Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Two Rulings, More to Come

We spent a fascinating day at the old courthouse in Rockville today, listening to arguments in the suit against the Mongtomery County Board of Elections. The Board verified petition signatures for a referendum pushed by the Citizens for a Responsible Whatever to re-legalize discrimination against transgender people. Equality Maryland looked at the petitions and found eighty-seven kinds of violations on them, and a group of citizens sued the Board, saying they verified the signatures without checking them thoroughly.

The Board of Elections took an interesting approach. Their lawyer suggested it's not their job to see that the Citizens for Whatever collect signatures correctly, they don't have an investigatory staff and they can't check on every little thing. Anybody can pass around petitions, the Board doesn't have people to go around and see that the signature-gatherers are truthful about what the petition means, that the people who sign are really who they say they are, and so on. In fact, the Board seemed to be saying that they are only charged to make sure that signatures correspond to registered voters. The lawyer pointed out that the Board doesn't have handwriting experts to confirm that the actual person signed the petition.

Nobody wanted to take the position that the CRW had done the right thing. I didn't hear anybody on either side imply or assert that the signatures were actually all right, that wrongdoing had not occurred. It seemed to me that everybody understood that there were problems.

At one point, Judge Robert Greenberg used an example in a question, he asked the Board's lawyer what would happen if they looked at a sheet of signatures and they were all signed in the same handwriting. There wasn't much of an answer to this, the Board doesn't seem able to do much even when the signatures are obviously fake. A few minutes later, when the plaintiffs' attorney Jonathon Shurberg got his turn, he immediately put up a slide showing a petition where exactly that had happened -- the whole page was signed in the same handwriting, and it was the same handwriting as the person who certified the page! And, he said, that person had submitted a hundred thirty two pages of signatures, which should all be presumed fraudulent and thrown out.

It appeared that the Board was making an effort to get the CRW involved in the case, but the judge wasn't buying it. It doesn't matter who collected the signatures, this lawsuit says that the Board failed to check them properly before verifying them as being valid. The judge also made a good point: the Board and the CRW both want the same thing, they both want the referendum to be on the ballot in November. For different reasons, of course; the CRW wants to make it legal again to discriminate against transgender people, and the Board doesn't want the blot on its name for having lost this suit.

On the other side of the room, a couple of lawyers from Lambda Legal were introduced and accepted by the judge at the plaintiffs' table.

Judge Greenberg did rule on two issues before lunch. He actually said at the start of the day that he thought he knew how he would rule on a couple of things. First, he ruled in favor of the Board on the "sufficiency" of the petitions. The plaintiffs had argued that the wording on the top of the petitions was inaccurate and may have misled people, the judge said, no, it was okay. Second, he ruled that the plaintiffs had missed a 10-day deadline for filing a complaint about the first batch of signatures.

Let me back up. Referendum petitions are submitted in two batches. In this case, it was determined that 25,001 signatures were needed in total to get this on the ballot, for five percent of the registered voters. The CRW needed to have half that amount by a deadline. The group met that deadline and the Board agreed that there were 12,500 valid signatures and authorized them to get the second half. The plaintiffs had said that signatures from the first batch should have been thrown out, but they had ten days to file that complaint and they missed the deadline. Their argument was that no one told them that the first batch had been submitted and verified, even when they called the Board's office, so how could they know when the ten days was up? The judge saw it the other way, he said the Board shouldn't have to notify everybody in the world, it sent a letter to the County Council and that's all they had to do. There is an honest problem in this part of the law, as the law is written for people to complain when their petitions have been turned down, ignoring the case where the petitions are verified but somebody else wants to complain. Well, he had to rule one way or the other, and he did.

So the judge ruled in the Board of Election's favor on two technical issues. Now they're working on the big issue, which is whether the Board properly certified the second batch of signatures. There's no deadline there, and no technical issues. There is a question about the strictness with which the law should be applied. The law is clear, middle initials have to match the voter registration and other picky things, but there is also a part of the law that says that the idea is to verify that the person signing the petition is the same person who registered to vote, a commonsense thing. Will the judge require all the details to match up, as the law requires, or will he accept anything reasonable?

