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In This Edition

George McGovern explores, "Calling A Time Out."

Uri Avnery lives, "On The Wrong Side."

Victoria Stewart is, "Walking The Walk."

Jim Hightower waves goodbye to, "Grumpy Bushites."

Greg Palast explains, "Why An Asshole Is Always In Charge."

Ted Rall sees, "Hopelessness You Can Believe In."

Paul Krugman studies, "Bad Faith Economics."

Chris Floyd reports, "Thus Sprach Barack."

Mike Adams finds, "India's Waterways A Toxic Stew of Pharmaceutical Chemicals Dumped From Big Pharma Factories."

Mike Folkerth announces, "The Limits To Growth Have Arrived."

Robert Fisk concludes, "So Far, Obama's Missed The Point On Gaza...."

Cynthia McKinney writes Barry a letter, "Mr. President: Give Us A Clean Break From War."

Lobbyist William J. Lynn wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald reveals, "The Newest Fear-Mongering Campaign From The Right And The Media."

Mary Pitt asks, "Whaddaya Gonna Do?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department 'The White House.Org' returns with, "Full Text Of President Bush's Emotional Farewell Speech Cataloguing His Unparalleled Competence And Intelligence" but first Uncle Ernie declares, "We Will Have These Moments To Remember."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of John Sherffius with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Tom Tomorrow, Kevin Siers, Adam Zyglis, Mike Adams, The Hertik, CAM, Peter LaVigna, The White House.Org, Ted Rall, Mrs. Satan's Blogspot.Com, Silver Pictures, Issues & Alibis.Org and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

The Quotable Quote...
The Dead Letter Office...
The Cartoon Corner...
To End On A Happy Note...
Have You Seen This...
Parting Shots...
Zeitgeist The Movie...

Welcome one and all to "Uncle Ernie's Issues & Alibis."

We Will Have These Moments To Remember
By Ernest Stewart

When other nights and other days
May find us gone our separate ways
We will have these moments to remember
Moments To Remember ~ The Four Ladds

"Israel is a strong ally of the United States. They will not stop being a strong ally of the United States.
And I will continue to believe that Israel's security is paramount.." ~~~ Barrak Obama to Al Arabiya

But I'm not giving in an inch to fear
Cos I promised myself this year
I feel like I owe it to someone
Almost Cut My Hair ~~~ David Crosby

Your Issues & Alibis staff

Back on December 12th, 2000, when I decided to put my life on hold and do what I could to stop the judicial coup d'etat that had just gone down, I never imagined I'd still be at it eight years later. Surely, I thought, the Sheeple would soon rise up and overthrow the coup either in the streets or in the 2004 elections. My na‘ve ass! I figured that no later than January 20th, 2005 I could resume my old life and finish the books I was working on but, as Robert Burns once said,"The best laid schemes o' mice and men Gang aft a-gley!"

When the 2004 election was stolen electronically, I looked forward to 2008 thinking that by then the people would have finally awoken to the acts of sedition and treason and would install someone in the White House who would put the traitors on trial for their many crimes against humanity and the Constitution. I should have listened to H. L. Mencken who said, "Nobody ever went broke underestimating the taste of the American public." Or remembered what Will Rogers once said, "I belong to no organized party. I am a Democrat."

Here it is, 2009, we're putting out our 411th edition and I'm no closer to being able to get back to my life than I was when our first edition came out on February 1, 2001!

Our current boss has a lot more in common with George Bush than he does with the American people and is continuing most of the Bush junta's crimes. Of course, I expected nothing less having learned years ago that the fix is in and has been in since before "the Revolution." Just because our new boss is a different color doesn't mean he is any different than the white "good old boys" in the backroom. The same people are still pulling the strings. All the fuss and fury coming from the far right side of the aisle is merely smoke and mirrors! If a Rethuglican doesn't tell at least 10 lies a day, they'll explode!

So, it's back to the trenches I go, fighting the good fight for you and the world. Hang tough America; it looks to be a long and bumpy flight!

L~R cub reporter Mike Wrathell ~ Victoria Stewart ~ Uncle Ernie

In Other News

The New Boss was out and about the other day taping an interview with our lap dog news network in Arabia. Based in Dubai and owned by an old Bush crime family Saudi friend, the Al Arabiya network aired Obama's speech to convince Islam that we're really not the Great Satan, after all, and no one really has anything to fear when our bombers fill Arab skies. He went to Al Arabiya, as did the old boss, to try and shuck and jive the Muslims because Al Jazeera would have laughed in his face. Besides, Al Jazeera was busy documenting the Israeli war crimes inside the Gaza Ghetto!

Barry gave this song and dance the same day Pakistanis were burying women and children dead from his latest attack inside Pakistan which not only pissed off and turned into terrorists all the surviving family members but sent another shock wave across Pakistan which had been teetering on the brink of a reactionary Muslim revolution. This revolution will make our CIA controlled stooges "Al Qaeda" look like alter-boys by comparison and will have that lovely nuclear inventory which will no doubt be the beginning of a very short and very loud WWIII. This will be followed by a very quiet and peaceful period until the dolphins evolve one more step and invent the espresso machine!

In between pledging his undying allegiance to Israel, Barry trotted out his family heritage and talked about his Muslim family, something that he tried to hide during the election. He also talked about his own experience as a Muslim in a Muslim world. It's too bad that it's his white, Christian half that has its finger on the launch button and will direct an otherwise bored teenage girl sitting inside a box out in Nevada to launch a "Hellfire" missile from a "Predator" remote controlled air platform and another group of terrorist children, hiding out in a kindergarten classroom, will join Allah in the afterlife.

Is it just the old "carrot and stick approach," "good cop, bad cop" or is Barry just counting on all of Islam not to have seen, (banned by fatwa) the "Wizard of Oz?" Ergo, "Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain." You know, the one that's pulling Barry's strings!

And Finally

This has been one of those weeks when there were way too many things to do and too little time to do them, what with the special edition and all. This third piece was going to be about the 50th anniversary of the day that music died, i.e., the plane crash that killed Buddy Holly, Ritchie Valens and J.P. "The Big Bopper" Richardson. However, since "the music" didn't really die (just the above three rockers) on February 2, 1959 I looked for something else. I didn't have far to look!

Because when the news that the BBC and Sky News refused to run a charity ad for the Disasters Emergency Committee on the Gaza Ghetto reached me, I decided to explore that instead and wrote the BBC a long, nasty letter that they actually responded to. They responded with a typical song and dance as to why they, like the American media, want to stay neutral or at least that's what their Zionist controllers wanted them to say. However, their BS and Zionist control, like American CBS, CNN, MSNBC, ABC, NBC, and PBS Zionist control, is again hardly news. I'd trust the BBC to tell the actual truth about as far as I could comfortably spit out a very large sewer rat!

Finally, daughter Ariel suggested that her mom and I write blogs in our copious free time. Since Ariel recently got her masters and her mom and I fell just a little short of obtaining ours, we did give it some thought. After all, these "whiz kids" could be right!

I've been asked many times over the years why I don't write a blog and I concluded that I didn't find myself all that fascinating and what with the 60 hours a week I spend on the magazine, I certainly don't have the time. I would have the time if I put down the magazine. I would also have that remaining 40 hours a week to find gainful employment at the newspaper down the street that has been looking for an editor for the last 6 months or I could go back on radio (or in "nudie bars")as your "Hard Rock" ~ "Rockin' Blues" wicked old Uncle Ernie did for some 30 years. Either of which would soon fill our empty coffers, something the readership has failed to do this year! Still, my conclusion is it's like David Crosby said in "Almost Cut My Hair" because "I feel like I owe it to someone!" Peace, Ya'll!


We don't sell our readers new cars, fancy homes or designer clothes. We don't advocate consumerism nor do we offer facile solutions to serious problems. We do, however, bring together every week writers and activists who are not afraid to speak the truth about our country and our world. The articles we print are not for the faint of heart.

As access to accurate information becomes more difficult and free speech and the exchange of ideas becomes more restricted and controlled, small publications and alternative presses disappear. Issues and Alibis may soon join that list.

We aren't asking for much-not thousands of dollars a month, not tens of thousands a year. What we need is simply enough money to cover expenses for the magazine. A few thousand dollars a year. A few hundred dollars a month. We cannot continue to go into debt to publish Issues and Alibis but at the same time we cannot, in good conscience, go quietly about our daily lives, remaining silent in face of the injustices perpetrated by our leaders and our government. So we need your help. We need your spare change. A dollar, five dollars, whatever you can contribute. Every penny makes a difference.

Ernest & Victoria Stewart


06-18-1988 ~ 01-24-2009
Mariana, we hardly knew ye!

03-18-1932 ~ 01-27-2009
Tell Daryl Van Horne I said hi!

06-03-1952 ~ 01-27-2009
You're "Free as a Bird" now!


The "W" theatre trailers are up along with the new movie poster and screen shots from the film. They are all available at the all-new "W" movie site: Both trailers are on site and may be downloaded; the new trailer can be seen with Flash on site. You can download in either PC or Mac formats. I'm in the new trailer as myself but don't blink or you'll miss me! The trailers are also available on YouTube along with a short scene from the film.


We get by with a little help from our friends!
So please help us if you can...?


So how do you like the 2nd coup d'etat so far?
And more importantly, what are you planning on doing about it?

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2009 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 8 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. In his spare time he is an actor, writer and an associate producer for the new motion picture "W The Movie."

Calling A Time Out
By George McGovern

As you settle into the Oval Office, Mr. President, may I offer a suggestion? Please do not try to put Afghanistan aright with the U.S. military. To send our troops out of Iraq and into Afghanistan would be a near-perfect example of going from the frying pan into the fire. There is reason to believe some of our top military commanders privately share this view. And so does a broad and growing swath of your party and your supporters.

True, the United States is the world's greatest power - but so was the British Empire a century ago when it tried to pacify the warlords and tribes of Afghanistan, only to be forced out after excruciating losses. For that matter, the Soviet Union was also a superpower when it poured some 100,000 troops into Afghanistan in 1979. They limped home, broken and defeated, a decade later, having helped pave the way for the collapse of the Soviet Union.

It is logical to conclude that our massive military dominance and supposedly good motives should let us work our will in Afghanistan. But logic does not always prevail in South Asia. With belligerent Afghan warlords sitting atop each mountain glowering at one another, the one factor that could unite them is the invasion of their country by a foreign power, whether British, Russian or American.

I have believed for some time that military power is no solution to terrorism. The hatred of U.S. policies in the Middle East - our occupation of Iraq, our backing for repressive regimes such as Egypt and Saudi Arabia, our support of Israel - that drives the terrorist impulse against us would better be resolved by ending our military presence throughout the arc of conflict. This means a prudent, carefully directed withdrawal of our troops from Iraq, Afghanistan, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and elsewhere. We also need to close down the imposing U.S. military bases in this section of the globe, which do so little to expand our security and so much to stoke local resentment.

We cannot evade this reckoning. The British thought they could extend their control over Iraq even while pulling out their ground forces by creating a string of bases in remote parts of the country, away from the observation of most Iraqis. It didn't work. No people that desires independence and self-determination wishes to have another nation's military bases in its country. In 1776, remember, 13 little colonies drove the mighty British Empire from American soil.

In 2003, the Bush administration ordered an invasion of Iraq, supposedly to reduce terrorism. But six years later, there is more terrorism and civil strife in Iraq, not less. The same outcome may occur in Afghanistan if we make it the next American military conflict.

Mr. President, the bright promise of your brilliant campaign for the White House and the high hopes of the millions who thronged the Mall on Tuesday to watch you be sworn in could easily be lost in the mountains and wastelands of Afghanistan.

The Nobel Prize-winning economist Joseph E. Stiglitz has estimated that the war in Iraq will have a total cost of more than $3 trillion. That war has clearly weakened our economy and our armed forces even as it has made the national debt soar. The Bush administration committed itself to Iraq before the recession. Today, with our economy teetering, does the Obama administration believe that it is time for yet another costly war in yet another Muslim country?

I'm aware that some of my fellow Americans regard me as too idealistic. But sometimes idealism is the best realism. And at a minimum, realism and idealism need not be contradictory. The invasion and occupation of Iraq has not only angered Iraqis who have lost family members, neighbors or homes; it has also increased the level of anger throughout the Muslim world and thrown up obstacles to our political leadership in that deeply important part of the planet.

Like you, Mr. President, I don't oppose all wars. I risked my life in World War II to protect our country against genuine danger. But it is the vivid memory of my fellow airmen being shot out of the sky on all sides of me in a war that I believe we had to fight that makes me cautious about sending our youth into needless conflicts that weaken us at home and abroad, and may even weaken us in the eyes of God.

