Sunday, November 18, 2012

Truest statement of the week

And this is a whole picture here of the unbridled -- whether it's Republican or Democrat -- they have complete unity on the importance of the national security state -- up and down, US domination being expressed militarily, financially and even ideologically all over the world. Everybody on the call knows this so I feel it's essential to say, absolutely, there has not been significant -- There wasn't even enough resistance, for God's sake, when Bush was in. Otherwise, we would have driven him out.

--  World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet speaking with Cindy Sheehan on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox last week.

Truest statement of the week II has written very little on the 2012 election results, in part because it doesn’t have much to add to the contention of the Nation and the liberal media that a progressive surge of women, gays and blacks blocked the reactionary designs of “white men.”
In reality, millions of white workers voted for Obama in 2008 in the naïve belief that a black president would be more sympathetic to their interests. The last four years has disabused many of them. The final results are not yet in, but it appears that between 5 and 8 million less votes were cast in 2012, and most of the voters who stayed at home were white.
Of course, the “party of the nonvoting” dwarfed the winning candidate’s total too, as 90 to 95 million eligible voters abstained, including, it should be pointed out, some 8.5 million African Americans (more than a third of the eligible black voting population).
On the eve of the election, leading ISO member Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor posted a foul commentary (“Why they don’t challenge racism,” November 5, 2012), which treated as good coin an Associated Press report that “explicit racist attitudes toward African Americans have increased” in the past four years. Taylor took the opportunity to contend that this shabby and unsubstantiated piece of evidence demonstrated “the centrality of racism in American politics.” What Taylor means, in reality, is that the white population is imbued with racism, for which claim she provides, and can provide, absolutely no proof.
The piece is replete with references to “Black life,” “Black communities” and the need for a “Black agenda” and a “Black movement.” Essentially, Taylor complains that Obama did not pay sufficient attention during his first term to petty bourgeois African Americans like herself “whose vote was critical to the candidate becoming president in the first place” and who thus expected “that their particular issues” would receive some attention. The article reeks of selfishness and the striving for privileges.
The racialist orientation of the middle class ex-left is reprehensible and sick, and sinister in its implications. Such outfits and individuals will more and more openly lend their support to “democratic” imperialism as it encounters the opposition of vast numbers of people to austerity, repression and war.

-- David Walsh, "Organization stands on the 2012 election results" (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.

And what did we come up with?

Debra Sweet talking truth about activism.
WSWS remains the only periodical to tell the truth about the so-called 'fiscal cliff.' 

Our Iraq piece is about how an institution that's supposed to stand for the people but didn't.
I (Jim) loved this piece the minute I read it but had no idea what to title it.  Jess and Elaine suggested I work Grand Guignol into the title and then it wrote itself.

After Jill Stein's ridiculous campaign (the last six weeks), do not expect this site to endorse a Green Party presidential candidate in 2016 if we're still around then. 

Dona wanted to do a feature on a broadcast of Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox.  She decided to roundtable with all that had listened.

Bernie buys into the 'fiscal cliff' -- he's so useless.

The long promised Dona feature.  With a crappy illustration.  See, for two weeks that was the best we could get.  But Ty and I were with Dona at the grocery store when she noticed that and we took pictures with our phones too.  When we finally checked the ones on our memory sticks, ours were even worse.  I told Dona she could wait but she pointed out two 'notes to the reader' have mentioned a dairy story and if a third edition mentioned it but didn't offer it it would become a running gag.

We were silent on the Kevin Cash thing until he paid off the accuser.

We repost C.I.'s brilliant critique.

A repost from Workers World.

This is a press release from Senator Murray's office.

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

 See you next week.


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

Editorial: The UN betrays Iraq again

The United Nations is widely criticized and condemned.  In part, that would be the reality for any institution of many decades.  Decisions will prompt criticism, feelings will harden and your image will be somewhat less than pristine.

There is also the fact that "UN peace keepers" have often engaged in rape and murder. (Often?  Even once is once too often.  The UN actually has a pattern of this -- especially in Haiti and in Africa.)

united nations

Proclaiming itself to be an institution for the people ("We the peoples . . . A stronger UN for a better world") also results in massive disappointment because the United Nations is neither brave nor forward thinking.

That it reflects the will of the ruling elite is not news.

So it's probably not news that the desire to convert Iraq's economy into a complete capitalist market economy trumped the desire to protect the Iraqi people.

But are most people aware that the UN was willing to remain silent while Nouri al-Maliki, prime minister and chief thug of Iraq, laid the groundwork for voter fraud?

When Iraq was under US-imposed sanctions, a food-ration-card system was created.  It allowed every Iraqi the right to basic foods.  Since the start of the US war, this card system has been under attack.  Paul Bremer and others wanted to immediately eliminate it in the first two years of the war but the Iraqi people made clear that would not happen.

What happened instead was that the items given for free were regularly reduced until they became the most basic of staples.

November 6th, Nouri's spokesperson Ali al-Dabbagh announced the cancellation of the program. There was a huge pushback that grew and grew -- from politicians, from clerics, from the people until Friday when it really couldn't be ignored.  As the clerics, including Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, noted, this move would hurt the people who are already struggling economically.

This was disturbing when you think about how many Iraqis live in poverty and how the card system is so needed by the Iraqi people.

But what was even more disturbing was how everyone -- the media and institutions like the United Nations -- were silent.

The food issue was bad enough.

But in Iraq, they use the card system for voting.

In April, provincial elections are supposed to be held.  Nouri was trying to scrap the voter identification system and had nothing to replace it.

In early 2014, when Nouri's hoping to grab a third term, provincial elections are supposed to be held.  By that point, over a million Iraqis will have reached voting age but will not have their own cards that will allow them to vote.  With no new system to replace the existing one, these voters would be disenfranchised if Nouri was able to end the system (as he announced on November 6th) because no new cards could be issued.

 In the face of all of this, the United Nations remained silent.  (So did the US government but Barack Obama has demonstrated repeatedly -- such as backing Nouri for a second term despite the will of the Iraqi voters and the election results -- that he doesn't give a damn about the Iraqi people.)

The only person who spoke out about how this would impact voters and the vote?  'Radical cleric' Moqtada al-Sadr.   All Iraq News reports Moqtada al-Sadr issued a statement where he explained that the effort to cancel the ration cards was an effort to control the markets, that it was not about addressing corruption and that it was the start of an attempt to rig the upcoming elections.

All the institutions and governments that sneer at Moqtada al-Sadr, apply the term 'radical cleric' to him, all of them were silent.

Only Moqtada had the guts to call it for what it was.

The United Nations was more interested in serving the desires of the World Bank than in protecting the Iraqi people.  There have been many times throughout the ongoing war that it was clear the Iraqi people were not a top priority of the UN but this may have been the most transparent as greed trumped any efforts at allowing the people to have a voice.

