Sunday, August 28, 2011

Truest statement of the week

Verizon's demands reveal the reactionary character of Obama's health care law. The plan was never about "extending health coverage to all Americans," as Obama repeatedly asserted. Its intention was to drive down the health care costs for American corporations and the government, while ensuring the profits of the insurance, pharmaceutical, and HMO industries. The punitive taxation of "Cadillac" or :luxury" plans -- euphemistic terms for decent health care plans that cover workers and their dependents -- is an invitation for corporations to slash health care coverage.

It also illustrates the treacherous role of the trade union executives and their cheerleaders in "left" groupings like the International Socialist Organization (ISO). Obama's 2010 health care law was enthusiastically backed by the AFL-CIO, including the two unions involved in the Verizon strike, the Communication Workers of America (CWA) and the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IBEW). In little more than one year, that reform has been used as the hammer to dismantle the benefits and incomes of 45,000 CWA and IBEW workers.

-- Tom Eley, "Obama’s health care 'reform' and the Verizon strike" (WSWS).

Truest statement of the week II

The story is not over -- not by a long shot -- but the saga of the Libyan resistance to the superpower might of the United States and its degenerate European neocolonial allies will surely occupy a very special place in history. For five months, beginning March 19, the armed forces of a small country of six million people dared to defy the most advanced weapons systems on the planet, on terrain with virtually no cover, against an enemy capable of killing whatever could be seen from the sky or electronically sensed. Night and day, the eyes of the Euro-American war machine looked down from space on the Libyan soldiers' positions, with the aim of incinerating them. And yet, the Libyan armed forces maintained their unit integrity and personal honor, with a heroism reminiscent of the loyalist soldiers of the Spanish Republic under siege by German, Italian and homegrown fascists, in the late 1930s.

The Germans and Italians and Generalissimo Franco won that war, just as the Americans, British, French and Italians may ultimately overcome the Libyan army. But they cannot convey honor or national legitimacy to their flunkies from Benghazi, who have won nothing but a badge of servitude to foreign overseers. The so-called rebels won not a single battle, except as walk-ons to a Euro-American military production. They are little more than extras for imperial theater, a mob that traveled to battle under the protective umbrella of American full spectrum dominance of the air. They advanced along roads already littered with the charcoal-blackened bodies of far better men, who died challenging Empire.

-- Glen Ford, "The Libyan Soldier: The True Heroes of NATO's War" (Black Agenda Report -- link is text and audio).

A note to our readers

Hey --

Another Sunday. And we're way late again.

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.

And what did we come up with?

We went with ObamaCare. So many sick f**ks are afraid to call it out from the left. It needs to be called out and you better find your comfort zone before health care plans are destroyed.
This one is Glen Ford weighing in on the Libyan War that the 'rebels' 'won.'

Matthew Rothschild and Katrina vanden Heuvel are obviously war supporters because this story should have been the big story of August but after each revelation, two little whores ensured their publication ignored it. We thank Isaiah for the use of his comic.

Ava and C.I. review Take The Money And Run and weigh in on the economy.

Longterm reader Gillian asked for this and we gladly agreed. Betty's daughter did the Kermit painting. Her kids did the roundtable drawing. We thank them for both.

We did the painting years ago. THis is a parody piece inspired by the whiners.

We thank Isaiah for the use of his drawing and we hope that all the Christian haters at The Nation, The Progressive, etc. can realize how ugly they look to the very people they might hope to recruit.

Flashpoints was this week's choice for a talk given by Michael Parenti.

The Guardian basically accuses Dennis Kucinich of treason.

Joan Wile listens to the youth of Afghanistan.

A repost of C.I.'s that updates an issue we dealt with here last week.

A repost from Workers World.

Mike and the gang wrote and selected these unless otherwise noted.


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

Editorial: Yes, Barack is continuing the Iraq War

Last week's "Editorial: US will be in Iraq beyond 2011, Panetta and Iraqi government explain" pointed out how Nouri al-Maliki's own spokesperson confirmed remarks made by Leon Panetta, US Secretary of Defense, that the US government and the Iraqi government had agreed to extend the US military presence in Iraq beyond December 31, 2011 and the only debate currently was over the particulars of the extension (such as how many troops).

If you pay attention, you see the US government preparing for the extension all around you. For example, you see it in the continued deployments. Such as when WBKO reports this month on a send-off ceremony for the almost 600 Kentucky National Guard members scehduled to deploy to Iraq for a year. Or when Angela Deines (Capital-Journal) reports on a send-off ceremony for 267 members of the Kansas National Guard who are headed to Fort Hood and then onto Iraq for a year long Operation New Dawn deployment.

If you pay attention, you hear the confirmation of it in Barack Obama's silence. The American president who rode the promise of 'ending the Iraq War' to fame refuses to address the issues. He'll give a speech where he proclaims he kept his promise on ending the war -- and we're not only supposed to ignore all the recent news but also the fact that 47,000 US soldiers remain in Iraq currently. But he never addresses the ongoing talks even when various spokespersons in the administration and officials in the administration do note the talks publicly.

He just pretends that they don't exist.

That's a confirmation.

And for those who still doubt, last week Josh Rogin (Foreign Policy) interviewed Samir Sumaida'ie, Iraq's Ambassador to the US, and, asked about the extension, Sumaida'ie responsed, "
"The principle that there will be some military presence [in Iraq beyond 2011] to help train Iraqi military and police has been largely agreed upon." Just as Panetta had said, just as Ali al-Dabbagh (Nouri al-Maliki's spokesperson) had said.

Now he's soaking in it

Operation New Dawn, now Barack's soaking in it.


Illustration is Isaiah's "Now he's soaking in it" from September 6, 2010.

TV: Where's the money?

"I'm willing to lie to do what I have to I'm more than willing to do that and throw someone under the bus." Yes, it does sound like Barack Obama with his game face right before he and the Congress sold America the poison pill that is ObamaCare. But it's not. It's game show contestant Ron on last week's Take The Money and Run (ABC, Tuesday nights, second hour of prime time).


So far, the show's used couples or siblings as contestants and the two contestants are given a briefcase containing $100,000. From the moment they get the briefcase, they have one hour to hide it. GPS systems will track their cars, their phone records will be known and any receipts they have will be turned over when they're arrested.


At the end of the hour, their own local police (the show's filmed all over the US) will arrest them and take them to a police station where they will be booked and put into two holding cells. Starting with the arrest, the police and interrorgators have 48 hours to figure out where the case is. If they do, the police officers keep the money. If they don't, the contestants keep the money.

