Monday, December 17, 2018

Springsteen, ObamaCare

First off, read Ava and C.I.'s "Springsteen exposes himself (Ava and C.I.)."  My husband, a huge Bruce Springsteen fan, watched the Netflix special before Ava and C.I.'s review was posted.  He yelled at the TV the whole time.  That special really ticked him off.

Now Kate Randall (WSWS) writes about the judge overturning ObamaCare.  I liked this comment to her article:


Was the ACA 'politically feasible'? This definition of feasibility asks not merely whether a given legislative body can be pushed into enacting a given bill. This definition asks as well, once the bill is enacted, is it politically sustainable? Kennedy, as President, authorized an all-out public-relations effort in support of single payer (Medicare.) On May 20, 1962, the President delivered a spirited address at a rally in Madison Square Garden, with more than seventeen thousand people in attendance and many more watching on television. “The fact of the matter is that what we are now talking about doing, most of the countries of Europe did years ago,” Kennedy said. “The British did it thirty years ago. We are behind every country, pretty nearly, in Europe, in this matter of medical care for our citizens.”
But in 2009 Obama had a better idea; “There are countries where a single-payer system may be working. But I believe — and I’ve even taken some flak from members of my own party for this belief — that it is important for us to build on our traditions here in the United States.”
None of us have a crystal ball. I don’t claim that if Democrats and groups supporting the ACA had used the opportunity presented to us in 2009-2010 to promote Medicare-for-all HR 676 instead of the ACA that HR 676 would have passed. I am, however, absolutely certain about one thing: The universal coverage movement in America would be in a much better position to bring the long fight for universal coverage to a successful conclusion than we are now. I’m reasonably sure something good would have been enacted — for example, an expansion of traditional Medicare and Medicaid to more people.

The Affordable Care Act, as a government mandate for people to purchase private insurance with an array of possible subsidies, had too many moving parts. It was an accident waiting to happen.
As many of us wrote at the time, Medicare for All would be simpler to execute, easier to understand, and harder for Republicans to oppose.

Medicare For All is what we should have had.  It's what we should have now.  At THIRD, we wrote about it: "ObamaCare -- the s**t burger Congress expects you …."  At INFORMATION CLEARING HOUSE, Sara Carter has an article about the hearing about The Clinton Foundation.  Here are some of Carter's Tweets on the topic.

  1. *UPDATE*
  3. EXPLOSIVE: The Whistleblowers on Clinton Foundation ( highly credible non-partisan investigators, who conducted the investigation with their own funds reveal the operated as an agent of foreign governments and should have registered under FARA ... more to come
  4. Watch Live House Oversight of Nonprofit Organizations: A Case Study on the Clinton Founda... via

And an important warning from John Stauber.

Anyone who thinks ⁦⁩ will use ’s death rattle to push for is delusional. They will only use it as a political prop, they love their funders in the medical insurance racket.

This is C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot" for Monday:

Monday, December 17, 2018.

First off, GirlBye or whatever her name is.  In Friday's snapshot, we called her out for a piece she put her name to at DINAR DAILY.  Guess what?  She didn't write it.  That may actually be worse.  A stupid person could write something like that and be too close to it to grasp how stupid it was.  (Saying that Basra protesters should just learn to wait on their demands -- which includes drinking water that won't leave them hospitalized -- is the epitome of stupidity.)  Equally true, posting writing without crediting the writer sounds like plagiarism.  The article was actually written by propagandist Hussain Abdul-Hussain who wrote it for ASIA TIMES and it's nice that he's found somewhere else to work besides US propaganda outlets (ALHURRA).

This morning, HURRIYET DAILY NEWS reports:

Turkey has conducted a new wave of airstrikes in northern Iraq.
"7 separatist terrorists who were in preparation to assault our bases were neutralized in northern Iraqi regions of Gara and Hakurk as a result of airstrikes on Dec. 16," Turkey's National Defense Ministry said in a statement on Dec. 17, referring to the illegal PKK.

The PKK?   Aaron Hess (INTERNATIONAL SOCIALIST REVIEW) described the PKK in 2008, "The PKK emerged in 1984 as a major force in response to Turkey's oppression of its Kurdish population. Since the late 1970s, Turkey has waged a relentless war of attrition that has killed tens of thousands of Kurds and driven millions from their homes. The Kurds are the world's largest stateless population -- whose main population concentration straddles Turkey, Iraq, Iran, and Syria -- and have been the victims of imperialist wars and manipulation since the colonial period. While Turkey has granted limited rights to the Kurds in recent years in order to accommodate the European Union, which it seeks to join, even these are now at risk."

Today's bombing is thought to be the first bombing since Iraq's Foreign Affairs Ministry released a statement last week:


The Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish Ambassador to Baghdad Mr. Fatih Yildiz and handed him a letter of protest over the repeated air violations by Turkey. The Ministry denounces the actions of Turkish aircraft that violate the Iraqi airspace and target several sites in the areas of Mount Sinjar and Makhmour in northern Iraq, which caused loss of life and property.
Such acts violate Iraq's sovereignty and security of citizens and are unacceptable on all levels, contrary to the principles of good-neighborliness that bring together the two countries. The Foreign Ministry also reiterates its refusal to use Iraqi territory as a base or a corridor to carry out acts that effect  the security of neighboring countries , and calls on the Turkish side to abide by this in order to maintain the friendly relations between the two countries.
Media Office
Iraqi Foreign Ministry

Despite the clearly worded statement, the government of Turkey shows no indication that it will respect Iraq's sovereignty or the security of its citizens.

Self-appointed 'leader' Nadia Murad Tweeted over the weekend the following.

Met w/minister to dicuss the recent Turkish airstrikes in Sinjar. Turkey & Iraq must work together to find a solution to prevent any further bombings in Sinjar. We want to rebuild what ISIS destroyed & help Yazidis return home.

And here's the Tweet from the Turkish official she met with.

Discussed w/ activist and 2018 Peace Prize winner the situation of Yezidis. PKK/PYD/YPG continues to oppress everyone in Iraq & Syria, including Yezidis, Assyrians and Kurds.

Though they both use the same photo, they don't both mention Turkey bombing Sinjar.  Did she actually bring the topic up? Maybe, maybe not.  If she did, he didn't find it worth mentioning.

The press (western press) seldom finds it worth mentioning that these strikes kill a lot of civilians -- terrorists, not so much.

Among those killed in Turkish airstrikes in Iraq last night were a 73 year old woman and a 14 year old teen, Rudaw reports.
This may explain the strong Iraqi government protest against Turkey today

The Iraqi government's strong protest against Turkey on Friday for "violating its sovereignty" did not deter Turkey who continued its airstrikes in northern Iraq on Sunday

Okay, we need to talk about another topic war related before I get another phone call from a friend.  At THIRD, Ava and I cover the media and, in a perfect world, this topic would have been addressed there.  But we wrote two pieces for this week's edition and didn't have time for a third.  MURPHY BROWN.  The CBS sitcom has been a nightmare in its revival.  I loved the original MURPHY BROWN and consider the episode "And So She Goes" from season one to be a TV classic.  The revival has been awful.  One of the main reasons, as Ava and I noted after viewing the first episodes, was because no one had a life -- twenty years later, the show re-emerges and no one's become a parent, no one's got married, no one's had any professional accomplishment, nothing happened.  And instead of developing characters, we got preaching and screaming.  My friend with the reboot is about to hit the roof, I'm sure.  There's a "but" coming.  But on the Thanksgiving episode, things finally came together.  Whether you agreed with the POV of the episode (I did) or not, it was an actual episode, not a lecture.

Another topic?  Last week's episode of MURPHY BROWN found Murphy noting that no one paid attention to the Afghanistan War (it ended with Avery heading off to Afghanistan to report).  The war kept going on year after year and where was the media, Murphy, Corky and Frank wondered?  They talked about Vietnam, about how reporters were there and reporting what was actually going on.

If we had written about it at THIRD, we would have included this TWEET that posted on Friday:


This US soldier who was just killed in Afghanistan was just a year old when the war began in 2001

The Iraq War and the Afghanistan War need to end -- all wars need to end (especially those that never should have started).  MURPHY BROWN wanted to be political but it didn't offer anything you couldn't already find everywhere else.  It did, on the Thanksgiving episode, leave the preaching to actually humanize the immigration issue (good job).  But with last Thursday's episode, it demonstrated that the revival was worth it for that episode alone.  No one is talking about Iraq or Afghanistan.  The media's not interested.  The politicians certainly aren't.  MURPHY BROWN offered a strong episode (written by Gary Dontzig and Steven Peterman).  It was nice to see them step away from easy targets and 'hot topics' to address something that actually matters and to do so with humor and care.

Let's bring this over to THE NATION.  An issue in POLLY'S BREW (community newsletter) is the lack of coverage in THE PROGRESSIVE and THE NATION of the Iraq War (or the Afghanistan War).  A number of community members have e-mailed about that on Saturday and Sunday.  I'd love to see coverage from both but let's face a few realities.

Ruth Conniff is now in charge of THE PROGRESSIVE.  It never did much on Iraq under Matthew Rothschild's leadership (he made many promises -- such as that he would cover the Iraq Veterans Against The War's public hearings -- and he never kept them).  The only thing worse than Matthew was Ruth.  As most of you will remember -- because it was so horrific -- Ruth went on KPFA and asked about the Iraq War blathered on in her airhead way that no one she knew had gone to Iraq -- thereby explaining that in the gated-community of her mind, the war just didn't matter.

Ruth Conniff has led the magazine from one disaster to another.  Supposedly, the circulation of the monthly magazine has dropped below 25,000 (it's highest was when it was covering Iraq in 2004, 65,000) so she's got that 'success' to claim.  There's also her 2014 failure (when she oversaw the merger of THE PROGRESSIVE and The Center for Media and Democracy -- a merger that didn't even last a year and left both sides wounded).  She's a failure and that's all she'll ever be.

But neither rag is going to cover Iraq.  They only do what the Democratic Party officials want them to do.  That's why Ruth Conniff attacked Ralph Nader in 2004, for example.  It's why she attacked Hillary in 2008 (with some really disgusting writing) and then turned around in 2016 and pretended like Hillary was her personal fave and always had been.  She's a whore, that's what Ruth is.  She needs the money from the Democratic Party and won't buck the establishment of the party.  THE NATION is a little better, not much.  Katrina could have led on the Russiagate nonsense.  And she should have -- it's her field of expertise.  Also it's her husband's field of expertise (and he did lead on it).  Katrina did allow some important pieces by Aaron Mate to be published.  But she always knew that stupid b.s. was b.s. Russia did not impact the 2016 election in any significant way.  No Democratic presidential campaign ever spent more on advertising so less than $20,000 in FACEBOOK ads is really laughable.  Greed, that's all we see these days.  Remember, it was Barack Obama who walked away from public financing of presidential elections.

So stop counting on them to cover issues that the Democratic Party establishment does not want them to cover.  The Democrats blew it on ending the Iraq War, they don't want voters reminded of that and both THE PROGRESSIVE and THE NATION depend on donors -- big money donors -- to stay in business.  Their circulation is laughable and they wouldn't  be in business without big money donations backing them.  (It's why Katrina killed the report on Dianne Feinstein's lack of ethics.)

THE WEEKLY STANDARD, thankfully, just died.  And that could easily happen to THE NATION and THE PROGRESSIVE (and maybe should).

. is right on The Weekly Standard’s deserved demise (“pathetic and dishonest”). If the articles targeting me were redacted until only truth remained, there would not be much left to read.

THE WEEKLY STANDARD walked away from the Republican Party as they flocked around their fellow neo-con Hillary in 2016.  As a result, they lost the money (donations) that kept the rag alive.  It never made it on circulation, these opinion journals never do.

