Sunday, January 27, 2013

Truest statement of the week

"The shooting began, according to witnesses, after Iraqi soldiers ordered demonstrators to stop filming security force positions. Protesters, in turn, responded by the throwing tear gas and non-lethal explosive devices known as flashbangs, witnesses said." 

-- Mohammed Tawfeeq, "Officials: Iraqi soldiers fire on anti-government progesters" (CNN).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

Have you been waiting for the note?

Betty's middle son wanted to see Django Unchained to make up his own mind on whether it was racist or not.  Betty had no interest in the film.   C.I. said she'd take him and they'd make an evening out of it.  Which they did.  Click here and scroll to the end for C.I.'s review of Django.

Now she's back and she'd done her entry at The Common Ills so we're quickly doing our note.  What did we come up with?

Only one this week but a good one.  As C.I. noted at The Common Ills, Mohammed Tawfeeq and CNN were the only western outlets who reported on the protests -- reported, not spun for Nouri.

There will be no tears shed.  None at all.  They've brought this on themselves. 
Ava and C.I. cover the Senate Foreign Relations hearing, the media coverage and a bit more in this piece.  They weren't done with it when it went up.  But they knew it had to go up.
Lynne Stewart needs to be released from prison immediately.  It's a shame Law and Disorder Radio didn't call for that last week and won't call for it this week. 
This was supposed to be a wide ranging roundtable with lots of different topics.  Instead, I (Jim) started with Tina and finished with Iraq.  Betty came up with the title which is a good one.  No, it's a great one.
A semi-regular feature.

Apparently, C.I.'s the only one covering Iraq with a memory.  Everyone else has forgotten Nouri's remarks from February 2011.
C.I. and Elaine insisted this be posted.  We weren't opposed to it but they said this is the sort of writing the web needs more of, where someone reflects on a photo.
Repost from Senator Patty Murray's office. 
Amnesty International press release.

Repost from Workers World. 
Repost from the Feminist Majority. 
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

That's it, see you next week.


-- Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava and C.I.

Editorial: No tears for the Justice Dept's website

Aaron Swartz took his own life because he had no choice.  MIT and the Justice Department were breathing down his neck, trying to saddle him with felony convictions and many years in prison.

Who did he rape?  Who did he murder?

He actually didn't break a law.  The law applied to him was ridiculous but his 'crime' was overdownloading free articles with the intent to distribute.

As Imani Henry (Workers World) points out, the federal government wanted to put Swartz away for "up to 34 years" and  there was an effort to enter "a plea bargain to serve no time, based on his struggle with depression.  But MIT refused to sign the deal."

These are the crooks, not Aaron Swartz.

These are the crooks.  They've been bought by the corporations -- supposed institutions of higher learning and the White House.  A Congressional investigation should have been immediately launched following Aaron's death.  But how could the  Congress launch such an investigation when they have been purchased by the corporations as well?


When no one could extract justice, Anonymous stepped forward.

Already this weekend, they've hacked the US Sentencing Commission website and made clear that they have US government files that could cause great embarrassment.

If the US government is hoping for sympathy, they better think again.

This reminds us of nothing so much as Ted Kotcheff's Fun With Dick and Jane starring George Segal and Jane Fonda, screenplay written by David Giler, Jerry Belson and Mordecai Richler.  Specifically, it reminds us of the scene where Dick and Jane rob the phone company.

The customers aren't appalled.  They applaud and shout out things like, "Shoot out the computers while you're at it!"

And that's going to be the general reaction in America because Aaron Swartz didn't have to die.  He was put into a position by the US government and MIT where he had to make a decision.  He never should have been put in that position.  And the mood on this is just going to sour more and more as the months pass.  Aaron Swartz isn't a martyr.  He's a hero.

And people root for heroes.

TV: Laughing at the misinformed and misguided

The funniest video last week certainly wasn't to be found on 30 Rock.  As that show wraps up its seventh year about all it can still claim is being a ratings failure.  Thursday's episode was about convincing viewers Liz only worked because she didn't have kids -- work was a child substitute.  Now she's adopted a Tracy and Jenna of her own and she can kill her show.


With Tina Fey determined to continue her one woman backlash against women's rights, you had to look elsewhere for the chuckles.  The biggest came via Adam Vs. The Man's video of Adam Kokesh in DC asking people who attended the inauguration why they voted for Barack Obama.  One woman gave a concrete reason (he saved her job, she works for Chrysler).  The others couldn't and when asked about his Drone War tended to get angry.  They can vote for him, they just  flee when confronted with what he actually is.

Confronting what people actually are could have been the theme of last week.  For example, Wednesday we attended the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing and the House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton testified at.

As has been noted many times before, in 2008, we decided on Hillary as our choice for the Democratic Party's presidential nominee.  Some said we'd drank the Kool-Aid.  We begged to differ.  Last week, we wrote "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "20 are still at risk says Hillary in an aside (Ava)" as we reported on the hearing.  Not our first criticism of Hillary since 2008 but definitely our harshest and she earned every word uttered plus the criticism offered in  Wally's  "Facts matter, Hillary (Wally),"   Ruth's  "Like watching Richard Nixon come back to life" and Kat's "Can she not answer even one damn question?" -- and actually a great deal more.

Instead of criticism, the mainstream media elected to offer fawning.  To do that, they had to lie.  They also had to reduce their coverage to just one hearing.  Of all the bad coverage, the worse was when Diane Rehm and her panel of gas bags got together for the first hour of Friday's The Diane Rehm Show -- or, considering all the gas passed, Diane Rehm's Power Hour of Gas.

Whatever they were serving up, it wasn't truth. Diane's gas bags were Time's Michael Scherer, The Wall Street Journal's Jerry Seib and The New York Times' Sheryl Gay Stolberg. 

Diane Rehm:  All right. And let's turn to Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's testimony yesterday. What did she have to say about Benghazi, Jerry?

Jerry Seib:  It was really a day of dramatics but not a lot of new substance really. I mean, she essentially defended the position that the department took, conceded some mistakes before Benghazi in the way some security issues were handled. She got criticized for the administration's response which was expected, got criticized for allowing UN Ambassador Susan Rice to go on TV and talk about it as a spontaneous demonstration rather than a preplanned attack. But I think she rebutted that criticism pretty effectively... 

Diane Rehm:   How?  How?

Settle down, Diane, "how" will wait.  Let's instead correct the first lie.  She "got criticized for allowing UN Ambassador Susan Rice to go on TV and talk about it as a spontaneous demonstration rather than a pre-planned attack."  Hillary was asked and made clear that she did not select Susan Rice to be the person to go on TV and present the administration's talking points.  Yes, even Hillary referred to them as the White House's "talking points."  And she also testified, "I wasn't involved in the talking points process."  Why would anyone criticize Hillary for allowing Rice to go on TV when Hillary made clear that she was not part of that decision?

For the record, she was not criticized for allowing Rice to go on TV.

Jerry Seib wasn't present for Hillary's testimony and doesn't care enough to know what happened before opening his big yap.

Jerry Seib:   Mostly by saying there were questions then right after the attack that are still -- aren't answered today about what exactly happened that night, where the crowd came from, who joined in and how preplanned it was. And I think, you know, as I said earlier before the show and we're chatting, I think she gave as good as she got overall, and that's, I think, the way she walked away from her last big event as secretary of state. 

How do you interpret Seib's first sentence?  "Mostly by saying there were questions then right after the attack that are still -- aren't answered  today about what exactly happened that night, where the crowd came from, who joined in and how preplanned it was."  If you remember, one of the lies in the aftermath of the September 11, 2012 attack on the US Consulate in Benghazi and the CIA Annex -- the attack that resulted in the deaths of Glen Doherty, Sean Smith, Chris Stevens and Tyrone Woods -- was that it was a protest and people joined the protest to disrupt and it turned into an attack and blah, blah, blah.

Doesn't Jerry Seib seem to be harkening back to that lie?  That's because he's a damn liar.  Even his name's a lie.  It's "Gerry" because his first name is "Gerald."

There was no protest.  Hillary made that clear in her testimony, Senators made it clear in their remarks, it was made clear December 19th in the [PDF format warning] unclassified report on the investigation led by former Ambassador Thomas Pickering and Retired General Mike Mullen (former Chair of the Joint Chiefs) and it was made clear in the  December 31st [PDF format warning] "Flashing Red: A Special Report On The Terrorist Attack At Benghazi" issued by the Senate Committee On Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs. 

There are no questions abuot whether it was preplanned.  Most people are not cruising the block at 9:40 at night with RPGs in the back seat.  

Diane was ready to move on, we're not.  When we were sitting in the Senate hearing on Wednesday, did we see Jerry Seib?  No, we didn't.  Because he wasn't there.  How nice for him that he's so talented he can have breakfast with US House Rep Paul Ryan and -- via osmosis? -- still know what's going on in a hearing that's taking place at the same time.

Diane wanted Michael Scherer to speak.

Michael Scherer:  You know, one of the things that was clear during the campaign when Benghazi became an issue was that this was, in public discussion, more of a political issue than it was a substantive issue. The intelligence committee was doing a review. They were trying to find out what had gone wrong, the process of finding the people who did this and figuring out what should change at the State Department was going forward. Nobody disputed that, but there was a political fight over whether, first, the president and his senior staff should be blamed for this, and second, whether they had tried to cover it up for political reasons during the campaign by saying this was just a spontaneous demonstration. I think what came out of Secretary Clinton's testimony was that she was able to sort of definitively say, politics is done. Let's move beyond politics. 

When she was screaming like a crazy person, she appeared to be asking that America move beyond something.

Michael Scherer:  And there's one point where she sort of exploded at one Republican senator who asked her about, you know, whether the White House should have been more forthcoming about what the cause of the attack was immediately after and whether there was a cover-up. And she said, what difference does it matter at this point? Four Americans are dead. We're trying to solve this. And the reality is politics is kind of moving on. The election is over. 

 Here's the full exchange Scherer's badly summarizing.

Senator Ron Johnson:  Mr. Chairman and Madam Secretary, I'd like to join my colleagues in thanking your for service sincerely and also I appreciate the fact that you're here testifying and glad that you're looking in good health.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Thank you.

Senator Ron Johnson:  Did you, were you fully aware of -- again, I realize how big your job is, you know everything's erupting in the Middle East this time.  Were you fully aware of these 20 incidents reported in the ARP in real time?  I mean --

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  I-I was aware of the ones that were brought to my attention.  They were part of, uh, our ongoing discussion about the um-um deteriorating threat environment in uh eastern Libya uh, we certainly were, uh, very conscience of them was assured by our security professionals that, uh, repairs were underway additional security upgrades in place.

Senator Ron Johnson:  Okay.  Thank you.  Did you see personally the cable on -- I believe it was August 12th -- specifically asking for basically reinforcements for the-the security detail that was going to be evacuating -- or leaving -- in August?  Did you see that personally?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:   No, sir.

Senator Ron Johnson:  Okay.  Uhm, when you read the ARB, it strikes me, uh, how certain the people were that the attacks started 9:40 pm Benghazi time. When was the first time you spoke to, or have you ever spoken to, the returnees, the evacuees?  Did you personally speak to those folks?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  I've spoken to, uh, one of them but I waited until after the ARP had done its investigation because I did not want there to be [laughing] any issue that I had spoken to anyone before the ARP conducted its investigation.

Senator Ron Johnson:  How many people were evacuated from Libya?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Uhm.  Well, you, uh, the numbers are a little bit hard to pin down because of our other friends --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Approximately?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Approximately 25 to 30.

Senator Ron Johnson:  Uh, did anybody in the State Dept talk to those folks shortly afterwards?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Uh, there was discussion going on uh-uh afterwards.  But once the investigation started, the FBI spoke to them before we spoke to them and so other than our people in Tripoli which -- I think you're talking about Washington, right?

Senator Ron Johnson:  Yeah.  Yeah.  The point I'm making is a very simple phone call to these individuals I think would have ascertained immediately that there was no protest prior to this.  I mean this attack started at 9:40 p.m. Benghazi time.  It was an assault and I appreciate the fact that you called it an assault.  But I mean, I'm going back to then, Ambassador Rice five days later going to the Sunday shows and what I would say purposefully misleading the American public.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Well, Senator --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Why-why-why wasn't that known?  And, again, I appreciate the fact that the transparency of this hearing but why weren't we transparent at that point and time?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Well, first of all, Senator, I would say that once the assault happened and once we got our people rescued out, our most immediate concern was, number one, taking care of their injuries because, as I said, I still have a DSA agent still at Walter Reed seriously injured, getting them into Frankfurt-Ramstein to get taken care of, the FBI going over immediately to talk to them, we did not think it was appropriate for us to talk to them before the FBI conducted their interviews.  And we did not -- I think this is accurate, sir -- I certainly did not know of any reports that contradicted the IC talking points at the time that Ambassador Rice went on the TV shows.  And, you know, I just want to say that, uhm, you know, people have, uh,  accused Ambassador Rice and the administration of, uh, misleading the Americans, I can say trying to be in the middle of this and understanding what was going on, nothing could be further from the truth.  Was information developing?  Was the situation fluid?  Would we reach conclusions later that weren't reached initially and I appreciate --

Senator Ron Johnson:  But, Madam Secretary, do you disagree with me that a simple phone call to those evacuees to determine what happened wouldn't have ascertained what happened immediately that there was no protest?  I mean that was -- that was a piece of information that could have been easily, easily obtained. 

