hillary for the supreme court!

I cannot believe Hillary Clinton is a serious candidate for Supreme Court
Justice. First, she's having too much fun jetting around the world and using her influence where she wields the most clout: in international circles. Second, if she accepted a nomination to the Supreme Court, that'd be a sure sign she's never planning to run for president again. And few in Washington are convinced that is the case.

that's from bonnie erbe's 'Souter Retiring from Supreme Court, But Justice Hillary Clinton Seems Unlikely' (u.s. news & world reports) and i think hillary should be on the court.

i also think the reasoning bonnie's offering is pretty lame. that may be hillary's reasoning. if it is, it's lame.

in 2012, hillary could run for president. she could even get the nomination.

but for her to do that, the country would have had to see through barack.

if they did that, do you really expect them to elect a democrat?

now if she remained v.p. through 2016 (meaning barack got re-elected in 2012) or if barack lost in 2012 and she was out of the white house but running in 2016, that's a long way off.

and maybe she'd wait for it.

maybe she wouldn't.

but president is iffy.

(i think she'd be a wonderful president. i'm referring to how difficult the country demonstrated they would make it for any woman running for president or vice president.)

supreme court justice?

she should consider going for this.

bill's never been 1.

her parents have been 1.

in fact, only 2 women have been u.s. supreme court justices so far.

hillary's an outstanding attorney and she's be a huge boost to the supreme court.

she would be confirmed with no problem - and all nominees can't claim that.

(she'd be confirmed with no problem? even if repubes tried to stand in her way, enough of them would vote for her to honor the custom that the senate votes for their own when they are up for nominated posts.)

she'd be having a huge impact and leaving a historical mark.

i know she loves the travel right now, it's obvious in the townhalls she does with people that she loves being in their country and getting to meet them.

but she also loves her kid. and chelsea's going to be settling down at some point probably and may consider having a family. as a surpreme court justice, she'd be better positioned to spend some grandparent time.

and best of all, the job comes with an end of day.

hillary as a senator and as secretary of state doesn't get that.

she's always working today like she was in the senate.

but as a surpreme court judge, they only consider taking cases for a limited time, they only hear cases for a limited time and then they release the opinions they write.

it is not a year-round job.

now she can travel with that job, the way ruth bader ginsberg does.

she can work on international issues and all sorts of things.

but i would assume the selling point would be (a) easier to be close to your daughter and (b) it has a five-o'clock-go-home element to it.

so i say, nominate hillary for the court.

i really think she'd make a wonderful supreme court justice.


let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Friday, May 1, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces multiple deaths, Steven Green's War Crimes trial continues, Iraqi refugees see little progress, and more.
Monday July 3, 2006, Sandra Lupien broke the news listeners of KPFA's The Morning Show, "Steven Green who is discharged from the army was arrested in recent days in North Carolina and faces criminal charges in connection with the killings." It's the fourth news break of that day's broadcast and Steven D. Green is currently and finally on trial in Kentucky. From the July 2, 2006 snapshot: "Lupien also noted the arrest of Steven D. Green. Green, is 21 and was with the 101st Airborne Division of the US Army. Friday, in Asheville, North Carolina, he was arrested and charged with both the four deaths as well as the rape. According to the US government press release, if convicted on the charge of murder, 'the maximum statutory penalty . . . is death' while, if convicted on the charge of rape, 'the maxmium statutory penalty for the rape is life in prison'."
November 2, 2006, the US Justice Dept announced Green had been indicted: "A former Ft. Campbell soldier has been charged with various crimes for conduct including premeditated murder based on the alleged rape of an Iraqi girl and the deaths of the girl and members of her family, Assistant Attorney General Alice S. Fisher of the Criminal Division and U.S. Attorney David L. Huber of the Western District of Kentucky announced today. Steven D. Green, 21, was charged in the indictment returned today by a federal grand jury in Louisville, Ky., with conduct that would constitute conspiracy to commit murder, conspiracy to commit aggravated sexual abuse, premeditated murder, murder in perpetration of aggravated sexual abuse, aggravated sexual abuse on a person less than 16 years of age, use of firearms during the commission of violent crimes and obstruction of justice. The potential statutory penalties for conviction of these offenses ranges from a term of years to life in prison to death."
March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, was gang-raped by two US soldiers while a third shot her parents and five-year-old sister dead. The third soldier, Steven D. Green, then joined the the other two soldiers and took part in the gang-rape before shooting Abeer dead and then attempting to set her body on fire. Though four US soldiers are already serving time for the War Crimes, and were tried in military court, another is on trial in a fedearl court. The United States District Court Western District of Kentucky is the location of the ongoing trial of Steven D. Green who has been described as the "ringleader" and fingered as the one who killed all four, a participant in the gang-rape of Abeer and the one who thought up the criminal conspiracy. Green's attorneys do not dispute it but ask that the 'context' of his actions be considered. The trial began Monday.
Among those offering testimony yesterday were Jesse Spielman and James Barker. Barker was tried in a military court and entered a guilty plea. Barker's testimony followed a court order after Acting United States Attorney for the Western District of Kentucky Candace G. Hill filed a motion which Judge Thomas B. Russell signed off on and it included: "No testimony or other information compelled under this Order (or any information directly or indirectly derived from such testimony or other information) may be used against James Paul Barker in any criminal case, except a prosecution for perjury, giving a false statement, or otherwise failing to comply with this Order." Wednesday, Anthony Yribe testified and Hill also filed a motion to compell his testimony (which Judge Russell also signed off on). Paul Cortez also confessed to his part in the War Crimes and was sentenced by a military court. Hill has also had to file a motion to compell his testimony (which Judge Russel has signed off on). Cortez has yet to testify.

Jesse Speilman testified yesterday and was not under court-order. Brett Barrouquere (AP) quotes Speilman stating on the witness stand that he wasn't aware what the plan was when he joined Green and other soldiers: "I knew we were going to do something. We'd gone and roughed people up before. It's not all that uncomon."

As Marcia observed last night:

But grasp that he says, "We'd gone and roughed people up before. It's not all that uncommon."
The gang-rape and the murders was apparently uncommon; however, the roughing up of Iraqis, the sneaking off base to rough up Iraqis at night was "not all that uncommon."
It's a real damn shame so little of the country gives a damn about the March 2006 War Crimes or the trial going on right now because a lot is being learned.

