Saturday, November 09, 2013

On the list of 50 great actresses

In Thursday's snapshot, C.I. noted:

In September, Betty wrote "The Female Brando" about a book she was reading, Jon Krampner's The Female Brando, which argued Kim Stanley was the female Marlon Brando.  Betty disagreed with the book and this became a theme post last night.  Betty offered "Jane Fonda," Rebecca picked "debra winger,"  Elaine offered "Jessica Lange," Mike went with "Marilyn Monroe," for Marcia it's "Charlize Theron," Ann selected "Diane Keaton," Stan argued for "Tuesday Weld," Trina felt the obvious choice was "Faye Dunaway," for Kat it's "Cher" and Ruth went with "Shelley Winters."

In addition to those ten women, forty more were added in Rebecca's "50 actresses at least as talented as brando" -- these were based on your e-mails to our sites following the posts going up.

Meryl Streep is the top name added in the forty.  No surprise there, she's a very talented actress.

Brando was a physical actor and that's why we really didn't run with Meryl.  She's more of an intellectual actress.

Bette Davis?

We had ruled her out because we were doing his 'peers.'

But who are his peers?

Marcia wanted to do Charlize Theron and I love what Marcia wrote.  Thing is also, Theron is a peer.  His career went on forever.

Therefore, you can argue Bette Davis was his peer.  Like him, she was a very physical actor.

That's not me saying, "Meryl doesn't belong on the list!"

I'm just offering some background and also trying to note the community choices.

I would honestly not include Elizabeth Taylor if Cat On A Hot Tin Roof was the last film she made.  She's good.  But it's not until the 60s that she really comes into her own.  I think she's untouchable in a lot of the 60s and 70s films she made -- even the ones that were considered lousy films.  X, Y and Zee, for example, was slaughtered by the critics.  But Elizabeth is amazing in that film.

Certainly, Angelina Jolie is the heir to Brandon.  In the last decade, no one's been more fearless.

I think the list has 40 wonderful actresses.  I wish we could go up to 100.  I really loved this theme topic and I thank Betty for suggesting it.

I am always happy when we can take a moment to note artistic accomplishments -- even more so when we're able to make time to celebrate the accomplishments of women.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Friday, November 8, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue,  campaigning gears up in Iraq, Nouri's called on his obvious effort to manipulate, protesters gather across Iraq and note Nouri's visit to DC wasn't as grand as previous ones,Amnesty International condemns the ongoing executions,  the US gears up for Veterans Day, a silly fool tries to pull the US into a war in the country of her origin, and more.

Monday is Veteran's Day in the United States.  Senator Patty Murray is the former Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee -- she continues to serve on the Committee and she's now the Chair of the Senate Budget Committee.  Her late father, David L. Johns, was a Purple Heart recipient (World War II).   Her office issued the following today:

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                                 CONTACT: Murray Press Office
Friday, November 08, 2013                                                             (202) 224-2834
Senator Murray’s Veterans Day Statement
: A Veterans Day Message from Senator Patty Murray
(Washington, D.C.) – Today, U.S. Senator Patty Murray, senior member of the Senate Veterans’ Affairs Committee, released the following statement as the nation prepares to observe Veterans Day:
“On Veterans Day, we honor and celebrate the courage and commitment of our nation’s heroes, both past and present. When these brave men and women signed up to serve our country, we agreed to take care of them. They kept their end of the bargain and we must keep ours.
“Our veterans have leadership ability, discipline, and technical skills to not only find work but to excel in a 21st Century workforce. But despite these facts, veterans across the country continue to struggle as they try to find work.
“For too long we have invested billions of dollars in training our young men and women with skills to protect our nation, only to ignore them once they leave the military. For too long, at the end of their career, we patted our veterans on the back for their service and then pushed them out into the job market alone. Thankfully, we have been able to take real, concrete steps toward putting our veterans back to work with new laws like my “VOW to Hire Heroes Act” and other legislative efforts.
“We have also worked to build partnerships with private sector businesses in order to tap into the tremendous amount of goodwill that companies have toward our returning heroes.  In fact, just this week, our own Microsoft and Starbucks launched major, nation-wide initiatives to put our men and women in uniform back to work.
“This is the legacy of opportunity we have to live up to for our nation’s veterans. This is the responsibility we all have on our shoulders. It doesn’t end on the battlefield. It doesn’t end after the parades Monday. In fact, it never ends.
“Our veterans don’t ask for a lot and too often they are coming home and facing unnecessary stresses and struggles. On this Veterans Day we need to redouble our efforts – government, businesses, and citizens - to guarantee our veterans get a fair shot and to guarantee them that they are not measured by fear or stigma, but what they can do, what they have done, and what they will do.”
Meghan Roh
Press Secretary | New Media Director
Office of U.S. Senator Patty Murray
Mobile: (202) 365-1235
Office: (202) 224-2834

RSS Feed for Senator Murray's office

Monday, Olive Garden will be serving a free meal to veterans  click here for menus.  (They will also be also be giving a 10% discount throughout November for veterans and veterans families.)  Hooters notes  their way of honoring veterans:

Hooters is showing its gratitude for veterans and active duty military personnel this Veterans Day. On Monday, Nov. 11, Hooters invites all veterans and current servicemen and women to enjoy a free meal, up to $10.99 in value with any drink purchase, by presenting a military ID or proof of service at any Hooters location across the country.
“We are grateful for the opportunity to show appreciation for our military personnel who have selflessly sacrificed for the freedom of all Americans,” said Andrew Pudduck, vice president of marketing, Hooters of America. “Supporting the military community is very important to the Hooters family; we hope our veterans and active duty military will join us on Veterans Day to relax and enjoy a meal on us as a small but earnest way to say ‘thank you’ for your service.”
In addition, Hooters is sending extra love to the troops with its annual Operation Calendar Drop campaign. The 2014 Hooters Calendar is now on sale and guests are encouraged to purchase an extra calendar and write a personal message of appreciation for the troops. Hooters will collect the personalized calendars and deliver them to U.S. military stationed overseas.     

Hoss's Steak & Sea House will honor Veterans Day on Monday from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. with a free meal: Parmesan Crusted Tilapia & Rice Pilaf, Grilled or Fried Chicken Tenders Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes, Meatloaf Stuffing & Mashed Potatoes, Chicken Parmesan & Pasta, Fried Shrimp & Fries or All You Can Eat Soup, Salad & Dessert Bar.  Any meal includes soup, salad & dessert bar and beverage.

Golden Corral has a video with Gary Sinise (above) explaining that this Monday, from four p.m. until nine p.m., is Military Appreciation Monday and those who have served in the military receive a free dinner during those five hours.  Veterans who feel like a burger on Monday might want to visit Shoney's which notes:

Nothing says “Thank You” like a great burger and Shoney’s is set to prove it, as the iconic all-American restaurant brand will thank our nation’s veterans and troops with a FREE All-American Burger™ on Veterans Day, Monday, November 11, 2013.
“For generations, Shoney’s always has been a ‘Welcome Home’ sign to America’s military,” said Davoudpour. “On their national day of celebration and honor, Shoney’s looks forward to welcoming our veterans and troops with a free burger as we thank those who protect our very freedom. We salute you.”
According to Davoudpour, service members will be treated to Shoney’s Signature favorite All-American Burger, a freshly prepared, hand-pattied, grain-fed, 100% ground beef, cooked to order burger, served on a toasted corn-dusted bun with lettuce, tomatoes, red onions, pickles and mayonnaise.
“It’s named after the greatest country on earth,” said Davoudpour, “and has been a guest favorite for years.”
Since acquiring the great American eatery in 2007, Davoudpour has been on a spirited mission to make Shoney’s better than ever, and return the icon to its Glory Days, when it became part of American popular culture as one of the first family casual dining concepts in the United States. Shoney’s served as a popular post-WWII family destination when it began serving guests 66 years ago. Davoudpour personally sees that an American flag flies proudly in front of his Shoney’s restaurants.
“Veterans Day is a day of thanks and for us, being able to serve the many who serve for our freedom is a privilege,” added Davoudpour. “We are thankful every day for our veterans and troops, and on their day we look forward to serving them a free burger.”
Shoney’s offer of a free All-American Burger to veterans and active duty military service members is available on Monday, November 11, 2013 at participating restaurants while supplies last. There is a limit of one per day per military service member and the offer is not valid in conjunction with any other offers. Shoney’s military guests will need to provide proof of military service. Offer is valid for Dine-in only and beverage, tax and gratuity are not included.

