Sunday, November 16, 2014

Truest statement of the week

Obama was brought forward in 2008 by the media, the trade unions and pseudo-left supporters of the Democratic Party as an agent of “change” and a “transformative” candidate. Obama himself made a series of promises signaling a sharp departure from the policies of George W. Bush, who left office the most hated president in American history.
Not only were none of these pledges carried out; there was never any intention of doing so. His was a campaign of lies, reflecting the arrogant belief within the American ruling class that it can simply fool the American people through a combination of chicanery and slick marketing.
Obama has since presided over the most rapid growth of social inequality in American history, a systematic assault on jobs, wages and social programs, endless and expanding wars, and the strengthening of a police-state apparatus of spying and repression.

-- Joseph Kishore, "The illegitimate US election" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

The Green Party vote in New York no doubt does express in a limited fashion popular dissatisfaction with the two-party system, but the Greens’ platform is a lengthy wish list of reformist, liberal and trade union demands, without any indication of how they might be implemented. In fact, that the Green Party is an upper middle class pressure group on the Democrats is proven by the remarkable fact that neither Obama nor the Democratic Party is criticized or even mentioned by name once in the platform!

-- David Walsh, "The Nation and the International Socialist Organization respond to the 2014 elections" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --


First, 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?

Joseph Kishore gets another truest. 
We believe this is David Walsh's first truest. 
15 deaths.  When I (Jim) read about them at The Common Ills, I thought, "Well this will at least force the so-called peace movement in the US to step up to the plate."  I was wrong.  
Ava and C.I. take on shows that run off viewers. 
Dona and Rebecca both came up with this -- and they hadn't spoken about it to one another -- they just saw the supermarket rags and thought, "There's a story in this."

Short feature.
Ava and C.I. suggested this piece. 
The Iraq War continues. 
Ava and C.I. did not work on this piece.  They might have if they weren't writing their TV commentary.  They have no objections to the piece and hope it brings attention to Anjelica Huston's new book. 

Kurt Cobain performed on Band-Aid's "Do They Know It's Christmas?" in 1984?  Only on Crapapedia. 
Seriously, is he stoned? 
What we listened to while writing this edition.

Senator Patty Murray's press release. 
US House Rep Jeff Miller's press release. 
Repost from Workers World. 
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

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


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

Editorial: How little they care


You probably heard today that the Islamic State executed another American.  (Peter Kassig became the third.)

And we'd gladly make that outrage our main focus if Iraqi deaths were treated as significant news.

But they're not, are they?

Last week, The Common Ills twice noted the deaths of 15 Iraqis.

  • Iraq snapshot

  • 'Improved' Iraq: Civilians killed in air strikes,...

  • Iraqi civilians in fact.

    Their deaths don't appear to have mattered to the western press.

    The same press that is outraged by the death of 1 American today had nothing to say last week when the US-led air bombing campaign over Iraq killed 15 civilians -- including "six women and four children."

    There was no lamenting those deaths on the part of the US press.

    There was no outcry.

    There was no call for accountability.

    The western press didn't even care which nation had bombed and killed the civilians.

    But today?

    Today, they're outraged over one death.

    It's a death that can be used to sell further bombings.

    The 15 deaths?

    They point to how dangerous and deadly the air campaign really is.

    So the press emphasizes 1 death that will sell further war while burying 15 deaths that would call the war into question.


    We're so very sure.

    The US press has always been for sale, right off the shelf, in a box labeled Iraq War Helper.

    TV: The networks cry, "Let them drink piss!"

    In the last ten years, viewer erosion has become acceptable as one show after another starts off huge and quickly caters.  In fact, Fox has built an entire line up around shows with massive viewer erosion.

    You could even argue that Fox not only owns viewer erosion, it's pioneering new ways to accelerate it.

    Take The Following.  The Kevin Bacon melodrama suffered what's now considered normal erosion throughout season one.  But as season two kicked off and viwers were told Claire (Natalie Zea) was dead (had died offscreen), the ratings went south with the ninth episode reaching now just a season low but a series low.

    Episode ten revealed Claire really wasn't dead and the audience began to return but still much below the viewership season one had.

    Last season also saw Family Guy take a turn for the worse in the ratings as well.

    Episode six shocked many as the show killed off the dog in "Life of Brian."  The chatter and attention actually helped the next two episodes without Brian and his return also did well.  But fans responded to the trick (and slap in the face) as the season continued by fleeing in droves.

