Sunday, November 23, 2014

Truest statement of the week

The defeated measure, drafted by the outgoing chairman of the Judiciary Committee, Democratic Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont, would have placed very slight restrictions on the NSA program that collects metadata on virtually ever phone call placed in or through US telecommunications companies or the Internet.
The bill had the support of the Obama administration, demonstrating that the military-intelligence apparatus, which dictates policy on such issues, was quite content with the toothless legislation from Leahy. The main purpose of the bill was to give the impression that Obama and the Democrats are responding to the widespread public outrage over government spying sparked by last year’s revelations by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, while actually doing nothing to restrict snooping by the intelligence agency.

The bill was also endorsed by a coalition of technology companies, including Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Twitter, AOL and Yahoo, which feared that Snowden’s revelations had exposed them as de facto arms of the US spy apparatus, harming their ability to sell their products and services, especially in foreign markets.

-- Patrick Martin, "Senate blocks any limit to NSA spying on phone calls" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

Referring to immigrant workers, Obama said, “All of us take offense at anyone who reaps the rewards of living in America without taking on the responsibilities of living in America.” Who is he talking about? Who is reaping rewards without taking responsibility?
Such terms apply with much greater justice to the parasitic ruling elite that Obama and the congressional Republicans and Democrats represent. These gentlemen were bailed out to the tune of trillions following the 2008 financial crash. But no banker or hedge fund mogul has had to repay these infusions of taxpayers' money or been held accountable for the financial manipulations and fraud that wiped out the jobs and living standards of tens of millions of working people.

“Undocumented workers broke our immigration laws, and I believe that they must be held accountable,” Obama declared. The Obama administration has refused to apply this standard to bankers and speculators who broke laws against swindling, or CIA agents who broke laws against torture, or top officials of the Bush administration who waged illegal wars and lied to the American people. And, of course, the Obama administration itself operates outside the law, trampling on the US constitution in its assertion of unlimited presidential powers to spy on, arrest, detain and even assassinate American citizens.

-- Patrick Martin, "Obama announces right-wing immigration 'reform' in national address" (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?

Patrick Martin.
And Patrick Martin.  It has happened before but it is rare for one person to get both truests in the same week, Martin earned them.
In January, will hit the 10 year mark.  And in all that time, every editorial has been on Iraq.  Until now.  This issue is too important for us to not have it as the editorial.  

Ava and C.I. agree and they were asked what topic could attract the most readers TV wise?  They noted that the awful Jane The Virgin was getting a pass (due to the ethnicity of the cast) and it needed to be called out, that they could pair that with the awful Madame Secretary while noting that State of Affairs actually works as a TV show.  Why are we suddenly worried about attracting readers?  Because we want people to know about the Corrine Brown nightmare and maybe they can wake up Democrats in Congress before it happens.

In order to attract more readers, Ava and C.I. suggested we all work on a piece about this film.

Dona did a roundtable on the issue of Congress and Veterans. 
Our short feature. 
Two Benghazi pieces.  This one . . . 
And this one.  Elaine actually brought the idea for this one over.
What we listened to while working on the edition.

From Senator Patty Murray's office. 
From Workers World. 
From Great Britain's Socialist Worker.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for this.

And we thank Isaiah for both illustrations of his we used. 


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

Editorial: Corrine Brown must not be named Ranking Member

When veterans group advocate for someone to be a leader on the veterans committees in Congress, you have to be an idiot or someone who wants to lose elections to ignore the veterans.

But that's what happened last week.

Veterans voiced their desire for US House Rep. Tim Walz to be the next Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  The outgoing Ranking Member, Mike Michaud, also voiced his support for Tim Walz.

Tim Walz is a veteran himself, with over 20 years of service.

So it should have been a done deal.

Should have been.

Enter the losing leader who refuses to resign, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi.

She wants her personal pet, US House Rep. Corrine Brown, to be the next Ranking Member on the Committee.

lets be what

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Let's Be Whats!" captures the insanity going on.

Now no one like's a teacher's pet so what makes Nancy think anyone's going to like one of her own personal pets?

Who knows?

Nancy crazy, bat sh*t insane.

That's the only reason you would turn down a qualified veteran at the same time you're insisting that, across the country, employers need to be hiring veterans.

For Nancy, it's always do as I say, not as I do.

To get rid of Tim Walz, Nancy and her cronies declared him -- on Wednesday -- to not really be a member of the Committee.

The rule is you can only serve on two Committees and Tim Walz was serving on three.

So he had to get a waiver to serve on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.

Nancy and her cronies ruled that he wasn't really a member of the House Veterans Affairs Committee so he couldn't run for its leadership.

They're little mind f**k was enough to distract the so-called press.

But we know our readers are much, much smarter than so-called reporters.

If he had to obtain a waiver to serve on the Committee?

That meant he served on the Committee.

That's what the waiver did, it made him a Committee member.

And Tim Walz asked questions in hearings, voted on the Comittee, etc.

He was a member and he participated.