TV: The networks go all Grand Guignol

It's been a very rough TV season.  The Olympics not only pushed the start of the season back, it soured many viewers as NBC arbitrarily decided when to cut away and when to stay.  Once the season started, the networks gripped the axe like Joan Crawford and Diane Baker in Straight-Jacket.


Casualties thus far?  Made In Jersey, Animal Practice, Last Resort, 666 Park Avenue and Partners.  The William Castle shocker here is that the ratings don't really matter.  In some cases they did, in some cases they didn't. 

Bitchy matters and the James Hibberds have certainly excelled in that.  They've taken their Joan Rivers routines to sites like Entertainment Weekly and clown around while forgetting to do their jobs.
They championed the awful Last Resort  which was a bad remake of Combat! mixed with soap opera.  And what the hell happened to Scott Speedman's face?  It was so fat and the cheek bones were gone and -- Oh, wait.  We forgot.  The Water Cooler Set only attacks the looks of women.  Even with its problems, Last Resort wasn't in the ratings toilet.  That needs to be stressed: The show was delivering plenty of viewers and, even with weekly slippage, it still retained a large core audience.  The cost per episode and the Water Cooler Set love meant that ABC expected higher ratings.  There's a good chance, that come spring, the network won't find another show to deliver that size of an audience which is why it's reserving judgment.  ABC is ceasing production on both Last Resort and 666 Park Avenue.  Presumably either could come back.

 Animal Practice won't be back.  That NBC embarrassment played like someone wanted to reboot BJ and The Bear but without all the plot twists and complexities of the original.  CBS will not be bringing Made In Jersey back either.  And maybe that explains ABC's decision?

In May of 2012, CBS suits were so full of themselves, that they could cancel a hit show, one that pulled in over ten million viewers weekly.  In a who's-the-dead-body-in-the-bed moment, they realized almost immediately that Unforgettable wasn't just a hit for them but it could be a hit for others (TNT had the money and the desire to continue the series).  Not only could they not afford the shame of losing a show that could become a cable classic, they weren't feeling too good about their upcoming fall schedule.  So, in late June, they suddenly announced Unforgettable was going back into production.

As the ratings for Made In Jersey demonstrate, CBS can bomb as easily as any other network.  Last Resort had a hard time attracting new viewers (the show lost viewers with each episode but was still earning respectable ratings) because the concept is just not that popular.  It never is.   Which is why Combat! and The Rat Patrol haven't resulted in a plethora of copycat programs.  The premise of Made In Jersey was also a huge turn-off.  It felt like Lipstick Jungle with a dash of Jersey Shore and the mix didn't make for a procedural that interested many.

We'd further add that Kyle MacLachlan is always a deal breaker.  Like Campbell Scott, MacLachlan can run off an audience faster than anything.  With the high-concept premise (Damages meets My Cousin Vinnie) and with Jersey Shore having peaked as relevant in October 2010 when South Park's "It's A Jersey Thing" first aired, you really needed something to warm up viewers.  If you consider the name of well liked TV personalities CBS has under contract and is not using, it's amazing that no one thought to plug one or two TV favorites into Made In Jersey

ABC put a two TV favorites in 666 Park Avenue and that might be the only reason viewers tuned in.  Vanessa Williams (Ugly Betty and Desperate Housewives) has a loyal following and Dave Annable had been very popular on Brothers and  SistersBetty covered the show each week at her site and early on identified the problem, "I wish they'd pace the scary better so that the scares came more often and it wasn't always the cliffhanger at the end of the episode being the most scary moment of the episode."  That was the problem.

It clearly wanted to be American Horror Story (FX series starring Jessica Lange in an Emmy award winning role).  But it lacked the guts and skill to get there.  The show about good and evil and supernatural things lacked one main evil character.  There was no Constance Landgon and, with each episode, characters with edges found them smoothed over.  Better pacing could have saved that.

Take "Rubber Man."  That first season episode of American Horror Story had thrills and chills throughout.   But, as Betty pointed out after the second episode aired, 666 Park Avenue saved the scares for the finale.  And usually the start of the next episode offered something milder than a Nancy Drew mystery.  Shows that are supposed to be scary need pacing and they need villains. 

Like Last Resort, Partners was pulling in viewers.  Was it pulling in as much as its surrounding sitcoms on CBS Mondays?  Nope.  But it was the new show.  It was the one that audiences would need to get used to.  Focusing on Partners allows CBS to ignore the real problem with Mondays: the ratings are down across the board.  Mondays was the network's big night and they were going to leverage that into Mondays and Thursdays.  They're doing great on Thursdays but the slippage on Mondays should bother them.

Friday night, Marcia wrote at length about the cancellation of Partners in "Partners gets the axe?" and what stood out most about the post to us was when she talked about Will and Grace.  Mondays was the low-brow yuck-fest for NBC.  Will and Grace was funny on that night but did not break out until NBC tried it on Tuesdays and Thursdays.  Possibly The Big Bang Theory might have been a better pairing on Thursdays?  That would have allowed Two And A Half Men to return to Mondays -- its absence appears to have effected Monday ratings.

Partners was a poorly promoted but very funny show.  Of the new sitcoms on networks this fall, it was a ratings winner.  The over-hyped NBC sitcom The New Normal, for instance, continues to tank in the ratings, Fox's Ben and Kate is doing even worse than The New Normal,  and Partners has consistently gotten higher ratings than second season episode of ABC's Don't Trust The B---- in Apartment 23 which the network considers a hit.  What Partners needed was the opportunity to build some word of mouth. 

As Marcia pointed out, disgusting crap like the William Shatner sitcom and the awful American version of Worst Week were given much longer to find an audience.  But maybe taking the axe to Partners allows the CBS suits to pretend like Monday nights aren't down an average of 1.5 million viewers?  Maybe it will distract the Water Cooler Set from noting that as well?

They need not worry about the Water Cooler Set just yet.  It takes very long for anything other than hype to register with them.  What they should worry about was taking an axe to Partners.

If your line up is aging poorly -- as ratings suggest CBS Monday nights are -- the answer is rarely to keep the same shows on.  What's usually needed is new blood, something fresh.  So how cancelling the new show on Monday nights fixes the schedule escapes us.

At the end of Staight-Jacket, Joan Crawford accompanies Diane Baker to the asylum.  Sadly, at the networks, crazy can never be confined.


Note: "Will and Grace."  That's not the title!  We know.  But it's a Blogger/Blogspot problem.  When this is published you will read "Will and Grace."  If we use the symbol, we get extra.  For example: Will & Grace.  We didn't type the nonsense.  That shows up every time you use that symbol.  We are sick and tired of going through our TV pieces after they publish because that nonsense is added.  We have to go and clean it up.  If we use the symbol five times but only fix it four times and then realize we need to go back in, it's not just fixing that fifth time because we have to re-fix the four we've already fixed.  It's not worth.  We're not using that symbol in our TV commentaries anymore unless Blogger/Blogspot fixes their problem.

