Sunday, August 03, 2014

Truest statement of the week

A lot of people, including Dianne Feinstein and John Kerry (and Marc Andreessen), still think of Snowden as a traitor. Mind you, in theory, treason requires “helping or supporting an enemy.” I’m not sure which enemy they have in mind: Russia? China? Edward Epstein insinuates that the Snowden affair was a foreign espionage operation all along, but the man himself claims he took no secret files to Russia and was able to protect them from Chinese spies as well.
Do the people of Earth count as an enemy?

The anti-Snowden brigade generally claim that he should have worked within the system to blow the whistle on it, and/or should have returned to the USA to face the subsequent music — although it has since become apparent that the NSA has not been completely forthcoming about Snowden’s attempts to express his concerns without going public.

-- Jon Evans, "Dear America, Would You Please Give Edward Snowden His Medal Of Freedom Already?" (Tech Crunch).

Truest statement of the week II

If we don’t die from ebola, we still have to dodge nuclear war. I heard part of Obama’s press conference. Obama accused Putin of doing everything that only Obama is doing.

If Obama believes what he told the press, he is utterly disinformed by his advisors. If he doesn’t believe the crude propaganda that he speaks, he is consciously leading the drive to war with Russia which probably means war with China as well and the end of us all.

Keep in mind that after eight years the US military was unable to successfully occupy Iraq and that after 13 years the US is unable to defeat a few thousand lightly armed Taliban in Afghanistan.

-- Paul Craig Roberts, "'Intelligent American' Is An Oxymoron: Obama's White House Press Conference" (Information Clearing House).

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?

Jon Evans' first truest.
Paul Craig Roberts' first truest. 
We offer a different twist on the Iraq editorial.  
Ava and C.I. continue to be the leaders on media criticism because they continue to forge the path others refuse to do.

We cover a variety of 'big' issues in this roundtable.
Short feature!
At last the pudding cup we've waited to return is back.
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
Aid to the Church in Need.

Green Party of Michigan.
Video of the week.
This is a repost from Workers World.

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


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

Editorial: Foreign Policy in Focus and their stupid bondage games

Foreign Policy in Focus, where the only borders are stupidity.

They yet again underscored that slogan last week when they published the nonsense of Corrie Hulse ("The 'Responsibility to Protect' Is Buried in Iraq") which was yet another piece on Iraq that ignored reality.

What is it with these cowards in their political closets that prevents them from telling the truth?

Toss a cat into a room with the Foreign Fools in Focus and chances are you'll hit a closet-case Communist or Socialist.

And they're not the interesting kind, the exciting radical you can have really hot and intense sex with while discussing a better world as you catch your breath after.

No, these are the other kind.  As they get older, they become like the Communists and Socialists at the end of the sixties and start of the seventies who were so eager to support LBJ and Nixon by supporting the Iraq War.

Remember those scummy pieces of crap?

They would go on to become neocons.

There's something really vile and disgusting about these types who embrace totalitarianism.

They've been taught not to think but to hero worship.

And just as their predecessors  lapped at the cocks of LBJ and Nixon, the current crazies can't stop licking Barack's nuts.

Which explains why Foreign Fools in Focus has written yet another piece of crap about ISIS.

Oh, that evil ISIS!

The tired old hustlers of FFIF -- with their dried snatches and their limp dicks -- can't call out Nouri al-Maliki.

They can call out rebels, militants and terrorists.

But Nouri al-Maliki is the government of Iraq -- the US-installed government.

And since the start of the year, he has daily bombed the residential areas in Falluja, killing and wounding civilians.

And FFIF has called that out when?

July 10th,  NINA reported Falluja General Hospital released numbers  on the dead and injured from Nouri's bombings of Falluja's residential neighborhoods (which is legally defined as a War Crime). Since January 1st, Nouri has killed 542 civilians in Falluja and injured 1880 more.

FFIF thinks ISIS is a criminal organization -- and that ISIS is an umbrella for a large number of groups.

Okay, so a criminal kills and that's surprising?

Isn't it more shocking when a government kills civilians it is supposed to protect?

Of course it is.

But the dried snatches and the limp dicks of the closet cases of Foreign Fools in Focus will not call out a leader or a government.

Even in their post-sexual stage, they still have a sick desire to crawl and be beaten, masochists one and all.  They're useless and they're disgusting as they play out their bondage games with the lives of others.

TV: The Judges, The Juries

Rosie O'Donnell is set to return to The View (ABC).  She took the show to increased fame, record ratings and made it a daily talking point.  Her return will hopefully provide a return to those moments. Certainly, it will prevent the embarrassment of idiotic hosts walking off a live show.  Unlike Whoopi, Rosie knows all about how to be a host.

