Friday, May 23, 2008

The race continues

CBS News online features a conversation with Doug Schoen who is smart but dead wrong on one aspect, not calling out nonsense. CBS News tells him, "A lot of Obama partisans have argued that his weaknesses are exaggerated right now in the heat of a primary battle. They say that in this environment in which 80 percent of the public thinks we're on the wrong track, Bush has the highest disapproval of any President in modern history, that this is a Democratic year and Obama will do fine." Bully Boy is not running for a third term. That's the sort of weak-ass nonsense the Barack campaign offers daily. Give it up, it's not going to work. But let's deal with their "80 percent of the public thinks we're on the wrong track!" so any Dem will win. Today is March 23, 2008. Via CBS News, travel back with us to May 24, 2004. John Kerry was the nominee (due to everyone else dropping out after Kerry won the needed number of delegates from primaries and caucuses). And Bully Boy was in the White House. How many Americans thought the country was on the "wrong track"? 65%. 65% and Kerry couldn't pull out a win. In four years 15% more Americans think it's the wrong track and The Cult of Obama would have you believe (a) that is significant in terms of November and (b) that's astounding! It's neither. A lousy candidate can't close the deal with the public. [Bully Boy had a 41% approval rating then. Polls taken this month put him at a low of 28% with a high of 33% on approval. That's not a huge shift either. But, again, Bully Boy is not John McCain. It's interesting that the Barack campaign keeps screaming they are being "smeared by association" when their entire McCain counter-strategy appears to smear McCain by association.]

That's from C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" and I wanted to note it at the top. A number of things from the snapshots have been ripped off without credit in the last two months and that probably will be as well. I know it's an issue with the community (the ripping off) and I know C.I. will never comment on it or acknowledge it. That's just how C.I. is. But let it be known that I have no problem calling out the thieves. If you see them, feel free to e-mail. I'm damn sick of it. There are two sites in particular that apparently would have little two write about were they not able to raid the snapshot and apparently ego is so almighty that something as simple as typing, "C.I. points out . . ." is just too much of a task for them.

Here's Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: The Popular Vote Leader" (HillaryClinton.com):

The Popular Vote Leader: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about Tuesday night’s contests: "Hillary Clinton netted approximately 150,000 votes and is now poised to finish the primary season as the popular-vote leader. In some quaint circles, presumably, these things still matter...If you believe that the most important precept in democratic politics is to 'count every vote,' then...Clinton leads Obama by 71,301 votes." Read more.
Hillary Strongest in Swing States: A Quinnipiac University poll out yesterday shows Hillary's continued strength in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania…She leads Sen. McCain by 7 in both Florida and Ohio and by 13 in Pennsylvania.
Read more.
Overriding Bush’s Farm Bill Veto: In a statement yesterday, Hillary said: "I was proud to stand with my Senate colleagues in overriding President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill by a vote of 82 to 13. This bill is now law, and will move us further down the path to energy independence, provide a safety net for family farmers, enhance nutrition programs, require Country-of-Origin labeling, and improve access to broadband in rural communities...Senator McCain has made it clear that he agrees with President Bush on farm policy. Americans will have a real choice this fall -- between a candidate who supports rural America and family farms and John McCain, who offers a continuation of President Bush's failed policies." Read more.
Why I'm Supporting Hillary: One New York farmer says, "My passion is ensuring that we have family farms for future generations and that American agriculture is strong. I know Hillary understands and supports that!...Like South Dakota, New York is home to family farms (about 34,000), and I KNOW she will make the best president for producers and rural South Dakotans alike." Read more.
In Case You Missed It: A member of the Kansas City Star editorial board writes this to Hillary in a memo: "I have only two words to share with you about your valiant quest to become the 44th president of the United States and the first woman to hold the highest office in the land: Don’t quit."
Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary attends a "Solutions for Securing South Dakota’s Future" conversation in Brandon, SD and a "Solutions for Securing South Dakota’s Future" town hall in Brookings, SD.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary travels to Puerto Rico for island campaign events.


Hillary's not just still in the race, she's winning. Don't let anyone lie to you and get away with it. The campaign is not over -- the media just wants to shut it down.

But haven't they been in the tank for Barack all along?

The first week of June, the last primary is held. After that, neither candidate has reached the number of delegates rewarded to a candidate.

The thing is supposed to go to the convention.

At the convention, it's a floor fight and it's going to determine (or should) on who is the stronger candidate. That's Hillary.

She won the popular vote. It's her nomination. She has the experience.

Barack has his tattered slogans and not much more.

They're tired and old.

Equally true is that he is trying to make himself the nominee currently (and, of course, the press is helping). That's not a bad thing. He's already practically a rightist and this will just demonstrate that more and more as he tacks to the right.

The race isn't over and Hillary holds the lead.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, May 23, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, Bully Boy rises to his level (latrines) and more.

Starting with war resistance.
On Wednesday, US war resister and Iraq War veteran Corey Glass was informed by the Canadian government that he had until June 12th to leave the country or he would be deported. While a large chunck of the left and 'left' play dumb, stupid silent (including Amy Goodman who still hasn't informed her audiences of the decision), "digitaljournal.com" ("The Power of Citizen Journalism") notes Glass by repeating the lies the left and "left" have allowed to take hold: "Military service today is voluntary, not compulsory. There is no draft. Men and women in uniform today are they because they have enlisted or been commissioned of their own accord, not because they have been called into service by the draft board."

Canada didn't base the decision on there being a draft. The US involvement in Vietnam was illegal, it was a slaughter. Their decision wasn't about the draft. This is so remedial but apparently still needed. There were "draft dodgers" and "deserters." The former was a male who had been called out but did not report for induction. The latter was someone who was part of the military and decided to leave. They were both welcomed in Canada. Had "draft dodgers" been the only ones welcomed (legally) then digitaljournal.com would have a point. But that's not reality. "Deserters," members of the military who checked out, were welcomed into Canada. There was no question about, "Wait, you were drafted, right? You didn't enlist on your own, did you?" There was no, "Oh, wait! You chose to enlist. Sorry, no safe haven for you." The safe haven was not dependent on the draft during Vietnam. That is a lie.

We apparently need to again review. From the
April 1st snapshot, (no quotes, we're just going to run it together) . . . During Vietnam, American males could go to Canada and seek asylum. There were two categories "draft dodgers" -- which everyone seems to remember -- and "deserters." A "draft doger" (also known as a "draft resister") was someone who had been called up. A "deserter" was someone already in the service. Canada's asylum then was not conditional upon someone being drafted. Those who were in the military and elected to resist were waived on through the border and welcomed the same way. There was no additional burden placed on them. They were not required, for instance, to prove that, yes, they were in the service, but they had been drafted into it. A male who chose to enlist and then began resisting after he was serving could go to Canada and be granted asylum. Pot apparently smoked the brains of not only our left 'leaders' of that period -- a pot haze is the only thing to explain the repeating of the lies of the draft -- but the Canadian education system failed to educate their citizenry on recent history because an editorial board that wants to argue -- as one did last week and all the right-wing Canadian cites have re-posted it -- that Canada should say "no" to today's war resisters because there was a draft during Vietnam and Canada only took in "draft dodgers" is merely flaunting how ignorant everyone serving on the editorial board is.

Had Canada put in a place a qualifier that said, "We will take war resisters but only those who have seen duty in Vietnam," Canada still would have been swarmed with some of the same war resisters. "Draft dodger" (or "draft resister") or "deserter," both cateogries were welcomed in Canada during Vietnam. That is reality and I'm sorry that the Canadian education system is so poor today. In terms of the US, honestly the same male 'leaders' of the left tripping out on tales of the draft today hurt the movement in many ways back then as well. They'll probably continue to do so when they are in their graves.

Then US president Gerald Ford pardoned Tricky Dick of crimes against the US citizenry, crimes against the US government, crimes against humanity and a great deal more. With the war resisters, he set conditions. Apparently he didn't think Tricky Dick's fat ass could make it through an obstacle course so he just waived Nixon on through. Ford granted war resisters an amnesty . . . . provided they went through a long process and met this criteria and that critieria and then, in the end, were judged to be worthy of the pardon. Having just pardoned the War Criminal Nixon, it was outrageous. Hearing an idiot, post-Ford's death, go on Democracy Now! and brag about Ford's program only explained to you just how much "establishment" is also in the left. In Canada (and I was visiting Canada when that program was announced) there was huge outrage and outcry -- from Canadians as well as US war resisters. Those who resisted the slaughter in Inochina were being asked to leep through hoop after hoop with no guarantee that if they made it through all the hoops they might be pardoned. Much speculation at the time was that it was a trap/trick to get US war resisters back in the United States where they would be tossed in prison. But Ford's program offered the obstacle course to both.

Jimmy Carter followed the Ford presidency. Carter didn't offer anything to deserters. Carter did offer draft resisters a limited asylum.In recent years, a number of war resisters from that era have been arrested while visiting the US. So there's really no excuse for people who lived through that time period to not know the difference. The only excuse is to provide cover for a peace movement that continues to struggle and to provide an excuse for your own inaction. (And to brag about days forty years ago which, let's face it, is all some left 'leaders' have to offer today having willingly been co-opted long ago.) Not grasping the difference, not speaking of that difference between reality then and 'reality' remembered now is hurting US war resisters and someone please throw a pie in the face of the next Baby Boom left male 'leader' who wants to gas bag about the hardships he endured due to the 'draft' that never found him called out because he knew how to game the system. It's the equivalent of fishing tales only damaging and it needs to stop. If you can't pie them, stop the males with, "When did you serve in Vietnam?" And when they stutter that they didn't, ask them how they got it. When they start to offer the tale of that 'invasive' physical, stop them and repeat, "I asked how you were able to avoid serving since you didn't go to Canada and you didn't go to Vietnam?" If one claims "I went underground" ask him, "From the time you turned 18 until Vietnam was over?" Because, no, the bulk of the 'leaders' jaw boning today did not go 'underground' and when a few did, it had nothing to do with the illegal war but everything to do with being kicked to the curb by the peace movement. But that's the story they never want to tell.

That's the
April 1st snapshot. We have gone over and over this: May 20, 2007, September 9, 2007, March 26, 2008, we could go on and on. David Postman (Seattle Times) outlined what Gerald Ford offered to war resisters: "a limited clemency for Vietnam draft resisters and military deserters." Here's Gerald Ford speaking in September of 1974 (and link has text and audio):

In my first week as President, I asked the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense to report to me, after consultation with other Governmental officials and private citizens concerned, on the status of those young Americans who have been convicted, charged, investigated, or are still being sought as draft evaders or military deserters.
On August 19, at the national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in the city of Chicago, I announced my intention to give these young people a chance to earn their return to the mainstream of American society so that they can, if they choose, contribute, even though belatedly, to the building and the betterment of our country and the world.

Get it? A lot of people don't. And some of them are 'helpful' 'friends'. This history hasn't just been lost, it's been distorted in outlets such as Democracy Now! where a 'friend' spoke of Carter and Ford's programs -- allegedly -- but was speaking of Ford's unknowingly. Jimmy Carter?
Here's how PBS's The NewsHour (then The MacNeil/Lehrer Report) reported Carter's program on January 21, 1977 (link has text, audio and video):

Just a day after Jimmy Carter's inaguration, he followed through on a contentious campaign promise, granting a presidential pardon to those who had avoided the draft during the Vietnam war by either not registering or traveling abroad. The pardon meant the government was giving up forever the right to prosecute what the administration said were hundreds of thousands of draft-dodgers. . . . Meanwhile, many in amnest groups say that Carter's pardon did too little. They pointed out that the president did not include deserters -- those who served in the war and left before their tour was completed -- or soliders who received a less-than-honorable discharge. Civilian protesters, selective service employees and those who initiated any act of violence also were not covered in the pardon.

Then US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman was among the four guests (and, in the seventies, with demands being made, there were two women and two men brought on for the report) and stated, "I'm pleased that the pardon was issued, I'm pleased that it was done on the first day and I'm pleased that President Carter kept a commitment that he made very clear to the American people. I would have liked to have seen it broader, I would like to have seen it extended to some of the people who are clearly not covered and whose families will continue to be separated from them . . . but I don't think President Carter has closed the door on this category of people." It's really clear. It hasn't been due to the fact that 'helpers' have continually gotten the facts wrong and we used to let that slide and think, "Oh, they mispoke. They'll correct themselves." But they never did. After March 2006 when a 'helper' got it so wrong, we started calling this crap out. You don't know your history, you need to stop speaking long enough to learn it. Obviously, you baked your mind with drugs.

Hope it was fun. But today's war resisters don't have to suffer because you repeatedly insist that "draft dodgers" went to Canada and they were the category provided safe harbor and it was just because there was a draft in the US. There is no draft today (and that's a good thing), you're nostalgia is not only distorting reality, it's damaging the chances of today's war resisters in Canada. Get your act together or get off the stage. Going on stage Saturday will be three war resisters who will speak as part of a presentation (including a film) from seven to nine p.m. at the First United Church, 435 21st St. W. in Owen Sound Canada for an event sponsored by the
Grey Bruce Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Grey Bruce Presbytery Peace and Justice Committee.

War resisters in Canada need support as they wait to see if the motion for safe harbor is going to come to the Parliament floor. You can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Lahey quotes NDP's Oliva Chow, who steered the motion, explaining, "If (Liberal leader) Stephane Dion were to say tomorrow that he supports this motion . . . we will then debate it. So we need people to call Mr. Dion . . . 'whose side you on Mr. Dion'?" The number to call is (613) 996-5789.

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

Turning to Iraq, the
Asia Times explains, "More than a million civilians have been disabled by the war in Iraq, and represent the most marginalised sector of society. They psychological traumas they bear create serious imbalances inside their families, and the central government is not paying attention." Voice of Iraq notes:

According to a study conducted by the International Disabled Persons' Organization (IDPO), in cooperation with the Iraqi ministries of labor and social affair, and health, there are over 1 million disabled persons, whose disability varies from mild to profound, in a country whose population is nearly 27 million.
There are an estimated 43,600 war disabled persons, including 5,600 who suffer from total disability, 100,000 amputees and over 100,000 blind persons, in addition to 205,000 who are threatened to lose their sight.
Abdul Ghaffar Saadi, the director of the mental disability department in the Labor Ministry, said that the mass media only focuses on the number of dead and wounded in the violence, but does not tackle the psychological or social effects on the victims and their families.

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

Bombings?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Falluja car bombing (police were attempting to defuse the bomb) that resulted in two police officers being wounded a Salahuddin Province roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 person and left three more wounded.

Shootings?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on 2 Iraqi troops in Salahuddin Province.

Corpses?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Today the
US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack 12 miles southwest of Baghdad, May 22." Sahar Issa(McClatchy Newspapers) notes: "A roadside bomb targeted a joint foot patrol in Bustan Albu Areim area, west Fallujah. The explosion killed 2 American soldiers, injured 1 in addition to killing 2 Iraqi army servicemen, said Fallujah Police. US military said, ' A Marine patrol was attacked just northwest of Fallujah by an IED at9:25 this morning. The attack occurred while conducting a dismounted patrol. One interpreter was killed, and there were six Marines wounded. All casualties have been evacuated and are under medical care'."

Reviewing one new topic and two topics noted in
yesterday's snapshot. Zachary Coile (San Francisco Chronicle) notes the 165 billion dollar war supplemental that the US Senate approved yesterday and that, on the veterans measure of college tuition, "New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said the country should honor its soldiers' service by paying their full tuition at a public university when they return home. 'This is not a half-measure or an empty gesture,' she said. 'This is a full and fair benefit to serve the men and women who serve us'." MTV News notes: "Things got exciting (um, by Congressional standards) in the Senate this morning [Thursday] as a bunch of Republicans switched their votes to YES at the last minute. Sen. Jim Webb's plan to increase the amount of money veterans get to go to school passed 75-22 as part of next year's funding package for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That wide margin of victory is good news, since President Bush has promised to veto the entire thing. We're not sure if you all remember how a bill becomes a law (hello, Saturday morning!), but that's a large enough majority for the Senate to override that veto." The always inept Barack attempted to grandstand and overplayed his hand in his attacks on John McCain (who was on the campaign trail and didn't vote). Jake Tapper (ABC News) reports that McCain issued a statement declaring McCain "will not accpet from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regards for those who did. It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of." Barack shot back that McCain was making a personal attack and seems to expect (as has happened repeatedly this campaign season) that he can trash anyone and if they fire back he can clutch the pearls. Those days are over, Bambi. Barack attacked McCain's commitment to veterans. That was a personal attack. His groupies may play otherwise but it was a personal attack and Barack's done this throughout his destructive campaign. McCain is correct on this. Maria Gavrilovic (CBS News) noted yesterday that "Barack Obama used the Senate floor today to jab at his rival" and that Barack has used the same thing to "jab at John McCain" in Michigan. It is a personal attack. Guess what, it's also politics, normal every day politics. But Barack launched it and wants to pretend he doesn't play politics. That's all he ever does. (That is not a defense of McCain's presumed "no" vote -- he wasn't in the Senate, he didn't vote. My own opinion of all refusing to support the veterans funding is that they're being cheap and it's shameful. There's no need to bring McCain's service into it or try to distort it or insult it. But some Dems are determined to relive 2004 with a flip and see this as payback for John Kerry's record being attacked.) Jennifer Duck (ABC News) notes Bully Boy went to Fort Bragg yesterday and asserted, "The vision for success in Iraq that I just outlined will not come easily. There will be tough fighting ahead. But the progress is undeniable." If it sounds familiar, check out every State of the Union address Bully Boy's given since Jan. 2004. James Gerstenzang (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Bush said that since he increased the troop level from 138,000 to approximately 160,000 last year, Iraq's economy had taken 'tremendous strides,' with inflation dropping, the economy growing, and investments in energy and communications increasing." Peter Maer (CBS) notes the only difference that took place yesterday: "It was a first in my more than 22 years on the White House beat: coverage of a presidential latrine inspection. It happened yesterday at Fort Bragg, N.C., where President Bush checked out military 'facilities' at the home of the famed 82nd Airborne Division." Latrine inspection? At last a job the Bully Boy may be up for. On corruption, Dana Hedgpeth (Washington Post) reports that the IG for the DoD admits that "$15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort" cannot be accounted for. James Glanz (New York Times) observes:


The Pentagon report, titled "Internal Controls Over Payments Made in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt," also notes that auditors were unable to find a comprehensible set of records to explain $134.8 million in payments by the American military to its allies in the Iraq war.The mysterious payments, whose amounts had not been publicly disclosed, included $68.2 million to the United Kingdom, $45.3 million to Poland and $21.3 million to South Korea. Despite repeated requests, Pentagon auditors said they were unable to determine why the payments were made. [. . .] According to the report, the Army made 183,486 "commercial and miscellaneous payments" from April 2001 to June 2006 from field offices in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt, for a total of $10.7 billion in taxpayer money. The auditors focused on $8.2 billion in so-called commercial payments to contractors -- American, Iraqi and probably other foreign nationals -- although the report does not give details on the roster of companies.

Turning to the race for president. Ralph Nader is running as an independent candidate, Matt Gonzalez is Nader's running mate.
Outside the White House at noon today, Ralph Nader called for president of vice Dick Cheney and the Bully Boy of the United States to resign. Yunji de Nies (ABC News) quotes Nader saying the Bully Boy "dishonored the White House and brought a pattern of waste. A wasteful defense is a weak defense and a weak defense inspires waste." Nader is currently fighting for ballot access. Joe Sobczyk and Jonathan Salant (Bloomberg News) report: "Before Ralph Nader can win a single ballot this fall, he must first get his name on the ballot -- and that, an aide says, is a 'total nightmare.''
Nader, 74, making his third presidential bid, must gather more than 1 million signatures nationwide to run in all 50 states. It's an issue that confronts minor-party and independent candidates every four years: how to navigate, often on a shoestring budget, the patchwork of state ballot requirements. The signature drive will probably cost $2 million, of which Nader has raised 'more than a third,'' said
Jason Kafoury, who is coordinating the effort. They have about 100 people working full time on the job. The goal is to get on the ballot in at least 45 states and Washington, D.C. That would be an improvement from 2004, when Nader was on 35 ballots." At The New Republic, Jonathan Chait (no link to trash) refers to the "noxious presence of Ralph Nader." Remember, every vote for Nader means 'little devils' like Chait get a pitchfork up the juxy and democracy lives for another day. CSPAN played Nader's call live this afternoon and Team Nader notes they will re-play at 6:40 EST on Friday.

