Sunday, November 29, 2009

Truest statement of the week

Principles that were proclaimed so loudly while Bush was president get shoved aside and buried now that a Democrat is president and how do you get your principles back from the dung-pile of selling out?

-- Cindy Sheehan, "You Get What you Vote For!" (Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox).

Truest statement of the week II

I find it interesting that Hayden, who has recommended unqualified support for Obama for some time, fails to note that our primary moral constraint should be ending the slaughter and torture of our victims, whom he doesn't even mention. Like most DP/RP elites, Hayden is apparently concerned only with the costs to US.
Our response to Obama should be exactly what it would have been to McCain: a demand for defunding of the wars/occupations (not just the escalation) and for impeachment of all war criminals, chiel among them the Dear Leader. (We don't need an "exit strategy" any more than we would require one from a foreign power that had invaded us.
Furthermore, we should be demanding the deconstruction of our 1000+ foreign military bases and the return to home (not for reassignment elsewhere) of all personnel.

-- Harry Kershner, "Exit strategy? LEAVE NOW!" (ZMag), Kershner leaves that truest as a comment to Tom Hayden's bad, bad article. Hayden's whored himself out for Barry O and if you doubt it, guess what trash drags itself out of the dumpster to defend Pockmarks On His Soul Tommy from Kershner? Yep, Carl Davidson (please no more e-mails Carl unless you want to make us laugh at you some more).

A note to our readers

Hey --
A long, long edition. But we're done. At last.

First let's talk who helped with this edition:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, 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),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

Thanks to all who helped. We missed Dona and Ty (who more than earned time off).

Truest statement of the week -- Cindy was a clear shot. But there weren't a lot of nominees this week due to so many taking the week off due to the holidays -- and due to so few truth tellers.

Truest statement of the week II -- On the plus, it allowed us to highlight this very true remark.

Editorial: Barack The Never Ending Liar -- Exactly what does the left plan to do? This left has been calling out the lies. Others can't make the same claim. They should be ashamed of themselves.

TV: What's the return policy? -- Ava and C.I. did two TV commentaries this week. This was actually edited down (by them) and was much longer. (The extended version runs in Tuesday's Hilda's Mix.)

TV: Good As He's Been To You -- I (Jim) do the headlines for pretty much all the pieces. This is another Ava and C.I. article and when I wrote the headline, I thought it was a McCartney song. It's a Dylan song. They thought I meant to do that. I should kept my big mouth shut.

The Iraq War's British roots -- Trina and Wally helped with this one and Dona did as well but said, "No credit." I'll get to that in a moment. So everyone listed above worked on this piece. It was our big one for the edition.

Roundtable -- We roundtabled because I wasn't sure how Iraq would go and there was a lot to cover. We hadn't written the 'British roots' article yet and I wanted to get C.I. to go over a few things on that to be sure we had them if we didn't anywhere else. Marcia also wanted to address a movie issue so a roundtable was the perfect way to go.

The numbers and the outrage -- Jess, Ava and C.I. wrote this at the last minute. We had forgotten this and were already starting to post.

Don't Steal This Look! -- Rebecca, Ann, Marcia, Ruth, Kat, Betty, Stan, Cedric and Mike wrote this. Elaine went on to sleep. Jess and I were typing up completed pieces and Ava and C.I. were working on their TV commentaries.

When Bully Met Poodle -- This is where Dona came in. She called around four to make sure things were okay (four this morning) and that we didn't need any help. Jess was assuring her everything was okay when she heard Ava and C.I. arguing with me (or me arguing with them). About? Ava and C.I. wanted this article on its own. It was part of the 'British roots' article -- the first paragraph word for word. They argued (a) the article was too long, (b) including this with the article might trivialize the article, (c) making it its own article would mean it would get more attention (which meant more attention for the Iraq Inquiry) and I'm forgetting (d) (and Ava and C.I. say, "We're tired, just finish this note."). So Dona heard us arguing and asked to speak to me. She had one question: "Is it a short feature?" Yeah. "So why are you arguing with them. I'll pretend for just one moment that they're completely wrong and you're 100% right, there's still the issue of variety in lengths. You need to break it up." So that's what happened. Thank you to Dona.

Highlights -- Mike, Elaine, Betty, Rebecca, Kat, Ruth, Marcia, Stan, Cedric and Ann wrote this and we thank them for it.

I think that's everything. Hopefully you found something that made you laugh or enraged you. See you next weekend.

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

Editorial: Barack The Never Ending Liar

"If there are still large troop presences in when I take office, then the first thing I will do is call together the Joint Chiefs of Staff and initiate a phased redeployment. We've got to be as careful getting out as we were careless getting in. But military personnel indicate we can get one brigade to two brigades out per month. I would immediately begin that process. We would get combat troops out of Iraq. The only troops that would remain would be those that have to protect U.S. bases and U.S. civilians, as well as to engage in counter-terrorism activities in Iraq."

Who said that?

Barack Obama. September 26, 2007, during the New Hampshire debate.

Remember what he said in Houston February 19, 2008? "I opposed this war in 2002. I will bring this war to an end in 2009. It is time to bring our troops home."


Yes, it was just more of Barack's Chicken Sop For The Soul.

But remember how Tom-Tom Hayden lapped it up like he'd finally married a new meal ticket, panting, "But these were words worth holding the candidate to. The astonishing thing is that antiwar sentiment among Obama's base is running strongly enough to push the candidate forward to a stronger commitment."

Where's Tom-Tom today?

Talking about everything but Iraq. Naturally.

He squeezed all the money and notoriety he could out of the topic and now he's moved on to Afghanistan. No, Tom-Tom never really finishes anything. Even his affairs had to be ended by the women involved.

But what Barack promised was what he promised.

Look, he's a liar and we told you all about that in real time. Unlike Tom Hayden, we told you what Samantha Power told the BBC in March 2008. Tom Hayden stayed silent until July 4, 2008. He lied, he whored, he spread for Barack.

We noted Samantha Power told the BBC that Barack wouldn't be held to any campaign 'promise' if he was elected. We noted it repeatedly over and over.

Tom Hayden noted it once and only once. He found a spine -- on loan -- July 4, 2008 and then he never uttered a peep.

And he's far from alone. Over 11 months ago, Barack Obama was sworn in.

Derrick Z. Jackson (Boston Globe) reported in real time and observed: "The Obama campaign went into a damage control mode that veered into the territory of George H.W. Bush's 1988 Republican nomination speech in which he declared, 'Read my lips: no new taxes.' Obama campaign manager David Plouffe said Obama maintains a 'rock-solid commitment . . . It will be 16 months at the most where you can withdraw combat troops'."

Who's holding anyone accountable today?

Barack eased into the White House determined to break the 'promise' and did. And who's called him out?

