Sunday, June 29, 2014

Truest statement of the week

When Iraqis went to the polls in March 2010, they gave a narrow plurality to the Iraqiya List, an alliance of parties that enjoyed significant Sunni support but was led by Ayad Allawi, a secular Shiite. Under pressure from Maliki, however, an Iraqi judge allowed the prime minister's Dawa Party—which had finished a close second—to form a government instead. According to Emma Sky, chief political adviser to General Raymond Odierno, who commanded U.S. forces in Iraq, American officials knew this violated Iraq’s constitution. But they never publicly challenged Maliki’s power grab, which was backed by Iran, perhaps because they believed his claim that Iraq’s Shiites would never accept a Sunni-aligned government. “The message” that America’s acquiescence “sent to Iraq’s people and politicians alike,” wrote the Brookings Institution’s Kenneth Pollack, “was that the United States under the new Obama administration was no longer going to enforce the rules of the democratic road…. [This] undermined the reform of Iraqi politics and resurrected the specter of the failed state and the civil war.” According to Filkins, one American diplomat in Iraq resigned in disgust.
By that fall, to its credit, the U.S. had helped craft an agreement in which Maliki remained prime minister but Iraqiya controlled key ministries. Yet as Ned Parker, the Reuters bureau chief in Baghdad, later detailed, “Washington quickly disengaged from actually ensuring that the provisions of the deal were implemented.” In his book, The Dispensable Nation, Vali Nasr, who worked at the State Department at the time, notes that the “fragile power-sharing arrangement … required close American management. But the Obama administration had no time or energy for that. Instead it anxiously eyed the exits, with its one thought to get out. It stopped protecting the political process just when talk of American withdrawal turned the heat back up under the long-simmering power struggle that pitted the Shias, Sunnis, and Kurds against one another.”

-- Peter Beinart,  "Obama's Disastrous Iraq Policy: An Autopsy" (The Atlantic).

Truest statement of the week II

On those first two elements, responsibility clearly rests with the war criminals of the Tony Blair and George W. Bush regimes. But on the last issue, the illegal arming and training of an insurgent force to undermine the sovereignty of an established state – that crime rests with President Barack Obama and his administration.
Democrats, including what is referred to as the “progressive” caucus, the Congressional Black Caucus and other caucus groups, along with the unprincipled and opportunist collection of Democratic party hacks at the Center for American Progress, the New American Foundation, Human Rights Watch and the other liberal and mainstream  institutions and publications who gave direct or tacit support to the foolish Bush era strategy to destroy Syria, all place the blame for the “debacle” in Iraq on al-Maliki. And while many of these elements opposed the Bush attack on Iraq, the moral basis for their opposition to direct war by the U.S. in Iraq under a Republican president failed them in response to the indirect war waged on Syria by a Democrat president. In both cases, it was war that was unleashed, and in both cases outside the parameters of international law and in opposition to the wishes and interests of the vast majorities of the peoples of those nations.

-- Ajamu Baraka, "The Human Rights Crisis in Iraq" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week III

"But sooner or later, honest liberals will have to admit that Obama’s Iraq policy has been a disaster." 

-- Peter Beinart,  "Obama's Disastrous Iraq Policy: An Autopsy" (The Atlantic).

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?

Peter Beinart wrote an important piece for The Atlantic and earned his first truest here ever.
Ajamu Baraka also earned his first truest for some strong truth telling.
And back to Peter Beinart.
We had thought we would have a brief editorial.   The more we discussed it, the more we knew it had to be a longer one.  I (Jim) think this is our best editorial of the month.

Ava and C.I. offer another masterpiece.  After rejecting my request for something on Iraq.  They said there was nothing to cover that they hadn't already.  I pressed.  They came back with, 'Maybe an update using Young Turks?'  They went to work on that and ended up with what I think is the best piece that's run here all month.  I was stuck for a headline (I write most of the headlines) but Ava and C.I. were listening to music (not on the playlist) when they went off to write this.  It included Joni Mitchell's The Hissing of Summer Lawns and that title inspired the one I gave to their piece. 
Elaine wrote about this topic in "Waste of our tax dollars"  and brought it to this edition.  We thank her for that and I love this piece.

Short feature.

A major Supreme Court decision.  (You should also see "Barry gets spanked" and "THIS JUST IN! BAD BARRY GETS SPANKED!" by Cedric and Wally.)

As requested by many e-mails, we offer the second instalmment in this feature.  Betty and C.I. were adament that the choice by Diana Ross -- longterm readers will know why -- and we all agreed and then voted this album our top pick.  (Betty and C.I. voted for another album which we will include at a later date.)

What we listened to while we worked on this edition.
From Senator Patty Murray's office. 
From Workers World.

From the VFW.
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: Playing footsie with a tyrant

Earlier this month, US President Barack Obama announced 'preconditions' for tyrant Nouri al-Maliki receiving US forces in Iraq.  A political solution, Barack insisted, was needed.  For any US assistance to take place, Barack said, drawing a line in the sand with his big toe, Nouri would have to demonstrate he was able to embrace pluralism in Iraq and stop attacking every non-Shi'ite group.

A big gust of wind must have come along because the line in the sand quickly disappeared.

Nouri got what he wanted, US troops as 'advisors' -- to help advise him how to kill more Iraqis?

And he got that without making any serious moves towards political reconciliation.

There was one awkward press conference that Sunnis participated in.

That was it.

Nouri continues to maintain that he will not put forward a unity government -- he says it's unconstitutional.  And he continues to refuse calls to step down and not seek a third term.

But Barack still gave him what he wanted.

Well maybe this is part of negotiations.  Maybe the US is getting ready for some tough talk?

Last week, US Secretary of State John Kerry visited Iraq.

 Alsumaria featured this photo of John Kerry making nice with tyrant Nouri.

Does that look like tough talk is taking place?


What is looks like is the infamous and shameful photo from the Reagan presidency of Donald Rumsfeld grinning and making nice with Saddam Hussein.

The White House issued the following last week:

Letter from the President -- War Powers Resolution Letter regarding Iraq

June 26, 2014
Dear Mr. Speaker: (Dear Mr. President:)
As I reported on June 16, 2014, U.S. Armed Forces personnel have deployed to Iraq to provide support and security for U.S. personnel and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.
I have since ordered further measures in response to the situation in Iraq. Specifically, as I announced publicly on June 19, I have ordered increased intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance that is focused on the threat posed by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL). I also ordered up to approximately 300 additional U.S. Armed Forces personnel in Iraq to assess how we can best train, advise, and support Iraqi security forces and to establish joint operations centers with Iraqi security forces to share intelligence and coordinate planning to confront the threat posed by ISIL. Some of these personnel were already in Iraq as part of the U.S. Embassy's Office of Security Cooperation, and others began deploying into Iraq on June 24. These forces will remain in Iraq until the security situation becomes such that they are no longer needed.
This action is being undertaken in coordination with the Government of Iraq and has been directed consistent with my responsibility to protect U.S. citizens both at home and abroad, and in furtherance of U.S. national security and foreign policy interests, pursuant to my constitutional authority to conduct U.S. foreign relations and as Commander in Chief and Chief Executive.
I am providing this report as part of my efforts to keep the Congress fully informed, consistent with the War Powers Resolution (Public Law 93-148). I appreciate the support of the Congress in these actions.


Actually, most experts are saying that backing Nouri is endangering American lives.  That taking sides in this civil war could lead to attacks on and in the US.

Actually, the only Americans in danger in Iraq were Embassy staff who could have been quickly evacuated -- out of the country or to the northern Kurdistan Regional Government.

By sending in (more) US troops while failing to evacuate diplomatic personnel, Barack's only increased the number of Americans potentially in danger.

And then there's that other 'minor' issue.

Nouri's committing War Crimes -- legally defined and internationally recognized War Crimes.

For six months, he's been bombing civilians and civilian sites in Falluja, in spite of Geneva and every other law.  Yesterday,  Arwa Damon, Chelsea J. Carter and Laura Smith-Spark (CNN) reported:

Iraq's air force carried out a series of airstrikes on Mosul, according to a senior Iraqi military official.
The airstrikes targeted four locations inside Iraq's second-largest city, including ISIS headquarters, said Mazen al-Safaar, a traffic director in Mosul.
But a doctor says the airstrikes also hit Mosul's administration building and the Old City's shopping district.
At least seven civilians were killed and two were wounded in the airstrikes, according to Dr. Salaheldin al-Naimi, the director of the health administration.

Now he's going after civilians in Mosul.

And this is who the US is playing footsie with?

Maybe Barack has some plan that will emerge in the next week and Nouri will be sent packing.

That would be great.

But right now, a tyrant and War Criminal rules Iraq and the same US government that twice-installed him now wants to make nice with him.

TV: The useless huffing and puffing of flaccid men

It was a week that saw Jack Bauer throw a woman to her death (24), Dr. Karen Kim appear  to take tips from her patient on how to be an escort (Mistresses), the us versus them divide  pushed hard (Big Brother), Cat and Vincent fail in suburbia (Beauty & the Beast), Tara suffer an attack (True Blood) and Tituba declare John Alden a witch (Salem).

Yet the most bizarre moment had to be the return of Cenk Uygur to The Young Turks.


There was Cenk huffing and puffing, railing in a rather weak mannered and ill informed way that some may have bought but only reminded us of our "TV: The Brave New World?" which took on the nonsense of a week's worth of The Young Turks without Cenk.

For those late to the party, The Young Turks ignored Iraq for the entire week we watched.  They were covering more pressing 'news.'  Like a high school prom.

Wait, it was weaker than that.

They were covering invitations to a high school prom.

See, Ellen DeGeneres' photo was featured on the first invitations and then pulled from the next round.  Ellen was never going to be at the prom, it was never insinuated that she would be.

But this sort of thing -- and a lot more fluff -- passed as 'news' on The Young Turks in May while Iraq was ignored.

Yet there was Cenk  railing about people not paying attention to Iraq?

He was calling out his co-workers?

Hell no.

Baby Huey was hopping a soapbox to wail and pretend he cared about Iraq.

But the more words he used, the more clear it was that he hadn't paid attention to Iraq at all in the last few years.  He had no idea what had been happening, he had no examples to offer post-Bully Boy Bush (which is five years and, yes, they have mattered in Iraq) and he really had nothing to offer.

Which is why Baby Huey quickly moved over to the pressing issue of "fashion photography."

It's not art, he railed.

Or maybe it was, he offered.

Clearly, he hadn't bothered to think through a thing.

But there were allegations -- his female partner did note they were allegations -- against a photographer.

There are presently no charges against the photographer.

But Cenk wanted to defend 'girls.'  He and his co-host referred to these young women as 'girls.'

We're not sure whether it made Cenk feel 'manly' to refer to women as 'girls' or if this was an attempt to ape the right-wing attack on Bill Clinton by shaving years off Monica Lewinsky's age back in the days of that scandal.

The photographer's alleged behavior was puzzling.