Rosie's smart enough to know a host doesn't have the luxury of storming off.  She's also strong enough to know how to get her own opinion across when she disagrees with someone.

So her return should be a great thing for The View and we're rooting for her.


That said, we're missing the old Rosie.

That's not to say she needs to return to that persona, it is to note that only Ellen DeGeneres seems capable of being nice on talk shows these days.

Take the stench out of Austin that is Rooster Teeth.

This podcast and YouTube offering mainly revolves around men sitting around talking.

Big moments?  Burnie Burns whining about how people park on surrounding streets.  In front of his Austin home?  No.  On side streets near his Austin home.

This qualifies as a 'problem' on Rooster Teeth where a bunch of transplants to Austin buy up big properties in trashy neighborhoods (yes, Burnie, you live in a trashy neighborhood) and fulfill every stereotype of the noveau riche.

In fairness, we should note that Gus Sorola tries to be welcoming to all listeners.  In factness, we should point out that Gavin Free doesn't know facts.  He's confused by world events -- even WWII -- and seems very proud of that.  Sometimes, Gavin gets corrected, sometimes he doesn't.

And that's true of everyone in a discussion on this 'show.'

As a podcast, it may be acceptable in all its low rent tacky cheapness.  As a video on YouTube?  It's an embarrassment and never more so than when one of the men starts shouting f-this and f-that.

They like to yell on the show.

They really like to yell.

And deal with non-topics, non-issues and waste time.

The only thing sadder than Rooster Teeth itself may be its audience.

But there is worse.  For example, there is The Skeptics Guide to the Universe which is a program of hate heaped on top of hate.  In fact, consider SGU to be seven-layer hate.

They hate religious people, they hate these people, they hate those people.

When they start ragging on the 'ignorant,' you quickly grasp that they fail to see how ignorant they themselves are.


We're far from infallible.

And we don't pretend otherwise.

What makes SGU such an embarrassment is they think they're scientific and factual.

They think things are fixed.

Things are never fixed.

Science, in 1953, told you, for example, that same-sex encounters were wrong, immoral, the product of stunted growth, a choice and something to be medically treated with castration, shock therapy and any other leading 'scientific' treatments.

We could also point out that, at one point, the use of leeches was considered scientific.

An SGU fan got into an argument with us recently.  The friend was ripping apart the film Lucy (we should note that she wanted the role in the film and was passed over) and insisting it wasn't science, that it was a myth that humans use only X % of their brains.  She knew because it was science.

Actually, she knows no such thing.

Brain science is not an established field.  Much remains to be mapped out.

It currently appears that most humans use all parts of their brains at some point over a 24 hour period.

But it can be argued that the point of Lucy in the film of the same name is that she's able to use all parts of her brain at the same time.  And current science does not indicate that humans do that.

Current science.

When we listen to SGU, we hear smug bastards who think they know it all because they know a little bit of science.

In addition to the examples we already offered, there is the fact that, for years, educated people believed the earth was flat.

Science offers many wonderful details and facts.

When it's used to spit on others, it's being misused.

When it's used to mock people who, for example, are in serious pain and glom onto a placebo that may provide relief (due to their own beliefs), 'science' is being misused.  It's no longer about informing or educating but instead about shaming and attacking.

Bob Somerby knows all about that.  His declared war on Maureen Dowd will apparently never end.

That has to do with Bob being a sexist.  It also has to do with his professional jealousy of Dowd (we wouldn't go there if he didn't popularize a similar attack on Dowd).

Hillary Clinton rakes in millions on speeches each year.  Now Chelsea Clinton does as well -- the same Chelsea who is famous for nothing but being the daughter of.

With Hillary and Chelsea, Bob's had a snit fit when Dowd or anyone else has brought up those huge fees.  And he -- and David Brock's group of idiots -- wants you to know that many times these payments go directly to the Clinton Foundation.

Bob's that stupid.

Many people are.

Who sits on the board of the foundation?

You do realize board members get paid.

Some have a large fixed salary, some may have a percentage, some may get a huge boost the following year if record monies are brought in.

Among those serving on the board?  Hillary, Chelsea and Bill.

When Bob obtains the details of the salaries for board members of The Clinton Foundation, then he can start 'correcting' Maureen Dowd.

Until then, he's lying -- intentionally or not -- when he starts insisting that these fees are donated and no one should criticize the Clintons.

The fees are not 'donated' in the sense that Americans understand donations.

