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In This Edition

Cynthia McKinney returns with, "Ruminations On President Obama's Tenure Thus Far And 'Acceptable Punditry'."

Uri Avnery counts the, "10 Ways To Kill Fatah."

Robert Scheer discovers, "Billions Dished Out In The Shadows."

Jim Hightower presents, "The GOP's Deficit Drama."

Chris Hedges says, "It's Obama's War, Now."

Arthur Topham wonders, "What's Next, 'Zionism Denial'?"

Paul Krugman monitors the, "Revenge Of The Glut."

Chris Floyd considers, "Feudal Gestures."

Case Wagenvoord explains, "Why Trees Dance."

Mike Folkerth declares, "Game Over."

Amy Goodman dissects, "Obama's Coalition Of The Unwilling."

Barbara Peterson reports, "American Aliens Invade Mexico."

Attorney General Eric Holder wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald explores, "Obama's Efforts To Block A Judicial Ruling On Bush's Illegal Eavesdropping."

Sheila Samples demands, "It's Time For The Madness To Stop."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst hears, "The Tomorrow Speech" but first Uncle Ernie studies, "A Disaster In Search Of A Strategy."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Stahler with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Married To The Sea, Mr. Fish, Internet Weekly.Org, Dwayne Powell, Radical Press.Com, Ben Sargent, Michael Ramirez, Jack Greenall, Jim Dow, Little Mill Rocks.Com, U.S. Navy, Issues & Alibis.Org and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

A Disaster In Search Of A Strategy
By Ernest Stewart

"Team Obama's Plan For Afghanistan Is A Disaster In Search Of A Strategy." ~~~ Jim Hightower

"There's class warfare, all right. But it's my class, the rich class, that's making war, and we're winning." ~~~ Warren Buffett

"That God Damn Uncle Ernie!"
W The Movie ~~~ W to The Judge

Our war criminal president, who claimed to be anti-war during the election but as a Sinator voted every chance he got for our illegal, immoral, imperialistic wars, has taken the wars he inherited from Dubya and made them his own!

Word has come down from on high that although we'll be pulling out our combat troops from Iraq, around 50,000 of our non-combat troops (I guess we're leaving behind boy scouts and cub scouts) will remain in Iraq forever. This is, of course, an old American tradition dating from the Spanish American War and has resulted in about 1,000-armed US bases around the world. Regardless of anything Smirky signed off on in Iraq, we'll be going nowhere soon.

Meanwhile, we'll being sending 17,000 of the "combat" troops who are being moved from Iraq into Afghanistan and maybe into Pakistan as well. Pity is that Obama is a lawyer and not a historian because if he were he'd know what a mistake he is making. Much to the Russians' delight, I might add! You may recall that Russia tried the same tactics for ten years back in the seventies and eighties. When we "surge" we'll have about 15% of the troops (including NATO troops) that Russia had on the ground and in the air. Afghanistan is what broke the back of the former USSR and turned it into a shadow of its former self. The very same fate awaits us if we don't pull out very soon and save what is left of our treasury!

We've been there for 7 years and the situation just keeps getting worse. Every time we slaughter some innocents, the Taliban gets hundreds of new recruits. We actually control very little outside of the cities of Kabul and Kandahar. The Taliban or the Northern alliance of "war lords" controls all the rest. In other words, we're just like the British were when they tried to control Afghanistan in the 19th and 20th centuries. You'll remember that the cost of trying to do so in three wars destroyed their empire, too.

Ask the President what our goals are and you get platitudes about self-governance like our hand picked (not the peoples' picked) ruler or perhaps some song and dance about the war on terror, a war we started in the Middle East many decades ago. Had we not overthrown the duly elected government in Iran or supported Saddam in Iraq or single handedly been responsible for Israel and the rape of Palestine, there would have been no Arab or Muslim terrorists. They are a direct effect of our own actions. Now we get Hillary's current song and dance in Palestine, which is the same song and dance we've been giving to the world since the 1940s. Back at home we have a government which on one hands chides Americans about not having a racial dialogue but on the other hand obeys the orders of their Zionazi puppet masters by refusing to send delegates to the April 2009 Geneva United Nations World Conference Against Racism. Well, so much for dialogue, eh, Herr Holder? So it's do as we say, not as we do? So much for change. It's really just the same ole, same ole political bullshit!

In Other News

It's been quite obvious that the Rethuglicans have been grasping for straws as of late. It's also obvious that they just don't have a clue!

For example for a weekend they started calling Barry, Robin Hood as that would somehow cause a rebellion against the Demoncrats. Yes, I'm sure that would drive the people up-in-arms. Imagine the most beloved rouge in all of literature being linked to Barry. Baron Robin of Loxley, a member of the elite, who rather than sit idly by and enjoy his good life, went out and raised a rebellion against the injustices of his fellow royals. The Rethuglicans kept saying like Robin Hood, Barry wanted to rob from the rich and give to the poor! Yeah, that will get the people out on the street with pitchforks, axes and torches, all right! After a few days, someone explained this to the talking heads on Fox, MSNBC and CNN and it disappeared as quickly as it appeared.

Of course, being the brain dead, fear mongers, that they are, they soon found a similar theme, i.e., Class Warfare. They said Barry was starting a Class War because he would let the tax cuts for the 2% of the wealthiest end and even raise their rates by 4%. Bad, bad Barry!

Somehow, they forgot that for 20 of the last 28 years they had practiced class warfare against the middle and poor classes with all the gusto they could muster, the end result of which is our current financial disaster. They then claimed that the economic stimulus package, which would actually put people to work rebuilding our crumbling infrastructure, schools, park systems and the like, would kill the golden goose. However, throwing away trillions of taxpayer dollars by giving their fellow billionaire bankers and insurance groups money to repair the damage their greed did to the world financial systems by buying them all new corpo-rat jets and the like, is a good thing. Ergo, they proclaim, giving money to people who pay taxes and who need it, is bad and giving money to people who don't pay taxes and who don't need it, is good.

Then they wonder why they've been overruled in the last two elections by the people. The elections should tell them they are null and void and a luxury we cannot afford any longer. They thought by placing a black man in charge of their party and letting an Indian Bubba make their reply to Barry's speech they could prove that they weren't the racist bigots they are. Although people of color make up less than 1% of their membership, they thought by putting these tokens in place, they could show that the Rethuglicans now have a big open tent. Of course, anyone who is a little to the right of Darth Vader, with the brains of a duck, (but then I'm repeating myself) is welcome. Well, with the exception of those masochistic "Log Cabin" Rethuglicans. So they trot these tokens out and let them speak and, by doing so, they let the cat-out-of-the-bag, showing just how far from the mainstream they really are! Sure, Barry, too, is a corpo-rat elitist but when compared to Michael Steele, he's a man of the people!

The Rethuglicans are truly poster boys for that old saw, "Give them enough rope and they'll hang themselves." Now that the Sheeple have awakened and are somewhat paying attention, the more the Rethuglicans rant the worse it becomes for them. When they let the great comedian Tush Limbaugh become their spokesman, you know that the jig is up!

And Finally

For those of you who live in the NYC area, here's your chance to see "W The Movie"...

Tickets for "W the Movie," premiere with the New York International Independent Film and Video Festival are on sale now!

"W" will be showing at the Village East Cinema on FRIDAY, March 20th at 10 pm. You can go to the site, listed above, click on film schedule, then go to Friday, March 20th (first date that pops up), Screen Seven, 10 pm.

Please forward this to anyone and everyone as we would like to have a sell out show.

You can also click on location for the Village East Address.

We hope to see you there!

"'W the Movie' is by far the best adaptation on film chronicling the corrupt presidency of George W. Bush. Strangely bizarre and extremely psychedelic, this movie presents itself like a beautifully artistic acid trip gone wrong while a TV is stuck on The Fox News Channel...A must see for stoners, political activists and indy cinema enthusiasts, I would strongly suggest that you check this one out when you get the chance! This is the REAL W movie that Oliver Stone didn't have the balls to even imagine of creating!" ~~~ Claytron-Putrid Reviews.

"The beauty of W The Movie is that Eaker doesn't base this in reality at all, while everything is familiar, it's also very strange, which I'm sure is symbolic of how he feels in a country that's as out of control as we seem to be right now. If you're a political junkie, you're gonna love this!" ~~~ Brian Morton-Rogue Cinema.

"Nightmarish, provocative and imaginative. Best Character: Eaker as Blue Mahler, a free-thinker who dares to take on a tyrannical government." ~~~ Joe Shearer-Indianapolis Star;

"W: The Movie," on the other hand, is an apocalyptic, psychotic, pop skull of a flick about the nightmarish world that we birthed during the eight year reign of George W. Bush and his army of clones. I wish I could describe "W: The Movie" for you. I simply can't. What I can say is that "W: The Movie" is an awesome, frightening, enlightening, insightful, colorful, trippy, entertaining, educational and experimental film that will challenge you in ways you've never been challenged while watching a film." ~~~ Richard Propes ~ The Independent Critic

"W the Movie" is a surreal, apocalyptic nightmare on the 8 year Bush administration and the effect it has on intrepid reporter Blue Mahler, his life, and his family. W and his party of No unleash a world of chaos, subduing free thought with the staff of Issues and Alibis opposing him every step of the way. Our strange tale beings with the stolen elections of 2000 and ends with Obama and the party of Yes reclaiming the White House with hope for a better future.

"W the Movie" is Pink and Blue Films production, in association with Liberty or Death productions and Asylum productions.

Produced by Alfred Eaker, Whitney Eaker, Wendy Collin Sorrin, Steven Sorrin and Ernest Stewart.

Directed by Alfred Eaker and Ross St. Just.

Written by Alfred Eaker, Ross St. Just, Ernest Stewart and inspired by the books "Strange things begin to happen when a meteor crashes in the Arizona desert" by Michael Basinski and Wendy Collin Sorn, and the "Anti-War Manifesto" by Dr. John M. Bennett.

Cameras: Nick Hess, Matt Lattore, James Mannan, R. Penet.

Visual art by Wendy Collin Sorn, Ian Pyper, Mike Wrathell, Alfred Eaker, Linda Stein, more.

Music by DJ Monkey (courtesy Squid Music) and Gustav Mahler (courtesy Tahra Records/Myriam Scherchen) and HARS.


Alfred Eaker
John M. Bennett
Ernest Stewart
Michael Basinski
Ross St. Just


Jason Hignite
John Loyd
Gary Pierce
Wendy Collin Sorin
Mindy Steele
Brother Brown
Mike Wrathell
James Mannan
R. Panet
Tristan Ross
Randy Cox
and Mikey the Puppet.


Home website:
W The Movie

YouTube trailers:

W The Movie Trailer
W the Movie Official Trailer
2009 Greeting card to George W. Bush (& Oliver Stone) from THE Alternative "W the Movie"
W The Movie_teaser1
3rd World War Video

DJ Monkey's music video for " W The Movie," "3rd World War," has been nominated for BEST MUSIC VIDEO OF THE YEAR by the South Bay Music awards.

Be there or be square, America!


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

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

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

Ernest & Victoria Stewart


09-04-1918 ~ 02-28-2009
Good Day!


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


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


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

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

Ruminations On President Obama's Tenure Thus Far And 'Acceptable Punditry'
By Cynthia McKinney

I have played around with this idea for hours now, on whether or not to write this piece. But the events of the last few hours, I believe, mandate that I raise my voice once again.

I have read and re-read President Obama's Joint Congressional Address. All of the "acceptable punditry" have spoken and given the President glowing reviews. And so, to them and the population that still believes in them, "All is right with the world." But for the rest of us, who refuse to swallow the pill that puts us into the Matrix, a good dose of reality is strongly called for.

But reality is not what we're getting, not even from one of the national columnists whom I've met, Maureen Dowd.

I think Maureen Dowd characterized it as "Spock at the Bridge." Now, being the Trekkie that I am, that headline grabbed my attention. I nearly gagged, however, when I got to the line supposedly from President Obama calling President Bush to proclaim, "'I'm ending your stupid war.' Mission Relinquished."

Why write things like this now that it is clear that the Obama Administration is continuing the Bush policies for missile strikes inside Pakistan; torture; rendition for torture; public release of Bush Administration e-mails; illegal wiretaps; status of prisoners at the U.S. base in Bagram, Afghanistan; and workplace immigration raids?

For the record, President Obama is also pursuing Bush policies on Iran and Israel. As recently as yesterday, President Obama's Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Admiral Mike Mullen, responded when asked whether Iran was capable of building an atom bomb. Admiral Mullen replied, "We think they do, quite frankly."

Dowd concludes her "Spock" piece by imbuing the President with "a Vulcan-like logic and detachment." But I think the detachment of "acceptable" political punditry from the real world is what is totally lamentable. In the process, they render themselves irrelevant.

So, it's clear. I'm about to step into marshy soil here, by noting that I found 19 questionable Obama policies or statements in his Joint Congressional speech delivered three days before his announcement that upon the end of the U.S. combat mission in Iraq, up to 50,000 U.S. troops could remain through 2011, after the "pullout."

And while various "mint" operations are peddling Obama "Change" coins for purchase, complete with a certificate of authenticity, I wade further into the muck by noting that the President continues the giveaway of our hard-earned coins to an economic team intent on keeping mismanagement structures in place, serving economic ends that do not constitute the common good. I would refer readers to the many statements that I issued during the final days of our Power to the People Green Party Presidential campaign about re-creating an economic system truly and finally owned by the people, operating in our interest. It is possible to do that. All it requires is enough political will.

But what forces me out into the open marshland of "non-mainstream" political punditry has to do with the latest Obama "pullout:" the decision to withdraw from the April 2009 Geneva United Nations World Conference Against Racism, dubbed Durban II.

We heard the same palaver in 2001 from the same forces inside our country, basically that a discussion of Zionism, in the context of such a Conference, would be anti-Semitic; therefore all the world's dispossessed and marginalized people must continue to suffer and sacrifice while muting their grievances so that no discussion of Israel would take place on the world stage in this context.

Well, in 2001, upon hearing this line of reasoning, I went to then-Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) Chairwoman, Eddie Bernice Johnson, and asked if I could be appointed as the CBC Task Force Chair on Durban. The non-participation argument was also a handy "peg on the track" with the potential of derailing many conversations, including a real discussion about the trans-Atlantic Slave Trade and the issue of reparations. Respectful of the excellent preparatory work that had been done, I wanted to avoid that outcome.

Congresswoman Eddie Bernice Johnson made the appointment and I led a delegation of 5 Members of Congress to Durban.

The current Chairwoman of the Congressional Black Caucus, Barbara Lee, was a member of my delegation to Durban. From my position on the International Relations Committee, we successfully argued for U.S. participation in that Conference at a Hearing designed to quash our effort. We not only met with then-United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, we also presented her with the untold story of COINTELPRO and the remaining unsolved deaths of its Black Panther Party member victims, commissioned by me and written by Kathleen Cleaver and Paul Wolf.

Our CBC Chairwoman made a beautiful statement of why it was imperative that the United States join with our Native American and Latino brothers and sisters and with oppressed peoples all over the planet and not only make our statement of solidarity, but also institute policies at the Congress that recognized their needs. It is incorrect to say that the United States was not present at Durban. We were there and only when the duties of Congress pressed us to return to Washington, DC did the Bush Administration make a big deal about anti-Semitism and then staged its phony walk out. The United States delegation of Congressional Black Caucus Members was there to support the phenomenal work of U.S. activists and the African and Caribbean delegations, in particular. I think everyone in Durban was moved by the plight of the Dalits in India and understood better the surging political power of Afro-Latinos.

Durban was a clear victory for the world's marginalized peoples, including those of us who reside inside the United States. But, when the Congressional Delegation returned to the U.S., there was no time for celebration because the tragedy of September 11, 2001 unfolded.

What has happened in the interim has devastated the very people that Durban was designed to address, unfortunately, much of it due to U.S. policy. Now is not the time for the United States to shrink from this call.

In order to prevail in Durban, I had to go toe to toe with the Anti-Defamation League and Members of Congress Tom Lantos and Ileana Ros-Lehtinen who, among many other Members of Congress, vociferously denounced Durban. This was something that I did because I felt it was the right thing to do. Given Israel's recent actions in Gaza that have brought upon it the world's opprobrium, I can imagine that this is the last point in time that Israel might want to revisit Durban. Israel has said that it will not attend the Conference in Geneva.

Early last year, a government official announced Canada's decision to not attend Durban II after deeming the Conference to be anti-Israel. Shortly afterwards, France followed suit with French President Nicolas Sarkozy stating that the "excesses of 2001" transformed the Conference "into an intolerable platform against the State of Israel." I would note also that France must be particularly loath to discuss racism now with what is happening in Guadeloupe and Martinique as I write this piece. And remembering that Paris, itself, was literally on fire just a few years ago.

The UK, which has been under severe racial tests with Asians rebelling openly in the streets since Durban 2001, and the Netherlands have both threatened to withdraw their support for the Conference if a "negative spiral" of events takes place. Interestingly, these remarks came at the same time as the release of a European Commission Against Racism and Intolerance report which found that the tone of Dutch political and public debate on immigrant integration, racism, and other issues relevant to ethnic minorities, had experienced a "dramatic deterioration."

So, we shouldn't be surprised that the racism stress test is revealing cracks and fissures in human relations. But the United States and President Obama should not shield them or this country from these stresses. This Conference gives us the opportunity to get the issues out in the open and to deal with them. That's the way to put them to an end. The world might have changed because of events occurring in September 2001, but it wasn't because the United Nations successfully convened the World Conference Against Racism.

And now that I am as completely in the middle of the marsh as I was as completely in the international waters of the Mediterranean Sea when my boat was rammed by the Israelis, let me make an observation about one aspect of marshes. I have witnessed the most beautiful sunrises and sunsets on the Savannah, Georgia marshland. And the most beautiful rainbows. Being away from the glass and concrete can give one a better perspective.

I observed last year that I thought U.S. voters went to the polls in large numbers to try and regain a bit of dignity lost during the eight years of outright banditry played out in our names, with our resources, against our interests. But I was reminded at the recently adjourned Transpartisan Alliance convention in Colorado that dignity will not come without first an acknowledgment of the truth: with truth we can have justice; and with justice we can have peace; and it is only with peace that we can truly have dignity. Something as easy as a vote, alone, is not going to be enough to wrest us from this mess that has been wrought.

This morning, I sent the following message to the White House:

'Mr. President, it was with great disappointment that I read of your decision to pull out of Durban II. Even the Bush Administration, under pressure from the Congressional Black Caucus, provided some funding for the United Nations effort and sent staff to support the Congressional delegation that attended the Conference. I was there. I was head of the Congressional Black Caucus Task Force that negotiated Congressional and Administration engagement on this issue. There is still time for the U.S. to participate. Your decision is not irrevocable. I would encourage you to please reconsider this decision and not only attend the Conference, but also provide funding to ensure its success."

I implore the Members of the Congressional Black Caucus to spearhead the participation of the United States in the United Nation's World Conference Against Racism: to boldly go where we have gone before. Dr. King reminded us that "the ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy." On this issue, President Obama has shown us his measure. I hope that the Congressional Black Caucus and the Progressive Caucus and the Democratic Caucus can show us, oh, so much more.
(c) 2009 Cynthia McKinney

10 Ways To Kill Fatah
By Uri Avnery

979 DAYS HAVE passed since the soldier Gilad Shalit was taken prisoner. On any one of these days it would have been possible to free him for the price fixed by Hamas right from the beginning: 450 "important" Palestinian prisoners, in addition to hundreds of others, as well as all the women and juvenile prisoners.

In the eyes of our government, it is all about the return of the "kidnapped" soldier in exchange for "heinous murderers" who have "blood on their hands."

In the eyes of Hamas, it is about releasing a Jewish "prisoner of war" in return for the freeing of hundreds of "resistance fighters" who have "carried out heroic attacks deep in the territory of the Zionist occupier."

Many had hoped that Ehud Olmert would tie up the affair before leaving office in the next few weeks. But Olmert is afraid. Recently he has made several U-turns. One moment he decides this way, another time the other. Which would be more popular? To act or not to act?

If he carries out the prisoner exchange and the soldier comes home, there will be an eruption of public joy. Olmert will be the hero of the hour. But for how long? Two days? Three? After this, a reaction will set in: How could he release hundreds of vicious murderers? Surely they will carry out new attacks, Jewish blood will be spilled, children will be murdered. Olmert will be the scoundrel of the year.

A leader of stature makes a decision and accepts the consequences. But Olmert is a politician, only a politician. He has never been more than that. He is cynical rather than moral, cunning rather than wise. He still hopes to come out intact from his manifold corruption affairs, and then, after the failure of Binyamin Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, to return to power. So perhaps, he may calculate, it is best to leave the whole Shalit affair to the next prime minister.

BUT BEHIND the personal considerations there lurks a political problem, too. How will the prisoner exchange affect the balance of power between Fatah and Hamas?

The release of 1200 Palestinian prisoners will be perceived by the Palestinian people as a huge victory for Hamas. For them, it will demonstrate once again that the Israelis understand only the language of force, as Hamas has consistently maintained. It will shame Mahmoud Abbas, the more so if Hamas brings about the release of Fatah's No. 2, Marwan Barghouti.

Olmert could, of course, prevent the humiliation of Abbas. Tomorrow morning he could free a thousand prisoners belonging to Fatah, including Barghouti, as a gesture to Abbas. That would take the sting out of the Hamas victory.

Simple? Certainly. Smart? For sure. Possible? Not at all. Not in our country. Not for Olmert and his ilk. To give Abbas something for nothing? Preposterous. Out of the question!

This exposes again the divided attitude vis--vis the PLO that has bedeviled Israeli policy for dozens of years already. An inconsistency that is political, but also psychological.

SOME 40 YEARS ago I read a book by the psychologist Eric Berne, "Games People Play."

One of the book's theses is that the ostensible motive for an action often contradicts the real, unconscious one. For example: a habitual felon sets out to rob a bank, and is caught and sent to prison. The obvious motive is clear: he wants to get rich the easy way. But his real motive is quite different: he is afraid of life outside prison. In his unconscious mind he hopes to be caught, because in prison he feels secure. His place in the prison hierarchy is assured.

I am often reminded of this theory when I think about the curious behavior of successive Israeli governments towards the PLO.

IN SEPTEMBER 1993, after a long and bloody fight, Yitzhak Rabin signed an agreement with Yasser Arafat and recognized the PLO as the sole representative of the Palestinian people. The logical continuation would have been for Israel to help in establishing a Palestinian state next to Israel and to do everything to strengthen Arafat and the Palestinian Authority created by the agreement.

But, oddly enough, successive Israeli governments have done exactly the opposite.

It started already with Rabin himself on the morrow of the Oslo agreement. After deciding that our national interest demanded a partnership with Arafat, it would have been logical for him to reinforce Arafat's authority in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip and sign a peace agreement with him as soon as possible, even before the time limit set by Oslo (1999).

Contrary to the demonic image that Israel constructed for him, Arafat was the ideal partner. He was a strong leader and all sections of the Palestinian public accepted his authority completely - including those who criticized him, even including Hamas. He had the two attributes essential for making peace: the will to achieve it and the ability to convince his own people to accept it.

But, strangely enough, our government moved in the very opposite direction. The peace negotiations did not even start. The settlement drive continued unabated. Everywhere in the West Bank one could see the red tile roofs of the settlers springing up. The absolutely essential passage between the West Bank and the Gaza Strip was not opened - in spite of the solemn undertaking of the Israeli government to open four "safe passages." Not only did the economic situation of the Palestinians not improve, but on the contrary, it worsened perceptibly. Before Oslo, Palestinians could move freely in the whole of the country (including Israel proper). After Oslo, that freedom of movement was restricted more and more.

All this was already happening under Rabin, and became much worse after his murder. The stupid decision of his successor, Shimon Peres, to assassinate the Hamas bomb-maker Yahya Ayyash brought about a series of bloody revenge attacks and raised the prestige of Hamas - something totally opposed to Israeli interests as presented by our leadership.

Things reached a climax at the 2000 Camp David summit conference. Ehud Barak, the then prime minister, initiated the conference and then scuttled it himself with a blend of arrogance and ignorance. In the following days, instead of declaring that the talks would continue until peace was achieved, he spread the mantra "There is no one to talk with! We have no partner for peace!" In this he was inspired by the evil genius of his advisor (then and now), Amos Gilad, who twisted army intelligence reports to suit his destructive purpose.

Not only did Barak destroy the "Zionist Left," but he also dealt a shattering blow to Fatah, the movement that had promised the Palestinians peace with Israel. Not content with that, Barak allowed Ariel Sharon to carry out his provocative visit to the Temple Mount, accompanied by hundreds of soldiers and policemen. Thus he triggered the outbreak of the 2nd intifada and prepared the ground for Sharon to come to power.

When Sharon was elected Prime Minister at the beginning of 2001, he was determined to destroy Arafat and Fatah. He blockaded Arafat in the Ramallah Mukataa and demolished the Fatah infrastructure throughout the occupied territories. When Arafat was murdered (one can guess by whom) Mahmoud Abbas was elected to fill his place.

Contrary to Arafat, who had been demonized by the Israeli leadership for decades, Abbas was seen in Israel as a nice, peace-loving person, an absolutely ideal partner for peace. It could have been expected that our leadership would now move energetically to fortify his regime by a rapid advancement in the peace negotiations, a massive release of prisoners and the freezing of the settlements. But lo and behold: the opposite happened. Sharon ridiculed him publicly by calling him a "plucked chicken," the settlements were enlarged and the Wall was extended at a frantic pace.

Even more blatantly, Sharon evacuated the costly Gaza Strip settlements without any arrangement with the Palestinian Authority, leaving behind a complete chaos in which Hamas thrived.

THE CONSEQUENCES were not late in arriving: in the Palestinian elections, closely monitored by international inspectors, Hamas won a victory that surprised everyone, including the Hamas leadership itself. Israel boycotted the new Hamas government. In order to minimize the damage to his party, Abbas formed a Fatah-Hamas unity government, but Israel (followed by Europe and the US) boycotted that one, too.

This situation benefitted, of course, Hamas. Palestinian support for Abbas is based mainly on the hope that he can bring about peace with Israel. If he is unable to do that, who needs him?

The Israeli government - and its satellites in Washington DC - were not content with that. They tried to establish Muhammad Dahlan, a man considered by many Palestinians as an agent of Israel and the US, as the strong-man of the Gaza Strip. To preempt this move, Hamas assumed direct power in the Strip, turning it into "Hamastan." Thus Abbas lost all power over almost half of the Palestinians in the occupied territories.

This would probably have been impossible if Israel had not completely cut off the Gaza Strip from the West Bank, in violation of the agreements it had signed. In Oslo it was declared that the West Bank and the Strip constitute one single entity, and that they would be connected by safe passages. In practice, not a single passage was opened, not for a single day. Those who claim that Israel has served the Strip to Hamas on a platter do not exaggerate.

The continuation is well-known: Israel imposed a blockade on Gaza, Hamas launched rockets at Israel, a cease-fire was declared, which the Israeli army violated on November 4 by entering the Strip and killing several Hamas militants, Hamas launched more Qassam rockets, Israel started the Gaza War. Israeli leaders asserted publicly that they were waging the war also for Abbas' sake, thus marking him in the eyes of the Palestinians as a collaborator with the enemy against his own people. The Hamas regime in Gaza survived.

The net result: Hamas was hugely strengthened and according to all expectations will increase its power in the next elections. Most governments in the world understand now that they must start a dialogue with Hamas.

MANY PEOPLE around the world believe in the anti-Semitic myth that we Jews are immensely clever and that all our actions prove our diabolical cunning. Therefore, the ascent of Hamas must be the result of a shrewd Zionist conspiracy. The existence of Abbas (and Arafat before him) hinders the Jews from taking hold of the whole country, because the world demands a compromise with the "moderate" Palestinian leadership. But the world accepts that there can be no compromise with the murderous Hamas, and therefore the clever Jews are interested in a Hamas victory.

On the other hand, many Israelis believe that our governments are composed of exceedingly stupid politicians who do not know what they are doing. These Israelis believe that the series of actions that have weakened Fatah and reinforced Hamas are just a march of folly, the result of Israeli stupidity.

I propose a compromise between the two perceptions: Israeli policy is indeed foolish, but there is method in this foolishness. It can go on only because it conforms with a deep-seated desire, which most people are not conscious of or do not want to admit: to hold on to all of Eretz Israel and not to allow a Palestinian state to come into being.

If we want to change this, we must drag the unconscious motivation up to the level of consciousness: what do we want? Peace or more territory? Co-existence between two states or occupation and eternal war?

It is too late to turn the wheel back. Hamas is now a part of reality. It is in the Israeli interest that a Palestinian unity government be set up, a government with which we can reach an agreement that will be kept. If we have already played such a pivotal role in turning Hamas into a central Palestinian power, by all means let's talk with them!

This way we can also free Gilad Shalit in a prisoner exchange - before his 1000th day in captivity.
(c) 2009 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Billions Dished Out In The Shadows
By Robert Scheer

This is crazy! Forget the bleating of Rush Limbaugh; the problem is not with the quite reasonable and, if anything, underfunded stimulus package, which in any case will be debated long and hard in Congress. The problem is with what is not being debated: the far more expensive Wall Street bailout that is being pushed through-as in the case of the latest AIG rescue-in secret, hurried deal-making primarily by the unelected secretary of the treasury and the chairman of the Federal Reserve.

Six months ago, we taxpayers began bailing out AIG with more than $140 billion, and then it went and lost $61.7 billion in the fourth quarter, more than any other company in history had ever lost in one quarter. So Timothy Geithner and Ben Bernanke huddled late into the night last weekend and decided to reward AIG for its startling failure with 30 billion more of our dollars. Plus, they sweetened the deal by letting AIG off the hook for interest it had been obligated to pay on the money we previously gave the company.

AIG doesn't have to pay the 10 percent interest due on the preferred stock the U.S. government got for the earlier bailout funds because that interest will now be paid out only at AIG's discretion, which means never. The preferred stock, which got watered down, carried a cumulative interest, meaning we taxpayers would have recaptured some money if the company ever got going again, but that interest obligation was waived in the new deal.

We've already given AIG a total of $170 billion-an amount that dwarfs the $75 billion allocated to helping those millions of homeowners facing foreclosures. And more will be thrown down the AIG rat hole because President Barack Obama is blindly following the misguided advice of his top economic advisers, who insist that AIG is too big to fail.

"AIG provides insurance protection to more than 100,000 entities, including small businesses, municipalities, 401(k) plans and Fortune 500 companies who together employ over 100 million Americans," the joint Treasury Department and Fed statement declared while insisting that for that reason, plus the "systemic risk AIG continues to pose and the fragility of markets today, the potential cost to the economy and the taxpayer of government inaction would be extremely high."

What about the cost of inaction by Treasury and the Fed before this meltdown? If AIG were so important to the American economy, shouldn't government regulators have been looking more closely at its activities? They couldn't then, and even now they don't understand what AIG has been up to, because the company was allowed to operate in an essentially unregulated global economy in which multinational corporations have their way. As the Treasury/Fed statement concedes: "AIG operates in over 130 countries with over 400 regulators and the company and its regulated and unregulated subsidiaries are subject to very different resolution frameworks across their broad and diverse operations without an overarching resolution mechanism."

Oh, really? And you're discovering that only now, when you're making us bail AIG out? It wasn't that long ago that a couple of hustlers operating out of an AIG office in London were going wild making money off selling insurance on credit default swaps that no one could understand, but the company execs loved those huge profit margins. To challenge their maneuvering, as some in Congress attempted, was said by their defenders, including Geithner, to put them at an unfair disadvantage in the world market. Ignorance was bliss ... until the bubble burst.

This was all belatedly conceded by Bernanke in his Senate testimony on Tuesday: "AIG exploited a huge gap in the regulatory system. There was no oversight of the Financial Products division. This was a hedge fund, basically, that was attached to a large and stable insurance company, made huge numbers of irresponsible bets-took huge losses. There was no regulatory oversight because there was a gap in the system."

AIG used to be in the conventional insurance business, covering identifiable risks it knew something about, until it took advantage of deregulation and a lack of government surveillance to come up with contrived new financial products. Even Maurice Greenberg, the man who built AIG from the ground up over a span of 40 years before he was forced out amid corruption charges in 2005, admits that he didn't understand the newfangled financial gimmicks that the company was peddling. This week, claiming he too was swindled, Greenberg sued in federal court, charging the AIG execs who forced him out with "gross, wanton or willful fraud or other morally culpable conduct," over the credit default swap portfolio that was part of his settlement.

U.S. taxpayers now have ownership of almost 80 percent of AIG, but with the company's once solid traditional insurance business now suffering a steep loss of consumer confidence, it's not likely that even the formerly healthy parts of the company will be worth much. What we have here is all pain and no gain for the taxpayers roped into this debacle, which is proving to be the story of the entire banking bailout.
(c) 2009 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.

Editors Note: Victoria Stewart is on assignment

The GOP's Deficit Drama

Like characters from a bad German opera, national Republican Party leaders are bellowing with "Sturm und Drang" as they decry the passage of Barack Obama's $800 billion economic recovery bill.

"We don't think it's going to work," warbled House Republican leader John Boehner, who made sure that no member of his party voted for it. It is "larded with wasteful spending," bleated the GOP's new media darling, Gov. Bobby Jindal. It is "generational theft," brayed the old warhorse, John McCain.

Such gloom and doom about a bill to help Americans lift themselves and their country back up! These operatic Republican leaders hope they'll be seen as deficit hawks, defenders of future generations. In his dramaturgic response to Obama's state of the union speech, Gov. Jindal asked: "Who among us would ask our children for a loan so we could spend money we do not have on things we do not need."

Well, actually, guv, your own party would... and did. Again and again. Maybe you think we've forgotten the $3-trillion cost of George W's misadventure in Iraq, which is going on the credit card of future generations. Or perhaps you missed last year's bailout of Wall Street bankers, another commitment of several trillion dollars that the Bush White House and Congress put on our children.

Those profligate expenditures, which dwarf the amount now going to the national recovery program, bought our country nothing but a horrible war and a raw ripoff by arrogant bankers. In contrast, the spending in the recovery package will buy roads, schoolhouses, water systems, parks, health care, renewable energy, mass transit, and other real products that we do need.

Why would Republicans think that the debt they ran up is better than one that actually will benefit America - both today and for generations to come?
(c) 2009 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

It's Obama's War, Now
By Chris Hedges

This is the text of a talk by Chris Hedges that will be read at anti-war gatherings to be held by The World Can't Wait in New York's Union Square, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Seattle, Nashville, Louisville, Chicago and Berkeley on March 19 to protest the sixth anniversary of the start of the war in Iraq.

Barack Obama has shown that he is as capable of doublespeak as any other politician when he announced an end to the war in Iraq. Combat troops are to be pulled out of Iraq by August 2010, he said, but some 50,000 occupation troops will remain behind. Someone should let the Iraqis know the distinction. I doubt any soldier or Marine in Iraq will notice much difference in 19 months. Many combat units will simply be relabeled as noncombat units. And what about our small army of well-paid contractors and mercenaries? Will Dyncorp, Bechtel, Blackwater (which recently changed its name to Xe), all of whom have made fortunes off the war, pack up and go home? What about the three large super-bases, dozens of smaller military outposts and our imperial city, the Green Zone? Will American corporations give up their lucrative control of Iraqi oil?

The occupation of Iraq will not be disrupted. Lies and deception, which launched the war in the first place, are being employed by Democrats to maintain it. This is not a withdrawal. It is occupation lite. And as long as American troops are on Iraqi soil the war will grind on, the death toll on each side will continue to mount and we will remain a lightning rod for hatred and rage in the Middle East. Add to this Obama's decision to increase troop levels in Afghanistan and even his most purblind supporters will have to admit the new president is as intent on maintaining American empire as the old.

The occupation of Iraq and Afghanistan has not promoted U.S. security or stability in the Middle East. These occupations have furthered the spread of failed states, increased authoritarianism and unleashed savage violence. They have opened up voids of lawlessness, including in the tribal areas of Pakistan, where our real enemies can operate and plot against us. These occupations have scuttled the art of diplomacy and mocked the rule of law. We have become an outlaw state intent on creating more outlaw states. The occupations have, finally, empowered Iran, as well as Russia and China, which gleefully watch our self-immolation. And, in the end, we cannot win these wars. We will withdraw all our troops in an orderly manner or see these occupations collapse in an orgy of bloodshed.

Iraq, because of our invasion and occupation, no longer exists as a unified country. The experiment that was Iraq, the cobbling together of disparate and antagonistic patches of the Ottoman Empire by the victorious powers in the wake of World War I, will never come back. The Kurds have set up a de facto state in the north. The Shiites control most of the south. The center of the country is a battleground. There are at least 2 million Iraqis who have fled their homes and are internally displaced. Another 2 million have left the country, most to Syria and Jordan, which now has the largest number of refugees per capita of any country on Earth. And perhaps as many as 1.2 million Iraqis are dead because of what we have done.

The eight-year war in Afghanistan has seen the Taliban re-emerge from the ashes. An additional 30,000 troops will do little to prop up the detested and corrupt regime of Hamid Karzai. Our attempt to buy off Afghan tribal groups with money and even weapons has collapsed, with most slipping back into the arms of the Taliban insurgents. The U.N. estimates that the Taliban is now raking in $300 million a year from the expanded poppy trade to fund the resistance. The Taliban controlled about 75 percent of Afghan territory when we invaded eight years ago. It has recaptured about half of the country since its initial defeat, and its reach has expanded to the outskirts of major cities such as Kabul and Kandahar. Twenty-nine American troops died in Afghanistan the first two months of 2009, a threefold increase compared with the eight who died during the same period last year. And more Afghan civilians are dying in allied operations than at the hands of the Taliban, according to a count by the Associated Press. In the first two months of the year, American, NATO or Afghan forces have killed 100 civilians, while militants have killed 60.

Do the cheerleaders for an expanded war in Afghanistan know any history? Have they studied what happened to the Soviets, who lost 15,000 Red Army soldiers between 1979 and 1988, or even the British in the 19th century? Do they remember why we went into Afghanistan? It was, we were told, to hunt down Osama bin Laden, who is now apparently in Pakistan. Has anyone asked what our end goal is in Afghanistan? Is it nation-building? Have we declared war on the Taliban? Or is this simply the forever war on terror?

Al-Qaida, which we have also inadvertently resurrected, still finds plenty of recruits. It still runs training facilities. It still carries out attacks in London, Madrid, Iraq and now Afghanistan, which did not experience suicide bombings until December 2005. Al-Qaida has moved on. But we remain stuck, confused and lashing about wildly like a wounded and lumbering beast.

Obama, during the campaign, promised that he would pull out one combat brigade per month over a 16-month period from Iraq. But this promise has been scrapped. Instead, troop levels will remain steady for most of this year and into the first few months of 2010. Troops will only start leaving, we are told, in large numbers in the spring and summer of next year, but even the pace of this downsizing will be left to the discretion of commanders. The troops left in Iraq after the "withdrawal" will, the Obama administration says, train Iraqi soldiers, protect U.S. assets and conduct "anti-terror operations."

The U.S. agreement with Iraq, known as SOFA, or status of forces agreement, calls for all U.S. forces to be out of Iraq by the end of December 2011. But this seems very unlikely. The Pentagon has, despite the SOFA agreement, built its long-range planning around the assumption that anywhere from 30,000 to 50,000 troops will be based in Iraq long after 2011. The U.S.-Iraq agreement (which was ratified by the Iraqi parliament but never brought to the U.S. Senate for ratification, as mandated by the Constitution) calls for a national referendum to be held in Iraq during the summer of 2009. Iraqis will supposedly be able to approve or reject the agreement. The some 50 U.S. bases in Iraq are, under the agreement, to be turned over to the Iraqis.

Will Obama defy the results of a referendum and ram the continued occupation down the throats of Iraqi voters? It certainly looks like it. Of course, all this will be handled, I suspect, by having our client government in Baghdad "request" that we remain, making an even greater farce of our public commitment to democracy.

There are huge corporations who are making a lot of money off this war. Obama seems intent on not impeding the profits. So much for our anti-war candidate. We should have known better than to trust the Democrats after they rode to power in Congress in 2006 on an anti-war platform and then continued to fund our wars and approve increased troop levels in Iraq and Afghanistan.

If the delicate cease-fire we have negotiated with the former Sunni insurgents in Iraq breaks down, how will we respond? Suppose the some 100,000 Sunnis, who have been allowed to ethnically cleanse the areas they control and build militias, turn on the central Shiite-led government. Suppose we can no longer buy off these Sunni "Awakening" militias with the $300-a-month salaries we dispense to these fighters. Suppose the war heats up again. This is what happened in Afghanistan when we tried to bribe tribal groups with money and support. A deterioration of the security situation in Iraq could instantly scuttle even a reduction of forces.

And the military, if some troops do leave Iraq, will have to rely more heavily on airstrikes to control territory and keep insurgents at bay. The airstrikes in Afghanistan have, along with the expanded fighting, driven tens of thousands of Afghan refugees into Iran and Pakistan. Even the Karzai government has vigorously protested these airstrikes, which feed scores of recruits to the Taliban. Expect the same ugly backlash in Iraq.

I could live with the prolonged injustice of the occupation in Iraq if I thought there would really be peace, that we could then help rebuild the country we destroyed and that we had restored the rule of law by rejecting the Bush doctrine of pre-emptive war, something that under post-Nuremberg laws is defined as a criminal "war of aggression." I could live with 19 months more of the war if I knew it would really be the end. But the war in Iraq, like Afghanistan, will go on. Our imperial projects and killing will continue under the Obama presidency. Many more, including some of our own, will die.

The only hope now lies in renewed protests against the war and a reinvigorated anti-war movement. This time the movement should hold fast, as stalwarts like Cindy Sheehan, Cynthia McKinney and Ralph Nader have, to the moral imperative of peace and not the false hopes offered by the Democrats. They cannot be trusted. Politics is a game of pressure. Abandon that pressure and you lose.
(c) 2009 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.

What's Next, 'Zionism Denial?'
By Arthur Topham

The recent shackling and incarceration of Horst Mahler in Germany over charges of "Holocaust Denial" is the latest example of the degree of absurdity that this trend by the Zionist forces is leading mankind toward.

There is now occurring, worldwide, an ideological war (vaguely masked as a "religious" one) between the forces of darkness and deceit and the forces of light and truth. It's as simple (and yet, as complex) as that.

Following upon the heels of the other absurdity of this nature, that of Bishop Richard Williamson and the grossness and degree of the attack upon his name and his position within the beleaguered Catholic hierarchy by the Zionist zealot rabbis and their lackey's whose raison d'etre rests upon a professed foundational belief in their false messiah the Holocaust god the myth of Sillyness is thus taken to the nth degree of frivolity.

The fact that Zionist Jews everywhere are now, in unison, screaming out their proverbial Molochian chants for Bishop Williamson's blood and for him to not only recant his early remarks concerning the "Big Six" but to go further in demands he swear an unquestioning obedience and belief in their brash idol of ash, is one more startling illustration of the fact that these Mad Hatters of Holocaustasia will stop at nothing short of absolute obeisance to the object of their perpetual sorrow and worship.

Viewing this recent trend by the Zionist Jews to attack the intellectual challenges brought on by the apostles of common sense who have the audacity and courage to question their self-chosen postulates regarding the "Holocaust" with a barrage of legally restricting legislation specifically designed to thwart not only reason but justice itself, one can only ask the most obvious question, what next?

The answer to that simple and natural quer, an outcome of witnessing the historic examples of James Keegstra, and Doug Collins and Malcolm Ross and Ernst Zundel in Canada, Professor Robert Faurisson in France, Germar Rudolf of the USA, Sylvia Stolz, Juergen Graf, Gerd Honsik and Horst Mahler of Germany, historian David Irving of England and Dr. Fredrick Toben of Adelaide Institute in Australia (to name but a few of the more notable figures) is to be found in the current battle now unfolding in Canada between myself, Arthur Topham and my website and the Zionist Jew lobby organization known as the League for Human Rights of B'nai Brith Canada.

I am being charged by B'nai Brith Canada under Canada's Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act a vile and specious bit of Orwellian outrage if ever there was one that uses Canada's "Hate crimes" laws to suppress and vilify anyone who questions any aspects of either Judaism, the political ideology of Zionism or the policies of the foreign state of Israel.

As crazy and illogical as it might first appear, the actual wording of the charge brought against me and my website is living proof that the Zionists are determined to establish in this "Human Rights" complaint now before the Canadian Human Rights Tribunal, a new and unique precedent that goes beyond even the magnitude of the medieval malfeasance found in their "Holocaust Denial" legislation.

This novel precedent is to be found in the specific wording of the complaint itself which the Canadian Human Rights Commission, in their infinite wisdom, deemed admissible and worthy of holding a Tribunal hearing to debate. Using Section 13(1) and its Interpretation(2), of the CHR Act, B'nai Brith Canada stated in its complaint to the CHRC:

"The premise of this complaint is a contention that Arthur Topham and contrive to promote ongoing hatred affecting persons identifiable as Jews and/or as citizens of Israel."

If this complaint reaches its planned goal it will firmly establish as law, in the once free nation known as Canada, that no citizen of said country will be able to write anything on the Internet that is critical of the state of Israel (remembering of course that Israel is a foreign country) without taking the risk of being charged with committing a "Hate crime" under Canada's federal Canadian Human Rights Act.

As the world already knows, the essence of Israel, its life-blood, rests upon the ideology known as political Zionism. Without Zionism's fundamental tenets the state would not, could not, exist as it does in its present form. Logic thus leads one to the obvious conclusion. If it becomes a "Hate crime" in Canada to criticize Israel then to do so make it de facto of the same order of "Holocaust Denial" only in this new instance we would have to refer to it as "Zionism Denial."

I needn't burden readers with the endless avenues leading into absurdity that such a precedent would set, not only for Canada but for every nation in which the Zionist Jewish influence has gained currency.

Those of us Canucks here in the trenches battling to stop censorship of the Internet and the repression of freedom of speech are well aware that Canada is the experimental breeding-ground for Zionist legislation which inevitably curtails serious debate of all relevant political issues related to Zionist Jewish influence on western culture and its underlying institutional framework.

All alliteration aside, once they are able to get in to the law books the B'nai Brith Canada v. precedent it will open up a plethora of pandemic, pusillanimous and pestilent-stricken precedents the likes of which will make Pandora's Box appear petite by comparison.

And like all of the poisonous programs designed to control our thoughts and our means of expressing them, this current case, should it prove to be another Zionist victory, will soon wend its way south into the heart of America to then challenge that final bastion of freedom of speech contained in the US Constitution the 2nd Amendment. The time to stem this stream of Orwellian misery currently building up head in Canada is NOW. The place, CANADA. The method? Kill this serpent of censorship hiding within Sec. 13 of the Canadian Human Rights Act by severing its head before yet another false god, in this instance one called "Zionism Denial," is born from out of the dark depths of Mordor and turns its fierce fangs toward the light bringers with increased vengeance and hatred.

The light will never be overcome by the darkness but only if the people open their eyes to the clear and present danger that Zionism poses to all those who love freedom.

To assist in this cause you might write a letter of support for and address it to:

Nancy Lafontant
Registry Officer
Canadian Human Rights Tribunal

Please refer to File Number: T1360/9008

Please visit Radical Press for more articles and information on this subject.
(c) 2009 Arthur Topham is the Publisher and Editor of Radical He lives in central B.C. Canada with his wife and family and has been at the forefront of issues regarding social justice for the past forty years. He can be reached at

Revenge Of The Glut
By Paul Krugman

Remember the good old days, when we used to talk about the "subprime crisis" - and some even thought that this crisis could be "contained"? Oh, the nostalgia!

Today we know that subprime lending was only a small fraction of the problem. Even bad home loans in general were only part of what went wrong. We're living in a world of troubled borrowers, ranging from shopping mall developers to European "miracle" economies. And new kinds of debt trouble just keep emerging.

How did this global debt crisis happen? Why is it so widespread? The answer, I'd suggest, can be found in a speech Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman, gave four years ago. At the time, Mr. Bernanke was trying to be reassuring. But what he said then nonetheless foreshadowed the bust to come.

The speech, titled "The Global Saving Glut and the U.S. Current Account Deficit," offered a novel explanation for the rapid rise of the U.S. trade deficit in the early 21st century. The causes, argued Mr. Bernanke, lay not in America but in Asia.

In the mid-1990s, he pointed out, the emerging economies of Asia had been major importers of capital, borrowing abroad to finance their development. But after the Asian financial crisis of 1997-98 (which seemed like a big deal at the time but looks trivial compared with what's happening now), these countries began protecting themselves by amassing huge war chests of foreign assets, in effect exporting capital to the rest of the world.

The result was a world awash in cheap money, looking for somewhere to go.

Most of that money went to the United States - hence our giant trade deficit, because a trade deficit is the flip side of capital inflows. But as Mr. Bernanke correctly pointed out, money surged into other nations as well. In particular, a number of smaller European economies experienced capital inflows that, while much smaller in dollar terms than the flows into the United States, were much larger compared with the size of their economies.

Still, much of the global saving glut did end up in America. Why?

Mr. Bernanke cited "the depth and sophistication of the country's financial markets (which, among other things, have allowed households easy access to housing wealth)." Depth, yes. But sophistication? Well, you could say that American bankers, empowered by a quarter-century of deregulatory zeal, led the world in finding sophisticated ways to enrich themselves by hiding risk and fooling investors.

And wide-open, loosely regulated financial systems characterized many of the other recipients of large capital inflows. This may explain the almost eerie correlation between conservative praise two or three years ago and economic disaster today. "Reforms have made Iceland a Nordic tiger," declared a paper from the Cato Institute. "How Ireland Became the Celtic Tiger" was the title of one Heritage Foundation article; "The Estonian Economic Miracle" was the title of another. All three nations are in deep crisis now.

For a while, the inrush of capital created the illusion of wealth in these countries, just as it did for American homeowners: asset prices were rising, currencies were strong, and everything looked fine. But bubbles always burst sooner or later, and yesterday's miracle economies have become today's basket cases, nations whose assets have evaporated but whose debts remain all too real. And these debts are an especially heavy burden because most of the loans were denominated in other countries' currencies.

Nor is the damage confined to the original borrowers. In America, the housing bubble mainly took place along the coasts, but when the bubble burst, demand for manufactured goods, especially cars, collapsed - and that has taken a terrible toll on the industrial heartland. Similarly, Europe's bubbles were mainly around the continent's periphery, yet industrial production in Germany - which never had a financial bubble but is Europe's manufacturing core - is falling rapidly, thanks to a plunge in exports.

If you want to know where the global crisis came from, then, think of it this way: we're looking at the revenge of the glut.

And the saving glut is still out there. In fact, it's bigger than ever, now that suddenly impoverished consumers have rediscovered the virtues of thrift and the worldwide property boom, which provided an outlet for all those excess savings, has turned into a worldwide bust.

One way to look at the international situation right now is that we're suffering from a global paradox of thrift: around the world, desired saving exceeds the amount businesses are willing to invest. And the result is a global slump that leaves everyone worse off.

So that's how we got into this mess. And we're still looking for the way out.
(c) 2009 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

Feudal Gestures
Bailout Lords and Their Modern Peons
By Chris Floyd

Following the example of Arthur Silber, today we look to the work of Professor Michael Hudson to cut through the bewildering thicket of cant, con and deliberate deceit that surrounds the various "solutions" to the economic crisis. In his latest Counterpunch piece, Hudson addresses the seemingly counterintuitive spectacle of watching Alan Greenspan, the Arch-Druid of the "free market" cult, calling for nationalization of the nation's banks:

How is it that Alan Greenspan, free-market lobbyist for Wall Street, recently announced that he favored nationalization of America's banks - and indeed, mainly the biggest and most powerful? Has the old disciple of Ayn Rand gone Red in the night? Surely not.

The answer is that the rhetoric of "free markets," "nationalization" and even "socialism" (as in "socializing the losses") has been turned into the language of deception to help the financial sector mobilize government power to support its own special privileges. Having undermined the economy at large, Wall Street's public relations think tanks are now dismantling the language itself.

Exactly what does "a free market" mean? Is it what the classical economists advocated - a market free from monopoly power, business fraud, political insider dealing and special privileges for vested interests - a market protected by the rise in public regulation from the Sherman Anti-Trust law of 1890 to the Glass-Steagall Act and other New Deal legislation? Or is it a market free for predators to exploit victims without public regulation or economic policemen - the kind of free-for-all market that the Federal Reserve and Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) have created over the past decade or so? It seems incredible that people should accept today's neoliberal idea of "market freedom" in the sense of neutering government watchdogs, Alan Greenspan-style, letting Angelo Mozilo at Countrywide, Hank Greenberg at AIG, Bernie Madoff, Citibank, Bear Stearns and Lehman Brothers loot without hindrance or sanction, plunge the economy into crisis and then use Treasury bailout money to pay the highest salaries and bonuses in U.S. history.

Terms that are the antithesis of "free market" also are being turned into the opposite of what they historically have meant. Take today's discussions about nationalizing the banks. For over a century nationalization has meant public takeover of monopolies or other sectors to operate them in the public interest rather than leaving them so special interests. But when neoliberals use the word "nationalization" they mean a bailout, a government giveaway to the financial interests.

In the mind-boggling bailouts and other "reforms" being pushed by Western states to "save" the financial system from itself, Hudson sees something deeper than a panicky reaction to an immediate crisis. Instead, what we are witnessing is a "surge" in a long campaign to roll back, dismantle and destroy advancements in the common good made grudgingly -- with much toil and blood and many disastrous defeats -- over the course of many centuries:

Today's clash of civilization is not really with the Orient; it is with our own past, with the Enlightenment itself and its evolution into classical political economy and Progressive Era social reforms aimed at freeing society from the surviving trammels of European feudalism. What we are seeing is propaganda designed to deceive, to distract attention from economic reality so as to promote the property and financial interests from whose predatory grasp classical economists set out to free the world. What is being attempted is nothing less than an attempt to destroy the intellectual and moral edifice of what took Western civilization eight centuries to develop, from the 12th century Schoolmen discussing Just Price through 19th and 20th century classical economic value theory.

Any idea of "socialism from above," in the sense of "socializing the risk," is old-fashioned oligarchy - kleptocratic statism from above.

And as Hudson notes, the most effective way -- the only way, really -- to impose this kind of feudalism on a society is through lies, repression and violence:

Economic writers from the 16th through 20th centuries recognized that free markets required government oversight to prevent monopoly pricing and other charges levied by special privilege. By contrast, today's neoliberal ideologues are public relations advocates for vested interests to depict a "free market" is one free of government regulation, "free" of anti-trust protection, and even of protection against fraud, as evidenced by the SEC's refusal to move against Madoff, Enron, Citibank et al.). The neoliberal ideal of free markets is thus basically that of a bank robber or embezzler, wishing for a world without police so as to be sufficiently free to siphon off other peoples' money without constraint.

The Chicago Boys in Chile realized that markets free for predatory finance and insider privatization could only be imposed at gunpoint. These free-marketers closed down every economics department in Chile, every social science department outside of the Catholic University where the Chicago Boys held sway. Operation Condor arrested, exiled or murdered tens of thousands of academics, intellectuals, labor leaders and artists. Only by totalitarian control over the academic curriculum and public media backed by an active secret police and army could "free markets" neoliberal style be imposed. The resulting privatization at gunpoint became an exercise in what Marx called "primitive accumulation" - seizure of the public domain by political elites backed by force. It is a free market William-the-Conqueror or Yeltsin-kleptocrat style, with property parceled out to the companions of the political or military leader.

All this was just the opposite of the kind of free markets that Adam Smith had in mind when he warned that businessmen rarely get together but to plot ways to fix markets to their advantage.

Further on, Hudson notes how so-called liberals and progressives have also expunged and distorted the history of "their side;" i.e., the debates on how best to transform the violent oligarchies:

The argument between Progressive Era reformers, socialists, anarchists and individualists thus turned on the political strategy of how best to free markets from debt and rent. Where they differed was on the best political means to achieve it, above all the role of the state. There was broad agreement that the state was controlled by vested interests inherited from feudal Europe's military conquests and the world that was colonized by European military force. The political question at the turn of the 20th century was whether peaceful democratic reform could overcome the political and even military resistance wielded by the Old Regime using violence to retain its "rights." The ensuing political revolutions were grounded in the Enlightenment, in the legal philosophy of men such as John Locke, political economists such as Adam Smith, John Stuart Mill and Marx. Power was to be used to free markets from the predatory property and financial systems inherited from feudalism. Markets were to be free of privilege and free lunches, so that people would obtain income and wealth only by their own labor and enterprise. This was the essence of the labor theory of value and its complement, the concept of economic rent as the excess of market price over socially necessary cost-value.

Although we now know that markets and prices, rent and interest, contractual formalities and nearly all the elements of economic enterprise originated in the "mixed economies" of Mesopotamia in the fourth millennium BC and continued throughout the mixed public/private economies of classical antiquity, the discussion was so politically polarized that the idea of a mixed economy with checks and balances received scant attention a century ago...

All this history of economic thought has been as thoroughly expunged from today's academic curriculum as it has from popular discussion. Few people remember the great debate at the turn of the 20th century: Would the world progress fairly quickly from Progressive Era reforms to outright socialism - public ownership of basic economic infrastructure, natural monopolies (including the banking system) and the land itself (and to Marxists, of industrial capital as well)? Or, could the liberal reformers of the day - individualists, land taxers, classical economists in the tradition of Mill, and American institutionalists such as Simon Patten - retain capitalism's basic structure and private property ownership? If they could do so, they recognized that it would have to be in the context of regulating markets and introducing progressive taxation of wealth and income. This was the alternative to outright "state" ownership. Today's extreme "free market" idea is a dumbed-down caricature of this position.

In any case, the dreams of reformers of every stripe has come to naught in a world that not even the most rapacious robber barons could have dreamed of -- or hoped for -- a century ago, Hudson notes:

Reformists and more radical socialists alike sought to free capitalism of its egregious inequities, above all its legacy from Europe's Dark Age of military conquest when invading warlords seized lands and imposed an absentee landlord class to receive the rental income, which was used to finance wars of further land acquisition. As matters turned out, hopes that industrial capitalism could reform itself along progressive lines to purge itself of its legacy from feudalism have come crashing down. World War I hit the global economy like a comet, pushing it into a new trajectory and catalyzing its evolution into an unanticipated form of finance capitalism.

It was unanticipated largely because most reformers spent so much effort advocating progressive policies that they neglected what Thorstein Veblen called the vested interests. Their Counter-Enlightenment is creating a world that would have been deemed a dystopia a century ago - something so pessimistic that no futurist dared depict a world run by venal and corrupt bankers, protecting as their prime customers the monopolies, real estate speculators and hedge funds whose economic rent, financial gambling and asset-price inflation is turned into a flow of interest in today's rentier economy. Instead of industrial capitalism increasing capital formation we are seeing finance capitalism strip capital, and instead of the promised world of leisure we are being drawn into one of debt peonage.

"A world of debt peonage" -- for the peons, of course, not for those who created the crisis. Turning to the present day and the "solutions" being offered by the "progressive" Obama Administration, Hudson notes:

The Treasury's plan to "socialize" the banks, insurance companies and other financial institutions is simply to step in and take bad loans off their books, shifting the loss onto the public sector. This is the antithesis of true nationalization or "socialization" of the financial system. The banks and insurance companies quickly got over their initial knee-jerk fear that a government bailout would occur on terms that would wipe out their bad management, along with the stockholders and bondholders who backed this bad management. The Treasury has assured these mismanagers that "socialism" for them is a free gift. The primacy of finance over the rest of the economy will be affirmed, leaving management in place and giving stockholders a chance to recover by earning more from the economy at large, with yet more tax favoritism. (This means yet heavier taxes shifted onto consumers, raising their living costs accordingly.)

The bulk of wealth under capitalism - as under feudalism -always has come primarily from the public domain, headed by the land and formerly public utilities, capped most recently by the Treasury's debt-creating power. In effect, the Treasury creates a new asset ($11 trillion of new Treasury bonds and guarantees, e.g. the $5.2 trillion to Fannie and Freddie). Interest on these bonds is to be paid by new levies on labor, not on property.

It is, as always, a win-win game for the monied elite. (For more on this, see another analyst whom Silber has alerted us to, Mike Whitney, in his latest piece: The Geithner Put.) Hudson's grim conclusion seems all too apt:

Neoliberal denunciations of public regulation and taxation as "socialism" is really an attack on classical political economy - the "original" liberalism whose ideal was to free society from the parasitic legacy of feudalism. A truly socialized Treasury policy would be for banks to lend for productive purposes that contribute to real economic growth, not merely to increase overhead and inflate asset prices by enough to extract interest charges. Fiscal policy would aim to minimize rather than maximizing the price of home ownership and doing business, by basing the tax system on collecting the rent that is now being paid out as interest. Shifting the tax burden off wages and profits onto rent and interest was the core of classical political economy in the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the Progressive Era and Social Democratic reform movements in the United States and Europe prior to World War I. But this doctrine and its reform program has been buried by the rhetorical smokescreen organized by financial lobbyists seeking to muddy the ideological waters sufficiently to mute popular opposition to today's power grab by finance capital and monopoly capital. Their alternative to true nationalization and socialization of finance is debt peonage, oligarchy and neo-feudalism. They have called this program "free markets."

The brass of our financial elites is awe-inspiring, indeed almost sublime. In broad daylight, they are taking a gargantuan catastrophe -- for which they are to blame, and for which everyone rightly and angrily blames them -- and they are using it to further entrench their power and privilege. That sure is one hell of a trick...and there sure enough will be hell to pay -- for us, not them -- if they can pull it off.
(c) 2009 Chris Floyd

Why Trees Dance
By Case Wagenvoord

Open Letters to George W. Bush from his ardent admirer, Belacqua Jones

Dear George,

Have you ever noticed how a tree dances, even on the stillest of days? The dance begins quietly at the base of the trunk and curves slowly upwards until it explodes as the leaves catapult into the sunlight.

Trees dance because they snookered humanity. When Adam ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge, he swallowed a seed. The seed took root, germinated and became the label, the epithet, the sobriquet, the designation and the grouping with which we mark, classify, categorize and dub the "Other."

Without the label, there could be no slaughter or oppression. We can't oppress Marilyn, but a "bitch" is easy. We'll think twice about murdering Sam, but offing a "nigger" is a cakewalk.

If the state commits an atrocity against a label or a category, it is not an atrocity; it's policy.

As Zappa's talking dog once opined, "The crux of the biscuit is in the apostrophe." The apostrophe makes the denial of our denial possible. Never say "don't" (as in, we don't murder, we only defend) because a denial is a tacit admission that what is denied might exist, but since we refuse to acknowledge the possibility of its existence, we cannot allow the possibility of its denial. (Have Laura explain that one to you.)

I mention this because the state is going to have to do a hell of a lot of labeling as we enter the Deindustrial Revolution.

You've heard all the talk about bubbles, housing bubbles and asset bubbles. Forget them all! They were mere blisters on the mother of all bubbles, the Industrial Revolution. Yes, George, that great outburst of human ingenuity and technological wizardry was little more than a bubble facilitated by cheap oil and a population that lived is sod huts and log cabins.

The tremor you feel under your feet is the mother bubble deflating. The markets are saturated, the consumers are tapped out, the oil wells are starting to run dry, and refinflation is a pipe dream. There ain't no more return on investment other than funny money expressed as the numbers that dance across the financial world's computer screens.

As one writer puts it:

It seems normal to most people that they should be able to invest their money and, as a matter of course, get back more than they put in. This reflects the dynamics of an expanding economy; if the production of real wealth is increasing, investments on average will increase in value over time to match the growth in real wealth, and the payback on investments reflects this. Outside of the special conditions of a growth economy, though, that logic no longer applies.

Guess what, Big Guy; the days of an expanding economy are no more, and that's going to piss off a lot of people. So when granny straps a bomb to her chest and heads for the nearest Duane Reade because her drug coverage has been cancelled, she ain't granny no more, she's a "grey terrorist" whom the state can gun down with impunity.

And all the riff-raff that rises up and begins burning and looting are no longer our neighbors; they are "insurgents" who can be strafed and droned in the name of national security.

The tree did us a great favor when it gave Adam that seed. That's why it dances; it got rid of it.

Have you ever seen a policymaker dance?

Your admirer,
Belacqua Jones
(c) 2009 Case Wagenvoord. Some years ago, Case Wagenvoord turned off the tube and picked up a book. He's been trouble ever since. His articles have been posted at The Smirking Chimp, Countercurrents and Dissident Voice. When he's not writing or brooding, he is carving hardwood bowls that have been displayed in galleries and shows across the country. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two cats. His book, Open Letters to George W. Bush is available at

Game Over!
By Mike Folkerth

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

Unlike the Rocky Mountain News (Rockie), I'm still here in western Colorado reporting the news. The Rockie was Colorado's oldest newspaper and printed its last ink Friday as the company continued to lose money month after month.

There is a lot of sorrow going around at the loss of the iconic paper, but I'm not one that's sorry. I feel bad for the employee's, but that's about it. Newspapers in general become far too influential as propaganda rags. Whether the owners and editors are conservative or liberal, that is the slant of the paper.

"If you don't read the newspaper you are uninformed, if you do read the newspaper you are misinformed." ~~~ Mark Twain

In today's world, it is extremely difficult to start a competing paper, due to the staggering start up costs, which in economic terms is described as a barrier to entry.

This is not so with an internet blog and therefore the Rockie lost out to such unlikely characters as The King of Simple. Not to mention that so far, the internet news is free as a bird.

Many years ago Bill Gates described why newspapers and other printed media would become a thing of the past as glass books (now called e-books) and internet news would slowly force the daily newspaper into the same historical fate as Mastodons. It made sense to me then and even more so today.

Newspapers require the use of millions of tons of paper annually that is used for a few minutes of one day and then discarded. Okay, the stuff in the bottom of the parakeet cage lasts a week, but how many parakeets are there?

The total fuel consumed from the guy cutting down the pulp tree to the guy delivering the paper and all the energy input in between is staggering. The database for the printed paper was not searchable without physically going to the printed achieves. There were no truth sites in the paper such as where a person could do a search to determine whether the content was legitimate.

Prior to televised and internet news, the printed paper was an extremely valuable tool. Prior to the automobile, the horse and buggy was also a valuable tool.

There is a lesson for me, and hopefully for you also, in this entire newspaper death story. That lesson is that things change and there is precious little that we can do about it. Thousands more people are employed in the internet and televised news businesses than were ever employed by newspapers.

Far more diversity and information exists on the internet than could have ever been possible in the paper. With this plethora of information, it then becomes our job as individuals to sort the wheat from the chaff. If you enjoy the news here at King of Simple and benefit from the interaction with likeminded folks, you tune in. If not, you tune out.

When the winds of change begin to blow as they are today, opportunity blows in with the storm. When the horse and buggy folks were singing their death knell, the automobile and bicycle gang were having a grand celebration party. The tables may well be turned in the coming years. Having a farmer in the family may well become more valuable than having a Senator in the family.

Speaking of farms, you have all heard the term, "betting the farm." This simply means that a bet has been placed of such magnitude, that if it goes wrong, all is lost. Barrack Obama has bet the farm. The problem is that our president doesn't have a farm; so he bet yours.

The trillions upon trillions that have been wagered against the creation of a level of growth in our economy that is both physically and mathematically impossible; was a very, very bad bet. A bet that we will pay for with the final and total destruction of the Middle Class.

I shouldn't say that we will all pay, because politicians and big government advocates will gain. The cornucopians and progressives are literally dancing in the streets. They have finally gained controlling leadership who actually believe that the social sciences can trump natural physics. Their joy will be short lived.

If you see this differently and can explain your position, please use this forum to do so. If you can counter my arguments of the past two years, have at it, explain how I have been right thus far, but was only lucky. If you can help me to see that growth of incomes and continual growth of population can coexist, be my guest.

The level of incompetence being displayed by our current leadership has in my opinion eclipsed the all time record for ignorance and irresponsibility. I personally have no doubt regarding the disastrous outcome of our current direction and therefore I am left to self preparation for the impending collision with reality.

In a nutshell, as usual, I urge you to live simple, live free, and live well. We will begin a conversation next week as to how I see things playing out and a plan to best protect ourselves from the worst of the fallout.
(c) 2009 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

"Talk is cheap, except when Congress does it!"
~~~ Cullen Hightower

Obama's Coalition Of The Unwilling
By Amy Goodman

President Barack Obama met recently with the prime ministers of Canada and Britain. This week's meeting with Britain's Gordon Brown, who was pitching a "global New Deal," created a minor flap when the White House downsized a full news conference to an Oval Office question-and-answer session, viewed by some in Britain as a snub. The change was attributed to the weather, with the Rose Garden covered with snow.

It might have actually related not to snow cover, but to a snow job, covering up the growing divide between Afghanistan policies.

U.S. policy in Afghanistan includes a troop surge, already under way, and continued bombing in Pakistan using unmanned drones. Escalating civilian deaths are a certainty. The United Nations estimates that more than 2,100 civilians died in 2008, a 40 percent jump over 2007.

The occupation of Afghanistan is in its eighth year, and public support in many NATO countries is eroding. Joseph Stiglitz, winner of the 2001 Nobel Memorial Prize in Economics, told me: "The move into Afghanistan is going to be very expensive. ... Our European NATO partners are getting disillusioned with the war. I talked to a lot of the people in Europe, and they really feel this is a quagmire."

Forty-one nations contribute to NATO's 56,000-troop presence in Afghanistan. More than half of the troops are from the U.S. The United Kingdom has 8,300 troops, Canada just under 3,000. Maintaining troops is costly, but the human toll is greater. Canada, with 108 deaths, has suffered the highest per capita death rate for foreign armies in Afghanistan, since its forces are based in the south around Kandahar, where the Taliban is strong.

Last Sunday on CNN, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper said, "We're not going to win this war just by staying ... we are not going to ever defeat the insurgency." U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates recently wrote in Foreign Affairs magazine: "The United States cannot kill or capture its way to victory." Yet it's Canada that has set a deadline for troop withdrawal at the end of 2011. The U.S. is talking escalation.

Anand Gopal, Afghanistan correspondent for The Christian Science Monitor, described the situation on the ground: "A lot of Afghans that I speak to in these southern areas where the fighting has been happening say that to bring more troops, that's going to mean more civilian casualties. It'll mean more of these night raids, which have been deeply unpopular amongst Afghans. ... Whenever American soldiers go into a village and then leave, the Taliban comes and attacks the village." Afghan Parliamentarian Shukria Barakzai, a woman, told Gopal: "Send us 30,000 scholars instead. Or 30,000 engineers. But don't send more troops-it will just bring more violence."

Women in Afghanistan play a key role in winning the peace. A photographer wrote me: "There will be various celebrations across Afghanistan to honor International Women's Day on Sunday, March 8. In Kandahar there will be an event with hundreds of women gathering to pray for peace, which is especially poignant in a part of Afghanistan that is so volatile." After returning from an international women's gathering in Moscow, feminist writer Gloria Steinem noted that the discussion centered around getting the media to hire peace correspondents to balance the war correspondents. Voices of civil society would be amplified, giving emphasis to those who wage peace. In the U.S. media, there is an equating of fighting the war with fighting terrorism. Yet on the ground, civilian casualties lead to tremendous hostility. Mary Robinson, former president of Ireland, recently told me: "I've been saddened and shocked by virulent anti-American responses to those wars [in Iraq and Afghanistan]. They're seen as occupations. ... I think it's very important we learn from mistakes of sounding war drums." She added, "There's such a connection from the Middle East to Afghanistan to Pakistan which builds on strengths of working with neighbors."

Barack Obama was swept through the primaries and into the presidency on the basis of his anti-war message. Prime ministers like Brown and Harper are bending to growing public demand for an end to war. Yet in the U.S., there is scant debate about sending more troops to Afghanistan, and about the spillover of the war into Pakistan.
2009 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 700 stations in North America. She has been awarded the 2008 Right Livelihood Award, dubbed the "Alternative Nobel Prize" from the Swedish Parliament.

American Aliens Invade Mexico
By Barbara Peterson

You've got it, folks. American aliens are invading Mexico. Not with backpacks and children in tow, but on the winds of cross-pollination. If you don't know what cross-pollination is, here is a definition:

Cross Pollination - The fertilization of the ovary on one plant with pollen from another plant, producing a progeny with a new genetic makeup distinct from either parent.

And just how does this pollen get from one plant to the other? Insects, birds, and wind. Simple, and uncontrollable by the human hand. A GMO plant from one field has pollen. That pollen is picked up by a bee or the wind and carried to another field where it randomly pollinates an unprotected plant. Bingo! Cross-pollination. The offspring will never be the same. It will be some sort of GMO abomination called a transgenic plant. Bye bye organic fields, bye bye unique crops and centuries old seed varieties, hello Monsanto clones.

And Mexico is concerned as well it should be, because the ever elusive answer to the question of "just how does one go about cleaning up the mess?" is as Donovan sings, "ah, but I may as well try and catch the wind." That's right, folks. It cannot be cleaned up, just as the wind cannot be controlled. As long as GMO plants are allowed to run free and pollinate at will, no crop is safe.

How about Terminator seed technology, you say? Terminator seeds are engineered to be sterile. Terminator seeds are what we hear about. What Monsanto doesn't talk about is Traitor seed technology. You see, while we were all worried about seeds that would not bear fruit for the next year, Monsanto and company have been happily flooding the planet with Traitor seeds. These seeds will most definitely bear fruit. The problem with them is this - they contain a trigger mechanism genetically engineered to require the application of an outside force to trigger the gene trait. A two-part mix, if you will. The seed is genetically manipulated to produce a plant that requires the application of something external like Monsanto's Round-up pesticide to trigger the growth mechanism of the plant.

GENETIC MUTILATION: An especially disturbing feature of some of the new patents profiled in RAFI's report is the deliberate disabling of natural plant functions that help to fight disease. Swiss biotech giant Novartis is most advanced in this aspect of Traitor technology. Novartis blandly refers to it as "inactivation of endogenous regulation" so that "genes which are natively regulated can be regulated exclusively by the application to the plant of a chemical regulator."

Among the genes which Novartis can control in this manner are patented SAR (systemic acquired resistance) genes which are critical to plant's ability to fight off infections from many viruses and bacteria. Thus, Novartis has patented techniques to create plants with natural healthy functions turned off. "The only way to turn them back on and fix these 'damaged goods' " says RAFI's Edward Hammond, "is, well, you guessed it, the application of a proprietary chemical."

If enough chemicals are not applied, the genetically modified plants' genes are not triggered and they do not grow well. You have to apply the appropriate chemicals to get them to grow. This is what I believe happened in India with the Bt Cotton, when the farmers committed suicide. They could not afford all of the chemicals. Coincidentally, the same company that manufactures the seeds manufactures the appropriate chemicals. This is even more insidious than the Terminator seed technology because it is being kept secret. Farmers think they are applying insecticides to get rid of pests, and they are really applying them to trigger the genetically modified gene trait so the plants will grow. No pesticides, no growth.

So, if the Traitor seeds don't get you, the Monsanto Gestapo will if they find out their abominations have infected your fields. Read the following article from New Scientist. It is short, but probably had to be to escape the ever-watchful eyes of the Monsanto Gestapo. After all, if Monsanto gets wind of this, the Mexican farmers are through. Monsanto will own their farms because their abominations are patented.

'Alien' genes escape into wild corn
New Scientist
February 21, 2009

NOW it's official: genes from genetically modified corn have escaped into wild varieties in rural Mexico. A new study resolves a long-running controversy over the spread of GM genes and suggests that detecting such escapes may be tougher than previously thought.

(c) 2009 Barbara H. Peterson is retired from the California Department of Corrections, where she worked as a Correctional Officer at Folsom Prison. She was one of the first females to work at the facility in this classification.

After retirement, she went to college online to obtain a Bachelor's degree in Business, and graduated with honors. The most valuable thing she received from her time with UOP was a realization that her life's passion is writing. Now her business degree sits in her desk drawer, and she counts herself in the category of Writer/Activist.

Barbara lives on a small ranch in Oregon with her husband, where they raise geese, chickens, Navajo Churro sheep, Oggie Dog, a variety of cats, and an opinionated Macaw named Rita. She believes that self-sufficiency and localization of food sources is necessary to survive the coming depression. To this end, she hopes that sharing information with others of like mind will lead to a brighter future where people reach out to each other and form small communities in which food is grown locally, and trade is established between neighbors.

The Dead Letter Office...

Eric gives the Republican salute

Heil Obama,

Dear Deputyfuhrer Holder,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your constant attempt to put both Bush and Obama above the law by making warrantless spying upon all Americans a state secret and stirring up racial hatred, Iraq and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Demoncratic Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Obama's Efforts To Block A Judicial Ruling On Bush's Illegal Eavesdropping
By Glenn Greenwald

The Obama DOJ's embrace of Bush's state secrets privilege in the Jeppesen (torture/rendition) case generated substantial outrage, and rightly so. But it's now safe to say that far worse is the Obama DOJ's conduct in the Al-Haramain case -- the only remaining case against the Government with any real chance of resulting in a judicial ruling on the legality of Bush's NSA warrantless eavesdropping program. Here's the first paragraph from the Wired report on Friday's appellate ruling, which refused the Obama DOJ's request to block a federal court from considering key evidence when deciding whether Bush broke the law in how he spied on Americans:

A federal appeals court dealt a blow to the Obama administration Friday when it refused to block a judge from admitting top secret evidence in a lawsuit weighing whether a U.S. president may bypass Congress, as President George W. Bush did, and establish a program of eavesdropping on Americans without warrants.

And here are the two paragraphs from the AP report:

The Obama administration has lost its argument that a potential threat to national security should stop a lawsuit challenging the government's warrantless wiretapping program. . . .

The Obama administration, like the Bush administration before it, claimed national security would be compromised if a lawsuit brought by the Oregon chapter of the charity, Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, was allowed to proceed.

Let's just pause for a moment to consider how remarkable those statements are. One of the worst abuses of the Bush administration was its endless reliance on vast claims of secrecy to ensure that no court could ever rule on the legality of the President's actions. They would insist that "secrecy" prevented a judicial ruling even when the President's actions were (a) already publicly disclosed in detail and (b) were blatantly criminal -- as is the case with the NSA warrantless eavesdropping program, which The New York Times described on its front page more than three years ago and which a federal statute explicitly criminalized. Secrecy claims of that sort -- to block judicial review of the President's conduct, i.e., to immunize the President from the rule of law -- provoked endless howls of outrage from Bush critics.

Yet now, the Obama administration is doing exactly the same thing. Hence, it is accurately deemed "a blow to the Obama administration" that a court might rule on whether George Bush broke the law when eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. Why is the Obama administration so vested in preventing that from happening, and -- worse still -- in ensuring that Presidents continue to have the power to invoke extremely broad secrecy claims in order to block courts from ruling on allegations that a President has violated the law?

Obama defenders take note: this is not a case where the Obama DOJ claims more time is needed to decide what to do, nor is it even a case where the Obama DOJ merely passively adopted the Bush DOJ's already filed arguments. Here, they have done much, much more than that. Obama lawyers have been running around for weeks attempting one desperate, extreme measure after the next to prevent this case from proceeding -- emergency appeals, requests for stays, and every time they lose, threats of still further appeals, this time to the U.S. Supreme Court.

During the controversy in the Jeppesen/rendition case, there were actually "defend-Obama-at-all-costs" advocates in the comment section offering the painfully ludicrous excuse that Obama only embraced Bush's State Secrets theory because Obama secretly hoped and expected to lose the case and thus create good judicial precedent. But in the Al-Haramin case, the Obama DOJ has now lost -- twice -- in their attempts to invoke secrecy to stop this case from proceeding, but they just keep searching for a court to accept their claims:

Yet government lawyers signaled they would continue fighting to keep the information secret, setting up a new showdown between the courts and the White House over national security. . . .

[H]ours after the appeals court made its decision, government lawyers filed new papers insisting they still did not have to turn over any sensitive information.

''The government respectfully requests that the court refrain from further actions to provide plaintiffs with access to classified information,'' said the filing, suggesting the Obama administration may appeal the matter again to keep the information secret and block the case from going forward.

Manifestly, the Obama DOJ has one goal and one goal only here: to prevent any judicial ruling as to whether the Bush NSA warrantless eavesdropping program was illegal. And they're engaging in extraordinary efforts to ensure that occurs.

To explain why this behavior is so pernicious, so lawless and so dangerous, I'm going to turn the floor over to a long-time, eloquent critic of Bush's secrecy theories -- who just so happens also to be Obama's soon-to-be-confirmed appointee for Chief of the Office of Legal Counsel, Dawn Johnsen. In March of 2008 -- less than a year ago -- this is what she said about the Bush administration's efforts NYT? What's Bush's Excuse for Keeping Law Violations Secret?

But I think we do have to name the even more fundamental question: whether the Bush administration itself acted responsibly in keeping secret that same story. What was its legitimate justification in the first place for misleading the NYT into keeping that information secret for more than a year?

I'm afraid we are growing immune to just how outrageous and destructive it is, in a democracy, for the President to violate federal statutes in secret. Remember that much of what we know about the Bush administration's violations of statutes (and yes, I realize they claim not to be violating statutes) came first only because of leaks and news coverage. Incredibly, we still don't know the full extent of our government's illegal surveillance or illegal interrogations (and who knows what else) -- despite Congress's failed efforts to get to the bottom of it. Congress instead resorted to enacting new legislation on both issues largely in the dark.

Yet here we have the Obama DOJ doing exactly this -- not merely trying desperately to keep the Bush administration's spying activities secret, and not merely devoting itself with full force to preventing disclosure of relevant documents concerning this illegal program, but far worse, doing everything in its power even to prevent any judicial adjudication as to whether the Bush administration broke the law by spying on Americans without warrants. As Obama's hand-picked OLC chief put it: "I'm afraid we are growing immune to just how outrageous and destructive it is, in a democracy, for the President to violate federal statutes in secret."

The details of this case (which I've recounted in full here) highlight even further how indefensible is the Obama DOJ's conduct. The Bush administration succeeded in blocking all other judicial challenges to its illegal NSA eavesdropping with the Kafkaesque argument that because (a) nobody knows on whom the Bush administration spied without warrants (precisely because eavesdropping without warrants ensures that the targets are concealed from everyone, including even a court) and (b) that information cannot be disclosed to anyone (including courts) because it's a "State Secret," no individual party has "standing" to sue because nobody can prove that they were actually subjected to the illegal eavesdropping (because it was done in the dark).

But this case, from the start, was different. As part of a criminal investigation against the Al-Haramain Islamic Foundation, an Oregon-based charity, the Bush DOJ accidentally turned over to the charity's lawyers a document showing that the Bush NSA eavesdropped without warrants on conversations between the charity and its two lawyers, both U.S. citizens. The charity and its lawyers then sued the Bush administration for illegally eavesdropping on their communications. That document is what distinguished this case from all other NSA cases, because it enables the plaintiffs (the charity and its lawyers) to prove that they were subjected to Bush's illegal spying program and they therefore have standing to sue.

It is that document -- which has been described publicly and which the plaintiffs' lawyers have already seen -- which the Obama DOJ is now desperately attempting to block the court from considering on the grounds that allowing the case to proceed will -- somehow -- harm America's national security. Everyone knows the Bush administration spied on Americans without warrants and in violation of the law. Everyone knows that this document reflects that these plaintiffs were among those who were illegally spied on.

Still, there's the Obama administration -- just like the Bush administration -- claiming that we'll all be slaughtered if a court rules on whether the President broke the law. And, as Marcy Wheeler astutely notes, the lawbreaking here is particularly egregious (and certainly criminal) since some of the warrantless eavesdropping here appears to have occurred in March, 2004 -- during the exact period when even the Bush DOJ expressly concluded that the NSA program was so illegal that it refused to certify its legality and top DOJ officials (including John Ashcroft) threatened to resign in protest of its continuation (here's more from Marcy on some key details in this case, and from EFF as well).

Our nation's most transparent administration in history won't bother to explain why they're doing any of this: "A Justice Department spokesman declined to comment." We'll probably have to wait for one of them to gather up enough courage to anonymously whisper their alleged reasons into Marc Ambinder's faithful ear. In the meantime, while we wait for that, what is clear is that the Obama DOJ has undertaken exactly the same mission as the Bush DOJ for years so successfully carried out: namely, ensuring that Presidents remain above the law by invoking patently absurd claims of secrecy to argue that our National Security cannot withstand judicial rulings on whether the President's actions were, in fact, illegal.

* * * * *

On a related note: last week, I interviewed the ACLU's Jonathan Hafetz about the Obama administration's March 23 deadline to file a Supreme Court brief in the Al-Marri case, brought by the last person still being held on U.S. soil as an "enemy combatant." In 2003, Al-Marri (Hafetz's client), who was in the U.S. legally on a student visa, was about to be tried on various criminal charges when, at the last minute, Bush declared him an "enemy combatant" and ordered him transferred to a military brig, where he has remained ever since with no charges and no trial. In his case, the Fourth Circuit's Court of Appeals last year largely upheld the power of the President to imprison legal residents (and even U.S. citizens) on U.S. soil in military prison with no criminal charges, and the U.S. Supreme Court had agreed to review that decision.

This week, the Obama DOJ filed criminal charges against Al-Marri, so he will now be transferred back to the civilian court system and have what the U.S. Constitution clearly mandates: a full trial and due process. For Al-Marri, that is a positive step: now, he'll only remain in prison if he's convicted of a crime in a real court and (presumably) will be freed if he's acquitted. That's how our system is supposed to work.

But whether this is a positive step in a general sense is a different question. In the Jose Padilla case, the Bush administration kept a U.S. citizen in a cage for many years without charges of any kind, and then suddenly filed criminal charges against him right as the Supreme Court was set to rule on the constitutionality of imprisoning U.S. citizens as "enemy combatants" with no trial. Once they finally indicted Padilla, the Bush administration ran and argued that the indictment rendered the questions before the Court moot. The Supreme Court, in essence, agreed and refused to hear the appeal, thus leaving in place the Fourth Circuit's affirmation that the President has this power.

If that is what the Obama DOJ does here -- namely, if it succeeds in its efforts to convince the Supreme Court not to rule on this critical matter because, yet again, the individual who has been encaged for years without charges was, at the last minute, transferred to a civilian court (thus leaving standing the Fourth Circuit's horrendous ruling) -- that will be destructive for all the reasons that Bush critics cited when the same thing was done in the Padilla case.

The Obama DOJ deserves some limited credit for indicting Al-Marri and thus refusing to continue to imprison him with no charges. It's certainly not Obama's fault that Al-Marri was imprisoned for years with no charges, and the only fair option was to do what they did: give him a real trial. But if this indictment results in the preservation of the President's power in the future to similarly detain people without charges -- because of the Obama DOJ's efforts to block the Supreme Court from ruling on this question -- then it is worthy of criticisms for the same reasons it was in the Padilla case.

Ultimately, the real question is not whether you think Obama will use these powers the same way Bush did (nobody can know that), but rather: do you want the secrecy and detention architecture built by George Bush, Dick Cheney and David Addington to remain in place so that -- even if it remains dormant now -- Obama or some future President can decide at any time to revitalize and use it at will? Thus far, Obama's answer to that question seems to be a resounding "yes."

UPDATE: I spoke to the annual conference of the ACLU of Massachusetts last month regarding impediments to the restoration of civil liberties under the Obama administration. I posted the link at the end of yesterday's post, but since that was at the end of the day, and since the speech relates directly to the topic here, I'll post it again for those interested: the 30-minute speech can be heard on MP3 here and is also available on ITunes here (the video of the speech may or may not be posted at some point in the future).
(c) 2009 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy.

Operation Crossroads "Baker"

It's Time For The Madness To Stop
By Sheila Samples

Sometimes it's hard to come to grips with the truth -- especially if that truth is about our own country, and is in direct opposition to everything we've been taught since childhood. Patriotism is in our genes, and through the years it has been a national conviction that, if our country needed us, serving in the military to protect our freedom was not only the right thing to do, but the only thing to do. We still believe that. We still leap to our feet at the first beat of a drum at a military parade, clutch our hearts at the sight of the Stars and Stripes, weep at the refrain of the National Anthem. However, far too many of us succumb to the pomp and pageantry of war -- of mission accomplished -- with little concern for the human beings who made that possible -- what they went through, what they're still going through -- so we can maintain our arrogant national pride.

From the beginning, those in the military have served their country with unswerving loyalty. They continued to march even after Henry Kissinger belched out the truth that Duty--Honor--Country is a one-way street because "Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used" as pawns for foreign policy. And, it has long been a dead-end street for those captured or left behind on foreign soil -- for those who return from battlefields maimed both mentally and physically, and for those who are innocent victims of malicious life-destroying experiments who have no chance of the extent of their injuries being recognized and are refused the necessary health care.

The most ghastly experiment the military ever conducted was Operation Crossroads, a series of "Manhattan Project" tests requested by the Joint Chiefs of Staff in 1946 to study the effects of nuclear weapons on ships and equipment. After bombing Hiroshima and Nagasaki the year before, US officials knew the effect of massive radiation on human beings and animals. They had to know. So what else were the thousands of navy personnel positioned on ships from five to eight miles from the Bikini Atoll bomb site in the central Pacific if not guinea pigs?

One young sailor stationed at the Bikini Atoll in 1946 was Anthony Guarisco who, like thousands of others, has suffered horribly for the last 63 years as a result of radiation poisoning and like those others, has been denied the proper health care. Guarisco is the founder of both the National and International Alliance of Atomic Veterans. In 1994, Academy Award-winning team Vivienne Verdon-Roe and Michael Porter produced a documentary, "Experimental Animals," featuring Guarisco who, very calmly, describes the horrors of that 1946 July. (Note: Ecological Options Network has just re-released "Experimental Animals" on-line and as a DVD, because EON filmmaker/activist Jim Heddle says, "we think it's as relevant today as it was when it was produced.")

The first bomb -- Able -- was dropped from a B-29 on July 1. As a health precaution, military personnel in the area were told to "cover their eyes." Guarisco said it was awesome. He said it immediately "came home to me what happened at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. I could see how 55-65 thousand people could die in one-and-a-half seconds."

But the second one -- Baker -- was beyond awesome. Guarisco said it was detonated beneath the ocean from a depth of 90 feet, and "sucked a target array of approximately 100 ships into the air like little toys. I saw the U.S.S. Arkansas soar into the air about 200 feet and come down in two pieces. I saw aircraft carriers just flinging around as if they were toys."

According to the Navy's historical report, "The inability to complete inspections on much of the target fleet threatened the success of the operation after BAKER. A program of target vessel decontamination was begun in earnest about 1 August. This involved washing the ships' exteriors using work crews drawn from the target ships' companies under radiological supervision of monitors equipped with radiation detection and measurement devices. Initially, decontamination was slow as the safe time aboard the target ships was measured only in minutes. As time progressed, the support fleet itself had become contaminated by the low-level radioactivity in marine growth on the ships' hulls and seawater piping systems."

Ironically, although the ships were towed out of the area just 10 days after the blast where the work could be done in uncontaminated water, no warning was given to the human experimental animals, who were allowed to swim in contaminated water, walk barefoot on beaches and breathe poisonous air.

Guarisco said, "We went back into the ground zero area immediately after each of the detonations, and I spent a total of 67 days in the Bikini lagoon within one mile of the epicenter. And I became ill after the second detonation, approximately four or five days after that...I had symptoms similar to having a bad case of influenza. I had welts on my body -- I broke out with welts -- and it was scary for me. I was urinating blood, I was very sick."

And Guarisco wasn't the only one who became ill. In a 1998 National Radio Project interview with Michael O'Rourke, who monitors veterans health issues for the Veterans of Foreign Wars of the United States, Guarisco said, "Other people on my ship were also feeling very sick. And for many, many years I thought that, well, certainly if there was anything wrong surely they would let me know. But," he said, "I found out many years later that's not how it is. You know, the government and the U.S. military are not about to say anything about anybody who's exposed to high levels or low levels of radiation. It was hard for me to come out of denial, to understand that I was dealing with people who really were not interested in anything else but waiting for me to die."

Guarisco says that, in one -- two -- blinding flashes, "we saw what World War III will look like. We have seen the firestorm, we have been witness to the sacrilegious devastation that nuclear weapons put forth, and we have seen our brother and our sister veterans die from being exposed to this terribleness." He says the bottom line of nuclear weapons is the bottom line of the profit margin -- that "deterrent" or "first strike" are fear code words used to keep the population at bay and to pave the way for the nuclear industry to keep building more expensive (profitable) weapons.

In his March 2008 tribute to both of his parents, Guarisco's son, Vincent, goes into greater detail about his father's lifelong battle, not only with the effects of radiation but with the nuclear industry and government itself. For more than 60 years, both Anthony and Mary Guarisco were out there, militant activists armed with the truth, relentlessly attempting to derail the nuclear train before it goes over the cliff, taking human survival with it.

The United States has more nuclear weapons than any other nation. Although we have avoided the instant, negative repercussions of another Nagasaki or Hiroshima, we have nevertheless managed to contaminate most of the world with Depleted Uranium.

In 2006, Japanese professor Dr. K. Yagasaki, by using the known amount of uranium used in the Hiroshima bomb -- about the size of a two-litre milk container -- calculated that a ton of DU used on the battlefield results in the equivalent of 100 Hiroshima bombs worth of radiation released into the atmosphere. So, when it was reported that 2,000 tons of DU were dropped on Iraq from 2003 to 2006, we need to understand that what was released in the Iraqi atmosphere, and then spreading worldwide, was the equivalent of 200,000 Hiroshima bombs.

The total amount of DU the US has used since 1991 is approximately 4,600 tons (1,000 in the first Gulf War, 800 in Kosovo, 800 in Afghanistan and a further 2,000 tons in the second Iraq war.) This amounts to approximately 460,000 Hiroshima bombs, ten times the amount of radiation released into the atmosphere from all previous nuclear testing worldwide. And, it's important to note this calculation was three years ago. Since that time, we've had three more years of non-stop DU bombing...

Throughout the '60s, the US conducted numerous toxic and chemical weapons tests on its military personnel. In July 2008, Nic Maclellan, journalist, researcher and development worker in the Pacific, wrote...

"Under Project SHAD, the US Navy conducted six tests in the Marshall Islands and off the coast of Hawai'i between 1964-68. Pentagon documents released in 2002 show the US Defense Department sprayed live nerve and biological agents on ships and sailors, and sprayed a germ toxin on Enewetak Atoll in the Marshall Islands."

"These Cold War-era experiments to test the Navy's vulnerability to toxic warfare involved about 4,300 US military personnel, mostly from the Navy. Most were never informed that the tests were being conducted, breaching all ethical principles about informed consent for test subjects."

It's time that we, as a nation, not only face the truth -- but come to grips with it. Those who serve with such trust and loyalty cannot imagine that they are, at best, "experimental animals" to be used and cast aside by ruthless corporate thugs.

How many generations of Anthony Guariscos must we lose before we realize that "support the troops" means protect the troops? Like Guarisco said, we must stand up, stand together and demand the abolition of all nuclear weapons if human beings on this planet are to survive.

It's time for the madness to stop. Before we are all atomic veterans.
(c) 2009 Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at:

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jeff Stahler ~~~

2009 Greeting card to George W. Bush (& Oliver Stone) from THE Alternative "W the Movie"

To End On A Happy Note...

33rd Degree
By Delphi

This war is a murder of the 33rd degree
Let me tell it to you boys like it was told to me
Through the stones and the mud and the sycamore tree
I promised that I wouldn't keep the truth inside of me

See, every year they gather at Bohemian Grove
To sacrifice their care to the undertow
And Moloch he watches through the skull and bones
Wipes his blood red beak on the money that you owe

And I think they got something hidden underground-
Weird lights in the sky, i heard some strange sounds
But this thing has no country and it has no name
When the Eye in the Pyramid is running the game
When the Eye in the Pyramid is running the game

So mister can you tell me do you see the signs
I think we missed an exit and we're running out of time
And all the messengers are jaded and the captain is blind
Cut the seed out of my belly, drown it in the wine and sing
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh...

Pin the earth with your obelisks and watch her writhe
Little pressure here and pressure there will bring the red tide
And the pendulum is swinging low but everything is fine
Just drink up your Dr. Poison and have a great time
In your vacation hollywood reality show
Just sit back and hit rewind and watch it all implode
Oh remember when a woman didn't have to be a stick?
Pretty face perched on top sayin, how many licks?
Pretty face perched on top sayin, how many licks?

This war is a murder of the 33rd degree
Let me tell it to you boys as it was told to me
I saw it painted in black on the side of city hall
They tried to cover it up but they couldn't get it all

Now remember when a song was worth more than gold
Little histories tapestried to each one of its notes
And remember when the revolution wasn't just a fad
It was on the brink of happening then the acid all went bad
And they took away the pot and replaced it with crack
Turned the Panthers into zombies, said, "Lock up all them fags!"
Well FUCK THE SHADOW GOVERNMENT for running the show
If you see what I see then let them know
They can take away our liberties but they can't take our souls
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh...

This war is a murder of the 33rd degree
You gotta poison the root if you're gonna kill the tree
So they tell us from the time we're born we're never truly free
And we're selfish if we put faith in our divinity.
But I always suspected that there was something going on
Just below the radar and underneath a song
And when the Towers fell i knew something was wrong
Time to wake up Mamma she's been asleep too long

So all you pretty horses come trample the streets
These people are alone in the deep city
But there's a current underground
Take the shoes off your feet
Let the vines cover it all, bring roses out of concrete
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh...

They say, "Oh my pretty child, have you lost your mind?"
I say, "The stars are biting now, better throw out your line,
Cast a net from your rooftops and watch them shine
Pretty pearls in your hand you got no right to hide."

This war is a murder of the 33rd degree
Let me tell it to you boys as it's been told to me
All the books that I read and the songs that I sing
Are just pebbles in the river of the voiceless and the weak

But if one pebble stands and says, "I am a stone."
Soon the others realize that they can hold their own
And then the river rises and the dam is blown
Well time to wake up kids, time to come home,
Time to come home.
Time to come home.
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh,
Oh, Oh, Oh, Oh...
2008/2009 Cheryl Anderson

Have You Seen This...

Afghanistan + More Troops = Catastrophe (Full Video)

Parting Shots...

The Tomorrow Speech
By Will Durst

Barack Obama's initial foray into that belly of the beast known as a joint session of Congress was nothing less than a resounding... semi- success. Sort of. It wasn't quite a State of the Union Address. His Inaugural pre- empted that. You get one or the other. That's the rule. This was a State of the Union Address Lite. With only 60% of the expectations of your normal State of the Union Address. A pseudo SOTU, if you will.

Stepping into the den of 535 lions, (okay, 534 and Roland Burris,) the new President proved himself to be a worthy equal to Ronald Reagan when it comes to lofty unbridled optimism. Which is good. Because he spent most of his first thirty days warning us about the true state of the economy. Which is bad. Really bad. Oh don't get me wrong, it could be worse. So far, no nostril leeches. Fingers crossed.

Obama used the forum to echo Fed Chair Ben Bernanke's assertion that we could easily emerge from our financial crisis in two years if we just get this banking mess under control. Oh, is that all? You might as well say: "we can marry the princess and live happily ever after, as long as we kill that pesky pack of three headed dragons smoking on the drawbridge.. And all we got in our pockets is a couple of expired credit cards, a bent rubber paper clip, 43 in change and some green lint." Then again, who knows? Maybe we elected ourselves President MacGyver.

One small problem with The Blueprint For The Future is a distinct lack of those pretty skinny white lines on it. But this speech wasn't about specifics. It was a halftime pep talk from a coach whose team is down by 4 touchdowns. "Don't you know who we think we are? We're America dammit. When we say we're going to kick some serious innovative butt, you can bet the wind farm that we will. And the rest of the world better damn well get out of our way." He even called for sacrifice. Which to Americans is the equivalent of saying "nostril leeches."

In the peanut gallery, Nancy Pelosi bounced up and down rooting on Team Obama like a cheerleader whose Gatorade had been spiked with No- Doz. All she was missing was a pleated skirt and some pom- poms. And Joe Biden filled the role of court jester again by allowing himself to be the butt of the President's jokes. He's becoming the Tommy Smothers of the new Administration. "The public always liked you best." Right now, the President's approval rating is Teflonizing everything he touches. One of those instant polls revealed that almost every single Democrat and 1 out of every 4 Republicans were inspired by Obama's 52 minute colorized impersonation of FDR. Although considering his unremittingly upbeat performance, I see him more in the mold of that other populist Depression Era hero, Annie: "The sun'll come out tomorrow. Bet your bottom dollar. That tomorrow, there'll be sun." A sun that is going to solve all our energy needs. And oh yeah, did I mention, we're going to cure cancer. Tomorrow. Of course, as they say in the song. That darn tomorrow... its always a day away.
(c) 2009 Will Durst, is a political comic who occasionally writes a little. This is one of those times.

The Gross National Debt

Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 9 # 10 (c) 03/06/2009

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