Sunday, November 10, 2013

Truest statement

Armed men with sectarian insignia patrol Iraqi streets. There are at least five armed militias working in collaboration with the Iraqi security forces, apart from the special units that are directly connected to the prime minister’s office. Even Maliki’s son, Ahmed, has his own armed men and conducts military operations, although he has no police or security portfolio.
According to Navi Pillay, the UN high Commissioner for Human Rights, there are massive human rights violations in Iraq. The Iraqi legal system under Maliki does not comply with the simplest global norms. From January-October 2013, 140 Iraqis have been executed by the Ministry of Justice, in defiance of the calls by many international human rights organizations for an immediate death penalty moratorium.
“The law has become a sword held to the necks of Iraqis,” said Osama Nujaifi, the Iraqi Speaker of the Parliament.
Iraqi government sources confirm that there are some 30,000 Iraqis in prison; 17,000 languish there without trial. Arbitrary arrests are common practice in Iraqi streets. Documented and filmed horror stories of torture and death in Iraqi prisons make the infamous Abu Graib abuses look like child’s play. Many of the detainees disappear, their families unable to ascertain if they are dead or alive.
Maliki claims that he leads a vibrant democracy, but he heads an authoritarian regime and monopolizes six high governmental posts: chief of staff, minister of defense, minister of interior, chief of intelligence, and head of national security. Even his partners in the Shiite alliance have been excluded, let alone his Sunni opponents. He is supported by the theocracts in Iran and he has supported the Syrian regime, one of the most notorious autocracies in the region. In a televised interview, Maliki threatened to liquidate those who demonstrate for justice and better services, and described them as a ‘stinking bubble’. Indeed, his SWAT forces used lethal weapons against peaceful protestors several times. In the town of Hawija, for example, at least 50 unarmed men were slaughtered last April. In other cities, such as Basra, Nassyria, Fallujah, and Mosul, protestors have been beaten, arrested and killed.

--  Eman Ahmed Khamas, "The US Should Stop Supporting Nuri Al-Maliki" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

As of last week, it seems more likely that Iraq will go to the polls again soon, in April 2014. But current PM, Nouri al-Maliki, doesn’t have too many friends or fans left – so the likelihood of a new national leader is high. And it seems that many Iraqis might be betting on former terror-inducing religious man, Muqtada al-Sadr, or another cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, for the job. Both men have recently been proving themselves adept politicians.

-- Mustafa Habib, "the next leader of iraq? former extremist and islamic cleric the most likely candidates" (Niqash).

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.

And what did we come up with?

A great report on Iraq.  Do you know how rare that is?
And when it rains . . . we get two great reports on Iraq in one week.
Like the violence in Iraq, waiting for the Iraq Inquiry's report will apparently never end.
Ava and C.I. wrote that this morning.  It posted after 60 Minutes aired.  I (Jim) justified the delay by saying this way they could see if what was said on air matched what they were being told.  They pointed out that if the edition keeps going so long, they're going to find other things to do.

Stan.  When we started this series, The Parent Trap was raised by him.  And we've not done this feature in months despite him raising this title every week.  We had other things to work on and were planning to get to it.  We finally did.  We have others in this series.  What's the delay?  Honestly, screen snaps.  Ava and C.I. agreed to do them this week.  When they did, for fund they included numerous snaps of Canoe and noted how he could be the prototype for Two and a Half Men.  We liked it and included it.

This popular feature will continue.  We've got next week's lined up.  We were going to use it this edition but Trina brought this to the table this weekend and it was suggested to her by Sonya.
We were most productive when listening to The Cowboy Junkies this edition so we figured we'd do a piece on this very under rated group.

Iraq protesters.
Jody Watley dances back onto the charts.
They keep telling us Ed did wrong but all Ed did was expose wrong doing.
We're using C.I.'s list that she did at The Common Ills.

Press release from Senator Patty Murray's office.
Press release from US House Rep Jeff Miller's office.
Press release from US House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen.  We've covered up part of the illustration with blue.  For those wondering, the blue covers up "man" in "Congresswoman."  We wanted to include her district but to have included her first name would have meant her face wouldn't show unless we made the image much smaller.  So we cut it that way.  Then we saw that "man" was in it.  And we didn't want anyone to think we were slamming her or making some joke or some other nonsense.  So we just photo shopped it to put blue over "man."
Repost from Socialist Worker.

Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

That's what we've got to share this week.


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

Editorial: Is any of it really surprising?


Through Saturday, Iraq Body Count counts 198 violent deaths in the month so far.  That's just in the first 9 days alone.  Over 7,500 violent deaths have taken place so far this year.

It's really depressing -- if not surprising.

As Nicholas J.S. Davies. explained to  Russia Today :

 The United States employed a classic divide-and-rule strategy, pitting people of different sects against each other, inciting violence that is completely unprecedented in that country. And now has instilled a sectarian-based government that only represents people of only one sect. It is still receiving huge amounts of so-called security assistance from the United States.
The United States built powerful organs of state terrorism in Iraq. The CIA sent a retired colonel by the name of James Steele to Iraq in 2004. He eventually recruited 27 brigades of special police commandos who then waged a reign of terror that killed tens of thousands of mostly Sunni men and boys in Baghdad and around the country. They have since been rebranded, first as the National Police, when one of their torture centers was discovered back during that period, and now as the Federal Police. They are still effectively run by Adnan Al-Asadi, who has been the deputy interior minister there since 2005.
So that regime of state repression and terror that the United States installed in Iraq is still functioning, and still conducting extrajudicial executions, in addition to one of the largest numbers of supposedly legal executions in the world.
You know, in Iraq, you can be sentenced to death for property crimes; you can be sentenced to death on accusations of terrorism, in trials that only last, at best, an hour or two, with very little legal representation. Human rights officials from the UN have absolutely condemned the justice system – so-called justice system – that the US has established in Iraq, and have demanded – the UN Human Rights Council has demanded – that Iraq immediately cease these hangings.
Sometimes they hang more than 40 people in one day, including women as well. This is just a reign of terror. And in that sense, some of the worst aspects of the US occupation are still continuing today.

Again, it's not surprising.

Probably what's taking place in England isn't surprising either.

The Iraq Inquiry held public hearings from November 2009 to February 2011.  They were tasked with?  As Inquiry Chair John Chilcot explained, "This is an Inquiry by a committee of Privy Counsellors.  It will consider the period from the summer of 2001 to the end of July 2009, embracing the run-up to the conflict in Iraq, the military action and its aftermath.  We will therefore be considering the UK's involvement in Iraq, including the way decisions were made and actions taken, to establish, as accurately as possible, what happened and to identify the lessons that can be learned. Those lessons will help ensure that, if we face similar situations in future, the government of the day is best equipped to respond to those situations in the most effective manner in the best interests of the country."

