Friday, November 21, 2008

The failure of 'leadership'

"No Breakthrough for Women PoliticiansNovember 20, 2008" (Marie Cocco, Washington Post Writers Group):
Even if President-elect Barack Obama chooses Clinton as secretary of state, no ground will be broken. Clinton would be the third woman to hold the post. And there is no longer anything extraordinary in a president naming women to his Cabinet. Franklin D. Roosevelt did it first, when he appointed Frances Perkins as labor secretary in 1933. Since then, every president but Harry Truman and John F. Kennedy has named women to the Cabinet or to Cabinet-level posts, according to the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers University. Bill Clinton holds the record: He appointed 16 women overall, and at one point about half of those serving in Clinton's Cabinet were female.
But, we are invariably told, surely there are enough women moving through the "pipeline" of lower offices so that someday, some woman from somewhere will win the presidency or the vice presidency. Well, here is how things stand: Eight women will serve as governors in 2009, the same as this year. The proportion of women serving in statewide elective office actually has dropped since it reached a high of about 28 percent in 2000; it is now about 24 percent, according to the center.
The Senate will add one woman next year, bringing the number of female senators to 17. Ten newly elected House members are female. This means that as the class of 2008 enters the Capitol's marble halls, it will include less than half the number of women who first won office in 1992 -- the so-called "year of the woman."

There has been no improvement for women in 2008 and it's time for all those 'leaders' to explain how that happened. It's time for Robin Morgan and others (but especially Robin Morgan) to explain how their use of sexism helped other women?

It is also time for a number of women to explain how their silence was supposed to help anyone?

2008 is a huge embarrassment for the 'leaders' and they need to be addressing their own failures before they address anything else. They betrayed so many beliefs and so many standards and, in doing so, they hurt many women.

That is reality.

It isn't pretty but the truth doesn't need to be prettied up. The truth needs to stand in all of its plain glory.

If you had told me in 2007 that even half of what went down, even half the attacks on women, would take place this year, I would never have believed you.

Look at Alice Walker. That woman has not only destroyed her daughter and refused to see her only grandchild, she's damaged her daughter so much that she's writing insipid things like this:

"She cannot lie in bed and wonder if her choices are feminist enough or whether they send the correct message to women around the world. She can accept her role at the center of history and rely on her aspiration to be her best self to transcend narrow categories of feminist identity and, in doing so, inspire others to the same. In other words, Michelle Obama doesn't need a message. She is the message."

That's Rebecca Walker writing about Michelle Obama and I am so sorry to be the one to break it to Rebecca but Michelle is not "the message." She is another First Lady in a long line of them. I am sorry her mother hurt her and I am sorry Rebecca wishes to take that out on the feminist movement.

My empathy does not extend to declaring that crap "has a point." There is no point there. Rebecca wants Michelle to be the Mommy she never had. Hard truth Rebecca, you're not getting that mother. You can make your life -- as you have -- about providing your child with the kind of mothering you want. You are not going to be able to have a mother surrogate. You are a grown up and you will never relate in that regard even if you try to.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 21, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths, the proposed treaty is protested in Baghdad, and more.

Starting with the treaty passed off as a Status Of Forces Agreement.
Gina Chon (Wall St. Journal) reports on yesterday Parliament activity: "Critics of the agreement tried to further put off discussion Thursday, shouting and banging on tables. . . . But lawmakers in the 30-member Sadr bloc, who have been opposing the agreement, failed to stop the legislation's progress. speaker Mahmoud Mashadani extended the parliament session so debate would continue on Saturday and a vote could still come next week. He already had canceled a leave that had been scheduled for lawmakers next week to cover several Muslim holidays, saying the vote on the pact was too important to delay further." However, on the holiday, CNN notes, "If a vote has to be held beyond Monday, Kurdish lawmaker Mahmoud Othman said it could be delayed by the annual hajj religious pilgrimage and Eid al-Adha, the Muslim holiday that comes at the end of the pilgrimage." The Los Angeles Times' blog notes that the treaty needs to be read aloud in the Parliament a third time before going to a vote. Salah Hemeid (Al-Ahram Weekly) observes, "It is not clear if the endorsement requires a simple, or a two thirds, majority of the 275-member legislative -- the latter a constituational requirement for key legislation. It is also unclear if the assembly will debate the agreement article by article or vote, as the government wants, on the whole package, or what will constitute a quorum should its detractors try to prevent its passage by astaining or walking out."

Before we go further, in the US you can make your voice heard via
American Freedom Campaign:Does this sound right to you? Next week, the Iraqi Parliament is expected to vote on whether to approve an agreement setting the terms of the ongoing military relationship between the United States and Iraq. So far, so good. A legislative body, representing the people of a nation, shall determine the extent to which that nation's future will be intertwined with that of another. Of course, one would expect that the United States Congress would be given the same opportunity. That, however, is not the case. Or at least it is not what the Bush administration is allowing to happen. Shockingly, the Bush administration is not even letting Congress read the full agreement before it is signed! We need you to send a message immediately to U.S. House and Senate leaders, urging them to demand the constitutional input and approval to which they are entitled. The administration has asserted that the agreement between the U.S. and Iraq is merely a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) and therefore does not require congressional approval. Yet the agreement goes far beyond the traditional limits of a SOFA, which typically set the terms for bringing materials and equipment into a nation and outline the legal procedures that will apply to members of the military who are accused of crimes. Believe it or not, the current agreement contains terms that will actually give Iraq a measure of control over U.S. forces. No foreign nation or international entity has ever been given the authority to direct U.S. forces without prior congressional approval - either through a majority vote of both chambers or a two-thirds vote in the Senate in the case of treaties. If this agreement goes into effect without congressional approval, it will establish a precedent under which future presidents can exercise broad unilateral control over the U.S. military -- and even give foreign nations control over our troops. Congress must take immediate action. Unfortunately, they are about to adjourn for at least a couple of weeks. But it is not too late for House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid to make a statement, signaling their strong belief that Congress will not be bound by and need not fund an agreement that has not been approved by Congress. Please send an E-mail encouraging such action to Speaker Pelosi and Majority Leader Reid immediately by clicking [here]
This is truly a dire situation and we hope that you will join us in calling for action. Thank you. Steve Fox Campaign Director American Freedom Campaign Action Fund

Today White House spokesperson Dana Perino declared on Air Force One that the treaty would be available to the American peoope "soon," "As soon as we possibly can, when we're -- agreement is reached, we'll be able to do that. You bet. . . . As soon as we possibly can, when we're -- agreement is reached, we'll be able to do that. You bet. . . .
I don't know exactly the timing of it. Obviously, we've provided full briefings to appropriate members of Congress. I think over 200 members of Congress saw it. Secretaries Rice and Gates, amongst others -- I think General Lute -- were up on Capitol Hill to provide that information to the citizens, representatives in Congress. And then as soon as we are able to, we'll provide the English language, sure. . . . . I actually can't tell you when it will be. I just don't know." In other words, no, the treaty isn't being released to the American people anytime soon.

In Iraq,
Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) note the Sunni attitude conveyed by MP Aala Maki, "To be clear, it is not the treaty that is the problem. What will be built on the treaty, that is the problem." They're dancing to get their palms greased. Rania Abouzeid (Time magazine) reports, "The discord in Iraq's parliament, and on its streets, over the Baghdad government's Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) with Washington is over a lot more than the date on which U.S. troops are to withdraw and the rules governing their conduct until then. As the rabble-rousing Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr made clear on Friday, it's also about which Iraqi parties will best leverage the Americans' eventual departure to their own political benefit. Sadr drew thousands of supporters to Firdous Square in central Baghdad on Friday to protest against the draft accord, which awaits a ratification vote in Iraq's parliament on Monday."

CBS and AP cover the protest and note, "After a mass prayer, demonstrators pelted the effigy with plastic water bottles and sandals. One man hit it in the face with his sandal. The effigy fell head first into the crowd and protesters jumped on it before setting it ablaze." AP's Hamza Hendawi reports the demonstration Moqtada al-Sadr called last week took place today following prayers in Baghdad and that the Bully Boy of the United States was "burned" in "effigy" "in the same central Baghdad square where [US shipped in exile] Iraqis beat a toppled statue of Saddam Hussein with their sandals five years earlier" and the Bush stand-in was also "pelted . . . with plastic water bottles and sandals" and it "held a sign that said: 'The security agreement . . . shame and humiliation'." CNN adds, "The demonstration brought out one of the largest crowds to congregate in Baghdad since protests against the agreement started this year. The square was sealed off and traffic was blocked as thousands chanted 'No no to the agreement,' 'No no America,' and 'Out, out occupation'." Deborah Haynes (Times of London) quotes Sheikh Abelhadi al-Mohammedawi telling those assembled, "If they [US] do not get out then and those with me are ready to drive them out in the method that we see fit, provided that it does not go against religion." AFP reports that a statement from Moqtada al-Sadr was read to the crowd and quotes it as follows: "If they don't leave the country I am going to be with you to make them leave in a way that suits you, as long as it doesn't go against the religion. And if they leave the country and you fear that the enemy coming from outside will transform your land into a battlefield, I and my followers will be a shield for Iraq." BBC (which has text and video on the demonstration) quotes al-Sadr's statement thusly: "Let the government know that America is and will not be of any use to us because it is the enemy of Islam." BBC provides a photo essay here. Tina Susman and Caesar Ahmed (Los Angeles Times) describe the scene around the demonstration, "Iraqi army snipers perched on rooftops along the broad avenues leading to the square, a public gathering spot in the middle of a traffic roundabout decorated with fountains and greenery. The effigy of Bush, wearing a suit and tie and carrying a briefcase, dangled for hours as the crowd, which stretched for several city blocks, knelt in prayer and listened to clerics denounce the Status of Forces Agreement." Reuters photos (such as here) include a caption that notes "Iraqi forces shut streets in Baghdad". Xinhau notes, "Iraqi security forces cordoned off the area, blocking all the roads leading to the route of the demonstration". This Reuters photo by Mushtaq Muhammed shows Iraq soldiers frisking a young man holding a sign bearing al-Sadr's photo "before entering the rally site". This Reuters photo by Kareem Raheem shows an American flag being burned at the demonstration. Adam Ashton (McClatchy Newspapers) explains the catchy tune sung as the rally ended, "Maliki is the new Sadam."

Staying with the treaty,
AP's Matthew Lee reports that mercenaries such as Dyncorp, Blackwater, Triple Canopy and KBR have been informed by the US State Dept and Pentagon that the treaty will mean "private Americans and non-Iraqi foreigners working in key roles for the United States in Iraq will lose immunity and be subjected to Iraqi law". AFP adds, "One-hundred-and-seventy-two contractors who provide armed escorts and other security measures to government officials, diplomats and NGOs have been briefed on the new rules."

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


CNN notes three Baghdad bombings with 1 person dead and four injured. Xinhua notes 2 Baghdad roadside bombings that resulted 3 deaths and nineteen people wounded. Sahar

Today the
US military announced: "CAMP VICTORY, Iraq -- A Multi National Division -- Center Soldier died of non-combat related causes Nov. 20." And they announced: "A Multi National Division - North Soldier was killed in a non-combat related incident in Mosul, Iraq, Nov. 21." The announcements brought the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4204.

Bilal Hussein is the Associated Press' Pulizter winning photographer who was imprisoned (for no valid reason) for over two years by the US military. The
International Press Freedom Award (Committee to Protect Journalism) has picked him and five other winners for 2008:

Bilal Hussein Associated Press photographer, Iraq Danish Karokhel and Farida Nekzad, Pajhwok Afghanistan News executives, Afghanistan Andrew Mwenda, managing editor, The Independent, Uganda, Hector Maseda GutiƩrrez, imprisoned reporter, Cuba
Beatrice Mtetwa, media lawyer, Zimbabwe

Congratulations to Bilal.
H. Josef Herbert (AP) notes CPJ "had been among those who had pressed for the release of AP photographer Bilal Hussein, winner of a Pulitzer Prize in 2005 for his news photography, including the fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi. . . . Steven Hurst, former AP bureau chief in Baghdad, said Hussein was taken into custody and held for more than two years without charges. 'He did nothing but his job as a photographer in a war zone,' said Hurst, adding that the military evidently 'didn't like the story that was being told by his pictures'." Information about Bilal and his false imprisonment can be found at the Free Bilal Hussein Now! website.

In other news,
Mickey Z' (at Information Clearing House) prepares for the immediate future:

No, I don't mean that Great Depression. I'm talking about the inevitable moment -- maybe next week, maybe next year -- when the Kool Aid wears off and the Obamatrons wake up to realize their hero offers nothing even approximating hope or change. The carefully calculated speeches -- which have always been filled with empty, hollow phrases -- will no longer soothe a battered and desperate populace and the Obamabots will suddenly recognize that the Pope of Hope has never been anything more than a human marketing strategy, a product. This year's iPhone. "Yes we can"? Merely the first three words of a longer phrase: "Yes we can continue to work, consume, and obey authority without question."

In election news, December sixth, Louisiana's second district elects someone to the US House. Kimberly Wilder (
On The Wilder Side) notes this article on candidate Malik Rehim's recent award and click here for a message from Malik.