As you have noted, Mr. President, we take pride in our soldiers who conduct themselves bravely. But as you have also said, some of these soldiers have served two, three and even four tours in dangerous combat. Many of them have come home with enduring brain and nerve damage and without arms and legs. These troops need rest, rehabilitation and reunions with their families.

So let me suggest a truly audacious hope for your administration: How about a five-year time-out on war - unless, of course, there is a genuine threat to the nation?

During that interval, we could work with the U.N. World Food Program, plus the overseas arms of the churches, synagogues, mosques and other volunteer agencies to provide a nutritious lunch every day for every school-age child in Afghanistan and other poor countries. Such a program is now underway in several countries approved by Congress and the United Nations, under the auspices of the George McGovern-Robert Dole International Food for Education and Child Nutrition Act. (Forgive the self-serving title.) Although the measure remains painfully underfunded, with the help of other countries, we are reaching millions of children. We could supplement these efforts with nutritional packages for low-income pregnant and nursing mothers and their infants from birth through the age of 5, as is done here at home by WIC, the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

Is this proposal pie-in-the-sky? I don't think so. It's food in the stomachs of hungry kids. It would draw them to school and enable them to learn and grow into better citizens. It would cost a small fraction of warfare's cost, but it might well be a stronger antidote to terrorism. There will always be time for another war. But hunger can't wait.
(c) 2009 George McGovern, a former senator from South Dakota, was the Democratic nominee for president in 1972.

On The Wrong Side
By Uri Avnery

OF ALL the beautiful phrases in Barack Obama's inauguration speech, these are the words that stuck in my mind: "You are on the wrong side of history."

He was talking about the tyrannical regimes of the world. But we, too, should ponder these words

In the last few days I have heard a lot of declarations from Ehud Barak, Tzipi Livni, Binyamin Netanyahu and Ehud Olmert. And every time, these eight words came back to haunt me: "You are on the wrong side of history!"

Obama was speaking as a man of the 21st century. Our leaders speak the language of the 19th century. They resemble the dinosaurs which once terrorized their neighborhood and were quite unaware of the fact that their time had already passed.

DURING THE rousing celebrations, again and again the multicolored patchwork of the new president's family was mentioned.

All the preceding 43 presidents were white Protestants, except John Kennedy, who was a white Catholic. 38 of them were the descendants of immigrants from the British isles. Of the other five, three were of Dutch ancestry (Theodor and Franklin D. Roosevelt , as well as Martin van Buren) and two of German descent (Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower.)

The face of Obama's family is quite different. The extended family includes whites and the descendents of black slaves, Africans from Kenya, Indonesians, Chinese from Canada, Christians, Muslims and even one Jew (a converted African-American). The two first names of the president himself, Barack Hussein, are Arabic.

This is the face of the new American nation - a mixture of races, religions, countries of origin and skin-colors, an open and diverse society, all of whose members are supposed to be equal and to identify themselves with the "founding fathers." The American Barack Hussein Obama, whose father was born in a Kenyan village, can speak with pride of "George Washington, the father of our nation," of the "American Revolution" (the war of independence against the British), and hold up the example of "our ancestors," who include both the white pioneers and the black slaves who "endured the lash of the whip." That is the perception of a modern nation, multi-cultural and multi-racial: a person joins it by acquiring citizenship, and from this moment on is the heir to all its history.

Israel is the product of the narrow nationalism of the 19th century, a nationalism that was closed and exclusive, based on race and ethnic origin, blood and earth. Israel is a "Jewish State," and a Jew is a person born Jewish or converted according to Jewish religious law (Halakha). Like Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, it is a state whose mental world is to a large extent conditioned by religion, race and ethnic origin.

When Ehud Barak speaks about the future, he speaks the language of past centuries, in terms of brute force and brutal threats, with armies providing the solution to all problems. That was also the language of George W. Bush who last week slinked out of Washington, a language that already sounds to the Western ear like an echo from the distant past.

The words of the new president are ringing in the air:"Our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please." The key words were "humility and restraint."

Our leaders are now boasting about their part in the Gaza War, in which unbridled military force was unleashed intentionally against a civilian population, men, women and children, with the declared aim of "creating deterrence." In the era that began last Tuesday, such expressions can only arouse shudders.

BETWEEN Israel and the United States a gap has opened this week, a narrow gap, almost invisible - but it may widen into an abyss.

The first signs are small. In his inaugural speech, Obama proclaimed that "We are a nation of Christians and Muslims, Jews and Hindus - and nonbelievers." Since when? Since when do the Muslims precede the Jews? What has happened to the "Judeo-Christian Heritage?" (A completely false term to start with, since Judaism is much closer to Islam than to Christianity. For example: neither Judaism nor Islam supports the separation of religion and state.)

The very next morning, Obama phoned a number of Middle East leaders. He decided to make a quite unique gesture: placing the first call to Mahmoud Abbas, and only the next to Olmert. The Israeli media could not stomach that. Haaretz, for example, consciously falsified the record by writing - not once but twice in the same issue - that Obama had called "Olmert, Abbas, Mubarak and King Abdallah" (in that order).

Instead of the group of American Jews who had been in charge of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict during both the Clinton and Bush administrations, Obama, on his very first day in office, appointed an Arab-American, George Mitchell, whose mother had come to America from Lebanon at age 18, and who himself, orphaned from his Irish father, was brought up in a Maronite Christian Lebanese family.

These are not good tidings for the Israeli leaders. For the last 42 years, they have pursued a policy of expansion, occupation and settlements in close cooperation with Washington. They have relied on unlimited American support, from the massive supply of money and arms to the use of the veto in the Security Council. This support was essential to their policy. This support may now be reaching its limits.

< It will happen, of course, gradually. The pro-Israel lobby in Washington will continue to put the fear of God into Congress. A huge ship like the United States can change course only very slowly, in a gentle curve. But the turn-around started already on the first day of the Obama administration.

This could not have happened, if America itself had not changed. That is not a political change alone. It is a change in the world-view, in mental outlook, in values. A certain American myth, which is very similar to the Zionist myth, has been replaced by another American myth. Not by accident did Obama devote to this so large a part of his speech (in which, by the way, there was not a single word about the extermination of the Native Americans).

The Gaza War, during which tens of millions of Americans saw the horrible carnage in the Strip (even if rigorous self-censorship cut out all but a tiny part), has hastened the process of drifting apart. Israel, the brave little sister, the loyal ally in Bush's "War on Terror," has turned into the violent Israel, the mad monster, which has no compassion for women and children, the wounded and the sick. And when winds like these are blowing, the Lobby loses height.

The leaders of official Israel do not notice it. They do not feel, as Obama put it in another context, that "the ground has shifted beneath them." They think that this is no more than a temporary political problem that can be set right with the help of the Lobby and the servile members of Congress.

Our leaders are still intoxicated with war and drunk with violence. They have re-phrased the famous saying of the Prussian general, Carl von Clausewitz into: "War is but a continuation of an election campaign by other means." They compete with each other with vainglorious swagger for their share of the "credit." Tzipi Livni, who cannot compete with the men for the crown of warlord, tries to outdo them in toughness, in bellicosity, in hard-heartedness.

The most brutal is Ehud Barak. Once I called him a "peace criminal", because he brought about the failure of the 2000 Camp David conference and shattered the Israeli peace camp. Now I must call him a "war criminal," as the person who planned the Gaza War knowing that it would murder masses of civilians.

In his own eyes, and in the eyes of a large section of the public, this is a military operation which deserves all praise. His advisors also thought that it would bring him success in the elections. The Labor party, which had been the largest party in the Knesset for decades, had shrunk in the polls to 12, even 9 seats out of 120. With the help of the Gaza atrocity it has now gone up to 16 or so. That's not a landslide, and there's no guarantee that it will not sink again.

What was Barak's mistake? Very simply: every war helps the Right. War, by its very nature, arouses in the population the most primitive emotions - hate and fear, fear and hate. These are the emotions on which the Right has been riding for centuries. Even when it's the "Left" that starts a war, it's still the Right that profits from it. In a state of war, the population prefers an honest-to-goodness Rightist to a phony Leftist.

This is happening to Barak for the second time. When, in 2000, he spread the mantra "I have turned every stone on the way to peace, / I have made the Palestinians unprecedented offers, / They have rejected everything, / There is no one to talk with" - he succeeded not only in blowing the Left to smithereens, but also in paving the way for the ascent of Ariel Sharon in the 2001 elections. Now he is paving the way for Binyamin Netanyahu (hoping, quite openly, to become his minister of defense).

And not only for him. The real victor of the war is a man who had no part in it at all: Avigdor Liberman. His party, which in any normal country would be called fascist, is steadily rising in the polls. Why? Liberman looks and sounds like an Israeli Mussolini, he is an unbridled Arab-hater, a man of the most brutal force. Compared to him, even Netanyahu looks like a softie. A large part of the young generation, nurtured on years of occupation, killing and destruction, after two atrocious wars, considers him a worthy leader.

WHILE THE US has made a giant jump to the left, Israel is about to jump even further to the right.

Anyone who saw the millions milling around Washington on inauguration day knows that Obama was not speaking only for himself. He was expressing the aspirations of his people, the Zeitgeist.

Between the mental world of Obama and the mental world of Liberman and Netanyahu there is no bridge. Between Obama and Barak and Livni, too, there yawns an abyss. Post-election Israel may find itself on a collision course with post-election America.

Where are the American Jews? The overwhelming majority of them voted for Obama. They will be between the hammer and the anvil - between their government and their natural adherence to Israel. It is reasonable to assume that this will exert pressure from below on the "leaders" of American Jewry, who have incidentally never been elected by anyone, and on organizations like AIPAC. The sturdy stick, on which Israeli leaders are used to lean in times of trouble, may prove to be a broken reed.

Europe, too, is not untouched by the new winds. True, at the end of the war we saw the leaders of Europe - Sarkozy, Merkel, Browne and Zapatero - sitting like schoolchildren behind a desk in class, respectfully listening to the most loathsome arrogant posturing from Ehud Olmert, reciting his text after him. They seemed to approve the atrocities of the war, speaking of the Qassams and forgetting about the occupation, the blockade and the settlements. Probably they will not hang this picture on their office walls.

But during this war masses of Europeans poured into the streets to demonstrate against the horrible events. The same masses saluted Obama on the day of his inauguration.

This is the new world. Perhaps our leaders are now dreaming of the slogan: "Stop the world, I want to get off!" But there is no other world.

YES, WE ARE NOW on the wrong side of history.

Fortunately, there is also another Israel. It is not in the limelight, and its voice is heard only by those who listen out for it. This is a sane, rational Israel, with its face to the future, to progress and peace. In these coming elections, its voice will barely be heard, because all the old parties are standing with their two feet squarely in the world of yesterday.

But what has happened in the United States will have a profound influence on what happens in Israel. The huge majority of Israelis know that we cannot exist without close ties with the US. Obama is now the leader of the world, and we live in this world. When he promises to work "aggressively" for peace between us and the Palestinians, that is a marching order for us.

We want to be on the right side of history. That will take months or years, but I am sure that we shall get there. The time to start is now.
(c) 2009 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Walking The Walk
By Victoria Stewart

"Do as ye will, but harm none." ~~~ Wicca Creed

I have made point of claiming my Southern heritage. My family on all sides has lived and worked in the Carolinas and points south since they arrived in this country a few hundred years ago. Their histories have shaped who I am and the world in which I live. I believed the U.S. made such a concerted effort to separate the south into the region of violence and racism in order to escape the national history of genocide, human trafficking and colonialism. The South has been a scapegoat, painted as worse than it was and so it seemed important on a personal level that I live the truths I had won as a Southerner in the South.

Then I moved here.

When American Gothic first aired on CBS in 1995 I was busy doing other things. In fact, I wasn't even aware of the series until 18 months ago, so imagine my surprise when I found myself living in a town very much like the fictional Trinity, South Carolina. Until I lived in Trinity I thought the term "apartheid south" was just a bit of hyperbolic metaphor, a little overdone. Although I had witnessed appalling racism in Louisiana and the Deep South in the 70's and encountered willfully ignorant bigotry within my own family, I thought, until recently, that we had made progress.

I am fond of saying that we live on the wrong side of the cemetery, an antebellum plot filled with granite and marble memorials bearing names still prominent in local and state politics. With a blithe enthusiasm for new beginnings, we took a little house that met our needs, thinking we could settle in. In short order we discovered our mistake. At work, in stores, in municipal and county offices, people visibly recoiled when I supplied my address. Even though the area was experiencing one of the hottest summers in history, the air became noticeably chill when people-white people- learned I lived in that neighborhood. In the months we have lived here, we have gotten no invitations to attend church, join civic groups or donate to local charities. We are ostracized in ways I have never experienced although I suspect my mid-western Yankee husband is not surprised by this breach in southern hospitality.