So where's the report?

Still not released.   Jamie Doward (Guardian) explained yesterday:

Contents of key conversations between Tony Blair and a bellicose George W Bush, who declares he is ready to "kick ass", are thought to be among documents relating to the Iraq war that the government is withholding from publication.
It emerged this week that the Cabinet Office is resisting requests from the Iraq inquiry, the body set up to draw lessons from the conflict, for "more than 130 records of conversations" between Blair, his successor, Gordon Brown, and Bush to be made public. In a letter to David Cameron, published on the inquiry's website, the committee's chairman, Sir John Chilcot, disclosed that "25 notes from Mr Blair to President Bush" and "some 200 cabinet-level discussions" were also being withheld.

Chris Ames (Iraq Inquiry Digest) points out,  "The Inquiry’s problem is not a lack of evidence on which to draw conclusions but that it does not believe it can convince the public of its conclusions without being able to put reliable evidence in front of us."

Whatever the problem, it really is unacceptable that even now there are roadblocks put in place to prevent the public from knowing what really happened when a team of War Criminals got together to plot the criminal attack on Iraq.

TV: Whose mistake?

Last week was not a good week for TV.  We grasped that especially when, flipping channels, we came across Hollyscoop and Diana Madison was attempting to steer people to a magazine with Naya Rivera on the cover.  Diana Madison isn't just a co-host of the program, she is one of the three founders of Hollyscoop.  So we watched in fascinated horror as Madison urged her viewers to check out the new cover of "Rolling Stones."  Once?  She misspoke.  More than once?  She doesn't know what she's talking about.

Which makes her a lot like Bob Somerby and Mother Jones' Kevin Drum.


Two Sundays ago, 60 Minutes (CBS) broadcast a report and there's a flaw in the report for which 60 Minutes issued a correction and apology on air tonight.

This incident might lead some to explore or discuss.

But if you hate women, like Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum do, it becomes all about a woman.

In this case, Lara Logan.

Bob and Kevin would insist that it's the network's fault that they've glommed on Lara.


Lara Logan made a mistake and has publicly apologized for it.

What's Bob and Kevin's excuse?

We don't expect much from either man.  Kevin Drum looks so much like a child molester, we can't look at him without feeling our flesh crawl.  Somerby?  He's been off on his education kick, writing incomprehensible, boring posts (and this is the guy who was saying Paul Krugman was off in the weeds with economic terms)

But given the chance to spit on a woman, both men dropped whatever it is that they kid themselves they do to dog pile  on Lara.

Not counting quotes, Kevin writes 453 words -- all of them attacking Lara -- he even includes a photo of Lara and he titles his ridiculous post "Lara Logan Admits Her Benghazi Report Was a Mistake." Bob?  The noted woman hater  was on such a tear, he forgot to use Logan's first name as he rushed to use a 60 Minutes mistake to smear Sharyl Attiksson.

Isn't it really time that Bob was asked to stop mentioning women since all he can do is demonize them?  We've long pointed out that, in Bob's world, men make mistakes and can recover but women are evil and can never recover.  It's been clear in his petty war on Maureen Dowd, his public stonings of Anne Kornblut, Katharine Seelye and so many more.

You may be thinking, "Ava and C.I., we appreciate your support for women but Lara Logan made a mistake."

We haven't denied that, read above.  She did and she owned it.

But she wasn't the only one and these media 'warriors' with their stubby little penises are trashing her and suggesting she didn't do the work while they failed to do it themselves.

Travel with us back in time to the October 28th snapshot:

Last night, 60 Minutes (CBS -- link is text and video) aired a report by reporter Lara Logan and producer Max McClellan on the September 11, 2012 attack in Benghazi which claimed the lives of Sean Smith, Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods and US Ambassador Chris Stevens.  As part of the lead up to the airing of the segment, Logan and McClellan participated in an online interview at CBS News.

It's written that way because that's how CBS News elected to promote it -- a report by Logan and Max McClellan.

We can hear Kevin and Bob whining they didn't know.

Tonight, Logan faced the cameras alone at the end of 60 Minutes and issued a statement which included, "It was a mistake to include him [a source] in our report and for that we're sorry."

Isn't Lara apologizing for not knowing something she should have?

So if Kevin and Bob are going to criticize a news segment, shouldn't they know the people who are responsible for it?

They might have bothered to have done a little work if they weren't such disgusting sexists.

Then again, they might not have.

Four Americans were killed in a terrorist attack on September 11, 2012 and the administration lied about the attack.

Kevin and Bob have seen it as their job to attack all who question the administration's spin.

And they're insisting that Logan's got egg on her face -- she and McClellan do -- and Drum and Somerby insist that the report is proven false.

No, it's not.

The report wasn't false despite all the cackles from Somerby and Drum.

Did they watch the report?

Who knows?  We don't see either as being very scrupulous.

Bob Somerby, you may remember, attacked former Ambassador Joseph Wilson when Wilson was exposing the lies of the Bully Boy Bush administration.  It was this site, not Bob Somerby, which disclosed Somerby's friendship with Matthew Cooper -- a journalist involved in the leaking of Valerie Plame's name in an effort to make her husband, Joe Wilson, pay.  If you're attacking Wilson as a liar while your friend's refusing to fork over sources, maybe you've got a conflict of interest?

Again, we don't see either Somerby or Drum as having scruples or ethics.

So we're not surprised that they're gloating -- lying, actually - -that the report is wrong.

CBS issued  a correction tonight.  To the aspect that's wrong.

But that was just the sizzle, it wasn't the meat of the report.

The only thing Morgan Jones, the source in question, said that mattered to us was about Sean Smith.  And not only was that not disproved, it was part of the factual record before the 60 Minutes report.

But Somerby and Drum don't care about Sean Smith.

They've treated him like human garbage.  They don't even have the compassion to note his mother Pat Smith.

They are the palace guards and nothing more.  They will attack and attack -- until, as during the French Revolution, people get too close and then they'll abandon their posts.  People?  With those two it could even be their very own shadows.  They're not just liars, they're cowards.

And they have no ethics at all.

This section of the 60 Minutes report is not connected to Morgan Jones:

Andy Wood: We had one option: "Leave Benghazi or you will be killed."

