From desertion [see previous entry on John Vandiver, "Authorities investigating captain’s disappearance" about Robert Przybylski] to AWOL. Uncle Sam wants you . . . to stop breast feeding! That is apparently the message to a new mother. From Rachel Cohen's "New baby? Uncle Sam still wants you: Hayward woman called back to active duty, faces tour in Iraq" (The Daily Review):
One minute Ashleigh Higgins was planning her nearly 4-month-old baby's first Halloween and Thanksgiving. The next, the new mother was trying to figure out who is going to raise her.
Higgins, 22, was recently called up for active duty in the Army and ordered to report to Fort Jackson in South Carolina on Nov. 11. The recall orders, dated Oct. 10 but not received in the mail until Oct. 16, state that Higgins will be at Fort Jackson for up to 25 days for training for mobilization and then will support Iraqi Freedom for up to 400 days.
It's just devastating," said Higgins' mother, Pattie Hurd. "Why would anyone think you would want a postpartum mom who has a bad knee in basic training?"
But all the Army told Higgins was to file an exemption request. So Higgins and her family have been trying to gather every document possible to show that there is no one who can take care of baby Gabriela.
"You have to put in everything you can possibly think of. They can't have any new reasons added later," Hurd said.
These include a letter from the pediatrician stating that this period is crucial in development for the baby and mother to bond. Higgins' husband, Daniel Higgins, 24, just started at the six-month police academy with the Oakland Police Department, and Oakland police wrote aletter stating his hours, which change every day, make him unavailable to be able to take care of Gabriela. For the Higgins, Daniel's becoming a police officer is a career they chose as a family so that he would be able to support their child.
Read the article in full and learn that the US military's response is punishment for Higgins becoming pregnant -- push-ups. That's how the US military greeted the news: "was made to do push-ups and run, she said. When Higgins was discharged in July 2006, she also was told to pay back her signing bonus." She was placed in the IRR and is now being called back up, despite the fact that she just gave birth. But why should that matter when the US military thinks they -- without consulting her doctor -- can order a pregnant woman to do not just push-ups but to run. Does anyone have a brain in the brass?
The New York Times is full of crap this morning with nothing anyone needs to read and it's really sad that writers were put to work producing A6. The two stories above matter more than any of the official statements the Times attempts to tease out into "news." Focus on the two items above. You have an officer missing. If he doesn't turn up (and something may have happened to him, he could be wounded or worse), he'll be the first officer to be declared a deserter. (Of course, the New York Times has already falsely called Ehren Watada a deserter -- Watada did not desert, he was not classified as such by the military, he reported for duty on base every day.) In the second case, you have something that's so offensive on just about every level. They're pulling her from the IRR when we do not have a national emergency. She's the mother of a newborn (her own mother just had surgery and can't lift a baby). The military response to her pregnancy was to order her to take actions that for some (not all) women could have resulted in a miscarriage. For most women, pregnancy doesn't require bed rest (Rebecca had to be on bed rest during the first months of her pregnancy last year due to her history of past miscarriages) but intense physical activity needs an okay from your physician. Now they want to back-door draft her off to Iraq. And where's the New York Times on either story?
They repeat Bully Boy's claims of 'gains' and launch another wave of Operation Happy Talk. FYI, when a discharged mother of an infant is being recalled things aren't going well and that's just one sign for anyone paying attention to anything beyond spin.
On the issue of the conflicts and violence on the border of northern Iraq and Turkey, nothing is the US administration's plan still. Lloyd notes Karen DeYoung's "Turkey Urges U.S. To Take Action On Kurdish Violence" (Washington Post):
Turkish Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said Friday that Turkey wants the United States to stop talking and start taking action to help end cross-border attacks by Kurdish guerrillas in Iraq.
"We need to work on actually making things happen," Babacan said at a news conference with Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in Ankara. "This is where the words end and action needs to start."
We'll also note Matthew Schofield's "Turks demand action, not words" (McClatchy Newspapers):
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on Friday branded the Kurdistan Workers' Party a "terrorist organization" and a "common enemy" of the United States, Turkey and Iraq, but she stopped short of committing Washington to military action against the guerrilla force.
