Thursday, March 1, 2012. Chaos and violence continue, a US teacher dies in Iraq, Nouri continues his paranoid ravings, the VA Secretary tells the Senate he has no idea if sequestration would apply to the VA, and more.
First off a correction to yesterday's snapshot, There were three hearings we were trying to cover: Tuesday's joint-House and Senate Veterans Affairs Comimttee, Wednesday House Foreign Affairs and Wednesday's Senate Veterans Affairs. The snapshot ends: "It is also highly illogical to claim that you will determine whether or not a group of people are terrorists and we're out of space." I finished dictating right at nine p.m. as I was walking in front of a group Ava and I were speaking to. That left a very dear friend with the issue of editing to get the thing down to a workable size. The House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing was reduced to my commentary with no excerpts (which is fine). It was still large and my friend had to condense and edit and ditched the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee's Wednesday hearing (which we'll cover this snapshot), the Center for Constitutional Rights (which we'll include if there's room today) and other things -- and that's all more than fine. The only problem was that in condensing and several sections,the timeline went screwy. That's not his fault, he wasn't at any of the hearings. I was so it's my fault.and my apologies for that. Thank you to Kat who saw the snapshot when it went up last night and immediately went in to add "yesterday" and make clear that the joint-hearing by the Senate and House Veterans committees was Tuesday. And thank you to ___ for editing and condensing and doing a great job. The mistake falls on me and my apologies for that. I did not check it, I did not help edit it and, let's be honest, it's cause I'm sick of the online life as much as it's because I was pressed for time. Again, my apologies.
Okay, let's dive in. Tuesday's joint-hearing -- House and Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing -- Senate Committee Chair Patty Murray noted that VA Secretary Eric Shinseki would be before the Committee and she would be attempting to get an aswer regarding sequestering from him. Sequestering refers to automatic cuts that would kick in on various federal departments and programs. Along with Senator Murray, Senator Jon Tester and House Veterans Affairs Committee Chair Jeff Miller have noted that the inability of veterans to get a straight answer on this issue is frustrating and that veterans have a right to know what's going on with the budget of the VA.
Chair Patty Murray: [. . .] let me begin the questions by getting this one off the table. It's on the issue of sequestration and cuts to spending. Like I said in my opening remarks I believe that all VA programs including medical care are exempt from cuts but there is some ambiguity between the budget act and the existing law. And when I asked the acting OMB director to adress this issue in a budget hearing two weeks ago, he said OMB had yet to make a final determination. So I am concerned that by not settling this issue now, we are failing to provide our veterans with the clarity they really deserve to have. And so while you're here, I wanted to ask you: Do you believe that all VA programs -- including medical care -- are exempt from any future cuts?
Secretary Eric Shinseki: I think, Madame Chairman, the answer that the OMB director provided you was the same one that I understand. They are still addressing the issue. For my purposes, I would tell you I'm not planning on sequestration. I'mI addressing my requirements and presenting my budget as you would expect me to do. I think sequestration in part or in whole is not necessarily good policy. And I think the President would argue the best approach here is a balanced deficit reduction and that the budget he has presented does that and I would ask that the Congress look at that budget and favorably consider it.
Chair Patty Murray: I think we all hope that is the outcome but we want to provide clarity to our veterans. They are very concerned about this issue.
Murray asked, she attempted to get an answer as to -- yes/no -- whether the VA is a department immune to sequestering. Not only did she ask, she announced in an open hearing the day prior that she would be asking. Shinseki came into that hearing knowing he would be asked.
The answer? Another non-answer. The person in charge of the VA Department has no idea, if sequestering goes into effect, whether or not his department would be affected. That seems like an answer you would need to know for a hypothetical. With sequestration looking more and more likely, that seems like an answer you would need to know in order to plan for worst case scenarios in the department you oversee.
But he can't answer the question and has no knowledge as to whether or not VA would be effected if these cuts kick in.
On the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Patty Murray is the Chair. Richard Burr is the Ranking Member. A number of witnesses accompanied Shinseki to the hearing including Dr. Robert Petzel who is the Under Secretary for Health, Allison Hickey who is the Under Secretary for Benefits, Steve Muro who is the Under Secretary for Memorial Affairs, Roger Baker who is the Assistant Secretary for IT (Information and Technology) and W. Todd Grams (Executive in Charge for the Office of Management and Chief Financial Officer).
