Wednesday, March 12, 2008

John Carlson on Bambi's slow fade

Obama's losses in both Texas and Ohio underscore why time is not on his side. These were the first primaries that didn't follow on the heels of another with another contest immediately following. Instead voters were able to sit back for three full weeks, listen to the debates, watch how the candidates and their spouses talked to different audiences in different parts of the state, hear their advertising and take their time digesting this information and discussing it with others at home, work and the barber shop.
When they did that, Obama began to fade. Like a hit record that's been on the charts for a while, they still smile when it plays but they're getting used to hearing it. In Ohio, a must-win state for the Democrats in November, people began to tire of it. Isn't there a "B" side?
Most Americans like Obama but they don't know him, and liking and trusting aren't quite the same thing. A TV spot asking whom voters would rather have picking up the phone at the White House during an overseas crisis at 3 a.m. simply asked what any reasonable voter would consider before pulling the lever in November. That's hardly a low blow or an act of "desperation" by the Clinton people. (If the McCain campaign is smart, it'll rerun that ad in the fall, with McCain picking up the line.)

That's from John Carlson's "The beginning of the end for the Obama campaign" (Seattle Times). I loved the "like a hit record" line. Wish I'd written that. Ava asked me if I could note something and I said "Surely." All she had to do was ask. This is "Hillary's Hispanic Agenda/
Una Vida Mejor Para Todos

Expanding opportunity is at the core of the American dream. Hillary believes that anyone who works hard and plays by the rules can succeed and create better lives for themselves and their children. Latinos understand and value the importance of opportunity - a good education system and good jobs. That is why Hillary Clinton has an agenda that expands opportunity for Latinos, and ensures una vida mejor para todos.


Hillary Clinton's economic agenda is focused on creating good jobs for all Americans. That starts by empowering America's small businesses, which have been responsible for 80% of net new job growth in the U.S. since 1980. As President, Hillary will help lower costs and improve economic opportunities for small businesses, and help empower women and minority owned small businesses succeed:

Make sure that women- and minority-owned small businesses receive their fair share of government contracts. There are more than 2.5 million Hispanic-owned businesses in the U.S., contributing to the economic vitality and success of our country. Hillary will remove the obstacles that block too many of them from doing business with the federal government.
Raising and strengthening targets. Currently there is a target goal that 23% of government contracting dollars go to small businesses. Hillary will increase that goal to 30%. She would also raise the current 5% goals for disadvantaged and woman-owned small businesses to 8%. Finally, she will strengthen the guidelines for these targets to ensure that they are actually met. For example, under the Bush Administration, the SBA has crafted guidelines that will make it harder—not easier—for women-owned businesses to get their fair share of contracts. Hillary will appoint people to the SBA who actually understand that small businesses are vital to our economy, and who will write guidelines that tear down roadblocks, not put up new ones.
Ending bundling abuses. Small businesses applying for federal contracts often lose out to larger companies thanks to "contract bundling" – a practice where smaller contracts are "bundled" together into one large contract that only large businesses are able to transact. Hillary sees the proliferation of contract bundling as a threat to fair competition. Excessive bundling is not only bad for small businesses but wasteful of taxpayer dollars, because in many instances small businesses could be doing the work that is bundled together more efficiently than larger firms. As President, she will update criteria for when bundling is appropriate, require timely and accurate reporting of instances of bundling, and direct the SBA to conduct meaningful oversight to make sure that every agency complies with bundling regulations and hold senior administration officials accountable. She will also broaden the definition of bundling to cover new work. (The current definition applies only when two or more existing contracts are combined.)
Adjust net worth limits for the 8(a) program. Small business owners seeking to qualify for or remain in the 8(a) program—which helps small and disadvantaged businesses compete for federal contracts—must meet net-worth limits that have not been updated in nearly two decades. Hillary would adjust the new-owner net worth limit for inflation and abolish the net worth limit for business owners seeking to remain in the program.
Give new priorities to service-disabled veteran-owned businesses. In FY 2006, service-disabled veteran-owned businesses (SDV) received less than 1 percent of all federal procurement, far below the 3 percent statutory goal. To remedy this shortfall, Hillary will put SDVs on equal footing with 8(a) contractors in terms of eligibility for sole source contracts.
Double Funding for the Small Business Administration. As president, Hillary will double funding for the Small Business Administration, which has been cut by 50% under the Bush Administration. Budget cuts have degraded the SBA's ability to help entrepreneurs start and grow small businesses. For example, a GAO study found that business centers that help women-owned small businesses have laid-off staff and scaled back services because the SBA has been slow to deliver funding. [New York Times, 9/20/07]. Senator Clinton's funding increases will allow the SBA to provide loans, technical assistance and aide in winning government contracts to a wider range of small businesses.
Provide new small business tax cuts for healthcare: Hillary will also provide new tax credits to small businesses to make it easier for them to create new jobs with health care for their workers here in the U.S. Small businesses are the engine of new job growth in the U.S. economy but face bigger challenges when it comes to providing health care for their employees. Hillary's plan seeks to make it easier — not harder — for small businesses to create new jobs with health care for workers here in the U.S. Specifically, small businesses that provide quality coverage (e.g., benefits like what Members of Congress receive) and contribute most of the premiums for their workers would qualify for a refundable tax credit. The tax credit could be structured as a traditional policy (e.g., a credit equal to 50 percent of premiums for firms with fewer than 25 employees and less for medium-size employers).

Hillary's education agenda starts with closing the early achievement gap; she will help address it by ensuring every child in America enters school ready to learn. As President, Hillary Clinton will:

Universal pre-kindergarten. Hillary will provide access to high quality pre-kindergarten for all four-year-olds through a federal-state partnership. Her proposal pays particular attention to the need for these programs among children from limited-English and/or low income households - ensuring that they receive priority in enrollment and receive these services at no cost. Currently, only 40 percent of three-to-five-year-old Hispanics attend pre-k compared to about 60 percent of whites and blacks; in large part because pre-k isn’t available or the price is out of reach in many Hispanic communities. One study of Tulsa, Oklahoma’s pre-k-for-all program found benefits for all racial, ethnic, and socio-economic status groups but the gains for Hispanic students were especially impressive. Hispanic students experienced a 79 percent gain in letter-word identification (compared to 52 percent for whites), a 39 percent gain in spelling (compared to 26 percent for whites), and a 54 percent gain in applied problem solving (compared to 6 percent for whites).
Expand Head Start and Early Head Start. Hillary is proud to have helped create Early Head Start when she was First Lady and to have worked toward doubling it as a Senator. As President, She will continue to expand access to Head Start for the children of farm workers; end the underrepresentation of Latino children in Head Start and Early Head Start; ensure that assessments of children's growth and development are culturally and linguistically appropriate; and grow the programs overall to increase school readiness of Latino children.
Expand parent support programs. Hillary will also expand innovative nurse home visitation and parent education programs, such as Parents as Teachers and the Nurse Home Visitation Program, to help first-time mothers prepare for and care for their young children. One analysis of the Parents as Teachers program in Northern California found that this program improved children’s cognitive, social, emotional skills even more so among children in Spanish-speaking Latino families than others.
But school readiness is just the beginning. We also need to do better by Hispanic children throughout the education pipeline so that they can realize their dreams and aspirations. That means raising achievement, closing the achievement gap, focusing on the drop out crisis and getting all Latino children to college. As President, Hillary Clinton will:

Cutting the Latino drop-out rate in half. The Latino dropout rate is far too high - half of all Latino kids don't graduate from high school on time. Hillary has supported the Graduation Promise Act, which makes a $2.5 billion investment to stop what have become known as "high school drop out factories." Two thousand of these drop-out factories nation-wide produce the majority of our high school dropouts. The dropout rate for Hispanics is more than double the rate for African Americans and more than three times the rate for whites.
Expand GEAR UP to provide mentoring to Latino children. Many at-risk youth are falling off the track to higher education and career success early in the middle school years because they lack the tools and positive role models to get ahead. GEAR UP supports innovative partnerships between local school systems, colleges, businesses, and non-profit organizations to provide over a million middle-school students in high-risk schools with comprehensive college-readiness services including tutoring, mentoring, and college visits. Hillary will increase by 50 percent the number of children being served by GEAR UP.
Put college within reach for more Hispanic families. Only 12 percent of Hispanics eventually earn a bachelor's degree, compared with 33 percent of non-Hispanic whites. College enrollment and completion rates haven’t increased over the past 20 years and more members of the freshman class at the University of Michigan have parents making at least $200,000 a year than have parents making less than the national median of $53,000. For Latinos, cost can be a major barrier; the total cost of public college tuition is one-third of the median household income compared with 24 percent for white students. Hillary will make a firm commitment to make college affordable when she is President. She will end the work penalty that discounts students’ financial aid packages by as much as 50 percent for each dollar they earn; increase the Pell Grant maximum so that it keeps pace with the rising cost of college; and enact a student borrowers' bill of rights to ensure that loan payments are reasonable. And Hillary will work to increase funding for work-study and other federal financial aid and cut student loan interest rates.
Enact the DREAM Act. It will provide a path to citizenship for undocumented children by allowing them to go to college - at the same cost as other state residents for those attending state institutions - or serve in the military. The children of undocumented families often come to the United States at a very early age. They know no other home, and our current policy fails them by providing them no affordable path to college.
As President, Hillary Clinton will also focus on those young people who have traditionally been forgotten. As President, she will:

Help students stay in school and stay on track. Hillary will invest $100 million in a new public/private summer internship program to help one million at-risk middle-school students. Participation in internships teaches young people the value and potential of work and increase the likelihood that they will graduate from high school, go to college and find employment.
Support responsible fatherhood and provide second-chance jobs. Hillary will make sure that states and counties have adequate resources to collect child support and also make sure that these government agencies pass every dollar on to children; research has shown that fathers pay more of their child support and develop deeper bonds with their children if they know that those payments go directly to their children. She will also create new incentive-based re-entry partnership grants - investing $200 million over five years - that will create partnerships between correction facilities, community and religious organizations, community colleges or vocational programs, job placement agencies, and local employers so that all ex-offenders have the opportunity to rebuild their lives. At the end of 2005, there were almost three times as many Hispanic male inmates as whites per capita. Ex-offenders often end up committing crimes again in part because they face steep barriers to entering the legitimate labor market.

Hillary Clinton will bring the leadership that the country needs to finally pass a comprehensive immigration reform policy. Our current system is broken. It is at odds with our values as a nation and is simply not working. There are more than 12 million undocumented people currently living in the United States - that’s nearly 1 in 20 workers. We have no ability to identify them or ensure that they are being treated fairly in the workplace. Hillary will enact comprehensive reform that is fair. She will also work to help change the negative tone and rhetoric that has divided our nation when it comes to immigration. This reform will:

Provide for a path to citizenship. We have to provide a path to legal status and earned citizenship to those who have been in this country and are working hard, paying taxes, respecting the law, and willing to meet a high bar to become citizens.
Bolster border security. We must reduce the number of undocumented people coming to the United States. We need to deploy new technology that can help our border patrol agents be more effective in stopping the flow of undocumented immigrants into the country.
Maintain family reunification as a core principle. We must protect the sanctity of families and repair the broken, unfair bureaucratic system that forces lawful immigrants to live apart from their spouses and children.
Create an agricultural guest worker program. It will end the exploitation of undocumented agricultural workers and ensure that the wages of American workers are not undermined.
Expedite the process of entering the United States. We need to eliminate the backlog of immigration applications and make the wait time reasonable so that families aren't kept apart unnecessarily. We should capitalize on technological advances to streamline and standardize the system of applying to enter the United States.

During the 1990s, the typical Latino household gained $6,400 in income, and the share of Latinos living in poverty declined from 30% in 1992 to 21.5% in 2000. Since President Bush took office the picture has been different. The typical Hispanic family has seen its real income fall nearly $1,000, and today there are more than nine million Hispanics living in poverty today. Hillary has a vision to restore shared prosperity for American families. As President, she will:

Lower taxes for middle class families: To help middle class families that are being battered by stagnant wages and skyrocketing costs, Hillary will provide new tax credits to help make healthcare and college affordable for families, and up to $1000 in matching tax cuts to help families save for their future.
Increase the minimum wage and expand the EITC to ensure working people earn enough to support their families. Hillary has proposed the most aggressive minimum wage increase of any presidential candidate. She would raise the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, and index it to congressional salaries after that. She has also proposed to triple the Earned Income Tax Credit (EITC) benefit for single adults, expand the EITC for larger families, and overhaul the unemployment insurance system.
Investing in Infrastructure to Create Good Jobs, Ensure our Safety, and Enhance our Economic Competitiveness. New Orleans and the Minnesota bridge collapse are stark reminders of our nation's failure to invest sufficiently in our infrastructure. Hillary's infrastructure plan would invest $10 billion in funding to help states review and repair their critical infrastructure; modernizing seaports; expanding funding for public transit and intercity rail; incentivizing environmentally sensitive land use policies; and a greater focus on reducing congestion. She is also a co-sponsor of bipartisan legislation to create a national infrastructure bank that would evaluate and finance large infrastructure projects.
Make it easier to form unions in order to create jobs with higher wages and better benefits. She will support the Employee Free Choice Act, which will level the playing field between workers and employers and ensure that employees will not be unfairly punished by their employers for attempting to unionize. As a result, more workers, including Latinos will be able to organize and bargain collectively for a better way of life, higher wages, quality health care and a secure retirement.

