Saturday, June 28, 2008

Rice with Mushrooms in the Kitchen

Above should be a video from the the War Resisters Support Campaign. I wanted to open with that because this is not just an important one, it's one where time is of the essence. July starts next week and the Canadian government has not retracted their decision to deport US war resister Corey Glass. Details of things you can do are in the snapshot at the end of my post.

I wanted to highlight something in the US but just realized I can't. I'd need to switch from "edit" to "compose" and if I do that, the video's wiped out. Blogger/Blogspot really needs to work on their video embedding. There is an actual button -- when we're in the screen we type in -- but it has never worked for me or anyone I know who uses bloggers. So I have to go into "edit" and do a number of additional steps anytime I add a video. All of that gets wiped out if I then switch over to "compose." I will try to remember to note it next weekend.

Last weekend, I wrote about a recent family development and I caused a problem for others with community sites because they weren't sure whether I wanted the post noted or not? I didn't realize I was creating a problem and that's due to my not being clear. Putting that up was for my daughter-in-law, for my family and for me. Because I intend to follow what I outlined. If I don't, it was put up in writing and could and should be tossed back in my face. I also had a lot of e-mails on that and, if you've written before, I did respond to you. I read them all but did not reply to the e-mails from those I'd never heard from before. That wasn't my attempt to be rude, that's just part of the community attitude of we're getting tired of our e-mails being passed on. You never know who is going fishing.

Overall, I heard from a lot of men and women my age and older who are seeing their children (adult children) struggling so hard due to the economy. A man wrote to explain that he remembers the 70s recession and that he, his wife and their children ate beans and hamburger meat nearly every day. Gas prices were high and inflation was hitting. The economy was tanking. It was very difficult. He can't believe how much harder it is for his now adult children.

He outlined some reasons. 1) Back then, most people hadn't even heard of cable. I believe that's true. I remember hearing of cable as something that rural areas -- living far from a broadcast area -- had. 2) You had one phone. Whereas today, you may have more than one phone in the home and you've also got a cell phone and your kids have one. Those were his two reasons regarding non-essentials but he stressed (and I see his point) that from his view those are non-essentials but they are also very much part of the world we live in today so for those used to them, they are essentials. He and his wife have three adult children, all married, and seven grandchildren. He asked my opinion on asking one of their children (and her family) to move back in?

My suggestion was "Do it." They have a home they moved into two years ago and are about to lose it. They've cut all the corners they can. They may turn around and turn down their parents kind offer (and that is their right) but it's better to offer it. With the other two children, one owns the home and the other is able to meet the monthly payments. His concern was mainly about what the other two adult children would think? In terms of the one who owns their home, they shouldn't think anything. They have their own home and just have to worry about property taxes and utilities. In terms of the other child, the father's judgement is that they are strugglng but making it. With the third child, the house is going to go into foreclosure. My opinion is, by making the offer, they can accept or turn it down. But if they turn it down, since foreclosure will be coming, it's worth making because they may end up saying in a few months, "Remember your offer? Does it still stand?"

I have never seen anything like this in my life and honestly can keep myself awake at night wondering if we're about to head into something rivaling the Great Depression. I'm not an economist. But I do know the only thing the economy domestically had going for it was the housing bubbling (the internet bubble crashed at the start of this decade) and now that bubble has popped. We've shipped so many jobs overseas. We have destroyed our manufacturing sector. I have no idea where the new jobs will come from and I know that the lies of the service economy were lies. All that happened was the good paying jobs disappeared and what replaced them were minimum wage jobs and jobs that paid a little more than that. Is there even a middle class anymore?

I don't know.

It's very frightening for a lot of us who are 'safe' but have children facing things we never did. There is no way my husband and I could have had a family the size we did if we starting out today. We struggled with eight children back then. Today, I would think it would be impossible.

And reading over all the e-mails, parents my age and older are really distressed by how much their adult children are having to deal with. I heard from people with adult children crippled by student loan bills. They can't start a family. They can barely keep their heads afloat.

If those were government student loans, I think the government should consider a moritorium on payments. I'm not joking on that. I know my son was crippled by that debt. Elaine, Rebecca and C.I. kindly paid off his student loans last year. That was very nice of them and he appreciated it and so did we. My youngest son, Mike, had mentioned to Elaine how badly his brother was struggling. Not in a "Can you do something?" manner. And when Elaine said, "Mike, what's the total, I'll write a check for it right now," he said "thank you, but no thanks." So Elaine spoke to C.I. and Rebecca and they decided if they made it a joint-gift from the three of them, it would be accepted. It was and it was very much appreciated (including by me). But those three, as wonderful as they are, are not the US government. And it shouldn't be left up to the private sector to address national concerns. An e-mail came in about a daughter who lives in a crime-ridden area and makes $2,500 a month which is a good sum for her area or at least a workable one. She lives on rice and beans. Out of economic necessity. Why? She has student loans and they are garnishing her pay. She doesn't see $2,500 a month. Along with Social Security and taxes, she sees $200 taken out of every check, four checks a month. That's $800 a month. Which would mean, if there was no Social Security withheld or taxes withheld, the most she would be taking home would be $1,700 out of $2,500 a month. Now add in the high insurance premium she pays each month (and that's a work plan), rent and other necessary items and she is in a panic each month. The transmission on her car went out and she asked her parents for a loan (which she paid back). But when she asked, the mother and her husband were shocked because they thought she made good money. She was hired in 2003 at her current rate. They had no idea she (and everyone else at that company) had been on a pay freeze for five years. They had no idea that student loans were grabbing $800 from her every month. They really thought she had a money management issue. And that mother wanted to stress that if you're looking at your adult children's lives and thinking, "They need to learn to manage their money," you need to hold off on judgment unless you know exactly what their bills are.

I heard from people struggling. I heard from single people struggling so hard that they don't know what to cut next. There is a serious financial crisis in this country that goes far beyond people losing their homes. The people you pass on the street, headed off to their jobs, working full time, are not that much better off than what we recognize as the poor. As I read over their accounting of bills they pay each month, I was dismayed. My father stressed that you put something from each paycheck aside for a rainy day. Today, I don't think most people can afford to do that because they are living through a monsoon. The rainy season is the full year.

In terms of presidential politics, the only one I hear addressing the economy seriously is Ralph Nader. Barack's in love with 'economics.' Economics in the sense of, as he basically said this week, "There are a lot of good economic theories but government is preventing them!" I tend to be alarmed when those statements are made, usually by Republicans, because it reveals a fundamental misunderstanding of government. The federal government is not a for-profit business. The federal government exists to serve "We the People." Barack's surrounded by privatizers on his economic team. I do not see him able to do a damn thing to help the working class (which is most Americans) or the working poor or the poor. And I don't see anything in any of his statements that reflects any real concern.

I heard over and over in e-mails that people supported Hillary's call for a gas-tax holiday over the summer. One woman with two kids wrote, "I don't know what world they live in that they think forty or so bucks over three months isn't worth examining. That could mean we have meat on the table a few nights. I'm glad to know they're all sitting so pretty that an extra ten dollars a month or more is nothing to them but it would have meant everything to me." That's part of why Barack's so out of touch. He couldn't see that.

He couldn't realize that most people are struggling and ten dollars or more a month is not something they're going to laugh at. With gas prices again soaring, I think the gas tax holiday insults will bite a lot of people in the butt. And it should. I heard a person at my church insult it and our attitude (the bulk of my church) was, "Well good, let's hope he pays through the nose all summer long." My church is working class, it includes a lot of immigrant population. There are some large families that have many children in one bedroom. They know how to stretch a buck and an extra ten dollars a month would have meant a lot to them.

I think the 'creative class' backing Barack is so out of touch with the extreme hardship in this country that they can't even grasp what most Americans are struggling with.

In terms of struggling. How do you put food on your table and make sure your kids are able to eat and eat healthy?

I am testing recipes with a reader and we stumbled upon one that's really good and with my 'test kitchen' and her 'test kitchen' we think it's a thumbs up.

Rice with Mushrooms
1 package of dry mushroom gravy
1 4 ounce can of mushrooms
1 package of rice
Optional: 1 can of corn or 1 can of black eyed peas

Cook the mushroom gravy on the stove according to directions on the package; however, if you add margarine to it (one tablespoon) it will be creamier. Add the can of mushrooms (with packaging water) to the skillet or sauce pan. If using corn or black eyed peas, drain the can and add only the corn or the peas to it. By adding either, the 'test kitchens' were able to end up with something that more closely looked like a stew.

