Friday, November 4, 2011

4 men, 2 women

On the first hour of today's Diane Rehm Show (NPR), the guests were Nia-Malika Henderson, Naftali Bendavid and Ron Elving. The second hour was James Kitfield, Courtney Kube and Robin Harding.

Moving to things that matter, Whitney (NBC, Thursday nights) was so funny. The show just gets better each week. In this one, Alex and Mark had a fight.

About?

You know what? Nothing. that's how it is sometimes, your best friend just gets on your nerves and you on his or her nerves and you explode at each other.

Whitney got them back together.

But before that, she tried to be a 'dude' or 'bro' for Alex. He ended up drunk off his ass and that was a series of funny moments. Including his telling Whitney he wanted to put his hand under her shirt and then he's got his up the pillow case and is convinced he's on Whitney's breast. The look she gives him is priceless.

Now for 2 e-mails. "Do you have the new Jane Fonda DVD?" Kylie e-mailed. Yes. It's called Firm & Burn and it's 3 Low-Impact Aerobic Workouts. Dona and I are planning to do a piece on it at Third Estate Sunday Review. When?

We're hoping for this weekend actually. We both wanted to try it out and have several viewings (is it a 'viewing' when you're working out with it?). So now we're ready and it's just a matter of timing. If there's enough time, we'll do it this weekend. Otherwise, it'll be next Sunday.

Deborah e-mailed that she reads Jane Fonda's site "religiously." And that she thinks it's among the best on the web but she says she's confused about "Richard." That's Jane Fonda's significant other, Richard Perry and he's a music producer.

And that's all I knew so I called C.I.

"Okay, when Clive [Davis, then the head of Columbia records] knew Barbra [Streisand] had to update her style and leave Broadway behind he knew someone special was needed because the first attempt, What About Today?, had failed. And she knew she could sell with standards and torch songs. So Clive teamed her up with Richard Perry as her producer. Barbra gets her first top ten hit since 'People' -- from the Broadway play days, not from the film -- with her cover of Laura Nyro's 'Stoney End.' Richard produced the entire album which showed another side of Barbra. He also produced the follow up, Barbra Joan Streisand. From there his next big success is with Carly Simon. He produces Carly's No Secrets album which contained the hit 'The Right Thing To Do' as well as the massive number one 'You're So Vain.' And Carly's always given him credit for his work on the production of 'You're So Vain,' noting the double pianos and the strutting bass, etc. He produced her follow up album, Hotcakes, with the hits 'Haven't Got Time For The Pain' and 'Mockingbird.' He then produced her Playing Possum album which featured the hit 'Waterfall.' During that time, he also managed to produce Ringo Starr's Ringo album with the hits 'Oh My My' and 'Photograph.' He then went on to produce Diana Ross' Baby It's Me album which featured the hits 'Getting Ready For Love' and 'Your Love Is So Good To Me.' That's considered to be among Diana's finest albums of the seventies with many ranking it right behind The Boss. He produced Leo Sayer's big hits 'You Make Me Feel Like Dancin'' and 'When I Need You.' He was the first producer to work with Wilson Phillips when they were just starting out -- nothing was released from that. He's done the Rod Stewart song book albums more recently and produced Carly Simon's top ten album Moonlight Serenade. But he's probably most well known for one group: The Pointer Sisters. Among other hits, he produced the Pointer Sisters' 'Fire,' 'Slow Hand,' 'He's So Shy,' 'Should I Do It,' 'Jump For My Love,' 'Automatic,' 'Neutron Dance,' 'I'm so Excited,' 'I Need You,' 'American Music,' 'Freedom' and 'Dare Me.'"