But if no one's filing charges and these remain nothing but allegations and whispers, there's not really a news story there -- no matter how many times Cenk repeats allegations as if they were fact.


Cenk was all brushed up on that.

And the 'fashion photography' 'story' allowed him to rage loudly and repeatedly.

It had a 'freshness' that Iraq apparently lacked -- to him anyway.

It's been funny to listen to Iraq 'coverage' offered on radio and TV by lefties and faux lefties.  The Rachel Maddow Show, FAIR (and it's TV and radio offshoots) and even Law &  Disorder Radio have all felt the need to whine that the voices who got it right about the Iraq War have been shut out of the conversation today.  They've made this argument while . . . they themselves shut out the voices who got it right about the Iraq War.

They refuse to book these voices on their own shows -- Diane Rehm can and did book Phyllis Bennis (a voice who got it right) on NPR's The Diane Rehm Show -- but these supposed left programs aren't able to do the same for some reason.

Maybe it's because they don't know what a voice calling out the illegal war before the war started -- that would be the people who were right -- sounds like?

Take serial liars Sam Stein and Michael Calderone at The Huffington Post.

The two confused gas bags offered "If You Were An Iraq War Critic, You're Probably Not Being Asked To Go On TV."

It succeeded as sexism, revisionary 'history' and non-stop lies.

It just failed on the factual meter.

They started with former US Senator Kent Conrad.  He, they informed you, was one of 21 senators to vote against the Iraq War.

They then thunder over the refusal of networks to book Kent!

Oh, the horror.

Poor Kent Conrad!

Not booked for TV because he took a stand against the Iraq War.

Or maybe not booked because he's off putting on TV?

His voice irritates.

But the Huff Post never wants to offer facts, mind you.

So they pretend that Kent's being overlooked because he was right.

Was he right about Countrywide Financial?

Because that is why he left the Senate, didn't run for re-election, remember?

Yes, a Democratically controlled ethics panel did say he hadn't broken the law.

But the financial scandal touched him since he was pro-Countrywide and they'd been so very generous to him with loans.

It's called corruption and most hosts would be leery booking someone like Kent Conrad as an 'expert.' That'd be like booking pedophile Scott Ritter.

And then there's that other detail: "former" senator.

Today, on ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox News and CNN, Iraq will be addressed by the following officials:  US President Barack Obama, former President Bill Clinton, former US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey, Senator Joe Manchin, Senator John Barrasso, US House Rep. Peter King, U.S. House Rep. Mike Rogers, and former NSA director and CIA director Michael Hayden.

Please note, all members of Congress?

They're currently serving.

No Congressional member invited on is a 'former' member of Congress except maybe Barack who is, after all, a sitting president.

So Kent Conrad, who left the Senate in disgrace, who chose not to run for re-election because of the Countrywide scandal?

He's really not the ingredients for a solid argument.

Senator Patty Murray?  She is.  She's still in the Senate and she used to chair the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee -- a very important committee.  She is now the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee -- also seen as an important post.

Stein and Calderone could have made an argument with Murray.

They didn't though.

In fact, their rank sexism resulted in their using no women to make an argument and not only did they not spend paragraphs pontificating on Murray (or any other woman), they didn't even mention Patty Murray.

Sexists drown in their own stupidity.

Stupidity is whining that Jonathan S. Landay (they leave out the "S.") was only invited on CNN's Reliable Sources.

What program should he have been on?

Because he didn't 'get it right.'

As a reporter for Knight Ridder, he filed many important pieces (usually with co-writers).  But these pieces? They were reports.  These were not opinion pieces or columns.

Landay was a reporter, he took no public position on Iraq.

If he had, Knight Ridder would have pulled him from covering Iraq.

Landay is not someone who called for no war on Iraq.

He's a reporter who had a beat and covered it well.  Applause for him on that, but let's not pretend he was publicly saying, "No war on Iraq!" -- because he wasn't.

They want you to know that former US Senator Gary Hart hasn't been invited on to speak about the Iraq War.  Gary voted against it?


Gary's political career ended in the 80s on a boat called Monkey Business as he was photographed with Donna Rice sitting in his lap and Mrs. Hart not present.  He spent the night on the boat with Rice.  His 1988 run for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination ended the next day.  As did his political career.

He's being kept out of the broadcast discussion because he was a critic of the impending war on Iraq?

Or because he made himself a media joke some time ago?

Huff Post's Twits then want to bring up Andrew Bacevich.

The military historian (they forget "military" in their description) was a critic of the impending war on Iraq?


No, he wasn't.

And only untruthful liars would suggest otherwise.

After the war started, long after, Bacevich had some criticisms.

Not only was he not an I-got-it-right voice, he's an uncomfortable voice for many in the media.

They either tiptoe around the elephant in the room out of respect for him or they try to get him to talk about the topic he attempts to make off limits (Amy Goodman tried to ask him about it and he shot her down -- as he's done with so many).

What are we talking about?

His son died in the Iraq War.

Whether or not that impacted his opinion on the illegal war (he says "no"), his refusal to explore it makes many interviewers uncomfortable.  Not because they're gossips, it makes them uncomfortable because not asking and exploring this angle leaves them open to charges that they didn't do their job.  Bacevish has every right to wall off any topic he wants.  But if it might be pertinent to the discussion and hosts can't broach the topic, then he's not a guest worth having because the audience response will include, "He's biased! And you didn't even ask him about it!"

The Huff Post idiots then want to get giddy because Lawrence Wilkerson (one of the "critics of the war") "has been on NBC, ABC, MSNBC, CNN, BBC, ITV4, Al Jazeera, Russia Today, CTV in Canada" . . .

Has he been on QVC selling ornamental flag draped coffins?

He's not an Iraq War critic.

He's a Colin Powell apologist.

Wilkerson didn't speak out against the illegal war in 2002 before it started or during the lead up in 2003.  He only found the 'strength' to speak up after public sentiment had turned against the Iraq War and Cindy Sheehan had staged Camp Casey among other peace actions.

Wilkerson is a mouth piece for Colin Powell.  He acts like the devoted (and lovelorn) secretary of Colin Powell.

He has nothing to offer and the blood on his hands will never wash off.

He was part of the team that sold the Iraq War, he's lied repeatedly for Colin Powell -- we've called it out repeatedly -- and he never spoke out against the impending war.

He did not get it right.

And he had nothing to say until years into the illegal war, when the majority of the American public had turned against the Iraq War.

It must be hard to be a whore like Sam Stein.  It must be harder to be one like Michael Calderone because the physically ugly always have it more difficult in society.

But that doesn't excuse their lying.

Or their cobbled together nonsense where they insist the media's shutting out people who were right when in fact the people they offer as examples either didn't speak out before the start of the war or have one or more issues (often scandals) which discredit them to the media.

We get this is confusing for the stupid.

Unlike the rag tag band of the faux left, we were calling Scott Ritter out before the latest conviction that sent him away.  We were saying that a man twice busted for seeking out sex with underage females didn't deserve to be invited into the discussions.  We were slammed for that and told that Ritter was a victim.

Then he got busted under Barack.

And it became much harder to pretend it was a Bully Boy Bush plot against him.

Then he admitted to what he'd done in court and he got convicted and sentenced.

You may happily stand next to him but, if you do, we hope you at least have the good sense to do so without your daughter or your niece beside you.

Cenk never called out Scott Ritter.

To this day, he hasn't called out Scott Ritter.

A pedophile, but Cenk won't call him out.

But a fashion photographer who may or may not have licked an adult woman's ass during a photo session?

That has him outraged.

We don't know what happened and we don't know if that allegation's true or not.

We do know that often, in entertainment, things are done to get a reaction, an expression, a mood.

These things may or may not be right.

One of us (C.I.) once had a director pull her aside and break the news that her father had died.

He hadn't.

The director was trying to manipulate to get an emotion.

The world of art is not the world of retail.

The photographer may be a sleaze or pervert.

He may not be.

All of the charges against him may be true.

None of them may be.

Some of them may be but they may have taken place to get a reaction.

That's not an approach we favor.  One of us (C.I.) walked off the set over the earlier stunt a director pulled.  And, in the world of art, where you're expressing moods and emotions, someone will always try to manipulate.  If you're not comfortable with it, you make it known.  If you think something criminal happened, you file charges.

At present, the photographer is the victim of a whisper campaign.

The Iraqi people?

They're suffering real damage.

It's a shame Cenk couldn't address that.  It's a shame he couldn't do the work required for that.

It's a bigger shame that so many whiners want to make the Iraq War about Americans being denied media attention.

When Nouri al-Maliki bombs another Falluja residential neighborhood, as he's being doing for six months now in spite of international law which defines that as a War Crime, whether or not Gary Hart got booked on Crossfire really isn't an issue.

Can Hillary please stop fleecing the American taxpayer?

Former President Clinton has a new book to push.

Hard Choices --

What's that?

She's not a former president?

She was never elected by the nation?

Then why the f**k are we paying for her book tour?

Kit Daniels (Global Research) reported on Hillary's BookPeople appearance in Austin:

Clinton was at the BookPeople bookstore in Austin to sign copies of her latest book “Hard Choices” and the attendees of the event faced TSA-style security.
Visitors were not allowed to enter the bookstore with bags and before entering the top floor of the building, where Clinton was signing books, they were told to empty their pockets for a wand search.
Several secret service agents and Austin police officers were managing security, and one uniformed Austin SWAT officer was also present.
In addition to the security inside the building, at least one city street was closed off for three blocks.

Why are the US taxpayers footing the bill for Hillary's 'events'?

She's selling a product.

She got over a million dollars as an advance for this badly written (and ghost-written) book.

But the American people are supposed to foot the bill for her Secret Service detail?

When Abraham Lincoln was assassinated, he was a sitting president.

His widow Mary Todd Lincoln struggled.

Five years after the assassination, the Congress voted to award Mary Todd Lincoln a pension.

As for Secret Service protection?  Mary Todd Lincoln didn't get it.

As the Secret Service website notes:

1865 The Secret Service Division was created on July 5, 1865 in Washington, D.C., to suppress counterfeit currency. Chief William P. Wood was sworn in by Secretary of the Treasury Hugh McCulloch.
1867 Secret Service responsibilities were broadened to include "detecting persons perpetrating frauds against the government." This appropriation resulted in investigations into the Ku Klux Klan, non-conforming distillers, smugglers, mail robbers, land frauds, and a number of other infractions against the federal laws.
1870 Secret Service headquarters relocated to New York City.
1874 Secret Service headquarters returned to Washington, D.C.
1875 The first commission book and a new badge were issued to operatives.
1877 Congress passed an Act prohibiting the counterfeiting of any coin, gold or silver bar.
1883 Secret Service was officially acknowledged as a distinct organization within the Treasury Department.
1894 The Secret Service began informal part-time protection of President Cleveland.
1895 Congress passed corrective legislation for the counterfeiting or possession of counterfeit stamps.
1901 Congress informally requested Secret Service Presidential protection following the assassination of President William McKinley.
1902 The Secret Service assumed full-time responsibility for protection of the President. Two operatives were assigned full time to the White House Detail.
1906 Congress passed Sundry Civil Expenses Act for 1907 that provided funds for Presidential protection by the Secret Service.

