Thursday, March 05, 2015

Iraq, etc

Yesterday's snapshot did not note last week's Senate Veterans Affairs Committee hearing.  There were several actually but I'm referring to the hearing that the VA testified at.

There were VSO hearings as well.  They were covered here in the past but I got tired of it.  I noted that the VSO leader read from a statement and that was it.  There were never any questions, it was a speech, not a hearing, so what was the point in covering it?

This issue came up again when my side (the left) attempted to attack a Republican Committee member for not asking questions at a VSO hearing and I had to point that, historically, they don't ask questions -- not any of the members, Republican or Democrat.

It's like when the United Nations Security Council gets their Iraq 'briefing.'

I've attended those.

I've wasted my time attending those.

There's no point.

The Special Representative of Ban Ki-moon's, whomever it is at that moment, reads from a statement.  I sit there marking it up for the minor word changes the person (they've all been men so far) makes while reading out loud.

This statement read from is over a week old by the time the UN Secretary-General's Special Rep shows up to the Security Council.  I've read it by then, the Security Council's read it by then, the press has read by then (but it's 'embargoed' until delivery).

28 or so minutes is taken up by reading it out loud.

And then?

The Iraqi government's representative reads his ridiculous statement which is always filled with lies -- laughable ones -- and then?

Questions begin?

No, the Security Council asks no questions.

It's a waste of time.

The only real news value to ever come out of those briefings was that the UN, for the record, wanted to note the attacks on Iraq's LGBTQ community.  For the record.  The written record.

Martin Kobler wanted the written record to show that it was 'addressed' and that it was stated that this would be tracked and followed closely.

But he didn't want to actually say that.

And he didn't.

He skipped over that section intentionally -- it was a paragraph -- in the report and stumbled as he tried to create a transition that was no longer present since he'd pulled a paragraph -- an important one -- out of the written report.

My time matters to me.

If all that's going to happen is people are going to read -- often read it poorly -- their written remarks, I don't need to be sitting in an uncomfortable chair in the halls of Congress (the chairs at the UN are better).

I can just read the written statement and extract from that.

My time matters to me.

Today's snapshot will include Senator Richard Blumenthal from last week's VA Committee hearing (he is the Ranking Member).

If there's anything I hate more than sitting somewhere and hearing someone drone on from their written statement, it's hearing Allison Hickey lie.

She lies all the time, she's with the VA.

She's a liar and my skin crawls when she speaks.

We won't be focusing on her.  Blumenthal had a pointed remark to her that we will include.  I've already gone through my notes and highlighted what we'll cover.

Not in today's snapshot, but in the next one -- maybe Friday but probably Saturday -- we'll include Senator Patty Murray.  I just know if we do Blumenthal and Murray in the same snapshot, the different issues won't get the attention they need.

Allison Hickey is a liar, just to return to that.

She lied about the backlog, she lied about the fix.

We stood alone in calling her and the VA out the day she slipped that 'fix' into a hearing.

We pointed out this wasn't working the backlog, it was just moving the numbers around -- slapping evaluations on claims quickly to get them out of the backlog and, since they were incorrect, they would go into the appeals numbers.

It was a shell game.

And where was the press because they were at that hearing.

It was over six months later before they would report 'concerns' that this might just be moving the numbers around.


Might be?

It's accepted now that this is what happened.

So when is the press going to hold Hickey, the face of that program, accountable?


They don't care.

I don't have time to waste on known liars like Hickey.

There were important issues raised in the hearing -- by many senators but we'll be focusing on Blumenthal and on Murray -- and I'm just not in the mood for Hickey.

I'm not in the mood for Barbara Mikulski either.

Among other things, I have to type very slowly with her to get the spelling of her name right.

But I'm just not interested in the closet case.

We already dealt with her.

And Jim -- who follows the stats religiously (I don't look at them) -- has told me the 2013 entry (I care so little I'm not going to link but it's called something like "what's in your closet?") is the most popular thing this week.  And he tried to tell me the numbers and I refused to listen.

What am I going to write about that awful woman?

The she stayed in the closet until the end thinking she was fooling anyone into believing she was straight?

How pathetic it was that she lived her life in shame?

How much self-hatred that must take up?

I believe we covered all that in 2013.

Now I could be an idiot -- like Ms. magazine.

They've written an appreciation to her.

Because they're idiots.

Besides stay in the closet, what did she ever do?

Covered for the illegal spying on Americans.

Defended it when it was revealed.

Trashed Ed Snowden.

Insisted he was uneducated and stupid.

Called him a liar in a hearing when it turned out he had told the truth and the government had lied.

Patricia Arquette didn't say anything wrong.  As Bob Somerby pointed out this week -- as he cribbed from our piece at Third "The bitches go after Patricia."

Those included Ms.magazine.

The same Ms. that praised Barbara.

Patricia isn't racist and her remarks had to do with the nature of movements and who works on them (basically everyone turns out -- regardless of race, gender or sexual identity -- for every cause but the women's movement).

But Barbara?

Ms. is praising the anti-affirmative action senator Barbara?

No offense to Anita Little, I believe that was the blogger, but that's why Ms. sucks.

Anita doesn't know a damn thing about the senator other than her gender and she rushes to write a you-go-girl post.

We don't cover everything here.

Not just for time and space limitations.

In the middle of the Florida controversy a few years back, I was repeatedly being told I needed to weigh in.

No, I didn't.

It was private issue.

A husband wanted one thing, parents wanted another.

By taking the matter to court, one side was going to lose.

It had nothing to do with me and I wasn't about to pick at the bones of what was a very sensitive family issue just because it was a 'hot button' issue.

We're not really covering the Iraq Inquiry at this point.

A) Nothing's happened.  That report should have been issued years ago.

B) I don't follow it anymore.  I would have to do a ton of research on the issue.  A friend asked me to do just that (Labour Party legislator) because he wanted to know how the odds played in Labour's favor re: the report not being released.

Even for him, I declined.

It's too much of a project.

My time is limited.

Barbara was seen as a racist.

She was a White woman in the 70s insisting that, as a whatever-American, she knew about discrimination as much as any African-American and she had overcome it and . . .

Blah, blah, blah.

I'm sorry but I thought Ms. was in favor of affirmative action.

So now they have a post up praising Barbara?

Ms. needs to stop posting this nonsense.

In fact, they should probably redo the blog.

When Christine did Ms. Musings, it was worth checking out.

It had a tone and an identity.

Then they got rid of her and there is no tone, there is no quality.

The smartest thing to do would be to open source the blog, let readers post 'click' moments in their lives and maybe that would be enough to allow Ms. to get some internet traffic again.

But these posts are embarrassing.

They're so bad that a friend who used to write for Off Our Backs has come up with this hilarious rant/routine where, if Ms. had been publishing in 1942 and we had the internet back then, one of the bloggers would have written a "We Heart Hitler" post which would have opened, "Eva Braun's not just his squeeze, she's his partner!"

It's really that embarrassing.

Anita Little can write.

She's a talented writer.

And if she wants to write about things she knows about, great.

But with all the mistakes she repeatedly makes, it's obvious she's scanning the headlines to find out what's 'hot' and then rushing to write about it after maybe spending five seconds with Wikipedia.

Which brings up "The bitches go after Patricia."

How did we end up with that at Third?

I keep getting asked that -- by friends on the phone.

See Patricia was slimed by Ms. (and by others) and John Legend was applauded.

John Legend didn't know what he was talking about.

There are not more African-Americans behind bars today than were enslaved in 1850.

How did we figure that out?

That's what I'm being asked.

Not in, "You're wrong!" manner but in a, "Wow."

This starts with Betty and I last Thursday in the gina & krista round-robin.  The roundtable for that.

We both noted the comment and noted the population explosion since 1850 and how it wasn't surprising that it would be more today in the 'factoid' Legend offered.

On that article, I didn't write anything on Patricia.  (I know Patricia and I love her, she's wonderful.  I didn't want my bias to effect the section on her.)

So that meant Ava and I got tasked with the John Legend part.

And we assumed, as Betty and I had, that Legend was correct.

And that's what we planned to write.

And if we were like a Ms. blogger, that's what we would have written.

But we do the actual work.

We do the actual research.

And while attempting to nail down how much the population had increased, we were surprised to discover that there were census figures for slaves (and for free African-Americans and Blacks) in the US in 1850.

We made note of those on the side of our legal pad, just because we found the numbers interesting.

It wasn't until we were then researching the figures on imprisonment today that we realized there were far less African-Americans imprisoned in the US today -- far less than were enslaved in 1850.

We did the research required.

We do that over and over.

Which is why Third takes so long these days.  (The writing editions.)

In 2004, when this site started, Media Whores Online was no more.

That was a great site, I enjoyed it tremendously.

But the internet back then was full of promise from webwriters and bloggers.  It was going to be this person covering this Fox News show (to nail down lies and errors) and this one covering Rush Limbaugh or another right-wing radio host and this one . . .

And I was really excited about that and the power that could have.

But that's apparently too much work.

No one really wants to do that outside of Crooks & Liars.

No one wants to put in the time or the effort.

Let me pick on someone who deserves to be picked on because he's trashed non-stop over the years with one lie after another:  Lambert of Corrente.

Does the world need your gardening posts?

They're not informative.

No one's going to learn gardening from them.

You're a supposed political site and you're one that begs for money.

And what you have to show for it is photos of your garden?

Oh, you worked real hard, I'm real impressed with the time you put in.

If you're a female at a blog or a website and were in 2008, you know how deadly Lambert actually is.  He's run off many women from blogging and when those women tell their stories -- and that day will come, Lambykins -- he'll be seen even lower than he is today.

(Corrente used to be a great site.  It imploded during the Democratic primaries of 2008 with various people leaving.  A lot of that also had to do with Lambert's personality.)

Lambert can't find a 'beat' to cover?

I know Corrente, since the implosion, regularly tries to ape this community.

I don't comment on it here.

I just laugh at it as, for a week or two, they try to be Kat or Trina or Ruth and they fail.

I think I've told this story before.

About an ex in college.

We were in an English course together.

There was a paper due.

We had to declare our topics.

I declared mine.  It was a female writer.

(My topics were always women.  The women's studies programs really weren't taking off or didn't exist for my undergraduate years.  It was different by grad school.  But for those early years and those all male reading lists, I always brought the women into the courses via class discussion and any topic for a paper.  That's what we had to do in the 'old days' to ensure that women got an academic presence in the classroom because the professors certainly weren't interested in more than a token woman on a reading list -- if they even allowed for a token.)

And so my ex (not an ex at the time -- I'm just too old to use terms like "boyfriend," sorry -- and I won't gross my adult children out by saying "lover') changes his topic to the same topic.  Doesn't tell me.

Until the night before the paper's due.

And I've already written mine because my time was very limited and I always had to do everything ahead of time (because I wouldn't major in what my parents wanted me to major in -- journalism -- they announced at the start of my first semester of college that they wouldn't cover the cost -- thinking that would force me to do what they wanted -- it didn't -- I worked two and three jobs through college -- even after the trust fund kicked in -- and, yes, there was a trust fund, so don't cry any tears for me).

I couldn't believe it.

I was shocked by the betrayal.

And he was a strong writer (and has gone on to have a very successful career).

But after my shock, I didn't care.

Because I already had my voice.

He could ape it -- and he tried to -- but my voice was a genuine expression and he would only be a pale copy.

And that's what happened.

By trying to write like me, he failed.

And that's why the efforts to copy Trina, et al fail.

You can't be Trina.  She's already doing it.

At best, you might be a good Trina impersonator.

And I'm going to steal from Kat because I don't feel like doing all the links.  This community is:

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.

Like Kat does, I swiped that from the credits at Third.  There also the community newsletters.  (And Dallas should really be on that list because he busts his butt helping on Third.)

So the point is, there were so many promises back then.

But all it is now, the left net, is the op-ed pages in a newspaper.

And it's actually worse.

People read a column and then write their post about a column, about their impressions of the column.

So you get the opinion on an opinion.

It's really just trash and not at all what we were supposed to be doing.

I didn't know what I was doing.

I still don't.

Our working principle here has been:

So don't hold back just have a good time
We'll make the rules up as we go along
And break them all if we're not havin' fun
--  "Escapade" written by Janet Jackson, James Harris III and Terry Lewis, first appears on her Rhythm Nation 1814 album

This site started from a need (or despair, if you prefer) to do something more.  In 2004, I'd campaigned for John Kerry and after that depressing election met up with others who had done the same and we discussed what worked and what didn't and what we could have done but didn't.

