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In This Edition

Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein with, "An Interview With Professor Noam Chomsky."

Uri Avnery wonders, "Who's The Boss?"

Victoria Stewart tries, "Celestial Navigation."

Jim Hightower watches, "Two Iraq Vets Stand Up To Corporate Giant."

William Pfaff concludes, "America's 'Long War' Will Be As Bloody And Pointless As Europe's."

Barbara Peterson explores, "GMO Clones, The FDA, HR 875, And Congress."

Paul Krugman inspects, "China's Dollar Trap."

Chris Floyd loads another, "Hollow Point."

Case Wagenvoord is, "Lusting After Progress."

Mike Folkerth continues with, "Show Stoppers: Resource Depletion."

Chris Hedges warns, "Resist Or Become Serfs."

Cynthia McKinney covers a broad spectrum in, "Buyer's Remorse, Economic Collapse, Oligarchs, And War."

Con-gress woman Michele Bachmann wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald considers, "Larry Summers, Tim Geithner And Wall Street's Ownership Of Government."

Barbara Crossette reports, "US Envoy Writes Of Israeli Threats."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department 'The Landover Baptist Church' with an Easter warning, "Attention Parents, Final Notice" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "200 Motels."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Lalo Alcaraz with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Married To The Sea, Tom Tomorrow, Stephane Peray, The Heretik, K Bendib, The Landover Baptist Church.Org, That Image Site.Com, Photosearch, Dr. Albert A. Bartlett, Eugene Delacroix, AFP, Issues & Alibis.Org and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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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."