And if it is like this for me, with my impeccable bona fides and expertise in Southern culture, what must it be like for others? I have an inkling.

As the months marched on, the economy entered an accelerated freefall and I began to face the scary prospect of being stuck here for an extended period. Scary because when I was I JAFO, I could distance myself from the wretched state of affairs with the rationalization that this wasn't my place, my home, my fight. If the people who live here didn't care, why should I?

But I have grown increasingly troubled. I know it is common for humans to see hypocrisy in everyone but themselves. I strive to make my actions consistent with my values. I believe to my deepest core that we cannot accommodate oppression, violence and hatred in our personal lives and then demand more of our public institutions. And I know that I have been-umm-reserved--in my questions and objections because I know if I upset the wrong people-who, strangely, are the right people- I could lose my job-or worse.

It has been a lesson in humility.

The open and patently illegal racial and age discrimination built into the policies and procedures of the government institution where I work had never been questioned. And it was made quite clear that they never should be. South Carolina is, after all, an "at will" state. So I have hesitated out of fear, fear of unemployment in a depression and fear of physical reprisals. For the first time in my life, I have not acted vigorously to oppose a wrong where I found it. I have tried to placate my conscience with small, unobtrusive rebellions and subtle insubordinations. It hasn't worked.

A very wise woman once cautioned me against ignoring the responsibilities of my own life while rushing to do something bigger. I try to keep that in mind, especially when I sit down to write this column, yet I have advocated publicly for social justice, personal responsibility and individual power while condoning daily injustices with my silence. And it just doesn't feel right.

I don't think I can change the whole of the rot I have discovered in the recesses of my much-loved south. I know, now, that I am not the norm, that the "new" south is perilously close to the old and that the 21st century and an African-American president are not nearly as much change as we need. I do not think I can change the world but I do believe I can make a little difference here in Trinity. And reclaim a lost bit of my soul.
(c) 2009 Victoria Stewart is the editor of Issues & Alibis magazine.

Grumpy Bushites

After the inauguration of the new president, Dick Cheney was grumpy. OK, he's always grumpy, but this was grumpier than usual.

What irked Dick was that his buddy Bush had not pardoned the convicted felon, Scooter Libby, who had served for years as Cheney's political hitman. "I strongly believe that he deserved a presidential pardon," Dick griped the day after he and Bush left office.

Come on Cheney - Bush had already commuted Scooter's sentence, so your boy never did a day of jail time. Besides, it's your own legal prospects you might want to focus on.

But the ex-veep was not the only grump after the inauguration. Some of George W's top staffers were PO'd by the new president's inaugural address. "There were a few sharp elbows that really rankled and I felt were not as magnanimous as the occasion called for," harrumphed longtime Bush crony, Karen Hughes. "It was pretty clear he was taking shots," groused White House speechwriter Mark Thiessen. And Karl Rove, George W's vituperative political operative, vented that the speech was "a last angry frenzy" intended to malign Bush.

Oh, get a grip! The inauguration was not a farewell party for George. It was a major presidential transformation, and the people of America - and the world - wanted very much to hear Obama say clearly that he would make a sharp break from the autocratic, plutocratic, kleptocratic Bush regime.

Phrases like "restore science to its rightful place," and "we reject as false the choice between our safety and our ideals" were not "sharp elbows" - they were changes that the American people enthusiastically voted for and now expect Obama to deliver.

If the Bushites are unclear about how people feel about them, they should've heard the inaugural crowd's cheer of relief when George W's helicopter lifted off from the Capital grounds to fly him out of town. He's gone! He's gone!
(c) 2009 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Why An Asshole Is Always In Charge
By Greg Palast

John Thain is the guy that looks like a Clark Kent doll you saw grinning from page one of your paper Friday morning. Thain was just fired by Bank of America because the square-jawed executive demanded a $30 million bonus after losing $5 billion in just three months at the bank's Merrill Lynch unit. In addition, Thain spent over a million dollars redecorating his office while, at the same time, the U.S. Treasury was bailing out his company with billions in aid. Thain's office re-do included the installation of a $35,000 toilet bowl.

Thain was robbed. He shouldn't have been fired; he should have gotten a $60 million bonus -- and Obama should immediately hire him as Secretary of the Treasury in place of that tax-dodging lightweight that's been nominated, Timothy Geithner.

Here's the facts, ma'am.

Thain was CEO of Merrill Lynch, the big brokerage firm. On a good day, Merrill is worth zero. A week before it was about to go out of business, Thain sold this busted bag of financial feces to Bank of America for $50 BILLION.

I'd say that's worth a bonus.

But it gets better. When the bag broke and another $5 billion in losses were discovered at Merrill, Thain went to the U.S. Treasury and got ANOTHER $20 BILLION to cover Bank of America's bad financial bet -- from us, the taxpayers.

Now that certainly deserves a bonus. And let's face it, a butthole that big needs a $35,000 toilet.

Instead, the guy that paid the $50 billion, Bank of America Chairman Kenneth Lewis, is keeping his job. Lewis is the same guy that just spent billions more on buying Countrywide Financial, the sub-prime mortgage loan sharks that have brought America to its knees and put Bank of America into effective bankruptcy. (Note to Mr. Lewis: the only thing worse than getting cancer is PAYING for it.)

But dumber than Lewis is the loser who OK'd paying Bank of America for its losses on Merrill, who traded a pile of turds for a stack of gold -- our gold from the U.S. Treasury. That was Tim Geithner, Obama's pick for Treasury Secretary, who's now answering questions at Senate confirmation hearings about his funky tax filings.

Tiny Tim was head of the New York Federal Reserve Bank during the Bush regime. Along with Bush's Secretary of the Treasury, Geithner came up with that $700 billion bail-out that loaded banks with loot on their way to insolvency. Bank of America got $25 billion of it to spend on Thain's company Merrill. That was before the extra $20 billion was weedled by Thain.

So why, President Obama, have you given us Tiny Tim to save our sorry nation's economic behind? What's with that?

In another life I was an economist. Really. So here's the economic facts of life: Our valiant young president is going to have to borrow a trillion dollars to bring our economy back from the grave. He's got to borrow it, no choice about that. But who in their right minds will lend it to us? I can tell you the number one job of a new Treasury Secretary will be to con Saudi sheiks and Chinese apparatchiks into lending us another trillion (they've already lent $2 trillion).

Who in the world can talk them into it?

The answer came to me after I went this afternoon to see my proctologist, a brilliant doctor with one eye and really long fingers. (OK, I made that up.) The good doctor told me that hoary old joke about the heart and brain and rectum getting into a fight about which one was more important. When the higher organs made fun of the butt-end, the rectum went on strike. After a month, the brain and heart couldn't take it any more -- the whole body was about to explode. So they told the rectum, 'You win.' And the rectum said, Now you know why an asshole's always in charge.

There's our answer. Instead of an easily duped, incompetent weasel like Geithner for Secretary of the Treasury, what we really need is a lying bucket of evil snot, a flaming red take-no-prisoners asshole. A guy like Thain that can sell a piece of crap like Merrill for billions -- twice -- is just what we need to shake down the sheiks. "America for Sale! Cheap!"

And Thain comes with his own gold-plated toilet.
(c) 2009 Greg Palast is a Puffin Foundation Writing Fellow for Investigative Reporting at the Nation Institute, New York. Read the rest of this story by picking up his New York Times bestseller, Armed Madhouse Join Palast's Network on MySpace, on FaceBook or on YouTube.

Hopelessness You Can Believe In
Why Obama is Scarier Than George W. Bush
By Ted Rall

Dave Eggers preceded his memoir "A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius" with a section titled "Rules and Suggestions for Enjoyment of this Book." It's a brilliant attempt to disarm the reader and preempt criticism. Among its warnings, referring to chapter four: "The book thereafter is kind of uneven." (Disclosure: Eggers edited my work at two magazines in the '90s.)

Barack Obama shares Eggers' talent for managing expectations. "There will be false starts, there will be setbacks, there will be frustrations and disappointments," Obama said upon his arrival in Washington. "I will make some mistakes." In other words, don't expect much.

The soaring optimistic rhetoric of the campaign ("yes we can") is no more, replaced by the sober, string-synced cello strains of Yo-Yo Ma. So is Obama's million-dollar smile. The Dour One is demanding patience. And he's getting it, for now: "Most respondents [to the New York Times/CBS News poll taken January 19th] said they thought it would take Mr. Obama two years or more to deliver on campaign promises to improve the economy, expand health care coverage and end the war in Iraq."

Setting the bar low seems to be working. Seventy-nine percent of Americans say they're optimistic about the next four years under Obama.

Sad, pathetic Americans! Like a dog that's been beaten eight long years, they're so psyched about the fact that their new master doesn't drool and speaks coherent English that they'll follow him anywhere. The media is in love with The One and so, therefore, is the public. No one questions him.

Frightening but true: Barack Obama is even more dangerous to liberal ideals than George W. Bush. Obama, who didn't appoint a single liberal to a senior position, has neutered the left. "Protesters, a fixture of every inauguration since President Nixon's in 1973, were few and scattered on Tuesday as Barack Obama assumed the presidency," reported the Times.

The antiwar types have thrown away their signs. The sight of the first black president has the fair weather pacifists goo-goo-ga-gaing over a man who plans to transfer U.S. occupation troops and the carnage they bring from Iraq to Afghanistan.

No demonstrators in the streets. No reporters asking tough questions. A political honeymoon based on nothing. Didn't we learn anything from 9/11, when 90 percent of Americans, and the media, and Congress, issued George W. Bush a similar blank check?

People think things will be better four years from now, but there's little reason for hope. America faces radical problems. Radical problems require radical solutions. Unfortunately, Obama's proposals, and the moderates and conservatives with whom he has filled his cabinet, are woefully inadequate to the challenges at hand.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman calculates that there's at least a $2.1 trillion hole in the economy--an "output gap" between production capacity and consumers' ability to buy goods. Filling that hole would require direct investment (like Obama's public works proposal) of at least $1.5 trillion. But Obama's plan only contains $355 billion, of which only $136 billion would be spent within the next two years. It's better than nothing, but not by much. Obama wants to plug a gushing artery with a Band-Aid one- tenth the size of the wound.

It's churlish to predict that Obama's approach won't work. But even Obama admits it won't. He promises to create 4 million new jobs by 2011. But we're currently losing 4 million jobs every five months. If Obama delivers, 25 million Americans will have lost their jobs by 2011. (The math differential is due to the fact that population growth increases the workforce by 2.8 million jobs annually.) With unemployment figures like that, no one will doubt that we're in a real Depression: breadlines, suicides, the whole bit.

Obama's order to close Guant∑namo and the CIA's secret "black site" torture prisons within a year is heartening. But as with his other initiatives, it doesn't go far enough. The detainees should have been freed, paid a generous compensation package, and received a formal apology by the U.S. government on Day One of his Administration. Gitmo should have been shuttered immediately. All the torture criminals from Bush to the U.S. Navy guards should have been thrown in prison and put on trial.

Instead, Obama's goons (they're his now) will keep torturing the detainees for at least another year. Some detainees may still be subjected to kangaroo courts. And Obama's executive orders contain weasel words that let him take back America's renewed commitment to constitutional rights with the snap of a finger. The orders, reports the Times, "could also allow Mr. Obama to reinstate the CIA's detention and interrogation operations in the future, by presidential order, as some have argued would be appropriate if Osama bin Laden or another top-level leader of Al Qaeda were captured."

Meanwhile, the Bush Administration creeps who personally ordered the murder and torture of innocents kidnapped by the military, including young children, will not face prosecution.

During the campaign, Obama promised there would be "no more illegal wiretapping of American citizens." He has since changed his mind. Obama will keep the USA-Patriot Act. Habeas corpus, eliminated by the Military Commissions Act, won't come back.

The biggest reason hope doesn't stand a chance is Afghanistan, where Obama plans to send the soldiers he wants to pull out of Iraq. The international community, which understands that the 2001 U.S. invasion of Afghanistan had no more to do with 9/11 than the war against Iraq, will not take kindly to this escalation. Moreover, the war against Afghanistan is even less winnable than Iraq. At a time when we can least afford foreign adventurism, Obama plans to pour billions of dollars and thousands of lives into an Afghan charnel house with no prospect of victory.

Bush faced energetic opposition. Obama, on the other hand, is adored by the very people who should be shouting at him the loudest. Conservatives lost their credibility by supporting Bush, leaving Republican voices out in the cold.

Give the man a chance? Not me. I've sized up him, his advisors and their plans, and already found them sorely wanting. It won't take long, as Obama's failures prove the foolishness of Americans' blind trust in him. Obama isn't our FDR. He's our Mikhail Gorbachev: likeable, intelligent, well-meaning, and ultimately doomed by his insistence on being reasonable during unreasonable times.
(c) 2009 Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?" an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy challenge.)

Bad Faith Economics
By Paul Krugman

As the debate over President Obama's economic stimulus plan gets under way, one thing is certain: many of the plan's opponents aren't arguing in good faith. Conservatives really, really don't want to see a second New Deal, and they certainly don't want to see government activism vindicated. So they are reaching for any stick they can find with which to beat proposals for increased government spending.

Some of these arguments are obvious cheap shots. John Boehner, the House minority leader, has already made headlines with one such shot: looking at an $825 billion plan to rebuild infrastructure, sustain essential services and more, he derided a minor provision that would expand Medicaid family-planning services - and called it a plan to "spend hundreds of millions of dollars on contraceptives."

But the obvious cheap shots don't pose as much danger to the Obama administration's efforts to get a plan through as arguments and assertions that are equally fraudulent but can seem superficially plausible to those who don't know their way around economic concepts and numbers. So as a public service, let me try to debunk some of the major antistimulus arguments that have already surfaced. Any time you hear someone reciting one of these arguments, write him or her off as a dishonest flack.

First, there's the bogus talking point that the Obama plan will cost $275,000 per job created. Why is it bogus? Because it involves taking the cost of a plan that will extend over several years, creating millions of jobs each year, and dividing it by the jobs created in just one of those years.

It's as if an opponent of the school lunch program were to take an estimate of the cost of that program over the next five years, then divide it by the number of lunches provided in just one of those years, and assert that the program was hugely wasteful, because it cost $13 per lunch. (The actual cost of a free school lunch, by the way, is $2.57.)

The true cost per job of the Obama plan will probably be closer to $100,000 than $275,000 - and the net cost will be as little as $60,000 once you take into account the fact that a stronger economy means higher tax receipts.

Next, write off anyone who asserts that it's always better to cut taxes than to increase government spending because taxpayers, not bureaucrats, are the best judges of how to spend their money.

Here's how to think about this argument: it implies that we should shut down the air traffic control system. After all, that system is paid for with fees on air tickets - and surely it would be better to let the flying public keep its money rather than hand it over to government bureaucrats. If that would mean lots of midair collisions, hey, stuff happens.

The point is that nobody really believes that a dollar of tax cuts is always better than a dollar of public spending. Meanwhile, it's clear that when it comes to economic stimulus, public spending provides much more bang for the buck than tax cuts - and therefore costs less per job created (see the previous fraudulent argument) - because a large fraction of any tax cut will simply be saved.

This suggests that public spending rather than tax cuts should be the core of any stimulus plan. But rather than accept that implication, conservatives take refuge in a nonsensical argument against public spending in general.

Finally, ignore anyone who tries to make something of the fact that the new administration's chief economic adviser has in the past favored monetary policy over fiscal policy as a response to recessions.

It's true that the normal response to recessions is interest-rate cuts from the Fed, not government spending. And that might be the best option right now, if it were available. But it isn't, because we're in a situation not seen since the 1930s: the interest rates the Fed controls are already effectively at zero.

That's why we're talking about large-scale fiscal stimulus: it's what's left in the policy arsenal now that the Fed has shot its bolt. Anyone who cites old arguments against fiscal stimulus without mentioning that either doesn't know much about the subject - and therefore has no business weighing in on the debate - or is being deliberately obtuse.

These are only some of the fundamentally fraudulent antistimulus arguments out there. Basically, conservatives are throwing any objection they can think of against the Obama plan, hoping that something will stick.

But here's the thing: Most Americans aren't listening. The most encouraging thing I've heard lately is Mr. Obama's reported response to Republican objections to a spending-oriented economic plan: "I won." Indeed he did - and he should disregard the huffing and puffing of those who lost.
(c) 2009 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

Thus Sprach Barack
Pouring Acid on Gaza's Wounds
By Chris Floyd

Yesterday, we wrote of our eager anticipation of Barack Obama's long-suppressed opinion on the mass slaughter in Gaza. As we all know, the most eloquent, forthright and morally concerned orator of the age kept a demure silence on this subject for weeks, because, he said, "we have only one president at a time," who alone should speak about foreign policy. Of course, that didn't keep the morally concerned orator from speaking freely on almost every other aspect of foreign policy -- Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, etc. But consistency, as they say, is the hobgoblin of small minds, and the brain of the new president -- who has set the world aflame with rhetoric that has never been heard in Washington before, soaring phrases of penetrating uniqueness about freedom, hope, peace, and the enduring greatness of the American people -- is famously large.

Anyway, we have waited, and at last Obama has spoken. Here's what he had to say today, while welcoming Hillary Clinton to the State Department and appointing Establishment grandee George Mitchell as his special envoy to the Middle East:

Let me be clear: America is committed to Israel's security. And we will always support Israel's right to defend itself against legitimate threats. For years, Hamas has launched thousands of rockets at innocent Israeli citizens. No democracy can tolerate such danger to its people, nor should the international community, and neither should the Palestinian people themselves, whose interests are only set back by acts of terror.

To be a genuine party to peace, the quartet has made it clear that Hamas must meet clear conditions: recognize Israel's right to exist; renounce violence; and abide by past agreements. Going forward, the outline for a durable cease-fire is clear: Hamas must end its rocket fire; Israel will complete the withdrawal of its forces from Gaza; the United States and our partners will support a credible anti-smuggling and interdiction regime, so that Hamas cannot rearm.

Yesterday I spoke to President Mubarak and expressed my appreciation for the important role that Egypt played in achieving a cease-fire. And we look forward to Egypt's continued leadership and partnership in laying a foundation for a broader peace through a commitment to end smuggling from within its borders.

There you have it. The invasion of Gaza -- which began after Israel broke the ceasefire, launched provocative and deadly raids inside Gaza, and had also tightened its death-grip blockade to a level quite legitimately comparable to the Warsaw Ghetto -- was actually the fault of (wait for it, wait for it).... the Palestinians. Thus sprach Barack.

But do let's be fair. The new president also feels the pain of the Palestinians in Gaza. He feels it so much that he is going to ensure that any reconstruction in Gaza is controlled by the kleptocracy known as the Palestinian Authority -- the same faction that tried -- with American and Israeli backing -- to overthrow the legitimate, democratically elected government of Palestine, instigating a vicious civil war that, lo and behold, left Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation weak and splintered. Now hear the words of the Compassionate One:

Now, just as the terror of rocket fire aimed at innocent Israelis is intolerable, so, too, is a future without hope for the Palestinians. I was deeply concerned by the loss of Palestinian and Israeli life in recent days and by the substantial suffering and humanitarian needs in Gaza. Our hearts go out to Palestinian civilians who are in need of immediate food, clean water, and basic medical care, and who've faced suffocating poverty for far too long.

Now we must extend a hand of opportunity to those who seek peace. As part of a lasting cease-fire, Gaza's border crossings should be open to allow the flow of aid and commerce, with an appropriate monitoring regime, with the international and Palestinian Authority participating.

Relief efforts must be able to reach innocent Palestinians who depend on them. The United States will fully support an international donor's conference to seek short-term humanitarian assistance and long-term reconstruction for the Palestinian economy. This assistance will be provided to and guided by the Palestinian Authority.

At every point, the control of the "Palestinian Authority" -- which means, of course, the Israeli government -- is stressed. Even Obama's dramatic call to open the crossings that Israel has imposed on the open-air prison of Gaza, where many thousands of people have been living in refugee camps for 60 years, and where the entire 1.5 million-strong population is kept stateless and imprisoned, is carefully hedged: the crossings will require "an appropriate monitoring regime" -- i.e., the same regime that has been monitoring the crossings for years on end: the Israeli government. Of course, the PA -- the former insurgent group that has turned itself into the Judenrat of the occupation, doing the Israeli government's dirty work for them -- is to be cut in on the action, along with unspecified "international participation." Of course, the recent deadly attack on UN buildings in Gaza has given us yet another in a long string of demonstrations of how Israel treats "international participation" within its domains and targeted territories.

Now we can see why Obama kept silent on Gaza while Bush was still in the White House: because he held precisely the same views as Bush on the subject. There is nothing in Obama's statement that could not have been said -- or was not actually said -- by Bush. You couldn't slide a piece of onion-skin paper between the stances of the two men on Gaza.

Meanwhile, Professor As'ad AbuKhalil, the "Angry Arab," takes an equally dim view of today's developments:

Well, it took two longs days before Obama dispelled any notions of a change in US Middle East policy. For some reasons, many Arabs and many American leftists I know (you know yourselves) have wanted to believe so bad that Obama will deviate from the Zionist path of US foreign policy. I knew that it would be a matter of weeks that he would prove me right, but I did not know that he would prove me right in a matter of hours. His speech on the Middle East today could have easily been written by Benjamin Netanyahu....

Obama's speech was quite something. It was like sprinkling sulfuric acid on the wounds of the children in Gaza--those who survived the Israeli terrorist festival of butchery and massacres. His remarks leave you with the impression that there are two sets of problems in the holy land: that there was terrorism against civilians in "southern Israel" and then there is some undefined civilian suffering in Gaza from some undefined natural disaster--an earthquake or hurricane.... He then followed the Zionist line that all aid should pass through the transparent gangs in Ramallah--but that is important because Fatah has a very long record of integrity, transparency, merit, and high ethical standards--along with collaboration with Israel.

AbuKhalil also points us to this analysis of Obama's chosen partner in Middle East peace, the man who was in fact the first foreign leader the new president called upon taking office: Palestinian "president" Mahmoud Abbas. (The quote are required because Abbas' term has actually ended, but he is still somehow president of a rump Palestinian Authority.) From The National:

The reasons for Abbas's demise are few, and they predate the Israeli attack on Gaza: he long ago placed all of his eggs in the Israeli-American basket. Acting as if his chickens had already hatched, his inability to deliver any tangible achievement has instead meant they came home to roost with a vengeance.

Key to this is Abbas's relationship to his people: simply put, it never existed. Arafat saw the Palestinians as the ace in the deck to be played when all else failed, and understood that his leverage with outside actors derived from their conviction that he represented the Palestinian people. If he consistently failed or refused to properly mobilise this primary resource, he at least always held it in reserve.

Abbas has by contrast been an inveterate elitist, who seems to have regarded the Palestinian population as an obstacle to be overcome so that the game of nations could proceed - there are after all only so many seats at the table where great statesmen like George Bush and Ehud Olmert together create the contours of a new Middle East....

Cursed with exceptional self-regard, Abbas has always shown disinterest in the opinions of others. From the moment he convinced himself of the sincerity of Bush's visions, which put the onus on the Palestinians to prove they qualify for membership in the human race and are worthy of being spoken to by Tsipi Livni and Condoleezza Rice, there was no turning back. Henceforth the Palestinian security forces would point their weapons exclusively at their own people, and only Saeb Erakat would be aimed at Israel. At the United Nations, once a primary arena for the Palestinian struggle, Abbas's emissary Riad Mansour was too busy drafting a resolution declaring Hamas a terrorist entity to deal with more trivial Palestinian concerns. It was simply impossible to steer Abbas towards a change of course, let alone a national dialogue that could produce a genuine strategy.

By the expiration of his presidency on January 9, his constitutional status had become the least of his problems. Each and every one of his policies had failed. In the West Bank, settlement expansion was proceeding at an unprecedented pace while the Wall neared final completion, rendering talk of a two-state settlement all but moot.

After Hamas triumphed in the 2006 parliamentary elections, Abbas's ceaseless scheming to remove the Islamists from office and overturn the election's results - characteristically in active partnership with outside forces rather than the Palestinian electorate - was a veritable carnival of folly and incompetence. When Hamas acted first in 2007, it took the Islamists only several days to dispose of those few forces still prepared to fight for Mohammed Dahlan [the PA's ruthless "security" enforcer and much-beloved Washington favorite].

This then is the broken reed upon which Obama proposes to build "a lasting peace in the Middle East." An unconstitutional, totally compromised puppet leader rejected by his people, whom he disdains.

What, wasn't Ahmad Chalabi available?
(c) 2009 Chris Floyd

India's Waterways A Toxic Stew of Pharmaceutical Chemicals Dumped From Big Pharma Factories
By Mike Adams

Many of the pharmaceuticals consumed in the United States are made in India, where labor is cheap and environmental laws are lenient on powerful corporations. U.S. drug companies are exploiting this situation to manufacture hundreds of millions of doses of high-profit pharmaceuticals in India, where ingredients purchased for a few cents can be re-sold to U.S. health patients for hundreds of dollars (the markup on some drugs is literally over 500,000%).

There's something else Big Pharma doesn't want you to know about its drug operations in India: Big Pharma's manufacturing facilities dump millions of doses of toxic pharmaceutical chemicals directly into India's waterways.

Researchers were recently stunned to discover that 100 pounds of a powerful antibiotic called ciprofloxacin was being dumped into a local stream every day! That's a quantity of antibiotics that could treat an entire city of 90,000 people every day.

But that's not all: The same waterway contained an astonishing 21 pharmaceutical chemicals reports the Associated Press, some at levels that were 150 times the highest levels of contamination found in U.S. waterways. (And even the levels found in the U.S. were quite alarming.)

Big Pharma as a major chemical polluter

These findings are now added to the revelations of pharmaceutical contamination unveiled by the Associated Press last year, which found that the public water supplies in virtually all U.S. cities tested were contaminated with pharmaceutical chemicals.

What's emerging from these disturbing discoveries is a picture of Big Pharma as a global corporate polluter that's dumping chemicals into the world's sensitive waterways, polluting villages, cities and aquatic ecosystems around the world.

Under the Bush Administration, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency outright refused to regulate pharmaceuticals as environmental hazards. With Obama in the White House, it remains to be seen whether the new administration will clamp down on pharmaceutical pollution.

Big Pharma now has something in common with Exxon, Cargill, Alcoa and Chevron: The outrageous pollution of the environment with toxic chemicals. But in many ways, Big Pharma's chemicals are far more dangerous. HRT drugs, for example, are toxic at parts per billion, and they're now being found in public water supplies around the world.

Municipal water treatment facilities, by the way, don't remove pharmaceutical chemicals from the water! Whatever HRT drugs, psychiatric drugs or other chemicals that exist in the water are passed right through the water treatment centers which unwisely add yet more chemicals (fluoride and chlorine, typically) to the toxic brew. Citizens drinking public water supplies in India, the U.K., Canada and the United States are now verifiably participating in a grand experiment involving the mass medication of the population with low levels of utterly untested pharmaceutical combinations.

How long will this be allowed to continue before the environmental protection authorities clamp down on pharmaceutical dumping?

So far, environmental regulators have done nothing to stop the dumping of drugs into public water supplies. This is true even in America, where hospitals routinely dispose of drugs by simply flushing them down the toilet (injecting them directly into the water supply consumed downstream).

Consumers also need to realize that the drugs you swallow are also environmental pollutants. Many drugs pass right through the human body unaltered, where they are flushed back into the water supply that's consumed downstream. (Yes, the toilet water from one city becomes the drinking water of the next city down the river. If you didn't know this, you have a LOT to learn about the water supply, and you probably won't like what you learn... especially if you live downstream...)

Big Pharma is contaminating our planet

It's becoming quite clear that the pharmaceutical industry is now directly contributing to the mass chemical contamination of our planet. By allowing factories to dump drugs into local waterways, by tolerating a "flush it" mentality at hospitals and pharmacies, and by drugging consumers with an endless brew of vaccines, medications and toxic substances such as chemotherapy agents, the pharmaceutical industry has "achieved" the distinction as a major world polluter.

Those who take pharmaceuticals are, in fact, directly contributing to the chemical contamination of the planet. That's why getting off medications is not only good for your health; it's also good for the planet.

You can't be "green" if you're taking medications. Consuming pharmaceuticals is simply incompatible with sustainable life on Earth. And the more drugs are manufactured and consumed, the worse this problem will become.

Let me put it this way: The survival of our planet depends on the demise of Big Pharma.

You can save the planet, or you can save Big Pharma. But not both.

Which would you rather have around for future generations? Living oceans, blue skies, clean water and healthy species? Or sterile oceans, dwindling aquatic life, mutant human babies and widespread cancer, infertility and shortened lifespans?

It's your choice: Mother Nature, or Big Pharma.

Centuries of the chemical destruction of our planet

The devastating long-term effects of this chemical contamination of our world's waterways have yet to be truly understood at all. The chemicals being dumped into our environment by Big Pharma today may pollute our planet for hundreds of years, destroying aquatic ecosystems, killing fish populations and causing widespread physical deformities across many species. Combine this with all the pesticide runoff already being used across the planet and it becomes quite clear that the human race has set itself on a path of self destruction.

How's that? Because humans don't exist in isolation from the natural world. When we destroy or disrupt the planet's delicate ecosystems through chemical contamination, we unleash a backlash of effects that put the entire human race in jeopardy: Outbreaks of infectious disease, plummeting fish stocks in ocean waters, rising risks of superbugs across the population and even long-term disruptions in the food supply due to pharmaceutical contamination of food crops and soil microorganisms. (Irrigation water being sprayed on crops is now also contaminated with pharmaceuticals...)

Stated bluntly, what's happening is that the pharmaceutical industry is poisoning our world -- and it's doing it for profit. While their factories in India are dumping millions of doses of antibiotics (and a brew of twenty other drugs) into the water supply each year, they're importing those drugs into the U.S. and selling them at monopoly prices to gullible consumers, all while pretending they're on some sort of humanitarian mission to help people.

The truth is that Big Pharma is committing crimes against Nature, and we'll all end up paying the price for allowing these crimes to continue under our watch. Every living thing in our world is interconnected: You can't poison the waterways with a toxic brew of dangerous chemicals and expect to be insulated from the effects of that forever.

Sometimes I stand back in sheer astonishment at how short-sighted human civilization truly is. Today our population demonstrates a striking lack of understanding about the web of life on our planet combined with an outright abandonment of ethics and morals. Companies (and many people) simply do whatever benefits them at the moment, regardless of the long-term consequences. The pharmaceutical industry exemplifies this destructive philosophy best, as it actually works to trap people in a cycle of disease treatment, all while raking in obscene profits for poisoning the people and the planet.

What a shameful business model. It's beyond shame, really. It's a crime. And it's time we put an end to these crimes against the People and against the planet.

Once again, I call for the arrest and prosecution of Big Pharma CEOs and executives for their role in planning and executing these crimes against humanity and Nature. In the U.S., this must be pursued by the Dept. of Justice, since the FDA, EPA and FTC remain in a tight conspiracy with the drug industry and will do nothing to bring their protected corporations to justice.

You can help support the effort to bring these criminals to justice (and end the chemical contamination of our planet by Big Pharma) by contacting your elected representatives (in any country) and letting them know how outraged you are about the widespread chemical pollution caused by the pharmaceutical industry.

Save the planet. End the era of Big Pharma.
(c) 2009 Mike Adams is the editor of Natural News

The Limits To Growth Have Arrived
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning Middle America, your King of Simple News is on the air.

The following is a rerun that I felt was worth a second read. My reasoning for this is simple. If I am correct, we have reached the top of the mountain and no clever manipulation or volley of lies will change our direction. When you reach the top, all other paths lead down.

It appears that the financial shocks will continue to shake our planet for some time to come. It also appears that our leadership (I use that term very loosely) will check out their lances again today for another entertaining week of sparing with windmills.

Over the years, I have made many future predictions that have looked well down the road; all of which unfortunately, have come true.

Some 14 years ago I wrote a column that stated, "If NAFTA becomes a benefit to the American people, I'll eat a 50 pound crow on the courthouse steps and give them three days to draw a crowd." So far, crow has not been on by bill of fare.

My current prediction is by far the most forward of my visions and dire of my predictions. I had to drag out the telescope to see this one coming. Even the most pessimistic of economists have dared not utter my latest declaration; the U.S. economy has topped out.

My studied opinion is that the U.S. economy has matured, as all living things do. It has grown to the allowable size of our environment. If I am correct, the U.S. will fail to increase REAL annual GDP (adjusted for inflation) above our current $14 trillion.

For a nation whose economy is pinned solidly to the mathematically impossible premise of "infinite exponential growth," this is not good news.

So how did I come to such a drastic conclusion? How could I possibly recognize the arrival of such a complex occurrence? Easy, I reduced it to Mikeronomics. First of all, the basis for our ongoing economy was never mathematically possible. Therefore, I didn't have to determine "if" it would fail, only "when."

Then I applied the following science: If you put a little goldfish in a little bowl, he will remain a little goldfish, adapting to his environment. If you put him in a bigger bowl, he will grow larger. If you put him in a pond, he will grow even larger. But, if you put him in the ocean, he won't become a whale. There are natural limits to growth. Okay, he won't like the salt water either.

If you put the little goldfish in a little bowl and then add more little goldfish on a regular basis, but not more water, what happens? The goldfish family quits growing all together. If you add enough additional fish, they get real skinny and pale and some of them start doing the inverted breast stoke.

The plan all along in the U.S. was to continue to add fish (people) to the bowl and we are reaching the "gettin' skinny and pale" part of the program.

Our leadership is confident that adding even more people to the mix will cure all of our ills, but it won't. Instead it will result in each person living at a lower level of existence to the point of the inverted breast stroke act.

It is my opinion that we have reached the physical limits to growth for a false and unsustainable $14 Trillion economy. As we lose jobs in one sector, we may gain in another, but not enough. As, auto, airlines, housing, and the finance sector go down; where does it come up? Green energy jobs or government work programs? I think not.

Add to this the fact that emerging economies with billions of people are now competing for the remaining world resources and markets. . .and Leroy, we got us a problem.

If you believe our salvation is in accelerated growth and free trade with the most poverty stricken nations on earth, then you are probably a politician, an economist, or a Harvard MBA.

For the rest of us, I believe that we need to retrieve the $700 BILLION trade deficit that our corporate and political leadership has farmed out to the 3rd world and Communist China. We also need to hang a few Corporate and Government thieves in a daylight gala affair to get the others attention. Government should fear the public, not the other way around.

Thirdly, we need to stop immigration immediately and stabilize our workforce and population to semi-sustainable levels.

The other option is of course, to go on believing "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed," until you are personally practicing up for the inverted breast stroke.
(c) 2009 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

"The person who stands up and says, 'This is stupid,' either is asked to behave or, worse, is greeted with a cheerful, 'Yes, we know! Isn't it terrific!'"
~~~ Frank Zappa

So Far, Obama's Missed The Point On Gaza...
By Robert Fisk

It would have helped if Obama had the courage to talk about what everyone in the Middle East was talking about. No, it wasn't the US withdrawal from Iraq. They knew about that. They expected the beginning of the end of Guantanamo and the probable appointment of George Mitchell as a Middle East envoy was the least that was expected. Of course, Obama did refer to "slaughtered innocents," but these were not quite the "slaughtered innocents" the Arabs had in mind.

There was the phone call yesterday to Mahmoud Abbas. Maybe Obama thinks he's the leader of the Palestinians, but as every Arab knows, except perhaps Mr Abbas, he is the leader of a ghost government, a near-corpse only kept alive with the blood transfusion of international support and the "full partnership" Obama has apparently offered him, whatever "full" means. And it was no surprise to anyone that Obama also made the obligatory call to the Israelis.

But for the people of the Middle East, the absence of the word "Gaza" - indeed, the word "Israel" as well - was the dark shadow over Obama's inaugural address. Didn't he care? Was he frightened? Did Obama's young speech-writer not realise that talking about black rights - why a black man's father might not have been served in a restaurant 60 years ago - would concentrate Arab minds on the fate of a people who gained the vote only three years ago but were then punished because they voted for the wrong people? It wasn't a question of the elephant in the china shop. It was the sheer amount of corpses heaped up on the floor of the china shop.

Sure, it's easy to be cynical. Arab rhetoric has something in common with Obama's clich»s: "hard work and honesty, courage and fair play ... loyalty and patriotism." But however much distance the new President put between himself and the vicious regime he was replacing, 9/11 still hung like a cloud over New York. We had to remember "the firefighter's courage to storm a stairway filled with smoke." Indeed, for Arabs, the "our nation is at war against a far-reaching network of violence and hatred" was pure Bush; the one reference to "terror," the old Bush and Israeli fear word, was a worrying sign that the new White House still hasn't got the message. Hence we had Obama, apparently talking about Islamist groups such as the Taliban who were "slaughtering innocents" but who "cannot outlast us." As for those in the speech who are corrupt and who "silence dissent," presumably intended to be the Iranian government, most Arabs would associate this habit with President Hosni Mubarak of Egypt (who also, of course, received a phone call from Obama yesterday), King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and a host of other autocrats and head-choppers who are supposed to be America's friends in the Middle East.

Hanan Ashrawi got it right. The changes in the Middle East - justice for the Palestinians, security for the Palestinians as well as for the Israelis, an end to the illegal building of settlements for Jews and Jews only on Arab land, an end to all violence, not just the Arab variety - had to be "immediate" she said, at once. But if the gentle George Mitchell's appointment was meant to answer this demand, the inaugural speech, a real "B-minus" in the Middle East, did not.

The friendly message to Muslims, "a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," simply did not address the pictures of the Gaza bloodbath at which the world has been staring in outrage. Yes, the Arabs and many other Muslim nations, and, of course, most of the world, can rejoice that the awful Bush has gone. So, too, Guantanamo. But will Bush's torturers and Rumsfeld's torturers be punished? Or quietly promoted to a job where they don't have to use water and cloths, and listen to men screaming?

Sure, give the man a chance. Maybe George Mitchell will talk to Hamas - he's just the man to try - but what will the old failures such as Denis Ross have to say, and Rahm Emanuel and, indeed, Robert Gates and Hillary Clinton? More a sermon than an Obama inaugural, even the Palestinians in Damascus spotted the absence of those two words: Palestine and Israel. So hot to touch they were, and on a freezing Washington day, Obama wasn't even wearing gloves.
(c) 2009 Robert Fisk --- The Independent

Mr. President: Give Us A Clean Break From War
By Cynthia McKinney

"It is time that the United States negotiate in good faith with Hamas, the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It is also time that the U.S. government tell Israel to release the Hamas Parliamentarians it illegally arrested. President Obama, please say something about Gaza. You have been roundly condemned for your continued silence in the face of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. Silence is complicity. Not one more bomb for Israel."

Israeli action in Gaza has outraged the world. Starting with Israel's inhumane blockade of Gaza when it didn't like the 2006 election results that put Hamas officially into power. In September 2007, Israel declared Gaza an "enemy entity." Of course, Israeli efforts to isolate the Gaza Strip can be traced back to Ariel Sharon as early as 2005. In carrying out its military Operation Cast Lead, Israel not only committed war crimes and crimes against humanity, it also carried out a long-standing goal of Gaza isolation. The President's continued silence on Gaza and the Palestinian right of self-determination is unacceptable.

I would like to commend President Obama for recognizing that peace is the imperative and that the United States can play a constructive role in its attainment. However, placing a phone call to an irrelevant "leader" in an attempt to revive his political standing is not a route to peace: it is a journey down the same road that we're already on, that is massacres, genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity, torture--all with U.S. weapons, paid for by U.S. taxpayers.

The President must call the elected representatives of the Palestinian people and that means dealing with Hamas.

President Obama has already spoken with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. George Mitchell, the President's Middle East Envoy, is reportedly scheduled to visit the region, but is expected to meet only with Egyptian, Israeli, Saudi, and Jordanian leaders, and the West Bank's Abbas. Unfortunately, despite worldwide revulsion and United Nations outrage at Israeli actions in Gaza, Gaza has not been reported to be one of the Presidential Envoy's destinations.

Even worse, one of the first officials that Obama called on his first day in office was Palestinian Mahmood Abbas. Abbas, however, is no longer President, heading a government that has no opportunity to govern, from a state that exists only as a construct not made by the Palestinian people. For the United States to embark upon the path of peace, it must recognize and act on the fact that Mahmood Abbas is now irrelevant.

I believe that the call to Abbas occurred because of pressure on President Obama from outraged activists around the country and around the world calling for him to do something. But Abbas is irrelevant if the goal is peace.

If the goal, however, is to appear to be doing something while all the time doing nothing but allowing the violence of U.S.-sponsored military action to spread including saber rattling against Syria and Iran, then the President is on the right path.

The American people voted for change and peace. President Obama's current path will produce neither.

I have implored President Obama to say something about Gaza. He has been roundly condemned for his continued silence in the face of war crimes and crimes against humanity committed by Israel in Gaza. Silence in the face of such criminal behavior is complicity.

President Obama must urgently place a call to the elected government of the Palestinian people.

President Obama can send a strong message to the warmongers inside his own party and present them "a clean break" from war. I encourage him to do so. We will not be fooled by actions that have the appearance of putting us on a path for peace, but that are public relations projects that buy time for more war.

To activists and human rights lawyers around the world I say: Now is not the time to let up. We must be unrelenting in our pressure for justice and recognition of the rights of all peoples embodied in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Those rights include the right not to be occupied. And the right to resist occupation. This is the embodiment of self-determination. And the Palestinian people are holders of these rights.

It is time that the United States negotiate in good faith with Hamas, because it is the legitimate representative of the Palestinian people. It is also time that the U.S. government tell Israel to release the Hamas Parliamentarians it illegally arrested.

While the United States Government spends precious resources to imprison Palestinians in the United States who attempted to ameliorate the humanitarian disaster in Gaza, I will attempt another trip to Gaza to assess the depth of the worsened humanitarian catastrophe now there.

I have repeatedly called on the President to ask for and the Congress to vote not one more bomb, not one more dime for the Israeli war machine.
(c) 2009 Cynthia McKinney

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Interessenvertreter Lynn,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, Ralph Nader, George W. Bush, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Clarence (slappy) Thomas.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your many years lobbying the Defense department makes you perfect for the job of Deputy Secretary of Defense no matter what the Fuhrer promised, Iraq and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Lobbyist Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross, first class, with diamond clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 05-23-2009. We salute you Herr Lynn, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

The Newest Fear-Mongering Campaign From The Right And The Media
By Glenn Greenwald

The latest fear-mongering campaign in the U.S. -- this one devoted to scaring Americans that they will be slaughtered if Guantanamo is closed and Terrorism suspects are brought into the U.S. for real trials -- is now in full swing. The New York Times today prints a front-page article claiming that a detainee released from Guantanamo last year has now become "the deputy leader of Al Qaeda's Yemeni branch" (it's always amazing how bureaucratically structured Al Qaeda is alleged to be and how well we can discern the structure: "Deputy Leader, Yemen Branch"; do they have business cards and organizational charts?).

But the real fear-mongering is focused on all of the attacks that American communities will suffer if we imprison dangerous Terrorists inside the U.S. rather than in Guantanamo. House Minority Leader John Boehner wants you to be frightened: "I think the first thing we have to remember is that we're talking about terrorists here. Do we bring them into our borders?" GOP House Minority Whip Eric Cantor warned: "Actively moving terrorists inside our borders weakens our security. Most families neither want nor need hundreds of terrorists seeking to kill Americans in their communities." The always frightened Wall St. Journal Editorial Page shrieks that any place that houses Al Qaeda Terrorists will become a "target" for attack:

The military base [at Ft. Leavenworth] is integrated into the community and, lacking Guantanamo's isolation and defense capacities, would instantly become a potential terror target. Expect similar protests from other states that are involuntarily entered in this sweepstakes.

National Review's Jim Geraghaty spent all day yesterday fantasizing about all the scary things that could happen if we have Al-Qaeda Terrorists in our communities (near nuclear facilities and airports!). Former Bush aide and chief speechwriter Marc Thiessen warned yesterday in The Washington Post that if there is a Terrorist attack on U.S. soil, Americans will blame Obama because he stopped torturing and closed Guantanamo, and Democrats will be "unelectable for a generation." Today, at National Review, Thiessen, citing yesterday's Executive Orders, declared Obama "to be the most dangerous man ever to occupy the Oval Office." And yesterday, of course, The Washington Post's Fred Hiatt echoed the standard claim that our regular federal courts were inadequate to try dangerous Terrorists.

All of this is pure fear-mongering -- the 2009 version of Condoleezza Rice's mushroom cloud and Jay Rockefeller's "we'll-lose-our-eavesdropping-capabilities" cries. Both before and after 9/11, the U.S. has repeatedly and successfully tried alleged high-level Al Qaeda operatives and other accused Islamic Terrorists in our normal federal courts -- in fact, the record is far more successful than the series of debacles that has taken place in the military commissions system at Guantanamo. Moreover, those convicted Terrorists have been housed in U.S. prisons, inside the U.S., for years without a hint of a problem. Here is but a partial list of the accused Muslim Terrorists who have been successfully tried and convicted in U.S. civilians courts and who remain imprisoned inside the U.S.:

Sheik Omar Abdel Rahman, convicted, 1996, U.S. District Court (before then-U.S. District Judge Michael Mukasey) -- plotting terrorist attacks on the U.S. (currently: U.S. prison, Butler, North Carolina);

Zacarias Moussaoui, convicted, 2006, U.S. Federal Court -- conspiracy to commit the 9/11 attacks (currently: U.S. prison, Florence, Colorado);

Richard Reid, convicted, 2003, U.S. Federal Court -- attempting to blow up U.S.-bound jetliner over the Atlantic Ocean (currently: U.S. prison, Florence, Colorado);

Jose Padilla, convicted, 2007, U.S. Federal Court -- conspiracy to commit terrorism (currently: U.S. prison, Florence, Colorado);

Iyman Faris a/k/a/ Mohammad Rauf, convicted, 2003, U.S. Federal Court -- providing material support and resources to Al-Qaeda, conspiracy to commit terrorist acts on behalf of Al Qaeda (currently: U.S. prison, Florence, Colorado);

Ali Saleh al-Marri, accused Al Qaeda operative -- not yet tried, held as "unlawful enemy combatant" (currently: U.S. Naval Brig, Hanahan, South Carolina);

Masoud Khan, convicted, 2004, U.S. Federal Court -- conspiracy to commit terrorism as part of Lashkar-e-Taiba and Islamic jihad (currently: U.S. prison, Terre Haute, Indiana);

John Walker Lindh, convicted, 2002, U.S. Federal Court -- providing material support to the Taliban (currently: U.S. prison, Florence, Colorado).

That's just a partial list. Both pre- and post-9/11, there are numerous other individuals who have been convicted in U.S. civilian courts of various acts relating to terrorism inspired by Islamic radicalism, including many alleged to be high-level Terrorists, who are now serving sentences inside the U.S., in U.S. prisons. Moreover, terrorists accused of being members of Al Qaeda and affiliated groups have been successfully tried in the regular courts of other countries -- including Britain and Spain -- and currently sit in those countries' regular prisons, without a whiff of a problem.

If it were really the goal of Terrorists to attack American prisons where their members are incarcerated and if they were actually capable of doing that, they already have a long list of "targets" and have had such a list for two decades. If U.S. civilian courts were inadequate forums for obtaining convictions of Terrorism suspects, then the above-listed individuals would not be imprisoned -- most of them for life -- while the Guantanamo military commission system still has nothing to show for it other than a series of humiliating setbacks for the Government. As is true for virtually every fear-mongering claim made over the last eight years to frighten Americans into believing that they must vest the Government with vast and un-American powers lest they be slaughtered by the Terrorists, none of these claims is remotely rational and all of them are empirically disproven.

* * * * *

On an unrelated note: Forbes has a list of what it calls "The 25 Most Influential Liberals in the U.S. Media," and it illustrates quite well why I find these labels far more obfuscating than anything else. Any political term that supposedly encompasses Rachel Maddow, Paul Krugman, Bill Moyers and me (#18) -- along with the likes of Maureen Dowd, Christopher Hitchens, Chris Matthews, Tom Friedman and Fred Hiatt -- is not a term that has any meaning. In fact, if I had to create my own list of the 25 Most Noxious Media Figures in the U.S., it would include several of the people on that list, including most if not all of the names in between those dashes above (classifying everyone as a "liberal" who isn't Rush Limbaugh is one of the critical tools for maintaining the myth of the Liberal Media). Notably, the Forbes list -- compiled by "canvassing the views of more than 100 academics, politicians and journalists" -- contains numerous individuals primarily known as "bloggers" (in fact, almost 1/3 of the list: 8 of the 25).

UPDATE: The crime for which Omar Abdel Rahman was convicted and for which he's currently serving a life sentence in Colorado is the February 26, 1993 bombing of the World Trade Center, of which Rahman was the alleged "mastermind." That terrorist attack took place just seven weeks after Bill Clinton was inaugurated, but after that attack -- to use the Beltway parlance -- Clinton kept us safe, for the rest of his presidency. No more foreign Terrorist attacks on the Homeland. It wasn't until Clinton left the Oval Office and George Bush became President were Islamic Terrorists able to strike the Homeland again.

Therefore, using the reasoning of Bush followers everywhere, this means that Clinton's counter-terrorism policies -- i.e.: trying accused Terrorists in civilian courts and incarcerating them in U.S. prisons -- have been proven to be extremely effective in keeping us safe (since, as any beginning student of Logic will tell you: if A precedes B, then it means that A caused B -- as in: A = "waterboarding, torture and GITMO," and B = "no Terrorist attack on U.S. soil from 2002-2008"). Using that same "logic": A = "trying Terrorists in civilian courts and imprisoning them in the U.S.," and B = "no foreign Terrorist attacks in the U.S. from February, 1993 through the end of the Clinton presidency."

UPDATE II: At Andrew Sullivan's blog, both Patrick Appel and Chris Bodenner add some illuminating information about dangerous Terrorists currently incarcerated inside the U.S.

UPDATE III: This is the first line of Mark Mazzetti and Scott Shane's New York Times article today on this subject: "Is Khalid Sheikh Mohammed coming to a prison near you?" It's appropriate that scare lines from horror films are the centerpiece of our political debates. It continues:

Republican lawmakers, who oppose Mr. Obama's plan, found a talking point with political appeal. They said closing Guant∑namo could allow dangerous terrorists to get off on legal technicalities and be released into quiet neighborhoods across the United States. If the detainees were convicted, the Republicans continued, American prisons housing terrorism suspects could become magnets for attacks.

"Magnets for attacks." Mazzetti and Shane then offer this childish taunt: "Meanwhile, none of the Democrats who on Thursday hailed the closing of the detention camp were stepping forward to offer prisons in their districts or states to receive the prisoners." Actually, Jack Murtha did, but we don't make these sorts of decisions by holding auctions among members of Congress. Security needs and available prison space should govern the decision.

Mazzetti and Shane never mention that there are already numerous convicted Terrorists imprisoned in the U.S., including ones alleged to be Al Qaeda operatives, either because they didn't know that or they didn't think it was relevant to assessing these fear-mongering claims.

UPDATE IV: In response to what I wrote this morning in Update III, I received an email from The New York Times' Scott Shane objecting to several of the points I made. He also made some general observations about the relationship between bloggers and -- as he puts it -- "MSM." I offered to post his email in full, as I think it will be illuminating, but until I hear back from him, there is one objection he made that is clearly correct:

My statement -- "Mazzetti and Shane never mention that there are already numerous convicted Terrorists imprisoned in the U.S., including ones alleged to be Al Qaeda operatives" -- is wrong. In the article's 11th paragraph, they wrote:

The number of detainees who may face federal trials - by various estimates, 50 to 100 of the remaining Guant∑namo inmates - is tiny by the standards of the federal prison system, which currently holds 201,375 people in 114 facilities, according to Felicia Ponce, a spokeswoman for the Federal Bureau of Prisons. Those include 9 detention centers that hold defendants awaiting trial, 21 high-security penitentiaries and a supersecure prison in Florence, Colo., where several convicted terrorists are already locked up.

Several paragraphs later, they also quote an expert, Sarah Mendelson of the Center for Strategic and International Studies, as saying: "We've had extremely dangerous terrorists tried in various courts and put away." I don't agree with the other points Shane made and hope he agrees that our exchange should be posted, but on that point, he is absolutely right: he and Mazzetti did, contrary to what I wrote, include this important fact in their article.

UPDATE V: Shane has agreed for our exchange to be posted. In full, unedited form, it is here .

UPDATE VI: The Times has now changed the headline on the Mazzetti/Shane article from its original GOP talking point: "Guantanamo Detainees? Not In My State!"

That has now been replaced by this much more neutral headline: "Where Will Detainees From Guantanamo Go?"
(c) 2009 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.

Whaddaya Gonna Do?
By Mary Pitt

Whaddaya gonna do when you've gone about as far as you can go? You want to open a window and yell, "I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it any more!" But, where you live there is nobody to hear you. Go ahead, yell your fool head off but there are none to hear and, if anybody does, they don't care.

The preachers will tell you, "The Lord will provide" but, in all our years, we have never heard of a Great Speckled Bird flying over and dropping money on people. And you learned long ago to pray for nothing but the strength to bear the troubles that befall us in this mortal life.

You have simply lasted too long. You have lost dearly loved ones to death for first one reason or another; even nursing a dear life mate through an illness that took years to claim them. You have worked, budgeted, and micro-managed to keep your family sustained and, due to your own age and illness, are now condemned to a life of poverty.

Your one source of income has become the Social Security check that appears in your bank account on a monthly basis.

Finally, you are notified that this amount will be increased by a bit more than you have received in the past. You silently say a whispered prayer of gratitude to whatever God you believe in. But wait! In the notice that you receive, you are told that, indeed, the amount IS added to your allotment, but then you learn that the "premium" for your Medicare Part B has been increased to $96.40 a month and, lower down, the "premium" for your Medicare Part D has increased to $87.70, leaving you an increase of a whole forty dollars with only a few dollars over a thousand to pay all the expenses necessary to your continued existence.

The problems do not end there. When you go to the pharmacy to have your prescriptions re-filled, you learn that the insurance company has increased the "co-payment" by $10.00 on each medication. If you take four medicines, there goes your $40.00 a month net increase! Right into the voracious gaping maw of an insurance company's bank account, just the way the insurance companies and President Bush intended.

So whaddaya gonna do? Is there any expense you can cut? Thanks to all those years of work and planning, you do own your own house, (such as it is and so long as you can keep the taxes paid), but the climate in which you live is intemperate and you must also keep warm in the winter and cool in the summer for fear of being overtaken by heat stroke or hypothermia. You already turn off the lights that are not in use. You have closed off part of the house, only heating or cooling the rooms, you use but utility costs are rising constantly. (You are aware that you get just enough money to disqualify you for the assistance of LIEAPP, food stamps, or any other welfare assistance.) You must have your car due to the distance involved in obtaining the necessities of life, and you must keep the payments up until, at last, it is your own and all you must be concerned about will be repairs and insurance. You spend practically nothing for clothing inasmuch as you have all the things you bought to keep up appearances when you were working. You don't eat much, having lost your appetite but eating only because you know you must, and your food budget is only about $100 a month. Eating out? Fageddaboudit!

There is only one thing that you can cut and you know it. That would be your "bundle" of telephone, television, and Internet. The TV is your only source of entertainment and escape, the Internet your only connection to friends and news that you can believe. Going without them could save some money, but the telephone is, literally, a lifeline, a means to call for help in case of accident or illness. That would cut the cost in half and leave you sitting alone and staring at the walls, a condition that is often a prelude to suicide.

If you have cared enough to read this far, there is one thing that we will ask of you. We won't settle for a breathy, "There but for the Grace of God go I." Think about it! You may think that you "have it made" and "it can't happen to me" but it can! Stock markets fail, banks go bankrupt, depression covers the land, nobody has money to buy your product, you become old and ill and, though you thought you were covered, you find medical bills sapping your tightly-hoarded savings. Your kids? Though you may think they're doing well, they are worried about their jobs, their homes, and their own kids' educations. There is not a pittance to spare for the "old folks."

Whaddaya gonna do? You're going to wish that you had heard, and heeded, the stories of the elderly impoverished and supported the establishment of a reliable and realistic safety net for your old age. You will pressure your Congressman to abandon the old partisan ideals and do what they must and you will pray that the new administration that is taking place in a very few days will succeed in their efforts to get our nation back on track so that the term, "safety net" will once again have real meaning.

(c) 2009 Mary Pitt is a very "with-it" old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for societal "perfection." Huzzahs and whiney complaints may be sent to

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ John Sherffius ~~~

"Jesus and her Gospel of Yes" trailer

To End On A Happy Note...

Welcome To The Machine
By Pink Floyd

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
Where have you been?
It's alright we know where you've been.
You've been in the pipeline, filling in time,
Provided with toys and 'Scouting for Boys'.
You bought a guitar to punish your ma,
And you didn't like school, and you
know you're nobody's fool,
So welcome to the machine.

Welcome my son, welcome to the machine.
What did you dream?
It's alright we told you what to dream.
You dreamed of a big star,
He played a mean guitar,
He always ate in the Steak Bar.
He loved to drive in his Jaguar.
So welcome to the Machine.
(c) 1975/2009 Pink Floyd

Have You Seen This...

Google Spider Goats Pt 1

Parting Shots...

Full Text Of President Bush's Emotional Farewell Speech Cataloguing His Unparalleled Competence And Intelligence

THE PRESIDENT: Fellow citizens:

I know the only reason you all are tuned in is to watch nonstop coverage of that USAir plane crash in the Hudson River, so you can whip yourselves up into a fit of emotional masturbation, sobbing over "miracles" and "heroes" until the next little white girl goes missing. So let me start with a brief shout-out to my fellow-pilot bro' who ditched his jet so smooth (just like I ditched my whole jet-flying career!), not even a worthless foreign life was lost. And thank Christ for that; because with barely a hundred hours left in my term, the last thing I wanna do is drag my ass up to Jew York City and cry crocodile tears over a bunch of dead folks again - especially when I won't be around long enough to use it as an excuse to do something fun and cool - like nuke Iran or authorize a no-bid $100 billion Raytheon contract to exterminate the Canadian Gooses.

Anyway, for eight long years, it has been my honor to serve Wall Street and its coterie of country clubbing con artist elites, the McJesus Salvation Industries, and the Confederate States Of America as the chief executive of White House, Inc. And so this is the Big Adios.

In the spirit of desperate bipartisanship that our entire societal breakdown has necessitationed, and in light of popularity poll numbers that make Richard Nixon look like a greased Chippendale at a bachelorette party, I just want to say that we can all agree on one thing: whether you're an immigrant terrorist or non-terrorist, a bellyaching homo, a legless Iraqazoid, a drowned corpse bloating in the New Orleans sun, an effete Huffington Post-reading urban iPhone zombie, or a Hannity-worshipping redneck patrio-fascist, a negro, a Mexi-rican, a normal guy, a feminist, a stoner, or a fixed income oldster reduced to buying Walgreens-brand Depends, odds are you're tickled pinker than Barry Manilow's boa that I'm getting the fuck outta Dodge.

Lots of y'all think I'm a stupid, fucking moron. Mebbe I am. But who's off to play golf in a gilded, all-expenses-paid retirement, and who's suddenly realizing that unemployment benefits can't even keep you rolling in beer and donuts? Who's done paying off his loyal hedge fund and banker fraternity brothers with gubbament cheese, and who invested (and lost!) all their shekels with Gandalf the Jew and his mystical 401K? Who's hightailing it back to a swanky Dallas suburb, and who's the broke-assed losers who double-mortgaged their McMansions to buy $4K plasma TVs, thinking they'd hit the LOTTO before they had to pay anyone back? Who's the dummy, jerk? Like, DUH. THE ANSWER WUZ RHETORICALIZED, YOU INGRATE FUCKSTICKS. Good thing I'm rich! And it's OLD money. Well, at any rate, it's comin' from OLD people! Yee-haw!

So let me remind you all of one thing: when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks back. Get it? I'm the abyss, you whiny assholes. You hate my guts, because I'm YOU. Greedy, panicky, arrogant, and willing to do slimy, awful things to other human beings if it means Domino's Pizza will still be able to deliver two to three pounds of gluten and curdled cow fluids to the Cul-de-Sac in thirty minutes or less.

Never forget that I'm the two-time winner** of the popular and totally fixed Democracy Show Live! Yeah, that's what I said. Both times I legitimately won* a contest that favors whoever can elbow (or machete chop themselves) into our version of the court of Versailles.

I get a lot of guff for speaking all folksy, and salt-of-the-earth, like the Texan I pretend to be, instead of the Yankee political scion I actually am. My speechification might be uncorrect, but if talking good is what makes good deciders, then go ahead and elect a lawyer. Oops! You idiot fruit baskets already went and done that. Well, then on behalf of the entire ruling class, I thank you. That's the great thing about our democracy: it's always the same turd, different coil.

One thing about Americans, if they don't fall for the down-home, man of the people routine, they fall for the high-falutin', hope-talking, homegrown messiah routine. Once you figure that out, you can sell lazy to Mexicans. Or drunk to Irish. Or crime to Italians. Or rhythm to blacks. Or hope to cattle, on their way to the slaughterhouse no less. That's showbiz! And there may never be no second acts in America, but you can bet there is always someone manning the ticket booth before the first one. Friends, power is like God. It talks all kinds of different ways, in different voices, but always tells you what you want to hear. It flatters, panders, hollers and purrs. Whether it sounds like a retard or a professor of used car sales, power does what it has to do to get you to like it, and give you its vote. True story.

The first decade of this new shitshow of a century has been a period of consequence, like that time when you was all mega-terrified that Obama Bin Hussein was gonna crash a freight train full of screaming people right into your local Fuddruckers and I said "Let's Shop Till We Drop!" and y'all were like "On it, Jefe!" It has been a time set apart, a gilded bubble, a vacation from reality, a drunken joyride in a fancy auto slapped on a Capitol One credit card, a giddy show of carefree ostentation until someone forgot to pay the damn light bill and our national shadow puppet show of prosperity flickered and floundered leaving everyone - except me and my friends - reduced to hungrily sucking fingers that had, moments before, been exploring the insides of a can of a beans abandoned by a hobo. Funny thing, fear. Remember that cripple fellow that said, "The only thing you all have to fear is fearing fearful stuff"? Easy for Teddy Roosevelt to say. Unlike you all, he was rich and didn't have to fear anything unpleasant like foreclosure or eviction!

Remember who made you feel safe, even if it meant listening in to your heavy breathing dirty talk behind your wife's back on the ol' cell phone, or ignoring the international law we done helped make up, or kidnapping ragheads with bad attitudes and giving them near-fatal freedom tickles. Most of y'all either loved me to the point of spontaneous ejaculation for doing this, pretended I wasn't doing this so you could return to your Xbox, or were so impotent with rage, you couldn't do nothing but ball up your little marshmallow fists and scribble angry rants nobody read on The Daily Kooz, or FaceSpace or on retard pinko parody sites. That's the great thing about when everybody hysterically shouts, froths, and bleats at the same time and at the same volume: nobody can hear nothing.

Let me tell you something - awhile back, my own party sprung a spontaneous menstrual geyser when they found out we weren't so popular, and might lose an election or dozen, and so they begged me to pull my War Boner out of Vietraq. It should have come as no surprise to any of those good ol' boys that I consistently confuse brattishly demanding my own way no matter what with integrity. Tough tittie, boys. At least history will remember me, just like every dame remembers the first fucker who gives her the clap.

And now, I'm a-gonna make amends, furrow my brow, and spin, spin, spin, like a drunken ballerina in a greased slipper, so that I can sleep at night, unlike the thousands of young men and women I sent into combat just so I could say America has giant, barb-wire wrapped TNT balls. Shi-i-i-it, I'm gonna spend my life playing golf, shot-gunning Coors, and passing out like a baby whose Gerber is laced with crushed Ambien.

But while most of y'all just keep bitchin' and moanin' about what's gone wrong during my time in the big chair, like never-ending, poorly conceived wars with everybody, the total meltdown of our economy, and the general decline of our formerly fucking awesome civilization, I'd like to point out the stuff that's gone right. Ain't no more American cities turned to death soup, millions of Iraqazoids are so far totally shrapnel free, and the possible impending Depression probably won't be Great, but be lucky to be just shy of Terrific. Imagine if we'd privatized Social Security. Damn, I'm gonna cum. I need to stop. Let's just hear it for happy accidents!

So... mission accomplishedest!

Tonight, with a thankful, if otherwise empty, heart, I have asked for the lastest opportunity to distort, lie, shuck, jive, moisten my armpits with shame sweat, star blankly into space as some Ivy League prick's fancy patter rolls by on the Teleprompter and share some carefully phrased thoughts on the journey that we have traveled together - oh, who we kidding? I've travelled. You all just tagged along, like a dog tied to the bumper of my bulletproof limo, just a bloody stump on a leather leash by the time I pulled into the parking lot at the Dallas National Bank.

Five days from now, the world will witness the charade of American democracy. In a tradition dating back to our founding slavemasters, the presidency will pass to a successor chosen by you, the American people, only because those bozos on the Supreme Court let you. This time. Standing on the steps of the Capitol will be a man whose history reflects the enduring pizzazz of Madison Avenue. This is a moment of hope and pride for our whole nation, and this brief, fleeting bit of media-jizz-evoking stagecraft, is all we got. So let's put our hands together for President Smoov Operata, his wife That Tall as Shit, Bossy Negress, and their two love critters.

Tonight I am filled with gratitude - for Uncle Vice President Cheney, whose ideological extremism and unwavering machismo never allowed him to fully reveal the loveable, insecure, viciously bullied fat kid he really is deep down inside the shambling, dying husk you see before you, and for the members of my administration who have yet to sell me out; to Laura, who brought joy to this house of death and something approximating empty gestures of support and love to my life; to our wonderful daughters, Jenna and the other one, who I made eternal pariahs; to my parents, to whom I can only ask, "ARE YOU TWO GRAYING CUNTS PROUD OF ME NOW? HOW MANY DUNE COONS I GOTS TO CHICKEN-FRY BEFORE YOU GIVE ME SOME GODDAMNED RESPECT?" And above all, I thank the American people for living up to your worst stereotypes. I thank you for the prayers to a selfish, materialistic, angry, ass-kicking Jesus that have lifted my spirits. He still speaks to me to this day. In fact, Five Inch Tall Invisible Jesus, who's currently perched on my shoulder like a pirate's parrot, just whispered in my good ear, with seething anger: "Them Pinko Pansy Cock Suckers Are All Gonna Be Sorry" before breaking into some ass-stomping Toby Keith!

This evening, my thoughts return to the first night I addressed you from this house - September the 11th, 2001, the most politically fortuitous windfall in modern political history. The day the fickle finger of history used immense pressure to momentarily transform a stinking turd into a diamond that shined so bright it blinded all you all out there. That morning, terrorists took nearly 3,000 lives in the worst attack on America since we double-dog-dared the Nips to bomb Pearl Harbor so we could hurry up with the European real estate fire sale we call World War II. I remember looking into the camera that night, talking at a nation of folks so scared, angry, and desperate for leadership, I said to myself, "Georgey-Boy, America is handing you a blank fucking check to PAR-TAY." Sure, maybe I should had have put my Iraq War plans down on September 10th and paid a little attention to what was going on in the world. But shit works out, I guess. Well, until it don't.

As the years passed, most Americans were able to return to life much as it had been before 9/11, only with bigger credit lines, more insipid reality television, and even greater mass delusion. It's the like totally awesome 1990s never ended!

But I never let go of the only thing approaching a mission statement my administration ever had. Every morning, I received a briefing on the threats to our nation. I vowed to do everything in my power to keep us safe, including the option of killing all of the A-rabs, versus just the bad ones. And I have kept you all safe. Well, except for that time them two skyscrapers went KA-BOOM! But who's counting?

Over the past seven years, a new, super Orwellian Department of Homeland Security has been created, which is like a feckless, self-preserving bureaucracy on steroids. Thanks to my administration, for the first time in history, the parasite became the host! The military, the intelligence community and the FBI have been congealed into a something resembling a secret domestic police force. Like the SS, only without those super-cool grey uniforms with trench coats that got epaulets with lightning bolts on them. Damn them budget cuts! Our nation is equipped with new tools to monitor the terrorists' movements, freeze their finances and break up their plots, and one day, those tools will be used against you by whoever is in power, and disagrees with your thoughts, meetings, and traitorous antics. And with strong allies at our side, like Guam and the Snow Mexicans to our frozen north, we have taken the fight to the terrorists and those who support them, which, technically, could be everyone, everywhere, if you spun it right. Since the God we fight for is invisible, it only makes sense that enemy we fight against is invisible, too. Tricky, no? Afghanistan has gone from a nation where the Taliban harbored al-Qaeda and stoned women in the streets to a young narco-state that is rapidly crumbling back into a nation where the Taliban harbored al-Qaeda and stoned women in the streets. Iraq has gone from a brutal dictatorship and a sworn enemy of America to an Islamist-flavored Arab democracy on track to one day vote to become the sworn enemy of America. Oh, and Pakistan and North Korea? Major whoopsies.

There is legitimate debate about many of these decisions, but whatevs; I'll be worm food by the time y'all realize how good you had it, even if it was one big giant Costco-sized fib.

Our nation is blessed to have citizens who volunteer to defend us in this time of danger, like those years I bravely fought the Vietcong by drunk flying fighter planes in Alabama until the pussies in the Air Force found blow in my piss and yanked my license. I have cherished meeting these selfless patriots and their families. Thank Bloody Jesus on a Cross He didn't give me an ounce of self-awareness or shame, or else I wouldn't be able to look them in the eyes for sending them on a poorly planned fool's errand. America owes them a debt of gratitude, which isn't as good as dependable, quality healthcare. But it's better than nothing. Anyhoo, if nothing else, I've helped create a whole new generation of damaged veterans who can become annoying politicians who will run decade after decade of jingoistic, self-righteous campaigns celebrating their uniquely noble ability to blindly obey orders and kill people - until a combat-adverse Republican runs against them and swiftboats their asses.

For eight years, we've also strived to expand opportunity and hope here at home, and if you need proof, it's written right here in this here speech. Across our country, students that are still in school are rising to jump through wonderful, new, shiny, meaningless hoops, specifically in upper-middle class tax brackets. A new Medicare prescription drug benefit is bringing pharmaceutical numbness to buzzed-out seniors and the disabled, and to the Healthcare Junta's tax-dollar sodden books. Every taxpayer pays lower income taxes, money in their pocket they can spend on SUVs to drive over crumbling bridges. The addicted and suffering are finding new hope through faith-based programs that dole out bromides and pious condescension in opulent, tax-free indoor arenas, freshly carpeted at taxpayers' expense. Vulnerable human life is better protected, except for children without health insurance, the homeless, and most brown-skinned river-jumpers. Funding for our veterans has nearly doubled, from pathetically insufficient for the pre-Iraq veteran levels, to pathetically insufficient for post-Iraq veteran levels. America's air and water and lands are measurably less filthy, provided they are measured by an EPA led by my cronies from the coal, mercury, and arsenic smoothie industries. And the federal bench includes wise new members like right-thinking demagogues Justice Sam Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts who has joined that hairy guido Scalia, who plays Edgar Bergin to his very own Mr. McCarthy, the black dude who's into porno, Clarence Thomas.

When challenges to our prosperity emerged, we rose to meet them. Facing the prospect of a financial collapse, we took decisive measures to safeguard our economy by giving the keys to the Treasury to the pals who brung us to the dance (did I mention the kegger, bros?). These are very tough times for hardworking families. And if any hardworking families moved in my social circles, I tell 'em "Tough luck, suckers!" At least we ain't all gone Road Warrior on each other. Yet. America is sorta like that plane that landed on the Hudson. In a tough spot, but piloted by a hero - me - who ain't afraid to crash land the whole shebang in a dirty, icy river. The guy behind the controls at USAir was lucky. Me? Not so much. I flipped the fucker and you all are gurgling your last, panicky breaths of freezing sewer-water. But the thing is: We're all in this together. Except some of us are in first class and get vomiting drunk for free. Our successes are not equally shared, but our failures sure as hell are. In America, it isn't women and children first; it's rich folks and swindlers first. We will show the world once again the resilience of America's free enterprise system. All we need, really, is a big ol' war we can win decisively. I recommend Venezuela. No, better yet, Sandals Resort in Jamaica.

Like all who have held this office before me, I have experienced setbacks. There are things I would do differently if given the chance. Such as... Uhhh... Well I definitely wouldn't have stuffed my package as I rocked the aircraft carrier deck in my sweet Top Gun flight suit. The Presidential giblets don't need no dressing, y'hear? Yet I've always acted with the best interests of the swaths of country I'm most concerned with in mind. I have followed my conscience until it hightailed it out of Dodge, and then I followed my beer-burping gut. And I done what I thought was right, which isn't the same thing as moral. You may not agree with some of the tough decisions I have made. But who cares what you think, asshole? I was willing to flip a coin and make the tough decisions, even if I made those tough decisions with a bullshit faux cowboy anti-intellectualism that was just pure contempt for all those fancy-ass smarties at Yale and Harvard who sneered down their patrician beaks at me and whisper-laughed how I woulda been in special ed at Midland Community College if'n my old man hadn't waterboarded the whole admissions department.

The decades ahead will bring more hard choices for our country, especially when you all hold your noses and try to dig your way out of the steaming pile of shit I left behind, and there are some guiding principles that should shape our course:

Be afraid! Of everything! Manically pursue your happiness at the expense of everybody else's happiness! We're all GONNA DIIIIIIEEE!

That's pretty much it. You're welcome, President Smoov Operata.

And so, my fellow Americans, for the final time: Good night. May God, and Jesus, but not Allah, JewGod, or Xenu bless this house and our next CEO. And may God bless you and our wonderful pyramid scheme of a narcissistic country. Thank you.

(c) 2009 The White House.Org

The Gross National Debt

Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 9 # 5 (c) 01/30/2009

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