Our laughable Nobel Peace Prize winner needs to split that prize with George W. Bush because the plan he's operating under currently is Bush's plan.

While the left was largely silent (well, not silent, United For Pathetic and Juvenile was slobbering all over War Hawk Barry), The Chicago Tribune's Steve Chapman was sounding alarms back in March:

During the campaign, Obama pushed a plan to withdraw one or two combat brigades per month until they were all out. Only two things have changed in Obama's 16-month departure plan: It will take longer than 16 months, and we won't depart.
Instead of May 2010, the target date has been pushed back to August of that year. Nor will he bring back one or two combat brigades each month. Instead, The New York Times reports, Obama plans to withdraw only two between now and December, or one combat brigade every five months.
The administration claims it will speed up the pace of withdrawal next year. But if someone says he's going to sober up tomorrow, it doesn't mean he will definitely do it tomorrow. It just means he definitely won't do it today.

But people continue to project onto Barack. The same crowd that insists the SOFA ends the Iraq War. It does no such thing. We've explained that here over and over. If you're still not getting it, ask yourself why, if Barack's really ending the Iraq War in 2011 (as the lie claims), the US Armed Services Committee hasn't seen the plan -- despite repeatedly asking to see it?

In an analysis at the Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation, what happens after the SOFA is explained as: "Negotiations needed to decide status of U.S. support forces in 2012 and beyond." As we've repeatedly explained, the SOFA existed to replace the UN mandate (the mandate was for the occupation of Iraq -- there was no mandate for the illegal war). The UN mandate had twice caused problems for Nouri al-Maliki when he renewed it. The first time, Parliament objected that he'd done without their input. He swore that wouldn't happen again. He did it again and Parliament passed laws. It wasn't in his interest or the US government's interest to do these yearly updates. So the SOFA covered three years. [The SOFA is a treaty for continued occupation. It is not a treaty to end the Iraq War. As a treaty, it really shouldn't be called a Status Of Forces Agreement.] What happens when the SOFA expires?

The Tom-Toms insist that US forces have to leave. We've stuck to the law an repeatedly explained to you that a contract can be renewed.

As long as our 'brave' 'left' 'voices' stay silent, don't look for Barack to end the Iraq War. Why should he work on that? He lied and he got away with it. He lied and no one's calling him out.

TV: What's the return policy?

If we could propose one rule for holiday specials, we realized as we watched the sad spectacle of Beyonce on ABC Thursday night, it would be simply: No crotch grabbing.


It doesn't seem like a controversial rule to us. In fact, it seems as obvious as any of the generic lyrics in any Beyonce song. But somehow it escaped the artist and the network.

A lot seemed to have escaped both -- such as what makes a special. If you think it's strong performances and maybe some guest stars, hope you weren't watching. But if Thanksgiving to you is all about a lack of preparation and never ending vanity, Beyonce: I Am Yours was the holiday spread you'd been craving.

In possibly the most telling moment, Beyone performed "Irresistable" with the repeated 'choreography' of pointing to her head while singing the line "Do you ever for a second get to thinking?" It was stiff and obvious. Worst of all, Beyonce appeared to think it was artistic. Then again, she's the woman stupid enough to sing, "Cause if you liked it, then you should have put a ring on it."

Beyonce, are you an object ("it") or are you advocating that a man pierce your vagina?

She seemed clueless during "Crazy In Love" as well while stroking the microphone as if it were an erect penis. Not only did Tina Turner do it better over forty years ago, she never came into people's homes on a holiday and pulled that crap.

But Beyonce's no Tina Turner. Tina's an artist and an extremely gifted one. Beyonce's a stocky drag queen who requires a lot of tape and a lot of body corsets to serve up 'the body' and a non-stop wind machine to give her face the length that all the fake hair in the world hasn't been able to.

As Thunder Thighs clomped around stage on her tippy toes, tossing around her mane and attempting to pout and sneer, we wondered if ABC wouldn't have been better off just offering Kentucky Derby highlights set to music.

She really has no talent as a dancer and we were shocked to grasp that she wasn't even singing for large portions of the special. But we'll get to that.

Background, she was a member of Destiny's Child -- they were the low-rent and non-artistic, K-Mart version of TLC. What they never managed to achieve musically, they almost managed to achieve as pin ups. Remixing and vocal sweetening has made Beyonce a solo pin-up but still not a singer. She's repeatedly attempted to become an actress but lacks the ability to connect on film -- a moving image can't be retouched and air brushed repeatedly the way still photographs can. One star came out of Dreamgirls: Jennifer Hudson. She won the Academy Award, the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Golden Globe and many, many more. Eddie Murphy notched up an Academy Award nomination as well. Beyonce? Nada. Zip. Playing a schemer who is onscreen more than either Hudson or Murphy's characters, Beyonce held no one's attention. An 'accomplishment' that threads through her entire film work.

Many a singer who failed at the movies has returned to singing with renewed force. That's not the case with Beyonce whose stage show is best characterized as Draq Queen Does It On The Cheap.

We're pretty sure most women -- other than Beyonce -- already know this, but for the fellas, when you're breasts do not meet when squeezed into a tight top, you're flat chested. All the tape in the world, all the push up bras, shoving them all the way up to your neck, will not conceal that fact. Beyonce seems convinced that she can trick the audience into believing that she has breasts worth sporting.

But, then again, she also seems to think shifting from one foot to another for the bulk of the special (especially in the first half hour of the non-special) qualifies as dancing.

We said we'd get back to lip synching on stage. Even during the first half, when not dancing, she was lip synching. We couldn't believe it. She's standing still on stage, on a TV special that she's starring in, and she's not singing her vocals?

She fooled one R&B star.

We were on the phone with her during the special and asking, cleaned up version, "What the f**k is this lip synching? She's not dancing and working up a sweat like Janet [Jackson] or Madonna."

The R&B singer insisted she must be singing. Later on, she called us back when Beyonce moved onto the song from the Charlie's Angles film soundtrack. Beyonce was dancing around and singing . . . but her lips weren't moving and she didn't have the mike to her mouth. There was no attempt on her part to even mouth the lyrics. And yet the exact same voice kept singing.

"She's not singing! She's not singing!" insisted the R&B star.

"We know!!!!!" we screamed back into the speaker phone.

Earlier in the special, Beyonce had bragged, in one of the many self-testimonials to her own perceived greatness, that when she's working, she doesn't stop to eat or even go to the bathroom. To that list, we think she'd add, "Or even to sing! I just keep posing."

And as she moved into "Single Ladies" our cell phones started going off as people we'd spoken with earlier (who'd agreed she was lip synching her ballads) called to point out how the 'voice' just kept on playing even though Beyonce's mouth wasn't moving and she'd put the mike away to dance around.