With that brain trust, you might think they could answer a basic question but you'd be wrong. As was the case in a recent House Veterans Affairs Committee hearing, the problems started with Allison Hickey (she refused to answer Ranking Member Bob Filner's questions and then there was a rush by the VA witnesses to 'wall her off' from Filner's questions -- see the February 15, 2012 snapshot and pay attention to when Filner tells her, "You're not answering the question."). Claims processing was the issue Ranking Member Richard Burr brought up yesterday in the Senate Committee hearing. He was concerned with the diagnosis (it being incorrect and a veteran suffering as a result) and with the timeliness of it. There is a huge backlog -- when Chair Patty Murray held her Virtual Town Hall with veterans February 9th -- sponsored by Disabled American Veterans, full transcript of the exchange can be found here -- the claims backlog was an issue the veterans repeatedly raised. In fact, it kicked off the discussion and Senator Murray noted, "This is one of the most common complaints I hear. And let me say that w know that the claims system is broken." So Ranking Member Burr was asking about an important issue and just asking for basic information: How can, a year from now, they determine whether or not there's been improvement?
Ranking Member Burr noted that the accuracy with diagnoses was at 84% nationally for the VA but at regional centers it varied from 61% to 94%. What part of the budget is going to go to evaluation of the diagnoses? Shinseki passed it to Hickey. As usual, she began speaking at a hearing without turning on her microphone. "I'm glad you're asking about quality because we're very focused on production and quality . . .," she insisted as she avoided Burr's question but continued talking for over two minutes about nothing of importance and nothing that resembled an answer to his question. Ranking Member Burr interrupted her and wanted to know how far into the year will they go before they'll be able to determine if the plan for improvements is working?
Ranking Member Richard Burr: But at some point, you've got to say, "We're going to look at this and see if it's working."
Allison Hickey: We did, sir, absolutely did.
Ranking Member Richard Burr: So?
Allison Hickey: And we did it in local pilots and we are just this week --
Ranking Member Richard Burr: So a year from now, when we get together for the 2014 budget if the quality is not improved or the timeliness down, it will have failed?
Allison Hickey: No, sir, I don't expect the quality not to have improved. We have some very significant decisions and initiatives --
Ranking Member Richard Burr: My point is, what if it doesn't?
Allison Hickey: Sir, then we will adjust as necessary to find the reasons why, we will tackle that hard, but I don't expect that to be the answer. I expect us to see improvement in both quality and production.
Ranking Member Richard Burr: Thank you. We have --
Secretary Eric Shinseki: Senator, Senator, if I might, quality is the function of trained people with the right tools. And we're working on both items right now.
Ranking Member Richard Burr: My question was, Mr. Secretary, at what point we will determine whether what we've implemented is working?
Secretary Eric Shinseki: Fair. We'll be happy to provide that. We set a target of ending this problem with backlog in 2015.
But they haven't even reduced it. House Ranking Member Bob Filner pointed that out in Tuesday's joint-hearing. More people were hired by the VA to work on claims and the backlog has only increased. Whatever the VA's doing thus far, it's not working. Is it a comprehension issue? Does VA just not listen? Senate Ranking Member Burr repeatedly asked how they would measure this year whether the changes were working or not. He got no answer and it appears the VA thinks they'll decide whether things worked or not to improve quality and speed when 2015 comes to an end. Do they not understand the need for regular evaluations? For checking the process? They didn't appear to yesterday before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.
You're a veteran and you need help with something, let's say PTSD. Is the VA providing timely care? No. And yet in the proposed 2013 Fiscal Year budget, they're asking for only a 5% increase in funding when it comes to health care providers. Is that really enough, Chair Murray wondered?
Chair Patty Murray: Mr. Secretary, last year, we talked a lot about mental health care and I think we together uncovered a lot of serious issues best summed up by a veteran that I heard from recently who uses the Ann Arbor Medical Center and had to wait months and months to get into counseling but then he had glowing things to say about his mental health care once he got in. So in order to address those types of issues, VA has to be certain it has enough resources to not only keep up with the increasing number of veterans seeking mental health care but also bring down that unacceptably long wait time. Over the course of the last fiscal year, the number of Iraq and Afghanistan veterans who are looking for mental health care went up by about 5% and that's about 18,000 every quarter. So I wanted to ask you this morning if you believe the increase in mental health funding in the budget request is sufficient to accomplish the goals and keep up with this increasing demand?