The pathetic Green Party

As US President Barack Obama prepares to gut the safety net, the Green Party . . . objects?

In their usual weak ass manner, the national Green Party issued a statement which opened, "Green Party leaders called on President Obama to resist any kind of 'Grand Bargain' with Republicans in Congress that involves cuts to Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, food stamps, or other safety-net programs."

The death of Social Security and that's the best the Green Party can manage?

Maybe they misunderstand what's at stake?

Well the second sentence seems pretty clear about the stakes, "The President has signaled that he is ready to cut Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid and by $650 billion and raise the eligibility age for Medicare and Social Security in a deal with the GOP in order to avoid the 'fiscal cliff'."

The US doesn't have a third party in the Green Party.  It has an embarrassing, weak-ass wanna be that will never challenge a Democrat in power because the national leadership runs scared and is worthless.

As people on the left wake up to the realities of just how corrupt the Democratic Party has gotten, they do so on their own and with no help from a ridiculous, alleged Democratic Party rival that 'urges' and pleads and begs but never calls out.

They are weak ass and they encourage others to be victims.

They lack a spine and they lack the ability to call out even from the safety of news release.

Jill Stein

Jill Stein is the national Green Party.

She started off with a strong campaign.

She appeared to be prepared to build something.

Then Barack Obama stumbled in his first debate with Mitt Romney.

A smart political rival immediately makes the case that Barack demonstrated his weakness.  A smart rival gives speeches where she points out she never stumbled when she faced Romney in a debate.  A smart rival explains that she stands for actual issues and positions and it is this platform the provides strength and allows her campaign to be about something.

That's what a smart political rival does: Seize the moment.

What did Jill Stein do?

Issue press releases calling out Mitt Romney or his running mate Paul Ryan about this or that.

Was she confused about which side of the political spectrum would support her campaign?

It wasn't the right, it was the left.

She needed to make the case that she was better than Barack Obama.

When the fates gifted her with that opportunity, she didn't seize it.  Instead, she turned her campaign into a subsidiary of The Committee To Re-Elect Barack Obama.

After that, the national Green Party should be red-faced with shame.

Instead, it honestly thinks the world awaits their latest weak-ass missive.

You sort of picture the national Green Party standing outside a burning building, whispering, 'Hey, everybody, maybe think about coming out.  If you want.'

We have stated "national."  There are state chapters that are really about building a third party and that take clear and strong stands.  It's only on the national level that it repeatedly falls apart.


Radio talk

a radio

Dona: Radio talk?  Last week, on Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, Cindy spoke with  Black Agenda Report's Glen Ford and World Can't Wait's Debra Sweet.  It was an important broadcast and we thought we'd roundtable on it.  Our e-mail address is Participating our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Ava, and me, Dona; 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; Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix;  Ruth of Ruth's Report; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.   Isaiah, how about you set us up with an overview of the broadcast?

Isaiah: Sure.  The broadcast is kind of a conversation.  Kind of because Glen Ford went first with Cindy instead of Glen, Cindy and Debra Sweet all talking together.  He had another engagement so the first half of the show was him and Cindy with Debra listening and the second half was Debra and Cindy.  The show was taped two days after the presidential election.  The topic was that and how we resist imperialism.  They also took questions -- both e-mailed and from people on the line during the taping.

Dona: Okay, thank you.  Betty, you had a problem with one aspect and wanted to address that.

Betty: It bothered me that Debra Sweet talked about everyone and Glen Ford reduced himself to Black America.  Even when asked questions about all Americans.  I felt that this was kind of stupid for a number of reasons including if I'm a PBS host and we're going to talk about the economy and I need some guests I don't need to book Glen because he can only talk about Black America.  There are many guests, including Black guests, that I could book instead who can can speak on many topics.  I felt Glen Ford limited himself.

Marcia: I felt that too.  I'm glad you said it.  I know C.I. covered the broadcast with an excerpt and chose to go with Debra Sweet only and not Debra and Glen or just Glen.  I wondered what that was about so I made a point to stream.  After listening, I felt like that was why C.I. went with the excerpt she did.  Am I right?

C.I.: I'm not saying Glen Ford was right or wrong or neutral or whatever to speak as he did.   But I needed an excerpt for the snapshot and I needed it to be one that would interest the largest number of readers so that they would hopefully listen if they hadn't.  And if they weren't going to listen -- and some don't want to and some aren't able to -- I needed a section that said the most about America after the election.

Betty: And that's what I'm talking about.  This is just like the PBS host scenario I was talking about.  C.I.'s got to find something to include.  Many of the statements Glen made applied to all of America but he repeatedly insisted upon applying it just to Black America.  I think he limited himself.  Cedric?

Cedric: I think his hope or goal was to talk about what he knew and he felt he knew Black America best.  Also true, his outlet is Black Agenda Report and that might be a way to plug it.  But I do get your point, Betty, and I do agree with you.  That's not to say that he didn't make some important comments in his half but it is to note that he should have bone for more than just one section of the country.

Dona: What's one point that stood out to you, Cedric?

Cedric: I thought, sadly, he was right about Black America that can't see beyond bi-racial Barack being 'Black' and they ignore everything else.  I was going to say "forgive" everything else.  But "forgive" would indicate awareness that something is going wrong and the bulk of Black America lives in denial.

Dona: How would you back that up to someone that said they wanted a number?

Cedric: I would say Barack got 92% of the Black vote.  With all of his programs that hurt Black America and his refusal to address the issues that are most pressing to the Black community -- incarceration, poverty, unemployment, etc. -- 92% is a huge figure.  I wonder where the other 8% went?  Did they go for a Republican?  That's fine if they did but I'm just wondering did they go Republican, did they go third party, did they leave the presidential section blank and not vote there?

Ann: That would be interesting to know because I've heard, e-mails, from a large number of African-American Greens.  There are like fifty in my area with a large number being family members.  So it was interesting to realize how many African-American Greens there are.  That doesn't mean they voted Green.  Jill Stein wasn't a nominee that brought the Green Party together.  Especially in the final weeks when she became increasingly divisive.  She ran a lousy campaign.  So they may have voted some other way.  Some may have taken the "Mitt Romney for the block" and, if so, good for them.  Equally true, some may have deluded themselves that Barack was 'Black' and voted for him.

Dona: Alright.  Deluded and denial.  That's time to move over to Ruth because she told me before we started that she wanted to talk about a radio moment that shocked her and the host was deluded.

