Sunday, September 08, 2013

Truest statement of the week

With obscene imperial arrogance, President Obama proclaimed that the “world” – not he – has drawn a bloody “red line” in Syria. “I didn’t set a red line,” said Obama, at a stop in Sweden on his way to a Group of 20 nations meeting in St. Petersburg, Russia. “The world set a red line.”
That’s news to the rest of the planet, including most of the Group of 20 and the meeting’s host, Russian President Vladimir Putin, who described Obama’s claims that Syria used sarin gas against civilians in rebel-held areas as “completely ridiculous.” “It does not fit any logic,” said Putin, since Syrian President Assad’s forces “have the so-called rebels surrounded and are finishing them off.”
It’s news to China, which will surely join Russia in vetoing any Security Council motion to provide legal cover for Obama’s aggression. And it’s news to the usually compliant UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, who this week reaffirmed that “the Security Council has primary responsibility for international peace and security" and “the use of force is lawful only when in exercise of self-defense in accordance with article 51 of the United Nations Charter and or when the Security Council approves such action.”
It’s news to Great Britain, America’s temporarily wayward poodle, whose parliament rejected any military entanglement in Obama’s red line. As esteemed political analyst William Blum points out, 64 percent of the people of France oppose their government’s planned participation Obama’s Battle of the Red Line.

Apparently, a young and impressionable Obama took the 1985 USA for Africa song “We are the World” too literally, and believes that all one need do is sing or shout the words to make it so.

-- Glen Ford, "Obama: As Warlike as Bush, and Just as Lonely" (Black Agenda Report).

Truest statement of the week II

Here is the conundrum Barack Obama has trapped himself with: He must attack Syria or attach a red clown nose to his face... but… he cannot be seen as a Peace Prize winning war monger baby killer… but… now he has to win the authorization vote he is likely to lose… but… to win he endangers his Obama Dimocrats in congress in the 2014 elections… but… to win on Syria he loses on fiscal votes, immigration reform, ObamaCare votes, debt ceiling votes, because he has to use the few cents of political capital he has in this the first year of his reelection…. In short: Barack Obama must attack Syria but Barack Obama must not attack Syria.  

-- Hillary Is 44, "Will #Syria Save Us – From #ObamaCare?."

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?

Glen Ford with another truest.
Hillary Is 44 with their first truest in a while.
It's amazing how so many want to 'help' Syria but they have no desire to 'help' Iraq now.
Ava and C.I. dissect TV via Chris Hayes, Phil Donahue and Oprah and explain that empty trash sales, selling war wins 'honors' and telling the truth gets you fired.  I (Jim) wanted to call this one 
"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" :D but went with snake oil sellers instead.
Short feature! So that's what they talk about at the G-20.
Dianne Feinstein, the oldest member of the Senate, needs to retire.
We sample booze!

Thanks for sharing.
Senator Patty Murray continues to fight for veterans.
Repost from Workers World.
Repost from Workers World.

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


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

Editorial: Iraq, Syria and the Hitler comparisons

For August, the United Nations counted 804 Iraqis "killed and another 2,030 were wounded."  In the first seven days of September, Iraq Body Count notes 248 violent deaths.  These are the continued effects of war.

Yet 'humanitarian interventionists' want to launch a war on Syria?

They can't even acknowledge what takes place in Iraq today.  Either boredom or their guilt causes them to pretend Iraq doesn't exist.

But we're supposed to hop on board with their latest desire to 'help'?

Their help cost the lives of over a million Iraqis so can we get a projection on how many Syrians their latest 'humanitarian' cause will kill?

Syrian President Bashir al-Assad, we are told, is another Hitler.  Secretary of State John Kerry and US House Rep. Debbie Wasserman-Schultz seem especially devoted to that description.  Thing is, we just gone hearing that Muammar al-Gaddafi was another Hitler and, before that, Saddam Hussein was said to be another Hitler.


Part of the horror, we thought, of Adolf Hitler was that his depravity was so unique.  Now it seems Hitlers are a dime a dozen.  Thank goodness for all the Captains of America so eager to protect the world from Hitler, right?

Or maybe, just maybe, the comparisons far from valid?

It's been pointed out that American officials don't like to use Pol Pot as a comparison because Pol Pot was US-backed.

But if Hitler is so common today, he apparently is common enough to be in country so maybe we should seriously consider whether or not he's in the United States?