Cook the rice according to the directions. You can cook a portion of it or the entire package. If you cook the entire package, put the remained in a sealed container in the fridge and reheat (microwave or stove top) with a little water to use later in the week when needed.

Place the cooked rice on a plate and spoon over the gravy mixture.

Using corn or black eyed peas will increase the nutrition in the dish. Red beans tends to work well this as well but we had a problem when attempting other beans (such as navy). You can double up on the gravy packets for a thicker sauce and you can also use milk in the place of water.

As a side dish, we suggest a green salad. A very simple green salad. We suggest a non-iceberg lettuce. Red leaf or some other lettuce, washed, cut and served with sliced white onions on top (rings). If you have a dressing on hand, by all means use that. If not, just an olive oil and vineger mixture (toss in a dash of Italian seasoning if you have that) can be made very quickly. It may seem like a bitter salad but it tends to compliment the gravy base of the other recipe.

I knew it wouldn't be a problem in my home because I'm always testing recipes and everyone's used to it. But the other 'test kitchen' included young children. Finiky eaters. They went for it so well that it is currently the Monday and Friday meal. On Fridays, it includes corn. On Mondays, it's just the mushrooms and the gravy. It's inexpensive and easy to make.

The kids already enjoyed mushrooms and that recipe came about just from our playing around in our 'test kitchens.' We are playing around with some more recipes and I will be offering those throughout the summer. I think the entire country is going to be further tightening their belts. (Or hocking their belts.) The reaction has been positive in the e-mails but if someone is thinking, "You know what, I'm done with your kitchen," that's fine with me. I really am alarmed and frightened by the stories I'm hearing and would prefer to offer recipes that are inexpensive and can actually help people in need. If you're a regular reader and deciding to check out, I won't be upset. But if you're a regular reader who knows a lot about cooking and have an idea for a simple and inexpensive recipe, I'd love to hear that as well. I will note that we're trying to stay away from cheese for as long as possible. That's because we're of the opinion that most people know all about how to use cheese to tempt finiky eaters already. The people we're trying to serve are short on time and short on money and usually feeding more than just themselves.

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

Friday, June 27, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the deporation clock ticks down for Corey Glass, another Iraqi judge is assassinated, MTV accepts political advertisements . . . or at least some, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Iraq Veterans Against the War Matthis Chiroux remains in the news. Chiroux announced June 15th that he would not report to duty (as he'd stated he wouldn't on May 15th). South Carolina's WIS News 10 reported on some reactions yesterday (link has text and video):

David Stanton: Being called to deploy? It is a possibility that all of South Carolina's bravest face but the refusal of one soldier to go to Iraq has many military members talking. Sgt. Mathhis Chiroux was honorably discharged about a year ago. He served in Germany, Japan, Afghanistan and the Phillipines. Chiroux was then called back to duty for service in Iraq. But Chiroux says he will not report to Fort Jackson as ordered. As Trey Paul found out some have a hard time supporting the decision.

Mst. Sgt. Gary Villanueva: My father always taught me that a handshake was a man's honor. And signing on the dotted line is equivalent to a handshake. And s-s-so if they made that comitment I believe they should honor it and if they didn't, quite frankly, I question them as a man.

Trey Paul: We asked and Mst. Sgt. Gary Villanueva did not hold back.

Gary Villanueva: Maybe it's best if they don't come into the military because that type of person I would really question my . . . uh . . . back half of my life. And then protecting me or any other individuals I fight with.

Trey Paul: When it comes to a soldier who doesn't complete a military contract lets just say Villanueva doesn't agree

Gary Villanueva: I-I-I uh really think that uh there subject to the punishment that the military law stipulates because they signed a contract.

Trey Paul: Villanueva is one of several soldiers here at Fort Jackson taking part in the IRR -- that's the Individual Ready Reserve. It's the same type of program that Sgt. Matthis Chiroux was required to attend. Other reservists like Sgt. Nolze don't agree with Chiroux either but he thinks he understands where Chiroux's coming from.

Specialist Joshua Nolze: Up until a couple of years ago the military never really used IRR and they told you when you signed the contract, 'Don't really worry about it. You're not going to get called up.' Now days, it's a different story, different world. You're getting called up so it's something you've got to think about before you sign up.

Trey Paul: The IRR works like this: As a soldier you always sign at least an eight-year contract. Most spend at least two of those years serving active duty. The remainder of the contract is spent in some form of the reserves. Mostly the IRR. First Sgt. Reid is helping train these reservists.

1st Sgt. Michael Reid: I also have mixed feelings because some of these young fellows have already been two or three times and probably don't want to go back.

Trey Paul: Since 9-11 a spokesman for the national IRR says Chiroux is just one of seven-hundred who have been a no-show

Gary Villanueva: Whether I agree or disagree with this war is im-imaterial. But one thing I'm soli- I'm sure of, that there are servicemen overseas that need support and that's why I'm coming back to support them.

Trey Paul: At Fort Jackson, Trey Paul, WIS News 10.

IVAW notes:

How you can help:

Find out more about Matthis Chiroux.

Moving to Canada, "I'm refusing to kill innocent people and I'm the one waiting to go to prison and they're the ones setting us up to commit war crimes and they go free," US war resister Ryan Johnson explains to Bill Kaufmann in "Writing on wall for deserters" (The Calgary Sun). Ryan and his wife Jenna Johnson moved to Canada in June 2005. Johnson notes that if a war resister is deported in July, he would most likely be the next one. May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Corey Glass is an Iraq War veteran and a US war resister. He went to Canada seeking asylum -- the kind of welcoming Canada provided to war resisters ("draft dodgers" and "deserters") during Vietnam. After being told he was being deported, he's been 'extended' through July 10th. June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. Douglas Glynn (The Barrie Examiner) quotes Corey stating, "The motion is not legally binding, though the majority of Parliament voted for it. I realized innocent people were being killed. I tried to quit the military while in Iraq," he said, "but my commander told me I was just stressed out and needed some R and R (rest and relaxation), because I was doing a job I was not trained to do. I went home on leave and said I was not coming back." Ryan also notes the motion and points to the apparent dismissal of it by Stephan Harper (prime minister of Canada) wondering, "He ran on a platform of democratic reform -- he should take some advice of his own."

Canada's War Resisters Support Campaign will hold a "Rally to Stop the Deportation of Parkdale Resident Corey Glass" July 3rd, begins at 7:00 p.m. (with doors opening at six p.m.) at the May Robinson Building, 20 West Lodge, Toronto: "In 2002, Corey joined the Indiana National Guard. He was told he would not have to fight on foreign shores. But in 2005 he was sent to Iraq. What he saw there caused him to become a conscientious objector and he came to Canada. On May 21, 2008, he got his final order to leave Canada by July 10, 2008. Then on June 3 Parliament passed a motion for all the war resisters to stay in Canada. However the Harper government says it will ignore this motion." They are also asking for a July 2nd call-in. Diane Finley is the Immigration and Citizenship Minister and her phone numbers are (613) 996-4974 and (519) 426-3400 -- they also provide her e-mail addresses ("minister" at "") and ("finled1" at "").
To pressure the Stephen Harper government to honor the House of Commons vote, Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at ""). Courage to Resist collected more than 10,000 letters to send before the vote. Now they've started a new letter you can use online here. The War Resisters Support Campaign's petition can be found here.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Megan Bean, Chris Bean, Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb, Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.