    The series ended on a season low.  This season, barring The Simpsons' crossover, has also demonstrated a bond was broken with the audience with the stunt of killing off Brian.

    You'd think suits would be paying attention but they clearly aren't because this Let Them Drink Piss approach to viewers is spreading to other networks.

    CBS built their audience around sameness.  If you hate change, chances are you're a loyal CBS viewer.

    So it's all the more surprising that the network's hit Elementary has decided to split up Holmes (Jonny Lee Miller) and Watson (Lucy Liu).  That's the surprise.  The audience reaction hasn't been and Thursday night saw the series hit a season and series low.

    Reality, audiences can take misery.

    They can even enjoy it.

    Years ago, One Life To Live had Judith Light's Karen Wolek pretend to go back into 'the life' and it cut her off from her friends.  The audience response was harsh until several scenes made clear that Victoria Lord (Erika Slezak) was tortured by the decision of her friend Karen and, after Vicki and her boys left, that Karen was tortured by keeping the truth from Vicki.  From that moment on, the audience was on board.

    They were no longer suffering alone as they watched, they knew that the characters they loved were suffering as well.

    If Holmes and Watson are going to be apart, the viewers don't want to see Holmes eagerly replacing Watson.  They want to know that the characters hate the separation as much as they do.

    Why you'd go with that storyline to begin with is a mystery, one more implausible than anything Sherlock Holmes has ever tackled.

    Some have offered that Elementary is down because it's up against ABC's ratings powerhouse How To Get Away With Murder and there may be a little truth to that; however, it's also true that last season saw Elementary go up against ABC's ratings powerhouse Scandal.

    Point being, Elementary isn't losing viewers to How To Get Away With Murder, it's sending them over to the other network.

    And then there's Grimm.

    NBC's supernatural series is in season four and has lost three to four million viewers since the end of season three.

    If you're asking, "How did that happen?" . . . Congratulations, you're stupid enough to work in NBC's executive suite.

    However, you're too smart to work at NBC if you're gnashing your teeth and snarling, "Curses, April!"

    In 1980, ABC launched a silly but successful sitcom entitled Too Close For Comfort.  It was a Three's Company rip-off with Ted Knight playing the Stanley Roper role as he fixated over the actions of his tenants (and daughters) Sarah (Lydia Cornell)  and Jackie (Deborah Van Valkenburgh) and their friend Monroe. The cast was energetic and vibrant and managed to provide a solid half hour of entertainment despite frequently tired scripts. When a show survives on just the appeal of the performers, a network can breathe easy.

    Unless someone knows how to 'fix' the show.

    Fade in on a season two and horror of sexually ambiguous April played by the annoying Deena Freeman.  Was April a man or a woman, straight or lesbian, who knew?  There were some who swore she'd be revealed as a transvestite -- thereby going back to the pilot when Henry (Ted Knight) discovers his deceased tenant Rafkin was a transvestite.

    But everything April did was odd, distracting and annoying.

    She pulled the viewers out of the confection the rest of the cast was spinning by always being too loud and too abrasive.

    Her mannish female was an oddity.  All the more so because no one ever commented on it or acknowledged it.

    Did someone say Truble?

    Near the end of last season, Jacqueline Toboni joined the cast of Grimm playing the most mannish female on NBC since Nancy McKeon's Jo of Facts of Life.

    Truble is as annoying as a Joe Pesci in drag.   She fails to blend in with the other performers and is instead a shark suit in a field of flannel.

    It's bad enough that she's even on the show, this actress who sends audiences fleeing with her mumbling and macho posturing.  But the producers really want to punish the audiences so they've allowed her to have "Grimm powers" (the ability to look at a demon in human form and see them as they really are) while stripping Nick of his "Grimm powers."

    At least half the audience would be overjoyed if Nick (David Giuntoli) was stripped regularly -- of his clothes.  But when you start taking away his power, you're undercutting the character and the reason the audience watches.

    And the ratings reflect that.

    We're seeing another shift in ratings.

    The last ten or so years made it acceptable to keep airing a show that repeatedly lost viewers (call it The 30 Rock Pursuit).  Now there's a move to actively work at sending even more viewers fleeing by taking away the very elements that made anyone want to watch a show in the first place.

