Please visit our sponsor!

Bookmark and Share
In This Edition

Daniel Ellsberg concludes, "Edward Snowden: Saving Us from The United Stasi Of America."

Uri Avnery sees, "Butterflies In Damascus."

Glen Ford points out, "Ben Jealous' Obscene 'Truth and Reconciliation' Proposal."

Ralph Nader says, "Society's Decay Rewards Wrongdoers."

Jim Hightower describes, "Seeing Things At The Jersey Shore."

Glenn Greenwald drops a dime on the NSA in, "Boundless Informant: The NSA's Secret Tool To Track Global Surveillance Data."

James Donahue reminds us, "It Is Due Time For Voters To 'Clean House.'"

John Nichols reports, "Calling Chris Christie's Bluff, Legislators Seek To Undo Election Shenanigans."

Robert Scheer introduces, "One American Who Isn't For Sale."

Robert Reich watches, "The Quiet Closing Of Washington."

Paul Krugman gives an explanation for, "The Big Shrug."

David Sirota is, "Rethinking American Exceptionalism."

David Swanson exclaims, "Not Impeaching Bush Is Sure Paying Off!"

Barack Hussein Obama wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Norman Solomon gives a, "Historic Challenge To Support The Moral Actions Of Edward Snowden."

Joel S. Hirschhorn reports, "Limbaugh Mocks Freedom Of Speech."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz gives us, "Useful Phrases For The Surveillance State" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "It's Time To Stand Up And Be Counted."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jimmy Margulies, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, Derf City, The Guardian, Mel Evans, Mike Segar, Motivated Photos.Com, Ali Radicali, Steve Rhodes, Flickr, Reuters, Black Agenda Report, The New Yorker, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

America's latest hero!

Bookmark and Share
It's Time To Stand Up And Be Counted
By Ernest Stewart

"We have the best Congress money can buy." ~~~ Will Rogers

"Good evening, my fellow Americans:

This afternoon, following a series of threats and defiant statements, the presence of Alabama National Guardsmen was required on the University of Alabama to carry out the final and unequivocal order of the United States District Court of the Northern District of Alabama. That order called for the admission of two clearly qualified young Alabama residents who happened to have been born Negro... I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents. This Nation was founded by men of many nations and backgrounds. It was rounded on the principle that all men are created equal, and that the rights of every man are diminished when the rights of one man are threatened. . . We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the Scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.

One hundred years of delay have passed since President Lincoln freed the slaves, yet their heirs, their grandsons, are not fully free. They are not yet freed from the bonds of injustice. They are not yet freed from social and economic oppression. And this Nation, for all its hopes and all its boasts, will not be fully free until all its citizens are free.

We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home, but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other that this is a land of the free, except for the Negroes; that we have no second-class citizens, except Negroes; that we have no class or cast system, no ghettoes, no master race, except with respect to Negroes?" ~~~ John Fitzgerald Kennedy ~ 06-11-1963

"I believe that when law-abiding Americans call their friends, who they call, when they call, and where they call from is private information. Collecting this data about every single phone call that every American makes every day would be a massive invasion of Americans' privacy." ~~~ US Senator Ron Wyden (D-OR)

"The truth will set you free. But first, it will piss you off." ~~~ Gloria Steinem

I was beginning to think that it was the end of America, watching what was going down for the last 12 1/2 years. A handful of journalists, and an even smaller group of politicians, were doing whatever they could to wake the great herd of Sheeple up to our impending doom.

You will recall that the politicians began to have "accidents" (plane crashes were especially popular with leading liberal Senators for example) or were targeted by our 1% overlords for defeat or death (remember the Anthrax attacks?), while the Sheeple remained blissfully unaware of what was going on right in front of their eyes. They never fully woke up as our current puppet dancer Barry proves as they went from deep inside the frying pan with Dubya, to into the fire with Barry -- where they began to blame others for their current fate. They went as far as to watch the dismantling of the Bill of Rights without so much as blinking an eye, saying it was for our own good and was being done to protect us, they cried.

Meanwhile, both parties -- which really are just one party -- played their games for their overlords, pretending to hate Barry for being just like them and doing their masters bidding while Barry blamed them for his polices and the Sheeple went right along with this song and dance.

Then a remarkable thing started to happen, a young American hero arose and spilled the beans. He didn't really tell us anything new; but he did add a boatload of evidence. He was quickly made to pay for his soothsaying by losing all his rights and being tortured for two years, hoping to destroy his mind before being led before a Kangaroo Court. This was done to send a clear message to any others with similar thoughts as Bradley Manning had. If you tell the truth, here is a clear example of what we'll do to you. Trouble is (for our 1% masters), it didn't work. In fact, it had just the opposite effect; and, suddenly, truth-tellers started coming out from the woodwork with new revelations of the criminals that are running this county, and what there crimes are -- not mere speculations or adding 2 + 2 together, but indisputable truth of the crimes of the last 5 Presidents.

After Bradley, came a host of truth-tellers, all branded traitors by the real traitors. I saw Boner just yesterday calling Snowden a traitor; and while he should know a traitor when he sees one -- as he is one of the top American traitors -- the rest of us see Snowden as another American Hero, like Thomas Drake, Matthew Hoh, Coleen Rowley, John Kiriakou and Jesselyn Radack, just to name a few. Sure, the hardcore Obamabots and Tea Baggers will never face the truth; but, finally, it seems that most of the people are waking up to the fact that there are no longer any real conservatives or liberals, just bought-and-paid-for yes men who will do anything, including destroying this country and everyone in it, so long as the overlords keep putting golden Ducats in their buckets. It's nothing new, of course, just see what Will Rogers said above, almost 100 years ago. It's beginning to look like that there's still time to take our country back because of the selfless sacrifice of these real American heroes. Are you man or woman enough to stand with them? Or will you stand a coward and watch the sacrifices of your children and grandchildren to the machine? The choice is still yours to make, America, but not for long!

In Other News

Not all days are equal! One that comes to mind happened 50 years ago, i.e. June 11, 1963. Things happened on that day that changed the world forever.

That day began when a Buddhist monk Thich Quang Duc sat down, poured a gallon of gas over his head and set himself on fire in the middle of downtown Saigon. The photo of which changed JFK thoughts about getting involved in a Vietnam war which directly led to his assassination.

JFK watched George Wallace stand in the door surrounded by the Alabama gestapo, denying entrance to the University of Alabama to some black students; George didn't block the door for long, just long enough for a photo op, beating a hasty retreat when the federal Marshals showed up. Kennedy, seeing this, decided he needed to make a speech right then and there on a civil rights amendment, which freaked out Ted Sorensen, Jack's speechwriter, because there was no such bill at the time. However, after Jack gave the speech, there was one. Jack spoke of a "moral crisis facing the nation. We preach freedom around the world, and we mean it, and we cherish our freedom here at home; but are we to say to the world, and much more importantly, to each other, that this is the land of the free, except for the Negroes?"

Martin Luther King was amazed by it, having never been a fan of the Kennedy's, especially Bobby (the Attorney General), and told the Rev. Walter Fauntroy when the President finished, "Walter, can you believe that a white man not only stepped up to the plate, he hit it over the fence!"

However, to end that day, a redneck who didn't like Jack's speech shot the Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers in the back, as he got out of his car, in front of his home in Jackson. Evers died within an hour.

No, not all days are equal, and June 11, 1963 was one of them! As you can see, it was a day that changed the 1960s, and our history, forever!

And Finally

Every once in a while, I just snap! It takes a lot to piss me off politically -- as a poli-sci major I have some pretty thick skin; you have to or you'll flip out. Haven't gone that far yet, but every now and then Barry sends me to the breaking point; but so far, I've managed to pull it all back in; but after the note I sent him the other day, if you don't ever hear from me again, don't be surprised!

After the hero Edward Snowden released the NSA info detailing how they are copying every phone call, every text message and every email of every American, Barry was fast off the line, assuring us that it was really no big thing that he's overturned the 4th amendment. We should all just roll over and go back to sleep, because everything is okay; and besides, like old Joseph Goebbels, Hitler's propaganda minister, assured the Germans, "You have nothing to fear, if you have nothing to hide." Does that ring any recent bells, America? Do compare and contrast Joey and Barry versus the Bill of Rights, Fourth Amendment to the US Constitution...

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

You'll note there's no asterisk beside that amendment, no qualifiers, no mention of appointed secret courts, no mention of FISA, either!

So, I wrote Barry the following note, this was the third copy -- the first two were a whole lot worse!

As you said Barry,

"...the programs are striking this balance between the need to keep the American people safe and our concerns about privacy. There are some trade offs involved. [T]he modest encroachments on privacy... it was worth us doing."

The 'modest encroachments on privacy?' Fuck you, you ignorant, Nazi, traitor. Constitutional scholar, my ass! You need to read the 4th amendment and get a grip! So what's next? Beginning and ending every conversation with a Heil, Obama? You had the chance to be remembered as the best President we ever had, instead of the worst. You make Dubya look good! If you had a drop of honor, you'd fall on your sword!"

So, ya'll, if I suddenly disappear, you'll know why; but I'll save a bunk for you at the Happy Camp!

Oh, and did I mention Barry wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award for America's biggest traitor?

Keepin' On

I'm beginning to think that Fatherland Security is monitoring my mail box, which would explain why I got PO Box #1. Even a Fatherland Security spook can remember that number. It sure would explain why, like Old Mother Hubbard's Cupboard, the box is empty again!

You can do what Dubya and Barry have failed to do, keep the truth from coming out. If we can't raise $800 in six weeks, you will have accomplished what they failed to do, shut us down. I know that some of you love to take it right up to the end and then jump in and save the day after putting us through "dem changes." If that's your plan, so be it; like I've said, I'm here for the long haul, if you are too, if not, I'm gone like the wind. We've raised all but $2400 of the $5800 we need to pay our bills with that $800 due at the end of next month, and the other $1600 due the first of October.

If you want to keep reading the truth, while every other news source is lying their asses off for the 1%, whether they mean to, or not, then send us what you can as often as you can, and we'll be here 24/7/365 for you and yours!


02-16-1954 ~ 06-09-2013
Thanks for the read!


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) 2013 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 12 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.

Edward Snowden: Saving Us from The United Stasi Of America
Snowden's whistleblowing gives us a chance to roll back what is tantamount to an 'executive coup' against the US constitution
By Daniel Ellsberg

In my estimation, there has not been in American history a more important leak than Edward Snowden's release of NSA material - and that definitely includes the Pentagon Papers 40 years ago. Snowden's whistleblowing gives us the possibility to roll back a key part of what has amounted to an "executive coup" against the US constitution.

Since 9/11, there has been, at first secretly but increasingly openly, a revocation of the bill of rights for which this country fought over 200 years ago. In particular, the fourth and fifth amendments of the US constitution, which safeguard citizens from unwarranted intrusion by the government into their private lives, have been virtually suspended.

The government claims it has a court warrant under Fisa - but that unconstitutionally sweeping warrant is from a secret court, shielded from effective oversight, almost totally deferential to executive requests. As Russell Tice, a former National Security Agency analyst, put it: "It is a kangaroo court with a rubber stamp."

For the president then to say that there is judicial oversight is nonsense - as is the alleged oversight function of the intelligence committees in Congress. Not for the first time - as with issues of torture, kidnapping, detention, assassination by drones and death squads -they have shown themselves to be thoroughly co-opted by the agencies they supposedly monitor. They are also black holes for information that the public needs to know.

The fact that congressional leaders were "briefed" on this and went along with it, without any open debate, hearings, staff analysis, or any real chance for effective dissent, only shows how broken the system of checks and balances is in this country.

Obviously, the United States is not now a police state. But given the extent of this invasion of people's privacy, we do have the full electronic and legislative infrastructure of such a state. If, for instance, there was now a war that led to a large-scale anti-war movement - like the one we had against the war in Vietnam - or, more likely, if we suffered one more attack on the scale of 9/11, I fear for our democracy. These powers are extremely dangerous.

There are legitimate reasons for secrecy, and specifically for secrecy about communications intelligence. That's why Bradley Mannning and I - both of whom had access to such intelligence with clearances higher than top-secret - chose not to disclose any information with that classification. And it is why Edward Snowden has committed himself to withhold publication of most of what he might have revealed.

But what is not legitimate is to use a secrecy system to hide programs that are blatantly unconstitutional in their breadth and potential abuse. Neither the president nor Congress as a whole may by themselves revoke the fourth amendment - and that's why what Snowden has revealed so far was secret from the American people.

In 1975, Senator Frank Church spoke of the National Security Agency in these terms:

"I know the capacity that is there to make tyranny total in America, and we must see to it that this agency and all agencies that possess this technology operate within the law and under proper supervision, so that we never cross over that abyss. That is the abyss from which there is no return."

The dangerous prospect of which he warned was that America's intelligence gathering capability - which is today beyond any comparison with what existed in his pre-digital era - "at any time could be turned around on the American people and no American would have any privacy left."

That has now happened. That is what Snowden has exposed, with official, secret documents. The NSA, FBI and CIA have, with the new digital technology, surveillance powers over our own citizens that the Stasi - the secret police in the former "democratic republic" of East Germany - could scarcely have dreamed of. Snowden reveals that the so-called intelligence community has become the United Stasi of America.

So we have fallen into Senator Church's abyss. The questions now are whether he was right or wrong that there is no return from it, and whether that means that effective democracy will become impossible. A week ago, I would have found it hard to argue with pessimistic answers to those conclusions.

But with Edward Snowden having put his life on the line to get this information out, quite possibly inspiring others with similar knowledge, conscience and patriotism to show comparable civil courage - in the public, in Congress, in the executive branch itself - I see the unexpected possibility of a way up and out of the abyss.

Pressure by an informed public on Congress to form a select committee to investigate the revelations by Snowden and, I hope, others to come might lead us to bring NSA and the rest of the intelligence community under real supervision and restraint and restore the protections of the bill of rights.

Snowden did what he did because he recognised the NSA's surveillance programs for what they are: dangerous, unconstitutional activity. This wholesale invasion of Americans' and foreign citizens' privacy does not contribute to our security; it puts in danger the very liberties we're trying to protect.
(c) 2013 Daniel Ellsberg was put on trial in 1973 for leaking the Pentagon Papers, but the case was dismissed after four months because of government misconduct. He is the author of "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers."

Butterflies In Damascus
By Uri Avnery

DURING THE Spanish civil war of 1936, a news story reported the deaths of 82 Moroccans, 53 Italians, 48 Russians, 34 Germans, 17 Englishmen, 13 Americans and 8 Frenchmen. Also 1 Spaniard.

"Serves him right," people in Madrid commented, "Why did he interfere?"

Similar things could now be said about the civil war in Syria. Shiites from all over the Muslim world stream into Syria to help Bashar al-Assad's dictatorship to survive, while Sunnis from many countries hasten there to support the rebels.

The implications of this go well beyond the bloody Syrian struggle. It is a historic revolution, region-wide and perhaps world-wide.

AFTER WORD WAR I, the victorious colonial empires carved up the territories of the vanquished Ottoman Empire among themselves. Since colonialism was out and self-determination was in, their new colonies were dressed up as independent nations (like Iraq) or as nations-to-be (like Syria).

European-style nationalism took hold of the new Arab nations. The ancient idea of the pan-Muslim "Umma" was pushed away. The idea of a pan-Arab super-state, propagated by the Baath party and Egypt's Gamal Abd-al-Nasser, was tried and failed. Syrian nationalism, Iraqi nationalism, Egyptian nationalism and, of course, Palestinian nationalism won.

It was a doubtful victory. A typical Syrian nationalist in Damascus was also a part of the Arab region, of the Muslim world and of the Sunni community - and the order of these diverse loyalties was never quite sorted out.

This was different in Europe, where the national loyalty was unchallenged. A modern German could also be a Bavarian and a Catholic, but he was first and foremost a German.

During the last decades, the victory of local nationalism in the Arab world seemed assured. After the short-lived United Arab Republic broke up in 1961 and Syrians proudly displayed their new Syrian passports, the future of the Arab nation-states looked rosy.

Not any more.

TO UNDERSTAND the immense significance of the present upheaval one has to go back in history.

Two thousand years ago, the modern idea of "nation" was unthinkable. The prevalent collective structure was the ethnic-religious community. One belonged to a community that was not territorially defined. A Jewish man in Alexandria could marry a Jewess in Babylon, but not the Hellenic or Christian woman next door.

Under Roman, Byzantine and Ottoman emperors, all these dozens of sects enjoyed a wide autonomy, ruled by imams, priests and rabbis. This is still partly the case in most former Ottoman territories, including Israel. The Turks called these self-governing sects "millets".

The German historian Oswald Spengler, in his monumental "The Decline of the West", asserted that great cultures were like human beings - they are born, grow up and die of old age within a thousand years. Middle-Eastern culture, according to him, was born around 500 BC and died with the decay of the Muslim Caliphate. Judaism, which was born in the Babylonian exile around 500 BC, was just one sect among many.

Arnold Toynbee, the British historian who espoused a similar theory, claimed that today's Jews were a "fossil" of this obsolete culture.

What happened later was that European societies went through many stages, the latest being that of the "nation". In Europe, the Jews were a sinister and hated anomaly because they clung to their former existence as a homeland-less, dispersed ethno-religious sect. This was done quite consciously: the rabbis erected a "fence around the Torah", separating Jews from everybody else, making it impossible for them to eat with non-Jews or marry them. Jews orginally congregated in ghettos because of their need for a Synagogue they could walk to on the Sabbath, public bath (Mikvah) etc.

When the situation of the nation-less Jews in nationalist Europe became increasingly difficult, Zionism was born. By a sleight-of-hand it postulated that Jews were not only an ethno-religious community, but at the same time also a "nation like other nations." This was a necessary fiction, until Zionism succeeded in creating a real nation - the Israelis.

