In my links of the day I try to find the links under the wire, articles all the top blogs miss. I'm not afraid to go to Al Jazeera, Kurd Media or to the Pakistan student movement page to bring the real daily news to you.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Links of the Day 3/31/2008 Obama takes 10 Point Lead Over Clinton

Short Post today thunderstorms force me to cut my blog short today. Sorry.

So my friends did anyone get out and do something? Did you make a difference in someone’s life, did you do something for Mother Earth?

I worked in the rain both on Saturday and Sunday till I was soaked to the skin. Planting trees, bushes and bulbs. I worked till I can hardly move today. The green things we plant more carbon is removed from the air.

If we can’t get them to believe Global Warming the we must do thing’s to combat it ourselves.

Did everyone remember to turn out all your lights on Saturday? I turned off all mine including the refrigerator.

I do not know how we go back to a WE society instead of the ME society.

Well Gallup has a new poll out and Obama has a 10 point lead over Clinton.

If Clinton should lose Pennsylvania then I think she should step down.

Looks like Obama wins big among the Texas Delegates.

Huge delays frustrate delegates at district conventions

Tarrant Democrats encounter mass confusion in caucuses' 2nd round

By ANNA M. TINSLEY, AMAN BATHEJA and SARAH BAHARIStar-Telegram staff writers

Barack Obama appeared to be pulling ahead of Hillary Clinton in the fight for Texas delegates Saturday after a chaotic day when tens of thousands of Democrats turned out to participate in the next step of the presidental nomination process.

Some delegates, confused and frustrated by hours-long delays and disorganization, eventually gave up and left after eight or more hours, still not sure whether their vote had counted.

"Please move a bit faster," urged delegate Whitney Larkins, who attended the largest senatorial district convention in Tarrant County, at Will Rogers Coliseum. "Have some consideration. Think about those of us who took time out of our lives to participate in this."

With half the conventions reporting statewide, The Associated Press reported Obama with 59 percent of the delegates to 41 percent for Clinton. Obama had 1,858 delegates going to the state convention, compared with Clinton's 1,270.

Large conventions such as those in Houston, Dallas and Austin were expected to run late into the night. In Tarrant County, Obama won two of three senatorial district conventions, with the results of the third still not available at 11:30 p.m.

Obama's campaign claimed victory Saturday night.

"The voters of Texas confirmed Sen. Obama's important delegate win in the Lone Star State," spokesman Josh Earnest said. "The American people are ready for change in Washington and new leadership in the White House that will stand up for working families."

But Clinton's supporters were not ready to concede.

"Hillary Clinton was very competitive with the delegate count," said Sergio DeLeon, a Tarrant County constable and volunteer with the Clinton campaign. "Barack Obama's campaign will not be able to claim any bragging rights after [Saturday's] conventions."

At stake are the 67 delegates that will be divvied up through the state's caucus system. In the March 4 primary, Clinton won Texas' popular vote 51-47 percent, giving her 65 delegates and Obama 61.

Supporters of both candidates made various challenges through the day at most conventions, contesting votes and delegates on the other side.

District 9: Arlington

By the end of the day, few people were not questioning the way Texas elects its delegates.

In Arlington, delegates were still signing in two hours after the convention was scheduled to begin. Confusion reigned. People didn't know which line to stand in, where to go or what to do.

Frenzied volunteers spent the day fielding questions and giving directions. Some delegates gave up and left. Others chugged coffee or water while expressing dismay at the state's electoral system.

"There's a definite learning curve," said Shauna Kirland, an Obama supporter from Mansfield. "I wanted to make my vote count, but this is a very frustrating, unorganized process."

Just before 5 p.m., eight hours after people began arriving, precincts finally began meeting to elect delegates.

The air conditioning at Tarrant County College's Southeast Campus automatically shut off at 5. Half an hour later, people were fanning themselves and taking off sweaters and suit jackets.

When people shouted and urged the organizers to move faster, Marvin Sutton, the District 9 chairman, urged patience.

"We want the will of the voters to prevail," Sutton told delegates.

Detra G. Carmichael of Arlington walked to the front during one delay.

