Issues & Alibis


















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In This Edition

John Pilger says, "Voting For War. Take Your Pick."

Uri Avnery sees, "A Cloud Over Jerusalem."

David Sirota concludes, "Past Statement Tells Truth About Immigration Law's Goals."

Sheila Samples explains, "Even One Of These Little Ones..."

Jim Hightower uncovers, "A New Outburst Of Arizona Nuttiness."

Robert Dreyfuss finds, "A Connecticut Taliban In Bloomberg's Court?"

James Donahue wonders, "Has A Volume Of "Dirty Words" Overwhelmed The FCC?"

Randall Amster describes a, "State Of Disgrace."

Chris Floyd sees, "The Ghost Who Walks."

Case Wagenvoord charges the Pentagon with, "Making Things Up."

Mike Folkerth asks, "Do Mexican-American Citizens Really Support The Illegal Invasion?"

Chris Hedges recalls his seduction in, "No One Cares."

David Michael Green watches as America commits, "Suicide By Regressivism."

Sinator Joe Lieberman wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Michael Lind lets you choose, "Open Borders Or High-Wage Welfare State."

Mary Pitt wants to know, "Where Is The Patriotism?"

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Landover Baptist Church with a, "National Action Alert" but first Uncle Ernie confronts, "A State Of Denial."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of John Sherffius, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, George Carlin, Joe Heller, Stuart Carlson, Archibald MacNeal Willard, The Landover Baptist Church, Rick McKee, Telegraph.Co.UK, US Air Force and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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










A State Of Denial
By Ernest Stewart

All the problems we face in the United States today can be traced to an unenlightened immigration policy on the part of the American Indian. ~~~ Pat Paulsen

"Every asshole who ever chanted 'Drill baby drill' should have to report to the Gulf coast today for cleanup duty." ~~~ Bill Maher

Tin soldiers and Nixon coming,
We're finally on our own.
This summer I hear the drumming,
Four dead in Ohio.
Ohio ~~~ Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

While I'd trust the fascists that run Arizona to do the right thing about as far as I could comfortably spit out a very large sewer rat, which, by the way is not very far at all, they do have a point! I am not a fan of their SB 1070 law, (you know the one, "Your papers, show me ze papers!") however, after saying all that, what's the other option? How do we get rid of 12 million illegal aliens and keep others from waltzing in? I've read dozens of articles as to why SB 1070 is a bad law from every leftist on the Internet and some rightists too, but no one offers a solution to the problem! Nor should you look to Washington for a solution, either. The reason we have this problem in the first place is because of Washington's inaction and actions. We have 12 million illegals here because the governments and their corpo-rat masters want them here. If our leaders, both here and in Mexico, didn't want them here they wouldn't be here!

Do we ignore the illegal part? If so, what other laws should we officially ignore? How many illegals are too many? I'm willing to bet there are maybe 3 billion other people throughout the world who would like to live here as well. They're even poorer and more desperate than the Latinos. What about them? Would you welcome all 3 billion? Sure, it may make you feel all warm and fuzzy and generate thoughts of brotherhood for all of mankind; it make you want to hold hands and sing Kumbaya, but it's hardly practical. Fine, so how will you, and I mean YOU, pay for all of it? The cost of having illegal immigrants here is breaking state budgets everywhere. Double your taxes? Triple your taxes above and beyond the cost of paying those trillions of dollar for the wars and the bankers you'll soon be getting the bill for? Add another trillion dollars to the states to help them pay for our uninvited guests that are bankrupting them? You can be sure that to your tax bill, too!

While most of the illegals are good folks just trying to survive, a small percentage are gang bangers, drug smugglers, and other riffraff. At 2%, that's a staggering quarter million illegal thugs causing havoc all over America. Did you realize that there is a Mexican gang in every city in the country, selling crack and heroin? Every city, coast to coast, north, south east and west, including Alaska. Even the good folks are causing mayhem and disasters, from killing innocent Americans on the highways to driving wages down for everybody. There are 50 million Americans out of work and more are added every day. Shouldn't they have first crack at those jobs? What about the jobs we've already given to legal aliens? Legal immigrants were brought here to fill what were once good paying jobs but now pay half of what they did. Corpo-rat America brought those immigrants here to take those jobs away from Americans, just so that those corpo-rat goons could buy another McMansion! Foreigners like Faisal Shahzad, the would-be NYC car bomber, who was legally in this country on a H-1B visa. A visa offered to those whose technical skills are needed in the economy and are willing to work for slave wages! Another American put out of work by a wanna-be terrorist. Good idea, huh?

Not only are the chickens coming home to roost because of things like NAFTA but also, in this illegal invasion, come chickens out to avenge their families we've murdered in a thousand imperialistic wars. After all, we have been the #1 terrorist nation on the planet since 1898 when we graduated from 400 years of slaughtering the locals to slaughtering folks all over the planet. Most all of those wars were fought in the name of Christ, while totally overlooking his "dad's" laws like, "Thou Shall Not Kill" and "Thou Shall Not Covet Thy Neighbors Oil Fields!"

The good news is that this debacle will certainly cost the Rethuglicans a lot of seats come November, just like it did in 2006 and 2008. There are some very pissed off Latinos. The bad news is a bunch of Corpo-rat Demoncrats will take those seats and absolutely nothing will change!

In Other News

As REM once sang, "It's the end of the world as we know it!" That global disaster unfolding off Louisiana could affect a lot more than shrimping, oysters, and British Petroleum's bottom line. The Deepwater Horizon rig will soon surpass what the Exxon Valdez leaked onto Alaskan beaches-about 10.4 million gallons-and there really isn't much of a chance they can shut it off until it runs out, which may take several months. Currently, it's officially leaking somewhere around 300,000 gallons a day into the Gulf of Mexico and the beaches and pristine wetlands from Mexico to Florida will be affected. In fact, the oil could flow out into the Atlantic, pick up the Gulf Stream, and coat beaches and wild life from Florida to Canada!

At the very best they maybe able to cut it down a bit by July but since the rig, which weighs about 52,587 tons, turned over and is sitting atop the hole one mile down, they can't get to the hole to plug it! Even if the rig wasn't there how do you put a cap on a mud bottom with that kind of pressure coming from the hole, not to mention the water pressure a mile down? They'll have to try to drill sideways around the hole to make relief shafts some six miles deep, something that's never been done before and may not be possible at all. The current proposal is to drill sideways into the existing shaft and fill it up with cement! This is turning out to be the greatest manmade ecological disaster, or maybe ecological crime, in the history of the world!

Did you catch the word crime? According to survivors' reports, a boat full of people that no one knew came aboard from the supply ship just before the explosions began. Apparently there were 14 explosions. Was this sabotage and if so, by whom? Tush, of course, has the answer. He thinks it was all a tree hugger conspiracy; those damn ecologists did it! Can you see what Oxycodone does to your brain? Whether there was a conspiracy of some kind or, as one engineer said, "They hit a pocket of oil at such high pressure that it burst all of their safety valves all the way up to the drilling rig," only time will tell.

What we are left with is a disaster that will no doubt change life as we know it on the planet. Not only the oil but also huge amounts of methane gas are pouring out, adding to the disastrous methanehydrate. This could ramp up global warming even more. Since Barry jumped on the "drill baby drill" bandwagon we can look forward to more of this in the years to come! In fact, right now, corpo-rat oil goons, Demoncratic Sin-ator Mary Landrieu and Rethuglican Con-gressman John Boehner, are demanding we ignore this disaster and have more offshore drilling! As old Will Rogers said: "We have the best Congress money can buy!"

And Finally

If ever a line in a song rang true, the first line of "Ohio" was it in the summer of 1970. I was in Ann Arbor working on my bachelor's degree, some pot and hippie girls when "The Trick" and many college presidents declared war on their student populations. Obama thinks his ability to slaughter Americans without trial is a new thing, just since Smirky. Au contraire! Nixon was murdering kids and laughing about it, not only overseas but all over America, hence "Tin soldiers and Nixon Coming" rang incredibly true that long, hot summer of 1970.

Neil Young read an article on the murders at Kent State and immediately wrote "Ohio." He read how the Ohio National Guard opened fire on unarmed students who were protesting the wars or just walking to class unaware of what was about to come down. Those cowardly bastards opened fire at point blank range, killing four kids outright and severely wounding eight others. "Find the cost of freedom," indeed! As The Trick said, "I'd like to offer my condolences to those families. But Nixon can't." Nixon was a couple sandwiches short of a picnic!

The kids were protesting Nixon's illegal invasion of Cambodia, not only at Kent State but at most colleges all across America. I remember raising a little hell, (as a member of the SDS) over it myself on U of M's campus! Nixon said, "They can't impeach me for bombing Cambodia. The president can bomb anybody he likes." How's that for a deja vu? Sound familiar? Could it be that fiendish, "history repeating itself again," thingy?

The difference today is that they're not drafting kids to go and kill strangers for Wall Street so there are almost no protests. After all, our current crop of baby killers are there because they want to be. No one forced them at gun point to join, so why take the chance of having your brains bashed in by some bored fascist in a uniform? We still have the troops, however, on call at the United States Northern Command. They're all ready to turn their machine guns on you at a moment's notice if so ordered. That includes you, Mom and Dad and Uncle Charlie and Aunt Betty and Brenda Sue the little girl next door, too. I wonder if Neil Young has another Ohio in him?

Oh And One More Thing

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

*****


03-08-1943 ~ 05-02-2010
Thanks for the everything!


02-11-1947 ~ 05-03-2010
Thanks for the jams!


01-25-1918 ~ 05-04-2010
Thanks for the games!


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

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












Voting For War. Take Your Pick
By John Pilger

Staring at the vast military history section in the airport shop, I had a choice: the daring-do of psychopaths or scholarly tomes with their illicit devotion to the cult of organized killing. There was nothing I recognized from reporting war. Nothing on the spectacle of children's limbs hanging in trees and nothing on the burden of shit in your trousers. War is a good read. War is fun. More war please.

The day before I flew out of Australia, 25 April, I sat in a bar beneath the great sails of the Sydney Opera House. It was Anzac Day, the 95th anniversary of the invasion of Ottoman Turkey by Australian and New Zealand troops at the behest of British imperialism. The landing was an incompetent stunt of blood sacrifice conjured by Winston Churchill; yet, it is celebrated in Australia as an unofficial national day. The ABC evening news always comes live from the sacred shore at Gallipoli, in Turkey, where this year some 8,000 flag-wrapped Antipodeans listened, dewy-eyed, to the Australian Governor-General Quentin Bryce, who is the Queen's viceroy, describe the point of pointless mass killing. It was, she said, all about a "love of nation, of service, of family, the love we give and the love we receive and the love we allow ourselves to receive. [It is a love that] rejoices in the truth, it bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. And it never fails."

Of all the attempts at justifying state murder I can recall, this drivel of DIY therapy, clearly aimed at the young, takes the blue riband. Not once did Bryce honor the fallen with the two words that the survivors of 1915 brought home with them: "Never again." Not once did she refer to a truly heroic anti-conscription campaign, led by women, that stemmed the flow of Australian blood in the First World War, the product not of a gormlessness that "believes all things," but of anger in defense of life.

The next item on the TV news was an Australian government minister, John Faulkner, with the troops in Afghanistan. Bathed in the light of a perfect sunrise, he made the Anzac connection to the illegal invasion of Afghanistan in which, on 13 February last year, Australian soldiers killed five children. No mention was made of them. On cue, this was followed by an item that a war memorial in Sydney had been "defaced by men of Middle Eastern appearance." More war please.

In the Opera House bar, a young man wore campaign medals, which were not his. That is the fashion now. Smashing his beer glass on the floor, he stepped over the mess, which was cleaned up another young man whom the TV newsreader would say was of Middle Eastern appearance. Once again, war is a fashionable extremism for those suckered by the Edwardian notion that a man needs to prove himself "under fire" in a country whose people he derides as "gooks" or "rag-heads" or simply "scum." (The current public inquiry in London into the torture and murder of an Iraqi hotel receptionist, Baha Mousa, by British troops has heard that "the attitude held" was that "all Iraqis were scum.")

There is a hitch. In the ninth year of the thoroughly Edwardian invasion of Afghanistan, more than two-thirds of the home populations of the invaders want their troops to get out of where they have no right to be. This is true of Australia, the United States, Britain, Canada and Germany. What this says is that, behind the media facade of politicized ritual - such as the parade of military coffins through the English town of Wootton Bassett - millions of people are trusting their own critical and moral intelligence and ignoring propaganda that has militarized contemporary history, journalism and parliamentary politics - Australia's Labor Prime Minister Kevin Rudd, for instance, describes the military as his country's "highest calling."