Ruth:  Right.  This is not Cindy Sheehan, by the way.  I am leaving her broadcast because the election was on another show, discussed on another show, as well.  I was just in shock.  The show was Law and Disorder Radio and the person was Michael Ratner.  At an end of listing various things Barack Obama is doing as president that we should object to, Mr. Ratner makes a statement about how it was okay to vote for him.  What?  No, it is not.  And it is that embarrassing attidue that is responsible for the sorry state of the country.  If Michael Ratner, president of the Center for Constitutional Rights, cannot call out voting for someone shredding the Constitution, then Michael Ratner needs to go into retirement immediately.  He has nothing to offer except being a little chicken and we have enough of those.  So get in a chicken coop or find your spine, Mr. Ratner.

 Dona: Did he really say that?

Ava: Yes, he did.  C.I. and I were listening because she was trying to include it in a snapshot this week.  So we were listening and we got to that part, which was before any guest or speech started, and C.I. looked at me and said, "What the f**?"  And I said, "I heard it too."  Then it was, "Well, there's nothing to highlight there."  I agree with Ruth, it was embarrassing.  But that's happened many times before on that show.  It's amazing that some of us can stand up and others are chicken s**t.  I expect a lot better from Michael Ratner.  After four years, you'd think they'd be able to call Barack out.  Instead, more garbage.

Stan: Ruth, no offense, I'm so sick of Ratner and other Jews with their racial politics.

Ruth: None taken, I know what you mean.

Dona: Well talk about what you mean, Stan?

Stan: Ratner, Goodman and all the rest.  There are far too many Jews on 'left' radio.  There is no diversity at all.  And certainly no diversity among the types of Jews that get on the air.  They're all this ridiculous version of the Jewish father in Annie Hall.  The mother's griping about their Black maid stealing from them and the father's making excuses like, "She's a colored woman from Harlem.  Who else is she supposed to steal from?"  I'm just so sick of the patronizing attitude of what I will call the Pacifica Jew.

Dona: Ruth is Jewish.  She's not a Pacifica Jew.  Ruth, what do you think about that?

Ruth: I agree with Stan.  I hear Mr. Ratner make those ridiculous remarks, granting a pass he would never give Bully Boy Bush, and I am deeply aware that a certain type of Jew refuses to call out Mr. Obama due to skin tone.  I am as sick of it as Stan is.

Dona: Alright.  Debra Sweet was a guest for the second part. We haven't heard from Rebecca, Wally or Isaiah.  Isaiah gave an overview but didn't offer his take, so I am including him on the list.

Wally: I'll start.  I was glad that Debra didn't just note how little activism was taking place during these Barack years but also that although the activism was more when Bully Boy Bush was in power, it still wasn't enough.

Dona: It really wasn't.  I think we should get her exact words about the Bush years and quote that sentence as a truest.  It really is true.  We should have been in the streets.  We should be in the streets even more now.  But it is amazing how much more we could have done.

Rebecca: But could we?

Dona; What do you mean?

Rebecca:  When there was real activism, we covered it.  We did interviews at the January 2007 protest in DC.  That was it.  That was the last of the big moments.  There was important activism after.  But that was the last big one.  Do you remember that?

Isaiah: Right.  It all got channeled into the elections.  And also the Democrats were now in power so no one was going to call them out.  That really was sort of the farewell stop of the activism.  You had people speaking who immediately silenced themselves -- John Conyers, Susan Trash Sarandon  --  and others.  I'm being kind and saying "and others."

Rebecca: And remember they were using Cindy Sheehan.  That's why Cindy got so much coverage.  The activists covered her because they believed in what she was doing.  But you had the Democratic Bloggers -- like Jude what's her face of Iddybud -- just outright lying about Cindy, from the start, to create a Democratic Party approved Cindy.

Dona: An example?

Rebecca: The most infamous one remains Jude writing that Cindy wasn't against the war or calling for an end to it with Camp Casey -- the original Camp Casey -- she just wanted to hear from Bully Boy Bush why her son Casey died.  How stupid is Jude?  Not stupid at all.  So that makes her a whore.  She lied and whored for the Democratic Party.

Wally: And a lot of people did.  What bothered me about Glen Ford, not calling him a whore, is that I do agree we will likely see less activism. I don't want him to be a cheerleader.  I want him to tell the truth and he did.  But I do wonder how that kind of call impacts activism?  I don't know.  Debra talked about how Republicans and Democrats are both part of the National Security State.  And I agree with her.  And I think this is the problem.  It's identified, now what?  How do we accomplish anything against that? I don't know.  Like Glen Ford, I'm not real optimistic.

Dona: Okay.  Ava and C.I. are going to have to speak again.  Having heard Wally, I know that's now needed because we will have readers who react as Wally's talking about.  Wally, Kat, Ava and C.I. spend a large part of the year on the road speaking to various groups about the wars.  Wally's actually in Florida until January.  He's spending time with family.  So he's not on the road.  Ava and C.I. were on the road last week and the week before.  What are you two seeing?  Is there any reason to believe something might change?

Ava: I'll go first.  I would assume that even those who could take four years of unconstitutional acts of Barack would include a significant number of people who could not take eight years of the same thing.  So I have hope there.  Call it 'the straw that breaks the camel's back' hypothesis. But I see people reaching their enough points and I see them forcing themselves to call out the actions of Barack. 

Dona: Okay.  C.I.?

C.I.: There will be no re-election for Barack in 2016.  What that means is that insiders will begin to speak even mroe and the press will have even less reason to whore.  To be clear, the press always whores for a president.  Never before like they've done for Barack.  Their efforts to bury news to protect him goes to their own hatred and fear of the country they live in and that's a topic too long to go into.  But the press knows that they have a limited time to make their names and that kissing ass isn't going to mean they'll be front and center at the briefings following the 2016 election.  So they need to make their names with actual work and not what access has provided.  I see a number of people looking at, for instance, Jake Tapper of ABC News and realizing that he's made a name for himself in the last four years as a serious -- probably the most serious -- television journalist.  I think they'll be some professional envy as well.  So I do see more breaking away from the pack and, possibly by 2015, the pack will actually be the non ass-kissers.

 Dona: Okay.  Again, we're talking about Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox and hopefully, there's something in the above that makes you want to check out the broadcast.  This has been a rush transcript.

The Ridiculous Bernie Sanders

Democratic politicians cave.  That is, sadly, a given.  That's why they spent the last four years whining about the Republicans sticking to their "no"s, sticking to their guns -- because Democrats cave.  We don't know if they're born with collapsable spines or if they get them sewn in every four years at the national convention, but they refuse to stand erect.

There is no fiscal cliff.  There is only debt.  The nation has had big debts before, it will have them again.  If things need to be cut, our first question is why no one worried about cutting and gutting when Wall Street was in trouble or Big Auto?

Having bailed out everyone and everything but the American people, you might think that instead of calling for cuts, Barack Obama would finally announce that it was time for the federal government to start serving the people?  But of course, telecoms didn't pay for the 2008 national convention or donate so enthusiastically to Barack's campaigns because he was about helping the people.

