Monday, May 26, 2008

VA polls badly and Barack groupies spit on human rights

A majority of Americans believe that wounded troops don't receive high quality medical care in military and Veteran's Administration hospitals, according to a new Harvard School of Public Health poll.
Military families share that view, the poll found, and are slightly more pessimistic than non-military civilians when it comes to rehabilitation and mental health care. A reality check: Those polled didn't think care at major U.S. civilian hospitals was any better.
Dr. Michael Kilpatrick, director of strategic communications for the Defense Department's military health system, said other recent polls show the same pessimism. But, Kilpatrick added, they "do not respond to the reality of the situation and they certainly do not correspond to what the service members themselves think."
A March 2008 Zogby poll, he said, found that 77 percent of a sample of 435 soldiers wounded in Iraq or Afghanistan were satisfied with the military health system.

The above is from Federica Narancio's "Poll finds low opinion of military medical care" (McClatchy Newspapers) and I'm not sure what's more appalling, the spinning from the VA or the assertion that Zogby is a credible polling outlet. I'll assume, on the latter, that the 'polling' included their sample group that signed up to do the polls online. That 'group' is not as large as the numbers imply -- I know that because I have friends who signed up multiple times with various e-mail accounts in the hopes that they could influence the election polling come the general election. Zogby's a joke and the 'data' leads to 'predictions' that never come to be. How long are people going to continue to see the outlet as 'credible'?

Oh look, the co-author of David Corn's last book is calling out Barack's lobbyist ties. Corn's been on the mind recently with the attempts by various people (Joshy Micah Marsh, Joe Klein, et al) to rewrite history on Barack's pledge to meet, without preconditions, various leaders. Someone might want to check on Corn's commentary. For those who've forgotten, he called out Barack for that and, when the editor & publisher of The Nation decided to play favorites and forget that her role meant she didn't choose sides in public squabbles, Corn left The Nation. Since going over to even more pro-Barack Mother Jones, Corn's 'reporting' has been so pathetic he might as well have just stayed at The Nation. But it would be interesting to see if Corn's going to join the spin after getting smacked down for rightly calling out Barack's ludicrous proposal.

And for those who are too stupid to grasp (that would include Katrina vanden Heuvel) diplomacy is not just "let's talk!" The diplomatic circle is not run by Joan "Can we talk?" Rivers. Diplomacy does require that you use the "talk" to leverage conditions. Considering that the likes of Katty-van-van can call for the US not to do this or that in the Olympics until China agrees to this or that, it's really amazing that they would play so stupid with regards to Barack's huge mistake.
Of course you have preconditions. You never tell another country that you have a strained relationship -- especially one with human rights concerns and, in case you missed it, Iran has human rights 'problems' -- that you'll meet with them unconditionally. You say, "We'd like to talk with you. We can't do that while you're imprisoning the political prisoner ___ or while ___"

Groups like Amnesty fully understand that diplomatic power and repeatedly call on governments to use it. Barack made a fool of himself stating publicly he would meet without precondition with various leaders if he were president. The leader of any country does matter and if you're saying that, if you were that leader, you would meet with anyone without any pre-conditions, you're giving away one of the most important leverage tools of diplomacy. It's idiotic, it's stupid and it shows you don't understand the first thing about diplomacy.

Had it been Putin he was referring to, you can be sure the same rushing to defend Barack and calling him 'courageous' and 'forward thinking,' would be pointing to the abuses in Chechnya (and elsewhere) to explain how he didn't know the first thing he was talking about and how ill thought out his concept of 'diplomacy' is. Go to Amnesty International, read through various calls to action, you'll grasp quickly that the human rights movement understands diplomacy, understands how powerful a face to face meeting can be and grasps that governments can use them as a tool to get political prisoners released.

Barack's an idiot and his pathetic fan club with press passes disgrace the human rights movement -- intentionally or accidentally, they disgrace it. That's partly due to a fear of war on Iran (which doesn't need to happen) and may be understandable but defending Barack's appalling position is a slap in the face to the human rights movement. He's gotten away with all his nonsense with little-to-no criticism from the left -- that's because many of Panhandle Media's roots are in the same left that refused to call out Stalin for his human rights abuses. The human rights movement is not a tool to be used when you feel like it. You betray that movement anytime you refuse to call out someone dismissing preconditions.

But, hey, Barack's advisors include people responsible for the slaughter in East Timor and if Panhandle Media's East Timor show-boater can play dumb and not call that out, maybe everyone takes their lead from "movement baby"?

In other news, yesterday a press conference was staged in Baghdad, presided over by US Rear Admiral Patrick Driscoll and Major Mohammed al-Askari (spokesman for Ministry of Defense) was trotted out for show, but, uh-oh, he went off script when pressed about weapons that must be, simply must be, coming from Iran. His response:

Well, this topic is the responsibility of the Iraqi government. We are an executive side. Those weapons could be smuggled and passed in an illegal way. And the Multi-Nation Forces have information and talked about this several times. At the Ministry of Defense, we do not interfere with the external policy of the Iraqi government.
We just detain the wanted personnel and we present to the court. And if we captured different kinds of weapons, regardless of their background, and most of them are coming from outside the country like western, coming from western countries.
This topic, of course, we do not interfere in it. And...but we'd like to also, what we do is give those reports and evidence to the Iraqi government. And I think the government will have procedures and may not talk about it, but I'm sure there will be some procedures by the government, like committees or stuff like that. Actually, what we have, any kind of weapon that we capture, we present it to the Iraqi government. And I think the government has the responsibility for that.

The majority of weapons being seized are "regardless of their backround, . . . coming from outside the country like wester, coming from western countries."

Finally, Courage to Resist notes this Eugene Weekly article on James Burmeister who returned to the US from Canada and will soon find out if he's going to be court-martialed for refusing to continue serving in the illegal war.

So what else? There may or may not be a community piece this evening (it would have to be this evening, no sooner). There was talk of one at the start of the writing edition for Third. That desire may have waned. If there's not, I'll post an entry here tonight.

I had intended to cross post after this went up but I got lost in the e-mails (and tried to reply to all community members and the bulk of visitors). This started seven hours ago. As soon as this posts, the computer goes off.

One more thing, Elaine refers to the "nuclear option" in the roundtable at Third. Kayla asks, "Does that mean what I think?" Yes, it does. It also means more. If the Democratic Party honchos think they can shut this down before the convention, they better grasp they've got more to fear than the fact that women now know exactly how a convention works. The honchos know that 2008 will not be as simple as 1972 when they shut out a female candidate for their boy Georgie and shut out reproductive rights. We can make this just as ugly as the other side wants it to be (only we won't have to resort to violence). They try to shut down the process in play and they may find out just how ugly it can get. They might have to file it under You'll Never Get Elected Or Hold Appointed Office In This Town Again. And that's only one avenue of what Elaine's dubbed the "nuclear option."

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