Sunday, November 09, 2014

Truest statement of the week

One point to make at the outset: Just as yesterday’s release of the extremely important IPCC report on climate change added multiple dimensions to the problem, beyond the obvious physical effects of global warming, to include increase of poverty, competition for scarce resources which could eventuate in war, etc., the US involvement in the Middle East, using the continuing intervention in Iraq as a benchmark (although in fact America is all over the place beginning at least a half-century before the invasion of Iraq), reveals widespread destruction, much of it deliberate, and, at home, the wholesale perversion of the Constitution, and hardly irrelevant to that process, the commission of war crimes with impunity and contempt shown international law and organization. War is more than body counts and dollar amounts; bypassing direct congressional authorization in favor of continuing resolutions, so as to avoid discussion of war policies and expenditures, the bipartisan dedication to obfuscation and government opacity, so well describes the current mood. Obama’s contempt for international law matches and is at one with his contempt for government transparency—to which, in foreign policy especially, he walks in a sea of near-unanimity.

-- Norman Pollack, "'American Footprint' in Iraq" (CounterPunch).

Truest statement of the week II

I can’t wait to hear all the political insiders who worship at the altar of Nate Silver explain how he could have been so wrong about Maryland’s gubernatorial race.
On Monday, Silver said on his FiveThirtyEight website that there was a 94 percent chance Democrat Anthony G. Brown would be Maryland’s next governor, and that Brown’s margin of victory over Republican Larry Hogan would most likely be 9.7 percentage points.

-- David Zurawik, "From Nate Silver to Jay Carney, more election coverage, less insight" (Baltimore Sun).

Truest statement of the week III

The debacle suffered by the Democratic Party and the Obama administration in Tuesday’s midterm election marks an end to the period when the Democrats could use identity politics based on race, gender and sexual preference to mask their steady shift to the right and their agreement with the Republicans on ever-deeper attacks against the working class.

-- Joseph Kishore, "The Democratic Party Implosion" (WSWS).

A note to our readers

Hey --


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

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

And what did we come up with?

We had too many strong contenders to go with just one or even just two.  In fact, we actually could have done six truest last week -- it was that strong of a week.
If you can't call out Barack, I (Jim) wish you'd just shut the fuck up already.  You're useless and you're a whore and, being a whore, you shame the rest of us via association.
Ava and C.I. tackle the sore loser nonsense that followed the outcome of Tuesday's mid-term with a focus on MSNBC. 

Short feature.
Brandon e-mailed saying it was "past time" for another film classic look.  We agree.
And 37 of you asked last week for another TESR Test Kitchen feature.

What we listened to while writing.
Dona noted this was an update by C.I. to a piece than ran here originally so we needed to repost it.
White House press release.
Workers World repost.

Great Britain's Socialist Worker repost.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we ended up with.


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

Editorial: Further into Iraq

US President Barack Obama announced Friday he was sending another 1,500 US service members into Iraq.

Mike noted, The Nation magazine had others things to focus on.

As did The Progressive where the hysteric Clarence Lusane was shrieking about the election results.

In These Times was hectoring about "the lesson from the mid-terms."

Iraq was just too much for our so-called liberal media which still can't find it in them to call out Barack Obama.

So Barack gets away with it again.

All the things we supposedly opposed when Bully Boy Bush carried them out are now either applauded or ignored when Barack carries them out.

Did we really mean it, on the left, when we said we were opposed to the Iraq War?

If so, we need to find a voice to object to Barack with.

And all the whores attacking Hillary need to check themselves.

Right now, Iraq is suffering.

If you can't call out Barack Obama, don't think you look strong beating up on Hillary.

You look like the cheap whore you are and you only create sympathy for her.

So call out Barack or shut up about Hillary unless your goal is to see her elected president in 2016.

Instead of reality, we got garbage.

At The Huffington Post, for example, it was fretted that the midterm elections meant more war.


When has Huff Po bothered to lead the cry against all of Barack's wars?

More wars than even Bully Boy Bush carried out.

If Iraq matters, it's past time to hold Barack accountable.

If doing so is too much for you, you probably shouldn't be speaking public or writing opinion pieces.

TV: The Littlest League on Basic Cable

We don't make sports analogies.  As women who don't really give a damn about sports, we're aware that there are many men and women who don't care.  As women who watched aghast as Jane Fonda, during her Ted Turner years, did the 'Tomahawk Chop' at a sports stadium, we think a lot of people should self-check before acting like they know anything about sports.