"What can we do to make sure this never happens again?" she said. "We've been here since the early morning, and we're still waiting."

The crowd, exhausted, cheered.

Officials said Saturday night that they didn't know how many of the 59 delegates that the district will send to the state convention will be for Obama or Clinton. But final results showed that 490 of the delegates at the district convention were for Obama; 164 were for Clinton.

District 10: Fort Worth

Thousands of delegates gathered at the Will Rogers Coliseum, where the arena floor was still covered in dirt from a cutting horse event.

Many waited for hours -- listening to candidate speeches, standing in line for food, listening to music blaring from the loudspeaker -- as they waited to sign in, get credentials or vote on delegates.

By 6 p.m., less than half of those who came in the morning remained.

"This is a very frustrating process," said Al Wade, an Obama delegate. "You'd think it was designed by Republicans to irritate Democrats."

Through the day, officials urged delegates not to leave. After hours of delays, many increasingly frustrated delegates began speaking out.

"I make a motion that this nonsense end right now and we take this to the state," one unidentified man said to convention leaders.

After a while, delegates left in droves.

"It shouldn't have been this difficult," said Donna Domm, a Clinton delegate who left after 11 hours. "It's very disorganized."

Willa Morehouse, an Obama delegate, agreed.

"It was real tiresome -- wait, sit, sit, wait, wait, sit, sit, wait," she said. "It was a hassle I could have done without."

Results were not available by 11:30 p.m.

District 12: Grapevine

A shoddy sound system and widespread uncertainty about the process left many of the more than 2,000 delegates at the Gaylord Texan Resort & Convention Center frustrated.

"I understand this is supposed to build community, but I mean this is all kind of a joke if you ask me," said Tim Bialek, an Obama supporter from North Richland Hills. "It's like how many Democrats does it take to screw in a light bulb? That's what everyone is waiting in line for."

Tensions flared around noon over how to handle precinct caucus results that were challenged. There were 87 challenges from Senate District 12; the majority of the challenges came from the Clinton campaign.

Rather than waiting for a credentials committee to make recommendations on each challenge, convention leaders suggested splitting the challenged precincts evenly for Obama and Clinton.

The crowd roared a definitive "no" at the initial suggestion. A second vote on the idea failed. Organizers warned that the caucus could go until midnight if each challenge had to be heard individually. Several Obama supporters suggested that the effort was an attempt by the Clinton campaign to steal delegates.

"We will caucus until midnight to get our man in office," said Obama supporter Mindy Barton of Fort Worth.

Around 3 p.m., the delegates addressed all 87 challenges in one vote, accepting the recommendations of the credentials committee.

Despite the early drama, the convention appeared to go more smoothly than many other large conventions in North Texas. Most participants left by 6 p.m. after they caucused for their candidate.

A final tally had Obama with 108 delegates and Clinton with 84.

This report includes material from The Associated Press.

Returning to the polls

Early voting for the April 8 runoff elections begins Monday. Voters can vote from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. through April 4 at 32 locations. Find one at www.

News from the Votemaster

He suggests we read this article by Karl Rove. I went grudgingly and read it, all 4 pages. I think you should too.

How to Win in a Knife Fight

The Democratic race could well come down to the first contested convention in years. Lessons on how to prevail.

Apr 7, 2008 Issue

After the last Democratic primary is held in early June, neither Hillary Clinton nor Barack Obama will have enough votes from delegates elected in caucuses or primaries to be declared the nominee. Obama would have to win 76 percent and Clinton 98 percent of the 535 delegates that are at stake in the final eight contests. Neither will happen.

Both sides are frantically wooing the 330 uncommitted superdelegates, who will decide the race. Obama supporters emphasize that he's ahead in the popular vote and argue that superdelegates should respect the wishes of the primary voters (except in the states he lost, of course). They suggest Obama would do better with independents and Republicans in the fall; they argue Hillary Clinton is a flawed, secretive candidate who was wrong on Iraq and dissembles about her experience. Clinton partisans point to her victories in big battleground states and say superdelegates should act in the best interests of the party. They paint Barack Obama as an inexperienced, untested, overly ambitious candidate with a thin résumé who will fall to the Republican attack machine.

