Saturday, May 17, 2008

IVAW's Vincent Emanuele testifies to Congress

Vincent Emanuele was among the veterans testifying to Congress on Thursday. C.I. covered some of the hearing in Thursday's snapshot. Many of us will be grabbing portions of it in our posts tonight/this morning/whenever. That way, come Monday, C.I. won't have to try to summarize everything. Kat scanned the notes and e-mailed them out to everyone (I'm using C.I.'s originals) and, to be clear, we're all responsible for our own typos. These are in C.I.'s note-taking form. (Meaning everything is in C.I.'s unique short-hand and we decipher into full words and are responsible for the deciphering ourselves.)

No one has to post on it and some may have other things to talk about. I grabbed Vincent Emanuele when I saw the list because I remembered him from Winter Soldier in March and knew that other names I easily recognized would be grabbed by others quickly. (Such as Adam Kokesh who Trina will be writing about.)

The following is come of Vincent Emanuele's testimony to Congress on Thursday:

An action that took place often in Iraq was that of taking potshots at cars as they drove by. This was quite easy for most Marines to get away with because our rules of engagement stated that the town of Al Qaim had already been forewarned and knew to pull their cars to a complete stop when approaching a United States convoy. Our rules of engagement stated that we should first fire warning shots into the ground in front of the car, then the engine bloc, and then the drivers and passengers. Most of the time however the shots made their way straight to those individuals in the car. That is if the car was even moving in the first place. Many times cars that had actually pulled off to the side of road were also shot at. Of course the consequences of such actions posed huge problems for those of us who patrolled the streets every day. This was not the best way to become friendlier with an already very hostile local population. This was not an isolated incident it took place for most of my eight month deployment. In one particular instance we were sent to blow up a bridge that was being used to transfer weapons across the Euphrates. During this mission we were ambushed and forced to return fire to make our way out of the city. There are several problems with instances such as these. First it was very difficult if not clearly impossible to identify hostile targets. This resulted in our unit firing into the town with little or no identification of these hostile targets. Because of inadquate intelligence and lack of personnel or compentent leadership our platoon lost a good Marine that day and I lost my best friend.

He also spoke of the abuse of detainees and the disrespect for them.

Kat, Trina, Ava, C.I. and Iare all in Puerto Rico. We're doing our part to keep interest in the upcoming primary high. We spoke to two gatherings late tonight. We started the day in Oregon. We're here all weekend and will be back next weekend and the one after.

The nominee has not been decided, despite the press love for Barack, and this is our effort to vote Democratic in the fall. Should Hillary, who now leads in the popular vote, not get the nomination, we'll be voting -- community wide -- for Ralph Nader and doing so gladly. Watch all the usual whiners come out in full force claiming he stole the election, as they did in 2000. The DNC has been warned. I could never vote for Barack, I know too many of the ones hiding in the shadows that have propped up this campaign and am completely aware that they are not Democrats and they see a Barack nomination as their chance to weasel their way into the party and take control of it. There's nothing sadder than a White person over forty in the political closet and unable to say to the world, "I am a Communist." Having splintered their own party, they now will try to do the same with the Democratic Party. So, no, I will not now or ever vote for Barack. That is not me attacking the Democratic Party, that is me doing my part to save it.

"HUBdate: Hillary in Oregon" (Howard Wolfson,
Today In Oregon: Hillary hosts a "Solutions for the American Economy" event in Junction City, and participates a town hall hosted by KGW Newschannel 8 in Portland.
Hailing Passage of the Farm Bill: Yesterday, the Senate passed the Farm Bill by an overwhelming vote of 81 to 15. Hillary Clinton responded by saying: "By passing this bill, we have achieved an important step forward for farmers and consumers…Americans will have a real choice this fall - between a candidate who supports rural America and family farms and John McCain, who has threatened to veto this critical legislative priority."
Read more and more.
Momentum in the Bluegrass State: As a sign of growing momentum in the state, the Clinton campaign announced its Kentucky Steering Committee, which is comprised of more than 100 former and current federal, state, and local elected officials that have endorsed Hillary. Read more.
Standing Up For Montana Families: Kalispell, MT Mayor Pam Kennedy endorsed Hillary yesterday. At a rally with former President Bill Clinton, she explained why Hillary is her choice: "Hillary Clinton has been standing up for women and families throughout her long career in public service. She is the candidate who best understands the issues facing Montana families." Read more.
Health Care For All: At a campaign stop at Dennis Jones' Farms in Bend, SD, Hillary pledged that she would fight for quality, affordable universal health care for all South Dakotans and all Americans: "I believe we need a plan that's not going to leave anybody out."
Read More.
If You Read One Thing Today: "NARAL Pro-Choice America affiliates in key swing and primary states are openly distancing themselves from the decision…to endorse Illinois Sen. Barack Obama over Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton to be the Democratic nominee for president."
Read more.
On Tap in KY: Hillary will campaign in the Bluegrass State this Saturday, May 17.

Hillary is the fighter and the fight is for the Democratic Party. Without his closeted crew posing as Democrats (and no one asking questions about that), he would have little drumbeat support from the 'elite' class. I know C.I. intends to write about a closeted Communist tomorrow/today.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, May 16, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, an important DVD is released next week, what's up with Chalabi now, and more.

Starting with war resistance as
Iraq Veterans Against the War noted yesterday (text, video)

Good afternoon. My name is Sgt. Matthis Chiroux, and I served in the Army as a Photojournalist until being honorable discharged last summer after over four years of service in Afghanistan, Japan, Europe and the Phillipines. As an Army journalist whose job it was to collect and filter servicemember's stories, I heard many stomach-churning testimonies of the horrors and crimes taking place in Iraq. For fear of retaliation from the military, I failed to report these crimes, but never again will I allow fear to silence me. Never again will I fail to stand. In February, I received a letter from the Army ordering my return to active duty, for the purpose of mobilization for Operation Iraqi Freedom. Thanks in great part to the truths of war being fearlessly spoken by my fellow IVAW members, I stand before you today with the strength, clarity and resolve to declare to the military and the world that this Soldier will not be deploying to Iraq. This occupation is unconstitutional and illegal and I hereby lawfully refuse to participate as I will surely be a party to war crimes. Furthermore, deployment in support of illegal war violates all of my core values as a human being, but in keeping with those values, I choose to remain in the United States to defend myself from charges brought by the Army if they so wish to pursue them. I refuse to participate in the occupation of Iraq.

IVAW includes a link to an online donations form that people can select "legal fund" from and notes that is the address to express support to Matthis Chiroux. (That's thankyoumathhis at ).

As for those war resisters who are in Canada need support as well as they wait to see if the motion for safe harbor is going to come to the Parliament floor. You can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matthis Chiroux, Richard Droste, Michael Barnes, Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

As noted yesterday, the Congressional Progressive Caucus, chaired by Lynn Woolsey, Maxine Waters and Barbara Lee, and featured veterans offering testimony Thursday -- Iraq Veterans Against the War. The hearing was broadcast on CSPAN and KPFA (click here for KPFA's archived broadcast) and at Aaron Glantz' website The War Comes Home. Earlier (in March) Iraq Veterans Against the War held their Winter Soldier Investigation and it was broadcast at War Comes Home, at KPFK, at the Pacifica Radio homepage and at KPFA, here for Friday, here for Saturday, here for Sunday with Aimee Allison (co-host of the station's The Morning Show and co-author with David Solnit of Army Of None) and Aaron Glantz anchoring Pacifica's live coverage. (It was also broadcast at the IVAW site.) Allison and Glantz also hosted a live report on KPFA about the lawsuit against the VA on April 22nd. We'll focus on the second half of the first panel (which should get us through the second hour) and it was during this portion, after the veterans had offered their testimonies, that co-chair Maxine Waters first spoke and we'll pick up with this section.