Gov.track isn't confused:

Committee Membership

Timothy Walz sits on the following committees:

And he didn't just serve on the Committee and show up for hearings, he sponsored bills dealing with veterans issues:

H.R. 5680: Veterans’ Toxic Wounds Research Act of 2014
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Sep 19, 2014
Referred to Committee: Sep 19, 2014
H.R. 5059: Clay Hunt SAV Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Jul 10, 2014
Referred to Committee: Jul 10, 2014
H.R. 4191: Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Mar 11, 2014
Referred to Committee: Mar 11, 2014
H.R. 3569: Protecting the Freedoms and Benefits for All Veterans Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Nov 20, 2013
Referred to Committee: Nov 20, 2013
H.R. 2785: Military Reserve Jobs Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Jul 22, 2013
Referred to Committee: Jul 22, 2013
H.R. 1980: Quicker Veterans Benefits Delivery Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: May 14, 2013
Referred to Committee: May 14, 2013
H.R. 975: Servicemember Mental Health Review Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Mar 5, 2013
Referred to Committee: Mar 5, 2013
H.R. 679: Honor America’s Guard-Reserve Retirees Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Feb 13, 2013
H.R. 6574 (112th): Servicemember Mental Health Review Act
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Oct 12, 2012
Referred to Committee: Oct 12, 2012
H.R. 1855 (112th): Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services’ Improvements Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: May 11, 2011
Referred to Committee: May 11, 2011
H.R. 1566 (112th): Protecting Servicemembers from Mortgage Abuses Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Apr 14, 2011
Referred to Committee: Apr 14, 2011
H.R. 865 (112th): Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2011
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Mar 1, 2011
Referred to Committee: Mar 1, 2011
H.R. 6188 (111th): Veterans’ Homelessness Prevention and Early Warning Act of 2010
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Sep 22, 2010
Referred to Committee: Sep 22, 2010
H.R. 6123 (111th): Veterans’ Traumatic Brain Injury Rehabilitative Services’ Improvements Act of 2010
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Sep 14, 2010
Referred to Committee: Sep 14, 2010
H.R. 5928 (111th): Veterans’ Disability Claims Efficiency Act of 2010
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: Jul 29, 2010
Referred to Committee: Jul 29, 2010
H.R. 5400 (111th): Veteran Employment Transition Act of 2010
Sponsor: Rep. Timothy Walz [D-MN1]
Introduced: May 25, 2010
Referred to Committee: May 25, 2010

In fairness to Corrine Brown, we should note that during the same period above (2008 and to the present), she also sponsored some bills. 

Well . . . 


Because there was only one.

From 2008 to the present -- six years -- she only sponsored one bill having to do with veterans.  

But she thinks she's earned the right to serve as Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee?

In fairness to Corrine, we should note she had other things to focus on.  In the same period, she introduced two bills on Haiti.  Maybe that makes her an expert on veterans?  And she sponsored four bills on National Train Day.

Of course, she also had to put in a lot of time going through those mail order catalogs to buy all her hideous wigs.

On top of everything else, Corrine Brown's used her position on the Committee in the last six years to excuse away one VA scandal after another and frequently, while doing so, to try to pin the blame for the problem on veterans.

There's a reason veterans don't like Corrine Brown.

So why in the world would you try to make her the Ranking Member of the Committee?

TV: Madonna versus Whore all over again

If you ever doubt how sexist The Water Cooler Set is, just check out Jane The Virgin.  The eternal teenagers posing as TV critics have proclaimed this show a hit.

Of course, viewers have declared otherwise.

And for good reason: It's an offensive show.

Jezebel recently gathered a group of Mexican-American women to discuss the show and most praised it with one going on about being tired of "White women" on TV.  First off, Latinas can be White.  The majority in the US, in fact, are.  There are exceptions but if you're dealing with Latinas -- and that's much more in the country and in the world than just women who can trace their roots to Mexico -- most are aware that the race is White.  The uninformed woman at Jezebel needs to learn the term "Anglo-White."

And Jezebel needs to learn how to stop being so damn xenophobic.

This is neither new nor unknown.  It's so basic even Crapapedia can get it right:

Ethnicity: Hispanic or Latino origin

The question on Hispanic or Latino origin is separate from the question on race.[3][14] Hispanic and Latino Americans have ethnic origins in the Latin-speaking countries of Andorra, Latin America, and Spain. Most of the Latin American countries are, like the United States, racially diverse.[15] Consequently, no separate racial category exists for Hispanic and Latino Americans, as they do not constitute a race, nor a national group. When responding to the race question on the census form, each person is asked to choose from among the same racial categories as all Americans, and are included in the numbers reported for those races.[16]
Each racial category may contain Non-Hispanic or Latino and Hispanic or Latino Americans. For example: the White (European-American) race category contains Non-Hispanic Whites and Hispanic Whites (see White Hispanic and Latino Americans); the Black or African-American category contains Non-Hispanic Blacks and Hispanic Blacks (see Black Hispanic and Latino Americans); the Asian-American category contains Non-Hispanic Asians and Hispanic Asians (see Asian Hispanic and Latino Americans); and likewise for all the other categories. See the section on Hispanic and Latino Americans in this article.

Self-identifying as both Hispanic or Latino and not Hispanic or Latino is neither explicitly allowed nor explicitly prohibited.[2]

Get it?

According to [PDF format warning] the 2010 census results, 53% of Hispanic or Latinos  in the US identify as White, 2.5% identify as Black or African-American,  1.4%  as American Indian and Alaska Native,  0.4% as Asian, 0.1% as Native Hawaiian and Other Pacific Islander, 36.7% as Some Other Race, and 6.0% as Two or More Races.  [All racially categories mentioned prior are the ones used by the Census.]

One of us is a Latina (Ava) who is damn tired of being assumed to being Mexican-American, when she is not and when Mexican-American women -- pay attention, Jezebel -- are not the only Latinas in the United States.

It's xenophobic and ignorant to present a five-person roundtable that does not include even one Latina who does not trace her roots to Mexico.

Leaving out Mexico, the number one region for Lations/as and Hispanics to trace their roots to is Central America, after that, it's the Caribbean (which includes Cuba, the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico), then "All other Hispanic"  and then South America.

So Jezebel gave you five self-identified Mexican-American women discussing a Puerto Rican woman -- the lead in Jane The Virgin, Gina Rodriguez, hails from Puerto Rico.  Next up, a Haitian roundtable exploring the roots of slavery in the US during the 1800s!

Jane The Virgin has many problems including stereotypical portraits -- the gals of Jezzie felt the characters were deeper than stereotypes.  Really?  The Latino police office has . . . a criminal brother.  Women -- especially older women -- are harpies.  And let's not forget the ultimate insult outside of Jane, the cheesy announcer who all but yells "Ay, Papi!" every time he interrupts a scene.


Yeah, the announcer is a man.

What else would the all knowing 'god' be on this show?

Jane is celebrated by The Water Cooler Set because she's the ultimate Madonna, the new Mary, pregnant without ever having had a sex.  A virgin.

That's what critics are embracing, the virginity.

It's 'refreshing' to them when a woman is a virgin.

It's not realistic, that's for damn sure, but how they love it.

If you can't be a virgin on TV, at least be a sexless woman.

The Water Cooler Set will love you for it.

Look at Tea Leoni's Madam Secretary.

Tea's playing a faux woman, not a real one.

She's a little girl in Daddy's world.

We're supposed to find her hesitant manner in speaking charming and classy.

She's like a parade float of Greer Garson.

She's married to a professor so that the audience understands she's not the smartest in her own home.  She's in a sexless marriage (you guarantee that by casting an actor who screams erectile dysfunction as her husband).  And she uses her 'girl smarts' to get her way -- getting the (male) president's attention by going to his wife, getting the press' attention by getting a beauty make over.

She's a woman functioning in a man's world who's only female of note is her chief of staff that she's repeatedly in conflict with.

Tea should be embarrassed for playing the role.

She should be more embarrassed for being in the so-called TV show.

There has never been a show like it before and it's a sign of our trash culture that it exists now -- and is wrongly praised.

This is a 'political' show.  It wants to 'enlighten' and 'educate' but it's from a creator who thinks the height of radical leftism is centrist Democrat Rahm Emanuel.  It exists to, yet again, shift the political spectrum to the right in this country.

Tea considers herself a "good Democrat" so maybe she feels marching lockstep through this garbage is for the good of the party -- if not the country.

If so, she's desperately wrong.

Her show is far more damaging than anything Newt Gingrich could come up with.

The praise it's received, however, isn't at all surprising.

When you're a token woman using wiles to get your way and basically in your second virginity, The Water Cooler Set loves you.

But if you're not Greer Garson, if you show some of the backbone of Barbara Stanwyck?

Oh, how they hate you.

Katherine Heigl stars in State of Affairs which premiered Monday on NBC.

Unlike Tea's show, Katherine's new series is not a 'political' show trying to water down the left.  Alfre Woodard plays the president and Heigel's a CIA analyst.  The two women share love for a dead man (or maybe just 'dead') -- the president's son and the analyst's fiance.

Since his death, Charlie (Heigel) has been haunted by the death and by one part of it that she can't quite remember, a significant event in the death.  She suppresses her grief with alcohol and casual sex.

Charlie's gusty and brave, treats women as her equals and doesn't back down in a confrontation with a man.

Barbara Stanwyck's spirit lives on and thank goodness for that.

Greer Garson is a "Who?" to young America and wasn't all that important in her own time.

She was the anti-Rosie The Riverter.

Joan Crawford and Bette Davis both considered her an insufferable bore (onscreen and off) and for good reason.

It's also for good reason that unlike Crawford and Davis or Stanwyck, Garson couldn't go the distance.

By 1947, she was bombing at the box office, the following year she was second banana to Elizabeth Taylor and then the career was really over.

As Jeanine Basinger observes in The Star Machine:

If a female could last for a decade, she really paid off.  If she could last for two decades, she was a phenomenal success.  If she lasted longer than that, she was a miracle, and today we can call her a legend: Bette Davis, Myrna Loy, Barbara Stanwyck, Katharine Hepburn and Joan Crawford. 

Greer Garson was the most minor MGM star to ever emerge.  She demonstrated no fire or passion and she's largely forgotten today.

Tea should grasp that and be screaming her head off for better scripts and a stronger character.

But she's been lulled into the pretense that she has a hit (her show lives in a good neighborhood, one scheduling change and it tanks).

Heigl's playing a character people can identify with even as The Water Cooler Set sneers.

Her show also has a secret weapon in the recurring role of Nick: Chris McKenna.

If you look up his bio, you'll find he was on One Life To Live and blah blah blah.

Forget that.

He hit people's radar in 2013 due to a commercial -- one that had Kat and  Rebecca raving about him and Rebecca even putting him at the top of her "10 most f**kable men of 2013."

Heigel's Charlie slept with Nick and it appears she did so while engaged to the president's dead son.  You need someone sexy in the role of Nick to make it believable and Chris McKenna is one of the few men who can handle that task.

There are no political statements to be found in State of Affairs, it's trying to be a thriller and, largely, succeeding. By contrast, the hideous Madam Secretary wants to be so genteel and slightly one degree left of center that it's about as tasty as government cheese.

Another thing that leaves a hideous taste in your mouth?  The Water Cooler Set's inability to champion active women, adult women and instead repeately latching onto pixies with moxie, overgrown Shirley Temple's who are more embarrassments than anything else.