Secretary Eric Shinseki:: I-I believe that the budget, if you look at the 13 budget request, I think it's adequate for us to meet what we understand our requirements are in 13. Are there issues out there now that we will discover between now and executional budget? I would say if we do, Madame Chairman, I would be the first to tell you. Now you asked us to do a survey and we did. It was very hastily done. Senator Burr referred to some of the output conclusions out of that survey. Out of 27,000 of our health care -- mental health providers, 319 were surveyed and the results were as described. My question of VHA was did you go to the places we thought there would be problems? And the answer was yes, because we were asked to go figure this out. So I would say we got a pretty pure response. What I think we need to do is make sure -- we're going to take another broader look -- to make sure we understand across the larger population what our issues are and where there are opportunities for -- reallocation or to hire more people? I would offer to the Chair, I took a look at what we've done in mental health over the last 4 budgets. If we look at '12 to '13, it's rather unimpressive. I mean, it's 5% and it matches the increase in the medical budget but between '9 and '13 our increase is 39%. in mental health. And if you include the 14 advance appropes [2014 advance appropriations requests] it will go up 45% --
Chair Patty Murray: And that is a result of the number of soldiers who are coming home with the invisible wounds of war which is dramatically increasing, correct?
Secretary Eric Shinseki: Uh, true but we are trying to anticipate that there's going to be a larger requirement in the odd years even if we don't have clarity, we're trying to prepare for that. We want to do a larger survey here as I indicated and then see -- and then see what the outcomes are. But let me turn to Dr. Petzel for any details.
Dr. Robert Petzel: Thank you, Mr. Secretary. Madame Chairman, as a result of the hearing that we had earlier in the year, we have now done two things that are, I think, important and on point with regards to your question. One is that we've developed a staffing model. It is the only staffing model that I know that is available about mental health. It's in the -- in the beginning stages but it is giving us some information about what the need might be. But I think more importantly, we're site visiting all 152 of our medical centers to look at the access to mental health services -- both the initial appointment and subsquent appointments, be it for PTSD patient program, a group program or individual psychotherapy. And what we're finding is that there is -- We do meet the criteria for the first appointment in most every instance. We're having some difficulties in some parts of the country making the next appointment in a timely fashion, getting them -- as you mentioned earlier -- into the specialty services. This could be the result of three things. One, is do we have enough staff out there? Have we given enough positions and enough resources? Two is: are those positions filled? Are they filling those positions up in a timely fashion. And then the third is are we getting the appropriate level of productivity out ofeach one of those people? If we do discover, as the Secretary just mentioned, that we do have additional needs that are unment, I can guarantee you that we will be in communication with the Commitee about those needs and in for a discussion.
Chair Patty Murray: Okay, I appreciate that. This is a top priority for us this year.
Secretay Eric Shinseki: I would just share that in FY '11, we hired about 897 additional mental health professionals bringing us up to about 20,500 mental health professionals so the interest is there in trying to determine what the requirement is and we're not hesitant about increasing those numbers.
As usual, Senator Daniel Akaka brought up a point that others miss (about the rural nature of Hawaii -- and "others" includes me and I have a house in Hawaii). I'd like to cover that tomorrow but we tried to cover the big issues today (and tried to cover these yesterday but it had to be cut due to space).
In Iraq today, the dead include an American. Reuters notes Jeremiah Small was shot dead in Sulaimaniya Province by a student named Beyar al-Talabani who then shot himself. AFP adds that the student was 18-years-old. Sam Dagher and Ali A. Nabhan (Wall St. Journal) note that the student was an 11th grader at Classical School of the Medes ("a Christian school run by U.S. evangicals"). Jeremiah Small was 33-years-old and had taught with history and English lit at the school for seven years. There are a number of details in dispute and we're not going to note those. If you're looking for a strong article, Dagher and Nabhan are clear about what happened, what's said to have happened and what's in dispute. Aswat al-Iraq notes a Mousl bombing claimed the life of 1 Iraq solider and left another injured.
Iraq is in an ongoing political crisis which began approximately 15 months ago when Nouri al-Maliki signed off the Erbil Agreement because it guaranteed he would remain prime minister but once that was implemented (right away) he began stalling on the other aspects before walking completely away from it. Since this summer, the Kurds have been puclicly calling for him to return to the Erbil Agreement. Iraiqy and some elements of the National Alliance have joined that call. The New York Times repeatedly ignored the crisis but were forced -- only after other US outlets were already covering it -- to give their half-assed version of 'coverage' in the last third of December when Nouri began demanding that Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq be stripped of his post and that Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi be arrested for terrorism.