Turning to the Democratic race for president. It is a tie. No one will be awarded enough delegates (from states and primaries) to be declared (or worse, to declare themselves) the winner. By rules and guidelines, the fight goes to the DNC floor. But the media lies. And they lie some more. Hillary's ahead in the popular vote. So they lie and they lie some more.

Let's deal with one of the 'kinder' lies.
CBS News online features a conversation with Doug Schoen who is smart but dead wrong on one aspect, not calling out nonsense. CBS News tells him, "A lot of Obama partisans have argued that his weaknesses are exaggerated right now in the heat of a primary battle. They say that in this environment in which 80 percent of the public thinks we're on the wrong track, Bush has the highest disapproval of any President in modern history, that this is a Democratic year and Obama will do fine." Bully Boy is not running for a third term. That's the sort of weak-ass nonsense the Barack campaign offers daily. Give it up, it's not going to work. But let's deal with their "80 percent of the public thinks we're on the wrong track!" so any Dem will win. Today is March 23, 2008. Via CBS News, travel back with us to May 24, 2004. John Kerry was the nominee (due to everyone else dropping out after Kerry won the needed number of delegates from primaries and caucuses). And Bully Boy was in the White House. How many Americans thought the country was on the "wrong track"? 65%. 65% and Kerry couldn't pull out a win. In four years 15% more Americans think it's the wrong track and The Cult of Obama would have you believe (a) that is significant in terms of November and (b) that's astounding! It's neither. A lousy candidate can't close the deal with the public. [Bully Boy had a 41% approval rating then. Polls taken this month put him at a low of 28% with a high of 33% on approval. That's not a huge shift either. But, again, Bully Boy is not John McCain. It's interesting that the Barack campaign keeps screaming they are being "smeared by association" when their entire McCain counter-strategy appears to smear McCain by association.]

Andrew Stephen (New Statesman) documents some of the sexism the media used to attack Hillary with and how they felt good about themselves for lying and distorting:

The pincer movement, in fact, could have come straight from a textbook on how to wreck a woman's presi dential election campaign: smear her whole persona first, and then link her with her angry, red-faced husband. The public Obama, characteristically, pronounced himself "unhappy" with the vilification carried out so methodically by his staff, but it worked like magic: Hillary Clinton's approval ratings among African Americans plummeted from above 80 per cent to barely 7 per cent in a matter of days, and have hovered there since.
I suspect that, as a result, she will never be able entirely to shake off the "racist" tag. "African-American super-delegates [who are supporting Clinton] are being targeted, harassed and threatened," says one of them, Representative Emanuel Cleaver. "This is the politics of the 1950s." Obama and Axelrod have achieved their objectives: to belittle Hillary Clinton and to manoeuvre the ever-pliant media into depicting every political criticism she makes against Obama as racist in intent.
The danger is that, in their headlong rush to stop the first major female candidate (aka "Hildebeast" and "Hitlery") from becoming president, the punditocracy may have landed the Democrats with perhaps the least qualified presidential nominee ever. But that creeping realisation has probably come too late, and many of the Democratic super-delegates now fear there would be widespread outrage and increased racial tension if they thwart the first biracial presidential hopeful in US history.
But will Obama live up to the hype? That, I fear, may not happen: he is a deeply flawed candidate. Rampant sexism may have triumphed only to make way for racism to rear its gruesome head in America yet again. By election day on 4 November, I suspect, the US media and their would-be-macho commentators may have a lot of soul-searching to do.

As
today's HUBdate notes: "The Popular Vote Leader: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about Tuesday night's contests: 'Hillary Clinton netted approximately 150,000 votes and is now poised to finish the primary season as the popular-vote leader. In some quaint circles, presumably, these things still matter...If you believe that the most important precept in democratic politics is to 'count every vote,' then...Clinton leads Obama by 71,301 votes.' Read more." She's the stronger candidate. She's leading in the popular vote. She has a plan. Bob Somerby notes the media confession on the decision to weigh the scales against Hillary. You'll see that in play tonight and over the weekend as a remark she made pointing out that this primary is not really going that long. That will be dubbed 'news'. Barack not knowing how many states there are? His fan club in the press doesn't care.

NOW on PBS (airs tonight in most markets, check local listings) explores assault and rape in the military and asks: "How are these women picking up the pieces of their life after military sexual trauma?" Streaming will be available online by late tonight. Also on PBS (check local listings, airs tonight in most markets, some air it later or repeat it later), Washington Week finds Gwen sitting down with, among others, Dan Balz (Washington Post), NPR's Tom Gjelten and Time's Karen Tumulty. And on PBS tonight (check local listings) Bill Moyers Journal will note Memorial Day (this Monday) and you can watch the commentary already at YouTube.






Thursday, May 22, 2008

Hillary's ready to be president

Now because everyone else is tired, my plan was to do a lengthy article with plenty of news and other stuff. Was?

"Not responding" is what my other browser says. If it pops up, great, if not, it is what it is.

We did the roundtable for the gina & krista round-robin tonight and there was a question about "how does Hillary lose?" It was from a Hillary supporter (the community stands behind Hillary, Barack has no support from Greens, Independents or third parties). I won't quote C.I. because you can read it tomorrow but I'll summarize.

The only way Hillary loses the nomination at this point is if she drops out. She might do that, there's a lot of pressure she's standing up to. It took a lot of strength to make it into April and Hillary has strength but there may come a time when she feels she's had enough. If she does, she stayed in fighting and no one should be upset with her.

But if she stays in the race, it is supposed to be decided in the convention. Hillary's campaign has only gotten stronger while Barack's has only gotten weaker.

Some think a scandal is needed to take Barack out of the race but, though there are many scandals, the reality is that Barack's taking himself out. The crush some had is fading.

And as they've seen Hillary grow stronger and stronger, as they've seen her sew up the popular vote, as they've seen the distance between him and so many Democratic Party working class members, the argument for Hillary is stronger than ever.

I agree with all the above (and C.I. provides concrete examples throughout).

I hope Hillary stays in and takes it to the convention. But I do think that cautionary note needs to be offered. She and Bill have been tarred and feathered by the 'left' Democrats (most of whom are not Democrats) and Hillary's proven she's strong but sometimes you can get tired of the crap. I hope she won't. If she doesn't, I think she has the nomination.

This whole "I didn't campaign there" excuse of Barack's is getting as old as his surrogates screaming racism anytime he's confronted with the truth. He did tell a fairytale about Iraq. He was not always opposed to it. He opposed it before it started and then he went along with it in interviews and, when he got to the US Senate, he voted to fund it. "Fairy tale" is not racist.

It's not racist to talk about his drug use -- drug use he has written about in two books, drug use he has made jokes about on Jay Leno.

We could go down the list bit by bit. But that card's been played so much as it is that I think we all grasp it now.

"I didn't campaign there!" is not an excuse. It's a whine. And the only response is, "You were running for the presidential nomination, WHY didn't you campaign there!"

If he's too delicate and needs R&R in the Virgin Islands and days off and everything else, he's not up for the campaign and needs to grasp that real quick.

It wears on Hillary, you can hear it when her voice goes hoarse. But she's a fighter and, due to Bill's 1992 campaign, she knew what was required. She didn't rush into it. She gave it thought and that's why she started out with proposals and plans and Barack's still got nothing but his bumper stickers.

It's about being prepared.

Hillary was prepared to run for the nomination and she's prepared to govern. She's a leader.

Thank you to Mike. I'm sitting here cursing out loud because I can't get any other browsers to pull up news articles. Mike's going to dictate Foon Rhee's "Clinton stronger in swing states, polls say" (Boston Globe) to me (including links):

For a campaign struggling against the inexorable tide of numbers, some new poll numbers out today could provide a lifeline.
Quinnipiac University surveys of key fall swing states shows Hillary Clinton with sizable leads over Republican John McCain in Florida, Ohio, and Pennsylvania, while Barack Obama, who is on the verge of clinching the Democratic nomination, trails McCain in two of the three.

Barack is the inevitable nominee . . . if Democrats want to lose in November. He's Milli & Vanilli and the dance moves and vocals are no longer playing. The long crush is over and voters want someone they can trust and someone they can count on. They know that's Hillary.

Here's Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Count Every Vote" (HillaryClinton.com):

Count Every Vote: During a campaign stop at Century Village Retirement Community in Boca Raton, FL, Hillary told a crowd of 700 Floridians: "We believe that casting your vote is the truest expression of your will. Here in Florida, you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren't counted. If any votes aren't counted, the will of the people isn't realized and our democracy is diminished." Read more. Read Hillary’s remarks here.
Automatic Delegate Watch: Guam Democratic Party Chair and automatic delegate Pilar Lujan today announced her support for Hillary.
Hillary Strongest in Swing States: A new Quinnipiac University poll out today shows Hillary's continued strength in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania…She leads Sen. McCain by 7 in both Florida and Ohio and by 13 in Pennsylvania.
Read more.
Tomorrow On The Trail: Hillary will campaign in South Dakota, and will host "Solutions For Securing South Dakota's Future" events in Brandon and Brookings.
"Major General Paul Eaton Goes to Bat for Hillary" In Missoula, Montana, Major General Paul Eaton, Ret., told residents that Hillary is the best prepared to be commander in chief and bring the war in Iraq to a safe end. "We've got to get a competent leader into the White House," Eaton said. "Hillary Clinton is hands down electable because she is smart and she is tough."
Read more.
Dalton’s Donation: "Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton has her own poster boy: Dalton Hatfield, who, as she reminded us during her victory speeches in both West Virginia and Kentucky, sold his bike and video games to donate more than $400 to her campaign." Read more.



Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"


Thursday, May 22, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, war resister Corey Glass remains in the news, the Senate holds a hearing on veterans benefits and more.

