Friday, May 23, 2008

Other Items

More than a million civilians have been disabled by the war in Iraq, and represent the most marginalised sector of society. The psychological traumas they bear create serious imbalances inside their families, and the central government is not paying enough attention to the problem. The denunciation comes from Faris al-Ubeidi, an Iraqi researcher, interviewed by the news agency "Voice of Iraq". Al-Ubeidi explains that the state has the duty of guaranteeing that those who have been disabled by the war, but have professional skills, can still participate productively in the labour force. The problem is that fathers who have been handicapped and are unable to work feel that they are a burden on their families, and this generates psychological problems and tensions.

The above is from "War disabled the most marginalised in Iraq" (Asia News) which isn't getting attention. But, hey, Amy Goodman's plugging another feature film and still can't mention US war resister Corey Glass. Yeah, John Cusak's film's going to end the illegal war. It will sweep the country, no doubt, and provide Jeremy Scahill with a moment to gush over like in John's film Say A -- Wait, that's not John's film. No, damn it, Say Anything is Cameron Crowe's film. Cameron wrote it and he directed it. One Crazy Summer was the type of film John was 'known' for. Say Anything remains the first, of two, quality films John's been cast in (the other is The Grifters) so let's give credit where it's due, Scahill, it's Cameron Crowe's film. No time for Corey Glass, but Jeremy and Amy get to gush over a feature film and plug each other and it's all so sickeningly sweet you might assume you'd flipped to Good Morning America. And it's that crap that prevents the coverage of war resisters and other news. But remember Goody thinks she's a journalist. Well, so did Phyllis George. Reality will wake Goody the same way it did Phyllis. (And to be clear, this isn't a slam of the film Cusak has made. This is noting that the gushing was embarrassing and that none of it was news. It was a fan club. And, no, John Cusak is not a star. Stars have box office. Cusak is a leading man who is well known. There's a difference. And hearing Goody and Scahill gush about what a 'star' he was made took the show into Merv Griffin territory.) The story Goody's CHOSEN to ignore is that Iraq War veteran Corey Glass has been informed by the Canadian government that he needs to leave and, if he doesn't leave, they will deport him on June 12th.

Gordon Lubold's "Petraeus: More troop cuts likely in Iraq" (Christian Science Monitor) notes that 'maybe' from Gen David Petraeus on some minor troops withdrawals from Iraq before year's end. We covered it in yesterday's snapshot, but if you're going to read an article from one of the morning's papers, that's probably one of the stronger ones.

If you're not in the mood for the nonsense, let's all sing along with Diana Ross on the chorus of Ashford & Simpson's "Ain't Nothing But A Maybe:"

Ain't nothing but a maybe, baby
I sure would like to
I wanna know
I wanna know
I wanna know
I sure would like to

Ain't nothing but a maybe -- and 'details' (as CBS and AP reported) on the maybe wouldn't even come until September. Because it was important, we'll again drop back to yesterday's snapshot to note Patty Murray's statements from the Senate Veterans Committee:

Senator Patty Murray: Women have always played a role in our military going back to the founding of of our nation. However, as we all know, in today's conflicts women are playing a far different and far greater role. Women now make up 14% of our current active duty guard and reserve forces. Some units, including military police, are using an increased number of females to fill jobs that were traditionally held by male personnel. And because of the conflicts of today, we have no clear frontlines and women, like all of our service members, are always on the frontline -- riding on dangerous patrols, guarding pivotal check points and witnessing the horrors of war first hand. However, while women's numbers are rising on the battle field, up until now women have remained a small minority at the VA. According to the VA, there are more than 1.7 million women veterans but only 255,000 of those women actually use the VA health care services. For too long the reasons for this discrepancy have been elusive but today we are getting a clear picture. In fact, when I first started holding roundtables around my home state of Washington to talk to veterans about their experiences with the VA, I heard almost exclusively from men. They would sit at the table with me, they would stand up, they would tell their stories and talk about their issues. But inevitably, as I was leaving the room, a woman would come up to me and whisper to me her experiences. Some told me they had been intimidated by the VA and viewed the VA as a male only facility. Others simply told me that they couldn't find someone to watch their kids so they could attend a counseling session or find time for other care. But as some members of this committee and those who will testify today know the voices of women veterans are no longer whispers. Today they are full throated calls for equal access to care at the VA. And I believe that now, as we sit on the brink of seeing more returning veterans than ever before, it is time that we heed those calls. We simply cannot allow the attitudes of the past or the VA's lack of preparation for the influx of new women veterans to linger a moment longer. As The Independent Budget has noted [PDF format warning, here], the number of women using VA health care services will double in less than 5 years if women veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan continue to enroll at the current enrollment rate. We need to make sure now that the VA is prepared to care for the needs of these honorable veterans today. And that is exactly why Senator [Kay Baily] Hutchinson and I introduced The Women's Health Care and Improvement Act of 2008. This important legislation will increase the number of women accessing care at the VA by increasing the VA's understanding of the needs of women vets and the practices that will best help them. It will do so by requiring the VA to study the health care needs of women who are serving or who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan, study the effectiveness of current services being provided to women veterans, study barriers to care for women veterans who are not accessing the VA health care system and it will also help provide child care for new born children of a woman veteran who is receiving maternity care at the VA. It will implement a program to train, educate and certify VA mental health professionals to care for women with Military Sexual Trauma [MST] and Post Traumatic Stress Disorder [PTSD]. It will begin a pilot program that provides child care to women veterans that seek mental health care or other intensive health care services at the VA. It will begin a pilot program that provides readjustment counseling to women veterans in group retreat settings. It will make the position of Women Veterans Program Manger at all VA medical centers a full time position. And finally, it will include women that are recently separated from service on VA advisory boards. Now I know that the VA recognizes that they need to improve services for our women veterans and the department has taken several steps to do that. But a lot more needs to be done if we're going to ensure that women get access to equal care at the VA for health care benefits and services and that the VA health care system is tailored to meet the unique needs of our women veterans. Planning for the wave of new women veterans is going to be a difficult and complex task but the effort has to start today and it has to start with this bill.

