Friday, May 09, 2008

Fight for Hillary, she's fighting for us

One of Barack Obama's Middle East policy advisers disclosed yesterday that he had held meetings with the militant Palestinian group Hamas -- prompting the likely Democratic nominee to sever all links with him.
Robert Malley told The Times that he had been in regular contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza and is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation. Such talks, he stressed, were related to his work for a conflict resolution think-tank and had no connection with his position on Mr Obama’s Middle East advisory council.

That's from Tom Baldwin's "Barack Obama sacks adviser over talks with Hamas" (Times of London) and where's that superior judgement? We keep hearing about that superior judgement he allegedly has but where is it? He's the 'change' candidate and all I'm seeing is the same old same old from a huckster with a toothy grin who thinks he can fool the people.

He really has snow jobbed the public -- with help from a compliant fan club posing as the press. He's tricked people into believing he stands for something. What? He'll get back to them on that, but trust him right now!

He's an empty suit. He's a cheerleader posing as a leader.

What was Bully Boy in prep school? A cheerleader.

Are you sensing the pattern?

This is Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: Strongest at the Top of the Ticket" (

Strongest at the Top of the Ticket: Several members of Congress released a letter today to other Democrats touting their support for Hillary, saying she is the strongest candidate to have at the top of the ticket in the fall: "[W]e are convinced that Hillary Clinton has the vision, skills and commitment to make the changes our country needs. As Democrats who have run and won in competitive Congressional districts and battleground states, we believe that Hillary is best positioned to successfully lead the Democratic ticket in districts and states like ours around the country." Read the letter.
Automatic Delegate Watch: Hillary received the endorsement of automatic delegate and Congressman Chris Carney (D-PA).
Read more.
Honoring the Votes of Millions of People: In a letter written to Sen. Obama yesterday, Hillary urges him to "honor the votes of the millions of people who went to the polls in Florida and Michigan...One of the foremost principles of our party is that citizens be allowed to vote and that those votes be counted."
Read the letter.
Previewing Today: "Hillary Clinton catches up with former Make-A-Wish winner Oregonian, still a big fan, now works for the former first lady's campaign."
Read more.
WV Endorsement Watch: "Former West Virginia Governor Hulett Smith announced his endorsement of Hillary ...citing the Senator’s commitment to fiscal responsibility, veterans, and the economy."
Read more.
"Hillary Clinton Would be the Stronger Candidate" The Charleston Daily Mail endorsed Hillary yesterday, saying: "She is by far the more experienced of the Democratic candidates, and the one who has had to learn the most about West Virginia."
Read more.
West Virginia is a Test: At a rally in Charleston, WV yesterday, Hillary said: "I'm running to be president of all 50 states...I think we ought to keep this going so the people of West Virginia's voices are heard...West Virginia is a test...It's a test for me and a test for Sen. Obama."
Read more.
South Dakota "Appearance Thrills Supporters" One South Dakota supporter at Hillary's Sioux Falls rally yesterday said: "'It feels good to be this close to hopefully the next president."
Read more.
Support for the Farm Bill: Hillary released the following statement today: "Unfortunately, the Bush Administration is signaling that the President will veto the [farm] bill. Saying no to the farm bill would be saying no to rural America. I call on President Bush to get out of the way. When Congress sends President Bush the farm bill, he needs to sign it so we can start taking care of rural America."
Read more.

Save the party and get active for Hillary. Otherwise, it's going down in flames. And it will take at least two presidential election cycles to come back. The Dems will be the butt of every joke in the world and will have lost control of Congress. If you want to save the party support Hillary now, get the word out on her, lobby for her. Press the issue. Keep fighting the same way she does.

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

Friday, May 9, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the assault on Sadr City continues, Barack loses a campaign staffer who was in talks with an organization the US has labeled a terrorist group (no, not Ayers & Dohrn) and more.

Starting with war resistance. Who is
Ehren Watada? The answer is fairly obvious, the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq. But facts is hard for little local weeklies. Nina Shapiro (Seattle Weekly) takes time out from attacking Hillary but it's too bad she and her editor couldn't take the time to be factual. "Not Every Deserter Gets the Watada Treatement" is the headline and she matches that choice with her own writing. She writes, "When it comes to the military's handling of deserters, there is little consistency. Some, like outspoken war opponent Lt. Ehren Watada, face courts-marial and potentail jail sentences, while . . ." Where to begin. They do not generally face "courts"-martial. Watada may if double-jeopardy is thrown out. The face "court-martials." The "court" is singular. "Outspoken war opponent"? He can't just be a "war opponent," to Nina, he has to be "outspoken." That's curious considering he's given one interview since the failed Feb. 2007 court-martial. That was over a year ago. And prior to the court-martial, he'd already shut the press down. But there's Nina, trumping up the charges, just like she does with Hillary. Let's go slow for Nina: "Report to the nearest Army post with your Army ID or other picture ID and any documents or records in your possession which pertain to your Army service. On the installation, go to the Military Police station and turn yourself in to the MPs." What's that from? Fort Knox Law Enforcement Command's "US Army Deserter Information Point." Ehren Watada did not desert. He wasn't charged with desertion for that reason. Watada did not desert. It's a shame that Nina has to (again) put her name to lies because 'facts is hard.' But she's not interested in war resistance, she's interested in pushing lies. There's no war resistance in the story (which isn't about Watada, she just wanted to slime him and see if she get away with acting stupid in public). When trash likes this gets shoved off on the public, everyone loses. The serial liar was pushing conflict between today's veterans and earlier ones. That was a laughable article ("Camaraderie is in short supply"). So is this one. Is no one capable of a basic fact check at Seattle Weekly or do they just not care?

In Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated. Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: 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. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
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 and starting with the press. In February of this year, (PDF format warning) Reporters Without Borders released "
Freedom Of The Press Worldwide in 2008." which noted 57 journalists killed in 2007. If you're in Iraq and trying to report, just FYI, you're a journalist. You're not "a media worker" (RWB uses that phrase). "More than half the recorded physical attacks on the media were in Baghdad despite the huge presence there of Iraqi forces and US troops. . . . On top of the violence, Iraqi journalists face new restrictions imposed by the authorities, including a ban in May 2007 on filming the sites of bomb attacks and another in November on going to the Kandil mounatins, near the Iraqi-Turkish border, to talk to Kurdish PKK rebels." Earlier this week, The Committee to Protect Journalists posed Joel Campangna's report on the Kurdish region of Iraq which included the story of Nasseh Abdel Raheem Rashid whose reporting "railed against the political in Iraqi Kurdistan and the actions of uncscrupulous political officials." Campangna continues:As he strolled through the central market on his hometown of Halabja in eastern Iraqi Kurdistan last October, four armed men wearing military uniforms forced him into a waiting Nissan pickup, bound his hands and legs, and covered his head with a sack. "I didn't know where I was going. They drove around for a few hours and then went over what seemed like an unpaved road," Rashid told the Committee to Protect Journalists during an interview in Sulaymania shortly after the incident. Rashid said he was pulled from the truck, punched and kicked, and threatened at gunpoint to stop working or be killed. The assailants sped off, leaving Rashid bruised and shaken.

That is only one story in Campagna's report.
Click here for audio of him talking about report.
177 is the number of journalists who have been killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. CPJ divides up "media support workers" and "journalists" as well, we don't. Support workers in a war zone are doing a number of jobs they are journalists and, if they are targeted for who they are working for, the "I am just a media support worker!" is not a magic shield that protects them. On a related note, we have consistently avoided highlighting the work of US reporters who 'report' on Iraq from the US but attach themselves to the work done by local population. That's led to a number of mainstream stories being 'missed' but it's not missed because there is something pathetic and dishonest about it. Mentioning it today because among the links pulled from this site (The Common Ills) was a 'news' site where, article after article, an American journalist in the US feels the needs to attach his name to a reporter in Iraq's writing. When said journalist was supposed to go back to Iraq (he lost focus and ended up in Lebanon in the summer of 2006 instead), the Iraqi journalist was more than able to write his own reports for the web outlet. He had no problems with English (though if he had, no one would have been concerned because his voice is of value). He did a great job. But "I WANT ATTENTION!" can't make it back to Iraq and feels the need to put his name to first hand reports from Iraq. We're not highlighting that crap. It's insulting and offensive. And, hate to break it to the 'left,' it's the height of colonialism. So bye-bye. The community won't miss you. It is grossly offensive for an American in the US to feel the need to add his name to these first-hand reports of an Iraqi journalist in Iraq risking his life. We won't applaud that crap and shame on anyone who does. It has gone on now for over a year and it is offensive and people in the press are starting to talk about it. We draw a line. We also draw a line with 'respectable' source Pig -- twice busted for sexual predator activities online. Matthew Rothschild interviews Pig this week. Didn't listen, didn't need to. He's been delinked. The Progressive will be delinked from all sites. The Real Press kicked Pig to the curb because of his arrests. Panhandle Media wants to pretend like he's a 'respectable' source. He's not. If a young girl is raped or assaulted by Pig, it's on Panhandle Media's hands because they can't stop promoting him.

Back to the threats journalists in Iraq operate under.
Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) reports that the BBC's Baghdad bureau was "damaged" by a rocket attack on the Green Zone and quotes Patrick Howse explaining, "It caused structural damage but no one was injured." Deborah Haynes (Times of London) notes, "It was one of a number of rockets fired towards the heavily fortified Green Zone by Shit insurgents taking advantage of a sudden sandstorm, which gave them cover from counter-attack by US aircraft." Meanwhile a McClatchy Newspapers Iraqi journalist blogs at Inside Iraq that "6 days after the occasion of World Press Freedom, Iraqi media witnessed a new violation against freedom of speech. Yesterday Iraqi forces closed Al Ahad Radio Station an excuse of adopting provocative political speech. I have many friends who listen to this radio as I do; I asked my friends if they notice any instagative tones in the programs or newscast of this radio . . . the answers were negative -- as always." Nouri al-Maliki, puppet of the occupation, made it clear in the summer of 2006 that he had no respect for a free press and he's only continued that pattern.