We don't pretend to know sports but we do believe we have some limited understanding of sportsmanship and concepts like "good sport."  As we understand it, at the end of the game, there's a winner and a loser and both need to show appreciation for the sport, the competition and one another.

Sore losers and sore (or ungrateful) winners are not hallmarks of good play in the sports arena.

So do we have that right?

We ask because of all the nonsense that was on display Tuesday and in all the days that followed.

For any not aware, Tuesday was an election day in the United States.

The mid-term elections -- so-called because they come in the middle of a four-year presidential term.

Because the office of president is not up for vote, the mid-terms have lower turn out then the four year elections where Americans select -- with or without 'help' from the Supreme Court -- a president.

Mid-terms are also traditionally seen as a response on the presidency.

So if a house of Congress switches from Republican or Democrat or from Democrat to Republican, that is seen as newsworthy and reflective of how people view the president.

In the immediate time period ahead of the November 4th  election (October 27th thru November 2nd) found Barack Obama's presidential job approval rating at 42% according to Gallup.  Gallup helpfully also noted that the average for presidents at this time in their second term during the modern era (1938 thru this year) is 53%.

So going into the elections, Barack was polling low.

He'd been polling low for some time now.

It wasn't a surprise and most Democrats running weighed carefully whether they wanted his 'help' or not with a number deciding no.

Kay Hagan wanted his help.  The US Senator from North Carolina wanted his last minute, week before the election, radio spot where he endorsed her and he also recorded an audio message that was played to unsuspecting people who, possibly confused by their caller i.d., picked up their phones.

The result?

Jim Morrill (Charlotte Observer) explains, "Hagan won in 2008 with the help of then-President-elect Barack Obama and lost six years later in large part because of him.  [Incoming US Senator Thom] Tillis tied Hagan to Obama at every turn and tapped voters' frustration with the administration and Democratic leadership."

That's possible and plausible.

Morrill is a reporter so he knows to stay factual.

Sadly, so many others do not.

Knobby-kneed, turkey-necked and looking like she was all messed up on 'ludes and coming down (hard) a day after the elections, Katrina vanden Heuvel insisted on MSNBC's All In with Chris Hayes that the election results -- with Democrats losing control of the Senate to Republicans -- were a result of "the dissing of a president."

vanden Heuvel never looks more homely and post-middle aged than when she attempts to talk like people thirty to forty years younger than she is.

But her remarks would have been disturbing regardless of whether or not the post-menopausal, hooked nose pundit had attempted to act her own age or that of Taylor Swift.

Along with winning control of the Senate, Republicans increased their number in the House of Representatives,

With that taking place, there were all sort of explanations and possibilities to explore.

Leave it to Katrina to offer the ultimate in crazy.

If Democrats, Katrina insisted, had stuck with the unpopular Barack, they would have done better.

Does anyone really believe that if Katrina were on the Titanic, she'd be going down with the ship?

Of course not.  You picture Katty desperately shoving people out of her way, madly kicking children aside, as she rushed to the life rafts.

But there she was on Chris Hayes' show, clenching and unclenching her knobby knees in a sign of sexual frustration as she offered her half-baked lies (even Katty can't believe her own crazy).

The lies were repeated often on MSNBC.

Anyone with a pulse knew the Dems would lose Tuesday night, the only question was by how much.

There was no question as to what 'news' network to watch though: MSNBC.

If you wanted to see the crazy run free, MSNBC was finally Must See TV.

On Friday, journalist Cokie Roberts had finally had enough of the lie that Democratic candidates were harmed by avoiding Barack and pointed out, on Morning Joe, that he did, in fact, go "to states and campaigned for candidates."

Huckster Al Sharpton immediately attempted to distract from this reality by proposing a 'theory' almost as crazy as vanden Heuvel's:  The losses were a Clinton defeat.

According to Huckster Al, the electorate was recoiling from the Clintons.

Some sort of delayed reaction to a 1992 Bill Clinton victory?  Or his 1996 victory?

In passing, Huckster Al offered, the sole bit of truth to leave his lips in years, "I think we're Obama obsessed."

Al certainly is.

And MSNBC should change its slogan from "Lean Forward" to "We've Got The Crazy."

Election night, Rachel Maddow proved that early on.

As Colorado was deciding their US Senator next year, and for five more after that, would be Cory Gardner, Rachel could be found insisting to Chris Matthews (still MSNBC's only celebrity) that Gardner may have won the seat but he lost the race. Democrats, she insisted, "win the argument even if they lose the race."  Since the only 'argument' was whether Democrat Mark Udall would be re-elected or not, in what world does that make sense?

