Saturday, November 15, 2008

No that wasn't part of the peace movement

"'Forget it, Jake, It's Chinatown': The Banality of Bill Ayers" (Steve Diamon, Global Labor and Politics ):

And he was just as ambiguous about when they met. Today Ayers said it was at the same time that Obama was active on issues related to job loss and education. Well, that would mean the late 1980s when Obama was a community organizer working with laid off steel workers and also on the same school reform efforts that Ayers helped lead.
Cuomo did not pursue the ambiguity and Ayers was content to let it sit there, unresolved.
But the larger impression made is of the utter political idiocy of Bill Ayers. He still wants to argue that his violent tactics as a founder and leader of the 70s cult Weather Underground somehow contributed to the peace movement at the time.

No, Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn were not part of the peace movement. They left it and moved towards formenting an armed struggle in the streets of the United States. Vietnam was not the issue and for those who can't graps it, look at the targets for bombings. Some had to do with Vietnam, some had to do with Chile, with a whole host of issues. So let's drop the "He was protesting Vietnam!"

I was protesting and many others were. We were not also setting bombs.

I do not have anything against Bill or Bernardine. But do not say they were part of the peace movement because Weather Underground was not the peace movement.

We can debate the ethics and outcome of what they did and I know them and like them so I would be more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt in many cases. However, I will not allow that Weather was part of the peace movement and, during Vietnam, very few people confused them with the peace movement.

Tom Hayden today wants to pretend the two were related; however, back then he did not see them as the same thing. As someone who resisted the 'lure' of Weather in real time, I am fully aware that something similar is on the horizon and those who confuse the realities of Weather intentionally are putting people's lives at stake. I hope they're prepared to live with it.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 14, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the treaty gets vocal supporters and foes, Blackwater finds out the life of a mercenary isn't all fun and games, and more.

Earlier this week,
Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported, "The State Department is preparing to slap a multi-million dollar fine on private military contractor Blackwater USA for shipping hundreds of automatic weapons to Iraq without the necessary permits. Some of the weapons are believed to have ended up on the country's black market, department officials told McCarthy, but no criminal charges have been filed in the case." Today Brian Ross and Jason Ryan (ABC News) add, "A federal grand jury in North Carolina is investigating allegations the controversial private security firm Blackwater illegally shipped assault weapons and silencers to Iraq, hidden in large sacks of dog food, has learned" and ABC's consultant John Kiriakou (formerly CIA) states, "The only reason you need a silencer is if you want to assassinate someone." Tod Robberson (Dallas Morning News) wonders why Blackwater continues to get tax payer money, "I guess it wasn't enough that Blackwater gunmen slaughtered Iraqi civilians on the streets of Baghdad and helped undermine the U.S. war effort in Iraq. . . . And ye, its current $1.2 billion in federal contracts curiously seem unaffected. If the American public only knew how cozy the relationship is between State Department personnel and its biggest contractors, they'd be appalled." Though there have been many slaughters, September 17, 2007 was the one which recieved the most attention AP reports today that that slaughter of 17 resulted in prosecutors drafting an indictment against six employees of Blackwater Worldwide". Today Robert Brodsky (GovernmentExecutive) notes New America Foundation's October report calling for the utilization of the State Dept's Bureau of Diplomatic Secuirty and not mercenaries/private contractors "to protect U.S. assets and personnel" and he also points out "An August Congressional Budget Office study found that roughly $1 out of every $5 the U.S. government has spent in Iraq has gone to contractors. The budget analysts said there is roughly one contractor on the ground in Iraq for every member of the military, although most are not American and only a fraction are private security contractors."

At the US State Dept, spokesperson Robert Wood declared of the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement, "We certainly hope to get that deal. We think it's a good agreement and the Iraqis will have to take it through their political process. And we'll see what goes -- you know, see where it goes from there." Where it goes next is an expected Sunday vote.
Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) reports that Jawad al-Bolani, Minister of the Interiror, is endorsing the treaty and quotes him stating, "The security agreement is important for Iraq to ban and stop foreign influence and interference. The Iraqi people need this security agreement." BBC noted in June 2006 that al-Bolani declared (upon being voted into his post), "The interior ministry will preserve Iraqi blood." A laughable claim since the thugs of the Interior Ministry are infamous for spilling blood (and for expelling Iraqis from their legal homes).

al-Bolani is one of the Iraqi officials targeted by the US State Dept and it appears to have paid off. (Rumors are he sees himself as the next al-Maliki.) Supposedly, there is one more Iraqi official among those currently pressured that the State Dept thinks they can publicly flip before the Sunday meeting. al-Bolani by himself has very little impact (Kurds have never taken to him and Sunnis don't believe he's done much of anything to tackle the Ministry's assaults on Sunnis while most Shi'ites in the government see him as too sectarian) so the hope is that one or more flipping publicly ahead of Sunday's meeting could create a wave leading into the meeting that would put pressure on others to support the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement.

UPI reports that KRG president Massoud Barzani has declared, "If the pact is not signed, the situation in the country may deteriorate to the point of a civil war." In a live Washington Post online chat yesterday, Dana Priest declared of the treaty, "Still a stand-off with the clock ticking." In the most recent update, Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki declared today "that he now supports a security agreement with the United States, a Shiite Muslim legislator [Sami al Askari] who's close to the premier said Friday. . . This would represent an about-face for the Shiite prime minister, who was a hard-line holdout throughout the negotiations and had publicly criticized early drafts of the agreement."

Rania Abouzeid (Time magazine) states Moqtada al-Sadr "threw down the gauntlet: he threatened to resume attacks against U.S. troops if they don't leave Iraq 'without retaining bases or signing agreements" al-Sadr is quoted declaring, "I repeat my demand that the occupier leave the land of our beloved Iraq unconditionally, without retaining bases or signing agreements. If they remain, I will support the resistance . . . as long as their weapons are directed exclusively against the occupier." Iran's Press TV adds, "Moqtada al-Sadr has called on supporters to gather next week for weekly Friday prayers in a central Baghdad square to voice their protest to the pact." Robert Craig (Indianapolis Star) notes that the White House wants to "maintain more than 58 military bases indefinitely" and wonders, "So why would Iraq renew SOFA if it is apparently anxious to rid itself of occupation? Is this because the U.S. is holding $50 billion of oil money hostage in the New York Federal Reserve Bank? Why not simply release this money to help rebuild Iraq and futher its independence and national integrity?" Moqtada al-Sadr wasn't the only cleric issuing a call not to sign the treaty. Hamza Hendawi (AP) reports Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani has "vowed to intervene if he concludes that a proposed agreement governing the presence of U.S. forces infringes on national security." At Real News Network (video), Paul Jay addresses the obstacles to the treaty and other dimensions.

While the White House attempts to extend the US engagement in the illegal war,
AP reports that Bulgaria is leaving (155 soldiers) and quotes their prime minister, Sergei Stanishev, declaring yesterday the departure was necessary because "the presence of the Bulgarian military contingent on a humanitarian mission in Iraq ends on Dec. 31." And they aren't the only ones leaving. Russia's Novosti reports Azerbaijan's parliament voted today to pull their "150 peacekeepers" out of Iraq by an 86 to one vote ("The troops are currently protecting a hydroelectric power station in the town of Al-Hadida, which supplies Baghdad with half of its electricity.") David Williams (The Daily Mail) cites Iraq's National Security Adviser Muwafaq al-Rubaie as the source for the assertion that the UK will pull all troops out of Iraq "by the end of next year" (4,000 "mostly based near the southern city of Basra"). Deborah Haynes (Times of London) expands on the story by quoting al-Rubaie's statements to their paper, "By the end of next year there will be no British troops in Iraq."

Meanwhile, Iraq has set January 31st as the date for provincial elecitons. (Unless they're delayed again.) Today Staffan de Mistura, UN Secretary General's Special Representative for Iraq, informed the UN Security Council, "The Government of Iraq should be commended for the progress so far achieved. It will now be called upon to deliver services, security guarantees, conditions for free and fair elections, credible and independent institutions and to resolve tensions among its various communities." de Mistura continued, "
The forthcoming elections are rightly viewed as an opportunity to establish a more inclusive sectarian balance and shape a new political landscape and are the most significant political event in the coming months. It is therefore all the more important to ensure that they be perceived as free and fair and that the Iraqis, with the support of the United Nations and the international community, be able to ensure respect of operational timelines, with an IHEC free of political pressure." The UN notes on provincial elections, "According to the report, the passage of the provincial election law on 24 September was a milestone, as it instituted an open-list system and ensured female representation on governorate councils. In addition, the Independent High Electoral Commission demonstrates the ability to mobilize a nationwide voter registration update without serious security or logistical problems. However, there is still potential for election-related violence and instability, as witnessed recently in Mosul. It is, therefore, essential to organize the elections in a secure environment and in a transparent manner." In addition, they also point out, "He and several other speakers also expressed concern about the recent incursion into Syria which had resulted in civilian deaths. That incursion was a violation of the United Nations Charter."
Violence? The wire services are silent. China's
Xinhau notes, "Two American soldiers died in separate non-combat related incidents in Iraq, the U.S. military said on Friday." Both are noted here: The US military announces, "A Multi-National Division – Baghdad Soldier died as the result of a non-combat related cause at approximately 3:50 a.m. Nov. 13 in Baghdad." And the US miliary announces: "A Coalition force Soldier died as a result of a non-combat related cause at approximately 11:52 a.m Nov. 13 in western Iraq." But we'll note them again because the announcement were made late. The two deaths bring the total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4197.