None of us were Tweens.

I'd been doing an e-mail thing which was similar to the early days of this site.

But I felt we should have been competitive on these new websites and blogs -- which I really knew nothing about other than Media Whores Online and news personality's website (which I'm not noting intentionally).

I didn't know what I was doing and I still don't.

But I wasn't happy with the Iraq War (I was opposed to it and began publicly speaking out against it in February 2003, a month before it started, due to a friend booking a speaking tour and then getting a bigger tour and needing to farm the smaller one off on someone).

But that's what we focused on here.  And the focus on Iraq only increased with each year.

And I wanted to quit long ago -- I planned to be gone by 2008, that didn't happen -- but I couldn't because my side in the US (the left) abandoned Iraq as a topic once Barack was in the White House.

It became the left mantra that Iraq could only be mentioned as a success 'praise be, St. Barack.'

So there was no way I could quit.

Or be  like Leslie Cagan and the other frauds from United for Peace & Justice.

So we're stuck here.

We do cover Iraq -- that's when it's a hot topic, that's when we have to rely completely on Arabic coverage because there is no English language coverage to be found.

I attend Congressional hearings and report on those.

This site is far from perfect -- or far from even average -- but we have done much more than be a column about a column published in the New York Times.

And sadly, all these other people who were around in 2004 -- certainly more talented than I -- they've either folded tent or offered writing that indicates that they should have.

We came up during a very dark time for the left in the United States.

Bully Boy Bush needed to be kicked out of the White House and we didn't accomplish that.

Fear ruled and the media was in BBB's lap, sniffing at his crotch (the same way they are with Barack today).

To blog or write online from the left back then meant something.

You were taking brave stands.

Today, it's really just an echo chamber.

We who trashed the media being in bed with Bully Boy Bush are the same people who would go on to participate in conference calls with the Barack White House to coordinate what to write online.

We became all we thought we were better than, we embraced all we once called out.

David Brock was on Morning Joe and after I got over the shock at (a) how ugly he'd gotten physically and (b) how he seems to be going for a Phil Spector look (guess the rumors of the nasty drug habit are true), I was left with the reality that I was right.

And I'm not one to say that.

This will be huge to people who know me.

But on this I will say I was right because I told Naomi Wolf when she was 'rehabbing' Brock that he was not to be trusted, that he was a snake in the grass, that he would destroy the left.

And he certainly has.

David Brock, for those who don't know, was a piece of human filth who deliberately lied about Anita Hill, smeared her with falsehoods and slurs and then went on to have a grossly unnatural obsession with Bill Clinton's penis.

When David started losing his right wing friends -- because his gayness was staying in the closet and it made them uncomfortable -- and when his being gay became more and more an issue for GOP social circles, David had a 'change of heart.'

It was no transformation.

He just had an empty dance card and no one to take him out on a Saturday night.

So he 'went left' with a really bad and self-serving book.

He didn't change.

He was still the same trash.

And that tactics we decried?

We suddenly loved them because they were being done from our side.

In other words, Karl Rove, write a self-serving bio and claim to be left and you can get a fresh start and be embraced by idiots around the country.

We let that piece of trash destroy us.

And he shows up on Morning Joe to demand a retraction from the New York Times.

Hillary Clinton inappropriately refused to utilize a government e-mail account.

That was inappropriate due to legacy, history, transparency and, yes, national security.

But because the paper noted that her actions might have broken the law, Brock says the story is to be rejected.

David Brock needs to just go away.

He's trash and he's filth.

Whether Hillary broke the law or not doesn't matter.

What she did matters.

And the Times was right to cover it.

Brock can't argue with that so he tries to destroy the reporting with his vicious attack.

He's an attack poodle and supposedly we didn't have those on the left.

David exists not for truth but to try to attack real concerns.

In fairness to him, he's a symptom -- he's not the cause of all the problems on the left.

And Stan just texted that he has posted.  This talking entry was to take up time -- and respond to e-mail questions -- while I waited for him.

The following community sites updated:

  • The e-mail address for this site is