Only in the world of MSNBC which found a sour puss looking Mike Barnicle declaring, day after the election on Morning Joe, that MSNBC favorite Martha Coakley might have won her race for governor (she lost to Republican Charlie Baker) if only Boston Mayor Thomas Meninos had not passed away.

Meninos did pass away October 30th but, in March of this year, he announced his cancer had spread and, October 23rd, he announced he was refusing additional treatments for the cancer.  His death was not unexpected and if it threw Coakley's campaign for a loop, that doesn't speak well to her staff.

By the way, whose death are we blaming for her 2010 US Senate loss to Scott Brown?

Attempting to find the bright side to defeat even before Rachel Maddow did, Joy Reid declared Tuesday afternoon, while voting was still going on, that good news in the (expected) Republican wins was "the overreach [by Republicans] would make it easier [for Democrats] to rebound two years later."

The voting had not even ended but already Joy Reid could see an overreach as a fact and not a possibility.

If MSNBC personalities had to be bound by facts, how would they be able to float to the moon and beyond while spouting one lunatic fantasy after another?

Maddow was the consummate fool on election night -- even going so far as to demonstrate she didn't know what a ringing cell phone sounded like when Tom Brokaw's phone went off in the middle of a discussion and, as Brokaw wondered if it was his phone, Maddow insisted it wasn't and that it was "something ambient."

Maybe she meant to say she'd taken Ambien -- which slows the brain activity and would explain her performance on election night.

We noted her earlier "argument" nonsense.

She may have been referring to reproductive rights.

One take-away some are trying to impose -- George Stephanopoulos floated it election night on ABC -- is that 'women's issues' were too pronounced.

The sexists ran with this constantly in the aftermath of the election.

'Identity politics' -- which used to cover race and gender but now just appears to mean gender since racism is not tolerated in Democratic ranks, though sexism is still advanced -- were the problem.

Tired Ralph Nader roused himself enough to write another useless column where he explained to the Democrats that they could have won if they'd abandoned women and focused on class issues or whatever -- Nader's mind is going but no one's supposed to notice.

We hope the election was not a rejection of women's issues.

For the record, we are firmly pro-choice but abortion is hardly the staring and ending point of women's issues.

In fact, considering that Clint Eastwood, Scott DesJarlais, Chris Huhne and Ahmed Raofi have all reportedly forced women to have an abortion, we're not even sure you can call abortion a "woman's issue."  And since all but Raofi are Republicans, we're not even sure you can call abortion a Democratic Party issue.

But if others want to make that argument, fine, let them.

We won't be Nader and write the same tired column over and over where we bend facts to try to insist our pet causes are the way to salvation.

We noted a lot of people doing that and doing another thing.

Insisting the issues proved our side (the left) was winning.

They did this, pundits, by stressing ballot measures.

It looked like so much sour grapes.

In fact, it looked worse than that, it looked deeply stupid.

When was the last time an election was about issues?  (We know, we'll get back to it.)

In this country, the media reduces elections to personalities.

So why not acknowledge the Republican win for what it was: Better, more personable candidates.

Again, in sports, we thought, you're supposed to be gracious in defeat and in victory.

The Republicans had some good candidates.

Good on the issues?

Mia Love's issues are largely unknown.  She was a 'fish out of water' to the media that didn't care what she stood for (if they even knew).  And she was a personable and strong campaigner.  Are you surprised she won, really?

Along with being unable to say, "Good game," our side wanted to resort to quack theories.

Leave it to Leslie Savant to insist, at The Nation, that the election results were the result of voter suppression or fraud or, she knows it's something, maybe the cute little girl in the photo that runs with her 'report' was threatening would be voters?

The sour grapes and petty tantrums didn't speak of good sportsmanship to us.

Maybe the real problem was explained as Tuesday night turned into Wednesday morning and pundit Howard Fineman declared on MSNBC, "The Dems have to re-invent themselves all over again, the Obama era is over."

The Obama era is over.

It's death was marked earlier this year when Barack began sending US troops back into Iraq.

The last time an issue mattered in the elections?

The 2006 mid-terms.  Bully Boy Bush occupied the White House.  Going into the elections, the Republicans held both houses of Congress.  The public disgust with the ongoing Iraq War led them to turn both houses of Congress over to the Democrats.  They came into power because of the Iraq War.

