Sunday, June 10, 2012

Truest statement of the week

The justices will deliver their landmark ruling on the 2010 health care law this month, and the government is in line to reap hundreds of billions of dollars in savings — perhaps more than $1 trillion — if certain parts of it are struck down.That money could be freed up just in time for a battle over whether automatic cuts to the Pentagon and social programs will kick in, and some members of Congress are already dreaming about the possibilities.

-- Jonathan Allen, "How The Supreme Court Could Help Congress Save Billions" (POLITICO).

Truest statement of the week II

The 2012 election campaign demonstrates the complete bankruptcy of the US two-party system, as far as the working class is concerned. Five years into the deepest economic slump since the 1930s, the US political system is incapable of enacting or even proposing any measure to create jobs or alleviate the widening conditions of social misery. Obama and Romney, and the various Senate and House candidates, vie with each other in proposing measures to attack the working class through cuts in social spending and handouts for corporations and the super-rich.
When Krugman pleads with Obama to “do a Harry Truman” and “run against a ‘do-nothing’ Republican Congress,” he covers up one essential fact: it is both parties that are attacking the working class.
There is nothing innocent or naïve about Krugman’s political role. In recent weeks he has emerged as an aggressive media apologist for Obama’s economic policies, writing in the Times, in the New York Review of Books, interviewed in the German Der Spiegel and on the front page of the British Guardian.

-- Patrick Martin takes the economist over his knee in "Paul Krugman shills for Obama and capitalism" (WSWS).

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.

We thank them all. What did we come up with?

A POLITCO report gets a truest.  A rare thing.
Patrick Martin offered strong media criticism.  We noticed a huge desire on the part of many to look the other way.

Thank you to Isaiah for use of his comic.  How the hell have we gotten to this point?  An unqualified, ignorant person is up for US Ambassador to Iraq.  Did they learn nothing from Chris Hill?

Ava and C.I. wrote a wonderful piece this week.  I (Jim) riffed on their opening paragraph for the title.  This reviews Burning Love, takes on Katrina vanden Heuvel's latest series of false claims and tells Kevin Smith to embrace those bi-sexual desires.  It's an amazing piece of writing.

Readers brought this to our attention.  We responded.

Dona asked for short pieces with the hope that we could finish early.  We didn't finish early but we did turn in a short piece she loved.

Senator Patty Murray on the Fair Pay Act.

This required editing before publishing.  Are we going to evaluate Gloria?  We may.  Right now we're waiting to see whether or not she's going to lie to rescue Barack.  If she does, we'll most likely examine how she's damaged the women's movement over the years.  In the meantime, read this article and grasp when Wonder Woman was being destroyed -- it wasn't when they gave her Zeus as a father.

At last, a reporter on the ground in Syria for NPR.
Senator Murray notes the VA's work on reproductive injuries.

Green Party candidate Jill Stein calls out the betrayal of Wisconsin.

The Committee Dianne Feinstein heads calls out the administration leaks.

Do we have free and fair elections if people can't get on the ballot?

A repost from Workers World.

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

And that's what we came up with this week.


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

Editorial: Ambassador to Swingtown?

Exactly how hard up is the White House for worthy nominees?

In March, Brett McGurk became Barack Obama's third nominee -- all three have been men -- to be the US Ambassador to Iraq.

Immediately problems were obvious.  He was very young (not yet 40), he lacked administrative and management experience (but was being nominated to run the United States' mostly costly diplomatic mission in the world?), he did not speak Arabic and he had no accomplishments to speak of.

Last Wednesday, he went before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.

How bad was it?


So bad that if you go to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee website to stream the hearing you see that note above.

It's not surprise that the Democratically-controlled Committee would attempt to bury the embarassment.  As C.I. outlined in a series of reports on the hearing, McGurk didn't know what the hell he was talking about.

McGurk took credit for the surge.  The only aspect of the surge that was successful was what Gen David Petraeus implemented and US service members carried out.  That was not what McGurk and other civilians were tasked with.  Their part of the surge?  The military effort was supposed to create a space that the politicians would put to good use by passing legislation.  It didn't happen.  McGurk's part of the surge was a failure.

He revealed incredible ignorance about al Qaeda in Iraq and seemed unaware that, in 2011, then-CIA Director (now Secretary of Defense) Leon Panetta told Congress it amounted to less than 1,000 people or that in February of this year, the Director of National Intelligence declared that a significnat number (of that less than 1,000) had gone to Syria.

Though the press has reported for years about Nouri's refusal to bring Sahwa members into the process (give them jobs) and how he refuses to pay these security forces (also known as "Awakenings" and "Sons of Iraq"), McGurk told Congress that Nouri was paying them all and had given government jobs to approximately 70,000.  (For point of reference, in 2008, Gen David Petraues told Congress there were approximately 91,000 Sahwa.)

Over three days, in consecutive snapshots, C.I. reported on the above.

Where's the rest of the press?

Where were they in examining the veracity of the statements that McGurk made to the Committee?  No where to be found.

The press coverage was so bad, Peter Van Buren would observe:

What once had been labeled America's most important foreign policy issue, what still is the world's largest embassy, what was a crusade that killed thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands Iraqis, a failed policy that is still sending waves through the volatile Middle East, is now so unimportant that it is lopped together with the Maldives as another bit of perfunctory business for the Senate to rap out before summer recess.
Nobody cares anymore.

Nobody cares anymore.

And though The Common Ills could report in Tuesday's snapshot about 2008 e-mails Brett "Blue Balls" McGurk sent out, the US mainstream press would ignore that news until Friday.

ambassador to swingtown

Yes, ladies and gentlemen, Barack Obama has nominated McGurk to be the Ambassador to Swingtown (as Isaiah's comic points out).  Iraqi women and US women working for the embassy in Baghdad, be warned, something lechorous this way may be coming.

TV: Parody and a dash of pastiche

Parody and pastiche, two of the most misunderstood terms.  Though not grammarians, we'd advise that when in doubt add "self-" to either term and the one it works with is generally the term you should go with.  As critics, we'll note the both generally falter and, outside of Mad magazine readers, few are forgiving of such failures.


Burning Love, the new web series from Yahoo, could be seen as parody but it's actually a pastiche of The Bachelor.  Ben Stiller's got a co-executive producer credit but the show's really the vision of husband and wife Ken Marino (star and director) and Erica Oyama (writer).

Ken stars as dim-witted, fire fighting bachelor Mark who immediately rejects blind bachelorette Tamara P. (Carla Gallo) because he feels that to be loved and appreciated, his handsome exterior must be seen.  His decision on whom to give his hose to (fireman's hose) is not necessarily based on their looks, however.  Spotting Agnes (played by 81-year-old Helen Slayton-Hughes), he notes with lustful growl that they've got a cougar in the pack.

