Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Kimmy tells Black people what their 'problem' is

Let's start with Nader before we get to Kimmy. This is from Team Nader:

Constitution Day Civics Quiz


Constitution Day Civics Quiz .

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It's September 17, 2008.

Constitution Day.

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  1. Which candidate opposed the snoop enabling FISA law and the immunity bailout for the telecom companies -- Obama, McCain or Nader?

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The answers -- Nader, Nader, Nader, Nader and Nader.

The Constitution is under siege.

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Onward toward a momentous November.

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Kimmy still has to wait! Ruth and I were talking about The New Adventures of Old Christine which is a laugh out loud funny sitcom on CBS. It used to air on Mondays and has been this summer as well as on Wednesdays (and at least once, on Friday). Ava and C.I. reviewed it when it first came on. The show is hilarious. It is laugh out loud funny. It's not one of those annoying shows where you get all this narration nonsense. It is just funny that will make you laugh so hard you'll feel cheated when it's over because it's just too funny.

Wanda Sykes is one of the regular cast members. She plays Barb and she's very funny, but it's Wanda so you already knew that. Julia is the lead and she's wonderful but I will screw up her name so let me spell it slowly. Julia Louis-Dreyfus. Okay, I think I got that right. Julia from here on out because I'll end up mispelling it.

Julia is so funny. She makes these faces and does this slow burn and is really a physical comedian. She's Christine. Old Christine. New Christine is the young woman her husband Richard hooked up with. Her ex-husband. She has a son, Richie. And he goes to a private school where the women are evil. Marly is one of the blond women and I forget the name of the other. (No, I didn't mispell. "Blond" -- no "e," I'm using universal for male and female.) Matthew is her brother.

Now in Ava and C.I.'s review they liked Matthew and thought he was funny. I read a review when the show came on in The New York Times where they hated Matthew. So I was curious to see which way I'd go. Guess what? He's so funny. And you'll wish he was your brother. One of the funniest episodes was when Matthew had to see a psychiatrist as part of his degree plan and his 'boundary' issues came up. But Matthew's always funny. And sometimes he and Barb mess around.

Everybody on the show is great including New Christine whom I remember from Ellen's CBS sitcom. I didn't think she was funny on that and would have thought she was a bad actress if I hadn't seen her on this. She's really funny.

But Julia's the star and she will keep you laughing over and over.

The New Adventures of Old Christine has its season debut next Wednesday during the first hour of prime time. Ruth and I both wanted to note that because funny shows are very few these days and shows where women actually get to be the lead are even fewer.

Make a date with Christine for next Wednesday!

It'll save her dating Timmy. (Her blind date tonight who told her he was a lawyer then it turned out he was a legal intern then it turned out . . .)

Now for Kimmy Wilder.

Okay, for people sticking up for Cynthia after NOW PAC's slap in the face, you can see C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" from yesterday, Melissa McEwan's "NOW Endorses Obama-Biden" (check comments and our own Keesha weighs in in them) and BostonBoomer's "TPM: Obama has a problem with 'aging white women in battleground states.'" (again, check the comments, watch the anger flare when the NOW PAC endorsement is noted and women realize who got spat on).

Those are the people who stuck up for Cynthia. Kimmy?

She had other things to do, always.

Mike called me this evening to tell me Kimmy had posted. I didn't know. I don't read the comments. I hear about them on the phone or in e-mails and I go through them if someone complains. Like if the n-word is used -- my policy is no racism but honestly it has to be the n-word or something racist that really ticks me off to get me to delete them. If it's borderline and no one's complained about it, I leave it. I've left people calling me a dyke up. I don't tolerate homophobia but calling me a dyke as an insult doesn't hurt my feelings, sorry.

Now if they go to town and do a combo platter of racism and homophobia and toss in sexism and someone complains about it, they get deleted. But someone has to complain because I don't read the comments.

That's for people to have their say. If I had more time, I would read the comments. And honestly, there are only a few posts that have a lot of comments. There's one that's got like 30 something and one that's got like 60 something and then yesterday's post.

As I read it, there are four comments. People are talking about a variety of things and along comes Kimmy. She seems to think we're all going to say, "Oh, White girl in the da house, everybody straighten up."

She doesn't get her way and you sort of picture that scene in the movie Color Purple where the White woman drives up for Sofia and gets all bent out of shape cause the whole Black world won't kiss her White ass.

Kimmy did one thing that would get her deleted if it weren't for the fact that I'm writing about this.

What did she do? She fixated on Mia. When I read it, I fired off an e-mail to Mia to ask her if that bothered her? It did. There are a lot of people leaving comments. While the FIRST TIME Kimmy posted a comment, she might have had a reason to direct Mia, to do so again?

Don't play it. Don't play let my friends get beat up.

What Mia did was check out Kimmy's Tuesday posts. There were something like 6 of them. And how many were about Cynthia McKinney? ZERO. That's generally how it is at Kimmy's site.

So Mia points that out and Kimmy (and her husband) are like dogs with bones.

What you're seeing in the other comments is people reacting to what they think of Kimmy and what they think of Greens like her. Jess is a Green and he's not the only community Green. It is not a problem with ALL Greens. It is a problem with Green leadership which we feel is using Cynthia.

They're not working her campaign, they're not promoting her. They're using her to keep their ballot access. They don't want to win the election. They're not even really trying for 5% of the vote. Which is why Kimmy doesn't post about Cynthia every day even though Cynthia is her party's presidential nominee.

It's funny because no one knows who C.I. is voting for. (Or Ava. I kind of think both of them are voting for Cynthia. But that's just my guess and the guess of several others. No one in the community who thinks they are voting for Cynthia are upset about that. We think it's pretty cool if we're right.) But the community decided on Ralph. And there's not an Iraq snapshot that goes by that C.I.'s not noting Ralph. There's not a weekday that goes by when C.I.'s not noting Ralph. And most weekends. (Not this weekend because, as Ava and C.I. revealed in their editorial, they were ticked off Ralph didn't stay out of an issue that was none of his business.)

