Friday, September 26, 2008

Saucy potato-tomato-casserole recipe in the Kitchen

Melanie e-mailed with a problem this week. She found a recipe online that she thought would be tasty but it required a sauce beyond her. I didn't believe that and we went over the sauce. Melanie was correct, it was beyond her. That's not making fun of her. We all have something we can't do. C.I. will tell you upfront, "I can't fry." Betty makes wonderful fried chicken but she once said to me, "It's not that great." She couldn't understand why C.I. beyond loved it when Betty would make a point to fix it for dinner when she stayed for a week or two. I explained to her that C.I. can't fry. She must have thought I was pulling her leg because she went to C.I. who said, "Nope." C.I. can fry an egg. I'm referring to meat here. C.I. also can't make gravy in a skillet. With a sauce pan, no problem. Now there's not a great deal of difference between the two (though C.I.'s gravy is more creamy) so it's usually a mental block. I'm that way with a dessert that calls for alcohol. I can never get it to taste right. I can be walked through it and still screw it up.

So the point is we will all have an area that's just not going to work for us. I thought (wrongly) that Melanie was being hard on herself. She wasn't being hard on herself, she was just aware of one of her own cooking blocks. Which is a good thing to be aware of because, otherwise, you're going to have a lot of cooking mishaps.

So for the original recipe, with creamy cheese sauce, click here to go Essortment.

"Saucy potato tomato casserole recipe"
6 med. potatoes, peeled and quartered
1 16-oz can tomatoes
1 small onion, thinly sliced
1/4 c green pepper
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pepper
1/4 tsp granulated garlic
1 tbsp butter or margarine
1/2 c buttered cracker crumbs
1/2 c shredded cheddar cheese

Cook potatoes in boiling salted water until tender. Drain. Drain tomatoes, reserving juice. Combine tomatoes, juice, potatoes, onion, green pepper and seasonings in large bowl. Spoon into a greased 2 qt casserole. Top with cheese. Sprinkle top with cracker crumbs and butter. Cover and bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove cover. Bake for 5 minutes more.

We're going to be brief on the economy tonight. This is from Larry Eichel's "Nader: Limit bailout to 3 months" (Philadelphia Inquirer):

Independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader said yesterday that any federal bailout package for Wall Street should be limited to three months in duration.
Speaking to the Inquirer Editorial Board before giving an address at the University of Pennsylvania, Nader said that Congress was being stampeded into action by the Bush administration just the way it was stampeded into the Iraq war.
Putting an expiration date on the plan, he said, would allow for a full set of congressional hearings looking at such issues as executive compensation, shareholder power, and taxpayer equity, as well as the need for a bailout.
Nader did not say that he opposed federal action. But he did say he saw no reason for Congress to rush.

A lot of e-mails came in this week over the proposed bailout and the gist of them was that it didn't feel right and you were wondering if that was enough to go on?

Would you buy a pair of pants that didn't feel right when you put them on? No. Most of you would know that if they didn't feel right from the start, they were not going to get better. A few people would delude themselves. They'd say, "Well I'll lose ten pounds and they'll be perfect." That never happens.

You don't have to hold a degree in economics to grasp when something is fair or not. It is unfair to expect us (the American people) to bail out these companies. I hear talk (weak talk) that maybe the CEOS shouldn't be able to get big payoffs/golden parachutes now. Now?

If you were in charge of a company and it failed not because of something that happened instantly but for longterm actions the company took, you should be held liable. They should have to return the money.

A calculation should be done to find out what the lowest employee of the company (one that had worked there for a full year) made. That figure should be what the CEO took home in 2007. (And that's being generous.) Any deal should require that anything over that figure (and you know it was hundreds of thousands over) should be returned. This was criminal activity.

It wasn't due to a market roller coaster ride. It wasn't due to unknown. This was planned criminal behavior and now the tax payers will have to pay for the bail out. Now I don't care for that at all but I especially do not feel it is propper to expect me to fork over taxes when CEOS and board members are not being asked to return their huge salaries. They mismanaged and they should be held liable.

Will it absorb the total cost? Not at all. It won't even make a dent. But it will go to accountability and it will serve as a deterrent for anyone else gaming the system.

The deal is completely wrong and Congress shouldn't be rushing to a bailout. They should be telling the Bully Boy to shut up about the economy. His speech this week was not at all helpful to the economy. He shouldn't have been allowed to make it. My own guess is that he was hoping to impact the market (negatively) with that speech and thinking it would force Congress into action.

No action needs to be taken. The local news said John McCain was advocating for any proposal to be posted online in full so the American people could review it. And the news reader found that amusing.

I'm supporting Ralph Nader but I think McCain had a sound suggestion there. We're the ones expected to pay for it so we should know what we're being asked to pay for and what the deal involves.

If I need to buy a car, I have a right to know the amount I'm paying and to see an itemized list of the costs. That's before I buy the car. You can't show me that, I'm not going to buy a car from you.

There is no need to rush to a quick fix. There is every need to find out all the details of the crimes and to ensure accountability and, yes, punishment before proceeding.

I agree with everything Ralph's said about the bailout but I most strongly agree with a time limit. Three months seems ample time to me. Whatever Congress cooks up/agrees to should have a 'withdrawal' that is clearly defined. I also think Chris Dodd needs to step down from his Senate committee and so do all others serving on it. They have failed. They should move on to other committees and the Senate should put together a new body. (Dodd should also step down because he's personally benefitted from the same ones who caused the meltdown.)

But the sense in the e-mails was, "It doesn't feel right. Am I wrong?" No, you're not wrong. It is not our job to foot the bill for something that was bled dry and run into the ground while those who 'oversaw' the actions keep the big dough they 'earned' leading the crisis.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, September 26, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announced another death, did the Obama-Biden plan for Iraq slip out accidentally, and more.

Starting in Iraq. The Parliament passed a bill for provincial elections that now awaits approval (or rejection) by the presidency council. This afternoon, the New York Times'
Eric Owles posted at Baghdad Bureau an audio conversation between the paper's Iraq-based correspondents Alissa J. Rubin and Stephen Farrell discussing the bill. Excerpt:

Alissa J. Rubin: Well they were under pressure to pass a law actually three or four months ago. The idea had originally been -- and the requirement was that they would hold provincial elections by Oct. 1st. That was in one of the previous laws they passed and I'm not, I cannot remember in which one. And that, obviously, that deadline was missed when they were unable to agree pretty much in May to an election law. And then as the summer wore on it became clear that they may not even be able to have them this year. But there was a gathering upset, some anger, frustration from political groups that were not represented or are not represented now in the provincial councils and there was a strong feeling that if they wanted to maintain stability they needed to give those people a place at the table -- at least, although perhaps not the size place that they wanted but at least they have to include them in some way.

Stephen Farrell: So it's not just a technical question, it actually matters for the future stability of the country is that what you're --

Alissa J. Rubin: Yes, it matters a great deal. And there are two levels on which it matters. First, it matters because in some areas, notably Anbar Province to some extent and in Salahuddin and in several of the other northen provinces where there are large numbers of Sunnis there is this new movement, the "Awakening" Councils which are more tribal, local people, which are beginning to really represent a lot of the interests of the people living in those areas but the provincial councils which are the centers of power in these largely Sunni provinces are dominated by one political party -- the Iraqi Islamic Party -- and a few other smaller parties but that is the dominant one and those people don't necessarily represent or don't, in some cases, don't at all represent the people in the region. And so the "Awakeing" Councils and the "Awakening" leaders would like to have a chance to be elected and to weild power there. So that's very important and if they don't weild power they will -- or if they aren't allowed to weild power, there's a real risk that they will return to violence. Many of them were insurgents, not all, but certainly some of them. And it would not be a very representative situation. The same to some extent is true in the south as well which is predominately Shia. You have a large numbers of people loyal to Moqtada al-Sadr, the Shi'ite cleric, and they're very much -- in some provinces they are absolutely the majority and they don't have any place on the provincial councils or they have just one or two seats and the council? Say thirty, thirty-five members . So they are not able to influence how the council is governed. So it's important for stability to have those people also have their voices heard and be able to sort of plot the course of events.

Stephen Farrell: The provincial election laws sounds incredibly technical but what it seemed to me when I was thinking about it is that we hear all the time out on the street out in the provinces that it's a bit like a game of musical chairs. That the last time the music stopped four years ago some people weren't sitting on a chair, some people weren't in the room, some people weren't even in the country -- in those blunt terms. Broadly speaking, is that roughly what we're talking about? People demanding that the new reality on the ground be recognized.

Alissa J. Rubin: Absolutely that's what's happening and it's very important not just for the provincial elections. But these provincial elections are going to be something of a dress rehearsal for the national elections -- the Parliamentary elections that will be held at the end of 2009. And so it's quite important that more people be included before those elections are held so that those elections also, or that body, Parliament, begins to represent a bit better the country as a whole. At the moment, there's still quite a few people left out. Many of them didn't vote in the last election because they didn't want to vote in the country that they viewed as an occupied nation -- occupied by the Americans. So they abstained but the result is that they didn't end up with any power and yet they are here and there more and more influential for a variety of reasons depending upon which part of the country you're in.

Stephen Farrell: So boiling it down, what we have is that the Sunnis would argue the Kurds are very over represented in areas such as Mosul where the Sunnis did not take part in the last round of elections and I think that certain Sunni parties in Anbar who didn't even exist four years ago would now be saying, "Well we are the Awakening. We are the ones who brought peace to Anbar. It's time for the old guard to move aside and for our contribution to the country to be recognized." I mean, in effect, people crying out for recognition of realities of achievements made over the last four years.

Before moving on further with the various factions in Iraq, last
Friday's snapshot mentioned an article by Leila Fadel. As noted Saturday, "U.S. strike kills civilians, Iraqis say" was written by Leila Fadel and Laith Hammoudi. That was my mistake. My apologies. This is in the Friday snapshot because Trina and Betty post that one and it saves them having to copy and paste from another snapshot during the week.

