I'm having serious blogging problems and honestly not trying to make things be in huge type. Let me cheat and plug to friends: Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix and Wally of The Daily Jot. Cedric for listening to me on the phone for about 15 minutes as I went over today. Wally for walking me through the day and more. I'm in Indiana and how Wally does it, I don't know. We're here to get out the word on Hillary, get out the vote for. Wally did that in Penn as well and flew in from there. I actually beat him to the airport because his plane was a little late. That was good, let me grab my luggage and set a bit. That may have been the last calm.
We're here for at least two weeks. Wally's here until election day (at least, he didn't fly out of Texas until the day after or out of Pennsylvania until this morning). I asked him, "How do you do it?" He says he's gone out on the road with C.I. to talk about Iraq enough that he's learned a lot of tricks from C.I. The most important one is do not have a speech.
Good because I'm lousy at that. He said if you're delivering a speech, no one's listening. Wally's naturally funny and usually has a few jokes to choose from but he's also a pro. I told him that and he said, "I learned from the best." (C.I.) Know your facts, get a feel for the crowd, and speak from the heart. That's what Wally said he learned from C.I. So I'm learning as well. Quickly.
I think we make a good team but he's probably thinking, "How did I get stuck with this loser?" We spoke to two women's groups today and three student groups. We're working the groups C.I. has spoken to about Iraq and other groups that C.I. gets a tip on. C.I.'s been speaking out against the illegal war since Feb. 2003 and has been to every state (repeatedly!) except Alaska. So we've got a set list that's really strong. Wally's also speaking with friends of C.I.'s in the Democratic Party in the state and I believe in the Hillary campaign and making sure we aren't duplicating efforts. The campaign doesn't have the resources to go everywhere so if there's an area that they can't focus on, that's a prime area for us.
This is Lindsay Levin's "Thank you Pennslyvania" (HillaryClinton.com):
What an amazing night! Watch Hillary's victory speech:
And I may have lost that link. I don't know. If so, my apologies. The laptop is acting up. I'm not even going to try to fix my copy and paste below for fear of losing the link.
More People Have Voted For Hillary Than Any Other Candidate: "After last night's decisive victory in Pennsylvania, more people have voted for Hillary than any other candidate, including Sen. Obama. Estimates vary slightly, but according to Real Clear Politics, Hillary has received 15,095,663 votes to Sen. Obama's 14,973,720, a margin of more than 120,000 votes. ABC News reported this morning that ‘Clinton has pulled ahead of Obama’ in the popular vote. This count includes certified vote totals in Florida and Michigan." Read more.
The Tide is Turning: "The voters in Pennsylvania have spoken. America is listening. And the tide is turning...Despite making an unprecedented financial investment in his Pennsylvania campaign, including millions on negative ads ...Sen. Obama again failed to win a state that will be vital to a Democratic victory in November." Read more.
$$$: The campaign has raised more than $3.5 million since PA polls closed last night..last night's fundraising total the was the strongest ever.
Fighting for You: In last night’s victory speech, Hillary told voters, "I'm in this race to fight for you, to fight for everyone who has ever been counted out ...I need your help to continue this journey. This is your campaign and this is your victory tonight. Your support has meant the difference between winning and losing." Watch here and read it here.
In Case You Missed It: The Washington Post reports that "unable once again to score a knockout, Sen. Barack Obama is likely to make his new negative tone even more negative." Read more.
Closing the Deal? The AP asks: "Why can't Barack Obama close the deal? ...Unfortunately for Obama...it's a question that bears repeating...The loss, despite a massive cash infusion and robust campaign presence in the state, underscores the persistent problems he's had winning over many of the voters who form the traditional Democratic party base." Read more.
On Tap: Hillary attends an event in Indianapolis, IN today..Tomorrow - joined by former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs, General Hugh Shelton - she returns to North Carolina for stops in Jacksonville, Fayetteville, and Asheville. On Friday and Saturday, Hillary campaigns in Indiana.