Steven D. Green received his GED in 2003 and joined the military in February 2005, shortly after his January 31st arrest. He entered the military on a 'moral' waiver and he was discharged May 16, 2006.
Also testifying yesterday was FBI agent Stewart Kelly. Evan Bright is reporting on the trial at his blog. Bright reports Kelly testified that Green told him he "knew you guys were coming" and "looks like I'll be spending the rest of my life in prison" after his arrest. Of Spielman's testimony yesterday, Evan Bright reports:
After the lunch recess, Spielman described entering the house and keeping watch while Barker and Cortez separated 14-year-old Abeer from her family. He agreed to hearing three gunshots and that, after asking Green if everything was okay, Green replied "everything's fine", before letting him see the bodies of Qasim, Fakrhiya, and Hadeel. He said he knew they were dead because there was "blood scattered on the wall & part of the father's cranium was missing." Accordingly, Spielman walked out of that room and witnessed the rape of Abeer. The prosecution lent the model of the Al-Janabi house to Spielman for better clarification of the events and how they happened. When an M14 shotgun was brought out for demonstrative purposes, the court enjoyed a moment of humor as Marisa Ford, holding the weapon, declared "Judge, these have all been rendered safe but since I clearly have no clue what I'm doing," "and you're pointing it at me," (D)Wendelsdorf added. Spielman was confused, "I didn't really know what to do," he said, "It was an unsafe area and three out of my four squad members were involved so I couldn't leave and run back to TCP2." He testified to seeing Green unbuttoning his pants and getting down between Abeer's legs and raping her, after which he took a pillow and put it over Abeer's head and fired an AK47 into the pillow, killing her. At this, the defendant was spotted looking down. He then watched Barker pour a liquid onto her body. While her body was burning, he added clothes and blankets to fuel the flames, "to destroy evidence," he said.
He continued, describing Cortez & Barker washing their chests and genitalia back at TCP2, and how he himself threw the AK47 into the canal. When asked why he didn't turn his squad members in, he "didn't feel right, telling on people [he] served with." He was also fearful of retaliation from his fellow troops.
Evan Bright is in the courtroom and reporting. Considering all the media silence, ALL THE MEDIA SILENCE, that alone is amazing. When you grasp that Evan Bright is an 18-year-old high school student, it's even more amazing. We'll have an interview with Evan Bright Sunday at Third. Of Yribe's testimony Wednesday, Evan Bright reports:
Yribe spoke of Green's "confession" to the crimes, and of Specialist James Barker's hearing the confession but saying nothing, something that the Defense would later play upon. As he spoke of his realization that Spc. Green was telling the truth, Def. Green anxiously bit his nails.
When attorneys asked Yribe why he didn't turn Green in, Yribe murmured, "It was kind of….out of sight out of mind? I didn't understand the gravity of the situation."
During his cross-examination, Yribe was, for the most part, accepting and cooperative. As previously mentioned, Yribe was questioned on Barker's presence during Green's "confession" to the murder. The defense made light of Green's confessing that he and he alone did the murders, with Barker saying nothing and confessing to nothing, even though he had every opportunity to do so. Scott Wendelsdorf(D) pondered, "Is it true that if Green had said nothing to you, these crimes would have gone unsolved?" to which Yribe confirmed.
Unless Yribe's confessing to being the company blabbermouth, he has a highly inflated sense of himself. It's also cute how Green's defense wants to talk 'context' and the 'losses' but never want to take accountability for the worst attack on the platoon, June 16th when David Babineau, Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker were murdered. But then if their deaths were on your hands maybe you wouldn't be too honest either?
They died apparently as a result of what was done to Abeer and her family. That is the claim of their assailants. So Green and company might want to try taking a little accountability for their actions. As for Yribe's claim that the crimes would have gone unsolved if Green hadn't spoken to him? Lie. Yribe did confess to Justin Watt but so did Bryan Howard. When Babineau was murdered and Menchaca and Tuker were missing, Watt came foward with what Howard and Yribe were telling him and others. Justin Watt is the whistle blower who stepped forward. Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported that as far back as September 2006. From the October 15, 2008 snapshot:
When did it come to light? In June of 2006. Prior to that the crimes were committed by 'insurgents'. Gregg Zoroya (USA Today) reported on how Justin Watt (who was not part of the conspiracy) came forward with what he had been hearing. This was while US soldiers Kristian Menchaca and Thomas Tucker were missing and, though the two were not involved in the war crimes, they were the ones chosen for 'punishment' as The Sunday Telegraph revealed in December 2006. Mechaca and Tucker get no special requests to the court. Like Abeer, they're dead. Like Abeer, they were guilty of no crime.
Brett Barrouquere (AP) who has been on the story for close to three years now reports that today saw James Barker continue testifying and that Paul Cortez alos testified. As they did in military courts, they repeated their own involvement in the War Crimes and described Steven Green's role. Barrouquere quotes Barker reflecting on his crimes to the court, "I should have had more sense than that. It was against everything, how I felt, how I was raised. In a way, it was barbaric."
This morning the US military announced: "AL ANBAR PROVINCE, Iraq – Two Marines and one sailor were killed while conducting combat operations against enemy forces here April 30. The names of the service members are being withheld pending next-of-kin notification and release by the Department of Defense." The announcement brings to 4281 the number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war. CNN observes that April is the deadliest month for US service members in Iraq so far this year, "In April, 18 U.S. troops died in Iraq, according to a CNN count of reported troop fatalities. Sixteen of those troops died in combat." 18 is the current total but it is not uncommon for an announcement or two to surface a few days after the start of the month -- meaning 18 may or may not be the final count for April. Steven Lee Myers (New York Times) observes, "Anbar is an overwhelmingly Sunni province that was the center of the insurgency in Iraq until tribal leaders joined forces with the American military and Iraqi government against Al Qaeda in Mesopotamia and other extremists in 2006 and 2007. Since then the province has been one of the more stable in the country." Ernesto Londono (Washington Post) provides this context: "The spike in American casualties coincides with a rise in civilian deaths. They come as the U.S. military is retrenching from urban areas, leaving Iraqi security forces in the lead, and as insurgents are stepping up attacks designed to discredit the Iraqi government and the U.S. military." Of the increased violence, Dahr Jamail (at CounterCurrents) explains, "The floodgates of hell have once again been opened, largely as the result of US unwillingness to pressure the Maliki government to back off its ongoing attacks against the US-created Sahwa, which have led to the Sahwa walking off their security posts in many areas, which has been a green light for al-Qaeda to resume its operations in Iraq. In addition, many of the Sahwa forces, weary of not being paid promised wages from the government, as well as broken promises by the occupiers of their country, have resumed attacks against US forces. Again, there doesn't appear to be anything in the short term to indicate these trends will stop."
In other reported violence today . . .
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Mosul "suicide bomber" who took his own life and the lives of 6 others.
Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a US home invasion in Tikrit early this morning (one a.m.) in which 2 people were killed: Emad Sleman al Sharqi and Arkan Maseer al Sharqi. Tim Cocks (Reuters) reports 1 police officer was shot dead in Mosul and 1 "bodyguard of a Kurdish politician" was as well.
Cocks also notes that Maj Gen David Perkins declared at a Baghdad press briefing today that US forces might miss the June 30th departure date on Iraqi cities when it comes to Mosul. That date was not supposed to float in the air. Allegedly the treaty masquerading as a Status Of Forces Agreement ruled/demanded that US troops leave ALL Iraqi cities by June 30th. But the treaty was never the 'binding' document that the US government (past and present administrations) or the press led the people to believe. As Seumas Milne (Guardian) observes today, "Not only does it seem all US combat troops will not after all be pulling out of Iraqi cities by the end of June, but there are persistent US hints that "agreement" may be reached with the Iraqi government to stay on after the announced full withdrawal by the end of 2011. The aggressors are clearly not going to go quietly."
Meanwhile, Zeina Karam (AP) examines life for Iraqi refugees in Syria and quotes Taghrid Hadi stating, "Life here is better. My children can play outside and I know they'll come back. You never know what's going to happen there." Monday Human Rights First issued a press release which included:

Washington, DC -- Only 4,200 Iraqis with U.S. ties have made it to the United States since 2003, though at least 20,000 have applied, and the number of U.S.-affiliated Iraqis may be as high as 146,000, according to a new report issued today by a leading human rights group.

The report, Promises to the Persecuted: The Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act of 2008, issued by Human Rights First, examines implementation of this critical legislation. It finds that, despite a Congressional mandate intended to expedite Iraqi refugee processing times, only a small portion of eligible Iraqis have been granted a safe haven in the United States. Based on its findings, Human Rights First urged the Obama administration to examine this issue and clear remaining bureaucratic obstacles to fulfilling America's promise to persecuted Iraqis who worked with the United States in Iraq, as well as to their families.

"Progress has been made since the enactment of the Refugee Crisis in Iraq Act in January 2008, but it's not enough. Processing times are unacceptably long, and Iraqis seeking safety in the United States can wait a year or more for their applications to move through the system," says Human Rights First's Ruthie Epstein, who authored the report. "We pin the delays on two problems – inadequate staffing and inefficient security clearance procedures. The result is that thousands of U.S.-affiliated Iraqis are stuck in Iraq and other countries in the region, facing danger and destitution. The absence of direct access to the U.S. refugee program in Syria and Turkey, where the need is significant, exacerbates the problem."