Back to factions. Kurdish friend Peter W. Galbraith makes a series of hypothesis in "
Is This a 'Victory'?" (New York Review of Books) but what should raise eye brows is a declaration he makes. (Someone get Tom Hayden a chair. He'll need to sit down. We'll get to it.) Galbraith sketches out a scenario where all the factions are in direct competition and opposition. That's in part to his own desire to represent the desires of the Kurdish region by advocating that Iraq not be a nation but a federation. Tom-Tom's long had a problem with Senator Joe Biden's support for a fedeartion. The popular term for that, which Biden rejects, is "partition." Galbraith has long favored a partition. This is not the Iraqis making that decision but it being imposed upon them. (The Kurds have long favored partition.) Near the end of the article, Galbraith -- an Obama inner-circle accolade of many years -- makse some critiques of Sentator John McCain including: "He has denounced the Obama-Biden plan for a decentralized state but has said nothing about how he would protect Iraq's Kurds, the only committed American allies in the country."


The Obama-Biden plan? That was once Biden's proposal, long before he was on the Democratic Party's presidential ticket in the v.p. slot. But Obama supports partitioning Iraq? Again, Galbraith is part of Barack's inner circle. It's not fair to call him an "advisor" because he goes so very far back. (He is the one who, in fact, introduced Barack to Samantha Power in a kind of War Hawk mixer. Power, who, for the record, also supports partition.) What was once the Biden plan, Galbraith inadvertantly alerts, is now the Obama-Biden plan.

Tuesday's snapshot noted the Defense Dept press briefing by Lt Gen Lloyd Austin III where he attempted to sell the October 1st 'inclusion' of (some of) the "Awakening" Councils into the central government. NPR's JJ Sutherland attempted to figure out what the 54,000 members being moved over means and what their duties will be in Baghdad since, at present, they run checkpoints. Repeatedly, Austin demonstrated no awareness of what Sutherland was asking:

JJ Sutherland: Sir, I understand that but I'[m saying, "What happens in October? I understand eventually you want to have them be plumbers or electricians. But in October, there are a lot of checkpoints that have been manned by the Sons of Iraq. Are those checkpoints all going to go away? Are they only going to be staffed by Iraqi police now? That's my question. It's not eventually, it's next month.

Lt Gen Lloyd Austin: Yeah. Next month the Iraqi government will begin to work their way through this. And there's no question that some of them, some of the checkpoints, many of the checkpoints, will be -- will be manned by Iraqi security forces. In some cases, there may be Sons of Iraq that will be taksed to help with that work. But in most cases, I think the Iraqi government will be looking to transition people into different types of jobs.

Tim Cocks (Reuters) quotes Maj Gen Jeffrey Hammond declaring in Baghdad today, "This cannot be something that's allowed to fail. If the programme were to fail, obviously these guys would be back out on the street, angry, al Qaeda out recruiting them ... We don't need that." An Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy raises the issue of the checkpoints noting, "The Iraqi people and especially Baghdad is fed up with promises by officials and security commanders of the improving of the security situation. Millions of students in schools and universities started their new studying year this week which will add more traffic in Baghdad and more targets for the car bombs. If the check points lessen the car bombs, we are happy with them. Instead, we have soldiers and policemen who wave for the cars to move like traffic policemen who are useless." Meanwhile Sudarsan Raghavan (Washington Post) reports on a new questionnaire being distributed by Iraqi soldiers which asks a home's occupant for the a copy of their house deed, the names of their children and the name of the family's tribe "which identifies his religion and ethnicity. In Iraq, such a request has often been the first step toward death."

Back to the topic of elections, Iraqi elections, Alsumaria's "
What's after approving Iraq elections law?" offers an overview of the steps for approval as well as the basics on the legislation: "The law stipulates to use an open list electoral system where voters can choose specific candidates while the old law refers to a closed list system where they could only select political parties. The new law does not cover the three provinces of Kurdistand. Polls there will be conducted according to a separate law that the region's parliament needs to write and pass." Tom A. Peter (Christian Science Monitor) observes that if the provisional elections are scheduled, they "will stir debate over the lack of central services, such as electricity and water. Many suspect that incumbents will have a hard time getting voter support because of an ongoing lack of basic utilities" and quotes Baghdad Univeristy poli sci professor Abdul Jabbar Ahmad stating, "Democracy does not only mean having an election or passing a law in the legislature. A real government provides services." And a government that doesn't puts the citizens in jeopardy. From yesterday's snapshot: "Meanwhile AP reports 327 case -- confirmed cases -- of cholera in Iraq." Leila Fadel (McClatchy's Baghdad Observer) notes the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction most recent report which found "only 20 percent of families outside of Baghdad province have access to sewage facitlities. Driving through Iraq's province is all the proof one needs. In many southern provinces the sewage runs like rivers through the towns while children play nearby and young kids swim through the dirty river water." Remember what professor Abdul Jabbar Ahmad stated? "A real government provides services"? Cholera's outbreak in Iraq is now an annual summer event. It is completely expected and little is done to prevent it. The UN's WHO pushes societal obligations off as individual ones as if individuals are the ones at fault for the lack of electricity nad the lack of potatable water? There has been no improvement in providing potable water, electricity continues to falter in Iraq and purchasing fuel to heat water (and make it safe) is problematic as fuel prices continue to rise. But the 'answer' is to repeat what they repeat every year and pretend that the central government in Iraq is not failing and that Nouri al-Maliki isn't sitting on billions that should have long ago been used for reconstruction. The UN is working on one water project in Iraq. Jiro Sakaki (The Daily Yomiuri) reports that the UN's Environment Program's International Enivornmental Technology Center is attempting to save the marshlands.

In diplomatic news,
Xinhua reports today a reception took place in China "to mark the 50th anniversary of the establishment of China-Iraq diplomatic relations." In other diplomatic news, at the end of this year, the UN mandate that the US has been operating under in Iraq (a mandate put in place after the start of the illegal war) expires December 31st. Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki has twice extended it (circumventing Parliament). The White House is attempting to push through treaties (and, to circumvent the Senate, is calling them SOFAs). Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that US Ambassador Ryan Crocker is stating Iran is attempting to prevent the puppet and the White House from reaching an agreement and that "Crocker also speculated that Iran may be tightening its ties to Shiite Muslim militias in Iraq and co-opting them from anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada Sadr, who for the last year has ordered his followers to largely refrain from violence. He said Iran has a history of using members of political or other opposition groups in other countries to its advantage." Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) adds, "Iran has condemned leaked drafts of the bilateral agreement to replace the mandate. Nouri al-Maliki, Iraq's prime minister, replaced professional diplomats on the negotiating team with members of his private office in August, a development that has pro-Iranian politicians at the heart of the negotiations. Baghdad maintains that US efforts to secure immunity from prosecution in Iraq for troops and contractors is an unacceptible demand. David Satterfield, the top US negotiator, travelled to Baghdad with a counter proposal but Mr Crocker admitted Mr Maliki was unwilling to concede the principle when popular opinion in Iraq was overwhelmingly opposed." Yesterday Michel Ghandour (Al-Hurra) interviewed US Secretary of State Condi Rice at the Women Leaders Working Group in NYC:

Michel Ghandour: Madame Secretary, why do you think there's no agreement yet with the Iraqis regarding the American presence in Iraq, and what role do you think Iran is playing in this regard?

Condi Rice: Well, I don't know what role Iran is playing, but it's not for Iran to determine. It's for the Iraqi Government and the represenatives of the Iraqi people to determine. And it's a negotiation that's continuing that I think has actually got a good spirit of cooperation. People do understand that without an agreement -- American forces can only operate on a legal basis, and so we need a legal basis. But we're working very well with the Iraqis on this. They're not easy issues, and so it takes time. But we are working very well and we're working toward agreement.

The take-away is a question: If the US Ambassador to Iraq is telling the truth, why didn't Rice also grab the talking point yesterday? (The question offered it to her.)

In a readily established conflict between Iraq and another country,
Hurriyet reports that Turkish military planes bombed northern Iraq Thursday night "and hit 16 locations" thought to belong to the PKK. Al Jazeera states 10 military planes were used in the bombing. BBC quotes an unnamded PKK spokesperson saying three people were wounded in the bombings.
It's a Friday. Very little violence gets reported on Fridays.

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 Iraqi soldier shot dead in Anbar Province (four more wounded) and 1 police officer shot dead in Anbar province (one more wounded). Reuters notes 2 "Awakening" Council members shot dead outside Samarra and 1 person killed in Mosul.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed Sep. 25 when a roadside bomb struck a vehicle that was part of a combat patrol near Iskandariyah. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and official release by the Department of Defense. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq to 4173 since the start of the illegal war with 22 for the month thus far.

Turning to TV, check your local listings.
NOW on PBS explores the bailout and attempts to answer for "Americans: How will this affect me? This week, NOW on PBS goes inside the round-the-clock efforts in Washington to craft a bailout plan of monumental proportions." Meanwhile, tonight's debate is on -- for both of the corporatist candidates at any rate. PBS' Washington Week is going to do two live broadcasts on Friday. One before the debate and one after. Gwen's guests will include Michele Norris (NPR), Michael Duffy (Time), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) Dan Balz (Washington Post), and a scribe for the New York Times.