After our rule about no crotch grabbing during holiday specials, we'd add no lip-synching. We'll even toss in a third, if you're 'dancing,' the choreography better be something more than the butt shaking that we can see in the current Gap commercial. Otherwise, it's really not -- pay attention -- special.

There's that word.

"It's my life," she insisted while blathering on about how wonderful it is to be Beyonce.

"Now in 2003, my first solo album," she shared about how amazing it is to be Beyonce.

Beyonce and ABC thought a 'special' was her hopping around the stage and not singing -- with bits of some spoken "How Great Me Art" moments where she offered self-praise to the camera, as if there's an emerging market for narcissism. We've seen some bad holiday specials but never anything like this. And we saw Madonna's turkey of a special in 2006.

"Have you seen the AOL homepage today?" a caller asked.

No, we hadn't.

"I'm going to mail it to you. It's about singers and vanity." [See below.]


Well maybe Beyonce was 'timely' after all?

We wondered if there was any scale we could grade her on that would at least result in a passing grade? Throughout the special, there was an idiotic Victoria's Closet commercial that kept re-airing. After the fourth time, we decided that if you judge Beyonce not a musician or a dancer but as a super model, you actually feel sorry for her but even then you can't say she passed the test. As she continued roaming the stage with that manly stance and those chunky thighs, we breathed a momentary sigh of relief when a commerical for Jennifer Hudson's upcoming holiday special (December 14th on ABC) aired. "And it feels so good to be home," Jennifer said to the camera.

Wait, something like home feels good? Something other than yourself feels good? Something other than yourself might be worth praising?

Those are thoughts that never occurred to Beyonce. We have high hopes for Jennifer's special. She's one of the strongest vocalists to emerge this decade and already someone you can comfortably call an artist. We applaud ABC for putting Jennifer Hudson in a special but we'd argue they owe the audience ten specials with Jennifer, three with Emmylou Harris and a couple with Aretha Franklin and Dolly Parton just to wash away the after-taste Beyonce left. Her biggest talent is not her overly praised ass, nor is it her thin voice. Her biggest talent is her ability to feed that voracious ego. In fact, if her 'special' demonstrated anything, it was that it's past time she sent that ego to a fat farm.

TV: Good As He's Been To You

Baby you can drive my car . . . Paul McCartney had his bass and was on stage performing. It followed a simple voice over introduction to explain, for the two or three people in the world who didn't know, who Paul was. And who Paul is is so obvious that he could open with a 'minor' number as opposed to one of the Beatles many number one hits or one of his own many number one hits. He could open with it and being greeted by ecstatic cheers before he had sung the first line.


Paul McCartney Good Evening New York City. That was the second special ABC offered Thanksgiving night and this one actually was special.

"It was the biggest show we'd ever done, no one had ever done stadiums before," explained Paul about the Beatles performing in Shea Stadium 45 years ago on their historic American invasion tour. He was doing a sit down that was cut into his sharing memories of that performance at the concert to the audience.

Ask any singer who's ever been on stage and they will tell you the talking is the test. As long as you rush through the songs, you can usually hold the interest of the bulk of the audience but it requires a real artist, with charisma, to hold the audience's attention during spoken interludes. Few cry out "Sing 'Baby Love'!" while Diana Ross shares something with the audience or "Play 'Rosalita'!" while Bruce Springsteen's going into one of his spoken raps. The Bosses Diana and Bruce are legendary performers. So is Paul McCartney.

"Got To Get You Into My Life" had the stadium full of people on their feet, bouncing and singing along. We're sure it had that effect on many at home as well. Judging by remarks from friends with the network, ABC knew it had something as well, a real special.

It acknowledged the passage of time and did so in a way that wasn't maudlin or embarrassing. For example, with John Lennon, Paul wrote some of the defining songs of the sixties. Even more than any link to bandmates George Harrison or Ringo Starr, Paul is forever identified with John. On stage, he spoke of New York being John's town and introduced the low-key "Here To You" (from 1982's Tug of War) as a song with "the kind of stuff I never said to him" and "an imaginary conversation." Again, a low key song and seamlessly woven into the show as was the more high octane "Live And Let Die."

And as the audience went wild during the latter song, Paul did some of his best piano work in years. But even with this well known crowd-pleaser, Paul had still yet to play any of the nine US number one singles from his post-Beatles career (the theme to the James Bond film made it to number two) -- not to mention any of the Beatles' number ones. That's how well known his songs are.

"Okay, I wrote this next song for Linda," he declared. "She was a New York girl, she loved New York." And then the audience -- which had been singing along with every song before -- finally was served a number one, "My Love."

It was probably half-way through the acoustic guitar for "Yesterday" that we realized Paul now has the stature Frank Sinatra did back when the Beatles were active. Chairman of the Board. His voice is still tuneful but it is older and many of the songs are in a lower key. But, as with Frankie, the notes age may have robbed are overcome by the delivery experience has provided. When he sings, "There's a rain cloud hanging over me," he sounds like he believes it, he sounds like he means it and, like Sinatra, he sounds like he lived it.

We mentioned that to a friend on the phone while we watched the special and he immediately referenced an article -- him being the argumentative record producer that he is -- saying that couldn't be true because McCartney doesn't do standards.

The article was Steve Marinucci's interview with Peter Ames Carlin (author of Paul McCartney: A Life):

Q: Do you think Paul would ever do a torch song album and would it be successful?

Peter Ames Carlin: I don't, though I could be wrong about that. I guess I just haven't given it much thought. But why would Paul want to follow such a well-trod path, years/decades behind Rod Stewart, kd lang, Carly Simon, etc. etc. etc?

Our friend the producer thought this proved something. But, we pointed out, Paul's songs are standards. "Yesterday," for example is a standard, as is "Michelle" and many, many more. And Carly Simon did one of the first torch albums (1981's Torch) because these were the songs she grew up on, the ones she grew up loving. Paul's often recorded the songs he grew up loving, such as with 1991's Unplugged which contained "Be-Bop-A-Lula," "Blue Moon of Kentucky" and more.

The Beatles changed the business in many ways and one of the first ways was by writing much of their own material. It really wasn't done. And, when done, wasn't generally successful. The Beatles were the threat to the Brill Building school of songwriting. More so than Bob Dylan who, by 1964, was just another songwriter that Carole King, Gerry Goffin, Cynthia Weil, Barry Mann, Jeff Barry and Ellie Greenwich were competing with. (Bob wasn't climbing the charts in 1964 as a singer. His songs were being recorded by other acts, like Peter, Paul & Mary, who made them chart hits.) The Beatles did it all and did it from the moment America met them.

And what that really means is that today's Sinatra not only sings, he writes songs. Or maybe we were just high on the fact that our favorite solo career song got included in the special ("Band On The Run") or that he closed, at the piano, with "Hey Jude"?

But across the country, we're sure people were thinking similar thoughts on those songs or others. Like Sinatra before him, McCartney's provided a soundtrack to so many of our lives and offered so, so much more than "Silly Love Songs."

The Iraq War's British roots

Tuesday, John Chilcot declared, "We have called as witnesses those with first-hand experience of the development and implementation of UK government policy in Iraq. Our first round of public hearings begins today and runs until early February 2010. We will then take a break from public hearings, returning to our analysis of written material. We will hold some private hearings: to take evidence on matters which if disclosed in public would cause harm to the public interest, or where there are other genuine reasons why a witness would have difficulty being frank in public. The circumstances in which we will hold private hearings are set out in the Protocols published on the Inquiry website."

John Chilcot

Chilcot (pictured above) is in charge of the Iraq Inquiry taking place in London. Last week saw them being public hearings. Gordon Brown, the current Prime Minister of England, had long promised an inquiry into the illegal war and appeared to be preventing one. With Labour polling to find how poorly the slide in Brown's personal popularity was and how much it damaged the party as a whole, Brown announced, June 15th, that the long-promised Iraq Inquiry would take place and picked Chilcotto to head it. Chilcot is the Chair and also serving on the committee are Lawrence Freedman, Martin Gilbert, Roderic Lyne and Usha Prashar -- Gorodn Brown selected all five members.

Last week the committee heard public testimony from Simon Webb, Peter Ricketts, William Patey, Tim Dowse, William Ehrman, Christopher Meyer and Jeremy Greenstock. But problems were already apparent.

Craig Murray is the former British Ambassador to Uzbekistan and he observed on Tuesday:

Sir John Chilcot was just ten minutes in to the first public session of the Iraq Inquiry when he told the first big lie -- and a lie which, when examined, exposes the entire charade.
"My colleagues and I come to this inquiry with an open mind."
That is demonstrably untrue. Three of the five members -- Rod Lyne, Martin Gilbert and Lawrence Freedman -- are prominent proponents of the Iraq war. By contrast, nobody on the committee was in public against the invasion of Iraq. How can it be fine to pack the committee with supporters of the invasion, when anyone against the invasion was excluded?

Others took exception to this section of Chilcot's opening statement, "As I have said before, we are not a court or an inquest or a statutory inquiry; and our processes will reflect that difference. No-one is on trial. We cannot determine guilt or innocence." Chris Ames (Guardian) took issue with the committee's refusal to release documents, "Andrew Gilligan has returned to haunt the government on Iraq. His revelations in the Sunday Telegraph and today's Telegraph tell us a lot about the attitude of the military before and after the invasion and provide more evidence that it was planned from early 2002, whatever Tony Blair said. But they are perhaps as significant for what they tell us about Sir John Chilcot's Iraq inquiry. They are a humiliation for the inquiry, which -- as I write -- has not put a single piece of new evidence into the public domain."

Returned? Gilligan broke the story of the British government using "sexed up" intelligence to make the case for war. In the US, Bully Boy Bush falsely claimed that US intelligence said that Saddam Hussein had sought 'yellow cake uranium from Africa' and the administration also repeatedly (and falsely) tied Iraq into 9-11. In the US, then-Prime Minister and forever Poodle Tony Blair claimed that Iraq now had the capabilities to launch a WMD attack on England in 45 minutes. Gilligan broke that news of the spin on BBC and the response of Tony Blair's administration was to demand that the BBC out their source. Gilligan's reporting has held up despite governmental attacks and held up last week. Despite that, Andrew Sparrow would explain Tuesday that Gilligan wasn't invited to give testimony, " Andrew Gilligan, the journalist who broadcast the story about Downing Street 'sexing up' the dossier about Iraq's WMD, is on Sky News. He says that he has not been asked to give evidence to the inquiry. He says that a friend of his had dinner with Chilcot recently and that Chilcot did not seem particularly interested in reopening the David Kelly affair." David Kelly was a source for Gilligan's BBC report, as well as a source for other reports. He apparently took his own life after the government's efforts to out him (Blair and cronies knew the source was Kelly).

Gilligan's remarks to Sky News make Chilcot's declaration in his opening statement sound, at best, insincere, "We have also asked anyone who has information, or who wants to make points, relevant to our terms of reference to contact us."

In terms of relevance, last week's witnesses made very clear that Tony Blair's 1999 speech in Chicago was very relevant to England's involvement in the Iraq War. One of the few non-British outlets to grasp the speech's importance in real time was PBS' The NewsHour which provides the text in full. Some call it "The Blair Doctrine," some see it as "The Buttinsky BusyBody Doctrine" but the following highlights will show how Blair's thinking on Kosovo would be similar to his thinking on Iraq -- or at least his public spin on both:

This is a just war, based not on any territorial ambitions but on values. We cannot let the evil of ethnic cleansing stand. We must not rest until it is reversed. We have learned twice before in this century that appeasement does not work. If we let an evil dictator range unchallenged, we will have to spill infinitely more blood and treasure to stop him later.

[. . .]

I believe the world has changed in a more fundamental way. Globalisation has transformed our economies and our working practices. But globalisation is not just economic. It is also a political and security phenomenon.
We live in a world where isolationism has ceased to have a reason to exist. By necessity we have to co-operate with each other across nations.

[. . .]

We are all internationalists now, whether we like it or not We cannot refuse to participate in global markets if we want to prosper. We cannot ignore new political ideas in other counties if we want to innovate. We cannot turn our backs on conflicts and the violation of human rights within other countries if we want still to be secure.

[. . .]

Many of our problems have been caused by two dangerous and ruthless men - Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosevic. Both have been prepared to wage vicious campaigns against sections of their own community. As a result of these destructive policies both have brought calamity on their own peoples. Instead of enjoying its oil wealth Iraq has been reduced to poverty, with political life stultified through fear.

[. . .]

I say to you: never fall again for the doctrine of isolationism. The world cannot afford it.

Thus Spake The Poodle.

He would be the Happy Face of Imperialism, the one who, you understand, didn't want to have any war but had to, just had to, and had to for the people, to protect the people. In reality, people who never asked him to do anything other than not attack their country. But what do 'foreigners' know -- even about their own country? We Know Best is what Tony Blair declared in Chicago. It's what other War Hawks for the 'left' like Samantha Power insist upon as well.

Iraq was not a threat. That popped up in Wednesday's hearing when William Ehrman testified, "We did, at the very end, I think, on March 10, get a report that chemical weapons might have remained disassembled and Saddam hadn't yet ordered their assembly, and there was also a suggestion that Iraq might lack warheads capable of the effective dispersal of agents."

Iraq was not considered a big threat to England. That was established in another of Wednesday's exchanges.

Committee Member Lawrence Freedman: So in terms of your concerns over this period, you mentioned Iran, you mentioned North Korea, you mentioned Libya, you mentioned Pakistan, at least through AQ Khan, and you mentioned Iraq, but in terms of rank ordering again, where would Iraq come on that list, in terms of the most threatening in proliferation terms?

Tim Dowse: It wasn't top of the list. I think in terms of -- my concerns on coming into the job in 2001, I would say, we would have put Libya and Iran ahead of Iraq.

It was revelations like the above that led Liberal Democrat Party MP and chief of staff Edward Davey to issue the following statement: "It is becoming ever more clear that the case for war was nothing more than sophistry and deception. The threat that Saddam could deploy WMD within 45 minutes was fundamental to the Government's argument that Iraq presented an imminent danger. Yet this new evidence shows that the intelligence was, if anything, pointing towards Iraq becoming less of a threat. A leader of courage and conviction would have used such evidence to halt the drumbeat for war, but Blair just turned a blind eye to intelligence that contradicted his case. This evidence proves what has long been suspected, that intelligence was cherry-picked or dismissed to support the case the Government wanted to make. It is becoming ever more clear that the case for war was nothing more than sophistry and deception flying in the face of the latest and best intelligence."

Thursday's testimony was best reported on by Chris Ames (Guardian):

At the Iraq inquiry this morning, Sir Christopher Meyer has let so many cats out of the bag that it is hard to keep up with them all. He has confirmed that by the time Tony Blair met George Bush at Crawford, Texas in April 2002, Blair had already agreed to regime change. Meyer and others had told the US administration about this change of heart in March 2002. The "UN route" was a way to justify the war but the inspectors were never given the chance to do their job.

Friday saw Jeremy Greenstock spin for the commission. Walter Pincus (Washington Post) reports on Greenstock's testimony. Greenstock infamously declared that the Iraq War was legal. To make that assertion he had to be selective about what he revealed to the committee. He climbed the cross to state that the 2002 resolution from the United Nations (which allowed weapons inspectors back into Iraq but did not authorize war) was so important to him that he would have resigned if the UN hadn't granted it. But he apparently was never bothered by the fact that the United Nations refused to authorize the war. While his lips maintained "legal," Chris Ames found more in the written record:

In a written statement to the inquiry, Greenstock openly admitted that one of the reasons why Britain could not agree that a further resolution was necessary was that to do otherwise would undermine the basis on which Britain bombed Iraq in 1998.

To have conceded that the use of force against Iraq was not legal under international law unless the security council took a specific, fresh decision would have been to reject the basis under which military action was taken in December 1998.

So we would say that, wouldn't we?

It was a very careful, self-justifying performance from a former ambassador with an admitted propensity to cover his and his country's diplomatic tracks. Prove me wrong, seemed to be his challenge to the inquiry. Despite a mountain of evidence, the committee seemed reluctant to do this. Maybe they feel sympathy for a man who put his heart and soul into seeking Iraqi disarmament, apparently unaware that regime change was the real agenda. I'm not so sure.

This morning Brian Brady (Independent of London) reports:

Tony Blair will be quizzed over a devastating official memo warning him that war on Iraq would be illegal eight months before he sent troops into Baghdad, it was claimed last night.
The Chilcot inquiry into the Iraq war will consider a letter from Lord Goldsmith, then Mr Blair's top law officer, advising him that deposing Saddam would be in breach of international law, according to a report in The Mail on Sunday.

Poor little Greenstock, caught on the world stage with his knickers down.


Jim: This is a grab bag roundtable with topics including Iraq, movies and more. Participating are The Third Estate Sunday Review's 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; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. Dona and Ty are off this weekend. First up, Iraq. C.I.'s covered the Iraq Inquiry going on in London all last week and streamed the video, read the transcripts and talked to friends in England about it so let's start off there. You really don't feel like it's getting enough attention and, on Saturday, were calling out someone saying there was no news out of it, correct?


C.I.: Correct. The media's looking for any excuse not to cover it -- that's in this country and in England. Live television coverage in England ended within the first hour of Tuesday's hearing. So I'm really not sure how some pompous ass saying, "Nothing new here! And I blogged on it a few years ago!" accomplishes anything. There are new things being put before the hearing including new lies and instead of ignoring that people should be calling it out.

Jim: We're doing a piece here on it and I think we really got how much time you'd put in on this when you were quoting and citing various journalists' opinions on the hearing. Things that aren't necessarily making it into the straight reporting. Also true is Rebecca has some information which she'll probably share here and Elaine's been following the hearings but she'll probably table that due to her belief that personal is personal.

Elaine: And offline.

Jim: And offline. Okay. Rebecca, why don't you reveal what's going on that you know of.

Rebecca: Is it going to be a whitewash, the Iraq Inquiry? Maybe, maybe not. I don't know. I don't expect a lot from the committee but I do expect revelations. But the chief concern of Labour leaders right now is how the hearings are impacting the party. As I shared this spring and summer repeatedly at my sight, Labour was polling on Gordon Brown and the results were bad and got progressively worse. And Brown dismissed the polls to leadership. He thought he had a bounce coming up. He didn't. And it was only on his vacation in August that he finally started to face the reality that he's a drag on the party. He still, even now, tells leadership that he can turn it around but I don't think he can.

Jim: Based on?

Rebecca: On the polling.

Jim: Talk about that for people not reading your site.

Rebecca: Oh, okay. A friend that I worked with on some p.r. issues in the past is involved in the polling and has sought my input on the data. I'm not being paid for it and I was hesitant to blog on it at first. Then I was encouraged to do so because leadership wanted Brown to step down before he did further harm to the party. Once given the go-ahead, I began blogging on it constantly.

Jim: Last week, in England, a rumor emerged about Gordon Brown being replaced with someone and that's someone you've mentioned at your site. Do you know the man rumors are saying will be Brown's replacement?

Rebecca: Do not know him, have never spoken to him, have never e-mailed, texted or had any communication with him. David Miliband. Elaine and C.I. know him, I don't.

Jim: And I'm sure they have nothing to say on that matter.

Elaine: I will say a rumor's a rumor or it would be labeled "fact." I will say I like David. I will further add that when Rebecca's speaking of her sources and her friends, they are not people that C.I. or I know.

Jim: Do you think Miliband will replace Brown, Elaine?

Elaine: I have no idea. Gordon Brown needs to step down. Rebecca conveyed this at her site throughout the spring and summer. Labour leaders were correct to worry about the drag he was on the party. The sooner he's out of office and a new leader is in, the quicker Labour can work on convincing the people that this is a different Labour Party. Brown's too connected to Blair and too similar to him. Even more connected to Blair than John McCain was connected to George W. Bush. Brown drags every election down. As for Miliband, he's more than capable for the job. Rebecca wrote of him not knowing much about him other than what her friends were telling her and also she knew his appearance. There's no question that he's photogenic and, yes, that is a plus especially when attempting to put a new face on the party. But I don't live in England, I'm not a British citizen and I'm not going to predict across the Atlantic what's going to happen there.

