Monday, May 12, 2008

Iraq snapshot

Monday, May 12, 2008.  Chaos and violence continues, a 'truce' in Sadr City, bombings in northern Iraq, the US presidential race and more.
Starting with war resistance, Iraq Veterans Against the War chair Camilo Mejia, author of  Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia, is the first Iraq War veteran to publicly resist the illegal war. Cindy Von Quednow (The Daily Sundial) reports, "An an immigrant, Mejia has strong opinions about the notion that Latinos are targeted by recruiters to join the armed forces. '(Recruiters) use the lack of benefits of Latinos and immigrants to lure people in,' he said. 'The biggest problem is that they don't give all the information, they only give the pretty information, which is not the true picture.'  According to the Pew Hispanic Center, Latinos made up 13 percent of the enlisted military personnel in 2006, compared to 18 percent of the civilian population, and there is an effort to increase those numbers to 22 percent.  As reported in The New York Times, the Pentagon started an advertising campaign through the Spanish-language media to exclusively appeal to Latinos.  'It you look at documents released by the Pentagon and the federal government, they have deliberate attempt to recruit and socialize young Chicanos and Latinos for the military,' said Rosa Furumoto, assistant professor of Chicano/a Studies at CSUN."  
While young Latinos are under attack in the US, in Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated.   Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at 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 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).
Jamie Leigh Jones was a contractor for Halliburton's KBR, sent to Iraq, gang-raped by her co-workers and held in a pod.  Maddy Sauer (ABC News) reports that Jones case will go to court despite Halliburton's absurd claim that arbitration can be used and that District Judge Keith Ellison "wrote in his order Friday that Jones' claims of sexaul assault, battery, rape, false imprisonment and others fall beyond the scope of her cemployment." Previous ABC News coverage of Jones can be found here and hereSonia Verman (Times of London) reports, "The decision has opened the door for other American women who have reported sexual assaults in similar circumstances to challenge clauses in their employment contracts restricting such claims to private arbitration and keeping them out of court.  It comes at a time when the US Congress is examing whether the Government is adequately protecting contractors who allege sexual assault."  Meanwhile Emma Schwartz (US News & World Reports) notes that Alaa ("Alex")  Mohammad Ali ("Iraqi-born Canadian) will be "the first civilian contractor in Iraq" to be court-martialed "under the military justice system". The Orillia Packet & Times notes, he "is accused of stabbing another contractor four times during a fight in February on a base west of Baghdad" and that this is "the first such military prosecution since the Vietnam War."
Meanwhile a book in England, or at least a section of it (excerpt here at the Times of London), has caught the attention of many including Rosalin Ryan (Guardian of London), Robert Winnett (Telegraph of London) and The Hindu Times.  The book, by attorney Cherie Booth Blair, includes a section detailing her 2002 miscarriage and how her husband, then-Prime Minister Tony Blair, 'handled' it.  Despite phoning that he'd be there "straight away," Booth Blair writes, Tony instead ran off to inform Alastair and the two men phoned her to tell her that the Blairs' announced vacation presented a problem because with the Iraq War impending, if the vacation were cancelled (as it would need to be) with no explanation, people might assume it had something to do with the upcoming war.  Booth Blair was informed that her miscarriage needed to be announced to the media immediately. Booth Blair writes: "They had decided that the best thing was to tell the press that I'd had a miscarriage.  I couldn't believe it.  There I was, bleeding, and they were talking about what was going to be the line to the press.  I put down the receiver and lay there staring at the ceiling, as pain began to grip." 
In Iraq, tensions between northern Iraq and Turkey continue.  Hurriyet reports: "Turkish jets bombed on Sunday the Nerwa and Rekan areas in northern Iraq, the website of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) reported.  Turkish jets also bombed mountainous areas in the Zakho district of Duhok province earlier on Sunday, PUK media reported, adding Turkish artillery sporadically shelled the same areas."  Reuters quotes Iraq's Kurdish Peshmerga security forces spokesperson Jabbar Yawar stating that the bombings resulted in no deaths or wounded.  Suzan Fraser (AP) reminds, "Turkey has launched several cross-border aerial attacks this year to stamp out PKK bases in northern Iraq.  The military also sent ground troops into Iraq in February for an eight-day cross-border incursion in pursuit of the rebels."
Further into Iraq, Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported over the weekend, "Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. In return, Sadr's Mahdi Army supporters won the Iraqi government's agreement not to arrest Mahdi Army members without warrants, unless they were in possession of 'medium and heavy weaponry'."  The immediate impact?  Hala Jaber (Times of London) reported: "A humvee military vehicle idles on a broad avenue as an Iraqi army soldier walks nonchalantly past without so much as a glance at the body slung across the bonnet.
The dead man's trousers have been pulled down to his ankles, exposing white underwear below a torn T-shirt drenched in blood from wounds to his chest and side.  Behind is a second Humvee with another body sprawled over the front, arms and legs outstretched. On his white shirt, a large bloodstain indicates the wound that may have killed him. A soldier sitting on the roof dangles his legs over the windscreen and seems to prod the corpse's stomach with his boot."  Sunday Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) noted that Sadr City residents "blame both" the US-Iraqi fighters and the Mahdi militia and that they do not expect the cease-fire will hold.  Leila Fadel noted that residents report the truce did not stop the violence and quotes Suham Bresam explaining, "This agreement happened and I was up all night from the gunshots and strikes."  Simon Assaf (Great Britain's Socialist Worker) notes the estimated 800 civilians "feared dead" in the long assault on Sadr City and how many more have been turned into refugees in order to avoid the slaughter.  As the assault continues Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports today that Sadr City hospital have received 3 dead and eighteen wounded.  AP reports that the cease-fire was signed today and that it is "a four-day cease-fire" as well as that there are doubts as to whether or not it will be followed.
Turning to other reported violence .  .  .
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad roadside bombings resulting in three people being injured, Hussein Shaban was killed by a car bombing outside Mosul, an Al Anbar Province roadside bombing claimed the lives of 2 children, 2 bodyguards and "Awakening" Council member Abu Qutaiba.
Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Col Nibras Fadel Abbas of the Ministry of Defense was shot dead in Baghdad today, a Baghdad armed clash resulted in three people being wounded, one person wounded in a Sulaimaniyah Province shooting,  and, dropping back to yesterday, a women's shelter in Sulaimaniyah was shot up by unknown persons with one woman being wounded.
Today (PDF format warning) the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed after being struck by an improvised explosive device during a route clearance patrol at approximately 9:20 p.m. May 11 in northwest Baghdad. The Soldier was quickly transported to the medical facility where he later died of his wounds." 4076 is currently the number of US service members who have died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war.
Yesterday Tom Vanden Brooks (USA Today) reported on US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates sudden chatty nature on stop-loss and how he regrets that it was "my decision to go to 15-month tours" which "made it impossible for them" to reduce the numbers stop-lossed. What's really the point of Chatty Gates? Friday Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reported that stop-loss/backdoor draft numbers are increasing again: "number steadily declined through May 2007, when it hit 8,540. But since then, the number of soldiers subjected to stop-loss orders began to increase again, reaching 12,235 in March 2008." Gates is yacking it up because George W. Casey and US Army Secretay Pete Geren testified to the Senate Armed Services Committe (Feb. 26th) and committee chair Carl Levin specifically asked about stop-loss and was told that the number was "a little less than 8,000 today" -- which would be a LIE since the lowest it ever reached was 8,450 and that was in May of 2007 and the number then began it's climg to 12,235 (March 2008 -- a week after their testimony) and that the Army wanted to "move away from" using stop-loss. As Levin continued to ask for answers, Geren stated it might drop to 7,000. It was already well above 8,000 (it didn't leap to 12,235 one week later in a huge bound) and it never got below 8,000 over the previous 12 months. Geren, with Casey beside him nodding along, LIED to Congress. Levin asked specific questions and was LIED to. Now Gates is a on yack-fest to get 'information' out there and to shift the focus to that and not the LIE. Geren LIED. The same way the VA lied to Congress about the number of veterans' suicides.
Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times' Babylon & Beyond) notes: "Government officials had been talking about it for months. But when the offensive finally began Saturday to clear the northern city of Mosul of insurgents, residents were caught off guard." Talking about it? Did someone miss that Barack Obama, April 8th, was praising it in the Senate during The Petraeus & Crocker Variety Hour? Praising it, acting like it had taken place.  Turning to US politics.  PBS' NewsHour on Friday featured THREE IDIOTS, chief among them Mark Shields who wants to claim to be a "hard working American."  Old idiot should have retired a long time ago so it is hilarious to watch him claim that Hillary Clinton needs to exit "gracefully."  Shields won't exit period. Mark Sheilds turns 70 this month (May 25th).  Exactly when he is going to exit?  Exactly when will his tired ass be taken off television or does he really think anyone believes he's from the "left" all these years later or that anyone needs his nonsense?  70 years old and he wants to pretend anyone else needs to exit?  Get real, Mark, it's time to go.  Step down and allow someone younger -- even ten years younger would be something at this point -- to step up to the plate. 
We don't do "Don't Run! and "Drop Out!" pieces in this community (community-wide, it doesn't happen).  Someone's campaign may appear over to us and we may note that.  We don't then say, "Drop out!"  (We didn't with Dennis Kucinich when he demonstrated that he would give votes away in Iowa.  That's when his campaign died.  Had he stayed in, were he still in today, there would be no "Drop Out Dennis!" piece.)  Those pieces -- whether aimed at Ralph Nader, Cindy Sheehan, or whomever -- go against the beliefs in democracy that the US is supposed to have.  Someone wants to run, they run.  Someone wants to stay in the race, they stay in.  It's really basic but it's something that a number of people have trouble grasping and they need to start answering the question: "Do you believe in democracy?"  Their actions indicate that they do not.
In terms of the Democratic primaries a few things.  Iowa and New Hampshire should not have a lock on who goes first.  That's been the position community-wide (and we wrote about it at Third -- over and over -- beginning in 2005).  Iowa's caucus is prone to theft and not open (ibid).  Caucuses are not used in the general election so they shouldn't be used in any primaries (ibid).  Every vote should be counted (ibid).  Everyone who wants to run for public office has a right to (ibid).  No candiate 'steals' votes from another.  Everyone gets the ones they get and if they lose by X% that is their own loss (ibid).  Those are the basic beliefs that this community has operated under since it started.  In terms of this election cycle, the only thing to add to that is that this site (The Common Ills), Wally and Cedric (at their sites) have all argued for Michigan and Florida's delegates to be seated and done that going back months and months well into 2007 -- long before either state held their primary (and Wally, Cedric and I were making comments that the delegates will need to be seated and the totals honored in roundtables at Third long before that -- Wally lives in Florida, this has always been a primary issue to him). We have not adopted to a position helpful to 'our candidate,' we have stayed consistent with our core democratic beliefs.
Now the DNC has repeatedly lied to states -- presidential election cycle after presidential election cycle -- that there's no harm in the order.  It may happen, they've said, that states pushed all the way to the end of the calendar could end up being the deciding factors!  It just might be, they've lied, that the final states could decide it!  Well now the race continues and shame on anyone in an elected office who tries to call it off or says someone needs to drop out.  The campaign's still going (West Virginia's primary is tomorrow, Kentucky & Oregon's on May 20th, Puerto Rico's on June 1st and then Montana & South Dakota on June 3rd.)  Every four year, Iowa and New Hampshire get their asses kissed by every candidate and the rest of the states suffer.  It's not fair, it's never been fair.  It's not right, it's never been right.  2012 should see real changes from the DNC.  That should include doing away with caucuses which are not used in a general election, which allow people to 'vote' in 'rounds' and which are useless.  That should include immediately implementing a rotating schedule for state primaries so that all states will have a chance at being the first ones (yes, even Alaska). 
To cover a few more points, we don't waste our time on faux candidates.  Meaning Cynthia McKinney.  When idiot Ted Glick stated on Democracy Now! that McKinney (who is not yet the Green Party nominee) knew she couldn't win the presidency and was defining 'victory' by getting 5%, that was idiotic.  That was stupid.  But he said it.  When her campaign turned around and linked to the interview stating he speaks for her, this community was under no obligation to ever again give a damn.  And, if she's the nominee, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC should shut her out of the debates because a candidate (who doesn't even have her party's nomination) who states that 'victory' would be 5% of the vote isn't a real candidate.  They should shut her out and she has no right to complain if they do.  Ralph Nader's not saying, "I'm going for X% of the vote."  Nader's running to win.  Though you hear over and over that Ralph's running a vanity campaign (you heard that in 2004, 2000, 1996 . . .), he is not (and has not) run a vanity campaign.  He's running to win.  He may win or he may not win but he's running the best campaign he can and in a race to win it.  Nader has a right to be on stage taking part in all debates.  I don't know right-wing third parties.  If their candidates are running to win (and not announcing "I can't win, I just want a percent of the vote!") then they should be allowed on stage at the debates as well.  That's a basic of democracy as surely as count every vote: candidates in a race to win it are real candidates -- not based on polling, not based on fund raising.  It's not only that they have a right to be included it's also that in a democracy those 'deciding' have an obligation to include them.
Those are the basics and we'll touch on them throughout the next section.  Another basic, how many states are there in the US?  Answer: 50.  Who said this: "Over the last 15 months, we've traveled to every corner of the United States. I've now been in 57 states, I think one left to go.  One left to go.  Alaska and Hawaii I was not allowed to go, even though I really wanted to visit but my staff would not justify it."?  It wasn't John McCain, it was Barack Obama.  Video hereThe NewsHour link earlier will find Barack saying "I said uh on Brian Williams yesterday" . . .  Not 'to' Brian Williams.  Sorry to break it to Barack but there's no Brian Williams Show to say that on.  The program's title remains NBC Nightly News, the same title it's had since Barack was a child going by "Barry."  (It was Huntley-Brinkley Report until July 31, 1970.)   This comes on top of his absurd claim last week (in his North Carolina victory speech) that the media refused to notice where he was insisting his father (a Kenyan) was buried (in Kenya) with a US flag draping the coffin.  (Be sure to check out Isaiah's comic on Barack's blunders.)  I'm sure some will rush foward -- the same who chuckled at Barack's slam to John McCain last week, the ageism, no doubt -- to insist Barack's tired.  Now I know the Bully Boy's made it look easy by delegating so much of his work to Dick Cheney; however, the president of the United States is supposed to be one of the hardest and most demanding in the country.  If Barack's not up for the job, voters need to know that now.  He's already required a tropical vacation (Virgin Islands -- March right after he gave the nearly 4,000 word speech) and a day of rest last Wednesday.  Barack Obama is young for a presidential candidate (46-years-old) currently.  And he's having trouble keeping up with the campaign schedule?  And he wants to smear John McCain with little jabs? (Covered in Friday's "Iraq snapshot" and Ava and I note it in "TV: Tiny Tots").  He thinks he can accuse McCain of "losing his bearings" after all of that plus repeatedly calling Matt Lauer "Tim" last week
Now he's decided to write off campaigning in many states (he can't win them) and his campaign is allegedly calling people in those states and telling them the race is over?  That's as phoney as targeting certain areas with fliers stating the wrong date for an election or telling some communities that anyone with an outstanding traffic ticket or warrant will be arrested if they vote.  He should be ashamed of his campaign.  He should be ashmed of himself for writing off states -- were he to become the nominee, he would need to have used the opportunity to introduce himself to residents of West Virginia. Big Tent Democrat (TalkLeft) notes "that Democratic Presidential candidates carried West Virginia in every recent election except the last 2".  Jeralyn (TalkLeft) again stresses the issue of the electoral college map and notes Bringiton (Corrente) results where the idea of sharing delegates is tossed out and the winner takes all system is used (as it is in the general election for all but two states).  In that match-up, based on the states that have voted thus far (and tossing Oregon over to Barack before their primary), Hillary comes out the strongest.  Bringiton's point is the one that NOW on PBS addressed two Fridays ago when David Brancaccio spoke with Willie Brown and Dan Schnur and it was noted that if the system the Democrats are currently using was used by the GOP, John McCain would still be facing Mike Huckabee; however, under the winner takes all system, Hillary would have been declared the Democratic primary winner long ago.  So, to be clear, the GOP will be putting up a nominee (barring any unforseen circumstances) who has played on the winner take all field and the Democrats may very well go with a candidate who's been given delegates that really don't matter even though he lost the states (Schnur compared it to Little League giving every player a trophy).  Anglachel (Anglache's Journal) asserts, "I will simply repeat what I've been saying for weeks now: Hillary = nominee= vicotry; Obama = nominee = defeat.  Neither candidate has enough pledged delgates to get to 2209 votes without super delegates, so it is up to the SDs to decide the fate of the party in this electoral cycle.  The nominee isn't the person with the most at a certain point in time, it is the person who first hits 2209."
Meanwhile John Edwards' supporter John Mashek (US News & World Report) weighs in on John Edwards "playing games with his preference for his party's nomination.  Truth be told, it really doesn't matter at this late hour. Edwards holds a meager handful of pledged delegates, and even they can act as free agents at the convention in Denver."  What's he talking about is John Edwards was on Face The Nation (CBS) Sunday (link has text and video and, PDF format warning, transcript here).  As Edwards noted himself, she doesn't need any advice so why are so many rushing to give it to her?  Rushing to tell her to drop out?   Fernando Suarez (CBS News) reports that the latest Suffolk University Poll shows Hillary Clinton with a huge double-digit lead in West Virginia -- a 36 point advantage over her opponent Barack Obama.  But the most striking figure in the poll is that Clinton is viewed more favorably than Obama".  Doesn't sound like a loser.  Suarez also notes that "no Democratic candidate has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916."  Egalia (Tennessee Guerilla Women) notes Barack's absences from West Virginia and Kentucky and wonders, "If Obama views it as pointless to campaign in the Kentucky and West Virginia primaries, why would he bother showing up in the general?"  Good point but it also needs to be noted that this was his Michigan strategy.  Idiots keep repeating, "He wasn't on the ballot!"  He took his name off.  He did so for the same reason he's refusing to campaign in Kentucky and West Virginia right now: He doesn't think he can win.  The plan with Michigan, which he knew he couldn't win (and he couldn't, he was right on that) was to take his name off so that he could say of Hillary's victory (she was expected to win and she did), "It doesn't matter, I wasn't on the ballot."  Just as his trashy campaign will attempt to argue that Kentucky and West Virginia's votes don't matter "because he didn't campaign!"  He took his name off the Michigan ballot after the internal campaign voting showed him losing to Hillary and John Edwards.  His own campaign polling showed him coming in third.  He took his name off the ballot (as did Edwards) and then used that to suck up to the residents of Iowa and New Hampshire. 
Hillary's still in the race because the race is a dead-heat.  The cries for her to drop out are coming because Barack's campaign knows it does reject their narrative that he is the choice of Democratic voters when the upcoming primaries take place.  Actually, had the media been paying attention, Indiana recently made that argument.  He lost, she won.  Were he the choice why, in May, would he be losing to her?  He's not the choice.  It's a tie, neither will reach the necessary number of delegates awarded by states.  The decision should be mae on the convention floor unless one of them drops out.  Whining about August being so late in the year?  Blame the DNC.  They were the fools that moved it back.  The mistaken belief is that part of John Kerry's losing campaign's failure was in fundraising -- and by being so far ahead (so many weeks) of the GOP convention, the July DNC convention was the reason.  He had so many more weeks where he needed to buy advertising!  Boo-hoo.  But if August is too far away, blame the DNC for pushing the convention so far back this year. 
Barring one of them dropping back, the race should go to the convention room floor.  Those are the rules.  I don't know why so many big babies -- alleged adults -- are afraid of a convention floor fight?  The Demcractic Party used to have them all the time.  Maybe it's scary when one candidate is vetted and the other isn't?  Texas Darlin ( notes this from Chuck Neubauer and Tom Hamburger (Los Angeles Times) report on Barack's relationship with Chicago business person Robert Blackwell Jr.: "After After an unsuccessful campaign for Congress in 2000, Illinois state Sen. Barack Obama faced serious financial pressure: numerous debts, limited cash and a law practice he had neglected for a year. Help arrived in early 2001 from a significant new legal client -- a longtime political supporter. Chicago entrepreneur Robert Blackwell Jr. paid Obama an $8,000-a-month retainer to give legal advice to his growing technology firm, Electronic Knowledge Interchange. It allowed Obama to supplement his $58,000 part-time state Senate salary for over a year with regular payments from Blackwell's firm that eventually totaled $112,000. A few months after receiving his final payment from EKI, Obama sent a request on state Senate letterhead urging Illinois officials to provide a $50,000 tourism promotion grant to another Blackwell company, Killerspin." Darlin notes that "the day after Obama wrote his letter soliciting state funds for Blackwell's company, Obama's U.S. Senate campaign received a $1,000 donation from Blackwell."  There are things like this throughout Barack's 'career.'  Panhandle Media has inflated him and you hear that he was a "community organizer" (he did get-out-the-vote work), a "law professor" (he lectured -- the Chicago university may cover his butt, we won't here, reality is reality, he was a lecturer), a "Civili Rights" or "Civil Liberties" attorney.  Don't hold your breath waiting to hear about those cases because they don't exist.  Since he hasn't provided any (again, they don't exist), journalists are checking the Chicago docket (and finding nothing).  There seems to be some delusion in the Obama campaign that no one will ever ask questions.  (They're backed up by the fact that the many in the media still think Bill Ayers-Barack Obama is the connection when, in fact, the connection is to Bernardine Dohrn and all who know Bernardine and Bill -- myself included -- no Bill never does a thing without her say so.)  That's what's behind the attempts to push Hillary out of the race.  If Barack's get the nomination, the thinking is, the Dems are stuck with him and they'll have to defend him from whatever scandal (I count four brewing in the press and it will be interesting to see which one gets reported first).  The thinking is that if they sell this lemon and it's driven off the car lot, it won't matter, people will be stuck with Barack.  They'll have to defend for things that they do not approve of.  It's a losing strategy and it's a loser for the Democratic Party. 
Jennifer Agiesta and Jon Cohen (Washington Post) reported Saturday that, yes, Jeremiah Wright is making a difference in voting with presumably White churchgoers the most vocal while "African American churchgoers were not uniform in their response to the uproar surrounding Wright's controversial views, which the preacher rekindled the week before the primaries. Nearly half of black weekly churchgoers in Indiana said Wright was not at all important to their vote, while in North Carolina, about the same percentage said it was a significant factor. In the Tarheel state, black voters who gave Wright's sermons the most consideration still gave Obama a 70-point advantage, but it was slimmer than his 93-point win among those who said it was not a factor."  Issue after issue and the presumed conviction of Antoin "Tony" Rezko all rolls together to make Barack Obama not the image he presented to the American people.  And he was never that popular to begin with.  He was popular with those following Democratic primaries which doesn't even include all Democrats.  What Barack's done is run an impressive -- though not winning -- primary campaign and demonstrated that he's not a general election candidate.  The bloom came off the rose when ABC's Good Morning America broadcast the Wright videos, his campaign's been a drag ever since.  Not helped by his uh-uh-uh-uh, not helped by the fact that he can't win a debate -- exactly how do his supporters assume they would prod swing-voters to his side after they saw him embarrass himself in repeated debates with John McCain (and hopefully Ralph Nader)?  Or is he going to stomp his feet and insist that there be no debates the way he did in the primary season?  Hate to break it to the Big Baby and his Devoted Cult, Hillary hasn't hit that hard.  If Barack does steal the nomination, it will be a rude awakening for his devoted following when false charges of racism backfire on them, when he's excepted to be competent and know what he's talking about, when he's expected to grasp issues -- those things he always wants to talk about (he says) but never gets around to.  His radicals in Panhandle Media can stomp their feet all they want, they can scream and yell all they want, it won't do any good -- and bystanders watching the proceedings from the sides are already sick of the trash the Barack campaign has used.  It's like all the pathetic White people of the 'left' defending Jeremiah Wright.  There is no excuse for what he said.  There's no excuse for it.  Carol F. Roye (Women's eNews) notes that "Wright's incedniary comment was unwarranted and destructive.  I wish he'd dare to raise an actual HIV-AIDS threat that is being dangerously silence by taboo.  It's a threat that the public health community continues to ignore and that we must talk about: women's unprotected anal intercourse with male partners."  Wright offered crackpot science and it was justified, excused, defended by Panhandle Media.  Grow up.  You can trick your small devoted into believeing that for a little while; however, let's be honest, the bulk of you have also tricked your same audiences into believing that you are Democrats. 
Jake Tapper (ABC News) notes that Chris Rock, NPR's Ken Rudin and US House Rep Steve Cohen have now all compared Hillary to the Glenn Close character in the backlash trash Fatal Attraction.  Tapper notes "as the late great Pauline Kael wrote in The New Yorker at the time, the 'film is about men seeing feminists as witches'."  It's exactly that sort of crap that made people like Ava and myself get off the sidelines.  The Obama camp has no one to blame but themselves.  They have used sexism over and over and the media has amplified it and provided their own.  (And let's remember, Betsy Reed, wanting to talk sister-to-sister to all of us gals cited the 'feminist' Chris Rock in her column.  Reed's not a feminist, she's not a Democrat and she needs to stop trying to trick America but people like her having nothing to offer but tricks and deceptions.  If forced to be honest -- about anything -- they'd probably suffer a heart attack.) Another who called out Fatal AttracitonSusan Faludi, noted last week (Friday in the New York Times but link goes to Der Spiegel), "Pundits have been quick to attribute the erosion in Barack Obama's white male support to a newfound racism.  What they have failed to consider is the degree to which white male voters witnessing Senator Clinton's metamorphosis are being forced to rethink precepts they've long held about women in politics." That's certainly logical and plausible and would be similar to the shift in the Latino community, the one Cokie Roberts attempted to address the night of Super Duper Tuesday on ABC when she noted that, in the 1980s, Latino voters were among the more resistant to female candidates -- and not only had Hillary won their support but that the change had begun in the 90s for the Latino community.  That is two women now who noted it.  Hopefully, others in the media will at some point.  It's one of the major developments of this campaign season.  Another development is that US House Rep Ciro Rodriguez has endorsed Hillary today stating, "The voters of Texas' 23rd congressional district voted overwhelming for Senator Clinton in the Texas primary and I will respect their decision.  I believe Hillary Clinton has the experience, vision, and toughness to win a general election and can help expand our Democratic majority in Congress.  Not only can she win, I am convinced that she will be a truly great President.  In two areas of special importance to me, caring for our veterans and improving our schools, Hillary has been a real leader.  I am happy to follow the clear choice of my constituents and support Hillary for President."  Which does put pressure on Barack supporters who scream "popular vote! popular vote!" but whose own constituents voted for Hillary.  (Yes, John Kerry and Ted Kennedy, that would include you.)
Peggy Simpson (Womens Media Center) reports on Barack and Hillary's statements that the Democratic Party will come together in November regardless of the outcome of the nomination process. Trina would disagreeJoel S. Hirschhorn (Information Clearing House) makes the argument for Ralph Nader, assumes Barack Obama will be the Democratic nominee and argues: "Peoplw with intelligence and conscience must resist peer pressure and the temptation to vote against John McCain by voting for Barack Obama."  Regardless of who gets the nomination -- Hillary or Barack -- some voters (maybe many) will go elsewhere.  A Nader supporter grasps that, too bad for the pathetic public faces of the Green Party that they couldn't grasp that very basic fact.  This community is pro-Hillary.  That's the Green members, the independents, the third partied and the Democrats.  Democratic community members are supporting her with their votes but community-wide she had support in terms of the primary race.  That didn't prevent Green 'faces' from smearing her throughout the primary.  Teddy Glick, I-Need-Attention Benjamin and all the others.  Between that and the nonsense of McKinney's I'm-Running-For-5%-of-The Vote, Ralph Nader sewed up the community.  He is the choice of Greens and most independents and has become the back-up choice for all the rest should Hillary not get the nomination. (For those visitors who have continued to whine in e-mails -- I didn't vote in the poll, I do not disclose my vote.  And I honestly don't give a damn what any of you cry babies have to say.  The community made up its mind, you aren't part of it, whine elsewhere.)   "Call it the no more whinging campaing," says Team Nader:
Don't tell us about Bush/Cheney.  We know already.  The sewage has risen to the surface. The question is -- what are we going to do about it?  The answer is -- Nader - [Matt] Gonzalez.  [. . .]  We put our people vs. the corporations platform on the table.  And -- per your request -- we've just updated our issues pages with more detail.  We're working hard to get Nader/Gonzalez on as many state ballots as possible.  And -- per your request -- we've just launched a clickable state by state map of the country for ballot access.

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