Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Other Items

We started covering Sen. Barack Obama's inability to hire good staffers in June 2007, when he blamed staffers for some opposition research trying to link Sen. Hillary Clinton, D-NY, to outsourcing in India; for injecting some venom in the David Geffen/Hillary Clinton fight; and for missing an event with firefighters in New Hampshire.
In December,
we noted again that Obama was blaming the answers on a 1996 questionnaire on a staffer; and was blaming his touring with "cured" ex-gay gospel singer Donnie McClurkin (which antagonized gays and lesbians) on bad vetting by his staff.
Those five buck-passing incidents were apparently not enough.
Yesterday, in an interesting
New York Times look at Obama's rise in Chicago politics, we learned that in 2004 some Jewish supporters became alarmed to learn that in a questionnaire Obama refrained from denouncing Yasir Arafat, or from expressing strong support for Israel's security fence.
Reports the Times: "In an e-mail message, Mr. Obama blamed a staff member for the oversight, and expressed the hope that 'none of this has raised any questions on your part regarding my fundamental commitment to Israel’s security.'"
In January, during
MSNBC's presidential debate in Las Vegas, Obama was asked about a document put together by one of his South Carolina staffers that listed comments made by the Clinton campaign that some perceived to be attempting to stoke racial fires. "In hindsight, do you regret pushing this story?” asked Tim Russert.
"Our supporters, our staff get overzealous," Obama said. "They start saying things that I would not say, and it is my responsibility to make sure that we're setting a clear tone in our campaign."

The above is from Jake Tapper's "Obama's Inability to Hire Good Help Rears Its Head . . . Again" (ABC News) and it might just as well be titled, "It's never my fault!" He has an "overzealous" staff. Gee, sounds a lot like the current White House, especially on the outing of Valerie Plame. There was never any accountability there either, was there? (Valerie Plame and her husband Joe Wilson are supporting Hillary Clinton. For obvious reasons, qualifications and experience.) Turning to Iraq, the New York Times offers Stephen Farrell and Michael R. Gordon's "Missile Is Fired at Copter Over Baghdad, U.S. Says" and it's Gordo as co-author so keep that in mind:

A surface-to-air missile was fired on Saturday at an American Apache helicopter flying over the Sadr City section of Baghdad, American military officials said on Monday. The attack, which had not been disclosed previously, represents the first time that a helicopter has come under missile attack in Sadr City since fighting erupted in the Shiite enclave in March.
The missile missed the aircraft. But the attack was sufficiently worrisome that the American military changed the route of an aerial tour of Baghdad it had arranged for a group of reporters, television cameramen and photographers on Monday. Two helicopters were to fly over or near Sadr City, but an official said the route had been changed because of the missile threat.

Was a missile fired at helicopter in Baghdad on Saturday? It's very likely but since Gordo co-wrote it, remain skeptical. It may be part of the selling of war on Iran. But notice that, whether true or false (we'll wait for a better source), two things. 1) The article says that routes were changed as a result and, if so, we'll assume it was due to the press because the biggest complaint when rocket attacks were taking place (aimed at helicopters) was that the brass insisted the same patterns be flown. 2) Yeah, we're back to that, when US helicopters were under rocket attacks and the brass (with a compliant press) maintained it was not happening. That lie lasted forever. But read the article above and it's as if the lie was never told. Remember the lie? 'Insurgents' don't have the technology to shoot down helicopters. Read the article (regardless of whether or not its goal is promoting war with Iran) as an admission (inadvertent) that, yes, they did have the technology and, yes, they did shoot at helicopters and did shoot some down. (All those 'hard landings' and 'crash landings' that were being investigated over a year ago never did see the results go public.

Looking a bit closer than Gordo, Anna Mulrine and Kevin Whitelaw note another strange development in "The U.S. Quietly Slashes the Reward Posted for the Leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq" (U.S. News & World Reports):

The U.S. government has quietly withdrawn a $5 million reward it was offering for the killing or capture of Abu Ayyub al-Masri, named by Pentagon officials as the leader of Al Qaeda in Iraq.
Al-Masri had been one of America's most wanted figures in Iraq ever since his identity was revealed in 2006. But U.S. News has learned that the bounty for him was reduced and that he was unceremoniously dropped in late February from the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program, which offers cash payments for information that leads to the capture or killing of wanted terrorists.
Currently, the bounty for the Egyptian militant stands at $100,000, a more modest payout that is now covered by the separate—and decidedly lower profile—Department of Defense Rewards Program.
It is a startling development given that U.S. military officials have frequently touted al-Masri's danger ever since they revealed his identity with great fanfare at a briefing in June 2006. At the time, it was considered a propaganda coup to show that AQI was being led by an Egyptian, because the group had been claiming that an Iraqi man became its leader after the death of its founder, Abu Musab Zarqawi.

