the reason for the shambles?

this is howard wolfson's 'HUBdate: A Tribute To Dr. King' (hillaryclinton.com):

Poverty Czar: Today in her speech at the Mason Temple in Memphis, TN, paying tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in remembrance of the 40th anniversary of his assassination, Hillary announces a cabinet level position that will be solely and fully devoted to ending poverty as we know it in America.
A Tribute To Dr. King: Earlier this week, Hillary released a video inviting supporters to submit testimonials about the impact of Dr. King’s work on their lives.
View here.
On The Air: The Clinton campaign released the first 60-second television ad statewide in North Carolina inviting Tar Heel voters to submit questions. "I'm committed to hearing directly from voters across the Tar Heel State, so in this new ad, I'm asking North Carolinians to talk to me." Hillary will answer those questions in follow-up ads in the coming weeks.
Watch Here. Submit questions here.
Tonight Show: Hillary appeared on "The Tonight Show with Jay Leno" despite, Hillary joked, being "pinned down by sniper fire at the Burbank airport." Watch here. Read more.
If You Read One Thing Today: The NYT writes "Senator Barack Obama's support among Democrats nationally has softened over the last month…as voters have taken a slightly less positive view of him than they did after his burst of victories in February, according to the latest New York Times/CBS News poll." Read more.
By The Numbers: A new poll out from Research 2000 shows Hillary leading in the Hoosier State (49-46).
See the results here.
Endorsement Watch: Former Indiana Congressman John Brademas endorsed Hillary because she "has the intelligence, the integrity, and the experience to jump-start our struggling economy, create needed Hoosier jobs and put the country back on the right track."
Read more.
More Hoosiers For Hillary: Hillary received the endorsements of 21 additional mayors and four local Democratic Party leaders in Indiana. "These mayors and local leaders see up close every day the impact of our rough economy on families in their communities. They know it's going to take someone who can deliver real solutions to put our economy back on track."
Read more.
West Virginia Announcements: The campaign announced its West Virginia State Director and Communications Director. New State Director, Talley Sargent: “West Virginians have patiently waited their turn to head to the ballot box -- and now they will have their opportunity to make their vote count." Read more.
Save the Date: Hillary agreed to an April 27th debate in Raleigh, NC hosted by CBS. Read more.
On Tap In Oregon: Hillary will hold a town hall in Hillsboro and will host a rally in Eugene.
In Case You Missed It: "A key adviser to Sen. Obama's campaign is recommending in a confidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office."
Read more.

and this is a question: when will the like of pock-marked tom hayden stop defending bambi? when will they quit putting foward the lie that bambi is going to end the illegal war? most importantly, are they going to be held accountable for their non-stop lying in order to get bambi into the white house?

i hope they are held accountable. i hope all the liars are called out loudly. i hope that the next time they try to speak on anything, people remember, 'oh, that's tom hayden. he's the liar who kept saying that if you wanted to end the illegal war, you needed to vote for bambi because he would end the illegal war. that's tom hayden, and he's just a pathetic democrat who got kicked to the curb and thought he could become a player again if he could hop a wave, lie to voters and show the democratic party bosses that he was still a contender.'

tom hayden hasn't been a contender in over a decade. he will never be a contender again.

the only thing he had left was that he could be honest but honesty obviously isn't a concern of his. so he lies and then lies some more.

and expects people to believe him.

tom hayden's far from the only one and it's a long, long list of liars who've exposed just how craven they are, just how willing to lie.

the world will not forget his actions are those of self-loathing lesbian laura flanders, amy goodman, stephen zunes, and on and on it goes.

hacks for obama.

liars for obama.

i read an article about the peace movement being in shambles. it is. if you want to know why, look to the liars for obama. they've never held him accountable. it's like when john kerry GOT the nomination in 2004. only it's started before the nomination.

it's frightening how so many will sell their souls for a political candidate.

it's appalling how willingly they will engage in the most vile sexism. like laura flanders ludicrous claims that hillary only gave a speech about women's rights as 1st lady and never did anything other than that. laura flanders doesn't know her history. or at least not her american history. if she hates here so much, she's more than welcome to return to england. of course, she wouldn't be anybody in that country either.

and look at who england's produced among policital commentators. find the woman these days. you can find robert fisk and assorted men. what happens to women in england?

only in america, apparently, could laura flanders eek out a living and yet she slams american women. she slams robin morgan. maybe laura flanders really needs to go back to england.

then she could comment on a political party she actually belongs to instead of butting into democratic primaries.

of course, england's a smaller country. so once she stepped out of the closet there, she'd be out. here in america, she was able to step out of the closet and then, when the national air america radio came along, hop back into the closet.

t says she knows laura flanders' type and that you can find her at any lesbian club, trying to play 'more butch than thou'. i believe it. i believe she'd go to the masculine because she has no respect for the feminine. why would she in her family? it's all about bullying and bragging in that crazy family.

when t heard about the graffitti being posted all over san francisco, she decided to do her part and boston lesbian hot spots are now seeing 'laura flanders: gay when she wants to be.' and 'she wasn't in the closet when she's going down on me.'

of course, in england, she wouldn't have those opportunities. she'd be a woman in a society which appears to place little value on women. they did, after all, gives us the spice 'girls' (as pru pointed out last week).

so she comes to america and sees herself in a man with dual citizenship, sees herself in a man period. and she'll do anything to get him elected. even when it requires stabbing every woman she can in the back.

she's probably into some role playing in bed, heavy role playing. she probably uses a strap on and makes the woman call her 'daddy.' i could see that because she really is that sick. a woman who rejects other women rejects herself so 'self-loathing lesbian' only captures 1 part of laura flanders, there's also the 'self-loathing woman' aspect.

that's why the peace movement is in shambles, even non-democrats like laura flanders try to pass themselves off as democrats to rally around the man who won't end the illegal war.

and then you get codepink and others still pushing impeacment. they sent out an april fool's day e-mail on that which only made them look foolish.

the e-mail said that john conyers had realized he needed to call for impeachment. when you got to the end, you were told it was april's fools.

the only fools are organizations like codepink that can't grasp impeachment's not happening.

it's an election year. the dems in congress rejected it. they aren't going to waive it through now.

how much focus is there on the elections? they're trying to stop the primaries from taking place. they're trying to force hillary out of the race. even though she's got 1/2 of the voters. and the majority of the voters who are democrats.

but codepink wants to waste every 1's time still harping on impeachment. it's so sad and you honestly have to wonder if, come 2010, they're still going to be sending out e-mails asking people to work for george's impeachment?

it is april. the elections are in november. that's 7 months away. the democrats who sat on their asses in congress and refused to push for impeachment are not suddenly going to do it now.

but that's why the peace movment is in shambles. codepink's jerking off to impeachment while an illegal war drags on.

or you get medea benjamin rushing in to write about st. bhutto.

it's really disgusting. the 'leaders' of the left are the most disorganized in the world. they probably pray obama gets the nomination because it would be their sole accomplishment.

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

Friday, April 4, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the Iraqi refugee crisis continues, al-Maliki's evaluations less than glowing, Barack Obama says one thing on Iraq in public and apparently another thing in private, and more.

Starting with war resistance. War veteran
Chad Hetman writes The Daily Targum to explain, "People should be asking if ROTC instructors are teaching cadets that it is their legal duty under the Uniform Code of Military Justice to refuse and challenge unlawful orders. Since the illegal war began, only one soldier has had the sense and courage to do his duty, Lieutenant Ehren Watada. The military is supposed to be politically neutral, but not legally neutral and almost all troops never read or understand the Constitution that they blindly swear to 'Support and Defend Against ALL Enemies both Foreign And DOMESTIC'." Watada is the first officer to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq (June 2006). In February 2007, Watada was court-martialed. Judge Toilet (aka John Head) halted the court-martial in order to give the prosecution a do-over and he halted the court-martial over defense objection. Double-jeopardy should prevent Watada from being prosecuted/persecuted again; however, the US military holds out hopes of convincing a judge that the Constitution -- though members of military swear to uphold it -- does not actually apply to the military.

Weeks before the court-martial took place,
Ave Diaz and Lance Holter (Haleakala Times) spoke with Watada who shared these expectations:

I certainly expect the army to make an example out of my stand and what I'm speaking against. Certainly they want to set the example and I think it's very dangerous because the example or message they are trying to send is that when you join the military you do what you are told -- it doesn't matter what your beliefs are, you do what you are told and that is a very dangerous message to send because who wants to join the military if you are going to be forced to do (something) -- regardless of whatever you believe in your own conscience -- and I think that will lead to a mass exodus of soldiers leaving the military because of that and also it will prevent a lot of potential recruits from joining the military.

And that apparently remains the goal of the US military which refuses to discharge Watada (whose service contract ended December 2006) and holds out hopes of subverting the Constitution by court-martialing him again. Since his contract expired, Watada has reported for duty each day. He continues to do so.
Thank You Lt. Watada is calling for: "No New Court Martial! Dismiss All Charges! Release Lt. Watada with an Honorable Discharge!"

Some war resisters are attempting to be granted safe harbor in Canada. The Canadian Parliament will debate a measure this month on that issue. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, 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).

Next Tuesday, Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker begin their attempts to sell Congress -- and therefore the American people -- on the notion that "progress" exists and thrives in Iraq. In anticipation of the expected snow job, Congress has attempted to lay down some guidance this week. Most successful was
Wendesday's hearing by the US Senate's Foreign Relations Committee where retired Gen William Odom explained the escalation ("surge") didn't work, was never going to work, explained the problems with paying off thugs who are 'loyal' for coin, and much more. Thursday, the Senate Foreign Relations Committee continued to explore Iraq and US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi held a press conference on Iraq that was supposed to outline the message but instead she got sidetracked (with her travels, her candidate of choice, etc.) -- US House Rep Rahm Emanuel managed to salvage the conference.

If the snow job is blinded by realities this time, credit will go to those like
Marilou Johanek (Toledo Blade) who've shown what a working press is:

SO MUCH for Iraq's "defining moment." That's what the "Decider" called last week's Iraqi offensive against Shiite militants in Basra. It was a defining moment all right, one that underscored how worthless Iraqi's army and "unity" government are five years into the war. Interesting how muted Washington has been about the whole affair lately. Initially, the Bush Administration scrambled to put a positive spin on Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's ill-advised and ill-prepared government crackdown in the country's second largest city. Only after Iraqi security forces got a "thumpin" -- to put it in George W. Bush's vernacular -- and the prime minister, who had vowed to remain in Basra for a "decisive and final battle" against the militias, backed down after Iran brokered a cease-fire, did the administration start to disown the debacle.

And include The Villager whose editorial, "
Dems must find their spine on Iraq," spelled it out clearly: "The so-called surge is not "working" and it has nothing to do with the heightened violence last week. Even with the reduced level of violence against Americans in the last few months, we were still losing about a soldier a day. Many more troops are being severely wounded with crippling physical and mental injuries. Iraqi civilians continue to be killed in far greater numbers. The surge's intent was to prompt the Iraqis into making political compromises in order to govern themselves. Even the Bush administration admits there has been little progress on that front. How will the Iraqis ever be able to police themselves if Bush and John McCain continue to suggest we are willing to stay indefinitely -- a century, if necessary?" The assault on Basra was a War Crime. It was also a moment that revealed to the entire world that the US installed puppet Nouri al-Maliki was incompentent and unsupported by the Iraqi people.