The plaintiffs' attorney, Jonathon Shurberg, ended his presentation with a good point. He handed the judge a paper that appeared to be a petition all filled out. He said that he had gone to the white pages of the phone book and found all the information he needed to fill out the petition. He noted, however, that the phone book doesn't have middle initials. "Anybody can get this information," he said. "This law makes sure somebody doesn't do that."

I thought it was good, and it seemed to throw the judge, too. It does appear that in some cases somebody just wrote in names, maybe they got them from the phone book, maybe somewhere else. Shurberg made a good point that sometimes you have to use your actual formal name when you sign something. In this case, people are trying to overturn a law that was unanimously adopted by our elected officials, and the rules should be followed strictly.

The afternoon was not so interesting. Mainly the people in the courtroom -- there were about thirty five people there for the morning session, fewer in the afternoon -- watched lawyers and paralegals carry boxes of petitions back to the judge's chambers, where the lawyers were meeting and discussing with the judge. Somebody said they saw the lawyers from the two sides having a long talk outside by the fountain, I'm sure there's a lot of negotiating going on.

You know I'd love to tell you what I think is going on, but I'll wait. I don't know anything anyway.

This courthouse is cool, I think. It was built in 1891, the plaque says. This room had stained glass windows with sunbeams streaming in, cherry and oak furniture, it looked like. It was like something out of Perry Mason, with fifteen jurors' chairs swiveled along an old window and a dumb-looking picture of George Washington on the front wall. I remembered it being hot in there, and thought maybe there was no air conditioning, but it was nice and cool. There was a bit of an echo off those high ceilings but you could hear almost everything that was said clearly enough.

Today there were a few CRW supporters in the courtroom, mostly they sat on the left-hand side near the back. There were quite a few supporters for our side, several transgender people who really care about how this comes out, some gay activists, volunteers who have helped with the petitions, people with transgender relatives and friends, and curious people. We sat on the right-hand side.

Tomorrow there will be more arguments, I think, and everybody seems to expect a ruling. The judge can't wait too long, because they have to print up ballots for the November election.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

the score for Wednesday:


June 12, 2008 8:20 AM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

LOL. There hasen't been a yet so the score is:0 -0.

CRW and TTF are not involved in this cour case, AnonBigot.

It is Equality Maryland and MC Board of Elections.
Get the facts gayly-alligned!

June 12, 2008 9:02 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess we must be precise for Dricksnot.

score for Wednesday:

CRG's attempt to empower voters 2
TTF's attempt to thwart democracy 0

June 12, 2008 9:59 AM  
Anonymous Robert said...

Today (June 12) is the anniversary of the US Supreme Court Ruling in "Loving v. Virginia," determining that anti-miscegenation laws violated the due process and equal protection clauses of the 14th amendment.

BTW, in 1912 there was proposed an anti-miscegenation amendment to the US Constitution.

From Justice Warren's opinion: "These statutes also deprive the Lovings of liberty without due process of law in violation of the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. The freedom to marry has long been recognized as one of the vital personal rights essential to the orderly pursuit of happiness by free men.
Marriage is one of the "basic civil rights of man," fundamental to our very existence and survival. Skinner v. Oklahoma, 316 U.S. 535, 541 (1942). See also Maynard v. Hill, 125 U.S. 190 (1888). To deny this fundamental freedom on so unsupportable a basis as the racial classifications embodied in these statutes, classifications so directly subversive of the principle of equality at the heart of the Fourteenth Amendment, is surely to deprive all the State's citizens of liberty without due process of law. The Fourteenth Amendment requires that the freedom of choice to marry not be restricted by invidious racial discriminations. Under our Constitution, the freedom to marry, or not marry, a person of another race resides with the individual and cannot be infringed by the State.

[ Footnote 1 ] Section 1 of the Fourteenth Amendment provides:
"All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside. No State shall make or enforce any law which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any State deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws."

Yesterday, BTW, was King Kamehameha day, the Hawaii state holiday. I had 9 pieces of cake in celebration.


June 12, 2008 12:23 PM  
Anonymous Digger said...

Oh, Jim, as I heard on Channel 7's midday news that the judge ruled in favor of the referendum, and it would go forth. Are they correct, or did they misunderstand what you reported on yesterday?