Turkey has threatened to launch military operations against the group in Iraq alone if necessary, and Turkish officials indicated that they weren't satisfied by what Rice told them in talks Friday.
"This is where the words end, and the action needs to start," Foreign Minister Ali Babacan said. "Her words were good to hear, but words offer nothing new," said another government official, who requested anonymity because he isn't an authorized spokesman.
The Bush administration has assured Turkey at least four times that it would take action against the PKK, as it's known in its Kurdish initials, but hasn't done so, in part because there are no U.S. troops in Iraq available for such a mission.
The following community sites have updated since yesterday morning:
Rebecca's Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude;
Cedric's Cedric's Big Mix;
Kat's Kat's Korner;
Betty's Thomas Friedman is a Great Man;
Mike's Mikey Likes It!;
Elaine's Like Maria Said Paz;
Wally's The Daily Jot;
Trina's Trina's Kitchen;
and Ruth's Ruth's Report
Meanwhile, the US military announced today: "A Multi-National Division – Center Soldier was killed when her patrol was struck by an improvised explosive device south of Baghdad Nov. 1."
And Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad bombing outside a children's hospital that claimed 1 life and left three police officers wounded, an Al Mahaweel bombing that claimed the life of 1 police officer and wounded another, a Baghdad shooting the left three people wounded, and two attacks on officials -- a bombing targeted Lt. Gen. Mohan Hafidh and Maj. Gen. Jaleel Khalaf in Basra (no reported deaths) and Dr. Jabbar Yasir Al Maiyahi also survived an attack ("gunmen") on the campus of Waist University, however, three guards were injured.
Martha passes on the e-mail on Sunday's lineup for RadioNation with Laura Flanders:
This week on RadioNation: Avoiding the Toughness Trap
In order for Iran to change, the US has to change; if you want to know what's happening in a primary state, talk to a talk show host who lives there. This is the moment for an utter overhaul of US "security" policy and adults who want to help child soldiers better create a peaceful world. All that and BILLY SOTHERN on the election of Bobby Jindal -- is it the end of racism? No it's not. Join BILL HARTUNG, ARNIE ARNESON, CHARLES LONDON and others....
HARTUNG on the Toughness Trap
Don't forgetRadioNation is heard on Air America Radio Sundays at 1 pm EST and on XM satellite and non-commercial stations nationwide. It can also be heard via podcast. To bring RadioNation to a station near you, write to Peter@thenation.com.
Out this week: THE CONTENDERS (Seven Stories). FLANDERS, RIDGEWAY, GOLDSTEIN AND DAN SAVAGE on CLINTON, OBAMA et al.. BUY it or ORDER IT today. For more information, go to LauraFlanders.com
We noted Margaret Kimberley's latest in yesterday's snapshot but Marcia highlighted this excerpt. From Kimberley's "Obama and McClurkin" (Freedom Rider, Black Agenda Report):
In order to shore up black voter support in the South Carolina primary, Obama or one of his very smart aides chose the least meaningful, lowest hanging political fruit. They decided to get some old time religion. Why not promote their man as a good Christian soldier and have some good Christian music to go along with the claim? The Donnie McClurkin snafu was born.
Donnie McClurkin is a gospel singer, and the pastor of a church in New York. McClurkin now sings Obama's praises, but just a few years ago he was singing for George W. Bush at the Republican National Convention in 2004. Like all good business-minded preachers, McClurkin was fully in the Bush camp when it made good political sense.
McClurkin has his own personal issues, admitting to having sex with men but claiming that childhood sexual abuse was the sole reason for his orientation. He also claimed that gays were trying to "kill our children" while also calling homosexuality "a curse." McClurkin also opined that gays could, like him, change if they prayed hard enough. McClurkin certainly picked the right horse in the right year, denying his own personal history in order to be in with the political in crowd.
The McClurkin controversy exposed Obama's lack of respect for the black community and also exposed his own opportunism. If he, a black candidate, is getting a lukewarm reception among his own people, it is because they doubt he is in their corner. They don't like being told that feelings of race pride can be fulfilled with a black face in a high place but only on the condition that they cease making demands on the system and make themselves invisible.
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