According to the report, U.S. officials successfully established processing for U.S.-affiliated Iraqis under an administration that was reluctant to acknowledge the refugee crisis and in the face of significant logistic and security challenges. But the multi-agency programs are still plagued with procedural barriers.

"In February at Camp Lejeune, President Obama made a commitment to Iraqi refugees. He declared, rightly so, that the United States has a strategic interest and a moral responsibility to act," noted Amelia Templeton, a refugee policy analyst at Human Rights First. "His commitment should begin with a comprehensive evaluation and improvement of the programs designed to provide escape to the very Iraqis who helped the United States."

Today Seumas Milne (Guardian) observes, "The Iraq war has been a monstrous crime. Based on a false pretext, it has left hundreds of thousands dead, created more than four million refugees, unleashed an orgy of ethnic cleansing and laid waste to the broken infrastructure of a country already on its knees from 12 years of sanctions and a generation of war." Human Rights First [PDF format warning] report notes, "Only a small percentage of the 15, 627 U.S.-affiliated Iraqis who applied directly to the U.S. refugee admissions program and whose U.S. ties have been verified have actually arrived in the United States -- less than 9 percent as of April 22, 2009." The new admissions programs is for those who have assisted the US -- US news outlets, US diplomatic corps or the US military. Elisabeth Witchel (Committee to Protect Journalists) explains:
CPJ supported the legislation, which created a category known as P2 (priority 2) for direct resettlement of Iraqi refugees with U.S. affiliations, including employees of U.S.-based media. The act promised a lifeline to Iraqi journalists, among other eligible groups, who have been targeted and killed in record numbers. However, CPJ shares the concerns detailed in the HRF white paper about the lengthy delays applicants are facing throughout this process.
[. . .]

Journalists applying out of Baghdad have expressed anxiety and frustration to us with unexplained delays and lack of information available to them on the status of their cases. One translator for a major U.S. newspaper submitted her application materials 10 months ago and still has not received so much as an invitation for an interview. She did receive a notice last month requesting she resend some of her documents. She complied and received an auto reply that her case would be reviewed within 10 months. This could mean a 20-month wait before even knowing if she has been confirmed as eligible, let alone the time it takes for the multi-agency security clearance process and Department of Homeland security checks which follow. That is a long time for someone in her shoes.

Like many other journalists and Iraqis at risk for their work, she has moved five times now for her safety; she keeps her occupation secret from family and friends and says she fears discovery every day by militias that consider people who work with Americans to be traitors or spies. Then there is the chance that she will find out after the long wait that she has not been approved. A cameraman for a prominent U.S. television news program was interviewed six months after his application was submitted; he waited another four months to learn that his application was rejected and he must now apply for reconsideration.

It needs to be noted that the process may be a little slower now due to the fact that some journalists (we don't use "media worker" here, they are journalists even if they're 'only' stringers) have been accepted and decided not to leave Iraq. We'll be kind and not provide the link but it was one of the top ten US daily newspapers in the country and it reported on how various Iraqi journalists for their paper were either accepted or in the process and not sure they wanted to leave Iraq. Sahar S. Gabriel is one of the Iraqi journalists accepted via the program. She worked for the New York Times and she posts to the paper's blog since arriving in the US. In her most recent post, she observed, "On March 18, just after my arrival in the United States, four high schoolers were killed in the state of Michigan. DUI, an expression I had heard so much in TV shows and movies. Four lives ended in a reckless accident caused by a moment of irrationality. A bad decision. This was not a terrorist act or a sectarian killing. This was what is referred to as 'stuff happens,' and it happens everywhere around the world."
Other categories of Iraqi refugees have arrived in the US -- a very small number, to be sure. Susan B. Wilson (KCUR -- link is audio) reported Monday on Iraqi refugees in Missouri:
Young boy: It's so much fun to be here because it's like you feel you are in your country. You see a lot of people, you see a lot of people that understand you and people that from your country and like you talk with them and you know what they feel and they know what you feel and I think that's really special.
Susan B. Wilson: And how old are you?
Young Boy: Uh, 12.
Susan B. Wilson: And when did you come to America?
Young Boy: About one year ago
Susan B. Wilson: Oh. And what was it like to first come here?
Young Boy: It was like a challenge for me because I didn't know how to speak English so I had to like have to learn English to know how to speak English to talk with people so people can understand me and I can understand people.
Susan B. Wilson: Well you speak English so well, how did you learn?
Young Boy: I learned it from school.
Nina Berman (Mother Jones) also reported on Iraqi refugees this week and she focused on those in Dallas, Texas where she observed, "Rather than making new lives, they are facing unemployment, eviction and isolation." Berman explains, "Each refugee receives $900 from the State Department's Reception and Placement program for initial resettlement to cover housing, clothing, food and necessities for 30 to 90 days. The money is administerd by 10 resettlement agencies that typically use half of it to cover administration and logistics. . . . Beyond that, refugees can get food stamps and Medicaid for eight months, which is a decline from 36 months when the Refugee Act was passed in 1980." Yes, that is embarrassing, yes, the US government should be ashamed of itself.
A large number of the external refugees are Christians due to the targeting of them in Iraq. Monday Vatican Radio reported on the Iraqi Christians murdered in Kirkuk Sunday.
Lydia O'Kane: Two Christian homes in the Iraqi city of Kirkuk became places of violence on Sunday, leaving 2 women and a man dead. These latest attacks on the dwindling Christian community have left it frightened and also worried about fears of reprisals. The motives behind the attacks remain unclear but police in Kirkuk say the slayings appear to be an attempt by al Qaeda to spark sectarian clashes or scare away the more than 10,000 Christians remaining around the city.
Archbishop of Kirkuk Louis Sako: During the funerals, the church was full by Muslims. The governor, the mayor, the head of the police, the head of the army, the Sheiks [. . .] and also the Imans. And all of them, they condemned such attacks against innocent Christians.
Lydia O'Kane: Archbishop of Kirkuk Louis Sako who condemned the killings said he's received support from other religious denominations.
Archbishop of Kirkuk Louis Sako: After the funeral, they gave speeches about the humanity and the harmony of all the groups in the city. And also I asked Muslims, the Shia and Sunni and other ethnic groups, to be united. To be united and to protect each other in the same neighborhood. I hope that will work.
Lydia O'Kane: In light of the murders round the clock security patrols and checkpoints have been increased around Christian areas in the country including the city of Mosul which has faced the brunt of attacks including a string of bombings and execution style slayings in late 2008 blamed on Sunni insurgents. Iraq's Christians who numbered about one million in the early eighties are now estimated at about half that as families flee warfare and extremists attacks that target their churches and homes. I'm Lydia O'Kane..
Monday also saw Azzaman offered an editorial on the murders which noted, "The killing of [three] Christians in the oil-rich city of Kirkuk has sent shivers of fear in the Christian minority in the volatile northern city of Mosul. A few months ago more than a dozen Christians were killed in Mosul, forcing a big Christian exodus to surrounding villages and towns. Mosul, Iraq's second most populous city is under the control of insurgents fighting U.S. and Iraqi troops. Observers believe the city has emerged as a bastion for al-Qaeda in Iraq. Many of Mosul Christians have returned but some say they now fear for their lives." Eric Young (Christian Post Reporter) reminds, "Since 2003, hundreds of thousands of Iraqi Christians have fled to neighboring countries and some 750 Christians have been killed in Iraq, according to Archbishop Louis Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Archbishop of Kirkuk." World Magazine reports on the three funerals held in Kirkuk Monday which were attended by the province's governor Mustafa Abdulraham and presided over by Archbishop Sako whose church the three had attended: "Besides crowds of mourners, Christian clergy from across the city as well as government officials attended the service in the ethnically mixed city, which has repeatedly been forced to delay a referendum on whether it will join the Kurdish government to the north or remain part of the Baghdad administration to the south. A U.N. commission has just completed a report on the region, which sits atop most of Iraq's oil reserves. It calls for a negotiated settlement that leaves the province intact. The outcome of the dispute will go a long way toward determining whether Iraq will continue with a strong centralized government in Baghdad once U.S. forces begin their departure. Many believe the attacks are aimed at undoing current negotiations."
The US has done little (that includes the current administration) to aid Iraqi refugees. Many of the external refugees flee to neighboring countries with Jordan and Syria having the largest numbers of Iraqi refugees. Syria Today reports, "The Syrian Arab Red Crescent (SARC) and Danish embassy opened a new counseling centre for Iraqi refugees in Damascus on April 29." James Cogan (WSWS via CounterCurrents) notes, "There are 1.2 million Iraqi refugees in Syria, 500,000 in Jordan, 200,000 in other Gulf states and upwards of 50,000 in both Lebanon and Egypt. Relief agencies and charities report that after years of exile, conditions for many of the refugees are dire. Whatever money or assets they had has been spent, and in most of the host countries the Iraqis are not legally allowed to work."
In other news, Iraq War veteran and Iraq Veterans Against the War co-chair Adam Kokesh announces he's running for Congress:
Since I was first politically active, people have been encouraging me to run for Congress, including a recent effort to "draft" me to run (draftkokesh.com). We need rallying points to keep our movement invigorated and growing, and if a run for Congress from my home town of Santa Fe can serve as one, I will gladly step up. In that spirit, I am excited to announce the formation of the Kokesh for Congress Exploratory Committee.

