Tuesday, December 08, 2015

Truest statement of the week

so when we say we are going to set conditions on our aid, when we say we are going to set conditions on our military presence, do we really mean that?  Is that a viable threat?  Will we really walk away from Iraq if the government there doesn't meet those conditions?  And I think that's an important question because if, in fact, we will not, then I wonder what the motivation is there for the Iraqi government to take the very important and very difficult steps to integrate these other minorities -- whether they be Kurds, whether they be Sunnis -- into a functioning government -- decentralized or otherwise?

-- US House Rep. Beto O'Rourke, Tuesday at the US House Armed Services Committee hearing.

Truest statement of the week II

The administration often talks about the 65 countries that are participating in the coalition against ISIL but roughly 50 of them have never been directly involved in the air campaign.

-- US House Rep. Niki Tsongas at Tuesday's House Armed Services Committee hearing.

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Monday?

Try basically Tuesday.

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?

We rarely go with politicians for truests but Beto O'Rourke earned it.
As did Niki Tsongas.
Slimey 'independent' media betrays Iraq yet again.
Doubt it?  Be sure to read Ava and C.I.'s report chronicling the embarrasment of illnesses that is Pacifica Radio.  Ava and C.I. actually wrote a piece Sunday on NBC's airing of THE WIZ.  There were two paragraphs in it that I (Jim) wanted them to develop (after something C.I. wrote at The Common Ills clarified something for me).  They trashed their original piece and wrote this quickly.
Dona does a roundtable with those who attended last week's House Armed Services Committee hearing.
Ava and C.I. review Carly Simon's new memoir.

As embarrassing as Pacifica was last week, there was one bright spot: SOJOURNER TRUTH WITH MARGARET PRESCOD.
A question worth asking.
Repost of C.I.'s 'independent' media critique from last week.

Congrats to RT on ten years and on a damn funny (and pointed) video.
What we listened to while watching.
Transcript of Barack Obama's Sunday speech.
Mike and the gang did this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: They'll take your money, they just won't work

Fortune Cookie

You don't need a fortune cookie to tell you Independent or 'Independent' media is failing on Iraq.

In their rush to make every day about slavish devotion to Barack Obama, so-called left outlets have tossed Iraq aside.

Ignoring the ongoing war has had a clear effect:  Those opposed to the war are dwindling in number.

There is now support for ground troops in Iraq -- US troops -- in combat.


Because the voices against it are not being heard.

In an effort to further whore for Barack, THE NATION, DEMOCRACY NOW!, THE PROGRESSIVE and a multitude of others -- even supposed peace activists like CODESTINK -- are staying quiet.

They're silent to protect Barack.

Apparently, he's far more important than the people of Iraq.

Or the principles of peace.

Or standing against perpetual war.

Independent media has made their choice.

You should remember that when they're begging you for more of your hard earned cash so that they can continue to do nothing but whore for the powerful while refusing to stand against endless war.

Media: You Better Sit Down Kids

For weeks now, Pacifica Radio's been on a mad, self-righteous and ultimately self-defeating tear.

A rash of shootings across the country led various talk show hosts -- some who masquerade as journalists -- to load their verbal guns and go hunting.

The obvious choice for a target was, of course, the Republican Party.

a radio 

Pacifica has, after all, spent the bulk of Barack Obama's two terms as president pretending everything is the fault of the Republicans.  What THE SIMPSONS played for fun ("Days of Future Future), Pacifa Radio treats as 'reality;'

Bart: Isn't your mom eighty-seven?

Nelson: With Social Security a thing of the past, she can't afford to retire.

Bart: I don't know how that happened in a Senate with 99 Democrats.

Nelson: That one Republican is great at getting his way!

Worse than their never ending whoring for the Democratic Party was the efforts to blame the violence on free speech.

For those who don't know, Pacifica Radio was created, by Lew Hill, to be the home of free speech.

So it was really something to hear the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooting blamed on speech -- and to hear it from Pacifica Radio.

The worst?  A difficult call, yes, but we'd go with the Monday, November 30th broadcast of WBAI EVENING NEWS hosted by Linda Perry.  (Perry-Barr?  She bills herself as "Perry" on air these days.)

Shameful and disgusting, Perry wanted to use terms like "morality."

We always cringe when that words tossed around to justify positions being fully familiar that the victims of the "morality" argument has historically been lesbians and gays, all women, all people of color, the challenged and the poor.

"Morality" arguments have (a) prolonged slavery, (b) justified sterilization, (c) justified imprisonment and institutionalization.

"Society needs to find its moral center," Linda Perry insisted a woman said before playing the woman speaking -- the woman who never said "society needs to find its moral center."

We have no problem making ethical arguments but we're fully aware that those who huff with puffed out chests about "morality" are usually very, very stupid and unable to make an argument any other way.

Linda Perry certainly lived up to that as did the guests she featured who couldn't seem to decide whether the issue was a shooting, abortion rights or racism.

"Keep your guns away from women's health!"

That would have been a great slogan.

Especially compared to the crap a tiny group of protesters offered.  ("Women are not incubators! Fetuses are not babies!")

Sunsara Taylor was quoted and she was all over the map and (". . . police murder and terror, it's all one attack, the attacks coming down on Black people . . .") and may have been responsible for the chants.

If she was, here's a clue.

If there's a shooting, you don't use that to argue abortion.

Why argue it?

It's legal.

Why go to a defensive posture?

Instead argue that this is an attack on women's health.

"Before ROE V WADE, I had an illegal abortion," insisted one woman on air.

Who the hell cares?

Stop turning this into an abortion issue when it's a women's health issue.

Isn't Planned Parenthood's role more than abortion.

But isn't Cecile Richards the president of Planned Parenthood?

Someone inform Linda Perry who referred to her on air as "Cecile Roberts."

At least Perry noted that Planned Parenthood was providing fetal tissue for research.

That's more than COUNTERSPIN could do.

Speaking with Jodi Jacobson on Friday's broadcast, host Janine Jackson ignored that reality as she and her guest insisted that the tapes from right-wing activists were not true, were illegal, were this and were that.

But they ignored the fetal tissue issue.

Supposedly, five Planned Parenthood centers around the country donate fetal tissue (whether they are paid or not, who knows).  Cecile Richards says it is only five.