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  But Senator, again --

Senator Ron Johnson:  -- within hours, if not days.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Senator, I, you know, when you're in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going --

Senator Ron Johnson:  I understand, I realize ---

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Number two --

Senator Ron Johnson:  -- that's a good excuse.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  No, it's a fact.  Number two, I would recommend highly you read both what the ARB said about it and the classified ARB because even today there are questions being raised.  Now, we have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people, but what was going on and why they were doing what they were doing --

Senator Ron Johnson:  No, no, no.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  -- is still -- is still --

Senator Ron Johnson:  Again, we were misled that there were supposedly protests and then something sprang out of that -- an assault sprang out of that -- and that was easily --

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  But-but --

Senator Ron Johnson: -- ascertained that that was not the fact.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  But-but --

Senator Ron Johnson:  -- and the American people could have known that within days and they didn't know that.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans!  


Senator Ron Johnson:  I understand.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Was it because of a protest or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they'd go kill some Americans!  What difference at this point does it make!  It is our job to figure out what happened and to do everything we can to prevent it from every happening again, Senator!  Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this but the fact is people were trying in real time to get to the best information.  The IC has a process, I understand, going with the other committees to explain how these talking points came out but, you know, to be clear, it is from my perspective less important today looking backwards as to why these militants decided they did it then to find them and then maybe we'll figure out what was going on in the meantime.

Senator Ron Johnson:  Okay, thank you Madam Secretary.

 The sound bites from the hearing were taken from that exchange.  It wasn't that long of an exchange and the American people would have been served better to have witnessed the full exchange and not just the snippets.  Supposedly Hillary always gets a bum rap.

That's a lie.  It's always been a lie.  Anytime Hillary protects a man, she gets good press.  When she was lying for Bill, she got good press.  When she lies for Barack, she gets good press.  She did not deserve good press for Wednesday.  Back to Diane and company.

Michael Scherer:  You know, the White House has admitted that, you know, they could have done better in communicating some of this. But there is no question now that the State Department is making changes to make sure this doesn't happen again. 

Diane Rehm:   But politics for 2016 --

Michael Scherer:  That's right. 

Diane Rehm:  -- is just beginning, Michael. 

Michael Scherer:   No. And actually, for political reporters like me, that was the most interesting part of watching this testimony. Hillary Clinton is really without match on the public stage in terms of her ability to perform in those situations. She's under enormous pressure there. She was in complete control not only of the facts but her emotions during the whole event. And this is a hearing which, at one point, she was crying and another point, she's yelling.  But there's sort of like a master-at-work feel to the whole thing. And it -- and she really, I think, acquitted herself very well going forward if she does decide to run. 

Bill Clinton surpasses Hillary on the political stage.  And Wednesday, Hillary reminded so many of why that is.

But Michael's nonsense?  He explains it.  "Political reporters like me."  Yeah,  he really needs to have Hillary in that 2016 race -- probably so he can beat up on her again.

And four years from now, he might care about the fact that, during the hearing, she noted that currently there are 20 US diplomatic posts around the world which do not have adequate security.  She didn't ask for extra money, her Department hasn't asked for extra money.  But we guess someone considers that 'doing her job.'  Us?  We don't.

If there are currently 20 facilities without proper security, that needs to be the sole focus of the State Dept until they can get a request through to Congress.  And until that happens, the Secretary of State should get approval from President Barack Obama to use as many extra Marines as thought needed
 to protect those outposts.

For Hillary Clinton to appear before Congress Wednesday, four months after the attack on Bengahzi, and announce that 20 facilities still do not have proper security was for her to confess that she's not done her job.

Jerry Seib:  You know, I was just gonna, add as a footnote perhaps, that if you actually care about the substance of this issue, I think one of the things that was disappointing in that long day of hearings was how little discussion there was about what happens going forward. In other words, there is a real question here. If your top priority is simply to defend the security of American diplomats, how do those diplomats do their jobs? You can't be a diplomat in a fortress. And that's a really difficult question. 

Oh, who poked his cage? We just pointed out a real question, Jerry was too busy stuffing his fat face and chatting up Paul Ryan to attend the hearing.  If he had been there, he might have known that serious questions were asked but Hillary just wasn't going to address them.

For example, Ranking Member Bob Corker asked her three times in one round of questioning a basic question.  The Benghazi attack came after Stevens and others had recommended and requested additional security but been turned down.  Charlene Lamb was held out to the public as the fall guy and the administration insisted she had been fired.  Reality, as pointed out in the hearing, no one has been fired.  Americans were lied to yet again.  Hillary attempted to weasel out of it by insisting it's really hard to fire people at the State Department.

But Corker wanted to know what had been done in the last four months to ensure that if State Dept security requests were made, the requests would rise to the level of Secretary of State so that the person in that position would be aware of them.

Three times he asked.  Never once did Hillary answer.

For those who missed it -- like Jerry Seib -- we'll include that exchange in full.

Ranking Member Bob Corker:  To my knowledge, no one has been held accountable.  Our staff had a meeting with one of the State Dept officials and I hate to use this word again but it was nothing short of bizarre as they talked about the communications.  These officials were screaming out for more security.  And I was just wondering if you might mention one reform that would be helpful so that you would have known of the needs of security that went undone.

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Well obviously, I have, uh, thought about this almost constantly since that date, Senator, uhm, you know I do feel responsible.  I feel responsible for, uh, the nearly 70,000 people that work for the State Dept.  You know, I take it very seriously.  Uhm, the-the specific security requests, uhm, pertaining to Benghazi, you know, were handled by the security professionals in the department.  I didn't see those requests.  Uh, they didn't come to me.  I didn't approve them.  I didn't deny them.  That's obviously one of the findings that Ambassador Pickering and Admiral Mullen made -- that these requests don't ordinarily come to the Secretary of State.