He made ultimatums and then had to back down because he lacks the support to carry those out. This week he showed up attempting to save face after Moqtada al-Sadr's call for a stand-down (via talks between members of Iraq's parliament and Iran) brought the peace al-Maliki can never provide. He also begged for resistance fighters to return at least 50 government vehicles they had seized during the fighting -- but he calls it a 'win.' And he and his White House handlers learn nothing from the experience.
AFP reports that Thursday he was boasting of more assaults on al-Sadr's followers and repeating his talk of "outlaws" and how he doesn't make deals with him. Having yet again talked big, he got sleep and -- maybe he had scary nightmares -- showed up today with a different tune. Reuters reported this morning that he was now saying turn in weapons and everyone can get along! He'll even "grant amnesty from prosectuion"! Retuers observed, "The statement appeared to soften Maliki's position from Thursday, when at a news conference he threatened a crackdown on Sadr's strongholds in Baghdad." Meanwhile Matt Schofield (Kansas City Star) wonders, "So, we're almost five years from the day Baghdad fell, and it's time to ask: Who is in control of Iraq?"
Turning to the topic of Iraqi refugees. Tuesday the
UNHCR's Jennifer Pagonis broke down the latest figures on the internally displaced noting that "it is estimated that over 2.77 million people are currently displaced inside the country. Of these, 1.2 million were displaced before 2006 and more than 1.5 million were displaced in 2006 and 2007." Of these, "over 1 million cannot access regular income. Around 300,000 individuals have no access to clean water and are in need of legal aid to enable them to access other basic services." On external refugees, Trudy Rubin (Philadelphia Inquirer) observes, "More than two million Iraqi refugees are struggling to survive outside Iraq, the bulk of them in neighboring Jordan and Syria. . . . Jordan and Syria can't afford to keep them, but they can't go home and are running out of money. Yet the desperate plight of Iraq's refugees isn't one the president wants to highlight -- because it underlines how tenuous the situation remains in Iraq." That's putting it mildly. Relief Web notes this from the Christian Reformed Church in North America, "Early last year the U.S. government agreed to resettle 7,000 refugees by February 2008, giving preference to those at greatest risk of violence. Today, only 2,000 Iraq refugees have entered the United States, with nearly 12,000 more awaiting approval." That should read: "still waiting approval." Dropping back to the Feb. 21st snapshot:

The total number of Iraqi refugees accepted by the US in 2007 was 1,608. In the
February 5th snapshot, the US State Department's laughable press confrence was noted. It featured Homeland Security's Senior Advisor to the Secretary on Iraqi Refugee Issues Lori Scialabba, The State Dept's Deputy Assistant for Consular Affairs Tony Edson, and the Senior Coordinator on Iraqi Refugee Issues Ambassador James Folely with a lot of excuses. CNN Elise Labott and Bloomberg News' Janice Zacharia had questions (and numbers) the State Department wasn't expecting which led to such claims by Foley as the State Dept had never said it would have 7,000 settled by the 2007 fiscal year. Finally, he offered "I came on board in September" (the end of the 2007 fiscal year) and that apparently means that he can't be updated on what's come before.

The crisis is not 'new,' it's not something unexpected. It remains something the US refuses to address.
Simone Campbell (The Mountain Mail) notes, "Traveling throughout Lebanon and Syria recently with several religious sisters and staff members from Catholic Relief Services, I witnessed lives of desperation and quiet stories of hope. Our visits with Iraqi families, Christian and Muslim, humanize numbing statistics staggering in scope." She notes are:

Among them is Dovid, a gentle Christian man so traumatized by torture at the hands of a militia in Iraq that his body constantly shakes. He struggled to hold steady for a picture we took with his wife and 10 children who live crowded into one room in a poor Beirut neighborhood. There is Leila, a Shiite Muslim who had a successful career in nuclear medicine in Iraq until she and her father were threatened because they worked with a U.S. company on hospital construction. Her father sent her to safety in Lebanon; a few months later, he was executed as he walked home from his job. She is haunted by rumors her father's enemies are searching for her.

Sheryl Kornman (Tuscon Citizen) speaks with the US State Dept's Barbara Day who attempts to stamp a happy face on things like refugees "remain near their countries in refugee camps or in cities hoping to one day return to their homes." The State Dept wants them to return. It looks better for the administration if that happens. But the United Nations and the International Red Cross and Red Crescent have noted that it is not safe for them to return. Homeland Security's Barbara Strack also spins for Kornman explaining that those who have "provided any money or goods to terrorists" may get exemptions -- since the US is defining a family who pays the ransom for a family member kidnapped as having "provided any money or goods to terrorists." In the current issue of Harper's Magazine (April 2008), Deborah Campbell debunks that nonsense and other policies and attitudes preventing the Iraqi refugees from getting assistance in "Exodus: Where will Iraq go next?" (pp. 50 -56; link may only work for subscribers to the magazine). Campbell describes the crisis:The result of this societal collapse has been the largest exodus in the Middle East since the Palestinian refugee crisis of 1948. One fifth of the population have fled their homes. In addition to the 2.5 million people known to be displaced within Iraq, a further 2.5 million have left the country. Several hundred thousand have made it to Egypt, the Gulf States, Iran, Turkey or Yemen, and Jordan hosts another half million. But it is Syria that has taken on the largest burden.

She shares the stories of many Iraqi refugees in Syria such as Aisha who provides English clases for free to other Iraqis each weekend and left Iraq after being kidnapped and the ransom being $50,000 and leave Iraq immediately There's Saif who was an intelligence officer but was among the many to lose their jobs when Paul Bremer (with White House approval) disbanded the Iraqi military. A rocket attack on his home left his wife paralyzed and his days in Syria are mainly spent "feeding and bathing his wife". A daughter was killed in the attack. Another daughter badly burned with no money for reconstructive surgey and a son was kidnapped "and tortured with electric cables to the head -- now he babbled incoherently and was violent unless drugged." In Lebanaon, she meets Iraqi refugees win jail such as the man trying to get his family "to Europe on passports he had pruchased" and was now told he would only be released if he agreed to go back to Baghdad. These are among the many stories she shares and she also charts the routes of Iraq. She notes falsehoods of
The Myth of the Great Return (including that the bussed and bought featured one family that was kidnapped immediately upon arriving in Baghdad) and explains that "the plight of former U.S. employees, particularly translators, remains the sum total of the discussion of the crisis within American media and political circles. The result is that, although more than 30,000 Iraqis were resettled in the United States after the 1991 Gulf War, only 3,775 Iraqis were granted entry between the beginning of the 2003 invasion and the end of January 2008."

As the US government ignores the crisis they created, criticism also goes to the United Kingdom.
Jamie Doward (The Observer) reports that 50 Iraqi refugees were forcibly taken back to Iraq, to a 'safe' area (Irbil): "The British government claims the region is safe, but human rights campaigners warn it is becoming increasingly dangerous. It has emerged that one failed asylum seeker, Solyman Rashid, who was returned from Britain after his appeal was rejected, was killed by a car bomb in Kirkuk, northern Iraq, last September." Speaking in Amman, Jordan today, John Holmes, United Nation's Under-Secretary General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator, explained the crisis for all Iraqis and, of internally displaced ones, that that "have little or no access to proper health care, food assistance, sanitation and other services" which is why the UN has issued a call for $265 million in donations and currently is $60 million short of that figure.

UPI reports a movement in Germany's religious communities to lobby "for sancturay in the country for Iraqi Christians" and asking for "long-term asylum for 25,000 to 30,000 Christians". In the United States, David Zucchino (Los Angeles Times) reports, attorney Robert Dekelaita is attempting to do the same thing:

Over the last decade, DeKelaita has obtained asylum for hundreds of Iraqi Christians threatened with deportation. He travels the U.S. to counsel distraught, uprooted men and women who have fled religious persecution in Iraq.But each new grant of asylum leaves DeKelaita feeling conflicted; his efforts inadvertently contribute to the slow dissolution of the once-vibrant Christian community in Iraq."My heart is really wedded to the idea that they should be safe and secure in their own homeland in Iraq," DeKelaita, 45, said inside his law office in Skokie, Ill., near Chicago. "What I'm doing is temporary. That's how I justify it to myself -- that they will one day all go back home safely to their homeland."Repressed under Saddam Hussein, Iraq's Christian population has been decimated since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003. Muslim extremists have murdered priests and burned churches and Christian-owned shops and homes. Priests in Iraq estimate that fewer than 500,000 Christians remain, about a third of the number as before 2003.

Turning to some of the violence that's created the refugee crisis . . .


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports mortar attacks on the Green Zone, a Diyala Province bombing at a funeral that claimed 16 lives and left 29 wounded. CBS and AP report: "The attacker detonated an explosive vest in the midst of the mourners attending the funeral for a Sunni policeman who had been shot dead on Thursday night, said and officer who declined to be identified because he was not authorized to speak." Reuters reports a Mussayab roadside bombing claimed the lives of 3 police officers (two more wounded). Reuters also notes a US helicopter attack in Basra that had multiple "casualties" according to eyewitnesses.


Reuters reports a member of the "Awakening" Council was shot dead outside Samarra.


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

Kevin Naff (Washington Blade) reports on keeping someone in the closet even in death. Major Alan Rogers died in Iraq on Januray 27th and was buried March 14th.

But the mainstream media accounts of his death omitted any reference to his sexual orientation. These were not benign omissions. The Washington Post, in particular, worked overtime to excise any mention of Rogers' sexual orientation. It did not even report his work for AVER. Several of Rogers' gay friends told the Blade that they were interviewed by a Post reporter at the funeral, but their memories were not included in
the paper's coverage.

As offensive, possibly more, is the report
Steve Inskeep (Morning Edition) which offered such gems such as this "Rogers had no wife or child to take away the flag that draped his coffin, so soldiers folded the flag and gave it to his cousin." Rogers had no wife? Why was that? NPR worked overtime to avoid telling the truth and was selective in what they aired. Not only did the media attempt to deny who Rogers was, Chris Johnson (Washington Blade) reports someone at the Pentagon recently attempted to remove references to Rogers' sexuality from the Wikipeida entry on him.

On the topic of veterans,
US Senator Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign announces the creation of Veterans for Hillary Leadership Committee which has "21 distinguished veterans from the Keystone State" and "will spearhead the campaign's efforts to reach out to Pennsylvania's veterans and inform them about Hillary's record of fighting for the men and women who have worn our nation's uniform. Congressmen John Murtha and Joe Sestak will co-chair the committee." Serving on the committee:

Larry Babitts, Boiling Springs, US Army
Ron Byrd, Tobyhanna, US Army**
Russell Canevari, Jessup, US Army
Ed Cemic, Sr., Johnstown, US Army
Kathy Cullinane, Scranton, USAF
Hal Donahue, Scranton, USAF
Thomas Dougherty, Dunmore, US Army
General Mike Dunn, Davidsville, US Army
Glen Embree, Mt. Pleasant Township, Navy
Greg Erosenko, Monroeville, US Army
Wy Gowell, Clark Summit, USAF
John Hugya, Hollsopple, USMC
Christin Joltes, Johnstown, USAF
Jim Kull, Uniondale, US Army
Joe Long, Bethlehem, USAF
William McCool, Levittown, Navy
Mike Miskell, Scranton, Navy
Phyllis Reinhardt, Scranton, US Army
General Gerald Sajer, East Berlin, US Army
Joseph Tully, Scranton, Navy
Jeffrey Voice, Philadelphia, US Army
**"Ron" is my guess. The first half of the name is left off the list. If that guess is incorrect on my part, my apologies and we'll correct it if it's pointed out.