Maybe it's just his ugly spirit that's present and it's possessing far too many people who should know better?

In other words, the US needs a political exorcism.

TV: The snake oil sellers

What if the press gave a damn about the American people?  It was hard to be a US news consumer this past week and not wonder that.


For those recently returned from vacation, in 2012, on a campaign stop, US President Barack Obama failed his tele-prompter (or vice versa) by going off script and ad libbing for self-glory (it's always self-glory for Barack) he tried to act tough (again, at a campaign event) and drew a "red-line" on Syria.  That might strike you as strange unless you consider Barack's lack of accomplishments, then you start to see how talking about something -- anything but his own record -- could seem attractive.

He grabbed his crayon marker and drew a line and then he insisted the Syrian government crossed it.  On August 21st, a chemical attack may have taken place in Syria (or may not have).  United Nations inspectors are finishing their investigation.  If an attack did take place, there is no proof as to who launched the attack.  An attack, if one took place, might have been launched by the Syrian government, by the so-called 'rebels' (Syria's in the midst of a civil war) or by some other element.  World opinion on "some other element" is currently: the US government.

Yes, that's how awful Barack Obama has been as president.  An attack might have taken place in Syria, one US Secretary of State John Kerry describes like this,  "With our own eyes we have seen the thousands of reports from 11 separate sites in the Damascus suburbs. All of them show and report victims with breathing difficulties, people twitching with spasms, coughing, rapid heartbeats, foaming at the mouth, unconsciousness and death."  And a large number of people around the world consider it possible that the United States was behind the attack.  Barack was sold, by the Cult of St. Barack, as someone who would improve the image of America.  Doesn't appear to have happened.

'Wait!' you who have returned from vaction say, 'that was August 21st, nearly a month ago. What's happened?'

Since the alleged attack, Barack's spent over three weeks threatening a military strike.

During that time, the press has attempted to goad him into action by basically calling him a 'pu**y' and John Kerry's seemed to repeatedly be several steps ahead of the administration.  August 30th, for instance, Kerry insisted in public it was time to act. The following day, Barack announced to the country that, despite earlier avoiding it, they would now seek Congressional approval for any strike on Syria.

Three weeks and nothing has happened.  Three weeks and Barack will attempt to sell war on Syria come Monday when he appears on ABC, CBS, CNN, Fox News Channel, NBC and PBS.

Nothing happens and the White House won't stop yacking?  It's as if we're trapped in an episode of one of Aaron Sorkin's lousy TV shows.

Or maybe just trapped on cable 'news.'  The talk shows of cable, which insist upon pretending they are news programming, can't stop yacking.  And they say so very little.

Chris Hayes wasted a lot of 4G data last week.  He brought on John Kerry for his MSNBC program All In and did such a poor job in the interview that it was left to Michael Moore to hold Kerry accountable.

  • On MSNBC Kerry said he & Hagel "opposed the president's decision to go into Iraq"  Actually, they both voted for it

  • There's no excuse for that.

    Hayes has no excuse for allowing Kerry to get away with lying.

    In an interview, many claims can be made and we don't expect one interviewer to know every detail.

    However, Kerry is a joke on Iraq and made himself that in 2004.   Repeatedly.  He voted for the war and if Hayes was unaware of that fact, Hayes wasn't prepared to interview Kerry.

    Hayes has a lot of problems, as was obvious last week when he and Karen Finney tried to tag team US House Rep. Alan Grayson on the issue of Syria.  (Grayson's petition to stop an attack on Syria can be found here.)  Grayson noted the American people wanted America's problems solved and were against action in Syria.

    Karen immediately began babbling about Syrian children while Chris went with, "But that sounds, but that sounds" -- and we could hear Will Truman (Eric McCormack) telling Jack McFarland (Sean Hayes) to take it down to the chest voice.

    Hosts that flutter and chirp tend to only find work on the mythical OutTV (which gave Jack McFarland his own TV show).  It would do Hayes a lot of good to slow down.

    But MSNBC isn't interested in that which is why, as Bob Somerby has repeatedly documented, Chris Hayes has gone from promising voice to carnie huckster.

    Hayes is smart and bright and his hiring could have led to MSNBC offering some actual quality; however, MSNBC honchos don't want intelligent discussions, they want comfort food tossed out with snarls, they want their viewers to feed on hate and anger.  So Chris dumbs it down and ups the shouting and drama.