While I am asking for your financial support in this effort, I want to make it clear that I am willing to make the personal sacrifices necessary to raise the standard of our national leadership. If elected, I will not accept the Congressional salary of approximately $170,000, but only the national average income. It is unbearable in these difficult times, for Congress to tell the American people what is best for us economically while they vote themselves another pay raise and burden our children with impossible debt. Enough is enough!

There is a temporary website up now at
kokeshforcongress.com. Please sign up and donate there as we prepare for the launch of a complete site on June 1st.

It is time once again to draw the line between patriots and loyalists. I am a patriot because I am committed to the ideals of liberty and equality this country is destined to achieve, loyal to no false authority. I know that much more than political resistance is required to achieve a paradigm shift, but we can do no wrong standing up for what we know to be morally right. Regardless of my decision, I remain eternally committed to the cause of liberty.
For more than two decades it has been a crime for an undocumented worker to hold a job in the United States. To enforce the prohibition, agents conduct immigration raids, of the kind we saw at meatpacking plants in the past few years.
Today, some suggest "softer," or more politically palatable, enforcement--a giant database of Social Security numbers (E-Verify). Employers would be able to hire only those whose numbers "verify" their legal immigration status. Workers without such "work authorization" would have to be fired.
Whether hard or soft, these measures all enforce a provision of immigration law on the books since 1986--employer sanctions--which makes it illegal for an employer to hire a worker with no legal immigration status. In reality, the law makes it a crime for an undocumented worker to have a job.
The rationale has always been that this will dry up jobs for the undocumented and discourage them from coming. Those of us who served on a United Food and Commercial Workers commission that studied Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) raids at Swift meatpacking plants across the country learned that the law has had disastrous effects on all workers. Instead of reinforcing or tweaking employer sanctions, we would be much better off if we ended them.
TV notes, Washington Week begins airing tonight on many PBS stations (check local listings) and finds Gwen sitting around the table with Spencer Hsu (Washington Post), Alexis Simendinger (National Journal), David Wessel (Wall St. Journal) and Jeff Zeleny (New York Times). Expect some easy-breezy Cover Girl makeup 'analysis' of Arlen Specter and a ton of bad jokes. (Seriously, expect a ton of bad jokes.) Also on PBS (and starts airing tonight on many PBS stations, check local listings), Bonnie Erbe sits down with Bay Buchanan, Donna Edwards, Princella Smith and Jessica Valenti to discuss this week's news on To The Contrary. And turning to broadcast TV, Sunday CBS' 60 Minutes offers:

Amazon Crude
Ecuadorians are suing oil giant Chevron, the owner of Texaco, because they say oil drilling in the Amazon jungle by Texaco polluted their fragile environment. Scott Pelley reports.
Reeducating Osama Bin Laden's Disciples
Saudi Arabia, the native country of most of the 9/11 terrorists, says it is attempting to change the mindsets of jhadists formerly loyal to Osama bin Laden through a re-education program. David Martin reports. | Watch Video
All In The Family
The Antinoris have been in the wine business for 600 years – maybe the oldest family business on earth -- reports Morley Safer, from its vineyards in Tuscany, Italy. | Watch Video
60 Minutes, Sunday, May 3, at 7 p.m. ET/PT.


do-me feminists silent on abeer - no surprise

i'm opening with a section of the snapshot:

March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, was gang-raped by two US soldiers while a third shot her parents and five-year-old sister dead before joining in the gang-rape and shooting Abeer dead after. This morning, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, "The trial of a former soldier accused in the 2006 rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and the killing of her family has begun. Steven Green is accused of being the ringleader in raping and killing fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and killing her parents and five-year-old sister. Green is being tried in a Kentucky civilian court. Three soldiers have already been sentenced to life in prison in the case." It would have been nice if Goodman could have called them War Crimes because that is what they are. But Goodman covered it. If only a headline, she did cover it and that only brings home how pathetic everyone else has been. KPFA Evening News, Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Swine Flu Morning Show (seriously, listen to the daily garbage that crap-fest has offered this week) can't be bothered. They are far from alone. At (Democratic) Women's Media Center, you can find a bad piece of fluff written by Melissa Silverstein this week about a rape . . . in movies. (We'll leave it for others to debate whether or not it's rape, I haven't seen the film, I don't see any of Seth Rogan's films for obvious reasons.) Melissa Silverstein wants you to know that this is Sexaul Assault Awareness and Prevention month and what better way for her and Women's Media Center to observe that than by getting all worked up over a film that bombed at the box office? What better way? How about covering the trial?

I'm sorry, did Kentucky outlaw women? Maybe their borders were closed? Something to do with Swine Flu? If so, I'm sure The Morning Show is, or soon will be, on it with a half-hour segment. But a border closing must be why we're getting no news on the case from Women's Media Center. Or from Feminist Wire Daily. And what about our
Mud Flap Girls? The ones who put the woah-is-me into 'do-me' feminism? The chicky-baby-boom-booms of Baby Jessica's Feministing have gone all damn week without ever noting the trial. The losers of Feministe? Not a word. And unlike when Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement, no one can claim they were too busy posting vaction pictures of themselves in bikinis for two weeks to bother cover it. Feminist Law Professors? Apparently War Crimes don't interest the gals. Melissa McEwan and her posse of useless at Shakesville? Not a damn word. But cat blogging and baby photos they have time for. Being useless they always have time for.

that's true and it's hi-larious as they used to say on what i like about you. so that's what the push-up bra set does? nothing.

and why are we not surprised?

look at big boned melissa mcewan, trying to desparetly to look 'chic' and failing so miserably so you'd think she'd want to at least be seen as informed. not her.

she's blogging about tv theme songs, i see. never mentioned abeer.

not 1 time this week.

what a useless piece of celebrity blogging cooze.


like most of the do-me types, she turns on her teevee and finds what every 1 else is talking about and then blogs on it.