US House Rep Maxine Waters: I have often wondered as I have read accounts of killings in Iraq of civilians, where they are described to us in the newspaper as 'some attack' or 'some killings' that have been executed because 'suspected terrorists' or 'suspected this' or suspected 'that'. And when I see women and children and civilians be killed, I often wonder who are those people? No one will ever be able to know what the true story is and they have nobody to stand up for them to say that they are innocent, that they are guilty of on crime. They just get killed and they die and that's it. And I wonder often times about those families and those children that we see getting killed in ways that you described here this morning. Mr. Goldsmith I want you to know I am so moved by your testimony that you had the courage to come here today and share with us what you have shared and say "This is how I thought a long time ago but that's not who I am today." That is very powerful, that is very moving. And I had to be contained up here by my leader . . . I just wanted to stand up and applaud and she said "Just be cool because we want to honor everybody in a special way."

US House Rep Waters was directing her last statements to Kristofer Goldsmith who testified last on the panel. Goldsmith presentation included visual slides. Juxtaposed were photos of him in uniform after completing basic training and him as a young child dressed up in a military uniform. He discussed specifically what his motivation was prior to deployment: to kill Iraqis, to kill Muslims. He spoke of the transformation he'd gone through -- which was what Waters was noting. He spoke of Sadr City (which will pick up at a later time) and, with time running out, noted US Senator and presumed GOP presidential nominee John McCain's opposition to the GI Bill US Senator Jim Webb is proposing. He said it wouldn't apply to him because he was he dishonorably discharged for attempting suicide so he wouldn't receive the benefit (due to the classification of the discharge) but it was sorely needed. Goldsmith would also note how telling his story was theraputic and how there are those who aren't able to tell their own stories: "It is very hard for us to find the courage to come up here and I would like to thank you again for hearing us."

US House Rep Maxin Waters: I don't like to make committments that I'm not sure I can follow or carry out but you're going to get your GI Bill, you're going to go to college.

Kristofer Goldsmith: Thank you.

US House Rep Maxine Waters: I want to tell you here and today that I'm on it, I'm focused. I don't know what I have to do but I'm going to get it. You're going to get it. I'm going to make that committment to you today. And whoever's standing in our collective way because, I know, that my collegues here share in my feelings about this. They [those opposed such as McCain] better get out of the way because we're going to get it. You have to have it. You must have it. And I'm so glad that you did not take you life, that it did not work. And I want you to know that no matter the disappointment, no matter the lies, no matter the experiences, there's some people here [in Congress] who believe in you, some people who are going to continue to fight to bring our soldiers home and some people here will stand up and fight for you no matter what the obstacles are. And I just wish you all would just defy this leader [Lynn Woolsey] and give him and everybody a big round of applause.

Rep Waters was referring to Rep Woolsey's explanation that this was a hearing and they would need to hold their applause. Also speaking was US House Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee who expressed her gratitude towards Kelly Dougherty for using her "anguish" to motivate greater change. Dougherty, who introduced the witnesses of the first panel, is an Iraq War veteran and the executive director of IVAW, the organization she co-founded. Jackson-Lee cited the testimonies and the need to end the illegal war.

US House Rep Sheila Jackson-Lee: And I feel a sense of urgency. I will leave the mike for a moment to go to the [House] floor to take some of the points you've made to offer them in my opposition to the war and what will be my vote to against any more funding for the war in Iraq. We made a personal committment that we will never vote for another cent. Sometimes we're blindsided. Sometimes they sneak it in or sneak it around. We try to be Sherlock Holmes and to find it and make sure we do not cast our vote. What I think I heard from Mr. Goldsmith was that there was this stop-loss policy of Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld and I think that what I've heard from my constituents that a general discharge -- in fact I think we heard that yesterday, about a general discharge -- now blocks everyone from their education benefits. So let me join with Congresswoman Waters to say this has to be fixed. Morphed. Refined. Distinguished. So that individuals who have for causes, for reasons, for tragedies, found themselves under this particular discharge do not have to suffer anymore. Let me also very quickly say that you are creating a movement. It pains me to hear that you are representing those who are shouting in the darkness. So maybe as we have had and I know that you have gathered but those hundreds of thousands need to hear our voice. Let us welcome them to Washington. Let's bring 100,000 of your members to Washington and let's call the roll on members of Congress to come and tell them why this war continues. I think frankly that should be the challenge today.

Along with explaining what needs to happen to pressure Congress into action (those weren't pie-in-the-sky words, she was offering serious advice), Rep Jackson Lee noted that the Act of Congress by which the illegal war was 'justified' has expired and referenced her own bill. The title of that bill is
Military Success in Iraq and Diplomatic Surge for National and Political Reconciliation in Iraq Act of 2007. It notes that the Military Force Against iraq Resolution has expired and calls for the "Withdrawal of Armed Forces and Contractor Security Forces From Iraq -- Not later than October 1, 2007 or 90 days after the date of the enactment of this Act, whichever shall occur first". It was referred to two House committees (Committee on Armed Services and Committee on Foreign Affairs) in February of last year. It remains in committee. The bill itself and Rep Jackson Lee's remarks at the hearing Thursday argues that US service members have done all that was asked of them and that it is time to withdrawal ("You have done everything we asked you to, Saddam Hussein is not there . . .").

As the first panel wound down, Rep Lynn Woolsey asked the witnesses to share how they dealt with their own grief. Jason Lemieux explained that after he returned from Iraq he sought PTSD counseling in Florida which was ended, not by his choice, when the counselor transferred/rotated. Today his focus is on attempting "to right to write as much as I can the wrongs I have done". Scott Ewing spoke of his work with IVAW and his academic work of providing him with a sense of direction and purpose. Kristofer Goldsmith explained his own history which included self-medicating with alcohol early on. He noted that seeking help at the VA requires waiting and waiting and waiting some more due to the long, long backup at the VA. In February, things improved for him when he was contacted by IVAW and began sharing his story with others. Geoffrey Millard noted that he puts on his black (IVAW) t-shirt every day: "I get to wake up every morning, put on that black t-shirt and work to bring the troops home, take care of them when they get home and make sure that Iraqis receive reperations. That is what keeps me going, gets my head off the pillow, every morning".

Rep Woolsey thanked them but noted that in terms of obligations and debt, "Moral debt belongs up here [Congress]. We thank you, you did the job you were hired to do . . . and you did it the best you could. The moral debt belongs to us."

Had the hearings received any significant media attention, that was the moment that should have been played. Woolsey was against the Iraq War before it started and has repeatedly called for an end and taken action to end it. But there was a member of Congress stating very clearly that the government held the moral debt. (Think of the Richard Clarke moment at the 9-11 hearings.) It was needed and it's to her credit (and her strength) that she made the statement.

Turning to Iraq,
Nancy A. Youssef, Leila Fadel and Warren P. Strobel (McClatchy Newspapers) report that CIA asset Ahmad Chalabi is apparently again on the outs with the US and they quote a "senior military official" saying: "That's it. He's out." Thug, would be dictator and journalist-go-to-guy Chalabi has been repeatedly counted out and always surfaced again. This time he is supposedly on the outs with puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki and supposedly to close to Iran (the latter charges have repeatedly dogged Chalabi in the last few years) but he denies he's any closer to the Iranian government than is al-Maliki.

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


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 2 Baghdad roadside bombings that claimed 1 life and left five wounded and a Falluja car bombing that claimed the life of "1 baby, six months old" and left seven people (including a two-month-old baby) wounded.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports Sadr City hospital personnel have seen 2 deaths and eleven people wounded as a result of the ongoing fighting in the US-led assault on Sadr City and, outside Falluja, 1 police officer shot and in critical condition.


Sahar Issa (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses discovered in Baghdad and 1 in Sirwan Lake.