June 12, 2008 12:25 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another appeal to Moderator: We are again being subjected to the bile and supercilious rants of this "Anonymous" (the same one you have chastised over and over and over again). He/she just doesn't respect your rules and the rules of this blog site. He adds nothing to the dialogue and, yes, even though you want him to be here to "expose" the kind of thinking of this troll, we readers are all too aware of him/her and his/her attempts to hijack this site. The problem with us liberals is that we are just too forgiving!

June 12, 2008 1:30 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Diogenes can't be happy:

"Judge Robert Greenberg ruled Wednesday that transgender rights advocates seeking to stop a local referendum on the legislation waited too long to challenge the first batch of signatures on a petition calling for a vote. The judge also ruled that the wording of the petition is fair."

They're coming to take him away

Ha ha

Ho ho

Hee hee

June 12, 2008 3:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"We are again being subjected to the bile and supercilious rants"

Could you give us an example, Mr Diogenes?

Say, you aren't crazy, are you?

June 12, 2008 3:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SYDNEY, Australia (AP) -- A judge halted a drug conspiracy trial Tuesday after some jurors were found to have been playing the puzzle game Sudoku while evidence was being given.

June 12, 2008 3:45 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Did you guys hear about this?

"The Montgomery County Council unanimously passed a bill last fall that would prohibit discrimination against transgender individuals in public accommodations. The citizens for a responsible government say the law is too broad and would result in a transgender person in women's locker rooms, bathrooms and showers. Karen Gray Houston has the News Edge in Maryland."

June 12, 2008 3:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

good news:

both of the major party presidential candidates: John McCain, the eventual winner, and Barack Obama, the comic relief, oppose gay marriage

June 12, 2008 5:13 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...


There has been absolutely no ruling on if the this will appear on the ballot in November. That has yet to be decided on over 6, 000 petition "signatures".

So, AnonBigot, don't get excited about your hate-hate-hate for all quite yet.

June 12, 2008 5:58 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

The referendum has not been ruled upon yet:

Judge Sides With Foes Of Transgender Measure
Montgomery Voters Might Yet Decide Whether to Accept Law's Protections

Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg did not decide whether to allow a referendum.
Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg did not decide whether to allow a referendum. (Robert Alan Greenberg)
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By Ann E. Marimow
Washington Post Staff Writer
Thursday, June 12, 2008; Page B05

A Montgomery County judge sided with opponents of broad new protections for transgender individuals yesterday in an initial ruling on a local referendum effort.

But Circuit Court Judge Robert A. Greenberg has not decided whether Montgomery voters will have a chance in November to accept or reject a law passed by the County Council in the fall that prohibits discrimination based on a person's gender identity.

Greenberg said yesterday that gay and transgender rights advocates seeking to block the referendum missed a critical deadline for challenging signatures on the petition calling for the vote, and he rejected their argument that the petition language was misleading. His ruling essentially disqualifies the challenge to a first batch of signatures and narrows the case to the validity of 6,200 other signatures.

The referendum campaign was prompted by the signature of County Executive Isiah Leggett (D) in November on legislation designed to protect transgender individuals from discrimination in housing, employment and public accommodations. Montgomery followed the lead of 13 states, the District, Baltimore and 90 other local jurisdictions that have banned discrimination against transgender people.

A coalition of community and religious groups rallied against the measure, concerned about how it would apply to facilities such as bathrooms and locker rooms.

Their group, Citizens for Responsible Government -- led by some of the people who battled the sex-education curriculum in Montgomery public schools -- blocked the law from taking effect in February by beginning the petition process. Elections officials cleared the way for a referendum in November when they certified more than the required 25,000 signatures, or 5 percent of the number of registered voters.

In response, Equality Maryland -- an advocacy group for gay, bisexual and transgender people -- recruited a dozen Montgomery voters to challenge the validity of the signatures and the wording of the petition approved by elections officials. The legal action was filed in March.

Greenberg agreed yesterday with elections officials that the initial challenge to the referendum should have been filed in February, 10 days after the first of two batches of signatures was certified, as state law requires. "To hold otherwise would allow members of the public to challenge virtually every decision at any time," he said.

Jonathan Shurberg, an attorney for Equality Maryland, said he was not notified of the initial certification. If the law does not require notice, Shurberg said, "How do you know you are supposed to act?"

Kevin Karpinski, an attorney for the elections board, said in this instance, "given the publicity surrounding it, those who were interested were on notice."

Shurberg and attorneys from Lamba Legal, a national gay rights organization, arrived at the historic red-brick courthouse in downtown Rockville with more than a dozen boxes filled with thousands of signature pages. Although the arguments were at times technical, the attorneys spoke to larger questions of the role of direct democracy in a representative government.

Montgomery voters last weighed in on a council initiative in 1994, when they upheld a funding structure for a controversial incinerator. A court invalidated a referendum in 1984 that was brought by a group opposed to the addition of sexual orientation to the county's anti-discrimination law.

Shurberg argued that those seeking to overturn a law through referendum must "strictly comply" with requirements spelled out in state election law because of the "drastic" effect of such an action. Maryland's election code requires that a petition signature include all elements of an individual's name as it appears in the voter registration rolls. If a resident uses his or her middle initial, for instance, the petition signature must also include either the initial or the middle name.

Karpinski argued that such a "hyper-technical interpretation disenfranchises a significant number of eligible voters."

Shurberg also challenged the validity of signatures apparently penned by one person. On a projection screen set up in the courtroom, he showed a page of five printed names without signatures that appeared to have been filled in by one individual. All but one of the names was certified by elections officials.

Karpinski said in his filing that the board is not required to hire handwriting experts and that its role is to verify that the names on petitions are those of registered voters.

Separately, Greenberg said there was no confusion about the language of the petition, which referred to the law as a "bill" but went on to say that it has been "enacted."

"No reasonable person could have been misled as to the status of the legislation," he said.

June 12, 2008 6:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Andrea-not anon
multiple personality Anon- when President Obama takes office- will you move to canada or at least leave this blog?

June 12, 2008 7:16 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let's get this straight:

the challenge has been narrowed to the validity of 6,200 signatures

CRG turned in more than 32,000 signatures

they only needed 25,000 to force a referendum

what am I missing?

June 12, 2008 9:21 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"multiple personality Anon- when President Obama takes office- will you move to canada or at least leave this blog?"

single, morose personality Andrea,

when the surge works, are you going to apologize to our military

oh that's right; that already happened!!!

June 12, 2008 9:24 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

You hate to see a nice group like TTF lose but, hey, someone had to do it.

A lawsuit is not exactly win-win!!

Oh, well.

On to the big vote in November.

Remember, it's important to get a lot of transgenders explaining their case on TV to the general public- especially the mothers of school-age children.

June 12, 2008 9:48 PM  
Anonymous dinesh again said...

When Richard Dawkins published The God Delusion, philosopher Michael Ruse was quoted as saying that the book "makes me embarrassed to be an atheist." What especially galls Ruse is Dawkins' pig-headed insistence that anyone who embraces the Darwinian account of evolution cannot remain a Christian.

Ruse is a noted philosopher at Florida State University, an atheist champion of evolution and Darwinism, and author of several critically acclaimed books including Can a Darwinian Be a Christian?

I've been reading Ruse's book, and in it he counters Dawkins' simple-minded argument that God has been proven irrelevant since chance and natural selection now constitute "the blind watchmaker." Ruse writes, "It still leaves open the option of God's designing at a distance. Perhaps God put His design into action through the medium of unbroken law. Perhaps a God who works in this way is superior to a God who has to intervene personally and miraculously."

But doesn't evolution contradict a literal reading of the first chapter of Genesis? Yes, but Ruse points out that there are only two groups of people who insist on reading Genesis in a close-mindedly literal way. The first group is ignorant fundamentalists. And the second group is ignorant atheists like Dawkins.

By contrast, Ruse shows that from earliest times thoughtful Christians like the church father Augustine read the creation account figuratively. And for nearly two thousand years the Catholic Church has followed in this tradition. Ruse adds that while Calvin was a bit more literal-minded than Luther, both leading reformers also allowed for non-literal understandings of creation. Indeed Calvin introduced his doctrine of "accommodation" in which he argued that the Bible is sometimes written in a form as to make itself intelligible to people who are not well educated and don't have a sophisticated understanding of science.