over at feministing, courtney's covering rape or, rather, cheerleading nicholas kristof of the new york times for covering the topic. (apparently courtney's okay with nicky k buying a sex worker overseas.)

see the little push-up bra gals (poor flat-chested thangs) push all their brains into the bras in order to stuff them and then they have nothing to think with.

so they blog about pop culture day in and day out.

you know, junk food.

and then they think they've really accomplished something.

they ain't done nothing.

and then some.

abeer was gang-raped. and they never wrote about her this month. they never noted the trial of steven d. green. they didn't do a damn thing.

but they can blog on the tv show lost!

and they can offer cat photos.

and they can prove how useless they are.

where's today's feminist movement?

dying if the push-up bra mud flap gals have their way.

because peace is a feminist issue. because rape is wrong. because war crimes must be called out.

and when feminists shirk their duties, they really have nothing to offer, not 1 damn thing.

it's a huge disappointment.

i want to highlight something c.i. wrote back in october on abeer:

I'm not in the mood for that nonesense. We lived through in 2006 and 2007 and I'm not in the ___ mood. Abeer. Say her damn name. Abeer Qassim al-Janabi.

I'm not in the mood for this nonsense. The bulk of the press has spent the last two-years ignoring Abeer's GANG-RAPE -- not just rape, Reilly, gang-rape -- and MURDER. I'm not in the mood for cowardice or not knowing your facts or any of the garbage excuses of the past two years. Do your damn job. And as for 'speculation', try knowing what was said and when and not just spitting back out what the military whispered in your ear. Try grasping that when you have Iraqis saying this was why it happened and when you have the group saying this was why, you include it in your article.

Two soldiers confessed to their part in gang-rape. All but Steven D. Green have confessed to their part in the conspiracy. It is war crime.

Abeer didn't enlist, she didn't sign up. She was a young girl attempting to live her life. Instead Green, an adult male who damn well knew right from wrong (though he now wants to try for an insanity defense) watched her, touched her, made her uncomfortable. To the point where he parents couldn't let her to go school, couldn't let her go out in the neighborhood. She was being moved to another neighborhood. The day after her murder, she would have left the neighborhood. Her parents had already made the arrangements.

Why did she have to leave the neighborhood? Because one mile from her home was the US military checkpoint. That's where Green observed her. The checkpoint was supposed to make Iraqis safe. It failed.

Most Iraqis who die do so without Americans ever knowing their names. Ever knowing the details of their deaths. Abeer's death was a war crime. I'm not in the mood for reporters who can't say bring themselves to type up her name. Or those who want to minimize the war crime by rendering the victim invisible.

exactly and shame on every woman (especially those calling themselves feminists) who are silent as steven d. green's attorney's argue that you have to remember the 'context' of his 'actions' (war crimes). bull-f**king-s**t.

let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

Thursday, April 30, 2009. Chaos and violence continue, bombings continue throughout Iraq, Robert Gates wants money, money, money, there is no real improvement in veterans' health care in the US, Thomas E. Ricks respond to someone's Cliff Notes, England is kind-of out of Iraq (kind-of), two US soldiers testify against Steven D. Green in his War Crimes trial, Ryan Crocker says the US may be in Iraq past 2011, and more.

Tony Capaccio (Bloomberg News) reported that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates appeared before the Senate Appropriations Committee -- as did US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton -- and he asked for the 'supplemental' funding of the Iraq War and Afghanistan War (an $83.4 billion request) to be pushed through "as quickly as possible" because by the end of next month, he claims, "we will need to consider options to delay running out of funds" if the 'supplemtnal' is not approved. The money is also needed for Pakistan -- a country the US is not officially at war with but one in which the newly sworn in President Barack Obama bombed as one of his first acts of office. Don't confuse the supplemental with the money the DoD is begging for to carry out wars in fiscal year 2010. That's other money, more money. The US tax payer money which will go down the sinkhole as well. This morning US Senator Carl Levin noted that FY 2010 request at the start of the Senate Armed Services Committee which he chairs, "Most of the changes will no doubt be in the detailed budget for 2010 that we now expect next Thursday and we're also planning on Secretary Gates testifying on that detailed budget the following Thursday which is two weeks ago today." [I left shortly after that to attend a hearing on veterans. Kat has some stuff she intends to note tonight on this hearing which she attended all the way through. Tuesday the snapshot covered the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's hearing on the War Powers Resolution of 1973 and Kat shared her thoughts on the hearing here and here she shared her thoughts on last Thursday's House Armed Services Committee's Subcommittee on Disability Assistance and Memorial Affairs.]

Most likely the DoD will get all the money they have asked for and they will get with little to no oversight. Underfunded is every other area in American life including veterans health care. And the funding is only part of the problems, there is also the refusal on the part of the VA to be accountable and the refusal on the part of Congress to hold the VA accountable. This morning, US House Rep Michael Michaud declared, "We are here today to talk about the VA's progress on meeting the mental health needs of our veterans. Specifically, we will discuss issues of funding and implementation of the Mental Health Strategic Plan and the Uniform Mental Health Services Handbook." He was bringing the US Veterans' Affairs Committee's Subcommittee on Health hearing to order (
click here for his opening statement) and, before the hearing was over, everyone would learn just how little was being accomplished by the VA. The issue of the quality of health care for veterans and those serving was the topic of yesterday morning's House Armed Services Committee's Military Personnel Subcommittee hearing chaired by US House Rep Susan Davis (noted in yesterday's snapshot) as well as yesterday afternoon's US Senate Committee on Armed Services' Personnel Subcommittee hearing. We're going to jump back and forth between this morning's House Subcomittee and yesterday's Senate Subcommittee.

An the morning hearing, Adrian Atizado (Disabled American Veterans) thanked the Veterans' Affairs Subcommitee and the Congress for their "continued support" but then noted, "Nevertheless we believe much still needs to be accomplished to fulfill our obligations to those who have serious mental illness and post-deployment mental health challenges." And you have to wonder why that is?

Yesterday's Senate Armed Subcommittee hearing featured opening remarks by Chair Ben Nelson and Ranking Member Lindsey Graham. Senator Nelson noted that, "We all remember February 18, 2007. The day the first in a series of articles appeared describing problems faced by our wounded warriors receiving care in out patient status. Many of these service members who are wounded or injured in service to our nation were living in substandard facilities, were unaccounted for and were fighting there way through a bungled, adversarial administrative process to rate their disabilities. After they left DoD care, they had to start all over with the VA and many fell through the cracks in the transition. And as a result of these articles and various reports on wounded warriors transition policies and programs, Congress passed the Wounded Warriors Act which was incorporated into the Fiscal Year 2008 National Defense Authorization Act. The Wounded Warrior Act, among many other things, required the Department of Defense and the Department of Veterans Affairs to work jointly to implement a comprehensive set of policies to improve the care, management and transition of recovering, wounded, ill and injured service members."

The February 18, 2007 article Nelson was referring to was Dana Priest and Anne Hull's "
The Other Walter Reed" (Washington Post) -- click here for the Post's Walter Reed articles and Priest, Hull and photographer Michel du Cille won the Pulitzer for their coverage. Senator Graham noted in his opening remarks, "People care a lot. There's a lot of bureaucracy out there that cares a lot, we've just go to get it focused on doing the best job it can." That was only underscored this morning in an exchange during the final panel as US House Rep Jerry Moran asked the VA's Dept Chief Consultant from the Office of Mental Health Services about something that should have been implemented some time ago.