On the Air: In a new NC Ask Me ad, Hillary responds to veteran David Eichhorn from Hickory, NC: “It is one of the highest obligations of our president and Commander-in- Chief to take care of our veterans. We owe everything to those who have served us." Watch it here... "Jobs," airing in IN, emphasizes that "the next president has to begin putting the American people first. Your jobs, your health care, your futures." Watch it here.
Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"
Wednesday, April 23, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces another death, Turkey apparently bombs Iraq, Hillary wins Pennsylvania, Petraeus gets a non-acting nomination, and more.
Starting with war resistance, war resister Camilo Mejia will join Shontina Vernon, Viggo Mortensen, Staceyann Chin, Sarah Levy and others for a May 5th reading of Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove's best-selling book Voices of a People's History of the United States at the First Congregational Church, 1126 SW Park Ave in Portlan Oregon. Kristi Turnquist (The Oregonian) notes that tickets are $20 (ten dollars for students) and posts a video of Mortensen providing a voice over to illustrations of Howard Zinn's life. Camilo is among the first known war resisters. Along with being the first known Iraq War veteran to resist and being the chair of Iraq Veterans Against the War, he documented his story in Road from Ar Ramadi: The Private Rebellion of Staff Sergeant Mejia.
In Canada, many US war resisters are currently hoping to be granted safe harbor status and the Canadian Parliament will debate a measure this month on that issue. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: 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. A few more 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. Tom Joad maintains a list of known war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).
Turning to Iraq, AFP reports that Lt Gen Lloyd Austin ("number two commander of US forces in Iraq") wants Moqtada al-Sadr's help in the ongoing assault on the Sadr City section of Baghdad, "We hope that Moqtada al-Sadr will influence his elements to stop violence and that he will work in favour of peace." The only problem with that request is that US Secretary of State Condi Rice stood in Baghdad Sunday calling Moqtada al-Sadr a coward. Did anyone think about that before she made that talking point? It was an effective one for the White House to make if they were completely turning their back on al-Sadr but if Austin's now publicly asking for al-Sadr's help, there is a problem. And it's a problem Crispin Thorold (BBC News) explains: "It is now clear that although the initial military planning was Iraqi, US and British forces are deeply involved. In the capital's neighbourhood of Sadr City, US infantry troops are fighting alongside Iraqi soldiers, to try to secure areas that were once firmly under the hold of the Mehdi Army, which is loyal to the Shia cleric, Moqtada Sadr. Reports suggest that US combat units have also been deployed at short notice to Basra from elsewhere in Iraq and the Middle East." It would appear the puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki has yet again been exposed as inept. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) quoted Moqtada al-Sadr's statement over the weekend: "I am giving my last warning and my word to the Iraqi government to the Iraqi government to take the path of peace and stop violence against its own people, otherwise it will be a government of destruction. If it does not stop the militias that have infiltrated the government, then we will declare a war until liberation." The assault on Basra last month turned Moqtada al-Sadr from possible waning influence to the face of Iraqi pride. On the assault on civilians that al-Maliki thought would increase his (and the Iraqi military's) own standing, Sean Rayment (Telegraph of London) reported Monday that unnamed "British commanders" were scathing in their critique: "incompetent officers and unattrained troops . . . sent into battle with inadequate supplies of food, water and ammunition," "unmitigated disaster at every level," Iraqi General Mohan Furayji is characterized "as a 'dangerous lunatic' who 'ignored' advice" and al-Maliki was responsible for the "disaster which felt as though an amateur was in charge." William S. Lind (UPI) observes, "When Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent his 'army' to fight the Mahdi Army in Basra, U.S. President Bush called it 'a defining moment.' It turned out instead to be a confirming moment. It confirmed that there is no state in Mesopotamia -- the geographical territory known as the nation of Iraq." Pakistan's The Post notes, "Since Sadr issued his threat, which could unravel months of security gains in Iraq, on Saturday the US military says it has killed around 65 militiamen in Sadr City and other Shi'ite parts of Baghdad." The International Committee of the Red Cross issued a field report today on Sadr City noting that "several hospitals have exhausted their stocks of medical supplies as a result of the ongoing fighting. The ICRC has had difficulty transporting food and medicines where they are needed because of the ongoing fighting. Earlier today the ICRC managed to distribute some three tonnes of medical items to Sadr City General Hospital, Al Imam Ali General Hospital and Ibn Al Baldi Paediatric Hospital in Sadr City. The items included equipment for intravenous infusion, injection and dressing materials, and anaesthetics."
Meanwhile the continuing assaults on Basra and Sadr City aren't the only continued operations. Turkey and PKK (Kurdistan Workers' Party) continue to have ongoing tensions. AFP reports that Ahmed Danis (PKK spokesperson) states that northern Iraq was bombed by Turkish airplanes today: "The bombing began at 4:30 pm (1330 GMT) and continued for an hour. The bombardment targeted old rear bases in the district of Kharkurk near the Turkish border." AP notes that Turkey has not confirmed the bombings. Reuters cites an unnamed "Turkish military source" declaring that there were four war planes taking part in the bombing which lasted for about a half hour. Hurriyet notes that yesterday US Secretary of State Condi Rice termed the PKK "an enemy of stability and therefore an enemy of Iraq, Turkey and the United States."
In other reported violence . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing wounded two people this morning and two Baghdad roadside bombings wounded nine people in the afternoon and five were wounded in the evening by a Baghdad roadside bombing, a Mosul bomber killed himself right before a car bombing and 2 other people were killed with nine wounded, a Mosul car bombing wounded seven people, a Mosul roadside bombing wounded four people and a Mosul mortar attack wounded four people and a Kirkuk roadside bombing wounded two police officers. Reuters notes a US drone killed 2 Iraqis with a Hellfire missile.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Jalal Khorsheed (a teacher) was wounded by gunfire in Salahuddin Province today. Reuters notes the US military killed 6 Iraqis suspected of being "gunmen" and 7 suspected of being "militants," and 2 man shot dead in Mosul (his wife injured), 1 police officer shot dead in Mosul.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad today, 4 in Muqdadiyah and 38 were discovered in Kirkuk. Reuters notes 5 corpses received by Baghdad's Al Imam Ali hospital (Sadr City -- twenty-two people were also treated for injuries), 3 corpses discovered in Mosul and 2 "close to Tirkrit."
Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed when he was attacked by small-arms fire while his patrol was conducting operations in eastern Baghdad at approximately 2:20 p.m. April 23."
Turning to the US, Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has been receiving a great deal of attention for statements made this week. William M. Arkin (Washington Post) evaluates the statements and evaluates Gates tenure in his post finding, "Gates' problem in the end is not just a military institution that resents being held to task for the sins of the civilian ideologues and amateurs. It is that, if the military were doing all of what he and others wanted, we still would not be 'winning' in Iraq. If the military smartly saluted and aggressively implemented all of the civilian plans, the world would not be transformed back in either a pre-9/11 state of contentment or an immediate-post-9/11 age of solidarity. . . . When Gates is gone, too little progress will have been made in resolving these problems." Today Gates also announced that Gen David Petraeus (currently in charge of US operations in Iraq) would become the nominee to head of Centcom. Demetri Sevastopulo (Financial Times of London) explains, "Gen Petraeus who has been praised for his oversight of the military 'surge' that has helped reduce violence in Iraq, will replace William Fallon, who resigned abruptly last month after a magazine article that portrayed the navy officer as publicly opposing President George W. Bush over Iran policy. Admiral Fallon rejected the charge, but said the perception had made it impossible to do his job." At the Pentagon today, Gates declared, "I do not anticipate General Petraeus leaving Iraq until late summer or early fall" and that Lt Gen Ray Odierno (who has schilled so hard to bring about war on Iran) will be the nominee to replace Petraeus in Iraq. Despite the fact that Petraeus would not be leaving "until late summer," Gates also attempted to strong arm Congress on both nominations by declaring, "I respectfully ask the Senate to move on them expeditiously, hopefully by Memorial Day, so their families and we can plan appropriately." Asked in the conference by AP about Senate support, Gates maintained he has kept Senators Carl Levin, John McCain and Senator John Warner in the loop. Other Senators were apparently unimportant. Gates was also asked whether or not he expected to serve out his term (which would appear to mean "Do you think the White House might replace you") through January 20, 2009 and he replied, "I certainly expect to. Hope so." [Reuters appears to think the question was about whether Gates would serve in the next administration. They're off their rocker. The original question to Gates was: "Speaking of continuity and staying the course, do you anticipate continuing to serve as Defense secretary through January 20th of next year?"] Petraeus statement released today on the nomination is (in full): "I am honored to be nominated for this position and to have an opportunity to serve with America's Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen, Marines, Coastguardsmen, and Civilians." At the White House today, White House spokesperson Dana Perino echoed Gates by declaring, "We ask that the Senate move as expeditiously as possible and ask that they act by Memorial Day." She also cited the "families" but "expeditiously" appears to be the talking point they want in all media coverage since both stressed it. Perino was also asked if the nomination of Petraeus meant (if confirmed by the Senate) that the July assessment delivered to Congress would be done by someone other than Petraeus and she responded "I understand that Secretary Gates believes that will be General Petraeus. . . . And so that assassment will take -- will be done by General Petraeus."
Levin made no public mention of knowing the nomination was coming; however, AP states he intends "to use a major defense policy bill to expand federal hate crimes laws to protect gays and bring troops home from Iraq. The Michigan Democrat says he also wants to use the bill to force the Iraqi government to pay more toward reconstruction costs." Pauline Jelinek (AP) reports that, as oil prices are close to $120 per barrel, Stuart Bowen ("special inspetor general for Iraq reconstruction") has informed the AP that Iraq's oil revenues for the year could be as high as $70 billion. Gordon Lubold and Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) report that US Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid "appeared to reserve judgment" on the nominations announced by Gates and quotes Reid declaring, "Our ground forces' readiness and battles in Afghanistan and against al-Qaida in Pakistan have suffered as a result of the current costly Iraq strategy. These challenges will require fresh, independent, and creative thinking and, if directed by a new president, a commitment to implementing major changes in strategy."
Turning to US presidental politics. Pressed for time, we're only focusing on Democrats today. Cynthia McKinney has a lot of new content up at her site and she'll be noted in tomorrow's snapshot (McKinney is running for the Green Party's presidential nomination).
Yesterday in Pennsylvania, primaries were held. There was big news on the Republican side and on the Democratic side. Let's start with the GOP (all Penn. results are with 9,219 ouf of the 9,264 districts reporting). 215,812 voters went for Mike Huckabee or Ron Paul (Paul has 125,810). That is almost half the number who voted for John McCain (576,088). Not a strong endorsement for McCain -- the presumed GOP nominee barring death or scandal -- from Pennsylvania. On the Democratic side, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama. Clinton leads by 10% of the vote. The percentage is 45.4% for Barack (rounded down to 45%) and 54.6% for Hillary (rounds up to 55%). Click here for totals. Jake Tapper, George Stephanopoulos and Emily Friedman (ABC News) report, "Basking in her 10-point victory in yesterday's Pennsylvania Democratic primary, Hillary Clinton told ABC's Good Morning America today that her win gave her a great 'vote of confidence' moving forward." With yesterday's vote, Hillary Clinton now leads Barack Obama in the popular vote by 120,000. Big cry baby Barack says that's not fair to count Florida and Michigan. The press HAS to count them because THEY VOTED. This isn't about delegates, it's about the popular vote. The DNC may not know what to do about Florida and Michigan in terms of delegates but those states held primaries. In Michigan, Barack took his own name off the ballot (others -- Clinton, Chris Dodd, Dennis Kucinich) did not. In Florida, he had the same chance to win as Hillary. He may not like the results but he's the one who refused a revote. The press HAS TO COUNT those results. They took place. The press isn't the DNC and their job IS TO REPORT WHAT HAPPENED. Barack may not like it but, guess what, it's not about what he wants, it's about what happened. (Taylor Marsh explains it here.) The only way the results don't count is if new primaries are held and the one preventing that is Barack Obama. Wasn't Hillary supposed to drop out? Wasn't Barack the Democratic choice (yeah, laugh at that one, we'll come back to it)? He couldn't win Penn and he's got a million and one excuses but if you are the choice, if you are the candidate, if you are all the hype said you were, you would have won. You didn't. Susan UnPC (No Quarter) breaks it down here. Following her victory, the Clinton campaign experienced record donations with $3 million raised by this morning and ten million currently.