As did Barack two years later.

So as he re-started another wave of the ongoing war and as Democrats in Congress failed to oppose him, it was only fitting that they lost control of the Senate.

We're not saying this is what motivated voters.

We are saying karma is a many-splendored thing.

The Comedic Stylings of Valerie Jarrett

The day after the Democrats humiliating defeat at the polls, delightful scamp Valerie Jarrett attempts to lighten the mood and cheer everyone up by wearing a table cloth as a dress.

Film Classics of the 20th Century

In this ongoing series on film classics of the last century, we've looked at Dick Tracy,  How To Marry A Millionaire,  Blow OutYou Only Live TwiceSleeper,  Diamonds Are Forever,  Sleepless In Seattle,  My Little Chickadee,  Tootsie,  After Hours,  Edward ScissorhandsChristmas in Connecticut, Desk Set,  When Harry Met Sally . . .,  Who Done It?,  That Darn Cat!,  Cactus Flower,  Family Plot, House Sitter,  and Outrageous Fortune.   Film classics are the films that grab you, even on repeat viewings, especially on repeat viewings.

Writer 1: It's a TV star and she goes on a safari --

Writer 2: Like a Donna Mills or a Joan Collins.

Griffin: A TV star in a motion picture? 

Writer 1:  Not a real TV star, a TV star played by a movie star. 

Griffin:  A movie star playing a television star.  

Writer 1: Julia, Michelle would be good. Bette, Lily. 

Writer 2: Dolly Parton would be good. 

Writer: Dolly would be good.

Griffin: I like Goldie.  I like Goldie

Writer 1: Great, because we have a relationship --

Writer 2: Goldie Goes to Africa

Writer 1: -- and that would be great.  Goldie Goes to Africa.

Griffin: Goldie Goes to Africa.

Writer 1: And she becomes, gets worshiped.

Griffin: Worshiped? 

Writer 1: Well she's found by this tribe. - 

Writer 2: Of small people. 

Writer 1: She's found and they worship her. 

Griffin:  I see, it's kind of like The Gods Must Be Crazy except the coke bottle is now a television actress. 

Writer 1:  Yeah, it's exactly right. It's Out of Africa meets Pretty Woman.

In 1992, Robert Altman directed another classic.  This one was a film noir look at the film industry.

Tim Robbins gave one of his greatest performances as studio exec Griffin Mill who's sleeping with story editor Bonnie (Cynthia Stevenson) and is being threatened professionally with rumors that another exec, Larry (Peter Gallagher), will be replacing him and personally by someone sending him threatening postcards.

Assuming the postcards are coming from aspiring screenwriter David Kahane (Vincent D'Onofrio), Griffin seeks him out and the two argue and Griffin attacks and kills him.

He then begins a flirtation with David's girlfriend June Gudmondsdottir (Greta Scacchi).

As this takes place, studio security honcho Walter (Fred Ward) sniffs around to protect the studio in the David Kahane murder while Detectives Avery (Whoopi Goldberg) and Detective DeLongpre (Lyle Lovett) see Griffin as a person of interest in the case.

Along with the above, Griffin is trying to torpedo Larry by giving him Tom Oakley's script (Oakley is played by Richard E. Grant) -- a script about an execution, where the innocent dies on the electric chair.

Along with an amazing cast, the film also boast cameos from the likes of  Cher, Harry Belafonte, Robert Carradine, Anjelica Huston, Terri Garr, Elliott Gould, Buck Henry, Jayne Meadows, Robert Wagner, John Cusak, Burt Reynolds, Andie McDowell, Lily Tomlin, Sally Kellerman, Sally Kirkland, Annie Ross, Nick Nolte, Marlee Matlin, David Alan Grier, Jill St. John and Susan Sarandon.

Working with a script by Michael Tolkin, Altman added another classic to his canon and everyone involved with the project walked away looking a little more impressive.

It's one of the few films that works on every level.  It's stylish, it's a strong noir mystery, it contains delicious parodies and a larger story of how movies clean up real life.

From The TESR Test Kitchen

The box proclaims, "Gone Nutty!"

And they aren't kidding.

Pop Tarts is offering up a new flavor: Frosted Chocolate Peanut Butter.

And how's it taste?

First the bad news, this is a very thin Pop Tart.

It's like having thin crust pizza.

Next the really bad news, do not eat out of the toaster.

Piping hot peanut butter is not a fun taste in the morning, afternoon, evening or night.