Four presidential candidates are shut out of tonight's debate. Two are Bob Barr and Chuck Baldwin. The other two?
Cynthia McKinney is the Green presidential candidate and she notes on the economic meltdown:

Last week, I posted
ten points (that were by no means exhaustive) for Congressional action immediately in the wake of the financial crisis now gripping our country. At that time, the Democratic leadership of Congress was prepared to adjourn the current legislative Session to campaign, without taking any action at all to put policies in place that protect U.S. taxpayers and the global community that has accepted U.S. financial leadership. Those ten points, to be taken in conjunction with the Power to the People Committee's platform available on the campaign website at (, are as follows:1. Enactment of a foreclosure moratorium now before the next phase of ARM interest rate increases take effect;2. elimination of all ARM mortgages and their renegotiation into 30- or 40-year loans;3. establishment of new mortgage lending practices to end predatory and discriminatory practices;4. establishment of criteria and construction goals for affordable housing;5. redefinition of credit and regulation of the credit industry so that discriminatory practices are completely eliminated;6. full funding for initiatives that eliminate racial and ethnic disparities in home ownership;7. recognition of shelter as a right according to the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights to which the U.S. is a signatory so that no one sleeps on U.S. streets;8. full funding of a fund designed to cushion the job loss and provide for retraining of those at the bottom of the income scale as the economy transitions;9. close all tax loopholes and repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the top 1% of income earners; and10. fairly tax corporations, denying federal subsidies to those who relocate jobs overseas repeal NAFTA.In addition to these ten points, I now add four more:11. Appointment of former Comptroller General David Walker to fully audit all recipients of taxpayer cash infusions, including JP Morgan, Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and AIG, and to monitor their trading activities into the future;12. elimination of all derivatives trading;13. nationalization of the Federal Reserve and the establishment of a federally-owned, public banking system that makes credit available for small businesses, homeowners, manufacturing operations, renewable energy and infrastructure investments; and14. criminal prosecution of any activities that violated the law, including conflicts of interest that led to the current crisis.Ellen Brown, author of "The Web of Debt" writes at, "Such a public bank today could solve not only the housing crisis but a number of other pressing problems, including the infrastructure crisis and the energy crisis. Once bankrupt businesses have been restored to solvency, the usual practice is to return them to private hands; but a better plan for Fannie and Freddie might be to simply keep them as public institutions."Too many times politicians have told us to support the "free market." The unfolding news informs us in a most costly manner that free markets don't work. This is a financial system of their making. It's now past time for the people to have an economic system of their own. A reading of the full text on the Congressional "Agreement on Principles" for the proposed $700 billion bailout reveals the sham that this so-called agreement truly is. Today our country faces an economic 9/11. The problem that is unfolding is truly systemic and no stop-gap measures that maintain the current bankrupt structure will be sufficient to resolve this crisis of the U.S. economic engine.Today is my son's birthday. What a gift to the young people of this country if we were to present to them a clean break from the policies that produced this economic disaster, the "financial tsunami" that former Comptroller General David Walker warned us of so many months ago and instead offered them a U.S. economic superstructure that truly was their own. Power to the People!

McKinney's running mate
Rosa Clemente will be speaking at the International People's Democratic Uhuru Movement (InPDUM) Saturday, September 27th. Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate and he is also shut out of tonight's debate. Nader notes that, more than any cash infusion, the country needs leadership with spine:

Congress needs to show some backbone before the federal government pours more money on the financial bonfire started by the arsonists on Wall Street.
1.Congress should hold a series of hearings and invite broad public comment on any proposed bailout. Congress is supposed to be a co-equal branch of our federal government. It needs to stop the stampede to give Bush a
$700 billion check. Public hearings should be held to determine what alternatives might exist to the four-page proposal advanced by Treasury Secretary Henry M. Paulson.
2.Whatever is ultimately done, the bailout plan should not be insulated from judicial review. Remember there is a third co-equal branch of government: the judiciary. The judiciary does not need to review each buy-and-sell decision by the Treasury Department, but there should be some boundaries established to the Treasury Department's discretion. Judicial review is needed to ensure that unbridled discretion is not abused.
3.Sunlight is a good disinfectant. The bailout that is ultimately approved must provide for full and timely disclosure of all bailout details. This will discourage conflicts of interest and limit the potential of sweetheart deals.
4.Firms that accept government bailout monies must agree to disclose their transactions and be more honest in their accounting. They should agree to end off-the-books accounting maneuvers, for example.
5.Taxpayers must be protected by having a stake in any recovery. The bailout plan should provide opportunities for taxpayers to recoup funds that are made available to problem financial institutions, or to benefit from the financial institutions' rising stock price and increased profitability after being bailed out.
6.The current so-called "regulators" cannot be trusted. The U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO), "the investigative arm of Congress" and "the congressional watchdog," must regularly review the bailout. We cannot trust the financial "regulators," who allowed the slide into financial disaster, to manage the bailout without outside monitoring.
7.It is time to put the federal cop back on the financial services beat. Strong financial regulations and independent regulators are necessary to rebuild trust in our financial institutions and to prevent further squandering of our tax dollars. The Justice Department and the SEC also need to scrutinize the expanding mess with an eye to uncovering
corporate crime and misdeeds. Major news outlets are reporting that the FBI is investigating American International Group, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, and Lehman Brothers.
8.Cap executive compensation and stop giving the Wall Street gamblers golden parachutes. The CEOs who have created the financial disaster should not be allowed to leave with millions in hand when so many pensioners and small shareholders are seeing their investments evaporate. The taxpayers are bailing out Wall Street so that the financial system continues to function, not to further enrich the CEOs and executives who created this mess.
9.Congress should pass the Financial Consumers' Information and Representation Act, to permit citizens to form a federally-chartered nonprofit membership organization to strengthen consumer representation in government proceedings that concern the financial services industry. As the savings and loan disasters of the 1980s and the Wall Street debacles of the last few years have demonstrated, there is an overriding need for consumers and taxpayers to have the organized means to enhance their influence on financial issues.
10.The repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act, separating traditional banks from investment banks, helped pave the way for the current disaster. It is time to re-regulate the financial sector. The current crisis is also leading to even further conglomeration and concentration in the financial sector. We must revive and apply antitrust principles, so that banking consumers can benefit from competition and taxpayers are less vulnerable to too-big-to-fail institutions, which merge with each other to further concentration.
11.Congress should impose a securities and derivatives speculation tax. A tax on financial trading would slow down the churning of stocks and financial instruments, and could raise substantial monies to pay for the bailout.
12.Regulators should impose greater margin requirements, making speculators use more of their own money and diminishing reckless casino capitalism.
Ask your representative a few questions: "What should be done to limit banking institutions from investing in high-risk activities?" "What should be done to ensure banks are meeting proper capital standards given the financial quicksand that has spread as a result of the former
Senator Phil Gramm's deregulation efforts?" And, "What is being done to protect small investors?"
P.S. Shareholders also have some work to do. They should have listened when Warren Buffett called securities derivatives a "time bomb" and "financial weapons of mass destruction." The Wall Street crooks and unscrupulous speculators use and draining of "other people's money" out of pension funds and mutual funds should motivate painfully passive shareholders to organize to gain greater authority to control the companies they own. Where is the shareholder uprising?

We've highlighted some of
Jo Freeman's outstanding reporting on the 1976 political conventions recently. Freeman also covered this year's Democratic and Republican convention for Senior Women Web and you can find her articles here. We'll note this from her "Sarah Palin: A Risky Move and A Gift to the Women's Movement" (Senior Women Web):

Like Hillary's 2008 run for President, Ferraro's 1984 run for the second spot brought all sorts of sexism out of the closet. It was an eye-opener for everyone. In the end, this bold, risky choice didn't seem to affect the outcome. The exit polls showed that having a woman on the ticket was a prime concern for only a few. These voters about equally divided between those who told pollsters that they voted for a woman and those who said they voted against one. Ferraro's candidacy had a bigger effect on those who answered the annual polling question (in a different poll): Would you vote for "a well-qualified woman of your own party for President"? After Ferraro a party gap appeared. Republicans were 50 percent more likely than Democrats to answer "No." Republicans have continued to say they would not vote for a well-qualified (but unnamed) woman for President at a much higher rate than Democrats. Wonder what they will tell the pollsters this year?

Governor Sarah Palin is the v.p. nominee on the Republican ticket.
Yesterday The CBS Evening News with Katie Couric aired the second part of Couric's interview with Palin. Excerpt:

Katie Couric: As we stand before this august building and institution, what do you see as the role of the United States in the world?
Sarah Palin: I see the United States as being a force for good in the world. And as Ronald Reagan used to talk about, America being the beacon of light and hope for those who are seeking democratic values and tolerance and freedom. I see our country being able to represent those things that can be looked to … as that leadership, that light needed across the world.
Couric: In preparing for this conversation, a lot of our viewers … and Internet users wanted to know why you did not get a passport until last year. And they wondered if that indicated a lack of interest and curiosity in the world.
Palin: I'm not one of those who maybe came from a background of, you know, kids who perhaps graduate college and their parents give them a passport and give them a backpack and say go off and travel the world. No, I've worked all my life. In fact, I usually had two jobs all my life until I had kids. I was not a part of, I guess, that culture. The way that I have understood the world is through education, through books, through mediums that have provided me a lot of perspective on the world.

Part one aired Wednesday evening and both links have text and video. As Jo Freeman noted, Palin is following in Ferraro's footsteps (Palin has publicly acknowledged that and that she follows in Hillary Clinton's footsteps as well). Genevieve Roth (Glamour) spoke with Ferraro to get her tips for Palin and Ferraro offers many worthwhile reflections and suggestions but probably sums it up the best with this: "The bottom line is, Sarah Palin doesn't need advice from me or anyone. She wouldn't be in the position she's in if she wasn't able to deal with the campaign."

alissa j. rubin
the new york timesstephen farrell
mcclatchy newspapersleila fadellaith hammoudi
the los angeles timestina susmanthe washington postjoby warrick
derek kravitznow on pbspbswashington weekmichele norrisdan balzdavid wesseldamien mcelroy
katie couricthe cbs evening news
jo freeman
thomas friedman is a great mantrinas kitchen

Friday, September 19, 2008

Vegetable Soup in the Kitchen

Vegetable Soup
1 small yellow onion, chopped
2 stalks celery, chopped
1 carrot, chopped
2 parsnips, chopped
2 TB. butter
6 cups of vegetable stock or water
2 cups fresh or canned tomatoes, chopped
1 cup fresh or frozen peas
1 cup fresh or frozen green beans
1 cup fresh or frozen chopped broccoli

1. In a large saucepan, saute the onion, celery, carrot, and parsnips in butter until translucent. Add the stock and tomatoes and simmer until carrots and parsnips are tender, about 30 minutes.
2. Add peas, beans, and brocoli, and simmer another 5 minutes before serving.