The interrogators don't get any money regardless. They are police officer Paul Bishop (who needs to cut that awful hair) and LA Count District Attorney Office's deputy district attorney Mary Hanlon Stone.

Watching five episodes yesterday largely left us neutral. We were glad when a Miami couple beat the system and actually kept the $100,000. We were furious that two brothers weren't able to keep it together. When the Chicago couple Ron and Beau came on, we knew they'd lose.

How? Ron's a Dave Foley type. As anyone who's ever watched News Radio or Kids In The Hall knows, Dave Foley always cracks.

Ron was playing it cool during the hiding, pretending that he couldn't handle anything. Meanwhile Beau's all over the map emotionally. And cracking jokes such as, "I'm sweating like a chubby chaser with a box of doughnuts outside a weight loss clinic." He also cracked jokes about his own weight and wondered, "Next time, can we do Take The Money and Stroll?"

Beau was saying everything he felt. Good for him. He was with his lover and that's when you let it loose. Ron made the mistake of keeping it all in. Like a volcano, you knew he was going to blow.

The Chicago cops were Michele Wood and John Korolis. Wood probably feels really good about herself and she filmed well and came off, overall, interesting. But we're not really into women calling people "p*ssies" and (a) wonder if she used that term because the contestants were a gay couple and (b) how much self-hatred she has to use that term on camera? [ABC did bleep it.]

Or maybe she just doesn't know she has a vagina?

Korolis has a stick up his ass. Not much to look at (we're sure he was considered cute in middle school but someone let him know those days have passed), Korolis' demeanor can best be described as "clenched." Whereas Wood was able to demonstrate she knew she was on a game show, mechanical Wood demonstrated all the range of Robocop and half the warmth.

Despite that and despite being another piece of TV product that Jerry Bruckheimer's squeezed out, the show is involving.

Watching it, we were struck by how few people know what to do in order to win the game. The trick really isn't in the hiding. The police know they're really counting on you breaking and telling them where it is because they really aren't able to find it easily with the information they have. (The exception being two sisters in Miami who hid the box on a trail.) You hide it in a friend's house. That's not the issue.

The issue is the arrest and holding.

Are people really as naive as Ron was?

They broke Ron almost instantly. And he was supposed to be the strong one. He was freaked out about being in the holding cell with nothing to do. (By contrast, Beau suffers from claustraphobia but managed to maintain.) Then he was freaked out that the interrogators, unable to crack him, took a book he'd been reading. And, on top of that, he was unprepared for their attempts to play him.

If you're going to be interrogated and the police are going to play it real and the interrogators are going to play it real, we'd recommend you do the same. In other words, "I want an attorney."

And, hey, go for the court appointed one unless you already have an attorney.

An attorney would have advised you that you don't have to answer questions.

The mistake the losers always make is in answering questions.

You're asked simple questions (with known answers) early on in the interrogation for two reasons. First, they're using small talk to try to bond with you. Second, they're trying to establish a baseline for lying. What do you look and sound like when you lie?

Why are you answering these questions?

And without an attorney present?

You don't have to answer anything.

In fact, the smartest thing you could do is dummy up for 48 hours.

Early on, interrogator Hanlon Stone almost broke Beau. She got him to sing (he's a professional singer), praised him for it, spoke of her own brother who has musical talent, lamented her own lack of it, and established this mini bond with him. She then lied to him and told him she didn't like the female police officer but she liked him (Beau) so he could tell her where the case with $100,000 was and she wasn't going to tell the police officer.

It looked like Beau was going to tell her. He was certainly torn. She had to call a break. She did so, she explained outside the interrogation room, because she was getting too into it and was actually feeling guilty about what she was doing. Bishop thought Beau was faking (he wasn't) and sent her back in to the room. But that break allowed Beau to put it in perspective and realize he couldn't trust her. Good for Beau, but an attorney present would have also made that call and made it much sooner with far less risk.

Beau got all of his fears and frustrations out before the arrest. That's what you do. Ron put on a poker face before the arrest and then crumbled once he was being held. You get what's inside out and do it before you're arrested. Once arrested, you are a stone face.

If Ron had done that, he and Beau would have gotten the money.

Does Ron not watch movies?

Maybe he doesn't. But having been made twice -- once with John Garfield and Lana Turner in the leads, once with Jack Nicholson and Jessica Lange in the leads, we'd assume many have seen The Postman Always Rings Twice. In that film noir, Frank and Cora kill her husband Nick. The murder is difficult to prove so the authorities attempt to turn Frank and Cora on each other. An attorney prevents that (another good reason to have an attorney).

Again, does Ron not watch movies?

What gets him to crumble is their taking his book and telling him that Beau's already been moved to a better place because he's cooperating.

Ron goes into instant self-pity.

He's played and he's too stupid to realize he's being played. He cries and weeps and wants the interrogators to know he'll talk. And he does. He tells everything. Sings like a canary, as the phrase goes.

It was all so stupid. He had less than 20 hours of the 48 left. Stone face and don't speak. That's all he had to do. Stone face and don't speak.

Beau and Ron made huge mistakes in attempting to be friends with both the police and their interrogators. We'll assume that's because they're nice people (they came off very nice). That's great except it's not going to win them the game. You do not speak. You do not answer.

Or, better yet, give them nonsense. Drive them crazy so they don't want to talk to you. "Where did you put that briefcase?" The reply is, "Remember that episode of The Flintstones where Ann-Magrock sings to Pebbles to get her to fall asleep?"

If you talk when you're nervous and can't remain silent, give them gibberish. Talk about whatever you want other than the briefcase. All you have to do is make it through 48 hours.

This is only difficult if you make the mistake of trying to joke with the interrogators and police, trying to befriend them. They are not your friends. They are your opponents. They are there to win, you need to be there to win too.

We're concerned about the game show refusing to address the issue of defense attorneys because that's really not exploring the reality the program pretends it does.

And some may bicker, "It's only a game show."

