Saturday, August 20, 2005
These idiots won't be happy until one of them caps poor Jorge who's just looking for work. And then Bush will just smirk and go "Gosh!" and do nothing to secure the borders or stop the MinuteMen.
Oh, and who would've guessed it - though this group supposedly weeds out criminals, the head of the group was sentenced to two years probation.
I do have to say I endorse the idea of an armed group of mexican-americans watching them while they watch the immigrants. Here's the straight scoop from the Houston Chronicle:
The Minutemen will come to Houston bearing arms.
Leaders of the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps of Texas had earlier said volunteers observing Houston's day laborers in October would carry nothing but video cameras.
But leaders now say those involved in the operations targeting local illegal immigrants will be allowed to carry arms as long as they comply with all federal and state laws.
In fact, those who have a concealed-weapons permit are being offered a discount on joining the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps. An Arizona-based organization, the Minutemen started out by patrolling the Arizona-Mexico border in April to prevent illegal immigrants from crossing, but the group has announced it will conduct a variety of operations here this fall.
Members are normally charged $50 to join, with the money used to conduct a criminal background check. Those with a valid concealed-weapons permit can have that fee waived, since they already have undergone a background check and met other requirements, such as a handgun course, to get the permit, said George Klages, spokesman for the Minutemen in Houston.
Klages said the Minutemen are all responsible, law-abiding citizens, and the use of arms will not cause problems here.
"About 50 or 60 percent of our members are veterans," he said. "These are people who know how to handle a weapon."
But critics worry about the Minutemen carrying arms in the city, and they think the group is giving special incentives to those able to carry concealed weapons.
"They only want people who are armed," said Juan Alvarez, a member of the Coalition Against Intolerance and For Respect, a newly formed group advocating for Houston day laborers. "It will incite violence."
Bill Parmley, the original leader of the Minuteman Texas chapter, said he had discouraged the use of weapons, particularly in urban operations such as the observations of the day laborers who wait for work on Houston streets.
Parmley resigned last month, citing racism among local members in the Goliad chapter. He now says he worries about the Minutemen being armed.
"Just because you can pass one of these concealed-weapons courses doesn't mean you have the mental capability to carry a firearm," he said.
Nationally, the Minuteman Civil Defense Corps has no policy forbidding members from carrying arms.
"We actually prefer that everyone have a concealed-weapons permit," said Chris Simcox, the head of the group.
But Simcox said weapons will be less important in a place like Houston than on the border, which is more dangerous and more remote.
Simcox has gotten in trouble with the law for being armed.
In January 2003, Simcox was arrested by federal agents, accused of entering Coronado National Monument in Arizona while armed.
He was convicted of entering a federal park with a loaded weapon and offering false information to a federal officer, both misdemeanors, and was sentenced to two years' probation, court records show.
Simcox noted that there were no signs marking the park boundary, and that park rangers seemed to be waiting for him.
Houston police are aware that some of the Minutemen will be armed, and officers will make sure that all laws are obeyed, said Lt. Robert Manzo, an HPD spokesman.
Friday, August 19, 2005http://livejournal.com/~crimnos, the former location of this site. There's still some stuff from my short-lived Nationals blog over there, but it'll be pushed out as time goes on. Thanks for taking a peek!
Supreme Court nominee John G. Roberts Jr. consistently opposed legal and legislative attempts to strengthen women's rights during his years as a legal adviser in the Reagan White House, disparaging what he called "the purported gender gap" and, at one point, questioning "whether encouraging homemakers to become lawyers contributes to the common good."
Wow. Okay. So he can’t even refer to women as women, but as homemakers? No bias there. The article goes on to say…
In internal memos, Roberts urged President Ronald Reagan to refrain from embracing any form of the proposed Equal Rights Amendment pending in Congress; he concluded that some state initiatives to curb workplace discrimination against women relied on legal tools that were "highly objectionable"; and he said that a controversial legal theory then in vogue -- of directing employers to pay women the same as men for jobs of "comparable worth" -- was "staggeringly pernicious" and "anti-capitalist."
