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In This Edition

Noam Chomsky says it's always, "Somebody Else's Atrocities."

Uri Avnery tells a Polish joke in, "Israeli Mustard."

Amy Goodman concludes, "It's One Person, One Vote, Not 1 Percent, One Vote."

Tom Engelhardt introduces, "US Assassins-In-Chief."

Jim Hightower finds, "Koch Cronies Try To Buy Wisconsin."

Randall Amster warns, "The War Drones On...."

James Donahue wonders, "Have We Destroyed Our Oceans With Plastic?"

Dave Swanson trumpets a small miracle, "Charlottesville Passes Resolution Against Citizens United."

David Sirota examines, "The Legend Of The Spat-Upon Veteran."

Mike Elk joins us with, "Microphone Grabbed Out Of Hands Of Reporter Questioning Honeywell CEO."

Paul Krugman explores, "This Republican Economy."

Paul Craig Roberts with an absolute must read, "Collapse At Hand."

Robert Reich explains, "The Job Stall."

Susan V. Borja, M.D wins the coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

John Nichols our cock-eyed optimist with, "Recall Campaign Against Scott Walker Fails."

Ann Wright reports, "Turkish Court Indicts Senior Israeli Military Officials In Murders On Gaza Flotilla."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz returns with, "Canada Bracing For Massive Influx Of Wisconsin Boat People" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Wisconsin Joins The Dark Side Again."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Sack, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Tom Tomorrow, Brian McFadden, Steve Rhodes, Jack Cunningham, John Sherffius, John Cole, Terrallectualism, Jeffrey Phelps, Republic Report Video, The New York Times, The White House, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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Wisconsin Joins The Dark Side Again
Of their own free will
By Ernest Stewart

"The first step is we're going to deal with collective bargaining for all public employee unions, because you use divide and conquer" ~~~ Scott Walker ~ 06-01-12

"Can you trust a program that has existed for eight years, picks its targets in secret, faces zero accountability and has killed almost 3,000 people in Pakistan alone whose identities are not known to their killers? When women and children in Waziristan are killed with Hellfire missiles, Pakistanis believe this is what the American people want. I would like to ask Americans, 'Do you?'" ~~~ Shahzad Akbar - a Pakistani lawyer

What's proposed is just crazy for a state that used to be a leader in marine science. You can't legislate the ocean, and you can't legislate storms." ~~~ Stan Riggs ~ East Carolina University geologist

"They who give have all things; they who withhold have nothing." ~~~ Hindu Proverb

Sure the Koch brothers out spent the left by $27 million dollars; but even with that, we all knew that Walker is, and was, evil! It should have been a no-brainer -- but, perhaps, that's what it was: a no-brainer.

Well, Wisconsin, you're screwed -- learn to live with it. No matter how much worse it gets, he's your daddy for the next two years, because you wanted him to be. If you are dumb enough to listen to fascist propaganda, then you deserve your fate. Don't whine; don't bitch; just take it like a man and watch all your rights go away. Perhaps in 2014 you'll understand your stupidity; but I rather doubt it! Sure, in a squeaker, the Demoncrats have a one vote majority in the Senate and could block all of Walker's new ripoffs, provided they vote as one; but I can't recall anytime they've voted as one. They had majorities in the House and Senate when Barry took over, but couldn't pass anything, as one or two Blue Dogs joined the Rethuglicans in blocking all the bills. Will Wisconsin be any different? We'll see?

As ELP once sang in Tarkus, "Clear the battlefield and let me see. All the profit from our victory." What are the profits? Well, the tea-baggers are dancing for joy, pulling strength from this as all the one percenters are. The Koch brothers are dancing for joy, because money trumps everything else. A ground surge riding this wave to get old Willard in the White House; won't that be something to remember, provided you survive it? No matter how bad it gets, the American people won't remember it four years down the line; hell, they didn't remember the facts a year after in Wisconsin. It was a great day for our billionaire masters, and a disaster for everybody else!

Personally, it makes me wonder why I bother wasting my time, doing this? Does this matter? Apparently not, as I don't have billions to get the truth out and keep it out there until it sinks into the Sheeple's tiny little pathetic brains and keep it sinking in on a daily basis. No, the right has the money, but the left doesn't care; and I end up tilting at windmills -- fighting the good fight for an obvious lost cause; and I call the people that keep Walker in power stupid! I'm beginning to think that Einstein had me pegged in his definition of insanity! I keep doing the same thing over and over again, expecting the people to wake up, rise up and do something about this; but if they haven't gotten the message yet, they never will. So, I guess that makes me insane! Meanwhile, America will keep spinning around and around the drain going deeper and deeper until it disappears.

If I lived in Wisconsin, and if I cared about my family, we would now be leaving for somewhere else; but most won't, and many can't. For those of you on the left in Wisconsin out trying to rally the troops, you're no doubt getting a lot of disheartened folks asking, "What's the point?" Well, what is the point? You've tried the ballots; you've tried peaceful protests; how'd that work out for you? Certain "wise men" say you can't get violent, because they know how to deal with violence! I got news for you; it's obvious they know how to deal with voters and non-violence, too.

Suck it up, Wisconsin; you brought this on yourself. You put that fascist moron in office, then were given a rare opportunity to recall him, and failed to do so. All you can do now is to drop your pants, bend over, and beg him not to shove it in too far -- which is exactly what the Demoncrats do best!

In Other News

As I'm sure you know by now Barry has said that any Muslim over the age of ten is now a legal target for our drones, as they could be a terrorist simply by living in the area our drones have targeted. This is regardless of the fact we haven't a clue if they are, or even who they are -- just being a young Muslim male is all Barry or the CIA needs to condenm them to death! How do you like that "change" thingie now? Barry goes light years beyond anywhere that the Smirkster dared to tread! And yet, the Demoncrats have turned a blind eye to his escapades and war crimes. I just love it when the DNC calls or writes for money; it's almost as much fun as when Morons, er, Mormons, no, I think I was right the first time....Morons are knocking on my front door! Oh, happy, happy, joy, joy!

Of course, it would be outrageous if it stopped there; but, of course, it doesn't! One thing the Rethuglicans can't bitch about is Barry's blood lust; he's got it in spades! In fact, as some folks found out this weekend, if you go and try and pull your children out of the rubble or mourn them at their funerals, you're likely to get blown to tiny pieces by another Hellfire missile, because your six-year old was identified as a terrorist -- which makes you a fellow traveler, and, hence, fair game for some pimple-faced, 19-year old out in Nevada who thinks he's playing a video game on the other side of the world. Dude, I just wiped out an entire day school!

So, your choice this fall is between an American terrorist or a 1% know-nothing goon who thinks he's on his way to Godhood. Interesting choice, huh? Did I mention that Willard has plans to double the size of our armed forces and attack Iran for a start. Meanwhile, Fox Spews pundits wonder why more than half the eligible voters don't bother to vote? I don't wonder, do you, America?

And Finally

My adoptive state of North Carolina is at it again. As I have said on many occasions, North Carolina should be divided into two states. Not surprisingly, the left and right sides which are politically the left on the left and the right on the right. It's those right-wing wackos on the right side that are making fools of themselves, and all North Carolinians, too.

What have they done now, I hear you ask -- well, I'll tell you. With global warming beginning to show itself, and the outer banks beginning to disappear under the waves, those brilliant legislatures in Raleigh are going to vote to get rid of all that science that says that by the end of the century the ocean will have risen by 3 ft (a conservative estimate), and deny the science behind it; because to go along with reality could cost those cities and towns along the coast billions in lost developments -- folks won't build a house under the waves, so science has got to go; and without science, there will be no oceans rising. I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs.

The legislature is going to overrule Mother Nature!

I wonder how well that will work out for them?

Everywhere from Maine to California, governments are making plans for this eventuality, but not North Carolina! They're planning to make it illegal to make those plans or even to acknowledge the truth. Then they wonder why Northerners make jokes about the South? It reminds me of old "Little Boots," a.k.a. the Roman Emperor Caligula who had his legions attack the ocean to teach it a lesson! That's what happens when you vote Rethuglican, folks; money overrules science, and reality too!

Keepin' On

If you want me to keep tilting at windmills in your honor, then it's time to get up and get off of it. If the money isn't here when the bills come due, then I'm out of here; I'll have no other choice. Rumor has it that there is some money in the P. O. Box awaiting my coming on Saturday; I really hope so. I hope it's a lot, because we need a lot -- and quickly!

It's getting really old doing these knuckle-biters -- year after year. Last year was the first year that we actually had a surplus; I'm hoping that's a trend, and this year we make a little more; but I'd be very happy just to break even. If someone wants this gig working 60 hour weeks for nothing decade after decade, please do speak up, as I'd be happy to step down and give you the keys.

If not, then dig deep and send in a donation immediately. No hemming, no hawing, no the check is in the mail BS. Otherwise, just tune in to Fox News and get your info there from the smiling, braindead, talking head millionaire -- he or she knows the score, right? After all, their news is "fair and balanced," right?


11-20-1932 ~ 06-02-2012
Thanks for the laughs!

08-20-1920 ~ 06-05-2012
Thanks for the visions!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2012 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 11 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Face Book. Follow me on Twitter.

Somebody Else's Atrocities
By Noam Chomsky

In his penetrating study "Ideal Illusions: How the U.S. Government Co-Opted Human Rights," international affairs scholar James Peck observes, "In the history of human rights, the worst atrocities are always committed by somebody else, never us" - whoever "us" is.

Almost any moment in history yields innumerable illustrations. Let's keep to the past few weeks.

On May 10, the Summer Olympics were inaugurated at the Greek birthplace of the ancient games. A few days before, virtually unnoticed, the government of Vietnam addressed a letter to the International Olympic Committee expressing the "profound concerns of the Government and people of Viet Nam about the decision of IOC to accept the Dow Chemical Company as a global partner sponsoring the Olympic Movement."

Dow provided the chemicals that Washington used from 1961 onward to destroy crops and forests in South Vietnam, drenching the country with Agent Orange.

These poisons contain dioxin, one of the most lethal carcinogens known, affecting millions of Vietnamese and many U.S. soldiers. To this day in Vietnam, aborted fetuses and deformed infants are very likely the effects of these crimes - though, in light of Washington's refusal to investigate, we have only the studies of Vietnamese scientists and independent analysts.

Joining the Vietnamese appeal against Dow are the government of India, the Indian Olympic Association, and the survivors of the horrendous 1984 Bhopal gas leak, one of history's worst industrial disasters, which killed thousands and injured more than half a million.

Union Carbide, the corporation responsible for the disaster, was taken over by Dow, for whom the matter is of no slight concern. In February, Wikileaks revealed that Dow hired the U.S. private investigative agency Stratfor to monitor activists seeking compensation for the victims and prosecution of those responsible.

Another major crime with very serious persisting effects is the Marine assault on the Iraqi city of Fallujah in November 2004.

Women and children were permitted to escape if they could. After several weeks of bombing, the attack opened with a carefully planned war crime: invasion of the Fallujah General Hospital, where patients and staff were ordered to the floor, their hands tied. Soon the bonds were loosened; the compound was secure.

The official justification was that the hospital was reporting civilian casualties, and therefore was considered a propaganda weapon.

Much of the city was left in "smoking ruins," the press reported while the Marines sought out insurgents in their "warrens." The invaders barred entry to the Red Crescent relief organization. Absent an official inquiry, the scale of the crimes is unknown.

If the Fallujah events are reminiscent of the events that took place in the Bosnian enclave of Srebrenica, now again in the news with the genocide trial of Bosnian Serb military commander Ratko Mladic, there's a good reason. An honest comparison would be instructive, but there's no fear of that: One is an atrocity, the other not, by definition.

As in Vietnam, independent investigators are reporting long-term effects of the Fallujah assault.

Medical researchers have found dramatic increases in infant mortality, cancer and leukemia, even higher than Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Uranium levels in hair and soil samples are far beyond comparable cases.

One of the rare investigators from the invading countries is Dr. Kypros Nicolaides, director of the fetal-medicine research center at London's King's College Hospital. "I'm sure the Americans used weapons that caused these deformities," Nicolaides says.

The lingering effects of a vastly greater nonatrocity were reported last month by U.S. law professor James Anaya, the U.N. rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples.

Anaya dared to tread on forbidden territory by investigating the shocking conditions among the remnants of the Native American population in the U.S. - "poverty, poor health conditions, lack of attainment of formal education (and) social ills at rates that far exceed those of other segments of the American population," Anaya reported. No member of Congress was willing to meet him. Press coverage was minimal.

Dissidents have been much in the news after the dramatic rescue of the blind Chinese civil-rights activist Chen Guangcheng.

"The international commotion," Samuel Moyn wrote in The New York Times last month, "aroused memories of earlier dissidents like Andrei D. Sakharov and Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, the Eastern bloc heroes of another age who first made 'international human rights' a rallying cry for activists across the globe and a high-profile item on Western governments' agendas."

Moyn is the author of "The Last Utopia: Human Rights in History," released in 2010. In The New York Times Book Review, Belinda Cooper questioned Moyn's tracing the contemporary prominence of these ideals to "(President Jimmy) Carter's abortive steps to inject human rights into foreign policy and the 1975 Helsinki accords with the Soviet Union," focusing on abuses in the Soviet sphere. She finds Moyn's thesis unpersuasive because "an alternative history to his own is far too easy to construct."

True enough: The obvious alternative is the one that James Peck provides, which the mainstream can hardly consider, though the relevant facts are strikingly clear and known at least to scholarship.

Thus in the "Cambridge History of the Cold War," John Coatsworth recalls that from 1960 to "the Soviet collapse in 1990, the numbers of political prisoners, torture victims, and executions of nonviolent political dissenters in Latin America vastly exceeded those in the Soviet Union and its East European satellites." But being nonatrocities, these crimes, substantially traceable to U.S. intervention, didn't inspire a human-rights crusade.

Also inspired by the Chen rescue, New York Times columnist Bill Keller writes that "Dissidents are heroic," but they can be "irritants to American diplomats who have important business to transact with countries that don't share our values." Keller criticizes Washington for sometimes failing to live up to our values with prompt action when others commit crimes.

There is no shortage of heroic dissidents within the domains of U.S. influence and power, but they are as invisible as the Latin American victims. Looking almost at random around the world, we find Abdulhadi al-Khawaja, co-founder of the Bahrain Center for Human Rights, an Amnesty International prisoner of conscience, now facing death in prison from a long hunger strike.

And Father Mun Jeong-hyeon, the elderly Korean priest who was severely injured while holding mass as part of the protest against the construction of a U.S. naval base on Jeju Island, named an Island of Peace, now occupied by security forces for the first time since the 1948 massacres by the U.S.-imposed South Korean government.

And Turkish scholar Ismail Besikci, facing trial again for defending the rights of Kurds. He already has spent much of his life in prison on the same charge, including the 1990s, when the Clinton administration was providing Turkey with huge quantities of military aid - at a time when the Turkish military perpetrated some of the period's worst atrocities.

But these instances are all nonexistent, on standard principles, along with others too numerous to mention.
(c) 2012 Noam Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is co-author, with Gilbert Achcar, of Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy: Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice. His most recent book is "Making the Future: Occupations, Interventions, Empire and Resistance," a collection of his columns for The New York Times Syndicate.

Israeli Mustard
By Uri Avnery

IT'S A true story. I have told it once, and I shall tell it again.

A friend of mine in Warsaw, who is half Jewish, advised a well-known Polish journalist to visit Israel, to see for himself.

When the journalist came back, he called my friend and reported breathlessly: "Do you know what I have discovered? There are Jews in Israel too!"

He meant, of course, the Orthodox, with their black clothes and large, black hats, who look like the Jews imprinted in Polish memory. They can be seen in any Polish souvenir shop, side by side with other figures from Polish folklore: the king, the nobleman, the soldier etc.

As this foreigner noticed immediately, these Jews bear no resemblance whatsoever to ordinary Israelis, who resemble ordinary Frenchmen, Germans and, well, Poles.

THE ORTHODOX (called in Hebrew "Haredim", the "fearful", those who fear God) are not part of the Israeli state. They don't want to be.

Most of them live in isolated ghettos, which fill large parts of Jerusalem, the town of Bnei Brak and several huge settlements in the occupied territories.

When one thinks of a ghetto (originally the name of a Venice neighborhood), one thinks of the humiliating isolation once imposed by Christian rulers. But originally it was a self-imposed isolation. Orthodox Jews wanted to live together, separate from the general population, not only because it gave them a sense of security, but also - and mainly - because of their faith. They needed a synagogue they could reach on foot on Shabbat, a ritual communal bath, kosher food and many other religious requisites. They still need them in Israel and elsewhere.

But most of all they need to avoid contact with others. In modern times, with all the deadly temptations, they need it more - far more - than ever. With the streets full of big ads featuring unclad women, with TV spewing an endless stream of soft (and sometimes not so soft) pornography, with the internet full of tempting information and personal contacts - the Orthodox have to protect their children and keep them away from the sinful Israeli way of life.

This is a matter of sheer survival for a community that has existed for 2500 years, and that until some 250 years ago encompassed practically all Jews.

ZIONISM, AS I have often pointed out, was among other things a rebellion against Judaism, no less then Martin Luther's rebellion against Catholicism.

When Theodor Herzl raised his flag, almost all East European Jews were still living in a ghetto-like Orthodox atmosphere, ruled by the rabbis. All these rabbis, almost without exception, saw Zionism as the great enemy, much as Christians view the Antichrist.

And not without reason. The Zionists were nationalists - adherents of the new European doctrine that human collectives are based primarily on ethnic origin, language and territory, not on religion. It was the opposite of the Jewish belief that Jews are the people of God, united by the obedience to his commandments.

As everybody knows, God exiled his Chosen People from their land because of their sins. Some day God will forgive them and send the Messiah, who will lead the Jews, including the dead, back to Jerusalem. The Zionists, in their crazy desire to do so themselves, were not only committing a deadly sin, but actually rebelling against the Almighty who had expressly forbidden his people to enter the holy country en masse.

Herzl and almost all the other Zionist Founding Fathers were convinced atheists. Their attitude towards the rabbis was condescending. Herzl wrote that in the future Jewish state, the rabbis would be kept in their synagogues (and the army officers in their barracks). All the leading rabbis of his time cursed him in no uncertain terms.

However, Herzl and his colleagues had a problem. How to get millions of Jews to trade in their old-time religion for the newfangled nationalism? He solved it by inventing the fiction that the new Zionist nation was merely a continuation of the ancient Jewish "people" in a new form. For this purpose, he "stole" the symbols of the Jewish religion and turned them into national ones: the Jewish prayer shawl became the Zionist (and now the Israeli) flag, the Jewish Menora (the temple candlestick) became the state's emblem, the Star of David is the supreme national symbol. Almost all the religious holy days became part of the new national history.

This transformation was immensely successful. Practically all "Jewish" Israelis accept this today as gospel truth. Except the Orthodox.

THE ORTHODOX claim that they, and only they, are the real Jews and the rightful heirs of thousands of years of history.

They are quite right.

The Founding Fathers declared that they wanted to create a "new Jew". Actually they created a new nation, the Israeli.

David Ben-Gurion, an avid Zionist, said that the Zionist Organization was the scaffolding for the building of the State of Israel, and with the building complete, it should be discarded. I go much further: Zionism as such was the scaffolding, and should now be discarded. The pretense that this is a "Jewish" state is the continuation of a fiction that may have been necessary at the beginning, but is redundant and even harmful now.

This pretense underlies the present situation: the Orthodox are considered by Israelis as a part of the Jewish-Israeli community, while behaving as a foreign people. It is not just that they do not salute the Israeli flag (as mentioned: the prayer shawl with the Star of David) and refuse to celebrate Independence Day (much like the Arab citizens, by the way) - but they also refuse to serve in the army or perform any other national service.

This is now one of the main bones of contention in Israel. Officially, the Orthodox claim that all their young men who are liable to be drafted - some 15 thousand every year - are busy studying the Talmud and cannot stop even for a day, much less for three years, like ordinary students. One rabbi declared last week that they actually serve the country more than ordinary combat soldiers, because they assure divine protection of the state.

The Supreme Court - so it seems- is not so much impressed by the divine protection and recently annulled a law that exempts the Orthodox, causing a political scramble for alternatives. A new law circumventing the court is in the making.

Actually, the Orthodox will never allow their children to join the army, because of the justified fear that they will be contaminated by ordinary Israelis - learning about night clubs, TV and - God forbid - hashish, and, worst of all, listening to the voices of female soldiers singing - considered an absolute abomination in Jewish religious law.

The separation between the Orthodox and others - between Jews and Israelis, so to speak - is almost complete. The orthodox speak another language (Yiddish, meaning "Jewish") and have a different body language, dress differently, have a different world view. In their separate schools, they learn different stuff (no English, no mathematics, no secular literature, nor the history of other peoples).

Israeli alumni of state schools have no common language with alumni of Orthodox schools, because they have learned totally different stories. An extreme example: some years ago two rabbis published a book called "The King's Way," which states that killing children of non-Jews is justified if there is any fear that these, when grown up, would persecute Jews. Several senior rabbis endorsed the book. When pressed, the police started a criminal investigation for incitement. This week the Attorney General finally decided not to prosecute, on the grounds that the rabbis only quoted religious texts.

An Orthodox Jew cannot eat in an ordinary Israeli home (not kosher, or not kosher enough). He certainly will not let his daughter marry a "secular" Israeli boy.

The attitude towards women is perhaps the most striking difference. There is absolutely no gender equality in the Jewish religion. Orthodox men view their women - and the women see themselves - mainly as means of (re)production. The status of Orthodox women is determined by the number of their children. In certain neighborhoods of Jerusalem, it is quite usual to see a pregnant woman in her 30s surrounded by a crowd of her offspring, carrying a newborn in her arms. Families of 10 or 12 children are quite unexceptional.

A WELL-KNOWN Israeli commentator and TV personality recently wrote that the Orthodox should be "squeezed". In reply, an Orthodox writer poured his wrath on "secular" personalities who did not protest, singling out "the untiring ideologue Uri Avnery". So I should make my position clear.

As an atheist Israeli, I respect the Orthodox for what they are - a different entity. One might say: a different people. They live in Israel, but are not really Israelis. For them, the Israeli state is like any other Goyish state, and Israelis are like any other Goyish people. The difference is only that, by having Israeli citizenship, they can milk the state shamelessly. We practically finance their very existence - their children, their schools, their life without work.

My proposal for a sustainable modus vivendi is:

First, a complete separation of state and religion. Annul all laws based on religion.

Second, grant the Orthodox complete autonomy. They should elect their representative institutions and govern themselves in all religious, cultural and educational matters. They should be exempted from military service.

Third, the Orthodox should pay for their religious services themselves, with the help of their brethren abroad. Perhaps there could be a voluntary tax for this purpose, which the state would then transfer to the autonomy authority.

Fourth, there would be no "chief rabbinate" or other rabbis appointed by the state. These are anyhow rejected and, indeed, despised, by the Orthodox. (The irascible Yeshayahu Leibowitz, an observant Jew, once called Chief Rabbi Shlomo Goren "the Clown with a Shofar.")

I would, by the way, propose a similar autonomy for the Arab citizens, if they so wish.

THERE REMAINS the question of the so-called "National-Religious". These are the offspring of the tiny minority of religious Jews who did join the Zionists right from the beginning. They are now a large community. Not only are they ardent Zionists, but they are ultra-ultra, leading the settlement enterprise and violent right-wing Zionism. They don't just accept the state and the army - they aspire to lead both, and have made considerable progress in that direction.

Yet in religious affairs, too, they are becoming more and more extreme, approaching the Orthodox. Some Israelis already use the same term for both groups: "hardal" (which could be translated as "Nareor - National-Religious-Orthodox.) Hardal, by the way, means mustard.)

What to do with this mustard in an autonomy dish? Let me think a moment.

BY THE WAY: when an Israeli Jew is asked by a stranger anywhere in the world "what are you?" he always answers: "I am an Israeli". He will never, ever, say: "I am a Jew."

Except the Orthodox
(c) 2012 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

It's One Person, One Vote, Not 1 Percent, One Vote
By Amy Goodman

The failed effort to recall Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker is widely seen as a crisis for the labor movement, and a pivotal moment in the 2012 U.S. presidential-election season. Walker launched a controversial effort to roll back the power of Wisconsin's public employee unions, and the unions pushed back, aided by strong, grass-roots solidarity from many sectors. This week, the unions lost. Central to Walker's win was a massive infusion of campaign cash, saturating the Badger state with months of political advertising. His win signals less a loss for the unions than a loss for our democracy in this post-Citizens United era, when elections can be bought with the help of a few billionaires.Nobel prize economist Joseph Stiglitz.

In February 2011, the newly elected Walker, a former Milwaukee county executive, rolled out a plan to strip public employees of their collective-bargaining rights, a platform he had not run on. The backlash was historic. Tens of thousands marched on the Wisconsin Capitol, eventually occupying it. Walker threatened to call out the National Guard. The numbers grew. Despite Walker's strategy to "divide and conquer" the unions (a phrase he was overheard saying in a recorded conversation with a billionaire donor), the police and firefighters unions, whose bargaining rights he had strategically left intact, came out in support of the occupation. Across the world, the occupation of Tahrir Square in Egypt was in full swing, with signs in English and Arabic expressing solidarity with the workers of Wisconsin.

The demands for workers rights were powerful and sustained. The momentum surged toward a demand to recall Walker, along with a slew of his Republican allies in the Wisconsin Senate. Then laws tempered the movement's power. The Wisconsin recall statute required that an elected official be in office for one year before a recall. Likewise, a loophole in the law allowed the target of the recall to raise unlimited individual donations, starting when the recall petitions are filed. Thus, Walker's campaign started raising funds in November 2011. His opponent, Tom Barrett, the mayor of Milwaukee, was limited to individual donations of up to $10,000, and had less than one month to campaign after winning the Democratic Party primary May 8.

Coupled with the impact of the U.S. Supreme Court's Citizens United decision, the Wisconsin loophole set the stage for grossly lopsided fundraising between Walker and Barrett, and an election battle that was the most expensive in Wisconsin's history. According to the most recent state campaign-finance filings, Walker's campaign raised over $30.5 million, more than seven times Barrett's reported $3.9 million. After adding in super PAC spending, estimates put the recall-election spending at more than $63.5 million.

According to Forbes magazine, 14 billionaires made contributions to Walker, only one of whom lives in Wisconsin. Among the 13 out-of-state billionaires was Christy Walton, the widow of John T. Walton, son of Wal-Mart founder Sam Walton.

Nobel Prize-winning economist Joe Stiglitz writes about the Walton family in his new book, "The Price of Inequality: How Today's Divided Society Endangers Our Future." He notes, "The six heirs to the Wal-Mart empire command wealth of $69.7 billion, which is equivalent to the wealth of the entire bottom 30 percent of U.S. society." That is almost 95 million people. Stiglitz told me: "We've moved from a democracy, which is supposed to be based on one person, one vote, to something much more akin to one dollar, one vote. When you have that kind of democracy, it's not going to address the real needs of the 99 percent."

The voters of Wisconsin did return control of the state Senate to the Democratic Party. The new majority will have the power to block the type of controversial legislation that made Walker famous. Meanwhile, three states over in Montana, the Democratic state attorney general, Steve Bullock, won his party's nomination for governor to run for the seat held by term-limited Democrat Brian Schweitzer. Bullock, as attorney general, has taken on Citizens United by defending the state's 100-year-old corrupt-practices act, which prohibits the type of campaign donations allowed under Citizens United. The case is now before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Wisconsin's recall is over, but the fight for democracy starts with one person, one vote, not 1 percent, one vote.
(c) 2012 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback.

President Obama being briefed by members of his national security team in the Situation Room

US Assassins-In-Chief
The President, His Apostles, and the Church of St. Drone
By Tom Engelhardt

Be assured of one thing: whichever candidate you choose at the polls in November, you aren't just electing a president of the United States; you are also electing an assassin-in-chief. The last two presidents may not have been emperors or kings, but they -- and the vast national-security structure that continues to be built-up and institutionalized around the presidential self -- are certainly one of the nightmares the founding fathers of this country warned us against. They are one of the reasons those founders put significant war powers in the hands of Congress, which they knew would be a slow, recalcitrant, deliberative body.

Thanks to a long New York Times piece by Jo Becker and Scott Shane, "Secret 'Kill List' Proves a Test of Obama's Principles and Will," we now know that the president has spent startling amounts of time overseeing the "nomination" of terrorist suspects for assassination via the remotely piloted drone program he inherited from President George W. Bush and which he has expanded exponentially. Moreover, that article was based largely on interviews with "three dozen of his current and former advisers." In other words, it was essentially an administration-inspired piece -- columnist Robert Scheer calls it "planted" -- on a "secret" program the president and those closest to him are quite proud of and want to brag about in an election year.

The language of the piece about our warrior president was generally sympathetic, even in places soaring. It focused on the moral dilemmas of a man who -- we now know -- has personally approved and overseen the growth of a remarkably robust assassination program in Yemen, Somalia, and Pakistan based on a "kill list." Moreover, he's regularly done so target by target, name by name. (The Times did not mention a recent U.S. drone strike in the Philippines that killed 15.) According to Becker and Shane, President Obama has also been involved in the use of a fraudulent method of counting drone kills, one that unrealistically deemphasizes civilian deaths.

Historically speaking, this is all passing strange. The Times calls Obama's role in the drone killing machine "without precedent in presidential history." And that's accurate.

It's not, however, that American presidents have never had anything to do with or been in any way involved in assassination programs. The state as assassin is hardly unknown in our history. How could President John F. Kennedy, for example, not know about CIA-inspired or -backed assassination plots against Cuba's Fidel Castro, the Congo's Patrice Lumumba, and South Vietnamese autocrat (and ostensible ally) Ngo Dinh Diem? (Lumumba and Diem were successfully murdered.) Similarly, during Lyndon Johnson's presidency, the CIA carried out a massive assassination campaign in Vietnam, Operation Phoenix. It proved to be a staggeringly profligate program for killing tens of thousands of Vietnamese, both actual enemies and those simply swept up in the process.

In previous eras, however, presidents either stayed above the assassination fray or practiced a kind of plausible deniability about the acts. We are surely at a new stage in the history of the imperial presidency when a president (or his election team) assembles his aides, advisors, and associates to foster a story that's meant to broadcast the group's collective pride in the new position of assassin-in-chief.

Religious Cult or Mafia Hit Squad?

Here's a believe-it-or-not footnote to our American age. Who now remembers that, in the early years of his presidency, George W. Bush kept what the Washington Post's Bob Woodward called "his own personal scorecard for the war" on terror? It took the form of photographs with brief biographies and personality sketches of those judged to be the world's most dangerous terrorists, each ready to be crossed out by Bush once captured or killed. That scorecard was, Woodward added, always available in a desk drawer in the Oval Office.

Such private presidential recordkeeping now seems penny-ante indeed. The distance we've traveled in a decade can be measured by the Times' description of the equivalent of that "personal scorecard" today (and no desk drawer could hold it):

"It is the strangest of bureaucratic rituals: Every week or so, more than 100 members of the government's sprawling national security apparatus gather, by secure video teleconference, to pore over terrorist suspects' biographies and recommend to the president who should be the next to die. This secret 'nominations' process is an invention of the Obama administration, a grim debating society that vets the PowerPoint slides bearing the names, aliases, and life stories of suspected members of Al Qaeda's branch in Yemen or its allies in Somalia's Shabab militia. The nominations go to the White House, where by his own insistence and guided by [counterterrorism 'tsar' John O.] Brennan, Mr. Obama must approve any name."

In other words, thanks to such meetings -- on what insiders have labeled "terror Tuesday" -- assassination has been thoroughly institutionalized, normalized, and bureaucratized around the figure of the president. Without the help of or any oversight from the American people or their elected representatives, he alone is now responsible for regular killings thousands of miles away, including those of civilians and even children. He is, in other words, if not a king, at least the king of American assassinations. On that score, his power is total and completely unchecked. He can prescribe death for anyone "nominated," choosing any of the "baseball cards" (PowerPoint bios) on that kill list and then order the drones to take them (or others in the neighborhood) out.

He and he alone can decide that assassinating known individuals isn't enough and that the CIA's drones can instead strike at suspicious "patterns of behavior" on the ground in Yemen or Pakistan. He can stop any attack, any killing, but there is no one, nor any mechanism that can stop him. An American global killing machine (quite literally so, given that growing force of drones) is now at the beck and call of a single, unaccountable individual. This is the nightmare the founding fathers tried to protect us from.

In the process, as Salon's Glenn Greenwald has pointed out, the president has shredded the Fifth Amendment, guaranteeing Americans that they will not "be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law." The Justice Department's Office of Legal Counsel produced a secret memo claiming that, while the Fifth Amendment's due process guarantee does apply to the drone assassination of an American citizen in a land with which we are not at war, "it could be satisfied by internal deliberations in the executive branch." (That, writes Greenwald, is "the most extremist government interpretation of the Bill of Rights I've heard in my lifetime.") In other words, the former Constitutional law professor has been freed from the law of the land in cases in which he "nominates," as he has, U.S. citizens for robotic death.

There is, however, another aspect to the institutionalizing of those "kill lists" and assassination as presidential prerogatives that has gone unmentioned. If the Times article -- which largely reflects how the Obama administration cares to see itself and its actions -- is to be believed, the drone program is also in the process of being sanctified and sacralized.

You get a sense of this from the language of the piece itself. ("A parallel, more cloistered selection process at the C.I.A. focuses largely on Pakistan...") The president is presented as a particularly moral man, who devotes himself to the "just war" writings of religious figures like Thomas Aquinas and St. Augustine, and takes every death as his own moral burden. His leading counterterrorism advisor Brennan, a man who, while still in the CIA, was knee-deep in torture controversy, is presented, quite literally, as a priest of death, not once but twice in the piece. He is described by the Times reporters as "a priest whose blessing has become indispensable to Mr. Obama." They then quote the State Department's top lawyer, Harold H. Koh, saying, "It's as though you had a priest with extremely strong moral values who was suddenly charged with leading a war."

In the Times telling, the organization of robotic killing had become the administration's idee fixe, a kind of cult of death within the Oval Office, with those involved in it being so many religious devotees. We may be, that is, at the edge of a new state-directed, national-security-based religion of killing grounded in the fact that we are in a "dangerous" world and the "safety" of Americans is our preeminent value. In other words, the president, his apostles, and his campaign acolytes are all, it seems, praying at the Church of St. Drone.

Of course, thought about another way, that "terror Tuesday" scene might not be from a monastery or a church synod, but from a Mafia council directly out of a Mario Puzo novel, with the president as the Godfather, designating "hits" in a rough-and-tumble world.

How far we've come in just two presidencies! Assassination as a way of life has been institutionalized in the Oval Office, thoroughly normalized, and is now being offered to the rest of us as a reasonable solution to American global problems and an issue on which to run a presidential campaign.

Downhill All the Way on Blowback Planet

After 5,719 inside-the-Beltway (largely inside-the-Oval-Office) words, the Times piece finally gets to this single outside-the-Beltway sentence: "Both Pakistan and Yemen are arguably less stable and more hostile to the United States than when Mr. Obama became president."

Arguably, indeed! For the few who made it that far, it was a brief reminder of just how narrow, how confining the experience of worshiping at St. Drone actually is. All those endless meetings, all those presidential hours that might otherwise have been spent raising yet more money for campaign 2012, and the two countries that have taken the brunt of the drone raids are more hostile, more dangerous, and in worse shape than in 2009. (And one of them, keep in mind, is a nuclear power.) News articles since have only emphasized how powerfully those drones have radicalized local populations -- however many "bad guys" (and children) they may also have wiped off the face of the Earth.

And though the Times doesn't mention this, it's not just bad news for Yemen or Pakistan. American democracy, already on the ropes, is worse off, too.

What should astound Americans -- but seldom seems to be noticed -- is just how into the shadows, how thoroughly military-centric, and how unproductive has become Washington's thinking at the altar of St. Drone and its equivalents (including special operations forces, increasingly the president's secret military within the military). Yes, the world is always a dangerous place, even if far less so now than when, in the Cold War era, two superpowers were a heartbeat away from nuclear war. But -- though it's increasingly heretical to say this -- the perils facing Americans, including relatively modest dangers from terrorism, aren't the worst things on our planet.

Electing an assassin-in-chief, no matter who you vote for, is worse. Pretending that the Church of St. Drone offers any kind of reasonable or even practical solutions on this planet of ours, is worse yet. And even worse, once such a process begins, it's bound to be downhill all the way. As we learned last week, again in the Times, we not only have an assassin-in-chief in the Oval Office, but a cyberwarrior, perfectly willing to release a new form of weaponry, the most sophisticated computer "worm" ever developed, against another country with which we are not at war.

P This represents a breathtaking kind of rashness, especially from the leader of a country that, perhaps more than any other, is dependent on computer systems, opening the U.S. to potentially debilitating kinds of future blowback. Once again, as with drones, the White House is setting the global rules of the road for every country (and group) able to get its hands on such weaponry and it's hit the highway at 140 miles per hour without a cop in sight.

James Madison, Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, and the rest of them knew war, and yet were not acolytes of the eighteenth century equivalents of St. Drone, nor of presidents who might be left free to choose to turn the world into a killing zone. They knew at least as well as anyone in our national security state today that the world is always a dangerous place -- and that that's no excuse for investing war powers in a single individual. They didn't think that a state of permanent war, a state of permanent killing, or a president free to plunge Americans into such states was a reasonable way for their new republic to go. To them, it was by far the more dangerous way to exist in our world.

The founding fathers would surely have chosen republican democracy over safety. They would never have believed that a man surrounded by advisors and lawyers, left to his own devices, could protect them from what truly mattered. They tried to guard against it. Now, we have a government and a presidency dedicated to it, no matter who is elected in November.
(c) 2012 Tom Engelhardt is co-founder of the American Empire Project. He is the author of The End of Victory Culture: a History of the Cold War and Beyond, as well as of a novel, The Last Days of Publishing. His most recent book is The American Way of War: How Bush's Wars Became Obama's (Haymarket Books).

Koch Cronies Try To Buy Wisconsin

Unless you hang out in posh watering holes with America's far-right billionaires, chances are that you don't know Diane Hendricks. But Scott Walker, Wisconsin's anti-middle-class, union-whacking governor, knows her and loves her... a lot.

In fact, Scott loves Diane at least half-a-million dollars worth. That's how much the heiress to ABC Supply (the nation's largest roofing and siding wholesaler) has put down so far on Walker's desperate effort to avoid being only the third governor in U.S. history to lose a recall election. His day of reckoning is tomorrow, and his last bastion of support is a phalanx of union-hating, out-of-state billionaires like Hendricks and the infamous Koch brothers, who've erected a multimillion-dollar wall of money around him. "We've spent a lot of money in Wisconsin," deadpanned David Koch of New York City. "We've gotten pretty good at this over the years," he boasted of his extremist political attack machine, adding that, "We're going to spend more."

As of last week, Scott had amassed $30 million from friends like David - a sum comparable to what Mitt Romney's campaign raised to win the GOP presidential nomination! Such Koch cronies as the DeVos family, founders of the Amway marketing empire, chipped in a quarter-million for the right-wing's nationwide "Save Scott" campaign, and Foster Friess, the evangelical millionaire who dumped a ton of cash on Rick Santorum's theocratic run for the presidency this year, is in for $100,000.

There's an old rule in big business: If you don't have any sense behind you, pour in dollars. From the Edsel to "new Coke" - and now to Scott Walker - the strategy has been to overcome all product defaults with PR cash. Tomorrow, we'll see what Koch cash can buy. And if it buys the governorship of Wisconsin - look out where you live.
(c) 2012 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.

The War Drones On...
By Randall Amster

Drones are all the rage these days, and not in a good way. The increasing toll taken by these robotic executioners is beginning to register with the public, after many years of automated death from above in our adventurist wars. Still, the use of drones is expanding in many places, and not just in the theaters of combat. Drones are used to patrol the U.S.-Mexico border. Local governments and police forces use drones, even if they're disclosed publicly as part of safety programs or for purposes other than enforcement. Many are equipped with cameras, widening the surveillance society even if not overtly used as tools of destruction.

The issue of expanding automation in foreign combat and domestic policing alike raises many questions apart from the legality of its use in war. Remote-controlled bombing contributes to a greater sense of "action at a distance" that works to overcome a natural human prohibition against killing our own kind -- one that soldiers have to be conditioned to surmount. The steady distancing effect of modern warfare continues to push the envelope of our empathetic capacities while enabling remote outcomes with little risk involved.

Some years ago I wrote about the "dehumanization of dehumanization" as a cultural trend, sardonically waxing about how "back in the day" we at least still dehumanized people in a humanistic way. Today, we don't even have the wherewithal to "see the whites of their eyes" (or even the lay of the land below) before pulling the trigger or dropping the payload. So-called "justice" is meted out impersonally, with nary any regard for the humanity of the recipients -- or even for the perpetrators themselves.

Indeed, the use of robotic justice, whether via drone attacks or pervasive surveillance devices, dehumanizes everyone concerned. Despite the distance from their targets, drone operators are not fully immunized from the psychological effects of killing people by dint of their not-so-subtle deployment of Reaper and Predator technologies. Virtual warfare still produces tangible effects on civilians and combatants half a world away as well as on those who are asked to control the misnamed "joysticks" here at home.

In some ways, the technocratic nature of war embodied by drones is symptomatic of larger forces in society. Increasingly, human contact is mediated through digital devices that are by now omnipresent. The texture of our discourses and communities steadily moves from the humanistic to the mechanistic. Others can be "unfriended" or "blocked" from making contact with the push of a button -- something that was harder to do when we had to live, work, and play more closely with those in our midst. The malleability of relationships and forms of exchange weakens the ties that bind, even as it provides the illusion of greater connectivity.

It's all of a piece, and drones are a dramatic demonstration of the trend. Just as the dominant culture is laden with more devices of control, so too is war designed to be steadily waged through greater technological means in the days ahead. Such patterns erode accountability, promote ethical detachment, and turn people into mere data points. While humans have always found ways to inflict harm on one another, physical or otherwise, the scale of our current capacities to do so has outstripped our moral development. The resultant culture of disconnection and disposability jeopardizes not only human rights, but our very ability to survive on the planet; commodification and dehumanization are thoroughly interconnected aspects of an expanding mindset that replaces the sacred with the profane.

In the end, the central question remains: will we control our technologies, or will they be used to control us? As Martin Luther King, Jr. once said, "The means by which we live have outdistanced the ends for which we live. Our scientific power has outrun our spiritual power. We have guided missiles and misguided men." The use of drones to inflict harm at a distance is a stark reminder of how far we have gone toward losing our ability to feel and away from the essential need to realize the impacts of our actions.

As the wars continue to drone on, it's time for a chorus of voices to grow louder and demand that we humanize our engagement with others at every level of existence. This in itself won't solve the twin problems of perpetual warfare and escalating alienation, but at least it might give us a chance to catch up to ourselves.
(c) 2012 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. Amonsg his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume

Have We Destroyed Our Oceans With Plastic?
By James Donahue

A disturbing report by a research team trawling the North Pacific Ocean this year has determined that the world's oceans are laced with small bits of plastic that are killing natural sea life including the aquatic birds.

"Our nets come up with a handful of plastic fragments at a time, in every trawl we've done for the last thousand miles," said expedition leader Marcus Eriksen, who was contacted by CNN aboard the 72-foot yacht Sea Dragon.

"We've been finding lots of micro plastics, all the size of a grain of rice or a small marble. We drag our nets and come up with a small handful, like confetti."

Eriksen describes the condition of the world's oceans as "plasticized." He said "Everywhere you go in the ocean you're going to find this plastic waste."

Researchers say that the original thought was that the oceans were creating giant floating islands of waste, mostly floating plastic bottles, particles of steroid and other debris from the mountains of trash dumped carelessly over the years from garbage barges, ships, floods and other sources. These "islands" were easily seen, even from space, in the various gyres, or regions where natural ocean currents converge.

The problem of the accumulation of ocean debris was compounded by the major earthquake and tsunami that hit Japan's Fukushima nuclear power complex in March, 2011. Since then a massive block of debris, much of it believed to be highly radioactive, has been drifting slowly eastward over the Pacific, headed directly for the West Coast of the United States. Some of this wreckage has already started to come ashore along the Alaskan coast.

New studies have revealed that the problem world-wide is much more complex and the impact more damaging to the oceans than anyone first thought. Giora Proskurowski, project scientist at the University of Washington, said that what is seen on the surface is only that . . . the tip of the iceberg. He said that on the average, the plastic particles can be found at least 100 feet below the waterline, and it contains more than twice the amount of plastic found on the surface.

While they break into tiny particles from the force of storms and the seas, the older types of plastic do not break down over time, so they will continue to float around in our oceans indefinitely. There is no known way to dispose of it and return the oceans to the pure state they were in before humans put their mark on them.

Biologists say the birds, fish and other creatures of the sea are feeding on the plastic, and it is killing them.

They say turtles get entangled in plastic fishing nets and many have been found dead with plastic bags in their stomachs. They apparently mistake the floating semi-transparent bags for jellyfish and then choke to death after trying to consume them.

One report said an estimated 100,000 marine mammals die each year in the world's oceans by eating or getting entangled in plastic rubbish. Seals and other mammals get caught up in large plastic debris islands and die from exhaustion or starvation.

The marine birds are found to be eating and dying from consuming those tiny plastic particles. In a study of blue petrel chicks at South Africa's remote Marion island it was found that 90 percent of them had plastic in their stomachs. The plastic was apparently fed to them by their parents.

Plastic bags have become a major external cause of marine engine damage. The bags get sucked into and plug the engine cooling systems. Other plastics foul propellers and get tangled in fishing tackle.

To add to the horrors of what we are doing to the seas, we can look at the Deepwater Horizon explosion and massive spill of crude oil that entered the Gulf of Mexico in April, 2011, and all of the other oil rig spills and taker ship disasters that have left the oceans tainted with tiny balls of oil that also are being spread along the ocean currents.
(c) 2012 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

Charlottesville Passes Resolution Against Citizens United
By David Swanson

As of Monday evening, Charlottesville City Council has joined the list of over 250 localities, several state legislatures, 22 state attorneys general, the Supreme Court of Montana, four Supreme Court justices, dozens of Congress members, countless clubs and organizations and political parties, and -- in poll after poll -- the vast majority of the people of the United States -- all of whom want the U.S. Constitution amended or by other means wish to undo the Citizens United ruling that opened the flood gates on corporate election spending.

A group of local citizens met, one at a time, with four of the five City Council members ahead of time to win their support. Several of us spoke at Monday's meeting. When I spoke I asked people to stand up if they believed that Congress and states and cities should be allowed to limit or ban corporate and private spending on elections.

A delegation of over a dozen Afghans, mostly women, was attending the meeting. I encouraged them to stand up if they thought the model for Afghanistan's future should be democracy rather than corruption.

I didn't spot a single person left seated.

But there probably was one, because a woman had spoken against the resolution. She'd falsely accused those of us speaking in support of not being from Charlottesville and not caring about local people or local issues. We of course had explained the importance of local governments representing their constituents to higher governments on matters of great importance.

The local newspaper, the Daily Progress, had devoted a big front-page story a few days beforehand to the point of view of the one city council member who opposed the resolution on the grounds that it was not a local matter. Following a 4-0 vote in favor of the resolution, the Daily Progress quickly produced a new article about the point of view of that same city council member who had abstained, not the four who had voted yes, not the crowd that supported them, not what it does to Charlottesville to have a Congress that ignores majority opinion and obeys its funders, not the people who had drafted and promoted the resolution, not the impact it might have, not the national trend, not the pending U.S. Supreme Court case, but the one councilwoman who abstained from voting and who -- during the course of Monday's meeting baselessly accused her four colleagues of being "manipulated" -- presumably by us.

City Councilman Dave Norris pointed out that every single locality in Virginia petitions the state goverment every year, and many petititon Congress every year. Councilwoman Kristin Szakos noted that when she and her colleagues devote 30 minutes to an important issue, they don't neglect others but simply extend the meeting 30 minutes.

Also covering the story, and in fact grasping a bit better what the story was, were NBC 29 and this Newsplex Video. The resolution text, or very close to it, follows. For exact wording check with Charlottesville City Council.

WHEREAS, We the people adopted and ratified the United States Constitution to protect the free speech and other rights of people, not corporations; and

WHEREAS, Corporations are not people but instead are entities created by the law of states and nations; and

WHEREAS, for the past three decades, a divided United States Supreme Court has transformed the First Amendment into a powerful tool for corporations seeking to evade and invalidate the people's laws; and

WHEREAS, Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, relying on prior decisions, interpreted the First Amendment of the Constitution to afford corporations the same free speech protections as natural persons; and

WHEREAS, Citizens United overturned longstanding precedent prohibiting corporations from spending corporate general treasury funds in our elections; and

WHEREAS, Citizens United unleashed a torrent of corporate money in our political process unmatched by any campaign expenditure totals in United States history; and

WHEREAS, Citizens United purports to invalidate state laws and even state Constitutional provisions separating corporate money from elections; and

WHEREAS, Citizens United presents a serious and direct threat to our republican democracy; and

WHEREAS, hundreds of municipalities across the nation are joining together to call for an Amendment to the United States Constitution to establish that political speech and spending by corporate entities to influence the political process must be regulated and made subservient to the people's interest in authentic democracy and self-governance; and

WHEREAS, the people of the United States previously have used the constitutional amendment process to correct decisions of the U.S. Supreme Court that are deemed to be egregious and wrongly decided and which go to the heart of our democracy and self-government.



Add your voice at
(c) 2012 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

The Legend Of The Spat-Upon Veteran
By David Sirota

Out of all the status-quo-sustaining fables we create out of military history, none are as enduring as Vietnam War myths. Desperate to cobble a pro-war cautionary tale out of a blood-soaked tragedy, we keep reimagining the loss in Southeast Asia not as a policy failure but as the product of an America that dishonored returning troops.

Incessantly echoed by Hollywood and Washington since the concurrent successes of the Rambo and Reagan franchises, this legend was the central theme of President Obama's Memorial Day speech kicking off the government's commemoration of the Vietnam conflict.

"You were often blamed for a war you didn't start, when you should have been commended for serving your country with valor," he told veterans. "You came home and sometimes were denigrated, when you should have been celebrated. It was a national shame, a disgrace that should have never happened."

It's undeniable that chronic underfunding of the Veterans Administration unduly harmed Vietnam-era soldiers. However, that lamentable failure was not what Obama was referring to. As the president who escalated the Vietnam-esque war in Afghanistan, he was making a larger argument. Deliberately parroting Rambo's claim about "a quiet war against all the soldiers returning," he was asserting that America as a whole spat on soldiers when they came home - even though there's no proof that this happened on any mass scale.

In his exhaustive book entitled "The Spitting Image," Vietnam vet and Holy Cross professor Jerry Lembcke documents veterans who claim they were spat on by antiwar protestors, but he found no physical evidence (photographs, news reports, etc.) that these transgressions actually occurred. His findings are supported by surveys of his fellow Vietnam veterans as they came home.

For instance, Lembcke notes that "a U.S. Senate study, based on data collected in August 1971 by Harris Associates, found that 75 percent of Vietnam-era veterans polled disagreed with the statement, 'Those people at home who opposed the Vietnam war often blame veterans for our involvement there'" while "94 percent said their reception by people their own age who had not served in the armed forces was friendly." Meanwhile, the Veterans' World Project at Southern Illinois University found that many Vietnam vets supported the antiwar protest, with researchers finding almost no veterans "finish(ing) their service in Vietnam believing that what the United States has done there has served to forward our nation's purposes."

In the face of such data, why would the current president nonetheless repeat the apocryphal myth about spat-on Vietnam veterans? Because - facts be damned - it serves a purpose: to suppress protest and perpetuate the ideology of militarism.

This objective is achieved through the narrative's preposterous assumptions.

Metaphorically, if not explicitly, the mythology equates antiwar activism with dishonoring the troops; implies that such protest is kryptonite to the Pentagon's Superman; and therefore insinuates that America loses wars not when policies are wrong, but when dissent is tolerated.

As political memes go, this 30-year Vietnam storyline has been wildly successful, helping presidents silence opposition to the Iraq War, the continued Afghanistan occupation, our expanding drone wars, and, of course, our ever-increasing defense budgets.

Yet, as much as the propaganda is cast as a genuflection to veterans, it's anything but. For one thing, it ignores the fact that the many troops enlist specifically to defend our freedoms - among them the freedom to dissent. Additionally, in manufacturing falsehoods out of the painful Vietnam experience, it insults many Vietnam vets by writing their opposition to that war out of history. Unchecked, the mythology ultimately uses the revised history of yesteryear's soldiers to vaporize the very dissent that might prevent tomorrow's soldiers from facing another Vietnam-like quagmire.

That's not respectful or supportive of veterans - it's the opposite.
(c) 2012 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 E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee.

Microphone Grabbed Out Of Hands Of Reporter Questioning Honeywell CEO
By Mike Elk

For the last two years, I have covered union busting efforts by Honeywell, their close connections to President Obama and how federal agencies have assisted Honeywell in three different labor struggles since Obama came to power. In particular, I covered a 14-month lockout at Honeywell uranium plant in Metropolis, Illinois, where Honeywell cheated on tests for replacement workers, who later caused several releases of radioactive gas into the atmosphere. Instead of their picket line with the striking workers as he promised to do during his campaign, Obama decided to fly with top Democratic donor and Honeywell CEO David Cote to India while the lockout was still going on. (Today, Obama and Cote will appear at Honeywell's Minneapolis facility for an event on the economy).

Recently, on May 10, at around 2 p.m., managers walked into Honeywell's uranium conversion plant in Metropolis, Ill., and told workers-both union and nonunion-they had to leave the plant immediately. Multiple workers present say a manager told them the sudden dismissal was because the company had to investigate "sabotage" of plant equipment. Honeywell has since allowed non-union contractors and salaried employees and managers back into the plant to operate it as the company's investigation continues, but still hasn't allowed the full unionized workforce to return.

Then on May 14, according to United Steelworkers Local 7-669 President Stephen Lech, an engineer-manning a post typically manned by a union employee-caused a release of highly toxic radioactive UF6 gas for over seven minutes. Contrary to company policy, no alarms were sounded informing the community of the release of this deadly gas. Fortunately, no one was hurt by the accidental release of UF6 gas. Yet another leak of the same gas occurred at the Metropolis plant yesterday, although again it appears that workers fortunately escaped serious injury.

I had attempted to get Honeywell to comment on the matter, but as the company has done throughout the two years I have covered their union-busting, they refused to answer the question. Earlier in May, Plant Manager Larry Smith hung up the phone on me when I contacted him. So when I heard Honeywell CEO Dave Cote would be talking at a forum on "Revitalizing America: Encouraging Entrepreneurship," hosted by Rep. Tim Scott (R-S.C.), I decided to go ask him a few questions about Honeywell's various labor disputes.

Yesterday morning, I showed up at the event in the basement of the U.S. Capitol Building's Visitor Center where Cote was speaking. I identified myself as a reporter for In These Times and gave my card to a Republican House staffer, who then handed me a media badge for the event. It was one of the most bizarre events I have ever covered, as if those secret meetings between congressman and CEOs that union guys always talk about actually existed.

The assembly included lobbyists, corporate executes and GOP congressmen, talking about how they were going to push for deregulation and lower taxes. Even Rep. Hansen Clarke (D-Mich.) showed up to brag about how he was working with the Heritage Foundation to find ways to lower corporate taxes. Clarke was met with wild applause from the suit-clad room.

Cote spoke for about 15 minutes on how he was able to make Honeywell a successful company through "innovation," and said he could make it more successful if corporate taxes were lowered even further. When it was time for questions for the panelists, I stood up and was called upon. I began to ask Cote about the uranium release caused by a non-union engineer working a job performed by a union worker. Cote began to frown and looked annoyed with my question. Immediately, I started getting dirty stares and smirks from the room of assembled corporate lobbyists and allies. The moderator of the panel interrupted me to say "Sir if I can interrupt. This is to hear from entrepreneurs."

Within a few seconds, Nicolas D. Muzin, a senior adviser for Rep. Scott, grabbed me and attempted to physically remove me from the room. I informed Muzin that I had never been treated like this as a reporter.

Later, Rep. Scott, who is the sponsor of a bill to deny food stamps to the families of workers on strike, very politely took me aside in the hallway. Rep. Scott explained that after the panel there would be some time where I could ask the panelists some questions. After the panel ended, I went up to Cote and told him "I want to talk you about Metropolis, Illinois." Cote immediately ran out a fire exit with an entourage of people following him. An unidentified man who was with Cote blocked the fire exit and shoved me as I attempted to walk through it. I informed him that this was an illegal to block a fire exit like this.

I saw another fire exit that was nearby and ran through it to find Honeywell CEO David Cote in a room behind the set of doors. Upon seeing me, Cote and his entourage immediately began to run away and quickly exited through another set of doors. I attempted to follow Cote through that set of doors, but was blocked by the same unidentified man and another man, whose nametag identified him as Honeywell External Communications Director Rob Ferris.

Ferris barricaded me in the room for several minutes and atferwards had the Capitol Police detain me. They released me after 10 minutes when they realized I had done nothing more than try to follow a CEO down a hallway. Indeed, Capitol Police asked me if I wanted to press charges against Ferris for false imprisonment for barricading me into the room, but I declined.

President Obama is doing an event with Honeywell CEO Dave Cote today in Minneapolis if any reporters want to ask about this incident. A better question might be why has Honeywell been able to use the federal government to attempt to bust unions in three different major labor disputes. Either way, try to make sure you're in a room with multiple exits.

Editors Note: On Tuesday, Mike changed his mind and decided to brings charges.

"I decided that allowing the intimidation of reporters in the US Capitol to go unchallenged is a scary precedent to set."
(c) 2012 Mike Elk is an In These Times Staff Writer and a regular contributor to the labor blog Working In These Times. He can be reached at

This Republican Economy
By Paul Krugman

What should be done about the economy? Republicans claim to have the answer: slash spending and cut taxes. What they hope voters won't notice is that that's precisely the policy we've been following the past couple of years. Never mind the Democrat in the White House; for all practical purposes, this is already the economic policy of Republican dreams.

So the Republican electoral strategy is, in effect, a gigantic con game: it depends on convincing voters that the bad economy is the result of big-spending policies that President Obama hasn't followed (in large part because the G.O.P. wouldn't let him), and that our woes can be cured by pursuing more of the same policies that have already failed.

For some reason, however, neither the press nor Mr. Obama's political team has done a very good job of exposing the con.

What do I mean by saying that this is already a Republican economy? Look first at total government spending -federal, state and local. Adjusted for population growth and inflation, such spending has recently been falling at a rate not seen since the demobilization that followed the Korean War.M

How is that possible? Isn't Mr. Obama a big spender? Actually, no; there was a brief burst of spending in late 2009 and early 2010 as the stimulus kicked in, but that boost is long behind us. Since then it has been all downhill. Cash-strapped state and local governments have laid off teachers, firefighters and police officers; meanwhile, unemployment benefits have been trailing off even though unemployment remains extremely high.

Over all, the picture for America in 2012 bears a stunning resemblance to the great mistake of 1937, when F.D.R. prematurely slashed spending, sending the U.S. economy -which had actually been recovering fairly fast until that point -into the second leg of the Great Depression. In F.D.R.'s case, however, this was an unforced error, since he had a solidly Democratic Congress. In President Obama's case, much though not all of the responsibility for the policy wrong turn lies with a completely obstructionist Republican majority in the House.

That same obstructionist House majority effectively blackmailed the president into continuing all the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy, so that federal taxes as a share of G.D.P. are near historic lows - much lower, in particular, than at any point during Ronald Reagan's presidency.

As I said, for all practical purposes this is already a Republican economy.

As an aside, I think it's worth pointing out that although the economy's performance has been disappointing, to say the least, none of the disasters Republicans predicted have come to pass. Remember all those assertions that budget deficits would lead to soaring interest rates? Well, U.S. borrowing costs have just hit a record low. And remember those dire warnings about inflation and the "debasement" of the dollar? Well, inflation remains low, and the dollar has been stronger than it was in the Bush years.

Put it this way: Republicans have been warning that we were about to turn into Greece because President Obama was doing too much to boost the economy; Keynesian economists like myself warned that we were, on the contrary, at risk of turning into Japan because he was doing too little. And Japanification it is, except with a level of misery the Japanese never had to endure.

So why don't voters know any of this?

Part of the answer is that far too much economic reporting is still of the he-said, she-said variety, with dueling quotes from hired guns on either side. But it's also true that the Obama team has consistently failed to highlight Republican obstruction, perhaps out of a fear of seeming weak. Instead, the president's advisers keep turning to happy talk, seizing on a few months' good economic news as proof that their policies are working -and then ending up looking foolish when the numbers turn down again. Remarkably, they've made this mistake three times in a row: in 2010, 2011 and now once again.

At this point, however, Mr. Obama and his political team don't seem to have much choice. They can point with pride to some big economic achievements, above all the successful rescue of the auto industry, which is responsible for a large part of whatever job growth we are managing to get. But they're not going to be able to sell a narrative of overall economic success. Their best bet, surely, is to do a Harry Truman, to run against the "do-nothing" Republican Congress that has, in reality, blocked proposals -for tax cuts as well as more spending -that would have made 2012 a much better year than it's turning out to be.

For that, in the end, is the best argument against Republicans' claims that they can fix the economy. The fact is that we have already seen the Republican economic future -and it doesn't work.
(c) 2012 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"The duty of a patriot is to protect his country from its government."
~~~ Thomas Paine

Collapse At Hand
By Paul Craig Roberts

Ever since the beginning of the financial crisis and quantitative easing, the question has been before us: How can the Federal Reserve maintain zero interest rates for banks and negative real interest rates for savers and bond holders when the US government is adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt every year via its budget deficits? Not long ago the Fed announced that it was going to continue this policy for another 2 or 3 years. Indeed, the Fed is locked into the policy. Without the artificially low interest rates, the debt service on the national debt would be so large that it would raise questions about the US Treasury's credit rating and the viability of the dollar, and the trillions of dollars in Interest Rate Swaps and other derivatives would come unglued.

In other words, financial deregulation leading to Wall Street's gambles, the US government's decision to bail out the banks and to keep them afloat, and the Federal Reserve's zero interest rate policy have put the economic future of the US and its currency in an untenable and dangerous position. It will not be possible to continue to flood the bond markets with $1.5 trillion in new issues each year when the interest rate on the bonds is less than the rate of inflation. Everyone who purchases a Treasury bond is purchasing a depreciating asset. Moreover, the capital risk of investing in Treasuries is very high. The low interest rate means that the price paid for the bond is very high. A rise in interest rates, which must come sooner or later, will collapse the price of the bonds and inflict capital losses on bond holders, both domestic and foreign.

The question is: when is sooner or later? The purpose of this article is to examine that question.

Let us begin by answering the question: how has such an untenable policy managed to last this long?

A number of factors are contributing to the stability of the dollar and the bond market. A very important factor is the situation in Europe. There are real problems there as well, and the financial press keeps our focus on Greece, Europe, and the euro. Will Greece exit the European Union or be kicked out? Will the sovereign debt problem spread to Spain, Italy, and essentially everywhere except for Germany and the Netherlands?

Will it be the end of the EU and the euro? These are all very dramatic questions that keep focus off the American situation, which is probably even worse.

The Treasury bond market is also helped by the fear individual investors have of the equity market, which has been turned into a gambling casino by high-frequency trading.

High-frequency trading is electronic trading based on mathematical models that make the decisions. Investment firms compete on the basis of speed, capturing gains on a fraction of a penny, and perhaps holding positions for only a few seconds. These are not long-term investors. Content with their daily earnings, they close out all positions at the end of each day.

High-frequency trades now account for 70-80% of all equity trades. The result is major heartburn for traditional investors, who are leaving the equity market. They end up in Treasuries, because they are unsure of the solvency of banks who pay next to nothing for deposits, whereas 10-year Treasuries will pay about 2% nominal, which means, using the official Consumer Price Index, that they are losing 1% of their capital each year. Using John Williams' correct measure of inflation, they are losing far more. Still, the loss is about 2 percentage points less than being in a bank, and unlike banks, the Treasury can have the Federal Reserve print the money to pay off its bonds. Therefore, bond investment at least returns the nominal amount of the investment, even if its real value is much lower. (For a description of High-frequency trading, see: )

The presstitute financial media tells us that flight from European sovereign debt, from the doomed euro, and from the continuing real estate disaster into US Treasuries provides funding for Washington's $1.5 trillion annual deficits. Investors influenced by the financial press might be responding in this way. Another explanation for the stability of the Fed's untenable policy is collusion between Washington, the Fed, and Wall Street. We will be looking at this as we progress.

Unlike Japan, whose national debt is the largest of all, Americans do not own their own public debt. Much of US debt is owned abroad, especially by China, Japan, and OPEC, the oil exporting countries. This places the US economy in foreign hands. If China, for example, were to find itself unduly provoked by Washington, China could dump up to $2 trillion in US dollar-dominated assets on world markets. All sorts of prices would collapse, and the Fed would have to rapidly create the money to buy up the Chinese dumping of dollar-denominated financial instruments.

The dollars printed to purchase the dumped Chinese holdings of US dollar assets would expand the supply of dollars in currency markets and drive down the dollar exchange rate. The Fed, lacking foreign currencies with which to buy up the dollars would have to appeal for currency swaps to sovereign debt troubled Europe for euros, to Russia, surrounded by the US missile system, for rubles, to Japan, a country over its head in American commitment, for yen, in order to buy up the dollars with euros, rubles, and yen.

These currency swaps would be on the books, unredeemable and making additional use of such swaps problematical. In other words, even if the US government can pressure its allies and puppets to swap their harder currencies for a depreciating US currency, it would not be a repeatable process. The components of the American Empire don't want to be in dollars any more than do the BRICS.

However, for China, for example, to dump its dollar holdings all at once would be costly as the value of the dollar-denominated assets would decline as they dumped them. Unless China is faced with US military attack and needs to defang the aggressor, China as a rational economic actor would prefer to slowly exit the US dollar. Neither do Japan, Europe, nor OPEC wish to destroy their own accumulated wealth from America's trade deficits by dumping dollars, but the indications are that they all wish to exit their dollar holdings.

Unlike the US financial press, the foreigners who hold dollar assets look at the annual US budget and trade deficits, look at the sinking US economy, look at Wall Street's uncovered gambling bets, look at the war plans of the delusional hegemon and conclude: "I've got to carefully get out of this."

US banks also have a strong interest in preserving the status quo. They are holders of US Treasuries and potentially even larger holders. They can borrow from the Federal Reserve at zero interest rates and purchase 10-year Treasuries at 2%, thus earning a nominal profit of 2% to offset derivative losses. The banks can borrow dollars from the Fed for free and leverage them in derivative transactions. As Nomi Prins puts it, the US banks don't want to trade against themselves and their free source of funding by selling their bond holdings. Moreover, in the event of foreign flight from dollars, the Fed could boost the foreign demand for dollars by requiring foreign banks that want to operate in the US to increase their reserve amounts, which are dollar based.

I could go on, but I believe this is enough to show that even actors in the process who could terminate it have themselves a big stake in not rocking the boat and prefer to quietly and slowly sneak out of dollars before the crisis hits. This is not possible indefinitely as the process of gradual withdrawal from the dollar would result in continuous small declines in dollar values that would end in a rush to exit, but Americans are not the only delusional people.

The very process of slowly getting out can bring the American house down. The BRICS--Brazil, the largest economy in South America, Russia, the nuclear armed and energy independent economy on which Western Europe (Washington's NATO puppets) are dependent for energy, India, nuclear armed and one of Asia's two rising giants, China, nuclear armed, Washington's largest creditor (except for the Fed), supplier of America's manufactured and advanced technology products, and the new bogyman for the military-security complex's next profitable cold war, and South Africa, the largest economy in Africa--are in the process of forming a new bank. The new bank will permit the five large economies to conduct their trade without use of the US dollar.

In addition, Japan, an American puppet state since WWII, is on the verge of entering into an agreement with China in which the Japanese yen and the Chinese yuan will be directly exchanged. The trade between the two Asian countries would be conducted in their own currencies without the use of the US dollar. This reduces the cost of foreign trade between the two countries, because it eliminates payments for foreign exchange commissions to convert from yen and yuan into dollars and back into yen and yuan.

Moreover, this official explanation for the new direct relationship avoiding the US dollar is simply diplomacy speaking. The Japanese are hoping, like the Chinese, to get out of the practice of accumulating ever more dollars by having to park their trade surpluses in US Treasuries. The Japanese US puppet government hopes that the Washington hegemon does not require the Japanese government to nix the deal with China.

Now we have arrived at the nitty and gritty. The small percentage of Americans who are aware and informed are puzzled why the banksters have escaped with their financial crimes without prosecution. The answer might be that the banks "too big to fail" are adjuncts of Washington and the Federal Reserve in maintaining the stability of the dollar and Treasury bond markets in the face of an untenable Fed policy.

Let us first look at how the big banks can keep the interest rates on Treasuries low, below the rate of inflation, despite the constant increase in US debt as a percent of GDP--thus preserving the Treasury's ability to service the debt.

The imperiled banks too big to fail have a huge stake in low interest rates and the success of the Fed's policy. The big banks are positioned to make the Fed's policy a success. JPMorgan Chase and other giant-sized banks can drive down Treasury interest rates and, thereby, drive up the prices of bonds, producing a rally, by selling Interest Rate Swaps (IRSwaps).

A financial company that sells IRSwaps is selling an agreement to pay floating interest rates for fixed interest rates. The buyer is purchasing an agreement that requires him to pay a fixed rate of interest in exchange for receiving a floating rate.

The reason for a seller to take the short side of the IRSwap, that is, to pay a floating rate for a fixed rate, is his belief that rates are going to fall. Short-selling can make the rates fall, and thus drive up the prices of Treasuries. When this happens, as these charts illustrate, there is a rally in the Treasury bond market that the presstitute financial media attributes to "flight to the safe haven of the US dollar and Treasury bonds." In fact, the circumstantial evidence (see the charts in the link above) is that the swaps are sold by Wall Street whenever the Federal Reserve needs to prevent a rise in interest rates in order to protect its otherwise untenable policy. The swap sales create the impression of a flight to the dollar, but no actual flight occurs. As the IRSwaps require no exchange of any principal or real asset, and are only a bet on interest rate movements, there is no limit to the volume of IRSwaps.

This apparent collusion suggests to some observers that the reason the Wall Street banksters have not been prosecuted for their crimes is that they are an essential part of the Federal Reserve's policy to preserve the US dollar as world currency. Possibly the collusion between the Federal Reserve and the banks is organized, but it doesn't have to be. The banks are beneficiaries of the Fed's zero interest rate policy. It is in the banks' interest to support it. Organized collusion is not required.

Let us now turn to gold and silver bullion. Based on sound analysis, Gerald Celente and other gifted seers predicted that the price of gold would be $2000 per ounce by the end of last year. Gold and silver bullion continued during 2011 their ten-year rise, but in 2012 the price of gold and silver have been knocked down, with gold being $350 per ounce off its $1900 high.

In view of the analysis that I have presented, what is the explanation for the reversal in bullion prices? The answer again is shorting. Some knowledgeable people within the financial sector believe that the Federal Reserve (and perhaps also the European Central Bank) places short sales of bullion through the investment banks, guaranteeing any losses by pushing a key on the computer keyboard, as central banks can create money out of thin air.

Insiders inform me that as a tiny percent of those on the buy side of short sells actually want to take delivery on the gold or silver bullion, and are content with the financial money settlement, there is no limit to short selling of gold and silver. Short selling can actually exceed the known quantity of gold and silver.

Some who have been watching the process for years believe that government-directed short-selling has been going on for a long time. Even without government participation, banks can control the volume of paper trading in gold and profit on the swings that they create. Recently short selling is so aggressive that it not merely slows the rise in bullion prices but drives the price down. Is this aggressiveness a sign that the rigged system is on the verge of becoming unglued?

In other words, "our government," which allegedly represents us, rather than the powerful private interests who elect "our government" with their multi-million dollar campaign contributions, now legitimized by the Republican Supreme Court, is doing its best to deprive us mere citizens, slaves, indentured servants, and "domestic extremists" from protecting ourselves and our remaining wealth from the currency debauchery policy of the Federal Reserve. Naked short selling prevents the rising demand for physical bullion from raising bullion's price.

Jeff Nielson explains another way that banks can sell bullion shorts when they own no bullion. Nielson says that JP Morgan is the custodian for the largest long silver fund while being the largest short-seller of silver. Whenever the silver fund adds to its bullion holdings, JP Morgan shorts an equal amount. The short selling offsets the rise in price that would result from the increase in demand for physical silver. Nielson also reports that bullion prices can be suppressed by raising margin requirements on those who purchase bullion with leverage. The conclusion is that bullion markets can be manipulated just as can the Treasury bond market and interest rates.

How long can the manipulations continue? When will the proverbial hit the fan?

If we knew precisely the date, we would be the next mega-billionaires.

Here are some of the catalysts waiting to ignite the conflagration that burns up the Treasury bond market and the US dollar:

A war, demanded by the Israeli government, with Iran, beginning with Syria, that disrupts the oil flow and thereby the stability of the Western economies or brings the US and its weak NATO puppets into armed conflict with Russia and China. The oil spikes would degrade further the US and EU economies, but Wall Street would make money on the trades.

An unfavorable economic statistic that wakes up investors as to the true state of the US economy, a statistic that the presstitute media cannot deflect.

An affront to China, whose government decides that knocking the US down a few pegs into third world status is worth a trillion dollars.

More derivate mistakes, such as JPMorgan Chase's recent one, that send the US financial system again reeling and reminds us that nothing has changed.

The list is long. There is a limit to how many stupid mistakes and corrupt financial policies the rest of the world is willing to accept from the US. When that limit is reached, it is all over for "the world's sole superpower" and for holders of dollar-denominated instruments.

Financial deregulation converted the financial system, which formerly served businesses and consumers, into a gambling casino where bets are not covered. These uncovered bets, together with the Fed's zero interest rate policy, have exposed Americans' living standard and wealth to large declines. Retired people living on their savings and investments, IRAs and 401(k)s can earn nothing on their money and are forced to consume their capital, thereby depriving heirs of inheritance. Accumulated wealth is consumed.

As a result of jobs offshoring, the US has become an import-dependent country, dependent on foreign made manufactured goods, clothing, and shoes. When the dollar exchange rate falls, domestic US prices will rise, and US real consumption will take a big hit. Americans will consume less, and their standard of living will fall dramatically.

The serious consequences of the enormous mistakes made in Washington, on Wall Street, and in corporate offices are being held at bay by an untenable policy of low interest rates and a corrupt financial press, while debt rapidly builds. The Fed has been through this experience once before. During WW II the Federal Reserve kept interest rates low in order to aid the Treasury's war finance by minimizing the interest burden of the war debt. The Fed kept the interest rates low by buying the debt issues. The postwar inflation that resulted led to the Federal Reserve-Treasury Accord in 1951, in which agreement was reached that the Federal Reserve would cease monetizing the debt and permit interest rates to rise.

Fed chairman Bernanke has spoken of an "exit strategy" and said that when inflation threatens, he can prevent the inflation by taking the money back out of the banking system. However, he can do that only by selling Treasury bonds, which means interest rates would rise. A rise in interest rates would threaten the derivative structure, cause bond losses, and raise the cost of both private and public debt service. In other words, to prevent inflation from debt monetization would bring on more immediate problems than inflation. Rather than collapse the system, wouldn't the Fed be more likely to inflate away the massive debts?

Eventually, inflation would erode the dollar's purchasing power and use as the reserve currency, and the US government's credit worthiness would waste away. However, the Fed, the politicians, and the financial gangsters would prefer a crisis later rather than sooner. Passing the sinking ship on to the next watch is preferable to going down with the ship oneself. As long as interest rate swaps can be used to boost Treasury bond prices, and as long as naked shorts of bullion can be used to keep silver and gold from rising in price, the false image of the US as a safe haven for investors can be perpetrated.

However, the $230,000,000,000,000 in derivative bets by US banks might bring its own surprises. JPMorgan Chase has had to admit that its recently announced derivative loss of $2 billion is more than that. How much more remains to be seen. According to the Comptroller of the Currency the five largest banks hold 95.7% of all derivatives. The five banks holding $226 trillion in derivative bets are highly leveraged gamblers. For example, JPMorgan Chase has total assets of $1.8 trillion but holds $70 trillion in derivative bets, a ratio of $39 in derivative bets for every dollar of assets. Such a bank doesn't have to lose very many bets before it is busted.

Assets, of course, are not risk-based capital. According to the Comptroller of the Currency report, as of December 31, 2011, JPMorgan Chase held $70.2 trillion in derivatives and only $136 billion in risk-based capital. In other words, the bank's derivative bets are 516 times larger than the capital that covers the bets.

It is difficult to imagine a more reckless and unstable position for a bank to place itself in, but Goldman Sachs takes the cake. That bank's $44 trillion in derivative bets is covered by only $19 billion in risk-based capital, resulting in bets 2,295 times larger than the capital that covers them.

Bets on interest rates comprise 81% of all derivatives. These are the derivatives that support high US Treasury bond prices despite massive increases in US debt and its monetization.

US banks' derivative bets of $230 trillion, concentrated in five banks, are 15.3 times larger than the US GDP. A failed political system that allows unregulated banks to place uncovered bets 15 times larger than the US economy is a system that is headed for catastrophic failure. As the word spreads of the fantastic lack of judgment in the American political and financial systems, the catastrophe in waiting will become a reality.

Everyone wants a solution, so I will provide one. The US government should simply cancel the $230 trillion in derivative bets, declaring them null and void. As no real assets are involved, merely gambling on notional values, the only major effect of closing out or netting all the swaps (mostly over-the-counter contracts between counter-parties) would be to take $230 trillion of leveraged risk out of the financial system. The financial gangsters who want to continue enjoying betting gains while the public underwrites their losses would scream and yell about the sanctity of contracts. However, a government that can murder its own citizens or throw them into dungeons without due process can abolish all the contracts it wants in the name of national security. And most certainly, unlike the war on terror, purging the financial system of the gambling derivatives would vastly improve national security.
(c) 2012 Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and professor of economics in six universities. He is coauthor of "The Tyranny of Good Intentions," co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House. He can be reached at:

The Job Stall
By Robert Reich

The White House must be telling itself there are still five months between now and Election Day, so the jobs picture could brighten. After all, we went through a similar mid-year slump in 2011 but came out fine.

But however you look at today's jobs report, it's a stunning reminder of how anemic the recovery has been -and how perilously close the nation is to falling into another recession.

Not only has the unemployment rate risen for the first time in almost a year, to 8.2 percent, but, more ominously, May's payroll survey showed that employers created only 69,000 net new jobs. The Labor Department's Bureau of Labor Statistics also revised its March and April reports downward. Only 96,000 new jobs have been created, on average, over the last three months.

Put this into perspective. Between December and February, the economy added an average of 252,000 jobs each month. To go from 252,000 to 96,000, on average, is a terrible slide. At least 125,000 jobs are needed a month merely to keep up with the growth in the working-age population available to work.

Face it: The jobs recovery has stalled.

What's going on? Part of the problem is the rest of the world. Europe is in the throes of a debt crisis and spiraling toward recession. China and India are slowing. Developing nations such as Brazil, dependent on exports to China, are feeling the effects and they're slowing as well. All this takes a toll on U.S. exports.

But a bigger part of the problem is right here in the United States, and it's clearly on the demand side of the equation. Big companies are still sitting on a huge pile of cash. They won't invest it in new jobs because American consumers aren't buying enough to justify the risk and expense of doing so.

Yet American consumers don't have the cash or the willingness to spend more. Not only are they worried about keeping their jobs, but their wages keep dropping. The median wage continues to slide, adjusted for inflation. Average hourly earnings in May were up 2 cents -an increase of 1.7 percent from this time last year -but that's less than the rate of inflation. And the value of their home -their biggest asset by far -is still declining. The average workweek slipped to 34.4 hours in May. Corporate profits are healthy largely because companies have found ways to keep payrolls down -substituting lower-paid contract workers, outsourcing abroad, using computers and new software applications. But that's exactly the problem. In paring their payrolls, they're paring their customers.

And we no longer have any means of making up for the shortfall in consumer demand. Federal stimulus spending is over. In fact, state and local governments continue to lay off large numbers. The government cut 13,000 jobs in May. Instead of a boost, government cuts have become a considerable drag on the rest of the economy.

Republicans will have a field day with today's jobs report, taking it as a sign that Obama's economic policies have failed and we need instead their brand of fiscal austerity combined with more tax cuts for the wealthy.

But that's precisely the reverse of what's needed.
(c) 2012 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

The Dead Letter Office...

Susan in gayer days

Heil Obama,

Dear Doktor Borja,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your refusal to give life saving drugs to gay people, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "medical whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 07-04-2012. We salute you Frau Borja, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Voting ballots are stacked and ready as voters wait in line to cast their ballot Tuesday, June 5, 2012,
in Milwaukee. Wisconsin Republican Governor Scott Walker is taking on Democratic challenger Tom Barrett in a recall election.

Recall Campaign Against Scott Walker Fails
By John Nichols

Robert M. La Follette, the architect of the progressive movement that a century ago made Wisconsin the nation's "laboratory of democracy," recognized that the experiments would at times go awry. "We have long rested comfortably in this country upon the assumption that because our form of government was democratic, it was therefore automatically producing democratic results. Now, there is nothing mysteriously potent about the forms and names of democratic institutions that should make them self-operative," he observed after suffering more than his share of defeats. "Tyranny and oppression are just as possible under democratic forms as under any other."

Those words echoed across the decades on the night of June 5, as the most powerful of the accountability tools developed in La Follette's laboratory-the right to recall errant officials-proved insufficient for the removal of Governor Scott Walker.

The failure of the campaign against Walker, while heartbreaking for Wisconsin union families and the great activist movement that developed to counter the governor and his policies, offers profound lessons not just for Wisconsin but for a nation that is wrestling with fundamental questions of how to counter corporate and conservative power in a Citizens United moment. Those lessons are daunting, as they suggest the "money power" populists and progressives of another era identified as the greatest threat to democracy has now organized itself as a force that cannot be easily thwarted even by determined "people power."

The Wisconsin result-which followed upon a campaign that saw Walker outspend his Democratic challenger by perhaps 8-1, as the governor's billionaire backers flooded the state with tens of millions of dollars in "independent" expenditures on his behalf-should send up red flares for Democrats as they prepare for this fall's presidential and congressional elections. The right has developed a far more sophisticated money-in-politics template than it has ever before employed. That template worked in Wisconsin, on behalf of a deeply divisive and scandal-plagued governor, and it worked.

But the quick calculus that says organized money beats organized people misses the fact that those who sought to depose "the imperial Walker" were also experimenting. They made mistakes, particularly as regards messaging. They were let down by national Democratic players who never quite recognized that Republican National Committee chairman Reince Priebus and "independent" groups on the right were testing and perfecting strategies for November.

Yet against overwhelming odds, Wisconsin's recall movement fought its way to a dead heat, losing only narrowly in its effort to remove a "right-wing rock star" whose re-election became the top priority of the Republican party, the conservative movement and the 1 percent billionaires who made Walker's re-election a national priority.

For those who see democracy as a spectator sport with clearly defined seasons that finish on election day, the Wisconsin results are just depressing. But for those who recognize the distance Wisconsin-and other states, such as Ohio, which used a veto referendum to restore collective-bargaining rights-have come since the Republicans won just about everything in 2010, the recall story is instructive.

Walker's February 2011 assault on union rights provoked some of the largest mass demonstrations in modern labor history, protests that anticipated the "Occupy" phenomenon with a three-week takeover of the state Capitol and universal slogan "Blame Wall Street Not the Workers," protests that both drew inspiration from and served to inspire the global kicking up against austerity. The governor never backed off his self-declared "divide and conquer" agenda of attacking not just public-sector unions but public services and public education. So there developed early on in Wisconsin a sense that the only way to stop Walker was to remove him from office using the "petition for the redress of grievances" power of recall, which allows citizens to gather a sufficient number of signatures to force a new election.

The Wisconsin recall vote was only the third for a governor in Wisconsin history. The previous two were organized by the right, with substantial corporate support. In Wisconsin, it was different. The labor movement and its allies forced the vote, relying on grassroots activists who gathered more than 900,000 signatures (over 40 percent of the electorate in the previous gubernatorial election) in every township, village and city of the state.

Walker's response was to collect more than $30 million. That was more than anyone running for any office in Wisconsin history had ever raised, and the money came overwhelmingly-more than 70 percent in the final filing-from out of state. That money was well spent; it framed a message rooted in fantasy and fabrication that suggested up was down, right was left and that his economic policies (which spawned the worst job losses in the nation) were "working."

Walker's economic policies didn't work. But his advertisements did; they moved him up in the polls as Democrats and their allies were struggling to identify a candidate to challenge him. And that poll advantage spooked national Democratic strategists, who got overly cautious about engaging with the Wisconsin struggle. There was no caution on the other side; Republican National Committee chairman Reince Preibus, a Wisconsin native, was always "all in," as were the party's top donors. And that mattered; a loophole in Wisconsin law allowed Walker to collected unlimited amounts of money during the period before the recall election was formally scheduled. He got collected piles of checks for as much as $500,000. And the billionaires who weren't donating to his campaign were setting up "independent" expenditures on his behalf-like the one that Joe Ricketts, the guy who got caught out scheming to attack President Obama, organized to defend Walker and attack Barrett.

There'll be plenty of speculation about whether things in Wisconsin would have been different if Obama, the national Democrats and their donors had gone all in for Barrett. But that misses a deeper point; the unlimited spending that Republicans and their allies can now engage in is a new factor in our politics. And it has the potential to be definitional unless Democrats and progressives figure things out quickly. They should have been on the ground in Wisconsin not just to beat Walker but to get a read on where politics in America is headed in the Citizens United age.

The answer is not that Democrats and unions need to figure out how to counter Republican and corporate money. They can't. So does Wisconsin then tell us that its over for progressive politics of any kind in America? Not necessarily.

The Wisconsin result says that big money matters more-perhaps much more-now than it ever has. It can take a damaged candidate like Scott Walker and repurpose him as a winner. That's very good news for Mitt Romney. But it does not have to be the end of the story.

"Democrats don't have to have as much money as Republicans to compete in campaigns," says State Representative Fred Kessler, a Wisconsin Democrat who has been running campaigns for fifty years. "What they have to do is figure out how to spend the money they have in a way that counters the big money."

In Wisconsin, Democrats struggled with their message, trying to transition the radicalism of the Capitol protests of 2011-which took as their symbol a clenched "Solidarity" fist in the shape of the state-into the narrow confines of contemporary politics. It didn't work. Months of soft messaging about important issues-from education to voting rights-took some of the edge off the movement messaging that had defined the protests and the petitioning for the recall. As a result, polls conducted after the Democratic primary picked Barrett showed that a third or more of voters who identified as coming from a "union household" intended to vote for Walker. Private-sector unions found themselves scrambling in the weeks before the June 5 election to shore up a base that should have been secured from the start.

There was, as well, a huge problem with messaging as regards the recall itself. Walker's theme for the better part of year-reinforced in paid advertising and constant appearances on his favored news network, Fox-was that the recall election was a costly partisan temper tantrum. The criticism was never really countered.

What could Democrats and the unions have done differently? They could have taken a portion of the millions they did spend on television ads attacking Walker-whose negatives were already high and who was taken regular media hits regarding a criminal investigation of his aides and donors-and spent it on early advertising to make the case for collective bargaining and the recall election. Democrats and their allies do a lousy job of framing debates, and that was certainly the case in Wisconsin.

Taking lessons from Wisconsin is important for progressives, as conservatives will surely be taking their lessons-most of which will be about the power of big money. But one lesson that progressive ought not take from Wisconsin is the theory that mass movements cannot beat big money.

Unions and their allies invested in mobilization of voters in Wisconsin's cities, especially African-American voters in Milwaukee and Racine. And it worked. Turnout was up dramatically, so much so that on election day election clerks had to be shifted to predominantly African-American wards.

"You can't spend all your money on television. You've got to spend it on the ground," says Congresswoman Gwen Moore, a Milwaukee Democrat. "That's the most important thing to take away from Wisconsin. Investing on the ground more Democratic voters at the polls. Even if it wasn't quite enough, people have to realize that's where you begin. That's how you build the base for winning next time."

There will be a next time, not just in Wisconsin but nationally. The fight to remove Walker was necessary, and important. That it did not succeed is heartbreaking. But it cannot be definitional.

Republicans will continue to push their austerity agendas, in Wisconsin and nationally. And progressives have to get better at beating them, in the streets and at the polls. Robert M. La Follette, who suffered more than his share of defeats before he started winning against the robber barons of his day, got it right-for his time, and ours. "We are slow to realize that democracy is a life; and involves continual struggle," La Follette explained. "It is only as those of every generation who love democracy resist with all their might the encroachments of its enemies that the ideals of representative government can even be nearly approximated."
(c) 2012 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been publshed by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Turkish Court Indicts Senior Israeli Military Officials In Murders On Gaza Flotilla
On the Second Anniversary of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Turkish Court Indicts Senior Israeli Military Officials in Murders of Nine Passengers
By Ann Wright

Two years ago I was a passenger on the first Gaza Freedom Flotilla which was sailing to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. I watched from a small boat called the Challenger 1, as a much larger boat, the Mavi Marmara, with almost 600 passengers, was brutally attacked by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) commandos. 30 minutes later, our boat was attacked.

Using snipers from helicopters Israeli commandos shot many of the passengers on the exposed top deck of the ship. Other commandos in boats fired live ammunition, as well as percussion grenades, into all levels of the ship. As commandos repelled down from helicopters and boarded the ship, they executed at point blank range 5 passengers, including a 19 year old American citizen Furkan Dogan, whose body had five bullets including one to the back of his head. 9 persons, 8 Turkish citizens and one American citizen, were murdered and 50 others were wounded. One severely wounded Turkish man later died after being in a coma for many months.

Each of the six ships in the flotilla was attacked by IDF commandos. Passengers on the ships were shot with tasers and beaten by commandos. Potentially lethal paintballs were shot into the faces of passengers narrowly missing eyes and soft parts of the skull.

IDF commandos took the computers, cameras, identification and credit cards and several hundred thousands of dollars in cash from the passengers. IDF commandos sold many of the stolen computers. Very few of the items taken by the IDF have been returned to passengers.

The Mavi Marmara was returned to Turkey with a new coat of paint to cover the blood stains of those wounded and killed. The other five ships are still held by the Israeli government in the port of Haifa.

Turkish Court Indictment of Senior Israeli Military Officials

On May 28, 2012, almost two years after the Israeli attack, a court in Istanbul, Turkey, voted unanimously to approve an indictment against Israel's former military chief Lt. Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi, as well as for Eliezer Marom, Amos Yadlin, and Avishai Levi, the former heads of the Israeli Navy, Air Force Intelligence, and Military Intelligence. If convicted, each faces nine consecutive life terms in prison for "inciting to kill monstrously, and by torturing."

The indictment also charged several unidentified soldiers who shot passengers. The charges against members of the Israeli military include commandeering vehicles, voluntary manslaughter, attempted murder, persecution and causing damage to the ship.

The indictment specifies 490 victims and complainants, among them 189 who were injured during the raid. The indictment rejected Israeli claims that Israeli commandos who boarded the Mavi Marmara acted in self-defense, saying that Israeli commandos used disproportional force by firing with heavy weapons and automatic rifles on passengers who only carried "plastic flag masts, spoons, and forks." The indictment stated that some of the victims were shot dead from close range and from the back.

2011 Gaza Flotilla and Freedom Waves

Despite the lethal Israeli attack a year earlier, in 2011, international citizen activists prepared ten ships to sail to break the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza. The Israeli and US governments pressured the Greek government to prevent the sailing of 8 of the ships that were in Greece. Three ships from the 2011 Gaza Freedom Flotilla eventually challenged the Israeli blockade. One ship that had sailed from France in July, 2011 and two others (one from the Irish campaign and one from the Canadian/Australian campaign) that sailed from Turkey in November, 2011 were intercepted by the Israeli navy, the boats confiscated and the passengers deported from Israel.

Next Challenge to the Israeli Blockade--Gaza's Ark Committed to continue to bring international attention to the continuing brutal Israeli naval blockade of Gaza, international activists are working with the sailing and boating community of Gaza to prepare a ship to sail FROM Gaza carrying Gazan exports goods that will have been purchased by the international community. The boat will be called "Gaza's Ark" and will provide job skills and employment for workers on the boat as well as a market for the beautiful crafts of Gaza.
(c) 2012 Ann Wright is a 29-year US Army veteran who retired as a Colonel, and a former US diplomat who resigned in March, 2003, in opposition to the war on Iraq. She served in Nicaragua, Grenada, Somalia, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Sierra Leone, Micronesia and Mongolia. In December, 2001, she was on the small team that reopened the US Embassy in Kabul, Afghanistan. She is the co-author of "Dissent: Voices Of Conscience." Her March 19, 2003, letter of resignation can be read here. She traveled to Gaza three times in 2009 after the Israeli attack on Gaza that killed 1,440, wounded 5,000 and left 50,000 homeless. She was an organizer of the Gaza Freedom March in December, 2009, that brought 1350 persons from 44 countries to Cairo, Egypt, and was one of the passengers on the Gaza flotilla.

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Canada Bracing For Massive Influx Of Wisconsin Boat People
Coast Guard on Alert
By Andy Borowitz

OTTAWA (The Borowitz Report) - The Canadian coast guard was on alert today, preparing for what it fears could be a massive invasion of boat people from Wisconsin.

Conor McGlindon, commander of the Royal Canadian Mounted Coast Guard (RCMCG), said that satellite photos had revealed a "substantial flotilla" in the making, as Wisconsinites prepared to flee their state for their neighbor to the North.

"Word has gotten around that we have policemen, firemen, and basic school lunches up here," Mr. McGlindon said. "You can't blame these boat people for seeking a better life. But we are under orders to intercept them."

In Canada, officials fear that refugees from Wisconsin will brave the treacherous journey across Lake Superior in the hopes of giving birth to so-called "anchor babies" on Canadian soil.

Mr. McGlindon offered reporters a look at satellite photos showing the boat people larding their vessels with wheels of premium cheddar cheese, possibly in the hopes of bribing Canadian officials on Superior's northern shore.

"We are telling all of our men that under no circumstances should they accept offerings of cheese," he said. "These boat people are desperate and they will try anything."

Reports of the looming refugee crisis coincided with the release of a new poll showing that Gov. Scott Walker is now the most hated man in Wisconsin, narrowly edging Brett Favre.

Speaking at the state capitol, Gov. Walker seemed philosophical about his legacy: "I'm not worried how history will remember me, because if I have my way there won't be any history teachers."
(c) 2012 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 12 # 23 (c) 06/08/2012

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