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AP: Number of Disabled Veterans Rising

AP IMPACT: Number of disabled veterans rising
By JENNIFER C. KERR | JS Online

WASHINGTON (AP) -- Increasing numbers of U.S. troops have left the military with damaged bodies and minds, an ever-larger pool of disabled veterans that will cost the nation billions for decades to come - even as the total population of America's vets shrinks.

Despite the decline in total vets - as soldiers from World War II and Korea die - the government expects to be spending $59 billion a year to compensate injured warriors in 25 years, up from today's $29 billion, according to internal documents obtained by The Associated Press. And the Veterans Affairs Department concedes the bill could be much higher.

Why?

The Democratic Presidential Race: A View from Pennsylvania

By Dave Lindorff

The results in Tuesday’s twin primaries—Barack Obama by 14 percent in North Carolina and Hillary Clinton by 2 percent in Indiana—confirmed that Clinton is finished as a contender. Barack Obama will be the Democratic candidate for president this fall.

Clinton, the private-schooled, Wellesley and Yale-educated millionaire lawyer from Chicago, who first tried to present herself as a White House veteran, and then, in recent weeks, as a NASCAR mom on Food Stamps, and who in Pennsylvania resorted to cheap race-baiting and red-baiting in an effort to derail her opponent, has failed. Barack Obama, another private-schooled Harvard and Yale-educated lawyer, but one who actually did have to work his way up the economic ladder, won decisively in North Carolina, even drawing a significant number of working-class white voters in a state where white voters have not traditionally voted for candidates with dark skin.

McCain’s Noble Cause

It took nearly three years, and it came from a Presidential wannabe rather than President Bush, but Cindy Sheehan finally got an answer to her question: “What is the noble cause?” It’s oil.

Senator McCain, speaking at a campaign stop, said, “I will have an energy policy …which will eliminate our dependency on oil from the Middle East that will then prevent us… from having ever to send our young men and women into conflict again in the Middle East.” The Senator subsequently attempted to cover up his Freudian slip (or “senior moment”) by claiming that he was referring to the 1991 Persian Gulf War, not the current conflict. Sorry, Senator, but that cat’s just not going back.

The Bush Family's Bad Latin Real Estate Investment

By Dave Lindorff

Back in late 2006, it was widely reported in the Latin American media that President Bush, or perhaps his old man, had bought a 100,000-acre farm in a remote area of Paraguay.

What struck people at the time was the choice of country. Paraguay, of course, has gained a certain Club Med status among the world's villains and criminal elements as the place to go when the law's on your tail. The country, ruled for six decades by the dictatorial and fascist Colorado Party of Gen. Alfredo Stroesser, an almost cartoon charicature of a Latin American dictator, has no extradition treaty with any nation.

The Convenient "Suicide" Of The DC Madam

by Linda Milazzo

I don't like to speculate - but the reported suicide of Deborah Jeane Palfrey, the "DC Madam," is difficult for me to fathom. The suspicion I hold that the "suicide" of this 52 year old seemingly vibrant woman, who could reveal the identities of the powerful Washingtonians who used her "escort" services, may not have been a suicide at all, causes me sadness - over the tragic death of Palfrey herself, and over my distrust of the powerful who have proven time and again that they will do anything to protect their fortunes and their "good" names.

According to the HuffingtonPost, (http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2008/05/01/dc-madam-dead-in-apparent_n_996...), Palfrey had spoken out on suicide in the past when she reflected on the death of one of her former escorts, University of Maryland Professor, Brandy Britton. Palfrey said of Britton's suicide:

American and Israeli War Crimes: Same Atrocities, Different Responses

By Dave Lindorff

In the last few days, both the Israeli military and the US military have fired missiles into homes, in an effort to target what they said were terrorists, in the process killing many innocent civilians.

But what a contrast we see in both the reporting on these events, and in the response within the two countries!

Veterans' Group Blasts Bush on Transport, Housing SNAFUS

Veterans For Peace:

‘Mission Accomplished!’ Who does Bush think he’s kidding,” ask vets?

On the fifth anniversary of President Bush announcing “Mission Accomplished,” a national veterans’ organization today blasted the administration’s treatment of soldiers returning from combat in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Citing recently-revealed snafus where civilian airlines have stranded troops in the Mideast for more than a week beyond their scheduled return dates, and dangerous housing conditions on at least one stateside Army base, the two top officers of Veterans For Peace said such treatment makes a mockery of the Bush administration’s “support the troops” rhetoric.

“‘Mission Accomplished!’ Who does Bush think he’s kidding?” VFP President Elliott Adams asked angrily. “Five years after he commandeered an aircraft carrier for a stunt announcing the end of combat operations in Iraq, our troops are still getting killed and apparently we can’t even fly them back home on schedule or house them properly when they do get home.”

Chicagoans Set to See Special One-Night Screening of "Uncounted: The New Math of American Elections" Tomorrow, Tuesday, 7 PM

David Earnhardt travels to Chicago tomorrow night to present, along with the Illinois Ballot Integrity Project and Progressive Democrats of America, a special one night only screening of UNCOUNTED: The New Math of American Elections. Sponsored by WCPT 820AM - Chicago's Progressive Talk Radio also feature a post-film Q&A with David and Tribune Media columnist, Bob Koehler.

Uncounted in Chicago
Tuesday, April 29, 2008, 7:00 PM
Landmark's Century Centre Cinema (Map)
2828 N. Clark St., Chicago, IL
$10.00 General Admission

Invasion of the Pumpheads!

By Dave Lindorff

Is America at the mercy of an invasion of the pumpheads?

The bizarre behavior of Bill Clinton during this campaign season, which has seen this once smooth-talking and politically uber-sophisticated campaigner repeatedly stick a foot in his mouth and undermine his wife’s struggling campaign, raises the issue of whether he is suffering from postperfusion syndrome—a now recognized cognitive impairment common in patients who have undergone heart bypass surgery.

Torture Me!

WARNING: GRAPHIC CONTENT

ACTION CALL: WTF? Our Heroes Welcomed Home (Grab Your Barf Bag)

Have we no shame?

Please call and demand that our heroes be treated with the common decency, dignity, honor and respect that they have earned.

The Clock is Ticking for A US Attack on Iran

By Dave Lindorff

I admit to feeling a little like the weatherman who keeps saying it's going to rain, and who eventually is proven correct. I feel certain that the Bush/Cheney regime is going to launch a disastrous attack on Iran, but have made several calls, which have been proved wrong, beginning back in October 2006, when I wrote that it looked like several aircraft carrier battle groups were being put in position for the assault, but then it was called off.

Now it looks like the attack is coming soon.

Pelosi HEARTS Bush!

Pelosi HEARTS Bush! by Linda Milazzo (crossposted from opednews, smirkingchimp)

Thank you, Larry King. When you bring it, YOU BRING IT! And last night, YOU BROUGHT IT!! Thanks to the few simple questions you asked Speaker Pelosi, viewers got a clearer insight into who Speaker Pelosi is, and how Speaker Pelosi feels - about President Bush, her self-described "day job," and her Congressional opponent, Cindy Sheehan.

So how does Speaker Pelosi feel about President Bush? She likes him! She genuinely likes him. According to Pelosi, there's nothing "personal" for her in the decisions and policies of George W. Bush. Why should it be personal? Nothing the President has done regarding the war has personally affected Mrs. Pelosi or her family. No Pelosis have been killed in Iraq, lost limbs, suffered traumatic brain injury, or committed suicide after returning home. And since Mrs. Pelosi dislikes the war, or so she proclaims, no young Pelosi will be prompted to fight it. So for Speaker Pelosi, the Iraq war, with its non-Pelosi casualties, will remain non-personal – and her relationship with its creator, George W. Bush, won't be soured by her pain.

Spoiling the Party: Clinton and the Michigan and Florida Votes

Dave Lindorff

Let’s at least make one thing clear: Hillary Clinton’s claim that she is ahead in the popular vote for the Democratic nomination, based upon her having “won” the renegade “primaries” in Michigan and Florida, is both nonsense and potentially fatally destructive of the Democratic campaign.

First the nonsense. In both states, because the local parties decided to hold primaries out of order and much earlier than scheduled by the Democratic National Committee, those votes did not count, and the delegates chosen will not be counted at the August convention.

Reuters UK Report: U.S.-contracted ship fires on Iranian boat

U.S.-contracted ship fires on Iranian boat

A cargo ship contracted by the U.S. Military Sealift Command has fired at least one shot toward an Iranian boat, a U.S. defence official said on Friday.

"It was an MSC vessel," the official said, confirming the ship fired on an Iranian boat.

Other details were not immediately available. A spokeswoman for the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet headquarters in Bahrain did not have any immediate comment.

The United States in January said Iranian boats threatened its warships on January 6 along a vital route for crude oil shipments.

Clinton Courted Racists in the Pennsylvania Primary

By Dave Lindorff

Time for a discussion on…not race, but racism.

One of the clear observations that can be made about the ugly Democratic presidential primary just held in Pennsylvania is that it was marred by racism.

The winning candidate, Hillary Clinton, who bested Barack Obama by just over 9 percent of the vote after a six-week campaign, made a determined effort to court the white, working class voters in Pennsylvania’s midsection and in the heavily ethnic northeastern part of the state, and she succeeded. According to exit polls, for example, white men voted 57 percent for Clinton and 43 percent for Obama. White women went 68 percent for Clinton and 32 percent for Obama. White Catholics, a particular target of the Clinton campaign, went 70 percent for Clinton and 30 percent for Obama—her biggest margin of any grouping.

StratCom in Context: The Hidden Architecture of U.S. Militarism

UPDATE JULY 2011: A CENTURY OF U.S. MILITARY INTERVENTIONS

UPDATE MARCH 2010: New Report.

See also: http://afterdowningstreet.org/bases

StratCom in Context: The Hidden Architecture of U.S. Militarism

By Jacqueline Cabasso, http://afterdowningstreet.org/militarism

Introduction

The Encarta Encyclopedia describes militarism as “advocacy of an ever-stronger military as a primary goal of society, even at the cost of other social priorities and liberties.” And it relates militarism to chauvinism, fascism, and national socialism. As uncomfortable as it may be for many, this chilling definition accurately describes the historical trajectory and current reality of U.S. national security policy. The threatened first use of nuclear weapons remains at the heart of that policy, and at the core of StratCom’s mission.

Rounding Out the Pennsylvania Primary Story

By Dave Lindorff

The corporate media have been quick to buy into and promote the Hillary Clinton campaign claim that she won the Pennsylvania primary by "double digits," but the truth is, that involves a bit of creative rounding.

The final figures for the vote are that Clinton won 1,258,245 votes out of 2,300,542 cast, compared to 1,042,297 for Barack Obama.

If you do the math, that works out to 54.71 percent for Clinton, and 45.31 percent for Obama.

Now granted, if you use the convention of rounding up numbers 5 or above and rounding down numbers below 4 and below, you get 55 percent for Clinton and 45 percent for Obama. But if you take the actual numbers, 54.71 and 45.31, and calculate the difference, it works out to 9.40 percent. And that is a number closer to 9 than to 10.

Hillary Clinton's Monstrous Threat

By Dave Lindorff

Tough guy Hillary Clinton, on the morning of a critical primary vote in Pennsylvania, uttered a monstrous threat, saying on ABC's "Good Morning America program today that if Iran were to launch a nuclear attack on Israel while she was president, "we would be able to totally obliterate them."

Think about that a moment! A country that we view as a theocracy, run dictatorially by a bunch of self-appointed religious fanatics, whose rule is enforced by an army of equally fanatic quasi-military thugs and enforcers, launches an attack on America's ally Israel, and Clinton says her response would be to incinerate the people of that country--people who are as powerless to stop such an attack as would be the people of Israel or the United States.

Is this the way we want the world the work? Is this the way we want our government to act?

The US Economy and the Costs of War

By Dave Lindorff

Is the Iraq War to blame for America’s long-term economic decline and for the current economic crisis?

Martin Neil Baily, a chair of the Council of Economic Advisers under President Bill Clinton, and now director of the business initiative at the Brookings Institution, in an opinion piece that ran Sunday in the New York Times, says no. Claiming to be opposed to the Iraq War, he nonetheless suggests that the nearly $500 billion spent on Iraq to date—all of it borrowed money—cannot be blamed for the credit crisis, or for high oil prices.

O' When CODEPINK Came Marchin' In (To New Orleans For Eve's V-Day)

For my entire life - years before Hurricane Katrina - I've fantasized about New Orleans. I dreamed of being decadent in the French Quarter in clubs where my music heroes played. I dreamed of tasting the food, studying the architecture, hearing the accents, and being cradled in the arms of the city – in the cream, black, brown and white blended arms of the city. I wanted to earn my beads at Mardi Gras, search the bayous for magic, and be transformed beyond the boundaries of my physical world. But the rigors of my life quashed my momentum and I didn’t visit the one American city I'd always longed to see -- until just last weekend -- nearly three years AFTER Katrina.

In Praise of Bill Ayers and the Weather Underground

By Dave Lindorff

The pundits are having a heyday with Hillary Clinton's sleazy McCarthyite attack on Barack Obama during the April 16 debate, trying to link him to the Weather Underground because of his having served on a charity organization board with one of the Weathermen, Bill Ayers, who is currently a distinguished professor of education at the University of Illinois, and who is married to Bernadine Dohrn, another Weather Underground veteran.

What has them in a lather is Ayer's comment, made a few years ago, that he has no regrets for the organization's having set off several bombs back in the early 1970s, and that in fact they "should have set of more." (Incidentally, as Robert Parry notes, those comments were made before 9-11, not, as Hillary Clinton charged duplicitously in the April 16 Philadelphia debate, right after 9-11.)

Notes from the "Bitter and Frustrated" Heartland

By Dave Lindorff

I find it interesting that among the responses to my recent column about Obama’s “bitterness and frustration” comments regarding rural Americans, those that came from rural folks—including from the two towns I mentioned in Upstate New York—backed him up.

I don’t know how this will all play out in Pennsylvania’s primary next Tuesday. I’m terrible at predicting these things. But I have a suspicion that the people who are in a snit over Obama’s comments are either rabid Republicans or are already firmly committed Hillary Clinton fans (who seem perfectly happy to have this $100-million net worth child of wealth and privilege pretend, Bush-like, to be a good 'ol gal). Those who support Obama are unlikely to change their views, and may even become more committed to making it to the polls. In the end, it all could be a ratings-driven media dust-up. But meanwhile. It’s worth reading what some country folk have to say about it all.

US, Iraq Far Apart on Security Pacts

ORIGINAL

BAGHDAD (AP) — U.S. and Iraqi negotiators are far apart over key issues in talks to replace the U.N. mandate that governs American military operations in this country, Iraqi officials said Monday.

Talks began last month on a strategic framework agreement providing for long-term bilateral ties and a separate status of forces pact that spells out the regulations governing U.S. military operations in Iraq.

U.S. Embassy spokeswoman Mirembe Nantongo said the two sides have exchanged "a number of drafts and proposals." She refused to give details because negotiations continue.

However, Iraqi officials familiar with the discussions said significant differences exist on the major issues of immunity for U.S. personnel and contractors, authority to order raids and attacks and detention of people believed a threat to security.

Finding Voters 'Bitter and Frustrated,' Obama is Sounding Like Nader

By Dave Lindorff

I haven’t lived in rural Pennsylvania or in rural Indiana, but I have lived in rural upstate New York, in towns where there are so few Democrats that on some local election ballots, not a single position, from town council to justice of the peace, has a contest. As in China, your option is to vote for the Republican candidate, or to leave that line blank.

And many of the people in these towns, uniformly white, when they talk politics, spend a lot of their time complaining about black people, immigrants (neither of whom can even be found in the vicinity) and the threat to their guns.

Barack Obama is exactly right.

On Waking Sleeping Giants

By Dave Lindorff

During my six-year sojourn in China, Hong Kong and Taiwan, one of the things I came away with was a sense of how generally un-nationalistic and non-patriotic the Chinese people were.

Caught up in the struggle first to simply survive and then, in the mid-90s, to try and grab onto the moving train that was China’s new Great Leap into Capitalism, average mainland Chinese, whether out in the remote farmlands of western Anhui Province or in the rundown house lining the hutongs of Shanghai or Beijing, had no time for patriotic displays or nationalistic concerns.

When Chinese Communist Party leaders in Beijing would beat the drum of nationalism over Taiwanese independence efforts in the 1990s, it evoked mostly yawns among average Chinese people, and in fact, to Beijing’s embarrassment, a popular computer game featured a war-game in which Taiwan defeated the People’s Liberation Army.

Listen to the General on Iraq (No, not Petraeus!)

By Dave Lindorff

“It gives me pause to learn that our vice president and some members of the Senate are aligned with al Qaeda on spreading the war to Iran.”
--Lt. Gen. (ret.) William Odom

In a couple days, Americans will be deluged with effusive, praise-filled stories in what passes for news organizations, print and electronic, in the US, quoting Gen. David Petraeus on the glories of his and President Bush’s brilliant so-called "surge" strategy in Iraq.

There will be little critical comment on his report, which will claim that the surge is working but that Iraqi’s “need to do more” to take advantage of the surge in stability to create a stable government in Baghdad.

Thoughts on April 4

By Dave Lindorff

For the first 18 years of my life, my birthdays were purely celebratory occasions, but since 1968, the day has always come tinged with a shadow. April 4 is the day Martin Luther King was shot.

I actually learned about King’s death, appropriately, in police custody, and had to think about its implications locked in a jail cell.

I was a freshman at Wesleyan University in Connecticut and had been given an assignment in my philosophy class to write a paper on Henry Thoreau’s influence on Mahatma Gandhi, and of course through him on Martin Luther King. Being 18 at the time, and it being spring, I decided I should write the paper not at school, but at Walden Pond in Massachusetts.

Bush's "Defining Moments"--In Iraq, and Back Home in D.C.

By Dave Lindorff

Bush may not be the greatest of wordsmiths, but he certainly nailed it when he said that the battle in Basra, in which the puppet governent of Nuri al-Maliki and the Iraqi military were attacking the entrenched Mahdi Brigades of cleric Moqtada al-Sadr for control of Iraq’s crucial port city, was a “defining moment” in the five-years-and-running Iraq conflict.

That battle, which saw al-Maliki fly down to the presidential palace in the country’s second largest city to direct the army’s fight, only to be spirited away by an American air rescue team when he was in danger of being captured or killed, is indeed a defining moment.

Hillary Under Fire

By Dave Lindorff

So Hillary Clinton, her campaign sagging as it becomes clearer and clearer that she’s not going to get the Democratic nomination unless she can destroy her opponent, insists she would have quit Barack Obama’s Trinity United Church of Christ in Chicago after hearing the allegedly “hateful” words of its pastor, Jeremiah Wright.

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