Here in Britain, the war criminal Tony Blair is anointed by the Guardian's Polly Toynbee as "the perfect emblem for his people's own contradictory whims." No, he was the perfect emblem for a liberal intelligentsia prepared cynically to indulge his crime. That is the unsaid of the British election campaign, along with the fact that 77 percent of the British people want the troops home. In Iraq, duly forgotten, what has been done is a holocaust. More than a million people are dead, and four million have been driven from their homes. Not a single mention has been made of them in the entire campaign. Rather, the news is that Blair is Labor's "secret weapon."

All three party leaders are warmongers. Nick Clegg, the Liberal Democrats leader and darling of former Blair lovers, says that as prime minister he will "participate" in another invasion of a "failed state" provided there is "the right equipment, the right resources." His one condition is the standard genuflection toward a military now scandalized by a colonial cruelty of which the Baha Mousa case is but one of many.

For Clegg, as for Gordon Brown and David Cameron, the horrific weapons used by British forces, such as clusters, depleted uranium and the Hellfire missile, which sucks the air out of its victims' lungs, do not exist. The limbs of children in trees do not exist. This year alone, Britain will spend £4 billion on the war in Afghanistan, and that is what Brown and Cameron almost certainly intend to cut from the National Health Service.

Edward S. Herman explained this genteel extremism in his essay "The Banality of Evil." There is a strict division of labor, ranging from the scientists working in the laboratories of the weapons industry, to the intelligence and "national security" personnel who supply the paranoia and "strategies," to the politicians who approve them. As for journalists, our task is to censor by omission and make the crime seem normal for you, the public. For it is your understanding and your awakening that are feared, above all.
(c) 2010 John Pilger





A Cloud Over Jerusalem
By Uri Avnery

EVERYONE HAS the right to change his or her mind. Even Danny Tirzeh.

Colonel Tirzeh was responsible for planning the wall that "envelopes" Jerusalem - the one that cuts the city off from the West Bank in order to turn it into the United Capital Of Israel For All Eternity.

And now, suddenly, Tirzeh pops up as the main opponent of the wall he himself planned. He wants to move it, so as to leave the lands of al-Walaja village on the "Israeli" side.

The Colonel has ceased acting on behalf of the Israeli army and now represents private entrepreneurs who want to build 14 thousand housing units for 45 thousand Jewish souls. All this, of course, for the greater good of Zionism, the Jewish people, Israel's Eternal Capital, and many tens of millions of shekels.

COLONEL TIRZEH is not just anybody. He is a symbol.

For years I kept meeting him in the halls of the Supreme Court. He had become almost a fixture: the star witness, the expert and the moving spirit in scores of hearings dealing with the Separation and Annexation Wall.

He knows everything. Every kilometer of the Wall and the Fence. Every hill, every stone. He always carries with him a large bundle of maps which he lays before the judges, earnestly explaining why the Wall must pass here and not there, why the security of the state demands that the Palestinian villages be separated from their land, why leaving an olive grove in the hands of its owner would expose Israeli soldiers to mortal danger.

Generally, the judges are persuaded. After all, he is the expert. He is the man who knows. How can they take upon themselves the responsibility for changing the route of the Wall, if this could result in Jews being killed?

There are exceptions. At Bil'in village, the court was convinced that the Fence could be moved a few hundred meters without causing the security of the state to collapse and heaps of Jewish bodies to litter the landscape.

So the Supreme Court accepted the plea of the villagers and decided to move the Fence and --- nothing. The Fence has remained where it was. The government and the military just ignored the court order.

In vain did the President of the Supreme Court admonish them that her decisions "are not recommendations." Like dozens of other court decisions concerning the settlers, this one, too, is gathering dust.

The case of Bil'in is especially conspicuous, and not only because protesters - Palestinians, Israelis and others - have been killed and injured there. It is conspicuous because the motive trying to hide behind the Fence is so striking.

Not Zionism. Not security or defense from the terrorists. Not the dreams of generations. Not the vision of Theodor Herzl, whose 150th birthday is being celebrated now.

Just money. Lots of money.

The area lying between the present Fence and the alternative path has been earmarked for the Orthodox settlement Modi'in-Illit. Giant corporations are to build many hundreds of "housing units" there, a business worth many millions.

Everywhere, the areas stolen from the Palestinians immediately turn into real estate. They pass though mysterious channels into the jaws of land sharks. The sharks then build huge housing projects and sell the "housing units" for a fortune.

HOW IS this done? The public is now receiving a lesson in the form of the Holyland affair, a lesson in installments - every day new details emerge and new suspects turn up.

On the site of an old and modest hotel by this name, a giant housing project has sprung up - a line of high-rise apartment buildings and a skyscraper. This ugly monster dominates the landscape - but the part of the project which can be seen from afar is only a fraction of the whole. The other bits have already received the blessing of all the relevant municipal and government authorities.

How? The investigation is still going on. Almost every day, new suspects are being arrested. Almost everybody who has had anything to do with the authorization of the project, up to the highest level, is suspect - ministers, senior government officials, the former mayor, members of the municipal council, and municipal officials. At present, the investigators are trying to trace the bribe money all over the world.

Holyland is located in West Jerusalem (in what before 1948 was the Arab neighborhood of Katamon).

The question naturally arising: if things are done this way in the West of the city, what is happening in the East? If those politicians and officials dare to steal and take bribes in West Jerusalem - what do they allow themselves in East Jerusalem, whose inhabitants have no representation in either the municipality or the government?

ONLY A few minutes drive separate Holyland from the village of al-Walaja.

One could write volumes about this small village, which for more than 60 years has served as a target of abuse.

Briefly: the original village was occupied and annexed to Israel in the 1948 war. The inhabitants were expelled and founded a new village on the part of their land which remained on the other side of the Green Line. The new village was occupied in the 1967 war and annexed to Jerusalem, which was annexed to Israel. According to Israeli law, the houses are illegal. The inhabitants live in their own houses, on their own land, but are officially considered illegal residents who can be evicted at any time.

Now the land sharks are ogling this succulent piece of land, which is worth a lot of money for building projects. They follow the proven Zionist routine. First of all, the Arab name of the place is replaced with a pure Hebrew one, preferably from the Bible. Much as nearby Jebel-Abu-Ghneim became Har Homa, before the eyesore monster housing project was erected there, thus al-Walaja has now become Giv'at Yael. Clearly a place called Hill of Yael must belong to the Jewish people, and it is a divine duty to build another settlement there.

So what if this necessitates the moving of the Wall? One can always find a used army officer who will justify this on security grounds.

FOR YEARS now I have been suggesting that this side of the settlement enterprise should be examined more closely.

The public debate was always about lofty ideals. The divine promise as against the human vision. Greater Israel as against the Two-State solution. Zionist values as against the value of peace. Fascism as against humanism.

And somebody was laughing all the way to the bank.

The settlements are growing rapidly all the time. All over the West Bank and East Jerusalem settlements spring up like toxic mushrooms, poisoning the prospects of peace. In this matter there was never any difference between Golda Meir and Menachem Begin, Ehud Barak and Ariel Sharon, Shimon Peres and Binyamin Netanyahu.

Among the settlers there is a hard core of ideological zealots. But many of the builders are just clever businessmen, whose only god is Mammon. They easily make friends with the leaders of Likud and the chiefs of Labor, not to mention the Kadima crowd.

The massive settlements in East Jerusalem - those already existing and those still planned - are proceeding along the same lines as the monster on Holyland hill, and they need the same permits from the same municipal and government authorities. Jerusalem, after all, has been united. Therefore, the same dark cloud is hanging over them.

What is needed is a judicial board of inquiry to investigate all the permits issued in Jerusalem in recent years, certainly from the beginning of Ehud Olmert's term as mayor. Olmert fought like a tiger for the establishment of Har Homa and the other large settlements in East Jerusalem. All for the sake of Zionism and Jewish rule over the Holy City. Now he is Suspect No. 1.

Everything must be investigated from the beginning. And every new project must be stopped until its propriety has been established beyond any doubt.

THESE THINGS are grave enough in themselves, and they are even more serious when they are located at the center of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and the Israel-US crisis.

For the sake of the Israeli housing projects in East Jerusalem, the Netanyahu government is endangering our lifeline to the US. The extreme-right mayor declares that he doesn't give a damn for government orders and will continue to build all over, whatever Netanyahu may or may not say. The Palestinians understandably refuse to negotiate with the Israeli government while building activities in East Jerusalem go on.

Shall we endanger the future of Israel for generations, just so that land sharks can make more millions?

Do the patriots who are sharing out East Jerusalem include elected and appointed officials hoping for large bribes from the builders?

Is there a connection between the rampant corruption, of which the Holyland affair is only the tip of the iceberg, and historic national decisions?

In short, will we allow the future of the holy land be sacrificed on the unholy altar of the profits of corruption?
(c) 2010 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom






Past Statement Tells Truth About Immigration Law's Goals
By David Sirota

Upon signing Arizona's new statute requiring police officers to demand citizenship papers from anyone they believe is in the country illegally, Republican Gov. Jan Brewer last week claimed the bill is not designed to "tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling" of Latinos.

Responding to critics who say the legislation does just that, she, like many conservatives, insisted, "I don't know what an illegal immigrant looks like" - the implication being that Republicans are colorblind.

It sounds reassuring, but methinks she doth protest too much, and I say that because one of the Republican Party's leading law enforcement voices has already disclosed the true objective of precisely this kind of legislation.

That seminal admission came in November 2001, when the emotional aftermath of 9/11 momentarily removed politicians' rhetorical filters. There on the floor of Congress, GOP Rep. Scott McInnis delivered an address about "the need for profiling for the national security of this country."

Brandishing his past experience as a police officer, he implored lawmakers "to quit being politically correct" and let authorities make "ethnic background a legitimate component" of law enforcement investigations - just as Arizona's new statute allows.

"Insurance companies profile for risk. That is what I am asking that we continue to do - we need to profile for risk," he thundered, adding that using ethnicity as a risk factor "is very legitimate - I think it is smart."

In other words, we should do to civil rights what insurance firms have done to, say, health care - namely, deny people rights and privileges based on their ascribed characteristics.

Had McInnis' career been buried in the political graveyard, Republican apologists could easily pretend his kind of bigotry is irrelevant to today's fears that the Arizona law will both encourage prejudice and appear in other states. But McInnis is now the Republican gubernatorial front-runner in Colorado, and this week he became the first major GOP candidate in America to pledge to replicate Arizona's statute in his state if elected in 2010.

Considering the candidate's pedigree as a former state House Majority Leader and six-term congressman, and considering his views on what a law like Arizona's is really all about, McInnis' promise is not an inconsequential outburst from some nobody, nor is it likely to be just an isolated campaign plank in an unimportant backwater. On the contrary, this is a far-reaching signal from the national Republican Party establishment, for it comes from that establishment's hand-picked poster boy in a state that GOP guru Karl Rove said will be "ground zero" in the upcoming elections.

For his part, Rove acknowledges that the Arizona law aims to let police use racial and ethnic cues to profile individuals - exactly the way McInnis envisions.

"(Police) are going to (target suspects) on the basis of reasonable suspicion that these people are here illegally," he said, "like they're driving a car with a Mexican license plate or they can't speak English" - in short, cultural metrics that even anti-immigration activist Tom Tancredo has said could unduly result in people getting "pulled over because you look like you should be pulled over."

Such constitutional atrocities, of course, don't bother the ideologically conservative Rove - instead, the reason Rove says "I wished (Arizona) hadn't passed" the bill is because it could devastate Republicans at the polls.

First and foremost a partisan animal, Rove understands that the more Republican standard-bearers like McInnis opine about Arizona's statute, and the more voters learn about those standard-bearers' past statements, the more voters will see that the GOP is dishonestly masking institutionalized bigotry in seemingly laudable odes to racial neutrality. That revelation may invigorate the small racist vote, but Rove knows that the truth could also repulse the Silent Majority - and perhaps sink his party for good.
(c) 2010 David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at OpenLeft.com. E-mail him at ds@davidsirota.com.






Even One Of These Little Ones...
By Sheila Samples

"Going to church no more makes you a Christian than sleeping in your garage makes you a car." ~~~ Garrison Keiler

Do you ever wonder what Jesus would say about the sadistic cesspool that is swirling throughout the Catholic disfunctional structure at tsunami speed? Unfortunately, since the New York Times drew attention to the issue in March, the answer to that is getting buried deeper each day under fresh accusations of child molestation, counter accusations, denials and sordid attempts at justification.

It's been an eye-opener for those attempting to struggle through the damage-control rhetoric coming from the Catholic hierarchy -- priests, cardinals, bishops -- all running around in such a frenzy that only a guy like Boots Randolph can keep up with them.

Just days after the March 25 Times article by Laurie Goodstein revealing the church's handling of sex abuse charges against Father Lawrence Murphy who was accused of abusing hundreds of deaf children at Milwaukee's St. John's School for the Deaf -- Cardinal William J. Levada, who succeeded Pope Benedict XVI as prefect of the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, was on her case. The National Catholic Reporter quotes Levada as saying that Goodstein and the Times were not after the truth; their prey was Pope Benedict himself...

"She uses the technique of repeating the many escalating charges and accusations from various sources (not least from her own newspaper), and tries to use these 'newly unearthed files' as the basis for accusing the pope of leniency and inaction in this case and presumably in others," Levada said. He then shrugged the entire matter aside, saying he did not "have time to deal with the Times' subsequent almost daily articles by Rachel Donadio and others, much less with Maureen Dowd's silly parroting of Goodstein's 'disturbing report.'"

Then, back in the U.S., Brooklyn's Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio jumped into the mix, telling his flock to "send a message loud and clear that the pope, our church and bishops and our priests will no longer be the personal punching bag of The New York Times." But don't boycott the paper, he admonished, because "we need to know what the enemy is saying."

For weeks, they were in a frenzy. Bill Donahue, head of the Catholic League, pooh-poohed any crime committed or damage done to deaf children by Father Murphy. As Daniel Tencer wrote in Raw Story, Donahue stunned a panel of commentators on CNN's Larry King Live show by insisting that homosexuality -- not pedophilia -- was the church's problem...

"You've got to get your facts straight," Donahue said, addressing sex abuse victim Thomas Roberts. "I'm sorry. If I'm the only one that's going to deal with facts tonight then that'll be it. The vast majority of the victims are post-pubescent. That's not pedophilia, buddy. That's homosexuality."

On Easter Sunday, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, a Vatican official, denounced the "petty gossip" about sexual abuse of children, and said the Church would not be intimidated by spurious attacks on the Pope. Just two days earlier, on Good Friday, Reverend Raniero Cantalamessa, the papal household preacher, said the violent attacks on the church reminded him of the Jews, and such attacks were equal to anti-Semitism. However, because of the uproar, the Vatican quickly backed off that talking point.

The more they talk, the more apparent it becomes that the frocked molesters are the victims here, not the thousands of children forced into sexual bondage -- children at the mercy of those chosen to protect them -- with no help, no one to turn to. It's obvious that if the kids had just kept their mouths shut; had honored their forced vows of silence, there would be no scandal threatening God's House. Besides, didn't folks know there is a statute of limitations on sin?

Even Pope Benedict, who said at the beginning of his papacy that he was just "a simple humble worker in the vineyard of the Lord," appears unable to grasp the magnitude of the problem. Does the good Pope not see that the Lord's vineyard is overgrown with weeds? It's not just a priest here and there who should be removed to engage in a period of penitence and prayer as the Pope suggests. The scandal is sweeping the universe and, like the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, it appears to be uncontrollable. Cases continue to emerge, not just in the United States, but in Austria, Germany, Ireland, Holland, Switzerland, the Netherlands, France, and on and on...

There are those who say that others routinely abuse children, such as parents, teachers, medical personnel -- even the Boy Scouts. It's a "cultural" thing, they say -- so what's the big deal about the Catholic Church? Well, although raping a child is a sin (and a crime) no matter who does it, the Catholic Church claims to be holy -- God's own beacon of truth and light, with its moral authority authorized by Jesus Christ Himself. That's a big deal. I have always viewed the Catholic Church as an organization that does unbelievable good in this world on many levels. As Nicholas Kristof wrote recently in the New York Times...

"In my travels around the world, I encounter two Catholic Churches. One is the rigid all-male Vatican hierarchy that seems out of touch when it bans condoms even among married couples where one partner is H.I.V.-positive. To me at least, this church - obsessed with dogma and rules and distracted from social justice - is a modern echo of the Pharisees whom Jesus criticized.

"Yet there's another Catholic Church as well, one I admire intensely. This is the grass-roots Catholic Church that does far more good in the world than it ever gets credit for. This is the church that supports extraordinary aid organizations like Catholic Relief Services and Caritas, saving lives every day, and that operates superb schools that provide needy children an escalator out of poverty.

"This is the church of the nuns and priests in Congo, toiling in obscurity to feed and educate children. This is the church of the Brazilian priest fighting AIDS who told me that if he were pope, he would build a condom factory in the Vatican to save lives."

But these pedophile preachers have indelibly tarnished the image of the entire Church, as well as the reputations of those chosen to care for its children. It's time for the empty accusations, excuses and justifications to stop. I agree with Stephen King, who wrote on page 922 of his latest thriller -- Under the Dome -- "When the Devil got a preacher, he was apt to fall low -- low enough to put on a top hat and crawl under a rattlesnake." Creatures who roam hallowed youth halls in the middle of the night like ravenous zombies are not Christian, and it is my personal belief that they are committing a sin for which there is no atonement.

Some are saying, with justification, that Pope Benedict and the Catholic hierarchy are weary and confused. Perhaps they should ask Jesus what HE thinks about all of this, for Jesus said...

Matthew 18:6 -- But whoso shall offend one of these little ones which believe in me, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were drowned in the depth of the sea.

Mark 9:42 -- And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.

Luke 17:2 -- It were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should offend one of these little ones.

Case closed.
(c) 2010 Sheila Samples is an Oklahoma writer and a former civilian US Army Public Information Officer. She is an OEN editor, and a regular contributor for a variety of Internet sites. Contact her at: rsamples@wichitaonline.net







A New Outburst Of Arizona Nuttiness

Well, I think it's unfair to John Boehner. He's the Republican leader in the US House who's known as "Suntan Johnny," because - although he's from Cincinnati, Ohio - he's perpetually tanned, even in the dead of winter. Johnny's a golfing fool, you see, so he's constantly jetting off with lobbyists to various sunny golf resorts. Hence the year 'round tan.

Now, however, he'll have to scratch Arizona as a golfing destination, lest he be detained for his dark appearance. Not only are Arizona cops to be allowed to profile and detain anyone who looks like an illegal "alien," but the new state law actually requires cops to do so, and it empowers local vigilantes to sue any cop they deem insufficiently aggressive in arresting dark skinned people.

Now, enter Jan Brewer. Until April 23, no one outside of Arizona had ever heard of Governor Brewer. On that day, however, she signed the law that declares open season on Latinos, making her known far and wide as a gubernatorial twit. Lucky her.

She lept to the top ranks in the highly competitive American sport of Republican gubernatorial goofiness not merely by signing the law, but by bizarrely declaring on signing day that, "I will not tolerate racial discrimination or racial profiling in Arizona." No? How else are cops to begin their hunt, if not by putting "color of skin" as clue number one? The pink-skinned, blond governor airily responded that she has issued on executive order requiring cops to take a how-to class on spotting illegal immigrants. Now there's a class I'd like to sit in on!

The inherent profiling aspect of Arizona's sorry law is bad enough, but the law doubles down on sorriness with a totally un-American requirement that anyone detained by cops - perhaps even Suntan Johnny - must show their papers to prove their innocence.
(c) 2010 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.







A Connecticut Taliban In Bloomberg's Court?
By Robert Dreyfuss

It may be that the Pakistan-based Taliban, the Tehrik-e Taliban Pakistan (TTP), has quietly established a Connecticut franchise while we weren't looking. That's possible. But it seems far more likely to me that the perpetrator of the bungled Times Square bomb plot was either a lone nut job or a member of some squirrely branch of the Tea Party, anti-government far right. Which actually exists in Connecticut, where, it seems, the car's license plates were stolen.

It may be that the car bomb, which fizzled, could have wreaked havoc in Times Square. That's possible, too. But it's seem very, very unlikely that a few cannisters of propane, a bunch of M-80 firecrackers, and some fertilizer that, police say, couldn't have exploded, would have "killed thousands of people," as CNN breathlessly reported yesterday.

Sensible analysts of the event point out, convincingly, that no branch of the Taliban, whether in Afghanistan or Pakistan, has demonstrated either the intention or the capability of striking in such as fashion.

And the fact that the suspect, videotaped, is a white male in his 40s, hasn't deterred our vast team of terrorism talking heads from describing the operation as part of the jihad. Of course, it could be that some offshoot of the jihadist movement recruited a white bread American to do its bidding, and it could be that the man shown in the videotape is not the culprit at all. But, as in the aftermath of the Oklahoma City bombing, when self-appointed experts blamed Muslims only to find out that it was a Gulf War veteran named Tim who did it, there has once again been an unseemly rush to judgment.

The Wall Street Journal is already editorializing in favor of stepped up racial profiling to catch evil doers, even though -- in this case -- such profiling would have more profitably sought out the editors of the Journal, who are mostly white men in their 40s:

"After a succession of recent terrorist incidents inside the U.S., often involving so-called home-grown jihadists, it is evident that we should be willing to err on the side of being aggressive in surveilling and catching such people before their bombs begin to smolder."

The Washington Post loyally trots out one of the terrorism-industrial complex's leading consultants, Evan F. Kohlmann, who says:

"Over the past week or so, every faction, from al-Shabaab in Somalia on down the list, has issued statements mourning the deaths of these guys in Iraq, saying, 'We're going to avenge them, vengeance is coming.'"
Intelligently, Janet Napolitano says:

"I caution against premature decisions one way or another. ... The last thing we want to do is draw premature conclusions. ... I'm not going to speculate on speculation."

As always, it's important to point out that even if the Times Square bombing turns out to be the work of jihadist zealots, it shows that the as an enemy these crazies rank about on a par with the guy who crashed his plane into the IRS building. President Obama took the opportunity to proclaim his vigilance and his determination to track down the perpetrator and to keep America safe. But it's way past time for Obama to shift gears, and to start telling Americans that the only thing they have to fear is fear itself.
(c) 2010 Robert Dreyfuss is an investigative journalist in Alexandria, Virginia, specializing in politics and national security. He is the author of "Devil's Game: How the United States Helped Unleash Fundamentalist Islam" (Henry Holt/Metropolitan Books).








Has A Volume Of "Dirty Words" Overwhelmed The FCC?
By James Donahue

Remember when the Federal Communications Commission fined CBS for the Janet Jackson exposure during a half-time performance at the 2003 Super Bowl?

After that came U2 singer Bono's use of the "f-word" during remarks made at the Golden Globe Awards show, and there was the Howard Stern fiasco, which many believe was indirectly caused by station managers worried about what appeared to be new government controls over radio and television broadcasting.

Those incidents appear to have been the last highly publicized efforts by the FCC to curb dirty words on public airways. The infamous "seven dirty words" that the late comedian George Carlin once said could never be used on radio or television, appear to all be creeping into everyday language by the growing number of commentators babbling away on television "news" channels and talk radio.

They also have been showing up in testimony in the U.S. House and Senate during heated debate, which seems to be occurring almost daily now as Republicans and Democrats duke it out over such controversial issues as health care, finance reform and immigration.

Michigan Senator Carl Levin, for example, used the S.... word when quoting an e-mail sent among members of Goldman Sacks to describe a shady investment scheme they obviously knew would go sour. It was said during a heated interrogation of Goldman Sacks executives and made news stations everywhere. Some stations bleeped out the word. Others did not.

Then there was Vice President Joe Biden's slip when he thought the mike was off and he whispered the famous "big f...ing deal" into the president's ear.

And of course there was former Vice President Dick Cheney's well remembered "f.... you."

We have noticed that formerly inappropriate words have been slipping into the language of nightly news anchors, reporters, and citizens being interviewed at the scenes of news events. Indeed, Carlin's list of dirty words and many others not included in his list have become so commonplace in contemporary language nobody seems to notice when they slip into the words used on public media. Stern, who makes his living on sex and dirty words, solved his problem by moving his show to satellite radio where people now have the right to pay to hear him talk dirty.

Stern has a big following, as does the popular adult cartoon show South Park that airs weekly on the satellite Comedy Channel. Ironically, South Park was recently censored over a skit that involved having the Prophet Mohammad appear in a bear costume. The Comedy network feared trouble by radical Islamic groups. The censorship had nothing to do with dirty words or the fact that one of the cartoon characters depicts a talking bit of human feces.

Also slipping past the censors was this week's cartoon episode of Family Guy on the Fox network. It depicted Stewie, the talking baby, soiling his diaper and Brian, the talking dog, eating Stewie's fecal waste, then wiping his buttocks clean with his tongue. How low will they go?

Statistics show that satellite sponsored sex stations also capture a large portion of the nightly television viewing market, which has driven many big corporations to secretly invest heavily in them.

Then there is the Internet, where pornography is found at the click of a key, or mouse. Sometimes it comes to you without invitation, much to the concern of parents still attempting to guard the minds of their children who are drawn to the web like flies to dead meat. <> It is clear that television viewers in America have a preference for sex, dirty radio and television talk, and shocking violence when it can be found. While this does not speak well for the culture as a whole, it is a simple truth.

Yet at the same time, the older, conservative, religious-oriented Americans that still have a slight edge of control at the ballot box, succeeded in 2004 to re-elect George W. Bush, an ultra conservative, born-again fundamental president for a second term and pack both the House and Senate with enough Republicans to give this administration more power than any president since Lyndon Johnson.

Thus we briefly had a Christian influenced agenda unraveling from Washington unlike anytime in American history. The result was a financial disaster that still threatens to bring America to its knees, even though voters did an abrupt change of course in 2008. But that is a different matter.

Throughout all of this, including the Bush nomination of ultra conservative judges to the U.S. Supreme Court, the censored material removed from our films and television screens has been on a slow but steady decline. Contemporary films now show full front nudity of both male and female actors, homosexual activity and people being gored by axes and bullets. Movie producers seem to be only limited by their own imaginations.

The big concern today ranges from racial, religious and political insults to questioning if we can believe statements by radical radio and television commentators. There appear to be no laws, or any way to draft laws that control this behavior without trampling on the First Amendment.

While visual and dirty word content seems to have no limits, there has been a secret move afoot to clamp controls on what we publish and do on the Internet. A recent federal court ruling involving Comcast's effort to control the volume of material a site can send on the web appears to have stripped the FCC of its power to assure free expression of the arts and information on the Internet.

The relaxation of censorship rules may be a good thing for the arts, although we must admit that the result has exposed a crass segment of our society that is not always comfortable to see and hear. The liars, however, are something to be seriously concerned about.
(c) 2010 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.






State Of Disgrace
The Right Fiddles While Arizona Burns
By Randall Amster

It's getting hot here in Arizona these days, and summer isn't even upon us yet. As you've most likely heard, the Republican-controlled State Legislature passed - and the Republican governor signed - the nation's most draconian anti-immigrant law, essentially creating a class of new "status crimes" and opening a Pandora's box of racial profiling implications. While to many of us who live here such sentiments among state officials aren't exactly novel, the shocking "where are your papers?" aspects of the law (SB 1070) have raised a much-deserved national furor.

As is almost always the case, there's more to this than meets the eye. Yes, this is part of an ideologically-motivated and racially-tinged platform embraced by many in power here. In addition to perpetual anti-immigrant bills being proposed and sometimes passed, this cadre has been targeting education through severe budget cuts and a form of pedagogical purification in which it will quite likely soon be illegal to teach anything that is deemed "anti-American" (HB 2281). Apparently, the irony of passing these two bills in near succession must be lost on those who would contravene constitutional law and moral sensibility in the name of American purity.

It's the Economy, Stupid

We've been living in a political desert here for a long time, and irony is only relevant if it can be strip-mined. While the state's coffers have precipitously hit their nadir, legislators have rolled out corporate tax breaks, passed "birther" requirements for ballot access, forced our public education system down to the bottom rung, and shilled for more concealed weapons in our midst. Now we get apartheid laws that even go so far as to criminalize anyone who transports, harbors, employs or attempts to shield from enforcement an "unauthorized alien" (which is of course a euphemism for "illegal immigrant," which is in turn a euphemism for "persona non grata"). SB 1070 further cracks down on "day laborers" and those who utilize said labor, indicating an obvious anti-Latino strain permeating this shameful legislative act.

Much of the commentary thus far has understandably focused on the ethnic and racial aspects of the bill. Undoubtedly, the measure is aimed directly at vulnerable communities of color, and consequently the sense of fear and terror among people already used to being persecuted has risen to unprecedented levels. Many are considering leaving the state, and indeed this type of en masse forced migration may be part of what the law's advocates have intended all along. Less considered in the analysis are the profoundly negative economic impacts likely to be the result of the law, which flies in the face of the standard line advanced by proponents that illegal immigrants are an economic drain on the state.

As Leah Mundell, co-chair of the Northern Arizona Interfaith Council, explains, "one thing that has seemed increasingly clear is how blind our representatives are to the links between immigrants and economic recovery in Arizona.... Even if you ignore the moral implications of SB 1070 entirely, it is incredible that the Republicans would have passed this at a moment of such economic crisis for the state. Judy Ganz [is] an economist at the Udall Center at the University of Arizona, who has calculated the economic costs and benefits of immigration and shown that immigrants provide a tremendous net cost benefit for the state. To pass a bill like this - an unfunded mandate for already strapped police departments, which will fill up our jails and lead to untold lawsuits from both the right and the left (for racial profiling and failure to enforce the law) - at a time when we're so deep in debt already is irresponsible beyond measure."

At this juncture, we might pause for a moment to consider the state motto, which is "Ditat Deus" - translation: "God Enriches." Given the thorough dismantling of the state's treasury in recent years, the phrase "Red State" has taken on new meaning here, and the divine ethos of this motto may well be our best remaining hope for avoiding total economic collapse. By all appearances, the Republicans are fiddling while Arizona burns, yet perhaps a sense of just desserts will still triumph in the end as the backlash from their folly might finally cause the Right to fizzle while Phoenix, et al. rises from the ashes. Maybe then we can adopt a new and more accurate Latin motto for the state: "Dito Advenae" - "Immigrants Enrich" (pardon my Latin).

Electoral Dysfunctions

Others have further noted the ostensible political machinations at play here. Greg Palast speculates that SB 1070 is a ploy to tamp down Democratic-leaning minority voters, and in fact there is a potent history on this point that includes our current governor when she was secretary of state. As Palast cogently observes, the law suits the interests of the Republicans in power "because the vast majority of perfectly legal voters and residents who lack ID sufficient for [them] are citizens of color, citizens of poverty." Thus, part of the impetus for SB 1070, as Palast concludes, is to dissuade legal immigrants from participating electorally by creating a climate of intimidation. The roots of this sort of nefarious business run deep here, including longstanding allegations that prominent Arizona Republicans such as former Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist have orchestrated "ballot security" actions "that swept through polling places in minority-dominated districts to challenge the right of African Americans and Latinos to vote."

More recently, powerful individuals such as the bill's sponsor, Republican State Sen. Russell Pearce, seem determined to uphold this unfortunate legacy. As Democratic State Rep. Kyrsten Sinema recently told me, Pearce "has been working for years to pass this bill. Up to now, we've been successful in stopping him.... Instead of focusing on real solutions to our state's crisis, this bill will only exacerbate problems that already exist. Already, Sheriff Joe [Arpaio] is under investigation by the Department of Justice, and reports of racial profiling are coming out of Maricopa County regularly now. This is a sad stain on our state, but it's not a new stain. Folks like Mr. Pearce and his extremist allies around the country have been working towards this for years." Oddly enough, Pearce prominently displays these words from the Declaration of Independence on his Web site, seemingly ignorant of the fact that they contain no apparent limitation as to the extent of their applicability: "We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness."

Such ironies and absurdities would almost be funny - kind of a desert Mayberry moment where the hayseeds find themselves in charge without a clue how to proceed - except that it's a deadly serious game being played here. The Arizona-Mexico border is the nation's most lethal for would-be crossers, and the tensions of NAFTA-inspired corporate globalization have added a demonstrable touch of evil to an already foreboding landscape. While racism and electoral machinations certainly play a part in the drama, there are even more layers to this story, and unsurprisingly crass politics figure prominently into the toxic mix that has engendered this law.

The Only Thing We Have to Fear ...

I recently spoke about these issues with Dr. Luis Fernandez, a professor of criminal justice at Northern Arizona University (NAU) who regularly works with immigrant communities. He notes that a more pragmatic motivation for passing SB 1070 is that "with the economy so bad in the state, the party in power would normally stand a good chance of getting kicked out of office," and with this bill the Republican-dominated incumbents "are attempting to deflect attention from the economy and control the agenda by forcing the immigration issue" to the fore in a feat of political scapegoating. He further observes that "the far right is trying to gain control of the Republican Party here," evidenced by the serious primary challenges from the right being faced by Gov. Jan Brewer and Sen. John McCain, among others. "This is part of a battle for the party's soul, and it could be a preview of what's in store nationally as well," Fernandez concludes.

Thus, while it appears to be a contest between powerful reactionary forces on the one hand and communities of color and their progressive allies on the other, it might be more to the point to see the furor over SB 1070 as a battle between the right and the far right on some level, with voter manipulation and pervasive racial profiling as the welcomed byproducts. Still, the consequences for people already in precarious political, legal, and economic straits are demonstrable. As Fernandez recalls, the day the law was signed was akin to a "crushing blow ... people were openly crying and many have been gripped by a terrifying fear." For many of these individuals, the overwhelming majority of whom strive to support their families and contribute peaceably to their communities, it was already scary to drive, ask for work, or participate in the political process. "Now," Fernandez laments, "their very existence is being threatened" - a point that is doubly poignant when we further consider that many immigrants are in fact political and economic refugees who have come here seeking a safe haven from violence and repression.

In another moment of irony, the passage of SB 1070 may actually be the product of fear and a perceived existential threat in itself, argues Dr. Joel Olson, professor of political science at NAU and a member of the Repeal Coalition, a statewide grassroots organizing seeking the repeal of all anti-immigrant laws in Arizona since 2008. Olson points out that "the support for nativism in Arizona is largely motivated by whites who fear a loss of racial status due to the influx of Latinos to the state and who are uncomfortable with Spanish-language signs in stores, TV and radio stations, etc." The racial aspects of the bill are complex, he notes, and "very few supporters of 1070 consider themselves racist or want to be seen as racist." Nevertheless, "they are driven by a fear of the immigrant (read: Mexican) as a criminal," and oftentimes will "project their racialized fears of crime onto the migrant, while still denying they are racist," Olson concludes. As Mark Kurlansky opines in his book "Nonviolence," "people motivated by fear do not act well."

From Protest to Paradigm Shift

In this sense, the law is race-based, yet is also motivated by factors of fear, power and status. Again, there are pervasive ironies to be found, as Olson notes in his call for breaking the cycle of fear and repression that largely defines the terms of the conflict: "The only solution is to show [supporters of 1070] that these laws strip away their freedom, too.... These laws encourage them to see their neighbors through the lens of fear rather than solidarity. They are creating, in other words, the very problem they are trying to solve." As State Rep. Sinema concurs, "the bill criminalizes people for being good neighbors - taking a friend to church or giving someone a ride when their car breaks down. If Arizonans don't ask about their neighbors' legal status, they're jeopardizing their own safety under the law. This forces citizens to 'police' their own community, which is wrong." This line of analysis has the virtue of resisting the tendency to demonize the law's supporters, and furthermore suggests that we might seek solidarity-based answers to the complex issues at play here rather than falling into the trap of pitting communities against one another as real concerns go unheeded.

Indeed, amidst the grief and terror that have gripped migrant communities, advocates and allies are seeking ways to help people turn their tears into action. Talk of boycotts, mass civil disobedience and open subversion of the law is being heard from many corners. Some have been calling upon law enforcement officers to refuse to enforce the law on moral and constitutional grounds. Legal challenges are in the offing and it's possible (though by most counts unlikely) that the federal government will step in given the massive outcry over the bill. Regardless, it's going to be a long, hot summer here in the desert as the battle ensues in the days ahead. As Sinema counsels, the rightwing power structure has been at this for some time, and now "it's our job to stop them and begin rebuilding an Arizona that is welcoming and diverse."

In this same spirit of turning crisis into opportunity and divisiveness into solidarity, Mundell observes that "this moment has tremendous potential if we don't squander it. This week, people from across the community are scandalized and furious. Immigrant leaders are calling for an economic boycott to show the power of immigrant dollars. Public officials are debating how to take legal action. Students are protesting. The anger and outrage are even stronger than the fear that the bill provokes. But that kind of energy can only be sustained for so long [and] I hope that we will use this moment to build a more long-term strategy. That includes deep and collaborative relationships with law enforcement, who [in many instances] do not want to have to enforce this bill. It means listening carefully to immigrant leaders who have often been afraid to speak out but now feel they have nothing left to lose. It also means capitalizing on the shock that many who have not been involved in this issue in the past are now feeling. We have the opportunity to build a much broader power base now, to hold our state elected officials accountable ... and to ensure that comprehensive immigration reform doesn't fall off the national stage by summer."

Forward

Talking about Arizona politics in today's news cycle seemingly conjures images of Mississippi in the 1960's: i.e., a place where racist fears have gone completely haywire. From an outsider's perspective it may justifiably look this way, yet it's also the case that many decent and dedicated people are working tirelessly here not just to undo bad laws but to create a climate of respect and equity. In a time of crisis where fear is rampant on all sides of the immigration debate, perhaps the recognition of this basic commonality can serve as a crucible for turning an incendiary issue into an opportunity for Arizonans to act well with the eyes of the nation now squarely upon us. Stranger things have happened in the desert, where we are all merely strangers in a strange land.
(c) 2010 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).







The Revenant
Brief Glimpses Of Empire's Reality
By Chris Floyd

The Ghost Who Walks

Last week, the reappearance of a figure from the recent past briefly stirred the amnesiac fog that enfolds the brutal reality of the American empire. Former Panamanian rulerManuel Noriega was taken from the American prison which has been his home for the past 21 years and flown to Paris, where he is to stand trial for decades-old drug-trafficking charges.

The extradition was itself illegal. Noriega, who was captured after The illegal American invasion of his country in 1989.was classed by the United States as a "prisoner of war." In fact, he is the only official POW in American hands today; the empire's innumerable Terror War captives have been denied this designation and its legal protections under the Geneva Conventions. But of course the United States long ago stopped paying even lip service to those "quaint" strictures, as the Noriega case once again demonstrates. Under the Geneva Conventions, POWs cannot be sent by their captors to a third country. But Washington wants to keep Noriega - a former CIA asset who left the rez and defied his imperial paymasters - under wraps, even though his U.S. sentence for drug charges has now been served. So off he went to France at the order of Secretary of State Hillary Clinton - convention, and Conventions, be damned.

But why is it so vital to keep the ex-CIA hireling deep-sixed? Simon Tisdall has some answers in the Guardian. Tisdall notes that the U.S. invasion was ordered by Noriega's former CIA boss turned president, George Herbert Walker Bush, to complete an American-backed coup that had failed a few months earlier. Bush sent 24,000 troops to the tiny Central American country - which had been illegally hived off from Colombia in the early 20th century in order to give America control over the territory where the Panama Canal would be built.

By the time of the Bush invasion, American elites had been fuming for years over the Panama Canal Treaty signed in 1977 by President Jimmy Carter, which finally gave control of the Canal to Panama. Even though the treaty would not go into effect until 1999, it evoked bitter and virulent controversy, as anyone around in those days will remember well: Carter was a traitor, a socialist, a weakling, giving away sacred American territory and undermining national security, etc., etc. In fact, the battle was in many ways a test-run for the well-oiled combination of corporate interests, aggressive nationalism and right-wing crankery that would dominate American life after 1980.

Noriega came to power after the death of the Panamanian leader who had signed the treaty, Omar Torrijos - who went down in a plane crash a few months after anti-treaty stalwarts Ronald Reagan and CIA chief Herbie Walker took over in Washington. Noriega, who had been a CIA "asset" since the late 1950s, carried on his yeoman service on behalf of his new bosses for awhile - but the assumption of formal power went to his head. He forgot he was a servant, was surly with his masters, and finally crossed the line: refusing to take part in the secret terrorist war that Reagan and Bush were waging, with Iranian money, against Nicaragua. Suddenly, Noriega's manifold crimes and massive corruption, which Washington had tolerated - indeed rewarded - for decades, suddenly became matters of urgent concern. Noriega went from imperial pet to "new Hitler" in fairly short order. Tisdall takes up the story:

Noriega was a thug. But for many years, he was America's thug - until he turned on his mentors. Trained in military and intelligence matters at the School of the Americas, he became for a time a valued CIA "asset" working for the agency and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. Government documents submitted to the Miami court in pre-trial hearings in 1991-92 confirmed that Noriega was paid (at least) $320,000 by the US government for services rendered. Simply put, Noriega knew too much. He acted as a cold war listening post for the US during turbulent times in Guatemala, El Salvador and Honduras, according to William Buckley's book, Panama: the Whole Story. ...

In this capacity, Noriega would have heard a great deal of interesting material, as the Reagan-Bush team aided and abetted horrific atrocities carried out by their right-wing proxies in the region, depredations that killed thousands of innocent people - more than 200,000 in Guatemala alone. Back to Tisdall:

The jury in Noriega's trial on 10 narrowly defined drug-related counts heard none of this. Nor did it hear about Noriega's contacts with Oliver North, John Poindexter, CIA chief William Casey and other key figures in the Ronald Reagan and Bush administrations who, allegedly, connived in the supply of arms to Nicaragua's Contra rebels paid for with Medellín cartel drug cash. There were many other such allegations; and Noriega claimed to have proof of senior US politicians' connivance in drug trafficking for political purposes. But none was allowed in evidence.

Having served his sentence, the "prisoner of war" Noriega should now be returned to his own country. But this cannot be allowed. As Tisdall notes:

In Panama, Noriega would have been free to tell all he knew. And for many powerful men in Washington, some of whom are still alive, that prospect was potentially dangerous. The outcome of the Noriega case in Miami, like the 1989 invasion, was never in doubt from day one. It was a show trial, a warning to others. It was pure vengeance. It was a cover-up of decades of illicit regional meddling. But it was also a demonstration of raw American power, of which the world was soon to have more frightening examples.

II. The Past is Prologue

What does this "ancient" history have to do with our brave new world, where world-renowned progressive heroes and Peace Laureates guide with benign and benevolent hand? Plenty.

Noriega's case reminds us of the cynical and brutal nature of the American empire's actual operations. Not the gauzy pictures painted by the increasingly all-pervading "psy-ops" warfare conducted by our militarist honchos to control the "information battlespace" of the American mind (as powerfully detailed in a new piece by Tom Hayden), but the genuine blood-soaked filth and crime which undergirds "the shining city on a hill." This is not old news or ancient history: it is happening today, all over the world, in shadows and corners we will never see - except in stolen glimpses revealed by accident, or by leaks from one pack of courtiers trying to bring down another, or through diligent efforts of a handful of journalists and investigators, and the enormous courage of some survivors and eyewitnesses to the operations of power.

The rise of Barack Obama to temporary management of the imperial enterprise has changed nothing of this. Nor was it ever intended to. As I noted here back in March 2008, before Obama had secured the Democratic nomination:

Well, it doesn't really get much plainer than this, does it? From AP:

Obama Aligns Foreign Policy with GOP

Sen. Barack Obama said Friday ... "that my foreign policy is actually a return to the traditional bipartisan realistic policy of George Bush's father, of John F. Kennedy, of, in some ways, Ronald Reagan...."

Obama is doing two things here, reaching out to two very different audiences, on different wavelengths. First, for the hoi polloi, he is simply pandering in the most shameless way imaginable, throwing out talismans for his TV-addled audience to comfort themselves with: "You like JFK? I'll be like him! You like Reagan? I'll be like him too! You like the first George Bush? Hey, I'll be just like him as well!" This is a PR tactic that goes all the way back to St. Paul the spinmeister, who boasted of his ability to massage his message and "become all things to all men." Obama has long proven himself a master of this particular kind of political whoredom -- much like Bill Clinton, in fact, another champion of "bipartisan foreign policy" who for some strange reason got left off Obama's list of role models.

But beyond all the rubes out there, Obama is also signaling to the real masters of the United States, the military-corporate complex, that he is a "safe pair of hands" -- a competent technocrat who won't upset the imperial applecart but will faithfully follow the 60-year post-war paradigm of leaving "all options on the table" and doing "whatever it takes" to keep the great game of geopolitical dominance going strong.

What other conclusion can you draw from Obama's reference to these avatars, and his very pointed identification with them? He is saying, quite clearly, that he will practice foreign policy just as they did. And what they do? Committed, instigated, abetted and countenanced a relentless flood of crimes, murders, atrocities, deceptions, corruptions, mass destruction and state terrorism... [This was followed by detailed examples from this glorious record.]

What Obama promised, he has delivered. Escalating the Terror War, expanding arbitrary powers over life and liberty (even openly proclaiming the power to kill American citizens by executive order), protecting the avowed torturers of his predecessor while continuing "enhanced interrogations" by American agents and foreign proxies, filling the coffers of war profiteers with ever-increasing mountains of loot - in all things he has proved himself an apt pupil and worthy heir of the imperial ancestors he lauded.

Just last month had another of those rare glimpses into the thuggish reality of imperial power in its continuity under Obama. It was in Afghanistan, now ruled by Obama's hand-picked commander, General Stanley McChrystal - a long-time expert in the blackest ops of covert war, a man "whose entire career in Iraq remains a classified secret," as Hayden reminds us. It was a small story, making only the slightest stir for a few hours: the report that Obama's secret terror warriors had dug the bullets out of the bodies of two pregnant women and a teenage girl they had killed in a botched night raid on a home that was actually occupied by officials of the American-backed Afghan government. Evidence indicated that the American agents used knives - or for all we know, can openers - to pry their bullets loose from the still-fresh corpses, and from the surrounding walls which had been sprayed, berserker-style, in the raid. Then the respectable official spokesmen for the American military put out the story that the dead women had been victims of an "honor killing" at the hands of the barbaric natives: the hands, in fact, of the two men who had also been killed in the raid - a police commander and a prosecutor for the U.S-backed government, now transformed into "insurgents."

In this particular case, the operations of the fog machine were thwarted by a reporter for the UK paper, The Times, who, practicing the ever more novel art of journalism, uncovered the truth by going to the scene and talking to eyewitnesses, survivors, and local officials. Finally, weeks later, the American brass were forced to admit that their agents had murdered the innocent villagers, violated their corpses and then lied to the world about it. The usual scrapings from petty cash were passed around to the survivors -- $10,000 for five lives. American officials made the usual apologies. "Black Ops" McChrystal made the usual noises about avoiding civilian casualties and tightening the reins on his night riders.

That's it. That's all that happened. No one was punished, no one was prosecuted, no one was fired or even reprimanded for this act of murder and butchery. The story appeared, there was the slightest parting of the cloud, then the fog enfolded reality again.

And this was just one story. What of the many - the countless - other stories that never see even a glint of the light of day? The incidents that go on - the murder, corruption, subornation, subversion, thuggery, and crime of every description that are the daily business of maintaining a system of military dominion and rampant oligarchy? We don't know the half of it, the tenth of it; we wander in the fog, hearing the distant ghostly moans, but never knowing where they come from, or what they mean.
(c) 2010 Chris Floyd







Making Things Up
By Case Wagenvoord

I confess, I am repeating myself because what I am repeating bears repeating. A major factor in our two wars of aggression in Afghanistan and Iraq, in our war on terror, in our peppering the world with military bases, in our actions towards Iran and our droning of Pakistan has nothing to do with oil or the spreading of democracy or the advancing of our global corporate interests.

True, all of these do play a part in our actions, but the overriding factor is the attempt to create an ongoing justification for a bloated and unnecessary military establishment that lost its raison d'źtre with the fall of the Soviet Union.

As Tom Hayden explains, "It is no accident that the Pentagon is shaping the 'information battlespace' by welcoming friendly reporters and think tank hacks to beam back commentaries...to the American people." It is doing so through the use of "message force multipliers," which often involves the floating of false or inflated information.

It all boils down to this: because the Military-Industrial Complex no longer has any justification for its existence it must create one by manipulating the public's "perception." If no real threat exists, then it creates one. Terrorism is a crime best handled by police and intelligence agencies, unless you are a military complex looking for a reason to live by elevating terrorism into a war, which has the advantage of creating even more terrorists thus increasing the need not only for the existence of the military but for its expansion.

Part of the perception management is the Pentagon belief that "America's wars best be fought 'off camera, so to speak.'" Democracy depends upon transparence for its survival. In such a democracy, wars cannot be fought "off camera." The only rationale for doing so is that our military leaders know damn well that if they were fought on camera, if the public saw real people being murdered and maimed, its support for the wars would dry up.

It is normal for big countries to want to dominate and control smaller countries. The stupid ones try to do it militarily. The smart ones, like China, do so by inking contracts, something China is doing in the Middle East, Central Asia, Africa and Latin America. Countries that attempt military domination end up bankrupting themselves. Countries that don't, prosper.

According to Shamus Cooke, China is building up its military to protect its economic expansion. However, the Chinese have one advantage our oligarchs don't have. They are starting from scratch so they will expand only as much as they need to. They are fortunate that they are not burdened with a gargantuan military establishment.

But thank God, China's buildup presents another potential threat that will be used to justify our military's existence. Cook quotes a New York Times article that admits, "...there are few indications that China has aggressive intentions towards the United States or other countries."

That simply won't do. So the article goes on to quote a Navy admiral who says, "Of particular concern is that elements of China's military modernization appear designed to challenge our [U.S. Navy's] freedom of action in the region."

Cue Congress to increase the Pentagon's budget to meet this new "threat."

Isn't it wonderful how, when you are packing a gun how threats just keep on multiplying and multiplying? Gotta keep that baby loaded and ready. It's only a matter of time before our leaders manufacture another one.
(c) 2010 Case Wagenvoord. Some years ago, Case Wagenvoord turned off the tube and picked up a book. He's been trouble ever since. His articles have been posted at The Smirking Chimp, Countercurrents and Issues & Alibis. When he's not writing or brooding, he is carving hardwood bowls that have been displayed in galleries and shows across the country. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two cats. His book, Open Letters to George W. Bush is available at Amazon.com.







Do Mexican-American Citizens Really Support The Illegal Invasion?
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning all of you Middle Class thinkers out there in reality land; your King of Simple News is on the air.

Let me start with a question; would the current illegal immigration debate have come up during good economic times? In my opinion, the answer is yes, but the intensity of the subject would be far less.

Regardless of the rhetoric being bantered about, history clearly points out that immigration has always been a bone of contention with Americans. I'm talking about legal immigration here. Illegal immigration has always and forever been chastised by the legal citizenship.

When I say the legal citizenship, I'm including all foreign born who gained citizenship here by legal means.

As an example, when you have been waiting in line for an hour on a cold evening to get into a first run movie and you note a couple walking to the front of that line and joining some friends; tell me that you don't mind. Or, tell me that you don't mind so long as they happen to be of your same nationality.

I don't care if they are Black, Mexicans, Caucasians or Martians; I get mad down to my toes. They are unfairly gaining an advantage that I waited patiently for; I followed the rules.

In another post, I asked how California, Arizona, and Texas elected Republican governors if in fact the Hispanic population of those states sides with Democrats who favor amnesty and lax immigration standards. Even New Mexico supported two term Republican governor Gary Johnson through 2003.

By and large, those folks who gain citizenship in this country legally and who work hard, pay taxes, and send their kids to American schools, are absolutely opposed to illegal immigration. They followed the rules and they expect the same of others.

The Mexican American families that I know (which are many) are hard working honest people that I enjoy being around. They don't want shootings, drug runners, gang bangers and massive unemployment any more than I do. How do I know these things? I asked them!

Do I want to associate with the Ku Klux Klan? What about Skin Heads or white Outlaw Biker Gangs? Do I want a free pass for Western Europeans to enter the U.S. illegally? According to the main stream news, I surely must, they're white and I'm white. Oh course the answer to the above questions are all an emphatic NO!

The good people who make up the majority of the Mexican American families in this country are subject to far more harm from illegal immigration from Mexico than are most other Americans. They are quite familiar with guilt by association.

Yet the tenor of the main stream news suggests that the illegal invasion has undying support from all of the Mexican-American population. That those U.S. citizens of Mexican heritage see the enforcement of the laws (the same laws that they adhered to), as racism and profiling. Hogwash!

Such deceptive reporting is damaging to the majority of our Mexican citizenry who no more agree with the illegal invasion than I would with an illegal European invasion.

This entire problem was created by our Federal Government who failed to enforce the basic laws that protect the sovereignty of our nation, our states, and the general welfare of our citizens; which by the way, includes protecting our Mexican-American citizens. Geez!

Spinning the attempt to enforce critical immigration laws as profiling and racism is nothing more than an effort to the shift the blame away from those who created the problem through purposeful non-enforcement. A federal policy of growth at all costs, legal or illegal, does have its drawbacks.
(c) 2010 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."





The Quotable Quote...



"The real menace of our republic is this invisible government which like a giant octopus sprawls its slimy length over city, state and nation. Like the octopus of real life, it operates under cover of a self created screen....At the head of this octopus are the Rockefeller Standard Oil interests and a small group of powerful banking houses generally referred to as international bankers. The little coterie of powerful international bankers virtually run the United States government for their own selfish purposes. They practically control both political parties."

~~~ New York City Mayor John F. Hylan, 1922 ~~~








No One Cares
By Chris Hedges

We are approaching a decade of war in Afghanistan, and the war in Iraq is in its eighth year. Hundreds of thousands of Iraqis and thousands more Afghans and Pakistani civilians have been killed. Millions have been driven into squalid displacement and refugee camps. Thousands of our own soldiers and Marines have died or been crippled physically and psychologically. We sustain these wars, which have no real popular support, by borrowing trillions of dollars that can never be repaid, even as we close schools, states go into bankruptcy, social services are cut, our infrastructure crumbles, tens of millions of Americans are reduced to poverty, and real unemployment approaches 17 percent. Collective, suicidal inertia rolls us forward toward national insolvency and the collapse of empire. And we do not protest. The peace movement, despite the heroic efforts of a handful of groups such as Iraq Veterans Against the War, the Green Party and Code Pink, is dead. No one cares.

The roots of mass apathy are found in the profound divide between liberals, who are mostly white and well educated, and our disenfranchised working class, whose sons and daughters, because they cannot get decent jobs with benefits, have few options besides the military. Liberals, whose children are more often to be found in elite colleges than the Marine Corps, did not fight the North American Free Trade Agreement in 1994 and the dismantling of our manufacturing base. They did nothing when the Democrats gutted welfare two years later and stood by as our banks were turned over to Wall Street speculators. They signed on, by supporting the Clinton and Obama Democrats, for the corporate rape carried out in the name of globalization and endless war, and they ignored the plight of the poor. And for this reason the poor have little interest in the moral protestations of liberals. We have lost all credibility. We are justly hated for our tacit complicity in the corporate assault on workers and their families.

Our passivity has resulted, however, in much more than imperial adventurism and a permanent underclass. A slow-motion coup by a corporate state has cemented into place a neofeudalism in which there are only masters and serfs. And the process is one that cannot be reversed through the traditional mechanisms of electoral politics.

Last Thursday I traveled to Washington to join Rep. Dennis Kucinich for a public teach-in on the wars. Kucinich used the Capitol Hill event to denounce the new request by Barack Obama for an additional $33 billion for the war in Afghanistan. The Ohio Democrat has introduced H. Con Res. 248, with 16 co-sponsors, which would require the House of Representatives to debate whether to continue the Afghanistan war. Kucinich, to his credit, is the only member of Congress to publicly condemn the Obama administration's authorization to assassinate Anwar al-Awlaki, a U.S. citizen and cleric living in Yemen, over alleged links to a failed Christmas airline bombing in Detroit. Kucinich also invited investigative journalist Jeremy Scahill, writer/activist David Swanson, retired Army Col. Ann Wright and Iraq war veteran Josh Stieber to the event.

The gathering, held in the Rayburn Building, was a sober reminder of our insignificance. There were no other Congress members present, and only a smattering of young staff members attended. Most of the audience of about 70 were peace activists who, as is usual at such events, were joined by a motley collection of conspiracy theorists who believe 9/11 was an inside job or that former Sen. Paul Wellstone, who died in a plane crash, was assassinated. Scahill and Swanson provided a litany of disturbing statistics that illustrated how corporations control all systems of power. Corporations have effectively taken over our internal security and intelligence apparatus. They run our economy and manage our systems of communication. They own the two major political parties. They have built a private military. They loot the U.S. Treasury at will. And they have become unassailable. Those who decry the corporate coup are locked out of the national debate and become as marginalized as Kucinich.

"We don't have any sort of communications system in the country," said Swanson, who co-founded an anti-war coalition (AfterDowningStreet.org) and led an unsuccessful campaign to impeach George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. "We have a corporate media cartel that overlaps with the war industry. It has no interest in democracy. The Congress is bought and paid for. It is absolutely corrupted by money. We kick ourselves for not being active enough and imposing our demands, but the bar is set very high for us. We have to try very, very hard and make very, very big sacrifices if we are going to influence this Congress prior to getting the money out and getting a decent media system. Hypocritical Congress members talk about money all the time, how we have to be careful about money, except when it comes to war. It is hypocritical, but who is going to call them on that? Not their colleagues, not their funders, not the media, only us. We have to do that, but we don't in large part because they switch parties every number of years and we are on one team or the other."

Scahill-who has done most of the groundbreaking investigative reporting on private contractors including the security firm Blackwater, renamed Xe-laid out how the management of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan is being steadily transferred by the Pentagon to unaccountable private contractors. He lamented the lack of support in Congress for a bill put forward by Rep. Jan Schakowsky known as the Stop Outsourcing Security (SOS) Act, H.R. 4102, which would "responsibly phase out the use of private security contractors for functions that should be reserved for U.S. military forces and government personnel."

"It is one of the sober realities of the time we are living in that you can put forward a bill that says something as simple as 'we should not outsource national security functions to private contractors' and you only get 20 members of Congress to support the bill," Scahill said. "The unfortunate reality is that Rep. Schakowsky knows that the war industry is bipartisan. They give on both sides. For a while there it seemed contractor was the new Israel. You could not find a member of Congress to speak out against them because so many members of Congress are beholden to corporate funding to keep their House or Senate seats. I also think Obama's election has wiped that out, as it has with many things, because the White House will dispatch emissaries to read the riot act to members of Congress who don't toe the party line."

"The entire government is basically privatized," Scahill went on. "In fact, 100 percent of people in this country that make $100,000 or less might as well remit everything they owe in taxes to contractors rather than paying the government. That is how privatized the society is, that is how much of government has been outsourced in this society. There are 18 U.S. intelligence agencies on the military and civilian side and 70 percent of their combined budget is outsourced to for-profit corporations who simultaneously work the United States government as well as multinational corporations and foreign governments. We have radically outsourced the intelligence operations in this country because we have radically outsourced everything. Sixty-nine percent of the Pentagon's entire work force, and I am not talking only about the battlefield, is now privatized. In Afghanistan we have the most staggering statistics. The Obama administration is infinitely worse in Afghanistan in terms of its employment of mercenaries and other private contractors than the Bush administration. Right now in Afghanistan there are 104,000 Department of Defense contractors alongside 68,000 U.S. troops. There is almost a 2-to-1 ratio of private-sector for-profit forces that are on the U.S. government payroll versus the active-duty or actual military forces in the country. And that is not taking into account the fact that the State Department has 14,000 contractors in Afghanistan."

"Within a matter of months, and certainly within a year, the United States will have upwards of 220,000 to 250,000 U.S. government-funded personnel occupying Afghanistan, a far cry from the 70,000 U.S. soldiers that those Americans who pay attention understand the United States has in Afghanistan," Scahill said. "This is a country where the president's national security adviser, Gen. James Jones, said there are less than 100 al-Qaida operatives who have no ability to strike at the United States. That was the stated rationale and reasoning for being in Afghanistan. It was to hunt down those responsible for 9/11."

Josh Stieber spoke at the end of the event. Stieber was deployed with the Army to Iraq from February 2007 to April 2008. He was in Bravo Company 2-16, which was involved in the July 2007 Apache helicopter attack on Iraqi civilians depicted on the video recently released by WikiLeaks. Stieber, who left the Army as a conscientious objector, has issued a public apology to the Iraqi people.

"This was not by any means the exception," he said of the video, which showed helicopter pilots nonchalantly gunning down civilians, including a Reuters photographer and children, in a Baghdad street. "It is inevitable given the situation we were going through. We were going through a lot of combat at the time. A roadside bomb would go off or a sniper would fire a shot and you had no idea where it was coming from. There was a constant paranoia, a constant being on edge. If you put people in a situation like that where there are plenty of civilians, that kind of thing was going to happen and did happen and will continue to happen as long as our nation does not challenge these things. Now that this video has become public it is our responsibility as a people and a country to recognize that this is what war looks like on a day-to-day basis."

I was depressed as I walked from the Rayburn Building to Union Station to take the train home. The voices of sanity, the voices of reason, those who have a moral core, those like Kucinich or Scahill or Wright or Swanson or Stieber, have little chance now to be heard. Liberals, who failed to grasp the dark intentions of the corporate state and its nefarious servants in the Democratic Party, bear some responsibility. But even an enlightened liberal class would have been hard-pressed to battle back against the tawdry emotional carnivals and the political theater that have thrust the nation into collective self-delusion. We were all seduced. And we, along with thousands of innocents in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and beyond, will all be consumed.
(c) 2010 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."







Suicide By Regressivism
By David Michael Green

Sometimes bad things happen to countries, and people suffer.

Other times, people suffer because countries are stupid and bring bad things upon themselves.

No country in the history of the world has ever been as rich and powerful as the United States. Regrettably, few have demonstrated the level of stupidity we have and brought so much grief upon our own heads (not to mention treating so many other people in the world to an even worse fate).

To watch the Wall Street hearings in Congress this week is to witness this folly in full flower. To ask, "What two greater sets of organized criminals are there in America than Wall Street bankers and the United States Congress?" is actually to make the fundamental mistake of being too charitable. The question assumes that they are indeed distinguishable entities, when in fact this is arguably nonsense.

That distinction is actually quite critical, for our public sector has in many ways more or less ceased to exist in this country. And that in turn is critical for what it signifies, in addition to the very tangible effects felt every day.

What's at stake in the significance of a robust public sector, with supreme political authority, is nothing less than democracy at its most profound level. We tend to think of democracy primarily in terms of elections. Those of us who scratch the surface a little deeper might invoke associations to the concept of responsible government, and the notion of clearly assignable credit for policy successes and failures, along with the idea of legitimate voter choice which follows from that.

But foundational to both those important concepts is the assigned role for the government being chosen through this electoral process. It doesn't much matter if you have free and fair elections, with lots of distinct party choices to pick from, if the government you are electing is substantially limited in its capacities. You might as well get all excited about the Queen of England. You can do that if you want, but the reality is that she doesn't have any real political power anymore, so why bother?

Likewise, the stature of American government has much deteriorated in many key respects from where it stood a generation ago. Regressives have been so good at winning the ideological warfare of the last thirty years, whether on fronts overt or subtle, and this is just another example of the latter. By weakening the government, by undermining its status in the public mind, and by making it subservient to other actors on the political stage, incalculable damage has been done to American society. Just exactly as was intended.

One of the great regressive triumphs of our time has been to turn people against their own government. It's an astonishing victory - especially in a democracy where those same people have chosen that very government - and it comes against the long odds cast by the shadow of rationality.

But it has been a necessary ingredient for a plutocracy which has sought to achieve - and has achieved - the fundamental goal of radically redistributing wealth in America. The major impediments to such predation include government's presumptive power to tax, to regulate, to provide services, and to set the fundamental rules for the structural mechanics of economic life in a society. All of these had to be challenged to insure that a wealthy overclass could become fantastically more wealthy, and the easiest way to do that was to corrode the status and power of government itself. To choose a metaphor which is not entirely metaphorical, it's a lot harder to steal from you if you think you deserve to own what you have. If, on the other hand, you can be sold a diet of some lovely self-loathing, you're likely to be a lot more inclined to acquiesce in your own fleecing.

Teaching people to hate their own government is one way to divest them of it, and it has been crucial. At least as important, however, has been the process of wresting the beast right out of the hands of any remaining semblance of public control. So, first the Republican Party was completely coopted, then - courtesy of Bill Clinton and Barack Obama especially - the Democrats as well. Now both parties take enormous sums from Wall Street and any other corporate actor who realizes what a great return on investment is provided on the minimal pay-to-play entry fee of buying off a few members of Congress, through the medium of former members of Congress now cashing in as lobbyists. If this goes on much longer it will make the robber baron era of the late nineteenth and early twentieth century look as garish as Gandhi by comparison.

While taxes on the wealthy have been dramatically cut in the United States these last decades (with, of course, debt rising in equally fantastic proportion) the very notion of the legitimacy of taxation has been called into question to a ludicrous extent. It's as easy as it is immature to bitch about taxes, in the same way that a certain five year-old might decide that he should have all the cookies on the communal plate, and his playmates none. Some folks on the right may have some legitimate policy disputes about being forced through taxation to pay for programs they don't like (though I suspect nearly all of them are just looking to have more cookies). But, hey, guess what? Most everyone can readily find lots of stuff in the federal budget they'd rather not fund. As for me, I am appalled that something like one-half of the federal dollars skimmed off of my paycheck go to fund a massively bloated military-industrial-complex, for a country with no real enemy, in a process that represents little more than corporate welfare at its absolute worst. But I don't complain about the concept of taxes. It is, as Oliver Wendell Holmes pointed out, the price we pay for civilization. Sadly, in America, we pay comparatively little in taxes. If you do the math on that, per Holmes' formulation, you quickly realize that we have purchased for ourselves a Walmart civilization, and not just figuratively, either.

Deregulatory fervor is another concept which fairly boggles the mind. Does it seem to you that Wall Street has been prevented by the government from being the best it can be lately? Were those poor hard-working bankers unable to earn an honest day's salary, even after we dismantled the regulatory framework we built after the 1930s, the last time this same nightmare went down? Do you think that American industry should be freer to pollute our waters, strip-mine our mountains, or build even bigger shit pools surrounding industrial-scale meat factories? Aren't zoning restrictions just an outrage, too? Why shouldn't that sulfur-processing plant be located right in your neighborhood? Why should the next generations get to enjoy the same temperate planet we all have grown up with, when that would mean profits for an already wealthy tiny minority might be slightly diminished? What's so bad about the Sahara, anyhow?

Then there's spending. Of all the developed countries in the world, the United States has always been the most absolutely miserly in taking care of its populace. Americans would be entirely amazed to learn what goes on in places like Germany or Sweden, how socially and personally beneficial such welfare state programs are, and how much security and, yes, freedom, comes from such initiatives. They might even realize what a raw deal they've given themselves, in exchange for the right to buy a bigger TV on their high-interest credit cards. But, of course, the only times in half a century that we've moved in the direction of enlarging the American welfare state - Bush's prescription drug bill and Obama's health care debacle - it's really been a lot more about enlarging corporate profits. Coupled with the Clinton/Gingrich meat cleaver approach to already minimal welfare assistance, it's a very sad record indeed. But, then, it's only lives that are at stake here.

While taxes and regulation and spending are the obvious manifestations of this public-versus-private dynamic, there is another more profound one as well, which has to do with the very structuring of society. We seem to have forgotten, all too often, that the former is meant to sanction the latter, and not the other way around. Corporations are, at least in theory, chartered by the state, for purposes of serving some sort of public good, and not otherwise. In practice, however, corporations have come to view the state as their sometime nemesis and oft-time resource collector. Regressives, however, in their supposed zeal for 'freedom', never stop reminding us of the need to leave the private sector unfettered to do what it wants. Funny, they don't seem so obsessed with freedom from state power when it comes to murder or robbery, or even abortion or gay marriage. What could be the rationale for letting corporate actors murder - and in some cases there is no other word for it - as a result of actions taken in a society free from government control? And, worst of all, for the lowest of reasons imaginable?: To generate big profits for little people.

At the root of all this is a society that has lost touch with the very meaning of the public sector. At the end of the day, and despite all the deviations of real-world practice, government is the forum in which the aspirations and interests of the people, as a people, are expressed. And that is why, despite the need to protect some substantial quantities of individual and even corporate freedoms, government must ultimately trump the power of private actors. We don't allow individuals the right to take the lives of others whenever they feel like it on the basis of their claims to freedom. Why do we contemplate extending these and analogous rights to corporate actors? Yes, of course, everyone should have maximal possible freedoms, but only after the needs of society and other individuals have been placed first.

At its core, the regressive project these last thirty years has sought to undermine that principle, rhetorically, legislatively and conceptually. Ronald Reagan was the embodiment of this initiative, and nothing spelled it out more clearly than his line that "Government is not the solution, government is the problem". What he was really saying was, "Greedy wealthy folks are not getting enough yet, so the rest of you need to have less and live shorter, shittier lives to rectify that unacceptable imbalance".

And so, precisely, it has been. The Great Recession of our time is only the most obvious manifestation of a thirty year process of wealth transfer from bottom to top. Even as the global economy crumbles and America groans under the burden of record-high unemployment rates, all remains quite lovely, thank you very much, for the nice folks in America's economic stratosphere. Record high bonuses on Wall Street and a rising Dow. Meanwhile, the distribution of wealth in this country is now as it was in Herbert Hoover's day, a scenario of which any banana republic could be proud.

And the notion of what to do about it is more farcical than ever. The only serious political energy in the country belongs to the tea party morons, and their media cheerleaders on Fox and, well, seemingly everywhere. And they are calling - wait for it now - for less government as a solution to the country's problems. It boggles the mind. Could an ideology ever have been more obviously shown to be catastrophic in its effects? And yet here we are arguing in public about doubling down on those policy ideas, while the two major political parties both pretend to be limiting the worst practices of the most predatory actors, as they simultaneously accept bags of money from the very same folks at the very same time.

I'm sorry, but this is embarrassing. I know enough about history that I don't entirely mind if my country has a bad century or two, or falls from the lofty heights of its great power status. Falling is what you're supposed to do when you're a great power and you've already done the whole rise thing. It's called gravity, and it's pretty inevitable.

But do we have to do it to ourselves?

And does it have to be the product of such rampant stupidity?
(c) 2010 David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website, www.regressiveantidote.net.





The Dead Letter Office...





Joe feeling pretty

Heil Obama,

Dear Uberfuhrer Lieberman,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and Bill of Rights, your demand to strip US citizens of their rights before trial and send them down to one of our many concentration camps without trial, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Senatorial Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 05-30-2010. We salute you Herr Lieberman, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama





Open Borders Or High-Wage Welfare State
Too many progressives are afraid to admit that secure borders are essential to a strong social safety net
By Michael Lind

Arizona's new immigration law has provoked a firestorm of denunciation from progressives. The portion of the law that allows police to stop and question individuals who might be illegal immigrants has rightly been denounced as encouraging racial profiling. That provision is all too reminiscent of "vagrancy" and "loitering" laws from the segregationist South, which gave law enforcement officers broad discretion in harassing and arresting blacks and low-income whites.

Unfortunately, many progressives have gone beyond denouncing the obnoxious component of the Arizona statute and the bigotry of many right-wing nativists who defend it to implying that enforcement of any federal immigration law is racist. In doing so, much of the progressive commentariat has demonstrated its distance, not only from the American public as a whole, but also from most Democratic and independent voters.

According to a Gallup poll of April 27-28, among Americans who had heard of the Arizona law, 51 percent supported it and 39 percent opposed it. Progressives should be troubled by the fact that, among those who had heard of the bill, a relatively narrow majority of Democrats -- 56 percent -- opposed it, while 50 percent of independents approved of it (compared to 39 percent who opposed it).

Gallup concludes: "Most Americans have heard about Arizona's tough new immigration law, and they generally support it." The support for the law probably indicates support for tough enforcement in general, not racial profiling. A Pew poll in 2009 found that 64 percent of Democrats, 77 percent of independents, and 83 percent of Republicans agreed with the statement, "We should restrict and control people coming to live in our country more than we do now."

Since the economy crashed in the fall of 2008, public attitudes toward immigration, both legal and illegal, have been hardening. Between 2008 and the summer of 2009, the number of respondents telling Gallup that immigration should be decreased shot up from 39 percent to 50 percent. While Republicans are more restrictionist than Democrats, pluralities of Democrats and independents favor decreases in immigration, including legal immigration. Forty-four percent of Democrats favor decreasing immigration, compared to 37 percent who want to keep it at present levels. Only a tiny 15 percent of Democrats want it increased. Here independent opinion tracks with Democratic opinion: 46 percent of independents want less immigration, and only 15 percent want more.

The mere 15 percent of Democrats who favor increased immigration make up the overwhelming majority of Democratic pundits, think tank operatives and other opinion leaders. Indeed, it appears that many prominent progressives are opposed to any enforcement of U.S. immigration laws at all.

Consider the editors of the Nation, in an editorial titled ""Arizona Burning." The reference to the movie "Mississippi Burning," about the Ku Klux Klan in the Civil Rights era, shows the tendency of liberals to view immigration policy through the lens of anti-racism. The editors complain: "Not only has the White House delayed the push for immigration reform -- one of Obama's campaign promises -- its Department of Homeland Security continues to deputize police officers to enforce dysfunctional federal immigration policies, raid businesses and deport thousands of immigrants; this year it's on track to hit 400,000 deportations, the same as last year, exceeding the Bush administration's 2008 record."

Do the editors of the Nation want the U.S. to have any laws regulating entry by citizens of other countries into the U.S. or not? If so, then they have an obligation to explain the methods of law enforcement that they support. Enforcement requires two things: identification by the government of foreign nationals and U.S. employers who violate U.S. immigration laws, and penalties that are proportionate but sufficiently harsh to deter other foreign nationals and U.S. employers from attempting to break the laws in the future.

The key word is "employers." The most effective way to reduce illegal immigration is to dry up the demand for it by cracking down on sleazy employers who break U.S. labor and immigration laws. The need to identify scofflaw employers explains why the immigration reform commission appointed by President Clinton and headed by the late Barbara Jordan recommended turning the Social Security card into -- oh, the horror! -- a national ID. It is why the latest Senate immigration reform proposal, the Reid-Schumer-Menendez plan, calls for using biometric data to discourage fraud on the part of lawbreaking employers. Do progressives, the champions of federal government authority in other areas of labor law, really want to join the black-helicopter right in arguing that Barbara Jordan, Harry Reid and Charles Schumer have sought to turn America into a police state? Do liberals, by opposing workplace raids, really want to be on the side of meat-packing companies and union-busting janitorial firms that violate hard-won labor laws?

If progressives really believe that the U.S. should become the only sovereign country in the world that does not assert the right to regulate entry to its territory and participation in its labor markets, they should team up with the only other tiny sect in America that believes in open borders: right-wing libertarians. After all, calculating that a massive influx of poor workers would force wages down and destroy voter support for the welfare state, the late Wall Street Journal editor Robert Bartley periodically called for a constitutional amendment of five words: "There shall be open borders." <> Some progressives have already bought into libertarian ideology on this subject. Washington Post blogger Ezra Klein recently wrote an approving review of a book by a right-wing libertarian, Jason L. Riley, titled "Let Them In: The Case for Open Borders." Klein expresses his agreement with the free-market right's dismissal of concerns about the effects of employment on wages: "To put it simply, if there were no Chinese immigrants, the result would not be Chinese restaurants staffed mainly by native Iowans. You wouldn't have many Chinese restaurants at all, and folks who like Chinese food would eat at home more often."

Klein's position on immigration in general seems to be guided by culinary considerations. In the center-left American Prospect, Klein writes that "I'm more concerned about industries where we're barely out-competing global competitors, like agriculture. As The New York Times wrote, if the migrants weren't coming over the border to pick strawberries, it would be the strawberries coming over the border instead. That would, to be sure, be better for Mexico, but it wouldn't be that good for the United States."

Does American prosperity depend, not on moving into high-value production along with the advanced technological societies of Asia and Europe, but on competing with third-world produce exporters on the basis of low-wage labor? Having identified a dangerous farmworker gap between the U.S. and Mexico, Klein echoes the agribusiness lobby in recommending a federal industrial policy in the form of immigration laws that generously provide U.S. agribusiness with poorly paid immigrant labor. Thanks to this de facto federal labor subsidy, agribusiness need not choose between investing in harvesting technology operated by well-paid workers or going out of business. Maybe the Border Patrol should focus on "the strawberries coming over the border instead."

One of the supreme achievements of American liberalism in the civil rights era was the abolition of the exploitative Bracero guest-worker program, at the insistence of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers and the AFL-CIO. Klein joins conservatives in dismissing liberal objections to so-called guest worker (indentured servitude) programs, writing: "After all, the bottom fifth of this country never saw greater gains than in the immediate postwar period -- exactly the era when the Bracero guest worker program was in place."

In his enthusiastic review of Riley's open borders manifesto, Klein endorses the appalling libertarian argument that some native and naturalized citizens would suffer a loss in social status from a reduction of low-wage immigration: "Additionally, you'd have more native workers laboring for low wages at the bottom of the occupational ladder rather than being pushed up into management and supervisory roles, as happens now." Translation: Today there is such a glut of cheap labor that a non-Hispanic white who might have mowed lawns himself in the old days can now be a contractor, supervising a team of much poorer Latino immigrants. Klein's casual acceptance of a low-wage society, as long as it benefits professionals who don't want to pay much for Chinese takeout and natives who get jobs managing and supervising low-wage immigrants, is anything but liberal.

Nor is Klein finished recycling right-wing libertarian talking points: "As Riley persuasively argues, however, the positive effects of immigration on the wages of immigrants are huge." The mouthpieces of the corporate right make the same argument for outsourcing -- sure, it may hurt some American workers, but sweatshop employment helps the foreign poor much more! True anti-racism, these libertarians claim, means that you can't prefer the well-being of your own country's disadvantaged to the global poor who are longing for the poorly paid, non-unionized jobs that philanthropic multinational corporations generously bestow upon them.

It is surprising that any progressives are naive enough to fall for the insincere claim of conservatives and libertarians that their cheap-labor policies are motivated by altruistic concern for the foreign poor. The same conservatives and libertarians who claim to be defending poor Mexican immigrants and Chinese factory workers against overpaid, privileged American workers also claim that federal prevailing-wage laws for public contractors discriminate against blacks and that poor Americans are enslaved by "the welfare plantation." The faux-humanitarian arguments of the open-borders, cheap-labor right come as part of a larger policy package that genuine progressives should reject as a whole.

Conceding reluctantly that in some cases unskilled immigration might depress wages at the bottom of the income scale, Klein says that the answer is to raise taxes on Americans in order to pay for more welfare for the working poor: "[I]f your concern is really the conditions of the worst-off, there are much more direct ways to help them (universal health care would be a good start)." Elsewhere he proposes a higher earned income tax credit to make up for wages depressed by immigration. Klein never addresses the obvious question: Isn't his proposal a classic case of allowing the gains from low-wage immigration to be privatized by employers ("management and supervisory") and consumers ("folks who like Chinese food" and strawberries picked by poorly paid immigrants) while the cost is socialized and passed on to the taxpayers who pay for the welfare state? And isn't he giving ammunition to paranoid conservatives who claim that the agenda of liberal immigration policy really is to depress wages, raise taxes and expand welfare?

Unlike most prominent progressives, Paul Krugman recognizes that you can have a high-wage social democratic welfare state or you can have unlimited immigration -- but you can't have both. Krugman observes that "open immigration can't exist with a strong social safety net; if you're going to assure healthcare and a decent income to everyone, you can't make that offer global."

Krugman is right about that. He is mistaken, however, when he writes: "So Democrats have mixed feelings about immigration; in fact, it's an agonizing issue." Krugman may be agonized, but I see no evidence that many other leading progressive pundits are. Most refuse to acknowledge the trade-off.

Much of the left's opposition to immigration law enforcement, of course, is based on a strategic appeal to the Latino vote, not on a rational analysis of what sort of immigration policy best suits U.S. labor market conditions in the 21st century. If most Latinos began voting for Republicans, undoubtedly many Democrats who object to border and workplace enforcement would fall silent pretty quickly.

But there is more than ethnic politics at work. For some time the progressive intelligentsia has been drifting away from pro-labor egalitarianism toward libertarianism. The adoption by much of the center-left of the libertarian right's arguments against enforcing federal immigration laws, right down to the revolting comparison of American police officers and Border Patrol officers to the Gestapo, is only the latest example of the disturbing drift of center-left opinion leaders toward the market fundamentalist right. First the progressive establishment rejected regulation and public R&D for the Wall Street-friendly cap-and-trade system as the centerpiece of liberal environmentalism. Then, only a few months ago, the progressive position on healthcare was redefined by Beltway progressives to mean, not support for universal Medicare, but rather support for a "market-oriented" Democratic healthcare plan based on subsidies to corporations and bearing a striking resemblance to the right-wing Heritage Foundation's plan of the 1990s.

Some liberals and libertarians have discussed the possibility of a "liberaltarian" coalition. While the liberaltarians form a new fantasy-based community, dreaming of a utopian world without borders impeding the flow of labor, money or goods, reality-based egalitarian liberals in the New Deal/Great Society tradition can resume the project of creating a high-wage, social democratic nation-state inside America's well-policed borders -- even if it means that affluent metropolitan pundits must confront the heartbreaking choice of paying a little more at restaurants with well-paid workers or cooking at home.
(c) 2010 Michael Lind is policy director of the economic growth program at the New America Foundation and author of "Up From Conservatism: Why the Right Is Wrong for America."







Where Is The Patriotism?
By Mary Pitt

Most of the Democrats, (the "left"), can recall when George W. Bush was first anointed to the presidency by the Supreme Court. To us, he was but a dilettante frat bay who got his degree via the birthright of his father's matriculation at the same college. Thereafter he failed repeatedly at businesses in which he had been set up by his daddy's friends. He presented himself as a candidate by pretending to be a Texas "rancher" who could not sit a horse and owned no cattle. He did own acreage in Texas but used it largely as a place to wield his chain saw.

However, if we were to complain about the election or his qualifications, we were told, "Shut up and get over it! He's your president, too and complaining about him is unpatriotic." Then the World Trade Center fell by yet another attack by an Arab splinter group. Now, this was not the first time the same building had been attacked, the difference being the degree of loss and the fact that the perpetrators of the first attack had been apprehended and are still sitting in a penitentiary. However, President Bush saw fit to invade Afghanistan because that was where they were believed to be hiding. Shortly, it was determined that we should also invade Iraq for a number of reasons that time has proven untrue. But could we complain about that? No! We were told, "You are un-American unless you support the troops! We're at war now!"

But we were supporting not only the troops but also as many contractor mercenaries at a much higher cost than that of our own army. But were there great protests and threats by the people? Were there riots in front of Congress and the White House? Hardly! The White House was barricaded, the president was so heavily guarded that only photographers were allowed within shooting distance of him. Wearing an Al Gore campaign button was a punishable offense and an unfriendly bumper sticker on your car could land you in a stockade far from the parade route at any public appearance.

Contrast that with the spectacle that surrounds our current president. As the presidential limo comes down the streets, protest signs bloom from the hands of some onlookers, many of who are displaying side arms or have combat rifles hanging from their shoulders. Since it is much more difficult to end than to start our wars, the troops are still in combat and the contractors are still scoring huge paychecks, our soldiers are still being mortally wounded and coming home to grossly inadequate veterans' hospitals.

Are we still "supporting our troops"? Hardly! The only thing the protesters have to offer is to "cut spending", "cut taxes", and to question President Obama's birth certificate! Where is all that patriotism? What happened to supporting the Commander-in-Chief in time of war, regardless? What happened to saving the political debates until the war is over?

Patriotism is a matter of respecting the president, even if you didn't vote for him. Patriotism is dutifully paying-as-you-go until the war is all paid for. Patriotism is loving your country even when you disagree with the direction, which has been taken. And patriotism is paying the needed taxes to keep your government functional, no matter what.

Whatever happened to that patriotism?
(c) 2010 Mary Pitt is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The System. Huzzahs and whiney complaints may be sent to tfolbrd@cox.net



The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ John Sherffius ~~~










To End On A Happy Note...




Sunday Bloody Sunday
By U2

Yes

I can't believe the news today
Oh, I can't close my eyes and make it go away
How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?
'Cause tonight we can be as one, tonight

Broken bottles under children's feet
Bodies strewn across the dead end streets
But I won't heed the battle call
It puts my back up, puts my back up against the wall

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And the battle's just begun
There's many lost but tell me who has won
The trench is dug within our hearts
And mothers, children, brothers, sisters torn apart

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

How long, how long must we sing this song?
How long? How long?
'Cause tonight we can be as one
Tonight, tonight

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

Wipe the tears from your eyes
Wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your tears away
Oh, wipe your blood shot eyes

Sunday, Bloody Sunday
Sunday, Bloody Sunday

And it's true we are immune when fact is fiction and TV reality
And today the millions cry
We eat and drink while tomorrow they die
The real battle just begun to claim the victory Jesus won on

Sunday Bloody Sunday
Sunday Bloody Sunday
(c) 1983/2010 U2



Have You Seen This...




Parting Shots...



Above: Thousands of silk-screens, T-Shirts, bumper stickers, buttons, magnets and more were found littered along
the highway after a top-secret Tea Party promotional truck overturned on I-65 in Iowa on April 28, 2010.


NATIONAL ACTION ALERT!

Tea Party Promotional Truck Overturns on I-65, Spilling 2-Tons of Offensive Merchandise and Stopping People From Attending Church For 16-Hours!

PLEASE VISIT OUR ONLINE GIFT SHOP TO SEE EACH ITEM WE HAVE CLAIMED FROM THE TEA PARTY WRECKAGE. YOU ARE AUTHORIZED TO PURCHASE AND BURN THE ITEM OF YOUR CHOICE!

The Landover Baptist Church has officially claimed all merchandise and is requiring church members and anyone visiting our web site to purchase and wear (or in some cases - PURCHASE AND BURN!) this merchandise from our Online Gift Shop!

IMPORTANT NOTE REGARDING OUR AFFILIATION WITH THE TEA PARTY:

We have always been proud supporters of the Tea Party. But we sadly announce that we will no longer lend our support to an organization who thumbs their nose at Jesus Christ, and ignores His Father's commandments in regard to chaste sexual behavior outside of the Bible.

This might be hard for some folks to believe, but we've seen the contents of the Semi Truck spilled out on I-64. As such, we absolutely and without equivocation believe that the Tea Party is a front for the world's largest Republican Swinger's Club.

Landover Baptist Church's Official Renouncement of all Tea Party Affiliation:

As members of the living Body of Jesus Christ, we 57,894 Church members do hereby make the following renouncements:

We do hereby renounce Satan.

We renounce Satan's Activity in America.

We renounce the Tea Party.

We renounce the exchange (or "swapping") of married partners between caucasian partners for votes.

We renounce the practice of "tea-bagging," and also "light-tea-sacking."

We renounce our support of Sean Hanity.

We renounce our support of Rush Limbaugh.

We renounce all affiliation and support of any conservative with a media presence (except for Ann Coulter) who has not revealed at least 40-years of their sexual history to our church Pastor, Deacon Fred.

---------------

Singed by all church members - any in absentia, laboriously signed by Pastor Deacon Fred on this Day of the Lord, April 29, 2010.
(c) 2010 The Landover Baptist Church




Email:issues@issuesandalibis.org




The Gross National Debt




Iraq Deaths Estimator


The Animal Rescue Site















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Issues & Alibis Vol 10 # 19 (c) 05/07/2010


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