Applebee's notes:


Available during business hours on November 11, 2013, in all U.S. Applebee's restaurants.  Dine in from limited menu only: Fiesta Lime Chicken, Bacon Cheddar Cheeseburger, 7 oz. House Sirloin, Three-Cheese Chicken & Sun-Dried Tomato Penne, Chicken Tenders Platter, Double Crunch Shrimp or Oriental Chicken Salad..  
Beverages and gratuity not included.  Veterans and active duty military simply show proof of military service.
Proof of service includes: U.S. Uniformed Services ID Card, U.S. Uniformed Services Retired ID Card, current Leave and Earnings Statement (LES), veterans organization card (i.e. American Legion, VFW), photograph of yourself in uniform, wearing uniform, DD214 and citation or commendation.

Veterans of Foreign Wars notes they have a page noting places honoring veterans for Veterans Day. The American Legion's list is here.  In tonight's Iraq snapshot, we'll note these and the other establishments we've noted this week.  For events noting Veterans Day (some of which will take place Saturday or Sunday and not just on Monday), refer to this VA Dept webpage. or this Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America webpage.  The VFW issued the following today:

The VFW calls on Americans to remember our veterans and honor them for their service and sacrifice

Each Nov. 11, Americans celebrate our veterans by honoring them for their brave service to our nation.
These courageous men and women who have donned the uniform did not do it for the praise or the accolades. They did it because they answered the call to duty, and they selflessly and heroically served our nation. There is no doubt that they are truly America’s finest.
The America that we all know is a product of their service and dedication. For generations, they have kept our nation free and defended democracy from tyranny and oppression. They’ve protected freedom-loving people all around the world.
And we must also remember the thousands who are deployed all over the world today, defending our freedoms at this very moment. We pray for their safe return, and the VFW stands ready to support their families while they are away.
The VFW understands freedom is not free, and it is our veterans and their loved ones who pay the price. As we honor them on Veterans Day, and each day after, we should reflect on the sacrifices they’ve made to ensure America’s victories, as well as the many liberties we enjoy as a result of their stalwart sense of duty.
Since America’s founding, it has been those who have worn the uniform–those who have tenaciously defended American values–who we will be forever grateful to: America's proud Airmen, Coastguardsmen, Marines, Sailors and Soldiers.
The VFW salutes you and thanks you for your service.
Turning to other issues, Mohja Kahf is upset and gripes at Fellowship of Reconciliation about Syria -- specifically what she sees as failures with regards to peace.  Here she is uncorking her aged whine:
But where is the majority of the U.S. peace movement? Maybe I just don’t know; I’m only one person, seeing part of the picture. I would like a list of solidarity actions U.S. peace organizations have held for Syrians since March 18, 2011, demanding the regime stop massacring civilians, or petitions they circulated for the release of prisoners of conscience. How have U.S. peace organizations shown solidarity with nonviolent resistance to a brutal regime in Syria? 
Neglected by the global community is how Syrian civil resistance people felt in the first phase of the uprising, lasting till midsummer 2011, characterized—despite isolated incidents of violence— by consensus around nonviolence. I realize that’s subjective, but it’s useful to examine what that feeling could mean. It could mean that Syrian uprising folk indeed experienced little solidarity from peace movements abroad.
The Afghanistan War was not started just by Bully Boy Bush or just Bully Boy and Colin Powell (where is that proof Colin, you never did provide it).  It was also started by some people who meant well.  Some feminists who cared but who had gotten ever closer to militarism (a stance that is continuing and you can see whenever Anne Marie-Slaughter is given 'props' and 'shout outs' and, sadly, when her ilk are promoted at conferences that the Feminist Majority Foundation sets up).
A lot of well meaning feminists worked, in the 90s, on the issue of the abuse of women in Afghanistan under Taliban rule.  That US work was rendered obsolete when some feminists made nice with the White House and allowed the lie to be pimped that the Afghanistan War was in part or whole about women's rights.
What invasion in history ever improved women's rights?  That's insanity. You can't be on the left and feel that the US needs to be "The Cops of The World."  This is not a new claim, this is not a new belief.  Listen to Phil Ochs's "Cops Of The World" if you're as uninformed as Mohja.
Veterans Day is Monday.  Do you know how many young veterans are suffering right now?  Do you know how many are waiting on VA ratings?  Or that there are young veterans who are suffering and don't even know there's help out there.
They have been overtaxed.  Regardless of what you think of either war, the two big ones of the last years aren't like the previous US wars in that you didn't do one tour of duty and then get out.  You did several.  You did them over and over.  You did long tours and had less down time between them.  The military was close to the breaking point.  These men and women are not toys or trinkets.  They do not exist to battle personal whims.
What does Mohja want done?  She wants Americans to stand in solidarity with various groups they know nothing about.  Because she says so.  That's the proof, a ridiculous person with petty grudges she's been working for decades.  Has she even been back to Syria in the last four years?

She gets bitchy, "instead of amplifying Johnny-come-lately armed extremists, or promoting regime narratives such as that touted by the Lebanese-born nun, Mother Agnes-Mariam. Demand the release from prison of civilian resistance activists; protest when they are killed. Find and know the civilian resistance in Syria; support them."

You know there's a place for bitchy and goodness knows I appreciate bitchy when it's pulled off.
But I don't get the attack on "Lebanese-born nun . . ."  I know who she is, I'm familiar with her work and her work exposes the lies of so many that Mohja supports.
Yet the bitchy fails.  Why?

"Lebanese-born nun" -- uh, Mohja, you were born where?  It wasn't the US, it was Syria.  Why are you mocking a nun for being from Lebanon?  She's in Syria now.  While your family fled when you weren't even five-years-old.  Mojha's family brought their grudge against the Assad family with them.  When  any country gives you the chance to start over, start over.  Never bring your grudges to the airport -- they're heavy and they don't come with wheels.
There is no 'solidarity' answer for Syria which is a civil war -- played out by foreign interests (including the US government).  Mojha knows that -- even she's not that stupid.  The White House wants war on Syria and Mojha's agitating hard to deliver it -- which makes her as much of a tool of war and destruction as Andrew Bowmen (though he doesn't try to hide who he is).  If she wants to change the government in Syria, she needs to get her ass over there.  She's been primed for it by her family for years, she's grown up hating the family that's led Syria.  And she thinks she can pretend she's got plan.  She's got nothing but hate.  She was raised on hate and she's chosen to let it consume her.

If that seems harsh, let's looking a Mojha's opening:

I marched (er, clothed) with CODEPINK women when they stood butt-naked across the main strip in my Arkansas hometown protesting the U.S. military invasion of Iraq. As a longtime anti-interventionist, I am on U.S. peace group mailing lists out the wazoo.