Ruse 's conclusion introduces subtleties that seem entirely beyond the capacity of Dawkins. "Is the Christian obligated to be a Darwinian?" Ruse answers no, but urges Christians to take evolutionary biology seriously because they don't want a Christianity practiced in the dark. "Is the Darwinian obligated to be a Christian?" Again, the answer is no but Ruse adds this advice: "Try to be understanding of those who are." Finally Ruse gets to the big one. "Can a Darwinian be a Christian?" To which he offers the resounding answer: "Absolutely!"

June 12, 2008 10:51 PM  
Anonymous Derrick said...

AnonBigot Said:

"Let's get this straight:

the challenge has been narrowed to the validity of 6,200 signatures

CRG turned in more than 32,000 signatures

they only needed 25,000 to force a referendum

what am I missing?"

What are missing is the fact that only 27, 000 were "validated" by the Board of Elections.

27,000-6,200 = 20,800. Not the 25,000 necessary to secure a ballot measure.

June 12, 2008 11:30 PM  
Anonymous Robert said...

I'd be interested in hearing the history around the 1984 addition of "sexual orientation" to the county non-discrimination code (something we haven't been able to do in Virginia; PFOX et al have threatened lawsuits if such a thing were to happen, and government lawyers tell us they might win), and the referendum petition which was invalidated by the court. Was anyone around then? I'll see what I can find online.


June 13, 2008 7:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah,that would be a good distraction from the case you're about to lose.

June 13, 2008 7:55 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Here's on for Jim Kennedy, who was shocked..shocked, I tell ya, to learn that we are winning the war in Iraq. Apparently, O-bomb-a is too:

"In his St. Paul victory speech, Barack Obama pledged again to pull out of Iraq. Rather than "continue a policy in Iraq that asks everything of our brave men and women in uniform and nothing of Iraqi politicians, . . . [i]t's time for Iraqis to take responsibility for their future."
We know Obama hasn't been to Iraq in more than two years, but does he not read the papers? Does he not know anything about developments on the ground? Here is the "nothing" that Iraqis have been doing in the past few months:

1. Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki sent the Iraqi army into Basra. It achieved in a few weeks what the British had failed to do in four years: take the city, drive out the Mahdi Army and seize the ports from Iranian-backed militias.

2. When Mahdi fighters rose up in support of their Basra brethren, the Iraqi army at Maliki's direction confronted them and prevailed in every town -- Najaf, Karbala, Hilla, Kut, Nasiriyah and Diwaniyah -- from Basra to Baghdad.

3. Without any American ground forces, the Iraqi army entered and occupied Sadr City, the Mahdi Army stronghold.

4. Maliki flew to Mosul, directing a joint Iraqi-U.S. offensive against the last redoubt of al-Qaeda, which had already been driven out of Anbar, Baghdad and Diyala provinces.

5. The Iraqi parliament enacted a de-Baathification law, a major Democratic benchmark for political reconciliation.

6. Parliament also passed the other reconciliation benchmarks -- a pension law, an amnesty law, and a provincial elections and powers law. Oil revenue is being distributed to the provinces through the annual budget.

7. With Maliki having demonstrated that he would fight not just Sunni insurgents (e.g., in Mosul) but Shiite militias (e.g., the Mahdi Army), the Sunni parliamentary bloc began negotiations to join the Shiite-led government. (The final sticking point is a squabble over a sixth cabinet position.)
The disconnect between what Democrats are saying about Iraq and what is actually happening there has reached grotesque proportions. Democrats won an exhilarating electoral victory in 2006 pledging withdrawal at a time when conditions in Iraq were dire and we were indeed losing the war. Two years later, when everything is changed, they continue to reflexively repeat their "narrative of defeat and retreat" (as Joe Lieberman so memorably called it) as if nothing has changed.

It is a position so utterly untenable that John McCain must seize the opportunity and, contrary to conventional wisdom, make the Iraq war the central winning plank of his campaign. Yes, Americans are war-weary. Yes, most think we should not have engaged in the first place. Yes, Obama will keep pulling out his 2002 speech opposing the war.
But McCain's case is simple. Is not Obama's central mantra that this election is about the future, not the past? It is about 2009, not 2002. Obama promises that upon his inauguration, he will order the Joint Chiefs to bring him a plan for withdrawal from Iraq within 16 months. McCain says that upon his inauguration, he'll ask the Joint Chiefs for a plan for continued and ultimate success.