Chelsea is not saying, "Give my $250,000 salary to the American Cancer Foundation," for example.

The money is going into her family's foundation.  She draws a salary from the foundation as a board member. Her mother draws a salary as a board member.  Her father draws a salary as a board member. Stop pretending this is about charitable works.

That's not donating, this is lining your own pockets.

You may disagree.

Guess what?

Differing opinions are not crimes.

That's a shocker to David Brock's Media Matters which spent last week slamming Fox News for deciding remarks Bill Clinton made on September 10, 2001 about Osama bin Landen counted as news.

It's really not a fact check, is it?

They can't say Fox News got the facts wrong.

So they simply insist that the topic itself is not news.

We don't have fact checks these days from the left.

If you missed it, we have attempts to shun and shame.

Maureen Dowd choosing to emphasize or question speaking fees is not bad journalism.

You may insist that it's a non-topic but that's only your opinion.

On the left, when we were out of power, we argued against a media that silenced us, a media that attempted to act as a gatekeeper.

But today so many of us have become part of that same system.

Not us.

We've always said the answer is more voices, not less.  We've always believed that the American voter was an adult who didn't needed to be shielded from reality, who could be presented with several different arguments and choose by her or himself which best spoke to them.

Imagine if, in 2009, the left had joined together to press for a wider media landscape?

Instead, we appointed ourselves gatekeepers and confused opinion with fact and possibility with certainty.

We also embraced a strain of sexism that allows us to ignore the fact that a week of Bob Somerby is a week of attacks on Maureen Dowd, Krystal Ball, Rachel Maddow, Alexandra Petri, etc.  We've criticized many of those women ourselves.  We've criticized some in very harsh terms.

Thing is, though, we've also criticized men in strong terms.

But with Bob Somerby, as we've long noted, men make mistakes and can redeem themselves while women are offered no shots at redemption and are ridiculed with 'critiques' like are they twits?

To be clear, our problem here is that there's one non-stop attack way for dealing with women and a more forgiving and softer treatment for men.

That's one problem we have with Somerby -- and with David Brock's Media Matters cult.

Another problem?

What do Maureen Dowd and Rosie O'Donnell have in common?

Both women spoke out against the Iraq War before it started.

Most of their critics can't make the same claim.


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


Jim (Con't): Spying.  The US government has been illegally spying on American citizens.  People like Senator Dianne Feinstein didn't give a damn.  C.I. you were at the hearing that the closeted lesbian Chaired.  Take us back to that, it was a long time ago.

C.I.: It was June 6, 2013, it was the Senate Appropriations Committee and Barbara Mikulski is the Chair.  The illegal spying had been going on forever and a day and had been repeatedly exposed by the press.  But at this hearing, Senator Mark Kirk voiced the concern that really mattered to the Committee:  "I want to just ask, could you assure to us that no phones inside the Capitol were monitored -- of members of Congress.  That would give a future executive branch, if they started pulling this stuff, kind of a -- would give them unique leverage over the legislature?"

Jim: And as you noted in your report on that hearing:

Kirk, Mikulski and Senator Richard Shelby all agreed it was an important question.  And it's important because it's them.  It's too bad that they don't feel it's important for non-members of Congress.  It's too bad that Mikulski's 'answer' is to call for a closed hearing.  It's too damn bad that she doesn't think the American people are owed answers.  Remember, in American now, "democracy" translates as something that belongs only to elected members of Congress.

Jim (Con't): Let's emphasize that last statement, "Remember, in America now, 'democracy' translates as something that belongs only to elected members of Congress."  Last week came new revelations. Betty?

Betty: As I did at my site, let me quote Patrick Martin of WSWS:

In the course of his White House press conference, Obama declared his “full confidence” in Brennan only one day after the release of a CIA inspector general’s report that exposed the CIA chief as a brazen liar. Brennan had denounced claims by the chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, Dianne Feinstein, of illegal and unconstitutional CIA spying on the committee staff, which was investigating the CIA torture program carried out during the administration of George W. Bush. The inspector general’s report admitted that the spying had taken place.
The CIA’s surveillance of the Senate, which is legally mandated to oversee the agency, is a stark expression of the unchecked powers of the unelected spooks and generals who run the intelligence and military agencies. The fact that the top US spy agency can carry out secret torture programs, act to sabotage a congressional probe of this criminal activity, and then go scot-free reflects the disintegration of American democracy and the emergence, behind the formal trappings of elections, etc., of the framework of a police state.

Betty (Con't): It became an issue -- illegal spying -- only to certain members of Congress because they were the ones being spied upon.  For every Mark Udall or Ron Wyden, you've got ten more senators who don't give a damn about spying unless or until it effects them personally.

