Sunday, July 19, 2015

Truest statement of the week

There is almost no press coverage of the many wars that the U.S. now fights and what was left of the antiwar movement crumbled inexplicably during Obama’s first term in office, as the so-called antiwar liberals abandoned ship. No one will publish a writer who questions why inclusiveness in the military may not be the most progressive of stands, especially after the September 2001 attacks against the U.S. Talk about political orthodoxy!

-- Howard Lisnoff, "Left Out Of The Left" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

Sanders is a supporter of American imperialism. Although he boasts that he voted against the Patriot Act and the Iraq War, he has voted for numerous defense spending bills and has supported imperialist interventions under the guise of human rights, including the 1999 NATO bombing of Serbia and the current war against ISIS.
Sanders supported the US-led regime-change operation, spearheaded by neo-Nazis, that overthrew a pro-Russian government in Ukraine and installed a rabidly anti-Russian, right-wing government, which has carried out a bloody war against pro-Russian separatists in the east of the country. The US has used its puppet government in Kiev to carry out a massive US-NATO militarization drive in Eastern Europe, threatening the outbreak of war with nuclear-armed Russia.
Sanders supports this reckless and reactionary policy, portraying it as a defensive response to “Russian aggression.” In a 2014 television interview he declared, “The entire world has got to stand up to Putin.”

-- Tom Hall and Barry Grey, "Is Bernie Sanders a Socialist?" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Yet another Sunday.

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?

One from CounterPunch.
And one from WSWS.

Did you notice how Iraq disappeared at the start of last week?  There may have been a reason.
Ava and C.I. take another look at Hulu.

A long awaited roundtable.
A parody piece based on a remark Dona overheard at Barnes & Noble.
Very interesting -- as Artie Johnson used to say on Laugh-In.
We don't favor a military approach in Iraq either but we do favor serious and honest analysis -- which C.I. offers here.

What we listened to while writing.
Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.
Press release from Senator Johnny Isakson's office.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

That's what we came up with.  See you next week.


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

Editorial: The vanishing Iraq

After the rush when you come back down
You're always disappointed
Nothing seems to keep you high
Drive your bargains
Push your papers
Win your medals
F**k your strangers
Don't it leave you on the empty side
-- "Woman of Heart and Mind," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her For The Roses

And last week certainly began with a rush for the press.

All in a frenzy over an assault on Anbar Province by the Iraqi military.

A few were less likely to join the frenzy and some even offered cautionary notes.

For example, Mitchell Prothero (McClatchy Newspapers) reported:

Iraqi officials have been candid that the brunt of the fighting about to engulf the city will be borne by an umbrella group of Shiite militia groups formed under the supervision of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the elite of Shiite Iran. That’s raised dire concerns from American advisers that these sectarian groups – overtly hostile to both Americans and Sunni Muslims – will break the already deeply frayed relationship between the Shiite government in Baghdad and the Sunni tribes that dominate the large swaths of Iraq currently under the Islamic State’s control.
The government claims that Sunni tribal fighters and local policemen from Anbar will join the militia-led assault. But many remain skeptical that Sunnis have joined in sufficient numbers to avoid the impression of a Shiite pogrom against Sunnis in Fallujah.

But mainly, it was rah-rah-rah.

Then Iraq sort of vanished.

Just disappeared.

Partly due to the Iran deal Barack Obama announced.


The heavily made up president did influence the news cycle . . . to talk about Bill Cosby.

But the press wasn't interested in Iraq.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi made two separate visits to Anbar last week and that didn't generate press.

Nothing did.

As the week ended, the silence began to clarify with David S. Cloud and WJ Hennigan (Los Angeles Times) reportin:

A U.S.-backed military offensive against Islamic State fighters faltered in its first week as several hundred militants entrenched in the provincial capital of Ramadi withstood punishing airstrikes and held off a far-larger force of Iraqi ground troops, senior U.S. and coalition commanders said Saturday. 

With nothing to pimp, so many 'independent' news outlets had nothing to offer.

TV: The continued failure that is Hulu

Back in April, we offered "TV: The rise of Netflix, the fall of Hulu" and a number of e-mails have come in, mostly last week, objecting to our take on the topic.

Reader Bill R. tells us we were flat out wrong, in fact.



We actually have considered that as a TV topic because there's so damn little to cover.

Jim wants us to go over to the chat & chews (public affairs programming) but we're not ready to suffer like that just yet.