With the founding of the Israeli state, the Zionist doctrine lost its purpose and should have been dismantled, like the scaffolding of a finished building. Everybody expected this to happen in due course - Hebrew Israelis would be a "normal" nation, and their connection with the Jewish world would become secondary.

TODAY WE are witnessing a kind of Jewish counter-revolution. In Israel there is a comeback of the world-Jewish connection, while separate Israeli nationhood is denied. It is a reversal of Zionism.

The events in Syria indicate a similar process. Throughout the region the ethno-religious community is coming back, the European-style nation-state is disintegrating.

The colonial powers created "artificial" states with no consideration to ethno-religious realities. In Iraq, Arab Sunnis and Shiites and non-Arab Kurds were arbitrarily put together. In Syria, Sunnis, Shiites, Alawis (an offshoot of the Shia), Druze (another offshoot), Kurds and diverse Christian sects were put into one "national" pot and left to stew. In Lebanon the same was done, with even worse results. In Morocco and Algeria, Arabs and Berbers are put together.

Now the ethno-religious sects are uniting - against each other. The Syrian civil war has united the Shiites - from Lebanon to Iran - in defense of the Alawite semi-Shia regime. The Sunnis from all over the place rally to the cause of the majority Sunnis. The Syrian Kurds have already created a de facto joint state with the Kurds in Iraq. The Druze, more dispersed and customarily more cautious, are awaiting their turn.

IN THE Western world, the obsolescent nation-state is being superseded by supra-national regional confederations, like the EU. In our region, we may be reverting to the ethno-religious sects.

It is difficult to foresee how this will work out. The Ottoman millet system could function because there was the overall imperial rule of the Sultan. But how could Shiite Iran combine with the majority Shiites in Iraq, the Shiite community in south Lebanon and other Shiite communities in a joint entity? What about the dozen Christian sects dispersed across many countries?

Some people believe that the only viable solution for Syria proper is the disintegration of the country into several sect-dominated states - a central Sunni state, an Alawite state, a Kurd state, a Druze state, etc.

Lebanon was also a part of Syria, until the French tore them apart in order to set up a Christian state. The French created several such little states, in order to break the back of Syrian nationalism. It did not work.

The difficulty of such a "solution" is illustrated by the situation of the Druze, who live in two unconnected territories - in South Lebanon and in the "Druze mountain" area in Southern Syria. A smaller Druze community lives in Israel. (As a defensive strategy, the Druze in every country - including Israel - are patriots of that country.)

The disintegration of the existing states may be accompanied by wholesale massacres and ethnic cleansing, as happened when India broke apart and when Palestine was partitioned. It is not a happy prospect.

Toynbee, by the way, did not only consider the Jews as a fossil of the past, but also as the harbinger of the future. In an interview he granted my magazine, Haolam Hazeh, he expressed the hope that the nation-state would be superseded by world-wide ideological communities, like the Jewish diaspora. He may have been thinking of the communists, who at the time seemed to be turning into a world-wide supra-national community. That experiment failed, too.

AT PRESENT, a war is raging among Israeli historians. Prof. Shlomo Sand is maintaining that the Jewish nation was invented (like all nations, only more so), and that the concept of Eretz Israel (the Land of Israel) is a Zionist invention as well. Now he also asserts that he is not a Jew, but an Israeli.

Against these heresies, a whole phalanx of Zionist professors is in full cry.

Since I never even finished elementary school, I wouldn't dare to stick my head out and get caught up in the battle of the professors. I will, however, remark that I, too, object to sliding back into a world-wide Jewish sect and advocate the recognition of the new Israeli nation in Israel.

YES, WE are an Israeli nation, a nation whose existence is bound to the fate of the State of Israel.

This does not mean that those of us who are Jews have to disown our Jewish past, its traditions and values, and our connections with the world-wide ethno-religious Jewish community. But we have reached a new stage in our development.

So, perhaps, have the Arab and other Muslim peoples around us. New forms are in the making.

History shows that human societies are changing all the time, much as a butterfly develops from an egg into a caterpillar, from there to a chrysalis and from there to the beautifully colored adult.

For the butterfly, that is the end. For us, I hope, this is a new beginning.
(c) 2013 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Ben Jealous' Obscene "Truth and Reconciliation" Proposal
By Glen Ford

NAACP chief Ben Jealous hasn't taken a position on Assata Shakur, the exiled former Black Panther who President Obama's FBI has elevated to Domestic Terrorist Number One - despite the fact that the grandmother has spent the last 29 years living peacefully in Cuba. Yes, Jealous knows that Shakur was a political prisoner before her escape, charged in the 1973 death of a New Jersey policeman. He told Democracy Now! host Amy Goodman that he thinks the NAACP will have to take a position on Shakur's case at some point, and that he also feels for the families of the cops who died in New Jersey and in the Brinks robbery, in New York, in 1981. Jealous says he's most interested in healing the nation from the effects of what he calls "politically motivated violence, on both sides." What's needed, he claims, is a kind of "truth and reconciliation commission."

Ben Jealous's clear reference is to South Africa's Truth and Reconciliation Commission, convened in Cape Town, in 1996, by a multiracial cast of notables led by Anglican Archbishop Desmond Tutu. The Commission's powers were limited to granting amnesty to perpetrators, or offering rehabilitation and reparations to victims. The hearings were quite controversial from the very start, and ultimately produced no political consensus among the races that justice was served.

It is most important to bear in mind that, at that time, an African National Congress government under Nelson Mandela had been in office for two years. The ANC's political prisoners, including Mandela, himself, had been freed. The Commission could grant amnesty, but not administer punishment - which seemed far from fair to many members of the non-white majority who had been abused in every imaginable way for generations.

It is curious that Ben Jealous thinks this rather ineffective South African medicine can heal America's racial wounds - especially since, unlike South Africa, and Barack Obama notwithstanding, whites are still firmly in control, here. Our political prisoners remain behind bars - scores of them, many incarcerated for more than 40 years, and some of them still in solitary confinement. What is there to conciliate about? The only decent demand is that they be set free, to enjoy what years they have left among family and comrades on the outside. Ben Jealous wants reconciliation without emancipation of those who sacrificed their youth for our people. In that light, his talk of reconciliation is an obscene diversion from the reality of still-living human beings trapped in perpetuity in America's dungeons.

Ben Jealous wants peace much more than justice - forgetting that without some semblance of justice, there can be no peace. That's why he stakes out a position on some fantasized truth and reconciliation scheme before taking a stand on the actual plight of Assata Shakur, on whose head his favorite president has placed a $2 million bounty. Why doesn't Ben Jealous work his conciliatory charms on Obama, whose assault on human civilization is making conciliation with America more and more impossible for huge segments of the world's population?

Clearly, the truth is that Ben Jealous has already reconciled himself with evil, and wants the rest of us to "turn the page" while evil is still on the throne. Sounds more like a Reconciliation and Capitulation Commission.
(c) 2013 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Society's Decay Rewards Wrongdoers
By Ralph Nader

Told you so.

Some might deem it celebratory to utter this phrase, as if one is boasting about their own clever foresight. But when it comes to serious matters -- matters that affect millions of people, their jobs, their health, and their livelihoods, there is no satisfaction in being right about predicting bad conditions. It's much better to predict good news. But as it now stands in our country, many problems that emerged years ago have developed into sheer catastrophes, despite the many warnings of forward-thinking experts, scholars and observers.

Disturbingly, those of us who saw the warning signs and called attention to the storm clouds on the horizon are routinely ignored or even chastised, while the blatant war mongers, the misleaders, the defrauders and the corporate apologists are given ample TV/radio time and space on op-ed pages to promote their wrongheaded views. What kind of nation prosecutes whistleblowers for telling the truth, while the perpetrators of blatant, criminal actions by governments and corporations continue to walk free and enjoy the fruits of their shameful actions?

My latest book, Told You So: The Big Book of Weekly Columns is a collection of ten years of weekly writings on a large range of issues. Many of the problems discussed in the book are ones that long have plagued our nation and have been routinely ignored or overlooked.

Here are four "Told You So's" noted in the book.

1.) Many are shocked by the recent reports of the National Security Agency (NSA) secretly collecting records of millions of phone calls, emails, internet searches, and more, all without any clear oversight and accountability. Many mainstream media outlets are now questioning the scope of this monumental level of government snooping. But while this news of Big Brother-esque overreach might be surprising to some, consider those of us who predicted it back when the Patriot Act was signed into law in the post-9/11 fervor. Benjamin Franklin once wrote: "They who can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety, deserve neither liberty nor safety."

On January 9, 2009, I wrote then President-Elect Obama and asked him to: "[M]ake a clean break from the Bush regime's law of rule to our declared commitment to the rule of law...This can be significantly accomplished by executive orders, agency or departmental directives, whistleblower protections, enforcement actions and explicit legislative proposals."