Secret Service operatives began to investigate the western land frauds. The Service's investigations returned millions of acres of land to the government.
1908 Secret Service began protecting the president-elect. Also, President Roosevelt transferred Secret Service agents to the Department of Justice. They formed the nucleus of what is now the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).

We've come a long way, baby, down the wrong road.

If any president or first lady wants to take a vow of poverty, then maybe the taxpayer should provide them with Secret Service protection.

But when we're talking about cheap, money grubbers?

Oh, hell no.

Currently, Hillary's grubby fingers are hoping to snatch $225,000 for a speech (at a fundraiser!) and her security costs will be paid out of that fee?


Greedy Pig wants to pocket that fee and all similar ones.  Why bother to pay for your own security detail when you can soak the American taxpayers.

It's past time to stop these perks.  They are being abused and they divert needed funds that should go for the general welfare instead to ensuring that greedy pigs like Hillary Clinton can get rich off the back of the American taxpayers.

But who leads?

Where the hell was Beyonce last Wednesday?

We know where she should have been.

At the White House.

Singing Etta James' signature song "At Last."

at last

But because she couldn't get her ass where it belonged, Barack had to dance through the White House with Israeli President Shimon Peres but without music (as pictured above in the photo by Pete Souza).

Reached for comment, Peres praised Barack's dancing abilities noting, "He is a regular Ginger Rogers."

The spanking of a president

You're not supposed to do that
You know you're not allowed to
But you seem to get some kind of kick
Out of doing what you're not allowed to
You deliberately defy the rules
'cause the law's upheld by fools
S**t on that
Bad boys get spanked

-- "Bad Boys Get Spanked," written by Chrissie Hynde, first appears on Pretenders II

Bad boys get spanked, as US President Barack Obama learned the hard way last week.

The Supreme Court pantsed him, pulled him over the lap and gave him a hard spanking before parking him in the corner.


"Obama loses court showdown" proclaimed the front page of USA Today's weekend edition with a report by Richard Wolf.

What happened was Barack attempted to put three people on the National Labor Relations Board that he couldn't get confirmed by the Senate.  He declared the Senate to be in recess and placed the three on the Board as recess appointments.

The Supreme Court begged to differ.  Unanimously, the Court found that the Senate was not in recess and that the appointments were unconstitutional.

It was a resounding defeat for Barack.

He was spotted walking around the White House for days after rubbing his butt and saying, "Ouchie."

Turntable Triumphs

Turntable triumphs is our new series which looks at key albums with lasting impact.

Staring from the cover of 1980's diana was Diana Ross, the Diana Ross Michael Jackson would spend a great deal of money to look like in his initial rounds of plastic surgery.

Motown legend Diana Ross was no stranger to the charts.  Before she ever went solo, she'd already sang lead on 12 number one hits.  Her solo career would bring her six more number ones including one from this album.

The seventies had offered many disco classics but disco was a dying genre when Ross went into the studio with Chic's Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers.  What they came up with was . . . interesting.

Diana would remix the album -- to Edwards and Rogers dismay.

But Diana's remixes would be hits while the other albums the two men produced in 1980 stumbled.

Diana took the groove and made it crisp.  The music was crisp, her vocals were crisp.

It was a new sound.

In fact, it was the sound that would launch the 80s dance music genre.  In different ways, Madonna, Shannon and so many other artists would spend the rest of the decade aping what Diana did with this album.

"Hey everybody!" she hollers on track five.  "I want you to have fun!" And then the music kicks in as "Have Fun Again" kicks off.  "Have Fun Again" is to Diana what "Holiday" is to Madonna, a lighter, bouncier effort that may have no lasting lyrical impact but is infectious as hell.

Then zip down the keyboard for what becomes "My Old Piano."  A slower groove follows with one of Diana's deeper and most sure vocals, "Now That You're Gone."



You're gone.



Grow long.



You're gone.

It's one of the most powerful songs on the album and leads in to "Give Up" ("you're love to me") which makes for four incredible tracks in a row.

And, in the United States, not one of them was a top 100 hit.

They're great tracks.

But two tracks on side one stood out more.

"Upside Down" opens the album and would race up the charts to number one of the pop singles chart.  Also charting, at number five on the pop charts, was "I'm Coming Out."

Sandwiched between the two were "Tenderness" and "Friend To Friend."

It was a tour de force and remains one of Diana's strongest albums as well as one of the best albums of 1980.

The beauty of this album is that it not only contains two monster hits you already know, it's got six more tracks and any of the six could have and should have charted.  Most of all, diana is a turntable triumph.

This is the second article in this series.  We previously noted Carly Simon's Anticipation.

The selfie from across the universe

That's land rover Curiosity took this selfie from Mars.

NASA notes:

NASA’s Mars Curiosity rover will complete a Martian year -- 687 Earth days -- on June 24, having accomplished the mission's main goal of determining whether Mars once offered environmental conditions favorable for microbial life.
One of Curiosity's first major findings after landing on the Red Planet in August 2012 was an ancient riverbed at its landing site. Nearby, at an area known as Yellowknife Bay, the mission met its main goal of determining whether the Martian Gale Crater ever was habitable for simple life forms. The answer, a historic "yes," came from two mudstone slabs that the rover sampled with its drill. Analysis of these samples revealed the site was once a lakebed with mild water, the essential elemental ingredients for life, and a type of chemical energy source used by some microbes on Earth. If Mars had living organisms, this would have been a good home for them. 