Hillary Clinton will also ensure that all Americans have access to quality health care that is affordable. There are 15.3 million uninsured Hispanics in the United States, and they are the least likely of any racial or ethnic group to have health insurance. Hispanics are more likely to be diagnosed with diabetes and more likely to contract HIV. Thirty-one percent of Hispanics report that they have no usual source of health care - that’s twice as high as the rate for non-Hispanic whites. As President, Hillary will work to pass the American Health Care Choices Plan, which will:

Guarantee that all Americans have access to quality, affordable health care. Health insurance premiums have skyrocketed over the last several years - nearly doubled since 2000 - while incomes have remained stagnant. The average income in Latino households in 2006 was $37,781 compared with $53,423 for non-Hispanic whites, making it more difficult for Latinos to afford the care they need.
Eliminate insurance discrimination. Under Hillary's plan, no one will be discriminated against on the basis of race, ethnicity, gender, age, occupation or other risk factors. No American will be denied coverage, refused renewal of an insurance policy, unfairly priced out of the market, or charged excessive premiums.
Provide families with a tax credit for premiums. Her plan will guarantee that no Latino family pays more than a reasonable share of their income in health insurance premiums by providing an income-contingent tax credit to cover the excess cost of premiums.
End racial disparities in access to quality health care. Hillary's plan to ensure universal health coverage is vital to closing the disturbing racial and ethnic health disparities that are pervasive throughout our health care system. While many factors, such as the environment, contribute to the disparities in health outcomes, no factor matters more than access to health insurance.
Expand access to Medicaid and State Children's Health Insurance Program. Disadvantaged adults without children will finally be able to enroll in these programs. For the 9.6 million Latinos participating in Medicaid, this plan will fix the holes in the safety net. Also, hospitals and community health centers will continue to receive support so that they can serve vulnerable populations.
Provide guaranteed sick days. Hillary is a strong supporter of the Healthy Families Act, which provides every full-time worker with seven days of sick leave. Today, half of working Americans don’t receive a sick day; among low-wage workers, one out of every four workers doesn’t get a sick day.

Hillary Clinton will also work to ensure that all Latinos have the opportunity to realize the American dream of homeownership. Right now, we could be facing a real crisis in the mortgage market and Latinos are carrying a large share of that burden - 40 percent of Latino homeowners have subprime mortgages. She will make sure that we don’t have a situation where people lose their homes through no fault of their own. To address the growing mortgage crisis, help Latinos homeowners avoid foreclosure, and ensure that home ownership is in reach for millions of Hispanics, Hillary Clinton will:

Enact a comprehensive plan to end the housing crisis. Hillary is the only candidate with a comprehensive plan to end the housing crisis. Her plan calls for a 90-day moratorium on all foreclosures, a 5-year freeze on subprime mortgage interest rates, and a $30 billion fund to help states and localities fight foreclosures in their communities.
End prepayment penalties. Studies have shown that loans with prepayment penalties have a 52 percent greater risk of default than those without. She will restrict the use of prepayment penalties. Prepayment penalties, which are often used on subprime, Alt-A, and non-traditional mortgages, are a problem for borrowers.
Put a stop to mortgage fraud and predatory lending. Hillary will require mortgage brokers to disclose to borrowers that their compensation rises when borrowers' mortgage rates and mortgage fees are high. Borrowers need to be aware of this when assessing the advice brokers give them. Also, Hillary will work with states to develop strong licensing standards and require federal registration for mortgage brokers.
Expand affordable housing. Hillary will establish a $1-billion fund to support state, county and municipal housing trust funds, which generally use dedicated funding sources to support initiatives, like building subsidized rental housing and safety net housing, and also support non-profit housing developers.

In 2004, according to the Department of Defense, Latinos made up 13 percent of new recruits - an all-time high, nearly twice the percentage of 10 years earlier. And while Latinos are still underrepresented in the military, the absolute number of Latinos entering the armed forces continues to grow, which means that the Latino veteran population will grow. The Bush administration has ignored its responsibility to service men and women before deployment, during service and upon their return to the United States. Hillary Clinton’s agenda for veterans will include:

A new G.I. Bill of Rights. Hillary has proposed a new bargain with our troops. Her plan would reduce the level of red tape facing our wounded service members and veterans; make available microloans for entrepreneurial ventures up to $100,000; expand opportunities for veterans to purchase, build, repair or improve a home; protect service members against predatory lending, insurance, and other financial practices; and provide educational scholarships for those who have served.
Guaranteed, mandatory funding of our veteran's health care system. Hillary does not think that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs should be fighting every year to get the funding necessary to care for our wounded veterans. She has called for full funding of veterans' health care, taking into account the fluctuating number of veterans and inflation in each year going forward.
A pay raise for wartime troops. One in five military families rely on food stamps and other public assistance to survive and last year's pay increase for members of the uniformed services was just 2.2 percent, the lowest since 1994. Hillary has called upon President Bush to increase pay for our troops by 3.5 percent.
A monthly stipend for Gold Star Parents. Hillary introduced the Gold Star Parents Annuity Act, which would provide a life-long $125 monthly stipend to surviving mothers and fathers whose sons or daughters lost their lives while serving in the Armed Forces during a period of war.