Starting with war resistance.
As noted yesterday, US war resister Corey Glass has been informed he needs to leave Canada by June 12th or be deported. The Canadian Press explains, "Glass, of Fairmount, Ind., was a sergeant in military intelligence who spent five months in Iraq." Emanuella Grinberg (CNN reports that Glass "fled to Toronoto in 2006 after serving in Iraq because he did not want to fight in a war he did not support" and quotes him explaining yesterday, "What I saw in Iraq convinced me that the war is illegal and immoral. I could not in good conscience continue to take part in it. I don't think it's fair that I should be punished for doing what I felt morally obligated to do." Reuters quotes him stating of his military intelligence work in Iraq, "Through this job I had access to lots of information about what was happening on the ground in Iraq. Through what I saw, I realized innocent people were being killed unjustly." Canwest News Service quotes him stating, "I don't think it's fair that I should be returned to the U.S. to face unjust punishment for doing what I thought I was morally obligated to do." The Victoria Times Colonist runs a longer version of the wire story: "Michelle Robidoux, a spokeswoman for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Glass could be deported by June 12." AFP notes: "'This goes against Canada's tradition of welcoming Americans who disagree with policies like slavery and the Vietnam War,' said Lee Zaslofsky, a War Resisters Support Campaign coordinator."

Nick Kyonka (Toronto Star) reports, "A dejected Corey Glass, 25, stared blankly at the floor of a tiny room in Trinity-St. Paul's United Church as members of the War Resisters Support Campaign informed media and other U.S. war resisters of his failed bid to remain in the country and the consequences he now faces." Liam Lahey (Inside Toronto) observes, "If deported, the Parkdale resident would be the first American war resister to be sent back to the U.S. since the late 1960s when Canadian border officials physically carried a man attempting to dodge the Vietnam draft back over the Peace Bridge and deposited him at the feet of U.S. officials. That event caused an uproar in Canada, and led to then prime minister Pierre Elliot Trudeau declaring immigration officials would no longer ask any American about their military status." AP explains that Corey Glass was "on leave in the U.S." when he checked out, that he went underground for seven months and then went to Canada in "August 2006, one of an estimated 200 American soldiers who have come to Canada" and notes "Joshua Key, another deserter whose refugee claim is still winding its way through Canadian appeals courts, said the Glass decision was worrisome for those hoping to stay in Canada." Grinberg also quotes Key -- who lives in Canada with wife Brandi Key and their children -- explaining, "This has been our home for three years now. It's a lot like the U.S., and it's as close to the U.S. as you can be." Lahye quotes Key recalling, "I joined (the U.S. Army) in 2002 primarily for health care and steady pay. I was raising my family (Key has three young sons) in Oklahoma City at the time and I couldn't cut the bills. . . . I was told I wouldn't be sent overseas . . . I should have gotten a magnifying glass and read the fine print (of his enlistment contract) and told them to 'Hold on'." Lahye also quotes war resisters Kimberly Rivera and Steve Yoczick. Rivera explains, "I wasn't truly sorry for joining (the army) until witnessing some of the things I did in Iraq. The way families were destroyed . . . and what it did to children there impacted me. . . . I felt helpless. . . . I'm a mom and that's your basic instinct: to protect children." Yoczick offers, "My dad thinks I'm a coward and a traitor and my mother simply doesn't understand."

War resisters in Canada need support as they wait to see if the motion for safe harbor is going to come to the Parliament floor. You can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use. Lahey quotes NDP's Oliva Chow, who steered the motion, explaining, "If (Liberal leader) Stephane Dion were to say tomorrow that he supports this motion . . . we will then debate it. So we need people to call Mr. Dion . . . 'whose side you on Mr. Dion'?" The number to call is (613) 996-5789.

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

Turning to the US where the Senate's Committee on Veterans Affairs held a hearing yesterday to discuss the following:

S. 2273 (Akaka, by request) Enhanced Opportunities for Formerly Homeless Veterans Residing in Permanent Housing Act of 2007

S. 2377 (Durbin) A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the quality of care provided to veterans in Department of Veterans Affairs medical facilities, to encourage highly qualified doctors to serve in hard-to-fill positions in such medical facilities, and for other purposes. Veterans Health Care Quality Improvement Act.

S. 2383 (Klobuchar) A bill to require a pilot program on the mobile provision of care and services for veterans in rural areas by the Department of Veterans Affairs, and for other purposes.

S. 2573 (Burr) Veterans Mental Health Treatment First Act

S. 2639 (Johnson) Assured Funding for Veterans Health Care Act

S. 2796 (Akaka) Community-Based Organization Pilot Programs

S. 2797 (Akaka, by request) Construction Authorization

S. 2799 (Murray) Women Veterans Health Care Improvement Act of 2008

S. 2824 (Rockefeller) A bill to amend title 38, United States Code, to improve the collective bargaining rights and procedures for review of adverse actions of certain employees of the Department of Veterans Affairs

S. 2889 (Akaka, by request) Veterans Health Care Act of 2008, Sections 2, 3, 4, 5, and 6

S. 2899 (Harkin-Feingold) A bill to direct the Secretary of Veterans Affairs to conduct a study on suicides among veterans

S. 2921 (Clinton) Caring for Wounded Warriors Act of 2008
S. 2926 (Akaka) Veterans Nonprofit Research and Education Corporations Enhancement Act of 2008

S. 2937 (Tester) A bill to provide permanent treatment authority for participants in Department of Defense chemical and biological testing conducted by Deseret Test Center and an expanded study of the health impact of Project Shipboard Hazard and Defense, and for other purposes.

S. 2963 (Bond) A bill to improve and enhance the mental health care benefits available to members of the Armed Forces and veterans, to enhance counseling and other benefits available to survivors of members of the Armed Forces and veterans, and for other purposes

S. 2969 (Akaka) Veterans' Medical Personnel Recruitment and Retention Act of 2008

S. 2984 (Akaka, by request) Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act of 2008, Title III

Representing the obstructionist point of view was Dr. Gerald M. Cross the principal deputy Under Secretary for Health, Department of Veterans Affairs. US Senator Patty Murray called the meeting to order under the advice of Chair Daniel Akaka who was running late. Murray noted the upcoming Memorial Day (Monday) as "a time of rememberance".



Senator Patty Murray: Women have always played a role in our military going back to the founding of of our nation. However, as we all know, in today's conflicts women are playing a far different and far greater role. Women now make up 14% of our current active duty guard and reserve forces. Some units, including military police, are using an increased number of females to fill jobs that were traditionally held by male personnel. And because of the conflicts of today, we have no clear frontlines and women, like all of our service members, are always on the frontline -- riding on dangerous patrols, guarding pivotal check points and witnessing the horrors of war first hand. However, while women's numbers are rising on the battle field, up until now women have remained a small minority at the VA. According to the VA, there are more than 1.7 million women veterans but only 255,000 of those women actually use the VA health care services. For too long the reasons for this discrepancy have been elusive but today we are getting a clear picture. In fact, when I first started holding roundtables around my home state of Washington to talk to veterans about their experiences with the VA, I heard almost exclusively from men. They would sit at the table with me, they would stand up, they would tell their stories and talk about their issues. But inevitably, as I was leaving the room, a woman would come up to me and whisper to me her experiences. Some told me they had been intimidated by the VA and viewed the VA as a male only facility. Others simply told me that they couldn't find someone to watch their kids so they could attend a counseling session or find time for other care. But as some members of this committee and those who will testify today know the voices of women veterans are no longer whispers. Today they are full throated calls for equal access to care at the VA. And I believe that now, as we sit on the brink of seeing more returning veterans than ever before, it is time that we heed those calls. We simply cannot allow the attitudes of the past or the VA's lack of preparation for the influx of new women veterans to linger a moment longer. As The Independent Budget has noted [
PDF format warning, here], the number of women using VA health care services will double in less than 5 years if women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to enroll at the current enrollment rate. We need to make sure now that the VA is prepared to care for the needs of these honorable veterans today. And that is exactly why Senator [Kay Baily] Hutchinson and I introduced The Women's Health Care and Improvement Act of 2008. This important legislation will increase the number of women accessing care at the VA by increasing the VA's understanding of the needs of women vets and the practices that will best help them. It will do so by requiring the VA to study the health care needs of women who are serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, study the effectiveness of current services being provided to women veterans, study barriers to care for women veterans who are not accessing the VA health care system and it will also help provide child care for new born children of a woman veteran who is receiving maternity care at the VA. It will implement a program to train, educate and certify VA mental health professionals to care for women with Military Sexual Trauma [MST] and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. It will begin a pilot program that provides child care to women veterans that seek mental health care or other intensive health care services at the VA. It will begin a pilot program that provides readjustment counseling to women veterans in group retreat settings. It will make the position of Women Veterans Program Manger at all VA medical centers a full time position. And finally, it will include women that are recently separated from service on VA advisory boards. Now I know that the VA recognizes that they need to improve services for our women veterans and the department has taken several steps to do that. But a lot more needs to be done if we're going to ensure that women get access to equal care at the VA for health care benefits and services and that the VA health care system is tailored to meet the unique needs of our women veterans. Planning for the wave of new women veterans is going to be a difficult and complex task but the effort has to start today and it has to start with this bill.


When Cross finally spoke, he went on and on (in spite of the fact that his 39 typed pages of prepared statement was submitted to the record,
PDF format warning here). Akaka joined the hearing at this point and later in the hearing would note that the record would be open for two weeks to allow the VA to respond to what their positions were on various proposals. For those who have forgotten, the VA wasn't ready to comment earlier this month. At some point, the committee needs to get firm and make it clear that the dragging of the feet (which is intentional on the VA's part) ends or the record closes. Ranking Republican member Richard Burr brought up the e-mail from the Temple, Texas VA facility. This is the e-mail that only came to light due to CREW obtaining and publishing [PDF format warning] the e-mail the VA sent out:

Given that we are having more and more compensation seeking veterans, I'd like to suggest that you refrain from giving a diagnosis of PTSD straight out. Consider a diagnosis of Adjustment Diorder, R/O PTSD. Additionally, we really don't or have time to do the extensive testing that should be done to determine PTSD. Also, there have been some incidence where the veteran has a C & P, is not given a diagnosis of PTSD, then the veteran comes here and we give the diagnosis, and the veteran appeals his case based on our assessment. This is just a suggestion for the reasons listed above.