Chuck e-mailed that recipe and he found it in book available in super markerts, The Complete Idiot's Guide to Comfort Food which retails for $2,95. The soup is actually very good and there are other recipes in it that are easy to cook and turn out very tasty.

I'm not a fan of yellow onions, so I substituted white onion for the above.

Chuck's only problem with the book is one that's been a common problem here since I started this site: recipes that include cream as an ingredient.

New and novice cooks tend to get confused by that ingredient. No, you cannot use coffee creamer powder. For recipes you need to use half and half or one of the lowfat creamers in the dairy section of your supermarket. The recipe above does not call for creamer but Chuck mentioned that some did and asked the question that has to be one of the most asked questions to this site: Can I use a powder creamer? The answer's no and no one should feel embarrassed for asking. That really is a basic tip that all cooking books for beginners should include because times have changed so much that many people aren't used to having cream around unless it is whipping cream or powdered cream for coffee.

I saw C.I.'s heads up to NOW on PBS this week and made a point to catch it tonight. If you missed it (or if it hasn't aired in your area yet):

How have women in politics changed America and the world? NOW on PBS investigates with an hour-long special hosted by Maria Hinojosa: "Women, Power and Politics: A Rising Tide?"
See the show on television this weekend or watch online STARTING SATURDAY[. . .]
Show Description: Given the hoopla surrounding Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton's historical political ascendance, why does the U.S. rank so low among countries for percentage of women holding national office?
On Friday, September 19 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), in a one-hour special, NOW's Maria Hinojosa talks to women leaders around the world and here in the United States for an intimate look at the high-stakes risks, triumphs, and setbacks for women leaders of today and tomorrow. Among these women are President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, the first woman leader in Latin America who did not have a husband precede her as President, and former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, now in a tight race for a seat in the U.S. Senate.
We also travel to Rwanda, where, 14 years after a horrific massacre left nearly one million people dead, women make up nearly half of parliament; and to Manhattan, where ambitious high school girls are competing in a high-stakes debate tournament.
"Women, Power and Politics," is also about the personal journey of mother and award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa as she strives to answer the question: "What does to mean to be a woman in power?"
Watch a preview and excerpt of this special program at this web address:
Use this directory tool to find out where the show is airing in your area:
The NOW website ... will feature web-exclusive commentary from noteworthy women including Maria Bartiromo, Sandra Cisneros, and Tina Brown; a personal essay from Maria Hinojosa; an interactive debate over Sarah Palin's candidacy; as well as opportunities for all women to post and share their stories of ambition, success, and discouragement.
(The "interactive debate" over Sarah Palin's candidacy is live now ...)

If you missed it, the website will have the program up for streaming tomorrow. It really is worth catching.

Now for the economy. What is the only retail chain seeing a sizeable increase in sales nationwide?

You probably didn't guess.

Last week, I hoped to have time to note an article C.I. passed on but I didn't. The New York Times reported (Sept. 9th) that Goodwill was the retail chain. Would you have guessed that?

You might have guessed Wal-Mart. The article speaks to various Goodwill shoppers and one point that comes across is that the econmy is so bad that even Wal-Mart is seen as too expensive.

Goodwill has its own concerns which are primarily about the Christmas season when they fear their stores may be out of stock. While sales are up, donations are down. (Again, due to the economy.) The increased store traffic means things are being snapped up quickly but the replacement inventory just isn't there thus far.

They are going to mount an advertising campaign in an attempt to address that and request more donations.

It's a Bully Boy economy, as Ava and C.I. have long noted, and the only one thriving is a national chain that depends upon donations for inventory. That tells you a great deal about how bad the economy is.

I really wanted to work in the story last week but didn't have the time. I assumed all week that someone else would notice it and that the news media would begin making it a huge story. That never happened. Possibly because it was in the business section? I notice that a lot of journalistic gas bags who talk about the economy or blog about it, seem unable to read the business pages. If you doubt me on that, notice the next econmy article they note and pick up that paper. Chances are, you'll find that it ran on the front page of the paper. Though these gas bags want to talk about the economy, they are too busy to read the actual business pages. Now there's a huge tilt to corporations in that section, no question. But it does seem that those presenting themselves as economic experts (despite having no training in that field) should at the very least be aware of what the business press is reporting.

The Goodwill article had me nodding my head in recognition because it's old news. I'm not insulting the article and am very pleased the paper reported on it. But it is old news here because so many of you have been sharing those stories in e-mails for months now. It was those e-mails, in fact, that caused me to support Hillary Clinton. She was addressing the economy and doing so in a way that echoed the comments people were writing in their e-mails here. She also proposed a health care plan that would cover Americans. (Barack's plan didn't and doesn't do that.) Paul Krugman's column about what she was proposing and how this might be the last time for generations that the government could seriously address health care was a big nudge as well.

Barack Obama spent the past week pointing the finger at John McCain. I guess that's easier than actually having a plan. He pointed the finger and made claims and thundered and roared. However, the reality is that the crooks who crashed their businesses contributed to both campaigns. Some, like Danny Schechter, decided to carry the water for Barack. Schechter apparently thinks it is funny to do so. Not only did he do non-stop McCain damning one day, but community member Eddie took to Schechter's blog to link to an article explaining that both candidates took Wall St. money and that the refusal to call out Barack by Schechter is exactly why some now avoid his site because they feel he is carrying water for Barack. The next day, Schechter did not explore Obama, however he did have time for a cheap joke at Eddie's expense.

Danny Schechter carries water for Barack and always has. He did so in the primary when he would post anything (including sexist remarks by others and himself) about Hillary and he does so now.

The article Eddie linked to was from the non-partisan Center for Responsive Government. This is from their "Bundlers for McCain, Obama Are Among Wall Street's Tumblers:"

How did Wall Street's largest firms also become some of the largest donors to John McCain and Barack Obama's presidential campaigns? Take a look at the candidates' rosters of bundlers on, and it becomes clear.
McCain's list includes at least 69 individuals who, according to his campaign, have raised a total of at least $11.4 million for his campaign. That makes the struggling investment industry his top source of bundlers. (Bundlers are those wealthy individuals who hit up their coworkers, family and friends to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars, in addition to any contributions from their own pockets.) In the second spot is the real estate industry, where at least 55 individuals have delivered a total of $9.5 million or more to McCain. Overall, bundlers in the finance, insurance and real estate sector have hauled in at least $30 million for the Republican candidate -- far more than any other sector.
Obama's list gives the appearance that he has not leaned so heavily on bundlers working on Wall Street, although since his campaign has ignored repeated requests from the Center for Responsive Politics and other watchdog groups to disclose his bundlers' employers and occupations, these figures are probably undercounts. The securities and investment industry is Obama's second-largest source of bundlers, after lawyers, and at least 56 individuals have raised at least $8.9 million for his campaign. Bundlers in the larger finance, insurance and real estate sector have collected at least $13.4 million for Obama, making it his most generous sector.

Once upon a time, we had independent voices. They have merged with the other whores peddling Barack. Is that the case with Danny Schechter? Only he can answer that for sure but when you're informed that you've slammed only one of two candidates and you are handed the link to a story from a non-partisian organization that knows a great deal more on the topic and your reply is to make a joke about carrying water, you're begging to be called a Barack whore. A real shame because as an independent voice, Schechter had much to offer. As another Democratic Party cheerleader, he's one of many trying to do the splits on the public stage, one of way too many, and he no longer stands out.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Friday, September 19, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, a US air strike results in the deaths of Iraq civilians, the US State Dept gears up for a big push in Iraq, and more.

At the US State Dept today, deputy spokesperson Sean McCormack announced US Secretary of State Condi Rice was meeting with the Prime Minister and President of Kuwait "to talk about regional issues" and to "encourage the establishment of full diplomatic relations between Iraq and Kuwait." Asked about the status of the treaty between the US and Iraq (wrongly called a SOFA) McCormack fell back on, "I'm not going to talk about the substance of the negotiations. They continue. There have been a lot of ups and downs in these negotiations. But we still believe that we will be able to come to some agreement." US troops are currently legally covered by a United Nations mandate which expires at the end of the year. When that expires, if nothing is in place to replace it, as US Senator Joe Biden (also the Democratic vice presidential nominee) declared in a Senate session in April, then US troops would have to leave. McCormack was asked about instead of attempting a new agreement, attempting to yet again extend the UN mandate. McCormack dismissed the idea and stated, "The focus is still on getting an agreement between the United States and Iraq." McCormack stated that the State Dept's David M. Satterfield would be returning to Iraq ("leaving again Monday" for Iraq). Satterfield's title is Senior Advisor to the Secretary of State and Coordinator for Iraq.

While McCormack's trip will focus mainly on the treaty, it's part of a diplomatic push on the part of the State Dept in the final days of the current administration. Rice trip is part of that push. In recent weeks, Syria, Bahrain, Jordan, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates have all appointed ambassadors to Iraq; however, only the UAE has stationed their Ambassador to Iraq in Baghdad. (The continued violence has prevented the other countries from doing so.)

The push comes as puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki makes noises against the treaty. As Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reported
yesterday and also on Wednesday (see Wednesday's "Iraq snapshot"), al-Maliki went on Iraqi TV Wednesday Steven Lee Myers and Sam Dagher (New York Times) discover the remarks today and report that al-Maliki declares the sticking point is over immunity for American troops in Iraq and that al-Maliki floated the idea of asking for an extension of the UN mandate declaring, "Even if we ask for an extension, then we will ask for it according to our terms and we will attach conditions and the U.S. side will refuse. U.S. forces would be without legal cover and will have no choice but to pull out from Iraq or stay and be in contravention of international law."

While al-Maliki raises that issue, one-time (and possibly current) CIA asset Ahmad Chalibi makes news. As one of the proponents (and liars) in the lead up to the illegal war, Chalabi continues to garner attention.
UPI reports that he declared to the Islamic Republic News Agency that the treaties being proposed between the US and Iraq are an attempt by the US to push permanent bases. He is quoted stating, "Within the framework of the security pact, the United States does not wish to merely have open military bases (in Iraq), rather secret military bases (there). If a security deal is not signed … by Dec. 31, regarding the recent U.S.-Russia row over Georgia and the Iraqi government's decision not to extend the U.S. forces' presence in Iraq for another year, the U.S. presence in Iraq will come across with difficulty in terms of the law."

