Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Other Items

Retired U.S. Army Col. Ann Wright said the current war in Iraq has created problems for the military. Wright was the guest speaker at the Advocates of Peace Club’s “Day of Peace and Justice” April 25.
“Hundreds of soldiers are going AWOL (absent without leave) because they don’t agree with the way that the war in Iraq is being handled,” Wright said. “Instead of court-martialing all of these soldiers who are going AWOL, it is easier and faster for the government to just give them a dishonorable discharge.”
She spoke at length about several members of the Bush Administration and how they conveniently “retired” as the war in Iraq progressed. Wright believes many of them left the service because they opposed the war. She said she had seen first-hand military personnel who were court-martialed when they questioned the legality of the war.

The above is from Chris Kirby's "Retired Army Col. Speaks a Day of Peace and Justice" (Pioneer Online) and Wright and Susan Dixon are the co-authors of DISSENT: Voices of Conscience. At Inside Iraq, a McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi correspondent details the daily hassles of living under a puppet occupation in "Student ID -- Corruption??:"

How far will corruption -- and therefore distrust take us? Has the issue of a student's campus ID card become a national security risk -- because of corruption?
Several weeks ago I took my daughter's student ID, issued by her college, to follow up a documentation process in officialdom. I hate handing over original papers because they have a way of disappearing. And it did. Who to ask -- who is responsible -- who can I vent my anger on – no one. No one is accountable.
In despair, I let it go.
Now the final exams are coming on. We've been told that no student will be allowed to sit the exams without their ID clearly displayed on their desks. And this time for real.
A rush to issue a new one.
It turns out that colleges are no longer authorized to produce their own students' cards, because so many cards have been produced for people who were not students! I got goose bumps -- who were these people? How and why?? I was sent off to issue a police statement verifying the loss of our document. It seems they have shoved the responsibility onto the police -- they, surely, are straight.
At the Police Station. A place of clashing loyalties and God knows what agendas.
I took great care to dress for the part of the simple ignorant elderly lady – down to wearing flip flops.

Meanwhile, we'll note this from Alissa J. Rubin's "Assassination Tries Spur Violence in Iraq" (New York Times, that is the print headline on A11):

Families have begun to leave Sadr City over the past several days, trickling into the grounds of a sports stadium in Baladiat, which is on the western edge of Sadr City. The families, who lived near the front lines of the fighting and the wall being built by the American military to partition the neighborhood, said they had fled because their children were terrified of the bombing.
As many as 1,500 families are expected to go to the area in the next few days, said Abu Wa'il, the informal mayor of the refugees who live in the area. Some came as recently as two days ago and others have been there for several years, squatting in abandoned buildings. The army will provide tents for the refugees, he said, but there appeared to be no latrines and it seemed doubtful that there would be enough water to supply so many families.

In election news, Hillary won Indiana. It was cute to watch an Obama surrogate (Gary mayor) use another tactice to deprive her of winning headlines but all the Obama camp has is spin and lies. As CNN noted yesterday: "Sen. Barack Obama has called Tuesday's Democratic primary in Indiana a potential "tiebreaker" that could end his protracted fight with Sen. Hillary Clinton." That would mean he lost. But search for that reality in the news cycle. CBS called it and everyone hesitated. Then along comes the mayor of Gary injecting himself into the news cycle and everyone backs off. It wasn't about facts or reality, it was a move to set the spin. CNN notes, "A clear winner did not emerge until 1:15 a.m. Wednesday -- seven hours after the polls closed -- because results were slow to come in from Lake County, a Chicago suburb in northwestern Indiana with several precincts that went strongly for Obama." Actually, it was clear by eight p.m. EST but the spin was Barack Racing To The Nomination. No, no and no. He didn't win Indinapolis. He has severe barriers that will effect a nation wide run. Barack only demonstrated with his loss in Indiana and his expected win in North Carolina that he's not a national candidate and that he's awful lucky his gal Donna Brazile was able to game so many rules for him via her position on the DNC Rules Committee. Barack proved yet again that he can't close the deal, that he is not the choice and that his liabilities are huge. He can't win a national campaign in November.

In November there will be no caucuses. There will be no apportioning of delegates (it will be winner takes all -- Maine and Nebraska being the only expections). The primary model is a joke and should have been changed long ago. Hillary's state wins and Barack's state wins prove he's not able to win. Under the general election system, she's in the lead. And that's why super delegates exist (much to fringe dweller Tom-Tom Hayden's frustrations). They are supposed to factor these things in. If they don't, the Dems will have this year's Dukakis in the form of Barack Obama and the wrath post-November will be huge. Howard Dean can yammer away about what's he done here or there but if the Dems nominate Barack and Barack loses (which is how the race would most likely go), Dean's reputation will be in shreds because the writing is on the wall.