Instead of heeding this advice, President Obama has continued -- and even expanded -- the worst practices of the Bush Administration. Drone strikes have routinely terrorized people in foreign lands and created new enemies to the United States, and countless billions of dollars have been spent on new ways to snoop on ordinary Americans private lives by tracking their phone calls and emails. In 2008, I wrote: "Barack Obama taught constitutional law at the University of Chicago. Let's have it operate out of the Obama White House!"

The same advice applies today.

2.) The actions of Wall Street brought us the financial collapse, the global recession, and the emergence of "Too Big to Fail" and "Too Big to Jail." Much of this is due to the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act in 1999. Repealing Glass-Steagall freed Wall Street from its regulatory restraints. Breaking down the wall between investment banks and commercial banking placed our country on the path to unfettered casino capitalism, gambling away other peoples' money such as pension plans and mutual funds. Soon after the repeal of Glass-Steagall, I approached then-Treasury Secretary Lawrence Summers during a chance encounter on a flight to Boston. "Do you think the big banks have too much power?" I asked him.

"Not yet," was his reply.<

3.) Last week, Southern California Edison announced that it will be permanently shutting down its long troubled San Onofre nuclear plant. Back in 1982, I wrote to demand the closure of this facility.

San Onofre is one of several U.S. plants, such as Indian Point in New York and Diablo Canyon in California, that rest near an earthquake fault -- just like the infamous Fukushima plant in Japan.

Over 40 years ago, the Atomic Energy Commission estimated that a full nuclear meltdown could contaminate an area "the size of Pennsylvania" and cause massive casualties. Despite this enormous risk, the nuclear industry has claimed a return to nuclear power will be beneficial to the economy and the environment. What of the radioactive waste? What of the enormous security risks? Allowing such reactors to continue to exist is jeopardizing public health and safety.

It is time to eliminate the threats of these catastrophic accidents waiting to happen.

4.) The Iraq War was an invasion driven by falsehoods from a criminal presidency violating our Constitution, federal statutes, and international treaties. None of the perpetrators of that invasion have been punished for the wanton death and destruction they caused. The war took the lives of hundreds of thousands of people and injured and sickened many more. The Congressional Budget Office now estimates that the Iraq War cost the U.S. taxpayers approximately $1.9 trillion dollars.

In February 2003, after opposing the pending illegal invasion of Iraq, I wrote: "the Bush Administration has been less than forthcoming in providing the public estimates of the actual costs of a war, both in terms of troops and money. The American Academy of Arts and Sciences estimates that over 10 years, war and the reconstruction of Iraq could cost as much as $2 trillion -- almost the equivalent of the entire annual federal budget."

Two trillion dollars later and many Americans would be hard pressed to say what was truly accomplished in that conflict other than the continuing sociocide of Iraq and its people.

There is no glory in "Told You So's." But it is time to stop celebrating the criminally negligent, the suppressors of truth and the profit-driven wrongdoers. Let us turn to those who have proven themselves as early warners, and as such, cease traveling down the road to decay and decline. Look to prophetic people such as Jim Hightower, Bill Moyers, William Greider, Barbara Ehrenreich, Ramsey Clark, James Hansen, Lois Gibbs, Bob Monks, Adolph Reed, Nomi Prins and many others.
(c) 2013 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book -and first novel -is, Only The Super Wealthy Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

Seeing Things At The Jersey Shore

If you see things that really are not there - are you crazy? Maybe not. Maybe the ones who put the non-existent things there for you to see are the crazy ones.

Recently, this surrealistic phenomenon of unreal "thereness" appeared in Seaside Heights, New Jersey. This shore town had been devastated by Hurricane Sandy last October, shutting down its boardwalk shops and rides. But in mid-May, England's Prince Harry came to Jersey for a royal visit, and Gov. Chris Christie led him to the town's boardwalk to highlight the people's resilient spirit and determination to rebuild.

The shops and rides remained closed, yet, bizarrely, the prince saw bustling enterprises and kids having fun. Did his royal eyes deceive him? No, Christie did. The governor staged a business-as-usual visual for the visitor. Spiffed-up clam bars and hot dog stands were staffed with people who appeared to be preparing and serving food, but nothing was actually being cooked. Also, children were brought in to play darts, whiffle-ball, and other games at booths that had been opened, staffed, and stocked with prizes - just for the brief time of Harry's pass-through.

Even the twisted skeleton of the town's iconic roller coaster, which had been knocked into the ocean by the raging hurricane still sat in the waves. It was kept there as a prop to give the prince a sense of the fury the town had suffered. As he gazed at it for a few moments, a demolition crew was positioned out of sight, ready to dismantle it as soon as the governor and the prince departed.

A 7-year-old-girl, who got to talk with Harry at a game booth, later asked a reporter an impertinent question: "Is he a real life prince?" She doubted it, for he had no cape or sword. But, yes, the prince was real - unlike the unreal images he saw on the boardwalk.
(c) 2013 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

The color scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance).
Note the '2007' date in the image relates to the document from which the interactive map derives its top secret classification, not to the map itself.

Boundless Informant: The NSA's Secret Tool To Track Global Surveillance Data
Revealed: The NSA's powerful tool for cataloguing global surveillance data - including figures on US collection
By Glenn Greenwald

The National Security Agency has developed a powerful tool for recording and analysing where its intelligence comes from, raising questions about its repeated assurances to Congress that it cannot keep track of all the surveillance it performs on American communications.

The Guardian has acquired top-secret documents about the NSA datamining tool, called Boundless Informant, that details and even maps by country the voluminous amount of information it collects from computer and telephone networks.

The focus of the internal NSA tool is on counting and categorizing the records of communications, known as metadata, rather than the content of an email or instant message.

The Boundless Informant documents show the agency collecting almost 3 billion pieces of intelligence from US computer networks over a 30-day period ending in March 2013. One document says it is designed to give NSA officials answers to questions like, "What type of coverage do we have on country X" in "near real-time by asking the SIGINT [signals intelligence] infrastructure."

An NSA factsheet about the program, acquired by the Guardian, says: "The tool allows users to select a country on a map and view the metadata volume and select details about the collections against that country." Under the heading "Sample use cases," the factsheet also states the tool shows information including: "How many records (and what type) are collected against a particular country."

A snapshot of the Boundless Informant data, contained in a top secret NSA "global heat map" seen by the Guardian, shows that in March 2013 the agency collected 97bn pieces of intelligence from computer networks worldwide.

The heat map reveals how much data is being collected from around the world. Note the '2007' date in the
image relates to the document from which the interactive map derives its top secret classification, not to the map itself.

Iran was the country where the largest amount of intelligence was gathered, with more than 14bn reports in that period, followed by 13.5bn from Pakistan. Jordan, one of America's closest Arab allies, came third with 12.7bn, Egypt fourth with 7.6bn and India fifth with 6.3bn.

The heatmap gives each nation a color code based on how extensively it is subjected to NSA surveillance. The color scheme ranges from green (least subjected to surveillance) through yellow and orange to red (most surveillance).

The disclosure of the internal Boundless Informant system comes amid a struggle between the NSA and its overseers in the Senate over whether it can track the intelligence it collects on American communications. The NSA's position is that it is not technologically feasible to do so.

At a hearing of the Senate intelligence committee In March this year, Democratic senator Ron Wyden asked James Clapper, the director of national intelligence: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?"

"No sir," replied Clapper.

Judith Emmel, an NSA spokeswoman, told the Guardian in a response to the latest disclosures: "NSA has consistently reported - including to Congress - that we do not have the ability to determine with certainty the identity or location of all communicants within a given communication. That remains the case."

Other documents seen by the Guardian further demonstrate that the NSA does in fact break down its surveillance intercepts which could allow the agency to determine how many of them are from the US. The level of detail includes individual IP addresses.

IP address is not a perfect proxy for someone's physical location but it is rather close, said Chris Soghoian, the principal technologist with the Speech Privacy and Technology Project of the American Civil Liberties Union. "If you don't take steps to hide it, the IP address provided by your internet provider will certainly tell you what country, state and, typically, city you are in," Soghoian said.

That approximation has implications for the ongoing oversight battle between the intelligence agencies and Congress.

On Friday, in his first public response to the Guardian's disclosures this week on NSA surveillance, Barack Obama said that that congressional oversight was the American peoples' best guarantee that they were not being spied on.

"These are the folks you all vote for as your representatives in Congress and they are being fully briefed on these programs," he said. Obama also insisted that any surveillance was "very narrowly circumscribed."

Senators have expressed their frustration at the NSA's refusal to supply statistics. In a letter to NSA director General Keith Alexander in October last year, senator Wyden and his Democratic colleague on the Senate intelligence committee, Mark Udall, noted that "the intelligence community has stated repeatedly that it is not possible to provide even a rough estimate of how many American communications have been collected under the Fisa Amendments Act, and has even declined to estimate the scale of this collection."

At a congressional hearing in March last year, Alexander denied point-blank that the agency had the figures on how many Americans had their electronic communications collected or reviewed. Asked if he had the capability to get them, Alexander said: "No. No. We do not have the technical insights in the United States." He added that "nor do we do have the equipment in the United States to actually collect that kind of information."