We've basically got one more Netflix program we can review and that's it.

So a few weeks back, we did consider a look back at things we were wrong on.

Thing was, we couldn't find it.

Because these are opinions.

But with Bill R. and others insisting poor Hulu (or, rather, Hulu Plus) got a bum rap from us, we'll revisit.

As even Hulu has to now admit, no one watched their 'original' series Deadbeat.  It's currently the 126th most streamed program on Hulu.


And the only place to watch it is?


It's not a hit.

It's not even a modest success.

It is a flat out failure.

But, some of you have insisted, Hulu, since we wrote last April, has acquired The Mindy Project.

That was a smart move.

Currently, it's their 29th most streamed show and, when new episodes air, The Mindy Project regularly not only tops as the most streamed, it brings in additional streamers.

But when, pray tell, does Hulu plan to have new episodes of the series up and streaming?

Or more to the point, in the time since we wrote the April piece,  Netflix has offered full seasons of new programs Daredevil, Grace & Frankie, Sense8, a weekly installment of Between and another season of Orange Is The New Black.

What has Hulu offered?

That it's acquired The Mindy Project.

Hasn't aired anything.

Just flapped its gums.

But the new deal with Showtime, some insist, is ground breaking.

For those who missed it, $8.99 a month will get you streaming rights to Showtime if you're already a Hulu Plus subscriber.

It's also the same deal Showtime's offering to Playstation users, just FYI.

And two dollars more lets Apple users and Roku streamers get it as well.

So, no, it's not an exclusive deal with Hulu.

In terms of original programming, Showtimes has still not caught up with HBO (or, some would argue, even Starz) so it's no big deal there.  What it would do would allow you to see more films.  That would put it ahead of Netflix.

However, you're paying twice the amount of money to have access to Showtime (your Hulu subscription plus $8.99 for Showtime).

And there's more said to be coming.

The word being whispered is that ,come this fall, Hulu will happily charge you even more money for your monthly subscription to Hulu Plus! when they offer you an 'ad free' experience at an extra cost.

They're good at tacking on fees, they're just not very good at creating original programming.

If you're not getting how bad things are, possibly you missed their latest ad campaign?

They're encouraging you to stream their 'new' offerings -- the 60s TV show The Munsters, the 70s TV program Eight Is Enough, etc.

That's how they're trying to entice new comers to stream their sub-standard product.

Crackle, it should be noted, is a free service which has provided original programming -- much more than the sports trivia program.  They've had Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee, Chosen, Cleaners and Sequestered.

You really want to pretend Hulu Plus! -- a fee-based service -- is   really a success story?


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


Jim (Con't): We're going to cover -- or try to -- music, the political races and more.  Ty?

Ty: Multiple e-mails ask, "What's up with no 'A note to our readers'?"

Jim: Lack of time.  We have been really slammed of late.  I will do one this time.  Last weekend, for example, we published Monday morning and Dona said, "Jim, there is no note.  We're tired."

Dona: And we have been.  It's been crazy.  We need to be done at a decent hour.  Remember, at some point on Sunday night, C.I. has to do an Iraq entry.  There was one night when Mike and others had to work here and then go do a Sunday post.

Mike: Which is murder when you're tired.

Jim: So that's what's gone on there.

Ty: Lesley e-mails to say thanks for the playlists but wishes there was more music.  So Elaine, Betty any music news to share?

Elaine: Okay,  Well I love Aretha Franklin's Aretha Sings The Great Diva Classics. I think it's one of her classic albums and that she's on real career resurgence. And if you doubt it, Vintage Vinyl News reports she wowed everyone last night:

Aretha Franklin proved on Saturday night that, at the age of 73, there still may be no one greater.
Franklin wowed the crowd at the Syracuse Jazz Festival with an hour-and-a-half of hits, mostly from her 60's catalog. Out of the twelve songs performed, she did all six of her breakout singles from 1967 (I Never Loved a Man (the Way I Love You), Do Right Woman Do Right Man, Respect, Baby I Love You, (You Make Me Feel Like (A Natural Woman), Chain of Fools).

Elaine (Con't): I really think she has so much more to offer.  And I'm really excited thinking what her follow up to the Diva album will be.

Betty: I'm excited about that as well.  Aretha's a great artist.  She had a string of classics early on which, for me, end with Sparkle.  Then she came back with some strong singles and finally the classic album Who's Zoomin' Who but not another classic one until A Rose Is Still A Rose.  I'm really hopeful there will be another great classic album from her -- the diva album certainly is an Aretha classic.  Ty told us we would be discussing something -- "anything," he said, on music -- so I grabbed someone and Elaine did and it's funny how it worked out because I didn't know she was grabbing Aretha.  I grabbed someone who had a number one hit duet with Aretha, George Michael.  For me, Older and Patience are two classic soul albums and before he did those soulful and solo albums, long before, he was starting out in the British band Wham! with Andrew Ridgeley.  Now there are reports that to mark the 30th anniversary, George and Andrew and back up singers Shirley Holliman and Pepsi DeMacque  -- the two ladies, as Pepsi and Shirley, had two hit singles in 1987: "Heartache" and "Goodbye Stranger."  Wham, of course, had three albums proper and something like 14 worldwide hits including "Careless Whisper," "Everything She Wants" and "Wake Me Up Before You Go-Go."  I'm a huge George Michael solo fan but I am excited by the thought of Wham! doing something to note the anniversary.  Elaine, of Aretha's early run of classic albums on Atlantic, what's your favorite one?

Elaine: That's difficult but I think I would pick either Young, Gifted and Black because of the incredible performances -- including her original songs that she wrote as well as her covers of Elton John and others.  So it would either be that or Hey Now Hey (The Other Side Of The Sky) which, my opinion, is highly underrated.  The album was trashed by many in real time but I still love it.  I love the title track -- which she wrote -- and "So Swell When You're Well" -- which she co-wrote with James Booker, "Master of Eyes (The Deepness of Your Eyes)" which she co-wrote with -- I'm blanking --

C.I. Bernice Hart.

Elaine (Con't): Thank you.  And "Just Right Tonight" which she co-wrote with Quincy Jones.  I love "Angel" which her sister Carolyn co-wrote with Sonny Sanders.  But the greatest song on the album, for me, is the one Aretha wrote entitled "Sister from Texas."  In terms of George Michael, Older is my favorite of his albums.

Ty: Alright, thank you both.  Eric e-mailed to complain that Kat had only written 3 album reviews this year "and August is staring down at us."  Kat?

Kat: I have two that went up today.  In addition, I had two that were not listed at my site because I hadn't put on my permalinks.  Here's what I have:

  • Kat's Reviews listed below
  • Rickie Lee Jones The Other Side of Desire
  • Wilco's Star Wars
  • Steve Grand
  • Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power In The Blood
  • Carly Simon The Bedroom Tapes
  • Ringo Starr Postcards from Paradise

  • DNR order on Madonna's Rebel Heart

  • Kat (Con't): So that's seven, not three.  And thank you to C.I. who went in today and put the two new ones and the two old ones into my links.  I would love to write more reviews.  But it is a time issue primarily.  In addition, it's does the album speak to me?  If I love an album, I can write about it.  If I hate it intensely, I can write about it but only do so if I feel like I need to do a review because I haven't done one in a while.  Then there's the albums that I'm like -- eh.  Neil Young.  I love Neil.  I listened to the new album that came out  a few weeks ago thinking I would review it.  I found it only "okay" for my tastes.  I was also troubled by the attack on Wal-Mart.  First off, they are doing better now than some big stores -- in terms of paying employees and healthcare.  Second of all, why be a f**king idiot?  I thought Sheryl Crow was an idiot in the 90s when she had her war with Wal-Mart.  All it did was slow down her career.  Wal-Mart refused to carry her second album and her career really never recovered.  That was in the 90s.  Today, Wal-Mart is one of the largest sellers of music.  James Taylor's hideous new album only hit the top of the charts because of Wal-Mart -- and many stores had displays of the album.  Neil Young's attack on Wal-Mart means his new CD will not be available at Wal-Mart though many of his fans shop there.  If the weak-ass James Taylor could hit number one, Neil Young could have hit it and stayed there if he'd been at Wal-Mart.  I love Neil.  I'm glad he's political but this was a stupid battle and, again, Wal-Mart today has made efforts.  But whether it had or not, Neil has fans who shop there and he ensured that they wouldn't know he had a new album out.

    Donna: Thank you, Kat.  On politics, Evan e-mailed outraged that we didn't support Jill Stein, Lucille is angry that we're not supporting Bernie Sanders and Trish feels we've been too harsh on Hillary Clinton.