It's highly unlikely that these undecided superdelegates will tilt one way or the other before June, unless one candidate reels off a string of strong, unexpected victories. There has been talk of a "superdelegate primary" that month, whereby they'd be forced to make a decision and bring the increasingly vitriolic race to a close. But the Clinton camp in particular is talking about the "months" to come until a decision is reached, and it's even possible the Democratic nominee won't be decided until the Denver convention in late August.

It's been a while since the last contested convention. So, drawing on the 180-year history of presidential nominating conventions, let me suggest a few rules for winning in Denver.

Rule #1: Control the Convention Mechanism.

If you set the rules, decide who votes, organize the event and control what is said, it's almost impossible to lose. So while Democratic National Committee chief Howard Dean is ostensibly in charge, both candidates would be well advised to gain control of the levers of the convention.

Three committees are key. The Rules Committee is where trouble can begin. Someone will come up with a smooth-sounding rules change that will give one candidate the advantage or the appearance of having a majority of the delegates. There will be an early test vote: the key is to pick what it is and win it. It's likely to be obscure—the election of a temporary chairman, say—or contrived. But it will establish who's in charge.

Now go read the other 3 pages

Well the Congress is back in session today after their 2 week spring break.

I am sick of the media convincing people that the Democrats are accomplishing nothing. The media says that because they would rather tell you that than tell you the Republicans are filibustering and blocking the Democrats from doing WE THE PEOPLE business.

GO SEE for yourself and then tell me they are doing nothing.

I suggest signing up for Nancy Pelosi’s email list.

From Harry Reid and Senate Democrats

Can you imagine the money lost in the stock market had Social security been privatized? BILLIONS!

While I worried about Social Security being privatized banks and mortgage companies were plotting to steal peoples biggest nest eggs, their homes. Deregulation allowed the sub-prime mess and now the Free Market is being bailed out with billions of dollars of our tax money.

Bush won’t bail out those cheated but instead chooses to help those who stole American’s houses.

Candidates divided on threat to Social Security

By David Lightman | McClatchy Newspapers

GREENSBURG, Pa. — When Richard Sackett told the crowd here recently why Social Security was important, there was no debate.

He recalled how, in 1942, his father died in a nearby coal mine, and the $30 or so that his mother and her three children received in monthly survivor benefits allowed them to stay financially afloat.

"There are a lot of benefits," he explained to a Hillary Clinton rally, "that people don't even realize are there."

Social Security matters a lot to people in this state, the site of a Democratic presidential primary on April 22. Some 15.2 percent of the state's population was older than 65 in 2006, compared with 12.4 percent of the entire country.

As the candidates try to position themselves as champions of Social Security, however, they too often misrepresent the threats to the venerable system.

"None of the candidates is speaking very honestly to the American public about the magnitude of the problem," said Isabel Sawhill, a senior fellow in economic studies at the Brookings Institution, a Washington research group.

Clinton, who relies heavily on older voters in state after state, has pushed particularly hard. The New York senator told the appreciative crowd at a college gym here that Arizona Sen. John McCain, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee, wants to "continue President Bush's efforts to privatize Social Security."

"Now, for the life of me, I cannot understand how Senator McCain can find money for 100 more years in Iraq and tax cuts for the wealthiest but not for Social Security," she added.

Radical steps such as privatization aren't needed, she argued.

"We debunked the cynical claim that Social Security was in crisis and we won," Clinton said, recalling how President Bush tried to overhaul the system three years ago.

Rival Barack Obama also rejects privatization and says, "I absolutely agree that Social Security is not in crisis; it is a fundamentally sound system, but it does have a problem, long term."

The Illinois senator is offering his own remedies for the system — such as imposing more Social Security taxes on high-income wage-earners, who don't now pay the tax on earnings of more than $102,000 — and saying that if he's elected he'd "convene a meeting as president where we discuss all of the options that are available."

Clinton fires back that Obama wants to raise taxes on the middle class.

Clinton, though, is only partially correct when she says that the system doesn't face an immediate crisis, and somewhat disingenuous when she claims that McCain is promoting private accounts.

