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In This Edition

Amy Goodman reports, "Big Money Wins In The Big Skies Of Montana."

Uri Avnery considers, "Our Muslim Brothers."

Mike Adams wonders, "Where Are All The Dead Bodies From Swine Flu?"

Chris Floyd hears, "Echoes From The Future."

Jim Hightower says it's, "Time To Focus On The 'Doug Jones Average.'"

Cindy Sheehan sees, "Tangled, Weakening Webs."

James Donahue discovers that the, "Famed Easter Island Heads Have Bodies."

Dave Swanson sings, "Oh Say, Maybe We Can't See."

David Sirota studies, "The Potential Upside Of Captivity."

Randal Amster concludes, "Desert Mirage? Supreme Court Ruling May Bring Little Relief In Arizona."

Paul Krugman explores, "The Great Abdication."

Paul Craig Roberts asks, "Silent Spring For Us?"

Robert Reich examines a, "Dimon In The Rough."

US Supreme Court Chief Justice John (the enforcer) Roberts wins the coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

John Nichols finds, "Supreme Court Extends Power Of Corporations To Buy Elections."

Greg Palast announces with tongue-in-cheek, "The Euro Is A Big Success - No Kidding."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Egyptians Dismayed To Learn They Imported Democracy From Florida" but first Uncle Ernie discovers, "Even More Sedition and Treason From The Supreme Court."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Kevin Siers, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Derf City, Adam Hook, Micah Wright, Dorothea Lange, R.S. Janes, Beware Of Images.Com, Gracy Knauss, Ross D. Franklin, AP, Ukrainian News, EISP.Org, NFD, Monsanto, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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Even More Sedition and Treason From The Supreme Court
So much for states rights!
By Ernest Stewart

"I am extremely disappointed but not surprised that the U.S. Supreme Court reversed the Montana court ruling that would have allowed limits on campaign contributions.

The U.S. Supreme Court's absurd 5-4 ruling two years ago in Citizens United was a major blow to American democratic traditions. Sadly, despite all of the evidence that Americans see every day, the court continues to believe that its decision makes sense. In recent weeks, multi-billionaires such as the Koch brothers and Sheldon Adelson have made it clear that, as a result of the Citizens United decision, they intend to spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy this election for candidates who support the super-wealthy. This is not democracy. This is plutocracy. And that is why we must overturn Citizens United if we are serious about maintaining the foundations of American democracy.

I intend to work as hard as I can for a constitutional amendment to overturn this disastrous Supreme Court decision.

In his famous speech at Gettysburg during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln talked about America as a country 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' Today, as a result of the Supreme Court's refusal to reconsider its decision in Citizens United, we are rapidly moving toward a nation of the super-rich, by the super-rich and for the super-rich. That is not what America is supposed to be about. This Supreme Court decision must be overturned." ~~~ Senator Bernie Sanders

"Further, the process of transformation, even if it brings revolutionary change, is likely to be a long one, absent some catastrophic and catalyzing event -- like a new Pearl Harbor" ~~~ PNAC Section V of Rebuilding America's Defenses

"O brave new world that has such people in it."
The Tempest ~~~ William Shakespeare

Don't it always seem to go,
That you don't know what you got till it's gone?
Big Yellow Taxi ~~~ Joni Mitchell

Well, it's official, the democracy that we've never had has been replaced with a Plutocracy that we've had since the "Revolution." Sure, we've been a Plutocracy all along; but with this ruling, it's official! With the Extreme Courts "Gang of Five's" latest pronouncement outlawing states' rights in their decision in "American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock" or officially the case is "American Tradition Partnership Inc v. Steve Bullock, attorney general of Montana, No. 11-1179," saying that their decision in Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission trumps states' rights to disagree with these traitors.

Traitors is the correct term for these bastards; but lets not forget what it's really all about, and that's the crime of sedition, and letting the 1% buy each and every election -- taking the power from the people is certainly sedition, is it not? This ruling overturns a law that has been on the books for 100 years in Montana. A law that kept copper mine owners from taking over the state by buying elections for puppets who ruled in their favor, much like the John (the enforcer) Roberts does today, allowing the Koch brothers and other 1% enemies of America to buy an election like they just did in Wisconsin, and as they did throughout the Midwest in 2010. But please don't take my word for it; here's what others have said about this disaster.

"As Montana's history attests, corporate independent expenditures can corrupt. No state in the union has detailed a more compelling threat of corruption by corporate campaign expenditures than Montana." ~~~ Montana Attorney General Steve Bullock

"Candidates and the public will become mere bystanders in elections if these expenditures are allowed," Montana Supreme Court Justice James Nelson, citing the state's Corrupt Practices Act of 1912 as reason for overturning Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission.

"[The ruling] appears to be yet another demonstration of the politicization of the Court by the right-wing justices." ~~~ U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse

"Montana's experience, like considerable experience elsewhere since the court's decision in Citizens United, casts grave doubt on the court's supposition that independent expenditures do not corrupt or appear to do so." ~~~ Extreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer

And as Senator Bernie Sanders pointed out we are no longer a nation of the people, by the people and for the people but a nation, "of super-rich, by the super-rich and for the super-rich."

"The U.S. Supreme Court's decision to overturn Montana's ban on corporate spending in elections is the wrong decision for Montana and it's the wrong decision for America. It flies in the face of the state's history of the corrosive influence of corporate spending and rejects the decision of Montana voters to rid their state of this corrupt influence." ~~~ Rep. Chris Van Hollen of Maryland

There weren't even any arguments allowed by the Court, at all. Couldn't risk Kennedy being swayed. No, while some talk about enacting a new amendment outlawing the courts arguments; even if it could pass and be ratified, it would be easily overturned and ignored -- just like the last five presidents have done to the existing amendments. You can either learn to love the Plutocracy, or stand against it, and overthrow it; but knowing my fellow Americans like I do, I'm betting on the plutocracy!

Meanwhile, the "liberals" on the court and Roberts threw out most of Arizona's immigration laws -- not because they thought they were bad, but because they held those laws for the feds to enforce -- which of, course, they won't do as their corpo-rat puppet masters need those people to lower wages, not only for them -- but for everybody as well, again attacking states' rights. Still, they left the one which is probably the worst of the lot on the books. You know the one... your papers, show me see ze papers! Ve have vays of making you cooperate, Ja!

Finally it's three strikes and we're out. The Extreme Court ruled today that Obamacare is legal, including Barry's sellout to the corpo-rats (anyone surprised?) with mandatory health insurance -- whether you can afford it or not, and, of course, no single payer. There was never any doubt in my mind that the corpo-rat judges would rule favorably on a corpo-rat insurance plan, passed by a corpo-rat-controlled White House and corpo-rat-controlled Con-gress. I wonder what we'll be forced to buy next? The Court ruled that it was legal to make everyone buy some corpo-rat insurance as it was actually a tax which Con-gress and Barry have the powers to pass and enforce. While this applies to 30 million people without healthcare, there are a further 26 million uninsured people that it doesn't apply to. Have no doubt that they'll be more on this next week!

In Other News

Well, duh! So, the truth is oozing out at last about the 9/11 false flag attacks. Something I figured out in July of 2001 -- something that anyone who was paying attention could have done as well, i.e., that we knew in advance of the 9/11 attacks and did nothing, at the very least, except of course stand down the air force that day. It also seems clear that we were involved in them from the planning stage, see the PNAC statement, with the help of our black ops CIA agent Osama bin Laden. As we found out, eleven countries warned us well in advance about hijacking of airliners and flying them into buildings. The Italian secret service stopped just such a plot in the spring of 2001 for the G-8 summit -- which is why Bush took a missile battery with him when he attended! You'll recall Kindasleezy didn't have a clue about it; how could she know; but then a few months later when the truth about us being warned came out -- oh, yeah; we knew, she later said!

Now, a former member of the Asymmetric Threats Division (DO5) known by the pseudonym "Iron Man" states that his unit was well aware of the 9/11 targets prior to that disastrous day. As Jeffrey Kaye wrote in Buzz Flash:

"Iron Man further elaborated on this point by stating that high-level DoD officials held discussions about DO5's intelligence activities between the summer of 2000 and June 2001 revolving around al-Qaeda's interest in striking the Pentagon, the World Trade Center (WTC), and other targets.

In other words, the Bush administration was fully aware the terrorist organization had set its sights on those structures prior to 9/11; and, apparently, government officials failed to act on those warnings.

For example, Iron Man states in his letter that in the summer of 2000, DO5 briefed USJFCOM senior intelligence officials and staffers, including the deputy commander-in-chief, on the "WMD Threat to the U.S."

Iron Man describes a "sensitive," "oral briefing" that took place that summer "indicating that the World Trade Centers #1 and #2 were the most likely buildings to be attacked [by al-Qaeda], followed closely by the Pentagon. The briefer indicated that the worst-case scenario would be one tower collapsing onto another."

Furthermore, as he states in his letter, Iron Man was certain that such a scenario was part of a "red cell analysis" discussion that took place prior to the intelligence briefing and included a finding that the buildings "could be struck by a jetliner." He wrote that there was a suggestion about alerting WTC security and engineering or architectural staff, "but the idea was not further explored because of a command climate discouraging contact with the civilian community."

If I could put it all together just by reading European newspapers our "intelligence groups" certainly knew with all the warning they got from European spooks. Things like suddenly after every President from JFK to Slick Willie had approved that pilots could carry a gun onboard which was suddenly disallowed by Smirky in June 2001. A few days later, Bush announced that hence forth all "Crime Family Bush" junta members would no longer fly commercial aircraft, but only military planes, etc., etc., etc..

It's just a matter of time before more folks come forward and tell what they know and the Bush Treason Trials start. Not even the forward-looking Obama will be able to prevent them, I look forward to that day, don't you?

And Finally

From the same folks who brought you a bird flu that will have no problem infecting the world, comes news of even more sinister experiments -- this time on humans! Apparently, scientists have been genetically manipulating and altering babies. Yippie, huh?

Scientists have confirmed that the first genetically-altered humans have been born and are healthy -- at least for now. Reports have at least 30 such children have been born -- 15 of them as a result of one experimental program at a US laboratory.

Genetic fingerprint tests on two one-year-old children confirm that they contain a small quantity of additional genes not inherited from either parent but placed in their egg by scientists! These additional genes have altered their germline, or their collection of genes that they will pass on to their offspring, provided they can have kids. For obvious reasons, altering the germline is something that the vast majority of scientists deem unethical.

It is illegal to do so in many countries and the US Government will not provide funds for any experiment that intentionally or unintentionally alters inherited genes. So I wonder who is behind the Franken-children, don't you. This was supposedly done to help women who couldn't have children, to have them. So why am I not surprised? Perhaps because all the other GMO plants and animals that are being brought to market, it's just a slippery slope down line to doing the same to human children and as with the plants and animals they have no idea what may happen in ten years, 20 years or what will they pass on to their children?

Of course, as soon as they've got it down, the Pentagoons will no doubt demand they start building them super soldiers. The Navy will want people with gills, you know, real Navy "seals!" Not to be out done, the Air Force will want human/drone hybrids! O, brave new world, indeed!

Keepin' On

I'm beginning to have serious doubts if we're going to be able to go much further. While I might be able to pick up the tab for June's bills out of my pocket, it would take half of July's S.S. check. I sure wouldn't be able to do anything for July's bill, even though we paid half of that bill back in March. And as I get by on $76 a week, and I need every drop of that, why bother spending half of my check if I won't be able to pay July's bill?

Apparently, only a very few of you care whether the magazine lives or dies. We once were able to raise all the money we needed in just a couple of week's time; now it's a full time job 24/7/365. I know where it comes from and why and when it happened, still if I had to do it over again, I wouldn't change a thing! It stems directly from trying to warn the Sheeple about Obamahood. How could a liberal newsmagazine turn against a liberal candidate? Simple, Barry is and has been a corporate stooge since he entered the Sin-ate, and who knows how long before. He comes by it honestly being from a CIA family, being run by a CIA banker and while Barack the child was no doubt a liberal, pot-smoking, average kid, somewhere along the line he put those days behind him, and became the fascist monster that he is today. The stunning thing to me, at least, is he has the democrats totally bamboozled, willing to overlook the very same things that drove them nuts under Bush, and did something that even Bush never dreamed of doing, like murdering US citizens without trial and killing anyone around them, too.

So, unless we hear from you in the next two weeks, we'll be gone like the wind; and I'll go from a magazine publisher to a simple leftist political pundit and a full-time book writer like I was before the 12-12-2000 coup d'etat went down and destroyed America. If you see no reason for us to continue bringing you the truth and what that will mean for you and yours, do nothing and we'll be gone with the wind in just a couple of weeks. However, if we mean something to you and your family and want us to continue fighting the good fight for you, then do step up now, or forever hold your peace.


O4-02-1912 ~ 06-24-2012
R.I.P. George!

O5-19-1941 ~ 06-26-2012
Thanks for the film!

O6-08-1944 ~ 06-27-2012
Thanks for the film!


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


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

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

Big Money Wins In The Big Skies Of Montana
By Amy Goodman

"I never bought a man who wasn't for sale," William A. Clark reportedly said. He was one of Montana's "Copper Kings," a man who used his vast wealth to manipulate the state government and literally buy votes to make himself a U.S. senator. That was more than 100 years ago, and the blatant corruption of Clark and the other Copper Kings created a furor that led to the passage, by citizen initiative, of Montana's Corrupt Practices Act in 1912. The century of transparent campaign-finance restrictions that followed, preventing corporate money from influencing elections, came to an end this week, as the U.S. Supreme Court summarily reversed the Montana law. Five justices of the U.S Supreme Court reiterated: Their controversial Citizens United ruling remains the law of the land. Clark's corruption contributed to the passage of the 17th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. Now, close to 100 years later, it may take a popular movement to amend the Constitution again, this time to overturn Citizens United and confirm, finally and legally, that corporations are not people.

Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission is the case in which the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that corporations can contribute unlimited amounts of funds toward what are deemed "independent expenditures" in our elections. Thus, corporations, or shadowy "super PACS" that they choose to fund, can spend as much as they care to on negative campaign ads, just as long as they don't coordinate with a candidate's campaign committee. That 2010 ruling, approved by a narrow 5-4 majority of the court, has profoundly altered the electoral landscape-not only for the presidential election, but also for thousands of races around the country. According to a summary of the ruling's impact, prepared by the National Conference of State Legislatures, "While the ruling does not directly affect state laws, there are 24 states that currently prohibit or restrict corporate and/or union spending on candidate elections."

Montana, with its long history of banning corporate contributions, was alone among the states to defy those five U.S. Supreme Court justices. Twenty-two states and the District of Columbia filed a brief in support of Montana, noting that state elections are different. Their supporting brief read, "States-particularly resource-rich States with small populations, like Montana-face the risk that nonresident corporations with discrete and well-defined interests will dominate campaign spending in state and local election contests."

Montana is not known for bipartisanship these days. Democratic Gov. Brian Schweitzer says his veto pen has run out of ink from the number of "crazy" Republican bills that he has had to veto since taking office. Lacking ink, he now takes bills from the Republican-controlled legislature onto the Capitol steps and emblazons them with a red-hot branding iron that says "Veto." So it was significant that, after the Supreme Court decision this week, Schweitzer and his lieutenant governor, John Bohlinger, a Republican, stood together before the Capitol.

Bohlinger said, "Now, Republicans and Democrats don't always agree on policy matters, but there's one thing we do agree on, and that is, corporate money should not influence the outcome of an election." To which Schweitzer added: "Here in Montana, we have a proud, 100-year history of keeping corporate money out of our elections. Corporations aren't people, and they should not control our government. Montana stood up for democracy, here at home and on behalf of America, by fighting to keep our ban on corporate campaign spending. The United States Supreme Court blocked our state law, because they said corporations are people. I'll believe that when Texas executes one."

John Bonifaz is co-founder and director of Free Speech for People, one of a coalition of groups organizing for a constitutional amendment that specifies that "People, person, or persons as used in this Constitution does not include corporations, limited liability companies or other corporate entities." He told me: "We've seen a growing mobilization across the country of people calling for an amendment to reclaim our democracy. Four states are now on record-Hawaii, Rhode Island, Vermont, New Mexico-calling for an amendment. Other states are likely to join that fight soon. Montana [has a] statewide ballot in November for an amendment. Hundreds of municipalities across the country have called for an amendment. Over a thousand business leaders have joined that call. And now there are some dozen amendment bills pending in the United States Congress calling for an amendment, with hearings to be held before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee this July."

Perhaps the only silver lining in the Supreme Court's decision to send Montana back to the age of the Copper Kings is that a mass movement is building to assert the rights of people over the power of money in politics.
(c) 2012 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback and "Breaking The Sound Barrier."

Our Muslim Brothers
By Uri Avnery

EVERYBODY KNOWS by now why we are stuck in Palestine.

When God instructed Moses to plead with Pharaoh to let his people go, Moses told him that he was unfit for the job because "I am slow of speech and of a slow tongue" (Exodus 4:10).

Actually, in the Hebrew original, Moses told God that he was "heavy of the mouth and heavy of the tongue." He should have told Him that he was also heavy of the ears. So when God told him to take his people to Canada, he took his people to Canaan, spending the prescribed 40 years - just long enough to reach Vancouver - wandering hither and thither in the Sinai desert.

So here we are, in Canaan, surrounded by Muslims.

FOR DECADES, my friends and I have warned that if we dither in making peace, the nature of the conflict will change. I myself have written dozens of times that if our conflict is transformed from a national to a religious struggle, everything will change for the worse.

The Zionist-Arab struggle started as a clash between two great national movements, which were born more or less at the same time as offshoots of the new European nationalism.

Almost all the early Zionists were convinced atheists, inspired (and pushed out) by the European nationalist movements. They used religious symbols quite cynically - to mobilize the Jews and as a propaganda tool for the others.

The Arab resistance to the Zionist settlement was basically secular and nationalist, too. It was a part of the rising wave of nationalism throughout the Arab world. True, the leader of the Palestinian resistance was Hadj Amin al-Husseini, Grand Mufti of Jerusalem, but he was both a national and a religious leader, using religious motives to reinforce the national ones.

National leaders are supposed to be rational. They make war and they make peace. When it suits them, they compromise. They talk to each other.

Religious conflicts are quite different. When God is inserted into the matter, everything becomes more extreme. God may be compassionate and loving, but His adherents are generally not. God and compromise don't go well together. Especially not in the holy land of Canaan.

THE RELIGIONALIZATION (if a Hebrew-speaking Israeli be allowed to coin an English word) of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict started on both sides.

Years ago, the historian Karen Armstrong, a former nun, wrote a thought-provoking book ("The Battle for God") about religious fundamentalism. She put her finger on an astonishing fact: Christian, Jewish and Islamic fundamentalist movements were very much alike.

Delving into the history of fundamentalist movements in the US, Israel, Egypt and Iran, she discovered that they were born at the same time and underwent the same stages. Since there is very little similarity between the four countries and the four societies, not to mention the three religions, this is a remarkable fact.

The inevitable conclusion is that there is something in the Zeitgeist of our time which encourages such ideas, something not anchored in the remote past, which is glorified by the fundamentalists, but in the present.

IN ISRAEL, it started on the morrow of the 1967 war, when the Army Chief Rabbi, Shlomo Goren, went to the newly "liberated" Western Wall and blew his Shofar (religious ram's horn). Yeshayahu Leibowitz called him "the Clown with the shofar," but throughout the country it evoked a resounding echo.

Before the Six Days, the religious wing of Zionism was the stepchild of the movement. For many of us, religion was a tolerated superstition, looked down upon, used by politicians for reasons of expediency.

The overwhelming victory of the Israeli army in that war looked like divine intervention, and the religious youth sprang into life. It was like the fulfillment of Psalm 118 (22): "The stone which the builders refused is become the head stone of the corner." The pent-up energies of the religious sector, nursed for years in their separate ultra-nationalist schools, burst out.

The result was the settlers' movement. They raced to occupy every hilltop in the occupied territories. True, many settlers went there to build their dream villas on stolen Arab land and enjoy the ultimate "quality of life". But at the core of the enterprise are the fundamentalist fanatics, who are ready to live harsh and dangerous lives, because (as the Crusaders used to shout) "God Wills It!"

The whole raison d'etre of the settlements is to drive the Arabs out of the country and turn the whole land of Canaan into a Jewish state. In the meantime their shock troops carry out pogroms against their Arab "neighbors" and burn their mosques.

These fundamentalists now have a huge influence on our government's policy, and their impact is growing. For example: for months now, the country has been ablaze after the Supreme Court decreed that 5 (five!) houses in Bet El settlement must be demolished, because they were built on private Arab land. In a desperate effort to prevent riots, Binyamin Netanyahu has promised to build in their stead 850 (eight hundred and (fifty!) new houses in the occupied territories. Such things happen all the time.

But let there be no mistake: after the cleansing of the country of non-Jews, the next step would be to turn Israel into a "halakha state" - a country governed by religious law, with the abolition of all democratically enacted secular laws that do not conform to the word of God and His rabbis.

SUBSTITUTE THE word "shariah" for "halakha" - both mean religious law - and you have the dream of Muslim fundamentalists. Both laws, by the way, are remarkably similar. And both cover all spheres of life, individual and collective.

Since the start of the Arab Spring, the fledgling Arab democracy has brought Muslim fundamentalists to the fore. Actually, that started even before, when Hamas (an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood) won the democratic, internationally monitored elections in Palestine. However, the resulting Palestinian government was destroyed by the Israeli leadership and its subservient US and European subcontractors.

Last week's apparent victory of the Muslim Brotherhood in the Egyptian presidential elections was a landmark. After similar victories in Tunisia and the events in Libya, Yemen and Syria, it is clear that Arab citizens everywhere favor the Muslim Brotherhood and similar parties.

The Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, founded in 1928, is an old established party which has earned much respect with its steadfastness in the face of recurrent persecution, torture, mass arrests and occasional executions. Its leaders are untainted by the prevalent corruption, and admired for their commitment to social work.

The West is haunted by medieval ideas about the horrible Saracens. The Muslim Brotherhood inspires terror. It is conceived as a fearsome, murderous, secret sect, out to destroy Israel and the West. Of course, practically no one has taken the trouble to study the history of this movement in Egypt and elsewhere. Actually, it could not be further removed from this parody.

The Brotherhood has always been a moderate party, though they almost always had a more extreme wing. Whenever possible, they tried to accommodate the successive Egyptian dictators - Abd-al-Nasser, Sadat and Mubarak - though all of these tried to eradicate them.

The Brotherhood is first and foremost an Arab and Egyptian party, deeply embedded in Egyptian history. Though they would probably deny it, I would say - judging from their history - that they are more Arab and more Egyptian than fundamentalist. They certainly have never been fanatical.

During their 84 years, they have seen many ups and downs. But mostly, their outstanding quality has been pragmatism, coupled with adherence to the principles of their religion. It is this pragmatism that also characterizes their behavior during the last year and a half, which - so its seems - caused quite a number of voters who are not particularly religious to prefer them to the secular candidate who is tainted by his connection with the corrupt and repressive former regime.

This also determines their attitude towards Israel. Palestine is constantly on their mind - but that is true of all Egyptians. Their conscience is troubled by the feeling that at Camp David, Anwar Sadat betrayed the Palestinians. Or, worse, that the devious Jew, Menachem Begin, tricked Sadat into signing a document that did not say what Sadat thought it said. It is not the Brothers that caused the Egyptians who greeted us enthusiastically, the first Israelis to visit their country, to turn against us.

Throughout the heated election campaigns - four in a year - the Brotherhood has not demanded the abrogation of the peace agreement with Israel. Their attitude seems to be as pragmatic as ever.

ALL OUR neighbors are turning, slowly but surely, Islamic.

That is not the end of the world. But it surely compels us, for the first time, to try to understand Islam and the Muslims.

For centuries, Islam and Judaism had a close and mutually beneficial relationship. The Jewish sages in Muslim Spain, the great Maimonides and many other prominent Jews were close to Islamic culture and wrote some of their works in Arabic. There is certainly nothing in the two religions that precludes cooperation between them. (Which, alas, is not true for Christianity, which could not tolerate the Jews.)

If we want Israel to exist and flourish in a region that will for a long time be governed by democratically elected Islamist parties, we would do well to welcome them now as brothers, congratulate them on their victories and work for peace and conciliation with elected Islamists in Egypt and the other Arab states, including Palestine. We must certainly resist the temptation to push the Americans into supporting another military dictatorship in Egypt, Syria and elsewhere. Let's chose the future, not the past.

Unless we prefer to pack up and head for Canada, after all.
(c) 2012 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Where Are All The Dead Bodies From Swine Flu?
CDC's new estimates of half a million dead prove too comedic to ignore
By Mike Adams

Until a couple of days ago, the CDC had claimed that the swine flu pandemic of 2009 killed roughly 18,500 people. That's been the "official" number for the last three years. But suddenly, in a burst of revisionist inspiration, the CDC has retroactive altered medical history and announced that as many as half a million people may have died from swine flu after all!

And yet, somehow, we all missed those 500,000 dead bodies in 2009, which would have overflowed from the morgues, filled local gymnasiums and been found dropping dead across our streets. If 500,000+ people died from swine flu, modern cities would have been littered with dead bodies like something from a war scene. After all, the entire Vietnam War killed roughly 50,000 Americans, and the CDC is claiming swine flu killed ten times as many people.

So where is the war zone? Where are all the bodies? I don't recall any pictures in the news of bodies stacking up anywhere. No reports of morgues overflowing with dead people. No mass graves. No footage from the TV news showing the horrors of stacked body bags. None of that ever happened!

Half a million people died but somehow nobody noticed

Apparently the CDC's position is that 500,000+ people died and somehow no one noticed, if you can believe that. Yep, while we were all watching Dancing With the Stars, hundreds of thousands of our brothers and sisters were dropping dead on the streets around the world, and then they somehow just vanished into thin air and haven't been heard from since. (Insert Twilight Zone music here...)

Thank goodness the CDC has finally found them all! Thanks to the agency's "computer modeling" -- a euphemism for the less technical term "making sh*t up" -- all those 500,000+ deaths have finally been accounted for!

But where are the bodies, then? Any cop knows that if you think you have a murder, you need a body. No body means no murder... probably just a missing person instead. So where are the CDC's bodies?

The only rational conclusion is that the CDC is hiding all the bodies! That's why we haven't seen them. Yes, they've dispatched teams of literal body snatchers to whisk away all the dead swine flu bodies before we would notice anything. Check the nursing homes... are your parents still there? Maybe they got snatched by the CDC and you just never noticed...

Bodies for the zombie apocalypse?

So somewhere deep in the CDC's basement, alongside the thawed autism brains and level-4 bioweapons they've been feverishly working on releasing soon in a Chicago bus station, there's a gruesome collection of hundreds of thousands of bodies of swine flu victims. You might wonder, then, for what purpose they are keeping a few hundred thousand bodies on ice.

The answer should be obvious: The CDC is going to re-animate all those bodies and send them back onto the streets during the next zombie apocalypse that the CDC has already warned us about!

According to the CDC's own words posted on May 16th, 2011 -- and no, I'm seriously not making this up:

Where do zombies come from and why do they love eating brains so much? ...Zombies would take over entire countries, roaming city streets eating anything living that got in their way. The proliferation of this idea has led many people to wonder - How do I prepare for a zombie apocalypse?

So now it's all becoming clear. The CDC is hoarding swine flu bodies (which we somehow never noticed were missing), and it's going to re-animate them using Frankenvaccines, then unleash them onto the streets of America as the much-anticipated zombie apocalypse.

Ah, now it all makes sense. I'm glad there's a rational explanation behind it all, because for a minute there I thought the CDC was just fabricating numbers out of thin air in order to push more vaccines.
(c) 2012 Mike Adams, the Health Ranger is the editor of the Natural

Echoes From The Future
Perspectives of Imperial Reality
By Chris Floyd

Below is a reprise of a piece I wrote some years ago: a work of "political fiction" (in the strict sense of the term -- not a euphemism for the slagheap of lies pouring out of Washington and other world capitals every day). In some respects, it chimes with themes currently being explored in a new series by Arthur Silber, who is using historical material to put our present day in a different, and disturbing, perspective. The piece below incorporates some direct quotes (with slight alterations) from our modern-day imperial apologists. As Faulkner once said: the past is never dead; it's not even past.

(P.S. While you're checking out Silber's series, consider dropping a few coins, if you've got them, in the contribution box there. Silber, driven to the margins of our benevolent society by ill health, depends on reader contributions to keep going. As we've noted often here, his is an important voice that we can ill afford to lose.)

The original version of this article appeared in the Feb. 22 2006 edition of The Moscow Times.

BERLIN, May 12, 2153 - Within the ivy-covered walls of Farben University, a great battle is now raging. But although the Reich's ancient capital has seen its share of warfare down through the centuries, today's combatants have no swords, no guns, no bio-disrupters - just words and pictures, marshalled on either side of a fierce debate that has split the staid academic world in two, and is beginning to spill over into national politics as well. It all revolves around a simple question: Was the German Empire a good thing or a bad thing?

At one time, the answer would have seemed clear. In the three decades since the last "Reich Protectorate" gained its independence (Ukraine, 2122), the liberal consensus among German historians has been that the Empire founded more than 200 years ago by Adolf Hitler was largely a malign development: "a system born in aggression and atrocity, which inflicted terrible suffering on the conquered lands for generations, and warped German society itself with its arrogance, brutality and corruption," as Germany's leading historian, Yuri Vinogradov, put it in his landmark 2128 work, Reich and Reality. That book set the tone for a flood of hard-hitting probes into Reich history that left almost no nationalist myth intact.

But in recent years, a group of conservative historians - dubbed the "Revisionists" - have sternly challenged this view. Led by the young Danzig firebrand, Gregor Metzger, the Revisionists argue that the achievements of the Empire - and the "Leader-State system" that was replaced by parliamentary democracy in 2120 - have been denigrated by, in Metzger's words, "liberal apologists picking at old scabs." 

"Everyone knows there were blots on the Empire's record," Metzger says. "No one today would countenance, say, the early Reich's treatment of the Jews or the excesses in putting down the Muslim Rebellions in the Caucasus, etc. But neither should we look back and impose our modern values on the people of those times. Rather, we should try to understand them in their own context - and appreciate their many accomplishments."

These accomplishments, say the Revisionists, include: the eradication of Communism in Europe; the establishment of a continent-wide free market for goods, labor and capital; the creation of a common legal system and government institutions now used by most of the old colonies; and the planting of large settler communities throughout Eastern Europe and Central Asia that have evolved into thriving cities and "carried the values of Western Civilization deep into benighted and lawless lands," as Metzger writes in his best-selling new book, The End of Shame: German Power in Perspective.

The Revisionists' work has been taken up by conservative politicians seeking to roll back many of the democratic reforms and cultural freedoms instituted by what they scornfully call "the new Weimar Republic." Citing Metzger and others, they are advancing a "national greatness agenda" to foster pride in the Homeland, restore "traditional moral values" to society, and reassert German dominance in world affairs. The centrist government, put on the defensive by these attacks, has increasingly adopted more nationalist rhetoric, and last month cancelled a long-planned exhibition at the National Museum on "Hitler's Tainted Legacy," calling it "too biased."

Much of the academic debate turns on interpretations of the Speer Era (1947-81). After Hitler's death from cancer in 1947, Armaments Minister Albert Speer took power with the backing of intelligence chief Wilhelm Canaris in a brief but bloody coup against the Nazi old guard. He then negotiated an armistice, and the battle lines of the deadlocked armies became the boundaries of the new world order, leaving Germany in control of Europe from the Pyrenees to the Urals. 

To the Revisionists, Speer and Canaris are heroes - pragmatic moderates who curbed the Regime's ugliest aspects while preserving its vast territorial gains and consolidating its power. "Although Leader Hitler's dream of a civilizing German empire in the East was somewhat skewed by his unfortunate adherence to the American pseudo-science of eugenics, it was still a noble vision," Metzger says. "Leader Speer purged this vision of its dross and made it the foundation of our modern world."

For the liberals, that is precisely the problem. "After the coup, Speer could have restored democracy," says Vinogradov. "He could have withdrawn from the conquered lands. He could have made reparations to Hitler's victims and confronted the nation's guilt. Instead he chose to assume Hitler's mantle, the semi-divine aura of the 'Leader,' exalting power above the law. Centuries of crime and tyranny flowed from that fatal choice. Yes, he closed the death-camps - but prosecuted no one for these atrocities. He accelerated the land-theft of the settlements, and drafted millions into forced labor to make up for the loss of native Germans to the colonies. Why pretend this was somehow noble or glorious? We should simply tell the truth about it."

Vinogradov is himself a product of the forced labor policy. When the Soviet state collapsed after Stalin's retreat to the Urals, European Russia was savagely reduced, and its territory parceled out to other Reich protectorates. Moscow was razed to the ground in 1944 and never rebuilt; its carefully preserved ruins are still a popular attraction for German tourists. Vinogradov's ancestors, native Muscovites, were shipped to Germany to work in the fields. 

The Revisionists say the "scab-picking" over the past is irrelevant in the modern world. "What's done is done," says Metzger. "The Romans have already conquered Carthage. Britain has already built its imperial wealth on slavery and colonial rule. The Americans have already slaughtered the Indians and chained the slaves. We can't unring the bell. Nor should we want to. What matters are the long-term benefits to civilization we have accrued from those who came before us, whatever their mistakes or misdeeds might have been. Which of these benefits would you give up to rectify some ancient historical wrong? 

Metzger, tipped by many as the likely replacement for Vinogradov when he retires as head of the Farben history faculty next year, can't resist a slight personal dig at his venerable rival.

"One wonders if Herr Professor Vinogradov would enjoy the same kind of prosperity - and freedom to criticize - he possesses today if the Communist evil had not been destroyed, at great sacrifice, by German power," Metzger says. "While one sincerely regrets the injuries to the professor's forbears, I think, on balance, we can say that the liberation of the East from Stalinist tyranny was a boon for all humanity." 

Vinogradov shrugs off these "shallow" arguments. "The point of historical research is not to dispossess the present, but to disillusion it: to strip away self-serving myth and fatal ignorance, in order to see more clearly how we got here, and what it really cost, and how these costs shape - and distort - our responses to reality. Otherwise, we are blind - easy prey for the abusers of power and their murderous deceptions."

(c) 2012 Chris Floyd

Time To Focus On The 'Doug Jones Average'

To measure how our economy is doing, media outlets keep a constant eye on the Dow Jones Average. But they're like cats watching the wrong mouse hole, for the great majority of Americans have between zero and next-to-nothing in the stock market.

The economic measure that matters most to most folks is the Doug Jones Average. The Doug is concerned about such key indicators as the pump price on a gallon of regular, the subprime value of today's seven-and-a-quarter minimum wage, and the impact of global inflationary pressures on the cost of a six-pack.

So, how're Doug and Dottie Jones doing? The number crunchers at the Federal Reserve have just answered that for us: not well, not well at all. In its latest Survey of Consumer Finances, the Fed found that from 2007 to 2010, all but the wealthiest 10 percent of American households have been downwardly-mobile. The median net worth of U.S. households tumbled in these four years by a startling 39 percent, falling to the lowest level in 20 years.

In short, Americans are not merely feeling poorer ­ they are. Foreclosures, lost jobs, wage declines, and other reductions (combined with rising costs of everything from gasoline to child care) have become the norm, shoving many proud middle-classers into poverty. Yet, Washington remains fixated on the Dow Jones Average and the stock market elite, with Republican leaders even clamoring for a return to the disastrous policies of tinkle-down economics that caused this decline.

Meanwhile, three-fourths of Americans today have more invested in their aging cars than in stocks ­with the consumer economy busted, America's cars are now, on average, 11 years old. Restoring American prosperity begins with restoring the Joneses to the middle class ­ percolate up economics, not tinkle down.
(c) 2012 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Tangled, Weakening Webs
Paraguay, Syria and the Last Ditch Efforts of a Crumbling Elite Class
By Cindy Sheehan

I'm not going to say I know a lot about South American politics. I do know more than most people in the United States do, which is to say "nothing". So, even knowing next to nothing I am seeing a bigger pattern here, one of panic, one of over-extending themselves everywhere while trying to retain of a World increasingly set against the Powers That Be in the US.

I know this is hard for the average North American to think about. In our minds, before the Western colonization there was nothing here. Ok, a few Pocahontases and some really weird people who made pyramids and cut people's heads off. Then after we got here, anything South of our border reads like this to Joe Six pack: "All them Mexican countries... lessee, drug lords, poor people trying to steal our jobs, then further down, all there is is jungles and a few resorts." If you press them a little, they might remember that "One of those countries has some oil, got too big for their britches and some of them are downright pinko, like that Castro." They have no idea about any of our interventionism in South America and the Caribbean. To them, it is a no-mans land, other than a place to go on vacation in some enclave of whiteness and drink too much rum. A place that must not be able to run themselves, they have so many regime changes... never once thinking that those changes are due to a constant battle between US interests and the people trying to be autonomous and free of our tyranny.

Chances are, none see our hand in the Coup d'etat in Paraguay.

A primer:

I've written much about it, how Clueless of the Caribbean we are when it comes to places like Haiti and Puerto Rico struggling to be free of us I wrote last June. Has awareness improved?

Cuba, Bolivia, Ecuador, Nicaragua and Venezuela have just submitted to the UN for the 13th time a request that Puerto Rico be free and independent.

Meanwhile, the ACLU is reporting the US-backed Police in Puerto Rico documented cases of "excessive force, sometimes deadly, to suppress speech, subdue protesters, and target ethnic and racial minorities" against those who want Independence.

What follows is formulaic US puppets' accusations of it being "about" drugs, and asking for our intervention. This, in turn, overshadows the fact that we recently overturned PR delegates the right to vote in committee.

So much for representation, eh? See the full chart in my "clueless" post for more detail on places like American Samoa, Guam, Virgin Islands, Gitmo and others. Its hard to get to express the depth of our control without giving at least a brief history lesson.

Here's a news flash! THE USA DID 9/11 BEYOND ANY REASONABLE DOUBT. The first one, I mean.

...the torture and murder of thousands upon thousands of Chileans were "disappeared" or outright assassinated by the brutal killer Pinochet in 1973? More than 130,000 citizens were imprisoned in the following years for daring to want the right to self-determination.

This was another CIA backed attempt to stop the People-based government of Allende, a leftist and replace him with a brutal dictator from the furthest reaches of the neo-con right. President Salvador Allende was murdered in the coup, though there are claims he committed suicide.

Right now, there are student protests happening in Chile in opposition to the Chilean government's trying to privatize education; the student march to stand for it being a social right. They feel it should not be a profiteering enterprise. This is HUGE, yet nary a word about the "Springs" happening on our own continent makes our press.

You weren't supposed to notice the Honduran Coup June of 2009.

You aren't likely to even have heard of the attempted coup in Ecuador after they cut themselves out of the IMF.

You have no idea in this time of economic hardship, that we are throwing 20 MILLION at overthrowing Chavez in their election. Your tax dollars tamper with elections in a sovereign nation, while you cannot get health care. Nice, eh?

We, here are painfully unaware of the perpetual war on ALBA Nations waged perpetually by the US/Western money interests.

The Contras being backed by our drug/arms sales to overthrow the People's movement is the closest we get to having a clue about our thousands of interventions in South America.


So, the latest Western intervention, coup d'etat just happened in Paraguay. Fernando Lugo, former Catholic Bishop was a leftist struggling to help the poor and return some of the stolen by the rich lands to the people. Reactions have been almost unanimous in denunciation of this act, but other than Venezuela fairly toothless.

We have been intervening in Paraguay for years, propping up the rightist Laino in the early 80's. This is no different. We could not let a leftist stand, and surely had a hand in the parliamentary trickery that ousted a legally and democratically elected even "kind of" leftist remain in power.

Even Uruguay voted to not let the new President attend a MERCOSUR summit! Only Costa Rica and Uruguay have been traditionally the "whitest" and most western-friendly of nations, have remained relatively untouched by our CIA. Lets face it, they were friendly enough to our interests to not have needed to. Yet Costa Rica, long holding a face-value "nuetral" status has since 2010 allowed US troops on their soil under the ever-hand "drug danger" allegation that nearly always is the smoke screen for pushing back on any leftist movement. If the people want power, if the people want to thrive from their own resources, rather than allow a few rich Norte Americanos to profit off them? Drugs or "human rights violations" are always the go-to cover story.

These are the bare bones of the stories that make up the atrocities done by the US to our Southern neighbors. A primer, if you will. We on the left are more prone to questioning what is happening in our Middle Eastern and African forays... yet pay so little attention to what is happening on our own continents.

I wonder what it is about Junes and Septembers with our CIA and S.A.?


It is becoming more and more apparent daily that Syria and all her atrocities is backed and funded by the CIA and that the Houla Massacre was the act of NATO allies not Assad.

Lets see, that would be Syria that just made trade agreements with Iran and Venezuela. Syria, whose allies and trading partners Russia and China refuse to allow the US to create another Libyan type fiasco.

Any of us remotely aware at all realizes that Iraq was over oil, and Iran will be over control of the Straits of Hormuz through which it flows.

Iraq and Af/Pak over-extended our troops, but the uptick, hell tsunami of dronings have eased the need for boots on the ground.

We are now in:

Iraq Afghanistan Pakistan Somalia Libya Syria Yemen Uganda

We are banging the drums of war at, and infiltrating Iran as well.

We are suddenly militarizing and overthrowing at an increasing rate any leftist countries in South and Central America.

We are arming drones against our own civilians and calling them enemy combatants with kill on sight orders.

It really does plead for the leap of logic to explain why now, why when the US economy is about to crash, when all Western Nations are about to be sucked down the swirling ponzi drain of inequity with us, would they possibly want to expend the time and energy to work so hard to subvert other Nations?

The answer my friends is couched smack dab in the question with those with eyes to see.

The US has become the bane and bully of the World, and is rapidly losing traditional Western support among traditionally "with them" Nations. At least among the people who are demonstrating in Occupies around the globe. They are desperate that the Nations trading outside their interests do not spread the most frightening thing of all: The idea that post-collapse we must never again allow an Elite Class to exploit resources up to the hand of the few at the expense of the many.

Strategically, they know that there is really no more they can tap out of a broke, unemployed and largely unemployable class of serfs in the United States, and are looking for smaller, less armed Countries from which to create a new base for their hegemony.

If nothing else, taking over a smaller country and setting up a dictator there, insures somewhere to hide for our War criminals, much like the Nazis did after their War Crimes.

If this "ship" is going down, they are in a mad scramble to snatch and grab what they can, where they can, and hoard it to tide themselves over whatever Armageddon they have created.

The BRIC countries, those who have decided to trade outside of the dollar; the ALBA countries, anyone with even soft-pink economies like the Scandinavian countries all are enemies to their goals. The former seen as "evil to be destroyed"; the latter as "stupid nanny states to be punished" in their propaganda.

There is no portend of a Global Revolution than the desperation of the Predatory Capitalist Class to grossly over-extend themselves in order to hedge their last minute bets on either surviving, escaping or controlling things from somewhere else on a smaller scale, where they still may live as Kings among paupers.

Because to them? The only other option is unthinkable.
(c) 2012 Cindy Sheehan is the mother of Specialist Casey A. Sheehan, who was killed in Iraq on April 4, 2004. Since then, she has been an activist for peace and human rights. She has published five books, has her own Internet radio show, Cindy Sheehan's Soapbox, and has been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize. You can learn more about Cindy at Cindy Sheehan's Blogspot.

Famed Easter Island Heads Have Bodies
By James Donahue

Back when Norwegian archaeologist Thor Heyerdahl made his journey on an open raft from South America to Easter Island and then led an archaeological excavation of the island, it apparently never occurred to him that there might be more to that strange row of giant carved heads than meets the eye.

In his book The Kon-Tiki Expedition: By Raft Across the South Seas, Heyerdahl presented his theory that people traveled from Peru to Easter Island and settled there about 380 A.D. His expedition team uncovered evidence of a once advanced civilization that briefly occupied the island until all of the trees were gone. He even offered theories as to how the natives carved the heads, moved them from a quarry and used wooden beams to push them upright.

Heyerdahl's work was hailed by the world archaeological community and his theories have stood, nearly unchallenged, until 2010 when a fresh dig, the Easter Island Statue Project led by Jo Anne Van Tilburg, began digging around two of the "heads" and made a startling discovery. The heads are only part of much larger statues that have full bodies that go deep into the earth.

This puts the Easter Island "Moai," the traditional name for the heads, in league with the other great world monoliths like Stonehenge and the Great Pyramids. Estimated to have been carved by ancient Polynesians between 1100 and 1500 A.D., the rock giants tower up to 70 feet in height. Their massive weight and size puts in question the Heyerdahl theory that the natives used ropes and wooden poles to raise them to an upright position.

The research teams, refusing to believe that supernatural forces may have been at play on Easter Island, have offered yet a new theory as to how the natives may have moved the moai statues once they were carved.

Archaeologist Carl Lipo and anthropologist Terry Hunt, in an article published in the July, 2012 issue of National Geographic magazine, suggest that the natives used a system of ropes and manpower to collectively "walk" the 270-ton monuments to their place on the hill looking out over the ocean.

Kipo and Hunt apparently assume that the statues were carved in their upright position, that the rock from which they were made was already conveniently in place on the edge of the quarry, that the road to the hill was flat and solid, and that there would be no problem "walking" the giants to their place on a sloping hill. The thought of the possible tipping of one of the statues and failure on the part of the natives to move it farther seems almost inevitable. And if it had happened that way, the road from the quarry to the row of Moai on the hill should be found strewn with the monster rocks that didn't make it. Another theory has held that the islanders used some form of a sled to drag the statues to their destination. This suggests that thousands of slaves were involved, much as some researchers believe the pyramids were built. This theory also suggests that the deforestation of the island to be used in the statue transporting was linked to the destruction of the island's population.

The Van Tilburg research team has made a few other interesting discoveries after digging to the base of the two statues. They rest on pavements made of rock. On the pavement under one of the statues was found a stone carved with a crescent symbol thought to represent a canoe or vaka, a native sea-going vessel.

Van Tilburg also reports large quantities of red pigment found at the sites, suggesting that when they were put in place, they were painted red. The backs of the two uncovered statues are covered with petroglyphs, many of them also appearing to be vaka.

Putting all of this new information together into a revised theory as to who the Easter Island inhabitants were and why they used all of their resources to manufacture this amazing row of about 150 giants, all turned facing the open sea, will obviously keep anthropologists guessing for years to come.

We may never know the answer. (c) 2012 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site

Oh Say, Maybe We Can't See
Another 4th of July
By David Swanson

It's just possible that the space of 236 years and a truckload of fireworks are obscuring our vision.

It's hard for us to see what should be obvious.

Many nations -- including Canada as the nearest example -- have gained their independence without wars. We claim that a war was for independence, but if we could have had all the same advantages without the war, would that not have been better?

Back in 1986, a book was published by now Virginia State Delegate and Minority Leader David Toscano, the great nonviolent strategist Gene Sharp, and others, called "Resistance, Politics, and the American Struggle for Independence, 1765-1775."

Those dates are not a typo. During those years, the people of the British colonies that would become the United States used boycotts, rallies, marches, theatrics, noncompliance, bans on imports and exports, parallel extra-legal governments, the lobbying of Parliament, the physical shutting down of courts and offices and ports, the destruction of tax stamps, endless educating and organizing, and the dumping of tea into a harbor -- all to successfully achieve a large measure of independence, among other things, prior to the War for Independence. Home-spinning clothes to resist the British empire was practiced in the future United States long before Gandhi tried it.

The colonists didn't talk about their activities in Gandhian terms. They didn't foreswear violence. They sometimes threatened it and occasionally used it. They also, disturbingly, talked of resisting "slavery" to England even while maintaining actual slavery. And they spoke of their loyalty to the King even while denouncing his laws.

Yet they largely rejected violence as counter-productive. They repealed the Stamp Act after effectively nullifying it. They repealed nearly all of the Townsend Acts. The committees they organized to enforce boycotts of British goods also enforced public safety and developed a new national unity.

And then they turned decisively to violence, a choice that need not be excused, much less glorified. We've moved beyond many common practices of the eighteenth century. Why not that one?

While we imagine that the Iraq War has been our only war started with lies, we forget that the Boston Massacre was distorted beyond recognition, including in an engraving by Paul Revere that depicted the British as butchers. We erase the fact that Benjamin Franklin produced a fake issue of the Boston Independent in which the British boasted of scalp hunting. And we forget the elite nature of the opposition to Britain. We drop down the memory hole the reality of those early days for ordinary nameless people. Howard Zinn explains:

"Around 1776, certain important people in the English colonies made a discovery that would prove enormously useful for the next two hundred years. They found that by creating a nation, a symbol, a legal unity called the United States, they could take over land, profits, and political power from favorites of the British Empire. In the process, they could hold back a number of potential rebellions and create a consensus of popular support for the rule of a new, privileged leadership."

In fact, prior to the violent revolution, there had been 18 uprisings against colonial governments, six black rebellions, and 40 riots. The political elites saw a possibility for redirecting anger toward England. The poor who would not profit from the war or reap its political rewards had to be compelled by force to fight in it. Many, including slaves, promised greater liberty by the British, deserted or switched sides.

The Declaration of Independence was an indictment of King George III for various abuses of power that resembled what we happily permit U.S. presidents to engage in today, either as regards the people of the United States or the people of territories and nations that our military occupies in a manner uncomfortably resembling Britain's rule over the 13 colonies.

Imagine if King George had kept a secret list of the individuals he would murder without due process. I am confident that such an outrage would have topped the list of complaints in the Declaration of Independence. But King George didn't do anything that outrageous.

The war for independence was also a war to open up the west to expansion and wars against Native Americans. King George, according to the Declaration of Independence, had "endeavoured to bring on the inhabitants of our frontiers, the merciless Indian Savages." But those were people fighting in defense of their lands and lives, rather like the people of Afghanistan today.

Interestingly, when the British surrendered at Yorktown and departed, the Americans didn't cry out, "Please don't abandon us!" Do we really believe that Afghans have no love for independence?

Are we completely unaware that we have become the redcoats?

What exactly are we thinking when we celebrate the Fourth of July?
(c) 2012 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

The Potential Upside Of Captivity
By David Sirota

With states looking to raise taxes on oil and gas production and better regulate the most controversial drilling practices, we can expect industry to soon trot out its tried and true argument against such moves. As they did here in Colorado a few years back when our governor proposed a hike in severance levies, oil and gas companies will promise to leave any place where taxes or regulation increase.

Such blackmail deftly plays to our reflexive fears of job outsourcing - and those fears are understandable. Indeed, in a "free-trade" era that has seen corporate decision-makers dream of putting "every plant you own on a barge" and shifting production to the lowest-wage nations on earth (a direct quote from GE's then-CEO Jack Welch), offshoring is very real in too many industries.

But, as a new study highlights, when it comes to natural resource extraction, there's a little secret the oil and gas industry doesn't want voters to know: namely, that the "we will leave if you tax or regulate us!" threats are hollow when it comes to fossil fuels thanks to their captive status.

Before we get to the study, remember how energy economics fundamentally differ from those of other industries. Specifically, remember that unlike textile or electronics firms, whose raw material inputs are common and that can therefore move production all over the world, fossil fuel companies are extracting a resource that is relatively rare, altogether finite and - most important - tied to specific geographies. Additionally, because of both scarcity and consumers' insatiable demand, these resources retain their long-term value like few other commodities, meaning if one company leaves a fossil-fuel-rich area, another will surely move in to exploit the vacuum.

That brings us to the analysis by the nonpartisan Headwaters Economics, which proves this reality. Contrasting oil drilling investment in Montana and North Dakota, the study found that "oil production has more than doubled in North Dakota, where the oil resource is best, while Montana's production, where the tax rate is roughly half, has declined by 14 percent." In other words, despite Montana trying to lure oil companies to the state with lower extraction taxes, it has failed because the best resources are geologically trapped in North Dakota.

This dynamic has been replicated in almost every area with valuable energy resources.

Wyoming, for example, has a relatively high severance tax compared to its neighbors - and is nonetheless experiencing a drilling boom because it has some of the best natural gas resources in the world. Likewise, as ProPublica reports, states that have tightened their environmental regulations have subsequently seen near-record levels of fossil fuel extraction simply because energy development remains hugely profitable. Meanwhile, energy states that have short-sightedly succumbed to hysterical fearmongering about energy-industry job flight have needlessly deprived themselves of billions of dollars in public resources.

Way back in 2007, I wrote a column about the potential for the rise of "captive industry populism" whereby the public strategically leverages its power over industries that are inherently anchored to a given locale. You can imagine such policies affecting everything from tourism to transportation to food production to drinking water to, yes, energy.

Because of corporate money's influence, of course, such a politics hasn't yet emerged. But if the economy continues to struggle, you can bet it will - as it should. After all, if it's just "good business" for unmoored companies to use the threat of flight to get local governments to reduce taxes or regulation, then its similarly good business for local governments to be just as hard-nosed when dealing with companies that can't back up such threats with action.

Anything less would be a needless double standard - and another bilking of taxpayers.
(c) 2012 David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee.

Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer leaves a news conference responding to the United States Supreme Court
decision regarding Arizona's controversial immigration law, SB1070, coming down at
the Arizona Capitol Monday, June 25, 2012, in Phoenix.

Desert Mirage? Supreme Court Ruling May Bring Little Relief In Arizona
By Randall Amster

Among some beleaguered Arizona residents and outside observers, there's a tendency to look for a silver lining wherever possible. This is entirely understandable, given the overt repression and legislated bigotry prevalent in recent years. The reaction to the Supreme Court's decision regarding SB 1070 is a case in point, yet despite the temptation to celebrate a partial victory, things are likely to get worse before they get better.

The good news is that the Court validated the notion that immigration is the business of the federal government and not the states. But this raises its own problematic set of conditions, since federal immigration laws and practices are arcane, and enforcement priorities can be highly politicized. Under the current administration, deportations have reached an all-time high, and the U.S.-Mexico border has been increasingly militarized. Still, the renegade nature of Arizona's repressive policies has only moved things from bad to worse.

So it indeed brings a sense of relief that the Court invalidated much of the state's noxious law. Left standing, however, is the notorious "show me your papers" provision of the law, and its ostensible invitation toward widespread racial profiling. This provision, which Arizona is immediately implementing, contains a directive for law enforcement officers and agencies to ascertain the immigration status of anyone with whom they have "any lawful contact" and as to whom there is a "reasonable suspicion" that they are undocumented.

The potential for systematic abuse is palpable. As one report observes, "Arizona tells police officers to look for specific signs that indicate they should ask for immigration papers when stopping a person. These signals include lack of a license, driving a car with foreign plates, difficulty speaking English and seeming nervous." Most people are nervous when stopped by the police, and learning the language is hardly a sinister trait. As if anticipating the likely problems that will ensue, the report notes that the governor has issued a statement saying that "officers have been trained not to racially profile while implementing the new law."

If you have to put out such a statement, things are already not looking good for the cause of justice. The fact that SB 1070 even requires training to avoid racial profiling in implementing it offers little assurance to impacted communities that their rights will be respected. Despite alleged officer training, it is equally clear that the indicia of being undocumented used to justify a "reasonable suspicion" will be closely tied to more obvious and basic factors of appearance, as well as one's presence in certain locales. European visitors to the Grand Canyon simply are not going to be equivalently impacted by the law, and it isn't hard to see why.

Additionally, the law applies in cases where "any lawful contact" with an officer or agency is engaged. Aside from traffic stops and the like, this can also include incidences where an individual calls the police for assistance, making it likely that already vulnerable communities will become even more so going forward. The discretion possessed by police to initiate "lawful contact" is enormous, given that there are innumerable laws for minor infractions and excuses to make contact as a matter of routine police business. Jaywalking and having a small crack in one's windshield are hardly state crimes, but now they can lead to "papers, please."

On the positive side, the Court seemed well aware of these possibilities, and even noted that its opinion does not foreclose other "constitutional challenges to the law as interpreted and applied after it goes into effect." But again this is of limited reassurance to those likely to be directly impacted by the law. Challenging a course of conduct after the fact doesn't prevent it from happening in the first place. Legally, an "as applied" challenge can be difficult to mount, and does not necessarily result in the law itself being struck down even if evidence shows a pattern of discriminatory enforcement. Pending the resolution of any such challenges, the chilling impact of the law is going to be felt by already-marginalized communities around the state.

To its credit, the Obama administration has shown some resolve in limiting deportations and rescinding the 287(g) agreements that delegated immigration powers to state agents, including rogue figures such as Sheriff Joe Arpaio. Cynically, these moves appear to be a combination of election-year maneuvering and rebuking political opponents in Arizona and elsewhere. Immigration is likely to be a hot-button "wedge issue" in the upcoming election, and Latino voters are a growing and sought-after block. Beyond merely offering limited resistance to draconian laws such as SB 1070, the federal government still has a long way to go in establishing humane immigration policies based on human rights, economic equity, and the realities of border issues.

Despite these lingering concerns, there is something to be said for pushing back even a bit on Arizona's unconscionable forays into legalized discrimination. The state's politics in recent years have been dominated by incendiary rhetoric and invidious policies. Politicians cavort with unabashed racists and pander to a nativist undercurrent. English-only mandates, the denial of public services, banning ethnic studies curricula, and courting racial profiling are among the initiatives that have made Arizona something of a national pariah.

The Supreme Court's ruling on SB 1070 does little to change this, but -- like rain in the desert -- at this point even a little is welcomed. Perhaps given the political aridness in Arizona of late, it's understandable that even a cloudy decision looks like a silver lining. Time will tell if it's a mirage or an actual oasis on the horizon...
(c) 2012 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. Amonsg his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Coming soon to a neighborhood near you? If it's not there already!

The Great Abdication
By Paul Krugman

Among economists who know their history, the mere mention of certain years evokes shivers. For example, three years ago Christina Romer, then the head of President Obama's Council of Economic Advisers, warned politicians not to re-enact 1937 - the year F.D.R. shifted, far too soon, from fiscal stimulus to austerity, plunging the recovering economy back into recession. Unfortunately, this advice was ignored.

But now I'm hearing more and more about an even more fateful year. Suddenly normally calm economists are talking about 1931, the year everything fell apart.

It started with a banking crisis in a small European country (Austria). Austria tried to step in with a bank rescue - but the spiraling cost of the rescue put the government's own solvency in doubt. Austria's troubles shouldn't have been big enough to have large effects on the world economy, but in practice they created a panic that spread around the world. Sound familiar?

The really crucial lesson of 1931, however, was about the dangers of policy abdication. Stronger European governments could have helped Austria manage its problems. Central banks, notably the Bank of France and the Federal Reserve, could have done much more to limit the damage. But nobody with the power to contain the crisis stepped up to the plate; everyone who could and should have acted declared that it was someone else's responsibility.

And it's happening again, both in Europe and in America.

Consider first how European leaders have been handling the banking crisis in Spain. (Forget about Greece, which is pretty much a lost cause; Spain is where the fate of Europe will be decided.) Like Austria in 1931, Spain has troubled banks that desperately need more capital, but the Spanish government now, like Austria's government then, faces questions about its own solvency.

So what should European leaders - who have an overwhelming interest in containing the Spanish crisis - do? It seems obvious that European creditor nations need, one way or another, to assume some of the financial risks facing Spanish banks. No, Germany won't like it - but with the very survival of the euro at stake, a bit of financial risk should be a small consideration.

But no. Europe's "solution" was to lend money to the Spanish government, and tell that government to bail out its own banks. It took financial markets no time at all to figure out that this solved nothing, that it just put Spain's government more deeply in debt. And the European crisis is now deeper than ever.

Yet let's not ridicule the Europeans, since many of our own policy makers are acting just as irresponsibly. And I'm not just talking about Congressional Republicans, who often seem as if they are deliberately trying to sabotage the economy.

Let's talk instead about the Federal Reserve. The Fed has a so-called dual mandate: it's supposed to seek both price stability and full employment. And last week the Fed released its latest set of economic projections, showing that it expects to fail on both parts of its mandate, with inflation below target and unemployment far above target for years to come.