This edition's playlist

1) Tori Amos' Unrepentant Geraldines.

2) Diana Ross' The Boss.

3) Afghan Whigs' Black Love.

4) Carly Simon's Coming Around Again.

5) Neil Young's Living With War.

6) Ben Harper's Give Till It's Gone.

7) Free Design's Kites Are Fun.

8) Janis Ian's Folk Is The New Black.

9) Prince's Controversy.

10) Hanni El Khatib's Head in the Dirt.

VETERANS: Murray Delivers Remarks at Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee Meeting

 VETERANS: Murray Delivers Remarks at Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee Meeting


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

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Tuesday, June 24th, 2014                                               (202) 224-2834
VETERANS: Murray Delivers Remarks at Veterans’ Affairs Conference Committee Meeting

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, delivered remarks at the House and Senate Veterans' Affairs Conference Committee Meeting. In her opening statement, Murray called on the conference committee to continue to build on recent bipartisan momentum to address some of the immediate accountability and transparency concerns plaguing the VA, and fix its deep-seated structural and cultural challenges. 

Full text of Senator Murray’s remarks, as prepared for delivery:

“Thank you Mr. Chairman.
“I believe that when it comes to caring for our nation’s heroes, we cannot accept anything less than excellence.
“So while the Department generally offers very high quality health care and does many things as well as, or better than, the private sector—I am very frustrated to be here, once again, talking about these deeply disturbing issues and allegations.
“It’s extremely disappointing that the Department has repeatedly failed to address wait times for health care. 
“GAO and the Inspector General have reported on these problems many times over the years. 
“And last Congress we did a great deal of work around wait times, particularly for mental health care. 
“We learned then that VA has no reliable or accurate way of knowing if they are providing timely access to mental health care.
“I think VA is starting to see that business as usual is not acceptable.
“So I am very glad to be serving on this Conference Committee. 
“Calling for a formal conference is a very rare step in veterans issues, and I think that shows how severe the problems facing VA are, and how serious Members are about fixing them.
“There have been major bipartisan efforts in both the House and the Senate to move legislation addressing these problems. Many of the Members here have been part of those efforts and I commend them all for their commitment to bipartisanship and putting the needs of our veterans first.  
“I want to personally thank Chairman Sanders and Senator McCain for all the work they did over the last few weeks to get us here.
“I appreciated working with you over those weeks and look forward to seeing where we can make compromises in order to pass a bill and begin ensuring veterans get the care they need and deserve. 
“I also want to commend Chairman Sanders and Chairman Miller, for bringing this conference together as it shows how serious the two of you are about getting to the heart of this matter and addressing this critical issue. 
“Working with you two over the past few years, I know how dedicated you are when it comes to taking care of our veterans.
“Now it is vital that we continue to build on that bipartisan momentum to address some of the immediate accountability and transparency concerns plaguing the VA, and to fix its deep-seated structural and cultural challenges. 
“The bills before us have some important provisions that will help address these very complex problems.
“First and foremost, caring for our veterans is a commitment we make as a nation when we go to war.
“Our brave servicemembers have sacrificed so much and we need to make sure their country is there for them when they come home—no matter what it takes.
“I know Members here have a wide range of concerns.
“I hope to work with all of you to address these concerns responsibly and in a way that puts our veterans first and gives the VA the tools they need to address the challenges they face.
“That means building and strengthening the VA system so it delivers the best care over the long term.
So it is important for us to act quickly to start making these changes.
And as more problems are uncovered, and as the investigations proceed, we will need more action from VA, the Administration, and Congress.
Because the government made a promise to the men and women who answered the call of duty—and one of the most important ways we uphold that is by making sure our veterans can access the health care they need and deserve.


Kathryn Robertson
Deputy Press Secretary 
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
154 Russell Senate Office Building
Washington D.C. 20510


RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

No intervention in Iraq (Sara Flounders)

 No intervention in Iraq (Sara Flounders)

This is a repost from Workers World:

No intervention in Iraq

By on June 25, 2014

Washington promotes deadly divisions

Thirty-five years of U.S. subversion, intervention and then direct occupation of Iraq are the primary cause of the violent sectarian divisions now pulling that country apart.

Any further U.S. intervention will have even more disastrous consequences for the population as a whole and the entire region. This may well be Washington’s plan.

Since the Iranian Revolution, the U.S., through Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and other absolute monarchies in the Persian Gulf, has exacerbated religious and national differences in Iraq to destabilize the entire region. It has funded and supported the most extreme sectarian organizations to divide Sunni and Shia Muslim Iraqis and Kurdish and Arab Iraqis. Divide and conquer has been a consistent option through six U.S. presidents, Republicans and Democrats.

President Barack Obama’s announcement on June 19 that he was sending 300 U.S. Army Special Forces into Iraq shows the continued danger to the entire region.

Obama promised there would be no U.S. boots on the ground — ignoring the 1,500 troops already there. He said he was just sending “advisors,” plus additional troops to guard the largest U.S. embassy in the world.

But he added that the U.S. “will be prepared to take targeted and precise military action if and when we conclude that the situation on the ground requires it.” (National Journal, June 19) Six U.S. warships are in the Persian Gulf and 5,000 U.S. soldiers are just across the border in Kuwait. A total of 30,000 U.S. troops are in the region to back up the real possibility of military action.

In a June 18 White House press conference, Obama said the U.S. is acting because “obviously issues like energy and global energy markets continue to be important.” Control over oil is the real reason for decades of divisive U.S. policy.