Somethings get little or no coverage, somethings get massive coverage. Like yesterday's big news (which was rightly ignored in yesterday's snapshot) that THE leader of al Qaeda in Iraq leader was captured! In today's paper (so filed hours and hours before sunrise),
Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) noted the capture with qualifiers and, as a result, has no egg on her face -- unlike all of those 'reporting' it had happened! It never happened. Damien McElroy (Telegraph of London) traces back over the lie and US Maj (press flack division) Peggy Kageleiry stating, "This guy has a similar name." BBC leads with: "The United States military in Iraq says a man detained in the northern city of Mosul is not in fact the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq." As Tina Susman notes (LA Times' blog Babylon & Beyond), "For a few hours late Thursday and early today, it seemed the Al Qaeda in Iraq chief might actually be in custody." Yesterday afternoon, Tina Susman noted that the US military backed off from their usual declarations of charges against Iran and she writes:
A plan to show some alleged Iranian-supplied explosives to journalists last week in Karbala and then destroy them was canceled after the United States realized none of them was from Iran. . . . Iran, meanwhile, continues to seethe after an Iraqi delegation went to Tehran last week to confront it with the accusations. It has denied the accusations, and it says as long as U.S. forces continue to take part in military action in Iraq's Shiite strongholds, it won't consider holding further talks with Washington on how to stabilize Iraq."

In Iraq the assault on Sadr City continues.
Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Casualties in Sadr city for the last 24 hours stand at 14 men and 1 woman killed and 112 wounded many of whom are women, children and elderly people according to medical sources inside Sadr city." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) notes the Thursday order by the Iraqi military for "residents to evacuate" and that "Sadr City has been a battleground since late March, enduring U.S. airstrikes, militia snipers and gunbattles between U.S. and Iraqi forces and the Mahdi Army, the militia loyal to Sadr. Already some 8,500 people have been displaced from the sprawling slums of some 2.5 million people, according to the Iraqi Red Crescent." Said Rifai (LA Times' Baghdad & Beyond) reports that one of the stadiums set up for Sadr City refugees (Shaab Stadium) is currently empty, that 25 tents are empty and other tents are nearby unassembled and: "Only Sadr City residents are allowed at this camp, which has made for some awkward moments. Seveeral families from other areas arrived Thursday but were turned away. . . . Sadr City residents have to get accreditation from one of their local police stations to qualify to stay in the stadium." And when someone calls it an Iraqi operation, note Eric Owls (NYT's Baghdad Bureau) statement yesterday: "The American military is fighting daily battles for the control of Baghdad's Shiite neighborhood of Sadr City." al-Maliki started it but don't think for a moment it's al-Maliki 'on the line.' That trip down to Basra was purely for show. AFP reports, "An aide to radical cleric Moqtada al-Sadr lashed out on Firday at Iraq's most revered Shiite cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, for keeping silent over clashes that have killed hundreds in Baghdad" and quotes him (Sheikh Sattar Battat)stating, "We are surprised by the silence Najaf where the highest Shiite religious authority is based. . . . For 50 days Sadr City is being bombed. . . Children, women and old people are being killed by all kinds of US weaspons, and Najaf remains silent." Howard LaFranchi (Christian Science Monitor) notes, "Residents of this city's embattled Sadr City district are growing increasingly anxious that an escalation in fighting is imminent." Chris Floyd (Baltimore Chronicle) rightly notes, "George W. Bush and David Petraeus are preparing to make a new Fallujah in Sadr City, home to two million Shiites in Baghdad. Thousands of people are already fleeing the area before the full-scale slaughter and destruction begin. As in Fallujah, the multitudes who cannot escape will be trapped in a 'free fire zone' subjected to ruthless bombardment and ground assualt. Thousands -- perhaps tens of thousands -- of innocent civilians stand in the shadow of imminent death." But Panhandle Media largely stayed silent during the slaughter of Falluja and they're even more silent during the slaughter of Sadr City.

In other reported violence . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad rocket attack that wounded three people, US air strikes in Baghdad left eight people wounded and 2 Baghdad mortar attacks claimed 2 lives and left eleven wounded. AFP reports, "A rocket attack on a coalition military base in Basra killed two civilian contractors Friday . . . . The two civilian contractors died when rockets slammed into the US-led coalition's base near Basra's international airport, wounding eight others, including four coalition soldiers, the military said." That was reported late yesterday in the US (by five p.m. EST, it's already midnight in Iraq). Reuters notes four members of the Iraqi military were injured in a Kirkuk roadside bombing.


Reuters notes 3 "Awakening" Council members shot dead in Baiji and three police officers and five people were wounded in an attack outside Balad utilizing "rifles and rocket propelled grenades."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses discovered in Baghdad.

Yesterday's snapshot noted: "Murray wasn't just noting a hearing the day before (see here and here for that hearing), she was also noting the very real frustration with the Veterans Affairs Department on the part of the Congress which includes begging off and blowing off the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee." That's here and here. Links weren't included. Yesterday's snapshot detailed the Senate Veeterans Affairs Committee Wednesday hearing on benefits. Today Paul Kane (Washington Post) reports that "Blue Dog Democrats" are in opposition to a House measure specifically because of "the creation of a program that would guarantee veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan a year of in-state college tuition for each year served in the war zones." Now let's get this straight, the "Blue Dogs" are okay with funding the illegal war and argue that not to do so would be sending a message to the troops in Iraq; however, they're okay with sending the message that your tours of duty aren't even worth in-state tuition if you're fortunate enough to survive? That's some message. Meanwhile Julian E. Barnes (Los Angeles Times) reports that the Pentagon is stating that stop-loss/back-door draft numbers have "risen sharply" and that the "number steadily declined through May 2007, when it hit 8,540. But since then, the number of soldiers subjected to stop-loss orders began to increase again, reaching 12,235 in March 2008." Drop back to the February 26th snapshot where the Senate Armed Services Committee heard testimony from the Sec of the Army and Gen George W. Casey:

In regards to the issue of the months involved in a tour, the committee chair, Carl Levin, had to be rather specific repeatedly finally asking "shorthand, you have to drawdown to what level?" Levin also had to pin Casey and Geren down regarding stop-loss. Beaming, Geren declared that the Army will get the number of stop-lossed soldiers down to "a little less than 8,000 today" and insisted -- at length -- that the Army wanted to "move away from" using stop-loss. Stop-loss is the backdoor draft. It's when you're service contract is ending and you're told, "Forget what your contract says, you're staying." Pressed by Levin about the decrease in the number of soldiers stop-lossed that Geren was so optimistic about, the Secretary of the Army swallowed and stated, "It might get to 7,000." Wow. It might drop to 7,000. To hear him spin and spin before Levin pinned him down you would have thought the figure was going to be significantly below 5,000. Geren insisted, "We're growing this Army faster than we planned."

Translation, they lied to Congress.

His name wasn't even on the ballot! Oh how the losers have cried that -- including an elderly woman with a shaky voice who really needs to be told "Step away from the microphone" -- about Barack Obama and Michigan.
Michigan's Secretary of State on October 9, 2007: "Four Democratic presidential candidates -- U.S. Sen. Barack Obama (D-Ill.), New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson, U.S. Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) and former U.S. Sen. John Edwards -- filed affidavits with the Michigan Department of State requesting that their names be removed from Michigan's Jan. 15 Democratic Party Primary ballot. This means four Democratic candiates are still on the Michigan ballot: U.S. Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-N.Y.), U.S. Sen. Christopher Dodd (D-Conn), U.S. Rep. Dennis Kucinich and U.S. Sen. Mike Gravel (D- Ala)."

Hillary won Michigan. She received 328,209 votes. 594,398 votes were cast in the Democratic presidential primary. "Uncommitted" received 238,168 votes. As
Jerlyn (TalkLeft) points out, Barack's attempting to claim those 238,168 votes and more: "It not only gives Obama all of the uncommitted delegates, a number that includes those who voted for uncommitted for Edwards, it includes those who voted for Dodd, Kucinich and Gravel and gives him some that voted for Hillary." It takes a lot of nerve to remove yourself from the field and then claim you earned a trophy. But hasn't that been the Obama campaign from day one?

Way back when,
Peter Slevin (Washington Post) explained it all: "Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton is the only top-tier Democrat on the Jan. 15 Michigan primary ballot, but followers of her chief rivals are hoping to wound her all the same. . . . The campaigns of Sen. Barack Obama and former Senator John Edwards are urging their supporters to cast ballots for 'uncommitted,' according to stae Democratic party chairman Mrak Brewer." "Uncommitted" should be divided between the four. If any "giving" is to be done, that's done on the floor of the national convention. But it's not enough that he try to steal what he didn't earn, he also wants to steal from Hillary Clinton. Now as I understand spots from my children participating when they were younger, you forfeit a game, you're the loser. When the championship's being awarded to another team you can't run up and say, "B-b-but, we forfeited and we should get credit for that!" Barack wants credit for a race he chose not to take part in. Talk about a sense of entitlement. It's not even the rules. (The rules were X number of delegates -- non-pleged -- would be sent to the convention.)

I thought the media said he was 'winning,' that he had the nomination all 'sewn up'. If so, why be such a little thief? Because he's not winning. Because he's not closed the deal. Because Hillary is expected to beat him in several upcoming primaries. Because he is probably unelectable in a general election nation wide. Nation wide is 50 states, not 48. A general election isn't a primary. If he gets the nomination, he'll be dragged through the mud and this is, after all, the fussiest candidate since the current occupant of the Oval Office. "I must have down time in the Virgin Islands!" "I need two days off from campaigning!"