The Hunger Games has been a very successful film franchise.  Over the weekend, the latest installment opened and while it was the biggest opening weekend in terms of tickets sold of the year, it was considered by some to be a disappointment since projections have it being twenty-million dollars short of the previous North American opening.

So what's happened?

This perceived failure of Mockingjay will be discussed non-stop and the blame's going to fall on Jennifer Lawrence because she is the star of the franchise.

So let's start with her actions.

1) First and foremost, she's been overexposed.

We're not talking about in promoting the film, we're talking about her Academy Award win and multiple nominations, we're talking about her interviews and her opinions.

2) Now let's talk about her romance.

She lost Chris Martin to Gwynnie?

That is the perception and it comes as she's supposed to be carrying a film.

That's never good for an actress.  When Lana Turner, for example, lost Tyrone Power that was the beginning in a shift of press coverage from Lana Golden Girl to "what's wrong with Lana?"

3) Jane Fonda took to praising her publicly.

Fonda's 76 and not at all relevant to the lives of young women and girls.  She's older than their great-grandmas.

When a young actress is so popular that even a woman who's 77-years-old next month is trying to hop on the bandwagon, there are far too many on the bandwagon and the performer has gone stale.

4) The petty wars -- which Jennifer Lawrence should have issued a statement on.

For the likes of Ms. magazine -- forever looking to 'heart' someone -- Jennifer Lawrence and The Hunger Games franchise was an opportunity to trash Kristen Stewart and to slam the Twilight franchise.

Those five films that Kristen carried have made over $3 billion world wide.  There was no need to trash Kristen or the Twilight franchise in order to build up Jennifer Lawrence.

It looked petty and it looked bitchy.

And Twilight fans didn't enjoy it.

Nor should they have.

Twilight is a huge franchise that was based on romance.  It was telling a different type of story -- an equally valid story -- and as various Jennifer Lawrence boosters in the press and on the blogs went out of their way to explain how much more important Jennifer was and how much greater Hunger Games was, it did help create a backlash.

Again, Jennifer Lawrence should have issued a statement -- and she still needs to this week -- explaining that there's nothing wrong with Twilight and that she wishes people would stop pitting Hunger Games against Twilight.

5) Beefcake.

Josh Hutcherson was never handsome.

He did have a cute phase.

By the end of 2012, that moment had long passed. That leaves only Liam Hemsworth.

Twilight actually added more good looking men to the cast as the franchise went along.

With Hutcherson looking more and more like Herman Munster, the reality is The Hunger Games franchise has fewer and fewer attractive men for young girls and young women (or, for that matter, young boys and young men) to be attracted to and fantasize about.

None of the above should be shocking.

And while some may argue this is obvious in hindsight, we'd argue this should have been obvious months ago.


Since this posted minutes ago, this has been corrected to note "multiple nominations" -- Academy Award nominations -- and only one win.

Congress and Veterans


Dona: Last Thursday, the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee held a hearing on military suicides.  C.I. reported on it in the Wednesday "Iraq snapshot," the Thursday "Iraq snapshot" and the Saturday "Iraq snapshot."  Kat included the Ranking Member Richard Burr's comments in "Mental Health and Suicide Among Veterans."  We'll discuss the hearing, but before that, there was another Congressional issue involving veterans last week.  C.I. covered it in "Corrine Brown is not fit to serve" and "Nancy Pelosi lost her brains on the plastic surgeo..." -- as well as in the snapshots already noted.  Ava covered it in "It's a shame the Democrats won't do what's best for veterans" and Kat covered it in "Corrine Brown is nuts."  There was other community coverage but the three of them and Wally attend the hearings and report on them.  This is an issue that's huge and that the media's missing because they work to cover for the officials, they don't care about reporting.  Pelosi is the House Minority Leader, a Democratic, and she was already under fire for refusing to allow US House Rep. Tammy Duckworth to vote by proxy last week in the election of leadership posts for Democrats in the House.  Duckworth is an Iraq War veteran, she lost both legs in the war.  She was not able to travel to DC because she was under doctor's orders not to fly.  This was due to her pregnancy.  She gave birth last Tuesday.  Pelosi already looked, at best, like a jerk for her actions.  Things only got worse last week.  Wally, why don't you give us an overview of what happened.

Wally: In the current Congress, the Republicans have had the majority in the House -- that will also be true when the new Congress is sworn in January 3rd.  Because of that, Republicans are Chairs on House Committees.  Because Democrats are in the minority, their leadership posts on Committees is Ranking Member.  The current Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee is Mike Michaud.  He did not seek re-election.  So Democrats need to pick a new Ranking Member.  US House Rep. Tim Walz was endorsed for the post by not only Michaud but also many veterans group.  Nancy Pelosi and her gangsta tribe used arcane rules to eliminate him from running for the post so that she could install her pet US House Rep. Corrine Brown -- also known as the Congressional Disgrace From Florida.

Dona: Which is where Wally hails from and, my apologies for an oversight earlier, C.I. slid me a note reminding me that Wally's "THIS JUST IN! CORRINE SPEAKS!" and Cedric's "Exclusive interview with Corrine Brown" joint-post took on the nonsense of Corrine Brown.  Humor is obviously a very effective political tool.  We were talking, while working on this edition, with Isaiah who will have a new cartoon going up late tonight at The Common Ills on this topic and he plans to address it also on Thanksgiving with a special comic.  Thank you to C.I. for the note and my apologies to Wally and Cedric -- I did not mean to overlook their commentary and contribution. Corrine Brown is clearly unqualified.  Wally and Cedric did their joint-post as an interview with Corrine and Wally explain what the point was.