Ranking Member Bob Corker:  If we could -- I know -- I respect you tremendously but we have short amount of time.  They did come in to folks. 

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  That's right.

Ranking Member Bob Corker:  We did have  SST people on the ground at no cost to the State Dept.  They were asked to be extended by the ambassador.  Someone at the State Dept turned that down. They were at no charge -- 16 officers.  So I just wonder, what has happened inside to make sure that never happens again?

Secretary Hillary Clinton:  Well -- uh -- several things.  Not only are we, uhm, on the path to implement all of the ARB recommendations but we've gone beyond that.  Uhm, we did, uh, immediately do this high threat assessment using DoD assets as well as our own.  That had never been done before.  Uh, we have asked the Congress to help us, uh, reallocate funds.  The Senate has given us that authority -- we-we don't yet have it from the House -- so that we can get more Marine guards, we can get more diplomatic security guards, we can try to put more money into the maintenance, the upgrades, the construction that's needed.  I created the first ever -- it sounds like it should have been done years ago -- but first ever Department  Deputy Assistant Secretary for High Threats.  I'm also recommending that there be a regular process that includes the secretaries and the deputies in these decisions because nobody wants to sit where I am and have to think now about what coulda-woulda-shoulda happened in order to avoid this.  Now, as I said, we've had 19 ARBS.  Only two have ever been unclassified.  The one coming out of the East Africa bombings where there was full transparency, there was a set of recommendations, many of which have been implemented, along with recommendations from other ARBS.  But this Committee never had a public hearing about the 17 other ARBS because they were classified.  So we're-we're-we're putting into action, steps that we think will help the next Secretary be able to make these decisions, be part of these decisions, have more insight into what is going on and we would, obviously, welcome the opportunity to work closely with a subcommittee or a set of members to make sure that that's what's happening. 

You see her answering anywhere in there?  Nope.  She never answers the question.  It's a basic one and Corker asks it three times.

Must be too much for a "political reporter" like Mike Scherer to notice either.  It's rather frightening and it's actually news but then "political reporters" only care about horse races.

Jerry Seib:  And it's not that anybody has the right answer, but there's gonna have to be a new balance struck and it's really hard. And that ought to have some airtime, too, not just the looking-backwards part. 

Senators (and House Reps) gave that time in the hearings, in both hearings, but, Jerry, you'd have to attend the hearings to know that.

Diane Rehm:  And how much money is the Congress willing to devote to protecting diplomats abroad? 

Jerry Seib:   Right. And that was an element in the hearings as well. The Congress has cut back on the State Department's request for diplomatic security funding. There was some debate. And Secretary Clinton didn't make a big deal out of that. She acknowledged it. But she didn't say that's the reason this tragedy happened. She just acknowledged there's plenty of blame to go around. 

Jer, the reason she "didn't make a big deal out of that" is because diplomatic missions are supposed to be protected by the Marines.  But the outsourcing trend begun under Bully Boy Bush continues.  If she made too big of a deal out of it, the House and Senate might have made that point a little more clear.  Even so, it was raised by members of Congress in the hearings which -- again, you did not attend.

Diane Rehm:  Sheryl. 

Sheryl Gay Stolberg:   Yes, I agree with what Michael said. It really was a masterful performance. I think Hillary Clinton effectively put this Benghazi issue to rest. The election is over, as you said. Susan Rice has not, you know, has already been blocked. She addressed questions by saying, look, we're implementing the accountability board's recommendations, and we're going beyond them.  She appointed a deputy secretary for high-threat posts and -- but more important, for herself, she demonstrated herself to be a forceful leader yet someone who also could show emotion without falling apart, an essential ingredient for any woman to run for president. 

"It really was a masterful performance."  Well thank you, theater critic, Sheryl Gay Stolberg.  Any chance we could hear from the reporter or is that not your dominant personality?

Instead of trying to predict what might happen in 2016, you think Diane and her gas bags might have taken the time to tell listeners what actually took place in the hearing?  Is every news topic to be reduced to their musings?

Far be it from us to pull Diane Rehm off her fact-free diet but she needs to stop kidding herself that she's offering anything of value.  In fact, by the end of the hour, we were asking the question Jane (Eliza Coupe) asked recently on Happy Endings, "Seriously, did you power wash this place with farts?" ("Ordinary Extraordinary Love" written by Daniel Chun).

As if everything that went down last week wasn't bad enough, the funniest and tightest sitcom on TV didn't air.  Happy Endings was praise worthy from the start.  In its second season it only got better and in its third season it's Must See TV But On ABC (Tuesday nights). 

Adam Pally, Casey Wilson and Damon Wayans Jr. were perfection from episode one as Max, Penny and Brad.  Elisha Cuthbert was on strong ground with Wayans but lost at other times as Jane when the show started.  She's now hitting every note and special praise to wardrobe and hair because Cuthbert is a knock out.  Elisha Cuthbert's Alex was a serious problem.  Season two found Alex dumb -- really dumb, we're talking Joey Tribbiani dumb.

This season, a pop star shops at Alex's clothing store and Penny walks in as the singer is leaving.

Penny: Oh my God!  Oh my God! I'm gonna die.

Alex:  Me too!  I mean we all are.  But why are we talking about that now?  It's sad.

This is a woman who puts up what she swears "is an ergonomic work hammock" even after Penny informs her it's a sex swing.  

All of that and a funny Dave!  Tuesday night Happy Endings returns on ABC with two episodes.  How great it will be to laugh at the intentionally funny.

Lynne Stewart's cancer has returned, release her

Prison for a press release.


That's The Lynne Stewart Story.  Attorney Lynne distinguished herself as the people's attorney over decades of hard work during which she took cases others avoided because she believed that everyone was entitled to solid defense.

That ticked off some people.  This press release was issued when Bill Clinton was president and the Attorney General was Janet Reno.  Reno and her Justice Department looked into the issue.  They told Stewart not to do it again and closed the subject.  Reno knew Lynne had done nothing but violate a guideline.  No law was broken.  There was no need for prosecution.

Then the Supreme Court installed Bully Boy Bush and Bush named John Ashcroft as his Attorney General.  Ashcroft, frothing at the mouth, went after Lynne.  Grasp that this was the second time Lynne was 'tried' for issuing a press release.

Ashcroft used 9-11 and fear to convict her, having the trial in lower Manhattan, constantly referencing 9-11.  The same way the Bush administration lied and falsely linked to sell the Iraq War, they lied and falsely linked to put Lynn behind bars.

Lynne was convicted, stripped of her license and tossed in prison for 28 months.

But that wasn't good enough for new President Barack Obama.   He had the Justice Department fight for Lynne to be given a longer sentence -- after she had already been sentenced.

This time around, she got sentenced to 10 years.

 That was b.s. then, it's only more so now.  On last week's  week's. Black Agenda Radio, hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey (first airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network),   Lynn's husband Ralph Poynter was noted.

Ralph Poynter:  For months, we have been worried about a spot that's shown on Lynn's lung -- one of her lungs.  And we did not want to go public with it until we were sure what was happening.  What is happening is her breast cancer is spreading.  It has spread to the other lung and to parts of her back.  We feel that it is a death sentence in the prison.  We fought in the beginning to keep Lynn out of jail, to make them take her from a local hospital with the doctor's objection because we could see the hand writing on the wall.  This was not taken up as a legal issue and Lynn went to prison and now the other shoe has fallen.  Her cancer is spreading.  She is in Fort Worth, Texas subjected to the regulations of a prison between her and health care.  From the greatest center of health care probably in the world from New York to Fort Worth, Texas and we know cancer is spreading.  And as our daughter the doctor says, cancer has to be nipped in the bud.  But first it has to go through regulations of Fort Worth Texas -- not knowing when you go to the hospital, not knowing who's going to be there.  So we're working on that.

The return of the cancer should mean Lynne is immediately released.

Since November 2009, she's been imprisoned.  That's 37 months.  Her original sentence was just for 28.

She has cancer.

She needs treamtent.

She can't get that treatment if she's being shackled.

She's over 70-years-old and she has cancer.

Due to the humane thing and release her.

The Iraq and Tina Turner Roundtable

Jim: You demanded it, another roundtable.  With everyone participating.  Our e-mail address is Participating our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): I want to start with Betty.  "Tina" was about Tina Turner and her decision to become a citizen of Switzerland.  Betty, you wondered if this had to do with race.

Betty: Right.  I was amazed at some of the press -- I'm talking about press, not comments on articles.  There's sort of a who-does-she-think-she-is and all this stuff about her being Black and did she forget her roots and interviewing the mayor of her sort-of hometown -- Nutbush doesn't have a mayor.  She's 73-years-old. And I heard all this tsk-tsking and where was this when Eduardo Saverin of Facebook changed his citizenship to avoid paying taxes?  Let Tina be.  Be happy for her.  She's 73 and in love and good for her.  But instead it's attack her.  And, again, I'm referring to some of the press I saw Friday, not to the comments left on the 'reports.'  Again, Saverin decides to change his citizenship because Facebook's going to go public and he's expecting a windfall that he doesn't want to pay taxes on.  Tina's not expecting a windfall.  She's not recording a new album, she's not planning to.  She's 73, she's in love, leave the woman be.

Jim: Okay, thank you for that.  I want to get two people on Iraq, on what's going on in terms of the media.  C.I., you know we've got to go with you so let me also grab -- Isaiah.  So C.I. and Isaiah, what's the failure of the western media currently on Iraq?  C.I., go first?

C.I.:  The big one would be Nouri's targeting of protesters.  Targeting them with violence.  Nouri is Nouri al-Maliki, the man Bully Boy Bush insisted be prime minister in 2006 and the man Barack Obama insisted get a second term -- despite Iraqiya beating State of Law in the 2010 elections.  At the start of 2011, protesters in Iraq found themselves being targeted by the security forces, being beaten, being kidnapped.  Protests have started up again, last month, sit-ins, blocking roads, etc.  And Nouri's returned to having his thugs attack the protesters.  And when Friday saw the deaths of several protesters -- the latest count I saw was seven dead and over sixty injured -- the death toll may have gone up.  Friday morning our time, the death toll was five, by Friday night -- US time -- it had risen to six and yesterday it rose to seven.  So 7 dead and over sixty injured --

Elaine: I'm jumping in to echo a point C.I. made Saturday the number killed and wounded was greater than in Kent State.  The Kent State Massacre rightly shocked Americans.  I think we should as shocked by the Falluja Massacre.

C.I.: Agreed.  The assault took place in the city of Falluja.  The Iraqi military aimed on the protesters and shot them.  Some were taking part in a sit-in, three of the dead were shot in the head.  This is disgusting.

Jim: We've honestly gone in futher than I'd planned.  That's okay.  Let's cover the protests in this roundtable then.  I was hoping some small thing and then we'd do a feature on the protests but that's okay.  Ruth, talk about why the protesters are protesting and then I'll come back to C.I.

Ruth: Okay, well the protesters took to the streets for a number of issues.  The most recent crisis was when Nouri targeted another Sunni politician from the Iraqiya bloc.  In December 2011, he targeted Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi of Iraqiya.  al-Hashemi ended up leaving the country.  In December of last year -- last month actually -- he targeted Minister of Finance Rafia al-Issawi, also a member of Iraqiya.  But I do agree with an observation C.I.'s made, a real protest, one that has legs, is one that is rooted in something important, some offense that shocks you.  Think of the Civil Rights Movement and the many real outrages that gave the Movement its moral backing.  For Iraqis, it was the news that women in Iraqi prisons and detention centers were being tortured and raped.

Wally:  Correct.  To demonstrate how serious and powerful that news was to Iraqis, you only have to look at what's happened since the protest started on December 21st.  What has been Nouri's response? To ignore the various demands but to make a for-show effort on one demand: Releasing prisoners.  He's trying to kick the moral underpinning out from under the protests and de-legitimize the protesters.

Rebecca: And a host of organizations have condemnded the violence.  Amnesty InternationalUnited Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon, civil organizations in Iraq, you name it.  I think we need to get back to C.I. on how this is being mis-reported or badly reported before we explore it further.

C.I.: Okay, well this was the third time this month that Iraqi forces have attacked the protesters.  The reporting on this from non-Iraqi outlets was hideous and no one wanted to note the ongoing pattern.

Rebecca: Well they did want to note one 'pattern.'  Earlier Deputy Prime Minister Saleh al-Mutlaq angered protesters and either his guards fired on them and they threw rocks at the guards or they threw rocks and the guards fired.  But they've used that and Friday's assault by the Iraqi military -- see C.I.'s  "Iraq snapshot" for more on the Friday massacre -- to claim that the protesters are violent.  Over four weeks of protests and they want to claim "violence" on the part of the protesters.  The media forgets their place mainly because they are a bunch of sad social climbers.

Jim: Let's drop back to the 2011 protests.  Cedric, can you give us some background there?