    How long before fed up viewers begin storming the executive suites of Burbank?

    What supermarket patrons learn about Barack

    Dolly Parton advises in Steel Magnolias, "It is essential to stay abreast of the latest styles."

    With that in mind, we checked out the political coverage of the tabloids.

    The Globe puts Barack on the cover with "After devastating election disaster OBAMA'S SECRET MENTAL BREAKDOWN."

    "Barack is a broken man," "a D.C. insider" tells the tabloid.

    He's said to be "boozing more to try to ease his pain," "sobbing" at night, and "wandering the White House halls talking to portraits of dead Presidents."

    And the tabloid states that he has declared, "I'll resign before they can impeach me."

    They also declare a jealous Michelle Obama is "convinced her husband's been cheating."

    Even worse, following the election, as Barack "begged" Michelle for help, she snapped, "Man up! You've destroyed my life, too."

    The affairs?

    The National Examiner proclaims on the cover "OBAMA HID GAY LIFESTYLE TO BE PRESIDENT."

    The publication maintains, "If this stuff had leaked out, Obama would be unemployed instead of in the White House."

    The article links Barack in a hot and heavy affair with Larry Sinclair, to the death of choir director Donald Young, notes "Harlem preacher James David Manning" has claimed Barack had a sexual affair with Jeremiah Wright, that Wayne Madsen ("former naval intelligence officer") "claims then-Illinois state Sen. Obama frequented Chicago's Man's Country bathhouse, a well-known hookup place for gays."  They even bring in "Windy City homosexual Kevin DuJan" to insist that Barack "is not bi-sexual -- he's homosexual."

    Even animals flee at the sight of him

    Like most American voters, the  Australian koala bear seems desperate to get away from Barack.

    Political Art is Free Speech

    Katie Yoder at the right-wing Newsbusters wrote about how some veterans were objecting to Creators Syndicate columnist Connie Schultz writing about Dawn Hanson's "Flag of Reproductive Freedom."

    There's a lot of confusion here.

    Hopefully, any veterans objecting were misled by Yoder's nonsense which tried to tie the flag into Veterans Day -- as if the artist or the columnist (or both) were using the flag as some sort of representation of Veterans Day.

    Yoder can be offended by the art all she wants, her reaction is her reaction and she needs to own it.  And art is supposed to provoke a reaction.

    But she tried to trash Schultz by bringing in Veterans Day which really wasn't a point.

    The only way it becomes a point is when whiners start bitching.

    Dawn Hanson did a piece of political art -- pulling the stars from the US flag and replacing them with buttons representing birth control pills.  In Schultz's word, "The first three rows -- weeks one through three -- are white; in the last row -- week four -- the buttons are pink. The days of the week run along the top: SUN, MON, TUE -- you get the idea."

    In fairness to Yoder, Hanson's work is rudimentary and not noted for artistry.

    It is, however, art.  And art  -- especially political art which has a much lower threshold -- is part of free speech, which is guaranteed in the Constitution -- a Constitution any veteran should grasp since he or she took an oath to uphold it.

    Is it good art?

    As political art, it possibly is.

    As art-art?


    It's tacky because it has no depth to it.

    It's a telegram that says everything bluntly.

    The color scheme isn't all that (and don't say the artist was limited -- when you're replacing the stars on the flag, you can replace anything else).

    We're not opposed to art noting reproductive freedom.

    We just don't embrace bad art.

    And, again, that's what we consider the piece hanging in Connie Schultz's home to be: Bad art.

    But it is art and it is an artist engaging in political speech.

    Instead of trying to condemn Connie or the artist Dawn Hanson as unpatriotic, the two should be applauded for engaging in political speech and strengthening democracy by doing so.

    And you can applaud them for that without embracing the work of art itself.

    What the US press ignores, Twitter doesn't


    Jane Fonda's war on women?

    You can learn a lot from a book.

    Take Watch Me, Anjelica Huston's follow up to her earlier memoir A Story Told Lately.

    It's a lively, well written book which contains many interesting stories from the Academy Award winning actress.  In 1996, she also became a rare hyphenate in the entertainment industry: an actress-director.

