I will offer a recipe this weekend. It's a simple one you can make in a microwave oven. I'm back in Puerto Rico and hoping to get the recipe for a soup I had here last weekend. If I do, I will include it next week.
Steamed Potatoes and Onions
2 medium onions, cut in half lengthwise, then into thirds
4 red potatoes, peeled and cut into squares (diced, if you have the time)
2 minced cloves of garlic
2 teaspoons olive oil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon of freshly ground pepper
I would suggest a glass casserole dish with a glass cover. You can use any microwave container and place microwave plastic wrap over it, but using glass if less wasteful (friendly to the environment) due to the fact that you can use it over and over.
Place the potatoes in dish, add onions on top, followed by garlic and pepper. Drizzle the olive oil on top. Stir/toss so that all ingredients are mixed. (You can double the amount of olive oil if needed but more than that will change the taste of the dish.)
Microwave for 4 minutes. (If your microwave requires you choosing a power setting, go with "high.")
After four minutes, take the dish out of the microwave and stir/toss again. You want to do this for several minutes, both to distribute the spices (and oil) as well as the heat factor. Add paprika and serve.
So we are back in Puerto Rico. We is myself and:
The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jess, Ty, Ava
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
and Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz
Since last weekend, Jess, Ty, Cedric and Mike (Mike is my son) have joined us. The others working on turning out the vote for Hillary are in South Dakota this weekend. Jess and Mike wanted to come in part due to their relationships (Jess is involved with Ava, Mike with Elaine). Ty wanted to come because he had heard how much fun it was last weekend (and a lot of work) and we stopped (Elaine, Ava and C.I. have charted a plane) to pick up Cedric when the group was added to and someone thought to see if Cedric wanted to go as well.
Kat, Elaine, C.I., Ava and myself came here last weekend because we are the ones who speak Spanish. That is not necessary to get out the vote here but it does help. Kat says she's the weakest in Spanish of the five of us, but she pulls her weight and then some. Ava and C.I. are the strongest. Each region has their own dialetic differences (each region that speaks Spanish) and Puerto Rico is no different. I was confused last week by one question and Ava and C.I. grabbed it (I was confused by a dialetic difference). Ava and C.I. are so strong they even will make jokes but I don't trust dialetic and culture differences to try that. Nor does Elaine who studied Spanish formally in college. Ava and C.I. blow me away with their ability to switch back and forth (from Spanish to English) at a moment's notice so fluently. They truly are bi-lingual. If they see someone in the group we're speaking to looking confused, they'll immediately repeat what they just said in the other language from which they were making their point in.
There is tremendous excitement for Hillary in Puerto Rico. The only issue is, "Does our vote count?" That's due to the fact that the media has declared the race over when it is not.
The people of Puerto Rico can vote in the primary and, should they come stateside (Puerto Rico is not recognized as a US state, the US government sees it as a territory), they can vote in the general election. So this is their one true chance to have a say in the process. That's not fair at all. And if the US is not going to give it the same rights as a state, they should hold a referendrum in Puetro Rico where the voters could determine whether they want to be their own state. (I believe the answer would be "Si!" by a huge majority.)
But, yes, their votes do matter. That is one of the main things we hit on. Ava and C.I. don't usually hit on that because they both know a great deal more about Puerto Rico and are able to hit on those things (education issues, for example).
My formal training in Spanish consisted of a middle school class that lasted a half a semester and two years in high school. Had that been the end of it, I wouldn't be much help here. However, my Church (I'm Catholic) has a large number of immigrants and especially Spanish speaking immigrants. Due to that and friendships, my informal training has lasted decades.
One question that does come up is about immigration. That is not asked for themselves because, should they choose to come stateside, they have all the rights of any other US citizen. But there is a serious concern on behalf of other Latinos and Latinas attempting to enter the US. That became the issue I would talk about more and more as last weekend progressed because that is an issue that's very important in my Church (we are firmly pro-immigration rights).
It's been very interesting and this weekend, I will meet the parents of a close friend of the last five years so I'm excited about that as well. My friend is actually getting married this summer and I have told him that his parents can stay at my house on their trip which is a huge relief for him (he and the bride are paying for their own wedding) so I will also be stressing that on this trip when I meet them.