McCain's definitive position is difficult to ascertain. He calls Social Security and Medicare funding a problem that needs to be addressed quickly. "No problem is more in need of honesty than the looming financial challenges of entitlement programs," he says.

He told The Wall Street Journal on March 3 that "as part of Social Security reform, I believe that private savings accounts are a part of it — along the lines that President Bush proposed."

In 2005, Bush described his proposal: "As we fix Social Security," he said that summer, "we must make it a better deal for our younger workers by allowing them to put part of their payroll taxes in personal retirement accounts." Such accounts would be voluntary, and the funds would go into what Bush called "a conservative mix of bond and stock funds."

Despite McCain's apparent endorsement of that plan, economic policy adviser Douglas Holtz-Eakin said in an interview this week that McCain wasn't endorsing replacing guaranteed Social Security benefits with such accounts.

Here's where the confusion comes in. Holtz-Eakin said that McCain wouldn't rule out anything, because if he's elected he'd gather all parties and interests and try to fashion a workable compromise.

Social Security's financial problem is one that experts don't see becoming oppressive until 2041, when the system's trustees estimate that it will run out of money. It's expected to begin paying out more than it's taking in by 2017, however.

Since the government is using the current Social Security balance to help fund the budget, Washington soon will have to find new ways to make up its deficits, perhaps with spending cuts or tax increases.

"It's true that the system is not in crisis, but that doesn't mean there's not a big problem," Brookings' Sawhill said.

Rudolph Penner, a senior fellow at the Urban Institute and a former director of the Congressional Budget Office, said the problem involved how the next president could trim the huge federal budget deficit. Major tax increases are unlikely, and spending cuts in discretionary programs simply aren't enough to make a major dent.

At the same time, costs for Social Security — as well as Medicare and Medicaid, which face a more immediate financial crunch — will keep going up. "Unless they do something about growth (in those programs) the new president will be handcuffed," Penner said.

Waiting until Social Security faces a full-blown financial crisis could mean drastic changes, said John Laitner, the director of the Michigan Retirement Research Center.

The candidates are aware of the looming problem, and all pledge high-level commissions or discussions.

But in the world of hardball politics, less than a month before a Pennsylvania primary that will help determine the Democratic nominee, specifics are the stuff of Web sites and position papers. Pennsylvania wants the red meat of reassurance, and Clinton and Obama are giving it to them.

Thank goodness, said Sackett, the 77-year-old retiree from Greensburg who's going for Clinton. "My mother didn't work, and we didn't have anything after my father died. That little bit of Social Security money was the only thing we could turn to," he recalled.

"Young people today want Social Security privatized," he said.

But they should think what would happen if a parent were killed in the war on terrorism. "They would leave behind a mother and children," Sackett said. "You can't tell me those children would not need Social Security benefits."

March 29, 2008

Freed Ex-Governor of Alabama Talks of Abuse of Power


MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Former Gov. Don Siegelman of Alabama, released from prison Friday on bond in a bribery and corruption case, said he was as convinced as ever that politics had played a leading role in his prosecution.

Speaking by telephone in his first post-prison interview, shortly after he had left the federal penitentiary at Oakdale, La., Mr. Siegelman said there had been “abuse of power” in his case, and repeatedly cited Karl Rove, the former White House political director.

“His fingerprints are smeared all over the case,” Mr. Siegelman said, a day after a federal appeals court ordered him released on bond and said there were legitimate questions about his case. He was sentenced to serve seven years last June after a guilty verdict on bribery and corruption charges a year earlier.

In measured tones after spending nine months at the prison, the former governor, a Democrat, said he would press to have Mr. Rove answer questions to Congress about his possible involvement in the case.

“When Attorney General Gonzales and Karl Rove left office in a blur, they left the truth buried in their documents,” Mr. Siegelman said, referring to Alberto R. Gonzales. “It’s going to be my quest to encourage Congress to ensure that Karl Rove either testifies, or takes the Fifth.”

Mr. Rove, who once ran judicial campaigns here and has long denied any involvement in the Siegelman case, could not be reached for comment Friday, but his lawyer, Robert Luskin, dismissed the accusation.

“There’s absolutely, positively, no truth to any of the allegations and literally no evidence for any of it,” Mr. Luskin said.