Agnes will survive the first cut.  Tamara P. won't.  Sadly, the first cut also finds Mark eliminating Ballerina and Dana.  Dana?  A young woman looking for love who wears a panda costume because she wants a man to get to know her before he sees her.  That's not something Mark can get into.  On the limo ride back, Dana pulls off her panda head and wonders if she misplayed her hand?  Did we mention Jennifer Aniston plays Dana?  It was a brief but wonderful bit that reminded you of how much TV still misses Rachel Greene.  Ballerina was a sexually charged contestant hilariously played by Community's Ken Jeong and, we'd argue should have been kept around a bit longer.

With Jeong gone, most of the zany energy comes from Haley (Natasha Leggero) who's made the fashion choice of going bottomless.  Whether riding a mechanical bull or sitting around with the other bachelorettes, Haley's free falling.  Leggero took time to shine as Nikki on this year's Are You There, Chelsea?  Fortunately for Burning Love, she's been fully charged as Haley since her character's entrance. Another contestant to watch is hiding-her-pregnancy Vivian who hopes to land Mark before her water breaks.  And Kristen Bell is doing strong work as devoutly religious Mandy who explains to Mark in their first scene that she's already committed to someone: the Lord Jesus Christ.  Among the males, Michael Ian Black is bringing just the right combination of sleeze and shock for the Burning Love host  and Adam Scott is hilarious as Mark's therapist Damien who does not have any training but will take Mark's money and encourage Mark to work through his issues by cleaning Damien's office.

With three episodes posted so far (next one goes up Monday and the schedule is new epiosdes go up Mondays and Thursdays), Burning Love is already the comedy hit of the summer.

Wait.  Let's qualify that.  Burning Love is already the intentional comedy hit of the summer.  That qualifier is needed because there's a great deal of hilarity coming from people who unknowingly send themselves up.  That would be "self-parody," not "self-pastiche."

Take Katrina vanden Heuvel who learned all about espionage from her father and, from her mother, got the money to buy herself a seat at the table, in fact the whole table -- a cardboard fold-out, poker table better known as The Nation magazine.

Last week, she was on NPR's Talk of the Nation (no relation) to explain how the failed recall effort in Wisconsin not running Scott Walker out of the governor's mansion was not, in fact, important or any big deal.  Sure took her a lot of words to explain something so minor but maybe she was just running off at the mouth because she wasn't allowed to join the segment at the start?

Like Jane Eyre's Bertha Antoinetta Mason, Katty got consigned to the attic for half the segment so that host Neal Conan could start the segment with Ken Rudin and they could take three calls before bringing on a miffed Katty.

"I am right here, Ken, I'm -- no, I'm sorry, I'm here," declared Katty to Neal emphasizing that the most important person was herself.  "I'm here."

If you missed where the emphasis was placed, she reminded listeners quickly, "You know primaries are vexing, but they're part of our democracy, and I think the labor movement has a larger question to ask itself in terms of not just the labor movement but independents.  In the piece I write with Robert Borosage, which well be at . . ."  "The piece I write with"?

Grammer and manners dictate that you list the other person first but Katrina is her father's daughter and that becomes more obvious with each passing year.

And if you think, "Oh, it was said in passing."  Yes, it was.  Twice.  A minute later, she was again speaking of what "I write in the piece with Robert Borosage."  Like he's one of her coffee fetchers and not a real writer in his own right?  (Katrina's most famous coffee fetcher went on to become the Obama campaign's 2008 blogger.)

That second mention brought howls of laughter:

You know, at The Nation we do it through investigation, through exposing, but we also need, and I write in the piece with Robert Borosage, we need to propose a vision of an economy and a society that is appealing and engaging to millions of people.

The Nation is an opinon journal which sometimes publishes one investigative story.  And sometimes doesn't.  Here's investigative journalist Peter Byrne explaining the realities about Katty van-van's 'support' for investigative journalism:

I AM PLEASED to announce that my national exposé of Sen. Dianne Feinstein's conflict of interest has been selected as one of the 25 most underreported stories of 2007 by Project Censored, headquartered at Sonoma State University. I cherish this award because it means I am doing my job as an investigative reporter. Stories that the mainstream media ignore often reveal truths about our system of governance that editors at corporate daily newspapers work overtime to cover up. In this case, the cover-up was abetted by the editor and publisher of The Nation, Katrina vanden Heuvel, after The Nation's nonprofit investigative fund bankrolled my investigation of Feinstein. The story was headed for the cover of that weekly magazine shortly before the 2006 elections when vanden Heuvel, a wealthy Democratic Party partisan, spiked it. Subsequently, vanden Heuvel wrote an editorial praising women leaders of the newly empowered Democratic Party, mentioning Feinstein on a positive note.

Oh, Katty van-van, the truth is as hard for you to escape as the genes that gave you your father's nose.

As hilarious as it was to hear Katty extoll herself as the champion of investigative journalism, so it was to hear her claim that she's working "to propose a vision of an economy and a soceity that is appealing and engaging to millions of people."

The column she couldn't shut up about is entitled "A Politics for the 99 Percent" (and she gave herself top billing; alphabetical order -- like manners -- be damned).  But she doesn't want to help the 99%.

We say that not because she lives in a mansion.  Those who live in glass mansions shouldn't throw stones, we understand that.  (We also understand -- and are grateful -- that our homes don't have the rodent problems Katty's home does.)

We say that because she spent the last four years running a magazine that repeatedly spat on the working class while pretending to care about the working class.  She ignored poverty, she ignored how White House policies have increased poverty and hurt and ignored the poor.

The only people she wants to help are the ones who think just like her.  In her bitchy column, she insists this will be "the most idelogically polarized election since the Reagan-Carter face-off of 1980."  And she's certainly doing her part.

Her comparison may, in fact, be apt.  A candidate whose values and beliefs will probably form only if he's elected to the White House versus Wall Street's very own corporate raider of the America's assets.  Year after year, Katty whores for the corporatist in Democratic clothing.  Her mind's become as small as her nose is large.

There is something very sinister about Katty van-van.  A woman who's living off family money should be able to tell some truths.  Instead, she whores like she's competing for the title of America's Most Needy, writing garbage like, in 2010, "The result is that even when historic reforms like healthcare emerge, they are so battered that supporters end up dispirited."

There is nothing good about ObamaCare.  America needs single-payer, universal health care.  They don't need ObamaCare.  All that 'wonderful' legislation did was take your ability to buy health insurance and turn it into the law that you must buy health insurance or pay a hefty, yearly fine when you do your taxes.