The latter was last week. That was cute. He took Wednesday off by staying home when his weak ass should have been in the Senate for the Veterans Affairs Committee -- which he sits on -- hearing on Veterans Benefits. But he wasn't there. Again. He managed yesterday to hobble through the House but he wasn't elected to the House and he's unable to do the Senate's business. But somehow, he wants America to believe, he'll be able to do their business.
Susan UnPC (No Quarter) has posted the RNC's first video roll out against Bambi -- it's not pretty and this is the GOP taking baby-steps. (About the Louis. election, the elected Dem is a conservative and he started out with a double digit lead and barely squeaked by on election day after only a few weeks of the ads by the Republicans attacking him for his 'link' to Barack. Repeating, Barack at the top of the ticket risks Democratic control of Congress.) What group doesn't he have a lock on? I know that's a tough questions because there are so many; however, I'm referring to seniors and he's taken to knocking John McCain because of his age, doing the typical crap Barack does because Barack has no issues to run and no record to run on. John McCain's campaign (PDF format warning and link goes to USA Today) responds: "First, let us be clear about the nature of Senator Obama's attack today. He used the words 'losing his bearings' intentionally, a not particularly clever way of raising John McCain's age as an issue. This is typical of the Obama campagning. We have all become familiar with Senator Obama's new brand of politics. First, you demand civility from your opponent, then you attack him, distort his record and send out surrogates to question his integrity. It is called hypocrisy, and it is the oldest kind of politics there is. It is important to focus on what Senator Obama is attempting to do here: He is trying desperately to delegitimize the discussion of issues that raise legitimate questions about his judgement and preparedness to be President of the United States. Through their actions and words, Senator Obama and his supporters have made clear that ANY criticism on ANY issue -- from his desire to raise taxes on millions of small investors to his radical plans to sit down face-to-face with Iranian President Ahmadinejad -- constitute negative, personal attacks. Senator Obama is hopeful that the media will continue to form a protective barrier around him, declaring serious limits to the questions, discussion and debate in this race. Senator Obama has good reason to think this plan will succeed, as serious journalists have written off the need for 'de-tox' to cure 'swooing' over Senator Obama, and others have admitted to losing their objectivity while with him on the campaign trail." You need to pay attention closely to that memo. Had John Edwards, Joe Biden, Bill Richardson or Chris Dodd done anything like that, they'd still be in the race.

The reality is no one likes a brown noser, no one likes a teacher's pet or a little prince given everything. Hillary's a fighter and the fact that she is has turned the Democratic primary into a deadheat. John McCain appears to grasp what will work and what won't with Barack. Grinning like an idiot on stage next to Barack? Chuckeling? Playing his groveling little buddy to the point that you like a scared puppy exposing your belly? Getting punked and taking it with no challenge? Didn't work and all the men found that out, now didn't they? The only one who has held their own is Hillary and she's done that because -- though the pundit class hates strength -- the American people love it. Mark Salter, with that memo, goes from writer of McCain speeches to campaign operative to watch and you better believe Newsweek's gearing up their glossy profile. In terms of Barack's attacks on McCain's age, it's dumb, it's stupid and it will hurt him with seniors. If Barack's given the nomination, he's just given them the ammo to become "Democrats for McCain."
Tom Baldwin (Times of London) reports that Robert Malley has left the Obama campaign after bragging to the paper that "he had regularly been in contact with Hamas, which controls Gaza but is listed by the US State Department as a terrorist organisation." By the strictest reading of the Patriot Act, I believe Team Obama could be locked away. Good thing Barack voted against the Patriot Act! Oh, wait, he voted to reauthorize it. And, yes, it does go to judgement, it does go to leadership and, yes, once again Obama has failed.

Perry Bacon Jr. (Washington Post) reports Hillary was in Portland today speaking about healthcare, "The plan I have proposed would cover everyone, children and adults. An artificial distinction between children and adults is unworkable, you have to have [a] seamless health care system that covers every single American. My plan does, my opponent's doesn't." AP quotes her saying, "If you don't start in favor of universal health care, you'll never get there. How can you run for the Democratic nomination and not have a universal health care plan?" David Chalian (ABC News) notes that the Clinton campaign's Geoff Garin and Howard Wolfson "offered a power point presentation looking at 20 competitive House districts currently held by freshmen Democrats that also went for President George W. Bush in the 2004 presidential election. Of those 20 districts, Clinton has defeated Obama in 16 of them during the course of the nomination battle and Obama has been victorious in four of them. Eleven of those 20 members have yet to endorse in the Democratic presidential race. Five have endorsed Clinton - including two this week - and four have endorsed Obama." The argument is correct. It was obvious in January to anyone studying the results (Obama has a larger portion of voters who only vote for him and in no other race -- indicating they are Republicans who will cross over only for him or that they're entire 2008 vote is for Obama only). With him being handed the nomination, the risk is that you drives away the base. That puts Congress at risk. But as Donna Brazile indicated in an e-mail Wednesday, it doesn't matter. Or, as she put it, "Message to the base: stay home." Message to Donna, stay away from buffets. You're going to have heart failure with all the pounds you're packing. Brian Goldsmith (CBS News) interviewed West Virginia governor Joe Manchin and asked about Tuesday's primary and whether the race should continue to which the governor responded: "Oh, absolutely. I truly believe so. And it's an exciting time to be a Democrat in the United States of America. And we have so many of them here. They're all excited about our primary. Myself, I'm up in the primary election. So we're all geared up for this. And having both of the candidates come to West Virginia adds that much more excitement to it."

Matt Tepper has a photo essay at and writes: "Hillary Clinton proudly became the first Democratic Presidential candidate to visit the Mount Rushmore State on Thursday afternoon. Nearly 2000 South Dakotans packed the Landmark Aviation Hangar in Sioux Falls to hear Hillary speak about her Solutions for America. Hillary clearly demonstrated that she is ready to lead this nation starting on day one and she is best prepared to beat John McCain in November. When Hillary is president, the voices of South Dakota families will finally be heard. On June 3rd South Dakotans will get their opportunity to vote in this historic primary!"

In other news, Cynthia McKinney's campaign has not refuted Ted Glick's statements (that they linked to last week) so she's not a real candidate for president. This will be an editorial at Third. We are done with her in the primary coverage and it's doubtful she'll be mentioned too often in the general election. We're covering candidates running to win the office, not to run a tiny percentage.
Team Nader announces Ralph needs "$50,000 to get Nader-Gonzales on the ballot in Illinois. Land of Lincoln. Where Ralph Nader was bumped off the ballot in 2004 by the state's Democratic machine. Where already in 2008, state Democratic machine operatives are making threats about keeping us off again." Oh come on, Ralph, the Dems would never do that, they believe in count ever vote. Oh, wait. Florida and Michigan. That's right, they don't believe in count every vote. They believe in count every vote that they want counted which is far less than universal suffrage.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Oh, those liars

This is Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: The Path Foward" (

If You Watch One Thing Today: On CNN yesterday, Howard Wolfson described the path forward. Watch here.

Superdelegate Watch: Yesterday, Rep. Heath Shuler of North Carolina and Indiana Rep. Brad Ellsworth both announced their support for Hillary. Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary hosts "Solutions for America" rallies in Charleston, WV, Sioux Falls, SD, and Central Point, OR.
I’ve Come Back: Last night, before "a crowd of 1,500 gathered at a 'Generations of Women for Hillary' event, Hillary said: "I've been counted out more than once. But thanks to all of you I've come back,....When I was counted out in New Hampshire, it was the women of New Hampshire who came back and said, 'No, she's not finished yet.' When I was counted out before Super Tuesday it was women from California to Massachusetts who came and said 'No, we're not finished yet.' When I was counted out before Ohio, before Indiana, we have always come back."
Read more.
Shepherdstown, WV: Hillary spoke "before a charged and raucous crowd of about 350 people at Shepherd University" yesterday. At the event, Hillary said, "I'm staying in this race until there’s a nominee." Read more.
Making Her Presence Known in the Magic City (aka Billings, MT): "Montana for Hillary supporters opened their campaign office on Monday evening in downtown Billings and people gathered to rally and show support for the New York senator...'It's a real positive feeling here in Billings and around the state of Montana…People are very supportive of Hillary...she connects with them,'" said Yellowstone Country Commissioner Bill Kennedy.
Read more.
GOTV in WV: Across West Virginia, elected leaders are joining volunteers in knocking on doors, making calls, and holding visibilities to get out the vote for Hillary. "If there was ever a critical time to vote in a primary election, this is it...The Mountain State has made the difference in choosing a President before and we can do it again by supporting Hillary Clinton," said Kent Carper, President of the Kanawha County Commission.
Read more.
On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary holds a campaign event in Portland, OR and will deliver remarks to the Kentucky Democratic Party dinner in Louisville, KY.

Starting with that because she's not out of the race. Don't give up but by all means have a backup plan. I will be voting for Ralph Nader if Hillary is not the Democratic nominee. I know some will be waiting until tomorrow to see if Cynthia McKinney announces that no, Ted Glick does not speak for her and she has no idea why he was linked to with a headline saying he did on her website.

We pulled links to a piece of trash today. I was there while C.I. was dictating the morning entries and juggling cell phones. The calls started coming in and C.I. hit the roof. C.I. explained to the rest of us what had happened. We pulled the links -- community wide -- to that organization. The attitude was, "I'm not going back into the template tomorrow." Meaning, Cynthia was scheduled to be pulled tomorrow unless her campaign issued a statement disowning Ted Glick's remarks that she wasn't trying to get on the ballot to win a tiny portion of votes.

We're all busy. We don't have time to push a candidate who's not running to win. I could say more but Jim's staked that for The Third Estate Sunday Review.

So we all pulled Cynthia today. Actually, Jim pulled. We were going to speak. We wanted the organization pulled immediately and Jim went in and pulled that and Cynthia as well as other links. There's someone, for example, who offered a link trade and never followed through. He got pulled by the sites that linked to him (except C.I.'s site).

Except C.I.? C.I. doesn't trade links but you better believe C.I. is as pissed as everyone else that the man lied. He started his own site late last year and e-mailed The Common Ills. He offered a link change. Jess replied and noted that C.I. didn't trade but that he could get the guy's site linked by all sites and would trade that. That was acceptable. But never done. The man said he'd link and never did. (I'm not griping. I didn't link to his ass. I know that little con game very well.) I know that Betty linked to BuzzFlash and didn't know that she had. She told me when Jim called her at work (she had it under a Ms. site by accident), she said, "Pull that garbage!"

(To clarify, the title said something like "The Smeal Report" but the link actually went to Buzz which Betty didn't realize. That was pulled by all sites too, The Smeal Report, because it no longer exists. Jim pulled a lot of sites. C.I. did the pulling at The Common Ills and a lot more are coming.)