Public broadcasting notes. First up
NOW on PBS this week looks at the role of credit ratings agencies in the economic meltdown. The program begins airing tonight on most PBS stations, check local listings, as does Washington Week which finds Gwen sitting down with four including the New York Times' Helene Cooper, Ceci Connolly (Washington Post) and NBC's Pete Williams. Staying with TV but turning to commercial TV, CBS' 60 Minutes offers Scott Pelly examing an assualt "on a facility containing weapons-grade uranium," Bob Simon on foreign widows of US citizens being ordered to leave "because their husbands died" and Lesley Stahl reports on Rex Lewis-Clack ("a musical savant born blind and mentally impaired who, at 13 years old now, is making remarkable strides despite doctors' prediction."

Public broadcasting heads up radio.
WBAI Sunday, Monday and Wednesday:Sunday, November 16, 11am-noonTHE NEXT HOURAndrew Andrew prove two opinions more mindbending than one.Monday, November 24, 2-3pmCat Radio CafeAuthor/editor Nelson W. Aldrich, Jr. on "George, Being George," anoral history of literary legend George Plimpton; novelist Arthur Nerseianon "The Sacrficial Circumcision of the Bronx," second of TheFive Books of Moses series based on urban terrorist Robert Moses;andJordan Roth of Jujamcyn Theatres announces, a new wayto get discounted theatre tickets while saving the world. Hosted by Janet Colemanand David Dozer.Wednesday, November 26, 2-3pmCCCP: THE MONTHLY LAUGHING NIGHTMARESatire with brand new boxing gloves for the new guys and more groundglass for the old guys. With transition team Janet Coleman, DavidDozer, John McDonagh, Marc Kehoe, Scooter, Moogy Klingman, PaulFischer, The Capitol Steps, Prince Fari and the great Will Durst.Broadcasting at WBAI/NY 99.5 FMStreaming live at WBAIArchived at Cat Radio Cafe

iraqthe new york timescampbell robertsonstephen farrellamerican freedom campaign
the los angeles timestina susman
gina chonthe wall street journal
deborah haynes
bilal hussein
60 minutescbs newswbaicat radio cafejanet colemandavid dozerwashington weekhelene coopernow on pbspbs

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Gerry Ford 2009 and the treaty

Referencing Lisa Rein and Josh White's "Many Groups Spied Upon In Md. Were Nonviolent" (Washington Post), C.I. had a wonderful entry this morning that I wanted to highlight.

"The Imperial Presidency With Cavity Fighting Fluoride Protection!" (The Common Ills):
Repeating Michael Abramowitz' report that Barack would be shelving the cry for Senate approval (of the treaty) is backed up by Raed Jarrar (Raed in the Middle) who details how the transition site set up by Barack has already altered the position on Senate approval. And no our so-called 'left' (Katty and Matty et al) will not say a word. Howard Zinn won't say one damn word. Marjorie Cohn will plaster that idiotic grin on her face and look as if she's in search of Jim Jones.
That's how a Gerry Ford works. He's a transition figure. Brought in just to restore faith in a corrupt system.So since the election, Barack's decided the Constitution doesn't matter (no need for Senate approval of a treaty) and he's pissed off Guantanamo attorneys (who, honestly, deserve it for endorsing him -- you get what you deserve when you endorse someone whose history does not back up his words, you got played, shouldn't have gone home with the first man who offered to buy you a drink). Elaine covered last night how the White House is being told not to worry about breaking the law (including international law) by implementing and overseeing torture.
Ford pardoned Tricky Dick. The Bully Boy didn't need a pardon because the Democrats and their 'left' voices were too damn chicken to impeach, too cowardly. So this generation's Gerry will just busy himself making sure the empire has a toothy smile.
Remember all the lectures we've gotten for months and months and years and years about the rule of law? It no longer matters. That was all garbage tossed out to get you to vote Democrat and it's why those 'brave' 'left' voices aren't screaming their heads off right now as Barack indicates that toothy is the only real difference between him and Bully Boy: The Imperial Presidency With Cavity Fighting Fluoride Protection! And a great minty taste!

That really says it all and says it in a wonderful way.

From the way she nails the Gitmo lawyers who decided the world really needed them to endorse a candidate to our pathetic Panhandle Media.

While you hopefully smile or laugh out loud as you read along, you surely get just how dangerous Barack's caves are and I do agree that he does seem set up to become the Gerald Ford of this century.

The hearing today was something. C.I. covers it in the snapshot (re-posted in a second) and on the radio they're saying that US Sec of State Condi Rice and Sec of Defense Robert Gates are going to be defending the treaty. The treaty had some truths told on it during today's Congressional hearing chaired by Bill Delahunt.

I'm not surprised the administration is relaunching spin-mode but I do wonder how the press intends to report it.

This is not a Status Of Forces Agreement, it is a treaty. No one could have followed today's hearing and not grasped that the bulk of the reporting on it has been grossly mistaken. Among other things, we've learned there are two versions of the treaty. There is the US version which says one thing and the Iraqi version which says another. You can be sure the White House knew about that since they pushed the treaty. But you can be sure most Iraqis do not realize that there is a difference between the 'same' document depending on English or Arab version.

If we have a functioning press, we're going to see a shift in the coverage. If we have a press that excells, we'll see some mea culpas over some recent editorials drooling over the treaty.

So watch closely to see where it heads and if there's no change at all? That means we have the dysfunctional, broken press that we had in the lead-up to the illegal war.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, November 19, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Turkey meets with Iraq over PKK (US tags along), the US Congress explores the treaty, and more.

"This is the eighth in a series of hearings which the Subcommittee has held on the Bush administration's efforts to consummate what was initially described as a long-term security agreement with the government of Iraq," declared US House Rep Bill Delahunt as he brought the Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights and Oversight of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs to order today. The topic was the treaty the White House is trying to make with their puppets in Iraq. Delahunt noted he shared "the concerns expressed by the Chairman of the Armed Services Committee, our friend and colleague Ike Skelton, who has been quoted as being 'deeply troubled' because the agreement contains, as he says, 'vague language that will cause misunderstandings and conflict between the United States and Iraq in the future'."

Rep Bill Delahunt: And by the way, no one should forget that this agreement has just been provided to Congress -- and that there has been no time to conduct the analysis required by such a significant document -- one that purports to end a conflict that has had such momentous and tragic consequences for both the Iraqi and the American people. And remember there has been no meaningful consultation with Congress during the negotiation of this agreement. And the American people, for all intents and purposes, have been kept completely left out. Even now the National Security Council has requested that we do not show this document to our witnesses or release it to the public -- a public that for over five years has paid so dearly with blood and treasure. Now I find that incredible. Meantime, the Iraqi government has posted this document on its media website so that anybody who can read Arabic can take part in the public discourse. But this is typical of the Bush administration and its unhealthy and undemocratic obsession with secrecy.

Delahunt went on to outline three things that had to take place for the treaty to be legal:

1) The Iraqi Parliament enacts by a two-thirds majority -- 184 of its 275 members -- a law governing the ratification of international agreements.

2) The Iraqi Parliament then enacts the proposed bilateral security agreement under that ratification law -- which as introduced this past Monday in their Parliament also would require a two-thirds vote of approval, and

3) The United States Congress enacts a law that approves and implements the security agreement -- and authorizes offensive combat operations by US forces.

Oona A. Hathaway,
Raed Jarrar, Michael Matheson, Issam Michael Saliba AEI's Thomas Donnelly offered testimony to the committee.

One issue that arose was the possibility of extending the United Nations Security Council mandate (the mandate expires December 31st). Jarrar explained that there had been resistance in the past to extending the mandate; however, today it is seen by proponents in Iraq "as the lesser of two evils, but not as a strategic goal. Many Iraqi groups in the Parliament think it is better to give the Parliament more time to debate the agreement rather than just rushing it within the next few weeks." Matheson, professor at George Washington University Law School, also spoke of the mandate and noted that a UN mandate could take place under Chapter 7 (as has been done) or under Chapter 6. Saliba is a Senior Foreign Law Specialist with the Law Library of Congress and his focus was the approval mechanism in the Parliament which eh found to require support of two-thirds of the MPs ("it is logical to conclude that the ratification of an agreement negotiated by the Iraqi government needs a two-thirds majority of all members of Parliament for its ratification").

"I will focus my remarks on what I believe are the three most pressing legal issues regarding the proposed bilateral agreement with Iraq," declared Professor Oona Hathaway of UC Berkeley's School of Law in her opening statements. "There are, of course, many others I'm happy to talk about. And then I'll conclude by outlining what I think are the possible ways for addressing these concerns."

1) "The agreement in my view threatens to undermine the Constitutional powers of President-elect Obama as commander-in-chief and it does so in two ways.
a) So first this agreement gives operational control to a Joint Military Operations Coordination Committee which is made up of Iraqis and Americans and is jointly led by both sides according to the agreement."

The concern of Hathaway is that before US commanders could engage in military operations in the field they would have to receive approval from the JMOCC with only an exception for self-defense. Hathaway noted this was unprecedented and that US command control has never been handed out over to foreign powers other than a very narrow peace keeping situation approved by the Congress.

b) "The proposed agreement also undermines the Constitutional powers of President-elect Obama as commander in chief by binding him to observe specific timetables that are outlined in the agreement for the withdrawal of US troops."

Oona Hathaway: Here the specifics of the timetables are fairly clear, it's sixteen months for withdrawal from the cities, towns and villages and three years withdrawal from Iraq. What is uncertain is what President-elect Obama would have to do if he wanted to withdraw early. There are two different texts that we are working with. One is a translation of the Arabic language text which has been -- as Chairman Delahunt said -- made available by the Iraqi government. That text says the following, it says, "The United States recognizes Iraq's sovereign right to request a US forces withdrawal from Iraq at any time. The Iraqi government recognizes the United States' sovereign right to request a United States forces withdrawal from Iraq at any time." So the language here seems to me suggest the United States can request the right to withdrawal but cannot simply withdraw early. And if that is in fact what the agreement says then that creates serious concerns because, of course, President-elect Obama campaigned on a promise of withdrawing forces much earlier than three years and this would seem to require him to get the approval of the Iraqi government in order to actually carry out that promise. Now the English language version which I just received last night states what seems to be quite different, it states the following, "The government of Iraq recognizes the sovereign right of the United States to withdraw the United States forces from Iraq at any time." So there is -- that seems to give much more leeway to the president to withdraw troops earlier though, of course, if conditions on the ground turn out to make it difficult or impossible or unsafe to withdraw troops earlier than three years he would have to obtain the approval of the Iraqi government in order to keep troops in the country longer. In any case, this raises obvious concerns about which of these texts we should be believing and whether they in fact say the same thing. But the basic concern I have here is that this agreement commits the president to abide by timetables that he has had no role in shaping and may even make it more difficult for him to meet his campaign promise of bringing troops home within sixteen to eighteen months.

2) "The conclusion of this agreement without any Congressional involvement is unprecedented and, in my view, unconstitutional."

Oona Hathaway: So presidents can enter into agreements on their own -- they're called Sole Executive Agreements. But these agreements must be within the president's own independent powers. This agreement goes far beyond the president's own independent, Constitutional powers in several ways. Now the administration has responded to this critique in the past by saying, "This is simply a Status Of Forces Agreement -- a SOFA. We've got hundreds -- we've got more than a hundred of these around the world. All of these have been concluded as Sole Executive Agreements entered by the president by himself. So what are you so concerned about?" And the answer is: This is not a SOFA. This is, in fact, a much more comprehensive agreement than any Status of Forces Agreement that is out there and includes a variety of provisions that, as far as I'm aware -- and I've read about sixty to eighty of these agreements, that have never been a part of any Status Of Forces Agreement. In particular the provisions granting authority to US troops to engage in military operations, the grant of power over military operations to this joint committee that I mentioned earlier and the specification of timetables for withdrawal of military forces. These are unprecedented in a standard Status Of Forces Agreement, have never been part of a standard Status Of Forces Agreement and extend, in my view, far beyond what the the President can do without obtaining Congressional approval. The administration has also suggested that the agreement doesn't really grant the authority to fight and therefore it does not need to be approved by Congress. In my view that is manifestly incorrect. This agreement is -- the entire purpose is to grant the authority to fight. It is meant to replace the UN mandate. The UN mandate is the authority under which US troops are currently present in Iraq and the entire reason for the proposal of the agreement at this time is because that mandate is about to expire and when it does there will no longer be a legal authority for the United States troops to be present in Iraq. This agreement gives in fact gives that authority to fight to replace the UN mandate. So to suggest that it doesn't do that and therefore need not be approved by Congress clearly is not correct.

3) "If the administration proceeds as planned the war will likely become illegal under United States law when the UN mandate expires on December 31st."

Oona Hathaway: At present, domestic legal authority for the war in Iraq is based on House Joint Resolution 114 which was passed in October of 2002. The resolution authorizes the president to use the armed forces for two purposes. One, to defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq and two to enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq. And let me take the second first. The second is, in my view, what is currently operative at this moment. There is a Security Council resolution in effect that is currently governing the presence of US troops and, therefore, it is the case that, in fact, we are -- that the president may enforce all relevant United Nations Security Council resolutions regarding Iraq as long as that resolution is in effect this domestic legal authority is also in effect. But when the mandate expires at the end of the year -- as it is due to expire -- that no longer, that legal basis for the war in Iraq no longer exists. So then we're left with the first part of the authorization: To defend the national security of the United States against the continuing threat posed by Iraq. Now this was enacted, remember, in 2002 when Saddam Hussein was in power and we were hearing about threats of Weapons of Mass Destruction. And so it was clear what the threat posed by Iraq was, it was posed by the government of Iraq. Of course, that government has changed and those same threats to the United States do not exist. And, in fact, the bilateral agreement with Iraq recognizes this change. That agreement itself states that, "The danger posed to international peace and stability by the former Iraqi government is now gone." So this agreement, to my mind, says what we all know to be true which is that the threat that this resolution was meant to address has been resolved and there no longer is this threat by the government of Iraq against the United States. So once this mandate expires at the end of the year -- if it is not renewed -- then legal authority for the war in Iraq as a matter of United States' law no longer exists. So what do we do? And this is where I am going to end. There are, in my view, two legal options available. The first, as Chairman Delahunt mentioned, is renewal of the UN mandate. A simple renewal of the mandate for six months would address all these problems. It would give legal authority as a matter of international law for US troops to be present but it would also extend authority as a matter of US law because the resolution that I just mentioned clearly incorporates any future Security Council resolutions and extensions of those resolutions. So that is a very real and I think one of the best options available. There's' a second possible option as well which is submitting this agreement to Congress for approval. If Congress were to approve this agreement then all these concerns would also be addressed, then this would no longer be a Sole Executive Agreement and the Congress would have had a chance to address, consider and respond to the concerns that might be raised about the substance of the agreement and if it chooses to approve the agreement, these Constitutional and legal concerns that I've raised would be addressed.

During questioning, US House Rep Lynn Woolsey noted "It is clear to me that there are many interpretations of what this treaty/agreement is." It would be wise for those in the press who continue to miss that point to pause and consider that. We'll focus on this section of the hearing between Woolsey and Hathaway.

Rep Lynn Woolsey: What is the legal standing? Will an agreement/treaty be -- have standing if it does not come before the House of Representatives of the Congress in general?

Oona Hathaway: Well this is a complicated question as you might imagine. In my view it would be unconstitutional because it would extend beyond the president's power to conclude an agreement under his own independent powers and for all the reasons we've discussed it clearly goes beyond those limits. The question is: How would you challenge it? How would you demonstrate that? One possibility, obviously, is a resolution in Congress, another is a challenge in the courts -- that's unlikely to succeed. So the likely result would be that we would be operating under an unconstitutional agreement and what worries me is not only that -- although that is quite worrisome in and of itself -- but the precedent that that sets. So we then set a precedent that the president can enter into an agreement to commit US troops without having to get the assent of Congress. And, moreover, that the limits that we all thought applied to Sole Executive Agreements, the limits that had been observed by presidents for a generation on agreements that are entered into by presidents on their own no longer apply. All bets are off. So could President Obama enter Kyoto on his own? Could he enter the Law of the Sea Treaty on his own? If we don't know what the limits are, it creates real questions about where those -- where the Constitutional limits are? If they're not going to be observed then that creates problems not just in this instance but in every future case as well.

Rep Lynn Woolsey: So how do you think we can untangle this mess?

Oona Hathaway: My view is I think that this legislation is very positive. I think that, if in fact something like that were to pass demanding that Congress approve the agreement, I think that could have a significant effect. As I said, that would address all the questions that I've raised about the procedural issues. Congress could work out the substantive concerns if it had any about the agreement. But if this agreement were approved by Congress -- and there's nothing that would stop the president, I should say, from simply submitting this agreement as it is for approval as what's called an ex post congressional-executive agreement. That is a legal procedure that is available to the president and then this Congress would be able to pass that through majority votes in both houses and then it would become a legal agreement with the seal of approval of Congress and would be federal law and address all the concerns that I've raised. So that, to my mind, is a very real and, I think, would be an extremely positive development though, sadly I'm afraid, not entirely realistic. Another possibility is, of course, a renewal of the UN mandate because that does address both the international and domestic law issues that I've raised. In effect, that kicks the ball down the road because then we still have the issue of 'then what do we do?' That mandate would only be in effect for a short period of time -- the period of time talked about is six months. You'd have to enter an agreement then. My hope would be that given the stated position of the president-elect and vice president-elect on this issue that they would not only negotiate a good agreement but would submit that to Congress for approval.

"There's something strange" Rep Howard Byrne noted that the Iraqi Parliament was expected to approve or not but the US Congress wasn't and that the Iraqi Parliament and people can see the treaty but, in the US, Congress is not allowed to release it to the American people.

We'll also note this exchange between Raed Jarrar and the subcommittee chair Bill Delahunt.

Bill Delahunt: I'm just going to ask Mr. Jarrar a question. One of the concerns that I have to go to the issue of the vote in Iraq on the so-called implementation or ratification law. I -- My reading and the statements that I've noticed from the Speaker of the Council of Representatives and the legal committee of the Iraqi Parliament are clear that a two-thirds vote is required. In your testimony, you indicated that there is now discussion about a simple majority. If in the end, there's a vote of approval by a simple majority, in your opinion, could this provoke unrest and violence in Iraq predicated on the opinion of some including elements in Iraq that are hostile to our interests. Could this provoke them to cause mischief, if you will? And provide them a rational which would be: Look, they're circumventing the law and yet they preach respect for the rule of law and democracy.

Raed Jarrar: Before I answer the question, let me just state very clearly that the Iraqi Constitutional Court has not been formed yet. So the Iraqi Constitutional Court that is supposed to deal with such questions -- now, this is just another sign of how premature this bilateral agreement is. It's falling on a very unprepared regime in Iraq that still has a lot of its basic components uncreated -- they were not created yet. Now the fact that -- the mere fact that the agreement was sent to Parliament was not sent because there is a respect of the Constitution or a following of the Iraqi law as it were. Actually it was sent by coincidence, I think, because one of the major religious leaderships in Iraq, Ayatollah Sistani insisted that the law must be sent to the Parliament. The Iraqi executive branch lobbyied for months with Ayatollah Sistani that I think has nothing to do with politics in Iraq but it seems like the Iraqi executive branch disagrees with me. They lobbyied for months that they should just sign the agreement as an executive memo rather than sending it to the Parliament. He said no. That's why they sent it to the Parliament. So there is no real respect of the Constitution or laws and this I think should create a case that if it's worrisome that maybe next year they will create the Constituional Court to look back and say this bilateral agreement with the US is void actually -- don't mean anything. And that will put everyone in a status of limbo I'm sure. And that's why many people are saying a multilateral agreement -- like the United Nations is more guaranteed for both sides. Now regarding the particular question of increased violence there is an overwhelming rejection of signing an agreement with the US regardless of its content and this is not -- we're not talking about marginal groups in the Parliament or outside the Parliament. We have major Ayatollahs, the major Ayatollahs from the Shi'ite side like Ayatollah [al- Baqdadi, Ayatollah Shirzai or Ayatollah Haeri" ?] who have given a fatawa against signing the agreement, a religious order against signing the agreement. From the Sunni side it's the same. The major mainstream Sunni leadership has given fatawas against signing the agreement. So there is rejection regardless of the content of it Inside the Parliament, this rejection can be seen in all kinds of components in the Iraq groups, whether they were Sunni, Shi'ites or seculars there is resistance to signing the agreement. Now I think Ayatollah Sistani's as a very moderate voice, actually asked for a national consensus. He said all major groups, all major political groups must agree on this.

Delahunt made his position clear during the hearing, "What we do now could very well be referred to at some future date much to our chagrin if we don't stand up and take some sort of action. My option is extend the UN mandate because that solves all of these issues. It protects our troops. It provides the authority to conduct offensive military operations."

Mary Beth Sheridan (Washington Post) noted:

It is not clear that all 150,000 American troops will be gone in three years. "There is a provision for an extension by agreement of both sides," a senior U.S. official said this week, speaking on the condition of anonymity. The Iraqis could decide they see a continuing role for U.S. troops, he said. "They have every right to ask us for such a presence."The role of U.S. troops in Iraqi cities after July may also be greater than the agreement implies. The details of the troops' activities would be worked out in negotiations between the Iraqi and American military, the senior official said.

Campbell Robertson (New York Times) notes that Nouri al-Maliki went on TV yesterday and insisted "there were no secret side agreements to the" treaty. He moved his lips so well, it might have seemed as though the puppet were speaking his own words on Iraqi TV.
AFP reports that (today) Moqtada al-Sadr supporters (Shi'ites) banged on the tables to drown out Hassan al-Sined today as he attempted to read the treaty outloud to the Parliament. The moment was broadcast on TV (which quickly killed the feed) and Fala Shanshal has stated that guards of Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari beat up MP Ahmed al-Masaudi. The treaty is scheduled to be read to Parliament on Thursday when they reconvene. We noted Michael Abramowitz' report yesterday that Barack would be shelving the cry for Senate approval (of the treaty). Raed Jarrar (Raed in the Middle) details how the transition site set up by Barack has already altered the position on Senate approval. Let's wait and see how long before such alleged champions of the Constitution Matty Rothschild and Katty van-van Heuvel speak out. (Chances are they'll both remain impotent and silent. Remember, the Constitution only matters when Democrats aren't in control with their kind.) [And, yes, Raed's post does back up Michael's reporting.

Hurriyet reports that 1 "Turkish army officer was killed and five soldiers were injured" in armed clashes with the PKK today. Hurriyet also reports that, "Turkey, Iraq and the United States agreed Wednesday to form a joint committee to combat the terror organization PKK, which uses northern Iraq as a base for attacks on Turkey." Reuters notes the meet-up took place in Baghdad and "The delegations were headed by Iraqi Minister of State for National Security Shirwan al-Waeli, Turkish Interior Minister Besir Atalay and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker, and included both civilian and military officials, the U.S. embassy said." UPI quotes al-Maliki's spokesperson Ali Dabbagh stating the committee would be "creating deterrent measures to stop any possible activities by this organization inside Iraqi territory or within the Iraqi-Turkish border areas."

In other diplomatic news,
yesterday Iraq's Foreign Ministry undersecretary Labeed Abbawi met in Baghdad with Shoji Ogawa (Japan's Ambassador to Iraq) as part of a continued process over the last few days. On Monday, the Ministry threw a reception for Martin Eshbakher, Switzerland's Ambassador to Iraq and this took place as Sweden sent their Minister of Trade, Ewa Bjorling, to Iraq for a meeting with the Ministry's Minister Hoshyar Zebari. Monday also saw Zebari meet with Hassan Kazemi who is Iran's Ambassador to Iraq. The Foreign Ministry also highlighted their Embassy in Brussels recent participation in Arab Cultural Week. And AFP reports a meet-up in Jordan Thursday among "U.N. and Arab League officials" and "[e]xperts from Iraq, Syira, Lebanon and Egypt" as well as reps from Turkey and Iran to discuss the Iraqi refugee crisis.

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


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two Baghdad roadside bombings which wounded five people, a Mosul roadside bombing left two soldiers injured, a Mosul car bombing that claimed the life of the driver and left two Iraqi soldiers injured and a Samarra "magnetic" bombing claimed the life of 1 police officer.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Salahuddin Province that resulted in 6 deaths. Reuters notes 3 'suspects' shot dead by the Iraqi military in Baghdad.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

mcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhim
the washington postmary beth sheridanthe new york times

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

No accountablity in the next administration

C.I. told me about an exchange during today's White House press conference. If you are among the deluded who seriously believes things will change in two months, grasp that there will be no accountability.

Q The other question -- according to two Obama advisors, apparently his incoming administration is unlikely to bring any criminal charges against any government officials who either authorized or engaged in some of these harsh interrogations that some allege may have been torture. Any thoughts on that? Is the administration reassured about that?
MS. PERINO: I think I'll just decline to comment on it.
Q And just one other thing on that. He's also -- apparently Obama is going to be reviewing interrogations, the whole policy practice of what constitutes a valid interrogation, what isn't waterboarding, et cetera. They're going to have a panel on this. Does it concern the Bush administration at all that this is in any way going to be tipping our hands to terrorists in the future?
MS. PERINO: I'm sure that the next Commander-in-Chief will be very discreet and discerning in looking at information and making sure that he understands the full capabilities of tools that we have available to protect the country.
This President has said that we did interrogate terrorists, and we did so to protect the country from possible imminent terrorist attack. We did not torture. And the laws that we have on the books are ones that we follow. And I am sure that when the national security teams that stay on through the transition process, that they will be as forthcoming as possible with all information, and that they'll have the information that they need to do their job.

Perino is Dana Perino, the White House spokesperson, by the way.

So the Democratically controlled Congress would not impeach the criminal Bully Boy and now we are being informed that there will never be any accountability. Bully Boy will never beheld accountable for his crimes.

Gee, why did the country elect Barack Obama? I thought John McCain meant 'four more years' and Barack was change?

For those unaware, Robert Parry disgraced himself this year making excuses for Barack, coddling him and going out of his way to attack Hillary (and Bill) with vicious lies and smears. Among the many reasons Parry listed for (suddenly) hating Bill Clinton was that Clinton hadn't gone after Poppy Bush and Parry just knew that Hillary wouldn't,he just knew it, he just knew! He repeated that crazy nonsense on Democracy Now! if you've forgotten.

Yet now we're hearing that Barack intends to allow torturers and the ones who okayed torture to walk. Poor, crazy ass Robert Parry. Shreddiing his image for nothing.

An e-mail had a question that fits in here. C.I. has CounterPunch linked at The Common Ills again. Am I going to? No.

It will not make my blogroll again.

I did say pull it and it was pulled. I did say it could come back (at TCI) if members wanted it after the election. They did and it has. An exception was made for it. There will be no exceptions made for Consortium News, Truth Dig and others who used lies and smears to destroy Hillary and install a Corporate War Hawk With A Penis.