The House Judiciary Committee has already held a hearing on Mr. Siegelman and has called the former governor to testify at another.

On Thursday, the United States Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit, in Atlanta, ordered Mr. Siegelman released while he appeals his conviction, overturning an earlier decision by an Alabama federal judge who had ruled that the former governor should remain in jail. State Democratic officials have accused that judge, Mark E. Fuller, of playing politics because of his close ties to Republicans.

The investigation, trial and conviction of Mr. Siegelman, a veteran politician, has become a flash point for broader Democratic contentions that politics has influenced decisions by the Justice Department under President Bush, including the firings of several United States attorneys, and other federal prosecutions besides Mr. Siegelman’s.

In June 2006, a federal jury here convicted Mr. Siegelman of taking $500,000 from Richard M. Scrushy, the former chief executive of the HealthSouth Corporation, in exchange for an appointment to the state hospital licensing board.

The money was to retire a debt from Mr. Siegelman’s campaign for a state lottery to pay for schools, and his lawyers have insisted it was no more than a routine political contribution. They also cited the fact that Mr. Scrushy had served on the licensing board under three previous governors, as an indication that appointment to it could not have been deemed a reward.

Federal prosecutors say Mr. Siegelman was liable on the loan, and thus had a personal interest in the money.

The appellate court ruling said Mr. Siegelman had raised “substantial questions” in his appeal. That was seen by the former governor’s lawyers and other supporters as a signal that their central contention — that he was wrongly convicted for ordinary political activity — has hope of prevailing.

At least one legal expert, previously skeptical of Mr. Siegelman’s arguments, said he was “surprised” by the new ruling, which he characterized as unusual.

“It’s quite rare for the appellate court to substitute its view and displace everything that came before,” said the expert, Stephen Gillers, a professor at New York University School of Law.

The ruling was “not a promise of reversal, but it should give him great confidence,” said Mr. Gillers, suggesting that the ruling could have been influenced by “contextual” factors like the firings of the federal prosecutors.

Speaking by telephone outside the prison, Mr. Siegelman said he had confidence that the federal appeals court, which now considers his larger appeal, would agree with his view of the case.

Otherwise, he said, “every governor and every president and every contributor might as well turn themselves in, because it’s going to be open season on them.”

In Alabama, the Siegelman case has inflamed partisan passions, with Republicans describing Mr. Siegelman’s term from 1998 to 2002 as deeply corrupt, and Democrats furious over what they depict as a years-long political witch hunt.

In a sworn statement, a Republican lawyer and political operative, Jill Simpson, told of hearing one of Mr. Rove’s allies here, William Canary, discussing Mr. Siegelman during the 2002 governor’s race, and saying “that he had already gotten it worked out with Karl and Karl had spoken with the Department of Justice and the Department of Justice was already pursuing Don Siegelman.” The United States attorney here, Leura G. Canary, is married to Mr. Canary.

That statement has been the basis for a tide of speculation about possible conspiracies that continues to swirl here.

Mr. Siegelman has been one of this state’s most visible political figures for decades, having also served as secretary of state, attorney general and lieutenant governor. He was elected governor in 1998, but was narrowly defeated by a Republican in 2002, while he was under a much-publicized investigation.

Early Friday, the former governor completed his prison chores for the day — mopping a barracks area — and waited for his wife and son to pick him up for the eight-hour drive home to Birmingham, Ala.

“I was in prison,” Mr. Siegelman said afterward, when asked about his life at Oakdale. “I was treated like a prisoner. I’m not going to complain about the way I was treated.”

He added: “It feels great to be out. I wish I could say it was over. But we’re a long way from the end of this.”

Bush booed loudly while throwing out first pitch in Nationals home opener.

President Bush delivered the first pitch tonight at the new Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. to a resounding chorus of boos. After being announced, Bush was showered by boos as he strode to the mound. Even after Bush delivered the pitch, the jeering did not let up until the President disappeared from the field.