The choice could not be more clearly drawn. The Democrats' one objective in Iraq is withdrawal. McCain's one objective is victory.
McCain's case is not hard to make. Iraq is a three-front war -- against Sunni al-Qaeda, against Shiite militias and against Iranian hegemony -- and we are winning on every front:

• We did not go into Iraq to fight al-Qaeda. The war had other purposes. But al-Qaeda chose to turn it into the central front in its war against America. That choice turned into an al-Qaeda fiasco: Al-Qaeda in Iraq is now on the run and in the midst of stunning and humiliating defeat.

• As for the Shiite extremists, the Mahdi Army is isolated and at its weakest point in years.

• Its sponsor, Iran, has suffered major setbacks, not just in Basra, but in Iraqi public opinion, which has rallied to the Maliki government and against Iranian interference through its
Sadrist proxy.

Even the most expansive American objective -- establishing a representative government that is an ally against jihadists, both Sunni and Shiite -- is within sight.

Obama and the Democrats would forfeit every one of these successes to a declared policy of fixed and unconditional withdrawal. If McCain cannot take to the American people the case for the folly of that policy, he will not be president. Nor should he be.

Give the speech, senator. Give it now."

June 13, 2008 8:08 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

And when has Charles Krauthammer ever been to Iraq? Don't overlook the facts:

Jun 12 2008
For your quick reading, I've listed key statistics about the Iraq War, taken primarily from data analyzed by various think tanks, including The Brookings Institution's Iraq Index, and from mainstream media sources. Data is presented as of June 4, 2008, except as indicated.


Spent & Approved War-Spending - About $600 billion of US taxpayers' funds. President Bush has requested about $200 billion more for 2008, which would bring the cumulative total to close to $800 billion.

U.S. Monthly Spending in Iraq - $12 billion in 2008

U.S. Spending per Second - $5,000 in 2008 (per Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid on May 5, 2008)

Cost of deploying one U.S. soldier for one year in Iraq - $390,000 (Congressional Research Service)

Lost & Unaccounted for in Iraq - $9 billion of US taxpayers' money and $549.7 milion in spare parts shipped in 2004 to US contractors. Also, per ABC News, 190,000 guns, including 110,000 AK-47 rifles.

Missing - $1 billion in tractor trailers, tank recovery vehicles, machine guns, rocket-propelled grenades and other equipment and services provided to the Iraqi security forces. (Per CBS News on Dec 6, 2007.)

Mismanaged & Wasted in Iraq - $10 billion, per Feb 2007 Congressional hearings

Halliburton Overcharges Classified by the Pentagon as Unreasonable and Unsupported - $1.4 billion

Amount paid to KBR, a former Halliburton division, to supply U.S. military in Iraq with food, fuel, housing and other items - $20 billion

Portion of the $20 billion paid to KBR that Pentagon auditors deem "questionable or supportable" - $3.2 billion

Number of major U.S. bases in Iraq - 75 (The Nation/New York Times)


Iraqi Troops Trained and Able to Function Independent of U.S. Forces - 6,000 as of May 2007 (per NBC's "Meet the Press" on May 20, 2007)

Troops in Iraq - Total 159,734, including 150,000 from the US, 4,000 from the UK, 2,000 from Georgia, 900 from Poland, 650 from South Korea and 2,184 from all other nations

U.S. Troop Casualties - 4,091 US troops; 98% male. 90% non-officers; 80% active duty, 12% National Guard; 74% Caucasian, 10% African-American, 11% Latino. 18% killed by non-hostile causes. 51% of US casualties were under 25 years old. 70% were from the US Army

Non-U.S. Troop Casualties - Total 311, with 176 from the UK

US Troops Wounded - 30,182, 20% of which are serious brain or spinal injuries (total excludes psychological injuries)

US Troops with Serious Mental Health Problems - 30% of US troops develop serious mental health problems within 3 to 4 months of returning home

US Military Helicopters Downed in Iraq - 68 total, at least 36 by enemy fire


Private Contractors in Iraq, Working in Support of US Army Troops - More than 180,000 in August 2007, per The Nation/LA Times.