It will be in shreds because another bit of writing on the wall repeatedly demonstrates that Barack Obama voters include a segment that do not vote in other races. That has shown up repeatedly. So, come November, if Barack's on the top, not only would he likely be a losing candidate, a significant portion of his supporters have no interest in voting for offices. Translation, the Dems could lose control of Congress. That's not something Howard Dean needs to happen on his watch.

When John McCain had competiton and Barack had a glossy, vague image, Barack was able to beat him in polling. Those days are gone. McCain stands alone and the GOP is behind him. (The system that made John McCain the winner -- winner takes all -- is the system that would have already made Hillary the Democratic primary winner. This was addressed on last Friday's NOW on PBS.) Swing voters are less enchanted with Barack and they're most likely not coming back. (Most likely the growing objections by police officers to Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn will force the mainstream press to finally cover the long relationship between them and Barack.) The Democratic base? It's always been for Hillary. All of that has been obvious for sometime.

Last night, Barack lost Indiana which he had once claimed was the 'tie breaker.' It was. Ignoring the writing on the wall doesn't help the Democrats in November -- not at the top of the ticket, not in all the other races. Gina notes "Hillary's Election Day Remarks in Indianapolis, IN" (

Thank you, Indiana. Thank you. Not too long ago, my opponent made a prediction. He said I would probably win Pennsylvania. He would win North Carolina, and Indiana would be the tie-breaker. Well, tonight we've come from behind, we’ve broken the tie, and thanks to you, it's full speed on to the White House.
This has been an extraordinary experience, traveling across Indiana, having an opportunity to meet so many of you. And for everyone who holds your breath at the gas pump, afraid to see how much it cost today, and for everyone working day and night because you want the world for your kids. For every young person with big dreams who deserves a world of opportunity, and for all those who aren't in the headlines but have always written America's story, tonight is your victory right here.
I want to commend Senator Obama and his supporters on their win in North Carolina. We are, in many ways, on the same journey. It's a journey begun long before we were born. It is a journey by men and women who have been on a mission to perfect our union, who marched and protested, who risked everything they had to build an America that embraces us all. And tonight, once again, I need your help to continue our journey.
This has always been your campaign and this is your victory, because your support has meant the difference between winning and losing. And we can only keep winning if we're able to keep competing against an opponent who does outspend us massively. So I hope you will go to and support our campaign. This is a very touching moment for me. I grew up in the Midwest, born in Chicago, raised in Park Ridge, Illinois. My dad was a World War II vet who started his own small business, and originally from Scranton, PA., that's right.
My mother had a difficult childhood, but worked hard to provide a loving home for us. And she didn't attend college herself, but was determined her children would. And I don't think she ever dreamed she would see a night like this. Their story, like every one of our stories, is the American story. It’s a story of men and women who embrace opportunity, never waver in the face of adversity, and never stop believing in the promise of America. And yet today, I have met so many people here in Indiana and across America who feel invisible.
You sure feel invisible when you're paying $60 or $70 to fill up your tank. You feel invisible when the money you took to the grocery store no longer meets your needs for the next week. You feel invisible when your health insurance disappears and college is out of reach. And you can't believe how invisible you feel when your loved one who served our country in war is ill-served back at home.
I know these stories and I see you and I hear you. And I know how hard you're working, working for yourselves and working for your families. And I will never stop fighting for you, so that you can have the future you deserve.
Tonight, Hoosiers have said that you do want a President who stands strong for you, a President who is ready on Day One to take charge as Commander-in-Chief and keep our families safe; a President who knows how to make this economy work for hardworking middle class families. And there are a lot of ideas about how best to do that.
Because we need all of the good common sense that Americans have to offer. I know that we have got an important debate going on right now about how we are going to help families deal with these gas prices. They have gone up so fast, so out of sight in the minds of the people that I talk with and I think it's time that we really had a concerted strategy. You've heard me say this and I'll say it again. I think its time to give Americans a break this summer and to make the oil companies pay the gas tax out of their record profits.
I say it's time to cover every single American with health insurance.
And I say it's time to freeze foreclosures for families most at risk of losing their homes, including our soldiers who are in harm's way and are being foreclosed on here in America.
Fundamentally, I believe that Americans need a champion in their corner, that for too long we've had a president who has stood up and spoke out for the wealthy and the well-connected. But I don't think that's what Americans need or what they're looking for now. And I think standing up for working people is about the American Dream and the Democratic Party. And I think standing up for the middle class is about who we are and who we can be if we stick together.
So it is important that as we go forward in this campaign that we recognize we are all on the same team. We are going to be standing up for you. We’re going to be looking for a way to turn this country around and bring it back to what it should stand for and be all about -- better futures for you and your children, solving the problems that affect us here in America.
I know that people are watching this race and they're wondering, I win, he wins, I win, he wins. It's so close. And I think that says a lot about how excited and passionate our supporters are and how intent so many Americans are to really taking their country back. But I can assure you, as I have said on many occasions that no matter what happens, I will work for the nominee of the Democratic Party, because we must win in November.
And I know that Senator Obama feels the same way, because we have been on this campaign trail now for a long time. And we know how desperately people want to see a change, and it will not be a change if the Republicans keep the White House. It will be more of the same, something that no one, no matter what political party you may be, can afford. It is time for all of us to recognize what is at stake in this election, not just for Democrats as we decide who will be our nominee, but for all Americans.
The soldiers and the veterans that I meet, they always say to me, promise you'll take care of my buddies. They rarely ask for themselves. And they need a president who will take care of them. And when I talk with the people who come to rallies and events like this, very often it's with a bit of hesitation that they tell me they've lost their job, they’ve lost their health care; they can't afford to go to college. And it just breaks my heart, because when I think about the America that I grew up in, the future was unlimited, the potential was there for all of us if we were willing to work hard and do our part.
So this journey that we're on together is one that has been a blessing for me, because I know what this country has meant to me and I know what it still means to all of you. It is now our responsibility to ensure that it will always mean the same for our children and our grandchildren.
I will never give up on you and on your families and on your dreams and on your future. And I want to thank the people of Indiana for your hospitality and your vote of confidence and I especially want to thank your wonderful Senator, Evan Bayh. Evan is an outstanding leader for this state and for America. He's been your governor. He's now your senator. He’s someone whom I look to for advice and counsel. He’s worked tirelessly on this campaign and I’m so grateful to him and his wonderful wife Susan. I also want to thank the people of North Carolina, who were so hospitable and gracious to us.
And I especially want to thank Mike and Mary Easley for their friendship and support. Governor Easley is a visionary leader for North Carolina and we had so much fun campaigning in the Tar Heel state.
And while we are celebrating tonight, I would like to take a moment to express my deepest sympathies to the victims of the devastating cyclone in Burma. Our hearts and prayers go out to the people there and I call upon the Junta that has ruled Burma for so many years to please let the rest of the world in to help. This is a time when everyone should be there to lift up those who are affected by this deadly storm.
And I want to thank all of my friends who have worked so hard. I want to thank my friends in labor. I want to thank my staff, my volunteers and my supporters. And I especially want to thank my family for their incredible love and support. Bill and Chelsea. People ask us all the time, how do you keep going? We love getting out and meeting people. We love having a chance to be with all of you, and didn't Chelsea do a great job? I know a lot of people enjoyed seeing my husband again out on the campaign trail.
So now it is on to West Virginia, Kentucky, Oregon, and the other states where people are eager to have their voices heard. For too long, we've let places like West Virginia and Kentucky slip out of the Democratic column. Well, it's time for that to change and these next primaries are another test. I’m going to work my heart out in West Virginia and Kentucky this month and I intend to win them in November in the general election.
I want the people in these upcoming states to know we are going to work hard to reach out to all of you, because we want you to know that the Democratic Party is your party. And a Democratic President will be good for you. So please, come join us in our campaign. And I am running to be the President of all of America -- north, south, east and west, and everywhere in between. That’s why it is so important that we count the votes of Florida and Michigan.
It would be a little strange to have a nominee chosen by 48 states. We've got a long road ahead, but we're going to keep fighting on that path for America, because America is worth fighting for. And we believe in America’s potential and possibility that has so ignited hope and the dreams of people throughout our country and around the world. People who left everything behind in order to come here and be part of this great experiment in democracy; dissidents and dreamers on every continent who look to us and our ideals for their hope and inspiration. All those around the world who wept for us and prayed for us on September 11th, who laid wreaths and flew flags at half mast and printed that unforgettable headline, "We are all Americans." That is the reach of America's embrace, through time, place and history.
And I know we can once again open our arms to the world. We can once again be the can-do nation; a nation that defies the odds and greets the future with optimism and hope. There isn't anything America can't do once we make up our minds to start acting like Americans again. And that is exactly what we intend to do. Thank you, and God bless you and God bless America.

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