Green Beret Commander, Lieutenant Colonel Andy Wood, was one of the top American security officials in Libya. Based in Tripoli, he met with Amb. Stevens every day.

The last time he went to Benghazi was in June, just three months before the attack. While he was there, al Qaeda tried to assassinate the British ambassador. Wood says, to him, it came as no surprise because al Qaeda -- using a familiar tactic -- had stated their intent in an online posting, saying they would attack the Red Cross, the British and then the Americans in Benghazi.

Lara Logan: And you watched as they--

Andy Wood: As they did each one of those.

Lara Logan: --attacked the Red Cross and the British mission. And the only ones left--

Andy Wood: Were us. They made good on two out of the three promises. It was a matter of time till they captured the third one.

Lara Logan: And Washington was aware of that?

Andy Wood: They knew we monitored it. We included that in our reports to both State Department and DOD.

Andy Wood told us he raised his concerns directly with Amb. Stevens three months before the U.S. compound was overrun.

Andy Wood: I made it known in a country team meeting, "You are gonna get attacked. You are gonna get attacked in Benghazi. It's gonna happen. You need to change your security profile."

Lara Logan: Shut down--

Andy Wood: Shut down--

Lara Logan: --the special mission--

Andy Wood: --"Shut down operations. Move out temporarily. Ch-- or change locations within the city. Do something to break up the profile because you are being targeted. They are-- they are-- they are watching you. The attack cycle is such that they're in the final planning stages."

Lara Logan: Wait a minute, you said, "They're in the final planning stages of an attack on the American mission in Benghazi"?

Andy Wood: It was apparent to me that that was the case. Reading, reading all these other, ah, attacks that were occurring, I could see what they were staging up to, it was, it was obvious.

We have learned the U.S. already knew that this man, senior al Qaeda leader Abu Anas al-Libi was in Libya, tasked by the head of al Qaeda to establish a clandestine terrorist network inside the country. Al-Libi was already wanted for his role in bombing two U.S. embassies in Africa.

Greg Hicks: It was a frightening piece of information.

Lara Logan: Because it meant what?

Greg Hicks: It raised the stakes, changed the game.

Greg Hicks, who testified before Congress earlier this year, was Amb. Stevens' deputy based in Tripoli - a 22-year veteran of the Foreign Service with an impeccable reputation.

Lara Logan: And in that environment you were asking for more security assets and you were not getting them?

Greg Hicks: That's right.

Lara Logan: Did you fight that?

Greg Hicks: I was in the process of trying to frame a third request but it was not allowed to go forward.

Lara Logan: So why didn't you get the help that you needed and that you asked for?

Greg Hicks: I really, really don't know. I in fact would like to know that, the answer to that question.

In the months prior to the attack, Amb. Stevens approved a series of detailed cables to Washington, specifically mentioning, among other things, "the al Qaeda flag has been spotted several times flying over government buildings".

When the attack began on the evening of September 11, Amb. Stevens immediately called Greg Hicks, who was back in Tripoli.

Greg Hicks: Ambassador said that the consulate's under attack. And then the line cut.

Lara Logan: Do you remember the sound of his voice?

Greg Hicks: Oh yeah, it's indelibly imprinted on my mind.

Lara Logan: How did he sound?

Greg Hicks: He sounded frightened.

Though Drum and Somerby insist that the report is false, the above is correct and stands.  As does this:

The same force that had gone to the compound was now defending the CIA Annex. Hours later, they were joined by a small team of Americans from Tripoli. From defensive positions on these rooftops, the Americans fought back a professional enemy. In a final wave of intense fighting just after 5 a.m., the attackers unleashed a barrage of mortars. Three of them slammed into this roof, killing former Navy SEALs Tyrone Woods and Glen Doherty.

Lara Logan: They hit that roof three times.

Andy Wood: They, they hit those roofs three times.

Lara Logan: In the dark.

Andy Wood: Yea, that's getting the basketball through the hoop over your shoulder.

Lara Logan: What does it take to pull off an attack like that?

Andy Wood: Coordination, planning, training, experienced personnel. They practice those things. They knew what they were doing. That was a-- that was a well-executed attack.

We have learned there were two Delta Force operators who fought at the Annex and they've since been awarded the Distinguished Service Cross and the Navy Cross -- two of the military's highest honors. The Americans who rushed to help that night went without asking for permission and the lingering question is why no larger military response ever crossed the border into Libya -- something Greg Hicks realized wasn't going to happen just an hour into the attack.

Lara Logan: You have this conversation with the defense attache. You ask him what military assets are on their way. And he says--

Greg Hicks: Effectively, they're not. And I-- for a moment, I just felt lost. I just couldn't believe the answer. And then I made the call to the Annex chief, and I told him, "Listen, you've gotta tell those guys there may not be any help coming."

Lara Logan: That's a tough thing to understand. Why?

Greg Hicks: It just is. We--, for us, for the people that go out onto the edge, to represent our country, we believe that if we get in trouble, they're coming to get us. That our back is covered. To hear that it's not, it's a terrible, terrible experience.

The U.S. government today acknowledges the Americans at the U.S. compound in Benghazi were not adequately protected. And says those who carried out the attack are still being hunted down.

The bulk of the report stands.

Morgan Jones was the sizzle, he wasn't the spine of the report.

When people tell stories about themselves and their bravery, we tend to expect that they'll inflate.  So we don't take them seriously and we never took Morgan Jones seriously.

No claim he made could be backed up or proved false.  (Even now, his reputation in tatters, all that's been demonstrated is he told one story immediately after the attack and another later on.)

Dan Rather's on a pity cruise, in case you missed it.  The former CBS anchor (whom we both did not care for in real life) is up in arms that CBS will not bring him in for any JFK coverage.  The country got stuck with Rather because of the death of JFK.  His reporting doesn't stand up.

For example, he  wrongly described (or lied) about what the Zapruder film showed.  Since the film wasn't being show on TV, only described by Dan Rather, this mistake is not minor.  Why would you want someone like that on your 50th anniversary coverage?  And Rather was fired from CBS less than ten years ago as a result of a report that aired on Bully Boy Bush's service -- or lack of -- in the National Guard.  Rather's become very vocal about the report . . . since getting fired.

In real time, we defended producer Mary Mapes and Dan Rather for the story.  In real time, we said you don't fight this by being silent.  What CNN did to April Oliver will be done to others.  You either stand up for your report and yourself or take the firing.