The crisis isn't over despite the New York times repeated attempts to whitewash the realities. Al Mada reports unnamed sources are stating that Nouri and al-Hashemi are set to resolve their differences. Not all unnamed sources got the same memo. One of them tells Dar Addustour that Nouri and State of Law (Nouri's political slate) believe that public statements Tareq al-Hashemi made are the equivalent of a fatwa. In addition, supposedly Nouri's weighing sending forces into the KRG to seize al-Hashemi.
Should that happen, Nouri will be declaring war on the KRG and, for a day or two, the New York Times will 'address' it with articles explaining how the violence is an example of diplomacy and wisdom on the part of Nouri.
Other whispers this morning are that Iraqiya -- this from State of Law -- is determined to disrupt the Arab Summit and intends to bring up the political crisis at the national conference. Al Mada notes that and many other charges by State of Law. If there are storms moving in on the Arab Summit, one has to look no further than the rain cloud that is Nouri. Aswat al Iraq reports, "The Emir of Kuwait Sheikh Sabah al-Ahed Al-Jaber al-Sabah expressed keeness to attend the coming Arab summit in person, according to a statement issued by Iraqi foreign ministry." So Kuwait's excited? Al Mada reports that Nouri's looking to 'clarify' border issues when he visit Kuwait shortly. Add that to the millions Iraq still owes Kuwait (why the United Nations has them in Chapter VII). Nouri thinks that's how you set the stage for a successful Arab Summit. In other news of his paranoia,Al Rafidayn reports that the Ministry of the Interior is insisting that there's a coup plot against Nouri in the Maysan Province. It's so difficult to keep Nouri's paranoia coups straight so please don't confuse this with claims that military officers are passing on intel to the United States. Dar Addustour reports that there will be a campaign of arrests on the military officers accused of spying for the US.
Hiwa Osman (Rudaw) explores the prospects for the Arab Summit and the national conference to resolve the political crisis and concludes:
On the other hand, it takes a different stance from the rest of the Arab world on a number of issues that are related to its neighbors like Syria, Iran and even Turkey. In practice, neither of the two meetings will change anything on the ground. The Iraqi meeting, if held, won't change the relationship between's Iraq's Shia and Sunni leadership and population. The Arab summit could create more problems for Iraq with its neighbors. The only strength of the summit would be symbolic: an Arab summit and a Kurdish head. It would be held in the absence of some of the most brutal Arab dictators. The summit would be seen as the summit of the people with more elected representatives. The Kurds could take the opportunity and get a motion out of the summit that supports the Kurdish people in the Middle East.
In the US, 2012 is an election year. Jill Stein is running for the Green Party's presidential nomination. The Green Party of Michigan notes she has two events in Michigan (Ann Arbor and Ferndale) next Monday:
Rick Santorum is a former US Senator who is now running for the presidential nomination of his political party (Republican). On Saturday, he weighed in on the topic of Iraq with the following essay.
President Obama has an amazing ability to make Jimmy Carter's foreign policies look good.
Opposition to imperfect allies and support of radical Islamists has resulted in the almost-extinction of religious freedom for religious minorities -- from the Copts in Egypt to the defenseless women and children who were slaughtered in Homs, Syria -- in the Middle East.
Another example is the devolving situation in Iraq. President Obama was so committed to fulfilling an arbitrary campaign promise to get our troops out of Iraq that he ignored the advice of his senior military officials about the consequences of establishing a firm withdrawal date and about how long it might take before Iraq was ready to manage the situation on their own. As a result, Al-Qa'ida is resurgent, Iran's influence is greater than ever, religious tensions between Sunni and Shi'a are increasing, the existential threat facing Iraq's indigenous minority communities has never been greater, and our ability to affect the situation there is weaker now. Recent coordinated car bomb attacks are just the latest in a string of such events since the start of the new year, and they portend many more violent assaults to come.
The departure of our military forces has once again left a security vacuum that is bound to be filled by someone, and all those with the means to vie for that space will do so, whether Sunni insurgents, terrorists like Al Qa'ida, security forces controlled by the ruling Shi'a political establishment, and in parts of the country even Kurdish Peshmerga. These machinations undermine institutionalizing the rule of law, protecting minority rights, or developing the economy and infrastructure, let alone advancing American interests in that country and the region.
The most vulnerable people in this situation also happen to be the ones most aligned with our values and interests. These are Iraq's besieged Christians -- the Chaldeans, Assyrians, Syriacs and Armenian Orthodox communities. The role their faith has played in developing their worldview is far more in keeping with America's values than any other constituency in the country or the region. Moreover, because these communities have an ethic that places a premium on education, entrepreneurship, and peaceful co-existence and respect for others, they have constituted a disproportionately large part of the upper-middle class, they have historically contributed far more to the country's economy than their numbers would suggest, and they have been the most trusted elements of Iraqi society. They also have a much greater respect for the value of the rule of law, they were the ones who came along side our military, diplomats, and contractors to provide translation services and cultural advice.
With the departure of our forces and the recent announcement of the Obama Administration that we will also be reducing our embassy staff by 50 percent because it is now too dangerous for our diplomats there we are effectively abandoning both Iraq and our investment there as well as the communities who risked the most to help us in that effort. What is more, walking away like this also sends messages to other players in the region. It signals to potential allies in the future that we are not dependable. It signals to terrorists that if they just lay low, they can wait us out. It signals to the world that we no longer have the resolve to see a situation through to the end -- that we can't finish what we started.
We need all the help we can get in that part of the world, and Iraq's Christians are the ones most inclined to provide that help, but not if doing so is only going to increase the prospect of their genocidal annihilation.
Accordingly, we need a comprehensive policy aimed at preserving these communities in Iraq. We need to focus on helping Iraqis create the conditions that incentivize staying in Iraq and making there a better future for themselves. The last thing we want is for them to abandon the land their ancestors have occupied for nearly 7,000 years,forsake the culture they have preserved in that volatile region for all these millennia, and deprive the country, the region, and the world of the positive contributions they could still make if only some space was created for them in Iraqi society. These people -- who are all but canaries in a coal mine -- represent hope for a better future for a pluralistic Iraqi society.
First, they need security. By "security," though, I mean more than just safety from terrorist and insurgent attacks. I mean they need the means to protect themselves and their own communities so they do not have to depend on political actors whose interests are not necessarily aligned with the needs of their own communities. They should not be subjected to political shakedowns and corrupt political machinations.
Second, they need political empowerment. They have the right to some degree of self-determination and to have a say in how their local communities should be governed. It is wrong for them to be treated as a political football, constantly crushed between manipulative forces that surround them.
Third, they need economic development in the region where they now find themselves. Having been forced off their ancestral lands in the last century, they reestablished themselves in the cities such as Baghdad and Basra. In the aftermath of the second Gulf War, though, they have had to seek refuge back in the North again. Yet this region was not developed very well under Saddam's regime, and today's Iraqi Christians are disproportionately of the urban professional class rather than farmers.
It is time that we stand with those who stood with us over the last 8 years. We must not abandon them. I will stand with those who stand for freedom of religion and conscience and against violent jihadism and persecution of religious minorities in Iraq, Egypt, and elsewhere.
As noted on Saturday, I'm not voting for Santorum. Because there are a lot of little babies, I have to note that. "You quoted Santorum! You must be voting for him! You must agree with him!" We usually note serious comments on Iraq by any presidential candidate -- go look in the 2007 and 2008 archives. Oh, and currently, I'm not planning to vote for president in 2012. That would change if someone earned my vote. At present, no one has. If Jill Stein gets the Green Party nomination, I will consider voting for her.
We do note the Green Party here and we'll note this from the Michigan Green Party on Jill Stein's upcoming events (Monday) in Ann Arbor and Ferndale.
Ecological Wisdom • Social Justice • Grassroots Democracy • Non-Violence
For More Information, Contact: John A. La Pietra, Elections Co-ordinator / GPMI firstname.lastname@example.org (269) 781-9478
Jill Stein Brings Campaign for Green Party Nomination to Michigan
(Ann Arbor, Ferndale) — The public is invited to attend one of two meetings with Dr. Jill Stein of Massachusetts who is vying for the Green Party's nomination for president of the United States on Monday, March 5th. Come hear her speak about the Green New Deal and what it would mean for Michigan.
