Sunday, March 16, 2014

Truest statement of the week

So NPR publishes Alice Fordham who covered the Iraq War for Rupert Murdoch and the comments are all about Bush?
How typical and self-righteous as well as uninformed.
I consider Bush a War Criminal.
What's going on right now isn't about him. I'm not surprised Fordham plays the terrorist card, she learned it well under Murdoch.
But, fellow Americans, if you could take a moment to stop babbling about Bush, go over to Human Rights Watch and read their reports on Anbar.
Nouri al-Maliki is using collective punishment -- a War Crime. The Common Ills has pointed this out since the assault on Anbar began at the end of December.
Nouri's forces are killing innocents including children and they're bombing hospitals.
You may think you look really informed when you grumble about Bush in this story.
Maybe to an echo chamber you do.
But I'm a Green and you just look like people who want to talk but don't want to take the time required to learn the facts.
This isn't 2004.
There's a reason Senator Robert Menendez didn't want to arm Nouri and it took weeks of strong-arming him by the current White House for Nouri to get the Hellfire missiles he's now using on the people of Anbar.
It is true that War Criminal Bush appointed Nouri in 2006.
It's also true he lost the 2010 elections.
For 8 months he refused to step down and with the support of the US and Iran, he didn't have to.
Barack Obama is the one who ordered US officials to broker The Erbil Agreement which gives -- as The Common Ills points out repeatedly -- Nouri a second term by going around the Iraqi Constitution, concepts of democracy and the will of the Iraqi people.
That contract was signed because there was no government for 8 months following the election. The contract dictated a power-sharing government. But after Nouri signed it, he refused to honor it and the White House that had promised the Kurds a power-sharing agreement, President Barack Obama who had personally called Ayad Allawi to go back into Parliament on its first meeting in months (November 2010)? They suddenly ignored their promises.
NPR didn't report it accurately in real time. It's no surprise they're offering nonsense now.

--  Ann, commenting on the awful Alice Fordham 'report' NPR aired -- where's the link to NPR's story?  They didn't allow Ann's comment to go up so we will be damned if we're going to give them a link.

Truest statement of the week II

Hanaa Edwar, who heads the Al-Amal Association which fights for the socio-economic improvement of Iraqis, points out that among the poor – which, since the invasion, has spiraled, children as young as ten are already marrying and further, that  most of the religious “illiterate people hear it’s based on Ja’fari (law) and think it must be good.”
Yanar Mohammed, President of the Organization for Women’s Freedom in Iraq, is convinced that “Iraqi people will not agree to the legalization of pedophilia … the objections come from all sides, and the number of women who raise their voices is high … It is an abuse of children’s rights and their bodily integrity.”

Edwar and Mohammed are lobbying in and out of the parliament, but “pressure from outside Iraq is essential.”

-- Felicity Arbuthnot, "The US and Britain's Paedophile Colony" (Dissident Voice).

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:

Ann gets one.
Felicity Arbuthnot gets another truest. 
This is our Iraq editorial and it's basically just cribbing from C.I. We thank her.
Ava and C.I. wrote this to address an e-mail.  I wasn't sure what they were going to do but I did ask them to include the e-mail in their TV piece.  This is a strong response that I'm sure will please many.

"Short pieces!" Dona always screams.  This one's short but not to sweet.

This was the piece I wanted Ava and C.I. to write last week but they refused.  (See last week's "A note to our readers.")  I was afraid it wouldn't be timely if they waited a Sunday.  I was wrong.  Never underestimate The New York Times' ability to miss the point -- especially when it comes to women.

Past due on another one of these.
We did this quickly.  Ava and C.I. had another piece they wanted done and we went with this.  The last thing we wrote.  As a result, we're too tired for anything else, we're ignoring a good story.  I've told C.I. she can address it at her site if she thinks it won't still be timely by next Sunday.
What we listened to during this writing session.

Ava and C.I.'s "hands clean" piece is long.  And was hell to write, they'll tell you.  That's why they refused to do it last week when they were exhausted.  When they went off to write it this week, they suggested I do a Jim's World.  Which I did.  And took the hint.
As we were winding down, we saw this and knew we had to write something.  We still had the Gap piece, the editorial and the piece Ava and C.I. were advocating for (it's on The Drone War).  But we had to make time for this.

When they finished writing the "hands clean" piece, they realized it was too long and began editing.  We grabbed this section to make its own piece.

Press release from Senator Patty Murray's office. 
Repost from UNAMI.
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

Repost from Workers World.

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


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

Editorial: A lesson in what is news

Saturday, events took place in Iraq?

For AFP's Prashant Rao, this was the biggest news in Iraq.


Not since the Clinton White House pet of the same name, were socks ever treated as news?

So shoe bombers have progressed to sock bombers?

No, no, no.

Prashant Rao had found a pair of socks he lost in 2009.

That was news to Rao.

But a protest of Nouri on Saturday wasn't news.

That's Dar Addustour.  The found cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr leading the rally -- returning to Iraq for the rally -- to be news.

That's Alsumaria.  They found the huge turnout at the rally to be news.

That's Al Mada.  They also found the huge turnout to be news.

If you read the Iraqi press or The Common Ills, you know about the protest.

But that's all that covered it.

Not The New York Times, not The Washington Post, not CNN, not The Los Angeles Times, not Reuters, not the Associated Press, not The Guardian, not The Independent, not the . . .

You get the idea.

But Prashant thought finding a pair of socks qualified as news.

TV: No, it wasn't a feminist skit

"So let me get this straight," writes Tammi in an e-mail in response to our "TV: A week of putrid and puerile" last week, "a real feminist hosts the show and writes this amazing feminist sketch endorsing Planned Parenthood.  You should be praising her.  You should [***]damn be on your knees, kneeling before her.  A honest to God feminist sketch makes it onto network TV.  But all you can do is attack it.  You're like all the other haters who refuse to praise Lena for her talent but attack her for her looks.  It really says something about a person when they make their point by attacking someone's looks.  And you call yourselves the voice of feminism?  You should be ashamed."