We bring up Rather for a reason.  That report that aired on Bully Boy Bush's questionable service was never demonstrated to be false  -- not even the documents used were demonstrated to be false.  But conservative bloggers managed to knock down the belief in the documents -- which may or may not be real -- that backed up other stories and testimony of Bully Boy Bush not meeting his service requirements.

Kevin Drum and Bob Somerby are not visionaries.  They're reactionaries.  They copy the worst from the other side and then use it from the left -- from their weak-ass niche on the left.  They're not helping anyone.

They're not helping journalism -- or media criticism -- to be damn sure.

Morgan Jones was not the bulk of the 60 Minutes report.  Yet the two sexists refuse to tell you that and think that, because they've discredited Jones, they've discredited the entire report.  They haven't done any such thing.  As media critics, or as palace guards, they're failures.

Film Classics of the 20th Century

So far in this series, we've looked at Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings.

movie montage

Oh, Justin, Miley, Selena, you just don't get it.

As under-18s you were pikers, you had no real accomplishments -- not when contrasted with the ultimate child star of the second half of the 20th century Haley Mills.


Long before Haley was 18, she'd won a Golden Globe, an Academy Award and a BAFTA.

The star of Pollyanna, The Parent Trap, The Trouble With Angels and many other films was at her finest in 1965's That Darn Cat!  First off, there were no lying parents hiding siblings or each other.


But mainly, it's that this is the best script and best cast Walt Disney ever put together for a Hayley Mills film.  Hayley was 19 when the film was released and it was the last theatrical film she made for Disney so far (she has done TV movies for Disney).

The cast included Dean Jones in the only film he ever made where he had chemistry with his leading lady  Dorothy Provine (It's a Mad Mad Mad Mad World).  Also in the cast Roddy McDowell, the great Elsa Lanchester (the bride in Bride of Frankenstein, Kim Novack and Jack Lemmon's aunt in Bell, Book and Candle). Frank Gorshin (TV's  Riddler on Batman) and William Demarest (My Three Sons) among others.

Mainly there's DC -- "darn cat."  Two Siamese play the part of DC.


The performance is also aided by Bobby Darin's seductive performance of the title track Robert and Richard Sherman wrote for the film.

While the city sleeps, ev'rey night he creeps
Just surveyin' his domain
He roams around like he owns the town
He's the king, he makes that plain 

DC, on his rounds, ends up at an apartment complex as he follows Iggy (Frank Gorshin) and the smell of Iggy's groceries.  Iggy enters the apartment where Dan (Neville Brand) is waiting with their hostage Margaret Miller (Grayson Hall).  Miller is a bank employee and Iggy and Dan took her hostage when they robbed her bank.  While the two men argue, Miller slips off her watch and puts it around DC like a collar.  She shoos DC out of the apartment.


DC belongs to sisters Patty (Mills) and Ingrid (Provine).  Patti's convinced the watch is the watch of the missing woman from the bank robbery.  Ingrid trapped in a boring relationship (McDowell) has other things on her mind.

Patty goes to the FBI where an agent (Dean Jones) takes her musing seriously.

Will Margaret be rescued?

Will Patty save the day?


This is Disney, so you know it ends happy.   But before you get to that point, you'll have laughed with some of the best humor Disney produced in the sixties.

And you should play close attention to Canoe.  As Patty's boyfriend, Tom Lowell creates the ultimate man-child and you have to wonder if Charlie or Alan Harper would ever have existed decades later if Lowell's Canoe Henderson hadn't paved the way first.








From The TESR Test Kitchen


We're not talking coffee, we're talking tea.

Specifically Country Time's tea.


Country Time is known for it's lemonade mix.  It's a dry powder you mix with water.  They have plain lemonade, they has pink lemonade, they have strawberry lemonade and they have Half-and-Half.

Half-and-Half is half lemonade, half tea.

And you really have to taste it to believe it.

To taste quickly, add a tray of ice cubes to the pitcher along with cold water.

But, be prepared, your pitcher will empty quickly because this drink is just too good to sit in the fridge.

This is a unique taste that's not tea with a splash of lemon or lemonade with tea tossed in.  You really have to taste it yourself to see how good it is.

Most under-appreciated group of the '00s

As we worked on this edition, we suddenly felt this infusion of warmth.

How's everything, everything?
Everything, everything?
You're missing
You're missing
You're missing

"Oh, right," you say, "Bruce Springsteen."

Did you miss the headline?

Bruce and the E. Street Band are probably one of the two most overpraised groups of the '00s (the other would be U2).  Both had little to offer in the decade and preening egos that got in the way of music.

No, we're talking about an album with a cover of "You're Missing."  And a cover of U2's "One."  And a cover of John Lennon's "I Don't Want To Be A Soldier" -- in fact, an album of nine covers and two originals.

We're talking about The Cowboy Junkies and their 2005 masterpiece Early 21st Century Blues.

In October of 2005, we wrote:

If you ever enjoyed the Cowboy Junkies, this is the album to get. Kicking off with Dylan's "License To Kill," the Junkies find the groove and don't let go. The rich textures of their strongest tracks are evident throughout the entire album. Rebecca says if there was a Rock 'n Roll Church to go with the Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame, the Cowboy Junkies would perform early morning services with this lineup. When Kat sent out the cry for everyone to try to grab up a copy of this CD (sent out the cry Saturday afternoon) there were some grumblings. Elaine felt that she'd been burned by the Junkies in the past with albums that featured four or five key songs and then seemed to run out of steam. Early 21st Century Blues won her over and she feels it's like sitting at a table up front in a small club while the Junkies are on fire and hitting all the right notes.

Jess noted the guitar work (Michael Timmins) on "Two Soldiers" as a stand out with "You're Missing" as a close runner up. Bruce Springsteen fan Mike felt that the Junkies actually improved on Springsteen's version of "You're Missing." One thing that stood out to him was the conversational style of Margo Timmins singing. On The Laura Flanders Show Saturday night, Margo Timmins spoke of the shock it must be getting the news that someone you loved had just died in Iraq and how, if it were, she might be thinking that morning before the news came in, how he always left his shoes lying in the hall. Her singing on this song perfectly captures the quiet moments that emerge in the face of shocking news.