Dr. Jill Stein is a mother, housewife, physician, longtime teacher of internal medicine, and pioneering environmental-health advocate. Presenting herself as a positive option to the main two political parties, Dr. Stein's campaign has centered around the Green New Deal which was created to help America regain its prosperity in four ways: securing jobs with living wages for all Americans able to work, adopting green technologies and production practices, revamping the financial sector and strengthening our democracy so that the people's voice will be heard in Washington. Dr. Stein will make two stops in Michigan as she makes her way through the Great Lakes region. First, she will be in Ann Arbor from 4pm to 6pm at Amer's Deli on S. State Street. After Ann Arbor, she will move on to Ferndale where she will be at AJ's cafe on 9 Mile Rd from 7:30pm to 10:30pm. Dr. Stein will be available to answer questions, talk about her candidacy and what the Green Party can do to make America thrive. To learn more about Jill Stein, visit her website at http://www.jillstein.org/ or look for her on Facebook. Other candidates seeking the Green Party's nomination include comedienne Roseanne Barr, Kent Mesplay of California and Michigan's own Harley Mikkelson.
For more information about the Green Party of Michigan, its candidates, its positions on issues affecting Michiganders, and upcoming party events, go to: www.MIGreens.org Also check out the Green Party/Partido Verde of Michigan group on Facebook.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE March 1, 2012 Contact: Francesca Tarant, 703-522-2214, email@example.com
Women Leaders Vow to Fight Back Against Assaults
As the Senate prepared to vote on the Blunt Amendment, a coalition of over 50 women's organizations held a press conference to announce an unprecedented drive to mobilize women voters on the ground and online around Health and Economic Rights—HERvotes—in 2012. Speakers emphasized the power of women voters as a force for change, as well as their collective outrage over the politicization of vital aspects of women's health care, such as birth control and breast cancer services.
"This is a day in and day out fight. Women are not going to be silenced," said Feminist Majority President Eleanor Smeal. "Women are not a political wedge issue, and we are determined to ensure that women have access to quality health care; to protect the gains women have made in the workplace, health care, education and basic individual rights and to continue moving forward an equality agenda,"
"Women's rights are under attack, with reproductive rights in the center of the bullseye," said Byllye Avery, a founder of Raising Women's Voices and the National Black Women's Health Imperative, who outlined the women's health issues at risk in these elections and noted that the Affordable Care Act will end discriminatory health care practices against women.
National Council of Negro Women Executive Director Avis Jones-DeWeever highlighted economic perils for women and children, and saying that women will stand up for jobs, equal pay and equal opportunities: "Women will not be silent. We will not be bamboozled. We will not be complacent."
Sarah Audelo of Advocates for Youth made it clear that young women are part of this fight: "The right to basic preventive health care, such as contraception. The right to decide if and when to have a child. The right to vote and have our voices heard. These are rights our mothers and grandmothers fought for and won. These are rights I never thought my generation would have to fight for . . . . We will reward those who support and respect our rights, and hold accountable those who do not."
HERvotes announced that the 51 organizations are working together to mobilize voters and to sound the alarm that women's gains are at risk. For example, Lisa Maatz described a $1.5 million campaign being launched by the American Association of University Women to turn out women's votes, particularly Millennial women. Maatz exclaimed: "There is a palpable buzz . . . women are mad. We are fed up. We don't want you to touch our birth control. We're tired of being told what we can do with our bodies. We'll be canvassing, advertising, social media campaigns, and reaching women where they live."
National Women's Political Caucus President Linda Young, responding to a reporter's question about the historic likelihood of women to vote more Democratic than Republican, said "Women will vote for those candidates who support our issues and who are not trying to take away our rights."
HERvotes leaders outlined multiple online drives that will reach over 20 million women. For example, there will be a massive online campaign by MomsRising, which reaches over 3 million women through email, Twitter, Facebook and other means.
"Women are tired of the politicization of birth control, the politicization of breast cancer, and abortion bills that really are just about humiliating women . . . The more they attack women's ability to get along day by day… they are losing our votes," said Terry O'Neill, president of NOW, urging women to go to www.HERvotes.us to find out about the issues at stake. "People are waking up."
The 51 organizations of HERvotes will be on the ground and online, educating voters about the 12 advances for women that are at risk in 2102, as well as potential gains. To read about the 12 Advances at Risk in 2012 and see the list of coalition members, go to www.HERvotes.us