Yes and in this economy it may be the only way to make money. The most recent numbers from the Bureau of Labor Statistics put national unemployment at 9.1% (next set of numbers are due out this Friday) -- some areas see higher rates (traditionally, rural areas have higher unemployment rates than do urban areas). NPR reported Thursday on foreclosures making "up roughly one-third of all home sales this spring" which is "six times the percentage of foreclosures in a healthy housing market." Earlier this month, Judy Woodruff (The NewsHour, PBS) spoke with the Annie E. Casey Foundation's president Patrick McCarthy on their latest study which found "that the official child poverty rate rose by nearly 20 percent from 2000 to 2009. And, in 2010, 11 percent of children lived with at least one unemployed parent." The inability to improve the economy may be part of why Pew Research's recent study found 79% of respondents staing they're dissastisified with the direction the country is headed in and 86% state they are "either angry or frustrated" and 49% of respondents disapprove of Barack's job performance (a record in disapproval for Barack -- only 43% approve). Scott Horsley (NPR's Morning Edition) recently offered this description of where things are, "Expectations are high precisely because the economy has been laid so low. Hiring has slowed sharply since the beginning of the year. Manufacturing appears to be losing steam. "

If you don't get how bad the economy is, any episode of Take The Money And Run makes that clear very quickly. What's going to happen with the $100,000 if Beau and Ron win? They're "doing it for Mom." Ron's mother can be moved closer and she's over eighty so this is important. And if the police officers win? Michele Wood explains her mother has a lousy job and "her retirement isn't good" while John Korolis adds, "My wife was laid off a year and a half ago and this could help pay the bills."

Game shows that give away money are no longer mere escapism, they also end up becoming social commentary as well. In a lousy economy, that's always going to be their fate.

Children's TV programming roundtable

Jim: This is roundtable was inspired by longterm reader Gillian who e-mailed wondering if we could discuss children's programming in some form? She wrote, "You know I appreciate the Iraq coverage, the coverage of serious issues and you know I love Ava and C.I.'s writing but the roundtables used to be looser from time to time and less focused on 'the serious.' I was hoping you might talk about children's programming in some form." And so we certainly will. First off, our e-mail address is And 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.


Jim (Con't): Gillian and her husband David go back to the third week of January 2005. That's a long ways back to have been reading. When they started, their daughter was barely a month old and now she'll be six at the end of the year. In that same time, Dona and I have become parents, Rebecca's had her first child and Trina's become a grandmother. Ruth has a whole football stadium full of grandchildren. So a lot of us are watching children's programming today and contrasting it with childhood offerings -- for better or worse. Ty's going to start.

Ty: I read Gillian's e-mail on Wednesday, I think she sent it Tuesday. And I made a point to Tivo Sesame Street. Of children's shows still in production, Sesame Street was my favorite. I loved the real kids, the Muppets and the adults. And it holds up for young kids, I'm sure. But I really think it's a pre-K show. I'll be honest, I was in third grade and still watching it. And I know that's old for the show. But I really loved it and it was something worth watching on TV. It really seems, sorry, dumbed down to me today. Kat's "Kat's Korner: It's not easy being assembly lined" is going up later this morning and her point in that about Elmo is so true. All he is is cute. That's the only reason he's on the show. I can't think of a greater insult to Sesame Street. Can you imagine them casting any adult or child just because they were 'cute.' Elmo's dumbed down the show.

Jim: Kat's review is illustrated by a painting Betty's daughter did of Kermit the Frog. I want to be sure to include that in this roundtable.

Jim: (Con't): Ruth, for the 2 or 3 people in the world who don;t know who Kermit is, why don't you explain.

Ruth: Surely. My children were Sesame Street kids. They were the generation the show was made for. It was still experimental then and hadn't become as standardized as it would become. Educational TV did exist -- despite the efforts of some Sesame Street supporters to pretend otherwise. And there were a few quality productions, children's productions, on TV. But Sesame Street did raise the bar. It was also the MTV of its day due to the pace which was not normal for TV or children's TV at that time. In fact, in terms of pacing, it was most like the TV show Laugh In. Both shows had sight gags and brief skits. Sesame Street also had cartoons. Kids loved it. And Kermit was one of the regular muppets. There was also Bert and Ernie which Sesame Street, today, wants us to know is not a same-sex couple. If you insist, PBS. There was Big Bird who really was the star muppet, he got the most time. And there was Oscar the Grouch. But I have left out one. Anyone want to guess.


Ruth: And done in the Cookie Monster voice, very good Jess. Cookie Monster was huge. In fact, my oldest son did not go to kindergarten because of Cookie Monster. All the children were in a large auditorium -- with the parents -- and they were handed one of five cards and then told to break up into different groups based on the cards. My son got Big Bird. He started to cry. He wanted to be Cookie Monster. The mother next to us, her daughter had Cookie Monster. She traded cards with my son and all was well again and I was thanking the woman and the daughter -- who honestly loved Big Bird, it turned out -- when a teacher or teacher's aid walked up, pulled the Cookie Monster card from my son's hand and thrust it at the little girl who did not want to give up her Big Bird card. The other mother and I tried to reason with the woman, explaining that the kids had made a trade and both were now happy. Not good enough. And as the woman began bellowing, I said, "Screw this." Seriously, I said that. I was a young mother of the Age of Aquarius. So I said, "Screw this," took my son's hand and we left. We were already looking at homes in Connecticut, my husband and I, and knew we would be moving in a few months. So with that starting off so poorly, a strange woman screaming at the children and their parents, I decided my son did not need to go to kindergarten. But my point was that Cookie Monster was hugely popular. That imitation that Jess just did, a lot of kids have done it over the years.

Jess: I'd agree with Ruth. We were a PBS family in my house. That's all we could watch on TV except for Saturday morning cartoons. And there were strict rules on those that eased up as we got older. But it was PBS on the TV all the time except Saturday mornings if the TV was on. Cookie Monster was my favorite. Oscar the Grouch was my sister's favorite. This was probably the early 90s, maybe end of the 80s. And I also agree with Ty's point and Kat's that Elmo's worthless. He's got nothing to offer. Big Bird was a leader, Oscar the Grouch was a grump, Cookie Monster was uncontrolled hunger, Ernie was laid back and Bert was rigid. Everyone was about what they did.

Elaine: I'll jump in here, if we haven't been on Sesame Street too much?

Dona: No, it's one of the most watched and one of the longest running TV shows. Feel free to jump in.

Elaine: Okay. Yeah, I think Elmo is honestly dangerous. I think he's destructive. As Kat, Jess and Ty have pointed out, the characters were about what they did. All Elmo does is say, basically, 'I'm so cute. Love me.' Now some might argue that it would be even more offensive if Elmo were a girl muppet. I don't think so. I don't think at that age and with Elmo's high pitched voice, that a real difference is being made between boy and girl by the young viewers. I also think it is dangerous to send a message to children that they must be lovable. I honestly see him as the end of Sesame Street if they don't find a new character, a new breakout character, quickly. He is exactly what Sesame Street was created to combat.

Jim: Alright. Thank you for that perspective, Elaine. Ruth pointed out that there were other shows on TV when Sesame Street began airing. I will take her word for it, I wasn't born back then, but does anyone want to toss out any show?

Trina: I will. CBS had Captain Kangaroo. That show, starring Bob Keeshan as the Captain, was on forever and a day. It aired every morning, Monday through Friday. I watched it in the early 60s and it was on before that. But it was a really good show, a quality show, like Ruth was talking about. It seems like six of the kids were able to watch it, six of my husband and my kids. Mike and his younger sister didn't see it because CBS had axed it by the time they were born. The older kids all saw it and loved it.

Jim: When did it air?

Trina: CBS Morning News grabs some of its airtime today.

Jim: Okay. And it was Monday through Friday and Dallas texted it started in 1955. It's a shame CBS doesn't care enough to air children's programming today. Basically, they air three hours of programming on Saturday.

Ava: Three hours of children's programming a week. Some CBS stations air it all on Saturdays, some air part of it on Sundays. It's lousy programming, boring and CBS should pay children for watching it. A new lineup starts September 11th. CBS doesn't produce the current programming and won't be producing the new line up.

Jim: Is there any reason to be excited about children's TV?

C.I.: Friends at ABC swear their block of programming, which they also won't be producing, is really going to be something. I'm not impressed, Ava's not impressed. The only show that right now has promise is Ocean Mysteries. And it's a magazine show, they all are. They won't do quality programming, they'll do cheap magazine shows with stories geared towards 'youth' that will pretend to fulfill the educational mandate the FCC requires. It's really sad. What we saw of Ocean Mysteries made it appear to be a strong program and that might be in part due to the fact that Jeff Corwin is the host. He, of course, has hosted Animal Planet's The Jeff Corwin Experience and Corwin's Quest. Ocean Mysteries will please fans of those programs.

Jim: And NBC?

Ava: The less said the better.

Jim: Alright. There are no fun cartoons on the broadcast networks these days. Whatever happened to those? Betty, you favorite fun cartoon?

Betty: I'd go with Scooby Doo.

Cedric: As would I. The Scooby gang -- original, leave out that crappy Scrappy Doo. Fred, Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, Scooby and the Mystery Machine. That was my favorite cartoon growing up. And I'll be really honest here, I'd see reruns of Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and want to like it, Bill Cosby was on NBC at the time with his huge sitcom, but I couldn't stand that show. The Scooby gang was always worth watching. And, to be honest, after awhile you really didn't care who did whatever. You were just watching to see Scooby and Shaggy get scared and for Velma to lose her glasses.

Wally: Which she was always doing. And usually, as she stumbled around blind without them, a ghost or ghoul would be close to grabbing her but she'd never know.

Ann: I think the reason that show was so popular was because you had different lead characters. A lot of children's shows were so vanilla and the characters were basically all the same. Like that stupid show with the four or five women who are fairies. You can't tell 'em apart because they're the same character. With Scooby Doo, each of the characters had a distinctive personality. And I'd also argue that the show was helped by the memorable theme song.

Marcia: I was going to say that. I really think the best children's shows have memorable themes. I'm a syndication baby. I watched the old shows after they were cancelled. So when I was a little girl, I was watching The Bugaloos and things like that. When The Pink Panther cartoons were pulled off network and sent to syndication, I discovered the show. But the best shows have a memorable theme: "The Bugaloos, the Bugaloos, they're in the air and everywhere . . ." Or how about, "Josie and the Pussycats, Long tails and ears for hats, guitars and sharps and flats . . ." The best shows tend to have these songs you love singing. And that includes "Sunny days . . ." The Sesame Street theme.

Jim: Betty, you kicked that off but did you want to add anything?

Betty: I think, in terms of Scooby Doo, they covered it. The show most like Scooby Doo that my children have enjoyed is The Magic School Bus. All the characters have their own personalities. Phoebe's different from Keesha who's different from Ralphie, etc. And the only adult is Ms. Frizzle -- that's Lily Tomlin's voice, by the way. They go on adventures and it's exciting and it's got a cute theme song sung by Little Richard. My kids have all loved it and my only complaint it's always on -- NBC or Fox -- and this show stopped making new episodes right before my first child was born. It seems like with the show having proven to be such a long and lasting hit, they would have gone back and made some more episodes.

Jim: Rebecca, Kat, Isaiah and Mike haven't spoken at all.

Dona: And Stan.

Jim: Thank you, and Stan. So let me start with Rebecca.

Rebecca: I'm thinking of Ty right now and Sesame Street and, if I'm remembering right, your grandparents didn't have cable, Ty?

Ty: No, they did not. All we had was what aired over the airwaves.

Rebecca: I couldn't make it. I mean maybe with syndicated shows. But that would be it. The network offerings are disgusting. We've got satellite and get Cartoon Network and all that. So our daughter can watch whatever and, of course, we've got a ton of DVDs as well. Gillian is in Ty's situation, right. They don't have cable.

Jim: No, they don't. They had just gotten married and started their family, right out of college, they've got student loan debt and everything else. So they depend on broadcast TV.

Rebecca: I don't know how you do that. There is PBS which is great when the kids are pre-K but after that it's a bit too juvenile. Myself, as an adult I used to like to watch the Saturday cartoons. Especially in the 70s. I especially loved NBC because they did a cartoon movie one year. On Saturdays.

Kat: For me, the 70s were The Muppet Show. More than any other show, that was the one I tried to catch. It was syndicated, a half-hour variety show. You never knew who the guest host would be. Maybe Lily Tomlin, maybe Madeline Khan. Maybe Diana Ross. You never knew. After that? I don't know that there was "a" cartoon. I remember blocks of them. I also loved Lance Link, alive action show starring monkeys.

C.I.: Lancelot Link, Secret Chimp.

Kat: Thank you. It was a funny show. And it had monkeys. Not to be Nicholas Cage in Ghost Rider or Jeri in Strangers With Candy, the movie, but it had monkeys.

Jim: Okay, Isaiah?

Isaiah: Part of the reason that the networks can get away with not airing Saturday morning cartoons is that so many cartoons air on Sundays on Fox's prime time schedule. If you're talking cartoons, at some point, you have to talk The Simpsons. That's probably my favorite cartoon and it's been on so long that it does include my childhood. And it also fulfills Marcia's syndicated requirement.

Marcia: Absolutely. And that's another show I never watched until it started airing in syndication.

Jim: Stan? Mike?

