Saturday, November 07, 2015

I Hate The War

The US Defense Dept announced today:

Strikes in Iraq

Bomber, fighter, and attack aircraft conducted 15 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

-- Near Fallujah, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Kisik, one strike destroyed an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Mosul, one strike suppressed an ISIL rocket position.

-- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL rocket-propelled grenade position, an ISIL weapons cache, four ISIL vehicle-borne bombs, six ISIL heavy machine guns, 11 ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL tunnel, an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL anti-tank weapon, two ISIL buildings, damaged one ISIL building, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

-- Near Sinjar, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL heavy machine gun, an ISIL light machine gun, an ISIL weapons cache and suppressed two ISIL mortar positions.

-- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL heavy machine gun and an ISIL fighting position.

-- Near Tal Afar, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

Operation Inherent Failure is a long standing failure.

The refusal of the peace or antiwar movement to acknowledge that reality and to call it out is going to lead to further war.

Doubt it?

Jordan Fabian (The Hill) reports:

The United States needs “much more” than airstrikes to defeat the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter said Saturday. 
“If you say, is it enough? I don’t think it’s enough. I think we’re looking to do more,” Carter said of the U.S. campaign against ISIS during a defense forum at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in California. 

By refusing to address the reality, suddenly Operation Inherent Failure is a failure because the US military is not doing enough.

By refusing to call out the operation itself, the so-called peace movement ensures that the debate will instead be over whether there needs to be even more US military involvement in Iraq.

That's what happens with silence.

The public debate moves further towards war when voices won't speak up against it.

Then the discussion is not over whether or not the war should continue but how many troops are necessary for it to continue.

It's over, I'm done writing songs about love
There's a war going on
So I'm holding my gun with a strap and a glove
And I'm writing a song about war
And it goes
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Na na na na na na na
I hate the war
Oh oh oh oh
-- "I Hate The War" (written by Greg Goldberg, on The Ballet's Mattachine!)

The number of US service members the Dept of Defense states died in the Iraq War is [PDF format warning] 4497 (plus 10 in Operation Inherent Resolve which includes at least 1 Iraq War fatality).

The following community sites -- plus Jody Watley -- updated:


  • The e-mail address for this site is

    Iraq snapshot

    Saturday, November 7, 2015.  Chaos and violence continue, rains continue to threaten Iraqis, apologists for politicians feed the war, Nouri al-Maliki refuses to fade away, and much more.

    The public discourse would be a lot better off if partisan whores would just sit their tired asses down and stop polluting the conversation with spin and misdirection.

    Saritha Prabhu is intellectually dishonest or just a plain idiot.  At The Tennessean she wants to whine and uses the Congressional Benghazi hearing to start her nonsense:

    But listening to the above, one wondered if the Republicans on this panel and in Congress had any sense of irony, or shame or any sense of proportion.
    What they said with utter seriousness about ignored warnings and dead Americans and uninvestigated truth seemed to many listeners to apply also on a much bigger scale to the Iraq War.
    The origins of the latter have, of course, never been investigated fully.

    You care about the Iraq War, do you, Saritha?

    No, you don't.

    You just lie and lie again.

    The reality of that is clear in the quoted passage above.

    Saritha claims that Republicans lack a sense of proportion and more.

    And they may or they may not, I'm not going down that rabbit hole.

    But cheap little whores like Saritha need to be called out.

    If you think the Republicans did the right thing or they went overboard or somewhere in between, the issue really isn't the Republicans, not when you bring up the Iraq War.

    You should be asking where is the shame of the Congressional Democrats?

    The failure to investigate the Iraq War?

    The American people used the 2006 mid-term elections to repudiate the Iraq War.

    Democrats -- including trashy Nancy Pelosi who needs to be wheeled into a nursing home and not remain leader of the House after she led the party in one losing election after another allowing the GOP to take control of the House?

    They're the ones to be outraged at.

    They had the permission of the American people to investigate.

    They campaigned on this.

    They said they'd end the Iraq War, they said control over one House -- just one -- would give them the power to hold hearings and launch investigations.

    The American people responded to that by giving them control of not just one house of Congress but both houses of Congress.

    Saritha's a two-bit whore whose stupidity or intellectual dishonesty should forbid her from writing her allegedly generic columns (one of which was truly hate speech -- her attack on Christians).  But please note, she's castigating Congressional Republicans for not focusing on Iraq when she's got a column, her own space, to write whatever she wants and she doesn't write about Iraq.

    She's a fake ass liar.

    Ava and I took on MSNBC's 'coverage' of the Benghazi hearing in "TV: The least trusted name in news" and we noted:

    And that's why MSNBC is a cesspool.
    They offered one voice after another saying the exact same thing.
    They could brook no thought or opinion that strayed from the hymnal.
    For a brief moment, as the coverage was winding, down, Tom Brokaw appeared.
    He expressed the belief that nothing changed with the appearance.
    He offered that Hillary had pleased her supporters but done nothing to pull over her detractors.
    It was a fair and objective view.
    And it's what the entire coverage should have been.

    I bring this up now because Brokaw made many outstanding points.

    Ava and I could have gone into more of that but I know Tom and like Tom and didn't want to turn his brief moments in the coverage -- we watched two hours of MSNBC coverage and he was probably on for less than six minutes -- into the entire review.

    But Tom's most important point may have been that a hearing on Benghazi does not preclude one on Iraq.

    It's not an either/or.

    And he's right.

    And the point I'm making here is if you're upset that there's been no hearing on Iraq (as we've noted before, there have been Congressional hearings on Iraq) -- or upset that it wasn't the type that the Benghazi hearings have been (pointed and often harsh) -- why is that Republican issue?

    Again, Democrats held control of no house of Congress in 2005 and 2006 and those two years found Democrats campaigning on the promise of ending the war and doing investigations if they got even one house of Congress -- control of one house.

    The American people responded to the campaign promises and gave Democrats control of both houses.

    So if you're upset that the Secretary of State (Condi Rice back then) was not immediately called before Congress or someone else to answer for the Iraq War, that's not a Republican issue.

    You can lie and whore and be intellectually dishonest.

    But the reality is that until the 2010 mid-terms, Democrats controlled both houses of Congess.

    They didn't use that power to investigate Iraq any more than they used to end the illegal war.

    In case you missed that, and Saritha appears to have missed it, the Iraq War never ended.

    Democrats in Congress pretending to care?

    That ended.

    And that's why their embrace of Cindy Sheehan ended.

    They were happy to promote Cindy when they pretended they were powerless.

    But when they had the power and the Iraq War continued?

    They turned on Cindy.

    And instead of calling the politicians out, whores and spinners found distractions to focus on.

    At CounterPunch on Friday, Andrew Stewart offered:

    Or consider the Spielberg film LINCOLN, which featured both Williams and MUNICH screenwriter Tony Kushner. Besides being a breezy plagiarism of the Gore Vidal novel, it is essentially an analogy for the fight over the neoliberal Affordable Healthcare Act, a debacle loaded with huge gaps that is really a bail-out for the pharmaceutical and insurance companies. The film ends with the implication that Lincoln would have done more is he had lived, perhaps enacting the ideals of Thaddeus Stevens, suggesting in analogue that Obama would have preferred single-payer healthcare had he not been stopped by the GOP. Of course, that is total nonsense, Obama threw single-payer advocates under the bus as soon as possible and pulled in his major campaign donors from Big Pharma immediately. Likewise, Lincoln was not an abolitionist, his record towards Africans was reprehensible and he was in favor of repatriating freed slaves to Africa after the war.

    I'm not remembering Andrew Stewart truth telling in real time but he may not have been given the opportunity or the space in real time.

    But in real time, Black Agenda Report was one of the few calling out ObamaCare for what it was: a gift to the insurance companies.  It wasn't about healthcare being improved or made affordable (a fact many more Americans will learn next year).  We called it out here.  And Trina, more than anyone else in this community, repeatedly called it out because she had lived through Mitt Romney bring 'universal' healthcare to her state (by forcing everyone to purchase it).

    But what passes for the left -- and not just Democrats (a lot of Socialists and Communists should be ashamed) -- decided the people of America didn't matter, their health didn't matter,

    Nothing will ever get better until people stop feeling their mission is to act as bodyguards for some politician.

    Politicians are public servants.

    The public's role in that is to demand action on this or that issue.

    When the public makes no demands, nothing happens.

    Look at the Iraq War.

    Those of us on the left demanded an end to it and Democrats knew they could use it to campaign on with a lot of promises.

    But the public failed to demand that these same politicians live up to their promises.

    Which is why the US is still in Iraq.

    And still in combat.

    In case you missed it, the US Defense Dept announced Friday:

    Strikes in Iraq

    Attack, bomber, fighter and ground attack aircraft conducted 14 strikes in Iraq, coordinated with and in support of Iraq’s government:

    -- Near Albu Hayat, one strike struck a large ISIL tactical unit and destroyed four ISIL heavy machine guns, seven ISIL fighting positions, and wounded ISIL fighters.

    -- Near Fallujah, one strike struck an ISIL tactical unit and destroyed an ISIL tactical vehicle, an ISIL anti-air artillery piece, and an ISIL heavy machine gun.

