Articles of Interest, March 1st, 2008

Michelle Obama campaigning in Chillicothe, Ohio for her husband, Sen. Barack Obama, D-Ill., Thursday Feb. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Chillicothe Gazette, Sarah Wright)

Michelle Obama: name Hussein is ‘the fear bomb’

by Mark Silva

Michelle Obama, who often has decried “the fear bomb” that opponents have used against her husband for his middle name — Barack Hussein Obama — said in Canton, Ohio, today that it is happening again and shows why it’s so important that he wins election as president.

“They threw in the obvious, ultimate fear bomb,” Obama said today of her husband’s 2004 Senate race. “We’re even hearing [that] now. … ‘When all else fails, be afraid of his name, and what that could stand for, because it’s different.'”

The senator’s wife said that rivals use innuendo to play on fears. “Just as they’re saying it now,” she said.

But, she told about 200 supporters this morning at a restored theater in Canton, Obama won despite that “climate of negativity and doubt” in 2004. “We learned, number one, that when power is threatened by real change they will say anything to stop it,” she said. “But we also learned that the American people can handle the truth.”

What America needs, she added, is a “fundamentally different kind of leadership,” one that challenges people to be different, and better to one another. And that, she said to critics who say it is not his time, cannot wait.

“Barack Obama will be the kind of leader we need right now, not in four years or eight years or 12 years,” she said. “We can’t wait to get this right. We need it to happen today.”

  • I spoke on this before. We know what this is all about. It’s blatant racism or blatant Islamaphobia take your pick, their both ignore scare and fear tactics. It’s a direct attempt and making being a Muslim or Islam a slur to be used a pejorative to help scare up votes against Obama. They might as well call him a dirty Commie.

First Lady Hillary Clinton wore a traditional head scarf during a 1997 trip to the northeastern African nation of Eritrea.

First Lady Hillary Clinton wore a traditional head scarf during a 1997 trip to the northeastern African nation of Eritrea. (AP photo by Doug Mills / March 30, 1997)

Maybe I’m blind, but does this photo suggest that Hilary Clinton is a closet Muslim? I mean wow, she’s wearing a Hijab even though most of the women around her aren’t! 🙂

 Democratic presidential hopeful, Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y., visits with workers at a Bob Evans Restaurant in Rio Grande, Ohio, Thursday, Feb. 28, 2008. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

Clinton Hauls in $35 Mill; Obama Camp Says They’ll Do Better

Sen. Hillary Clinton said Thursday she was incredibly gratified to learn her campaign hauled in a record 35 million dollars in the month of February, despite losing 11 contests during that time.

“I was sure excited by the generosity of thousands of new donors,” Clinton told reporters in Hanging Rock, Ohio. “It was really heartwarming because a lot of them sent e-mails talking about why they were contributing and it was often five, ten, fifteen dollars and they would write about how they wanted to do for their children.”

But while her campaign was reveling in the news, there is word that Barack Obama is ready to out-do her with an eye-popping fundraising figure of his own.

Like Obama’s campaign, Clinton raised the bulk of the new money online.

The Senator said she believes her supporters were spurred to action when they heard that she herself had loaned her campaign money.

“When people found out we didn’t have the resources to compete and I did put my own money in it just set off a chain reaction across the country of hundreds of thousands of people saying ‘Wait a minute. We want this campaign to go on.’” Clinton said.

Clinton loaned her campaign five million dollars in late January. The loan was disclosed earlier this month. It has not yet been re-paid.

“The fact that Senator Clinton put so much of her own resources into the campaign I think was a demonstration of her commitment to her own campaign and also a signal to her supporters that she needed their help,” said veteran democratic strategist Tad Devine. “And I think a lot of women heard that call and they responded and that is part of success they have had in recent fundraising.”

The haul was more than double what the Clinton campaign raised in Januaryits previous record for one month.

Of the 35 million, campaign officials said 30 million came from online donations. The money included donations from more than 200,000 new donors.

Democrats familiar with the Obama campaign’s fundraising operation told ABC News his campaign is expected to have raised north of 50 million dollars for the month.

  • Way to go Hillary, but stand by, Obama most likely raised almost double that amount.

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Staying to Help in Iraq

By Angelina Jolie
Thursday, February 28, 2008; 1:15 PM

The request is familiar to American ears: “Bring them home.”

But in Iraq, where I’ve just met with American and Iraqi leaders, the phrase carries a different meaning. It does not refer to the departure of U.S. troops, but to the return of the millions of innocent Iraqis who have been driven out of their homes and, in many cases, out of the country.

In the six months since my previous visit to Iraq with the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, this humanitarian crisis has not improved. However, during the last week, the United States, UNHCR and the Iraqi government have begun to work together in new and important ways.

We still don’t know exactly how many Iraqis have fled their homes, where they’ve all gone, or how they’re managing to survive. Here is what we do know: More than 2 million people are refugees inside their own country — without homes, jobs and, to a terrible degree, without medicine, food or clean water. Ethnic cleansing and other acts of unspeakable violence have driven them into a vast and very dangerous no-man’s land. Many of the survivors huddle in mosques, in abandoned buildings with no electricity, in tents or in one-room huts made of straw and mud. Fifty-eight percent of these internally displaced people are younger than 12 years old.

An additional 2.5 million Iraqis have sought refuge outside Iraq, mainly in Syria and Jordan. But those host countries have reached their limits. Overwhelmed by the refugees they already have, these countries have essentially closed their borders until the international community provides support.

I’m not a security expert, but it doesn’t take one to see that Syria and Jordan are carrying an unsustainable burden. They have been excellent hosts, but we can’t expect them to care for millions of poor Iraqis indefinitely and without assistance from the U.S. or others. One-sixth of Jordan’s population today is Iraqi refugees. The large burden is already causing tension internally.

The Iraqi families I’ve met on my trips to the region are proud and resilient. They don’t want anything from us other than the chance to return to their homes — or, where those homes have been bombed to the ground or occupied by squatters, to build new ones and get back to their lives. One thing is certain: It will be quite a while before Iraq is ready to absorb more than 4 million refugees and displaced people. But it is not too early to start working on solutions. And last week, there were signs of progress.

In Baghdad, I spoke with Army Gen. David Petraeus about UNHCR’s need for security information and protection for its staff as they re-enter Iraq, and I am pleased that he has offered that support. General Petraeus also told me he would support new efforts to address the humanitarian crisis “to the maximum extent possible” — which leaves me hopeful that more progress can be made.

UNHCR is certainly committed to that. Last week while in Iraq, High Commissioner António Guterres pledged to increase UNHCR’s presence there and to work closely with the Iraqi government, both in assessing the conditions required for return and in providing humanitarian relief.

During my trip I also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has announced the creation of a new committee to oversee issues related to internally displaced people, and a pledge of $40 million to support the effort.

My visit left me even more deeply convinced that we not only have a moral obligation to help displaced Iraqi families, but also a serious, long-term, national security interest in ending this crisis.

Today’s humanitarian crisis in Iraq — and the potential consequences for our national security — are great. Can the United States afford to gamble that 4 million or more poor and displaced people, in the heart of Middle East, won’t explode in violent desperation, sending the whole region into further disorder?

What we cannot afford, in my view, is to squander the progress that has been made. In fact, we should step up our financial and material assistance. UNHCR has appealed for $261 million this year to provide for refugees and internally displaced persons. That is not a small amount of money — but it is less than the U.S. spends each day to fight the war in Iraq. I would like to call on each of the presidential candidates and congressional leaders to announce a comprehensive refugee plan with a specific timeline and budget as part of their Iraq strategy.

As for the question of whether the surge is working, I can only state what I witnessed: U.N. staff and those of non-governmental organizations seem to feel they have the right set of circumstances to attempt to scale up their programs. And when I asked the troops if they wanted to go home as soon as possible, they said that they miss home but feel invested in Iraq. They have lost many friends and want to be a part of the humanitarian progress they now feel is possible.

It seems to me that now is the moment to address the humanitarian side of this situation. Without the right support, we could miss an opportunity to do some of the good we always stated we intended to do.