First off, we present a feminist viewpoint in a feminist voice.  We have noted many times that feminism is not one monolithic voice but a series of voices.

While Lena Dunham did present herself as the voice of a generation (see the first episode of her awful TV series) and HBO marketed that to the press which ran with it, we have repeatedly stated we are "a feminist voice" and not "the voice of feminism."

Second, Lena's an exhibitionist.

And she appears to think that she can be one and just receive praise for it by insisting it's "fat shaming" to note her weight.  You do nudity on camera repeatedly and you're an actor or actress, your body's going to get commented on whether you're Richard Gere or Lena Dunham.

We've noted here before that TV is a visual medium and we will comment on visuals.

We do understand Lena Dunham says it is wrong to do so.

She says that.

She doesn't practice it, but she says it.

So what it really looks like is she just says it to attack people that don't like her.

The skit you praise, Tammi, the whole point is that the thick-accented stranger doesn't like the body of the man.  Did you miss all those insults?

So overweight Lena says it's fat shaming to note her gross obesity but does a skit where a woman rejects a man because he's 'puny'?

In the sketch, Bruce is described as a "little skinny guy" and laughed at for having "little arms."

So fatty wants to make fun of skinny but wants to say no one should talk about how grossly obese she is?

In the skit, the woman whom Bruce has brought to America tells him, "I don't like your body.  I don't like your face "

And she does so to the glee of the other women present.

And Lena wants to whine that she's being fat shamed?

No, it doesn't work that way.

The phrase we all learned as children was, "Don't dish it out if you can't take it."

Lena Dunham has problems with people of color.

We noted that and questioned why she was attacking Scandal in a parody instead of a show that didn't feature women of color?  How about the mighty NCIS instead?

But let's point out that Lena Grand Dragon Dunham's big 'feminist' moment involved a dumb woman of color and the 'actress' Lena spoke slowly to her implying she was more than just dumb.

The skit had the woman of color excitedly exclaiming,  "He fights the equal pay of men and women!"

The 'feminist' sketch had the woman of color too dumb to grasp what that meant.

The woman of color needed White Jewish Lena to explain it to her.

At another point, a condescending Lena asks, "Marisol, do you know what Planned Parenthood is?"

No, she doesn't.

So she's lucky to have White Lena to explain to her, "It's a place where women can go for low cost medial advice and care."

What a  lie.

Planned Parenthood itself explains, "Planned Parenthood delivers vital reproductive health care, sex education, and information to millions of women, men, and young people worldwide."

A feminist sketch?

It can't even use the terms "abortion" or "reproductive rights."  It takes the very specific mission of Planned Parenthood and waters it down as though its work is too 'outrageous' to be supported if explained truthfully.

That's feminism?

And how about the skit offering that he's the way he is now because when he was 18 his heart was broken?

That's why he turned into a men's rights activist.


That's how we reason in a 'feminist' skit?

Because most people -- men and women -- have had their hearts broken as teenagers.

And that's another reason the skit failed.

Do we want to talk about how the skit re-enforced sexist gender roles?

Or how the man was rejected for his looks?

It was a skit where a group of White women gang up on one "little skinny guy,"  ridicule him -- including for his body --  and 'save' the sole woman of color whom the skit presents as both dumb and too dumb to save herself.

We're struggling, Tammi, to see how anyone could describe that skit as feminism?

As for bowing down to Lena?

That's not feminism either.

Feminism isn't a fan club for a woman.

Feminism is about empowering women -- plural.

Feminism is about all women becoming what they can be.

Tammi, you've fallen for a queen bee and relegated yourself to drone status.

It's your life and you can do what you want with it but don't try to pass it off as feminism unless you're willing to be called on it.

Young Middle-Aged Love

Get a backseat already, you two.

Whose hands are clean in The War On Women (Ava and C.I.)

On the front page of Thursday's New York Times, Alan Blinder and Richard A. Oppel Jr.'s "How a Military Sexual Assault Case Foundered" began and continued on and on.  The story should have outraged.  The two authors ensured it didn't by failing to get to the point.

It takes them 48 paragraphs to introduce the element where the case foundered.  ("Foundered"?  They mean to sink or go under.)

Paragraph 48:

To Mr. Scheff, the lead defense lawyer, this was one more example of improper Pentagon involvement.  Soon, the judge seemed to warm to the same conclusion.  In a hearing last week, he expressed concerns about a letter sent in December by Capt. Cassie L. Fowler, the chief witness's special victim counsel, to General Anderson, calling it "inappropriate."
[. . .]
In her letter to General Anderson, Captain Fowler, a recent Notre Dame Law School graduate, made what legal experts have said was an unsurprising -- but overtly political -- argument for why General Anderson should reject the plea offer.
In a reference to the sort of legislation advocated by Ms. [Senator Kirsten] Gillibrand, she wrote, "Allowing the accused to characterize this relationship as a consensual affair would only strengthen the arguments of those individuals that believe the prosecution of sexual assault should be taken away from the Army."

That's paragraphs 48, 50 and 51 above.

The article is 61 paragraphs long.  Here's the 60th paragraph:

Minutes later, Colonel Pohl surprised many in the court with his decision: The Fowler letter "raised the appearance of unlawful command influence" and had improperly swayed General Anderson.  He told the defense team that it could submit a new plea offer to a different commander.

Like Hedda and Louella in days long past, Blinder and Oppel went on and on about details that didn't matter --  newly discovered cell phones, "beauty queen" (we still don't grasp why that was tossed at the alleged rape victim -- especially since the two men who used the term never bothered to inform readers what pageant the alleged victim had competed in) -- and completely ignored reality.

This is the War Against Women, the real war, and don't expect The New York Times or the Democratic Party to ever tell you about it.

We're taking no position on the issues of the case above.  The basics are a relationship took place and that the female states it included rape while the male insists all sex was consensual.

Blinder and Oppel spend excessive paragraphs and can't determine what really happened.

And, honestly, it really doesn't matter now.

Rape doesn't matter?

We're not saying rape, if it happened, doesn't matter.

We're saying there's a bigger issue now and it effects more than one woman who is saying she was raped.