    Jim: And note that none of these people bothered to do anything except write these single sentence e-mails.  We've noted before, if you're supporting someone, write up why you're supporting them and e-mail us and we'll put your endorsement up here.  So, Trish, for example, argue why you're supporting Hillary and it can go up here.  You might influence or sway others.

    Jess: Jill Stein is a hideous candidate.  As Ava and C.I. noted in November 2012's "Let The Fun Begin," they did not slam the ridiculous Jill Stein in their 2012 coverage and that was partly because I asked them not to.  My argument was that she was worthless but she was on the ballot and we, the Green Party, need ballot access.  For that reason, they held their tongues.  They also noted in that 2012 piece that there would be no pass in 2016 for anyone.  Not only does there not need to be a pass but the Green Party does not need Jill Stein making a public embarrassment of herself -- and therefore the party -- in 2016.  She was a lousy candidate, she remains one.  She has no proposals, she has no ideas, she's already fawned over Bernie Sanders.  If the bitch wants to f**k Bernie, have at it.  But she can't run against him because she's a cheap ass whore who refuses to draw a line between herself and other candidates.

    Ann: And talk about White entitlement.  People have rightly criticized Hillary for thinking she's entitled to the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and noting that it's less like a primary race and more like a coronation.  Well what the hell is Jill Stein but White entitlement?  She was lousy in 2012 and now she's acting like she's the nominee.  She's a worthless piece of trash.  In 2006, our party -- the Green Party -- took a pledge to never support a candidate who didn't call for all US troops out of Iraq.  Yet in her announcement speech this year, she didn't even note Iraq.  Nor has Ms. Entitled come out since and demanded all US troops leave Iraq.  She's a liar, she's a fake ass and as a woman of color I am damn sick of White people who insult us and, yes, her acceptance speech was insulting to people of color.

    Rebecca: On Jill, her raving over Bernie Fake Ass Sanders failed to note Bernie's War Hawk ways or his failure to support the Palestinian people.  And unless I'm missing something -- I'm not a Green -- I thought Palestinian statehood was a major position for the Green Party.

    Jess: It is.  But Jill Stein isn't interested in promoting the Green Party and our positions.  She's just a self-promoter who did a lousy job in 2012 and wants attention.

    Ann: Not just in 2012.  She was part of that ridiculous 'shadow government,' remember?  They were going to hold the administration accountable.  But they never did.  They're just cheap whores for the Democratic Party.  In 2008, Cynthia McKinney ran on real positions.  That is not the case with Jill Stein.  She's not worthy of the nomination and she doesn't run on the beliefs that our party is supposed to stand for.

    Stan: And just to clarify a point, Jill does attack.  In 2012, she made it her goal to attack Mitt Romney so that she could scare up votes for Barack Obama.  In 2015, she's fawning over Bernie Sanders while attacking Hillary Clinton.

    C.I.: Stan, you're done?

    Stan: Yeah.

    C.I.: Okay, I need to jump in for a second here.  The media lies.  That includes whores like Amy Goodman who's devoted how much attention to Jill Stein?  Jill is not the Green Party presidential candidate for 2016 and who is won't be decided until 2016.  Most importantly, Kent Mesplay and Bill Kreml are running for the nomination and Darryl Cherney is considering it.  Point: The Goody Whore has failed to provide Kent or Bill -- two declared candidates -- time on her hideous program.  She has promoted Jill Stein as the Hillary of the Green Party, the anointed one who will be the candidate.  That is not reality and that is not journalism.  We don't accept from the mainstream we shouldn't accept from Amy Goodman's whorish beggar media.

    Ava: And for the record, Jill announced in June.  Kent and Bill who are not getting coverage from whores like Amy Goodman or so-called Green bloggers?  Kent announced in January that he was seeking the nomination and Bill announced in May.  But Goody Whore left them out while fawning over the ridiculous Jill Stein.  Democracy Now?  No, Amy Whore, democracy when?  She's such a whore.

    C.I.: And though Kent declared in January, Goody Whore has not noted him once this year -- and only noted him twice in 2008 when he was seeking the nomination -- and she's never noted Bill.