    How idiotic is MSNCB? Setting up the segment with guests Grayson and Finney, Finney giggled as Hayes noted she "now hosts Disrupt with Karen Finney" -- this is funny?

    Actually, it is.  To anyone who's watched Disrupt, it is very funny but who knew Karen was in on what a joke she is?

    Chris kept talking about 'issues' that really weren't issues and 'facts' that were actually fears (possibly unfounded fears).  And, most of all, he ignored the American people except as a hindrance to Barack Obama.

    This still is a democracy, right?

    Because in a full week's worth of All In, we only found one guest who spoke positively of We the People.  That was Alan Grayson.  And when he did and when he pointed out that the American people are overwhelmingly against a military strike on Syria, what did Chris respond?

    "Well the American people can be wrong about things."

    They're rarely as wrong as talk show hosts.  In fact, the average adult American would have known John Kerry was lying when he'd claimed to have voted against the war.

    John Kerry:  And, first of all, let -- let -- let me make this clear.  The president -- and this is very important, because I think a lot of Americans, all of your listeners, a lot of people in the country are sitting there and saying oh, my gosh, this is going to be Iraq, this is going to be Afghanistan.  Here we go again.  I know this.  I -- I’ve heard it.  And the answer is no, profoundly no.  You know, Senator Chuck Hagel, when he was senator, Senator Chuck Hagel, now secretary of Defense, and when I was a senator, we opposed the president’s decision to go into Iraq, but we know full well how that evidence was used to persuade all of us that authority ought to be given.  I can guarantee you, I’m not imprisoned by my memories of or experience in Vietnam, I’m informed by it.  And I’m not imprisoned by my memory of how that evidence was used, I’m informed by it.  And so is Chuck Hagel.  And we are informed sufficiently that we are absolutely committed to not putting any evidence in front of the American people that isn’t properly vetted, properly chased to ground and verified.  And we are both convinced that what we are putting before the American people is in the security interests of our country and it will not lead to some further engagement.

    And Chris just sat there nodding.

    PHIL DONAHUE: Well, I'm pleased to have this chance to chat with you for a lot of reasons. One, I don’t know who else has more cred than you.  What would a 23-year graduate of West Point offer us now regarding the dilemma in which Obama finds himself, regarding Syria?

    ANDREW BACEVICH:  You know, I have to say, I'm just struck by the fact that Secretary of State Kerry has become the leading proponent for war. It's our secretary of state's job apparently--

    PHIL DONAHUE: He threw his medal-- he threw his medals back.

    ANDREW BACEVICH: Well, that's why it's doubly ironic. 'Cause the Secretary of State is the war promoter. And that our secretary of state happens to be a guy who came into politics basically advertising himself as the guy who because of his--

    PHIL DONAHUE: Understands war?

    ANDREW BACEVICH: --Vietnam experiences, understands war, understands the lessons of Vietnam, and is therefore going to prevent us from doing dumb things. On the contrary, he's the lead cheerleader to go through another dumb thing.

    That reality and context was completely absent from Chris Hayes' interview.  Last week saw Phil Donahue substitute for a vacationing Bill Moyers on Moyers & Company.

    Last month, the idea that Oprah Winfrey had done anything to warrant a Presidential Medal of Freedom was hysterical.  At this site, it was noted:

    We also laughed at the idea that her 'work' has warranted any award.  In 2008, her ratings began to tank.  She moved on to her own cable channel which still flounders.  All she has is a talk show and we haven't seen Phil Donahue awarded when he certainly did more for the country with his daytime talk show than Oprah ever did with her own.

    It was as though Donahue showed up on PBS last week to yet again demonstrate that he made real contributions.  By contrast, Oprah Winfrey wasted the summer with 'in depth' coverage of the Kardashians.  That's only an 'improvement' if you factor in that this was less damaging than when she used her daytime talk show to sell the Iraq War via 'expert' Judith Miller.  Oprah getting the Presidential Medal of Freedom -- Oprah getting it instead of Phil Donahue -- is just another example of how those who were wrong about Iraq keep getting  rewarded.

    PHIL DONAHUE: So it's going to be easier then to have another one and another one. We haven't even, it seems to me, we haven't even looked at ourselves regarding the wars that we've had.