But the little idiot who got her organization pulled got it pulled for pulling a stunt at Hillary's speech last night. I thought the little red loved her some Hugo Chavez? Barack, not Hillary, is the one who has repeatedly made statements about taking out Hugo.

Well you know how the closeted Communists excuse Barack everything.

She better stay in DC and not come back to the Bay Area because I've spent every bit of spare time on the phone telling friends what she did. Toni, Maggie and Dak-Ho are getting the word out back home. I'd noted before that they were no longer an "anti-war" group but just another DC front group for lobbyists. They don't even care about the Iraq War anymore. But watch them pretend to when it's time for the funding to be voted on. I'm sick of their tired stunts and their attempts to defocus on Iraq by zooming in on Lebanon, Iran and every other country in the world.

They made themselves a joke and, looking back, I can see she always was one. And I was a joke for supporting her. But I don't support her anymore. And I don't support that organization anymore.

As it sinks in how many they've offended, maybe they can starve for attention again? That's all they're good at, playing the victim.

Jim's probably going to cuss me out because I've touched on about a dozen topics he was holding. (He won't cuss me out, I'm joking.) I've mentioned, or should have, the following.

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim,

Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,

Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,

C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,

Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),

Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,Mike of Mikey Likes It!,

Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz,

Ruth of Ruth's Report,

Wally of The Daily Jot,


Oh, and Trina of Trina's Kitchen. The community built up with no help from outsiders and stands together against the LIARS. That's my new motto.

If Hillary drops out of the race or if the Demoratic Party gives the nomination to Barack, my motto will be "Ralph Nader in '08!"

Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Thursday, May 8, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, a city passes on a resolution, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee battles the VA, and more.

Starting with war resistance.
The Olympian reports, "A resolution that would have made Olympia a sanctuary for undocumented immigrants and war resisters died in a city council meeting. No one moved to consider it at Tuesday's meeting." Matt Batcheldor (The Olympian) reported last week that "several councile members say they won't consider the resolution, one day after the May Day rally became violent on the streets of Olympia, when some participants broke windows on two downtown banks and six people were arrested." Batcheldor quoted Joshua Simpson stating, "I'm not accountable for, like, what a few individuals decide to do." Simpson was among those working to see the council pass the resolution. It's now on hold. Possibly waiting, possibly tabled. Did the May Day breaking of "windows on two downtown banks" kill the resolution? Probably not. It's an easy out. Another one, the one people would be clucking right now if there had been no violence on May Day, is, "It was pushed too soon! People weren't ready!" A council that refuses to consider a motion because some people in the city of Olympia (six were arrested) broke some windows is looking for any reason to avoid addressing it. Good for Simpson, File Bohmer, Katie Olejnik and all the others working on the issue and getting it before the council to begin with. (I personally support both points of the proposal but we're focusing on war resistance.) They got the issue in front of the city, whatever else happens, they did that. And they did so at a time when others ignore the issue. Some, like The Nation magazine, have ignored it for years while others, like Amy Goodman, clamped down on the topic right before Ivan Brobeck went public (November 2006). Organizations? The ones not worth noting all seem to have lost interest with Ehren Watada. You can read the faux activists put on their mock rage about whatever Congress does next, but the reality is that they always have something to do instead of talking about, writing about or taking action for war resisters. Always. So congratulations to the citizens of Olympia who worked to get the resolution this far. Hopefully, it will go further in the coming weeks. Regardless, they took the issue and turned it into news.

In Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated. Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: 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. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
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).

Yesterday in the Senate Committee on Veterans Affairs they examined benefits. During the hearing US Senator Patty Murray

I think there's a lot of important bills in front of us today but before I talk about them, I do want to bring up the topic of great concern to everybody here and that is the tragic incidents of veterans' suicides and the VA's attempts to conceal the true numbers from Congress. Mr. Chairman, we all know that there are sincere health care professionals across the VA who are doing their very best to find and help veterans who might be considering suicide. Those health care professionals face tremendous challenges -- enough challenges with winning the trust of veterans today who aren't convinced that the VA is in their corner. But their jobs are really made a lot more difficult when they are fighting the perception that the VA is more concerned with p.r. than in getting the veterans help with the services that they need. Now yesterday the VA had the chance to tell the public about what happened. Secretary Peake and Dr. Katz testified in front of the House Veterans Affairs Committee about the cover up and based on their testimony yesterday, I have to say, Mr. Chairman, I am greatly concerned about the transperancy and truthfulness of the Department. We all know Congress has to have accurate information if we are going to provide the VA with the resources it needs and make informed policy decisions. And we've got to get this right so that the veterans benefits programs we're talking about improving today have a maximum impact. So Mr. Chairman, I just want to reiterate my concern about that to you. Now we do have a number of bills before us, I look foward to the hearing them. I do want to say that I want to commend Senator Webb for his tremendous work on the GI Bill. I'm very proud now to be a co-sponsor of that bill. I know that the Department of Defense and VA are currently opposing it but I think that he has really worked to make this bill work for today's world and I really want to commend him for the tremendous amount of work and this great presentation that he put in front of us. I think recognizing the needs of today's forces is absolutely critical for retention and I believe his bill does that.

Murray wasn't just noting a hearing the day before (see here and here for that hearing), she was also noting the very real frustration with the Veterans Affairs Department on the part of the Congress which includes begging off and blowing off the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. This was a consensus that went beyond party lines. Republican Richard Burr would vocalize the frustration for the committee in the hearing.

At the opening of the hearing, Senator and committee chair Daniel Akaka noted the various bills under discussion:

First, S. 2617, the "Veterans' Compensation Cost-of-Living Adjustment Act of 2008" would increase the rates of compensation for veterans with service-connected disabilities and the rates of dependency and indemnity compensation for the survivors of certain disabled veterans, among other benefits, effective December 1st of this year.

Many of the more than three million recipients of these benefits depend upon the tax-free payments not only to provide for their own basic needs, but for the needs of their families as well. Without an annual COLA increase, these veterans and their families would see the value of their hard-earned benefits slowly diminish. We, as a Congress, would also be in dereliction of our duty to ensure that those who sacrificed so much for this country receive the benefits and services to which they are entitled.

S.2309, the proposed "Compensation for Combat Veterans Act," would ease the evidentiary requirements facing veterans who file claims for disabilities incurred while serving in a combat zone. During oversight visits to regional offices, Committee staff has identified a number of cases where service medical records of veterans serving in combat areas are missing. Discussions with physicians who have served in those areas confirm that records are not always made or maintained. As a result, combat veterans have had claims denied or unduly delayed. This bill would result in faster and more accurate decisions.

The "Veterans' Rating Schedule Review Act", S. 2737, addresses the authority of Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims. This legislation would give veterans a legal recourse to challenge portions of the rating schedule that fail to conform to the law.

S. 2825, the "Veterans' Compensation Equity Act" would provide a minimum disability rating for veterans receiving medical treatment for a service-connected disability. In the course of its oversight work, Committee staff has found a great deal of inconsistency in the ratings assigned to veterans with minor, but chronic conditions. This bill would ensure that any veteran requiring continuous medication or the ongoing use of an adaptive device, such as a hearing aid, would receive at least a 10 percent rating for that disability, entitling them to a minimum level of compensation.

In the area of readjustment benefits, I have introduced two bills that would help servicemembers and veterans return to their civilian lives. S. 2471, the "USERRA Enforcement Improvement Act of 2007", which I co-authored with Senator Kennedy, would strengthen the employment and reemployment rights of returning servicemembers by imposing compliance deadlines on federal agencies. It would also implement measures to reduce inefficiencies and improve the information collected by the government on USERRA compliance.

S. 2864, the "Training and Rehabilitation for Disabled Veterans Enhancement Act of 2008", would improve VA's Independent Living program, which serves veterans whose disabilities render them unable to work. The bill would eliminate the annual cap on the number of enrollees in the program and shift the program from a discretionary pilot initiative to a mandatory program. It would also make improvement in quality of life -- an explicit objective of training and rehabilitation services of the Independent Living program.

Finally, I have introduced two complimentary bills that would improve the opportunities available to veterans for home ownership. The first bill, S. 2768, would temporarily increase the maximum loan amount for certain VA-guaranteed home loans. The second bill, S. 2961, would raise the maximum guaranty limit on refinance loans and decrease the equity requirement for those who want to refinance to a VA-backed loan.

As is the case every Session, the biggest hurdle for implementation of these bills into law is cost. I am working to find appropriate offsets within the Committee's jurisdiction.

Finally, I am pleased to see S. 22 back on the agenda this morning. I have worked hard with Senator Webb to develop this proposal, and I believe that the measure as we have it before us this morning is a good one. I am certain that it would not only be a vastly improved readjustment benefit for our newest generation of veterans but it also gives the armed forces a valuable recruitment and retention tool. As one of the 8 million veterans who attended school on the original GI Bill after World War II, I am committed to seeing that this legislation go forward.

Those were the items up for discussion. The VA wasn't prepared to discuss many of them.

Senator Richard Burr: Thank you to the VA for being here and if I could take the opportunity to reiterate what the Chairman said: I guess our choice, when testimony doesn't come on time, is just not to have people testify. That may be what the Veterans Administration is attempting to do -- is not come up here and have to do it. Maybe sort of egging us on to just ignore you. I've committed to the Chairman before and I will stay committed. Something's going to change. The testimony has to come. And I realize -- and have been lobbyied not to say this -- because there was additions to the hearing today from the standpoint of legislation it we don't get delays. We don't get the opportunity to say I'm just not going to be ready tomorrow so we'll just put if off or we'll delay when it happens nor does any agency of the federal government. I'm sorry that the three of you have to sit there and take this because I know with every ounce of knowledge that I have that it's not your fault. And all I can do is ask you to be an effective communicator back through the chain to say this can't happen anymore. It must stop.