Yeah, God forbid women be paid for what they’re worth, especially if they can do the job just as well as a man can. Gotta keep ‘em in the kitchen! Gotta keep ‘em cranking out babies! Okay, I’ve gone from passive resistance on this douchebag to all-out war. I mean, look at what else this ass had to say:
Covering a period from 1982 to 1986 -- during his tenure as associate counsel to Reagan -- the memos, letters and other writings show that Roberts endorsed a speech attacking "four decades of misguided" Supreme Court decisions on the role of religion in public life, urged the president to hold off saying AIDS could not be transmitted through casual contact until more research was done, and argued that promotions and firings in the workplace should be based entirely on merit, not affirmative action programs.
In October 1983, Roberts said that he favored the creation of a national identity card to prove American citizenship, even though the White House counsel's office was officially opposed to the idea. He wrote that such measures were needed in response to the "real threat to our social fabric posed by uncontrolled immigration."
Yeah, he’s a real winner. What a surprise that Bush nominated him. Also, there’s not a rolleyes in the world big enough. Read the entire story at the Post.
Oh, and I have to love the picture the Post included with the article. Check out the guys in the background (yeah, you have to click on the thumbnail. I hate Imageshack, but my host is down). You see what I’m seeing?
Smooth, guys. Very smooth.
Oh, and some side news. How sad is this? Oh, well….
Christopher Walken for president!
What a disappointment. For a brief but inspiring moment, we thought Blogma's favorite actor might really be throwing his hat in the ring, following in the footsteps of so many other Hollywood politicians.
Unfortunately, it seems that Christopher Walken's supposedly official campaign site, walken2008.com, is a marketing outgrowth of his role as a senator with presidential ambitions in "Wedding Crashers." "According to one source, the entire campaign, including registration of multiple Web domain names, is an elaborate hoax being perpetrated by members of the General Mayhem forums, one of the largest message boards on the Internet," WorldNetDaily says.
Yet bloggers and others refuse to give up hope. As the brilliant Fark.com (Junkheap note: Yeah, brilliant my ass) astutely observes, "This country needs more cowbell."
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Add your name to our Freedom of Information Act request to get the facts about John Roberts' record:
I'm the General Counsel for the Democratic National Committee, and I'm writing to you about a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request that the DNC will be submitting to the Justice Department on Monday.
John Roberts, the nominee to replace Sandra Day O'Connor on the Supreme Court, worked in the Solicitor General's office in the early 1990s under the first President Bush. During that time he worked on nearly 80 cases that were eventually argued before the Supreme Court.
His work on these cases offers the American people a realistic snapshot of his approach to the law and his regard for our fundamental rights and freedoms. (So far, the information that has come out has given us reason to question whether he will be a justice for everyone or advance the activist, partisan agenda of a few.)
Senators who will vote on his lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court have requested documents pertaining to 16 of those cases. These were cases Roberts worked on as a senior political appointee in the first Bush administration. The cases (which are listed in the FOIA request linked below) deal with important legal issues like civil rights, equal opportunity for all, women's rights, our right to privacy, and access to justice.
The Senators' request for these documents has gone unanswered, despite the fact that the Justice Department has previously released similar records on other nominees.
So on Monday we will submit a formal request under the Freedom of Information Act from Governor Howard Dean and anyone else who wishes to be a part of it. You can read the formal request and add your name to it here:
The Freedom of Information Act mandates a response within 20 working days. That date will fall just as the Roberts hearings take place next month, in time for Senators to ask substantive questions about his record.
Government agencies will sometimes create excuses to not respond to these requests. Administrations with secrets to hide find any way they can to avoid disclosing incriminating information or "slow walk" the release of critical information. This Bush administration continues to be one of the worst in history when it comes to making sure that people have free and open access to information about the business of government and responding to legitimate questions.
But there is too much at stake to let that happen. Senators have said they will reserve a decision until they can review these documents and question Roberts about them. The simplest way for the White House to address concerns and answer the important questions that are being raised is to release the record of Roberts's work on these 16 cases. This is a lifetime appointment to a court that can fundamentally reshape our rights and freedoms.
Reviewing the Roberts record on these 16 important cases will shed light on whether or not he can separate partisanship and ideology from his responsibilities to the law. Our Senators need the information the White House is withholding to do their Constitutional duty and evaluate whether or not Judge Roberts will be an advocate for the basic rights and freedoms of every American, or an activist for an extreme ideology.