As an uncooked treat, it's okay -- only okay.

It has a chalky taste to it, like those generic cookies you get eight of for a dollar.

So we're rating this as an epic fail.

It's a Pop Tart so bad it will send you reaching for a Pop Tart knock off in any flavor.

This edition's playlist

1)  Neil Young's Storytone.

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

3)  Stevie Nicks' 24 Karat Gold Songs From The Vault.

4) Prince's Art Official Age.
5) Prince and 3rdeyegirl's Plectrunemlectrum.

6)   Tori Amos's Unrepentant Geraldines.

7) Stevie Wonders' Talking Book.

8) Cass Elliot's Cass Elliot/The Road Is No Place For A Lady.

9) Ben Harper and Ellen Harper's Childhood Home.

10)  Carly Simon's Hello Big Man.

On Wendy Davis . . .

Tuesday, C.I. provided an update to an earlier position that she and Ava took:


On elections, my state's polls won't close before this goes up but Texas did close.  And I mention that because a number of e-mails (Ty stopped counting at 100) came in declaring how wrong in our March 2, 2014 "TV: Another idiot for the idiot box" for writing the following:

Texas women are strong and proud and they go about their lives as best they can.  Like women everywhere, they know a thing or two about discrimination.  But they keep going.
Where Texas is different than many other states is that you will see Democratic and Republican women pull together for strong women -- especially strong women who have persevered despite sexism, despite setbacks.  Hillary was that in 2008.  Ann was that when she ran for governor.
It's not just that Wendy Davis' resume is so light or that's she backed away from the stance that brought her national attention.
It's mainly that the national media created a narrative that would play on the national stage but won't play in Texas.
Davis is poorly trailing Greg Abbott currently.
That could change, the election is way off.
But unless Abbott implodes, he will likely beat her because she and her campaign don't know what the hell they're doing.
She can be strongly pro-choice and win Republican women in Texas -- they're not all anti-choice.
But Wendy Davis' big problem isn't her positions (except for backing off from them).
It's that she's a superstar.
She's a winner.
She's so very many things, crowned by the media.
Ann Richards?
Like many other successful Texas female politicians, Ann Richards was a fighter who battled.
She got knocked down and she got back up, over and over.
Did any woman take the failure to pass the Equal Rights Amendment more personally than Ann did?
They might have taken it as personally but it's hard to think they could have taken it more personally.
Ann fought and fought and fought again.
A minority of her supporters tried to dub her Queen Ann.  (This move was led in particular by a man named Dennis -- does Cecile even know this story, does she even know her mother?)  Ann very nicely told the group not to call her that.  She was governor, she explained, and she was so happy to be that. Dennis then suggested governor and queen.  And Ann lost the glowing smile she was famous for and used terms like "buster" and a loud voice to make clear that she didn't see being called a "queen" in a democracy as a compliment and that she had fought hard for every elected office she had held so don't insult her by calling her the "queen" of Texas.
Ann was never crowned.
Women -- Democrats and Republicans -- gave Ann the boost her campaign needed and she became governor and she's the last Democratic governor Texas has had.
Do not compare Ann to Wendy Davis.
If Wendy's got any real strength, she's yet to show it.
Texas women will bandy together around a female candidate if the woman reminds them of themselves or their mothers.  Because they are bonding over hardships and setbacks.  They will cross party lines if the woman reminds them of themselves.
Davis needs to lower the stardom and demonstrate how she can be a work horse.
She needs to lose the ridiculous hair, she's not Donald Trump's ex-wife, and either pull it into a ponytail (which Texas women relate to) or get it cut.
She needs to tone down the make up as well.
She's a little too 'starish' currently for Texas.
And Greg Abbott?
Greg Abbott is in a wheel chair.  He has been since 1984.  From that wheel chair, he's been on the state supreme court and successfully and repeatedly run for attorney general.  That's the kind of can-do spirit that Texans admire.
Cecile Richards is deeply stupid.
Making Wendy Davis a media star only made her a vapid blond with big hair.
If Cecile knew a damn thing about Texas politics, she would have already realized that Greg Abbott's not going to be beaten by a glossy 8 x 10 photograph.

Sorry, Ava and I were right.