    There have been many, many actor-directors including: Warren Beatty, Paul Newman, Orson Welles, Sidney Poitier, Rob Reiner, Spike Lee, Clint Eastwood, Peter Berg, Al Pacino, Sean Penn, Jack Nicholson, Ben Affleck, Kenneth Branagh, Bill Paxton, Charlie Chaplin, Billy Bob Thornton, Forest Whitaker, Ed Harris, Gary Sinise, Kevin Spacey, Chris Rock, Emilio Estevez, John Cassavetes, Robert De Niro, Stanley Tucci, Woody Allen, Gene Kelly, Mel Brooks,  Denzel Washington, Albert Brooks, Edward Burns, Vincent Gallo, Kevin Costner,  Tim Robbins, Sylvester Stallone, Robert Duvall, Jon Favreau, Mel Gibson, Dennis Hopper, Ron Howard, Kevin Smith, Robert Redford, Steven Segal, Danny DeVito, and even Anjelica's father John Huston.

    There have been far fewer women, especially in the era of sound films.  From the fifties through the eighties, Ida Lupino, Lee Grant, Dyan Cannon, Elaine May, Barbra Streisand, Penny Marshall and Diane Keaton were largely it.  The early 90s brought Jodie Foster and Betty Thomas to the list.

    In 1996, Anjelica Huston joined the group as the director of Bastard Out of Carolina based on the acclaimed novel by Dorothy Allison.  The film, narrated by Laura Dern and with a first rate cast which included Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dermot Mulroney, Christina Ricci, Jena Malone, Diana Scarwild and Ron Eldard.

    If you thought friend-of-women Jane Fonda would help her, you were wrong.

    The film was financed by Ted Turner's TNT with the intent to air it on his cable network.

    Then, as Anjelica details in her new book, she was informed Turner hated the film and would not air it.

    Had he seen it?


    Anjelica felt hopeful because Turner would be seeing it with his latest arm tomato  Jane Fonda.

    Jane screamed during the rape scene and was no friend to the arts or, for that matter, to women or to Anjelica specifically.

    Poor Jane, the victim of every man, right?

    No, not really.

    When incidents like this spring up, they do more than remind people that Jane was sued for paying male instructors at her workout studio in San Francisco more than she paid the female instructors.

    It reminds people of just how cruel to other women Jane can be -- can be and has been.

    There is the notorious moment when she publicly termed Lillian Hellman "homely" and then pretended to be shocked that the author found the description insulting.  There was last year which found her referring to Academy Award winner Faye Dunaway as a "bitch."  There was 2008 when she called Hillary the c-word (an event Jane denies).

    But mainly, it reminds people that Nancy Dowd wrote the original script for Coming Home and Fonda fired her and hired a man to turn the film into a fairy tale romance.

    Hired a man?

    It reminds people that Jane never hired a female director.

    Not when she was box office in the 70s and early 80s.

    Not when she produced Lakota Woman for TV in the 90s.

    Over and over, when she could have hired a woman to direct, feminist Jane turned to men.

    She didn't even hire many actresses.

    Most people who remember her producing films think of 9 to 5 which she co-starred in with Dolly Parton and Lily Tomlin.  But that was only one movie.

    And she is the actress who insisted that it was so great to do scenes with another actress when she made Julia (she was a hired gun on that film, she didn't produce it).  But after that 1977 film, she didn't act with women as equals except in 9 to 5.  She produced Coming Home and Penelope Milford had a supporting role (it was a much larger role in Nancy Dowd's original script).  That's really it.

    She produced Old Gringo, The China Syndrome and Rollover -- queen bee roles for Jane.  Even Joan Crawford was more willing to share the screen with other women.

    There is On Golden Pond with Katharine Hepburn as a ridiculous closeted, elderly lesbian in a marriage of pretense.  Oh, that's not how the role was written?  Because that is how it was played.  (And Diane Keaton was robbed -- she deserved the Academy Award that year for Shoot The Moon.)

    Jane's fond of saying she's in her third and final act.

    She might need to address the above as part of that final act -- that is if she intends to ever get her act together.

    Of course, if she intended to do that, she'd be speaking out against the continued war on Iraq.

    But she's chosen to be a useless whore for Barack instead.

    Anjelica Huston's addressing a great deal in her new book Watch Me.  In addition to reading the book (which you should), you can also listen to (or read the transcript of) a discussion of the book Diane Rehm had with Anjelica on last week's The Diane Rehm Show (NPR).