You can read more about the 16 cases and why they are important, and add your name to a formal request for the documents, by clicking here:
It's rare that a federal agency receives a Freedom of Information Act request from large numbers of citizens acting together. It is unfortunate that the Bush administration's penchant for secrecy requires tens of thousands of Americans to demand access to important information.
But the Senate has a Constitutional duty to examine John Roberts's full record before deciding to place him on the Supreme Court. We want to ensure that our Senators have the information they need to fully evaluate Judge Roberts.
If you choose to be a part of the formal request, I will update you on its status as we move forward.
Thank you for your consideration.
Joseph E. Sandler
Democratic National Committee
Victory means exit strategy, and it's important for the President to explain to us what the exit strategy is. -Governor George W. Bush (R-TX)
President Clinton is once again releasing American military might on a foreign country with an ill-defined objective and no exit strategy. He has yet to tell the Congress how much this operation will cost. And he has not informed our nation's armed forces about how long they will be away from home. These strikes do not make for a sound foreign policy. -Senator Rick Santorum (R-PA)
If we are going to commit American troops, we must be certain they have a clear mission, an achievable goal and an exit strategy.
-Karen Hughes, speaking on behalf of presidential candidate George W. Bush
Explain to the mothers and fathers of American servicemen that may come home in body bags why their son or daughter have to give up their life?
-Sean Hannity, Fox News, 4/6/99
Bombing a sovereign nation for ill-defined reasons with vague objectives undermines the American stature in the world. The international respect and trust for America has diminished every time we casually let the bombs fly.
-Representative Tom Delay (R-TX)
"I had doubts about the bombing campaign from the beginning...I didn't think we had done enough in the diplomatic area."
-Senator Trent Lott (R-MS)
"You think Vietnam was bad? Vietnam is nothing next to Kosovo."
-Tony Snow, Fox News 3/24/99
"Well, I just think it's a bad idea. What's going to happen is they're going to be over there for 10, 15, maybe 20 years"
-Joe Scarborough (R-FL)
"I'm on the Senate Intelligence Committee, so you can trust me and believe me when I say we're running out of cruise missles. I can't tell you exactly how many we have left, for security reasons, but we're almost out of cruise missles."
-Senator Inhofe (R-OK)
There’s more hilarity at Daily Kos. Why do they hate our freedom?
AND NOW FOR AN AMAZING SEGUE (SEGWAY LOL)
Beware the Segway Bear!
I’m glad to see Cindy Sheehan is getting so much support. When it’s so easy for right-wingers to take potshots at someone who has lived the life of a normal human being, who has faults like all of us, it’s good to see that people can go beyond that crap and band together to stand for the country – not party – but country.
U.S. vigils support anti-war mother
CRAWFORD, Texas (Reuters) - Anti-war protesters held candles, sang, and chanted in vigils across the country on Wednesday in support of Cindy Sheehan, who has camped out near President George W. Bush's ranch to urge him to bring U.S. troops home from Iraq, where her son was killed a year ago.
Sheehan has become a magnet for anti-war protesters who have crowded around her since her vigil began August 6 in Crawford, a community of 705 people, where Bush is on a monthlong vacation.
More than 1,800 Americans have been killed in Iraq and thousands more have been wounded.
"Each one was a valuable human life," Sheehan said at an evening vigil at her campsite. "Each one was an indispensable member of his or her family, not playthings for the people who lust for greed and power."
Liberal groups MoveOn.org, True Majority, and Democracy for America organized 1,627 candlelight "Vigils for Cindy Sheehan" in all 50 states with at least 60,000 people planning to attend, Tom Matzzie, Washington director for MoveOn.org, said.
In Crawford, a couple of hundred supporters held white candles and flowers and walked single file around a triangular patch of grass as the sun went down and a full moon emerged.
They read the names of soldiers who died in Iraq over a bullhorn in front of a flag-draped coffin and sang hymns like "Amazing Grace."
Sheehan lit a candle in front of a white cross with her son Casey's name on it and walked holding hands with an Iraq war veteran. "I was pretending to hold the hand of my son. I'll never get to seem him again, I'll never get to hear his voice again," she said crying.
Several hundred people gathered in front of the White House at dusk to show support for Sheehan and urge Bush to meet her.
They chanted "meet with Cindy, tell her the truth" and "end the war now" and held signs reading "America stands with Cindy" and "Honor our troops, respect their lives."