The military is out of control.  They've stated they would address assault and rape within ranks.

They've said that for decades now.

Most infamously, they said it after the 1991 Tailhook scandal.

They never have fixed it.

They never will.

They propose band-aids from time to time.

Special Victims Counsel (SVC) is one such band-aid.

And what was the selling point here to Congress?

Designated SVC personnel will collaborate with local DoD Sexual Assault Response Coordinators (SARC), Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Victim Advocates (VA), Family Advocacy Program Managers (FAPM), and Domestic Abuse Victim Advocates (DAVA) during all stages of the military justice process to ensure an integrated capability, to the greatest extent possible.

So important was the claim,  it was included in letters to the House and Senate when DoD was arguing its needs for the 2013 Fiscal Year budget.

"During all stages."

So now it's not during all stages and its not collaborating with everyone.

That's the story Blinder and Oppel had but missed.

This band-aid was supposed to help the victims of assault and rape.

A military court just decided a SVC doing her job "raised the appearance of unlawful command influence."

This is not just new, as an expert notes to the paper.  It is also, as we apparently the first to note, completely against what DoD agreed to with Congress.

The Pentagon has had years to address this issue.

It doesn't address the issue, it hides it.

In a few decades, without any help from the fumbling Secretaries of Defense and the Pentagon, the issue will right itself.

That's because of progress within the civilian population on issues such as equality.

It will be seen as stupid to attack, in any way, someone you're serving with.

Rape's not about sex.  It's an attack, it's violence.

The military has refused to address it.


Senator Kirsten Gillibrand?

She's tried to address it.

She rightly proposed that evaluating the crimes of assault and rape be taken out of the military's hands.

It needs to happen.

At The Common Ills, the case of Lance Corporal  Maria Lauterbach was covered extensively.  She was missing in December 2007 when she became news.  She was pregnant when she went missing.  More importantly, she was forced to interact with Corporal Cesar Armando.  She had stated he raped her and gone to command.  Command protected Lauren, it did nothing to protect Maria.

They did not remove her from the situation and she was forced to work with the man who she said raped her.

Not only that, when she disappeared, Lauren was able to escape and flee to Mexico because it never occurred to military command to question Lauren, not even after Maria Lauterbach's corpse was found by the police -- not military police, of course -- buried in his backyard.

If that case had been taken out of military hands, things might be very different and Maria might have lived.

There are many other cases where military command worked for the attacker and not the victim.

Gillibrand came up with a bill that would address the issue and stop the cover ups, a bill that would force accountability on the military.

The result?

Democrats and Republicans in the Senate worked overtime to defeat Gillibrand's bill.

But not just Democrats in the Senate.

From Stacy Kaper, "Kirsten Gillibrand Blames White House in Failure of Military Sexual-Assault Bill"  (National Journal):

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand blamed the White House's lack of support for the failure of her sexual-assault bill in the Senate on Thursday, and she vowed to keep fighting to reform the military justice system.
"I made my greatest case, I advocated for this position, this reform, and the president has been very clear: He wants to end sexual assault in the military, he wants it to be further studied, and he wants to see progress and whether it's been accomplished in the next year," the New York Democrat said at a press conference after her bill went down.
When asked if she would have succeeded if President Obama had pushed for her bill and whether she was disappointed by the White House's lack of support, she quickly answered, "Yes, yes."

The Democratic Party doesn't like women.

That'll change in a few decades as certain people die off.

But they don't like women.

The Democratic Leadership Council has morphed into other things today.

But in the 80s and 90s and the first half of the '00s, it was about electing Democrats to office.

How do you do that?

They argued that Democratic issues were unpopular.  They argued that more conservative measures needed to be taken.

Bill Clinton was DLC.  We say that not as insult, just as a fact.  Barack Obama was DLC -- though Barack chose to lie about it.

Hillary Clinton was not DLC.  She was the 'wife of' and that mattered not at all to the DLC.

The DLC didn't value women -- especially not in the 80s and early 90s.

But they knew they needed them.

And they knew the abortion issue could help them get women's votes.

But how to be pro-choice and conservative?

Speak of  abortion as an option that needs to be legal but speak of the option with regret.

A lot of people wrongly claim that the DLC were conservatives who whored the party for their beliefs.

If only.

If only they had beliefs.  That would have meant you could debate them.

They weren't conservatives, they were lazy asses.

They wanted corporate money and wanted to get it in the easiest manner possible.

1992's Democratic Party primary can be seen as the ascendancy of the DLC.  Not only did Bill win the nomination (he was their candidate -- he was also the candidate of many other groups) but Jerry Brown didn't.  Brown was running a different form of campaign.  The media found it threatening so they tended to ridicule Brown and let him be defined by his opponents.

But the campaign Brown was running was based on Democratic issues -- labor, Social Security, safety net, etc. -- and on democracy.  He was appealing to a larger base, he was attempting to motivate (and succeeding somewhat) people who didn't vote or who had stopped voting to come back to the process.

Bill was competing for the tiny swing voters.

The DLC was as well.  (Again, Bill was a member of the DLC.)

They believed that you won the election just by dividing the groups and grabbing the swing voters.  They were not interested in voter registration drives or increasing turnout.

A small segment of voters go back and forth between the two major political parties -- Democrats and Republicans -- and these people are not liberal to put it mildly.

So to appeal to these voters, you have to be conservative -- either outright or in cold.

And this is how the Democratic Party moved further and further to the right.

Barack was on the DLC's last recruits.

They've since gone (actually they created a new name for themselves The New Democrats).

But in 2004, they were still around.

The early '00s saw many Democratic losses.

One of the few things the Democratic Party had in Congress that they were proud of?

Hillary Clinton

Hillary Clinton.

Hillary could and did raise funds.  She was effective.  People liked her.  They donated big to any event you could get Hillary to.

At the end of 2003, sewer rats Amy Goodman and John Nichols declared on Democracy Now! that Hillary would be the candidate for the Democrats in 2004, that there was this secret plan to install her.

They may have proved that porn rots the brain, but that's all the two 'informed' 'journalists' proved.