This is Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: The Popular Vote Leader" (HillaryClinton.com):
The Popular Vote Leader: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about Tuesday night’s contests: "Hillary Clinton netted approximately 150,000 votes and is now poised to finish the primary season as the popular-vote leader. In some quaint circles, presumably, these things still matter...If you believe that the most important precept in democratic politics is to 'count every vote,' then...Clinton leads Obama by 71,301 votes." Read more.
Hillary Strongest in Swing States: A Quinnipiac University poll out yesterday shows Hillary's continued strength in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania…She leads Sen. McCain by 7 in both Florida and Ohio and by 13 in Pennsylvania. Read more.
Overriding Bush’s Farm Bill Veto: In a statement yesterday, Hillary said: "I was proud to stand with my Senate colleagues in overriding President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill by a vote of 82 to 13. This bill is now law, and will move us further down the path to energy independence, provide a safety net for family farmers, enhance nutrition programs, require Country-of-Origin labeling, and improve access to broadband in rural communities...Senator McCain has made it clear that he agrees with President Bush on farm policy. Americans will have a real choice this fall -- between a candidate who supports rural America and family farms and John McCain, who offers a continuation of President Bush's failed policies." Read more.
Why I'm Supporting Hillary: One New York farmer says, "My passion is ensuring that we have family farms for future generations and that American agriculture is strong. I know Hillary understands and supports that!...Like South Dakota, New York is home to family farms (about 34,000), and I KNOW she will make the best president for producers and rural South Dakotans alike." Read more.
In Case You Missed It: A member of the Kansas City Star editorial board writes this to Hillary in a memo: "I have only two words to share with you about your valiant quest to become the 44th president of the United States and the first woman to hold the highest office in the land: Don’t quit." Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary attends a "Solutions for Securing South Dakota’s Future" conversation in Brandon, SD and a "Solutions for Securing South Dakota’s Future" town hall in Brookings, SD.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary travels to Puerto Rico for island campaign events.
The media's pretty much shut Hillary out as the week wound down unless they could slam her. They should visit Puerto Rico where this race is certainly not over.
Really quick (and I will be really quick next weekend again due to the fact that I will have jet lag and need to get to bed in order to be ready for the day's events), US war resister Corey Glass was in the news last week and, if you followed C.I.'s writing, you know what's going on. If you didn't, Corey Glass is an Iraq War veteran. He was part of military intelligence in Iraq. He did not like what he saw. While on leave in the US, he made the decision to self-check out because he could no longer take part in the illegal war, not knowing the damage it was doing.
He didn't sign up for that. He signed up for the National Guard, at 19, and was told he would be helping out in national disasters within the US. Instead, he was shipped off to Iraq. It's no surprise the horrors of it led him to take a noble stand against the illegal war.
In August of 2006, he went to Canada. He applied for refugee status. He has attempted to make a life in Canada and also to do so publicly so that he could discuss realities about Iraq and do his part to end the illegal war. On Wednesday, he was informed that he must leave Canada by June 12th or he will be deported.
His claim for asylum has been rejected and that is outrageous to me.
C.I. has contact info for the Canadian government in the snapshot and I hope you will make time to utilize it.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Friday:
Friday, May 23, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, Bully Boy rises to his level (latrines) and more.
Starting with war resistance. On Wednesday, US war resister and Iraq War veteran Corey Glass was informed by the Canadian government that he had until June 12th to leave the country or he would be deported. While a large chunck of the left and 'left' play dumb, stupid silent (including Amy Goodman who still hasn't informed her audiences of the decision), "digitaljournal.com" ("The Power of Citizen Journalism") notes Glass by repeating the lies the left and "left" have allowed to take hold: "Military service today is voluntary, not compulsory. There is no draft. Men and women in uniform today are they because they have enlisted or been commissioned of their own accord, not because they have been called into service by the draft board."