On a different topic. Every year many, many movies are released. Most will never speak to anyone. A few will have a quality (a performance, a director's gaze, etc.) that will make it worthy of at least one viewing. Some should be firmly embraced because they are that important, that well done and that necessary. Molly Bingham and Steve Connors' amazing documentary
Meeting Resistance, available on DVD Tuesday (May 20th) is one that deserves to be embraced and has been in limited theartical showings. These are excerpts from the press release:

"Meeting Resistance," is about the people and make-up of the Iraqi resistance. Since it was released in theaters last fall, we have shown the film in more than 80 U.S. cities, as well as to several key military audiences. We've made more than 200 appearances with the film to talk about our understanding of the conflict in Iraq and take questions from the audience. When the lights come up, we are greeted with the kind of silence associated with people trying to reconcile what they thought they knew with what they now understand. We've come to realize that our film is delivering a paradigm shift about the Iraq conflict--one audience at a time. There are two wars in Iraq. "Meeting Resistance" explores the first war, the popularly supported resistance to occupation, which contains the majority of the organized violence that is happening in Iraq. Using primary source material, critical analysis and cross-referencing, we crafted a film that tells the story of that conflict. The second war is the civil war--an internal political struggle being waged over competing visions of Iraq's future, of which the country's sectarian violence is a symptom, not a cause. "Meeting Resistance" is a journalistic documentary, not an advocacy or polemic film. Although we did not set out to challenge the narrative of the Iraq conflict--the one that has been constructed in Washington--our reporting eventually led us to do so. U.S. military's briefings in the Green Zone during 2003 and 2004 told journalists that the violence against American troops came from "dead-enders" and "Ba'athi die-hards," from common criminals, religious extremists, foreign fighters, and al-Qaeda--characterized as "fringe elements". While some might fit some of these descriptions, the vast majority of those involved are citizens from the core of Iraqi society. In time, we came to see the U.S. military's misnaming of the "enemy" as an intentional act--as a key part of their objective to control the "information battle space." They aspire to control the perception of the enemy's identity, and through the news media persuade the American public that these "fringe elements" of Iraqi society are the only ones who oppose the U.S. presence in Iraq. A military push (or surge) to isolate and eliminate them would accomplish a perceived "victory." The National Intelligence Estimate on Iraq delivered to the White House in October 2003 was leaked in February 2006 by Robert Hutchings, the 2003-2005 chairman of the National Intelligence Council. Speaking in interviews, Hutchings revealed that the report said that it is composed of nationalists fighting for their country with deep roots in the society and that the U.S. military, if it remains in Iraq, will be fighting a counterinsurgency war for years to come, a conclusion that echoed what we had found in our on-the-ground reporting for "Meeting Resistance." If the predominant narrative about the Iraq conflict was truly based in reality, it would involve pointing out that the majority of Iraqis want a withdrawal of all foreign forces, and that the Department of Defense's quarterly reports to Congress, on average, show that from April 2004 to December 2007, 74 % of significant attacks initiated by Iraqis targeted U.S.-led coalition forces. Americans would also find out that half of registered marriages in Baghdad in 2002 were mixed marriages between Sunni and Shia, Kurd and Arab, Christian and Muslim, and many of the tribes and clans and families are, in fact, mixed between Sunni and Shia. Also, nearly all of the Arab Iraqis polled oppose dividing the country along ethnic and sectarian lines, and the vast majority demands that Iraq have a strong central government, not the decentralized powerlessness imposed by the American-influenced constitution. It is not that these points have never been reported, but the booming voice of "disinformation"--from which the Pentagon wants the American public to view the conflict--drowns much of this information out. Ultimately, our film has helped reveal the success of the Pentagon's strategy to obscure the real nature of the war in Iraq. Unfortunately, too many in the news media have been willing to allow that to happen. Throughout the world's history, there have been occupations--and resistance to those occupations. Why then do Americans have such a difficult time grasping that our troops are unwelcome by the vast majority of the Iraqi population? And why has reporting by our mainstream news media generally failed to recognize and draw our attention to this central, core aspect of the violence? Steve Connors and Molly Bingham are directors of "Meeting Resistance." Their film is distributed by First Run Features and available on DVD May 20th.

Changing topics again. Independent journalist, photo-journalist and artist
David Bacon examines and explores the issues of immigrant rights frequently. At the Americas Program,
Bacon notes the massive rallies, marches and demonstrations for immigration rights in 2006 and 2007: "Yet today the federal government is taking actions that make holding a job a criminal act. Some states and local communities, seeing a green light from the Department of Homeland Security, are passing measures that go even further. These actions need a reality check." That should have been noted last Friday but time ran out. There's another piece I'd like to note but can't find. We'll grab it Friday and remember at Bacon's site, you have text and photos.

Turning to the US presidential race, Hillary Clinton is asking for your help: "
Tell the Democratic National Committee to count the votes of Florida and Michigan." As Texas Darlin ( notes, Hillary's not losing and the calls of "Get out!" are coming about for just that fact. Jeralyn (TalkLeft) reports on a conference call with Hillary: "The number one message: It's the math not the map. In addition to the popular vote, the electoral map shows her with a cushion and Obama with a deficit. She has won 311 electoral votes to Obama's 217. While a few of her's like Texas and Oklahoma will be a challenge in November, many of his states will be: Alaska, Idaho, Utah, to name a few."

aaron glantz

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Hillary loves America and wants to work for America

"Hillary's Remarks at Charleston, WV Celebration Event" (Hillary Clinton,
There are some who have wanted to cut this race short. They say "give up, it's too hard, the mountain is too high," but here in West Virginia, you know a thing or two about rough roads to the top of the mountain. We know from the Bible that faith can move mountains and, my friends, the faith of the Mountain State has moved me. I am more determined than ever to carry on this campaign until everyone has had a chance to make their voices heard.I want to commend Senator Obama and his supporters. This continues to be a hard-fought race, from one end of our country to the other. And yes, we've had a few dust-ups along the way, but our commitment to bring America new leadership that will renew America’s promise means that we have always stood together on what is most important.

Talk about a speech. The above is Hillary delivering her victory speech last night. It won't get as much attention as Mr. Pretty Words' speeches but that's because it connects and is delivered to and of the people. Hillary is a fighter and she's proving, over and over, that she'll fight for America. It's the country she loves, it's the country she's part of. It's the country she's dedicated her life to. She's asking you to hire her as president. She's asking you to put her to work for you.

Barack? He's not too keen on America or Americans. That's shocking to some to say. But it's reality. He spent this week trashing the peace movement of the Vietnam era. He doesn't care for them. He's promoted the Republican Party as the "party of ideas." He's not comfortable with Democrats or what they stand for. When pressed, he'll go rushing off to big business and we saw that with his SEC endorsements today. Pundits wonder why Barack can't relate to real Americans, average ones? It goes to things like that.

He's not worked for the country, he's not done anything of value in his brief lifetime. He's promoted himself in race after race but wants to claim he's not a politician. His viriginty, like his accomplishments, is vastly overstated.

Does he want to make the country better? No, he wants to change you.

While Hillary says 'hold me accountable,' Barack's message is: If you do this and that, I might do something.


It's still not established. All this time later.

He wants Americans to change because he doesn't like Americans.

Hillary believes Americans are hard workers and good people. She wants to represent us, she wants to work for us.

Barack wants the job provided we can all clean up first.

C.I. and I were on the phone today analyzing the meta-messages both campaigns are sending and that really is the message. (I told C.I. I'd write about it. I know time is a problem these days.)

Time is a problem these days? We're all hitting the road in support of Hillary. I will finish my Thursday night group tomorrow and hop on plane to Oregon. I will be there for Friday and leave Friday evening for Puerto Rico. I will spend the weekend there, come back on Monday and figure out what else I can give (besides weekends in Puerto Rico -- Kat, Ava, C.I., probably Trina and I will be spending every weekend in Puerto Rico between now and their primary). While not as fluent in the language as Ava or C.I. (or Trina, who knew?), I do speak Spanish. Many in Puerto Rico speak English but, as Spanish speakers, we think we're the most effective in the community to work the reach out to voters.

While we're doing that, others will be hitting the remaining states with primaries.

We're doing that because we believe in the country and we believe in a Democrat in the White House. We're giving it our all and, if the Democratic Party doesn't get the message, they're on their own. If they want to select the weakest candidate (Barack), then they're on their own.