Cedric:  Sure.  They also had the moral underpining of prisoners -- especially the disappeared who vanished in the Iraqi 'justice' system.  They begin in January of 2011.  They grow and grow.  In November 2011, the US negotiated Erbil Agreement gives Nouri a second term as prime minister.  In January and February, Iraqis will be pointing out that they showed up at the polls and voted and voted for change but they ended up with the same president -- Jalal Talabani -- and the same prime minister.  They'd wonder where the change was so that was another complaint.  The lack of public services like dependable electricity and drinking water were other issues as was the huge unemployment and the corruption.  The protests were gathering steam.  Nouri derailed them.  He asked for 100 days.  Give him 100 days and he would fix these issues.  Moqtada al-Sadr called on his followers to go home and give Nouri the 100 days.  So the numbers were smaller.  And after the 100 days?  Nouri didn't do a damn thing.  Now throughout all of this, Nouri had his thugs attacking people.  They'd beat up protesters and beat up and kidnap protesters and journalists.

Jess: And in the current protests, Nouri uses the military to keep the reporters away from the protests.  If they're not already in the city where a protest is taking place, they're going to miss the protest because he's used the military to keep protesters out.  This is crazy and why Nouri's being allowed to use the military to begin with is questionable.  It's also disturbing.  What does a tin-horn dictator do?  Right, use the military against the people.  Each time Nouri uses the military to 'police' a protest, he's making it seem normal to use the military for civilian issues.  The US government should be ashamed of itself and the State Department needs to fire that fraud Victoria Nuland.  How did a neocon end up the face of the State Department to begin with?

Marcia: I agree with Jess about the normalizing -- also about Nuland, but I'll stick to the normalizing aspect.  Nouri has completely distorted the purpose of the military.  And he wouldn't be able to do that most likely if he hadn't done his power-grab which allowed him to seize control over all Iraqi forces. But people are seeing this over and over in Iraq.  One of the things that this massacre has done, thankfully, is lead to some people calling out the use of the military.    I also think we need to take Kurdistan Regional Government President Massoud Barzani's fears that arming the 'Iraqi government' is really arming Nouri to attack the Iraqi people.  I think that's a valid fear and we see that more and more so the US government needs to rethink some of the weapons they're supplying Nouri with.

Ava: Speaking of Barzani, it's amazing how many political leaders in the country are against Nouri at this time.  Shi'ite Ahmed Chalabi supported the term limit as did Shi'ite Ammar al-Hakim.  Iraqiya's Ayad Allawi supported it, Moqtada al-Sadr supported it.  All of the political leaders did and that's because Nouri is doing power-grabs, he is refusing to listen to the people and he is refusing to keep his promises.  Nouri was frightening in his first term as prime minister but, as Marcia and Jess are pointing out, he's gotten worse.  The people don't want him, the political leaders don't want him.  The White House better grasp that and not try to pimp him for a third term.

Trina: It really just amazes me that the US government props up Nouri and that it fails to justify all the billions of US tax dollars still flooding into Iraq. Senator John Kerry had his confirmation hearing to be the new Secretary of State Thursday and one especially good thing there is that Kerry was willing to threaten Iraq with the loss of US dollars.  When Nouri was claiming that Iranian aircraft passing through Iraq into Syria couldn't be searched, Nouri suddenly found a way after Kerry stated publicly that the US funds could be cut.  I hope Kerry takes that same firm stance with Nouri as Secretary of State.  It's really embarrassing the way our government has fawned over Nouri for six years now.

Kat: Agreed.  He's run secret prisons -- been caught running them repeatedly, an NGO is saying that he's about to be caught running another shortly -- and yet the US government continues to back him.  His military fires on protesters and the US government continues to back him.  At what point does Barack Obama find a spine or at least a modicum of integrity?

Jim: A modicum of integrity?  I like that.

Stan:  Saturday's funerals in Falluja were attended by "thousands" according to the press.  That's because Nouri's latest assault on the protesters just fuels the protest movement.  He is the best recruitment tool the movement has.  Only Saturday did he finally realize he needed to pull the military out of Falluja and then only due to soldiers being kidnapped and killed.  Nouri's an idiot.  If I were an Iraqi I would be screaming for a no-confidence vote.

Ann: Early on, it was clear, at least to C.I., that the prisoner issue wasn't going away.  And I think because it's such a betrayal of the 'new Iraq' and the promises that were supposed to be kept.  Saddam Hussein tortured people.  The 'new Iraq' was supposed to be free of that.  Instead torture continues and it's even targeting the women of Iraq which offends Iraqi sensibilities on so many levels.  Nouri offered a wide range of excuses in November and December on the prison issue.  He failed to address it then and he's failed to address it now.  And with 97 'terrorists' arrested last week in Basra alone, there's no chance that the prison issue vanishing any time soon.

Isaiah: What really gets me is how the law people want repealed, Article IV, ever got on the books to begin with.  It says a lot about the US government in 2005 that they encouraged this law.  If the Iraqi authorites want to arrest Charlie and can't find Charlie, they're allowed to arrest Charlie's mother or sister or daughter or wife or aunt or grandfather, go down the list.  This is part of the reason the 'terrorist' population in Iraqi prisons are so great.  And we should point out that the US was doing this in Iraq before the Iraqis made it a law in 2005 -- they were rounding up family members they knew were innocent in an attempt to force the suspect out.  That's disgusting.

Dona:  And the idea that this can't be addressed?  Nouri formed a supposed committee to deal with this.  It's a fraudulent committee and last week Moqtada al-Sadr pulled his people from the committee noting that Nouri refuses to listen to the protesters.  There should be no need for discussion or debate.  Being related to someone should not be reason enough to be arrested.

Ty: And Nouri's refusal to even grasp that goes a long, long way towards explaining why he's in the current situation.  Common sense appears to have escaped Nouri.  He really is responsible for the bulk of Iraq's problems today.

Jim: That sounds like a summation to me.  So let's wrap up what Betty dubbed "The Iraq and Tina Turner Roundtable" on a napkin she passed to me.  This is a rush transcript.

Tweet of the Week

In case you forgot, Iraq is no better off than it was a decade ago: Iraqi Army opens fire on protesters throwing rocks. 
View summary

What happened to Nouri's placenta?

Not Quite There

Nouri al-Malliki has birthed a lot of trouble in Iraq in his two terms as prime minister.

Saturday, the Iraqi Parliament passed a law to ensure that he is limited to two terms.  Nouri's State of Law immediately called the limit unconstitutional and outrageous.