Turning to the US Congress, Senators Hillary Clinton (Democrat) and John Ensign (Republican) are proposing a plan regarding Iraq's oil to the US State Dept.
Ben Lando (UPI) reports that the two senators are proposing that an oil trust fund be created for the Iraqi people and quotes an aide to Clinton explaining the proposal is similar to the Alaska model which "was 'inspiration for the idea of an oil trust' but that the State Department 'should develop a plan for Iraq so it fits Iraq's needs and provides several options'." Lando reports the State Dept's reaction: "The department said Iraqi leaders don't feel the time is right for such a trust fund, which demands too much from Iraq's fragile bureaucratic and financial systems." Lando adds that actions "continue to repair damage from storms in southern Iraq and a pipeline bomb in northern Iraq, bringing exports closer to the 1.9 million barrels per day averaged in August" and that an October 13th oil meeting will take place in London that "is expected to unveil the fields put to tender and the legal and technical specifics. The bidding for the fields is expected to be the first of many opportunities for international investment in Iraq's oil sector."

NPR's Lourdes Garcia-Navarro (All Things Considered) reports on the move for Baghdad's puppet government to take control of "Awakening" Councils next month with "at least 20 percent of the militiamen [due to be brought into] into the state security forces and find civilian jobs for the rest" and the reaction to the Sunnis about that plan which has left them suspicious following the targeting of Sunni "Awakening" leaders by al-Maliki. "Awakening" leader Khalid Ibrahim declares, "They [the US] should have consulted us before taking any decisions so we could have given our opinion. Instead they have treated us like a commodity that can be moved at will from one place to another. . . . The aim is to get rid of us. Why? Because of the upcoming provincial elections and then national elections. They fear that we will get power." The provincial elections were due to take place this month; however, the inability to comes to terms with a basic agreement makes it unlikely that any elections will take place before year's end. The United Nations is working on a proposal which they hope to present either by the end of this month or the start of October.

Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a US air strike today which claimed mutliple lives in Al Dour. McClatchy's Leila Fadel explains that the deaths number at least eight "all from one family and including women," that the US military claims their helicopter only attacked 'terrorists' and that eye witnesses and Iraqi police disagree with the US military's statements including "Khaleel al Doori, a neighbor, [who] said his home was raided during the operation and that the American forces had used a loudspeaker to order people not to leave their homes. Doori said the U.S. troops shot a man and his wife." AP spends paragraph after paragraph parroting the US military's claims which is made all the more strange in paragraph seven: "U.S. airstrikes and conflicting claims about whether civilians have been killed have been common throughout more than five years of war as the Americans seek to minimize civilian casualties on the ground." Yes, they have repeatedly tried to minimize and fortunately for them AP joins them in minimzing today. AP quotes Sheik Faris al-Fadaam explaining the deceaded father (Hassan Ali) had been a Sunni police officer until the family had to leave Baghdad and that, "The family was very poor. The family came here and we helped them to rent that house. It was an extended family. They did not have any political affiliations. They did not engage in any hostile activity or have any connection with gunmen." Reuters does not give six opening paragraphs to the US military version of events, it gives one opening paragraph and then offers this: "A local Iraqi police officer put the death toll at eight. He said all were civilians from the same family and included three women. A helicopter air strike levelled the house at Dour, 140 km (85 miles) north of Baghdad, in Salahuddin province, he said."

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


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded six people and a Mosul roadside bombing that wounded two people.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul home invasion in which both parents were killed and four other members of the family were wounded. Reuters notes 1 woman shot dead in Tuz Khurmato.

The number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war currently stands at
4168 with 17 for the month thus far. Since Thursday of last week, there have been 13 announced deaths.

Independent journalist
David Bacon latest book (just out this month) is Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants (Beacon Press). Bacon also explores migration in "Displaced People: NAFTA's Most Important Product" (NACLA Reports):Since the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) in 1993, the U.S. Congress has debated and passed several new bilateral trade agreements with Peru, Jordan and Chile, as well as the Central American Free Trade Agreement. Congressional debates over immigration policy have proceeded as though those trade agreements bore no relationship to the waves of displaced people migrating to the United States, looking for work. As Rufino Domínguez, former coordinator of the Indigenous Front of Binational Organizations (FIOB), points out, U.S. trade and immigration policy are part of a single system, and the negotiation of NAFTA was an important step in developing this system. "There are no jobs" in Mexico, he says, "and NAFTA drove the price of corn so low that it's not economically possible to plant a crop anymore. We come to the United States to work because there's no alternative."Economic crises provoked by NAFTA and other economic reforms are uprooting and displacing Mexicans in the country's most remote areas. While California farmworkers 20 and 30 years ago came from parts of Mexico with larger Spanish-speaking populations, migrants today increasingly come from indigenous communities in states like Oaxaca, Chiapas, and Guerrero. Domínguez says there are about 500,000 indigenous people from Oaxaca living in the United States, 300,000 in California alone.Meanwhile, a rising tide of anti-immigrant sentiment has demonized those migrants, leading to measures to deny them jobs, rights, or any pretense of equality with people living in the communities around them. Solutions to these dilemmas-from adopting rational and humane immigration policies to reducing the fear and hostility toward migrants-must begin with an examination of the way U.S. policies have both produced migration and criminalized migrants.
Turning to public television. This weekend (Friday in most markets),
NOW on PBS will offer a look at women and politics:How have women in politics changed America and the world? NOW on PBS investigates with an hour-long special hosted by Maria Hinojosa: "Women, Power and Politics: A Rising Tide?"See the show on television this weekend or watch online STARTING SATURDAY[. . .]Show Description: Given the hoopla surrounding Sarah Palin and Hillary Clinton's historical political ascendance, why does the U.S. rank so low among countries for percentage of women holding national office? On Friday, September 19 at 8:30 pm (check local listings), in a one-hour special, NOW's Maria Hinojosa talks to women leaders around the world and here in the United States for an intimate look at the high-stakes risks, triumphs, and setbacks for women leaders of today and tomorrow. Among these women are President Michelle Bachelet of Chile, the first woman leader in Latin America who did not have a husband precede her as President, and former New Hampshire Governor Jeanne Shaheen, now in a tight race for a seat in the U.S. Senate.We also travel to Rwanda, where, 14 years after a horrific massacre left nearly one million people dead, women make up nearly half of parliament; and to Manhattan, where ambitious high school girls are competing in a high-stakes debate tournament."Women, Power and Politics," is also about the personal journey of mother and award-winning journalist Maria Hinojosa as she strives to answer the question: "What does to mean to be a woman in power?"Watch a preview and excerpt of this special program at this web address:Use this directory tool to find out where the show is airing in your area:The NOW website ... will feature web-exclusive commentary from noteworthy women including Maria Bartiromo, Sandra Cisneros, and Tina Brown; a personal essay from Maria Hinojosa; an interactive debate over Sarah Palin's candidacy; as well as opportunities for all women to post and share their stories of ambition, success, and discouragement.(The "interactive debate" over Sarah Palin's candidacy is live now ...)Bill Moyers Journal (check your local listings, begins airing on PBS in most markets tonight, it also streams online -- transcript, video, audio) guests will inclue Gretchen Morgenson (New York Times) will be on to discuss the economic meltdown and Kevin Phillips (whose most recent book is Bad Money). PBS' Washington Week finds Gwen sharing opinions with David Wessel (Wall St. Journal), Charles Babington (AP) and John Maggs (National Journal) along with one other who desperately trolled the streets in an attempt to purchase an opinion from someone, anyone, so she didn't arrive empty handed.
(Babington was not booked this morning, the plan then was to have the bad writer for the NYT who also 'reports' for MSNBC on instead).

In the US presidential race,
Team Nader notes:

In the Public Interest Statement On Auto Industry Bailouts by Ralph Nader
The Big Three are in big trouble, and they have themselves to thank for it.
Ford and General Motors have reported substantial losses in the second quarter amounting to $15.5 billion, and $8.7 billion, respectively, while Chrysler, which was bought off last year by a private equity firm, Cerberus, refuses to reveal its financial standing.
It is no wonder why their lobbyists were spotted schmoozing with members of Congress at the Democratic and Republican National Conventions, liquoring up in their plush suites and private parties while they made their case for direct government loans which, if approved, would likely add to our federal deficit.
Last December, Congress approved a $25 billion loan to automakers and their suppliers under the Energy Independence and Security Act, though it has yet to be funded. That bill includes a modest requirement for automakers to increase their average vehicle fuel efficiency to 35 mpg—a benchmark we should have set decades ago, and would allow the companies to have their way with virtually no oversight or accountability.
corporate Congress cannot be expected to issue serious demands, set tough conditions, or impose strict rules on the auto companies to ensure their workers receive fair pay and benefits, and prevent their fat-cat executives from making off big while leaving their companies in shambles.
Such blatant giveaways have become the norm in Washington since the corporate stranglehold of Congress and the White House have smothered the forces seeking worker, consumer and environmental justice.
But this recent example should not discount our long history of dealing with corporate failures in more public and effective ways than just ponying up billions on demand at any big corporation's whim.
In 1979 when Chrysler was on the verge of bankruptcy, the automaker came crying to Congress for a bailout, which they eventually got, but Congress wasn't as much of a pushover.
Back then, at least the corporate chieftains were grilled by Congress and had to agree to give something back for Uncle Sam bailing them out--good jobs and pensions for their workers, and more efficient cars to reduce reliance on foreign oil and reduce prices at the pump.
Now the CEOs don't even have to leave Detroit and they get much more money for almost no return commitment to America, while they outsource jobs and pollute our environment.
During discussion on a proposed loan bill to bailout Chrysler in October 1979, Senator William Proxmire (D-WI) who chaired the Senate Banking Committee issued his opposition to Chrysler;s request and noted: "We let 7,000 companies fail last year--we didn;t bail them out. Now we are being told that if a company is big enough… we can't let it go under." He went on to call the proposed deal "a terrible precedent."
Raising the government's demand for performance standards, President Carter's Treasury Secretary William Miller told Chrysler officials, "it's going to be so awful, you'll wish you never brought the whole thing up."
Today, we rarely hear such candid opposition to corporate orders shouted at their congressional servants who lack the fortitude to put serious restraints and conditions on mismanaged, reckless big business and their overpaid CEOs seeking tax-payer salvation.
As a part of the Chrysler deal in the late Seventies, the government took out preferred stock warrants and after the company turned itself around and repaid its loan seven years early, the government ended up cashing out, receiving $400 million in the appreciated stock.
And Congress made clear to Chrysler that it had specific conditions the company had to meet before receiving the loan guarantee. It forced the company to contribute $162,500,000 into an employee stock ownership trust fund geared to benefit at least 90 percent of its employees, design more fuel efficient autos to help reduce consumption of foreign oil, and prohibit wages and benefits from falling below a level set three months before the legislation was passed.
Today, congressional actions to grant multi-billion dollar loans to the corporations lack the reciprocity some in Congress demanded 30 years ago. Before Congress irresponsibly dips into the public piggy bank, this time it would be wise to look back at how the government once dealt with Chrysler's dilemma, require clear benchmarks to deliver on the next generation of green collar jobs, improved fuel efficiency and gain a substantial return on its investment, not just in monetary value, but in the long-term viability of the domestic motor vehicle fleet.
Congress needs to call on the auto industry to innovate their way out of this morass into which they've engineered themselves. A sensible strategy would be to issue stock warrants to the government, like in the 70s, which would create an incentive for Congress to keep pressure on the auto industry to improve.
Public Congressional hearings are a must.
Will Congress echo its actions of 30 years ago when it scrutinized corporate demands, grilled company executives, and imposed conditions to ensure fair compensation and safety for workers? Or will Congress continue down the road of corporate servitude, refusing to stand up for workers, consumers, taxpayers and the environment in its session-ending stampede and flight away from auto industry accountabilities?

the new york times
sam dagher
stephen farrell
the los angeles times
tina susman
mcclatchy newspapers
mohammed al dulaimy
leila fadel
ben lando
nprdavid baconnow on pbspbswashington week

Friday, September 12, 2008

Adults in the Kitchen

Warning this post is for adults.

Starting with this from Team Nader:

My Mom's Cookie Recipe
Posted by Ralph Nader on Friday, September 12, 2008 at 08:48:00 AM
I was sitting at my dinner table last night eating a two two two cookie.
It's my mother's recipe.
It's called a two two two cookie because it has two cups of oats, two cups of flour, two cups of . . you get the idea.
As I'm biting into my two two two cookie, I'm asking myself:
What was the number one issue in the Presidential horse race for the past couple of days?
And then I asked myself: Why are Presidential campaigns so cosmetic?
Why can't they be more substantive -- like my mother's cookies?
This got me to thinking about an idea that would help us raise money to push our substantive agenda onto the front burner of American politics.
If you
donate to Nader/Gonazlez by midnight tonight an amount that has the number two in it, we'll e-mail to you Rose Nader's two two two recipe.

That simple.
you can give $2.
Or $12.
Or $20.
Or $22.
Or $200.
Anything up the to the maximum of $2,300.
But it has to have at least one two in it.
If it has a two in it, we'll e-mail you the recipe.
(Of course, your two two two donation will help us reach our current fundraising goal of $80,000 by the September 17 deadline. Your donation will help us fund our get out the vote drive over the last seven weeks of this campaign -- which translates into putting the substantive Nader/Gonzalez shift the power agenda front and center in this crucial election year.)
Thank you for your ongoing support and dedication.
Onward to November.
Ralph Nader
PS: Remember,
if you give $100 or more, we will also send you In Pursuit of Justice, the 520-page book of essays by yours truly -- essays on corporate power, the Constitution, and transforming our country. If you donate $100 or more now, we will send you this historic collection -- and I'll autograph it. (This book offer ends at 11:59 p.m. September 17, 2008.)

I'm voting for Ralph Nader.

I think he would make a great president.

However, I do not think anyone benefits from silence.

"Lipstic" wasn't an important issue?

Maybe if shades were being discussed.

That is not what was being discussed.

I would refer you to C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from Wenesday which noted many things including:

Here's what he said.

Barack Obama: Let-let's just list this for a second. John McCain says he's about change too. Exc-and-and so I guess his whole angle is 'Watch out, George Bush. Except for economic policy, health care policy, tax policy, education policy, foreign policy and Karl Rove style politics, we're really going to shake things up in Washington." That's not change. That's-that's just calling some the same thing something different But you know you can't e-e-e-e You know you can put uh liptick on a pig, it's still a pig.

When he says "You can put lipstick on a pig," what is Barack doing? What is he physically doing? Chicago's gutter boy is flipping the bird and when the finger goes up the howls start. You can see it in
the video his campaign/campaign surrogates issued as a response. We see Dick Cheney speak, no bird flipping.

You can watch it at
Joe Garafoli's post (San Francisco Chronicle) which reads like "He's Sure The Boy I Love." Barack goes on to make a comment about fish smell. It's not in the video, they cut it before that point. CBS contributes, "CBS News reporter Maria Gavrilovic reports that as the crowd laughed, Obama added: 'You can you can, wrap an old fish in a piece of paper called change, it's still going to stink after 8 years. We've had enough of the same old thing'." Last week, Ruth took on sexist pig Ellen Susman who also had a "fish" 'joke' in her smear of Palin. Writing as if she was Susman, Ruth observed, "And let me call my post 'A Fish Called Sarah.' I will pretend like I think it is a Monty Python film and mention other Monty Python films. But even as stupid as I, Ellen Susman, am, I know it is not. Even as dumb as I am, I do know the "two things smell fish" 'joke.'" And so does Barack.

They weren't even his own words he was speaking -- which is why he stumbles (no teleprompter).
Joseph (Cannonfire) explains, "His comments were cribbed -- word for word -- from a Washington Post cartoon. Why is Obama allowed to plagiarize when others are not?" Why indeed and this isn't the first time he's been caught stealing.

Susan (Random Notes) sums up, "Well, Barack, if you'd have paid attention to presidential campaigns of the past, you would know better than to consider yourself immune to blasphemy, er, criticism, even fake criticism, from the other side." Delilah Boyd (A Scrivner's Lament) lays it out as plain as day, "Before you Obots go all 'Obama didn't call Palin a pig' on me, hear this: How much longer will men get away with 'I was just kidding,' 'I wasn't talking about you,' and 'What's the matter? can't you take a joke?'" miq2xu (Klownhaus) [language warning], "Regarding Obama's 'Lipstick on a Pig' comment, I call bull**it on Christy Hardin Smith, Marc Ambinder, D-Day, Taylor Marsh and Whoever Kidnapped Jeralyn Merritt (WKJM²) Each of these people has taken the position that not only were Obama's comments completely innocent, but that the McCain campaign is trying to manufacture a controversy because no reasonable person could possibly get the idea that Obama was calling Sarah Palin a pig. Even if someone truly believed that it was an innocent gaffe (I don't) it is easy to see how that connection could easily be made. I didn't need anyone to explain it to me, nor did most former Hillary supporters, because we 'periodically' saw these types of misunderstandings before." Lambert (Corrente) weighs in on Barack's pig remarks, "You know, if Obama hadn't indulged himself by getting snarky in front of a friendly crowd, he could be talking about the economy right now -- and winning P.T.A. moms too, who like those kitchen table issues." madamab (The Confluence) advises, "Case in point: When you call your opponent's vice president a pig and say she smells like fish, you do not try to pretend you didn't do it. You did it, in front of God and YouTube. So apologize and move on, otherwise you will engender anger and resentment."

On the topic of sexism, it bears noting that
Feminist Wire Daily finally got active calling out sexism against Palin, "Donny Deutsch recently made sexist comments about Republican Vice Presidential nominee Sarah Palin and former Democratic Presidential contender Hillary Clinton. Deutsch appeared on CNBC's Squawk the Street (Watch the video here) and made several misogynistic comments including praising Palin for earning respect through her ability to make men 'want to mate with her' and calling Senator Clinton's loss in the Democratic Primaries a direct result of the fact that she 'didn't put a skirt on.'" Egalia (Tennessee Guerilla Women) points to another with a need to sexualize Palin Salon's Gary Kamiya who needs to Palin as "a whip-wielding mistress". Last night Kat took on 'progressive' Ed Garvey's need to compare Palin to erectile medications, "The comparison is insulting; however, it may indicate what's in Garvey's own medicine cabinet."

Now before we get to today's remarks by Barack (which are even more insulting to women -- if anyone actually listens),
Kirsten Powers (New York Post) provided the backstory leading up to Palin's speech last week, "No, Obama didn't engage in the mass sneering at Palin - but he did fall into the trap of disrespecting her. When McCain chose her, the Obama campaign's first response was to ridicule the size of her town. Then the candidate himself began referring to her as a "former mayor" when she is in fact a sitting governor. When she retaliated (justifiably) by mocking his stint as a organizer, the Obama camp was clearly rattled. Obama himself actually began arguing about the importance of community organizing. His supporters amplified this cry - claiming Palin's attack was a racist slur and passing around e-mails titled 'Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate was a governor.' Meanwhile, the rest of the country was probably wondering what being a community organizer has to do with being president."

Today, Barack spoke. And what did the Christ-child say? It's wowed some of the usual PIG MEN, Queen Bees and Gender Traitors.
From CNN (text and video), this is Barack: "We have real problems in this country right now. The American people are looking to us for answers, not distractions, not diversions, not manipulations. They want real answers to the real problems we are facing."