    PHIL DONAHUE: Nobody--

    ANDREW BACEVICH: That's one of the most troubling aspects of this whole thing. It staggers me that the American people have so quickly put the Iraq War in the rearview mirror. Indeed, won't even look in the rearview mirror.  Because if they did, they could see in the rearview mirror the smoking ruin that we left behind. Instead, there is this preoccupation to deal with the next crisis, which as we speak, is Syria. Six months from now, it'll probably be something else.

    PHIL DONAHUE: I imagine that so few people sacrifice, for example, in the Iraq War. 

    Sacrifice?  Oprah knows all about sacrifice too.  As she told Lindsay Lohan in last month's interview, she offers "an open conversation about your truth.  And I'm here to facilitate that."

    That and nothing more.  Empty chatter that doesn't even qualify as good gossip.

    If and when Oprah's network goes under, she might try hosting a talk show on MSNBC where having nothing of worth to say has become a hallmark.

    Lindsay Lohan is a highly skilled and talented actress.  We know her and wish her only the best. It's not a criticism of her to note that Oprah interviewing her four days after she's released from rehab (her sixth time in rehab) is probably not going to make for a productive interview.

    But that is the hallmark of Oprah Winfrey, empty talk, a woman whose entire work product is nugatory.  And maybe that's why she excelled so as a TV talker for so many years, despite all the rumors and weight fluctuations.

    On daytime TV, Phil could (and did) interview celebrities as well.  But these were interviews he prepared for and ones where he asked non-softball questions.  On daytime TV and now on her own OWN failing network, Oprah seems to take delight in being 'surprised' (i.e. knowing very little about her guests before the interview starts).  She was the cheapest of TV trash when she finally went national.  "Tawdry topics explored by a crackhead" is how the show was seen back when people didn't know if her name was "Oprah" or "Ofrah."  Seeing the ratings start to droop, she sought a way out of the Jerry Springer sewer.

    A viable option was already there, follow Phil Donahue's lead.  But that required actual knowledge and whatever other bad eating habits she's ever had, Oprah's always maintained a fact-free diet.  So it was off to the land of 'empowerment' where touchy-feely trumped all.  Her comfort in winging it on air over and over also led to the lawsuit that almost shut her down.  Had Oprah known anything about Mad Cow, things could have gone much differently.

    Instead, armed with only the tiniest sketch of bovine spongiform encephalopathy, Oprah plopped down in front of guests, including Howard Lyman, for a show on "dangerous foods."  As she listened to Lyman discuss various details of Mad Cow Disease and what was taking place in England, an obviously shocked Oprah declared, "That just stops me cold.  I'll never eat another burger."

    Again, basic prep ahead of an interview would have prevented that but Oprah feels she's her freshest when she wings it -- or at least that's the excuse she offers.

    And her I-feel statements and observations can never be wrong?

    That's her takeaway from the court win, anyway.

    And for that garbage and so much more, she's going to get a Medal of Freedom?

    No, she's getting it for whoring for Barack in 2008.  She suffered, you understand, for backing Barack Obama in the Democratic Party primaries.  Of course she did.  She was utterly non-political in the eyes of her viewers.  She was just as comfortable (and happy) interviewing George W. Bush as she was with Al Gore.  And there was the whole, "You go, girl!"  If Barbara Walters was haunted by her "If you were a tree" question, Oprah was anchored by the "You go, girl!" phrase.  And in 2008, a 'girl' went for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination:  Hillary Clinton.

    But Oprah went for Barack and, in the process, exposed how shallow her touchy-feely actually was.  Her viewers were appalled to find out the sisterhood Oprah espoused had no real world basis and her ratings took a huge hit.

    Some have wrongly insisted that Oprah lost White women viewers over this.  Oprah lost viewers across the board as a result of her endorsement of Barack.  The bulk of her viewers were White women so she had more White women to lose.

    But women across the board -- political and non-political -- left because for Oprah to preach 'empowerment' and sisterhood and "You go, girl!" and to insist, via Ashford & Simpson's song, that she was "every woman" to then not support the country's first truly viable female presidential contender?  It was more shocking than TV star Pee Wee Herman pleasuring himself in an adult movie theater.

    For that, Barack tosses her a medal.  And she uses that and her hideous performance in Lee Daniels' The Butler to try to serve up a 'new face' to OWN.  Her network remains in the toilet.  A 23% increase in ratings would be amazing if, for example, you were CBS' prime time lineup.  But when you consider how low OWN's ratings were (and still are), it means nothing.  The only reason for any interest at all is the Lindsay Lohan interview and the mini-reality series on Lohan that OWN will be broadcasting.