At ZNet, Phyllis Bennis attempts to interject a little honesty into the discussions of Barack Obama: He Pees Peace and Rainbows. Naturally, Tom-Tom Hayden is having none of it. Bennis notes that Obama does not need to "'clarify' his own position on counter-insurgency or troop withdrawal, but to CHANGE his position." Those are fighting words to Bambi Groupies, Phyllis. And Tom-Tom shows up singing "Songs to Aging Children come, Aging children, I am one." Trying aging fool -- and for the record, Tom-Tom, I didn't need to poll behind your back to make that call. Tom-Tom's humping Bambi like his found another cash cow, chattering on about the 2002 anti-war speech (that no one heard in real time and could be 'expanded' today -- the same way recordings of it were 'recreated'), "his 16 month combat troop withdrawal plan, his refusal to support Bush on Iran's Revolutionary Guard" blah, blah, blah. Reality check. Bambi didn't refuse to support Bully Boy on that measure. He didn't show up for the vote. Patricia J. Williams has tried that LIE as well. Let's stick to the real world, Tom-Tom. In addition, as William M. Arkin (Washington Post) observed at the end of March, Obama's anti-Iran talk now "sounds like current White House policy."

The 16-month is the most hilarious. Showing the same dedication to denial that got him kicked out of the commune in California, Tom-Tom wants to pretend Samantha Power never happened.
Power told the BBC -- while still Bambi's chief foreign policy advisor -- that the 16-month pledge . . . really wasn't a pledge. If Barack made it into the White House, he'd decide what to do about Iraq then. Of all days to look like a sap, Tom-Tom picked the wrong-wrong one. Eli Lake (New York Sun) reports:

A key adviser to Senator Obama's campaign is recommending in a cofidential paper that America keep between 60,000 and 80,000 troops in Iraq as of late 2010, a plan at odds with the public pledge of the Illinois senator to withdraw combat forces from Iraq within 16 months of taking office.
The paper, obtained by
The New York Sun, was written by Colin Kahl for the center-left Center for a New American Security. In "Stay on Success: A Policy of Conditional Engagement," Mr. Kahl writes that through negotiations with the Iraqi government "the U.S. should aim to transition to a sustainable over-watch posture (of perhaps 60,000--80,000 forces) by the end of 2010 (although the specific timelines should be the byproduct of negotiations and conditions on the ground)."
Mr. Kahl is the day-to-day coordinator of the Obama campaign's working group on Iraq. A shorter and less detailed version of this paper appeared on the center's Web site as a policy brief.

No fool like an old fool, Tom-Tom.
Sarah Sewall is the 'brain' behind the US counter-insurgency strategy in Iraq. She advises which campaign? Barack Obama's. At some point the PATHETIC are going to have to stop lying -- they are a danger to themselves and others. As Doug Henwood (ZNet) observes -- no fan of either Hillary or Barack, "And despite the grand claims of enthusiasts, he doesn't really have a movement behind him -- he's got a fan club. How does a fan club hold a candidate accountable?" As Tom-Tom demonstrates repeatedly, they don't.



'HUBdate: Ringing' (howard wolfson, hillaryclinton.com):
Ringing: The campaign released a new 30-second television ad statewide across Pennsylvania. "Ringing" highlights Hillary’s readiness to be Commander-in-Chief of the economy on Day One. Sen. McCain "just said the government shouldn't take any real action on the housing crisis. He’d let the phone keep ringing." Watch here.
Tonight on The Tonight Show: Hillary will appear on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
Strong on the Economy: At yesterday’s jobs summit, Hillary outlined her insourcing agenda that provides $7 billion in tax incentives and investments for firms creating jobs in America.
Read the plan here. Read more and more.
Big Change: USA Today's "Clinton's goals for economy? Big change" details Hillary's plans for the economy given that "there is still time for policymakers to avert a lengthy and punishing downturn."
Read more.
In Case You Missed It: Hillary appeared on CNBC's "Mad Money with Jim Cramer."
Watch here. Swing State Lead: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary beating McCain in key swing states. In Florida, she leads McCain 44-42 while Obama trails McCain by 9 points. In Ohio, Hillary leads McCain 48-39 while Obama is only ahead of McCain by 1. Read more.
For the Long Run: "Hang in there, Hillary...This Democratic presidential race is much too close - and you'd disappoint way too many people - if you let a bunch of party hacks and hand-wringers force you out now."
Read more.
Active In The Tar Heel State: North Carolina For Hillary announced the grand opening of its state headquarters in Raleigh.
Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary hosts a "Hillary Live" fundraising event in Beverly Hills, CA.
A Tribute To Dr. King: On Friday, Hillary visits Memphis, TN to pay tribute to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. in remembrance of the 40th anniversary of his assassination. She released a video inviting her supporters to submit testimonials about the impact Dr. King’s work has had on their lives.
View here.
On Tap: Hillary will attend the North Dakota Democratic NPL State Convention in Grand Forks, ND on Friday and will be campaigning in Oregon on Saturday.

c.i.'s writing about pelosi tonight (and it's also in the snapshot) so i thought i'd ad my 2 cents to that topic. if i'd been prepping her, i would've asked her to define the day's objective in the press conference. once she said 'iraq,' i would have stated, then don't talk about anything else. you do it and you're begging the press to cover something else.

she wasted every 1's time holding a press conference. if you don't get that, google the news article. there are currently about 10 and 3 are republican responses. she embarrassed herself today and showed no leadership.

she showed that she can babble on about anything instead of focusing.

she showed that she could be inept.

she demonstrated that she can't offer leadership.

it really was embarrassing.

meanwhile nancy's candidate's suffering. from reuters:

A New York Times/CBS News poll published on Thursday found Obama's favorability rating among Democratic primary voters dropped 7 percentage points to 62 percent since late February. The decline was mostly among men and upper-income voters, the Times said.
McCain is now viewed positively by 67 percent of Republican primary voters, compared with 57 percent in February, according to the poll.
In a separate New York Times/CBS News poll, 81 percent of Americans said things were on the wrong track in the United States, the highest such figure since the survey started in the early 1990s.
McCain and Clinton were headed to Memphis, Tennessee, to mark the 40th anniversary on Friday of the assassination in that city of civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr.
Sources said NBC attempted to get all three candidates to appear together to talk about King in a nonpolitical way on Friday. McCain agreed to do it. Talks were under way with Clinton's camp. Obama's campaign said he had a prior commitment and would not be in Memphis.

so bambi's dropping and he thinks he turn down publicity? that's inexcusable. that's just like this week when he couldn't make time for a face-to-face with the prime minister of australia (kevin rudd). he really has no idea what he's doing.

i'm tired tonight. but for the last few days, i've intended to note maya angelou's 'Celebrating Women: A Note from Dr. Maya Angelou' (HillaryClinton.com):
You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust,
I'll rise.
This is not the first time you have seen Hillary Clinton seemingly at her wits end, but she has always risen, always risen, much to the dismay of her adversaries and the delight of her friends.
Hillary Clinton will not give up on you and all she asks of you is that you do not give up on her.
There is a world of difference between being a woman and being an old female. If you're born a girl, grow up, and live long enough, you can become an old female. But, to become a woman is a serious matter. A woman takes responsibility for the time she takes up and the space she occupies.
Hillary Clinton is a woman. She has been there and done that and has still risen. She is in this race for the long haul. She intends to make a difference in our country.
She is the prayer of every woman and man who long for fair play, healthy families, good schools, and a balanced economy.She declares she wants to see more smiles in the families, more courtesies between men and women, more honesty in the marketplace. Hillary Clinton intends to help our country to what it can become.
She means to rise.
She means to help our country rise. Don't give up on her, ever.
In fact, if you help her to rise, you will rise with her and help her make this country a wonderful, wonderful place where every man and every woman can live freely without sanctimonious piety, without crippling fear.
Rise Hillary.

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

April 3, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Nancy Pelosi babbles in public, Bambi's War Hawk feathers get a little attention, curfews are not good for children and living things, and more.

Starting with war resistance. Joshua Key is an Iraq War veteran who could not continue to take part in the illegal war. He and his family (wife Brandi Key and their children) moved to Canada to seek asylum which was
denied November 2006 by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board. Currently he is appealing that decision before Canada's Federal Court. Colin Perkel (Canadian Press) reports that "lawyer Jeffry House told Justice Robert Barnes the board was wrong to conclude that the U.S. allows soldiers to object legally to what their military is doing in Iraq. In fact, House said, the United States Supreme Court has held that going to war is a high-level policy decision that cannot be litigated" and quotes him explaining, "There is no possibility whatsoever in the U.S. that anyone can raise the issue of an illegal war." In 2005, Orlando's WESH reported (text and video) on Joshua Key and quoted Jeffry House explaining of war resisters, "They shouldn't be punished because they are making a moral choice that has a lot to be said for it. . . . These are people that to me seem so innocent of any wrongdoing that I feel like I have to go the last mile for them." Joshua Key explains, "I went to fight for my country. To me, the Army, they lied to me from the beginning."

At 8:30 yesterday morning, Key attempted to receive the justice that has so far been denied to US war resisters in Canada.
Peter Wilmoth (Australia's The Age) reviewed The Deserter's Tale (written by Key and Lawrence Hill) and quoted from the text:

I wish I could pass on my [PTSD] nightmares to him [George W. Bush]. America's sons and daughters are losing their lives because he fabricated reasons to go to war, the weapons-of-mass-destruction lie. I deserted an injustice and leaving was the only right thing to do. I owe one apology and one apology only, and that is to the people of Iraq.

Brian Lynch (Vancouver's Straight.com) quotes Key explaining, "I went to fight for my country, and I did what I was told. I left it only when I saw for myself that it was unjust and immoral. . . . It would've been easier just to say, 'Okay, I'll go back and do what I was doing.' The hardest thing was to do what I did. And I live with a clear conscience because of that." Last year, Jenny Dean (Denver Post) told the stories of several war resisters including Key:

Joshua Key was a welder and part-time pizza deliveryman in Oklahoma with a wife, two kids and a baby on the way. "I couldn't make ends meet," he says.
In May 2002, a recruiter in a strip mall offered a deal too good to refuse: steady pay, health insurance and, because he was a father, no combat duty.
But by fall when Key arrived at Fort Carson, the rumors of war had begun. He and others in the 3rd Armored Cavalry Regiment figured if war came it would be over quickly.
And, in fact, when Key first arrived in Iraq, there was virtually no resistance. He says he was taught how to blow doors off houses and search for terrorists and caches of weapons. In 200 raids, the private first class says, he never found more than the occasional rifle.
All males over 5 feet tall were to be handcuffed and sent away for interrogation, he says. The women and children were to be held at gunpoint, Key says. He adds that any money or valuables were fair game and admits to pocketing his share. After all, he figured, they were the enemy.
His uneasieness grew as the violence around him escalated. The tipping point came one day when his unit was traveling along the Eurphrates River and happened upon the bodies of four decapitated Iraqis. He says he was ordered to find evidence of a firefight. He found none.
But he says he did see a panicked American soldier screming "We (expletive) lost it here" as other soldiers kicked the heads like soccer balls.
"I'm not going to have no part of this," he says he told his commander. During a leave six months later, Key told his wife he wasn't going back: "I couldn't help but think we had become the terrorists. What if it was us and someone came breaking into our homes and held guns at our children?"

Associated Press quotes him from outside the court yesterday explaining, "You're terrorizing the civilian population -- for what sense or for what reason, I don't know. The innocent killings of civilians happened on a systematic basis there. It wasn't every now and then, it was an everyday occasion." Colin Perkel (Canadian Press) reports that "Judge Barnes said he hopes to rule before August." Should the Federal Court not overturn the board's decision, Key's next step would be to appeal to the country's Supreme Court. Jeremy Hinzman and Brandon Hughey were the first US war resisters to appeal and, November 15, 2007, Canada's Supreme Court refused to hear their cases.

Should the Supreme Court also refuse to hear Key's the case, the best chance for Key and other US war resisters is a measure scheduled to be debated and voted by Canada's Parliament this month. You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, 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 the United States. Shortly the White House sends Gen David Petraeus and US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker off to make the rounds of Congress and attempt to launch another wave of Operation Happy Talk to convince the people of America that the illegal war must continue. Various efforts are taking place on the part of the US Congress to avoid being caught off guard the way they were in September. Some work, some don't. Case in point, the press conference this morning held by Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi.

Pelosi, what was the point of the press conference? Reading the wires may result in confusion. Reuters reports on the conference in terms of . . .
a bankruptcy bill. At some point, her nonsense on super delegates will be picked up. The topic was Iraq. Pelosi stated that when they took questions but refused to stick to that topic and felt the need to embellish on other topics repeatedly. After the other House members left, Pelosi continued to entertain questions (she even continued taking non-Iraq questions as she walked out of the room). You either focus or you don't. Pelosi didn't. Pelosi gave reporters every reason to focus on something other than Iraq (not that most need a reason to do so). She did a HORRIBLE job and, if that's the House's best effort, the American people are in a lot of trouble.

Others participating in the conference were Ike Skelton, Howard Berman and Rahm Emanuel. Skelton, who chairs the House Armed Services Committee, declared that, "It's the Iraqis that are letting themselves down. They have had, as a result of the so-called surge, space" to move foward but they "are not stepping up to the plate as they should. The American People should understand that it's theirs [the Iraqis] to win or lose." Berman referred to the need for the upcoming hearings to cover "broad issues about costs, readiness, the [US] role in Afghanistan" and he noted the escalation's "underlying premise" was "national reconciliation" in Iraq which hasn't taken place. He noted the benchmarks and how nothing has really happpened there either. Yes, a few laws have been pased, Berman noted, but they "are ambiguous and it's very unclear whether they will ever be implemented." He cited one in particular. The de-de-Baathifcation law. (Paul Bremer issued the de-Baathification order so anything that remedies it is referred to here as the "de-de-Baatification law. Berman didn't use that term.) Berman noted it was "passed two months ago and still is not implemented." He cited that as the sort of issues that Petraeus and Crocker needed to provide answers on as well as the "strengthening of Iran and even Iran's role" in the Basra conflict. Repeatedly stressed (including by Pelosi) was the issue of "cost" which includes "America's security, our armed forces and, as the Speaker said, our economy."

When reporters tried to enlarge the topic early on, Pelosi was prepared and declared, "Right now our focus is on the testimony next week." (That was in reference to an expected 'supplemental' war funding request from the White House.) But she couldn't even maintain that focus for the brief press conference. (It lasted approximately a half-hour). She noted the costs of the illegal war was "now in the trillions" and the White House declared, before starting the Iraq War, "that the war would probably cost about $50 billion and could probably be paid soon." She noted hos many millions oil revenues bring to Iraq each day and stated that the US is spending "about $300 million a day in Iraq and we get no offset."

"What I hope we don't hear from General Petraeus next week," she declared, is a glorfication of what just happened in Basra . . . because the fact is that there are many questions to arise from what happened in Basra." She listed some including that the US reported only received notice that the assault on Basra would be taking place "twenty-four hours ahead of time". She wondered what was worse -- that the US would only receive 24 hours notice or that US forces were then brought in? She mentioned Moqtada al-Sadr at length and noted "al-Sadr established the terms by which he would freeze the violence from his side -- terms probably dictated by Iran and they were accepted like that (snaps fingers) by al-Maliki."

Skelton noted, "The strain is heavy. It's not heavy just on those in uniform, but on their families as well." He continued by declaring that Afghanistan was not the only "interest" the US had and that "you can only stretch the military so far."

Rahm Emanuel actually rescued the Q&A because Pelosi was so defocused. He stepped up to the microphone at several points. His strongest section was when he noted that, regardless of what happens on the ground in Iraq, the White House cries "more troops, more timeand more money" and dubbed this a "policy cul-du-sac and we just keep going round and round".

Referencing WalkOn.org's General Betray-Us ads in Septemeber, Pelosi was asked if she was requesting any advocacy groups sit it out on the sidelines and she responded, "I don't deter anyone's right to speak out. I'm a big proponent of the First Amendment but I wope we [Congress] would shine a bright light of truth and mirror on what he [Petraeus] has to say." This was her strongest section in the press conference and she used the focus (provided by Rahm Emanuel rescuing the moment, let's all be honest) to discuss what needs to be focused on in next week's testimonies. 1) How is it helping the US fight "the real war on terror in Afghanistan"? 2) "How is it impacting our readiness?" 3) "How is it impacting our economy?" She went on to state that the Iraq War is "driving us into debt, which is driving us into recession and the American people are paying the costs." She should have closed with her next statement, reminding the reporters that "we have a general and an ambassador -- two employees of the United States -- coming" to offer testimony. That was the closing moment.

But Pelosi couldn't stay focused and, by this time, Rahm was gone and so were Skelton and Berman leading Pelosi, in this alleged "Let's focus on Iraq!" conference, to start rambling on about MLK, Ghandi, her recent trip to India ("which some of you may have read about") and blah, blah, blah, blah.

Could someone inform the Speaker of the House that the Democrats in Congress are attempting to prevent another snow job by Petraeus and Crocker? Pelosi needs to stay on topic. No one needs to hear about her travels to India. Or what's going on in the rotunda. Presumably, all press present were provided with a schedule of the day's events. The conference was about Iraq and specifically attempting to set down markers by which the American people could measure next week's testimony. Sadly, Pelosi still wasn't done and had to then offer her opinions on the issue of super delegates -- her opinion, it should be noted, to a question NO ONE ASKED. The topic, Pelosi apparently forgot, was Iraq and preparing for next week's testimony. She needs to stay focused or send out surrogates in the future.

If that seems minor, it's not. Congress is attempting to set the tone and expectations for next week's testimony. Many members are doing their part. No one needs Nancy Pelosi blowing off everyone's hard work because she wants to play Starlet Holds A Press Conference. Yesterday, US Senator Joe Biden did his part as the chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations as the issue of withdrawal was seriously addressed and explored via multiple testimonies. That was an all day session that broke only for lunch. The media seems to be willfully missing that. Possibly the same press that sold the illegal war doesn't want to discuss Congress exploring withdrawal? Today, the committee heard testimony for their panel entitled "Iraq 2012: What Can It Look Like, How Do We Get There?"

"Before the war began," Biden explained in his opening remarks, "this committee warned that the failure to plan and define realistic objectives in Iraq would cause us to pay a heavy price. We cannot continue to make it up as we go along. We must mark a direction on our strategic compass -- and deliberately move in that direction. Ironically, despite all the debate in Washington and beyond about our Iraq policy, there is one premise just about everyone shares: lasting stability will come to Iraq only through a political settlement among its warring factions. So the single most important question you would think we would be debating is this: 'What political arrangements might Iraqis agree to and what are the building blocks to achieve them? Yet we almost never ask ourselves those questions. Today we will."

Senator Richard Luger, the highest ranking Republican on the committee noted, "Yesterday, in two hearings, the Foreign Releations Committee examined the status of military and political efforts in Iraq. Today, our witnesses will look beyond immediate problems to the prospects for Iraq four or five years into the future. . . . We being this inquiry knowing that we have limited means and time to pursue an acceptable resolution in Iraq. Testifying before us yesterday, Major General Robert Scales joined our other witnesses in underscoring the limits imposed by the strains on our armed forces."

The sparsely attended hearing (Senator Bill Nelson was one of the few to show) may have had to do with the fact that three of the four witnesses were advocating for 'federalism.' The panel had no real diversity of thought. Harvard's Dr. Dawn Brancati (who supported 'federalism' from the start) would declare at the end of the hearing, "Actually I think discussion among the three of us has changed my position slightly." So there's little point in reviewing her opening statements or anything during the hearing. Brookings' Carlos Pascual and American University's Professor Carole O'Leary also favored 'federalism' (O'Leary would argue that using 'partion' was an obstacle). RAND's Dr. Terrence Kelly did not offer an opinion but felt that what Iraq currently has in the political system is what it will have for some time to come because no one will want to give up powers. Only the University of Vermont's Dr. F. Gregory Gause III would address larger issues than "wants" (on the part of the United States) and he focused on the players in the region. He identified Iran, Turkey and Saudi Arabia as "the most important regional players." He stated, "The Saudi-Iranian contest for influence is not a direct confrontation. Iran does not pose a military threat to Saudi Arabia, and the Saudis do not see Iran as such. While Riyadh worries about the Iranian nuclear pogram, that is an issue for the future, not the immediate present. President Ahmadinejad visited Saudi Arabia in 2007 and the two countries have kept lines of communication open." In terms of Turkey and Iraq, he noted that "the Turkish perspective on Iraq, is not regional; it is domestic. Ankara views events in Iraq through the prism of its own Kurdish issues. It has accommodated itself since 1991 to the de facto independence of Iraqi Kurdistan. Turkish businesses are developing substantial interests there. However, it will not long tolerate any actions by the Iraqi Kurdish leadership which it sees as encourging Turkish Kurds to dream of independence and revolt against the Turkish government." He listed the three most cited outcomes from a US withdrawal from Iraq. 1) Iraq violence spills over to Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Bahrain. 2) Civil war (high intensity) breaks out in Iraq forcing neighboring states to intervene. 3) al Qaeda would use it as a base. "It is hardly inevitable," he explained, "that American withdrawal from Iraq would lead to any of these bad results. On the contrary, I will make the case that an announced intention to withdrawal on a realistic timetable might -- again, I stress 'might' -- actually push regional powers to take more coopertive stances on Iraq." On the first option, he felt Syria and Jordan would be at risk for refugees arriving and called for more international aid. On the second, he felt that various Iraqi elements within the country would stabilize as they "tested" their won powers. He felt that no one really wants to control Iraq. Iran has what it wants (influence), Turkey doesn't want to "annex" the Kurdish region of Iraq (not noted but that would further extend the Kurdish region in Turkey) and "the Saudi army is hardly capable of serious cross-border operations." On the third outcome, he stated that "making that . . . the reason to maintain our presence in Iraq gives Usama bin Laden a veto over American policy. That cannot be a good thing."

He used "might" often. There were no such qualifiers from O'Leary who might want to turn that psychic eye to the financial markets if she is so sure of herself. She offered predictions (presented as fact and findings) as to what political parties would be standing (and which wouldn't be). When not predicting, she stressed the importance of tribal identities in Iraq and felt that tribes were the most logical unit that could explore issues such as "civil society" due to them being "the metaphor of family". As an acedmic exercise, O'Leary's presentations would be interesting. In terms of the topic of the hearing, O'Leary was too vested in what "should" happen ('federalism') and appeared eager to get to the issue of "How we make it happen!"

Dr. Terrence Kelly feels violence is a mainstain in Iraq for at least a generation regardless of anything else that does or does not take place. Echoing the generals at yesterday's hearing, he stated that the US is not equipped to do nation-building in Iraq. He noted the competing narratives among the three largest groups (Shia, Sunni, Kurd) and that "Americans do not undestand Iraqi social processes well, and so have not been effective at recognizing their importance. In many, though not all, ways, the U.S. cannot significantly influence these processes. Nor should it try to in most cases. The U.S.'s role in these issues are primarily to support insitutions and pressure political leaders to make needed changes."

In questioning, Kelly would return to the basics of a system such as when he noted "democracy requires a set of laws that people follow." In response to whether the current system (referred to as a 'cofederation') will exist but have "a dictator on top of it," Kelly replied that he didn't believe that was possible "because the dictator would want to have a unified government" and "I don't think that an army officer would say I want to be president of Iraq but I want the power to be in the provinces."

Biden noted the testimony of the generals on Wednesday and how the current course is not sustainable for the US military. It was not as in-depth (or as varied -- even from the center) as yesterday's hearing but it did get the point across that the Iraq War is not achieving and that political solutions are something the Iraqis will have to decide on, not the US.

Turning to Iraq where the 'solution' is always 'crack-down' and 'curfew.' The assault on Basra led to the expected reaction for anyone with a functioning brain but caught the puppet Nouri al-Maliki (and his handlers) by surprise. Their response was the usual curfews. The
International Medical Corps notes:

Recent fighting and subsequent curfews in several major Iraqi cities have led to food shortages, disruption of health services, and above normal gaps in water and electricity supplies. Fighting, instability, and restriction of movements caused many people living under the curfew to feel depressed and agitated. The overall standstill of commercial life hit the poorest and most vulnerable Iraqis most.In a rapid assessment International Medical Corps (IMC) found that living conditions of Iraqis deteriorated under the multi-day curfews in almost all aspects. In telephone interviews people were asked to comment on their economic situation and their physical and mental well-being. "The curfews show how vulnerable Iraqis are to any further disruptions in their lives," says Agron Ferati, International Medical Corps country director in Iraq. "Over the last days we have seen how the everyday problems in the lives of ordinary Iraqis can quickly reach crisis proportions."A large number of respondents (75%) were either unemployed or support their families as day laborers. Although most said they are used to stockpiling supplies, people with a low or irregular income said they would run out of food if the curfew would continued. International Medical Corps also found large gaps in the health care sector. More than half of those respondents who needed medical assistance during the curfew said they had difficulties finding help, and a quarter could not get access to a health facility at all. Hospitals experienced shortages in medical supplies and were short-staffed during the curfew while the caseload of patients with serious injuries increased. Medical personnel could not reach hospitals and the referral system broke down due to the overall restriction in movement. In response to the crisis International Medical Corps is providing assistance to 2,000 families in Sadr City, a poor district in Baghdad, where fighting was especially fierce and citizens were cut off from assistance during the curfew. IMC is distributing one month's worth of food to the families -- including rice, cooking oil, sugar, beans, and flour - and is also delivering 100,000 liters of water in Sadr City. To avoid further disruptions in critical care three hospitals are receiving medication and supplies from International Medical Corps that will help them to better cope during curfews and administer life-saving care to patients. The insecurity and resulting curfews exacerbated existing worries and led to increased tension among family members. The vast majority of people interviewed for the survey said that the situation had made them feel hopeless, restless, and worthless.

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraq soldier and left three more wounded, two other Baghdad roadside bombings left four people wounded, a Baghdad bombing wounded a police officer, a Baghdad car bombing claimed 3 lives and left ten more people wounded, a Nineveh truck bombing claimed 7 lives and left twelve people wounded, a Mosul roadside bombing wounded eight people and a US airstrike on Basra claimed 4 lives and left six people injured. Reuters reports a Samara roadside bombing claimed the lives of 5 police officers and a clash in Hilla that ended with a US airstrike resulting in 6 deaths ("including 4 policemen") and fifteen more people left injured.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 people were shot dead in Kirkuk last night.


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

Reuters reports that Moqtada al-Sadr has announced a march against the occupation for April 9th as well as for a Baghdad "peaceful sit-in" this Friday. In the US, justice is delayed for crafts. Abeer Qassim Hamza al-Janabi murdered and gang-rape was supposed to be the focus of a civilian trial starting this coming Monday. That has been delayed. March 12, 2006, US soldiers invaded Abeer's home and gang-raped her while killing both of her parents and her five-year-old sister. They then killed Abeer. While other soldiers have confessed to their part in the planning of the conspiracy and in the crimes, Steven D. Green has maintained his innocence -- despite being fingered in courtroom confessions as the ringleader. Part of the plot was to plan the crimes on Iraqi 'insurgents' and Green was discharged from the US military while these mythical 'insurgents' were still believed to be the culprits. As a result of the fact that he had been discharged, he was set to face a civilian court and that trial was finally due to start this coming Monday; however, AP reports the trial has been delayed "by three weeks to accomodate a quilt show". Also in the US, Erika Bolstad (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that Senators Patty Murray, Lisa Murkowski, Kay Bailey Hutchison, Blanche Lincoln, Jay Rockefeller, Ron Wyden and Charles Schumer have sponsored a bill which "would require that the VA system adapt to care for the 90,000 wmen who have served in the military since 2001" and "require the Veteran Administration's mental health staff to be trained to counsel victims of sexual assault." The bill is entitled the Women Veterans Health Improvement Act of 2008 and would "address many of the unique needs of female veterans by authorizing programs to improve care for Military Sexual Trauma (MST), increase research on the current barriers to care, and expand women veterans staff positions at the VA."

Turning to US politics, Kevin Zeese wonders "
Is It Time for the Peace Movement to Start Protesting Senator Obama?" (Dissident Voice) because, frankly, he finds Bambi "has been sounding rather hawkish" lately. Lately? Zeese is apparently just waking up. He notes Bambi groupie Amy Goodman's 'earth-shattering' two minutes (she cornered Bambi) that didn't turn out so well. "First," Zeese huffs, "Obama acknowledged combat troops would be left behind as 'a strike force in the region'." First? Zeese, where have you been? Zeese goes on to quote Bambi saying that troops could be left in Kuwait. This is only news, Kevin Zeese, because the Pathetic Likes of Amy Goodman have schilled for Bambi for months. It's not news here. From the Nov. 2nd snapshot:

Writing up a report, Gordo and Zeleny are useless but, surprisingly, they do a strong job with some of their questions. The paper should have printed up the transcript. If they had, people might be wondering about the 'anti-war' candidate. He maintains Bill Richardson is incorrect on how quickly US troops could be withdrawan from Iraq. Obama states that it would take at least 16 months which makes one wonder how long, if elected, it would take him to move into the White House? If you can grab a strainer or wade through Obama's Chicken Sop For The Soul, you grasp quickly why he refused to pledge (in September's MSNBC 'debate') that, if elected president, he would have all US troops out of Iraq by 2013: He's not talking all troops home. He tries to fudge it, he tries to hide it but it's there in the transcript. He doesn't want permanent military bases in Iraq -- he appears to want them outside of Iraq -- such as Kuwait.

There's nothing new in Goody's brief report. That could have all been reported in real time -- back in November -- but Liars and Fluffers for Bambi didn't want people knowing that (or a great deal more). One of the Fluffers was Tom Hayden who saw the byline of Michael Gordon and just knew it had to be true! He failed to read the transcript and, when he finally got around to doing so, he broke . . . just like a little girl. That would be the same Tom-Tom who endorsed Bambi in the lead-up to Super Duper Tuesday and then immediately came back with "WE HAVE TO HOLD BOTH THEIR FEET TO THE FIRE!" You do that by endorsing? Age has not brought Tom-Tom any dignity.
Glen Ford (Black Agenda Report) notes Tom-Tom, Stab, Bill Fletcher and Danny Glover and states they contributed the "most pitiful communication"

The self-styled "progressives" attempt to upend history and fool everybody, including themselves. The four claim that current conditions can be compared to the 1930s, when "centrist leaders" were compelled by activists "to embrace visionary solutions." There's a huge problem with that reasoning, however. In the 1930s, there were already strong movements existent before Franklin Roosevelt's 1932 and 1936 runs for the presidency. It was the movements -- many of them communist-led -- that shaped the Roosevelt campaigns and the New Deal, that in fact changed history. Today's four wishful signers insist that "even though it is candidate-centered, there is no doubt that the campaign is a social movement, one greater than the candidate himself ever imagined."
Really? Believe that hogwash when any of the loyal Lefties demand Obama discard his plans to add 92,000 addition soldiers and Marines to the total U.S. military ranks, at a cost of hundreds of billions of dollars and bringing with it the certainty of more wars. Never happen. The signers have already claimed the political campaign is a movement. Would they expose themselves as poseurs and fakers by making futile demands on the campaign, which is, after all, supposed to be one with the "movement?" Would they risk being told to shut up? No, it's too late for Hayden, Fletcher, Ehrenreich, and Glover to strut around as if they have options; they pissed all that away in the initial glow of Obamamania, and from now on will have to accept their status as hangers on.

Again, if, like Zeese, Bambi's Iraq realities are emerging for you, blame it on Tom-Tom, Amy Goodman, self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders and all the others in Panhandle Media who want to be seen as "fair" but don't want to actually be fair. Better to lie to your audience apparently.
Friday Marcia covered the foursome Ford's addressing.

Andrew Stephen (New Statesman) charts one of the bigger lies (and yes, Goody repeatedly promoted it on her trashy show) and a non-stop 'strategy' by the Bambi campaign:

The genius of the Axelrod strategy thus far is that it has been directly centred on race while maintaining the appearance of the opposite, appropriating the race card as well as that of moral rectitude for Obama himself. Very early in the campaign, Obama's South Carolina press office put out a memo pronouncing routine political sniping from the Clinton camp to be racist. The memo came from a local "low-level staffer", Axelrod reassured us. In fact, it was written by Amaya Smith, a seasoned Democratic Party spokesperson and former congressional press secretary based in Washington -- and the labelling of the Clintons as racists had stuck.
Geraldine Ferraro, the Democrats' vice-presidential candidate in 1984 and a former congresswoman, was similarly targeted. In an interview last month with a tiny Californian newspaper called the Daily Breeze, that would have passed unnoticed by at least 99.99 per cent of Americans, Ferraro casually observed that if Obama was a white man or "a woman of any colour," he would not be a presidential candidate today. Her remarks led to a national furore, but nobody pointed out that it was Obama's campaign that alerted the national media to Ferraro's words.
"I'm always hesitant to throw around words like 'racist'," Obama said, doing just that. Ferraro, a veteran 72-year-old, riposted that "every time that campaign is upset about something, they call it racist". She sussed out the Axelrod strategy: to gain immunity from political attacks by immediately smearing attackers as racists.
The kind of thing that is worrying some super-delegates, too, is that Obama is increasingly emerging as no mean fibber himself. In his latest television ad, he declares that he does not take money from oil companies. According to the Centre for Responsive Politics, however, Obama is overlooking the $213,884 he had received from the oil and gas industry up to 29 February, most of it channelled directly from the CEOs of two major oil and gas companies.

Pimping Bambi required rendering a lot of people invisible. Such as students who support Hillary Clinton. Law student
Diana Winer Rosengard explains, "As a law student, my respect for Senator Clinton has only continued to grow. I have spent the last two years working with victims of domestic violence, helping them obtain restraining orders and connecting them with community resources. Thanks to Senator Clinton's unwavering support for the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA), federal funding is available to protect women and children who are frequently victimized by the ones they love. VAWA helps victims at the moments when they are most vulenerable by providing resources to train police officers, covering the court costs of emergency restraining orders, and giving victims access to advocates while they work their way through the criminal justice system. Senator Clinton's commitment to ensuring that federal funding continues means support for programs like the ones I volunteer with -- every week I get to see, first hand, the difference that Senator Clinton's work makes in the grateful faces of these women and children."