On Monday, Norma Perez ("team leader and psychologist at the Temple, Texas Olin E. Teague Veterans' Center") was
identified by Bonnie Goldstein (Slate) as the author of the e-mail. "How do we know that?" Murray would ask Cross when he claimed the e-mail was "an isolated case". Cross would insist that the e-mail was "contrary to VA policy" and that "the individual in question was not a senior VA employee but a new employee, relatively new". So is there a problem explaining policy throughout the VA system? And shouldn't a new employee have gone through some sort of training as part of the hiring? Murray wanted to know, "What mechanism do you have in place to ensure that the policies you do implement are practiced in the field?" Classes? Training? Periodic assessments? "Yes, senator," insisted Cross "we absolutely do." A vauge answer and all the more so when you realize that if he was telling the truth, the oversight failed. There was no concrete answer and the idea that supervision is being practiced at the VA completely contradicts the James-Peake-Defense offered repeatedly since the end of April.


The VA appointees strongly oppose any money being spent on veterans health care. They also strongly oppose spending money on Senator Murray's bill. Murray pointed out to Cross that his own testimony "indicated that" a barrier to child care "is a problem" for women veterans being able to access the VA "for mental health or other intesive services, so you identified the lack of child care as a barrier . . . but you're unwilling to do anything about it?" Murray wondered what, then, was the point of identifying barriers? Why study them if you're not going to address them?

Cross objected with the claim that addressing this barrier for many female veterans "would divert funds from direct patient care."

Murray: It would divert funds from?

Cross: It would divert funds from direct patient care?

Murray: Well if [crosstalk] I find that troubling that it would divert, that that's the way you look at it because what we're finding is that women are not getting care, particularly for mental health care, because they can't get child care. So if we want to encourage these women to get in and to get the mental health care they need and not sit at home reducing that barrier is a critical part of their care.

"We agree that we want to reduce barriers," Cross replied. "I think the only objection we had was that it would come out of direct patient care." Murray noted that the bill was to encourage access to care, not to divert it "so I disagree on the premise." The VA's position with regards to female veterans is to ignore them, that's obvious by Cross' testimony. There's always an excuse to exclude them. It was there in his ludicrous claims that child care to allow a woman to be at the VA for treatment was a 'diversion' of funds. It was there in his refusal to include women in a longitudal study including women. In his written testimony, he states that including women would tack on one million a year for the current study with a maxium of three million after ten years. No, that really doesn't add up. But the VA's error was in not including women in studies, not including them in samples, and it needs to be fixed. If the mistake was costly, it should be paid for and considered a lesson for all.

Murray referred to that by noting a study Cross claimed was "underweigh". As Murray noted, the study he was referring to included women but was "not particular to women." He then wanted credit for 46,000 articles being published by VA providers (this could include articles published by private practioners who have been outsourced to -- though in some cases, never paid -- by the VA) and that "many" of them dealt with women veterans. Murray wanted to know why he was "opposed to including active duty women as part of the longitudinal study on health consequences, I would think the VA would want to know" the statistics "on current as well as future patients, so if you excluded current active duty women are you not going to lose some of the information that you need?" He didn't answer her question. "Our focus is on the veterans," was part of the blah, blah, blah he offered. There has been no planning. As early as March 14, 2005,
Linda Wertheimer (NPR's All Things Considered) was reporting 261 US female service members had been injured in Iraq and 35 female soldiers had died. Where was the VA? It's over three years later and Senator Murray's having to fight to try and get them included in studies? To get them included in VA access? As Les Blumenthal (McClatchy Newspapers) observed, "Department of Veterans Affairs officials said Wednesday that they oppose much of a Senate bill to improve care for female veterans even as the number of women seeking VA medical services is expected to double with the next five years."

Murray noted Cross also objects to the assessing of the existing health care programs for women and reporting those findings to Congress. Cross insisted that women were welcome. Murray explained, "Well making them welcome and making sure that they have the services avaialble are two different ways of looking at it." Murray moved on to the subject of MST and noted that Cross states he's opposed to her bill's proposals on that. He showed no interest in the subject and Murray asked him what he meant by "appropriate time". He never answered the question except to claim he was against cookie-cutters. Murray stated she felt it was "imperative that we focus like a laser on this issue . . . because just hoping that it's going to happen and saying it's there today is not making it happen."

Other news was the VA's reluctance to require that physicians working at VA facilities be board certified ("requiring it . . . becomes a problem at times," Cross insisted to Akaka).

Craziest moment of the hearing's first panel (Cross testifying) would have to be when US Senator Larry Craig declared that offering disability payments to veterans suffering from PTSD would encourage those suffering to 'not recover' ("It makes it all the more difficult to get to the state of mind that is, at least in my opinion necessary to tackle the mental health problems that they may be experiencing.") Apparently he researched that theory in an airport lavoratory. It's right up there with
the May 6th House Committee on Veterans Affairs hearing ("The Truth About Veterans' Sucides") where his party's Steve Buyer tried to clamp down on the media offering "I want to caution my friends in the fourth branch of government who may be covering this hearing: Please do not refer to suicide as an 'epidemic' without saying that treatment is available." Along with thinking the media was a part of the government, Buyer thought that veterans are waiting for the latest craze to jump on to. "Oh, look! Suicides! Let's all do it!" Craig may have topped Buyer in nonsense though, it should be noted, Craig was also motivated by cheapness. On the subject of health care, Amanda Garnder (Washington Post) reported today:

U.S. soldiers exposed to a blazing sulfur mine fire near Mosul, Iraq, in 2003 returned home with a debilitating breathing disorder that affects the small airways of the lung. But doctors were only able to diagnose the condition, bronchiolitis, with a lung biopsy. Conventional, non-invasive tests weren't able to reliably identify the problem, said the authors of a study expected to be presented Wednesday at the American Thoracic Society's International Conference, in Toronto.

While the VA plays cheap on health care, they outsource contracts. Tuesday,
Senator Murray (link has audio and text) questioned US Sec of Defense Robert Gates about developments such as the $35 billion contract given to the "foreign-owned and subsidized" Airbus company and received 'answers' such as "I'm no expert" leading Murray to state after the hearing: "Secretary Gates is known in Congress as a straight shooter. However, today he conspicuously avoided answering the many glaring questions surrounding this contract decision. His testimony today will only raise more questions and red flags for Congress, our country's aerospace workers, and the many Americans who believe this is no time to outsource a $35 billion military contract."

File it under, "All the money to spend when they want to."
Barbara Barrett (McClatchy Newspapers) notes Senators Richard Burr and Lindsey Graham holding a press conference in an attempt to derail Senator Jim Webb's G.I. Bill. They object over the 'transferbility' of education benefits. That is a nonsense objection. A) You're creating community and family property. The government does not provide education benefits to those who serve so that they can lose them in divorce and custody battles. B) The Sec of Defense has had Congressional authorization to implement pilot programs on the issue of tranferring education benefits. They have only done one and, from a pool of 17,000, only 300 went for it (that was the Army's pilot program in 2006). The May 8th snapshot covered all of his. Webb walked the Committee on Veterans Affairs through all of this at length. He and Graham had lengthy exchanges over this issue during the hearing. It is nothing but a roadblock to the bill and one of the reasons they're throwing it up is because Burr and Graham believe if the benefit can be transferred, active duty will be less likely to use it and, therefore, remain in the military. It defeats the entire purpose of the GI Bill. They should be ashamed.

This comes as Juli
an E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports on a speech Sec Gates gave yesterday where he stated that "hunt and kill" teams of "special operation units" will remain in Iraq, that approximately 5,000 are already in Iraq and implied that a withdrawal isn't likely because there will be no rush to transfer "responsiblity to Iraqis" as there was in the past when (Gates' words) "overly rosy predictions that didn't necessarily line up with reality" caused an attempted rush to transfer. Meanwhile Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Gen David Petraues informed Congress today that drawdowns are possible in the fall but conditional. CBS and AP add that "more details" will have to wait, according to the general, "until September." (Well, it might as well rain until September, as Carole King once sang.) Approximately 155,000 to 158,000 US troops are currently in Iraq. In August of 2006, then Sec of Defense Donald Rumsfeld was telling Congress that there were 133,000 US troops in Iraq. Petraeus also informed Congress that the planned October elections in Iraq would probably instead take place in November recalling the constant push back on this issue which, for the record, is a "benchmark" as defined by the White House. Richad Cowan (Reuters) reports that in a 70 to 26 vote, the US Senate voted $165 billion more for the illegal war today.

Turning to Iraq,
Raviya H. Ismail (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that journalist Wisam Ali Ouda ("32, a cameraman with the Afaq broadcast channel") was identified by Journalistic Freedoms Observatory "blamed a U.S. military sniper for Ouda's death" and Haider Hisahm al Hasseni ("36, was kidnapped Tuesday and his bullet riddled body was found Wednesday"). Reporters Without Borders issued a statement noting that they are "saddened by the murders of two more journalists, Wissam Ali Ouda and Haidar Hashem Al-Husseini, in separate incidents in Baghdad and the central province of Diyala. They bring the number of journalists killed in Iraq since the start of the year to seven, and the overall media death toll since the start of the war in March 2003 to 215."

In some of today's reported violence . . .

Bombings?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing wounded 5 security guards of the Algerian Embassy and Iraqi police stated that US forces killed 8 people (including two children) in a bombing yesterday. Reuters notes a Mosul bombing (when corpses were discovered) that left seven Iraqi soldiers and two police officers injured.

Corpses?

Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 6 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 5 corpses (Iraqi soldiers) were discovered ("shot dead'") in Mosul.

Turning to US political news.
CBS and AP report that Senator John McCain (the presumed GOP nominee for their presidential ticket) has disowned/rejected John Hagee's endorsement after tapes surfaced of Hagee stating "God sent Adolf Hitler to help Jews reach the promised land." Suprisingly, McCain did not go into hiding, emerge days later in Philadelphia and attempt to explain that Hagee was a crazy uncle and he could no more disown Hagee than he could his own White grandmother. Nor did he wait until Hagee attacked him to get offended as Barack Obama did with Jeremiah Wright. Taylor Marsh notes: "This was a colossal error in judgment on Senator McCain's part. He should never have saddled up with Rev. Hagee. Now he's dumped him. Oh, and vice versa, by the way." Meanwhile, Susan (Random Thoughts) observes, "Bill Clinton simply tells it like it is about this campaign: "
Clinton said the allegation that he and Sen. Clinton played the race card was a 'cold-blooded, calculated, manipulated, and a revolting strategy,' and that his only campaign season regret was speaking 'late at night when I was tired, 'cause if you are tired or angry, you shouldn't be talking'." Bill is of course a former president and husband of the winner in the popular vote of this Democratic primary season Hillary Clinton.
Allison Stevens (Women's eNews) reports:

Some groups working to send New York Sen. Hillary Clinton to the White House are preparing to sit out the rest of the presidential election if she drops out of the race; others are giving only grudging support to Illinois Sen. Barack Obama as he comes closer to clinching the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.
If Obama is the nominee, there won't be the "same level of enthusiasm since we endorsed Hillary Clinton," said Mai Shiozaki, spokesperson for the National Organization for Women in Washington, D.C.
Other ardent Clinton supporters in the women's rights movement may hesitate before jumping on Obama's bandwagon, predicted Vicki Lovell, director of employment and work-life programs at the Institute for Women's Policy Research, a Washington think tank. "That level of passion may not transfer wholesale," she said.