In US presidential news,
Bruce Dixon (Black Agenda Report) begins the first of
a multi-part series on holding the incoming administration accountable:

It is not an exaggeration to say that Barack Obama's career since 2004 has been all about soaring promises to capture ardent voters followed by lowering standards to please his biggest financial contributors. An early foe of the Iraq war and Patriot Act during his US Senate
campaign, Obama voted to continue one and pass the other once in office. Obama's pledge to withdraw from Iraq has more loopholes by now than swiss cheese. His promise to filibuster warrantless eavesdropping and immunity for telecom lawbreakers morphed into
a vote for both, and his campaign trail promise to pursue Dr. King's unfinished quest for economic justice flipped into lobbying the
congress in support of the multi-trillion dollar no-strings-attached
Wall Street bailout.
The first appointments of the new regime are truly disturbing. Illinois
Rahm Emanuel, the new White House chief of staff is a
Democratic neocon who helped strongarm NAFTA, welfare reform
and the Telecom Act of 1996 though congress for Bill Clinton. He
served on the board of Freddie Mac while it was busy inflating the housing bubble, and was
an early and unrepentant advocate of invading Iraq and bombing Iran. As head
of the DCCC, responsible for recruiting and funding 2006 Democratic c
ongressional candidates, Emanuel used corporate contributions to try to
knock more than a twenty antiwar Democrats out of primary races in favor of
pro-war Democrats. Confronted with choices between pro-war Democrats and
pro-war Republicans, voters rejected most of Emanuel's picks, costing
Democrats as many as ten Congressional seats.
Larry Summers, early front-runner to succeed Bush Treasury secretary Henry Paulson, was happy to be Enron's eyes and ears at Treasury, according to a handwritten note to his pal Ken Lay you can find at Summers famously remarked that third world countries were "
underpolluted". His
solution to this "problem" is encouraging them to sell their share of "rights" to poison the planet's oceans and air to wealthy western corporations through a system like the present futures and commodities exchanges. Both the outgoing Bush and the incoming Obama administrations are enthusiastic advocates of
this "market-based" approach. So much for a Change We Can Breathe In.

On the same topic,
Media Lens' "Obama: Wiping the Slate Clean -- Appearance And Reality In The Relaunch Of Brand America" (Dissident Voice):
It was a dawn of the dead - Blair left behind him the almost unimaginable horror of Iraq and Afghanistan.
A rare poll conducted by Ipsos last January of 754 Iraqi refugees in Syria
found that "every single person interviewed by Ipsos reported experiencing at least one traumatic event in Iraq prior to their arrival in Syria."
UNHCR estimated that one in five of those registered with the agency in Syria
over the previous year were classified as "victims of torture and/or violence."
The survey showed that fully 89 per cent of those interviewed suffered depression and 82 per cent anxiety. This was linked to terrors endured before they fled
Iraq – 77 per cent of those interviewed reported being affected by air bombardments, shelling or rocket attacks. Eighty per cent had witnessed a shooting... and so on.
John Pilger was a lonely voice in 1997 warning that Blair was a dangerous fraud, a neocon in sheep's clothing. As Pilger later pointed out, the media could hardly plead ignorance:
Blair's Vichy-like devotion to Washington was known: read his speeches about a new order led by America. His devotion to Rupert Murdoch, who flew him and Cherie Booth around the world first class, was known. His devotion to an extreme neoliberal Thatcherite economics was known…
Over the past two weeks -- one decade and three wars later -- the same media have been insisting, as one, that US president-elect Barrack Obama is another "new dawn". A Guardian leader
They did it. They really did it. So often crudely caricatured by others, the American people yesterday stood in the eye of history and made an emphatic choice for change for themselves and the world…
Today is for celebration, for happiness and for reflected human glory. Savour those words: President Barack Obama, America's hope and, in no small way, ours too.
In the Guardian's news section, Oliver Burkeman
described the victory as "historic, epochal, path breaking". But there was more:
"Just being alive at a time when it's so evident that history is being made was elating and exhausting."
In 2003, the Guardian's foreign editor, Ed Pilkington, told us:
"We are not in the business of editorialising our news reports."
Someone forgot to tell Burkeman, indeed the entire Guardian news team. At times like these, the media's claims to balanced coverage seem to belong to a different universe. Over the last two weeks, the public has been subjected to a one-way delusional deluge by the media. The propaganda is such that comments made by independent US presidential candidate, Ralph Nader, appear simply shocking:
What we're seeing is the highest level of resignation and apathy and powerlessness I've ever seen. We're not talking about hoopla. We're not talking about 'hope'. We're not talking about rhetoric. We're not talking about 'rock star Obama'. We're talking about the question that is asked everywhere I go: 'What is left for the American people to decide other than their own personal lives under more restrictive circumstances year after year?' And the answer is: almost nothing.
Nader says of Obama: "This is show business what you're seeing." The crucial point: "Obama doesn't like to take on power."

MediaChannel has opened MEDIA STORE for the holidays: "The Economy may be crashing, but we as a culture still believe in a season of giving. That's why MediaChannel and GlobalVision are opening an online store, as others close theirs, to share books and films we believe offer food for the mind and make for valuable gifts. Buying through us helps support MediaChannel. Your support in this season means alot to us. Our last fundraising drive has helped keep us alive! Your continuing help will keep us online and on the issues we all care about."
Public broadcasting notes.
NOW on PBS explores green collar jobs:Can something as common as building materials represent an opportunity to create jobs, help the needy, and save the planet? This week, NOW looks at two "green" projects keeping furniture, paint, cabinets, and other building supplies out of landfills and getting them into the hands of those who need them most. Will they be devastated by the economic meltdown, or do they signal a possible way out?Based in the Bronx, New York, Greenworker Co-operatives aims to set up worker-owned green businesses. The first of these is Rebuilders Source, a store that sells recycled and donated building materials at affordable prices--items that would otherwise have ended up in a landfill."My vision now is a completely green South Bronx," says Bronx-born entrepreneur Omar Freilla, the founder of Greenworker Co-operatives, "with businesses throughout the area that are owned and run by people living in the area together."On the other side of the country, in Southern California, Materials Matter matches donations of furniture and high quality building materials with individuals, organizations, and homeless shelters that use the materials to literally rebuild lives. But the faltering economy has had an impact."We have to decide whether the value of that donation will be worth the cost of transportation," says Materials Matter co-founder Alison Riback on her blog. "[The economic downturn] put a huge dent in our 'always say yes to a donation' philosophy."This show is part of Enterprising Ideas, NOW's continuing spotlight on social entrepreneurs working to improve the world through self-sustaining innovation.

NOW on PBS begins airing tonight in most PBS markets, check local listings.
Washington Week also begins airing on some PBS stations tonight (and later throughout the weekend on others). Gwen's joined by Greg Ip (The Economist), Dan Balz (Washington Post), Janet Hook (Los Angeles Times) and Karen Tumulty (Time magazine) and topics will include the proposed auto bailout, Barack, Bully Boy transitioning to civilian war time (okay, Karen won't really discuss that, but she should) and Congressional races. On Barack, CBS' 60 Minutes gets the first extended television interview with him since the election (Steve Kroft interviews him) and that airs this Sunday.That's public broadcasting TV, public broadcasting radio includes WBAI and we'll note these programs airing Sunday and Monday on WBAI:Sunday, November 16, 11am-noonTHE NEXT HOURFormer WBAI News Director and Dan Rather writer, Paul Fischer's latest newsical in the series "What's the Freqency, Kenneth?" This time, Paul goes one joke over the confess his lifelong addiction to drug songs.Monday, November 17, 2-3pmCat Radio CafeFeminist author Vivian Gornick on her latest book of literary criticism, "The Men In My Life," downtown icon Edgar Oliver on "East 10th Street Self-Portrait," a play by and about him; and playwright Stephen Belber on his newest work, "Geometry of Fire,"about an investment-banker-turned Marine sniper returned from Iraq and a Saudi-American who just wants to get laid. Hosted by Janet Coleman and David Dozer." Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FMStreaming live at WBAIArchived at Cat Radio Cafe

Turning to utter trash. May 28, 2008, Amy Goodman declared on Democracy Sometimes!:In other campaign news, Senator Obama says he's accepted Senator Hillary Clinton's explanation for controversial comments invoking the 1968 assassination of Robert F. Kenney to justify her continued stay in the Democratic presidential race. In an interview in South Dakota Friday, Clinton cited Kennedy's assassination as an example of a contest continuing through June.

Hillary: My husband did not wrap up the nomination in 1992 until he won the California primary somewhere in the middle of June, right? We all remember Bobby Kennedy was assassinated in June in California. You know I just, I don't understand it.

Goody then stated: "Clinton explained she was trying to cite a historical precedent for a June presidential contest." Trying to? She was asked that as Goody well knew (but Goody is the trash who chose to publish in LARRY FL**T's H**TLER MAGAZINE). As
Jake Tapper noted May 23 (five days earlier than Goody) the editorial board (South Dakota's Argus Leader) asked her "about calls for her to drop out." And Hillary responded "This is part of an ongoing effort to end this before it's over. I sure don't think it's over." A comment Goody CHOSE to leave out because SHE"S A LIAR. After "I don't understand it," Hillary says "And there's a lot of speculation about why it is." Why she's being pushed to drop out. But to include that wouldn't have fit GOODY LIAR's non-stop attempts to sell Barack.

There's a reason Bernardine Dohrn's always been the partner in charge of that marriage. Bill Ayers is the Barbara Bush of that pair and only more so with each passing year. Liar Goody brought them on Democracy Now and she never asked about Prarie Fire.

In May, Goody wanted to distort Hillary's remarks and make it appear she was trampling on the memory of RFK. Today, Goody brought on Bill and Bernardine and never asked them about the dedication in their book Prarie Fire to Sirhan Sirhan (RFK assassin).

Bill Ayers is on a publicity blitz that included Good Morning America today. I know Bill and Bernardine and we're not going to let lies stand. First off Bernardine, you know not to speak without knowing the facts. So let's start with your error:

I think my favorite -- our favorite moment of this whole election campaign -- and there were certainly, really, many unprecedented and moving movements of the last year and a half -- was when, at the height of the primary campaign, Senator -- then-Senator Obama was asked, "Who would Martin Luther King support? Would you support you or Senator Clinton?" And without his frequent pauses in thinking, he said, "He wouldn't support either of us. He's be out in the street building an independent social justice movement."

No, no, Bernardine. No, Barack's not MLK ("Would you support you or Senator Clinton?"). No, Barack didn't say what you said he did. No, it wasn't Hillary and Barack alone on stage.
CNN debate, Wolf Blitzer the moderator. He started with John Edwards, "And, Senator Edwards, let me start with you. If Dr. Martin Luther King were alive today, unfortunately, he's not, but if he were alive today, why do you think he would or why should he endorse you?" Edwards replied than Wolf's full question to Barack was, "Senator?" Barack didn't say "either of us," he said MLK wouldn't "endorse any of us" and Barack did not say "He's be out in the street building an independent social justice movement." in that debate. You may wish he had and certainly it would help your friends if he had; however, he DID NOT SAY THAT. You know facts matter. That was embarrassing. It was all the more sto for Democracy Now! which didn't catch your multiple mistakes.

