Sunday, April 28, 2013

Truest statement of the week

Wake up people!  If you want change, then organize, create movements and strategies and tactics that serve your interests and goals.  These big players — the paid activists at CREDO, Greenpeace,, MoveOn, the paid pundits at Nation and Mother Jones — they work for corporations who have their own agenda, a business agenda, and are primarily funded by wealthy Democrats and their foundations, or by “socially responsible companies” that these wealthy individuals and foundations invest in.
The real agenda of the Big Green groups, the Progressive Media and Progressive Think Tanks,  is raising money for themselves.  What they do is decided and directed by their small group of decision-makers who are funders or who play to the funders. The professional  Progressive Movement I criticize and critique does not ultimately represent or serve any real progressive movement at the grassroots.  It markets to them for followers and funding, and every two years votes for Democrats as the lesser of the evils.

--  John Stauber, in an interview with Nick Ruiz (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

Lynne Stewart, in the vindictive and hysterical world of the war on terror, is one of its martyrs. A 73-year-old lawyer who spent her life defending the poor, the marginalized and the despised, including blind cleric Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, she fell afoul of the state apparatus because she dared to demand justice rather than acquiesce to state sponsored witch hunts. And now, with stage 4 cancer that has metastasized, spreading to her lymph nodes, shoulder, bones and lungs, creating a grave threat to her life, she sits in a prison cell at the Federal Medical Center Carswell in Fort Worth, Texas, where she is serving a 10-year sentence. Stewart’s family is pleading with the state for “compassionate release” and numerous international human rights campaigners, including Archbishop Desmond Tutu, have signed a petition calling for her to be freed on medical grounds. It is not only a crime in the U.S. to be poor, to be a Muslim, to openly condemn the crimes committed in our name in the Muslim world, but to defend those who do. And the near total collapse of our judicial system, wrecked in the name of national security and “the war on terror,” is encapsulated in the saga of this courageous attorney—now disbarred because of her conviction.

-- Chris Hedges, "The Persecution of Lynne Stewart" (Truth Dig).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday.

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

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

And what did we come up with?

More truth from John Stauber.  
Chris Hedges gets a truest.
Vissar, Vissar, Vissar, how did he manage to fool so many?
Ava and C.I. yet again explain why public radio stations are interested in PRI's The World and growing less and less enchanted with NPR's 'news' magazines.
Dona roundtables with Ruth, Wally, Kat, Ava and C.I. about recent Congressional hearings.
Hawija.  The world did nothing and a sit-in was attacked by Nouri al-Maliki's forces leaving 50 dead and over 100 injured.
This is how we'd shine a light on the corporatist welfare scheme that is ObamaCare.
How stupid is Medea Benjamin?  People were starting to almost trust her again and then she wants to dismiss rape as being just "sex."
We already had an e-mail about this.  It's just not fair to call People racist, insisted the e-mailer.  Really?  Because Ava and C.I. knew weeks ago who the finalists were.  Kerry was the only African-American on the list.  (That's one of the reasons C.I. went to town on hag Gwyneth April 15th.)  With Kerry the only African-American finalist, it might have seemed she was a shoe-in but racism reared it's head.  How is Gwyneth the most beautiful in the world.  Set aside that's she's hagged and has no body.  The world?  The world isn't a blond White person.  Racism got Gwyn a title she didn't deserve.  It won't help her career, nothing will.  She's the failed leading lady now stuck playing the girl over and over.  She's going to throw her scarf in the air to signal the boys need to start the race.  
From Senator Patty Murray's office. 
From Workers World.

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


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

Editorial: The Iraq 'expert' that was a nut case

Iraq, the country the press forgot.

Are at least most of the western press.  The New York Times has Tim Arango back in New York and The Los Angeles Times has Ned Parker covering it from Beirut.  Maybe they'll help improve the coverage collectively?

Individually, they do their part.

But how Iraq has suffered.

The western press has largely ignored it and what coverage that has made it out of Iraq has been awful.

Maybe there's a reason for that? Maybe that reason has a name?

Reidar Visser.

The Disciples of Reidar are many: including CIA contractor Juan Cole, Al Jazeera and Christian Science Monitor's Jane Arraf, AFP's Prashant Rao.  They've embraced their leader who knows so very little and has many problems.

It's not like there weren't warnings that Reidar Visser didn't know what he was talking about. From the January 18, 2012 "Iraq snapshot:"

Reidar Visser has an analysis at Gulf Anlaysis.  He's wrong that it's "exactly one month" since Iraqiya announced their boycott.  They did not announce on the18th of December it was the 16th.  More troubling, he insists that a caretaker government cannot take place.  Really? 
 That's cute.  Before he attempts to offer legal analysis in the future, somebody tell him it takes more than watching a few episode Judge Judy to know the law.  In other words, he needs to stick to what he thinks he's good at and I'll explain to him right now, the law is not what he's good at.  And I'll add that I'll be nice once and only once on this issue.

He never grasped the Iraqi Constitution but his followers treated his idiocy as insight.  Then came the failed Arab League Summit months later and Disciples of Reidar Jane Arraf and Prashant Rao joined him in praising it as a success.  From the March 30, 2012 "Iraq snapshot:"

There are 22 countries in the Arab League.  Hamza Hendawi and Lara Jakes (AP) put the number of Arab League leaders who attended at 10 and they pointed out that Qatar, Saudi Arabi, Morocco and Jordan were among those who sent lower-level officials to the summit. Patrick Martin (Globe & Mail) explains that Sheik Hamad Bin Jassem Bin Jabr Al Thani (Prime Minister of Qatar) declared on television that Qatar's "low level of representation" was meant to send "a 'message' to Iraq' majority Shiites to stop what he called the marginalization of its minority Sunnis." Yussef Hamza (The National) offers, "Iraq has looked to the summit, the first it has hosted in a generation, to signal its emergence from years of turmoil, American occupation and isolation. It wanted the summit to herald its return to the Arab fold. But the large number of absentees told a different story."  That's reality.
Who's the liar pimping success?  Why it's not just Nouri al-Maliki, it's Jane Arraf and Prashant Rao's Twitter buddy, the idiot Reider Visser.  A fool not qualified to discuss legalities of the Erbil Agreement as evidenced by his dime store 'legal' 'analysis' that makes Elle Woods look, by comparison, like a legal giant along the lines of Thurgood Marshall. And of course Jane and Prashant and the others weren't trained in the law either so they idiotically retweet Reider's ignorance there by multiplying it as well as endorsing it.  Reider's a Nouri al-Maliki groupie so he's hardly an impartial voice.  He's also buddies with trash Nir Rosen. Though Nir's more famous right now for turning over the names of Western reporters to the Syrian government (that's what led to the recent charges that he was a spy), he of course became infamous for presenting the 'legal' 'analysis' that Lara Logan 'had it coming.'  Nir really wasn't qualified for anything other than blowhard status but the Circle Jerk -- the same one that Jane and Prahsant employ on Reider's behalf -- ensured that a man was elevated and it didn't matter that he pisses on women or anything else.  It's really past time that so-called professional journalists started examing their own ethics.  At best, Reider is nothing but a whore for Nouri.  There's no reason to treat him as impartial.  There's no reason to treat his 'legal' renderings as worth passing on.  

Reider Vissar is a crackpot.

And he's influenced coverage for far too long as the low hanging fruit of western reporters have repeated his mistaken 'analysis' and applied it to their own coverage.

Saturday came news "A crackpot runs AFP, Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor" -- their trusted 'analyst' who so influenced their coverage for so long is convinced that there's an international conspiracy against him -- countries and a local crimes unit stalk him around the globe, sitting next to him in research libraries to disturb him, and they have prevented him from joining the CIA.  Not only that but the FBI has posed as the CIA. 

The warning signs were always there.   C.I. spotted them, Mike did as well.

But allegedly trained journalists like Jane Arraf and Prashant Rao missed it.  Not only that, they popularized his ridiculous 'analysis' and used it as framework in their own reporting.

  • Significant development for watchers: 3 Iraqiya ministers returned to cabinet today

  • Interesting: In conflict w govt, IHEC today said 18 May wd be right date for Anbar & Nineveh elections

  • They excused away Nouri al-Maliki's illegal actions because they had Rieder -- if not God -- on their side.

    So now they stand exposed as being just as crazy as their 'expert.'

    They provided him with 'legitimacy' and now that he's lost his maybe it's time they lost their own.

    Media: NPR Chatter (Because NPR Can't Do News)

    Because Fresh Air's taking a hit, NPR took the axe to Talk of the Nation, convinced that the problem wasn't Terry Gross but that radio stations were adding PRI's The World at a brisk rate because they just wanted magazine shows.

    a radio

    It never occurred to NPR that what radio stations wanted was a quality news broadcast.

    Morning Edition last week was a study in dumbness all week long and the biggest individual argument for the rise of PRI's The World.  You had Steve Inskeep and David Greene acting as though the whole world was a laugh.

    Last Tuesday, in Iraq, a sit-in Hawija resulted in 50 deaths and over 100 people injured when the sit-in was attacked by Nouri al-Maliki's forces.  If you get your news through Morning Edition, you're reeling in shock. You'll also be shocked to learn that in the days that followed, it was non-stop violence with well over 100 more killed.

    NPR's Morning Edition never noted it.

    What did they have time for instead?

    Jerry Seinfeld.  Turns out the TV star of the 90s likes coffee.  You haven't watched him in anything new in years but he qualified for news on NPR.  Apparently so that Steve Inskeep could embarrass himself laughing when Jerry says "Well you just got up, give it some time, it may change."  Ed McMahon kissing Johnny Carson's ass never gave such a suck-up laugh.  It was so embarrassing that we were actually mortified for Steve Inskeep just from listening.  (Share the mortification, click here and stream.)

    You'll also learn that being a one-time TV star means you don't have to be honest.  Here's Jerry explaining when he started to like coffee (and we're taking out Steve's comments to let it flow together).

    Jerry Seinfeld:  So that was my old attitude about coffee. And then something happened about five years ago. I started touring a lot, and we would have these great big, fun breakfasts in the hotel and it just seemed to go really well with the French toast.  And then I got married and I had a family, and my entire day was not free for social interaction.   And eating is annoying, difficult to arrange, hard to choose places. And meeting someone for coffee suddenly seemed like a wonderful, compact, accessible and portable social interaction.

    So Jerry started drinking it in 2008 because of  "great big, fun breakfasts in the hotel" and also because "then I got married and I had a family and" to escape that, coffee was the answer.


    But Jerry didn't get married in 2008. He got married in 1998.  They had the first of three children in 2000.

    So every word Jerry uttered made no sense.  Steve Inskeep might have caught that if he hadn't been so busy trying to play drunken co-host.  But if everyone at Morning Edition wasn't drunk, someone might have wondered, "Why the hell are we doing this nothing segment on a heavy news Friday to begin with?"

    Though they never found time for Iraq all week, Morning Edition did note Egypt.  Kind of.

    Leila Fadel filed what is a feature article, not news, mid-week about, we were told, "the Egyptian Jon Stewart."

    It wasn't all fluff.  For example, there were issues or 'issues.'

    We're on the mailing lists just like NPR.  So on Thursday, we got the same e-mail NPR did from the Free Press' Timothy Karr entitled "This Is Getting Serious:"

    This is getting serious. A story in Wednesday’s Washington Post noted that the Koch brothers’ bid for the Tribune newspapers “doesn’t bode well for the kind of fact-based journalism that most American newspapers strive to practice.”
    That's bad news all around, but it hasn't stopped Tribune Company executives from courting the Kochs. Forbes now identifies the brothers as the most likely candidates to buy the Tribune's eight newspapers, which include the Chicago Tribune and the Los Angeles Times.
    Please take action and tell the Tribune Company to pass on the Kochs. People in Chicago, Los Angeles — and everywhere else — deserve better.

    And that was actually the second e-mail from the 'Free Press' on that.  We were kind of surprised that an organization calling itself the "free press" would think it had a right (or need) to concern itself with who wants to buy what, this being America and all.  But we weren't at all surprised to find out NPR was turning this e-mail into a 'news story' on Friday -- one by the always laughable David Folkenflik.   He started off telling you the two brothers owned mining interests which was, of course, wrong.  No one heard a correction on air -- NPR didn't want one on air, the mining was a slur and intended as such -- but NPR did tack one on to the text of the story online.  They played a soundclip of talk show host Rachel Maddow attacking the Koch brothers because balance really isn't an issue to NPR anymore.

    Folkenflik went to a Reuters journalist who whined about how mean the Koch brothers were and how they said he made stuff up.  On another day, that allegation might have carried weight; however, this was the day that Jim Romensko was addressing Reuters 'reporters' that don't actually exist -- ones Reuters makes up Facebook pages for and e-mail accounts for.

    We listened confused because the Koch brothers haven't said they're interested in the Tribune Company.  If they were, it's really not that big of a story.  But how is this news?  As Folkenflik would admit later Friday on KPCC's Air Talk, "They will not confirm or deny their interests" in buying the company.  So this is gossip and not news.

    Is it really anyone's business?

    If you're planning on bidding, we guess it's your business.  Otherwise, not really at this point.

    Especially when Folkenflik isn't raising concerns on NPR about the Democrats bidding on The Los Angeles Times.  Folkenflik got really uncomfortable -- and started stammering about Rupert Murdoch -- when KPCC host Larry Mantle raised the issue of the leftists wanting to buy the Los Angeles paper.  After he was done fumbling, Folkenflik finally managed to say Eli Broad -- even while ignoring the others bidding on that paper.

    As Poynter noted last month, Eli Broad has joined with Austin Beutner to bid on The Los Angeles Times.  In 2007, of course, Broad bid on the Tribune Company.  Interestingly, there was no rush on NPR to cover that potential purchase (Sam Zell beat out Broad) in 2007.  None at all, not a single segment on the bid.   The only real difference between then and now?  Broad contributes to Democratic Party candidates and the Koch's to Republicans and Libertarians.

    Wait.  That's one of two real differences.  The other real difference is that Broad actually made a bid whereas the Koch brothers have not done anything as far as the press knows at this point.  An actual bid (in 2007) isn't news but a maybe bid today is?  We'll just assume the Free Press must not have sent out an e-mail that found them in a tizzy over Broad buying the Tribune Company.

    Remember we talked about the turmoil in Iraq?

    We should note NPR did offer a tiny bit on it.  Of course, it didn't air on the radio. It appeared online. Bill Chappell strung together the reporting of other outlets Saturday afternoon to finally report on it -- after we'd spent hours on the phone to CPB members who kept saying they were sure Diane must have covered it on Friday's international hour of The Diane Rehm Show -- demonstrating that they don't listen to Diane's show.  (A) Susan Page was the guest host (Diane wasn't on) and (B) no, they did not discuss Iraq.

    NPR's really not interested in news anymore.  Especially not on their news magazines which feature new segments like "3 ingredients in my cabinet, what can I make" (that regular feature kicked off this week on Morning Edition, we're not making it up, click here for the segment's debut on Wednesday).  That's why PRI's The World is taking off.  It's an hour of news that doesn't insult the listeners with patter between the hosts.

    If you need to know how bad things are getting:  Kelly McEvers.  Forgotten Kelly and Syria?  Let's drop back to February of last year:

    There's a reporter who has so enlisted in the administration's goals that she's become a joke to even the Pentagon. She's the new Judy Miller and her name is Kelly McEvers.

    McEvers was supposed to be NPR's Iraq correspondent. Originally, she had problems getting to Iraq (and finding a place to live), but she got settled in and did some reporting that both she and NPR could be proud of. But actual reporting seems of less and less interest to NPR so the Iraq correspondent began being pulled for every surrounding country in the region.

    It's her reporting on Syria that's destroyed her reputation, as each day seems to find her filing yet another breathless report of the violence being witnessed in Syria, the outrageous violence, the deaths, the destruction . . . All of which she observes from Beirut. (That's in Lebanon for those not familiar with the MidEast and, no, Lebanon is not in Syria, it is its own country which, like Iraq, shares a border with Syria.)

    Sometimes, after dispensing 'facts' on bombings and deaths and shootings, 'reporter' Kelly will add something like "the activists and witnesses and citizen journalists who we talk to on a regular basis" tell her this is what is taking place. Such a statement -- not always included -- will usually pass quickly. And no one will question whether her sources are one-sided (they certainly sound one-sided). Last week, when she was 'reporting' on rockets destroying a neighborhood and a hospital (unverifiable claims on her part) this exchange did take place:

    INSKEEP: Now, Kelly, we should be clear: Few, if any, journalists are inside Homs, or in any of the contested areas in Syria. We're getting information from activists here. How confident are you of the picture that's emerging, of what's happening in Syria right now?

    MCEVERS: It is so difficult to verify the numbers. And over the weekend, we saw that there were discrepancies about how many, exactly, had died in some of these government offensives. You had one activist group saying it was over 300. Another activist group saying no, it was only 60. And without being able to go there ourselves and verify it and see it with our own eyes, it's very difficult.

    It's very difficult? We'd say it's impossible. And when the administration is pounding the war drums on Syria, we'd say the last thing the US needs is 'reporters' 'reporting' on something they can't verify with their own eyes. Speaking to people with vested interests and basing your report on that? Not only is that not objective journalism, it doesn't even rise to the level of news reporting. At best, it's a feature article -- a lighter category.

    But nearly every day, there's Kelly on Morning Edition (or All Things Considered), breathless and insisting that violence is taking place all around her . . . Well, she watches some streams online from her echo chamber inner circle -- apparently while preparing meals based upon what she declared on Morning Edition last week. Is she doubling as a Sous-Chef at Chez Sami?

    She's certainly not cutting it as a reporter and, again, she's become such a joke that even the US Pentagon is laughing at her.

    After the embarrassment that was her Syrian 'reporting' (from outside Syria, she gave reports based on what one group of Syrians told her), you might think they were really putting her in the trenches so she could get some more (much needed) experience in reporting.

    You would be wrong.  She's being groomed to become the host of the weekend edition of All Things Considered.  If she can pass her trial period (that begins shortly), she'll be bringing that sing-song delivery, where every word occupies a different note on the musical scale, to anchoring.  Or hosting.  Hosting is probably the more precise term.

    Now if only we could find the term for NPR because it's not "news radio."  It's not "public radio."  (NPR lives in fear of the masses.)  Most days it passes for background chatter -- bad chatter at that.

    Congress and Veterans

    Dona:  We had planned on doing this last week but time ran out.  So we've got a lot to cover in terms of Congressional hearings.  We'll be covering Eric Shinseki, VA Secretary, appearing before the Senate Budget Committee last Tuesday which C.I. covered in Tuesday's "Iraq snapshot" and Friday's  "Iraq snapshot."
    The week before that, Shinseki appeared before the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee April 18th snapshot, April 19th snapshot,  Ava covered it in "Sanders makes impression early in tenure as Committee Chair" and Kat covered it in "I can always count on Senator Richard Burr."  Along with Kat, Ava and C.I., we've got Wally who was at the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and we've also got Ruth.  We're going to end on a non-VA hearing that Ruth attended but, Ruth, you're welcome to jump in anywhere.  C.I., you were at all of Shinseki's hearings this month -- including the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  Explain in broad strokes what's going on.


    Dona (Con't): What are the main themes?

    C.I.: The claims backlog is probably the main issue.  It's really hard to sit through the hearings at time.

    Dona: Like the Budget Committee hearing when Senator Tim Kaine was acting the fool?

    Wally: Oh, was he ever.  Kat and Ava skipped that hearing.  Kaine was so smug and so stupid.  He fell for every lie Shinseki offered.

    Dona: Which included how hard Shinseki's job is?

    Wally: Absolutely.  Shinseki wanted to whine about the paper system when he came in.  Oh, poor, Eric.  What  a shame you have to deal with it, no one else ever had to.  And the reality is that the VA, under Shinseki, has not taken the issue of digitzation seriously.  This includes in 2011, when they had contracts for scanning documents expiring in a matter of days and were not then working on renewing the contract.  Over and over, the problems he whined about, that Kaine found so sad, were usually problems he either created or prolonged.  And I really thought, last week, Kaine wanting to interrupt as the hearing was closing down to offer a list of what he termed "compliments" was pathetic.  And embarrassing.

    Dona: In that hearing, reading over C.I.'s reports, I see one thing I want to emphasize especially.  This is Committee Chair Patty Murray speaking, "There is a December 6, 2012 memo from the US Chief Information Officer and US Chief Technology Officer that requires DoD and VA to submit a number of documents regarding the status of the IHER program and I would ask that you provide us with a complete set of documents as well."  IHER is?

    C.I.: Integrated Health Electronic Record.  It refers to DoD and VA being able to share the same record on a person, they don't need to create two sets of health records for one person.  That's been presented, since 2005, as a money saver and as a time saver.  It will reduce the backlog for claims, we've been told, by simplifying records.  Shinseki was tasked with that in 2009, creating that, by President Barack Obama.  He's never even accomplished the first step.  Chair Murray appears to want to know what the VA is telling Chief Officers and whether or not it matches up with what the Congress is being told.  That's my guess.  I could be wrong.

    Dona: No, that exchange stands out.  I would agree that's the best guess.  On the claims backlog, I want to go to Kat.  Kat, in your report, you note that Ranking Member on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Senator Richard Burr, caught the VA using fuzzy math.  Explain what happened.

    Kat: Sure.  Burr comes prepared and the VA must hate him for that.  He reads their submissions and catches their mistakes.  The numbers aren't adding up, the VA's own numbers.  Their strategic plan numbers for doing away with the backlog are being replaced in the 2014 Fiscal Year Budget with lower figures and that means the backlog is actually being predicted to grow. This was very basic, he outlined it very easily and the VA's excuse -- especially Hickey, always Allison Hickey -- was to pretend that the numbers that the VA had presented to the Senate for this hearing were unfamiliar to her and she'd need to check them.  Yet her office is the one that prepared the numbers.  She's such a liar.  The numbers don't add up so this nonsense about the backlog about to end within two years just doesn't add up.

    Dona: Alright. Ava, you've been writing about Senator Bernie Sanders' distinguishing characteristic -- or his first one -- as Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chair.  Explain that to us.

    Ava: With Senator Patty Murray becoming Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, Sanders has become the VA Committee Chair.  He's marking out his own interests right now.  This includes, for Post-Traumatic Stress -- not a single, big-box cure or treatment.  He wants a variety to be recognized so that a larger number of veterans are being helped.  This includes natural or holistic treatments.  I want to toss to Wally because he was at the Budget Committee hearing, I wasn't, sick child, so, Wally?

    Wally:  Ava's written about his support for yoga and equestrian therapy among others.  But last week, he also raised the issue of acupuncture and specifically about why we needed a medical doctor to do acupuncture.  This, of course, means a larger cost but he was mainly wanting to know why an acupuncturist by itself wasn't enough if that's what the treatment plan's calling for?

    Dona: Thank you both.  I'm pulling this exchange from C.I.'s reporting and I want us to discuss what's being addressed.

    Chair Patty Murray: Under this initiative as you just described, there's the provisional rating that will be given to them and then they can make continued claims -- so are looking at increasing the workload by requiring two ratings decisions instead of one?

    Allison Hickey:  Uh, Chairman, uh, we're not.  We're actually trying to benefit the veteran who has been waiting the longest in this case.  We want to get that decision to them.  If that veteran returns after the fact saying 'I have additional information,' we will expedite that claim to the front of the line, we will re-rate it based on additional information and we will get them a final decision. 

    Dona: Kat, tell me what just got said.

    Kat: How about I give you background.  The VA has a huge backlog on claims, as we all know.  To hide this backlog, the VA wants to create a new program that I'm going to call provisional.  They're going to start sliding claims over there and give them a rating.  This will reduce the backlog proper.  But in 'provisional' you're going to see the numbers go up like crazy.  In Provisional, they'll be given a claim immediately but then the VA will work and see if that's correct or not.  Who knows how long this will take.  And then after the veteran's assigned a claim, he or she will have the right to appeal it.  So what Murray's talking about, yes, she's right that there will be multiple ratings and not just one.

    Dona: Okay.  Thank you.  And let's say I'm one of those veterans.  Let's say the VA gives me a provisional claim of 79% disabled and then, after they do their investigation, they downgrade me to 38% disabled.  Do I have to refund money to the VA?

    Wally: That's one of the most important questions for veterans and that's a question that Eric Shinseki couldn't or wouldn't answer at the hearing when he was asked that directly.  Instead, he gave a lah-de-dah about how everyone knows the importance of being fiscally responsible.

    Dona: I wish we had more time for this but we need to move over to the House Foreign Affairs Committee Hearing that Secretary of State John Kerry appeared at.  C.I. covered this in the April 17th snapshot,  Wally covered it with  "The buget hearing that avoided the budget,"  Ruth with "Kerry pressed on Benghazi," Kat  with "I'm sick of Democrats in Congress" and Ava's with "Secretary Kerry doesn't really support women's rights."  This is actually a hearing I wish we'd covered last Sunday if only to end the e-mails.  Let me make a statement to readers: If Ava writes it, C.I.'s not going to disagree.  Not just because they're friends but because they're pretty much always of the same mind.  If they aren't immediately, they are after they talk something through.  A huge amount of e-mails have coming in asking if Ava was "wrong" to write what she wrote or if C.I. feels the same and some have thought there must be some friction between the two over what Ava wrote.  No.  Ava?

    Ava: No.  There's no problem between C.I. and myself.  John Kerry appeared before the House committee.  The week prior, the State Dept. that he runs had issued statements about how great it was that the G8 conference had set these guidelines for women's rights.  In the hearing, Kerry was asked by US House Rep. William Keating about violence against women and about tying aid to the women's rights.  Kerry rejected that idea with some weasel words about how it could hamper goals.  A week before he gave that weak and weasely response, the State Dept. issued a press release which included:

    Foreign Ministers endorsed the Declaration on Preventing Sexual Violence in Conflict. They called for urgent action to address comprehensively the culture of impunity and to hold perpetrators to account for acts of sexual violence committed in armed conflict. Ministers emphasised the need to promote justice and accountability for sexual violence in armed conflict by strengthening the existing framework for prosecution, and to provide more long-term support to prevent and respond to sexual violence in armed conflict, as part of broader development and humanitarian efforts. They confirmed that rape and other forms of serious sexual violence in armed conflict are war crimes and also constitute grave breaches of the Geneva Conventions affecting large numbers of women and girls as well as men and boys. In addition to the physical and psychological trauma, sexual violence when used to deliberately target civilians or as a part of a widespread or systematic attack against civilian populations is a violation of international law, which can significantly exacerbate situations of armed conflict and may impede the restoration of peace and security. The G8 has an important role in advancing the implementation of the relevant UN Security Council Resolutions on Women, Peace and Security and Children and Armed Conflict, including by tackling conflict-related sexual violence and advancing the participation of women in peace building and transition processes, as Ministers acknowledged in Washington in April 2012.

    Ava (Con't): "Foreign Ministers" includes Kerry.  So, while the world watches, this matters.  But when it comes time to talking to Congress, he rejects conditioning any form of aid on the basis of how women are treated by a government.

    Dona: I agree that's offensive and thank you,  Ava, for reporting on that.  I'm sorry again to rush due to time issues.  But I'm going to go to Ruth.  September 11, 2012, there was an attack on a US compound -- compounds -- in Benghazi, Libya.  The attack left four Americans dead:  Glen Doherty, Tyrone Woods, Sean Smith and Chris Stevens.  Ruth's covered the issue from the start.  This was a very big issue at the hearing.  I read the coverage in the mainstream press and was surprised to learn that it was ridiculed and laughed at.  That was the impression the press gave about the hearing.  That's not what Ruth saw and reported.  Ruth?

    Ruth: I was wondering what I was going to be discussing.  Now I see.  Yes, the press reports of the hearing were that Secretary Kerry was upset or short or said that this was not an issue.  And he did do some of that.  Especially before it was conveyed to him that there was, for example, non-classified material that the members of Congress had to go to a room to review and could not remove or copy.  Secretary Kerry was visibly surprised to learn of this.  He stated he was unaware of it and he would address it.  This was not the only issue about Benghazi that was new to him.  He stated he would assign someone in the State Department to work with the Committee on obtaining what they need.  What I am talking about right now did not make it into the reporting.  That is a shame because it showed a side of Secretary Kerry that was cooperative and helpful.  But the media, with few exceptions, seems to have long ago determined that Benghazi is a story they will not cover; therefore, they tend to alter reality when reporting on hearings.

    Dona: Thank you, Ruth, so much.  This is a rush transcript.  We'll continue to try to roundtable on Congressional hearings.  Our e-mail address is

    Last week's slaughter that was ignored by the west

    دفن شهداء الحويجة

    Last Tuesday, Nouri al-Maliki's federal forces stormed a sit-in in Hawija, Kirkuk. Alsumaria noted Kirkuk's Department of Health (Hawija is in Kirkuk)  announced 50 activists have died and 110 were injured in the assault.   Iraqi Spring MC offered photos of Wednesday's funerals.

    Others weren't so sure how to respond apparently.

    For Arthur Bright (Christian Science Monitor), the dead were something to smear.  For Kevin Drum (Mother Jones), the dead were an excuse to rehash his sexual attraction to and frustration with Bully Boy Bush.  Others just played silent.

    NPR aired no segment about it on any of their news magazines and The Diane Rehm Show couldn't even mention it on their 'international hour' Friday.

    Already taking deep hits for the crap the US chapter has pulled over the last years, Amnesty International stayed silent.  Human Rights Watch stood alone among western organizations in condemning the attacks:

    Iraqi authorities should ensure that a promised investigation into a deadly raid on April 23, 2013, in Haweeja, near Kirkuk, examines allegations that security forces used excessive and lethal force. Government statements said armed men at a protest sit-in fired on security forces, killing three soldiers, but local sources and media reports said security forces attacked demonstrators without provocation, killing dozens of people. The government put the death toll at 27.
    On April 23, Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki announced the formation of a special ministerial committee to investigate the deaths. The government had previously announced investigations into killings by security forces of protesters in Fallujah and Mosul in January and March, but has so far not released any results nor has anyone been publicly held to account.

    “The Iraqi authorities shouldn’t respond to the killings in Haweeja by once again failing to hold security forces responsible for unlawful killings of demonstrators,” said Sarah Leah Whitson, Middle East director at Human Rights Watch. “Turning a blind eye to previous abuses has helped create the violent environment that today threatens to escalate across Iraq.”

    The sit-in, local sources told Human Rights Watch, comprised around 1,000 people from Haweeja protesting what they characterized as the government’s unfair treatment of Sunnis. The protest, in “Sahat al-Ghira wa al-Sharaf” (“Pride and Honor” Square), began more than three months ago.  There were no reports of earlier violence between protesters and security forces, who had surrounded the square since April 19, following an attack on a government checkpoint.
    Sheikh Saadoun Findi al-Obeidi, one of the sit-in’s organizers, was not in the square during the raid but told Human Rights Watch he spoke to numerous protesters who were present. They told him that “SWAT” security forces, which report directly to al-Maliki, surrounded the protesters at dawn on April 23, and said the forces attacked the crowd at 5 a.m. An Iraqi Defense Ministry statement said the army responded to live fire, and an attack ensued in which 27 people were killed: three soldiers and “a combination of protesters and militants.”

    “The protesters told me that the SWAT forces first sprayed the crowd with hot water, then started shooting directly at the people who were armed only with sticks,” al-Obeidi told Human Rights Watch. The security forces “knew that demonstrators didn’t have weapons,” he said.

    Protesters reported to al-Obeidi that 50 demonstrators were killed and 120 injured in the clashes. As protesters tried to run from the square to escape the shooting, he said, security forces also arrested “large numbers” of people. The Defense Ministry admitted to detaining 75.

    Local and international media reported that the security forces used helicopters, tear gas, and live ammunition in the raid, and that later in the day, there were several retaliatory attacks against security forces in Haweeja by unknown groups. According to the reports, some armed groups took control of government security checkpoints.

    When 4 Iraqi newspapers were attacked in Baghdad this month, we saw the same silence.  Iraq is the tragedy the western media participated in and now it's the tragedy the western media desperately wants to pretend doesn't exist.

    Cantor, the symbolic vote on ObamaCare you've been looking for is here

    We don't see how the Republicans in Congress can do anything, currently, with regards to ObamaCare other than symbolic actions.  Yes, they control the House.  They don't control the Senate.  So we don't see anything passing.

    Michael Catalini (National Journal) reported on last week's decision in the House of Representatives to pull a planned bill from a vote:

    Leadership pulled the bill from its scheduled slot on the floor, at the same time exposing the intraparty political problem facing the GOP: Do conservatives double-down on the repeal-or-bust approach? Or do they accept the law for now but try to emasculate it wherever possible?
    Opinion polls help shed light on the question. In a recent Quinnipiac University poll, more Americans disapproved than approved of the health care law 46 percent to 41 percent, and a greater number say the law will hurt  (37 percent) rather than help (15 percent) them personally. That should make messaging simple, argue many conservatives. Repealing the law is a no-brainer.
    “What conservatives in the party understand is that they cannot be positioned on Obamacare to say this has failed and it’s collapsing on itself later unless they’re making that case now. For a lot of those guys it’s full repeal,” said Holler.

    Why pull it?  Because it couldn't pass in the Senate?

    That seems the most obvious reason.  But who knows?

    We don't claim to be experts on the Republican Party.

    We frequently don't understand why they do what they do.

    For example, we're against ObamaCare as well.  It's not universal health coverage.  It's not single-payer.  All it does is make everyone a slave to an insurance company.

    It offers no real health care advantage.

    And realizing that and being of the left, we would have come at it from a different angle if we controlled a house of Congress.

    We would have realized repeal was  ahard fight but we would have noted those strong numbers.  And we would have known how to drive up those strong numbers.

    ObamaCare is not trusted.  It took strong arming to force it through.  Anyone on the left is honest and remembers then-US House Rep. Dennis Kucincih swearing that he would never vote for it and then being strong-armed by President Barack Obama to do it.

    Point being, only a thin layer of self-lies allows ObamaCare to have any popularity on the left.  We'd strip that layer clean.

    Know how we'd do that?


    Pay attention, Eric Cantor.

    We'd propose that members of Congress stand with ObamaCare or call it out.  How do you do that?

    If ObamaCare is so great, so wonderful, so good for America, put it to another vote.  Insist that Congress replace its current health care plan and stand with the people.  If they're for ObamaCare, then they should be willing to give up their current plans and switch to ObamaCAre.

    So we'd introduce a bill that did just that in the House that we control so that we can get a rollcall vote on it. We'd stipulate that everyone in our party would vote for the bill because if Americans are going to be forced into a health program, we want all Americans to have that 'program.'

    We'd force the Democrats in the House to vote on whether or not they'd give up their plans (which taxpayers foot the bill for) and take ObamaCare.  That would mean leaving their government paid for program and footing the bill for their own health care.  We think Dems in the House would crater.  And that would send an immediate message about the quality of ObamaCare and the fact that Dems in the House don't want to be like the rest of America.  But let's say it passed.  Great.  Send it to the Senate which is Dem controlled.  If it doesn't come to a vote what a message to America.

    The House voted for us all to be equal -- even members of Congress -- and the Senate doesn't want to?  You think that won't send a message to America?

    Shame of the week: Rape apologists CODEPINK

    In a really bad week that included the western's press shameful silence on a massacre of a sit-in in Hawija, Barack Obama and Bully Boy Bush performing a half-and-half in public in Texas with a rusty trombone throne in as a bonus and so much more, CODEPINK managed to grab the full shame pie when Medea Benjmain decided to weigh in on rape charges.


    Or as she called it "sex allegations." Not since fat ass Naomi Wolf tried to reduce rape to concerns of "the dating police" has a woman so whored herself to the patriarchy.

    Trina ("F**k Medea Benajmin -- Rape is not "Sex," you stupid b**ch") and Ann ("This rape victim says CODEPINK is no friend of women") immediately called her.

    No one faces "sex allegations" -- the term is rape, you stupid fake activist.  You have disgraced yourself and CODEPINK.

    Until CODEPINK releases a statement disassociating itself from Medea Benjamin's crap, they too will remain apologists for rape.

    The Chalk and Cheese Racism


    People magazine announced Chalk and Cheese was "the most beautiful woman." Gwyneth Paltrow?  The hagged out face who really doesn't qualify as a catalog model.  At 40, all the air brushing and raccoon eye make up can't make Gwynnie a fresh face anymore than the Weinstein brothers could make her box office.

    But what she and People can do is yet again demonstrate the racism of American's leading magazines.

    If this were 1971, Chalk and Cheese would barely qualify for a bit part as one of Marcia's friends on The Brady Bunch.  But because she's White, she's proclaimed most beautiful by People.

    In the real world, this is Kerry Washington's time.  The star of this season's most talked about TV series, Scandal, also managed to bring beauty and nobility to the splatter porn of Django Unchained.

    Uniquely beautiful, exceptionally talented, Kerry got sent to the back of the bus for the flavor of 1997 to be pulled out of the back of the deep freeze.

    One woman's a star, the other's a failed attempt at stardom now confined to playing the type of roles Natalie Wood tossed aside when she turned 18.

    So why didn't the true star, Kerry Washington, make the cover?

    Let's all pretend race had nothing to do with it just like we pretend that Edgar Winter-lookalike Gwyneth deserved the honor.  People magazine, and the KKK, have voted.

    Senator Murray wants answers to assault in the ranks of the Marines

    Senator Patty Murray

    Senator Patty Murray (above) is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Her office issued the following last week.

    CONTACT: Murray Press Office
    Wednesday, April 24, 2013
    (202) 224-2834

    Senator Murray Questions Navy, Marine Corps on Sexual Abuse
    Recent report shows Marine Corps has highest percentage of reported female sexual assault
    Navy Secretary Mabus: “I’m angry about it.”

    WATCH hearing.

    (Washington, D.C.) – Today, Senator Patty Murray (D-WA), a senior member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, expressed deep concern for the high rates of reported military sexual assault during a Defense Subcommittee hearing examining the Department of the Navy Fiscal Year 2014 budget request. Disturbing data about the rates of abuse was recently revealed in the Department of Defense’s “2011 Health Related Behaviors Survey of Active Duty Military Personnel.” The Pentagon survey showed the Marine Corps had the highest percentage of abuse reported, with nearly 30 percent of females saying they had been sexually abused during service. The Subcommittee heard testimony from The Honorable Ray Mabus, Secretary of the Navy, Admiral Jonathan Greenert, Chief of Naval Operations, and General James Amos, Commandant of the Marine Corps.

    “General Amos, in your testimony you described a number of good steps you have taken to combat military sexual assault in the Marine Corps,” said Senator Murray during the hearing. “You also discussed how sexual assault is entirely incompatible with the culture of the Marine Corps. But I was very concerned by a recent USA TODAY article which discussed the results of the Pentagon health survey. According to that report, of all the services, the Marine Corps has the highest percentage of female servicemembers reporting they were sexually assaulted. Do you have any thoughts on why this might be?

    Senator Murray also questioned Secretary Mabus about the new Department of Defense Instruction on Sexual Assault Prevention and Response (SAPR) Program Procedures, released by Defense Secretary Hagel on March 28, 2013. “I have been asked if I’m concerned about sexual assault,” said Secretary Mabus during the hearing. “And my reply has been, ‘That is not an accurate description and I don’t think it applies to either General Amos or Admiral Greenert.’ I’m angry about it. This is an attack on our sailors and our Marines. And it’s an attack from the inside. It’s something we simply have to fix. If someone was walking around taking shots at random at our sailors and our Marines, we would fix it. And this is no less of an attack on the integrity and the structure of our force.”

    Senator Murray’s exchange with Secretary Mabus and General Amos can be viewed here. (starting at 59:43)

    During a Senate Budget Committee hearing on Tuesday, Chairman Murray announced she soon will be introducing legislation to help prevent military sexual assault and protect those affected.


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

    RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

    Rallies demand Mumia's release (Betsey Piette, Workers World)

    Repost from Workers World.

    Rallies on Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 59th birthday demand his release

    By on April 26, 2013 » Add the first comment.
    Pam AfricaWW photo: Joseph Piette
    Pam Africa
    WW photo: Joseph Piette
    Philadelphia — On April 24, in celebration of political prisoner Mumia Abu-Jamal’s 59th birthday, hundreds of people from several East Coast cities rallied outside the Center City office of Philadelphia District Attorney Seth Williams to demand Abu-Jamal’s release.
    An award-winning journalist and former Black Panther Party member, Abu-Jamal spent nearly 30 years on Pennsylvania’s death row falsely accused of killing a Philadelphia police officer.  When a decades-long, global movement succeeded in winning his release from death row in Dec. 2011, Abu-Jamal was moved into general prison population to serve a life-sentence without parole.  Today’s events were dedicated to broadening and strengthening this movement in order to win his release, with the understanding that life in prison for an innocent man is also a death sentence.
    April 24 protest.WW photo: Joseph Piette
    April 24 protest.
    WW photo: Joseph Piette
    April 24 also marks the anniversary of the passage of the Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act, signed into law in 1996 by President Bill Clinton.  By placing stricter time limits on appeals, the AEDPA had a seriously negative impact on the rights of prisoners like Abu-Jamal to use the law of habeas corpus to challenge death penalty convictions before the U.S. Supreme Court. The act also gave that court greater leeway in deciding whether or not to hear appeals of capital cases.
    Courts on federal, state and local levels have all acted to severely limit Abu-Jamal’s rights to appeal his conviction, often reversing previous rulings when his case came before them. When the death sentence was eventually lifted in 2011, DA Williams blocked Abu-Jamal’s right to a resentencing hearing that could have opened the door to introducing new evidence leading to his release.
    ‘Peoples Power has kept Mumia alive’
    The midday rally greeted passing cars and pedestrian traffic with colorful banners and signs urging drivers to “Honk for Mumia.”  The response was deafening.  Many people unfamiliar with the decades-long case stopped for information.
    Speakers who addressed the rally included Ramona Africa of the MOVE organization; Ralph Poynter, spouse of political prisoner Lynne Stewart (who is currently suffering from terminal cancer while in prison); Afro-Colombian activist and rapper Jhon J. Ulloa; and Caleb Maupin, a member of a new revolutionary organization, Red Youth, and Workers World Party, who stated: “Wall Street bankers want Mumia dead.  People’s power has kept Mumia alive.”
    Monica Moorehead, with the International Action Center, commented on Abu-Jamal’s writings on international struggles from Palestine to Venezuela.  She noted that the recent bombing at the Boston Marathon was a direct result of the U.S. global policy of endless wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and now Syria.  Moorehead stated, “Here in the belly of the beast, police brutality and terror in cities like Philadelphia and Newark, N.J., go hand-in-hand with rising levels of poverty.”
    Shujaa Graham, one of six people released from death row in California when his conviction was overturned in 1981, spoke on the role that police and prosecutorial misconduct played in his case.  Framed for the murder of a prison guard, Graham stated, “I’m here today not because of the criminal justice system but despite the criminal justice system.”  He credited the “desire, dedication and determination” of student organizers who came to his defense for his release.
    Later in the day, protesters marched from a subway stop and a car caravan drove to the site of an evening rally at North Philadelphia’s historic Church of the Advocate, where around 200 people gathered to kick off a Campaign to Free Mumia.
    Strong youth presence at rally
    Many youth from Philadelphia’s African-American communities were in the audience leading Drew Brown, one of the co-chairs, to call for them to join the movement noting, “If Mumia was here as a youth he’d be leading this movement.” Several young activists took turns chairing the evening program.
    Speakers included Dr. Suzanne Ross with the New York Free Mumia Coalition, who gave an update on the international movement in support of Abu-Jamal. Johanna Fernandez, with Educators for Mumia Abu-Jamal, introduced a new campaign calling for a million signatures demanding Abu-Jamal’s release.
    Pam Africa, minister of confrontation with the MOVE organization, gave a brief history of the movement for Abu-Jamal including the historic march and rally of 10,000 people in Philadelphia in 1995 that forced then Gov. Tom Ridge to back down from carrying out an execution.  Africa thanked the IAC for initiating the 1995 protest.  She also spoke on an international rally and outpouring of Millions for Mumia in 1999 that included an 8-hour work stoppage by longshore workers at West Coast ports in support of his freedom.
    Recording artist and music promoter Terrance Tykeem spoke of his experience from four years in prison that led to writing his book, “Guilty by Reason of Arrest.”  Tykeem denounced the school-to-prison pipeline stating: “The U.S. incarcerates more people than any other nation on the planet — the majority, people of color.  The system has a target on the backs of our kids.”
    Stephen Vittoria, producer and director of the documentary film, “Mumia:  Long Distance Revolutionary,” reminded the audience that in 1970, as a young member of the Black Panther Party, Abu-Jamal spoke at the Church of the Advocate after returning from Chicago to investigate the police murder of Fred Hampton. Vittoria described how the film, which covers Abu-Jamal’s history as a political activist and writer, is slowly starting to “change the conversation” on how he is portrayed by mainstream media. The movie is set to open at the Ritz at the Bourse in Philadelphia on May 3.
    International hip-hop artist, Immortal Technique, performed for the audience as did award-winning poet, Nina “Lyrispect” Ball, and Alex Santiago of the Philadelphia Youth Poetry Movement.
    Professor and activist, Marc Lamont Hill, who co-authored the book, “The Classroom and the Cell” with Abu-Jamal, stated that “life in prison for a person like Mumia is a death sentence.  Mumia is still with us against all odds and because of our struggle.”
    Referring to a brief phone call from Abu-Jamal to the gathering, Hill said: “It’s good to hear from Mumia but it’s not enough. Let’s commit to organizing so that on his next birthday Mumia can be with us to celebrate.”

    Articles copyright 1995-2013 Workers World. Verbatim copying and distribution is permitted in any medium without royalty provided this notice is preserved.


    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.

    "A crackpot runs AFP, Al Jazeera and the Christian Science Monitor" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

    Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Talk Is Cheap" -- Isaiah on Mr. Pretty Words.

    "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on the Senate Budget Committee hearing.

    "scandal and community," "Arrow Roy is the Wonder Twins," "Nikita 'Self-Destruct,'" "Sexism and The Simpsons,"  "Body of Proof," "Revolution," "The Good Wife (the evil Diane)," "Smash," "The Revenge low down and more" and "The Client List and crazy, insane Riley" -- Rebecca, Stan, Mike, Kat, Marcia, Elaine and Ruth cover TV.

    "Iraqis bleed -- does anyone care?," "barack, you asleep or what?," "Hawija is this week's Boston," "A sit-in shot up and run down by tanks" "Nouri kills his own people,"  "Nouri is the new Saddam," "Time for Nouri to go," "Where's the network coverage?," "Can you believe?," "Reuters, wrong again," "The hell Nouri-al Maliki's inflicted on Iraq," "Iraq's on fire, where's McClatchy?," and "Queen Kevin Drum" -- Iraq coverage from community sites (with one post by C.I. filling in for Ruth at her site).

    "They're made for each other" and "THIS JUST IN! SO MUCH IN LOVE!" -- Barack and Bully were lovers -- like Frankie and Johnny.

    "The Great Recession" -- Trina covers the recession.

    "F**k Medea Benajmin -- Rape is not "Sex," you stupid b**ch" and "This rape victim says CODEPINK is no friend of women" -- Trina and Ann reject the rape apologist that CODEPINK has become.

    "IVAW endores The Drone War" -- Marcia calls out IVAW's latest nonsense.

    "The Spirit of Barack" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

    "The Long Goodbye" -- Stan goes to the movies.

    "The Jazz Singer and other bombs" -- Ann on a book.

    "Chained CPI means $32,000 loss for some disabled veterans" -- Trina addresses the latest attack on veterans.

    "From the crystal ball of John Dickerson"  and "THIS JUST IN! THEY CALL IT REPORTING!" -- John Dickerson supplements reporting salary with a shift at the Psychic Network Hotline.

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