Sunday, June 22, 2014

Truest statement of the week

Thank you people in the principled anti-war war movement who aren't just against Republican wars but are against all wars. 

-- Cindy Sheehan, San Francisco anti-war protest, June 21, 2014, covered by Andrew Klein for KPFA News (here for the audio report at Pacifica Evening News).

Truest statement of the week II

It is unfortunate that Bush, Cheney, Powell, Rice, Rumsfeld, and company became the only faces of American aggression. They are indeed responsible for the 2003 invasion but imperialism is still on the move and now has a more shrewd personification in the person of Barack Obama.

The corporate media have quite a lot to answer for in their reporting of the Iraqi and American relationship. They take their cue from whoever is in the White House and repeat what countless spokespeople tell them to write and to broadcast. After having accepted the Bush administration policy of embedding journalists with American troops, Iraq was then ignored and disappeared from the consciousness of this country. Recent events have made Iraq a focus of attention once again and the news is still terrible for the people of that country.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Freedom Rider: America’s War Crime in Iraq" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.  And look how early we are!  We've never been this early since our first year all those years ago.

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?

Cindy Sheehan earns another truest.
Margaret Kimberley gets her first truest for the year. 
We had no headline and needed one quick.  C.I. mentioned how Marilyn Monroe, when training her dog Maf, used to bat him with a Kleenex.  (No, the dog didn't feel anything.  That's the point of using that in our headline.) 
Ava and C.I. take on Rachel Maddow's efforst to censore speech in the public square.

We roundtable on Iraq. 
Short entry.
This go round, we look at James Bond in You Only Live Twice.
We opposed executive orders under Bully Boy Bush, we oppose them under Barack.

What we were listening to as we wrote this edition.
We dip into the inbox for the latest e-mails.

This is from the Center for Constitutional Rights.

Press release from Senator Patty Murray's office.

Barack's Iraq speech.

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

See you next week.


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

Editorial: Swatting a War Hawk with facial tissues

I am the war hawk you have been waiting for

[Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "I Am The War Hawk You Have Been Waiting For."]

The craven showed their true natures all last week.

No fool like an old fool Tom Hayden stumbled into the public square insisting that US President Barack Obama was being forced to take 'action' (violent action) in Iraq.

Call the FBI!

Someone's blackmailing Barack!

In fact, maybe it's not really Barack.  Maybe it's a shape shifter from True Blood!

Tom Hayden's wacky conspiracy theories may be drug-induced or dementia-induced, but they're far, far from reality.

There's a house there, somebody's waiting
Somebody else's arms will wrap around him
When I can't touch him 
Maybe my love could fly over the ocean
Maybe my heart should try to leave him alone
All that I really know is that he's goin'
Too far from Texas
Too close to home 
-- "Too Far From Texas," written by Steve Booker and Sandy Stewart, first appears on Stevie Nicks' Trouble in Shangri-La.

Poor Tom Hayden.  "Somebody else's arms will wrap around" Barack.  Tom's still crushing hard on Barack and Tom just took a Cialis and has no garage to park his mini-medicated boner.

Lost in his lustful fantasies and secret stash of   Romance books, Tom Hayden's of no use to anyone.

He's kind of like Iraq Veterans Against the War.

You get who they are, right?

Seems sort of obvious.  They're Iraq Veterans (well, some of them are) who are Against the War.

That's rather basic.

Or it should be.

IVAW, however, is confused.

Thursday, Barack announced more US troops were being sent to Iraq and IVAW responded with a strongly worded statement opposing --

Oh, wait.

They didn't.

Tuesday, before the latest announcement, they issued this weak-assed statement:

Iraq Veterans Against the War (IVAW) – an organization comprised of individuals who served or continue to serve in the US Military following September 11, 2001 – calls on Congress, the President, and his administration to reject the use of violence and militarism in response to the current outbreak of violence in Iraq.
Many of our members deployed to Iraq during the recent US occupation. Those of us who were there know first hand that US military solutions in Iraq do not serve the interests of the Iraqi people. We advocate for the self-determination of all people, in this case the people of Iraq. Any solution to this crisis must come from them.
When the United States invaded and occupied Iraq, the formerly secular country was destabilized. The United States and the Department of Defense intentionally created and agitated sectarian divisions that would not have otherwise existed. The result of this is what we see today, and Iraqi civilians are paying for it.
Iraqis have been paying with their lives for this war since March 2003. After 10 years of US occupation they were left with little relief. Their economic infrastructure was destroyed and new work to repair it has been awarded to US corporations and contractors, instead of to Iraqis. Iraqi labor unions face frequent retaliation, and an entire generation of children has been born with severe birth defects in places like Hawija. No one has been held to account. No effort has been made to clean the waste left behind.
When it comes to arming “freedom fighters” the US has a tendency to act as a fair-weather friend; today’s freedom fighter becomes tomorrow’s terrorist and justification to pursue an illegal invasion. Instead of creating more chaos, we should be solving the problems that already exist. Instead of installing another puppet president, the United States should be cleaning up environmental contamination, investigating allegations of torture, and allowing democracy to blossom in both government and labor, without US intervention.

What delicate little flowers they are.

Composing that weak-ass statement left them all tuckered out.

That's the closest the little tykes ever got to calling out Barack.

Hey, remember 2008, when Barack punked IVAW?

Remember, they were upset and they were getting media attention because they might launch a DNC protest but then Barack sent a flunky out to give them a lot of empty words -- pretty sounding empty words.

And when the little tykes learned they'd been punked, Barack had already left Denver and the press no longer cared about IVAW's possible protest.

That was the turning point, when IVAW became the never ending joke that it is today.

Did someone say fake ass?

US House Rep. Barbara Lee, come on down!

Lee's never had the spine to stand up to Barack, not once.

She's just another temple whore in the Cult of St. Barack.

She proved that with her ridiculous bills.

She's not trying to stop Barack's Iraq actions, she just wants to modify them a little.

She wants to tack some training wheels onto the mission.

Because temple whores get nasty, they just don't get ethical.

Phyllis Bennis showed more courage last week than IVAW, Lee and Hayden combined.

 A.N.S.W.E.R. also showed conviction.

Sadly, too many were still serving the War Hawk, unable to break free from him, unable to speak up for the Iraqi people because they can't even speak up for themselves.

Cowering in silence and weakness, they have little to offer anyone.

TV: That awful Rachel BadFoul

Talk show host Rachel Maddow frequently confuses herself with an actress as if she were up for a lead role in a Joanie Loves Chachi reboot.  She treats life as if every day is a fresh shooting script and she can revise and rewrite the past.

This gets her into a lot of trouble.


As feminists, we're not fond of smug and preening men trying to act macho.  So why the hell would we applaud a woman for doing the same?

We don't and we won't.

Rachel Maddow speaks endlessly, trying to bully the 'listener' into submission with her run-on rants.

For example, after "good evening" on last Tuesday's show, she spoke for 1,111 words.

Then she went to a clip.

She opened the show with 1,111 words in a row after "good evening."

Who the hell wants to hear her prattle on?

As a point of reference, US President Barack Obama delivered a speech on Iraq last week that was 946 words long.

Talk show host Rachel surpassed that word count.

And after the clip that stopped her at 1,111 word?  After the clip, she prattled on for 384 more words before going to a clip.

And then she prattles after that second clip.

Guess what, all those words?

That's just set-up to get her to the topic of Iraq:

And this is all happening at the same time as Washington is trying to figure out how to process the legitimately bad news, the legitimately terrible news out of Iraq. I mean, as frustrating as it is to see somebody like John McCain cited as an authority on Guantanamo when John McCain isn`t even an authority on John McCain`s own position on Guantanamo. The reason that John McCain has been ubiquitous in the media for the past week is because he is also supposedly the Republican Party`s greatest expert on Iraq and specifically on war in Iraq. And John McCain, let the record show, John McCain was wrong about Iraq and the war in Iraq, in almost every way that a person can be wrong about something like that. He was wrong about Saddam having weapons. He was wrong about how long the war would take. He was wrong about how big the war would be. He famously said that as far as he was concerned, he thought that maybe Saddam sent the anthrax attacks. John McCain was wrong about whether there might ever be any trouble between Sunnis and Shias in Iraq. Because John McCain was so wrong about Iraq, it is frustrating to see him everywhere, right? On the Sunday shows, on the cable news shows, in the paper with reporters following him around the Capitol now. As if his previous abject and consequentially terrible failures on this exact subject somehow make him worthy of listening to the exact same subject right now. And there`s a lot of this going on right now. I mean, Iraq war architects like Kenneth Pollack and Robert Kagan are getting quoted in "The New York Times" again advocating for another Iraq war, even though the last one they designed was such a disaster. "Politico" quoting Doug Feith. Bill Kristol on ABC. Paul Bremer in "The Wall Street Journal" and on CNN and here on MSNBC. Paul Wolfowitz on MSNBC and on "Meet the Press". Judith Miller, the disgraced "New York Times" reporter the newspaper had to apologize for after they ran her bogus pro-Iraq war stories over and over and over again on the front page, helping make a national case for that war that was false. I mean, Judith Miller, literally her. Not just somebody who looks like her. There she is back on FOX News in this case making the case for Iraq war again. It is very frustrating to see that this is the way that we handle debates about foreign policy in this country. We take people who were so provably, terribly wrong and bring them back and treat them like experts on the very subject they have been so wrong about. It is maddening. Their argument for taking them seriously is to ignore everything they`ve said up to this point. For neoconservative pundits, it`s a guaranteed job security. Pushed for armed conflict and if it descends into chaos, then that`s just reason to push for more armed conflict. There are no consequences for being so wrong all the time. It is frustrating. If you have been feeling frustrated about seeing all these Iraq war architects and cheerleaders back out there doing it again with no accountability, you are not alone in your frustration.

Due to the above, we have to trudge through the sewer that is Rachel Maddow.

First, by Rachel's Rules Of Manly Conduct, she shouldn't be on the air.

Rachel was a War Cheerleader.

She can pretend otherwise now but she spent a full year on Air America radio's Unfiltered stating that the United States could not leave Iraq, saying it was The Pottery Barn rule of you break it, you bought it (she continued to repeat this lie long after Al Franken -- hosting the program that aired right after Unfiltered -- had proven that Pottery Barn has no such rule).

She couldn't find anti-war guests.  She brought on vets every week but couldn't even find vets against the war.  Air America Radio hadn't been on for two weeks before Janeane Garofalo was brining on service members against the war.

Rachel BadFoul didn't want to know about those against the war.

That was obvious during a full year of broadcasts.

So Rachel's a damn liar when she starts soapboxing and pretending that she was against the Iraq War.

But that alone wouldn't get us to write this piece -- let alone sit through her awful and static 'television' show.

Yes, she's two-faced and a hypocrite and a liar.

But most people already know that.

It's only the deeply stupid that think Rachel Maddow is honest or entertaining.

What she is would be dangerous to democracy.

She flaps her gums but never grasps how much damage she's doing.

We were against the Iraq War before it started.

And we can remember the frustration about who got on TV and who didn't, who got on the radio and who didn't, whose columns got published and whose columns didn't.

We were largely shut out of the debate, those of us against war on Iraq.

In the unethical world, the response to that is to demand to shut out others.

That is what she's calling for.

Not a dialogue, not a conversation, Rachel wants to carry out a vendetta.

She wants to shut people out of the conversation.

That's what those of us on the left objected to and now Rachel wants to repeat it but from the left.

There is no justification or excuse for that argument.

'They were wrong!'

We were against the war.

If it had all gone well, would that mean we weren't allowed to speak?

By Rachel's 'logic,' that is what it means.

But if being wrong is the rule for shutting up, shouldn't Rachel?

According to Politifact, they've found 14% of her statements to be "Half True" (which means half false so we're counting it as the lie it is), 23% were found to be "Mostly False," 23% were found to be false and 5% were found to be "Pants on Fire."

You add that up and 65% of the time Rachel is lying.

By her 'logic,' she shouldn't be on the airwaves.

But in the grown up world, most of us know that we're all wrong some of the time.  That's just the way it goes.

Now if she can find people who lied -- the way she lies 65% of the time she's on air -- that's a little different than just being wrong.

If someone knowing lied about the illegal war and this can be established, by all means keep them off the air because they're dishonest.

But dishonest and wrong are two different things.

Let's take Judith Miller, for example.

Was she wrong or was she lying?

We rate her wrong.

We rate her a bad reporter who was too quick to believe official stories.  When she was in Iraq after the start of the illegal war, she harmed the military's mission (and maybe more) by insisting that a unit basically be commandeered by her to search for chemical weapons.

There were none.

But if she was lying in her reporting, she most likely wouldn't insist on searching for them.

