Issues & Alibis

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In This Edition

Cynthia McKinney gives, "Munich Speeches And Israel Shamir's 'Ode To Cynthia.'"

Uri Avnery thinks of, "A Four-Letter Word."

Marcia Alesan Dawkins warns of, "Fear Of A 'Multicultural' Nation."

Kay Ebeling with a must read, "Priest Abused A Boy A Month In Santa Barbara Boys Choir."

Jim Hightower recalls, "The Lasting Spirit Of Howard Zinn."

Randall Amster explores, "Homeland Insecurity."

Helen Thomas investigates, "Obama, The War President."

Paul Krugman concludes, "America Is Not Yet Lost."

Chris Floyd studies the, "Annals Of Liberation."

Case Wagenvoord considers, "Changing Batteries And Tilling Fields."

Mike Folkerth wonders, "Just Exactly How Crazy Are We?."

Chris Hedges uncovers, "The Terror-Industrial Complex."

David Michael Green asks, "Just Gimme Some Truth."

Alabama Senator Richard Shelby wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald exposes, "Palin And The Tea-party "Movement": Nothing New."

John Kaminski examines, "The Assault On The Tower Of Babel."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Landover Baptist Church reports, "Landover Baptist "Haitians For Helotry" Mission Squad Detained In Port-au-Prince!" but first Uncle Ernie envisions, "The New Antebellum America."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jimmy Margulies, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, Clay Bennett, All Hat No Cattle.Com, John Digesare, Nate Beeler, Derf City, Poco a poco, C Span, Roth Films 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."

The New Antebellum America
By Ernest Stewart

"Nobody gonna haft to be a slave all de time no more, from now on we gonna take turns and guess whose turn it is now!"
Everything You Know Is Wrong ~ The Firesign Theatre

"You not only stand by us against our enemies and slanderers. You also bring Israel closer to Europe. You championed the idea that we join the European Union, and you also reiterated it during your current visit. Moreover, you supported Israel's inclusion in the NATO alliance because you said, and I quote: "it is important that they know that an attack against Israel by Iran would be considered as an attack against Europe as a whole."
Benjamin Netanyahu in a speech in the Knesset welcoming Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi

"As for federal earmarks, Shelby in fiscal year 2009 sponsored 160 earmarks totaling more than $322.3 million, according to a joint study last autumn by the Center for Responsive Politics and Taxpayers for Common Sense. That ranks Shelby ninth in earmark sponsorships among his 100 Senate colleagues. Shelby also ranked first among his Senate colleagues when it came to directing earmarks to entities whose associates had contributed money to him." ~~~ Dave Levinthal

Return with us now to those thrilling days of yesteryear. The Lone Bigot rides again! Don't you wish that were true, the "Lone Bigot?" Trouble is, there are tens of millions of them and they call themselves Republicans and Tea Baggers. I, of course, realize that there are a lot of gay Rethuglicans out there from the "Log Cabin" variety to the ones who have finally come out of the closet over the last few years in airport bathrooms, whorehouses and the like, but to name your group after a homosexual act, WOW, that's really coming out of the closet!

This group of practicing Tea Baggers came out in Tennessee the other day, not a place where gay folks have been welcome historically. They descended upon Opryland, which caused a just and discernable spinning noise from the graves of Hank Williams, Buck Owens and Charlie Pride. Yes, I know that Charlie is still alive but this might just kill him! First on their agenda was turning back the clock to those good ole daze of "whoppin' slaves and sellin' cotton" as the lead off speaker was no other than a former member of Con-gress from Colorado. The once honorable Tom Tancredo! Tom didn't wait a minute before stirring up a hornet's nest by calling for the return of Jim Crow to politics. Tom called President Obama a "committed Socialist ideologue" that was elected because "we do not have a civics, literacy test before people can vote. People who could not even spell the word 'vote' or say it in English put a committed socialist ideologue in the White House." As you can plainly see, not only for the literacy test bullshit but also for calling Obama, who is just a bit to the right of Anakin Skywalker, a socialist that Tom is two bricks shy of a load!

Of course, literacy tests were the excuse that southern states used for some 70 years to keep blacks from voting. In order to qualify to vote Blacks would get questions like, "Recite from memory the Declaration of Independence," while a white voter might be asked, "What was the color of your sheet that you wore out last night!" Not exactly equal, eh? This started in 1895 in good ole South Carolina where the blacks outnumbered the whites and it quickly spread to the rest of the south and bits of the north! It continued on with various revisions until LBJ put an end to it in 1965 when he signed the "Voting Rights Act into law.

Tom got a standing ovation from the Tea Baggers, all 600 of them, including Sarah Palin! At least Sarah was a bit of comic relief after Tom Hitler, er, Tancredo with her acting like a 12 year old taking a test. As she spoke she kept looking at her left hand where she had written the answers to questions. You don't suppose that was real and not a joke do you? Is a Palin/Tancredo ticket in our future for 2012? If so, that might explain why the ancient Mayans said the world as we know it would end on 12-21-2012!

In Other News

I see where Israel has sent two of its missile boats to the Persian Gulf. They will be arriving about the time that we go to press as a threat to Iran. Or perhaps to get them positioned for an Israeli air strike against Iran's nuclear works as they did when they attacked Iraq's. These boats would be standing by to try and knock down Iran's long range Shahab-3 and the two-stage Sajil missiles.

Trouble is, both for the Israeli and American navies in the Gulf, the Iranians also have in their arsenal the Russian anti-ship missile that NATO designated "SS-N-22 Sunburn," a missile that no one can shoot down. So before Tehran rains death from the sky on Israel, they'll first launch the Sunburns against the Israeli missile boats. Then the Shahabs and Sajils will rain down on Tel Aviv, west Jerusalem, and various other points of interest, like the nuclear reactors and atomic bomb storage sites. Who knows if there might be a few Pakistani nuclear warheads attached to some of those missiles?

Or perhaps the Chinese will say enough is enough and burst a few H-bombs over the Zionazis as well? Will we come to the aids of Israel then or just take our losses and go home? Will Britain risk nuclear annihilation for the likes of Israel? Will we? Or will we join the rest of the world and drop a few on Tel Aviv too? Oh, that couldn't happen? Ask Saddam and Iraq or Iran, all our very best friends at one time, how that friendship has worked out for them. Ask Germany and Japan, at one time our best friends too! Go ahead and make my millennium!

Of course, none of those governments actually ran Washington like Israel does so who knows, we may take on the whole world for Israel. That makes more sense; we're already doing that right now. So far it's cost us about 80,000 American dead and trillions of wasted dollars with no end to either war crime in sight! Now we're in a war against all Muslims and after we've killed or enslaved their billion plus people we'll turn our attention to someone else. Remember as Bush and Obama have said, we're in an endless war against terrorism. We wage war against terrorism by bringing our own terrorism to the rest of the world! Currently we're the biggest terrorist nation on the planet followed by England, Israel, and all the member nations of NATO! Only then do you have Russia, China and India who aren't out to conquer the world like us but are creating terror against themselves, against their own people like we did and continue to do against American Indian peoples.

Yep, pardner, even as we speak, there are several Indian tribes buried by the last few blizzards and without power, water and such in South Dakota. They are being allowed to starve and freeze to death as the "Bureau of Indian Affairs" turns a blind eye to their plight and does nothing! This has been going on for several weeks with no end or help in sight. Like the blacks in New Orleans, the Indians are on their own. Aren't Indians and blacks American citizens too? No matter whether they live in a town or on a reservation? What is happening in South Dakota and what happened in New Orleans are no doubt forms of terrorism, huh Brownie? Can you imagine this happening to an American white community? Neither can I!

And Finally

Just when you think that surely South Carolina and its Darth Vader politicians must be the worst in America along comes Senator Richard Shelby of Alabama to prove that theory wrong.

Shelby decided to hold America hostage the other day unless President Obama spends a few trillion dollars in Alabama on some of the Sinator's pet pork projects.

Shelby, who is owned and operated by the US military-industrial complex, big banks, and the telecommunication goons, threatens to hold up all of Barry's appointments by filibuster unless he gets what he, i.e., they wants.

You will recall that Shelby, the Democrat, joined the Newt Gingrich "Contract on America" back in '94 and became a Rethuglican; something that we need about a dozen other Rethuglicans in Demoncratic clothing to do as well.

Shelby wanted to get a new FBI crime lab opened in Alabama and he has been trying for months to force the Air Force into reversing a legitimate bid of $35 billion as part of a $100 billion contract granted to Boeing to build refueling tankers for the military. Shelby wanted the contract to go to Northrop Grumman/EADs, a company which has given heavily to his campaigns and would have assembled the tankers in his home state. However, the parts for those planes would have been made in Europe as EADs stands for "European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company," ergo sending those jobs overseas instead of having them being made in America by Americans. Not only is that a very bad idea for American workers but we really don't need to put our defense in the hands of other countries, do we? Sure, that works for Israel but...

Eventually Shelby backed off his threat to hold up 80 nominations when it was pointed out by David Levinthal of the Center for Responsible Politics and others that:

"During the past 20 years, the defense aerospace, defense electronics and miscellaneous defense industries all rank among his top 15 campaign donors by industry. Together, employees and political action committees associated with these industries have contributed more than $1.2 million to Sen. Shelby."

White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs called Shelby's actions:

"A perfect example of what is wrong with Washington politics, something the president vowed in his campaign to try to change."

"I guess if you needed one example of what's wrong with this town, it might be that one senator can hold up 80 qualified individuals to make government work better because he didn't get his earmarks," Gibbs said. "If that's not the poster child for how this town needs to change the way it works, I fear there won't be a greater example of silliness throughout the entire year of 2010."

I got a news flash for Mr. Gibbs and his naivete, you ain't seen nothing yet, baby!

Oh And One More Thing

It's that time of year once again when those income tax checks come a rollin' in. If you're getting one, please think of us because we always think of you! We desperately need your help to keep publishing. Please send us what you can and not only will we be extremely grateful but we'll see that it goes to good use in the struggle to reclaim our Republic! Please, do whatever you can. We need your help.


06-17-1932 ~ 02-08-2010
Burn baby Burn!

04-28-1956 ~ 02-09-2010
Thanks for all the crabs!

06-01-1933 ~ 02-10-2010
Burn Charlie Burn!


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) 2010 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 9 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine.

Munich Speeches And Israel Shamir's 'Ode To Cynthia'
By Cynthia McKinney

Hello! I'm back from Munich with Peace Prize in my hands and on my way to the University of Chicago to speak. While in Munich, I spoke at the peace rally--I'll tell you the Germans know how to put on a good peace rally!!!--and at the International Peace Conference, where the Munich American Peace Committee awarded me its Peace Prize. What an honor!!!

Also, I mentioned that in 2002, Israel Shamir, situated in Israel, recognized what was happening to me before many inside this country did. He wrote "Ode to Cynthia" while I was being spun in the vortex and after many of my friends and supporters had lost confidence in me. Israel's poem came like manna from heaven--something sorely needed, sustenance for the body and spirit. I promised to send it and now I have it, including a Portuguese translation, too!!! I finally met Israel, his wife, and young son in Ankara, Turkey in late December of last year.

1. Cynthia McKinney 6 February NATO Rally Speech; Munich, Germany

Thank you for allowing me to come from the United States and participate in this rally for peace.

My country has been hijacked by a criminal cabal intent on using the hard-earned dollars of the American people for war, occupation, and empire.

As a result, the national leadership of my country, both Democratic and Republican, became complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.

As a Member of Congress from the Democratic Party, I drafted Articles of Impeachment against George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleezza Rice. Later, when Democrats voted to support more war rather than take care of the needs of the people, I declared my independence from them and all national leadership; the Green Party nominated me to run for President, which I did on a platform of truth, justice, peace, and dignity.

I watched as Candidate Barack Obama came here to Germany to speak. I saw tears on the faces of many in the crowd who believed that, finally, there was something worth believing in again. That America had turned a page from its evil playbook that had so outraged and disappointed the world. That good was finally about to triumph over evil.

I know that beleaguered people all over the world, victims of cruel and deadly military, economic, imperial policies finally could believe in hope and change. And America could be believed in again.

Everywhere I went all over the world there were pictures of Barack Obama, slogans "Yes, We Can," and the words "Hope" and "Change" plastered everywhere.

And after eight years of George W. Bush, Barack Obama seemed to be the man the world was waiting for.

So when the Candidate became the President, we held our breath in anticipation.

That torture and rendition; spying on innocent, dissenting Americans; war and occupation; crimes against the U.S. Constitution and crimes against the peace would end and that the United States would finally join the community of nations.

Sadly, one year into the Presidency of Barack Obama, that is not the case.

On our front door step we have witnessed U.S. complicity in the overthrow of President Zalaya in Honduras and the hostile takeover of Haiti by 20,000 troops with guns sent in when the devastated people needed food, doctors, and heavy lifting equipment.

President Obama is expanding U.S. troop presence in Colombia, threatening the people's gains in Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Cuba, and Nicaragua.

President Obama has drones killing innocent people in Pakistan, Afghanistan, Yemen, and Somalia. And Administration lawyers are trying to figure out how to legally kill U.S. citizens. You even have U.S. assassination teams on German soil!

Sadly, President Obama is guilty of every item I cited in my Articles of Impeachment against President Bush.

Both Tony Blair and President Obama justify war in Afghanistan by citing the tragedy of the September 11th attacks in New York and on the Pentagon. But my government has not told the truth about what really happened that day. Just like they lied to start a war against Iraq.

So what are we to do? Let us work together on behalf of truth, justice, peace, and dignity. I will struggle in the U.S. and I will struggle with you:

Not one more dime for war.

We can't give in and we can't give up. We must take our countries back.

2. Cynthia McKinney 6 Feb International Peace Conference Speech

The most recent official report on employment states that 85,000 U.S. jobs were lost in the month of December. Everything I have read indicates that things are going to get a lot worse in the United States before they get better. Already, the United States has slipped to 7th in the world's best places to live, behind France, Australia, Switzerland, Germany, and New Zealand. The U.S. place in the world will slip more than that in the future if the brakes are not put on current trends.

The United States is rapidly becoming a country even more divided:

Over 31% of Puerto Ricans live in poverty, making them the poorest ethnic group in the U.S. Meanwhile the war on Latinos continues with police harassment, racial profiling, and deportations of the undocumented--for driving, if you can believe that.

Approximately 166 legal cases winding their way through U.S. courts target Palestinians in the United States who were trying to help Palestine, and they are being prosecuted with new laws that would have been unthinkable a generation ago-like the Secret Evidence Act. My sister, Lynne Stewart, an activist lawyer of conscience, sits in a U.S. prison right now because she dared to represent a Muslim cleric who ran afoul of the U.S. What a message that sends to other lawyers committed to the notion that everyone at least deserves a fair trial.

According to United for a Fair Economy, whose work I adore, Black unemployment is now at 14.7 percent compared to 8.7 % for whites. And in 2007, for every dollar of white wealth, a black family had just one dime.

From the sub-prime banking scam alone, because of mortgage foreclosures, Blacks and Latinos are currently experiencing the greatest loss of wealth in recent U.S. history because 53% of blacks and 47% of Latinos were saddled with sub-prime mortgages, as compared to only 26% of whites. The greedy banking class were in a feeding frenzy, feeding on black and brown hopes to become a part of the American Dream.

According to a recent study, U.S. schools today are more segregated than in the 1950s. In our most diverse state, California, one-half of black and Asian students attend segregated schools, as do one fourth of Latino and Native American students.

And, young black girls are experiencing unwanted sterilizations and other complications because of forced vaccinations with an experimental drug in these schools.

In 1954, the Supreme Court found that segregation inherently meant "unequal."

Correspondingly, schools in low-income areas are highly unequal with not even the slightest remediation of the root societal causes that strongly affect student performance.

This of course feeds quite nicely into the prison-industrial complex that is a nice money-maker for those with the disposable income to invest in the private prisons of the U.S., or are lucky enough to have a business that contracts with the prisons to employ U.S. inmates for pennies an hour.

Yes, the United States, imprisoning more people than any country on the planet, has become an incarceration nation, but only for certain people. Be suspected of being a Latino driving without a drivers license and you can get stopped and deported for having one tail light bulb that's out; but Presidents George Bush, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama can order the deaths of hundreds of thousands of innocents all over the planet and they walk around free without the worry of even a citizen's arrest, let alone a warrant from a real, legal Tribunal.

Incredibly, Whites whose fortunes were sinking in the pile of unkept political promises and debilitating U.S. national debt were proselytized to by special interest media that hatred of the "other" was OK. There was little national outrage when Pat Robertson said that Hugo Chavez should be assassinated and then, more recently, when this man of the cloth opined that Haitians suffered so much because they made a deal with the devil to throw off French slavery.

Incredibly, while a record number of Blacks are seeking emergency food assistance, and people of color are losing not only their homes, but their dreams too, FOX News and CNN propagandize that it is those "others," those people of color who are responsible for the drowning of White America. And that includes President Obama who, one Southern Baptist preacher prayed to God should die. I wonder, who is his God?

True to fashion, the news that is watched by most people in the United States refuses to tell the people the truth of the conditions facing too many in our country and why.

However, according to Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano, certain Whites also constitute part of the problem: according to her they are environmentalists and white supremacists. Interestingly, hatred spewing from the likes of special interest television hosts seems OK as long as they buy into the Republican/Democrat political paradigm and stay there.

Napolitano's enemies of the state, White supremacists and environmentalists, left that conformist paradigm over two generations ago. And I believe that any of us who leave that paradigm, and begin to think for ourselves and then act politically on our own independent, critical analysis can begin to put our country on the road to real independence from the special interests that have overtaken every aspect of our governmental, legal, and political apparatus, and like a parasite, has sapped the life from our body politic.

But leaving the acceptable political order puts us in the crosshairs of those whose position and power come from it. And because the United States today is a rudderless, leaderless, divided society coming apart at the seams, now is the time more than ever that we need to employ what public schools in this country stopped supplying long ago: critical thinking about where we want to stand as a community of nations and where we in the United States want to stand as a country.

And this brings me to the real winners in the midst of this socio-economic collapse. Most people spend so much time looking at the losers in such a scenario, and we must care about the innocent victims that pay the ultimate price in the grand political power plays of our day. But, we must not neglect taking the time to study who it is that is actually sneaking off with the stolen merchandise.

There are real winners and they are the ones whom George Bush called his base: that is, the haves and the have mores.

President Obama has hastened approximately 23.7 trillion of our hard-earned dollars to them. Therefore, the real purpose of our political activity must be to thwart the wholesale theft of a nation under the guise of "Hope," "Change," and "Yes we Can."

That is the only purpose our political activities must now be geared toward.

It means then, that, those of us who have stepped outside of the "acceptable" political paradigm must be willing to break bread with one another and find common ground on which we can operate. My experience has been that such interactions only enhance future opportunities for positive political interactions.

A careful read of the COINTELPRO papers will reveal that the biggest fear inside the government was that the interests of those who pulled the strings would get totally engulfed and swallowed up by Black people and White people coming together during that time, of the civil rights movement and beyond, and successfully pressing for a full justice agenda that encompassed both domestic AND foreign policies. If they were afraid of that then, I guarantee you they are still afraid of it, now.

Secondly, the leadership of this new movement cannot be the leadership that is responsible for the death of the truth, justice, and peace movements inside the United States.

Going to the same people who caused the problem by abandoning their publicly-stated convictions is not going to get us closer to the truth or peace.

This means that we might have to thin our ranks, but we will at least know that those deep in the trenches with us are not sleeping with the enemy.

Finally, we need a voting bloc that places peace and the budget priorities of peace and people's needs above any other special interest. This voting bloc will not support any candidate running for office from The War Party. Because it should be crystal clear to everyone who cares about peace that we can't get from here to where we want to be by doing what those who are responsible for this mess want us to do. We've got to do something different in order to take our country back and make our country better.

The fact is that unless we are willing to step outside of the box of political conformity, we will continue to get what we've always gotten.

Now, finally for the record, let me say that I left Congress, not because I wanted to, but because the special interests and the War Party wanted me out.

What could I have possibly done to raise their ire?

Well, for the twelve years that I was in Congress, I:

1. Filed articles of impeachment against George Bush, Dick Cheney, and Condoleeza Rice;

2. Voted against every Pentagon appropriation, considering it immoral to spend so much money on war when millions of our children go to bed hungry every night;

3. Defied Congressional Democratic Party leaders, by holding a Congressional Hearing exploring the role of race and class in the government's response to Hurricane Katrina and introduced legislation to punish law enforcement that prevented the mostly Black citizens fleeing the floodwaters from crossing over from New Orleans into its mostly White suburbs;

4. Wrote legislation to ban the importation of coltan from the Democratic Republic of Congo into the United States because of the horrific human rights abuses committed during its mining;

5. Was the first Member of Congress to ask the Bush Administration of the September 11, 2001 attack on the United States, what did it know and when did it know it; and I

6. Led the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force at the 2001 World Conference Against Racism, defying President Bush's boycott.

Currently, I am an endorser of the Brussels Tribunal that cooperated in the filing of a lawsuit in Spain against all the U.S. Presidents responsible for war crimes in Iraq.

I participate in the Malaysia Peace Organization's efforts to criminalize war, establish a War Crimes Tribunal, and hold leaders accountable for their wars.

And in December of 2008, I tried to take humanitarian supplies to the people of Gaza after the start of Operation Cast Lead and the Israeli military rammed and destroyed our boat.

In June 2009, I tried to take crayons to the children of Gaza and the Israelis hijacked our boat, kidnapped us, took us to Israel, where I spent seven days in an Israeli prison.

I do with my body what I did with my Congressional office.

I left Washington because the pro-Israel Lobby was able to utilize all of its leverage inside both the Democratic and Republican parties target and oust me. They ousted me because I dared to believe that all human beings, including Palestinians, have human rights.

In 2007, at a peace rally in front of the Pentagon, I did what I am now asking one million U.S. voters to do: I declared my independence from a national leadership that had caused my country to become complicit in war crimes, torture, crimes against humanity, and crimes against the peace.

I joined the Green Party and in 2008, ran for President of the United States. I traveled the length and breadth of my country and now I travel the world carrying a message of truth, justice, peace, and dignity. I spent approximately 10 of the 12 months in 2009 outside of the country.

But, I'm being told now by my friends and supporters that it's time to come back home. That the real heavy lifting is inside our country. That if we want life to be better for the people in the refugee camps all over the world, that we've got to change the policies coming out of Washington, D.C.

My very first campaign theme was "Warriors Don't Wear Medals, They Wear Scars." And I've borne my scars in public for all the world to see.

And honestly, sometimes, I wonder if it's worth it. I take a look at where the world is and I say what could I possibly do to stop this.

And then, I think of the people of Gaza whom I saw after Israel's Operation Cast Lead. I saw in Gaza, the indomitable spirit of humanity. Despite the pain, the murder, the killing, the destruction--I saw life. I experienced love.

But we don't have to go to Gaza to gain inspiration to continue to struggle. If we just dare to look into the eyes of the homeless man looking for a warm bed, or the tired face of a mother on her way to work at 6:00 in the morning when it's still dark, if we would just dare to love the nameless human beings whose lives turn on the policies that powerful politicians choose to support or ignore, I know we can become inspired. And in the process, spark some bit of hope in the desperate and the hopeless.

No one deserves to be hopeless.

So, I've come a long way to be with you. And I thank you for the invitation.

When we were organizing our "Emergency Anti-Afghanistan Escalation Rally" in front of the White House, one of my supporters reminded me of my own saying: "We must never give in when we are right."

Peace is right and we must never give up.

Thank you so much for giving me this time to share with you this evening.

3. Ode to Cynthia by Israel Shamir

Ode to Cynthia

By Israel Shamir

Things must be bad indeed if a woman steps forward to the line of fire. Nature arranged that a woman does not court danger unless her land and her folks are in real trouble. But when she does, she teaches men a lesson of manly behaviour.

When France was fading away, a shepherd girl Jeanne d'Arc took a heavy sword and led the flower of French nobles to assault the walls of Orleans. When cities of Republican Spain was strafed by the Nazi Luftwaffe, it was a woman, Dolores Ibarruri, La Pasionaria, who said to her people: it is better to die tall, than to live on your knees. In 1990, when Mikhail Gorbachev led his country to disaster and disintegration, a year before the wealth of Russia was embezzled in privatisation spree, only one person has dared to raise her voice against the dictator in the parliament. She was the indomitable Sashie Umalatov, an MP from the Chechen Mountains.

Now it is the turn of the US to feel the chilly wind of eternity on its face. It came from unexpected direction. People of America became hostage in the hands of a few men with too many dollars in their pockets and endless greed in their hearts. For millennia, the difference of income, education, and standard of living was not so vast in one land. The wealth of the nation could provide every American with a superb education, perfect medical care, happy childhood, secure old age, guaranteed home, and free time to open one's mind to new thoughts and old friends. America could be on its way to the Golden Age of universal happiness and wisdom.

Instead of it, a small group of men squeezes the nation in order to add another billion to their coffers. They would surely destroy the US by their limitless greed. The devotees of Mammon, they are totally devoid of compassion to the people they live amongst. They do not see the local people as 'their own kind'. If they want to show compassion, they send money to Israel. Out of five dollars American taxpayer gives for aid, four dollars land in the coffers of the Jewish state. They appear unstoppable, as the politicians are scared of them and docilely raise their hands and sign the pledge promising to send more money to Israeli generals. Support of Israel is not a foreign policy. It is the covenant of the Mammonites, and you sign it with blood. With Palestinian blood.

But one woman refused to sign the pledge. One woman, Cynthia McKinney, a member for Georgia, dared to refuse. Four hundred congressmen signed it; they preferred their own personal advancement to the good of the country. Ancestors of Cynthia were slaves in her native Georgia. But she is one of a very few free persons in the US Congress. As we Israelis were used to say about our Golda Meir, she is the only man over there. She is a black woman, but she is the whitest man of them all, they would say before the Politically Correct era. She knew the billions of Israeli aid are needed for the poor people of the United States, for her own Afro-American community. She wanted to uphold the sovereignty of the people and congress of the United States, in face of encroaching servility to the Jewish Lobby.

She is not alone. Another wonderful Afro-American congresswoman, Barbara Lee, cast the only vote against the slaughter in Afghanistan; John Conyers, Jessie Jackson Jr, and Maxine Waters supported the cause of Palestine on different occasions. Ron Paul of Texas voted against all-house resolution sending obsequious greeting to General Sharon. Nick Rahall, John Sununu, David Bonior did not bend.

Cynthia was just more outspoken in seeing the evil. She said, "There are many Members of Congress who want to be free. I am one of them. I wanted to be free to vote according to my conscience, but I had been told that if I didn't sign a pledge supporting the military superiority of Israel, no support would come my way. And sure enough, I didn't sign the pledge and no support came my way. I suffered silently year in and year out, because I refused to sign that pledge. And then, like a slave that found a way to buy his freedom... I went to work ... I wanted to be free ... Free to cast the votes in the United States Congress as I saw fit and not as I was dictated to."

Now she stands for re-election, and her chances are dim, as the frightful AIPAC, the spearhead of the organised Jewish community, targeted her. They do not want to see independent and free congressmen on the Capitol Hill. Their huge financial might, network of connections in the media and universities are used to smother every free voice. They succeeded to unseat Earl Hilliard, another Black Congressman, who did not bow to Sharon, and now plan to do Cynthia in. If they succeed, the cause of freedom will suffer a huge setback. If she succeeds, the myth of Jewish omnipotence will evaporate, and America will look towards better days, as support or rejection of segregated Israel speaks volumes about true agenda of a candidate.

Cynthia is not 'against Jews', as there are many very good folks of Jewish origin. While the organised Jewish community implements quite a disgusting policy, in domestic and foreign affairs alike, there are wonderful outsiders, 'the remnant of Israel'. Rejected by the community and rejecting it, they stand for integration in Palestine and in the US. Some of them have supported Cynthia's campaign; another outsider manages her campaign. Through them, 'you will be blessed by all people', the Lord's promise to Abraham is made true.

I am not sure whether Rabbi Michael Lerner, the editor of Tikkun, a "Progressive Jewish monthly" from California, will be equally blessed. Rabbi Lerner has spoken in support of Cynthia McKinney, but demanded in return to "call for Israel to be given either membership in NATO or a mutual defence pact with the U.S." Such a support defeats its purpose. As if the military and political US backing of the racist Jewish state were not sufficient, Lerner wants to establish it in law. Cynthia openly spoke against hegemony of the Zionist Lobby, against Israel connection. Lerner offers to achieve the purpose of the Zionist lobby under pretence of fighting it. This sophisticated cunning is not unusual for crypto-Zionists, acting as deep penetration agents outside their milieu, and Lerner already has performed a similar task for the Zionists during Durban Conference. Next time, he will fight heroin addiction by demanding the drug to be sold in every shop. Cynthia and other congressmen should accept his offer of help for what it is worth, but reject his demand of political payoff to Zionists.

Cynthia's is not a divisive voice of Blacks vs. Whites, nor Democrats vs. Republicans, neither Left against Right. She speaks for the people of the US against foreign interests. She is the congresswoman who dared to remind of the USS Liberty seamen, butchered by Israeli heavy machine guns and missiles. She reminded her audience of the last stand of Faris Ode, the brave Palestinian kid who faced the Israeli tank with a stone and was murdered. She stands against corporate greed. She stands for the nature deemed expendable by the Greedies.

This woman with a name from the love lyrics of Propertius, the delicate Greek poet, who called himself 'a pale knight in thrall of my angry Cynthia', is an all-American figure, brought forth by the spirit of America. The great country does not want to die. In such moments, the land calls for its sons and daughters to step forward to the line of fire. Cynthia heard the call. Support of Cynthia is the ultimate test of love to America, of belief in America's future in the family of nations, as an equal and friendly nation, not as an enforcer for creed of Greed.

It is paramount to rally around her, as the French nobles rallied to Jeanne d'Arc. Whether you are a descendant of African slaves or Muslim immigrants, a son of Confederacy or a Daughter of American Revolution, a freedom-loving Jew or a born-again Christian - it is the time to unite for Cynthia and for America.


Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.
(c) 2010 Cynthia McKinney is a former U.S. Congresswoman, Green Party presidential candidate, and an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice. The first African-American woman to represent the state of Georgia, McKinney served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1993-2003, and from 2005-2007.

A Four-Letter Word
By Uri Avnery

MANY IMPORTANT struggles in Israel are calling out to people of conscience. Among others (in random order):

The struggle for preserving the environment and the future of the planet.

The struggle for democracy against fascist trends.

The struggle for human rights and civil rights.

The feminist struggle.

The struggle for the rights of gays and lesbians.

The struggle for social justice and social solidarity.

The struggle for equal rights for Israel's Arab citizens.

The struggle against the discrimination of Oriental Jews.

The struggle for the separation of religion and state.

The struggle for animal rights.

Etc. etc. etc.