Information on war resistance within the military can be found at The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
"Ultimately, the way I look at it is," McClatchy Newspaper's Leila Fadel offered to Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez (Democracy Now!) yesterday, "there were 23 death certificates, 24 people died. Among them were toddlers and women, and Sergeant Wuterich has said this is what his training told him to do--go into the houses, throw grenades, and apparently shoot children and women. And it did happen, no one disputes that these women and children were killed. And that is what is angering the people of Haditha, that somehow, even with all of these bodies, that no one is being held accountable. And from what I understand, the case against Sergeant Wuterich is particularly strong and he's given eight--I think seven Marines immunity in order to have testimony against the sergeant. And he says, 'I did the right thing.' But toddlers--three-year-olds--and women died." Fadel was on to discuss the realities she reported in "Hadith victims' kin outraged as Marines go free" (McClatchy Newspapers, and link has text and video):"Khadija Hassan still shrouds her body in black, nearly three years after the deaths of her four sons. They were killed on Nov. 19, 2005, along with 20 other people in the deadliest documented case of U.S. troops killing civilians since the Vietnam War. Eight Marines were charged in the case, but in the intervening years, criminal charges have been dismissed against six. A seventh Marine was acquitted. The residents of Haditha, after being told they could depend on U.S. justice, feel betrayed." With Gonzalez and Goodman, Fadel shared, "We took a drive back to Haditha last week, trying to get a reaction to the dismissals and the one acquittal regarding this case of 24 people being killed on November 19, 2005. And the ultimate feeling I came away with: people felt betrayed. They felt betrayed that journalists told them if they told their story, somebody would be held accountable. They felt betrayed investigators told them that U.S. justice--that they could depend on that, and nobody is being held accountable. Many of them said, 'How many bodies does there have to be for someone to be punished for this?'"
This as Deutsche Presse-Agentur reports a US military raid in Karbala today resulted in 1 civilian being killed. On the heels of three bank employees being shot to death by the US military while on their way to work and a family air bombed by the US military. Earlier this week at Inside Iraq, an Iraqi correspondent remembered "Yasser Salihee, a physician and a father of one lovely girl" who had worked for McClatchy until being shot dead by a US soldier "Friday June 24, 2005". "Your friends and colleagues never forgot you and will not," writes the correspondent, "[. . .] I've been in so many places Yasser, I saw many die. I saw children, women and men were killed by terrorists or troops and we will keep trying to tell their stories. If we die my friend we will be dying telling the truth, telling the people what really happens here."
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Diyala Province roadside bombing last night that claimed the life of 1 shepherd and left two more wounded. Reuters notes a Shirqat roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 2 "Awakening" Council members and left three more wounded.
Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports 1 "senior city appeals judge" was shot dead in Baghdad Thursday. Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) identifies the judge of "Kamil al-Swaili, Head of Appeal Court" and quotes a High Judiciary Council spokesperson explaining over "40 judges have been assassinated since March 2003". Reuters explains, "Assailants using two vehicles blocked the judge's way, a police source said. They shot the judge, who was alone in his vehicle, before driving away, he said." Iran's Press TV states, "The assassination of al-Shewaili -- head of one of Baghdad's two appeals courts -- is the latest in a series of judges, academics and other professionals to be targeted by militants." Reuters notes a police officer was injured in a Jurf al-Sakhar shooting.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 1 corpse discovered in Mahaweel.
Meanwhile at the same the US military calls back service members who have been discharged, they kick out those who want to serve. Servicemembers Legal Defense Network explains:

Decorated Army Sergeant Darren Manzella has been discharged under the "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" law banning lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans from military service, effective June 10. The Iraq war veteran was one of the first openly gay active duty service members to speak with the media while serving inside a war zone. In December 2007, Manzella was profiled by the CBS news magazine 60 Minutes. He told correspondent Lesley Stahl that he served openly during much of his time in the Army, with the full support of his colleagues and command.

"The discharge of battle-tested, talented service members like Sergeant Manzella weakens our military in a time of war. National security requires that Congress lift the ban on gays in the military and allow commanders to judge troops on their qualifications, not their sexuality," said Adam Ebbin, Communications Director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN).

SLDN reports that a growing number of service members are also serving openly without incident. The organization is aware of more than 500 troops who are 'out' to their colleagues and, in some cases, their commands.

Sergeant Manzella said, "My sexual orientation certainly didn't make a difference when I treated injuries and saved lives in the streets of Baghdad. It shouldn't be a factor in allowing me to continue to serve."

Manzella, 30, enlisted in the U.S. Army in 2002 and was twice deployed to the Middle East in support of Operation Iraqi Freedom. While under fire on the streets of Baghdad, he provided medical care to his fellow soldiers, Iraqi National Guardsmen and civilians. He was awarded the Combat Medical Badge, and also received several other awards recognizing his courage and service.
For more information on Sergeant Manzella, SLDN and the campaign to repeal "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," visit

In December of last year, Leslie Stahl spoke with Manzella for CBS' 60 Minutes (link has video and text)

Turning to the US political race for president, Josie Swindler (Radar) reports MTV had decided to take political advertising. Wait? Madonna, naked with the flag around her wasn't political speech? (Well, it sure wasn't art.) But, Swindler reports, there's a catch. They will allow the GOP and the Democratic nominees -- whomever they might be -- to buy ads. And other candidates? MTV v.p. of communion (I'm being sarcastic) Jeannie Kedas states, "We would consider and accept third-party advertisements on a case by case basis." Which is a good time to note that Bill Coleman shares his thoughts on the presidential race in a letter to the Bennington Banner:

In reality, candidates such as Ralph Nader are disregarded from the outset because the election of someone such as Mr. Nader would bring about a true day of reckoning for American corporations.
As long as these corporations are permitted to on the one hand have the same or greater rights than individual citizens, and on the other hand to never face the death penalty or anything more than self regulation or slap on the wrist fines, they can continue to wreak havoc everywhere they go and drain average people of every last cent of economic vitality they can muster.
Yes, Ralph Nader supports an end to corporate personhood, in contrast to Barack Obama or John McCain, whose campaigns are awash in contributions from corporate America.
The differences between Mr. Nader and the candidates that you are permitted to read about or see on television each day are very far reaching and vast.

The candidates you are allowed to see . . . To MTV, according to today's news, or not to MTV.

Two upcoming events for the Nader campaign: (1) "Private Conversation and Fresh Summer Buffet on the River" fundraiser in Litchfield, Conn. Sunday at 2:00 pm and (2) a Honolulu Nader for President 2008 Rally Thursday (July 3) at 8:00 pm at the Univeristy of Hawiaii. For more information on the events, click here. Team Nader notes:

Ralph Nader will be a guest on ABC's This Week with George Stephanopoulos, Sunday June 29, 2008. (Check here for broadcast times in your area).

By the way, there are many definitions of "talking white."

Here's our definition, from the Nader/Gonzalez dictionary:

Talking white means telling the white corporate power structure what they want to hear, rather than calling them out and telling them what they need to hear.


And please note, whether George Steph plays it straight or goes into attack mode, don't turn off your television after -- you'll miss out on the unintentionally hilarious roundtable to follow featuring two Punches and two Judys. In other TV news, US Senator Barbara Boxer will be among the guests on this week's Bill Moyers Journal. Moyers broadcasts Friday nights on most PBS stations (and may repeat in some markets so check local listings). The Journal features online transcripts, online audio, online video and a blog to leave comments. In addition, Bill Moyers and Michael Winship often post commentaries there, either a Moyers commentary or a Winship commentary, or this week, a commentary by both. From the opening of "It Was Oil, All Along:"

Oh, no, they told us, Iraq isn't a war about oil. That's cynical and simplistic, they said. It's about terror and al Qaeda and toppling a dictator and spreading democracy and protecting ourselves from weapons of mass destruction. But one by one, these concocted rationales went up in smoke, fire, and ashes. And now the bottom line turns out to be....the bottom line. It is about oil.
Alan Greenspan said so last fall. The former chairman of the Federal Reserve, safely out of office, confessed in his memoir, "....Everyone knows: the Iraq war is largely about oil." He elaborated in an interview with the Washington Post's Bob Woodward, "If Saddam Hussein had been head of Iraq and there was no oil under those sands, our response to him would not have been as strong as it was in the first gulf war."
Remember, also, that soon after the invasion, Donald Rumsfeld.s deputy, Paul Wolfowitz, told the press that war was our only strategic choice. "...We had virtually no economic options with Iraq," he explained, "because the country floats on a sea of oil."
Shades of Daniel Plainview, the monstrous petroleum tycoon in the movie There Will Be Blood. Half-mad, he exclaims, "There's a whole ocean of oil under our feet!" then adds, "No one can get at it except for me!"

as does NOW on PBS which asks, "Is there a way to keep desperate homeowners in their houses? One enterprising entrepreneur has come up with a creative and self-sustaining way to prevent foreclosures and protect individuals from predatory subprime lenders, but not everyone agrees with his approach. Is this another cautionary tale in the making?" PBS' Washington Week will find Gwyn speaking with the New York Times' Linda Greenhouse and NBC's Pete Williams about the Court's latest rulings; Peter Baker (New York Times) and Shailagh Murray (Washington Post) will round out the roundtable. And independent journalist and artist David Bacon continues to cover the immigration experiences and his latest photos from Mixteca are amazing. Click here for his photos of documenting the experiences of immigrants. This fall (September) Bacon's Illegal People -- How Globalization Creates Migration and Criminalizes Immigrants us released by Beacon Press.


 corey glass
 ryan johnson
 matthis chiroux

 douglas glynn

 bill kaufmann
 trey paul

mcclatchy newspapers
leila fadel

juan gonzalez

 bill moyers journal
 linda greenhouse
 david bacon
 washington week
 now on pbs

 peter baker
 shailagh murray
 the washington post


Friday, June 20, 2008

Basic pasta sauce in the Kitchen

We are going to try to focus on inexpensive cooking. I have received so many e-mails in the last two weeks from people on the verge of going under, people who have nothing to left to cut back on.

Anything you add to noodles will be inexpensive. For the following recipe, you will serve on pasta of some sort, your choice.

Olive oil
1 medium onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 six ounce can of tomato paste,
2 cans of dice tomatoes
sliced olives

Add two teaspoons of olive oil to your skillet. Dice the cloves of garlic and drop in skillet. Slice the onions and add them as well (thinly slice). Saute the onions and garlic for approximately 3 minutes. Add the diced tomatoes to the skillet, add the tomato paste. Fill the tomato paste can with water and pour that into the skillet. Stir. Use either green olives or black ones (or both). Slice them into thin slivers. (If you're using green and they have pimentos in them, extract the pimento and do not use it in the dish.) How many? It can be as little six or you can get a six ounce can of sliced olives and use that.

Spices are good. If you have oregeno (or "Italian spices") you can add that. You can add a dash of pepper and a dash of salt as well. If you have chili powder, I would add it. Chili powder is rich in vitamin A. Add the spices and bring to a simmer.

Boil water and cook the pasta according to package directions.

If you are a on a tight budget, alternating green and black olives gives you two dishes. If you are on a very tight budget, buy the generic pasta (store brand). You can add a teaspoon of olive oil and another helping of water (fill up the can of tomato paste again) during cooking if you need to stretch it some more. I would also urge you to serve in bowls and not plates. Reason? You'll use less sauce. If you're spreading it out (especially for a child) on a plate, they will think they need more. Ladeling the sauce over pasta in a bowl will allow you to use sauce.

That dish, due to the tomatoes, garlice and onion, will be nutritious.

Leftovers? Put it in a large tupper ware bowl, the sauce and the pasta in the same bowl and cover. It can be placed on sliced bread toasted and be a sandwich.

There are other sauce recipes and we'll deal with those in the future. Should you have no pasta leftover but have sauce, put it in a covered container and serve it over a baked or boiled potato. In fact, you can boil the potatoes, chop them up, top with the sauce (with or without cheese) and pop it into a 325 degree oven for 15 minutes and have a side dish for the next night.

I am really surprised by how many people are on the verge of losing it all. I shouldn't be. I know the economy has been tanking each year. However, I am not reading the stories I see in the e-mails in my paper.

The best way to sum them up is to say that around 2003, most of you were tightening the belt. You have continued to do that every year. Now you have reached the point where buying generic foods, foregoing meat most nights (if you are a meat eater) and eating at home every night is not cutting it. You are worried and I understand that.

We will try to come up with easy, inexpensive recipes. This site was started to help those learning to cook or wanting to learn. And if you go back into the archives, you will find me regularly noting the economy and how cooking your own food will help you out if you're in a pinch. But I'm really going to try to focus on inexpensive.

C.I. has a gumbo recipe that's wonderful. But I think I can reduce it to basics that are inexpensive. I'm working on that right now. And hopefully will be able to offer it to you next week.

Changing topics. Everyone in my family (extended) wants to know what I'm thinking about a recent development so I'm going to make it public.

One of my sons and his wife moved back home when she was pregnant. She gave birth last summer. Currently, she has decided she cannot handle being a mother.

She told me that Thursday night when she asked to if we could talk. For one hour, I did not see what the point was. After an hour, she revealed that she had written my son a note and was leaving. (She had already packed a bag.) I told her what I'm writing now.

Having a child can be a shock even when you want the child. In a few days, weeks or months, she may have dealt with the shock and return. If that's the case, that is between her and my son. Regardless, I will be supporting my son. I will not make a point to run down his wife. If she becomes his ex-wife, I will not be making a point to run her down. But I will be supporting my son.

I told her that her decision surprised me but didn't offend me except for one thing: She was telling me after her husband was asleep. Did I wake him after she left? It put me in a difficult position and I did not appreciate that.

I did not wake him. I did explain the next morning (he had read her note before he spoke to me).

My son works so I have quit my job. That's fine. It was only part-time. I will be helping raise my grandchild while my daughter-in-law figures out what she wants to do.

We have never had a divorce in the immediate family. It is likely that we will have one soon. I don't see it as a failure on the part of my son or my daughter-in-law if that happens. That's just life and, certainly, there are some couples in our family who probably should have divorced.

I do not enjoy the way the news was broken.

In terms of her decision, it's her life and she will have to do what she feels she has to do. Being a wife and mother was something she thought she wanted. Now it is too much for her. (She also works and that is the only thing that currently gives her any satisifaction.) If that's how she feels after she's had time to explore her feelings, that's how she feels.

No one will speak badly of her around their child. That is the rule I'm imposing. (My son wouldn't speak badly of her around their child -- I'm referring to other relatives.) This is painful for them, it is not painful for the rest of us. We should not turn ourselves into the stars of the drama. Whatever happens is between my husband and my daughter-in-law and that is true if they divorce.

I do not dislike her and I certainly do not hate her. Of course, I love my son. If he needs to vent about her, I will listen. And I will be supportive.

I did not see it coming. I was babysitting more often which was fine with me and that's the only thing I can see that might have clued me in.

Some people are not suited for parenting. I do not think that is the case with my daughter-in-law but she does. If she continues to feel that way, that's not the end of the world.

I know Mike (another son) was thinking about moving out and I know he was conflicted. He is the second to youngest and his kid sister beat him out the door. Because he is responsible he feels torn about moving out. My husband and I are not retired or elderly. We have told him that he does not have to feel badly about moving out. But that's Mike, he's always taking responsibility for things he shouldn't. One good thing is that with another son living at home, Mike can move out if he wants and not feel guilty. (None of our children have to move out. It would be hard to have all eight living here since some have spouses and they can't share rooms like they could growing up, but all are welcome here. We never had the attitude, "You turn 18, you get out.")

My son asked me how long he should wait? I stated that if she files for divorce or is gone more than four weeks, I would consider it time to move on. That's my take and he can do with that what he wants or not.

My daughter-in-law is not my enemy. That is true if they decide to divorce. She and I have no problem between us. Whatever happens between them is between them. If my son asks for advice, it can be offered but no one needs to show up full of "What you need to do." It really is not your business.

Those aren't just my feelings, those are actually the rules. My husband and I discussed this and we know how tight everyone is. We know how many members of our families will want to be helpful. The best way you can be helpful is not making yourself the star of something that is between my husband and my daughter-in-law. They and only they will decide what happens next.

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

Friday, June 20, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, today is World Refugee Day, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Matthew Chiroux was the subject of a broadcast CBS 23 News (WIFR, link has text and video) last night:

Mike Garrigan: 24-year-old Matthis Chiroux says he will not deploy to Iraq. The young soldier was asked to report to duty June 15th but he refuses, calling the war in Iraq and illegal war. Chiroux has been in the US army for five years and has completed a tour of Afghanistan; however, he says he has no intentions of returning.

Matthis Chiroux: My decision was entirely based on my desire to no longer continue to violate my core values to support an illegal and unconstitutional occupation.

NBC's WAFF 48 also reported on Matthis last night (link has text and video):

Kimberly Essex: An army Sergeant is refusing to deploy from Iraq and his family is dealing with his decision to do so. WAFF 48 reporter Eric Sollman joins us now and, Eric, you spoke with the soldier's father.

Eric Sollman: Yes, Kim, and being a military man himself, Robert Chiroux, he has mixed -- mixed reactions to the whole ordeal. His son Matthis, a military photo journalist, is one of thousands of military ready reserve troops recalled to combat and now, according to army officials, he's one of about 700 called from this group that have failed to report in the last seven years. Last time Matthis Chiroux made local news was when [clip from December 2004 shown] was four years ago. The story involved his girlfriend at the time and a car break-in. Now this US army Sergeant is making national headlines for refusing to redeploy to Iraq. He's not hiding his protest and his family isn't dodging questions either.

Robert Chiroux: My son made the decision not to report. He feels that the war in Iraq is unconstitutional and unjust.

Eric Sollman: His father Robert is a navy veteran who lives in Huntsville [Alabama]. He said his son was to report to Fort Jackson Sunday for reactivation from the Individual Ready Reserve. Matthis refused.

Robert Chiroux: My son has certainly indicated that if he had been called back from the Inactive Ready Reserve to active duty to serve in Afghanistan, he would not have hesitated to go. So I know that my son -- inspite of things that I have heard said of him -- he's certainly not a coward. He just has decided that he feels this war is illegal and he's taking a stand.

Eric Sollman: While Robert doesn't necessarily agree with his son's stand, he stands by him.

Robert Chiroux: My son asked me to come to Washington [DC] to be with him on Father's Day. I had some reservations about standing behind my son while he made his statement but he's my son and, of course, I love him and I'm going to stand with him.

Eric Sollman: And Robert says he would gladly take his son's place and serve if he could and, Kim, of course there were a lot of issues that we talked about that we couldn't fit into the story so we put his interview in its entirity on our website at

Kimberly Essex: Well your heart just goes out to this father because he really is in a tough position. He wants to support his son but it doesn't coincide with maybe what he really believes.

Eric Sollman: And he says it's something that only a parent could understand.

WAYYTV's Brett Haas notes, "The 24-year-old is in Washington lining up support from like-minded members of Congress." AFP explains, "Chiroux served five years in the army, with tours in Afghanistan, Japan, Germany and the Philippines."

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

Today is World Refugee Day. The United Nations' IRIN notes that "Iraqi experts have been urging the government and international community to do more to help the large number of Iraqi refugees in the Middle East" and quote Iraqi Parliamentarian Abdul-Khaliq Zankana stating, "Day after day Iraqi refugees in neighbouring countries are getting more frustrated by the harsh conditions in which they live. Sooner or later they are going to have a negative impact on the stability of the whole region." Amnesty International has released Iraq: Rhetoric and Reality: The Iraqi Refugee Crisis (here for HTML and here for PDF) this week. Picking up with obligations: "Under international law a duty exists to not send or force a person to return to a situation where they would be at risk of serious human rights abuses. This principle attaches to all states as a principle of customary international law, as well as to state parties to the ICCPR, Convention against Torture and Refugee Convention and Protocol." But as the report points out the resposibility isn't just to host countries, the international community has an obligation to provide assistance as well.

The report repeatedly stresses that refugees cannot be returned to Iraq because the country is not stable. On Northern Iraq, they note: "There have been acts of political violence between Iraqi Arabs and Iraqi Kurds and against members of the Yazidi religious minority in several areas along the border between Kurdistan and Nineweh (Mosul) governorate. Tension and insecurity also increased when attacks by a Turkey-based armed group, the Kurdistand Workers Party (PKK), against Turkish troops stationed near the border with Iraq were followed in October 2007 by Turkish military operations against PKK bases in northern Iraq." When even the highly touted 'safe' region of Iraq is not safe, there's no 'safe' area. Despite that reality, many countries are attempting to send Iraqi refugees back to Iraq.

Norway was attempting to do that but, the report notes, it appears to have stopped. Other countries continue attempting deportation. Among the offenders are Sweden, Denmark, Germany, the United Kingdom, Greece and the Netherlands.

"Instead of avoiding the reality," the report notes, "the international community should be confronting a medium- to long-term displacement crisis, in view of the likelihood that Iraqi refugees will need sancturay for years to come. Recognition of the on-going nature of the crisis must be grasped now if the suffering of the millions of displaced Iraqis is to be ameliorated. Host nations need to be provided with on-going assistance and support from the international community through increased and sustained funding."

US senators Hillary Clinton and Ben Cardin and House Representatives Alcee Hastings and John Dingell sent a letter to the White House today on the refugee issue (Barack Obama refused to sign on). Here's the letter sent to the White House:

As you know, the Iraq War and subsequent ethnic and sectarian conflict has caused the displacement of millions of Iraqis. While we have great concerns about the United States response to this humanitarian crisis, we write to you about a specific population of especially vulnerable Iraqis: those who have worked for our government and American organizations in Iraq and whose lives have been placed in grave danger because of that service. Recent statistics and reports have indicated that the current system of identifying and resettling our Iraqi allies has structural complications and procedural inefficiencies. Since March 2003, the United States has admitted fewer than 8,000 Iraqi refugees in total. Your Administration's goal of admitting 12,000 Iraqi refugees during this fiscal year seems an unlikely goal, given that less than 6,000 have been resettled to date. At a recent Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe (U.S. Helsinki Commission) briefing, one panelist, an attorney providing pro bono legal services to help resettle Iraqi refugees noted, "unresponsiveness and protracted delays in interviews and processing have themselves contributed to…individual emergencies…The cost in human lives and suffering due to institutional breakdowns in such aberrational instances speaks to the pressing need to ensure that our system is better equipped to respond to these challenges." The role our own government has played in prolonging the suffering of our courageous Iraqi allies who risked their lives to assist our country is troubling and simply unacceptable. To better understand why the Administration continues to delay processing our Iraqi allies for resettlement, we respectfully request that you provide us with the necessary information in response to the following: • While we are pleased that the United States has opened a processing center in Baghdad to assist Iraqis at risk in applying for resettlement to the United States, we remain concerned by reports that the office lacks the necessary personnel and resources at this time to quickly and efficiently process those Iraqis who are in imminent danger. It is most troubling that only Iraqis with sufficient connections to enter the Green Zone are able to receive help. What is the Administration's immediate and long-term strategy to improve and increase the efficiency of the current processing system? • At the Baghdad center, in particular, significant problems inhibit expeditious and efficient processing of our Iraqi allies. For example, logistical and security issues prevent access to the Green Zone for many applicants and contribute to complications with assisting applicants with medical conditions. In light of the inherent difficulties of in-country processing, what is the current status of a proposal by State Department officials to allow the Department of Defense to airlift Special Immigrant Visa (SIV) applicants for expedited processing to a central processing center at the United States Ahmed Al Jaber Air Base in Kuwait? As you know, this past April, England's Prime Minister Gordon Brown ordered an airlift of British-affiliated Iraqis to a military airfield in Oxfordshire, England in order to expeditiously and safely process them there. Denmark also evacuated and resettled 370 Iraqi interpreters and other Iraqis who worked for Danish troops prior to the Danish contingent's departure from Iraq last year. We strongly urge your consideration of a proposal similar to those that are now being successfully implemented by our Coalition partners. • The appointment of Ambassador James Foley at the State Department and Lori Scialabba at the Department of Homeland Security as senior coordinators within those agencies with respect to Iraqi refugee issues was an important and useful step. However, it appears as if there are still problems with respect to interagency cooperation. One particular problem that has been identified is that FBI background checks, even for those Iraqis who have been working directly with the United States military in Iraq, are subject to inordinately lengthy delays. To address this ongoing issue, we strongly urge you to appoint a Senior Coordinator for Iraqi Refugee Issues in the White House. • When will the Department of Homeland Security issue its policy directive to implement the provisions of Sections 1241-1249 of Public Law 110-181, the "Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act," for which it is responsible? • What is your Administration's policy regarding medical parole for those Iraqis whose cases are of high priority due to serious medical conditions? Our government has a moral responsibility to provide aid and protection to those courageous Iraqi allies who have risked their lives and the lives of their families to assist American efforts to build a democratic and stable Iraq. We are deeply concerned that, to date, you have not acknowledged their sacrifice or effectively marshaled the assets of our government to help them. We urge you to speak out about the service of our brave Iraqi allies and direct the appropriate agencies in your Administration to take immediate steps to provide them with the attention and resources they desperately need and deserve. Each day, more Iraqi allies face increased danger or even murder for their service to the United States. To ensure that more do not suffer because they chose to help us, a prompt response to these concerns is appreciated and we believe appropriate. Sincerely,
Alcee L. Hastings, M.C.
Benjamin L. Cardin, U.S.S.
John D. Dingell, M.C.
Russell D. Feingold, U.S.S.
Hillary Rodham Clinton, U.S.S.
Robert P. Casey, Jr., U.S.S.
John W. Olver, M.C.
Janice D. Schakowsky, M.C.
G.K. Butterfield, M.C.
James P. McGovern, M.C.
Timothy H. Bishop, M.C.
Joseph Crowley, M.C.
Diane E. Watson, M.C.
Earl Blumenauer, M.C.
Peter Welch, M.C.
Hilda L. Solis, M.C.
Ike Skelton, M.C.