U.S. role in Iran-Iraq war

In 1979 the repressive and corrupt U.S.-supported Pahlavi monarchy in Iran, which had ruled for 25 years, was overthrown by a popular revolutionary upsurge that the U.S. was powerless to prevent or reverse. It shook the entire region. Wall Street and its client states were deeply concerned for their future as anti-imperialist sentiment swept the Muslim world.

National Security Advisor Zbigniew Brzezinski publicly urged Iraq to use the opportunity to attack Iran and take back the Shatt-al-Arab waterway. This conflict was posed as a Sunni-Shiite struggle.

The U.S. arranged for massive loans to Iraq from client states such as Saudi Arabia and Kuwait. U.S., British, French and German firms collaborated in helping Iraq. Iraq took the bait and attacked Iran.

Before this, ever since the 1959 overthrow of its British-installed monarchy, Iraq had been outside Western imperialist control. With Soviet assistance, it had developed a modern infrastructure, advanced full and free education, a free health care system, and a nationalized oil industry to pay for it all. It was a secular state with a rich mosaic of religious and national cultures.

From 1980 to 1988 the two major powers of the region were tied up in an exhausting and destructive conflict against each other. The U.S. found ways to send arms to both — openly to Iraq and in secret to Iran, as the Iran-Contra scandal confirmed.

The most cynical description of U.S. strategy in this war came from former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger, who said: “I hope they both kill each other” and “Too bad they can’t both lose.” Over 1 million soldiers died in the war.

When both countries were exhausted, they finally reached a ceasefire. Iraq was now tied to the West and the Gulf monarchies through an unpayable debt of $80 billion.

Iraq found itself almost immediately a target of U.S. imperialism. Disarray in the Soviet Union in 1990 whetted the appetite of Wall Street to regain total control over Middle East oil resources.

Suddenly Kuwait demanded immediate repayment of war loans. Through slant drilling, it tapped into Iraqi oil fields. Overproduction of oil created a glut; oil prices dropped so low that Iraq was in crisis.

Iraq’s invasion of Kuwait on Aug. 2, 1990, appeared to have U.S. approval and blessing, as revealed in a taped conversation on July 25 between Saddam Hussein and U.S. Ambassador April Glaspie. But it was a setup. The Pentagon immediately froze Iraqi funds and rammed a resolution imposing an international economic blockade on Iraq through the U.N. Security Council. The Pentagon began a massive military mobilization. The U.S. war on Iraq started Jan. 16, 1991.

‘Desert Storm’

In 42 days of relentless destruction, with a bombing attack once every 30 seconds, U.S. aircraft destroyed 90 percent of Iraq’s power plants and communications. Most damaging was the destruction of the water system. Water pumping stations, storage dams, hydroelectric power stations and sanitation, sewage, drainage and irrigation systems were destroyed. Cluster bombs, napalm and thousands of tons of radioactive and toxic depleted uranium rounds were used.

Iraq’s agriculture — food processing, warehousing, distributing, fertilizer and pesticide facilities — was systematically destroyed. Hospitals, clinics and pharmaceutical factories were targeted. All major cement plants were destroyed, along with Iraq’s oil refineries, pipelines and storage tanks.

At the end of the bombing campaign, then-President George H.W. Bush tried to unleash a sectarian war. Bush called on the Kurdish population in the north and the Shiite Muslim population in the south to overthrow Saddam Hussein’s government.

The U.S. military imposed a no-fly zone on both regions, and a U.S.-protected Kurdish Autonomous Republic was established, dividing Iraq.

Sanctions imposed on all imports and exports from 1990 to 2003 then killed more than 1.5 million people, or 10 times as many as had died in the U.S. bombing. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, asked about the half million Iraqi children who died of starvation and disease due to sanctions, said in a televised interview in 1996: “We think the price is worth it.”

2003 U.S. invasion

But the U.S. ability to enforce the sanctions waned. So in 2003, using the completely fabricated charge that Iraq was producing “weapons of mass destruction,” the Pentagon launched “shock and awe,” a bombing campaign that far exceeded the 1991 destruction.

After the bombing, more than 200,000 U.S. and NATO forces rolled into a destroyed Iraq.
From the first day of occupation, the U.S. promoted Iraqi organizations founded on religion, ethnicity, nationality or sect while outlawing political parties, especially the secular Ba’ath Party.

Sectarianism was brought to Iraq by the U.S. This was a foreign concept for a population that had been religiously and ethnically mixed for hundreds of years.

Under the U.S. occupation every ID card, checkpoint and neighborhood was divided by sect. Funds, resources, food and government positions were allocated by sect. Meanwhile, intelligence networks and thousands of secret operatives carried out horrendous crimes aimed at keeping sectarian fires burning.

As resistance to the brutal U.S. occupation gained momentum across Iraq, sectarian militias were established. U.S. administrators employed the “Salvador option” in Iraq to divide the national resistance.

This was a form of organized mass terror the U.S. used in Central America, especially in El Salvador and Guatemala, against revolutionary movements in the 1980s.

John Negroponte, who had implemented the murderous U.S. policy in Central America, was named ambassador to Iraq. Sectarian death squads were created to divide Iraq along sectarian lines. Kissinger’s formula of “Let them kill each other” became a guiding policy.

U.S. supports religious militias

More recently, Negroponte’s top aide in Iraq, Robert S. Ford, was named U.S. Ambassador to Syria, just two months before the armed insurgency and orchestrated destabilization began there.

The Saudi and Kuwaiti monarchists funded reactionary mercenaries and religiously based militias like the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. Both Turkey and Jordan provided secure bases, while Israel provided medical care and safe havens in the Golan Heights — territory seized from Syria — for this well-funded army. ISIS weapons overwhelmingly came from the Pentagon, but the process of acquisition was covert.

This same sectarianism has been sustained by Prime Minister Nouri Al-Maliki, who came to power in 2006 under the U.S.-led occupation. Maliki’s corruption and repression have earned him hatred throughout Iraq. But the U.S. may be interested in dumping the Maliki government because it made deals with Iran —  much to the frustration of the imperialists who put him in office to serve Wall Street’s interests. Washington is far more concerned about Iran’s growing influence in Iraq than they are about ISIS seizure of cities.

The greatest crime in Washington’s eyes was the Maliki government’s refusal to sign a 2011 agreement that would leave thousands of U.S. troops in place. The sentiment in Iraq against the occupation was so great that even the U.S.-vetted Iraqi Parliament refused to accept this insult. Official U.S. troops had to depart, but covert operatives remained to subvert social cohesion.

Now, as the ISIS militia have captured key cities with little or no resistance from the Iraqi Army, there is growing speculation that the central government may collapse. There is controversy, however, as to whether ISIS or other Iraqi elements — tribal, Baathist — are the major force behind the uprising.

As demonstrated years ago in the Iran-Iraq war, the U.S. is not against arming both sides of a conflict — one side openly, the other through covert operations. At the same time U.S. politicians piously call for peace, unity and reconciliation. This destabilization policy is so well understood that it has a name: “constructive chaos.”

Anti-imperialist unity the only solution

Baghdad still has up to 1 million Kurds. Approximately 20 percent of Basra’s population in southern Iraq is Sunni. Samarra, a mostly Sunni city north of Baghdad, is home to two sacred Shia shrines. Every tribe and town in Iraq contains Sunnis and Shia.

A three-way national breakup of Iraq, so often discussed by U.S. think tanks and policy makers, means continuing chaos and a permanent state of war in which only the oil companies, the arms suppliers and the warlords prevail.

Wall Street has no interest in strong, unified states, whether secular, Sunni or Shia. The imperialists want an all-out Sunni-Shia civil war that would spread and weaken Iraq, Syria and Iran.
Opposing every form of U.S. intervention is the only way forward.

Sara Flounders is co-director of the International Action Center and has contributed to four books on Iraq. She has traveled to Iraq and Syria and helped coordinate major anti-war demonstrations in the U.S.

Articles copyright 1995-2014 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.



Image from Free USMC Sgt Andrew Tahmooressi Facebook pageThe VFW issued the following:


VFW calls for nationwide boycott of Mexican products and travel until Marine is release

WASHINGTON — The Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States is calling for a nationwide boycott of Mexican products and travel until Marine Sgt. Andrew Tahmooressi is released from a Mexican jail.

 “This combat Marine has been languishing away since he was arrested March 31 for allegedly crossing the border accidentally with three personal firearms that were legally registered in the States but not in Mexico,” said VFW National Commander William A. Thien. “It was a mistake, but so is the Mexican government’s reluctance to release him unharmed back to the U.S.”

 As America’s oldest and largest major combat veterans’ organization, the VFW wants to apply economic pressure to the Mexican government because Tahmooressi’s arrest and captivity is mirroring that of former Marine Jon Hammer, who was arrested for carrying an antique shotgun across the border in August 2012, despite having proper American paperwork. He wasn’t released until four months later.

Thien said the VFW tried the politically polite route by twice asking President Obama to contact Mexican President Enrique Pena Nieto, but a phone call specifically about the Marine sergeant never took place. Now that Tahmooressi is approaching his third full month in jail, the VFW national commander said it’s time to take the gloves off.

 "This is about politics, and if my government won’t do anything, then I guess we need to let the power of the purse take over. No products, no travel, a total boycott … then maybe a dialogue will start.”


 This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"Iraq snapshot" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site, C.I. on why we don't call for people to be expelled from the US for their opinions.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "No Worries." -- Isaiah on the never-ending scandals.

"Reflections on today's I.R.S. hearing," "They did not follow the law (IRS scandal)," "Gerald Connolly sobs and whimpers like the lead in a Harlequin Romance" and "'Officer, I didn't throw the gun into the river!' (IRS hearing)"  -- Ruth and C.I. report on two Congressional hearings on the IRS. 

"Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on two Congressional hearings on veterans issues. 

 "Begin Again," "Transformers: Age of Extinction," "Iraq and Pretty Maids All In A Row" and "James Bond news" -- Betty, Stan and Mike go to the movies. 

"Idiot of the week: Ruth Conniff" -- Mike awards the honor.

"It is time to take a stand" -- Marcia calls out the creepy. 

"Fried Rice in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a recipe.

"Barry gets spanked" and "THIS JUST IN! BAD BARRY GETS SPANKED!" -- the S&M antics of the White House. 

 "From His Previously Undisclosed Location"  -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Where the hell is Norman Solomon?" -- Betty's got a question.

"Lois Lerner is a crook" -- Ruth's got an answer.


"Eli Wallach"  -- Kat notes a passing.

"A tip for anti-Hillary writers" -- Betty puts you wise.

"Waste of our tax dollars" -- Elaine not only wrote this excellent post, she brought the issue to this writing edition and we've used the basis for a feature.

"Fake Ass alert" -- Marcia puts out her own BOLA.

"Yea, Charlie!,"  "Waiting for Rangel," and "Charlie Rangel" -- Trina on Charlie Rangel.

"On NPR, only the men decide" -- Ann calls out sexism.

"We do not need spooks on the left" -- Marcia offers perspective.

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