In 2004, the Democratic National Convention was to be held in Boston and early on the speakers were announced.

Not one woman politician in prime time.  Not one.

And Hillary wasn't even a speaker.

The former First Lady, now US Senator whose fundraising gigs kept the party afloat wasn't allowed to speak.

It took a massive protest to the DNC -- complaints, threats of pulling donations, etc. -- for the DNC to quickly schedule Hillary.

Even so, she was the only female politician to speak in prime time.

The Democratic Party does not like women.

In 2008, you saw a huge, huge difference in who got to speak in prime time.  Part of that was due to Hillary's historic run for the nomination but part of it was fear that Barack Obama would lose the women's vote -- PUMA had them very scared.

It's worth noting that while Democrats had to fight to get Hillary on the 2004 speakers DNC speakers list, Barack Nobody -- not even a US senator at this point -- gave the key note address for the convention. It's also worth noting that we are not endorsing Hillary for a 2016 run.

And, yes, we're back to Barack.

Barack Obama

He could have championed Gillibrand's needed measure which would have done so much to help those assaulted and raped while serving.

He elected not to.

But he did make time for "My Brother's Keeper" -- his new effort to help African-American males and Latinos.

In "President Obama Is My Brother's Keeper But What About The Sisters?," Charing Ball notes:

I don’t mean to sound curt but I am quite over the narrative, which places black boys at the central of what ails – as well as what will fix – the community. Black men are no more or less hindered by “tough odds” than black women. Likewise, black men are no more or less dinged and obstructed by racism. And yet, when it’s time to put forth meaningful efforts meant at addressing the downtrodden and disadvantaged in our community, for black women and girls (in particular, funding for black women and girls) are often left out of the equation.

Britney Cooper explored the issue at Salon:

According to the African American Policy Forum, black girls are suspended at a higher rate than all other girls and white and Latino boys. Sixty-seven percent of black girls reported feelings of sadness or hopelessness for more than two weeks straight compared to 31 percent of white girls and 40 percent of Latinas. Single black women have the lowest net wealth of any group, with research showing a median wealth of $100. Single black men by contrast have an average net wealth of $7,900 and single white women have an average net wealth of $41,500. Fifty-five percent of black women (and black men) have never been married, compared to 34 percent for white women.
This situation is dire at every level. But perhaps the most troubling thing of all: The report indicates that while over 100 million philanthropic dollars have been spent in the last decade creating mentoring and educational initiatives for black and brown boys, less than a million dollars has been given to the study of black and brown girls!

She faced a backlash for noting those basic facts.

The backlash should have been aimed at Barack who failed to define what was intended.  Even in this 999 word post by Valerie Jarrett nothing concrete is defined -- other than a 'task force.'

Cooper and Ball raise serious issues but let's put that to the side.

Let's say this program is needed as is.

How is it accomplishing anything?

The thinking -- and both Cooper and especially Ball note the thinking -- is that this segment must be helped and must be helped now.  That's an insulting thought and we'll get to why that is in a minute.  But let's accept that thought for just a second.

If that's true or even just believed, then the clear answer is to get jobs for these two groups of men.  Those under 18 need to be placed in vocational education immediately.  College?  We have nothing against it but if you're talking about drop out rates and other issues -- that the White House is talking about -- and you're saying time is limited -- you rush the underage into vocational education (with the government picking up the tab).  Those who are young adults?  You either get them in vocational education or you create a job for them.

This is a band-aid, please note.

Because you don't help boys this way.  You may help a group, a select group over a certain limited period of time, but you don't help boys and you don't help girls by doing this.

It's funny that what little blowback Barack's gotten on this has failed to note the real realities.

barack the starlet

Barack's saying these two groups of young males must be helped because they're ticking time bombs.

Possibly, people miss that charge because they're not tying it in with the way this administration focuses on boys and men and ignores girls and women.

To grasp "My Brother's Keeper," you need to know about the February 11th House Armed Services Committee hearing.  Specifically, you need to know what the State Department's Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs said.  That's Anne Patterson who's so damn proud of herself (queen bees usually are).  As reported at The Common Ills:

And women should especially pay attention because women's rights don't mean a damn thing to the US government.  Doubt it?  Note this exchange, note it real good.

US House Rep Thornberry:  Ambassador, I want to get back to this subject of credibility that the Chairman raised earlier.  And part of what really bothers me is Ms. Slotkin's answer to the Chairman's first question, she said essentially, 'Well there was a lot of violence in Anbar before the surge, so there's really no lesson to be -- to be learned there because our troops wouldn't have made any difference any way.'  But what -- Well, first, of course, there was a tremendous amount of sacrifice for our folks as well as Iraqis required to change the situation in Anbar.  Secondly, the hope was that some sort of a continued engagement and advisory would increase their capability and keep them focused on the real enemy, the terrorists, not devolve into sectarian struggles.  And so I want to get  -- And the fact that we're not there?  I kind of wonder does that not effect the way other countries see us?  As whether we're a reliable partner or not? [. . .]

Anne Patterson:  Uh, I -- I do think -- Let me say, I do think we're a reliable partner and I think our presence is-is very extensive.  Let me take the example of Iraq and what we've done recently.  Uh, we have made an extraordinary effort with the help of this Committee and other, uh, Committees in the Congress to give them the  weaponry and the, frankly, the intelligence support that they need to meet this, uh, this-this renewed threat, uh, from ISIL.  And it was critically important that we supply Hellfire Missiles, uh, because they had attempted to go after these camps in the dessert with thin-skinned helicopters and, uh, by ground and had been unable to do so.  So our arming them came at a critical point to enable them to go after the terrorists.  We also have, uh, tried to step up training.  We're planning to step up training.  We have an enormous foreign military sales and foreign military financing program with Iraq.  So I think it's very difficult to say that we've abandoned the Iraqis because I think we're very, uh, intensely engaged there.  And as to your broader question, sir, yes, I think we're going to need to be involved in these countries -- whether it's Afghanistan or Pakistan or Iraq or Egypt for decades to come -- and not just in the military sense.  The key element in all these countries is going to be job creation for the enormous number of young men that are coming into the labor force and basically have no prospects or are in a built-in element of instability.