Canada didn't base the decision on there being a draft. The US involvement in Vietnam was illegal, it was a slaughter. Their decision wasn't about the draft. This is so remedial but apparently still needed. There were "draft dodgers" and "deserters." The former was a male who had been called out but did not report for induction. The latter was someone who was part of the military and decided to leave. They were both welcomed in Canada. Had "draft dodgers" been the only ones welcomed (legally) then digitaljournal.com would have a point. But that's not reality. "Deserters," members of the military who checked out, were welcomed into Canada. There was no question about, "Wait, you were drafted, right? You didn't enlist on your own, did you?" There was no, "Oh, wait! You chose to enlist. Sorry, no safe haven for you." The safe haven was not dependent on the draft during Vietnam. That is a lie.
We apparently need to again review. From the April 1st snapshot, (no quotes, we're just going to run it together) . . . During Vietnam, American males could go to Canada and seek asylum. There were two categories "draft dodgers" -- which everyone seems to remember -- and "deserters." A "draft doger" (also known as a "draft resister") was someone who had been called up. A "deserter" was someone already in the service. Canada's asylum then was not conditional upon someone being drafted. Those who were in the military and elected to resist were waived on through the border and welcomed the same way. There was no additional burden placed on them. They were not required, for instance, to prove that, yes, they were in the service, but they had been drafted into it. A male who chose to enlist and then began resisting after he was serving could go to Canada and be granted asylum. Pot apparently smoked the brains of not only our left 'leaders' of that period -- a pot haze is the only thing to explain the repeating of the lies of the draft -- but the Canadian education system failed to educate their citizenry on recent history because an editorial board that wants to argue -- as one did last week and all the right-wing Canadian cites have re-posted it -- that Canada should say "no" to today's war resisters because there was a draft during Vietnam and Canada only took in "draft dodgers" is merely flaunting how ignorant everyone serving on the editorial board is.
Had Canada put in a place a qualifier that said, "We will take war resisters but only those who have seen duty in Vietnam," Canada still would have been swarmed with some of the same war resisters. "Draft dodger" (or "draft resister") or "deserter," both cateogries were welcomed in Canada during Vietnam. That is reality and I'm sorry that the Canadian education system is so poor today. In terms of the US, honestly the same male 'leaders' of the left tripping out on tales of the draft today hurt the movement in many ways back then as well. They'll probably continue to do so when they are in their graves.
Then US president Gerald Ford pardoned Tricky Dick of crimes against the US citizenry, crimes against the US government, crimes against humanity and a great deal more. With the war resisters, he set conditions. Apparently he didn't think Tricky Dick's fat ass could make it through an obstacle course so he just waived Nixon on through. Ford granted war resisters an amnesty . . . . provided they went through a long process and met this criteria and that critieria and then, in the end, were judged to be worthy of the pardon. Having just pardoned the War Criminal Nixon, it was outrageous. Hearing an idiot, post-Ford's death, go on Democracy Now! and brag about Ford's program only explained to you just how much "establishment" is also in the left. In Canada (and I was visiting Canada when that program was announced) there was huge outrage and outcry -- from Canadians as well as US war resisters. Those who resisted the slaughter in Inochina were being asked to leep through hoop after hoop with no guarantee that if they made it through all the hoops they might be pardoned. Much speculation at the time was that it was a trap/trick to get US war resisters back in the United States where they would be tossed in prison. But Ford's program offered the obstacle course to both.
Jimmy Carter followed the Ford presidency. Carter didn't offer anything to deserters. Carter did offer draft resisters a limited asylum.In recent years, a number of war resisters from that era have been arrested while visiting the US. So there's really no excuse for people who lived through that time period to not know the difference. The only excuse is to provide cover for a peace movement that continues to struggle and to provide an excuse for your own inaction. (And to brag about days forty years ago which, let's face it, is all some left 'leaders' have to offer today having willingly been co-opted long ago.) Not grasping the difference, not speaking of that difference between reality then and 'reality' remembered now is hurting US war resisters and someone please throw a pie in the face of the next Baby Boom left male 'leader' who wants to gas bag about the hardships he endured due to the 'draft' that never found him called out because he knew how to game the system. It's the equivalent of fishing tales only damaging and it needs to stop. If you can't pie them, stop the males with, "When did you serve in Vietnam?" And when they stutter that they didn't, ask them how they got it. When they start to offer the tale of that 'invasive' physical, stop them and repeat, "I asked how you were able to avoid serving since you didn't go to Canada and you didn't go to Vietnam?" If one claims "I went underground" ask him, "From the time you turned 18 until Vietnam was over?" Because, no, the bulk of the 'leaders' jaw boning today did not go 'underground' and when a few did, it had nothing to do with the illegal war but everything to do with being kicked to the curb by the peace movement. But that's the story they never want to tell.
That's the April 1st snapshot. We have gone over and over this: May 20, 2007, September 9, 2007, March 26, 2008, we could go on and on. David Postman (Seattle Times) outlined what Gerald Ford offered to war resisters: "a limited clemency for Vietnam draft resisters and military deserters." Here's Gerald Ford speaking in September of 1974 (and link has text and audio):
In my first week as President, I asked the Attorney General and the Secretary of Defense to report to me, after consultation with other Governmental officials and private citizens concerned, on the status of those young Americans who have been convicted, charged, investigated, or are still being sought as draft evaders or military deserters.
On August 19, at the national convention of Veterans of Foreign Wars in the city of Chicago, I announced my intention to give these young people a chance to earn their return to the mainstream of American society so that they can, if they choose, contribute, even though belatedly, to the building and the betterment of our country and the world.
Get it? A lot of people don't. And some of them are 'helpful' 'friends'. This history hasn't just been lost, it's been distorted in outlets such as Democracy Now! where a 'friend' spoke of Carter and Ford's programs -- allegedly -- but was speaking of Ford's unknowingly. Jimmy Carter? Here's how PBS's The NewsHour (then The MacNeil/Lehrer Report) reported Carter's program on January 21, 1977 (link has text, audio and video):
Just a day after Jimmy Carter's inaguration, he followed through on a contentious campaign promise, granting a presidential pardon to those who had avoided the draft during the Vietnam war by either not registering or traveling abroad. The pardon meant the government was giving up forever the right to prosecute what the administration said were hundreds of thousands of draft-dodgers. . . . Meanwhile, many in amnest groups say that Carter's pardon did too little. They pointed out that the president did not include deserters -- those who served in the war and left before their tour was completed -- or soliders who received a less-than-honorable discharge. Civilian protesters, selective service employees and those who initiated any act of violence also were not covered in the pardon.
Then US House Rep Elizabeth Holtzman was among the four guests (and, in the seventies, with demands being made, there were two women and two men brought on for the report) and stated, "I'm pleased that the pardon was issued, I'm pleased that it was done on the first day and I'm pleased that President Carter kept a commitment that he made very clear to the American people. I would have liked to have seen it broader, I would like to have seen it extended to some of the people who are clearly not covered and whose families will continue to be separated from them . . . but I don't think President Carter has closed the door on this category of people." It's really clear. It hasn't been due to the fact that 'helpers' have continually gotten the facts wrong and we used to let that slide and think, "Oh, they mispoke. They'll correct themselves." But they never did. After March 2006 when a 'helper' got it so wrong, we started calling this crap out. You don't know your history, you need to stop speaking long enough to learn it. Obviously, you baked your mind with drugs.
Hope it was fun. But today's war resisters don't have to suffer because you repeatedly insist that "draft dodgers" went to Canada and they were the category provided safe harbor and it was just because there was a draft in the US. There is no draft today (and that's a good thing), you're nostalgia is not only distorting reality, it's damaging the chances of today's war resisters in Canada. Get your act together or get off the stage. Going on stage Saturday will be three war resisters who will speak as part of a presentation (including a film) from seven to nine p.m. at the First United Church, 435 21st St. W. in Owen Sound Canada for an event sponsored by the Grey Bruce Coalition for Peace and Justice and the Grey Bruce Presbytery Peace and Justice Committee.
War resisters in Canada need support as they wait to see if the motion for safe harbor is going to come to the Parliament floor. You can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (email@example.com -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) 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. Lahey quotes NDP's Oliva Chow, who steered the motion, explaining, "If (Liberal leader) Stephane Dion were to say tomorrow that he supports this motion . . . we will then debate it. So we need people to call Mr. Dion . . . 'whose side you on Mr. Dion'?" The number to call is (613) 996-5789.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, 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).