Meanwhile Tom Hayden never tires of embarrassing himself (what else is honestly left for him?). Big Tent Democrat (TalkLeft) notes that Tom-Tom wants Hillary out of the race and is pinning it off on his wife -- that's the current wife and (me speaking) don't expect that to last any longer than usual. Tom-Tom tells you his wife is screaming these days -- well who wouldn't if they had to stare at that pockmarked face in the morning? Seriously, Tom Hayden needs to watch himself when it comes to writing about women. When you went through a marriage treating your step-daughter like crap, destroying her self-image, making her feel unwanted, the only thing you ever need to write about women is a piece entitled "Vanessa, This Is My Public Apology To You." Until that piece gets written and published, he really needs to find a topic other than women to write about.
On the issue of the pathetic males, yeah, we caught it. Ava and I never laughed so hard. Add "community" to "movement." Nine times out of ten, someone claiming they decided to support Barack for either is a Communist hiding in their closet. "Red baiting"? Ava and I never laughed so hard. We can't link to it, we can't comment on it because we're really not in the mood for Communist Party members who pose as Democrats today. But let's be really clear, the CP and the DNC are two different parties. When you are CP and you interject yourself into a DNC primary, calling you out is not out of bounds. The general election is open to all. The Democratic Primary is not supposed to be influenced by Communists or, for that matter, Socialists or Greens or anyone not of the Democratic Party. If you're not a Democrat and you're deciding to endorse Barack, it's not "red baiting" to clarify that an outsider is attempting to hijack a political party. As a comedy reel, it was wonderful to listen to. As anything resembling journalism? Not so much. (No surprise.) Funniest line: "Senator Clinton can't have it both ways!" Uh, she's not the Communist going on a broadcast today pretending to be a Democrat. It takes a lot of nerve for a Communist pretending to be a Democrat to accuse Hillary of trying to have it both ways. Again, it's a Democratic Party primary. If you're not a Democrat, butt out. If you don't, closet doors can come down and you brought it on yourself by lying. You and you alone. (And it's not "red baiting" anymore than the Democratic Party, in 2004, noting that Ralph Nader was getting support from some Republicans was "conservative baiting". Get real. It's about frauds trying to trick people.) You can endorse whomever you want in a general election but a Democratic Primary is for Democrats and, of course, the Closeted know that which is one reason they pretend to be Democrats. Not playing that game here.
Carolyn Lochhead (San Francisco Chronicle) observes:
Yet the campaign has exposed Obama's glaring weakness among the working-class whites Democrats need to win the presidency.
"If I told you somebody was winning California, New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, New Jersey, Michigan and Florida and was not winning the nomination, you'd say something was wrong," said Democratic consultant Doug Schoen, who is unaligned in the race. "And something arguably is not right."
And Mike will address the claims of some others quoted in the article tonight. Meanwhile Hillary picked up an endorsement from US House Rep John Tanner, "I do not remember a time when our nation has faced the financial peril that confronts all Americans. To me, this election is not about politics as usual. I believe nothing less than our financial liberty and economic freedom are at stake."