Catty Katty co-pens this sentence, "The perils of the politics of division -- enforced by a beleaguered, aging white minority against an emerging, more diverse America -- are clear."  Katty is the aging White minority, especially in her falling down mansion in Harlem (honestly, if someone called a code inspector out to check the wiring, Katty's home would probably be condemned).  It's always hilarious to watch Katty presume to speak for all of America, this spoiled, ugly rich girl who used to piss her panties well beyond first grade has grown up into into a spoiled, ugly rich woman who still has a tendency to smell like stale urine.

The good news is, people aren't buying her act anymore.  And when a whore can't sell it, the pimp retires them.  So Katty may drift into the background shortly as a result of realities like these emerging in response to the propaganda she's been penning:

.., ..
I do so hate to read partisan swill when there's a bipartisan gun to our collective heads.
"Defeating Romney and Obama and the right’s ruinous agenda is necessary but not sufficient."
Please get back to us when you're able to pen that sentence....
John Mink
I am not against politics. There have been PLENTY of true progressives who have won elections in this country, even within my relatively short lifetime. Rhetoric aside, however, Obama is so far from a progressive that I cannot feasibly hold my nose to vote for him, or any of the rest of the "New Democrats". They deserve no more support than Republicans. 
This article is telling, detailing the cozy relationship with the drug industry the administration had while crafting the health care bill:
I voted for Obama in 2008. I will not do so again. Why should I have to choose between amputating my thumb or my ring finger? Green party in 2012.
BTW, if you are thinking "what else could Obama have done but compromise?", the answer is that he could have fought, hard. Viciously. Exacting brutal revenge and punishments on wavering blue dogs who held him hostage. Like Johnson and FDR. No weakness, no excuses. None of these people are innocents to be coddled.

  • DSWright
    Nation Magazine's psychosis continues - supports the Occupy Movement but also supports the Administration trying to crush it.

  • theshadowknows
     Welcome to the world of contradictions in the minds of the phony left.

And in what must really hurt (considering Katrina's trashy father), this comment, "Vanden Heuvel and Borosage have made careers dividing the middle class and suppressing the real left.  It is time for the real left to emerge and through off the shackles of neolib and CIA oppression.  If we don't the nation will continue to slide to the right."  Remember, boys and girls, the CIA will not be called out while Katrina's at the magazine.  Won't happen.

If politics is God's joke on humankind, as they like to say in DC, we'd argue Katrina vanden Heuvel is politc's joke on writing.

Writing's one of the things that Kevin Smith had.  Some might argue he's got a web show on Hulu called Spoilers, but, having seen it, we'd argue he's got nothing.

Kevin plays tormented genius like someone who's decided to live out Tim Burton's Ed Wood.  Not long ago, when he announced that his upcoming hockey film will be his last film directing, he noted that he had never really accomplished anything in film.

 That's not quite true but do we dare tell the truth about Kevin Smith?

Oh what the hell, someone needs to and maybe it'll get him out of the career slump.

Kevin married and that was a huge mistake for a man with bi-sexual leanings that his own sense of manhood has prevented him from acitng on and that the same sense of manhood now forces him to deny even exist.  Because he's forcing down attraction towards men, he had to take nudie photos of his wife and get Playboy to publish them.  Surely, that meant she was attractive and he should continue to have sex with her.  (As often as an overweight man who bakes his brain daily on pot can have sex.)

It was this 'normalization' process that killed the career of Kevin Smith.  Joey Lauren Adams, a wonderful actress and wonderful woman, never got alarmed when Kevin's eyes checked out another woman or another man.  She wasn't hung up on things like that and when your sexuality is fluid -- as Kevin Smith's was in desire if not practice -- and you don't want your sexuality to be fluid, you can't have Joey Lauren Adams as a girlfriend.  Yes, she's beautiful.  Yes, she's sexy.  But she won't play the traditional, stereotypical roles you need her to.  So you dump the only woman that ever challenged you -- mentally, artistically, physically -- and go on to live a lie.

The lying eats at you which is why you stuff your face and go from stocky to grossly obese.

The lying is also why you end up directing garbage like Jersey Girl (don't blame it on Jennifer Lopez) in the first place., and why you find it harder and harder to tell true stories.

Liars can't deal with the truth.

So people in the movie industry begin to notice that even your scripts in recent years are so forced and so thin that you use actors' names in place of characters.  You're no longer creating anything, you're forcing it out.

Clerks was a good film to start with.  It has flaws but is a classic of the independent film circuit.  The heart of the film was two relationships -- four men, two relationships.  Mallrats failed not because Shannen Doherty's a bad actress but because no one clued her in that she was playing a beard.

Chasing Amy is a first rate film.  An undeniable classic.  And, yes, Rose Troche and Guinevere Turner influenced it.  But mainly because those two film makers provided Kevin with something to hide behind: It was them, conversations with them, that inspired it.

Of course if two lesbians actually inspired the film, you might look for a really warm lesbian relationship or even just one female-on-female moment that radiated intelligence.  You won't find that in Chasing Amy.  The moment of truth takes place when Holden (Ben Affleck) kisses Banky (Jason Lee).

That's the moment the movie leads up to, that's the moment that makes the movie.

And Holden is the stand-in for Kevin Smith.  So while Banky's aroused and offended, Holden's saying it's okay, pushing to go to bed with both Banky and Alyssa (Joey Lauren Adams).  That was Kevin Smith's film-self trying to tell the real self it's okay.

Kevin Smith isn't gay.  At this point.  And we're not saying he is.  We're saying he has some desires towards both sexes.  His best moments in his films are where that's played with.  Dogma, for all the nonsense about high ideas, only works off the tension between Ben Affleck's Bartleby and Matt Damon's Loki.  And try to remember you're watching what is supposed to be a 'small, independent' film.  Matt and Ben have rarely looked so gorgeous, been filmed so lovingly.

When Kevin could recongize the attractions in the 90s, while refusing to deal with them, he had interesting moments in film.  Then came the new decade and a new life and an effort to deny who and what he is.

Watching him on Spoilers go on and on to Carrie Fisher about jerking off to her image, we weren't so much struck by what a bad interview it was (though it was a bad interview) as by how hard he was trying to establish himself as a man who has only ever been attracted to the opposite sex.

The reason Kevin's films of the '00s have sucked is because he has nothing to say.  He's bottled up the truth inside in an attempt to deny it.

We're not saying, "Kevin, grab the nearest Jeremy Sisto lookalike, hit the road for Palm Springs and hide away with him for a week at the Ocotillo Lodge."

We are saying, "Stop denying who you are."

And we are surely saying, "You're never going to turn a film with Bruce Willis and Tracy Morgan (Cop Out) into a hit because you're never going to be sexually charged by either.  Grasp that and realize that if you can't find a hormonal connection to the proprety, you can't make a film out of it."

