Sunday, July 10, 2011

Truest statement of the week

As for pulling our troops out of Iraq, don't hold your breath. There are all kinds of official hints that our withdrawal from Iraq may take a longer time than the end of the year deadline.

-- Helen Thomas, "Ending the Wars?" (Falls Church News-Press).

Truest statement of the week II

The military budget is not on the table. The military is at the table, and it is eating everybody else's lunch.

-- US House Rep. Barney Frank as quoted by Donna Cassata (AP).

Truest statement of the week III

Obama has ordered the withdrawal of 10,000 troops from Afghanistan, the beginning of the end of the 10-year war. As for Afghanistan, we had more reason to go in (although there were neither Afghans nor Iraqis involved in 9/11). Obama had one big chance to pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan - the day after he took the oath of office. He could have saved thousands of lives and would have been called a hero by many. Instead, Obama maintained the Bush War scenario and kept the wars going. America has to decide who we are -- and why we are trying to sell democracy with guns and bombs.

-- Helen Thomas, "Ending the Wars?" (Falls Church News-Press).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. We're publishing at what's becoming our usual time.

First up, we thank all who participated this edition 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.

What did we come up with?

  • Helen Thomas. For those unfamiliar with Helen Thomas, make a point to read "Media: Let's Kill Helen" about the press war on Helen Thomas (Ava and C.I. wrote that article).

  • Barney Frank spoke some hard truth last week. It's rare we highlight a politician in truest but it's rare to hear such a true statement.

  • And we go back to Helen.

  • This is our Libyan War piece. Basically, C.I. and I (Jim) through the eight drafts and just pulled some stuff out of each one.

  • Ava and C.I. took on the so-called Twitter town hall. A number of you wanted them to and some of you e-mailed that you were afraid they wouldn't since they'd just covered a Barack press conference the week before. If Barack holds a press conference this week . . . They actually intend to cover it. So let's hope he does because I know what they want to say.

  • Barack's no leader. He swore he needed no on the job training -- possibly because he never intended to do the job? We don't know. We just know he's no leader.

  • Third gang answers your e-mails. And for those who wonder, Kat and Ty did that illustration years ago.

  • We wanted to cover Social Security but didn't want to do another straightforward article so we did a little differently. Barack's gutting the safety net. If you're surprised, you weren't paying attention.

  • Two programs you have to catch this week.

  • A repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker.

  • A repost from Workers World.

  • Mike and the gang did this. We thank them.
Next week, we plan to do a piece on comic books and hopefully one on who may be using your personal information. That latter is something I'm researching right now and may not pan out.


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

Editorial: The illegal Libyan War

For those who've forgotten, it started March 18th with a brief announcement from President Barack Obama who, as Ava and C.I. noted last March, "then hurried out of the country." That March 18th speech was brief but filled to the brim with the lies we've all grown to expect from Barack.

barry lies

"Instead of respecting the rights of his own people, Qaddafi chose the path of brutal suppression. Innocent civilians were beaten, imprisoned, and in some cases killed," he declared on March 18th (link here for text and video). But if Qaddafi was to be taken out for allegedly putting down a protest, then what of Nouri al-Maliki who began putting down protests in February. He didn't just attack, assault and imprison the peaceful protesters though, he also did the same with reporters covering what was happening. This "brutal suppression" by Nouri didn't end in February. Human Rights Watch published "Iraq: Protest Organizers Beaten, Detained" June 2nd and "Iraq: Attacks by Government-Backed Thugs Chill Protests" June 30th. But Barack's not only refused to call out Nouri al-Maliki, he's publicly praised him and praised what's going on in Iraq.

From the start it was a lie. Foreign governments were backing the so-called rebels. They were orchestrating a 'conflict' that they could insist required intervention. There was never a need for intervention and Barack lied as easily and as naturally as LBJ did when it came to the Gulf of Tonkin.

In that same announcement, he insisted, "Our focus has been clear: protecting innocent civilians within Libya, and holding the Qaddafi regime accountable."

Really? Well who's getting bombed?

What else is there to be bombed? All so-called military targets were long ago bombed.

While Al Jazeera has embarrassed itself with its embedded 'reporting' (embedded with the Western-backed rebels carrying weapons supplied by France), Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya has been providing unembedded reports from Tripoli, Libya for KPFA's Flashpoints Radio. Wednesday, guest host Kevin Pina asked him about the claims that military targets are being bombed.

Kevin Pina; And so what are the effects of the bombings been? Have they been hitting military targets? Have they been -- saying they're hitting military targets but striking civilian neighborhoods again as they did in the past?

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: They have not been hitting military targets. There's no more military targets to hit after the first two days. There's nothing military left. All they've been doing is carpet bombing this place. That's essentially what it's coming down to. It's a watered down form of carpet bombing and they've been giving aerial support to the forces opposed to the government and Col Gaddafi here. That's what they've been doing. They've been bombing places that have nothing to do with war, have nothing to do with commanding control, they've been bombing civilian areas. I've taken pictures of them, others have. They've bombed food storage facilities. They've bombed a place where bank notes are made. They've bombed the university -- one of the main universities. They've bombed medical facilities and hospitals. They bombed a place used to bring oxygen for people in the hospital. Like oxygen needed in hospitals. They haven't bombed any military -- Libya really doesn't have a strong military at all. In fact, I was telling somebody today, what we're seeing on the ground is mostly volunteers and semi-organized people, people of all walks of life. They're fighting against the Libyan people, they're not fighting against the Libyan military because all or most of these people are volunteers who are fighting for their country.

And Thursday, they addressed the disconnect between so many 'reports' and what's actually taking place in Libya.

Kevin Pina: You're listening to Flashpoints on
Pacifica Radio and we're talking directly with Tripoli, Libya with our correspondent Mahdi Nazemroaya. Tell me what is the sense on the ground right now? We understand that yesterday the rebels were announcing that several key towns that they were making their drive toward the capitol of Tripoli. What your sense of it there?

Mahdi Darius Nazemroaya: I disagree with those reports. From what I've seen, they're still trying to live in a normal street here in Tripoli. The gates of the city have not fallen to anybody. Yes, it's true that there have been shootings in Tripoli at night -- and it only happens at night. Checkpoints do come out at night but this is part of the destabilization effort against this country. The shootings are random, they're not -- they have no objective. They're at police and they're meant to cause chaos. It's purely for destabilization. Even as I mentioned earlier, their initial protests were held at night. They weren't even real protests. They were destroying property and stuff like that. So I disagree with those reports.

Flashpoints Radio is distinguishing itself as the program to go to for reports from Libya (the show airs Monday through Friday but Libyan War coverage has been Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday). Many others have just ignored the Libyan War. Many but not all. For example, last week on Black Agenda Radio -- hosted by Glen Ford and Nellie Bailey, first airs each Monday at 4:00 pm EST on the Progressive Radio Network -- they spoke with Lucy Grider-Bradley about what she saw on her trip to Libya.

Glen Ford: We asked Lucy Grider-Bradley if what she saw felt like a war to her?

Lucy Grider-Bradley: Absolutely. I felt bombs, the effect of bombs dropping in the distance. I saw billowing clouds that came up after the horrible sound and the building that I was in shaking. Billows of white, smoke-like substance that turned black as if watching a horror movie. I saw the effects of that bomb. I saw a 30-fooot crater in the middle of a home that belonged to Muammar Gaddafi's son -- where his son was killed and 3 of his grandchildren also murdered from the effects of that bomb. I mean, how do you get a 30-foot hole in the middle of your house? Well I can tell you what I saw -- the results of a UN-US-NATO bomb. The delegation saw a lot. We saw people trying to go about their daily lives, not knowing when the next bomb was going to drop or knowing where the bomb was going to drop. But in spite of it all, they gathered ever evening at the place where the grandchildren and the son were killed to show their support for their leader. I wonder if that kind of thing was happening in the United States, if we would get out and rally behind a leader who was dropping bombs and murdering people -- Black people especially. I don't think I'd be part of that party. But the Libyans definitely support their leader and show it every night despite the fact that there might be bombs dropping. And I also want to say civilians have been murdered. Not just military folks. So the bombs aren't dropping just on what the UN calls military outposts, they're dropping in residential areas in Libya. I think it's important that that point is made over and over and over again.

Glen Ford: And when President Obama denied that he had to comply with the War Powers Act because he was not engaged in hostilities with Libya, how did you feel having just returned from there?

Lucy Grider-Bradley: Well can I just say that I don't listen to him so I didn't hear him say that so I really don't have an opinion. I think about him like I felt about President Bush: If you see his mouth moving he's probably lying.

If there's one emerging consensus on the Libyan War, it may be that Barack needs to be impeached. Matthew Rothschild said it to Scott Horton last week on Antiwar Radio, Kevin Zeese said it to Adam Kokesh and Adam vs. the Man and former US House Rep. and 2008 presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney said it on Black Agenda Radio.

On the Law and Disorder Radio program that began airing June 27th, attorneys and hosts Heidi Boghosian, Michael S. Smith and Michael Ratner (Center for Constitutional Rights) discussed the legal issues around the Libyan War.

Michael S. Smith: Michael, Heidi, there's been a lot of ink spilled over Obama overstepping legal authority with the war in Libya. And Michael, you've litigated this question on the War Powers Act. What's your take on it?

Michael Ratner: We should first say that, as hosts, we're against this war to begin with, apart from the legality, that this is just another US imperialistic war in the Middle East. I mean, whatever we think about that. But, in addition, what's come out lately is that it's flatly illegal and the administration is fighting an illegal war.
I wrote an op-ed on this way back at the end of March that this was an unconstitutional war because it was attacking another country and under the Constitution you have to get the consent of Congress. He didn't. Since then, of course, the War Powers Resolution has clicked in. That's the resolution that was passed in the wake of the Vietnam War. And it was passed for a particular reason: Congress was afraid that presidents would continue to go to war without their consent and so they built an automatic trigger into the War Powers Resoultion saying that 60 days after the president initiated a war, for whatever reason, whatever basis, if it didn't have explicit Congressional consent, the troops had to automatically be withdrawn. I say that again: automatically be withdrawn within 30 days after the 60-day time clock expires. So that's 90 days. There shouldn't be any attack on Libya going on that the United States is involved in at all -- not involved in coordination, not involved in helping with the radar, not involved in helping send its own missiles -- which it's still doing, not involved in bombing -- which it's still doing. So the 90 days are over. The war started over 90 days ago. And there's now been a big debate in the administration with Obama saying, 'I'm not violating the War Powers Resolution. There's no hostilities. We haven't entered into hostilities.' I mean, it doesn't pass the straight-face test. I mean, it's ridiculous. It's a total lie. And what's sad about it, of course, is that he got advice from the administration official lawyers at the Office of Legal Counsel --

Michael S. Smith: And the Pentagon.

Michael Ratner: And the Pentagon which -- the OLC actually is authoritative on the law with the president. Yes, he can override it, but it's authoritative. Very rarely over-ridden. Then he went to some other people at the State Dept and elsewhere -- including Harold Koh -- who I used to work with very closely. And they give him the opposite opinion. They said, 'Oh, no. There's no violation of the War Powers Resoultion here.' And Obama, to the American people, with a straight face, has the nerve to say, "We're not violating the War Powers Resolution." So now you see them scrambling around in Congress -- you know, [Dennis] Kuccinich and some Republicans -- saying 'let's cut off all the funding for this war.' They never actually funded the war. That's another interesting point. Obama took the money from some raw defense dept budget. He didn't even use specific funding for the war.

Michael S. Smith: That's utterly unconstitutional. The Constitution [says the Congress] is supposed to have the power of purse and since war is so important they're supposed to fund them or not fund them.

Michael Ratner: Right and I was asked this morning, about how do you compare Obama and Bush on the war? Well whatever you thought of the resolution authorizing -- 'authorizing' -- the war in Afghanistan or the war in Iraq, there was at least resolutions. I mean there isn't one for Libya. And now you see the great scene is to see [John] Kerry, our former presidential candidate who, you'll recall, when he ran for president saluted the Democratic Convention saying, "Reporting for duty" to show that even though he was against the Vietnam War after the fact, that he was still a figher. Well he proved he's still a fighter. He's now joined by [John] McCain at the hip to say, 'Now let's pass a resolution authorizing the war.' So here you go, the president does an unconstitutional war, he violates the War Powers Resolution and then, of course, exactly what the problem was in Vietnam, you're seeing with a war going on, Congress is saying, 'Well we can't abandon our troops in the field, we can't abandon our troops in the air, our credibility is at stake if we abandon NATO. The same BS we've heard forever. So underneath it, and it's the only analysis that counts, is this is one of a half-dozen imperial wars the US is fighting. And, as someone once said to me, "If you only have a hammer, everything looks like a nail." In the US, the world looks like a bunch of nails that it can just hit around when it gets into a problem.

Michael S. Smith: I think the other point is whether it's Bush or whether it's Obama, whether it's a Republican, whether it's a Democrat, that certain necessities of empire that these guys follow regardless of what party they're in or what promises they make when they're running for office.

Michael Ratner: I think that's right. I mean, you always tell me about there's two capitalist parties --

Michael S. Smith: One party with two wings.

Michael Ratner: Right, so this is, you know, we have one War Party really, the question is are there even two wings?

It's time to get outraged about this illegal war built on lies.

TV: Social Media Failure

Not since the Village People attempted to go New Romantic has a celebrity made such a desperate bid for attention or failed so miserably. Yes, we are referring to Barack Obama's 'Twitter' lecture last Wednesday.

goony barack

Thursday on Adam vs. the Man (RT), Adam Kokesh explained, "But the president was busy today as part of his re-election efforts -- I mean, general public outreach, hosting a Twitter town hall at the White House and apparently the questions that got through the screeners weren't very interesting, there were a lot up there. But I'm really kind of offended by this. Not-not cause Obama did something cheesy -- I mean, no big surprise there -- but that instead of doing something legitimate with this, instead of taking the opportunity to say we are going to interact with the people, give them a chance to answ - or to ask questions and answer them really at random, they were all pre-screened and basically the thing turned out to be an excuse for Obama to hold another press conference on a variety of topics without even having to answer questions from the real media. Now this was hailed as a 'historical event' and perhaps for the president doing a Twitter town hall it was. But years ago, when I was running for Congress, we did a 'twown hall' which is what you're supposed to call it when you're doing it the right way and actually answer all of the questions that people address to you. And I was wondering why are we watching President Obama talk for a Twitter town hall instead of watching him type?"

And that pretty much summed it up except to add it was enough to make you lose your appetite, if not your lunch. We were speaking in Mill Valley that day and had just gotten done on Miller Ave so we decided to try lunch at The Cantina on Blithedale to see if was really the return or still Maria Maria but hoping a name change would improve the image. The good news, it is like The Cantina's back. The bad news, the TV screen there showed Barack was still holding court.

The so-called Twitter town hall followed his April Facebook town hall but, most importantly, it followed his press conference two weeks ago, you know the one where he acted, in the words of Mark Halperin, "kind of like a dick" and let the bitchy flow? If you're late to the party, see last week's "TV: Who's the dick?"