    Oprah started out doing trash but it was honest trash.  No one pretended it was anything other than lowest common denominator.  Then she found 'aspirations' and a new way to do trash while presenting herself as some sort of spiritual guru -- the Queen of the Snake Oil Peddlers.

    On commercial broadcast television no one had to pay for, Oprah could net an audience with that. But when she switched to a fee-based channel, that changed.

    It's something MSNBC might think about because their act also doesn't work in the fee-based model.

    Possibly, that's due to the disregard for the American people.

    It's very telling that, in the interview with John Kerry, Chris Hayes never interrupted as Kerry went on and on and never interrupted to point out that, "The American intelligence community is often wrong."  Or, for that matter, "The American officials are often wrong."

    "Well the American people can be wrong about things!"

    That's how Hayes cut off Alan Grayson while Grayson was in the midst of discussing what the American people were saying and why they were opposed to war.

    Yes, Chris, by all means cut that off!  Heaven forbid the American people ever get a voice in their own media.

    In the lead up to the Iraq War, the American people were not allowed to participate in the media discussion.  A rare exception was NBC's Today which did various townhalls on the impending Iraq War and did allow a variety of voices to be heard.

    Now?  The American people are as invisible as the Syrian people.  In 2003, there was no 'Lean Forward' MSNBC, there wasn't even Air America Radio.  And a lot of us thought that if we had our own media, it would be different.

    Maybe it would be.

    We still don't know.

    Because we still don't have our own left media.

    We have centrist Democratic Party media which is MSNBC.  We have kind of left media in Pacifica Radio but they're actually weaker about war on Syria than they were on the Iraq War.

    The American people -- right, left or whatever -- have no media.  All the money spent on public broadcasting hasn't resulted in PBS or NPR suddenly discovering the people.

    Like  most populations around the world, the American people are opposed to war in general.  So media is used to sell war.  It treats the war impulse as normal and treats any effort to stop a war as suspect.  (Look at last week's articles which repeatedly questioned the motives of Republicans who voted for the Iraq War but questioned war on Syria and contrast that with the small number of articles that examined Democrats who opposed the Iraq War but were now supporting war on Syria.)

    To treat war as the norm and, in fact, logical, you have to shut out a lot of voices including those of the American people.  Oprah will get a Medal of Freedom from Barack after using her daytime show to promote war on Iraq.  Phil Donahue's thank you for using his MSNBC program to allow the voices of America to be heard (pro and anti-war) was to be kicked off the network in February 2003 (despite hosting  MSNBC's highest rated program at the time -- and higher rated than anything they currently air).

    Chris Hayes is no dummy.  He knows he can meekly oppose war on Syria in a blog post and a tiny, tinny commentary but to do more than that, to put himself in front of the war machine, would be to earn the same cancellation fate Donahue did.  Hayes isn't working for the American people anymore than he's working for himself.  He takes a sizable check from a corporation with a long history of selling war and he knows not to rock the boat, to instead listen to (and follow) what the army of consultants MSNBC's hired tell him.

    The heart of the argument to attack Syria these days goes something like, "What will it say about Barack Obama, after he's made clear he wants to attack Syria, if the Congress denies him?"

    Assuming that a Congressional denial did say something about Barack, isn't the more important question: What will it say about the American people and democracy, after the people have made clear that they don't want an attack on Syria, if the people's elected leaders refuse to heed public sentiment?

    In a functioning press, that question would be asked far more often than what-will-this-mean-to-Barack because, in case you've forgotten, no supreme law of the land opens, "I, the President"; however, the Constitution opens, "We the People . . ."

    It's a fact that the politicians and the media repeatedly ignore and silence.

    Big moment at G-20


    Important things take place at the G-20 when world leaders meet.  Above, Barack Obama explains to Italy's Prime Minister Enrico Letta that he beats off with his right hand.

    Asleep at the Wheel

    asleep at the wheel


    No, seriously, Carolyn Lochhead (San Francisco Chronicle) quotes Feinstein insisting that she's right to blow off constituents who overwhelmingly are opposed to a US military strike on Syria because they "have not seen what I have seen, or heard what I have heard.  I like to believe that after 20 years that I have some skills in separating the wheat from the chaff. Knowing where we were when Iraq was considered and where we are with this, I don't want to see nations use chemical weapons with abandon."