Repeating, Barack elected not to sign. Consider it another skipped vote -- or, dropping back to the Illinois state legislature, a "present" one. William C. Mann (AP) observes, "A half-million Iraqis fled their embattled country in 2007, the third consecutive year more Iraqis were displaced than any other nationality, a survey of the world's refugees reported Thursday." The organization is US Committee for Refugees and Immigrants (USCRI) and they also rank the ten worst countries. For Iraq, they note: "Shia militias in Iraq have particularly singled out Palestinians for retribution since the fall of the Hussein regime in 2003. From 2004 to 2007 more than 85,000 Palestinians fled targeted violence, leaving only 15,000 in Iraq. Gunmen in Ministry of the Interior uniforms have killed Palestinians, firing on UN buildings in the process. Insurgents have tortured Palestinians to death and fired mortars into Palestinian neighborhoods." IRIN notes the UNHCR's findings that 50% of the 50,000 Iraqi refugees in Lebanon are children. Citing the International Organization for Migration, Kim Gamel (AP) explains, "But women and children who have been forced to flee their homes are particularly vulnerable because the men in the family have often been killed or abandoned them in a conservative Islamic society that generally doesn't value women in the workplace." Adnkronos International notes the Spanish Commission of Refugee AID (CEAR) which found that "All 1600 refugees who sought asylum in Spain in 2007 were rejected by the government."

On refugees, the Times of London's Deborah Haynes won an award from Amnesty Interntaional for her coverage of Iraqi collaborators who face obstacles to safe harbor from the United Kingdom. Haynes wrote multiple articles on the topic. As noted before, we're not concerned with the plight of the collaborators. They have their champions -- such as Haynes.

Meanwhile, the invasion of Amara continues with Iraqi troops and US troops taking part in the 'crackdown.' Hannah Allam and Ali al Basri (McClatchy Newspapers) quote Faiq Hanoun declaring yesterday, "The city is quiet even though the operation has started, and I haven't heard a gun-shot or the sound of a plane. Life is going on in the normal fashion. Markets are open and movement in and out of the city hasn't stopped." Ernesto London and Aahad Ali (Washington Post) note the arrest of the vice governor which "angered followers of anti-American cleric Moqtada al-Sadr . . . Sadrist leaders in Maysan have vowed to cooperate with Iraqi troops but have suggested that the government is trying to expand its presence in Sadr strongholds to weaken the movement politically before provincial elections scheduled for the fall." Alissa J. Rubin and Suadad Salhy (New York Times) discover, "There were reports of rough treatment and especially of arrests of eminent followers of Mr. Sadr. It was unclear whether the units making the arrests had warrants, as required under Iraqi law. If so, Mr. Sadr's followers said they would not protest the detentions. However, Mr. Sadr's supporters protested at least two cases in which Iraqi troops seized family members of wanted figures when they could not find the person they were seeking. Iraqi military leaders responded that they had arrested only one relative of a wanted man. The American military has used similar tactics, drawing criticism from Iraqis in and out of the government." ANTARA NEWS and AFP explain that today saw the arrests of five more aides to al-Sadr. Aref Mohammed (Reuters) quotes Adnan al-Selawi ("head of the Sadr movement's office in Amara) stating that "we found many breaches and violations" in the 'security sweep.'

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing that claimed 3 lives and left seven people wounded, a Nineveh roadside bombing left eleven Iraqi soldiers wounded, a Mosul car bombing left six police officers wounded and, dropping back to yesterday, Diyala Province home bombings left one person wounded.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 1 corpse was discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Iskandariya.

Meanwhile, in the US, Robert O'Harrow Jr. (Washington Post) reveals that the Democrats have set up a panel to investigate the contracts 'awarded' throughout the illegal war. The press release at US Senator Jim Webb's online office notes, "Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and Speaker Nancy Pelosi have named a co-chair and three additional commissioners to the Commission on Wartime Contracting. Established as the result of legislation introduced by Senators Jim Webb (D-VA) and Claire McCaskill (D-MO) last spring and signed into law January 28, 2008, the Commission is charged with addressing the systemic problems associated with the federal government's wartime-support, reconstruction, and private security contracts in Iraq and Afghanistan."

Today the US military announced: "One Soldier was killed and five wounded in three roadside bomb attacks on Coalition force patrols in Diyala province June 20. All casualties were evacuated to a Coalition hospital."

Turning to US politics, Barack Obama's decision to opt out of public financing [see Wally's "THIS JUST IN! DNC OR GOP? WHO CAN TELL?," Cedric's "Extreme DNC Makeover!," Mike's "LAT and Barack -- liars liars pants on fire," Ruth's "Barack sells out, Matthis stands firm," Kat's "Glen Ford, Kevin Zeese" and Rebecca's "the liar barack" and yesterday's snapshot] leads the New York Times to editorialize "Public Funding on the Ropes" and Team Nader notes:
Ralph Nader stands for shifting the power from the big corporations back to the people.
Full stop.
End of story.
Contrast that with Senator Obama.
The old Obama said that he thought NAFTA was a "big mistake."
The new Obama isn't so sure.
The old Obama said he would abide by public spending limits in this election.
The new Obama he says he won't.
The old Obama said he was for a change in foreign policy and surrounded himself with innovative thinkers with a chance to make a difference.
The new Obama has surrounded himself with veterans of the military industrial complex status quo.
The old Obama talked economic populism.
The new Obama talks corporate-speak and surrounds himself with economists from the Chicago School.
You know where Nader and Gonzalez stand on corporate power.
And that isn't changing.
We're at six percent nationwide in the most recent CNN poll.
We're going to be on ten state ballots by the end of June.
And we're shooting for 40 by the end of the summer.
Together, we are moving forward.
And together, we will make a difference in November.

Non-Iraq related, independent journalist David Bacon continues to explore the issue of immigration. And his latest is "HOW DO YOU SAY JUSTICE IN MIXTECO?" (TruthOut). NOW on PBS (airs tonight in most markets) asks: "Will a booming worldwide middle class drive up consumer costs?" PBS' Washington Week will include AP's Charles Babington, Los Angeles Times' Doyle McManus and CNBC and the New York Times' John Harwood.
and already

iraqmatthis chiroux
mcclatchy newspapershannah allemali al basrithe washington posternesto londonoaahad alidavid baconalissa j. rubinthe new york times
washington weekpbscharles babingtondoyle mcmanusnow on pbs

Friday, June 13, 2008

Easy additions in the Kitchen

Okay, no real recipe this week. For three weeks I've been exchanging e-mails with "X."

She has a huge problem financially. And she has children. She e-mailed me about an article in the New York Times this week and we shared several laughs because it was on the topic we'd been discussing and the writer thought he was 'helpful.'

Here's reality. She's got house payments, she's got four kids and her husband is not working a steady job to avoid paying child support. (He's taking money in under the table -- cash -- so it won't show up. And he managed to get his child support -- already ridiculously low -- lowered further via his income tax statement which really doesn't explain how he bought the new sports car.)

These are tough times and she can't afford them. Over the summer, she's going to have to somehow have saved enough to buy back to school clothes for four children. Her younger sister is watching them this summer because X can't afford daycare. (The younger sister will be going to college in X's city in the fall. She'll be living there and helping out with the kids after school once school starts back up.)

She can't afford most of the things she could before gas skyrocketed causing everything deliverable to stores (everything) to skyrocket.

One thing we seized upon was Hamburger Helper and Tuna Helper but in the generic, store brand boxes. Actually, Hamburger more than Tuna because Hamburger uses water.

Why does that matter? You try having four kids and always having enough milk on hand when it's time to make dinner. Believe me, I knew just what she was talking about. (My husband and I have eight children.) A lasanga mix can be made with water so she's stocked up on that and can of generic mushrooms is 49 cents at her store. I suggested she make it with mushrooms in the place of meat.

That's my recipe for the week, by the way. By a Hamburger Helper and use mushrooms in place of meat. You can use fresh mushrooms as well and I would suggest a very large mushroom (any variety) because you can actually get something resembling gravy by letting them simmer in a little water.

The New York Times article argued that you could eat better and cheaper by eliminating meat. And then offered several recipes. Each of which had meat. Apparently no great thought went into the recipes that ran with the feature article.

In addition, I would recommend squash because it is already cheap (compartively) and will only get more so next month. You can boil squash, you can bake it, you can grill it, you can steam it. You can serve it with butter or a substitute and spices. You can pretty much do the same with a sack of potatoes. If you're able to budget the three things I've named, you can have a bit of a variety and cover nutritional needs.

Mac and cheese, beloved by many children. I've offered recipes before where you bake macaroni. Buy the noodles, boil them, put them in a pan and top with cheese. Pop into the oven for a few minutes and you've got mac and cheese. Not creamy, but baked. I always snuck in onions -- green, red and white -- to add nutritional value. And mushrooms.