But have they forgotten the placenta that detached from Nouri's uterine wall in February 2011?

"I support the insertion of a paragraph in the constitution that the prime minister gets only two turns, only eight years, and I think that's enough."

That's Nouri, offering support for the law that just passed, but offering it back in February 2011.

From December 2010, the illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts  "Not Quite There." 

Betty contemplates Beiber and his butt

This is a repost of Betty from last week.

What was Justin Bieber trying to say?

And over the weekend, this went up.


Singer Justin Bieber posted that photo of himself.

I'm not sure what to make of it.

A grown man, he is 18, decides to post a photo of himself.  Alright.  I can follow that.  But he wants to take a picture of himself with his back and butt to the camera and he's pulling down his pants to show off his butt.

What is that saying?

He's not mooning the camera, though some outlets have called it "mooning."

Mooning is when, for example, you're in high school and someone rolls down the car window and you pull your pants down and stick your ass out the window.

I never did that.  I had girlfriends who did it as I drove.

I never saw the point in mooning.

So maybe I'm missing Justin's point?

(I can't call him "Bieber."  He's flashed his ass, I think that makes us on first name basis.)

But what I'm seeing is something that strikes me as presenting.

He's only 18 but he is aware how sex works, right?

Because what exactly is he asking for in that photo?

Someone to, in Chris Rock's words, toss his salad (basically eat him out -- but rear instead of vagina)?

Someone to smack his butt a few times?  Give him a hard spaking?

Or is he, and this is what the whole body language screams to me, asking for something to be inserted?

That could be a man inserting his penis up Justin's butt or it could be a woman inserting a dildo (or using a strap-on).

I'm just confused as to what he thought the photo would say.

It had the achieved effect -- he passed Lady Gaga today on Twitter -- he has more followers than she does.

And here we are talking about his exposed butt and not his mother's anti-choice, anti-abortion film.

But what was he really trying to say?

Senator Murray fights for the Catastrophically Wounded

senator patty murray

Senator Patty Murray (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following:


Thursday, January 24, 2013
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
(202) 224-2834


Sen. Murray's First Bill in the New Congress Helps Catastrophically Wounded Veterans Start a Family


Murray calls for quick action on bill to end the VA's ban on In Vitro Fertilization which has prevented thousands of veterans with serious wounds to reproductive organs from accessing fertility care


Last Congress Murray's bill passed the Senate unanimously only to be stalled in the House of Representatives


(Washington, D.C.) -- Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray reintroduced legislation that ends the ban on in vitro fertilization (IVA) services at VA in order to help severely wounded veterans start families.  Murray's bill, the Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act of 2013 also builds upon previous law to improve VA services for women veterans and veterans with families.  Late last year, Senator Murray was able to pass the bill through the U.S. Senate after delivering an impassioned speech on the Senate floor that described the challenges veterans and their families face in accessing IVF.  Unfortunately, the bill failed to move in the House of Representatives in time to make its way to the President's desk after Republican leaders there expressed opposition.


"There is absolutely no reason that this bill should not move quickly to the President's desk," said Senator Murray.  "It was passed unanimously in the Senate and the House has a responsibility to our most seriously wounded veterans and their spouses to act.  These are veterans who have sustained serious and deeply impactful wounds and who are simply asking for help to begin a family.  We owe them nothing less."


Department of Defense (DOD) data show that between 2003 and 2012 nearly 2000 servicemembers have suffered reproductive and urinary tract trauma.  The reliance on foot patrols in Afghanistan and the prevalence of improvised explosive devices has left servicemembers far more susceptible to these injuries.  In fact, these data show a clear increase in injuries of this nature in recent years.


Veterans who have severe reproductive and urinary tract injuries and spinal cord injuries (SCI) often need highly specialized treatments and procedures like IVF to conceive.  However, under current law, IVF is expressly excluded from fertility services that are provided by the VA to veterans or their spouses.  This is a significant barrier for veterans with SCI and genital and urinary tract injuries and as a result they have to seek care outside of the VA.  DOD currently provides access to IVF services under the Tricare program and coverage for IVF and other fertility treatments at no charge to severely combat wounded servicemembers.  Senator Murray's bill would provide veterans with the same access.


Murray's bill also will give VA permanent authority to offer child care programs at hospitals and Vet Centers for veterans seeking care, and improve outreach to women veterans.


Senator Murray's bill is paid for by allowing the VA Secretary to charge a small fee to large corporations contracting with VA, and using those funds only for providing the treatment authorized by the bill.


Megan Roh
Deputy Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

Amnesty calls for investigation into the attack on protesters

Friday, Nouri's thugs attacked and killed 7 protesters while wounding at least 60.

Pathetic Amnesty
 Amnesty International issued the following call:

Iraq must immediately investigate the killings of protestors in accordance with international standards, Amnesty International said today after several people died when troops in the city of Fallujah fired on anti-government demonstrators who had reportedly thrown stones at them.

Several others were said to be seriously injured during Friday's protest, the latest in an ongoing and largely peaceful campaign protesting against the government and its abusive treatment of detainees.

"The Iraqi authorities must ensure that the investigation they have announced into these killings is independent, impartial and that the methods and findings are made public.  Anyone found responsible for abuses – including anyone found to have used excessive force against protestors – must be brought to justice," said Ann Harrison, Deputy Middle East and North Africa Programme Director at Amnesty International.

"The authorities should also ensure that security forces are trained and properly equipped to police demonstrations and other gatherings in a manner which respects human rights, including those where some protestors turn violent."

There were conflicting reports about what had caused the shooting by the Iraqi troops. However, subsequently further clashes erupted and army vehicles were burned. There have been claims that some Iraqi soldiers were also injured in the incident. 

The UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials and the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials both lay down clear standards for the policing of demonstrations and the use of firearms, including by armed forces.

Since last December tens of thousands of mainly Sunni Muslim Iraqis have taken to the streets expressing discontent with the government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, a Shi'a Muslim, at the continuing discrimination against them in Iraq. The daily and largely peaceful demonstrations took place mainly in predominantly Sunni Muslim provinces, including Anbar, Mosul and Salah al-Din.

The protests were triggered by the detention of several bodyguards of the Finance Minister Rafi'e al-Issawi, a senior Sunni Muslim political leader, on terrorism charges. The move was thought by many Sunni Muslims to be politically motivated. There are concerns that increasing sectarian tensions may result in further violence. 