And I have no desire to rescue Barack but the Texas election was not really about Barack (yes, I know the Abbott campaign -- especially in East Texas -- did heavy ad buys saying Barack was on the ballot).  I have no idea what happened elsewhere in the country but when people say I'm wrong -- and I can be wrong -- I pay attention to the race.  Wendy Davis lost it all on her own.  She was a media creation with no real courage or guts and, in the last month, she's yet again attacking Abbott for being in a wheel chair.  It was low and it was disgusting.  Equally true, she forgot the Howard Dean rule of: campaign everywhere.  She thought she could cobble together a victory by focusing solely on big metro areas like Dallas-Fort Worth.  She completely ignored the East Texas media market -- large cities like Tyler and Longview just written off as well as smaller cities and towns in the area.    When I say she completely ignored that market, I mean she didn't buy any ads from October 1st forward in that market.

She never gave people a reason to vote for her other than that she was a celebrity created by the national media, one who went fundraising in California which always has a backlash in Texas.  Sally Field is beloved by many but even she, when she campaigns for her friend US House Rep Lloyd Doggett, knows she has to walk a line -- it's partly a distrust of the entertainment industry, it's partly a rivalry between two of the biggest states in the union.

On other races, Stars & Stripes Leo Shane Tweets:

  • Now at 10 Iraq/Afghanistan war veterans in Congress, 9 GOP & 1 Dem. At least two more guaranteed (head-to-head races)

  • And Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America's Paul Rieckhoff Tweets:

  • Barack may impact other races or he may not.

    I haven't followed them.

    But he is not responsible for Wendy Davis loss.  She lost it all on her own. (And Abbott's campaign commercials struck a chord -- his late in the campaign ad featuring his Latina mother-in-law tested off the charts with all races and ethnicities.  People found her warm, touching and truthful.)

    And her problems were all evident in March of this year if anyone wanted to go beyond the gloss and pay attention.

    FACT SHEET: The Administration’s Strategy to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Updated FY 2015 Overseas Contingency Operations Request

    The White House released the following Friday:

    FACT SHEET: The Administration’s Strategy to Counter the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) and the Updated FY 2015 Overseas Contingency Operations Request

    ISIL poses an immediate threat to Iraq, Syria, and American allies and partners throughout the region as it seeks to overthrow governments, control territory, terrorize local populations, and implement an oppressive and intolerant interpretation of sharia law.  If left unchecked, ISIL could pose a growing threat to the United States and others beyond the region.  Thousands of foreign fighters – including Europeans and some Americans – have joined ISIL in Syria and Iraq.  We are concerned that these trained and battle-hardened fighters will try to return to their home countries and carry out deadly attacks.  At the same time, ISIL is attempting to assert itself as the leader of the global jihad.  ISIL remains well-resourced and has demonstrated an ability to recruit and radicalize through social media.  

    The United has built a global coalition of willing partners with the goal of degrading and ultimately defeating ISIL.  The President has set forward a comprehensive strategy featuring nine lines of effort to counter ISIL:

    • Supporting Effective Governance in Iraq:  We are supporting the new Iraqi government on efforts to govern inclusively and effectively as well as to strengthen its cooperation with regional partners. 
    • Denying ISIL Safe-Haven: We are conducting a systematic campaign of airstrikes against ISIL in Iraq and Syria. Working with the Iraqi government, we are striking ISIL targets and supporting Iraqi forces on the ground. We will degrade ISIL’s leadership, logistical and operational capability, and deny it sanctuary and resources to plan, prepare and execute attacks.
    • Building Partner Capacity: We will build the capability and capacity of our partners in the region to sustain an effective long-term campaign against ISIL. Our advisors are working to advise Iraqi forces, including Kurdish forces, to improve their ability to plan, lead, and conduct operations against ISIL, and we will provide training to help the Iraqis reconstitute their security forces and establish a National Guard.  Our train and equip program will strengthen the Syrian moderate opposition and help the defend territory from ISIL.
    • Enhancing Intelligence Collection on ISIL:  Continuing to gain more fidelity on ISIL’s capabilities, plans, and intentions is central to our strategy to degrade and ultimately destroy the group, and we will continue to strengthen our ability to understand this threat, as well as to share vital information with our Iraqi and Coalition partners to enable them to effectively counter ISIL.   
    • Disrupting ISIL’s Finances:  ISIL’s expansion over the past year has given it access to significant and diverse sources of funding.  So, we are working aggressively with our partners on a coordinated approach to reduce ISIL’s revenue from oil and assets it has plundered; limit ISIL’s ability to extort local populations; stem ISIL’s gains from kidnapping for ransom; and disrupt the flow of external donations to the group. 
    • Exposing ISIL’s True Nature:  Clerics around the world have spoken up in recent weeks to highlight ISIL’s hypocrisy, condemning the group’s savagery and criticizing its self-proclaimed “caliphate.”  We are working with our partners throughout the Muslim world to highlight ISIL’s hypocrisy and counter its false claims of acting in the name of religion.  
    • Disrupting the Flow of Foreign Fighters:  Foreign terrorist fighters are ISIL’s lifeblood, and a global security threat—with citizens of nearly 80 countries filling its ranks.  On September 24, the President convened an historic Summit-level meeting of the UN Security Council, focused on this issue and we will continue to lead an international effort to stem the flow of fighters into Syria and Iraq.
    • Protecting the Homeland: We will continue to use the criminal justice system as a critical counterterrorism tool, work with air carriers to implement responsible threat-based security and screening requirements, and counter violent extremism here at home. 
    • Humanitarian Support:  We and our partners will continue to provide humanitarian assistance to the displaced and vulnerable in Iraq and Syria.