Watch it:

Also from Think Progress

Krugman On Bush-McCain Response To Housing Crisis: ‘It’s Like Katrina’ To Say ‘Let People Suffer’»

Last week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) spoke to the Orange County Hispanic Small Business Roundtable in California on solving the nation’s economic woes. During that speech, he stated that he does not believe the federal government should assist struggling homeowners:

I have always been committed to the principle that it is not the duty of government to bail out and reward those who act irresponsibly, whether they are big banks or small borrowers.

McCain instead advocated a laissez faire approach, saying that he would “convene a meeting of the nation’s accounting professionals” and “top mortgage lenders” and try to persuade them to voluntarily help Americans.

Today on ABC This Week, former Labor secretary Robert Reich and New York Times columnist Paul Krugman compared McCain’s approach to Herbert Hoover. “John McCain makes Herbert Hoover look like an activist,” said Reich. Krugman then added that ignoring the housing crisis is just as bad as the administration’s response after Hurricane Katrina:

It would be a little different if the administration said housing prices are going up. If they hadn’t said there’s no bubble. It’s a national disaster in effect. It’s like Katrina. To say, oh, let people suffer, saying let those people who made the mistake of staying in New Orleans suffer.

Watch it:

A very sad day indeed.

Dith Pran, Killing Fields survivor, dead at 65

by Frank James

One of the most haunting movies many of us have ever watched was "The Killing Fields," the story of the Cambodian genocide as witnessed by photojournalist Dith Pran who survived those hellish years to work for the New York Times.

That movie was so powerful and painful it has stayed with many of us for nearly a quarter of a century.

And that meant that in an almost mystical way, Dith was with us too, even with those of us who never had the opportunity to meet him.

Word comes today that Dith has died of pancreatic cancer at the age of 65. So he no longer walks among the living.

It is sad that he is gone. But at least we are comforted by knowing that his death came not at the hands of the murderous Khmer Rouge but of nature's killing field.

There is also some satisfaction that in surviving some of the worst human evil imaginable, he was able to continue his career as a journalist and to faithfully raise awareness about the Cambodian genocide.

Over the years, there was always a special fascination for many of us when we saw a photo in the NYT that Dith had taken. It could be a picture of something relatively run-of-the-mill, of a person in a Times profile, or of some everyday event.

But the fact that it was a Dith photo, that you were seeing something through Dith's eyes, a man who once walked among the dead, was once given up for dead himself, always made any photo of his something noteworthy, at least to me.

Dith may be gone now, but he is still with us. We have his photos. And we will always carry with us his remarkable story, as told by "The Killing Fields."

The Los Angeles Times has a worthy obituary to Dith which you can read here.

Military wives cashing in as surrogates


Monday, March 31st 2008, 4:00 AM

While their husbands are dodging bullets overseas, some military wives are renting out their wombs.

That's according to a Newsweek report that identifies military wives as part of a sharp increase in surrogate births.

Technology has made it easier for infertile couples to consider hiring surrogates to carry their babies through pregnancy, usually in exchange for money, according to the magazine.

For women struggling to rear their own children while their husbands are off in Iraq or Afghanistan, the money is bounteous - often more for a single pregnancy than their husbands earn in a year at war.

New military enlistees earn from $16,080 to $28,900, while one of the surrogates told Newsweek she was lured by an ad promising up to $20,000 to carry and deliver a baby.

That woman, military wife Gernisha Myers, 24, said she had fond memories of her own two pregnancies - "all those rushing hormones," she said - and she wanted to help.

"I am doing something good for somebody else. I am giving another couple what they could never have on their own - a family," Myers said.

Military wives make good candidates for surrogate pregnancies because their health insurance covers many expenses.

Military women also might be more inclined than nonmilitary women to put up with hormone treatments, morning sickness, swollen feet and the risk of a C-section, according to Newsweek.

"In the military, we have that mentality of going to extremes, fighting for your country, risking your life," said surrogate Jennifer Hansen, 25, a mother of two and a paralegal in Lincoln, Neb., whose husband, Army Sgt. Chase Hansen, has been deployed to Iraq for two of the past five years.

"I think that being married to someone in the military embeds those values in you. I feel I'm taking a risk now, in less of a way than he is, but still a risk with my life and body to help someone."





Forcibly removed by UK Home Office security guards and kicked off the plane by KRG national Guards :

Following yesterday’s forcible deportation of 60 Iraqi Kurds, IFIR has received several reports from some of those forcibly returned. The Iraqi asylum seekers were escorted by Home Office guards on to a German aircraft from a UK airport; there was one guard per asylum seeker.

The Iraqi asylum seekers were from different places: some from Mosul, others from Kirkuk. Sherwan reported that they arrived at Arbil airport at 3am in the morning. The asylum seekers were confused, tired and did not know where they had landed.

When they refused to leave the plane the Home Office guards called the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) guards. Approximately twenty five KRG guards with guns boarded the plane. The KRG Guards pushed and threatened the asylum seekers off the plane on to two waiting coaches.

At the airport the asylum seekers noticed three jeeps observing them which they thought they contained UNHCR personnel, but they were not allowed to talk to the people in the jeeps.

They were transported from the airport to Ain Kawa Bridge. (Ain Kawa is a small place near Erbil.) They were left under the Ain Kawa Bridge, many of them injured and all having lost their lugguage (including their mobile phones).

Sherwan ended his report by saying that the KRG Guards knew nothing about human rights: ”If I had seen it in a film I would not have believed it”.

Rizgar Bahem from Mosul protested at being dropped at Ainkawa Bridge. He tried to reason with the Guards saying ”I am not from Kurdistan, why are you leaving me here?”. The leader of the Guards responded by hitting him with the muzzle of his gun and pushed him off the coach.

Bashdar Ali, Kurdistan representative of International Federation of Iraqi Refugees in Iraq, said there will be a press conference and they will organise a demonstration to condemn the terrible treatment that the forcibly returned asylum seekers were subjected to by the KRG guards.

IFIR in the UK and Coalition to Stop Deportations to Iraq are planning a meeting in Parliament hosted by John McDonnell and European wide protests; the times and dates will follow.


Dashty Jamal

Secretary of International Federation of Iraqi Refugee-IFIR

Sulaimanya, 28.03.2008

For more information or to join the campaign contact Dashty Jamal Secretary, International Federation of Iraqi Refugees on 07856032991 l, or Sarah Parker from csdiraq.on 0208-809-0633 email or Karen Johnson on 07804891082 See also our website

IFIR:PO.BOX1575,ILFOD, IG1 3BZ, LONDON UK Tel:0044 7856032991


: The U.S. economy and democrats :

In the article "Democrats and the Economy" published in the Wallstreet Journal on March 27, 2008 by Stephen J. Rose, the author reiterates that the Democrats of the United States are looked upon as the representatives of the middle class and considering the current unstable economic situation, the democrats are finding the 2008 elections to be an easy victory. However, Stephen Rose emphasizes on the fact that democrats could be making a critical mistake by confusing the 2008 elections with 1929, because although it seems the economy is entering another recession, majority of the middle class families earn a good enough income. Also, the article states that the democrats are confusing bad times with pessimism when many American's are optimistic about their situation and the economy. Most harmful mistake the democrats are making is offering the Americans only security rather than success, in a time where they vision nothing but success to stay head.

The 2008 elections seem to be one of the hardest for the voting members of the Democratic Party, because they are torn between a charming, charismatic, intelligent and young candidate who happens to be an African American and a powerful successful feminist, with lot's of experience, and equally intelligent as her opponent if not more. Barack Obama can be seen as a man with full charisma that is always looking up the ladder for greater achievements. Bearing in mind the previous elections and presidents and the current economic situation that keeps worsening many American's are ready for a change and a fresh new start, which coincide with Obama's characteristic. This hunger for a fresh new beginning and a new face gives many the hopes for a new way of approaching problems and overcoming the breakdown in the economy. On the other hand, Hillary Clinton is to every extent with many different advantages of her own. She has a long experience in the white house and has proven to be a successful politician in her political career. She stands firm with her goal to restore trust of the world in the U.S., to rebuild the middle class, ensure the future of the American children as well as to reform the government. With both candidates for the Democratic Party having strong policies if elected it is hard for the voters to distinguish between Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton for the 44th president of the United States.

Being a young Kurdish American woman, I am personally torn between the two leading candidates for presidency as well. It is significant that the next president of the United States is deeply concerned about the economical situation we are in now and many alternative ways to prevent another major recession. Also, it is very important that he/she is focused on education and creating jobs to prevent higher unemployment rate. Another major issue is the issue of the war on Iraq and other countries that we are currently involved in. The reputation of the Unites States is at stake, therefore the next president must be careful and thoughtful about bring our troops home, if not it will lead to major disasters. I realize that the candidates for the Democratic Party are supportive in bringing the troops home which I am too; however, we must keep in mind that countries such as Iraq are currently unstable, and if we bring the American military home without caution then it could be detrimental for the citizens of Iraq as well as the Americans, since we are leaving the business as unfinished. A major concern is the struggle of the Kurdish region in northern Iraq, although it has maintained stability since the war on Iraq began it can all go to waste taking into account the unstable region in south Iraq or south of southern Kurdistan.

Although, I strongly believe that the Democratic Party of this year's election will regain a positive change in the economy compared to the Republican Party, however, in order for the candidate to win my vote and possibly the vote of many Kurds is to have a clear picture about the future goals of the war on Iraq and the safety and security of the citizens of the region as well as the American troops. So far, Hillary has been very precise about emphasizing on bringing the troops home, but at the same time she remembers to point out that she will in a cautious manner. As for Obama, as much as it is nice to see a young new face that could bring major positive change, it is risky and he has yet to convince me that he is keeping in mind safety measures for both the American public and citizens of the that part of the world, about bringing the American military home from Iraq.


AP Ohio soldier's remains found in Iraq

Sgt. Keith Matthew Maupin's parents vowed to never let the U.S. Army forget about finding their son. Their efforts included trips to the Pentagon and even meeting with President Bush, but they ended in disappointment Sunday: An Army general told them the remains of Maupin, a soldier who had been listed as missing-captured in Iraq since 2004, had been found.

New York Times Firsthand Look at Basra Shows Value of White Flag

I walked, ran and crawled into central Basra on Thursday, constantly dropping to the ground because of gun battles between Mahdi Army militiamen and the Iraqi Army and the police.

Washington Post On a Baghdad Street, Palpable Despair

The mortar shells sailed across the sky Sunday evening and ripped through the corrugated tin roof of the barbershop. They shattered brick walls, mangled beams and knocked over leather chairs. Smoke, debris and glass covered the street outside.

Los Angeles Times Iraq cleric Sadr orders end to fighting

Radical cleric Muqtada Sadr on Sunday ordered his followers to lay down their weapons, offering Shiite Muslims a way out of six days of fighting that has left more than 350 people dead and exposed the weakness of Iraq's government and security forces.

03/31/08 AP: Baghdad's Green Zone attacked again

The fortified Green Zone in Iraq's capital came under mortar or rocket attack again Monday, despite the call a day before from a radical Shiite cleric for his fighters to stand down.

03/31/08 AFP: Sadr fighters disappear from Iraq's streets Gun-toting fighters of hardline cleric Moqtada al-Sadr melted from the streets on Monday after days of fierce clashes with security forces as a curfew in Baghdad was lifted and eased in Basra.


03/31/08 AP: 2 U.K. soldiers killed in Afghanistan

A blast struck a NATO patrol in southern Afghanistan, killing two British soldiers, officials said Monday. The British troops were airlifted to a military hospital after they were caught in the explosion during a routine patrol...

03/30/08 WaPo: British Troops, Taliban In a Tug of War Over Afghan Province

Perched on the banks of the Helmand River, this desolate town occupied by British forces marks Afghanistan's de facto border: Beyond here, the Afghan government is powerless and Taliban insurgents hold sway...

03/30/08 dailytimes: Pak-Afghan Friendship Bus hijacked again

The Pak-Afghan Friendship Bus was hijacked for two hours by protesters in the presence of a Khasadar Force official in the Khyber tribal region on Saturday, officials and eyewitnesses said.

03/30/08 CP: France to send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan

French President Nicolas Sarkozy will tell Britain that France will send 1,000 more troops to Afghanistan but it's unclear where in the troubled country will they be deployed, the Times said Saturday.

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Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home

Bush' Way of Bringing the Troops Home
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