So, point, C.I. works Ralph more than Kimmy even thinks about working Cynthia and Kimmy's supposedly supporting Cynthia. A candidate, I might add, who gets no coverage so if her supporters (supposed supporters) aren't getting the word out on her, who is?

Now my attitude is you have your say in your comment. As long as I don't have to delete you, I really have nothing to add. But so that this doesn't go on and on forever, I'm pulling Kimmy and Ian's comments and responding to them here. And stick around to the end because I'm blowing Kimmy out of the water on her last comment. You won't want to miss it.


Wow. The hate for me is so interesting.

Hate for you? The comments have been four at this point. Two didn't even mention her. Two did but one just mentioned her in one sentence.

Conceited much, Kimmy? It's not all about you.

Someone should really google "Hillary" on my family web-site, and see how few times the word ever came up during this election.

Yeah, we covered that already, Kimmy. We know how you carried Barack's water. Get with the program. HB, this ain't your site and we aren't your servants.

Many inaccuracies. But, I guess someone is having fun propping me up as some example. (Funny, I feel like a regular person, who works her butt off for peace and justice and my progressive, political party.)

How about pointing those many inaccuracies out? She doesn't bother to so let's just assume that there weren't any because, goodness, Kimmy can yack and yack.

By the way, doesn't she sound like a self-righteous prig in that section? Yeah, she does.

To Mia: Pretty scary how closely you are monitoring my daily posting. But, please do note that my husband and I blog interchangeably with "wilderside." So, I think your list is off.

Mia isn't monitoring her closely. I believe it's Keesha who suggest Kimmy get a damn grip. Mia's not wrong. There are exactly as many posts on Tuesday as Mia said. Kimmy thinks she gets some White girl pass or something. Nope, Kimmy. Truth hurts, Mia was right.

Also, the Community Organizer video we put together was a way to use a phrase people are discussing a lot, and draw people into a discussion on better-than-Democrat politics and on third parties.

Is Cynthia discussing that 'phrase'? No. And it's just more time you wasted to try to gas bag about a topic you know damn little about. I believe C.I. would call that post with the video Erma Bombeck type writing. In other words, Kimmy grabs what everyone wrote about (last week!) and tries to gas bag on it. It's hard to be original, after all. Kimmy's showing up at the water cooler after the whole office has gone home. Stale. Tired. Boring.

Talicia's the one who pointed out that Kimmy said "many inaccuracies" but didn't name one. Someone else might have pointed it out but I'm looking for Ian's comment and saw that.

Here's Ian:

How about a dose of reality about the wilderside support of Cynthia.

Hey, White boy, don't show up at my site talking down to my friends. Who the hell do you think you are? White boy walked across the street to tell us to turn the music down? Get the hell out of my yard.

2,240 from for cynthia.

No, Cedric posts and points out that Google shows 1000 and something. Go away Liar Ian. And that's going back to at least 2006.

And this site:

68 from for Cynthia.

Pretty Lame.

Pretty lame. Like White boy trying to get all street on our asses? Pretty lame is that White boy doesn't grasp I'm not supporting Cynthia. Why would I write about her? It's not my job to get the word out on her.

Get it, White boy. (Don't you get the idea that Ian's so Offspring -- thinking "Pretty Fly for a White Boy." And we're all thinking, Cracker, get the hell out of here.)

I'm sorry if you choose to stay in a sexist political party, but don't take your hate out on the Green Party.


Get your Cracker ass out my yard. Listen to the punk who never called out sexism. He and his wife loved the sexist attacks on Hillary. So don't be coming over telling me about how you're not a sexist because your whole Cracker ass stinks of sexism.

Now we're back to Kimmy:

I thought that posting here meant I was noticing what you are complaining about. Don't know what weight I am throwing around. I do not get paid to do Green Party work. I do not have any interest and am not paid to get Obama elected. So, I see people saying odd things about me and my web-site, and I figure I will engage. Sorry if that makes me...something?

White girl wants us to be grateful she invited herself over? Kiss my Black ass. And when was she "noticing what you are complaining about"? Never. She dismissed it. She never took accountability and the thing is, she probably can't handle hanging with Black people. We probably overwhelmed her and she's off having a Calgon moment. See, she's one of those White people who are always going on about racism and African-Americans know that those type of White people are the worst racists. They make such a show of it and pointing at others because they've got a lot to hide.

She was mentioning Ian in her first comment. Notice when it's time to talk about money she forgets to mention Ian. It makes you a liar when you don't own up to what you did. It's not a one day thing. The whole community knows about it. Just like we know all about your embarrassing defense of Jeremiah Wright. A point Kimmy never addressed now did she? What was that her business? She's not Black. She doesn't go to church. She's a Green. Why was she sticking her big ass nose in? Because she wanted Barack to get the nomination because she hates Hillary.

Perhaps we could think about what we have in common.
I believe that what I want is similar to what you guys want:

Now she wants to high road it. That's a laugh. We have nothing in common. We're outraged about how you and your other White Green leaders are using Cynthia. Riding her fame to keep your ballot access and not doing a damn thing to promote her run.

First, I want peace and our troops out of Iraq.

You want peace? When did you call Barack out? Huh, HB. He's not promised troops out. He's not even promised combat troops out. (Check his June 5th CNN appearance. Though losers like Tom Hayden didn't notice until he made similar remarks on July 4th.)

And for someone who wants peace, you don't even follow the damn war. You're blogging your "Grass is Greener Over The Septic Tank" posts and ignoring the illegal war. See, it's an illegal war, Kimmy.

After that, some of the things I want are...

I don't know what's funnier. The fact that Kimmy thought Barbara Walters was interviewing her or that she thought we gave a damn about her answers.

-To have some candidates (ie: Cynthia and Ralph) who will say in the media they want the troops out of Iraq.

-To force a public dialogue that war is bad and we should have the troops out of Iraq.

