Sunday, September 07, 2014

Truest statement of the week

The primary motivation for the press conference was to repeat the Obama doctrine of enacting regime change against sovereign nations and violating the right of human beings to live without fear of death from the American empire. The president called ISIL “a cancer” not once but twice during the briefing. Of course he neglected to mention that ISIL is the Frankenstein monster created by the United States and NATO interventions which always includes supporting jihadists who inevitably end up turning on their sponsors.

-- Margaret Kimberley, "Liar In A Tan Suit" (Black Agenda Report).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?


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

Editorial: Whose killing civilians in Iraq?

Might this be why Sunnis feel targeted?

Iraqi Spring MC posted the photo of Anas al-Abbasi who was shot dead in Samarra by Nouri al-Maliki's military on Saturday.

That's the same military that the US government, trains, funds and arms.

He's among the many civilians the US government can say they're responsible for 'protecting' them only to end up being killed.

This surprisingly large group is predominately Sunni.

So how does the US backing (and arming) the group killing Sunni civilians help ease tensions?

And with the repeated number of civilians killed on Saturday, might the US government start calling the Iraqi military 'barbaric' with Joe Biden promising to follow them to "the gates of hell"?

Oh, wait.

The chest thumping, the decrying of deaths?

It's only Shi'ite deaths that cause an outcry from the US government.

And that's a fact that's really registered on Arabic social media.

TV: The mob attacks Mindy

Nora Ephron directed many romantic comedy classics.  Ourselves, we're partial to You've Got A D&C and to her script for When Sally Aborted Harry . . .

What's that?

You're not familiar with those films?

That's because they only exist in the minds of raving lunatics Amanda Marcotte, Erin Gloria Ryan and Prachi Gupta.

Of all the useless carping about TV, we think it reached a new low last week, when the four malcontents decided to hop in their BMW (Bitch Moan and Whine) to go after Mindy Kaling and the sitcom she created and stars in The Mindy Project.


Because Mindy granted an interview to Flare magazine's Maureen Halushak who asked about abortion and noted Mindy "has no plans to address the American right's current war on abortion" and quotes Mindy stating, "It would be demeaning to the topic to talk about it in a half-hour sitcom."

As the BMWs pulled up, you would have thought Mindy had advocated for the overturn of Roe v. Wade.

Instead, Mindy was just noting abortion isn't a topic that fits in easily on her show.

Why would it?

Mindy's sitcom is an ode to rom-coms.  We're failing to place a single rom-com that Meg Ryan, Sandra Bullock, Drew Barrymore, Julia Roberts, Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz, Jennifer Aniston or Jennifer Lopez starred in where their character 'met cute' with Hugh Grant, Matthew McConaughey, Hugh Jackman, Ryan Reynolds or Gerard Butler when seeking an abortion.

It doesn't fit the conventions of the genre.

('But Obvious Child!'  That film's ticket sales stand at $3 million -- that makes it a box office bomb.)

The genre conventions?  Those are some basics that all the BMWs overlooked, didn't they?

They want to insist it has to be an issue because Mindy's character is an OB-GYN who's part of an OB-GYN practice.

Do the bitching, moaning and whining malcontents ever watch something before criticizing?

Exactly how many patients on The Mindy Project, which kicks off season three next week, have been the focus of any episode?

We're remembering only one.

A young woman who came in for birth control and ended up staying at Mindy's allowing her to meet (and do the romantic tango with)  the woman's father (played by Tim Daly).

Are they thinking Staci Keanan is going to do a guest spot on a very special episode of The Mindy Project as a woman having an abortion?

We're really worried that Marcotte and company appear to have confused The Mindy Project with Marcus Welby and other medical shows -- not sitcoms -- which focus on medical issues every episode.

If they watched The Mindy Project, they might also grasp its set in NYC which really isn't a hot bed of anti-abortion sentiment.  Before Roe v. Wade, abortion was already legal in NYC.