US House Rep Jerry Moran: The question is, it's been nearly two-and-a-half years since the Veterans Benefits, Health Care and Information Technology Act of 2006 was signed into law. The legislation added licensed marriage and family therapists, MFTS, and licensed professional mental health counselors, LPC, to the list of eligible VA health care providers. I thought at the time that they would provide -- this would be a great opportunity for the VA to expand its ability to meet the needs of veterans and have championed this cause but, two-and-a-half years later, I've seen little evidence that the VA has actually implemented the law. Is there an explanation? A justifable explanation for the delay or am I misunderstood -- understand the situation?

Dr. Amptmette Zeiss: Well we welcome the question. We welcome the question. At this point, we have met extensively with the professional organizations that represent both licensed professional counselors and marriage and family therapists through our office in mental health and have been very impressed with the potential to add these professionals to the team that would serve veterans. The -- the issues are with Human Resources. The law also stated very clearly that new titled -- hybrid titled 38 job series needed to be created for each of these, that they were not -- the law did not allow them to enter through the mechanism of other existing series. So there are a number of licensed professional counselors and marriage and family therapists who work in VA under other series and that has continued to increase and we look forward, as you do, to HR reaching the point of having the qualification standards developed and having the hybrid title 38 job series in place so that they can be hired directly under the auspices of their professions.

US House Rep Jerry Moran: So there's no impediment from the health care side of VA? This is what I would describe as the bureaucratic process of bringing these people onto the payroll?

Dr. Amptmette Zeiss: We do not -- yeah, we certainly support this and have tried to be very available to these organizations and to feed forward information to support the process of developing these new hybrid title 38 job series.

US House Rep Jerry Moran: Mr. Chairman, we've been through this numerous times. We've tried to add professional categories to the VA's list of appropriate providers. Chiropractors are one [example]. It is an enormous undertaking apparently and I would welcome anyone on the committee who would like to work with me to see if we can't get the VA to move in a more expeditious manner. I think this is important. While we're sitting her talking about the lack of professionals, there's an opportunity for these services to be provided and yet, because of the nature of the VA and it's credentially and accounting process, it's not happening. And I think it's not only disappointing to me, to the professionals who want to provide the services, but more important it means that there are veterans who could be served but are not because of the bureaucratic nature of the VA's process.

"Every American wants us to get this right. This has got nothing to do with party politics," Senator Graham declared yesterday with Senator Nelson agreeing "there's nothing partisan about the need for care for our men and women and their families who serve our country in so many ways." So why is it that nearly three years after something should have been implemented, it's not? Don't give that crap about Human Resources. Congress might buy it but no one else will. Congress doesn't work in the real world. They're removed from the day-to-day. Anyone working in any remotely corporate or government setting, however, damn well knows that it doesn't take a year to -- or even six months -- to write up a new classification for employees. More importantly, when you're instructed to do so by Congress, it shouldn't even take you three months to do so. Moran was polite and nice to Dr. Zeiss and he shouldn't have been. There was no reason to or to ask her to work with him on this. As the Deputy Chief Consultant, it is her job to ensure that the process is moving along and if and when it's not, she either makes it move along or she screams bloody murder to Congress to let them know it's not working. She certainly doesn't wait two-and-a-half years to bring it up -- and then only because she was asked. That's ridiculous.

But ridiculous was who else was on the panel with her this morning. Yesterday, Senator Graham was rightly noting that we should (he said "would") hold people who are supposed to be providing the care responsible for the level of care they provide. Well then explain how Ira Katz not only sat on the fourth panel but remains employed by the VA?

Exactly one year ago US Senators Daniel Akaka and Patty Murray (who both serve on the Senate Vetarans Affiars Committee, with Akaka being the Chair) were calling for Katz to be fired. Why the hell is he still employed by the VA? For those who've forgotten, you can refer to this original CBS New report, this update and
this report by CBS News' Pia Malbran which notes:

For months, CBS News has been trying to obtain veteran suicide and attempted suicide data from the VA. Earlier this year, the agency provided CBS News with data that showed there were a total of 790 suicide attempts in all of 2007 by veterans who were under the VA's care. On February 13, however, Katz sent an e-mail indicating the total number of attempts was much higher.
The e-mail was addressed to his top media advisor Everett Chasen and entitled, "Not for the CBS News Interview Request." Katz wrote: "Shh! Our suicide prevention coordinators are identifying about 1000 suicide attempts per month among veterans we see in our medical facilitates." He then asked "is this something we should (carefully) address ourselves in some sort of release before someone stumbles on it?" In another e-mail message, Katz told the VA's Under Secretary for Health, Michael Kussman, that there are "about 18 suicides per day among America's 25 million veterans." This is a figure that the VA has never made public.

And let's drop back for the
April 25, 2008 snapshot:

Thursday on the Senate floor, during a vote on the Veterans' Benefits Enhancement Act, Murray stated the following:

And just this week, we got more evidence that the Administration has been covering up the extent of the toll this war has taken on our troops. Internal e-mails that became public in a court hearing show that the VA has vastly downplayed the number of suicides and suicide attempts by veterans in the last several years. Last November, an analysis by CBS News found that over 6,200 veterans had committed suicide in 2005 -- an average of 17 a day.
When confronted, VA officials said the numbers were much lower. But according to the internal e-mails from the VA's head of Mental Health -- Dr. Ira Katz -- 6,570 veterans committed suicide in 2005 -- an average of 18 a day. The e-mails also revealed that VA officials know that another 1,000 veterans -- who are receiving care at VA medical facilities -- attempt suicide each month.
Mr. President, these numbers offer tragic evidence that our nation is failing thousands of veterans a year. And they reflect an Administration that has failed to own up to its responsibilities, and failed even to own up to the true impact of the war on its veterans.
What is most appalling to me is that this is not the first time the VA has covered up the problems facing veterans who sacrificed for our country. Time and again, the VA has told us one thing in public -- while saying something completely different in private. It is outrageous to me that VA officials would put public appearance ahead of people's lives. Yet, Mr. President, it appears that is what has happened again.
When we -- as members of Congress -- sit down to determine the resources to give the VA, we must have a true picture of the needs. And if there's a problem, we have to act. It's our duty -- and the duty of the Administration -- to care for veterans. By covering up the true extent of that problem, the VA has hindered our ability to get those resources to the veterans who need them. That is irresponsible, and it's wrong.

Senator Daniel K. Akaka has joined Murray in calling for Ira Katz' resignation.
So why is he offering testimony to Congress this morning and why the hell should anyone believe a word he says? April 24, 2008, Senator Murray questioned the VA's deputy chief and explained, "I used to teach preschool, and when you bring up a 3-year-old and tell them they have to stop lying, they understand the consequences. The VA doesn't." And when people like Ira Katz remain in their jobs, they never will understand the consequences. The most embarrassing moment in this morning's hearing -- and there were many -- was when US House Rep Jerry McNerney declared, "Dr. Katz, I certainly want to thank you for your service to our country through our veterans." What world is he living in? In what world has Dr. Katz earned a "thank you" for his "service . . . through our veterans"? He hasn't been and what that indicates is McNerney needs to do a lot more work before showing up at hearings. That is shameful and it is offensive. The man should have been fired. Bad enough that he wasn't. But he certainly hasn't done a damn thing to warrant public praise from the Congress.

US House Rep Vic Snyder: In your statements you make reference to the need to perhaps add other employees to CBOC [Community Based Outpatined Clinic] to handle mental health issues is -- did I read your statement right?

Ira Katz: Well there's been extensive enhancements in VA mental health staffing including staffing in CBOC.

US House Rep Vic Snyder: How do you -- how do you do that when those are private contractors that have got a set amount of overhead? You can't just pick up the phone and say, 'Put on two more people.'

Ira Katz: Some clinical based -- some community based outpatient clinics are contract based. Most are VA owned and operated with federal employees.

US House Rep Vic Snyder: So you don't do that to the ones that are contract based?