Lastly, the 40th anniversary of the assassination of MLK is tomorrow.
Hillary Clinton offers (text and video), "I believe we can honor Dr. King and all Americans -- including the women and men serving our country around the world -- by remembering his timeless challenge: What did you do for others?"


robert kuttner lies coz he thinks you're stupid

1st off a big whiner tries to do an end-run via e-mail. he's ticked off because c.i.'s 'iraq snapshot' today closes with hillary 'and i may not be a community member but i know what is and isn't iraq.' oh, blow it out your ass. the statement is on autism which is an issue c.i. gives a ton of money to each year and helps out with numerous charities for. i had missed that statement and assumed that c.i. would highlight the mlk thing today. when i read the e-mail, i wondered what c.i. had highlighted? so i was reading the snapshot and thought, 'get a life, you e-mailing creep.' that's not a new issue to c.i., it's been something that c.i. has always donated to and takes very seriously.

big whiner is an obama groupie and if he's so upset, he needs to start his own website. c.i.'s packed the snapshot with iraq information and if any 1 had made a statement today on autism and c.i. had seen it, i can tell you it would have gone in.

equally true, the community is pulling for hillary. that's democratic members, green members, independent members. so hillary's going to be in the snapshots a lot. but to whine about the autism inclusion just shows what a sour jerk the e-mailer is.

when i saw what hillary's statement was on in the snapshot, i got really angry. autism is not a minor thing. it is a very serious issue and it's 1 that doesn't only need more attention, it needs more funding. c.i.'s regularly forked over huge monies to that cause. the e-mailer needs to get a life.

and good for hillary for speaking on that issue. i know a lot of parents with young children right now are worried about many things including vaccines. good for hillary for raising the issue. i have so much admiration for her for doing that. it would have been really easy to have gone through the day without noting the disease. it's not something that's going to result in 10% of voters in the electorate being touched, probably.

but it's a very important issue and that's why hillary is such a strong candidate. she's not being barack obama saying 'how can i be more like a republican!' she's not offering praise to ronald reagan. she's using her campaign to highlight the things that do matter, like the working class, like the economy, the housing crisis and, yes, autism. she really is the candidate for all the people.

now i don't normally link to trash but my mother-in-law saw something and was shocked. 1st because she assumed the writer was by now 'a panhandler raving on street corners' and 2nd because he's such a liar. she doesn't know the half of it.

here's his big lie that i spotted:

Unlike some of my friends, I have not fallen in love with Obama. I have been at this too long, and you risk getting your heart broken. I actually shared Krugman's critique of Obama's health insurance individual mandate and his proposal to tax the upper middle class to pay for a much exaggerated Social Security shortfall that is more like a rounding error. I simply conclude, based on what I've seen, that Obama is capable of real learning and real transformation, both of himself and of public opinion. Nothing I've seen suggests that's true of Hillary Clinton.

that's robert kuttner and you can read his lies here.

he hasn't fallen in love with obama? show us your sheets, bobby!

seriously, he shared krugm's critique of obama's health isnurance individual mandate? really?

talk about rewriting history to make yourself look better.

here's the liar appearing on democracy now feb. 8, 2008.

AMY GOODMAN: Robert Kuttner, let’s begin with you. Let’s talk about the healthcare plans of Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
ROBERT KUTTNER: Well, both Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama have proposed healthcare plans that are really variations on a plan designed by Jacob Hacker of Yale University, which is an attempt to get to universal coverage without having national health insurance, and it’s not bad, if you can’t have the first best, which is national health insurance. The idea is that if you have employer-provided coverage, and you like it, and it’s decent, you get to keep it. If you don’t have affordable coverage, the government will subsidize you to get coverage that’s as good as the coverage that members of Congress get.
Clinton has what’s known as a mandate. She requires people to get coverage. Obama doesn’t. Clinton and some liberal commentators, like Paul Krugman, have whacked Obama for not having a mandate. I think a mandate is a very bad idea. I think the difference between universal social insurance and a mandate is that universal social insurance, like Medicare, says that, as an American or a permanent resident of the country, you get health insurance, the same way you get Social Security. A mandate takes a social problem and makes it the individual’s problem. And in the Massachusetts version of this, on the website it says “new penalties for 2008.” You get penalized if you don’t buy health insurance, even if the health insurance that’s available is not high quality and is not affordable. Now, Hillary Clinton says that her version of this is better than Massachusetts, because they will have a substantial amount of regulation to make sure that you can’t discriminate against people with pre-existing conditions, and you can’t have excessive deductibles and co-pays. So the approach is not bad, but it’s definitely a second best. The first best would be national health insurance.
The other problem with this whole approach is that you don’t get the cost efficiencies that you get from universal health insurance, because you still have all this paperwork, you still have all the profit by private insurance companies, you still have doctors being given incentives to go for the reimbursable procedures. And as a result, the cost-containment pressures hit patients. They come in the form of less care, rather than in the form of less waste.

where in the above does he share krugman's opinion? no where. not only that, as he attacks hillary for having a mandate, he pretends obama doesn't have 1. it takes juan to get him semi-honest:

JUAN GONZALEZ: Well, I'd like to ask you, in terms of the mandates issue, because obviously both Krugman, in his various articles, and Clinton have claimed, on the one hand, that Obama does have mandates--he has mandates for coverage of all children--so that the mandates issue is not a principled issue, it's a tactical issue as to what you think could be approved. Your sense of that?
ROBERT KUTTNER: My point is that a mandate, in a situation where the whole system is sick, makes that sickness the problem of the individual. Instead of putting a gun to people’s heads, typically people who can’t afford good quality insurance, and saying to them, “You must, under penalty of law, or pay a tax or pay a fine, go out and find decent insurance,” it’s so much better policy to just have insurance for everybody. Then there’s no question of a mandate.
I think it’s a very bad position for progressives to back into, because it signals that government is being coercive, rather than government being helpful. Now, we can split hairs and argue whether Obama is being principled or tactical, but I think his discomfort with the idea of a mandate is something that I applaud. I wish that both he and Clinton had gone all the way and said, let’s just to do this right and have national health insurance. I think they could have used this as a teachable moment. They could have bought public opinion around. Medicare is phenomenally popular. Medicare is national health insurance for seniors. Let’s have national health insurance for everybody.

isn't bitty bobby a BIG LIAR. he not only rejects krugman's critique (only to claim this month he agreed) but he offers candyland excuses for bambi 'i think his discomfort with the idea of a mandate' which his plan has 'is something that i applaud.' of course it is, you're a bambi groupie. so quit lying, you disgusting old man who never made any money because you've had 1 job of begging after another.

having lied - maybe he thought he could get away with it because every 1's bailing on amy goodman's laughable show these days - he then wanted to lecture krugman:

But Krugman, ordinarily an ornament of fair-minded progressive economics commentary, writes almost as if he has become part of the Clinton campaign. His latest characterization of Obama's proposals in commenting on the New York speech -- "cautious and relatively orthodox" -- was preposterous. Even if Krugman's sympathies are with Clinton, he owes it to his readers and to his own credibility to play it straight and credit Obama with a breakthrough when credit is due. This was surely one of those times.

i believe that's called 'projecting.' the 1 coming off like 'part of' a campaign is bitty bobby, a man who will most likely use his retirment years for something semi-more productive, like becoming a flasher in central park. at least he'd get a lot of laughs.

see bambi groupies like kuttner have LIED SO MUCH for their clueless, inept candidate that now they have to act like they never did in order to try to create more hype. it's due to the fact that the hype is dying. lie all he wants, he never agreed with krugman. he went out of his way to say krugman was wrong and, when confronted by juan, he made up dumb ass excuses for bambi.

this is howard wolfson's 'HUBdate: Swing State Lead:'

Swing State Lead: A new Quinnipiac poll shows Hillary leading in key swing states. In Florida, she leads McCain 44-42 while Obama trails McCain by 9 points. In Ohio, Hillary leads McCain 48-39 while Obama is only ahead of McCain by 1. Read more.
Strong on the Economy: Today, Hillary wraps up her "Solutions for the Pennsylvania Economy" tour with a 21st Century Jobs Summit in Pittsburgh, PA focused on Hillary’s “insourcing” agenda that provides $7 billion in tax incentives and investments for firms creating jobs in America. Preview the Summit here.
Recapping Yesterday: Hillary announced her plan to create 3 million jobs by investing in infrastructure at the AFL-CIO in Philadelphia, PA. Read excerpts of the speech.
Recalling Rocky: Yesterday Hillary "recall[ed] a famous scene on the steps of the Philadelphia Museum of Art [and] said to end her presidential campaign now would be as if 'Rocky Balboa had gotten halfway up those art museum steps and said, ‘Well, I guess that's about far enough.'" Read more.
Too Much Democracy?: On last night's Daily Show, Jon Stewart pokes fun at calls for Hillary to quit: "Too much democracy… killing Democratic Party... must make it stop." Watch here.
Run, Hillary, Run: A North Carolina columnist writes "With the race so close, Clinton would be a fool to hand Sen. Barack Obama a nomination he has yet to legitimately earn." Read more.
A Record to Run On: In the Senate, Hillary has sponsored or co-sponsored 54 bills that became law. Read more.
By the Primary Numbers: A new
SurveyUSA poll shows Hillary leading in Indiana by nine points (52-43).
Roots: Hillary tells supporters in Wilkes-Barre, PA: "My family has deep roots here...and we don't quit. From the coal mines to the lace mills, we have worked our hearts out, and I will work my heart out for you."
Read more.
April Fool's: Yesterday, Hillary surprised reporters, challenging Sen. Obama to a bowl-off..."It is time for his campaign to get out of the gutter and allow all the pins to be counted...When this game is over, the American people will know that when that phone rings at 3 a.m., they'll have a president ready to bowl on day one."
Read more.
Just Words: On the campaign trail, Senator Obama has spoken as though he were opposed to the Bush Administration’s energy policy, but in 2005 he voted for the administration’s Energy Bill, written in secret by Cheney and the energy lobby. Read more.

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

Wednesday, April 2, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, Senator Joe Biden gets pro-active, Jacob Bruce Kovco's death remains a mystery, and more.

Starting with war resisters. "Watada is the only officer in the U.S. armed forces who has taken seriously his oath to uphold the Constitution."
Justin Hughes (Golden Gate [X]Press) quotes whistle blower Daniel Ellsberg explaining that to a large turnout Sunday at San Francisco's Unitarian Universalist Church: "He praised Lt. Ehren Watada, who refused to deploy to Iraq in 2006 because of moral opposition to the war. Watada was the first commissioned officer in the U.S. armed forces to publicly refuse to deploy to Iraq." Watada, whose service should have ended in December 2006, remains in limbo as the US military attempts to mount an argument which would explain why the Constitution has no meaning and the double-jeopardy clause should be set aside. Without overriding the Constitution, the US military cannot retry Watada. In February 2007, Judge Toilet (aka John Head) overruled defense objections and declared a mistrial (due to the fact that the prosecution was losing) with the hopes of handing the military a do-over. The Constitution forbids that and forbids it just for that reason. November 8, 2007, Judge Benjamin Settle issued an injunction and Watada's case remains on hold.

Since refusing to deploy in June of 2006, Watada has continued to report for duty. Despite the fact that his service should have ended in December 2006, he continues reporting. This issue should have been settled some time ago and should not be forgotten in election year hype. Watada took a brave and public stand. It was so brave and so public that no officer has yet to follow him, all this time later. Which is why Ellsberg notes that of all the officers in the military, only Watada grasped what the Constitution meant and required.