Job creation for men.

Clearly, the Middle East needs more female suicide bombers.  They already exist.  But they clearly need to increase their numbers or they're not getting the focus of the US government.

Anne Patterson, a woman in the Anne Slaughter sense of the word -- meaning she remembers her gender when she has a book to sell or is in trouble -- is happy to pimp the need for jobs for men.  Only for men.  If that was the policy in the United States, Anne Patterson wouldn't have a job, let alone "my forty year career."

How does this administration plan to combat terrorism?

"Job creation for the enormous number of young men that are coming into the labor force and basically have no prospects or are in a built-in element of instability."

This administration is responding to terrorism the same way they respond to young African-American males and Latinos -- because they see them as the same thing.

My Brother's Keeper is not a long-term solution.  It's a short cut for a really brief time.

That's because what forces people into downward spirals -- crime, terrorism, whatever -- is often best combated by improving the lot of women.

Women's rights are human rights.

And if you want to help the young, you have to help the mothers.

So make real proposals that help the mothers.  Government subsidized child care would do so much right now for so many working families who have children in day care or in after-school care.

Guess what else government subsidies there would do?

Allow more families to put their children into such programs.


That would create more jobs.

And more job opportunities for all but, yes, for young males in the two groups that are identified as at-risk.

That's only one example.

Let's move to terrorism.

How is giving young men jobs going to eliminate terrorism?

Yes, there are people -- men and women -- who are paid to commit acts of terrorism.

But money isn't usually the motive.

The motive is usually the lack of fairness they observe, the lack of caring they observe.

And the motive is often about how that impacted their family.

How they lost a loved one.

If a focus is going to be made on jobs, let's look at Iraq where the White House insists that terrorism is at large levels.

Iraq is, due to the illegal war, The Land of Widows and Orphans.

You want to cut down on terrorism?

Provide jobs for the widow with three kids so that they're not growing up in need, so they're not begging on the street or forced to steal so their family can survive.

The State Department is supposed to have long range planning so it's very disturbing that their answer is no real answer.

It'll briefly create jobs for a small group of the population.

It'll do nothing to change women's lives and it'll do damn little to help Iraqi families in need.

Being "in need" in Iraq is being at risk -- at risk in every way including being targeted with violence.

The State Department's plan does nothing to address the roots of terrorism and it won't change anything in the long run.

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As noted in an Iraq snapshot last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry used International Women's Day to pontificate about how important equality was.  His remarks included:

John Kerry:  Everywhere I travel, in every meeting, I can see firsthand the promise of a world where women are empowered as equal partners in peace and prosperity. But here’s what’s most important: all of the fights and all of the progress we’ve seen in recent years haven’t come easily or without struggle. And we still have work to do.
Our work is not done when one out of every three women is subjected to some form of violence in her lifetime.
We cannot rest knowing that girls younger than 15 are forced to marry and that they are five times more likely to die in childbirth than women in their twenties.

You know how Iraqi women marked International Women's Day?

By protesting in Baghdad against Nouri al-Maliki's bill to lower the age for marrying off girls to nine (actually it's lowered to eight).  (For more on the bill, please see this Human Rights Watch article.)

There's been some effort to remove the bill from Nouri.  No, he did not propose it to his Cabinet.  He did, however, embrace it, vote for it and he forwarded it to the Parliament.  That makes it his bill.

John Kerry was so very troubled in his speech about women and girls.

But he spoke out against Nouri's bill when?

Answer: Not once so far.

Friday, the State Department did have a comment.

No, they didn't issue a statement.

In  Friday's press briefing spokesperson Marie Harf had to respond because  Said Arikat, Al Quds bureau chief, asked about the proposal.

SAID ARIKAT:  Yeah.  Iraq?

MS. HARF:  Mm-hmm.

SAID ARIKAT:  Are you aware of a law that allows parent – fathers or guardians to marry off their 9-year-old girls?

MS. HARF:  Yes. 

SAID ARIKAT:  And what is your comment on that?

MS. HARF:  This is a draft law.  We understand that this draft law, which I think several high-level Iraqi political and religious leaders have publicly condemned and claim violates the rights of Iraqi women – has been sent to the council of representatives for consideration.  We absolutely share the strong concerns of the UN mission in Iraq, which has noted that this law risks constitutionally protected rights for women.  The draft law I think is pending before the parliament right now.  It would require three readings before a vote could take place, so we’ll obviously be watching the debate closely and welcome a parliamentary process that ensures the rights of all Iraqis, including women, are fully protected in line with its constitution.

And I would also note that some women’s groups, some human rights NGOs, have also condemned the draft law as a significant step backwards for women’s rights in Iraq.

Had she not been asked, she wouldn't have said a word.  In fact, the press briefing was almost over when the question was asked.

John Kerry, for public approval and the cameras, offers generic crap and pretends to care about women.

But he had nothing to say about this issue despite the fact that the State Department is over the US mission in Iraq.

Does that surprise you?

You need to see "Secretary Kerry doesn't really support women's rights" about Kerry's statements to the House Foreign Affairs Committee on April 17, 2013:

US House Rep William Keating: Thank you for being here.  I know that both of us, although we're here, part of us are still back home in Massachusetts this morning.  Getting to the theme of this morning's hearing, your theme of small smart investments is right on point, I couldn't agree with it more.  One of those areas that the administration and you have been involved with personally and Secretary [Hillary] Clinton had been involved with was really dealing with issues like the National Action Plan for Woman Peace and Security in the World.  And I think that we can't approach the broader issues of poverty and the rule of law and education and health care around the world without dealing with these issues, they're core to dealing with any advancement in that area. And, furthermore, I think they're the smartest way to make some of these investments for our dollar and to be effective. So I'd like you to, just two things, if you could, comment on.  One is generally comment on your ability to deal with these gender equality advancement issues with women around the world and, number two, particularly, gender-based violence.  You know it, in your capacity, you knew it when you were a prosecutor, as I did.  They know no borders or bounds when you're dealing with violence based on gender-based violence.  And internationally, the violence that so many women experience take many different forms -- from rape to early forced marriage to harmful traditional practices that occur such as genital mutilation, 'honor' killings, acid violence, sexual violence and contact -- and I could go on and on and on. But can you comment on the Department's first-time ever strategy to prevent gender-based violence globally?  Those are the two things I'd like you to comment on, Mr. Secretary. 