    20 years in Congress makes her an expert?  Ten years didn't.  In 2002, she voted for the Iraq War and, as Lochhead observes, last year Feinstein was admitting to The Chronicle that her Iraq War vote was a mistake.  In 2023, will Feinstein be telling The Chronicle that her Syrian War vote was a mistake?

    Probably not.

    Mainly because she'd be ninety . . . If she lives that long.

    Dianne's age woldn't be a concern to us were it not for the fact that she's in Congress.

    For some time now -- see, for example, 2008's "A gold watch for Robert Byrd?" -- we've noted that certain lawmakers don't have the good sense to retire and, therefore, the country needs term limits or a mandatory retirement age.

    The Senate itself notes that 298 members of the Senate have died while in office.  Five have died in office since we started raising this issue:

    All five died of natural causes.  Each of them should have retired.  Take Thomas who was re-elected to a six-year term in November of 2006 and dead seven months later.

    What is is that makes these senators so damn selfish?

    Let's ask DiFi?

    At 80, does she really have no life outside of the Senate?  Does her only child hate her that much? Is she so repulsed by her own husband that she has to escape into the Senate?

    Or is that this pig who looks down on the voters who elected her can think of nothing worse than becoming a non-senator?

    Who knows but here's what's known.

    When these idiots die in office, they create a whole host of problems.

    Every state is guaranteed two US senators.  When they're stuck with only one -- as was the case in Minnesota not that long ago -- their one senator and her office is overwhelmed.  (The November 2009 election came down to dispute between incumbent Norm Coleman and challenger Al Franken.  July 7, 2009, Al Franken was finally sworn in as senator.  Until that day, Senator Amy Klobuchar was Minnesota's sole US senator and, as she made clear during the endless battle over recounts, her staff was overtaxed.)

    Second, if a special election is required to take place, that's a bill that the taxpayers of the state have to foot.  Last November, Chris Good (ABC News) reported:

    Looking at two special House elections held in Illinois in recent years -- those to replace GOP House speaker Denny Hastert and Democratic congressman Rahm Emanuel -- the Illinois State Board of Elections calculated those elections cost $2,700 to $4,000 per precinct. With 590 precincts in Jackson’s 2nd Congressional District, an election would probably cost around $2,575,000, the state board told ABC News.
    Illinois will hold two special elections to replace Jackson, a primary and a general, and the state board projects that replacing Jackson could cost $5.15 million total.

    Those were House races.  Imagine the cost of a state-wide  special election.

    Senators Carl Levin (79) and Jay Rockefeller (76) have all announced they will not seek re-election.  At 80, Dianne Feinstein is now the oldest member of the Senate.

    Clearly, her life is so worthless and devoid of meaning that she must remain in the Senate.  She has nothing else to do and, without the title of "Senator," no one would speak to her.  So she desperately holds onto an office she has no business in.

    At 80, we don't trust her with the car keys to make a milk run to Ted's Market over on Howard Street, why in the world should we trust her with matter of life and death like war?

    We clearly shouldn't.

    It is past time for America to make the difficult choice of life decisions: Either we start imposing term limits on Congress or we set a mandatory retirement age for members of Congress.

    The cost to the taxpayer, the cost to the wellness of the nation is too great.

    From The TESR Test Kitchen

    Labor Day.  A time for relaxation, a time for fun and, as reader Brita noted in an e-mail, a time to try new alcoholic products.

    Brita and friends were partying at the lake and stopped at the liquor store.  What she wanted was margaritas.  But they had no mixer and, anyway, no electrical outlet at the beach.  So she tried Bartles and Jaymes Margarita wine coolers.

    bartles and james

    She wondered if we could put them through the test kitchen.

    Brita must really hate us.

    This has to be, hands down, the worst booze in the world.  Thunderbird tastes better than this.

    What does B and J Margarita wine coolers taste like?

    Like someone pissed in a bottle with a twist-off cap and then squeezed a slice of lime into it before putting the cap back on.

    In fact, this was so bad, we actually drank more than one, sure that after our taste buds had adjusted, we would taste an improvement.


    We will say this for the product, it didn't get worse.  It just stayed as awful the second time around as it had been at the start.

    Samantha Power Sex Tips


    In the midst of selling war on Syria last week, US Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power took time to demonstrate the proper position when fellaciating the gods of war.