They disgraced themselves and cannot even now admit that the Christ-child wasn't all of that.

As C.I. would say, "Like Stevie [Nicks] sings, 'You were gone, you were gone to me. . . '"

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, November 18, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the treaty dance continues, Iraq corruption continues and look who is firing the auditors, and more.

Starting with the treaty masquearding as a Status Of Forces Agreement.
Chris Floyd (Baltimore Chronicle) steps up to talk realities:

The American media is by and large swallowing the propaganda line that the Iraqi cabinet's acquiescense to a "Status of Forces Agreement" (SOFA) with the U.S. occupation force means that the Iraq War will be over in in 2011. This will further cement the conventional wisdom that the suppurating war crime in Iraq is now behind us, and the topic will be moved even further off the radar of public scrutiny.
But as usual, there is a wide, yawning abyss between the packaged, freeze-dried pabulum for public consumption and thhe gritty, blood-flecked truth on the ground.
As Jason Ditz reports at, the so-called "deadline" in 2011 for the withdrawal of all U.S. forces remains, as ever, an "aspiration," not an iron-clad guarantee. The pace and size of the bruited "withdrawal" will remain, as ever, "conditions-based," says Pentagon and White House officials -- a position long echoed by the "anti-war" president-elect. And as we all know, "conditions" in a war zone are always subject to radical, unexpected change.

Campbell Robertson and Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) deserve credit for this bit of reporting today on the treaty, "The concessions included establishing deadlines for withdrawing combat forces from Iraqi cities by naext June and from the county by the end of 2011, though officials said the text of the agreement included language that made those dates less rigid deadlines." While they note US Rep Bill Delahunt, they fail to note the most important detail from the press release his office issued last week:

Next week's hearing will examine the possibility that any bilateral agreement reached between the Bush Administration and the government of Iraq may effectively tie the hands of the next Administration as a result of a clause in Article 31 in a draft of the accord that would prohibit the United States from cancelling it for one year.

The hearing is tomorrow and starts at ten a.m. The most important part is "a clause in Article 31 in a draft of the accord that would prohibit the United States from cancelling it [the "bilateral agreement"] for one year." So the treaty's not all that binding. Binding contracts do not allow either party to cancel in one year, 'binding contracts' trumpeted for what they will 'do' three years from now (2011) do not allow either party the option to cancel out starting in 2009.
Reuters reports that Ali Larijani, Iran's Speaker of Parliament, is decrying the treaty for "strengthening comprehensive U.S. hegemony in Iraq" while Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani released a statement today which includes: "The representatives of the Iraqi people in parliament must take on a big responsibility in this case and each must be up to this historic responsibility before God and the people."

The Washington Post asserts a 'change' in Barack Obama's stance on the treaty. First let's review the public stance this year.

During the election, the Obama-Biden campaign website revealed their stance on the so-called SOFA in "
Plan for Ending the War in Iraq:"The Status-of-Forces-AgreementObama and Biden believe any Status of Forces Agreement, or any strategic framework agreement, should be negotiated in the context of a broader commitment by the U.S. to begin withdrawing its troops and forswearing permanent bases. Obama and Biden also believe that any security accord must be subject to Congressional approval. It is unacceptable that the Iraqi government will present the agreement to the Iraqi parliament for approval--yet the Bush administration will not do the same with the U.S. Congress. The Bush administration must submit the agreement to Congress or allow the next administration to negotiate an agreement that has bipartisan support here at home and makes absolutely clear that the U.S. will not maintain permanent bases in Iraq.
Post election, was set up as the official website for the Barack-Biden transition and if you pull up "The Obama-Biden Plan," you will find:The Status-of-Forces AgreementObama and Biden believe it is vital that a Status of Forces Agreement (SOFA) be reached so our troops have the legal protections and immunities they need. Any SOFA should be subject to Congressional review to ensure it has bipartisan support here at home.
That has been the official position, that Congressional approval was required and Congressional review. However,
Michael Abramowitz (Washington Post) reports, "And the Obama transition team is signling that it wants Congress to review the pact, though not necessarily approve it." That would be a huge shift from where Barack once stood. It would also make Joe Biden look like a flat-out liar. Or are we all supposed to forget the April 10th Senate Foreign Reltations committee he chaired where he told the State Dept's David Satterfield and the Defense Dept's Mary Beth Long that regarding their claim that the so-called SOFA didn't need Senator approval, "I respectfully suggest that you don't have a Constitutional leg to stand on." And are we supposed to forget Senator Russ Feingold informing Satterfield, "I would suggest your difficulties are with the nature of our Constitution." Or that Senators Norm Coleman and Johnny Isakson also called out the so-called SOFA (both senators are Republicans -- there was bi-partisan objection to the Senate's Constitutional role of approving any treaty being circumvented). Back on the Democratic side, Senator Robert Menendez pointed out this bi-partisan objection, "Many of us on both sides of the aisle believe that such an agreement needs to come before Congress." Senator Jim Webb made his position clear, "I would argue it's a document that needs Senate consent."

On both sides of the aisle, senators stood up for the Constitution (and let's not forget that they stood up in the House as well including US House Rep Susan Davis) and now this is going to be tossed aside or Barack Obama thinks it is? That's what the Post reported this morning. (Friends on the transition team told me this morning and this afternoon that the position has not changed and Senate approval remains the stance. Whether that's true or not, I don't know.)

Deputy Secretary of State
John Negroponte spoke in Ireland yesterday where he strung together the Iraq War, the Afghanistan War, "2001" and "extremism." When the current administration leaves office will they take the direct and indirect fale-linkage of Iraq to 9-11 with him? You'd think so but you'd also have thought that all that lip flapping in April meant something, that a Constituional scholar like Barack wouldn't be eager to spit on the Constitution before he's even sworn in; however, the Post feels their information on this is solid and Team Barack will not fight for or advocate Senate approval. If true, he'll go into office a damn liar and never overcome it while Democrats in the Senate will be damned in the same manner. (Russ Feingold being Russ would most likely speak out to some degree if the Senate was circumvented. Would the rest?) For eight years, Democrats and their media surrogates have tossed around phrases like "rule of law" and if they think they can drop them just because "their guy" got into the White House they better expect to see huge losses in both houses of Congress come November 2010. And you can pair this potential move by Barack with Tom Burghardt's "Obama's Intelligence Agenda: More of the Same from the 'Change Administration'" (Dissident Voice):While expectations may be high that the incoming Obama administration will reverse many of the worst features of the Bush regime–from warrantless wiretapping, illegal detention, torture, "targeted assassinations" and preemptive war–now that the cheering has stopped, expect more of the same. According to The Wall Street Journal, "President-elect Barack Obama is unlikely to radically overhaul controversial Bush administration intelligence policies, advisers say, an approach that is almost certain to create tension within the Democratic Party." With hyperbolic "change" rhetoric in the air, Obama is relying on a gaggle of former intelligence insiders, warmed-over Clinton administration officials and "moderate" Republicans, many of whom helped Bush craft his administration's illegal policies. With U.S. street cred at an all-time low, due in no small measure to Washington's hubristic fantasies that it really is an empire and not a rapidly decaying failed state, ruling elites have literally banked on Obama to deliver the goods. During his run for the White House, the Illinois senator may have mildly criticized some of the administration's so-called "counterterrorism" policies including the Bushist penchant for secrecy, the disappearance of "terrorist" suspects, driftnet surveillance of American citizens and legal residents, CIA "black site" gulags and the crushing of domestic dissent. But in the few scant days since the November 4 general election, the contours of what Democratic party corporatist grifters will roll-out come January 20 are taking shape. Citing Obama's carefully-crafted public relations blitz on the campaign trail opposing illegal spying, the Journal reports: Yet he ... voted for a White House-backed law to expand eavesdropping powers for the National Security Agency. Mr. Obama said he opposed providing legal immunity to telecommunications companies that aided warrantless surveillance, but ultimately voted for the bill, which included an immunity provision. The new president could take a similar approach to revising the rules for CIA interrogations, said one current government official familiar with the transition. Upon review, Mr. Obama may decide he wants to keep the road open in certain cases for the CIA to use techniques not approved by the military, but with much greater oversight. (Siobhan Gorman, "Intelligence Policy to Stay Largely Intact," The Wall Street Journal, November 11, 2008) The "current government official" cited by the Journal fails to specify precisely what it means to "keep the road open" when it comes to torturing prisoners of war in violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Turning to England, Peter Goldsmith is in the news. Lord Goldsmith resigned as Attorney General of England and Wales June 27, 2007. His advice to then-Prime Minister Ton Blair has been questioned for some time (PDF format warning,
click here for the advice). Yesterday Lord Thomas Bingham, speaking to The British Institute of International and Comparative Law raised Goldsmith's advice. BBC reports he called the war "a serious violation of international law" and said Bingham provided Blaid with "no hard evidence" making a case for the war. Joshua Rozenberg (Telegraph of London) explains, "It is thought to be the first time that Lord Bingham has expressed his views about the legal advice given to Tony Blair by the former Attorney General. The issue never came before Lord Bingham while he was sitting as a judge." Rozenberg quotes Bingham on why the decision was doubtful:

"First, it was not plain that Iraq had failed to comply in a manner justifying resort to force and there were no strong factual grounds or hard evidence to show that it had: Hans Blix and his team of weapons inspectors had found no weapons of mass destruction, were making progress and expected to complete their task in a matter of months.
"Secondly, it passes belief that a determination whether Iraq had failed to avail itself of its final opportunity was intended to be taken otherwise than collectively by the Security Council."

Frances Gibb (Times of London) quotes Bingham stating, "Particularly disturbing to proponents of the rule of law is the cynical lack of concern for international legality among some top officials in the Bush administration." The First Post emphasizes the illegal nature of the war based on Bingham's judgement.

From illegal to corruption, September 22nd in the US, the the Democratic Policy Committee held a hearing on corruption that was noted in the
Sept. 23rd snapshot:

Senator Byron Dorgan: In March, the Senate Appropriations Committee held a hearing at my request, in which we heard from a very courageous Iraqi judge who headed Iraq's Commission of Public Integrity. This agency was established by the Coalition Provisional Authority after the US invasion of Iraq, and charged with rooting out corruption in the new government. Judge al-Radhi estimated that corruption in Iraq's government had resulted in the loss of $18 billion in government funds, and most of those funds had been US tax payer dollars. Judge Radhi said that instead of supporting his efforts to fight corruption, the top levels of the Iraqi government had ultimately suppressed his investigations. [. . . ] Judge Radhi also testified that since the establishment of the Commission of Public Integrity, more than 31 employees have been assassinated as well as at least an additional 12 family members. One would have expected that our own government would have been doing everything it could to support Judge Radhi's anti-corruption efforts. But in hearing of this committee back in May, we heard from two State Dept officials who said that our own government was not interested in ensuring accountability of U.S. funds in Iraq or in rooting out corruption. In fact, one of the officials, retired judge Arthur Brenna, said that some of the stolen funds were steered to the Iraqi insurgency. Yet the administration was generally indifferent to the problem. This indifference has had deadly consequences. We will hear from witnesses today -- one of whom was Judge Radhi's chief investigator in Iraq -- about how stolen US funds have gone to al Qaeda in Iraq. Our earlier hearing with Judge Brennan showed us that the State Dept turns a blind eye when it comes to corruption. Today's hearing will show us what the State Dept turned a blind eye to -- and what the consequences have been.

James Glanz and Riyadh Mohammed (New York Times) report that Nouri al-Maliki continues to fire those tasked with oversight and the reporters note, "Mr. Maliki's stance on oversight was most vividly illustrated by his long-running feud with Judge Rathi al-Rathi, the former head of the Commission onf Public Integrity, an oversight agency created by the Coalition Provisional Authority. After Mr. Rathi's corruption investigations repeatedly embarrassed the Maliki government, the prime minister's office supported corruption charges against Mr. Rathi himself." Matt Kelley (USA Today) reports that being suspended by the government doesn't mean that you can't still get contracts as Lee Dynamics International (suspended for bribery) proves, "Contracting officers gave Lee Dynamics International a new contract in July 2007 despite warnings from military lawyers, according to a report issued by Stuart Bowen, special inspector general for Iraq reconstruction (SIGIR). The Joint Contracting Command-Iraq did not return calls on why Lee Dynamics was awarded the new contract." Matt Kelley also notes, "The Pentagon spent about $600 million on more than 1,200 Iraq reconstruction contracts that were eventually canceled, nearly half of them for the mismanagemnt or shoddy construciton, government inspectors say." Reuters notes Iraq ranks number three on the most corrupt nation-state list by Transparency International Index and that the head of Iraq's Integrity Commission, Rahim al-Ugaili, was sent out to dance for reporters today .and declare, "In 2008 we referred 337 cases to the court. This year has seen the biggest achievement." No word apparently on whether more corruption cases would allegedly be referred or not had al-Maliki not fired at will. Glanz and Mohammed note:

At least two of the officials who were forced out were Christian women, Hana Shakuri of the Culture Ministry and Samia Youssef Sha'ia of the Christian Endowment. But most are simply senior Sunni and Shiite technocrats who have been at their posts for years and in several cases were orginally appointed in 2004 by L. Paul Bremer III, the top administrator for the Coaliton Provisional Authority.