Secretary John Kerry:  Well, thank you, Congressman.  It's good to see you and thanks for our shared feelings about what's happened up in Boston. Secretary Clinton did a great job of putting this issue squarely on everybody's agenda and I'm determined to make certain that we live up to that standard -- if not exceed it.  And we're in -- I think we're in a good start to do that in terms of trafficking issues and other things.  But in-in London last week at the G8 Ministers meeting, Foreign Minister [William] Hague of Great Britain made the centerpiece of our meeting sexual violence as a tool of war.  And we had a meeting, we had outside representatives come in who helped to raise the profile of that and, in my judgment, it was a very valuable moment for people to realize that this is going to be held accountable as a War Crime.  And we're going to keep this gender-based violence front and center as we go forward.  I would also say to everybody, when I was in Afghanistan a couple of weeks ago, when Anne Smedinghoff was my control officer, she helped put together a remarkable meeting of ten entrepreneurs, ten women in Afghanistan who are struggling against all of the resistance culturally and historically in that country to stand up and start businesses and-and help girls go to schools, help women be able to be entrepreneurs.  A remarkable process.  And the courage that they exhibited deserves everybody's support.  It would certainly get ours in the State Dept.  And we're going to continue this in many different ways over the next years in the State Dept -- you'll see us continue it. 

US House Rep William Keating:  Thank you, Mr. Secretary.  In terms of accountability, could that also include standards that might be tied to aid to some extent?

Secretary John Kerry:  You know, Congressman, there are some places that lend themselves to that kind of conditionality and there are others that just don't. And I don't think there's a blanket cover all of explaining a set of standards that's going to apply everywhere.  In some countries, the standards could actually be counter-productive and you don't get done what you're trying to do.  It really depends on what is the package, what's the nature of the program, and I think you have to be pretty customized in that approach. 

Kerry does pretend to care about women's issues unless he's expected to do anything more than offer empty words.

He's not willing to tie it to aid, you understand, because it just doesn't rank as an important issue.

Not for him.

Not for the White House.

Not for the Democratic Party.

This crowd grew up using women as pawns -- it's why the Kennedy brothers were so beloved.

The only way a woman can achieve in this party is to be a work horse (Senator Patty Murray, for example) or to be a queen bee (Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi is but one example).

There is a very real war on women in the US.

And, judging by Chris Matthews' meltdown on Morning Joe (MSNBC) near the end of last week (he insisted it was time for the Democratic Party to start scaring voters so they could win in the November elections), there's a good chance the DNC portrayed War On Women will be trotted out.

In that example, the Republican Party is intolerant, hateful and a danger to all women while the Democratic Party is the manly guardian that will save us.

We're not seeing a big difference between the two when it comes to women.

The Democrats sure do love to pose like they care about women.

But in the last five weeks alone, what did we see?

Senator Kirsten Gillibrand proposed a bill that would have helped women (and what other countries -- like England -- already do) and Democrats in the Senate as well as the White House worked to kill it.

Thursday, The New York Times report made clear that the administration was not using SVCs as they told Congress they would.

And yet that still is not a headline.

We are the first to point it out -- and that is not said in bragging, that is said in screaming frustration.

We saw Barack tell the nation about My Brother's Keeper -- a short term band-aid to an issue which, in fact, the White House views as necessary in the same way it's necessary to create jobs for young men in Iraq to prevent them from becoming terrorists.

When you put just that together -- there is, sadly, so much more that could be added to the list -- and think about, really think about it, it becomes clear that the paternalistic Democratic Party's not helping women.  At best, they're harming women a little less than the Republican Party.

From The TESR Test Kitchen

Stauffer's Whales.

Ever heard of them?

We hadn't either.

Reader Robin e-mailed to suggest we put the snack crackers through The TESR Test Kitchen.

Most people -- including us -- have sampled the cheese crackers known as Goldfish.

They're tasty and have a snap.

So if Goldfish can do that, what can Whales do?

We were expecting a bolder taste, a bigger taste, with Whales.

It's not there.

Even the size is basically the same.

That's the bad.

The good is they taste as good as Goldfish.

That's actually really good news because while you might pay three dollars for a box of Goldfish, you can get a 7 ounce box of Whales for a dollar and a half -- in fact, you can get them for a dollar even at some grocery stores.

Same taste, less price.

You also get a little education with each box.

On the side, various facts are printed.  Here's one:

Is a whale a fish or mammal?

Whales are mammals who live in the water, breathe air into their lungs, are warm-blooded, feed milk to their young and have hair. 

All that for a buck-and-a-half or less.

Why Barack really fell into The Gap

Yes, Barack, pink is your color!

Last week, US President Barack Obama visited The Gap.

Some outlets wrongly reported he was shopping for his daughters and wife.

Honestly, what man knows the clothes sizes of his daughters and wives?

Get real.

So what was Barack doing?

Putting together a nifty cross-dressing wardrobe?


He was scouting locations for his new line of jeans, Fake Jeans.

Barack used Presidents Day to unveil his new line of jeans.

And in the time since, he's lined up last-rung celebrities to endorse the Fake Ass Jeans.

Like I Need Attention Medea Benjamin.

And TV personality Liz Wahl.

But most of all, noted thug and pedophile Nouri al-Maliki.

Fake Ass Jeans.  As Valerie Jarrett says in every commercial, "Oh, the smell of it!"

This edition's playlist

Joss Stone LP1

1) Joss Stone's LP1.

2) Burial's Rival Dealer.

3) James Blake's Enough Thunder.

4) Kelela's Cut 4 Me.

5) Sandie Shaw's  The Sandie Shaw Supplement.

6) Elbow's The Take Off And Landing Of Everything.