200 Motels
Or touring can make you crazy.
By Ernest Stewart

200 Motels ~~~ Frank Zappa

"Mr Speaker, I smell a rat; I see him forming in the air and darkening the sky; but I will nip him in the bud."
~~~ Sir Boyle Roche Member of the Irish Parliament ~~~

"Night after night, on radio talk shows, disgruntled, self-identified progressives call in to inform the host and her audience that we (the American people) can - in fact - "walk and chew gum at the same time" (a response to the argument on the part of some Obama defenders that now - in the midst of the worst economic crisis in decades - is simply not the right time to focus our energies on a task of this magnitude - that such an effort would be an irresponsible distraction). Those folks, many of whom, frankly, invoke images of villagers wielding torches and pitchforks, are sadly missing the point." ~~~ Cynthia Boaz

As Frank Zappa concluded in the movie "200 Motels," "Touring Can Make You Crazy!" Seems a pity that the Changling isn't hip to Zappa. If he were, he wouldn't have said, "The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam," in a speech to the Turkish government.

Barry said this in spite of the fact that is exactly what we've been doing for the last 18 years directly, and indirectly for more than 60 years in occupied Palestine and through out the Middle East. That he could say it with a straight face is amazing and that the assembled Turkish officials didn't laugh aloud in reply is even more amazing!

With the exception of our lapdogs, the British, Barry's "Love America Tour" hit a brick wall with the governments in Europe when he tried to con NATO into joining him in his "crusades" in Afghanistan and Pakistan. Instead of the large commitment of combat troops for a long duration from NATO, he got a handful of training troops until the September elections. Ergo Afghanistan will be America's war, bringing even more death and destruction to those poor, miserable people as we play seek and destroy throughout the country, looking for Al-Qaeda troops that have long since departed for Pakistan.

Meanwhile, in Pakistan, Barry's bombing of a few freedom fighters and a whole lot of innocent women and children has created another mass exodus. About one million terrified residents have been forced to leave most of their poor possessions behind in order to flee our bored teenagers and their missile- launching drone attack craft.

Speaking of which, didn't Barry"s response to North Korea's attempt to put a satellite in orbit seem just a bit hypocritical. After Barry got his "3 a.m. wake up call" he said, "Rules must be binding. Violations must be punished. Words must mean something. The world must stand together to stop the spread of these weapons." I don't suppose he was referring to what the Nuremberg War Crimes Trials had to say about the war crimes that he's been committing, do you? He wasn't referring to the major indictments that they hung a bunch of Germans for? You'll recall things like:

1. Participation in a common plan or conspiracy for the accomplishment of crime against peace.

Planning, initiating and waging wars of aggression and other crimes against peace.

War crimes.

Crimes against humanity.

No, I'm pretty sure he didn't mean that unless he wanted it to apply to him. No, it was about North Korea doing what every other country is allowed to do. It's always been, "do as we say but not as we do!"

Barry was fond of saying during the campaign, "People will judge you on what you can build, not what you destroy." While what you build is important, what you destroy is far more telling. Especially if it's the lives of millions of innocent human beings that you're destroying just so your corpo-rat pals can make a financial killing!

In Other News

I see where the once honorable Ted Stevens walked from his prison sentence, thanks to Superior Court Judge Emmet G. Sullivan and the Bush and Obama Justice Departments.

The fact that Judge Sullivan was appointed by President Ronald Reagan to the Superior Court of the District of Columbia on October 3, 1984, should set alarms bells to ringing.

After overturning the verdict against Stevens, Judge Emmet Sullivan said that he was opening criminal proceedings to investigate Brenda Morris, William Welch and the other prosecutors in the case for withholding exculpatory evidence from the defense. "This is indeed a dramatic day in a case that has had many dramatic and unfortunately shocking and disturbing moments," he announced, spitting out his words with disgust. "In nearly 25 years on the bench, I've never seen anything approaching the misconduct and mishandling that I've seen in this case."

Emmet went on and on but never addressed the fact that even though the prosecution committed some errors, as they always do in any case, the fact remains that Stevens took a rather large bribe. So one may wonder what this is really all about. Did the prosecution make mistakes or were they calculated mistakes to get Ted off the hook? This was, after all, the Bush Justice Department bringing charges against one of their own, one of their loyal insiders!

I don't want to sound paranoid but what if the prosecutors did it on purpose? It was assured Ted would be brought up on charges and was guilty as sin but these mistakes made sure Ted would win on appeal and all charges would be dropped. Nah, they would never do that, would they? Well actually, they already had. You may recall what happened to Dan Rather?

Dan, you'll remember, made the mistake of taking records from one of Cheney's men, one that was full of the truth about Bush's service records, reams of material all of which was true, except for one tiny file which was false. This planted file was overlooked when checking the facts and was Dan's downfall, just as Cheney had planned. Even though 99% of what Dan reported was true, Bush's spin masters seized upon the one percent that was false and Dan was out a job. Moreover, with Dan discredited, all the facts about Bush's desertion in wartime were dismissed and Smirky went on to steal another election.

And now Stevens gets to spend his declining years inside his mansion instead of a cold Alaskan prison cell where he belongs! Coincidence?

I wonder if Obama's Justice Department will now begin setting poor innocent prisoners who were railroaded by crooked prosecutors free? What do you think?

And Finally

Back in mid-February in Issues & Alibis Vol 9 # 8 (c) 02/20/2009 I wrote a short rant on Obama's apologists which, you may have noticed, seem to be fewer and farther between since reality set in, i.e., that there will be no war crime trials and, in fact, Barry is determined to commit some war crimes all of his own. Their standard song and dance was Barry was too busy to deal with the two things that he had been elected to do. He was busy saving us all from the bankers by giving all our money, our children's money and our grandchildren's money etc., to his banking puppet masters instead of ending the wars and prosecuting the Crime Family Bush and their corpo-rat pals. In edition 413 I wrote about a particular piece written by Cynthia Boaz entitled "Obama's Justice: Reconciliation, Not Retribution" which was basically the letter that I sent to Professor Boaz and ended the piece saying, "If the good professor replies, I'll share it with you!" The good professor has replied and I'll share her thoughts and mine with you. Here's Cynthia's reply...

"You completely misunderstood my point. I was not arguing that anyone should be allowed to walk away, only that Obama should not be expected to lead the charge, and that when it is done, it should be carried out in the spirit of the rule of law, not political motive.

If you read my previous work, you will see that I am fully in support of TRCs, but they have to be handled with care.

There's certainly no call to be rude.


Actually, Cynthia, I think I got your point exactly. Wasn't it that there will be no change as Barry is first and foremost a politician and will do what all the other politicians do. He will represent the 4% of the people who pull his strings while doing everything possible to enslave the other 96%? He'll do it with pretty words, he'll be charming and everything our beloved west Taxus prairie monkey was not, and he may even wield a kinder, gentler machine gun hand but nothing has changed nor is it likely ever to change so do roll over and go back to sleep. Was that about it? After all, to call for a "Truth" Commission, which you say is a "serious matter," is in reality nothing more than a cover-up, as was the 911 "Truth" Commission! Evidence abounds of their many war crimes, crimes against humanity, crimes against the Constitution, genocide, concentration camps and official torture so why isn't Barry's "Just Us" department going after them with everything they've got? Would it be they work for Barry and Barry doesn't want them charged, as he is as guilty as they are?

True, mayhaps, I was a bit rude but what goes around, comes around, does it not? For every action there is an equal and opposite reaction, is there not? As you said of us over on the left, you know, the people without a candidate, Ever!...

"Those folks, many of whom, frankly, invoke images of villagers wielding torches and pitchforks, are sadly missing the point." Or. "...disgruntled, self-identified progressives call in to inform the host and her audience that we (the American people) can - in fact - 'walk and chew gum at the same time.'" Or "It is simply not the style - politically or personally - of this president to seek the same sort of 'justice' desired by the pitchfork-wielding villagers."

You belittle and reduce people crying out for justice, people demanding that the law apply equally to our masters as it does to us peons, to B-movie caricatures. That seems fairly rude to me. Cynthia, as you said, "Obama is, in the truest sense, a unifier." I was wondering how that unification thing is working out for you?

Your radical pal,


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.

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Ernest & Victoria Stewart


09-06-1934 ~ 04-04-2009
R.I.P. Bonehead!

10-01-1947 ~ 04-07-2009
Beware Blackmoor's Garbage Pits of Despair!


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.


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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."

An Interview With Professor Noam Chomsky
By Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein

Allison Kilkenny: In an unpublished article for the Washington Post, you wrote that the NAFTA protests during the 90s in Mexico gave, quote: "only a bare glimpse of time bombs waiting to explode." Do you thinks the drug cartels in Mexico are a byproduct of the trade inequalities you explained in that Post article? Also, if you could talk about the roles international banks and corporations play in the War on Drugs.

Noam Chomsky: I can't really talk about it because there isn't any war on drugs. If there was a war on drugs, the government would take measures which it knows could control the use of drugs.

And it's pretty well understood. Years ago -- maybe twenty-five, thirty years ago -- around the time Nixon's first War on Drugs was called, there was a big study by the army and the RAND corporation (the main, outside advisory research bureau) analyzing the effects on drug use of various approaches to it. They studied four. The one that came out the most cost effective was prevention and treatment by a large margin. Next, much more expensive and less effective, was police work. Still less effective and more costly was border interdiction. And least effective and most costly was out-of-country operations like chemical warfare in Columbia. Well, the methods that are used are the exact opposite. Most of the funding goes into cross-border operations (least effective, most costly,) next, interdiction and police action, and least to prevention and treatment. And there's pretty independent evidence that this is correct.

So, for example, smoking is far more destructive than drugs by orders of magnitude. Now, you don't carry out chemical warfare in North Carolina or Kentucky. You don't interdict the borders because it's produced here. You don't arrest kids for having a cigarette. But in fact, prevention and treatment have sharply reduced smoking.

Throughout the 1980s, there was a general shift among young people toward more healthy lifestyles, so you have a reduction in smoking, a reduction in the use of red meat, in alcoholism, a whole pile of things. If you walk around a college campus, you rarely see kids with cigarettes. If you go down to the slums, you do. But that's because the social-cultural change was kind of class-based. But it worked. And as I said, it's even things like red meat. People eat healthier diets. And that's pretty much what the RAND-Army approach predicted. So that suggests, since policies have been followed for decades, which were known in advance to have exactly the wrong properties (and it's shown by evidence that they do have the wrong properties,) but they continue with them. Well, to a rational person, that suggests that something else is going on with the planning. And I don't think it's hard to figure out.

Out-of-country operations are just a cover for counter-insurgency, or for clearing land in Columbia and driving out peasants so multi-national corporations can come in for mining, and resource-extraction, and agribusiness, and macra production, and so on. Which is why you have (outside of Afghanistan) probably the largest refugee population in the world in Columbia. [The War on Drugs is] not effecting drug production. In fact, it's going up by, I think, 25% last year. But it's going to continue because that wasn't the purpose.

Here in the United States, the drug war has been associated, clearly, with a very sharp rise in incarceration. If you go back to 1980, the prison population in the United States, per capita, was approximately like other industrial countries -- kind of toward the high end, but not off the chart. Now, it's five to ten times as high and still going up. And most of it is drug related (also, length of sentences, and repeated sentences, and so on.)

And it mostly targets what are called the "dangerous classes," the poor, minorities, and so on. So like, black males, is astronomical. On the other hand, drug use among wealthy people is barely prosecuted. So it's a class-based form of control of superfluous population, and for that purpose, it seems to beworking.

It's also making a lot of money for commercial enterprises. What some criminologists call the prison-industrial complex has been a pretty substantial development, especially for rural counties, it's a Godsend. When they build prisons, it brings in construction work, jobs, and surveillance. A couple of years ago, maybe still, the fastest growing white-collar profession was security officer, and it gets rid of people you don't want anything to do with. They don't have a place in the current industrial system. And there's also racial elements involved. So you can say the drug war is a success for what its real purpose is, but not for its proclaimed purposes.

There was just a study initiated by three pretty conservative former Latin American presidents: [Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar Gaviria of Colombia, and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico,] and they came out with the conclusion, which anybody whose watching it knows is correct, but because it comes from that source, it was publicized, namely that the drug war in Latin America has been a complete failure in terms of its proclaimed objectives. But that just tells you those weren't the proclaimed objectives. Rational people don't keep pursuing a policy that's failing when they know there's a better policy unless there's some other reason, and I think the other reason is not terribly hidden. So you can't really talk about a war on drugs. You can go back to the question and formulate it differently (laughter), but it would be based on a different assumption.

Jamie Kilstein: For a country predicated on a separation of church and state, why do you think that we let religion dictate so much of our lives and public policy?

Chomsky: Well, those are two questions that are different. As far as our lives are concerned, the United States has always been an unusually religious country. The country was founded by religious extremists. The Puritans who came over were waving the holy book, and following the Lord's commands when they exterminated the Amalekites, and the Scotch-Irish immigration that followed -- German immigration -- were also highly religious, and it's been a very fundamentalist country. And there are repeated continentalist revivals, one of the last ones in the 1950s. That's where you get things like "In God We Trust", "One Nation Under God," and all that kind of business. It's a streak in American society that differentiates it from other industrial societies, pretty sharply in fact, but those are individual choices.

As far as influencing public policy is concerned, that's mostly the last twenty or thirty years. I think [President Carter] inadvertently taught a lesson to party managers, namely that if you pretend to be religious, you can pick up a big electoral block. And in fact, every candidate for president since Carter has made a big show of being in church. Even people like Clinton, who is probably as religious as I am, makes a show of walking out of the Baptist church every Sunday morning. That's a way to pick up a lot of votes cheap, and it was understood. That has an associated effect. Namely, the constituency begins to have an effect on policy, and that was exploited.

It's been a funny economic period for the last thirty years. We've been through thirty years with real wage stagnation. That's never happened before. There's been economic growth, there's been a sharp rise in productivity, but the effects have flown and gone into very few pockets. For a majority of the population, it's been a bad period. Stagnation, sometimes decline, reduction of benefits, higher working hours, a lot of breakdown of social structure, it's hard for people to deal with. Now, the parties don't want to deal with this because their constituency is basically business and the wealthy, so they'd like to divert attention to other topics. Those are called social issues like stem cell research, abortion, and so on. These become not individual matters anymore, which they were before, but rather social policy, and are used (and I presume designed) to keep away from the issues that really affect people.

Take the drug war. People would like to reduce drugs, but you don't want to pay attention to the real issue because the drug war is serving other purposes.

Or take health care, let's say. Health care has been the top issue, or close to the top issue, for the population for decades for good reasons. The health care system is a complete disaster. It's about twice the per capita cost of other comparable countries and some of the worst outcomes, and there are enormous numbers of people either uninsured or underinsured. And that's something people feel in their lives, so they care about it, and they also have an opinion. Ever since polls have been taken, a large majority want a national healthcare system (getting rid of the privatized healthcare system).

But here you have a real conflict because the pharmaceutical corporations and the insurance industry, and related industries, want a privatized system, and the public is opposed, so you have to somehow marginalize that question.

It's usually described in the press as "politically impossible," meaning the only thing for it is a large majority of the population, but "lacking political support," or "how difficult it would be to put it through." But it's not particularly difficult. You'd extend Medicare to the whole population, which is what a large part of the majority wants. But it runs into the interests that really set policies, so the goal is to divert attention away from those things to some other things. That's the sort of Reagan Democrat phenomenon, and in that respect, religion can be mobilized. The religious commitments, which have always been there, can be mobilized into a political force. And I think that's happened.

So to go back to your question, there's a difference between the fact that it's individual choice, and it happens to be an extremely religious country (way off the charts,) to policy. In fact, our policy has been mostly recent, pretty much coinciding with the period of harsh economic and social realities in the population, and I think it can be understood plausibly as a conscious diversion from issues party manages, and their constituencies, don't want discussed.

In fact, during this period, the public relations industry, which is a huge industry, has been very frank about the fact that they are marketing candidates like commodities. It wasn't published much here, but after the Obama election, the advertising industry gave Obama an award for best marketing campaign of the year. And they're right. It was a great marketing campaign. "Hope." "Change." No content. (laughter) They went on to say, and this is top executives who are quoted, that they've been marketing candidates ever since Reagan, (laughter) and this is the best achievement they've ever had.

Kilstein: It's unsettling

Kilkenny: Yeah (laughter)

Chomsky: No, it makes good sense. These guys study public opinion closely, and they're perfectly aware that on a host of major issues, both political parties are pretty well to the right of the population, so it makes good sense to keep away from issues, and to focus on personalities, qualities. It's not just true for the general population. It's also true for the intellectual elite.

I sometimes torture myself by listening to NPR. (laughter) And I happened to pick up an interview that they were having after one of the Clinton-Obama debates during the primaries. And they were interviewing the New York Times political correspondent. I forget her name. They were on about for ten, or fifteen minutes, and the discussion was mostly about things like this: Apparently, at the beginning of the debate, Clinton walked in, and Obama sort of held her chair while she sat down, and the question was about his body language. Was he deferential: White Lady...

Kilstein: (laughter) Jesus

Chomsky: ...Black Boy? Or was he kind of contemptuous? But that was the discussion. Not about what they were talking about, not about the issues. Maybe it's not even conscious anymore. It's so internalized. It's internalized that you want to keep away from issues.

Kilstein: I bet it was Maureen Dowd (laughter)

Kilkenny: Do you think fascism is inevitable in a Capitalistic society?

Chomsky: Well, you know, the term "fascism" has taken on a special connotation. In the 1930s -- pre-Hitler, or before the real effects of Hitler were concerned -- it wasn't considered a particularly negative term. It was considered a notion of social organization. So for example, [President Roosevelt] was a great admirer of [Italian fascist leader Benito Mussolini.] That "admirable, Italian gentleman." American investors loved Mussolini. They poured money into Italian Capitalism.

Kilkenny: Wow!

Chomsky: ...It was controlling the work force. It was orderly. It was running things. They were making plenty of profit. In fact, Fortune magazine had a story in the early 30s, which had a headline about Mussolini saying, The Wops are Un-Wopping Themselves.' (laughter) You know, the Wops' are finally getting things straight. They had a real, good fascist government.

Kilstein: Wow!

Chomsky: ...And pretty much the same thing was true with Hitler. The state department in 1937, I think, described Hitler as a moderate, standing between extremes of right and left. Sumner Welles, Roosevelt's main adviser, came back from the Munich Conference in '38, saying "Real Hope. We can really work with Hitler. He's kind of a good guy," and again, American investment shot up in Germany. The business classes liked him. It was even more so in England.

In fact, if you read back, the really serious political economists like Robert Brady, one of the best, kind of Veblenite political economists, he just described fascism as a tendency that the industrial world is moving towards, including the New Deal as an example. Coordinated state planning for corporate structures in the interest of business controlling things, and so on. In that sense, you could say, yeah, some kind of fascism is like an aspect of Capitalism. But what the term has come to mean now is storm troopers, extermination camps, other such things, aggression. In that sense, there's no reason to expect it. Counterproductive.

Kilkenny: But do you think there's a way to be sort of an egalitarian society...

Chomsky: In principle?

Kilkenny: Right.

Chomsky: Sure.

Kilkenny: With Capitalism being the main...

Chomsky: It's kind of interesting. If you read Adam Smith, a great hero, one of his arguments, he had the argument in favor of markets, but kind of nuanced arguments, not as extreme as is thought. But one of his arguments, like one of his main ones, was that under conditions of perfect liberty, markets would lead to perfect equality. Not a very good argument, but that was the argument. And he took perfect equality to be something we'd want. And he meant equality of condition, not opportunity. He said that's what markets should lead to, and there's an argument for that.

But under real world conditions, it goes the other way for all kinds of reasons. One reason, and there are a lot of built-in, serious inefficiencies to markets. In fact, we're suffering from some of them right now.

One of the major properties of markets -- if you take a good economics course you learn this in the first term -- is that they under price social effects. So if you sell me a car, we can make a good deal for ourselves. We both gain from it, but [Kilstein] is paying a cost. So there's more pollution, more congestion, the price of oil goes up, and these effects are spread through the population, the count of all can be quite large. It's called externalities. Economists put them in a footnote, but they're not so small.

Now, when you get financial institutions, there's an effect called systemic risk. So if Goldman Sachs makes a loan, if they're managed well, they take into account the effect to themselves if the loan go sour, but they don't count in the consequences to the system as a whole if the loan goes sour. And that's what's happening now. You under price risk, and so there's too much of it. There are other factors that also lead to too much of, and sooner or later, it all unravels, and you have a major crisis.

These are just properties of markets. And there are other properties. Say, when I go home tonight, I have a choice on the market. I can choose to go home in a Ford or a Toyoto. But I can't choose to go home on a public transportation system because that's not one of the options that a market provides. I can choose this doctor or that doctor, but I can't choose a national health system. That's not an option on the market. These are options for societies that are reasonable, world democratic societies, more reasonable societies where everything is under popular control (socialist societies, anarchist societies,) but markets don't allow any of that.

So they're heavily biased in favor of certain kinds of outcomes, which are in many ways anti-social outcomes. With regards to public transportation, one of the outcomes may be the destruction of the species. There's nothing in markets that gives any incentive to care whether your grandchildren survive. The choices aren't there. So even human survival isn't very likely under market societies.

In fact, there are a lot of illusions about that. It's commonly believed that the United States is a market society with entrepreneurial initiative and consumer choice, and all of those wonderful things, but it's very far from that.

In fact, the very place where we're sitting is a good illustration. What's MIT [Massachusetts Institute of Technology]? MIT is technically a private institution, but it's publically funded through the government. What is it funded for? Well, it's funded to create the technology of the future, which private corporations can make profit on. So the main elements of the productive economy now, like computers and the Internet, were developed right here, and similar places, under Pentagon funding for decades, not short periods. The public was paying the cost for a long period. The public was taking the risks, and it finally ends up in Bill Gates's pockets.

Kilkenny: Right, right.

Chomsky: ...And that's the way most of the high-tech economy works. So where's the market society? Well, it's there, it's at the marketing end. Even there, marketing is carried out in a way intended purposefully to undermine markets. In fact, we all kind of know it, but we parrot the words without recognizing it.

So you've seen television ads. Suppose there's a television ad for a drug, or a car, or something. In a market society, what you would have is a description of the properties of the commodity because then you get what are called, "informed consumers making rational choices." But that's not what you get. What you get is forms of delusion because the business wants to create "uninformed consumers, who make irrational choices." That is, they want to undermine markets. Which is very much like the political system. You want an electorate, which is uninformed and makes irrational choices under modern democracy, so the whole kind of ideology is so remote from reality that it's almost impossible to discuss.

And this is not something like Quantum physics. This is something right in front of everyone's eyes. It takes tremendous amounts of indoctrination to be able to produce journalists and commentators and academics, and others, who can talk about it as a Free Market society because it's right in front of your eyes that it's nothing of the sort. So that really takes effective indoctrination.

And it's not that people are lying. It's worse than that. It's internalized. You really believe the falsehoods you're producing. Like a well-run totalitarian society, or a well-run religious faith where people don't lie when they say there are miracles. They believe it. And people aren't lying when they say it's a market society. It's just sort of driven into them that you don't question it even though the counter-evidence is right in your face.

Kilstein: What gives you hope and makes you happy?

Chomsky: People like you. That's where the hope is. In fact, there have been a lot of positive changes in the last -- let's say in my lifetime -- last thirty, forty years, sort of active political lifetime. As a matter of fact, since I was a kid. Things are nowhere near as bad as what I was watching during the Depression. A lot of achievements were made during the New Deal, and they didn't come from above. They came from activism.

By the time workers were carrying out sit-down strikes, which is like one step before taking over the factory and running it for yourself, which really put the fear of God into the business world, so there were measures introduced, which were good measures: Social Security, welfare state measures, some degree of regulation, and so on. That was positive. And it happened again in the 60s. There was a lot of popular activism, and it made a huge effect.

First of all, it led [President Johnson] to introduce extensions of welfare state measures, but it also just changed the culture. The role of minorities, women, environment, all sorts of things that weren't questions even came to the center of the agenda, and it ended up being a much more civilized society.

In the 1980s, there was a growth of international solidarity movements, something which had never existed in the history of imperialism. In the whole history of imperialism, nobody thought of going to the country that is under attack and living in villages with people to help them and protect them with a white face. The idea didn't occur to anybody. Tens of thousands of people were doing in the 80s. And it's grown all over Central America.

And incidentally, a lot of them were coming out of Conservative religious circles. Religion in the United States is a very multifaceted affair. A lot were affected by liberation theology. A lot were coming out of the evangelical movement.

One of Obama's half a dozen pastors is Jim Wallis, who comes out of that sector: Evangelical Christianity, which was dedicated to social service. Out of that came the solidarity movement, which extended into the current global justice movement, mostly young people, world social forum, and other social forums. That's positive advances. And there's no particular reason why that should stop.

In fact, we're better off now than earlier because you can build on the successes of earlier generations and start from a higher level. So there's plenty of problems, but no reason to lose hope.
(c) 2009 Allison Kilkenny and Jamie Kilstein.

Who's The Boss?
By Uri Avnery

ON THE first day of the new Israeli government, the fog cleared: it's a Lieberman government.

The day started with a celebration at the President's office. All the members of this bloated government - 30 ministers and 8 deputy ministers - were dressed up in their best finery and posed for a group photo. Binyamin Netanyahu read an uninspired speech, which included the worn-out cliches that are necessary to set the world at ease: the government is committed to peace, it will negotiate with the Palestinian Authority, bla-bla-bla.

Avigdor Lieberman hurried from there to the foreign Office, for the ceremonial change of ministers. He, too, made a speech - but it was not a routine speech at all.

"Si vis pacem, para bellum - if you want peace, prepare for war," declared the new Foreign Minister. When a diplomat quotes this ancient Roman saying, the world pays no attention to the first part, but only to the second. Coming from the mouth of the already infamous Lieberman, it was a clear threat: the new government is entering upon a path of war, not of peace.

With this sentence, Lieberman negated Netanyahu's speech and made headlines around the world. He confirmed the worst apprehensions connected with the creation of this government.

Not content with quoting the Romans, he explained specifically why he used this motto. Concessions, he said, do not bring peace, but quite the reverse. The world respected and admired Israel when it won the Six-day war.

Two fallacies in one sentence. Returning occupied territory is not a "concession." When a thief is compelled to return stolen property, or when a squatter vacates an apartment that does not belong to him, that is not a "concession." And the admiration for Israel in 1967 came from a world that saw us as a little, valiant country that had stood up to mighty armies out to destroy us. But today's Israel looks like a brutal Goliath, while the occupied Palestinians are now viewed as a David with his slingshot, fighting for his life.

With this speech, Lieberman succeeded in stirring the world, but even more in humiliating Netanyahu. He exposed the peace declarations of the new Prime Minister as nothing but soap bubbles.

However, the world (as I wrote last week) wants to be deceived. A White House spokesman announced that as far as the American administration is concerned, it is Netanyahu's bla-bla-bla that counts, not Lieberman's straight talking. And Hillary Clinton was not ashamed to call Lieberman and congratulate him on assuming office.

THAT WAS the first test of strength inside the Netanyahu-Lieberman-Barak triangle. Lieberman has demonstrated his contempt for both Netanyahu and Barak.

His political base is secure, because he is the only person who can topple the government at any moment. After the Knesset debate on the new government, only 69 members voted for it. If one adds the five Labor members who "were present but did not participate in the vote", (a voting device that is less negative than abstaining), the government has 74 votes. Meaning: without Lieberman's 15 members, the government does not command a majority.

His speech was intended to underline this political reality. He as much as told Netanyahu: If you intend to shut me up, forget it. In fact, he held a pistol to Netanyahu's head - in this case, it could be a German Luger Parabellum, a pistol whose name derives from the Roman saying.

The full extent of Lieberman's Chutzpah came to the fore only an hour later. From the Foreign Office ceremony he hurried to another ritual ministerial handover, this time at the Ministry for Internal Security (formerly called the Ministry of Police).

What business did he have there? None. It is highly unusual for a minister to attend such a ceremony in another ministry. True, the new Internal Security minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, belongs to Lieberman's party, but that is not relevant. After all, he did not attend the similar ceremony at the Immigration Absorption ministry, where another member of his party was installed.

The riddle was solved the next day, when the freshly installed Foreign Minister spent seven hours in a police interrogation room, answering questions about suspected bribery, money laundering and such, in connection with huge sums that were transferred from abroad to a company that belongs to his 23 year old daughter.

That explains his presence at the police ministry ceremony. He was photographed standing next to the chiefs of the criminal investigation department. It would be hard to see his appearance there as anything other than a crude and shameless threat against those who were to interrogate him on the morrow.

His presence at the ceremony declared: I am the man who appointed the minister who is now in charge of each of your careers, for promotion or termination. And the same message went out to the judges: I have appointed the new Justice Minister, and I shall decide upon the promotion of all of you.

IT ALL reminds me of a diplomatic reception at the Egyptian embassy exactly 10 years ago. There I met most of the members of the new government which had just been formed by Ehud Barak. All of them were depressed.

Barak had done something that bordered on sadism: he had appointed every minister to the post most unsuitable for them. The gentle and polite Professor Shlomo Ben-Ami was appointed Minister of Internal Security (where he failed miserably during the October 2000 disturbances, when he failed to prevent his police from killing a dozen Arab citizens.) Yossi Beilin, a diplomat with a very fertile mind, a natural candidate for the Foreign Office, was appointed Justice Minister. And so on. In private conversations, all of them vented their bitterness against Barak.

Now Netanyahu has trumped Barak. The appointment of Lieberman as Foreign Minister borders on the insane. The appointment of Yuval Steinitz, a professor of philosophy and a personal friend of Netanyahu's wife, Sarah, a man devoid of any economic experience whatsoever, as Minister of the Treasury, at the height of the world financial crises, crosses the border of the absurd. The appointment of the No. 2 Likud leader, Silvan Shalom, to two junior ministries has made him into a deadly enemy. The creation of a long list of new and hollow ministries, just to provide jobs to his cronies, has turned the government into a popular joke ("a Minister for Incoming Mail and a Minister for Outgoing Mail").

BUT A government is no joke. And Lieberman is no joke. Far from it.

Already on his first day he made clear that he - he and not Netanyahu or Barak - will set the style of the new government, both because of his strong political position and his massive personal presence and provocative character.

He will maintain this government as long as it suits him and overthrow it the moment he feels that new elections will give him supreme power.

His rude and violent style is both natural and calculated. It is intended to threaten, to appeal to the most primitive types in society, to draw public attention and to assure media coverage. All these are reminiscent of other countries and other regimes. The first one to congratulate him was - not by chance - the ex-fascist Foreign Minister of Italy.

This week, earlier statements by Lieberman were quoted again and again. He once proposed bombing the huge Aswan dam, an act that would have caused a terrible Tsunami-like deluge and killed many millions of Egyptians. Another time he proposed delivering an ultimatum to the Palestinians: At 8 am we shall bomb your commercial centers, at noon your gas stations, at 2 pm your banks, and so on.

He has proposed drowning thousands of Palestinian prisoners, offering to provide the necessary buses to take them to the coast. Another time he proposed deporting 90% of the 1.2 million Arab citizens of Israel. Recently he told the President of Egypt, Hosni Mubarak, one of the staunchest allies of the Israeli leadership, to "go to hell."

In the recent election campaign his official program included the demand to annul the citizenship of any Arab who did not prove his loyalty to Israel. That was also his main slogan. This, too, is reminiscent of the programs of certain parties in history.

This is coupled with an open hostility to the Israeli "elites" and everything connected with the founders of the State of Israel.

SOME PEOPLE believe that Lieberman is really not a new phenomenon at all and that he simply brings to the surface traits that were there all the time but were buried beneath a thick layer of sanctimonious hypocrisy.

What is his solution to the historic Israeli-Arab conflict? In the past, he spoke about a regime of cantons for the Palestinians. They will live in several enclaves in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, which will be disconnected from each other and dominated by Israel. No Palestinian State, of course, no Arab East Jerusalem. He even proposed adding to these cantons some areas of Israel inhabited by a dense Palestinian population, whose Israeli citizenship would be revoked.

This is not so far from the ideas of Sharon, nor from those of Netanyahu, who declares that the Palestinians will "govern themselves" - of course without a state, without a currency, without control of the border crossings, without harbors and airports.

At the Foreign Office ceremony, Lieberman declared that the Annapolis agreement, which was dictated by President Bush, is invalid, and that only the "Road Map" counts. The Foreign Ministry spokesmen hurried to explain that the "Road Map" also speaks about "two states." They forgot to remind the world that the Israeli government had "accepted" the Road Map only with 14 provisos that rob it of any content. For example: that Palestinians must "destroy the terrorist infrastructure" (What is that? Who decides?) before Israel shall make any move, including the freeze of the settlements.

(That may remind one of the rich Jew in the Shtetl, who dictated his Last Will and Testament, dividing his wealth between his relatives and friends and adding: "In case of my death, this Will shall be null and void.")

As far as the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is concerned, the controversy between Olmert and Livni on the one side and Netanyahu and Lieberman on the other is about tactics rather than strategy. The strategy of all of them is to prevent the creation of a normal, free and viable Palestinian state. Tzipi Livni was for a tactic of endless negotiations, decorated with pronouncement about peace and "two nation-states." Not for nothing did Netanyahu mock her: You had several years to achieve agreement with the Palestinians. So why didn't you?

This debate is not about peace, but about a "peace process."

But in the meantime Tzipi Livni settles into her new job as the Leader of the Opposition. Her first speeches were vigorous and hard-hitting. We shall soon know if she can fill this job with content. If having to speak about peace will convince her of its value and turn her into a real alternative to the government of Lieberman and Liebermania.
(c) 2009 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Celestial Navigation
By Victoria Stewart

My brother, honoring his lifelong affinity for Leif Eriksson, was a sailor. He learned to read star charts and navigated by the reliable and constant lights of the night sky. When he spoke of piloting across the darkened seas, watching the heavens and feeling for the currents, his voice was tinged with awe at the marvels of the universe. The stars never steered him wrong.

I could use some sort of life map these days, a kind of terrestrial pathfinder to guide me through uncertain and troubled times. I want something as infallible as the course of the moon and stars to show me the way home.

Don't we all? Isn't that the true motive behind the great traveling show of politics and pundits? Here in the US, at least, it seems that we have lost the ability to chart our own way. In a relatively short period of time, sixty years or less, we have turned our collective consciousness away from methods of true reckoning and learned, instead, to let the design of our lives be governed by consumption and vapid platitudes spun out by journalist-entertainers. Our lives have become vague and we so ensorcelled by the panoply of lights that play across our neural pathways (that would be television, you know), that we no longer remember how to reason.

And now we discover we are adrift in treacherous and unrelenting waters and the markers that should guide us are gone or untrue. All around is evidence of betrayal and complicity-jobs, health care, pensions, homes have disappeared, lives have been destroyed--and we cannot think how to save ourselves.

We are urged to resist, to protest, to rise up-and what? And how? The question I hear from people over and over, with more insistence and a rising note of panic is, "What can I do to change this? How can I do anything?"

I wonder the same thing myself. I have no desire live-or die, for that matter-in this future that is unfolding. What is happening simply, as my grandmother would say, will not do. And I do not believe, I refuse to believe, that we are powerless. We have resources. We have our hands, our bodies, our minds and our hearts. We do have a voice, each and every one of us and we need to set aside our squabbling over "left" and "right," over religious and ethnic differences and raise ourselves us against the true threat to life on this planet.

Take a look at the photograph of the bankers who met with Barack Obama a few weeks ago. Look at the official photo of the leaders at the G-20 summit. Those people are the enemies of all of us.

Truly, I think one would be hard pressed to find a single person outside of the monied elite who would argue that point. Isn't everyone angry, frustrated, frightened and demanding change? But what must happen, and soon, now, immediately, is that we dispense with tepid calls for action and suggestions that someone, somewhere (someone else, somewhere else) do something.

I believe we have one last chance to turn this lumbering vessel (to continue my watery metaphors) around. If we miss this opportunity, then it will truly be everyone for herself.

And so I call, publicly, for an organized and unified resistance movement with the stated purpose of overthrowing the corporate powers who control our social and political systems. I call for organized strikes, sit-ins, marches and other forms of passive, non-violent resistance. I call for a coalition of existing organizations and groups who want to restore the balance of power, re-establish justice and regain control of our world.

And if you are interested in being part of this, email me. Americans are brave, generous, resourceful people who have been herded like cattle for too long. Our children and our children's children deserve better than this and they deserve more from us. I dedicate my resources, my voice, my hands, my heart, mind and life to changing this great wrong. Join me.

Power belongs to the people. Let's take it back!
(c) 2009 Victoria Stewart is the editor of Issues & Alibis magazine.

Two Iraq Vets Stand Up To Corporate Giant

The awarding of contracts for local road projects does not usually immerse county commissioners in discussions about how U.S. troops in Iraq are treated. In March, however, when considering whether a certain company should get the contract to design a stretch of highway in San Marcos, Texas, commissioners got an earful on the topic.

Two Iraq war veterans from San Marcos - Bryan Hannah, 22, and Gregory Foster, 28 - testified that the corporation in question was not worthy. That corporation is KBR, a former Halliburton subsidiary that is accused of shoddy - and deadly - construction work at U.S. bases in Iraq. Hannah and Foster noted that, among other horrors, KBR has been fingered for overseeing electrical work that was so carelessly done that it electrocuted a Green Beret last year when he turned on a shower faucet.

A KBR lobbyist rushed to the microphone to pooh-pooh the testimony of the two young vets. "Just because you read something on the Internet doesn't mean it's true," he scoffed.

Uh, sir, unlike you, Hannah and Foster, were actually soldiers in Iraq, so their knowledge of how KBR does business is not some Internet fantasy. Moreover, that Green Beret's death is not a blogsophere myth - he was Sgt. Ryan Maseth, who was 24 years old when his shower killed him, and KBR is under investigation by Army prosecutors for negligent homicide in the case.

KBR, a global corporate giant with hoards of lawyers and lobbyists, has refused to take responsibility for its failures in Iraq. But, because these two vets dared to speak out, the people of this small Texas city are holding mighty KBR accountable. The county commissioners chose another company to do the road work. As one official said: "This is an ethical choice. [KBR] is not a company we have to do business with."
(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.

America's 'Long War' Will Be As Bloody And Pointless As Europe's
By William Pfaff

The Thirty Years' War occupies little space in the school texts of the English-speaking world, but its futility comes to mind when Richard Holbrooke, a civilian closer than most foreign policy appointees to realism, indicates that the war he is supposed to manage, now the Af-Pak war, is the entry passageway into another stage in the war.

George W. Bush's war on terror was the front door, and Barack Obama now has gone through the waiting room door into what the Pentagon has prepared for him, our very own thirty years' war: purposeless, neither winnable nor losable short of genocidal measures-or, as in the 17th century, by laying waste the lands and ruining nations.

The Thirty Years' War, like the Long War, began with dramatic but intrinsically unimportant events. In Bohemia, ruled by the Catholic Hapsburg empire, Bohemian nationalism had become identified with radical Protestant reformism, and the war began with the Catholic authorities closing one such church and destroying another. In May 1618, two Catholic governors were thrown from a window in the palace of Prague (they survived).

From that, one thing followed another. The first two stages were mainly Catholics against Protestants. The rest was a struggle between Protestant Sweden, with French Catholic Bourbon allies, for control of northern Germany and the Baltic region. It was very bloody, fought by mercenary armies that lived by pillage. It settled very little, and bankrupted nearly everyone involved.

America's Long War began with the destruction of two skyscrapers-temples of American commerce, as their Arab attackers identified them, plus an attack on the Pentagon, the closest the United States has to a temple honoring war.

The cause was intrinsically unimportant to anyone except the attackers and victims.

The former were "punishing" the United States for building "enduring" military bases in Saudi Arabia, the sacred land of Muslim prophesy, and punishing the Saud dynasty for having permitted this sacrilege.

Only a few score, nearly all of them Saudi Arabians, were active in the attack, and the fatal casualties numbered some 3,000, a holiday weekend traffic toll.

As in the 17th century, one thing led to another, much of it having nothing directly to do with the attacks. Afghanistan was attacked, bombed, its government overthrown. Iraq was invaded because the Bush-Cheney government had a long-standing interest in controlling Iraqi oil and because the neoconservatives wished to destroy the Arab state thought most likely to threaten Israel.

The Taliban returned to Afghanistan while Washington's attention was on Iraq. European NATO became involved for no better reason than that the United States told it to do so.

This brought terrorist outrages in London and Madrid, as well as an attempt in Scotland, by disgruntled Muslim immigrants or students at Western universities. The United States remained untouched.

The extension of the war into southern Afghanistan and Pakistan means tripled economic aid to Pakistan during the next five years, augmented military aid, U.S. military expenditures and the costs (actually increasing) of Iraq withdrawal (if it does take place), and as many as six new U.S. bases in southern Afghanistan, plus the enlarged Army and Marine Corps President Obama has promised. This adds to the commitment of funds made in the past six months to the cost of remaking the international economy.

I can add nothing to the financial estimations for Barack Obama's new war. I can only plead for an answer as to what it is for? Can anyone really believe that the United States and the NATO countries of Europe are in danger from the Taliban in Afghanistan?

If the people and government of Afghanistan are incapable of defending themselves against their own Taliban nationalists and religious extremists, as after the first American intervention in 2001, surely that is their problem.

The Afghan people have run off everybody else who tried to conquer them during the past two and a half thousand years, and it has not led to Afghanistan's domination of the world.

What if the Taliban convert all the other Muslims in the world to Islamic fundamentalism? What difference would it make to Barack Obama?

Are North and South Americans, Europeans, Chinese, Japanese and all the non-Muslim people of the world going to be overrun by bearded Taliban counter-Crusaders on motorbikes?

Suppose they stole a nuclear bomb? So what? There have been thousands of nuclear weapons around for more than half a century and nothing has happened; and suppose they did shoot one off? Everyone else is going to take a look at the consequences and be very impressed-just as last time.

The consequences of expanding this meaningless war will not be Taliban nuclear conquest of the world but, as in the case of the Thirty Years' War, involvement of one group or country after another for goals of their own, having nothing to do with the governments or the issues that started it all. The only thing that will stop this before it gets worse is simply to stop, or go bankrupt.
(c) 2009 William Pfaff

GMO Clones, The FDA, HR 875, And Congress
By Barbara H. Peterson

As I think about the "food safety" bills HR 875, HR 814, and HR 759, I take a stroll through the web to see what I can find. Lo and behold, I find some very interesting information.

I have been thinking about the connection between the genetic modification of animals and these bills. I wondered just how the agribusiness giants would keep track of their GM animals once they enter the mainstream food supply market. It's one thing to go to a farmer's canola field and take samples back to the lab for testing to see if they contain the patented GM gene, but a whole cow? Not likely.

The following was published on January 15, 2009 at CNN:

The Food and Drug Administration announced formal guidelines Thursday that will regulate the production of genetically engineered (GE) animals.

"Genetic engineering is a cutting edge technology that holds substantial promise for improving the health and well being of people as well as animals," Randall Lutter, deputy commissioner for policy at the FDA, said in a statement.

"In this document, the agency has articulated a scientifically robust interpretation of statutory requirements. This guidance will help the FDA efficiently review applications for products from GE animals to ensure their safety and efficacy."

The FDA emphasized GE animals are not cloned, but instead have new characteristics or traits introduced into the organism through their DNA.

The new guidelines would require all GE animals to go through rigorous scientific testing before being sold on the market, according to Dr. Bernadette Dunham, director for the FDA's Center for Veterinary Medicine.

"We want the public to understand that food from GE animals will not enter the food supply unless FDA has determined that it is safe," she said.

So, the FDA approves GM animals for the food supply, and just like the canola, the products from them such as meat, milk, etc., do not have to be labeled.

Consumers will more than likely not see any changes in labeling of these animal products. Unless the physical makeup of the animal is altered, companies and producers will not be required to let consumers know their meat products come from a genetically engineered animal. (CNN)

Okay, but what do the tracking bills have to do with it?

"The breeding industry is mostly concerned with tracking animals descended from clones," he says. Clones are genetic copies of other animals, but don't necessarily have foreign DNA inserted. But most GM mammals, Hanson points out, are clones. "Once you get it right," he says, "you clone it." (AlterNet)

Genetically modified meat is on its way, and the FDA has already approved clones, but there is a moratorium on them due to "marketing reasons."

The following information was obtained from World Science in an article dated January 16, 2008:

Meat and milk from cloned animals are as safe as that from their counterparts bred the old-fashioned way, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Tuesday but sales still won't begin right away.

The decision removes the last big U.S. regulatory huddle to marketing products from cloned livestock, and puts the FDA in concert with recent safety assessments from European food regulators and several other nations.

"Meat and milk from cattle, swine and goat clones are as safe as food we eat every day," said Stephen Sundloff, FDA's food safety chief.

But the government has asked animal cloning companies to continue a voluntary moratorium on sales for a little longer - not for safety reasons, but marketing ones.

USDA Undersecretary Bruce Knight called it a transition period for "allowing the marketplace to adjust." He wouldn't say how long the moratorium should continue...

...FDA won't require food makers to label if their products came from cloned animals, although companies could do so voluntarily if they knew the source. Last month, meat and dairy producers announced an industry system to track cloned livestock, with an electronic identification tag on each animal sold. Customers would sign a pledge to market the animal as a clone.

So, we have GM cloned animals set to go to market, no labeling required, and bills set to implement a tracking system for all livestock.

Tracking problem solved for the GM giants. You don't have to go to a field and drag a cow back to the lab, or bring your equipment to the cow. They are already in a database, courtesy of Congress.
(c) 2009 Barbara H. Peterson 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.

China's Dollar Trap
By Paul Krugman

Back in the early stages of the financial crisis, wags joked that our trade with China had turned out to be fair and balanced after all: They sold us poison toys and tainted seafood; we sold them fraudulent securities.

But these days, both sides of that deal are breaking down. On one side, the world's appetite for Chinese goods has fallen off sharply. China's exports have plunged in recent months and are now down 26 percent from a year ago. On the other side, the Chinese are evidently getting anxious about those securities.

But China still seems to have unrealistic expectations. And that's a problem for all of us.

The big news last week was a speech by Zhou Xiaochuan, the governor of China's central bank, calling for a new "super-sovereign reserve currency."

The paranoid wing of the Republican Party promptly warned of a dastardly plot to make America give up the dollar. But Mr. Zhou's speech was actually an admission of weakness. In effect, he was saying that China had driven itself into a dollar trap, and that it can neither get itself out nor change the policies that put it in that trap in the first place.

Some background: In the early years of this decade, China began running large trade surpluses and also began attracting substantial inflows of foreign capital. If China had had a floating exchange rate - like, say, Canada - this would have led to a rise in the value of its currency, which, in turn, would have slowed the growth of China's exports.

But China chose instead to keep the value of the yuan in terms of the dollar more or less fixed. To do this, it had to buy up dollars as they came flooding in. As the years went by, those trade surpluses just kept growing - and so did China's hoard of foreign assets.

Now the joke about fraudulent securities was actually unfair. Aside from a late, ill-considered plunge into equities (at the very top of the market), the Chinese mainly accumulated very safe assets, with U.S. Treasury bills - T-bills, for short - making up a large part of the total. But while T-bills are as safe from default as anything on the planet, they yield a very low rate of return.

Was there a deep strategy behind this vast accumulation of low-yielding assets? Probably not. China acquired its $2 trillion stash - turning the People's Republic into the T-bills Republic - the same way Britain acquired its empire: in a fit of absence of mind.

And just the other day, it seems, China's leaders woke up and realized that they had a problem.

The low yield doesn't seem to bother them much, even now. But they are, apparently, worried about the fact that around 70 percent of those assets are dollar-denominated, so any future fall in the dollar would mean a big capital loss for China. Hence Mr. Zhou's proposal to move to a new reserve currency along the lines of the S.D.R.'s, or special drawing rights, in which the International Monetary Fund keeps its accounts.

But there's both less and more here than meets the eye. S.D.R.'s aren't real money. They're accounting units whose value is set by a basket of dollars, euros, Japanese yen and British pounds. And there's nothing to keep China from diversifying its reserves away from the dollar, indeed from holding a reserve basket matching the composition of the S.D.R.'s - nothing, that is, except for the fact that China now owns so many dollars that it can't sell them off without driving the dollar down and triggering the very capital loss its leaders fear.

So what Mr. Zhou's proposal actually amounts to is a plea that someone rescue China from the consequences of its own investment mistakes. That's not going to happen.

And the call for some magical solution to the problem of China's excess of dollars suggests something else: that China's leaders haven't come to grips with the fact that the rules of the game have changed in a fundamental way.

Two years ago, we lived in a world in which China could save much more than it invested and dispose of the excess savings in America. That world is gone.

Yet the day after his new-reserve-currency speech, Mr. Zhou gave another speech in which he seemed to assert that China's extremely high savings rate is immutable, a result of Confucianism, which values "anti-extravagance." Meanwhile, "it is not the right time" for the United States to save more. In other words, let's go on as we were.

That's also not going to happen.

The bottom line is that China hasn't yet faced up to the wrenching changes that will be needed to deal with this global crisis. The same could, of course, be said of the Japanese, the Europeans - and us.

And that failure to face up to new realities is the main reason that, despite some glimmers of good news - the G-20 summit accomplished more than I thought it would - this crisis probably still has years to run.
(c) 2009 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

Hollow Point
By Chris Floyd

"This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms...." -- T.S. Eliot

I understand there was a conglomeration of global bigwigs recently not all that far from my expatriate digs here in Brenda's Blighty. I meant to pop round and say cheerio, but couldn't seem to find the time. The UK newspapers were full of it (no pun intended, of course, oh no, not at all): reams and reams of coverage devoted to the preening trumpery of stuffed shirts and hollow men, headpieces filled with straw. Having missed it all, I positively despaired at the thought of wading through the gray goo and trying to figure out the deathless import of this "historic conference." But fortunately, George Monbiot has obtained a "compressed form" of the official communique of the learned Thebans, cutting through the cant to the rather cankered heart of the matter. From the Guardian: Here is the text of the G20 communique, in compressed form:

"We, the Leaders of the Group of Twenty, will use every cent we don't possess to rescue corporate capitalism from its contradictions and set the world economy back onto the path of unsustainable growth. We have already spent trillions of dollars of your money on bailing out the banks, so that they can be returned to their proper functions of fleecing the poor and wrecking the Earth's living systems. Now we're going to spend another $1.1 trillion.

As an exemplary punishment for their long record of promoting crises, we will give the IMF and the World Bank even more of your money. These actions constitute the greatest mobilisation of resources to support global financial flows in modern times.

Oh - and we nearly forgot. We must do something about the environment. We don't have any definite plans as yet, but we'll think of something in due course."

Or to put it even more succinctly:

"G20 to Working People and the Earth: Drop Dead."
(c) 2009 Chris Floyd

Lusting After Progress
By Case Wagenvoord

So dazzled are our Masters of the Universe with the beeps and blinking lights of their manifold electronic toys that they do not even realize that the Bitch Goddess, Progress, is leading us into the grave. She's a clamorous whore who demands that life and nature be offered up as burnt offerings on the gurney that is her altar.

They are always striving out for the New Frontier just beyond the horizon, for the dawn that never breaks, for the Age of Aquarius that is still born.

They equate progress with change, any change, even if it's decay and decline. They worship her even if it makes life more wretched in the belief that the putrescence that engulfs them is a product of Divine Providence.

They are comforted by their belief that progress is a straight line ascending upward towards a heavenly golden age when, in fact, progress is a Bell Curve, complete with ascent, apogee and descent. The sad truth is that as "progress" advances, there is a diminishing return in the change each step "forward" effects on our lives.

* The railroad affected a profound change by jump starting the Industrial revolution with all of its attendant misery. Products could be transported cheaply so factories could be built anywhere. Before the advent of rail transport, they had to be built next to waterways because that was the cheapest means of transportation available.

* The automobile affected another radical change because towns could spread outwards from the rail lines and urban sprawl became possible.

* Telegraphs and telephones made instant communication possible and reflective thought unnecessary.

* Television destroyed community and family as society fragmented into multiple screens.

Alas, since then, the changes effected by new technologies have been superficial, at best. Everyone touts the computer as the instrument that brought us the Information Age. They told us more information would bring increased prosperity by giving managers more detailed idata to work with. Unfortunately, nobody had anything new to say, so this "information" was little more than a raging torrent of trivia. And, judging from our economic meltdown, the information the computer fed to management sucked.

Optimism is their religion. Like Little Orphan Annie they burst into song at the drop of a hat, their lyrics proclaiming that tomorrow will be a better day, that tomorrow the sun will shine, that tomorrow will clear away the cobwebs and sorrows.

Little do they know that Miss Hannigan has changed the locks on the orphanage.

--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 Issues & Alibis. When he's not writing or brooding, he is carving hardwood bowls that have been displayed in galleries and shows across the country. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two cats. His book, Open Letters to George W. Bush is available at

Show Stoppers: Resource Depletion
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning all of you independent thinkers out there; your King of Simple News is on the air.

Staying with my show stopper series, I want to point out that I have made no concerted effort to list each example in chronological order of importance. Stopped is stopped.

I should perhaps have mentioned that if we continue to cheat at this game of life and should we reach the ultimate show stopper of resource depletion, there will be no possible manner of reversing the trend.

Critical resource depletion can be referred to as a game ending event. America eats resources for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, every day, 365 days per year and that is the subject today's show stopper.

Natural resources are finite and our ability to consume those assets are infinite. So there it is, the world's easiest problem to solve. It's not if we run out, it's merely when. The very best way to rid ourselves of all of those pesky resources and to end life as we know it would be to promote greater usage prior to having a viable replacement.

It seems that Americans have a knack for picking just the person for furthering our precarious situations, our president is promising both unprecedented and unending growth with one simple solution; print more money, buy more stuff. There's nothin' to this economics mumbo jumbo that a person totally devoid of science can't fix; temporarily.

Not only is our president going to boost the U.S. level of consumption to new highs, he is demonstrating the magic of "Fed printing 101" to all of the G-20 nations that control 90% of world GDP (Gross Domestic Production).

There are actually 195 countries in the world and yet 20 nations represent 90% of global wealth. This is similar to the U.S. distribution of wealth where the top 20% of citizens own 80% of the wealth.

So, back to growth is the answer. It's the answer alright; the answer to what the world will look like once we begin to run short of resources. Let's clear a few things up about resources.

At this point and time, we have no viable replacements on this planet for clean water, farm land, iron ore, copper, aluminum, manganese, tin, coal, oil, gas, and I can go on for pages. Yet, the plan is to grow our use of all the above for the sake of making profits. Not living mind you,...making profits. Profits drive our entire lives and we have flatly maxed out the physical system by providing fictitious paper profits.

If China alone were to consume at the same per capita rate as Americans, they would require 100% of all current resource production on earth and would experience a shortage!

And our assurance against such a happening is simply, "they won't?" Come on, president Obama is encouraging the entire world to behave more like Americans and consume their way to utopia. Print money and buy stuff.

Let me throw another hard curve ball at anyone who thinks it will be a long time before resources become scarce. Nearly all resource depletion took place in the past 100 years. In many cases, more than half of all known global quantities of critical resources have been depleted.

It gets worse. The past history of utilization of natural resources cannot be graphed nor viewed in a linear manner. The usage follows a classical exponential curve. The more we use, the more we need to use to continue our consumptive lifestyle. In other words, we used a whole lot more gas, oil, coal, water, and so on in 2008 than we did in 1908 when horses would have been tied along our main streets.

Here is a sobering example of stark reality. In 1970, the U.S. hit peak oil production. We continue to decline to this day and now produce 40% less oil (even with the Alaska Pipeline) than we did 39 years ago. Yet we utilize some 40% more oil today than in 1970. That makes us some 60% dependent on foreign nations to provide us with a resource that is absolutely critical to survival.

Just last year, the world bumped up against maximum global oil production and we saw what happened to fuel prices and more aptly to the world economy. If anyone wants to argue that there are viable alternatives to oil that are ready to go, or that there is an unending supply of oil in the world, or even that they will come up with a palatable solution; please express those arguments on some science fiction site, not here.

And, once again, I remind you that our president's plan for the entire world is mega-growth.

Rather than me asking the question today, I'll allow Dr. Albert Bartlett, professor of physics, University of Colorado, to have the honors.

"Can you think of any problem in any area of human endeavor on any scale, from microscopic to global, whose long-term solution is in any demonstrable way aided, assisted, or advanced by further increases in population, locally, nationally, or globally?"

In Dr. Bartlett's question, "population" can be directly interchanged with "resource depletion."
(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...

"If a nation values anything more than freedom, it will lose its freedom; and the irony of it is that if it is comfort or money that it values more, it will lose that too."
~~~ Somerset Maugham

Resist Or Become Serfs
By Chris Hedges

America is devolving into a third-world nation. And if we do not immediately halt our elite's rapacious looting of the public treasury we will be left with trillions in debts, which can never be repaid, and widespread human misery which we will be helpless to ameliorate. Our anemic democracy will be replaced with a robust national police state. The elite will withdraw into heavily guarded gated communities where they will have access to security, goods and services that cannot be afforded by the rest of us. Tens of millions of people, brutally controlled, will live in perpetual poverty. This is the inevitable result of unchecked corporate capitalism. The stimulus and bailout plans are not about saving us. They are about saving them. We can resist, which means street protests, disruptions of the system and demonstrations, or become serfs.

We have been in a steady economic decline for decades. The Canadian political philosopher John Ralston Saul detailed this decline in his 1992 book "Voltaire's Bastards: The Dictatorship of Reason in the West." David Cay Johnston exposed the mirage and rot of American capitalism in "Free Lunch: How the Wealthiest Americans Enrich Themselves at Government Expense (and Stick You With the Bill)," and David C. Korten, in "When Corporations Rule the World" and "Agenda for a New Economy," laid out corporate malfeasance and abuse. But our universities and mass media, entranced by power and naively believing that global capitalism was an unstoppable force of nature, rarely asked the right questions or gave a prominent voice to those who did. Our elites hid their incompetence and loss of control behind an arrogant facade of specialized jargon and obscure economic theories.

The lies employed to camouflage the economic decline are legion. President Ronald Reagan included 1.5 million U.S. Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine service personnel with the civilian work force to magically reduce the nation's unemployment rate by 2 percent. President Bill Clinton decided that those who had given up looking for work, or those who wanted full-time jobs but could only find part-time employment, were no longer to be counted as unemployed. This trick disappeared some 5 million unemployed from the official unemployment rolls. If you work more than 21 hours a week-most low-wage workers at places like Wal-Mart average 28 hours a week-you are counted as employed, although your real wages put you below the poverty line. Our actual unemployment rate, when you include those who have stopped looking for work and those who can only find part-time jobs, is not 8.5 percent but 15 percent. A sixth of the country is now effectively unemployed. And we are shedding jobs at a faster rate than in the months after the 1929 crash.

The consumer price index, used by the government to measure inflation, is meaningless. To keep the official inflation figures low the government has been substituting basic products it once measured to check for inflation with ones that do not rise very much in price. This sleight of hand has kept the cost-of-living increases tied to the CPI artificially low. The New York Times' consumer reporter, W.P. Dunleavy, wrote that her groceries now cost $587 a month, up from $400 a year earlier. This is a 40 percent increase. California economist John Williams, who runs an organization called Shadow Statistics, contends that if Washington still used the CPI measurements applied back in the 1970s, inflation would be 10 percent.

The corporate state, and the political and intellectual class that served the corporate state, constructed a financial and political system based on illusions. Corporations engaged in pyramid lending that created fictitious assets. These fictitious assets became collateral for more bank lending. The elite skimmed off hundreds of millions in bonuses, commissions and salaries from this fictitious wealth. Politicians, who dutifully served corporate interests rather than those of citizens, were showered with campaign contributions and given lucrative jobs when they left office. Universities, knowing it was not good business to challenge corporatism, muted any voices of conscience while they went begging for corporate donations and grants. Deceptive loans and credit card debt fueled the binges of a consumer society and hid falling wages and the loss of manufacturing jobs.

The Obama administration, rather than chart a new course, is intent on re-inflating the bubble. The trillions of dollars of government funds being spent to sustain these corrupt corporations could have renovated our economy. We could have saved tens of millions of Americans from poverty. The government could have, as consumer activist Ralph Nader has pointed out, started 10 new banks with $35 billion each and a 10-to-1 leverage to open credit markets. Vast, unimaginable sums are being placed into these dirty corporate hands without oversight. And they will use this money as they always have-to enrich themselves at our expense.

"You are going to see the biggest waste, fraud and abuse in American history," Nader warned when I asked about the bailouts. "Not only is it wrongly directed, not only does it deal with the perpetrators instead of the people who were victimized, but they don't have a delivery system of any honesty and efficiency. The Justice Department is overwhelmed. It doesn't have a tenth of the prosecutors, the investigators, the auditors, the attorneys needed to deal with the previous corporate crime wave before the bailout started last September. It is especially unable to deal with the rapacious ravaging of this new money by these corporate recipients. You can see it already. The corporations haven't lent it. They have used some of it for acquisitions or to preserve their bonuses or their dividends. As long as they know they are not going to jail, and they don't see many newspaper reports about their colleagues going to jail, they don't care. It is total impunity. If they quit, they quit with a golden parachute. Even [General Motors CEO Rick] Wagoner is taking away $21 million."

There are a handful of former executives who have conceded that the bailouts are a waste. American International Group Inc.'s former chairman, Maurice R. Greenberg, told the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee on Thursday that the effort to prop up the firm with $170 billion has "failed." He said the company should be restructured. AIG, he said, would have been better off filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection instead of seeking government help.

"These are signs of hyper decay," Nader said from his office in Washington. "You spend this kind of money and do not know if it will work."

"Bankrupt corporate capitalism is on its way to bankrupting the socialism that is trying to save it," Nader added. "That is the end stage. If they no longer have socialism to save them then we are into feudalism. We are into private police, gated communities and serfs with a 21st century nomenclature."

We will not be able to raise another 3 or 4 trillion dollars, especially with our commitments now totaling some $12 trillion, to fix the mess. It was only a couple of months ago that our expenditures totaled $9 trillion. And it was not long ago that such profligate government spending was unthinkable. There was an $800 billion limit placed on the Federal Reserve a year ago. The economic stimulus and the bailouts will not bring back our casino capitalism. And as the meltdown shows no signs of abating, and the bailouts show no sign of working, the recklessness and desperation of our capitalist overlords have increased. The cost, to the working and middle class, is becoming unsustainable. The Fed reported in March that households lost $5.1 trillion, or 9 percent, of their wealth in the last three months of 2008, the most ever in a single quarter in the 57-year history of record keeping by the central bank. For the full year, household wealth dropped $11.1 trillion, or about 18 percent. These figures did not record the decline of investments in the stock market, which has probably erased trillions more in the country's collective net worth.

The bullet to our head, inevitable if we do not radically alter course, will be sudden. We have been borrowing at the rate of more than $2 billion a day over the last 10 years, and at some point it has to stop. The moment China, the oil-rich states and other international investors stop buying treasury bonds the dollar will become junk. Inflation will rocket upward. We will become Weimar Germany. A furious and sustained backlash by a betrayed and angry populace, one unprepared intellectually and psychologically for collapse, will sweep aside the Democrats and most of the Republicans. A cabal of proto-fascist misfits, from Christian demagogues to simpletons like Sarah Palin to loudmouth talk show hosts, who we naively dismiss as buffoons, will find a following with promises of revenge and moral renewal. The elites, the ones with their Harvard Business School degrees and expensive vocabularies, will retreat into their sheltered enclaves of privilege and comfort. We will be left bereft and abandoned outside the gates.
(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.

Buyer's Remorse, Economic Collapse, Oligarchs, And War
By Cynthia McKinney


Of late, I'm been approached by four types of voters: one voter type knew about our Power to the People campaign and enthusiastically supported it. They find themselves in the position of not wanting to say, "I told you so" too loudly, but certainly say it among themselves and to each other.

Increasingly, though, there's another type of voter that is contacting me, expressing "Buyer's Remorse" for having supported candidate Barack Obama. These voters can be further subdivided into three categories: those who voted for Obama, not knowing very much about our Power to the People campaign; those who voted for Obama, knowing a lot about Rosa, me, and the Power to the People campaign, but who chose instead to vote for Obama out of fear of a McCain/Palin White House; and finally, those who knew about our Power to the People campaign and were hostile to it because they were suspicious that our campaign was designed to deny the White House to candidate Obama--the spoiler campaign. Fortunately and hopefully, because of the integrity with which we ran our campaign, those in this latter category are few in terms of their numbers in communication with me.

For me, the number of people contacting me expressing regret for having voted for Obama is a double-edged sword. That is, it indicates that prior to the election, we were not able to seal the deal with a significant number of our natural voters. There are many reasons for that, but being severely under funded lies at the base of that failing. However, on the other hand, these expressions of "buyer's remorse" indicate that people knowingly allowed themselves to be swept into the voting booth and vote against their values.

I am happy that more and more people are freely expressing their support for the platform of the Power to the People campaign. I am extremely happy that more and more people express their interest in supporting me in another political endeavor, be it another Congressional or White House run. I am particularly pleased that people are willing to explore the possibilities that politics outside the box of two-party conformity can provide. But I have to admit that I am saddened by the fact that so many people fail to understand that in the transaction of a political election, there is no warranty for "buyer's remorse." The crescendo of well-financed political propaganda is all geared toward achieving the desired result on election day and there is no denouement. The desired result is to have as many voters as possible stay within the political confines of either of the two special interest parties because their candidates have already been vetted and have agreed to certain restrictions in the area of public policy. That's why our Power to the People campaign was the only one talking about instituting full employment and a living wage, subsidizing education through college so that students would not have to take out loans to go to college, creating green jobs (like solar panel manufacture) in neighborhoods blighted by abandoned big box buildings, having former Comptroller of the U.S. David Walker perform audits of the companies that got bailout money, nationalizing the Federal Reserve, creating publicly owned neighborhood banks, thereby finally creating an economy that worked for the people instead of the special interests. And shutting down the military-industrial complex's Empire America.

Our agenda provided a clear route to an end to torture, rendition for torture, warrantless wiretapping, spying on U.S. citizen activists, and an end to war. Not just an end to the war on terror, but a clear end to war and occupation. And now that the Obama Administration has used its Justice Department to argue in court in favor of those who ordered torture, and to defend Bush Administration policies of torture, rendition, warrantless wiretapping, and extra-legal treatment of so-called "enemy combatants," most of whom have committed no crime (like six-year Guantanamo Prisoner number 345, Sami El-Hajj, who was on the Dignity with me as I tried to make it to Gaza). On these issues, the Obama Administration is consonant with the Bush Administration. No wonder Bush et al have more to worry about from the "small-d" democrats in Spain than from the "big-D" Democrats in Washington, DC.

And so the beat goes on. Until four years from now at the climax of when the electorate will be beaten, once again, into submission if they dare raise their head to support a candidate from a political party that has not been bought off by the special interests. The people are continually asked to decrease the volume of the discordant notes in their political hearts in order to prevent a worse outcome. But what could be worse than suppressing one's own acknowledgement of the existing political cacophony in order to facilitate the interests of others, especially when the others whose interests are always accommodated are in contradiction to your own interests and the planet's? But every four years, the masters of the political process are able to convince more and more people to do this. And then when people see that what they wanted and even worse, thought they were voting for, is slow in coming, "buyer's remorse" begins to set in. Some will wait an entire four years hoping that the powers that be will eventually get around to supporting the voters' interests. Only in the end to be let down again--but only after they've once again given their most precious asset, their vote, to the special interest political parties who will betray them yet again. It's like a dance, where one of the dance partners always gets her toes stepped on. It's more like a stomping, actually. Others have likened it to a situation of domestic violence, where the abused partner keeps coming back for more.

I am happy to receive these messages because it indicates that we are gaining new supporters. But I am saddened at the same time because it demonstrates how difficult our task really is. It's not just about being right. It's also about winning. And the stakes are so high on this one that we have to win. But in order for our values to win, we will need everyone's help to turn this ship of state around. The enormity of the task of actually taking our country back is becoming clear.

And with what is happening economically, it is likely to be even more difficult. As someone who studied Russian literature and the great Russian authors, like Pushkin, Chechov, Dostoyevsky, and others, I have always paid attention to events taking place in Russia. I watched with interest the creation of a superclass of dual-passport carrying individuals who stripped Russia of its patrimony and became known as the oligarchs. According to the Guardian, Russia's seven original oligarchs came to control 50% of Russia's economy during the 1990s.

I came to realize that the very individuals entrusted with correcting the current economic woes are, in actuality, its very authors in Russia. And so, the question I asked myself was this: "Is the US next in line? And after the debris is cleared, or the dust settles, as they say, will our country also be left with oligarchs, who will own everything?" If so, does that make Barack Obama the U.S. equivalent of Mikhail Gorbachev who put in place the policies that allowed the oligarchs to get their start? In fact, right after the US election that sent President Obama to the White House, former Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev said that Obama should usher in "perestroika" reforms in the U.S.

When I was in London recently for the Malaysia conference, I met a gentleman who completed the answer for me. Economist Michael Hudson and lawyer and author Ellen Brown had confirmed my worst fears, but Mr. David Pidcock really brought them all home for me. And the short answer to the question I put to him is, "Yes, the U.S. economy is being hollowed out with our own money, not for the benefit of the American people, but for the benefit of a few and yes, President Obama has enabled the very characters who have successfully implemented this result elsewhere."

In the next few essays, I will explain as others are doing as well, what is going on in plain speak. The obligation of voters to educate themselves will be far more difficult if there is far less truth in plain speak out there for them to read. I will try my best to combine my research and experiences with the findings of trusted experts and share them with you in plain speak. (I am trying to get better as I've been told that I need to make my plain speak a little plainer. Folks sometimes have to get dictionaries to read and understand me. Sorry about that. I hope this essay is a bit better.)

Finally, David Pidcock, my London friend, reminds us in "Money: A Christian View," that a socially healthy economy achieves the highest possible standard of living for all and achieves the "elimination of insecurity and fear and consequent selfish materialist values, so that the individual human being may be enabled to live with dignity and self-respect."

That's what we're trying to build here, a government that respects and promotes and protects human dignity. That is not being done today, sadly. Over the next few essays I would like to discuss how we get from here to there and how President Obama's economic team is deviating from the "there" that we all want.

The first work I want to take excerpts from is, "Money Facts," 169 questions and answers on money authored by the Subcommittee on Domestic Finance, House of Representatives Committee on Banking and Currency, 1964.

"6. Does Congress supervise Federal Reserve policymaking? No. In practice the Federal Reserve is "independent" in its policy making. The Federal Reserve neither requires nor seeks the approval of any branch of Government for its policies. The System itself decides what ends its policies are aimed at and then takes whatever action it sees fit to reach those ends.

"7. What problems are raised by an 'independent' Federal Reserve? There are two major problems. One is the problem of political responsibility for the country's economic policies. The other is the problem of final control over the Government's actions in the economic sphere.

"8. What is the problem of political responsibility? Since the Federal Reserve is independent it is not accountable to anyone for the economic policies it chooses to pursue. But this runs counter to normally accepted democratic principles. The President and Congress are responsible to the people on election - day for their past economic decisions. But the Federal Reserve is responsible neither to the people directly nor indirectly through the people's elected representatives. Yet the Federal Reserve exercises great power in controlling the money-creating activities of the commercial banks.

"9. Why is final control of economic policy a problem? Because with an 'independent' Federal Reserve, Congress and the President can be moving in one direction while the Federal Reserve is moving in the other. 'The result is sometimes no policy at all. At other times, it leads to the Federal Reserve's neutralizing the President's economic policies. This very possibility caused President Johnson to request the Federal Reserve in his 1964 Annual Economic Report to Congress not to nullify his efforts to reduce unemployment and raise incomes. Should the President have to ask any Government agency to go along with his policy as approved by Congress? Obviously not.

"10. Who really directs Federal Reserve operations?

Day-to-day operations in each of the 12 regional Federal Reserve banks are supervised by nine directors - six of them selected directly by privately owned commercial banks.

The most important monetary decisions for the system as a whole are made by the Open Market Committee, which is composed of 12 members.

"11. Do private bank interests influence Federal Reserve policy? Yes. Of the 12 members of the Open Market Committee-the Committee which actually controls credit policy-5 are presidents of regional banks. These presidents are elected by the individual regional banks' nine-man board of directors with its preponderance of private commercial bank representatives. Further, all 12 of the regional bank presidents participate in the Open Market Committee's discussions, though only 5 can vote. The 'discussion' Open Market Committee, then, has 19 members-12 regional bank presidents and the 7 members of the Federal Reserve Board

"12. Does it matter what amount of money is supplied the economy? Yes, indeed. The money supply helps determine the general level of interest rates paid for the use of money, employment, prices, and economic growth. Many economists believe the money supply is the most important determinant of these variables.

"13. Who determines the money supply?

The Federal Open Market Committee of the Federal Reserve System.

"156. What is the main problem of the Federal Reserve System today?

In a word, Federal Reserve independence. Congress and the People are faced with the issue: how can we bring money management under genuine public control in order to co-ordinate monetary with other public policies? The original intent of the Federal Reserve Act was to insure such control : that intent is still valid. Our Government must squarely face the challenge of recapturing the tiller of its money system.

"165. Who favors Federal Reserve independence?

The private banks who control the System, together with some allies-notably, Wall Street newspapers and other members of the financial community."
(c) 2009 Cynthia McKinney

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Unterfuhrer Bachmann,

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 zany take on reality keeps the people from asking and thinking about our real problems, Iraq, Afghanistan and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross, 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 Frau Bachmann, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Larry Summers, Tim Geithner And Wall Street's Ownership Of Government
By Glenn Greenwald

White House officials yesterday released their personal financial disclosure forms, and included in the millions of dollars which top Obama economics adviser Larry Summers made from Wall Street in 2008 is this detail:

Lawrence H. Summers, one of President Obama's top economic advisers, collected roughly $5.2 million in compensation from hedge fund D.E. Shaw over the past year and was paid more than $2.7 million in speaking fees by several troubled Wall Street firms and other organizations. . . .

Financial institutions including JP Morgan Chase, Citigroup, Goldman Sachs, Lehman Brothers and Merrill Lynch paid Summers for speaking appearances in 2008. Fees ranged from $45,000 for a Nov. 12 Merrill Lynch appearance to $135,000 for an April 16 visit to Goldman Sachs, according to his disclosure form.

That's $135,000 paid by Goldman Sachs to Summers -- for a one-day visit. And the payment was made at a time -- in April, 2008 -- when everyone assumed that the next President would either be Barack Obama or Hillary Clinton and that Larry Summers would therefore become exactly what he now is: the most influential financial official in the U.S. Government (and the $45,000 Merrill Lynch payment came 8 days after Obama's election). Goldman would not be able to make a one-day $135,000 payment to Summers now that he is Obama's top economics adviser, but doing so a few months beforehand was obviously something about which neither parties felt any compunction. It's basically an advanced bribe. And it's paying off in spades. And none of it seemed to bother Obama in the slightest when he first strongly considered naming Summers as Treasury Secretary and then named him his top economics adviser instead (thereby avoiding the need for Senate confirmation), knowing that Summers would exert great influence in determining who benefited from the government's response to the financial crisis.

Last night, former Reagan-era S&L regulator and current University of Missouri Professor Bill Black was on Bill Moyers' Journal and detailed the magnitude of what he called the on-going massive fraud, the role Tim Geithner played in it before being promoted to Treasury Secretary (where he continues to abet it), and -- most amazingly of all -- the crusade led by Alan Greenspan, former Goldman CEO Robert Rubin (Geithner's mentor) and Larry Summers in the late 1990s to block the efforts of top regulators (especially Brooksley Born, head of the Commodities Futures Trading Commission) to regulate the exact financial derivatives market that became the principal cause of the global financial crisis. To get a sense for how deep and massive is the on-going fraud and the key role played in it by key Obama officials, I highly recommend watching that Black interview (it can be seen here and the transcript is here).

This article from Stanford Magazine -- an absolutely amazing read -- details how Summers, Rubin and Greenspan led the way in blocking any regulatory efforts of the derivatives market whatsoever on the ground that the financial industry and its lobbyists were objecting:

As chairperson of the CFTC, Born advocated reining in the huge and growing market for financial derivatives. . . . One type of derivative-known as a credit-default swap-has been a key contributor to the economy's recent unraveling. . .

Back in the 1990s, however, Born's proposal stirred an almost visceral response from other regulators in the Clinton administration, as well as members of Congress and lobbyists. . . . But even the modest proposal got a vituperative response. The dozen or so large banks that wrote most of the OTC derivative contracts saw the move as a threat to a major profit center. Greenspan and his deregulation-minded brain trust saw no need to upset the status quo. The sheer act of contemplating regulation, they maintained, would cause widespread chaos in markets around the world.

Born recalls taking a phone call from Lawrence Summers, then Rubin's top deputy at the Treasury Department, complaining about the proposal, and mentioning that he was taking heat from industry lobbyists. . . . The debate came to a head April 21, 1998. In a Treasury Department meeting of a presidential working group that included Born and the other top regulators, Greenspan and Rubin took turns attempting to change her mind. Rubin took the lead, she recalls.

"I was told by the secretary of the treasury that the CFTC had no jurisdiction, and for that reason and that reason alone, we should not go forward," Born says. . . . "It seemed totally inexplicable to me," Born says of the seeming disinterest her counterparts showed in how the markets were operating. "It was as though the other financial regulators were saying, 'We don't want to know.'"

She formally launched the proposal on May 7, and within hours, Greenspan, Rubin and Levitt issued a joint statement condemning Born and the CFTC, expressing "grave concern about this action and its possible consequences." They announced a plan to ask for legislation to stop the CFTC in its tracks.

Rubin, Summers and Greenspan succeeded in inducing Congress -- funded, of course, by these same financial firms -- to enact legislation blocking the CFTC from regulating these derivative markets. More amazingly still, the CFTC, headed back then by Born, is now headed by Obama appointee Gary Gensler, a former Goldman Sachs executive (naturally) who was as instrumental as anyone in blocking any regulations of those derivative markets (and then enriched himself by feeding on those unregulated markets).

Just think about how this works. People like Rubin, Summers and Gensler shuffle back and forth from the public to the private sector and back again, repeatedly switching places with their GOP counterparts in this endless public/private sector looting. When in government, they ensure that the laws and regulations are written to redound directly to the benefit of a handful of Wall St. firms, literally abolishing all safeguards and allowing them to pillage and steal. Then, when out of government, they return to those very firms and collect millions upon millions of dollars, profits made possible by the laws and regulations they implemented when in government. Then, when their party returns to power, they return back to government, where they continue to use their influence to ensure that the oligarchical circle that rewards them so massively is protected and advanced. This corruption is so tawdry and transparent -- and it has fueled and continues to fuel a fraud so enormous and destructive as to be unprecedented in both size and audacity -- that it is mystifying that it is not provoking more mass public rage.

All of that leads to things like this, from today's Washington Post:

The Obama administration is engineering its new bailout initiatives in a way that it believes will allow firms benefiting from the programs to avoid restrictions imposed by Congress, including limits on lavish executive pay, according to government officials. . . .

The administration believes it can sidestep the rules because, in many cases, it has decided not to provide federal aid directly to financial companies, the sources said. Instead, the government has set up special entities that act as middlemen, channeling the bailout funds to the firms and, via this two-step process, stripping away the requirement that the restrictions be imposed, according to officials. . . .

In one program, designed to restart small-business lending, President Obama's officials are planning to set up a middleman called a special-purpose vehicle -- a term made notorious during the Enron scandal -- or another type of entity to evade the congressional mandates, sources familiar with the matter said.

If that isn't illegal, it is as close to it as one can get. And it is a blatant attempt by the White House to brush aside -- circumvent and violate -- the spirit if not the letter of Congressional restrictions on executive pay for TARP-receiving firms. It was Obama, in the wake of various scandals over profligate spending by TARP firms, who pretended to ride the wave of populist anger and to lead the way in demanding limits on compensation. And ever since his flamboyant announcement, Obama -- adopting the same approach that seems to drive him in most other areas -- has taken one step after the next to gut and render irrelevant the very compensation limits he publicly pretended to champion (thereafter dishonestly blaming Chris Dodd for doing so and virtually destroying Dodd's political career). And the winners -- as always -- are the same Wall St. firms that caused the crisis in the first place while enriching and otherwise co-opting the very individuals Obama chose to be his top financial officials.

Worse still, what is happening here is an exact analog to what is happening in the realm of Bush war crimes -- the Obama administration's first priority is to protect the wrongdoers and criminals by ensuring that the criminality remains secret. Here is how Black explained it last night:

Black: Geithner is charging, is covering up. Just like Paulson did before him. Geithner is publicly saying that it's going to take $2 trillion - a trillion is a thousand billion - $2 trillion taxpayer dollars to deal with this problem. But they're allowing all the banks to report that they're not only solvent, but fully capitalized. Both statements can't be true. It can't be that they need $2 trillion, because they have masses losses, and that they're fine.

These are all people who have failed. Paulson failed, Geithner failed. They were all promoted because they failed, not because...

Moyers: What do you mean?

Black: Well, Geithner has, was one of our nation's top regulators, during the entire subprime scandal, that I just described. He took absolutely no effective action. He gave no warning. He did nothing in response to the FBI warning that there was an epidemic of fraud. All this pig in the poke stuff happened under him. So, in his phrase about legacy assets. Well he's a failed legacy regulator. . . .

The Great Depression, we said, "Hey, we have to learn the facts. What caused this disaster, so that we can take steps, like pass the Glass-Steagall law, that will prevent future disasters?" Where's our investigation?

What would happen if after a plane crashes, we said, "Oh, we don't want to look in the past. We want to be forward looking. Many people might have been, you know, we don't want to pass blame. No. We have a nonpartisan, skilled inquiry. We spend lots of money on, get really bright people. And we find out, to the best of our ability, what caused every single major plane crash in America. And because of that, aviation has an extraordinarily good safety record. We ought to follow the same policies in the financial sphere. We have to find out what caused the disasters, or we will keep reliving them. . . .

Moyers: Yeah. Are you saying that Timothy Geithner, the Secretary of the Treasury, and others in the administration, with the banks, are engaged in a cover up to keep us from knowing what went wrong?

Black: Absolutely.

Moyers: You are.

Black: Absolutely, because they are scared to death. . . . What we're doing with -- no, Treasury and both administrations. The Bush administration and now the Obama administration kept secret from us what was being done with AIG. AIG was being used secretly to bail out favored banks like UBS and like Goldman Sachs. Secretary Paulson's firm, that he had come from being CEO. It got the largest amount of money. $12.9 billion. And they didn't want us to know that. And it was only Congressional pressure, and not Congressional pressure, by the way, on Geithner, but Congressional pressure on AIG.

Where Congress said, "We will not give you a single penny more unless we know who received the money." And, you know, when he was Treasury Secretary, Paulson created a recommendation group to tell Treasury what they ought to do with AIG. And he put Goldman Sachs on it.

Moyers: Even though Goldman Sachs had a big vested stake.

Black: Massive stake. And even though he had just been CEO of Goldman Sachs before becoming Treasury Secretary. Now, in most stages in American history, that would be a scandal of such proportions that he wouldn't be allowed in civilized society.

This is exactly what former IMF Chief Economist Simon Johnson warned about in his vital Atlantic article: "that the finance industry has effectively captured our government -- a state of affairs that more typically describes emerging markets, and is at the center of many emerging-market crises." This is the key passage where Johnson described the hallmark of how corrupt oligarchies that cause financial crises then attempt to deal with the fallout:

Squeezing the oligarchs, though, is seldom the strategy of choice among emerging-market governments. Quite the contrary: at the outset of the crisis, the oligarchs are usually among the first to get extra help from the government, such as preferential access to foreign currency, or maybe a nice tax break, or-here's a classic Kremlin bailout technique -- the assumption of private debt obligations by the government. Under duress, generosity toward old friends takes many innovative forms. Meanwhile, needing to squeeze someone, most emerging-market governments look first to ordinary working folk-at least until the riots grow too large. . . .

As much as he campaigned against anything, Obama railed against precisely this sort of incestuous, profoundly corrupt control by narrow private interests of the Government, yet he has chosen to empower the very individuals who most embody that corruption. And the results are exactly what one would expect them to be.

* * * * *

I was on the Moyers program last night after the Black interview -- along with Amy Goodman -- discussing the media's role in this establishment corruption (that segment can be viewed here), and yesterday morning I was on C-SPAN's Washington Journal with the primary topic being this blatant, sleazy oligarchical control of both the Executive and legislative branches (which can be seen here).

UPDATE: Just to get a sense for how propagandistic, sycophantic and fact-free are the most extreme Obama worshippers in our "journalist" class, consider this recent article from The New Republic's Noam Scheiber in which he urged the White House to "free its economic oracle" -- Summers -- and defended and praised Summers on the ground that "his exposure to Wall Street over the years has been limited." As Jonathan Schwarz asks, citing the massive compensation on which Summers engorged himself by feeding at the Wall Street trough last year: "I wonder what would have constituted 'significant' exposure to Wall Street? Maybe if he'd worked for D.E. Shaw full time? (Amazingly, Summers was paid $5.2 million for a part-time position.)"
(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.

US Envoy Writes Of Israeli Threats
By Barbara Crossette

In the wake of the accusation by Chas Freeman that his nomination to lead the National Intelligence Council was derailed by an "Israeli lobby," a forthcoming memoir by another distinguished ambassador adds stunning new charges to the debate. The ambassador, John Gunther Dean, writes that over the years he not only came under pressure from pro-Israeli groups and officials in Washington but also was the target of an Israeli-inspired assassination attempt in 1980 in Lebanon, where he had opened links to the Palestine Liberation Organization.

Dean's suspicions that Israeli agents may have also been involved in the mysterious plane crash in 1988 that killed Pakistan's president, General Mohammed Zia ul Haq, led finally to a decision in Washington to declare him mentally unfit, which forced his resignation from the foreign service after a thirty-year career. After he left public service, he was rehabilitated by the State Department, given a distinguished service medal and eventually encouraged to write his memoirs. Now 82, Dean sees the subsequent positive attention he has received as proof that the insanity charge (he calls it Stalinist) was phony, a supposition later confirmed by a former head of the department's medical service.

Dean, whose memoir is titled "Danger Zones: A Diplomat's Fight for America's Interests," was American ambassador in Lebanon in August 1980 when a three-car convoy carrying him and his family was attacked near Beirut.

"I was the target of an assassination attempt by terrorists using automatic rifles and antitank weapons that had been made in the United States and shipped to Israel," he wrote. "Weapons financed and given by the United States to Israel were used in an attempt to kill an American diplomat!" After the event, conspiracy theories abounded in the Middle East about who could have planned the attack, and why. Lebanon was a dangerously factionalized country.

The State Department investigated, Dean said, but he was never told what the conclusion was. He wrote that he "worked the telephone for three weeks" and met only official silence in Washington. By then Dean had learned from weapons experts in the United States and Lebanon that the guns and ammunition used in the attack had been given by Israelis to a Christian militia allied with them.

"I know as surely as I know anything that Mossad, the Israeli intelligence agency, was somehow involved in the attack," Dean wrote, describing how he had been under sharp criticism from Israeli politicians and media for his contacts with Palestinians. "Undoubtedly using a proxy, our ally Israel had tried to kill me."

Dean's memoir, to be published in May for the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training Memoir Series by New Academia Publishing under its Vellum imprint, has been read and approved for publication by the State Department with only very minor changes, none affecting Dean's major points. Its underlying theme is that American diplomacy should be pursued in American interests, not those of another country, however friendly. A Jew whose family fled the Holocaust, Dean resented what he saw as an assumption, including by some in Congress, that he would promote Israel's interests in his ambassadorial work.

Dean, a fluent French speaker who began his long diplomatic career opening American missions in newly independent West African nations in the early 1960s, served later in Vietnam (where he described himself as a "loyal dissenter") and was ambassador in Cambodia (where he carried out the American flag as the Khmer Rouge advanced), Denmark, Lebanon, Thailand (where Chas Freeman was his deputy) and India. He takes credit for averting bloodshed in Laos in the 1970s by negotiating a coalition government shared by communist and noncommunist parties.

He was sometimes a disputatious diplomat not afraid to contradict superiors, and he often took--and still holds--contrarian views. He always believed, for example, that the United States should have attempted to negotiate with the Khmer Rouge rather than let the country be overrun by their brutal horror.

As ambassador in India in the 1980s he supported then-Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi's policy of seeking some kind of neutral coalition in Afghanistan that would keep the American- and Pakistani-armed mujahedeen from establishing a fundamentalist Islamic state. For several years after the Soviet withdrawal, India continued to back Najibullah, a thuggish communist security chief whom the retreating Soviet troops left behind. After the mujahedeen moved toward Kabul, Najibullah refused a United Nations offer of safe passage to India. He was slaughtered and left hanging on a lamppost.

It was in the midst of this Soviet endgame in Afghanistan that Dean fell afoul of the State Department for the last time. After the death of General Zia in August 1988, in a plane crash that also killed the American ambassador in Pakistan, Arnold Raphel, Dean was told in New Delhi by high-ranking officials that Mossad was a possible instigator of the accident, in which the plane's pilot and co-pilot were apparently disabled or otherwise lost control. There was also some suspicion that elements of India's Research and Analysis Wing, its equivalent of the CIA, may have played a part. India and Israel were alarmed by Pakistan's work on a nuclear weapon--the "Islamic bomb."

Dean was so concerned about these reports, and the attempt by the State Department to block a full FBI investigation of the crash in Pakistan, that he decided to return to Washington for direct consultations. Instead of the meetings he was promised, he was told his service in India was over. He was sent into virtual house arrest in Switzerland at a home belonging to the family of his French wife, Martine Duphenieux. Six weeks later, he was allowed to return to New Delhi to pack his belongings and return to Washington, where he resigned.

Suddenly his health record was cleared and his security clearance restored. He was presented with the Distinguished Service Award and received a warm letter of praise from Secretary of State George Shultz. "Years later," he wrote in his memoir, "I learned who had ordered the bogus diagnosis of mental incapacity against me. It was the same man who had so effusively praised me once I was gone--George Shultz."

Asked in a telephone conversation last week from his home in Paris why Shultz had done this to him, Dean would say only, "He was forced to."
(c) 2009 Barbara Crossette, United Nations correspondent for The Nation, is a former New York Times correspondent and bureau chief in Asia and at the UN.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Lalo Alcaraz ~~~

W the Movie Music Video DJ Monkey's 3rd World War

To End On A Happy Note...

Hey, Paul Krugman
By Jonathan Mann

Hey Paul Krugman,
Why aren't you in the administration?
Is there some kind of politicking that I don't understand?
I mean, Timothy Geithner is like some little weasel.
Wasn't he in a position of power
when all this sh*t went down in the first place?

When I listen to you, things seem to make sense
When I listen to him, all I hear is blah, blah, blah.
Hey Paul Krugman,
where the hell are ya, man?
'Cause we need you on the front lines
not just writing for The New York Times.
I'd feel better if you were calling some shots
instead of writing your blog and probably thinking a lot.

I mean, don't you have some influence?
Why aren't you secretary of the Treasury?
For God's sake, man, you won the Nobel Prize.
Timothy Geithner uses TurboTax.

When I listen to you, things seem to make sense.
When I listen to him, all I hear is blah, blah, blah.
Hey Paul Krugman, where the hell are ya, man?
(Obama Breakdown)

Sing it with me now!

When I listen to you, things seem to make sense.
When I listen to him, all I hear is blah, blah, blah.
Hey Paul Krugman, where the hell are ya, man?
Your country needs you now.
(c) 2009 Jonathan Mann

Have You Seen This...

Mike Huckabee: "Let the air out of their tires"

Parting Shots...

Children Will be Dragged By Their Necks Into the Church Parking Lot on Easter Sunday

If Any Child is Found to Have Handled Easter Eggs, He Will be Dragged by Security to the Parking Lot And May Rejoin His Family Only When the 3-Hour Service is Over!

An Important Message From Pastor Deacon Fred

Landover Baptist Church Members - Parents and friends, last year we had a serious problem with many of your children acting like unsaved trash and then expecting to be welcomed in the Lord's finest house outside of Metropolitan Heaven. It was brought to my attention that a whole passel of unsaved, little secular hooligans thought they could spend Easter morning gorging on Cadbury's marshmallow bunnies, looking for hardboiled eggs dipped in homosexually inspired colors and celebrating other godless Pagan traditions. They thought they could then slip on their new white patent leather shoes that mommy bought them and come skipping into our Bible believing church on Easter Sunday morning. It never occurred to these sneaky little Pre-K juvenile delinquents that Jesus is going to want to smack the stuffing out of them one of these days for worshiping a rabbit.

Moms and Dads out there, you need to make it clear to your youngsters that just because Jesus doesn't run around giving your brats candy - which most of those waddling toddlers need about as much as they need to be buggered all night by a Catholic Priest - is no excuse to fill Jesus' big, "Look What I Did!" day into a pack of secular Christ-hating shenanigans. I'm putting all your kiddies on notice: if they dare bring one stomach in here with so much as one piece of chocolate on Easter, they are in for a bigger surprise than even Jesus gets when he sees their sinning little mugs have the cheek - yes, cheek - to dare to walk amongst His anointed!

You all know that modernism has crept into almost every single church in this country except for ours. Why, there are families out there in the liberal Presbyterian wife-swapping suburbs of Des Moines that allow their ghetto-music-listening children to grow up thinking Easter is all about a promiscuous little animal - and not a Heavenly zombie that saved mankind by getting fed up of being dead after three days, dusted Himself off, left His smelly grave and hit the road. We put our foot down in 1952 and said NO! to the foolish modern idea of allowing the enemies of the cross - the unsaved - to fellowship with us. It's unbiblical, anti-Christian, and downright dangerous to allow unsaved people into God's house. God doesn't allow it in Heaven, and as it is in Heaven, SO BE IT ON EARTH! Amen! And I am not about to make exceptions just because the sinner in question's little head barely clears my man's business. As we all know, demons are between three and four feet when not flying - and that is why they are so comfortable in the bodies of children.

Under Section 19.344.22(a)(iv) of the Landover Baptist Piety Protocols (2004 Supp.), children found to have handled Easter eggs are deemed the spiritual equivalent of children who have never called upon the name Jesus. As such, they are legally unsaved - a status that can only be changed by express written permission from Pastor and a majority of all Deacons after a 90-day waiting period (subject to credit approval). Enemies of this church, whether she be a fresh-faced, nubile young girl with ripe bee-stung lips or some old crone with sloppy, sagging lady parts flapping twelve ways from Sunday, are working full time for Satan and not welcome by the Lord. Thank-You.
(c) 2009 The Landover Baptist Church

The Gross National Debt

Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 9 # 15 (c) 04/10/2009

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