    Ruth: Okay, I am sorry, I had no idea.  I bet many people do not know there are two other declared candidates running for the Green Party nomination.  I want the Iraq snapshot on Monday to lead with that, please.  I try to stay up to date and I had not heard of that and I am sure many others are also unaware of it.  I also think this is further evidence that it is time Amy Goodman packed it in.  She is not a journalist, she is not fair, and we all know she is not accurate.  Maybe she and her buddy CIA contractor Juan Cole can find a way to get the CIA to fund them in their own morning program -- if the CIA is not already funding Ms. Goodman, that is.

    Jim: Alright.  Marcia's "Racist Bernie Sanders" and Cedric's "Bernie Sanders misses 'the good old days'" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! BERNIE SANDERS ASKS THAT YOU KNOW YOUR PLACE!" address Senator Bernie Sanders' Saturday appearance at Netroots Nation.  In discussions, both Sanders and former Governor Martin O'Malley used the phrase "all lives matter" which angered a vocal segment in attendance who insist the phrase that must be used is "Black lives matter."  O'Mally isn't our focus here because, as Marcia notes, he's already addressed the issue.  And did so in an appropriate forum.  Such is not the case for Bernie.  Marcia, Cedric and Wally, you're up.

    Marcia: Bernie Sanders is a fake ass.  He's this year's Dennis Kucinich.  He's supposed to stand for something but, if you paid attention, all he's stood for is xenophobia -- his employment 'concerns' are always expressed in xenophobic terms.  He has no history of working with people of color.  He's an elderly White man that a lot of White people have glommed onto.  And it happens every time.

    Cedric: I'll start by agreeing with Marcia.  These Daily Kossak Kooks and DC blogger on Corrente never ask themselves, "Is this candidate someone who works on issues effecting people of color or not?"  They just rush to high five and head butt with the White man.  And when you point that out, you're raining on their parade.  I'm not asking that he 'cater' to those of us who are people of color.  I am saying that in a decades long membership in Congress -- first in the House, then in the Senate -- he should have something in his record that shows he's worked on issues that effect communities of color but he doesn't.

    Wally: And when he's confronted by what some see as racial insensitivity or racial blindness or racism, he runs.  He just dodges the issue and runs.

    Trina: If I can jump in --

    Jim: That would be great because we're running out of time and you haven't spoken nor has Isaiah.

    Trina: Okay.  Well this is just like the rape issue.  He wrote a hideous piece of writing endorsing rape -- that's what it did, stop lying -- and he wants to say it was years ago and it was like 50 Shades of Grey and, I don't give a damn.  You endorsed rape.  You need to publicly reject your writing and your previous stance.  That is not asking too much.  You made a point to endorse it and when that endorsement surfaced you acted like people were being picky for objecting to your endorsement.

    Isaiah: He takes no responsibility.  Bernie's a fake ass.  He's got to exit quickly because if he ever faces real and serious questions, the whole myth of Bernie dissolves in the wind.

    Jim: And on that, we're going to have to end.  This is a rush transcript.

    Reactions to Go Set A Watchman

    Harper Lee's long awaited follow up to To Kill A Mockingbird has been released.

    harper lee

    Go Set A Watchman.

    Random reactions include . . . .

    I thought Scout was going to take a belt to Henry's ass, be like a female Christian Grey.  I am so disappointed that all I got was a semi-ribald marriage proposal.

    Wait, where are the zombies?  50 years to do a sequel and there's no zombies or vampires?  I think she's lost touch with the market.

    I got to the last page and no mockingbird had come back to life.  Why even bother with a sequel if the wrongs aren't going to be righted?

    Tweet of the week

  • This edition's playlist



    1) Rickie Lee Jones' The Other Side of Desire.

    2)  Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

    3) Steve Grand's All American Boy.

    4) George Michael's Faith.

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

    6) Carly Simon's Letters Never Sent.

    7) Prince's Art Official Age.

    8)  Sam Smith's The Lonely Hour.

    9) Diana Ross' diana.

    10) Pink Floyd's The Wall.

    Barack's toothpaste tube approach to Iraq

    This is from C.I.'s Saturday Iraq snapshot:


    Scott Neuman (NPR) notes the Diyala Province bombing has left "at least 11 people" dead and that "Susannah George, reporting for NPR from Iraq, says amateur video shows dazed civilians wandering through destroyed streets and buildings."  Qassim Abdul-Zahra (AP) points out that this is "one of the deadliest single attacks in the country in the past decade."

    What's going on?

    All that happened when the assault began on Anbar is the violence spread elsewhere.  Consider Falluja the middle of a tube of tooth paste.  Nouri putting the thumb in the middle of the tube did not make the toothpaste disappear, it only made it increase in opposite ends.

    You probably think I wrote that today or this week when the (latest) assault on Anbar began.


    That's from February 21, 2014.

    When is anyone going to wake the hell up?

    I am not the smartest person in the room and never will be.

    This week the so-called Center for American Progress offered more useless garbage about Iraq and trying to defend Barack.

    There's no defense.

    There is experience and there is knowledge.

    We have explained the toothpaste metaphor over.  I believe the most recent time was April 25th.  Equally true, Gen Martin Dempsey picked it up and used it when testifying before Congress this month.

    When he did, I thought about including it here.  But then I thought, "Am I patting myself on the back?"  So we avoided it here.

    We can't avoid it anymore.

    The United States needs to start paying attention and stop whoring.

    Whoring for Bully Boy Bush didn't help Iraq.

    Whoring for Barack Obama doesn't help Iraq.

    Take your mouth off the cock of which ever of the two men you're in love with and worship and stop your whoring.

    (Although some, like Andrew Sullivan, managed to worship and whore for both men.)

    If you want a military approach to Iraq -- I do not -- you need to grasp that Barack and Haider al-Abadi's strategy or 'strategy' or plan or 'plan' is doomed.

    It does not work.

    Even by military standards it will not work.

    If you want a military approach to Iraq's political crises, then what you want is not 'degrade and destroy' -- which are two bulls**t terms used to trick the American people -- many of whom want to be tricked, let's be honest.

    The two terms are "clear and hold."

    That's the military strategy that needs to be carried out in Iraq.

    You do not defeat (militarily) an 'enemy' in an area by jumping here (Tikrit) and then there (Ramadi) and then many miles over there and then many miles over here.

    If you're trying to defeat an enemy in the borders of country, a state, a province, whatever, you are doing clear and hold.

    You are starting from point X and you are methodically working to the next point.

    So if we're in California, for example, we don't clear Los Angeles and then jump tons of miles over to Monterey.

    If you made Los Angeles your starting point, you would immediately send  troops into Ventura and Kern and Orange and San Bernadino because each of those counties border Los Angeles (while keeping forces in Los Angels county to ensure that it is 'held').

    You would take Los Angeles county and then grab the immediate surroundings ones -- this is clear and hold.

    Once you had secured those counties, you would continue to work outwards.

    When you instead, grab Los Angeles county and then jump miles and miles and miles to the north to grab San Francisco, you accomplish nothing.  Between the two you have San Mateo, Santa Cruz, Monterey, San Benito, Merced, Santa Barbara, San Luis Obispo, etc., etc.

    So if you retake Los Angeles and then jump to San Francisco, all those areas between the two?  That's where the 'enemy' will flood to.

    That's the point of the toothpaste analogy.  You're just pressing on one point of the tube and the toothpaste is just spreading elsewhere in the tube.

    (To be successful, you would need to work from the closed end of the toothpaste tube all the way across -- squeezing all the toothpaste out as you do -- to the nozzle.)

    This is not working militarily -- the current approach in Iraq -- and it will never work.  You can't do Tikrit in northern Iraq and then jump down to Ramadi.

    Clear and hold.

    That's basically door to door.

    And once you clear one area, you need to hold it.

    And you send additional forces into the bordering area and clear and hold that.  And you do that over and over, working through the country.

    That's the only way the approach works from a military stand point.

    From a military stand point, the current effort (whatever you want to call it -- plan, strategy, whatever) is a failure and will continue to be a failure.

    I don't support a military approach to the problems.  Maybe other Americans will.  That's fine, it's a democracy.  If they do support it, I'll still be a voice opposed to it (that's also democracy).

    But if you're going to do a military approach, you need to do one that could accomplish something and not one -- the one Barack and Haider al-Abadi are ordering -- that will never accomplish anything.

    Jumping from Tikrit to Ramadi just means the Islamic State moves all over in all directions.

    You're not 'herding' them by doing a clear and hold.

    You're allowing them to set up multiple bases wherever they want.

    The current approach is not methodical and it's insane from a military stand point.

    (And, yes, the Pentagon knows that.  That's why they don't like the approach.)

    This edition's playlist


    1) Rickie Lee Jones' The Other Side of Desire.

    2) George Michael's Older.

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

    4)  Sam Smith's The Lonely Hour.

    5) Diana Ross' The Force Behind The Power.

    6) Chrissie Hynde's Stockholm.

    7) George Michael's Faith.

    8) Carly Simon's Have You Seen Me Lately?

    9) Rickie Lee Jones' Pirates.

    10)  Ben Harper's White Lies For Dark Times.

    Ant-Man—astonishing tale to banish superhero fatigue

    This is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

    Ant-Man—astonishing tale to banish superhero fatigue

    by Sasha Simic

    Ant-Mans first appearance in 1962
    Ant-Man's first appearance in 1962

    The latest Marvel comic book superhero to get their own film is actually one of the company’s oldest characters.

    Ant-Man made his first appearance in the Tales to Astonish comic in September 1962.

    He was scientist Hank Pym, who’d invented a chemical that allowed him to shrink to the size of an ant.

    This film is one of Marvel’s best, despite the character’s erratic history in print. The company always had trouble making this power interesting.

    When it launched the Avengers superhero comic he was one of the original team—alongside the Hulk, Iron Man and Thor. The enormously succesful film series has so far not felt the need to include him.

    The character underwent numerous revamps. He stopped being small and became Giant Man in 1963, before long changing his name to Goliath.

    He shrunk again to become Yellow Jacket in 1968 and finally reverted to Ant-Man in 1973. Six years later Pym retired and Scott Lang became Ant-Man.


    In the film Scott Lang (Paul Rudd) is a convicted burglar who redeems himself when he’s chosen by Hank Pym (Michael Douglas), the original Ant-Man, to replace him.

    They team up to stop evil corporate Boss Darren Cross (Corey Stoll) from selling Pym’s shrinking technology to the military.

    The film manages to integrate over 50 years of comicbook continuity into a film that’s fun without being disparaging to the source material.

    There’s a nice understated class dimension to the plot.

    Scott’s friends from his prison days help him fight big business and a bumbling police force. Michael Pena as Luis, one of his friends, steals every scene he’s in.

    The script is funny and the special effects are—very—special with nods to classic science fiction films The Incredible Shrinking Man and Fantastic Voyage.

    The sequence where the tiny Ant-Man and supervillain Yellow Jacket fight on a toy railway track is brilliant.

    Don’t let “superhero fatigue” stop you seeing this film—tales to astonish indeed.

    Directed by Peyton Reed
    Marvel Studios 
    Out now

    Isakson Discusses Iran Deal on PBS NewsHour

    Senator Johnny Isakson is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following:

    Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
    Thursday, July 16, 2015
    Marie Gordon, 770-661-0999
    ICYMI: Isakson Discusses Iran Deal on PBS NewsHour
    ‘A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to me; A nuclear proliferation race in the Middle East is unacceptable to me’
    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., joined Judy Woodruff on PBS NewsHour yesterday to discuss the agreement reached in nuclear negotiations with Iran.
    In the interview, Isakson, a member of a Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, expressed his strong concerns over the proposed deal, which progressively relieves sanctions and pressure on Iran over the next 15 years.
    “A nuclear-armed Iran is unacceptable to me. A nuclear proliferation race in the Middle East is unacceptable to me,” said Isakson. “And if we're making it easier for either one of those two things to happen, I am very reluctant to be supportive.”
    “The fact that bothers me on this is how much we have given up of the sanctions at the beginning, how much we have given up in terms of our leverage and how little record there is of trustworthiness on the part of the Iranian government,” Isakson continued.
                Click here to watch the full interview. 
    Description: Description: cid:image001.gif@01CB9C61.36E8FA70
    Press Secretary
    131 Russell Senate Office Building | Washington, DC 20510
    phone: 202.224.3643 | fax: 202.228.0724
    Visit Johnny’s website to learn more about his work in the Senate and to sign up for his newsletter.


    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.

    "Barry O's Favorite Topic" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

    "Racist Bernie Sanders," "Bernie Sanders misses 'the good old days'" and "THIS JUST IN! BERNIE SANDERS ASKS THAT YOU KNOW YOUR PLACE!" -- Marcia, Cedric and Wally take on Bernie Sanders' implosion at Netroot Nation.

    "Ant-Man -- small stuff for small minds" -- Stan goes to the movies.

    "Music and books" -- Elaine covers two topics.

    "The Rosenbergs" -- Ruth goes historical.

    "Pluto" -- Betty goes all science. 

     "Bitch, I ain't Madonna" -- Ann notes the ridiculous.

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    This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
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