Buoyed by an appeals court that rebuked President Barack Obama’s comment that the Supreme Court’s overturning of his health care reforms would be “unprecedented,” conservative bloggers stepped up their barrage of criticism by cheering on the judicial panel.
They are doing a lousy job of covering this issue. A very lousy job. They do a better job of covering Solyndra. This is from Bob King's article:
The Treasury Department's review of Solyndra's $535 million federal loan guarantee was "rushed" through in about one day in March 2009, "based on an expedited review request from DOE so that a press release could be issued," according to a Treasury inspector general report that gives further evidence of the early Obama administration's eagerness to announce progress in funding clean energy.
The report, issued Tuesday, also quotes internal Treasury documents that portray the Energy Department as being under pressure to get the loan agreement out the door.
But somehow the White House keeps insisting that they did nothing, that Solyndra went through normal channels. For those who do not the background, Solar was a clean energy company with an iffy business status when it was awarded a half-billion dollar loan. Donors and bundlers for Barack Obama's 2008 presidential run were investors in Solyndra. And after they got their way -- by pure luck, insists the White House -- and Solyndra got the loan, it quickly went belly up leaving tax payers on the hook for the half-billion loan they defaulted on.
It has become harder and harder for the White House to deny that they assisted or helped or pressured to get the loan rushed through. Today's story is only the latest. Today's story does, however, underscore that Treasury did not due dilligence as a result of the pressure coming from the White House to wrap the whole thing up.
This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for today:
I was privileged to present the coordinating committee's draft of the Action Plan to UNAC's national conference in Stamford, Connecticut, this past weekend. "This action plan does not just target some U.S. wars," said the committee's statement. "It does not target the currently unpopular wars. It does not shy away from condemning wars that remain acceptable to half the population because the real reasons for them are obscured in the rhetoric of humanitarian intervention. It does not advocate that we avoid putting U.S. boots on the ground by mounting embargoes that bring economic devastation on the peoples of Iran. It does not condone war by other, more sanitized, means. It does not cheer on wars that minimize U.S. combat deaths by the use of robotic unmanned planes or the highly trained murder squads of the Joint Special Operations Command. It does not see war by mercenary as somehow less threatening to the peoples of the world and the U.S. than war by economic draft. It does not give credit to Washington for removing brigades from one country in order to deploy them in the next."
The document demands an end to "all wars, interventions, targeted assassinations and occupations" and U.S. withdrawal from "NATO and all other interventionist military alliances."
UNAC's reasoning is rooted in the principle that all the world's peoples have the inherent right to self-determination, to pursue their own destinies -- the foundation of relations among peoples, enshrined in international law but daily violated by the United States.
Dropping back to Monday's snapshot:
- "compromise" the "unity" of the state;
- subscribe, participate, negotiate, promote, contract or deal with an enemy … in order to destabilize security and public order or expose the country to danger;
- damage, cause defects, or hinder [systems or networks] belonging to security military, or intelligence authorities with a deliberate intention to harm [state security].
- promote "ideas which are disruptive to public order";
- "implement terrorist operations under fake names or to facilitate communication with members or leaders of terrorist groups";
- "promote terrorist activites and ideologies or to publish information regarding the manufacturing, preparation and implementation of flammable or explosive devices, or any tools or materials used in the planning or execution of terrorist acts";
- facilitate or promote human trafficking "in any form";
- engage in "trafficking, promoting or facilitating the abuse of drugs".
Today Alice Fordham (Washington Post) reports on attempts to curb speech in Iraq where bills are being considered that could imprison people who criticize the government or make new requirements/hurdles for demonstrating. She speaks with Iraqi blogger Hayder Hamzoz:
The law also contains a sentence of life imprisonment for using computers or social networks to compromise "the independence of the state or its unity, integrity, safety."
Hamzoz, who does not use his real name out of concern for his safety, said he believes the legislationis intended to allow the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to control social media. The government essentially did just that more than a year ago, when it swiftly smothered an uprising inspired by the Arab Spring revolts sweeping the region.
"It's to attack the activists," he said.
Wednesday, April 4th,
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
2012 (202) 224-2834
TOMORROW: Murray in Spokane with VA Health Officials to Host Roundtable Discussion with Local Veterans, Tour Homeless Veterans Facility
Veterans will discuss experiences with homelessness, mental health issues, and transition
(Washington, D.C.) – Tomorrow, Thursday, April 5th, U.S. Senator Patty Murray will hold a roundtable discussion with VA officials and local veterans in Spokane to discuss a range of topics including veterans homelessness, issues specific to female veterans, mental health, basic service problems in rural Washington, and transition. Following the roundtable, Senator Murray and Dr. Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs, will tour the Spokane Veterans Homelessness Outreach Center. Senator Murray will discuss her efforts to improve veterans care and benefits nationwide, and will use the stories and suggestions she hears on Thursday to fight for local veterans in Washington, D.C.
