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City of Walls

Post-surge Iraq:  A nation on the pathway to peace or A nation divided, desolate?

The traditional media has declared McCain victor of the “surge” debate.  But no Western journalist has provided an honest portrait of what Iraq looks like today.  Take a look at this harrowing video from a young Iraqi journalist.  It’s important that we give a voice to those we supposedly tried to liberate, rather than only listen to  blow-hard Washington politicians, the very people that orchestrated this madness, the very people who are now trying to cover it up with cheap PR.

Who played the race card?

If you’ve been following the mainstream media over the past few days, you’ve certainly learned that Obama played the wrong hand in the ’08 Presidential Poker Tourney — the race card. How dare he flout the color of his skin or insinuate that the Right are fear mongering racists? Obama has got some nerve, right?

One problem. The wingnuts and the McCain campaign played the race card a long time ago. In fact, the comments that produced so much anger and disappointment from the McCain campaign turned out to be Obama’s irrefutable analysis of the Right’s tactics against the senator from Illinois. Obama said that McCain couldn’t win on the issues so had to resort to negative politics of fear. The Right, Obama said, would claim “he doesn’t look like all those other presidents on the dollar bills.”

While surely this alludes to the color of his skin, Obama’s race card only becomes an offense if what he claims is untrue. Here is a McCain campaign ad from June. Note the imagery:

Looks like the McCain camp came up with the idea of Barrack on our currency long before Obama. More significantly, McCain surrogates have been playing the “race card” right in front of the nominee’s eyes, this one from back in May:

And who can forget the Fox News fear campaign, ostensibly the royal flush of race cards:

Sadly, in the past week “journalists” have suffered another bout of amnesia and failed to call the McCain camp and its many surrogates on its BS. As long as mainstream journalists fail to present the truth, McCain benefits.

U.S. General Accuses Bush Admin. of Committing War Crimes

“Not Too Important”

Not too important, Sen. McCain?  Must we even ask what kind of message this sends to our 150,000 troops in Iraq, the thousdands more that might soon have to serve, and the countless military families whose lives will be indelibly altered until their loved ones return?  Weeks after learning for a fact that this illegal war was conceived on deliberate exaggeration of intelligence and sold to the media via a pentagon led propaganda campaign,  in three frightening words McCain willingly breaks from the views of all rationale beings. The McCain campaign says his stamement reflects his opposition to timetables and nothing more, despite the fact U.S. and Iraqi casualties continue to rise and despite Iraq’s demand that we set a timetable – you know, so they can have their country back.     

McCain’s statement comes to us just days following his first general election TV ad, in which he declares “War is hell!”

Yes, we know Sen. McCain — that’s exactly why we don’t want to fight wars; that’s exactly why we think troops coming home is “important.”

But that’s not all today on the Not-Straight Talk Express.  It turns out McCain picked the wrong piece of legilsation to use as a bludegon against Obama. From CNN:

On Friday, McCain attacked Obama’s record on the environment during a campaign stop in the Florida Everglades.

“Sen. Obama has no record of being involved in this issue that I know of,” he said. “I will stick by my record and my commitment of many years to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.”

Remember the part where Sen. McCain said Obama has no record on this issue? One problem, folks:  Obama co-sponsored McCain’s very own climate bill last year.  Is he lying, or just having another one of those “senior moments”? 



McCain vs. Obama On the Issues: Income Tax

What will the Republican attack mantras be in 2008? Let’s take a look at the top contendors:

  • Obama is a closet Muslim extremist. Only if you open trashy chain e-mail. 
  • Obama is far less patriotic than POW McCain.  We’ll probably hear this one from every angle, Michelle Obama not excluded.   
  • But my 100% cashback guarantee: Obama will raise your taxes so high you can say goodbye to everything from vaction to kitty’s haircuts!!! 

This is almost the only thing, and I mean only thing, the wingnuts and their hapless followers seem to believe when it comes to the economy and their democratic rivals.  Fact and truth (you know, those annoying caveats that get in the way of GOP triumph) need not apply in the timeless, delusional tax chant. 

So what is the truth in 2008? Let’s take a look at Income Tax savings if McCain’s and Obama’s plans were to be fully implemented, provided here in dazzling chart form (numbers based on average ’08 return):

Income McCain Avg. tax bill  Obama Avg. tax bill Difference  
Over $2.9M -$269,364 +$701,885 +$971,249
$603K and up -$45,361 +$115,974 +$161,335
$227K-$603K -$7,871 +$12 +$7,883
$161K-$227K -$4,380 -$2,789 +$1,591
$112K-$161K -$2,614 -$2,204 $410
$66K-$112K -$1,009 -$1,290 -$281
$38K-$66K -$319 -$1,042 -$723
$19K-$38K -$113 -$892 -$779
Under $19K -$19 -$567 -$548

(Source: Tax Policy Center)

So if you are flippin rich and have an annual income over $112k, McCain is your guy.  But if you are like me and most Americans:

We can see that if you make less than $112,000 a year, then you will pay less in taxes under Obama’s policies compared to McCain’s. According to the IRS, 89% of Americans report less than $100,000 in adjusted gross income (2005). —-  dailykos and ARing2B

So when a misguided friend, colleague or random McCain supporter tries to tell you Obama will raise your taxes, this response should work for 90% of you:  “You are SO not telling the TRUTH.  Here, take a look at this chart.” (Unfold printout of above chart from back pocket, show misguided counterpart, and watch their eyes as they attempt to rebutt or revert to other false GOP talking point).       

By rolling back Bush’s tax cuts to the wealthiest, Obama has room to give America’s masses a little help.  Rest assured, the hardworking wealthy will still be wealthy, but the hardworking rest of us will have a little more cash to dump into our ailing economy.   

Don’t forget to take a look at last week’s Civil Right’s Issue Brief

Even if you think you’re right, arm yourself with knowledge.  You might help someone else come to the light. 


Iraqi Parliament Pushes for U.S. Withdrawal

We gave them their freedom. Now they want us to be clear about intentions of withdrawal. In a letter to Congress, a majority of Iraq’s parliament has expressed severe disapproval of any Iraq-U.S. security agreement if it does not contain a timetable for U.S. withdrawal. President Bush has cut down any talks of timetables, stating they would telegraph our moves to enemies and create arbitrary deadlines. President Bush has also refused to outline what a victory in Iraq would like. But as U.S. politicians continue to spar over our occupation, the administration has ignored the voices of the Iraqi people. The mainstream media has not covered this letter at all, which says:

Likewise, we wish to inform you that the majority of Iraqi representatives strongly reject any military-security, economic, commercial, agricultural, investment or political agreement with the United States that is not linked to clear mechanisms that obligate the occupying American military forces to fully withdraw from Iraq, in accordance with a declared timetable and without leaving behind any military bases, soldiers or hired fighters.

Here’s the big test. If you actually buy Bush and McCain’s pronouncements that this war is about freedom and liberty to Iraq, take them at their word. We gave Iraq democracy. Now it’s time to go. Iraqis say so. Not the Democratic party, which merely wants to return them their due sovereignty. And while Iraq is still torn by ethnic conflict, it is not our divine right to be there. Our occupation created the disaster, the cesspool of terror and violence that has left a million Iraqis dead, should we be so pompous to claim it our right to fix it? Withdrawal is not surrender; it is reconciliation for the crime of invasion itself; it is giving Iraqis what we promised them; it is returning our troops to the loving arms of their families. I support the Iraqi parliament. Do you? Does our government? Or is the Iraq occupation what I suspected all along — another strategic staging point for broad American empire?