We understand she grew more frazzled and frantic as the chemical weapons failed to turn up.

We're not saints.  We laugh at that.

We laugh at our mental image of Judith slowly grasping, "Holy s**t! I have destroyed my own career!"

When did Kenneth Pollack lie?

Or was he just wrong?

Again, prove someone a liar and they don't belong on TV providing commentary.

But being wrong?

Say, for example, spending hours on TV insisting that a census worker was killed by racists and then having it turn out that never happened?

Well if being wrong like that got you banned from TV, Rachel wouldn't have a show now would she?

Rachel likes to pretend she's a journalist.

She's not.

She's a talk show host.

She's not a comedian, she's not a singer, she's hosting a public affairs talk show.

Yet she wants to shut people out of the debate.

That's not how a democracy works.

A democracy is a government that's responsive to (answers to) the people.

And the people can provide their oversight unless things are out in the open.

That includes in the public square where ideas and views can compete for support.

We are against Barack's plan to send more troops into Iraq.

We're against it and we can say why and we can express ourselves.

And we hope that some people will agree with us.

In fact, we hope that most people will.

But in the market place of ideas, we're fully aware we stand a chance of losing on any given issue.

We don't like that but we accept it.

It's democracy and how it works.

But it's only democracy and it's only working democracy when all ideas can compete.

Again, our voices were shut out in the lead up to the Iraq War.  Why in the world would we ever want to shut anyone else out?

Watching Rachel Maddow last week, between grimaces and shielding our eyes, we caught something else.

Rachel wants X voices shut out.

It's so unfair, she insists, that those who were right aren't on these shows, so unfair!!!!

But she's got an hour show on MSNBC Monday through Friday.

What guest did she have on last week who got it right?

She had on Condi Rice's former speech writer -- a fact she refused to inform her audience of.

That's rather strange, isn't it?

She's arguing Condi shouldn't be allowed on programs because she was wrong.  But she had the woman who wrote Condi's speeches on Monday's program -- the only guest on Monday's program -- and she never told the audience, "My guest here?  She used to write Condi's speeches."

Instead, she just identified Elise Jordan as Michael Hastings' widow.

Tuesday, she had Carne Ross on.

Here's how she misled her viewers, "He`s a former British diplomat who resigned over the war in Iraq."


He's a regular Ann Wright!

Remember Ann Wright?  State Department diplomat, retired army colonel, who resigned March 19, 2003 over the Iraq War.

Yeah, Ann did that.  Good for Carne for doing the same.

What day in 2003 did he resign now?

What's that?

He didn't resign in March of 2003?  Well the next month then.


Well when?

A year later.


It gets stranger.  He didn't resign to protest the Iraq War.

In 2007, Bruce Falconer reported for Mother Jones:

In 2004, Ross testified as much to the Butler Inquiry, a British parliamentary investigation into the misuse of pre-war intelligence. His comments were not well received by the British government, which invoked the U.K.'s Official Secrets Act to suppress the transcript of his testimony. Ross resigned from the Foreign Office in 2004 and went on to found Independent Diplomat, the world's first private diplomatic organization, which instructs representatives from underserved and underrepresented countries in how to make their voices heard. Mother Jones spoke with Ross on July 19.


They didn't like his testimony.

So he resigned.

Regardless of why, he wasn't anyone calling attention to the illegal war, trying to stop it before it started.  There's no public record of that taking place.

Then she brought on Glenn Cohen to talk about medical ethics.

Wednesday, she had Barton Gellman on.

He wasn't 'right' about the illegal war.

He was a reporter for The Washington Post and, as a reporter, he wasn't voicing opinions on the war.  Columnists can, reporters are supposed to strive towards appearing impartial.

Thursday's men didn't include anyone who called out the Iraq War.

Friday, no Iraq, but three male guests.

There should be a special circle of media hell for women who host shows that refuse to make at least half their guests women.

1 out of 9 guests on The Rachel Maddow Show is how it works out for women.

Again, there should be a special circle of media hell for women who host shows that refuse to make at least half their guests women.

If she had booked women in equal number (or even just more than one), she could have booked Ann Wright.  Or Janeane Garofalo.

In fact, no one, male or female, put it on the line the way Janeane did back then.  She went anywhere that would have her -- including Fox News -- to say, "Going to war on Iraq would be a huge mistake."

Janeane was right.

And yet Rachel won't book her or anyone else who spoke out against the Iraq War before it started?  Rachel will whine that those who were for it (and Rachel was for it) are still being interviewed and penning columns but Rachel won't invite the ones who were right onto her program?

It makes no sense at all until you grasp that a 1,111 word opening monologue each night requires she speak about something, anything.  And she needs to rail and bully so she'll say anything.

And whether what she says is true or false may matter to Polifact but Rachel could care less.


Jim: Roundtable time after another week where Iraq continued to make the news. Our e-mail address is  Participating in our roundtable are  The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude; Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man; C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review; Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Last week, Barack declared he was sending more troops into Iraq.  William Deane (Our Missing News) explained, "Step-by-step: 300 combat advisors in route to Iraq, announced by President Obama at a news briefing this Thursday afternoon.   This on top of Monday's 275 troops, announced Monday to protect American Embassy personnel in Baghdad." What stands out media wise in terms of Iraq?

Isaiah: CNN and others being in a tizzy over Sunni rebels executing members of Nouri's military.  We saw the video over and over and heard how shocking it was.  But for six months now, Nouri al-Maliki's been dropping bombs on homes in Falluja's residential neighborhoods and wounding and killing civilians.  For six months.  CNN and the rest haven't felt the need to express horror over those deaths which do include children.

Ty: "Women and children."  We had an e-mail about that from Lance who wrote that at this site and the other community sites, we may emphasize children but we don't do the same with women.  Thoughts?

Trina: "Women and children" is a phrase that some still use.  I don't here because I wouldn't say "men and children" so why would I say "women and children."  All the deaths are tragic but I'm not going to say, "The women's deaths are more tragic."  I will allow that children's deaths are more tragic than adult deaths both because they didn't get any chance to live their lives and can anything be more awful as a parent than seeing your child die?  I think the phrase "women and children" is meant to portray women as in need of protection.  I don't use it and, if it helps anyone reading, were I on a cruise and the ship going down, I'd wait my turn with all the other adults and wouldn't buy into evacuating women first.

Jim: Thank you to Trina.  And Ty's going to try to work in any e-mails he can whenever possible.  But, yes, Isaiah's right, there is something very distasteful and appalling about the US media's desire to ignore civilian deaths over and over -- deaths from War Crimes -- and to suddenly get upset and go into a tizzy because Iraqi soldiers were killed.

Elaine: It's dishonest and dishonest beyond just the War Crimes, it's dishonest also in that it's like hitting the reset button and pretending the killings started with last week's Iraqi soldiers.  It's like saying, "Forget everything that has led up to this moment and let's just make the deaths of these Iraqi soldiers our starting point."  No, that's not the starting point.  I notice, for example, that the media has been reluctant to report on the over-a-year-long protests, peaceful protests, which Nouri either ignored or attempted to attack.  That's completely absent from the discussion.  We covered the protests here -- often in editorials -- and, of course, we all caught C.I.'s regular coverage of them in the snapshots.  But if you watch MSM, you're rarely hearing about those protests, let alone that Nouri was killing people.  Let me note this from a column by Iraq War veteran Ross Caputi that ZNet ran last week:

This movement set up nonviolent protest camps in many cities throughout Iraq for nearly the entire year of 2013. They articulated a set of demands calling for an end to the marginalization of Sunnis within the new Iraqi democracy, reform of an anti-terrorism law that was being used label political dissent as terrorism, abolition of the death penalty, an end to corruption, and they positioned themselves against federalism and sectarianism too.  
Instead of making concessions to the protestors and defusing their rage, Prime Minister Maliki mocked their demands chose to use military force to attack them on numerous occasions. Over the course of a year, the protestors were assaulted, murdered, and their leaders were assassinated, but they remained true to their adopted tactic of nonviolence. That is, until Prime Minister Maliki sent security forces to clear the protest camps in Fallujah and Ramadi in December of 2013. At that point the protestors lost hope in the tactic of nonviolence and turned to armed resistance instead.

Elaine (Con't): This is very much a part of how things arrived where they are today.

Cedric: And I agree with Elaine.  I want to point out that the people she's taking about are also Nouri apologists.  They want to whine that this is all because of Bully Boy Bush.  No, it's not.  Bully Boy Bush imposed Nouri on Iraq in 2006.  But, in 2010, the Iraqi people voted Ayad Allawi and Iraqiya into first place.  Nouri lost.  But Barack Obama had The Erbil Agreement negotiated to give Nouri a second term.  That's on Barack.  Barack also promised this contract would be --

Jim: Cedric, I'm stopping for just one second.  I know the contract, you know the contract, most of our readers know the contract.  But there's a chance someone's reading of The Erbil Agreement for the first time.  So take a second to explain it so we're all on the same page and then go onto how it's on Barack.

Cedric: Good point.  Thank you.  Following the 2010 elections, Nouri refused to step down, for over eight months.  The White House met with the other political leaders and said, "Nouri's brought things to a standstill for 8 months, he could go another 8 months.  Why don't you be the bigger persons and let Nouri have a second term so Iraq can move forward?  And to reward you for being the bigger person, we'll put it in writing -- Nouri gets a second term -- but in exchange for what you want and we'll put what you want in writing too and it will be a legally binding contract, one that has the full backing of the White House."  So they agreed.  Now Barack owns this crisis first of all because he went around the Iraqi voters.  But, secondly, Barack gave him that term by The Erbil Agreement.  That was a power sharing contract and Nouri refused to honor it after being named prime minister.  And the White House suddenly treats Allawi and the Kurds like it borrowed 40 bucks from them and never paid it back, it just blows of the Kurds and Allawi and the others.  So that's the other reason this goes to Barack.

Jim: Thank you, Cedric.  Last week in our roundtable, Betty expressed the opinion that Iraq can't move forward with Nouri.  I'm quoting Betty, "And I'm not sure Iraq can survive if Nouri gets a third term.  Setting aside his crimes against the Iraqi people, you're still left with a basic incompetence that demonstrates his inability to learn on the job.  Two terms and he has no accomplishments to speak of.  He's a complete failure in every sense of the word.  If Nouri gets a third term, it's probably time for Iraqis to split themselves into a confederation because Nouri cannot lead the country.  He lacks the ethics, the talent, the skill and the common sense."  Betty's view appears to be the view of the White House, based on various press reports.  Betty, you get the first word.

Betty: I would love it if Barack pulled all support for Nouri.  If that happened, Nouri would crumble immediately.  Nouri is an ogre and a despot.  Before the elections, C.I. noted at The Common Ills and we did an editorial here on how if Nouri was replaced, it would provide a reset.  Violence would not disappear but it would likely diminish somewhat as people waited to see what the new prime minister would do.  But then the press started declaring Nouri the winner -- how many times has The Washington Post had to run a correction over saying Nouri's party won a majority of votes? -- and acting as though a third term was inevitable.  And that's when the last bits of hope were lost and the violence -- already huge -- increased even further.  Replacing Nouri could still buy a reset.

Dona: I'm stepping in now.  32 e-mails complained Ava and C.I. did not speak in last week's roundtable.  They actually prefer that.  But I said I'd bring C.I. into the discussion by asking a devil's advocate question -- I said that to the last 5 e-mails I replied to.  So here's my question.  C.I., you were opposed to Barack giving Nouri a second term in 2010.  Now you don't want him to have a third term.  And you want the US to interfere again.  How do you reconcile that?

C.I.: First off, I'm opposed to Barack sending in the US troops Jim noted earlier, I'm opposed to airstrikes and drones being used in Iraq.  I believe we all are.  So I want to be clear that I haven't asked for or supported those moves.  In 2010, the voters made their preference known.  Ayad Allawi should have been made prime minister-designate.  I've alluded to this next point but always avoided making it directly.  The White House could have given Nouri the second term without The Erbil Agreement and without trashing the Iraqi Constitution.  Let the process play out, let Iraqi President Jalal Talabani name Allawi prime minister-designate.  Then, in the following 30 days, work overtime to ensure Talabani's unable to put together a Cabinet -- that means getting Parliament to vote in favor of every one of his nominees.  If they oppose some, he has to find ones they vote to support in 30 days.  With the US working against him, Allawi probably won't pull it off.  On the 31st day, Talabani is then able to name a new person prime minister-designate.  At which point, he could have named Nouri.  That would have backed up the Constitution.  It would have interfered with democracy still.  But it would have been less damaging.  I think the US should have only supported the process in 2010.  Today?  I'm not calling for the White House to pick the new prime minister.  Jake Tapper, on The Lead with Jake Tapper (CNN) this week, joked that the White House was going to get behind Ahmed Chalabi.  There was a Press TV report that the White House was backing Chalabi.  I'm not asking the White House to back anyone.  I'm not asking them to pick a new prime minister.  I'm just asking that they stop supporting a tyrant and, as Betty said, when the White House pulls their support for Nouri, he loses his leadership. There are many people in Iraq who could lead.  I'm not asking the US government to figure out which people that should be.  I'm saying pull support from Nouri so he can go under.  And what I'm advocating is actually the law.  Even without the Leahy Amendment, we have treaties and laws in the United States which forbid us backing foreign leaders who torture and kill their country's citizens.  By the Leahy Amendment alone, Nouri shouldn't be getting any advisors let alone possibly airstrikes.   Joe Biden made the point I'm making -- but he made it when he was a US Senator during an April 2008 Senate Foreign Relations Committee.  He noted the scenario we're now at would be requiring the US to choose sides in a civil war. To be really clear, all I have advocated for is that the US government follow the law.  If they did, Nouri would not get support and backing and, as Betty notes, without it, he wouldn't get a third term.  

Wally: Kat, Ava, C.I. and I speak to groups about the wars.  And last week, what we heard repeatedly went like this: The week before last Barack said Nouri was going to have to demonstrate that he was moving to include the other elements of Iraqi society.  Nouri is a Shi'ite.  He's persecuted Sunnis, Kurds and various religious minorities.  So Barack says that and then last week Barack announces help is coming Nouri's way.  But Nouri didn't have to earn it the way Barack had said he would the week prior.  A lot of people we spoke to seemed especially upset that Barack had "red-lined it" -- as two people put it -- by saying Nouri must start including the others in the process.  But after drawing that red line and saying that's what was required for US military assistance, Barack then used his own foot to blur the line he drew and now Nouri's getting US military support without doing a damn thing.

Ava: Okay.  I promised Dona I'd try to jump in so that there weren't complaining e-mails.  I'll jump in here.  The Kurds are very smart.  They're about to sell their second shipment of oil.  The first one had Nouri enraged.  He was threatening legal action and much more.  That was in May.  Now even Nouri doesn't have the time for his tantrum against the Kurds.  And the Kurds are playing it smart by moving to sell a second shipment now when Nouri can't afford to object or put in any real time into this issue.

Ty: Braeden e-mailed asking that if the Kurds popped up could someone explain what the deal is with the Kurds?  Ava?

Ava: There are three main groupings in Iraq: Shi'ite, Sunni and Kurds.  The Shia are the most populous group.  The Kurds, some point out, are Sunni, some disagree.  But since the Gulf War, they've been semi-autonomous in the north.  They remain that today but may move beyond that.  They've declared a third term for Nouri most likely means they break off into full autonomy.  I'm sure there's more -- and C.I. can probably add to that -- but that's some of 'the deal.'

Ty:  C.I.?

C.I.:  The fighting going on has revealed how Nouri cannot protect the country.  The Kurds have sent the Peshmerga into Kirkuk to protect Kirkuk.  It also allows them control of Kirkuk.  Kirkuk is an oil-rich province.  The Kurds claim it as their land.  The central government out of Baghdad also claims it as their own land.  There are historical back and forths on this issue.  The Iraqi Constitution calls for, in Article 140, a census and referendum to be held to determine the fate of Kirkuk.  Nouri has failed to implement that for two terms now.  With the Peshmerga -- elite Kurdish forces -- now controlling the province, many watchers and analysts feel that the issue is as close to being settled as it has ever been.

Jim: Ava and C.I. take notes for these transcript pieces, so we say thank you for that.  But we are glad both participated by speaking in this roundtable.  Marcia, you wrote "David Lindorff tried"" this week.  Could you talk about that post?

Marcia: Sure.  And I almost jumped in during Cedric's speaking earlier because that post of mine did deal with The Erbil Agreement.  So David Lindorff is a journalist.  I'm trying to be nice and be the big person.  He wasn't.  He and the other people who whored for Barack in 2007 and 2008 got what they wanted -- Barack got the nomination and then he got elected -- and yet they were the biggest piss panty babies, crying and just being poor sports, sore winner, if you will.  Barack's pretty much exposed these days -- which means those of us who noted before he was president that he was a Corporatist War Hawk have been proven right.  So I'm right and trying not to be a sore winner.  David Lindorff appears to realize what a danger to the planet Barack is.  He wrote a column for CounterPunch about Iraq.  There were some minor quibbles I had with it.  But the point, and I hope I got this across in my post, that I tried to make was he made a real effort to be honest and to cover the issue and I wanted to support that and wanted to recognize that.  I hope that came across.  I miss having David Lindorff on my side.  I'm serious.  The people who joined the Cult of St. Barack?  That was very sad for me, to lose so many trusted voices.  I enjoy Norman Pollack and am glad Mike's brought him to my attention.  But other than Norman, I don't see that we've gained any strong voices in the last years.  Yet we lost so many to the Cult of St. Barack.

Jim: Among the things I love about your post and your comments right now are they're similar to points Ava and C.I. are making in their TV commentary this week.

Marcia:  They are.  And Jim's in California so I could just leave it there and act like, "How did that happen?"  But Ava, C.I., Kat and Wally usually end the week by being at Trina's on Friday.  They speak to the Iraq Study Group there.  And I'm usually there.  I was there Friday and Ava and C.I. did a joint presentation and noted these were topics they were toying with for the Friday piece.  So my piece was inspired by that talk.

Jim: I think your post is important and that Ava and C.I.'s piece is important.  On Ava and C.I., they're rebuking Rachel Maddow for pimping the notion that if you're wrong about an issue, your opinion is wrong, then you can't speak on an issue anymore.  FAIR was offering similar whining at the end of the week.  I disagree.  Like Ava and C.I. point out, those of us against the war were angry that we were shut out of the media debate in 2002 and 2003, during the lead up.  So why would we ever support shutting anyone out of a discussion.  But, to be the bigger person like Marcia was saying, I was also interested in who do we forgive on our side, on the left, you know?  Marcia makes a case for David Lindorff and I fully support her.  I made a point to read his column because of Marcia's post.  She's right, he's really trying to capture the totality of a complex issue.  It's a column worth applauding and that includes the honesty he's offering. But -- and Kat and Mike, you could jump in but I really want to save you both for the end of the roundtable -- where do we draw the line?  Ruth, let me start with you.