"HUBdate: Victory In West Virginia" (Howard Wolfson,
Victory In West Virginia: Hillary won the West Virginia primary by a 41-point margin, earning 67 percent of the vote…In her victory speech, she told supporters that "there are some who have wanted to cut this race short. They say 'give up, it's too hard, the mountain is too high,' but here in West Virginia, you know a thing or two about rough roads to the top of the mountain… I’m in this race for the millions of Americans who know that we can do better in our country, for the nurse on her second shift, for the worker on the line, for the waitress on her feet, for the small business owner, the farmer, the teacher, the coal miner, the trucker, the soldier, the veteran, the college student." Read more.
In Case You Missed It: Watch Communications Director Howard Wolfson on the significance of Hillary’s West Virginia victory: "This isn't just a small victory, this is a huge victory. The media has been telling voters: Barack Obama is the presumptive nominee. It's all over. Give up. Don't come out and vote. And yet, in overwhelming numbers, they've come out and voted for Senator Clinton tonight." Watch here.
Why West Virginia Matters: "The Mountain State is used to picking winners. Every nominee has carried the state’s primary since 1976, and no Democrat has won the White House without winning West Virginia since 1916. Democrats carried West Virginia in 1992 and 1996, but lost the state - and the White House - in 2000 and 2004. Hillary has predicted victory against Sen. McCain in West Virginia based on the strength of her economic message. Given the attempts by our opponent and some in the media to declare this race over, any significant increase in voter turnout, coupled with a decisive Clinton victory, would send a strong message that Democrats remain excited and energized by Hillary's candidacy."
Read more.
Hitting the Airwaves: Hillary appears on national news programs today including ABC World News, CBS Evening News, CNN's Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer, FOX News, NBC Nightly News, and Noticiero Univision.
By The Numbers: A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that "more than six in 10 Democrats…64 percent…say Clinton should remain in the race." A USA Today Poll also shows a majority of Democrats want Hillary to continue. (View the
ABC poll and the USA Today article.)
Standing For You: In a Courier-Journal op-ed, Hillary writes to voters in Kentucky: "Day after day, I've been inspired by the people I've met -- people who embrace opportunity, never waver in the face of adversity, meet hard times with hard work, and never stop believing in the promise of America… The challenges we face are great, but the possibilities are endless if we roll up our sleeves and get to work with a president who works her heart out for you every day. I hope you will go to the polls on May 20 and give me the chance to be that president."
Read more.
On Tap: Hillary will campaign in South Dakota on Thursday and Oregon on Friday and Saturday.

Mike suggested I include this:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Jess, Ty, Ava and Jim, Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man, C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review, Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills), Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Trina of Trina's Kitchen, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Wally of The Daily Jot, and Marcia SICKOFITRDLZ.

That's the community and everyone will be hitting the road. Mike just called to say Marcia's going to Kentucky on the weekends. She's already given three weeks in Indiana and West Virginia, but she's going to be joining the group that's camping out in Kentucky. This race isn't over and we're not throwing in the towel.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, May 14, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, a bombing leads to multiple deaths, al-Maliki pulls a for-show stunt, John Edwards endorses a super-model, Hillary wins West Virginia, and more.

Starting with political realities. There have been reports that US Senator Barack Obama intends to declare himself the Democratic presidential nominee (
click here for Tennessee Guerilla Women citing an outlet's report). It's possible that the campaign truly is that stupid. Making that declaration would be a disaster and most have focused on the p.r. when the bigger disaster would be the finanical one. Ava and I discussed this morning a number of realities including that if August seems to long to wait for a Democratic presidential nominee to take it up with the DNC that shoved the convention back so that the Democratic candidate would be running on a level playing field (financially) with the Republican candidate. We didn't factor in the alleged May announcement because we'd honestly forgotten it.

In 2004, John Kerry and the DNC considered delaying the nomination. Not because Kerry was at risk of losing it Why? Because the DNC convention was in July of 2004 and the GOP convention would wrap up in September. The
Washington Post, May 2004: "Under federal law, each major-party nominee will receive a check for $74.69 million from the U.S. Treasury to finance the general election. Receipt of the money is triggered by formal acceptance of the nomination, and after that no money raised for the primaries can be used on behalf of each nominee's general election campaign." Read the article. The Kerry campaign and DNC were not talking about delaying the convention, they were talking about no announcement of the nominee being made at the convention and doing that later. That was one idea they were toying with. If the announcement is made, the FEC regulations kick in.

When John McCain's mentioned here we generally note he is the presumed nominee and often include the point that, barring some upset ("heart attack or scandal"), he will be the GOP nominee in the fall. Barack Obama making an announcement this month would result in one of two things. A) The DNC calls him out on it and he has egg on his face that the press laughs at from now until the convention. (Possibly beyond.) B) The DNC doesn't call him on it. If the DNC makes no statement that the nominee has not been decided and it is not in Barack Obama's power to declare himself the nominee, then Barack would be in the presidential spending cycle. In May. Defeating everything the DNC was hoping to achieve this year by pushing the convention back to August. Read the Washington Post article. The 2004 convention would take place but John Kerry would make a speech in August declaring himself the nominee and they intended to argue that the speech was when Kerry became the nominee. By the same token, if Barack declares himself the nominee before the convention and is not loudly rebuked by the DNC, the federal guidelines should kick in and you better believe the Republicans will argue that they should.

When one candidate is left standing (the 'norm' for those especially young), they still aren't the nominee until the declaration. Barack making such a declaration before the convention and doing so while another candidate remains in the race would be viewed as a formal acceptance (seizure) of the nomination and the FEC spending rules would kick in.

Along with the p.r. nightmare Barack would create by declaring himself the nominee, people better get real about what happens in terms of financing. And, if you missed it, Barack's engaged in a dance with the press about how he would finance a general election campaign. Declaring himself the nominee -- with no LOUD rebuke from the DNC -- would take the issue from the hypothetical into the near future into the immediate present. (While the GOP nominee would have months to decide what they intend to do.) Since, unlike 2004, there are still two candidates, Barack declaring himself the nominee to shut out Hillary would most likely have to be seen by the FEC as his nomination unless the DNC loudly rebuked him and the federal finance laws on the general election cycle would immediately kick in.

Barack shouldn't be able to declare himself the nominee. It's a tie and the rules and guidelines say it goes to the convention where it's decided. But if he does try to do that the two most likely outcomes are (A) he enters the general election finance period in May or (B)he is loudly rebuked by the DNC. If it's (A), he defeats the entire purpose of the DNC moving the convention to August for 2008. If it's (B), he becomes the laughingstock of the press and America which suddenly gets an education on how a nominee is decided and Barack's speech becomes his Dan Quayle potato moment (or, as Dan spelled it, "potatoe").

We'll return to politics later in the snapshot. Turning to war resistance,
Jesse McLean (The Samia Observer) reports on war resister Richard Droste. Twenty-two-year-old Droste served in Iraq as a medica and then self-checked out after seeing what was really taking place in the illegal war. He says, "I was a stupid one and didn't see what we were really doing there until I was already there for four months." Now he's in Canada, where he's married to a Canadian citizen, and speaking out in favor of the Canadian Parliament granting safe harbor to US war resisters. He and Josh Randall spoke in Sarnia yeterday and he states, "It's not looking good. I'm worried the government in Canada right now is too bought into the American life" and if safe harbor isn't granted "you're going to see hundreds of objectors shipped back stateside, where a lot of them would probably get imprisoned."

Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.

George Bryson (McClatchy Newspapers) reports that a US judge, John D. Roberts, has declared that paratrooper Michael Barnes is a conscientious objector. In the Anchorage Daily News, Bryson explains that Barnes enlisted in 2005 and was sent to Iraq where he realized he was a conscientious objector. Bryson notes: "In a 26-page recommendation to the U.S. District Court, Roberts noted that the Army failed to show 'any basis in fact' to support its decision to deny Barnes' petition to be honorably discharged due to his religious beliefs. At the same time, the record includes strong reasons to justify the request, including Barnes' own testimony, supporting letters from fellow soldiers and the opinion of an Army chaplain, the judge said." He is not the first war resister to require a court interceeding. Robert Zabala is the most recent example and Agustin Aguayo is hoping the Supreme Court will intercede on his behalf.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

Turning to Iraq where the violence, like the illegal war, never ends.
Reuters notes a bombing resulting in mass deaths at an Al Anbar Province funeral. AP notes the death toll is 22 and that: "The bomber blew himself up inside a funeral tent in the village of Abu Minasir, just west of the capital. Police say that funeral was for Taha Obaid, the principle who was shot and killed one day before in his school. There was no reason known for Wednesday's killing, but many members of so-called Awakening Councils, Sunnis who switched allegiance and are now fighting al Qaeda, were attending the funeral. Col. Faisal al-Zubaie, the director of police in nearby Fallujah, says the original death toll was 18, but some people died later.
In other reported violence."
Tina Susman (Los Angeles Times) notes that the principle was Taha Obaid Zubai and identifies him as "a member of the Islamic Party" and the cousin of "Faisal Zubair, . . .the Fallouja police commander." The "Awakening" Council members are paid $300 US dollars a day by the US government. al Qaeda in Iraq has always been a small presence and the ones on the payroll of the US government today are mainly paid to not attack US service members (as Petraeus and Crocker repeatedly admitted/bragged in their April Congressional testimony). In other reported violence . . .