Isaiah: And let's remember that they are elected to represent the people.  Let's remember that because there is no indication that they remember it.

Ruth: And to be clear, we are all outraged that the CIA has spied on Congress, has broken into the Intelligence Committee's computers and much more.  That is appalling and disgusting.  It is illegal and there is no excuse for that.  But we do feel the need to note, as C.I. did in June of last year, the Senate only got concerned when they feared they were being spied upon.  Prior to that, they did not care, prior to that, they were fine with the fact that Americans were being illegally spied upon.

Mike: They were much more comfortable, back then, slamming whistle-blower Ed Snowden.  They really weren't interested in defending the American people.  Or in defending the importance of Ed Snowden's truth telling.

Jim: C.I.?

C.I.: I was at the hearing where Dianne Feinstein called Ed a liar and, of course, she was the damn fool who believed the government on what Ed could and couldn't do.  Turns out, he told the truth about the power he had, as a contracted employee of the US government, to spy on anyone.

Cedric: I think it's worth noting that had the spying on the Senate committee surfaced first, prior to Ed Snowden's whistle-blowing, a lot of rabid attack dogs like Dianne Feinstein and closet lesbian Barbara would have been far less likely to attack Ed.  They might have gotten immediately just how important his whistle-blowing was and how it changed everything.

Jim: Do most of us feel that Ed changed everything?  Elaine's nodding so let me go to her.

Elaine:  No matter how much denial has greeted the revelations, no matter how many attacks there have been on Ed, what he revealed was important and major.  His act of whistle-blowing is probably the most important to take place in the United States ever.  And, yes, I am aware of the importance of Chelsea Manning's whistle-blowing and Daniel Ellsberg, to cite only two.  I would still argue that Ed's whistle-blowing is the most important.

Jim: A lot of people have attacked and slammed him.

Elaine: Which goes to the importance of his actions.  If someone exposes that the string on a candy necklace is intentionally made weak, who cares?  It's whistle-blowing, it's exposure.  It doesn't really impact our lives.  So no one would spend forever attacking that whistle-blower.  The importance of his exposures goes to why Ed had been so viciously attacked.

Jess: Well, I said changing the topic, we could certainly use a whistle-blower with regards to Ukraine which War Criminal Barack Obama seems bound and determined to use as an attempt to start war with Russia.  And this has probably been the plan for some time.  For some strange reason, in August of 2013, Barack decided to launch a war of words with Russian President Vladimir Putin.  I'm quoting C.I. from August 2, 2013:

Reality, Putin's thrilled.
Why wouldn't he be?
He doesn't care for Barack.  He leads Russia today which isn't the USSR of yesteryear.
But it raises his profile to be clashing with Barack, as he fully knows.
In addition, it takes the focus off Russia's human rights abuses.  (The US has human rights abuses as well.  I'm neither picking on nor praising Russia.)
Russia goes from being beat up in the global public square to putting a spotlight on Barack's ridiculous efforts.
In addition, Putin now has leverage.  He can play the Snowden card for 12 months.

Jess (Con't): He can and he will.  And Barack worked overtime to inflate Putin's standing, to build him up as the great villain.

Kat: And he's getting a lot of help with that.  For example, everyone should stream or read the transcript of the disappeared BBC News report that Information Clearing House is highlighting.

Ann: And how about they grasp that bully Samantha Power is chomping at the bit for war on Russia.  She's such a dreadful person and it appalls me that idiots like Davey D were pimping that War Whore in 2008.  Samantha Power has had Barack's ear since he was a US senator.  If people had told the truth about her, the truth about Barack might have been known earlier. Instead, they were either silent or they applauded her.  Very few called her out.  Ava and C.I. called her out, Edward S. Herman called her out, Keith Harmon Snow called her out.  As far as I'm concerned, that's pretty much it.

Kat: I would agree and I am very glad you mentioned Keith Harmon Snow because he was probably the first to call out Power.

Wally: On him, I want to note something.  He told the truth, he did so repeatedly.  His thank you is that a lot of people don't know who he is.  The left outlets should have embraced him, Amy Goodman should have had him on repeatedly, The Nation should have amplified his writing, etc.  But they didn't.  They were cowardly and that's what we see from them today.

Rebecca: I agree with Wally to a degree.  I agree about Keith Harmon Snow.  But I don't know that the others were cowardly.  I think they were co-opted.  I think Amy Goodman's show is, time and again, little more than a public service announcement for the CIA and other elements of the government.  I think they do what Chris Hedges documented, allow a tiny bit of steam to be released while changing nothing.

Jim: Steam?

Rebecca: As the pressure builds, as outrage builds, Goodman and her ilk allow a tiny element of steam to be released.  It doesn't change anything, it doesn't try to.

Dona: I can see that completely.  And I find Amy Goodman's repeated use of CIA contractors on her show to be disgusting and suspect.

Ty: I think an argument can be made that our 'leaders' of the left have done nothing to help us or to improve the situation.  I think we can argue that, for example, Katrina vanden Heuvel's only interest is in increasing her own fame.  She wants to be on TV.  She doesn't want to change anything.  There's a whorish element to the 'leaders' that's truly disgusting.

Isaiah:  And, back to the earlier point, if you speak truth -- like Keith Harmon Snow -- you will be shut out by most outlets.  The Nation knows what Samantha Power is, they always knew.  They just chose to keep their mouths shut to advance themselves.

Jim: Is there any goal -- besides war -- that surprises you because we failed on it.

Trina:  Health care.  We all know the insurance companies profit off the current system and are responsible for the increase costs in health care.  We all know that but so many on the left did whore and pretend ObamaCare was something we needed.  What we needed was to cut out the insurance industry and to move towards universal, single-payer health care.  ObamaCare is not, for example, what Canadians have.  And there are no cost controls on it.

Marcia: I was going to say the same thing and note how all it did was force Americans to buy insurnce or pay a fine.  I agree with Trina that it's amazing we refused to fight this, that so many whored themselves for it.

Jim: Okay, we're out of time so Marcia's will be the last word.  This has been a rush transcript.

Open toes, closed mouths

Is Susan Rice advising on national security or party planning a lou lou?

From The TEST Test Kitchen

We've long insulted the shift in packaging that has rendered pudding useless.

So imagine our happy surprise when reader Lewis informed us the real size of pudding was back.

Remember that.

Remember when you could actually put a normal size spoon in pudding cup.

They're called Super Snack Pudding.

And a single cup will actually leave you satisfied.

It's pudding cups the way you remember them.

We give this our highest recommendation -- all flavors -- and only the news that Ramen was returning to making their tomato flavor noodles could make us happier.

IAVA CEO: Passage of VA Bill only a ‘Band-Aid’

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America issued the following on Thursday:

CONTACT: Kaitlin Ramlogan (212) 982-9699 or

IAVA CEO: Passage of VA Bill only a ‘Band-Aid’
Congress and President Need to Take Additional Action to Help Vets

Washington DC (July 31, 2014) – Today, the Senate joined the House of Representatives in overwhelmingly passing the Veterans Access, Choice and Accountability Act, the compromise legislation on reforming the Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) the largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing post-9/11 veterans and their families, strongly supported the bill, praised lawmakers for moving one step closer to restoring confidence within the VA, and strongly encouraged the President to sign it into law as soon as possible.
The majority of the bill focuses on increasing access to immediate care for veterans who either live over 40 miles from a VA medical center or who must wait over 30 days for a medical appointment. The deal also includes important provisions that have been top policy goals and priorities for IAVA including the GI Bill Tuition Fairness Act, the VA Management Accountability Act, further reforms to combat military sexual trauma, and both short-term and long-term staffing and leasing authorizations to increase the VA’s capacity to serve veterans.

IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff released the following statement:

“The passage of this bill through the Senate today is not a silver bullet,” Rieckhoff said, “but rather it is only a Band-Aid, and one that will soon fall off.  While there are many good elements to the bill that Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America fully support, we are nonetheless outraged that it took the VA scandal to create this kind of urgency in Washington for our veterans. IAVA maintains that we should not fall victim to the poor standards or low expectations set by the VA and Congress in this matter. Though we are both glad and relieved that an agreement is reached we believe that Congress hardly deserves praise for finally doing something they should have done a long time ago. Now that the bill has been passed we expect the President to take immediate action. We urge him to meet with IAVA leadership and implement recommendations from IAVA’s eight-point “Marshall Plan” for veterans.”

Note to media: to arrange an interview with IAVA CEO and Founder Paul Rieckhoff or other IAVA leadership, please email or call 212-982-9699.

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America ( is the nation's first and largest nonpartisan, nonprofit organization representing veterans of Iraq and Afghanistan and has more than 270,000 Member Veterans and civilian supporters nationwide. Celebrating its tenth year, IAVA recently received the highest rating - four-stars - from Charity Navigator, America's largest charity evaluator.


August 6th Global Day of Prayer for Peace

 Aid to the Church in Need's announces Global Day of Prayer for Peace:

Aug. 6, 2014--Feast of the Transfiguration

“Please stop, I ask you with all my heart, it’s time to stop. Stop, please.” Inspired by these words of Pope Francis (June 27, 2014), the international pontifical foundation Aid to the Church in Need, united with His Beatitude Louis Rafael Sako, the Chaldean Catholic Patriarch of Iraq, appeals to all persons of good will to join in a Global Day of Prayer for Peace to be held on August 6, 2014—the Feast of the Transfiguration.Chaldean Cross

The feast of Transfiguration marks the moment when Jesus, on Mount Tabor, appears to three of his disciples in a state of glory, shortly before His ultimate trial on Calvary. This feast holds out a sign of hope for humanity: it is a source of courage when obstacles appear impossible to surmount; a sign that light is stronger than darkness; and testimony that death can turn into life.

Meant to be observed in churches and homes across the country, this Global Day of Prayer in the midst of so much suffering in Iraq—particularly for the ancient Christian community of Mosul—tells the world at large that US Christians have not forgotten and abandoned their suffering brothers and sisters.

Patriarch Sako has personally composed the Prayer for Peace:

The plight of our country
is deep and the suffering of Christians
is severe and frightening.
Therefore, we ask you Lord
to spare our lives, and to grant us patience,
and courage to continue our witness of Christian values
with trust and hope.
Lord, peace is the foundation of life;
Grant us the peace and stability that will enable us
to live with each other without fear and anxiety,
and with dignity and joy.

Glory be to you forever.

The Patriarch also said: “Let us unite our voices and hearts before the Lord of peace. May the light of Tabor fill the hearts of all suffering people with consolation and hope. May the message of Tabor, through our prayers, inspire the leaders of Iraq to sacrifice personal interests for the common good and welfare.”

Please click here and join ACN's candle vigil for Iraq.

Green Party of Michigan says no robbing general fund to enrich big business

The Green Party of Michigan notes the following:

Ecological Wisdom      *  Social Justice
Grassroots Democracy  *  Non-Violence

Green Party of Michigan

**  News Release  **
**  ------------  **
    August 1, 2014

For More Information, Contact:
Fred Vitale, GPMI Chair
    (313) 580-4905

Paul Homeniuk, GPMI Nominee for Governor
Paul Homeniuk for Governor Putting People First
    (517) 337-2297

Michigan Greens Oppose Proposal 1 on Primary Ballot
Urge Citizens to Vote NO on Legislative Package That Shifts
Authority from Local to State, Taxes from Businesses to Consumers

    The Green Party of Michigan (GPMI) urges voters
at next Tuesday's primary election to say NO to the
shift of taxes and authority contained in statewide
Proposal 1.

    Formally Proposal 14-1, the nine-bill package
adopted by the Legislature would end the personal
property tax assessed by local governments on
business equipment based on its remaining value
and useful life.

    To make up part (but not all) of the personal-
property tax revenue many local governments depend
on and would lose, the state would share some of
what it collects in the use tax charged to consumers
who buy goods by mail or on line from outside Michigan.

    The shift would be administered by a new "local"
government agency which actually covers the whole
state.  In addition, the five members appointed to
the new Local Community Stabilization Authority board
would have greater control over people’s rights to
decide how their communities should progress.

    Paul Homeniuk, GPMI's candidate for governor,
has put out his own statement opposing Proposal 1
as "sleight of hand" by the Legislature.  It is
posted on his campaign Website at

    Paul notes that the Legislature's own analysis
shows a loss of $107 million in general-fund revenue
in 2016 from Proposal 1.  "In 2017, the loss will be
$350 million, and at least $500 million per year by
FY 2025.  This means less money for roads, for schools,
and for revenue sharing with local governments.

    "When you throw in that the actual formula for
reimbursing local authorities for lost personal
property taxes does not guarantee actual losses,
only an estimate based on year-old figures, this
bit of legal acrobatics is nothing more than
stealing from the people of Michigan to give
yet another tax break to big corporate donors."

    As further evidence of this, Paul points out
that Proposal 1 "allows the Michigan Strategic
Fund, controlled by Michigan Economic Development
Corporation (MEDC), to lower or grant exemptions
for businesses if they claim they will invest
$25 million in new equipment in Michigan.

    "But as with most MEDC programs, little or
no verification or documentation is required."

    Paul adds that the Legislature also "slipped
control of the METRO Act/Right of way into the
hands of the unelected five-person board of the
Local Community Stabilization Authority.  This
unelected authority could tell local communities
which permits they have to approve or deny for
a wide range of telecommunications expansion."

    John Anthony La Pietra, GPMI's Platform
Committee chair and the party's nominee for
Attorney General, observes that even people
who don't buy anything online or by mail may
be presumed to owe use tax -- and pay it --
on their state income-tax returns.

    For more information about the Green Party
of Michigan, its candidates, its platform, and
its values, visit:

You can also “like” the Green Party of Michigan US
Facebook page and follow GPMI's Twitter feed

#    #    #

created/distributed using donated labor

Green Party of Michigan
PO Box 504
Warren, MI  48090-0504

    GPMI was formed in 1987 to address environmental
issues in Michigan politics.  Greens are organized
in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.  Each
state Green Party sets its own goals and creates its
own structure, but US Greens agree on Ten Key Values:

    Ecological Wisdom
    Grassroots Democracy
    Social Justice
    Community Economics
    Respect for Diversity
    Personal/Global Responsibility
    Future Focus/Sustainability

For the latest news,
“like” the Green Party of Michigan US Facebook page --
and follow us at Twitter:  @MIGreenParty.

The targeting of Iraqi Christians

Last week, US House Rep Trent Franks weighed in on the targeting of Christians in Iraq.

Here's the transcript of what's being said.

US House Rep Trent Franks:  Mr. President, last month, 55 colleagues of mine and myself sent you and Secretary Kerry a letter asking that you actively prioritize security and humanitarian support for the Christian community in Iraq.  We specifically warned you of the dangers and brutality of the terrorist group ISIS who are now rampaging across Iraq and terrorizing the vulnerable Christian population.  In the letter, we specifically pointed out that "parts of Syria and Iraq that have previously fallen under the rule of ISIS have witnessed summary executions, beheadings and even crucifixions."  And that "absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness an annihilation of a faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries."  Tragically, Mr. President, you simply ignored us again -- as you've done so many times before.  And now ISIS, the group you once likened to a junior varsity basketball team, is beheading its way across Iraq and has declared that there will be "nothing for the Christians but the sword" if they do not convert.  Mr. President, last week, ISIS torched an 1800-year-old church in Mosul and deliberately and insidiously destroyed the historic tomb of Jonah.  Last Sunday, for the first time in 1600 years, there was no mass in Mosul.  The head of Iraq's Christian community said, "For the first time in the history of Iraq, Mosul is now empty of Christians."  And now images of ISIS' beheadings, crucifixions, rape, torture and mass execution are all over the internet and social media.  Just yesterday, I met with a group of NGOs based in Iraq who told me that ISIS recently beheaded 6 Christians and then proceeded to play soccer with their decapitated heads.  Mr. President, ISIS's targeting of Christians has been systematic and horrifying and Iraq's Christians in the area are now nearly extinct.  It can rightly be called "targeted religious cleansing."  And, sir, it is a crime against humanity.  And yet, Mr. President, we have not heard a single word from you -- even as a literal Christian genocide is taking place at this very moment, you have not uttered even one syllable about what your administration is doing or planning to do to relieve or protect these persecuted Christians in Iraq.  So now speaking with you and pleading with you directly, sir, I once again repeat the words we wrote in our letter to you a month ago: "We urge you and your administration to urgently and actively engage with the Iraqi central government and the Kurdistan Regional Government to prioritize additional security support for these particularly vulnerable populations and provide emergency humanitarian assistance to those effected communities.  Absent immediate action, we will most certainly witness the annihilation of ancient faith community from the lands they've inhabited for centuries.  Mr. President, if you continue to ignore this Christian genocide in Iraq, history will record that it was you who idly stood on the sidelines and knowingly let it happen.

On the picket line

This is from Workers World:

On the picket line

By on August 1, 2014

Low-paid workers win big raises at Johns Hopkins Hospital

Some 2,000 low-paid workers — janitors and service, maintenance and technical workers — at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore won substantial raises under a new four-year contract reached July 8 by Service Employees 1199 United Healthcare Workers East. In 2015 veteran workers of 20 years at one of the country’s leading nonprofit university hospital systems will receive increases to $15 an hour, with 15-year veterans earning $14.50 an hour. Hopkins workers now make so little that 70 percent qualify for food stamps, said SEIU.
The workers struck for three days in April and then held a huge downtown rally in May where they talked openly about their poverty wages and the need for food stamps and Medicaid. They voted to strike in June. Worker Yvonne Brown explained in a Baltimore Sun op-ed: “I’ve worked at Hopkins for 19 years, and I make just $12.97 an hour,” just above the poverty and food stamp line. Meanwhile, hospital President Ronald Peterson was paid $14.5 million last year. If Petersen’s pay was split up, she noted, it would give each of the 2,000 workers the raise they needed.
Highlights of the agreement include: Total raises as high as 38 percent for long-time, low-paid workers; a boost of as much as $4.30 an hour over the life of the contract; base pay of $13 an hour for all current workers, regardless of service, by 2018; across-the-board raises of at least 2 percent every year, plus an 0.5 percent bonus in the contract’s first year and a 2.75 percent raise in 2017. The two sides also agreed to establish a committee to review market rates for surgical and pharmacy techs and other workers whose pay is under market rate. (Metropolitan Washington [D.C.] Council, AFL-CIO, July 13)

Teamsters at grocery warehouses ratify contracts

Hundreds of Teamsters at three grocery warehouses in Washington state — Safeway, SuperValu and Unified Grocers — voted overwhelmingly July 19 and 20 to ratify contracts. The agreements contain annual wage increases and protections against subcontracting and the rising cost of health care. “Our members in the grocery distribution industry help maintain the supply chain that feeds hundreds of thousands of families across the Puget Sound region and the West,” said Tracey A. Thompson, secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 117. He noted that workers do physically demanding work in ambient, refrigerated and freezer environments, manually handling heavy cases and operating forklifts and pallet jacks to receive, load and stock grocery products under a tight production standard. (The Stand, July 22)

Minn. home care workers file for union recognition

More than 26,000 home care workers in Minnesota filed for union recognition on July 8. Organized under the slogan “Invisible No More,” the workers are seeking representation by SEIU Healthcare Minnesota, a statewide local. “[I]n other states where home care workers have formed a union, they have won significant wage increases, access to benefits and training opportunities, and most importantly, a voice in the state decisions that affect them,” said Darleen Henry, a home care worker. Pay is currently so low that many caregivers qualify for food stamps, and they don’t receive paid sick leave or health and retirement benefits. The election, which will be the largest union vote in the state’s history, is planned for August. (Workday Minnesota, July 8)

NYC-based reality TV writers vote union

It only took four years, but writer-producers who create such popular reality TV shows as “Ink Master,” “Comic Book Men” and “Swamp People” at Original Media in New York City voted July 11 to join the Writers Guild of America, East. “We look forward to … negotiating a contract that will provide health benefits, paid time off, minimum compensation levels and other basic union protections,” said Lowell Peterson, WGAE executive director. In June, the New York City Council held a hearing exposing such conditions as 80-hour workweeks with no overtime, health care benefits, paid sick or vacation time.
New York’s reality TV sector has grown 20 percent over the past 10 years and today accounts for more than 12,000 jobs. WGAE has already negotiated agreements with three nonfiction production companies, with two more pending. (, July 11)

Articles copyright 1995-2014 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.

"Psst, White House" -- most requested highlight of the week by readers of this site. 

 "Corporations corrupt space? (Extant)," "Extant the creepy," "Extant moves quickly," "Revenge," "24," "how the mighty have fallen" and "No, this is CNN" -- Betty, Marcia, Ann, Stan, Mike, Rebecca and Elaine cover TV.

"Favorite summer dips" and "Pizza tip in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers some kitchen tips.

"Idiot of the week," "Idiot of the week?" and "The Bill Ayers Foot In Mouth award goes to . . ." -- it was award season at Mike's site last week.

"Guardians of the Galaxy," "Spoilers: Lucy" and "Lucy" -- Stan goes to the movies.

"Janis Ian's Folk Is The New Black" and "Hotcakes" -- Elaine covers music. 

"gaza and war criminal blair" -- Rebecca on how it should be. 

"Those 'relateble' Clintons" -- Marcia on the power couple.

"Where did the dinos go?" -- Betty answers the question for you. 

"Cindy boxes Boxer" -- Kat on Barbara Boxer.

"Crooked Lois Lerner" -- Ruth continues to cover the Lerner IRS scandal.

 "the digital rev was supposed to make life easier." -- Rebecca on the continued failures of the service industry.

"Is she inspired or insane?" and "THIS JUST IN! WHINERS ARE UNHAPPY!" -- Cedric and Wally on Michelle O.

"How long will Carol Vogel have a job?" -- Ruth ponders reality.

"The legal mind" -- Elaine notes who called it.

"Be careful what you wish for" -- As Betty points out, when you put it out repeatedly, you better be willing to take responsibility.

"Torture Accessory" and "THIS JUST IN! TORTURED QUEEN TWISTS IN THE WIND!" -- culpability -- it's a legal term.

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