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In This Edition

Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher finds, "Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance And Pressure Tactics Aimed At WikiLeaks And Its Supporters."

Uri Avnery adores, "Three Women."

Glen Ford says, "Detroit's Agony Shows Why Black America Needs A People's Plan For The Cities."

Frank Scott warns, "Humanity Is At The Crossroads Of the Most Serious Economic And Social Crisis In Modern History."

Jim Hightower watches as, "Sen. Pat Roberts Puts On His Crazy Pants."

David Swanson asks, "Do We Care About People If They Live In Bahrain?"

James Donahue explains, "Why Music Has A Profound Effect On Us."

John Nichols tells, "Why We Need A Bank At The Post Office."

Chris Hedges surveys, "Our Sinister Dual State."

David Sirota examines, "Why Won't PBS Release Details Of Its $3.5m Deal With A Billionaire? Here's A Possible Answer."

Paul Krugman looks over the, "Barons Of Broadband."

Robert Scheer is, "Honoring The 'Accomplices' To Truth Who Caught Clapper In A Lie."

Vincent L. Guarisco reveals, "Why Stopping The Ward Valley Nuclear Waste Dump Is Worth Remembering...."

Senator Ted Cruz wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich considers, "America's "We" Problem."

John Pilger explores, "'Good' And 'Bad' War - And The Struggle Of Memory Against Forgetting."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Live Cow Lowered Onto Floor Of U.S. House Of Representatives" but first, Uncle Ernie sez Ted Nugent goes, "Over The Edge."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Benson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Brian McFadden, J. Scott Applewhite, Cliff Owen, Vincent Yu, Occupy Wallstreet.Com, Comcast Sucks.Org, A.P., Black Agenda Report, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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Over The Edge
By Ernest Stewart

"The gun debate is about good people having the individual right from God, guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, to stop evil people. If you find fault with that you're on the side of the evil people - duh." ~~~ Ted Nugent

"So this is America." ~~~ Ray McGovern ~ as he was being brutalized for silently protesting.

"We are getting a tremendous outpouring from citizens across the country who are interested in standing up and defending marriage, our liberties are facing a real threat right now." ~~~ Ted Cruz

"You can give without loving, but you cannot love without giving." ~~~ Amy Carmichael

The old Motor City Madman is at it again. Thank Zeus he took his stupidity down to Texas and left Michigan for good. He used to be just a fair guitarist; now he's a stupid bigot and total berserker. He's currently on tour in support of the Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott's run for governor. Abbott, who is a few light years to the right of Darth Vader, and, therefore, Ted's idol, may well come to the conclusion that letting terrible Ted anywhere near his campaign was a fatal error. We can but hope!

Someone has said of Ted, "Ted Nugent is the man of a thousand gaffes and one hit." I remember Ted from when we both worked at the same nudie bar as DJs. Ted on days and I on evenings. Any good thoughts I had about Ted soon vanished as he kept saying obscene things about people that he'd never met. Things like he said about Obama last month when he called the president a "subhuman mongrel." Whether or not Ted realized it "subhuman mongrel, or, 'untermenschen,'" are the very words used by the Nazi's to describe the Jews! Ted's exact quote is:
"I have obviously failed to galvanize and prod, if not shame enough Americans to be ever-vigilant not to let a Chicago communist-raised, communist-educated, communist-nurtured subhuman mongrel like the acorn community organizer gangster Barack Hussein Obama to weasel his way into the top office of authority in the United States of America."
Of course, this isn't the first time Ted has made the news for being a total ass; in fact, he has quite a history of opening his maw and inserting his foot in it. Here are just a few of his past faux paus...

Back in 2007, Ted suggested that candidate Obama "Suck my machine gun!"

In 2006 in an interview talking about the Iraq war, Ted said, "Our failure has been not to Nagasaki them."

In a 2010 op-ed in the Washington Times, Ted wrote: "If Islam is the religion of peace, then I'm a malnourished, tofu-eating anti-hunter." "Islam is no more a peaceful religion than Jim Jones was a Christian prophet." But, Ted went on to say, in case you thought he was a bigot, "...not all Muslims are religious whacks who deserve a bullet." Thanks, for clearing that up, Ted!

On Obamacare and the Extreme Court decision, Ted wrote again in the Washington Times, "I'm beginning to wonder if it would have been best had the South won the Civil War." Ted went on to say that thanks to John Roberts' "traitor vote," our "Founding Fathers' concept of limited government is dead."

Ted has told fellow tea-baggers in 2012 to, "ride onto that battlefield and chop [Democrats'] heads off in November!" He then added that if Barry won reelection, "I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year." That one brought the secret service to his front door. Which begs the question, why aren't you dead or in jail, Ted? Even though he's still alive, he says he was being targeted like, "a black Jew at a Nazi Klan rally. Something Ted knows a lot about under his white sheets!

Ted likes to tweet; so here's a couple after Obama won reelection; Ted tweeted "Pimps whores & welfare brats & their soulless supporters have a president to destroy America." And "What subhuman varmint believes others must pay for their obesity booze cellphones birth-control abortions & lives?" Like I said, Ted had already gone over the edge when we worked together at "The Landing Strip" back in the late 80's; so I'm not at all surprised by this, are you?

In Other News

I see where one of our authors, i.e., ex-CIA analyst Ray McGovern, is suing the State Department aka John Kerry, in his capacity as the Secretary of State, and against officers at George Washington University for his rather brutal attack by the officers while silently protesting Hillary. As Hillary gave a speech on foreign governments and how they illegally deal with legal protests, in which she insisted that governments respect dissent and dissenters and their freedom of speech. Talk about your irony, huh! Ray's crime was that he stood up, when everybody stood when Hillary entered the room, but remained standing when everyone else sat down, and turned his back on her when she began speaking. That was his crime! What I remember most about that day was Hillary's smirking while Ray was being attacked. The Partnership for Civil Justice Fund has filed a federal civil rights lawsuit on behalf of Ray.

"The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia three years to the date of Mr. McGovern's brutal and false arrest at GWU during a speech of then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Since arrest, the PCJF has uncovered that the Department of State issued a Be On The Lookout Alert ('BOLO Alert') for Mr. McGovern which described his 'considerable amount of political activism, primarily anti-war,' displayed his picture and directed law enforcement that if the then-71-year-old Mr. McGovern was encountered, to "USE CAUTION, stop" and question him and contact the Department of State Diplomatic Security Command Center."
The State Department, in addition to issuing the BOLO, immediately opened an investigation into Ray, including, specifically, his lawful, protected, political beliefs, activities, statements and associations which it kept open for nearly seven months; despite all charges having been dropped against Mr. McGovern, and despite having determined that Mr. McGovern was engaged in no criminal activity. My conclusion is, if they can do this to Ray and get away with it, what chance does a regular guy or gal have against our, repeat, OUR, own government? I'd say little to none!

Of course, those government pinheads knew all about Ray and all his years working for America. They knew he was an army officer who also served as an analyst with the Central Intelligence Agency for 27 years and wrote the President's daily CIA brief for both Nixon and Ford. When he retired in 1990, Papa Smirk awarded Ray the Intelligence Commendation Award for his particularly commendable service; and he received a laudatory farewell letter, as well. Ergo, he wasn't an unknown factor.

A man who knew all the rules and abided by them, and, at 71 years old, was hardly a threat to national security; but that is exactly how he was treated for being anti-war. Can you imagine the BOLOs written on your wicked old Uncle? I've been on the list since my SDS's daze under Johnson/Nixon. Do you wonder if they have a BOLO on you, America? If you don't, maybe you should!

And Finally

Don't get me wrong. Everyone that I've ever met from Texas and from Canada were my kind of folks: kind, considerate people who live and let live -- good, honest people. However, that doesn't stop some parts of Texas and Canada from containing an overabundance of assholes. Washington DC has nothing on Montreal or Austin. One of those uber-assholes who bridges the gap between Canada and Texas is Ted Cruz. Ted is a bigot and a moron of the first rank; and rank he is!

Ted hates immigrants, which is strange, because he is one. Ted also hates gay folks; and, since he's a Rethuglican, he's probably still in the closet, you know, a self hater. Fortunately, for the rest of us, Ted has already outed his vast moron capabilities for all the world to see; and, hence, he is well known for the fool that he is, except, of course, to his fellow brain-deads -- which could result in mayhem and murder from the simian collective.

Ted thinks not everyone should have rights -- those rights are only for him and his fellow travelers; this week Ted was crying real crocodile tears -- what with all those gay men and women having the same rights to marry as everybody else does. While, as a four-time loser, I might caution my gay and lesbian friends to be careful what they wish for; ask Ellen how that worked out for her; still, everyone one should have the same rights, regardless. No matter what your mama told you, or what your personal mythology says, one set of laws for everybody. Ted says gay rights advocates hope to "subvert our democratic system, since they can't win an argument with the American people."

Sorry Ted, but a majority of Americans are behind equal rights in marriage.

Ted continues with his social science theories:
"They just want to use brute power to force the states to take down marriage laws that have been in place for centuries and that's inconsistent with the Constitution; it's not right and it's heartbreaking. There is an awakening among Americans in opposition to marriage equality, despite polls showing that a majority of Americans favor of legal recognition of same-sex marriage."
And who is behind it all, according to Ted... ...wait for it... are you ready?
"The courts and the Obama administration are both pressing this assault and they have had real success undermining marriage. We are seeing millions of Americans who are recognizing that our constitutional liberties are being eroded."
No doubt like those Constitutional liberty's of owning slaves, of poll taxes and such. Ergo, Ted wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award! I bet his papa is pleased with the little moronic, bigot that he raised!

Keepin' On

We'd like to thank "Usual Suspects" member Richard from New Hyde Park for putting us on the path to success for 2014 with a nice check! Thank you, Richard! Without the "Usual Suspects," we'd have gone under years ago -- like so many Internet liberal e-zines have over the years! The Usual Suspects is our core group who are fighting with us to restore the old Republic, i.e., the Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Did I mention, membership is open to all! You automatically become a member on your third donation.

After I decided to put my life on hold on December 12, 2000 after the Bush/Extreme Court coup d'etat ruling on that day, which you'll remember gave the presidency to the loser of the 2000 election, it's been pretty much 24/7 365 ever since. It's down to the point of there is no longer a bank account to fall back on, and the money I'm receiving from my retirement check isn't enough to live on to begin with; ergo, if the readership doesn't support us, we go bye-bye as the folks we owe the bills to have no sense of humor, no matter the cause, and will drop us like a hot potato if we don't pay those bills by the due date.

Hence, we need you to please send us, whatever you can, as often as you can, to keep us fighting the good fight for you and yours. We think what we do here is worth your support; but the question is, is it worth it to you? If you agree that it is, then a little help, Ya'll!


06-22-1928 ~ 02-13-2014
Thanks for the film!

04-25-1965 ~ 02-14-2014
Thanks for the laughs!

11-17-1971 ~ 02-15-2014
Thanks for the laughs!

09-03-1924 ~ 02-15-2014
Thanks for the laughs!

07-14-1952 ~ 02-17-2014
Thanks for the music!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2014 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 13 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Visit the Magazine's page on Facebook and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance and Pressure Tactics
Aimed at WikiLeaks and Its Supporters WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.

Snowden Documents Reveal Covert Surveillance And Pressure Tactics Aimed At WikiLeaks And Its Supporters
By Glenn Greenwald and Ryan Gallagher

Top-secret documents from the National Security Agency and its British counterpart reveal for the first time how the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom targeted WikiLeaks and other activist groups with tactics ranging from covert surveillance to prosecution.

The efforts - detailed in documents provided previously by NSA whistleblower Edward Snowden - included a broad campaign of international pressure aimed not only at WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, but at what the U.S. government calls "the human network that supports WikiLeaks." The documents also contain internal discussions about targeting the file-sharing site Pirate Bay and hacktivist collectives such as Anonymous.

One classified document from Government Communications Headquarters, Britain's top spy agency, shows that GCHQ used its surveillance system to secretly monitor visitors to a WikiLeaks site. By exploiting its ability to tap into the fiber-optic cables that make up the backbone of the Internet, the agency confided to allies in 2012, it was able to collect the IP addresses of visitors in real time, as well as the search terms that visitors used to reach the site from search engines like Google.

Another classified document from the U.S. intelligence community, dated August 2010, recounts how the Obama administration urged foreign allies to file criminal charges against Assange over the group's publication of the Afghanistan war logs.

A third document, from July 2011, contains a summary of an internal discussion in which officials from two NSA offices - including the agency's general counsel and an arm of its Threat Operations Center - considered designating WikiLeaks as "a 'malicious foreign actor' for the purpose of targeting." Such a designation would have allowed the group to be targeted with extensive electronic surveillance - without the need to exclude U.S. persons from the surveillance searches.

In 2008, not long after WikiLeaks was formed, the U.S. Army prepared a report that identified the organization as an enemy, and plotted how it could be destroyed. The new documents provide a window into how the U.S. and British governments appear to have shared the view that WikiLeaks represented a serious threat, and reveal the controversial measures they were willing to take to combat it.

In a statement to The Intercept, Assange condemned what he called "the reckless and unlawful behavior of the National Security Agency" and GCHQ's "extensive hostile monitoring of a popular publisher's website and its readers."

"News that the NSA planned these operations at the level of its Office of the General Counsel is especially troubling," Assange said. "Today, we call on the White House to appoint a special prosecutor to investigate the extent of the NSA's criminal activity against the media, including WikiLeaks, its staff, its associates and its supporters."

Illustrating how far afield the NSA deviates from its self-proclaimed focus on terrorism and national security, the documents reveal that the agency considered using its sweeping surveillance system against Pirate Bay, which has been accused of facilitating copyright violations. The agency also approved surveillance of the foreign "branches" of hacktivist groups, mentioning Anonymous by name.

The documents call into question the Obama administration's repeated insistence that U.S. citizens are not being caught up in the sweeping surveillance dragnet being cast by the NSA. Under the broad rationale considered by the agency, for example, any communication with a group designated as a "malicious foreign actor," such as WikiLeaks and Anonymous, would be considered fair game for surveillance.

Julian Sanchez, a research fellow at the Cato Institute who specializes in surveillance issues, says the revelations shed a disturbing light on the NSA's willingness to sweep up American citizens in its surveillance net.

"All the reassurances Americans heard that the broad authorities of the FISA Amendments Act could only be used to 'target' foreigners seem a bit more hollow," Sanchez says, "when you realize that the 'foreign target' can be an entire Web site or online forum used by thousands if not millions of Americans."

GCHQ Spies on WikiLeaks Visitors

The system used by GCHQ to monitor the WikiLeaks website - codenamed ANTICRISIS GIRL - is described in a classified PowerPoint presentation prepared by the British agency and distributed at the 2012 "SIGDEV Conference." At the annual gathering, each member of the "Five Eyes" alliance - the United States, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and New Zealand - describes the prior year's surveillance successes and challenges.

In a top-secret presentation at the conference, two GCHQ spies outlined how ANTICRISIS GIRL was used to enable "targeted website monitoring" of WikiLeaks (See slides 33 and 34). The agency logged data showing hundreds of users from around the world, including the United States, as they were visiting a WikiLeaks site -contradicting claims by American officials that a deal between the U.K. and the U.S. prevents each country from spying on the other's citizens.

The IP addresses collected by GCHQ are used to identify individual computers that connect to the Internet, and can be traced back to specific people if the IP address has not been masked using an anonymity service. If WikiLeaks or other news organizations were receiving submissions from sources through a public dropbox on their website, a system like ANTICRISIS GIRL could potentially be used to help track them down. (WikiLeaks has not operated a public dropbox since 2010, when it shut down its system in part due to security concerns over surveillance.)

In its PowerPoint presentation, GCHQ identifies its target only as "wikileaks." One slide, displaying analytics derived from the surveillance, suggests that the site monitored was the official domain. It shows that users reached the targeted site by searching for "" and for "maysan uxo," a term associated with a series of leaked Iraq war logs that are hosted on

The ANTICRISIS GIRL initiative was operated by a GCHQ unit called Global Telecoms Exploitation (GTE), which was previously reported by The Guardian to be linked to the large-scale, clandestine Internet surveillance operation run by GCHQ, codenamed TEMPORA.

Operating in the United Kingdom and from secret British eavesdropping bases in Cyprus and other countries, GCHQ conducts what it refers to as "passive" surveillance - indiscriminately intercepting massive amounts of data from Internet cables, phone networks and satellites. The GTE unit focuses on developing "pioneering collection capabilities" to exploit the stream of data gathered from the Internet.

As part of the ANTICRISIS GIRL system, the documents show, GCHQ used publicly available analytics software called Piwik to extract information from its surveillance stream, not only monitoring visits to targeted websites like WikiLeaks, but tracking the country of origin of each visitor.

It is unclear from the PowerPoint presentation whether GCHQ monitored the WikiLeaks site as part of a pilot program designed to demonstrate its capability, using only a small set of covertly collected data, or whether the agency continues to actively deploy its surveillance system to monitor visitors to WikiLeaks. It was previously reported in The Guardian that X-KEYSCORE, a comprehensive surveillance weapon used by both NSA and GCHQ, allows "an analyst to learn the IP addresses of every person who visits any website the analyst specifies."

GCHQ refused to comment on whether ANTICRISIS GIRL is still operational. In an email citing the agency's boilerplate response to inquiries, a spokeswoman insisted that "all of GCHQ's work is carried out in accordance with a strict legal and policy framework which ensures that our activities are authorized, necessary and proportionate, and that there is rigorous oversight."

But privacy advocates question such assurances. "How could targeting an entire website's user base be necessary or proportionate?" says Gus Hosein, executive director of the London-based human rights group Privacy International. "These are innocent people who are turned into suspects based on their reading habits. Surely becoming a target of a state's intelligence and security apparatus should require more than a mere click on a link."

The agency's covert targeting of WikiLeaks, Hosein adds, call into question the entire legal rationale underpinning the state's system of surveillance. "We may be tempted to see GCHQ as a rogue agency, ungoverned in its use of unprecedented powers generated by new technologies," he says. "But GCHQ's actions are authorized by [government] ministers. The fact that ministers are ordering the monitoring of political interests of Internet users shows a systemic failure in the rule of law."

Going After Assange and His Supporters

The U.S. attempt to pressure other nations to prosecute Assange is recounted in a file that the intelligence community calls its "Manhunting Timeline." The document details, on a country-by-country basis, efforts by the U.S. government and its allies to locate, prosecute, capture or kill alleged terrorists, drug traffickers, Palestinian leaders and others. There is a timeline for each year from 2008 to 2012.

An entry from August 2010 - headlined "United States, Australia, Great Britain, Germany, Iceland" - states: "The United States on August 10 urged other nations with forces in Afghanistan, including Australia, United Kingdom, and Germany, to consider filing criminal charges against Julian Assange." It describes Assange as the "founder of the rogue Wikileaks Internet website and responsible for the unauthorized publication of over 70,000 classified documents covering the war in Afghanistan."

In response to questions from The Intercept, the NSA suggested that the entry is "a summary derived from a 2010 article" in the Daily Beast. That article, which cited an anonymous U.S. official, reported that "the Obama administration is pressing Britain, Germany, Australia, and other allied Western governments to consider opening criminal investigations of WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange and to severely limit his nomadic travels across international borders."

The government entry in the "Manhunting Timeline" adds Iceland to the list of Western nations that were pressured, and suggests that the push to prosecute Assange is part of a broader campaign. The effort, it explains, "exemplifies the start of an international effort to focus the legal element of national power upon non-state actor Assange, and the human network that supports WikiLeaks." The entry does not specify how broadly the government defines that "human network," which could potentially include thousands of volunteers, donors and journalists, as well as people who simply spoke out in defense of WikiLeaks.

In a statement, the NSA declined to comment on the documents or its targeting of activist groups, noting only that the agency "provides numerous opportunities and forums for their analysts to explore hypothetical or actual circumstances to gain appropriate advice on the exercise of their authorities within the Constitution and the law, and to share that advice appropriately."

But the entry aimed at WikiLeaks comes from credentialed officials within the intelligence community. In an interview in Hong Kong last June, Edward Snowden made clear that the only NSA officials empowered to write such entries are those "with top-secret clearance and public key infrastructure certificates" - a kind of digital ID card enabling unique access to certain parts of the agency's system. What's more, Snowden added, the entries are "peer reviewed" - and every edit made is recorded by the system.

The U.S. launched its pressure campaign against WikiLeaks less than a week after the group began publishing the Afghanistan war logs on July 25, 2010. At the time, top U.S. national security officials accused WikiLeaks of having "blood" on its hands. But several months later, McClatchy reported that "U.S. officials concede that they have no evidence to date that the documents led to anyone's death."

The government targeting of WikiLeaks nonetheless continued. In April 2011, Salon reported that a grand jury in Virginia was actively investigating both the group and Assange on possible criminal charges under espionage statutes relating to the publication of classified documents. And in August of 2012, the Sydney Morning Herald, citing secret Australian diplomatic cables, reported that "Australian diplomats have no doubt the United States is still gunning for Julian Assange" and that "Australia's diplomatic service takes seriously the likelihood that Assange will eventually be extradited to the US on charges arising from WikiLeaks obtaining leaked US military and diplomatic documents."

Bringing criminal charges against WikiLeaks or Assange for publishing classified documents would be highly controversial - especially since the group partnered with newspapers like The Guardian and The New York Times to make the war logs public. "The biggest challenge to the press today is the threatened prosecution of WikiLeaks, and it's absolutely frightening," James Goodale, who served as chief counsel of the Times during its battle to publish The Pentagon Papers, told the Columbia Journalism Review last March. "If you go after the WikiLeaks criminally, you go after the Times. That's the criminalization of the whole process."

In November 2013, The Washington Post, citing anonymous officials, reported that the Justice Department strongly considered prosecuting Assange, but concluded it "could not do so without also prosecuting U.S. news organizations and journalists" who had partnered with WikiLeaks to publish the documents. According to the Post, officials "realized that they have what they described as a 'New York Times problem'" - namely, that any theory used to bring charges against Assange would also result in criminal liability for the Times, The Guardian, and other papers which also published secret documents provided to WikiLeaks.

NSA proposals to target WikiLeaks

As the new NSA documents make clear, however, the U.S. government did more than attempt to engineer the prosecution of Assange. NSA analysts also considered designating WikiLeaks as a "malicious foreign actor" for surveillance purposes - a move that would have significantly expanded the agency's ability to subject the group's officials and supporters to extensive surveillance.

Such a designation would allow WikiLeaks to be targeted with surveillance without the use of "defeats" - an agency term for technical mechanisms to shield the communications of U.S. persons from getting caught in the dragnet.

That top-secret document - which summarizes a discussion between the NSA's Office of the General Counsel and the Oversight and Compliance Office of the agency's Threat Operations Center - spells out a rationale for including American citizens in the surveillance:

"If the foreign IP is consistently associated with malicious cyber activity against the U.S., so, tied to a foreign individual or organization known to direct malicious activity our way, then there is no need to defeat any to, from, or about U.S. Persons. This is based on the description that one end of the communication would always be this suspect foreign IP, and so therefore any U.S. Person communicant would be incidental to the foreign intelligence task."
In short, labeling WikiLeaks a "malicious foreign target" would mean that anyone communicating with the organization for any reason - including American citizens - could have their communications subjected to government surveillance.

When NSA officials are asked in the document if WikiLeaks or Pirate Bay could be designated as "malicious foreign actors," the reply is inconclusive: "Let us get back to you." There is no indication of whether either group was ever designated or targeted in such a way.

The NSA's lawyers did, however, give the green light to subject other activists to heightened surveillance. Asked if it would be permissible to "target the foreign actors of a loosely coupled group of hackers ... such as with Anonymous," the response is unequivocal: "As long as they are foreign individuals outside of the US and do not hold dual citizenship ... then you are okay."

NSA Lawyers: "It's Nothing to Worry About"

Sanchez, the surveillance expert with the Cato Institute, says the document serves as "a reminder that NSA essentially has carte blanche to spy on non-Americans. In public statements, intelligence officials always talk about spying on 'terrorists,' as if those are the only targets - but Section 702 [of the 2008 FISA Amendments Act] doesn't say anything about 'terrorists.' They can authorize collection on any 'persons reasonably believed to be [located] outside the United States,' with 'persons' including pretty much any kind of group not 'substantially' composed of Americans."

Sanchez notes that while it makes sense to subject some full-scale cyber-attacks to government surveillance, "it would make no sense to lump together foreign cyberattackers with sites voluntarily visited by enormous numbers of Americans, like Pirate Bay or WikiLeaks." Indeed, one entry in the NSA document expressly authorizes the targeting of a "malicious" foreign server - offering Pirate Bay as a specific example -"even if there is a possibility that U.S. persons could be using it as well." NSA officials agree that there is no need to exclude Americans from the surveillance, suggesting only that the agency's spies "try to minimize" how many U.S. citizens are caught in the dragnet.

Another entry even raises the possibility of using X-KEYSCORE, one of the agency's most comprehensive surveillance programs, to target communications between two U.S.-based Internet addresses if they are operating through a "proxy" being used for "malicious foreign activity." In response, the NSA's Threat Operations Center approves the targeting, but the agency's general counsel requests "further clarification before signing off."

If WikiLeaks were improperly targeted, or if a U.S. citizen were swept up in the NSA's surveillance net without authorization, the agency's attitude seems to be one of indifference. According to the document - which quotes a response by the NSA's Office of General Counsel and the oversight and compliance office of its Threat Operations Center - discovering that an American has been selected for surveillance must be mentioned in a quarterly report, "but it's nothing to worry about."

The attempt to target WikiLeaks and its broad network of supporters drew sharp criticism from the group and its allies. "These documents demonstrate that the political persecution of WikiLeaks is very much alive," says Baltasar Garzon, the Spanish former judge who now represents the group. "The paradox is that Julian Assange and the WikiLeaks organization are being treated as a threat instead of what they are: a journalist and a media organization that are exercising their fundamental right to receive and impart information in its original form, free from omission and censorship, free from partisan interests, free from economic or political pressure."

For his part, Assange remains defiant. "The NSA and its U.K. accomplices show no respect for the rule of law," he told The Intercept. "But there is a cost to conducting illicit actions against a media organization." Referring to a criminal complaint that the group filed last year against "interference with our journalistic work in Europe," Assange warned that "no entity, including the NSA, should be permitted to act against a journalist with impunity."

Assange indicated that in light of the new documents, the group may take further legal action.

"We have instructed our general counsel, Judge Baltasar Garzon, to prepare the appropriate response," he said. "The investigations into attempts to interfere with WikiLeaks' work will go wherever they need to go. Make no mistake: those responsible will be held to account and brought to justice."
(c) 2014 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book"How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Three Women
By Uri Avnery

THIS IS a declaration of love. Three loves, actually.

I love Achinoam Nini. I love her from afar. I have never met her.

I love her for what she did a few weeks ago.

The Israeli organization of composers and writers had awarded her a prize for Life Achievement. Though only 44 years old, she certainly deserved it. She is a wonderful singer.

Noa (as she is called abroad) did something very unusual: she refused the prize.

Her reason: another singer, Ariel Zilber, was to receive the same distinction with her.

Noa is an outspoken leftist. Zilber is an outspoken rightist. Is that a reason to refuse a prize?

Throughout the country there was an outcry. How dare she? What about freedom of expression? What about artistic liberty?

Rightists denounced her vociferously. They were joined by many righteous leftists. True, they say, Zilber is a rightist, but democracy demands that freedom of expression be safeguarded for all, even - and especially - for those who express objectionable views.

Even old Voltaire was brought into the fray. "I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it."

SO WHAT has Zilber said that moved Noa to refuse to stand with him on the same platform?

For one thing, he has expressed his abysmal hatred for homosexuals. "To be a homo is a perversion," he declared, and demanded that they be banned from society.

Not only they. All secular people. "The seculars have nothing to offer, only to get sick with AIDS and look at naked women. Phooey!"

Gays and seculars are not the only damned people. Leftists may be even worse. "All leftists should be expelled and sent to the devil. They are Amalek!" As every Jew knows, God commanded the Children of Israel to kill all Amalekites so that their very name be eradicated forever. King Saul, a national hero, was dethroned by the prophet Samuel because he did not kill all his Amalekite prisoners, men, women and children.

But this is only part of Zilber's public persona. He also believes that Yigal Amir, the assassin of Yitzhak Rabin, should be immediately released. He praised Baruch Goldstein, the settler who murdered 29 Muslims at prayer in the Hebron Ibrahimia mosque (called by Jews the "Cave of Machpela."

He also sympathizes with the "Price Tag" thugs, the Ku Klux Klan settlers who go out at night to terrorize defenseless Arab villagers. They do the right thing, because "the Arabs are not worth anything. They don't know how to do anything but kill!"

To cap it all, Zilber proclaimed: "Kahane was right!" Rabbi Meir Kahane was condemned by the Supreme Court of Israel as a fascist, and his "Kach" movement was outlawed - an almost unique judgment where Jews are concerned. To round things off, Zilber also wrote and composed a song on this theme.

Does this person deserve the protection of Freedom of Speech? Jews all over the world condemn the French government for tolerating the detestable anti-Semite Dieudonne M'bala M'bala, the inventor of the neo-Nazi "quenelle" salute. But this demagogue is a moderate compared to Zilber.

Should Noa appear on the same stage with this "Gift of God"? Or, if she had been living in the German Weimar republic three generations ago, with a clownish demagogue called Adolf Hitler? And would our bleeding-heart democrats have denounced her for refusing?

WELL, I for one admire her. Hers was an act of selflessness. In doing what she did, she was making a huge sacrifice. She will be boycotted by all right-wing audiences. She will not be invited to festivals by organizers who shake in their boots when thinking about the loss of government subsidies.

I remember that 45 years ago, after the outbreak of the first intifada, there was a large demonstration for peace in what later became Rabin Square in Tel Aviv. Practically all artistic celebrities of the day were there. Artists fought amongs each other for the right to appear.

These days are long past. Even well-known leftist artists are now afraid to express an opinion. God forbid. It could mean financial ruin.

So where did Noa find the courage to stand up and refuse? Both her parents are Yemenites - as was, curiously enough, Silver's mother, a famous singer in my youth. As a rule, Yemenites - like other Oriental Jews - tend to be rightists.

The solution to the riddle may be that she grew up in the US, where her father was working. Being educated there in Jewish schools in the 70s and 80s may have implanted certain values.

I love her.

I LOVE Anat Kam.

Anat was a soldier. Her military duties gave her access to secret documents. She copied 2000 documents of them, which contained evidence of war crimes committed by Israeli soldiers, and gave them to a reporter from Haaretz. The paper published the secret report on one such incident. The army investigators discovered the source.

After almost two years of house arrest, Anat was condemned to a long prison term. On appeal, it was reduced to four years. Last week, after two years and two months in prison, she was freed on parole. A few days later, she revealed her present state of mind in a newspaper interview.

It is a good read. Anat is very intelligent and observant. Her description of her prison experience is vivid and fascinating. It appears that the prison authorities treated her comparatively well. Before entering prison she was very afraid of being beaten up or raped. However, the inmates of the women's prison, though mostly primitive patriots, did not hold her traitorous past against her and with few exceptions befriended her. Women who had murdered their children or lovers asked for her assistance in writing petitions. Anat seems to be a person with a lot of empathy.

She is bitter about Haaretz and the reporter, who, she believes, betrayed her trust out of fear. One can also be bitter about the peace camp in general, which was so afraid that almost nobody raised his/her voice in defense of her courageous act.

What made me sad was her contrition. She declares in the interview that she is sorry for what she did.

I believe that she isn't sorry because of the heavy price she paid. At the age of 28, she has to begin her life anew, branded as a traitor to her people. Four precious years have been stolen from her. She refuses to emigrate. "Why should I? This is my home!" she declares.

What makes her regret her action is the belief that it was all for nothing. She thinks that unlike the revelations of her American comrades in/without arms, Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning, who changed the world, her own deed has borne no fruit. It has changed nothing.

I want to take issue with that belief. It is not true. Courageous actions like these, committed by dedicated individuals, are never useless. They stand as an example. They encourage others. They testify for the human conscience. They plant a seed. Just as the sea consists of many drops, historic changes are built up from many, many individual acts like this.

I LOVE Daphni Leef.

She is the young woman - like Anat, she is 28 years old - who, furious at the rent demanded from her, put up a tent in a boulevard in central Tel Aviv to live in. The protest grew spontaneously and climaxed in an unprecedented mass demonstration of 400 thousand people.

The movement had an impact on last year's elections. Yair Lapid, a TV personality who had done nothing to help the demonstrators, adopted their slogans and won a huge vote in the election. Two of Daphni's collaborators were elected to the Knesset. But Daphni herself dropped out of public view.

I never spoke with her except for a few words at one of the demonstrations. I criticized her for ignoring the big national problems, like the occupation, and concentrating on the price of apartments and cheese.

This week she reappeared - on the prisoners' bench in court. Though all her demonstrations had been strictly non-violent, in one of them some pushing took place. The police mishandled Daphni, her arm was injured. But, as usual, the police blamed Daphni for attacking the policemen and disturbing public order.

The Judge threw the case out.

I LOVE these three women, because they show us that in Israel there are young people who obey their conscience.

They make us proud to be Israeli.

As long as we have youngsters like these, ready to stand up for democracy, peace and justice, take risks and make personal sacrifices, Israel has a future.

For me, they are the real Israel.
(c) 2014 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Detroit's Agony Shows Why Black America Needs A People's Plan For The Cities
By Glen Ford

Hundreds of low-wage surveyors scour the depopulated streets of Detroit, mapping the extent of "blight" that has consumed the city. The three-person teams of the Blight Removal Task Force are financed by private corporations and foundations whose mission is the "orderly" destruction of the nation's largest Black metropolis, to clear the way for a "new" city - one in which marginalized people like the surveyors themselves will be relegated to the shadows. The resulting data-base will allow real estate moguls like Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, the task force sugar daddy, to create an urban grid that maximizes land values and forms the basis of future city planning. The corporate schemes that flow from the survey, beginning with recommendations to be released in late March, will dictate the types of people that the city will accommodate, and their "place" - if any - in the new urban configuration. Other corporate-financed demolition planners, under the so-called Detroit Blight Authority, have already begun clearing land for private exploitation.

There is no question that Detroit's state-imposed bankruptcy has dramatically quickened the pace of the land rush. However, private capital has always positioned itself on the ground floor of urban planning in the United States, where cities are first configured by profiteers and then occupied by those populations that can manage to fit themselves into the capitalist-contoured framework. The phenomenal, stunning - and wholly unplanned - explosion of Black urban pluralities and majorities in the Sixties and Seventies occurred when capital followed white populations in flight from the cities. Capital later reasserted itself, paving the way for gentrification with its "renaissance" projects in cities across the nation, thoroughly suborning the newly established Black political (misleadership) class to the task of African American removal.

This mostly incremental process, streamlined through the normal intrigues of capitalist corruption of the public sphere, is always preceded by investments in corporate urban planning. Usually, such planning is carried out in secret, as a matter of course, with selected political "insiders" allowed a peek and a small slice as payment for facilitating the grand schemes. It is the methodical return of corporate capital that has capped and rolled back the growth of "Chocolate Cities" in the U.S.

However, some cities were too darkly chocolate for incremental transformation. Nature provided a miraculous opportunity for capital to put its plans on steroids in New Orleans, in 2005. As I wrote in the May 5, 2007 issue of Black Agenda Report, in response to Rev. Jesse Jackson's contention that "Katrina is a metaphor for abandoned urban America":

"The problem is not the lack of an urban policy, but the failure to formulate progressive Black urban policies and plans. Corporate America and finance capital have both general and detailed visions of what the cities should look like and which populations and enterprises will be nurtured and served by these new and improved municipalities - 'renaissance' cities of the (near and, in some places, very near) future.

"Corporate planners and developers believed they had been blessed by nature when Katrina drowned New Orleans, washing away in days the problem-people and neighborhoods that would ordinarily require years to remove in order to clear the way for 'renaissance.' "Greed led to unseemly speed, revealing in a flash the outlines of the urban vision that would be imposed on the wreckage of New Orleans. As in a film on fast-forward, the 'plot' (in both meanings of the word) unfolded in a rush before our eyes: Once the Black and poor were removed, an urban environment would be created implacably hostile to their return. The public sector - except that which serves business, directly or indirectly - would under no circumstances be resurrected, so as to leave little 'space' for the re-implantation of unwanted populations (schools, utility infrastructure, public and affordable private housing, public safety, health care)."

"Disaster Capitalism" does not require a natural calamity; it is fully capable of accomplishing the desired results by man-made means. Detroit, a city so deeply chocolate that a simple downtown renaissance strategy could not be sufficiently racially transformative in the near-term, needed to be crushed by the heavy hand of the state, through direct dictatorship and bankruptcy.

That having been accomplished, the corporate planners are tripping over themselves in haste to create the new urban grid. Since the dismantling of Detroit is a very public affair, the corporate planning process will also be more transparent than usual. The accelerated schedule of political atrocities surrounding the unprecedented dissolution of a major American city - and the breakneck speed with which the Wall Street juggernaut now moves in pursuit of its unfolding neoliberal agenda - will make the agony of Detroit a spectacularly ugly affair.

Lessons that should have been learned from Katrina will present themselves, again, with twists even more applicable to the rest of besieged urban America. With low-wage surveyors plodding Detroit's streets, providing data for corporations to create the new grid that will abolish their own neighborhoods, our 2007 analysis remains relevant:

"Had the post-1970 crop of urban Black leadership used the intervening decades to formulate urban plans and policies that transformed the cities in ways that served the needs of the new Black majorities and pluralities, they would now be capable of bargaining with onrushing capital - and would have had something to offer to the corporations presented plans for the coup de grace on the Black majority. But the misleadership class spent their terms in office wasting the historical opportunity, and the window is rapidly closing."
We cannot accept that it is too late for Black Detroit, because if that is true, then it is also probably too late for the other heavily Black cities of the nation. All of them face the same enemy: concentrated capital, which abhors concentrated Black people.

Chocolate Cities Must Save Themselves

Back in 2003, at the urging of Bill Lucy, then head of the Coalition of Black Trade Unionists, I wrote a series of articles for titled, "A Plan for the Cities to Save Themselves." The five-part project stretched over nearly a year, from August 2003 to July 2004. The central conclusion was that urban political activists must also be urban planners who are as knowledgeable about the cities in which they organize, as are their corporate enemies. Serious urban organizers/planners need to do thorough audits of the assets of their cities, just as the corporations do. As we wrote in Part Five:

"We must present the fullest picture of the city's demographic, physical, and economic layout and activity: where different populations live; how dollars move; where people work, and what types of work they do; where they shop; how they move around the city; what public or private institutions anchor which neighborhoods, and what activity do they create; what is the state of the housing stock, and where; how many businesses exist; who owns them, and who do they employ, and where do the employees live; what is the state of infrastructure (streets, water, sewage, phone and cable telecommunications, mass transit lines, etc.), and who does the infrastructure serve; what are the physically attractive (and, therefore, valuable) sites and vistas, and who owns/controls them; how are police deployed; where are the schools; what is the general pattern and history of growth and decline, and why?" The audit is a necessity for the creation of a movement for democratic development, in which the people have the information they need to plan their own cities. Otherwise, the corporations call the shots:
"Corporations routinely demand much of this type of data from local governments before investing in a city, and augment the public record with their own research. They gather information useful to their profit-making mission, to further their enterprise and protect their investment. (They then proceed to distort the data, to create the impression that the corporate project is not only the best course for the city to follow, but the only reasonable option available.) We must assemble an even wider range of data, because our mission is larger: to empower the population to recognize, seize control of, and deploy their collective municipal assets to enhance their own lives. We must give them the data and tools to both protect them from corporate power and allow them to engage in fair and productive negotiations with investors of good will.

"We must make it possible for the people to see the city as it actually exists, so that they can rationally dream, plan and build the city as it should be. According to their Plan... What we will create at the end of this stage of the process, is a cadre of city planner-activists: local leaders with a clear vision of their surroundings, and a burning desire to put the people's dreams to work, by every means possible."

Black progressives and their allies possess all the skills needed to undertake such audits of their cities, at affordable cost, as part of the political organizing process. But, there is a lack of will and vision. Instead, our worst enemies now pay destitute Detroiters $10 an hour to gather the data for a corporate audit that will be used to expel many of them from their communities.

Most fundamentally, we must purge our vocabularies of corporate speech, which allows Capital to win every argument before the struggle is even begun. What the moneyed classes are up to in Detroit and everywhere else in Black America has nothing to do with "development." As we wrote in Part One of the series, on August 14, 2003:

"The rules of the game must be changed if the words 'democracy' and 'development' are to have any meaning to city dwellers:

"1 - No project can be viewed as 'development' that does not on balance benefit the people who already live in the city. Cities are comprised of people. It is a contradiction in terms to pretend that cities are 'improved' by projects that lure and serve future populations, to the general detriment of existing residents. This principle has particular relevance to gentrification, but also to the full range of commercial and industrial projects to be considered.

"2 - City government must act as an engine for economic and social uplift, and an arbiter of who is, and who is not, a good corporate citizen of the city. These are the general aims of the Living Wage Movement: to 'raise the floor' for all workers by barring from city contracts, subsidies and other favors those companies that fail to provide minimum terms of employment. Companies that benefit from the people's poverty must be locked out of the public treasury. [We will now add, that such companies should be locked out of the jurisdiction, period.]

"3 - The totality of a city's resources, public and private - every thoroughfare, building, cable connection, vacant lot, vista, riverbank, swamp and repository of human skills - must be viewed as a public asset, the people's bargaining chips and a moral trust."

It is now Wall Street that claims Detroit's assets as reward for having successfully suborned and corrupted the Black Misleadership Class for all these decades.

It's never too late to say: Never Again.
(c) 2014 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Humanity Is At The Crossroads Of the Most Serious Economic And Social Crisis In Modern History
By Frank Scott

Which is why what remains of a privileged population in the USA is being mobilized to support regime change in Syria, Thailand, Venezuela and the Ukraine, a health care marketplace in the USA, a zealous drive to destroy Iran and an equally fanatic attempt at declaring Russia a worse menace now than at the time of brain dead american anti-communism. Orwell might suffer a stroke and complete paralysis if he were alive to see what deranged lunacy now passes for news reporting. And he might stop breathing completely at the form taken by some allegedly progressive social activism.

As the crisis builds many well meaning people are led to make it worse by swallowing a forced diet of propaganda and not only accepting that as a healthy meal but having it fuel idiotic pursuit of what they are told would be a better world if only elected foreign governments would collapse and their people become more devout worshipers at the church of the market. Where to begin?

The Olympics have long been nothing more than a massive global advertising campaign to occupy minds with products and orgies of jingoism, but when in a state on the west's hit list we get far more than the average criticism of this international marketing flesh pot. Attacks on Putin's Russia and the Ukraine leadership are related and both display hopeless ignorance on the part of American public opinion, which is exactly as American public opinion shapers would have it.

Suddenly, Americans who might pass out or be horrified at being forced to listen to what is called "punk rock" are moved to ecstatic fan worship by stories of pussy power Russian women who hate Putin and represent as much public opinion in their country as cricket fans do in the USA. And a nation with an economic crisis gripping millions, suffering an open season on shooting civilians and an ecological problem with fossil fuel use growing worse each day is supposed to be outraged because stray dogs in Sochi are mistreated and gays in Russia are not as free as homeless people are here. Hello?

An elected leader in the Ukraine, whatever his faults, is under attack by forces that might want the nation split in two, and that may yet result from the present assault. An attempt to incorporate parts of the Ukraine culturally aligned with the west into the NATO military shopping mall, thereby creating a further menace to Russia, is supported by manipulated american public opinion from conservative Fox to moderate PBS and including some Pacifica progressives (?) anxious to look politically correct.

How can it be "democratic" for an elected regime in the Ukraine or Venezuela to be thrown out of office by an uprising of some citizens aided by U.S financing and many other outside forces? And now the spineless president who grovels before the Israeli lobby and remains mute at the savaging of Palestinians is making bold threats that violence in the Ukraine will incur harsh response from Master Race-Chosen People-Exceptional Nation headquarters in the USA.

Reports of mass vomiting from Vultures, Hyenas, Ghouls and others that feed on the dead may not be true but seem to make sense under these circumstances.

If the archconservative right demanded Obama be thrown out for his sins of socialism, Muslimism, alien birth or other fantasies entertained by some of these middle school dropouts, would American liberals and progressives rush to join the Tea Party? Actually, some might benefit from doing so if only to confront up close and personal a criticism of nothing more than personalities, which is common to both sides of the two-wings but really one-party TV show foisted on the nation as "democracy."

But present response to the situation referred to in the opening quote, especially from the dangerously crumbling minority that calls itself "the international community", needs to be a concern not only to the people in Syria, Iran, Venezuela, Thailand and the Ukraine, but even more to the people of the USA who play a major role in this crisis nearing a dangerous point of no return for the real international community.

And we are members of that group, even though our leadership seems to think we preside over the world according to some directive from the market gods of Wall Street, Corporate Capital and Zion. Religious folk who believe in a god of justice and peace need to join with agnostics who at least accept the last two ideals, and work to bring about a solution to the crisis facing all of humanity, before it's too late and a self chosen minority calling itself an elite brings the whole structure down on our heads.
(c) 2014 Frank Scott writes political commentary and satire which appears online at the blog Legalienate.

Pat gives the corpo-rat salute

Sen. Pat Roberts Puts On His Crazy Pants

In the Wizard Of Oz, Dorothy assessed the odd things she was experiencing and said to her little dog, "Toto, I've a feeling we're not in Kansas anymore."

Lately, Sen. Pat Roberts has gained a new understanding of what Dorothy meant. The Kansas Republican has been in the US Senate for 18 years and was in the House for 16 years before that. So he's been away for a long time, and now that he's running for another six year senate term, Roberts has learned that the Kansas he thought he was from - a state of relatively-moderate, Eisenhower-style Republicans - has become the Political Land of Right-Wing Oz.

A rabidly-extremist, Koch-headed, tea party Republicanism has taken hold of the GOP's primary process and blown out the moderates. The upshot for Roberts is that Republican voters are now hard-right, howl-at-the-moon lunatics who demand ideological purity over everything else. Worse for Pat, they've put up one of their own to run against him in the August primary.

But, By Gollies, the senator is fighting back! Unfortunately, not by standing on principle and refusing to be intimidated by crazies. Instead, Roberts has put on his crazy pants, altered his beliefs, and is dancing like a fool with the ideologues. He recently opposed the farm bill he helped write, he joined the certifiably-goofy Ted Cruz of Texas in the silly political stunt that shut down the government of the USA last October, and he even became part of the tinfoil hat club by voting against a United Nations treaty to ban discrimination against people with disabilities.

Come on Pat, you've been in Congress for 34 years, you're 77 years old, and you're getting a gold-plated pension for the rest of your life. Is six more years in the senate really worth selling out people with disabilities - and selling out your own integrity?
(c) 2014 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Do We Care About People If They Live In Bahrain?
By David Swanson

I had a heck of a time making sense of the U.S. Navy's new motto "A Global Force for Good" until I realized that it meant "We are a global force, and wherever we go we're never leaving."

For three years now people in the little island nation of Bahrain have been nonviolently protesting and demanding democratic reforms.

For three years now the king of Bahrain and his royal thugs have been shooting, kidnapping, torturing, imprisoning, and terrorizing nonviolent opponents. An opponent includes anyone speaking up for human rights or even "insulting" the king or his flag, which carries a sentence of 7 years in prison and a hefty fine.

For three years now, Saudi Arabia has been aiding the King of Bahrain in his crackdown on the people of Bahrain. A U.S. police chief named John Timoney, with a reputation for brutality earned in Miami and Philadelphia, was hired to help the Bahraini government intimidate and brutalize its population.

For three years now, the U.S. government has been tolerating the abuses committed by Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, continuing to sell weapons to Bahrain and Saudi Arabia, and continuing to dock the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. In fact, the U.S. military has recently announced big and pricey plans to expand its bases in Bahrain and add more ships.

For three years now, the U.S. government has continued to dump some $150 billion (with a 'B') each year into the U.S. Navy, a large portion of which goes for the maintenance of the Fifth Fleet in Bahrain. Withdrawing and disbanding that fleet would save that gargantuan expense. Retraining and re-employing in peaceful activities all personnel would cost a fraction of $150 billion. Providing aid to nonviolent pro-democracy activists in Bahrain would cost a tiny fraction of a fraction. Establishing a policy in the case of this one country of supporting human rights over brutal dictatorship would be, as they say, priceless. It would create a very useful model for a transformation of U.S. policy in numerous other nations as well.

Accurate and timely information about the horrors underway for the past three years in Bahrain are available online, via Western human rights groups, and via small back-page stories in U.S. newspapers. There's little dispute over the general facts. Yet, there's little outrage. There appears to have been no polling done of the U.S. public on the topic of Bahrain whatsoever, so it's impossible to know what people think. But my impression is that most people have never heard of the place.

The U.S. government is not shouting about the need to bomb Bahrain to protect its people. Senators are not insisting on sanctions, sanctions, and more sanctions. There seems to be no crisis, no need for "intervention," only the need to end an intervention we aren't told about.

Which raises a tough question for people who give a damn. We're able to reject a war on Iran or Syria when the question is raised on our televisions. But we can't seem to stop drone strikes nobody tells us about. How do we create a question nobody is asking, about a topic nobody has heard of, and then answer it humanely and wisely? And how do we overcome the inevitable pretense that the Fifth Fleet serves some useful purpose, and that this purpose justifies a little teargas, a bit of torture, and some murders here and there?

The Fifth Fleet claims to be responsible for these nations: Afghanistan, Bahrain, Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Lebanon, Oman, Pakistan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, United Arab Emirates, Uzbekistan, and Yemen. None of these nations have ships in U.S. waters claiming to be responsible for it. None of these nations' peoples have indicated majority support for having the Fifth Fleet be responsible for them. Afghanistan has suffered under U.S. occupation for over a decade, with chaos and tyranny to follow. Egypt's thugs are rising anew with steady U.S. support, money, and weaponry. Iran has threatened and attacked no other nation for centuries, has never had a nuclear weapons program, spends less than 1% what the U.S. does on its military, and moves away from democracy with every U.S. threat. Why not leave Iran alone? Iraq, Jordan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others of these nations, including Bahrain, suffer under the rule of U.S.-backed governments. One might reasonably add Israel and the lands it occupies to the list, even if the Navy cannot bring itself to mention them. Yemen and Pakistan suffer under the constant buzzing and missile launching of U.S. drones, which are creating far more enemies than they kill. In fact, not a single nation falling under the past 19 years of benevolent "responsibility" of the Fifth Fleet has clearly benefitted in any way.

At a third annual conference recently held in Lebanon, Bahraini activists laid out a plan of action. It includes building international connections with people who care and are willing to help. It includes supporting the International Day to End Impunity on November 23rd. It includes pushing Bahrain to join the ICC, although that may be of little value until the U.S. can be persuaded to do the same and until the United Nations can be democratized. The plan includes calls for an end to weapons sales and the initiation of sanctions against the Bahraini government (not its people).

Those would certainly be good steps. The first question in my mind remains: do the people in the nation that screams most loudly about "freedom" and does the most to support its repression wherever deemed useful, care?
(c) 2014 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

Why Music Has A Profound Effect On Us
By James Donahue

Music plays an important part of our lives. We move our bodies to certain tunes that offer a dance beat. We march to march music. Lullabies help put our children to sleep. Other types of music excite the mind; make us feel glad, or sometimes feel melancholy. It all stirs emotions of some kind.

People often express the way they feel by the songs they sing, or whistle as they work. Country-western performers sing about the girls they love, lost loves or personal troubles. Happy tunes can change our mood and makes us feel glad. Sad songs turn our thoughts to dark memories.

Why does music have such a profound effect on our feelings? Would you believe it is because our bodies are composed of about 70 percent water? And water has been shown to react in unique and distinct ways to the frequencies in different kinds of music.

Dr. Masaru Emoto, Japanese author and researcher, President Emeritus of the International Water For Life Foundation and Doctor of Alternative Medicine at the Open International University for Alternative Medicine in India, is best known for his work on the effects of sound frequencies on frozen droplets of water.

Emoto has shown through his work that sound, emotions and even thoughts, and the source of the water used in the study, can dramatically shape the way water crystallizes.

Emoto has shown, for example, that polluted water can be restored through prayer and positive visualizations directed at it. Polluted water normally produces a distorted crystal pattern if not treated. On the other hand, clear water from a mountain stream produces a geometric and beautifully shaped crystalline design when frozen.

When exposed to beautiful music the frozen water droplets produce a variety of different but lovely shapes. All are beautifully shaped geometric designs. It appears as if the water is a living organism that is reacting and possibly even dancing to the music, the beauty and the atmosphere surrounding it.

The phenomenon has been found to be caused by the unique variations in vibratiions produced by the music. This has developed into the science of modal phenomena, or Cymatics. It has been found that vibrations not only have a special effect on water, but they appear in power, flour and even sand placed on a metal plate.

Thus as sound frequencies move through these special mediums, the vibrations cause the particles of matter to dance or move until they form designs or patterns on the plate.

In the music world, sound is measured by the number of vibrations produced in one second. This is known as hertz, or abbreviated to Hz. While the human ear usually cannot distinguish between sounds produced at 440 Hz and 432 Hz, people who study music say there is a noticeable difference experienced by musicians and music lovers. That simple shift in frequency can turn a harsh musical work into a softer and more pleasant experience.

Writer and director Elina St-Onge noted that music tuned at 432 Hz "is not only more beautiful and harmonious to the ears, but it also induces a more inward experience that is felt inside the body at the spine and heart."

He added that "Audiophiles have also stated that 432 Hz music seems to be non-local and can fill an entire room, whereas 440 hz can be perceived as directional or linear in sound propagation."

St-Onge wrote: "I personally have enjoyed many bands, artists and styles of music even though they were tuning in 440 hz. However by comparing a few songs in both 432 hz and 440 hz, I can feel and hear the difference.

"I wouldn't say that my experience of 440 hz music has turned me into an aggressive person, but I can understand hhow an enntire population being exposed to music that is more mind directed as opposed to heart directed--not to mention all of the materialistic and ego-driven lyrics in most popular music--is a perfect combination to maintain a more discordant frequency and state of consciousness within humanity."

Unfortunately, most of the music produced on recordings worldwide has been tuned to 440 Hz since it was promoted by the International Standards Organization promoted this in 1953. But studies regarding the vibratory nature of the universe suggest that this pitch is disharmonious with the natural resonance of nature. Thus the pitch may be generating negative effects on human behavior and consciousness. Research strongly suggests that if all music were tuned at 432 Hz instead, it could have a general calming effect on a world now in general turmoil. The slightly lower frequency appears to be mathematically consistent with the patterns of the universe.

Could the answer be this simple?
(c) 2014 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

Why We Need A Bank At The Post Office
Senator Elizabeth Warren points out that reviving this old institution would provide basic services to millions of underserved Americans.
By John Nichols

Elizabeth Warren is not running for president. But she is doing what a candidate for president should: focusing attention on smart proposals to address challenges that for too long have been neglected, or actually made worse, by policy-makers.

Case in point: Warren's postal banking proposal. "If the Postal Service offered basic banking services-nothing fancy, just basic bill paying, check cashing and small-dollar loans-then it could provide affordable financial services for underserved families, and, at the same time, shore up its own financial footing," says the senator from Massachusetts.

She's right. It really is possible to do two good things at once: address the abuse of the working poor by payday-loan and check-cashing outfits while expanding the range of services provided by the USPS. Media outlets have called Warren's proposal "radical." That's ludicrous. She's simply using her position and prominence to highlight the findings of a new study by the Postal Service's Office of the Inspector General, which notes that roughly 68 million Americans are underserved by the private banking system. "With post offices and postal workers already on the ground," says Warren, "USPS could partner with banks to make a critical difference for millions of Americans who don't have basic banking services because there are almost no banks or bank branches in their neighborhoods."

This is not a new idea. From 1911 to 1967, the Postal Service maintained its own banking system, allowing citizens to open small savings accounts at local post offices-actually a better approach than "partnering" with banks. The system was so successful that after World War II, it had a balance of $3 billion, roughly $30 billion in today's dollars. Congress did away with postal banking in the 1960s, but post offices in other countries-including Japan, Germany, China and South Korea-provide banking services. Japan Post Bank is consistently ranked as one of the world's largest financial institutions based on assets.

That common global understanding of the usefulness of postal banking should be restored in the United States. It is best outlined in a United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs discussion paper, which observes, "The essential characteristic distinguishing postal financial services from the private banking sector is the obligation and capacity of the postal system to serve the entire spectrum of the national population, unlike conventional private banks, which allocate their institutional resources to service the sectors of the population they deem most profitable."

When The Nation started writing about postal banking in 2010, the National League of Postmasters was toying with the idea, as were policy analysts who recognized that a public or quasi-public alternative to big banking could provide financial security for millions of Americans. It would also avoid investing entanglements that foster indebtedness to foreign governments and financial institutions, and perhaps create a way to fund public assets such as sewer systems and bridges.

Postal banking has since gained traction with postal unions, which have been fighting to save the USPS-both by easing irresponsible congressional requirements for pre-payment of retiree benefits seventy-five years into the future and by expanding the range of services that post offices provide. In 2012, delegates to the National Association of Letter Carriers convention backed a resolution that declared, "A USPS bank would offer a 'public option' for banking." The new president of the American Postal Workers Union, Mark Dimondstein, wants the USPS to provide "a nonprofit alternative to the big banks" that "would give the working poor an alternative to the legal loan-sharking they are now victimized by. It also would provide another source of revenue."

The voices of those who have been working for years to preserve the Postal Service from the privatizers, and to renew its essential promise, will be amplified now by the voice of Elizabeth Warren, along with those of Senator Bernie Sanders, Representative Peter DeFazio and other battlers of austerity and assaults on basic services. Warren's a USPS defender but, more important, she's promoting a vision of the nation's network of post offices as a valuable asset that should be used to address not just communications challenges but issues of inequality and economic injustice. "We need innovative ways to create pathways for struggling families to build economic security, and this is an idea that falls in that category," the senator says.

Plenty of progressives would like Warren to become a presidential contender. But ideas matter as much as candidacies. By highlighting this one, Warren is providing a sense of the kinds of issues-and the kinds of creative responses to economic and social challenges-that ought to be debated by those who would lead the country.
(c) 2014 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

President Barack Obama announces James Clapper, left, as director of national
intelligence during a ceremony in the Rose Garden at the White House on June 5, 2010.

Our Sinister Dual State
By Chris Hedges

On Thursday the former National Security Agency official and whistle-blower William E. Binney and I will debate Stewart A. Baker, a former general counsel for the NSA, P.J. Crowley, a former State Department spokesman, and the media pundit Jeffrey Toobin. The debate, at Oxford University, will center on whether Edward Snowden's leaks helped or harmed the public good. The proposition asks: "Is Edward Snowden a Hero?" But, on a deeper level, the debate will revolve around our nation's loss of liberty.

The government officials who, along with their courtiers in the press, castigate Snowden insist that congressional and judicial oversight, the right to privacy, the rule of law, freedom of the press and the right to express dissent remain inviolate. They use the old words and the old phrases, old laws and old constitutional guarantees to give our corporate totalitarianism a democratic veneer. They insist that the system works. They tell us we are still protected by the Fourth Amendment: "The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." Yet the promise of that sentence in the Bill of Rights is pitted against the fact that every telephone call we make, every email or text we send or receive, every website we visit and many of our travels are tracked, recorded and stored in government computers. The Fourth Amendment was written in 1789 in direct response to the arbitrary and unchecked search powers that the British had exercised through general warrants called writs of assistance, which played a significant part in fomenting the American Revolution. A technical system of surveillance designed to monitor those considered to be a danger to the state has, in the words of Binney, been "turned against you."

We live in what the German political scientist Ernst Fraenkel called "the dual state." Totalitarian states are always dual states. In the dual state civil liberties are abolished in the name of national security. The political sphere becomes a vacuum "as far as the law is concerned," Fraenkel wrote. There is no legal check on power. Official bodies operate with impunity outside the law. In the dual state the government can convict citizens on secret evidence in secret courts. It can strip citizens of due process and detain, torture or assassinate them, serving as judge, jury and executioner. It rules according to its own arbitrary whims and prerogatives. The outward forms of democratic participation-voting, competing political parties, judicial oversight and legislation-are hollow, political stagecraft. Fraenkel called those who wield this unchecked power over the citizenry "the prerogative state."

The masses in a totalitarian structure live in what Fraenkel termed "the normative state." The normative state, he said, is defenseless against the abuses of the prerogative state. Citizens are subjected to draconian laws and regulations, as well as arbitrary searches and arrests. The police and internal security are omnipotent. The internal workings of power are secret. Free expression and opposition political activity are pushed to the fringes of society or shut down. Those who challenge the abuses of power by the prerogative state, those who, like Snowden, expose the crimes carried out by government, are made into criminals. Totalitarian states always invert the moral order. It is the wicked who rule. It is the just who are damned.

Snowden, we are told, could have reformed from the inside. He could have gone to his superiors or Congress or the courts. But Snowden had numerous examples-including the persecution of the whistle-blower Thomas Drake, who originally tried to go through so-called proper channels-to remind him that working within the system is fatal. He had watched as senior officials including Barack Obama lied to the public about internal surveillance. He knew that the president was dishonest when he assured Americans that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court, which meets in secret and hears only from the government, is "transparent." He knew that the president's statement that Congress was "overseeing the entire program" was false. He knew that everything Director of National Intelligence James Clapper told the press, the Congress and the public about the surveillance of Americans was a lie. And he knew that if this information was to be made available to the public he would have to do so through a few journalists whose integrity he could trust.

I was a plaintiff before the Supreme Court in Clapper v. Amnesty International, which challenged the FISA Amendments Act of 2008. This act authorizes surveillance without a showing, or probable cause, that a targeted person is an agent of a foreign power. The court dismissed our lawsuit because, it said, the idea that we were targets of surveillance was "based too much on speculation." That Supreme Court ruling was then used by the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals to deny the credibility, or standing, of the other plaintiffs and me when it heard the Obama administration's appeal of our successful challenge to Section 1021 of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), a provision that permits the U.S. military to detain citizens in military facilities, strip them of due process and hold them indefinitely. The government, in both court cases, did not attempt to defend the surveillance and detention programs as constitutional. It said that I and the other plaintiffs had no right to bring the cases to court. And the courts agreed.

This deadly impasse, the tightening of the corporate totalitarian noose, would have continued if Snowden had not jolted the nation awake by disclosing the crimes of the prerogative state. Snowden's revelations triggered, for the first time, a genuine public debate about mass surveillance. Since the disclosures, three judges have ruled on the NSA's surveillance program, one defending it as legal and two accusing the NSA of violating the Constitution. A presidential panel has criticized the agency's blanket surveillance and called for reform. Some members of Congress-although that body authorized the Patriot Act and its Section 215, which ostensibly permitted this wholesale surveillance of the public-have expressed dismay at the extent of the NSA's activities and the weakness of its promised reforms. Maybe they are lying. Maybe they are not. Maybe reforms will produce improvements or maybe they will be merely cosmetic. But before Snowden we had nothing. Snowden's revelations made us conscious. And as George Orwell wrote in his dystopian novel "1984": "Until they become conscious they will never rebel. ..."

"Now, we're all familiar with Congress' most dramatic oversight failure," said Ben Wizner, the director of the American Civil Liberties Union Speech, Privacy & Technology Project and a legal adviser to Snowden, in a recent debate over Snowden with R. James Woolsey, a former director of the Central Intelligence Agency. "And this was in the notorious exchange between Sen. Ron Wyden and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper. Wyden had asked, did the NSA collect any type of data on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans? Clapper's answer was, 'No, sir.' Now, this brazen falsehood is most often described as Clapper's lie to Congress, but that's not what it was. Wyden knew that Clapper was lying. Only we didn't know. And Congress lacked the courage to correct the record-allowed us to be deceived by the director of national intelligence."

Societies that once had democratic traditions, or periods when openness was possible, are often seduced into totalitarian systems because those who rule continue to pay outward fealty to the ideals, practices and forms of the old systems. This was true when the Emperor Augustus dismantled the Roman Republic. It was true when Lenin and the Bolsheviks seized control of the autonomous soviets and ruthlessly centralized power. It was true following the collapse of the Weimar Republic and the rise of Nazi fascism. Thomas Paine described despotic government as a fungus growing out of a corrupt civil society. And this is what has happened to us.

No one who lives under constant surveillance, who is subject to detention anywhere at any time, whose conversations, messages, meetings, proclivities and habits are recorded, stored and analyzed, can be described as free. The relationship between the U.S. government and the U.S. citizen is now one of master and slave. Yet the prerogative state assures us that our rights are sacred, that it abides by the will of the people and the consent of the governed.

The defense of liberty, which Snowden exhibited when he cast his fortune, his safety and his life aside to inform the public of the forces arrayed against constitutional rights, entails grave risks in dual states. It demands personal sacrifice. Snowden has called us to this sacrifice. He has allowed us to see who we are and what we have become. He has given us a chance. He has also shown us the heavy cost of defiance. It is up to us to seize this chance and dismantle the prerogative state. This means removing from power those who stole our liberty and lied to us. It means refusing to naively trust in their promised reform-for reform will never come from those who are complicit in such crimes. It will come through Americans' construction of mass movements and alternative centers of power that can mount sustained pressure. If we fail to sever these chains we will become, like many who did not rise up in time to save their civil societies, human chattel.
(c) 2014 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 and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, ""Death Of The Liberal Class."

Why Won't PBS Release Details Of Its $3.5m Deal With A Billionaire? Here's A Possible Answer.
By David Sirota

Pando's big scoop this week about billionaire anti-pension activist John Arnold secretly funding PBS's anti-pension series has generated plenty of headlines, and it has also raised many serious questions - not the least of which is why PBS appears to have so brazenly violated its own rules about conflicts of interest. Of all those questions, though, one is the most significant: why are public broadcasting officials and the Arnold Foundation still refusing to release the entire grant agreement they signed?

In their initial pre-publication response to our inquiries, and now in their responses to our story, both WNET officials and the Arnold Foundation have insisted their agreement is above board. They admit the contract gives Arnold the right to cut off funding for the series for "extraordinary circumstances." However, they deny the agreement gives the Arnold Foundation any ability to influence PBS news coverage. Yes, public broadcasting officials insist the politically active "lead/anchor" sponsor of the series has no ability to push the series to support his current legislative campaign aimed at slashing retirement benefits for police officers, firefighters, teachers and other public workers.

Yet, while offering up such assurances, both WNET and the Arnold Foundation are still categorically unwilling to release all - or any - of the documents which would, presumably prove their side of the story. Why?

What may be motivating public broadcasting officials and the Arnold foundation to try to keep this deal secret?

Now Yves Smith, a high-profile management consultant, economic analysts and financial journalist is offering up a compelling explanation - one that has everything to do with the kind of editorial control that makes a deal like this so troubling.

Citing how grant agreements are typically structured, Smith suggests this on her widely read website Naked Capitalism:

The fact that the money was given in the form of a grant means it was expressly to further the objectives of the foundation. And most grants are structured to provide for periodic payments, based on progress of the grantee in fulfilling the statement of work. Thus, while Sirota was originally told that the the foundation had the right to halt funding in the event of extraordinary circumstances such as fraud, it's almost certain that the grant itself contains provisions that allow funding to be halted for nonperformance.

Given that the purpose of the grant was narrow, to "educate.....on the implications of looming debt and the tough choices ahead as these unfunded liabilities threaten to crowd out funding for education, public safety and other essential public services" deviation from this message would count as nonperformance.

No wonder PBS and the foundation are continuing to refuse to release the text of the agreement.

No wonder, indeed. It is also worth noting that when the Arnold Foundation originally told Pando it only can cut off funding in "extraordinary circumstances," the foundation's spokeswoman defined "extraordinary circumstances" as, among other things, a "change of leadership of a grantee." So, if, say, the team heading up the Arnold-funded "Pension Peril" series was replaced with people who didn't want to so loyally echo Arnold's cut-the-pensions message (as the "Pension Peril" series has in the past), the Arnold Foundation categorically reserves the right to cut off funding.

As we noted in our original report: All of "this may allow the foundation to halt funding if it does not like the ideological tenor of the PBS pension coverage it is financing. Such a hovering threat would seem to represent at least de facto editorial influence." And, as Smith so aptly shows, our characterization may actually be understating the situation. What's going on here may, in fact, be far more than mere "influence." To that end, in the coming weeks, we will be examining the potential to use the Freedom of Information Act to force the parties involved to fully disclose all of the documents involved in this deal.

Other questions about bias, transparency and John Arnold himself

There are plenty of other questions swirling around this story. Some coming late to it are now asking questions about who exactly John Arnold is beyond a billionaire anti-pension activist? This was detailed at length in my September report for the Campaign for America's Future, a progressive think tank. You can find that on page 14 of that report by clicking here. You can also read more about Arnold in Institutional Investor magazine, in Rolling Stone, and in various books referencing his time at Enron.

Another set of queries to come out of this story is about the way pensions are covered in America. Is it really "objective" for pension-related reporting to portray pension shortfalls as an emergency, while not portraying far bigger corporate subsidies as an emergency? Is it acceptable for reporters to omit mention of the fact that public pension shortfalls are dwarfed by those corporate subsidies? Or by doing that, are reporters promoting a decidedly biased budget storyline - one that downplays the idea of tax increases or cuts to corporate subsidies and priorities cuts to retirement benefits?

The PBS-Arnold scandal also raises serious questions about journalism, transparency and even the basic definition of news. Should any news broadcast, much less an allegedly "public" one, present special-interest sponsored segments as native content? Should they do it without explicit disclosure? Should news organizations permit politically active billionaires - aka those with, say, a vested self-interest in thwarting high-income tax increases to replenish pension shortfalls - to specifically fund "news" programming about budget policies? And will PBS - a taxpayer-funded entity regulated by the government - be permitted to brazenly violate its own stated rules and regulations about conflicts of interest?

But again, while these are critical queries, the most pressing questions right now are about whether the public even has the most basic right to know what financial arrangements are being made in the public's own name. This is, after all, a story about public broadcasting. Are WNET officials - and thus the whole PBS system - really arguing that the public has no right to know? And if they are arguing that, are they deliberately trying to hide a deal that confirms viewers' worst fears about stealth propaganda being promoted on public airwaves?

This just in...

Following Pando's exclusive report on a secret financing deal between public broadcasting officials and the nation's leading anti-pension activist, officials from PBS just announced they are returning the $3.5 million from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation. In a breaking-news story published Friday afternoon, the New York Times credited PandoDaily for breaking the original story and ultimately for public broadcasting officials' decision to return the money:

WNET, the New York City public television broadcaster, said Friday that it will return a $3.5 million grant it received to sponsor an ambitious project on public pensions amid charges that it solicited inappropriate underwriting for the series.

In the absence of the funding from the Laura and John Arnold Foundation, the project, called "Pension Peril," will go on hiatus...

Earlier, following a critical report on Wednesday by David Sirota on the website PandoDaily, WNET officials said they were comfortable with the foundation's funding. Mr. Sirota sharply criticized WNET for accepting the Arnold Foundation money because John Arnold, a former hedge fund manager, has financially backed efforts to convince municipalities to cut public employee pension benefits.

(c) 2014 David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee. Follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

Barons Of Broadband
By Paul Krugman

Last week's big business news was the announcement that Comcast, a gigantic provider of cable TV and high-speed Internet service, has reached a deal to acquire Time Warner, which is merely huge. If regulators approve the deal, Comcast will be an overwhelmingly dominant player in the business, with around 30 million subscribers.

So let me ask two questions about the proposed deal. First, why would we even think about letting it go through? Second, when and why did we stop worrying about monopoly power?

On the first question, broadband Internet and cable TV are already highly concentrated industries, with a handful of corporations accounting for most of the customers. Once upon a time antitrust authorities, looking at this situation, would probably have been trying to cut Comcast down to size. Letting it expand would have been unthinkable.

Comcast's chief executive says not to worry: "It will not reduce competition in any relevant market because our companies do not overlap or compete with each other. In fact, we do not operate in any of the same ZIP codes." This is, however, transparently disingenuous. The big concern about making Comcast even bigger isn't reduced competition for customers in local markets - for one thing, there's hardly any effective competition at that level anyway. It is that Comcast would have even more power than it already does to dictate terms to the providers of content for its digital pipes - and that its ability to drive tough deals upstream would make it even harder for potential downstream rivals to challenge its local monopolies.

The point is that Comcast perfectly fits the old notion of monopolists as robber barons, so-called by analogy with medieval warlords who perched in their castles overlooking the Rhine, extracting tolls from all who passed. The Time Warner deal would in effect let Comcast strengthen its fortifications, which has to be a bad idea.

Interestingly, one cliche seems to be missing from the boilerplate arguments being deployed on behalf of this deal: I haven't seen anyone arguing that the deal would promote innovation. Maybe that's because anyone trying to make that argument would be met with snorts of derision. In fact, a number of experts - like Susan Crawford of Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law, whose recent book "Captive Audience" bears directly on this case - have argued that the power of giant telecommunication companies has stifled innovation, putting the United States increasingly behind other advanced countries.

And there are good reasons to believe that this isn't a story about just telecommunications, that monopoly power has become a significant drag on the U.S. economy as a whole.

There used to be a bipartisan consensus in favor of tough antitrust enforcement. During the Reagan years, however, antitrust policy went into eclipse, and ever since measures of monopoly power, like the extent to which sales in any given industry are concentrated in the hands of a few big companies, have been rising fast.

At first, arguments against policing monopoly power pointed to the alleged benefits of mergers in terms of economic efficiency. Later, it became common to assert that the world had changed in ways that made all those old-fashioned concerns about monopoly irrelevant. Aren't we living in an era of global competition? Doesn't the creative destruction of new technology constantly tear down old industry giants and create new ones?

The truth, however, is that many goods and especially services aren't subject to international competition: New Jersey families can't subscribe to Korean broadband. Meanwhile, creative destruction has been oversold: Microsoft may be an empire in decline, but it's still enormously profitable thanks to the monopoly position it established decades ago.

Moreover, there's good reason to believe that monopoly is itself a barrier to innovation. Ms. Crawford argues persuasively that the unchecked power of telecom giants has removed incentives for progress: why upgrade your network or provide better services when your customers have nowhere to go?

And the same phenomenon may be playing an important role in holding back the economy as a whole. One puzzle about recent U.S. experience has been the disconnect between profits and investment. Profits are at a record high as a share of G.D.P., yet corporations aren't reinvesting their returns in their businesses. Instead, they're buying back shares, or accumulating huge piles of cash. This is exactly what you'd expect to see if a lot of those record profits represent monopoly rents.

It's time, in other words, to go back to worrying about monopoly power, which we should have been doing all along. And the first step on the road back from our grand detour on this issue is obvious: Say no to Comcast.
(c) 2014 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"The law is not the private property of lawyers, nor is justice the exclusive province of judges and juries. In the final analysis, true justice is not a matter of courts and law books, but of a commitment in each of us to liberty and mutual respect."
~~~ Jimmy Carter

Guardian reporter Glenn Greenwald speaks to reporters at his hotel in Hong Kong in June.

Honoring The 'Accomplices' To Truth Who Caught Clapper In A Lie
By Robert Scheer

The tide is turning. Yesterday's traitor is today's hero, and the brave journalists who helped Edward Snowden get the word out are at last being honored for their public service. Or so one hopes.

On Sunday it was announced that the prestigious George Polk Award for National Security Reporting would be given to the four journalists-Glenn Greenwald, Ewen MacAskill, Laura Poitras and Barton Gellman-most active in reporting about the content of the NSA documents leaked by Snowden. The award, named after a CBS News correspondent killed in 1948 while covering the civil war in Greece, is intended to honor journalists who "heightened public awareness with perceptive detection and dogged pursuit of stories that otherwise would not have seen the light of day."

That is, of course, the very purpose of the First Amendment's guarantee of a free press, an indelible standard of freedom subverted by figures like James R. Clapper Jr., the president's director of national intelligence, who condemned those reporters as "accomplices" to Snowden's disclosures and suggested that telling the truth should be treated as a serious crime. Of course, Clapper's own blatant lies to the Senate Intelligence Committee, denying mass-scale surveillance of the American public under his direction, are to be presumed virtuous.

In reality, the documents Snowden shared with the reporters from The Guardian, The Washington Post and other news organizations with well-established records of journalistic integrity were reported on in a manner that was mindful not to reveal the sources and methods used to ferret out terrorists. There is no evidence that this reporting has weakened the U.S. government's ability to protect the nation or that the NSA's mass surveillance of the private communications of Americans has made us safer.

On the contrary, the Privacy and Civil Liberties Oversight Board, appointed by the president and confirmed by the Senate, concluded, after an exhaustive investigation in the wake of the Snowden revelations, that the NSA surveillance program should be ended, as it is ineffectual and dangerous to our freedoms. Defenders of the program, implemented under Section 215 of the Patriot Act, have argued that if that NSA program had been in operation, one of the 9/11 hijackers, Khalid al-Mihdhar, would have been caught because of a call he made from San Diego to Yemen. But the board concluded in its majority report: "We do not believe the Mihdhar example supports continuance of the NSA's Section 215 program. First, the failure to identify Mihdhar's presence in the United States stemmed primarily from a lack of information sharing among federal agencies, not a lack of surveillance capabilities. As documented by the 9/11 commission and others, this was a failure to connect the dots, not a failure to collect enough dots."

When the suspicious call was made in early 2000, Mihdhar was living in San Diego with "a longtime FBI asset." But Mihdhar-who was being tracked by the CIA as well as the FBI-was allowed to leave the country and return on his valid Saudi passport to hijack a plane "in 2001 because he still had not been placed on any watchlists."

Even more damning is the conclusion of the report, vetted by the NSA, that the information on Mihdhar was readily available without the collection of metadata on most Americans:

"But obtaining this knowledge did not require a bulk telephone records program. The NSA knew the telephone number of the Yemen safe house. If the telephone calls with Mihdhar were deemed suspicious at the time, the government could have used existing legal authorities to request from U.S. telephone companies the records of any calls made to or from that Yemen number. ... Thus we do not believe that a program that collects all records from U.S. telephone companies was necessary to identify Mihdhar's location in early 2000, nor that such a program is necessary to make similar discoveries in the future."
What is threatening about the Snowden leaks is not the exposure of effective tactics employed by the U.S. in the fight against terrorism but rather the Keystone Cops-style ridicule it has brought upon America's claim of leadership in that effort. A case in point is the report coauthored by Poitras, a documentary filmmaker close to Snowden (and obviously one of the accomplices to whom Clapper was referring), that ran in Saturday's New York Times.

In that latest installment from Snowden's trove of government secrets that Americans had a right and need to know, it was revealed that the NSA, in cahoots with an equivalent Australian intelligence outfit, spied on the communications between an American law firm and the Indonesian government. In this instance there is not even a fig leaf of national security pretense because the issue being litigated concerned the import of Indonesian clove cigarettes and shrimp rather than the implements of violent behavior.

As with the previous revelation about the NSA's taping of German Chancellor Angela Merkel's cellphone conversations, it is clear that the scope of the spy agency's surveillance is so vast as to be absurd in its claim to be a narrowly targeted intrusion to nail suspected terrorists.
(c) 2014 Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig. A journalist with over 30 years experience, Scheer has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He is the author, most recently, of "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America," published by Twelve Books.

Ward Valley Reunion 2/8/14

Why Stopping The Ward Valley Nuclear Waste Dump Is Worth Remembering...
By Vincent L. Guarisco

On February 8, 2014, I was honored to attend the 16th Annual Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering Reunion. A wonderful event hosted by my local Ft. Mohave Indian Tribe. Thanks to them, each year, we gather together in celebration... and always with an important lesson to all citizens everywhere. The message is quite simple. Regardless of the opposition, victory can and will prevail when enough folks unite as one and actively become engaged for a worthy purpose or cause. In this cause, we actively assembled. We fought long and hard. And we gave them the boot and prevented "U.S. Ecology (USE)," a terrible company with a horrible track-record for radioactive leaks at their other nuclear waste sites, from establishing a new one in our backyard in Ward Valley, California.

Some Tribal History about Ward Valley In 1998, a historic 113-day occupation of the proposed dumpsite by the Five River Tribes (Fort Mojave, Chemehuevi, Quechan, Cocopah, and Colorado River Indian Tribes) along with environmental activists were assembled at the site to fight and stop the proposed Ward Valley nuclear waste dump. The 113-day occupation prevented federal police from entering the site as well as prevented the test drilling for the dump that would have desecrated the sacred land of Ward Valley. The occupation ended in victory when the U.S. Department of the Interior rescinded the eviction notice and cancelled test drilling. On November 2, 1999, the Interior Department terminated all actions regarding the Ward Valley dump proposal, which officially ended the extensive conflict. The proposed dump, which would have been in the center of eight wilderness areas, amidst critical habitat for the threatened desert tortoise, enclosed by the pristine golden canyons and cave paintings of the Old Woman Mountains, and east of the foothills of the Stepladder Mountains that remain covered in a forest of Cholla Cacti was utterly eliminated by the coordinated effort of dedicated citizens of our Nations. For more information, click here. My parents, Mary and Anthony , were renowned anti-nuke activists both nationally and internationally. As with many activist endeavors throughout their life, they were at the forefront of this battle. In 1984, they started the opposition against the dump site when they staked a claim for a placer gold mine dead center on site of USE's planned nuclear burial ground. An action that created "Nobody's Wasteland Atomic Veterans Camp and Desert Tortoise Refuge" which later culminated into a vast, organized occupation; eventually stopping USE dead in its tracks. Indeed, it all started with two wonderful people who cared. Two mavericks for hope and change that had long ago learned a valuable lesson: That all life is precious, and No amount of radiation exposure is safe.

The Ultimate Reward for Being Engaged in Environmental Activism

Simply put, our survival is at stake here. Clean air, fresh water and healthy food is our birthright. These essentials are non-negotiable. So, take note, it's up to us to preserve this lovely jewel that hangs in the sky, our only home... or we shall perish.

I once read something I will never forget...

"It's time for each of us to realize our true potential as human beings. It's time to forget the imaginary restraints and limitations that have been placed before us by institutionalized teachings and to look at the whole spectrum. Realize the divisions that supposedly exist between us are an illusion. Look behind it to the real world, for It matters not who you are, what country you are in or where you are from, it makes no difference whether you are black or white or Christian, or Muslim, or Jew, it makes no difference at all what your beliefs are, because we are all people, and we are all one! The reality is that this situation is a global one, and it affects each of us equally.

"Do not wait for your governments or your media to address these issues for you, the one who must address them is you. Come to the realization that you are not merely pawns of the game of life; you are the mover of the pieces. So stop following and start leading. Embrace your true power, and unite as one human family. Feel the connection you have to all people, and to all life. This is the greatest power and the greatest tool that we have. There truly are no limits to what we can create and it is up to each of us to change this world for the better."

My wonderful friends at the Ft. Mohave Indian Tribe have always known the true value of gratitude, love and respect for our sacred Mother Earth and all life that lives upon it. This is also well known in Shamanic traditions from all cultures on all continents. However, too many of us have not yet learned to live in harmony with nature. It is imperative that we do so if we are to survive in a world worth living.

Please join us! The challenges ahead are never ending... we must remain vigilant. For future Ward Valley Spiritual Gathering Reunions, please feel free to contact the Fort Mojave Tribe Public Relations Department at the Tribal Administration (760) 629-4591 ext.106 or email
(c) 2014 Vincent L. Guarisco is a freelance writer from Arizona, a contributing writer for many web sites, and a lifetime founding member of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans. The 21st century, once so full of shining promise, now threatens to force countless millions of us at home and abroad into a dark abyss of languishing poverty and silent servitude; a lowly prodigy of painful struggle and suffering that could stream for generations to come. I'm wishing for a miracle, before it is too late, the masses will figure it out and will stand as one and roar. So, pass the word - its past time to take back what is ours -the American Dream where the pursuit of happiness, the ability to live in a free and peaceful nation is a reality. We bought it, and we paid for it. It's time to take it back. For replies, contact:

The Dead Letter Office...

Ted gives the corpo-rat salute

Heil Obama,

Dear Uberfuhrer Cruz,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

America's "We" Problem
By Robert Reich

America has a serious "We" problem - as in "Why should we pay for them?"

The question is popping up all over the place. It underlies the debate over extending unemployment benefits to the long-term unemployed and providing food stamps to the poor.

It's found in the resistance of some young and healthy people to being required to buy health insurance in order to help pay for people with preexisting health problems.

It can be heard among the residents of upscale neighborhoods who don't want their tax dollars going to the inhabitants of poorer neighborhoods nearby.

The pronouns "we" and "they" are the most important of all political words. They demarcate who's within the sphere of mutual responsibility, and who's not. Someone within that sphere who's needy is one of "us" - an extension of our family, friends, community, tribe - and deserving of help. But needy people outside that sphere are "them," presumed undeserving unless proved otherwise.

The central political question faced by any nation or group is where the borders of this sphere of mutual responsibility are drawn.

Why in recent years have so many middle-class and wealthy Americans pulled the borders in closer?

The middle-class and wealthy citizens of East Baton Rouge Parish, Louisiana, for example, are trying to secede from the school district they now share with poorer residents of town, and set up their own district funded by property taxes from their higher-valued homes.

Similar efforts are underway in Memphis, Atlanta, and Dallas. Over the past two years, two wealthy suburbs of Birmingham, Alabama, have left the countywide school system in order to set up their own.

Elsewhere, upscale school districts are voting down state plans to raise their taxes in order to provide more money to poor districts, as they did recently in Colorado.

"Why should we pay for them?" is also reverberating in wealthy places like Oakland County, Michigan, that border devastatingly poor places like Detroit.

"Now, all of a sudden, they're having problems and they want to give part of the responsibility to the suburbs?" says L. Brooks Paterson, the Oakland County executive. "They're not gonna talk me into being the good guy. 'Pick up your share?' Ha ha."

But had the official boundary been drawn differently so that it encompassed both Oakland County and Detroit - say, to create a Greater Detroit region - the two places would form a "we" whose problems Oakland's more affluent citizens would have some responsibility to address.

What's going on?

One obvious explanation involves race. Detroit is mostly black; Oakland County, mostly white. The secessionist school districts in the South are almost entirely white; the neighborhoods they're leaving behind, mostly black.

But racisim has been with us from the start. Although some southern school districts are seceding in the wake of the ending of court-ordered desegregation, race alone can't explain the broader national pattern. According to Census Bureau numbers, two-thirds of Americans below the poverty line at any given point identify themselves as white.

Another culprit is the increasing economic stress felt by most middle-class Americans. Median household incomes are dropping and over three-quarters of Americans report they're living paycheck to paycheck.

It's easier to be generous and expansive about the sphere of "we" when incomes are rising and future prospects seem even better, as during the first three decades after World War II when America declared war on poverty and expanded civil rights. But since the late 1970s, as most paychecks have flattened or declined, adjusted for inflation, many in the stressed middle no longer want to pay for "them."

Yet this doesn't explain why so many wealthy America's are also exiting. They've never been richer. Surely they can afford a larger "we." But most of today's rich adamantly refuse to pay anything close to the tax rate America's wealthy accepted forty years ago.

Perhaps it's because, as inequality has widened and class divisions have hardened, America's wealthy no longer have any idea how the other half lives.

Being rich in today's America means not having to come across anyone who isn't. Exclusive prep schools, elite colleges, private jets, gated communities, tony resorts, symphony halls and opera houses, and vacation homes in the Hamptons and other exclusive vacation sites all insulate them from the rabble.

America's wealthy increasingly inhabit a different country from the one "they" inhabit, and America's less fortunate seem as foreign as do the needy inhabitants of another country.

The first step in widening the sphere of "we" is to break down the barriers - not just of race, but also, increasingly, of class, and of geographical segregation by income - that are pushing "we Americans" further and further apart.
(c) 2014 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," will be out September 27.

'Good' And 'Bad' War - And The Struggle Of Memory Against Forgetting
By John Pilger

Fifty years ago, E.P. Thompson's 'The Making of the English Working Class' rescued the study of history from the powerful. Kings and queens, landowners, industrialists, politicians and imperialists had owned much of the public memory. In 1980, Howard Zinn's 'A People's History of the United States' also demonstrated that the freedoms and rights we enjoy precariously - free expression, free association, the jury system, the rights of minorities - were the achievements of ordinary people, not the gift of elites.

Historians, like journalists, play their most honourable role when they myth-bust. Eduardo Galeano's 'The Open Veins of Latin America' (1971) achieved this for the people of a continent whose historical memory was colonised and mutated by the dominance of the United States.

The "good" world war of 1939-45 provides a bottomless ethical bath in which the west's "peacetime" conquests are cleansed. De-mystifying historical investigation stands in the way. Richard Overy's '1939: the countdown to war' (2009) is a devastating explanation of why that cataclysm was not inevitable.

We need such smokescreen-clearing now more than ever. The powerful would like us to believe that the likes of Thompson, Zinn and Galeano are no longer necessary: that we live, as Time magazine put it, "in an eternal present," in which reflection is limited to Facebook and historical narrative is the preserve of Hollywood. This is a confidence trick. In 'Nineteen Eighty-Four', George Orwell wrote: "Who controls the past controls the future. Who controls the present controls the past."

The people of Korea understand this well. The slaughter on their peninsula following the second world war is known as the "forgotten war", whose significance for all humanity has long been suppressed in military histories of cold war good versus evil.

I have just read 'The Korean War: A History by Bruce Cumings' (2010), professor of history at the University of Chicago. I first saw Cumings interviewed in Regis Tremblay's extraordinary film, 'The Ghosts of Jeju', which documents the uprising of the people of the southern Korean island of Jeju in 1948 and the campaign of the present-day islanders to stop the building of a base with American missiles aimed provocatively at China.

Like most Koreans, the farmers and fishing families protested the senseless division of their nation between north and south in 1945 - a line drawn along the 38th Parallel by an American official, Dean Rusk, who had "consulted a map around midnight on the day after we obliterated Nagasaki with an atomic bomb," wrote Cumings. The myth of a "good" Korea (the south) and a "bad" Korea (the north) was invented.

In fact, Korea, north and south, has a remarkable people's history of resistance to feudalism and foreign occupation, notably Japan's in the 20th century. When the Americans defeated Japan in 1945, they occupied Korea and often branded those who had resisted the Japanese as "commies". On Jeju island, as many as 60,000 people were massacred by militias supported, directed and, in some cases, commanded by American officers.

This and other unreported atrocities were a "forgotten" prelude to the Korean War (1950-53) in which more people were killed than Japanese died during all of world war two. Cumings' gives an astonishing tally of the degree of destruction of the cities of the north is astonishing: Pyongyang 75 per cent, Sariwon 95 per cent, Sinanju 100 per cent. Great dams in the north were bombed in order to unleash internal tsunamis. "Anti-personnel" weapons, such as Napalm, were tested on civilians. Cumings' superb investigation helps us understand why today's North Korea seems so strange: an anachronism sustained by an enduring mentality of siege.

"The unhindered machinery of incendiary bombing was visited on the North for three years," he wrote, "yielding a wasteland and a surviving mole people who had learned to love the shelter of caves, mountains, tunnels and redoubts, a subterranean world that became the basis for reconstructing a country and a memento for building a fierce hatred through the ranks of the population. Their truth is not cold, antiquarian, ineffectual knowledge." Cumings quotes Virginia Wolf on how the trauma of this kind of war "confers memory."

The guerrilla leader Kim Il Sung had begun fighting the Japanese militarists in 1932. Every characteristic attached to the regime he founded - "communist, rogue state, evil enemy" - derives from a ruthless, brutal, heroic resistance: first to Japan, then the United States, which threatened to nuke the rubble its bombers had left. Cumings exposes as propaganda the notion that Kim Il Sung, leader of the "bad" Korea, was a stooge of Moscow. In contrast, the regime that Washington invented in the south, the "good" Korea, was run largely by those who had collaborated with Japan and America.

The Korean War has an unrecognised distinction. It was in the smouldering ruins of the peninsula that the US turned itself into what Cumings calls "an archipelago of empire." When the Soviet Union collapsed in the 1990s, it was as if the whole planet was declared American - or else.

But there is China now. The base currently being built on Cheju island will face the Chinese metropolis of Shanghai, less than 300 miles away, and the industrial heartland of the only country whose economic power is likely to surpass that of the US. "China," says President Obama in a leaked briefing paper, "is our fast emerging strategic threat." By 2020, almost two thirds of all US naval forces in the world will be transferred to the Asia-Pacific region. In an arc extending from Australia to Japan and beyond, China will be ringed by US missiles and nuclear-weapons armed aircraft. Will this threat to all of us be "forgotten", too?
(c) 2014 John Pilger was born and educated in Sydney, Australia. He has been a war correspondent, film- maker and playwright. Based in London, he has written from many countries and has twice won British journalism's highest award, that of "Journalist of the Year," for his work in Vietnam and Cambodia.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Steve Benson ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Live Cow Lowered Onto Floor Of U.S. House Of Representatives

WASHINGTON-Cautiously maneuvering the animal above Congressional chambers as a chorus of snarls and growls erupted from below, U.S. Capitol handlers carried out routine legislative feeding procedures this morning by lowering a live cow onto the floor of the House of Representatives.

"All right, chow time!" shouted a feeding supervisor, who lowered the 800-pound heifer into the baying horde of lawmakers and then waited around 30 seconds for the sounds of panic and gnashing teeth to die down before lifting the animal's skeletonized remains back up from the floor. "Let's bring 'er up, fellas. Whoo-weee! Looks like they were hungry today, yes sir!

At press time, sources reported the blood-soaked legislators had resumed their scheduled hearing on H.R. 3193.
(c) 2014 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 14 # 07 (c) 02/21/2014

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