Reporters are still trying to figure out what happened there. The attitude didn't surprise them, nor the nastiness. They've seen both more times than they can count and certainly more times than they've reported. But this was going out live and it wasn't a flash of the real Barack peeking through, it was the real Barack for a solid 15 minutes at least. The man who so carefully crafted and constructed his public image was having a Charlie Sheen type meltdown with the whole world watching.

Immediately after that p.r. nightmare, the White House announced Barack would be doing a town hall (see "The twittering Barack" and "THIS JUST IN! THE TWIT WILL TWEET!") in an attempt at changing the dicussion and at salvaging the image.

On the latter, the White House was successful. No one watching the Twit last week saw any flashes of anger -- or brilliance for that matter. They saw only one long, never-ending yawn.

It opened like the infomerical it was with a Twitter suit, co-founder Jack Dorsey, extolling his own company. Then Barack delivered banal opening remarks that were greeted with mechanical applause and laughter so carefully constructed it brought to mind a Kim Jong-Il appearance. Especially when Dorsey declared, "And I understand you want to start the conversation off with a tweeter yourself." A tweeter? After they've spent over a year and a half 'educating' the public that Twitter posts were called "tweets"? Or Barack's ridiculous claim, "It's much easier to tweet from a seated position." Uh, actually, no. It's just as easy to Tweet standing as it is sitting if you are able to do both. And Barack should know that since he learned to use Twitter back in January of last year when the American Red Cross walked him through. Barack was standing for that session. It was done on a cell phone but Barack seemed to think at his lecture last week that a PC or laptop was required to tweet.

That he would fail the science of Twitter was only surprising if you've ever bought into the lie that he is a genius or near genius. He's a man infatuated with the sound of his own voice (as the town hall again demonstrated) who has an understanding somewhere slightly above School House Rock. That Dorsey would fail the science of Twitter was not only shocking, it should send up a flare among stock holders.

Twitter is built around the belief that anything worth saying can be said in 140 characters or less. So Twitter defeats itself when it tosses aside the rules of operation in a so-called Twitter Town Hall to allow Barack to string together over 350 words in reply to a question.

The question he was filibustering was, "After embarking on a record spending binge that left us deeper in debt, where are the jobs?"

That the question got noted in the town hall itself was a problem. Not because of the wording or the topic but because of who asked it. The question came from Speaker of the House John Boehner's Twitter feed so -- barring any hacking -- it was asked by him or his staff. Boehner is among those in negotiations with the White House currently over budgetary issues. Why he was allowed to waste time at a supposed public town hall for the public goes to just what a put-on the whole non-event was.

Not everyone was taken in. Umair Haque (Harvard Business Review) explained why he wouldn't be particpating:

Sorry, Mr President: you've got the pundits, talking heads, and powers that be right where you want them (judging from the response you've gotten so far), but little old me? I'm not buying into your latest "campaign." I'm not a "target." I'm a citizen of a generation whose future is going up in smoke faster than you can say "credit default swaps." And what you're really telling me is this: in some parts of the world, social tools can fuel the revolutions that topple dictators. Here, in the nation that invented them? They're used for marketing stunts.
Me? I'm not investing my time asking "questions" of a president who wants my "engagement" (Free today only! Get yours now!) yet seems totally, utterly disengaged with anyone not sartorially and financially gifted enough to wear a $7000 suit -- "questions" that you know, I know, and my pet hamster knows will probably never have a hope in Hades of having an impact on anything except clogging up the cutting room floor.

Back to the Boehner question, Michael D. Shear (Political Snitch) counts 3,111 characters in Barack's filibuster reply to Boehner's question. And, as Kokesh noted, Barack didn't type any of these responses. He just sat there looking dull and yammering away. It made for static television, dull viewing. Even H. Ross Perot used a pointer in his 1992 network town hall but, then again, H. Ross Perot had to pay for that time whereas the fawning media treated Barack's non-event as news.

Search the transcript for some moment where Barack's actually said something that was different or new and, except for errors, you won't find anything.

But the media wasn't interested in reporting Barack's errors. Kristina Wong 'reported' on the townhall for ABC News and wanted to emphasize the five times Barack (superficially) addressed military issues including spending. She was happy to play stenographer, just not up to reporting. Which is why she quoted him droning on that, "We've ended the war in Iraq, our combat mission there, and all our troops are slated to be out by the end of this year. We've already removed 100,000. I announced that we are going to begin drawning down troops in Afghanistan and pivot to a transition process where Afghans are taking more responsibility for their defense. But we have to do all of this in a fairly gradual way."

The Iraq War has not ended and how disgusting -- but how typical -- for ABC News to print that lie and not note that 15 US soldiers died in the Iraq War last month. The Iraq War has not ended and reality busted upside ABC News' lying ass on Thursday with the news that 2 more US soldiers had just been killed in the Iraq War.

Troops are slated to be out by the end of this year? The day before Wong did her stenography, Lara Jakes (AP) reported on the negotiations the White House was having with the government of Iraq and that 10,000 is the number of US soldiers the White House is floating to keep in Iraq with an understanding that Iraq will respond by September to the offer. Jakes reports, "Already, though, the White House has worked out options to keep between 8,500 and 10,000 active-duty troops to continue training Iraqi security forces during 2012, according to senior Obama administration and U.S. military officials in interviews with The Associated Press." And Thursday the Chair of the Joint Chiefs, Adm Mike Mullen, went on record:

David Alexander (Reuters) reports that Mullen was "at a luncheon with reporters, maintained that "Iran" (presumably the government of) was supplying Shi'ite militias in Iraq with "high-tech weapons" to kill US soldiers "the forensics prove that." Any agreement to keep US troops on the ground in Iraq beyond 2011, Mullen argued, should include some provision that Iraqi forces will address this alleged supplying of weapons to Shi'ite militias. Viola Gienger (Bloomberg News) observes, "The condition for a U.S. troop extension poses a challenge to Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, whose Shiite Muslim political party has struggled to manage Iran's political and military influence." Meanwhile Charley Keyes (CNN) puts the red across White House flunkie Jay Carney's freshly-facialed face by reporting, "Mullen confirmed that discussion are underway. 'Negotiations are ongoing,' Mullen said, adding that any final decision would be for the presidents of Iraq and the United States. He said any agreement with Iraq 'has to be done in conjunction with control of Iran'."

Being president apparently means ABC News wouldn't dream of correcting you -- no matter how big of a lie you told.

As for his claim to be "drawing down troops in Afghanistan," by 2012, according to Barack's current spin, is not as portrayed. After that 'drawdown,' there will still be more US troops in Afghanistan than were present when Barack Obama was sworn in as president.

Again, being president means ABC 'News' will forever take your side.

And being Barack means forever pretending you've done something, eternally presenting stationary as forward momentum. Looking back on it today, Will Chapman (Daily Iberian) wonders, "It was a great publicity stunt but did anyone expect much of value to come from President Barack Obama's Twitter Town Hall last week, where Twitter users could 'tweet' questions and the president would supposedly tweet back a response?"

Chapman's right but that wasn't really the point of the event. The event was supposed to wash away the image of Barack as a dick and a bitch. On that, the event was a success though we fail to see how coming off dull and boring solves the highly noticeable enthusiasm gap in Barack's re-election campaign. But then we were puzzling both over his ill-fitting suit and his decision to button it like a woman (one trying to flaunt cleavage) and not a man? Mainly we were puzzling that to the White House, the choices were Barack comes off like a dick or he comes off like a bore. Between those two extremes is not only where most of us live but also a world of possibilities.

He's no leader

Last week, 24-year-old Spc Nathan R. Beyers and 20-year-old Spc Nicholas W. Newby died in the Iraq War. This despite Barack Obama's ridiculous claim to have ended "combat operations."

He had the nerve to claim on Wednesday that, "We've ended the war in Iraq."

No, he hasn't. If he had, 15 US soldiers would not have died last month in the Iraq War. If he had 2 US soldiers wouldn't have died last week. Barack's a damn liar.

Liar. Not leader. Liar.

He always wants credit for jobs he hasn't finished. He thinks he deserves credit for 'ending' an ongoing war just because he claims it's ended. By the same token, he's been bragging repeatedly about ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell. He didn't.

9th circuit shows leadership

But last week the Ninth US Circuit Court of Appeals did what he wouldn't and ended the policy.

Ed O'Keefe (Washington Post) spoke with gay service members in Iraq about the action by the court and one explains, "A lot of people thought it all ended back in December and thought we were done." But it hadn't been ended.

Time and again, Barack fails the leadership test.

He was supposed to be addressing the economy, that is the issue that swung the general election his way. (His promise to end the Iraq War -- an empty promise -- was what allowed him to be gifted with the Democratic Party's presidential nomination.) He hasn't. The economy's not just still in shambles, it's worse than it was when he came in. Outside of czars and his personal trainer, he's created no new jobs.

In one of the most powerful rebukes, a terrorist cell in Iraq called off their deal with him on Saturday. The League of Righteous killed many Iraqis, many Americans, many British. They bragged about killing 5 US soldiers: Brian S. Freeman, Jacob N. Fritz, Johanthan B. Chism, Shawn P. Falter and Jonathon M. Millican. Though the US military had leadership and rank and file in prison, in the summer of 2009, Barack Obama entered into a deal with the terrorist cell. He agreed to release their members if they would release the 5 British hostages they had kidnapped.

That deal didn't serve American interests. It certainly didn't serve Iraqi interests. Did it serve Brith interests? 5 were kidnapped. The League of Righteous turned over Peter Moore alive and 3 others dead. And the fifth hostage?

Never turned over. Yesterday, the terrorist cell announced they were not turning him over because the White House hadn't kept their side of the agreement.

5 US soldiers killed by the terrorist cell and Barack frees them.

Not only does he make a deal with a terrorist cell which results in nothing for the US but he's not even smart enough to arrange the deal in such a manner that the British got what they wanted.

He has no leadership skills.

Illustration is Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "9th Circuit Shows Leadership."



Once more into the e-mails. Our e-mail address is And for the mailbag it's just going to be me, Ty, and Jim, Dona, Jess, Ava and C.I. First up, Wendall e-mailed to note he was "thrilled to see two comic features last week" -- "Comic book round-up" and "The economic comic book report" -- but "I was bothered by the fact that you're not including Batwoman anymore. I applaud your efforts for including Wonder Woman in almost every comic round up but I think Batwoman needs even more help. In my town, the gas station's where I get my comics and they stopped carrying Detective Comics. My nearest big city is 45 to 50 minutes away and with the price of gasoline I just can't be zipping in and out all over the place. So I really count on your features to show me some stuff I'm not seeing."

We first covered Batwoman in "A Rucka, a Batwoman, a Zeus and a Heatwave" when she debuted as the lead in Detective Comics.

Batwoman autographed

For any who don't know, Batwoman is Kate Kane, a Jewish, lesbian superhero. Greg Rucka did a great job starting her off as a lead character on a regular basis. Such a great job that DC wanted Batwoman to have a title all her own. Wendall, even if you're gas station still got Detective Comics, you wouldn't have Batwoman because she's not in it anymore. She was supposed to debut in her own title earlier this year but the start date has been repeatedly pushed back. Batwoman is currently scheduled to launch in September. J.H. Williams III and W. Haden Blackman will be steering the series. Last week, Michael "Skitch" Maillaro (Inside Pulse) interviewed the two. And that interview should excite you enough to consider subscribing -- either to print or digital version. And if you're needing to catch up on Kat Kane, the Detective Comics battle with Alice is collected in Batwoman: Elegy.

Jess: Lauren was also among those e-mailing about the comic book features and she expresses her belief that it will be "at least two months" before we do anything else on comic books. Actually, no. We'll do one next week. Ty, C.I. and I had an idea for another feature but thought three might be too much so we tabled it. We'll grab it next week. And as for Batwoman, we all loved her run in Detective Comics so we will be noting it when she returns with her own title.

Dona: C958 e-mails to tell us that we cover "mainstream comics and you ignore the independents." That's not our intention. But it's also not our intention to cover a comic that's only available in one to ten cities. We define "mainstream" publisher here as Marvel or DC. All other titles are independent to us. If you check our coverage, I doubt you'll find any piece where we're covering comics -- not just one title -- that doesn't include smaller publishers. There's an exception to what I've just said and that's whomever publishes Archie Comics. That is clearly a mainstream publisher. However, we've not covered Archie Comics really. There's one article, a year or two ago, where we included Betty and Veronica in a round-up. That was it. I grew up on many comics including Archie Comics so I would like to see us do some real coverage of them at some point.

Ava: On a different topic, Steve e-mails to state, "I feel C.I.'s carrying the load on the Libyan War at her site" The Common Ills "with some assist from Elaine and sometimes Mike. I really thought that there would be more Libyan coverage here." We did too. We've tried Libyan pieces that just haven't worked out. Elaine has written strongly and powerfully about the Libyan War. I applaud her work. I think Mike's has been important as well because he's a different kind of writer and different kind of blogger. Within what he does and how he does it, I think he's done a good job. But if you asked either of them -- or anyone present for this mailbag -- there would be no argument that C.I.'s done the most work on it. I'm passing to C.I. so give her a second to finish taking notes and then I'll grab notes while she's speaking.

C.I.: I put anything up at The Common Ills. I don't have time to worry about the writing quality. I have to offer content and I will do the best I can in a first draft. The only time there's editing going on is when the snapshot is too long and it has to be edited. By contrast, here articles go through draft after draft after draft. That makes it more difficult to have a consistent article. Also true, I'm tired of war by the time Sunday rolls around. It's a topic that's got to be covered. But if anyone's expecting me to lead here on it, they're mistaken. When possible, Ava and I will work into our TV pieces. But I'm not coming in saying, "Okay, let's do this big piece on . . ." This week, this edition, I had four suggestions and three were about the Iraq War and they were also three short pieces. As Ava can tell you, the Libyan War is very important when we're speaking about the wars. It's the one that outrages especially. And we include it in our discussions but would have to during the question and answer portion regardless because it is consistently raised by any group we're speaking to. If someone needs a scapegoat, you can blame me.

Jim: But we're just not, so far, able to pull it together on a piece like that, a piece that we need. We do have some minor Libyan coverage up here that we've done but we are aware it needs to be more. We've got a piece we'll be working on after this -- reworking -- and maybe we can pull it together on that.

Dona: Carrie e-mails that "TV: Who's the dick?" was "excellent but I'm afraid that having taken on Barack's press conference last Sunday, they'll ignore Twitter this Sunday." We were too but they've already written their piece and it is about the Twitter town hall or so-called Twitter town hall.

Jess: Rhonda wonders whether it makes it easier or more difficult when we're all together -- everyone working on the edition, not just those of us who are Third -- to work? If we were in DC, the answer would be "easier." But this is a lot of people's vacations and we really don't want to say, "Hey, do this, hey, help with that." That's why, instead of doing a roundtable with everyone, we're just doing a Third mailbag.

Ty: Snazzy D e-mails that we really need to do "an article that's nothing but a paragraph on this TV show or that TV show, just pulling from Ava and C.I.'s stuff you've already published." That's an idea we've often toyed with and what we've always said, in the last six years, is that we'll save that for an edition where Ava and C.I. don't feel they have anything. We'll do that to give them a weekend off. And we really should. They are the only ones who've participated in every edition, every week Ava and C.I. have taken part. I've taken a week off here and there, Dona has, Jim has, Jess has, but Ava and C.I. have always worked on the edition.

Jim: Last e-mail we have time to address, Cando e-mailed that he wants two things: Libyan coverage and more from Ava and C.I. We've addressed Libyan coverage. In three or four weeks, you'll have a feature that Ava and C.I. will be doing with Ann. So you can look forward to that. We're out of time on this feature.

Ty: Again our e-mail address is We'll try to do a roundtable soon on readers' e-mails and we're planning to do the summer read this month. Possibly next week.


Don't do it.

Don't talk about how Barack Obama's put Social Security (and Medicare and Medicaid) on the table.

All good members of the creative class know not to say a word.

Not to make a peep.

Because it's just Social Security.

Social Security ain't s**t when compared to the needs of Barack Obama.

Remember that.

First and foremost, every good liberal, progressive, leftist, Democrat, Socialist, Communist and even independent voter must always put what Barack needs first.

It's the old story of the many versus the few. And, in this case, Barack's needs are many while the people just need a safety net. If all you have to give Barack is the safety net, then you give Barack the safety net.

Because it's all about him. It's all about his greatness. It's all about his 50 dimensional checkers. And getting him more time to play pick-up sticks too.

All loyal Americans should shut their traps immediately.

Not to do so would be racist. And remember MSNBC, Keith Olbermann and so many others are watching. You don't want to come off shrill like Lambert, do you?

America, you have your orders.

We are not a democracy. We are a Cult of St. Barack. Amen and Amend.

Radio highlights

Jackson Browne sang, "Baby if you can hear me, turn down your radio." But there are two programs we think you should turn up your radio for this week.

Law and Disorder Radio begins broadcasting at 9:00 am EST on WBAI and continues broadcasting around the country throughout the week. You can also stream the program at the show's website. This week's program explores the economic crisis in Greece, natural gas in New York, impeachment and more.

Flashpoints Radio
airs on Pacifica Radio (KPFA) Monday through Friday, from 5:00 pm to 6:00 pm. Host Dennis Bernstein is currently on vacation. Kevin Pina is one of the hosts filling in. Tuesday, Kevin will speak with Mahdi Darious Nazemoraya who is reporting from Tripoli, Libya.

a radio

Conscientious Objector found guilty in the UK (GBSW)

Repost from Great Britain's Socialist Worker:

War refusenik Michael Lyons found guilty

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Michael Lyons, a Royal Navy conscientious objector, was found guilty of disobeying a lawful order at his courtmartial on Tuesday this week.

Michael, a leading medical assistant, told his commanders that he couldn’t take part in rifle training because he views the war in Afghanistan as immoral.

He read the Wikileaks Afghanistan files and was shocked by accounts of civilian deaths and the disaster the war had caused for the people there.

© Socialist Worker (unless otherwise stated). You may republish if you include an active link to the original.

Libyan War (Workers World)

Workers World repost:

U.S./NATO & Libyan puppets reject African plan for Libya cease-fire

Published Jul 6, 2011 7:40 PM

This year’s 17th African Union Summit attempted once again to broker a cease-fire in the nearly five-month-old imperialist war against Libya. The meeting of the 53-member organization was held in Malabo, capital of the former Spanish colony of Equatorial Guinea, from June 30 to July 2.

The A.U.’s discussion of economic cooperation and the social conditions of youth was overshadowed by the work of its Ad-Hoc Committee on Libya. In its latest plan, the A.U. called for an immediate halt to the bombing attacks, which began March 19, and the beginning of serious negotiations aimed at establishing a political solution to the crisis inside Libya.

The Russian government also called for a NATO cease-fire in a meeting with the imperialist military alliance on July 3. South African President Jacob Zuma flew to Moscow in the aftermath of the A.U. Summit to promote the cease-fire efforts. Zuma noted that the framework advanced by the A.U. was the best mechanism for securing peace in Libya.

Zimbabwe President Robert Mugabe told journalists after returning to Harare from the A.U. Summit that he was quite pleased with the meeting. “Yes, yes, we are happy. Southern African Development Community countries and countries in other parts of Africa were happy with the outcome on Libya.” Mugabe added, “NATO should stop its terrorist attack on Libya. NATO cannot continue attacking Libya because they are not the rulers of the world. The United Nations should stand against NATO.” (Zimbabwe Sunday Mail, July 3)

TNC, Washington reject A.U. proposals

The A.U. plan would have brought about the cessation of hostilities, a comprehensive cease-fire, the reconciliation of the conflicting parties inside Libya, and internationally supervised national elections.

The political measures put forward by the A.U. Summit would result in the lifting of the siege imposed on cities and the movement of all troops, militias and armed elements from all parties to barracks; the ending of all attacks and abuses against civilians, including those who were forced to leave the country; the release of political prisoners; and unrestricted and unhindered access to civilians in dire need of humanitarian relief.

The Western-backed counterrevolutionaries called the Transitional National Council summarily rejected the cease-fire plan, as did Washington. “Rebel spokesman Abdel Hafiz Ghoga said that they outright dismissed the AU plan because it did not meet their basic demands, which calls for the ouster of Muammar Gadhafi, his sons and aides from his inner circle. Ghoga said the AU offer would have Gadhafi in power, something that was not acceptable to them.” (, July 4)

Since March 11, the African Union has issued several communiqu├ęs calling for a cease-fire in Libya and the withdrawal of foreign involvement in the civil war. The imperialist states now bombing Libya and/or providing aid to the TNC have rejected all these calls.

A.U. rejects ICC warrants

The A.U. also refused to accept the legitimacy of the International Criminal Court warrants issued against Libyan leader Muammar Gadhafi, his son Saif al-Islam and intelligence head Abdullah al-Senussi. From the Malabo Summit the continental organization said, “AU member-states shall not cooperate in the execution of the arrest warrants.”

The A.U. added that issuing the ICC warrants “seriously complicates the efforts aimed at finding a negotiated political settlement to the crisis in Libya, which will also address, in a mutually reinforcing way, issues related to impunity and reconciliation.”

The A.U. had similarly rejected the ICC’s targeting of African leaders in 2009 when attempts were made to arrest Sudanese President Omar Hassan al-Bashir.

While the A.U. was working for a peaceful settlement, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton continued blatant, provocative rhetoric against the Libyan government. From Madrid on July 2, Clinton repeated the Obama administration’s demand that the Libyan leadership be overthrown.

Clinton said that Gadhafi “should step down from power. The rebels are gaining strength and momentum. We need to see this through.” (Associated Press, July 2)

Clinton added, “We will continue exerting the same military and political pressure.” She also praised the austerity measures imposed by the Spanish government on the working class, which is suffering from a 21 percent unemployment rate due to the world capitalist economic crisis.

The A.U. and Russia also condemned France’s openly supplying arms to the TNC. Speaking from Malabo, A.U. Commission Chair Jean Ping said that the French weapons “will be used to destabilize African states and to kidnap tourists for whom you pay ransom.” (, July 3)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said the French arms delivery represented a “crude violation” of a United Nations arms embargo that was called for in Security Council Resolution 1970. However, the U.S. State Department defended the French arms shipments to the rebels.

World opposition grows to war on Libya

Inside Libya itself, the defense forces have continued to hit rebel positions in the Nafusah Mountains and other areas of the country. A huge demonstration in Tripoli on July 1 brought out a million people in support of the government and in opposition to the imperialist war.

At the same time demonstrations and public meetings are continuing in the United States to oppose the war. In Harlem, a coalition of various Pan-Africanists, leftists and anti-war forces have called for a Millions March in defense of Libya and other African states under attack by Western countries.

The Final Call newspaper, a publication of the Nation of Islam, stated the following: “Disturbed by what they see as a White House that has ignored their concerns, anti-war activists called a press conference in Harlem to announce the ‘Millions March in Harlem’ protest and their demand for an end to the bombing of the North African nation of Libya and ending the illegal sanctions against Zimbabwe in Southern Africa.” (June 29)

The Freedom Party, the All-African Peoples Revolutionary Party, the New Black Panther Party, the Committee to Eliminate Media Offensive to African People, the International Association Against Torture, the International Action Center and the Answer Coalition endorsed the march, among others.

The demonstration, set for Aug. 13, calls for an immediate halt to U.S. involvement in the war against Libya. The Obama administration claims the Pentagon’s engagement there is “limited,” but a press release issued by Defense Web on July 4 states: “U.S. Air Force and Navy aircraft are still flying hundreds of strike missions over Libya,” even though NATO allegedly took over such missions from the U.S. on March 31.


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.

"Iraq snapshot" and "I Hate The War" -- the two most requested highlights by readers of this site. Ty said the snapshot edged out by one vote.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "9th Circuit Shows Leadership" -- Isaiah on the verdict and the lack of leadership from the White House.

"Corn and Summer Vegetables in the Kitchen" -- Trina serves up a new recipe.

"Resurrection," "Blade Runner" and "Raising Cain" -- Stan goes to the movies.

"THIS JUST IN! THE WAY HE WAS!" and "Unloved and unwanted?" -- Wally & Cedric on the latest revelations.

"Joan Baez is a stupid and senile woman" and "Joan Baez needs to get accountable" and "The hypocrisy of The Nation magazine" -- Trina, Kat and Marcia weigh in on the hypocrites who destroyed their good name to whore for Barack.

"He is The Fly" -- Betty sees the insect in Barack.

"support for jamie leigh jones" -- Rebecca on the verdict.

"Your new pen pal" -- Need a pen pal? Ruth's got a guy for you.

"9th Circuit"

"Idiot of the week" -- Mike picks the idiot of the week.

"Reaching the slower ones (like me)" -- Betty on Ralph Nader.

"miscarriages" -- Rebecca takes on the snooping around women's tragedies.

"The Queen of Hearts has spoken" -- Kat on Arianna.

"The Republic" -- Elaine expanding on Raimondo.

"The destruction" -- Mike on life with Barry.

"THIS JUST IN! RIGHT BACK AT YA!" and "He'll have to find someone new to blame" -- Wally and Cedric document housing's response to Barack.

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