Sexism isn't a real problem to Barack Obama. It's an annoyance for him to have to address sexism. He's laughing in the video. He finds it all so funny. (I find his attempt to grow a mustache hilarious. That's day two by the way.) "This is what they want to talk about," insists Barack. And talking about it means he's not able to address "the issues that matter to you." Barack, you sad PIG, sexism matters to me and to many. It's not a "diversion" or a "distraction" (his words), it is a very real issue.

And it took
Katie Couric calling it out to finally get the MSM to notice it. And what was the Obama campaign's response? Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bosman (New York Times) reported in June what US House Rep Debbie Wasserman Schultz told them on behalf of Team Obama, "She said Mr. Obama had no specific plans for a speech on sexism, partly because he already incorporates themes of discrimination as a societal problem into his speeches."

But Barack's bothered that he had to even get near the topic today. He calls it unfair.
He didn't think it was unfair when his Cult was tarring Bill Clinton as a racist for using "fairytale." He used the odor of fish and lipstick on a pig to insult a woman. All Bill Clinton did was point out Barack was a damn liar about his positions on the illegal war.

Sexism can be used by Barack's campaign and by Barack but the Christ-child must never have to address the topic and sends out flunkies (he hides behind a lot of women) to insist that he's already addressed an "ism" and wasn't that enough? No. No, it is not enough.
In March 2008, he decied to bore the country with a never-ending stream of words (4,683) allegedly on the topic of race. (It wasn't about race it was about the only topic he enjoys getting wordy on: Himself.) He can't address sexism?

That should bring you up to date.

As C.I. points out, Barack being on the ticket means the McCain campaign has to watch what they say. Palin being on the ticket should mean the same for Barack's campaign. His remarks were stolen from a cartoon. Which means they were written and learned ahead of time.

These weren't ad-libs or answers to questions.

This was planned. And you'll note the 'smells like fish' sentence got left out in most reports.

The 'joke' is: "There are two things that smell like fish. One of them is fish."

If you're scratching your head and saying, "Huh?" good for you.

If you want to remain unknowing stop on this sentence.

The 'joke' is that fish smells like fish and so do women or, specifically, so do their vaginas.

It is not a 'clever' 'joke' (or an accurate one) and it's not a small thing.

When Palin declared she was like a pitbull with lipstick, all lipstick 'jokes' were off the table unless you wanted to smear her with it. (Barack did. Watch the video, watch the crowd get it and him delight in that.) Adding in the fish remark (which, again, the press wanted to leave out -- if it's meaningless, why the fear of printing and reciting it) only demonstrates that Barack was insulting Palin.

He thought he would frat-boy-up and get in some ha-has at women.

Now he can claim that he didn't mean it that way; however, it was the way it was received and for him to offer anything other than, "I apologize if my remarks offended anyone" is more proof of how little respect he has for women.

He called Palin a pig and said her vagina smells.

Only men (and stupid women) would try to pretend that's not what went down.

Barack is disgusting and has an established pattern of using sexism. However, since it's sexism, he gets a pass over and over.

If his groupies want to pretend that it was accidental, that still doesn't excuse his lack of apology.

Again, he called Palin a pig and said her vagina smells.

Ralph hides th e smae way the media does. He notes "lipstick" and ignores the 'fish smell.'

I thought Barack was the master of oratory? Now you want to tell us that he has no idea what he's saying?

Or how it would be heard?

He knew exactly what he was doing in that carefully crafted script.

He stumbles during it and then catches that he jumped ahead in the script so he goes back.

He knew what he was doing.

He always knew what he was doing.

It's really sickening that the media wants to pretend it was something else, something excusable.
And it disappoints me that Ralph refers to it as "lipstick." Even if he doesn't grasp what Barack was saying, he has no right to dismiss the very real anger women feel over this.

That anger is justified.

Next Friday, NOW on PBS explores women voters and women in office and does so for the hour so be sure to check that out.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:

Friday, September 12, 2008. Chaos and violence continues, the theft of Iraqi oil is still pursued, tensions remain between the puppet government and the "Awakening" Council, Charlie Gibson makes a huge error in his interview with Sarah Palin, and more.

Starting with Iraqi oil.
Edward S. Herman (ZNet) noted at the start of this month, "On the oil front, in late June the newspapers featured the announcement of the Iraqi oil minister Mohamad Sharastani that contracts had been drawn up between the Maliki government and five major Western oil companies to develop some of the largest fields in Iraq. No competitive bidding was allowed and the terms announced were very poor by existing international contract standards. The contracts were written with the help of 'a group of U.S. advisers led by a small State Department team.' This was all in conformity with the Declaration of Principles of November 26, 2007, whereby the 'sovereign country' of Iraq would use 'especially American investments' in its attempt to recover from the effects of the American aggression." Thursday Andrew E. Kramer and Campbell Robertson (New York Times) reported on a Tuesday press conference, held by Hussain al-Shahristani (Iraq's Minister of Oil) at OPEC's meet-up, where it was announced that the contracts with western corporations (including Chevron, Exxon Mobil, Shell, Total and BP) were being cancelled which the coporations "confirmed on Wednesday." Ernesto London (Washington Post) reports on the cancellations today and notes that the companies "are expected to submit bids in coming weeks for deals" and explains it was not just public outrage that killed the contracts, "The oil companies were not surprised by the Iraqi decision, given the political sensitivities raised by the issue, according to an executive at one of the five companies. Speaking on the condition that he not be identified further, the executive said the deals had become less attractive because Iraqi officials had shortened the proposed length of the contracts from two years to one in response to criticism." The cancelled contracts aren't the only bad news for those hoping to play Let's Steal Iraqi Oil! Not all that long ago, with much happy gasbagging in the press, Iraq announced Iraq's Energy Expo and Conference to be held October 17th through 19th. Ben Lando (UPI) reports that, woops, no one bothered to think about construction -- the convention center's not done yet -- so the Expo's dates have been moved to December 3rd through 5th. The puppet government can't get it together to hold provincial elections and they can't even pull off a conference they got a ton of positive press for when they announced it. And Andy Rowell (Oil Change International) offers, "Oh it's so good to be back. After a 35 year absence Shell has become the first western oil company to land a major deal with the government in Baghdad since the invasion of the country five years ago. They will be smiling in the Hague and London. Shell has been awarded a $4bn contract in the south of the country to supply gas for Iraqi domestic use but also for export. Shell's project is intended to make use of the gas flared off by the oil industry in the south of Iraq. In that region alone, an estimated 700m cubic feet of gas is burned off every day -- enough to meet the demand for power generation in the entire country."

Yesterday's snapshot noted the Thursday meet up between the puppet government in Baghdad and the "Awakening" Council members. Saif Rasheed and Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) report on it today noting,the supposed impending melding of "Awakening" Council members and the Iraqi 'government': "Leaders of the so-called Sons of Iraq disputed Iraqi plans to absorb only 20% of the fighters into the Iraqi military and police, and they expressed doubts that their members would be protected when the U.S. military turned over responsibility for the units to Iraqi officials. . . . The plan worries many Sons of Iraq leaders, who say Maliki's government already has begun a campaign of arrest and intimidation against them. U.S. officials, who embraced the program last year as a way to turn around the Sunni insurgency, now say the Iraqi government has the right to arrest fighters it suspects of crimes."

Today's bombings include an attack in Salaheddin Province.
AFP puts the death toll at 31 plus the "suicide bomber" whom they note "detnoate his explosives-filled truck near the police station of the central Iraqi Shiite town of Dujail". AP says the count rose to 32 dead (forty-three wounded) citing police and hospital sources. Reuters adds, "They said casualties were a mix of civilians shopping at a nearby market as well as police." While Al Bawaba notes, "Police said the bombing occurred just before dusk, when many people were on the streets before the breaking of the fast during the month of Ramadan." Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) provides the historical background, "The mainly Shiite city is best known as the site of a campaign of vengeance by former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein following an assassination attempt against him there in the 1980s. After the attempt on his life, the Sunni leader ordered the roundup of young Shiite boys and men and destruction of homes in the town. Hussein and six others were convicted in 2006 in the killings of 148 Dujayl residents, and Hussein was hanged for the crimes later that year." Al Jazeera goes with more recent history, "The last major suicide attack occurred on August 26, when a bomber thwarted a security checkpoint in Jalawla, a police recruiting centre, and blew himself up, killing at least 25 people."

In other reported violence today . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombng that left five people wounded, a Baghdad grenade attack that injured thirteen people, a Nineveh bomber who killed themselves outside a Shi'ite mosque and claimed 3 more lives with fifteen more people injured and a Salahuddin Province car bombing which claimed 27 lives with forty more wounded.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul home invasion that resulted in the deaths of "parents and their son".

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse discovered in Baghdad.

Turning to the US presidential race and starting with indepdent presidential candidate
Ralph Nader who appeared on The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer (CNN) Wednesday (click here for transcript). Blitzer asked Ralph his goal in the election?

RALPH NADER, INDEPENDENT PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well if we're in the presidential debates, it might be a Jesse Ventura, three-way race. But-- yet today, we put together -- BLITZER: Three presidential debates, but the Presidential Debate Commission has set a bar that's pretty hard for you to overcome. NADER: Yes, since it's controlled by the two parties, as you know. Today I think is an historic day because we, Ron Paul and the candidate for the Green Party, the candidate for the Constitutional Party, and me, and Bob Barr, agreed on four major areas: foreign policy -- get the soldiers back, end the war in Iraq, stop being imperialistic, privacy, deal with the repeal of the Patriot Act; the revision of FISA -- Military Commissions Act and you know, get rid of torture; and a third is the national debt. Deficits are now used for reckless government adventurism. The -- BLITZER: The national debt has nearly doubled over the last -- NADER: Yes, and the Iraq war is financed from deficit spending. BLITZER: And the fourth issue? NADER: And the fourth issue is the Federal Reserve is now a government within a government. It is totally out of control. Congress doesn't control it. It's funded by the banks. And we either have constitutional government or we don't because of this. Well -- here's the question: Is there anything left for the American people to decide about their country?