Wally: That she can't speak the English language.  She's a native American, born in this country, English is the only language she semi-speaks.  She invents words because she's so stupid -- and, yes, after getting into Congress, she got a degree but everyone laughs about that in Florida -- but beyond being stupid, when she gets excited, she starts dropping vowels out of her words and slurring her consonants and you can figure out what the hell she's saying.

Dona: And there are the ridiculous -- and ratty -- wigs.  The Congressional Black Caucus is backing Corrine, who is African American.  When her wigs were rightly mocked in the press, Jane Fonda's ridiculous Women's Media Center -- a whore outlet if ever there was one -- insisted Corrine was the victim of sexism.  No, she wasn't.  Jane needs to stick to doing more bad acting to remind people how her talents disappeared after The Morning After and that all the plastic surgery in the world won't bring back the talent or the relevance she once had.  But my point here is some may say, "Well she's being attacked for her race."

Wally: Some may say that.  Cedric's African-American. Isaiah's planning a series of comics, he's African-American as well.  Marcia's African-American and she wrote "Corrine Brown, show some integrity and step aside"  last week. Corrine's a national joke and that's on her.  She could have educated herself a long time ago.  But she's the one who didn't feel she had to.

Dona: Your from Florida, why is that?  Why didn't a member of Congress work to sound better instead of talking like an idiot?

Wally: She didn't have to work.  Her district guaranteed that any Democrat would win.  It was the most gerrymandered district in Florida.  Ava, in 2012, wrote about wishing Corrine wouldn't be re-elected.  After that went up, I explained to Ava that Corrine's district was drawn so ridiculously that she over 90% of African Americans from something like six different counties.  It was so ridiculous that it was struck down this year and Corrine whined like a baby because it lowered her African-American demographics to something like 70%.   With what she had before and even what she has now, she's in Congress until she retires or someone primaries her.  She won't lose to a Republican.

Dona: Ava, as Wally noted, you've long opposed Corrine Brown.  Talk about that.

Ava:  In the Bully Boy Bush years, Corrine was a vocal critic of the VA -- you could even call her a vicious critic. Which I was fine with.  Congress is far too comfy with the officials they're supposed to provide oversight on. I thought, "Here's someone who will hold the VA accountable."  And veterans need that.  But then Barack was sworn in and, at that point, Corrine used her time in hearings to insist the VA could do no wrong.  We have documented this repeatedly here and C.I. at The Common Ills.  But in addition to those archives, you can also refer to  West 12th Road Block Association News which noted last May:

Despite a myriad of indications of problems with the VA in her own district, Rep. Brown states that "I did my own reconnaissance in Florida. I can tell you that we are doing fine in Florida.....I went and talked to various V.A. groups in Florida and not one single complaint because we're doing our jobs."

Rep. Brown then goes on to blame President Bush and the Republicans for a lack of funding for the VA, but that under President Obama and "when we had a democrat House and a Democratic Senate we got the largest increase in the VA budget in the history of the United we got the money but we got to know that we're not just  talking the talk but we're walking the walk".

In addition to Rep. Brown's remarks regarding the VA scandal on the House floor being blatantly partisan, they are also remarkably disjointed as well as sophomoric for a member of Congress, totally ignoring the VA problem staring her and the rest of Congress in their respective faces.

In response to what is going on with the VA today Rep. Brown proudly states on the House Floor that "we have new cemeteries in Florida..."   If our nation depends on Rep. Brown's personal "reconnaissance" of this issue to address the serious problems within the VA, our veterans may need those cemetery plots!

Dona: Thank you for that, Ava.  I pulled some outside coverage as well.  I'm not including it.  We had a record number of e-mails on an issue come in.  We get tons of e-mails about our coverage -- some positive, some stinging -- and we get e-mails about what we should be covering but aren't.  We had, according to Ty's count, 1471 e-mails on the topic of Corrine Brown come in from Wednesday through Saturday night.  Over 1200 were from people identifying themselves as veterans.  All expressed outrage over the thought of her heading the Democratic side of the House Veterans Affairs Committee   A little over two-thirds of the veterans e-mails noted that Eric Shinseki left his post as VA Secretary in disgrace and that while the media propped him up for years we called him out here and said he should resign.  The e-mails applauded that but pointed out that Brown, even to the end, was against Shinseki resigning. That's a very important point and goes to why she has the image problems she has with veterans.  And those e-mails are much more important to me than the articles I found in various Florida newspapers where Corinne gave cover to the VA -- one scandal after another, she offered excuses for the VA and blamed the veterans.

Kat: I'd agree with you and let me jump in to note that we were in DC last week.  Tuesday night is when we heard, from members of veterans group, that Nancy was pushing Corrine for the post.  There was so much anger and dismay.  And it's not a formula for winning votes.  Nancy Pelosi is insane and so is the Democratic Party if they're going to let her run off voters.

Dona: I would agree with that.  And I wish we could it explore it more but we are under time limitations so let me turn to C.I. and ask you, in two minutes or less, to give us an overview of Wednesday's Senate hearing.