Kevin Smith has become a Draq King parody of himself.  And this butching it up continues to rob him of the ingredients that made his films so interesting and so alive in the 90s.  He can continue down this road until he's become nothing but self-parody; however, as Katrina vanden Heuvel demonstrates, that's the road that extinguishes all traces of creativity and originality. But knowing yourself and using that to put your stamp on something, as Ken Marino and Erica Oyama are doing on Yahoo, is creativity.  Take that path, Kevin.  Quickly.

The Punk Almost Rises

That was morality; things that made you disgusted afterward. No, that must be immorality.
-- Ernest Hemingway, The Sun Also Rises.

Like most people, we ignore Sam Graham-Felsen these days.  But then readers steer us to even more hypocrisy flowing from G-F and there's no way to ignore the train wreck.


In the blog post currently at the top of the page, he quotes himself declaring, "Nothing is more depoliticizing than being lied to, and a close second is being condescended to.  An exaggeration, oversimplification, or lie is not a persuasion tool; it's a form of coercion."


We don't disagree but this is certainly a change from the Sam of the past.  As pointed out in "Sam Graham-Felsen stands for what?" back in 2008:

Sam once felt he was all grown up enough to tackle Noam Chomsky and offer this tidbit of 'wisdom': "And if he wants to convince Americans, he's simply got to tone it down." The still wet behind his ears offered, "Chomsky is almost 75 years old and he has a choice to make: he can continue to radically dissent to his heart's delight, or he can try to win a broader audience and actually change things." Now, yes, it is laughable that Sam, who has still accomplished nothing in his life, wants to lecture Noam Chomsky about Chomsky's lifetime of work but grasp the message Sam's sending which is "Tone it down, trick people a little, and you can get them over to your side."

Has Sammy finally seen the light?

Before you get your hopes up, read the post currently second on his blog, where he rages against allowing people to review products at Amazon and elsewhere (sort of the way he raged against democracy).

We're so glad Sammy didn't make it into the White House and so sad Katrina vanden Heuvel didn't take him back as her coffee fetcher.  She found him  -- and his attacks on Alex Cockburn so amusing. 

Shorter Leslie Savan

At The Nation, Leslie Savan was kissing ass hard with "Is Chris Matthews a Better Coomunicator Than Barack Obama?"


Life is brief and time valuable, so for those who don't have would rather not sacrifice to read New Jersey's leading 'intellectual' and her 931 words, we present Shorter Leslie Savan:

Dear God, please let Chris book me on his show.  I promise, I swear, I'll even brush my hair.

Video of the Week

When women are not paid what they deserve, middle class families and communities pay the price.

Senator Patty Murray (from the state of Washington) speaks out for the Paycheck Fairness Act.

For text click here.

Over the past few months, many of us have stood together to fight back against partisan attacks on policies impacting women across America. We haven’t started these fights—but we weren’t going to stand by and watch as they rolled back the clock.
But every time we stood up to defend women—our friends on the other side of the aisle would jump right up and say we were creating ‘distractions,’ or ‘manufactured issues.’ They would say we should be focused on the economy. As if we were the ones changing the subject and making the partisan attacks.
Well, we’re not going to stop standing up for women and families. And to those of my colleagues who claim to be so concerned about the economy and the middle class—now’s your chance to prove to your constituents that you really mean what you say. Because the Paycheck Fairness Act isn’t just about women. And it’s not just about fairness. It’s about the economy. When women aren’t paid what they deserve, middle class families and communities pay the price.”
“Women in my home state of Washington still earn 77 cents on the dollar; a pay gap that averages $11,834 in lost earnings each year. That’s an extra 90 weeks of groceries or 179 tanks of gasoline. To women in Washington and to most women across America, that’s certainly not a ‘manufactured issue’ It’s very real!”
“I was proud to stand with Senator Mikulski, other Members of Congress and the President as he signed the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009 to give women who are victims of pay discrimination the tools they need to seek justice. However, our work is far from complete. We are still not yet at the point where our daughters can expect to earn the same amount over their lifetime as our sons—and that has to change.”

When to worry about Wonder Woman, when not to

For several years now, we've included comic book coverage and when we cover mainstream comics, we always include Wonder Woman.  This leads to e-mails about how Gloria Steinem has railed against Wonder Woman since 2010.

At some point, there will time to reflect on the success and failures Gloria Steinem brought to the women's movement.  This isn't that time.  Instead, we'll note that if you talk about comics, you need to know about comics.

We  don't make embarrassing statements claiming that other titles led to Congressional hearings.  We're fully aware of the sadism and bondage themes in early Wonder Woman titles and how those moments were part of the criticism of comics.  Gloria's 2010 e-mail indicated she wasn't.

In addition, we don't think Diana Prince having a father is the end of the world.  And we have to wonder about Gloria's state of mind when she wrote that infamous 2010 e-mail decrying that, in the latest reboot, Diana went from made of clay by the Queen of the Amazons to the product of a clandestine affair between the Queen and Zeus.

There are more alarming things to worry about.

We were reminded of that as we read 2008's Diana Prince: Wonder Woman Volume One.  This softcover title grabs up Wonder Woman comic books in 1968 and 1969 --  the worst period of the title.

This is where people get upset that Diana Prince renounces her powers to stay in the mortal world while the Amazons of Paradise Island enter a new dimensional plane to fortify their powers.

That's how this period is usually summed up.  But as you read the awful comics, you realize it is much, much worse than that. 


Steve Trevor is injured and Diana stays for him.  Then, later in the comics collected in volume one, he dies.  So she stayed for no reason, you could argue.  But worse, she renounces Wonder Woman because, as she says of Steve, "He hates me now -- he really hates me! And as Wonder Woman I'll never be able to help him --!" It's The Little Mermaid except she's already on dry land and has a deep desire to cut herself apart in order to please  a man.

She's really pathetic and that's before she renounces her powers, that's while she's still Wonder Woman.

Wonder Woman is at a cocktail party -- yes, that does sound like the start of a good joke, sadly, it's not -- and a man insults her.  Steve Trevor tells him to stop.  The man then calls Wonder Woman a freak.  He then grabs her from behind and she's unable to fend off the drunk?  Steve punches the guy  and Wonder Woman and Steve head off . . . to go parking.  Many years ago, Mad magazine did a hate-filled spoof where Wonder Woman is in the kitchen and pregnant and battered by Steve Trevor who wants to watch his TV and have her bring him his dinner.  That spoof wasn't too far removed from the Wonder Woman of the second half of the sixties -- not just when Mike Sekowsky and other creeps take over as 1968 draws to a close.  See, Steve and Wonder Woman make out and then Wonder Woman has to go "crimefighting" so Steve goes to a club and tries to pick up an unnamed hippie.  The drunk Wonder Woman was grabbed by earlier?  He ends up dead and Steve is arrested the next day.