So that's Richard Perry. You've heard his work if you didn't know you were hearing his work. And C.I. was just emphasizing the acts I knew. So he's probably got a lot more hits with acts I've never even listened to.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

Friday, November 4, 2011. Chaos and violence continue, some worry what happens to Camp Ashraf residents after 2011, others think the height of political sophistication and dialogue is to liken your opponents to Hitler, the US military announces another death (that's four who have died since Barack's speech of 'War Is Over If You Believe My Spin'), the White House notes the December meet up in DC with Nouri, the victims of Falluja are the topic of a new study, and more.
This morning the Associated Press reported that another US service member has died in Iraq with the military providing "no further details" other than that the death occurred yesterday. AFP declares, "A US soldier has been killed in northern Iraq, the US military said on Friday, the first American service member to die in an attack here since the US announced its forces would depart by year's end."
The need for a 'hook' may leave some insulted. Barack gave the announcement on October 21st. The day before, October 20th, the official Pentagon count -- a government supplied number unlike the 'dabbling' website AFP relies on (AP is the only news outlet that has done their own count throughout the war) -- was 4482 military personnel killed in the Iraq War. You'll find that same number on October 23rd. October 27th the count jumps 3 to 4485. Pfc Steven Shapiro, Sgt 1st Class David G. Robinson and Capt Shawn P.T. Charles all passed and there deaths are Iraq War deaths. Sometimes the media really really is unable to hide their desire to be war pornographers by what they emphasize and what they don't, by which deaths they think count and which ones they don't bother with. Aaron Glantz is a familiar name to the community for his coverag of Winter Soldier, the Iraq War, veterans issues and much more. He reports on Steven Shapiro's death for the Bay Citizen here. Shapiro was the first announced death after the speech. He's also from California and our governor (Jerry Brown) issued the following statement October 26th:
SACRAMENTO -- On behalf of all Californians, Governor Brown and First Lady Anne Gust Brown honor Pfc. Steven F. Shapiro who bravely gave his life in service to our state and nation. The Governor and First Lady extend their deepest condolences to his family and friends at this difficult time.

In memorial, Governor Brown ordered that flags be flown at half-staff over the State Capitol today. Pfc. Shapiro's family will receive a letter of condolence from the Governor.
***

Pfc. Steven F. Shapiro, 29, of Hidden Valley Lake, CA, died October 21, in Tallil, Iraq. He was assigned to the 3rd Battalion, 8th Cavalry Regiment, 3rd Advise and Assist Brigade, 1st Cavalry Division, Fort Hood, TX. Shapiro was supporting Operation New Dawn.

###
So the death announced today is the fourth death since Barack's speech. Today the White House issued the following:

Statement by the Press Secretary on the Upcoming Visit of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki of Iraq

WASHINGTON, DC -- President Obama looks forward to welcoming Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to the White House on December 12. The two leaders will hold talks on deepening the comprehensive strategic partnership between the United States and Iraq. The President honors the sacrifices and achievements of all those who have served in Iraq, and of the Iraqi people, to reach this moment full of promise for an enduring US-Iraq friendship.
Matt Spetalnick, Jeremy Pelofsky and Eric Beech (Reuters) observe, "The administration has left the door open to negotiating a military training assistance agreement after the U.S. troops leave." This is the meeting that Moqtada al-Sadr declared (last weekend) Nouri should not have.
Robert Parry. We've ignored him for some time. Today Parry again gives ammo to those who would argue AP and Newsweek parted ways with him for good reason. That was less clear when Bush was in the White House because suddenly Parry was pratically a peace nik, ready to, in the words of Melanie, "Lay down, lay down, lay it all down, let your white birds smile up at the ones who stand and frown." "Assessing Obama's 'Peace' Moves" reads like a mix of Parry's 'greatest' hits. Sexism and hatred of Hillary expressed? Check! Fantasy passed off as fact? Check! Defense of any and all Democratic males? Check! I actually know Leon Panette and have known him for years. That hasn't meant that I haven't called him out here. But Parry's the one claiming to be a journalist? Seriously?
I don't read Charles Krauthammer and don't know how to spell his last name -- it'll be spelled correctly by the person I'm dictating this too. He is nothing in my world and I'll keep it that way. (And I'm sure I'm nothing in his and that's more than fine.) I skipped Parry's section on that columnist, the second section of his column.. If he's less than honest in that section, I wouldn't be surprised. But in the final section he wants to accuse the "neocons" (but not the neoliberals -- remember, when you whore, you get a little limited in your vision and for Parry that means forgetting all Democratic males who supported the Iraq War and/or voted for the 2002 authorization) of things like, for example, accusing others of being "disloyal or feckless." That might stand as a solid charge if Parry didn't immediately move into comparing them to Adolf Hitler. That's a really strong charge and I don't think it stands up but when you want to whine that some right-wingers are accusing Barack of losing the war and you want to act outraged by that but you also want to respond by comparing these people to Hitler, you're not going to be seen as very rational to most people. [Malou Innocent (New Jersey Star-Ledger), covering much the same ground Parry does, neither feels the need to act as if the war hawks are all on the right nor to compare opponents to "Hitler" in order to establish a solid argument.]
There are many ways that it could be argued that Barack lost the Iraq War. You may not like that, but people can feel that way and not be right wingers and not be a reincarnation of Adolf Hitler. Had Barack immediately drawn the war to a close upon being sworn in -- what candidate Barack led people to believe in the tent revivals for the Cult of St. Barack -- then there would be one and only one way to argue that he lost the war: By ending it. Instead he made the decision to continue the Iraq War. And don't give the lie that he had to follow the SOFA. There was a cancellation clause in the SOFA that he could have exercised.
The thing that would make many real journalists cringe is this statement by Parry: "Finally, the President has gotten rid of many holdovers from the Bush administration, such as Robert Gates at Defense and the old high command in Iraq and Afghanistan." What? Ray Odierno remains. David Petraeus got promoted to the CIA. And Robert Gates? Barack didn't get "rid of" him, Gates left on his own. Barack wanted him to stay and, in fact, Barack was just singing Gates' praises on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno last week. (And, in a senior moment, Barack forgot that Gates had left the administration while speaking to Leno.)
Robert Parry disgraced himself in 2008 and we've ignored him since then but when he comes off as crazy as he does today (including floating conspiracy theories), we call him out. For those who've forgotten his 2008 crazy, we'll drop back to "2008: The Year of Living Hormonally (Year in Review):"
In that month alone, prior to Glen Ford, she'd already offered Robert Parry, apparently enroute to the padded room he now inhabits, insisting that 'evil' Hillary would do just what her husband did because wives behave exactly like their husbands. If, indeed, that's the case, better get the Thorazine ready for Mrs. Parry. There was never an effort made by Goody to stop the foaming at the mouth Parry and say, "Hold on a second. You have spent this decade and the bulk of the nineties writing one article after another in defense of or in praise of Bill Clinton. Why are you suddenly so scared that your deranged fantasy of Hillary being just like Bill will come true?"

You don't ask those questions. To you or me, those questions may seem basic. It's not every day, for instance, that journalist Robert Parry morphs into nutty Christopher Hitchens. But what you're forgetting is that adolescence is all about recreation. It's all about finding another identity. New hair styles are tried, new clothes, new friends, it's all about reinvention. And who but a sane person would attempt to deny Bobby Parry his shot at a second adolescence? And there were so many more important questions to ask.