Mike: I'll go. Pee Wee's Playhouse. It was off the air but my brothers had taped it -- back in the VCR days. So I watched all the episodes that way. I loved the show. And that was a bit of a problem actually because of Pee Wee's 'scandal' that led to the show being pulled by CBS. But it was a great show and I loved everyone on it, Pee Wee, Cowboy Curtis, Reba the Mail Lady and Jambi.

Stan: That was a great show. I loved it. I loved the cartoons that Pee Wee would show, I loved the talking objects like Chairee and the real life people like Cowboy Curtis and Miss Yvonne. That was really a great show and it let you play along with things like the secret word.

Mike: I forgot about the secret word. Yeah, there were a lot of great things about that show.

Ava: And let me jump in to note that Pee Wee's Playhouse, or a show like it, could be done today and fulfill both entertainment and educational requirements instead of the cheaply made 'news' 'magazine' shows for 'youths' that ABC's forcing off on people.

Jim: Okay and that's going to end our look at children's TV programming.

From a CNN journalist's Libyan War diary

August 21, 2011
Where is room service?

That's what we're wondering.

Just where the hell is room service?

Is this because we didn't tip?

Good service or any area where I'm well known and I will tip. But any place I can get away without tipping? Well, score!!! Gonna go for it.

Meanwhile, I am entranced by a painting on my wall.

What does it mean? Are they mercenaries? Are they Libyans? I have no idea.

August 22, 2011
Our Gaddafi provided security detail tells us we're not leaving the hotel. We can hear bombs going off and shooting.

This morning, I was in the sauna trying to sweat off all the booze I've been drinking when it hit me: There's a war going on. Somewhere.

And maybe people are suffering?

I thought maybe I should report on that but then I went into the main dining room and discovered they were out of Equal. Now what was I supposed to eat on top of my grapefruit?

When you encounter real problems like that, suddenly the suffering of others seems so unimportant.

August 23, 2011
Oh. My. God.

There was no electricity for most of the day. When it finally came on, I was so busy charging my cell phone and laptop, I barely had time to watch TV.

And, of course, I'm hesitant to search for online porn because I'm not sure the electricity will stay on.

A group of us went looking for 'rations' because we prefer not to eat in either of the two main dining rooms. So we waited until it was late and began exploring the hotel including the store room and the kitchen.

The hotel must be on top of some secret Del Monte canning factory. Cans, cans, cans, everywhere you look.

I ask, "Where is the fresh sushi?"

No where to be found.

It's true what they say, war really is hell.

August 24, 2011
We stayed up last night with a slumber party.

I spent most of the night afraid to fall asleep, afraid that they'd put my bra in the freezer. It must have been four in the morning before I remembered I'm a boy.

By that time I'd watched Point Break twice. That movie is like 20 years old. The hotel couldn't offer anything newer? Geez, even in Newark they're watching The Beaver.

I feel fat. We ate a lot of candy and potato chips today. I insisted upon calling them "crisps" because if I couldn't be different, I wouldn't be me.

But I feel fat. My ass feels fat. I feel my ass and think, "It feels fat." I feel my ass and think, "I need a shave."

Life is funny that way. Like, lots and lots of times, I've gotten a really bad haircut and wished it would grow out and it took forever. But it seems like I shave my ass one day and the next, it's already time to do it again.

I wonder if I organized an ass shaving party if anyone would show?

I think my real friends would.

But I fear none of my real friends are in Tripoli.

This is just like kindergarten when I pissed my pants and kept saying it was just where I spilled my juice box and all the kids pointed and laughed at me and called me pissy pants.

What was I saying?

August 26th.

Yesterday was so horrible, I couldn't write.

The whole thing has been so horrible, period.

No air conditioning at times. No air conditioning! What kind of a hell hole is this?

I bet you one damn thing, back during WWII, I bet you Patton always had air conditioning. I betcha they didn't f**k with Patton.

So yesterday, we were evacuated by the Red Cross and I saw the true face of war.

It was so scary. It was so ugly.

It took me almost a minute to realize it was Jomana.

The first thing I said to her, I said, "Jomana, where are your pore strips!"

Her pores were so large, you could have hid Muammar Gaddafi in them.

Jomana was crying and, with that skin, who could blame her?

I'm still haunted by those enlarged pores. Even now, of all the things I have seen in the Libyan War, Jomana's pores remain the most frightening. War is hell. Let's hope the next one is catered.

This parody piece is inspired by Matthew Chance's pity party in The Telegraph of London.

Look in the mirror

Barry & Bully

As leftists, we've grown accustomed to many frauds and, these days, that's especially on our side. There's a new faux movement led by such losers as The Nation magazine and Bill Keller of The New York Times to challenge/explore/ridicule the Christianity of Republican candidates for president.

For those who've forgotten, it was less than three years ago that the same 'judges' were insisting Barack Obama's religion and religious background were off limits.

You can't have it both ways.

More importantly, all those pieces you do on Islamic tolerance look like pure crap as you go to great extremes to attack Christians. You may think you're playing fair, but you're not.

And a number of prominent lefties have done more than their share to falsely promote the notion that you can't be left and a Christian. That has hurt the left more than many will ever know.

It's past time that the Katrina vanden Heuvels of this world grew the hell up and stop sticking their huge noses into the religious worship of others. If you want people to respect the right of Muslims to worship freely, then you better start respecting the rights of others to practice religion as well.

And if you ever want to arrive at the point where you stop saying, "Gee, I wish there were more Black people participating in this rally/protest/march," and instead actually have a significant Black presence at your rally/protest/march, you better start grasping the power of the Black church and how you piss on it with every 'let's all laugh at the nutty Christian' piece you type up or deliver over the airwaves.

None of that means you can't call out homophobia, sexism or racism in any religion. But you better do so fairly and across the board.

We don't have time for your cheap stunts, Katrina vanden Heuvel. We can't put up with your continued efforts to destroy the left in order to elect Democrats for whatever current election cycle we're in.

The left needs to be rebuilt. And not because Democrats need votes. The left needs to be rebuilt because the corporations have more control -- and, in fact, now they have personhood -- than they've ever had in this country. We need an active left that can fight for the people.

That means bodies and minds. And that means respecting that some of those bodies and minds have beliefs in souls and choose to worship.

That doesn't mean we attack all the non-believers The Nation and The Progressive chooses to publish. It means we recognize the right to worship as surely as we do the right not to worship and we welcome all who want to stand for equality and the people.

Illustration is Isaiah's "Barry & Bully" from June 28, 2009.