NOW on PBS (airs tonight in most markets, check local listings) explores assault and rape in the military and asks: "How are these women picking up the pieces of their life after military sexual trauma?" Streaming will be available online by late tonight. Also on PBS (check local listings, airs tonight in most markets, some air it later or repeat it later), Washington Week finds Gwen sitting down with, among others, Dan Balz (Washington Post), NPR's Tom Gjelten and Time's Karen Tumulty -- the latter may return to journalism -- two weeks ago, she was apparently suffering from delusions that she was the second coming of Bette Davis:

He wasn't the only one going for theatrics. Karen Tumulty (Time magazine) can usually be counted on for some common sense but, apparently thrilled to 'on the road' and before a live audience, she mugged like Bette Davis at the end of her career when the problem wasn't that no one asked her to tone it down, it's that Davis wouldn't listen. After Friday's 'performance,' we eagerly await the announcement that Karen will soon be starring off-off-off Broadway in Hush, Hush Sweet Charlotte.
Her desire for theatrics was most evident in the double-take she attempted when Gwen noted a comment by Bill Clinton that Hillary could still get the nomination. Not content to mug like crazy, Karen added a slowly delivered, "Uh-huh." If only she was as precious as she thought she was in that moment.

Lastly, here's Howard Wolfson's "HUBdate: The Popular Vote Leader" ( for today, noted by Alicia:

The Popular Vote Leader: The Philadelphia Inquirer reports about Tuesday night’s contests: "Hillary Clinton netted approximately 150,000 votes and is now poised to finish the primary season as the popular-vote leader. In some quaint circles, presumably, these things still matter...If you believe that the most important precept in democratic politics is to 'count every vote,' then...Clinton leads Obama by 71,301 votes." Read more.

Hillary Strongest in Swing States: A Quinnipiac University poll out yesterday shows Hillary's continued strength in Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania…She leads Sen. McCain by 7 in both Florida and Ohio and by 13 in Pennsylvania. Read more.

Overriding Bush’s Farm Bill Veto: In a statement yesterday, Hillary said: "I was proud to stand with my Senate colleagues in overriding President Bush's veto of the Farm Bill by a vote of 82 to 13. This bill is now law, and will move us further down the path to energy independence, provide a safety net for family farmers, enhance nutrition programs, require Country-of-Origin labeling, and improve access to broadband in rural communities...Senator McCain has made it clear that he agrees with President Bush on farm policy. Americans will have a real choice this fall -- between a candidate who supports rural America and family farms and John McCain, who offers a continuation of President Bush's failed policies." Read more.

Why I'm Supporting Hillary: One New York farmer says, "My passion is ensuring that we have family farms for future generations and that American agriculture is strong. I know Hillary understands and supports that!...Like South Dakota, New York is home to family farms (about 34,000), and I KNOW she will make the best president for producers and rural South Dakotans alike." Read more.

In Case You Missed It: A member of the Kansas City Star editorial board writes this to Hillary in a memo: "I have only two words to share with you about your valiant quest to become the 44th president of the United States and the first woman to hold the highest office in the land: Don’t quit." Read more.

Previewing Today: Hillary attends a "Solutions for Securing South Dakota’s Future" conversation in Brandon, SD and a "Solutions for Securing South Dakota’s Future" town hall in Brookings, SD.

On Tap: Tomorrow, Hillary travels to Puerto Rico for island campaign events.

And, from Team Nader "Nader at White House at Noon Today:"

At noon today - as part of our tour of corporate occupied territory (read: our nation's capital) - Ralph Nader will appear with the growing Nader/Gonzalez team in front of the White House to call on President Bush and Vice President Cheney to resign.

C-Span will be there. Watch for it.

And this Memorial day weekend, our supporters have been deployed all around the country to put Nader/Gonzalez on the ballot in November.

For now, we have one simple request:

We need gas money to power our supporters in Pennsylvania.

We estimate the Pennsylvania ballot access drive will cost the campaign $50,000.

So far this week, 101 of you - our loyal supporters - have donated a total of 8,108.

We need another 420 of you to donate $100 each to reach our goal.

These are exciting times.

People are starting to understand that corporations are consolidating control.

And that as a result of that corporate control, people are hurting.

Simple as that.

Gasoline prices skyrocketing over $4 a gallon.

More than 4,000 young Americans dead in Iraq.

Still no universal, Canadian style national health insurance.


Because both political parties controlled by big corporations. And thus they can't stand with the people. (Another brick on this wall: The Rocky Mountain News reports this week that the Democratic National Convention in Denver this summer is being sponsored by 56 major American corporations.)

The question is - what are we going to do about it?

The answer is - organize for November and beyond.

That is why we are here.

So, please support Nader/Gonzalez now.

Together, we will make a difference.

Have a happy and safe Memorial Day weekend.


The Nader Team

PS: We invite your comments to the blog.

Your contribution could be doubled. Public campaign financing may match your contribution total up to $250.

Also, Nader's store is here, and Hillary's store is here.

The e-mail address for this site is

ADDED: Martha and Shirley called to say CounterSpin is a huge topic in the e-mails. Ava and I will grab it at Third on Sunday. The plan is a 'reality' show and the chat & chews so CounterSpin's latest garbage will fit in there perfectly. Consider the source and consider that last week CounterSpin -- calling out the right, week after week! -- declared war on liberals.