The way it goes right now is that you're supposed to be thrilled that Barack might get the rich to pay a little more in taxes.

That's supposed to be enough for you to take cutting Medicaid and Medicare and Social Security and maybe raising the qualifying age for Social Security as well.

That's supposed to be the 'grand bargain' that pleases you.

What we need right now is a politician that speaks the truth.

Nobody gives a s**t what someone else pays.  You'll note Barack's talking about "earners" and ignoring the corporations whose share of taxes has dramatically gone down over the last five decades.


Which brings us to the idiot Senator Bernie Sanders (above).  The 'independent' from Vermont is actually the nation's only Socialist US Senator.  So we might think that Bernie would show some spine and reject the nonsense.  We would obviously be wrong to think that.

In a press release his office issued, Sanders states, " It is absolutely imperative, however, that as we go forward with deficit reduction we completely reject the Republican approach that demands savage cuts in desperately-needed programs for working families, the elderly, the sick, our children and the poor, while not asking the wealthiest among us to contribute one penny."

The wealthiest?

Again, we don't give a f**king s**t what anyone else pays in taxes.  This is the nonsense Barack primed you for with his fake us v. them campaign.

You're supposed to see it as a victory if the tax rate on the wealthy increases by five or eight percent -- you're supposed to see it as a victory even if it is accompanied by the gutting of the safety net.

Are we really that stupid?  We're going to be gleeful enough that someone else is paying more taxes that we don't give a damn that Social Security is being gutted?

Dairy gets really scary (Dona)

As a woman who gave birth not all that long ago, I have had to struggle to return to pre-pregnancy weight.  That's required working out and eating right.

I never worried before about calories.  If I felt I was putting on weight, I'd cut back on portions for a week or two.  That would usually take care of it.

Pre-pregnancy, anyway.

Post-pregnancy, I've had to become aware of calories.

So much of what I used to eat without a second thought suddenly pops up on my never-again list.

For example, I used to love crackers with anything.  Crackers with soup, crackers with peanut butter, crackers with sardines, crackers with cheese . . .

It's that last one that's pissed me off.

As the weight has come off (I've lost all the pregnancy weight finally -- and, no, I did not give birth in 2012, it was a long fight back), I've been able to think about returning to regular eating.

But I'm now aware of calories.  So a few weeks ago, in the deli, I thought, "I'll get Special K crackers and have some cheese."

It wouldn't be like the days of Wheat Thins or Trisquits or good old Nabisco Saltines, but with the Special K crackers I wouldn't have to worry about calories so much.  There are approximately 13 calories in a saltine cracker.  I don't know anyone who eats just one.  I usually eat 20 minimum if I'm having a "cracker and . . ." treat.  That would be 260 calories for 20 crackers.  By sticking to Special K crackers, I can eat 30 and only consume 110 calories.

So since I was doing so well on calories with regards to calories, I could get some good cheese, right?

I'm wandering through the deli, grabbing cheese rolls, cheese balls and cheese wedges and I am repeatedly shocked by how many calories are in cheese.  (I hadn't eaten cheese -- except on pizzas -- since before my pregnancy.)  What really pissed me off was the wedges and balls that made it impossible to track calories.


You probably can't see the illustration clearly.  Good.  What you need to do is go through the deli section of your own supermarket.

The label says there are 100 calories per serving.

What does that mean?

Normally that means each portion of X will yield 100 calories.

So how many portions are in the cheese ball whose label I photographed?

That's the problem.

"Servings"?  It reads "Servings: Varied."

If you don't count calories, that means nothing to you.

If you do count calories, you understand why I'm furious.

If they can't tell you how many servings are in a ball, they can't tell you how many calories are in a serving -- though they pretend to.

100 calories in a serving, they claim while insisting that servings vary.  (That information is useless.  The reality is that when they can't tell you how many servings, they can't honestly tell you how many calories.)

Again, I don't know how they get away with that.

But if, like me, you are trying to watch calories, I'd suggest that we band together and refuse to purchase any cheese product that refuses to tell us the calorie information.

Silence bought is not innocence

Don't tickle me, Elmo.  It's time for Sesame Street to fire Kevin Clash.  Elmo's a joke and Sesame Street's becoming one.

When allegations arose against Clash, a co-executive producer of Sesame Street and "Muppet Captain," Clash finally, at the age of  52, managed to come out of the closet.  Good for him on that and we had hoped that the allegations that he had engaged in sex with a then-underage male were not true.

The accuser re-canted and we could all exhale and go on with our lives.

Sesame Street released the following statement, "We are pleased that this matter has been brought to a close, and we are happy that Kevin can move on from this unfortunate episode."


But now comes the news (here and here) that the accuser signed a document (crying, as he signed) agreeing to recant and was paid $125,000 for recanting.

That's no recanting.

That's paying off.

And a puppeteer for public television can afford a $125,000 pay off?  Well now we know where the funding for public television goes.

It was one thing to wait for facts to emerge.  It was another to find out that Clash had paid off his accuser.  By doing so, he now looks guilty and he turns Sesame Street into a dirty joke. 

About that ingrained sexism online

We built this city on rock-n- . . . Oh wait, wrong!  We built this site on media criticism. So Saturday, when I (Jim) saw this up at The Common Ills, I really wished C.I. had brought it here to pitch it as a Third article.  But I will happily repost.

I Hate The War

Bob Somerby has offered many contributions to a leftist critique. He's also helped popularize sexism among the left.  He didn't invent it but the heart of his critique is a sexist critique. He has a post today which can't be panned for gold.  The sexism buries him and any observations he might make.

In a perfect world, there would be no sexists and sexism would be hugely frowned upon -- the way racism is.  But, like homophobia, sexism is frequently passed off as "cute" or signs of  "a real man."  What it is is a pathology and as it grips the person, it overcomes them and turns them into babbling idiots.  Look at a certain group of church members who protest the funerals of the fallen with homophobic slogans.  To them, what they're doing makes complete sense.

Bob's sexism was always present.  We've noted it here many times.  The way The Daily Howler has always worked is that a male journalist makes a mistake and a female journalist is evil, a man makes a mistake and can be redeemed but a woman is pure evil.  So he may batter E.J. Dionne around lightly, but a Ceci Connolly or Katharein Seelye are savaged.

The sexism is so pervasive that Somberby doesn't even grasp how little he understands about journalism.  The last sentence in the paragraph above goes to that lack of understanding as does his attack today on Karen DeYoung.  We'll get to it.

When this site started, Media Whores Online had gone down only a short while before.  MWO wasn't really concerned with gender.  And its immense popularity surely made an impact.  But with it gone, we were left with Bob Somerby as a pattern and a ton of men and women online desperate to ape his lead.