There continue to be frequent bomb attacks by armed groups targeting civilians. For example, dozens of pilgrims for Shi'a Muslim festival of Arba'een were killed at the end of last month; this week several people were killed by car bombs in Baghdad and more than 20 people were killed by a suicide bomber at a Shi'a Muslim mosque in Tuz Khurmato.
Protesters continue to call for respect for due process and legislative measures - including an amnesty law and a review of anti-terror legislation - and for an end to human rights violations against prisoners and detainees in Iraq.

For years Amnesty International has documented cases of torture during interrogations while held incommunicado; deaths in custody in circumstances suggesting that torture was the cause; detainees being coerced into making "confessions"; and unfair trials, sometimes resulting in the death penalty.

A few days before the protests started, Amnesty International contacted the Iraqi government about dozens of reported cases of human rights violations against detainees and prisoners. The Iraqi government has yet to reply.

In one such case in 2012, four men were reportedly tortured while held incommunicado for several weeks at the Directorate of Counter-Crime in Ramadi, Anbar Province before their release in April 2012. Their "confessions" were then broadcast on local television.
During their trial, they told the Anbar Criminal Court that their "confessions" had been extracted under torture. A medical examination presented to the court of one of the men's injuries indicated bruising and burning consistent with his allegations. 

"As far as we know, no official investigation into these allegations of  torture is known to have been held," said Harrison.

"It is imperative that investigations into this – and the dozens of other cases that we have raised with the Iraqi authorities – are carried out as a matter of urgency, particularly as these men are now on death row.

"Perpetrators of abuse need to know that they will face the consequences of their actions, and victims have a right to truth, justice and reparation."

The four men were sentenced to death on 3 December 2012, convicted of offences under Iraq's Anti-Terror Law.

Murder of 3 Kurdish activists (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

Women’s group condemns murder of Kurdish activists

By on January 25, 2013
Statement released Jan. 11 by IWA, a global anti-imperialist women’s alliance.
Tens of thousands participated in the funeral for the three Turkish activists in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on Jan. 17.
Tens of thousands participated in the funeral for the three Turkish activists in Diyarbakir, Turkey, on Jan. 17.
The International Women’s Alliance highly condemns the brutal premeditated murder of three Kurdish women activists yesterday in Paris. Sakine Cansiz, co-founder of the Kurdish Workers Party (PKK); Fidan Dogan, Kurdistan National Congress representative; and young Kurdish activist Leyla Soylemez were all shot in the head in the early morning of Jan. 10 at the Kurdish Information Center in Paris, France.
The three women had been actively and courageously involved in the struggle for peace, freedom, democracy and self-determination of the Kurdish people for years. IWA calls on the government of France to conduct an immediate and thorough investigation into their political assassination, and to ensure the quick delivery of justice to the three victims.
For years, the people of Kurdistan have been struggling for liberation and self-determination. The Kurdish people experience denial and violation of their most fundamental rights, including the right to speak their own language and their way of life, most especially in Turkey, where they are subjected to political repression and persecution.
IWA reiterates its support to the Kurdish people and their struggle for peace, freedom, democracy and self-determination and calls on its members and allies to condemn the murder of Cansiz, Dogan and Soylemez, as well as the continued political repression and persecution of the Kurdish people.

Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Removing Combat Restrictions

Last week, US Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta announced a major policy change.  The Feminist Majority Foundation issued a statement on that policy change:

For Immediate Release:
January 24, 2013
Miranda Petersen


Statement of Eleanor Smeal, President of the Feminist Majority Foundation On the Decision to Remove Combat Restrictions on Women Serving in the Armed Services


The Feminist Majority Foundation applauds the long awaited decision to remove the combat restriction on women in the military. This is a historic milestone in the fight for women's equality. The combat restriction has been a sham. Women have been and are currently serving in combat positions, but have received neither the recognition nor the chance for promotion that men have enjoyed. We urge in its implementation that all barriers based simply on the gender of members of the armed services be removed, and that they be judged simply upon their capabilities.

For years women in the military have been discriminated against because of a cultural war that has finally ended on the position of women in the military. The reality on the ground has finally become the reality of public policy.

In 1980, when I was the President of the National Organization for Women, I released the following statement: "Discrimination against women...produces in the armed services exactly what it produces in the society as a whole-wasted skills, talents and potential..." At that time, we also addressed the false position that women do not serve in combat roles, saying "The first myth to be dispelled is that women have not been in combat...Women have served and will continue to serve in combat environments under the same conditions, suffering the same risks and injuries as men." Finally, our nation is recognizing this basic fact and correcting this outrageous injustice that has denied women just benefits and recognition for far too long.

In the fight for passage of the Equal Rights Amendment it was frequently argued by opponents that women cannot have equal rights without sharing equal responsibility. We have had more than our share of responsibility. Now, because of the courageous service of women in the armed services, women in the military are finally getting the recognition they deserve.


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot,"  "20 are still at risk says Hillary in an aside (Ava),"  "Facts matter, Hillary (Wally)," "Like watching Richard Nixon come back to life," "Can she not answer even one damn question?" and "The Drone War and Kerry's confirmation hearing" -- C.I., Ava, Wally, Ruth and Kat attend Congressional hearings and report on them.

"Kat's Korner: Taylor Swift glows on Red" -- Kat reviews Taylor Swift's album.

"Ruth's Radio Report" -- Ruth takes a look at radio.

"Barry O and the Dronettes" -- Isaiah continues to examine The Drone War.

"Quesadillas in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers an easy recipe for quesadillas.

"Thoughts on Hillary's bad testimony," "What diplomacy?" and "THIS JUST IN! WHAT A PERFORMANCE!"-- Betty, Cedric and Wally on Hillary's awful Congressional appearance.

"Diane Rehm and her Three Idiots and Her Fake Show,"  "That awful Tell Me More" and "More sexism and stupidity from NPR" -- Ruth, Ann and Kat take NPR.

"The effects of reality TV," "Arrow," "Nikita: Aftermath," "revenge - you know who's still ruining the show,"  "Another one gets the axe," "Alphas gets the axe" and  "Fringe reactions" -- Ann, Stan, Mike, Rebecca and Ruth cover TV.

"Wolves and dogs" -- Betty muses on science.

"Protests and wars" -- Elaine looks back.

"Another JJ Abrams film?" and "JJ Abrams: Genius or fool?" -- Marcia on movies.

"the drone warrior may face push back" -- Rebecca on Barack's war of choice.

"He's Going To Scare You To Death" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Free Lynn!"  -- Elaine calls for the release of Lynn Stewart.

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