BMW Prachi wants the world to know that Mindy's wrong, wrong, wrong!  And she provides a host of examples to prove -- or 'prove' it.


Ah, yes, who can forget the rom-com sexiness of a late life Bea Arthur?  Remember when Bea and Burt Reynolds co-starred in a string of romantic comedies in the seventies starting with . . .

Well nothing.  Because Bea Arthur never was a leading lady in romantic films.

Maude had a late life pregnancy.  She had an abortion.  That was a story that worked on her show.

Do the BMWs think it would work on The Mindy Project?

(It wouldn't work, no matter what they think.)

Prachi wants you to know Buffalo Bill dealt with the topic!

No one watched that awful sitcom -- mainly because it wasn't a funny show.

Roseanne!  Prachi rushes there! Shelley Winters' character announced she'd had an abortion!  And, on Sex in the City, Carrie and Samantha said they'd had abortions!

Wait, a statement in passing gets these BMWs excited?

Are they watching for content or are they watching to have their own personal lives validated?

How insecure are these BMWs.

Prachi wants you to know Facts of Life 'tackled' the subject by letting Natalie Green write a story about abortion for the school newspaper.


Hard hitting stuff.

She wants it to be noted that, on Scrubs, two men talked about abortions.  And she tosses out Degrassi High (not a sitcom).

And, most of all, Prachi wants you to know, "Abortion comes up in the second episode of  Girls. The second. episode."


Hey, sad gal, when does the first starring character of color appear on Girls?  The. Never. Episode.

The Mindy Project, by contrast, stars a woman of color.  And features Xosha Roquemore in the main cast as Nurse Tamra.

Prachi would do better than to invoke KKK Grand Dragon Lena Dunham as someone we should all aspire to become.

Prachi further reveals cognitive problems when she types, "If Louis C.K. can pull off an episode about sexual assault, Mindy Kaling can definitely say a thing or two about abortions."

Rape is a crime.

Prachi's likening abortion to a crime?

We're failing to see how such a comparison is either accurate or beneficial to a discussion.

Erin Gloria Ryan fails to help either as she insists at Jezebel:

And a topic's seriousness hasn't dissuaded shows from discussing war (M*A*S*H et al), death, sexual assault (Edith Bunker was sexually assaulted on her 50th birthday on All in the Family), racism, sexism, planetary annihilation (ever seen the finale of Dinosaurs? Literally everybody and everything dies. And that show starred puppets.

Rape, end of the world, etc.

As two pro-choice women, we see abortion as a part of women's health care.

It's amazing that others see it in terms of crime and cataclysmic disasters.  It's even more amazing that these comparisons come from the left and not the right.

Again, we're failing to see how such a comparison is helpful.

Amanda Marcotte's never helpful to any discussion.

That's part of the reason rumors spread, in 2007, that she was John Edwards' cohort, paramour, side dish, whatever you want to call it.  The rumors were false and they may have been a bit sexist.  But it is understandable that people would be confused why any politician would hire Marcotte who has never missed an opportunity to offend large portions of the public.

In addition to the ones where she may have spoken poorly, there are the charges of racism and theft of intellectual property.

She's really discredited herself.

And so have Prachi and Erin as well.

Who gave Lena Dunham a pass?

In season one, she faced real pushback for the Whiteness of her show and she insisted that she would add a main character of color.

Grand Dragon Lena then watched the s**tstorm go away and never brought on a main character of color but did insist to Terry Gross that it was, like, unfair and stuff, to like try to make her write about like non-Whites and all.  So unfair to poor Lena.

So Mindy Kaling isn't interested in doing an abortion storyline on her rom-com sitcom and it's something for a gaggle of malcontents to get pissy over.

But Lena Dunham's now well established racism is something for them to ignore?

We also find it strange that Jezebel, among others, maintained that doing jokes about it would not suggest the subject wasn't taken seriously.