I'm sorry Mojha, is Iraq no longer on your to-do-list?  Did you get bored?  Did it become a little too much for you, a little too real?  Iraq is in shambles.  Because of the actions of the government in the country you chose to live in.  In a text and video report, RT notes, "With over 7,000 civilian casualties so far, 2013 has already become the deadliest year in Iraq since 2008. In its new project, a timeline of the violence, RT brings the sad record into the spotlight."  But Mojha marched against Iraq a few years ago so she's checked it off her to-do list.

Let's move from one idiot to another.  Can someone please explain to me why The Palm Beach Social Pictorial has always had a stronger grip on facts than the Palm Beach Post.  Jac Wilder VerSteeg wants to offer, at the newspaper, "The US finally is out of Iraq.  So stay out."

How is the US out?  For Fiscal Year 2014, the US State Dept is requesting that Congress provide it with $1,180,000,000 -- over a billion dollars for the State Dept mission in Iraq.

That doesn't sound like the US government is out of Iraq.

In September 2012, Tim Arango reported for the New York Times:

Iraq and the United States are negotiating an agreement that could result in the return of small units of American soldiers to Iraq on training missions. At the request of the Iraqi government, according to General [Robert L.]  Caslen, a unit of Army Special Operations soldiers was recently deployed to Iraq to advise on counterterrorism and help with intelligence.        

That doesn't sound like the US military's out of Iraq either.

So how is the US finally out of Iraq?

Oh, right! The US press withdrew! (All but the New York Times, CNN and AP.)

And some Americans like the silly Mojha are bored with Iraq and have lost interest, is that how the US is 'out' of Iraq?  Then there's the ridiculous Thomas E. Ricks who stops performing fellatio on the war machine  long enough to type, "From a comment the other day. I think this is actually a healthy attitude, one I wish I could emulate more: " The comment is from a Iraq War veteran who no longer wants to think about Iraq.  I'm not going to slam the veteran for that or any Iraqi refugee who made it out and wants to just focus on what's in front of them.  In both cases, that's more than understandable.  But Ricks saying he wishes "I could emulate [it] more?  That'a pathetic.

He's not a journalist anymore.  He's a salesman for counterinsurgency -- war on a native people.  So it's not like he's stepped away from war.  He's just ignored the Iraq War because telling the truth got too hard for him.  He'd rather look the other way on the issue of Barack's September 2012 move with Special Ops going back into Iraq.  He'd rather whore for other wars.  And I know he got lost when he was embedded with the military and frequently forgot he was a journalist, but could someone make clear to Thomas E. Ricks that he's not a veteran, that you have to serve in the military to be a veteran?

While Ricks remains confused and silent, Eman Ahmed Khamas (CounterPunch) reports realities about Iraq and chief thug and prime minister Nouri al-Maliki:

Armed men with sectarian insignia patrol Iraqi streets. There are at least five armed militias working in collaboration with the Iraqi security forces, apart from the special units that are directly connected to the prime minister’s office. Even Maliki’s son, Ahmed, has his own armed men and conducts military operations, although he has no police or security portfolio.
According to Navi Pillay, the UN high Commissioner for Human Rights, there are massive human rights violations in Iraq. The Iraqi legal system under Maliki does not comply with the simplest global norms. From January-October 2013, 140 Iraqis have been executed by the Ministry of Justice, in defiance of the calls by many international human rights organizations for an immediate death penalty moratorium.
“The law has become a sword held to the necks of Iraqis,” said Osama Nujaifi, the Iraqi Speaker of the Parliament.
Iraqi government sources confirm that there are some 30,000 Iraqis in prison; 17,000 languish there without trial. Arbitrary arrests are common practice in Iraqi streets. Documented and filmed horror stories of torture and death in Iraqi prisons make the infamous Abu Graib abuses look like child’s play. Many of the detainees disappear, their families unable to ascertain if they are dead or alive.
Maliki claims that he leads a vibrant democracy, but he heads an authoritarian regime and monopolizes six high governmental posts: chief of staff, minister of defense, minister of interior, chief of intelligence, and head of national security. Even his partners in the Shiite alliance have been excluded, let alone his Sunni opponents. He is supported by the theocracts in Iran and he has supported the Syrian regime, one of the most notorious autocracies in the region. In a televised interview, Maliki threatened to liquidate those who demonstrate for justice and better services, and described them as a ‘stinking bubble’. Indeed, his SWAT forces used lethal weapons against peaceful protestors several times. In the town of Hawija, for example, at least 50 unarmed men were slaughtered last April. In other cities, such as Basra, Nassyria, Fallujah, and Mosul, protestors have been beaten, arrested and killed.

 Iraqi Spring MC notes the protest today in Falluja and in Baquba, in Tikrit, in Rawa, in Baiji, in Samarra, and in Jalawla.  Protests have been taking place since December 21st. as the 11th month mark looms, the US press continues to refuse to cover what's taking place.   Al Mada reports that Anbar Province speakers noted Nouri al-Maliki's visit to Iraq last week and how this visit was different and found Nouri in a weaker position than during past visits.  Speakers noted that the ongoing protests were exposing injustice and corruption.  Sheikh Saad Fayyad spoke about how the sit-ins would end -- when Nouri met their demands and when killers were held accountable. And by killers -- also noted by Sheikh Mustafa Sabri -- they are referring to the Nouri-sanctioned militias who are hunting and killing Sunnis.  Maybe that's why the US press can't cover the protests, it's not a lot of fluff the way they're used to.

Nouri's spent the week attacking cleric and movement leader Moqtada al-Sadr who has ignored Nouri, advising his followers not to even bother to protest Nouri's attacks.  All Iraq News notes:

MP, Bahaa al-Araji, of Sadr Trend assured that the head of Sadr Trend, Muqtada al-Sadr, has no personal dispute with the Premier, Nouri al-Maliki.
He stated to AIN "The recent statement issued by Sadr in which he criticized Maliki was an answer for an inquiry by some of his followers because he is a representative for the Religious Authority."

Mustafa Habib (Niqash) analyzes the political scene in Iraq:

As of last week, it seems more likely that Iraq will go to the polls again soon, in April 2014. But current PM, Nouri al-Maliki, doesn’t have too many friends or fans left – so the likelihood of a new national leader is high. And it seems that many Iraqis might be betting on former terror-inducing religious man, Muqtada al-Sadr, or another cleric, Ammar al-Hakim, for the job. Both men have recently been proving themselves adept politicians.  

Amid growing levels of violence, political tension and general governmental disarray, what might best be described as Iraq’s Shiite Muslim political block is splintering. These days their block is just as fragmented and disillusioned as any other political grouping in the country.

But there are two younger Shiite politicians who are becoming more and more popular, with both Shiite Muslim voters and non-Shiite voters. They are Ammar al-Hakim who leads the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq and Muqtada al-Sadr, who heads the so-called Sadrist block, which includes political, military and social wings.

Somewhat ironically – considering the pair is becoming more popular with non-Shiite Muslims as well – both politicians come from fairly strong religious backgrounds and famous religious families; both wear the uniform of the religious man, or theological scholar, in Iraq, including a black turban which signifies they are Shiite Muslim descendants of the Prophet Mohammed. It’s also ironic considering that in recent days, the pair seems more popular in secular Iraqi political circles than the Iraqi Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki, himself, who wears secular, Western-style clothing.

Al-Sadr and al-Hakim appear to be forging their own paths through the political quagmire that is Iraq’s nascent democracy. For one thing they are seen as being in touch with the people, having focused on social service to the ordinary Iraqi citizen – and this is in contrast to al-Maliki’s party, which is seen as working mainly for its own political gains and its elite, at the expense of any other interests.  

Provincial elections held earlier this year resulted in some serious gains for the followers of al-Sadr and al-Hakim.  The State of Law coalition led by al-Maliki was able to win 87 seats in the nine mostly-Shiite Muslim provinces of Iraq. Meanwhile al-Hakim’s Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq won 61 and the Sadrists won 58. Previously al-Sadr had joined with al-Maliki to shut al-Hakim out of any coalition. But recently al-Sadr has switched sides, forming an alliance with al-Hakim and standing against al-Maliki’s State of Law in some areas. And that allegiance allowed them to win the leaderships of two very important parts of the country, Baghdad and the oil-rich and prosperous southern city of Basra.

It is quite possible that al-Hakim and al-Sadr are able to repeat this performance in the upcoming 2014 parliamentary elections in Iraq, which, it was recently announced, would take place in April next year.

Additionally al-Hakim and al-Sadr are popular with more than just their traditional constituencies, having both been vocal in their support for a more inclusive system, where Sunni Muslims and other groups are not marginalized. Al-Sadr has been supportive of anti-government demonstrations held in the Sunni Muslim-dominated Anbar province and al-Hakim has said he considers such demonstrations a legitimate right of the Iraqi people. The two leaders have also been positive when it comes to Iraq’s other powerful political group, the Iraqi Kurdish.

It's campaign season in Iraq.  Al-Shorfa notes, "The Iraqi Ministry of Planning on Friday (November 8th) announced it has allocated 865 billion dinars ($744 million) for a plan to support Iraqis living in poverty with loans and jobs."  Ayad Jannah (Kitabat) responds wondering where Nouri's concern for the poor has been all these years as Iraqis have suffered and Iraqi cities have been turned into slums?  Jannah notes Nouri travels in an armored car, a luxury car, while living in lavish palaces but he's let the Iraqi people live in squalor.

Moving over to violence, National Iraqi News Agency reports two Baghdad bombings claimed 3 lives and left seven people injured, a Karmah sticky bombing claimed the life of 1 Sahwa and left another person injured, an Alaaskari armed attack left 1 police officer dead and another injured, and early this morning an armed attack in Baquba left 1 person dead and a police member injured.  World Bulletin reports a Baghdad bombing has left 19 Iraqi soldiers dead and twenty-three injured.  Mohammed Tawfeeq (CNN) reports that a "bomb was hidden inside the Abu-Yahya restaurant in central Mosul."  NINA reports the bombing killed 11 people and left forty-nine more injured.

Through yesterday, Iraq Body Count notes 165 violent deaths so far this month.  Their count for the year so far is 7,500.  Still on violence, World Bulletin notes, "The leader of Al-Qaeda Ayman Zawahiri has announced that the rebel group Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) will be dissolved, leaving only the Nusra Front to carry out its operations."

Still on the violence, Nouri's only real achievement has been to preside over more and more executions.  To be clear, his last round of multiple executions was, yet again, about targeting Sunnis.  Amnesty International issued the following today:

A sharp increase in the use of the death penalty in Iraq has brought the number of known executions to the highest in the decade since the toppling of Saddam Hussein in 2003, with at least seven prisoners sent to the gallows yesterday, sparking fears that many more death row prisoners are at risk, Amnesty International said.
"Iraq’s increased use of the death penalty, often after unfair trials in which many prisoners report having been tortured into confessing crimes, is a futile attempt to resolve the country’s serious security and justice problems," said Phillip Luther, Middle East and North Africa Director at Amnesty International.
"In order to actually protect civilians better from violent attacks by armed groups, authorities in Iraq must effectively investigate abuses and bring those responsible to justice in a system that is fair, without recourse to the death penalty."
At least 132 people have been executed in Iraq so far this year – the highest number since the country reinstated capital punishment in 2004. However, the true number could be higher and the Iraqi authorities have yet to publish full figures.
Previously, only in 2009 (at least 120 executions) and in 2012 (at least 129) were the figures of known executions comparable to this year’s total, but each time for the whole calendar year.
"The stark rise in executions witnessed in 2012 has only gotten worse in 2013. The government apparently refuses to accept that the death penalty does nothing in deterring attacks by armed groups against civilians in Iraq or other serious human rights abuses," said said Phillip Luther.
Death sentences are often handed down after deeply unfair trials, where prisoners do not have access to proper legal representation and "confessions" to crimes are frequently extracted through torture or other ill-treatment.
In recent statements announcing the execution of 23 prisoners in September and 42 in October, the Iraqi Ministry of Justice misleadingly states that all death sentences are reviewed and confirmed by the Court of Cassation before executions take place.
But the Court of Cassation regularly fails to address the admission by trial courts of contested evidence, including withdrawn “confessions” and allegations of coercion and torture, when approving death sentences at the review stage. The generally paper-based procedure fails to give defendants a genuine review.
"For justice to prevail in Iraq the authorities have a long way to go to address the flaws in their criminal justice system, investigate claims of torture and other ill-treatment in custody, and, where applicable, grant re-trials in full compliance with international fair trial standards," said Phillip Luther.
"The authorities in Iraq must stop their reliance on the death penalty, by immediately declaring a moratorium on executions as a first step and commuting all death sentences to prison terms."
Amnesty International opposes the death penalty – the ultimate cruel, inhuman and degrading punishment – in all cases without exception, as a violation of the right to life.

Thursday, November 07, 2013

Jessica Lange

Two months ago, Betty wrote about a book she was reading "The Female Brando" and couldn't believe that stage star Kim Stanley was being hailed as the female Brando.

I agree with that disbelief.  If you're going to compare a theater star to movie star Brando in terms of talent, I'd go with Julie Harris and not Kim Stanley.

I almost typed "the amazing Julie Harris."  Then I remembered she passed away this year.

To me, the Brando peer is Jessica Lange.

Both are hugely talented and both could really please the audiences but rarely tried.

Jessica won her first Academy Award for Tootsie but never really tried to do a film like that again.

She's great in Crimes of the Heart but that film's comedy-drama it's not what Tootsie was.  (The closet she ever came to Tootsie was How To Be The High Cost Of Living which she made before Tootsie.)

She won her second Academy Award for Blue Skies.  She plays a wild mother and wife whose grip on life may be coming loose.

This is the type of drama she enjoys.  She is very good in these films but audiences don't seem real fond of them.

That's true of the bulk of Brando's career as well.

She did do the thriller Hush which was typical Hollywood product and she was chillingly amazing in it.

Of her films, I would rank the must-sees as Tootsie, Frances, Men Don't Leave (she's great in this and her scenes with Kathy Bates really crackle while her ones with Joan Cusack are just charming), Cape Fear (there's no role for her on the page yet her training in pantomime pulls her through) and especially A Thousand Acres.

But there are many other great performances (Country, Sweet Dreams, Blue Skies, Music Box, etc.) and she's had a real career at a time that's not been good to actresses.  I'm honestly surprised she didn't drop out because the roles really have been lacking for women.

Her talent has made many roles so much more and she's the actress who could stand toe-to-toe with Brando.  In fact, he'd need to bring his A game to keep up with her.

"Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):
Wednesday, November 6, 2013.  Chaos and violence continue, RAND tries to redeem the failed Iraq War, Iraqis children suffer, journalists are frightened in Mosul, US Senator Dianne Feinstein remains an international disgrace, and more.

The RAND Corporation has been around in the United States for a very long time.  It's hailed as a think tank which is like calling The Brookings Institute a social club.  While Brookings flirts with military worship, RAND has that in its DNA  -- creation of RAND was by the US Air Force with the sole purpose of exploring better weapons.  In 1948, RAND supposedly separates from the government but its work really doesn't change and certainly the usual suppliers feed it (Ford Foundation, etc).  They (after 'independence') popularize the notion of 'winnable' nuclear war.   Where there is propaganda posing as science and thought, you will often find RAND.  The late Chalmers Johnson offered a history of RAND at in 2008 which included:

For example, RAND's research conclusions on the Third World, limited war, and counterinsurgency during the Vietnam War were notably wrong-headed. It argued that the United States should support "military modernization" in underdeveloped countries, that military takeovers and military rule were good things, that we could work with military officers in other countries, where democracy was best honored in the breach. The result was that virtually every government in East Asia during the 1960s and 1970s was a U.S.-backed military dictatorship, including South Vietnam, South Korea, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, and Taiwan.
It is also important to note that RAND's analytical errors were not just those of commission -- excessive mathematical reductionism -- but also of omission. As Abella notes, "In spite of the collective brilliance of RAND there would be one area of science that would forever elude it, one whose absence would time and again expose the organization to peril: the knowledge of the human psyche."
Following the axioms of mathematical economics, RAND researchers tended to lump all human motives under what the Canadian political scientist C. B. Macpherson called "possessive individualism" and not to analyze them further. Therefore, they often misunderstood mass political movements, failing to appreciate the strength of organizations like the Vietcong and its resistance to the RAND-conceived Vietnam War strategy of "escalated" bombing of military and civilian targets.

Now RAND's  published an argument (posing as science) entitled Ending the US War In Iraq.  The full title is Ending the US War in Iraq: The Final Transition, Operational Maneuver, and Disestablishment of United States Forces-Iraq and the authors are Rick Brennan Jr, Charles P. Ries, Larry Hanauer, Ben Connable, Terrence K. Kelly, Michael J. McNerney, Stephanie Young, Jason Campbell and K. Scott McMahon.  It runs nearly 600 pages (the report itself is 344 pages of text).  Former US Ambassador to Iraq James Jeffrey writes the foreword.

Jeffrey gets to tell the first lies.  No, not about WMD.  Jeffrey skips the whole start of the war and pretends that its start was as natural as summer turning into fall.  No, his lie is that this 'historical record' is "an independent and objective analysis."  Since when does the US government hand over documentation to groups to let them form independent and objective analysis?

Jeffreys writes:

In collaboration with the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, the United States Forces - Iraq (USF - I) provided RAND access to plans, operations, orders, internal staff deliberations, strategic and operational assessments, and a host of other contemporaneous information on how U.S. forces completed, transferred, transformed, or terminated all activities being conducted in Iraq.  In addition, a RAND research team spent two weeks in Iraq in 2011, interviewing the leaders and staffs of both Embassy Baghdad and USF - I. 

No, that's not the description of independence.  That's the description of the US government hiring someone to craft an argument they want.

After the first lie of 'independent' analysis, the lies just come tumbling out of Jeffrey.  Such as here:

With U.S. assistance, Iraq has been given an opportunity for a sovereign and stable future, possessing the tools necessary to maintain internal security and the foundation necessary for external defense. The United States and Iraq should continue to work together to develop a government that is answerable to its people and their elected representatives, with a growing economy that is capable of continued growth and development.
This partnership is the same the United States seeks to share with all nations governed by principles of freedom, that respect the rights of their citizens, and that ensure the benefits of this freedom for all. This is the future the United States desires with Iraq. It is a future of mutual respect and mutual benefit. This opportunity has come at great cost and sacrifice, both by the people of Iraq and all who have served there. It should not be squandered. 

Those are pretty lies, but they're still lies.

You like roses and kisses and pretty men to tell you
All those pretty lies, pretty lies
When you gonna realize they're only pretty lies
Only pretty lies, just pretty lies
-- "The Last Time I Saw Richard," written by Joni Mitchell, first appears on her Blue

James Jeffrey became US Ambassador to Iraq solely because Barack Obama's hand picked golden boy wasn't golden.  Turned out that was a coating of urine on Chris Hill.  Every petty move, every 'analysis' was deeply, deeply wrong and Hill was and remains deeply stupid.

Little Chris went to Iraq and didn't have the brains or sense even to not insult Iraqis in front of Iraqi staff.  He ran them into the ground and did so in front of Iraqis.  He was known for his bi-polar spiral, his office naps and his petty attacks on Gen  Ray Odierno who Chris Hill was deeply jealous of -- a jealousy that led him to whine to the White House that the press liked Odierno better and the White House responded to Chris' tantrum by telling Odierno to stop speaking to the press.

For those who've forgotten, Odierno was the top US commander in Iraq.  That is who Chris Hill was jealous of and attempting to sideline.

Odierno also had common sense -- another skill set absent in Chris Hill.

As March 2010 parliamentary elections approached, the US press did what it always does, acted as lackeys to the White House.  And so you got all these ridiculous stories about how Nouri would 'win' and get a second term, win by a huge majority.  The US press (and much of the Western press) offered fluff, the Arab press outlets were reporting on Nouri's bribery efforts.   (At its most basic, the man who never took the time to bring the Iraqi people drinkable water was especially fond of bringing them large amounts of ice in trailers in the lead up to the election.)

Nouri had been appointed as Prime Minister in the spring of 2006 not because he had any support from the Iraqi people -- most didn't even know his name at that point -- but because he was the choice of the Bush administration.  (The White House had nixed Ibrahim al-Jafaari -- Parliament's choice -- which was part of the reason the elections took place in December 2005 but no one was named prime minister-designate until April 2006.)  He was a failure.

He did nothing to improve electricity, water or any public services.  He took part in cutting and gutting the ration-card system and what rations your card could allow you to receive free for yourself and your family.  This wasn't popular.  Of course it wasn't.  Why would people used to getting basic food staples for free be happy when then staples were greatly reduced.?  Of course they wouldn't.  And this was taking place during not only war but also during increased poverty.  It was not a smart move.

It did make many (the World Bank, for example) outside of Iraq happy.  To the Iraqi people, it was just more evidence of how the country lacked a leader and instead had a US-installed puppet who danced for others.  The fate of the Iraqi children today damns Nouri as a failure.  Ali Mamouri (Al-Monitor) explores the status of the children and notes:

In addition to this, there are an increasing number of homeless children in Iraq. According to statistics, one out of every eight Iraqi children is displaced. They are usually exploited and sent to beg in the streets or to work under harsh conditions and sometimes even used as prostitutes. They are often exposed to physical or sexual abuse, and cases have been reported where they have been exploited to carry out terrorist acts. When children involved in terrorist acts are arrested, Iraqi law does not take into consideration their special situation. They are punished  with sentences similar to those passed on adults, which often entail many years of imprisonment.
On another note, high rates of child labor in Iraq have been registered and some studies have shown that there are nearly 100,000 children in the Iraqi workforce. Moreover, 83% of Iraqi children have worked for their families on a permanent basis, without receiving any wage. Children usually work under dire and harmful conditions such as in garbage collection, brick and steel factories and farming. However, Article 29.b.3 of the Iraqi Constitution specifies that “economic exploitation of children shall be completely prohibited. The state shall take the necessary measures to protect them.” Yet, state institutions are not efficiently combating this phenomenon for many reasons, including the preoccupation by the government with issues of maintaining security and fighting terrorism. The emergence of widespread child labor in Iraq is furthermore an issue of utmost difficulty to deal with. In many cases, children are the breadwinners for their younger siblings and have no one else to rely on.

Nouri was then -- and is now -- known for his dramatic statements (threats?) that never pan out.  In his first term, when Iraqis were still willing to give him a chance, they realized how little his words meant.  His first big stand took place when he was out of Iraq.  The 2006 summer violence was on the rise.  The US military began putting up more Bremer Walls (barricade walls) throughout Iraq.  Nouri insisted that the walls would immediately be removed.  He got back to Baghdad . . . and the walls remained.

In 2008, he oversaw an attack that the Bush White House wanted -- in Basra and in Sadr City in Baghdad -- an attack on Shi'ites.  In Basra, record numbers of Iraqis self-checked out of the Iraqi military.  Prior to that, he'd already overseen a 'sectarian war' (the ethnic cleansing of 2006 and 2007). While the US press gas bagged over that two year period, they focused on b.s. like the 'surge.'  This was an injection of US forces into Iraq, a 'surge' in the number of them.

The US press wanted to pretend that they were focused on that.  The whores didn't even get that right.  The 'surge' was part of the benchmarks -- a set of goals that Nouri's government would meet in order to continue to receive US tax dollars, US military and so much more.  The 'surge' was supposed to take the Iraqi emphasis off dealing with violence and give them the ability to focus on the needed political.

The 'surge' was a failure.  Yes, the US military did their job.  But the benchmarks were never met -- not in 2007, not in 2008.  The surge was a failure.

Even the reduced violence can't be solely attributed to the increased number of US troops on the ground in Iraq.  The increase came when Iraqi refugee rates had already skyrocketed.  The ethnic cleansing killed off many and led many more to flee the country.   Ahmed Maher (BBC News) reports on one family who fled in that period:

They are Sunni Muslims and say they received an ultimatum to leave their house from Shia extremists who have been spreading fear among Sunnis living in the al-Zubair district of the southern Iraqi city of Basra.
The father showed me a scrap of paper with few words written on one of its corners.
It was a threat to kill his family if they did not leave the area where he was born 45 years ago.
"'I don't care if I'm dead or alive. I care about my children," he said. "They could be kidnapped and killed, as has happened with many families."

"We were displaced then in 2007. We went to Syria as refugees and returned last year. We thought that sectarianism had ended but it seems we had illusions."
The mother told us that they were taking the threat seriously because they knew of other Sunnis who had been either shot dead or had left Basra for their own safety in recent months.
She said was so concerned about her children that she had stopped them from going to school or even playing football in front of their house.
"We won't feel peace of mind until we leave this district," she added. 

In addition, you also had the fact that groups (mainly Sunni) who were attacking the US military and its property were now being paid $300 a month in US dollars to stop attacking.  (US taxpayers had no say about this program and, in fact, only learned of it after its start up.)

This and much more was the lead up to the 2010 elections.  Nouri and his ilk tried out a brand of hate in the 2009 provincial elections.  The Iraqi people rejected it.  This was confirmed in the 2010 elections -- they didn't want continued sectarianism.  They wanted their country back, they wanted a national identity returned.  The message from the 2009 and 2010 elections was one Iraq.  This is also the thread of the 2013 provincial elections. You could argue it's the point of Al-Iraqiya's launching a Baghdad youth camp.  Al-Shorfa reports today:

"The camp brings together about 200 young men and women from different sects, religions and ethnicities who will focus for a whole month on promoting the culture of dialogue and peaceful co-existence and discussing new methods for combating terrorism and extremism," organisation director Hassan Dwai said.

So it was no surprise in 2010,  that despite bribery, voter fraud and control of much of the Iraqi media, Nouri al-Maliki's State of Law did not win a landslide in 2010.  They also didn't win period.  Not even when Nouri stamped his feet demanding a recounting and publicly floating that he wouldn't see the vote as legitimate if he was not crowned the victor.

Iraqiya, headed by Ayad Allawi won.

And should have been named prime minister-designate.

But Nouri refused to step down.

We didn't bring up Odierno earlier just to name check.  Even with the US press spin -- which included NPR's  Quil Lawrence declaring Nouri a winner before the vote counts were completed -- Odierno knew what was going on.  He raised the issue, before the elections, of what happens if the Iraqis vote and vote for another group -- not Nouri's State of Law -- which means a new prime minister but Nouri refuses to step down.

Ahead of the 2010 vote, Odierno was playing the possibilities and the White House response was to insist it wouldn't happen.

It happened.

Odierno was right and the White House was as idiotic as Chris Hill. The US press largely ignored this.  To its credit, the British press took seriously the eight month period where Nouri brought the government to a standstill.

Ayad Allawi, by the Constitution, by the Iraqi people, by rules of democracy was supposed to become prime minister of Iraq.  Instead, the White House brokered a contract (The Erbil Agreement) to go around the law, the voters and the spirit of democracy in order to give their puppet Nouri a second term.

So Jim Jeffrey is a joke, a liar and much more for writing this nonsense:

With U.S. assistance, Iraq has been given an opportunity for a sovereign and stable future, possessing the tools necessary to maintain internal security and the foundation necessary for external defense. The United States and Iraq should continue to work together to develop a government that is answerable to its people and their elected representatives, with a growing economy that is capable of continued growth and development.
This partnership is the same the United States seeks to share with all nations governed by principles of freedom, that respect the rights of their citizens, and that ensure the benefits of this freedom for all. This is the future the United States desires with Iraq. It is a future of mutual respect and mutual benefit. This opportunity has come at great cost and sacrifice, both by the people of Iraq and all who have served there. It should not be squandered. 

If that seems overly harsh, I don't like liars.  And what took place in 2010 is why Chris Hill was fired and James Jeffrey was made the new US Ambassador in Iraq.  When you're lying in the foreword, you know the report itself will never strive for accuracy.

By the way, page 76 of the text 'deals with' the 2010 elections -- by noting that they were supposed to take place in January 2010 but didn't due to the failure to pass an election law in time.  Instead, the report tells you, the elections were held in March.  And that's about it for the report and the 2010 elections.  Those elections and The Erbil Agreement have cause the many political crises currently in Iraq.  Nouri used The Erbil Agreement to get a second term and then refused to honor his promises made in the contract and the White House -- which swore the contract had the full backing of the US government -- and this is what has created the political crisis and fueled the increased violence.

How can RAND pretend to explore the violence and fail to note that the violence follows the Iraqi people's vote being overturned by the US government?

Because it's not a real report.  It's just propaganda.

There are a few facts in those many hundred pages.  There are many more fudged facts and outright lies.  But that's because the propaganda piece is supposed to sell you on how if US forces had stayed in Iraq, things would be perfect.

This thread (message) runs throughout the 'report' but may become most clear on page 310:

However, the withdrawal of U.S. troops ended sustained training programs. The departure of USF - I also dep rived the ISF of irreplaceable enablers, particularly in such areas as logistics management, intelligence support, ISR, maintenance support, and airspace control. The ISF will need several more years before it can undertake these missions effectively on its own. Furthermore, OSC-I and the three training programs served as the core of an ambitious expansion of military cooperation quickly ham - mered together after the October Iraqi decision not to grant immunity to U.S. military personnel, resulting in the departure of U.S. forces two months later. In addition to the traditional OSC-I functions listed earlier, this cooperation was to include continued U.S. Naval Forces Central monitoring and protection of Iraq’s oil export terminals and economic lifeline in the Gulf, various types of counterterrorist cooperation and  intelligence sharing, USCENTCOM exercises, and U.S. facilitation of closer military- to-military relationships between Iraq and its neighbors. This plan was laid out to an appreciative Prime Minister Maliki in December 2011 during his visit to Washington. The expansive plan relied not only on OSC-I but also on DoD, USCENTCOM, U.S. Special Operations Command, the Intelligence Community, and DoS DS programs and resources to provide a broad range of assistance. In addition, the aforementioned plan to have U.S. military personnel continue monitoring the CSMs remained an important operational element of this holistic approach. According to Ambassador Jeffrey, much of this plan has been implemented, albeit with significant modifications.

Modifications?  They immediately go to the police program and how it would have been a success if the State Dept had followed up on it.  Where in the report is the fact that the Iraqi government didn't want it?

We covered the November 30, 2012 House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the MiddleEast and South Asia in the December 1st snapshot and noted that Ranking Member Gary Ackerman had several questions. He declared, "Number one, does the government of Iraq -- whose personnel we intend to train -- support the [police training] program? Interviews with senior Iaqi officials by the Special Inspector General show utter disdain for the program. When the Iraqis sugest that we take our money and do things instead that are good for the United States. I think that might be a clue." 
That's not noted in the report.  But noting that the Iraqi government didn't want it undercuts the theme of the 'report.'  Maybe RAND could have been 'independent' (they never want to be) by speaking to former Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction Stuart Bowen?

I have no interest in saving Barack Obama.  The Drone Warrior can stand (or fall) on his own.  But the conclusion's focus on Barack's promises and how they 'harmed' Iraq are the groundwork for the case for "Iraq War good and US won."

RAND doesn't care about Barack (I don't either).  They're primary concern is making war "good."  That's not my concern either.  I don't think we need more wars of choice in this world.  For the left, the issue is going to be what they do.  Do you stand up for peace and note that the instability in Iraq today is a result of a White House -- a Democratic White House -- overturning the will of the people?  Or do you ignore that and keeping singing from the hymnal "How Great Barack Art"?

You can't do both.  It's a mixed message.  Except for the idiot and lackey Bill Moyers, the left long ago grasped they couldn't carry LBJ on their shoulders and carry a message of peace.

More importantly, how long can Americans maintain the lie.  This is the internet age and US power is on the decline.  Those two things alone will make it difficult for even the best for Barack to keep the lies alive.  In the Arab world, they know exactly what happened to Iraq and it's discussed freely and openly in the press.

Here's just one example today, Omar al-Sharif (Arab News) observes:

Al-Maliki is not the only culprit. The Obama administration had a one-way strategy on Iraq when it took over in 2008, to execute a hasty plan to withdraw its forces and reach closure to a contentious, messy and costly war. To achieve this goal it had forsaken a parallel political path. It sided with Al-Maliki, who was a seen as strong leader, against moderate opponents in the aftermath of a controversial election. It watched on as Al-Maliki hunted down his political rivals and implemented a sectarian agenda. It looked the other way as he moved closer to Iran and alienated his country from its Arab neighbors. It did little to protest the government’s attack on free media and its attempts to undermine parliament and the judiciary. Even before Al-Qaeda became a problem for him, Al- Maliki’s self-serving policies had divided the country’s Shiite and alienated the Sunnis while encouraging the Kurds to sever ties with Baghdad.
In fact the US is as responsible for Iraq’s misfortunes as Al-Maliki. With his government now on the verge of collapse, he has come to Washington seeking help. In reality Al-Maliki is driven by his desire to maintain an ironclad hold on power and nothing else. His visit to the White House is an attempt to secure US support for him as he seeks a third term in office. It is shocking that the Obama administration has missed this opportunity to force Al-Maliki to commit to national reconciliation and to a new political process. Washington had failed to send a message of hope to Iraq’s beleaguered citizens.

Dropping back to the January 2nd "Iraq snapshot:"

There are a ton of reasons to continue focusing on Iraq here in the US.  But if people only care about themselves then maybe now some on the left who've argued it doesn't matter (including two friends with The Nation magazine) will wake up?  We've gone over what could happen repeatedly in the last years.  We did so at length August 20, 2010 in "The war continues (and watch for the revisionary tactics."
If you're old enough, you saw it with Vietnam.  That illegal war ended with the government called out for its actions.  And some people -- a lot in fact -- just moved on.  The weakest of the left moved on because it wasn't 'polite' to talk about it or it wasn't 'nice' or 'can't we all just get along' and other nonsense.  Others talked about things because they didn't care about Vietnam, the Vietnamese or the US service members.  And, after all, they had a peanut farmer from Georgia to elect, right?  And bit by bit, year by year, all these lies about Vietnam took root.  The press turned the people against it!  The US could have won if the military's hands hadn't been tied!  All this nonsense that, back when the public was paying attention in the early to mid-seventies, would have been rejected outright by the majority of Americans.
Jane Fonda explains in the amazing documentary Sir! No Sir!, "You know, people say, 'Well you keep going back, why are you going back to Vietnam?' We keep going back to Vietnam because, I'll tell you what, the other side does. They're always going back. And they have to go back -- the Hawks, you know, the patriarchs. They have to go back because, and they have to revise the going back, because they can't allow us to know what the back there really was."
And if you silence yourself while your opponent digs in on the topic, a large number of Americans -- including people too young to remember what actually happened -- here nothing but the revisionary arguments.  Jane's correct, the right-wing always went back to Vietnam. They're at fork in the road probably because, do they continue to emphasize Vietnam as much as they have, or do they move on to Iraq.  Victor Davis Hanson's ready to move on to Iraq.  He's not the only one on the right.
And on the left we have silence. 
And that is why revisionary tactics work.  It's not because revisions are stronger than facts.  It's because one side gives up.  And the left -- check The ProgressiveThe Nation, etc.* -- has long ago given up on even pretending to care about Iraq -- about the Iraq War, about the Iraqis, about the US service members.  [*But not In These Times -- they've continued to feature Iraq about every six months.  Give them credit for that.]

And this is when revisionary begins.  You either fight for the truth or you fight to glorify Barack.  You can't do both and the latter means the Iraq War will be seen as "good" in a matter of days.  Supporters of the illegal war will be relentless in their propaganda.  Presumably Libertarians will not be caught up in a Barack Venus Flytrap.  But the left needs to reject it as well.

Jane talked about going back and going back.

And when a Republican's in the White House?  Jane's a glorious little activist.  But she's not been going back and going back on the Iraq War -- can't even mention it today -- or Vietnam while Barack's been in the White House.

Jane, thank you for making yourself useless.  In your five years of silence revisionary has won.  You have made  the bulk of your life's work useless.

If anyone's confused, yesterday Amy Goodman (Democracy Now!) wasted more time on nostalgia.   (See Ruth from yesterday.)   Among the nonsense, reality briefly breaks in when Peter Kuznick brought up actual facts -- which really matter -- Goodman had no response but to rush to change the topic and ask Oliver about the next film he'll be directing.

Peter Kuznick:  For example, he recently called for a 13-year commemoration of the Vietnam War, in which we’re going to reposition our understanding of the Vietnam War. And that’s very, very dangerous. A recent poll showed that 51 percent of 18- to 29-year-olds now think that the Vietnam War was worth fighting, see the Vietnam War as an American interest. Those people our age, about 70 percent say the Vietnam War was a mistake or even worse. But the fact that younger people are not learning history and are seeing the Vietnam War in more positive light is symptomatic of what Oliver and are concerned about, that people’s understanding of history is distorted in such a way as to perpetuate the trends that we find very, very objectionable.