Radio highlight

a radio
This week's pick for radio highlight of the week? KPFA's Flashpoints Radio's Wednesday broadcast which featured a talk Michael Parenti gave on his book tour to promote his latest book The Face of Imperialism. Excerpt.
Michael Parenti: Now what does Libya teach us? I mention Libya in this book but I didn't say that much about it because this book was in production and all before this stuff started here. It came out in April. Libya shows us just what I've been trying to say. Libya's sin was that it had charted a different course. It had a leader, "dictator," as everybody called him. Nobody in the west, by the way Now you tell me in the last 20 years how many of you read and heard [Hosni] Mubarak of Egypt described as a dictator? He was always President Mubarak, isn't that right? That's right. President Mubarak. How many -- how many here hear the Saudi Arabia family described as dictators? No. Saudi Arabia. Man, come on. Libya is like Athens compared to Saudi Arabia. Yeah. It's run -- it's run by the Saudi family with their Wahhabi fanatical Islamics who, you know, throw acid in a woman's face if it is uncovered -- and creepos like that. Okay. So what we had in Libya is a 'humanitarian intervention' -- and I'll end it right here, if you read this book I hope you can anticipate these things --- sponsored by the UN which becomes aerial and ground war against the existing government and the people. Even when the government -- and this is what happened in Yugoslavia, which is in the book, and Iraq -- Even when the government calls and Libya too did it in the second month and offers to negotiate, the attacks continue because the goal is really not a negotiated settlement. The goal is to unsettle. And so they bombed Libya for six months just as they bombed Yugoslavia for two and a half months, almost three months. The bombing is sponsored by the United Nations, not the bombing of Iraq or Yugoslavia. With Yugoslavia, China and Russia vetoed it. This time China and Russia, not that close to or friendly with Libya, just abstained. But even with the UN going in, the attacks in each of these cases is not carried out by the UN, it's carried out by NATO. And behind NATO, it's carried out essentially by the US. And that means massive bombing, destruction of facilities, ports, houses, hospitals, food supply depots and the like. Drones, helicopter gunships strafing civilians. The loss of life estimates 20, 30, 40 a day of Libyan civilians who were the civilians that the NATO forces were 'protecting.' They came in to rescue them -- but to save you, we had to blow you up and kill some of you. Pretenses and lies about atrocities? I remember in the first week, somebody being interviewed -- and I think it was on Amy Goodman to -- and he said, "Yes, 10,000 have been slaughtered by Gaddafi." What? 10,000? The fight had just begun, these small 'rebel' groups, we hear. But somehow Gaddafi had gone out there and he had killed 10,000. Who? Where? What locales? For what motive? What were the disturbances that led him to do that? But these kind of things come up. What you do is you demonize the leader -- whether it's a [Slobodan] Milosevic, a [Manuel] Noriega or Saddam Hussein -- who was a butcher. Saddam Hussein was a killer and a murderer and a torturer. But when he was doing that, they loved him in Washington. They adored him. He was -- he was a staunch ally. They loved him. It's when he got out of line on the oil quotas, that's when they started. It's when he refused to privatize his economy, he kept it state run, and he started training Iraqis in engineering and sending them abroad -- men and women. It's when he kept some of the reforms that the previous democratic government had had. Remember, it was a democratic government back then. And when the US went in and said, "We're going to teach these poor wittle Iraqi-wakis what democracy is, teach them how to do democracy because they don't know." Five thousand year civilization, they don't know how to do democracy. But the Americans, we know how to do democracy. Look at our democracy. Isn't it great? Don't you feel good? I mean, it's the most expensive democracy in the world. We spend 20 billion dollars every four years to elect the president, I mean who wouldn't want to match that democracy? And then the role of the media --again so predictable. Massive demonization of the leader gives license to bomb his people. But not concerned about democracy in Egypt. Not concerned about democracy in Saudi Arabia. See, it's here. Let me go back to the first points of this talk, I'll be wrapping it up now. It's here that the liberal critics come in and say, "You see how confused they are. They're going against Libya because it's not a democracy, but they're giving aid to Saudi Arabia and to the dictator Mubarak for 30 years in Egypt. How confused." They're not confused, you're confused, you stupid ass. They know which democratically elected presidents are theirs and which ones are not that are really, sincerely trying to make changes like [Salvador] Allende was doing and people like that and those are the ones they target. They know which dictators they like and support and work with and which ones they dislike. And you can also see now the death squads will be coming in as in Kosovo and in Iraq. The IMF and the World Bank which Gaddafi kept out of Libya for forty years, they're already getting ready to come in. Oil companies are coming in but that was going to happen anyway because Gaddafi, in the last seven or eight years, he saw what happened to Iraq and he started softening and making overtures and saying, "Okay, SAPs, you can bring them in." Structural Adjustment Programs -- meaning cutting back on the social wage, letting private capitol take over some of the oil companies and all that. He was -- He was beginning to. But not enough. Not enough. He was not a real vassal state. He was not leaving that thing wide open. He was still had certain protections in there and he also had abuses and the like to. The goal is privatization deregulate everything, every body's poorer, every body's weaker. Wipe out the social wage -- that is the social services and the communal needs that are there. The potential enemy state becomes a vassal state. That is just some of the things the book is about.

Another 'proud' moment for The Guardian

In an apparent attempt to smear US House Rep. Dennis Kucinich, England's Guardian newspaper -- a neoliberal publication with a few remaining left voices remaining (a few) that was created to carry the water for the Labour Party -- had an 'exclusive.' Dennis and Gaddafi's regime had contact!!!! Kucincih offered his response:

Washington, Aug 26 - The Guardian newspaper recently reported that it found communications between me and an intermediary regarding a possible visit to Libya.

From the beginning of the conflict, I have led the effort in challenging the Obama Administration’s war in Libya and to seeking a just, peaceful resolution to the conflict. My opposition to the war has been well-known, including through a number of pieces published in The Guardian.

In my efforts to end the war, I have been contacted by many parties – including members of the Gaddafi regime and some with ties to the rebels. Reaching a just and peaceful solution requires listening to all sides.

It has been evident to me from the start that a peaceful resolution of the conflict was possible if that is what the North Atlantic Treaty Organization and its member nations wanted. In June, I proposed my own peace plan derived in part from the efforts of the African Union that called for an immediate ceasefire and which puts forth the principles necessary to create a framework to achieve reconciliation and national unity in Libya through a meaningful process.

During my communication with parties to the conflict, I made it clear that I could not negotiate on behalf of the Administration, but that I was ready to listen and to communicate to Members of Congress ideas for how the conflicts could be resolved peacefully. I also notified Administration officials of what was communicated to me on several occasions.