Have they not read the non-stop attacks on Mindy for this joke or that line on the show?

Season two of Mindy's sitcom came the same season that NBC offered not one new show which starred a woman.  Not one.

And a gaggle of malcontents want to attack Mindy and her show?

And why is it that Mindy faces demands because she's a woman?

Men are the leads in most sitcoms.  Why isn't the gaggle squawking about men?

Why hasn't, for example, the gaggle insisted About A Boy -- a show about nothing except casual sex -- tackle  abortion?

Mindy's a comedian.

Her primary job is to be funny.

If she doesn't think she can pull off abortion in a humorous way, that's her right to take a pass.  And it's not the end of the world.

There's no reason for these three malcontents to attack Mindy.  But did you notice something else?

These malcontents will go so far to credit male characters on Scrubs for a line or two about an abortion but won't even note 2 Broke Girls.

It's a special kind of hatred for women that the BMW driving malcontents have -- a special kind of hatred which they repeatedly put out there and did so last week as the world mourned the death of comedy legend and pioneer Joan Rivers.  To the malcontents, the perfect way to honor the death of one woman was to attack another.


Note: Wow Ava and C.I., you sure use 'malcontent' a lot.

We used it in place of so many curse words we would have preferred to use.

Feel free to substitute your own words of choice every time you come across "malcontent" in the above.

From The TESR Test Kitchen

If you didn't get how sexist Marvel has become under Disney (Disney bought Marvel in 2009), check out the tie-in with FLIPZ.

With what?

Yeah, we were in the dark too.  Mike first found these repeatedly in gas stations in Hawaii.

The rest of us had to look a little harder.

FLIPZ is -- excuse us, FLIPZ "are chocolate covered pretzels which "contain Milk, Soy and Wheat products.  They are also all produced on equipment that also processes nuts" and they are also "OU certified Kosher."

You know what X-Men are, right?

In the comics, they are male and female mutants who fight for the innocent.  Before Disney bought Marvel, they were that on the big screen too -- the first three X-Men films required the work of Storm, Jean Grey, Rogue and Kitty Pride.  The X-Men film that was released this year, X-Men: Days Of Future Past, the one FLIPZ has a tie-in with?  The women were glorified extras.

Kitty Pride did nothing but stand next to/over Wolverine the entire movie as she projected him into the past.  This despite that the fact that Kitty went into the past herself when this same plot was used in the comics.

Instead Wolverine goes into the past and finds only men plus evil mutant Mystique (she was in the first three X-Men films but she actually did things in those films).

For the tie-in FLIPZ came up with four flavors: Wolverine White Fudge, Mutant Milk Chocolate, Magneto Dark Chocolate and Mystique Chocolate Mint.  We could not find the Mystique flavor anywhere.  Mike and Elaine tried the Magneto flavor in Hawaii and were "hugely" unimpressed.

"I love dark chocolate," Elaine notes, "and my favorite candy bar in the last five years has consistently been Milky Way Dark.  But the Magneto Dark Chocolate did not mix well with the pretzels and it was kind of weak -- a kind of dark-milk chocolate taste as opposed to a true dark chocolate."

We all tried Mutan Milk Chocolate and Wolverine White Fudge.

Mutant Milk Chocolate?

Avoid at all costs.

At first, Jim, Jess, Dona and Ty thought they'd just gotten a stale batch (shouldn't be possible; FLIPZ asserts their product is good for 10 months after hitting the shelves).  But that was San Francisco.  Did a stale batch also go to Boston?  To Westport?  To Hawaii?  To . . .

Mutant Milk Chocolate blows.  Avoid it.

Wolverine White Fudge?

This is actually excellent.

Not 'by comparison.'

All on its own, this is a great snack.

Yes, we're Wolverine fans but that's not influencing our praise -- any more than the fact that each package features 8 men and only 1 woman is influencing our negative appraisals.

If you get the change, we highly recommend Wolverine White Fudge.

To try to locate it -- or any of the other three flavors -- you can click here.

Jealousy in the work place.

Susan Rice glares as Barack gives his attention to Angela Merkel.  "Why?" an angry Rice asks.  "Why or why isn't that me?"

This edition's playlist

PJ Harvey's Let England Shake

Let England Shake is a poetic ima

1) PJ Harvey's Let England Shake.

2) The Mamas and the Papas' Deliver.

3) Jimi Hendrix's Electric Landlady.

4) Carly Simon's No Secrets.

5) Janis Ian's Best of Janis Ian.

6) Prince's Sign of the Times.

7) Roberta Flack's First Take.

8) Radiohead The King of Limbs.

9) Love's Forever Changes.

10) Jackie DeShannon's Laurel Canyon.

The always helpful Barack

"See," Barack insists, "there were spots on the window pane!  Dude, you got to get people to really clean these things."

From The TESR Test Kitchen

Did Melanie perform?

No one told us there was going to be a festival.

We only learned after the fact, on the boxes of Twinkees, that summer 2014 was actually The Summer of Twinkee Fun.

We sampled the chocolate flavor, the vanilla, the blue raspberry and the banana cream.

The verdict?

They're too bland.

They need  kick to them that makes you want to eat them.  The Twinkees lack a kick leaving a bland squishy substance in your mouth.

The Pentagon — the climate elephant (Sara Flounders)

This is from Workers Word:

The Pentagon — the climate elephant

By on September 4, 2014

There is an elephant in the climate debate that by U.S. demand cannot be discussed or even acknowledged. This agreement to ignore the elephant is now the accepted basis of all international negotiations on climate change.

It is well understood by every possible measurement that the Pentagon, the U.S. military machine, is the world’s biggest institutional consumer of petroleum products and the world’s worst polluter of greenhouse gas emissions and many other toxic pollutants. Yet the Pentagon has a blanket exemption in all international climate agreements.

Ever since the Kyoto Accords or Kyoto Protocol negotiations in 1998, in an effort to gain U.S. compliance, all U.S. military operations worldwide and within the U.S. have been exempt from measurement and from agreements on reduction. The U.S. Congress passed an explicit provision guaranteeing U.S. military exemptions. (Interpress Service, May 20, 1998)

The complete U.S. military exemption from greenhouse gas emissions calculations includes more than 1,000 U.S. bases in more than 130 countries around the world, its 6,000 facilities in the U.S., its aircraft carriers and its jet aircraft. Also excluded are its weapons testing and all multilateral operations such as the giant U.S.-commanded NATO military alliance and Africom, the U.S. military alliance now blanketing Africa. The provision also exempts U.S./U.N.-sanctioned activities of “peacekeeping” and “humanitarian ­relief.”

After gaining this giant concession, the U.S. government still refused to sign the Kyoto Accord, thus sabotaging years of international effort to forge an ­agreement.

The provisions of the Kyoto Protocol nevertheless became the basis of all future proposed international meetings on a climate treaty, including Copenhagen 2009, Cancun 2010, Durban 2011, Doha 2012 and the United Nations upcoming 21st Conference of the Parties on Climate Change meeting in Paris in 2015.

In all past international conferences it was again and again the U.S. government that sabotaged the meetings and refused to be bound by any treaty. The Obama administration on Aug. 27 again confirmed that at the U.N. meeting in New York in September to prepare for the 2015 Paris meeting, only a nonbinding agreement could be put forward.

Role of grassroots activists

Unless the climate activists at the grassroots level challenge this exemption of the U.S. military and begin to focus a laser light on the most dangerous source of global warming and climate change, the movement will become lost in vague generalities, utopian hopes and toothless accords.

The only hope that the mass outpouring in September in New York City will have an impact is if independent voices can begin to consciously challenge the greatest global polluter.

Exposing the horrendous social costs of U.S. militarism must also be part of the challenge. Washington’s military role acts to constantly reinforce at every level the repressive state apparatus.

For decades, and at an accelerated pace since 2001, the military has provided an endless stream of free war equipment to local city and state police, National Guard units and sheriffs’ offices. Youth of oppressed nations within the U.S. become targets of a vastly expanded police state. The fresh images of tanks and armored police in Ferguson, Mo., confirmed for millions the results of this racist policy.

Exposing the devastation of U.S. wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Libya is essential. These U.S. wars have spread hundreds of tons of radioactive waste from depleted uranium missiles. They have contaminated the soil and water of vast regions under U.S. occupation with benzene and trichloroethylene from air base operations and perchlorate, a toxic ingredient in rocket propellant.

More than 1,000 military sites in the U.S. are contaminated with these toxins. Military bases top the Superfund list of contaminated sites. The poorest communities, especially communities of color, are the most severely impacted by this continuing military poisoning.

It is essential to connect the Pentagon exemption from international negotiations to its primary role as the protector and expander of corporate power on a global scale. The most powerful and profitable corporations are the oil and military corporations. These are the other primary polluters.

Pentagon admits climate change

Unlike the right-wing fanatics and climate change deniers in Congress, the Pentagon does not deny the devastating impact that climate change will have on every aspect of life on the planet.

Its own published studies confirm the danger. But the U.S. officer corps is committed to what they call “full spectrum dominance.” So every study of climate change by the military planners is based on evaluating how to take advantage of the future crisis to more firmly entrench U.S. corporate power and protect the irrational capitalist system that has created this crisis that threatens all humanity.

The Pentagon studies are not on plans to deliver emergency aid in the face of climate disasters such as floods, droughts, famines, epidemics, typhoons, tornadoes, hurricanes, ice storms, water shortages and damage to infrastructure. The plans of their war colleges and think tanks are on how to extract political concessions on docking rights and future military access during a besieged country’s hour of greatest emergency need.

For example, the U.S. Department of Defense releases every four years a Quadrennial Defense Review. This is a broad outline of U.S. military strategy. (

The 2014 QDR describes the threat of climate change as “a very serious national security vulnerability.” Similar to the 2010 QDR, it poses the problem of how to maintain global U.S. military hegemony in the face of ever-worsening global climate disruptions.

The military officer caste is focused on maintaining Wall Street rule and capitalist property relations during a crisis. There is concern with preserving the authority of their puppets, allies and collaborators. The report stresses the importance of developing new policies, strategies and plans.

“Climate change poses another significant challenge for the United States and the world at large. As greenhouse gas emissions increase, sea levels are rising, average global temperatures are increasing and severe weather patterns are accelerating.

“The impacts of climate change may increase the frequency, scale and complexity of future missions, including defense support to civil authorities. … The Department’s operational readiness hinges on unimpeded access to land, air and sea training.”

Military and corporate planning is callously focused on how to take advantage of the life-threatening changes.

A most frightening example is the “National Strategy for the Arctic Region.” This White House report opens by praising the Arctic as “an amazing place.” But then quickly defines the need for focusing on strategic priorities to meet the challenges and opportunities ahead.

The essence of the report is that the melting of the polar ice cap and the “new Arctic environment” means “ocean resources are more readily accessible as sea ice diminishes.” This is an opportunity to access the vast untapped oil, gas and mineral resources and increase the flow of fossil fuels. In other words, big profits for Big Oil. (

The Center for Naval Analyses has also prepared ominous reports of U.S. policy in this period of global climate crisis. Eleven retired generals and admirals came together in 2007 to examine the security implications of climate change.

In 2014, this federally funded research and development center produced a study headed by Michael Chertoff, former secretary of Homeland Security, and Leon Panetta, former secretary of Defense, and titled “National Security and the Accelerating Risks of Climate Change.” This report sees climate change as the source of international instability and the greatest threat to the established capitalist order.

This study, once again, is not on how to use the enormous technological ability of the U.S. military machine to provide solutions or emergency assistance. Everything is posed in terms of national security in the face of alleged potential terror threats.

“In Africa, Asia and the Middle East, we are already seeing how the impacts of extreme weather, such as prolonged drought and flooding — and resulting food shortages, desertification, population dislocation and mass migration, and sea level rise — are posing security challenges to these regions’ governments. We see these trends growing and accelerating.

“Climate change acts as a threat multiplier for instability in some of the most volatile regions of the world. … It poses a serious threat to America’s national security.”

The report calls for “improved U.S. combat power” and “assessment of the impact on U.S. military installations worldwide due to rising sea levels and extreme weather events.” (

Based on these reports and on the destructive, self-serving U.S. role in every climate meeting in over 20 years, it is clear that U.S. corporate power and the monstrous military machine it has funded by expropriating more than half the federal budget every year for decades is an enemy of the people of the whole world and a threat to all forms of life on earth. This must become a focus of class-conscious climate activists. This would contribute greatly to an understanding of the source and the real solutions to this global crisis.

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

Israel makes new landgrab in Palestine (Ken Olende)

This is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Israel makes new landgrab in Palestine

Just days after the declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza, Israel has announced a takeover of land in the West Bank. Its leaders are bullish despite losing popularity, writes Ken Olende

Israeli Occupation Forces created an illegal roadblock in the village of Al-Jaba
Protestng against an illegal roadblock placed by Israeli Occupation Forces in the village of Al-Jab'a (Pic: Michael Loadenthal/

Israel announced its biggest landgrab for 30 years last Sunday, with plans to build new settlements on Palestinian land in the West Bank. 

A spokesperson for the Palestinian Authority said, “This decision will lead to more instability.
“This will only inflame the situation after the war in Gaza.”

Even Israel’s staunchest supporters have objected. The US has called it “counterproductive”.
British prime minister David Cameron called it “utterly deplorable.”

But the US and Britain will keep arming Israel.

The landgrab came just days after the declaration of a ceasefire in Gaza after 50 days of Israeli bombing.
It is likely to be a pause in a long war.

Palestinian resistance group Hamas said, “We announce the victory today after achieving our goals.”
Palestinian negotiators said that the blockade of Gaza will be eased to allow humanitarian supplies and building materials for reconstruction in.

They said fishing limits will be extended.

But the agreement is very similar to one that ended a previous Israeli invasion 21 months ago. 

And Israel has denied that it will discuss the airport, terminal or the release of prisoners.

Israel also claimed victory, saying it achieved its aims.

The Israeli government is pleased that negotiations are carried out through Egypt, which is an ally.
Abdel Fattah el-Sisi’s government supported it during the fighting.

Israel’s lack of celebration is marked. The Israeli army lost more troops than it expected—and also lost some international support.

Despite its military strength Israel feels weakened.

As one Palestinian commentator put it, “When the mukawama (resistance) does not lose, it wins.
“When Israel does not win—it loses.”

After the ceasefire Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu slashed the coming year’s government spending by 2 percent to pay for the massacre.

Netanyahu’s opinion poll support has dropped from 63 percent to 38 percent.

Yet he remains bullish. He knows that the Arab regimes failed to offer solidarity with Gaza.

And he predicted that fear of the Islamic State group would push states to “not see Israel as an enemy, but as a potential partner”.

Activists must continue to build solidarity with Gaza.


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.

"Is it their reward or their punishment?" -- most requested highlight of the week.

"Pretenders" and  "Cher and other things" -- Elaine and Kat cover music. 

"Cindy Sheehan and Michael Parenti" -- Mike picks 2 heroes of the week.

"oh, noam, get real" -- amen, Rebecca.

"The Campaign Beings In Earnest" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

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