Many wore nametags identifying them as brother, sister, mother, father or friend of soldiers serving in Iraq or killed in Iraq.
Gilda, a 56-year-old mother of a Marine and member of "Military Families Speak Out" said Sheehan had put a face on the military families that are bearing the burden of the war.
"The rest of the population is largely oblivious," she said. "I mean they support the war. They put yellow magnets on their cars. They go out and wave flags in everybody's face, but why aren't they there. It's only us carrying this."
About a dozen counter-protesters stood close by beneath a huge banner that read "God bless our soldiers, liberating the world one tyrant at a time."
Supporters of Sheehan also protested in New York. At Union Square Park in Manhattan, several hundred people carried candles and held posters that read "Meet with Cindy," "Stop the War" and "Before One More Mother's Child is Lost."
"I am here for Cindy Sheehan, who has opened a door and motivated people who feel helpless about the Bush administration and the Iraq war. She speaks for millions around the world," said Lee Woeckener, 32, from New York.
Sheehan, from Vacaville, California, said she would pack up and leave if Bush, who met with her last year shortly after her son's death, would talk to her again. She cited Bush's love of biking -- he has a Saturday ride scheduled with cycling superstar Lance Armstrong -- in questioning his priorities.
"Why don't you take a few less bike rides and meet with people who want to meet with you?" Sheehan said earlier in the day. "You know, this is the nation's work, we're the nation."
Bush has said he sympathizes with Sheehan and others grieving the loss of family members, but will not prematurely pull U.S. troops out of Iraq.
Meanwhile, supporters flock to Sheehan's site, where tents are pitched and signs such as "Can you say Iraquagmire?" hang.
"One of the things about Camp Casey is that I came here angry, a lot of people come here angry, but it's replaced by the feeling of hope," Sheehan said. "A feeling of hope we now have that we can change the country."
A map of the United States drawn on cloth asks visitors to write which city they are from. The most concentrated appears to be California, Texas and the East Coast. But there also are scribbled locations from overseas -- Scotland, Austria, Japan, Turkey, Germany, Australia, Colombia, Costa Rica and Paraguay.
Sheehan supporter Tammara Rosenleaf, 47, said her husband, Army Specialist Sean Hefflin, 26, is with the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Hood in Texas and is scheduled to be deployed to Iraq in November.
"I could selfishly spend personal time with him right now or I could contribute my time to a movement that could save many more lives than just my husband's," she said.
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Update in ACLU Torture FOIA Lawsuit
August 16, 2005
Following a two-hour closed hearing in New York on August 15, a federal judge ordered the government to reveal blacked-out portions of its legal papers arguing against the release of images depicting abuse of detainees at Abu Ghraib. The government has until August 18 to make the currently redacted statements public, or to appeal the decision.
The court will next hear arguments on August 30 to determine whether the Defense Department must release 87 photographs and four videos depicting abuse and torture at Abu Ghraib. After unsuccessfully invoking the Geneva Conventions to block the release of the images, the government is now citing a legal provision that permits the withholding of records "compiled for law enforcement purposes," that "could reasonably be expected to endanger the life or physical safety of any individual."
In a friend-of-the-court brief submitted in the case, The Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press and several media outlets and associations, including CBS Broadcasting, NBC Universal, The Hearst Corporation, The New York Times Co. and the American Society of Newspaper Editors, object to "the government's misdirected effort to undermine the [Freedom of Information Act] by asserting, in essence, that its own misconduct has created an indictment too damning for the public to see." Read the brief at http://action.aclu.org/torturefoia/legal/amicus080305.pdf.
I've said it before in my comments section, but I'll say it again: Yes, the person who physically killed Casey Sheehan is responsible for his death, and should wear that shame on their souls, whether they are still alive or not.
This idiocy of blaming people who oppose the war for kiling American soldiers has to stop, however. Who is the one who sent them there? I tell you us Anti-War folks were quite the opposite; they would be at home now if it were up to us. Even so, here's a clue for you chumps: Joe Insurgent cares nothing about what the American people are saying to each other or their President. Cindy Sheehan questioning the actions of a man who is, ultimately, her employee, will not help or break the resolve of our enemies. They believe they are right just as we believe we are right, and they will not be swayed.