Here, we did our part to combat it.  We called out Elisabeth Bumiller's White House Letters -- as most people did.  A friend with the paper (New York Times) called me out on that saying those were columns and I was treating them as reports.  Good note.  We tried to treat them as columns after that.  But we didn't just call out Elisabeth Bumiller.

Todd S. Purdum was called out.  And we did in the same way that they were calling out women.  Todd Purdum's a good reporter.  Like most people in any occupation he's going to screw up from time to time.  Todd does not smell, that was part of our critique.  Repeating, I do know Todd and he doesn't stink.  The point of that critique -- which went on for about a year-and-a-half -- was to point out that women were being slammed online while men were just being said to have misreported.  Women were said to be on their knees, to need knee pads, to this and that and be sexualized repeatedly.

Men really not.

When they were, it was in the role of passive gay sexual partner.  Which goes to homophobia when you couple that with the portrayal of women already popularized throughout the web. 

Same-sex coupling -- male or female -- can have an active and a passive role that stays with one partner or that flows from one to the other.  In addition, it can have no such role.  However, most sex in our society -- male-male, female-female or male-female -- or involving more than two people at one time -- does play with power roles because of socialization and the aggressive nature promoted in society, history and other places.  Isn't that socialization?  It goes beyond socialization and beyond the focus here.  Power is prized and power is seen as a means to advancement.  It is far from the only 'gate' to advancing -- individually or collectively -- however we are misinformed as a global people about that repeatedly.  Slamming passive sexuality -- shaming it -- and portraying it as the province of straight women -- or really all women since they don't acknowledge lesbian couples -- and passive gay man -- the standard cultural stereotype -- shows the strong relation between sexism and homophobia and goes to why men on the left can reject racism but see no problem with holding on to their sexism and homophobia.

They can see -- lefts of all races -- power in an African-American males road to today because it feeds into the power glorification but they tie gender (female only) and gay males (stereotype of a weak and effete male) into "softness" and "weakness."  And because of the way we're socialized and beyond, that's okay with them.  In part because so many lefties do feel powerless themselves and they loathe that about themselves so they attack in others.

You can see the powerless identity in many of the left commentaries from the Cult of St. Barack from 2009 through this year.  They never acted as winners, they never saw it from that view.  Instead, they behaved like sore losers and forever searched for the person, device or concept that was stealing their power.

Bob Somerby didn't invent sexism ("Bash The Bitch" was popular long before Somerby ever got online) but he benefitted from it and he popularized it.

His inability to grasp sexism is most apparent in his defense of Lawrence Summers.  For many, that was the reveal.  Bob Somerby writing that Summers wasn't a sexist.  What others -- many -- saw as sexism in Summers 2005 remarks, Somerby rushed to assure wasn't.  As a man, he seemed to think, he was the best voice on the topic.  It never entered his mind that he could be wrong about sexism or even guilty of it.

His sexism is also apparent in his obsession with Naomi Wolf.  Did Naomi pick out ties for Al Gore?  No.  And anyone wanting to combat sexism knows that was a hiccup from the McGovern campaign of 1972.  But Somerby never has a clue.  (In 1972, Newsweek printed the lie that George McGovern's presidential campaign was using feminist Gloria Steinem as an advisor to help pick out socks.)  When Bob finds some 'good' woman to stick by, he goes full out sexist.  The woman is put on a pedestal and is noble and wonderful and capable of no wrong or error.  That's why, in college,  he and his friend were obsessed with Joan Baez -- clutching to her madly -- and scared of the likes of Grace Slick and Janis Joplin.  Joan was the Madonna.  (Offstage, she was screwing any and every male and female she could but her image at that time was of the madonna as she herself notes in "Diamonds and Rust."  She and Janis shared more than one lover, FYI.)  Grace Slick and Janis Joplin were far more complicated.  Janis especially with the presenation of look-at-me-I'm-a-poor-put-upon-weak-girl with a vocal that refuted on stage image.  She was a study in complexities.  Grace Slick, of course, never met a construct or stereotype she wouldn't f**k with, stretch, break, implode.  Grace and Janis were complex women for public consumption.  Baez was much more safe and a throw back.  And the 'ideal' for too many left men -- a woman who would fight men's battles but credit men (Ira before Joan found David) and act subservient for public consupmtion.  She was "the wife" in every construct of the term.  The "old lady" in the terms of that time.

Naomi Wolf became "the wife" and "the old lady" at The Daily Howler and we're supposed to be thrilled to have her as a woman Somerby doesn't hit with his verbal fists.  But there's nothing there to praise.

I don't care for Naomi anymore and would spit on her if she tried to approach me tomorrow.  She has spent too many of the last years selling out women.  But when I say there's nothing to praise, I'm not referring to Naomi the person, I'm referring to the fictional Naomi that one-dimensionally exists at The Daily Howler.

That Naomi is the ultimate victim.  To prove how victimized she was, you should be noticing, Bob always finds a man to speak for her. Naomi has rejected the earth tones and ties nonsense herself, in her own words.  But she wouldn't be "the old lady" if she used her time to speak out for her own needs or herself.

Naomi was wrongly savaged by the press in Bob's construct.  No.  That's not reality.  Naomi was not brought on to pick out fashion choices.  But that doens't mean she was a serious scholar the way Bob presents.  He frequently goes out on a limb about Promescuities.  That book made Wolf a joke and, by extension, the Gore campaign.

There is no defense for that book.  Only Bob Somerby (and men like him) could read Naomi writing about college, the gang rape of a woman at a fraternity while Naomi was present, and how, the next morning, the woman's bloody shoe was turned into a prop and a point of laughter and Naomi didn't do a thing (speak out at the breakfast table) because she didn't want to be called a lesbian.  Beyond that, Naomi never called the police.  A crime took place, she covered for the rapists.  She continued to party with them, she continued to socialize with them.

She's a nut case.  But to Bob Somerby, she's a male-defined woman and that's all that matters.  What's more assuring to the pack of pigs than a woman who will see you commit a crime and stay silent?

Karen DeYoung is a reporter for the Washington Post.  Somerby suddenly discovers her today.  In his continued pursuit of "Poor Susan Rice" (which recalls his lack of honesty when he went after Valerie Plame and Joe Wilson).

DeYoung makes what appears to be only her second appearance in Bob's world in twelve years and she's immediately awful and evil.

"DeYoung's report is awful," "DeYoung works hard to keep you from knowing," "This is a horrible news report," she was a "sock puppet" to Colin Powell, she may be angling to write John McCain's biography, her work "is misleading and confusing," she "slimes" and she's produced "a terribly fake news report" -- all that and more.

Wow, Howler readers should be thinking, if DeYoung is so awful why have we not heard of her repeatedly over the last weeks or even the last years.

This is more hatred and nonsense and, yes, ignorance on the part of Bob Somerby.