As 2005 ended, Kat picked the album as one of the year's best:

Early 21st Century Blues. This Cowboy Junkies CD actually got national exposure . . . via The Laura Flanders Show. If others had followed Flanders' lead, this might have been one of the more talked about albums of 2005. The album features two original songs and nine covers. Among the covers are songs by Bob Dylan, from his pre-brand days. I have to be in the mood for their version of John Lennon's "I Don't Want To Be A Solider." Wally enjoyed this but Cedric and I felt that the combination of the Junkies' understated approach and Rebel's rap were an uneasy mix. The album ends on a high note, a cover of U2's "One." Unlike on Mary J. Blige's latest album, you don't wait for Bono to shut up and get out the way so that Blige can work her magic. That's because he's not featured. Margo Timmins' voice is haunting on this song and the covers of Bruce Springsteen's "You're Missing" and "Brothers Under The Bridge" should have resulted in saturation airplay. If you missed this CD, locate a copy and listen.

The Cowboy Junkies are Michael Timmins (guitar), Margo Timmins (lead vocalist), Peter Timmins (drums) and Alan Anton (bass).  Canadians Michael, Margo and Peter are three of six siblings (another sibling is actress Cali Timmins).  The three Timmins and Anton first came to international attention with 1988's The Trinity Session and a radical reworking of the Velvet Underground's "Sweet Jane."

Radical reworking?

On the tours for U2's The Unforgettable Fire and The Joshua Tree, when Lone Justice would open the show, Bono would often show up to duet on "Sweet Jane" with Maria McKee and their version was praised by critics.  (You can hear one performance of it on the Lone Justice collection The World Is Not My Home.)  The Cowboy Junkies didn't take the Velvet Underground template and try to improve on it.  They reworked it, slowed it down and turned it into a haunting masterpiece.

Early 21st Century Blues tapped into that same vein of longing and loss and in doing so became one of their two studio masterpieces of the '00s.  Their other masterpiece?


2007's at the end of paths taken.  Reviewing the album, Kat wrote:

I was expecting the next studio CD to coast -- and more than happy with that expectation based on the level reached. She has shaped up to be everything so many wanted from Annie Lennox's solo career. But she's growing by leaps and bounds these days and to listen at the end of paths taken is to feel as if she's been holding out on you. There are moments she grabs in the repeated phrase "And the rain comes down" ("Follower 2") that are completely unexpected and 100% thrilling.
This isn't a Margo Timmins solo album and after the you get over still more vocal growth, the thing that will probably hit you next is what a band the group's become. They're in there supporting the vocals and driving the songs. I just mentioned "Follower 2" and it would be a huge diservice to move on to any other song without noting the amazing drum work going on in that song. It is so inspired and pushes the song to another level without overtaking it. The Timmins and Anton have to be the best music combo today.

And the masterpiece on this excellent album?  "Spiral Down."

Loop upon the self
Look upon the other
We need a better understanding
Or we'll spiral down

It's haunting and beautiful and part of the reason the album didn't sell very well is that they made no video for "Spiral Down."  And when fans did, someone had a problem and the videos removed from YouTube.

Belatedly, the group realized what they had in the song.  So in 2011, they were promoting it and offering a free download.  The smartest thing they could have done is ensured that fan videos stayed up at YouTube because to hear that song is to be possessed by it.

Doubt us?

Visit this Rolling Stone page and stream the song now.

Michel Timmins wrote this amazing song -- a song that surpasses the textures and richness the group gave to "Sweet Jane."

And while it's the gem of at the end of paths taken -- and maybe of the group's entire career -- the 2007 album is one of the undiscovered masterpieces of the '00s.  The group itself remains one of the most talented and most under-appreciated of the last decade.

Picture of the week


Protests have been taking place, non-stop, in Iraq since  December 21st.

Iraqi Spring MC posted the photo of Friday's protest in Falluja.

Look at that crowd.

And that was just one city's protest in Iraq Friday.

Surprised by the lack of press coverage on the protests?  Then you haven't read "We know where the protests are, where are the reporters?"

Video of the week

Jody Watley's shot to fame as a dancer on Soul Train, then as a member of the group Shalamar ("The Second Time Around," "This Is For The Lover In You," etc.) .

In 1983, Jody left the group.  She sang on Band-Aid's 1984 charity single "Do They Know It's Christmas?"   She was the inspiration for Jermaine Stuart's 1986 single "Jody."  In 1987, she released her first solo album and had her first hit "Looking For A New Love."  So many more followed: "Still A Thrill," "Don't You Want Me," "Friends," "Real Love,"  "Some Kind Of Lover," "Most Of All," Everything," "I'm The One You Need," "I Want You," "Your Love Keeps Working On Me," "I Want Your Love," "Borderline" and more.

She just got a new hit with  "Nightlife" which has made it into the top twenty in the UK.

Bad Ed Snowden?

ed snowden

You thought it was just Barack Obama who wanted to get his hands on Ed Snowden's ass?

Think again.

MI6 Chief Robert John Sawers wants to pull down Ed's pants and give him what-for.

But, like Barack, British officials seem to miss the point.

As The Voice of Russia notes,  "The agency chiefs took the opportunity to outline how they though revelations about their spying activities leaked by Edward Snowden in the Guardian and New York Times newspapers have hurt their counter-terrorism operations."

No, what's hurt their operations has been breaking the law and being unethical.

Ed Snowden didn't do any of the spying.

If what he was exposing was legal and ethical, there would be no problem today.

But what was done is disgusting and a betrayal of the social contract we're supposed to operate under.

Instead of fuming over Ed Snowden, these cry babies should grow up and learn to take some accountability for their disgusting and unacceptable actions.

For those late to the party, Ed Snowden  is an American citizen and whistle-blower who had been employed by the CIA and by the NSA before leaving government employment for the more lucrative world of contracting.  At the time he blew the whistle, he was working for Booz Allen Hamilton doing NSA work.  Glenn Greenwald (Guardian) had the first scoop (and many that followed) on Snowden's revelations that the US government was spying on American citizens, keeping the data on every phone call made in the United States (and in Europe as well) while also spying on internet use via PRISM and Tempora.  US Senator Bernie Sanders decried the fact that a "secret court order" had been used to collect information on American citizens "whether they are suspected of any wrongdoing."  Sanders went on to say, "That is not what democracy is about.  That is not what freedom is about. [. . .] While we must aggressively pursue international terrorists and all of those who would do us harm, we must do it in a way that protects the Constitution and civil liberties which make us proud to be Americans."  The immediate response of the White House, as Dan Roberts and Spencer Ackerman (Guardian) reported,  was to insist that there was nothing unusual and to get creaky and compromised Senator Dianne Feinstein to insist, in her best Third Reich voice, "People want to keep the homeland safe."  The spin included statements from Barack himself.   Anita Kumar (McClatchy Newspapers) reports, "Obama described the uproar this week over the programs as “hype” and sought to ensure Americans that Big Brother is not watching their every move."  Josh Richman (San Jose Mercury News) quoted Barack insisting that "we have established a process and a procedure that the American people should feel comfortable about."  Apparently not feeling the gratitude, the New York Times editorial board weighed in on the White House efforts at spin, noting that "the Obama administration issued the same platitude it has offered every time President Obama has been caught overreaching in the use of his powers: Terrorists are a real menace and you should just trust us to deal with them because we have internal mechanisms (that we are not going to tell you about) to make sure we do not violate your rights."  Former US President Jimmy Carter told CNN, "I think that the secrecy that has been surrounding this invasion of privacy has been excessive, so I think that the bringing of it to the public notice has probably been, in the long term, beneficial."

Establishments honoring Veterans Day

dollar general

Veterans Day is Monday.  Veteans and active duty military can get an 11% discount on their purchases tomorrow at Dollar General.  In addition,  Monday, Olive Garden will be serving a free meal to veterans  click here for menus.  (They will also be also be giving a 10% discount throughout November for veterans and veterans families.)  Hooters notes  their way of honoring veterans:

Hooters is showing its gratitude for veterans and active duty military personnel this Veterans Day. On Monday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase, by presenting a military ID or proof of service at any Hooters location across the country.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to show appreciation for our military personnel who have selflessly sacrificed for the freedom of all Americans,” said Andrew Pudduck, vice president of marketing, Hooters of America. “Supporting the military community is very important to the Hooters family; we hope our veterans and active duty military will join us on Veterans Day to relax and enjoy a meal on us as a small but earnest way to say ‘thank you’ for your service.”
In addition, Hooters is sending extra love to the troops with its annual Operation Calendar Drop campaign. The 2014 Hooters Calendar is now on sale and guests are encouraged to purchase an extra calendar and write a personal message of appreciation for the troops. Hooters will collect the personalized calendars and deliver them to U.S. military stationed overseas.     

Hoss's Steak & Sea House will honor Veterans Day on Monday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a free meal: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia & Rice Pilaf, Grilled or Fried Chicken Tenders Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes, Meatloaf Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Parmesan & Pasta, Fried Shrimp & Fries or All You Can Eat Soup, Salad & Dessert Bar.  Any meal includes soup, salad & dessert bar and beverage.

Golden Corral has a video with Gary Sinise (above) explaining that this Monday, from four p.m. until nine p.m., is Military Appreciation Monday and those who have served in the military receive a free dinner during those five hours.  Veterans who feel like a burger on Monday might want to visit Shoney's which notes:

Nothing says “Thank You” like a great burger and Shoney’s is set to prove it, as the iconic all-American restaurant brand will thank our nation’s veterans and troops with a FREE All-American Burger™ on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, 2013.
“For generations, Shoney’s always has been a ‘Welcome Home’ sign to America’s military,” said Davoudpour. “On their national day of celebration and honor, Shoney’s looks forward to welcoming our veterans and troops with a free burger as we thank those who protect our very freedom. We salute you.”
According to Davoudpour, service members will be treated to Shoney’s Signature favorite All-American Burger, a freshly prepared, hand-pattied, grain-fed, 100% ground beef, cooked to order burger, served on a toasted corn-dusted bun with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and mayonnaise.
“It’s named after the greatest country on earth,” said Davoudpour, “and has been a guest favorite for years.”
Since acquiring the great American eatery in 2007, Davoudpour has been on a spirited mission to make Shoney’s better than ever, and return the icon to its Glory Days, when it became part of American popular culture as one of the first family casual dining concepts in the United States. Shoney’s served as a popular post-WWII family destination when it began serving guests 66 years ago. Davoudpour personally sees that an American flag flies proudly in front of his Shoney’s restaurants.
“Veterans Day is a day of thanks and for us, being able to serve the many who serve for our freedom is a privilege,” added Davoudpour. “We are thankful every day for our veterans and troops, and on their day we look forward to serving them a free burger.”
Shoney’s offer of a free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty military service members is available on Monday, November 11, 2013 at participating restaurants while supplies last. There is a limit of one per day per military service member and the offer is not valid in conjunction with any other offers. Shoney’s military guests will need to provide proof of military service. Offer is valid for Dine-in only and beverage, tax and gratuity are not included.

Applebee's notes:


Available during business hours on November 11, 2013, in all U.S. Applebee's restaurants.  Dine in from limited menu only: Fiesta Lime Chicken, Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, 7 oz. House Sirloin, Three-Cheese Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Penne, Chicken Tenders Platter, Double Crunch Shrimp or Oriental Chicken Salad..  
Beverages and gratuity not included.  Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service.
Proof of service includes: U.S. Uniformed Services ID Card, U.S. Uniformed Services Retired ID Card, current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), veterans organization card (i.e. American Legion, VFW), photograph of yourself in uniform, wearing uniform, DD214 and citation or commendation.

Veterans of Foreign Wars notes they have a page noting places honoring veterans for Veterans Day. The American Legion's list is here.  In tonight's Iraq snapshot, we'll note these and the other establishments we've noted this week.  For events noting Veterans Day (some of which will take place Saturday or Sunday and not just on Monday), refer to this VA Dept webpage. or this Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America webpage

Senator Murray's Veterans Day Statement

Senator Patty Murray

Monday is Veteran's Day in the United States.  Senator Patty Murray (above) is the former Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee -- she continues to serve on the Committee and she's now the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Her late father, David L. Johns, was a Purple Heart recipient (World War II).   Her office issued the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Friday, November 08, 2013                                                             (202) 224-2834
Senator Murray’s Veterans Day Statement
: A Veterans Day Message from Senator Patty Murray
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement as the nation prepares to observe Veterans Day:
“On Veterans Day, we honor and celebrate the courage and commitment of our nation’s heroes, both past and present. When these brave men and women signed up to serve our country, we agreed to take care of them. They kept their end of the bargain and we must keep ours.
“Our veterans have leadership ability, discipline, and technical skills to not only find work but to excel in a 21st Century workforce. But despite these facts, veterans across the country continue to struggle as they try to find work.
“For too long we have invested billions of dollars in training our young men and women with skills to protect our nation, only to ignore them once they leave the military. For too long, at the end of their career, we patted our veterans on the back for their service and then pushed them out into the job market alone. Thankfully, we have been able to take real, concrete steps toward putting our veterans back to work with new laws like my “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” and other legislative efforts.
“We have also worked to build partnerships with private sector businesses in order to tap into the tremendous amount of goodwill that companies have toward our returning heroes.  In fact, just this week, our own Microsoft and Starbucks launched major, nation-wide initiatives to put our men and women in uniform back to work.
“This is the legacy of opportunity we have to live up to for our nation’s veterans. This is the responsibility we all have on our shoulders. It doesn’t end on the battlefield. It doesn’t end after the parades Monday. In fact, it never ends.
“Our veterans don’t ask for a lot and too often they are coming home and facing unnecessary stresses and struggles. On this Veterans Day we need to redouble our efforts – government, businesses, and citizens - to guarantee our veterans get a fair shot and to guarantee them that they are not measured by fear or stigma, but what they can do, what they have done, and what they will do.”

Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

House VA Chair Jeff Miller's Veterans Day Statement

jeff miller

US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee and his office issued the following:

WASHINGTON, DC – Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement today in honor of Veterans Day 2013.

"Imagine our lives without the veterans who have bravely defended us. Where might we be if not for the men and women who answered the call to serve each and every time our nation faced a determined enemy? Undoubtedly, America would not stand as tall as she does without the enormous sacrifices of our veterans and their families, which is precisely why Veterans Day is such an important occasion. This weekend and throughout the rest of the year, we should all consider the spirit of Veterans Day and reflect upon the vital role veterans have played in making our nation what it is today. Though there aren't enough words to truly describe how grateful we are for all our veterans have done, two words every veteran deserves to hear are 'thank you.'" – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

House Rep Ileana Ros-Lehtinen on history and culture

In 2003, the US military found a trove of artifacts in water, discarded.  These were various records and artifacts belonging to Iraq's Jewish community.  Saddam Hussein had ordered them stolen from the Jewish people.  The US brought them to the United States to restore them.  Now that they've been restored, President Barack Obama intends to send them back to Iraq where . . . there are no Jews.  Okay, there are an estimated 3 elderly Jews still in Baghdad who refuse to leave.  The rest of the community has either been killed or fled to safety in other countries since Nouri al-Maliki refused to provide any safety for them in Iraq.

And the US plans to return stolen property to this group?


At the end of last month, US House Rep Ilena Ros-Lehtinen's office issued the following statement:

“It’s imperative that we preserve the history of the Jewish community of Iraq so that future generations will always remember their ancestors’ experiences and historical contributions”

(WASHINGTON) – Today, Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen, a senior member of the Florida congressional delegation, co-authored a letter, along with U.S. Rep. Steve Israel, urging Secretary of State John Kerry to return historic communal and religious items currently on display at the National Archives to the Iraqi Jewish community and their descendants, and not the government of Iraq. These artifacts, discovered in a decrepit state by U.S. and coalition forces in Iraq in 2003, were rescued and brought to the United States for repair and preservation.  Next spring, these items are scheduled to be sent back to Iraq but Ros-Lehtinen and Israel are asking that they be returned to their rightful inheritors.

Statement by Ros-Lehtinen: “I’m pleased to join my colleague Steve in urging Secretary Kerry and the State Department to return these ancient Jewish artifacts to their rightful owners. The Iraqi government has absolutely no right or legitimate claim to these artifacts. These communal, religious and personal items were left behind in a temple in Baghdad to be safeguarded as the vast majority of Jews were forced to flee Iraq due to rampant persecution, harassment and anti-Semitic hatred, only to see them stolen by Saddam Hussein and his thugs. Once thought to be lost and gone forever, we now have a remarkable opportunity to restore a piece of an ancient Jewish community’s collective memory. It’s imperative that we preserve the history of the Jewish community of Iraq so that future generations will always remember their ancestors’ experiences and historical contributions. It would be criminal for the U.S. government to be complicit in denying the Jewish community what is rightfully theirs.”
Statement by Israel: “I am grateful that these artifacts, which represent the rich and vibrant Jewish community that once existed in Iraq, have been restored. However, I do not believe that we should send these treasures back to the Iraqi Government. That’s why I’m working with my colleague Rep. Ros-Lehtinen to urge the U.S. Government to facilitate a process by which we can return the artifacts to their rightful owners or their owners’ descendants.”


Bugging and spies (UK Socialist Worker)

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Bugging and spies - just how powerful are the world's intelligence services?

US president Barack Obama tapped German chancellor Angela Merkel, Russian president Vladimir Putin tapped the G20—and all of them bugged all of us, writes Simon Basketter

That states and companies spy on each other is neither new nor surprising. They are pushed to do so as part of their desperate scramble to get the upper hand over each other. Many of the revelations that have recently filled the news come from documents released by fugitive whistleblower Edward Snowden.

The carefully managed leaks by the Washington Post, the Guardian and others can be a little boring. Yet the scale of the revelations is a devastating insight into the cynicism of those who run capitalism. James R Clapper, US director of national intelligence, said that they spy on allies simply to see “if what they’re saying gels with what’s actually going on”. 

Also they need to know how other countries’ policies “impact us across a whole range of issues”. This is a euphemistic way of saying that the US is trying to gain inside information about its allies’ political goals and strategies.

Vladimir Putin spied on world leaders at the last G20 summit by giving them computer memory sticks which used “Trojan horse” software to download sensitive information.

Then the Russians complained that the Chinese were spying on them using kettles and toasters with secret chips in them. But while every country is spying on everyone else, the US has by far the largest operation. 

The computers of the US National Security Agency (NSA) “vacuum the entire electromagnetic spectrum”, homing in on key words. Its junior partner is Britain’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) based in Cheltenham. 

The collaboration between the two agencies offers advantages to both. It makes monitoring the globe easier and solves tricky legal problems.

The agencies simply swap each other’s dirty work. So GCHQ eavesdrops on calls made by American citizens and the NSA monitors calls made by British citizens, thus allowing each government plausibly to deny it has tapped its own citizens’ calls.

Global communications have moved from wires and satellites to undersea and underground fibreoptic cables carrying millions of calls and emails at a time. The whole business of intelligence gathering has shifted. Its emphasis is now on what journalist James Bamford refers to as “collection first” in his book 

The Shadow Factory. 

All the data is sucked into the NSA’s computers. They then sift the communications to get what they want.


Britain runs a secret internet-monitoring station somewhere in the Middle East. It intercepts and processes vast quantities of emails, telephone calls and web traffic on behalf of Western intelligence agencies.

This taps into and extracts data from the underwater fibre-optic cables passing through the region. But this can generate too much information to coherently interpret.