The race isn't over and Clinton remains the winner of the popular vote thus far. The Clinton campaign and others are launching an effort to have the delegates from Florida and Michigan seated at the convention: "Get involved --
click here to send a message to the DNC telling them to count the votes in Florida and Michigan." In Florida yesterday, Hillary declared:

I believe the Democratic Party must count these votes. They should count them exactly as they were cast. Democracy demands no less.
I am here today because I believe that the decision our party faces is not just about the fate of these votes and the outcome of these primaries. It is about whether we will uphold our most fundamental values as Democrats and Americans. It is about whether we will move forward, united, to win this state and take back the White House this November. That has to be the prize that we keep in mind.

The race isn't over but Hillary's winning the popular vote. The primary race will end in a tie in terms of delegates awarded and, by DNC guidelines and rules, the issue then goes to the convention unless either Hillary or Barack drop out of the race. (Drop out, not 'suspend.')

Hillary's still in the race (which is a tie and which leads in the popular vote), don't believe the hype saying otherwise.
Ed King doesn't and that's why he's campaigning for Hillary in South Dakota:

My name is Ed King. I am a family dairy farmer from upstate New York and I have had so much fun traveling across South Dakota, talking about the many ways in which Senator Clinton has helped us with our rural and agriculture needs. While in South Dakota I visited the Corn Palace, the world's largest pheasant in Huron, the South Dakota Farmers Union, the Sharpe farm in Bath, the Terry Redlin Art Center, South Dakota State University, and a number of delicious eateries. I couldn't have been more impressed. You have a beautiful state and I truly enjoyed talking to voters from many different regions.
My great sons are working the farm, giving me time to talk about what Sen. Clinton has meant to agriculture in New York and what a good rural president she would make overall. Specifically, my passion is ensuring that we have family farms for future generations and that American agriculture is strong. I know Hillary understands and supports that! One of her most important actions as Senator has been her "Farm to Fork" initiative, which aids producers in rural New York through direct-to-consumer marketing. In addition to "Farm to Fork," Hillary is a 'rippin-good' Senator, pushing things like country-of-origin labeling, assistance in response to weather related disasters, expanded renewable energy production, and increasing competition to address vertical integration in agriculture. She has also addressed rural quality of life issues like health care, better education for our children, expanding rural broadband and addressing the housing crisis.
From this work – Sen. Clinton has increased her support in New York, having won now 58 of 62 counties in her 2006 Senate race. Many of these counties in upstate are heavily republican, and she got 85% of the counties that didn't support her in 2000, to support her for re-election. How's that for change? Hillary can work with Republicans and Independents. She has shown us that over 8 years.
Like South Dakota, New York is home to family farms (about 34,000), and I KNOW she will make the best president for producers and rural South Dakotans alike.




Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Hillary, Corey Glass, etc.

It really is a shame that Hillary lost Kentucky yesterday. If she'd won, she'd still be in the race but all good things come to an end, as Jackson Browne once sang, and I think --

What's that?

Hillary won Kentucky?

That's can't be. If she had won, even a tiny win, Kentucky last night, surely the media would be reporting on that and what it means, right?

Wrong. Hillary won. She won by over 35%. So Barack, the media favorite and media designated nominee, lost by 35%. But that point really seemed to get lost as the media rushed to crown the boy-prince, didn't it?

He's so young! And so dreamy! And so not a politican!

What lie above did you hear today? Maybe all three.

If he's not a politician, what's he doing in the Senate? (Very little I know, but someone who was not a politician would have never ran for the US Senate.) If he's not a politician, what's he doing with about a decade in the Illinois state legislature.

There's nothing young, new, dreamy or non-politician about Barack.

And can someone explain to me the gushing over Barack's fundraising?

Hillary's all about the buck, isn't that what we were told by those in love with Barack The Political Virigin? And we don't like big money in elections! We want public funding elections! But there's this gushing over Barack like teeny boppers freaking out over American Idol.



This is from Chris Cillizza's "Problems for the Obama Juggernaut?" (Washington Post):


Despite Barack Obama's win in the Oregon primary, the results from tonight's Kentucky Democratic presidential primary are stark.
Hillary Rodham Clinton drubbed Obama among the very white working class voters who helped Clinton claim victories in
Ohio, Pennsylvania and West Virginia.
Consider these findings from the exit polling:
* Among Kentucky voters living in rural areas or small cities -- nearly six in 10 voters -- Clinton took 75 percent to 19 percent.
* Among non-college educated whites in Kentucky (66 percent of the electorate), Clinton won by 44 points -- 69 percent to 25 percent.
* Among whites with a family income less than $50,000, Clinton received 75 percent of the vote while Obama took just 22 percent.




Well goodness me, that looks like a problem. But apparently no one's supposed to peak behind that curtain. Here's Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Celebrating in the Bluegrass State" (HillaryClinton.com):

Previewing Today: Hillary hosts "Solutions for America" events in south Florida where she emphasizes the need to count every vote.
Leading the Popular Vote: According to ABC News, Hillary's Kentucky victory keeps her ahead in the popular vote. She now leads Sen. Obama 17,387,254 to 17,188,969 when Florida and Michigan are included in the count.
Read more.
Celebrating in the Bluegrass State: Last night, Hillary told supporters in Kentucky: "Tonight we've achieved an important victory. It is not just Kentucky bluegrass that is music to my ears. It is the sound of your overwhelming vote of confidence even in the face of some pretty tough odds. Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me because you know I’ll never give up on you."
Read more and more.
$22 Million: In April, Hillary raised over $22 million from supporters across the country, making it the second best fundraising month ever for the campaign. Campaign Chairman Terry McAulliffe said, "Senator Clinton’s game-changing victories last month turned the tide for the campaign and resulted in an outpouring of grassroots support."
Read more.
Superdelegate Watch: Ohio automatic delegate Craig Bashein of Hunting Valley announced his support for Hillary Clinton today….Massachusetts Attorney General and Automatic Delegate Martha Coakley endorsed Hillary yesterday: "Mrs. Clinton’s energy, stamina, and resolve have changed the course of history for women seeking office, including the presidency, and I dare say, have changed the course of history of Presidential politics in the United States."
Read more and more.
Looking Forward to SD, MT, and PR: Campaign Political Director Guy Cecil said, "We have thousands of volunteers in South Dakota, Montana, and Puerto Rico who are making calls and knocking on doors to get the vote out. The people they are talking to want to participate and be heard."
Read more.
"Florida and Michigan Deserve to Be Heard" The campaign has urged supporters to send messages to the DNC urging them to count the votes of Florida and Michigan: "Millions of people in Florida and Michigan went to the polls to make their voices heard in the Democratic Presidential primary. They deserve to have their votes count. Sign Hillary's petition before the DNC Rules and Bylaws Committee meets to show your support for seating Florida and Michigan delegates."
Sign here.
Cuban Independence Day: Yesterday, Hillary joined with Cuban Americans in celebration of Cuban Independence Day. Hillary said, "After nearly 50 years of one-man rule, the new leadership in Cuba faces a choice - continue with the failed policies of the past that have stifled democratic freedoms and stunted economic growth - or take an historic step to bring Cuba into the community of democratic nations."
Read more.
On Tap: This Friday, Hillary travels to South Dakota.

C.I.'s passed something on that those of still blogging will be highlighting. Corey Glass is being told he has to return to the US. He is a US war resister in Canada and C.I. covers it in the snapshot. But CNN is now reporting it and we need to highlight that because if they report on things that matter and it does not receive attention, then they won't report on them in the future.

So this is from Emanuella Grinberg's "U.S. deserter faces deportation from Canada" (CNN):

Members of War Resisters Support Campaign in Canada, which is providing transitional support to Glass and at least 13 other deserters in Canada, are holding out for a political avenue of appeal through the Canadian House of Commons.
In December, the Standing Committee on Citizenship and Immigration adopted a motion calling on the Canadian government to initiate a residency program for conscientious objectors who have left military service "related to a war not sanctioned by the United Nations."
The motion has yet to receive approval from the entire House of Commons.
Norris says the agency has received about 40 applications for refugee claims from U.S. deserters since the
Iraq war began in 2003. Of the claims that have been addressed in public, only five have made it to the country's Federal Court of Appeals, a venue of last resort.
All five appeals were rejected, according to Norris.
The high court has yet to rule on its sixth challenge of this kind from Army combat engineer Joshua Key, who fled to Saskatchewan with his wife and four children in 2005."This has been our home for three years now. It's a lot like the U.S., and it's as close to the U.S. as you can be," said Key, who served on the front lines in Falluja before he returned to the United States in 2002.

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


Wednesday, May 21, 2008. Chaos and violence, US prisons in Iraq hold children (and deny them rights they would be guaranteed in prisons located in the US), US war resister Corey Glass is told he can't stay in Canada, Hillary wins Kentucky and more.


Starting with war resistance.
Canada's Global TV reports, "Corey Glass, a former U.S. National Guardsman who deserted to Canada in 2006 to avoid serving in Iraq, was told today that his application to stay in Canada has been rejected supporters say. Michelle Robidoux, a spokesperson for the War Resisters Support Campaign, said Glass could be deported by June 12." Canadian Press notes: "Ottawa has decided that an American soldier who fled the army over the Iraq war will not face the risk of abuse or mistreatment if returned to the U.S. The means Corey Glass can now be deported to the United States, where he faces possible jail time for desertion."

On March 30, 2007, Corey Glass stood before Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board explaining he signed up for the National Guard in Indiana to assist with national disasters "on American soil." Iraq War veteran Glass self-checked out, went underground and moved to Canada in the fall of 2006. After self-checking out, Glass was underground for seven months before going to Canada and, during that time, the Army (which supposedly just waits for traffic violations to catch self-check outs) was visiting his parents, calling phone numbers trying to track him down. In October of 2006, Corey Glass, Justin Colby, Ryan Johnson and other war resisters in Canada were considering returning to US as a result of the way Darrell Anderson's discharge was resolved. However, once the military attempted to screw over Kyle Snyder, that changed. Glass told Brett Barrouqere (AP) at the start November 2006, "After what they did to him, I don't see anybody going back." Glass stated, "I knew the war was wrong before I went, but I was going to fulfil my end of the bargain, right or wrong and eventually my conscience just caught up with me. . . I felt horrible for being a part of it. If I could apologise to those people [Iraqis], every single on, I would."

Today at Trinity-St. Paul's Centre in Spadina, Glass spoke explaining, "What I saw in Iraq convinced me that the war is illegal and immoral. I could not in good conscience continue to take part in it. I came here because Canada did not join the Iraq War. Also I knew Canada had welcomed many Americans during the Vietnam War."
Reuters notes, "If he is returned to the United States, Glass, of Fairmount, Indiana, could face jail time. He joined the National Guard in 2002" and they quote him stating of his work in military intel in Iraq, "Through this job I had access to lots of information about what was happening on the ground in Iraq. Through what I saw, I realized innocent people were being killed unjustly."

War Resisters Support Campaign puts out the call:

U.S. Iraq war resister Corey Glass was told today that his application to stay in Canada has been rejected and he now faces deportation. Glass would be the first Iraq war resister to be deported from Canada. Last December the House of Commons' Standing Committee on Citizenship & Immigration passed a motion calling on the Canadian government to "immediately implement a program to allow conscientious objectors and their immediate family members […] to apply for permanent resident status and remain in Canada; and … the government should immediately cease any removal or deportation actions … against such individuals".
Please take a moment tocall Liberal Leader St├ęphane Dion at 613.996.6740 or 613.996.5789 Tell him you want the Liberal Party... • to support the Parliamentary motion to allow Iraq War resisters to remain in Canada, • to oppose the deportation of people of conscience who have resisted an illegal war, and • to support the will of the Canadian people, not Stephen Harper's decision to deport war resisters, and not the U.S.'s war agenda.

Some war resisters are in Canada and they need support as well as they wait to see if the motion for safe harbor is going to come to the Parliament floor. You can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (http://us.f366.mail.yahoo.com/ym/Compose?To=Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

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

Turning to Iraq and starting with a show confession.
CNN reports on testimony -- self-incriminating -- that we're apparently supposed to rejoice over while ignoring the fact that the man is "blindolded and hancuffed" and "crouches in the corner of the detention center while an Iraqi soldier grills him about rampant crimes being carried out by gangs in the southern city of Basra." For those unaware, these show confessions are the equivalent of American Idol in Iraq and the reason they are taped is to broadcast them. A real 'winner' or 'audience pleaser' is when they can force of confession of crimes and homosexuality. That leads to tremendous rejoicing in a segment of the viewing public. There is no justice in Iraq and there's no need to believe any 'confession' obtained by the military (are we supposed to forget that there is an Iraqi police force?) let alone any confession where the person is "blindfolded and handcuffed". It's a travesty and it's shameful. Did the imprisoned kidnap and rape "15 girls"? You're not supposed to think that far. You're just supposed to be outraged. (Rape, kidnapping and murder go on daily in Iraq. That's not the issue here, the issue here is the show confessions, forced and presented as 'justice' and without question.)

One of the greatest indictments of the 'free' Iraq is what continues to pass for 'justice' in the country.

Need more indictments? In an editorial entitled "
Iraq And Afghanistan: Recruiting young," the Seattle Post-Intelligencer notes the "up to 2,500 minors" being imprisoned in by the US military. Martha Neil (ABA Journal) explains, "In a report to a United Nations committee, the United States says it is holding 500 juveniles, apparently in adult detention facilities in Iraq and Afghanistan." As April round down, Radhika Coomaraswamy (UN Secretary General's Special representative for Children and Armed Conflict) completed a six-day trip to Iraq where she examined the the status of Iraqi children and stated, "Many of them are no longer go to schook, many are recruited for violent activities or detained in custody, they lack access to the most basic services and manifest a wide range of psychological symptoms from the violence in their every lives." UNICEF noted, "Ms. Coomaraswamy has urged all parties in the conflict to release any children in their forces who are under the age of 18" and quoted her stating, "Let peace in Iraq begin with the protection of children."

The US government is making a big deal out of the fact that they do not hold "enemy combatants" in Iraq -- they follow Geneva, they insist; however, whomever wrote the government's report to the United Nations needs to check their wording. Their reply [
PDF format, CRC.OPAC.USA.Q1] notes: "Since 2003, the United States has held approximately 2,400 juveniles in Iraq. The juveniles that the United States has detained have been captured engaging in anti-coalition activity, such as planting Improvised Explosive Devices, operating as look-outs for insurgents, or actively engaging in fighting against U.S. and Coalition forces. As of April 2008, the United States held approximately 500 juveniles in Iraq. The response's next sentence (responding to length of time of imprisonment) is, "The U.S. Department of Defense detains enemy combatants who engaged in armed conflict against U.S. and Coalition forces or provided material support to others who are fighting against U.S. and Coalition forces." If the US government is upset that the media didn't remember the claim that the US follows Geneva in Iraq (follows the guidelines for warfare), they might try explaining that to allegedly honoring to the people writing resporses on behalf of the government. The response continues: "In Iraq, a great majority of juvenile detainees are released within six months, and most are currently held for no more than 12 months. A very small percentage of the juveniles detained in Iraq have been held for longer than a year, as they were assessed to be of a high enough threat level to warrant futher detention."

The response futher notes:

In Iraq, detainees are being held by U.S. forces as imperative threats to security with the authorization of the U.N. Security Council and at the request of the sovereign Iraqi government. Review of a detainee's status occurs at several different levels. The first level of review is called the Detention Review Authority and is completed by the detaining unit commander and the unit's Staff Judge Advocate to assess whether the individual is an imperative security threat. Approximately 50 percent of those initially detained in Iraq are determined not to be an imperative security threat, and these individuals are released at the unit location. Those assessed to be a threat are transferred to the TIF.
At the TIF, the detaining command Magistrate Cell, consisting of judge advocates, conducts a thorough review of each individual's case. Based on this review, the Magistrate Cell either recommends the detainee be expeditiously released or retained as an imperative security threat. Additionally, the Cell recommends either that the detainee be referred to the Central Criminal Court of Iraq (CCCI) if there are grounds for criminal prosecution, or that the detainee's case be referred to the Combined Review and Release Board (CRRB) if he is a security internee. The CRBB process is consistent with a review under Article 78 of Geneva Convention IV. The CCCI or CRBB, as appropriate, forms the third review in this system. Through each of the reviews conducted at the TIF, the detainee is ontified in writing and provided the opportunatiy to present information for consideration.
Through each of the reviews conducted at the TIF, the detainee is notified in writing and provided the opportunity to present information for consideration. Additionally, a detainee is authorized access to an attorney and, if referred to the CCCI, will be provided a government defense attorney if he does not have private counsel.

A few things to note just on the above. First US law (and British law -- those would be the two occupying powers in Iraq running prisons) recognizes "in loco parentis" which can be dumbed down "in place of a parent" and we also use "ward of the state." What the US government says in their response (in too many words), is that if you're an Iraqi child imprisoned by the US as a criminal suspect, you will be allowed an attorney and even have one provided for you if you need it; however, if you're imprisoned for security reasons, you're told you can have one and not provided with one by the US. (It would be interesting to see England's policy in writing on Iraqi juveniles.) That's not 'justice' and it's not 'freedom' and the US is over it. Not just in the puppet master way the US is over everything that happens in Iraq, but in the basics. The US is running the prisons in question, that's what they are responding about: US prisons in Iraq. This is a policy the US military has put in place in Iraq and, were they to try it in the US, it would meet with loud objections. A 'security' prisoner (as opposed to a criminal one) does not need an attorney -- according to the US military. Supposedly stating that they can have one is enough when the reality is that statement is meaningless. The bulk of children imprisoned have no contact with their families (including families who assume their disappeared child is dead). So telling a juvenile, "We won't provide you with an attorney but, hey, if you can somehow magically conjure up one, go for it" is crap.

US policies and laws apply to US jails and prisons, regardless of where they are. (As the current administration will most likely learn in 2009.) A juvenile imprisoned by the US is a ward of the state and needs to be provided with legal counsel. That is a basic. This is not to justify those charged as 'criminals' (but obviously never tried in the real sense of a 'trial') but that is to loudly call out the nonsense that someone who is so not a criminal that they can't even be charged with that, a child, is expected to navigate the complex legal labyrinth the US has constructed in their Iraqi prisons. That's ridiculous. That's shameful.

So is the credit the US wants for 'schools' they provide the juveniles with. Read closely and the school was established in August 12, 2007. How many of the nearly 2500 Iraqi children imprisoned in US prisons since 2003 had already been deprived of school by then? If you think about, you'll remember that in June of 2007, US soldiers were hailed as heroes (and that group, for that action, deserved that praise) for discovering and rescuing mentally disabled children in a facility where they were (at best) neglected.
By August 17, 2007, the orphanage was back in the news. But if we're going to talk seriously about neglect, let's talk about the reality that prior August 12, 2007, US prisons in Iraq were holding children and not providing schooling. No offense intended to the US soldiers who rescued the Iraqi children in June 2007, they did a wondeful thing. But while they didn't seek to applaud themselves (they did deserve applause, however), the chain of command went crazy trying to applaud the military. (It was only August of that year that the chain of command would finally recognize the soldiers who deserved the credit.) It takes a lot of gall for the chain of command to point to neglect in an Iraqi children's facility while Iraqi children are held in a US prison (!) and denied education. (Most, the response rushes to assure, were only held for six months. That's six months too long and, if there's no way around it, you at least meet the same basics in Iraq that you are required to in the US.) AFP quotes the US Department of Defense's dept. assistant secretary Sandra Hodgkinson's "The US does detain juveniles that are encountered on the battlefield. We go to great lengths when we do detain juveniles to recognise the special needs of the juvenile population and to provide them with a safe environment away from hostilities." It takes a lot of nerve to make that claim with a history of denying Iraqi children imprisoned education and attorneys.

Last week,
the ACLU issued a statement which includes:

According to the ACLU, the lack of protections and consideration for the juvenile status of detainees violates the obligations of the U.S. under the Optional Protocol on the Involvement of Children in Armed Conflict that the U.S. ratified in 2002, as well as universally accepted international norms. The CRC oversees compliance with the Optional Protocol, which mandates countries to protect children under 18 from military recruitment and guarantees basic protections to former child soldiers. The CRC will question a U.S. government delegation on its compliance with Protocol obligations on May 22 in Geneva.
According to the government report, approximately 2,500 youths under the age of 18 have been held, in some cases for months and years without being charged with a crime, in U.S.-run facilities overseas. As of April 2008, there are approximately 500 youths being held in US-run detention facilities in Iraq alone. The government report claims that it is holding Iraqi children in prison in order to educate them to "contribute positively to the future of Iraq."

Over the weekend,
Jessica Lipnak (The Industry Standard) reported that Iraq isn't safe anyone:

"Many people have been killed going to meetings in Iraq." It was an offhand remark made by a US military advisor in a casual conversation about virtual work -- its benefits, its pitfalls, its resisters, its committed participants. Until that moment, it had never before crossed my mind that traveling to a face-to-face meeting could be lethal. Turns out Army commanders in Iraq and Afghanistan have taken measures to reduce travel. "One of the first things I did here was set up a collaborative network to offset the fact that we couldn't travel easily or safely," Lieutenant General Jim Dubik explained in an email to me.

Meanwhile
Sami Moubayed (Asia Times) grades puppet of the occupation Nour Al-Maliki's two year pretend reign and finds him lacking in every regard. Moubayed notes that al-Maliki just "fired Mutaa Habib Khazraji, the commander of the 2nd Army Division, which is based in Mosul. He was accused of supporting officers implicated in terrorist attacks. Additionally, the prime minister recalled nearly 5,000 retired soldiers from their homes, all being residents of Mosul, to take part in the fighting, along with 400 officers from the war-torn city." This follows Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reporting yesterday that that an armed clash in Sulaimaniyah resulted in the death of "gunmen" and one of those turned out to be "a captain in the army forces". Moubayed notes unemployment in Iraq is at 50%, sewage problems unaddressed, fear of cholera returning, Mosul school exams postponed, refugees, and on and on the list of al-Maliki's failures go. Anna Badkhen (Salon) observes, "Trash pickup in most of Baghdad ended with the rule of Saddam Hussein. Now the garbage chokes the capital's streets and clogs the sewage pipes and canals, which overflow and burst. The sewage that leaks out of broken pipes seeps through the dirt of roads that were once paved, but now have mostly turned to dirt because the tracks of American tanks and Bradley fighting vehicles have destroyed the asphalt over five years of war."

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


Bombings?


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing that wounded four people, 3 Baghdad car bombings that claimed 3 lives and left thirteen wounded, an Al Anbar Province bomber who blew up herself and claimed the life of 1 "Awakening" Council members while leaving three others wounded and a Baghdad assassination attempt on Judge Qasim Ali Motar via a bomb attached the car -- the judge appears to have survived the explosion however he "lost one of his legs in the explosion". Reuters notes 3 dead from a Baghdad mortar attack.

Shootings?

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports the Ministry of Transportation's Col Abdul Kareem Muhsin was shot dead in Baghdad and 4 "Kurdish security members known as Asayish" were shot dead in Baquba. Reuters reports 11 Iraqis shot dead by US forces in Iraq for the suspected crime of being "militants".

Corpses?

Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 10 corpses were discovered in two mass graves in Baquba, the corpses of 2 "young men" were discovered in Baquba -- the two men had been arrested along with thirteen others two hours prior.

Turning to US political races. As
Ruth noted last night, "Senator Hillary Clinton has won the Democratic Party primary in Kentucky by a blow-out. This comes as she picks up another super delegate." Kentucky was a major victory. "Once again tonight, you and I stood together and showed America what we're made of," Hillary Clinton declared in last night's Kentucky primary victory speech. "Every time we win another state, we prove something about ourselves and about our country. And did we ever prove something tonight in Kentucky. We showed America that the voters know what the 'experts' will never understand -- that in our great democracy, elections are about more than candidates running, pundits commenting, or ads blaring."

And, yes, despite the false media narrative that the race is over, despite the rants that Hillary should drop out, Hillary won Kentucky last night, adding yet another state to her list of recent victories which most recently includes West Virginia and Indiana. 700,690 Democrats went to the polls and voted. Hillary beat Barack in a 35.5% win with 459,093 voters selecting her -- nearly 250,000 more votes than he received (his total is 209,869). Third place went to "UNCOMMITTED" (17,526 votes) and, coming in dead last, John Edwards (14,202 or 2% of the vote). (
Results posted here at Kentucky's Secretary of State website.)In her victory speech, Hillary pointed out, "Some have said your votes didn't matter, that this campaign was over, that allowing everyone to vote and every vote to count would somehow be a mistake. But that didn't stop you. You've never given up on me because you know I'll never give up on you." Voters tend to agree judging by exit polls. CNN notes 49% of those voting in the Democratic primary (which was a closed primary) declared that if Hillary was not the Democratic Party nominee come November, John McCain and not voting become their choices with 33% choosing McCain and 16% choosing to abstain from voting in the presidential race -- an increase of 5% from West Virginia where 44% stated they would vote for McCain or not vote if Barack was the nominee in November.

In today's New York Times,
Adam Nagourney and Jeff Zeleny don't lead with that information and pretty much disregard the rising anti-Barack sentiment (he peaked in Februrary) and stress his campaign's claim (as opposed to reporting) that, come November, he will be able to pull her "supporters into his camp; winning over elements of the Democratic coalition like working-class whites, Hispanics and Jews". Not very likely. Not only is Hillary ahead in the popular vote, Barack can't connect with working-class voters as a group. He remains distant and detached from them and that connection is not a 'skill' you suddenly pick up. His disdain for them and his campaign's disdain for them has been apparent throughout the primary cycle. This is not something you easily 'heal' in a matter of months especially when you avoid visiting states. (He would not have done significantly better in those states had he visited during the primary. The issue is that by refusing to campaign there he only solidified the message that he doesn't care for those voters.) Kristi Keck (CNN) observes of Barack, "He's yet to make his case with the working-class vote." She's not sure it's a lost cause. Mike is sure it's a lost cause for Barack and provides a long list of why in his post last night. Taylor Marsh observes: "The thing is that when you don't respect people enough to walk in to where they live, talk to them about their troubles and assure them you get it, they won't give you their vote. It's not a black - white thing, it's a ego thing; as in you think you're too good for them. People can sense political arrogance a mile away and Obama's got it in abundance. That's why if he thinks he's going to get beat he doesn't even bother.
This isn't about race. It's about ego. Obama's, that is."

Ruth notes the victory speech including a significant word, "Referring to whomever the Democratic presidential candidate might be, Senator Clinton used the pronoun 'she.' It was a statement and vision of the possibilities her campaign is creating and it may also be seen as a rebuttal to former 2008 Democratic presidential candidate John Edwards' repeated emphasis on the best 'man' for the job when endorsing John Edwards last Wednesday."

In Oregon, Barack won with 349,132 votes (58.19%) to Hillary's 245,770 (40.96%).
Jeryln (TalkLeft) notes, "Regardless of what the DNC does on May 31 with FL and MI delegates, the popular votes were certified by the states. Their numbers are real and they must be added to her popular vote total." Hillary leads in the popular vote and, for those who have forgotten, Barack's campaign used to use that as a marker and scream "the will of the people." The press appears to have 'forgotten' that fact.

Eloise Harper (ABC News, text and video) reports, "In her most emphatic argument yet for counting the votes in Michigan and Florida, Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, traveled Wednesday to Palm Beach County, Florida -- ground zero for hanging chads and the vote-count controversy of the 2000 election" and quotes Hillary stating:

We believe that the outcome of our elections should be determined by the will of the people. Nothing more. Nothing less. And we believe the popular vote is the truest expression of your will. We believe it today just as we believed it back in 2000 when right here in Florida you learned the hard way what happens when your votes aren't counted and a candidate with fewer votes is determined the winner.

Meanwhile,
Paul Bedard (US News & World Reports) notes Sidney Blumenthal pointing out the obvious: "Don't run against GOP nominee John McCain by painting him as Bush III, because he's not." He isn't and if that's how some in the DNC think Barack could pull off a win, they're kidding themselves. Blumenthal notes re: Iraq, that McCain's son is serving there and someone appears to have missed that point. (Well, MoveOn's never been that smart, have they?) In addition, as Ava and I noted last week of a report on CBS' The Early Show:

It featured a clip where Barack was mouthing about how a vote for John McCain would be giving a third term to the Bully Boy and that's part of Barack's problem. The myth is that he was against the illegal war from the start and that he stayed against it. It's not true but it's too late to change perceptions. So when he speaks about mistakes, he is on dangerous ground. No one likes a know-it-all. "Eggheads" do, it's a case of like attracting like. The reality is that a lot of Americans voted for Bully Boy. He wouldn't have been in the White House if that wasn't the case. (Yes, 2000 was stolen.) A lot of Americans supported the illegal war. Barack's Little Mister Perfect. The eggheads and his campaign don't grasp that they created that trap for him. He's always right! That's the myth. And his statements are inprecise and often hit voters. He thinks he's targeting the Bully Boy but he's shooting scatteshot and hitting a lot of voters with his charges. Hillary's position on Iraq, as portrayed by the media, is more consistent with the public view. Barack's is "I was right! I was right!" And it really irritates people because not everyone knew everything from day one. So when he criticizes McCain, he needs to be specific about policies (Barack's weakest area) and stop insulting voters. His "third term" nonsense doesn't play well. It does for Hillary to say it but for him to say it, it plays into his larger image problems, "He really doesn't like us. Oh, look, he's insulting us again."


People voted for Bully Boy. A lot of people may not like him today but you have to be very careful when campaigning not to give people the impression you think they are idiots. In word and deed, Barack gives that impression every day.