We'll use the women's religion to grab
Liz Sly's (Chicago Tribune) report on Sunday about Iraq's Mandeans who predate Christianity and Islam ("and even perhaps Judaism") but are now "on the brink of extinction" having dropped from 30,000 in 2002 to between 3,500 and 5,000 currently:

Scattered around the world in tiny communities, the chances that the religion will survive more than a few generations are slim, experts say. Mandaeism does not accept converts, and the children of Mandaeans who marry non-Mandaeans do not belong to the sect. There are only 35 priests left in the world familiar with the elaborate ceremonies of a people who claim to be directly descended from Adam and who regard John the Baptist as their most important prophet."It has been a catastrophe for us," said Sattar Jabar Helou, who heads the Mandaean sect worldwide. "This is one of the world's oldest religions, and it is going to die."Mandaeans, known as Sabis in Arabic, are just one of several minorities who have historically given Iraq its distinct identity as a cradle of religious diversity. All have suffered disproportionately from the spread of anarchy and extremism in the wake of the U.S. invasion.Iraq's once-substantial Christian community has seen its numbers dwindle from about 800,000 to 500,000. Yazidis, a lettuce-shunning minority that venerates the forces of good and evil, have been targeted for attacks in their enclaves along the borders of Iraqi Kurdistan. Shabbaks, a Muslim sect that permits alcohol and is neither Sunni nor Shiite, have been persecuted in their ancestral lands near the northern city of Mosul.

Turning to today's reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing inside the home "of Sadi Mahdi, a general inspector in the ministry of electriticy" which left "Sadi's son Mustafa and his wife" wounded, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded two people, a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded one person, another Baghdad roadside bombing and this one left two people wounded and a Mosul car bombing that claimed 1 life and ten other people injured. Reuters notes a Sinjar bombing that claimed 1 life and left thirteen people injured,


Reuters notes 5 'suspects' were shot dead in Samarra and three more wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 15 corpses discovered in Baghdad

Greg Mitchell (Editor & Publisher) continues to explore service members deaths in Iraq from non-combat, "Here is today's horror story, involving Sgt. Mason Lewis of Virginia. A year ago, the military told his mom he had died in a fall. By implication: his fault. Yesterday a local TV outlet reported that the official probe has belatedly revealed: 'Army investigators discovered a poorly maintained bucket loader with no brakes and sluggish hydraulics, operated by an inexperienced crew, led to Mason's death'."

Mickey Z (at CounterCurrents) points out the little confidence game so many on the left are playing at present regarding a hopey-changey Corporatist War Hawk:And let's say Howard Zinn wrote an article that talked about what this man should do, what he hoped he'd do. For example: "announce the withdrawal of our troops from Iraq and Afghanistan" and "renounce the Bush doctrine of preventive war as well as the Carter doctrine of military action to control Midest oil." Also: "radically change the direction of U.S. foreign policy, declare that the U.S. is a peace loving country which will not intervene militarily in other parts of the world, and start dismantling the military bases we have in over a hundred countries. Also he must begin meeting with Medvedev, the Russian leader, to reach agreement on the dismantling of the nuclear arsenals, in keeping with the Nuclear Anti-Proliferation Treaty." Then raise taxes on the rich and combine that windfall with the hundreds of billions of dollars freed from the military budget to "give free health care to everyone (and) put millions of people to work" and thus "transform" the United States and "make it a good neighbor to the world."
Well, Howard Zinn has written such an article ("Obama's Historic Victory," Nov. 12, 2208) but is anyone calling him delusional and ridiculing him for even suggesting such insane expectations? The tens of thousands of readers who look to Zinn as a trusted voice of wisdom and reason are being dangerously misled by an article that omits the reality that every indication points to Barack Obama doing the exact opposite of what Zinn writes. Zinn knows as well as anyone that not an iota of evidence exists that Obama would do anything approaching what is described above. For a man of Zinn's stature on the Left to even hint of such a possibility is a shockingly irresponsible act and one that only contributes to the misguided perception that Obama's election is somehow a victory for the progressive Left.

chris floydthe washington postmichael abramowitzthe new york timescampbell robertsonsteven lee myers
james glanz
riyadh mohammedtom burghardt
matt kelley
liz sly
mcclatchy newspaperslaith hammoudi
greg mitchell
mickey z

Monday, November 17, 2008

Isaiah, Louis Proyect, Boycott

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Ghosts of Network Bombs Past and Present"

Ghost of Network Bombs Past and Present

My Mother The Car was a sitcom that starred Jerry Van Dyke in the sixties. Talking cars, flying nuns, caped crusaders, they were all over the TV. My Mother The Car is considered one of the worst shows of all time. So that's the joke if you missed it. Even Jerry Van Dyke can't believe 30 Rock is still on the air, even the star of the worst sitcom of all time can't believe it. I really think he did a great job drawing JVD and also Tina Fey. That really captures Tina Fey.

"The Early Days Of The Nation Magazine" (Louis Proyect, Swans Commentary):
For people trying to understand the bankruptcy of American liberalism, there is probably no better place to start than The Nation magazine. I first began subscribing to The Nation in the 1980s when Reagan was in the White House. As a general rule of thumb, the magazine is more readable when a Reagan or a Bush is president. During the Clinton presidency, The Nation directed most of its fire at "threats" to his presidency from the likes of Newt Gingrich rather than seeing the war on the poor as a joint Democrat-Republican project.
In 2003, after seeing one too many attack on the radical wing of the antiwar movement in the pages of The Nation, I decided to write a rebuttal to what I described as
its "tainted liberalism." My research revealed that from the very beginning, the magazine was hostile to the kinds of grassroots radical movements celebrated in Howard Zinn's history -- especially under the stewardship of the founding publisher and editor E.L. Godkin. In 1978, an unstinting biography of Godkin written by William M. Armstrong appeared but The Nation understandably decided not to review it. After having read Armstrong's book, I have a much better handle on where the magazine came from.

The above is the opening of a strong article that I recommend. I also will bring it to Third Sunday because I believe the first sentence qualifies for a "Truest statment of the week." C.I. and I were discussing this article during lunch (and another one I'll be re-reading after I blog or tomorrow). But then I thought about how The Nation will no doubt respond to the current call for holding homophobes accountable. They will insist they aren't for boycotts and blah, blah, blah.

Friday I wrote about how Weather was not part of the peace movement. Boycotts were part of the peace movement. They were also part of the Civil Rights Movement and they are a part of civil disobedience going way back in this country and in most countries.

In California, same-sex marriage was overturned at the ballot box on election day. Those who funded the effort to outlaw it are known because you donate to a political campaign, your donation is part of the public record. These people who wanted to stand up for homophobia have made it clear who they are and, thanks to people who worked very hard, we now know some of their names. The people on the "Anti Gay Blacklist" should be boycotted:

John Griffiths / Dentist, John C. Griffiths, Dds, Mds, Pc /Las Vegas, NV / $1,000
Anne-Marie Anderson /Consultant, Cps Human Resource Svc. / Rocklin, CA /$3,900
Darren Hulstine / Sales, Patterson Dental / Santa Maria, CA / $1,500
Dale Olsen / Contractor, The Floor Show Of California / Lemon Grove, CA / $1,000
John Sawyer / President, Penhall Company / Laguna Hills, CA / $2,500
John Sawyer / President, Penhall Company / Laguna Hills, CA / $1,000
Samuel Coates / Attorney / Palo Alto, CA / $2,500
Fieldstead And Co. / Irvine, CA / $95,000
Margaret Friedrich / Farmer, Friedrich Enterprises / Paterson, CA /$1,000
Frank Winger / Insurance, Aim / Santa Ana, CA /$2,500
Andre Carli / Professor, Cal. State Univ. Sacramento / Elk Grove, CA / $1,000
Container Supply Co., Inc. / Garden Grove, CA / $250,000
Wesley C. Hilton / V.p. Ins. Sales, Dominion Insurance / Lafayette, CA / $1,250
Kemp Burnham / Software Developer, Xact Ware Inc. / Lehi, UT / $1,000
Koreen Martone / Budget Analyst, State Of Ca. / West Sacramento, CA / $1,000
Gary Mcarthur / Dc, Ppc / Paradise, CA / $1,000
Gary Melman / Investment Manager, Horus / Los Angeles, CA / $1,000
Barnabas Chen / Manager, World Trend, Inc. / Pomona, CA / $1,000
Gayle Wells / Seminar Business, Empty Spools Seminars / Moraga, CA / $1,000
Lambeth Consulting / Greenwood, CA / $1,000
Stephen Elgorriaga / Sheep Rancher, Stephen Elgorriaga Livestock / Madera, CA / $1,000
Country View Farms / Pierce, NE / $2,500
Roy Menchavez / Equip. Eng., Venzon Engineering / Mountain View, CA / $1,000
Frank Velasquez / Coo, Cornerstone Technologies / San Jose, CA / $1,000
Tyler Albrechtsen / Healthcare Administrator, Victoria Care Center / Oxnard, CA / $1,000
Bruce Andrus / Hotel Owner/operator, Huntington Hotels / Park City, UT / $20,000
Daniel Brinton / Physician, East Bay Retina Consultants / Lafayette, CA /
Stan Lee / Pharmacist, Nelsons Drug Store / Upland, CA / $5,000
Jeffrey Puryear / Lab Research Assoc., Texas Agrilife Research Station / Bryan, TX / $1,000
Matthew Wade / Medical Resident, Uc Irvine / Salt Lake City, UT / $2,000
Focus On The Family / Colorado Springs, CO / $2,909
Robert Gray / Consultant, Rg-construction Consultants / Plumas Lake, CA / $2,000
Robert Mendenhall / Pres., Western Governors University / Salt Lake City, CA / $1,000
John Mcgaffey / Manager, Polara Engineering / Fullerton, CA / $2,000
Garth Pickett / Accounting, Ladera Integrators / Mountain View, CA / $2,000
Tracy Pickett / Executive Support, Ladera Integrators / Mountain View, CA / $1,999
Lisa Myler / Wedding Planner, Myler Weddings / American Fork, UT / $10,000
Jerner Construction, Inc. / Turlock, CA / $1,000
Paula Barnes / Scheduler, Disneyland / Mission Viejo, CA / $3,000
Michael Brown / Attorney, Michael R. Brown, A Law Corp. / Lake Forest, CA / $1,200
Earl Goodman / President, Goodman, Gene, Dtl, Inc. / Chandler, AZ / $9,999
James Mclaughlin / Investment Management, Lincolnshire Management, Inc. / New Canaan, CT / $1,000
Donald Nanney / Attorney, Gilchrist & Rutter, Pc / Pasadena, CA / $1,000
Coalition For The Protection Of / Las Vegas, NV / $5,000
William Allen / Orthodontist, North County Orthodontist / Carlsbad, CA / $1,000
Morgan Lynch / Management, Lago Di Como / Cedar Hills, UT / $2,500
Scott Haskins / President, Facl, Inc. / Santa Barbara, CA / $5,000
Jessica Wooden / Rn, Sutter Roseville Medical Center / Rescue, CA / $1,500
Yvonne Tsai / Consultant, Kingdom Design / Irvine, CA / $1,000
Caleb Nelson / Self Employed, Unishippers Of Oakland/oregon / Albany, OR / $1,000
Jan Pinney / Insurance Broker, Pinney Insurance Center, Inc. / Granite Bay, CA / $10,000
Ken Campbell / Personnel Officer, City Of Long Beach / Mission Viejo, CA / $1,000
Price Funeral Chapel, Inc. / Citrus Heights, CA / $1,000
Kevin Neubert & Associates Inc. / Lake Arrowhead, CA / $1,000
Scott Borgia / Tax Director, Armanino Mckenna / Morgan Hill, CA / $1,000
Leading Edge Duplication, Inc / Moorpark, CA / $1,700
Joseph Ray / Civil Engineer, P G & E / Rodeo, CA / $1,000
Kimberly Sneddon / Teacher, Chino Usd / Brea, CA / $1,000
Tisha Harty / Office Manager, Law Office Of Douglas Harty / Castaic, CA /
Steven Udvar / Manager, Pacific Life Insurance Co. / Dana Point, CA /
Lorin Rocks / Engineer, Tandberg Television / San Jose, CA / $1,000
Melenaite Piutau / Contractor, New Epoch Construction / Ontario, CA / $2,000
Heath Fields / Shipping/receiving, Terico / San Jose, CA / $1,000
Container Supply Co., Inc. / Garden Grove, CA / $1,520
Blake Wettengel / Attorney, Snell & Wilmer / Laguna Niguel, CA / $1,000
Cheryl Aday / Real Estate, Provident Realty / Upland, CA / $1,000
Ray Zinn / Ceo, Micrel Inc. / Atherton, CA / $1,500
Gregory Tuttle / Dentist, Gregory K Tuttle Dds / El Dorado Hills, CA / $5,000
Katherine Foster / Manager, Cisco / Mountain View, CA / $2,000
David Boyce / Cpa, Brown, Fink, Boyce & Astle
/ Folsom, CA / $4,000
Michael Lee / Researcher, Natl Inst. For Materials Science / Elk Ridge, UT / $1,500
Joel Gibson / Consultant, Permanente Medical Group / Albany, CA / $1,000
Courtney Sirard / Medical Provider, Woodland Hospital / Woodland, CA /
Alex Spjute / Attorney, Hughes Hubbard & Reed / Redondo Beach, CA / $1,000
Wei Li / Engineer, Sensage / Daly City, CA / $1,000
Sherri Steenburgen / Real Estate, First Team Real Estate / Anaheim, CA /
John Lewis / Doctor, Tpmg / Cupertino, CA / $1,000
Kevin Schick / Programmer, Synteract Inc. / Carlsbad, CA / $1,000
Anne Jones / Calligrapher, Self - Anne Jones / North Hollywood, CA /
Sherry Jagard / Program Manager / Simi Valley, CA / $1,000
Walter Gubler / Professor, Uc Davis / Davis, CA / $1,000
Montgomery Painting / Cerritos, CA / $1,000
Jeff Lemmon / Businessman, New Star / Pacific Grove, CA / $1,000
Brandon Ballard / Investment Advisor, Investools Inc. / Los Angeles, CA /
Matthew Thueson / Office Manager, Roll Services / Tucson, AZ / $1,000
Lawrence R. Taylor / Cpa, Gallina, Llp / Antelope, CA / $1,000
Carl Trubschenck / Dentist, Carl Trubschenck Dds Inc. / Citrus Heights, CA / $1,000
Christopher Porter / Vp Sales, Pearson / Folsom, CA / $1,000
Ryan S. Beck / Physical Therapist, Western Physical Therapy / Orland, CA / $1,000
David Bjarnason / Analyst, Western Investment / Salt Lake City, CA / $1,000
Ralph E. Carr / Social Worker, Dept. Of Children & Family Serv. / Downey, CA / $1,000
Kirk Phillips / Civil Engineer, City Of Claremont California / Upland, CA / $1,000
Tca Partners, Llp / Fresno, CA / $1,000
Thomas Carmack / Attorney, Wilson, Sonsini, Goodrich & Rosa / Mountain View, CA / $1,000
Mike Power / Engineer, Intuit / San Jose, CA / $1,000
Rhonda Killion / Secretary, Church On The Rock / Woodland, CA / $1,000
Brian Avery / Property Manager, Acco Mgt. / Mountain View, CA / $1,000
Blaine Ray Workshops / Consultant / Pismo Beach, CA / $1,000
Scott English / Programmer, Tmmg / Yorba Linda, CA / $2,000
Special Funds / Santa Clarita, CA / $2,675
Bolt Motorcycle Hardware / Atascadero, CA / $1,000
Ridgway Pope / Accountant, County Of Ventura / Ventura, CA / $1,000
Daniel Trueba / Doctor, U.s. Navy / Stonington, CT / $1,000
Alta Home Care Inc. / Riverside, CA / $2,500
Mark Riem / Audio Visual, Self Employed-mark Riem / Los Angeles, CA / $1,000
Chris Barlow / Finance, Lombard Street Partners, Llc / San Ramon, CA / $1,000
Tulikininifo Penieli / Intl. Export., Dhl Express / Lawndale, CA / $1,000
Metal Related Services, Inc / Chatsworth, CA / $2,000
Kawika Tupou / Engineer, Alg Corp. / Camarillo, CA / $1,000
Brian Everett / Architect, Nmr Architects / Orangevale, CA / $1,250
Cory Reid / Loss Mitigation, Consumer Protection Institute / Moraga, CA / $1,000
Kendell Ricks / Dentist, Village Dental / Bonsall, CA / $1,000
Alekisanita Vimahi / Merchandiser, Retail Marketing / Millbrae, CA / $1,500
Cooley Family Investment Llc / Higley, AZ / $10,000
Andrew Hunt / Civil Engineer, City Of Sacramento / Folsom, CA / $1,000
Craig Yeates / Auditor, Us Department Federal Government / Camarillo, CA / $1,000
Robert Ludlow / Dentist, Self Employed - Robert Ludlow / Modesto, CA / $5,000
Katherine Laret / Teacher, San Juan Unified School District / Orangevale, CA / $1,000
Sandra Ball / Manager, Treehouse Almonds / Lemoore, CA / $1,000
Bruce Stephenson / Cpa, Gallina Llp / Granite Bay, CA / $1,000
Mann Construction / Santa Barbara, CA / $1,000
Golding Publications / Canyon Lake, CA / $1,000
M By 6 Inc / Stockton, CA / $1,000
Richard Reep / Hrm, Home Depot / Shingle Springs, CA / $2,000
David Hilburn / Nursing Home Administrator, Sherwood Healthcare Center / Granite Bay, CA / $5,000
Danielle Peterson / Gis Analyst, Granite Construction / Sacramento, CA / $1,000
Ken Sanofsky / Ceo, Path Solutions / Angoura Hills, CA / $1,000
Scott Kuhnen / Paper Stock Dealer, Recycling Industries / Yuba City, CA / $28,750
John Larcabal / Optometrist, Brea Optomatry / Brea, CA / $1,000
Wailana Kamauu / Agent, Wailana Kamauu Ins. Agency / Sonoma, CA / $1,000
Lori Hooke / Civil Engineer, Ventura County / Ventura, CA / $1,200
Gordon Jones / Chemical Salesman, Cardinal Industry / Thousand Oaks, CA / $2,000
Calvary Chapel Corona /Corona, CA / $2,533
Trentman Corporation / Auburn, CA / $1,000
Bart Walker / Owner, Barts Electric / Pleasant Valley, MO / $1,000
Huesser Neweight Llc / Concord, CA / $1,000
Nathan Jensen / Attorney, Morrison & Foerster / San Diego, CA / $10,000
Randall Hatcher / Human Resources, Maui Inc. / Augusta, GA / $5,000
Margaret Mccauley / Landscaper, Pml Landscape / Clovis, CA / $1,000
Brian Hayes / Restaurateur, Aunt Fannys Hot Pretzel / Auburn, CA / 1,000
Craig Huey / Advertising, Creative Direct Marketing Group / Torrance, CA / $1,000
Elizabeth Thomas / Teacher, Burbank Usd / Burbank, CA / $1,000
Shelburne Ponsford / Pres., Systems Information Tech. / Santa Rosa, CA / $1,000
Rodney Hewitt / Chief Risk Officer, Centrue Bank / Manlius, IL / $2,500
Kelley Drake / Supply Chain Mgt, Lsi Corp / San Jose, CA / $1,000
Thomas Larson / Engineer, Cal Trans / San Diego, CA / $9,900
Jason Swart / Owner, Specialized Dairy Svc. / Ontario, CA / $1,000
Steven Turner / Attorney, Jones Turner, Llp / Irvine, CA / $1,000
Focus On The Family / Colorado Springs, CO / $328
Focus On The Family / Colorado Springs, CO / $981
Focus On The Family / Colorado Springs, CO / $46
Focus On The Family / Colorado Springs, CO / $83
Lauri Janssen / Accountant, Intermountan Health Care / West Jordan, UT / $1,000
Lee Monson / Air Attack Capt., Dyncorp International / Atascadero, CA / $1,000
Byron Johnson / President, Eml Associates Inc. / Manteca, CA / $1,000
April Bullard / Business Owner, Scv / Whittier, CA / $1,000
Debra Cabeza / Programmer, City Of Los Angeles / Montebello, CA / $1,000
Michael Manning / Cpa, Qlogic Corporation / San Juan Capistrano, CA / $20,000
Dan Northcutt / Property Management/real Estate, Northcutt Properties Inc. / San Diego, CA / $1,000
Brian Thulin / Teacher, Lausd / Simi Valley, CA / $1,000
Lance Dane / Small Business Owner, Self Employed - Lance Dane / Lafayette, CA / $2,500
Karen Rohm / Professor, California State University / San Bernardino, CA / $1,000
Karen Merrill / Finance Director, Bcbg / Pasadena, CA / $1,000
Nancy Hales / Self Employed, Hales Engineering / Camarillo, CA / $5,000
Lupeni Tuaone / Construction, L.t. Concrete / Chino, CA / $1,614
Ryan Hall / Real Estate, Keller Williams / San Clemente, CA / $1,000
Brent Webb / President, Rpm / Granite Bay, CA / $5,000
David Bills / Teacher, Sbcusd / Corona, CA / $1,000
Michael Wach / Self Employed, Self - Michael Wach / Pomona, CA / $1,000
Theron Brown / Nuclear Radiologist, Va / Torrance, CA / $1,200
Robyn Evans / M.d., Self - Robyn Evans / Redlands, CA / $2,500
John Lewis / Physician, Tpmg / Cupertino, CA / $2,000
Craig Ferguson / Accountant, Craig W Ferguson / Laguna Niguel, CA / $1,000
Marsha Saylors / Secretary, Tire Man / Santa Rosa Valley, CA / $2,500
Barnabas Chen / Manager, World Trend, Inc. / Pomona, CA / $1,000
Reybro, Inc. / Vista, CA / $5,000
Quality Recycling / Lakeside, CA / $2,000
Linda Reynolds / Bookkeeper, Quality Recylcing / Escondido, CA / $2,000
Calvary Chapel Of Costa Mesa, Inc / Santa Ana, CA / $9,000
Mont Flora / Manager, Liberty Heating & Air / Laguna Hills, CA / $5,000
Robert Eakin / Tutor, Mobile Math Tutoring / Carmichael, CA / $3,000