What do all these causes have in common?

All of them belong to the liberal, "progressive" world view.

Each and every one of them deserves full-hearted devotion, especially of young people.

But after all, all of them serve today as substitutes for the main battle - the struggle for peace with the Palestinian people.

THERE IS a danger that all these struggles will become something like "cities of refuge" for young idealists, who desire to devote themselves to a noble cause, but have no desire to take part in the main struggle.

Since every one of these struggles is indeed important and is for a good cause, no one can argue with these activists. Scores of organizations are now active in these fields, and thousands of wonderful people - male and female, old and young - are devoting themselves to these causes. I, too, would willingly join every one of them, were it not - - -

Were it not for the fact that all of them - all together and each of them separately - are now draining the life out of the struggle for peace. As I see it, peace stands above all other aims, not least because the success of all other struggles depends on the outcome of this fight.

The unending war creates a reality of occupation and oppression, of death and destruction, brutality and cruelty, moral degeneration and general bestiality. Can any ideal be realized in this situation? Can feminism, for example, achieve its aims in a country that is in the throes of an unbridled chauvinist militarism? Can animals be saved from torture when the torture of human beings is routine? Can rivers and forests, birds and leopards be saved when residential quarters are bombed and shelled with white phosphorus?

THE MAIN question is, of course, why people of conscience are running away from the vision of peace.

This is a fact: peace has become a four-letter word. (In Hebrew, the word for peace, shalom, indeed consists of four letters.) A decent person does not want to be seen in its company. It should not be uttered in polite society.

People do verbal exercises, almost acrobatics, to explore the range of circumlocutions for the word. Politicians speak about "the end of the conflict", "permanent status", "political settlement", just to avoid the taboo term.


First of all, the word "peace" has been exploited so many times that it has almost become meaningless. It has been misused so often that it has been worn out. To paraphrase the classic sentence of the British philosopher, Dr. Samuel Johnson: "Peace is the last refuge of a scoundrel". Or, to repeat the slogan of the evil empire in George Orwell's 1984: "War is Peace".

The hope for peace has been raised and dashed to pieces so many times that the hope itself now arouses suspicion and fear. What has happened to the greatest hope of all, the Oslo agreement and the historic handshake of 1993? What has happened to the triumphal journey of Ehud Barak to Camp David in 2000? One cannot demand from ordinary people that they find out what really happened there, and who is to blame. They see only the plain facts: we hoped for peace, we got war.

Things have come to the point where even peace movements are afraid to mention the word in their political statements. They, too, look for synonyms.

It is now generally accepted that one should not approach young people with talk about peace. God forbid. They are convinced that war is a permanent condition, that peace is an illusion, nothing but an empty phrase of old. They believe that they are condemned, they and their children and their children's children (if they remain here), to go to war again and again, till the end of time. They do not want to waste their energies on this peace nonsense. Better to save the last leopards in the Judean desert or the eagles on the Golan Heights than to search for the doves of peace, which they have never seen.

Leftists are proud that the solution of "Two States for Two peoples", once the vision of a handful of crazies, has now become a worldwide consensus. A huge victory, indeed. But it is trumped by the success of the right in turning "We Have No Partner For Peace" into a national credo.

In modern language: peace is Out, all the rest is In.

THIS WEEK the journalist Gideon Levy remarked on a TV talk show that in the present Knesset there is no longer a single Jewish member for whom peace is the No. 1 objective.

Some people mention in this context the new member of the Meretz faction, Nitzan Horowitz. For years he served as a TV foreign affairs commentator and infected the viewers with his enthusiasm for every struggle for peace and freedom throughout the world. His emotional style and his tendency to identify with the underdog have earned him the love of the audience.

But since entering parliament, his flame seems to have gone out. Now he is conducting a noisy fight against the price war among the book stores. So what about peace? What about the occupation? Silence, please.

That is true for his entire Meretz faction, which, in its heyday, served as the vanguard of the Zionist peace camp in the Knesset. Since then, things have changed for the worse. In order to regain some of their strength, they ignore the matter of peace as far as humanly possible. When there is no way out, they mention it perfunctorily, like a Jew kissing the Mezuzah or a Christian crossing himself - and hurry on.

It's an interesting story. When Shulamit Aloni founded the party in 1973, on the eve of the Yom Kippur war, she was known mainly as a civil rights activist. She was especially engaged in the struggle for women's rights and against religious coercion. Peace was a secondary aim on her agenda. But as the leader of Meretz, she gradually became convinced that none of her aims could be realized in an atmosphere of war, and peace became central to her views. When the party grew, it became the leading Zionist peace faction.

In recent years, the process has gone backwards, like a video film in reverse. Peace was pushed from the center of the Meretz agenda and has almost disappeared. Meretz has become again a party for civil rights, while going down from 12 Knesset seats to a mere three.

THE ISRAELI right, which is financed by right-wing American billionaires, both Jews and Christian evangelicals, this week launched an all-out attack against the liberal New Israel Fund, which donates generously to all the struggles mentioned above.

Honest disclosure: Gush Shalom has never received a cent from it. The fund has avoided peace movements like the plague. But that has not saved it. The rightists persecute it. Even if one deals "only" with human rights, one cannot escape this lot. The city of refuge offers no safety.

THE CAUSE of peace will inevitably return to center stage because it will decide our destiny - as individuals and as a state. There is no escape.

Of course, none of the struggles for the other causes should be given up, even though the fight for ending the occupation and achieving peace must head all others.

I am looking forward to the day when the organizations engaged in all these struggles will unite their wonderful activists, their enthusiasm, talents and courage, and especially their ability to devote themselves to an idea - into one single force fighting for the Other Israel, whose spearhead is the fight for peace. In one great, united movement, the various causes will complement and feed each other.

Together they will conduct the decisive campaign: the struggle for the Second Israeli Republic.
(c) 2010 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Fear Of A 'Multicultural' Nation
By Marcia Alesan Dawkins

Last Thursday night former Congressman and 2008 Republican presidential candidate Tom Tancredo made opening-night remarks at the inaugural National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. Tancredo fired verbal shots at Barack Obama, Sen. John McCain and "the cult of multiculturalism," stating that people who "could not spell the word vote or say it in English" had elected the president. And that Obama's election reveals the need for us to "have a civics [or] literacy test before people can vote in this country."

Tancredo is wrong. United States political history reveals our long-standing tradition in this area. In "Before the Mayflower," Lerone Bennett Jr. recounts how literacy tests were first employed at the federal level as part of the immigration process in 1917. Southern state legislatures adopted literacy tests once African-Americans were granted citizenship rights under the 15th Amendment, as part of the voter registration process. As practiced, the literacy test became notorious for denying suffrage to African-Americans. Adopted by a number of Southern states, the tests were applied in a patently unfair manner and were used, along with the poll tax, to disfranchise many literate Southern blacks while allowing many illiterate Southern whites to vote.

The literacy test-combined with other discriminatory practices that kept African-Americans from attending schools, from particular modes of transportation, from attaining mortgages and from careers in public service-effectively disfranchised the vast majority of people of color in the South from the 1890s until after the middle of the 20th century. Southern states abandoned the literacy test only when forced to by federal legislation in the 1960s. This legalized discrimination caused suffering and turmoil for all parties involved, especially during the slavery period and the Jim and Jane Crow segregation era. Tancredo's call for the return of literacy and civics tests suggests that those (black and brown) who voted for Obama are incapable of making informed political decisions and are influenced primarily by identity politics. Moreover, it denies the fact that the majority of voters who elected Obama were white.

Then there's the issue of affirmative action. Like many other reactionary politicians, Tancredo has fallen victim to the misperception that affirmative action policies have done away with institutional racism and moved society beyond equal access to opportunity and into an era of "reverse racism" and discrimination. This has resulted in anti-affirmative action legislation such as California's Proposition 209, Washington's Initiative 200 and Ward Connerly's various racial privacy initiatives.

During the presidential campaign, Obama responded to this issue in his "A More Perfect Union" speech when he stated: "... we've heard the implication that my candidacy is somehow an exercise in affirmative action; that it's based solely on the desire of wide-eyed liberals to purchase racial reconciliation on the cheap." This misperception that Obama is an unqualified leader who benefited unreasonably from such legislation allows many to assert that a heightened focus on diversity is tantamount to a case of the emperor's new clothes. Also wrong. Statistics on affirmative action show that white women, such as Tea Party Convention keynote speaker Sarah Palin, have been its greatest beneficiaries, while unemployment rates for African-Americans and Latinos, 15.7 percent and 13.1 percent respectively, rival those experienced by these groups during the Great Depression.

Finally, there's the issue of fear. 2010 Census projections indicate that by the year 2050 white people will be a minority in the United States. A lot of this has to do with immigration, which might have provided the impetus for Tancredo's cry: "This is our country. Let's take it back." Fear that America is becoming overrun and unsafe because of people of color undoubtedly stems in part from media-generated images, but a fear of the other also is a big factor.

U.S. immigration history notwithstanding, there's more for him to fear than immigration. Even without any immigration, minorities would still constitute a majority of the population under the age of 5 by 2050. According to The New York Times, this is because of higher birth rates among Hispanic people already living in the U.S. "If immigration continues, black, Hispanic and Asian children will become a majority of young children sometime between 2019 and 2023, according to the latest projections." Moreover, interracial marriages between Asian women and white men are on the rise. What does this mean? Should minority status be extended to white Americans when this shift occurs? Should white people be preparing now? Tancredo obviously says yes, and that white minority status needs protecting against "the cult of multiculturalism."

Beneath this fiery rhetoric, Tancredo is calling for tea partiers to retain the twin social privileges of being in the company of people like themselves while avoiding spending time with people they've been trained to mistrust. These social privileges are, of course, only corollaries to the tea party's more blatant call to retain economic interests that, according to UCLA law professor Cheryl I. Harris, the law has established and protected through its construction of white identity. In her article "Whiteness as Property," Harris explains that the legal construction of whiteness defined and affirmed who is white, what benefits and privileges whites enjoy and what entitlements to property arise from their status. Harris' work reminds us that we must pay attention to claims like Tancredo's because they show how whiteness can be used strategically as identity, status and property depending on situation and goal. Here's a quick translation of Tancredo's message: Privilege needs protecting.

Whether one is infuriated or inspired by Tancredo's race-baiting, it's important to recognize that there is much at stake for those who wish to maintain the status quo and much at stake for those who are trying to change it. One thing's sure: Tancredo was right when he said that "the race for America is on right now."
(c) 2010 Marcia Alesan Dawkins is Assistant Professor of Human Communication at California State University, Fullerton. She is interested in political communication, diversity, and new media. Her forthcoming book, "Things Said in Passing," is a critical analysis of instances of racial passing in the United States from the late nineteenth through early twenty-first centuries. She lectures and consults on these and other issues related to contemporary communication.

Priest Abused A Boy A Month In Santa Barbara Boys Choir
With 150 victims, he serves time for one. Now living in Santa Cruz
By Kay Ebeling

"Father" Van Handel

"Not a month went by that Defendant did not molest members of the Santa Barbara Boys Choir," reads the Probation Report. The MO of Fr. Robert Van Handel in Law enforcement language: "Defendant first started giving Victim what he viewed as a 'regular' back rub so he could fall asleep easier. However, the defendant then started touching his stomach, thighs, legs, and eventually worked up to the point of" [SEX ASSAULT].

"Defendant would then take Victim out places like Taco Bell which made Victim feel good as he did not have a dad."

Re cooperation of the Franciscans: "It should be noted that the Catholic Church has done nothing to assist this department in this investigation," writes the arresting officer.

(Remember these acts we write about here are those of just 1 of 6000 pedophile priests counted so far in the U.S. City of Angels continues to read through the Probation Report of Father Robert Van Handel from 1994 and as we read, we share what we find with the world by blogging here.)

Victim: "The molestations happened so often it was like taking a shower or putting on my shoes. It actually got to the point where it seemed like the normal type of thing to do."

Victim: "Didn't feel anything wrong was going on in that he completely trusted the defendant," considering on other occasions Defendant gave victim Communion at Mass, and when they were camping or during small gatherings.

Page 12 of the Probation Report continues: "The defendant kept a sleeping bag for Victim and the defendant would always sleep in his own room apart from him." (Likely because the priest would then go off to masturbate, considering the rest of the testimony-ke)

Regarding the victim in the case that goes RVH locked up in 1994:

"Defendant could not recall when he actually met the victim," Father never present, mother working two jobs.

"The victim appeared to him to be a very needy boy, which he admits made him 'particularly attractive.'"

RVH Denied molesting this particular boy.


"It should be noted that the Catholic Church has done nothing to assist this department in this investigation, and I feel several of Van Handel's supporters are in denial or don't understand how many lives Van Handel destroyed." Arresting officer


After hearing of another choir director being charged with child molestation, his MO challenged to back rubs, "But the backrubs were stimulating to defendant," reads Probation Report of Robert Van Handel, Franciscan ex-con friar from Santa Barbara, now living in Santa Cruz. "After the massages, he would leave the victim, go to his room, and masturbate to memories of what he had just done."

After his arrest he said to police: "I felt at the time that if I were not touching his genitals, I wasn't abusing him." Van Handel also told police "he never considered what he was doing to all of his victims as harming."

Addendum to the Probation Report:

RE: Defendant Employment

Occupation/Job Skills: Catholic priest

Present employer: Franciscans

Date: 1975 to present.

Monthly Income: $75/mo.

Monthly Expenses: -0-

"It appears that all therapy costs are being paid by the Catholic Church."'


(In the Probation Report is a letter from the therapist of another victim of RVH, whose assaults did not fall within the time frame of Statutes to file criminal charges. From therapist letter:)

PATIENT arrived enraged for his therapy session one day having just seen Van Handel on TV apologizing to his victim (a different victim).

He screamed. "What about apologizing to me?

Van Handel took countless nude photos of PATIENT as well as acting out the usual Father Robert sexual abuse. PATIENT agonized that RVH may have traded or sold the pictures. PATIENT continues to have nightmares about Van Handel.


SOME OF THE CONFUSION that victims live with as adults:


"In his first session with me, PATIENT, who is gay, speculated in a short and undefended moment that if the abuse had not happened, perhaps he would have a wife and family now. PATIENT quickly recovered his composure and strongly stated his beliefs in the genetics of homosexuality." (SIDE TRIP HERE: How many other victims like me are plagued by this kind of question. I honestly wonder sometimes if I'm really gay, but Fr. Horne put such a huge compulsion in me back in 1953 that I pursued men all my life. I just wonder what I would have been without this experience at age five skewing my sex life.)

The PATIENT was:

"Shaken, non-trusting and terrified."

"Has had difficulty staying clean and sober"

Having unprotected sex with female drug users.

Unable to finish a course at SBCC that would have gotten him his GED


Robert Van Handel "could easily have abused 150 boys"


(THERAPIST treated two other victims of Robert Van Handel, who lost interest in boys after age 12.)

"Both PATIENT and PATIENT weep at the memory of his refusal to speak to them, which was his way of rejecting them when they were thirteen or fourteen. . . too old for his pedophile tastes.

"If Van Handel started his abuse career at age of twenty, continuing until forty-five, acting out on only ten boys per year, he could easily have abused 150 boys."

Therapist in Probation Report: Defendant "now acknowledges that what he did to them was certainly wrong and has impacted their lives greatly."


(NOTE: The Santa Barbara Boys Choir was CREATED FOR Robert Van Handel in the early 1960s because he was this out of place confused goal-less uninspired Franciscan.

THEY GAVE HIM A BOYS' CHOIR for ages eight to twelve only.