Journalists killed - 129, 85 by murder and 44 by acts of war

Journalists killed by US Forces - 14

Iraqi Police and Soldiers Killed - 8,338

Iraqi Civilians Killed, Estimated - A UN issued report dated Sept 20, 2006 stating that Iraqi civilian casualties have been significantly under-reported. Casualties are reported at 50,000 to over 100,000, but may be much higher. Some informed estimates place Iraqi civilian casualities at over 600,000.

Iraqi Insurgents Killed, Roughly Estimated - 55,000

Non-Iraqi Contractors and Civilian Workers Killed - 552

Non-Iraqi Kidnapped - 306, including 57 killed, 147 released, 4 escaped, 6 rescued and 89 status unknown.

Daily Insurgent Attacks, Feb 2004 - 14

Daily Insurgent Attacks, July 2005 - 70

Daily Insurgent Attacks, May 2007 - 163

Estimated Insurgency Strength, Nov 2003 - 15,000

Estimated Insurgency Strength, Oct 2006 - 20,000 - 30,000

Estimated Insurgency Strength, June 2007 - 70,000


Iraqis Displaced Inside Iraq, by Iraq War, as of May 2007 - 2,255,000

Iraqi Refugees in Syria & Jordan - 2.1 million to 2.25 million

Iraqi Unemployment Rate - 27 to 60%, where curfew not in effect

Consumer Price Inflation in 2006 - 50%

Iraqi Children Suffering from Chronic Malnutrition - 28% in June 2007 (Per, July 30, 2007)

Percent of professionals who have left Iraq since 2003 - 40%

Iraqi Physicians Before 2003 Invasion - 34,000

Iraqi Physicians Who Have Left Iraq Since 2005 Invasion - 12,000

Iraqi Physicians Murdered Since 2003 Invasion - 2,000

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 1 to 2 hours, per Ryan Crocker, U.S. Ambassador to Iraq (Per Los Angeles Times, July 27, 2007)

Average Daily Hours Iraqi Homes Have Electricity - 10.9 in May 2007

Average Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 5.6 in May 2007

Pre-War Daily Hours Baghdad Homes Have Electricity - 16 to 24

Number of Iraqi Homes Connected to Sewer Systems - 37%

Iraqis without access to adequate water supplies - 70% (Per, July 30, 2007)

Water Treatment Plants Rehabilitated - 22%

June 13, 2008 8:29 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one, including John McCain, would argue that the Iraq has been very poorly executed. Personally, I wish we'd never became involved in Iraq in 1991. Nevertheless, the world and bipartisan opinion in America favored this. What the election in November will be about is the future.

Few Americans, if the gains we have made are properly publicized, will agree with Obama that we should give up now. American casualties are on the verge of disappearing. With our back-up, the Iraq army is demonstrating remarkable success. The people of Iraq have rejected Islamic radicalism.

The last election in Iraq, cynics were shocked when Iraqis came out to vote in face of death threats by anti-democratic terrorists. In January, the will go to the voting booth again in safety.

What we've given Iraqis is hope. We will, in the forseeable future, have a strong Democratic ally in the biggest trouble spot in the world.

When the surge was proposed, McCain and Joe Lieberman alone supported this strategy publicly when all seemed lost.

Obama favored defeat and retreat from the get-go and, now, when the situation is promising wants to squander our gains to cover-up his bad call.

McCain came in the age's most uncertain hour and sang an American tune.

Who do you think we're going to vote for?

June 13, 2008 9:46 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

No one, including John McCain, would argue that the Iraq war has not been very poorly executed. Personally, I wish we'd never became involved in Iraq in 1991. Nevertheless, the world and bipartisan opinion in America favored this. What the election in November will be about is the future.

Few Americans, if the gains we have made are properly publicized, will agree with Obama that we should give up now. American casualties are on the verge of disappearing. With our back-up, the Iraq army is demonstrating remarkable success. The people of Iraq have rejected Islamic radicalism.

The last election in Iraq, cynics were shocked when Iraqis came out to vote in face of death threats by anti-democratic terrorists. In January, the will go to the voting booth again in safety.

What we've given Iraqis is hope. We will, in the forseeable future, have a strong Democratic ally in the biggest trouble spot in the world.

When the surge was proposed, McCain and Joe Lieberman alone supported this strategy publicly when all seemed lost.

Obama favored defeat and retreat from the get-go and, now, when the situation is promising wants to squander our gains to cover-up his bad call.

McCain came in the age's most uncertain hour and sang an American tune.