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad car bombing targeting Iraqi parliamentarian Ayad Al Samarai which did not kill him but claimed the lives of 3 bystanders and wounded twenty-seven people, a Baghdad 'female suicide bomber' who claimed her own life as well as 1 Iraqi military captain and 1 Iraqi soldier while injuring four more Iraqi soldiers, a Baghdad roadside bombing that targeted another Iraqi parliamentarian, Abdul Kareem Al Samari, and claimed the lives of 3 of his bodyguards (he survived) and left seven people injured, a land mine bombing in Sulaimaniyah claimed the life of an NGO worker with another wounded, while a bag bombing in Sulaimaniyah left three children wounded.


Mohammed Al Dulaimy (McClatchy Newspapers) reports armed clashes in Sadr City continued and claimed 6 lives with fourteen more wounded.


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

In other news,
Reuters reports puppet of the occupation Nouri al-Maliki has headed to Mosul to oversee the assault and has dubbed the ones under attack "terrorists" and "criminals." al-Maliki last oversaw the failed campaign in Basra which created the current conflict in Sadr City.

In US political news, West Virginia held a primary yesterday. As the Boston Globe headline proclaimed, "
Clinton Crushes Obama in W. Va." With 100% precints reporting, Hillary Clinton beat Barack Obama by 41% and exit polling revealed a number stating that if Barack was the Democratic Party nominee, they would vote for John McCain in November. On NBC's Today Show this morning, Matt Lauer noted that the voters rejected the conventional wisdom the pundits keep pushing: that Barack is the nominee; while Andrea Mitchell noted problems in the upcoming primary in Kentucky "unless there is a major change in the way he connects to people." Barack Obama is in a tie with Hillary Clinton. Neither will finish the primaries with enough delegates awarded to claim the nomination. The rules and guidelines dictate that the decision be made at the August convention. In the meantime the 'invincible' Barack seems even less so but David Gregory assured Lauer that "new math" was being used by the Obama campaign and that they are convinced he can lure Republican states in the last two elections based on his 'appeal' to Latino voters -- an appeal that did not exist in Texas, California or Florida. Hillary declared in her victory speech last night, "After tonight's tremendous victory here in West Virginia, it's clear that the pundits declaring this race over have it all wrong. The voters in West Virginia spoke loud and clear -- they want this contest to go on." If there were a nominee selected by the people, the press-appointed nominee wouldn't have lost yesterday's primary by 41%.

Meanwhile, yes, it's true, John Edwards, former Democratic presidential candidate this year (and 2004 vice presidential nominee) appeared on TV today to make an endorsement. His taped announcement appeared at the end of The Tyra Banks Show where he joined other celebrities (such as Will & Grace's Debra Messing) in congratulating Tyra on her 500th show and wishing her many more episodes. With Merv Griffin and Michael Douglas no longer having TV shows, Edwards spoke live to endorse Barack Obama, the candidate who repeatedly punked him on stage, the one he refused to stand up to, the refusal that led to American voters seeing him as weak. At this late date and considering his non-stop desire to act as if his campaign existed for him to be part of an Obama entourage, no one gives a damn. Edwards joined Barack, Tim Russert and Brian Williams in the tag-team bashing of Hillary -- the debate FAIR didn't think warranted a "media advisory." He was a weak candidate who couldn't finish. His endorsement is meaningless. But it was nice to see him on Tyra playing the grinning fool he does too well.

Hillary Clinton explained what's at stake:

There are some people out there who want to declare this race over now, before all the ballots have been counted or even cast. There are some who say they don't know why I'm in this race. So let me tell you why I'm still running.
I'm in this race for everyone who needs a champion. For the hardworking families who are losing sleep over gas prices and grocery costs and mortgage payments and medical bills -- but who never lose that American can-do spirit and optimism.
I'm in this race for the more than 16 million people like you who have supported me -- for the people who have put their hearts into winning this race. You never gave up on me, and I'll never give up on you.
We are in the homestretch. After sixteen months, there are only three weeks left to compete in the final contests. With your help I'm going to keep fighting until every last American has a chance to be heard, and as we learned last night in West Virginia, I know we can win.
Contribute now to keep our campaign going strong.
I'm also in this race because I have the best chance of beating John McCain in November and putting America on the right track.
We proved something in West Virginia last night -- a state every Democratic president has won since 1916. And we proved something in a few other battleground states that have a history of picking presidents. Pennsylvania. Ohio. Arkansas. New Hampshire. New Jersey. New Mexico. Nevada. And, yes, Michigan and Florida.
I am in this race, and so are you, because we both know the stakes in this election are too high to stay on the sidelines.
So let's keep going together, you and me. Let's keep driving our campaign forward, and let's keep winning.
Make a contribution today to help me win.
I want to thank you again for the incredible generosity of spirit you have shown over the course of this campaign. Together, you and I are going to make history.

Turning to Team Nader:

While most of us sit in front of screens typing and searching, Ralph Nader still types out his prose on a manual Underwood typewriter.
On Monday, Mr. Underwood traveled to Google headquarters in Mountain View, California.
Nader is not easily dazzled by technological wonders.
Throughout his career, Nader has confronted head-on the downside of nuclear, automobile, genetic engineering and other industrial advances.
And now he's questioning the enormous amount of time we spend in front of our computers.
Has Google and the information revolution that it leads made our society better?
Or is it just another mass diversion from the reality of the corporate takeover of our democracy?
At Googleland, Nader took questions
for an hour.
And then sat down for an
eight-minute interview with Youtube.
Nader/Gonzalez is confronting head-on the reality of the corporate takeover of our democracy.
As you know this week, we are raising money to get Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in the Land of Lincoln - Illinois.
In just five short days, 462 of you - on-line and face-to-face at Nader/Gonzalez rallies on the West Coast - have donated $43,718.
Thank you.
We need just another 70 of you - our loyal supporters - to
donate $100 each - to reach our Illinois goal of $50,000.

mcclatchy newspapers

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

One candidate to win, one to self-destruct

"Obama concedes defeat in Kentucky early" (Rick Pearson, Baltimore Sun):
Sen. Barack Obama's campaign is conceding not only that Sen. Hillary Clinton will win today's West Virginia primary by a large margin but next week's Kentucky primary as well.
But a memo from the Illinois Democrat's campaign also maintains that while Obama will end up with the presidential nomination, the prolonged Democratic campaign hasn't left the party divided.

Oh, look who's throwing in the towel. That's a winning candidate? The Democratic nominee will need to persuade voters in West Virginia and Kentucky to vote for her or him in the general election. But Barack thinks he can blow off both states.

Democrats who win presidential elections are fighters. They don't give up, they don't rush off on vacations (the way John Kerry did), they fight for every vote, they meet every person they can. Barack's a little too 'sensitive' for the campaign trail. He has trouble relating to Americans and the nominee will need every American on her or his side.

Barack is not up to be president and, it's becoming obvious, he's not even up to running for the Democratic nomination.

If the Democratic Party goes into self-destruct mode, they will give him the nomination. That's when it will hit them that Barack's 'movement' is a tiny ripple in the general electorate.

When you add in the sexist attacks he has condoned (and sometimes took part in though everyone's supposed to look the other way) and the way his campaign (and he) have non-stopped falsely cried "racism," you better believe a huge chunk of Americans who did not vote in the primaries will not be predisposed to him as a nominee.

I won't vote for him. If he's the nominee, he'll be the nominee without my vote in November. I know him too well, I know far too much about him and I know the crowd that created him. Sorry, can't vote for him. I'll be voting for Ralph Nader and I'm sure a number of Democratic voters will, or they won't vote, or they'll vote for John McCain.

He's little grab-my-tutu-and-go-home act in Kentucky and West Virginia won't play well either.

Nor will his refusal to debate.

He is a little spoiled prince who has had his ego stroked non-stop and if he becomes the nominee things will change. We've already seen that he cannot stand up to pressure. We've already seen that he storms out (as he did on the plane in Texas when reporters finally began asking him about Tony Rezko). We've already seen him make insane remarks about their being 58 states in the US and that he's visited 57 of them. You think that won't go to competency in a general election?

He's been too coddled, too petted and too pampered. He's not up to running and the Democratic Party will only pick him if they want to self-destruct in November.

"HUBdate: Election Day in West Virginia" (Howard Wolfson,
By the Numbers: A new ABC News/Washington Post poll shows that "more than six in 10 Democrats…64 percent...say Clinton should remain in the race." A USA Today Poll also shows a majority of Democrats want Hillary to continue.
Read more and more.
"Honored to Have Hillary" Yesterday, Hillary made a campaign stop at Westside High School in Wyoming County, WV. "While the hoarseness in her voice indicated the strains of campaigning, her enthusiasm remained strong... 'I'm honored to have Hillary in Wyoming County,' noted Delegate Richard Browning... 'This speaks volumes about who she cares about -- the small town people.'"
Read more.
On the Air: In a new radio ad, Hillary encourages West Virginians to get out and vote: "We can pick a president. After all, no Democrat has been elected president without winning West Virginia for almost a hundred years."
Listen here.
"Clinton Fever Hits Bowling Green" "Clinton fever has come to Bowling Green. 'Kentucky for Hillary’ opened a new office and held an open house Monday. Crowds turned out to show support for their favorite candidate. A candidate they hope will stand out in Kentucky next week... 'The woman has a lot of purpose,' said Barbara Burns, a Clinton supporter. 'She wants to serve our country as best she can, and I believe she can do that as president.'"
Read more.
SD Endorsement Watch: Yesterday, 41 former South Dakota state legislators and constitutional officers endorsed Hillary for President. "With over 330 years of combined experience," they believe that "South Dakotans need a President who will stand with them." Former State Representative Al Waltman said, "Hillary Clinton has real solutions to our economic problems…and she has the experience and resolve to make those plans a reality."
Read more.
Previewing Today: Hillary celebrates election night in Charleston, WV.
On Tap: This Friday and Saturday, Hillary returns to the Beaver State, where she will meet with Oregonians from across the state.

Don't get the point? This is from CNN:

Exit polls in West Virginia suggest a strong division among Democrats.
Almost as many of Clinton's West Virginia supporters would vote for McCain as would for Obama, the polls show.
If Obama were the Democratic nominee, 36 percent of Clinton supporters would vote for him in the fall, the polls found.
But 35 percent said they'd cast their vote for McCain instead.
A bare majority of his West Virginia supporters -- 51 percent -- said they would back Clinton in the fall, but 31 percent said they'd vote for McCain.

Get it? Barack will run voters over to McCain. That's not 'winning' in any book I know of.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Tuesday, May 13, 2008. Chaos and violence continue, the US military announces a death, West Virigina votes today, the Congress loves veterans . . . as long as they don't expect what's been promised, and more.

Starting with war resistance. The
May 2nd snapshot noted war resister Ryan Jackson who turned himself in and was waiting to find out what was next. Courage to Resist reports: "War objector Army PFC Ryan Jackson was temporarily moved from his brig cell yesterday and arraigned at Fort Gordon, Georgia. Ryan was formally changed with multiple counts of AWOL stemming from his attempt to be released from the Army prior to Iraq deployment. He is scheduled to face a special court martial--with a maximum one year prison sentence--on Tuesday, June 3. Since voluntarily returning to Fort Gordon on April 14 and formally applying for a conscientious objector discharge, Ryan has been held in pre-trial confinement at the Charleston Navel Brig. Write to Ryan Donate to Ryan's defense Attend Ryan's court martial."

That's the US, in Canada, war resisters are hoping the Parliament will take action on a motion waiting to be debated. Currently, you can utilize the following e-mails to show your support: Prime Minister Stephen Harper ( -- that's pm at who is with the Conservative party and these two Liberals, Stephane Dion ( -- that's Dion.S at who is the leader of the Liberal Party and Maurizio Bevilacqua ( -- that's Bevilacqua.M at who is the Liberal Party's Critic for Citizenship and Immigration. In addition Jack Layton, NDP leader, has a contact form and they would like to hear from people as well. A few more addresses can be found here at War Resisters Support Campaign. For those in the US, Courage to Resist has an online form that's very easy to use.
There is a growing movement of resistance within the US military which includes Matt Mishler, Josh Randall, Robby Keller, Justiniano Rodrigues, Chuck Wiley, James Stepp, Rodney Watson, Michael Espinal, Matthew Lowell, Derek Hess, Diedra Cobb,
Brad McCall, Justin Cliburn, Timothy Richard, Robert Weiss, Phil McDowell, Steve Yoczik, Ross Spears, Peter Brown, Bethany "Skylar" James, Zamesha Dominique, Chrisopther Scott Magaoay, Jared Hood, James Burmeister, Jose Vasquez, Eli Israel, Joshua Key, Ehren Watada, Terri Johnson, Clara Gomez, Luke Kamunen, Leif Kamunen, Leo Kamunen, Camilo Mejia, Kimberly Rivera, Dean Walcott, Linjamin Mull, Agustin Aguayo, Justin Colby, Marc Train, Abdullah Webster, Robert Zabala, Darrell Anderson, Kyle Snyder, Corey Glass, Jeremy Hinzman, Kevin Lee, Mark Wilkerson, Patrick Hart, Ricky Clousing, Ivan Brobeck, Aidan Delgado, Pablo Paredes, Carl Webb, Stephen Funk, Blake LeMoine, Clifton Hicks, David Sanders, Dan Felushko, Brandon Hughey, Logan Laituri, Jason Marek, Clifford Cornell, Joshua Despain, Joshua Casteel, Katherine Jashinski, Dale Bartell, Chris Teske, Matt Lowell, Jimmy Massey, Chris Capps, Tim Richard, Hart Viges, Michael Blake, Christopher Mogwai, Christian Kjar, Kyle Huwer, Wilfredo Torres, Michael Sudbury, Ghanim Khalil, Vincent La Volpa, DeShawn Reed and Kevin Benderman. In total, at least fifty US war resisters in Canada have applied for asylum.
Information on war resistance within the military can be found at
The Objector, The G.I. Rights Hotline [(877) 447-4487], Iraq Veterans Against the War and the War Resisters Support Campaign. Courage to Resist offers information on all public war resisters. In addition, VETWOW is an organization that assists those suffering from MST (Military Sexual Trauma).

In an editorial,
The Honolulu Star-Bulletin observes, "The Bush administration has been lowballing the cost of the war in Iraq since it began more than five years ago, and the true surge will not be known for decades. Internal documents obtained by The Associated Press indicate that the cost of care for disabled veterans will more than double today's exependitures. That may be erring on the low side but still is intolerable. The government now spends $29 billion a year in compensation to injured warriors, including those from previous wars, but that figure is expected to reach $59 billion in 25 years." Jennifer C. Kerr (AP) noted Sunday, "Increasing numbers of U.S. troops have left the military with damaged bodies and minds, a pool of disabled veterans that will cost the nation billions of dollars for decades. . . . VA officials were not eager to talk about reasons for the increases. They declined several requests for interviews. In a written response to a handful of questions, the agency noted a few factors at play in rising costs, such as the aging veteran population, an increase in the number of disability claims and the severity of injuries suffered. Outside experts provided more insight." A Los Angeles Times' editorial entitled "War wounds we don't see" notes: "The cost of treating brain injuries in 2007 ranged from $26,000 for mild cases to $409,000 for severe ones. The survey estimated that costs for treating post-traumatic stress disorder and depression in the first two years after deployment are as high as $6 billion. Pain, heartache and blighted young lives, of course, are incalculable."

Dropping back to the May 9th snapshot: "Today
Paul Kane (Washington Post) reports that
'Blue Dog Democrats' are in opposition to a House measure specifically because of 'the creation of a program that would guarantee veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan a year of in-state college tuition for each year served in the war zones'."
Rick Maze (Army Times) examines the threat to the bill and quotes American Legion's national commander Mart Conaster explaining AL had to fight "in 19944 for the orginal" GI Bill "even some veterans' groups complained that it would break the treasury. Instead, the GI Bill transformed the economy and has been widely hailed as the greatest domestic legislation Congress has ever passed." John Young (Waco Tribune) observes, "It's only when people return from battle that we become sticklers for decimal points" and goes on to point out that what has the Pentagon and Senator John McCain upset isn't the cost apparently but the fact that education benefits would be available after three and not six years (and that six wasn't required for the original GI Bill). From the April 17th snapshot: "Thomas L. Bush is the Acting Deputy Assistant Secreteary of Defense for Reserve Affairs at DoD. Last month he was telling the press that increasing education benefits for service members will increase 'the risk that many who enter for the benefits will leave as soon as they can use them.' Yesterday he repeated his assertion that DoD 'does not believe that the basic structure of the Montgomery GI Bill is broken'."

The Pentagon's head, Sec of Defense Robert Gates, treked it over to Colorado Springs, CO today to participate in a conservative 'think'-tank's day of seminars. The 'think'-tank is the Heritage Foundation and Gates didn't speak on the "Green Gone Wild: Elevating Nature ABove Human Rights" panel but tax payers have every right to ask exactly what he was doing promoting a private organization's day of seminars to begin with?
Josh White (Washington Post) explains the big take-away: "Defense Secretary Robert M. Gates today implored the U.S. military to focus more on wars against insurgents and militias such as the ones in Iraq and Afghanistan, rather than focusing time and money on potential conflicts." That's nothing new and was the point of the April 17th House Armed Service Committee's Strategic Forces Subcomittee hearing as well as Gates' April 21st speech. As Mark Thompson (Time magazine) observed, "Gate's comments richoeted at supersonic speed around the Pentagon and across broader defense networks, as officers -- and contracters -- tried to parse their implications. His bottom line: The Air Force ought to be less concerned with buying more $350 million F-22 fighters for use in future wars that may never happen, and do more to deliver what is needed to fight the wars currently underway 'while their outcome may still be in doubt'." Gates was delivering his standard speech today with a few modifcations.

For instance there was Gates' insult to DC which goes beyond mere 'joke' when you grasp the 'think'-tanks target audience: "It is always good to be away from Washington, DC -- and of course the beauty of the Broadmoor and Colorado Springs make it especially difficult to go back to the place where many folks often become lost in thought because it's such unfamiliar territory." There was also his opinion that the outcome with Vietnam resulted in "profound damage" to the US military military as a result of "the reality of defeat in that war." Surely some revisionary historians are gasping for air having spent the last decades trying to rewrite the defeat. While Gates gave a little honesty about the Vietnam era (only a little) today,
Senator Barack Obama gave a lot of lies by repeating right-wing garbage about Vietnam returns being "shunned, demonized and neglected". No, The Nation, The Progressive or any of the other filth that regularly promises to hold his feet to the fire (Tom Hayden, Laura Flanders) someday didn't find the comments worth calling out. But then, they never do, do they? And for the record, this is not the first (or second, or third) attack on the peace movement during Vietnam from Barack. We'll get into his politics more in the politics section.

In Baghdad the Sadr City cease-fire/truce is supposed to be the answer.
Anna Badkhen (Christian Science Montior) reports on a problem when ever Iraqis flee their homes to escape fighting -- empty homes that they may or may not be able to reclaim. Badkhen reports that US Capt Andrew Betson states US policy is to allow squatters in the homes and the original inhabitants "basically have to stay displaced, they have to stay wherever they are" and turn the matter over to a local council to resolve. At Salon, Badkhen cites 1st Sgt. James Braet explaining how US monies are used: "In addition to distributing $2,400 micro-grants to businesses that want to reopen inside Saidiyah, and occasionally handing out goodies such as school backpacks and soccer balls to the neighborhood children, the U.S. military here pays a monthly salary of approximately $300 to about 300 people, Braet says. Some of them work on the neighborhood council, and some of them are members of a pro-government Sunni militia called Sons of Iraq" and quote Braet stating, "I'd say 80 percent of these people we pay don't do anything. It's just free money." Leila Fadel (McClatchy Newspapers) reported over the weekend, "Followers of rebel cleric Muqtada al Sadr agreed late Friday to allow Iraqi security forces to enter all of Baghdad's Sadr City and to arrest anyone found with heavy weapons in a surprising capitulation that seemed likely to be hailed as a major victory for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki. In return, Sadr's Mahdi Army supporters won the Iraqi government's agreement not to arrest Mahdi Army members without warrants, unless they were in possession of 'medium and heavy weaponry'." Alexandra Zavis (Los Angeles Times) notes, "Representatives of Iraq's main Shiite Muslim factions signed a deal Monday clearing the way for Iraqi soldiers to operate throughout Sadr City, a vast Baghdad slum that is largely under the control of militiamen loyal to firebrand cleric Muqtada Sadr. The signatures put an official seal to a truce brokered over the weekend by Sadr's political representatives and members of Prime Minister Nouri Maliki's governing alliance." But Selcan Hacaoglu (AP) notes the "fragile cease-fire failed to stop fighting in Baghdad's Sadr City where the latest clashes between Shiite extremists and U.S.-backed Iraqi forces killed 11 men and wounded 19, Iraqi hospital officials said Tuesday." CBS and AP explain, "It was not immediately clear if those killed in the clashes, which escalated early Tuesday, were militants or civilians. There were women and children among the wounded, said hospital officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the media." AFP reports that despite the cease-fire being signed "both sides said it will be Wednesday before they fully implement it on the ground." NPR's Ivan Watson (on Morning Edition today) reports on Sadr City and notes that the taxi driver is also a Mahdi fighter who declares, "We can survive the siege for a long time. If Moqtada Sadr gives us the order then we'll go, one by one, and pull the American soldiers from their tanks." Waleed Ibrahim and Wisam Mohammed (Reuters) report that not all are certain of al-Sadr's control/leadership and quotes Baghdad University professor Kadhum al-Muqdadi on the continued fighting, "It is clear that Sadr does not control all of the armed groups that make up the Mehdi Army. This fighting could last a long time." They also quote Sadr spokesperson Luwaa Sumaisem insisting, "Ceasefires cannot always be implemented immediately. Violations will happen in the first few days. Some armed groups may not be aware of it."

In other reported violence . . .


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports a Baghdad roadside bombing injured five people, a US air strike claimed 5 lives and left four injured (cites Imam Ali Hospital), a Mosul roadside bombing that claimed the lives of 5 Iraqi troops and a Kirkuk car bombing that injured ten people. Reuters notes a Mosul bombing that left two children injured.


Laith Hammoudi (McClatchy Newspapers) reports 4 corpses were discovered in Baghdad.

Today (PDF format warning)
the US military announced: "A Multi-National Division -- Baghdad Soldier was killed when his vehicle was struck by an improvised explosive device in northwestern Baghdad at approximately 7 p.m. May 13." The total number of US service members killed in Iraq since the start of the illegal war currently stands at 4077.

Turning to US politics . . .

AP reports: "The Bush administration repeatedly ignored corruption at the highest levels within the Iraqi government and kept secret potentially embarrassing information so as not to undermine its relationship with Baghdad, according to two former State Department employees. Arthur Brennan, who briefly served in Baghdad as head of the department's Office of Accountability and Transparency last year, and James Mattil, who worked as the chief of staff, told Senate Democrats on Monday that their office was understaffed and its warnings and recommendations ignored."

Let's go to
MTV "News" where Gil Kaufman is a certifiable idiot. First he repeats Barack's claim that the US is "facing the largest homecoming since the Second World War." When he needs a fact, he just makes it up and his MOANING THAT HE'S WEARING BLUE JEANS press pack, is too STUPID to say, "Hey, how man troops did the US deploy to Vietnam?" Gil then decares that there is a "near-mathematical impossibility of her beating Obama for the nomination" -- what?????? Look, you're a reporter -- a bad one -- but a reporter. When you don't know what you're talking about, you 'research' it (make phone calls). Here's reality: neither Hillary or Barack will reach the magic number. Unless one of them drops out, this could go to the convention. If it does, there are no "pledged delegates." Super delegates can change their minds at any time. But, at the convention, pledged delegates make their own decisions. As Big Tent Democrat (TalkLeft) observes, it's probably not a good idea for Barack's campaign to be applauding a pledged delegate to Hillary (Jack B. Johnson) who states he'll "support Obama at the August convention."

Can Johnson, sent by the state (he's not a super delegate) to be a Hillary delegate, change his vote at the convention? Absolutely. And those of us who survived Miami in 1972 know very well that on the floor of the convention there are no promises. George McGovern himself proved that as he stabbed women OVER AND OVER in the back and sent out a woman to try to explain his betrayals and justify them. (Coward then, coward now: George McGovern. See Rebecca's "
george mcgovern, start worrying about the after-life.") But Barack's campaign's applauding that. Good. Maybe it will make the press wake up to how STUPID they are. There is no winner. There will be no winner. There is a set number that the nominee has to reach. If no one reaches it and there's more than one standing, the issue is supposed to be resolved at the convention. Translation, NO ONE HAS A LOCK on the nomination. No one. Now those old enough to remember past Democratic nominations decided on the convention floor could explain that but the elders went AWOL in the party sometime ago, mouthing meaningless patter about 'movement.'

Christopher Hayes (The Nation, gets a link because he's a nice guy) can't understand why the media notes Barack's religion by stating he 'says he's a Christian.' Allow us to break it down for you. Thus far, mainstream journalists have attempted to locate Barack's baptismal record. Can't find it. And a number with the church when Barack started showing up there say (to the press) it's due to the fact that Barack wasn't baptised. What did he do May 4th? What he always does. On NBC's Meet The Press, he insisted he was "uh a Christian" and then went on to list what Wright had done for his family including baptizing Barack's children. But where was Barack's baptism. I know it's hard for a lot in Panhandle Media to grasp due to not being religious or not being part of a religion that requires baptism. However, Barack says he's a Christian and says he's a member of a church. The church and the faith requires those coming to the Lord to be baptiszed -- regardless of age. Those changing churches can simply have their baptismal records forwarded (the church secretary takes care of that). If someone's not grasping it, if Barack wasn't baptized -- and that is becoming the consensus in the press -- he's yet again misrepresented himself to the public. He can try to fix it by claiming, "Well, I came to God on my own." But he hasn't said that. He's stated he's a Christian and stated that a church was his church. Allowing people to believe he'd been baptized in that faith. If he never was, he misrepresented and that will be one of the kinder things said about him. And that is what will rally the religious right to the polls for John McCain in November. If you don't grasp that, you don't grasp religion. Here's Barack speaking to Tim Russert from Meet The Press' transcript (which leaves out the 'uh-uh's):

And, as a consequence, when Reverend Wright, who married me and baptized our, our children, when he made those statements, or I learned of those statements that I found so objectionable, I, I .

What's missing? Barack saying Wright baptized him. (Again, the press consensus is becoming that it never happened.) He doesn't mention it in either of his books. A grown man getting baptised, you'd assume he'd have an anecdote. This would be an issue in the general election if he got the nomination.

If you disagree,
note this from conservative ("crunchy con") Rod Dreher (Dallas Morning News):

His former pastor the Rev. Jeremiah Wright is an unreconstructed '60s radical, a fire-breathing disciple of James Cone's period-piece black liberation theology. Mr. Obama wrote in his 1995 autobiography, Dreams From My Father, about his attraction to the leftist pastor's church as a vehicle for social change. If black nationalism would uplift the race, he wrote, "then the hurt it might cause well-meaning whites, or the inner turmoil it caused people like me, would be of little consequence."
That's a remarkable admission of a racialized "ends justify the means" morality. It helps explain why Mr. Obama was willing to stick with a crackpot like Dr. Wright. It also might explain why an up-and-coming Barack Obama found nothing particularly wrong with rubbing political elbows with Bill Ayers, the Chicago university professor and onetime fugitive member of the revolutionary, communist Weather Underground.

You can use the link to read the entire piece. If Barack wasn't baptised, the GOP attack will include that and it will effect voters (including some of Barack's core support because the word for many church goers -- of all races -- will be stronger than "fraud"). Meanwhile,
Egalia (Tennessee Guerilla Women) notes, "So many women in the media have remained silent" during the non-stop sexist attacks on Hillary and post a clip of ABC's This Week where Cokie Roberts (who has called it out before during this election cycle) again pointed out the double standards. Marie Cocco (link goes to Real Clear Politics -- Cocco is syndicated by the Washington Post) appears to write a burial for the Clinton campaign (it's not over, Marie) and finds her voice to speak out against some of the sexism (left out of the list are the writings at the website which reposts her for free). It's a greatest hits of the most obvious. Cocco notes: "I will not miss the deafening, depressing silence of Democratic National Committee Chairman Howard Dean or other leading Democrats, who to my knowledge (with the exception of Sen. Barbara Mikulski of Maryland) haven't uttered a word of public outrage at the unrelenting, sex-based hate that has been hurled at a former first lady and two-term senator from New York." Don't stop there, Marie. As we all know Laura Flanders has defended Laura Bush, Condi Rice and countless other GOP women in print and over the radio when they were attacked for or discriminated against due to gender. But the self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders couldn't call it out. And The Nation thought it was cute to print all those sexist attacks on Hillary, as did The Progressive, as did . . . The entire Panhandle Media. This will not be forgotten. And it's not hurting feminism, it only fuels greater strength.

And just as the sexism will not be forgotten, the campaign isn't over.
Fernando Suarez (CBS News) quotes Hillary explaining, "West Virginia has a record of picking presidents. West Virginia made it possible for President Kennedy to become president of the United States. West Virginia in the general election votes for the winner and if West Virginia had voted for our Democratic nominee in 2000 and 2004 we wouldn't have had to put up with George Bush." Yesterday 41 former South Dakota state legislators and Constitutional Officiaers endorsed Hillary. I guess they didn't hear that the race was over? Or maybe they weren't foolish enough to believe the spin. The race isn't over. There are two candidates left in the Democratic primary and they are in a dead-heat. Neither will finish the race with enough pledged delegates to be declared the winner or to declare themselves the winner. And while the Obama Groupies run to a largely compliant press yelling "Shut it down!" the people want it to continue. The new ABC News - Washington Post poll finds 64% want the race to play out. Read Elaine's "Debates" in context of the poll and realize how badly Panhandle Media failed America by refusing to call out Barack's refusal to debate. Lindsay Levin ( points out, "In the face of grim poll numbers, the Obama campaign has attempted to dismiss today's outcome despite the fact that Sen. Obama has outspent us on advertising, has more staff in the state, and more than double the number of offices. He has also benifted from the support of the most high-profile endorses in West Virginia -- Sen. Jay Rockefeller and Congressman Nick Rahall. By every measure, the Obama campaign has waged an aggressive campaign in the Mountain State. Despite being the so-called 'presumptive nominee' and benefiting from these advantages, Sen. Obama has been unable to close a significant gap in the polls. Sen. Clinton has already won Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida and Michigan. With a win in West Virginia, Sen. Clinton will have once again proven her greater ability to win in the key swing states." Lastly Jake Tapper (ABC News) notes how no matter what happens in the Obama campaign, "It's never my fault!" is the cry of Barack.