Sunday, April 03, 2016

Truest statement of the week

It’s hard to imagine that the country that controls so much nuclear firepower and drops so many bombs every day is unwilling to educate its children and house its own people.
The poor have been with us since there was an “us.” And, as much as I would like to see zero poverty in the United States, a country that spends trillions on its domestic and international security apparatuses, I know that the political will for such policies is just not there today. This, despite the efforts of thousands of people just like me all over the country to alleviate the unnecessary suffering of the poor in the US. Instead, it has become clear from the rhetoric of the 2016 Presidential campaigns, that it is easier to preen oneself by boasting of increasing such security spending, and almost never to decrease it. Not even Democratic Party presidential candidate Bernie Sanders discusses cutting back on military spending and cutting weapons systems. Thus, we can have a presidential election and not one word is uttered about the criminalization of the poor and now the crisis of homelessness that afflicts a growing number of cities on the west coast of the US.
It is hard to estimate the number of homeless people in the US, but one indicator is the number of school children who do not have an address. According to the Child Trends Databank, at the start of the 2013 – 2014 academic year, there were approximately 1.4 million children in the United States who reported to school and did not have an address to give to school authorities. Child Trends asserts that while reporting has improved and can provide some background for the increased numbers, the sad fact is that the instance of homelessness among children is increasing.

-- Cynthia McKinney, "America, We Have a Problem: Homelessness is Out of Control" (BLACK AGENDA REPORT).

Truest statement of the week II

I think that what’s going on now—if you think that it’s pragmatic to shore up the status quo right now, then you’re not in touch with the status quo. The status quo is not working. And I think it’s dangerous to think that we can continue the way we are, with the militarized police force, with privatized prisons, with the death penalty, with a low minimum wage, with threats to women’s rights, and think that you can’t do something huge to turn that around, because the country is not in good shape. If you’re in the middle class, it’s disappearing.

-- Academy Award winning actress and activist Susan Sarandon on ALL IN WITH CHRIS HAYES (an appearance that got her named TRUTHDIGGER OF THE WEEK.)

A note to our readers

Hey --

A Sunday.

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:

Cynthia McKinney gets another truest.
And Susan Sarandon gets a truest. 
You're being 'steered' by the media when it comes to Iraq -- steered yet again.
Ava and C.I. take on media 'critiques,' Bob Somerby, Debra Messing, Hillary Clinton and much more in this hard hitting piece.

A song says it all.
Hillary's on a streak -- a losing streak!!!
Yeah, it's Ralph Nader's fault -- and the dog really did eat your homework!!!

It says it all, doesn't it?
For more Iraq coverage, we repost C.I.'s critique of Moqtada.
Margaret Kimberley makes some excellent points in this video.
What we listened to while we were writing.
Repost from UK Socialist Worker.
The oil and gas lobby queen.
Mike and the gang wrote this and we thank them for it.


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

Editorial: What the media forgot to tell you about Iraq

So much, so very much isn't told to you.


The US installed prime minister of Iraq, Haider al-Abadi, is breaking the Constitution of Iraq and doing so to please the White House.

Therefore, western media doesn't want to tell you (a) how bad that is and (b) how objections are being raised by Iraqi lawmakers.

From Saturday's "Iraq snapshot," here's a few truth bombs the western media is sitting on:

One member of the Cabinet can be ousted this way:

A. The Council of Representatives may withdraw confidence from one of the Ministers by an absolute majority and he is considered resigned from the date of the decision of confidence withdrawal. The issue of no confidence in the Minister may be tabled only on that Minister's wish or on a signed request of fifty members after an inquiry discussion directed at him. The Council of Representatives shall not issue its decision regarding the request except after at least seven days of its submission. 

The entire Cabinet can be ousted this way:

D. In case of a vote of withdrawal of confidence in the Cabinet as a whole, the Prime Minister and the Ministers continue in their positions to run everyday business for a period not to exceed thirty days until a new cabinet is formed in accordance with the provisions of article 73 of this constitution. 

But since when does the US government, the White House, really support rule of law in Iraq?


The only way a new Cabinet can be proposed is following elections.


Otherwise, the Cabinet has to be shut down by Parliament via a vote withdrawing confidence.

Where is the faith in rule of law?

The US State Dept loves to give lip service to the rule of law in Iraq when it benefits their goals, otherwise they stay silent.

The United Nations and the White House could've called for new elections in Iraq if they wanted a new Cabinet.

But,per the Constitution, short of that the only way a new Cabinet comes about is via a vote of no-confidence in the Parliament.

The rule of law is followed or it's not.

AL MADA notes that the proposed Cabinet was greeted earlier this week by a statement from KRG president Massoud Barzani who declared Haider's proposal had no importance and that it was long ago cleared there was no true partnership in the current government.

What's really amazing is how little objections to Haider's proposed Cabinet is covered by the international press.

There was an election in Iraq today.  Ammar al-Hakim was re-elected as the leader of the (Shi'ite) political body the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq.  And ISCI issued a statement that any political reforms (the Cabinet) should not weaken the law or increase political differences.

ALL IRAQ NEWS notes Ammar issued a statement as well when he noted reform did not equal proposing a new Cabinet.

Ammar held a press conference today where he expressed surprise by Haider al-Abadi's proposal to reform the Cabinet.  This as NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports that there is strong division in Parliament over Haider's proposed Cabinet with some likening Haider's proposals to the start of a "dictatorship."

Meanwhile AL MADA notes that the Kurds continue to demand 20% of the positions on any new Cabinet while Haider's nominees are facing criticism from Sunni political blocs.

But it's the Shi'ite criticism that's emerging and the most vocal.  IRAQ TIMES notes State of Law MP Kazem al-Sayadi has declared that, no way, no how, will any former member of the Ba'ath Party sit in the Cabinet.

In addition, ALSUMARIA reports that the Coalition of National Forces are also voicing objection to Haider's proposal with MP Khaled Mafraji declaring that what Haider has done is both incorrect and illegal.

As if Haider's proposal didn't have enough problems to face, it's already minus one.

NATIONAL IRAQI NEWS AGENCY reports Nazar Muahmmad Salim al-Numan withdrew his name from consideration on Friday.  Haider had nominated him on Thursday to be the Minister of Oil.  He stated he was withdrawing his name due to a "lack of political consensus."

IRAQ TIMES notes additional criticism of Haider's proposal -- MP Ghaida Kmbh has come out against Haider's proposal to eliminate some ministries and combine others.

This was supposed to be an easy move.

But someone in the US government forgot that there are no easy moves in Iraq.

Media Criticism not for the lazy (Ava and C.I.)

It started with Barack Obama.

Or some thought it did.

He provided a weak media critique.


As with so much he does and did, it wasn't his critique.

Instead, he was amplifying what a number of whiners -- partisan Democrats -- had already been crying about.

But the notion that Barack Obama, the president of the United States, would call for the press to do more?

When he has done everything a president can to destroy a free press?

Jack Shafer (POLITICO) called the nonsense out in a strong column that also noted how Barack really responded to the press:

How do we hate Obama’s treatment of the press? Let me count the ways. Under his administration, the U.S. government has set a new record for withholding Freedom of Information Act requests, according to a recent Associated Press investigation. FOIA gives the public and press an irreplaceable view into the workings of the executive branch. Without timely release of government documents and data, vital questions can’t be answered and stories can’t be written.
Obama’s “Insider Threat Program” has turned employees across the government—from the Peace Corps to the Social Security Administration to the Department of Agriculture—into information-squelching snitches. If this isn’t Trumpian behavior, I don’t know what is.
"Obama hates the press,” New York Times national security reporter James Risen said not long ago, “and he hates leaks.” AP Washington Bureau Chief Sally Buzbee has decried the “day-to-day intimidation of sources” by the Obama administration, judging it worse than the Bush administration on that score. And in a 2013 piece, POLITICO’s Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen documented Obama’s mastery of “limiting, shaping and manipulating media coverage of himself and his White House.”
As ProPublica has reported, at the same time the Obama administration has been paying lip service to protecting whistleblowers, it has pursued national security leaks to the press with a vehemence unmatched by any previous administration, using the Espionage Act to prosecute whistleblowers who leak to journalists more times than all previous administrations combined. Obama holds infrequent news conferences, and he wastes reporters’ time by refraining from answering questions with any candor. He claims to helm “the most transparent administration in history,” while bending government policies and practices toward secrecy.

A lot of idiots rushed forward to defend Barack.

Because Barack had offered the same garbage they were offering: The press has enabled Donald Trump.

Aging bitch-boi Bob Somerby has long (and repeatedly) insisted that if the press would just focus on Trump's tax plan (and focus on it with the same conclusions Bobbi has made of it), this would turn the front runner in the race for the GOP presidential nomination into persona non grata.

Yeah, because tax plans are what make the candidate, right?

Bobbi's an idiot and a partisan whore.

The press has not been on Trump's side.

FOX NEWS' Megyn Kelly raised her own profile by questioning Trump strongly and by standing up to him.  She's become a media celebrity as a result -- and even a VANITY FAIR cover person.

If the press was going easy on Trump, they would not have rushed to applaud Megyn as one of their own.

Donald has been press proof.

So far.

And some candidates are.

We'll get to that in a moment.

But first, read Bobbie's meltdown as he rushes to defend Nicholas Kristof -- yeah, the same Nicky K Bobbie has long called out.

He slams Frank Rich for calling out Kristof but neglects to include why Rich says Nicky K deserves blame.  Here's what Rich said in full:

But for Nicholas Kristof to piously claim, as he did in a Times column last weekend, that everyone in journalism should share in the “shame” of Trump’s rise is offensive. Though certainly Kristof deserves his share: Early this month, he wrote a column in which he interviewed an “imaginary” Trump voter rather than deigning to interview a real one. Had he talked to an actual Trump voter, he might have learned that investigative pieces about Trump University, fact-checking, and op-ed attacks are not going to deter any of them from rallying behind their man. As Eugene Robinson of the Washington Post put it in a column implicitly rebuking Kristof’s: “Blaming ourselves for Trump’s rise is just another way to ignore the voters who have made him a favorite for the GOP nomination.”

In full?

The same Bobbie Somerby who has slammed and slimed Chris Hayes for not playing a quote from Bill Clinton in full (but instead focusing on the key segment)?

Yep, that's how he rolls.

Media critic Somerby's failed to cover James Risen.


We have to cover all forms of TV and media and we've managed to cover Risen.

We also don't present ourselves as some academic White guy offering Platonic monologues.

Somerby does.

He's not much of a media critic and, more and more, you start to wish he'd folded tent in early 2006 as he originally hinted.

Trump is a dream candidate.

America values the myth of the do-it-alone.

Trump fits that myth -- thanks to the myth making of Trump that took place for decades.

He's a pig.

He's always been a pig.

But outside of Rosie O'Donnell, who's had the guts to call him out publicly prior to his running in the current race?

He's been fawned over, treated as the second coming of Lee Iacocca (another media myth).

The image was already splatter proof.

A sex scandal?

In the public eye, he has divorced two women and married a third. Each wife has been younger than the previous one.

He's supposed to be the American Dream and you can thank the business press for decades of soft coverage there but you can also thank NBC who got into business with him on THE APPRENTICE.

He's been shocking and scandalous since he first stepped into the public square.

Exactly how do you think the press defeats that?

People who like Trump identify with him -- it's often a wish that they could be the media portrayal of Trump, but they identify.

And the little slams and slurs aimed at him don't hurt him.

You'd have to prove him a fake to destroy him.

Is it the job of the press to destroy him?

It's their job to cover him.

And coverage is so upsetting to Bobbie Somerby that Saturday he took to his blog to whine about how THE NEW YORK TIMES quoted him . . . correctly!

Yes, even quoting Trump word for word isn't good enough for 'media critic' Bob Somerby.

When you're 'critique' is to gripe that someone was quoted correctly, you have no critique worth offering.

Bobbie's really concerned about the press coverage of Trump.

Less so when it comes to his home girl Hillary.

He launched into one tirade after another against an African-American college student because she dared to quote Hillary back to Hillary.  He slimed the woman over and over, mocked her, made fun of her because she dared to question his demi-god.

Hillary supporters aren't very smart a lot of the time.

Take Debra Messing.

We know Debra.  We like Debra.

In a general position type of world, Debra can hold her own.

She's for all the big topics.

She just can't dissect.

She just can't analyze.

And she really should never move beyond broad, general statements when it comes to politics.

Last week, she launched a Twitter attack on actress and activist Susan Sarandon.

Not very smart.

We have applauded THE MYSTERIES OF LAURA and we actually think season two has been better than season one (also true, the ratings stabilized in season two).  But NBC has yet to renew the series for a third season.

If we were the star of that show, we think we'd be a lot quicker to not start online feuds that could piss off a lot of people.

It's a lesson Debra needs to learn and learn quickly.

Debra's a great actress.

She's even a great person.

She is not a politically astute person.

She never should have attacked Susan Sarandon for supporting Donald Trump -- mainly because Susan didn't and doesn't support Trump.

Susan can't vote for Hillary Clinton.

Nor can we.

She's a War Hawk.

That doesn't mean we'll vote for Trump anymore than Susan will.

Debra's not smart enough to grasp that there's a whole world beyond voting either Republican or Democrat.

She's so sheltered she's just never grasped that reality.

Debra's also of the belief that you have to vote for X to prevent Y.

We're of the opinion you only vote if the candidate gives you a reason to vote for them.

That's us, that's not Susan.

We know Susan.

What she was saying to Chris Hayes that so enraged Debra was that she wouldn't vote for Hillary and  a Trump presidency might actually indict the rotten system faster than anything else could.

This was too much for Debra's politically underdeveloped brain to grasp.

Now Debra's smart on many things.

But if you don't know politics, you don't know politics -- and she doesn't.

Doubt us?

Briefly, we're going to prove our point.

  • ABSOLUTELY. But she can't win the nom,& can't win against the Republicans. If you CARE about that, she's not option.

  • We don't like Jill Stein.  We don't plan on voting for her.  We think it's very likely she will be the Green Party nominee but her weak ass campaign of 2012 doesn't inspire us (nor does her present campaign privately assuring us Jill cares about Iraq despite the fact that she never notes the ongoing war in her speeches or interviews).

    But notice what happens above.  A person Tweets about Jill Stein and Debra Messing reTweets the Tweet and adds that "she can't win the nom" -- what?

    Debra doesn't know what she's talking about and has no idea that Jill is of the Green Party.

    She's politically clueless.

    Such as here:

  • Wow. I didn't know this.

  • No, it hasn't been proven.

    Greenpeace is now in doubt?

    In what world?

    Jim Naureckas (FAIR) dove into the controversy after NPR's Peter Overby refused to do so:

    Well—why not include lobbyists with fossil-fuel clients, since that is what the Sanders campaign, like other critics, was explicitly talking about? According to Greenpeace, Clinton has gotten “$1,465,610 in bundled and direct donations from lobbyists currently registered as lobbying for the fossil fuel industry.” That’s quite a bit more string.
    And corporations can’t give directly to campaigns, but they can give to Super PACs that support campaigns. Greenpeace cites “$3,250,000 in donations from large donors connected to the fossil fuel industry to Priorities Action USA, a Super PAC supporting Secretary Clinton’s campaign.”
    That works out to $5 million altogether. It’s hard to say what the going rate for buying a presidential candidate is, but unlike Overby, I wouldn’t refer to Clinton’s fossil-fuel-industry contributions as “paltry.”

    And even though Overby warns you away from looking at the Clinton Foundation—because it’s the sort of thing a “Republican opposition research group” would do—you don’t need to go to a middleman; the Clinton Foundation lists its donors on its website. There you can learn that the Foundation has received at least $10 million from Saudi Arabia; at least $5 million from Kuwait, as well as from oil-refining billionaire Mohammed H. Al-Amoudi; at least $1 million from ExxonMobil, natural gas-producer Cheniere Energy, Qatar, Oman, United Arab Emirates, the Dubai Foundation, “Friends of Saudi Arabia,” etc.

    And the Sanders' campaign issued "Clinton’s Close Ties to the Oil, Coal and Gas Industry" which included:

    NEW YORK – The Clinton campaign on Friday held a conference call with New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to discuss Secretary Hillary Clinton’s record on clean energy and climate change.
    Unfortunately, the Clinton campaign left out some important facts.

    In 2001, Clinton voted to kill a measure backed by most Democrats and spearheaded by Sen. Bill Nelson that would have restricted drilling off the coast of Florida. Sanders voted for the restrictions.
    During the 2006 election, Clinton accepted $74,000 from oil and gas interests while running for re-election that year. According to a scorecard of Senate votes compiled by the League of Conservation Voters, Clinton cast two votes in support of 2006 legislation to vastly expand drilling in the Gulf. Those votes put her on the opposite side of then-Sen. Barack Obama. That same year, Sen. Bernie Sanders voted against a measure in the House of Representatives to expand offshore drilling.

    During the 2008 election cycle, she was the 6th largest recipient of oil and gas money in the Senate.

    A year later, as secretary of state, she approved the Alberta Clipper, a tar sands pipeline that Sen. Sanders opposes. The Clinton-led department said the pipeline would “advance a number of strategic interests.” Environmental groups such as Earthjustice told Reuters: “It means large amounts of more air pollution, large amounts of water pollution and extra [greenhouse gases] because more energy is required to convert this [heavy oil] into a refined, usable petroleum product.”

    In 2010, Secretary Clinton remarked that she was ultimately “inclined to approve” Keystone XL, a pipeline that would transport tar sands oil from Canada. During the campaign, after strong opposition from environmental organizations, Secretary Clinton eventually came out in opposition to the Keystone Pipeline, not because of her concerns about climate change, but because she viewed it as a “distraction.”