Chuck Musselwhite / Pastor, The Village Chapel / Lompoc, CA / $1,000
Nicole Whitman / Administrator, Greystar / Thousand Oaks, CA / $1,200
Brian Sprague / Analyst, Dept. Of Energy / Fair Oaks, CA / $1,000
Phillip Fletcher / Dentist, Phillip Fletcher, Dds / Redwood City, CA / $1,000
Lin Whatcott/ Accountant, Davita Inc. / Maple Valley, WA / $10,005
Adam Smith /Cpa, Pwc / Santa Ana, CA /$4,000
Marty Walker / Pastor, The Sanctuary / Santa Clarita, CA / $2,500
Michael Lee / Attorney, Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher / Sierra Madre, CA /
Donovan Sanchez / Food Services, Mtc Dining Services / Fairfield, CA /
David Watts / Engineer, Aeris Communications / Morgan Hill, CA / $2,000
Daniel Jensen / Owner, Jensen Fasteners / Sacramento, CA / $1,000
Dan Darchuck / Investment Advisor, Ubs / Clovis, CA / $1,000
Karen Floyd / Trainer, First American Title / Newcastle, CA / $2,500
Calvary Chapel Montebello / Montebello, CA / $1,000
Scott Anderson / Executive, Zenith Specialty Bag / Chino Hills, CA / $1,000
Steven Clark / Manager, R.l. Co. / Orangevale, CA / $1,000
Janet Mahoney / Nursing, Scripps Health / San Diego, CA / $1,000
Matthew Major / Engineer, Lockheed Martin / Sunnyvale, CA / $1,000
Paul Eumurian / Engineer, Boeing / Anaheim, CA / $1,000
David Warner / Periodontist, David A. Warner Dds / Whittier, CA / $1,000
Integrated Dental Implant Services / Las Vegas, NV / $1,000
John Ludwig / Dentist, John B. Ludwig Dds Dental Corp. / Santa Clara, CA / $1,000
Craig Paullin / Partner, 14000 Avalon, Llc / Los Angeles, CA / $2,500
Richard Snelson / Accountant, Ernst & Young Llp / Newhall, CA / $5,585
Brent Griffiths / Self Employed, Brents Carpet One / Newhall, CA / $1,000
Gordon Maughan / Medical Doctor, Self Employed / Palos Verdes Estates, CA / $1,000
Scott L. Larson / Mngr., Scandia Rec., Inc. / Ontario, CA / $1,000
Richard Teerlink / Real Estate Consultant, Richard M. Teerlink Consulting / Gold River, CA / $2,500
Mark Warden / Executive, The Bergman Corp. / San Jose, CA / $1,000
James Elison / Geologist, Paso Creek Reources / Bakersfield, CA / $1,000
Mark E. Abel, Dds / Auburn, CA / $1,000
Douglas Myers / Cpa, Douglas S. Myers, Cpa / Mission Viejo, CA / $1,000
Dallin Large / Pool Cover Repairman, Cover Care / Los Angeles, CA / $1,000
Patrick Foley / Ceo, Rirock Technologies, Inc. / Redlands, CA / $5,000
Mark Walton / Accountant, Reading Intenational, Inc. / South Pasadena, CA / $1,000
Wikitoria Lovett / School Teacher, San Bernardino City Usd / Redlands, CA / $1,580
Lois Lafrance / Cinematic Artist, Activision / Thousand Oaks, CA / $1,000
Scott Wallace / Engineer, Carlsbad Manufacturing Corp / Chula Vista, CA /
Steve Keithly / Vice President, Whittier Mailing Products / La Mirada, CA / $3,000
Paul Kepes / Risk Manager, Ctc, Llc / Chicago, IL / $9,900
Monica Kepes / None, N/a / Chicago, IL / $9,900
Salvatore Cordileone / Clergy, Catholic Diocese Of San Diego / San Diego, CA / $2,000
Lance Paddock / Teacher, Alvord Usd / Fullerton, CA / $1,000
New Covenant Church / Martinez, CA / $3,050
Nathan Birchall / Cfo, Ranch Capital / Encinitas, CA / $1,000
Ken Swanson / Engineer, Sun Microsystems / San Jose, CA / $3,000
Patrick Svedin / Sales, Sanofi Pasteur / Salt Lake City, UT / $1,000
Jay Mortensen / Consultant, South West Dealer Services / Laguna Hills, CA / $2,500
Edward Weaver / Teacher, Tehachapi Usd / Tehachapi, CA / $1,000
Jay Clark / Produce Dealer, A & Z Produce / Centerville, UT / $25,000
Scott Eckern / Artistic Director, California Musical Theatre / Citrus Heights, CA / $1,000
Rodney Remington / Physician, Self - Remington / Clovis, CA / $1,000
Harold Stevens / Building Contractor, Stevens Construction / Lancaster, CA / $1,200
David Payne / Self Empoyed, Muzicraft / Santa Barbara, CA / $9,550
Behrouz Younessian / Cfo, The Brass Ring Inc. / Oceanside, CA / $2,000
Robyn Evans / M.d., Self - Robyn Evans / Redlands, CA / $1,000
Todd Johnson / Dentist, Todd L Johnson Dds / Citrus Heights, CA / $1,000
Todd Johnson / Dentist, Todd L Johnson Dds / Citrus Heights, CA / $1,000
Benjamin Whitesides / Principal, Orange County Logistics / Huntington Beach, CA / $1,000
Michael Freeland / Optometrist, Family Optometry Of Camarillo / Camarillo, CA / $1,000
Stuart Watt / Attorney, Amgen / Camarillo, CA / $2,500
Stuart Watt / Attorney, Amgen / Camarillo, CA / $2,500
Drew Dellenbach / Sales, Bms / Corona, CA / $1,500
K. Melton Higgins / Ceo, Ca Bapist Foundation / Fresno, CA / $1,000
Arthur Birtcher / Real Estate, Birtcher Anderson / San Juan Capistrano, CA / $1,000
Barry Magaoay / Advisor, Lee Financial Group / Kapolei, HI / $1,000
Shelley Mitchell / Owner, Strategy Micro / Laguna Hills, CA / $1,000
Brian Mendenhall / Manager, Pendum / Lake Forest, CA / $1,000
Drew Dellenbach / Sales, Bms / Corona, CA / $1,500
K. Melton Higgins / Ceo, Ca Bapist Foundation / Fresno, CA / $1,000
Arthur Birtcher / Real Estate, Birtcher Anderson / San Juan Capistrano, CA / $1,000
Don Francis / Manager, Cbs / San Ramon, CA / $2,500
Jeff Hendrickson / Manager, Legacy Professional Services / San Clemente, CA / $3,500
John Mcgaffey / Manager, Polara Engineering / Murrieta, CA / $1,000
Mike Denning / Consultant, Ernst & Young / San Clemente, CA / $3,000
Jeff Grover / Manager, Solecon / Modesto, CA / $1,000
Lu Little / Admin Asst, Rw Little Ins Agency / Los Angeles, CA / $8,500
Robert Little / Ins Agent, Rw Little Ins Agency / La, CA / $9,500
Richard Zamboni / Manufacturer, Zamboni, Co / Paramount, CA / $1,000
Donovan Cyndi / Secretary, Gaelic Electric / Santa Barbara, CA / $1,000
Calvary Bible Church / Bakersfield, CA / $2,255
Donn Crummer / Real Estate Mgmt, Crummer Realty Mgmt Group / Santa Ynez, CA / $1,000
Ronald Smith / Professor, Biola University / San Bernardino, CA / $1,000
Helen Boltz / Chemical Plant Manager, Tressidewl-kirley / Mesa, AZ / $5,000
Myron Randall / Computer Programmer, Firemans Fund / Penngrove, CA / $1,000
Dave Barlow / Real Estate Broker, Barlow Williams Realty / Camarillo, CA / $1,000
Bohl, Nixon & Schoneman / Ventura, CA / $2,000
Jon Van Woerkom / Attorney, Aig / Roseville, CA / $1,001
Orion Wood / Consultant, Orion Wood Consulting / Newark, CA / $2,500
Frank Johnson / Engineer, Naval Facilities Engineering Service Center / Oxnard, CA / $1,000
Robert Frost / Project Manager, Ace Hardware / Clayton, CA / $1,000
Patrick Fitzgerald / Cpa, Pricewaterhouse Coopers Llp / Mission Viejo, CA / $2,000
Jon Hickman / Investment Analyst, Mdb Capital / Pleasant Hills, CA / $1,000
Scott Letellier / Sports Executive, Big League Dreams Usa, Llc / Palos Verdes Estate, CA / $1,500
Sally Lee / Vp Media, Guthy-renker Corp. / Los Angeles, CA / $1,000
John Warren / Cpa, John Warren Cpa / Uniah, CA / $1,000
Dan Lang / Attorney, J.d. Lang & Associates / Westlake Village, CA /
Kelley Ivancovich / Farmer, Ivancovich Farms / Porterville, CA / $1,500
Alan Colledge / M.d ., Central Utah Clinic / Lindon, UT / $1,000
John Griffiths / Orthodontist, John C. Griffiths, Dds, Mds, Pc / Las Vegas, NV / $1,000
Darren Wight / Finance, Insight Health Corp / Laguna Niguel, CA / $1,500
Dana Del Francia / Ceo, Bullet Freight Systems / Anaheim, CA / $1,000
America Francis / Apartment Manager, Spieker Companies / San Ramon, CA / $2,000
Bruce Higginson / President, Awc / Garden Grove, CA / $2,001
Brian Gibson / Operations Manager, Hewlett-packard
/ Antelop, CA / $1,000
Jennifer Johnson / Manager, Coraticum Asset Mgt. / Holladay, UT / $2,500
Mark Lindgren / Pilot, Fedex / San Luis Obispo, CA / $5,000
Thomas Brasher / Insurance, Brashers Insurance Svc. / Newcastle, CA / $2,500
Jeff Nelson / Tech Support, Shields, Harper & Co. / Vacaville, CA / $1,800
David Knowles / Insurance, David Knowles Insurance / Sacramento, CA /
Jon Iverson / Cpa, Jon Iverson, Cpa / San Jose, CA / $5,000
Michael Schield / Manager, Orpor, Inc. / Laguna Woods, CA / $2,500
Eric Schwarz / Consultant, Omni Management / Thousand Oaks, CA / $2,000
Roman Catholic Bishop / Sacramento, CA / $1,000
Schmoekel Insurance Agency, Inc / Sacramento, CA / $1,000
Eugene Van Zee / Pastor, Faith Community Church / San Jacinto, CA / $1,064
Travis Clawson / Potato Processor, Joy Foods / Laguna Beach, CA / $1,000
Aldric Porter / Co-producer, Columbia Pictures / Santa Rosa Valley, CA / $5,000
Richard Jordan / Professional, Natural Success International / Laguna Niguel, CA / $25,000
Anne Weaver / Rn, Kaiser Sand Teresa Hospital / San Jose, CA / $1,000
Janet Smith / Interior Design, Labelle Maisor / Altadena, CA / $1,000
Kevin Riches / Business Owner, Self - Riches Group / Portola Valley, CA /
Stephen Taylor / Financial Advisor, Bank Of The West / Sacramento, CA /
Robert Pratt / Attorney, State Of Ca. / Woodland, CA / $1,000
Susan B. Jones / Psychotherapist, Susan B. Jones, L.c.s.w. / Yuba City, CA / $5,000
Gregory Clark / Consultant, Cirrus Financial / Dublin, CA / $21,500
William Orlando / Manager, Aes Ins. / Concord, CA / $1,000
Ross Biesinger / Financial Advisor, Morgan Stanley / Palm Desert, CA / $1,000
Lise Dimartino / Teacher, Lammersvill School District / Tracy, CA / $1,000
Friends Of Ron Packard / Carlsbad, CA / $5,000
Pam Peterson / Executive, Folsom Lake Ford / Granite Bay, CA / $1,000
Iris Marshall / Designer, Hyundai Kia / Laguna Hills, CA / $1,000
Carole Waite / Teacher, Los Angeles Usd / Huntington Park, CA / $10,000
Karen Cooper / Tech, C.h.w. / Riverside, CA / $1,000
Meghann Pricer / Project Director, Century Group / Los Angeles, CA / $1,000
Kristine Kiser / Accountant, Kristine M. Kiser, Cpa / Mission Viejo, CA / $1,500
Eric Chen / Research, Ucla / Los Angeles, CA / $1,000
Thomas Butler / Real Estate, Fortress Investments / American Fork, UT / $1,000
Fang Lu / Engineer, Broadcom / Rowland Heights, CA / $5,000
Cay Pooley / Accountant, Mosaic / San Luis Obispo, CA / $1,350
David Paxman / Teacher, Byu / Provo, UT / $1,000
Tracy Pickett / Executive Support, Ladera Integrators / Mountain View, CA / $3,000
Garth Pickett / Accounting, Ladera Integrators / Mountain View, CA / $3,000
Richard Marshall / Veterinarian, Sutter Institute For Med. Resrch / El Dorado Hills, CA / $1,000
Angela Li / Software Engineer, Yahoo!, Inc. / San Mateo, CA / $1,300
Bruce Jensen / Engineer, Raytheon Co. / Goleta, CA / $1,250
Linda Reeve / Landscape Design, Self- Linda Reeve / Alamo, CA / $9,500
Ca State Council Knights/columbus / Fontana, CA / $8,889
Lasco Enterprises / Spring Valley, CA / $1,000
David Pace / President, High Valley Construction / Villa Park, CA / $1,000
Calvary Chapel Mission Fund / El Centro, CA / $2,000
High Valley Construction Co, Inc / Anaheim, CA / $1,000
Central Christian Church / Lancaster, CA / $2,490
Larry La Monica / Property Manager, La Monica Properties / Carson City, CA / $1,000
James Lee / Pharmacist, Yorba Linda Pharmacy / Anaheim, CA / $1,000
William Albert / Developer, Sares-regis Group / Irvine, CA / $1,000
William Wilson / Dentist, William G Wilson Dds / Modesto, CA / $1,000
Lisa Call / Teacher, Los Altos School District / Los Gatos, CA / $1,000
Brad Zimmerman / Grading Contractor, Quest Engineering / Tustin, CA / $2,500
Sharleen Peterson / Research Clerk, Bank Of America / Alhambra, CA / $1,000
Paul Manwaring / Ces Coordinator, Ces Seminars/institutes / Twin Falls, ID / $1,800
Linda Williams /Cpa, Ristau & Co Inc Cpas / Turlock, CA / $1,000
Keith Rowbotham / Tradebinder, Allied Binding Co / Corona, CA / $1,000
Robyn Robinson / Insurance Broker, Self - Robyn Robinson / San Juan Capistrano, CA / $1,000
Kenneth Woolley / Ceo, Extra Space Inc. / Salt Lake City, CA / $5,000
Angie Crosby / Teacher, Anaheim City School District / Newport Beach, CA / $1,000
Melanie Jensen / Insurance Broker, Sheppard & Assoc. / Orangevale, CA / $1,000
Tevita Piutau / Contractor, Self - Tevita Piutau / Ontario, CA / $3,300
Ralph Ogden / Attorney, Law Offices Of Ralph C. Ogden / Modesto, CA /$1,000
Sarah Pack / Therapist, Emq Children And Family Services / San Jose, CA / $2,000
Neal Proctor / Appraiser, Appraisal Net / Folsom, CA / $3,000
William Obryant / Director, Unitedhealthcare / Mission Viejo, CA / $1,000
Hierbert Gillespie / Attorney, Gillespie Law Office / Roosevelt, UT / $1,000
Steven Olsen / Psi Network, Inc, President / Laguna Niguel, CA / $24,999
David M. Fenn / Contractor, Fenn-robbins Homes / Lake Arrowhead, CA / $1,000
Daniel F. Johnson Forensic Services / Canyon Country, CA / $1,000
Ashcraft Design / El Segundo, CA / $1,000
Keven D. Oreilly / Physician, Dr. Kevin Oreilly / Redlands, CA / $1,000
Eric Fors / Comm. Loan Underwriter, Bank Of America / S. Pasadena, CA /$1,000
Jeremie D. Mckee / Mngr., Npc / Corona, CA / $1,000
Robert C. Van Sweden / Finance, Gfi Energy Ventures / Santa Monica, CA / $1,000
Bradley E. Haag / R.e. Appraiser, Appraisal Solutions / Lehi, UT / $2,000
Daniel E. Burgoyne / Mngr., Ca Dgs / Folsom, CA / $1,000
Matthew Perona / Acct., Price Waterhouse Coopers / Concord, CA / $1,500

If you did business with any of the above, you should cease doing business with them unless you want to fund their future efforts to spread homophobia.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Monday, November 17, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, 17 Iraqis are reported dead and forty-six wounded, the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement continues to ease on down the road, Peaches O'Day didn't have anything on the US, and more.

Starting with news of the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement. At the White House today, spokesperson Dana Perino declared, "As we've been saying since July, when we said that we would work with the Iraqis to establish a date that we would aspire to -- we just keep getting success after success on the security front in Iraq. And when you work with a partner on a negotiation, you have to concede some points. One of the points that we conceded was that we would establish these aspirational dates. We're only able to do this because of the progress that's been made by the great work of our forces, and by the Iraqi security forces as well. They, every day, gain in number, confidence and competence. And we are going to continue to work with the Iraqis, because while we did have a good step with the council of ministers approving the agreement, and then our ambassador and their foreign ministers signing it today, there are still seveal steps left to go." Indeed and anyone paying attention should have noticed something very important in Perino's wording.