Angelina Jolie, an actor, is a UNHCR goodwill ambassador.

  • May Allah (swt) reward her for her efforts.

US Democratic presidential candidate Senator Hillary Clinton (D-NY) smiles during a campaign rally in St. Clairsville, Ohio February 27, 2008. REUTERS/Shannon Stapleton

  • Not a very flattering photo. I thought I would share, come to your own conclusions. 🙂 P.S. I don’t think that way of Hillary, just thought it was funny, toughen up a little.

Photo

Obama has small lead in Texas, close in Ohio

HOUSTON (Reuters) – Barack Obama holds a slight lead on Hillary Clinton in Texas and has almost pulled even in Ohio before contests that could decide their Democratic presidential battle, according to a Reuters/C-SPAN/Houston Chronicle poll released on Friday.

The contests on Tuesday are crucial for Clinton, a New York senator and former first lady fighting to halt Obama’s streak of 11 consecutive victories in their battle for the Democratic nomination for the November 4 presidential election.

Obama, an Illinois senator, has a 6-point edge on Clinton in Texas, 48 percent to 42 percent. He trails Clinton 44 percent to 42 percent in Ohio — well within the poll’s margin of error of 3.8 percentage points.

  • Can’t say I saw this coming. We will see. However, if current trends continue expect a Clinton concession speech on March 5th. Obama may very well sweep yet again….

Killed in Cradle

Image

Mohamed was killed in an Israeli raid in Gaza.

GAZA CITY — The mother put him kindly in his cradle. The father bent over to kiss the chubby cheek of the five-month toddler.“Come on! Grow up sweat heart,” whispered the father Naser tenderly in the ears of Mohammad. “Our baby will grow up, play hide and seek and marry the prettiest of the girls.”

“We will always love you and get you he best of clothes and toys,” added his wife Eman as they kept looking at the sleeping angel.

With his innocent look and broad smile, Mohammad came to this life after five long years of patience and impotency endured by his parents.

They wanted nothing but a baby who brings joy to a life growing mundane and gives purpose to it under a paralyzing Israeli punishment and a crippling blockade.

Mohammad will not grow up; he will not smile any longer neither will he play hide and seek.

“The bastards killed him,” shouted tearful Naser.

Mohammad was killed Wednesday, February 27, in one of the deadly Israeli missile attacks on Gaza.

“I ran like crazy to Mohammad’s cradle. He was motionless,” the bereaved father recalled the heart-wrenching scene.

Naser rushed his bleeding baby to the hospital in the immediate vicinity but it was too late.

“He was already dead. The Israelis killed this helpless innocent toddler,” said Naser with a tinge of bitterness in his voice.

All Targeted

In killing a toddler, Naser says Israel is targeting all Palestinians.

“Why on earth did they kill our joy?” cried Naser.

“Why did they deprive me of the love of my life? Why did they kill him?”

At least 32 Palestinians, a third of whom were children, were killed in two days of unabated Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip.

Four children, aged eight, nine, 11 and 12, were killed Thursday, February 28, in an Israeli raid as they played football in the northern town of Jabaliya.

Another 12-year-old boy died of wounds sustained in a Gaza raid the previous day.

The chief of Israel’s internal security service (Shin Bet), Yuval Diskin, drew fire last month after considering children and civilians killed in indiscriminate Israeli attacks in the Gaza Strip over the past two years as “terrorists.”

At Mohammad’s cradle, the mother was still in a state of shock that she could not speak.

The grandmother was sitting nearby kissing a mobile photo Naser took for Mohammad minutes before passing away.

“God damn this world as it stands idly while Israel kiss a toddler?” Umm Naser fumed.

“What if Mohammad was Israeli not Palestinian?”

  •  You can say what you want, but this crap has to stop.  Why do we continually wear blinders and ignore others pain?  What’s wrong with us that we can’t see that this help fuels anger and rage and does more to increase the problem than it does to rid the world of it?  If your children were killed in this matter and it was called an attack against terrorists, tell me how would you feel?  What would you do?
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