Joshua Key is a US war resister. He, Brandi Key and their children moved to Canada when Key returned from Iraq and realized he could not continue to take part in the illegal war. He was among the earliest to publicly draw the comparison between foreign forces in Iraq and what would happen if foreign forces occupied the US? Would US citizens resist? He tells his story in
The Deserter's Tale (written by Key and Lawrence Hill). He is also telling his story, the Canadian Press reports, to Canada's Federal Court today as he attempts to win on appeal after his claim for refugee status was denied last November by Canada's Immigration and Refugee Board ("board" in name only -- one person rules) following their denial of his claim because he wasn't a War Criminal (truly, the board's decision states he would have been admitted if he'd committed war crimes) leading his attorney Jeffry House to declare that decision "patently preposterous."

In April of last year,
Tracy Bowden (Australia's ABC) reported on Keys and other US war resisters in Canada. "I'm not a baby killer," Key told Bowden. "I am not a civilian killer. You know of course I'm a solider and I'm here to kill enemy combatants but I was never seeing that. All I was seeing was civilians getting hurt, getting killed, traumatised and still no justification for it." In August of last year, Tony Jones (Lateline) interviewed Key. Click here for the YouTube video.

TONY JONES: Now you were in some of the worst fighting in Fallujah and you claim to have seen at least 14 civilians killed. Can you tell us about the circumstances?JOSHUA KEY: From one of the incidents, we were at a mayor cell, which is sort of where you would -- like where the mayor of the city stayed. I was in the back part; I saw the after-effect of it. Of course the ground was -- outrageous amount of gunfire. Of course we were getting ready ourselves. It came over the radio that, you know, that something in the front was happening. I guess the overall circumstances of it were, the end result was 12 Iraqi civilians were killed. The reason why is because somebody had gotten trigger-happy and that was one of my first instances with death there, of course, was that. I mean, it was apparent very very - the first day we got into Iraq that if you felt threatened you shoot, you ask questions later. Our actions were completely unsupervised and we did, as we will. Just -- as well with the 12 Iraqis there was no reason for them to be dead. Somebody got trigger-happy, there's death.TONY JONES: When civilians were killed, what happened? Did your officers make reports? Did they try and investigate what had happened?JOSHUA KEY: I myself never got questioned in the course of my ranking I had no idea what my commanding officers were doing, if anything was wrote or not. I know in many of the circumstances I witnessed myself in Iraq I asked later on if any mission statements had been written. Has anything been written about what happened last night and I was told on many occasions that it was none of my concern and none of my business.TONY JONES: One of the most horrific incidents you record was in the night during a raid in Ramadi and you describe the circumstances with one of your sergeants actually saying, "Tonight is retaliation time in Ramadi." Tell us about that incident?JOSHUA KEY: Well, we had many -- for that incidence, for the retaliation, prior to that there had been a commander in the third Army Recovery Regiment which was the regiment I was with that had gotten injured. I don't know exactly, I don't even know if he was a fatality. That was said after that fact. In Ramadi the second time there was so many incidents, of course. You're on a QRF mission, which is like you're the quick reaction force for the military. It's like you're a swat team. For that 24-hour period you're in control. If anything happens within that city then you're sent out to, as they say, calm down the uprising. The night we got the call we were on it, we were going to our designated spot. We took a sharp right turn by the banks of the Euphrates River. On the left side I saw bodies that were decapitated. My truck stopped. I was asked to see if there were - of course I was the lowest ranking and I was told to get out to see if I could find evidence of a fire fight, which means, you know, shell casings. When I got out of the back of my truck I heard one American soldier screaming that we had lost it. I mean, I looked to the other side and I seen American soldiers kicking the head around like a soccer ball. I got back inside of my APC, which is an armoured personnel carrier, said I wouldn't have no involvement. Of course the next day I asked if anything had been filed for that, because to me that was completely unacceptable. That's when my - I said that's when my will started to change, of course.TONY JONES: I have to get you to go back over that because of the way you just described it. Are you saying you saw American soldiers kicking around the decapitated head of a dead Iraqi?JOSHUA KEY: Yes, that was -- of course I live with that nightmare every day. That's something I have a lot of problems with, of course. But to me that was completely -- there's no justification and no reason why that should have happened like that. There's nothing - there's no reason; it only takes one shot to kill a person, even if it was for that standpoint. But there's no reason whatsoever to decapitate a human person by means of gunfire.

You can make your voice heard. Three e-mails addresses to focus on are: Prime Minister Stephen Harper (
pm@pm.gc.ca -- that's pm at gc.ca) who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion (Dion.S@parl.gc.ca -- that's Dion.S at parl.gc.ca) who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua (Bevilacqua.M@parl.gc.ca -- that's Bevilacqua.M at parl.gc.ca) who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. A few more can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, 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).

Puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki had his strings pulled by the White House leading to the disaster that was the assault on Basra. Fallout is not limited to the wounded and the dead.
Warren P. Strobel and Nancy A. Youssef (McClatchy Newspapers) report that the "paltry results have silenced talk at the Pentagon of further U.S. troop withdrawal any time soon" and quote an unnamed "senior U.S. military official in Washington" declaring, "There is no empirical evidence that the Iraqi forces can stand up." Kevin Sullivan (Washington Post) reports a similar effect in England where Minister of Defence Des Browne has nixed the announced withdrawals and stated, "It is prudent that we pause any further reductions while the current situation is unfolding." The assault was a failure on every level. It failed in terms of military strategy. It demonstrated (yet again) how weak the Iraqi military was and how weak Iraqi soldiers ties were to the military (since so many of them defected sides during the fighting). It revealed the intense and widespread loathing for al-Maliki among Iraqis. It revealed that Iran is a power broker in the area and, indeed, a peace broker in the conflict. It inflated Moqtada al-Sadr's standing throughout Iraq. Ned Parker (Los Angeles Times) observes, "It also left the United States once more painted as the villain by the Sadrists although the offensive is widely thought to have been the brainchild of Maliki and his inner circle of advisors. The Sadrists made clear that this latest chapter would be used against U.S. forces in Iraq" going on to quote an Iraqi who explaines, "America is looking for a man who would take over from the occupation forces to target the Iraqi people, and now Maliki has achieved this ambition. Maliki has somehow started to execute the American project and the Iraqi people considers Maliki a tool in the hands of the Americans." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) probes the survivors of the continued US violence in Baghdad interviewing the survivors of US snipers -- snipers the US repeatedly denies the existance of -- such as Karrar Ali Hussein (sixteen-years-old and 'guilty' of playing soccer) and Ammar Ensayer ("guilty" of going to the marketplace). Fadel also speaks with the victims of the US air strikes such as Jabar Abdul Ridha who lost wife Kareema Hafout and daughter Nisrene Jabar when the US military elected to bomb their home as Kareema was hanging laundry. In complete denial, Maj Gen Kevin J. Bergner (US military flack) declared in Baghdad today praised the assault and maintained it demonstrated al-Maliki's "legitimate authority" and claimed "there are already indications that many citizens are working in support of their government."

Why would anyone say something so absurd? For the same reason the assault was launched, to prepare the rollout for US Ambassador to Iraq Ryan Crocker and Gen David Petraeus' testimonies to Congress this month. The assault was a disaster in that regard as well. It was supposed to give a p.r. boost, another wave of Operation Happy Talk that the two men could ride to justify the lack of progress and their cries for more illegal war.

In September, Congress acted like idiots. They allowed the White House roll out to take place with nothing to counter it. This week, US Senator Joe Biden uses his position as chair of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations to do the sort of work Congress should have been doing last September. "Iraq After The Surge" was the title of two of today's hearings with the first being military prospects and the second being political prospects. It was a time for Senators on the committee (and anyone following the hearing) to get a grasp on some realities before the p.r. blitz begins.

"Last year I rejcted the claim that it [the 'surge'] was a new strategy. Rather, I said, it is a new tactic used to achieve the same old strategic aim, political stability. And I foresaw no serious prospects for success. I see no reason to change my judgment now," declared Lt. General William E. Odom (Retired). He was one of four witnesses testifying on the first panel. Joining him were retired Generals Barry McCaffrey (General) and Robert H. Scales, Jr. (Major General) as well as War Hawk Michele Flournoy who doesn't serve in the military, just wants to send it everywhere. Odom was the one to listen to of the four as he felt no need to sweeten up his findings. One example was when he addressed the "Awakening" Councils -- turncoat thugs now supporting the US because the US is paying them:

Let me emphasize that our new Sunni friends insist on being paid for their loyalty. I have heard, for example, a rough estimate that the cost in one area of about 100 square kilometers is $250,000 per day. And periodically they threaten to defect unless their fees are increased. You might want to find out the total costs for these deals forecasted for the next several years, because they are not small and they do not promise to end. Remember, we do not own these people. We merely rent them. And they can break their lease at any moment.

If Congress is going to take advantage of the opportunites the hearings Biden held provided, they will be requesting that information right now. They will not, instead, merely wait to ask Petraeus and Crocker when they appear. If they do that, the two men will beg off with, "I don't have that information before me." So put in the requests now. Let the White House know you want the dollar amounts.

Odom was thinking of the coming testimonies and urged the committee, "When the administration's witnesses appear before you, you should make them clarify how long the army and marines can sustain this band-aid strategy."

Odom rejected the nonsense of "bottom up" building of a nation-state and noted that, historically, it has no known antaecedents. It's a shame he wasn't also on the second panel because this administration talking point was favored by two panelist.

"This idea of fight terrorism" bothers Joe Biden because if the US left, any al Qaeda that is present would leave as well and "I find it not plausible that if we left al Qaeda will gain a foothold." Odom agreed with the point (and had noted it himself in his opening remarks.)

More importantly, Biden felt, "We don't talk much about the downsides of staying. The downsides of staying are overwhelming . . . but we have fallen into the jargon that if we leave . . . that these terrible things would happen. Is the opposite true that if we leave . . . we're likely to damage the ability of al Qaeda" to remain in Iraq? General McCaffrey agreed with that assessment noting that "it's hard to imagine that we went to Iraq to fight al Qaeda" in the first place of that the US needs to remain in Iraq for that reason.

Biden reminded everyone of "the state purpose" by the White House for the so-called "surge" which "was to get to the point where there was a change in the space on the ground . . . in order to give the administration an opportunity to come up with a political solution" and for the "warring factions" to come together. Odom rejected the notion floated by some which was the need for "trainers" to be left behind. He rightly noted that not only is that not a withdrawal, it's an invitation for further violence. Biden agreed noting that you cannot "transition into a training emphasis" while withdrawing troops "without leaving trainers exposed."

Odom addressed the elephant in the room: the violence that likely follows a withdrawal. "We don't have the physical choice to prevent chaos when we leave," he declared. "It's going to happen . . . no matter what we do. . . . We have the blame because we went in [to Iraq] . . . We do have the choice not to send more US troops. That's the moral choice we're facing." He also noted how trainers were "besides the point" when Iraq is plauged with conflict and divided loyalties.

General Scales fancy the country a circus performer, one that can walk a tightrope: "The key is a delicate balance between pulling out American pwoer and withdrawing." He went on to compare it a "balance beam or a teeter-totter."

Odom dismissed that idea and noted that this was a critical moment and that there had been a series of them throughout the Iraq War. "The first engagement was when we went in, we won that," he explained. That was the last time he judged a 'win' had taken place and "we have been on the defense ever since."

US Senator Richard Lugar cited Gen. Richard A. Cody's "stark assessment" when testifying to the Senate yesterday that he had "never seen our lack of strateig depth be where it is today."
Ann Scott Tyson (Washington Post) reports that Cody is set to be replaced with Lt Gen Raymond Odierno whose confirmation hearing is set for tomorrow. Odierno is a big Happy Talker and also fond of repeating charges against Iran without any backing.
the forces depleted to the point that they are today. Luger referenced a "
Spike in Attacks" chart in the Washington Post and noted, "It points out that a surge . . . buys time." He then reviewed various figures to demonstrate that US service members are repeatedly targeted and that the 'low' is still not low (see chart).

Noting those who were serving in the US military in Iraq, Senator John Kerry offered, "What we're here to do is find out whether we have a strategy worthy of" them, he sounded like a very distant cousin to the young man who once asked the United States Senate, "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die in Vietnam?" He felt that the Iraqi governmet was "corrupt to the core and dysfunctional to the corps" but wanted "conditional engagement" which would mean Iraqis do X and the US do Z. But what's the point of any "engagement" with a government "corrupt to the core"? Kerry was better in the second panel but in the first panel, he was all over the map. "This is intolerable, folks, absolutely intolerable," he declared in a functioning moment. Odom agreed that the dynamic needed to change but stated (rightly) "the only thing that will change the dynamics is withdrawal."

"The president," Odom noted, "and I even hear it on this committee -- you're not going to get out [of Iraq] leaving order. . . Every year we've stayed, the price has gotten higher. . . . You don't have any other choices" except to get out. This led Biden to offer, "Excuse my cynicism, I expect that's why they're leaving it for the next administration."

Senator Chuck Hagel noted that listening to the testimony of all (on the first panel) telgraphed one point: "we have no good options." He heard a lot of questions but, "the real question is: 'How do we get out of this mess?' That is the only question."

While Odom was offering truths and realities (including that the people the US is currently training are the ones who will most likely lose a civil war in Iraq after the US withdraws), Flournoy was insisting that the "keep[ing] that surge funding going is absolutely critical." Flournoy had nothing to offer. She's a centrist stalling, trying to prevent withdrawal. Even when the senators were addressing that option (some gingerly). Senator Robert Menendez pointed out that what seemed very likely is that the US would remain in Iraq to support some "two-star general" -- an Iraqi 'strong man' installed to bring 'order' and "maybe he'll be liked and maybe he won't be" but was that the really the purpose of all the suffering and dying? Menendez pointed out the problems for Iraqi children, the lack of access to potable water and wondered, "How much more money is it going to take before we do this right?"

Noting the strain put on the US military (never a concern for Flournoy), US Senator Jim Webb again addressed deployments noting that "as long as you've been deployed, you should have that much time at home."

The second panel consisted of Yahia Said (Revenue Watch Institute), Stephen Biddle (Council on Foreign Relations) and Nir Rosen (NYU). The latter broke from stay-keep-the-war-going talking points and engaged the interest of Biden leading to a dialogue between the two about the realities. While Rosen was noting the violence was inevitable, Biddle insisted that it could be "low enough so it wouldn't be on the front page of newspapers." And that tells you just about everything you ever need to know about the Council of/for/from Foreign Relations. Senator Kerry was much more focused during this panel and quickly noted of Biddle, "So you're in the 100-year-war school." Biddle denied it but kept insisting on the "bottom up approach" which Odom had noted in the first panel just doesn't happen. Kerry noted that any "stability is only going to be maintained while we are there" and wondered how long the US could afford spending "ten to twelve million dollars a month" to pursue temporary stability? Yahia Said didn't make his testimony go over any easier by suggesting that the hope was an emerging 'strong man' causing Kerry (in his strongest moment) to ask, "Is that what our troops are dying for?"

Senator Lisa Murkowski asked the panel to "define a stabilizaed Iraq" and Biddle declared that it would be "an end to large scale violence." "And we do that through the bottom up approaching you are endorsing?" Murkowksi asked. Yes, Biddle asserted. Said felt that approach "has almost" -- almost -- "reached its limits." Nir Rosen noted the opinions of the Iraqi people and stated, "I think they should withdraw as soon as possible." Senator Russ Feingold wnated to know about the opinions on timetables. Not much happened until Senator Barbara Boxer was allowed her allotted time.

Barbara Boxer: Did you just say that Maliki uses the Iraqi security forces as his militia? Did you say that?

Biddle: Yes.

Barbara Boxer: If that's true and Maliki uses his military as a force to bring about peace -- that's scandalous and that we would have paid $20 million to train [it] and someone that we consider an expert says it's a militia, that's shocking.

She then attempted to question Rosen who attempted to add details. Details weren't needed and ate into the time needed for Boxer to make the case she was making. "I come out with a picture of Iraq today," she explained, "as a bloody lawless place, run by militias, a place that has undergone ethnic cleansing and the Shias won that . . . and also that the US presence there is only putting off the day when the Iraqis will find the way."

This was a yes or a no. Nir Rosen didn't need to offer stories. (But he did.) He's very lucky Boxer didn't tell him to hold his thoughts (she did tell Biddle that). She noted, "I'm surprised because that's not what General Petraeus tells us. He tells us he's proud" of how the training is coming and "that's not what Condi Rice tells us . . . I'm surprised."

Had Nir Rosen known when to shut his trap, Boxer might have a soundbyte for the evening news. Boxer wanted Biddle to explain his remarks and explain how the US could still be a peacekeeping force in Iraq while they were engaging warlords in Iraq which boils down to taking sides. ("You cannot count" on them, Boxer pointed out of the warlords on the US dime.) She rejected as offensive Biddle's suggestion that that sitting down with warlords was an answer. "There is no good solution to this nightmare," she pointed out, "so why not just figure out a way to tell the Iraqis, 'We've spilled the blood, now it's your turn.'"

Biddle was unusually snarky even for him and made a cutting remark implying that only those willing to keep US troops in Iraq for years actually cared about the outcome in Iraq leading Boxer to call him out loudly and to state, "And for you to suggest that I don't care about the outcome is a total, total slap to those of us who were against the war." Biddle made a mealy-mouthed statement about how that wasn't what he meant leading Boxer to snap, "I'll take that as an apology."

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


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that US airplanes "bombed some targets in Sadr city," 3 Baghdad roadside bombings that claimed 3 lives wounded twenty, 2 Baghdad mortar attacks that wounded four people, A Diyala Province bombing killed 1 woman and left a man wounded, a Diyala Province roadside bombing claimed 3 lives and left eight people wounded and a Mosul car bombing claimed the life of 1 woman and left four police officers wounded.


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports two women were shot dead in Baghdad today and their driver wounded, an Iraqi soldier and an Iraqi police officer were shot dead in Salahuddin, 2 people were shot dead in Kirkuk, an armed clash in Al Anbar among police officers and the US paid "Awakening" council resulted in five people wounded and, in Basra, a shooting targeted "the spokesman of the MOD" who survived but a Hurra TV correspondent was wounded. Reuters notes 2 police officers and 1 civilian were shot dead in al-Baaj


Hussein Kadhim (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 corpses were discovered in Baghdad. Reuters notes 2 corpses were discovered in Mosul.

Turning to Australia, in April 2006, Jake Kovco became the first Australian service member to die in Iraq (April 26, 2006). How he died was not clear even after a laughable "inquiry" that lasted for much of 2006's summer. A coronial inquest issued a ruling yesterday.
Australia's ABC reports that the Australian Defence Association are stating that the ruling "strengthens the case for reforms to the military justice system." And the findings themselves? The inquest found that Jake Kovco died from self-inflected wounds. The verdict is a joke and we'll get to that in a moment. During the coronial inquest, Amy Coopes (Herald Sun) reported that William Green, then stationed in Iraq, testified that in the military inquest, he was approached in Iraq by Warrant Officer Tim Cuming with a warning about his scheduled videolink testimony (he didn't end up testifying). This latest inquest did not address or explain the issue of DNA: "Forensic testing of the grip and slide of the pistol showed DNA in dominant amounts from Pte Kovco's barracks rommate and duty partner Pte Steve Carr." The Mercury notes, "Judy Kovco was the driving force behind the establishment of the coronial inquiry, accusing the military of a cover-up over her son's death." Jacob Kovco also left behind two young children as well as widow who wants her privacy, as she so frequently tells the press. Malcolm Brown (Sydney Morning Herald) asks Judy Kovco if she believes the proceedings were stage-managed and she responds, "That is exactly what they did. They cut 100 witnesses out." Judy notes Rod Cross from Sydney University's Department of Physics who "had written a report at the request of the police and concluded that Private Kovco had not been acting irresponsibly." Judy Kovco tells Brown, "What they seem to have forgotten, it is my son. I know better than anyone he would not do that. What they have tried to do is to make him out to be a lunatic, and he was not anything like that. It is a bit hard to swallow. It is more than a bit hard." And no wonder. Judy Kovco was promised a real hearing and that's now what took place. Dan Box (The Australian) notes that "the inquest did reveal a series of flaws in the military investigation into Kovco's death. These included the loss of potential evidence and the use of a crude 'cut-and-paste' technique that meant pages of witnesses statements were almost identical." For what's beein presented as the final word and something so obvious, it's amazing that the jury would have so much trouble deliberating. Had the needed witnesses been called, there might have been a different finding and exactly what John Agius' whine that the original finding must be backed up to prevent 'pain' to the living (primarily the soldier whose DNA was found on Jake Kovco's gun) had to do with anything is a puzzler. But in the same way that truth was not the concern in the 2006 inquest, it doesn't appear to have been the focus in this inquest either.

US Rep
Shelley Berkley (noted in yesterday's snapshot) announces that southern Nevada will finally be getting their first full-service VA medical center. And Senator Hillary Clinton issued the following statement on World Autism Awareness Day:

I am pleased to join the United Nations in recognizing the inaugural World Autism Awareness Day. Today offers us the opportunity to reaffirm a commitment to addressing the need for increased treatment, services, and research into autism spectrum disorders.
In the United States and other countries, we have seen a rise in the number of individuals diagnosed with autism. Throughout my time in public service, I have met with families who have shared their experiences in dealing with autism, and trying to seek the best possible care for their loved ones with the disorder. Currently, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 150 children in the United States has an autism spectrum disorder. In order to respond to these increases, we need to have a commensurate investment in services and programs for individuals with autism and other developmental disabilities. I also believe that we should increase our efforts to research autism, so that we better understand the causes and the best treatments for this condition.
In November, I announced a comprehensive plan to address autism. My plan provides nearly $1 billion over five years for autism research, surveillance, awareness, and early identification. I will create an Autism Task Force charged with investigating evidence-based treatments, interventions, and services. We need to know what works and start investing in those efforts. I will also expand access to post-diagnosis care so that once children have been identified as autistic, they receive appropriate evidence-based treatment immediately. No child should experience a delay in receiving services that can improve his or her quality of life. But too often today, children are forced to wait for months for care. I'll also provide funding to school districts and universities to train teachers and other health and social services professionals in how to work most effectively with autistic children, since the number of children with autism in our public schools has skyrocketed in recent years. I'll make sure every young person has a transition plan before they leave high school. I will also ensure that both children and adults with autism have access to the services they need -- including housing, transportation, employment - to live rich and full lives. In all, I will commit $500 million annually to provide services to improve the quality of life for all people living with autism.
This plan builds on my work in the Senate to help individuals and families impacted by autism. Last year, I introduced the Expanding the Promise for Individuals with Autism Act, which would increase the availability of effective treatment, services and interventions for both children and adults living with autism. I was also a cosponsor of the Combating Autism Act, and have worked to secure funding for the research programs authorized by that act.
I hope that today's commemoration will once again allow us to highlight the needs of children, adults, and families impacted by autism, and I look forward to working to continue to raise awareness about autism spectrum disorders.