    Remember, it's Crapapedia

    Back when this site started in 2005, Ava and C.I.'s pronouncing Wikipedia to actually be "Crapapedia" (and noting its gross sexism) frequently found pushback.

    Years later, e-mails pour in noting how right Ava and C.I. were.

    Reader Bruce T. is the latest and wants to note Wikipedia's entry on the 1987 single "Do They Know It's Christmas?" (Kat wrote about the update yesterday). 

    Bruce steers our attention to this passage in the entry and asks if we can find the problem?


    The original Band Aid ensemble consisted of (in sleeve order):

    Bruce, we all caught it immediately.

    And we're screen snapping it before Wikipedia rushes to fix their nonsense.

    Do you get what Bruce saw?


    Kurt Cobain is in England in 1984?

    Kurt Cobain is still in high school in 1984 in the United States. (He'd drop out in May of 1985.)

    Kurt was born February 20, 1967 -- do the math.

    It's Crapapedia where fan boys write whatever lies they want.  And it's also still highly sexist though not as bad as it was in 2005.

    Why the rumors fly

    Is Barack stoned again?

    This edition's playlist

    animal collective

    1)  Animal Collective's Centipede HZ.

    2) Tina Turner's Private Dancer.

    3) Tori Amos' Night of Hunters.

    4) Prince's Art Official Age.

    5) Melanie's Ever Since You Never Heard of Me.

    6)   Neil Young's Storytone.

    7) Aretha Franklin's Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics.

    8)  Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Gold Songs From The Vault.
    9) Carly Simon's Never Been Gone.

    10) Prince and 3rdeyegirl's Plectrunemlectrum.

    Senator Murray: We have all made a promise to those who have signed up to serve

    Senator Patty Murray

    Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (which she formerly Chaired).  Her office issued the following last week:

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                       CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Tuesday, November 11, 2014                                                               (202) 224-2834

    Murray at Federal Way Veterans Day Ceremony: Let’s Reaffirm the Promise We’ve Made to our Nation’s Heroes

    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Veterans' Affairs Committee, delivered remarks at a Veterans Day event in Federal Way, Washington in which city officials honorarily renamed the downtown corridor "Veterans Way" and erected a 60-foot flagpole to recognize the service and sacrifice of local veterans.

    "So as we raise our great flag here today, and as Federal Way takes this step to rename this street to show deep gratitude and honor to our veterans, let us all join together in reaffirming the promise we’ve made to the men and women who answered the call of duty," said Senator Murray. "And let us recommit to working each and every day, not just on the Eleventh of November, to fulfill that promise, no matter what it takes."

    Senator Murray was joined in speaking at the event by Federal Way Mayor Jim Ferrell, King County Councilman Pete von Reichbauer, Federal Way City Councilman Bob Celski, Rich Garmong of King County Veteran’s Program, and Tom Leonard of Veterans of Foreign Wars.

    Senator Murray’s remarks as prepared:

    "Thank you Mayor Ferrell for that kind introduction. And thank you to the City of Federal Way for inviting me to be part of this most important day of remembrance and reflection.

    "I am so proud to represent a state that is willing to do whatever it takes to support our men and women in uniform, who are also our neighbors, family, and friends. I’m proud to represent this state at what I believe has been really a critical decade in the treatment of our nation’s veterans. It’s a time when our older veterans population are increasingly relying on VA care. But it is also a pivotal point for an entire generation of post 9/11 veterans who after more than a decade of repeated deployments, stress on their family and personal relationships, and coping with the visible and invisible wounds of war, have been facing a challenging transition home. And it’s a challenge that all of us have been tasked with meeting.

    "As you know, it’s no secret that back in the 'other Washington' there are some serious differences when it comes to many of the policies impacting our families most. But one issue that brings this country together—one area that there truly should never be a partisan divide on—is supporting our nation’s heroes.
    It brings us together because the American people understand that we have all made a promise to those who have signed up to serve. And we owe it to them to deliver. It’s a promise I have fought to keep as the daughter of a World War II veteran. A promise I know so many of you have openly embraced.

    "And as we usher in a new Congress next year, it will be more important than ever that we continue working together – across party lines – to put our veterans and their families first because we are nearing the end of a conflict that tested us as a nation, but one that also showed the courage and strength of our veterans. These are the moments that in the past we have responded to well – such as in the era that built the greatest generation. And ones where, sadly, our nation has stumbled.

    "We are at a defining moment in the history of how we treat our veterans. For many of us - particularly those who grew up with the Vietnam War - it’s clear we stand perilously close to repeating some of the same mistakes of the past. But I am working every day to avoid that.

    "The bipartisan VA reforms Congress passed in August are already helping to alleviate the long waits for care at VA hospitals across the country. These reforms, and the changes being made here in the Puget Sound, are important steps toward addressing the many issues we know exist within the VA system -- but they cannot be the final steps. There are still many other serious challenges we must work together to address – both Democrats and Republicans -- on behalf of our nation’s heroes.

    "Twenty-two veterans still take their own lives each day. Thousands of veterans are alone, coping with sexual assault. And while the VA has made commendable progress, it will be an uphill battle as we work to eliminate veterans homelessness and the claims backlog. But like all of you here today, I believe that when it comes to caring for our nation’s heroes, we cannot accept anything less than excellence.

    "So as we raise our great flag here today—and as Federal Way takes this step to rename this street to show deep gratitude and honor to our veterans -- let us all join together in reaffirming the promise we’ve made to the men and women who answered the call of duty. And let us recommit to working each and every day – not just on the Eleventh of November – to fulfill that promise, no matter what it takes. So I am proud to be your partner in that fight in the U.S. Senate. And I am so grateful for the unwavering support this community has provided.

    "So once again, I’d like to thank Mayor Ferrell and the City of Federal Way. I am honored to be here with you today."

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

    Chairman Miller Statement Honoring Veterans Day


    US House Rep Jeff Miller is the Chair of the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following last week:

    Chairman Miller Statement Honoring Veterans Day

    Nov 10, 2014

    Chairman Jeff Miller released the following statement today in honor of Veterans Day 2014:

    “The America we know – the greatest nation in the world – didn’t come without great sacrifice. The long difficult road to where we are today was paved by our men and women in uniform. Their courage and selflessness are a source of pride for all Americans. And while Veterans Day is a special time to honor the many accomplishments of these heroes, it is by no means the only day our veterans deserve recognition. Please join me in taking time to reflect on the sacrifices of our veterans, to personally thank someone who has worn the uniform and to remember that America’s veterans have earned our gratitude and support each and every day of the year.” – Rep. Jeff Miller, Chairman, House Committee on Veterans’ Affairs

    U.S. to double troops in Iraq

    This is from Workers World:

    U.S. to double troops in Iraq

    By on November 16, 2014

    President Barack Obama more than doubled U.S. participation in the new war on Iraq on Nov. 7 by ordering an additional 1,500 “advisers and trainers” be sent there. Washington’s pretext for this expansion is the need to train the Iraqi national army and the Peshmerga in Iraqi Kurdistan to fight against Islamic State fighters.

    On Aug. 8, the Pentagon had begun carrying out bombing runs over Iraq; in September it added Syria as a target. Already, 1,400 U.S. soldiers and officers are in action there, along with whatever private mercenaries the U.S. left behind after officially ending the eight-year-long occupation in 2011.

    Anyone old enough to remember the U.S. war against Vietnam, or interested enough to study its history, will immediately grasp the danger inherent in Obama’s latest step. In December of 1961, 3,200 U.S. military personnel were in South Vietnam as advisers to a puppet dictatorship. By 1969, 550,000 U.S. troops were engaged there.

    On CBS’s “Face the Nation” on Nov. 9, Obama still claimed that U.S. troops wouldn’t be in combat. They’d just be training and advising at camps around Iraq. He said that he will be going to Congress to get approval for $5.6 billion to carry out the military intervention. That amount makes it clear that this is an extensive operation. That’s nine times what the Pentagon says it has spent on the bombing campaign so far.
    Obama also described the Islamic State as a threat not only to Iraq and the region but to the United States. Even if the Obama administration currently wishes to avoid “boots on the ground,” this stance leaves his policy open to criticism and revision from more openly militarist elements in the U.S. ruling class.

    The Pentagon brass have already expressed doubts about the usefulness of bombing alone. Gen. Ray Odierno, U.S. Army chief of staff, told the Nov. 9 New York Times: “The airstrikes are buying us time. They aren’t going to solve the problem by themselves. It’s going to take people on the ground, ground forces. Over time, if that’s not working, then we’re going to have to reassess, and we’ll have to decide whether we think it’s worth putting other forces in there, to include U.S. forces.”

    Sara Flounders, co-director of the International Action Center, told Workers World that “the U.S. policy of exacerbating sectarian differences in Iraq during the eight-year occupation is responsible for the Islamic State’s onslaught in that country. We condemn any U.S. intervention as a threat to all Iraqis and all Syrians and to all U.S. working people and we will fight to again arouse opposition to a new round of expanding the U.S. war.” 

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

    It’s the night of the living Ed as Blairite rebels chicken out (UK Socialist Worker)

    This is from UK Socialist Worker:

    It’s the night of the living Ed as Blairite rebels chicken out

    by Simon Basketter

    Ed Miliband has surrendered to austerity—but will he be forced to give up the leadership?
    Ed Miliband has surrendered to austerity—but will he be forced to give up the leadership? (Pic: The CBI on Flickr)

    David Cameron is on the brink of losing another by-election. He’s lost two MPs to the hard right Ukip and more than 20 think he should step down—but his leadership is not in question.

    Yet Labour Party leader Ed Miliband is the one staring down the barrel of a gun.

    For Miliband, winning the next election should be easy. Most polls continue to show a narrow Labour percentage lead. 

    It would be possible for Labour to win more seats than the Tories without any percentage lead at all. But Labour has been stung by a crisis in Scotland and a disappointing by-election result. 

    Further, two polls have suggested that Labour could lose as many as 30 of its 41 Scottish Westminster seats to the Scottish National Party.

    A YouGov poll showed that Miliband was even less popular than Lib Dem leader Nick Clegg.
    MPs briefed the media while “senior Labour figures”—press code for past or present shadow ministers—twisted the knife a bit.

    The resulting articles were then commented on and spun, leading quickly to a crisis. Various factions blamed each other and denied anything is happening.

    Tragically, none of the criticism of Miliband was coming from the left.

    As the Times newspaper carefully put it, “Miliband was forced yesterday to deny as ‘nonsense’ that his leadership was in crisis.”

    Indeed, “Shadow ministers were forced to deny claims they were plotting against Miliband.”


    There were reports that as many as 20 shadow ministers were prepared to call for Miliband’s departure.

    The fact that former Blairite Alan Johnson is their preferred candidate suggests both a lack of ideas and taste.

    This is a reflection of the root of the problem overall.

    Labour’s entire prospectus for the next government is no more convincing than Miliband.

    Miliband has responded to the internal crisis predictably.

    Allies said he would do more on the economy and immigration.

    A senior Labour source said, “Ed will be out at least twice a week engaging with  the bread-and-butter issues that really matter to voters.”

    Miliband showed how he wanted to connect with people on Monday, by going to the bosses CBI conference to say how much he loved business.

    Shadow home secretary Yvette Cooper, one of Miliband’s allies—or not, depending on the source—attacked the Tories for not cutting immigration.

    Labour has committed itself to austerity and is pandering to racism.

    It has a leader who does nothing to inspire, because he is an entirely accurate representative of the state of the Labour Party.

    We need resistance to austerity and racism—and that will have to come from outside the Labour Party whether led by Miliband or not.


    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.

     "Fear of the Vagina masking as anti-war" -- most requested highlight of the week

    "Intersteller" and  "50 Shades of Embarrssment" and "Dumb and Dumber To" -- Betty, Marcia and Stan on movies.

    "What? Us Diet?" -- Isaiah dips into the archives. 

     "Bruce Springsteen's stupidity," "Stevie Nicks," "Bob Geldof wants to 'help'" and  "prince" -- Kat, Trina and Rebecca cover music.

    "Idiot of the week: The Pig Boys of Media Lens" -- Mike picks the idiot of the week.

  • "War Criminal Barack wants to share tax dollars with War Criminals" -- Elaine calls it out.

  • "Cranberries in the Kitchen," "Gravy in the Kitchen" and "Mashed Potatoes in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers some basics for the holidays. 

  • "The news Janis Ian couldn't (and can't) face:," "A few more thoughts on Janis Ian's meltdown" and "Janis Ian embarrasses herself"  --  Kat takes on Janis Ian:

  • Cedric and Wally wrap up their coverage of Robert Parry:

  • Parry refuses to let go of the crazy
  • Parry did not give birth
  • Parry selects a name


  •  "Gloria Steinem: Tired Bunny" -- Elaine calls it. 

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