So, just after the invasion of Iraq in 2003, looters were ransacking Baghdad. US intelligence agencies monitoring phone calls across the city and kept hearing the name “Ali Baba”. The investigation to hunt him down was long underway before they realised that this was just a common Iraqi word to describe all thieves.

For all the money and technology, sometimes the data collection isn’t that brilliant. One leaked memo said, “In one recent case, a US official provided NSA with 200 phone numbers to 35 world leaders.” 
In truth, 157 of those numbers were already available to the public. The 43 remaining and some others were “tasked,” according to the memo, but produced “little reportable intelligence.” There also aren’t many rules.

The British spooks’ charter specifically empowers it to do whatever is necessary to ensure the commercial wellbeing of the United Kingdom. As Sir Percy Cradock, former chairman of the Joint Intelligence Committee, put it, “We are a trading nation. We are therefore profoundly interested in international stability. 

“We need to know where the water is going to be stormy.” Cold War spying was supposedly ideological. But in the harsh world of international business competition, every country is a potential enemy. A recent FBI report identified 57 countries around the world that were running economic and commercial espionage operations against the US. 


At least half of those were rated by the State Department as being “friendly”.

For its part, the CIA provides the relevant American departments with French and British negotiating positions at international meetings such as GATT, positions that the NSA has established by eavesdropping on British communications.

Former British spies have recounted being given shopping lists of commercial information to get.

British spies helped sift 180 million files hacked from Google and Yahoo in December last year alone. 
The British Joint Intelligence Committee sends the Bank of England a weekly assessment of the world economic and trading situation. Usually intelligence splits into two parts. There is the intelligence gathering by spies or by signals intelligence. And there is the analysis side.

At each point there is both the possibility of inaccuracies, frauds or exaggeration. So in the run-up to the Iraq war there was rubbish information and rubbish analysis. Politicians went on to make this worse.

Karl Marx described the capitalist class as a band of “hostile brothers”. Corporations and states share information. States then share information with each other. At the same time the same corporations and states spy on each other.

The competition at the heart of the system makes accumulating an edge of knowledge paramount. It also means that any opposition to the corporations or states will be spied on as well.

Leaked US National Security Agency slide showing some of its listening posts
Leaked US National Security Agency slide showing some of its listening posts

Spying agencies put their own interests first

The intelligence agencies are dangerous but incompetent. Phillip Knightley wrote The Second Oldest Profession, a history of intelligence.

He told Socialist Worker, “They failed to predict the Czech Revolution, the Soviet invasion of Hungary, the end of the Cold War. But they also have lots of systems to cover up their failures.

“When they fail to predict something they say, ‘We did warn you but you failed to take notice.’ Or they ask for ever yet more resources.”

He pointed out in the 1980s that US intelligence, “now produces so much information, such an all-sources glut of words, images and electronic data that the number of intelligence officers who can understand it all, who see the overall pictures, is rapidly declining”.

He wrote, “All the intelligence services need a monster of some sort. When the Cold War ended it looked like the monster had gone.


“Just when it looked like we had rumbled them, they perpetrated on us probably the greatest political confidence trick of the century—they were saved by this new monster of terrorism.

“They have brainwashed successive governments into accepting three propositions that ensure their survival and expansion.” First, that “in the secret world it may be impossible to distinguish success from failure”. 

Second, “that failure can be due to incorrect analysis of the agency’s accurate information—the warning was there but the government failed to heed it”. Third, “that the agency could have offered timely warning had it not been starved of funds.”

He wrote, “The intelligence community hates the government of the day, of whichever party. It juggles our destinies in the name of protecting them. And it’s able to do so because of the secrecy with which it surrounds itself, a secrecy which corrodes a democratic society. 

“It is no accident that as intelligence agencies have expanded, our civil liberties have contracted.”

The ‘noble cause’ of torture and murder by drone

Even when the spies are successful it’s not a good thing. According to the Washington Post, “In the search for targets, the NSA has draped a surveillance blanket over dozens of square miles of north west Pakistan. 

“In Hassan Ghul’s case, the agency deployed an arsenal of cyber-espionage tools, secretly seizing control of laptops, siphoning audio files and other messages.”

Ghul was an Al Qaida operative who was once in American custody but was released. He had been tortured both before and after giving information that may have led to the raid on Osama bin Laden.
An email seen by the NSA spooks led them to Ghul. They killed the man they had tortured with a drone strike.

“Ours is a noble cause,” NSA Director Keith B Alexander said during a public event last month. Our job is to defend this nation and to protect our civil liberties and privacy.”


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.

"We know where the protests are, where are the repo..." -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site.

"Diane Keaton," "Jane Fonda," "Faye Dunaway," "debra winger," "Shelley Winters," "Cher," "Charlize Theron," "Tuesday Weld," "Jessica Lange," "Marilyn Monroe," "On the list of 50 great actresses" and "50 actresses at least as talented as brando" -- community theme post on actresses.  A book pronounced Kim Stanley "the female Brando" and the community responded.

"Easy dip in the Kitchen" -- Trina points out most home kitchens always have dip.

"The Mindy Project," "scandal: who shot down the plane," "Revolution (Monroe lives)," "Arrow (The League of Assassins)," "revenge (the good)," "revenge (bad charlotte)," "Revolution," "Pascal Roberts is an idiot"  and "The Good Wife (and Ugly Diane)" -- Ann, Rebecca, Marcia and Stan cover TV.

"The lemon," "No safety with ObamaCare," "Idiot of the Week: Pete Dominick," "Sebelius still isn't doing her job," "THIS JUST IN! STILL NOT DOING HER JOB!," "It's not that easy" and "THIS JUST IN! MEANINGLESS!" -- ObamaCare.

"I've become Woody Allen"  -- Ann has a shocking realization.

"Nyro," "Brian Wright," "An idiot named Joseph Arellano," "Taylor Swift wins CMA Pinnacle Award" and "Joni and Carly" -- Kat and Elaine note music.

"Racism isn't humor, Stephanie Miller," "Stephanie Miller owes an apology to the Black community," "This time Stephanie Miller came out as a racist" and "A better day is needed" -- Betty, Ann, Marcia and Stan respond to Miller's racist 'humor' last week.

"THIS JUST IN! 2/3RDS SEE THE LIGHT!" and "He's worn out his welcome"  -- Wally and Cedric on the polls.

"We've become a very petty nation" -- Trina breaks the sad news.

"I like Oliver Stone but . . ." and "Not into the hero worship" -- Ruth explains it.

"Tales of Indonesian Folklore"  -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }