Sunday, April 10, 2011

Truest statement of the week

So you guys do look all gorgeous out there. I know you feel the same about me. Thank you. But I only have 90 seconds, so I have to talk really fast. I think everybody here today knows that the wars are b.s. Everybody knows that it's not just the Republican people who are making wars on other countries, war on women, wars on -- all the wars we talked about. It's not just the Republican half of the capitalist, corporatist party. Of course it's not. We have a Democratic administration now. We had Democrats in power. It was a total Democratic tyranny for two years. And here our country is going down the crapper economically. I can tell you, people say that there's only two things guaranteed in life: Death and taxes. I can guarantee you one more thing -- or three more things. If you vote for a Democrat or Republican, you're voting for more war, you're voting for more economic oppression and you're voting for more environmental devastation. And I want to challenge you today, this is beautiful, this is wonderful, take this energy and don't let it stop. If anybody here wants to go toLafayette Square in front of the White House and make it our Tahrir Square, I'm there with you. We have to go and we can't stop and we can't leave. Thank you.

-- Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan speaking in NYC yesterday. Peace Mom heads to Boston:


7PM: First Parish In Cambridge (Harvard Square)

3 Church St
Cambridge, MA

Truest statement of the week II

So contemptuous of the people is the elitist Barack Obama that he has plunged the United States into yet another war without so much as pretense of a Congressional vote. He emerges as more brazen by far than George W. Bush, who lied about Saddam Hussein’s Al-Qaeda link and his weapons of mass destruction, in order to win a Congressional “authorization” for war. Obama simply ignored the Constitution and is playing the part of King. This is the highest of crimes and misdemeanors and the profoundest of threats to our already weakened democratic institutions. Hence, we have begun a Right/Left Coalition to impeach President Barack Obama for violation of Article 1, Section 8 of the U.S. Constitution which gives Congress, not the Executive, the sole right to declare war.

-- John V. Walsh's "The Empire: A Colossus With Feet of Clay" (Dissident Voice).

A note to our readers

Hey --

We thank all who participated this week which includes Dallas and the following:

The Third Estate Sunday Review's Jim, Dona, Ty, Jess and Ava,
Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude,
Betty of Thomas Friedman Is a Great Man,
C.I. of The Common Ills and The Third Estate Sunday Review,
Kat of Kat's Korner (of The Common Ills),
Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix,
Mike of Mikey Likes It!,
Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz),
Ruth of Ruth's Report,
Wally of The Daily Jot,
Trina of Trina's Kitchen,
Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends,
Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts,
and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub.

And what did we come up with?

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan. We were just going with one this week. Then I (Jim) read Ava and C.I.'s piece to everyone. We hadn't heard Cindy's remarks (Ava and C.I. open with them) but we agreed we had two truests for the week.

This is John V. Walsh telling the truth about the Libyan War and much more.

This week, we wanted to note Iraqi protesters. And we were trying to figure out a different way to do it when Jess, looking at the screen snaps C.I. and Ava made, said, "A different way might be to note that we aren't at all different from them." That gave us our editorial.

Ava and C.I. scrambled to do this one. Today was a very busy day and they had other things to do. It was also a long writing edition. They said they'd do something on Christian Slater and that's all I knew. When they finished writing it, I was surprised as I read it out loud to everyone. They really pulled together something.
Short features!!!! Always a cry from Dona. I don't remember how this came up but I know we all agreed it might be worth doing a similar feature at least once a month. FYI, we did magazine surveys for a reader who was stationed in Iraq. The reader is back in the US thankfully. We are very happy. We have begun to hate doing magazine survey pieces and we may use the return as our excuse to stop that feature.

Our roundtable. Elaine breaks news.

An important short feature. This is a topic we've talked about addressing for months. The New Statesman just gave us the push we needed.

For four weeks, this feature has been planned. We've never had time until now.

We take the e-mail seriously and say thank you to Aimee for this suggestion.
Three members of Joan Wile's group have been honored with an award and we congratulate them by reposting Joan's strong piece.

Workers World continues to provide some of the best coverage of the Libyan War.

Will you tax resist?

Mike, Elaine, Rebecca, Betty, Kat, Ruth, Isaiah, Trina, Stan, Ann, Cedric, Wally and Marcia wrote this and we thank them for it.

And that's what we managed this week.


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

Editorial: We Heart Iraqi Protesters

Do you support The Great Iraqi Revolution?

We do and we think you should as well because we have so much in common with them.

Their demands are basic. They want to have potable water and reliable electricity. An oil-rich nation has no excuse for an inability to provide either to its citizens. They want jobs and that's a universal cry around the world. They don't want to be occupied which is a valid response. They are tired of and want to see an end to government corruption -- and who can argue with that? They want Iraq's jails and prisons to stop being used as a form to silence opponents and want the many innocent detainees to be immediately freed and can't we all get on board with that?

Their demands are not unreasonable and go to what most of us would consider basic human rights, the very least, in fact, that a government owes the people.

But if you ever doubt how much you share with them think about the 8th anniversary of the Iraq War and how you protested in Los Angeles (as Ava, C.I., Jess and Rebecca did), or San Francisco, or Chicago, or Boston, of Phoenix, or Austin, or any number of places. Unless you were at the second largest protest in the country (Los Angeles was the largest), you were rendered invisible by Amy Goodman and Democracy Now! The program gave one sentence to those protests and only noted the one in DC (which Dona, Betty, Ty, Jess, Kat, Ruth, Trina, Mike, Elaine, Marcia, Stan, Isaiah, Cedric, Ann and Jim attended).

Iraqis have been protesting non-stop, including during the week. But they have protested every Friday in Baghdad (and elsewhere) since February 25th. But Amy Goodman can't be bothered with that. Egypt? It's time to go live. But Iraq? Not a care, not a concern. No need to interview the young people organizing these protests, no need to interview any of the participants.

And doesn't that sound a great deal like how she treated the bulk of American protesters who turned out on March 19, 2011?

Friday, Iraqis were out all over the country. Here are some photos of the demonstration in Baghad.





TV: The never ending rut

Peace Mom Cindy Sheehan declared Saturday, "So you guys do look all gorgeous out there. I know you feel the same about me. Thank you. But I only have 90 seconds, so I have to talk really fast. I think everybody here today knows that the wars are b.s. Everybody knows that it's not just the Republican people who are making wars on other countries, war on women, wars on -- all the wars we talked about. It's not just the Republican half of the capitalist, corporatist party. Of course it's not. We have a Democratic administration now. We had Democrats in power. It was a total Democratic tyranny for two years. And here our country is going down the crapper economically. I can tell you, people say that there's only two things guaranteed in life: Death and taxes. I can guarantee you one more thing -- or three more things. If you vote for a Democrat or Republican, you're voting for more war, you're voting for more economic oppression and you're voting for more environmental devastation. And I want to challenge you today, this is beautiful, this is wonderful, take this energy and don't let it stop. If anybody here wants to go to Lafayette Square in front of the White House and make it our Tahrir Square, I'm there with you. We have to go and we can't stop and we can't leave. Thank you."

And we agreed with her take (and applaud it) but we were thinking of other things you can now count on. Like how a certain star will always provide a flop TV show and how certain 'public affairs' programming will always work to misinform you.

Christian Slater shot to fame opposite Winona Ryder in Heathers. Of all the films that followed, he only achieved a real moment onscreen again in Untamed Heart opposite Marisa Tomei. True Romance is a strong film but his performance in it is wooden and unsure in the bulk of the scenes and he only comes alive in his moments with Patricia Arquette.

In other words, America is not begging for another Kuffs, Jimmy Hollywood or Hard Rain. And with over forty films (most of them flops) to his credit, you'd assume when he attempted to transition into lead roles on TV, networks would have some idea what to do with him.

You'd be wrong.

Last week, Fox became the third network in four years to give Slater a chance to carry a show. It was not pretty. Slater runs a security company that convinces other companies to hire them by exposing weaknesses via break ins. Think of it as Grand Theft Corporation and just as dull as you'd expect that to play. Even worse, it's supposed to be a sitcom. While Slater's shown he can be saracastic, there's really nothing in his filmography that argues he can do comedy. And nothing on Breaking In argues it either.

If Breaking In were a film, Slater would be playing computer hacker Cameron (played by Bret Harrison who is also on his third TV flop) and Slater's role (Oz) would be played by Robert Duvall. With the current casting, the TV show only brings to mind what Taxi might have been like if it had instead featured the cast of Young Guns II. There is neither an honest nor a cheap laugh to be found in the entire dull proceedings. Each episode plays out like a workshop production by highly untalented, would-be auteurs.

And, as we noted, this is Slater's third flop. In 2009, ABC launched him in the drama The Forgotten which featured him trying to be sincere but coming off soggy as he headed a team trying to find missing persons. (Too many more TV shows like Breaking In and the gang may have to regroup and go looking for Slater.) 2008 saw NBC giving Slater a shot with the spy thriller My Own Worst Enemy which remains the best TV work he's done thus far.

But none of them worked with audiences. If his filmography argued anything it was that Slater needs a strong actress to bounce off of. That's why he succeeds opposite a Winona, Marisa or Patricia, but falters when paired up with Young Guns, mini-Mobsters or actors you've never heard of (for obvious reasons). You'd think that with three networks backing Slater in three genres, somewhere along the line, someone would have said, "Hey, where's the strong women we're pairing Christian with?" That no one ever thought, for example, "Get me Kim Delaney!" goes a long, long way towards explaining not only the rut Slater's in but also the rut broadcast TV is in.

Nothing -- other than sheer stupidity -- explains the self-delusion "public affairs" programming is suffering from.

Democracy Now! couldn't find Iraq last week, not even to save Amy Goodman's sorry reputation. Though April has just started, already 5 US soldiers have died this month. None of the deaths were ever noted on Goodman's program. In addition, Camp Ashraf was assaulted last Sunday and last Friday. She missed all of that as well as that thousands protested around Iraq on Friday, journalists continued to be targeted (and killed), Nouri continued his efforts at a power-grab and much, much more.

Goodman has an hour of commercial free time to fill Monday through Friday, five days a week. As criticism mounted all last week over her repeatedly ignoring Iraq not only in segments but also even in a brief headline, Goody finally found time, on Friday, to note, in headlines, that US Secretary of Defense Robert Gates was saying the US might stay in Iraq beyond 2011. Of course, on Wednesday, Gates arrived in Iraq and began making statements about extending the stay (check that day's snapshot). He continued saying it on Thursday and on Friday. It's a real shame that Amy Goodman, one of the Barack Whores who sold the SOFA as "end of the Iraq War," couldn't devote time to the topic, let alone couldn't take accountability on air for her own error. Don't worry, Amy, if we're around January 1, 2012, we'll be helping you and a lot of other whores who derailed the peace movement take the accountability you're too scared to do on your own.

Diane Rehm needs to take some accountability as well. Like Goodman, she kids that she somehow informs her audience but it's also a tired lap dance from the stripper who works the Wednesday brunch. Friday would have been week eleven that Diane ignored Iraq but she was getting called out for that -- and not just from Ann and ourselves, a whole online movement sprouted up last week against Diane and her silence on Iraq -- and Gates was in Iraq, so she decided she better give it a few minutes in her international hour on Friday.

A few? Not even five.

While Jeffrey Goldberg was more honest ("And so the big anticlimax is, well, we're going to be staying for a long time. ") than anything to be found on Democracy Now!, he was also surprising uninformed as is Diane as evidenced by this exchange:

Jeffrey Goldberg: This is what's so fascinating about the moment, is that the salient point is never how many troops do we have in a particular country. It's how many are dying in that particular country. We are -- we still have occupation forces, if you want to call them that, in Germany, in Korea 50, 60 years after those wars ended.

Diane Rehm: But this is different --

Jeffrey Goldberg: This is different but it is -- I mean, to be fair --

Diane Rehm: -- could be.

Jeffrey Goldberg: -- it is remarkably quiet in Iraq, considering what we thought could be happening in Iraq these days.

Last Sunday began with the announcement that 2 US soldiers had died in Iraq. Before Friday arrived, that two would jump to five. Goldberg considers that "quiet"? We'd argue that things are far from quiet in Iraq -- despite the US media silence.

And, no, five minutes out of an hour (really fifty minutes after you take away various announcements) doesn't really combat the silence.

They had other things to address. Like, in the words of Yochi Dreazen, "the war that dare not speak its name." The Libyan War for those scratching their heads. The Libyan War translated, on The Diane Rehm Show, as a discussion -- Well, not a discussion.

More like the verbal equivalent of the slam books you passed around in middle school of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi and the letter he sent US President Barack Obama. They thought they were comic geniuses as they ridiculed Gaddafi for "mispelling" Barack's name. Jeffrey Goldberg joined in the hilarity by declaring, "I think, according to Gaddafi, his name is Baraka Hussein Obamama, or something like that according to the latest letter. This is, I mean, if we needed proof that Muammar Gaddafi is a completely unhinged characer who lives in his -- obvious -- a world of his own creation, this is it." After the hilarity died down, Nadia Bilbassy would quietly slip in that the name "was not a mispelling or a grammatical mistake" but was "the Arabic translation to his name."

That's The Diane Rehm Show for you, facts never prevent any cheap laughs.

And that's the state of TV today. For truth, you either have to be there in person or go to YouTube because TV struggles to deliver it. Not only that, but it can't even handle the basics like a sitcom which provides laughs or public affairs programming (Democracy Now! airs on radio and TV) that provides needed information. Dumbing down of our culture is something that took place long ago and doesn't begin to describe the intentional misdirection the media now serves up.

Robin Hood to this day

The more time passes, the more it repeats. In Ridley Scott's Robin Hood, Maid Marian (Cate Blanchett) and the Sheriff of Nottingham (Matthew Macfadyen) have an exchange.

robin hood

Sheriff of Nottingham: Tell the old fool the next time I'll break his door down. And if he's too proud to pay what is due --

Maid Marian: No, no, no. He's not too proud. He's too poor. In the name of King Richard, you have stripped our wealth to pay for foreign adventures whilst at home the Church in the name of the Merciful God has reaped without mercy the larger share of what we have set aside to feed ourselves. Between the sheriff and the bishop, I wouldn't care to judge who's the greater curse on honest English folk.


Jim: It's roundtable time. We haven't done one in a few weeks and we're hearing about that in e-mails. Our e-mail address is Participating in this roundtable are The Third Estate Sunday Review's Dona, Ty, Jess, Ava, and me, Jim; 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); Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix; Mike of Mikey Likes It!; Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz); Ruth of Ruth's Report; Trina of Trina's Kitchen; Wally of The Daily Jot; Marcia of SICKOFITRDLZ; Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends; Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Ann of Ann's Mega Dub. Betty's kids did the illustration. You are reading a rush transcript.


Jim (Con't): Lorne e-mailed wanting to know why does it take so long to turn out an edition. "I could easily write six articles in a series of hours," he insists. Jess and Dona?

Jess: First, we have to cover Iraq. Now more than ever. Go to The Nation and you won't find Iraq. Go to The Progressive and it's the same thing. What the Iraq War story will be each edition, we don't know. Often we hold that for the last thing we write which is how it is so often the editorial. In terms of other things, we try really hard not to repeat ourselves. So we look for different takes and different ways to cover things. That's what we're going for. If we just wanted to write an opinion column that hit the same notes over and over, we could be The Nation magazine. And none of us want to read that or force others too.

Dona: It's also true, Lorne, that we're group writing and that has a back and forth process to it. Even in discussing the potential stories, there's a back and forth to it. What happens most of the time is we make a list of 10 pieces to do for the edition. That's out of all the suggestions. Let me use Stan as an example. He wanted us to do a Netflix piece for weeks. And everyone supported him on that. So it made the board repeatedly week after week. But it didn't get done, week after week. Why? Because after it makes the board of ten topics we think could make good stories for the week, we then go through and rank them in terms of the order we will work on them in. A piece that's short or might be easy to write will get ranked higher on the list. So we'll work on it first. And, in Stan's case, his idea made the list for six weeks in a row before it was moved up high enough on the order list that we could get to it. Jess?

Jess: And we work on many pieces that never make it hear. We used to have a print edition for our friends when we were all in college back in New York. We continued that after we all relocated out here except for Ty's boyfriend. But he's graduated and come out here and now we just do the online. But when we did the print version, everything went in there, no matter how awful. What goes up here is the best of what we managed. That may not be all that great. Seriously. Last week, we wanted to be done quickly and were tired -- we're tired right now -- and Dona was insistent that we have (a) short pieces and (b) pieces different than the last few weeks because readers wanted a laugh or two.

Jim: Alright. Thank you for that. Ty?

Ty: A man whose initials are BH e-mailed wanting to know about writing a piece for this site? Write your piece and e-mail it. If we think our readers would be interested, we'll repost it. But we're not doing corporate advertising and that's why we are not privately replying to any e-mail like BH's. We get them all the time. I made the mistake of replying to one, saying something like, "Sure, if it's on topic, we'd love to have it." It was not on topic, it was advertising copy for an airline. The guy began e-mailing constantly and trying to guilt me with, "You said it would run!" No, I didn't. But we're not in the mood for that nonsense. We're also down on e-mails here in terms of reading because it's Jim and me right now. Dona's pregnant and is taking some time off from the e-mails. So we're not going to chase you down in e-mails. You want to write something, write it, send it.

Dona: And on the e-mails, I'm taking time off. We have many regular readers who e-mail to share and I enjoy those very much and enjoy the exchanges I have with so many. But there are also people who just e-mail to be full of crap. People who think the US needs to be more in wars or think that the social net is 'babying' America or whatever else. And then there are the people e-mailing e-mails filled with hate aimed at some group. And it's those "but" e-mails I've listed that I'm just not in the mood for. I took two weeks off and went to my mother's except for briefly being in DC. Those two weeks were great and I realized just how much I needed a break from the e-mails. I'll be back on e-mails before I give birth but I'm taking some time off now.

Jim: Okay, the government avoided a shutdown. Marcia, give us the basics as you did in your posts "Who gets the blame" and "Shutdown?" last week.

Marcia: The shutdown loomed over this year's budget. The Congress did not pass a budget in 2010, as they should have. 2011 began with no budget. And it was worse than that because this is Fiscal Year budget and the Fiscal year is October 1st through September 30th. That means this budget should have been passed before October 1, 2010.

Jim: And you argue Barack Obama and the Democrats would have been blamed if the shutdown had taken place.

Marcia: Right. Because it should have been passed before October 1, 2010. Until January 2011, Democrats control both houses of Congress and the White House. If there was a shutdown, it was going to be very difficult to pin the blame on the Republicans. Let's say the Republicans dug in, dragged their feet and refused to budge -- and many would argue that's what happened. Today's reality doesn't excuse the fact that the Fiscal Budget should have been passed in 2010.

Jim: Rebecca, you did p.r. Your take on Marcia's statement?

Rebecca: Well the Democrats could have attempted to fight the reality Marcia's providing -- and Marcia is factual. But Democrats could have attempted to fight it and maybe might have. You never know who the media's going to side with. But if everyone stuck to the facts, the Democrats would have come off as the ones to blame. Efforts to say, "It's the Republican's fault!" would have come off like so much whining and like the little kid who refuses to take responsibility for their actions.

Jim: So does that mean Barack was right to cave in to demands from Republicans?

Ruth: No. That is not what Rebecca or Marcia are arguing. I suppose, yes, you could say, "This weekend, Mr. Obama had no choice." But there is also the fact that it never should have come to this. By his own inability to lead, by his party's own actions, this weekend came about. But if they had been doing their job, they would have passed the budget, as Marcia said, last year.

Jim: On the budget, let's talk about the economy. Trina, does Barack have a clue?

Trina: Worse than having no clue, he has no leadership on his team. Elizabeth Warren has been turned into a hero -- albeit one with no real powers. And it says quite a lot about the 'Democratic' president that some on the left have to really reach to turn Warren into a liberal hero. At best, she's competent and has done her previous job. That won't change the fact that she's a Republican. Why do we never get left ideas in government when the people tend to favor them -- at least in the abstract? Part of the reason might go to the fact that when Democrats occupy the White House, they're too busy staffing up with Republicans.

Jim: What is Warren, an economic guru, famous for?

Trina: Nothing. She used to blog at Joshua Micah Marshall's site so a lot of whores got on board with Warren. A government employee, she asked questions but I've yet to read of some great stand up moment in her career. What I am aware of is that if people studied what she had to say about TARP, I think they'd be far less impressed with her than the hype indicates they should. Her words on that, specifically on the financial industry, were pleasing -- if you were the financial industry and if you were a Republican. But I've yet to grasp how you can twist them around and argue those remarks are compatible with government oversight. There are moments in her writing where she's remarkably Ayn Rand-like and that would explain her longterm relationship with Alan Greenberg which, despite revisionary tactics on the likes of Josh Marshall, did not have the two at each other's throats. The two were very cozy for very many years. As someone used to having Warren in my own local media for years before she became a 'name,' I will allow she's quite good at stating the obvious. If a robbery took place and Warren witnessed it, I'm sure she could give testimony that would convey what happened. But for a lot of us in the Boston area who knew of Warren well before she became a lefty flavor, we're also wonder why she didn't pick up the phone while the robbery was in progress and call 9-11?

C.I.: I want to jump in, if I can.

Jim: Sure.

C.I.: Trina's speaking the truth but I know it will shock many readers who've been lied to. So I want to be very clear that I agree with what Trina's saying. And to back up Trina's analogy, I was reminded of Warren's media tour where she repeatedly said, of TARP, that we might never know where all the money went. And the obvious question to that statement, never asked, is: Who was in charge of oversight? That would be Elizabeth Warren. November 2008, she was made the chair of the TARP oversight committee. About a month and five days, in fact, after TARP was created. So if there are problems finding the money, maybe those are problems Warren needs to cop to. And to go to the analogy Trina was offering, yeah, Warren tells us a robbery took place. But why wasn't she telling us that when the robbery was going down. Again, her job was oversight.

Jim: Okay and we're going to Ava now.

Ava: Thanks. The biggest reason that there's been so much support for Warren has been that Republicans attacked her. And for that reason, we're all supposed -- on the left, we're all supposed to embrace her and hug her and make her one of us. She's not one of us. Her ideas that are applauded are the most basic common sense ones that really show nothing political or progressive. She's tossing out bromides that could have been tossed out by Judge Hardy in the old Andy Hardy movies. She's a right winger who admits there are a few problems with the economy. And for that we're supposed to stand and applaud. She's yet to propose anything that seriously helps Americans nor has she ever offered anything remotely left-wing. So why she's a hero or why a Democratic administration should have appointed her to anything is beyond me.

Trina: And I just want to thank Ava and C.I. for backing me up. I'm not afraid to go out on the limb but I do appreaciate their comments. One of my biggest disappointments has been the refusual of the radical press -- as opposed to the Democratic press or even the MSM -- to offer a valid critique of Warren. There's a lot being made over the way Paul Ryan was so easily accepted by some pundits -- a small number -- but Warren was waived through by the same crowd. There's nothing remotely left wing about her and she exists to protect the financial institutions. Even in her current post, that's still true. So I'd love to see the radical press offer a true critique of her.

Jim: Third Estate Sunday Review, slaughtering sacred cows since 2005. Okay, Mike, you've been noting the wars a great deal at your site of late. Talk about the drone war.

Mike: Okay. Drones are aircraft flown by remote control. Like a robot plane. And the US government uses them for surveillance and for killing. This took place under Bully Boy Bush but, as with everything else, Barack has increased it.

Kat: Jumping in, real quick. It's as though Barack can't stop singing "Anything You Can Do." Which is ironic or karmic considering it's from the Broadway show Annie Get Your Gun and, in April of 2008, Barack attacked Hillary Clinton with sarcastic remarks about Annie Oakley.

Mike: What a prince. So the weaponized drones are flying over the country Pakistan which shares a border with Afghanistan. The drones allow, for example, someone in the military stationed in Texas or Nevada to push a button and kill people in Pakistan. At last the weaponry exists that hours and hours of video game training has created the comfort for.

Wally: And it would be interesting to know if the military mirrored the gaming industry or if some sort of planning took place ahead of time. But it does turn the killing into a game, the drone wars. And it further removes the one doing the killing from the scene of the actual killing. Although the drone wars get very little attention in the media here -- other than "killed a terrorist" -- they get more attention from the foreign press. For example, last month BBC News reported on the outrage among tribal leaders in Pakistan after 40 people were killed in an attack. They issued a statement and it included, "We are a people who wait 100 years to exact revenge. We never forgive our enemy."

Mike: So we're creating a lot of longterm enemies that, decades from now, we'll be asking, "Why do they hate us?"

Kat: And the New American Foundation's research says that one out of every three killed is a civilian.

Wally: And we shouldn't forget the fact that judge and jury really isn't a role that's supposed to be played by the president. These are executions that are taking place.

Jim: They are. And from the drone war to the Iraq War. First off, Ava, C.I. and Ann had success last Friday. They repeatedly called out Diane Rehm for ignoring Iraq ten Fridays in a row on her so-called 'international hour' and last Friday she finally found Iraq. She's never addressed Camp Ashraf, of course, so we'll do that here. Cedric.

Cedric: When the US installed leader of Iran was ousted back when Jimmy Carter was president, there were a number of groups competing for the heart of Iran. One group was a group of Socialists. They lost out. So they left the country and some of them went to Iraq where Saddam Hussein allowed them to stay. Why? Because there were tensions between Iraq and Iran at that time. The US invaded in 2003. They asked the dissidents to disarm and promised protection. So the dissidents disarmed. And then, shortly after Bush left office, 2009, the US has an agreement with Nouri that these people, residents of Camp Ashraf, will be protected and he won't attack them. But July 28, 2009 the first attack takes place. Last week, an attack took place on Sunday and on Friday.

Betty: There's not a great deal of effort to report on the residents of Camp Ashraf in so-called 'independent' media. Free Speech Radio News did a significant report on the 2009 assault and they were the only left radio to do so. The Progressive has never covered Camp Ashraf and that's true of so many of our left magazines. Saturday, US humanitarian aid was not allowed into the camp -- allowed by Nouri al-Maliki's security forces. A few journalists were allowed in but they were not allowed to speak to the residents. DPA reports that the European Union is asking that "international observers" be allowed inside the camp.

Isaiah: And the group is loathed by Iran because in 1981 they took up arms in their struggle against the new Iranian government. They have been around since at least 1965 and were considered a terrorist organization by many countries and bodies. That appears to be changing. Their name is People's Mujahidin of Iran (PMOI) and there are about 3,400 of them. Friday, Amnesty International issued a statement:
The Iraqi authorities must immediately launch an independent investigation into reports that Iraqi troops killed and injured residents of a camp for Iranian exiles north of Baghdad in an unprovoked attack, Amnesty International said today.
"Iraqi troops moved into the camp this morning and used excessive force against residents who tried to resist them, according to the information we have received," said Malcolm Smart, Director of Amnesty International's Middle East and North Africa Programme.
"This is the latest of a series of violent actions that the Iraqi government has taken against the Camp Ashraf residents, whose continuing presence in Iraq they oppose."
Clashes broke out this morning after Iraqi security forces took up positions in the camp using armoured personnel carriers and, apparently, live fire against residents who tried to resist them, resulting in multiple deaths and injuries. As yet, the number of casualties cannot be independently verified.
The camp in Diyala province around 60 km north of Baghdad is home to some 3,400 Iranian exiles and refugees, including members and supporters of the banned Iranian opposition group the People's Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI).
PMOI officials told Amnesty International that due to restrictions imposed by the Iraqi government, Camp Ashraf's medical facility does not have adequate medicines or equipment with which to deal with those reported by the PMOI to have been injured in today's clashes.
"If true, this is very worrying," said Malcolm Smart. "Whether they like it or not, the Iraqi authorities are responsible for the security and well-being of Camp Ashraf's residents and this includes providing access to adequate and immediate medical treatment when needed."
Video clips of the clashes that the PMOI has uploaded to YouTube appear to show Iraqi soldiers firing indiscriminately into the crowds and using vehicles to try and run others down.
An Iraqi government spokesman said Camp Ashraf residents threw rocks at security forces in what he termed a "riot." Troops did not open fire, he said, but force was used to push residents back inside the camp.
Since the US ceded control of Camp Ashraf to Iraqi security forces in mid-2009, the PMOI has told Amnesty International that the constant military presence has made it difficult to access medical treatment inside and outside the camp.
An Iraqi security committee controls the influx of medical supplies into the camp and decides who can travel outside the camp for specialist treatment.
In July 2009 the Iraqi government stated that it had set up an investigation into the killing of six Iranian exiles during an Iraqi security force raid on the Camp Ashraf. The findings of this investigation have yet to be made public and no members of the security forces are known to have been held to account fir the killings.

Read More

Iraq: Iranian opposition group supporters must not be forcibly evicted, (Press release, 11 December 2009)

Iraq: Detainees held incommunicado risk torture, (Urgent action, 6 October 2009)

Jim: Thank you, Isaiah. We still haven't heard from Elaine, Ann and Stan. Ann, you're now tracking the gender of the guests on NPR's Diane Rehm Show. There was a curious reaction to that.

Ann: Last week, I was semi-banned. Well, I was banned. I have just gotten on FaceBook and I link to a few things including my own post. Usually with something like "My latest post went up last night." The Diane Rehm Show complained on me to FaceBook and said I was "abusive" and FaceBook would not let me or anyone else link to my site as a result. If you tried to, you were informed you couldn't because my site had been judged to be "abusive." I went through hell clearing this up with FaceBook. But they had to fix it because my noting that diane has only 1 woman and five men isn't abuse. But it goes to how scared they are of criticism at that lousy show that they would campaign and try to prevent links to my Blogspot site on FaceBook. And let me announce right now, Ava, C.I. and I will be writing an article for this site using the numbers on the Diane Rehm Show. And we'll be hitting on it very hard because we're not going to take their efforts at censorship.

Jim: Thank you. And sorry about the temporary banning. That goes to desperation tactics on Diane Rehm and her crew. The easiest way, it should be noted, to silence Ann was not try to get her banned. It was to book as many women as you do men.

Dona: And how telling that instead of grabbing that and running with it, The Diane Rehm Show saw the 'answer' instead as insisting Ann was "abusive."

Jim: Very true. Okay, I asked Elaine to try to find something peace related that wasn't everywhere. Any luck?

Elaine: Oskar Castro is the new executive director of Military Families Speak Out. He's previously worked with the National Youth and Militarism Program of the American Friends Service Committee.

Jim: And what's the reaction?

Elaine: Honestly? There's a lot of confusion right now. Is he related to someone in the military? His work's been known for years and none of us can recall him sharing such a story. He did a lot of anti-recruitment work and that would have been the perfect time to say, "Hey, my brother" or "My sister" -- It never happened. If there's no relation, a number of people are confused as to why he's been made executive director. If there is a relation, please publicize it.

Jim: We'll certainly and gladly note it here. What aren't you telling us, Elaine?

Elaine: I think it was a mistake. I think it's going to discredit the organization. I think he's taking positions that will ultimately hurt the organization.

Jim: Such as?

C.I.: Let me jump in again. Elaine did her research. I can think of several things that she could be protecting but I'm going to guess it has to do with 9-11. His comments are well known on 9-11 and similar to ones that caused a controversy for the White House not all that long ago. Am I right?

Elaine: The 9-11 comments are all over. I was rather surprised that this didn't give Military Families Speak Out pause.

Jim: So you don't believe the 9-11 Truth Movement?

Elaine: I take no position on 9-11 Truth other than to wish them well. But I do take a position on credibility and people who lead organizations need to be seen as credible. I doubt Military Families Speak Out will be seen as credible by much of the press with him as their executive director when the right wing splashes this around and they're not prepared to respond.

C.I.: Give me just a second on the laptop. Okay, this is from his Facebook page: "I believe: in extra-terrestrials, time travel, that women are the closest thing to God on the planet because of the divine ability to create/gestate life and sustain life with the mommy elixir, that Sept 11th was a concoction of the US government or a shadow government or the Illuminati, or even reptilian aliens from some other sun who are disguised to look like us… that all people come from Africa, that traditional Africans worshiped ONE god and this god had a variety of personalities, that underground hip-hop can save the world, and that music is the language of the spirit." And I'm doing a screen snap in case it is changed. This is his FaceBook page and it's got a quote from Joshua Key's book on it. That's probably not what an executive director of an organization wanting to be seen as serious to the general press should have up on their FaceBook profile. I should note that it's not available to everyone --

Elaine: Good. Because I didn't see it.

C.I.: You didn't log in though.

Elaine: No, I don't have an account.

C.I.: You spoke to Rosemary who called me. She said to check out Oskar's FaceBook page and when I told her I wasn't on FaceBook and didn't intend to sign up, she gave me her log in. If you log into FaceBook, you see more than if you're not logged in. And I'll state -- Elaine will agree, I know -- what we're talking about doesn't mean, "Fire Oskar!" It does mean that it is publicly out there and we were able to find it very quickly. So you can keep Oskar -- and I've heard him give great, motivating speeches -- but you better get out in front of it. You better have a statement which would either be "Military Families Speaks Out supports 9-11 Truth" or "Military Families Speak Out recognizes a lively democracy depends upon many views and we support the pursuit of the truth." That's all Oskar's asking for. But as his position becomes known, the right wing will toss this out there. So let's toss it out there now and let's see MFSO get out in front of this instead of being caught responding.


Jim: Ann's the first one of us to FaceBook. Stan, what do you think?

Stan: Well I know there's more than what's been said in this roundtable. In terms of what he's posting and a few other things I know from Elaine, I'd say it's a huge mistake and wonder what Military Families Speak Out was thinking? I'd say that they made a real dumb move that will open them to ridicule and trivialize what they stand for.

Jim: Trivialize in what way?

Stan: When you're claiming that reptiles might be responsible for 9-11, you're a laughing stock to all but maybe 1 in every 10,000 people. Maybe 1 in every 100,000. You're not connecting with people and you're probably scaring a number of people who might otherwise be supporting you. If it's mean to be a joke, you should say so. But I do agree with C.I. -- and I'm sure Elaine -- that his 9-11 Truth isn't necessarily a problem if they, Military Families Speak Out, get out in front of it.

Jim: Very good. Okay, that's going to be it. This was a rush transcript.

The Nation magazine: What failure looks like!

The Nation has a new campaign in which they try to steamroll over critics and common sense claiming, "This is what journalism looks like!" Were it true, heaven help us all.

But it's not true fortunately. Even at its worst, the MSM is not thirty or so voices all trying to hit the same one-note. For all the group think in the media (and in all institutions), it's nothing compared to the Trotsky-like devotion to Party Ideals to be found at the country's oldest magazine of (increasingly bad) opinion.

The factually challenged paper is infamous in its latest incarnation mainly for repeated smackdowns as the weekly gets further and further from the truth in order to propagandize. Best example in the last 12 months?

Let's set the stage. Last July, The Nation rushed online to repost Robert Borosage's "Stop Coddling the McCarthyite Smear Machine." Four short months later, the tired magazine was being called out by Salon, Lew Rockwell and many others for their efforts to smear a man with half-truths and outright lies. Anthony Gregory's "The 'Nation' Smears John Tyner, Shills for the TSA" noted of the article, " the typical stance of 90% of the “progressives” under a Democratic president: Attacking normal, everyday Americans sick of big government, including its police state, so as to shore up the Democratic-controlled executive, even as it lays waste to nations and puts tortured children through show trials for the crime of defending their country against invading conquerors." John V. Walsh ( noted:

John Tyner triggered a wave of protest against the Transportation Security Administration when he recorded himself saying, "If you touch my junk, I’m gonna have you arrested," pithily paraphrased as "Don’t touch my junk!" But this protest was anathema to the thought police at The Nation, because after all it is now Obama's TSA, and the virtue of the Messiah's works is not to be doubted. On top of that, Tyner is (gasp!) a self-declared libertarian.

A smear was in order, and so The Nation quickly served up an innuendo-laden piece attacking Tyner by Mark Ames and Yasha Levine. And it has quite properly provoked a chorus of disapproval. Glenn Greenwald writing at was first to criticize Ames and Levine, calling their smear of Tyner a "shoddy, fact-free, and reckless hit piece." Next up was Justin Raimondo, who chided Ames ("I spit on libertarians") and Levine for their "implausible fiction." Raimondo suggested a modicum of competence would serve them well and that if they wished to be "the 'go to' team for the dirt on libertarians … they ought to learn their subject." By now the critique of Ames and Levine's trash must be turning into a cottage industry on the Web.

What proud memories -- and recent ones!

The Nation is factually challenged because they employ so many who just don't understand the facts. Most reputable magazines, for example, would have fired John Nichols for all his smears -- for any of them. In early 2008, when AP exposed Barack Obama's NAFTA lies (while posing publicly as an opponent of NAFTA and smearing Hillary as a NAFTA supporter, Barack Obama sent Austan Goolsbee (currently the White House's Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers) to Canadian government officials to inform them that Barack's remarks about ending NAFTA were just "political positioning" and not to be taken seriously, John Nichols publicly insisted it was not true, that AP got the story wrong, that it was Hillary Clinton who had met with Canadian officials and that he had a blockbuster scoop coming out. The kindest explanation is that his mistook his poop for a scoop (we're assume he ate it on a waffle cone regardless). The explanation his long pattern of lying (has everyone forgotten what he said would happen at the 2004 Democratic Party convention?) demands is that facts never matter when John Nichols is serving a 'higher good.' (If you're late to the party, see Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Goodman and Rose 'honoring' bad TV past" -- and note the other Lie Face tackled in the article now works for The Nation. Failure to repeatedly disclose on PBS or Pacifica that you're working for the campaign of the candidate you're 'independently' analyzing on PBS or Pacifica is considered 'good ethics' at The Nation.)

Sometimes, you just think the people are dumb, not liars. But though we do agree Greg Mitchell is really dumb, we're also aware he is dishonest (see "Liar Supreme: Greg Mitchell" and "Those Wacky Ethics of Greg Mitchell").

So we do agree he was stupid about what "live blogging" is (Nation writers frequently use terms they obviously fail to grasp) but his anger over the January 21st "Iraq snapshot" made it clear that the basics had been broken down -- even to him. From that snapshot:

Which brings us to professional liar Greg Mitchell. (Liar? Changing your errors online after they're called out and 'forgetting' to note your changes makes you a liar.) Greggy wants credit for, well, let's let him tell it: "As I've done for more than seven weeks, I will be updating news and views on all things WikiLeaks all day, with new items added at the top." Oh, is he covering WikiLeaks' revelations? Writing about those?
He's not writing a damn thing. If you were generous, you'd call his bits and pieces "Tweets." It's basically a glorified gossip column with a dozen items.
Nothing is savored long enough
To really understand
Our focus is Iraq. When WikiLeaks did their Iraq release in October, we covered it for two weeks here (here and here) every day. At Third, Ava and I wrote "TV: The WikiLeaks reports" and "TV: Media of the absurd" on the media coverage in real time. The Nation and Greg Mitchell weren't interested in covering the Iraq leaks. Greg Mitchell's still not interested in actually covering anything. He's Louella Parsons offering chatty, breezy gossip items. Or, if you prefer, he's like a character in Heathers, rushing in insisting, "Did you hear? School's cancelled today because Kirk and Ram killed themselves in a repressed homosexual suicide pact."

Now he knows reality but continues to bill his random blog posts as "live blogging." For him to be using the term correctly, it would require him to continue blogging on WikiLeaks after he's six feet under -- and the thought that the world couldn't escape his bad writing even after he died is truly a scary thought.

For Greggers and all the other liars at The Nation (all writers and editors at The Nation are not liars -- and many of the ones barely published actually have much to say that should be said), this is live blogging.

new statesman

George Eaton and Samira Shackle live blogged a debate on WikiLeaks. That is live blogging. The work the two did for The New Statesman should put the issue to rest and Mitchell to cease and desist with his claim that he's live blogging anything until he, in fact, actually live blogs an event.

For more fun, check out Radley Balko explaining the basics (including what is an apology) to Katrina vanden Heuvel and company in "The Nation Posts a Narrow Apology. And Publishes Another Error" (Reason magazine).

Amazon's non-seller: Instant Video On Demand

A few weeks ago, The New York Times laughably announced their new plan to charge for online content via online subscriptions. It was laughable not just because NYT Clean works around the paper's 'wall' and not just because the pricing plans were confusingly explained. No, the main problem was that this announcement, at the paper's website, for the new subscription plan contained no hyperlinks, contained no way of a reader who wanted to choose a plan to do so right then. That's not just bad business, it demonstrates that The Times still doesn't understand the online world if they truly expect readers to flip around through pages, searching on their own for an ordering form.

And we were reminded of that stupidity as we checked out Amazon's "Instant Video Store." Though we encountered very little problems (there was a streaming issue with 1 of the five which made it feel like we were on dial up and not DSL as we suffered through endless "buffering"), we encountered very little user friendly.

We'll use Goldie Hawn as an example. The actress has starred in many classic films and maybe you're having a rough day and just want to laugh with some classic Goldie comedy?

Goldie Hawn

Well there are five good ones right there. (Swing Shift is a drama, not a comedy.) You're looking at those and you're saying, "Okay, but I want that one where she shows up at the picnic with a boombox, you know, she's working for the diplomatic corps. Which one is that?" If you were at Netflix, you'd just slide your mouse across each photo and would be given a summary as well as a few co-stars.

But you're at Amazon. Sliding your mouse does nothing, nothing displays. You have to click on the image and go to another page before you can learn details. And you have to scroll down over half a page -- for example, down Swing Shift, -- before you get to an actor's name like "Kurt Russell" that is hyperlinked (clickable) and not just in plain text.

Amazon's "Prime" is a joke but we'll save that for another day. For now, we'll just note that far more customers will be doing "instant video store" than "prime" and Amazon's going to really have to work on its presentation if it wants to bring in more money that way because iTunes is so much easier.

And if you're looking for a Goldie film to set your day right, here are our top ten Goldie comedies.

1) Private Benjamin
2) House Sitter
3) Cactus Flower
4) Protocol
5) First Wives Club
6) Death Becomes Her
7) The Duchess & The Dirtwater Fox
8) Shampoo
9) Foul Play
10) Overboard

(FYI, currently Protocol is streamable online at Netflix -- as is the classic drama The Sugarland Express.)

Our starlet in chief

Wally and Cedric have long called Barack Obama our "celebrity in chief" and sometimes "our starlet in chief." But reading last week's "TV: Extreme Makeover (Horror Edition)," reader Aimee e-mailed to say, "Ava and C.I.'s piece should have had a screen snap to match this, 'Barack tried repeatedly last week to make himself over from a president who didn't think things through to one of convictions; however, the moment last week that truly captured him was on ABC World News Tonight, when Diane brought up Kentucky and he closed his eyes and threw his head back in his best wanna-be-Charlie's Angel, starlet style'."

We agree and have added the following screen snap to their piece.

barack the starlet

Granny Peace Brigade members honored with award

Joan Wile is the founder of Grandmothers Against the War and author of the book Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace. In her article "Three Members of the Granny Peace Brigade Given the First Clara Lamlich Award," she notes the group's latest honor.

As part of the week-long commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the Triangle Shirt Factory fire of March 25, 2011, the first Clara Lemlich Award was presented to thirty older women on March 21 in a ceremony at the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation. Three of the recipients are members of the legendary anti-war group, the Granny Peace Brigade. The Award was given "in celebration of unsung activists."

The members of the Granny Peace Brigade receiving the Award were Marie Runyon, 96; Lillian Pollak, 95, and Joan Wile, 79. Another Granny Peace Brigader, actress-activist Vinie Burrows, presented the Awards.

The Granny Peace Brigade came to the forefront of public awareness on Oct. 17, 2005, at which time 18 women were arrested and jailed at the Times Square recruiting center when they tried to enlist in the military as a means of replacing America's grandchildren in harm's way. The grannies felt they had been privileged to live long lives and didn't want young people denied that privilege because of a war based on a lie.

The grandmothers were on trial for six days at the end of which they were acquitted of the charge against them -- blocking a public entrance. Each of the 18 women were given the opportunity during the trial to express their reasons for engaging in civil disobedience and were, in essence, therefore able to turn the tables and put the war on trial.

Marie Runyon, one of the 2005 arrestees, was honored for her life-long work as a housing activist; Lillian Pollak for her years of activism and recent publication of a novel, "The Sweetest Dream," a historical novel about the radical politics of the 30's; and Joan Wile, also an arrestee, for founding Grandmothers Against the War in 2003 which led to the formation of the Granny Peace Brigade. Vinie Burrows, another one of the "Times Square 18,"
in addition to her internationally acclaimed reputation as an actress-playwright, is also known for her role as Permanent Representative for the U.N. Women's International Democratic Federation.

Clara Lemlich was a young woman garment worker who, after the fire, successfully organized women workers in the industry to go on strike for better, safer working conditions. Her organizing was the basis of the International Ladies Garment Workers Union (ILGWU).

"We are very honored to be chosen for this significant award," said Ms. Runyon, "particularly in view of the fact that so many of us Granny Peace Brigaders are among the recipients. Three out of thirty is pretty awesome. And, I hope we inspire elderly people with our ability even at our ages to continue contributing to peace and social justice."

It is hoped this Award will help enlighten people to the necessity for unions in this current climate of union busting. Without the Clara Lemlichs of the early labor movement, regulations would not have been instituted in factories protecting the lives of workers. It's vital that people be educated in that regard and hopefully rise up, as they did in Wisconsin, against the Scott Walkers of the world.

The Libyan War

From Workers World:

Stop imperialist war on Libya

Published Apr 8, 2011 11:19 PM

The right-wing, imperialist Italian government headed by Silvio Berlusconi has joined France, Qatar and Kuwait in recognizing the so-called “rebel” Libyan National Transitional Council.

The recognition comes after chief executive officer Paolo Scaroni of Italy’s giant oil monopoly, Eni, met with council members to discuss reviving the company’s access to oil production now in “rebel” territory.

Italian Foreign Minister Franco Frattini, referring to Scaroni, said: “He had important meetings on restarting cooperation about energy.

“Rome’s support is a boost to rebel forces because Italy is Libya’s largest trading partner and the biggest buyer of the North African country’s oil and natural gas supplies.” (Wall Street Journal, April 4)

This move by the Italian government serves to highlight what is behind this brutal, illegal and unprovoked aggression by the entire array of Western imperialist powers and their hangers-on. They are using massive military might in an attempt to overthrow the sovereign government of an underdeveloped, oil-rich country of 6.5 million people.

Colonial reconquest the aim

Backed by U.S. imperialism, the ruling classes of Italy, France and Britain, all former colonial masters in Libya, are seeking to recolonize the country. They want to do to Libya what they did to Iraq and what they are itching to do to Iran. They want to take back the oil, which was nationalized by these country’s revolutions. They want to re-establish military bases that were shut down by the revolutions and to install client regimes that will subordinate the country’s wealth and labor to imperialist corporate interests. All else is lies and deception.

Italy carried out the brutal occupation and colonization of Libya from 1911 to 1943, when it was ousted by the British, French and U.S. at the end of World War II. When these powers set up a Libyan state in 1951, they did so to allow Britain, France and the U.S. to each retain military bases and corporate interests there.

Britain kept the bases and political dominance in the east, bordering its former colony Egypt, where Benghazi and the “rebels” are.

France kept its military and its dominance in the southwest, near its colonies Algeria and Tunisia.

And the U.S. military kept Wheelus Air Force base outside Tripoli to dominate the Mediterranean. All these imperialist parasites thrived even further once oil was discovered in Libya in 1955.

But the gravy train ended with the 1969 revolution led by Moammar Gadhafi. U.S., British and French military bases were shut down, oil companies were eventually nationalized. And the oil wealth of the country was used to raise the standard of living of the Libyan people to the highest in Africa.

Big Oil and Western capital want it all back

While the Gadhafi government made major concessions to the Western corporations and oil companies in 2004, these concessions were given grudgingly and always with a price.

For example, Occidental Petroleum and Petro-Canada both had to pay $1 billion for oil exploration rights. Caterpillar, Coca-Cola, Boeing, Raytheon, Conoco Phillips and Halliburton have all had to make concessions to the Libyan government or have had deals fall through. (New York Times, March 28)

Hedge funds and private equity firms have tried to get their hands on the $70 billion sovereign state funds of Libya, built up from the oil wealth of the country.

But the former overlords of Libya want it all back.

They want to eliminate all government resistance. They want a compliant, dependent, collaborative puppet regime, such as the National Transitional Council — which can only get to Tripoli, if at all, under the hail of the bombs and bullets of imperialism.

Never has such a naval and air armada been assembled and so much destructive power been rained down on such a small country to foster the progress of such an insignificant and dysfunctional group as the so-called “rebels” of Libya.

Washington spent $550 million in nine days sending “Tomahawk” missiles, moving seven ships and dozens of bombers and fighter planes into the Mediterranean and guiding the entire air war. The Pentagon never carried out a single mission for “humanitarian” purposes unless it was a cover for promoting U.S. imperialist interests.

Right now, this first attempt at shock and awe from the air has failed. The “rebels” resemble the gang that could not shoot straight. While Barack Obama was giving an interview on NBC-TV to Brian Williams saying that the “noose was tightening around Gadhafi,” the rebels were running in disarray from government forces. They had advanced under cover of “Tomahawk” missiles. Once the missiles stopped, the “rebels” were quickly dispersed.

Their “high command” consists of a trio of rivals who almost came to blows with one another after the retreat of the pro-imperialist “rebels.” The trio, including a retired general, Khalifa Heftar, an exile flown in from Virginia, “behaved like children,” according to a member of the council’s political committee. (New York Times, April 4)

Right now Washington and NATO have to recalibrate their efforts. The word “stalemate” is appearing more and more in the capitalist press. The Western imperialists have carried out an adventure and called for “regime change” in the name of democracy, but their contradictions are piling up.

Washington supports the bourgeois/feudal monarch of Saudi Arabia, where hands are cut off as routine punishment, women are treated like property, and the royal family rules. It supports reactionary oil monarchies in Bahrain, Kuwait and the United Arab Emirates — all creations of imperialism in the first place. So-called “dictatorship” has nothing to do with the bloody assault on the Gadhafi government.

The real purveyors of massacres

Every word spoken by President Obama and all the heads of NATO about “preventing massacres” and protecting civilians are utter falsehoods spoken by governments that have brought nothing but the greatest death and destruction to countless civilians in modern history.

Washington killed a million and a half Iraqi civilians, including half a million children, in 10 years of sanctions. It then killed another million in the second Iraq war, displaced 3 million more and destroyed the civilian infrastructure of the economy.

The Pentagon massacres civilians with regularity in Afghanistan, using Predator drones and other gunships. It pays for every bullet, missile, tank and helicopter used by the Israeli settler state for the destruction of Palestinian homes, orchards, buildings and for use in “collective punishment” against civilians — not to mention the massacres carried out during the war on Gaza.

Washington supports death squads in Colombia that kill trade union and peasant leaders, as well as the wholesale murder of villagers. Its record of sponsoring mass murder in El Salvador, Nicaragua and Guatemala is well known.

How can the power that dropped atomic bombs on the heavily populated cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, firebombed Tokyo and dozens of other cities in Japan, as well as Dresden, Germany, suffocating and burning hundreds of thousands of people, possibly be concerned with protecting civilians?

NATO: the gang of colonizers

NATO represents the powers that colonized, tortured and enslaved Africa, East Asia, India, Indonesia, Southeast Asia and Latin America as well as the Middle East — the powers that divided the globe for profit. These powers still have their banks, their oil companies, their mining companies, their drug companies, their construction companies and every imperialist, super-exploiting corporation spread around the world sucking the wealth and resources out of their former colonies.

These are the powers now flying sorties over a former colonial country and dropping 2,000-pound bombs, 500-pound bombs, firing “Tomahawk” missiles and using gunships to pound government forces, under the guise of humanitarianism.

They have mobilized world opinion by repeating big lies over and over again. But no one should believe for a moment that the greatest robbers and plunderers on the planet would spend so much treasure and risk such an adventure for anything other than what they have been after since colonialism and imperialism came into existence — loot!

To illustrate the point, the U.S. just sent Ali Tarhouni to Benghazi to be appointed finance and oil minister of the “rebel” regime. Tarhouni spent 36 years in exile in the U.S. and since 1985 has been teaching at the University of Washington Foster School of Business in Seattle where he became a senior lecturer in microeconomics.

Tarhouni is now managing the process of setting up oil exports from eastern Libya to Qatar. Tarhouni has also been present at several “post-Gadhafi” conferences in Washington and London over the years.

The worst possible outcome of this intervention would be the return of imperialism to rule over Libya. Such a result would be the most reactionary result possible. It would open up the Libyan people to intense exploitation and complete domination by the world’s most powerful monopolies of the type that they suffered before the 1969 revolution. It would give the corporations and NATO a presence in the southern Mediterranean and increase the threat to North Africa.

Every effort should be made by all progressive and revolutionary forces to stop imperialist intervention in Libya, now.

War Tax Resistance

Tired of taxation representation translating as the never ending War Fund? The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee may have news for you:

For Immediate Release: April 8, 2011
Contact: Ruth Benn, NWTRCC Coordinator
Brooklyn, New York
800-269-7464 (718-768-3420) or

Tax Day - Antiwar Protests

Public Demonstrations and Individual Refusal to Pay for War
On April 18 thousands of people across the United States will be refusing to pay some or all of their federal income tax to protest U.S. wars and escalating military spending. These tax refusers, who see themselves as responsible citizens, want their money used for peaceful purposes and often give taxes to social programs instead.
Monday, April 18, is the final day to file tax returns, and “war tax resisters” will be among those participating in events around the country to protest what they see as the skewed priorities of the U.S. government. Many hand out the pie chart produced by the War Resisters League, which calculates nearly 50% of federal income taxes pay for current or past wars.
Erica Weiland in Seattle, Washington, decided to refuse to pay for war in response to the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. “Our money and time are much better spent addressing the issues in the U.S. and around the world that cause wars in the first place,” she says. Groups in Seattle are organizing leafleting with federal budget information at area post offices.
John K. Stoner, a retired Mennonite minister in Akron, Pennsylvania, says, “I keep wondering why people who say they oppose war continue to pay for it without a whimper of protest.” He and others in his community have launched a campaign of symbolic protest called 1040 for Peace, to encourage U.S. taxpayers to express their opposition to U.S. military spending by refusing $10.40 of any taxes due, telling the government why, and giving that money to projects that promote peace or fund human needs.
War tax resistance has a long history in the U.S. and worldwide. The most famous case was Henry David Thoreau’s refusal of $1 for the Mexican-American War. He spent a night in jail for this act of resistance. Today’s resisters refuse to pay anything from $1 to thousands of dollars of federal income taxes, while risking collection from the Internal Revenue Service for their stand.
Patricia Tompkins, a farmer in Bakersville, North Carolina, speaks for many as she accepts the risks of confronting the IRS to stand up for her beliefs. “I made the decision to become a war tax resister in protest to our government’s policies in the Middle East and Afghanistan. For me, the essence of life is connection to the land and to each other, because without the first we cannot live and without the second we cannot be fully human.
In St. Louis activists are taking their message to cut the military budget and fund human needs to Senator Roy Blunt’s office and announcing grants to humanitarian groups. In Milwaukee, the protest will be in front of the Federal Courthouse. Lincoln Rice, a Milwaukee organizer, says, “My war tax resistance is grounded in my Catholic Christian spirituality. I cannot in good conscience pay my federal income taxes and contribute to the harming my Muslim brothers and sisters in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, and elsewhere.”

Individual resisters are available for interviews. Please contact NWTRCC if you need contacts in your area.
Please see the list of actions at list of events and contacts around the country can be found online at The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee.

The National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC), founded in 1982, is a coalition of local, regional and national groups providing information and support to people who are conscientious objectors to paying taxes for war. NWTRCC initiated the War Tax Boycott, which includes a list of public war tax refusers at

Ruth Benn, Coordinator
National War Tax Resistance Coordinating Committee (NWTRCC)
PO Box 150553
Brooklyn, NY 11215
"Death and Taxes" – watch our 30-minute film about motivations, methods, risks, and rewards of war tax resistance


This piece is written by Rebecca of Sex and Politics and Screeds and Attitude, Cedric of Cedric's Big Mix, Kat of Kat's Korner, Betty of Thomas Friedman is a Great Man, Mike of Mikey Likes It!, Elaine of Like Maria Said Paz, Ruth of Ruth's Report, Marcia of SICKOFITRADLZ, Stan of Oh Boy It Never Ends, Ann of Ann's Mega Dub, Isaiah of The World Today Just Nuts and Wally of The Daily Jot. Unless otherwise noted, we picked all highlights.

"I Hate The War" -- most requested highlight by readers of this site. C.I. on taking the power.

"Iraq snapshot," "Iraq snapshot," and "Iraq snapshot" -- C.I. reports on three Congressional hearings.

"Desperate Housewives," "The Event" and "No Ordinary Family" -- Betty, Marcia and Stan cover TV and Ann covers radio:

"THIS JUST IN! UNCLE ZIETUNI!" and "Oh my Zeituni!!" -- Wally and Cedric tackle Barack's alleged aunt.

"Object of My Affection" -- Stan goes to the movies.

"Diets in the Kitchen" -- Trina answers readers e-mails about diets.

"He makes sense" -- Betty Decodes Barack.

"true nature" -- as Rebecca explains, it gets revealed.

"The agreement?" -- Ruth tackles Iraq.

"Take back your power" -- Kat offers some advice.

"Who gets the blame" -- Marcia walking through the basics.

"Thoughts on WSWS and Barack" -- Stan explains why he loathes US Socialist Worker but endorses WSWS.

"that tired and hateful janeane" and "Ugh, Tina Fey" -- Rebecca and Marcia on the non-book release.

"Democracy Now had no time for 2 dead US soldiers today" -- Ruth on Goodman's silence.

"Bully Boy 'lets' David Petraeus speak to Congress" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"China" -- Elaine notes the disappointing Dylan and Kat's post calling him out.

"Oh, Bob, get off the road" -- Kat's post on Dylan cowtowing to China.

"The wars" -- Mike's grab bag post on the 3 wars with a nod to the fourth (drone war on Pakistan).

"How we got here" -- Elaine covers how we set ourselves up to be fooled.

"Another broken promise" -- Mike charts the continual disappointment that is Barack.

"Frozen Strawberries" -- Trina on the new reported health benefits of frozen strawberries.

"Who will love him now?" and "THIS JUST IN! ON HIS OWN!" -- Cedric and Wally cover the sad sack Barack.
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