WHO: U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Dr. Petzel, Under Secretary for Health in the Department of Veterans Affairs
Dr. Bastian, Chief of Behavioral Health at the SVAMC
Julie Liss, Women's Veterans Coordinator at the SVAMC
John Davis, Program Coordinator, Healthcare for Homeless Veterans
Monica Giles, Program Coordinator at the SVAMC
WHAT: Roundtable with local veterans and service providers about the difficulties they face in regards to:
homelessness, women veteran's issues, mental health, and transition.
WHEN: TOMORROW: THURSDAY, April 5, 2012
Roundtable begins at 12:00 PM PT, tour will take place immediately following roundtable
WHERE: Spokane Veterans Homelessness Outreach Center
705 W. Second Avenue
Spokane, WA 99201-4412
On the topic of PTSD, Randy Griffith (Tribune-Democrat) explains, "There are three general characteristics of the disorder, Zitnay said. They are re-experiencing the trauma, avoidance and hyper-arousal. Those with PTSD re-experience the event through nightmares, flashbacks and increased anxiety when reminded of the event. Avoidance is characterized by seclusion, amnesia of the incident and taking pains to stay away from locations, people or objects associated with the trauma." Shuka Kalantari (KALW) reports on PTSD by speaking to Iraqi refugee Jasmine who studies engineering in California.
Shuka Kalantari: Jasmine remembers one of those flashbacks. She was at a women's studies class at her college in San Jose. They were watching a documentary about a war in Chile. After the film, the teacher asked students to try and imagine how their life would be if they lived in war.
Jasmine: So she tried like to make the student feel like the feelings of these people. So she stated [. . .] to the class, "You imagine that you lost your husband." As she came to me, "You imagine that they tried to kidnap you."
Shuka Kalantari: Jasmine didn't have to imagine.
Jasmine: I feel like I'm out of air. I left the class and I remained outside -- for over like 20 hours just like crying in a way.
Shuka Kalantari: For the next her mind was flooded with bad memories. She said that even seemingly unrelated things would trigger her symptoms.
Jasmine: Sometimes like part of songs would make me like really like sad and depression if something happened to me. I feel like I'm out of the war for a couple of days.
Shuka Kalantari speaks to the Center for Survivors of Torture's Dr. James Livingston who explains PTSD is fairly common among those forced to flee their homes. Jasmine's father was shot dead in Baghdad and she left the country when it appeared she was being targeted for kidnapping.
Chaplain: Steve Dudnas: I am Lt Commander Steve Dundas. I've been in the military 30 years, the Navy since 1999. When we got to Iraq our mission was to support US Marine Corps and Army advisers across the entire Al Anbar Province. These teams were out by themselves and they would very seldom if ever see a chaplain because of their isolation. I would go out and provide counseling, religious services. The hardest parts of the deployment? One, I've had a lot of experience as a trauma department chaplain and seen a lot of death. But when I got there and actually saw our wounded Marines and soldiers, prayed with them, anointed them, that was one of the really hard things -- was to see what war does to these warriors. I had studied a lot about PTSD and dealt with Marines who had it. I thought I was pretty much untouchable to it because I thought I'd seen everything. But I was really surprised by some of the things I saw and the impact that they had. The sites, the smells especially. The exhaustion. The travel. We went through some of the most dangerous areas of Iraq. Occasionally got shot at. And there was always an understanding that al Qaeda had chaplains at the top of their target list. When I came back to the States, I just felt so disconnected from people, church. I didn't even know if God still existed. And that was one of the most painful parts of my life. Prayer became really hard. Just going -- Doing life became really hard. I was depressed, angry, on edge all of the time. Finally, our medical officer did an assessment and was convinced that I was really starting to suffer PTSD and got me connected with the Deployment Health Clinic at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center and I started seeing a therapist there trying to figure out how to deal with my experiences. For me, writing is something that allows me to work through things and if I didn't write them out [they] would gnaw at me. And some of that deals with my own struggles with PTSD and faith, some of it deals with how I see the world now, and part of it are those things that are part of me: my dad, growing up, baseball. About the only place I can be in a crowd of people and still feel really safe is at a baseball game. And part of it is just the way the diamond's laid out and just the peacefulness of it. My role as a chaplain is to provide the spiritual support as they make this journey and as they begin to open up about what they've gone through. But many times, it requires more than just the chaplain. And so, I'll say, I know it's scary but I think that you need to seek the help of a mental health professional because it's a way to get better. And I tell them my experiences which are good experiences with both the therapists I've had. That they understood and they didn't push me to some track that I was unable to go to. I realize that you can't go back, you can't go back to what you were, you have to adapt to what you are. Do you want to be healthy? Yes. Do you want to be well adjusted? Yes. Does that mean you're going to be the same person you were before you went to war? No. Nobody is. But that's okay if we open ourselves up to get help. It's not something that we're going to be better overnight. What it will be though is a step on the way to healing, a step on the way to integrating those experiences with our daily life now. I don't think it is weakness to seek help. In fact, I think it's a sign of strength. I think it's a sign that you want to move forward. And what I hope is that when I spend time with people, when I share with people, when I listen to people, that I can help them to begin that process if they haven't already started. And to encourage them if they're already getting some therapy. Provide that extra bit of support, that extra bit of connection so that they don't feel that they're alone.
the associated press
sameer n. yacoub
the kurdish globe