Jim: Okay, thank you, Elaine. Back to the inquiry. Let's say the press ignores it, C.I.. Let's say they ignore it and don't cover it. How is that harmful?

C.I.: Well it's harmful to history and it's harmful to the present and it's harmful to the future. The Iraq War was built on lies. In England, Tony Blair tried to scare the British with the false claim that Iraq had WMD they could attack England with within 45 minutes. In the US, Bully Boy Bush and others in his administration repeatedly linked Iraq to 9-11 even though there was no link. The press didn't call out that linking in real time. Then they were surprised when it took root in people's minds. You have people -- Thomas E. Ricks -- making those false links today. Those links need to be called out. You also have an illegal war that hits the seven year mark in March. If you were 13 in March 2003, you're now 20-years-old. Some younger people may not have been able to pay attention back then. Some who were able to -- of all ages -- may have forgotten key details in the passage of time. It's important to know how a world was lied into war and it's important for historical reasons. It's also important for right now when Iran remains a target of some politicians. If a case is made for war on Iran, will it be a genuine case or will it be more spin? For people to determine that, they need strong walk throughs on how people are lied into war. That's what the Iraq War is.

Jim: I'm going to stop there because we do have an article we're going to write this edition on the topic. Marcia wrote "With Six You Get Egg Roll." She wanted to bring an aspect of that over here. That's the title of a movie starring Doris Day. Marcia?

Marcia: Ruth and I both caught All Things Considered, NPR, on Tuesday and were really appalled. They were discussing Thanksgiving dishes and one was from the fifties or sixties, a mock plum pudding. It was apparently very vibrant looking.

Ruth: And tasted awful.

Marcia: Right. The male cook said it tasted awful and advised the female host not to even try it. She then went on to say it looked like one of those things from a Doris Day movie and how you expected to see Doris Day come out of the kitchen carrying that.

Jim: Marcia paused so I'll ask: And?

Marcia: I don't know who All Things Considered thought they were describing but that wasn't Doris Day's movie persona.

Ruth: It was June Allyson in any of her dreadful films and any other little talented actresses who did nothing but play helpmates.

Marcia: Doris Day wasn't the 'little woman in the kitchen.' In the bulk of her films, she's not even shown cooking. Even in With Six You Get Egg Roll, where she's got three kids, she's a working woman -- she runs a lumber store -- and has a house keeper.

Ruth: And certainly that is true of her most famous films such as Pillow Talk which started her teamings with Rock Hudson. In that one, Thelma Ritter's her housekeeper. Again, June Allyson you'd see in the apron all the time. Doris Day played strong women characters whose lives were not defined by cooking for men.

Marcia: And Ruth and I talked about it and talked about it and we're really offended by it. This 'analysis' of Day came on NPR from a woman. Why? Because she didn't know what she was talking about and Doris Day sprung to her mind. It didn't matter that her slams against Day didn't reflect who Doris played onscreen, she just needed a name to hurl the snide at.

C.I.: I didn't hear the report on NPR so I can't comment on that but I'll share a story that may give perspective on how loose people in the press feel they can be with pop culture. Newsweek, in the 90s, did an S&M story -- that's what it was -- and on how it was more popular as a theme on TV shows. As one of their examples, they offered that Matthew Perry's character Chandler, on NBC's Friends, had handcuffed a woman.

Mike: Wait. Rachel's boss handcuffed Chandler for sex. He didn't handcuff any woman.

C.I.: You are correct. And so were the many, many readers of Newsweek who pointed that error out in letters. But they didn't care, the editors. And one of them told me the story and thought I'd share his laughter over it. I didn't and don't. And as I told him, "If you report it, if you think it's important enough to mention in your magazine, then it's important enough for you to get it right and to instead say 'It's just a TV show' is bulls**t'." And that was the excuse for not doing a correction: It was just a TV show. Well you're the ones covering it, you're the ones writing about it. It was required that you write about it correctly. You didn't and instead of correcting your error now want to make fun of the people complaining about it.

Jim: Can you give another example? That really covers it but there's an ongoing battle you have with a friend at The New York Times.

C.I.: That's over. They finally got it correct. There's a man at Rolling Stone, Joe Levy, whom the paper allowed to create his own title. Actually, he's now at Blender. But back then, he was at Rolling Stone and he didn't like his title at that magazine. The New York Times allowed Levy to create his own title by which they would refer to him in their articles. It wasn't the position he held on the masthead and it wasn't a position at the magazine. I even checked with Jann to make sure the masthead wasn't just out of date -- Jann S. Wenner, publisher of Rolling Stone. But Joe Levy didn't like his title so the paper allowed him to create a new one. When confronted repeatedly -- because they miscredited him for over a year, the friend Jim's referring to would ask: 'What does it matter?' What does it matter? You're the ones giving him a title in print. If it's not his title, don't give it to him. If no such position exists at the magazine, don't 'create' or 'invent' it for your paper. I'm really sorry that Joe Levy didn't like his job title. A lot of people don't like their job titles. Is The New York Times going to let all the other people invent their own titles as well? It's bulls**t. If you're saying, "Joe Levy is the ___ at Rolling Stone," that better be his title. And if it's not, you need to issue a correction and you need to stop referring to him as that. And it shouldn't take me griping to a friend at The Times about it. It never should have appeared in print, it was the editor's job to immediately check the title before the article went to print. Had it been checked, the question to the reporter would have been: "Why are we calling Levy a __ when he's not?" And the reply back would have been Levy doesn't like his title. And the journalistic response too that is: Too f**king bad. The New York Times is not supposed to be in the position of doing public relations, it's supposed to report the facts.

Jim: Thank you, I love that story. To me it eptomizes all that is wrong with The New York Times.

Marcia: And it goes to how the press treats popular cultural references. They want to make them, but they don't want to be held accountable for them. Doris Day was the name that stuck in the NPR woman's head so she went with the comparison even though it was a false one and grossly unfair to Doris Day who did play strong women at a time when few women were allowed to be strong on screen.

Mike: I would agree with that and take it to something Ruth said recently here. Last week, in fact, in "Roundtable." She was talking about NPR versus Pacifica and how NPR will play the statement in the news being said by the person. But Pacifica rarely does and more often you get a Kris Welch who deliberately takes an already bad statement and makes it worse by distorting it and if confronted she would claim, "Well everyone knew I was joking!" No, they wouldn't. You've just said X has said "All dogs should be shot dead" when he said "All dogs should be in a pound." People listening that havne't heard the original quote think you are accurately capturing what was said. But, like Bill O'Reilly, the Pacifica goons will claim, "I was joking!" It's really off-putting and Kris Welch is one of the worst, she's not only the one.

Betty: Andrea Lewis was awful about distorting what people said once she became host of Sunday Sedition.

Mike: I was thinking that but didn't say it.

Betty: Because she's dead? Boo-hoo. She's the one who disgraced her own name. She was something to listen to once upon a time but when she returned from her sabbatical, she became the worst about inventing quotes and she also ripped off AP something fierce.

C.I.: She really did. A friend at KPFA was always asking me to include her, Lewis, in the snapshots. I did that and friends at AP got on my ass saying, "That's our copy." And it was. And she even did that on the Steven D. Green verdict. Word for word, her 'report' was the Associated Press' copy. And she never attributed it. Every single word. I knew Andrea, I liked her, but I'm with Betty, she disgraced herself.

Betty: She really did. But there really aren't many at KPFA who haven't. And what's that woman I hate, the news reader?

C.I.: Aileen Alfandary.

Betty: She's another one who needs to say into the microphone, "Everything I'm telling you during this news break or on this evening news broadcast is Associated Press." I would never have guessed that so-called news readers would read the work of other news outlets and not give credit. But that's what happens at KPFA all the time.

Jim: Staying with media, an e-mail came in for Ava and C.I. Ava, you can reply to this, the reader wants to know why Bill O'Reilly is falsely claiming he got Bill Moyers fired. She, the reader's a woman, points out that you and C.I. have documented this "for almost two years" and she wasn't surprised to read Bill Moyers was leaving as a result. She's wondering if you plan to write about it?

Ava: I really don't know what Bill O'Reilly is saying, sorry. As for Bill Moyers. He was a negative for PBS and becoming more so. His fan base, a small group, loved him and didn't mind that he wasn't doing journalism. He used an hour of PBS each week to push for Barack beginning in the Democratic Party primaries. He was not a journalist and what he did was appalling. Because those things were wrongly applauded by the freaks -- they know who they are -- Bill got more and more loose with the standards. By the time he brought on a Communist and a Socialist to critique the Democratic Party and did not reveal to his audience that the two men were not Democrats, he had crossed his last line. When C.I. and I reported on that incident here, we were aware of it, as we explained in the article, because friends on the CPB were the ones bringing it to us. Bill Moyers is a liability to PBS and he's that because he's taken one short cut after another. He's that because he became a schill for candidate Barack Obama and then for the Obama administration -- a charge he's privately owned up to and wants to whine that he regrets it. It's too little, it's too late. PBS can't afford him. He's been highly dishonest with viewers and they can't afford to have someone like that on air knowing that he's gotten away with way too much and will only propagandize even more. So he's leaving, he's being pushed out. NOW's over as well for different reasons but, in part, due to the early Moyers' connection. If C.I. and I had reported on everything about Bill that the CPB's been saying since 2008, we wouldn't have written about anything but Bill Moyers. Instead, we largely avoided him. He's been pushed out of PBS and that's probably all either C.I. or myself will have to say on the subject unless he really goes stark raving mad on television between now and his last air date.

Jim: I will just add that, as the reader notes, Ava and C.I. have reported on this for almost two years now. They've reported when, for example, Bill had so crossed the journalistic line that some PBS stations refused to even carry that week's program. They've noted his 'let's talk about what's wrong with the Republican Party' that 'forgot' to invite on Republicans. That's not news and it's not public affairs. He became as sloppy as Amy Goodman. Okay, Kat's here but doing a spell check on her review and posting it so she might not speak until the very end. Stan and Cedric, I need for you to bring a topic you want to address and I've got one for Jess and Ann. So I'm going to move over to Jess and Ann. Ann, a number of people were surprised to find out that, like Jess, you'd supported Ralph Nader in previous elections. To clarify, in the 2008 election, all members of the community supported Ralph Nader except for Ava and C.I. who would only allow that they either supported Ralph or Cynthia McKinney and that they weren't going to say who because they don't believe in endorsing. But the rest of us supported Ralph in 2008. What's emerged since Ann started her own blog is the fact that, like Jess, she supported him in 2004 and also in 2000. Jess supported Ralph in 2000 but didn't vote for him because he wasn't old enough to vote then. So Jess, Ann, what do you think of Nader right now? What's he doing right or wrong?

Jess: Well, first off, C.I. just mouthed "Cindy Sheehan." So let me include that Ralph's her guest later today on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox. I'd like to see him be more independent and more vocal. He's doing much more than the Green Party or any of their silly asses online but he's not doing enough. He needs to be on the administration every second of the day. Just holding them accountable.

Ann: I would agree with that. I think he's done a far better job than Cynthia McKinney. Maybe I can say that because I'm an African-American? Cynthia McKinney -- as Betty pointed out last week in the roundtable -- embarrassed herself. I have no respect for her now. She shouldn't have written that column to begin with and she sure as hell shouldn't have said that "we" all supported Barack in the 2008 presidential election. "We" didn't. And Cynthia, you do not speak for me. And how very sad that you were the Green Party's presidential candidate -- or Trojan horse -- and you reveal that despite being on the ballot in many states as a presidential candidate, you were supporting Barack Obama. You ought to be ashamed of yourself.

Jess: I would agree with Ann and Betty and said so last week when Betty raised the issue. That's just embarrassing. My party's been embarrassing and lame this entire year. I understand Kimmy Wilder is a Green again -- which just goes to show you how useless the Green Party is that Kimmy I-Can-Green-No-More Wilder is back in the party. Apparently she grew tired of kissing Barack Obama's ass. At least for the moment.

Cedric: Kimmy. What a joke. The original White Mama. Now, I've got a topic. Stan and I have both been reading Hillary Clinton's Living History because C.I.'s has explained, repeatedly, how liars like the self-loathing lesbian Laura Flanders and Batsy Bitsy Reed of The Nation lied about Hillary and claimed that all she had was one speech on women's rights as First Lady to point to as feminist credentials. So it's really amazing to read Hillary's book and realize just what big liars Laura and Batsy were.

Stan: Good topic. Right. It's been an eye opener. And you have to wonder if Reed and Flanders were that ignorant or that big of liars. You also have to wonder about their rank sexism because many of the issues, for example, households headed by single mothers, may not have been seen as 'feminist' to them. Flanders, of course, has no children and never will have any. She's very anti-child. You have to wonder how much that played into her attacks on Hillary because, both before becoming First Lady and after, Hillary worked a great deal on issues involving children. Such as her work in 1998 on bankruptcy reform. Or what about Working Women Count in 1994? Laura Flanders -- Mike was talking about Kris Welch and I'm the way he is on Welch about Laura Flanders -- is just disgusting. She's a liar, she's a fake, she needs to leave the country and go back to England but, of course, they don't want her back so we're stuck with her.