But if the economy has really pinched you hard, you're going to have to learn how to avoid the frozen dishes as much as you avoid other obviously expensive things. That means learning to soak beans the night before and then cook them. I'm working with X on two recipes I hope to share next week. We're going for nutrition and taste on the cheap.

"Cheap" isn't a word I've rushed to use here but, if you missed it, the Bully Boy economy -- already in trouble -- just took a nosedive and platitudes from the New York Times about how to avoid eating meat matched with recipes for meat dishes really aren't helping anyone. Let's not pretty it up, the country's in dire trouble.

Another cheap trick for snacks, is to buy two large cucumbers. Remove the skins, then slice. Place in a tupper ware dish. Add some diced garlic. Add some pepper. Pour in vinegar so all other ingrediants are covered. Place the cover on the tupper ware dish and let set for two days. You'll have a snack cheaper than pickles.

But watch the kids with the salt because they'll ask if they can add a little and end up salting every slice if you don't stop them.

War resisters. C.I. outlines it so well in the snapshot but I wanted to talk about here briefly.

Matthis Chiroux was honorably discharged. He's now been called back up. He has stated he will not deploy to Iraq. He's supposed to report on Sunday.

That really should have been a big story this week. It doesn't appear to have been noticed by many. That's a real shame. He's taken a brave stand and the military has said that, if he doesn't report, they will prosecute him. He's a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War. Take a moment to tell someone about his story this weekend. At least one person.

Ehren Watada refused to deploy to Iraq in June of 2006. Two years ago. He stated the Iraq War was illegal. He's right. The military tried to court-martial him but screwed that up and now they want to ignore double-jeopardy and grab a second chance. In December of 2006, Watada completed his contract. But he has to continue to report to base each day because his life is in limbo.

The way our Constitution works is you get one shot to prosecute. The government blew their shot. Watada should be discharged immediately and discharged honorably.

Corey Glass was supposed to be deported from Canada Thursday. He had until then to leave or be deported. He's now been extended to July 10th. That's less than 30 days away. It's not that far into the future. War resisters in Canada are being ignored. You know it and I know it. We can't count on the Amy Goodmans, we have to be our own media.

There's more information on all three in the snapshot. This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:

Friday, June 13, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, SOFA talks break off (or do they?), Laura Bush sees a mending, al-Sadr issues instructions to resistance fighters, and more.

Starting with war resistance. As
Dusti Fansler (Wellington Daily News) explains, "Soldiers strained by six years at war are deserting their posts at the highest rate since 1980, with the number of Army deserters this year showing an 80 percent increase since the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. While the totals are still far lower than they were during the Vietnam War, when the draft was in effect, they show a steady increase over the past four years and a 42 percent jump since last year." Sunday Matthis Chiroux is order to deploy to Iraq. This despite the fact that he was discharged and is in the IRR.

Chiroux made his decision public
May 15th and Iraq Veterans Against the War carried his statements (text, video):

Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorable discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand. In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq. This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.

Courage to Resist has posted an interview with him (audio only). At the end of last month, California's New University weighed in on the issue, "Whether you have signed up for the military, are currently enlisted, are open to the idea or are violently opposed to serving, what remains clear is that if you are tapped to serve in Iraq, just don't go. First, the conflict has proven to be aimless, as little has gone smoothly since the toppling of Saddam Hussein's regime in 2003. Second, because so many individuals are already unwilling to serve in Iraq, the U.S. army is ready to send just about anyone, whether they are prepared or not. Lastly, make no mistake that Iraq is a war zone. Despite the invasion being invalid, this illegal war can have the same effect on its soldiers as any credible conflict. . . . Over the years, the objectives of the war in Iraq have changed from toppling a dictator to finding harmful weapons to flat-out nation-building. As such, the Baush administration or its successor may attempt to shift the aim of the conflict again, to something that is anybody's guess. Still, know that the war in Iraq is an illegal and aimless conflicts and that soldiers such as Chioux should be applauded for their refusal to support it." May 23rd, he explained to Leia Petty (US Socialist Worker), "I didn't like the war from the start. I always thought it smelled fishy, but I knew at the time, the Army owned my ass for at least the next four-and-a-half years. So I got in line like most soldiers, and prayed night and day that I could trust American civilians to end the war. I was so disappointed when my prayers went unaswered. . . . I do want to be clear though that I did not make this decision to benefit any movement or serve anyone's agenda. I made this decision for myself, based on an intense personal conviction that what I am doing is not only right, but the only decision possible for me as a person and a veteran."

Two years ago this month,
Ehren Watada became the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. He cited the illegality of the Iraq War. In August 2006, an Article 32 hearing was held. In February 2007, a kangaroo court-martial took place. Over defense objection, Judge Toilet (John Head) ruled a mistrial. Toilet insisted that a new court-martial would take place immediately (March 2007 was when Head said it would take place). It has never
taken place. The Constitution forbids double jeopardy and the US military has been trying
to get around the Constitution but were
stopped last November by US District Judge Benjamin Settle. Tara McKelvey (American Prospect) reports:

Watada, 30, is an unlikely icon of war resistance. At 5 feet 7 inches, he is unimposing and even shy, dressed in a Hawaiian shirt and sandals, with his dark hair cut Army-short and his ears sticking out. He was raised in Honolulu, where his father, Bob, worked for decades in campaign-finance reform, and his mother, Carolyn Ho, was a high school guidance counselor. Watada, an Eagle Scout,
joined the Army in March 2003, his senior year at Hawaii Pacific University and,
like everyone who enlists, pledged an oath that members of the U.S. military have taken since 1789. "It doesn't say, 'I, Ehren Watada, will do as I'm told.' It says I will protect the Constitution," Watada says. He supports war in principle and is not a conscientious objector--in fact, he offered to go to Afghanistan (his commanders turned him down). "I'm against the Iraq War," he says. "By law, the war is

Pacific Citizen Staff reminds: "It was seven months ago that a federal judge blocked the U.S. Army from conducting a second court-martial of Watada for refusing to deploy to Iraq with his unit in June of 2006. U.S. District Judge Benjamin H. Settle ruled that a second
trial would violate Watada's constitutional rights, essentially agreeing with the officer's attorneys who argued double jeopardy -- that a person could not be tried twice for the
same crime." And
Gregg K. Kakesako (Honolulu Star-Bulletin) spoke with one of Watada's two civilian attorneys, Ken Kagan, and reports that Kagan believes "federal judge Benjamin Settle in Tacoma will probably take up the matter early this fall. . . . Kagan said he expects the case to eventually go before the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals where it may take up to three years before a decision is rendered."

May 21st was when Corey Glass was told he would be deported. Iraq War vet and a US war resister Corey Glass was to be deported yesterday, however he's been 'extended' through July 10th. June 3rd Canada's House of Commons voted (non-binding motion) in favor of Canada being a safe harbor for war resisters. The Laval News quotes War Resisters Support Campaign's Lee Zaslofksy stating, "This is a great victory for the courageous men and women who have come to Canada because they refuse to take part in the illegal, immoral Iraq War, and for the many organizations and individuals who have supported this campaign over the past four years." In the US, the press has played mute with few exceptions. Already noted last week were Bloomberg News and the Los Angeles Times which did report the historic vote. Sunday, Jim Fox (Tampa Bay Times) included it in news roundup. Liam Lahey (Ontario Mirror Guardian) profiled Corey Glass this week noting, "Glass, who arrived in Canada in August 2007 and resides in a modest apartment in Parkdale, hails from Fiarmount, Ind. He voluntarily joined the National Guard in 2004 believing he could help in disaster zoen scenarious or to defend American soil should the country fall under an enemy attack and quotes Glass explaining, "It got to me one day after something that happened and I can't go into that detail but I had to quit. I didn't feel (the war) was the right thing to do from the beginning and I definitely didn't feel we should be doing this to the Iraqis." Dan Glaister (Guardian of London) notes, "A former US national guardsman will learn next month whether he can remain in Canada, where he has sought refuge from military service in Iraq." Mary MacCarthy (FRANCE 24) reports, "Corey joined the National Guard hoping to do humanitarian work, but ended up being sent to Iraq to work in military intelligence."

To keep the pressure on,
Gerry Condon, War Resisters Support Campaign and Courage to Resist all encourage contacting the Diane Finley (Minister of Citizenship and Immigration -- 613.996.4974, phone; 613.996.9749, fax; e-mail -- that's "finley.d" at "") and Stephen Harper (Prime Minister, 613.992.4211, phone; 613.941.6900, fax; e-mail -- that's "pm" at "").