Nidaa Bakhsh (Bloomberg News) cited press chatter that Sunday's cabinet vote would support the treaty. Katherine Zoepf and Atheer Kakan (New York Times) reported that a preliminary meeting was held Monday to test the waters in Parliament but the Islamic Council of Iraq skipped the meeting which "ended without any clear public resolution." Nouri al-Maliki's cabinet did approve the treaty on Sunday. Adam Ashton and Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) explained nine members of the cabinet were not present and that all but one of the 28 members present voted in favor of it leading Gordon Johndroe, White House flack, to crow, "While the process is not yet complete, we remain hopeful and confident we'll soon have an agreement that serves both the people of Iraq and the United States well and sends a signal to the region and the world that both our governments are committed to a stable, secure and democratic Iraq." And what ensued was a contest among the press to determine who could make a bigger fool out of themselves.

Top contenders included
Anne Penketh (Independent of London), Campbell Robertson and Stephen Farrell (New York Times) and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times). Penketh declared, "The Iraqi cabinet has finally approved a hard-fought security pact with the US under which all American troops are to withdraw from Iraq in three years, putting an end to the US-led occupation of Iraq that has defined America's relations with the rest of the world since the 2003 invasion." Susman insisted, "Iraq's Cabinet on Sunday overwhelmingly accepted a plan to end the U.S. military presence in Iraq by the end of 2011 and sent it on to parliament for approval, where it faces a fight from lawmakers who consider it a sellout to the Americans." Robertson and Farrell maintained, "Iraq's cabinet on Sunday overwhelmingly approved a proposed security agreement that calls for a full withdrawal of American forces fromt he country by the end of 2011." Only the Washington Post was functioning today. Mary Beth Sheridan reported -- actually reported, did what reporters are supposed to do and who knew it was that difficult but look at the other outlets -- that "the Iraqi cabinet on Sunday approved a bilateral agreement allowing U.S. troops to remain in this country for three more years." We'll come back to Sheridan's article but just absorb that because she appears to be not just the only one reporting but the only one with a grasp of facts. The UN mandate (covering the occupation) expires December 31st. A new agreement is needed or the mandate needs to be renewed by the UN Security Council for US troops to remain in Iraq (if it's a treaty with the US; renewing the UN mandate would actually cover all foreign troops). Somehow everyone in the press thinks the treaty is about withdrawal. It was never about withdrawal, it was about creating a legal context and framework to allow US troops to remain in Iraq. But apparently it was bring your inner-child to work day today and they were allowed to run free. Sheridan covers the basics:

The accord still needs approval from Iraq's parliament, but the cabinet vote indicated that most major Iraqi parties supported it. The Iraqi government spokesman portrayed the pact as closing the book on the occupation that began with the U.S.-led invasion in 2003."The total withdrawal will be completed by December 31, 2011. This is not governed by circumstances on the ground," the spokesman, Ali al-Dabbagh, told Iraqi reporters, pointedly rejecting the more conditional language that the U.S. government had sought in the accord.American officials have pointed out that there is nothing stopping the next Iraqi government from asking some U.S. troops to stay. The Iraqi military is years away from being able to defend the country from external attack, according to U.S. and Iraqi officials.

Yes, the spokespeople did run with spin. Why so many in the press elected to adopt it is a mystery. Some Iraqis do believe the spin (others bought off and intimdated by the State Dept don't give a damn) but then they thought the original version gave them 'rights' over US service members who committed crimes, now didn't they? The US really isn't that good at wars but the government has always excelled in treaties that lulled the other party into believing they were getting a good deal. It never works out that way, now does it? Not for the Native Americans, not for Panama, go down the list. But an updated treaty (only recently translated out of English) is wonderful, it's marvelous, it's . . . George W. Bush is not about to end the Iraq War. Get real.
It takes a lot of stupid to set aside US history and assume this treaty with an occupied nation is (for the first time ever) a fair and beneficial (to the Iraqis) treaty. But didn't the press do that? It's hard to figure out whether the Iraqis or the press are the NYC immigrants to the White House's Peaches O'Day, determined to sell and re-sell the Brooklyn Bridge over and over. In Every Day's a Holiday, Mae West tosses out lines that the US government could never hope to pull off (like, "I may crack a law, but I ain't never broke one") and a few that would be completely believable coming from the current administration ("Larceny nothin', you'll send 'em a check in the morning."). Though it's not surprising to see the puppet government in Iraq play the role of Fritz Krausmeyer, it's shocking to also see the press so eager to play the sap.

The propsed treaty would give US forces legal protection to remain in Iraq. It is not about withdrawal. And for those still not grasping that fact, let's return to what Dana Perino told the press today and zoom in on this: "One of the points that we conceded was that we would establish these aspirational dates." Aspirational dates? Not concrete ones. A withdrawal treaty would cover withdrawal. This treaty focuses on keeping US troops in Iraq through 2011 at which point the treaty runs out. Does that mean anything? Yes, it means that a new treaty would then be ironed out. It might or might not call for withdrawal. It might or might not do something else. But the treaty before the Iraqis right now has "aspirational dates" and is about the US remaining in Iraq through the end of 2011.

For those still confused,
Phil Sands (The National) walks you through:

The troop withdrawal dates are targets, not set in stone. They are designed to appease the widely held sentiment among Iraqis that US forces must not be allowed to stay indefinitely; that they are a tolerated, necessary nuisance rather than welcomed guests. In reality, as of today there seems scant prospect that every US soldier will have left Iraq within the next three years, and all 400 or so US bases closed. But the suggestion this is going to happen makes the Sofa more palatable to a sceptical Iraqi public. It is an unremarkable and understandable political survival tactic to make a promise that will get broken, if that is what it takes to gets out of a tight spot and buy some time.

Add to it
Ken Fireman (Bloomberg News) reporting that the chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Michael Mullen, is making remarks at odd with today's spin such as (on withdrawal), "To remove the entire force would be two to three years, as opposed to something we could do in a very short period of time." (Actually, all US troops could be withdrawn in the first 100 days of the new administration.) Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) observes, "Mullen emphasized that he still believes any U.S. troop reductions should be based on the levels of violence in Iraq - a position that runs counter to the official Iraqi stance." Bryan Bender (Boston Globe) explains the 'binding' contract really isn't, "Once approved by the Iraqi Parliament, which began debate on the measure today, it cannot be changed by either side for at least a year, according to Article 31 of the draft." At least a year? So in December 2009, this Troops-Home-In-2011! spin might spin right out the window? Yes.

The treaty will be the topic of a hearing this week in the US.
US House Rep Bill Delahunt's office issued a press release Thursday:

U.S. Rep. Bill Delahunt, the Chairman of the Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight will hold his eighth hearing on the proposed U.S.-Iraq security agreement on Wednesday, November 19th at 10am.
Next week's hearing will examin the possibilty that any bilateral agreement, reached between the Bush Administration and teh government of Iraq may effectivly tie the hands of the next Administration as a result of a clause in Article 31 in a draft of the accord that would prohibit the United States from cancelling it for one year.
At the end of October,
Delahunt joined with Congresswman Rosa DeLauro in writing to President Bush asking for a temporary extension of the UN mandate for Iraq which expires on December 31, and is the sold instrument providing U.S. troops with the legal authorization to engage in combat opeartions in Iraq.

US House Reps Bill Delahunt and Rosa DeLauro penned also penned July 8th's "
The Wrong Partnership for Iraq" (Washington Post).

Reaction to the news of the council signing off on the treaty was mixed.
AP quotes Mohsen Bilal, Syrian Information Minister, stating the treaty is an "award to the occupiers." However, Gina Chon (Baghdad Life, Wall Street Journal) notes that Iran's Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi hails the council's move as a "victory" and Chon also notes, "When asked about the change in tone from Iran, a senior U.S. official said today there was absolutely no softening in Iran's position. He added that Iran's opposition was not just about getting the U.S. out of Iraq, but also ultimately winning the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. Another U.S. official characterized the recent comments from Iran as an adjustment in strategy to try to take credit for the approval of the security pact from the Iraqi cabinet." Reactions within Iraq are many but we'll focus on this unnamed Iraq quoted by Sami Moubayed (Asia Times), "I never trusted Nuri al-Maliki. I would count my fingers after shaking his hands. Although we have no proof at this stage, it is clear that plenty of money was handsomely distributed last week in Baghdad, to make sure that the entire cabinet -- with no exceptions -- ratified the agreement draft with the United States. One day this will come out in the classified archives of the US, perhaps 30 years form now. . . . We now realize why no serious effort was made at getting the resigned ministers from the Sunni bloc, the Iraqi Accordance Front or the Shi'ite bloc of Muqtada al-Sadr to rejoin the Maliki cabinet. Malaki knew that if they were in office, they surely would have drowned the agreemtn within the cabinet of ministers." Archbishop Jean Benjamin Sleiman tells AP that the treay "may not be enough to lure back Christians who have fled Baghdad."

AFP reports al-Sadr's bloc in Parliament insisted that the "draft law on treaties and conventions" be reviewed instead of the treaty between the White House and al-Maliki and the speaker compromised by allowing them both to be read. Xinhau reports that US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Iraq's Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari signed the treaty today. In DC, spokesperson Sean McCormack handled today's press briefing and repeatedly side-stepped the issue of dates even when asked if they could be discussed. McCormack did note that after Parliament, "then I think it has to be ratified by the Presidency Council as a final step."

While the Parliament debates the treaty, there are other issues.
IRIN notes the issue of the prisoners currently held by the US:

Local NGOs are concerned about the
rights of detainees in US military custody due to be transferred to the Iraqi authorities in 2009 in line with a draft US-Iraqi security pact. "There are fears among human rights activists, NGOs and parliamentarians about what the situation of these detainees will look like when they are transferred to the Iraqi authorities," Iraqi activist Basil al-Azawi said. "As parliament represents the Iraqi people, it should act in line with the interests of Iraqis... Absolute justice must be achieved and Iraqi and international laws must be implemented when dealing with those detainees in Iraqi prisons," he told IRIN.

Gareth Porter (IPS) reports that despite non-stop claims and spin that Iran was steady-supplying weapons in Iraq the reality is that "only 17 percent of the weapons found in caches" could be traced to Iran and "The extremely small proportion of Iranian arms in Shi'a milita weapons caches further suggests that Shi'a militia fighters in Iraq have been getting weapons from local and international arms markets rather than from an official Iranian-sponsored smuggling network."

Tuesday's snapshot included: "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." IRIN reports that the World Food Programme states today, "We are very hopeful for a positive outcome from the negotiations."

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


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a magnetic Baghdad bombing left five wounded, another resulted in two people being wounded, another resulted in three wounded, an Amarah car bombing that wounded eighteen people and a Mosul car bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left six people wounded. Xinhau notes an al-Mussyyab mortar attack that landed on a home and claimed the life of 1 person. Reuters notes a Sulaimaniya bombing that left three people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded two people, a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and left three more wounded, a Mussayab roadside bombing that claimed 2 lives and left three people wounded and another Mussayab roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left one more individual injured.


Xinhau notes 1 "Awakening" Council member shot dead in Iskandariyah. Reuters notes 2 'suspects' shot dead in Mosul, and 5 'suspects' shot dead in Baghdad.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpse (female) discovered in Kirkuk and 1 in Iskandariy that was a male "Awakening" member.

Reuters reported that the US military states the helicopter hit "overhead cables" and that caused what they are terming a "hard landing." Later in the day the US military announced, "MOSUL -- Two Coalition forces Soldiers were killed after an aircraft accident in East Mosul in Ninewah province Nov. 15. The incident appears to be combat-unrelated and there was no enemy contact in the area." The announcement brought the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4201 -- the 4200 mark has been passed.

Opening non-Iraq related. Third's "
Editorial: It's about equality" covers Saturday's demonstrations around the country on behalf of equality. For California, the issue was Proposition 8 which passed and outlawed and overturned same-sex marriage. A boycott list (called a "blacklist" at some sites such as antigayblacklist) has led Chris Lee to whine to UPI, "This sort of blacklist should only appear in communist countriest, should not be found in the United States." The information on those lists is public information and if you don't want to be included in it, you don't donate. If you donated it should have been to something you believed in. Apparently, you were more comfortable stroking your homophobia in the dark and a little sunlight frightens the hell out of you. Too bad. I know I wouldn't want any children to see 'therapist' Sarah Pack in San Jose, not knowing that she donated $2000 to defeat equality and I would assume a gay couple -- two men or two women -- especially wouldn't want to use her as a family therapist or for their child. Same with 'psychotherapist' Susan B. Jones of Yuba City. People using Citrus Heights' Todd Johnson's denistry work have every right to reconsider doing so. And anyone considering going to Utah should know that Bruce Andrus of Huntington Hotels in Park City, Utah gave $20,000 to destroy equality. And if you're considering getting married in Utah and you do not support discrimination, you should avoid Lisa Myler of American Fork, UT (Myler Weddings) who gave $10,000 to destroy equality. And who wants to go to Disneyland? With "scheduler" Paula Barnes tossing in $3,000 why not just go to Magic Mountain instead?

I'm sorry that some people are so stupid that they fail to grasp campaign donations are public record. But that's reality. Reality also includes that when you fund a campaign of hate, people have every right to avoid funding you by engaging you for tasks. A right to avoid funding you and, many would argue, a duty to.

bloomberg news
the new york timeskatherine zoepfleila fadelmcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhim
anne penkeththe washington postmary beth sheridan
ann scott tyson
the new york timescampbell robertsonstephen farrellthe los angeles timestina susman
gina chonthe wall street journal
gareth porter
bill delahunt
rosa delauro