7) Rosie Lowe's Right Thing.

8) Lorde's Pure Heroine.

9) Patti LaBelle's Be Yourself.

10) Robbie Williams' Swings Both Ways.

Jim's World


Last week, we offered "Who would you send to a desert island?" and there was a reason for that but there were a number of e-mails with questions about it (

How did we choose the nominees?

We went with people in the news who would likely be in the news the next week as well.

Among leaders, that was Barack Obama, Vladimir Putin and Angela Merkel.

Among celebrities, Rebecca expressed the concern that she didn't want to see a pile-on on women.  Mike offered that if a woman had done half of what Justin Bieber had in the last two months, she'd be ridiculed, have to go into rehab and be ridiculed for going into rehab.

Ava and C.I. did not participate in this section of the poll.  They were editing "TV: A week of putrid and puerile."  Ty pointed out that in their piece they took 'feminist' Lena Dunham to task for sending up the first successful hour long show starring an African-American woman when a better target would have been the all White and male-dominated NCIS.  We agreed and put Mark Harmon on the list for that reason (he is the saggy boobed star of NCIS).

I then streamed several videos on putting a poll in Blogger and managed to do so . . . but only on the side.

The videos instructions did not work.  They were supposed to (a) allow me to create a poll on the side, (b) put the poll into a post and (c) make it disappear on the side.

Only (a) worked.

Ty and Jess tried to fix it with no luck.

I tried repeatedly with no luck.

Ava and C.I. took a crack at it and were able to get the poll into an entry but they said they had no idea how to make it disappear on the side.

Dona pointed out that the 'quick feature' poll had now consumed over 4 hours.  She suggested that we leave it on the side for the life of the poll (7 days) and then delete it.

Would that also delete it in the post?

In case it did, Dona suggested we do a screen snap of the final results and put that in the post.

We may do a poll again.  We may make it a regular feature.

Why did we do it this time?

I'd been exchanging e-mails with a blogger who felt we should have comments here.

I explained why we don't (it's been explained here many times -- shortest version, when we started, Democrats were comfortable attacking African-Americans in comments) and explained what we do instead.

We do roundtables, for instance, that are completely based on e-mails from readers.

We do a regular e-mail feature called "Mailbag."  Ty often builds a "Ty's Corner" around e-mails.  Ava and C.I. will rundown what they plan to write -- topics -- with Ty and me before they start writing so we can note if anything in their topic list has had an e-mail.  If so, they'll work in that a reader or readers have e-mailed about _____.

We do many features that result from e-mails -- and we note that when we do it.

We've done articles that were nothing but a single reader's e-mail (quoted and credited).

I've asked Ava and C.I. to do a TV piece on an e-mail from an angry reader named Tammi.  They may or may not add other themes to it.  If they do, they will open with Tammi.  If they don't, it will just be Tami.

Are we not as responsive as we could be to readers?

That's possible and that's why I wanted to do the poll, to see how it went over.

We had about sixty people vote.  By contrast, we had over 25,000 e-mails last week about articles other than the poll.  Our readers appear more comfortable with e-mails.

We had 1,299 e-mails on the poll.

Over 52% was negative.

A third of that was negative because the poll appeared on the side of our site and also in a post.

I've already explained why that was.

Another third felt it wasn't needed.  Mirelle probably summed up this theme best, "The last thing the internet needs is another online poll."

The other third felt the poll was trivial and didn't care for it as a result.

To that third, yes, the poll was trivial.  That was actually the point.  I wanted a trivial poll.  To send up the polls we see online.

8% of the e-mails offered suggestions for future polls.  40% either got the point of the trivial nature or enjoyed a trivial poll just for being trivial.

I was, honestly, thinking it might be a new year for Third.

I was honestly thinking all the people voting would be my argument for allowing Third to change their policy and allow comments.

I've tried that before.

The poll results don't make an argument for comments.

Despite that, Ava and C.I. offered that, if I wanted, I could open their big article (about The War On Women, not about TV) this edition to comments.  They were fine with it and figured it would include a lot of sexist comments slamming women.  They said we could turn that into an article in the next edition.

But in old Blogger or our old template, we could have done that -- allowed comments in one entry.

I spent an hour trying to figure out how to do it now with no success.

But I do appreciate Ava and C.I.'s offer.

And I did appreciate the e-mail exchange with the blogger.

As I explained at one point in that exchange, we've established who we are online and done so some time ago.  Our readers are clearly comfortable with the approach.

Confession of the week?

Noted attention seeker Medea Benjamin 'remembered' Iraq today.

  1. this video of in Iraq before US invasion brings back a lot of painful memories. What we did to poor iraq!!

"What we did to poor Iraq!"

You mean, walking away from it in 2007?

Because that's what you did, Medea.

And when Tim Arango (New York Times)  reported in September 2012:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.        

Where were you, Medea?

You're a useless piece of trash who turned her back on Iraq long ago and wouldn't be 'remembering' now if it weren't a trend topic due to the anniversary of the start of the illegal war.

Ready to stop whoring, Medea?

Then write about Iraq today.

Write about how the US government -- your Barack dreamboat -- keeps arming Nouri al-Maliki and how he is using those weapons to attack the people.

Or write about how the Iraqi people voted him out in 2010 but the White House ensured Nouri got a second term.

Write about something of value.

We won't hold our breaths waiting for that to happen.

Some brief notes on Democrats in Congress (Ava and C.I.)


There are currently 20 women in the Senate.  16 are Democrats.  Because Democrats have the majority of seats in the Senate (53), Democrats serve as chairs of the Senate's 16 standing committees.  5 women serve as Chairs.  And if you knocked out the class of 1992, the women first elected in that genderquake election, you'd have only 2 women as Chairs.

There are currently 79 women serving in the House.  19 are Republicans.  Republicans have the majority of seats in the House so their members are Committee Chairs.  When you're in the minority of either house, the highest minority leader on a Committee is the Ranking Member.  With 60 women eligible to be Ranking Member on a House Committee, how many are?  6.

And we're confused by many of the Ranking Members.

For example?