Rebecca: Well, karma's got her, just look at her. She's obviously very unhappy. The corners of her mouth now permantly droop, she appears to be losing her hair and her complexion is a joke. And, as C.I. and Ava would say, "You get the face you deserve after forty." Flanders' face become more mannish every day. She's really a freak show in slow-mo.

Jim: Kat's review is now posted. Not only is it posted, it's cross-posted at the mirror site. It's entitled "Kat's Korner: Joni Mitchell's unearthed treasure." Kat, what would you add to any of the topics we've discussed?

Kat: I would echo most strongly what C.I. said about the Iraq Inquiry. That is important and it's one of those, we either make sure that as many people as possible know what happened or we accept that we will be lied into war over and over, repeatedly from here until the end of time. To me that is so basic and so important and yet the press is focused on everything but that inquiry -- the press in the US. I think, and I'm not talking about corporate media here, our media encourages us to be dumb, delights in it.

Jim: Alright. And that's going to be the last thoughts. This was a rush transcript. Our e-mail address is

The numbers and the outrage

We don't know which is more laughable -- the implied assertion that violence stopped in Iraq or the comparison the US military made of themselves with Iraqis.

Let's start with the violence first.

Sunday 11 Iraqis were reported dead and 22 wounded, Monday the numbers were 2 dead and 18 wounded, Tuesday the death total was 3 and the number wounded was 16, Wednesday the death toll was 13 and the injured numbered 38, Thursday were 5 dead and 43 wounded and . . .

According to McClatchy Newspapers and Reuters -- who both do daily reports on the violence -- no one died or was wounded on Friday or Saturday because neither outlet filed a report on either day.

The totals are 34 dead and 120 wounded. (Reported. The actual numbers are probably much higher.)

Iraq 2

Last Sunday, the US military announced: "FORWARD OPERATING BASE KALSU, Iraq -- A Multi-National Division South Soldier was killed in action, Nov. 22.The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member’s primary next of kin.The incident is under investigation." Friday the US military announced: "BAGHDAD -- A Multi-National Division–Baghdad Soldier died, Nov. 27, of non-combat related injuries. The name of the deceased is being withheld pending notification of next of kin and release by the Department of Defense. The names of service members are announced through the U.S. Department of Defense official website at The announcements are made on the Web site no earlier than 24 hours after notification of the service member's primary next of kin. The incident is under investigation." The announcement brought the total number of US service members killed in the Iraq since the start of the illegal war to 4366.

In another failed effort at Operation Happy Talk last week, the US military hyped a Thanskgiving festival in Baghdad between the US military and a cross-section of Iraqis, "Two cultures come together at a table. The hosts, strangers in an exotic land, welcome native guests with a rich history stretching back thousands of years. This scene, reminiscent of the historic celebration at Plymouth, took place here on Forward Operating Base Falcon, Nov. 26, as dozens of Iraqi tribal, civil and military leaders and their families were guests of the 30th Heavy Brigade Combat Team for Thanksgiving dinner."

Don't Steal This Look!


If there's anything sillier than the phrase "Barack Obama, Nobel Peace Prize winner," we'd argue it was "The Fashionable Michelle Obama."

Last week, the White House finally staged their first State Dinner and Michelle was her usual fashion disaster.

Look who thinks she's 16

The first thing you may notice is that the wife of India's Prime Minister isn't attempting to show off her boobs. But if you were Michelle and had those masculine features -- including the professional football shoulders, you'd take every opportunity to reassure the world that you were, in fact, a woman.

A woman who can't dress worth s**t, but a woman none the less.


You'll notice the tummy bulge which Michelle attempts to conceal via her huge, mannish hands. If control top pantyhose won't reduce that, she needs to wear a girdle.

She also needs to grasp that she's not 16 and that dress is about 30 years too young for her.

Someone might also inform her that, as a general rule, fabric used for seat covers and couches is not to be used for formal wear.

Furthermore, was she planning on using that dress to sweep the floor? If not, what's up with the length?

As long as Michelle continues to present herself as 'fashionable,' you can count on us to be here pointing out that the Empress has no clothes on.

When Bully Met Poodle

Did you know the former Bully Boy of the United States, George W. Bush, felt all foreign leaders were like "creatures from outer space" except for one? Want to guess which one? It's the one he spent mysterious time with at the Crawford Ranch in the summer of 2002 -- with both men sending away prying advisers while they plotted hateful war together.

Thursday, during the Iraq Inquiry, Christopher Meyer's testimony touched on the special and, yes, strange relationship of George W. Bush and Tony Blair.

White House photo

"Hello, Tony. May I call you Tony? Welcome to Camp David."

"Hello, George. May I call you George? Great to be here. What are we going to talk about?"

That's the initial exchange as Meyers offered it in testimony to the committee.

Tony Blair wasn't just "Tony," he was special.

Meyers explained, "I remember Condoleeza Rice saying to me, 'The President has just got back and he said the only human being he felt he could talk to was Tony, the rest of them were like creatures from outer space,' or some such phrase."

Somewhere Australia's former prime minister John Howard blasts Aretha Franklin's "Sweet, Bitter Love" on the stereo and sobs into his pillow, "Why, George, why!!! Why wasn't I enough for you!!!!"


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. and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Barack 'Listens'" -- Barry O returns to the US and exposes a peace offering.

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site and we're hoping to develop this into something here for this edition. This went up Thursday.

"'Like Creatures from outer space' except for the Poodle," "Thankful?" and "If you're surprised, who was lying to you?" -- are C.I. and Mike's Thursday entries.

"Influence of the Bully Boy" -- Isaiah reaches into the archives for this comic on signing statements.

"Cause for Alarm!," "Kiss, Kiss, Bang, Bang," "With Six You Get Egg Roll" and "Easter Parade" -- The Friday night movie posts. Stan's joined by Betty, Marcia and Ann.

"Somerby and the awful 7th Heaven," "Mammograms, V," "hawaii oh-no," "The awful Democracy Now!," "TV show you loathe," "Perfect Strangers," "The Office," "Worst TV show," "Download Carly's new album for just $5.00" and "24 -- ugh" -- Theme post. Topic was worst TV show. Check out everyone's picks.

"Yes," "To shop or not and the Iraq Inquiry," "the sport of the shop," "No to Black Friday," "Comfort zone," "Pre-shopping questions," "To shop or not?," "Shopping kit and more ," "No to shopping (except for kids)" and "No on the shopping proposition" -- and our second theme post was thumbs up or thumbs down on Black Friday. All stuck to their positions expressed except Kat who hadn't planned to shop Friday but had a stereo go out Friday and ended up looking for another one on Black Friday (see "The death of the CD?").

"Post-Thanksgiving tips from the Kitchen" -- Trina offers some must-do tips for your kitchen after Thanksgiving.
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