Low-income and minority communities are most vulnerable to environmental threats because of where they live and a lack of access to information. According to the American Lung Association, 80 percent of Latinos live in counties that do not meet at least one federal air quality standard as mandated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency; in comparison, only 57 percent of whites and 65 percent of blacks are in the same situation. And according to the League of United Latin American Citizens, 39 percent of Latinos live within 30 miles of a power plant, which puts them at maximum exposure to pollutants, and often Latinos are not aware of advisories about environmental pollutants. As President, Hillary Clinton will:

Enact legislation to reduce global warming pollution by 80 percent by 2050. She supports legislation to create a cap and trade system that auctions off most of the polluting permits in order to most efficiently achieve significant decreases in our emissions and halt global warming.
Create a Strategic Energy Fund that would inject $50 billion to fund research, development and deployment of energy technologies that will reduce America's oil dependence and greenhouse gas emissions. It will deliver clean coal technology by providing $3.5 billion in tax incentives and grants to build clean coal plants; invest in renewable energy and move America toward the goal of producing 25 percent of electricity from renewable sources; provide more incentives for consumers to purchase and companies to manufacture efficient vehicles; accelerate the development of homegrown biofuels; provide incentives for people to make their homes more energy efficient; and create a $9 billion Advanced Research Projects Agency.
Create new jobs and increase our energy efficiency through a Green Building Fund. Hillary will allocate $1 billion annually to states to make grants or low-interest loans to improve energy efficiency in public buildings, police stations, firehouses and offices, creating as many as 50,000 new "green-collar" jobs.
Pass the Environmental Justice Renewal Act to help communities harmed by pollution. The legislation it would require the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to monitor and control pollution caused by power plants, waste treatment facilities and their transportation methods, refineries and other problematic industrial situations which happen to affect communities made up of the poorest people of our society.
Today, the American dream of opportunity is threatened by an administration in which the struggles of hardworking Americans are invisible to President Bush. Part of why Hillary Clinton is running for President is to renew the promise of America as the land of opportunity for all Americans.

Ferraro is no longer a fundraiser for Hillary Clinton. She stepped down due to the attacks which can only mean that FAIR will have to fire Peter Hart. That's too bad because Peter Hart is the best host of CounterSpin. He knows how to arch his voice and plays really well on radio. The Cult of Bambi see a 'win' but it's just one more defeat since it really brought the playing of the race card out into the open.

Closing with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Wednesday, March 12, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces more deaths while denying reports of others, veterans healthcare is sometimes a Congressional concern and sometimes not, Matty Rothschild finger-points but could he explain where his magazine's African-American columnists are?, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Kenneth Theisen (OpEdNews) writes, "We need to oppose the recruitment of men and women into the military. We need to support resisters within the military who have realized what they are doing and now choose to resist the role of the U.S. military. This includes people such as Lt. Ehren Watada who refused to deploy to Iraq. Watada stated, 'Never did I imagine my president would lie to go to war, condone torture, spy on Americans . . ." He was the first officer to refuse to go to Iraq and he was court-martialed. Another resister is Camilo Mejia. In 2004 Sergeant Mejia was sentenced to one year in prison when he was court-martialed for refusing to assist the military in Iraq. Mejia said, 'I am only a regular person that got tired of being afraid to follow his own conscience. For far too long I allowed others to direct my actions even when I knew that they were wrong . . .' [. . .] James Circello, who joined the Army after September 11 2001, and was sent to Iraq in March 2003 described his experience there: 'We were told that we were giving these people Democracy. Unfortunately what I saw would best be described as martial law, or what we called "The Old West". Soldiers joked that "anything goes", which was true and still is . . . I never forgot what I did while in Iraq and what I saw happening: other kids turning into animals. Some as young as 17, brutalizing, bullying and humiliating individuals sometimes old enough to be their grandparents, and sometimes young enough to be their children. And it wasn't just the men on the receiving end, suffering through illegal and tiresome searches of their homes and vehicles, simply for being brown skinned, but the same methods were applied to women and children as well. No one was innocenct.' James Circello reached a point where he could no longer be part of this killing machine."

With just three examples, Theisen finds the common bond: courage. Each war resister has a unique story but what they share is the courage to say no more, no mas, enough. Some resistance includes self-checking out and moving to Canada. You can help US war resisters in that country -- help online as well. They were dealt a serious set-back when the Canadian Supreme Court refused to hear the appeals of Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey. Today, Canada's Parliament remaining the best hope for safe harbor war resisters have, you can make your voice heard by the Canadian parliament which has the ability to pass legislation to grant war resisters the right to remain in Canada. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at 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. That is the sort of thing that should receive attention but instead it's ignored. 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, 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, 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).
Meanwhile IVAW has a DC action this month:In 1971, over one hundred members of Vietnam Veterans Against the War gathered in Detroit to share their stories with America. Atrocities like the My Lai massacre had ignited popular opposition to the war, but political and military leaders insisted that such crimes were isolated exceptions. The members of VVAW knew differently.Over three days in January, these soldiers testified on the systematic brutality they had seen visited upon the people of Vietnam. They called it the Winter Soldier investigation, after Thomas Paine's famous admonishing of the "summer soldier" who shirks his duty during difficult times. In a time of war and lies, the veterans who gathered in Detroit knew it was their duty to tell the truth. Over thirty years later, we find ourselves faced with a new war. But the lies are the same. Once again, American troops are sinking into increasingly bloody occupations. Once again, war crimes in places like Haditha, Fallujah, and Abu Ghraib have turned the public against the war. Once again, politicians and generals are blaming "a few bad apples" instead of examining the military policies that have destroyed Iraq and Afghanistan. Once again, our country needs Winter Soldiers. In March of 2008, Iraq Veterans Against the War will gather in our nation's capital to break the silence and hold our leaders accountable for these wars. We hope you'll join us, because yours is a story that every American needs to hear.Click here to sign a statement of support for Winter Soldier: Iraq & AfghanistanMarch 13th through 16th are the dates for the Winter Soldier Iraq & Afghanistan Investigation. Dee Knight (Workers World) notes, "IVAW wants as many people as possible to attend the event. It is planning to provide live broadcasting of the sessions for those who cannot hear the testimony firsthand. 'We have been inspired by the tremendous support the movement has shown us,' IVAW says. 'We believe the success of Winter Soldier will ultimately depend on the support of our allies and the hard work of our members'." IVAW's co-chair Adam Kokesh will, of course, be participating and he explains why at his site, "But out of a strong sense of duty, some of us are trying to put our experiences to use for a good cause. Some of us couldn't live with ourselves if weren't doing everything we could to bring our brothers and sisters home as soon as possible. The environment may be unking, but that is why I will be testifying to shooting at civilians as a result of changing Rules of Engagement, abuse of detainees, and desecration of Iraqi bodies. It won't be easy but it must be done. Some of the stories are things that are difficult to admit that I was a part of, but if one more veteran realizes that they are not alone because of my testimony it will be worth it." The hearings will be broadcast throughout at the Iraq Veterans Against the War home page an on KPFA March 14th and 16th with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz hosting and the KPFA live stream will also be available at Glantz' War Comes Home.