    "Remember to suck good!" Samantha helpfully advised.  "People have told me I suck for years!"

    Murray on VA Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

    Patty Murray

    Senator Patty Murray (above) serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (and chaired it until becoming, this year, the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee).  Her office issued the following on the new order regarding the military and marriage equality:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                                            CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Thursday, September 05, 2013                                                                               (202) 224-2834

    Senator Murray’s Statement on VA Benefits for Same-Sex Spouses

    WASHINGTON, D.C. – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA) released the following statement after U.S. Attorney General Holder announced yesterday that President Obama has directed the Justice Department to stop enforcing Department of Veterans Affairs provisions which deny full access to spousal benefits for same-sex married couples:

    “This long-awaited move by the Obama Administration is a major step towards finally ensuring each of our heroes and their spouses receive the same quality care and services once they leave the military – no matter who they love. And after pressing Secretary Shinseki to expedite the process for dignified, same-sex burials in our national cemeteries, I am thrilled yesterday’s news will no longer force veterans to face uncertainty when mourning the loss of their spouse. Our veterans and their families, who selflessly served our nation and have given so much, will finally be afforded the benefits they have so rightly earned. This is not only a matter of fairness and equity, it is simply the right thing to do.”



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

    RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

    Women speak out against US intervention in Syria (WW)

    Repost from Workers World:

    Women speak out against U.S. intervention in Syria

    By on September 6, 2013

    The following is a statement from the International Women’s Alliance, of which the Women’s Fightback Network, New York Chapter, is an executive board member, on the planned U.S. assault on Syria.

    We, the  member organizations of the International Women’s Alliance, raise our collective voices against the impending interventionist war that the United States is planning to wage against the Syrian people.

    The U.S. Senate’s recent approval of a punitive missile strike on Syria constitutes a direct act of aggression masquerading as humanitarian action. Despite widespread opposition from the international community and lack of authorization from the United Nations, the U.S. remains hell-bent on attacking Syria, even as reports show that Syrian rebels funded by the Saudi government — a close U.S. ally — were the ones responsible for the March 19 simultaneous chemical assaults in Aleppo and Ataybah, which left approximately 26 people including 16 Syrian soldiers dead, with 86 more seriously injured.

    Indeed, the Obama administration’s obstinacy in waging war on Syria is reminiscent of Iraq, where the supposed existence of weapons of mass destruction was used to justify gross violations of national sovereignty and the people’s right to self-determination. Contrary to their claims of protecting civilians and upholding democracy, history has unveiled the devastating consequences of U.S. military aggression, including rampant human rights violations such as rape, torture, detention and murder of innocent civilians.

    As thousands of Syrians continue to flee the capital in fear of foreign military airstrikes, the real motive of the U.S. becomes clearer — to advance its own geopolitical and economic agenda in the region, particularly to gain control of the country’s massive oil reserves. Syria has one of the biggest conventional reserves of crude oil in the eastern Mediterranean, and exploration opportunities have largely been limited to Russia, making it especially vital to U.S. interests.

    U.S., keep your hands off Syria!

    Women, girls and children remain as the most vulnerable sectors in times of conflict and this most recent act of aggression by the U.S. will undoubtedly cause untold suffering for thousands of Syrian women, girls and children who will be displaced, harassed, violated, deprived of basic necessities, injured or even killed as they are caught in the crossfire.

    We call on women’s organizations, advocates and the entire global community to rise up and condemn this brazen warmongering of the U.S. for oil. We are in solidarity with the Syrian people Sin upholding their national sovereignty and right to self-determination.

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

    Open letter to AFL-CIO leaders - Oppose war on Syria (WW)

    Repost from Workers World:

    Open letter to the AFL-CIO leaders — Oppose war on Syria

    By on September 6, 2013

    The following is an open letter from the first secretary of Workers World Party, Larry Holmes, written to the AFL-CIO leadership on the eve of their organization’s national convention Sept. 8 in Los Angeles. If you agree with this statement, write an email to

    Sept. 6 — At this critical moment, the number one priority for organized labor must be to publicly, unequivocally, and loudly oppose the president’s plans to attack Syria.

    Understandably, the question of another war, this one against Syria, was likely not on the agenda of the AFL-CIO convention beginning this weekend in Los Angeles. Recent events, however, have changed everything and there’s no point in pretending that the situation is the same as before.