Who do you think we're going to vote for?

June 13, 2008 9:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Most of the 82% who think the country is headed in the wrong direction will vote for change we can believe in.

A third McBush term is out of the question.

June 13, 2008 9:56 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Bush isn't running again. McCain is and Americans have shown they endorse his message.

You may remember when Lieberman was rejected by the Democrats in Connecticut for supporting democracy in the war on Iraq. He went straight to the voters and crushed the Democrats.

You're right, McCain isn't change we CAN believe in. It's change we DO believe in.

Barack is part of a Democratic majority in Congress that has lower approval ratings than Bush- and that's saying something. He votes on party lines 99% of the time. He's change we DON'T believe in.

Believe me, the voters will be educated about Obama by early November.

By then, the polls won't even be a draw as they are now. It'll be a McCain landlside.

There's a change we CAN believe in.

June 14, 2008 10:17 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

McBush items from today's Washington Post:

"McCain Denounces Detainee Ruling
View Aligns Him With President
Page A4

PEMBERTON,N.J., June 13 - Republican Sen. John McCain (Ariz.) on Friday forcefully sided with President Bush in condemning the U.S. Supreme Court's decision to grant access to federal courts for detainees held at Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, potentially muddying his reputation as a critic of the administration's approach to treatment of suspected terrorists....", solidifying the labeling of him as McBush.

"Key Iraqi Leaders Deliver Setbacks to U.S.
Premier Rejects Terms of Proposed Pacts; Cleric Reactivates Militia
Page A1

Baghdad, June 13 - The Bush administration's Iraq policy suffered two major setbacks Friday when Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki publicly rejected key U.S. terms for an ongoing [100 years] military presence and anti-American Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr called for a new militial offensive against U.S. forces...

The moves by two of Iraq's most powerfull Shiite leaders underscore how the presence of U.S. toorps has become a central issue for Iraqi politicians as they position themselves for provincial elections later this year. Iraqis across the politcal spectrum have grown intolerant of the U.S. presence, but the dominant Shiite parties - including Maliki's Dawa party - are expecially fearful of an electoral challenge from new, grass-roots groups.

'All the politicians are trying to prove that they care more about Iraqis than then do about Americans - otherwise they know the people and the voters will not support them,'..."

June 14, 2008 11:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If Iraqis want to be free of the need for American assistance, I think it's great and ultimately so will President McCain.

If you read further in the story, you will also see the Iraqis want us to guarantee their security against foreign invaders so they don't exactly want the Yankees to go home entirely. I've read the points of contention and, on the whole, I agree mostly with the Iraqis. But they do recognize a need for our presence. I personally feel encouraged by developments. The Al-Sadr guy is a concern but people like that are their own worst enemy. He talks big but he's actually lost several confrontations with the Iraqi military recently and is just floundering around trying to re-establish his influence.

The Supreme Court decision might be a bad precedent. McCain has opposed mistreatment and anything that resembles torture of prisoners. However, during wartime few countries have allowed captured enemies to contest their detention in legal proceedings. It's only feasible now because this is not a major war.

June 14, 2008 1:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Supreme Court decision might be a bad precedent.

precedent noun - something done or said that may serve as an example or rule to authorize or justify a subsequent act of the same or an analogous kind

Yesterday's Supreme Court decision sets no precedent as the Bush adminstration hoped it would. Instead, it is confirmation that the US Constitutuion protects everyone's legal rights, even enemy combatants'. The Bush administration has now lost three cases since 2004 over the issue of detainees and Guantanamo Bay, and at each step the court has ruled that the enemy combatants have rights under the constitution to challenge their detention.

June 14, 2008 4:03 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ruling is crazy. Imagine if Nazis captured in WWII could have tied up our legal system with challenges while our courageous soldiers were fighting in Europe.

Ridiculous, really.

June 14, 2008 10:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ruling stands. In fact, all three rulings stand. The US Constitution stands for protection of the accused until proven guilty in a court of law.

June 15, 2008 10:47 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The ruling is wrong. The prisoners are not criminals being held for trial. They are enemy combatants in a war still being waged. Their treatment should be covered under the Geneva Convention.

June 16, 2008 7:53 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Geneva Convetion, how quaint.

June 16, 2008 10:07 AM  

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