Staying on the topic of veterans, Barbara Barrett (McClatchy Newspapers) reports on the Senate Committe on Veterans Affairs hearing yesterday and the reaction to Jackie McMichael's testimony quoting Senator Patty Murray declaring, "It's so overwhelming to listen to you. This is a reminder that we're still not where we need to be" and Senator Richard Burr declaring, "My assessment is the VA doesn't see the human face behind the patients they're treating." Jackie McMichael's opening statements can be found here and she discusses how her husband Michael was Lt. Michael McMichael, National Guard from 2003 to the start of 2005: "He walked off the plane. He smiled. He was a little skinny, but otherwise healthy looking. He looked happy. After the euphoria of Mike being home began to wear off, the changes in him were noticeable and dramatic." She discussed her husband's difficulty sleeping through the night, his requiring a cane to walk due to injuries from a bombing in Iraq, his migraines, hallucinations, poor memory and "hand and body tremors." He has PTSD and is unable to manage money and has difficulty with employment. From her opening statements:

None of these events happened to Mike alone. They happened to me, to my 6 year old son, my 4 year old son, Mike's mom and to my parents and my brothers. We were left to watch as Mike self destructed not knowing what to do to help him or ourselves. We had no clue what was wrong with him and he was, at time, completely uninterested in finding out himself. He said over and over again, "I know guys who lost limbs and they are OK."
[. . .]
There is a great need for "Whole Family" Education and resources. Educating the Vets on the importance of a Collaborative Rehabilitaion is critical. I believe many Vets see their transition as their issue alone. Mike was very resistant to me talking to his Doctors or telling me anything about what he was working on. This is understandable as I am very aware of HIPAA regulations and confidentiality. But I was losing my husband and I was seeing things I knew they could not have been aware of. I called his doctors and told them "You don't have to say anything about Mike, just listen to me. This is what I am seeing at home." All I wanted was to know what to look for, what to expect, what to do, how to help. [. . .]
I would have benefitted from earlier awareness of resources for both active duty and citizen soldier families. (Being the wife of a National Guard officer, I was not immersed in the military culture and at times was, again, lost). The Raleigh Vet Center's "8 Habits of Highly Effective Marriages" and couples counseling resources are examples of invaluable offerings we have gladly taken advantage of, but I want more. Education on PTSD, TBI, legal issues, coping skills, transitioning the family back to a 2 or single parent household, setting boundaries, relationship counseling, personal counseling and navigating the benefits labyrinth (on top of all the emotional and psychological concerns we have to deal with, the financial impact is a crushing blow. I can not express this enough). These are just a few topics with sustainable benefits to the Vet and the family. I'd like to see this information advertised. It may already exist, but how do families find out about them? Often the Vet must initiate first contact.
I'd like to see doors open to families even though their Vet may not be ready to cope emotionally with their injuries yet. This may require a re-education of our medical community on how to do this effectively without jeopardizing the regulations they must follow while still meeting the needs of the Veteran. I'd like to see the VA leverage the relationship and love we have for our wounded warriors to help us all heal and teach us how to be a family again.

Robert Verbeke spoke about his son Daniel Verbeke who was wounded December 5, 2005 in the Iraq War and how he did not receive the treatment he needed and all the struggles for the basics including after-care as well as modifications needed for the family home due to Daniel's condition:

My experiences with the treatment at the Richmond VAMC can be characterized as not good - not good at all. For the most part, the people who treated Dan were nice and caring people. What I learned immediately after leaving there, however, was they didn't know what they didn't know. That is, their skills, capabilities, resources, staffing, treatments, therapies and therapy techniques all fell extremely short of what we immediately experienced at the Bryn Mawr Rehabilitation Hospital. The Richmond VAMC was not accomplished in coma emergence and severe TBI and did not have the cutting-edge experience with a case as severe as Dan's.
The VA therapists and physicians had little or no experience with patients of the condition of Dan. The level of therapy and the techniques cannot be compared to the therapy Dan received while at the Bryn Mawr Rehab. The Bryn Mawr Rehab therapists are much higher skilled; they focused on stimulation constantly while performing therapy. The techniques in each of the disciplines of Physical, Occupational and Speech Therapy are far more advanced. Although the Speech and Physical Therapists at Richmond tried, they just did not have the expertise and they were very lacking in the techniques and resources that Dan received immediately upon transfer to Bryn Mawr Rehab. The Richmond Occupational Therapist is another story. Recovery from a TBI is about therapy and stimulation. While this therapist treated Dan she very rarely spoke to him, I continually witnessed sessions that would last longer than 45 minutes where she would not say more than a few words to him. When I commented on this, the VA reaction was to shift Dan's therapy sessions to a time when I could not be present. They didn't fix the problem -- they ignored it! I escalated the issue to the attending physician and but were no changes.
After we returned to Pennsylvania I learned that while at Richmond VAMC, Dan was mis-diagnosed on a medical condition that resulted in receiving medications that masked a very serious condition. He was ignored while in significant pain with the explanation that it was 'tone'. He was unable to get blood work done over a weekend to properly treat him following a seizure and we were told they could not have the results analyzed over the weekend as people were "off'". Private care hospitals across this country perform these routine tests 24x7 and within minutes. He had an open wound that penetrated all the way to the bone on his right foot the entire time at Richmond (4-5mo) where the condition worsened and was only treated by a nurse. Immediately after being placed in private care, he was treated by a doctor specializing in wound care and under his treatment the wound closed in one month. Dan was in pain the entire time at Richmond.

There was a report on the Sunday evening news (most likely CBS but it may have been local news and not national) about rah-rah, look what private healthcare can do for veterans! It was a load of crap. Robert Verbeke details the problems he had with the system getting care for his son. There are many wounded who do not have someone to advocate for them the way Daniel Verbeke did. That's why the answer isn't 'out-source the care!' The answer is training and workshops and futher training for those staffing the VA hospitals. Otherwise, you'll have some like Daniel Verbeke who will benefit because there is someone fighting for them but you'll have others left alone (the way the VA's 'answer' was to put Daniel in a psych ward where he'd be locked away -- that was the 'assisted-living' care they were going to provide him for the rest of his life).

Daniel Verbeke wasn't off on some pleasure cruise of choice. He was sent into an illegal war by the US government and there are many other men and women who have been sent to Iraq by the government and any injuries are injuries the US government needs to provide care for, the government more than owes the returning that.