Soon after, the NSA, through the inspector general of the overall US intelligence community, told the senators that making such a determination would jeopardize US intelligence operations - and might itself violate Americans' privacy.

"All that senator Udall and I are asking for is a ballpark estimate of how many Americans have been monitored under this law, and it is disappointing that the inspectors general cannot provide it," Wyden told Wired magazine at the time.

The documents show that the team responsible for Boundless Informant assured its bosses that the tool is on track for upgrades.

The team will "accept user requests for additional functionality or enhancements," according to the FAQ acquired by the Guardian. "Users are also allowed to vote on which functionality or enhancements are most important to them (as well as add comments). The BOUNDLESSINFORMANT team will periodically review all requests and triage according to level of effort (Easy, Medium, Hard) and mission impact (High, Medium, Low)."

Emmel, the NSA spokeswoman, told the Guardian: "Current technology simply does not permit us to positively identify all of the persons or locations associated with a given communication (for example, it may be possible to say with certainty that a communication traversed a particular path within the internet. It is harder to know the ultimate source or destination, or more particularly the identity of the person represented by the TO:, FROM: or CC: field of an e-mail address or the abstraction of an IP address).

"Thus, we apply rigorous training and technological advancements to combine both our automated and manual (human) processes to characterize communications - ensuring protection of the privacy rights of the American people. This is not just our judgment, but that of the relevant inspectors general, who have also reported this."

She added: "The continued publication of these allegations about highly classified issues, and other information taken out of context, makes it impossible to conduct a reasonable discussion on the merits of these programs."
(c) 2013 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book 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.

It Is Due Time For Voters To 'Clean House'
By James Donahue

In all of my years of reporting news... much of it concerning political and court happenings ... I was only threatened once with judicial prosecution because of a story I wrote. That story involved the misbehavior of a district judge who was attempting to blackmail the Board of County Commissioners into giving him a generous pay raise. The legal counsel for the Gannett Newspaper I worked for got behind me. The lawyers answered his court order for me to reveal my information source and in legal jargon told him to "go to hell." Of course I reported every detail of that confrontation. Voters got the message and threw the bum out of office when the next election rolled around.

The freedom of the press has always been an important issue to me. I always dared to stick my nose into things that put me in some kind of trouble with people in power. I saw it as my duty to keep people informed.

Thomas Jefferson once warned: "Experience hath shown that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny."

Jefferson also said: "The freedom of the press is one of the great bulwarks of liberty, and can never be restrained but by a despotic government."

And there was Jefferson's most familiar quote: "Were it left to me to decide whether we should have a government without newspapers, or newspapers without a government, I should not hesitate a moment to prefer the latter."

Jefferson, one of the great founders of this nation and a man who helped frame the Constitution, was warning about the kind of tyranny that we are witnessing today among the elected "leaders" of our nation. With the American media now controlled by a few big corporations, and the foreign press left as the only real source of revelations by investigative reporters, it should be no surprise that papers like the Guardian in the British Isles, Germany's Spiegel and Al Jazeera in Qatar have become among the best sources of straight and honest news reports about the goings on in not only the world, but in the United States.

Thus when New York Congressman Peter King told CNN's Anderson Cooper that he believed news reporters should be prosecuted for publishing stories that leaked classified government information, it made the few bristles left on my head raise in anger.

The conflicts occurring between the so-called whistleblowers like Edward Snowden, who exposed the internal spying on Americans by the CIA, Bradley Manning who is now on trial for allegedly leaking military documents to Wikileaks, and Julian Assange, the editor of Wikileaks for publishing those military documents but other leaked government documents, all involve the release of information that officials in high places have labeled "classified" and important for "government security."

The problem we have with claiming these kinds of classifications is that we are discovering, after reading these so-called secret documents, that the information once made public, appears to have been no real threat to government or national security at all. Much of the information seems to be things that were being held from the media to avoid embarrassment to certain elected officials.

So by whose authority were these documents classified as "top secret?" And how dare these elected leaders threaten reporters with prosecution and possible imprisonment for doing their job?

Sure, the corporate-owned American media is making a big stink over the alleged damage the released information has caused to national security. But how can we believe this propaganda if we haven't read the published documents and discerned for ourselves just how serious the breach of information really has been?

Americans should be very concerned about this dramatic power play. It is time for the voters to recognize how the nation has converted from good intentions into corruption and tyranny from within. The only way to fix it is to clean house in future elections. Let's toss out the bums and put some fresh blood in those hallowed seats of the House and Senate.

It might be a good idea to think about a third party candidate for the presidency while we are at it.
(c) 2013 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

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie answers a question during a campaign event in Manville, New Jersey, Monday, May 13, 2013.

Calling Chris Christie's Bluff, Legislators Seek To Undo Election Shenanigans
By John Nichols

It is not just Democrats who object to New Jersey Governor Chris Christie's gaming of the political process to schedule the state's special Senate election twenty days before his own gubernatorial election.

State Senator Michael Doherty, one of the most conservative Republicans in the New Jersey legislature, ripped Christie for calling the election to replace the late US Senator Frank Lautenberg for October 16, rather than having it coincide with the regularly scheduled November 5 election.

Like everyone else who pays even passing attention to politics, Dohery knows why Christie scheduled the unnecessary extra election, at an expense to taxpayers of at least $12 million. The governor, who is looking to score a big re-election win to jumpstart a 2016 Republican presidential run, wanted to avoid having to deal with a lot of Democratic voters who will show up to vote in the Senate race (for a marquee nominee such as Newark Mayor Cory Booker or Congressman Rush Holt or Congressman Frank Pallone or Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver)—and who might stick around to vote for Christie's hard-working if underfunded Democratic challenger, state Senator Barbara Buono.

Doherty, a movement conservative who has often sparred with his party's governor, has called on Christie to scrap the October 16 scheme and schedule a November 5 Senate election. That would make it possible to move the Democratic and Republican primaries to later dates—allowing more candidates to run.

Of course, Christie is not interested in small-"d" democratic niceties. So he's not going to reschedule the election without a fight.

As it happens, however, he has a fight on his hands: a key Democratic senator says the governor could be forced to do the right thing.

State Senator Shirley K. Turner has introduced legislation that would upset Christie's scheme. Under Turner's plan, the date of the state's general election would be shifted from November to October 16.

"Moving an election is not unprecedented," says Turner. "In 2005, we moved the presidential primary election from June to February and then passed legislation in 2011 to move it back to June. The trend is to have fewer elections to save taxpayers money and increase voter participation, not schedule more elections, create more waste, and have fewer people vote. Not only does it cost more to have a special election three weeks before the General election—a total of four elections in four months—it creates more confusion and voter fatigue. People are just too busy working two jobs, in some cases, and taking care of family obligations to carve out the time to vote every month."

Indeed, argues Turner, "scheduling two special elections is a form of voter suppression, especially when October 16 is a Wednesday." Turner has asked for quick action on her bill. And she says she's received strong support from colleagues.

Who knows? She might even get Republican Senator Doherty to vote with her. In fact, if enough principled conservatives do the right thing, the legislature might even beat a Christie veto, a result that could even teach the governor a thing or two about respecting the electorate—as opposed to his own ambitions.
(c) 2013 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.

American Hero: Edward Snowden

One American Who Isn't For Sale
By Robert Scheer

So it's true, as filmmaker Michael Moore once warned us, the Carlyle Group is Big Brother. That's the $176 billion private equity firm that once employed former President George H.W. Bush, his Secretary of State James A. Baker III and a host of political luminaries that would put any other list of America's ruling elite to shame. Plenty of Democrats too, including former President Bill Clinton's Chief of Staff Mack McLarty and Arthur Levitt, the man Clinton appointed to head the SEC during the creation of the housing bust.

It is also the firm that owns Booz Allen Hamilton Inc., which, thanks to the revelations of one of its employees, whistle-blower Edward Snowden, we now know collects and stores much of the government's immense PRISM database spying on the lives of this nation's citizenry. This is systematic snooping through the telephone and Internet records of hundreds of millions of Americans conducted by Snowden and others in Booz Allen's employ who had the highest access to our most private personal data while working at a for-profit company.

Our data is their commerce, and ever since 9/11, observing us has become mega lucrative. "Booz Allen Hamilton," The New York Times reported Sunday, "has become one of the largest and most profitable corporations in the United States almost exclusively by serving a single client: the government of the United States." The word "serving" might be pushing it here, since 98 percent of the firm's revenue of $5.8 billion last year came from the taxpayers, who are the same folks being spied upon.

Heck, Booz Allen knows all about those taxpayers, since back in 1998, during the Clinton presidency, the firm was hired to "modernize" the IRS. "We made some very dramatic changes in the way the IRS is organized," Booz Allen's CEO claimed at the time. How perfect: Make tax collection more efficient and less painful, so the suckers might not notice when you scoop up the loot at the other end.