If anyone can be responsible for this war from such a removed position, Bush is the one with blood on his hands who will ultimately have to answer to the creator who he supposedly believes in when his time comes.
Anyway, here's Cindy's post from her blog regarding some of these lies and the genius who ran over the memorials for fallen soldiers. Particularly interesting is the song some idiot sings, which just underlines my point. Fucking loons.
Putting out Fires
The Peaceful Occupation of Iraq
The right wingers are really having a field day with me. It hurts me really badly, but I am willing to put up with the crap, if it ends the war a minute sooner than it would have. I would like to address some specific concerns that have been raised against me.
CindySheehan's diary :: ::
The first one is about my divorce. I addressed this on my blog the other night. My divorce was in the works way before I came out to Crawford. My husband filed the papers before this all started. It just recorded last Friday. My husband didn't know that it would become public record, and public knowledge. He had told his lawyer not to serve me with the paperwork or even bother me while I was at Camp Casey. He was trying to do the right thing. He didn't want me to find out. Enough about that.
Another "big deal" today was the lie that I had said that Casey died for Israel. I never said that, I never wrote that. I had supposedly said it in a letter that I wrote to Ted Koppel's producer in March. I wrote the letter because I was upset at the way Ted treated me when I appeared at a Nightline Town Hall meeting in January right after the inauguration. I felt that Ted had totally disrespected me. I wrote the letter to Ted Bettag and cc'd a copy to the person who gave me Ted's address. I believe he (the person who gave me the address) changed the email and sent it out to capitalize on my new found notoriety by promoting his own agenda. Enough about that.
I didn't blog about the cross incident last night. I was at the Peace House when there was a big commotion and people started saying that someone had run over our Arlington Crawford display. I know this is old news because I have seen great posts about it today. This is how I feel. The right wingers are emailing me and spewing filth about me on the radio and on the television saying that I am dishonoring my son's memory. This man who ran over the crosses thinks he is a better American than we are. He thinks we are more patriotic than we are. Does he really believe that he is honoring the memories of the fallen and his country by running down 500 crosses and about 60 American flags? The Iraq Veterans Against the War who were here were also very offended. Those crosses represented their buddies who didn't make it home. And they are so aware of the fact that one of those crosses could have their name on it.
Yesterday, we had a counter protestor who played his guitar across the way from us and sang (very terribly!!!) a song that loosely went like this:
Aiding and abetting the enemy.
How many ghosts did you make today?
Google me this, Google me that,
How many ghosts did you make today?
I find it so ironic that he was singing it to me, and not to George Bush. We named the song: The Ballad of George Bush. He came back out today, but blessed be to God, he didn't bring his guitar, and he didn't sing.
We are moving to a place that doesn't have much shade and I put out an appeal for tarps and a soldier from Ft. Hood brought some to us that he "borrowed" from Ft. Hood for us to use. I have had a lot of soldiers from Ft. Hood come out and tell me to keep it up and that I am doing a good thing. We are doing this to honor Casey and the other fallen heroes in their memories. But we are doing it FOR the people of Iraq and the other soldiers who are in harm's way right now. Right after we heard about the crosses last night, a Camp Casey volunteer found out that a pen pal she had in Iraq was KIA on August 12th. This has to stop, now. We will stop it.
Tuesday, August 16, 2005
The Savaging of Cindy Sheehan
August 11, 2005
The shameless savaging of Cindy Sheehan continues.
Bill O’Reilly says she’s a tool of “far left elements.”
The New York Sun echoes the charge, evidently reading the same rightwing talking points.
In an editorial on August 11, it says Sheehan “has put herself in league with some extreme groups and individuals.”
This is old-style McCarthyism, straight on down to the red-baiting.
The editorial quotes Sheehan about some of the groups she’s involved with, including Code Pink, Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out.
It then notes that these groups are on the steering committee of United for Peace and Justice, along with the Communist Party USA. (A person representing that party is one of the forty-one members who was voted onto the steering committee.)
This classic guilt-by-association trope just shows the reflexive response of the right: When your critic has credibility, and you can’t find anything else on her, destroy her with the old standby: You’re a communist dupe!
The Sun also points out that Sheehan is working with the Crawford Peace House, and it says that group’s website “includes a photo depicting the entire state of Israel as Palestine.” Actually, it depicts a protester holding a sign showing four maps of what is now Israel and the Occupied Territories, noting how Palestinians have been allowed less and less land over the past 60 years.