Staying silent on war because a Democrats in the White House?  It's done great damage.  As Jane and others have silenced themselves over the last five years, Iraqis have died, Libyans have died, a war on Syria has been gearing up and The Drone War has slaughtered so many.  All your silence did was let the revisionary voices win out on Vietnam.  How shameful and embarrassing.  Your silence makes future wars easier to sell to the American people.  But let a Republican get into the White House and suddenly you're going to be vocal. We don't need fair weather peace activists.

Back to the RAND 'report,' page  381:

The transfer of effective capabilities for security was fundamental to the success of the transition. The U.S. experiment in Iraq would likely have been condemned as a failure if, following the departure of U.S. forces, insurgents had toppled Iraqi political institutions or even had the insurgency returned to its 2006–2007 levels. Therefore, USF - I greatly emphasized appraising transitional security challenges; accelerating training and equipping efforts; and mitigating the threat that al-Qaeda in Iraq, Iraqi Sunni extremists, and Iranian-backed Shi’a extremists posed to give ISF the wherewithal to succeed on their own (see Chapter Six).
In that paragraph, truth leaks out.  Briefly.  Nouri had to stay in power for the US government to save face.  So the Iraqis who protested or voted otherwise?  They had to be neutralized -- be a legal contract like The Erbil Agreement or by bullets.

In that paragraph, you get the US government's justification for destroying any chance of democracy in Iraq and for backing a thug like Nouri who runs secret prisons and torture chambers.

Nouri breeds violence.  He thought scaring the country would let him win on his 'law' platform.  But it didn't.  And it hasn't provided security for anyone in Iraq outside the Green Zone.  Al-Monitor reports today on the continued attacks on journalists in Mosul:

The majority of correspondents of satellite channels, newspapers and news agencies in the troubled city work under pseudonyms, while many of them are careful not to make provocative reports, which would provide factual information about the situation in the city, for fear of reprisal.
Many editors complain about the reticence of some of the city’s correspondents, who fail to obtain detailed information about the security situation. However, they do not pressure them because they fear for their lives and do not wish to put them at risk.
A well-informed source in Ninevah province told Al-Hayat that few Iraqi reporters residing in the province use their real names in work. However, they take preventive measures to avoid being targeted by insurgents.
“Some of the journalists change their address every now and then. They hide the truth of their work and pretend to have other jobs. They do not work at their office and prefer working from home,” the source said.
The source also confirmed that investigative reports are usually done by journalists from outside the city, who usually visit for short periods of time. They receive some help from local journalists, who provide them with a certain amount of information.

In the first five days of the month, Iraq Body Count counts 109 violent deaths.  Today, the sixth day of the month, violence continues.  National Iraqi News Agency reports a Baghdad roadside bombing claimed 1 life and left six people injured, 2 Falluja bombings left an Iraqi military officer and an Iraqi soldier injured, a Kirkuk roadside bombing left four people injured, another Kirkuk bombing targeted police and left six of them injured, a Salam suicide car bomber took his/her own life and the lives of 4 police officers with another ten police left injured, a Dijail grove bombing left dead a husband and wife (farmers) and three of the wife's sisters were left injured, a Ramadi bombing has left 3 Sahwa injured, and an Abu Ghraib bombing left six people injured.  Of the Salam suicide bombing, AP notes the death toll has risen to 7 with fourteen injured.   AFP adds, "In Baghdad, a policeman was shot dead while on patrol in the city of Sadr, while two roadside bombs in the capital left three others dead, including an anti-Qaeda militiaman."

Turning to the US and the topic of the ongoing illegal spying, Julian Zelizer (CNN) offers:

In a period of crippling partisan warfare that continually brings Washington to a standstill, the leadership of both parties seem to have easily reached bipartisan agreement that the existing national security programs should be left alone.

But these arguments miss the importance of accountability in our national security operations. The notion that citizens should just trust the government to do the right thing on national security poses too many dangers.
The United States has a long history of national security agencies, sometimes with presidential concurrence, misusing their authority and power to harass American citizens. This was the case in the 1960s, when Democrats and Republicans used government institutions to intimidate and harass social activists who were fighting for causes such as civil rights and to protest the war in Vietnam.
With the approval of Attorney General Robert Kennedy, the FBI obsessively wiretapped the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr., with the goal of finding evidence of the role of communism in the civil rights movement. What it found instead was information about his personal life as well as the background of top advisers that could be used against the movement if its demands caused too many problems. FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover leaked information to the press and to King's opponents.
A congressional report later found that the program sought to "discredit Dr. King and to 'neutralize' him as the leader of the civil rights movement." Presidents Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon agreed to have authorities bug and infiltrate anti-war activists. The administration spread damaging allegations and information to the media and to supporters of the war with the goal of rendering the activists illegitimate, and nurtured distrust and animosity within the movement so members would turn against each other.
In 1975 and 1976, Idaho Sen. Frank Church conducted shocking hearings into the operations of the CIA and published a detailed report that revealed the agency had been secretly engaged in activities such as the attempted assassination of foreign leaders and illegal intelligence gathering of American citizens. Congress imposed new regulations and created a court to monitor their activities. In the end the regulations proved to be weak and since 9/11 they have essentially been rendered useless.

What we know about the illegal spying, we know due to whistle-blower Ed Snowden.  Information Clearing House has a CNN video of Ray McGovern explaining Ed didn't not take an oath to a government or a country, he took an oath to obey the Constitution.  In his latest column, Norman Solomon takes on Senator Dianne Feinstein's inexcusable defense of illegal spying:

Last Sunday, on CBS, when Feinstein told “Face the Nation” viewers that Edward Snowden has done “enormous disservice to our country,” it was one of her more restrained smears. In June, when Snowden first went public as a whistleblower, Feinstein quickly declared that he had committed “an act of treason.” Since then, she has refused to tone down the claim. “I stand by it,” she told The Hill on Oct. 29.
Days ago, taking it from the top of the NSA’s main talking points, Feinstein led off a San Francisco Chronicle op-ed piece with 9/11 fear-mongering. “The Sept. 11, 2001, attack on the United States was highly organized and sophisticated and designed to strike at the heart of the American economy and government,” she wrote, and quickly added: “We know that terrorists remain determined to kill Americans and our allies.”
From there, Senator Feinstein praised the NSA’s “call-records program” and then insisted: “This is not a surveillance program.” (Paging Mr. Orwell.)
Feinstein’s essay -- touting her new bill, the “FISA Improvements Act,” which she just pushed through the Senate Intelligence Committee -- claimed that the legislation will “bridge the gap between preventing terrorism and protecting civil liberties.” But as Electronic Frontier Foundation activist Trevor Timm writes, the bill actually “codifies some of the NSA’s worst practices, would be a huge setback for everyone’s privacy, and it would permanently entrench the NSA’s collection of every phone record held by U.S. telecoms.”

Treason's a really serious charge and should never be bandied about.  When a talk show host makes the charge, I roll my eyes and worry about the state of the country. When a US Senator does?

Dianne is the oldest member of the Senate.  It is clearly time for her to step down.

If Ed was guilty of treason (he's not, this doesn't qualify), then Dianne would need to explain why she hadn't brought such charges against him.

She's an elderly woman in a bad wig with a husband who has other interest (yeah, I went there, read between the lines).  It's past time her tired ass left the Senate.  She's too old to govern, she's lost her capacity to follow even the basic news.  There needs to be a push on this because Democratic leadership in the Senate is alarmed by her and a strong public push on the need for Dianne to leave would not make her decide to retire but it would help with an effort to push her out as Chair of the Senate Intelligence Committee.