    -- Near Kisik, one strike suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Ramadi, four strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed two ISIL sniper positions, four ISIL heavy machine guns, two ISIL bunkers, three ISIL fighting positions, an ISIL building, an ISIL weapons cache, and denied ISIL access to terrain.

    -- Near Sinjar, six strikes struck two separate ISIL tactical units and destroyed six ISIL fighting positions, two ISIL bunkers, three ISIL assembly areas, and suppressed an ISIL mortar position.

    -- Near Sultan Abdallah, one strike destroyed two ISIL fighting positions and suppressed an ISIL heavy machine gun position.

    In other violence, Mu Xuequan (Xinhua) notes, "A total of 21 people were killed and 38 others wounded on Saturday in clashes with Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq's provinces of Salahudin and Anbar, security sources said."

    Meanwhile the refusal to provide for the people turns even rain pour into violence.

  • Press TV (via Al Bawaba) reports 60 are dead due to this week's flash floods and "The Iraqi Health Ministry said on Friday that most of the victims died due to electrocution caused by flood-related incidents."  AFP adds, "The country's decrepit drainage system is unable to handle heavy rainfall, and parts of Baghdad too have suffered prolonged flooding."

    The deaths were often preventable.

    Had the government done its job and rebuilt the public infrastructure, the death toll would have been lower.

    The flash floods fall under a natural event (or "act of God") but the natural event does not offer cover for the deaths.

    This week, the Iraqi government was yet again trumpeting the arrival and/or impending arrival of weapons and war planes.

    It's always purchased plenty of weapons -- under Nouri al-Maliki prior to Haider al-Abadi -- it's just failed to protect the citizens.

    Unlike the Members of Parliament, the average Iraqi does not have a security team to provide protection.

    Instead, they're left to count on the government that supposedly represents them to . . . represent them.

    But instead the money officials haven't stolen have gone to buy this weapon and that.

    None of which prevent suicide bombers or, for that matter, electrocution during flash floods.

    Isabel Coles (Reuters) reports, "A cholera outbreak in Iraq has spread to neighboring Syria, Kuwait and Bahrain, and risks turning into a region-wide epidemic as millions of pilgrims prepare to visit the country, UNICEF's Iraq director said."

    And when you think things can't get worse . . .

  • Sam Smith's new album out now!!! (Elaine)

    rebecca, still here.  the community loves music and elaine covered a 'new' release last night.

    Sam Smith's new album out now!!!!

    I love Sam Smith.

    I don't think I've been so excited about a male singer in years.

    But he's something beyond excellent and great.

    In The Lonely Hour is an amazing album and one I can't stop listening to.

    Or couldn't.

    A friend sent me Sam's new album.

    It's got nine tracks.

    It's actually a deluxe edition of the first album.

    No, not the one that's called "deluxe" and offers four additional tracks.

    This one is two discs -- the original album plus a disc of nine additional track.


    So what do we get with this new disc?

    There's a new version of "I'm Not The Only One" featuring a rapper and I don't care for it.  I don't hate it.  I just don't see the point.

    Much better is the reworked "Stay With Me" -- as a duet with Mary J. Blige.

    I love "Drowning Shadows."

    You also have to hear his cover of Amy Winehouse's "Love Is A Losing Game."

    He covers "How Will I Know" and you may have seen that on YouTube.  But this is a studio recording of the Whitney Houston classic and not some sing along version.

    He and John Legend take "Lay Me Down" to another level and "Latch" is given the acoustic treatment.

    It's just amazing.

    I love Sam Smith and have been craving a new album.

    Until that happens, this is the next best thing.

    (Although I'd love it if he'd release a live album while we're waiting for the next studio one.)

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills):

    a dull, uptight bitch named j. randy (book review of his beyonce book)

    rebecca here again.

    book reviews? the community loves them.

    here's my post on an awful new book - please avoid it unless you pick it up at the library so that all you end up losing is your own time!

    a dull, uptight bitch named j. randy

    i'm not a beyonce fan (or enemy) but i'm a fan of a good trashy page turner.

    so when i saw 'becoming beyonce: the untold story,' i thought i'd struck bad bio gold.

    i even expected j. randy taraborrelli to come back to life.

    instead he's written what may be his all time worst book.

    j. randy wrote a good book about cher.

    then he wrote 'call her miss ross' about diana ross and that's a classic.

    this despite the fact that he loses energy and steam right when he gets to the end of the 70s.

    it's diana at 1 of her most creative time periods - 'the boss' album which is still amazing followed by 'diana' with her huge hit 'i'm coming out' and her even bigger, number 1 hit 'upside down.'  she follows that with two movie themes - 'it's my turn' which is amazing and a big hit and then 'endless love' (with lionel richie) which is even more amazing and a monster number 1 hit.  she moves on to top ten hits with 'why do fools fall in love' and 'mirror, mirror' (one of my personal favorites).

    that's quite a run and she's still got 'muscles,' 'swept away,' 'missing you' and 'all of you' (duet with julio iglesias) - all hits.

    but j randy long ago grew bored.

    he rallied with a book on michael jackson which he shamelessly re-wrote after michael died to cash in - and retracted all the hard hitting stories he had originally written.

    then it was on to bad books about frank sinatra and marilyn monroe.

    he seemed to be striving for some form of trash respectability.

    'becoming beyonce' is boring.

    and insulting.

    he is especially stupid with regards to stevie nicks' 'edge of 17' which is sampled in 'bootylicious.'

    he really is a moron.

    and it takes a real moron to write about beyonce and end up with a boring book.

    you can love her or hate her or be indifferent but her life has everything to make for a great bio.

    j. randy can't even create a mildly amusing 1.

    beyonce should sue - not because he tells secrets but because he makes her life seem so damn boring.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    scandal bores while heroes reborn continues to heat up

    rebecca here.

    here's another post by me on 'scandal' and heroes reborn - this is from 11/2/15.

    if you gave 'heroes reborn' a chance and then gave up, i understand.  but the show is really heating up in the last 3 episodes.  it's really worth watching.

    scandal bores while heroes reborn continues to heat up

    abc's 'scandal' gets worse each week.

    thursday saw fitz in danger of being impeached.

    the only solution?

    cyrus says for olivia and fitz to marry.

    and olivia?

    she's not sure she wants to get married.

    she whines to ex-love jake who hangs up on her.

    she whines to abby.

    she tries to whine to quinn.

    coming back to that.

    1st, a marriage to save the presidency?

    and olivia can't go for it.

    i'm sorry, why did cyrus get married?

    oh, that's right, olivia made him marry the male prostitute because it would change the story - cyrus didn't want to but olivia made him.

    but when it's to save the presidency and it's her?

    little princess isn't sure if she wants to marry the man she's sleeping with - for over 5 years now, the man whose marriage she did break up.

    so quinn knows that releasing rowland (olivia's dad) can save them.  roland still has the info on congress and can use it to blackmail the congressional committee into making it go away.

    so roland's out and that's what happens on a dull and boring 'scandal' that made nearly an entire season about getting rowland into prison.

    'heroes reborn' on the same night but on nbc continued to come to life.

    this despite we viewers having to endure not 1 noah but 2.

    we also got mohinder and more action from hiro.

    and angela returned.

    because noah and hiro traveled back a year to the event where the bomb went off.

    clair died not from the bomb but from child birth.

    she had twins.

    noah wanted to see her body but they wouldn't let him.

    which means clair's alive.  let's be honest.

    so her twins, angela knows from a vision, can save the world.

    but clair was 15 when her powers manifested and the children must save the world next year.

    the answer?

    angela will go back in time 15 years with the 2 infants to raise them.

    and who are they?

    the son is the 'teenager' (the 20-something brit playing an american teenage boy) and the daughter is the 1 who saved zachary levi last week.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    You want to fight? So be it (Marcia)

    rebecca here all morning!

    no, just joking.

    but marcia covers 'the originals' at her site.  and this is latest

    You want to fight? So be it

    The Originals airs on The CW and it's now on Thursday nights.

    This episode didn't offer much.

    We had to endure White Rebekkah.

    I hate that actress.

    And she's so bad in the role.


    Let's be honest, this can't be a long running show.

    Klaus is supposed to be ageless -- as is Eli.

    Both actors are aging.

    Klaus more so than Eli.

    Hayley had a little to do this episode -- just a tiny bit.

    She seems to be turning into Davina's mentor.

    There was too much backstory this week and not enough forward momentum.

    Camille got arrested.

    They think she's the killer in the French Quarter.

    No, that doesn't make any sense.

    But the episode existed mainly to turn Klaus and Eli against each other.

    In flashbacks, we saw Klaus fall for Aurora (the crazy redhead who killed the priests at the Buddist temple) when she was a human.

    She begged him to make her a vampire but he refused.

    When her brother Tristan tried to come between her and Klaus, she slit her wrists.

    Rebekkah found her dying and turned her (into a vampire) to save her.

    She and Klaus then made out and were the perfect couple.

    But when Eli, Klaus and Rebekkah had to flee before their father could find them, Aurora and Eli got into insults over who knew Klaus best which culminated with Aurora revealing Klaus killed their mother (Eli, Rebekkah, Klaus and Freya's mother).

    So Eli used that secret to drive Aurora away.

    In present day, she tells Klaus that when he rails at her for leaving him.

    He then confronts Eli and blames him for setting him on "the course" that has led him here and Eli responded that Klaus really loves to play the victim.

    The two got into a nasty physical fight.

    And then it ended with Eli saying he was tired of all the years of protecting Klaus, "You want a fight?  So be it."

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    Empire (Betty)

    rebecca, still here.

    betty covers 'empire' at her site.  this is her latest.


    So EMPIRE returned this week.

    And we had baby rapper whining all through the episode.

    I honestly thought he was going to be kidnapped for the whole episode and was surprised that it was really just for the first ten minutes.

    It was a tight episode that seemed to offer so much more while airing than it actually did upon reflection.

    As usual, Cookie was the best part, followed by Jamal and then Lucious.

    But it would have been nice if things had gone better in the episode.

    The bodyguard/security Cookie hired -- played by Adam Rodriguez -- who is actually out to rip her off.

    That was probably the most interesting element in the episode and it was buried near the end and not developed the way it needed to be.

    Andre got creepier and who could have thought that even possible?

    And Gabourey Sidibe's Becky was the only one who really seemed to notice.

    Yes, Lucious put Andre in his place, telling him he was more of a place holder at Empire Entertainment -- not the boss, Lucious remains the boss.

    But to really get how creepy Andre's becoming -- as he's something of a mystical nut?

    Only Becky seemed to get it.

    "Iraq snapshot" (The Common Ills): 

    Marvel Agents of SHIELD (Mike)

    rebecca here.

    i'm going to note the others who post on tv shows in the community.

    mike covers 'marvel agents of shield.'

    Marvel Agents of SHIELD

    I didn't really care for this week's episode.

    Mae should have been allowed to be majorly pissed -- her ex-husband, love of her life, just died because of Hunter.

    And, for a second, it looked like she was exploding at Bobbi (Hunter's ex) but then it turned out it was just a test to see if Bobbi had recovered enough to go out on a field mission.


    She catches video feed of cages intended for the enhanced people like her.

    And guess who's getting a tour of them?


    She has less and less reason to trust him.


    I don't mind Mae going off on him (she hasn't) but I really don't need the others to do so.

    He had every reason to try to kill Ward (lucky for the show, Ward lived) even if it meant putting Mae's husband at risk.

    I just feel like the show was leading up to something and then the writers fell asleep and forgot everything.

    It wasn't a very good episode.

    Here's C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    ARROW goes to hell (Stan)

    rebecca here.

    most of us cover a t.v. show at our sites.

    stan covers 'arrow' (and sometimes 'flash').  this is his latest.

    ARROW goes to hell

    On tonight's ARROW, Oliver, Laurel and guest Constantine journeyed briefly to hell (the pit) to rescue Sarah's soul and reunite it with her body.

    It was a success and now Sarah (on earth) is a person again.

    Prior to that, she was trying to kill Thea for most of the episode.

    John Diggel found out that his brother was an Afghanistan war lord.

    If that's the truth.

    The news came second hand from Laurel's dad who got it from Damien Dark so I'm not sure I'm going to buy into it immediately, you know?

    But the really big news was Felicity.

    Last episode, Curtis had told her that the problem with her cell phone had to do with some last words Ray had said and that she should listen to them.

    She declined.

    This episode, as he was about to go work out at the gym, she changed her mind.

    So he gave up his work out and spent forever working on it.

    Turns out -- as we should have known -- Ray is alive and tiny (he's The Atom).

    And he needs Felicity's help.


    The coming attractions for next week show that he's a prisoner of Damien Dark.

    It was a fast paced episode but I wanted more of Ray and we only got him at the very end.

    Going out with C.I.'s "Iraq snapshot:"

    quantico (rebecca)

    rebecca again.  leaving 'heroes reborn' for a moment to note abc's 'quantico.'
      ava and c.i. reviewed it in 'TV: Quantico' which resulted in non-stop e-mails to me asking what i thought?  so this is my take. their review also noted 'blood & oil.'  i'll add my 2 cents on that.  the show is flat out boring and i agree with them: if it's going to stay on the air the show needs to add melanie griffith in a joan collins type of role to bring some life to the proceedings.


    a number of e-mails came in urging me to watch abc's 'quantico.'

    i have now.

    what did i think?

    this show can probably last 2 seasons.

    i'm not talking ratings, i'm talking storyline.

    ratings will probably keep it on the air for 5 years or more but it really is just a 2 season story.

    it's a good story.

    i do like the show.

    but i just don't see this who-done-it spinning out for more than two seasons worth of stories.

    so by season three it will be lagging and by four it'll have more than 1 foot in the grave.

    and maybe that's what we should be preparing for?

    in england, they have many shows which are intentionally brief.

    maybe that's what we need to move towards?

    especially when it comes from suspense?

    but it is a good show.

    i say the blond guy (whose dad is sleeping with his girlfriend) is the 1 who did the bombing.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    the yawn inducing scandal, heroes reborn shows a little life

    rebecca here.  if you missed it, i have updated both back up sites with c.i., cedric and my posts.  so those of you who prefer, for example, blogdrive can stop complaining in e-mails.

    at my site, i've covered a lot of tv shows - most of which got the axe.

    1 of them was 'heroes' which is now back on nbc in what may be a limited run.

    at the start, i would've said good because it was so damn disappointing.

    but it's actually started to finally heat up.  so i'm going to repost 1 or 2 or 3 posts on it that i've done recently.  this is from 10/24 and before some 1 e-mails and says, 'rebecca, you shouldn't have cut off the snapshot!' - i've left the link in.

    i'd gladly leave the snapshot itself in.  but when c.i. reposts us here, you may have noticed, she doesn't include her snapshot that we repost.  so i'm respecting her wishes.

    now if you haven't watched 'heroes reborn' yet read the following.

    the yawn inducing scandal, heroes reborn shows a little life


    this show was once interesting.

    the only scenes that had any life in them?

    1 scene.

    mellie getting drunk with cyrus.

    that's really it.

    the show is pointless today.

    fitz may be impeached for his affair with olivia.  yawn.

    olivia has to sell their affair to the public.  double yawn.

    cyrus has to be brought back in because he knows fitz declared war (on angola?) to save olivia when she was kidnapped.

    so cyrus agrees but elizabeth has to be fired.

    if there was 1 scene the episode needed, it was elizabeth being fired.

    but that will apparently happen offscreen.

    cyrus' husband was on.

    1 scene.

    it was good to see him.

    but over all the show is just as dull as dishwater.

    'heroes reborn'?

    the return of hiro gives me hope.

    he showed up to save noah.

    next week's episode is supposed to feature him more.

    thank goodness.

    except for zachary levi, the return has been a bit boring.

    let's close with c.i.'s 'Iraq snapshot:'

    [. . .]


    Senators Introduce SAVE Benefits Act to Boost Social Security and Other Critical Benefits for Seniors, Veteran

    Tammy Baldwin

    Senator Tammy Baldwin (above) is a US Senator from Wisconsin.   Her office issued the following this week:

    For Immediate Release                                                           
    Thursday, November 05, 2015
                  (202) 224-6225
    Senators Introduce SAVE Benefits Act to Boost Social Security and Other Critical Benefits for Seniors, Veterans
    Without legislation, Social Security recipients, veterans face rare, zero cost-of-living increase in 2016
    Bill would end tax subsidies for million-dollar corporate bonuses to give 70 million Americans emergency relief
    WASHINGTON, DC - Today, United States Senators Tammy Baldwin, Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Patty Murray (D-Wash.), Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.), Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio), Bob Casey (D-Pa.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Jeff Merkley (D-Ore.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Al Franken (D-Minn.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), Mazie K. Hirono (D-Hawai'i), and Edward J. Markey (D-Mass.) introduced legislation to boost Social Security and other critical benefits for seniors, veterans and other Americans following last month's announcement that there will be a zero cost-of-living adjustment in 2016.
    "Every month, thirty percent of Wisconsin's seniors depend on Social Security as their only source of income. This means they are relying on a promise that must be kept," Senator Baldwin said. "Congress must take action, as we have in the past, to keep our promise and I am proud to support this emergency payment to make sure seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and other Americans are able to make ends meet."
    Although the cost of core goods and services is projected to rise next year, millions of Americans will see no increase in the benefits they rely on to make ends meet. Meanwhile, CEO compensation for the top 350 firms increased by 3.9 percent last year. The Seniors and Veterans Emergency Benefits Act (SAVE Benefits Act) would give about 70 million seniors, veterans, people with disabilities, and others an emergency payment equal to 3.9 percent of the average annual Social Security benefit, about $581 - the same percentage raise as the top CEOs.
    A $581 increase could cover almost three months of groceries for seniors or a year's worth of out-of-pocket costs on critical prescription drugs for the average Medicare beneficiary. The bill would lift more than 1 million Americans out of poverty. The cost of this emergency payment would be covered by closing a tax loophole allowing corporations to write off executive bonuses as a business expense for "performance pay." The substantial additional revenue saved by closing the CEO compensation loophole would be used to bolster and extend the life of the Social Security and Disability trust funds.
    "If we do nothing, on January 1st, more than 70 million seniors, veterans, and other Americans won't get an extra dime in much-needed Social Security and other benefits. And while Congress sits on its hands and pretends that there's nothing we can do, taxpayers will keep right on subsidizing billions of dollars' worth of bonuses for highly paid CEOs," Senator Warren said. "Giving seniors a little help with their Social Security and stitching up corporate tax write-offs isn't just about economics; it's about our values. Congress should pass the SAVE Benefits Act today to give a boost to millions of Americans who have earned it."
    “I believe that ‘Honor thy mother and father’ isn’t just a good commandment to live by, it’s good public policy to govern by,” Senator Mikulski said. “This legislation will help 1.1 million seniors, veterans of Social Security age and federal employee retirees in Maryland so they aren’t left out in the cold when it comes to the Social Security benefits they’ve earned and deserve. An adjustment in 2016 Social Security benefits for seniors will go a long way when it comes to visits to the doctor, putting food on the table or a roof over head. I will continue to fight so that seniors, veterans and federal employees have a government on their side.”
    "After a lifetime of hard work, all seniors deserve the opportunity to live healthy, full, and financially secure lives, and many rely on small annual increases to their Social Security benefits just to get by. Now is no time for them to go without this adjustment, especially with so many still struggling." Senator Murray said. "Instead of allowing the biggest corporations to benefit from wasteful and egregious tax loopholes, we should be prioritizing ways to help seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities have a fighting chance to make ends meet."
    "It is unacceptable that millions of senior citizens and disabled veterans did not receive a cost-of-living adjustment this year to keep up with their rising living expenses. At a time when senior poverty is going up and more than two-thirds of the elderly population rely on Social Security for more than half of their income, our job must be to expand, not cut, Social Security," said Senator Sanders. "At the very least, we must do everything we can to make sure that every senior citizen and disabled veteran in this country receives a fair cost-of-living adjustment to keep up with the skyrocketing cost of prescription drugs and health care."
    "Millions of retirees and Americans with disabilities rely on Social Security for the majority of their income. And our veterans deserve the monthly benefits they've earned for their service to our country," said Senator Brown. "When these benefits don't keep up with the cost-of-living, vulnerable Americans are stuck making tough choices just to get by each month. The SAVE Benefits Act would provide a needed boost for seniors, veterans, and individuals with disabilities so they can make ends meet." 
    "Ask any senior in Connecticut and they'll tell you prices and rent and taxes are going up. So it's insulting for Social Security to fail to provide a simple cost of living increase this year," said Senator Murphy. "This bill makes a simple, common sense trade - ask millionaires to take a little smaller bonus in exchange for seniors being able to pay their bills next year."
    The SAVE Benefits Act is supported by AFL-CIO, AFSCME, Alliance for Retired Americans, The ARC of the United States, B'nai B'rith International, Campaign for America's Future, Center for Community Change, Center for Effective Government, CREDO, Daily Kos, Democracy for America, Economic Opportunity Institute, International Brotherhood of the Teamsters, Justice in Aging,, National Committee to Preserve Social Security and Medicare, National Council of La Raza, National Organization for Women, OWL-the Voice of Women 40+, Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Puget Sound Advocates for Retirement Action, Social Security Works, Strengthen Social Security Coalition, UltraViolet, and VoteVets.
    A PDF fact sheet about the bill is available here, and text of bill is available here.
    View an online version of this release here.


    Friday, November 06, 2015

    Isakson Highlights Senate’s Accomplishments for Veterans Ahead of Veterans’ Day Holiday


    Senator Johnny Isakson (above) is the Chair of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee.  His office issued the following this week:

    Thursday, November 5, 2015
    Contact: Amanda Maddox, 202-224-7777
    Lauren Gaydos, 202-224-9126