C.I.: Okay, in my reports, what I focused on was three examples -- there were many more -- where basic numbers were beyond the VA officials capabilities.  How many women -- or what percent of women veterans -- are taking their own lives?  The 'answer' the VA gave to that question was that women don't usually attempt to take their own lives with guns and guns are more decisive in turning an attempt into a suicide.  What that had to do with the question?  Nothing at all.  The VA attempted to distract repeatedly.  Senators Mike Johanns, Richard Blumenthal and John Boozman were among the ones pointing out that while the VA was spinning success on suicides, they were actually talking about older veterans and that the younger veterans cohort had a very troubling detail -- younger veterans seeking VA help and assistance were more likely to try to take their own lives than those who ignored the VA.  So the people they were supposedly helping were, in fact, being in some manner harmed by the VA.  And the officials didn't want to talk about that either.  They didn't want to deal with anything, they sought to waste time and eat up by being evasive and flat out lying.  And that's why Committee leadership matters and why the House Veterans Affairs Committee cannot afford to have Corrine Brown as the Ranking Member.

Dona: Thank you for that and I'm sorry that we have so little time on this.  We might have time to return to it next week.  We may not.  It is a serious issue and, for the first time in the almost ten years of this site, our editorial will not be on Iraq.  We will instead focus on the issue of need for a real Ranking Member on the House Veterans Affairs Committee.  This is a rush transcript, enjoy all typos and errors.

Explaining Barack's fashion sense

Barack frequently looks weird in his suits -- not just when they're tan.

Now the reason becomes clear.

They're not so much suits as pant suits from the 70s, check out the back of that jacket.

Apparently, Barack got Dinah Shores' old clothes at an estate sale.

Benghazi and the United Nations

Last week, the United Nations issued a press release:

On 19 November 2014, the Security Council’s Al-Qaida Sanctions Committee approved the addition of two names to its list of individuals and entities subject to the targeted financial sanctions, travel ban and the arms embargo set out in paragraph 1 of Security Council resolution 2161 (2014), adopted under Chapter VII of the Charter of the United Nations.
The Committee stresses the need for robust implementation of the Al-Qaida Sanctions Regime as a significant tool in combating terrorist activity, and urges all Member States to participate actively by nominating for listing additional individuals, groups, undertakings and entities which should be subject to the sanctions measures.
As a result of the new listings, any individual or entity that provides financial or material support to the individuals and entities listed below, including the provision of arms or recruits, is eligible to be added to the Al-Qaida Sanctions List and subject to the sanctions measures.
The details of the new listings are as follows:
B. Entities and other groups associated with Al-Qaida
QE.A.145.14. Name:  ANSAR AL CHARIA DERNA Name (original script): أنصار الشريعة – درنة A.k.a.: a) Ansar al-Charia Derna b) Ansar al-Sharia Derna c) أنصار الشريعة (Ansar al Charia) d) Ansar al-Sharia e) Ansar al Sharia F.k.a.:  na  Address: a) Operates in Derna and Jebel Akhdar, Libya b) Support network in Tunisia  Listed on: 19 Nov. 2014  Other information: Associated with the Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (QE.T.14.01), Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T) (QE.A.143.14) and Ansar al Charia Benghazi (QE.A.146.14.). Runs training camps for foreign terrorist fighters travelling to Syria and Iraq.
QE.A.146.14. Name:  ANSAR AL CHARIA BENGHAZI Name (original script): أنصار الشريعة - بنغازي A.k.a.: a) أنصار الشريعة (Ansar al Charia) b) Ansar al-Charia c) Ansar al-Sharia d) Ansar al-Charia Benghazi e) Ansar al-Sharia Benghazi f) أنصار الشريعة بليبيا (Ansar al Charia in Libya (ASL)) g)  كتيبة أنصار الشريعة (Katibat Ansar al Charia) h) Ansar al Sharia F.k.a.:  na  Address: a) Operates in Benghazi, Libya b) Support network in Tunisia  Listed on: 19 Nov. 2014 Other information: Associated with the Organization of Al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb (QE.T.14.01), Al Mourabitoun (QE.M.141.14), Ansar al-Shari’a in Tunisia (AAS-T) (QE.A.143.14), and Ansar al Charia Derna (QE.A.145.14.). The leader is Mohamed al-Zahawi (not listed). Runs training camps for foreign terrorist fighters travelling to Syria, Iraq and Mali. 

For further details relating to the listings, please refer to the narrative summaries of reasons for listing of the above-mentioned names, available on the Al‑Qaida Committee’s website in accordance with paragraph 36 of resolution 2161 (2014):

Ansar al-Sharia?

That's the group behind the September 11, 2012 attack on US facilities in Benghazi.

Back in 2013, Jonathan Karl (ABC News) reported on the CIA version of the events from an early draft:

Like the final version used by Ambassador Rice on the Sunday shows, the CIA’s first drafts said the attack appeared to have been “spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo” but the CIA version went on to say, “That being said, we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.”  The draft went on to specifically name  the al Qaeda-affiliated group named Ansar al-Sharia.

Susan Rice left out that detail.

Alice in Barackland

That's Dirty Rice above in a calmer moment, as captured by Isaiah in "Alice In Barackland."

Dirty Rice wasn't the only one spinning.  In a laughable 'report' at the end of 2013, David D. Kirkpatrick and The New York Times went on to insist there was no connection to the group and al Qaeda.

(For a serious takedown of that awful 'report,' see C.I.'s  "2013: The Year of Exposure" and the "Iraq snapshot" for January 2, 2014.)

Last week, the United Nations publicly affirmed the two groups were linked.  Few outlets bothered to cover that. 


Benghazi and Mike Rogers

Friday, the House Intelligence Committee released a report on Benghazi.  Sunday, Senator Lindsey Graham denounced it as "full of crap."

We agree.

But for different reasons.

The head of the Committee is Mike Rogers.

Mike Rogers is the most dishonest member of Congress -- including on why he didn't seek re-election this year.