As we reach almost a half a year in Libya, we know that the use of force and ultimatums that neither side will accept will not end the bloodshed or bring about a just political settlement. As a strong proponent of the use of diplomacy instead of the use of military force, I believe it is my obligation and my right to participate in speech and debate over these critical matters.

Afghan Peace Youths Feel Hopeless (Joan Wile)

Joan Wile is the founder of Grandmothers Against the War and author of Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace.

grandmothers against the war

We're sharing her latest column (the copyright belongs to Joan Wile).

Say Conditions are Worsening
By Joan Wile, author, "Grandmothers Against the War: Getting Off Our Fannies and Standing Up for Peace" (Citadel Press)
On Sunday, Aug. 21, I had the privilege of speaking via conference call with several young people from the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. It was the occasion of what they have termed the "Global Day of Listening," during which the kids spoke with supporters and sympathizers all over the world for approximately 5 and a half hours.
Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers, Bamyan Province, Afghanistan
I was immensely saddened to hear that they are discouraged about the prospects of peace in their beleaguered country. The kids stated more than once that things are worse than they were the last time they held the conference call a few months ago, and that their hopes for peace have dwindled down to almost zero. This was in marked contrast to earlier conversations in which I participated, when they projected a sense of ebullience and hope. I had the impression in those past talks that they felt confident that they could make a difference through their admirable efforts to end the conflicts within their nation.
Yesterday, they expressed their belief that the Afghan people desire that our troops leave their country in a responsible manner as soon as possible, that our military presence there essentially contributes to the decreasing potential for peace. Yet, they see little chance of our withdrawal in the foreseeable future.
The publication recently of a report in numerous Online publications that an agreement is about to be signed which would allow thousands of U.S. troops to remain in Afghanistan until at least 2024 certainly reinforces the young peoples' despair. US Troops May Stay in Afghanistan Until 2024 | Common Dreams
The group (AYPV) of mostly teen-agers is located 100 miles to the north of Kabul in a mountainous province called Bamiyan. Their lives are extremely difficult. By contrast, an average middle-class American youngster's life seems like a rhapsodic fantasy. One of the younger ones, for instance, walks miles daily to obtain fresh water for his family. School is a luxury oftentimes, given that some must work the farms or market potatoes full-time to help support their families. The landscape is desolate, and there is a lack of warm clothing to protect against the extreme cold. Despite their hardships, though, this group of juveniles manages to devote themselves to the Afghan Youth Peace Volunteers. Among their many activities, they cleared through substantial debris to create a Peace Park, in which they planted trees and shrubs.
They have made a number of beautiful short videos very effectively urging peace. (See below.) They've traveled 100 miles through difficult and even perilous terrain to Kabul for their periodic Global Days of Listening.
Their mentor and interpreter is Hakim, a doctor from Singapore, who has spent several years organizing the AYPV, writing eloquent articles promoting their cause, creating and producing their videos, and interpreting in several languages, including excellent and fluent English, for their global conference calls. Influenced by Gandhi and Noam Chomsky's writings, Hakim gave up his private medical practice to focus on leading the young Afghans to pursue peace.
I tried to help them feel more positive as best I could, telling them I had lived many, many years and learned that things often change, even when you don't expect them to. I urged them to keep up their wonderful and inspiring actions, and that we peace grannies (the Granny Peace Brigade, Grandmothers Against the War, Grandmothers for Peace International, and the Raging Grannies, among many) would do the same.
But, they need so much more solace and stimulation than I or any one person could provide. I hope readers of these words will be moved as I was by the plight of these kids we threaten with our instruments of war. Please contact them by writing They are very heartened by words of encouragement from people from other locales, particularly the United States, a principal cause of the chaos they must endure. Ask to be notified of the various ways you can help them
Finally, please watch this very brief video made by the youngsters. They will steal your heart.

Mars Attacks Iraq

Jim: Last week, we wrote "Stop the bombing" and, when we did, we had no idea that later that day civilians would be killed by the bombings. As last week went by, the Turkish government came under increasing criticism for their bombings and for the loss of civilian lives. This led to Friday when they suddenly declared, "It wasn't us! We didn't do that Sunday bombing!" Below is C.I.'s response to that whopper of a lie.

Mars Attacks Iraq

Yes, it sounds like a Tim Burton sequel as well as Paul Krugman's answer to the economic problem; however, Mars attacked Iraq.

The attack took place Sunday and no one has yet figured out whether a positronic ray or rockets were used. Some reports say 7 dead, the mayor of the area has said eight people were killed.

Clever souls, the Martians disguised their space ships as Turkish warplanes. Shamal Aqrawi (Reuters) has reported that "A Reuters witness said he saw six Turkish warplanes take off from a base in southeastern Turkey on Sunday morning but it was not immediately clear where the planes were headed."

The Martians might have gotten away with the attack, had the Turkish government not rushed forward today to insist they did not attack Zar Kali village on Sunday. But at last the truth is known. Myself, I suggest we dispatch Barbarella to combat the Martians -- provided Jane Fonda has time during the West Coast promotion of her new book out, Prime Time.

No, Mars didn't attack Iraq. But that's about as believable as the claims the Turkish government is making today.

Hurriyet Daily News reports, "Turkish General Staff released a press statement on Friday, refuting claims that it killed seven civilians during the bombing campaign against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers' Party, or PKK, on Aug. 21, daily Hürriyet reported on its website." Today's Zaman adds that Turkey's Foreign Ministry "said in a statement released on Friday that reports of the alleged deaths of the civilians do not reflect the truth and that published images of people allegedly killed during the raids were fabricated."

Oh. Okay. So it wasn't Turkey. It was some other body doing the attack. Of course it was much too far to have been Iran (which is shelling another section of northern Iraq). So that really just leaves Mars. Unless of course the Turkish government is accusing the village of renting out a warplane and bombing itself?

Possibly that's exactly what they're saying since they're referring to "alleged deaths" and "published images of people allegedly killed"?

What's happened is that even the government of Turkey grasps that, for international purposes, their military has gone too far and there are too many people outraged around the world. But, as with the Armenian genocide, instead of acknowledging what happened and attempting to address it in an adult manner, the decision's been made to play the child's poker hand of "Did not!" to every charge leveled.

Ivan Watson (CNN) notes, " Iraq's foreign ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador in Baghdad on Thursday to deliver a diplomatic letter protesting Turkey's aerial and artillery bombardment of northern Iraq."

Libyan War (Workers World)

Repost from Workers World:

Speak up now – U.S./NATO out of Libya!