Turning to Iraq, the Asia Times explains, "More than a million civilians have been disabled by the war in Iraq, and represent the most marginalised sector of society. They psychological traumas they bear create serious imbalances inside their families, and the central government is not paying attention." Voice of Iraq notes:
According to a study conducted by the International Disabled Persons' Organization (IDPO), in cooperation with the Iraqi ministries of labor and social affair, and health, there are over 1 million disabled persons, whose disability varies from mild to profound, in a country whose population is nearly 27 million.
There are an estimated 43,600 war disabled persons, including 5,600 who suffer from total disability, 100,000 amputees and over 100,000 blind persons, in addition to 205,000 who are threatened to lose their sight.
Abdul Ghaffar Saadi, the director of the mental disability department in the Labor Ministry, said that the mass media only focuses on the number of dead and wounded in the violence, but does not tackle the psychological or social effects on the victims and their families.
Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Falluja car bombing (police were attempting to defuse the bomb) that resulted in two police officers being wounded a Salahuddin Province roadside bombing that claimed the life of 1 person and left three more wounded.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an attack on 2 Iraqi troops in Salahuddin Province.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division - Center Soldier was killed in an improvised explosive device attack 12 miles southwest of Baghdad, May 22." Sahar Issa(McClatchy Newspapers) notes: "A roadside bomb targeted a joint foot patrol in Bustan Albu Areim area, west Fallujah. The explosion killed 2 American soldiers, injured 1 in addition to killing 2 Iraqi army servicemen, said Fallujah Police. US military said, ' A Marine patrol was attacked just northwest of Fallujah by an IED at9:25 this morning. The attack occurred while conducting a dismounted patrol. One interpreter was killed, and there were six Marines wounded. All casualties have been evacuated and are under medical care'."
Reviewing one new topic and two topics noted in yesterday's snapshot. Zachary Coile (San Francisco Chronicle) notes the 165 billion dollar war supplemental that the US Senate approved yesterday and that, on the veterans measure of college tuition, "New York Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton said the country should honor its soldiers' service by paying their full tuition at a public university when they return home. 'This is not a half-measure or an empty gesture,' she said. 'This is a full and fair benefit to serve the men and women who serve us'." MTV News notes: "Things got exciting (um, by Congressional standards) in the Senate this morning [Thursday] as a bunch of Republicans switched their votes to YES at the last minute. Sen. Jim Webb's plan to increase the amount of money veterans get to go to school passed 75-22 as part of next year's funding package for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. That wide margin of victory is good news, since President Bush has promised to veto the entire thing. We're not sure if you all remember how a bill becomes a law (hello, Saturday morning!), but that's a large enough majority for the Senate to override that veto." The always inept Barack attempted to grandstand and overplayed his hand in his attacks on John McCain (who was on the campaign trail and didn't vote). Jake Tapper (ABC News) reports that McCain issued a statement declaring McCain "will not accpet from Senator Obama, who did not feel it was his responsibility to serve our country in uniform, any lectures on my regards for those who did. It is typical, but no less offensive that Senator Obama uses the Senate floor to take cheap shots at an opponent and easy advantage of an issue he has less than zero understanding of." Barack shot back that McCain was making a personal attack and seems to expect (as has happened repeatedly this campaign season) that he can trash anyone and if they fire back he can clutch the pearls. Those days are over, Bambi. Barack attacked McCain's commitment to veterans. That was a personal attack. His groupies may play otherwise but it was a personal attack and Barack's done this throughout his destructive campaign. McCain is correct on this. Maria Gavrilovic (CBS News) noted yesterday that "Barack Obama used the Senate floor today to jab at his rival" and that Barack has used the same thing to "jab at John McCain" in Michigan. It is a personal attack. Guess what, it's also politics, normal every day politics. But Barack launched it and wants to pretend he doesn't play politics. That's all he ever does. (That is not a defense of McCain's