He's also been an apologist and enabler for the CIA and the NSA.

We wouldn't believe a word he said or wrote.

This edition's playlist

PJ Harvey's Let England Shake

1)  PJ Harvey's Let England Shake.

2)  Tori Amos' Unrepentant Geraldines.

3) Prince's Art Official Age.

4)   Neil Young's Storytone.

5) Ann Wilson's Hope & Glory.

6) Chrissie Hynde's Stockholm.

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

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

9) Cat Power's The Greatest.

10) David RovicsHalliburton Boardroom Masscre.

Murray: “Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much.”

Senator Patty Murray serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee and Chairs the Senate Finance Committee.  Her office issued the following last week:

Senator Patty Murray

Senator Patty Murray is the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee and serves on the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee (which she formerly Chaired).  Her office issued the following:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                      CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Wednesday, November 19, 2014                                                        (202) 224-2834
VETERANS—MENTAL HEALTH: Murray Concerned That VA and Local Communities Unprepared to Help Veterans in Crisis

(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, a senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, attended a hearing to examine mental health and suicide among veterans. According to recent data, suicide rates have continued to increase among female veterans who use VA care and among male veterans ages 18-24 who use VA, the rate has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000.

“There is no issue as pressing as providing quality, timely mental health care and suicide prevention programs to our nation’s heroes. The problem is familiar to all of us, but the solutions still seem elusive,” Senator Murray said at the hearing. “Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much.”

Senator Murray’s full remarks as prepared:

“Thank you, Mr. Chairman, for holding this hearing today. There is no issue as pressing as providing quality, timely mental health care and suicide prevention programs to our nation’s heroes. The problem is familiar to all of us, but the solutions still seem elusive.

“Twenty-two veterans per day die by suicide. Rates have continued to increase among female veterans who use VA care. Among male veterans age 18 to 24 who use VA, the rate has skyrocketed to 79 per 100,000. And finally, according to VA’s access data, wait times for new mental health patients are virtually unchanged -- at 36 days -- over the five months that VA has provided this data.

“Mr. Chairman, I am very concerned about whether VA and local communities are prepared with the resources, policies, and training to help veterans in serious crisis. When our men and women in uniform have the courage to come forward and ask for help, VA must be there with not only high quality and timely care, but also the right type of care to best meet the veteran’s needs. We must demand progress on each of these areas.

“Mr. Chairman, a few months ago we passed a VA reform bill to help veterans get into care.  It included a temporary authority to improve access to community providers for veterans having trouble accessing VA care.  However, a recent report by the RAND Corporation raises serious concerns about whether private sector providers are ready to give high quality care to veterans. It suggests we need to do more to expand use of evidence-based treatments - and much more to help providers understand the unique needs and culture of servicemembers and veterans. The reform bill also included critically needed funds to build and strengthen the VA for the long-term. 

“But there will be more needs going forward. VA must start planning and requesting the necessary resources now, so it will be prepared to meet the growing demand for mental health care far into the future. There is clearly much, much more work to be done. 

“Just one suicide, just one veteran in crisis, or just one family struggling to make it through is just one too much. So I want to take a moment to thank Mrs. Selke, Mrs. Pallotta and Mr. and Mrs. Vanata for being here today. It’s incredibly difficult to talk about these issues. We admire your courage and your strength for being willing to share your stories with us.

“Thank you, and your family, for your service and sacrifice to our nation.

“Mr. Chairman, I hope as we head into a new Congress that stories like theirs will continue to be told as we work together to fulfill the promises we have made to those who have served. Thank you.”


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

Nurses strike over lack of Ebola preparedness

This is from Workers World:

Nurses strike over lack of Ebola preparedness

By on November 23, 2014

Nurses at White House during national strike for health and safety.
Nurses at White House during national strike for health and safety.

National Nurses United held a day of strikes and demonstrations in 16 states on Nov. 12 demanding effective personal protective equipment and “continuous, rigorous interactive training for RNs and other health workers who might ­encounter an Ebola patient,” said Rose Ann DeMoro, NNU executive director. “That includes practice putting on and taking off the hazmat suits where some of the greatest risk of infection can ­occur. The lack of concern for nurses and ­patients in a world where corporations have taken over our community health care has been magnified during this deadly Ebola crisis.”

In the African countries of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone, Ebola kills at least half the people who contract the disease, according to a World Health Organization fact sheet. In the United States, as of Nov. 16, eight out of 10 Ebola patients have recovered. Survivors received early diagnosis and supportive care: prevention of dehydration with intravenous fluids, replacement of blood components, oxygen, nutritional support, and treatment for hemorrhage, shock and co-existing bacterial infections.

It is unknown whether blood plasma from survivors, which in theory contains antibodies to fight the virus, or the drug Zmapp, played a role in their recovery. These have not yet been tested in human beings to determine their safety or effectiveness.

Thomas Eric Duncan is the only Ebola patient treated in the U.S. to have died. An uninsured Liberian man, he was turned away from a Dallas hospital on Sept. 26 after a CAT scan, despite having fever and a history of travel to an area with much Ebola. He did not receive any treatment until several days later, when he returned by ambulance, critically ill. Two nurses at the nonunion hospital were infected with Ebola while caring for Duncan without proper training. They have recovered.

It appears that basic supportive care can greatly reduce the Ebola death toll. However, since the 1980s, the International Monetary Fund has enforced policies that led to a deterioration of health care infrastructure in countries now hit by the disease.