Ira Katz: We're committed to enhancing services, ensuring we provide or make available the services that veterans need. Whether we provide them by VA employees, by contract or fee based or other mechanisms.

US House Rep Vic Snyder: May I just add for the record then, why don't you respond to the question: How do you do an enhancement of mental health services at a privately contracted CBOC since they have a contractual arrangement with a set overhead?

Ira Katz: I will have to take that for the record, thank you.

How typical for Ira Katz, unable to answer a question. The Office of Inspector General's Dr. Michael Sheperd (testifying on the third panel) noted, "One of the issues which we cited and which the previous panel cited is, for example, in terms of provisions of evidence based treatments for PTSD. In the absence of knowing who you've provided these treatments to, whether they've done part of these treatments, completed these treatments, whether they've opted not to pursue these treatments -- in the absence of a data system that's able to capture that, you really down the road don't know -- you don't have the structure you need to make outcome judgments in terms of evidence based therapies for PTSD." Considering Ira Katz' history and the VA's history in general on PTSD, it's very difficult to see this problem as anything but an effort to distort the 'help' being given for PTSD and make it appear far more sufficient than it actually is. Dr. Sheperd note, "We think there's a real urgent need for VA to adjust their data [. . .] to allow for what type of services were provided, not just that a service was provided." And it's a real shame that obvious point has to come from outside the VA. Dropping back to yesterday's Senate Subcommittee, many important stories were shared on the first panel which was made up of veterans and the spouses of veterans. We'll note this exchange because it does go to the huge costs that are pushed onto veterans and their families. Kimberly Noss is the wife of Scot Noss. Scot Noss was 29-years-old and serving in Afghanistan when the MH-47Chinook Helicopter he was flying in crashed February 18, 2007. Kimberly Noss was on the first panel.

Senator Kay Hagan: Dr. Noss, I have a question for you. You husband is currently, I think you said, is in Tampa, so he's still in the -- in care?

Kimberly Noss: Yes, he is. He's still in patient in Tampa, the Polytrauma Unit.

Senator Kay Hagan: And what do you -- when he -- will he leave? Will he be sent some place else? What's his long term prognosis of where he might go?

Kimberly Noss: He's going home with me.

Senator Kay Hagan: He'll be able to come home?

Kimberly Noss: Well we're going to make it where he can come home. I don't believe in putting him in a nursing facility for a long term.

Senator Kay Hagan: Well then from the standpoint of any sort of financial help to you at that point and time, what is -- what is the VA established for that?

Kimberly Noss: They do have a benefit package that Scott will receive every month and it is a substantial amount of money; however, the net income will be -- will be small because you have to take into consideration our bills that we will incur in a month. For example, I know of a family who has a quadriplegic -- he's quadriplegic and he's on a vent and because of the 24 hour having power source, the venelator, and his bed -- has a special type of bed that's hooked up to power, they're electric bill is over a thousand dollars a month. And because of that, the special care that Scott's going to have to receive because of his injuries, even though the essential amount of benefit money that will come in per month, what we're going to have to pay for bills is large so the net is going to be small.

Katz will remain in his job, the Noss family and many others will continue to struggle but Robert Gates will get every dime (of American tax payer money) he is requesting. There have been no changes in our national priorities. Bully Boy Bush has been replaced with Bully Boy Barack and any differences between the two are merely cosmetic. Last night Barack held a press conference.
Corinne Reilly and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) note Barack falsely asserted last night that "civilian deaths . . . remain very low compared to what was gong on last year." The reporters explains that "statistics kept by McClatchy show that in Baghdad alone, more than 200 people have been killed in attacks so far this month, compared with 99 last month and 46 in February, according to a McClatchy count. The last time McClatchy recorded more than 200 civilian deaths in one month in the capital was more than a year ago, in March 2008." Sam Dagher and Sudad al-Salhy (New York Times) note that throughout Iraq this month, the number of Iraqis killed thus far comes to "at least 300". Violence has been on the increase in Iraq starting in February after the latest waves of Operation Happy Talk told us January was a turned corner and peace was blooming like daises throughout Iraq. Yesterday's violence, and the pattern of last week's as well, led to a stark discussion on MSNBC Wednesday morning:

Brian Williams: [Speaking over video of the carnage from Wednesday's Baghdad bombings] We are back as part of this day long discussion of the Obama presidency this is an inextricable part of that. 41 people dead. New violence Sadr City this morning. That section of Baghdad that was in the news for so long for good reason. Seventy injuries here. As I said before the break, we are fortunate that our chief foreign correspondent Richard Engel has chosen to spend a little of his home leave with us here in New York before leaving again for Pakistan this coming Saturday. Richard's here with us in the studio. It's interesting watching you back in your home newsroom where we're all forced to communicate with you by telphone and home computer while you're away. People actually get to see you and talk to you. Invariably they say, 'Tell me what do you make of Iraq these days?' And what do you tell them? Richard Engel: I'm actually very concerned about what's going on in Iraq right now. We could be in the situation where there's the eye of the storm. Where things are quiet but it's starting to brew around the edges and it's starting to take -- to take force. The conflict in Iraq right now is at a very important turning point. It is the transition from a combat role, a war fighting role to a training role. Brian Williams: What everybody feared. Richard Engel: And the danger is that it's going to be an unclear mission for US troops. US troops are now confined mostly to their bases. What's going to happen in June is that they will legally be confined to their bases in most Iraqi cities and will only be able to operate with a warrant. Now we're seeing the Iraqi government flexing its muscles and the prime minister of Iraq, Maliki, is threatening to prosecute some American soldiers who were involved in a mission that the Iraqis say resulted in civilian casulities. So we're entering a grey area and I think that is a troubling thing considering that you have more than 100,000 troops on the ground.

On yesterday's violence,
Sam Dagher and Sudad al-Salhy (New York Times) review some of the hypotheses floating around Iraq: Ba'athists, al Qaeda in Mesopotami and/or Americans are responsible for yesterday's Sadr City bombings. Ernesto Londoño and Qais Mizher (Washington Post) offer Iraqi MP Ahmed al-Masudi who believes it is "Sunni extremists aided by Western intelligence agencies". Saif Hameed and Liz Sly (Los Angeles Times) quote Adnan Dawood who was wounded in the Sadr City bombings who asks, "How is this possible? There are three entrances to Sadr City and all are overseen by army checkpoints. What is the army dong? Are they there for only oppressing and arresting people?" And they quote eye witness Sabah Mohammed stating, "The army is not playing its role. When the army first came to Sadr City, I was happy, but now all they care about is hitting on girls and women. They don't inspect incoming cars. They only inspect them if there are women inside." Joel Brinkley (McClatchy Newspapers) sees puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki as as bearing the "primary resposibility for the violence" due to the fact that he's done very little for Iraq as a whole but a great deal for his own greedy ass: "His primary golas in office have been to protect the nation's Shiite citizens while also enriching himself and his aides. On his watch, Iraq's government has grown to be one of the two or three most corrupt on Earth." The violence continues today . . .


Laith Hammoudi and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report four Baghdad roadside bombings which left a total of thirteen people injured, a Mosul roadside bombing which left two people wounded and three Mosul roadside bombings last night which left eight people injured.


Laith Hammoudi and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report 1 Iraqi soldiers hot dead in Mosul and a KDP (Kurdistan Democratic Party) guard was shot dead in Mosul.


Laith Hammoudi and Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) report 3 corpses discovered in Tal Afar.

The plan was to cover Iraqi refugees today. There is no room for it. The topic will be covered in Friday's snapshot, my apologies.

