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In This Edition

Pete Seeger House Unamerican Activities Committee - Pete Seeger

Uri Avnery finds, "Nothing New Under The Sun."

Glen Ford reports on the, "American State Of The Union: A Festival Of Lies."

Norman Solomon demands that we, "Cut Off The NSA's Juice."

Jim Hightower exclaims, "Wall Street Warns Democrats: Avoid Populism!"

David Swanson concludes, "They Never Announce When You Prevent A War."

James Donahue wonders about, "Our Dying Oceans; Why Isn't This Big News?"

John Nichols asks, "Who Backs The TPP And A 'NAFTA On Steroids?'"

Glenn Greenwald postulates, "Does Obama Administration View Journalists as Snowden's "Accomplices"? It Seems So."

David Sirota warns, "Don't Demonize Public Pensions."

Paul Krugman reveals the, "Paranoia Of The Plutocrats."

Robert Scheer postulates, "Who Needs The Gestapo When You Have 'Angry Birds?'"

Ralph Nader explores, "The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome - From Japan To America."

Venture Capitalist Tom Perkins wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "Why There's No Outcry."

William Rivers Pitt sends, "An Open Letter To Lovers Of The Gun."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst is, "Streaming Hulu In The Womb" but first, Uncle Ernie tells, "The State Of The Union, Or, Obamas Latest Song And Dance."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Robert Ariail, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Tom Tomorrow, Elaine Thompson, Eugene Delacroix, Scott Stantis, Pablo Martinez Monsivais, Roots Action.Org, Shutterstock, Third Way.Org, MIT Entrepreneurship Review, Buffalo Springfield, Golden Earring, REM, AP, Black Agenda Report, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

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...

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

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The State Of The Union, Or, Obama's Latest Song And Dance
By Ernest Stewart

"The fiery trial through which we pass will light us down in honor or dishonor to the latest generation. ... In giving freedom to the slave we assure freedom to the free-honorable alike in what we give and what we preserve. We shall nobly save or meanly lose the last best hope of earth. Other means may succeed; this could not fail. The way is plain, peaceful, generous, just-a way which if followed the world will forever applaud and God must forever bless." ~~~ Abraham Lincoln, SOTU address Dec. 1, 1862

"It's The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)" ~~~ REM

"This is a very dangerous drift in our American thinking. Kristallnacht was unthinkable in 1930; is its descendent 'progressive' radicalism unthinkable now?" ~~~ Tom Perkins

"No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another." ~~~ Charles Dickens

As SOTU speeches go, it wasn't half bad; but it wasn't half good, either. Barry obviously knows what's happening; and he attempted to address some of our problems; but he had no problems showing his hypocrisy with his fast-track trade deal -- something that will destroy most of the programs and problems he spoke of fixing earlier. Candidate Obama knew the score; but as in any political speech, it's directed at making the sheeple more pliable.

Barry will raise the minimum wage to $10.10 for federal employees and folks working under federal contracts; but it really needs to apply to everyone -- and to be at least $15 an hour to do any good; and if he wants a strong economy -- just to keep up with inflation from wages in the 1960's -- it ought to rise to about $24 an hour. Barry said:

"Americans overwhelmingly agree that no one who works full-time should ever have to raise a family in poverty." While $10.10 and hour doesn't accomplish that it is a step in the right direction.

Barry did manage to gets some things right like his message on energy:

"The shift to a cleaner energy economy won't happen overnight, and it will require tough choices along the way. But the debate is settled. Climate change is a fact. And when our children's children look us in the eye and ask if we did all we could to leave them a safer, more stable world, with new sources of energy, I want us to be able to say yes, we did."
Trouble is, saying it in a speech and doing it in reality are two different things. Candidate Obama promised all of that, and more; but 5 years in, he's yet to deliver on his rhetoric! It's the old joke, "How can you tell when a politician is lying? His lips are moving!"

On trade he said, "We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority."

Good idea; but what he really wants is to put those trade deals on "fast track" which eliminates any bipartisan input from Congress on trade, as it takes that away from Congress. Their only input will be to vote it up or down; and our 1% masters want it so bad they can taste it; so you know how that will work out! He knows to pass TTP he needs the American people behind him; but there's no chance of that as most of the unemployed lost their jobs to NAFTA which sent their jobs overseas and are still seething over that; and his Trans-Pacific Partnership, which is being described as a "NAFTA on Steroids," is going to be a very hard sell as it will no doubt cost this country tens of millions of the remaining jobs -- so Wall Street fat cats can get fatter while regular folks will be able to sleep in their cars, if they're lucky, instead of in tent cities under freeway bridges where so many now live. I'm pretty sure he's not going to get many volunteers for that kind of existence! The Sheeple are dumb; but are they that dumb?

Barry said, "Let's make this a year of action. That's what most Americans want, for all of us in this chamber to focus on their lives, their hopes, their aspirations. And what I believe unites the people of this nation, regardless of race or region or party, young or old, rich or poor, is the simple, profound belief in opportunity for all, the notion that if you work hard and take responsibility, you can get ahead in America."

I fear that he's going to get what he asked for, i.e., a year of action come November when the fascists will not only hang onto control of the House, but may pick up the Senate, as well -- unless things begin to change, not for the worse under TTP, but for the better! Just what President Christie will need when he takes office on January 20, 2017!

In Other News

I see where the rat-wing blogosphere is starting to freak out about a coming economic collapse supposed to be here by March. According to Fox Spews and other bizarre sources, the collapse will begin behind the scenes on March 4th and hit the streets on March 22 with a total world-wide financial collapse. Here's one of the many rat-wing videos predicting this!

Of course, to be fair, they predicted a similar collapse when the century turned on Y2K; that didn't happen. Not to mention all the various end-of-the-world scenarios from various groups of religious fundamentalists. A former friend was convinced that the world was ending on the 40th anniversary of Israel's six day war in 2006. He was very insistent; and nothing I could do or say would convince him otherwise. Me being me, ask him if he was so sure would he please sign his Mercedes and house over to me as I, being an Atheist, was sure to be left behind when he and his family ascended into heaven. He said he would indeed sign them over to me, and would leave them in an envelope on his dinning room table. June 2006 came and went and when I asked him about it and could I please have his Benz 500 E he got real quiet and never spoke to me again. I, of course, send him a end-of-the-world card every year on that date, June 5th. I know, my bad!

However, I have to agree with the end-of-timer's that yes, sooner or later, our economy will bite the big one and the Fed and the Banksters will hit the skids and the rest of us will be flat broke with no help coming from anywhere. The government knows this -- and have prepared a gulag archipelago for us, i.e., all those new Happy Camps that they've been building over the last 20 years for when it hits the fan and America takes it to the streets and begins attacking all those bastions of the rich and their armed, walled citadels where they live. Most of the population with certainly starve to death within a month or two.

They'll have the army put a stop to it and round up the survivors and send them off to the camps to either work to death or just be killed by the tens of millions to support their life styles. This could happen by March or it could happen 20 years from now or in the next century? Nobody knows, and all of this is just mere speculation. If I had a nickel for every time the end of the world was predicted by the rat-wing media, especially since Barry took over, I'd have a ten dollar bill!

I understand their vision, I have a similar one myself, based on the fact that the dollar is all but worthless. As I have stated again and again, over the years, our money, which was worth its weight in gold, until "the trick" came along, was taken off the gold standard and allowed to float. When I was a kid I could eat fairly good on $10 a week, for another ten I could buy a carton of cigarettes, gas and insurance for the car and a case of pop. Try doing that today, I dare ya! The reason you can't do that anymore on that kind of money is that the money is Worthless. In those daze, you could buy an ounce of gold for $36 dollars --gold today is $1259 an ounce, down from about $1400 as sellers take their profits. When Dubya ruled the waves, it was approaching $2000 an ounce. Still, you might want to stock up on some can goods and the modern-day equivalent of C-rations just to be safe, America!

And Finally

As Buffalo Springfield once sang, "Paranoia strikes deep." And as Golden Earring sang, "Well the night weighs heavy on his guilty mind." Both songs could be describing Venture capitalist Tom Perkins when he compared liberals' fight to reach an economic balance in the United States to Nazi Germany's war on Jews. Billionaire Perkins must be aware of the sleeping giant, i.e., the American people, are beginning to wake up to the bullshit and tricks of the 1% and Tom can smell the blood in the water -- and it's his!

In a published letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Perkins, a founding member of Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, asks whether a "progressive Kristallnacht" is coming. You'll recall that Kristallnacht, or the night of the broken glass, refers to when Hitler took the gloves off the night of November 9 - 10, 1938 with an attack on Jewish-owned businesses by breaking their windows and trashing the stores. It signalled the attack and wholesale round ups of Jews in Germany. My only thought is what has Tom been smoking and where can I get a bag, as only Zeus knows, I've never been that high -- try as I might!

Tom continues... "Writing from the epicenter of progressive thought, San Francisco, I would call attention to the parallels of fascist Nazi Germany to its war on its 'one percent,' namely its Jews, to the progressive war on the American one percent, namely the rich," Perkins wrote in the letter to the editor. "I perceive a rising tide of hatred of the successful one percent. There is outraged public reaction to the Google buses carrying technology workers from the city to the peninsula high-tech companies which employ them."

I know, my jaw dropped open when I read that screed too! Ergo, Tom wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award! Himmler would have been so proud of Tom!

Keepin' On

After going to the PO Box day-after-day and finding nothing inside, I'm reminded of that old saying, i.e., "Life is a great big sh*t sandwich, and every day's another bite; but dig, the more bread you got the less sh*t you have to eat! And ain't that the truth,? especially in America! Trouble is, we're so broke that we don't even have a single saltine cracker to our name; so we don't look forward to lunch!

Be that as it may, we keep fighting the good fight for you and yours, regardless of our bank balance; you may recall that none of us are in it for the money, which is good, because, there is none! Our competitors need to raise on average $25,000 every month to keep publishing; we could publish Issues & Alibis for 4 years on that amount. Why? Because they take big salaries; and we take nothing -- not a dime!

Week after week, year after year, decade after decade, we've brought you nothing but the truth -- a commodity that is so hard to find in todays 1% controlled media. If you think what we do is important for you and your family, then please send us in, whatever you can, as often as you can; and we'll keep on keeping on for you!


05-03-1919 ~ 01-27-2014
Thanks for the music!


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


So how do you like Bush Lite so far?
And more importantly, what are you planning on doing about it?

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2014 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 12 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Visit the Magazine's page on Facebook and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Pete before the House Unamerican Activities Committee

House Unamerican Activities Committee
August 18, 1955
Pete Seeger

A Subcommittee of the Committee on Un-American Activities met at 10 a.m., in room 1703 of the Federal Building, Foley Square, New York, New York, the Honorable Francis E. Walter (Chairman) presiding.

Committee members present: Representatives Walter, Edwin E. Willis, and Gordon H. Scherer.

Staff members present: Frank S. Tavenner, Jr., Counsel; Donald T. Appell and Frank Bonora, Investigators; and Thomas W. Beale, Sr., Chief Clerk.

MR. TAVENNER: When and where were you born, Mr. Seeger?

MR. SEEGER: I was born in New York in 1919.

MR. TAVENNER: What is your profession or occupation?

MR. SEEGER: Well, I have worked at many things, and my main profession is a student of American folklore, and I make my living as a banjo picker-sort of damning, in some people's opinion.

MR. TAVENNER Has New York been your headquarters for a considerable period of time?

MR. SEEGER: No, I lived here only rarely until I left school, and after a year or two or a few years living here after World War II I got back to the country, where I always felt more at home.

MR. TAVENNER: You say that you were in the Armed Forces of the United States?

MR. SEEGER: About three and a half years.

MR. TAVENNER: Will you tell us please the period of your service?

MR. SEEGER: I went in in July 1942 and I was mustered out in December 1945.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you attain the rank of an officer?

MR. SEEGER: No. After about a year I made Pfc, and just before I got out I got to be T-5, which is in the equivilant of a corporal's rating, a long hard pull.

MR. TAVENNER: Mr. Seeger, prior to your entry in the service in 1942, were you engaged in the practice of your profession in the area of New York?

MR. SEEGER: It is hard to call it a profession. I kind of drifted into it and I never intended to be a musician, and I am glad I am one now, and it is a very honorable profession, but when I started out actually I wanted to be a newspaperman, and when I left school --

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Will you answer the question, please?

MR. SEEGER: I have to explain that it really wasn't my profession, I picked up a little change in it.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Did you practice your profession?

MR. SEEGER: I sang for people, yes, before World War II, and I also did as early as 1925.

MR. TAVENNER: And upon your return from the service in December of 1945, you continued in your profession?

MR. SEEGER: I continued singing, and I expect I always will.

MR. TAVENNER: The Committee has information obtained in part from the Daily Worker indicating that, over a period of time, especially since December of 1945, you took part in numerous entertainment features. I have before me a photostatic copy of the June 20, 1947, issue of the Daily Worker. In a column entitled "What's On" appears this advertisement: "Tonight-Bronx, hear Peter Seeger and his guitar, at Allerton Section housewarming." May I ask you whether or not the Allerton Section was a section of the Communist Party?

MR. SEEGER: Sir, I refuse to answer that question whether it was a quote from the New York Times or the Vegetarian Journal.

MR. TAVENNER: I don't believe there is any more authoritative document in regard to the Communist Party than its official organ, the Daily Worker.

MR. SCHERER: He hasn't answered the question, and he merely said he wouldn't answer whether the article appeared in the New York Times or some other magazine. I ask you to direct the witness to answer the question.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer.

MR. SEEGER: Sir, the whole line of questioning-

CHAIRMAN WALTER: You have only been asked one question, so far.

MR. SEEGER: I am not going to answer any questions as to my association, my philosophical or religious beliefs or my political beliefs, or how I voted in any election, or any of these private affairs. I think these are very improper questions for any American to be asked, especially under such compulsion as this. I would be very glad to tell you my life if you want to hear of it.

MR. TAVENNER: Has the witness declined to answer this specific question?

CHAIRMAN WALTER: He said that he is not going to answer any questions, any names or things.

MR. SCHERER: He was directed to answer the question.

MR. TAVENNER: I have before me a photostatic copy of the April 30, 1948, issue of the Daily Worker which carries under the same title of "What's On," an advertisement of a "May Day Rally: For Peace, Security and Democracy." The advertisement states: "Are you in a fighting mood? Then attend the May Day rally." Expert speakers are stated to be slated for the program, and then follows a statement, "Entertainment by Pete Seeger." At the bottom appears this: "Auspices Essex County Communist Party," and at the top, "Tonight, Newark, N.J." Did you lend your talent to the Essex County Communist Party on the occasion indicated by this article from the Daily Worker?

MR. SEEGER: Mr. Walter, I believe I have already answered this question, and the same answer.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: The same answer. In other words, you mean that you decline to answer because of the reasons stated before?

MR. SEEGER: I gave my answer, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is your answer?

MR. SEEGER: You see, sir, I feel-

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is your answer?

MR. SEEGER: I will tell you what my answer is.

(Witness consulted with counsel [Paul L. Ross].)

I feel that in my whole life I have never done anything of any conspiratorial nature and I resent very much and very deeply the implication of being called before this Committee that in some way because my opinions may be different from yours, or yours, Mr. Willis, or yours, Mr. Scherer, that I am any less of an American than anybody else. I love my country very deeply, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Why don't you make a little contribution toward preserving its institutions?

MR. SEEGER: I feel that my whole life is a contribution. That is why I would like to tell you about it.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I don't want to hear about it.

MR. SCHERER: I think that there must be a direction to answer.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer that question.

MR. SEEGER: I have already given you my answer, sir.

MR. SCHERER: Let me understand. You are not relying on the Fifth Amendment, are you?

MR. SEEGER: No, sir, although I do not want to in any way discredit or depreciate or depredate the witnesses that have used the Fifth Amendment, and I simply feel it is improper for this committee to ask such questions.

MR. SCHERER: And then in answering the rest of the questions, or in refusing to answer the rest of the questions, I understand that you are not relying on the Fifth Amendment as a basis for your refusal to answer?

MR. SEEGER: No, I am not, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: I have before me a photostatic copy of May 4,1949, issue of the Daily Worker, which has an article entitled, "May Day Smash Review Put on by Communist Cultural Division, On Stage," and the article was written by Bob Reed. This article emphasizes a production called Now Is the Time, and it says this: Now Is the Time was a hard-hitting May Day show of songs and knife-edged satire. New songs and film strips walloped the enemies of the people in what the singers called "Aesopian language." And other persons [participated], including Pete Seeger. Lee Hays is recited to be the MC, or master of ceremonies. Did you take part in this May Day program under the auspices of the Music Section of the Cultural Division of the Communist Party?

MR. SEEGER: Mr. Chairman, the answer is the same as before.

MR. SCHERER: I think we have to have a direction.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer the question.

MR. SEEGER: I have given you my answer, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: The article contains another paragraph, as follows: This performance of Now Is the Time was given in honor of the twelve indicted Communist Party leaders. And then it continues with Bob Reed's account of the show: This reviewer has never seen a show which stirred its audience more. Add up new material, fine personal and group performances, overwhelming audience response-the result was a significant advance in the people's cultural movement. Now Is the Time is that rare phenomenon, a political show in which performers and audience had a lot of fun. It should be repeated for large audiences. Mr. Lee Hays was asked, while he was on the witness stand, whether or not he wrote that play, and he refused to answer. Do you know whether he was the originator of the script?

MR. SEEGER: Do I know whether he was the originator of the script? Again my answer is the same. However, if you want to question me about any songs, I would be glad to tell you, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: That is what you are being asked about now.

MR. TAVENNER: You said that you would tell us about the songs. Did you participate in a program at Wingdale Lodge in the State of New York, which is a summer camp for adults and children, on the weekend of July Fourth of this year?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: Again, I say I will be glad to tell what songs I have ever sung, because singing is my business.

MR. TAVENNER: I am going to ask you.

MR. SEEGER: But I decline to say who has ever listened to them, who has written them, or other people who have sung them.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you sing this song, to which we have referred, "Now Is the Time," at Wingdale Lodge on the weekend of July Fourth?

MR. SEEGER: I don't know any song by that name, and I know a song with a similar name. It is called "Wasn't That a Time." Is that the song?

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Did you sing that song?

MR. SEEGER: I can sing it. I don't know how well I can do it without my banjo.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I said, Did you sing it on that occasion?

MR. SEEGER: I have sung that song. I am not going to go into where I have sung it. I have sung it many places.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Did you sing it on this particular occasion? That is what you are being asked.

MR. SEEGER: Again my answer is the same.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: You said that you would tell us about it.

MR. SEEGER: I will tell you about the songs, but I am not going to tell you or try to explain-

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer the question. Did you sing this particular song on the Fourth of July at Wingdale Lodge in New York?

MR. SEEGER: I have already given you my answer to that question, and all questions such as that. I feel that is improper: to ask about my associations and opinions. I have said that I would be voluntarily glad to tell you any song, or what I have done in my life.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I think it is my duty to inform you that we don't accept this answer and the others, and I give you an opportunity now to answer these questions, particularly the last one.

MR. SEEGER: Sir, my answer is always the same.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: All right, go ahead, Mr. Tavenner.

MR. TAVENNER: Were you chosen by Mr. Elliott Sullivan to take part in the program on the weekend of July Fourth at Wingdale Lodge?

MR. SEEGER: The answer is the same, sir.

MR. WILLIS: Was that the occasion of the satire on the Constitution and the Bill of Rights?

MR. TAVENNER: The same occasion, yes, sir. I have before me a photostatic copy of a page from the June 1, 1949, issue of the Daily Worker, and in a column entitled "Town Talk" there is found this statement: The first performance of a new song, "If I Had a Hammer," on the theme of the Foley Square trial of the Communist leaders, will he given at a testimonial dinner for the 12 on Friday night at St. Nicholas Arena. . . .Among those on hand for the singing will be . . . Pete Seeger, and Lee Hays-and others whose names are mentioned. Did you take part in that performance?

MR. SEEGER: I shall he glad to answer about the song, sir, and I am not interested in carrying on the line of questioning about where I have sung any songs.

MR. TAVENNER: I ask a direction.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: You may not he interested, but we are, however. I direct you to answer. You can answer that question.

MR. SEEGER: I feel these questions are improper, sir, and I feel they are immoral to ask any American this kind of question.

MR. TAVENNER: Have you finished your answer?

MR. SEEGER: Yes, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: I desire to offer the document in evidence and ask that it be marked "Seeger exhibit No.4," for identification only, and to be made a part of the Committee files.

MR. SEEGER: I am sorry you are not interested in the song. It is a good song.

MR. TAVENNER: Were you present in the hearing room while the former witnesses testified?

MR. SEEGER: I have been here all morning, yes, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: I assume then that you heard me read the testimony of Mr. [Elia] Kazan about the purpose of the Communist Party in having its actors entertain for the henefit of Communist fronts and the Communist Party. Did you hear that testimony?

MR. SEEGER: Yes, I have heard all of the testimony today.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you hear Mr. George Hall's testimony yesterday in which he stated that, as an actor, the special contribution that he was expected to make to the Communist Party was to use his talents by entertaining at Communist Party functions? Did you hear that testimony?

MR. SEEGER: I didn't hear it, no.

MR. TAVENNER: It is a fact that he so testified. I want to know whether or not you were engaged in a similar type of service to the Communist Party in entertaining at these features.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I am proud that I never refuse to sing to an audience, no matter what religion or color of their skin, or situation in life. I have sung in hobo jungles, and I have sung for the Rockefellers, and I am proud that I have never refused to sing for anybody. That is the only answer I can give along that line.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Mr. Tavenner, are you getting around to that letter? There was a letter introduced yesterday that I think was of greater importance than any bit of evidence adduced at these hearings, concerning the attempt made to influence people in this professional performers' guild and union to assist a purely Communist cause which had no relation whatsoever to the arts and the theater. Is that what you are leading up to?

MR. TAVENNER: Yes, it is. That was the letter of Peter Lawrence, which I questioned him about yesterday. That related to the trial of the Smith Act defendants here at Foley Square. I am trying to inquire now whether this witness was party to the same type of propaganda effort by the Communist Party.

MR. SCHERER: There has been no answer to your last question.

MR. TAVENNER: That is right; may I have a direction?

MR. SEEGER: Would you repeat the question? I don't even know what the last question was, and I thought I have answered all of them up to now.

MR. TAVENNER: What you stated was not in response to the question.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Proceed with the questioning, Mr. Tavenner.

MR. TAVENNER: I believe, Mr. Chairman, with your permission, I will have the question read to him. I think it should be put in exactly the same form.

(Whereupon the reporter read the pending question as above recorded.)

MR. SEEGER: "These features": what do you mean? Except for the answer I have already given you, I have no answer. The answer I gave you you have, don't you? That is, that I am proud that I have sung for Americans of every political persuasion, and I have never refused to sing for anybody because I disagreed with their political opinion, and I am proud of the fact that my songs seem to cut across and find perhaps a unifying thing, basic humanity,and that is why I would love to be able to tell you about these songs, because I feel that you would agree with me more, sir. I know many beautiful songs from your home county, Carbon, and Monroe, and I hitchhiked through there and stayed in the homes of miners.

MR. TAVENNER: My question was whether or not you sang at these functions of the Communist Party. You have answered it inferentially, and if I understand your answer, you are saying you did.

MR. SEEGER: Except for that answer, I decline to answer further.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you sing at functions of the Communist Party, at Communist Party requests?

MR. SEEGER: I believe, sir, that a good twenty minutes ago, I gave my answer to this whole line of questioning.

MR. TAVENNER: Yes, but you have now beclouded your answer by your statement, and I want to make certain what you mean. Did you sing at the Communist Party functions which I have asked you about, as a Communist Party duty?

MR. SEEGER: I have already indicated that I am not interested, and I feel it is improper to say who has sung my songs or who I have sung them to, especially under such compulsion as this.

MR. TAVENNER: Have you been a member of the Communist Party since 1947?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: The same answer, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer that question.

MR. SEEGER: I must give the same answer as before.

MR. TAVENNER: I have a throwaway sheet entitled "Culture Fights Back, 1953," showing entertainment at the Capitol Hotel, Carnival Room, Fifty-first Street at Eighth Avenue, in 1953, sponsored by the Committee to Defend V. J. Jerome. It indicates that Pete Seeger was one of those furnishing the entertainment. Will you tell the Committee, please, whether or not you were asked to perform on that occasion, and whether or not you did, either as a Communist Party directive, or as what you considered to be a duty to the Communist Party?

MR. SEEGER: I believe I have answered this already.

MR. TAVENNER: Are you acquainted with V. J. Jerome?

MR. SEEGER: I have already told you, sir, that I believe my associations, whatever they are, are my own private affairs.

MR. TAVENNER: You did know, at that time, in 1953, that V. J. Jerome was a cultural head of the Communist Party and one of the Smith Act defendants in New York City?

MR. SEEGER: Again the same answer, sir.

MR. SCHERER: You refuse to answer that question?

MR. SEEGER: Yes, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: I hand you a photograph which was taken of the May Day parade in New York City in 1952, which shows the front rank of a group of individuals, and one is in a uniform with military cap and insignia, and carrying a placard entitled CENSORED. Will you examine it please and state whether or not that is a photograph of you?

(A document was handed to the witness.)

MR. SEEGER: It is like Jesus Christ when asked by Pontius Pilate, "Are you king of the Jews?"


MR. SEEGER: Let someone else identify that picture.

MR. SCHERER: I ask that he be directed to answer the question.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer the question.

MR. SEEGER: Do I identify this photograph?


MR. SEEGER: I say let someone else identify it.

MR. TAVENNER: I desire to offer the document in evidence and ask that it be marked "Seeger exhibit No.6."

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Make it a part of the record.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. TAVENNER: It is noted that the individual mentioned is wearing a military uniform. That was in May of 1952, and the statute of limitations would have run by now as to any offense for the improper wearing of the uniform, and will you tell the Committee whether or not you took part in that May Day program wearing a uniform of an American soldier?

MR. SEEGER: The same answer as before, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer that question.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SCHERER: I think the record should show that the witness remains mute, following the direction by the Chairman to answer that question.

MR. SEEGER: The same answer, sir, as before.

MR. SCHERER: Again, I understand that you are not invoking the Fifth Amendment?

MR. SEEGER: That is correct.

MR. SCHERER: We are not accepting the answers or the reasons you gave.

MR. SEEGER: That is your prerogative, sir.

MR. SCHERER: Do you understand it is the feeling of the Committee that you are in contempt as a result of the position you take?

MR. SEEGER: I can't say.

MR. SCHERER: I am telling you that that is the position of the Committee.

MR. TAVENNER: The Daily Worker of April 21, 1948, at page 7, contains a notice that Pete Seeger was a participant in an affair for Ferdinand Smith. Will you tell the Committee what the occasion was at which you took part?

MR. SEEGER: I hate to waste the Committee's time, but I think surely you must realize by now that my answer is the same.

MR. TAVENNER: Do you know whether Ferdinand Smith was under deportation orders at that time?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: I think that he was not under deportation orders until a little later than that.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is his name?

MR. TAVENNER: Ferdinand Smith, a Communist Party member and former vice-president of the maritime union. My purpose in asking you these questions, Mr. Seeger, is to determine whether or not, in accordance with the plan of the Communist Party as outlined by Mr. Kazan and Mr. George Hall, you were performing a valuable service to the Communist Party, and if that was the way they attempted to use you.

MR. SEEGER: Is that a question, sir?

MR. TAVENNER: That is my explanation to you, with the hope that you will give the Committee some light on that subject.

MR. SEEGER: No, my answer is the same as before.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you also perform and entertain at various functions held by front organizations, such as the American Youth for Democracy? I have here photostatic copies of the Daily Worker indicating such programs were conducted in Detroit in 1952, at Greenwich Village on May 10, 1947, and again at another place in March of 1948. Did you entertain at functions under the auspices of the American Youth for Democracy?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: The answer is the same, and I take it that you are not interested in all of the different places that I have sung. Why don't you ask me about the churches and schools and other places?

MR. TAVENNER: That is very laudable, indeed, and I wish only that your activities had been confined to those areas. If you were acting for the Communist Party at these functions, we want to know it. We want to determine just what the Communist Party plan was.

MR. SCHERER: Witness, you have indicated that you are perfectly willing to tell us about all of these innumerable functions at which you entertained, but why do you refuse to tell us about the functions that Mr. Tavenner inquires about?

MR. SEEGER: No, sir, I said that I should be glad to tell you about all of the songs that I have sung, because I feel that the songs are the clearest explanation of what I do believe in, as a musician, and as an American.

MR. SCHERER: Didn't you just say that you sang before various religious groups, school groups?

MR. SEEGER: I have said it and I will say it again, and I have sung for perhaps-

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SCHERER: You are willing to tell us about those groups?

MR. SEEGER: I am saying voluntarily that I have sung for almost every religious group in the country, from Jewish and Catholic, and Presbyterian and Holy Rollers and Revival Churches, and I do this voluntarily. I have sung for many, many different groups-and it is hard for perhaps one person to believe, I was looking back over the twenty years or so that I have sung around these forty-eight states, that I have sung in so many different places.

MR. SCHERER: Did you sing before the groups that Mr. Tavenner asked you about?

MR. SEEGER: I am saying that my answer is the same as before. I have told you that I sang for everybody.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Wait a minute. You sang for everybody. Then are we to believe, or to take it, that you sang at the places Mr. Tavenner mentioned?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is that?

MR. SEEGER: It seems to me like the third time I have said it, if not the fourth.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Maybe it is the fifth, but say it again. I want to know what your answer is.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: I decline to discuss, under compulsion, where I have sung, and who has sung my songs, and who else has sung with me, and the people I have known. I love my country very dearly, and I greatly resent this implication that some of the places that I have sung and some of the people that I have known, and some of my opinions, whether they are religious or philosophical, or I might be a vegetarian, make me any less of an American. I will tell you about my songs, but I am not interested in telling you who wrote them, and I will tell you about my songs, and I am not interested in who listened to them.

MR. TAVENNER: According to the Daily Worker, there was a conference program of the Civil Rights Congress on April 2, 1949, at which you were one of the performers. On August 27, 1949, the People's Artists presented a summer musicale at Lakeland Acres picnic grounds, Peekskill, New York, for the benefit of the Harlem chapter of the Civil Rights Congress, at which you were a participant. At another meeting of the Civil Rights Congress of New York, around May 11, 1946, you were a participant. Will you tell the Committee, please, under what circumstances you performed, because you have said that you sang at all sorts of meetings. Under what circumstances were your services acquired on those occasions?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir. I can only infer from your lack of interest in my songs that you are actually scared to know what these songs are like, because there is nothing wrong with my songs, sir. Do you know-

MR. SCHERER: You said you want to talk about your songs, and I will give you an opportunity. Tell us what songs you sang at Communist Party meetings?

MR. SEEGER: I will tell you about the songs that I have sung any place.

MR. SCHERER: I want to know the ones that you sang at Communist Party meetings, because those are the songs about which we can inquire. Just tell us one song that you sang at a Communist Party meeting.

MR. SEEGER: Mr. Scherer, it seems to me that you heard my testimony, and that is a ridiculous question, because you know what my answer is.

MR. TAVENNER: Mr. George Hall testified that the entertainment that he engaged in, at the instance of the Communist Party, was not songs of a political character. He did say, however, that he was expected by the Communist Party to perform in order to raise money for the Communist Party. Now, did you, as Mr. Hall did, perform in order to raise money for Communist Party causes?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: I don't care what Mr. Hall says, and my answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: That you refuse to answer?

MR. SEEGER: I have given my answer.

MR. SCHERER: Was Mr. Hall telling the truth when he told the Committee about the entertainment he engaged in at the instance of the Communist Party?

MR. SEEGER: I don't feel like discussing what Mr. Hall said.

MR. TAVENNER: The American Committee for Yugoslav Relief has been designated as a front organization. According to the October 22, 1947, issue of the Daily People's World, in California, Pete Seeger headed the list of entertainers to appear at a picnic given by the Southern California chapter of that organization. Did you participate in that program?

MR. SEEGER: If you have a hundred more photostats there, it seems silly for me to give you the same answer a hundred more times.

MR. TAVENNER: What is your answer?

MR. SEEGER: It is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: There are various peace groups in the country which have utilized your services, are there not?

MR. SEEGER: I have sung for pacifists and I have sung for soldiers.

MR. TAVENNER: According to the Daily Worker of September 6, 1940, you were scheduled as a singer at a mass meeting of the American Peace Mobilization at Turner's Arena, in Washington, D.C. What were the circumstances under which you were requested to take part in that performance?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: You were a member of the American Peace Mobilization, were you not?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

MR. TAVENNER: Were you not a delegate to the Chicago convention of the American Peace Mobilization on September 5, 1940?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Is that organization subversive?


CHAIRMAN WALTER: What is the name of it?

MR. TAVENNER: American Peace Mobilization, and it was the beginning of these peace organizations, back in 1940. Did you take part in the American Peace Crusade program in Chicago in April of 1954?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before. Of course, I would be curious to know what you think of a song like this very great Negro spiritual, "I'm Gonna Lay Down My Sword and Shield, Down by the Riverside."

MR. TAVENNER: That is not at all responsive to my question.

MR. SEEGER: I gave you my answer before I even said that.

MR. TAVENNER: If you refuse to answer, I think that you should not make a speech.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. TAVENNER: Did you also perform a service for the California Labor School in Los Angeles by putting on musical programs there?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you teach in the California Labor School?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. SCHERER: I think for the record you should state whether the California Labor School has been cited.


MR. SCHERER: As subversive and Communist dominated?

MR. TAVENNER: Yes, it has been.

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. TAVENNER: Did you also teach at the Jefferson School of Social Science here in the city of New York?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. SCHERER: I ask that you direct him to answer.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer. Did you teach at the Jefferson School here at New York?

MR. SEEGER: I feel very silly having to repeat the same thing over and over again, but my answer is exactly the same as before, sir.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: Has the Jefferson School of Social Science been cited?

MR. TAVENNER: Yes, and it has been required to register under the 1950 Internal Security Act.

MR. SCHERER: There are a number of people here who taught at that school, Mr. Walter.

MR. TAVENNER: I desire to offer in evidence a photostatic copy of an article from the September 21, 1946, issue of the Daily Worker which refers to music courses at Jefferson School, and I call attention to the last sentence in the article wherein Peter Seeger is mentioned as a leader in one of the courses. * * * According to the March 18, 1948, issue of the Daily Worker, it is indicated that you would entertain at a musical presented by the Jefferson Workers' Bookshop. According to the November 25, 1948, issue of the same paper you would perform also under the auspices of the Jefferson School of Social Science. Also you were a participant in a program advertised in the Daily Worker of June 1, 1950, put on by the Jefferson School of Social Science, and according to an issue of February 15, 1954, of the same paper, you were expected to play and lecture on songs and ballads in the Jefferson School. Will you tell the Committee, please, what were the circumstances under which you engaged in those programs, if you did?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: Did you also engage in performances for the Labor Youth League in 1954?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before. Did you think that I sing propaganda songs or something?

MR. TAVENNER: In 1947, what was your connection with an organization known as People's Songs?

(Witness consulted with counsel.)

MR. SEEGER: I take the same answer as before regarding any organization or any association I have.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: What was People's Songs, Mr. Tavenner?

MR. TAVENNER: People's Songs was an organization which, according to its issue of February and March 1947, was composed of a number of persons on the board of directors who have been called before this Committee or identified by this Committee as members of the Communist Party, and the purpose of which, from information made available to the Committee, was to extend services to the Communist Party in its entertainment projects. Mr. Lee Hays was a member of the board of directors, was he not, along with you, in this organization?

(Witness consulted with counsel)

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: Were you not the editor of People's Songs, and a member of the board of directors in 1947?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

MR. TAVENNER: You were actually the national director of this organization, were you not?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

MR. TAVENNER: Was the organization founded by Alan Lomax?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

MR. TAVENNER: Was the booking agent of People's Songs an organization known as People's Artists?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same.

MR. TAVENNER: Will you tell the Committee, please, whether or not during the weekend of July 4, 1955, you were a member of the Communist Party?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before, sir.

MR. TAVENNER: Were you a member of the Communist Party at any time during the various entertainment features in which you were alleged to have engaged?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same.

MR. TAVENNER: Are you a member of the Communist Party now?

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same.

MR. SCHERER: I ask for a direction on that question.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: I direct you to answer.

MR. SEEGER: My answer is the same as before.

MR. TAVENNER: I have no further questions, Mr. Chairman.

CHAIRMAN WALTER: The witness is excused.

Pete Seeger was sentenced to a year in jail for contempt of Congress but appealed his case successfully after a fight that lasted until 1962.

Nothing New Under The Sun
By Uri Avnery

DURING THE last hundred years, Russia has undergone huge changes.

At the beginning, it was ruled by the Czar, in an absolute monarchy with some democratic decorations, a "tyranny mitigated by inefficiency."

After the downfall of the Czar, a liberal and equally inefficient regime ruled for a few months, when it was overthrown by the Bolshevik revolution.

The "dictatorship of the proletariat" lasted for some 73 years, which means that three generations passed through the Soviet education system. That should have been enough to absorb the values of internationalism, socialism and human dignity, as taught by Karl Marx.

The Soviet system imploded in 1991, leaving few political traces behind. After a few years of liberal anarchy under Boris Yeltsin, Vladimir Putin took over. He has proved himself to be an able statesman, making Russia into a world power again. He has also instituted a new autocratic system, clamping down on democracy and human rights.

When we view these events, spanning a century, we are obliged to conclude that after undergoing all these dramatic upheavals Russia is politically more or less where it started. The difference between the realm of Czar Nicholas II and President Putin I is minimal. The national aspirations, the general outlook, the regime and the status of human rights are more or less the same.

What does that teach us? For me it means that there is something like a national character, which does not change easily, if at all. Revolutions, wars, disasters come and go, and the basic character of a people remains as it was.

LET US take another example, closer to us geographically: Turkey.

Mustafa Kemal was a fascinating person. People who met him when, as an officer in the Ottoman army, he was serving in Palestine, described him as an interesting character and a heavy drinker. He was born in Thessaloniki in Greece, a town which was mostly Jewish at the time, and took part in the revolution of the Young Turk movement, which aimed at the renovation of the Ottoman Empire, which had become the "sick man of Europe".

After the Turkish defeat in World War I, Mustafa Kemal set out to create a new Turkey. His reforms were very far-reaching. Among others, he abolished the Ottoman Empire and the ancient Muslim Caliphate, changed the script of the Turkish language from Arabic to Latin, pushed religion out of politics, turned the army into "the guardian of the (secular) republic", forbade men and women to wear traditional dress like the fez and the hijab. His ambition was to turn Turkey into a modern European country.

In 1934, when the surname law was adopted, the national parliament gave him the name "Ataturk" (Father of Turks). The people adore him to this day. His picture hangs in all government offices. Yet now we witness the reversal of most of his reforms.

Turkey is today ruled by a religious Islamic party, voted in by the people. Islam is making a major comeback. After staging several coups, the army has been pushed out of politics. The present leadership is accused by some of neo-Ottoman policies.

Does this mean that Turkey is returning to where it was a hundred years ago?

ONE CAN cite examples from all over the world.

Some 220 years after the mother of all modern revolutions, the Great French Revolution, the frivolous adventures of the present French president are being compared to those of the Bourbon kings. Nothing much has remained from the times of the austere Charles de Gaulle, neither morally nor politically.

Italy has still not attained political stability, after the intermezzo of the clownish Silvio Berlusconi. A much reduced Great Britain still thinks and behaves like the empire in its heyday, striving to get away from the Europe of the Frogs and the Wogs.

And so forth.

I LIKE to quote (again) Elias Canetti, the Nobel-prize writer claimed by Bulgaria, England and Switzerland, not to mention the Jews.

In one of his works he claims that every nation has its own character, like a human being. He even undertook to describe the character of major nations by symbols: the British are like a sea captain, the Germans are like a forest of tall, straight oaks, the Jews are formed by the exodus from Egypt and the wandering in the desert. He sees these characteristics as constant.

Professional historians may laugh at such dilettantism. However, I believe that the injection of some literary insights into history is all for the better. It deepens the understanding.

ALL THIS leads me to the Jewish-Israeli metamorphosis.

Israel was literally created by the Zionist movement. This was one of the most revolutionary of revolutions, if not the most far-reaching of all. It did not aspire to the change of a regime, like Mandela in South Africa. Nor to a profound change of society, like the Communist movements. Nor to a cultural change, like that of Ataturk. Zionism wanted to achieve all that, and much more.

It wanted to take a dispersed religious-ethnic community, born in ancient times, and turn it into a modern nation. To take masses of individuals from their homelands and natural habitat and transfer them physically to another country and another climate. To change the social status of each of them. To cause them to adopt a new language - a dead language that was brought to life again, a task no other people ever succeeded in accomplishing. To do all this in a foreign country inhabited by another people.

Of all revolutionary movements of the 20th century, Zionism was the most successful and enduring. Communism. Fascism and dozens of others came and went. Zionism endures.

But is Israeli society really Zionist, as it claims loudly and repeatedly?

ZIONISM WAS basically a rebellion against the Jewish existence in the Diaspora. In the religious sphere, it was a reformation more profound than that of Martin Luther.

All prominent Jewish Rabbis, both Hasidic as anti-Hasidic, condemned Zionism as a heresy. The People of Israel were united by their absolute obedience to God's 613 commandments, not by any "national" bonds. God had strictly forbidden any mass return to the Land of Israel, since He had exiled the Jews for their sinful behavior. The Jewish Diaspora was thus decreed by God and had to remain, until He changes His mind.

And here came the Zionists, mostly atheists, and wanted to bring the Jews to the Land of Israel without God's permission, indeed abolishing God altogether. They built a secular society. They held abysmal contempt for the Diaspora, especially for the Orthodox "ghetto Jews". Their founding father, Theodor Herzl, held that after the foundation of the Jewish State, no one outside it would be considered a Jew anymore. Other Zionists were not quite so radical, but certainly thought along these lines.

When I was young, many of us went even further. We disclaimed the idea of a Jewish State, and spoke instead of a Hebrew State, connected only loosely with Diaspora Jewry, creating a new Hebrew civilization closely connected with the Arab world around us. An Asian nation, not identified with Europe and the West.

So where are we now?

ISRAEL IS re-Judaizing itself at a rapid pace. The Jewish religion is making a huge comeback. Very soon, religious children of various communities will be the majority in Israeli Jewish schools.

Organized Orthodox religion has made immense inroads. The official Israeli definition of a Jew is exclusively religious. All matters of personal status, like marriage and divorce, are ruled by the Rabbinate. So is the menu of most restaurants. Public transport, on land and in the air, is halted on the Shabbat. Non-Orthodox Jewish religious denominations, like the "Reformists" and the "Conservatives", are practically banned.

In a scandal that is rocking Israel at the moment, revolving around a Qabalistic rabbi, is appears that this miraculous person has amassed a fortune of hundreds of millions of dollars by selling blessings and amulets. He is but one of many such rabbis who are surrounded by tycoons, cabinet ministers, senior gangsters and senior police officers.

Herzl, who promised to "keep the rabbis in their synagogues and the professional army in their barracks" is surely turning in his grave on Jerusalem's Mount Herzl.

BUT THESE are still relatively superficial symptoms. I am thinking of much more profound matters.

One of the basic convictions of Diaspora Jewry was that "the whole world is against us." Jews have been persecuted throughout the ages in many countries, up to the Holocaust. In the Seder ceremony on Passover eve, which unites all the Jews around the world, the holy text says that "in every generation they arise to annihilate us."

The official aim of Zionism was to turn us into "a people like all peoples". Does a normal people believe that everybody is out to annihilate it at all times?

It is a basic conviction of almost every Jewish Israeli that "the whole world is against us" - which is also a jolly popular song. The US is concluding an agreement with Iran? Europe turns against the settlements? Russia helps Bashar al-Assad? Anti-Semites all.

International protests against our occupation of the Palestinian territories are, of course, just another form of anti-Semitism. (The Prime Minister of Canada, who visited Israel this week and made a ridiculous speech in the Knesset, also proclaimed that any criticism of Israeli policy is a form of anti-Semitism.)

Does this mean that in Israel, the self-proclaimed Jewish State, all the old Jewish attitudes, suspicions, fears and myths are coming to the fore again? That the revolutionary Zionist concepts are disappearing? That nothing much has changed in the Jewish outlook?

As the French say: "The more things change, the more they stay the same."

Or, as Ecclesiastes puts it in the Bible (1:9): "The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be, and that which is done is that which shall be done, and there is no new thing under the sun."
(c) 2014 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

American State Of The Union: A Festival Of Lies
By Glen Ford

"Believe it," said the current Prevaricator-in-Chief, in the conclusion to his annual litany lies. President Obama's specialty, honed to theatrical near-perfection over five disastrous years, is in crafting the sympathetic lie, designed to suspend disbelief among those targeted for oblivion, through displays of empathy for the victims. In contrast to the aggressive insults and bluster employed by Republican political actors, whose goal is to incite racist passions against the Other, the sympathetic Democratic liar disarms those who are about to be sacrificed by pretending to feel their pain.

Barack Obama, who has presided over the sharpest increases in economic inequality in U.S. history, adopts the persona of public advocate, reciting wrongs inflicted by unseen and unknown forces that have "deepened" the gap between the rich and the rest of us and stalled upward mobility. Having spent half a decade stuffing tens of trillions of dollars into the accounts of an ever shrinking gaggle of financial capitalists, Obama declares this to be "a year of action" in the opposite direction. "Believe it." And if you do believe it, then crown him the Most Effective Liar of the young century.

Lies of omission are even more despicable than the overt variety, because they hide. The potentially most devastating Obama contribution to economic inequality is being crafted in secret by hundreds of corporate lobbyists and lawyers and their revolving-door counterparts in government. The Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP) trade deal, described as "NAFTA on steroids," would accelerate the global Race to the Bottom that has made a wasteland of American manufacturing, plunging the working class into levels of poverty and insecurity without parallel in most people's lifetimes, and totally eviscerating the meager gains of three generations of African Americans. Yet, the closest Obama came to even an oblique allusion to his great crime-in-the-making, was to announce that "new trade partnerships with Europe and the Asia-Pacific will help [small businesses] create even more jobs. We need to work together on tools like bipartisan trade promotion authority to protect our workers, protect our environment and open new markets to new goods stamped 'Made in the USA.'" Like NAFTA twenty years ago - only far bigger and more diabolically destructive - TPP will have the opposite effect, destroying millions more jobs and further deepening worker insecurity. The Trans Pacific Partnership expands the legal basis for global economic inequalities - which is why the negotiations are secret, and why the treaty's name could not be spoken in the State of the Union address. It is a lie of omission of global proportions. Give Obama his crown.

The president who promised in his 2008 campaign to support a hike in the minimum wage to $9.50 by 2011, and then did nothing at all to make it happen, says this is the "year of action" when he'll move heaven and earth to get a $10.10 minimum. He will start, Obama told the Congress and the nation, by issuing "an executive order requiring federal contractors to pay their federally-funded employees a fair wage of at least $10.10 an hour because if you cook our troops' meals or wash their dishes, you should not have to live in poverty." Obama neglected to mention that only new hires - a small fraction, beginning with zero, of the two million federal contract workers - will get the wage boost; a huge and conscious lie of omission. The fact that the president does not even propose a gradual, mandated increase for the rest of the two million shows he has no intention of using his full powers to ameliorate taxpayer-financed poverty. We can also expect Obama to issue waivers to every firm that claims a hardship, as is always his practice.

What is Obama's jobs program? It is the same as laid out at last year's State of the Union, and elaborated on last summer: lower business taxes and higher business subsidies. When you say "jobs," he says tax cuts - just like the Republicans, only Obama first cites the pain of the unemployed, so that you know he cares. "Both Democrats and Republicans have argued that our tax code is riddled with wasteful, complicated loopholes that punish businesses investing here, and reward companies that keep profits abroad. Let's flip that equation. Let's work together to close those loopholes, end those incentives to ship jobs overseas, and lower tax rates for businesses that create jobs right here at home." Actually, Obama wants to lower tax rates for all corporations to 28 percent, from 35 percent, as part of his ongoing quest for a Grand Bargain with Republicans. For Obama, the way to bring jobs back to the U.S. is to make American taxes and wages more "competitive" in the "global marketplace" - the Race to the Bottom.

In the final analysis, the sympathetic corporate Democrat and the arrogant corporate Republican offer only small variations on the same menu: ever increasing austerity. Obama bragged about reducing the deficit, never acknowledging that this has been accomplished on the backs of the poor, contributing mightily to economic inequality and social insecurity.

Obama offers nothing of substance, because he is not authorized by his corporate masters to do so. He takes his general orders from the same people as do the Republicans. That's why Obama only speaks of minimum wage hikes while Republicans are in power, rather than when his own party controlled both houses of Congress. Grand Bargains are preferred, because they are the result of consensus between the two corporate parties. In effect, the Grand Bargain is the distilled political will of Wall Street, which feeds the donkey and the elephant. Wall Street - the 1 percent - believes the world is theirs for the taking, and they want all of it. Given this overarching truth, Obama has no choice but to stage a festival of lies.
(c) 2014 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Cut Off The NSA's Juice
By Norman Solomon

The National Security Agency depends on huge computers that guzzle electricity in the service of the surveillance state. For the NSA's top executives, maintaining a vast flow of juice to keep Big Brother nourished is essential-and any interference with that flow is unthinkable.

But interference isn't unthinkable. And in fact, it may be doable.

Grassroots activists have begun to realize the potential to put the NSA on the defensive in nearly a dozen states where the agency is known to be running surveillance facilities, integral to its worldwide snoop operations.

Organizers have begun to push for action by state legislatures to impede the electric, water and other services that sustain the NSA's secretive outposts.

Those efforts are farthest along in the state of Washington, where a new bill in the legislature-the Fourth Amendment Protection Act-is a statutory nightmare for the NSA. The agency has a listening post in Yakima, in the south-central part of the state.

The bill throws down a challenge to the NSA, seeking to block all state support for NSA activities violating the Fourth Amendment. For instance, that could mean a cutoff of electricity or water or other state-government services to the NSA site. And the measure also provides for withholding other forms of support, such as research and partnerships with state universities.

Here's the crux of the bill: "It is the policy of this state to refuse material support, participation, or assistance to any federal agency which claims the power, or with any federal law, rule, regulation, or order which purports to authorize, the collection of electronic data or metadata of any person pursuant to any action not based on a warrant that particularly describes the person, place, and thing to be searched or seized."

If the windup of that long sentence has a familiar ring, it should. The final dozen words are almost identical to key phrases in the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution.

In recent days, more than 15,000 people have signed a petition expressing support for the legislation. Launched by, the petition is addressed to the bill's two sponsors in the Washington legislature-Republican Rep. David Taylor, whose district includes the NSA facility in Yakima, and Democrat Luis Moscoso from the Seattle area.

Meanwhile, a similar bill with the same title has just been introduced in the Tennessee legislature-taking aim at the NSA's center based in Oak Ridge, Tenn. That NSA facility is a doozy: with several hundred scientists and computer specialists working to push supercomputers into new realms of mega-surveillance capacities.

A new coalition, OffNow, is sharing information about model legislation. The group also points to known NSA locations in other states including Utah (in Bluffdale), Texas (San Antonio), Georgia (Augusta), Colorado (Aurora), Hawaii (Oahu) and West Virginia (Sugar Grove), along with the NSA's massive headquarters at Fort Meade in Maryland. Grassroots action and legislative measures are also stirring in several of those states.

One of the key organizations in such efforts is the Bill of Rights Defense Committee, where legal fellow Matthew Kellegrew told me that the OffNow coalition "represents the discontent of average people with ... business-as-usual failure to rein in out-of-control domestic spying by the NSA and other federal departments like the FBI. It is a direct, unambiguous response to a direct, unambiguous threat to our civil liberties."

In the process-working to counter the bipartisan surveillance-state leadership coming from the likes of President Obama, House Speaker John Boehner, the House Intelligence Committee's chair Mike Rogers and the Senate Intelligence Committee's chair Dianne Feinstein-activists urging a halt to state-level support for the NSA include people who disagree on other matters but are determined to undermine the Big Brother hierarchies of both parties.

"By working together to tackle the erosion of the Fourth Amendment presented by bulk data collection," Kellegrew said, "people from across partisan divides are resurrecting the lost art of collaboration and in the process, rehabilitating the possibility of a functional American political dialogue denied to the people by dysfunction majority partisan hackery."

From another vantage point, this is an emerging faceoff between reliance on cynical violence and engagement in civic nonviolence.

Serving the warfare state and overall agendas for U.S. global dominance to the benefit of corporate elites, the NSA persists in doing violence to the Constitution's civil-liberties amendments-chilling the First, smashing the Fourth and end-running the Fifth.

Meanwhile, a nascent constellation of movements is striving to thwart the surveillance state, the shadowy companion of perpetual war.

This is a struggle for power over what kind of future can be created for humanity.

It's time to stop giving juice to Big Brother.
(c) 2014 Norman Solomon is co- founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Wall Street Warns Democrats: Avoid Populism!

Here's a jarring headline: "Economic Populism Is a Dead End for Democrats."

That's the title on a recent op-ed piece written by a couple of longtime political flacks for Wall Street and published, naturally, in the Wall Street Journal. When the Barons of Big Money start rolling out such scolding screeds, it's not because they really think Populism is a loser, but because they're terrified by the fact that it has already gained mass appeal and is on the move all across grassroots America. Indeed, to put a thin veneer of legitimacy on this op-ed, they had to resort to the fiction that it is a political warning written to Democrats by Democrats – specifically by an inside-the-Beltway outfit calling itself Third Way.

But this group is to authentic Democratic Party principles what near beer is to stout – only, not as close. Third Way is just the same old Wall Street way. While it wears a Democratic mask, it pushes for policies that are Wall Street wet dreams, including gutting and privatizing Social Security.

Why would a group wanting you to believe that it has genuine Democratic genes be an advocate for further enriching Wall Street's Republican elite at the expense of America's middle class and the poor? To find out, just peek behind Third Way's organizational curtain. You'll see that its funders and governing board include no one from labor, senior citizens, consumers, environmentalists, small farmers, students, African-Americans, Latinos, and other core Democratic constituencies. Instead, of its 29 board members, 20 are Wall Street bankers, hedge fund hucksters, or venture capital vultures.

Third Way dead ends at Wall Street. So, fronting for the selfish interests of its backers, it doesn't want any party championing economic Populism. But the people do, and that's who Democrats should heed.
(c) 2014 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.

They Never Announce When You Prevent A War
By David Swanson

There exists, I suppose, some slight chance of this one making it into the State of the Union address, no doubt in a distorted, bellicose, and xenophobic disguise. Typically, there's no chance of any announcement at all.

We're stopping another war.

There are a million qualifications that need to be put on that statement. None of them render it false. A bill looked likely to move through Congress that would have imposed new sanctions on Iran, shredded the negotiated agreement with Iran, and committed the United States to join in any Israeli war on Iran. This would be a step toward war and has become understood as such by large numbers of people. Efforts to sell sanctions as an alternative to war failed. Tons of pushback has come, and is still coming, from the public, including from numerous organizations not always known for their opposition to war. And the bill, for the moment, seems much less likely to pass.

This is no time to let up, but to recognize our power and press harder for peace.

Pushback against the sanctions bill has come from the White House, from within the military, and from elsewhere within the government. But this bill was something the warmongers wanted, AIPAC wanted, a majority of U.S. senators wanted, and corporate media outlets were happy to support. The underlying pretense that Iran has a nuclear weapons program that endangers the world had the support of the White House and most other opponents of the March-to-War bill. That pretense has been successfully sold to much of the public. The additional supporting pretense that sanctions have helped, rather than hindered, diplomacy has similar widespread backing. But when it comes to a measure understood as a step into war, the public is saying no, and that public response is a factor in the likely outcome.

In this instance, President Obama has been on the right side of the debate. I've never known that to actually be true before. But there's been a whole infrastructure of activism set up and fine-tuned for five years now, all based around the pretense that Obama was right on various points and Congress wrong. So, when that actually happened to be true, numerous organizations knew exactly what to do with it. War opposition and Obama-following merged. But let's remember back to August and September. That was a different situation in which . . .

We stopped another war.

Raytheon's stock was soaring. The corporate media wanted those missiles to hit Syria. Obama and the leadership of both parties wanted those missiles to hit Syria. The missiles didn't fly.

Public pressure led the British Parliament to refuse a prime minister's demand for war for the first time since the surrender at Yorktown, and the U.S. Congress followed suit by making clear to the U.S. president that his proposed authorization for war on Syria would not pass through either the Senate or the House. Numerous Congress members, from both houses and both parties, said they heard more from the public against this war than ever before on any issue. It helped that Congress was on break and holding town hall meetings. It helped that it was Jewish holidays and AIPAC wasn't around.

And there were other factors. After the public pushed Congress to demand a say, Obama agreed to that. Perhaps he wanted something so controversial -- something being talked about as "the next Iraq" -- to go to Congress. Perhaps he expected Congress would probably say No. In such a scenario, the decisive factor would remain the past decade of growing public sentiment against wars. But I don't think that's what happened. Obama and Kerry were pushing hard and publicly for those missiles to fly. When they couldn't get the "intelligence" agencies to back their fraudulent case, they announced it anyway. Those lies are just being exposed now, in a very different context from that in which the Iraq war lies or the Afghanistan or Libyawar lies have been exposed. Obama told us to watch videos of children suffering and dying in Syria and to choose between war and inaction. We rejected that choice, opposed war, and supported humanitarian aid (which hasn't happened on remotely the necessary scale).

In the space of a day, discussions in Washington, D.C., shifted from the supposed necessity of war to the clear desirability of avoiding war. The Russians' proposal to eliminate Syria's chemical weapons had already been known to the White House but was being rejected. When Kerry publicly suggested that Syria could avoid a war by handing over its chemical weapons, everyone knew he didn't mean it. In fact, when Russia called his bluff and Syria immediately agreed, Kerry's staff put out this statement: "Secretary Kerry was making a rhetorical argument about the impossibility and unlikelihood of Assad turning over chemical weapons he has denied he used. His point was that this brutal dictator with a history of playing fast and loose with the facts cannot be trusted to turn over chemical weapons, otherwise he would have done so long ago. That's why the world faces this moment." In other words: stop getting in the way of our war! By the next day, however, with Congress rejecting war, Kerry was claiming to have meant his remark quite seriously and to believe the process had a good chance of succeeding, as of course it did. Diplomatic solutions are always available. What compelled Obama to accept diplomacy as the last resort was the public's and Congress's refusal to allow war.

These victories are limited and tentative. The machinery that pushes for war hasn't gone away. The arms are still flowing into Syria. Efforts to negotiate peace there seem less than wholehearted. The U.S. puppeteer has stuck its arm up the rear end of the United Nations and uninvited Iran from the talks. The people of Syria and Iran are no better off.

But they're also no worse off. No U.S. bombs are falling from their skies.

There could be other proposals for wars that we'll find much harder to prevent. That's precisely why we must recognize the possibility of stopping those proposals too, a possibility established by the examples above, from which we should stop fleeing in panic as if the possibility that everything we do might have some point to it horrifies us.

Any war can be stopped. Any pretended necessity to hurry up and kill large numbers of people can be transformed into a negotiation at a table using words rather than missiles. And if we come to understand that, we'll be able to start dismantling the weaponry, which in turn will make the tendency to think of war as the first option less likely. By steps we can move to a world in which our government doesn't propose bombing someone new every few months but instead proposes helping someone new.

If we can stop one war, if we can stop two wars, why can't we stop them all and put our resources into protection rather than destruction? Why can't we move to a world beyond war?
(c) 2014 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

Our Dying Oceans; Why Isn't This Big News?
By James Donahue

Those of us that have had the privilege of standing on a wharf and staring up at the massive wall of the side of an ocean-going ship have to wonder how the oceans can overpower and destroy machines like this.

But then, if we have the privilege of going on board a ship like this, and riding its decks out on the high seas, our juxtaposition is drastically changed. When the wind is blowing and the high seas are rolling the ship from side to side, we begin to wonder if the vessel under our feet is large enough and its engines powerful enough to bring us safely back into port.

The oceans of our world are massive. And the storms at sea can be powerful. In the days of sailing ships, vessels often remained at sea for months before making landfall. Sometimes they sailed off never to be heard of again. This may be why humans have been careless about dumping waste products from not only our ships, but trash from industrial and city waste, and agricultural run-off into our rivers into the open seas. We never dreamed that such activity could threaten the life that existed under those vast and seemingly endless waters.

It has taken us a few hundred years, but we have succeeded in doing this very thing. We are on the brink of killing the oceans of the world. The evidence can be found everywhere. The coral reefs, the dead and dying creatures both large and small now washing up on our shores, and the toxins now being found in the fish we once ate from the sea are all signposts that should be warning us of a looming threat of world extinction.

We are all aware of the nuclear disaster at Fukishima, Japan, and the fact that millions of gallons of highly radioactive water used to cool hundreds of exposed rods of plutonium have been flushed into the open sea. We have heard of the massive volume of crude oil and chemical dispersants that was poured into the open sea after the 2010 Deepwater Horizon oil rig explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

As the seas absorb the great volume of Carbon Dioxide now mixed in the atmosphere, the warming water is responsible for extreme weather changes, intense storms, flooding and drought in places where moderate weather has always been the norm.

Researches now say the melting ice caps on the North and South Poles are releasing volumes of methane gas that has been trapped in the ice and on the ocean floor for hundreds of thousands of years. Methane is intensifying the warming of our planet.

Another relatively ignored issue has been the increasing acidation of the oceans. This is caused by the absorbion of more and more CO2. A recent study by the Norwegian Institute for Water Research the rapid acidification of the oceans has pushed the world beyond critical thresholds. And sea life cannot life in acidic water. This is why the plankton, the starfish, the sardines, dolphin, whales and even creatures never seen before are washing up dead on world beaches.

As the more delicate sea creatures perish, it is upsetting the balance of the massive food chain that has its origins in the sea. And when the oceans die, we die. We are rushing blindly toward our own extinction and nobody seems to want to talk about it. The media is ignoring it. For most humans its business as usual.

It is estimated that 14 billions pounds of garbage are being dumped into the oceans every year. Much of this trash is plastic.

The Mississippi River, one of the thousands of rivers in the world, carries an estimated 1.5 metric tons of nitrogen pollution into the Gulf of Mexico every year. There is a "dead zone" now about the size of New Jersey that exists in the gulf, at the mouth of the Mississippi. Similar dead zones can be found at the mouth of other major world rivers that pass through industrial and agricultural areas.

Every year 1.2 trillion gallons of untreated sewage, stormwater and industrial waste are blatantly dumped into the waters along the coast of the United States. Similar levels of waste are coming from other developing nations of the world. When Newcastle yachtsman Ivan Macfadyen recently sailed his vessel from Melbourne, Australia to Osaka, Japan, and then east to San Francisco, he said he was shocked to find that the Pacific Ocean was devoid of life.

"I've done a lot of miles on the ocean in my life and I'm used to seeing turtles, dolphins, sharks and big flurries of feeding birds. But this time, for 3,000 nautical miles, there was nothing alive to be seen," Macfadyen said. Instead of living things, he said his yacht was striking floating debris, plastic objects and garbage. He saw tangles of synthetic rope, pieces of polystyrene foam and slicks of oil everywhere he looked.

Why isn't the media telling us about this? This is probably the most important news story in the world, but our nightly television news is focused on olympic games, school shootings, wars and political scandels. Sometimes the storms that come along are starting to gain national attention, but the reporters just stand like fools in the middle of the storm, holding onto poles to keep the wind from blowing them away, to show us the severity of the event.

Nobody is asking why.
(c) 2014 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

EPA Administrator Michael Leavitt addresses members of the
American Legislative Exchange Council, Thursday, July 29, 2004.

Who Backs The TPP And A 'NAFTA On Steroids?' ALEC
By John Nichols

If President Obama uses his State of the Union address to launch a major push for "fast-track" authority to bypass congressional input and oversight on a sweeping Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, he will need new allies to generate support around the country.

The president won't be able to look to organized labor. Unions are overwhelmingly opposed to a deal that Communications Workers of America posters refer to as "NAFTA on Steroids."

The president won't be able to look to major environmental organizations. The Sierra Club, Friends of the Earth and other green groups are outspoken in their opposition.

The president won't be able to look to progressive farm groups. The National Farmers Union is explicitly opposed to using a fast-track approach that would allow trade agreements to move through Congress with limited debate and without amendments.

In fact, if Obama decides to ramp up his advocacy for a free-trade strategy that progressive Americans tend to see as a threat to workers, farmers, the environment, human rights and democracy, he won't be able to count on many traditional allies to stir up grassroots support in the states. That's one of the reasons there remains considerable uncertainty about whether the president really will-in a speech that is expected to focus on income equality-spend substantial time talking up a trade agenda that has drawn broad opposition from House and Senate Democrats and so much of his base.

If the president does go all in for the TPP, he will find himself in strange company-with groups that promote policies that critics argue are responsible for the growing gap between a wealthy few and an increasingly impoverished many.

There is, for instance, one group that maintains an extensive network of political connections in states across the country and is enthusiastically on board for "the expedited conclusions and approval of the TPP."

That group is the American Legislative Exchange Council.

ALEC, the corporate-funded organization that stirred considerable controversy several years ago with its advocacy on behalf of so-called Stand Your Ground gun laws and restrictive Voter ID rules, produces so-called "model legislation" for introduction by conservative state legislators. Last fall, the ALEC board of directors approved and circulated a "Model Policy" that celebrates the TPP and declares that it "will be an impetus for further bilateral and multilateral trade agreements..."

Expanding trade along lines established by the North American Free Trade Agreement and the permanent normalization of trade relations with China has always been on ALEC's agenda. The multinational corporations that cover the group's expenses, and help to define every aspect of its agenda, have long embraced an approach that allows them to move factories and jobs from country-to-country in order to lower wages and avoid labor, environmental and human rights regulations.

ALEC's model policy on the TPP even makes respectful reference to President Obama and his administration. That's ironic, as ALEC members have been among the most ardent critics of the president's policies.

Not long ago, the group published a "State Legislators Guide to Repealing Obamacare." Yet, ALEC now highlights the Obama administration's support of the TPP "as one-part of its strategy to increase competitiveness and employment in the United States..."

So ALEC is urging state legislators who have been busy trying to block implementation of the Affordable Care Act to get their states to formally endorse the TPP. The model policy concludes:

NOW THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the legislature of [INSERT STATE] call(s) on Congress to support negotiations for a comprehensive, high-standard and ambitious Trans-Pacific Partnership Agreement that will provide a platform for regional trade and economic integration...
ALEC's International Relations Task Force, which is co-chaired by a representative from Philip Morris International, declares on its webpage that it "promotes both bilateral and multilateral free trade frameworks, initiatives and partnerships." ALEC has a long history of being at the forefront of fights to sell the trade agenda outlined in the North American Free Trade Agreement and other deals backed by Democratic and Republican presidents.

Indeed, the task force that's promoting the TPP says, ALEC's international policy work is persuasive "precisely because our policy directives are backed by our public and private sector members-American state legislators from all 50 states and some of the world's largest corporations."
(c) 2014 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

James Clapper testifies before the Senate intelligence committee
hearing on current and projected national security threats.

Does Obama Administration View Journalists as Snowden's "Accomplices"? It Seems So.
By Glenn Greenwald

James Clapper, the Director of National Intelligence, appeared today before the Senate Intelligence Committee, his first appearance since outright lying to that Committee last March about NSA bulk collection. In his prepared opening remarks, Clapper said this:

"Snowden claims that he's won and his mission is accomplished. If that is so, I call on him and his accomplices to facilitate the return of the remaining stolen documents that have not yet been exposed to prevent even more damage to U.S. security."
"Who, in the view of the Obama administration, are Snowden's "accomplices" The FBI and other official investigators have been very clear with the media that there is no evidence whatsoever that Snowden had any help in copying and removing documents from the NSA. Here, Clapper is referring to "accomplices" as those who can "facilitate the return of the remaining" documents. As Snowden has said, the only ones to whom he has given those documents are the journalists with whom he has worked. As has been publicly reported, the journalists who are in possession of thousands of Snowden documents include myself, Laura Poitras, Barton Gellman/The Washington Post, The New York Times, the Guardian, and ProPublica.

Is it now the official view of the Obama administration that these journalists and media outlets are "accomplices" in what they regard as Snowden's crimes? If so, that is a rather stunning and extremist statement. Is there any other possible interpretation of Clapper's remarks?
(c) 2014 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. 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. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Don't Demonize Public Pensions
By David Sirota

Credit where credit is due: Conservative activists, business groups and politicians such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie have successfully sold the idea that public pensions are unsustainable.

In their mythology, greedy government workers are bankrupting states and pension-slashing politicians are saving the day. But there's a big problem with this: It is inaccurate.

States do confront a $757 billion pension funding gap. But this gap was created mostly by losses associated with the 2008 Wall Street collapse, not by unsustainable benefits.

Additionally, the shortfall is over 30 years, meaning it is comparatively tiny - just 3.8% of state and local spending, according to a study by Boston College. This has led McClatchy Newspapers to correctly conclude: "There's simply no evidence that state pensions are the current burden to public finances that their critics claim."

The budget problems of state and local governments have more to do with wasteful corporate subsidies than pensions. While states face an annual $25 billion pension shortfall over 30 years, they give away $120 billion a year in unjustifiable handouts. That includes the $80 billion that The New York Times reports that are given away in direct subsidies, and an additional $40 billion in corporate tax loopholes.

These numbers reveal that demagogues like Christie aim to exclusively demonize public pensions in order to distract attention from the corporate subsidies that so often benefit their campaign benefactors.

In Christie's case, he has berated public workers and cut their pensions - all while handing out more than $1.5 billion in corporate subsidies. Meanwhile, he and other pension-cutters fail to specify how America can maintain any retirement security for the middle class.

To combat this, elected officials who care about the truth must spotlight the subsidy data showing what is really bankrupting states. They must also remind voters that pension cuts harm real people.

Public-sector workers are not leeches. They are firefighters, police officers and teachers who negotiated agreements to defer some compensation until retirement.

Reneging on retirement promises to them in order to help politicians protect wealthy corporations is immoral. Getting this message out is important - and can be a winning political strategy.
(c) 2014 David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee. Follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

Paranoia Of The Plutocrats
By Paul Krugman

Rising inequality has obvious economic costs: stagnant wages despite rising productivity, rising debt that makes us more vulnerable to financial crisis. It also has big social and human costs. There is, for example, strong evidence that high inequality leads to worse health and higher mortality.

But there's more. Extreme inequality, it turns out, creates a class of people who are alarmingly detached from reality - and simultaneously gives these people great power.

The example many are buzzing about right now is the billionaire investor Tom Perkins, a founding member of the venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers. In a letter to the editor of The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Perkins lamented public criticism of the "one percent" - and compared such criticism to Nazi attacks on the Jews, suggesting that we are on the road to another Kristallnacht.

You may say that this is just one crazy guy and wonder why The Journal would publish such a thing. But Mr. Perkins isn't that much of an outlier. He isn't even the first finance titan to compare advocates of progressive taxation to Nazis. Back in 2010 Stephen Schwarzman, the chairman and chief executive of the Blackstone Group, declared that proposals to eliminate tax loopholes for hedge fund and private-equity managers were "like when Hitler invaded Poland in 1939."

And there are a number of other plutocrats who manage to keep Hitler out of their remarks but who nonetheless hold, and loudly express, political and economic views that combine paranoia and megalomania in equal measure.

I know that sounds strong. But look at all the speeches and opinion pieces by Wall Streeters accusing President Obama - who has never done anything more than say the obvious, that some bankers behaved badly - of demonizing and persecuting the rich. And look at how many of those making these accusations also made the ludicrously self-centered claim that their hurt feelings (as opposed to things like household debt and premature fiscal austerity) were the main thing holding the economy back.

Now, just to be clear, the very rich, and those on Wall Street in particular, are in fact doing worse under Mr. Obama than they would have if Mitt Romney had won in 2012. Between the partial rollback of the Bush tax cuts and the tax hike that partly pays for health reform, tax rates on the 1 percent have gone more or less back to pre-Reagan levels. Also, financial reformers have won some surprising victories over the past year, and this is bad news for wheeler-dealers whose wealth comes largely from exploiting weak regulation. So you can make the case that the 1 percent have lost some important policy battles.

But every group finds itself facing criticism, and ends up on the losing side of policy disputes, somewhere along the way; that's democracy. The question is what happens next. Normal people take it in stride; even if they're angry and bitter over political setbacks, they don't cry persecution, compare their critics to Nazis and insist that the world revolves around their hurt feelings. But the rich are different from you and me.

And yes, that's partly because they have more money, and the power that goes with it. They can and all too often do surround themselves with courtiers who tell them what they want to hear and never, ever, tell them they're being foolish. They're accustomed to being treated with deference, not just by the people they hire but by politicians who want their campaign contributions. And so they are shocked to discover that money can't buy everything, can't insulate them from all adversity.

I also suspect that today's Masters of the Universe are insecure about the nature of their success. We're not talking captains of industry here, men who make stuff. We are, instead, talking about wheeler-dealers, men who push money around and get rich by skimming some off the top as it sloshes by. They may boast that they are job creators, the people who make the economy work, but are they really adding value? Many of us doubt it - and so, I suspect, do some of the wealthy themselves, a form of self-doubt that causes them to lash out even more furiously at their critics.

Anyway, we've been here before. It's impossible to read screeds like those of Mr. Perkins or Mr. Schwarzman without thinking of F.D.R.'s famous 1936 Madison Square Garden speech, in which he spoke of the hatred he faced from the forces of "organized money," and declared, "I welcome their hatred."

President Obama has not, unfortunately, done nearly as much as F.D.R. to earn the hatred of the undeserving rich. But he has done more than many progressives give him credit for - and like F.D.R., both he and progressives in general should welcome that hatred, because it's a sign that they're doing something right.
(c) 2014 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"When shall it be said in any country of the world, my poor are happy, neither ignorance or distress is to be found among them; my jails are empty of prisoners, my streets of beggars; the aged are not in want, the taxes not oppressive; the rational world is my friend because I am friend of its happiness. When these things can be said, then may that country boast of its constitution and government."
~~~ Thomas Paine

Who Needs The Gestapo When You Have 'Angry Birds'?
By Robert Scheer

Somewhere in the lowest reaches of hell, Adolf Hitler and his coterie of lesser dictators must be tormented by the knowledge they did not live long enough to get their hands on "Angry Birds." How much diabolical power they would have had, not playing the game, but rather mining the data freely volunteered by its billion unsuspecting customers.

"When a smartphone user opens Angry Birds, the popular game application, and starts slinging birds at chortling green pigs, spy agencies have plotted how to lurk in the background to snatch data revealing the player's location, age, sex and other personal information ..." The New York Times reported, based on the latest of Edward Snowden's leaks.

No need then for the Gestapo to go crashing through apartment doors to brutally interrogate citizens as to the most guarded moments of their personal lives when a vast amount of private information from gaming, mapping and social networking sites is pirated by the government. No totalitarian leader could ever imagine such surveillance power over his populace.

Of course, such nightmarish fantasies are a long way from the rationalizations of our own democratically oriented U.S. and British spy agencies that assure us they only ever target the bad guys. But the harrowing specificity about our once presumed private lives, as revealed this week in yet another devastating trove of documents from Snowden and reported in the Times and The Guardian, might one day open the floodgates to a totally regimented society.

What is alarming is the depth of detail, as well as the breadth of the information, gleaned from the ubiquitous mobile phone apps, including political affiliation and gender preferences, geographical location, an extensive network of one's friends and even distant associates.

This information, easily obtained and mined by our government spies in cooperation with their counterparts in England, has gone far beyond the previously revealed collection of general metadata to monitor the most intimate details of our lives, as revealed in so-called leaky mobile apps including Google Maps, Facebook, Flickr, LinkedIn and Twitter. As a result, everything in your address book, buddy lists and geographic data embedded in photos and phone logs is readily available to the spy agencies, including, as a British one boasted in 2012, details of one's political alignment and sexual orientation.

Defenders of the vast government spying program, including President Obama, have claimed that the data collection programs do not invade individual privacy. Only last week in his remarks on the subject, Obama noted that private advertising companies collect personal information on users of mobile phones, but he did not mention that his own government was busily seizing much of that data.

As opposed to Obama's benign description of government surveillance conducted jointly by the NSA and its British equivalent, the GCHQ, the latter spy agency boasts in one of the documents revealed by Snowden that the use of apps to spy "effectively means that anyone using Google Maps on a smartphone is working in support of a GCHQ System." In one slide used to demonstrate the reach of the program labeled "Golden Nugget" for a 2010 talk, a Snowden document describes, the NSA presentation included "Perfect Scenario-Target uploading photo to a social media site taken with a mobile device. What can we get?"

The answer is clearly just about every piece of information that previously was thought to be in the preserve of the endangered zone known as private space. As The Guardian described that government overreach:

"Depending on what profile information a user has supplied, the documents suggested, the agency would be able to collect almost every key detail of a user's life: including home country, current location (through geo-location), age, gender, zip code, marital status-options included 'single,' 'married,' 'divorced,' 'swinger' and more-income, ethnicity, sexual orientation, education level, and number of children."
No need to get unduly alarmed; after all, we live in the free world and these are programs run, as Obama assured us, by good folks who have only our safety in mind. They also have a sense of humor, particularly the Brits, who, when they turn our smartphones against us, appropriate names from the TV series "The Smurfs" to describe the extent of the government's power over the devices we have purchased.

"Nosey Smurf" defines a phone microphone made "hot" to listen to our conversations unbeknownst to us; "Tracker Smurf" precisely traces our travel movements; "Dreamy Smurf" allows the activation of a phone that has been turned off; and "Paranoid Smurf" is the name for the self-hiding capacity of the spyware. That last one should remind us that even paranoids have enemies.
(c) 2014 Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig. A journalist with over 30 years experience, Scheer has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He is the author, most recently, of "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America," published by Twelve Books.

Last month, the ruling Japanese coalition parties quickly rammed
through Parliament a state secrets law. We Americans better take notice.

The Fukushima Secrecy Syndrome - From Japan To America
By Ralph Nader

Under its provisions the government alone decides what are state secrets and any civil servants who divulge any "secrets" can be jailed for up to 10 years. Journalists caught in the web of this vaguely defined law can be jailed for up to 5 years.

Government officials have been upset at the constant disclosures of their laxity by regulatory officials before and after the Fukushima nuclear power disaster in 2011, operated by Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO).

Week after week, reports appear in the press revealing the seriousness of the contaminated water flow, the inaccessible radioactive material deep inside these reactors and the need to stop these leaking sites from further poisoning the land, food and ocean. Officials now estimate that it could take up to 40 years to clean up and decommission the reactors.

Other factors are also feeding this sure sign of a democratic setback. Militarism is raising its democracy-menacing head, prompted by friction with China over the South China Sea. Dismayingly, U.S. militarists are pushing for a larger Japanese military budget. China is the latest national security justification for our "pivot to East Asia" provoked in part by our military-industrial complex.

Draconian secrecy in government and fast-tracking bills through legislative bodies are bad omens for freedom of the Japanese press and freedom to dissent by the Japanese people. Freedom of information and robust debate (the latter cut off sharply by Japan's parliament in December 5, 2013) are the currencies of democracy.

There is good reason why the New York Times continues to cover the deteriorating conditions in the desolate, evacuated Fukushima area. Our country has licensed many reactors here with the same designs and many of the same inadequate safety and inspection standards. Some reactors here are near earthquake faults with surrounding populations which cannot be safely evacuated in case of serious damage to the electric plant. The two Indian Point reactors that are 30 miles north of New York City are a case in point.

The less we are able to know about the past and present conditions of Fukushima, the less we will learn about atomic reactors in our own country.

Fortunately many of Japan's most famous scientists, including Nobel laureates, Toshihide Maskawa and Hideki Shirakawa, have led the opposition against this new state secrecy legislation with 3,000 academics signing a public letter of protest. These scientists and academics declared the government's secrecy law a threat to "the pacifist principles and fundamental human rights established by the constitution and should be rejected immediately."

Following this statement, the Japan Scientists' Association, Japan's mass media companies, citizens associations, lawyers' organizations and some regional legislatures opposed the legislation. Polls show the public also opposes this attack on democracy. The present ruling parties remain adamant. They cite as reasons for state secrecy "national security and fighting terrorism." Sound familiar?

History is always present in the minds of many Japanese people. They know what happened in Japan when the unchallenged slide toward militarization of Japanese society led to the intimidating tyranny that drove the invasion of China, Korea and Southeast Asia before and after Pearl Harbor. By 1945, Japan was in ruins, ending with Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

The American people have to be alert to our government's needless military and political provocations of China, which is worried about encirclement by surrounding U.S.-allied nations and U.S. air and sea power. Washington might better turn immediate attention to U.S. trade policies that have facilitated U.S. companies shipping American jobs and whole industries to China.

The Obama administration must become more alert to authoritarian trends in Japan that its policies have been either encouraging or knowingly ignoring - often behind the curtains of our own chronic secrecy.

The lessons of history beckon.
(c) 2014 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is, Only The Super Wealthy Can Save Us. His most recent work of non- fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Risikokapitalgeber Perkins,

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, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your equating hatred of our 1% masters with the Nazis persecution of the Jews, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other 1% 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 Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 03-15-2014. We salute you Herr Perkins, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Why There's No Outcry
By Robert Reich

People ask me all the time why we don't have a revolution in America, or at least a major wave of reform similar to that of the Progressive Era or the New Deal or the Great Society.

Middle incomes are sinking, the ranks of the poor are swelling, almost all the economic gains are going to the top, and big money is corrupting our democracy. So why isn't there more of a ruckus?

The answer is complex, but three reasons stand out.

First, the working class is paralyzed with fear it will lose the jobs and wages it already has.

In earlier decades, the working class fomented reform. The labor movement led the charge for a minimum wage, 40-hour workweek, unemployment insurance, and Social Security.

No longer. Working people don't dare. The share of working-age Americans holding jobs is now lower than at any time in the last three decades and 76 percent of them are living paycheck to paycheck.

No one has any job security. The last thing they want to do is make a fuss and risk losing the little they have.

Besides, their major means of organizing and protecting themselves - labor unions - have been decimated. Four decades ago more than a third of private-sector workers were unionized. Now, fewer than 7 percent belong to a union.

Second, students don't dare rock the boat.

In prior decades students were a major force for social change. They played an active role in the Civil Rights movement, the Free Speech movement, and against the Vietnam War.

But today's students don't want to make a ruckus. They're laden with debt. Since 1999, student debt has increased more than 500 percent, yet the average starting salary for graduates has dropped 10 percent, adjusted for inflation. Student debts can't be cancelled in bankruptcy. A default brings penalties and ruins a credit rating.

To make matters worse, the job market for new graduates remains lousy. Which is why record numbers are still living at home.

Reformers and revolutionaries don't look forward to living with mom and dad or worrying about credit ratings and job recommendations.

Third and finally, the American public has become so cynical about government that many no longer think reform is possible.

When asked if they believe government will do the right thing most of the time, fewer than 20 percent of Americans agree. Fifty years ago, when that question was first asked on standard surveys, more than 75 percent agreed.

It's hard to get people worked up to change society or even to change a few laws when they don't believe government can possibly work.

You'd have to posit a giant conspiracy in order to believe all this was the doing of the forces in America most resistant to positive social change.

It's possible. of course, that rightwing Republicans, corporate executives, and Wall Street moguls intentionally cut jobs and wages in order to cow average workers, buried students under so much debt they'd never take to the streets, and made most Americans so cynical about government they wouldn't even try for change.

But it's more likely they merely allowed all this to unfold, like a giant wet blanket over the outrage and indignation most Americans feel but don't express.

Change is coming anyway. We cannot abide an ever-greater share of the nation's income and wealth going to the top while median household incomes continue too drop, one out of five of our children living in dire poverty, and big money taking over our democracy.

At some point, working people, students, and the broad public will have had enough. They will reclaim our economy and our democracy. This has been the central lesson of American history.

Reform is less risky than revolution, but the longer we wait the more likely it will be the latter.
(c) 2014 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," will be out September 27.

An Open Letter To Lovers Of The Gun
By William Rivers Pitt

Wakefield Elementary School in Turlock, California, was put on temporary lockdown on Tuesday - amazing, isn't it, how terms like "temporary lockdown" have snuggled up next to terms like "elementary school" in our common-usage lexicon without anyone batting an eye - because a man was shot across the street.

Two students were shot by a student at the Delaware Valley Charter School in Philadelphia on Monday. According to reports, an 18-year-old graduate of the school gave a 17-year-old student the gun that was used.

A 16-year-old student at Albany High School in Georgia was shot at approximately the same time as the student at Delaware Valley Charter was shot. The victim is expected to survive.

A student at Widener University was shot on Tuesday while sitting in his car. As of this writing, he is in critical but stable condition.

A student at Berrendo Middle School in New Mexico opened fire in a crowded gymnasium with a sawed-off shotgun several days ago, seriously injuring two students. Parents are frightened to let their children go back.

A student at Liberty Technology Magnet High School in Tennessee was shot the week before last. He was 17 years old. A police dog found the gun, and the shooter is in custody.

A student was shot and killed on the campus of Purdue University on Tuesday. The killer surrendered immediately.

A piece of construction equipment on the campus of the University of Oklahoma backfired twice on Wednesday, sending the student body into a "shelter in place" panic before the police determined there was no threat.

Seven school shootings in 24 days? I can't imagine what they were worried about.

I said this on New Year's Day: "In 2010, by comparison, there were nine school shootings in America that killed seven people. In 2011, there were eleven school shootings that killed nine people. In 2012, there were fourteen school shootings - including the massacres at Sandy Hook Elementary and Oikos University - that killed 43 people. In 2013, there were twenty-three school shootings that killed nineteen people. Nine, then eleven, then fourteen, then twenty-three. If the trend holds, we can look forward to maybe thirty or forty school shootings in 2014."

I was wrong. Seven school shootings in the first month of the year means we are on pace, if this keeps up, to have no less than 84 school shootings by the end of December.


Yes, you, who love your guns.


I would ask what is wrong with you, but I already know: you love your guns more than you love your child, or his child, or her child, or my child. You love your guns, period.

Prove me wrong, because you haven't yet.


I am puking sick of reading every single day about how your baby, your toddler, your brother, your sister, your cousin, your niece, your nephew, blew their brains into their lap with a gun you left lying around, because freedom, or something.

I am sick of mourning the gun dead day after day, every day, because every day someone wins the Someone Gets To Be Dead Today lottery, because of you, and a whole lot of those winners are children.

I am sick of how you hide behind gun money, gobs and gobs of political gun money, while complaining about the influence of money in politics. If any other item in common use in America - like aspirin, or a car - was wasting people with the dreary regularity of guns, that item would be banned by congressional fiat...but it's guns, so the slaughter slogs on, even as you tell your friends you hate the influence of "special interests" in politics, because you're a fraud in Technicolor.

I see you. And I am sick and tired of you.

I hope - I pray - that you are sick of yourself as you watch the bodies pile up around you like cordwood, as you see the shootings at this school, and that school, and this school, and that school, and someday your school, which will be on the TV news from a helicopter's view, with a voice guessing at the latest body count, while you are waiting for the word.

I would spare you that experience. Please spare me that experience.

It is not the anti-gun people who are going to make this right. It is the pro-gun people who know better, who see this slaughter for what it is, who will make this right.

Seven school shootings in 24 days.

See. Be disgusted. Do something.
(c) 2014 William Rivers Pitt is a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: "War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know" and "The Greatest Sedition Is Silence." His newest book, "House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation." He lives and works in Boston.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Robert Ariail ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Streaming Hulu In The Womb
By Will Durst

Delivery drones that crash into telephone poles. Eyeglasses stockpiling video wherever the wearer walks. Dick Tracy wristwatches that do everything but tell time. The deeper into the future we proceed, the more obvious it becomes that this whole progress thing ain't all its cracked up to be.

Yeah. Sure. It's nice to have greater computing power in your pocket than accompanied Apollo to the moon, but the down side is ceding dominance in another power relationship to an inanimate object. One that keeps track of our every movement. We buy and carry our own bugs.

Indeed, we did learn how to make tomatoes mature within a month, but they taste like cardboard dipped in stagnant pond water. Placing it on the tail end of the good, the bad and the ugly of progress.

Don't get me wrong; this is no sepia toned love letter to a romantically imagined, totally fictional yesteryear. The past was lousy. It sucked big beige banana slugs from Mars. Society was primitive, boring and unjust. And slow. Today, it's pretty much the same, only faster. We're all about speed. Kids are streaming Hulu in the womb.

But perhaps we've focused too much on the new, rather than fine- tuning the tried and the true. For instance- GPS units. Used to be only NASA had them. Now 2 are in my possession. One in the car and one on my phone. But getting lost is still in the cards because both insist on steering me over cliffs or into oncoming traffic. And not infrequently, over a cliff into oncoming traffic.

Some things don't really needed fixing. One- cup coffee makers are fine. For people who don't like coffee. Brewing coffee it is not a chore. It's an art. Toilets in public rest rooms. Doubt if our grandparents were ever startled by a presumptuous automatic flush. What was wrong with the big chrome toggle on the side? You could use your foot. Seems more sanitary than an unrequested butt douche.

Proceed directly to the washbasins. Who among us hasn't pitifully shuffled from sink to sink waving over, under, nearby the faucet base, trying to activate some randomly positioned unseen electric eye? Anyone watching on closed circuit cameras would think we're horizontally motivated crazy persons shooing away swarms of gnats. And don't think people aren't watching on closed circuit cameras.

The faucets that do feature handles require engineering degrees from MIT to operate. Hot on the left, cold on the right is a distant memory. Design has finally triumphed over functionality. And beware the turbo hand dryers powered by small jet engines, which replaced the automatic paper towel dispensers triggered by shoulder and elbow movements 30 feet away.

Television. Who really needs 1000 channels? By the time you've gone around the horn and scoped out what you want to watch, it's over. Of course, half the stations are flacking home gym/ juicer/ skin moisturizers that grow hair and clean your pet while the pounds melt away and your hose retracts automatically.

And zombies. Whose idea was it to come up with fast smart zombies? Zombies are supposed to trudge and meander. Zombies don't apocalypse. They stumble. Isn't time to bring back the slow dim zombies? Of course we still have the Tea Party for that. Sorry. Couldn't resist.
(c) 2014 Will Durst, is a nationally acclaimed, award- winning political comic. Go to to find about more about his new CD, "Elect to Laugh" and calendar of personal appearances including "BoomeRaging: From LSD to OMG."

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Issues & Alibis Vol 14 # 04 (c) 01/31/2014

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