According to Rick Rowden in the Oct. 30 issue of Foreign Policy magazine, IMF policies that prevent “developing countries from scaling up long-term public investment in public health systems … have led to dilapidated health infrastructure, inadequate numbers of health personnel and demoralizing working conditions that have added to the ‘push factors’ driving the migration of nurses from poor countries to rich ones. All this has undermined public health systems in developing countries, including the ones now trying to cope with Ebola.”

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

Election turmoil lies behind Labour crisis (Alex Callinicos)

This is from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

Election turmoil lies behind Labour crisis

by Alex Callinicos

Ed Miliband at Labours conference this year
Ed Miliband at Labour's conference this year (Pic: Anthony Mckeown on Flickr)

Last week I found myself being bombarded by “We Back Ed” tweets. These were a reaction to the latest plot against Ed Milband, much-hyped in the media.

Reading the tweets I was reminded of the line from Hamlet, “Methinks the lady doth protest too much.”

I’m sure shadow health secretary Andy Burnham was right when he said “powerful vested interests” would prefer a continuation of the present Conservative-Liberal coalition or an outright Tory government to Labour.
But this doesn’t alter the fact that Labour is running far too weakly in the polls against an unpopular, shambolic government six months before the general election.

Last weekend’s polls put Labour ahead again after the Tories had inched into the lead. But the difference is very narrow—only two or three percentage points.

The problem isn’t primarily the hapless Miliband. It’s true that he comes over as neither flesh nor fowl nor good red herring.

His “fightback” speech on Thursday of last week attacked the “zero-zero economy”—zero hours contracts and zero taxes paid by the rich. But Miliband hasn’t broken with the heritage of New Labour that helped to create this economy in the first place.

The deeper problem is indicated by the fact that Labour and the Tories combined are currently polling at less than the 65 percent share of the vote that they won in the 2010 general election. Even the latter figure represented a historic decline compared to the 97 percent share of the vote Labour and Conservatives received in 1951.

In an excellent article in the latest issue of the London Review of Books, Ross McKibben argues that Labour is the victim of a dual crisis—“a crisis of the British state” and “a general crisis of social democracy”.


I think this right although McKibben, no Marxist, implies that Labour’s decline is a consequence of the decline of the industrial working class. Other academics use a version of the same argument to argue that Ukip is displacing Labour as the party of the “manual working class”.

Such analyses rely on too simplistic an understanding of class. There has been a shift in the structure of the working class from manual and industrial occupations to white collar and service jobs.

But Labour cut itself off from many in this restructured working class by the policies it pursued under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown. McKibben aptly summarised these as “the further privatisation of the state and its institutions, the private finance initiatives, the outsourcings, the Iraq war”.

The experience of New Labour in office proved particularly damaging in Scotland. It undermined loyalty to the Union and gave the Scottish National Party (SNP) the opportunity to position itself as the defender of social democracy against neoliberal London politicians.

As McKibben points out, “Labour has (or had) an electoral interest in keeping Scotland in the Union. The Conservatives do not.”

As traditionally the dominant party in Scotland, Labour played the key role in winning the referendum for the No campaign.

But this has proved a Pyrrhic victory as old Labour strongholds in working class neighbourhoods voted Yes.

The SNP lost the referendum but has stormed far ahead of Labour in the Scottish polls. No wonder, as puzzled (and stupid) London commentators observed, the party’s recent conference was a victory celebration.

Does all this mean Miliband has no hope of becoming prime minister? Not at all. At the British level we now have five major parties (Tories, Labour, Lib Dems, SNP, and Ukip). Who will come out on top in these circumstances under the first-past-the-post electoral system is anybody’s guess.

But probably no party will win a majority of seats. Nigel Farage hopes Ukip will make a big enough breakthrough for him to become the kingmaker.

But the Scottish polls suggest the SNP may have a bigger chance of playing this role. No wonder Alex Salmond is rumoured to be eyeing a Westminster seat. In the immortal words of Bette Davis, “Fasten your seatbelts—it’s going to be a bumpy night.”


 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.

"Meet The Bad Hair (which won't hide the lies, Sylv..." -- most requested highlight by readers of this site.

 "Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot" and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on the Senate Veterans Affair Committe hearing.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "The Men of NBC..." -- Isaiah's most recent comic. 

"Tina Turner" and "Diana Ross will be on The Voice" -- music coverage from Elaine and Betty. 

"Ty Herndon" -- Trina on coming out.

"The Originals (is Eli on strike?)" -- Rebecca, Betty, Ruth, Stan, Ann, Mike, Elaine and Marcia cover tV.

"22 Jump Street" -- Mike loves a movie.

"Justin Raimondo reviews Sharyl Attkisson's book" -- Marcia notes a book review.

"Postal workers rally" and "Barack goes right wing on immigration" -- Betty and Ruth use their sites to amplify and important article. 

"Debt Man and Blunder Boy" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Cosby, rape, Dorothy Dandridge," "ben affleck accuses bill cosby of sexual assault," "Cosby" and "Bill Cosby's latest accuser has a story that doesn't make sense" -- Kat, Rebecca and Betty weigh in.

"Nancy Pelosi lost her brains on the plastic surgeo...," "Corrine Brown is not fit to serve," "corrupt corrine brown set to be ranking member," "It's a shame the Democrats won't do what's best for veterans," "Corrine Brown is nuts," "Corrine Brown, show some integrity and step aside," "What I like about Corrine Brown," "Exclusive interview with Corrine Brown" and "THIS JUST IN! CORRINE SPEAKS!" -- some of the Brown coverage in the community.

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License.
Poll1 { display:none; }