Is she really going out with him?
Well, there she is. Let's ask her.
Betty, is that Jimmy's ring you're wearing?
Mm-hmm
Gee, it must be great riding with him
Is he picking you up after school today?
Uh-uh
By the way, where'd you meet him?
I met him at the candy store
He turned around and smiled at me
You get the picture? (yes, we see)
That's when I fell for (the leader of the pack)
-- "The Leader of the Pack," written by Ellie Greenwich, Jeff Barry and Shadow Morton
He's still writing as the love struck Bobby Parry. You sort of picture him penciling "BOBBY LOVES BARRY" all over his spiral notebooks.
Robert Parry may want to argue that revisionary tactics will set in on the Iraq War -- they certainly did on Vietnam -- and further argue that by calling people "Hitler," he's attempting to stop the revisionary tactics.
The Iraq War was illegal. It was built on lies and there was never a second authorization from the United Nations. It was continued with non-stop lies. And we can go into all of that and allt he damage that was done. But if we want to stop revisionary tactics from taking hold one of the first things we should probably do is not compare our political enemies to Hitler.
Kelley B. Vlahos (Antiwar.com) runs down various Iraq remarks of those seeking the GOP's presidential nomination (only US House Rep Ron Paul favors ending the war -- excuse me, of all those running on the Republican and Democratic side, only Ron Paul favors ending the war which means no enduring occupation via the State Dept or any other US vehicle). Vlahos notes:
Critics say Republicans are digging themselves into a hole on this issue, and that might not be such a bad thing. "The polls show overwhelming opposition to the Iraq War, and if the Republicans want to say that 'Obama lost Iraq,' Lord let them," quipped Conn Hallinan, a writer for the liberal Institute for Policy Studies.
A phrase I learned to stop saying in 2008: I have never heard anything so stupid in my life.
As Democrats and Communists and Socialists in the alternative media demonstrated very quickly, the minute you say that you've never heard anything so stupid, another one pops up to pipe off something even more stupid. Conn Hallinana's remark is very, very stupid.
As we know, if we paid attention in 2007, Barack Obama stated he had no problem, even after withdrawal, sending US troops back into Iraq.
What could make US troops go back into Iraq?
Well with Samantha Power in charge, we all know the response to 'humanitarian crisis' is bombs and bullets and not aid and medicine. So should a blood bath take hold in Iraq or, more likely, should efforts be made -- strong and possibly violent efforts -- to take down the despot Nouri al-Maliki, it's possible the US would go back in. Some, like Allan Gerson (Huffington Post) feel that the most likely immediate humanitarian issue will be what happens to the Iranian dissidents who now reside in Camp Ashraf:
On Dec. 31, 2011, the day that the last American soldier is due to leave Iraq, Camp Ashraf is under orders by the Iraqi regime to close down and for its residents to be dispersed to prisons or concentration camps, or to the tender mercies of Iranian executioners. Two unprovoked armed assaults by the Iraqi Army on Camp Ashraf in 2009 and last April resulted in over forty dead and hundreds injured by Iraqi soldiers carrying US-made weapons. There is no reason to hope that the impending closure will be either peaceful or humane, despite the fact that the Ashraf residents were granted protected persons status under the Fourth Geneva Convention by the US military.
Following the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Ashraf residents were provided with written guarantees by US authorities that, in return for disarming voluntarily, the US would protect them. But, since early 2009, when the US handed over responsibility for the security of Camp Ashraf to Iraqi forces, that guarantee has become a cruel hoax as the Iraqi Army continues to impose a punishing blockade, depriving residents of basic services, including access to medical care.
Camp Ashraf residents were welcomed into Iraq by Saddam Hussein in the 80s. The US invasion of Iraq in 2003, led for calls (from the US) for the residents to surrender all their weapons. They did so after being promised that the US would protect them. Bernd Debusmann (Reuters) picks up the story there:
After being vetted for possible involvement in terrorist activities, the PMOI members at Ashraf were granted "Protected Person" status under the Fourth Geneva convention and the U.S. military assumed control of the camp. That was a bizarre twist even by the standards of the Middle East because the PMOI remained on the U.S. government's list of terrorist organizations.
American protection of the camp ended in January 2009, when the U.S. transferred control to the Iraqi government. According to testimony to a Congressional hearing, that transfer followed an explicit and written assurance by the Iraqi government that it would respect the protected status of Ashraf residents.
Just seven months later, Iraqi security forces stormed into the camp, whose inhabitants include around 1,000 women. In the ensuing clashes, at least nine residents were killed and scores injured. On April 8, 2011, Iraqi security forces moved into the camp again, using what Amnesty International termed "grossly excessive force and live fire." Thirty-six residents were killed and more than 300 wounded.
So much for respecting assurances to the Americans.
Repeating, Barack's stated that he would be fine with sending troops back into Iraq. Are you prepared for that possibility?
Are you prepared for the fact that insta-polling is complete bulls**T. I just want to scream when dumb ass like Conn speak. I can remember, for example, a number of people gloating in 1991. They insisted that they were right and that Anita Hill wasn't believable. That was an insta-polling result. But people need time to think and come to their own conclusions. And not only did the polling shift after the media found a new topic to gossip about while pretending they were investigating but the outrageous treatment of Anita Hill set the stage for the gender quake of 1992.
Insta-polling is pretty much meaningless with one exception: 15%. If someone below 52% doesn't get at least a 15% bounce in insta-polling, there's no victory in sight. When the news media obsesses over one thing -- be it an economic plan or a budget cut or whatever -- it can and does shape opinion but that's for a brief time. If the best it can turn out is a 15% increase, that's going to vanish in less than three months. That's the only thing to study in an insta-poll.