Today the US House Armed Services Committee's Military Personnel Subcommittee met. Kind-of, sort-of. Many members didn't show for this hearing allegedly on "the Future of the Miliary Healthcare System." The subcommittee broke repeatedly for votes and the whole thing can be seen as an embarrassment and an insult.

Chief among them, the only medical doctor present as a witness, S. Ward Casscells (Assistant Secretary of Defense for Health Affairs) who is too damn old and too damn out of touch for his post as he demonstrated repeatedly but most famously when being asked about the future for veterans who are "medical retirees" by House Rep Niki Tsongas and replying with a condescending don't-worry-about-it response that included referring to those wounded for life as "lost sheep." It was a lousy speech attempting to pass for an aswer and Tsongas then moved on to researcher Ron Goetzel who proved that shame was all around by insisting that his interests really aren't about the military's wounded (including, apparently, the veteran Tsongas spoke of who required a cane to walk), what really, really interest him is the health damange in the military done by smoking, drinking, excessive eating, "the silent burden on the military that's not as apparent as someone who's injured in battle." If you didn't find both men's remarks insulting, you weren't paying attention.

Rep Nancy Boyda zoomed in on pharmacies and wondered why the US military was pushing online prescriptions? Boyda referred to the rural areas in her home state (Kansas) and the best answer she was given was that it was cheaper to have a big warehouse where medicines are pulled down and shipped off. The question she never asked but should have was what about the pharmicists interaction with the veteran? In a rural area especially there may not be a VA hospital and the pharmicist (who is trained) is one face-to-face resource. When that's removed and all that's left is ONE MORE toll free phone number, who's really being helped? It's an area Boyda should have gone to but didn't. In fairness to her, time was brief. But not so brief that Rep Walter Jones couldn't gas bag and waste everyone's time. For example, there may be a point to this: "When you have to borrow money from governments to keep your doors open it won't last long." No, it may not. But what does the US borrowing money from other governments have to do with veterans' care?

Jones went on to kvetch about US monies (aid) being sent to Switzerland in 2005. "Why are we sending money to a country with a surplus when we have a deficit?" he wanted to know. And it might be a question worth pursuing but is the subcommittee on military care really the place for his remarks? Then he tried to shift the blame for the problem stating, "But we're in the minority" meaning Republicans in the House and "can't do anything about it, maybe my colleagues can." Walter Jones, Republicans were in control of the House of Represenatives in 2005 and in 2006. The November 2006 elections meant that in January 2007 the 110th Congress would have a Democratically controlled House. Aid sent to Switzerland in 2005 -- if a problem -- was clearly a Republican problem because that was the party in control. Having never addressed the topic, Jones wrapped up by declaring, "Thanks for letting me preach for about five minutes." No one commented but, then, the only response to that is, "That was only five minutes? It felt sooooo much longer."

It was time for yet another break and this may have been when chair Susan Davis asked the witnesses to wait again and promised that, after they bot back, if there was a need to break again, they'd wouldn't ask them to stick around. But, please do stick around -- Davis stated -- and if you need help with a phone call or something, ask the staffers.

Carol Shea-Porter had the strongest section when the committee resumed. She wanted to know "how much of our costs are we shiftin on to other tax payers" when veterans have to leave the veterans health care system and/or the state. She explained about a veteran from her home state, New Hampshire, who had to travel out of state for treatment which meant finding childcare, meant her husband needing to travel with her, "everything involved is too much to ask, I think, for someone who has cancer." Which brings us back to the point about solutions. The veterans system needs to be upgraded. The answer isn't outsourcing, it's not counting on individual veterans to have a support system (family or friends) who will fight for treatement. The system is out of date and all doctors, nurses and therapists working in it need further training. Not because they're not smart or not trained but because there are 'state of the art' injuries among the wounded returning and advances going on in private medical care need to be part of the training and knowledge base within the veterans healthcare system. The system is being allowed to rot and it was never up-to-date to begin with. If it's not taken care of now, it most likely will not be for some time to come.

The House Appropriations Committee's "Hearing on Dept. of State FY 2009 Budget Request" heard from US Secretary of State Condi Rice today and it's worth noting for two reasons: 1) House Rep Barbara Lee and 2) CODEPINK. March 6th, when the Deputy Secretary of State John Negroponte testifed before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee, Lee pressed Negroponte on the issue of presidential signing statements (and the issue of permanent military bases in Iraq). Today she used her very brief time again explore presidential powers, asking Rice if she agreed with Satterfield that 2001 and 2002 Congressional votes (war on 'terror' and the Iraq vote) were to be seen as "an open-ended agreement" by the White House. Rice replied, "The president believes that he has the authority" to . . .? Pretty much everything if you carried Rice's 'logic' out. No one should bother but it needs to be noted that she's replaced her catch-phrase of "No one could have guessed" with a new one "Didn't hold it in my head. I'm sorry." After the hearing, Rice spoke with Lee and Rep Frank Wolf, among others, while CODEPINK chanted, "War Criminal!" and "Take her to the Hauge!" While they sang: "Lies, lies, lies, lies, It's all a bundle of lies. Lies, lies, lies, lies . . ." While they shouted, "Blood is on your hands, Condi! The blood is on your hands!" While they asked, "How do you sleep at night?" The shouted question actually got a big smile from Condi. Maybe she was thinking, "Okay, this one I know! Let me answer it, let me answer it!" As she began leaving, the shouts were "Don't fund war!" and "The blood is on her hands!"

Today more so than usual. But first, Ahmed Rasheed (Reuters) reports 9 women and 1 child were buried today in Najaf although, according to the US military, they must not be dead because the US military claims "no one died" from the US military attack on a bus -- Rasheed reports "Ghaida Mustafa Jassim, 4, was wrapped in a white piece of cloth and put in the same casket as her grandmother Amerca Sadoun, 65."

In some of today's reported violence . . .


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing that wounded five people, a Baghdad mortar attack that wounded three people, a Diyala Province mortar attack that wounded four people and an Abu Saida bombing that wounded two people. Reuters notes roadside bombings outside Samarra claimed the lives of 3 truck drivers.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Bazaiz Buhrz claimed the life of 1 "ten year girl . . . [who] was in a farm with her aunt when a bullet killed her" and a police officer shot dead in Salahuddin Province "by a guard of Baiji mayor based on tribal revenge." Reuters notes 2 people shot dead in Basra.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad, 1 in an orchard outside Baquba, 1 corpse discovered "between Kanan - Balad Ruz" and 2 corpses (husband and wife) brought to the Baquba morgue

Today the US military announced: "A U.S. Soldier was killed from injuries sustained from an improvised explosive device during a combat patrol near Ad Diwaniyah March 11. Additionally, two U.S. Soldiers were wounded in the explosion and transported to a Coalition forces medical facility for further evaluation and treatment." And they announced: "Three U.S. Soldiers were killed during an indirect fire attack southwest of Nasiriyah March 12. Two U.S. Soldiers were also wounded in this attack, along with one civilian." 3987 is the current number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war -- 13 away from the 4,000 mark.

Turning to US politics. "He makes pundits feel good about America -- particularly their own overwhelmingly white slice of elite America -- and his politics are moderate enough to avoid the type of crude caricature that other candidates might receive," explained Peter Hart (Extra!) of the press love for US Senator Barack Obama exactly one year ago. We'll come back to that article but continue with the topic. Katharine Q. Seelye and Julie Bosman (New York Times) report on Geraldine Ferraro's remarks to The Daily Breeze, "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." Let's go back to Peter Hart's article where Hart cites many examples including:

*An October 27, 2006 Washington Post column by conservative Charles Krauthammer that states, "Like many Americans, I long to see an African-American ascend to the presidency. It would be an event of profound significance, a great milestone . . ."

* Conservative Roger Simon appearing on Meet The Press February 11, 2007 and declaring, "If America actually nominates him and then votes for him for president and elects him, this will be a sign that we are a good and decent country that has healed its racial wounds."

* A January 18, 2007 editorial in the Washington Post: "The excitement about Mr. Obama speaks in part to Americans' desire to believe, whether true or not, that this country has come to a point when it can rise above its ugly history of racism; and in part to the desire to believe that, if it could just overcome the divisions that foul modern politics, the nation could get unstuck on many fronts."

* February 20, 2006 article in Time magazine: "Unlike Al Sharpton or Jesse Jackson, Obama is part of a new generation of black leaders who insist on being seen as more than representatives of their race."

*Chris Matthews delcaring January 21, 2007 of "a black candidate . . . I can't think of a better one [than Obama]. No history of Jim Crow, no history of anger, no history of slavery. All the bad stuff in our history ain't there with this guy."

* Hart notes that Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford commented on the mania on FAIR's CounterSpin in November of 2006, "He has given white people a kind of satisfaction -- that race no longer matters in America, and all the sins of the past can be washed away through the act of loving this man."

Ferraro's comments: "If Obama was a white man, he would not be in this position. And if he was a woman of any color, he would not be in this position. He happens to be very lucky to be who he is. And the country is caught up in the concept." Ferraro is commenting on the same thing Hart commented on (Hart's article is entitled "Obamamania"). The mania and the craze allowed for the build up we live with today. The press was writing their glossy profiles, as Hart notes, and not dealing with issues. That has continued to this day. The media got on board because he made them feel good about themselves. (Read Hart's article.) He did that because, as Kat noted last night, he promised 'post'-racial America -- his being elected would mean no more racial discrimination in America! Or, at least, that it could be ignored by ones who have spent the last decades ignoring it. And of course there are those on the White left like Dave Lindorff who wants to insist that Barack should be supported because he is, quote, "a black candidate who has risked jail by doing drugs". It's hard to imagine that Dave Lindorff would make a similar argument in favor of Robert Downey Jr. should Downey seek the presidency.

Ferraro's statement was noting the obvious and she wasn't the first to note it. Seelye and Bosman quote Ferraro on the psuedo-outrage the Obama campaign is trying to create, "Every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist. I will not be discriminated against because I'm white. If they think they're going to shut up Geraldine Ferraro with that kind of stuff, they don't know me." The Obama campaign has repeatedly played the race card and, no, it will not work on Ferraro. As Kat noted last night, the Bambi campaign was screaming for Gerry's head. It's not working out that way and for the reasons that Kat outlined. The Bambi campaign has already painted Bill Clinton (a super delegate) as racist and last night they thought they'd do the same with Ferraro. But Bambi needs the super delegates (as does Hillary Clinton) and there's been a slow growing disgust over what the campaign did to Bill Clinton. Last week Melissa Harris-Lacewell (who is part of the campaign though she rarely discloses that fact) went on The Charlie Rose Show to declare that there would be a Black-out on election day in November if Obama was not given the nomination. That didn't play well either.

The Bambi campaign's been very good about manufacturing outrage and, certainly, their astro-turf campaigns were once successful. (It is now five members of Congress whose staff have confirmed the 'spontaneous' outpouring of pressure did not originate from the member's district or the senator's state.) But they've gone to the well a little too often on the race card and it's not going to help them with super delegates -- in fact, the attempt to call Ferarro one has backfired on the campaign.

Hacks like Amy Goodman can dig around to 1984 for Ferraro today but, while we're mentioning Peter Hart's article, let's note this (and remember this ran in the 2007 March/April issue of Extra!): "A rare critical profile of Obama by Harper's Magazine's Ken Silverstein (11/06) noted his ties to various corporate -affiliated fundraisers, his opposition to calls for a withdrawal timetable from Iraq and his support for Joe Lieberman over Democratic Senate candidate Ned Lamont. Such assessments of Obama's record are rare, with even left-leaning commentators seemingly willing to dismiss any aspects of Obama's record that conflict with his progressive reputation." They were rare when Hart wrote, they remain rare today. But let's note Silverstein's November 2006 article, "After Pennsylvania Congressman John Murtha called for withdrawal from Iraq last fall, Obama rejected such a move in a speech before the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations, saying the United States needed 'to manage our exit in a responsible way -- with the hope of leaving a stable foundation for the future.' . . . Obama continues to reject any specific timetable for withdrawal from Iraq, even as public opposition to the war grows and as the military rationale for staying becomes less and less apparent." Now Goody-Hack Amy could have connected Silverstein's article with Samantha Power's revelation last week that Barack Obama's combat "troops withdrawn in 16 months of taking office" pledge wasn't really a pledge, a promise or anything binding. But Goody skipped out on that, now didn't she? Smut Merchant Matthew Rothschild could have written about that non-pledge but why bother when he can jerk off while expressing his hatred of Hillary yet again. Keep reaching in there, Matty, you're bound to find that tiny stump sooner or later.

Glen Ford, Bruce Dixon and Margaret Kimberly have addressed race seriously throughout the campaign. Matthew Rothschild? Not at all. In fact, you could easily call Matthew Rothschild a RACIST based on his actions. As CEO and editor of The Progressive, Rothschild is in charge of the magazine. Who does he chose to share that real estate with? An African-American can stop by with an article every now and then (not to often) but the regular columnists? Where's the African-American with a regular column? No where to be found. Molly Ivins (a regular columnist for the magazine) passed away in January 2007. Rothschil announces in this month's issue of The Progressive that he's just added not one but two new columnists. And who does he share the 'neighborhood' with? Two White men (Dave Zirin and Jim Hightower). Matty really wants Bambi in the White House, he just doesn't want to share his own real estate with African-Americans. The magazine has no African-American columnist. Matty adds two this month and they're both White (and male). He probably is bothered that Ferraro dared to mention race -- it makes it that much harder for people like himself to pretend how 'good' and 'wonderful' and 'noble' they are by occassionally printing an African-American freelance writer while REFUSING to put an African-American writer on staff. Maybe Matty frets that to do so would lower the property value of The Progressive?

If he gave a damn, he could have long ago added African-American voices but he's never done that and he's just added two new columnists -- both White males. In the voting booth, he may touch the button for Obama but that's about all he'll ever do apparently. Obama wipes away a lot of guilt for White 'liberals' as well as for White conservatives. I believe that's one of the points Ferraro was getting at. No wonder Matty Rothschild had a meltdown online. Again, he has the power to do more than vote, he has the power to hire or fire and maybe it's past time someone examine The Progressive's hiring practices under Rothschild? Since Zirin covers sports and since Andrea Lewis was already doing that for the magazine's syndicated efforts, maybe when he blogs again he can explain why Lewis -- who has put in her time and then some as a 'guest' -- wasn't invited into the club? (Andrea Lewis is African-American for any who don't know.)

Yesterday in Harrisburg, Hillary Clinton noted how many of the pretty words turned up to be empty, vacant promises and, specifically, the Iraq non-pledge by Obama: "Senator Obama promises to withdraw from Iraq within 16 months. But his top foreign policy adviser said he's not really going to rely on that plan. I guess that plan is just words, too." Though Matthew Rothschild and his ilk ignore the revelation about Barack's non-plan, not everyone's playing along. Last night, Mike noted Derrick Z. Jackson, Sasha Issenberg and Jack Kelly had written of the non-binding pledge that Samantha Power said doesn't exist if Obama makes it into the White House. As Jackson (Boston Globe) explained it, "In a BBC interview last week, Power, the Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Harvard University global affairs professor, said Obama's plan to remove combat troops from Iraq in his first 16 months was a 'best-case scenario.' She said Obama 'can't make a commitment, in whatever month we're in now, in March of 2008, about what circumstances are going to be like in January of 2009 . . . He will of course, not rely upon some plan that he's crafted as a presidential candidate or as a US senator. He will rely upon a plan, an operational plan that he pulls together in consultation with people who are on the ground to whom he doesn't have daily access now'."

Turning to another "I" country (because Irish and Irish-American community members are e-mailing on this topic), Ireland. Hillary Clinton will participate in the Irish American Presidential Forum and has stated, "I'm excited to participate in this important forum. I have worked on issues important to the Irish-American community for many years and look forward to discussing my plans as President. I want to thank John Dearie and the other organizers of this event for the invitation and enoucrage Senator Obama and Senator McCain to accept it as well. By doing so, voters will have an opportunity to examine our records and compare our plans to continue moving the peace process in Northern Ireland forward." Yesterday, the Hillary Clinton campaign noted:

And now today, Senator Obama is at it again, sending a false attack memo from his campaign making claims that are contradicted by the facts. Still reeling from its losses in Ohio and Texas, the Obama campaign has come out swinging, taking aim at Senator Clinton's considerable foreign policy experience with false claims and baseless attacks. After last week's defeats, the Obama campaign faced a choice: try to convince voters that Senator Obama is ready to take the 3am phone call in a positive way or try to tear down Senator Clinton's accomplishments. Considering that his foreign policy advisor, Susan Rice, cited Senator Obama's "legislation on ethics reform" when asked this morning about his foreign policy experience, it is clear that the Obama campaign is unable to make a positive case for its candidate's experience. They have chosen to attack and today's memo continues the pattern of statements contradicted by the facts. Given the credibility gap his campaign has developed over the last few weeks, these latest attacks today should not be believed. There is a reason that thirty former Generals and Admirals have endorsed Senator Clinton -- they know she is prepared to lead this nation as Commander in Chief with strength and experience on day one. Here are the facts about Hillary's experience.Northern Ireland: The Obama campaign claims George Mitchell, the person in charge of the investigation, supports their view that Hillary's claims about Northern Ireland are exaggerated. John Hume, who won the Nobel Prize for Peace for his work on Northern Ireland: ["]I can state from firsthand experience that she played a positive role for over a decade in helping to bring peace to Northern Ireland... Anyone criticizing her foreign policy involvement should look at her very active and positive approach to Northern Ireland and speak with the people of Northern Ireland who have the highest regard for her and are very grateful for her very active support for our peace process.["] George Mitchell, who is cited in the Obama memo as an authoritative source, told Katie Couric last night that Hillary played "a helpful and supportive role" in Northern Ireland that ended up making "a difference in the process." He described what Hillary has said about her role as "accurate." More on Hillary's work in Northern Ireland HERE.

Or you can read "veteran Irish journalist" Nuala O'Faolain (Women's Media Center): "What Hillary did to transform matters was turn up. She turned up. She turned up with hope and energy to a city which, when I moved there in 1998, was leaving one murdered Catholic a week just on my street, merely to keep the level of intimidation going. A city where women were almost all tribally opposed to each other. A city where there were very few meetings and if they were women's meetings they were jeered at or ignored. She came at least four times with President Clinton -- and twice on her own. It may sound small to people now that what she came for was a woman's conference on one occasion and a lecture on another, that she knew people's names and histories and took note of them -- and was no doubt sometimes lied to and misled and laughed at by women as well as men (outsiders often strike skeptical locals as simpleminded). But she kept turning up anyway. It was not small what she did. Not small at all. When the old guys obediently trot out their criticisms of what she did in Belfast, ask yourself: Who else did what she did? Who else gave what she did? Who else gave at all?"

Tomorrow (Thursday), March 13th, John R. MacArthur (Harper's publisher) will be taking part in an event at the Melville House (145 Plymouth St., Brooklyn, NY -- "Mass transit: take the F train to York Street) with Andre Schiffrin (A Political Education) and Michael Massing (Now They Tell Us: The American Press and Iraq). MacArther wrote Second Front: Censorship and Propaganda In the Gulf War.

aaron glantz

mcclatchy newspapers

the new york times