Of course, to those swinging through the revolving door between the government and its defense contractors, it must be difficult to draw a distinction between their changing roles. James R. Clapper, the chief intelligence official in the Obama administration, who is now investigating this security lapse, was himself a top Booz Allen executive. And it should be of little surprise that John M. McConnell, currently vice chairman of Booz Allen, was previously the chief intelligence official in the George W. Bush administration. It's crony capitalism at its patriotic best.

"The national security apparatus has been more and more privatized and turned over to contractors," Danielle Brian, executive director of the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight, told the Times. "This is something the public is largely unaware of, how more than a million private contractors are cleared to handle highly sensitive matters."

Brian points out that the for-profit folks spying on us also get to grant high level government security clearances. Those private sector employees are then entrusted to work in the most secretive sectors of the government's national security apparatus, including at the National Security Agency. It's good work if you can get it. In January, the Defense Department granted Booz Allen a five-year, $5.6 billion deal assigning its private sector employees in key positions to advise Pentagon personnel on crafting military policy. Maybe they can find some new conventional wars to fight just in case the one against terrorism loses its profitability.

That could happen now that the American public has been alerted to the fact that in the grand design of that war, it is the ordinary American citizen, even when shopping on the Internet, who gets to play enemy. That reality is what seems to have turned Snowden, like others before him, into a courageous whistle-blower. He signed up for training with the Army Special Forces to go fight in Iraq because he bought the Bush administration's line that it was a war "to help free people from oppression." That misplaced idealism collided with the observation that "Most of the people training us seemed pumped up about killing Arabs, not helping anyone," Snowden told the British newspaper The Guardian.

Still, he continued to serve the government, both with the CIA and then at the NSA, where he worked as a Booz Allen contractor. There he witnessed a part of the sordid story that he chose to share with his fellow Americans. As he explained to The Guardian:

"The NSA has built an infrastructure that allows it to intercept almost everything. ... If I wanted to see your emails or your wife's phone, all I have to do is use intercepts. I can get your emails, passwords, phone records, credit cards. I don't want to live in a society that does these sort of things. ... I do not want to live in a world where everything I do and say is recorded."

The folks at Booz Allen, and its parent company the Carlyle Group, love that world as a fabulous profit center, and it is truly inspiring that there are still folks like Snowden whom they can't buy.
(c) 2013 Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig. A journalist with over 30 years experience, Scheer has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, and his in=depth interviews have made headlines. He is the author, most recently, of "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America," published by Twelve Books.

The Quiet Closing Of Washington
By Robert Reich

Conservative Republicans in our nation's capital have managed to accomplish something they only dreamed of when Tea Partiers streamed into Congress at the start of 2011: They've basically shut Congress down. Their refusal to compromise is working just as they hoped: No jobs agenda. No budget. No grand bargain on the deficit. No background checks on guns. Nothing on climate change. No tax reform. No hike in the minimum wage. Nothing so far on immigration reform.

It's as if an entire branch of the federal government - the branch that's supposed to deal directly with the nation's problems, not just execute the law or interpret the law but make the law - has gone out of business, leaving behind only a so-called "sequester" that's cutting deeper and deeper into education, infrastructure, programs for the nation's poor, and national defense.

The window of opportunity for the President to get anything done is closing rapidly. Even in less partisan times, new initiatives rarely occur after the first year of a second term, when a president inexorably slides toward lame duck status.

But the nation's work doesn't stop even if Washington does. By default, more and more of it is shifting to the states, which are far less gridlocked than Washington. Last November's elections resulted in one-party control of both the legislatures and governor's offices in all but 13 states - the most single-party dominance in decades.

This means many blue states are moving further left, while red states are heading rightward. In effect, America is splitting apart without going through all the trouble of a civil war.

Minnesota's Democratic-Farmer-Labor Party, for example, now controls both legislative chambers and the governor's office for the first time in more than two decades. The legislative session that ended a few weeks ago resulted in a hike in the top income tax rate to 9.85%, an increased cigarette tax, and the elimination of several corporate tax loopholes. The added revenues will be used to expand early-childhood education, freeze tuitions at state universities, fund jobs and economic development, and reduce the state budget deficit. Along the way, Minnesota also legalized same-sex marriage and expanded the power of trade unions to organize.

California and Maryland passed similar tax hikes on top earners last year. The governor of Colorado has just signed legislation boosting taxes by $925 million for early-childhood education and K-12 (the tax hike will go into effect only if residents agree, in a vote is likely in November).

On the other hand, the biggest controversy in Kansas is between Governor Sam Brownback, who wants to shift taxes away from the wealthy and onto the middle class and poor by repealing the state's income tax and substituting an increase in the sales tax, and Kansas legislators who want to cut the sales tax as well, thereby reducing the state's already paltry spending for basic services. Kansas recently cut its budget for higher education by almost 5 percent.

Other rightward-moving states are heading in the same direction. North Carolina millionaires are on the verge of saving $12,500 a year, on average, from a pending income-tax cut even as sales taxes are raised on the electricity and services that lower-income depend residents depend on. Missouri's transportation budget is half what it was five years ago, but lawmakers refuse to raise taxes to pay for improvements.

The states are splitting as dramatically on social issues. Gay marriages are now recognized in twelve states and the District of Columbia. Colorado and Washington state permit the sale of marijuana, even for non-medical uses. California is expanding a pilot program to allow nurse practitioners to perform abortions.

Meanwhile, other states are enacting laws restricting access to abortions so tightly as to arguably violate the Supreme Court's 1973 decision in Roe v. Wade. In Alabama, the mandated waiting period for an abortion is longer than it is for buying a gun.

Speaking of which, gun laws are moving in opposite directions as well. Connecticut, California, and New York are making it harder to buy guns. Yet if you want to use a gun to kill someone who's, say, spray-painting a highway underpass at night, you might want to go to Texas, where it's legal to shoot someone who's committing a "public nuisance" under the cover of dark. Or you might want to live in Kansas, which recently enacted a law allowing anyone to carry a concealed firearm onto a college campus.

The states are diverging sharply on almost every issue you can imagine. If you're an undocumented young person, you're eligible for in-state tuition at public universities in fourteen states (including Texas). But you might want to avoid driving in Arizona, where state police are allowed to investigate the immigration status of anyone they suspect is here illegally. And if you're poor and lack health insurance you might want to avoid a state like Wisconsin that's refusing to expand Medicaid under the Affordable Care Act, even though the federal government will be picking up almost the entire tab.

Federalism is as old as the Republic, but not since the real Civil War have we witnessed such a clear divide between the states on central issues affecting Americans.

Some might say this is a good thing. It allows more of us to live under governments and laws we approve of. And it permits experimentation: Better to learn that a policy doesn't work at the state level, where it's affected only a fraction of the population, than after it's harmed the entire nation. As the jurist Louis Brandies once said, our states are "laboratories of democracy."

But the trend raises three troubling issues.

First, it leads to a race to bottom. Over time, middle-class citizens of states with more generous safety nets and higher taxes on the wealthy will become disproportionately burdened as the wealthy move out and the poor move in, forcing such states to reverse course. If the idea of "one nation" means anything, it stands for us widely sharing the burdens and responsibilities of citizenship.

Second, it doesn't take account of spillovers - positive as well as negative. Semi-automatic pistols purchased without background checks in one state can easily find their way easily to another state where gun purchases are restricted. By the same token, a young person who receives an excellent public education courtesy of the citizens of one states is likely to move to another state where job opportunity are better. We are interdependent. No single state can easily contain or limit the benefits or problems it creates for other states.

Finally, it can reduce the power of minorities. For more than a century "states rights" has been a euphemism for the efforts of some whites to repress or deny the votes of black Americans. Now that minorities are gaining substantial political strength nationally, devolution of government to the states could play into the hands of modern-day white supremacists.

A great nation requires a great, or at least functional, national government. The Tea Partiers and other government-haters who have caused Washington to all but close because they refuse to compromise are threatening all that we aspire to be together.
(c) 2013 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

The Big Shrug
By Paul Krugman

I've been in this economics business for a while. In fact, I've been in it so long I still remember what people considered normal in those long-ago days before the financial crisis. Normal, back then, meant an economy adding a million or more jobs each year, enough to keep up with the growth in the working-age population. Normal meant an unemployment rate not much above 5 percent, except for brief recessions. And while there was always some unemployment, normal meant very few people out of work for extended periods.

So how, in those long-ago days, would we have reacted to Friday's news that the number of Americans with jobs is still down two million from six years ago, that 7.6 percent of the work force is unemployed (with many more underemployed or forced to take low-paying jobs), and that more than four million of the unemployed have been out of work for more than six months? Well, we know how most political insiders reacted: they called it a pretty good jobs report. In fact, some are even celebrating the report as "proof"that the budget sequester isn't doing any harm.

In other words, our policy discourse is still a long way from where it ought to be.

For more than three years some of us have fought the policy elite's damaging obsession with budget deficits, an obsession that led governments to cut investment when they should have been raising it, to destroy jobs when job creation should have been their priority. That fight seems largely won - in fact, I don't think I've ever seen anything quite like the sudden intellectual collapse of austerity economics as a policy doctrine.

But while insiders no longer seem determined to worry about the wrong things, that's not enough; they also need to start worrying about the right things - namely, the plight of the jobless and the immense continuing waste from a depressed economy. And that's not happening. Instead, policy makers both here and in Europe seem gripped by a combination of complacency and fatalism, a sense that nothing need be done and nothing can be done. Call it the big shrug.

Even the people I consider the good guys, policy makers who have in the past shown real concern over our economic weakness, aren't showing much sense of urgency these days. For example, last fall some of us were greatly encouraged by the Federal Reserve's announcement that it was instituting new measures to bolster the economy. Policy specifics aside, the Fed seemed to be signaling its willingness to do whatever it took to get unemployment down. Lately, however, what one mostly hears from the Fed is talk of "tapering," of letting up on its efforts, even though inflation is below target, the employment situation is still terrible and the pace of improvement is glacial at best.

And Fed officials are, as I said, the good guys. Sometimes it seems as if nobody in Washington outside the Fed even considers high unemployment a problem.

Why isn't reducing unemployment a major policy priority? One answer may be that inertia is a powerful force, and it's hard to get policy changes absent the threat of disaster. As long as we're adding jobs, not losing them, and unemployment is basically stable or falling, not rising, policy makers don't feel any urgent need to act.

Another answer is that the unemployed don't have much of a political voice. Profits are sky-high, stocks are up, so things are O.K. for the people who matter, right?

A third answer is that while we aren't hearing so much these days from the self-styled deficit hawks, the monetary hawks - economists, politicians and officials who keep warning that low interest rates will have dire consequences - have, if anything, gotten even more vociferous. It doesn't seem to matter that the monetary hawks, like the fiscal hawks, have an impressive record of being wrong about everything (where's that runaway inflation they promised?). They just keep coming back; the arguments change (now they're warning about asset bubbles), but the policy demand - tighter money and higher interest rates - is always the same. And it's hard to escape the sense that the Fed is being intimidated into inaction.

The tragedy is that it's all unnecessary. Yes, you hear talk about a "new normal" of much higher unemployment, but all the reasons given for this alleged new normal, such as the supposed mismatch between workers' skills and the demands of the modern economy, fall apart when subjected to careful scrutiny. If Washington would reverse its destructive budget cuts, if the Fed would show the "Rooseveltian resolve" that Ben Bernanke demanded of Japanese officials back when he was an independent economist, we would quickly discover that there's nothing normal or necessary about mass long-term unemployment.

So here's my message to policy makers: Where we are is not O.K. Stop shrugging, and do your jobs.
(c) 2013 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"The enormous gap between what US leaders do in the world and what Americans think their leaders are doing is one of the great propaganda accomplishments."
~~~ Michael Parenti

Rethinking American Exceptionalism
The U.S. can't guarantee its citizens healthcare -- but it can execute them without due process
By David Sirota

"American exceptionalism" is perhaps the most misunderstood phrase in politics. If, like the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, we define "exceptionalism" as "the condition of being different from the norm" - then it's certainly true that America is exceptional. But we rarely stop to ask: Should we always want to be exceptional?

The assumption in our culture is yes - but it's not always so clear-cut when you consider the key ways we are exceptional in comparison to other industrialized countries.

America, for instance, has an exceptional economy. GDP-wise, it is the largest in the world, making it the planet's most powerful engine of technological innovation and wealth creation. At the same time, the economy is exceptional for creating the industrialized world's most financially unequal society; producing one of the industrialized world's highest rates of childhood poverty; and mandating the industrialized world's least amount of off time (paid sick days, maternity leave, etc.).

In terms of health care, we have an exceptional system that stands out for spending more than any other nation's. According to the Cato Institute's Michael Tanner, that gets us a system that "is at the top of the charts when it comes to surviving cancer (and) drives much of the innovation and research on health care worldwide."

Then again, America's health care system is also exceptional for being the only one in the industrialized world that doesn't guarantee health care to every citizen. Results-wise, that contributes to a society that, according to a recent National Academy of Sciences report, is far more unhealthy than 16 other developed nations.

"Americans have been dying at younger ages than people in almost all other high-income countries," the report noted. "Not only are their lives shorter, but Americans also have a longstanding pattern of poorer health that is strikingly consistent and pervasive over the life course."

In terms of freedom, even with the post-9/11 crackdown on civil liberties, America remains exceptional for how our laws safeguard free speech. But we are also exceptional for having the industrialized world's only president who asserts the right to execute citizens without due process. Similarly, we are exceptional in incarcerating more citizens than any other nation on Earth.

In terms of military might, America is exceptional for having the planet's most dominant fighting force. We are also exceptional for our spending - we devote more resources to military programs than the next 19 biggest-spending nations combined. And compared to the rest of the industrialized world, we are exceptional in the number of ongoing wars we prosecute; the amount of people we kill; and the amount of casualties we regularly incur.

So, again, in many ways America is indeed quite exceptional. But that's not always a positive thing, which raises the ultimate question: Is there a way to remain exceptional in ways that benefit us while also being a bit less exceptional in the ways that harm us and others?

Can, for instance, we have an exceptional economy without the exceptionally crushing inequality and poverty? Can we preserve the exceptional parts of our health care system, but also have a system that is less exceptional for how it denies access to all citizens and often delivers substandard health outcomes? Can we preserve exceptional freedoms while also being a less exceptional in our incarceration policies? And can we preserve an exceptionally effective military but be a little less exceptional in how much we spend on the Pentagon, how many wars we initiate, how many casualties we incur and how many people we kill?

The pessimistic answer to these questions is no. But the true sign of American exceptionalism is an America that starts saying yes.
(c) 2013 David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist 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 .

Not Impeaching Bush Is Sure Paying Off!
By David Swanson

Many loyal Republicans opposed impeaching George W. Bush. So did most liberal and progressive activist groups, labor unions, peace organizations, churches, media outlets, journalists, pundits, organizers, and bloggers, not to mention most Democratic members of Congress, most Democrats dreaming of someday being in Congress, and -- toward the end of the Bush presidency -- most supporters of candidate Barack Obama or candidate Hillary Clinton.

Remarkably in the face of this opposition, a large percentage and often a majority of Americans told pollsters that Bush should be impeached. It's not clear, however, that everyone understood why impeachment was needed. Some might have supported a successful impeachment of Bush and then turned around and tolerated identical crimes and abuses by a Democrat, assuming a Democrat managed to engage in them. But this is the point: whoever followed Bush's impeachment would have been far less likely to repeat and expand on his tyrannical policies. And the reason many of us wanted Bush impeached -- as we said at the time -- was to prevent that repetition and expansion, which we said was virtually inevitable if impeachment was not pursued.

Can You Hear Me Now?

"You just hate Republicans" was the most common argument against impeachment, but there were others. "It's more important to elect someone different." "Why do you want President Cheney?" "Why do you want President Pelosi?" "Why distract from good work?" "Why put the country through trauma?" "Why not focus on ending war?" "Why not do investigations?" "Why divide the Democrats?" "Why start a process that can't succeed?" "Why destroy the Democratic Party the way impeaching Clinton destroyed the Republican Party?" We answered these questions as patiently as possible at great length and enormous repetition for years and years.

People pursued alternatives to impeachment, from spreading the word about how bad the crimes and abuses were, to pushing legislation to redundantly re-criminalize Bush's criminal behavior, to promoting supposedly lesse-evil candidates, to promoting truly good candidates, to constructing ways to drop out of society and wash one's hands of it. The trouble was that when you let a president spy without warrant, imprison without charge, torture, kill, lie, make war, operate in secret, rewrite laws, and persecute whistleblowers, you can predict -- as we predicted for years -- that the next president will adopt and build on the same policies. Nothing short of punishing the offender will deter the successor.

In fact, the new president, working with Congress and all of his other facilitators, has turned abuses into policies. The scandal and secretiveness have been replaced with executive orders and legislation. Crimes are now policy choices. Checking off lists of murder victims is official open policy. Secret laws are normal. Secretly rewritten laws are established practice. Spying in violation of the Fourth Amendment is openly defended and "legalized," with sporadic bursts of public outrage and establishment excusing, following new detailed revelations. Whistleblowing is being transformed into treason.

This moment offers certain opportunities. It is well-placed in between the election seasons that so debilitate the nation. Also, bravery and integrity seem to be spreading like a contagion. Intimidation is backfiring. Resistance is growing, and so is whistleblowing. Bradley Manning and Thomas Drake and Matthew Hoh and Coleen Rowley and John Kiriakou and Jesselyn Radack and many others are inspiring new whistleblowers like Edward Snowden (support him here!), and like the member of the Joint Special Operations Command who spoke out for the first time at our forum on the opening of the film Dirty Wars in D.C. on Saturday.

However, what failure to impeach Bush has done to legitimize his crimes is nothing compared to what it has done to delegitimize impeachment. If a tyrannical president who liberals hated and who talked funny and who didn't even pretend to be killing for some higher benevolent purpose can't be impeached, then who can? Surely not an intelligent, articulate African American who pretends to agree with us and gives speeches denouncing his own policies?

But this is the same problem as before. Making speeches against Bush's abuses was not enough. Clapping for speeches against Obama's abuses -- even speeches by Obama -- is not enough. There is a reason why people abuse power. Power corrupts them. And absolute power corrupts them absolutely. Telling a handful of Congress members who are forbidden to speak about it, and most of whom don't really give a damn, what sort of outrages you are up to is not a system of checks and balances or the rule of law.

Refusal to impeach pulls the foundation out from under representative government. Congress won't impeach for violation of subpoenas, so it avoids issuing subpoenas, and it therefore can't compel production of witnesses or documents, so it doesn't take a position on an important matter, so the unofficial U.S. state media takes no position either, and people follow the media.

Would impeaching Obama invite rightwing delusional charges? Would it send confusing signals rather than clear ones, given Bush's free pass? Not if Obama and Bush were impeached together. They've both committed many of the same high crimes. Impeachment can take place after leaving office. The time has come to restore seriousness to the serious tool the Constitution provides for checking presidential power. The time has come to impeach Bush and Obama.
(c) 2013 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear mein Fuhrer,

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 appointment of yourself as a Fuhrer god, 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 "Democratic 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, Diamonds and the Blue Max, presented by our glorious Vice Fuhrer, Herr Biden at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 07-06-2013. We salute you Herr Obama, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Deputy Fuhrer Holder

Heil Obama

Historic Challenge To Support The Moral Actions Of Edward Snowden
By Norman Solomon

In Washington, where the state of war and the surveillance state are one and the same, top officials have begun to call for Edward Snowden's head. His moral action of whistleblowing -- a clarion call for democracy -- now awaits our responses.

After nearly 12 years of the "war on terror," the revelations of recent days are a tremendous challenge to the established order: nonstop warfare, intensifying secrecy and dominant power that equate safe governance with Orwellian surveillance.

In the highest places, there is more than a wisp of panic in rarefied air. It's not just the National Security Agency that stands exposed; it's the repressive arrogance perched on the pyramid of power.

Back here on the ground, so many people -- appalled by Uncle Sam's continual morph into Big Brother -- have been pushing against the walls of anti-democratic secrecy. Those walls rarely budge, and at times they seem to be closing in, even literally for some (as in the case of heroic whistleblower Bradley Manning). But all the collective pushing has cumulative effects.

In recent days, as news exploded about NSA surveillance, a breakthrough came into sight. Current history may not be an immovable wall; it may be on a hinge. And if we push hard enough, together, there's no telling what might be possible or achieved.

The gratitude that so many of us now feel toward Edward Snowden raises the question: How can we truly express our appreciation?

A first step is to thank him -- publicly and emphatically. You can do that by clicking here to sign the "Thank NSA Whistleblower Edward Snowden" petition, which my colleagues at will send directly to him, including the individual comments.

But of course saying thank-you is just one small step onto a crucial path. As Snowden faces extradition and vengeful prosecution from the U.S. government, active support will be vital -- in the weeks, months and years ahead.

Signing the thank-you petition, I ventured some optimism: "What you've done will inspire kindred spirits around the world to take moral action despite the risks." Bravery for principle can be very contagious.

Edward Snowden has taken nonviolent action to help counter the U.S. government's one-two punch of extreme secrecy and massive violence. The process has summoned the kind of doublespeak that usually accompanies what cannot stand the light of day.

So, when Snowden's employer Booz Allen put out a statement Sunday night, it was riddled with official indignation, declaring: "News reports that this individual has claimed to have leaked classified information are shocking, and if accurate, this action represents a grave violation of the code of conduct and core values of our firm."

What are the "code of conduct" and "core values" of this huge NSA contractor? The conduct of stealthy assistance to the U.S. national security state as it methodically violates civil liberties, and the values of doing just about anything to amass vast corporate profits.

The corporate-government warfare state is enraged that Edward Snowden has broken through with conduct and values that are 180 degrees in a different direction. "I'm not going to hide," he told the Washington Post on Sunday. "Allowing the U.S. government to intimidate its people with threats of retaliation for revealing wrongdoing is contrary to the public interest."

When a Post reporter asked whether his revelations would change anything, Snowden replied: "I think they already have. Everyone everywhere now understands how bad things have gotten -- and they're talking about it. They have the power to decide for themselves whether they are willing to sacrifice their privacy to the surveillance state."

And, when the Post asked about threats to "national security," Snowden offered an assessment light-years ahead of mainline media's conventional wisdom: "We managed to survive greater threats in our history ... than a few disorganized terrorist groups and rogue states without resorting to these sorts of programs. It is not that I do not value intelligence, but that I oppose ... omniscient, automatic, mass surveillance. ... That seems to me a greater threat to the institutions of free society than missed intelligence reports, and unworthy of the costs."

Profoundly, in the early summer of 2013, with his actions and words, Edward Snowden has given aid and comfort to grassroots efforts for democracy. What we do with his brave gift will be our choice.
(c) 2013 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Limbaugh Mocks Freedom Of Speech
By Joel S. Hirschhorn

By now most people know that though it is perfectly fine to shout fire in a packed theater if there really is a fire, even constitutionally protected freedom of speech does not allow such behavior if there is no fire. It is now clear that Rush Limbaugh is doing exactly the same as shouting fire when none is present during most of his radio rants. He feels no obligation whatsoever to have a factual basis for spewing forth the most inflammatory statements imaginable. Single-handedly, he is one of the most powerful forces destroying the American political system and, indeed, our democracy. It is nonsense to shrug him off as merely an entertainer.

During my daily car ride to run errands I listened to the Rush Limbaugh radio show the other day and was truly stunned by the declaration that right now there is a coup d'etat by the Obama administration. Limbaugh is the master of public idiocy. But this assertion is beyond all previous nutty, totally wrong and intentionally provocative Limbaugh statements. Why make it? The only obvious answer is that he wants to infuriate his large audience of right wing nuts, to feed their fear, paranoia and hatred.

By any definition of coup d'etat on any dictionary website or Wikipedia there is absolutely no objective, correct information that the Obama administration is right now pursuing a rebellion, revolution, uprising or overthrow of the legally and constitutionally defined structure of the US government. Nor, as is usually the interpretation, is there any sign whatsoever of violence being used to take over the US government. Does Limbaugh totally ignore the ongoing power of the Congress and Supreme Court and the entire federal judicial system? Or even the massive military establishment?

Is there any way to give credibility to the Limbaugh assertion that right now there is a coup d'etat going on? I challenge others to come to the aid of Limbaugh.

Yes, there are a series of media hyped scandals going on. But not one of them rises to the level of a violent coup d'etat by some small but powerful group of political insiders wrenching control of the entire federal government. If you think that Limbaugh is correct, then you are either insane or an idiot, or perhaps just one of the information-poor citizens that Limbaugh constantly talks about. If anything, Limbaugh has single-handedly helped create a mass of information-poor Americans.

As if this coup d'etat nonsense was not enough, within minutes Limbaugh was also blithely asserting that the Obama presidential campaign could have used the many databases that are currently in the news because of activities of the National Security Agency. That's right, Limbaugh publicly accuses the Obama campaign for data mining that made use of these highly debated secret databases with information on phone calls, Internet use and credit card use. Supposedly explaining why Obama won the presidency. What a wonderful idea to inject like a powerful narcotic directly into the dilapidated minds of the millions of Limbaugh fans.

Limbaugh does not just extrapolate from some facts to an extreme, far right fantasy. He uses the public airways to shout obscenities, sheer crazy assertions that are totally disconnected from reality. I would be so pleased to learn that Limbaugh has a major brain tumor. Preferably inoperable. Otherwise, the logical interpretation is that he is just evil.
(c) 2013 Joel S. Hirschhorn observed our corrupt federal government firsthand as a senior official with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association and is the author of Delusional Democracy =Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. To discuss issues write the author. The author has a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering and was formerly a full professor of metallurgical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jimmy Margulies ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Useful Phrases For The Surveillance State
By Andy Borowitz

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)-In the event that the U.S. government is monitoring your conversations, here are some useful phrases to insert into your phone calls, texts, or e-mails:

I think the N.S.A. is awesome.

I just reread "Nineteen Eighty-Four"-it actually has a lot of good ideas in it!

There's no such thing as a "bad" drone.

Sure am glad that I never talk to any foreigners.

I wouldn't know the first thing about making ricin.

The Fourth Amendment is overrated.

If you ask me, Guantanamo is full of nothing but complainers.

Just changed my Facebook status from "Single" to "In a Relationship with America."

I'm pretty sure my neighbor is cheating on his taxes.
(c) 2013 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

View my page on

Issues & Alibis Vol 13 # 21 (c) 06/14/2013

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non-profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use" copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use" provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."