The news media has (falsely) sold ALL US TROOPS LEAVE IRAQ. They have failed to adquately convey what the State Dept will be doing. It's no surprise that people are embracing what the media and the government's selling. But things change. And as George H.W. Bush found out with a war bump of his own, public opinion can change very quickly.
If Republican candidates want to argue against what Barack's done or that he's lost Iraq, the better argument for them would revolve around the March 2010 elections and the White House's decision to back Nouri al-Maliki for a second term. They pressured Ayad Allawi to go along with it, they pressured the Kurds to go along with it. Without that pressure, Nouri wouldn't be prime minister. And after noting that, they could talk about how Nouri's a dictator and they could quote to back it up. Quote Nouri? Americans don't know Nouri. They do know Hillary Clinton. They do know Joe Biden. They do know Barbara Boxer. They know them and a lot of others and that's who they should quote. In fact, they should quote Joe Biden on how the US was being asked to recognize a government that's not even a real one and doesn't even exist.
By refusing to honor the will of the Iraqi people, by backing Nouri al-Maliki and doing deals behind the scenes to ensure Nouri remained in office, you could argue -- and history probably will -- that Barack and his advisors made a huge, huge mistake.
When Joe Biden called out Nouri and Nouri's government, Nouri at least had a full Cabinet. The State Dept wants to spend milliions of US tax payer dollars to train the Minry of the Interior. Almost a year ago, Nouri was allowed a second term as prime minister. He's still not nominated a minister for that ministry. But the US tax payer is supposed to do without and go through budget cuts so that a headless cabinet can get training?
The Iraq War was wrong from the start. It could go on for forty more years and it would still be wrong. It was very, very stupid of the administration not to immediately end the Iraq War. They could have announced the end of it when Barack came in by sending the SOFA to the Senate where it would not have passed. They could have then said there was no treaty since the Senate didn't approve it. If that seemed to be too quick, Barack could have notified Baghdad that he wanted to cancel the SOFA. He could have done that immediately upon being sworn in. That means the Iraq War would have ended one year later in January 2010 -- something many who voted for him thought Barack had promised.
Some will argue that he couldn't cancel it. That's because those who never read the SOFA liked to make a lot of claims. But Article 30, section 3 explains how to cancel the SOFA:
This Agreement shall terminate one year after a Party provides written notification to the other Party to that effect.
Know how else people could argue Barack 'lost' Iraq? By allowing the US State Dept to be unresponsive and hidden. Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy) observed yesterday:
The Office of the Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction (SIGIR) -- led by Stuart Bowen -- has been embroiled in a fight with the State Department, which has blocked SIGIR inspectors from assessing State's multi-billion dollar Iraqi police training program.
The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) reported last week that SIGIR managed to complete the report, which stated that the State Department "does not have a current assessment of Iraqi police forces' capabilities ... such an assessment is essential for effective program targeting."
"The SIGIR audit berated [the State Department] in its first sentence for failing to cooperate in the investigation, which 'resulted in limited access to key officials and documents,'" POGO noted. "The IG was still able to complete the investigation however, through 'limited discussions' and 'documents obtained from other sources.'"
Professor Chris Busby, from the School of Biomedical Science, University of Ulster, believes that the United States severely overstepped the boundaries of international law and is the likely suspect in the use of not just deadly depleted uranium, a growing subject in the world, but actual U-235 enriched weapons-grade uranium from a neutron bomb.
Those are the weapons that kill biological life but leave structures and landscape otherwise intact. You could call it the ultimate irony; discovering that illegal nuclear weapons were used in Fallujah, Iraq by the United States; the country that led the world down the trail of deceit by falsely declaring that Iraq had 'weapons of mass destruction'.
Nothing like full-blown hypocrisy for a new national image. And we thought the world already didn't like us, this new understanding will be life changing if it is half of what it seems to be.
Salem-News.com has reported the extraordinary rate of heart defects in Fallujah,
and we have also reported the widespread problems in war torn countries connected to depleted uranium.
Now a
new report from Bob Nichols published by Veterans Today exposes the dirty reality of this evolving story.
The Canadian adds, "A new paper published in Conflict and Health has analysed hair samples from parents of children born with congenital malformations in Fallujah. The hair had high levels of Calcium, Magnesium, Strontium, Aluminium, Bismuth, Mercury and Uranium. Of these, only Uranium is associated with cancer and birth defects. Uranium levels were significantly higher than expected on the basis of published measurements of uncontaminated populations. The levels were highest in the distal ends of the longest hair, which would have been growing in 2005." Did the second battle of/on Falluja make the war 'worth it' and legal? No. Not even with the decepitve 'reporting' of Dexter Filkins.
Last week Salahuddin Province's council voted in favor of becoming semi-autonomous like the KRG. They notified the central government in Baghdad of their decision and it is now, per Article 119 of the Constitution, time to schedule a referendum to allow the citizens of the province to vote on whether or not to become semi-autonomous. Al Sabaah reports MP Mohammed Kayani is declaring that the final say will go to the Federal Court. For those who've forgotten or missed it, Nouri controls that court. Per the Constitution, the Federal Court has no say in the matter. If you don't have a Constitutional framework, you don't have a rule of law. If you've gone to the trouble of drafting a constitution and passing it and you then proceed to ignore it at every opportunity, you're not a democracy and you've wasted everyone's time on a Constitution that is meaningless.

To pull together a Constitution, the drafters had to recognize the rights of all. Now that Little Nouri is the New Saddam and has resorted to one power grab after another, any thoughts of sacrifice for the greater good or making concessions have left his and apparently his party's radar. It's all about grabbing more and more power. So a Constitution that recongized the rights of all Iraqis is no longer something that Nouri or Dawa feels vested in.

Al Sumaria TV reports that the tribal government in Kirkuk has declared it supports the right of self-determination for all provinces. Alsumaria TV also notes that Iraqiya is pointing out Nouri's lack of leadership on the issue and how his actions are only increasing divisions in the country. As if dying to prove how right Iraqiya is, Nouri opened his big mouth again. Al Mada reports that he was in Dhi Qar Province and made remarks about how 'some' political parties are actually havens for terrorism. He's never learned how to be stately but he can do the most bitter partisanship twenty-four seven.

And he's fueling divisions with his crackdown on political opponents as he cries "Ba'athist!" in his never-ending witch hunt. How does that play out to the Sunni population? We'll note this from Ayub Nuri's report for Rudaw:

Aseel al-Nujayfi, the Sunni governor of Nineveh and head of the Hadba bloc, came out in support of the arrested Baathists and warned that Iraq is returning to "sectarian violence."
Nujayfi said, "We have to benefit from these people's professions, to let them participate in civil and political life and use their expertise to rebuild the new Iraq."
He added, "The Iraqi government is sticking to its promise to eradicate Baathism in Iraq."

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee. Her office notes this on veterans employment:

Washington, DC -- Today, U.S. Senators Patty Murray (D-WA), Debbie Stabenow (D-MI), Sherrod Brown (D-OH), Jon Tester (D-MT) and Max Baucus (D-MT) unveiled the "VOW to Hire Heroes Act of 2011," which combines a key component of President Obama's jobs bill with a related, bipartisan initiative to boost employment opportunities for veterans.

After serving our country honorably, all veterans deserve the chance to earn a paycheck and support their families. Unfortunately, the unemployment rate for veterans returning home from Iraq and Afghanistan remains stubbornly high. Borrowing from the American Jobs Act proposed by the President, the bill unveiled Friday would offer a tax credit for companies that hire unemployed veterans, and will increase existing tax credits for companies that hire veterans with service-connected disabilities. In addition, following negotiations with House Republicans, the legislation contains bipartisan provisions to ensure that all service members transitioning to civilian life receive the job training skills they need to find a job.

Cost estimates for the fully paid-for legislation were expected to be available Monday after the bill is filed. It is expected to be offered as an amendment to separate legislation that eliminates a withholding requirement for government contractors.

"The bill we are introducing is a bipartisan and comprehensive approach to getting our nation's veterans back to work," said Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans' Affairs. "It includes Republican and Democratic ideas because getting our veterans the financial security and dignity a job provides should never be partisan. For too long in this country we have patted our veterans on the back for their service and then pushed them out into the job market alone. With this bill we are giving our veterans the job skills to get their foot in the door and incentivizing employers to make sure that door is open to them."

"No veteran should stand at the back of any unemployment line," Senator Debbie Stabenow said. "When we say 'support our troops' that can't just be lip-service, we must support them through action. Congress shouldn't just pass a resolution honoring Veterans Day next week, it needs to take real action to help America's one million unemployed veterans get back to work."

"Our commitment to our service members shouldn't end when they return home as skilled, experienced civilians. Today, the unemployment rate for young veterans is 27 percent—which is simply unacceptable. That means more than one in four of these young veterans can't find a job to support their family or to ease the transition to civilian life," Senator Sherrod Brown said. "Our veterans' service to our country does not stop when they leave the military. From leadership experience to technical and scientific skills, veterans are key to our nation's economic competitiveness."

"It's unacceptable that veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan have a higher unemployment rate than the rest of America, and we owe them better than that," Senator Jon Tester said. "We have a responsibility to empower all veterans with the tools they need to find good-paying jobs. And this plan incorporates bipartisan ideas to ease the transition between military service and the civilian workforce."

"The unemployment level we are seeing among our veterans is a disgrace, and hits home especially hard in Montana, because we have more vets per capita than almost anywhere else. That's why it's so important we pass this legislation to give tax credits to businesses that hire veterans and make it easier for veterans to translate the valuable skills they learn in combat to civilian employment. I'm also committed to continue working to cut down on red tape and make it even easier for businesses to take advantage of this tax credit. Creating jobs is our number one priority, and there is no better place to start than with our veterans - especially right now with thousands of troops set to return home from Iraq by the end of the year," said Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus.


KEY PROVISIONS:

Tax credit of up to $5,600 for hiring veterans who have been looking for a job for more than six months, as well as a $2,400 credit for veterans who are unemployed for more than 4 weeks, but less than 6 months.

Tax credit of up to $9,600 for hiring veterans with service-connected disabilities who have been looking for a job for more than six months.

Makes the Transition Assistance Program (TAP)—an interagency workshop coordinated by Departments of Defense, Labor and Veterans Affairs—mandatory for service members moving on to civilian life to help them secure 21st Century jobs through resume writing workshops and career counseling.

Expands education and training opportunities for older veterans by providing 100,000 unemployed veterans of past eras and wars with up to 1-year of additional Montgomery GI benefits to go towards education or training programs at community colleges or technical schools.

Provides disabled veterans up to 1-year of additional Vocational Rehabilitation and Employment Benefits.

Allows service members to begin the federal employment process prior to separation in order to facilitate a truly seamless transition from the military to jobs at VA, Homeland Security, or the many other federal agencies in need of our veterans.

KEY STATS ON VETERANS:

Veterans Account For Approximately 9.5% Of The Adult U.S. Population. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics (BLS), in 2010, 20.2 million men and 1.8 million women in the civilian population were veterans. Of them, 2.2 million were veterans who served in the Gulf War-ear II, which is any time after September 2001, and approximately two-thirds of these recent veterans are under 35 years old. Women account for 17% of Gulf War-era II veterans. Furthermore, according to BLS, about 25% (530,000) of Gulf War-era II veterans reported having a service connected disability, whereas only 13% of all veterans have reported a service-connected disability. [BLS Employment Situation of Veterans, 10/20/11.]

* You can access state-by-state veterans statistics for 2010 HERE.

* You can access county-by-county veterans statistics for 2010 HERE.