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

Turning to Iraq. The White House wants to push through a treaty with Iraq (the UN authorization expires at the end of this year).
Steve Negus and Harvey Morris (Financial Times of London) report that the puppet of the occupation, Nouri al-Maliki, declares talks over a Status Of Forces Agreement is at a "dead end" and they noted the White House attempts to play down the news: "Zalmay Khalilzad, US envoy to the UN, told the Financial Times the Bush administration remained optimistic that a bilateral aggreement would be reached." At the US State Dept, they were spinning yesterday as well with press flack Gonzalo R. Gallegos insisted on denying to reporters that there was in prolbem in negotiations on the SOFA and declared, "I think that the UN mandate does run through the end of the year, we've got about six more months to get to that point. I believe that we had Ambassador [Ryan] Crocker up here last week. He spoke very clearly about his concerns that this be done -- more important to him, this be done right, be done correctly than quickly. There's time left. We're continuing with our discussions with the government of Iraq. It's important to us that this be done correctly and we will see where we got with that."
In Brussels today US Secretary of State Robert Gates was caught by surprise when confronted with the "dead end" remarks declaring, "I had not heard that and I'm not quite sure what the exact circumstances are. So I will have to, when I get home, find out what the status of those negotiations is, and whether there's a difference between what's actually going on in negotiations and the public posture. I just don't know the answer at this point." Which actually might be a wise position to take.
Patrick Worsnip (Reuters) reports Hoshiyar Zebari (Foreign Minister of Iraq) states the talks are still ongoing.

AP reports Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement today declaring that resistance fighters battling the illegal occupation of Iraq "should be limited to a select group" (AP not al-Sadr quoted) and (al-Sadr quoted) "weapons will be in the hands of this group exclusively and will only be directed at the occupier." Mike Tharp (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Sadr's statement was issued to his Mahdi Army militia and is the latest evidence that he is reacting to pressure from the U.S. and Iraqi military to disarm his followers, estimated at some 60,000. In August last year, he called for a cease-fire by his supporters, which was renewed in February for six months."

In the United States,
Ben Pershing (Washington Post) documents that the war between Nancy Pelosi (Speaker of the House) and Harry Reid (Senate Majority Leader) continues well after she trashed the Senate to the San Francisco Chronicle editorial board. At issue? The supplemental spending for the illegal war. Despite the fact that continuing to fund the illegal war continues the killing and Pelosi's Show Dancing of Opposition to the Iraq War, she insists that Congress must send Bully Boy something before July 4th: "I have made clear to the White House ... that we want to pass a bill that will be signed by the president, and that will happen before we leave for the 4th of July. I feel confident that will happen. . . . . We don't have that much time left. There are two and a half weeks left until the recess, and we will have a bill sent to the president by then, and it will have to be a bill that will pass in the House and the Senate." However, Pershing notes that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid states there's no rush, "They [the Pentagon] have enough money till the end of July, so we're not really that panicked about it."

Today US First Lady Laura Bush gave the press conference on Air Force One while it headed to France. During the press conference, she spoke warmly of France, Italy and Slovenia (but didn't cite Germany by name -- read the transcript of the press conference, I'm being kind) before agreeing with a reporter that the relationship between the US and Europe is mending ("I think it -- yes, I think it's on the mend, and --" at which point someone told Laura Bush the conference was over). If Germany was frosty, Sunday doesn't appear to be shaping into a church social either.
UK's Socialist Worker gets instructive with, "Tell George Bush: 'Go to hell!'" and notes, "He will land in Britain this Sunday 15 June and his final stop will be Belfast. Since he stole the US elections in 2000, Bush has brought untold disaster on the world. He has launched wars without end, run a worldwide regime of kidnapping and torture, and brought death and ruin to every corner of the world." And they also note:

Socialist Worker is calling on anti-war activists to defy a police ban on the George Bush Not Welcome Here demonstration.
A Stop the War Coalition (StWC) statement says, "We are calling on those who care for our democratic rights to come to Parliament Square at 5pm on Sunday 15 June. Some of those who signed statements accusing Bush of war crimes will be leading this protest."
StWC convenor Lindsey German said, "George Bush has been dictating British foreign policy for many years. Now it appears his security services are determining our rights of protest. This is a disgrace and we will challenge the ban."
Playwright Harold Pinter commented, "The ban on the Stop The War Coalition march in protest at the visit of President Bush to this country is a totalitarian act. In what is supposed to be a free country the Coalition has every right to express its views peacefully and openly. This ban is outrageous and makes the term 'democracy' laughable."

Turning to some of what Bully Boy (and Dems who refuse to stand up to him) have brought Iraq . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that claimed 1 life and left three injured and a Baiji roadside bombing wounded a police officer.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the male in charge of an "Awakening" council in Uthaim was shot dead as were his 2 guards. CBS and AP report: "U.S. troops killed five suspected Shiite gunmen and detained two others Friday in a raid south of Baghdad, according to the U.S. military, and Iraqi police said two civilians were killed when they were caught in the crossfire."


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

Turning to the US political race for president, will sexism ever be seriously examined? Let's not even consult Magic 8ball, it's too depressing. But Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bowman offer "
Critics and News Executives Split Over Sexism in Clinton Coverage" today on the primary season. Women's Media Center -- not mentioned in the article -- is holding a panel on this topic Tuesday in NYC, free and open to the public. From nine in the morning until noon at The Paley Center for Media (25 West 52nd Street, NYC) and participants will include Juan Gonzalez, Christiane Amanpour, Sue Carroll, Courtney Martin, Celinda Lake, Mika Brzezinski, Catalina Camia, Geneva Overholser, Ron Wlaters, Dr. Kathy and Patricia Williams. "Sponsored by The White House Project, The Women's Media Center and the Maynard Institute for Journalism Education, the forum is free of charge and open to the press and the public." Click here for the announcement and for information on registering.

Staying with the US political race,
Team Nader issues the following:

2008 Presidential Candidate Ralph Nader discusses a remark made to him by a fellow alumnus at a recent Princeton reunion.
Watch the video here, read the transcript below.
Do you think Ralph Nader should run? If so,
let him know now with your contribution. (Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.) - The Nader Team
I was at my Princeton reunion the other day, and a young alumnus came up to me - he was very kind - and he said "You know, I really like what you're doing - I like what you did - but please don't run."
I said "Do you realize what you are saying?"
And he said "Yes, I said please don't run."
I said "You're telling me not to use my First Amendment rights of speech, assembly, and petition inside the electoral arena. You're telling me to shut up. Are you aware of what you're saying?"
He said "I understand, I understand, I like what you're doing, but please don't run."
So I went through and I said "Well, would you tell those voters instead of trying to determine which one was worse between the Democrats and the Whigs, the two major parties in the 19th century, and instead cut out and voted for the Liberty Party, which was the anti-slavery party - would you say to those candidates, 'Don't run'?"
And he sort of paused.
And I said "How about the people who refused to go least-worst between the Republicans and Democrats on women's suffrage? Would you tell those candidates 'don't run'? What do you say to that?"
And he paused.
And I took it up to date and I said "Would you tell Buchanan not to run?"
And he said "I understand what you are saying, but please don't run."
And I said "You know, unwittingly, you are engaging in a politically bigoted statement. Because you can oppose, and you can support, any candidates you want. But when you are saying to someone 'don't run' you are saying to someone 'do not speak, do not petition, do not assemble inside the electoral arena.'"
Now I'm saying this because I'm sure you've had these conversations with people. Look at the word spoiler. Spoiler is a contemptuous word of political bigotry. They do not accuse George W. Bush of being the spoiler in 2000, and last I heard he got more votes than I did, vis-a-vis Al Gore. It's only the independent and third parties that are called spoilers.
And think of the hubris here - these two parties have spoiled our elections, they've spoiled our government, they've spoiled our politics - and to have the temerity to say to someone who wants to reform the process that they are spoilers - they have no sense of humor - I mean, how do you satire satire?
- Ralph Nader, New York City, May 31, 2008 -
Watch the video
"Ralph Nader should run for President so we all have a better choice in November. Please accept my support!"

iraq veterans against the war
matthis chiroux
tara mckelveyehren watada
gregg k. kakesako
jim fox
liam lahey
ben pershingthe washington post
mcclatchy newspapers
the new york timeskatharine q. seelyejulie bosman