Above, it's noted: "So he may batter E.J. Dionne around lightly, but a Ceci Connolly or Katharein Seelye are savaged."

Do you see the problem with that treatment?

Bob has an opinion.  He has many though you'd think it was only one -- "My friend Al Gore was mistreated!" -- to read most of The Daily Howler.  You can agree with it or not.  That's the thing about opinions.  You can have a more complex take as well.  (I think Gore was mistreated by the press and I think he encouraged them to further mistreat him by becoming a punching bag when he should have hit back.  Don't make lies about you a joke -- which Al Gore himself did.  If they're lies, you either ignore them or you confront them.  When you make remarks in public jesting about the press distorting you, you've just waived them through.)

But if Bob's opinions weren't represented in the press, then E.J. is the most evil.

Seelye and Connolly were reporters.  So is Karen DeYoung.  They're supposed to be impartial and balanced.  Bob's fuming over what many will see as Karen DeYoung's attempt to be balanced in a report.  E.J. and other columnists aren't reporters.  They are paid to express opinions.

If 2000 didn't go well for Bob Somerby and Al Gore, Bob needs to hold reporters accountable but the greater problem was the pundits.  They can offer opinion.  They don't have to pretend to be balanced.

Bob Somerby has a simplistic and uniformed view of journalism.  Which is why his work is best as a primer (provided the inherent sexism in his writings is acknowledged).

Bob Somerby wets his briefs and whines because of Karen DeYoung's reporting.

He's offended that more than one view is presented.

He never grasps that that's also know as reporting.

He never grasps that he, Bob Somerby, does not know what David Petraeus told Congress.

Petraeus did not testify in public.  Only members of Congress and their staff heard his testimony.  That's what a closed door hearing is.

Karen DeYoung is a reporter.  She can work her sources, she can look for new ones and she can piece together what may have been said from that.  But she wasn't there.  And she can't just present one view.  (Especially when, I'm guessing, she's heard more than one version of events.  I've heard three different versions of what Petraeus said at just one party in DC.)  DeYoung is not a psychic.  She's also not a columnist.  Ideally, she traffics in facts but the only known fact is that Petraeus has appeared before Congress.  Her report is an attempt to bring together various claims put foward about what Petraeus told Congress.

Is Bob Somerby confused by this reality?

Maybe he'd grasp it if the byline had been Kevin DeYoung and not Karen.

That's not a minor critique nor is it coming out of no where.  Sexism has always been at the heart of The Daily Howler and Bob Somerby has refused to address it.

That's evident in his attack on Karen DeYoung to begin with.  Back before our sole focus was Iraq, one entry a week (the third one, what's now the Iraq snapshot) featured nothing but women writers.  Journalists and reporters.  With Iraq as a focus, we don't have that option.  We have to use sources I wouldn't otherwise. And maybe that makes the snapshot more rounded since, for example, a Libeterain or a conservative might get quoted.  But if I tried now to do a snapshot with just women?  I couldn't.  There would be Jane Araf and then I'd have to go archives -- meaning, I'd have to be saying, "In 2006, ___ reported . . ."  The Iraq coverage -- in US media and European -- is pretty much gone.  There's AP and Reuters and that's really it.  And the only woman with any kind of regular beat is Jane Arraf of Al Jazeera (which isn't European or US).

But before Iraq was our sole focus and before the left also walked away from Iraq, I could pull together a snapshot that would be women.  Even today, when friends call asking for links from their outlets, they know if they can say, "____ reports it" and "____" is  a woman, it's an automatic in, they don't have to call in a favor.  They know that I believe firmly women are underrepresented in bylines and that the work women are producing is frequently ignored.

So point here is that what Karen DeYoung is reporting on?  You can be sure that many mean are also on that story.  You can also be sure that many men have stolen her work and passed it off as their own.  So the point is, there are probably 24 bylines on the topic DeYoung's written about -- 24 from various outlets.  There may be another woman covering the story.  But there's not more than three total.  So at least 21 of those other bylines -- the bulk of the bylines -- are men.  And yet Bob Somerby zooms in on a woman.

If you're not getting it, Monday do a little exercise.  Pick out a big news topic.  And real news, not entertainment.  Then search that topic and note the bylines. You will see very few women.

(For those late to the party, I'm a feminist, not a glorifist.  By that I mean, I will criticize a woman.  But I will not fixate on women and give men a pass.  Generally speaking, a woman has to really piss me off with bad reporting to be called out and when she makes it into a snapshot I've usually made a point to ignore her at least three times prior.  That's not because I think one gender is wonderful or better but because I do know Bash The Bitch is a popular game and I do realize that a woman will be slammed many times quicker and many times more than a man ever will be.)

But if you really can't grasp that Bob Somerby openly engages in the War Against Women, note him try to walk back an offensive phrase today.  "Barefoot and confused."  Throughout the week, the 'wit' wanted us to know the press was leaving us "barefoot and pregnant."  Now he's realized how offensive he was.  He can't apologize.  Nor can he let go of the (sexist) laugh the phrase produces.  So he goes to "barefoot and confused."  That he would think the phrase was acceptable to begin with goes a long way towards explaining his sexism.  (The phrase is a sexist one with a long, long history.  A man cannot 'reclaim' it or use it 'ironically.'  What Bob Somerby did was try to frighten the people by telling them they were now the equivalent of women.  The shudder, the horror, was what would prompt the giggles as Somerby damn well knew.)

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4488.

Iraq still reeling from U.S. wars (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

Iraq still reeling from U.S. wars

By on November 16, 2012 » Add the first comment.

The Pentagon launched the Desert Storm war against Iraq in January of 1991, destroying much of Baghdad’s water and sewage infrastructure with savage bombing raids. Strict sanctions against Iraq prevented full recovery in the 1990s, and the 2003 imperialist invasion added to the damage.
After five years of occupation, this 2008 photo from Sadr City in Baghdad shows Iraqi children drinking water from these wrecked pipes. Cholera, a gastrointestinal disease, and typhoid, which had been virtually eradicated in Iraq by 1989, made a comeback under the Western imperialist occupation. Today, the electricity and water supply systems in Baghdad are in even worse condition than in 2008.
A couple million people in the Northeast U.S. have just experienced Superstorm Sandy and the collateral suffering produced by capitalist climate change and neglect of the infrastructure. The poorest and most oppressed have also received the least relief. This has placed them closer to the Iraqis, who have suffered for 22 years from the Pentagon’s direct destruction.

 Articles copyright 1995-2012 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.

Senator Patty Murray speaks of Veterans Day

Patty Murray

US Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office noted the issued the following Monday.