Hillary: Well, there is no doubt that change comes from the extraordinary efforts of the American people. I've seen it in my life. I'm sitting here as a result of that change. It is also true -- and Dr. King understood this. He campaigned for political leaders. He lobbied them. He pushed them. He cajoled. He did everything he could to get them over the line so that they would be part of the movement that he gave his life for. There are people sitting in this audience right now, John Lewis, Jim Clyburn, they were part of those kinds of efforts, going so far as they could to make it clear that we had to live up to our values and our ideals. And then there was a meeting of morality and politics. And the political leaders finally responded.

That's the closet anyone came to making the remark Bernardine wrongly attributes to Barack ("He's be out in the street building an independent social justice movement.").
Bill declared, "We were asked by our state senator if we would hold a coffee for him some, I don't know, twelve or fifteen years ago, and we did . . ." Bill, you're lying. You're lying because Alice Palmer has already stated she did no such thing and you're lying because I know you and I know who talked Barack up to me back when he was running for the US Senate. It wasn't Alice Palmer (whom I've never met), care to get honest Bill? (Those late to the party on this tale shared here and at
Elaine's site since 2005 -- Elaine and I went to the private, big money fundraiser for the 'anti-war' candidate with the intention of writing checks for the maximum donation only to discover an 'anti-war' candidate who did not believe in withdrawal because 'the troops were there'. Once Elaine and I clarified that point, we immediately left without donating a cent.)

Here's Bill rambling on about Weather Underground (Bernardine was the leader, not Bill, of WU and that's something the right refused to get correct because they were blinded by their own sexism):

But on the other hand, I don't expect somebody to today endorse what we did forty years ago or even to understand it. To me, nothing that he said is either, you know, false or wrong or terrible. The other thing I guess I would say about it is, we would disagree on our evaluation of what went on forty years ago, but we disagree on many things, so it's not surprising.

Bill, many of us disagreed with you in real time. And, no, you were not of the peace movement. I fully understand what Weather did and I have no need to condemn you, Bernardine or anyone else for it. But I also have no reason to lie about it.

You chose the road of violence. I've often said, "Weather was a violent response to a criminal government that used violence." But Weather was a violent response. The US government behaved in a criminal manner. I don't deny it. But, no, Bill, the peace movement was not Weather and many disagreed with you and some, like Toad Gitlan, have insisted Weather's violence destroyed the left. (I disagree with that and have always disagreed with that.) What Weather did was not about ending the illegal war and let's not pretend it was. It was an attempt to bring revolution into the streets (which is why you lived in working class neighborhoods despite your own financial circumstances) and it was an armed revolution. But they wanted to set the stage for the armed revolution and that wasn't about Vietnam so stop lying. When Bernardine made her ridiculous statement about Sharon Tate's murder, that wasn't about Vietnam either. So stop the lies.

Well, you know, I would say calling those acts despicable forty years ago, I guess I would disagree with. But more to the point is that it's an irrelevant--it's an irrelevant issue in this campaign.

No, it's not irrelevant. Domestic terrorism is what Weather engaged in. There's no need to deny that and you've certainly never denied it one-on-one.

Bill then needs to lie hard and starts talking about the sixties. Weather's actions were in the chronological seventies. Bill's attempting to couch his argument on grounds he can't stand on and he knows it.

On the other hand, I think that it's a sad thing that we've never really had a truth and reconciliation process about the war in Vietnam, about the black freedom movement and what happened. And that means, among other things, that we haven't learned the lessons of invasion and occupation. We haven't learned the lessons of what happens when people get involved in direction action and struggle, and both the advances that can be made and also the limits of those struggles. We haven't learned the lessons that might make for a more peaceful, more just future. I think that's the problem.

Well if you believe that, maybe you should have worked for such a process. But you didn't. You were underground and active in Weather at that time, remember? And long after US troops left Vietnam, you were still hiding out. If you think people need to get honest, well go for it, sport. Start cataloguing your own actions. Nixon's dead. Henry Kissinger should only have a few more years left. But if you want 'honesty,' then start offering some.

Repeating, Weather was a violent response to a violent and criminal government. It's not surprising, it's not shocking. But it's not the peace movement and shouldn't be passed off as such. Toad Gitlin and The Nation magazine disgraced themselves during 2008. Both had long called out Bill and Bernardine's actions in Weather and suddenly they wanted to act like they never had. I don't find the actions shocking. I can make a political defense for them. I cannot and do not confuse Weather's actions with the peace movement. I don't think they destroyed the left or the peace movement. But I don't lie about what Weather did. And consider how often (and how loudly) Bill laughed a few decades back at the couple mocked as "The Mork & Mindy of the Left" (we'll be kind and not name the couple), it's a sad moment to see him do just what he accused "Mork" of -- minimize his actions for respectability.

iraqthe washington posternesto londonodana priestmcclatchy newspaperswarren p. strobel
leila fadelmedia lensjohn pilger
bruce dixon
Brian Ross
deborah haynes
dan balzjanet hookwbaicat radio cafejanet colemandavid dozervivian gornick60 minutescbs newskaren tumultywashington weeknow on pbspbs
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nprall things considered

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Crazy Marjorie Cohn and Condi gets an award

"Scattered Families" (Johanna Berrigan, CounterPunch):

"Grandma,” as she is lovingly called by all of us at House of Grace, is a refugee from Iraq. The House of Grace provided hospitality for her and her daughter when they arrived from Amman, Jordan this past summer. Grandma is seventy-two years old and spunky. She has a great sense of humor. She is self possessed, soulful, and seems to carry the wisdom of the ages within her being. One can sense a certain dignified strength and gentleness of spirit at the same time. Dressed all in black with her hijab draped loosely about her, I have the feeling that I am in the presence of a wise old sage. Whenever I see her, I am greeted effusively, “habibi,” (my dear) , a warm embrace, kisses on both sides of my face - more than once. Prayers of blessing and gratitude in Arabic generally follow this show of affection. Ibraham, smiling, translates the prayers and tells me quietly that Grandma says that I remind her of her daughter; the one who died in the war along with her only son in a roadside bombing. Only then do I realize how much she is really carrying.Our guests from Chad, Ibrahim and Hawa, who sought asylum due to terrible violence in Chad, are also receiving hospitality at House of Grace. Because they speak Arabic, they have become essential to our ability to offer hospitality for Iraqi refugees. They have experienced what the Iraqis are experiencing. We don’t know what we would do without them. The evening that Grandma and her daughter arrived, I mentioned to Ibrahim that I felt so badly for them because some Iraqis have family in this country, but they do not. They have no support. They are all alone. Ibrahim spoke softly and said, "don't worry, Johanna, we will be the family now."
Among the many horrors of the tragedy of this war, destroyed, displaced, scattered families are a sad reality. There are an estimated 2.7 million people displaced within Iraq, and more than 2 million more living in neighboring countries, primarily Jordan and Syria. Most, if not all, refugees left Iraq because of the violence; some have received direct threats, others have had family members, friends, and neighbors kidnapped or killed. Whether the Iraqi people have "resettled" in this country, are waiting in Jordan or Syria for resettlement in another country, or are displaced inside Iraq, all of them have experienced terrible trauma, loss, and continue to face many difficulties.

Iraqi refugees are the largest refugee crisis in the world and what I'm trying to figure out is (a) do we care so little about refugees or (b) is this just another sign of the lack of Iraqi coverage? It's one of the two because think of how little press attention it receives.

Sunny and I were laughing about a message C.I. left for me today. "Marjorie Cohn. Big scream. Loud scream. Tell Elaine I'll call back." Because of sessions on my end and C.I.'s speaking schedule, we're forever playing phone tag.

Marjorie Cohn is the president of the National Lawyers Guild and, until this year, a sane woman. Now she doesn't even qualify for semi-sane. At her worst, she was dashing off columns at the behest of the Barack Obama campaign. Marjorie denied taking her talking points from the idiot Keith Olbermann which only leaves the Barack campaign. So Marjorie was offended, so offended, by Hillary's historical reference and had to go all Crazy Ass on the country and insist that Hillary was calling for Barack's murder. How dare Hillary! How dare she! Note history! Said Marjorie PRETENDING TO GIVE A DAMN ABOUT THE DEATH OF RFK.

Pretending because Crazy Ass Cohn doesn't give a damn about RFK and never has. If she did, where was her column this summer calling out Bill Ayers & company for dedicating Praie Fire to RFK's assassin (among other people)?

Huh, Crazy Ass Cohn? Where was that column?

Never wrote that one. Wouldn't write that one. Wouldn't dare.

Would never call out Bernardine because Marj lives in fear of Bernardine who controlled NLG in the sixties (as a student, yes) and whom Marj knows would -- to this day -- go upside Marj's head. Poor, pathetic Marjorie Cohn.

"Obama Spells New Hope for Human Rights" is Crazy Ass Cohn's latest piece of nonsense. No, Marjorie, NO HOPE. That's what he spells. Read "Barack Obama on human rights, 'Screw 'em'."

Women: Remarks at the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year AwardTue, 11 Nov 2008 22:00:00 -0600

Remarks at the 2008 Glamour Women of the Year Award

Secretary Condoleezza Rice

Carnegie Hall

New York City

November 10, 2008
SECRETARY RICE: Thank you. Thank you very much. Well, what a night. I first want to thank Barbara Walters. She is an inspiration to us all. I’ve watched her bring very, very strong people to tears in her interviews, and that’s something that I much admire. (Laughter.)
I want to thank Glamour Magazine. I’ve read Glamour Magazine since I was 12, and I continue to do so. It’s a great way for young women to come to terms with who they are and to look to a vision of who they might be, and so it’s a great magazine and it’s only gotten better over the years. It’s 70 years old; I’m sure it’s going to have another 70 great years. So thank you, Glamour.
I also want to say how honored I am to be in the company of the women with whom I’m receiving this award today. I know some of them, and many of them I’m looking forward to meeting. Tyra Banks, are you out there? Boy, am I looking forward to meeting you. (Laughter.)
I want to say, too, to the young women in the balcony that there is something that unites the women that are being honored tonight. Yes, some of it is courage. Yes, some of it is the willingness to do things that no one expected. Yes, it’s hard work and perseverance. But it’s also that every one of us has found a passion, and the most important thing that you can do in life is to find a passion.
Now, as Barbara noted, my passion was supposed to be concert piano. I could read music before I could read. My grandmother was a piano teacher, and at age three she taught me to read music. And frankly, I thought that when I was standing here at Carnegie Hall, it would be to play the piano. (Laughter.)
But that clearly wasn’t going to work out, and one day I walked into a classroom in international politics, having decided that a music major was not for me. And it was taught by a Soviet specialist, a man named Josef Korbel, who, ironically, was Madeleine Albright’s father. And Dr. Korbel opened a world to me about the Soviet Union and Russia, and thank goodness my parents never asked why a nice little girl from Birmingham, Alabama might want to know anything about the Soviet Union.
And so I would say to the young women in the balcony and to all of you, when you find your passion, you’ll realize that you didn’t find it; it found you. You’ll realize that it might have been something that nobody planned for you, that didn’t even seem particularly right for you, but it’s what you loved. And then you can go on to try to make a difference in the world on the basis of that passion.
And I’ve been so lucky. I’ve had the chance to represent this great country around the world, and I love this country. I love it because of its sense of possibility. I love it because nothing is ever impossible. I love it because we overcome old wounds, as we did on Tuesday, to elect the first African American president of the United States. And for a little girl from Birmingham, that’s a special thing.
And I love this country, too, because it tries to give back. And you’ll find that when you’re out there and you think you’re inspiring people, that really they’re inspiring you. And so whatever I might have been able to do for the women in that camp in Darfur, they did much, much more for me, because for the rest of my life, I will know what true courage is.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
Released on November 12, 2008

I am not a Condi fan, obviously. But C.I. passed that on and we both have friends at Glamor. I will not assume that's how C.I. won the bet on this year's handouts. I will be kind and assume C.I. was just a really good guesser. I mean Condi Rice, getting an award. Good guess. (I'm joking. Actually, we both knew there was a chance Condi would get an award.) It's a nice speech. Good for Condi for giving a nice speech. I will say that. Also C.I. sent me some phone photos and that was a nice dress (or blouse and skirt -- they're two different kinds of material but they look like they are a dress and I'll assume they are unless I hear otherwise). A nice dress and Condi had her hair done wonderfully. Never say I went eight years without giving the administration even one word of praise.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, November 12, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, 2 or 4 US soldiers are dead, Iraqi refugees who make it to Michigan continue to struggle, truth tellers John Pilger and Paul Street show the play 'left' how it's done, and more.

Faisal Sidiq and Zoe Magee (ABC News) report that 4 US soldiers were shot dead in Mosul -- reportedly following "an argument" with an "Iraqi soldier, Barazen Mohammed, and an American colleague" which led Mohammed to allegedy shoot dead the 4 and then he was shot dead. The deaths bring to 4197 US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war with 7 for the month thus far. Gregory Viscusi and Caroline Alexander (Bloomberg News) notes that "at least two" US soldiers are dead and argue that it wasn't "clear what prompted the incident and whether the Iraqi soldier killed himself or was shot by American forces" and they quote US Sgt Chris Stagner stating, "The situation is fluid and we are investigating." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) cites US Navy Commander Abram McGull stating the US service members "were dismounted, going back to their convoy" and that two are dead and six are wounded. Tim Cocks (Reuters) notes two US service members dead and adds, "A local morgue said it had received the body of the Iraqi soldier, riddled with bullets." Sam Dagher (New York Times) adds, "While the deaths of the [2] American soldiers were confirmed by the United States military, the circumstances surrounding the Mosul shooting remained in dispute." James Hider (Times of London) offers, "The Iraqi Interior Ministry said the soldier opened fire after he had been publicly slapped by an American colleague. Many Iraqi men, especially in the military, are intensely proud and conscious of any perceived slight to their honour."

George Frey (AP) reports that US army Sgt. Michael P. Leahy Jr. will move straight to a court-martial following his decision to waive his Article 32 hearing into the deaths of four Iraqis who were shot dead while they were bound and blindfolded and then their corpses were dumped in a canal. Frey notes, "Leahy is the fifth of seven soldiers implicated in the incident to face a judge since August." Last week Seth Robson (Stars and Stripes) provided an overview of the cases and he noted, "Leahy is also charged with premeditated murder, conspiracy to commit premeditated murder and obstruction of justice in the deaths of the four detainees in March or April."

We'll come back to the topics of violence and justice but this morning, the United Nations World Food Programme issued this press release entitled "
New Report Says Iraq Food Security Better But Situation Still Volatile:"Baghdad, 12 November 2008 -- The number of people without adequate access to food in Iraq has fallen dramatically, according to the findings of a joint assessment carried out by the Iraqi Government and the UN World Food Programme (WFP).The assessment -- which shows a significant improvement in food security - found some 930,000 people were without adequate access to food last year, down from around four million in 2005. The Comprehensive Food Security and Vulnerability Assessment (CFSVA) was carried out in late 2007 in collaboration with the UN Children's Fund (UNICEF), the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and the World Health Organization (WHO), as a follow-up to the last food security survey in mid-2005. "We can give a cautious welcome to these figures," said Edward Kallon, WFP Country Director for Iraq. "I say cautious, because 930,000 is still far too many for a relatively wealthy country. Moreover, there are a further 6.4 million people who would slide into food insecurity if it were not for safety nets, such as the Public Distribution System (PDS)." Under the Government-run PDS, every Iraqi is entitled to a monthly food basket to fulfill their nutritional needs. However, frequent shortfalls and delays in the distribution of certain commodities have made it difficult for vulnerable households to manage their monthly food needs. As well as surveying the food security of 26,000 people across the country, the CFSVA also examined the nutritional status of 24,000 children under five. It found an improvement in national acute malnutrition rates and little change in chronic malnutrition rates. However, in five districts, stunting rates among children were described as alarming. "This report gives us crucial insights into the current state of food security in Iraq," said Dr Mehdi al-Alak, chairman of the Central Organization of Statistics and Information Technology of the Iraqi Ministry of Planning. "And that, in turn, is vital for the country's economic recovery, reconstruction and improvements in basic services." "For the first time, we have a comprehensive report covering all parts of the country. This makes it an extremely valuable tool for working out policies and strategies in the future," said Dr. Jamal Ameen, the head of Kurdistan Region Statistics Office. WFP is currently providing food assistance to 750,000 of the most vulnerable among the estimated 1.5 million people displaced inside Iraq since February 2006, who do not have continuous access to a PDS ration because they are unable to register in the places where they are currently living. Kallon attributed the reversal of declining food security to increased economic activity across the country, stimulated by a marked improvement in security and the humanitarian efforts of the international community. "But the situation remains volatile and any deterioration could undermine the whole process," he said. The report recommends continued food assistance to the most vulnerable in collaboration with the Iraqi government's efforts to reform the PDS. It calls for support to initiatives to improve mother and child nutrition and caring practices, scaling up micronutrient programmes and providing food for education in the poorest areas, with a particular emphasis on girls' school enrolment and attendance.

Related, as noted in yesterday's snapshot,
Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reported Syria refused to allow a World Food Program ship to unload rice "at the country's main port" due to "the percentage of cracked rice in the cargo" (according to a Syiran official). The rice was intended for some of the estimated 194,000 refugees from Iraq currently living in Syria. Staying with the topic of refugees, Barbara Ferguson (Arab News) reports on the process for Iraqis who make it to the United States, "Once in the US, for example, refugees must over time reimburse the US government for the cost of their plane ticket, usually well in excess of $1,000. Though some are given small stipends, they lament that they start life in the US already in debt. In the US, many new arrivals say life hasn't improved much. Many subsist on food statmps, housing supplied by refugee services, and get whatever medical care they need from Medicaid. . . . The immediate resettlment -- finding a house, giving three months' worth of cash assitance -- is the easy part. The hard part comes afterward, when the money has run out, the economy is still bad and affordable is hard to come by." At the White House today, spokesperson Dana Perino said the Bully boy was "very well aware of" Michigan's 9% unemployment rate. NPR's Jamie Tarabay (Morning Edition) reported yesterday on the Iraqi refugees in Michigan and notes that "the economy is so bleak that the State Department no longer wants to allow Iraqis to settle in Michigan unless they have immediate relatives already living there. Iraqi engineer Raed Jabro has been looking for a job in Detroit for four months now and told Tarabay, "It's not easy to find a job now." Rawa Bahou is an Iraqi widow living in Detroit with her three young children and she explains that after leaving Syria (where she and her family were refugees for three years), she was settled in Atlanta despite having family in Detroit, "We stayed in an apartment they rented for us. I didn't go out. I closed the door, rang my in-laws to come get me." The city's Chaldean federation is headed by Joe Kassab and he makes clear that the refugees are not putting a strain on any government system, "Those who aren't working, their families are supporting them. They are not a burden on the government or the state. They are a clannish people. They live among each other, and if I lose money, I have my cousin -- my ungle going to help me." Of all Iraqi refugees, Marc J. Sirois (Pakistan's Daily Star) notes the US has "been dowright stingy, for instance, about helping to care for hundreds of thousands of Iraqi refugees." Johanna Berrigan (CounterPunch) reports on the refugees who've sought shelter in Syira and Jordan. Of a 2007 trips, she writes, "Throughout the trip, the works of war came vividly to life in the stories and sorrowful eyes as each person spoke. They eagerly and openly shared with us their experiences of the war in Iraq, the circumstances under which they were forced to flee, the indignities, uncertainty, and suffering that they continue to endure. We spent time with individuals and families whose lives have been utterly devastated by the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The Iraqi people are barely eking out an existence in these countries were they cannot claim residence and don't know when or if they will be resettled to a third country. One man expressed it rather poetically, yet tragically, 'we cannot touch the sky, we cannot touch the earth, we are nowhere, we are in limbo without hope, all we want is peace.' Neither Jordan nor Syria is a signatory of the 1951 UN Convention on Refugees which guarantees certain minimal rights. Niether government refers to the Iraqis in their countries as 'refugees,' but rather as 'guests.' Both countries are concerned that the Iraqi refugess will become a long term presence."

Hamid Ahmed (AP) reports a Baghdad car bombing claimed 4 lives today (fifteen more wounded) and it was "the third consecutive day of morning rush hour blasts in the Iraqi capital" which also included a roadside bombing that left seven wounded while, in Mosul, two Iraqi Christians (sisters) were shot dead outside their home and their mother was left wounded. Louise Ireland (Reuters) notes, "In Wednesday's incident, gunmen killed one woman outside her home, then stormed the house, killing her sister and wounding their mother." Sam Dagher (New York Times) identifies one sister as Lamai Subaih Daoud (and the mother of three young children) and notes the other was twenty-three years old.As the report released Monday by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon noted (this is the link, click on language of choice -- such as "English" -- and remember it's PDF format):Starting in August, attempts at intimdation aginst Christians in Mosul were reported with a dramatic increase in violence in the first two weeks of October. Over 2,200 families, more than 10,000 individuals, have reportedly fled their homes and most have sought temporary shelter in the Ninawa plains, leading my Special Representative to publicly express concern and strongly condemn the killing of civilians on 12 October. The development comes at a very sensitive time, and against a backdrop of heightened political tensions regarding the unresolved issues of minority representation in the provincial elections and disputed internal boundaries. Didn't puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki swear the assaults had resulted in stronger measures to ensure protection? Some of the over 2,000 families have returned to the area and it appears some may flee for their own safety again.
In other violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that left seven wounded, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 2 lives (ten more wounded), another Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people, another Baghdad car bombing that claimed 12 lives and left at least sixty more people wounded, a Mosul car bombing at the home where the 2 sisters were shot dead which resulted in three police officers being wounded (the bombing followed the shooting), a Kirkuk sticky bomb that wounded four people, a Mosul car bombing that wounded one Iraqi soldier and a Mosul roadside bombing that left one person wounded. Reuters notes the Kirkuk sticky bomb targeted (and wounded) "Christian plitician Ashur Yalda" (and also wounded two of his bodyguards).


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 person shot dead in Irouba.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

At the US State Dept today, deputy spokesperson Robert Wood was asked of the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agrement and he responded, "My understanding is that the Iraqis are studying the text, and we await to hear back from them. We think it's, you know, a good agreement that serves both countries' interests. China's
Xinhua quotes Ali al-Adeeb speaking to the Iraqi press on the treaty and stating, "Washington's response over the Iraqi proposed amendments on Status of Forces Agreement only have some positive points, but it seems not enough for the Iraqi side"; and they quote Iraq's Minister of Finance Bayan Jabr Solagh stating, "The cabinet will meet either on Saturday or on Sunday to review the last version of the SOFA draft and then will vote." People's Weekly World Newspaper quotes Iraq's Communist Party secretary of the central committee (and Iraqi MP) Hamid Mejaeed Mousa stating, "Our party is seeking, with others, to amend the agreement, because it is unacceptable in Iraqi society in its current draft. It will also not pass in the Parliament in this format, and we will be the first to reject it. . . . There has to be an agreement that ensures the evacuation of the foreign troops . . . their evacuation cannot take place by total rejection. It must be regulated by an agreement between the two sides. In all countries, regardless of the situation where there are foreign troops, their exit does not take place by only ignoring mutal dialogue and talks, but through an agreement. What matters, therefore, is the content of such an agreement, and what the principles and basis were for concluding it. That is the correct approach." Real News Network files a report on the treaty:

The Iraqi government has made more demands for more changes to the Status of Forces Security Agreement with the United States. The government of Prine Minister Nouri al-Maliki had already demanded changes to the agreement last month and last week the US sent an amended draft proposal back for approval. But even with the US acquiescence to Iraqi demands on Tuesday, Iraqi government spokesman Ali Al-Dabbagh told the London based newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, "The US reply to the Iraqi amendments is not satisfactory and there are many points that still need clarification and amendment." The agreement must be approved by the Iraqi parliament before the 31 December 2008 deadline of the U.N. mandate that allows US troops to operate legally within Iraq. Without an agreement the US would have to go back to the Security Council to get an extension.

The report includes an analysis by Gareth Porter whose work at IPS we've noted often [such as "Witnesses Describe Ballot Fraud in Nineveh" (IPS) from November 2005.] Real News Network is always video and usually text as well.

While the treaty remains iffy, one thing was approved today. The
Saudi Gazetter reports al-Maliki's cabinet signed off on the $67 billion 2009 budget and that it now goes to the Parliament (which will ratify or turn thumbs down).

At the State Dept today Wood also noted that Tayyip Recep Erdogan, Turkey's Prime Minister, was in the US for an economic meet up with the White House and that Secretary of State Condi Rice will be meeting with him during the visit. Turkey and northern Iraq are in continous conflict and it is a rare day when the Turkish military's airplanes are not bombing northern Iraq. Whether that topic will figure into any talks or not is not being dicussed. Another Iraqi neighbor is in the need.
Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reports that despite the US assault on Syria October 26, the Syrian government has decided it will go through with a planned conference on November 22nd. The conference has invited Iraq, its neighbors, the US, the UK and others.

On the change of emperors in the US,
Paul Street (Black Agenda Report) weighs in with a must read and we'll excerpt this from it:

An old friend used to be a very smart Marxist and was an early member of SDS -- a real New Leftist. She refused to be given -- yes, refused to be given -- a copy of of my very careful and respectful book on the Obama phenomenon. "I can't read that," she said. Some of the names on the back of the book (Adolph Reed Jr., Noam Chomsky, and John Pilger) are former icons of hers (she introduced me to the writings of Adolph Reed, Jr. in the mid-1990s.) but now she's in love with Obama. "It's the best thing that could happen," she says about his election. She's repudiated her radical past and agrees with centrist American Enterprise Institute (AEI) "scholar" Norman Ornstein's recent ravings on how "the left" must not press Obama for very much right now (Ornstein's AEI-funded admonitions have recently been broadcast again and again across America's wonderful "public" broadcasting stations ("N" PR and "P" BS) because of, you know, "the economy" and all.
Paul Krugman in the New York Times (a left-liberal Obama critic during the primary campaign) says there's "something wrong with you" if you weren't "teary-eyed" about Obama's election. Yes, numerous other radicals and I need to be put under psychiatric care because we didn't cry over the militantly bourgeois and openly imperialist Obama's presidential selection.
We have the increasingly unglued white anti-racist Tim Wise screaming "Screw You" to Obama's harshes radical critics -- this after recklessly charging racism against working-class whites and Hillary Clinton supporters who had any issues with (the racially conciliatory) Obama.
[. . .]
The local bookstore, run by progressives (left-liberal Edwards supporters during the Iowa Caucus), is willing to sell my book but "too scared" to have an author event.
Few if any of these people have bothered to read a single solitary word of Obama's blatantly imperial, nationalist, and militarist foreign policy speeches and writings. And my sense is they never will. They do not care about such primary sources in the ongoing history of the Obama phenomenon.
For the last two years talking to many liberals and avowed "progressives" I know about Obama -- who I picked to be the next president in the fall of 2006 (I thought he was too simultaneously irresistible to both the power elite and the liberal base not to prevail) -- has been like talking to Republicans about George W. Bush and the invasion of Iraq in 2003 and 2004; no room for messy and inconvenient facts.
I am hearing people of color identify with the occupations of Afghanistan and Iraq in ways that would be unimaginable without Obama. This may be the worst thing of all.

Paul Street's book is
Barack Obama and the Future of American Politics [Link takes you to] Independent journalist John Pilger (at Dissident Voice) continues his truth telling:

No serious scrutiny of this is permitted within the histrionics of Obama-mania, just as no serious scrutiny of the betrayal of the majority of black South Africans was permitted within the "Mandela moment." This is especially marked in Britain, where America's divine right to "lead" is important to elite British interests. The once respected Observer newspaper, which supported Bush's war in Iraq, echoing his fabricated evidence, now announces, without evidence, that "America has restored the world's faith in its ideals." These "ideals", which Obama will swear to uphold, have overseen, since 1945, the destruction of 50 governments, including democracies, and 30 popular liberation movements, causing the deaths of countless men, women and children.
None of this was uttered during the election campaign. Had it been allowed, there might even have been recognition that liberalism as a narrow, supremely arrogant, war-making ideology is destroying liberalism as a reality. Prior to Blair's criminal war-making, ideology was denied by him and his media mystics. "Blair can be a beacon to the world," declared the Guardian in 1997. "[He is] turning leadership into an art form."
Today, merely insert "Obama". As for historic moments, there is another that has gone unreported but is well under way -- liberal democracy's shift towards a corporate dictatorship, managed by people regardless of ethnicity, with the media as its clichéd façade. "True democracy," wrote Penn Jones Jr., the Texas truth-teller, "is constant vigilance: not thinking the way you're meant to think and keeping your eyes wide open at all times."

the washington posternesto londonojohn pilger
hussein kadhim
mcclatchy newspapers
the new york timessam dagher
morning edition
james hider
gareth porter

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Miss Bully Boy Regrets . . .

"Bush: 'I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said'" (Alexander Mooney, CNN):
"I regret saying some things I shouldn't have said," Bush told CNN's Heidi Collins when asked to reflect on his regrets over his two terms as president. "Like 'dead or alive' and 'bring 'em on.' My wife reminded me that, hey, as president of the United States, be careful what you say."
Bush was also criticized in 2003 for his answer addressing insurgents in Iraq.
"There are some who feel like that the conditions are such that they can attack us there. My answer is, bring 'em on," he said then.
On Tuesday, the president also referenced the moment aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln on May 1, 2003, during which he declared an end to major combat operations in Iraq.
"They had a sign that said 'Mission Accomplished.' It was a sign aimed at the sailors on the ship, but it conveyed a broader knowledge. To some it said, well,
Bush thinks the war in Iraq is over, when I didn't think that. But nonetheless, it conveyed the wrong message."

Isn't that something? He's almost out the door and suddenly has some regrets. I remember him being asked in a 2004 debate to name a mistake and he just couldn't seem to think of one. Does anyone else remember that?

Now he's almost out the door and he wants to try to soften up public opinion -- the same public opinion that will find him leaving office with the lowest approval rating of any president since they started polling. Yes, his approval rating is even lower than Tricky Dick Nixon's. He is a failure and now he wants to talk mistakes?

I'm not sure if that's the most hilarious thing or if it's when he tells CNN that he has an outline for a book he wants to write? Anyone else get the idea that as soon as they move to Highland Park (friends of C.I.'s swear Highland Park's where they move in 2009), Bully Boy's going to give Laura a carton of Lucky's and say, "Go write my book for me."

I do not see him writing a book. Spell check cannot help him when the words he uses are made up/self-created.

I hope you read Trina's "The Common Ills" and I'm mentioning it again because I'm about to put in a recipe (she generally provides a recipe each week).

"1948: Green Goddess Salad" (New York Times Sunday Magazine, p. 56, 11-09-08):
This recipe appeared in an article in The Times by Jane Nickerson. It comes from "The California Cook Book," by Genevieve Callahan
1 clove garlic, minced
1/3 cup of mayonnaise
1 tablespoon white-wine vinegar
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
2 teaspoons minced chives
6 anchovy fillets (in oil), drained and finely chopped
1 tablespoon oil from the anchovy tin
Cracked pepper
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 large head romaine, washed and thoroughly dried.

1. Place the garlic in a large salad bowl. Using a whisk, blend in the mayonnaise, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, chives, anchovies and anchovy oil. Add cracked pepper to taste. Let stand at room temperature for an hour to help meld the flavors.
2. Just before serving, add the parsley and half of the romaine leaves, torn into bit-sized pieces, to the bowl. Toss until the dressing is well distributed and coats all of the leaves. Add the remaining romaine leaves as needed and toss until completely coated with the dressing. Serves 4 to 6.

Green Goddess is my favorite salad -- as Mike noted in 2007 (I'm linking to the week, I don't have time to go through and find the specific entry). Amanda Hesser writes an article detailing the history of it (also in this past Sunday's NYT magazine). It was very interesting to hear of the history. Such as, "The Green Goddess salad was made famous at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923 as a tribute to George Arliss, the star of the play 'The Green Goddess'."

The article had me curious about more history re: the recipe. So I searched online and really could only find a Wikipedia entry:

Green goddess is a salad dressing, typically containing mayonnaise, sour cream, chervil, chives, anchovy, tarragon, lemon juice, and pepper. Before the advent of ranch dressing, green goddess was possibly one of the most popular salad dressings in the West Coast of the United States.
The dressing is named for its green tint. The most accepted theory regarding its origins points to the
Palace Hotel in San Francisco in 1923, when the hotel's executive chef wanted something to pay tribute to actor George Arliss and his hit play, The Green Goddess.[1] He then concocted this dressing, which, like the play, became a hit.
This dressing is a variation of a dressing originated in France by a Chef to Louis XIII who made a Sauce Au Vert (Green Sauce) which was traditionally served with 'Green Eel' - Refer to Larousse Gastronomique Page 1272.
In the early 1970’s, salad dressing maker
Seven Seas produced a bottle version of this dressing. It is still made in limited quantities, although the company has since been purchased by Kraft Foods. It is sold in online outlets like The Vermont Country Store and Wal-Mart. Maker of natural salad dressings and sauces, Annie's Naturals also manufactures an ovo-lacto-vegetarian variant of the original dressing called Organic Green Goddess Dressing and a vegan creation of their own similar to the original called Goddess Dressing, which is made with tahini.

That will be it for me tonight.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, November 11. 2008. Chaos and violence continue, attempted land-grabs continue, the treaty is still in a holding pattern, and Katrina vanden Heuvel preps her comedy act.

Today Iraq's cabinet met for six hours during which they were to address the issue of the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. However,
AFP reports that they dispensed with the treaty quickly and quotes the Minister of Science and Techonology Raid Jahid Fahmi explaining, "The council of ministers will wait until we have a complete translation in Arabic of the American proposal and have consulted legal advisors before making a final decision." Despite this, the US remains publicly upbeat. AP quotes an e-mail from a US Embassy official (unnamed) which informs them, "We understand the Iraqi government is continuing to study the agreement text. We believe that an agreement can be reached that meets the needs of both parties." While Iraq decides to wait and the US tries to appear optimistic, Baghdad attempts to reassure its neighbors. Sana Abdallah (Middle East Times) reports, "Iraq's National Security Minister Shirwan al-Waeli, who delivered a message to the Arab League from Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki outlining the security pact with the United States, said the accord contains 'basic content that no violations are undertaken from Iraqi soil against any neibhoring, Arab or friendly country, and it does not undermine Iraqi sovereignty'." That was already a fear on the part of some neighbors before October 26th. Following that day's US attack on Syria, it's only become more of a fear. Sara Flounders (Workers World) explains of that attack which killed 8 Syrians, "It is a violation of international law, the UN Charter, and U.S. law, specifically the War Powers Act." Brooke Anderson (San Francisco Chronicle) observes, "Syria has demanded that Washington apologize for the strike and has threatened to cut off cooperation on Iraqi border security. The government has also ordered all foreign staff of the American Language Center and American Cultural Center in Damascus to leave the country, and postponed a Nov. 12 meeting of a joint Syrian-Iraqi committee in Baghdad to improve troubled relations." Xinhua notes that Hoshyar Zebari, Iraq's Foreign Minister, has "paid a surprise visit to Syria" today "as tension between the two neighbors rose after a U.S. cross-border raid killed eight Syrians last month." While there, he again repeated the claim that Iraq will not allow itself to be used as a base for attacks on its neighbors.

Khaled Yacoub Oweis (Reuters) reports Syria refused to allow a World Food Program ship to unload rice "at the country's main port" due to "the percentage of cracked rice in the cargo" (according to a Syiran official). The rice was intended for some of the estimated 194,000 refugees from Iraq currently living in Syria.

Iran is another neighbor and
Fars News Agency reports Iraq's Ambassador to Iran Mohammed Majeed al-Sheikh met with Iranian MP Heshmatollah Falahatpishe who told the ambassador that "Iraq must not turn to the strategic territory of the United States and what the agreement must be geared to is paving the way for stabilizing an independent Iraqi state."

Today is Veterans Day and Survivor Corps has started
Operation Survivor: "The traumatic effects of war, left unaddressed, will have far-reaching negative consequences for service members, their families, and their communities. Based on our ten years of global experience helping survivors of conflict overcome trauma and give back to their communities, Survivor Corps founded Operation Survivor to provide the same kind of life-changing support to American veterans and service members."

And IVAW's co-chair
Adam Kokesh will also be noted here. Kimberly Wilder (On The Wilder Side) is noting the following:Tomorrow, Wednesday, Nov 12th is the first date, when one of the demonstrators, an IVAW member from D.C., Adam Kokesh, will have his day in court. It is Adams' trial. If you are off work, please, please come. It will be difficult to get enough people out here in Long Island on short notice. These veterans and demonstrators are worthy of support. And, it will be important, but difficult, to get a crowd out for all 15 of them, on 15 different days.Please spread the word:Subject: Please come to court in Nassau County on Wed, Nov 12th at 8am to support the Hempstead 15 from the Hofstra DemoSubject: Hempstead 15 plead not guilty while cops defend brutalizing veteransIt was a sad day for Nassau County, but a proud one for veterans and activists nation-wide when the Hempstead 15 plead not guilty Nov. 10 in the Nassau County District Courthouse to charges of disorderly conduct while a crowd of nearly 100 supporters cheered them from in and outside the building.Video of the court support demo is here:

Returning to tensions in Iraq,
Ed Johnson and Bill Varner (Bloomberg News) report the United Nations has warned the provincial elections scheduled for January 31st "may trigger more attacks" and the reporters note UN Secretary-General delivering a report to the UN Security Council Monday in which he termed "the security gains 'fragile'."
Michele Montas handled Monday's UN briefing in NYC and she stated that Iraqi ministries no longer provide the United Nations with fatality information. She also noted Ban Ki-moon released a report and that he states the provincial elections " represent the most significant events in the coming months, as they can advance political dialogue, establish representative provincial councils and empower community leaders to meet the needs of local citizens in cooperation with the Government of Iraq. At the same time, he warns, there is potential for election-related violence and instability." Take "he warns" out of the previous quote and that's page 14 of the Secretary General's report (item 55). The United Nations report is entitled [PDF format warning] "
Report of the Secretary-General pursuant to paragraph 6 of resolution 1830 (2008)." The report covers a wide range of topics involving gains and things still needed. Regarding elections, it notes:
Following intense negotiations, the Council of Representatives adopted the provincial election law on 24 September and the Presidency Council ratified the measure on 7 October. The law was amended on 3 November to include provisions for minority representation in Baghdad, Basra and Ninawa. Provincial council elections are now scheduled to take place in early 2009 in 14 of the 18 governorates in Iraq. Starting in August, attempts at intimdation aginst Christians in Mosul were reported with a dramatic increase in violence in the first two weeks of October. Over 2,200 families, more than 10,000 individuals, have reportedly fled their homes and most have sought temporary shelter in the Ninawa plains, leading my Special Representative to publicly express concern and strongly condemn the killing of civilians on 12 October. The development comes at a very sensitive time, and against a backdrop of heightened political tensions regarding the unresolved issues of minority representation in the provincial elections and disputed internal boundaries. [. . .] On 26 October, United States forces from Iraq launched an attack on a house in the village of Sukkariyah in the Syrian Arab Republic. I expressed my deep regret over the loss of civilian lives and I called for regional cooperation to solve issues of common concern, including border security. The situation in the region is fragile and we therefore must stay focused on initial positive steps towards regional dialogue. And regarding Kirkuk and minorities, we'll note this from the report:During the reporting period my Special Representative and his political and electoral teams faciliated the negotiations on the provincial election law between the major political party blocs, the Presidency Council, members of the Council of Representatives and the President of the Kurdistan Regional Government. Following the passage of the election law, engagement with the parties continued with a view to their reconsidering the issue of minority representation in the provincial councils. An amendment addressing this issue was passed on 3 November. My Special Representative met with key leaders from the Christian, Yezidi, Shebek and Sabean Mandean communities to reassure them of the continued engagement of the United Nations on the issue of minority representation. The provincial election stipulates special arrangements for Kirkuk Governorate, whereby a committee comprised of seven representatives (two Members of Parliament each from Kirkuk's Arab, Turkmen and Kurdish components and one Christian representative) is to submit a consense report to the Council of Representatives by 31 March 2009 on (a) mechanisms for sharing administrative and security powers and civil service positions in Kirkuk; (b) a review of violations against public and private property within the Governorate of Kirkuk before and after 9 April 2003, with the Government of Iraq guaranteeing the correction of those violations in accordance with the laws applied in Iraq; and (c) an examination of all data and records related to the demographic situation including the voter registry. The committee's findings will be binding recommendations for implementation by the Independent High Electoral Commission. The committee's mandate concerns the issues that lie at the epicentre of what has so far been irreconcilable Kurdish, Arab, Turkmen and Christian claims on the future administrative status of Kirku. UNAMI is ready, should it be invited, to provide advice and assistance to the committee.
Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) notes that "world attention has focused on the battle to control oil-rick Kirkuk"; however, "the strip of small villages connecting Sinjar to Khanaqeen has turned into a powder keg as Kurdish and Arab parties compete for the loyalties of the minorities. Both sides are using economic incentives, intimidation, detention and in some cases murder." Fadel focuses on Yazidi Murad Kashtu who has been taken into custody by Kurdish forces three times (twice he was beaten while in their custody) while threatening him over his work "with an Arab party in territory that the Kruds covet."
Asi tells Fadel, "Any man who is not with them (the Kurds) -- and especially not with the party (the Kurdistan Democratic Party) -- cannot live in the area because he will suffer, and for this reason I think all of us will leave the area."

Staying with violence but dropping back to
yesterday's Baghdad bombings, Anwar J. Ali and Katherine Zoepf (New York Times) report the "synchronized triple-bombing" claimed 28 lives according to the Ministry of the Interior and that is and the "suicide attack in Baquba on Monday, seem to be part of a rise in violence after a relatively quiet few weeks here. . . . The Associated Press counted at least 19 bombings in Baghdad this month as of Sunday, compared with 28 for all of October and 22 in September." Mary Beth Sheridan and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) describe the scene: "Walls define much of this historic city -- slabs of concrete erected by U.S. soldiers or residents that have turned neighborhoods into mazes aimed at frustrating attackers. Only recently, as security improved, did someone wedge open the barriers by Karim's Abu Wael restaurant. No one noticed when someone drove a white Volkswagen Passat through the opening and parked. At about 8 a.m. Monday, explosives in the Passat's trunk detonated, just as a minibus packed with 20 people passed by on the busy road on the other side of the barriers, witnesses and U.S. officials said." Hussein Kadhim and Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explain that there is some confusion as to whether there were three or four bombings: "Witnesses said they saw two car bombs followed by two roadise bombs, while police blamed a suicide bomber and two roadside bombs for the fatalities." AP's Robert H. Reid and Qassim Abdul-Zahra raise the death toll to 31 and they add, "Witnesses said the suicide bomber mingled among rescuers and bystanders, then detonated an explosives belt, which probably accounted for most of the casualties."

Baghdad was again the scene of coordinated bombings this morning.
BBC reports a double-bombing "during the morning rush hour. The target appeared to be a newspaper distribution; the first blast hit a delivery lorry and the second a row of vendors waiting to collect newspapers." AFP adds, "Three day labourers were killed and another 14 wounded when a bomb went off in an empty lot where they were waiting for work near Palestine street, one of the main thoroughfares of Baghdad." McClatchy's Sahar Issa notes 2 dead from the two bombings and seventeen wounded.

Other bombings today?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad mortar attack that left six people wounded a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded six people, another Baghdad roadside bombing also injured six ("including three policemen"), a Nineveh car bombing that wounded fifteen people and the Turkish military bombed Dohuk last night and this morning.

Reflecting on the US election last week, former US House Rep and Senator
James G. Abourezk (CounterPunch) observes:

Of course, we all understood that Nader would not win the election, but the movement of Arab Americans away from him regrettably deprives him of the political influence he might have gained to press his positions, including his strong criticism of Israel's illegal occupation. His voice is considerably weakened because of the movement of Arab American voters to other candidates, which is unfortunate for those Palestinians who live in desperation on a daily basis. The same is true for the people of Lebanon and Syria who are in constant fear of being bombed by U.S. warplanes flown by Israeli pilots.
In this election, a great many Arab American joined Obama's winning coalition, despite Obama's clear indication that he wanted nothing to do with Arabs, either Christian or Muslim. We saw, during his campaign, that his staff prevented Muslim women with head scarves from sitting behind him in view of the television cameras during his campaign rallies. He visited Christian churches and Jewish Synagogues, but he refused to visit even one Mosque during the campaign. And, finally, joining John McCain, he made the obligatory bow and scrape to the Israeli Lobby -- AIPAC -- during that group's 2008 convention. He made no attempt to hide any of these clearly pro-Israeli actions from Arab Americans. Had he done the same toward any other ethnic group, we would expect that the group would find another electoral home for their support and their votes. But that, apparently, is not what happened this year. Arab Americans voted overwhelming in support of Obama, rushing right past Ralph Nader, who has articulated the community's feelings about the Israeli occupation.
This is a continuation of the self-destructive attitude held by people of Arab descent. We see it in the Arab world, and we see it among the Arab diaspora. We see the urge to defeat or to overlook one of our own in favor of catering to those we think are certain to hold power.

Team Obama launched, encouraged and fed on some of the most sexist attacks the country's seen in years. In a landscape where feminist 'leaders' rolled over and took it (with a smile!)
The New Agenda was among the organizations springing up to promote self-respect and self-worth. Amy Siskind notes that today is the quarter birthdray of New Agenda and recaps the recent history:

The New Agenda is formed on
August 11th, and it's no longer just about Hillary
Playing hardball with Matthews on August 14th
Advancing our Platform to the
Obama Campaign and the McCain Campaign
Clinton's journey awakens
a new feminist movement and welcome to the fourth wave of feminism
We speak out about using the term "shrill" demanding an apology from Sen. Reid and The Wall Street Journal
The New Agenda is the
first women's rights group to speak out against the sexism against Gov. Palin, which we do within 48 hours
Chris Matthews remains in our sights
question NOW's endorsement of the Obama/Biden ticket, but refuse to appear on MSNBC saying "Thanks, but no thanks."
We organize actions to counter the sexism and misogyny aimed at Gov. Palin and
we make a difference
We say
"NO" to Larry Summers for Treasury Secretary, not once but twice
Oh, and we have one heck of a good time together each Monday night at 10 p.m. EST on Chewing the Fat with Ophelia

On Governor Palin,
we noted Sunday at Third, "Palin is seen as a strong voice in the Republican Party's future so naturally the press violates all the rules to spread a whisper campaign. No, The New York Times is not supposed to allow opponents to attack someone without coming forward. Strange that when they acknowledge that policy these days, it's usually when someone in the entertainment industry threatens to sue the paper. The threat of lawsuit will always force the paper to issue one of those, 'Oops, we goofed. It is not our policy to allow character assaults to be launched by unnamed persons.' Maybe Palin should threaten to sue?" As Debra J. Saunders (San Francisco Chronicle) points out today, "It tells you everything that the Palin smear stories come from anonymous staffers. There is no documentation. There is no way to prove the rumors false. Think graffiti in a junior high school girls' room." Saunders goes on to note, "The political press corps doesn't win any awards in this episode, either. Remember when the pack would not jump on National Enquirer stories about John Edwards' relations with Rielle Hunter and child -- because the story had not been nailed down? It seems that there is a different standard for Palin -- to wit, anything goes."

Today the Times continues their efforts to smear Palin and
Michael Cooper should be ashamed of himself. He accuses her of "not going quietly into the sunsent" which is strange when you consider no one launched accusations like that at John Edwards who, following the 2004 election, immediately launched his 2008 presidential campaign. He finds it shocking that "she will be given a starring role when the Republican Governors Associations meets in Miami" -- why the hell shouldn't she? She's one of the few exctiing people that party has. It's her or Ahnuld. And she just came off a campaign where she packed in huge crowds.

"She seems determined to remain highly visible," Cooper frets. Was she supposed to die? Was she supposed to hang her head in shame? Exactly what does the New York Times want from Governor Palin and how long is the paper going to allow the double-standard to remain so obvious in print? He then goes on to declare that "Palin remains popular among some Republicans, and she is still mentioned as a possible presidential candidate in 2012." Among some?
Jeremy P. Jacobs (PolitickerMA) reports the latest Rasmussen poll finds "64% of 1,000 likely Republican voters would support Palin over Rmoney, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Louisian Gov. Bobby Jindal, Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty and Florida Gov. Charlie Crist" for the 2012 GOP presidential nominee. Among some? 8% judged Palin unfavorable in the poll (that's "somewhat" and "very") while 91% judged her favorable (that's "somewhat" and "very lumped together). This echoes Rasmussen's earlier poll this month, "Seventy-one percent (71%) of Republicans say John McCain made the right choice by picking Alaska Governor Sarah Palin as his running mate, Palin has been the subject of largely critical media coverage but has attracted some of the most enthusiastic crowds of either campaign. Sixty-five percent (65%) of GOP voters say the party picked the right nominee for president." With Republicans, Palin was more popular than was McCain. And that's in spire of non-stop attacks.

As soon as Palin was announced, Barack's operatives set about smearing her with one vile lie after another. Early on, it was noted here (back in August) that we wouldn't repeat that nonsense but if Palin commented on it, we'd quote her. She's commented on one of the big early lies, that Trig was not her son. She did so on Fox's
On the Record With Greta which has transcript and video:

VAN SUSTEREN: Is there anything else that has been raised or said about you in the media, either during the convention -- I mean, during the campaign or since the campaign ended, that you think you need to address that has been, you know, an allegation about you?
PALIN: Well, unfortunately, early on, there are a tremendous number of examples that we can give regarding my record and things that could have, should have been so easily corrected if -- if the media would have taken one step further and -- and investigated a little bit, not just gone on some blogger probably sitting there in their parents' basement, wearing their pajamas, blogging some kind of gossip or -- or a lie regarding, for instance, the -- the discussion about who was Trig's real mom? You know, Was it one of her daughters or was she faking her pregnancy?
And that was in mainstream media, the question that was asked, instead of just coming to me and -- and -- and you know, setting the record straight. And then when we tried to correct that, that, yes, truly, I am Trig's mother, for it to take days for it ever to have been corrected, that -- that kind of right out of the chute was one of the oddities of this campaign and the messaging.
And then, too, things that, again, so easily could have been corrected about my supposed attempts to censor and ban books when I was the mayor of Wasilla. And one of the examples that they gave was that media was just sure that one of the books I tried to ban was Harry Potter. Of course, it hadn't even been written when I was the Mayor of Wasilla.
So just issues like that that just -- you know, it was -- it was mind- boggling to consider what it was that we were going to be up against, when you could see that something was written about, something was stated in the media. I knew the truth and I had the record to prove otherwise, and yet it would either take too long to unring that bell that had just been rung or there was no attempt at all to correct the record.
That was pretty frustrating.

That's Greta Van Sustern. We don't normally link to Fox but it was noted -- back in August -- that if Palin commented on that vile trash, we would note and otherwise we wouldn't. She's commented.

Barry Grey (WSWS) addresses realities and hype in the election:

Virtually without exception, liberal commentators and "left" political tendencies have ignored or downplayed all such indications that Obama intends to pursue a conservative course and reject anything that suggests a more democratic and egalitarian restructuring of American capitalism. This has been facilitated by their interpretation of the election almost entirely in racial terms. The obsession with race, which for 40 years has been the mainstay of liberal politics in America, has, if anything, been accentuated in the aftermath of the election.
This is despite the fact that the election was a powerful refutation of the portrayal of American working people as racist, backward and hopelessly in the thrall of religion and conservative "values"--a political myth that assumed the status of an unassailable truth after the reelection of Bush in 2004.
Typical is the column in the Sunday New York Times by Frank Rich, which begins, "On the morning after a black man won the White House, America's tears of catharsis gave way to unadulterated joy." Rich notes approvingly that the election disproved what "we've been told by those in power… that we are small, bigoted and stupid--easily divided and easily frightened." He then makes the significant admission that "We heard this slander of America so often that we all started to believe it, liberals most certainly included."
It is obvious that Rich, speaking for liberals in general, employs the same superficial impressionism, buttressed by an obsession with race, that led him to buy into the old illusions in order to embrace a new one--that Obama represents a new dawn of democracy and progress in America.
It is legitimate to recognize that the vote for Obama would not have been possible were it not for the fact that social attitudes in America have changed profoundly over the past 50 years--something that was for all practical purposes denied by Rich and his fellow liberals. Nor is there any doubt that the movement to the left of broad sections of the working class overcame any hesitations linked to the lingering influence of racial attitudes.
But there is a disturbing undercurrent in the response of Rich and other liberal and "left" commentators to the election. For them, it is all about race, and not about the social sentiments, policy questions and class issues that actually determined the outcome. They define the election as the victory of a black man, not the result of a wave of popular opposition to Bush and a Republican administration that lifted a candidate into the White House who happens to be black.

On the hype machine,
Roger Snyder (Greens for Greens) expresses that he's reached his saturation level:

I sorry to say I'm over it. While I was moved by the first reports of people celebrating in the streets, and can still understand the feeling that many people (many of my neighbors) have, the plethora of bad analysis and false claims has left me not wanting to hear any more.For example:Obama's Historic Victory by Howard Zinn"But, as the first African American in the White House, elected by an enthusiastic citizenry which expects a decisive move towards peace and social justice, he presents a possibility for important change.Obama becomes president in a situation which cries out for such change. The nation has been engaged in two futile and immoral wars, in Iraq and Afghanistan, and the American people have turned decisively against those wars."No and no. What people did was vote against Bush. They didn't like him anymore, and took it out on McCain. The McCain tactic of claiming to have years of inside experience backfired when the economic went south and the voters blamed those in power for the collapse. And they couldn't tell or didn't care that Obama was no different than McCain on the economy.And the economy was the issue. Obama was a likely loser before it came along.Not the wars. Not social justice.

Cynthia McKinney was the Green Party's presidential candidate and Rosa Clemente was her running mate. Unlike other presidential tickets, Cynthia regularly raised the issue of the prison-industrial-complex and the death penalty throughout her campaign.
Gloria Rubac (Workers World) reports, "Cynthia McKinney made history in Texas Oct. 30. Never has any politician or any candidate for public office been in Huntsville, Texas, on an execution night to join in with those protesting. . . . As [Greg] Wright's stepdaughter stood outside of the death house holding a cell phone in one hand and a framed photo Wright in the other, McKinney approached her and asked about the photo. 'How long has your family been dealing with fighting this execution? Did you ever think that your family would ever have to deal with the issue of the death penalty in such a personal way?' McKinney listened to Misty Smith explain that they had been fighting to prove Wright's innocence for seven or eight years and that never did she think she and her mother would be going through this injustice."

Laura Carlsen (CounterPunch) reports that "Latin American leaders still aren't running to the mountaintop to proclaim the dawn of a new era in U.S. relations. The response can be characterized more as hope seen through the ever-leery eye the contintent keeps on its northern neighbor. The U.S. government has a long way to go to undo the damage done to its relations and its repuations through decades of both Republican and Democratic presidencies. Latin American leaders placed conditions and qualifications on their congratulations. Lula in Brazil and Evo Morales in Bolivia called for an end to the 'unjustifiable' embargo against Cuba. Morales added a demand for withdrawal of U.S. troops from the region. Mexico's Felipe Calderon sent a brief congratulatory note, calling for strengthening bilateral relations and emphasizing the role of Mexican-Americans in the elections and the U.S. economy. This was his way of insisting on action toward legalizing the status of Mexican immigrants and creating legal frameworks for future immigration flows."

Dr. Elias Akleh (Information Clearing House) evaluates the realities of the upcoming Obama presidency:

Obama is no different. He will soon be exposed the person he really is; just another wolf in sheep clothing. Obama's promises to protect the middle class are just empty promises. This was obvious after he approved the $700 billion (plus interest) bailout to give more tax money to corrupt bankers, who will use that money to buy weaker banks. The money should have been used to pay portions of the mortgages the middle class owe to the banks, so they could keep their homes. His acclaimed tax cut promise to the middle class means nothing to its unemployed members. The official unemployment rate is 6.5% not counting those, who are not receiving unemployment benefits and are thus not counted. In 2008 alone Americans have lost 1.2 million jobs to outsourcing. Obama's solution to outsourcing is offering corporations tax cuts as incentives to keep the jobs in the US. Such incentive is nothing compared to the huge savings, in the forms of benefits and retirement funds the corporations are saving by employing very cheap labor force unprotected by any labor laws in third world countries lacking any environmental laws. Obama never talked about the poor Americans. For him they don't exist. Obama's real position concerning the unfair NAFTA agreement, that he aggressively criticized and called for its revocation, was exposed later, when it was leaked that his advisor Astan Goolsbee had called Canadian officials asking them not to take Obama's anti-NAFTA rhetoric seriously, but "... should be viewed as more about political positioning than a clear articulation of policy plan".

Herb the Verb (Corrente) takes on bigot Jasmyne A. Canick who made an ass out of herself on NPR's Talk of the Nation spewing homophobia, "She has a point, after all, since human rights are a limited resource, the more human rights your group gets, the less my group gets. She didn't say whether that also translates to brown people, women, etc., but it isn't a stretch to assume that it does." (Herb the Verb is using sarcasm.) And we'll close out on this topic with Media Matters (which misses the boat in their criticism):

During the November 7 edition of ABC's The View, while discussing the
passage of Proposition 8, the California ballot initiative amending the state constitution to ban same-sex marriage and effectively overturning the California Supreme Court's May 15 ruling that affirmed the constitutional right of same-sex couples to marry, co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck asserted that a "priest" in Sweden was "put in jail for not wanting to perform a marriage to a gay couple, so then they put him in jail because the law stated that you could not discriminate based on sexual preference." Later in the discussion, co-host Sherri Shepherd said: "I don't want to know that my pastor -- because, you know, the church is preaching against homosexuality, and I don't want to know that my pastor could be jailed." However, contrary to Hasselbeck and Shepherd's suggestion that as a result of the California Supreme Court's ruling -- or without the passage of Proposition 8 -- members of the clergy "could be jailed" for refusing to perform gay marriages, neither the decision by the California Supreme Court, nor Proposition 8 had anything to do with members of the clergy.
The California Supreme Court's ruling applied only to state officials. The ruling directed "state officials [] [to] take all necessary and appropriate steps so that local officials may begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples" [emphasis added]. The court itself noted the irrelevance of its decision to clergy, saying in the majority opinion that "no religion will be required to change its policies or practices with regard to same-sex couples, and no religious officiant will be required to solemnize a marriage in contravention of his or her religious beliefs."

A) Barbara Walters brought it up. (Media Matters has the transcript.) It's her show. Hold her accountable. There was no reason for her to bring up things that weren't accurate (which was the reason Whoopi's visibly ticked off, video is posted as well). Walters brought it up. B) In the US, churches do not handle marriages or divorces, the government does. You can be married in a church -- it can be a location. You can pick someone of the clergy to preside over the ceremony; but the church itself has nothing to do with marriage or divorce in the US other than locale and ceremony. States issue marriage licenses, states grant divorces. That's how it works. C) Elizabeth's tale of Sweden doesn't need to be addressed because who knows if it's true (it probably isn't) and who gives a damn? This is the United States of America. You don't need to fret over what Sweden did or didn't do. In the US can someone be sued for refusing to marry a couple? No. NO NO NO. If they could, couples would be suing the Catholic Church which is very clear that you have a Catholic annullment (not a civil one) or a dead spouse if you plan to remarry in the Church.

And for pro-Barack talk, you can check out the Peace Resister Katrina vanden Heuvel who will be Mike Schneider's guest tonight on Bloomber TV's Night Talk. Watch Mike try to keep a straight face as alleged lefty Katty-van-van declares, "I could see sending Colin Powell to the middle east or to Iraq to help faciliate an exit out of Iraq or to really move on a Middle East peace process." Yes, Katty-van-van is that silly of a prat-prat. Katty-van-van will go on to hiss, "I'm not ecstatic that there are so many Clinton administration people" but Colin Powell -- the man who lied to the UN and created his own "blot" -- she wants to bring as someone to do 'good' work in the Mid East? Cover-up Collie, covering up for War Crimes since Vietnam? In fairness, if Katty's saying it either her husband or her father told her to. Since it's so outrageous, the talking points came from her father.

Laugh with Katty-van-van tonight at 10:00 PM in Europe, Asia or the US on Bloomberg TV or catch the artifical coo in stereo on Bloomberg Radio (1130 AM in NYC also on XM and Sirius) at the same time. You can also catch Night Talk online at and click here for the podcast (or check iTunes Business News).

iraqanwar j. alithe new york timeskatherine zoepfleila fadelmcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhimthe washington postmary beth sheridanqais mizherelias aklehroger snyder
ed johnsonbill varner