Read founding editor 's obit of The Weekly Standard:

By me:

The 10 most appalling articles in the Weekly Standard’s short and dreadful life

Fox viewers like to be lied to with short, simple words, while the readers of the Weekly Standard preferred to be deceived with multisyllabic lies

  • I can't urge you strongly enough to read this 2003 article by David Brooks in the now-deceased Weekly Standard. You will never find anything else that better illustrates the degree to which US elites had totally gone off the mental rails.

    THE WEEKLY STANDARD sold the Iraq War, it's good that it's dead.  And let's note Oliver Willis because I always pick on him here but I do like his writing.

    It’s Good The Weekly Standard Is Dead.

    Read Oliver Willis' piece on the failure of THE WEEKLY STANDARD here.  And if THE PROGRESSIVE and THE NATION fail next, good.  Their silence on the ongoing wars is selling the wars.  Shame on them.

    Now books.

    Ballots are due December 20th for the books that spoke to you in 2018.  Community wide, these are the reviews (I'm swiping from THIRD):

    "Tina Turner's love story" -- Betty.
    "Chris Hedges' AMERICA: THE FAREWELL TOUR bids adie..." -- C.I. 
    "Leslie Bennetts writes about something but it's not Joan Rivers" -- Trina.
    "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reviews Michelle Obama's BECOMING (pair it with Ava and C.I.'s "TV: The Selfie").
    "The Women’s Suffrage Movement is an awful (and rac..." and "Penguin's embarrassing and racist book on feminism" -- Ann and Elaine.

    "Alice Isn't Dead" -- Marcia.



    "When a book no longer pleases" -- Betty.

    "I HATE EVERYONE . . . STARTING WITH ME (Jess)" -- Jess.

    "Parker Posey's YOU'RE ON AN AIRPLANE" -- Mike.

    "Sally Field IN PIECES" -- C.I. 

    "Neil deGrasse Tyson and his superficial book" -- Betty.

    "Alice Walker's The Chicken Chronicles" -- Marcia.

    "The really bad book The Bridge" -- Ann.

    "The Third Hotel by Laura Van Den Berg" -- Trina. 

    "T.J. Berry's Space Unicorn Blues" -- Marcia.  

    "HELLO GORGEOUS by William Mann" -- Stan.


    "Fifth Avenue, 5 A.M.: Audrey Hepburn, Breakfast at Tiffany's and the Dawn of the Modern Woman Paperback" -- Ann.

    "No one Peter Bogdanovich knows is ever gay" -- Marcia.

    "Seymour Hersh meanders throughout REPORTER: A MEMOIR" -- C.I. 

    "Dusty (by Karen Bartlett)" -- Marcia.

    "Media critiques -- Nora Ephron's SCRIBBLE SCRABBLE" -- Mike.

    "Judy Garland (the biographies)" -- Kat.


    "UNCOMMON TYPES: Let's kill whomever taught Tom Hanks to type" -- Elaine.


    "Anne Sexton: THE COMPLETE POEMS" -- C.I.

    "Charlotte Chandler's MARLENE" -- Elaine.

    "A sexist woman writes She's a Rebel and distorts music history" -- Ann.

    "barbara ehrenreich's 'natural causes'" -- Rebecca. 

    "Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook" -- Trina.


    "Blackfish City" -- Marcia.

    "THE CHICKEN CHRONICLES by Alice Walker" -- Ruth.

    "Harry Belafonte" -- Mike.

    "THE SAME RIVER TWICE (Alice Walker)" -- Isaiah.

    "Dancing with Demons: The Authorized Biography of Dusty Springfield" -- Marcia.

    "Good for Jimmy Stewart, bad for readers" -- Stan.

    "Conversations with Toni Morrison" -- Marcia.

    "Forced Into Glory: Abraham Lincoln's White Dream" -- Ann.

    "He Ran All The Way" -- Trina.

    Remember that those books can be voted on, books from the newsletters can be voted on, books not mentioned anywhere can be voted on.  The whole point of the above is to boost book coverage, yes, but also to underline that if a book spoke to you this year and it was published in 1902, vote for it.

    New content at THIRD: