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In This Edition

Glenn Greenwald considers, "Encouraging Words Of Regret From Dean Baquet And Weasel Words From James Clapper."

Uri Avnery wonders is it, "Good For The Jews?"

Glen Ford demonstrates, "The White Right's Impunity."

Pepe Escobar presents, "The Geopolitics Of The World Cup."

Jim Hightower sees, "A Bold Shift In America's Minimum Wage Debate."

David Swanson reports, "Mass Murderers Brazenly Hold Conference, Discuss Tools Of Trade."

James Donahue finds, "Around-The-Clock Solar Power."

John Nichols explains, "Getting Married 'Where We Live': Why Each Marriage Equality Ruling Is Historic."

Chris Hedges explores, "The Rules Of Revolt."

David Sirota concludes, "Private Equity Is Becoming A Public Problem."

Paul Krugman examines, "Interests, Ideology And Climate."

David Suzuki returns with, "Fossil Fuels' 'Easy Money' And The Need For A New Economic System."

Brittney Cooper studies, "Hip-Hop's Profane Victory."

Sinator John McCain wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich returns with, "Voting in Mississippi, 2014 and 1964."

Ray McGovern remembers, "Leaving The USS Liberty Crew Behind."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst is, "Zombified" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "The Revolution Has Begun."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Koterba, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Brian McFadden, Pat Bagley, Dan Wasserman, Bill Haber, Stuart Franklin, Shannon Kringen, Angel Boligan, Robert Reich, Adam Hunger, Thomas Hawk, Reuters, Flickr, Wikipedia, GEMASOLAR, University of Virginia, US News and World Report, Press TV, Getty, AP, US Navy, The Intercept, Black Agenda Report, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

The Quotable Quote...
The Vidkun Quisling Award...
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."

The face of the revolution?

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The Revolution Has Begun
By Ernest Stewart

"There is no greater cause to die for than liberty. Yes, standing before despots is dangerous and most likely does not end well for you. I know this, my wife knows this. Soon they will come for us, because they don't like what we think, and what we say. They don't like the fact that we, simply will not submit to fascist rule." ~~~ Jerad Miller

"I am running against Cantor because he does not represent the citizens of the 7th District, but rather large corporations seeking insider deals, crony bailouts and a constant supply of low-wage workers." ~~~ Dave Brat

"Now this idea is for an exchange of prisoners for our American fighting man. I would be inclined to support such a thing depending on a lot of the details." ~~~ Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), interview on CNN, Feb. 18, 2014
"We were never told that there would be an exchange of Sergeant Bergdahl for five Taliban." ~~~ Sen. John McCain, caught in a lie on CNN, June 3, 2014

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being 'round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me?
Help me, help me, ooo
Help ~~~ The Beatles

Jerad and Amanda Miller are being called the Bonnie & Clyde of the far right or the Dynamic Duo of hate! After murdering in cold blood two of Las Vegas' finest, Alyn Beck and Igor Soldo they covered the cops bodies with the Gadsden flag and a swastika -- both favorite symbols of the far right, while shouting; "Tell the police the revolution has begun!" Then, they calmly walked across the street to a Wal-Mart and shot an innocent shopper before committing a murder-suicide on themselves when surrounded by a SWAT team.

Now, don't get me wrong, I feel this country is long overdue for a revolution; and I've been working towards that goal since the 60's; but the revolution I've been calling for is a peaceful one -- having learned my tactics from Martin and Mahatma. You may recall, the Second American Revolution which the South tried against the North and what the outcome of a violent revolution was! It was the biggest loss of American life in any war we've ever fought!

This wasn't revolution; it was murder. If you use the same tactics as your enemy, you soon become your enemy. As Dylan sang:

In a soldier's stance, I aimed my hand
At the mongrel dogs who teach
Fearing not that I'd become my enemy
In the instant that I preach
My existence led by confusion boats
Mutiny from stern to bow
Ahh, but I was so much older then
I'm younger than that now
My Back Pages ~~~ Bob Dylan

It was a song about understanding that violence is not the answer, after first believing it was. We come by this honestly, as we were the killer ape; so, violence is ingrained in us. Remember, we didn't invent the weapon; the weapon invented us! While more and more folk have come to this conclusion, many haven't; and some have been egged on by the NRA, rat-wing talk radio, and, of course, the US Con-gress, until they're as scared as we want them to be; and so, they eventually act out -- with the result of another bloody statistic! Unfortunately, I'm sure, there are copycats waiting their turn in the wings. You can put a stop to this; or you can let it continue; it's all up to you, America!

In Other News

Imagine that, some great news for a change. Public enemy number three won't be back in Con-gress next year; he lost his primary to an anti-corporation college professer and tea bagger named Dave Brat. Brat comes on like a liberal; and that's all it took to send House majority leader Eric Cantor packing! That's right; Eric is no more!

Trouble is, I am sure this won't be the last of Eric, although he may crawl back under his rock for a while -- unless the good folks down in Virginia drive a stake through his heart! Still, the evil this man did will long outlive him; it may take decades to erase the damage he did for the 1% -- against the poor, the hungry, the sick and the elderly, and all of womankind in general!

Brat won by ripping big business almost as much as he did Cantor. He beat Eric by a 56-44 margin; so there will be no recounts. While Dave is no liberal, he is a bit like Ron or Rand Paul, i.e., half the time he has brilliant ideas, at least for a Rethuglican; but the other half, not so much; in fact, he can be as scary as Cantor was. Brat seems to be like the Rethuglicans of old. Remember it was under Ike that the 1% paid upwards of 93% tax rate, the economy was booming and one 40 hour week job was enough to buy a house and new car, a cottage, and send the kids to college. Trouble is, we also nuked a lot of the Southwest, killing thousands of US citizens to find out the effects of radiation on people -- it was hardly good times for all!

However, from what I can see, Brat will be a breath of fresh air to the far right house and goes to show the pundits saying the Rethuglicans will win big in November something to ponder; if the head of the House can bite the big one from an unknown, perhaps other icons of the far right might similarly meet their maker -- a very pissed off electorate, come November. We can but hope!

And Finally

Say what you like about John McCain, still, you have to admit he has balls. I'm totally amazed he dares say anything about other POWs! McCain, the former Vietnam Era Navy pilot whose screwing around almost sunk the US Navy aircraft carrier USS Forrestal! John dumped some extra fuel in his afterburner before he started his engine; and when he did, it shot out a huge flame which hit the plane behind John which also ignited a missile which shot across the deck hitting other planes and missiles, causing fires that burned for hours. The end result of John's little prank was the killing of 134, the injuring of 161, destroying 21 aircraft and costing the Navy $72 million in repairs to the ship.

You would have thought for such an act John would have gotten life in front of a firing squad; but, instead, since his daddy was a four star admiral, Johnny got transferred. You may recall it was John's daddy, Admiral John S. McCain, Jr. who gave the call back order to the Navy jets who had been scrambled and responding to Israel's attack on the US navy ship the USS Liberty which was all but sunk by the Israelis, killing 34 sailors.

You may also recall John got shot down a few weeks later and was a POW for 5 1/2 years, 4 1/2 years of which he did at his own insistence, as the Hanoi government was going to let him go at the 1968 Paris peace talks as a gesture of good will, which John refused, perhaps causing the war to last another 5 years?

What you probably don't know was all the radio programs that John did for Hanoi and their Vietnam News Agency. 33 in all, all of which were an act of treason. John made tapes not only for Hanoi, but also for Radio Moscow, the AFP - Agence France-Presse and for French TV reporter Francois Chalais. Oh, and one final thing, McCain came home in a prisoner of war swap for some folks a whole lot worse than our five Talibanners, who've killed no one, were never charged with any crime, and would've had to be released at the end of the war. Oh, and did I mention they're being followed by our drones everywhere they go?

Ergo, Sinator John McCain wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

I don't want to bring you down; but unless we get some ducats for the bucket real soon, this could be our penultimate issue? I know there are some out there who like to watch me squirm and go through "dem changes" when it's fundraising time. I hope that that's the case this time around, too.

Hopefully, one or more of the "Usual Suspects" will step up and save the day once again like they have so many times in the past. 13 1/2 years downline from the December 12, 2000 judicial coup d'etat that started the magazine we're more able and even more committed to keep the truth flowing; but unfortunately, we don't have the money to continue and won't without your help.

Ergo, if you find us useful as your conveyance of political truth and current happenings, then it might be to your advantage to pay your fair share as you would for any other important service. In this case, it could be life-or-death important. Therefore, if you're able, would you lend a helping hand and send us whatever you can, as often as you can? And we'll keep informing you of what's really happening around you and what that might mean!


05-05-1951 ~ 06-07-2014
Thanks for the laughs!

03-07-1958 ~ 06-09-2014
Thanks for the laughs!


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


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

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

New York Times executive editor Dean Baquet

Encouraging Words Of Regret From Dean Baquet And Weasel Words From James Clapper
By Glenn Greenwald

NPR's David Folkenflik has a revealing new look at what I have long believed is one of the most important journalistic stories of the last decade: The New York Times' 2004 decision, at the behest of George W. Bush himself, to suppress for 15 months (through Bush's re-election) its reporters' discovery that the NSA was illegally eavesdropping on Americans without warrants. Folkenflik's NPR story confirms what has long been clear: The only reason the Times eventually published that article was because one of its reporters, James Risen, had become so frustrated that he wrote a book that was about to break the story, leaving the paper with no choice (Risen's co-reporter, Eric Lichtblau, is quoted this way: "'He had a gun to their head,' Lichtblau told Frontline. 'They are really being forced to reconsider: The paper is going to look pretty bad' if Risen's book disclosed the wiretapping program before the Times").

As Folkenflik notes, this episode was one significant reason Edward Snowden purposely excluded the Times from his massive trove of documents. In an interview with Folkenflik, the paper's new executive editor, Dean Baquet, describes the paper's exclusion from the Snowden story as "really painful." But, as I documented in my book and in recent interviews, Baquet has his own checkered history in suppressing plainly newsworthy stories at the government's request, including a particularly inexcusable 2007 decision, when he was the managing editor of The Los Angeles Times, to kill a story based on AT&T whistleblower Mark Klein's revelations that the NSA had built secret rooms at AT&T to siphon massive amounts of domestic telephone traffic.

In his NPR interview, Baquet insists that he has had a serious change of heart on such questions as a result of the last year of NSA revelations:

[Baquet] says the experience has proved that news executives are often unduly deferential to seemingly authoritative warnings unaccompanied by hard evidence.

"I am much, much, much more skeptical of the government's entreaties not to publish today than I was ever before," Baquet said in a wide-ranging interview. . . .

Last week, Baquet told me the Snowden revelations yielded two key insights for American journalists. "First off," Baquet said, "the public wants this information. Secondly, it does not destroy everything if the information comes out" . . . .

Baquet did say there were a few instances while he was managing editor in which he regretted holding back details from the public due to ominous warnings from intelligence officials over potential consequences. "The government makes it sound like something really large, and in retrospect, it wasn't quite as large," he said.

The Snowden revelations published in The Guardian and The Washington Post, he said, only underscored his conviction.

"I would love to be able to tell you it wasn't good," Baquet said. "But it was great. It was important, groundbreaking work. I wish we had it."

Only time will tell whether Baquet's proclamations on this issue result in any actual change for the paper, but it does shed light on an important question I heard many times over the last month as we approached the one-year anniversary of the first NSA story: what has changed as a result of the last year of disclosures?

One should not expect any change to come from the U.S. government itself (which includes Congress), whose strategy in such cases is to enact the pretext of "reform" so as to placate public anger, protect the system from any serious weakening, and allow President Obama to go before the country and the world and give a pretty speech about how the U.S. heard their anger and re-calibrated the balance between privacy and security. Any new law that comes from the radically corrupted political class in DC will either be largely empty, or worse. The purpose will be to shield the NSA from real reform.

There are, though, numerous other avenues with the real potential to engender serious limits on the NSA's surveillance powers, including the self-interested though genuine panic of the U.S. tech industry over how surveillance will impede their future business prospects, the efforts of other countries to undermine U.S. hegemony over the internet, the newfound emphasis on privacy protections from internet companies worldwide, and, most of all, the increasing use of encryption technology by users around the world that poses genuine obstacles to state surveillance. Those are all far, far more promising avenues than any bill Barack Obama, Dianne Feinstein and Saxby Chambliss will let Congress cough up.

But beyond surveillance and privacy, one of the goals of this NSA reporting (at least from my perspective) was to trigger a desperately needed debate about journalism itself, and the proper relationship of journalists to those who wield political and economic power. The question of why The New York Times was excluded from this story led to a serious public examination for the first time of its decision to suppress that NSA story, which in turn led to public recriminations over the generally excessive deference U.S. media outlets have shown the U.S. government.

Obviously, that debate is far from resolved; witness the endless parade of American journalists who, without any apparent embarrassment, cheered Michael Kinsley's decree that for publication questions, "that decision must ultimately be made by the government." But Baquet's very public expression of regret over past suppression decisions, and his observation that "news executives are often unduly deferential to seemingly authoritative warnings unaccompanied by hard evidence" is evidence of the fruits of that debate.

That national security state officials routinely mislead and deceive the public should never have even been in serious doubt in the first place - certainly not for journalists, and especially now after the experience of the Iraq War. That fact - that official pronouncements merit great skepticism rather than reverence - should be (but plainly is not) fundamental to how journalists view the world.

More evidence for that is provided by a Washington Post column today by one of the national security state's favorite outlets, David Ignatius. Ignatius interviewed the chronic deceiver, Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, who now "says it appears the impact [of Snowden's leaking] may be less than once feared because 'it doesn't look like he [Snowden] took as much' as first thought." Clapper specifically casts serious doubt on the U.S. government's prior claim that Snowden "had compromised the communications networks that make up the military's command and control system"; instead, "officials now think that dire forecast may have been too extreme." Ignatius - citing an anonymous "senior intelligence official" (who may or may not be Clapper) - also announces that the government has yet again revised its rank speculation about how many documents Snowden took: "This batch of probably downloaded material is about 1.5 million documents, the senior official said. That's below an earlier estimate of 1.77 million documents."

Most notable is Ignatius' summary of the government's attempt to claim Snowden seriously compromised the security of the U.S.:

Pressed to explain what damage Snowden's revelations had done, the official was guarded, saying that there was "damage in foreign relations" and that the leaks had "poisoned [NSA's] relations with commercial providers." He also said that terrorist groups had carefully studied the disclosures, turning more to anonymizers, encryption and use of couriers to shield communications.

The senior official wouldn't respond to repeated questions about whether the intelligence community has noted any changes in behavior by either the Russian or Chinese governments, in possible response to information they may have gleaned from Snowden's revelations.

In other words, the only specific damage they can point to is from the anger that other people around the world have about what the U.S. government has done and the fact that people will not want to buy U.S. tech products if they fear (for good reason) that those companies collaborate with the NSA. But, as usual, there is zero evidence provided (as opposed to bald, self-serving assertions) of any harm to genuine national security concerns (i.e., the ability to monitor anyone planning actual violent attacks).

As is always the case, the stream of fear-mongering and alarmist warnings issued by the government to demonize a whistleblower proves to be false and without any basis, and the same is true for accusations made about the revelations themselves ("In January, [Mike] Rogers said that the report concluded that most of the documents Snowden had access to concerned 'vital operations of the U.S. Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force'" - AP: "Lawmakers: Snowden's Leaks May Endanger US Troops"). But none of that has stopped countless U.S. journalists from mindlessly citing each one of the latest evidence-free official claims as sacred fact.

Dean Baquet's epiphany about the U.S. government and the American media - "news executives are often unduly deferential to seemingly authoritative warnings unaccompanied by hard evidence" - is long overdue, but better late than never. Let us hope that it signals an actual change in behavior.
(c) 2014 Glenn Greenwald. is a journalist, constitutional lawyer, commentator, author of three New York Times best-selling books on politics and law, and a staff writer and editor at First Look Media. His fifth book, No Place to Hide: Edward Snowden, the NSA, and the U.S. Security State. has just been released. Prior to his collaboration with Pierre Omidyar, Glenn's column was featured at Guardian US and Salon. His last bookbook is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book"How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Good For The Jews?
By Uri Avnery

HOW DOES a football club choose its team?

The simple way is the usual one: each side has a manager, who chooses his team. No problem.

Now the Israeli government has hit on a new way: Our manager appoints both our team and the adversary's team. Simplifies the matter.

I wonder if this method could not be refined. For example: each side's manager chooses only the team of the other side. Could turn out interesting.

Yet another way would be for the betting mafia to choose both teams. This would maximize profits in the spirit of modern market forces.

SERIOUSLY, THE claim by Binyamin Netanyahu that he has a right to pick and choose the Palestinian government is rather astonishing.

All the important Palestinian political parties have agreed on a new government coalition. This is a negative coalition: all the parties agree not to have their own members in the government. The government is composed of non-party "technocrats". I hardly know a single one of them.

Netanyahu should be happy. No member of the evil, terroristic, anti-Semitic Hamas is included.

But then, the fertile mind of Netanyahu invented a new gimmick. True, no Hamasniks in the government. But the government is supported by Hamas.

Terrible! Intolerable! If Hamas "supports" somebody, he must surely be a suicide bomber, a Jew-killer, and, of course, an anti-Semite (though a Semite himself). Ergo: such a government must be boycotted, not just by Israel, but by the entire civilized world.

If Europe, or even the US, do not agree - well, it just shows, doesn't it? A bunch of bloody anti-Semites, the lot of them!

AN OLD Jewish question asks, half in joke and half serious: "Is it good for the Jews?"

Whether an earthquake in Alaska or a flood in China, the question invariably arises. Good or Bad?

An event much closer to us, like the setting up of a Palestinian unity government, poses this question far more urgently.

This is not a new question in this context. Already in the early 1950s, two important leaders debated it.

David Ben-Gurion did not believe in peace. He was sure that "the Arabs" would never accept us in this region. In his view, the conflict would last for many generations, if not forever.

Please, don't bring me quotations to prove the opposite. There are heaps of them. Historians love them. But quotations from statesmen are well-nigh worthless. They reflect at most the needs of the originator in real time to achieve a temporary goal.

It's the acts which count, and Ben-Gurion's acts leave no doubt. At every stage he took what he could, and then waited for the next opportunity to gain more. No peace.

Since he was certain that the Arabs, and especially the Palestinians, would remain our enemies forever, the logical conclusion was to do everything possible to weaken them. And the best way is to split them. Divide et impera.

Ben-Gurion did everything possible to split the Arab world. When Gamal Abd-al-Nasser appeared on the scene with his pan-Arab message, Ben-Gurion sabotaged his efforts at every stage. He aggravated the conflict by his "retaliation attacks" beyond the border and, in 1956, invaded Egypt in collusion with the two ugly colonial powers, France and Britain.

His intellectual adversary was Nahum Goldmann, then the president of the World Zionist Organization. He believed in the exact opposite. The Arabs, he asserted, will only recognize us if they are united and feel strong. Therefore, every split in the Arab world was "bad for the Jews".

(Goldmann, by the way, wanted us to keep out of the Cold War and turn Israel into "the Switzerland of the Middle East.")

In this respect, there is very little difference between Ben-Gurion and all his successors. The difference between Ben-Gurion and Netanyahu is that between a small giant and a large dwarf.

Needless to say, I was all for the Goldmann line. My magazine welcomed the Egyptian revolution of 1952, strongly objected to the Sinai war and supported the pan-Arab line.

THE BASIC question was, of course, if one wanted peace at all. Was peace "good for the Jews?" Ben-Gurion obviously did not think so. Goldmann did.

What about Yitzhak Rabin?

I believe that Rabin really wanted peace. But he never quite accepted the idea which is the essential basis for peace: a Palestinian state next to Israel. If he had been able to continue along his path, he probably would have arrived there, but he was felled before he could.

Yet it was Rabin who took the fateful decision to split the Palestinians. The Oslo agreement stated unequivocally that the West Bank and the Gaza Strip constitute one territorial unit.

To insure that, Israel undertook in the agreement to open four "safe passages" between the two regions. On the way from Jericho to Gaza, tri-lingual signposts were set up: "to Gaza", etc. Yet none of these passages was ever opened.

Today it is difficult to remember that from the beginning of the occupation, 1967, to the Oslo agreement, 1993, movement in Israel/Palestine was unfettered. Palestinians from Gaza and Hebron were free to visit Haifa, Israelis could easily buy food in Nablus or Jericho. Incredible as it sounds, it was the Oslo agreement that put an end to this paradise.

After Oslo came the Separation Wall and all the other measures which are turning the Gaza Strip and the West Bank into open-air prisons. The inevitable result was the split.

THERE ARE few instances in history of a state consisting of two or more widely separated territories. The most conspicuous in our time was Pakistan.

When India was partitioned, large Muslim areas were located west and east of what became India. It did not work. It took only a few years for the East Pakistanis to resent the domination of the West Pakistanis. Mutual hatred raised its head. The Easterners broke away with the help of India and set up their own new state - Bangladesh.

Between the two Pakistani areas there was a huge distance, with the bulk of India in between. But between the West Bank and the Gaza strip, the distance is just some 40 (forty) km.

In the beginning, there was lot of talk about how to bridge that distance. Quite literally. Ehud Barak played with the idea of building a giant bridge and shopped around the world for a model. Others thought about extraterritorial highways or railway lines. Nothing was carried out.

In the meantime, what was bound to happen, happened. In both areas free elections were held, supervised by Jimmy Carter, and Hamas won. A government was formed. Under immense Israeli pressure, Europe and the US boycotted it, and it fell apart.

The rest is history. A Fatah faction in Gaza, led by an Israeli-American collaborator, tried to stage a putsch in Gaza. Hamas reacted with a putsch of its own (if one can perform a putsch after winning an election) and became the government in the Gaza Strip. Fatah took power in the West Bank. Both sides vilified each other, to the delight of Israel and its supporters.

But history has its own mysterious ways. After some guns v. rockets duels, Israel attacked the Gaza Strip and after a lot of bloodshed, Egypt stepped in and arranged for a settlement (not a "hudna", which means an armistice, but a "tahdiya", which means stillness). Both sides were happy to work together. Hamas even took concrete steps to stop the attacks of the smaller, more extreme Gaza factions. Israel also negotiated with Hamas about the return of the captured Israeli soldier, Gilad Shalit.

It even seems that Israeli army officers prefer to deal with the combative Hamas than with the softer Fatah, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, was referred to by Ariel Sharon as a "plucked chicken".

PRESIDENT JOHNSON once said that it was better to have your adversary inside the tent and spitting out, than have him stay outside the tent, spitting in.

Inclusiveness is better than exclusiveness. Hamas bearing the responsibility for a Palestinian Unity Government is better than Hamas attacking it. If you really want to make peace with the Palestinian people.

(c) 2014 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

The White Right's Impunity
By Glen Ford

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) keeps a running tab of armed rightwing domestic "plots and conspiracies" since April, 1995, when Timothy McVeigh and his associates blew up the federal building in Oklahoma City, killing 168 people. The attack soiled the reputations of grassroots fascists throughout the American "heartland" and prompted the U.S. Justice Department to announce formation of a "special unit" to, ostensibly, track and disrupt rightwing militants. Over the next several years, the feds busted a number of individuals involved in armed operations. Press coverage revealed that the racist "underground" functions largely in plain view, and that government operatives are all but a permanent presence in their ranks (just as FBI informant Gary Rowe was in the Ku Klux Klan car - and maybe on the trigger - when civil rights volunteer Viola Liuzzo was murdered on an Alabama highway in 1965). The whole pretense came to a halt on the morning of September 11, 2001, when the last scheduled meeting of the Justice Department unit was cancelled, for obvious reasons.

In 2009, Department of Homeland Security analyst Darryl Johnson wrote a report urging his superiors to pay more attention to "rightwing extremism." At the time, DHS assigned eight people to track "non-Islamic" domestic extremism. Johnson thought the job required 12 people. Instead, his unit was dismantled by Obama's newly-appointed DHS secretary Janet Napolitano, with only one analyst remaining, according to

The unit was 'revived' just two weeks ago, part of Attorney General Eric Holder's flurry of cosmetic Obama legacy-building initiatives. Holder's announcement was vaguely worded, so as not to create a firestorm on the Right. The unit would go after "'lone wolf'-style actors aimed to harm our nation,'' and would focus on anti-government plots and racist violence. Days later, husband and wife Jerad and Amanda Miller, who earlier this year had been among an army of fascists gathered in defense of racist rancher Cliven Bundy, shot two Las Vegas cops in the head and killed a bystander at a Wal-Mart. After declaring, "This is the start of a revolution," they committed suicide.

Southern Poverty Law Center senior fellow Mark Potok told Democracy Now! he thinks "the movement is at least a bit on fire at the moment" - meaning, the armed, racist Right is on a roll. In thousands of churches, barber shops and hair salons, African Americans wonder aloud if the Black President and his Black top law enforcement officer are going to crack down on the neo-Klan uprising.

The answer, of course, is No, not a chance. The FBI's war has always been against Blacks, radicals, and now Muslims - ideally, Black Muslims. The national security state's legitimacy is based on (white) mass fear and loathing of the Other, in whose pursuit all civil liberties are extraneous. Such dark energies are not conjured out of thin air, but mined from the deep reservoirs of America's racial history. Hate sits like a thermal resource to be tapped and redirected at the whim of those in power. The U.S. national security state needs the ferocious hatreds of the Bundys and Millers - and the McVeighs - to sustain a planetary War-Against-All, a war that, on its own premises, must end with annihilation of the Other.

Who do you think is manning Obama's Killer Elite Special Ops legions in Asia and Africa? What kind of domestic law and order troops will be necessary to contain a largely Black and brown America to which the rulers offer absolutely nothing, but who must be made the scapegoats for social collapse?

That's why the FBI puts a bounty on the head of sister Assata Shakur, living peacefully in Cuba, while allowing white racists to point high-powered rifles at the heads of federal officers in rural Nevada. Two of those fascists later put bullets in the brains of policemen in Las Vegas, but there will be no general crackdown on the Millers' comrades in arms, no assassinations of Cliven Bundys in their sleep, no great Gulag of lifetime solitary confinement for white militiamen.

The Empire needs them. It always has.
(c) 2014 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

The Geopolitics Of The World Cup
By Pepe Escobar

SAO PAULO - One of the defining images of the World Cup - so far - has been the sight of the Mannschaft - aka the German team - fraternizing with Pataxo Indians a few hundred meters away from the spot where Brazil was "discovered" in 1500. Call it a European re-discovery of the exotic tropics.

Then there's the English Team frolicking by the seaside, inside a military base, with the Sugarloaf as gorgeous backdrop, backed up by a scientific expert in humidity and industrial ventilators aplenty (after all there's the Rumble in the Jungle against Italy this Saturday "deep in the Amazon rainforest", as British tabloids tell it.)

The World Cup - the greatest show on earth - kicks off just as a relentless Made in the West (client states included) anti-Chinese and anti-Russian propaganda/downright vilification shatters all known hysteria levels.

And that means the BRICS are a target; in the case of Brazil, an emerging power sitting strategically over the bulk of the Amazon rainforest just as progressive Latin American integration has dared to turn the Monroe Doctrine into (branded) toilet paper.

Recently, Brazil brought at least 30 million people out of poverty. China invests in medical care and education. Russia refuses to be bullied as in the drunkard Yeltsin years. In the past few years, the World Cup has been all about the BRICS: South Africa in 2010, Brazil now, and Russia in 2018. Qatar in 2022 - if it ever happens - is more like a Gulf petrodollar-fueled bribery racket gone wrong.

It's amusing to check how the City of London - which loves Russian cash, craves Chinese investment and has a soft spot for Brazilian soft power - takes it all in. With an added strand of British humor, they could easily have interpreted the Rumble in the Jungle as NATO battling it out in the middle of the much-coveted rainforest (think the water wars of the near future).

That other World Cup

And then, just two days after the start of the World Cup, Brazilian neighbor Bolivia hosts no less than a G-77+ China summit - actually 133 UN member-nations, the whole thing presided over by Evo Morales, who is a sort of Andean distant cousin of the Pataxos who so fascinated the Germans.

Call it also the meeting of ALBA (the Bolivarian Alternative to the Americas, which includes Cuba) and the BRICS (only Russia won't be present). American exceptionalists are furious that the BRICS are spearheading the transition towards a multipolar world - something that's already at play in football (think Spain, Germany, Italy on one side, Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay on another).

Emulating football, a South-to-South counterpunch to the hegemony of the industrialized North is also in play. Brazil, China, and Russia, in their different strategies, are all betting on more South-South integration - from the Banco del Sur (the Bank of the South) to the upcoming BRICS development bank (there's a crucial BRICS summit next month in Brasilia), on the way to a more egalitarian system that ideally could be financed by a percentage of foreign debt, a percentage of military expenditure and a global tax on speculative financial transactions.

And it's never enough to remember that the G-77 is about decolonization; no Empire of Bases; and no interference of the NSA-coordinated Orwellian/Panopticon complex in the Global South.

Now compare it with the official Adidas Coca-Cola Hyundai Kia Motors Emirates Sony Visa Anheuser-Busch InBev (Budweiser) Castrol Continental Johnson & Johnson McDonald's Itau FIFA-sanctioned entertainment and fun 2014 World Cup Brazil - which industry bible Advertising Age broke down as "the Super Bowl every day for an entire month"

Firmly opposing it, we find an array of South-South associations/solidarity/social movements denouncing everything arguably embedded with the mighty enterprise, from hardcore post-capitalist neo-colonization to outright criminalization of the poor.

And among these movements we find, not surprisingly, Global South icon Diego "Hand of God" Maradona, who said this week, "FIFA gets $4 billion (out of the Cup) while the champion nation gets $35 million. This is wrong. The corporation is delivering a death blow to football".

Football is war

Much has also been made of the parallel between hyper-capitalist globalization - as graphically expressed by the World Cup and the mega-business of contemporary football - and nationalism.

Well, the world is not and will never be flat; it's a Himalaya/Pamir/Hindu Kush of varied inequality altitudes, subjected to snow avalanches including trade, commerce, immigration flows and technology breakthroughs. None of these are able to shatter national fibers. It's still "us" against "them", as much in the Global South defining Americans and Europeans as "gringos" as in swathes of the industrialized North patronizing/profiting from the "exotic" Global South.

There's nothing post-national about the World Cup. In the terrain of hardcore geopolitics, the highly centralized European Union is fragmenting under the weight of a bunch of right-wing or extreme right-wing nationalist parties; in football, the major difference, compared to hardcore geopolitics, is that there's not only one exceptionalist power but a handful, from Spain to Brazil, from Germany to Italy, from Argentina to France.

Rinus Michels, coach of the Clockwork Orange, the Dutch national team that startled the world in 1974 (alas, they didn't win), once said that football is war (compare it to maverick director Samuel Fuller, who said cinema is a battlefield). The World Cup is war by other means; an officially sanctioned, ritualized clash of nationalisms. So it's all about Pick your Tribe; only that after your tribe is out of play you switch to another, replacement tribe - which any effete epicurean would arguably define as Italy. After all they have the most stirring national anthem. They've got the best food and the best clothes. And of course, they've got Andrea "the Magician" Pirlo.

A new way of playing ball?

Brazil, widely praised as The Land of Football, also happens to be the global leader in reduction of carbon emissions, according to recent research published by Science magazine, managing at the same time to increase agricultural production while saving more rainforest.

And yet, and as usual with all things Brazil, all things World Cup got incredibly messy - a running metaphor of the typical assortment of ills faced by the struggling Global South. Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff has been forced to appeal to the historical stereotype of the Brazilian "cordial man" and stress tolerance, diversity, dialogue and even sustainability, as well as condemning racism and prejudice, to exhort the population to forget about their troubles and welcome an army of foreign visitors.

That's a given, considering the average Brazilian is heartwarming and exceedingly friendly; the devil is in the details - as in, for instance, at least 200,000 poor people evicted from their places or at least threatened with eviction, to make way for major works bound to increase "urban mobility". Well, only 10% of these works were finished, due in most cases to massive corruption. In Rio, not a single real was invested in a chaotic transport system serving the proletarian peripheral sprawl.

Wildly popular Lula, when he was still the president of Brazil in 2009, said that no taxpayer money would be spent on the World Cup. Well, not directly; most of the funding came from the National Bank for Economic Development, a bank that lends money to banks. Builders of new stadia also benefited from generous tax exemptions.

The bottom line is that Rousseff's government ended up losing the media battle. Over and over, Rousseff has had to explain that the Cup will cost a fraction of what is invested in health and education (that's open to debate.) Virtually half of the Brazilian population is not convinced.

And still what's certain is that a Brazilian World Cup win automatically ensures Rousseff's re-election.

But the recent wave after wave of protests has in fact transcended the current administration. It's as if all these diverse social movements have been manifesting the ultimate utopian desire; to erase, in one go, centuries of injustice perpetrated by Brazil's notoriously rapacious and arrogant/ignorant elites - which have always implemented total political and economic exclusion based on noxious race and class prejudice.

So this whole drama is not simply about "anti-neoliberal" or "anti-capitalist" stirrings. It goes way beyond nationalism. And it could be way more transcending than the textbook for a revolution using football as a pretext. Whatever the final result of this war revolving around a football, Brazil could yet teach a lesson to the whole Global South.

In victory, and even in glorious defeat, Brazil may end up finding the stamina to pursue a new strategic overture - a new, non-arrogant, non- neocolonial, non-weaponized, non-exceptionalist way to lead and exercise power, build alliances and clinch grand geopolitical agreements in a multipolar world. A new way of playing ball. So let this New Great Game begin.
(c) 2014 Pepe Escobar is the roving correspondent for Asia Times. His latest book is "Obama Does Globalistan." He may be reached at

A Bold Shift In America's Minimum Wage Debate

At last, our political leaders in Washington are taking action for low-wage workers and the middle class, striking a bold blow for America's historic value of economic fairness.

Gosh, I hope you don't think I meant Washington, DC! No, no - the same old corporate mentality of stripping any semblance of ethics from the work ethic still rules in that plutocratic roost. Rather than DC, it's Washington State I'm talking about, specifically the progressive forces of Seattle who've just produced a landmark $15-an-hour minimum wage. Instead of just talking about the widening gap of inequality and wishing Congress might give a damn about the millions of Americans being knocked down, the people of Seattle are providing national leadership.

"We did it - workers did this," said Kshama Sawant. A member of Occupy Seattle, she has been the tenacious, articulate leader of a large grassroots coalition of low-wage workers called "15 Now," and she was elected to the City Council last year by building the case for the $15 wage floor. In addition, Mayor Ed Murray campaigned last year for raising the minimum to $15 - indexed to inflation - and this year he pulled together a 24-member working group of labor and business interests, which has spent four months hammering out details of the local ordinance. On June 2, all nine city council members voted to adopt it.

Of course, the forces of corporate greed never sleep, and a Washington, DC, group called the International Franchise Association is unleashing a pack of lawyers to sue the city, hoping a federal judge will nullify the will of local voters. So the political fight isn't over, but the good people of Seattle have done all of us a big favor by moving the wage debate from the miserly, self-centered turf of the corporate bottom line to the moral high ground of social justice, where it belongs. Seattle is just the start of this movement.
(c) 2014 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Mass Murderers Brazenly Hold Conference, Discuss Tools Of Trade
By David Swanson

A unique conference is planned in Charlottesville, Va., featuring the latest technologies for the practice of large-scale killing. The Daily Progress tells us that,

"to allow participants to speak more freely about potentially sensitive topics, the conference is closed to the media and open only to registered participants."
Well I should think so! Registered participants? How does one get registered for such a thing?

"From a local perspective, this industry is really growing in Charlottesville," says one expert, speaking with great objectivity, as if this growth were a matter of complete moral indifference.

Exactly how many people will be there?

"About 225 people are expected to attend the inaugural event, which is attracting government, business and academic leaders, said conference chairwoman and organizer Joan Bienvenue, who is also the director of the UVa Applied Research Institute."

Wait, what? The University of Virginia has an "applied research institute" for applying research to the practice of mass murder?

Is there no shame left in any institution?

"Sen. Timothy M. Kaine and Rep. Randy Forbes, R-4th, are also scheduled to give key speeches at the conference."

I guess that answers my question.

And where exactly will this blood-soaked confab take place?

"Located in Albemarle County, Rivanna Station is a sub-installation of the Army's Fort Belvoir. The local base employs mostly civilians and houses operations of the National Ground Intelligence Center, Defense Intelligence Agency and National Geospatial Intelligence Agency."

The National Ground Intelligence Center, previously downtown in what became the SNL Financial building, is now north of Charlottesville, and the University of Virginia has built a "research park" next door, where this conference will be held. The NGIC famously played an utterly shameless role in marketing the war on Iraq that took at least a half a million lives and destroyed that nation.

When the experts at the Department of Energy refused to say that aluminum tubes in Iraq were for nuclear facilities, because they knew they could not possibly be and were almost certainly for rockets, and when the State Department's people also refused to reach the "correct" conclusion, a couple of guys at the NGIC were happy to oblige. Their names were George Norris and Robert Campus, and they received "performance awards" (cash) for the service.

Then Secretary of State Colin Powell used Norris' and Campus' claims in his U.N. speech despite the warning of his own staff that they weren't true. NGIC also hired a company called MZM to assist with war lies for a good chunk of change. MZM then gave a well-paid job to NGIC's deputy director Bill Rich Jr, and for good measure Bill Rich III too. MZM was far and away the top "contributor" to former Congressman Virgil Goode's campaigns, and he got them a big contract in Martinsville before they went down in the Duke Cunningham scandal. Rich then picked up a job with a company called Sparta, which, like MZM, was conveniently located in the UVA Research Park.

Local want ads in Charlottesville offer jobs "researching biological and chemical weapons" at Battelle Memorial Institute (located in the UVA Research Park). As you may know, researching such weapons is rarely if ever done without producing or at least possessing them. Other jobs are available producing all kinds of weaponry for all kinds of governments at Northrop Grumman. Then there's Teksystems, Pragmatics, Wiser, and many others with fat Pentagon contracts.

From 2000 to 2010, 161 military contractors in Charlottesville pulled in $919,914,918 through 2,737 contracts from the federal government. Over $8 million of that went to Mr. Jefferson's university, and three-quarters of that to the Darden Business School. And the trend is ever upward. The 161 contractors are found in various industries other than higher education, including nautical system and instrument manufacturing; blind and shade manufacturing; printed circuit assembly; real estate appraisers; engineering services; recreational sports centers; research and development in biotechnology; new car dealers; internet publishing; petroleum merchant wholesalers; and a 2006 contract with Pig Daddy's BBQ.

Have we at long last no sense of decency? War has taken 200 million lives in the past 100 years, costs the world $2 trillion a year and the United States half of that. It is the top destroyer of our natural environment and undergirds all the removal of our civil liberties and the creation of mass surveillance. Military spending produces fewer jobs that other government spending or even tax cuts. Numerous top officials say it produces more enemies than it kills.

And who does it kill? Over 90% are civilians of all ages. Over 90% are on one side of conflicts between wealthy and poor countries. These one-sided slaughters leave behind devastated nations: Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya. A poll of 65 nations found the U.S. most widely viewed as the greatest threat to peace. For 3% of what the United States spends on a program of killing that endangers us, impoverishes us, and erodes our way of life, starvation could be eliminated worldwide. It wouldn't take much to become the most beloved nation rather than the most feared.

And wouldn't it be nice to live in a society where our top public program didn't have to be kept hush-hush to protect "sensitive topics?"
(c) 2014 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

Around-The-Clock Solar Power
By James Donahue

There is no longer any excuse for us to be using carbon fuels to heat our homes, run our factories and generate electricity. A Spanish based company has found a way to capture the energy of the sun and store enough away to keep the lights on around the clock all year long.

A Gemasolar plant designed by Torresol Energy at Seville, Spain, has been found capable of storing enough solar heat to operate at full capacity for 18 hours and operate for 24 hours a day for most months of the year.

The plant, small by power station standards, uses 2,650 mirrors all training the Sun's rays toward a central tower filled with molten salt. The solar rays heat the salt to double the boiling point of water. So much heat is produced that a large surplus can be stored in molten salt tanks for use during cloudy periods and during night hours.

Despite its size, the little plant produces enough juice to power 25,000 homes. The energy it produces alone is estimated to reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 30,000 tons a year.

Several other solar power systems have been designed and built throughout the world, but the Seville facility has gained the attention of DESERTEC, an organization of researchers working to find better ways to store solar power for non-stop production of electricity. The Gemasolar plant has been listed as "a pioneer for future power stations."

Spain is considered a world leader in the quest to utilize solar power with molten salt storage. Several companies have been building large solar plants in the deserts, where the sun always shines, and transferring electricity via super-conducting cables to nearby cities, sometimes hundreds of miles away.

But there has always been that constant problem of storing excess energy to keep the lights on when the sun does not shine.

Alternative sources of green energy have been a priority among European researchers as concern over carbon emissions and their effect on the weather builds. In addition to solar energy, research is being conducted on wind and biogas systems.

Germany has been exploring a large solar generating facility in the Sahara desert to provide clean power to an area where the weather is very changeable.

Solar power has been gaining the most attention now that the reduced cost of solar panels and the quality of the panels in size and appearance has made them far cheaper and safer than nuclear power and competitive with coal.

Yet another bonus from solar power: nuclear and coal powered plants demand a heavy use of water for cooling towers, at a time when quality potable water also is in short supply.
(c) 2014 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

Getting Married 'Where We Live': Why Each Marriage Equality Ruling Is Historic
By John Nichols

Shari Roll was clutching the marriage certificate. Renee Currie was clutching Shari Roll. And when their designated officiant, Mike Quieto, pronounced them married, they smiled so perfectly, so naturally, that it seemed as if this was just another wedding on the courthouse steps.

And, of course, it was.

The only distinction was that this was the first legally recognized marriage of two women in Wisconsin, the first same-sex marriage in Madison, the one of the initial celebrations of the marriage equality ruling issued by a federal judge Friday afternoon. By the end of the night in Madison, sixty-one same-sex couples had been issued marriage licenses by Dane County Clerk Scott McDonell, while sixty-eight had been issued by Milwaukee County Joe Czarnezki.

Together for years and very much in love, Roll and Currie could easily have driven to the neighboring state of Iowa, which has since 2009 recognized marriage equality. Thousands of Wisconsin couples, including Congressman Mark Pocan, D-Madison, and his husband, Phil Frank, married outside the state after a ban on same-sex marriages was enacted in 2006. But Roll and Currie decided to wait for a future when the state could no longer restrict the most basic rights of loving couples.

"We wanted to get married where we live," explained Shari Roll.

I understand that. A lot of us who choose to marry in the place where we live, embraced by the people we know, grounded in the values and the unique interactions of the very different communities and states that make up America.

Madison's uniqueness was evident Friday night, as dozens of couples got their licenses and married on the steps of the downtown building that serves both as the Madison City Hall and the Dane County Courthouse. Judges in robes waited on the steps, meeting couples and performing the marriages as cheers went up from the ever-expanding crowd of well-wishers. Children showed up, brimming with bouquets. I asked who the wedding flowers were for and they replied, "For everyone who is getting married today." Then they starting handing flowers out to couples who had rushed to the courthouse without much preparation but suddenly felt quite special and very loved.

Then the cops showed up with the wedding cakes. Several Madison Police officers who had been assigned to keep an eye on the proceedings raced off to a nearby grocery store and bought three large cakes. Everyone was eating cake and cheering as the Klezmer band arrived and a fiddler played "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" for a pair of women who waited thirty years to marry.

Marriage equality is not new anymore. Since the US Supreme Court refused last summer to block efforts to overturn state bans on same-sex marriage, it has, in fact, become inevitable. Since the Supreme Court cleared the way, the group Freedom to Marry says twenty consecutive rulings by state and federal judges have found state marriage bans unconstitutional-and more will do so.

Yet each state's embrace of progress on this issue of freedom and fairness matters. That was so very obvious on Friday night in Madison, a city that has for decades embraced and celebrated LGBT rights. Indeed, among the many jurists performing marriages Friday night was Dane County Judge Shelley Gaylord, who was first elected two decades ago to a municipal judgeship as an LGBT activist and lawyer.

Wisconsin should have been the first state in the nation to embrace marriage equality.

Wisconsin's Constitution begins with a "Declaration of Rights," that proclaims: "All people are born equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights; among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness." Wisconsinites have led the nation in opposing discrimination against people of color, against women and against LGBT people.

In 1982, Wisconsin was the first state in the United States to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in employment, housing, education, credit and all public accommodations. That measure passed the state legislature with support from Democrats and Republicans and it was signed by a Republican governor, Lee Sherman Dreyfus, who said, "It is a fundamental tenet of the Republican Party that government ought not intrude in the private lives of individuals where no state purpose is served, and there is nothing more private or intimate than who you live with and who you love."

Unfortunately, a decade ago, a new crew of far-right Republican politicians who were following a national playbook for stirring up election turnout by social conservatives succeeded in placing an anti-same sex marriage proposal on the same ballot as a constitutional amendment. The proposal to amend the constitution to include discriminatory language was at odds with Wisconsin history, with Wisconsin values and with the constitution's opening premise. But it did pass.

Today, polling shows Wisconsinites overwhelmingly support marriage equality-a May Marquette Law School poll found 55 percent of voters favor allowing same-sex marriage, while just 37 percent are opposed. Unfortunately, Governor Scott Walker and his Republican-controlled legislature have refused to allow the voters to revisit the issue. Walker was still backing efforts by Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen to block marriages, even as the clerks started issuing licenses.

So it was appropriate that a senior jurist with her own deep roots in Wisconsin, Federal Judge Barbara Crabb, would determine that "quite simply, this case is about liberty and equality, the two cornerstones of the rights protected by the United States Constitution." In an eighty-eight-page decision that was hailed as one of the most thorough yet produced by a federal jurist ruling on the issue, Crabb explained that states cannot trump federal guarantees of equality and equal protection with their own discriminatory amendments. And while Walker and Van Hollen will continue to cling to a past that has been rejected by the courts and the great mass of Wisconsinites and Americans, the future is fast arriving.

And that future allows people to marry the people they love in the places they love.

In their rush to get to the courthouse Friday afternoon, Shari Roll and Renee Currie forgot to bring any cash for the license fee. Roll handed her credit card to friend who ran off to a nearby bank machine and returned with the cash. It was no problem. Shari and Renee were getting married where they live, and everyone was helping out.
(c) 2014 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

A long view of the 'Tank Man' near Tiananmen Square in 1989.

The Rules Of Revolt
By Chris Hedges

There are some essential lessons we can learn from the student occupation of Beijing's Tiananmen Square, which took place 25 years ago. The 1989 protests began as a demonstration by university students to mourn the death of Hu Yaobang, the reformist Communist Party chief who had been forced out by Deng Xiaoping. The protests swiftly expanded to include demands for an end to corruption, for press freedom and for democracy. At their height, perhaps a million people were in the square. The protests were crushed on the night of June 3-4 when some 200,000 soldiers, backed by tanks and armored personnel carriers, attacked. Hundreds, perhaps thousands, of unarmed demonstrators were killed.

Lesson No. 1. A nonviolent movement that disrupts the machinery of state and speaks a truth a state hopes to suppress has the force to terrify authority and create deep fissures within the power structure. The ruling elites in China, we now know from leaked internal documents and the work of a handful of historians, believed the protests had the potential to dislodge them from power. Monolithic power, as we saw in China, is often a mirage. Some of the internal documents that exposed the fears and deep divisions within the ruling elite have been collected by the Princeton University Library.

Lesson No. 2. An uprising or a revolution usually follows a period of relative prosperity and liberalization. It is ignited not by the poor but by middle-class and elite families' sons and daughters, often college-educated, whom Mikhail Bakunin called declasse intellectuals, and who are being denied opportunities to advance socially and economically.

"Once a regime abolishes civil liberties and acts in the middle of an uprising to restore 'order,' resistance becomes more dangerous."

This is what happened in China. Chairman Mao Zedong's death in 1976 saw Deng Xiaoping assume leadership. Deng instituted political and free market reforms. The reforms created a new oligarchy. It led to widespread corruption, especially among the party elites. For workers there was a loss of job security and social benefits, including medical care and subsidized housing. University graduates were no longer guaranteed jobs, and many could not find employment.

The political liberalization that followed the terror of the Cultural Revolution expanded internal freedoms. A mixture of declining expectations, especially among college graduates, and the political opening provided the classic tinder for revolt. Political theorists such as James C. Davies and Crane Brinton have found that a period of relative liberalization coupled with declining prospects for advancement commonly precedes revolutions.

Once a regime abolishes civil liberties and acts in the middle of an uprising to restore "order," resistance becomes more dangerous. The Chinese government, after suffering more than a month of protests, declared martial law on May 20, 1989. Nonviolent mass demonstrations, while costly in human terms, often are more effective in totalitarian societies. Fear and forced submission to power are the only weapons left in the arsenal of the ruling class at such a point; when people are no longer afraid, the regime loses control.

Lesson No. 3. Radical mass movements often begin by appealing respectfully to authority for minimal reforms. The students, gathering in Tiananmen Square to mourn Hu, asked that the Chinese constitution, with its guarantees of rule of law and freedom of speech, be respected. Radicalization within the movement happened in the midst of the demonstrations. Once a movement educates itself about structures of power, and once those in state authority display their indifference to the tepid demands of the demonstrators, a movement becomes bolder and wiser. The Tiananmen Square occupation, begun as a spontaneous reaction to a death, swiftly evolved into a revolt. Students eventually drafted what became known as the Seven Demands. These were:

-Affirm as correct Hu Yaobang's views on democracy and freedom;

-Admit that the campaigns against spiritual pollution and bourgeois liberalization had been wrong;

-Publish information on the incomes of state leaders and their family members;

-End the ban on privately run newspapers and stop press censorship;

-Increase funding for education and raise intellectuals' pay;

-End restrictions on demonstrations in Beijing;

-Provide objective coverage of students in official media.

Lesson No. 4. Once declasse intellectuals make alliances with the working class a regime is in serious danger. The protest by the students resonated throughout China. Thousands of people, many from the working class, held their own demonstrations in cities across the country. Workers in Beijing rallied to the students. The state's relentless demonization of the protesters, something we saw in the United States in response to actions of the Occupy movement, was aimed primarily at preventing a student/worker alliance. Once the crackdown was complete, many workers who had taken part were executed. Student leaders, who came from families with connections and privilege, were usually given prison sentences.

Lesson No. 5. The most potent weapon in the hands of nonviolent rebels is fraternizing with and educating civil servants as well as the police and soldiers, who even though they suffer from the same economic inequality usually are under orders to crush protest. This demands a counterintuitive response from protesters. They must show respect and even compassion to forces deployed to stop the rebellion. Demonstrators are required to exercise tremendous self-discipline as they endure acts of violence and repression. They must refuse to retaliate. If bonds of sympathy are established between protesters and some of the police and soldiers, the ruling elites are unsure whether they can trust the security apparatus to obey. This engenders paralysis within the centers of power. In China the ruling Communist Party watched in dismay May 20 as the initial military assault to crush the protesters failed. Thousands of people surrounded military vehicles. They spoke to the soldiers about the reasons for the protests. They offered them food and water and invited them into their homes. Friendships were formed. The protesters and their supporters built so much solidarity with the soldiers that the government was forced to withdraw the military from Beijing four days later.

Lesson No. 6. When a major authority figure, even in secret, denounces calls to crush a resistance movement the ruling elites are thrown into panic. Maj. Gen. Xu Qinxian, leader of the 38th Group Army, refused to authorize an attack on the unarmed protesters in the square, saying, "I'd rather be beheaded than be a criminal in the eyes of history," according to the historian Yang Jisheng. He was stripped of his command and arrested. His refusal sent shock waves throughout the rulers, especially after seven senior commanders signed a petition that called on the leadership to withdraw the troops. In many uprisings the ruling elites, after members of their inner circle defect, see distrust and potential disobedience among other authority figures, even those who are loyal. To protect themselves the elites carry out internal purges, such as those conducted in the Soviet Union by Josef Stalin-purges that are self-destructive. One person in authority saying "no" is an effective form of resistance. The elites know that if enough people refuse to co-operate they are doomed. They cannot let this spread.

Lesson No. 7. The state seeks to isolate and indoctrinate soldiers and police before sending them to violently quash any movement. This indoctrination hinges on portraying the protesters as elitists and traitors, often with ties to foreign governments, who do not share the traditional cultural, religious and moral assumptions of the wider population. The Chinese leadership and state press called the demonstrators tools of "bourgeois liberalism." The government quarantined troops for 10 days outside Beijing and subjected them to daily indoctrination before the final armed attack on Tiananmen Square. State propaganda, while denouncing the protesters as disloyal, portrays the state as the ally of the working class and the defender of traditional values. Any successful mass revolutionary movement, to counter this propaganda, must exhibit respect for the traditional values of society, including religious and patriotic values.

Lesson No. 8. Secrecy is self-destructive to a nonviolent resistance movement. Openness and transparency expose the endemic secrecy and deceit used by regimes to maintain power. Openness inspires confidence in a movement, not only among those within it but among those who sympathize with it. The nature of secrecy is manipulation, the hallmark of despotic power. If people believe they are being manipulated they will distrust a movement and refuse to participate. Secrecy is also an admission of fear, which is what the state wants to instill in those who resist. Finally, the huge resources available to the state to employ informants and carry out surveillance mean that most resistant acts planned in secret are not secret to the state. Only under extreme totalitarian conditions-Nazi Germany or Stalinism-can secrecy be justified by protesters. But even then it rarely works.

Lesson No. 9. The state on the eve of breaking a rebellion with force seeks to make police and soldiers frightened of the protesters. It does this by sending in agents provocateurs to direct acts of violence against symbols of state authority. It is imperative to the state that police and soldiers believe they are in mortal danger, especially when the state is demanding that they use deadly force to quell an uprising. Indoctrinated soldiers sent into Tiananmen Square in June of 1989 believed they would come under fire from armed dissidents or disloyal army units.

Lesson No. 10. After deadly force is used to end a revolt, which happened when Deng Xiaoping sent more than 200,000 soldiers to gun down protesters in Beijing, the state invests tremendous energy to foster historical amnesia. Those in China who seek to remember the uprising-even 25 years later-are silenced. Parents whose sons or daughters were killed in the military assault on Tiananmen Square are forbidden to openly mourn. It is imperative to the ruling elites that the true historical narrative be erased. The use of deadly force against unarmed citizens exposes the tyranny of the state and therefore must be banished from memory.

Lesson No. 11. Once a movement is put down, wholesale retribution occurs. It is estimated that 4 million people were investigated by state security after the Tiananmen Square massacre on suspicion of involvement in the protests. An additional 1 million government employees were investigated. Tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands, were arrested and sent to labor camps. Many were executed.

Lesson No. 12. Nonviolence does not protect demonstrators from violence. It also does not always succeed. Nonviolence requires-despite what those who advocate violence contend-deep reserves of physical and moral courage. State violence is defeated through the refusal to be afraid, even after violence is used by the state to stamp out protests, and through continuing acts of nonviolent resistance. The goal is to show that violence will not work. But like hundreds of protesters in Tiananmen, many in the first generation of rebels may perish in the process. The generation that begins a revolt often does not live to see its conclusion.
(c) 2014 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, ""Death Of The Liberal Class."

Private Equity Is Becoming A Public Problem
By David Sirota

A few weeks ago, a top official at the Securities and Exchange Commission reported on what he called a "remarkable" amount of potentially illegal behavior in the private equity industry - aka the industry that buys up, changes and sells off smaller companies.

In its evaluation of private equity firms, the SEC official declared that half of all the reviews discovered "violations of law or material weaknesses in controls." The announcement followed an earlier Bloomberg News report on how the agency now believes "a majority of private equity firms inflate fees and expenses charged to companies in which they hold stakes."

At first glance, many probably dismiss this news as just an example of plutocrats bilking plutocrats. But that interpretation ignores how such malfeasance affects the wider economy.

One way to understand that is through the simmering debate over pension obligations in states and cities across the country.

Citing data from the National Association of State Retirement Administrators, Al-Jazeera America recently reported that the average amount of pension dollars devoted to private equity and other so-called "alternative investments" "has more than tripled over the last 12 years, growing from 7 percent to around 22 percent today." With public pensions now reporting $3 trillion in total assets, that's up to $660 billion of public money subject to the rapacious fees being exposed by the SEC. Those fees are paid through a combination of tax increases and pension benefit cuts.

Private equity shenanigans can also hurt the middle class by encouraging looting. For instance, as Crain's New York recently reported, in the last decade, private equity firms have collected $2 billion in so-called "transaction fees," which the business publication says "are bonuses the firms take for conducting their business of buying, managing and selling companies." This scheme has been called the "crack cocaine of the private equity industry." As just one example of how it works, the New York Times recently examined a merger of two orthopedic implant manufacturers and how that merger resulted in a Wall Street jackpot.

Indeed, according to the Times, the financial firms involved in the deal ended up extracted "a 20 percent share of gains from the sale, as well as management fees of 1.5 percent to 2 percent charged to investors" and "a share in an estimated $30 million in 'monitoring fees.'" The Times noted that "this deal will be a gift that keeps giving" to the private equity firms involved because "they will be paid millions more in fees for work that they are never going to do."

In other words, millions of dollars are taken out of companies creating tangible economic value and jobs. The money instead is sent to the speculators.

The good news, of course, is that we know how to curtail some of the worst effects of private equity's expansion. For one thing, the SEC can follow up its evaluation with fines and prosecutions. Additionally, states can pass laws mandating at least some modicum of transparency in their pension funds' dealings with the private equity industry. And, as Eileen Appelbaum of the Center for Economic and Policy Research has written, the tax code can be changed to make sure that the fees claimed by private equity managers are no longer treated as capital gains and therefore taxed at a discounted rate.

The trouble is that these straightforward solutions all require political will, and American politics remain dominated by Wall Street money. The question, then, is simple: How much more looting has to happen before that cash can no longer buy inaction?
(c) 2014 David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist, a staff writer at PandoDaily and the best-selling author of "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee. Follow him on Twitter @davidsirota.

Interests, Ideology And Climate
By Paul Krugman

There are three things we know about man-made global warming. First, the consequences will be terrible if we don't take quick action to limit carbon emissions. Second, in pure economic terms the required action shouldn't be hard to take: emission controls, done right, would probably slow economic growth, but not by much. Third, the politics of action are nonetheless very difficult.

But why is it so hard to act? Is it the power of vested interests?

I've been looking into that issue and have come to the somewhat surprising conclusion that it's not mainly about the vested interests. They do, of course, exist and play an important role; funding from fossil-fuel interests has played a crucial role in sustaining the illusion that climate science is less settled than it is. But the monetary stakes aren't nearly as big as you might think. What makes rational action on climate so hard is something else - a toxic mix of ideology and anti-intellectualism.

Before I get to that, however, an aside on the economics.

I've noted in earlier columns that every even halfway serious study of the economic impact of carbon reductions - including the recent study paid for by the anti-environmental U.S. Chamber of Commerce - finds at most modest costs. Practical experience points in the same direction. Back in the 1980s conservatives claimed that any attempt to limit acid rain would have devastating economic effects; in reality, the cap-and-trade system for sulfur dioxide was highly successful at minimal cost. The Northeastern states have had a cap-and-trade arrangement for carbon since 2009, and so far have seen emissions drop sharply while their economies grew faster than the rest of the country. Environmentalism is not the enemy of economic growth.

But wouldn't protecting the environment nonetheless impose costs on some sectors and regions? Yes, it would - but not as much as you think.

Consider, in particular, the much-hyped "war on coal." It's true that getting serious about global warming means, above all, cutting back on (and eventually eliminating) coal-fired power, which would hurt regions of the country that depend on coal-mining jobs. What's rarely pointed out is how few such jobs still exist.

Once upon a time King Coal was indeed a major employer: At the end of the 1970s there were more than 250,000 coal miners in America. Since then, however, coal employment has fallen by two-thirds, not because output is down - it's up, substantially - but because most coal now comes from strip mines that require very few workers. At this point, coal mining accounts for only one-sixteenth of 1 percent of overall U.S. employment; shutting down the whole industry would eliminate fewer jobs than America lost in an average week during the Great Recession of 2007-9.

Or put it this way: The real war on coal, or at least on coal workers, took place a generation ago, waged not by liberal environmentalists but by the coal industry itself. And coal workers lost.

We all have an interest in a clean, healthy (human health promoting as well as well functioning--sustainable) environment. It's universal...

The owners of coal mines and coal-fired power plants do have a financial interest in blocking environmental policy, but even there the special interests don't look all that big. So why is the opposition to climate policy so intense?

Well, think about global warming from the point of view of someone who grew up taking Ayn Rand seriously, believing that the untrammeled pursuit of self-interest is always good and that government is always the problem, never the solution. Along come some scientists declaring that unrestricted pursuit of self-interest will destroy the world, and that government intervention is the only answer. It doesn't matter how market-friendly you make the proposed intervention; this is a direct challenge to the libertarian worldview.

And the natural reaction is denial - angry denial. Read or watch any extended debate over climate policy and you'll be struck by the venom, the sheer rage, of the denialists.

The fact that climate concerns rest on scientific consensus makes things even worse, because it plays into the anti-intellectualism that has always been a powerful force in American life, mainly on the right. It's not really surprising that so many right-wing politicians and pundits quickly turned to conspiracy theories, to accusations that thousands of researchers around the world were colluding in a gigantic hoax whose real purpose was to justify a big-government power grab. After all, right-wingers never liked or trusted scientists in the first place.

So the real obstacle, as we try to confront global warming, is economic ideology reinforced by hostility to science. In some ways this makes the task easier: we do not, in fact, have to force people to accept large monetary losses. But we do have to overcome pride and willful ignorance, which is hard indeed.
(c) 2014 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"Formerly no one was allowed to think freely; now it is permitted, but no one is capable of it any more. Now people want to think only what they are supposed to think, and this they consider freedom."
~~~ Oswald Spengler

Fossil Fuels' 'Easy Money' And The Need For A New Economic System
By David Suzuki

Energy giant Kinder Morgan was recently called insensitive for pointing out that "Pipeline spills can have both positive and negative effects on local and regional economies, both in the short- and long-term." The company wants to triple its shipping capacity from the Alberta tar sands to Burnaby, in part by twinning its current pipeline. Its National Energy Board submission states, "Spill response and cleanup creates business and employment opportunities for affected communities, regions, and cleanup service providers."

It may seem insensitive, but it's true. And that's the problem. Destroying the environment is bad for the planet and all the life it supports, including us. But it's often good for business. The 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico added billions to the U.S. gross domestic product! Even if a spill never occurred (a big "if", considering the records of Kinder Morgan and other pipeline companies), increasing capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels a day would go hand-in-hand with rapid tar sands expansion and more wasteful, destructive burning of fossil fuels-as would approval of Enbridge Northern Gateway and other pipeline projects, as well as increased oil shipments by rail.

The company will make money, the government will reap some tax and royalty benefits and a relatively small number of jobs will be created. But the massive costs of dealing with a pipeline or tanker spill and the resulting climate change consequences will far outweigh the benefits. Of course, under our current economic paradigm, even the costs of responding to global warming impacts show as positive growth in the GDP - the tool we use to measure what passes for progress in this strange worldview.

And so it's full speed ahead and damn the consequences. Everything is measured in money. B.C.'s economy seems sluggish? Well, obviously, the solution is to get fracking and sell the gas to Asian markets. Never mind that a recent study, commissioned by the Canadian government, concludes we don't know enough about the practice to say it's safe, the federal government has virtually no regulations surrounding it and provincial rules "are not based on strong science and remain untested." Never mind that the more infrastructure we build for polluting, climate-disrupting fossil fuels, the longer it will take us to move away from them. There's easy money to be had-for someone.

We need to do more than just get off fossil fuels, although that's a priority. We need to conserve, cut back and switch to cleaner energy sources. In Canada, we need a national energy strategy. And guess what? That will create lasting jobs! But we must also find better ways to run our societies than relying on rampant consumption, planned obsolescence, excessive and often-pointless work and an economic system that depends on damaging ways and an absurd measurement to convince us it somehow all amounts to progress.

It's not about going back to the Dark Ages. It's about realizing that a good life doesn't depend on owning more stuff, scoring the latest gadgets or driving bigger, faster cars. Our connections with family, friends, community, and nature are vastly more important.

Yes, we need oil and gas, and will for some time. Having built our cities and infrastructure to accommodate cars rather than people, we can't turn around overnight. But we can stop wasting our precious resources. By conserving and switching to cleaner energy, we can ensure we still have oil and gas long into the future, perhaps long enough to learn to appreciate the potential of what's essentially energy from the sun, stored and compressed over millions of years. If we dig it up and sell it so it can be burned around the world, we consign ourselves to a polluted planet ravaged by global warming, with nothing to fall back on when fossil fuels are gone.

Scientists around the world have been warning us for decades about the consequences of our wasteful lifestyles, and evidence for the ever-increasing damage caused by pollution and climate change continues to grow. But we have to do more than just wean ourselves off fossil fuels. We must also look to economic systems, progress measurements and ways of living that don't depend on destroying everything the planet provides to keep us healthy and alive.
(c) 2014 David Suzuki is a well-known Canadian scientist, broadcaster and environmental activist.

Dr. Dre

Hip-Hop's Profane Victory
How corporations co-opted black cool from YouTube to Netflix, here's why the end of net neutrality will affect people of color more than we realize
By Brittney Cooper

Last month, the Federal Communications Commission endorsed a new set of rules that might effectively kill net neutrality, by allowing Internet service providers in limited instances to create two speeds of Internet traffic. One lane, supporters of the measure say, will be fast and the other lane will be superfast. This kind of semantic maneuvering is a sleight of hand, a troubling use of euphemism, designed to make us believe slow means fast in the same way Michael Jackson convinced us that bad meant good.

As co-founder of a popular feminist blog targeted toward women of color, I know firsthand what an open Internet has meant to those of us who attempt to build broadly inclusive social justice movements. And as a person who likes to binge on the occasional Netflix show in my spare time, I know what streaming services like these have meant for increasing the representation of people of color in visual media. I can't wait to find time to watch Season 2 of "Orange Is the New Black."

So I'm concerned about the creation of a tiered Internet, specifically. But I'm also concerned more generally with the continued deregulation of corporate media. The most clear cautionary tale of how deregulation of the mechanisms through which we obtain media affects culture can be found in hip-hop. The Telecommunications Act of 1996 deregulated media conglomerates allowing companies like Viacom and Clear Channel to buy up huge shares of media markets.

This move killed local radio by folding those stations into larger corporate entities, with regional and remote deejays and a top 40 playlist. This is the reason why if you listen to urban radio you hear seemingly the same 10 songs on a monotonous loop for the duration of the time you listen. This corporate structure has meant that artists and innovators who could build a name for themselves locally and regionally had very few avenues in the late 1990s and early 2000s to bring their musical products to market. We lament the bastion of misogyny, gratuitous capital and emotional vacuity that represents much of mainstream hip-hop today. But if you are not talking to a hip-hop studies scholar, then you hear very little about how the politics of deregulation corporatized the culture and placed a stranglehold on innovation and creativity. Streaming services and social media sites like MySpace have mitigated some of these effects, but nothing can get that old thing back.

This kind of cultural Darwinism bequeaths us a few winners and a whole lot of losers. More to the point, it creates a "cultural landscape that now is about winning, not taking the extra beat to think your way around a problem," as Questlove of the Roots so powerfully articulates. In this kind of cultural moment, black cool becomes what hip-hop scholar Jeff Chang, echoing Questlove, sees as a kind of corporate currency that has reached its apex of articulation in hip-hop, only to be the object of corporate co-optation when conglomerates like Apple purchase Dr. Dre's signature Beats headphones for a heady cost of $3.2 billion.

Some see the crowning of this hip-hop billionaire as a win. I see it as a narrowing of possibility. It is winning in the most profane sense of the term. Hip-hop has produced a bona fide billionaire. So what? I am left wondering what the goals of the culture were and are, left wondering about the state of political and cultural possibility among young black and brown youth like my students who still identify with hip-hop music as their primary soundtrack, even as they wrestle with all the things the culture has managed not to be, all the expectations that it has not lived up to.

We could continue to see these failures as a kind of black and brown pathology. Or not. The hip-hop of my youth (I hate sounding old) was a locally and regionally affected blend of sonic Southernness. I didn't grow up loving East Coast hip-hop, because I didn't grow up hearing a whole lot of East Coast anything on my local radio station. I rooted myself in place listening to 2 Live Crew, Outkast, Goodie Mob, Geto Boys, Master P and No Limit, and a whole host of West Coast rappers, who seemed to have a certain appeal down South. Nostalgia is rarely productive, but the history lesson here is instructive.

Social policy is a conduit for cultural possibility. And in this moment, a free and open Internet has granted us a very scary world and a very wonderful world, too. It has created the space for us to connect in unprecedented ways, it has granted access to young thinkers and writers of color who have used blogs and social media sites to build platforms unthinkable to our forebears. Sometimes the cultural adeptness that places otherwise unqualified people at the fore of social conversations is disturbing. But mostly it's exhilarating. It has forced us to think about what kind of democracy we actually want to be. It has forced us to be more honest because there are ever increasing mechanisms for people to speak and be heard. It has given lie to those media conglomerates who seem especially incapable of (unwilling to) diversify their casts, the stories they tell and cover, the songs they promote and grant airplay, and the voices they spotlight.

The end of net neutrality is just one more way that corporations pimp democracy for their own capitalist ends. When I see the lack of general concern about this among people of color, I wonder if we know what is at stake. We use Twitter more than any other demographic. I read excellent amateur writers and poets who have cultivated audiences using blogs. And many of my friends have migrated to Web-based shows on YouTube to get the culturally diverse content they can't find on television.

If it becomes more expensive for YouTube and Netflix to stream shows to us at speeds we can actually watch, please know those costs will be passed on to us in real and substantial ways. If blog platforms become targets of these regulations, so many of us who have built substantial communities of like-minded folks for little to no cost will be adversely affected.

There are those of us who value freedom, improvisation and innovation for the common person rather than for the corporation-as-person. It is we who need to stand up and fight back as John Oliver urged against this attempt to make democracy elusive once again. Hoisted upon the shoulders of corporate media giants, which have been mistaken as being the top of the world, hip-hop has most assuredly lost its way. But the lessons hip-hop has to teach us - about vulnerability to corporate plunder and the generational effects of surrender - can certainly help us to find ours.
(c) 2014 Brittney Cooper is a contributing writer at Salon, and teaches Women's and Gender Studies and Africana Studies at Rutgers. Follow her on Twitter at @professorcrunk.

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Senator McCain,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your flip/flopping regarding US POWs, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 07-05-2014. We salute you Herr McCain, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Voting in Mississippi, 2014 and 1964
By Robert Reich

Mississippi used its new voter-identification law for the first time Tuesday - requiring voters to show a driver's license or other government-issued photo ID at the polls.

The official reason given for the new law is alleged voter fraud, although the state hasn't been able to provide any evidence that voter fraud is a problem.

The real reason for the law is to suppress the votes of the poor, especially African-Americans, some of whom won't be able to afford the cost of a photo ID.

It's a tragic irony that this law became effective almost exactly fifty years after three young civil rights workers - Michael Schwerner, James Chaney, and Andrew Goodman - were tortured and murdered in Mississippi for trying to register African-Americans to vote.

They were killed outside Philadelphia, Mississippi, by a band of thugs that included the sheriff of Neshoba County. The state was deeply implicated: The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission had kept track of the three after they entered the state, and had passed on detailed information about them to the sheriff.

A year after the murders, Congress passed the Voting Rights Act of 1965. It was a direct response to the intransigence of Mississippi and other states with histories of racial discrimination, requiring them to get federal approval for any changes in their voting requirements - such as Mississippi's new voter ID law.

But last June the Supreme Court's five Republican appointees decided federal oversight was outmoded and unconstitutional, and that Congress had to set a new formula for deciding which states required federal review of voting law changes - thereby clearing the way for Mississippi's new voter ID law.

Obviously, Congress hasn't come up with a new formula because it's gridlocked, and Republicans don't want any federal review of state voting laws.

I knew Michael Schwerner. He was a kind and generous young man. And he meant a lot to me when I was growing up.

Now, fifty years after his brutal death and the deaths of his co-workers James Chaney and Andrew Goodman - fifty years after Freedom Summer - the state of Mississippi and the United States Supreme Court have turned back the clock.

Please urge your senators and representatives to pass a federal law that restores the Voting Rights Act, so Mississippi and other states with histories of repeated violations of voting rights cannot undo what Chaney, Goodman, Schwerner, and thousands of other brave Americans fought to achieve - equal voting rights.
(c) 2014 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, "Inequality for All," will be out September 27.

USS Liberty (AGTR-5) receives assistance from units of the Sixth Fleet, after she was
attacked and seriously damaged by Israeli forces off the Sinai Peninsula on June 8, 1967.

Leaving The USS Liberty Crew Behind
Justifying the swap of Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bergdahl, President Obama cited a principle of never leaving U.S. soldiers behind, but that rule was violated in the shabby treatment of the USS Liberty crew, attacked 47 years ago by Israeli warplanes
By Ray McGovern

On June 8, 1967, Israeli leaders learned they could deliberately attack a U.S. Navy ship and try to send it, together with its entire crew, to the bottom of the Mediterranean - with impunity. Israeli aircraft and torpedo boats attacked the USS Liberty, a state-of-the-art intelligence collection platform sailing in international waters off the Sinai, killing 34 of the 294 crew members and wounding more than 170.

On the 47th anniversary of that unprovoked attack let's be clear about what happened: Israeli messages intercepted on June 8, 1967, leave no doubt that sinking the USS Liberty was the mission assigned to the attacking Israeli warplanes and torpedo boats as the Six-Day War raged in the Middle East. Let me repeat: there is no doubt - none - that the mission of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) was to destroy the USS Liberty and kill its entire crew.

Referring last week to the controversy of the swap of five Taliban prisoners for Sgt. Bode Bergdahl, President Barack Obama claimed, "The U.S. has always had a pretty sacred rule: We don't leave our men or women in uniform behind." The only exception, he might have added, is when Israeli forces shoot them up; then mum's the word.

Mr. President, try explaining that "pretty sacred rule" to the USS Liberty survivors. I know them well enough to sense the hollow echo that Obama's claim will leave in their ears - and in the ears of the families of those who did not survive.

The crew of the USS Liberty has been "left behind," in a figurative as well as a physical sense. There is no way to retrieve the bodies of those washed out to sea through the large hole made by the Israeli torpedo that hit the Liberty amidships, killing 26 of the crew. There is a way, however, to stop throwing salt in the survivors' wounds, as every U.S. president since Lyndon Johnson has done in acquiescing to the false narrative that it was all a terrible case of mistaken identity and confusion by Israeli command and control. That salt burns - especially on anniversaries of the tragedy, raising troubling questions about the power of the Israel Lobby and the Israeli government over U.S. politicians.

In apparent fear of the Israel Lobby and not wanting to offend the Israeli government, U.S. officials including the Navy have refused to come clean on what happened 47 years ago. The mainstream U.S. media has been a willing partner in this failure to face the facts and demand accountability.

No Accident

Here, for example, is the text of an intercepted Israeli conversation, just one of many pieces of hard, unambiguous evidence that the Israeli attack was not a mistake:

Israeli pilot to ground control: "This is an American ship. Do you still want us to attack?"

Ground control: "Yes, follow orders." ...

Israeli pilot: "But, sir, it's an American ship - I can see the flag!"

Ground control: "Never mind; hit it!"

The Israelis would have been able to glory in reporting "mission accomplished, ship sunk, all crew killed" save for the bravery and surefootedness of then-23 year-old Navy seaman Terry Halbardier, whose actions spelled the difference between the murder of 34 of the crew and the intended massacre of all 294.

Halbardier skated across the Liberty's slippery deck while it was being strafed in order to connect a communications cable and enable the Liberty to send out an SOS. The Israelis intercepted that message and, out of fear of how the U.S. Sixth Fleet would respond, immediately broke off the attack, returned to their bases, and sent an "oops" message to Washington confessing to their unfortunate "mistake."

As things turned out, the Israelis didn't need to be so concerned. When President Johnson learned that the USS America and USS Saratoga had launched warplanes to do battle with the forces attacking the Liberty, he told Defense Secretary Robert McNamara to call Sixth Fleet commander Rear Admiral Lawrence Geiss and tell him to order the warplanes to return immediately to their carriers.

According to J.Q. "Tony" Hart, a chief petty officer who monitored these conversations from a U.S. Navy communications relay station in Morocco, Geiss shot back that one of his ships was under attack. Tellingly, McNamara responded: "President Johnson is not going to go to war or embarrass an American ally over a few sailors."

Getting Away With Murder

For the Israelis, the tight U-turn by the U.S. warplanes over the Mediterranean was proof positive that the Israeli government can literally get away with murder, including killing U.S. servicemen, and that Official Washington and its servile media could be counted upon to cover up the deliberate nature of the attack.

John Crewdson, a Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist for the Chicago Tribune, asked McNamara about this many years later. McNamara's answer is worth reading carefully; he said he had "absolutely no recollection of what I did that day," except that "I have a memory that I didn't know at the time what was going on."

Crewsdon has written the most detailed and accurate account of the Israeli attack on the Liberty; it appeared in the Chicago Tribune, and also in the Baltimore Sun, on Oct. 2, 2007. Read it and you'll understand why Crewdson got no Pulitzer for his investigative reporting on the Liberty. Instead, the Tribune laid him off in November 2008 after 24 years.

Several of the Liberty survivors have become friends of mine. I have listened to their stories, as Crewdson did. When June 8 comes around each year I remember them. And on special occasions, as when Terry Halbardier was finally awarded the Silver Star for his bravery, I write about them.

The mainstream U.S. media has avoided the USS Liberty case like the plague. I just checked the Washington Post and - surprise, surprise - it has missed the opportunity for the 46th consecutive year, to mention the Liberty anniversary.

On the few occasions when the mainstream U.S. media outlets are forced to address what happened, they blithely ignore the incredibly rich array of hard evidence and still put out the false narrative of the "mistaken" Israeli attack on the Liberty.

And they attempt to conflate fact with speculation, asking why Israel would deliberately attack a ship of the U.S. Navy. Why Tel Aviv wanted the Liberty and its entire crew on the bottom of the Mediterranean remains a matter of speculation, but there are plausible theories including Israel's determination to keep the details of its war plans secret from everyone, including the U.S. government.

But there is no doubt that destroying the Liberty and its crew was the mission assigned to Israel's warplanes and torpedo boats. One Navy Admiral with a conscience, former Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff (and before that Chief of Naval Operations) Thomas Moorer, has "broken ranks," so to speak. Moorer helped lead an independent, blue-ribbon commission to investigate what happened to the Liberty.

The following are among the commission's findings made public in October 2003:

-That the attack, by a U.S. ally, was a "deliberate attempt to destroy an American ship and kill its entire crew"

-That the attack included the machine-gunning of stretcher-bearers and life rafts

-That "the White House deliberately prevented the U.S. Navy from coming to the defense of the [ship] ... never before in naval history has a rescue mission been cancelled when an American ship was under attack"

-That surviving crew members were later threatened with "court-martial, imprisonment, or worse" if they talked to anyone about what had happened to them; and were "abandoned by their own government."

Doing Justice

Will the USS Liberty survivors ever enjoy the opportunity to know and to tell the real story with all its evil cruelties? Or will silence continue to reign? In a different context, Russian dissident author Alexandr Solzhenitzyn wrote this warning about what silence about evil does to the foundations of justice:

"In keeping silent about evil, in burying it so deep within us that no sign of it appears on the surface, we are implanting it, and it will rise up a thousand fold in the future. When we neither punish nor reproach evildoers, we are not simply protecting their trivial old age, we are thereby ripping the foundations of justice from beneath new generations." Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsyn, The Gulag Archipelago
President Obama, the crew of the USS Liberty has been "left behind" for way too many years. Do the right thing by them. Face down those who warn that you cannot risk Israel's displeasure. And add more substance to your rhetoric about our "pretty sacred rule" that we do not leave anybody wearing the American uniform behind.
(c) 2014 Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years - from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. During the early 1980s, he was one of the writers/editors of the President's Daily Brief and briefed it one- on- one to the president's most senior advisers. He also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In January 2003, he and four former colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

The Cartoon Corner...

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

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

By Will Durst

You see them staggering down our streets, heads bowed as if in prayer, making the occasional grunting noise. Mindless drooling de-animated human husks walking blindly into fountains, crosswalks and lamp posts. Wake up people. We are in the middle of a science fiction movie here. Welcome to the Invasion of the Phone Zombies.

Yes, the Zombie Apocalypse has materialized and we are it. Everywhere you look you find the deathlike trance-frozen faces of we necromantic slaves with twitching fingers, spending endless empty hours mesmerized by our tiny screens. An entire society that can't remember its own phone number, much less that of any significant other. Of course, compared to our magical phones, there are no significant others.

Our smart phones are being manipulated by some very dumb people. Sure, amazing things can be accomplished: check the weather patterns in Outer Mongolia. Translate French past participles into Farsi. Order a chess set made out of imitation crab meat in the shape of the characters from 12 Years a Slave and have it delivered to our house before getting back from work. But in the meantime, we are developing the attention span of high-speed lint. And the personalities.

The contagion has spread everywhere. Stall zombies in public rest rooms that hog the enclosed sanctum to play a quick round of Fruit Ninja. Or two. Nightlife zombies who ignore the jokes onstage so they can respond with multiple LOLs on their electronic leash. Tangentially ambulatory zombies who get into their car but refuse to leave parking spots until checking in with High Command. Vacation zombies who spend thousands of dollars to stare at their phones in distant exotic lands.

And we zombies have proved desperate to swell our ranks. Zombifying others via slide presentations of cute cats cavorting. Even attempting to recruit potential zombie converts through such subhuman treatment as incessant shame and humiliation. "Seriously. That's your phone? Who made it: Daewoo? Is that the fabled rotary cell phone? Must be neat to have Teddy Roosevelt on your speed dial. Bet your roaming charges are huge. Play much 'snake' lately?"

While our forefingers develop biceps and our thumbs evolve to the size of zucchini, society continues its deep deterioration. Groups of friends who have lost the will to converse, huddling together solely for warmth and light. Drivers staring into their laps, their faces reflecting an eerie glow. Entire families walking past each other hypnotized by their devices, going days without engaging in any major argument.

Dealing with the chronically anesthetized is exhausting. Who hasn't tired of politely turning after being addressed only to find it's some zombie in a suit on a Bluetooth talking to himself? But the worst are the suited Bluetoothed elevator zombies. Shut your piehole dirtwipe. Nobody here cares to know how many units need to be transferred to Topeka by Wednesday; we would pay good money to see some Topeka stuffed up your unit today.

In order to contain this pandemic, the CDC should issue a directive that encourages the unzombified to punch Bluetoothed elevator zombies right in their ear. Hard. Multiple times. And when the stupefied ones wake from their narcoleptic slumber and turn with confused expressions, inform them that it was all in the interest of the greater good. A blow for the sake of civilization itself.
(c) 2014 Will Durst, is a nationally acclaimed, award- winning political comic. Go to to find about more about his new CD, "Elect to Laugh" and calendar of personal appearances, and info about the documentary film "3 Still Standing" in which he's one of the standing 3. Still.

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Issues & Alibis Vol 14 # 23 (c) 06/13/2014

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