Since US House Rep Susan Davis was basically Chair Ike Skelton's right hand for so many years, why isn't she Ranking Member?

And if your answer is 'senority,'  US House Rep Loretta Sanchez has been a member of Congress just as long as Ranking Member Adam Smith so, no, 'senority' doesn't cut it as an answer.

We're not really confused, this is how it works out when sexism is at play.

For those who might e-mail ( that we clearly do not know that Nancy Pelosi is Minority Leader, we do know.  She's our US House Rep -- at least in name.  She doesn't represent the district because she's too busy playing national.

She also doesn't represent women.  She's just an overly applauded Queen Bee who is so very fond of doing press conferences with two or more men but has always damn little to help women serving in the House.

Democrats in Congress don't lead on the advancement of women.  They really don't even reflect the status quo.  (Those who want to argue "Republicans are no better!" should look up the phone number for MSNBC and see if you can get booked on one of their programs.  We're talking about Democrats here and doing so because we're on the left.)

Murray Presses Top VA Officials on Spokane Medical Center, Walla Walla Vets Home

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  Her office issued the following last week.

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                        CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Wednesday, March 12th, 2014                                                            (202) 224-2834

VIDEO: EASTERN WASHINGTON: Murray Presses Top VA Officials on Spokane Medical Center, Walla Walla Vets Home

Murray: “You told me there was no evidence that any medical center would be unable to provide the care we expect.  Unless your view has changed, Spokane’s assessment seems to disagree.
Murray: “How are we going to ensure that we’ve got the funds for state veterans homes like Walla Walla?”


(Washington, D.C.)—Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs (SVAC), pressed U.S. Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki and Under Secretary for Health Robert Petzel on continuing issues at the Spokane VA Medical Center, including understaffing and budget shortfalls, and critically needed federal funding for the planned Walla Walla State Veterans Home.
“The Spokane medical center recently prepared a draft response to questions from the network about their budget.  They talk about the significant challenges of declining budgets, numerous staffing vacancies, and, leading the network in new veteran patients,” said Senator Murray. “I want to ask you what you and the network are going to do to get Spokane the resources that they do need?”
“I am concerned about the future of the Walla Walla State Veterans Home, especially because the budget request proposes reducing funding for state veterans homes grants.  These veterans have been waiting a long time for this facility, and we have more than a thousand veterans who need care,” said Senator Murray.  “So I want to ask whether the system is correctly prioritizing state home projects – do we have enough flexibility?  And how are we going to ensure that we’ve got the funds for state veterans homes like Walla Walla?”

Full text of the exchange below:

Sen. Murray:  
“Secretary Shinseki, several times we have discussed my concerns about getting medical centers the resources they need to provide top-quality care for our veterans.
“The Spokane Medical Center recently prepared a draft response to questions from the network about their budget.  They talk about the significant challenges of declining budgets, of numerous staffing vacancies, and, leading the network in new veteran patients.
“And they said, and I’ll quote it: ‘Overall, senior management is very aware of the budget shortfall and is taking actions to limit the deficit.  However, most actions will significantly limit staffing levels and access to care.  These actions will have – and have had – a significant negative impact on morale and will drive some dissatisfaction amongst patients.’
“Dr. Petzel, I asked you about a similar budget problem at Indianapolis at the hearing on the 2012 budget, and you told me there was no evidence that any medical center would be unable to provide the care we expect.  Unless your view has changed, Spokane’s assessment seems to disagree.
“I want to ask you what you and the network are going to do to get Spokane the resources that they do need?”

Asst. Sec. Petzel:
“Senator Murray, thank you. I am assuming that that’s some employee’s assessment of the situation, it’s not the senior leadership’s assessment of the situation.”

Sen Murray:
“It is the senior leadership’s assessment.”

Asst. Sec. Petzel:
“I am not aware of this. We do believe, and the budget was distributed back in October, and at that time, there was a consensus of the network directors and the facility directors that they had sufficient funds.”

Sen. Murray:  
The questions were asked to them by the VISN, and they responded back, so it was the senior leadership at Spokane VA Center, saying very clearly they do not have the dollars to be able to do the duties that they need.”

Asst. Sec. Petzel:
“I will have to go back and talk with both the network and with Spokane. This is information that is new to me.”

Sen. Murray:
“OK, well, their draft response also calls for a discussion about the mission of the medical center. 
“It asks if they will remain a full service medical center, and whether programs and services should be eliminated.  That is deeply concerning to me.
Are there any plans to reduce services at the Spokane medical center?”

Sec. Shinseki:
“We have no plans to do so.”

Sen. Murray:
“I need you to follow up on that and let me know what’s happening that they are facing such a budget shortfall, and it was very clear in the documents that we’ve seen that they are facing an extreme budget shortfall that is hampering their ability to care for the veterans in that region.”

Asst. Sec. Petzel:
“We will follow up.”

Sen. Murray:
“I also wanted to ask both of you about the Walla Walla State Veterans Home. As you know, I’m very concerned about that, especially because the budget request proposes reducing funding for state veterans homes grants.
“These veterans have been waiting a very long time for this facility, and we have more than a thousand veterans who need care. 
“So I want to ask whether the system is correctly prioritizing state home projects – do we have enough flexibility?
“And how are we going to ensure that we’ve got the funds for state veterans homes like Walla Walla?”

Asst. Sec. Petzel:
“Senator Murray, you and I have discussed on numerous occasions the Walla Walla State Veterans’ Home, and I share your angst about that particular project. 
“We are looking at whether there is a solution that will allow us to use the 2014 money in order to accomplish that construction but we’re not finished looking at what the alternatives are.
“Obviously after we’ve done that, and discussed it with the Secretary, we will get back to you.”

Sen. Murray:
“We need to know where that’s going, and overall, not just that one, but all of them, how are we going to deal with these veterans homes with declining budgets?
“I think that as members of Congress, we need to know what the need is and then we need to figure out how to fund it rather than just being told everything’s OK. I want to know specifically about Walla Walla, what we’re going to do, but also the funding in general.”


Sean Coit
Press Secretary
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office
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