Published Aug 22, 2011 10:02 PM

The NATO powers of Europe and the U.S. are declaring victory after having pounded the small country of Libya for five brutal months. They are claiming that the “rebel” forces they command, whose road to Tripoli was paved by NATO air strikes that knocked out much of Libya’s civil and military capability, now control the capital.

Britain, France, the U.S. and most of the other imperialist bandits have given diplomatic recognition to the grouping they themselves cobbled together. There should be no confusion about who these “democratic” forces are. They are the contras of Nicaragua, the Cuban mercenaries at the Bay of Pigs, and earlier the Manchukuo puppet regime set up by Japan to facilitate its imperialist invasion of China.

After the exposure of all the trickery and outright lying that U.S. governments used to mask their criminal aggression against Iraq and Afghanistan, there is no excuse for any progressive person to act confused and stand on the fence. The motives of Washington and Wall Street for this latest aggression are clear and unambiguous.

Just as in Iraq, there is a big economic motive on the part of the small group of politically powerful, transnational companies that control the world’s oil. Libya, with a population of only 6 million people, has the largest oil reserves in Africa. The giant energy companies of Britain, France, Italy and the U.S. have for months been in a ruthless competition over who will get the biggest spoils from this undeclared war. While the front pages may talk about Libya in terms of freedom and democracy, the business sections of the same imperialist newspapers focus on the bottom line: oil profits.

Moreover, the U.S. ruling class sees breaking down Libya as an opening for further penetration into sub-Saharan Africa and implementation of its plans for military domination of the entire continent through Africom – the Pentagon’s new Africa command structure.

However, the Libyan people’s resistance has been heroic. For nearly half a year they have stood up to not only bombs but a blast of propaganda worthy of Hitler’s Joseph Goebbels. Around the world, in every language, the corporate media have depicted the aggressors as angels of mercy, even as they systematically terrorized the people of Libya with nearly 7,500 air strike sorties that have deprived this desert nation of electricity, water, food and fuel. With its oil wealth, Libya has built a modern, largely urban environment. As in Iraq, this raised the people’s quality of life but also left them more vulnerable to the damage that high-explosive bombs can do to a city’s power supply, water pipes and purification plants, roads and ports.

The media are now in a feeding frenzy over who can use the vilest, most racist terms to describe Col. Moammar Gadhafi, whom the West has never forgiven for having supported African freedom struggles and nationalized Libya’s oil. Having personalized the issue – “Gadhafi must go!” – the U.S. government and the servile media are trying to whip up a lynch mob mentality that is supposed to climax with the capture or assassination of Gadhafi – after which their cameras and reporters will go elsewhere while the people’s wealth is partitioned out among the imperialist bandits and their henchmen. That, at any rate, is the scenario.

As this is written, those defending Libya from the new colonialism of NATO are reportedly continuing to fight the “rebels” in Tripoli. Despite all the air cover and the presence of British, French and undoubtedly U.S. special forces on the ground, taking over this city of 2 million people is not a cakewalk. The resistance to imperialism can take many forms, especially among a people who have been armed by the Libyan government.

Anyone who stands for the right of nations to self-determination, who understands the predatory character of the U.S. wars and occupations in Iraq and Afghanistan, who believes in people before profits and is for jobs and housing and education, not more billions for the Pentagon, should speak up now against this atrocity being committed in north Africa.

And we should remember that this dirty war is happening when desperate times have come to hundreds of millions of workers all over the world. A prolonged capitalist economic crisis eats away at their livelihoods and safety nets. The imperialist countries whose ruling classes have fattened the most off the resources and labor of the oppressed nations of Africa, Asia and Latin America must now destroy jobs at home and slash social budgets to guarantee the profits of the billionaires.

Whatever happens in Libya over the next few days and weeks, one thing is clear: It is becoming more and more difficult for the imperialist powers, despite all their death-dealing weaponry, to keep the billions of workers and oppressed people around the world under their iron heel.

This is not the dawn of imperialism, when a few thousand soldiers armed with rifles and field guns could be sent overseas to drown a people’s resistance in blood while finance capital spun its web around the local elites.

This is the age of rotting, moribund imperialism when the profit system is undercutting its own markets, pauperizing workers everywhere in a chase for ever greater profits while production stagnates. It is the age of high-tech war and high-tech production, both of which require enormous capital outlays at the expense of the shrinking class of producers.

In the imperialist countries, all of which are now home to workers of many nationalities, it is an age of awakening internationalism, class solidarity and resistance to the hardships that imperialist war brings to those at home as well as abroad.

U.S. and NATO out of Libya! The struggle to end imperialism and wage slavery continues!


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.

"Mars Attacks Iraq" and "I Hate The War" -- most requested highlights of the week.

Isaiah's The World Today Just Nuts "Got A Vacation To Take Care Of First" -- We're with Isaiah, if you've got a plan, present it.

"Kat's Korner: It's not easy being assembly lined" -- Kat's incredible review of the new Muppets 'tribute' album.

"Bell Pepper Soup in the Kitchen" -- Trina offers a summer recipe.

"Iraq snapshot," "Nick Ashford has passed away," "the boss," "Continuous errors from the press," "Crusty Lips is still around" and "Nick Ashford" -- community coverage of Nick Ashford's passing.

"Our new client-state Libya," "The Libyan War," "Mahdi needs your help," "Libyan War"and "The Libyan War" -- some of the Libyan War coverage in the community.

"More and more Americans disapprove" and "THIS JUST IN! PRINCESS BARRY IS NOT LOVED!" -- Cedric and Wally explain the polls.

"Fakes" -- Betty calls out the phonies.

"ObamaCare out to destroy America" -- Trina serves up the basic truth.

"the patriot act" -- Before caught on, Rebecca was already on the job.

"A very telling moment" -- Ruth explains how some moments explain everything in a brief second.

"The flat 'victory'" and "Idiot of the week" -- Kat and Mike on Barry O.

"Mildred Pierce," "Carole Lombard" and "Role Models" -- Stan covers movies and Ann covers radio:

"Caroline Speaks" -- Isaiah dips into the archives.

"Friends With Benefits" -- Ruth looks at TV.

"Idiots on the road" -- Kat shares a snapshot from the road.

"The Fairness Act is dead" -- Marcia notes its passing.

"The serving wench who mistook herself for a princess" -- Elaine's wonderful post to an uptight prig from Al Jazeera.

"Barry O on another spending spree" and "THIS JUST IN! HE GIVES YOUR MONEY AWAY!" -- He does love to spend your money, doesn't he?

"Lynne" -- Marcia on Lynne Stewart.

"Idiot of the week" -- Mike picks the 'winner.'

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