Wes notes "South Dakota for Hillary Announces Endorsement of 41 Former State Legislators and Constitutional Officers" (HillaryClinton.com):

Officials with over 330 years of combined public service to the state of South Dakota endorse Hillary
The Clinton campaign today announced the endorsement of 41 former South Dakota state legislators and constitutional officers. These officials, with over 330 years of combined experience in public service to the state of South Dakota, endorsed Hillary because of her readiness to serve on day one and her plans to jumpstart the economy and help consumers struggling with rising gas prices.
"After seven years of an Administration that favored the special interests at every turn, South Dakotans need a President who will stand with them," said former State Representative Al Waltman. "Hillary Clinton has real solutions to our economic problems, to skyrocketing energy prices and to ending the war in Iraq, and she has the experience and resolve to make those plans a reality. Hillary is the candidate who can beat John McCain in the fall and start turning this country around on day one in the White House."
The announcement came on the heels of visits to South Dakota from both Hillary and Former President Clinton over the past several days.
"Hillary Clinton has done more than give speeches - she has been achieving real results for working families for the past 35 years," said former State Senator Judy Olson Duhamel. "Given the challenges we face, we need a President who is ready to hit the ground running and begin to turn our economy around and restore our standing in the world, and Hillary Clinton has the experience to do just that."
"I am honored to receive the support of such a talented group of people who have dedicated their lives to public service," Senator Clinton said. "These South Dakotans know what it takes to stand up for working families and I am proud they think I am best qualified for the job."
The list of former South Dakota legislators who have endorsed Hillary is below:
Jim Burg, Public Utilities Commissioner, State Senator and State Representative from Wessington Springs
Pam Nelson, Public Utilities Commissioner, State Senator and State Representative from Sioux Falls
Ken Stofferahn, Public Utilities Commissioner, Former State Representative from Humboldt
Mark Anderson, State Representative from Crooks
Violet Biever, State Representative from Oelrichs
Rolly Chicoine, State Senator and State Representative from Elk Point
Rebekah Cradduck, State Senator and State Representative from Sioux Falls
Peggy Cruse, State Representative from Pierre
Michael Curran, State Representative from Jefferson
Kay Davis, State Representative from Sioux Falls
Betrum Ellingson, State Representative from Sisseton
Charlie Flowers, State Senator and State Representative from Iroquis
Doug Fosheim, State Representative from Huron
Janet Good, State Representative from Long Valley
Sharon Green, State Senator from Rapid City
Pat Haley, State Representative from Huron
Dale Howlett, State Senator and State Representative from Watertown
Jim Hutmacher, State Senator from Chamberlain
Jacquie Kelley, State Senator from Pierre
Dorothy Kellogg, State Representative from Watertown
Patricia Kenner, State Representative from Rapid City
Albert Kocer, State Representative from Wagner
Michael Kroger, State Representative from Dell Rapids
Francis McDaniel, Jr., State Representative from Lantry
John McIntyre, State Senator and State Representative from Sioux Falls
Grace Mickelson, State Senator from Rapid City
Doris Miner, State Senator and State Representative from Gregory
Roger Moore, State Representative from Gettysburg
Gary D. Nelson, State Senator from Martin
Judy Olson Duhamel, State Senator from Rapid City, and Chair of South Dakota Democratic Party
Dale Peterson, State Representative from Wakonda
Jerry Radack, State Representative from Yankton
Ben Radcliffe, State Representative from Hitchcock
Roberta Rasmussen, State Senator from Hurley
Joe Reedy, State Senator and State Representative from Vermillion
Dean Schrempp, State Representative from Lantry
Tom Shortbull, State Senator from Pine Ridge
Randy Stenson, State Senator from Colome
Dick Waddell, State Senator from Isabel
Al Waltman, State Representative from Aberdeen
Mike Wilson, State Representative from Rapid City

I guess they didn't hear that the race was over? Or maybe they weren't foolish enough to believe the spin. The race isn't over. There are two candidates left in the Democratic primary and they are in a dead-heat. Neither will finish the race with enough pledged delegates to be declared the winner or to declare themselves the winner. And while the Obama Groupies run to a largely compliant press yelling "Shut it down!" the people want it to continue. The new ABC News - Washington Post poll finds 64% want the race to play out. Read Elaine's "Debates" in context of the poll and realize how badly Panhandle Media failed America by refusing to call out Barack's refusal to debate. The country is interested in the race, they are paying attention but when Barack dug his heels in and refused to debate (because he kept losing), Panhandle Media played dumb (because he kept losing) and remember that when they preach their next sermon on how important it is that the airwaves be free and the information be available and how that big, bad Real Media doesn't stand up for the people! Panhandle Media (Rothschild, vanden Heuvel, Nichols, Flanders, Goodman, et al) refused to stand up for the people, refused to demand debates. They weren't interested in the people being informed when the information might hurt their pet candidate that they've all been schilling for months now. There is no 'independence' in 'independent' media and there honestly is no 'independent' media. Just propoganda guaranteed not to inform you but it will try to steer you and they will distort and lie in the process.

This is Team Nader's "No More Whining" (RalphNadar.com):

Call it the no more whining campaign.
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/Gonzalez.
McCain/Clinton/Obama talk and talk about change and a better world.
But they are all in the hip pocket of the corporations.
Do they advocate for single payer public national health insurance?
They do not.
Do they advocate for cutting the bloated, wasteful military budget?
They do not.
Do they advocate for putting the oil companies under the control of an active popular democracy?
They do not.
Do they stand for reversing U.S. policy in the Middle East?
They can not.
All they can do is whine and complain.
And talk about an amorphous "change."
Nader/Gonzalez on the other hand, is the can do campaign.
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.
Right now, we're working to raise $50,000 to get Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in Illinois.
In just three short days, we've raised $20,000.
We want to raise the remaining $30,000 this week.
So, please, help us out.
We need 300 of you - our loyal supporters - to
kick in $100 each.
Nader/Gonzalez supporters are not whiners.
We're doers.
We know what we need to do.
So, let's get ‘er done.
Together, we'll kick start a movement.
Against the corporate takeover of our democracy.
For people powered civic activism.
Time for action - for a change.
The Nader Team
PS: We invite your comments to the blog (see below).
Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.

We noted that in yesterday's snapshot and Third Party asked for it to be noted again and to note that around midnight EST, the Official Store was down ("Services unavailable"). If, like Third Party, you were attempting to purchase something, you should be able to do so today.

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