After she clears Steve of murder, he's hugging her but thinking of Diana Prince leading Wonder Woman to wonder, "If he can fall for Diana like this, he can fall for any woman! And I'll lose him forever if I don't do something to keep him interested in me! Wonder Woman must change . . ."

Trying to bring down a villain named Cyber, Steve gets shot.  That's when she decides to stay, while he's in a coma.  She loses all of her powers and her invisible plane.  Her new mentor I-Ching shows up to train her in the martial arts so that she can help him defeat Cyber. They team up with private detective Tim who calls her a "chick" in a voice over and "a dumb chick" when he first speaks to her.

He'll call her chick over and over until he finally deserts her due to greed.  By which time, she's fallen for him.  ("No! I can't believe Tim has really . . . betrayed us ! He can't be bad!")  A few panels later -- in the same issue of the comic book, she meets Reggie and falls for him.  "Anything you say," she tells him as they hit Swinging London and he plays Richard Gere taking her Julia Roberts to a mod clothing store where he buys clothes for her.  Then they're in his car kissing with him proposing marriage and Diana thinks -- as does anyone reading it -- "What's happening to me?"

When Reggie tries to kill her, the former Wonder Woman starts crying -- tears streaming from her eyes -- screaming, "You lied to me! You said you loved me!"


Then she and I-Ching go to Paradise Island.  Apparently men are no longer a big issue on Paradise Island the way they were when Steve Trevor was nursed to health back in the 40s.  No concern at all over I-Ching.  And when Paradise Island is under attack, Diana gets the 'brilliant' idea of how to save it: Men!

Yes, it is that sad.

By contrast, Diana becoming the daughter of Zeus?  Not all that important.  Not worth getting all stirred up over.

But this period when Wonder Woman wasn't even the star of her own comic, wasn't even top billed (check the illustrations, it's "The Incredible I-Ching! and. . . The New Wonder Woman")? 

Those are things worth getting outraged over.  Diana Prince getting Zeus as a father?  Not really.

Best news about the news

Are you among those tired of NPR's 'reports' from Syria?

You know what we're talking about, Kelly McEvers, in Beirut, repeats what US-government approved 'activists' in Syria tell her.  Gets all weepy on air whenever one of them dies and pretends that she somehow saw it and knows who did the killing as she ignores all the other deaths to put out propaganda to start a war?

As Ruth pointed out last week, Danny Schechter finally discovered . . . . what Ava and C.I. were calling out as far back as February 12th:

It's her reporting on Syria that's destroyed her reputation, as each day seems to find her filing yet another breathless report of the violence being witnessed in Syria, the outageous violence, the deaths, the destruction . . . All of which she observes from Beirut. (That's in Lebanaon for those not familiar with the MidEast and, no, Lebanaon is not in Syria, it is its own country which, like Iraq, shares a border with Syria.)

Sometimes, after dispensing 'facts' on bombings and deaths and shootings, 'reporter' Kelly will add something like "the activists and witnesses and citizen journalists who we talk to on a regular basis" tell her this is what is taking place. Such a statement -- not always included -- will usually pass quickly. And no one will question whether her sources are one-sided (they certainly sound one-sided). Last week, when she was 'reporting' on rockets destroying a neighborhood and a hospital (unverifiable claims on her part) this exchange did take place:

INSKEEP: Now, Kelly, we should be clear: Few, if any, journalists are inside Homs, or in any of the contested areas in Syria. We're getting information from activists here. How confident are you of the picture that's emerging, of what's happening in Syria right now?

MCEVERS: It is so difficult to verify the numbers. And over the weekend, we saw that there were discrepancies about how many, exactly, had died in some of these government offensives. You had one activist group saying it was over 300. Another activist group saying no, it was only 60. And without being able to go there ourselves and verify it and see it with our own eyes, it's very difficult.

It's very difficult? We'd say it's impossible. And when the administration is pounding the war drums on Syria, we'd say the last thing the US needs is 'reporters' 'reporting' on something they can't verify with their own eyes. Speaking to people with vested interests and basing your report on that? Not only is that not objective journalism, it doesn't even rise to the level of news reporting. At best, it's a feature article -- a lighter category.

But nearly every day, there's Kelly on Morning Edition (or All Things Considered), breathless and insisting that violence is taking place all around her . . . Well, she watches some streams online from her echo chamber inner circle -- apparantly while preparing meals based upon what she declared on Morning Edition last week. Is she doubling as a Sous-Chef at Chez Sami?

Also bravely addressing the topic and blazing the trail Schechter would tip toe down much later were  Rebecca with "media whore kelly mcevers," Elaine with "Syria"  and C.I. on her own with  "Blair gets called a War Criminal, BBC gets caught ..."

So where's the good news?

Last week, NPR finally got a reporter into Syria: Deborah Amos.

debroah amos
A real reporter.  Author of  Eclipse of the Sunnis: Power, Exile, and Upheaval in the Middle East  -- which Common Ills community members chose as the book of 2010.   We might not like the news out of Syria any better, but at least we'll know it's coming for a trained reporter, one actually on the ground in Syria.

The VA and reproductive injuries

senator patty murray

Senator Patty Murray (Above)  is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office noted the following last week.

Thursday, June 7, 2012
CONTACT: Murray Press Office
 (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Commends VA for Focus on Reproductive Injuries 
Murray: VA must continue to work to enhance fertility treatment services for severely wounded veterans 
(Washington, D.C.) – Yesterday, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), Chairman of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee sent a letter to Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric K. Shinseki to commend the Department's addition of coverage for reproductive and urinary tract injuries to the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program. The nature of the current conflict and increasing use of improvised explosive devices leaves servicemembers far more susceptible to blast injuries that affect these systems. Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 more than 600 servicemembers from OEF/OIF/OND suffered these life-changing battle injuries. 
"It is vital our veterans and their families receive benefits and services that allow them to fulfill their life goals, such as attending college or having a child," said Senator Murray. "I look forward to working with VA to make sure veterans get the support they need." 
The full text of the letter follows: 
June 6, 2012 
Honorable Eric K. Shinseki 
Secretary of Veterans Affairs 
810 Vermont Avenue, NW 
Washington, DC 20420 
Dear Secretary Shinseki: 
I write to commend the Department's recent focus on reproductive and urinary tract injuries in the Servicemembers' Group Life Insurance Traumatic Injury Protection Program. The nature of the current conflict and increasing use of improvised explosive devices leaves servicemembers far more susceptible to blast injuries that cause this type of trauma. This is an area that has been of increasing concern to me as these injured servicemembers attempt to move forward with their lives. 
Recent Army data shows that between 2003 and 2011 more than 600 servicemembers from the current conflicts suffered reproductive and urinary tract battle injuries. As these servicemembers readjust to civilian life and eventually get ready to start their own family, they find VA's fertility services do not meet their complex needs. While VA's fertility services provide limited assistance to the veteran with reproductive and urinary tract trauma, there is no coverage for their spouse. 
I know that you share my belief that it is critical that veterans and their families receive benefits and services that allow them to fulfill as many of their goals as practicable, whether they include attending college or having a child. 
I look forward to our continued work is this area to support our Nation's veterans and their families.
Kathryn Robertson
Press Assistant
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510

Wisconsin betrayed (Jill Stein)

Jill Stein

  Jill Stein (above) is campaigning for the Green Party's presidential nomination.   Her campaign notes her position on what took place in Wisconsin last week.

Wisconsin betrayed by silencing of democracy movement, says Stein

wisconsinwsjstormcapitol110310.jpgDr. Jill Stein, the victor in the Green Party presidential primaries, this morning issued the following statement about yesterday's recall elections in Wisconsin:
"For over a year now, the working people of Wisconsin have been under siege by the fossil fuel, mining, and toxic chemical corporations. Yesterday's recall election was deeply flawed. Thousands of qualified voters were turned away from their polling places. Thousands more were told not to vote, or that election day was yet to come. The corporate media declared the election results while voters still stood in line to vote, and at a time when only the most conservative ward results were reported. Many votes were cast on electronic voting machines that are easy to manipulate because they lack a paper trail. And nearly all of the money spent in the election came from out-of-state big corporate interests. If an election like that is free and fair, then I have a nuke plant in Vermont to sell you."
"My national campaign headquarters is on the Capitol Square in Madison. I have visited Wisconsin repeatedly this past year, marched with Wisconsinites, sang with the Solidarity Singers, and circulated recall petitions. Next week, I will speak at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair near Amherst, Wisconsin. I am committed to Wisconsin's struggle for democracy and self-determination."
"Where has Barack Obama been in the course of this struggle? He had time to visit Minnesota and Chicago, but not Wisconsin. He had time for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street financiers, but not for the working people who have already lost so much. If he has had any part at all in this great movement for economic justice and democracy that has arisen in America this past year, President Obama's role has been to oversee the most coordinated and brutal national crackdown on non-violent protesters this country has seen in half a century."
"There are many lessons to what happened in Wisconsin yesterday. Most of those lessons are about the role of big money in politics, and the lengths to which some will go to suppress the right to vote. But one key lesson from this entire recall process -- from the attempts by the Democratic National Committee to cancel the recall effort last year, to the pressure the Obama White House placed on progressives within the Democratic Party not to run in the recall, to the early concession by Mayor Barrett given despite his promises to wait until all the Milwaukee votes were counted -- one key lesson is that the Democratic Party cannot be trusted to defend the interests of regular people."
"We need our own party, organized by, led by, and funded by we the people, not the corporations. Just as Wisconsinites took leadership in the uprising of the past year, and did not ask for permission to launch the occupy movement, so too must Wisconsin find its own strong progressive voice at the ballot box. Yesterday's election reminds us once again that silence is not an effective political strategy."

Leaks of Classified National Security Information

Last week, the Senate Intellgience Committee weighed in on recent administration leaks:

       Press Release of Intelligence Committee News From Congressional Intelligence Leaders
Feinstein, Chambliss, Rogers, Ruppersberger Deplore Leaks of Classified National Security Information
Contact: Brian Weiss (Feinstein), (202) 224-9629
Bronwyn Lance Chester (Chambliss), (202) 224-3423
Susan Phalen (Rogers), (202) 226-4158
Heather Molino (Ruppersberger), (202) 225-7690

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

"In recent weeks, we have become increasingly concerned at the continued leaks regarding sensitive intelligence programs and activities, including specific details of sources and methods. The accelerating pace of such disclosures, the sensitivity of the matters in question, and the harm caused to our national security interests is alarming and unacceptable.

"These disclosures have seriously interfered with ongoing intelligence programs and have put at jeopardy our intelligence capability to act in the future. Each disclosure puts American lives at risk, makes it more difficult to recruit assets, strains the trust of our partners, and threatens imminent and irreparable damage to our national security in the face of urgent and rapidly adapting threats worldwide.

"As leaders of the House and Senate Intelligence Committees, we are jointly committed to act immediately to address this matter. Our Committees each intend to review potential legislation to strengthen authorities and procedures with respect to access to classified information and disclosure of it, as well as to ensure that criminal and administrative measures are taken each time sensitive information is improperly disclosed. We also intend to press for the Executive branch to take tangible and demonstrable steps to detect and deter intelligence leaks, and to fully, fairly, and impartially investigate the disclosures that have already taken place. We plan to move legislation quickly, to include possible action in this year's intelligence authorization act.

"The problem of leaks of classified information is not new, and efforts in the past to address it have not worked. We believe that significant changes are needed, in legislation, in the culture of the agencies that deal with classified information, in punishing leaks, and in the level of leadership across the government to make clear that these types of disclosures will not stand."

Ballot Access (Green Party of Michigan)

This is from the Green Party of Michigan:

For Immediate Release:
For more information, contact:
John Anthony La Pietra
Elections Co-ordinator, GPMI
(269) 781-9478

Michigan Conservatives Again Thwart Emergency Manager Law Repeal
In a unique conclusion, a three-judge panel of the Michigan Court of Appeals agreed that there was a precedent which would place the Emergency Manager Repeal on the November ballot, but the panel stayed the ruling citing disagreement with the previous judgment. The Green Party of Michigan calls on judges in this case to act now to let the people express their will and political power this fall.
Last month, the Board of State Canvassers decided to rule against the group Stand Up for Democracy who recognized that Governor Snyder's Emergency Manager Law was undemocratic; the citizens of Michigan never had a say in its enactment, and it took away their right to empower their elected representatives. The petition had far more signatures than was required to get the question on the ballot, but a false technicality may thwart the will of the people.
 A conservative group, Citizens for Fiscal Responsibility, argued that the requirement for a 14-point font size for the header was not met. A partisan vote on the Board of State Canvassers let this challenge block the referendum. Not deterred by this decision, Stand Up for Democracy appealed and hoped to have the matter decided in time for the people to vote on the law in November.
The three-judge appeals court panel included Kurtis Wilder, Kirsten Frank Kelly, and Michael Riordan. Even though it is a non-partisan appointment, these are three judges with distinctively conservative backgrounds: Judge Riordan was appointed by Snyder, Judge Wilder is a member of the Federalist Society, and Judge Kelly is a Republican Party member and a vocal opponent of “judicial activism”. This may serve to explain why they voted unanimously to maintain this law which broadens the power of a Republican governor despite clear legal precedent. It should come as no surprise, given that the Republicans in the Board of State Canvassers voted likewise.
The 2002 precedent the appeals judges have to overcome states that a petition only needs to be in substantial compliance with guidelines. In other words, if the petition is readable and the wording is clearly visible, the petition should be deemed valid and the people should get to vote on it, even if the size or style of some type may be slightly off.
While judges must follow precedent set in earlier rulings, the judges in this case stayed their decision pending a possible review panel who will look over the previous judgment and decide whether to overturn the precedent. If it is overturned, the petition may again be rejected; if it is not, the petition will be approved. 
Still, this may all be a moot point, as MSU professor Chris Corneal, a graphic design expert, attested recently. “I determined that [the disputed petition text] was Calibri bold set at 14 point. Simply measuring the heighth of the capital letter will not give an accurate point size. It should include the cap heighth, plus the depth of the descender [the lower part of, say, a g], plus a little buffer area that is different for different cap heighths.” Using this expert's means of measurement, the stated standard was indeed met, negating the need for the special panel sought by the appeals court.
As there is a strong contingent of Green Party members in the Detroit area, arguably the region most affected yet by the law, the party has taken a great interest in its repeal. In an earlier release, the Green Party called on the powers-that-be to consider Article I, Section 1 of the Michigan Constitution: “All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their equal benefit, security and protection.” The citizens of Michigan spoke through the signing of the petition, following a clearly democratic process in order to overturn a clearly undemocratic law. 
John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI's Elections Co-ordinator, points out: “The precedent these three judges don't like is founded on the bedrock of the Michigan constitution, which says power belongs to the people – and adds that the people reserve for themselves the power of initiative and referendum.

“Of course that should trump any minor technical difficulties with these petitions -- if there were any. But the facts and the record are clear that the petitions are not only in substantial compliance with the statutory requirements -- they are in actual compliance.
“GPMI has urged prompt action before. Now we insist that Michigan's elected and appointed judiciary act immediately to declare the petitions valid, suspend PA 4, and put the referendum on the ballot. Any more delay will deny justice and block the people from exercising their power by voting.”
Expert on graphic design:
Biographies of Appeal Judges:
Appeals Court Decision:

What happened in Syria? (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

Eyewitnesses blame anti-gov’t fighters for Houla massacre

Published Jun 8, 2012 9:07 PM

This photo was published by the BBC. Syrian
anti-government forces said it showed the
bodies from the Houla massacre, with a child
leaping over them. It was soon discovered
it was a photo from Iraq in 2003, being used
for anti-government propaganda against Syria.
June 5 — A Russian news team was told by Syrian eyewitnesses that the May 25 massacre of civilians in Houla, universally blamed on the Assad government, was in fact committed by local criminals, mercenaries and other forces connected to the imperialist-armed “Free Syrian Army.”
All accusations against the Syrian government have made top headlines in the corporate media worldwide and continue to do so as of today. The Russian news team’s discovery of the real killers, however, remains unreported, except in the alternative and progressive media. Also, the imperialist-controlled media have dismissed Syrian President Bachar al-Assad’s categorical denial that the government carried out the massacre.

This one-sided presentation of anti-Syrian propaganda points to a concerted effort to invent a pretext for increased U.S.-NATO intervention against Syria.
Marat Musin, reporting for ANNA News, interviewed a dozen witnesses right after the massacre. His report concluded, “The attack was carried out by a unit of armed fighters from Rastan, in which more than 700 gunmen were involved. They brought the city under their control and began with a cleansing action against loyalist [pro-Assad] families, including elderly people, women and also children. The dead were presented to … the U.N. and the ‘international community’ as victims of the Syrian army.” Residents knew many of the killers by name and identified them as local criminal elements now working for the so-called Free Syrian Army. (SyriaNews, May 31)
A simple thing like the truth did not stop U.S. and other NATO regimes and their corporate media from raising a frenzy blaming the Syrian government for the deaths of 108 Syrian civilians including 49 children. Nor did it stop the governments of the U.S., the Netherlands, Australia, Great Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria and Canada from expelling Syrian diplomats in a coordinated move of contrived “international outrage.”
Without any investigation, the United Nations Security Council reacted to the massacre by unanimously condemning Syria for allegedly using tanks and artillery after agreeing to a ceasefire. The U.N. has not rebuked the FSA, which has flat-out refused to consider a ceasefire with the Assad government.
Imperialism seeks pretext
The U.S.-led imperialist powers seek a pretext to openly carry out regime change in Syria as they did in Libya. While pointing the finger at Assad for the deaths and hardships suffered in Syria, Washington is aiding, abetting and arming the reactionary militias destabilizing the country and murdering civilians.
This so-called Free Syrian Army is a counterinsurgency, terror and death squad operation set up by imperialism to topple the Assad government in order to bring Syria, and the entire region, back into the imperialist orbit. The FSA is in the opposite political camp from any progressive Syrians who may have taken to the streets to demand needed political and economic reforms, and must not be confused with them.
Killing whole families at Houla shows that the FSA has no interest in protecting or helping the Syrian people, but only seeks to terrorize and subdue it. A seizure of power by these forces would cause grave suffering throughout Syria and the region, and imperialism would again be calling all the shots.
What happened in Houla?
The following is excerpted from a translation of the transcript of a Russian-language video made by Marat Musin of ANNA News in Houla a few days after the massacre, which appeared in Russia News on May 31. Houla is a collection of 15 mostly Sunni Muslim villages near the Syrian city of Homs and close to the Lebanese border. Musin interviewed a dozen residents of the villages of Al Houla and Taldou.
An eyewitness from Taldou reports, “Two days earlier the terrorists’ assistants told us that the Zero Hour is coming soon. We heard this from local terrorists, always talking about how they should create a fuss. I didn’t expect it would be this way.
“Until this event, [the armed terrorists] used to attack army checkpoints every Friday after prayers. They attack for several hours; then things go back to normal. Some armed men carried cameras and taped everything; others carried [walkie talkies], and we heard their conversations from inside our houses.
“On May 25, at 2 p.m. right after Friday prayers, an army checkpoint [was attacked] and the army repelled this attack. … When the armed men attacked the checkpoint, 25 of them were killed. …
“When the U.N. Observers came, the armed men gathered the bodies in front of the observers and claimed that they’re civilians killed by the Syrian Arab Army. I heard that personally from them when they said it to the observers and they claimed that they found the bodies inside the houses.
“At around 3:30 p.m., they secured the elevated checkpoint. … Shortly afterward, they secured the army checkpoint and the police station in the city.
“[Just next to] this police station are the families’ houses. The residential buildings against this police station are where all those children and families were killed. They killed all the children of Al-Sayed family; there were three families and 20 children. They also killed people from Abdulrazak family, 10 persons; they killed them because they support the authorities. Of Al-Sayed family they killed the family of the brother of Abdullah Al-Mashlab, the third person in the Syrian parliament. He was elected on May 24; the next day they killed his wife and three kids and his brother and his family as well.
“At 7 p.m., Al-Farouq Brigade, led by Abdulrazak Tlass, of the so-called ‘Free Syrian Army’ arrived. He had more than 250 armed men with him from the city of Rastan; he also had two other groups with him, one from Al-Qabo village, led by Yehya Al-Yusef, and another from Falla village.
“At the time of the attack, the leaders always instructed the armed men to intensify the fire during their calls to Al-Jazeera. At night, the shooting stopped.
“On the second day we heard them talking to each other on walkie talkies that some of the armed men should wear the Syrian Arab Army’s uniform before the observers arrive so that they claim they’ve defected from the army and joined the armed men, and the others should dress like civilians and come with us to the mosque, where the bodies and the observers are.
“I only saw the observers from afar; they were surrounded by armed men who put on the Syrian Arab Army’s uniforms. A lot of people were there and saw all of that; they were from chosen families and they were calling, ‘We want to bring the regime down,’ and everybody knows they’re the armed men’s relatives. …
“When the observers arrived, the armed men had occupied the empty houses, and the armed men who accompanied the observers started showing the observers into the houses as if the owners were inside and they provided testimonies. …
“The majority of people [here] share the same view [of these events], but they’re scared to death. Earlier, many of them used to participate in pro-regime rallies and they used to write slogans against Daraa, the FSA and the armed men. However, the armed men took revenge against all those who wrote by killing them. …
“Before the events started, those armed men used to be smugglers … [and] thieves. … They kidnapped people of other sects. … At the beginning of the crisis, they attacked the hospital and stole blood bags and used them at the demonstrations. They poured blood on the demonstrators to show that they were dead or injured when fabricating videos for Al-Jazeera and Al-Arabiya.”
Death squads organized
out of U.S. embassy

Both the U.N. Commission of Inquiry (Feb. 21) and Human Rights Watch (March 20) have documented the existence of death squads and counterinsurgency teams targeting the Assad government and its supporters. Where did these terror groups come from? There is every indication that they were launched out of the U.S. Embassy in Damascus.
John Stephen Ford was appointed U.S. Ambassador to Syria and served from January to October 2011. Ford is a protégé of John Negroponte, who organized death squads in the 1970s in El Salvador and later in Iraq when he was ambassador in 2004-2005. These terror squads have killed tens of thousands. Ford was right under Negroponte at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
According to Michael Chossudovsky, “Ambassador Robert S. Ford played a central role in laying the groundwork within Syria as well as establishing contacts with opposition groups.” (Global Research, May 28) Two months after he arrived in Damascus, the armed insurgency began.
No longer in Damascus, Ford continues his work to destabilize Syria as a member of the “Syria Policy Committee” chaired by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. The State Department, in collaboration with several U.S. intelligence agencies and the Pentagon, is overseeing U.S. support to the Free Syrian Army, according to Chossudovsky.
U.S. arms terrorists,
demands Syrian army hold fire

The imperialists and their press loudly accuse the besieged Assad of violating the U.N.-brokered ceasefire. At the same time, U.S. and its NATO allies quietly ship large quantities of weapons to the FSA, which has repeatedly refused a ceasefire with the Assad government.
According to a May 15 report in the Washington Post, “Syrian rebels battling the regime of President Bashar al-Assad have begun receiving significantly more and better weapons in recent weeks, an effort paid for by Persian Gulf nations and coordinated in part by the United States, according to opposition activists and U.S. and foreign officials.”
The report continued, “ ‘We are increasing our nonlethal assistance to the Syrian opposition, and we continue to coordinate our efforts with friends and allies in the region and beyond in order to have the biggest impact on what we are collectively doing,’ said a senior State Department official, one of several U.S. and foreign government officials who discussed the evolving effort on the condition of anonymity.”
A May 22 posting on the Israeli online publication DEBKAFILE reveals U.S. assistance to be extremely lethal. “The Syrian rebels have received their first ‘third generation’ anti-tank weapons, 9K115-2 Metis-M and Kornet E. They are supplied by Saudi and Qatari intelligence agencies following a secret message from President Barack Obama advising them to up the military stake in the effort to oust Assad.”
In his article in Global Research published online May 9, Tony Cartalucci cites the Brookings Institution report, “Assessing Options for Regime Change. Mideast Memo # 21.” This ruling-class think tank calls for using the Kofi Annan peace plan and ceasefire to strengthen the armed opposition to Assad. It argues that the peace plan could give the imperialists a chance to establish and “protect” so-called “humanitarian” safe havens that would really be bases from which the reactionaries could operate.


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.

"'Blue Balls' McGurk faces Senate Foreign Relations..." -- most requested highlight of the week.

And other McGurk coverage by C.I. (first three snapshots find C.I. reporting on the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing on McGurk's nomination):

"Brett McGurk is a waste of taxpayer money" -- Trina weighs in on the nominee.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Shooting Range" -- Isaiah watches Barack practice at the shooting range.

"4 men, 1 woman" -- Ann offers media criticism.

"Taco Pizza in the Kitchen" and  "16 bean soup" -- Trina and Rebecca on food.

"how do you spot a sexist?" and "That sexist Schechter" -- Rebecca and Ruth on the sexist writers.

"Young Hollywood? Young?" and "Out of touch and then some" & "THIS JUST IN! THEY'RE REALLY PRETTY STUPID!" -- Ruth, Cedric and Wally explain there is young and there is not young.

"Another pundit?" -- Marcia says not so fast.
"Ultraviolet" and  "What am I watching?" -- Stan surfs the net.

"Princess Brat" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Meet an ass" and "Comedian Carl" and  "Is Tom Hayden drunk or senile or sloppy?" -- Elaine and Trina blog about blowhards.

"The investigation" and "It's hitting the fan" -- Mike tracks the White House and its leaks.

"What won't he do to win?" and "THIS JUST IN! THAT'S A RE-ELECTION STRATEGY!" -- Cedric and Wally on the desperation factor.
 "5 men, 1 woman" -- Ann on the drone wars.

"Dippy song" and "Music grab bag" -- Betty and Kat write about music.

"Desperate Housewives," "Burning Love" and "Summer TV dull" -- Betty, Kat and Stan talk TV.

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