    If the plans to attack Syria are denounced from the podium of the labor convention, this would mean that organized labor has risen to the challenge of becoming the militant, thoroughly progressive, independent movement of working people in the United States. Not to do it would reduce the leadership of the AFL-CIO to providing cover for the president’s war plans.

    The fact that President Barack Obama has cancelled his appearance at the convention is no reason to ignore the challenge this new war poses.

    The most important lesson from the last twelve years of war against Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya — and other countries where people have been bombed by U.S. drones — is not just that George W. Bush was an evil liar and a war criminal. Of course Bush was that and more.  It is a humiliating miscarriage of justice that Bush, Rumsfeld and all of the other architects of endless war are not in jail or on trial for premeditated mass murder.

    The most important lesson from the recent past, however, is that when U.S. presidents order the Pentagon to unleash its awesome killing machine, this is not done for humanitarian reasons.

    Another lesson is that the sole purpose of the demonization of Saddam Hussein or Bashar al-Assad is to herd the reluctant U.S. population into supporting a criminal war.

    The real objectives of the Pentagon’s wars are always to secure the empire and terrorize all who would dare to challenge U.S. imperialism. It is for the strategic and economic gains of the U.S. superrich. And it is always the working people and all the poor who pay the most for the war and make the greatest sacrifices.

    Again, this is the real goal of war plans against Syria.

    President Obama, who was elected to end endless war, once again is betraying those who elected him.

    At home and across the world, virtually everyone is against war on Syria.

    The leadership of the organized labor movements has the responsibility to speak out against war. It must do this not only because it is in the interest of the U.S. working class, but also to prevent the millions of workers who oppose this war from following the right wing, tea party, racist demagogues who pretend to be against the war — but who in reality oppose everything Obama does for the most reactionary reasons.

    The AFL-CIO is meeting at a time when labor unions and workers everywhere are under relentless attack. For labor leaders meeting in Los Angeles, summoning the resolve, the clarity and the independence to stand up against another war can only bode well for the struggle of workers at Walmart stores, at fast food restaurants, and everywhere workers are resisting capitalist greed and superexploitation.

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


     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.

    "Message to the Media: Stop Whoring" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site. 

    "Iraq, favoritism and feminism (Beth),"   "Ruth's Report," "Kat's Korner: Jackson and His Computerband Glow," and  The World Today Just Nuts "Just Keep Lying" and "Missing Hillary" -- Beth, Ruth, Kat and Isaiah work Labor Day.

    "Corn Quesadillas in the Kitchen" -- Trina shares a simple and healthy recipe.

    "scandal" -- Rebecca on her favorite show.

    "Cher needs to inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame" -- Stan weighs in.

    "Equality benefits stalled in two states" -- Ruth on marriage equality.

    "guantanamo" -- Rebecca on the gulag.

    "Why's Joy-Ann so angry?," "Breaking with the pack," "Barack wants Congress to go down with him," "John The Liar Kerry," "Oh, Matthew Rothschild, really?," "The spying, the selling of war"
    "Kerry had a hankering for Hagel," "THIS JUST IN! KERRY DEVOURS HAGEL!,"  "Barack is the date you hate," "The endless selling of war on Syria," "Is the C.I.A. lying?," "He keeps selling war (plus Janis Ian news)," "Barack and his lies of war," "War Criminals," "Humanitarian intervention and other lies," "He's going to speak again," "THIS JUST IN! MORE WORDS, MORE WORDS!," "Saying no to war on Syria," "Barack and Pelosi's Syria Lust," "Again with Lindorff and the Orange Tabby," "again on fonda," "Stop the attack on Syria," "Barack, stop using my tax dollars to fund al Qaeda," "The press sells the war," "Barack's fragile ego," "Kerry is disturbed," "THIS JUST IN! KERRY UNABLE TO SPEAK AT PRESENT!," "Is John Kerry pregnant?," "Barack's foreign policy disaster," "No to war on Syria!," "when will john kerry do his job and focus on iraq?," "Hillary lost my support," "Congress really is that stupid," "Stupid Frank James," "Does Winona Ryder have a classic film?," "Barack's lies" and "MacDonald Stainsby exposes the fake left" -- some of the community coverage of the push for war on Syria.

    "Riddick,""Does Winona Ryder have a classic film?" and "The World Is Not Enough" -- Stan goes to the movies. 

    "The Joan Rivers Presidency" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

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