Saturday, April 12, 2008

The GI Bill and other stories.

It was on CNN that Wolf Blitzer and Kitty Pilgrim tripped all over themselves pushing the latest flap about Senator Barack Obama and what a blogger at the Huffington Post tape recorded last Sunday, waited a day, Monday before being "sufficiently troubled" by Obama's remarks at a closed fund-raising to write about them. The blogger also admitted to having contributed to Obama's campaign. The blog had been up for about a week before Senator Clinton suddenly decided that Obama's remarks needed a wider audience and a generous amount of wrath. I can think of 3 reasons: Mark Penn, Bill Clinton and her narrowing polls with Obama in Pennsylvania. Having heard and read what Senator Obama had actually said. I concluded that there was nothing to it. Apparently, CBS didn't care to cover what amounted to a week's old news by Friday. PBS "The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" covered exclusively, Senator Clinton's problems on the campaign trail. What is laughable about the CNN talk team such as found on "The Situation Room" and "Lou Dobbs Tonight;" they aren't exactly ignorant of the internet. The blog in question was days old before Clinton decided (by way of political calculation) to give it a set of legs. Huffington Post had been on the internet for better than a year or more. So it isn't as though CNN couldn't have researched it and brought it to the attention of the viewing public within hours of the blog being posted! Why didn't they if Obama's remarks were so bad? Wolf Blitzer made the remark that CNN isn't partisan. By the time that Kitty Pilgrim came on (and she must have made a mad scramble to assemble a cast and crew that would spin Obama's statements as "worse" than they actually were) she was giving Obama's remarks "exclusive coverage" and generating a definite partisanship that would fully contradict what Blitzer had previously said. Having to go to work, I didn't see all of it. But the blog on Huffington's Post wasn't "breaking news." And a calmer and more rational news team wouldn't have scurried up to "side with Clinton" against her front runner opponent. Instead, they would have asked the questions, why now? And what had happened in the last week to Senator Clinton's campaign would surely have provided their own answers.

"The News Hour with Jim Lehrer" aired the latest campaign ads making their tours through Pennsylvania. Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama are not ads that I wish to get into. Instead, it is Senator McCain touting his long time history of military service, being a prisoner of war, etc. that I need to discuss as it involves a republished editorial in the Spokesman-Review editorial pages. It is titled:

McCain owes GI Bill a new lease on life

It is written by Wesley K. Clark and Jon Soltz. Wesley Clark is the former supreme commander of NATO and Mr. Soltz is an Iraq war veteran. Who wrote their commentary for the Los Angeles Times.

Seems McCain has been a beneficiary of the GI Bill for having served in Vietnam. What is not so surprising is that he doesn't seem to want to put a yea vote on a bill that would cost the American taxpayers some billions of dollars in educational funding for Iraq and Afghanistan war veterans. Seems he sides with the White House that doesn't seem to want to give something back to those who fought for this country in Iraq and Afghanistan. In particular, educational benefits. This GI Bill had actually been in Congress months before McCain finally announced his run for office. He could have shown "leadership" in support of his fellow veterans, and according to this editorial, he has not.

I guess I shouldn't find it so surprising that McCain would buddy up to the White House with a definite snarky attitude toward the veterans that it insists on using up on the battlefield and then tossing them on the trash heap when done with them. It is the election year, stupid, and McCain wants GW's base. So, GW can spout of real pretty words in front of selective audiences about those who fought, got injured and even died in Iraq and Afghanistan that their sacrifices are not "in vain." Apparently those sacrifices are in vain if, as the editorial notes, retention is bad, recruitment levels have dropped, and the vets face a gvt that would rather hang them out to dry than ask of the American taxpayer to do something on their behalf. Not only a lack of support for those sacrifices but a screw you for having made them. Now that has far more legs given the above McCain ad than anything that Obama had to say at a closed fund-raiser.

So, guess what CNN preferred to cover? And it takes an L.A. Times article to inform us that McCain is far from being a "Straight Talker." And while he likes to talk up his military experience, he also makes it plain that "I got mine, who gives a $^@# about you!"

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