    During her time leading the State Department, the agency also signed the “U.S.-Mexico Transboundary Hydrocarbons Agreement,” a deal it said would help energy companies expand offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico. The State Department said the pact would help energy corporations expand offshore drilling and “unlock areas for exploration and exploitation” in locations between the two countries. The agency said the deal will make “nearly 1.5 million acres of the Outer Continental Shelf more attractive” to energy companies.

    In her 2016 bid, Clinton has relied on a slew of current and former advocates for the oil and gas industry for fundraising support, including Tony Podesta, the brother of Clinton’s campaign chair John Podesta. As recently as this year, Tony Podesta has lobbied for BP, the company responsible for the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history. He has also lobbied for a company partly-owned by ExxonMobil. Podesta has raised over $130,000 for Clinton’s campaign, according to federal election records. According to public filings, approximately one in 15 dollars given to Priorities USA Action, a Super PAC coordinating directly with Secretary Clinton’s campaign, came from oil, gas and coal interests.
    Oil and gas companies have contributed more than $700,000 to Clinton’s campaigns throughout her political career, according to data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics.

    These are facts.

    These are facts which are too complicated for Debra Messing.

    So much is too complicated for Debra when it comes to politics.

    So much.

    Take this Tweet, or rather, reTweet from Debra:

  •                     Retweeted
    For those of you that didn’t catch what went down with Hillary last Sunday, take a look :)

  • She's reTweeting Caitlyn Jenner?

    Is she unaware that Jenner called Hillary "a f**king liar"?

    She's reTweeting Caitlyn because Debra's good on the big picture.

    So LGBTQ?

    She supports.

    And she wrongly assumes every LGBTQ is a liberal.

    So she reTweets Caitlyn Jenner.

    Susan Sarandon she starts a war with.

    Caitlyn?  She happily (and ignorantly) reTweets.

    We like Debra.

    She's a sweet person.

    She's a talented actress.

    She is not, however, politically astute.

    If we want to talk politics, we'd talk them with Susan Sarandon who has a lifetime commitment to politics and who can analyze as well as anyone else.

    Doesn't mean we'd always agree with Susan.

    And we certainly haven't always agreed with her.

    But she does the work.

    And continues to do the work.

    Hillary's supporters more and more seem like their candidate: Tired.

    In 2008, Barack Obama stole the nomination from Hillary in part because he won the inspiration battle.

    Eight years later, Hillary still suffers from her inability to inspire.

    It's what analysts are talking about when they talk about the "enthusiasm gap" between her and Bernie Sanders.

    Bernie inspires.

    Bernie's followers are passionate to change things.

    Hillary's supporters tend to be more desperate -- while painting themselves as pragmatic.

    They're scared and desperate and convinced that the uninspiring Hillary can win a general election.

    But are they convinced or self-deluded?

    Their actions would indicate they're deluded.

    When they slam a newspaper for accurately quoting a candidate, they seem desperate.

    When they repeatedly whine that the other candidate is not held accountable to their standards but they attack anyone who tries to hold their own Hillary accountable, they seem desperate.

    She says a lot of things.

    For instance:

  • Clinton campaign said it would win race in March; it didn't

  • Yep.

    She was wrong.

    Or lying.

    Apparently, she will now be debating Bernie in New York.

    But when the week started?

    She was whining that Bernie was being too mean.

    As Mike observed last week:

    The strongest thing Hillary has going for her is that people think she's tough and a fighter.
    So her inability to debate Bernie Sanders and her whining that he's not playing fair because he's saying 'mean things' about her?
    She looks like Cry Baby Clinton.
    Worse, it undermines her appearance of being tough and being a fighter.

    She did look like a cry baby.

    We kept waiting for the talking Barbie doll of Hillary that said, "Debating is hard."

    We also couldn't help but remember what Hillary said in 2008 when Barack was iffy on further debates, "You should be willing to debate anytime, anywhere."

    She lies and she lies again.

    And keeps getting caught out online.

  • Meanwhile earlier in her adult life, was president of the Wellesley Young Republicans.

  • Hillary's lies are so outrageous that even Naomi Klein can wade into the discussion.

  • Where are the attacks on Hillary for these and so much more?

    'The media is failing!'

    The media's doing about the same job that they always do.

    And Barack?

    It's really not fitting of the office for him to involve himself in the current political race.

    Bully Boy Bush was a certifiable idiot but even he grasped that.

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