A big debate during the hearing was between Senators Jim Webb and Lindsey Graham. Graham wanted "tranferability" for veterans meaning that a veteran could transfer benefits to his or her spouse or family member. Graham appeared to be attempting to derail Webb's bill with his comments and Webb noted it was a false issue on the part of the Defense Department. They have the power, under the law, to implement a pilot program to explore that and have for many years. Only the Army, in 2006, attempted to do so. Out of 17,000 service members, only 300 elected to transfer the benefits. Webb did not see this as a pressing issue and stressed that if the DoD did or does, they already have the power to implement pilot programs. He spoke of all the years his father spent in night school -- graduating college when Jim Webb was a high school senior -- and how transferability might have been a concern to him were it available but something to keep in mind is that the government needs to be very careful when you take a benefit away. Webb noted that no one in the government is skilled to look into family dynamics. Which might be (or might not be), him making the point that a service member might, for instance, transfer their education benefits to a spouse and marriages can break up. What happens then? And (this is me) carrying this even further, if education benefits could be transferred, what's to prevent them from being dubbed community property in any divorce settlement?

The VA is for it and may be for it simply because if the benefit is transferred to a spouse or child then the service member loses it. This could effect retention because some might transfer their benefit in good faith and full knowledge only to have circumstances change five to ten years later, want to leave the US military but, having given away their education benefits, decide that they would stay put. There's really no reason to be bringing up the issue (as Graham and the VA were) other than to stall Webb's bill (or kill it). Webb's bill is not dependent upon that issue being resolved and does not mention that issue.

For a government agency that's opposed to a bill (as the VA is to Webb's), stating
"Senator, I don't want to speak any futher on this issue because it really is something that the Department of Defense needs to address" really doesn't cut it. If you're opposed to it, you need to be clear what your opposition to it is. If you can't be, you should probably stay silent. As Webb noted repeatedly, if DoD decides transferbility is an issue, they have "available in the law" the right to implement a pilot program to determine whether this is a pressing issue to veterans. Except for one pilot program carried out by the Army, no one has elected to do so.

Webb's bill largely seems to upset the VA (by their remarks and not by my speculation) is the issue of payments. Currently, VA witnesses testified, they cut two checks: full-time training or part-time training. There was whining on the part of the VA that there would be a new system covering tuition, a living stipend and a book stipend.

Webb asked if his bill (S22) getting objections from the VA only on the transferability aspect means that they approve of all the other aspects? The VA witnesses couldn't answer that clearly but, pressed by Webb, said "If we could rank the concerns, that would probably be right at the top."
Webb's bill has 56 co-sponsors and that includes Senators Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Evan Bayh, Joe Biden, Barbara Boxer, Olympia Snow, John Warner, Harry Reid. 288 members of the House are supporting it -- including Reps Tammy Baldwin, Don Young, Shelley Berkley, Corrine Brown, Lynn Woolsey, Rush Holt, Sheila Jackson Lee, Peter DeFazio, Ellen Tauscher, Henry Waxman and Maxine Waters. Webb offers a (PDF format warning) overview of the bill here. Last month Florida's The Ledger published an editorial advocating for the passage of Webb's bill entitled "Pass Better G.I. Bill." The editorial notes that presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain is opposed to the bill.

In Iraq the assault on Sadr City continues. Though the
US military issues a press release claiming, "Leaders from the government of Iraq, Iraqi Security Forces and Multi-National Division -- Baghdad continued humanitarian aid missions in Sadr City May 7." Apparently "humanitarian aid" is giving an eviction notice. Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) reports, "Some residents of Sadr City claimed Thursday that Iraqi soldiers warned them to leave their houses and go to nearby soccer stadiums for security reasons. The U.S. military denied the claim and called it a 'rumor'." Hacaoglu also notes, "U.S. forces have increased air power and armored patrols in" Sadr City. CNN reports the puppet government in Baghdad's press flack, Tahseen al-Sheikhly, has "discounted reports that soldiers have been using loudspeakers to tell people to leave." Meanwhile Steve Negus (Financial Times of London) notes UNICEF's figure of 6,000 for the number of residents already leaving Sadr City and quotes International Organization for Migration's Dana Graber Ladek explaining, "Certain parts of Sadr City are like ghost towns . . . No one is venturing out." Other areas are without electricity and water, according to Dana Graber Ladek.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 3 Baghdad rocket attacks that claimed 2 lives and left two people wounded, 3 Baghdad roadside bombings that wounded 5 Iraqi soldiers and ten Iraqi civilians, a Baghdad minibus bombing that claimed 1 life and left five people wounded, a Baghdad car bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers and 4 civilians as well as injuring nineteen more people and a Salahuddin Province bombing targeting Nathim al-Juboor who is the head of an "Awakening" Council and he survived this "second assassination attempt".


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports armed clashes ongoing in Basra. Reuters notes the US military states they killed 17 people ("gunmen") in Baghdad "on Wednesday and Thursday."


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses discovered in Mosul. AFP reports 7 corpses turned over to hospitals in Sadr City.

Los Angeles Times' Tony Perry (at the paper's Baghdad & Beyond) writes about Paula Carruth whose daughter Casey Casanova became the 97th US female service member to die in Iraq: "The 97 include 79 Army, nine Navy, seven Marine Corps and two Air Force personnel. Women make up about 2% of the nearly 4,1000 U.S. troops killed in Iraq." Casey Casanova was 22 years old when she died in Al Anbar Province May 2nd in a roadside bombing that also claimed the lives of 3 other Marines Miguel A. Guzman (21-years-old), James F. Kimple (21-years-old) and Glen E. Martinez (31-years-old).

Turning to US politics, sleaze merchant Mark Karlin flaunts the idiocy that has run so many away from BuzzFlash in the last year or so by declaring "Except for Her Anatomical Features, Clinton is no Feminist." Mark Karlin is a pig and proves that throughout this campaign cycle in his scribbles for Lotta Links. But feminism isn't about "anatomy" -- in fact, Queen Bees like
Besty Reed -- responsible for publishing 491 men and only 149 women in 2007 -- prove that gender alone does not a feminist make. Mark Karlin -- who has linked to Larry Fl**t and topless photos of women (such as the woman riding Ahnuld's back) really is the last person in the world to crawl out of his gutter and attempt to lecture on feminism. Dragging his knuckles further he tries to make an issue out of something that should be a non-issue. If it becomes one, we'll address it. Mark Karlin is a blight on humanity. He should worry more about Barack's latest attempt to stretch the truth (happens to often to be called "misspoke"), in his Tuesday night acceptance speech when he declared, "It is the light of opportunity that led my father across an ocean. It's the founding ideals that the flag draped over my father's coffin stands for. It is life and liberty and the pursuit . . " What! Barack's father was Kenyan. He studied in the US (as an adult, an already married adult -- a currently married adult when he met up with Barack's mother) and then returned to Kenya. What flag is Barack claiming was draped over his father's coffin? And does he pledge to that one?

Meanwhile Susan (Random Thoughts) takes on Tim Russert's nonsense that it's over for Hillary by posting that video as well as one of Tim stating if she "wins Indiana, then the race goes into June." (Hillary won Indiana Tuesday.) And I'm hearing on another phone that the lame brains (like Mark Karlin) are trying to make an issue out of non-issue. Hillary told USA Today, "I have a much broader base to build a winning coalition on" and cites an AP poll "that found how Sen. Obama's support among working, hard-working Americans, white Americans, is weakening again, and how whites in both states who had not completed college were supporting me." Her comments reflect the press analysis at all major outlets. It's not an insult to anyone, it is reflective of the categories the press has set up for this election cycle. Turning it into an issue -- have at it, it will backfire -- is what the Obama Pigs have done all along. Like Betsy Reed and all the other LIARS. There ought to be a law about falsely calling "racism" in a crowded room. If there were, a lot of White people would be in jail right now.

I'd be a little more worried about closet-case Donna Brazile (can you still be in the closet after being outed) who is sending out e-mails that conclude with "Message to the base: stay home" meaning Whites and Latino Democrats (and possibly other groupings as well). This follows her CNN meltdown when Campbell Brown pointed out the obvious, Donna is supporting Barack while going on programs as an 'impartial' observer.

Of course, there's also the fact that Barack's 'small donors' are now getting attention.
Pam Martens (via Black Agenda Report) notes:

The first clue to an entrenched white male bastion seeking a black male occupant in the oval office (having placed only five blacks in the U.S. Senate in the last two centuries) appeared in February on a chart at the
Center for Responsive Politics website. It was a list of the 20 top contributors to the Barack Obama campaign, and it looked like one of those comprehension tests where you match up things that go together and eliminate those that don't. Of the 20 top contributors, I eliminated six that didn't compute. I was now looking at a sight only slightly less frightening to democracy than a Diebold voting machine. It was a Wall Street cartel of financial firms, their registered lobbyists, and go-to law firms that have a death grip on our federal government. Why is the "yes, we can" candidate in bed with this cartel? How can "we," the people, make change if Obama's money backers block our ability to be heard? Seven of the Obama campaign's top 14 donors consisted of officers and employees of the same Wall Street firms charged time and again with looting the public and newly implicated in originating and/or bundling fraudulently made mortgages. These latest frauds have left thousands of children in some of our largest minority communities coming home from school to see eviction notices and foreclosure signs nailed to their front doors. Those scars will last a lifetime.
These seven Wall Street firms are (in order of money given): Goldman Sachs, UBS AG, Lehman Brothers, JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Morgan Stanley and Credit Suisse. There is also a large hedge fund, Citadel Investment Group, which is a major source of fee income to Wall Street. There are five large corporate law firms that are also registered lobbyists; and one is a corporate law firm that is no longer a registered lobbyist but does legal work for Wall Street. The cumulative total of these 14 contributors through February 1, 2008, was $2,872,128, and we're still in the primary season.
But hasn't Senator Obama repeatedly told us in ads and speeches and debates that he wasn't taking money from registered lobbyists? Hasn't the press given him a free pass on this statement?

Like Karl Rove, the Obama campaign tries to destroy your strength. It's a very dirty campaign and that's why Betsy Reed, Mark Karlin and other noted 'feminists' are trying to tear at Hillary's women support. They aren't feminists any more than tired and ugly ____ ___ a feminist. They're frauds and the liars.
Matt Phillips (Wall St. Journal) writes about Hillary's Wednesday night rally. He leaves out media and the glory hog also didn't get named in the Times this morning. Poor ____ -- the Red 'Green' posing as a Democrat as heard the alarm sound on her fifteen minutes. Someone get her a pie. Preferably in the face.

Kelly Nooning writes about Lousiville, Kentucky:

Wednesday morning we had a very strong showing with a very enthusiastic group of 16 Hillary supporters gathered to show their support for the Senator during the morning rush hours at the intersection of Bardstown Road and Eastern Parkway here in Louisville. Our morning visibility was especially significant because we not only had the ability to celebrate our Indiana victory but it kicked-off our increased efforts here in Louisville after sharing our resources with Indiana in support of our neighbor's primary.
Everyone driving by was thrilled to honk and holler in support Hillary after our Indiana victory. All the people taking their morning walks and waiting for the bus were also enthusiastic about Hillary and we recruited a bunch of new volunteers to come down to headquarters to volunteer for the campaign.
Kentuckians are very excited that the focus is now on them and their primary on May 20th. With less than two weeks to go until our primary, I'm counting down the days until I cast my vote for Hillary. In the meantime I'm planning on having a good time while working round the clock to do everything I can to ensure Hillary becomes the next president of this great country.
Click here to visit the Kentucky page and learn more about what's happening in the Bluegrass State.

Team Nader posts An Unreasonable Man so you can see what Nader was up against in 2000 and 2004 and still in 2008: "We've broken it up into five parts - Part One, Part Two, Part Three, Part Four, Part Five. Take a peek." If the likes of Mark Karlin run Hillary off, remember a vote for Nader sends them to an early grave.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

The road

I'm going to be very brief tonight. In part because I'm watching Rebecca's baby while she blogs. Be sure to read her tonight. C.I. had a thing in the snapshot, a one liner, that got pulled because C.I. wasn't sure if it might offend a community member or not?

Rebecca said, "Every one will get that it's a joke. Leave it in. It's funny." But C.I. didn't want to risk upsetting anyone. Those are things that the rest of us never worry about. We just speak for ourselves. C.I. has to speak for an entire community.

So Rebecca's grabbing that scrap (with permission) tonight and it should be a lively post. She'll be adding to it and making it her own.

I love having Rebecca (and Flyboy and their baby) on the road with us. Ava and C.I. are great but they're on superdrive or something. Nothing stops them.

I've seen them puking moments (not "minutes") before they had to face a crowd, watched them toss a Listerine strip in their mouths and just keep going. I've seen them about to fall over in the car because they were so tired but face a crowd minutes later with so much energy that you wouldn't believe they hadn't had 8 hours sleep the night before (more often it's less than 5 hours of sleep -- in fact 5 hours of sleep for them these days is a luxury).

And it's great and it's wonderful but it can leave me feeling Slug Bug Yellow wondering, "How do they do it?" Followed by, "Why can't I?"

And they know what they're going to say. Always. They may not know how they're going to word it but nothing throws them. A question comes up and they're ready -- even if it's nothing they've ever been asked before, even if it's nothing most of us would have ever thought of. They're just so good and so able to turn it "on" when it's needed. If I'm sick on the road, I'm lagging in the speaking. I'll say, "Sorry, I'm sick." And no one ever says, "You bore us! Get off the stage!" But when those two are sick (and they've had the worst time getting over this cold), it never shows when they're in front of people.

And we can all be in the car and even they'll say, "Thank goodness this is the last one tonight." And yet, someone will say they have a group or wish a group of their friends had heard it and Ava and C.I. will say, "What about right now? Could you pull them together on short notice?" And it's always yes and they're always willing to go on and on and on. They really are amazing and gifted.

But it can leave me feeling way, way behind. So along comes Rebecca, with the normal human limitations, and I'm so happy she's on the road.

This is "As West Virginia Takes Center Stage, Clinton Campaign Ramps Up Statewide Get Out The Vote Effort" (

Charleston, WV) - All eyes are on West Virginia as the Mountain State takes center stage in the Democratic presidential primary. West Virginia leaders and Clinton campaign volunteers will be out in full force tomorrow, urging West Virginians to make their voice heard by Early Voting.

"If there was ever a critical time to vote in a primary election, this is it. The eyes of the world are watching to see what West Virginia voters will do. The Mountain State has made the difference in choosing a President before and we can do it again by supporting Hillary Clinton," said Kent Carper, President of the Kanawha County Commission.

Former First Daughter Chelsea Clinton will also campaign in the Mountain State tomorrow, attending an "Our Economy, Our Future" event at Shepherd University. Sen. Hillary Clinton will campaign in Charleston on Thursday with a "Solutions for America" Rally at the West Virginia State Capitol.

"West Virginia is ready to go. This is a competitive race and every vote makes a difference. We are working hard to turn our strong support for Hillary Clinton in Early Vote and in the upcoming primary," said House Delegate Bob Tabb (56th District).

Elected leaders from across the Mountain States are joining volunteers in knocking on doors, making calls, and holding visibilities to get out the vote for Hillary.

"Hillary Clinton has shown a strong commitment to our state and an understanding of the issues affecting the everyday lives of West Virginians. Now it is time to make our voice heard for Hillary Clinton," said Mayor of Hinton Cleo Mathews, who is holding a "Honk and Wave" tomorrow in Hinton.

The West Virginia Veterans for Hillary Steering Committee is also organizing veterans across the state to get out the vote for Clinton.

"Hillary Clinton stands up and delivers for veterans and military families. I am proud to be working with veterans across the state to get out the vote for Hillary," said John Clarke, a member of the West Virginia for Hillary Steering Committee.

Get Out the Vote Activities Wednesday, May 7, 2008 include:

7 a.m. - Honk and Wave with Mayor Cleo Mathews - HINTON
Intersection of 2nd Avenue and Temple Street
Hinton, WV 25951

7:30 a.m. Honk and Wave - MORGANTOWN
County Courthouse Courtyard at High Street & Spruce Street
Morgantown, WV 26505

7:30 a.m. Honk and Wave - CHARLESTON
Washington Street West & Pennsylvania Street
Charleston, WV 25302

7:30 a.m. Honk and Wave - MARTINSBURG
King St. & Queen St
Martinsburg, WV 25401

7:30 a.m. Honk and Wave - LEWISBURG
Intersection of US 219 & US 60
Lewisburg, WV 24901

7:30 a.m. Honk and Wave - FAIRMONT
Fairmont St & 10th Street
Fairmont, WV 26554

4:30 p.m. "Honk and Wave" - KANAWHA CITY
35 Street Bridge
Charleston, WV 25311

6 p.m. Wheeling for Hillary Headquarters Open House - WHEELING
62 12th Street
Wheeling, WV 26003

6 p.m. Women for Hillary Phone Bank - FAIRMONT
Fairmont for Hillary Headquarters
312 Adams Street
Fairmont, WV 26554

6:30 p.m. Women for Hillary Phone Bank and Sign-Making Party - CHARLESTON
Charleston Headquarters
191 Summers Street
Charleston, WV 25301

And I'm so glad that Hillary didn't drop out. She shouldn't. She won Indiana last night! But with the way the press was acting this morning, I was worried. I asked C.I. and C.I. said there was no way Hillary was getting out today. I wanted so to believe that but I had my doubts because the press was treating her win like it didn't happen. I am so thrilled she's still in the race. She is the only nominee who can carry the Democrats to victory in November.

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

Wednesday May 7, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces deaths, Congress' hearing on veterans' suicide gets little attention from the media, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Chris Kirby (Oklahoma's Pioneer Online) notes that Ann Wright recently spoke on campus and explained, "Hundreds of soldiers are going AWOL (absent without leave) because they don't agree with the way that the war in Iraq is being handled. Instead of court-martialing all of these soldiers who are going AWOL, it is easier and faster for the government to just give them a dishonorable discharge." Wright is both retired State Dept and retired military (Army Col.) and she is also the co-author with Susan Dixon of DISSENT: Voices of Conscience.
Wright has traveled extensively getting the word out and that includes getting the word out on war resisters and speaking with them. She's recently been of assistance to James Burmeister who has returned from Canada. In Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated. Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: 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. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
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).

Yesterday's snapshot addressed Tuesday's House Committee on Veterans' Affairs hearing entitled "The Truth About Veterans' Suicides." But the hearing received little coverage. You can read Lisa Mascaro (Las Vegas Sun), Kimberly Hefling (AP), Afani Ruzik, Ben Bauman and Stefanie Sloan (KTKA -- text and video), Lisa Desjardins (CNN) and CBS News. And that was really it. More have filed since earlier this month but that was it for this morning, the morning after the hearing.

The hearing started with the broadcast of CBS News' reports (Armen Keteyian reporting, Pia Malbran producing) here and here and then US House Rep Steve Buyer worried how this would look in the record? A transcript of the clips, a website, how? "This is a first," Buyer stated, "that we actually watch a news program. And uh-uh . . . I'm willing to work with the chairman to do something anew but either we refer to a website whereby individuals could pull down the rec-- could pull that down from the record and actually view the video because that was how it was viewed in the committee. Or do we take a trans-trans-transcribe what was just put in there and put that in there." Buyer wasted time there and wasted time throughout. Surprisingly Panhandle Media didn't leap on one of his statements since they love to insult Real Media: "I want to caution my friends in the fourth branch of government who may be covering this hearing: Please do not refer to suicide as an 'epidemic' without saying that treatment is available." No, the press is not "the fourth branch of government." It is supposed to be independent of the government. And suicide is an epidemic among veterans, no matter how Buyer wants to spin it (he's Republican) or how much he wants to pretend that veterans are looking for copy-cat things to do. (That opinion, which he expressed, is very insulting. But he didn't care about insulting veterans, only in attempting to clamp down on the story. Judging by the lack of coverage of yesterday's hearing, he succeeded.)

The topic of the hearing itself was, as Chair Bob Filner noted, "A matter of life and death. A matter of life and death for the veterans that we are responsible for. And I think there's criminal negiligence in the way this was handled." How was suicide handled? The Dept of Veterans Affairs elected fudge and hide the numbers and provided little (being extremely generous) aid to those veterans at risk of committing suicide. Filner connected the cover up to earlier ones such as Agent Orange. "Deny, deny, deny," declared Filner of the pattern. "Then when facts seemingly . . . come to disagree with the denial, you cover up. When the cover up falls apart, you admit a little bit of the problem and underplay it. 'It's only a few people, only a thousand veterans got exposed to that gas. Agent Orange wasn't done very well. Atomic testing, well -- nobody knew what was going on.' And then finally, maybe, you admit it's a problem, way after the fact, try to come to grips with it. We've seen it again and again and again."

Filner pointed out that the VA was reducing it to "numbers, numbers, as if that's all, it's just a sort of bureacratic situation. This is not a bureacratic situation with just numbers. This is a matter of life and death. A matter of life and death for the veterans that we are responsible for. And I think there's criminal negligence in the way this was handled.
If we do not admit, if we do not assume, if we do not know what the problem is then the problem will continue and people die. If that's not criminal negligence, I don't know what is."

Filner reminded the Secretary of the Dept of Veterans Affairs James Peake that they spoke after Peake was confirmed (December 14, 2007) and Filner asked him then if he was going to just try to tide the current administration over for a year or "do something real and have a legacy to look at?" The answer now is that there is a bueracratic coverup and Filner noted that Dr. Michael J. Kusman, the Under Secretary of the VA, wasn't even present despite being mentioned in the e-mails "and he ought to be here."

Where is accountablity? Filner wanted to know if any resignations are being asked for, if there would be any "accountability for what has gone on here?" Filner noted that Peake's perpared statement just offers "bureacratic details". US Rep John Hall used his time to question the fact that veterans seeking help are shuffled around as opposed to meeting with the same provider and forming some sort of bond as well as by noting that the thirty minute 'treatment' periods are ridiculous in terms of therapy ("just about enough time to get started"). US House Rep Phil Hare Mike and Kim Bowman of Illionis whose son Timothy Bowman committed suicide: "They are rightly outraged and angry that from their perspective, the VA didn't do more to help their son." Timothy Bowman returned from serving in Iraq and killed himself nine months after returning from Iraq, in November of 2005. His father told the Committee in December:

As my family was preparing for a 2005 Thanksgiving meal, our son Timothy was lying on the floor, slowly bleeding to death from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. His war was now over, his demons were gone. Tim was laid to rest in a combination military, firefighter funeral that was a tribute to the man he was. . . . Today you are going to hear a lot of statistical information about sucide, Veterans, and the VA. But keep one thing in mind, our son, Specialist Timothy Noble Bowman, was not counted in any VA statistics of any kind. He had not made it into the VA system because of the stigma of reporting mental problems, he was National Guard, and he was not on a drill weekend when he took his life. The only stastical studay that he was counted in was the CBS study. And there are many more just like him. We call them KBA's, killed because of action. The unkown fallen.

Hare called for universal screenings. And also wondered "how we reach out to those rural veterans" who do not live in close proximity to a VA hospital. Remember the suicide coordinators are only at the 153 VA hospitals, not at the 875 VA Community-Based Outpatient Clinics. Dr. Ronald Maris pointed this out yesterday and told the committee, "Thus the vast majority of VA facilities in fact do not have suicide coordinators." Rep Harry Mitchell noted that the Dept of Veterans Affairs was "not keeping track" of veterans' suicides nationally and:

in December we had a hearing to find out why and Mr. Chairman, I don't know if there was anyone here who attended that hearing and will ever forget it. Mr. Hare mentioned that we heard from Mike and Kim Bowman whose twenty-three-year-old son Tim survived a year of duty in Iraq only to come home to take his own life. Mr. Bowman warned us that our troops were coming home to an underfunded, understaffed, under-equipped VA medical health care system that imposes so many challenges that many are just giving up and so when Dr. Katz insisted at that hearing repeatedly that the VA had all the necessary resources to reach all veterans at risk for suicide and make special treatment available to them I was skeptical. How could Dr. Katz be so sure that there weren't any requests for addtional resources sitting somewhere within the vast VA system that have gone unfulfilled? Was he absolutely certain that there were no pending requests for an additional mental health counselor, for extra gas money to enable a VA employee to drive somewhere to contact an outreach? As Chairman of the Subcommittee on Oversights and Investigations, I felt I had a responsibility to make sure. So I asked the VA to double check. I asked them to take a look at their records and send us any documents relating to any requests for additional resources that have gone unfulfilled or underfilled. My thought was, "If we can find out what the VA needs are to address this problem, we could get to work and make sure that they got it." More than four months later, however, all I've gotten are excuses, complaints and, most recently, a suggestion that I, quote, "Go file a Freedom of Information Act Request." That's not just an insult to me, it's an insult to this committee and to our veterans. I've tried to be reasonable. I've tried to work with Secretary Peake's office but, Mr. Chairman, my patience is at an end. I've given the Department until Friday to finally produce the documents I've requested. If they do not, Mr. Chairman, I want you to know that I will be asking you to pursue a subpoena.

Telling a member of Congress conducting official business to file a freedome of information request is an insult and it's ignoring the separation of powers set up in the Constitution. Yesterday Thomas Ferraro (Reuters) reported that a subpoena has been authorized by the House's Judiciary Committee for David Addington, Dick Cheney's chief of staff, regarding interrogation policies approved by the White House. One would have assumed that Mitchell's comments would have either rated a stand-alone story or been piggy-backed onto that story but instead they've been largely ignored by the press. It should be noted that in December the VA's Ira Katz gave prepared remarks that were pretty much the same as what James Peake provided yesterday.

After Peake read his prepared statement full of figures and charts, Filner pointed out "We can't do our job if you are not honest with us."

Bob Filner: We're not doing the job. I don't care what your figures show. We have tens of thousands of young people getting out of the military or the guard who have not been adequately diagnosed for either PTSD or brain injury. Every one of your statistics says, 'Those who have come to us,' you know, which is a small fraction of who is out there. So we are not doing the job and we can't do our job, if you are not honest with us. And as I said before in my opening statement, we only came into possession of certain e-mails -- I don't know how many there are out there, but we only have a few -- brought to the public by discovery in a legal case out on the West Coast. So three days after the hearing in which Mr. [Katz], we asked directly, Mr. Mitchell just said it, we asked Dr. Katz, "Do you need any help from us? What resources do you need?" And he said, "No, we've got it taken care of. And here's our statistics and CBS was wrong and you guys shouldn't worry about this." Three days after that, Dr. Kussman writes to Mr. Katz and others that . . . 'in the clips this morning' -- I don't know if this is from home or work, but you're all working Saturday, that's good -- '18 veterans kill themselves every day. That's what CBS report said. Sounds awful but let's not worry too much if you're considering 24 million veterans.' Even in the first e-mail we have, I don't know how many there are, no one is saying 'We're not doing the job here.' There saying, 'Oh, does this sound good? Does this sound bad?' And Dr. Katz says, 'Yes, there are 18 suicides. Is this supported by the CBS numbers?" Now Dr. Katz, this contradicts what you told us in the hearing three days earlier. Why didn't you just call us up or ask for another hearing and say, 'You know, we're looking at things differently, I misspoke, I want to talk to you some more about the stastics.' This looks like a cover up because you didn't tell us anything. . . . And this is contradictory to what you said under oath to our committee. Why should not either . . . go to court for perjury or resign because you didn't tell us the truth? Dr. Katz, I'm asking you. You keep looking at him, but I'm asking you.

Ira Katz: Thank you for asking. In response to a question from Mr. Mitchell in the December 12th hearing, I and my colleague, Dr. Fred Blow, who accompanied me to the hearing, did mention the eighteen a day for suicides among all veterans. We mentioned the four-to-five a day of suicides among those we cared for in VHA health care services. When I asked him to, Dr. Blow mentioned the fact that overall veterans had a rate suicide of about 1.5 times that of age and sex matched individuals from the general population and he mentioned the fact that among women the ratio of suicide among veterans in our system to the general population was about two. That was mentioned in the hearing on December 12th. There was no cover up. This was mentioned --

Bob Filner: Did you not, did you not say -- and we saw the clips -- did you not say that CBS data was wrong?

Ira Katz: I was not referring to the entire data but the subset of data dealing with the youngest of veterans.

Bob Filner: (chuckeling) So the "Mission Accomplished" should have said "Mission Accomplished Only By Those Sailors Who Are Aboard This Ship In Those Two Days"? We didn't see the fine print? We asked you several times and you said several times that the CBS data was wrong and you never made any qualification of that as far as I can remember. Your story was 'they were wrong.' And you didn't need any help either to deal with this issue. Is that right? You were fine. Why do you keep looking at him? I'm asking you.

Ira Katz: Sir, I did speak about the suicide rates among veterans on December 12th and I continue to have concerns about the CBS reports about rates and standard mortality ratio or ratios among the youngest veterans. I wish they would present their data so we could review it.

Bob Filner: Yeah but you're in charge. They're just reporting. They asked for all of this data and you never gave it to them so they spent six months tryng to find stuff that, Dr. Peake, you said 'We don't have as the VA.' Well they went out and found it. So I assume someone can go out and find it if you thought it was important enough.

James Peake: Mr. Chairman, if I may, I don't disagree with your premise that somebody should be able to go out and find it. We -- they did not provide it to us. Even though we asked so we have now gone out and asked for the same information and I'm very anxious to see what actually came back. We, as I tried to explain, we are using the data from the national sources which is the gold standard that any responsible uhm statistician would be able to use for this. I will tell you that I am worried that suicide in general in this nation is under-reported. Not just in the military. Not just in the VA --

Bob Filner: Well don't start that red herring. We're talking about veterans right now so don't tell me 'well the whole of society is screwed up.' We're going to do this job. On the December 12th data, you don't see any difference, Dr. Katz, between what you told us then and what you said a few days later? You say your consistent?

Ira Katz: Again, the issue is the eighteen a day, the four to five a day, the ratios of 1.5 and 2.0 and those were provided at the December 12th hearing in response to a question by Mr. Mitchell.

Bob Filner: Let me ask on the February 13th e-mails. As we read them, I mean, first you say in one of them "Sh!" -- what did you mean by that, by the way?

Ira Katz: That was very unfortunate.

Bob Filner: Yes, it was.

Ira Katz: I think the e-mail has to be divided into the subject line and the content. I deeply regret the subject line. It was an error and I apologize for that. However, the content of the e-mail, the body of the e-mail, reflects an appropriate and healthy dialogue among members of VA staff about when it's appropriate to disclose and make public information early in the process of developing --

Bob Filner: No, no, an appropriate thing would say 'We're not sure this data . . . We'll study it further. Maybe we should inform the committee." But what you say, "Is this something we should carefully address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?" I mean, that's what you're concerned about, not the suicides, but someone stumbling upon this data.

Ira Katz: No, sir. I'm concerned about saving lives.

Bob Filner: Well but that's not what you suggest here [in the e-mail]

Ira Katz: Sir, that e-mail was in poor tone but the content was a dialogue about what we should do with new information.

Bob Filner: And did you tell Dr. Peake about all of this? About the new data or what this 1000 attempts per day --

Ira Katz: The purpose of that e-mail was to open extensive dialogue within VHA about this emerging data.

Bob Filner: I mean, did you tell Dr. Peake about that, you were showing 1,000 suicide attempts per month?

Ira Katz: I reported it to VHA senior leadership.

Bob Filner: That's not what we have in the e-mails. We just have you talking to the PR guy.

Ira Katz: We were opening a dialogue about what to do with the new information.

Bob Filner: Yeah and the first thing you do is talk to your public relations guy instead of somebody who might know something about how to treat suicide? I mean it seems to me that what you are trying to do is manage the data and not deal with the data.

Ira Katz: Sir, there's been extensive conversation about this with other suicide and mental health people.

Bob Filner: I'm sorry, I didn't --

Ira Katz: There's extensive conversation about the thousand a month with uh-uh other people --

Bob Filner: Not in any information that we have.

Ira Katz: Not in that e-mail, no.

Bob Filner: So you would think that you would tell us about it since we have obviously a concern about it. We're the -- we're the ones that can help get you the money to deal with the issue. It looks to me -- and all I have is what you provided to the court by discovery motions which I assume is as complete as you wanted to be and if you gave us more complete stuff than you probably didn't give enough to the original discovery -- but that your interest is in managing the data as opposed to helping the veteran.

Ira Katz: Sir, earlier at the court in the same hearing I testified under oath about the thousand a month and about knowing about that number was so very important cause that pointed to a thousand people a month where we really could do something to dramatically decrease.

Bob Filner: Why didn't you just write us a letter or come to a meeting or brief us? I mean instead of this kind of managing the data, why didn't you just talk to us about it and say 'We're on it. We're serious. We care about it. We want you to know about it. And we need this much more money or not to do something about it'?

Ira Katz: Dr. Peake spoke to the fact that this wasn't data yet. These were observations in measurements --

Bob Filner: When do you expect that to be real data? Another year? After your term is over? Or what? I mean, it looks like this would never have come to our attention unless there was a court case with discovery. You had never had any intention of talking to us, dealing with the data in an open way, but you were trying to manage it from inside. And who knows when we would have heard about it? Both that court case that got the data and the news media that is looking at this has done a far better job than you have in keeping us informed. I would say.

The court case being referred to started in April. Click here for Bob Egelko (San Francisco Chronicle) reporting on the opening day (text) and here for audio of Aimee Allsion and Aaron Glantz KPFA live coverage from April 22nd. Register that the VA knew what they were turning over in the court case and had ample time to contact Congress in the many weeks (months) since the Feb. 12th e-mails. They did not do so. As Filner noted, the issue was management of the p.r., not assisting veterans.

We may return to the hearing in a later snapshot this week. Again, it did not get the attention it should have. Turning to Iraq, where the assault on Sadr City continues. Alissa J. Rubin (New York Times) reports, "Families have begun to leave Sadr City over the past several days, trickling into the grounds of a sports stadium in Baladiat, which is on the western edge of Sadr City. The families, who lived near the front lines of the fighting and the wall being built by the American military to partition the neighborhood, said they had fled because their children were terrified of the bombing. As many as 1,500 families are expected to go to the area in the next few days, said Abu Wa'il, the informal mayor of the refugees who live in the area." Meanwhile Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) traces the ever changing position of the US with regards to Moqtada al-Sadr whom currently the US military brass avoids distinguishing from "the militia in and around Sadr City" and, although dropping the honorific "sayyid" title recently, "the military still insists that Sadr's Mahdi Army is not its main problem, saying it is 'special groups' that have broken away from Sadr's control." At the paper's blog (Baghdad & Beyond), Sumsan elaborates more explaining that the US military had shifted to JAM to refer to them but today "it is difficult to get the military to even utter the word Mahdi Army, much less JAM, during news brieifins. Instead, when discussing the ongoing fighting with militiamen in Shiite neighborhoods, they refer to 'criminal gangs' or 'thugs.' They insist that Sadr's fighters are not being targeted in the fighting that has raged in his stronghold, Sadr City, since Iraqi forces backed by U.S. troops launched an offensive against militias -- er, criminal gangs and thugs -- in March." NPR's Day to Day reported today that the Sadr City death toll "has reached more than 1,000" and Tom Bowman explained that "Jalal Talabani, he's the president of Iraq, he sent a letter to Parliament basically saying, let's try to come up with a truce here and one of his suggestions is for the fighters to turn in their medium and heavy weapons. Also he's proposing an amnesty for those who have not killed either Iraqi or American forces." Left unstated was why anyone in Sadr City needs an amnesty? Think about it, Talabani's amnesy does not include anyone who has killed either Iraq or American forces. So who needs an amnesty? Apparently the residents of Sadr City because they have been targeted by the militaries of two countries (the US and Iraq) and they are a civilian population. Apparently Iraqi civilians need to be granted amnesty by Talabani and, until they are, they are all 'worthy' targets.

Turning to some of today's reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad stick bombing wounded three people, another wounded one person and a Mosul bombing "flattened a policeman's house". Reuters notes a Mussayab oil pipeling bombng that wounded four guards.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports an armed clash in Nineveh resulted in the deaths of 2 Iraqi soldiers. Reuters notes 1 Iraqi military officer shot dead in al-Numaniya outside his home.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 5 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

Today the US military announced: "A Multi-National Force -- West Soldier was killed in action against an enemy force while on patrol in Anbar Province May 6." This follows the announcement made late yesterday: "A Multi-National Division -- North soldier was killed from wounds sustained in an insurgent attack against the soldier's patrol in Ninewah Province May 6. One soldier was also wounded in the attack and was taken to a Coalition force hospital for treatment." The announcements brings the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4073.

In other news, Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Iraq's puppet government is no longer willing to play the matchmaker for the US and Iran and quotes Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari declaring, "We believe the conditions should be conducive. In the atmosphere of media attacks . . . and the lack of trust and confidence, I don't think we will succeed in having the fourth round." Meanwhile IRIN reports, "The Iraqi authorities in the self-ruled northern region of Kurdistan are gearing up to face a possible cholera outbreak which last year affected nearly 4,200 people, and caused the deaths of 24 nationwide, a local official said on 6 May."

Turning to US politics. 1972's BIG FAILURE George McGovern -- who stabbed women in the back at the Miami Convention -- wasn't content with undercutting Hillary Clinton's historic run while chatting with Movement types on Democracy Now! back in March, he's now come out and endorsed Barack Obama. The tired, old, sexist fool has switched from Hillary to Barack. So let's revisit the March 11th broadcast of Democracy Now! but since we don't link to trash, we won't link to the program. Ava and I noted it in real time:

For those not old enough to remember, McGovern can't stand up. Never has been able to and many women suffer the war wounds from Miami 1972 to this day when he demonstrated just how craven he could be.So there was McGovern, who endorsed Hillary Clinton for the presidential nomination of the Democratic Party, gushing over Barack. He would offer excuses that he endorsed early ("Well, I endorsed Hillary last October"). He would say he only endorsed out of friendship. He would claim he couldn't take back an endorsement. In fact, that exchange ran like this:GEORGE McGOVERN: I would stay with Hillary. I don't change my mind on things like this in the middle of the battle. I made the decision to back her, and I'll stay with her. I don't want to be jumping around from one candidate to another. And as I said, we've got two excellent candidates here, both well qualified. And I'll be out campaigning for whichever one wins. Am I ducking your question? Yes. AMY GOODMAN: Why? GEORGE McGOVERN: Because I want to stay with the person I chose six months ago. "I would stay with Hillary," Liar and Loser McGovern declared. "I don't want to be jumping around from one candidate to another." If today's stab in the back surprises you, you never heard the truth about Miami (Amy Goodman certainly never told it) or McGovern's long list of back stabbing moves which most publicly included throwing Thomas Eagleton under the bus after stating he would stand by his running mate. McGovern couldn't stand up in 1972 and he can't stand up today as he zooms closer and closer to 90. What is he? A loser. His margins in the popular vote (he got 38%) would probably echo Barack's should Barack become the nominee. In the Electoral College he got 17 votes and, again, that will probably echo Barack's total should he become the nominee. Most importantly, the loser McGovern getting the nomination created "Democrats For Nixon" and don't be surprised, should McGovern's choice of the moment (Barack) get the nomination if you don't see "Democrats For McCain."

Yesterday Indiana and North Carolina held primaries. Lauren Lafaro (Politcker) shows more sense than most of her peers: "Now that Sens. Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton have split Indiana and North Carolina, Oregon can be assured that it will receive attention." And that's the reality. One state was won by each. But it's time for all the fringe elements (some of whom are Democrats and many of whom are not) to begin their cry of "Hillary must drop out!" yet again. The candidate just won Indiana. There's no reason to drop out. Neither candidate will end the primary races with enough delegates awarded to have a lock on the nomination. Hillary states: "Today, in every way that I know how, I am expressing my personal determination to keep forging forward in this campaign." That's a fighter. And the campaign's working in West Virginia on getting out the vote which includes dairy farmers Ed King and Roxaina Hurlburt giving their time to the campaign, traveling from their homes in New York, to explain why Hillary's the candidate for farmers and for all Americans. Meanwhile the faux candidate Barack had a faux event and Uppity Woman (No Quarter) provides the photos