Contact: Murray Press Office
Monday, November 12th, 2012 
 (202) 224-2834
Senator Murray Attends Veterans Day Memorial Celebration
Murray: Veterans Day is a time to reflect on the shared duty we owe to our nation’s veterans
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, Chairman of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, attended Evergreen Washelli Cemetery’s 63rd Annual Veterans Day Memorial Celebration with veterans and their families. She spoke of the importance of honoring the shared duty owed to our nation’s veterans, specifically in ensuring veterans can easily access the care and benefits they deserve.
Key excerpts from Senator Murray’s speech:
“Today is a day to ask ourselves whether we have kept faith with our veterans; whether we are keeping the promises we made to them as a nation when they signed up to serve. Today is a day to take stock of where we have fallen short in delivering the care and benefits our veterans earned; to take stock of what our veterans need today and what they will need tomorrow; and to ask – what more can we do to ensure our veterans can easily access the care and benefits they deserve?”
“At the end of the day, the only way that we will be able to ease the difficult transition home for these men and women is by working together – with private and public partnerships, with investments in unique new programs, with unified encouragement to seek mental health care and overcome stigmas, and very importantly, with a plan to get these veterans back to work.”
“Our servicemembers and veterans have done everything we have asked of them. While they don’t ask much in return, surely we can – and must – do better on their behalf.”
The full text of Senator Murray’s speech:
“Today is a very special day in America. On this day, we celebrate and honor the great sacrifices our veterans have made for each of us. It is because of their sacrifice that we are a free people; that we enjoy the rights and privileges of citizenship; that just last week we democratically and freely elected – as we do every four years – a president of the United States.
“We are a free country because of you. You who have worn the uniform have borne the burden of the United States. I am so proud to stand with you today as we honor and recognize this service to our nation.
“But as we spend time today reflecting on, and giving thanks for, the sacrifices made by those who have served, let us also reflect on the shared duty we owe to our nation’s veterans.
“Today is a day to ask ourselves whether we have kept faith with our veterans; whether we are keeping the promises we made to them as a nation when they signed up to serve.
“Today is a day to take stock of where we have fallen short in delivering the care and benefits our veterans earned; to take stock of what our veterans need today and what they will need tomorrow; and to ask – what more can we do to ensure our veterans can easily access the care and benefits they deserve?
“The answer to each of these questions is – as all of you know – that we have more work to do.
“That is why I was proud the President signed my VOW to Hire Heroes legislation into law late last year.
“Thanks to this legislation, we’ve been able to take a real, concrete step toward putting our veterans back to work.
“But you know, and I know, it’s only that – a first step. The next step must be building partnerships with businesses across the country to hire our nation’s heroes.
“Yet even as we work to build these partnerships, we face another critical challenge as thousands of our veterans begin their transition home. It is a challenge we are all too familiar with, which is ensuring timely access to top quality mental health care.
“Not every veteran will be affected by these invisible wounds. But when a servicemember or a veteran has the courage to stand up and ask for help, VA and DoD must be there: every – single – time.
“They must be there with not only timely access to care, but also the right type of care.
“Challenges like PTSD or depression are natural responses to some of the most stressful events a person can experience.
“And we will do everything possible to ensure that those affected by these illnesses – can get help, can get better, and can get back to their lives.
“At the end of the day, the only way that we will be able to ease the difficult transition home for these men and women is by working together – with private and public partnerships, with investments in unique new programs, with unified encouragement to seek mental health care and overcome stigmas, and very importantly, with a plan to get these veterans back to work.
“Our servicemembers and veterans have done everything we have asked of them. While they don’t ask much in return, surely we can – and must – do better on their behalf.
“Let me close by saying that as we honor the many sacrifices and accomplishments of veterans across the country, we must also remember the many veterans who have been impacted by the devastation of Hurricane Sandy.
“Some have been displaced from their homes. Others may have difficulty reaching their normal VA medical facility. Some who rely on their VA compensation and pension benefits to make ends meet are experiencing difficulties receiving their checks as a result of the hurricane.
“So while we keep those affected in our thoughts and our prayers, I would encourage everyone to reach out to your local veteran service organizations to see what you can do to help. The American Legion, Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Veterans of Foreign Wars, Disabled American Veterans, Vietnam Veterans of America, AMVETS, Paralyzed Veterans of America – each of these organizations, and others, is a resource for veterans affected by Hurricane Sandy.
“Thank you for having me here today. I am honored to be your partner in the United States Senate, and I look forward to continuing to work together to make some real changes for veterans in the coming years.”

Kathryn Robertson
Specialty Media Coordinator
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
448 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510


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.

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight of the week.

"Iraq snapshot," "The unqualified Susan Rice," "Barack picks a fight," "Iraq snapshot" and  "Disgusting" -- reader Zach asked that we please include  C.I. and Elaine's coverage of the hideous Susan Rice.


"Peppermint Ice-Cream Pie in the Kitchen" -- a non-cook recipe for a dessert you can serve on Thanksgiving.

"Done with Hostess" -- Trina writes she's done with Hostess and less than eight hours later the company announces they're closing shop.  How many damn Twinkees was Trina buying! :D

"TV Guy is a pig and other topics," "Calls for Junior to come forward (and Whitney returns!)," "3 men, 2 women (and Whitney returns),"  "8 men, 1 woman," "scandal 'spies like us'," "Partners gets the axe?,"  "The return of Whitney," "Arrow," "Fringe through the looking glass and . . .,"   "Jobs and Fringe,,"  "Revolution,"  "666 Park," "revenge,"  and "The Good Wife" -- Betty, Ann, Rebecca, Marcia, Stan and Mike cover TV.

"NYC - Long Island - New Jersey, Greg Palast, Ava and C.I." -- Elaine on realities.

 "He really is a jerk"
"And he stinks too! "

 "Channing, hot, hot Channing!"  and "Looper" -- Betty and Stan cover movies and Ruth continues her Benghazi coverage:

"There is no cliff!,"  "poverty in america has increased,"  "The artificial cliff," "Student loans and Social Security" and   "Jump off the cliff" -- Trina, Rebecca and Mike on the financial realities in America.

"Life without cable and more"
"Barack picks a fight
"Jobs and Fringe"
"Someone feels ignored"

"CIA Diva"  -- Isaiah dips into the archives.


"The spying government" and "The targeted group: Activists" -- Stan and Mike on a government that despises free speech.

"Who is Jill Kelley?" -- Elaine makes some calls and reports.

"THIS JUST IN! ARIANNA STOP OUTSOURCING!"  and  "Arianna Huffington: Outsource Queen" -- Wally and Cedric call out Arianna for outsourcing writing to a foreigner who does not understand that the US Constitution prevents Barack from running for a third term.

"From victrolas to 8-tracks" and  "Life without cable and more" -- tech posts from Kat and Stan.

"Curiosity" -- Kat covers the latest on Curiosity mission to Mars.



"And he stinks too!" and "THIS JUST IN! THE SAD BONO!"  -- Cedric and Wally on this century's Lou Christie after the hits vanish.

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