. In regard to 200- . . . Air Force, the first aircraft we will receive in 2011 until 2015. And that depends on the support and the help that the coalition forces can secure to Iraq so we can be able to maintain and defend our airspace and territories. Without that, there will be also agreements with the neighboring countries on the security of Iraq. But it's possible that we will go with those missions without having an air force or naval force because this is a common battle, it's not just an army's duty." Setting aside the naval force and focusing only on the air, if the period they'll be taking possession of aircraft will last from 2011 through 2015, how likely is it that they will be prepared to handle their own airspaceby the end of 2011?

At the Pentagon today, spokesperson Bryan Whitman informed reporters that there was a plan in place for transition from the Bully Boy to the winner of today's election. A comparison was rightly made between LBJ and Tricky Dick. Nixon didn't end the illegal war, he only continued it. Whitman declared, "One of the important components of this is ensuring that we've identified and highlighted some of the key department events, actions, milestones that a new administration will face in its first 90 days."

Turning to the topic of the Status Of Forces Agreement masquerading as a treaty,
CNN reports Sami al-Askari (Nouri al-Maliki adviser) states that the White House "has signaled to Iraqi officials that it is seriously considering proposed changes to an agreement that would set the terms for U.S. troops in Iraq". Al Jazeera notes that al-Askari has no official response from the White House and that Iraq's Sunni vice president Tareq al-Hashemi is advocating that the treaty be put up for approval to all Iraqis (not just the Parliament), "This agreement is an important and sensitive subject . . . Iraqis should have their say." Khalid al-Ansary, Missy Ryan and Kevin Liffey (Reuters) add that al-Hashemi is indicateing that the agreement be placed on the ballot with "provincial elections scheduled to take place by the end of January." At which point, who would be in Iraq? The United Nations mandate that governs the occupation expires December 31st at which point, if no new agreement has been reached, there is no legal authority for foreign forces to be on Iraqi soil. The White House has attempted political blackmail insisting that they will cut off this and that if Baghdad won't sign off on the treaty. Richard Tomkins (UPI) notes, "Iraq, with no air control capability at present, nonetheless would have to take over air traffic control and also assume total responsibility for guarding its borders." Al Bawaba notes that today's "Baghdad edition of the London-based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat said the Americans had agreed to three of the five latest changes proposed by Iraq. It said, quoting unnamed sources, that Washington had dropped the clause that authorises Baghdad and Washington to seek an extension for retaining troops in the cities beyond 2009 and in the country beyond 2011." Maria Appakova (UPI) explains:

However, Americans are in no hurry to raise this question at the U.N. Security Council. Staying in Iraq in accordance with an international mandate is one thing, but having a strategic partnership treaty and receiving dividends from it is quite another matter.
Yet Washington has no choice -- it cannot take offense at Iraqis and pull out its troops from Iraq. It won't be able to attach the blame for withdrawal to Russia, since Moscow does not mind Americans continuing their presence there for a while, and Russia is not in favor of an upsurge of terror in the region, after all.
[. . .]
[US} House Armed Services Committee Chairman Ike Skelton stated that he is "deeply concerned" with what he heard. Skelton is referring to the agreement's provisions that recently leaked to the press, which include, for example, the Iraqi government's ability to put American servicemen and private security companies' personnel on trial for cirmes they committed while on leave and outside military bases.
It must be said that if this provision really has been included in the draft, it is quite a victory for the Iraqi government.

Gulf Daily News notes continued conflict between the Baghdad government and the Kurdish one with the country's President Jalal Talabani stating the US cannot set up bases anywhere in Iraq "without the approval of the central government" in Baghdad which was a strong rebuke to KRG president Massud Barzani who stated last week that, should the US and Baghdad not sign off on a treaty, the US could just set up bases in the Kurdish region. The tensions between the Kurdish region and Iraq are never not on display. Last Wednesday, at the White House, Barzani was being translated when he cut in to correct the translator:

Translator: And in terms of SOFA, we do believe that it is in the interest of the Iraqi government --

Massud Barzani: Iraqi people.

Translator: -- it's in the interest of this country and we have been and we will continue to support it and support its ratification.

Hoda Abdel-Hamid (Al Jazeera) notes that the US popularity in the Kurdish region is sinking (after years of sucking up) and quotes Barzan Mohamed stating, "America was not honest with the Kurds. They've let them down in the past and they only follow their interests. They can leave the Kurds any time and I don't trust having an alliance with them or even friendship. Yes, they rid us of dictatorship, but they came here to control the region and the Middle East." Iran's Press TV states that Talabani made a point to praise Iran Sunday for their help with Iraq's security and that Talabani also cited Syria and that, on the treaty, Talabani "said that Iraq is a unified country and no one has the right to object the Iraqi government's decision, should it refuse the security deal. Talabani was referring to a recent interview by Massud Barzani, the president of the local government of Iraq's Kurdistan during which he said that the Kurdistan region would provide the U.S. with military bases if Baghdad refuses to sign the security deal with Washington."

We've noted the Iraqi Air Force twice in today's snapshot. 1) It's not due to be ready until 2015 at the earliest and 2) the US is using the lack of one to threaten Baghdad into signing off on the treaty. For those not grasping how "shambles" is too mild a word to be applied to IAF, let's drop back to October 24th. M-NF trumpeted "
Iraqi Air Force celebrates another milestone." Sounds good, right? Yeah, as long as you don't go beneath the headline. If you do, you find: "The Iraqi Air Force surpassed another milestone Oct. 22 when an all-Iraqi flight crew took to the air in the King Air Intelligence, Surveillance and Reconnaissance aircraft for the first time in support of an Iraqi Special Operations Forces training exercise." Five years after the start of the illegal war (six this March) and that's where the IAF is? They've just finished their first "all-Iraqi flight crew" flight?

Moving on to some of today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad sticky bomb wounded three people (all family members), another Baghdad sticky bombing reulted 1 person being killed and seven more wounded, a third Baghdad sticky bombing claimed 1 life and left five wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing resulted in 4 deaths and eight people being wounded and another Baghdad bombing claimed 7 lives with eighteen people wounded. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) updates the seven dead by 4 for eleven and notes that the bomb was "hidden in a car at a bus stop" (wounded rose to twenty-one). Reuters notes a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left one person wounded and another Mosul roadside bombing resulted in five people being injured and a Mosul "suicide car" bombing left four police officers injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 Iraqi police officer was shot dead in Baghdad (three more wounded) and 1 "Lieutenant Colonel working for the ministry of interior affairs" was shot dead in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 police officers was shot dead in Mosul while 2 civilians were shot dead in different incidents.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses were discovered in Nineveh Province.

Michael Birnbaum (Washington Post) reports that DoD "announced yesterday the death of Pfc. Bradly Shane Colemn of Mratinsville, VA, who had been serving in Iraq" and whose October 29th death is under investigation. His death brings the toll to 14 for the month of October.

Scott Fontaine (News Tribune via Seattle Post-Intelligencer) reports that the Fort Lewis Stryker's "3rd Brigade is getting ready to make its third deployment to Iraq next year." This as Will Dunham (Reuters) notes, "More than 2 million U.S. children have had parents deployed to fight in Iraq since 2003 or in Afghanistan since 2001."

Katharine Q. Seelye (New York Times) points out, "The fact is, there is plent of mystery -- nad there is only one poll that counts." It is election day and anything can happen. Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) will live blog the election tonight beginning at 8:00 p.m. EST. So check out her site which will go beyond the D and R to include other letters in the alphabet. Including "G" (Wilder is a Green.)
Starting with independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader and his running mate Matt Gonzalez.
Team Nader notes:

We're having a party!
A Nader/Gonzalez party!
Tonight, we celebrate.
If you are a skeptic, you might be asking -- what, pray tell, are you celebrating?
To which we answer --
The power of the people.
The power of you -- our loyal supporters.
Against all odds -- and in the face of a major media blackout -- together, we have given the American people a choice today.
For the Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda.
With eight months of hard work, we have put that agenda on the ballot in 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Ralph has campaigned in all 50 states.
And together we have organized a network of American citizens to press onward for single payer health insurance, a living wage, a cut in the bloated, wasteful military budget, for a reversal of U.S. policy in the Middle East -- everything the Nader/Gonzalez campaign stands for.
So, today, if you haven't already done so, vote with pride for Nader/Gonzalez.
And then, no matter what the outcome tonight, celebrate!
With the coming disintegration of two party domination of our politics, you have chosen to be on the winning side of history.
So, celebrate tonight!
And while celebrating, follow Ralph's results on the net or television.
(Unfortunately, most of the major news outlets apparently will not include third party and independent candidates in their result totals -- but Fox News' map apparently will (fair and balanced?) -- county by county and nationwide.
Check it out here.
And finally, only 500 copies left!
Let's move them today!
Get one of the last copies now!
It's autographed by Ralph!
And is bound to be a collector's item!
Of course, we're talking about the 40th Anniversary edition of Unsafe at Any Speed -- Ralph's classic expose of the American automobile industry.
And we have only 500 copies left!
If you
donate $100 or more today -- up to the legal maximum of $2,300 -- we will ship to you one of the last copies we have of this classic -- autographed by the man himself.Let's move the last 500 copies today -- and hit our goal of $4 million by midnight tonight.

Today Nader held his
one-word press conference and Jimmy Orr (Christian Science Monitor) provides an excerpt:

What is your opinion of Obama? "Clever."
What is your opinion of Palin? "Developing."
How much money did you raise for your campaign? "Insufficient."
Why do you keep running for president? "Justice."
Will you be elected president? "No."
When do you think you will win? "Sometime."
What should Bush do on his last day in office? "Surrender."
Will Obama be able to provide tax cuts to 95 percent of the population? "Impossible."
What is your opinion of the media? "Servile."

John McCain is the Republican presidential candidate, Sarah Palin is his running mate. John and Cindy McCain have four children and Meghan McCain is the one who blogs online (at and has also
written a book for children about her father) and she notes today:

What a long strange journey it's been. Dad I love you so much and am so proud to be your daughter every day. If you need to know why you should vote for Dad,
click here. Thank you to everyone for everything... And yes, we will be posting about election night. You didn't think I would leave my loyal readers hanging, did you? Now get out and vote!

McCain - Palin will hold their election night party in Manchester, New Hampshire at Jillian's (50 Phillippe Cote Street) starting at 8:00 p.m. Of Govenor Palin, Scott Conroy (CBS News) reports:

After campaigning coast to coast on Monday, Sarah Palin caught a few winks on a red-eye flight to her home state, where fresh snow glistened in the early-morning moonlight as the temperature hovered around 14 degrees. Palin voted early this morning inside the tiny City Hall building where just six years ago she presided as mayor of this once unknown frontier town outside Anchorage. Proudly donning her "I Voted Today" sticker, the Alaska governor delivered a short statement to reporters and took a few questions before she heads to Phoenix to find out whether she'll become the first female vice president of the United States. It's been a whirlwind couple of months for Palin, who has fallen under perhaps more scrutiny than any vice presidential candidate in the nation's history. But as usual, she portrayed an almost mystifying sense of calm, considering all that she has been through in such a relatively short time.

Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) notes, "Green Party Presidential Candidate Cynthia McKinney will be spending Election Night with California Congressional Candidate and Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan. There will be live streaming here starting at 8pm."

iraqgina chonthe wall street journal
the new york timesstephen farrell
abeer mohammed
katharine q. seelye
michael birnbaumthe washington postthe los angeles timesned parker
scott conroycbs news
kimberly wilder