Then THE FRANCISCANS GAVE PEDOPHILE ROBERT VAN HANDEL total autonomous control of the Santa Barbara Boys Choir.

The Pedophile Priest was allowed to do whatever he wanted with whatever boys in the eight to twelve age range he could SNARE.

And Robert Van Handel "could easily have abused 150 boys." Per Annette Goodheart, Ph.D. Psychologist in Santa Barbara.


RE THE VICTIM whose assaults got Van Handel prosecuted:

"Victim started drinking alcohol at age twelve, smoking weed at thirteen." (around time molestations slowed down then stopped)

"He never went to visit the defendant while under the influence"

(Might be one thing that drove victim to be under the influence)

VICTIM: "I guess when I popped in my my drugs and alcohol, it would make me think of it as being something else."


Started going to therapy in 1994.

Social life nonexistent.

Trust level extremely low.

Destroys relationships and they become "prior relationships."


As to RVH's attempts to recover from being a pedophile: The MSW writes, Defendant "has spent approximately 21 months in treatment programs as a resident patient of St. Luke's Institute in Maryland and then the Pacific Treatment Associates in Santa Cruz, California where he takes part in behavioral and group therapy for child sex offenders."


Robert Gutierrez, Probation Officer

"Since 1975, it would seem safe to speculate that not a year, or for that matter a month, went by that defendant did not involve himself in some form of sexual gratification by molesting members of the Santa Barbara Boy's Choir."

Van Handel even says in his sexual autobiography.

"Early in the choir's history, I began involving parents in planning, fund raising, etc., but it was clearly my choir. (As reported in story with pages scanned at City of Angels January 26, 2010.)

"It was clearly my choir, and the fulfillment of one of my fondest dreams.

"Now I understand that it was also a constant supply of attractive little boys."


From Probation Officer:

"It is very clear the defendant desecrated his position of trust as not only the choir director, but as a priest and Rector of St. Anthony's Seminary, in order to fulfill his predatory desires."

"Defendant's victimization of children has reportedly halted for five years."

"It seems defendant was ordered by his provincial to enter a psychiatric program in Maryland that has been specifically established by the Catholic Church for priests exhibiting behavior such as the defendant's.

It is to his credit that he successfully completed the program.

It took an arrest warrant and police officers to place him into custody to appear before the Court and admit his crimes."


Other than victim who was within time limits of the Statutes, Van Handel "has also literally devastated numerous other children and their families, for which he will not have to face any charges.

In essence, one could basically state he 'got away with it."

More from Probation Officer:

"Eight years for a single Count of 288(a)PC is not only justified, but could arguably be viewed as lenient and a stroke of luck for the defendant."


A stroke of luck, i.e., another victims' drug addiction, kept Defendant from Facing More Charges:

"It seems that had the victim not completely fallen to his drug addiction and been subsequently institutionalized, the defendant would most likely have continued molesting him through at least the latter part of 1989.

Had this occurred, defendant would clearly be in violation of the then-newly instated 188.5Penal Code Section, CONTINUOUS SEXUAL ABUSE OF A CHILD, which carries a maximum term of sixteen years."

(Probation Officer recommended the eight year sentence and says we "hope" that upon Van Handel's release:)

"The Catholic Church will not alienate itself from the defendant and will continue to provide him with the same therapy and support that it so vigorously pursued prior to his arrest and conviction."

Signed Ruben G. Gutierrez,
Deputy Probation Officer III
(Santa Barbara County)



LETTER SUBMITTED By ONE OF THE VICTIMS whose assaults were not within the SOL for criminal prosecution:

Says his mother was a single mom, working long hours, and "Decided the best thing to do was send me to Fr. Robert's house where there would be someone to watch after me."

He went to Van Handel's home from about age 9 to 14.

"During the nights at his house there was a repetitive course of action that took place at bed time. Every night Fr. Robert would give me a back rub that would lead into a stomach massage. After a while it would end up as a massage of my stomach, inner thighs, and genitals.

Unless someone else was there this would take place every night which was spent at his house.

If someone else was present at the time, there would be a simple back rub, if anything at all." This victim asks the Court to order the maximum sentence possible, as Robert Van Handel "has violated the trust of many others besides myself and that trust is something every person needs to survive. Someone should not be able to do the things he did without being punished to the extreme."



On 3-22-94 I arrested Robert Van Handel for 288 (A) PC, Child Molest, after a lengthy and thorough investigation.

(RE: The family in the case that got Van Handel charged:)

"They felt Van Handel was the closest thing to God and trusted the church and priesthood more than anything else, including a police officer.

Used his position of trust to fulfill his horrible pedophile sexual desires."


VICTIM in the criminal case is not the only victim of Father Robert Van Handel. Victims were molested by Van Handel in the same manner. With some he also took nude photographs.


"During my investigation I spoke to several other victims of Van Handel and their families. These victims had been molested by Van Handel in the same manner. Some of the victims had been photographed in the nude with oil rubbed on their bodies by Van Handel. One victim's mother is currently in possession of nude photographs of her son taken by Father Robert Van Handel.

Unfortunately in all of these cases, the crimes committed by Van Handel fell outside of the statute of limitations, and many of the victims are now adults.

In interviewing the victims and their families, I learned that in each case, Van Handel used his position as a Catholic priest to gain the trust of the victims and their families.

He also used his position to keep his victims silent and maintain control over them.

In all of these cases Van Handel started molesting the victims at approximately eight years old and continued to molest them until they reached the age of puberty."


The impact devastated the victims.

"When I arrested Van Handel, I served a search warrant in his room at the St. Francis Retreat in San Juan Bautista, California.

I recovered several pieces of evidence which included various correspondence letters written by Van Handel, a diary, (January 1993 to March 1994) written by Van Handel, and an autobiography written by Van Handel.

It should be noted that the Catholic Church has done nothing to assist this department in this investigation, and I feel several of Van Handel's supporters are in denial or don't understand how many lives Van Handel destroyed."

(Arresting officer Re all the letters of support for the serial felon priest:)

"If a police officer used his position of trust to manipulate and molest children, I would ask that he receive a maximum sentence. In Van Handel's case, he did not use a badge to lure his victims, but a white collar instead.

The permanent damage Van Handel has perpetrated on society is irreversible."


AND VAN HANDEL STILL JUST ONE OF SIX THOUSAND pedophile Catholic priests counted so far.


From MSW letter in Probation Report:

"Mr. Van Handel is a 5'9" tall Caucasian male weighing 156 pounds with brown eyes, balding with brown hair, is a Franciscan priest whose meek demeanor, hunched stance, and soft-spoken voice reflect his self-reports of feelings of humiliation, guilt, and inadequacy."

Robert Van Handel served 8 years, 4 in prison 4 on Parole, he's been in Santa Cruz since 2002 or so...


Coming up next in the Van Handel series, the Medical Exam Connection passed down through generations, or Father Van Handel Plays Doctor.
(c) 2010 Kay Ebeling is a wordsmith working in TV production in Los Angeles. Also as a free lance journalist with an active blog. Old enough to have demonstrated against the Vietnam War but still young enough to dance. For more information about Kay and her crusade against child molestation in the Catholic Church go to her blog site.

The Lasting Spirit Of Howard Zinn

One of the best tombstones ever is said to include the last words of a young, out-gunned gunslinger in Arizona: "I was expecting this, but not so soon."

Now I learn that our friend Howard Zinn has died, something I was not expecting at all, even though he was 87. Way too soon. When I say "our friend," I mean everyone who believes in percolate-up, grassroots democracy; every working stiff who ever even thought about rebelling against the system; every soul who realizes that their worth is not measured in accumulated wealth, but in the fieriness of their democratic spirit.

Zinn was a human volcano of fieriness. He inspired countless thousands of us to battle the bastards and implement our country's historic commitment to the common good. A son of poor immigrants, he worked as a ditch digger, brewery worker, pipe fitter - and he was a decorated World War II bombardier. Howard then earned a PhD in history on the GI bill. He didn't believe that America's history is the benevolent work of "Great Men," but the ongoing story of rebels, mavericks, and mutts who dare to force change on the Great Men.

Zinn compiled these stories into one of America's most important books - "A People's History of the United States" - and Zinn himself lived its message, joining picket lines, civil rights protests, anti-war marches, and other actions. "I wanted students to leave my classes not just better informed," he said, "but more prepared to relinquish the safety of silence, more prepared to speak up, and to act against injustice. This, of course, was a recipe for trouble."

Without troublemakers, Americans would still be singing "God Save the Queen." Zinn has died, but his example has not. Spread copies of his "People's History" - and make trouble for the power elites. That's a fitting epitaph for our friend, Howard Zinn.
(c) 2010 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.

Homeland Insecurity
Why "No-Fly" Just Doesn't Fly
By Randall Amster

Here's a quick quiz: What do Ted Kennedy, Cat Stevens and Nelson Mandela have in common? Okay, so that's an easy one for you folks with attention spans longer than it takes to type out a tweet. Indeed, all of these luminaries have appeared on the "No-Fly List," also known as the "Terrorist Watch List," which is used to prevent suspect persons from being able to fly on commercial aircraft in or out of the United States. The list was established after 9/11, and is estimated to contain perhaps half a million names, although its precise workings are shrouded by the vicissitudes of "national security."

Following the Christmas Day bombing attempt, it has been reported by CNN that "the US government has lowered the threshold for information deemed important enough to put suspicious individuals on a watch list or no-fly list, or have their visa revoked." Officials have stated that "the new standard is much lower than before December 25. For example, decisions could be taken to put someone on a no-fly list or a watch list based on one credible source, instead of the previous standard of using multiple sources." As Wired subsequently reported, not everyone on a "watch list" automatically winds up on the "no fly list," although the implications of being on any incarnation of these lists can include immediate arrest, the collection of biometric data, information being gathered about contacts, and notification of local "fusion centers" that bring together law enforcement agencies at all levels.

Potential abuses of such all-encompassing and secretive powers are obvious, ranging from relatively minor inconveniences such as travel delays to more serious breaches of basic constitutional rights; as the ACLU has observed, the No-Fly List "is so broad that it is certain to include many people who pose no danger and have done nothing illegal." At an even more basic level, practices and policies of this sort brush up against the spirit of the 1976 Church Committee Report on intelligence abuses in the US, which warned in unequivocal terms that "unless new and tighter controls are established by legislation, domestic intelligence activities threaten to undermine our democratic society and fundamentally alter its nature." If anything, the ensuing decades have brought about a move away from the report's recommendations, and in the process have taken us closer to the predicted demise of democracy.

Obviously, these are crucial concerns that deserve to be explored at length. And yet, despite their pragmatic repercussions, there is a sense in which these issues can become something of a theoretical abstraction deployed in the service of expounding upon the Orwellian nature of our emerging surveillance society. As tempting as this is, I have more mundane notions in mind here. These policies impact actual people, their friends and families, and their ability to travel unfettered. They keep the populace in a state of fear and anxiety, grant clandestine officials control over our lives, and justify deeper incursions into not only our civil liberties but our capacities to live freely as well. In short, such policies are dehumanizing, rendering us mere data points in a complex matrix that exists beyond our purview.

One of these dehumanized points of data, however, now has a name and a face. A longtime friend has recently been informed that he is persona non grata in the US, having found himself on the No-Fly List without explanation or meaningful opportunity for rebuttal. Because of this, he has had to cancel a speaking tour here, in which he was to visit universities and community centers around the country, discussing his three new books as well as topics including social movements and political theory. It means that he won't be able to visit with friends and colleagues or to forge new connections here around his life's work. It also places a potentially permanent constraint on his travel to the US, and an official taint on his character as well.

His name is Gabriel Kuhn. I won't detail his entire biography here (you can read more about him on Wikipedia and on his PM Press author's page), but the basic gist is that he's an award-winning author who holds a Ph.D. in Philosophy from the University of Innsbruck. Kuhn has been politically active in ways consonant with his scholarship, focusing in particular on post-structuralism, social movements and anarchism. He was also a semi-professional soccer player and has lived in and traveled through numerous locales around the world. He presently resides in Sweden, where he has lived since 2006.

Beyond the mere biographical data, Kuhn is one of the kindest and most decent people you could ever hope to meet. I've known him for fifteen years and am proud to count him as one of my closest friends and colleagues. His gentle nature and good humor are evident, and he's a particularly thoughtful person when it comes to things people often take for granted, such as staying in touch across the miles and years, asking about professional activities and family news, and sharing personal stories of his life and travels. Kuhn has never been charged with a crime or an immigration violation, and is a highly respected scholar in the fields of radical politics and anarchist praxis, among other spheres of inquiry.

Yes, Kuhn is an anarchist. But don't get too excited about that - like most, he's an anarchist who believes in community and solidarity, not violence. He has a sophisticated outlook on reconciling the longstanding individual/community tension that lies at the heart of most social and political theories, as indicated by his statement regarding a recent controversy over tactics for change: "Anarchy can only work if the notion of individual freedom is accompanied by the notion of individual responsibility. Where the latter is missing, 'individual freedom' only becomes a pretext for bourgeois egoism, capitalist greed or - as in this case - disrespectful and self-centered conduct...." In other words, he believes that freedom necessitates responsibility if it is to be anything more than an excuse for self-indulgence and disrespecting others.

In this sense, Kuhn's values are decidedly anti-terroristic. While he explores historical and contemporary phenomena such as piracy and radical environmentalism in his work, he sees these as complex responses to repressive and destructive official policies. His focus unflinchingly remains on those struggling from "below" in our global system, a point strongly suggested in his reply when I asked whether he wanted me to write about his present dilemma:

"Obviously, this is not about some terrible injustice being done to me (I have a comfortable life here in Stockholm, can travel to many other countries, etc.), but the whole thing points at some more general and far more serious problems:

1) "The complex of immigration and 'national security': Again, in my case, no personal harm is done. In other cases these things mean separation from loved ones, exclusion from educational and economic possibilities, and in the worst cases torture and death....

2) "The power that authorities get in the name of national security: The most troubling aspect of the no-fly list is that, all in the name of national security, you will receive zero information on why you're on the list, since when, how you can get off it. Nothing. Even if you file a complaint, they will only promise to 'look into the matter.' They do not promise to provide any information at the end of the process. The possible consequences of this are obvious. Radicals can be put on the list at random and then stay there; it can undermine communication, exchange, and networking of activists and social movements to a frightening degree.

3) "The fact that measures like the no-fly list do not only concern US Americans, but others too - many who are not even allowed to visit. I think this is an aspect that's often overlooked in the US debate on anti-terrorism legislation which (understandably) focuses very much on the issue of US citizens' rights."

Contrast Kuhn's nuanced analysis with the self-congratulatory and monotone rhetoric of the Transportation Security Administration (TSA), which administers the No-Fly and Terrorist Watch Lists:

"The 'No-Fly' list has been an essential element of the aviation security - it keeps known terrorists off planes. TSA and our Federal partners, including the intelligence and law enforcement communities, have worked together to combine our collective knowledge into one list that protects our country, transportation systems, and airline passengers. TSA has dedicated staff to review and scrub the existing No-Fly list and ensure all nominees meet the standing criteria. This review will establish the baseline for new records being added to the system and will significantly improve the quality of the data."

The TSA states that its mission is to protect "the Nation's transportation systems to ensure freedom of movement for people and commerce." It utilizes a system based on "layers of security" that includes the obvious airport checkpoints and also "intelligence gathering and analysis, checking passenger manifests against watch lists, random canine team searches at airports, federal air marshals, federal flight deck officers and more security measures both visible and invisible to the public." The agency operates largely under the cloak of "national security" - meaning, as the ACLU notes, that it is impossible to know "who is or is not on these lists" and that certain people will be denied freedom of movement without due process or effective means to contest their status.