Although The Overall Unemployment Rate For Veterans Is Lower Than The National Figure, The Unemployment Rate Among Veterans Returning From Iraq and Afghanistan Has Risen to 12.1%. The national unemployment rate for October was 9.0%, while the overall veterans' unemployment rate was 7.7%. However, the joblessness rate for Gulf War-era II veterans, of which two thirds are younger than 35 years old, is 12.1%, up from 10.6% at this time last year. Within this group of returning veterans, 240,000 are now unemployed, up nearly 30,000 in the last year. The youngest veterans are the ones having the hardest time finding work. According to BLS, "Young male veterans (those ages 18-24) who served during Gulf War-era II had an unemployment rate of 21.9% in 2010." [BLS Employment Situation, 11/4/11; BLS Employment Situation of Veterans, 10/20/11; BLS Veterans Employment Figures, 11/4/11.]

Although We Are Making Progress, Veterans Are Over Represented in the Homeless Population, Accounting for 11.5% of All Homeless Adults. During a one year period, an estimated 144,842 veterans spent at least one night in an emergency shelter or transitional housing program, according to a recent report released by the Departments of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and Veterans Affairs (VA). While that figure is down 3% from last year, it is still an unacceptably high number. Veterans comprise roughly 9.5% of the total U.S. population, but account for approximately 11.5% of all homeless adults in America. In 2010, 1 in 150 veterans were homeless, and 1 in 16 veterans had an income below the poverty line. On a given night in 2010, over 76,000 veterans were homeless. Furthermore, in line with the high unemployment rate for younger veterans, "Young veterans in poverty are almost four times more likely to be homeless than their non-veteran counterparts in poverty." [HUD's 2010 Annual Homeless Assessment Report (AHAR), 10/28/11.]


  • You can access state-by-state statistics on veterans' homelessness from 2010 HERE.

GOP Senators Support Veterans Hiring Incentives:

Sen. Murkowski Said She Was "Proud" To Add Her Name To A Bill That Gives Veterans The Skills They Need To Compete For Jobs "It is tragic our men and women in uniform come back from combat and find that some federal and private sector employers do not appreciate, or question, how veterans' skill-sets and commitment translate to the workplace. I am proud to add my name to a bill that gives veterans the skills they need to compete for jobs, an opportunity for a non-competitive appointment to the federal civil service, and enhanced vocational rehabilitation if they need it. Actions speak louder than words, and I hope this bill empowers our men and women of action with the skills and the support to hear the words: 'You're hired.'" [Press Release, 5/11/11]

Sen. Hutchison Said She Could Support Preferring Veterans for Jobs "Preferring veterans for job creation; we're for that."[WSJ Opinion Journal, 9/15/11]

Sen. Enzi Supported Veterans Hiring Programs. "Helping our veterans turn the skills they learned in the military into a rewarding job not only honors our promise to take care of those who served their country, it helps guarantee all of our cities, towns and counties have the highest quality emergency medical personnel available." [Press Release, 9/13/11]

Sen. Johanns Supported Help For Unemployed Veterans. The unemployment rate of our returning service members is a concerning sign that we are not doing enough to help them assimilate into their communities once they have completed their tours of duty They are more than deserving of our greater efforts to get them back on an even playing field in the job market." [Press Release, 11/12/09]

Sen. Grassley Supported "Financial Incentives" For Veterans Hiring. "These men and women are extremely capable. They have a lot of skills to offer in the workplace. This legislation will clear some bureaucratic hurdles and add a financial incentive to encourage employers to seek out veterans. These steps are a logical follow-up to my effort to increase the IRS' hiring of veterans. The IRS saw the value of this pool of potential workers and followed through on increased hiring of veterans. Other employers, including small businesses, should have similar opportunities." [Press Release, 1/26/11]

Sen. Boozman Supported Funding to Help Homeless Veterans Get Back Into Society and Into Jobs. "While the VA data shows that we are making progress in reducing the number of homeless veterans, there is still a need to get our veterans off the streets and into jobs. … To be successful in returning veterans to full members of society, it is vital that homeless veterans programs offer more than just shelter and meals. Services such as substance abuse treatment, mental health services are needed to lay the foundation for a return to work whenever possible. It is the ability to make one's way in the world - to contribute rather than just take - that gives a sense of self-worth and pride." [House Floor Speech, 3/30/09]

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