    Pursuing the nine lines of effort to advance the comprehensive strategy is a whole of government effort.
    FY 2015 Overseas Contingency Operations (OCO) Amendment

    The Administration will submit an updated FY 2015 OCO request to Congress for the Department of Defense (DOD), the Intelligence Community (IC), and the Department of State and Other International Programs (State/OIP).  These amendments request $5.6 billion for OCO activities to degrade and ultimately defeat ISIL.

    These OCO amendments would provide resources for DOD and State/OIP for operations and activities that were not anticipated when the Administration submitted its June 2014 OCO budget request.

    Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR)

    In support of OIR, the OCO amendments include $5.0 billion for DOD to conduct a range of military operations against ISIL in the Middle East region, which includes the $1.6 billion Iraq Train and Equip Fund.  These operations directly support the components of the Administration’s strategy that aim to deny ISIL a safe-haven and expand intelligence collection against ISIL.  Funds include items such as:

    • sustaining personnel forward deployed to the Middle East to provide training, advice, and assistance to partner security forces engaged in the fight against ISIL; 
    • providing forces with enablers to support operations, especially the intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) platforms and support that are essential to conduct comprehensive counterterrorism operations;
    • replenishing or replacing munitions expended while conducting airstrikes against ISIL, including from Air Force and Navy platforms; and
    • financing operations and maintenance costs for air, ground, and naval operations, including: flying hours; ship steaming days; and fuel, supplies, and repair parts.      

    The proposed OCO funding is in addition to the $58.6 billion DOD OCO request sent to the Congress in June 2014, which included the costs of operations in Afghanistan, DOD’s forward military presence in the broader Middle East region, and other critical missions.  The costs of military operations against ISIL in the Middle East region were not included in the June 2014 request, and DOD requires additional funding in order to avoid diverting funding from other key priorities within its budget.

    Building Partner Capacity

    DOD’s request supports the President’s strategy in terms of building partner capacity with the $1.6 billion Iraq Train and Equip Fund (ITEF).  ITEF will provide the resources to help reconstitute and develop security forces.  The funding will allow for training at multiple sites throughout Iraq for approximately twelve Iraqi brigades.  Coalition members will also play a critical role in the training of these forces. DoD will provide training, supplies, and equipment for Iraqi forces.  ITEF will complement other efforts to enable partners to counter terrorism, such as the Counterterrorism Partnerships Fund (CTPF) requested as part of the Administration’s June 2014 OCO request.

    Funding for State/OIP

    The amendments include $520 million in funding for State/OIP, which is in addition to the $7.3 billion total OCO request for State/OIP in the FY 2015 Budget and June OCO amendment including CTPF.  The existing request provides funding for diplomacy, governance, and security programs and activities to respond to the situation in Syria and other ongoing global crises.  This amendment includes additional resources to counter ISIL in Iraq, Syria, and the rest of the region – directly linked to denying ISIL Safe Haven, Building Partner Capacity, Exposing ISIL’s True Nature and Humanitarian Support lines of effort.

    The funds will support the following activities: 

    • Bolstering regional partners and their efforts to address extremist threats along their borders;
    • Expanding ongoing assistance to the moderate Syrian opposition to develop their capacity to provide local security for communities;
    • Providing assistance to meet emergency humanitarian needs in Iraq; and
    • Exposing ISIL’s bankrupt ideology and narrative by amplifying positive messaging through international media and public diplomacy programs.

    Memorial for audacious GI union leader (Deirdre Griswold)

    This is from Workers World:

    Memorial for audacious GI union leader

    By on November 7, 2014

    Andy Stapp, Esquire 1969
    Andy Stapp, Esquire 1969

    The memorial for Andy Stapp on Nov. 1 turned into a reunion of members and supporters of the American Servicemen’s Union, which he had headed, as well as of his comrades in Workers World Party, long-time acquaintances from near and far, family members and former students who thought him the best and funniest history teacher in the world.

    As people arrived, they were greeted by a stunning collage of photos and images showing various aspects of Stapp’s life, including the historic August 1968 Esquire magazine cover story, “Exclusive: The plot to unionize the U.S. Army.”

    The meeting was serious, revolutionary, passionate and rollicking as some two dozen people took the podium to give their memories of this former GI. Stapp, who died this September, had gladdened the hearts of multitudes of soldiers, sailors and marines who refused to fight the Vietnamese people and who applauded his audacious organizing against the Army officer corps.

    Not lost in the sometimes raucous nostalgia about army life and the stockade was the connection to today’s wars. They are products of the same imperialism that tried, and failed, to subdue the Vietnamese, but has since killed and maimed millions of people in dozens of countries, including U.S. veterans now suffering high rates of suicide and post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The ASU vets told how the amazing steadfastness of the National Liberation Front of South Vietnam had led to the almost total erosion of discipline in the autocratic U.S. Army, often with hilarious results.

    Another prominent theme was the ASU’s strong stand against sexism and racism, which laid the basis for militant solidarity among the enlisted soldiers at a time when the government wanted to use its troops against the Black rebellions at home. The GI union supported these freedom struggles and the soldiers who refused to carry out the military’s illegal and unjust orders.

    Messages were read from former ASU members who couldn’t be there, including Richard Wheaton, one of the founders of the union, and Eddie Oquendo, an African-American draft resister who went to Fort Sill, Okla., to attend Stapp’s second court- ­martial.

    The memorial was held, fittingly, at a union headquarters — the large auditorium at 1199 SEIU United Healthcare Workers East, which graciously extended the time for the meeting to four hours to accommodate all those who wished to speak.

    Plans are underway to post online the story of Andy Stapp, including a film of the memorial, other historic visual material, messages sent to the meeting and eventually e-copies of his book, “Up Against the Brass.” People in the audience contributed to this project. Readers who would like to donate and inspire today’s youth with what is possible in the struggle to end imperialist wars should contact Deirdre Griswold Stapp at or write to Deirdre Griswold Stapp, c/o Workers World, 147 West 24th St., 2nd floor, NY, NY 10011.

    For more information about Andy Stapp’s life and struggles, Google “Workers World Andy Stapp” or go to

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

    The Sensory War: Powerful exhibition showing there’s no glory in war

    This is a repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

    The Sensory War: Powerful exhibition showing there’s no glory in war

    by Andy Coles

    This exhibition depicts the horrific and brutal history of warfare during the last 100 years.

    It is boldly honest about the reality of the litany of conflicts that have plagued the world since 1914.

    We see the increasing power of weaponry as it evolved—from guns to bombs, missiles, drones and poisonous gases to nuclear weapons.

    The effect of these weapons was and is devastating. It’s not just the number of deaths, but also the horrific aftermath for the survivors—both physical and mental. 

    What’s absent from this display is any mention of the Russian and German revolutions that ended the First World War.

    Workers revolted and troops left the trenches in mass mutinies, refusing to fight in the fear, squalor and bloodshed.

    Many of the works belong to the gallery’s own extensive collection.

    The Sensory War is a crucial reminder of what the ruling class is capable of and its attempt to glorify past wars.

    It’s the working class that always bears the brunt in war

    This exhibition is part of a much needed truth-telling regarding warfare and should be seen by all.

    What an appalling suggestion that we celebrate the First World War with street parties.

    But be prepared, I left the gallery emotionally bruised and furious.

    There is no glory in war.

    The Sensory War 1914-2014. Manchester Art Gallery, Manchester M3 4PR. Until 22 February 2015. Free


    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.

    "matt damon's career is over" and "Nihilist Neocon Christopher Nolan" -- Rebecca and Stan go to the movies. 

     " Idiot (and Liar) of the Week" -- Mike picks it.

    "go, charlie!" Rebecca applauds Rangel.

    "Tater Tot Casserole in the Kitchen" -- Trina's got a recipe.

    "That fast acting western media" -- Elaine notes the slow news breaking outlets.

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