Against this, we are supposed to be comforted by the TSA's assertion that their system deters "known terrorists" and that all of the people on the No-Fly List "meet the standing criteria." Even putting aside repeated and bizarre "false positives" such as Ted Kennedy and Nelson Mandela, there are further accounts that cannot be squared with any sort of logic or good sense:

"The Transportation Security Administration (TSA) has denied repeatedly that there are children on the infamous 'no-fly list.' Ever since little Mikey Hicks was in the news the other day about his consistent 'pat downs' at the airport, it has been brought to the public's attention that the FBI and TSA need to review their security precaution. TSA has vehemently defended their program saying that there are NO children on the no-fly list. But no one could address why Michael Winston Hicks has been getting frisked since he was 2 years old.... Now if what TSA says is true, why is it that the airlines don't see him and immediately know he is not a terrorist? Also, why is it that the airlines consistently harass this little boy? And why is it that several incidents have occurred in the past?"

Undoubtedly, the task of balancing security with liberty is among the most daunting of our time. The problem with archaic and secretive mechanisms such as the No-Fly and Terrorist Watch Lists is that they are rife with potential for abuse and perversion. Profiling people based on ethnic criteria, harassing activists and exacting a toll on political adversaries are all-too-real manifestations of these policies. The case of Gabriel Kuhn, which quite likely is but one of many, has all the makings of someone being persecuted for the nature of their views rather than the reality of their conduct. In typical fashion, despite his obvious "sadness and disappointment" at being denied entry into the US, Kuhn still sees the potential for something good to come of this situation: "If this particular case can help draw some attention to these issues, at least it serves a purpose." With the state of security rapidly eroding the fabric of liberty, we should all hope that such episodes cast a critical light upon the shadows of fear and control.
(c) 2010 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Obama, The War President
By Helen Thomas

President Barack Obama does have a foreign policy. It's called war.

The President has not defined any real difference between his hawkish approach to international issues and that of his predecessor, former President George W. Bush.

Where's the change we can believe in?

Bush left a legacy of two wars, neither of which was ever fully explained or justified. Obama has merely picked up the sword that Bush left behind in Iraq and Afghanistan.

In the struggle against terrorism, one might say, "Who cares?"

One group that cares consists of Americans who follow the rules and think we should honor all the treaties we have promoted and signed over the years.

The President gave short shrift to foreign policy in his State of the Union address, mentioning neither the lives lost nor the cost of the global hostilities that the U.S. has involved itself in. He also didn't mention U.S. policies in the Middle East, though those are the root cause of many of our problems.

While U.S. special envoy George Mitchell has a hopeful outlook for the resumption of the stalemated talks between the Israelis and Palestinians after a year of trying, Obama seems to have temporarily thrown in the towel.

Obama said he was keeping his promise to leave Iraq by the end of August.

Meanwhile, frequent suicide bombings continue in that beleaguered country.

Afghanistan is a different story. U.S. forces there are involved in manhunts of al-Qaida and Taliban leaders. But the cost in civilian life is heavy when drones are used and whole families have been wiped out to get one suspected leader.

The U.S. seems to have convinced the governments of Pakistan and Afghanistan that it's their war too. The Washington Post said the loss of Hakimullah Mehsud has dealt a fatal blow to his followers.

The U.S. military web has spread to Yemen, where American intelligence teams have joined Yemeni troops in planning missions against al-Qaida elements. Scores have been killed there.

Then there's the ramped-up U.S. saber-rattling toward Iran.

In his speech, Obama warned Iran of "consequences" if it didn't play ball and co-operate on nuclear inspections. It's unclear whether those consequences are of the financial variety or of a pre-emptive military strike by the U.S. or Israel.

All this comes at a time when the U.S. has bolstered its naval presence in the Persian Gulf and the neo-conservatives are calling for "regime change" in Iran.

But neo-con Robert Kagan, a senior associate at the Carnegie Endowment, sees the possibility of peaceful regime change in Iran. Organic regime change could change the Iranian equation, Kagan concludes in a Washington Post article.

Iran, reacting to Western pressure or from fear of an attack, recently offered to send its uranium abroad for enrichment for industrial use.

There are new tensions in other parts of the world. China is upset with the U.S. $6 billion-plus arms sale to its nemesis, Taiwan. China's also irked at Google for its belated push-back against Chinese hacking into Google's G-mail accounts.

So while the President's Democratic base of support mutters about his abandonment of health reform and immigration reform, Obama can take solace in support from the Republican Party whenever he flexes U.S. military muscle.

And so this president takes his place among other U.S. chief executives who have sought the glory of leading the nation in military conflict. He has attained the desired status of "War President."
(c) 2010 Helen Thomas is a columnist for Hearst Newspapers. Among other books she is the author of Front Row at The White House: My Life and Times.

America Is Not Yet Lost
By Paul Krugman

What we're getting instead is less a tragedy than a deadly farce. Instead of fraying under the strain of imperial overstretch, we're paralyzed by procedure. Instead of re-enacting the decline and fall of Rome, we're re-enacting the dissolution of 18th-century Poland.

A brief history lesson: In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Polish legislature, the Sejm, operated on the unanimity principle: any member could nullify legislation by shouting "I do not allow!" This made the nation largely ungovernable, and neighboring regimes began hacking off pieces of its territory. By 1795 Poland had disappeared, not to re-emerge for more than a century.

Today, the U.S. Senate seems determined to make the Sejm look good by comparison.

Last week, after nine months, the Senate finally approved Martha Johnson to head the General Services Administration, which runs government buildings and purchases supplies. It's an essentially nonpolitical position, and nobody questioned Ms. Johnson's qualifications: she was approved by a vote of 94 to 2. But Senator Christopher Bond, Republican of Missouri, had put a "hold" on her appointment to pressure the government into approving a building project in Kansas City.

This dubious achievement may have inspired Senator Richard Shelby, Republican of Alabama. In any case, Mr. Shelby has now placed a hold on all outstanding Obama administration nominations - about 70 high-level government positions - until his state gets a tanker contract and a counterterrorism center.

What gives individual senators this kind of power? Much of the Senate's business relies on unanimous consent: it's difficult to get anything done unless everyone agrees on procedure. And a tradition has grown up under which senators, in return for not gumming up everything, get the right to block nominees they don't like.

In the past, holds were used sparingly. That's because, as a Congressional Research Service report on the practice says, the Senate used to be ruled by "traditions of comity, courtesy, reciprocity, and accommodation." But that was then. Rules that used to be workable have become crippling now that one of the nation's major political parties has descended into nihilism, seeing no harm - in fact, political dividends - in making the nation ungovernable.

How bad is it? It's so bad that I miss Newt Gingrich.

Readers may recall that in 1995 Mr. Gingrich, then speaker of the House, cut off the federal government's funding and forced a temporary government shutdown. It was ugly and extreme, but at least Mr. Gingrich had specific demands: he wanted Bill Clinton to agree to sharp cuts in Medicare.

Today, by contrast, the Republican leaders refuse to offer any specific proposals. They inveigh against the deficit - and last month their senators voted in lockstep against any increase in the federal debt limit, a move that would have precipitated another government shutdown if Democrats hadn't had 60 votes. But they also denounce anything that might actually reduce the deficit, including, ironically, any effort to spend Medicare funds more wisely.

And with the national G.O.P. having abdicated any responsibility for making things work, it's only natural that individual senators should feel free to take the nation hostage until they get their pet projects funded.

The truth is that given the state of American politics, the way the Senate works is no longer consistent with a functioning government. Senators themselves should recognize this fact and push through changes in those rules, including eliminating or at least limiting the filibuster. This is something they could and should do, by majority vote, on the first day of the next Senate session.

Don't hold your breath. As it is, Democrats don't even seem able to score political points by highlighting their opponents' obstructionism.

It should be a simple message (and it should have been the central message in Massachusetts): a vote for a Republican, no matter what you think of him as a person, is a vote for paralysis. But by now, we know how the Obama administration deals with those who would destroy it: it goes straight for the capillaries. Sure enough, Robert Gibbs, the White House press secretary, accused Mr. Shelby of "silliness." Yep, that will really resonate with voters.

After the dissolution of Poland, a Polish officer serving under Napoleon penned a song that eventually - after the country's post-World War I resurrection - became the country's national anthem. It begins, "Poland is not yet lost."

Well, America is not yet lost. But the Senate is working on it.
(c) 2010 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

Annals Of Liberation
Obama Surge Driving Thousands From Their Homes
By Chris Floyd

Barack Obama's Bush-like "surge" in Afghanistan has not even reached its full strength yet, but it is already driving tens of thousands of Afghan civilians from their homes, as they flee an upcoming massive attack in Helmand province.

The attack -- which the Americans have been trumpeting far in advance -- is designed, we're told, to "protect" the people of the key town of Marjah from the twin scourges of Taliban nogoodniks and drug traffickers. Yet the primary effect of the much-publicized preparations has been to send the residents of the town running for their lives to escape becoming part of the "collateral damage" that always attends these protective, humanitarian endeavors.

Indeed, the real aim of the advance publicity for the attack seems to be forcing mass numbers of civilians to hit the road -- which will then allow the American and British attackers to claim that anyone left behind is an enemy. This in turn will free up the attackers to use heavy weaponry in a "free-fire" zone to clear out the "diehards."

This is, of course, the same strategy used in the savage destruction of Fallujah in Iraq. The city was marked for death after an angry mob mutilated four American mercenaries -- following a series of civilian killings by occupation forces in the preceding weeks: provocations that have been conveniently airbrushed from history (just like the U.S. massacre of Somalis that preceded the infamous "Black Hawk Down" incident). An initial attack on Fallujah failed in the spring of 2004, largely due to political heat from the vast civilian suffering that was being reported from the city, chiefly from its medical centers.

But in the following months, the noose was tightened around Fallujah's neck. Tens of thousands fled the city to escape the coming second attack, which was well-publicized in advance. Story after story -- or rather, puff piece after puff piece -- about the preparations streamed from the embedded mainstream media reporters. The ostensible aim of the attack was to "eliminate" groups of "diehard terrorists" using Fallujah as a base. But of course, the months of PR about the looming operation meant that the putative targets had plenty of time to slip away. And they did.

Even so, as soon as George W. Bush's re-election was in the bag, the attack was launched. This time, the US brass were careful to eliminate the main source of bad press in the first attack: hospitals were a prime target. As I noted at the time:

One of the first moves in this magnificent feat was the destruction and capture of medical centers. Twenty doctors - and their patients, including women and children - were killed in an airstrike on one major clinic, the UN Information Service reports, while the city's main hospital was seized in the early hours of the ground assault. Why? Because these places of healing could be used as "propaganda centers," the Pentagon's "information warfare" specialists told the NY Times. Unlike the first attack on Fallujah last spring, there was to be no unseemly footage of gutted children bleeding to death on hospital beds. This time - except for NBC's brief, heavily-edited, quickly-buried clip of the usual lone "bad apple" shooting a wounded Iraqi prisoner - the visuals were rigorously scrubbed.

So while Americans saw stories of rugged "Marlboro Men" winning the day against Satan, they were spared shots of engineers cutting off water and electricity to the city - a flagrant war crime under the Geneva Conventions, as CounterPunch notes, but standard practice throughout the occupation. Nor did pictures of attack helicopters gunning down civilians trying to escape across the Euphrates River - including a family of five - make the TV news, despite the eyewitness account of an AP journalist. Nor were tender American sensibilities subjected to the sight of phosphorous shells bathing enemy fighters - and nearby civilians - with unquenchable chemical fire, literally melting their skin, as the Washington Post reports. Nor did they see the fetus being blown out of the body of Artica Salim when her home was bombed during the "softening-up attacks" that raged relentlessly - and unnoticed - in the closing days of George W. Bush's presidential campaign, the Scotland Sunday Herald reports.

And now Marjah is being readied for the Fallujah option. (For as we all know, your real tough hombres never take any option off the table.) As the Guardian reports:

Ten of thousands of Afghan civilians are abandoning an area of central Helmland where UK and US forces are set to launch one of the biggest operations of the year. The evacuation of most civilians from the town of Marjah and surrounding areas will give commanders greater leeway to use mortars-and-air-to ground missiles which have enraged Afghans in the past when responsible for civilian deaths. ...

US generals have unusually made no secret of their plan for a major onslaught against the town close to Helmand's besieged provincial capital, Lashkar Gah. Larry Nicholson, commander of the 2nd Marine Expeditionary Force which will spearhead the fight, has said he is "not looking for a fair fight."

... A spokesman for the International Security Assistance Force, as the Nato troops are known, said that the main reason for publicity for the operation was to encourage insurgents to leave, but if civilians were also encouraged to evacuate that would be "helpful".

Yes, it's always helpful to do some pre-winnowing of a densely populated area before you destroy it with mortars and air-to-ground missiles. But of course, while thousands of civilians flee, thousands more have "remained because they could not afford to leave," the Guardian reports. How many of these will be re-classifed as "enemy fighters" when their corpses are found in the ruins?

The Afghans themselves know the score:

A Marjah resident, an elder reached by phone, who was not prepared to give his name, said he had evacuated his family a week ago because he feared "the worst attack ever."

"Always when they storm a village the foreign troops never care about civilian casualties at all. And at the end of the day they report the deaths of women and children as the deaths of Taliban," he said.

Slaughter, ruin, fear and exile: yeah, it's the Good War, all right! "The war we should be fighting," as our tough-guy libs kept telling us when putting their always serious, always "nuanced" objections to the Iraq "fiasco" in proper context. Well, they have it now, the war they always wanted. And who knows? Maybe soon they can have their own Fallujah! Won't that be a great apotheosis of Progressivism?
(c) 2010 Chris Floyd

Changing Batteries And Tilling Fields
By Case Wagonvoord

There is much talk in progressive circles about restoring democracy to America. All too often this is the closing sentence of a screed that lists the multiple sins afflicting the country. It is a clarion call for a movement, a call that is totally devoid of the nuts and bolts of how we are going to achieve this.

It is the thinking of a technician and reflects the belief that life is basically a machine and that in order to restore democracy all we need do is change a battery, throw a switch or tighten a screw. Unfortunately, life ain't like that. Life a swarmy mess of currents and counter currents, of contradictions and paradoxes. It moves at its own pace and is painfully slow to change courses. Albert Camus defined the absurd as the interface between our desire for order and predictability and the unpredictable chaos that is life.

Too many progressives, having been raised in a society that values instant gratification above all, become too easily discouraged when they discover that simply advocating for democracy fails to produce it, as if the word were an incantation that could create change as soon as it is uttered.

Christopher Hayes relates a story told by Robert Michaels of a German peasant on his deathbed who tells his sons that there is a great treasure buried in his fields. Upon his death, the sons run out and began madly digging up the fields. The treasure, it turns out, is the bumper crops the fields yield because they have been properly tilled.

Michaels went on to say, "Democracy is a treasure that no one will ever discover by deliberate search." The implication is that democracy is a byproduct, perhaps a byproduct of the effort to build a decent and free society. It is a process that is never finished, the force of which ebbs and flows. It is a process that may go dormant for decades until life becomes so wretched that it springs back to life.

It is a process that is hobbled by a paradox Michaels called The Iron Law of Oligarchy. As Hayes explains it, "In order for any kind of party or, indeed, any institution with a democratic base to exist, it must have an organization that delegates tasks. As this bureaucratic structure develops, it invests a small group of people with enough power that they can then subvert the very mechanisms by which they can be held to account: the party press, party conventions and delegate votes.

Michaels says, "Who says organization, says oligarchy."

All of this is done in the name of efficiency, and this is the greatest paradox of all: efficiency and freedom are mutually exclusive, which explains why the fields must be constantly tilled and why we will never be free by simply throwing a switch. It's an unending grind.
(c) 2010 Case Wagenvoord. Some years ago, Case Wagenvoord turned off the tube and picked up a book. He's been trouble ever since. His articles have been posted at The Smirking Chimp, Countercurrents and Issues & Alibis. When he's not writing or brooding, he is carving hardwood bowls that have been displayed in galleries and shows across the country. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two cats. His book, Open Letters to George W. Bush is available at

Just Exactly How Crazy Are We?
By Mike Folkerth

This is one of those days when I sit in my office, sipping my coffee in the peace and quiet of early morning, and struggle to find another way to tell the world that we're all mad as hatters.

Any bright sixth grader could conduct a series of simple and conclusive experiments to determine that the world has limits; that we can't go on growing forever; that five quarts won't fit in a gallon jar.

At the same time, a Harvard or Yale PhD of economics will insure us that not only is exponential growth absolutely possible in a finite world; such growth is desirable.

These modern economists suggest that Thomas Malthus was a kook; M. King Hubbert was a nut job; Kenneth Boulding had a screw loose; And that obviously, Albert Einstein wasn't all that bright.

Operating under the widely held belief that geometric growth is the foundation that utopia firmly rests on, our past and present leadership have run up annual deficits in order to provide more growth than tax collection can support. That deficit incurred under the banner of growth at all costs, has progressed from Millions, to Billions, to Trillions in just 41 years.

I will remind you that should I care to count to just 'one' Trillion, it would take me 32,000 years.

Today, our young president tells us, "None of this is my fault. None of this is the fault of my Democratic Congress; George Bush done it all by himself. That crafty George tricked us all"

Mr. Obama goes on to say, "But, I'm no quitter, I don't quit! Not me. I'm going to run up the deficit by a Trillion or so every know... the one that George forced me to run up, for 10 more years after which economic growth will..." "Psssst, psssst, Mr. President," someone whispers in the background. "You can only serve for eight years." To which the president whispers back, "I know that you idiot, I'm building an alibi."

The actual current proposal really is to borrow Trillions upon Trillions for years to come; after which we will experience the hyper growth necessary to stem the tide of red ink. The sixth grade students that conducted the growth experiments above call this game "kick the can." Our leadership calls it "Survivor Washington," and the preservation of the limo and jet service.

Maybe I forgot to tell you; all 535 members of Congress remain on full pay and benefits. Not one of them has lost their jobs, their health insurance, their homes, their retirement, or the limo and jet service. So if you were worried, don't be, Congress is doing just fine.

I don't want to wander too far from the subject; we're all stark raving mad. As we watch what appears to be a double dip U.S. recession coming down the pike and as we observe many of the European nations fall into what appears to be impossible debt and as we gaze at world unemployment rising to unprecedented levels while at the same time bank after bank is being closed...we are told that a greater rate of economic and population growth is the answer to turning the tides.

Let's play pretend for moment and consider that such growth is possible; that we can actually return to what we refer to as "normal." That we can add millions and millions of people and provide every one of them with meaningful employment and never run out of anything, including physical space.

Staying with our pretend game, once we put the millions of unemployed folks back to work and have added millions upon millions of new consumers from around the world. And once all of these now fully employed people have new homes, cars, roads, water lines, sewer treatment plants, high speed rails and so on; then what?

Under the current plan (which is the same in nearly every country in the world), we demand that the energy supply, materials, fresh water, food supply, farm land, all current infrastructure, and our physical space, grow at levels that are unprecedented.

Our plan is to continue to provide more and more and more physical inputs, as the new population that miraculously found viable employment in our game of pretend requires ever greater growth in order that they can remain employed. And of course, their children and grandchildren would require even greater growth than that of their parents and grandparents.

How crazy are we? Mad as hatters.
(c) 2010 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

"Such as it is, the press has become the greatest power within the Western World, more powerful than the legislature, the executive and judiciary. One would like to ask; by whom has it been elected and to whom is it responsible?"
~~~ Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

The Terror-Industrial Complex
By Chris Hedges

The conviction of the Pakistani neuroscientist Aafia Siddiqui in New York last week of trying to kill American military officers and FBI agents illustrates that the greatest danger to our security does not come from al-Qaida but the thousands of shadowy mercenaries, kidnappers, killers and torturers our government employs around the globe.

The bizarre story surrounding Siddiqui, 37, who received an undergraduate degree from MIT and a doctorate in neuroscience from Brandeis University, often defies belief. Siddiqui, who could spend 50 years in prison on seven charges when she is sentenced in May, was by her own account abducted in 2003 from her hometown of Karachi, Pakistan, with her three children-two of whom remain missing-and spirited to a secret U.S. prison where she was allegedly tortured and mistreated for five years. The American government has no comment, either about the alleged clandestine detention or the missing children.

Siddiqui was discovered in 2008 disoriented and apparently aggressive and hostile, in Ghazni, Afghanistan, with her oldest son. She allegedly was carrying plans to make explosives, lists of New York landmarks and notes referring to "mass-casualty attacks." But despite these claims the government prosecutors chose not to charge her with terrorism or links to al-Qaida-the reason for her original appearance on the FBI's most-wanted list six years ago. Her supporters suggest that the papers she allegedly had in her possession when she was found in Afghanistan, rather than detail coherent plans for terrorist attacks, expose her severe mental deterioration, perhaps the result of years of imprisonment and abuse. This argument was bolstered by some of the pages of the documents shown briefly to the court, including a crude sketch of a gun that was described as a "match gun" that operates by lighting a match.

"Justice was not served," Tina Foster, executive director of the International Justice Network and the spokesperson for Aafia Siddiqui's family, told me. "The U.S. government made a decision to label this woman a terrorist, but instead of putting her on trial for the alleged terrorist activity she was put on trial for something else. They tried to convict her of that something else, not with evidence, but because she was a terrorist. She was selectively prosecuted for something that would allow them to only tell their side of the story."

The government built its entire case instead around disputed events in the 300-square-foot room of the Ghazni police station. It insisted that on July 18, 2008, the diminutive Siddiqui, who had been arrested by local Afghan police the day before, seized an M4 assault rifle that was left unattended and fired at American military and FBI agents. None of the Americans were injured. Siddiqui, however, was gravely wounded, shot twice in the stomach.

No one, other than Siddiqui, has attempted to explain where she was for five years after she vanished in 2003. No one seems to be able to explain why a disoriented Pakistani woman and her son, an American citizen, neither of whom spoke Dari, were discovered by local residents wandering in a public square in Ghazni, where an eyewitness told Harpers Magazine the distraught Siddiqui "was attacking everyone who got close to her." Had Siddiqui, after years of imprisonment and torture, perhaps been at the U.S. detention center in Bagram and then dumped with one of her three children in Ghazi? And where are the other two children, one of whom also is an American citizen?

Her arrest in Ghazi saw, according to the official complaint, a U.S. Army captain and a warrant officer, two FBI agents and two military interpreters arrive to question Siddiqui at the police headquarters. The Americans and their interpreters were shown to a meeting room that was partitioned by a yellow curtain. "None of the United States personnel were aware," the complaint states, "that Siddiqui was being held, unsecured, behind the curtain." The group sat down to talk and "the Warrant Officer placed his United States Army M-4 rifle on the floor to his right next to the curtain, near his right foot." Siddiqui allegedly reached from behind the curtain and pulled the three-foot rifle to her side. She unlatched the safety. She pulled the curtain "slightly back" and pointed the gun directly at the head of the captain. One of the interpreters saw her. He lunged for the gun. Siddiqui shouted, "Get the fuck out of here!" and fired twice. She hit no one. As the interpreter wrestled her to the ground, the warrant officer drew his sidearm and fired "approximately two rounds" into Siddiqui's abdomen. She collapsed, still struggling, and then fell unconscious.

But in an article written by Petra Bartosiewicz in the November 2009 Harper's Magazine, authorities in Afghanistan described a series of events at odds with the official version. The governor of Ghazni province, Usman Usmani, told a local reporter who was hired by Bartosiewicz that the U.S. team had "demanded to take over custody" of Siddiqui. The governor refused. He could not release Siddiqui, he explained, until officials from the counterterrorism department in Kabul arrived to investigate. He proposed a compromise: The U.S. team could interview Siddiqui, but she would remain at the station. In a Reuters interview, however, a "senior Ghazni police officer" suggested that the compromise did not hold. The U.S. team arrived at the police station, he said, and demanded custody of Siddiqui. The Afghan officers refused, and the U.S. team proceeded to disarm them. Then, for reasons unexplained, Siddiqui herself somehow entered the scene. The U.S. team, "thinking that she had explosives and would attack them as a suicide bomber, shot her and took her."

Siddiqui told a delegation of Pakistani senators who went to Texas to visit her in prison a few months after her arrest that she never touched anyone's gun, nor did she shout at anyone or make any threats. She simply stood up to see who was on the other side of the curtain and startled the soldiers. One of them shouted, "She is loose," and then someone shot her. When she regained consciousness she heard someone else say, "We could lose our jobs."

Siddiqui's defense team pointed out that there was an absence of bullets, casings or residue from the M4, all of which suggested it had not been fired. They played a video to show that two holes in a wall supposedly caused by the M4 had been there before July 18. They also highlighted inconsistencies in the testimony from the nine government witnesses, who at times gave conflicting accounts of how many people were in the room, where they were sitting or standing and how many shots were fired.

Siddiqui, who took the stand during the trial against the advice of her defense team, called the report that she had fired the unattended M4 assault rifle at the Americans "the biggest lie." She said she had been trying to flee the police station because she feared being tortured. Siddiqui, whose mental stability often appeared to be in question during the trial, was ejected several times from the Manhattan courtroom for erratic behavior and outbursts.

"It is difficult to get a fair trial in this country if the government wants to accuse you of terrorism," said Foster. "It is difficult to get a fair trial on any types of charges. The government is allowed to tell the jury you are a terrorist before you have to put on any evidence. The fear factor that has emerged since 9/11 has permeated into the U.S. court system in a profoundly disturbing way. It embraces the idea that we can compromise core principles, for example the presumption of innocence, based on perceived threats that may or may not come to light. We, as a society, have chosen to cave on fear."

I spent more than a year covering al-Qaida for The New York Times in Europe and the Middle East. The threat posed by Islamic extremists, while real, is also wildly overblown, used to foster a climate of fear and political passivity, as well as pump billions of dollars into the hands of the military, private contractors, intelligence agencies and repressive client governments including that of Pakistan. The leader of one FBI counterterrorism squad told The New York Times that of the 5,500 terrorism-related leads its 21 agents had pursued over the past five years, just 5 percent were credible and not one had foiled an actual terrorist plot. These statistics strike me as emblematic of the entire war on terror.

Terrorism, however, is a very good business. The number of extremists who are planning to carry out terrorist attacks is minuscule, but there are vast departments and legions of ambitious intelligence and military officers who desperately need to strike a tangible blow against terrorism, real or imagined, to promote their careers as well as justify obscene expenditures and a flagrant abuse of power. All this will not make us safer. It will not protect us from terrorist strikes. The more we dispatch brutal forms of power to the Islamic world the more enraged Muslims and terrorists we propel into the ranks of those who oppose us. The same perverted logic saw the Argentine military, when I lived in Buenos Aires, "disappear" 30,000 of the nation's citizens, the vast majority of whom were innocent. Such logic also fed the drive to root out terrorists in El Salvador, where, when I arrived in 1983, the death squads were killing between 800 and 1,000 people a month. Once you build secret archipelagos of prisons, once you commit huge sums of money and invest your political capital in a ruthless war against subversion, once you empower a network of clandestine killers, operatives and torturers, you fuel the very insecurity and violence you seek to contain.

I do not know whether Siddiqui is innocent or guilty. But I do know that permitting jailers, spies, kidnappers and assassins to operate outside of the rule of law contaminates us with our own bile. Siddiqui is one victim. There are thousands more we do not see. These abuses, justified by the war on terror, have created a system of internal and external state terrorism that is far more dangerous to our security and democracy than the threat posed by Islamic radicals.
(c) 2010 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

Just Gimme Some Truth
By David Michael Green

The layers of the American political pathology are so multiple and so deep, it's sometimes hard to know where to start.

It's not so much that we're a country with problems. Every country has its challenges, and compared to much of the rest of the world I'd take our particular batch hands-down. It's just that so many of ours are self-inflicted.

Still, looking out across the panoply of peril, all the unfortunate ways in which we get it wrong as a society, I can't help but think that what's at the bottom of the stack, providing a foundation for the rest, is a profound national stupidity. Maybe it's my professional bias as an educator, but I often think that our biggest single problem is our (often willful) ignorance. Moreover, that's the single national characteristic that enables so many of our other maladies. If only we would allow ourselves to think, it seems to me, so much of the inanity that passes for normal in our politics would be laughed off the stage, and we'd all sure be a lot better off for it.

Honestly, this was the single thing I found most compelling about candidate Obama (as opposed to President Obama, who's more or less been one disappointment after another). Whether he was talking about dumb wars, or the fear-marketing of guns, gays and god, or addressing the question of race in America, Obama would sometimes do something that America hadn't seen in its political class since Jimmy Carter was in the White House: He would sometimes tell the truth.

Mind you, not often, and not even the whole truth. But the comparison was nevertheless startling, so long has it been since we've seen anything like this. Ronald Reagan not only began the era of "America, The Movie", he personified it as president like no one else ever has. Why worry about national problems when you can have yellow ribbons, poignant sunrises, and kick-ass wars against mortal enemies like Grenada instead? America has never quite recovered from this turn to the fantastical, this Hollywood spectacle of a government. Indeed, so deeply rooted has it become that, in order to help hold onto our comforting delusions, we now have a tenacious mythology which has arisen around the Great Mythologizer himself. The mythmaker has become myth too. New lies promulgated to prop up the old ones.

Whatever. My guess is that if we can ever have a serious discussion of Reagan in the future, one of the great crimes that will be attributed to his presidency will be the same supposed virtue that our lame punditocracy ascribes to it now. They say it was a revival of the American spirit and a restoration of our national confidence. In fact, what it was instead was a grand journey of self-delusion taken by an entire country, and at great cost, much of which we continue to pay to this day.

Thirty years of this disastrous turn in American politics could make even the half-truths of someone like Barack Obama refreshing and welcome, sometimes even stunning. I had almost forgotten what it was like to have a politician talk to me like I was an adult with a brain, rather than some Sunday School kiddie in short pants, who could only distinguish between Mr. God and Mr. Satan, the one with the beard and the one with the horns. I had almost forgotten what it could be like to see a president describe the world in three dimensions, complete with nuances and complexities, rather than some silly faux dichotomy between Good and Evil, with our team always representing the former.

Since becoming president Obama has cracked that door open a bit once or twice, though far from sufficiently and even less than during his campaign. His Cairo speech had some of these elements. And then he did it again a couple of times last week, especially when he visited the Republican House retreat and held a televised Q and A with those scary monsters.

Much as I hesitate to say it, the changes in the Obama White House this last week are slightly encouraging. It's even possible that they've recognized what a suicide mission they've been on this last year and have taken some baby steps in the only direction available to them for survival, let alone any sort of redemption. Obama doesn't strike me as constitutionally able to throw a punch at an adversary. It's just not in his character. But this week, at least, he flicked a couple of spitballs. For this White House, that's progress.

In any case, there was much that was telling about the event. First, that this semi-hostile dialogue - which many have compared to the British weekly tradition of Prime Minister's Question Time - transpired at all was a somewhat profound development. Of course, that statement says far more about the pathetic nature of the American political system than it does about Obama or the cavemen from the Valley of the Right who questioned him. It's also enormously telling that the GOP resisted until the last moment allowing the cameras to roll during the question and answer period - they really didn't want to go there. Think about that. You had a single meek politician going up against two hundred rabid bullies, and which side wanted to make sure the public didn't see the engagement? Did Republicans know something in advance that made them fearful of public exposure, even when going up against President Neville O'Bambi?

Perhaps it was the same thing that caused FOCS (Frighten Old Children Silly) "News" to cut away from the broadcast in the middle of it, despite the food-fight event being the very epitome of what television loves to show in politics. Uh-oh. Not only was Obama occasionally holding Republican feet to the fire, but he was even doing it without a Teleprompter! Evidently, the sight of the nice, genteel, reasonable black man helping a bunch of white sharks make themselves look like the stupid liars they are was all too much for Mr. Ailes and company. Seeing this was causing smoke to pour out of the ears of robo-regressives all across America, their circuits frying all at once. Cut to American Idol reruns, boys! Fast!

Why? Because Obama was actually making these lying thugs own, even slightly, the consequences of their destructive deceits. Here he was with the Republicans at their retreat, for example: "There was an interesting headline in CNN today: 'Americans disapprove of stimulus, but like every policy in it.' And there was a poll that showed that if you broke it down into its component parts, 80 percent approved of the tax cuts, 80 percent approved of the infrastructure, 80 percent approved of the assistance to the unemployed. Well, that's what the Recovery Act was. And let's face it, some of you have been at the ribbon-cuttings for some of these important projects in your communities." Similarly, the next day he was tweaking seven Republicans who actually walked away from their own proposal for a bipartisan debt-cutting commission, just because the socialist president had subsequently agreed with them on the idea.

The Kumbaya Kid is considerably more gentle about whacking these Joe McCarthy protégés than I would be. I'd like to see a lot more Harry Truman out of him, and a lot less Harry Reid. A lot more Betty Friedan, and a lot less Betty Crocker. Just the same, the Massachusetts election may go down as an inflection point in this presidency, the moment at which the White House figured out that standing by silently and watching yourself get your ass kicked by dress-up cowboy cowards unarmed with anything but lies and bullying tactics turns out to be, amazingly enough, something of a strategic error in national politics.

But what I find so astonishing about moments like this is how revealing they are of simple truths that somehow manage to get lost, particularly in the ranks of the Democratic Party. To begin with, Barack Obama has been hard at work for a year now, crashing an enormously promising presidency that just happens to also have his name attached to it, and the way forward has always seemed to me so transparently clear. Regressives in Congress (some from his own party), representing parasitical special interests, are sucking the blood from the American polity, even as the corpse begins to stiffen in rigor mortis. Maybe I'm just a sucker for that old fashioned democracy gospel, but I still believe that many times good policy can also be good politics. How much greater public fury at banks and other corporate predators does there need to be before the president realizes that actually taking on the malefactors of great wealth in this society also happens to be the best thing that could happen to him politically? How many times does he have to lose public support because of the astounding fabrications people are promulgating about him before he decides to stop playing nice and call the liars liars?

After seeing the president in action this week, the obnoxiously abrasive pundit Chris Matthews opined that Republicans should fear Barack Obama's learning curve. That one gave me a real chuckle. As far as I can see, no one in America has more to fear from Obama's learning curve than the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, who is currently slated to be very much on the housing market in January of 2013. Indeed, the single thing most utterly astonishing to me about the Obama presidency is how such a politically astute candidate could turn out to be such an absolutely lame, slow-to-get-it, president. And I'm not even talking about the guy's policies or ideology, much of which I abhor, since they frequently amount quite literally to warmed-over Bushism.

I'm just talking about Obama's lack of street smarts. The health care bill was paradigmatic, though hardly the only example. When it comes to selling his policies and strategic communications and winning the battle, he is decidedly not Bush-like. That reality is made all the more ironic by the fact that, unlike Bush, Obama doesn't even need to resort to outrageous lies in order to pitch manifestly evil policies (even if his are considerably less than wonderful). Never has a president failed so dramatically to employ his best weapon - the bully pulpit - to market his proposals for the country. Never has a president gotten so little from such favorable conditions for presidential success as Obama did this last year.

All of which begs the question of what American politics might look like if we had a president who was out there swinging for the fence, telling big truths, and mobilizing the public behind some new, healthy, and not even necessarily so hard-to-swallow national choices? The results could be astonishing.

The lists of areas where honest political discourse combined with presidential leadership could produce huge effects is fairly endless, though there is of course the danger of overload and distraction with too many initiatives at once. Just the same, here's my top ten:

* Start with campaign finance reform: No other single domain has more potential to unleash more necessary change in America. The simple truth is that American government is for sale, and about eight or nine tenths of what ails the country is attributable to these daily acts of treason, in which government officials sell out the national interest in favor of their own, and that of their political benefactors. This problem will never be solved by Congress. It requires a president who lays it out, pounds the drum incessantly in public, and humiliates the legislative branch into action. However, that would, of course, require telling a whole bunch of truth.

* America is in fiscal crisis right now, and the president's current solution is to pretend to seriously cut spending, and to locate all those cuts in the domain of domestic spending, just as some folks argued long ago was the real conspiracy behind Reagan's massive deficits. What astonishes me almost daily is that there is not a single serious actor in American politics who is talking about slashing 'defense' spending. The United States today drops twice what the entire rest of the world combined spends on their militaries, and there is not a single state actor anywhere in the world who does or could threaten us. There is no Nazi Germany or expansionary Soviet Union. And yet we spend like we're in a great power death match, despite the fact that we are bleeding red ink in order to do so. Couldn't somebody speak honestly about this, especially since our finances are in a meltdown, or must we all continue to tip-toe around the drunkard in the family, pretending not to notice all the damage?

* Deregulation has produced the all too predictable results almost everywhere it has been applied, but especially in the financial sector. There's a reason we have jails and courts and police and laws against robbery, rape and murder, you know. There's also a reason why, following the debacle of the Great Depression, we regulated banks and Wall Street. The reason for both is the same. If you make it easy for people to commit crimes (especially by no longer making the acts in question crimes at all), they will. How many times do we have to go down this path before we learn that greedy bastards will kill us all if we let them? And yet, even today, when there is so much anger at Wall Street, no prominent voices are seriously talking about the paradigm shift that is necessary to protect the society and indeed the world against these predatory sociopaths.

* The health care fiasco has (once again) been just that. But even if the administration had gotten its bill through Congress, it would have only been a fiasco of another sort. Democrats on either end of Pennsylvania Avenue looked like circus freak contortionists, trying to write a bill that brought positive change to the country's massively broken system, but doing so without going anywhere near the systemic, fundamental source of the breakage. No one can quite come out and say the truth here, as simple as it is: Introducing private insurers into health care provision adds nothing in terms of care, and dramatically degrades the system in every respect, from cost to complexity to coverage to care. We don't require people to buy insurance - or have a job which provides it - if they want national security from the military or home security from the fire and police departments. So why should we do health care that way? The short answer is because nobody with a platform has the guts to tell that truth.

* Education is another area with fundamental issues that nobody dares speak about. There are lots, actually, including the stupidity of making a college education increasingly out of reach for current and future generations. How brilliant is that, even if all you care about is global competitiveness or national security? There's plenty more where that particular lunacy comes from, but the one that is the most sickening of all, and that most betrays our supposed commitment to equality of opportunity, is local funding of schools. While dollars spent don't directly equate to quality of education, they sure do matter, especially in their absence. It is a national crime that kids growing up in one neighborhood get vastly greater educational resources than the (probably darker-skinned) kids from just down the street. It seems to me that a little public education, pardon the pun, on this issue might go a long way toward shaming America into living up to its professed values.

* Global warming is another area where an astounding vacuum in pedagogical leadership from our political class has created a planetary suicide pact in place of what should be a plethora of prudence preventing post-apocalyptic peril. It's one thing to allow the tail of narrow interests like pharmaceutical, health insurance, sugar, tobacco or weapons industries to wag the dog of public policy and murder tens of thousands of people every year. It's quite another to allow the short-term stock price of Exxon-Mobil to take out an entire planet. Where is the political leadership educating the country on the nature and imminence of this threat?

* It might be nice if we could have an honest conversation about some of our recent foreign policy crimes, too, especially now that other countries like the Netherlands and Britain are at least cracking that door open. There is already so much evidence out there proving the magnitude of lies we were told about Iraq and torture and 9/11 and more. Would it be too much to ask for a little bit of truth to come out? We spend countless hours and unending rolls of yellow ribbon trying to convince ourselves how much we care about our military personnel. In fact, by continuing to allow them to die for lies, we hide from ourselves how little we actually care.

* We could be a lot more honest about our foreign policies in general, as well, especially when it comes to the Middle East, where some pretty whopping ongoing lies cost us dearly, every day. Americans not only get just one side of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict represented in their media, they even get just one side of the debate within Israel. There's a greater range of dialogue inside Israel about that country's policies than there is in America. Supporting the paranoid Likud version of reality is not the same as supporting American interests in the world. Indeed, it's not even the same as supporting Israel's interests, truth be told. But how could most Americans ever figure that out, when they are limited to only one side, of one side, of the story?

* The United States has a sickening approach to world governance, as well. Whether it comes to land mines or the rights of children or global warming or family planning or just about any treaty, norm or initiative you could name, we are right there alongside Somalia and Libya as the outliers in international morality. Our attitude toward the United Nations and other global institutions is similarly self-reverential. These organizations are seen to exist for the purpose of supporting American interests (and those, worse yet, as defined in corporate boardrooms), and are ignored, defunded or otherwise trampled upon whenever they do not. How refreshing would it be if our political class might reeducate the country to start acting like we're the five percent of the world's population we actually are, rather than ninety-five percent?

* And while we're at it, we could really make some profound changes to our attitudes about governance at home, as well. For thirty years now, regressives have been teaching Americans that it's well and proper to hate their own government. Never mind that those same right-wingers most often have been the government over the last three decades. And never mind what it means to hate a government in a democracy, where the people doing the hating have chosen that government. The effects of this massively destructive impulse have been profound, and go a long way toward explaining the unraveling of American society and political culture we're now living through and living with. Governments do some truly horrid things sometimes, it's true, along with some pretty wonderful things as well. But policies, and the vehicle for those policies, are not the same thing. It's time that we had some leadership who reminded Americans that government, for all its flaws, is not inherently evil. Indeed, it can profoundly impact people's lives for the better, including protecting people from predators of all sorts. Which is precisely why the purveyors of unmitigated greed in America so badly want us to hate it.

I know, I know. It's a lot to ask, talking honestly for once about all these issues and so many more not even listed here.

Actually, it is and it isn't. So many people in America already get so much of this stuff. In so many cases, the public is ahead of its politicians.

The ground is fertile and the moment is pregnant with possibilities. Once you start talking about these things honestly, you can never go back. And creeps like just about every politician in the GOP, along with their enablers on radio and TV, can no longer commit their verbal and legislative outrages with impunity once people know better, and once they are regularly exposed to an alternative narrative.

People in this country are ready to seek solutions again. We just need a little honesty to make the critical difference, and prevail over the frightened Neanderthal tribe and their politics of fear.

Won't somebody just give us a little truth?
(c) 2010 David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website,

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Ubber Gruppenfuhrer Shelby,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, your attempts at blackmailing the government to stop already ok'd needed appointments in some sort of power trip takes the spotlight off Barry's inability to govern and makes us demoncrats look good, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class with ruby clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 03-15-2010. We salute you Herr Shelby, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Palin And The Tea-party "Movement": Nothing New
By Glenn Greenwald

Fox News, April 6, 2006:

Hundreds of protesters gripped Mexican flags as they marched for immigration reform in the past few weeks, but they say a display of cultural unity is being mistaken as a lack of loyalty to the United States.

The displays turned off many Americans. Conservative talk show hosts admonished the protesters, while everyday people wrote angry letters to the editors of their local newspapers.

Some called for those carrying the Mexican flag to return to Mexico. Others questioned why immigrants demanding rights in the United States would wave symbols of Mexico. . . .

Critics of waving the red, white and green have questioned marchers' loyalty to the United States, but Latino activists deny the implications.

The Washington Post, yesterday, on Sarah Palin's Tea Party speech:

[Palin] had on three opera-length strands of pearls, two white and one multi-colored. [O]n her lapel, a small pin with two flags -- for Israel and the United States.

In its adulating report on Palin's speech, National Review -- whose Rich Lowry and Jonah Goldberg both bitterly complained about the waving of Mexican flags on U.S. soil -- also proudly noted: "On her lapel, Palin wore a small pin with two flags -- for Israel and the United States." Along with the fact that she remains deeply unpopular with most Jewish-American voters, Palin's flamboyant display of her so-called love for Israel -- she previously boasted that the Israeli flag was the "only" one she kept in her Gubernatorial office -- is almost certainly grounded in her creepy desire to mold America's foreign policy to fit her evangelical belief that God demands that "Israeli land" be unified under Israeli control in order for Jesus to return and sweep all the good Christians up to heaven in Rapture (while banishing everyone else -- including the Jews she loves so much -- straight to hell forever). That's one major reason why neocons such as Bill Kristol love her. Led by Joe Lieberman, neocons have repeatedly shown their willingness to cynically exploit extremist Christian Rapture dogma for greater American fealty towards Israeli actions, and Palin reliably spouts neoconservative dogma on virtually every issue. Almost every one of her national security pronouncements sounds exactly like Dick Cheney and The Weekly Standard (though her call for expanded Israeli settlements go beyond what even most neocons are willing to advocate openly).

Is there any other nation in the world where a leading politician can appear in public -- without controversy -- wearing the flag of a foreign country? It was a huge scandal on the Right when immigration reform marchers waved Mexican (along with American) flags in order to display cultural solidarity with Mexican immigrants who were being demonized and living in wretched conditions, as non-persons, in the U.S.; isn't it obviously more significant when someone who recently wanted to be Vice President and is now the leader of this Fox-News-sponsored political movement appears at events in the U.S. wearing an Israeli flag melded to an American flag, as though the two nations are joined as one entity? Why should an American political leader be wearing an Israeli flag?

All of this underscores both (a) the total incoherence of the "tea party movement" and (b) how it is, at bottom, nothing more than a cynical marketing attempt to re-brand the right wing of the Republican Party under the exact same policies and principles which defined it for the last couple of decades. As I've noted before, there are many individual participants in this "tea party movement" with valid populist grievances against the sleaze and corruption of both parties in Washington, but it's all being directed towards a pedestrian goal that has nothing to do with any of those sentiments: namely, the re-empowerment of the Republican Party in completely unchanged form. Palin last night righteously condemned the Wall Street bailout even though she (like Glenn Beck) supported that bailout. She wears the banner of "freedom" and "individual liberty" even as she mocks the notion that our laws and Constitution -- the instruments by which we restrain government power -- ought to limit what the President can do in the name of national security; cheers for the omnipotent Surveillance State; and demands that her religious beliefs form the basis of government intervention in people's lives. She rails against government debt while supporting the policies largely responsible for its explosion: namely, limitless increases in military spending and endlessly expanded wars and imperial policies (primarily in the Middle East and oh-so-coincidentally aimed at Muslims).

In sum, Sarah Palin loyally supports virtually every policy that defined the uniquely disastrous Bush/Cheney first term. The "tea party movement" depicts itself as some sort of novel and independent force in American politics, and the establishment media -- which patronizingly equates far right extremists with "real Americans" and is petrified of accusations of "liberal bias" -- plays along. But exactly the opposite is true. It's just an appendage of the Republican Party: more dogmatic and boisterous than party leaders would like, but nonetheless devoted to the purest of partisan goals of restoring the same GOP to power that ran the country into the ground over the last decade. All of the GOP leaders whom this movement seeks to empower are the same ones who subserviently supported almost every Bush/Cheney policy for eight straight years. As is true for Palin, Fox News is this movement's primary sponsor because Fox, which craves a return of the Bush years, knows that the "tea party movement" will promote that goal by re-imaging the destroyed GOP brand into something fresh, pretty and new. Hardened GOP loyalists like Rush Limbaugh, Bill Kristol, National Review and Sean Hannity are perfectly at home in the "tea party movement" because its principal effect is to empower the standard right-wing GOP politicians and policies they've long craved.

George Bush and Dick Cheney are too widely discredited for anyone trying to appeal to the unconverted to praise their rule directly. The GOP needed new packaging, a new face. The "tea party" movement is just a respectable way for love of GOP dogma to once again be safely expressed:

In a bid to advance the tea party movement from holding rallies to holding office, the leaders of the anti-establishment groups announced a new political organization Friday that they say will "endorse, support and elect" conservatives across the country.

Mark Skoda, chairman of The Memphis TEA Party, made the announcement at a news conference in the middle of the National Tea Party Convention in Nashville. . . .The announcement came with an official platform that could help define what the multi-faceted tea party movement stands for and expects from the candidates it supports. The group's leaders plan to support candidates who stand for a set of "First Principles."

Those principles are: fiscal responsibility, lower taxes, less government, states' rights and national security. Prospective political candidates will be expected to support the Republican National Committee platform. If a particular candidate meets the proposed criteria he or she would be eligible for fund-raising and grassroots support.

Though it's not true for all of its supporters, the "tea party movement" itself is just a Republican movement -- the standard-issue type that blindly cheered Bush and Cheney. It's all the same nationalistic militarism and warmongering, Wall Street-subservient economics, and religion-based policy-making that has defined the GOP forever. There's nothing new here. If anything, it represents a demand for even greater allegiance to the Bush/Cheney mindset, for a more purist and even less restrained version of the national security insanity, civil liberties assaults, massive increases in the rich-poor gap, control of Americans' lives through "social issues," and endless wars which the Republican Party has long rhetorically claimed to embody. Other than a Medicare prescription plan here and an immigration reform plan there, from what Bush/Cheney orthodoxies do they dissent? None.

This movement is nothing more than the Republican Party masquerading as a grass-roots phenomenon. In 2000, the GOP found a cowboy-hat-wearing, swaggering, "likable" Regular Guy spouting "compassion" in domestic policy and "humility" in foreign policy to re-brand itself in the wake of the Gingrich-led branding disaster. Sarah Palin and the "tea party movement" are just the updated versions of that, the re-branding in the wake of the Bush/Cheney-led image disaster. They're every bit as extremist, radical and dangerous as the last decade revealed standard right-wing Republicans to be, but the one thing they're not is new or innovative.

UPDATE: The Nashville Post's A.C. Kleinheider, who covered the Tea Party convention for that paper, says Sarah Palin killed the tea party movement ("The tea party movement is dead. The one I was familiar with anyway. Judson Phillips held it down and Sarah Palin drove a stake right through its heart live last night on C-Span in front of an unsuspecting audience"). He also observes that "Sarah Palin didn't give a tea party speech last night. She gave a partisan Republican address"; he asks: "what was [Palin] doing justifying and perpetuating the foreign policy of George Bush at a tea party convention?"; and says that what began as "an authentic protest movement" -- "of ragtag and unorganized libertarians, independents and conservatives [that] was something new and unique" -- has now been completely annexed by Palin and her GOP operative-controllers who want a restoration of the standard Bush/Cheney agenda.

I think it was clear from the start that the populist and anti-Beltway rage fueling these gatherings was being diverted (absurdly) into standard Republican dogma, by the same party that ran the country with virtually no restraints for the last decade. And a large faction of this movement from the beginning was driven by the same ugly nationalism, Christian fanaticism, and Limbaughian hatreds that have long shaped the American GOP Right. There's a reason why the Bush-revering Fox News embraced it from the beginning. But whatever else is true -- whatever authentic elements once existed here -- it is now nothing more than a vehicle for rejuvenating the standard GOP, draped with even more neoconservative extremism and religious fervor than drove it for the last ten years. That's why Sarah Palin is their most beloved leader.
(c) 2010 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy.

The Assault On The Tower Of Babel
Fork in the road of human evolution
By Johm Kaminski

"Of the sayings of the wise men, there was not one, probably, more wise than that of the celebrated Know Thyself, and probably there was not one to which so little regard has been paid. It is to the want of attention to this principle that I attribute most of the absurdities with which the wise and learned, perhaps in all ages, may be reproached. Man has forgotten or been ignorant that his faculties are limited. He has failed to mark the line of demarcation, beyond which his knowledge could not extend. Instead of applying his mind to objects cognizable by his senses, he has attempted subjects above the reach of the human mind, and has lost and bewildered himself in the mazes of metaphysics. He has not known or has not attended to what has been so clearly proved by Locke, that no idea can be received except through the medium of sense. He has endeavoured to form ideas without attending to this principle, and, as might be expected, he has run into the greatest absurdities, the necessary consequence of such imprudence." ~~~ Godfrey Higgins, Anacalypsis, 1834, p. 29

So there were these guys - I don't how many, just a few of them - came down into town one day and took at look at what the townsfolk had created. The visitors said - get this - we don't like what these people are building. If we don't put a stop to this, they'll wind up becoming even greater than our illustrious selves.

So they came up with what they thought was the perfect solution. "We will confound their speech by putting so many languages in the world that no one will understand what anyone else is saying," said Yahweh to his cronies, presumably the Elohim, those angelic types we see decorating so many cathedrals.

In the Book of Genesis, the anchor story of all the other lore in the Old Testament of the Christian Bible (and also the Jewish Torah), in 600 BC, Almighty God is presented as a tyrannical cowboy decreeing that all thought processes other than what He Himself must prescribe would be forever off limits to the human race.

The need for such an attitude was readily apparent during ancient times; anyone who wandered outside the village was liable to be cut down by villains. Everybody in the village must all be on the same team. This xenophobia was ubiquitous, even though everybody was basically in the same boat. Extension of trust was prevented by profusion of languages.

The great tragic irony in all this is that we all do speak the same language; only the words are pronounced differently due to environmental and geographic variations. If these guys really did this, it would easily be the greatest crime against humanity of all time. But no "god" did that. Gods are human projections, mass consensual hallucinations.

I'm sorry to dampen your pious theological fervor, but this condescending cowboy is not some Almighty Supreme Being speaking. It is an evil, perverted old man, snuffing out the minds and lives of others with criminal intent to steal people's possessions and erase people's lives if they don't follow this insane tyrant's holy law. And for better than two thousand years, this law has been followed! Such is human history.

Now, as foreign objects course through our bloodstreams and radioactivity permeates the atmosphere, if we are going to survive this current Tribulation, we must decide how this all was created - how we created this hell on earth - and we have but one body of knowledge to be considered, namely, how we came to believe that what we do is right. Remembering, all the while, that we who are doing the considering are Americans who have cheered, for two centuries, the abuse and mass murder of other nations as long as the reasons for such primitive behavior were gift-wrapped in heart-rending stories of freedom and bravery that concealed the actual financial facts.

The Old Testament is a history of crime, sanctioned by one god to snuff out all the others. The wreckage and hypocrisy and real blood that you see in the world today are the actualized projections of that belief system.

God said we should kill everybody and take over the world. That's no God. That's an insane maniac. And that's why we have insane maniacs running the world. It's that simple.

And also, one other point. Yahweh's words have the ring of a man trying to kill his own death. And every man since has tried to do the same.

We can fix this, simply by understanding that our consciousness is fraught with superstitions and subliminal activations that we cannot now fully comprehend, and these aspects are acting upon us in ways that we do not realize.

But we can comprehend them, if we put in a little study.

Something like this has happened to humanity once before, a very long time ago. It was the invention of language, and that first person, very beloved of someone, who was given a name etched in a mountain pass above some innocuous pile of rocks. Because once something has a name, nothing is the same. This is how consciousness has grown, by hyperbolic accretion, first created by spin, then materialized, all the way across time right down to the present moment. Note: everything is created by spin. We seem to have forgotten that.

Knowledge and civilization grew by accretion, one word upon another, until finally, after thousands of years, great empires were built. These empires were built by ideas that were turned into words and WRITTEN, the most momentous expansion of consciousness in human history. Because once something was written, the commands of the gods echoing inside the brains of semiconscious humans that drove humanity all the way to a certain point in time (600 BC), were no longer infallible.

With writing comes questions. All the famous gods we know didn't like questions. They only issued commands. Why do you suppose that was? And whom do you suppose was uttering them?

But writing does more than that. It creates an interior mindspace where one can quietly review the data of the day, which is a third arbiter of pro and con.

Thus, writing itself guarantees revolution, because since all communication is an expression, no matter how oblique, of the writer's deepest wish, considering any thought automatically means changing it, revising it, improving it, as your understanding of its meaning deepens with repetition.

So in evolutionary terms, the supposedly sacred utterances of the gods never had a chance to survive forever. Time is a more powerful force than human-created deities.

The most sacred verbal relics of the ancient holy books are half-remembered aphorisms that were passed down verbally through centuries, and finally written down. They are not genuine pronouncements of some "god" who suddenly appears on the scene. But they have maintained their status of holy writ because of their antiquity, and because of the miniscule memory in everyone's mind of the time before words, and how, despite the lack of them, we retained genetic memory of behavior that predates words.

How can that be? Short answer: it can't. Consciousness begins with the development of language. This is precisely the slice of our psychological spectrum where resides our insanity that creates the wars and the addictions and the poisons. An injured part of our historical mind.

So many of those sacred pronouncements are merely rote memorization of symbolic stories that we may not understand, except in terms of their psychological intent.

The intent was control. Controlling the life and death of another person guarantees they will treat you as a god, simply because they want to stay alive. This is not freedom. But it is the human condition.

So that makes the most ancient thoughts in the Old Testament, those famous stories that have been passed down through time and accepted as Gospel, mere echoes of the schizophrenic hallucinations bouncing through human brains in the time before language was developed.

And that's what the great historian Godfrey Higgins meant when he said that we have formed ideas without paying attention to the basic rules of knowledge acquisition: we have accepted magical, hallucinated fiction and made it the basis of our civilization.

Live by the lie, die by the lie. You know, the lie that we don't die. That's why we so much enjoy killing others. Didn't you know?

Every good war has consisted of unspeakable crimes committed against innocent people, then all spun into tales of heroism when really only barbarism was involved.

True freedom has never been accessible because of the lethal embrace of the mindlock of monotheism, which prevents us from seeing the world as it actually is.

[A longer version of this story, featuring Nimrod and other cavemen, will appear at a later date.]
(c) 2010 John Kaminski is a writer who lives on the Gulf Coast of Florida, who has been doing a lot of radio lately, but few people appear to be listening, owing to the white noise pollution fogging their brains.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jimmy Margulies ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

By Jimi Hendrix

Hey Izabella
Girl, I'm holding you in my dreams, every night
Yeah, but you know good well baby
You know we got this war to fight
Well I'm callin' you under fire well I hope you're receiving me all right

Hey Izabella
Girl, I'm fightin' this war for the children and you
Yeah, yeah, yeah, baby
All this blood is for the world of you
So I hope you save your love baby, then I know the fightin' is true

Hey Izabella
Here come the rays of the rising sun, here they come
Whoo Izabella!
Well I got to go back out there and fight now baby
I can't quit 'til the devils on the run, on the run
Whoo Izabella!
So keep those dreams comin' in strong, soon I'll be holding you, instead of this machine gun!

Hey, izabella
Ahh, sweet lover
Spill all my blood for you
(c) 1969/2010 Jimi Hendrix

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...


Landover Baptist "Haitians for Helotry" Mission Squad Detained In Port-au-Prince!


Members of the Landover Baptist Haitian Helotry Mission Group Before DetentionPort-au-Prince, Haiti - The Haitian government is in a chaotic state, now targeting numerous Baptist Mission groups for persecution. We learned today that a group of 19 Landover Baptist Church members are being held in Port-au-Prince after trying to take 125 children out of Haiti.

The church group, most of them from Iowa, allegedly lacked the proper documents when they were arrested and handled in an uncivilized manner at 2 AM on Friday night in a bus caravan along with Haitian children aged two months to 16 years who had survived the earthquake. When police officers asked them for documents, group members held up their Bibles and said, "We're working for Jesus! And the Son of the Living God does not require any documentation!"

The group said they were setting up a makeshift facility across the border in the Dominican Republic where they could wash and bathe the children before shipping them back to their church compound in Freehold, Iowa where they would be auctioned off as Christian servants, or "Haitian Helots" to the highest bidder.

"You would think that with all the chaos this stupid Haitian government would be happy to allow their children the opportunity to live a life of decency in the service of privileged American Baptist families," said group spokesman, Pastor Deacon Fred.

The Landover Baptist Church's, "Haitian Help" ministry, formerly called, "Helping Hamitic Haitians Through Holy Helotry" was described as an effort to save the precious souls of abandoned children of color in Haiti, provide them with proper church attire, and ship them off to central Iowa to enjoy a life of privileged Christian servitude. They wanted to take 125 children by buses to an abandoned 10-room motel in the Dominican Republic that they were converting into a "soul and body cleansing" facility for Holy Helotry, one church member told the AP.

However, the Landover Baptists, who are Americans - the second to be taken into custody since the 12 January quake - have caused a political firestorm in Haiti, where the selling of Haitian children has been suspended because officials are unable to collect and manage the funds normally exchanged to them by American Baptists during these transactions.

"I don't see what the big deal is," said church leader, Pastor Deacon Fred. "We've been operating this Helotry mission in Haiti for the past 20-years, and this is the first time anyone has said anything about it. We have wealthy Baptist families who have ordered these children and Glory to God, if the Haitian government has learned anything over the last 20-years its that they don't want to keep one of our Platinum Tithers waiting!"

Deacon Fred said the group, including members from Freehold, Iowa and Leviticus Landing, Iowa, only have the best intentions. "We don't pay a dime for these children!" said one group member. "We never have! We have a few Haitian pastors on our payroll, of course! They secure the children, we drive by in a bus, pick them up, and in Haiti - they are never seen or heard from again. It's that simple!

"What I want to know is how the Haitian government is going to compensate our ministry for causing these delays," said Pastor. "We had three auctions scheduled next week, and there a lot of angry, wealthy church members who support this ministry with their financial love offerings and are waiting for one of these precious little pickaninnys to clean their anointed dishes!"

The US Embassy in Haiti sent a consular official, who also happened to be a tithing member of the Landover Baptist Church to meet with the detained group to set them up in a luxury hotel and spa resort in the Dominican Republic until their trial, according to the 27-year-old daughter of two detainees who has been in touch with her parents.

"They will go in front of a judge on Wednesday," Pastor told the Associated Press. "The issue now is finding out the name of that judge and getting the proper amount of money into his hands so our people and our property can be released in the Name of Jesus Christ!"
(c) 2010 The Landover Baptist Church

The Gross National Debt

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Issues & Alibis Vol 10 # 07 (c) 02/12/2010

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