Are your sides aching yet? The war is 'bad.' That's like Barack saying it's "dumb." It's an illegal war, Kimmy. Go peddle your junior high thoughts at your own damn site, we're grown ups here.

-A wish (but no capitulation, no ABB-style crap) that McCain does not get in office.

See how stupid Kimmy is. There is no anti-war movement in this country. They're all on hold for Barack. McCain in office could bring people in the streets. Or McCain might end the illegal war on his own. No one knows. But Kimmy thinks she knows it all. If McCain gets into office, the world will go on.

I'd say anybody but Barack.

Kimmy wouldn't say that because she's a Dumb Ass White Girl. She doesn't get what Glen Ford's been warning about. You have to be aware (though you don't have to be Black) to get what war hawk, corporatist Barack means for civil rights (they're over).

-A wish that Cynthia McKinney can win for President first.

Here's my impersonation of Kimmy: "A wish is just a tinkle you make when you forget you need to go to the bathroom."

She wishes Cynthia would win the presidency? What the hell is she doing to make that happen. Election's first of November. Don't tell me about your whiny ass stuff offline. You have a site, you identify there that you're a Green. What the hell are you doing at your site every day to get the word out on Cynthia?

(Answer: Not a damn thing.)

-Or, a wish that Ralph Nader could win after her.

Kimmy, the Beauty Queen. I get the idea she's about to start twirling a baton for the talent competition.

-A wish that both of them could get lots and lots of votes if they don't win, so the message of peace and justice gets forced on the two major parties.

"Lots and lots of votes." Is she 12? Don't you get the feeling that she'd be dotting the "i"s with hearts and smiley faces if she was writing on paper instead of typing?

So, why are we arguing? We probably want nearly the same things.

I have nothing in common with you, Kimmy. You're an uptight White woman screaming racism every two minutes thinking it makes you real. Half the time it's not even racism. You're a joke to me.

And I believe I dealt with that already twice this week. How insulting is that? Kimmy wants to leave comments at my site without even registering what I've said. Typical HB. Pretends Black people matter but won't listen to them.

(One reason we are fighting is that instead of our government having IRV/Proportional Rep elections, they have winner-take-all, which is designed to keep us feeling more as "competitors")

No, that's not one reason. How the hell dare you come to my blog and tell me what I'm thinking. Where do you get off? See, this is what I'm talking about. Me and all the other African-Americans leaving comments, we're too dumb stupid to know what we think. We need Kimmy to tell us. Thank you Great White Mistress of the Bountiful. She doesn't listen to African-Americans. She's so insulting.

If you want peace, or justice, or Nader, why don't you just use the slight visibility I have at my web-site to say your peace in my comments section?

Why the hell would I give you traffic, Kimmy? All you do is scream "Racism!" every five seconds, think it makes you 'deep' and 'meaningful,' undercut Cynthia's run and cheer on Barack.

There's another reason NOT to EVER comment at Kimmy's site. That's the grand finale. AGain, you don't want to miss it.

And, by the way Mia, there is a photo of Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente in the widgets on the right hand side of my blog. My support for Cynthia McKinney is evident every time someone opens a page on my blog.

What's the deal with Mia? Don't ever say a word to Mia again, Kimmy, if you post a comment. I will delete it. Mia doesn't want to hear from you. I'm really sick of her White entitlement which just reeks in every sentence she writes. How dare she come to a site where we're talking, think she can butt in, think she can tell us what the problem between us is and blah, blah, blah. When does Kimmy EVER TRY LISTENING? Never.

As for her widget, big to-do. I have video clips on the side. Doesn't mean anyone's looking. You want to get attention to Cynthia, you write about her. A widget's nothing but a bumper sticker. And don't you picture everyone in traffic flipping off Kimmy as she hollers out, "The problem isn't this traffic jam! It's that we don't have instant run-off voting!"

And, half the stuff I am writing about is stuff that I know Cynthia's programs and platforms are good on. That is why I am showing how the government now is doing it wrong. Ie: Hurrican Ike, when Cynthia nailed it on Katrina.

That's such a lie. But, hint, Kimmy, if your point is "Cynthia nailed it," that's your title. Buy a clue.

If you all like Nader so much - great. I think he is a great man and much better than McCain or Obama. Why don't you write about Nader, instead of me.

We'll write about whatever the hell we want, Kimmy.

You are not in charge here.

Lose your damn sense of entitlement. You can't push Black people around just because you think you're better. You're not better and we're not scared of you. You don't listen, you tell us what our problems are, you are the worst representative for your race. Thankfully I know a lot of White people who are nothing like you or I would be as racist as you are.

Peace and struggle,
Kimberly Wilder

Don't you love that. She's wishing Black people "struggle." Is she implying that we don't know what "sruggle" is? Or she is mocking our situation?

Except for Mike, everyone who posted comments (other than the Wilders) is Black. I think we know about struggles.

And Mike actually is pretty fly. He also doesn't get around an African-American and think, "Oh, let me drop some thoughts on racism, that'll make me look cool and down." Mike treats everyone equally.

As for liking Ralph, we all remember your snit fit online when Ralph said he wouldn't seek the Green Party nomination. How stupid does Kimmy think we are? Maybe she thinks we can't read?

Now, give me a drum roll as we get ready for the big finish.

P.S. Plugging "anonymous" into the computer, while at the same time, signing my name, just means that I don't feel like signing up with yet another corporation collecting my personal information

Oh, she's so socially correct! But, thing is, corporations aren't the big problem. While researching a feature at Third Sunday, we interviewed community members. Kimmy doesn't want to sign in and give her information.

Remember when I told you that someone like her yacking on about racism is just trying to hide her own racism?

It's like that with 'personal information' as well.

Reading Kimmy's statement, you'd think she'd have respect for people's personal information.

But she doesn't.

Don't comment at her site. As we learned while interviewing community members, comment at her site and she grabs your e-mail address and starts e-mailing you spam mails.

Does she really think community member Eddie, in Texas, wants to know about New York events? Does she think he's going to fly up? He's only one community member who left a comment at her site only to later find her spamming his inbox with all these announcements about NY events.

Always remember, C.I. is the nicest person in the world. She bends over backwards to be fair. And she is the only reason that Kimmy didn't get called out in that story. C.I. gave this great mini-speech about how she knows Kimmy gets on our nerves but we didn't know about this (her spamming) so we haven't given her a chance to respond and she can get on some people's nerves but she probably tries as hard as she can to do the best she can. C.I. really is sweet.

If C.I.'s calling someone or something out, C.I.'s been asked to by members or friends. And usually asked repeatedly. The first time, C.I. will say, "I'll watch for it." And C.I. will bend over backwards to avoid it. But when enough are saying, "Call ___ out!" or if ___ has done something that's really offended someone, C.I. will call it out.

Like with self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders. C.I. bent over backwards to offer excuses for Laura. It's only when I called her out that C.I. called me and said, "Marcia, you never said a word about being hurt by what Laura did but it reads like you are. Am I reading wrong?" I said, "No, you're not. I hate that woman. How dare she ignore the homophobia. How dare she write the day after that homophobic event in South Carolina and act like it didn't happen?" I went on about how furious I was. C.I. said, "Fine. I'll call her out when I have to."

And C.I. has. But that's because Laura strongly offended me (and others but we were all being silent about it because we knew C.I. liked Laura).

So Sunday, Kimmy got a pass and she got one only because C.I. argued her case for her. Everyone of us wanted Kimmy called out in that piece. C.I. was the only one and C.I. gave a really strong speech that made us all say, "Okay, okay."

I didn't expect to get linked to by C.I. this morning. (Thank you, C.I.) But I know C.I. does not play gatekeeper and just because C.I. may disagree with you (or may not), C.I.'s not going to say "no link." (By contrast, write nice things about C.I. and your post doesn't get linked to. I'm not joking on that. Ask anyone. Mike blew a link -- an obvious one -- by saying nice stuff about C.I. That would have been linked otherwise.)

So that's reality for you, Kimmy didn't want to sign in because she didn't want some corporation getting her information. But she thinks nothing about using the e-mail address (she requires you to give to leave a comment at her site) to spam you.

And Kimmy, it's not all about you. My biggest problem is people like you. It is not you personally. I even (thinking of what C.I. had said in that speech Sunday) went out of my way to say you weren't as bad as Medea Benjamin. Medea is hated in the community because she did what Kimmy did on a larger scale. And you'll note Medea still hasn't busted in on one of Barack's speeches. Hillary or McCain? Medea is there!

It's all smoke and mirrors as they prop up Barack. They're not about ending the illegal war and they've all put the peace movement on hold.

That's our problem, Kimmy.

Start writing pieces where you call Barack out. Write even one, e-mail me and I'll say, "Hey, everybody, Kimmy's got a post you need to check out."

But right now, you're one more person working to put a War Hawk into the White House.

It's late and I'm tired. DeShawn, I didn't forget your suggestion. I'll blog on it tomorrow.

I mentioned:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, and Ava,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,

You didn't mention Betty and Cedric! They posted comments. I love you guys for sticking up for the community.

(I love you both period. Mike, you too.)

I referred to two pieces at Third, but I'll link to three: "Editorial: Raw emotions (Ava and C.I.)" (this is the piece of Ava and C.I.'s I mentioned), "TV: The Fringes" (Ava and C.I. telling it like it is) and "The new age of privacy?" (this is the piece Kimmy almost got mentioned in).

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, September 17, 2007. Chaos and violence continue, we drop back to more from the budget hearing on Iraq, the US military announces more deaths, a US soldier is charged with killing two fellow soldiers, more US soldiers are charged in the deaths of Iraqis, and more.
Yesterday's snapshot noted the House Committee on the Budget's hearing on Iraq's Budget Surplus and since the hearing's gotten so little attention, we'll note some more of it. (Ironically, Katrina vanden Heuvel's insisting that it's time to 'get real' but to read anything at The Nation is to grasp Katrina's as ignored at The Nation as she is in the rest of the world. Katha Pollitt's 'getting real' about the issues by writing about . . . castrating bulls.) US House Rep John Spratt Jr. chairs the committee with Paul Ryan being the Ranking Member of the Republican Party. The first panel is our focus and that was when the committee heard testimony from the Government Accounting Office's Joseph A. Christoff. Spratt noted that while the US budget deficit was "expected to exceed $400 billion for the current fiscal year," Iraq is expected to see a huge budget surplus in the billions. Christoff explained that the estimate for Iraq's surplus this year is between $67 billion and $79 billion dollars. US House Rep Chet Edwards was noted yesterday and he highlighted the physical costs to the US (the lives of US service men and women), the financial cost, the predictions by then Dept. Sec of Defense Paul Wolfowitz in 2003 that Iraq would be paying "for its own reconstruction" and the new $3 billion dollar deal Iraq had just signed with the Chinese National Petroleum Corporation. US House Rep Lloyd Doggett was also noted yesterday and he wanted to focus on the failure of the benchmarks -- set by the White House. Christoff wanted to dicker with Doggett over this so Doggett used his time to go through as many as possible to illustrate that the benchmarks are not being met. He noted at the end, "And I see my time's up but, Mr. Chairman, we can keep going down the objectives that President Bush set himself for success, for victory, in Iraq and you'll find that it continues to fail, that this policy has been a failure. American tax payers are having to fund the failure while the Iraqis pay a fraction of the price we pay for a gallon of gasoline." Last night, Mike noted some of US House Rep James McGovern's testimony and we'll note some of the hearing beginning with McGovern.
James P. McGovern: And the government of Iraq, the Maliki government, I know that you didn't look at the issue of corruption, but it is corrupt. I wouldn't trust them to tell me the correct time. . . . And we're hearing people kind of rationalizing and explaining away why they don't need to spend their surplus, you know why we need to continue to shoulder the burden. Why would the Iraqi government want to change this sweet deal that they have with the US government? We are a cheap date in this whole matter. I mean we are giving and giving and giving and sacrificing and sacrificing and sacrificing and yet they have this incredible surplus. So what are the incentives and what should we be doing, what should this administration be doing, what should Congress be doing, to kind of force this issue? You have obviously talked to the people in the administration and people in the department. What is the plan? What is the plan to kind of, to transition, to kind of force the Iraqi government's hand, you know, to take more responsibility that we can get out, we can end our occupation, we can end our involvement here and stop sacrificing so much of our resources in this effort?
Joseph Christoff: Uhm, I don't know if I've seen a plan that would actually talk about transitioning so that the Iraqis begin spending more money. But I think you all have begun that debate within the Congress. As I mentioned before, when you passed a portion of the supplemental in June you had about $3 billion for what's called the Economic Support Fund. That was the first time that there was legislation that called for Iraq to have a dollar for dollar cost share for the small reconstruction projects that this ESF fund supports. I also know that in part of the NDA discussion there is discussion about also extending that type of cost-sharing to what we provide for the continued training and equipping of Iraq security forces. That area alone, we've appropriated -- you've appropriated -- $20 billion dollars.
James P. McGovern: Well I realize that's a step in the right direction but quite frankly it's kind of a modest -- less than modest -- step in the right direction. We've been doing this for years now, we've been involved in this war for many years. Nothing, absolutely nothing, about this war has turned out as advertised by the proponents of this war and it just seems to me that given the nature of the Iraqi government, given the problem of corruption in that government and given what I believe is an unwillingness to take more responsibility in light of the fact that they don't need to. I mean, again, we're spending $10 billion a month. Ten billion dollars a month in Iraq and they have these surpluses. I guess my frustration is that there isn't more frustration by those who -- proponents of this war to force the Iraqi government's hand to take more responsibility. But I appreciate your testimony. I think it's very helpful.
Next up was US House Rep Bob Etheridge.
Bob Etheridge: I guess as I look at that and think of the numbers and where we are, I happen to represent a lot of men and women at Fort Bragg and Pope [Air Force Base] who spent an awful lot of time oversees. At the same time, their children attend the public schools here in the United States and my question, I think, sort of fits in a little different area than what we've heard as you've mentioned we're spending about $10 billion a month of US revenues in Iraq and your report tells us that Iraqi government is not spending its own funds to maintain these reconstruction projects at a level they should. Actually only about 14% of the 28 that's allocated for security, water, oil, electricity, etc. And we have a myriad of spending needs here at home. I won't even go through the list, I just want to talk about one of them because we need to be building some school buildings in and around my district [second district of North Carolina] where we've got children in trailers and we've got one school that has 50% of our military children in buildings that ought to be able to have modern buildings. My question to you is what factors are keeping the Iraqis from taking more responsibility for its own reconstruction? And how can we address that problem or how should we address it?
Joseph Christoff: Well the factors that were cited in terms of their low expenditure rates for investment -- that's for reconstruction -- were the fact, again, that they have weak procurement budgeting, contracting procedures in place, they have low thresholds in terms of the approving authorities. They have to go the highest levels to get actually approving authority for the contracting. They have a brain drain in terms of the many technocrats that left the country that were responsible for many of these budgeting procurement issues. I've spoken with DoD advisors to the Iraqi Ministries of Defense and Interior. They have difficulties just teaching basic accounting and spreadsheet technology to some of the Iraqis. And also keep in mind, this is a cash-based economy. Things are done by cash. They have hand ledgers to keep track. There is not -- there is not an automated financial management sytem in place within Iraq.
Bob Etheridge: I think the thing that bothers me and I think a lot of folks who remember, you know the US tax payers have financed nearly $50 billion in Iraqi reconstruction in addition to all the other funds we've put in place and now we're spending about 10 billion a month and at the same time we see almost 80 billion in surplus. And then I'm reminded, and I think most folks are, Deputy Secretary of Defense Paul Wolfowitz said in 2003 that the Iraqis could pay for reconstruction themselves and relatively soon. And I think we have a chart here, chart one, that shows that. Now it's quite obvious he was wrong or overstated or something because we pay twice. We've paid a 50 billion dollar reconstruction bill and now we're spending 10 billion a month and we're paying billions of dollar at the pump with gasoline. Is this a fair assessment? I mean, I just this weekend had people climb on my shoulders and I don't disagree with them. They are paying a ridiculous price for gasoline and at the same time in Iraq they're subsidizing their citizens and we're paying more for it over there to keep our troops in Iraq.
Joseph Christoff: Well I think in terms of the Secretary's original statement Iraq does have now the capabilities to begin financing its reconstruction. It didn't have it in the part of 2003 or 2004. When you're talking about paying at the pump . . . Now I mentioned the $1.18 per gallon but frankly that's the price in the region. That's what Kuwaitis pay, Saudis pay. So the IMF goal was to try to get them to raise their prices to at least the regional level and they have dramatically reduced their subsidies for gasoline, kerosene and diesel. Trying to give them a little bit of credit for their achievements.

Bob Etheridge: But my concern is that our troops aren't getting that benefit over there and we aren't getting it in terms of paying for it by the American citizens buying that fuel to help protect them.
Joseph Christoff: Yeah I think in fact that when we look at receipts where Iraq actually sold its oil about a third of the oil did come to the United States.
Etheridge's time was up and Moore went next.
Dennis Moore: Do you know the projected United States' deficit for this year?

Joseph Christoff: Well the latest CBO was approaching over $400 billion
Dennis Moore: So we are approaching, according to CBO projection, a $400 billion deficit as a nation to add to our 9.6 trillion debt now is that correct?
Joseph Christoff: Based upon what I read in the CBO projections that correct.
Dennis Moore: And Iraq has a projected surplus this year of $70 billion dollars?
Joseph Christoff: Up to $79 billion.
Dennis Moore: Up to $79 billion. What's wrong with this picture that we have a huge projected deficit, they have a good projected surplus and they're asking us basically to pay for reconstruction in Iraq? I guess I'm asking a rhetorical question because I think you've already answered that. What incentive, from your perspective, does the Iraqi government have to step up and assume responsibility for this if they've got us paying for everything right now? Not only money, but 4,000 American lives.
Joseph Christoff: Well I think that remains a concern in terms of how you incentivize the Iraqi government to begin spending of its own money. The incentives are also going to have to come on the part of the Iraqi people. They are still only getting about ten hours of electricity a day. They're still not getting potable water. Only a third of the children in Iraq have clean water even despite our reconstruction efforts. So there has to be some incentivizing on the part of the Iraqi people to demand more from their own government.
Dennis Moore: And the Iraqi people have to step up to the plate and support their own government, don't they?
Joseph Christoff: Mmm-hmm.
Dennis Moore: If anything's going to change here?
Joseph Christoff: Yes.
Dennis Moore: But they do have gasoline for $1.18 a gallon and we have gasoline for $3.50 a gallon in this country. Is that about right?
Joseph Christoff: I bet disiel cars pay a little bit more.
Dennis Moore: Good. Good. And so basically right now what we're doing -- and this is the last question I have -- we're just charging the reconstruction cost to our national charge card and passing the bill on to our children and grandchildren and future generations in this country, isn't that correct?
Joseph Christoff: Well we have spent -- you have appropriated $48 billion for reconstruction and stabilization
Dennis Moore: Yes sir.
Joseph Christoff: Of the big infrastructure projects are tapering off so the additional money you've been providing through the economic support fund is for smaller reconstruction projects. But we still have spent a chunk of change in trying to rebuild that country.
Tim Bishop went next and note that when Moore was saying "Good. Good." he was also attempting to shut off his cell phone which had begun ringing,
Tim Bishop: My understanding, the first Iraq War, total cost was about $61 billion. The net cost to the United States was about $2.1 billion. And the difference between gross cost and net cost was in some cases in-kind contributions from some of our coalition partners and in other case our coalition partners simply reimbursed us for monies that we laid out. Does that comport with your understanding?
Joseph Christoff: I don't know sir. I know we did reports back in 91 and 92 in which we saw that -- we actually made a bit of a profit on the last war?
Tim Bishop: I won't comment. What structural and/or legal impediments exist right now -- if any -- that would prevent Iraq from simply reimbursing us from their surplus for some portion of what we have already laid out?
Joseph Christoff: I don't know. I would have to look into that and perhaps get back to you for the record.