March 12, 2006, Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi, a 14-year-old Iraqi girl, was gang-raped by two US soldiers while a third shot her parents and five-year-old sister dead before joining in the gang-rape and shooting Abeer dead after. This morning, Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) noted, "The trial of a former soldier accused in the 2006 rape and murder of an Iraqi teenager and the killing of her family has begun. Steven Green is accused of being the ringleader in raping and killing fourteen-year-old Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi and killing her parents and five-year-old sister. Green is being tried in a Kentucky civilian court. Three soldiers have already been sentenced to life in prison in the case." It would have been nice if Goodman could have called them War Crimes because that is what they are. But Goodman covered it. If only a headline, she did cover it and that only brings home how pathetic everyone else has been. KPFA Evening News, Free Speech Radio News and The KPFA Swine Flu Morning Show (seriously, listen to the daily garbage that crap-fest has offered this week) can't be bothered. They are far from alone. At (Democratic) Women's Media Center, you can find a bad piece of fluff written by Melissa Silverstein this week about a rape . . . in movies. (We'll leave it for others to debate whether or not it's rape, I haven't seen the film, I don't see any of Seth Rogan's films for obvious reasons.) Melissa Silverstein wants you to know that this is Sexaul Assault Awareness and Prevention month and what better way for her and Women's Media Center to observe that than by getting all worked up over a film that bombed at the box office? What better way? How about covering the trial?

I'm sorry, did Kentucky outlaw women? Maybe their borders were closed? Something to do with Swine Flu? If so, I'm sure The Morning Show is, or soon will be, on it with a half-hour segment. But a border closing must be why we're getting no news on the case from Women's Media Center. Or from Feminist Wire Daily. And what about our
Mud Flap Girls? The ones who put the woah-is-me into 'do-me' feminism? The chicky-baby-boom-booms of Baby Jessica's Feministing have gone all damn week without ever noting the trial. The losers of Feministe? Not a word. And unlike when Sandra Day O'Connor announced her retirement, no one can claim they were too busy posting vaction pictures of themselves in bikinis for two weeks to bother cover it. Feminist Law Professors? Apparently War Crimes don't interest the gals. Melissa McEwan and her posse of useless at Shakesville? Not a damn word. But cat blogging and baby photos they have time for. Being useless they always have time for.

Paul Cortez and James Barker were tried in military courts and entered pleas of guilty. Jesse Spielman was convicted in a military court of mutliple charges (rape, intent to rape, felony murder, etc.). Brian L. Howard entered a guilty plea to being an accessory. Yesterday Anthony Yribe offered testimony. Iran's Press TV reports Yribe stated that Steven Green had bragged of the War Crimes to him not once but twice "hours after the March 12, 2006 attack and again the next day."
Press TV notes: "Also on Wednesday, jurors saw photos taken by Yribe hours after the attack. The photos showed a mother, father and small girl lying in pools of blood with shotgun wounds. Other photos showed badly charred and barely recognizable human remains." AFP notes Yribe stated he didn't believe Green at first, "I wanted to know if he was serious or if it was just him talking. He said he was serious. He said he had done it alone. I said, 'You're dead to me, man.' I said that he needed to get out of the army and that if he didn't do it, that I was going to help him." Yribe didn't reveal the War Crimes. Asked why, he replied, "He's one of my brothers. I'm not going to tell on him. I'm half way protecting him and I half way didn't believe him . . . I don't know if I was just being naïve or what." Brett Barrouquere (AP) continues his years of coverage on this story and notes that the jury was shown photos Yribe took (as part of the military investigation) "hours after the attacks" when everyone (except those involved and Yribe) thought 'insurgents' were responsible for the crimes. Barrouquere notes, "Green sat at the defense table, rubbing his eyes, staring at Yribe and looking around the room." Today Jesse Spielman testified. AP notes that his testimony included their use of "ninja suits" and "ski masks" while executing the War Crimes. These were War Crimes and the silence among the faux feminists online goes a long way to explaining so many of the problems with the so-called third wave -- a subset who is happy to write about rape or domestic violence if they can find a film or a celebrity (Rhianna?) but can't manage to move their fat fingers across the keyboard when the victim's not going to be covered by Perez or TMZ.

England has officially ended 'combat operations' in Iraq today. So all the UK troops have been sent home! No. And it's not over for England. They've just drawn down from 4,000 to a lower number and will most likely keep at least 400 UK soldiers stationed in Iraq for five more years. The
Telegraph of London notes that 179 UK soldiers died in Iraq since the start of the illegal war (and they list all 179). James Hider (Times of London) reports on the ceremony at Basra Airport today which included the lowering of the British flag and which was attended by the UK Secretary of Defence John Hutton. CNN notes, "While Britain began closing down the combat operations in Basra, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki was in Britain for a meeting with his counterpart, Gordon Brown. The two discussed opening Iraq up to more investment opportunities." An inquiry into the illegal war has long been promised and postponed in England. The Telegraph of London notes that Conservative MP David Cameron immediately began calling for the inquiry and quotes him stating, "Now after years of foot dragging, I believe it is the time for the Government to announce a proper Franks-style inquiry. Instead of starting in many months' time, it should start right now." The paper's Thomas Harding quotes Liberal Democrat spokesperson Edward Davey dismissing the "threadbare excuses" and declaring, "Minister now owe it to the troops to talk to opposition parties about the remit for the inquiry." The paper's Damien McElroy reveals, "As it was confirmed that the government would hold an inquiry into the circumstances leading up to the war under Tony Blair's leadership, the flag was lowered on the last British combat operation in Basra after commanders handed over to an American brigade with a handshake." McElroy's source is John Hutton. Mark Deen (Bloomberg News) observes Gordon Brown, UK Prime Minister, and Nouri held a joint-press conference today where they praised 'progress' . . . from the safety of London.

And winding down with Iraq in books and speeches. First up, book notes. Thomas E. Ricks is the author of the bestseller
The Gamble: General David Petraeus and the American Military Adventure in Iraq 2006-2008. My opinion (expressed here before) it's not only a great book, it's the most important one on the war by a US author thus far. The book has been repeatedly distorted by people who apparently 'read' a book by studying the cover and asking themselves, "What do I think is inside?" Because opening a book and actually reading it is very scary. Oooooohhhh. In the April 22nd snapshot, Vijay Prashad huge distortion of the book was noted (and called out). Today Thomas E. Ricks (at Foreign Policy) notes his reaction to the gross distortions of his book which included contacting Prashad and explaining, "Your statement is flat wrong. I actually say that there is no prospect of victory in Iraq, and that we are stuck there for years to come even to reach a mediocre outcome. In addition, I also conclude that the surge failed. In fact, I don't think your comment could be written by anyone who actually has read the last 100 pages of my book." Prashad replies that his statements were his opinion. No, his opinion is Ricks wrote a good or bad book, Ricks got this or that wrong, Ricks 'wants to say . . . but won't come out and say . . .' Those are opinions. What Prashad did was completely distort the book Ricks wrote, state it concluded this and that when it never made those conclusions. On to speeches. In February, Ryan Crocker stepped down as the US Ambassador to Iraq. Martin Surridge (Walla Walla Union-Bulletin) covered a speech Crocker gave this week (Stan noted it last night) during the talk, he noted the issue of withdrawal and stated, "We will only be there as long as the Iraqi government wants us there. It's their country, will will not be the ones making their decisions." Surridge notes, "Crocker was careful to avoid long-range predictions, but expects the conflict in Iraq could extend longer than the scheduled withdrawal date, 'Who can say where we will be in 2011?' he asked. 'The landscape could change dramatically'."

the washington postdana priestanne hull
pia malbran
brett barrouquere
mcclatchy newspaperscorinne reillyhussein kadhim
sam dagherthe new york timessuadad al-salhy
msnbcrichard engelbrian williams
thomas e. ricks
damien mcelroy
thomas harding
james hider