“Nobody is anti-Israel here,” says John Wolf, one of the founders of the Crawford Peace House. “We’re just asking for peace with justice and respect for international law.”
But for the New York Sun, the Crawford Peace House’s view of the Israel-Palestine conflict is convenient enough to tar Cindy Sheehan with.
Rightwing talk show host Phil Hendrie goes even lower, writing an article amazingly entitled “Anti-War Mom: Another Ignorant Cow,” Hendrie called Sheehan a “self-righteous ignoramus,” and then went into full mockery mode: “A mother grieving her loss. The inhumanity of war. Oh, the wickedness of it all.”
I’ve seen callousness before, but this piece may top them all. And catch Hendrie’s defense of the Iraq War: “This war was unavoidable, brought on by an historic clash of culture and ideal, powered by the American people themselves, rising to meet the future, pissing off the rag heads.” Rag heads?
By the way, Hendrie’s screed was posted on the website, freerepublic.com, which calls itself “the premier online gathering place for independent, grassroots conservatism on the web.”
Sheehan responds to her critics: “Nothing you can say can hurt me or make me stop what we are doing. We are working for peace with justice. We are using peaceful means and the truth to do it.” Update from Crawford: Some yokel used a truck and some crude MacGyverism to knock down and/or destroy a bunch of the crosses set up alongside the road. Good job. You just desecrated the memory of fallen soldiers AND the holy cross AND the American flag in one shot.
About an hour ago, wegot a phone call from our friends up at Camp Casey saying that the line of gravemarkers along the road (Arlington West) had been run over. People there said that as they were talking to a few members of the press, a pick-up truck came down the road and stopped at the fork by the edge of the tents. The driver then jumped out and attached a pipe to the undercarriage with a chain and began to "swerve into the line of crosses," said Tammara Rosenleaf from Montana. "Then we heard the pipe being dragged over the gravemarkers and the pick-up's wheels crushing them."
Out of the 800 crosses, 500 were knocked down and 100 are irreperable. However, the driver was arrested by the local authorities. This is a prime example of how the Crawford sheriff's department has helped to protect us and our freedom of speech over the past week and a half. A big thank you to them!
Regardless of who did this, the fact is that respect for this country's dead is not a partisan issue. Putting up memorials of our country's fallen is not a "liberal" act. It is an American act. Even a group of counter-protestors from Dallas last week draped flags and flowers over many of the gravemarkers, and many were moved to tears at the sight of the long line of dead soldiers. It's too bad that someone else who disagrees with Cindy felt they needed to wipe out the memory of our fallen in such an obscene manner.
Now, more than ever, is the time for us to come together. We need your voice and your help to bring America closer to an ideal that all of us hold in our hearts. Cindy Sheehan is bringing us closer to that ideal and demonstrating its power to change this country.
-Japhet Els and Emily Sharpe
Monday, August 15, 2005
Gee, Guess What Imperialist Country is Interfering in the Drafting of a "Free" People's Constitution?Give up? That's right - us! U.S. I mean, we have to enforce the colonial status quo, after all, there's the appearances to think of, man! We simply can't have them carving up the business unit we've created.
US Steps Up Role in Iraq Charter Talks
By Jonathan Finer and Omar Fekeiki
The Washington Post
Saturday 13 August 2005
Envoy offers plan to settle disputes, legislators say.
Baghdad - With three days remaining before the deadline for Iraqi politicians to complete their draft of a permanent constitution, U.S. Ambassador Zalmay Khalilzad has taken a leading role in negotiations among rival factions, Iraqi lawmakers said Friday.
For at least two days, Khalilzad has huddled in the capital's fortified Green Zone with Kurdish, Sunni Arab and Shiite Arab blocs from the committee writing the document. He presented a written, U.S.-backed approach to unresolved questions such as the role of Islam in determining law and the degree of autonomy to grant regional governments, several committee members said.
The U.S. proposal, according to politicians who have examined it, includes endorsing the principle of regional autonomy, such as that enjoyed by Kurdish-populated provinces in the north, but deferring any decision about creating new regions until after Iraq's next elections, slated for December. Some power would be devolved to provincial governments as a step toward broader federalism.
Khalilzad's more aggressive stance -- which also includes a recent call for lawmakers to enshrine rights for women -- comes as President Bush and others in Washington have made strong statements about the need for the constitution to be completed on time. It stands in contrast to the posture taken earlier this summer by American diplomats here, who played down the U.S. role in what they termed an Iraqi process.
Reached by telephone, a spokesman for the U.S. Embassy declined to comment Friday.
"The Americans say they don't intervene, but they have intervened deep," said Mahmoud Othman, a Kurdish member of the constitution committee who said he met with U.S. officials Thursday and Friday. "They gave us a detailed proposal, almost a full version of a constitution. They try to compromise the different opinions of all the political blocs. The U.S. officials are more interested in the Iraqi constitution than the Iraqis themselves, because they promised their people that it will be done August 15."
Under Iraq's interim constitution, called the Transitional Administrative Law, the new document must be completed by Monday so it can be put to a nationwide referendum on Oct. 15, with new parliamentary elections following two months after that. The process is widely considered a prerequisite to any significant withdrawal of U.S. forces from Iraq next year.
While Iraqi officials have long vowed to complete their work on time, some have recently suggested that might not happen. The task ahead is "not easy," Othman acknowledged.
Committee members are still debating protections for women's rights and the role of Islam in determining Iraqi law, but federalism has emerged as the most significant barrier to a consensus, several politicians said.
Kurds, who already have a regional parliament and large militia, favor broad autonomy for regional states. But minority Sunni Arabs, who largely boycotted Iraq's elections in January, fear that any further extension of a federal system could lead to the dissolution of the country. Meanwhile, Shiite Arabs, who control the government's ruling coalition, appear split on the issue. On Thursday, the leader of a dominant Shiite political party called for the establishment of a Shiite state in central and southern Iraq, but the Shiite-led government denounced the proposal.
Salih Mutlak, a Sunni Arab member of the constitution committee, called the differences among the blocs on federalism and other issues "minor now." He said Sunnis would prefer that, rather than endorsing the principle of federalism, the document should leave "all possibilities open" for future governments to select, "including federalism."
But stronger opposition to the principle was voiced during Friday prayers at Um al-Qura, Baghdad's largest Sunni mosque. Mahmoud Sumaidaie called federalism "a conspiracy to partition the country" and urged Sunnis to be prepared to vote down the document in the referendum if it does not suit their goals.
Jalaladeen Sagheer, the Shiite preacher at the capital's Buratha mosque, focused much of his sermon on the constitution's approach to Islam. Shiites and Sunnis "do not accept to deal with Islam as a neglected item in the constitution," he said.
Outside of the political wrangling, it was a relatively quiet day in Iraq. Two U.S. soldiers were injured when their helicopter crashed near the northern city of Kirkuk, according to a statement from the military.
A soldier was killed Thursday by a roadside bomb near Tikrit, the Army said Friday. An Iraq-based U.S. commander visiting Washington, Army Brig. Gen. Yves J. Fontaine, told reporters at the Pentagon that roadside bomb attacks on convoys here had roughly doubled to 30 a day but that the rate of casualties caused by them had declined.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
- Created an energy policy rooted entirely in the concerns of the energy industry, with no input from impartial experts.
- Declared a war on terrorism, then let the man responsible for 9/11 escape when we had him cornered.
- Signed into law a bill that removed many of the basic rights that Americans enjoy.
- Began an illegal war based on false premises. This is no longer up for debate after the Downing Street memos.
- Illegally detained hundreds, if not thousands, of people based on nothing more than an accusation.
- Fought tooth and nail to oppose the discovery of any sort of evidence in regards to these individuals.
- Explicitly allowed various methods of torture on these individuals.
- Outed a CIA agent as retribution when her husband dared to say that the Emperor had no clothes.
- Lied and prevaricated when caught in this outing.
- Refused to deal with the human side of a tragedy that is continuing to unfold.
- Supported federal intervention into the Terri Schiavo case.
- Appointed a war criminal as the head of intelligence.
- Took 50 vacations within the space of 5 years.
That’s not even counting the various terrible laws that the man has signed into action and his continued stonewalling on any other number of issues. If someone had told me five years ago that the man would get two terms based on such a record, I’d have called them insane; there was no way the American people could be so corrupt.
Funny how a few years changes things, huh?