    Isakson Highlights Senate’s Accomplishments for Veterans Ahead of Veterans’ Day Holiday
    Applauds broad, bipartisan support for continuing to work together to help veterans
    WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, today highlighted the committee’s work on behalf of our nation’s veterans in the 114th Congress ahead of the upcoming Veterans Day holiday.
    In an open letter to members of the Senate, Isakson noted that while the work Congress has done so far this year “should be viewed as a mere down-payment on what we owe the men and women who have bravely and selflessly served in the military,” Congress has made real, bipartisan progress in serving veterans and reforming the VA.
    “The Department of Veterans Affairs is without question an agency in crisis, rocked by scandals, plagued by a culture of corruption, and having lost the trust of many who need and rely on VA’s benefits and services,” wrote Isakson. “Although a tremendous amount of work remains to be done – by VA and by Congress – to address the serious and widespread issues at all levels of this agency, I am pleased that we have been able to work together to begin making the changes necessary to ensure that veterans will be well served moving forward.”
    See below for the text of the letter, including a full list of the legislation the Senate has passed to serve veterans as well as the oversight activities the committee has done so far this year. Click here for a PDF copy of the signed letter. 
    Dear Colleague:
    As we approach Veterans Day and reflect on the vast contributions of all who have worn the uniform in defense of our country, as Chairman of the Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs, I wish to highlight the progress that we collectively have made this year on their behalf.  The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is without question an agency in crisis, rocked by scandals, plagued by a culture of corruption, and having lost the trust of many who need and rely on VA’s benefits and services.  Although a tremendous amount of work remains to be done – by VA and by Congress – to address the serious and widespread issues at all levels of this agency, I am pleased that we have been able to work together to begin making the changes necessary to ensure that veterans will be well served moving forward. These strides could not have been taken without your commitment to making our nation’s veterans a top priority:
    • Enactment of numerous laws to improve, reform, and reauthorize programs at VA (Public Laws 114-2, 114-19, 114-25, 114-31, 114-41, 114-58), including:
      • The Clay Hunt Suicide Prevention for American Veterans Act, to help address the serious problem of veteran suicide.
      • Numerous provisions to improve the Veterans Choice Program, by allowing more veterans to qualify to receive health care in their community, increasing the pool of non-VA providers eligible for the program, and extending the limitation on the provision of care in the community beyond 60 days to allow veterans to continue treatments that can span many months.
      • The Veterans Identification Card Act of 2015, to allow all veterans to more easily provide documentation of their military service.
      • Provisions to ensure completion of the hospital construction project in Denver, Colorado, in a fiscally responsible manner by ensuring that VA would identify and utilize existing appropriations to complete construction.
      • Provisions to reform VA’s construction program to prevent cost over-runs and mismanagement by mandating that any VA construction project over $100 million will be managed by the Army Corps of Engineers or another non-VA Federal entity.
      • Provisions to provide VA flexibility to reorganize existing funding to avoid a possible VA budget shortfall in certain health care accounts.
      • Provisions to extend authorization for VA to continue to carry out certain current programs, including VA’s caregivers programs, homeless programs, adaptive sporting programs, and vocational benefits for members of the armed forces with severe injuries.
    • Filling vacant leadership positions at VA with permanent leaders:
      • Senate confirmation of Dr. David Shulkin to be the Under Secretary for Health, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
      • Senate confirmation of LaVerne Council to be the Assistant Secretary for Information and Technology, U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs.
    • Striving to increase accountability of VA employees at all levels:
      • Committee approval of legislation to expedite removal or demotion of delinquent or underperforming VA employees (S. 1082) and to prevent VA from awarding bonuses to employees found to have committed misconduct (S. 627).
      • A bipartisan call from the Veterans’ Affairs Committee for the Secretary to hold accountable executives involved in a multi-million dollar scheme to abuse VA’s relocation program, leading to the resignation of the Under Secretary for Benefits.
    • Increasing oversight of VA’s activities:
      • Establishment of a policy of conducting regular business meetings with the Chairmen and Ranking Members of the Senate and House Committees on Veterans’ Affairs and VA’s leadership team at the VA headquarters to discuss veterans’ healthcare and benefits challenges and potential solutions.
      • Field hearings on rampant mismanagement of the construction of the new Denver VA Medical Center and on problems with the Veterans Choice Program.
      • Oversight hearings on the Veterans Choice Program, VA opioid prescription policy, women veterans, veteran homelessness, toxic exposures, and mental health care.
      • Committee oversight visits to VA facilities in Louisville, Kentucky; Montgomery, Alabama; Atlanta, Georgia; Denver, Colorado; Phoenix, Arizona; Tampa, Bay Pines, and Gainesville, Florida; Albuquerque, New Mexico; and Anchorage, Alaska.
    Although I believe this represents true progress, this should be viewed as a mere down-payment on what we owe the men and women who have bravely and selflessly served in the military.  There is much more that must be done to bring true accountability at VA and to transform it into an organization worthy of those it serves.  I remain steadfast in my commitment to address the systemic problems at VA and look forward to continuing to work with all of my colleagues to reform this agency for those who have served and have sacrificed on behalf of our entire nation. 
    Johnny Isakson
    The Senate Committee on Veterans’ Affairs is chaired by U.S. Senator Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., in the 114th Congress.
    Isakson is a veteran himself – having served in the Georgia Air National Guard from 1966-1972 – and has been a member of the Senate VA Committee since he joined the Senate in 2005. Isakson’s home state of Georgia is home to more than a dozen military installations representing each branch of the military as well as more than 750,000 veterans.