Tim Bishop: Does that not represent a reasonable course of action for this country? To try to recoup some of the enormous amounts that we have laid out while Iraq is sitting on this very substantial surplus?
Joseph Christoff: Sir, I would think that was a policy decision that I would reserve to the Congress because I don't think it's appropriate for GAO to comment.
Tim Bishop: Secondly, if I understand your summary correctly, Iraq has spent approximately $4.3 billion dollars over a three year period on its reconstruction and on provision of services, is that about right?
Joseph Christoff: The $4.3 billion dollars is for the four critical sectors that we looked at.
Tim Bishop: And we have spent about $42 billion?
Joseph Christoff: Well that's $42 billion in total for all of our reconstruction.
Tim Bishop: For reconstruction --
Joseph Christoff: Beyond those four sectors.
Tim Bishop: So if I've done my math correctly, $42 billion -- every dime of which has been borrowed -- the annual interst on that is about 2.2 billion dollars or there about, if I've done my math correctly. And Iraq is spending less than that on an annual basis for four critical areas so we're spending more on interest on the amount we've borrowed to rebuild their country than they are spending in total to rebuild their country on an annual basis?
Joseph Christoff: I'm from an accountability organization. I'd have to take your numbers and go back and check them.
Tim Bishop: Okay.
Joseph Christoff: Before I could comment on them.
Tim Bishop: These are back of the envelope numbers, I acknowledge but they appear to be consistent with what you have reported. One last thing. You and Ranking Member Ryan were engaged in a bit of a discussion about budget execution.
Joseph Christoff: Mmm-hmm.
Tim Bishop: To what extent do you believe that the decision to de-Baathify which deprived the Iraqi government of in effect a professional civil servant class, to what extent do you believe that decision has contributed to their inability to execute their budget plans?
Joseph Christoff: De-Baathi -- Were you going to interject?
That was said not to Rep Bishop who had the floor but to Republican Ranking Member Paul Ryan.
Paul Ryan: I just wanted to tack onto that because I think it's an excellent question. Mr. Bishop, do you mind if I just tack onto the end of that question?
Tim Bishop: No, I would just like to --
Paul Ryan: It's a good question! And the question is are any of these technocrats coming back now that the de-Baathifcation reforms have passed? I'd like to know if you'd track that as well.
Joseph Christoff: Sure. De-Baathifcation certainly was a factor in terms of the brain drain that has resulted in the lack of the kind of technocrats that Iraq needs for these ministry capacity -- for budgeting, procurement and contracting. Those type of Sunni technocrats are part of the over 2 million refugees in Syria and Jordan. The extent to which they're coming back, it's a very small amount. Ambassador Foley said two days ago that only about 16,000 of the 2 million refugees have actually returned to Iraq. I know I met some doctors when I was in Syria who wanted to return but they have no intentions of returning until they believe that the security situation is improved and they got a house.
Tim Bishop: One final question, you presided over the report that assessed performances on the benchmarks
Joseph Christoff: Yes, sir.
Tim Bishop: And one of those benchmarks was moving away from de-Baathification and restoring people to their jobs.
Joseph Christoff: Right.
Tim Bishop: In Mr. [Lawrence] Korb's [prepared] testimony [Korb would speak on the panel that followed], I don't know whether you've had the opportunity to see it, he makes the point that the current effort to address de-Baathification may well result in fewer Baath Party members working in the government under the new law than under the old law. To what extent did you address that point in your assessment of the benchmark?
Joseph Christoff: Two parts in answering that question. First of all, Iraq did pass a de-Baathification law which they passed in February.
Tim Bishop: The point of my question is what is the impact or ethicacy of that law?
Joseph Christoff: When we issued our progress report in June we had classified information that discussed that very issue that I could provide later for the record but I could not provide in an open session.
That's nearly the entire hearing. (First panel.) We can come back to it tomorrow and catch the rest of the Democrats if that's wanted. As for Iraqis supporting the puppet government, an Iraqi correspondent for McClatchy provides (at Inside Iraq) a strong example of how the 'government' does not represent the Iraqi people, "Yesterday, a force from the Iraqi army came to my neighborhoods to evacuate the governmental flats where about 600 families live in. One of my neighbors tried to inquire about the evacuation order. He asked the army force 'why does the army implement the evacuation orders? This is not the duty of the army'. The question developed into an argument and the soldiers lost their mind because they didn't use to listen but they used to beat, fight and kill. They beat my neighbor violently to give a lesson to others to obey and execute only 'Execute and then discusses' Although this rule belongs to Baath Party but it is still valid, effective and basic rule for the new democratic regime in new Iraqi state. The army who attacked and killed Iraqis in north and south of Iraq during the nineties is still playing the same role in the new democratic Iraq. It is still the hand of the regime not the people protector. "
Today Robert F. Worth (New York Times) notes that Nawaf Fares is now Syria's ambassador to Iraq (Syria's first "since the early 1980s"). Now remember back in July when many in the press was telling that there was about to be a treaty between Iraq and the US (wrongly dubbed a "SOFA")? Still nothing. Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) reports that Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, declared today "it was wrong to assume an agreement was imminent. He said the two sides were deadlocked over two Iraqi demands: that U.S. troops be tried by Iraqi courts under some circumstances, and that all U.S. forces leave Iraq by the end of 2011." US soldiers tried in Iraqi courts? BBC reports that Sgt John Hatley, Sgt 1st Class Joseph Mayo and Sgt Michael Lehy Jr. are charged with murdering four Iraqis ("blindfolded, shot and dumped in a canal in April 2007"). They will be tried in a US military hearing. CBC notes, "The killings are alleged to have been retribution for casualties suffered by U.S. forces." CBC also states that four more are being held and are under investigation (with two of the four US soldiers having been charged). AP, however, says the four additional soldiers "have already been charged with conspiracy in the case." Meanwhile, AP reports that Staff Sgt. Darris J. Dawson and Sgt. Wesley R. Durbin's deaths on Sunday in Iraq are under investigation and a US soldier "has been taken into custody" due to the deaths. Troy Moon (Pensacola News Journal) reports that Dawson was "a father of four" and a graduate of Escambia High and quotes his stepmother Maxine Mathis stating, "It's bad enough he had to fear the enemy. But he had to fear a fellow soldier. This is senseless. Not only did (the alleged shooter) take our son's life, he took another man's life as well. It's just horrible. I want people to know what happened.'' Chris Vaughn (Fort Worth Star-Telegram) reports that Durbin was from Dallas and "an honor student and 2001 gradute of Dallas Luterhan School. He volunteered in the Civil Air Patrol in high school, then joined the Marines. After he left the Marine Corps, he joined the Army two years ago."
Meanwhile Richard Norton-Taylor (Guardian of London) reports that Amnesty International is calling attention to the flooding of arms into Iraq: "There is no clear accountable audit trail for some 360,000 small arms supplied to the Iraqi security forces, many by the US and UK, it says. Subcontracting makes the arms trade even less transparent. Among examples cited by Amnesty are the supply of 63,800 Kalashnikov assault rifles from Bosnia to Iraq and the dispatch via the UK of thousands of Italian Beretta pistols, many of which ended up in the hands of al-Qaida insurgents in Iraq." Meanwhile IRIN reports over 100 cases of cholera are now confirmed in Iraq.
Today's violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing wounded three people, another Baghdad roadside bombing wounded six people, a third Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left two more people wounded, two Baghdad car bombings claimed 8 lives with twenty-five people wounded, a Baghdad mortar attack wounded seven people, a Baiji car bombing that left four people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing left two police officers wounded, a Tal Afar roadside bombing that left three Iraqi soldiers injured and (dropping back to Tuesday for all bombings that follow) 3 Mosul roadside bombing that wounded seven and a Ramadi car bombing that claimed the life of Abu Seif ("Awakening" Council leader).
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad shooting that claimed 2 lives and left two people wounded, Shamil Yunis (dept governor of Mosul) was assassinated in Mosul, an attack on a bus outside of Kirkuk claimed 3 lives and left four people wounded.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Since Sunday, when two US service members were announced dead there have been at least two more deaths registering as of this morning. M-NF, tasked with announcing deaths, did not announce them. The Defense Department's job is to announce names after the families have been informed. 4159 was this morning's total of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. That total has risen during the day. This afternoon, the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier died of a non-battle related cause Sept. 17." And they announced: "A Multi-National Corps -- Iraq Soldier died of a non-battle related causes Sept. 17." 4161 is the current total of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
Quote of the day goes to Riverdaughter (The Confluence), "And remember, 'We are the ones no one expected'." Which takes us into the US presidential race. Matt Lira ( advises, "Today the McCain-Palin campaign announced the endorsement of Lynn Forester de Rothschild, a prominent Hillary Clinton supporter and member of the Democratic National Committee's Platform Committee." de Rothschild is quoted stating, "In an election as important as this, we must choose the candidate who has a proven record of bipartisanship and reforming government, and that's John McCain," Rothschild said. "We can't afford a president who lacks experience and judgment and has never crossed party lines to work for meaningful reform. Amid tough economic times and foreign policy concerns, we need someone who is ready to lead. Although I am a Democrat, I recognize that it's more important to put country ahead of party and that's why I support John McCain." Meanwhile Howard Kurtz (Washington Post) notes a new study conducted by the Wisconsin Advertising Project which finds the Obama campaign "aired more negative advertising last week than did" the McCain camapign and quotes the study's director, Ken Goldstein, stating, "It suggests that the Sarah Palin pick and the newfound aggressiveness by McCain got into Obama's head a little bit. He was under great pressure to show some spine, be aggressive, fire back." Peter Overby (NPR's Morning Edition) reports on Barack and McCain's remarks about Wall Street and Overby notes, "But just as Wall Street is known as the financial capital of the country, it's also known -- by presidential hopefuls -- as the single best place to go for campaign cash. Obama has raised $10 million from the men and women of Wall Street. McCain's take is somewhat less: about $7 million." Governor Sarah Palin is McCain's running mate and the object of non-stop sexism. Marie Cocco (Washington Post Writers Group) addresses some of it in her latest column:
This has a lot to do with a graphic image of Palin I just saw in which she is dressed in a black bustier, adorned with long, black gloves and wielding a whip. The image appeared in the Internet magazine Salon to illustrate a column titled: "The dominatrix," by Gary Kamiya. Kamiya calls Palin a "pinup queen," and says she not only tantalized the Republican National Convention with political red meat, but that her "babalicious" presence hypercharged the place with sexual energy, and naughty energy at that. "You could practically feel the crowd getting a collective woody as Palin bent Obama and the Democrats over, shoved a leather gag in their mouths and flogged them as un-American wimps, appeasers and losers."
That's some sexual mother lode. Dare I point out that I have never -- ever -- in three decades of covering politics seen a male politician's style, even one with an earthy demeanor, described this way?
Salon editor Joan Walsh says she agrees the "dominatrix" piece had a "provocative cover,'' and that her columnists enjoy great freedom. "One day Gary (Kamiya) called Palin a dominatrix, the next day Camille Paglia called her a feminist." The magazine exists, Walsh says, to "push the envelope."
No sooner did Walsh give me this explanation than another Salon contributor, Cintra Wilson, pushed that envelope again. Wilson described Palin as follows: an "f---able ... Christian Stepford wife in a 'sexy librarian' costume" who is, for ideological Republicans, a "hardcore pornographic centerfold spread." That is, when Palin is not coming across as one of those "cutthroat Texas cheerleader stage moms."
What is it about a woman candidate that sends the media into weird Freudian frenzies?
Ralph Nader is the independent presidential candidate. Team Nader notes:

It's September 17, 2008.
Constitution Day.
And we're really close to meeting our fundraising goal of $80,000 by midnight tonight.
Last we looked, we were just under $70,000.

So, let's crank it up.
And to honor the day the Constitution was signed, we have a five question Constitution Day civics quiz for you.
  1. Which candidate opposed the snoop enabling FISA law and the immunity bailout for the telecom companies -- Obama, McCain or Nader?

  2. Which candidate called for the impeachment of George Bush and Dick Cheney for all of their crimes from the illegal war in Iraq to illegal wiretapping of unsuspecting Americas -- Obama, McCain or Nader?

  3. Which candidate opposed passage of the Patriot Act and calls for its repeal -- Obama, McCain or Nader?

  4. Which candidate opposes the death penalty -- Obama, McCain or Nader?

  5. Which candidate would work to repeal corporate personhood --- and shift the power from the corporations back into the hands of the people -- Obama, McCain or Nader?

The answers -- Nader, Nader, Nader, Nader and Nader.
The Constitution is under siege.
And Ralph Nader is its defender-in-chief.
To honor Nader and his courageous defense of the Constitution, let's push Nader/Gonzalez over the top today.
Again, we're only $10,000 away from meeting our goal.
And we'll make it.
And remember, this is the last day of our book offer.

If you give $100 or more now, we will send you In Pursuit of Justice, the 520-page book of essays by Ralph Nader -- essays on corporate power, the Constitution, and transforming our country. If you donate $100 now, we will send you this historic collection -- autographed by the man himself -- Ralph Nader. (This offer ends at 11:59 p.m. tonight.)
So, keep your eye on the widget as we climb toward $80,000.
Thanks to your ongoing support, we haven't missed a fundraising goal all year.

Onward toward a momentous November.

 robert f. worth
 the new york times
 marie cocco
 the washington post
 howard kurtz
mcclatchy newspapers
hussein kadhim
richard norton-taylor
 the los angeles times
 tina susman

 mikey likes it


Anonymous said...

I cannot believe someone would leave a comment here going on about not wanting to give her information for privacy and be harvesting the same info at her own site. Way to bust her, Marcia!

Anonymous said...

Agreed, Lianah. Great post, Marcia. And yeah it is just like that scene in The Color Purple.

Anonymous said...

The Color Purple scene really nails it. And I found the Wilders to be pompous and self-righteous with their comments yesterday.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post. Marcia, I guess (only guess, don't know) C.I. and Ava are supporting Cynthia McKinney as well. Makes me feel bad only because I know C.I. covers Ralph Nader for the community and that makes me feel like, "We pushed one more thing off on her." Like you said, I think it's cool if that's who C.I.'s supporting. But after the whole Dennis Kucinich thing (when we were all for Dennis and didn't know C.I. hated Dennis), I really thought, "We never need to do that again." But we always expect C.I. to speak for everyone. Cool that she's willing to but just another reason to appreciate all that she does.
P.S. I said "guess." I don't know. She may be supporting Ralph. Ava too. I just know from some of their other positions, it wouldn't surprise me at all (or disappoint me) if they were supporting Cynthia offline.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Carl. Not about who C.I. (or Ava) is supporting. But about we really did push Ralph coverage off on C.I. Like Marcia points out, C.I.'s got to do it Monday through Friday three times a day. I'm voting for Ralph and glad of it. But I agree with Carl's point about the coverage.

Anthony Wyatt said...

Agreed, Lianah. Great post, Marcia. And yeah it is just like that scene in The Color Purple.