Is there anything left to decide? Earlier this week,
Steve Horn (The Badger Herald) hit on similar points:

We've been conditioned by the mass media to believe there are only two political parties worthy of our attention. Because only the Republican Party and the Democratic Party receive significant coverage, especially during election cycles, it's easy to forget that other parties do indeed exist.Case in point: While Democratic presidential-nominee Barack Obama filled the Kohl Center to an over-capacity crowd of over 17,000 during his trip to Madison in February prior to the Wisconsin presidential primaries, Independent candidate Ralph Nader, running for president for the fifth time, struggled to fill the small Orpheum Theatre this past Friday on State Street, which has a capacity that is only 10 percent of the Kohl Center at 1,700. Most students here probably didn't even know Nader would be speaking at the Orpheum, and those who did know scoffed at the idea of him running for president again. The situation is shameful -- because over the past eight years, the two mainstream parties have failed us and no one really seems to care, nor do they really want to do anything about it. With wars on two fronts both deemed failures by the general public and key congressional leaders involvement in Jack Abramoff's money laundering scandal, the odds were rightfully stacked against the Republicans for the 2006 midterm elections. And indeed, they resulted in sweeping changes in the United States' political landscape from the local level all the way on up. Democrats gained 31 seats in the House of Representatives and five seats in the Senate, drastically altering the landscape of Congress. Democrats won these seats under the premise that Washington -- under the leadership of the Republican Party -- was broken, and a change in leadership was necessary to fix it. Two years later, looking at the voting records of the spineless Democrats, they have, by-and-large, failed us.

On the campaign trail,
Ralph will be heading to New Orleans September 17th where he will speak at Tulane University where he will hold a press conference at the Freeman Auditorium starting at 2:30 p.m. and a rally starting at 3:00 p.m.

Turning to Sarah Palin who is John McCain's running mate on the GOP ticket. This is a quote from her when she was speaking to her church:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.

That's what Palin said in her church.
Here for text (Glen Beck, CNN), here for audio (KPFK's Uprising -- and Sonoli Kolhatkar notes that the clips are cutting off short during the segment). Note it because Charlie Gibson distorted her words.

ABC News has the first interview with Governor Palin. Charlie Gibson conducted the interview. One segment aired 'dealing' with Iraq.
Russell Goldman (ABC News) summarizes it as follows:

Palin defended a previous statement in which she reportedly characterized the war in Iraq as a "task from God."
Gibson quoted her as saying: "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God."
But Palin said she was referencing a famous quote by Abraham Lincoln.
"I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words. But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side."

Actually, Goldman, Gibson got what she said wrong.
Click here for World News Tonight's official transcript, click here for the video.

GIBSON: You said recently, in your old church, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." Are we fighting a holy war?
PALIN: You know, I don't know if that was my exact quote.
GIBSON: Exact words.
PALIN: But the reference there is a repeat of Abraham Lincoln's words when he said -- first, he suggested never presume to know what God's will is, and I would never presume to know God's will or to speak God's words.
But what Abraham Lincoln had said, and that's a repeat in my comments, was let us not pray that God is on our side in a war or any other time, but let us pray that we are on God's side.
That's what that comment was all about, Charlie. And I do believe, though, that this war against extreme Islamic terrorists is the right thing. It's an unfortunate thing, because war is hell and I hate war, and, Charlie, today is the day that I send my first born, my son, my teenage son overseas with his Stryker brigade, 4,000 other wonderful American men and women, to fight for our country, for democracy, for our freedoms.
Charlie, those are freedoms that too many of us just take for granted. I hate war and I want to see war ended. We end war when we see victory, and we do see victory in sight in Iraq.
GIBSON: I take your point about Lincoln's words, but you went on and said, "There is a plan and it is God's plan."
PALIN: I believe that there is a plan for this world and that plan for this world is for good. I believe that there is great hope and great potential for every country to be able to live and be protected with inalienable rights that I believe are God-given, Charlie, and I believe that those are the rights to life and liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
That, in my world view, is a grand -- the grand plan.

Charlie quoted Palin stating, "Our national leaders are sending U.S. soldiers on a task that is from God." That wasn't a sentence, that was part of a sentence with additions to it by Charlie Gibson. Again, what Palin actually said:

Pray for our military men and women who are striving to do what is right. Also, for this country, that our leaders, our national leaders, are sending them out on a task that is from God. That's what we have to make sure that we're praying for, that there is a plan and that that plan is God's plan.

When Palain said, "I don't know if that was my exact quote," Gibson insisted, "Exact words." No, they were not. Gibson was also wrong when he stated, ". . . you went on and said, 'There is a plan and it is God's plan'." She did not say that, she asked her church to pray that there was.

Even Sarah Posner told Sonali, "I mean, in a way, she was right with respect to the words that Gibson was quoting." And note that MSM Gibson got it wrong and did not play clips of Palin's remarks while left-wing Sonali was more than happy to play the clips and allow a discussing (with Posner) and for listeners to make their own judgments. If Gibson had access to a recording of Palin's remarks, then he lied. If Gibson was using a secondary source, he practiced bad journalism. Sonali showed more fairness than he did (not at all surprising considering Sonali's track record, but it needs to be noted).

Staying with the topic of religion, US House Rep and Idiot Steve Cohen was back in the news this week.
Jake Tapper (ABC News, link has video) points out, "Last seen in election 2008 comparing Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-N.Y., to the villain played by Glenn Close in "Fatal Attraction" -- having survived an anti-Semitic primary challenge -- Rep. Steve Cohen, D-Tenn., feels liberated to come on the House floor and say that 'Jesus was a community organizer, Pontius Pilate a governor'." No, JPT, that's not what Cohen said. The video shows Cohen stating, "Barack Obama was a community organizer like Jesus, who our minister prayed about, Pontius Pilate was a governor." So Cohen -- that would be Jewish Cohen for those not paying attention -- was 'endorsing' Barack on the House floor by comparing him to Jesus? Or as the Jews might say, "You know, him." Jewish people do not believe in or pray to Jesus (unless they are "Jews For Jesus"). Exactly what belief does Cohen have left and, if there is one, has put a price tag on it already? And for the record, Christian theologians will dispute Cohen's crackpot claim re: Jesus and historians will say, "Not so fast" on the Pilate claim. Meanwhile Laura Strickler (CBS News) provides a fact check on several rumors about Palin currently making the rounds while Women's Media Center highlights Republicans for Choice's Ann E. W. Stone weighing in on the meaning of Sarah Palin's being the GOP's choice for v.p.:

Also, we are incensed by the petty and misogyny of the small-minded statement the Obama campaign released totally dissing her background! Couple that with Obama telling the Hillary folks to "get over it" and I would think disenchanted Hillary supporters should flock to the GOP.
We need to reach out to Palin and try to find common ground--social issues are not her front and center agenda. No nonsense, no BS--Palin is a doer, not a talker, and not afraid to take the boys on.
Did we mention she is a feminist for life? Again, her position on abortion means we will never endorse her, but even her selection advances all women.
The Democrats stood by while the media and others, including extreme elements in our own party, trashed Hillary Clinton and did not speak up to defend her. Many were baseless attacks and jabs having to do more with her hairstyle or clothing than with her policies. That stops now.
As Sarah Palin said when she thanked pro-choice Democrat icons Geraldine Ferraro and Hillary Clinton during her first speech upon being selected, they led the way but women are not finished yet and we will crash through the glass ceiling.

Tell it to the The Daily Toilet Scrubber -- and their squeaked voice tiny-tot 'leader' -- which continues their smears on Palin. The latest recalls what Bully Boy did to McCain in 2000 -- spreading lies about John and Cindy McCain's daughter Bridget. The trash being spread shouldn't be surprising, Toilet Scrubber is not left.
Joseph (Cannonfire) explores that latest nonsense and notes, "This is the first election that finds me observing Democrats 'from the outside.' My god. My good god. Have we always been this foolish, this clueless, this self-defeating? Have lefties always gone so far out of their way to alienate huge voting blocs?"

"I try to take the reigns and lead me somewhere better, I try to keep on moving on," sings
I Am Three ("I Try") which sums up World Can't Wait's Sunsara Taylor who hides in no political closet and refuses to silence herself in the latest in the never ending Quiet Game To Elect Democrats. Taylor spoke in Denver during the DNC convention (no, she didn't speak to the convention) and Revolution has an edited transcript: "I know Recreate '68 had to go up against this. I'm going to be really blunt because it matters. United for Peace and Justice, Leslie Cagan, she said maybe we should call off the protest today and advocated instead that we should mingle with the delegates. I'm all for going and talking to order to get them to join us in the streets, okay? But Code Pink, Progressive Democrats of America, where were they today? . . . I'm not going to prettify this. We are in the belly of an empire. It is committing war crimes and crimes against humanity. They have legalized torture and both parties, the whole system, is involved in that. History is going to judge us by how we act. If your allegiance to the Democratic Party is bigger than your allegiance to the people of the world then you have foreclosed your right to call yourself an 'anti-war leader'." Use the link to read all of Taylor's strong speech.

Turning to public televsion,
NOW on PBS begins airing tonight on most PBS stations (and it will stream online) with topics that include: "Are tactical mistakes by Obama going to cost him the election? Maybe, says psychologist and Democratic political consultant Drew Westen. The author of "The Political Brain," talks to NOW's David Brancaccio about how appealing to voters' emotions reaps bigger electoral rewards than hammering home policy proposals. Westen is a Professor of Psychology at Emory University and the founder of Westen Strategies, LLC, a political and corporate consulting firm." PBS' Washington Week (begins airing tonight, check local listings) features Gwyn being joined by ABC News's Martha Raddatz, Time's Karen Tumulty, the New York Times' Jackie Calmes and Slate's John Dickerson. And Krystalline Kraus has an article on an important topic.

the new york timesandrew e. kramer
campbell robertson
the washington posternesto londono
ben lando
andy rowell
jake tapper
i am three
sunsara taylor
mcclatchy newspapersthe los angeles times
tina susmansaif rasheed
kpfkuprising radiosonali kolhatkar
womens media center
edward herman
now on pbspbswashington week