Ruth:  I agree with Marcia and with you regarding Mr. Lindorff's column Friday.  I may be wrong, but I see something similar with Marjorie Cohn's recent work.  I would love an acknowledgement of wrong doing, sorry, that is how I feel.  For example, Ms. Cohn lost the support of many when she parroted the talking point of the Barack Obama campaign that Hillary was threatening to kill Mr. Obama.  That was a talking point, we all saw the e-mail blast from Barack Obama's campaign on that and we all saw the flunkies go into overdrive.  Did Ms. Cohn not get that e-mail?  She could have just been running with the pack.  But that argument -- that Hillary wanted to assassinate Barack Obama -- was just beyond crazy.  Now in a functioning world, Ms. Cohn would admit she was wrong to have done that.  I would love that kind of an acknowledgement.  But I probably will not get it.  So if someone can just come back to fairness, at this point, honestly, that would be enough.  Hold President Obama to the same standards they held Bully Boy Bush to and stop whoring for the Democratic Party and I will try to embrace you and welcome you back.

Stan: I want to go next.  Because I hear a tone in Ruth's voice that speaks to a feeling I have.  Which is, I can do what Ruth's saying but if you piss me off, this isn't ancient history and it isn't forgotten and I will throw it in Majorie Cohn or anyone else's face if they start whoring again.  I think what made -- can we do a link to Marjorie Cohn's piece from last week?

Jim: Sure.

Stan: I think what she and Lindorff were doing stood out especially for a lot of us because they were tackling Barack on the issue of Iraq.  We have seen two weeks of faux left and Democratic Party operatives minimizing what Nouri has done.  So to see Cohn and Lindorff return to the issue of Iraq and do so with bravery and conviction, still expressing the same ethical standard, it did mean something to me.

Ann: I'm fine with being a lone voice.  And I could have been without my husband Cedric or without Ava and C.I. or whatever.  But having everyone here has meant so much.  It's been very hard to be an ethical lefty in the age of Obama -- very hard and often very lonely. But ethics mean too much to me.  I can't pretend to have them only some of the time or else I really don't have ethics and standards.  And, among the reasons I became a Green Party member, I don't compromise my ethics.  I'm sorry, I won't whore.  I remember Janis Ian's great autobiography Society's Child, and there were so many great and illuminating moments.  But for me, she hooked me early on when -- I think in the prologue, it's the prologue right?

Jim: C.I.'s nodding "yes."

Ann: Thanks.  In the prologue she's explaining how she was urged to take race out of her song "Society's Child."  If she'll take Black out -- it's a song about a young interracial couple, a White girl and a Black boy-- if she'll just take Black out of the song, it will be huge, number one even.  And Janis talks about how she's briefly considering -- for a few seconds -- when a friend advises her, "You whore now, you'll whore forever."  And that really is true.  I hope some people who whored can recover.  But they're going to have to do real work to convince me.  And, outside of Lindorff and Cohn, last week didn't reassure me on anyone.  I saw the usual people stay silent on the topic of Iraq.  People who, let's note, would have been furious if Bully Boy Bush was doing what Barack's doing.  And don't get me started on the ridiculous Tom Hayden but do let me note Betty's "The racist Tom Hayden" and say amen to that, Betty.

Betty: Thank you.

Rebecca: Well I'll go where Ann stopped.  Tom Hayden excused away Barack.  Barack, Hayden wanted the world to know, was forced into sending US troops into Iraq.

Cedric: Yeah, he got an atomic wedgie on the playground, they forced him!

Rebecca: Exactly.  That's just whoring.  That's continuing to make Barack your life's goal, protecting Barack.  You know who needs protecting?  The Iraqi people.  And airstrikes and drones aren't going to protect them.  Barack sending some more US troops into Iraq will not help them.  Tom Hayden will sacrifice the Iraqi people if it means he can let Barack escape responsibility for his own actions.  I cannot and will not forgive people like that.  

Ty: We had 53 e-mails complaining about Tom Hayden's nonsense.  People also complained about how Amy Goodman thought she could do a column quoting just Shi'ites but not identifying them as such and no one would notice Amy was taking sides and slanting her coverage.  But the clear winner in most objectionable person was Tom Hayden. 

Jim: Thank you, Rebecca.  I was wondering if Tom Hayden's nonsense was going to come up or not.   Friday saw Mike doing his regular feature in  "Idiot of the week (it might be you!)" but, in addition, Kat offered "Idiot of the week."  Mike chose the MSM and Kat chose Danny Schechter.  Mike, starting with you, your thinking.  What led you to make the choice?

Mike: Sure.  I had a lot of possibilities.  Kat called and asked if I'd mind her grabbing the topic too?  Of course not.  I'd love it if, one Friday, we did a theme post where we all offering a pick for "Idiot of the week."  I hadn't even heard of Danny's nonsense until Kat told me about it on the phone.  But I already had seven serious contenders.  And I went with MSM because they were leaving out so much in their coverage -- like Elaine was saying earlier.  But Barack's insisting the nearly 600 US troops he's planning to send in are not going to be in combat.  And it was left to C.I. to report what happened last time. August 31, 2010 saw Barack announce the end of combat operations in Iraq.  But from September 1, 2010 through November 2011, 66 US troops died in Iraq -- after the end of 'combat operations.'  So it was that sort of thing, seeing C.I. make the real arguments that the MSM ignored or missed, that led to my naming MSM the idiot of the week.

Jim: Very good.  And Kat?

Kat: Mike's grandfather.  Which Mike's hearing right now.  We were in Boston Friday and Mike's grandfather asked me if I'd seen Danny Schechter's nonsense.  I hadn't.  So I pull it up on my phone and look at it and then called Mike.  I didn't say, "Your grandfather mentioned it!"  I didn't want to bring that in just in case he didn't want to share Idiot of the Week because it his regular feature, not mine.  But there was Danny comparing his brief time noting Iraq at his website and doing a documentary about watching Iraq coverage on TV as the same thing as a soldier serving in Iraq and claiming he'd done so much when he really hadn't.  As soon as he was done promoting his film about watching Iraq on TV, he was off to another topic. He's failed to note anything pertinent to Iraq in all the time since.  Include him on Elaine's list of people who ignored the over one year long continuous protests.  Include him on the list of people who looked the other way when Tim Arango reported, September 2012, that Barack has just sent a unit of Special Ops into Iraq. He's done nothing on Iraq and because it's a 'hot topic' he suddenly wants to write about it and pretend like he's done something.  I'm like Janis Ian on this, you whore now, you'll whore forever.  I have no hope for Danny to be anything but a Barack liar.  There's no issue he won't lie on to cover for Barack. He's just a whore and a useless one at that.

Jim: Thank you, Kat, thank you, Mike.  Jess hasn't spoken.  I asked him to think up something to say regarding our position on Iraq and so now we turn to Jess.

Jess:   Nouri bumbled his way through his first term as prime minister.  He got much worse in his second term.  He became a criminal.  He terrorized the Sunni population by arresting their politicians or trying them in absentia -- Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi, for example.  He terrorized the protesters even killing some of the Sunni protesters.  He ordered his Ministry of Interior to visit high schools and encourage the murder of gays and lesbians in Iraq.  He's been a danger and a menace.  The Sunnis are fighting back.  This is a civil war.  We don't need to take sides.  We don't need to provide military support for a regime that's committed War Crimes.  We don't need to provide anything.  And, per the law, we shouldn't. be involved in propping up Nouri's government.  The reality was always that the US installed Nouri and that an occupied people will always rebel.  That's what we're seeing take place now.

Jim: Thank you, Jess.  And that's going to wind down our roundtable.  This is a rush transcript -- which means typos and errors.

Barack thinks it o-over

No matter how busy things may get, US President Barack Obama -- shown here with General Martin Dempsey -- always finds time to break out his well known series of impressions.  In this White House photo by Pete Souza, Barack's demonstrating his Diana Ross impression as he sings "Stop! In The Name Of Love."

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at Sleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

If the James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever set the tone for the Roger Moore era that immediately followed, we'd argue You Only Live Twice is the best of the Sean Connery era.

The scene opens with a spaceship being 'swallowed' by another space ship and quickly moves to Bond in bed being surprised and killed.

But never fear, even during the funeral scene, as Nancy Sinatra warns in one of the finer Bond themes, written by John Barry and Leslie Bricusse,  "You Only Live Twice."

You only live twice or so it seems
One life for yourself and one for your dreams
You drift through the years and life seems tame
Till one dream appears and love is it's name

Having faked his own death and burial to throw people off his scent, Bond now heads for Tokyo.

At a sumo wrestling match, he meets Aki (Akiko Wakabayashi) who works for Japanese spy chief Tiger Tanaka (Tetsuro Tamba).

While he and Tiger will indulge in being bathed by multiple lovelies, it's Aki who teams with Bond throughout the bulk of the first two-thirds of the film.

There will be thrills, chills, spills and gadgets along the way.

And for a change in a Connery Bond film, James will be the one being slapped, not a woman.

That's Helga Brandt (Karin Dor), an assassin for the evil SPECTRE.

SPECTRE is headed by the evil Blofeld (Donald Pleasence).  Hes' the one having spaceships 'swallowed' and plotting destruction via a world wide nuclear war.

And he's got a cat he carries around a lot.  Yes, he's also, in fact this whole film has, inspired Mike Meyers' first Austin Powers film.

As for the Bond films, Sean Connery walks after this one (only to return for Diamonds Are Forever and Never Say Never Again) and the film that follows You Only Live Twice is On Her Majesty's Secret Service which finds George Lazenby's Bond marrying Diana Rigg only to see her die by the end of the film.

In You Only Live Twice, Aki is killed when SPECTRE attempts to wipe out Bond and, don't try to figure it out, this is followed by Bond pretending to marry Kissy Suzuki (Mie Hama).

It's Kissy that will assist on the rest of the mission.

Which is basically swim into the caves and take over Blofeld's underground lair.

Then it's a few shots of Bond and Kissy as a volcano erupts and the credits roll.

It's a gorgeous film (Freddie Young did the cinematography) with one of the better and quirkier Bond scripts of the Connery era (Roald Dahl wrote the script -- yes, that Roald Dahl).

We love the James Bond films -- all but one -- but this one truly is our favorite of the Connery era.

Telepundit from hell

On MSNBC last week -- where else? -- professor Allan Licthman set a new low for punditry.

You may remember Bully Boy Bush once occupied the White House for eight dark and deadly years. Thankfully, that is no more.  Sadly, he's been replaced by a mirror image.

Under Bully Boy Bush we were outraged on the left by his use of executive orders.  For example, in August 2007, Matthew Rothschild (The Progressive via Common Dreams) wrote:

George W. Bush is churning out executive orders and Presidential directives just as fast as Dick Cheney's lawyers can fill up yellow legal pads.
The power that he is asserting-no, grabbing-with these executive orders is astonishing and alarming. Such power imperils our liberties and our democratic system of government.

House Republicans, Ari insisted, were "obsessed with oversight."  He was filling in for Rachel Maddow and his guest was Licthman.

Why might Republicans be "obsessed with oversight"?

Who knows.

But it might be because Barack refused to appoint Inspector Generals during his first term as president.  For instance, the State Department never had an IG under Hillary Clinton's entire Secretary of State term.  (John Kerry promised to change that and he did.)

Could just be because they're doing their job.

Their job is not to blow feather kisses at Barack.

(It's not Ari's job either but it is Ari's hobby.)

Looking like a nut case in a Leonard Nimoy rug, Lichtman offered various crazy faces and such 'insight' as, "There's no compromising with this Congress.  They're not interested in compromising."

Oh, yes, Barack is forced to issue executive orders, yes, yes, said the little troll wearing Daddy's suit on national TV.

Reality, Barack had three years in the US Senate.  He didn't know what he was doing.  Since becoming president, he's thought Congress bends to his will.


And it didn't happen from 2009 to 2010 when the House and Senate both had Democratic majorities.

Allan Lichtman is not just an ugly man, he's a perv who gets off on abuse -- in his case government abuse.

This telepundit from hell needs to get his ass back down there and, this time, stay there.

This edition's playlist


1) Joni Mitchell's Shine.

2) Prince's Around The World In A Day.

3) Cat Power's The Greatest.

4) Sade's Soldier of Love.

5) Soundgarden's Superunknown.

6) PJ Harvey's Let England Shake.

7) Ben Harper's Both Sides of the Gun.

8) Cowboy Junkies' at the end of paths taken.

9) Jack Johnson's Sleep Through The Static.

10) Carly Simon's This Kind Of Love.



Once more into the e-mails. Our e-mail address is

Regarding last week's "This edition's playlist,"  Lee e-mailed to note we didn't say which Carly Simon album was on our playlist?  Elaine also noted our oversight.  It was Spy  and our apologies for leaving that off.  We've fixed it in the article and added a note to the bottom of the article.

Belynda e-mailed to say she loved "Turntable Triumphs" and hoped it would be a monthly feature.  Many other e-mails praised our selection of Carly Simon's Anticipation for the kick off of this series. But the most e-mails?  Asking which album covers are in the illustration?

Well, first off, the above is smaller than we normally use but we want to be sure nothing is cut off -- click image for larger version.

Starting in the top left corner, you have Sandy Denny's The North Star Grassman and The Ravens, Melanie's Melanie (or Affectionately Melanie, if the full cover was utilized), Carly Simon's Playing Possum.

Starting in the bottom left corner, you have Joan Armatrading's Back to the Night, Joni Mitchell's Wild Things Run Fast and Tina Turner's Tina Live.

Those are the six albums.  Kat, Betty and Ty picked them out.

Belynda, we are hoping it will be a monthly feature.

One regular feature we do is "Film Classics of the 20th Century."  And Micah insists we're missing something.  In our last one (we have a new one this edition), we covered Sleeper and opened with this: "In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune."

Micah's not arguing, "You missed my favorite film!"  He's saying he thinks we've done at least one selection that's not listed in our listing.  He could be right.  If you know what it is, our e-mail address is

On that ongoing series, Frank e-mails to complain that we're not including 17 of his favorites so far.  Frank, none of them will be included.  We love some of the ones on your list.  But every one of the 17 came out after 2004 -- they are all 21st century films so they can't be part of "Film Classics of the 20th Century."

Taryn is glad we highlight comedies and wondered about her two comedy favorites? Your second one?  Yes.  It will be covered here.  It's actually one of Jim and Rebecca's favorite comedies.  Your first?  Norbit was released in 2007 so, like Frank's picks, it doesn't qualify.  If it helps any, we all know that film by heart and love Eddie Murphy, Thandie Newton, Cuba Gooding Jr., Katt Williams and the rest of the cast.  It's a very funny movie.

Blake is bothered by "all the comedies" on the list.  We explained when the series kicked off that we loved comedies.  We've, so far, offered different types of comedies.  Abbott & Costello's Who Done It?, for example, is not the same as Sleepless In Seattle or House Sitter.

Keenen wishes we'd include all the James Bond films.  We do another James Bond this edition, it's our favorite of the Sean Connery films.  We actually think every James Bond film could make the list -- every one released in the 20th century -- except for one.

We're big James Bond fans -- and think Daniel Craig is the best Bond ever.  But there's one film we can't stomach.  Let's see if any longterm readers can guess which one.  Next mailbag, we'll note the answer and whether anyone guessed correctly.

Lucy feels she's waited and waited for her pick and we've blown her off.

Lucy, your pick is one of C.I.'s top ten all time favorite films: Some Like It Hot. Elaine, Jess, Stan, Cedric, Trina and Marcia all rate it as a favorite.  We keep meaning to write about it.  Thus far, we've not been able to.  So if you feel blown off, take comfort in the fact that we're also blowing C.I., Elaine, Jess, Stan, Cedric, Trina and Marcia off.

Kim had an interesting question on the series, "Are there any artists that you feel have made a number of classics?"

Yes.  To cite only two people, we believe the bulk of the work of Goldie Hawn and Warren Beatty qualifies as film classics.

Moving to Iraq, Jose writes, "You should feel vindicated by recent events in Iraq.  As you have repeatedly noted for at least two years now, things are out of control in Nouri's Iraq.  I wish other outlets had taken time to cover it.  I started college in 2002.  So I saw the Iraq War create all these websites and blogs all over the place.  And yet the bulk of them haven't bothered to cover Iraq in years until the last week or so."

Jose, we wish others had been covering Iraq as well.

We don't feel vindicated, though.  We just feel sad that the Iraqi people have suffered so much and the US government has caused the suffering but so many US websites and bloggers turned their backs on the Iraqi people.

_____ is in summer one.  (We're withholding any name for a reason that will be clear in a moment.)  The professor assigned them to write about Iraq coverage and "I cribbed a great deal from the media piece you did" -- "The media rediscovers Iraq (Ava and C.I.)" -- and "I was wondering how long it took to write that?"

Ava and C.I. wrote it.  They wrote it in about an hour and ten minutes and then spent two hours pruning it.  They say they ditched about two-thirds of it before it went up.

Glad you enjoyed the piece but remember you can get a failing grade and put on academic probation if you 'crib' in a manner that's seen as plagiarism.  We wouldn't rat you out but if you directly copied, you should probably be silent until after you have your degree in your hand.

No More U.S. Militarism in Iraq (CCR)

This is from the Center for Constitutional Rights:

Center for Constitutional Rights Statement on Iraqi Crisis

June 19, 2014, New York – In response to the current crisis in Iraq and calls for a U.S. military response, the Center for Constitutional Rights issued the following statement:

The two catastrophic decades of U.S. military action in Iraq should put to rest any delusion that further U.S. military involvement of any kind can foster a lasting resolution to the current crisis. Any plan for security and reconciliation in Iraq must begin by bolstering the voices of the millions of Iraqi civilians who have been caught between brutal abuses by ISIS and other fundamentalist forces and the U.S.-backed government alike.
A strong civil society exists in Iraq despite enormous odds, and there is sustained opposition to the sectarian political system at the heart of this crisis and formally entrenched under the U.S. occupation. With the support of the U.S. government, Prime Minister Maliki further institutionalized violent discrimination and escalated sectarianism. Heeding calls for U.S. military action does not address the underlying political problem, but it could bring further disaster for civilians already reeling from the devastating effects of his policies and the decade-long U.S. military intervention and occupation.
The U.S. should be making reparations to rebuild the country and address the health and environmental crisis and decimation of Iraq’s infrastructure brought on by the previous administration’s illegal war. The U.S. government, which has been bombing Iraq since 1991, is in no small part responsible for what is happening today.  Further violence against the Iraqi people would be just as illegal and just as devastating, whether it involved airstrikes, the deployment of troops, or the expansion of an unlawful drone killing program.

Also today, CCR joined Iraqi and U.S. partners in the Right to Heal Initiative to send a letter to the State Department, which can be read here.

The Center for Constitutional Rights is dedicated to advancing and protecting the rights guaranteed by the United States Constitution and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Founded in 1966 by attorneys who represented civil rights movements in the South, CCR is a non-profit legal and educational organization committed to the creative use of law as a positive force for social change.
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