Five is too many.

The role of Planned Parenthood is women's health.

Abortion -- which we support 100% -- is controversial enough for some without bringing in the issue of fetal tissue.

You can chant "Fetuses aren't babies!" all you want, when you're taking tissue from fetuses, you're going to offend a number of people.

It is not worth risking women's health for this.

It never should have happened but if Planned Parenthood had a functioning president, once exposed, the program would have been immediately ended.

Right wing activists lied or overreached?

As leftists, that doesn't surprise us.

But equally true, you can't sweep under the carpet Planned Parenthood handing over fetal tissue for research.

Well, you can sweep it under the carpet if you're cheap, lying whore like Janine Jackson.

The laughably named FAIR produces COUNTERSPIN which claims to be a media watchdog but which avoided Elise Labott on Friday's show.

This was strange for a number of reasons including THE DAILY MAIL reporting:

Suspended CNN reporter Elise Labott has come under fire again, this time for allegedly coordinating her coverage of a 2013 Benghazi hearing with a former Hillary Clinton spokesman to attack Senator Rand Paul.
A new batch of State Department emails that were released to Gawker on Tuesday appear to show that Labott took direction from Philippe Reines, a top Clinton aide in the State Department, when crafting tweets concerning the January 23, 2013, Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.


To be clear, neither the program nor Janine Jackson is averse to covering Labott -- at least not when they're rushing to defend her.

Labott -- a reporter and producer -- was suspended for a Tweet slamming the House GOP on a vote.  Jackson was outraged by this.

How unfair it was, to Jackson.

So she devoted a few minutes to it on COUNTERSPIN two Fridays ago.

A media critic who doesn't understand that a reporter can't comment with personal opinions on the beat she covers is a media critic who's full of s**t.

And that brings up back to Elise Labott's latest mess.

The point no one wants to raise.

Not only was she coordinating coverage with the State Dept but she was also covering the State Dept.

And she was e-mailing Reines and he her.

And yet when it became news that Hillary (and eventually others) at the State Dept were not using government e-mail accounts, Elise Labott didn't say a peep about her e-mail exchanges with Reines -- or the fact that they didn't all come from his government e-mail account.

So not only was she taking dictation with Benghazi talking points, when the story (finally) broke of certain people at the State Dept circumventing regulations by using non-government e-mail accounts, Elise Labott covered for Reines instead of reporting.

Janine Jackson has become such a whore that FAIR should fire her -- but who else could they get to do her job?  How many wives does Jim Naureckas have?

The lack of accountability has become the key feature of 'left' media in The Age of Barack.

And what's so amazing about their whoring for Barack is how they are people he probably wouldn't want to have a thing to do with.

And we're not arguing here that he's a snob to the great unwashed.

We are arguing that these whores who claim to serve him are beyond stupid.

Barack is currently under attack -- and has been for some time -- for refusing to say "radical Islamic" terrorists or what have you.

Why does he refuse to use those terms?

Because he's a secret Muslim!

That's what some foolishly argue.

But as stupid as that claim is, so are the idiots who try to defend him.

Take  Fareed Zakaria who was a guest on CNN Monday morning (yes, he also hosts a CNN program) and was offering --

Well what was he offering?

If that's a defense, no wonder Barack struggles with messaging.

Let's step back for a moment to note that idiots like Robin Morgan and Linda Perry are among the Pacifica voices using the D-word to describe the Islamic State.

Last Friday, on WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER LIVE (it really isn't live), Robin was using the D-word and full of bitchery as she insisted that it was a slur and that's why she used it.

You would think, if only for Jane Fonda's sake, Robin would put her inner bitch on a leash at least with regards to Arabs.

See, Jane's ROLLOVER has always been seen by some as highly racist (an attitude fostered by anti-Arab remarks Tom Hayden -- Fonda's then husband -- made at the time).  

Jane, Robin and Gloria Steinem founded WOMEN'S MEDIA CENTER (a front group for Democratic politics -- there's no independence at WMC) and they have a board.

Strange thing isn't it, how none of the women on the board are Arab?

Jane's going to have to deal with a film career that gets forgotten because Arabs are frankly tired of her.

She declared in January 2007 that she was not going to stop speaking out against the Iraq War until it was over.

But as Iraqi activists on all social media have repeatedly noted, once Barack was sworn in as president, Jane ran -- ran -- away from the topic of Iraq.

She's seen as a friend of Israel but an enemy of the Arab people.

Robin Morgan shooting off her big yap and attacking (a) Arabs and (b) Muslims last Friday may be Robin being Robin but it does reflect on Jane who may quickly discover she's the Merle Oberon of film.



Jane's not Faye Dunaway.

She has no films that are considered classics the way Faye or Goldie Hawn does.

NETWORK, CHINATOWN, THE THOMAS CROWNE AFFAIR, even MOMMIE DEAREST are considered classics and those aren't Faye's only ones.

Faye will be remembered.

Maybe Jane will be remembered too -- for trashing Faye in an interview?

Now we would argue that Jane has made some classic films.

And we use this outlet, THE THIRD ESTATE SUNDAY REVIEW, to rescue the work of women, to make the argument that women's art matters.

But, honestly, we'll walk away from Jane -- and focus on Goldie or some other worthy actress -- if it means that we're having to spend all of our time explaining how she's not anti-Arab.

She's got  that reputation and remarks by Robin Morgan only make it worse.

Robin's also supposed to be a voice of feminism.

We can't imagine anything sadder than a feminist in an Arab area attempting to defend Robin Morgan to people who see her as hostile and hateful.

Robin and Linda think it's cute to use slurs.

But any one with a brain will explain to you that the growth of the Islamic State has to do with the persecution of the Sunnis.  

In Iraq, for example, as many Sunnis have stated over the last years, they don't support the Islamic State but when the Iraqi government is attacking Sunnis, they don't have a dog in the fight either way.

In a time when people feel persecuted and powerless, why would you mock the Islamic State?

To feed into the image of bitchy and cruel Americans?

Congratulations, Robin Morgan.

Barack doesn't use the "radical Islam" terms because he is aware that, the minute he does, a whole group of people -- a very large group -- stop listening to him.

If he used the term, he's one more 'hater.'

Barack's smart enough to realize that.

It's a shame that Robin Morgan, Linda Perry and Pacifica Radio are too stupid to grasp it.

It's a bigger shame that 'independent media' has spent so many years now playing dumb and stupid.  Imagine where the country might be today if we had a real independent media, one that practiced accountability?

Instead, and as Cher once sang, "you better sit down kids," the reality is that the so-called 'progressive' media was much more progressive (and ethical) when Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House and held the country hostage.  We've lost ground.  Not because the Republicans have fought or argued better but because we tossed aside our ethics to make every day about scrap booking and fan clubbing for a cult of personality that happened to be a Democrat.

Congress and Iraq


Dona:  December 1st, the House Armed Services Committee held a hearing that was largely ignored by our so-called independent media -- i.e. DEMOCRACY NOW!, THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, IN THESE TIMES . . .   This community didn't ignore it and I'm roundtabling with the people who attended the hearing and reported on it.  C.I. reported on it  in Tuesday's snapshot  and Wednesday's snapshot and in "Ash Carter spun wildly to Congress," additional reporting: Cedric's "Hank Johnson's sexual obsession with Barack" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HANK HIS JOHNSON!" covered US House Rep Hank Johnson wasting everyone's time to profess his strangely sexual obsession with Barack and Carter and Gen Joe Dunford refusing to indulge Johnson,  At Rebecca's site, Wally reported on Ranking Member Adam Smith  in "Even House Democrats are criticizing Saint Barack.(Wally)," at Trina's site Ava reported on the obsession with oil that was at the heart of the hearing in "It's still about the oil," Mike reported on US House Rep Niki Tsongas offering some realities about the so-called coalition in "US Armed Services Committee hearing offers a little bit of reality," Ruth reported on US House Rep John Kline's questioning which established that there was no cap on the number of US troops that could be in Iraq "Iraq still matters,"  Kat took on the surreal aspect with "The US just declared war on everyone but Santa," and Elaine covered one time anti-war US House Rep Jackie Speier making an idiot of herself in statements and dress with "The idiot Jackie Speier," And please note, I cribbed freely from C.I.'s listing last week to summarize the reports.  Okay, let's start with the big news.  Ruth?

Ruth: Okay, appearing before the Committee were Secretary of Defense Ash Carter and General Joe Dunford.  General Dunford is the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.  The Committee Chair is US House Representative Max Thornberry and the Ranking Member is US House Representative Adam Smith.  The big news was Secretary Carter declaring the following:

 Next, in full coordination with the government of Iraq, we're deploying a specialized, expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIL.  These special operators will, over time, be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.   

Dona:  So the Iraq War doesn't end.  The never-ending Iraq War goes on and on forever.  Ava, you may remember this, our shock -- my shock, your shock, Jim's shock, Jess' shock and Ty's shock -- back in 2005 when in an off-hand comment, C.I. said the Iraq War wouldn't be over by 2008.  She said that we'd probably have shut down our sites before the war ended.

Ava: Right.  We were like, "Huh?"  And then we thought about it, and this was summer of 2005, and realized she was probably right.  That was one of the most depressing moments of that year.  Realizing that we were trying to end the war and the sentiment had turned against the war and that even with that the Iraq War would likely go on.  Which it has.

Dona: Which it has.  Which it most certainly has. Kat, what stood out to you most about the hearing?

Kat: Well, C.I. pointed this out in a snapshot, how Carter makes this monumental announcement, and does so early in the hearing, and yet the rest of the hearing is never, "Huh?"  Or, "What did you just say?"  Or, "I can't believe we're sending more troops into Iraq, let alone now we're doing combat operations."  It was like Ash Carter farted in the middle of the hearing and everyone averted their gaze out of embarrassment for him.

Dona: Well that's descriptive.  Elaine, you and Wally and Cedric picked the most embarrassing Rep in the hearing.  You went with Jackie Speier and the guys went with Hank Johnson.

Elaine: Well, it's really a toss up.  I went with Jackie because, as Cedric will tell you, he was outraged by Johnson.  For me, it was a toss up, but I could have gone with either.  I just remember Jackie going around to the media, while trying to get into Congress, pretending she gave a damn about the Iraq War.  And it was appalling to watch her just roll over in the hearing.

Dona: You mention a red plastic thing she wore.  What was that?

Elaine: From where I sat, it looked like she had a plastic red rose with a red stem going around her jacket.  I was later informed that it was a rose and the other red was piping on the jacket.  I have no idea.  I just know it was ugly as hell -- or ugly as newly minted War Hawk Jackie Speier.

Dona: Cedric, you were outraged by Hank Johnson?

Cedric: I was.  I will try to choose my words carefully.  But I can feel the anger rising again.  I knew he was worthless, I read BLACK AGENDA REPORT as well as C.I. and Ava's Congressional hearing reporting and I hear from them and Wally and Ruth -- Ruth covering Benghazi hearings -- so I knew Hank Johnson came off stoned and stupid.  And I knew he had a practice of using his 'questioning' to whore for Barack and how great he thinks Barack is.  But here we are in the hearing and Hank's whoring for Barack.  And he's whining that Republicans are saying things that disagree with Barack and we are at war and this is so wrong and don't you agree Secretary Carter.

Dona: Did he?

Cedric: No.  He said he wasn't going to get into political especially not during an election cycle.  And then Dunford followed up with a similar take.  But that's -- I'm mad.  Let me take a breath.  We're learning that the White House will be sending troops into combat in Iraq and all Hank Johnsoncan do is whore for Barack.  He can't ask about Iraq.  And -- Wally, take over me -- the whole stupid thing Johnson was saying.

Wally:  Sure.  We can't criticize a president because the US is at war?  My entire adult life -- Mike's too -- the US has been at war.  That's so offensive, that 'argument' and it was offensive when Republicans tried to make it.  To hear some stoned out Congressman who is unintelligent and rambles on and on in a stoned stupor make that argument as a Democrat was deeply offensive.  And, as Cedric already pointed out, what a waste of time.

Dona: Okay, Mike, Wally just mentioned you.  I'm your age and, as Wally pointed out, when in our adult lives hasn't the US been at war?

Mike: Yeah.  Hank Johnson's a moron.  And he's the corporatist whore that was given Cynthia McKinney's seat.  We really missed a strong voice like Cynthia McKinney in last week's hearing.  There's really not any strong voice for peace anymore -- not in the Congress.  Either they're on board with war or they're silent.  And when Carter made that declaration, like Kat said, everyone acted as though he'd ripped a loud, stinky fart and rushed to avoid probing what he'd said or, hell, even acknowledging it.  And Adam Smith got on my last damn never insisting that we need to have a discussion about the AUMF when, point of fact, at the hearing we couldn't even have a discussion about the White House openly sending US troops into combat in Iraq.  No more pretending that it's something else, now they're being open about it.

Dona: You wrote about Rep. Niki Tsongas.

Mike: Right.  She was one of the few worth noting.  I'd say it was basically her and Beto O'Rourke.  But she earned a mention because she pointed out that Barack's so-called 'coalition' really isn't.  It's just like with Bully Boy Bush and his coalition of the willing but people want to pretend otherwise because it's Barack.

Ruth: And I want to note that the media silence was not unlike the silence of the Committee -- or, I should say, the 'independent' media silence.  Real news outlets covered this news.  Fakeries like DEMOCRACY NOW! either ignored it or reduced it to a minor headline.  I hope we will repost in full C.I.'s Thursday Iraq snapshot because it is a critique of the media coverage.

Dona: I absolutely agree with you, Ruth.  And C.I.'s nodding that we can -- probably anything to get us done with this never-ending edition.  Ava, you wrote about the obsession with oil -- the continued obsession.

Ava: I'm toying with the term oilomania -- like nymphomania -- to describe certain element of the US government with regards to Iraq's oil.  Iraq's oil -- not the US' oil. It was shocking to hear all the talk of oil-oil-oil over and over in the hearing and to learn, from Dunford, that there's been yet another US government study of Iraqi oil in the last months.  Our government is obsessed with Iraqi oil.  It's no longer a case of standing at the urinal next to Iraq and taking a quick peak to see what Iraq's packing, we're peeping Toms who just can't take our eyes off Iraq's oil.  We're obsessed with it -- specifically obsessed with attempting to control it.

Dona: It was and is a war about oil, no matter what anyone wants to pretend.  It was a resource war and war for markets.  Elaine, one point I wanted to make earlier was that I liked how you had one worst and then Cedric and Wally had another.  Different perspectives and all that.

Elaine: That's one reason I was there.  Usually, it's just Wally, Kat, Ava and C.I.  If it's Benghazi, Ruth may be there as well.  The Saturday or Sunday before the hearing, C.I. happened to mention it as you two were talking.

Dona: Because I usually do the gang -- Ava, C.I., Wally and Kat -- I usually do the gang's schedule each week of where they're speaking and have to carve out time in that schedule if they're going to be in DC at hearings.

Elaine: Right, so you two were talking about it and C.I. was talking about how there was supposed to be a major announcement in the hearing. And that's when I said, "Okay, we'll leave our daughter with Trina so Mike and I can be there."  Because it was going to be important.

Cedric: And I said I could take time off and wanted to because I knew it wouldn't get coverage.  I didn't realize it would be as ignored as it was by THE NATION, etc., but I knew it wouldn't get the coverage it needed.  I knew I could go and Wally and I could do a humor piece that would put a little more attention on it so I'd be doing my part and we all have to.  It's like we've forgotten that -- as a people -- that we all need to be doing our part to end the Iraq War.

Dona: Exactly.  C.I., I'm going to let you speak before we wind down.  What stood out?

C.I.: I don't want to be mean here but it was interesting how freely everyone can now condemn Nouri al-Maliki.  He deserves it.  And, in fairness, Congress has always been more honest about Nouri than the White House.  Even Hillary Clinton -- when she was a Senator and in the Congress, she called him a "thug" flat out in a hearing.  But, and this gets to Beto O'Rourke's questioning, Haider's not any better at present.  And how long are we going to prop up Haider?  At what point does the US pull its support and why?  Because of human rights violations?  Those are going on right now.  What is the line that has to be crossed for the US to stop backing a despot they installed.

Dona: And the answer?

C.I.: O'Rourke never got an answer to his question -- in that regard, he is the American people.

Dona: I like that.  I think it's a good summation to go out on.  Our e-mail address is thethirdestatesundayreview@yahoo.com.  And this is a rush transcript.

Carly Swings Tree To Tree (Ava and C.I.)

The celebrity memoir is a difficult thing.

It's easy to come off pompous.

It's easy to come off shallow.

Worst of all, it's easy to come off boring.

In the last ten years, there have been some awful memoirs and there have been a few strong ones.  There's even been one classic -- Janis Ian's SOCIETY'S CHILD.

That 2008 book combined an interesting story and a sense of perspective with a voice that truly sang.

Eight years later, there's finally a book to equal it, Carly Simon's BOYS IN THE TREES.


In that sure and natural voice she's perfected in song after song, Carly tackles her own life to offer a warts-and-all mirror that is both frank and caring.

As Kat's noted, media attention has been on the men who came on to Carly (some of whom she slept with, some of whom she didn't).  And, of course, her revealing one of the three men who inspired "You're So Vain" (she reveals Warren Beatty) has also resulted in headlines and copy.

But the book is much more than that.

It's pro-female, among other things.

That should go without saying.

But can't.

Not when Judy Collins uses yet another book to attack Joni Mitchell, Joan Baez, Mimi Farena and countless other women.

Women register in Carly's life.

Her mother Andrea, her sisters Lucy and Joanna, her friends Ellen and Vieri Salvadori, among others, come across as full bodied people and she also offers kind words for many other women (including Joni Mitchell).

But the big point the reviewers seem to miss, is that this is a family memoir.

Oh, her first husband?


This is a memoir of the Simon family.

It's the story of her parents, her siblings and her children.

Carly was among the most under appreciated songwriters of her generation for years.

It took film work ("Coming Around Again" from HEARTBURN and "Let The River Run" from WORKING GIRL specifically) and a growing awareness of sexism for Carly's accomplishments to register with the larger critical world.  Even so, she remains one of the few singer-songwriters not in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame.

A companion piece to the book, SONGS FROM THE TREES, provides a strong reminder of just how gifted a songwriter she is.  (And, of course, she's probably the best contralto of the rock era.)

While time has given Carly her due, in the book, one mission appears to be giving her father his due.

Richard Simon started Simon & Schuster and it's this accomplishment -- and the efforts to devalue it by some at the company today -- that closes the book.  Ben and Sally Taylor, like their mother and her sisters Lucy and Joanna and brother Peter, like her father and her mother, have lived artistic lives, have found meaning in art.  That's the theme of the book that everyone seems to be missing.

Carly's written a book that's forthright, confident and entertaining.  The boys may be in the trees, but like Sheena Queen of the Jungle, Carly's swinging tree to tree with grace and panache.

Margaret Prescod goes where the silences are

Pacifica Radio Archives
In 2006, Pacifica Radio presented itself as a voice of peace.

At Tuesday's US House Armed Services Committee hearing, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declared:

 Next, in full coordination with the government of Iraq, we're deploying a specialized, expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIL.  These special operators will, over time, be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.   

And Pacifica ignored it.

The only real exception was  SOJOURNER TRUTH WITH MARGARET PRESCOD which broadcasts (first) from Pacifica's KPFK out of Los Angeles.

On SOJOURNER TRUTH, host Margaret Prescod addressed the news the day it broke (Tuesday) as well as devoting significant time to it in on Friday's SOJOURNER TRUTH WITH MARGARET PRESCOD during the roundtable featuring the University of Houston's Dr. Gerald Horne, activist and politician Jackie Goldberg and Tom Hayden.

Applause for Margaret Prescod for refusing to abandon either the topic of war or her own ethics.  Here's an excerpt of Friday's discussion.

Jackie Goldberg:  I think at some point or another, we have to see the situation in the Middle East as a battle between Sunni and Shia, not our battle, not the United States' battle.  And we should be working very hard, I believe, to get the nations of the Middle East who have a stake in this -- Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Republic, Turkey, Egypt, Sudan, Pakistan, Iraq -- all of them -- all of them, Iran, they all have -- Hezbollah -- they all have a stake in the outcome of this.  And in my view, I think we should be backing away from the war that Tom was talking about rather than continuing it and, instead, pushing very hard internationally to say to the folks that are involved in this that this is a struggle that you have over territory.  It's not too different from the Christians and the Muslims and the Crusades.  This is between two versions of-of Islam but they are mostly about the issues of power and control of resources and control of oil and control of government.  And those are issues that, in my opinion, should be settled amongst themselves.  If the United States does not wish to continue to be attacked, it has to look at its own policies.  It has to look at why - why would we be seen as an enemy of one side or the other?  And that is because we arm everybody, we make it possible for these wars to go on by selling arms to everybody.  And who we don't sell arms to, the Russians sell arms to.  So, at some point or another, if there is no possibility that those who are arming all of the sides don't disengage from the possibility of arming all the sides, I don't see an end to this.  And I don't see a role for the United States, to be very honest.  I know I'm probably very unique in all of this, but I don't think our role is to be there.   This is a fight -- it's an age old fight.  It's not new, it's thousands of years old and it is not, in my opinion, a fight that we should be taking on.

Margaret Prescod:  Yeah.  And, Jackie Goldberg, I think there are quite a lot of people that will agree with you.  I mean, there was a contentious debate that happened in the British Parliament just a couple of days ago on a vote on the UK joining the bombing of ISIS.  And Jeremy Corbyn, who is the new leader of the Labour Party, put himself out there and totally opposed the bombing.  A number of the more mainstream members of the Labour Party rebelled against Corbyn and went along with Cameron -- the Conservative, Tory government.  So now the UK has in fact already be bombing and Germany is apparently now in on the act, you know, France has been in it for a very long time. There has been a very strong moment, Jackie, in the UK 

Jackie Goldberg:  Oh, yeah.

Margaret Prescod (Con't):  -- opposed to this bombing.

Jackie Goldberg:  Oh, yeah.  And there's a peace movement in the United States opposed to our continued involvement with drones and strikings and all of this.  You know, if you are a young man living in San Bernardino and you are Pakistani and you see the United States continuously using drones on somebody who is "a target" but also other folks who get caught up in this -- civilians who had no role in this -- you begin to, you know, think, 'Well if civilians there are going to be targeted, then civilians here ought to be targeted.'  That's how you get to where we are in the United States today -- our policy has to change and if it doesn't change, well the war will come home.

Margaret Prescod:  Yeah.

Jackie Goldberg:  And it has.

Margaret Prescod:  Yeah.

Jackie Goldberg:  And it will continue to come home. 

Margaret Prescod:  Right and we are going to be talking, a little later on, after our station break, about that San Bernardino shooting and the various implications.  What I would like to do now -- because I am assured that the sound is back -- and I'd really like to play this clip, it is from a PBS NEWSHOUR, Dr. Horn, before we go to you.  And it gives some reaction to the reality of the US increasing special operations on the ground in Iraq and also some more about what is happening in the region, reaction to that.  Let's go to that clip now.

Gwen Ifill: Many Iraqis -- led by Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi didn’t appear to welcome the news that U.S. is sending additional special ops forces in an effort to root out ISIS strongholds.

Salah al-Rikabi, Baghdad resident (through interpreter): We do not need any foreign forces, whether they are American, Danish, Italian or French ones. The Iraqi people are capable.

Fadhil Abu Firas, Baghdad resident (through interpreter): U.S. forces have no credibility and no good intentions. I consider this a new invasion.

Gwen Ifill: At NATO headquarters in Brussels, Secretary of State John Kerry denied that Iraqi leaders were not briefed about the new force in advance.

John Kerry, U.S. Secretary of State: We will continue to work very, very closely with our Iraqi partners on exactly who would be deployed, where they would be deployed, what kinds of missions people would undertake, how they would support Iraqi efforts to degrade and destroy ISIL.

Gwen Ifill: In London, British Prime Minister David Cameron made his final appeal in Parliament to expand the current British air campaign in Iraq to Syria.

[. . . edit from PBS broadcast made by Prescod's show]

Gwen Ifill:  Separately, Russia released satellite imagery purporting to show trucks delivering Islamic State oil in Turkey and accused Turkish leaders of profiting from the illicit trade. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan dismissed the claims as slander.
Later in the day, an Islamic State video appeared to show the beheading of another hostage. The militants said he had spied for Russia in Syria and Iraq.

Margaret Prescod: Alright, so there you go, Dr. Horn. I mean apparently these new forces, at least the some that we heard in that clip, not welcome.  We heard from people in Iraq and, of course, there's the growing mentions over the shoot downs by Turkey of the Russian military jet.  And everybody pretty much knows that Turkey wouldn't have shot down the Russian military jet without a heads up from the United States -- even though there's that and on the other hand analysts are saying, 'Well the Obama administration really doesn't want to ramp it up any further -- from where I sit, it seems, "Okay, go ahead and do the shoot down but then let's try to dampen it down."  Dr. Horn, give us your view on what's happening in all of that.

Dr. Gerald Horne: Well during the war in Vietnam, there was a very useful debate as to whether or not that war was a blunder by Washington or whether it flowed illogically from US imperialism. And I think we need to have a sort of similar debate today. Particularly in light of the fact that the NEW YORK TIMES reported just a few days ago that Sirte which under Col [Muammar] Gaddafi [the late leader of Libya] was slated to be the capital of the African Union is now the capital of ISIS in Africa. And we need to ask some very difficult questions as to whether or not this is just another blunder by Washington or whether this flows illogically from a certain assumption and a certain kind of logic, particularly given that Barack Obama was elected in 2008 on the premise that he would not allow another type of an Iraqi fiasco to take place and yet he's presided over a similar fiasco in Libya, in north Africa, which has given a shot in the arm to ISIS.  I think we need to recognize that it's very difficult for the United States, which is now in relative decline, to buck it's so-called allies, particularly Saudi Arabia which it is dependent upon both for oil and capital flows.  And Saudi nationals, as we know, are major supporters of ISIS and, somewhat oddly, it's difficult for it to buck Turkey which, as you know, is in bed with ISIS as we speak. I think we should also recognize that with the close relationship with Israel, it's very hard for the United States to align with Iran against ISIS.  And we also know that with this anti Moscow sentiment in Washington -- which is a hangover from the Cold War period -- and it is difficult to engage in what President Putin has called for -- which is a United Nations international alliance against ISIS.  In fact, we know that just a few days ago the United States helped to twist the arm of Montenegro and entice it to enter the anti-Moscow alliance that is a North Atlantic Treaty Organization -- that is to say that NATO is expanding at the same time that NATO should be shrinking because the United States should be allied with Moscow against ISIS if it is sincere in its anti-ISIS thesis. So this is the problem we face and I don't think we can get out of this problem until we have an honest, far reaching debate as to whether or not these so-called blunders are not blunders but flow from a certain kind of illogic,

What straw breaks the US camel's back?

At what point does the US government stop propping up a bad government?

beto orourke

Tuesday, November 1st, this question was asked in a House Armed Services Committee hearing by US House Representative Beto O'Rourke (above).

The US government -- under Bully Boy Bush and Barack Obama both -- backed Nouri al-Maliki as prime minister of Iraq despite Nouri's use of secret prisons, his targeting of Iraq's LGBT community, his use of torture, his attacks -- physical attacks -- on the press, his false imprisonment of Sunnis, his use of the military to attack rival politicians and so much more.

Haider al-Abadi replaced Nouri over a year ago and there's nothing in his performance thus far to indicate he's any different than Nouri.

Grasp that as you read over the exchange between O'Rourke and Secretary of Defense Ash Carter.

US House Rep Beto O'Rourke:   There's so much in those countries -- I'll just use Iraq as an example -- that we do not control, cannot control and will not be able to predict when it comes to the political outcomes and so when we say we are going to set conditions on our aid, when we say we are going to set conditions on our military presence, do we really mean that?  Is that a viable threat?  Will we really walk away from Iraq if the government there doesn't meet those conditions?  And I think that's an important question because if, in fact, we will not, then I wonder what the motivation is there for the Iraqi government to take the very important and very difficult steps to integrate these other minorities -- whether they be Kurds, whether they be Sunnis -- into a functioning government -- decentralized or otherwise?

Secretary Ash Carter: Uh, first of all with respect to the first part of your question, uhm, the -- It -- The -- Your point gets back -- is exactly the military and the political going together.  In addition to the -- The only end state that involves the lasting defeat of ISIL is one in which there are -- whether there is local governance that cannot be once again supplanted by ISIL.  That's why once again the political and the military go together -- that's the heart of the strategy and that's why enabling committed, capable forces who can make victory stick is the other part of the definition of victory, critical --

US House Rep Beto O'Rourke:  Yes.

Secretary Ash Carter (Con't):  -- to the strategy. With respect to the leverage, I'll start there in Baghdad but the leverage involves offering to do more for those who are pursuing the same objectives and withholding our support from those who are taking a different path or not going down the path they're supposed to.  So we find alternatives, we find people that can act.  If-if-if the people 
that we're dealing with are not capable of -- because we have to act and we will find such forces that are capable. 

Little Media's silence on Iraq

This is a repost of C.I.'s Thursday snapshot.

 Iraq snapshot

Thursday, December 3, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, the silence on Iraq continues as we examine the craven and whorish was of so-called 'independent media' in the United States, and much more.

At Tuesday's US House Armed Services Committee hearing, Secretary of Defense Ash Carter declared:

 Next, in full coordination with the government of Iraq, we're deploying a specialized, expeditionary targeting force to assist Iraqi and Kurdish Peshmerga forces and put even more pressure on ISIL.  These special operators will, over time, be able to conduct raids, free hostages, gather intelligence and capture ISIL leaders.   

Such huge news would surely result in massive coverage from the collective that self-describes as "independent media"; however, they made sure to affirm Ava and my charge that they're the beggar media, whores and smut merchants who couldn't get work elsewhere and are nothing but Panhandle Media begging you for money so that they can continue their worthless actions which include insisting on accountability for the corporate media while having no ethics of their own.

It's nothing but talking points as a circle jerk takes place in an echo chamber.

And they want free speech  . . . when not attacking free speech.

Free speech actually translates to the smut merchants wanting to embrace their hatred of women -- that's what goes on at  Pacifica's WPFW where Scooter played a hideous 'song' that was an attack on the vagina and a demonization of women but which Scooter insisted was a song that "told the truth."  At WPFW, homophobia and sexism reign free on the airwaves.  I don't know if that's because the idiots on the air are considered too stupid to be held accountable or just because they think the audience is that vile.

Let's move to Pacifica's high point when it came to the news about Iraq.

Margaret Prescod:  And we are now going to shift our attention to Syria, Turkey and Russia.  It's being reported that the Pentagon will increase special operation forces in Iraq.  And, according to the NEW YORK TIMES, they further said that these new forces would be involved in targeted raids in Syria.  And that a slow ramp up of forces should be repeated.  This is in stark contrast with what President Barack Obama has said about limiting boots on the ground in the region.

Prescod was speaking on Tuesday's broadcast of SOJOURNER TRUTH WITH MARGARET PRESCOD which airs on Pacifica's KPFK out of Los Angeles.  She was then joined for the segment by Gareth Porter who wanted to talk about everything but Iraq.

Even so, she tried.  And she actually noted Barack Obama (something the co-opted and corrupted Amy Goodman couldn't and wouldn't do when she reduced the major news to a headline -- not even the lead headline -- on Wednesday's DEMOCRACY NOW!).

Equally true, she plans to have the news as one of her topics for Friday's roundtable discussion on SOJOURNER TRUTH.

That was Pacifica Radio's highpoint of 'coverage.'

You might think, for example, that KPFA's FLASHPOINTS would be all over the news.

You would be wrong.

Dennis Bernstein had other issues this week -- no, not more charges of sexual harassment -- he was interested in Korea and climate change and this and that and blah blah blah.

Well FLASHPOINTS isn't the only show on Pacifica Radio's KPFA, right?

There's the hour long, weekly VOICES OF THE MIDDLE EAST AND AFRICA.

Certainly, that show, which airs Wednesdays, would be all over this news, right?


Well that's the Bay Area.  What about Houston?  Home to Pacifica Radio's KPFT.

Wednesday nights, they offer ARAB VOICES.

Right away, you knew this was going to be a serious broadcast as you were informed that they weren't going to spend time on the community calendar because they had so much to cover.

So much to cover.


This announcement is major, ground troops in Iraq --

Oh, wait.

They didn't address that.

They used the entire hour to air recordings of a gala.

Such bad radio as an old, tired man saying his wife told him -- after his warblings -- not to quit -- yes, you know this is coming because it's so old and so damn tired -- his day job.

In times of war, never forget, the most important thing is to air a recording of a gala.

Well they also have Thursday's PROGRESSIVE FORUM and surely that two hour program devoted time to Iraq and this week's --

Oh, wait.

It didn't.

Houston's KPFT needs to raise $150,000 by the end of this year (roughly in the next 27 days).

With programming like they offer, they make it very hard to donate.

In fact, they really make the case for pulling the plug on the whole operation.

They offer nothing.

Hour after hour of nothing.


Nothing but crap.

The announcement about Iraq was made at a Congressional hearing.

In DC, for those who don't know.

What about Pacifica's DC station?

WPFW's programs ignored the news.

But they do produce their own news, WPFW.

So, surely, as CNN and other real news outlets -- corporate or not -- were reporting on it, since this was DC, you know WPFW was all over it.



One hour after CNN, BLOOMBERG NEWS, NPR and other news outlets were reporting the news, WPFW did a news break that never noted it.

Apparently, you can't include fluff and still have room for news.

The news break included a lot of nonsense.  Here's about as much of one 'report' in that 'news' break that I can stomach.

Askia Muhammad: First Lady Michelle Obama has kicked off the holiday season at the White House by welcoming this year's Christmas tree.  Tomeka Smith reports.

Michelle Obama:  Christmas!  Merry Christmas!  What's going on?  We've got this fabulous tree!

Tomeka Smith:  The First Lady welcomed a Fraiser fir, grown in Pennsylvania.  It arrived by horse-drawn carriage on . . . 

Robin Leach and LIFESTYLES OF THE RICH & FAMOUS lives on over the airwaves of WPFW.

Please note, this 'report' aired on WPFW 'news.'

Aired the day that the announcement was made of US troops going into ground combat in Iraq.

Aired an hour after all the real news outlets were reporting the news.

WPFW had time for that garbage but not for news about Iraq.

Again, it's past time to stop supporting beggars who need to get real jobs.

We're not done with Panhandle Media but let's look to our 'activists,' for a second, to our 'leaders.'

CODESTINK Tweeted the following Tuesday.

  • . and are in Congress at a hearing on military intervention in ! Stay tuned for updates!

  • There must be over 45 Tweets since that one went up.

    Not one notes Iraq.

    Now I was at that hearing.  We've reported on it here -- and for those late to the party, I'll include links before the end of this snapshot.

    But I was there and that hearing that CODESTINK falsely says was on Syria -- just Syria.

    The title of the hearing was "US Strategy for Syria and Iraq and its Implications for the Region."

    Thanks, CODESTINK, we can always count on you to lead the world to disappointment and ignorance.

    Back to the beggar media.

    Circulation for THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE and IN THESE TIMES has plummeted.

    The lie that Katrina vanden Heuvel loves to pimp is that when Republicans are in power, circulation increases because the readers are interested in accountability.

    No, the readers are always interested in accountability.

    They abandon crap ass magazines like THE NATION when a Democrat is in the White House because crap ass magazines like THE NATION abandon ethics and accountability and turn themselves into pleasure maidens for the White House.

    Trina's "It's disgusting,"  Kat's "That Crap Ass Nation Magazine" and Betty's "That useless Progressive magazine" addressed the craven silence of our so-called 'left' and 'independent' press.

    Nothing's changed since the three did their posts.

    But we can add that IN THESE TIMES is also ignoring the news about US ground troops in Iraq.

    Now these rags and the Pacifica Radio programs have been all about attacking free speech.

    They're blaming one of the multitude of shootings in the United States in the last two weeks on the Republican Party.

    They're doing that because they're filthy trash.

    Anything the Republicans -- and non-Republicans -- said with regard to abortion and Planned Parenthood is protected speech, it is the speech that's required in a democracy.

    We are supposed to debate.

    It is a free market of ideas.

    It is the public square.

    If you can't win the argument, that's on you.

    I support abortions.

    Liars and whores want to tell me I have to support Planned Parenthood.


    When five Planned Parenthood clinics -- or in five states, who can understand Cecile Richards ridiculous bulls**t -- are giving/donating fetal tissue?

    They've betrayed women's health.

    That is a whole other conversation.

    I say that as someone who supports stem cell research.

    But I'm smart enough to know that protecting women's health and women's health rights are important and they're under attack -- not just from Republicans.

    In that climate, you don't decide you're going to also be donating fetal tissue.

    You're begging for trouble.

    And there's no honesty among the left on this topic.

    Maybe because we're in the eternal election cycle or maybe because too many whores that should be starving instead are living off your donations and wasting them with bad coverage in print, online and over the airwaves.

    Is Planned Parenthood going to be defunded?

    It should be.

    It should not get tax payer money while it endorses presidential candidates.

    Cecile Richards needs to be held accountable.

    Instead, Panhandle Media's telling us we need to rally around her.


    I'm not going to rally around some idiot whose stupidity is putting women's health at risk.

    She should have resigned as president of Planned Parenthood.

    But like Nancy Pelosi, who remained leader of the House Democrats even after overseeing the huge loss of the 2010 elections, Cecile's not held accountable.

    But they're all on board, the circle jerk is, with the notion that the public discourse caused a shooting in Colorado Springs.

    Political speech is protected speech.

    If you can't grasp that, I don't know why you're making political comments in America unless it's just to flaunt your ignorance.


    Bombings and shootings are not political speech.

    Today, the US Defense Dept announced:

    Strikes in Iraq
    Bomber, fighter, and remotely piloted aircraft conducted 18 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of the Iraqi government:

    -- Near Huwayjah, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed two ISIL vehicles and two ISIL heavy machine guns.

    -- Near Fallujah, a strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL building.

    -- Near Mosul, two strikes destroyed an ISIL vehicle.

    -- Near Ramadi, eight strikes struck three separate ISIL tactical units, denied ISIL access to terrain, and destroyed an ISIL tunnel, three ISIL vehicle bombs, nine ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL light machine gun positions, three ISIL heavy machine gun positions, an ISIL recoilless rifle, and an ISIL tactical vehicle.

    -- Near Sinjar, a strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and two ISIL fighting positions.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, two strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

    -- Near Hit, a strike destroyed an ISIL-used bridge.

    -- Near Tal Afar, two strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit, wounded an ISIL fighter, and destroyed an ISIL vehicle, and an ISIL weapons storage facility.

    Task force officials define a strike as one or more kinetic events that occur in roughly the same geographic location to produce a single, sometimes cumulative, effect. Therefore, officials explained, a single aircraft delivering a single weapon against a lone ISIL vehicle is one strike, but so is multiple aircraft delivering dozens of weapons against buildings, vehicles and weapon systems in a compound, for example, having the cumulative effect of making those targets harder or impossible for ISIL to use. Accordingly, officials said, they do not report the number or type of aircraft employed in a strike, the number of munitions dropped in each strike, or the number of individual munition impact points against a target.

    Violence in the United States.


    We're appalled that X number of Americans are shot dead in the US.

    But we don't feel obligated to be outraged by the civilians in Iraq who are being killed by US bombs.

    And we want to talk about actions and consequences while denying that maybe -- just maybe -- the US government's constant war, perpetual war, has an impact.

    A government that resorts to dropping bombs -- not diplomacy -- over and over is a government that tells its people that violence isn't just a means, it's an answer.

    Possibly, some unhinged Americans are more likely to respond to such a message?

    And let's talk the very real consequence of Panhandle Media failing to speak out against war.

    That is what's going on, it is what has been going on since Barack Obama was first sworn in as US president.

    What are the consequences of the silence?

    The never-ending silence that allows Pacifica, THE NATION, THE PROGRESSIVE, etc. to ignore Iraq and avoid calling out Barack?

    Poll after poll demonstrates that this silence has allowed support for war to increase.

    Click here for a series of different outlets' polls.  We're going to emphasize CBS News' polling because they've asked one question since September 2014.

    "Do you favor or oppose the U.S. sending ground troops into Iraq or Syria to fight ISIS militants?"
    Favor Oppose Unsure/
    No answer
    % % %    
    50 42 8    
    66 29 5    
    43 48 9    
    45 46 8    
    7/29 - 8/2/15
    46 45 9    
    43 46 10    
    57 37 6    
    47 46 6    
    44 50 5    
    39 55 6

    In September 2014, only 39% favored US ground troops.

    Support has climbed to 50%.

    It has climbed because cowards, smut merchants and whores have misused their positions -- and donated money -- to focus on everything but the realities of war.

    It has climbed because this sewage has refused to hold War Criminal in Chief Barack Obama accountable.

    Actions do have consequences.

    And those consequences are evident in the polling.

    It's time these cowards, smut merchants and whores were held accountable.

    Stop donating to them.

    Make them seek real employment.

    ADDED:  Tuesday's Armed Services Committee hearing was covered in Tuesday's snapshot  and Wednesday's snapshot and other community coverage:  Cedric's "Hank Johnson's sexual obsession with Barack" and Wally's "THIS JUST IN! HANK HIS JOHNSON!" covered US House Rep Hank Johnson wasting everyone's time to profess his strangely sexual obsession with Barack and Carter and Gen Joe Dunford refusing to indulge Johnson,  At Rebecca's site, Wally reported on Ranking Member Adam Smith  in "Even House Democrats are criticizing Saint Barack.(Wally)," at Trina's site Ava reported on the obsession with oil that was at the heart of the hearing in "It's still about the oil," Mike reported on US House Rep Niki Tsongas offering some realities about the so-called coalition in "US Armed Services Committee hearing offers a little bit of reality," Ruth reported on US House Rep John Kline's questioning which established that there was no cap on the number of US troops that could be in Iraq "Iraq still matters,"  Kat took on the surreal aspect with "The US just declared war on everyone but Santa," and Elaine covered one time anti-war US House Rep Jackie Speier making an idiot of herself in statements and dress with "The idiot Jackie Speier,"
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