presumed "no" vote -- he wasn't in the Senate, he didn't vote. My own opinion of all refusing to support the veterans funding is that they're being cheap and it's shameful. There's no need to bring McCain's service into it or try to distort it or insult it. But some Dems are determined to relive 2004 with a flip and see this as payback for John Kerry's record being attacked.) Jennifer Duck (ABC News) notes Bully Boy went to Fort Bragg yesterday and asserted, "The vision for success in Iraq that I just outlined will not come easily. There will be tough fighting ahead. But the progress is undeniable." If it sounds familiar, check out every State of the Union address Bully Boy's given since Jan. 2004. James Gerstenzang (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Bush said that since he increased the troop level from 138,000 to approximately 160,000 last year, Iraq's economy had taken 'tremendous strides,' with inflation dropping, the economy growing, and investments in energy and communications increasing." Peter Maer (CBS) notes the only difference that took place yesterday: "It was a first in my more than 22 years on the White House beat: coverage of a presidential latrine inspection. It happened yesterday at Fort Bragg, N.C., where President Bush checked out military 'facilities' at the home of the famed 82nd Airborne Division." Latrine inspection? At last a job the Bully Boy may be up for. On corruption, Dana Hedgpeth (Washington Post) reports that the IG for the DoD admits that "$15 billion worth of goods and services ranging from trucks, bottled water and mattresses to rocket-propelled grenades and machine guns that were bought from contractors in the Iraq reconstruction effort" cannot be accounted for. James Glanz (New York Times) observes:
The Pentagon report, titled "Internal Controls Over Payments Made in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt," also notes that auditors were unable to find a comprehensible set of records to explain $134.8 million in payments by the American military to its allies in the Iraq war.The mysterious payments, whose amounts had not been publicly disclosed, included $68.2 million to the United Kingdom, $45.3 million to Poland and $21.3 million to South Korea. Despite repeated requests, Pentagon auditors said they were unable to determine why the payments were made. [. . .] According to the report, the Army made 183,486 "commercial and miscellaneous payments" from April 2001 to June 2006 from field offices in Iraq, Kuwait and Egypt, for a total of $10.7 billion in taxpayer money. The auditors focused on $8.2 billion in so-called commercial payments to contractors -- American, Iraqi and probably other foreign nationals -- although the report does not give details on the roster of companies.
Turning to the race for president. Ralph Nader is running as an independent candidate, Matt Gonzalez is Nader's running mate. Outside the White House at noon today, Ralph Nader called for president of vice Dick Cheney and the Bully Boy of the United States to resign. Yunji de Nies (ABC News) quotes Nader saying the Bully Boy "dishonored the White House and brought a pattern of waste. A wasteful defense is a weak defense and a weak defense inspires waste." Nader is currently fighting for ballot access. Joe Sobczyk and Jonathan Salant (Bloomberg News) report: "Before Ralph Nader can win a single ballot this fall, he must first get his name on the ballot -- and that, an aide says, is a 'total nightmare.''
Nader, 74, making his third presidential bid, must gather more than 1 million signatures nationwide to run in all 50 states. It's an issue that confronts minor-party and independent candidates every four years: how to navigate, often on a shoestring budget, the patchwork of state ballot requirements. The signature drive will probably cost $2 million, of which Nader has raised 'more than a third,'' said Jason Kafoury, who is coordinating the effort. They have about 100 people working full time on the job. The goal is to get on the ballot in at least 45 states and Washington, D.C. That would be an improvement from 2004, when Nader was on 35 ballots." At The New Republic, Jonathan Chait (no link to trash) refers to the "noxious presence of Ralph Nader." Remember, every vote for Nader means 'little devils' like Chait get a pitchfork up the juxy and democracy lives for another day. CSPAN played Nader's call live this afternoon and Team Nader notes they will re-play at 6:40 EST on Friday.
Turning to the Democratic race for president. It is a tie. No one will be awarded enough delegates (from states and primaries) to be declared (or worse, to declare themselves) the winner. By rules and guidelines, the fight goes to the DNC floor. But the media lies. And they lie some more. Hillary's ahead in the popular vote. So they lie and they lie some more.
Let's deal with one of the 'kinder' lies. CBS News online features a conversation with Doug Schoen who is smart but dead wrong on one aspect, not calling out nonsense. CBS News tells him, "A lot of Obama partisans have argued that his weaknesses are exaggerated right now in the heat of a primary battle. They say that in this environment in which 80 percent of the public thinks we're on the wrong track, Bush has the highest disapproval of any President in modern history, that this is a Democratic year and Obama will do fine." Bully Boy is not running for a third term. That's the sort of weak-ass nonsense the Barack campaign offers daily. Give it up, it's not going to work. But let's deal with their "80 percent of the public thinks we're on the wrong track!" so any Dem will win. Today is March 23, 2008. Via CBS News, travel back with us to May 24, 2004. John Kerry was the nominee (due to everyone else dropping out after Kerry won the needed number of delegates from primaries and caucuses). And Bully Boy was in the White House. How many Americans thought the country was on the "wrong track"? 65%. 65% and Kerry couldn't pull out a win. In four years 15% more Americans think it's the wrong track and The Cult of Obama would have you believe (a) that is significant in terms of November and (b) that's astounding! It's neither. A lousy candidate can't close the deal with the public. [Bully Boy had a 41% approval rating then. Polls taken this month put him at a low of 28% with a high of 33% on approval. That's not a huge shift either. But, again, Bully Boy is not John McCain. It's interesting that the Barack campaign keeps screaming they are being "smeared by association" when their entire McCain counter-strategy appears to smear McCain by association.]
Andrew Stephen (New Statesman) documents some of the sexism the media used to attack Hillary with and how they felt good about themselves for lying and distorting:
The pincer movement, in fact, could have come straight from a textbook on how to wreck a woman's presi dential election campaign: smear her whole persona first, and then link her with her angry, red-faced husband. The public Obama, characteristically, pronounced himself "unhappy" with the vilification carried out so methodically by his staff, but it worked like magic: Hillary Clinton's approval ratings among African Americans plummeted from above 80 per cent to barely 7 per cent in a matter of days, and have hovered there since.
I suspect that, as a result, she will never be able entirely to shake off the "racist" tag. "African-American super-delegates [who are supporting Clinton] are being targeted, harassed and threatened," says one of them, Representative Emanuel Cleaver. "This is the politics of the 1950s." Obama and Axelrod have achieved their objectives: to belittle Hillary Clinton and to manoeuvre the ever-pliant media into depicting every political criticism she makes against Obama as racist in intent.
The danger is that, in their headlong rush to stop the first major female candidate (aka "Hildebeast" and "Hitlery") from becoming president, the punditocracy may have landed the Democrats with perhaps the least qualified presidential nominee ever. But that creeping realisation has probably come too late, and many of the Democratic super-delegates now fear there would be widespread outrage and increased racial tension if they thwart the first biracial presidential hopeful in US history.
But will Obama live up to the hype? That, I fear, may not happen: he is a deeply flawed candidate. Rampant sexism may have triumphed only to make way for racism to rear its gruesome head in America yet again. By election day on 4 November, I suspect, the US media and their would-be-macho commentators may have a lot of soul-searching to do.
As today's HUBdate notes: "The Popular Vote Leader: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about Tuesday night's contests: 'Hillary Clinton netted approximately 150,000 votes and is now poised to finish the primary season as the popular-vote leader. In some quaint circles, presumably, these things still matter...If you believe that the most important precept in democratic politics is to 'count every vote,' then...Clinton leads Obama by 71,301 votes.' Read more." She's the stronger candidate. She's leading in the popular vote. She has a plan. Bob Somerby notes the media confession on the decision to weigh the scales against Hillary. You'll see that in play tonight and over the weekend as a remark she made pointing out that this primary is not really going that long. That will be dubbed 'news'. Barack not knowing how many states there are? His fan club in the press doesn't care.
NOW on PBS (airs tonight in most markets, check local listings) explores assault and rape in the military and asks: "How are these women picking up the pieces of their life after military sexual trauma?" Streaming will be available online by late tonight. Also on PBS (check local listings, airs tonight in most markets, some air it later or repeat it later), Washington Week finds Gwen sitting down with, among others, Dan Balz (Washington Post), NPR's Tom Gjelten and Time's Karen Tumulty. And on PBS tonight (check local listings) Bill Moyers Journal will note Memorial Day (this Monday) and you can watch the commentary already at YouTube.
james glanzthe new york times
the washington postdana hedgpeth
the asia timeswashington weeknow on pbspbsdan balznprtime magazinetom gjeltenkaren tumulty
bill moyers journal
zachary coilethe san francisco chronicle