This is a terrible prospect, and the Fed knows it. Ben Bernanke, the Fed's chairman, has warned in particular about the damage being done to America by the unprecedented level of long-term unemployment.

So what does the Fed propose doing about the situation? Almost nothing. True, last week the Fed announced some actions that would supposedly boost the economy. But I think it's fair to say that everyone at all familiar with the situation regards these actions as pathetically inadequate - the bare minimum the Fed could do to deflect accusations that it is doing nothing at all.

Why won't the Fed act? My guess is that it's intimidated by those Congressional Republicans, that it's afraid to do anything that might be seen as providing political aid to President Obama, that is, anything that might help the economy. Maybe there's some other explanation, but the fact is that the Fed, like the European Central Bank, like the U.S. Congress, like the government of Germany, has decided that avoiding economic disaster is somebody else's responsibility.

None of this should be happening. As in 1931, Western nations have the resources they need to avoid catastrophe, and indeed to restore prosperity - and we have the added advantage of knowing much more than our great-grandparents did about how depressions happen and how to end them. But knowledge and resources do no good if those who possess them refuse to use them.

And that's what seems to be happening. The fundamentals of the world economy aren't, in themselves, all that scary; it's the almost universal abdication of responsibility that fills me, and many other economists, with a growing sense of dread.
(c) 2012 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"When you get down with Obama, however grudgingly or reluctantly, you are dancing on the killing floor"
~~~ Chris Floyd

Silent Spring For Us?
By Paul Craig Roberts

With her 1962 book, Silent Spring, Rachel Carson got DDT and other synthetic pesticides banned and saved bird life. Today it is humans who are directly threatened by technologies designed to extract the maximum profit at the lowest private cost and the maximum social cost from natural resources.

Once abundant clean water has become a scarce resource. Yet, in the US ground water and surface water are being polluted and made unusable by mountain top removal mining, fracking and other such "new technologies." Ranchers in eastern Montana, for example, are being forced out of ranching by polluted water.

Offshore oil drilling and chemical farming run-off have destroyed fisheries in the Gulf of Mexico. In other parts of the world, explosives used to maximize short-run fish catches have destroyed coral reefs that sustained fish life. Deforestation for short-run agricultural production results in replacing bio-diverse rain forests with barren land. The "now generation" is leaving a resource-scarce planet to future generations.

Nuclear power plants are thoughtlessly built in earthquake and tsunami zones. Spent fuel rods are stored within the plants, a practice that adds their destructive potential to a catastrophic accident or act of nature.

The newest threat comes from genetically modified seeds that produce crops resistant to herbicides. The active ingredient in Monsanto's Roundup herbicide is glyphosate, a toxic element that now contaminates groundwater in Spain and according to the US Geological Survey is now "commonly found in rain and streams in the Mississippi River Basin."

In 2011 Don Huber, a plant pathologist and soil microbiologist, wrote to the US Secretary of Agriculture about the unexpected consequences of GMOs and the accompanying herbicides. He cited adverse effects on critical micronutrients, soil fertility, and the nutritional value of foods. He cited the impairment of metabolic pathways that prevents plants from accumulating and storing minerals, such as iron, manganese, and zinc, minerals important for liver function and immune response in animals and people. He cited toxic effects on the microorganisms in the soil that have disrupted nature's balance and resulted in large increases in plant diseases. He cited livestock deaths from botulism, premature animal aging, and an increase in animal and human infertility.

In an interview, Huber said that the power of agri-business has made it almost impossible to do research on GMOs and that regulatory agencies with the responsibility of protecting the public are dependent on the industry's own self-serving studies and have no independent objective science on which to base a regulatory decision.

In short, in order to secure bumper crops for several years, we are destroying the fertility of soil, animal and human life.

Mankind has been destroying the world for a long time. In his fascinating book, 1493, Charles C. Mann describes the adverse effects on the environment, people, and civilizations of the globalism unleashed by Christopher Columbus. These include the international transfer of human and plant diseases, deforestation, destructions of peoples and empires, and the impact on distant China of Spanish new world silver.

Mann provides a history lesson in unintended and unexpected consequences resulting from the actions of elites and of those that elites dominated. The Chinese government fixed taxation in terms of the quantity of silver, but the importation of Spanish silver inflated prices (decreased the value of a given quantity of silver) and left the government without sufficient revenues.

A successor government or dynasty evicted Chinese from the coast in order to deprive pirates of resources. The displaced millions of people deforested mountainsides in order to sustain themselves with terrace agriculture. The result of deforestation was floods that not only washed away the terraces but also the crops in the fertile valleys below. Consequently, floods became one of China's greatest challenges to its food supply.

The first slaves were conquered new world natives, but the "Indians" had no immunity to European diseases. The second wave of slaves were European whites, but the Europeans had no immunity to malaria and yellow fever. By default slavery fell to blacks, many of whom had immunity to malaria and yellow fever. Thus, a black workforce could survive the infected environments and newly created wetlands in which to raise sugarcane, wetlands that were ideal homes for malaria and yellow fever bearing mosquitoes. Mann, of course, is merely reporting, not justifying black or any slavery.

Mann points out that the lowly mosquito had a large impact on American history. The Mason-Dixon Line roughly splits the East Coast into two zones, the South in which disease carrying mosquitoes were an endemic threat, and the north in which malaria was not a threat. In the South, a person who survived childhood and grew into an adult had acquired immunity. Northerners had no such protection.

This had enormous consequences when Northern armies invaded the South. Mann reports that "disease killed twice as many Union troops as Confederate bullets or shells." Between the summers of 1863 and 1864, the official annual infection rate for what was called "intermittent fevers" was 233 percent. The average northern soldier was felled more than twice. In one year 361,968 troops were infected. Most of the deaths from malaria were indirect. The disease so badly weakened the troops that they died from dysentery, measles or strep infection.

The mosquito was the South's most powerful ally and so prolonged the war, despite the vast numerical superiority of the Union force, that Lincoln was forced to take action that he opposed and declare emancipation of slaves. Thus, Mann writes, it is not farfetched to conclude that blacks were freed by the very malaria mosquito that had caused blacks to be the preferred workforce.

Mann shows that long before the birth of capitalism, greed drove men to barbarous treatment of their fellows. He also shows that policies, whether driven by greed or by well-intended socio-political design, inevitably had unexpected consequences. His multi-faceted history well illustrates the old adage, "the well laid plans of mice and men often go awry."

The old world's colonization of the new world devastated new world peoples, but the new world bit back with the spread of the potato blight to Europe and Spanish and European inflation.

Environmental destruction resulted mainly from deforestation and soils washed away by consequent floods. Prior to modern technology and toxic chemicals, the planet survived mankind.

Today the prospects for the planet are different. The human population is vast compared to earlier times, putting far more pressure on resources, and the disastrous consequences of new technologies are unknown at the time that they are employed, when the focus is on the expected benefits. Moreover, these costs are external to the business, corporation, or economic unit. The costs are inflicted on the environment and on other humans and other animal life. The costs are not included when the business calculates its profit and return on its investment. The external costs of fracking, mountain top removal mining, chemical farming, and GMOs could exceed the value of the marketable products.

Businesses have no incentive to take these costs into account, because to do so reduces their profits and could indicate that the full cost of production exceeds the value of the output. Governments have proven to be largely ineffective in controlling external costs, because of the ability of private interests to influence the decisions of government. Even if one country were to confront these costs, other countries would take advantage of the situation. Companies that externalize some of their costs can undersell companies that internalize all of the costs of their production. Thus, the planet can be destroyed by the short-term profit and convenience interests of one generation.

The main lesson that emerges from Mann's highly readable book is that people today have no better grasp of the consequences of their actions than superstitious and unscientific people centuries ago. Modern technological man is just as easily bamboozled by propaganda as ancient man was by superstition and ignorance.

If you doubt that the peoples of Western civilization live in an artificial reality created by propaganda, watch the documentary on psyops! The documentary does a good job despite wandering off into a couple of side issues on which it takes one-sided positions. It is a bit heavy on blaming the rich, and overlooks that Stalin, for example, had plenty of propaganda and wasn't looking to make himself a billionaire. Not all the rich are against the people. Billionaires Roger Milliken and Sir James Goldsmith fought against jobs offshoring and globalism, which increases the powerlessness of the people vis-a-vis the elites. Both spoke for the people to no avail.

The documentary also blames the Constitution for limiting the participation of the mass of the people in governing themselves without acknowledging that the Constitution restricted the power of government and guaranteed civil liberty by making law a shield of the people instead of a weapon in the hands of the government. It is not the Constitution's fault, or the fault of Founding Father James Madison, that the American people succumbed to propaganda by Bush and Obama and gave up their civil liberty in order to be "safe" from "Muslim terrorists."

The documentary shows that propaganda is a form of mind control, and controlled minds are indeed the American predicament.

In 1962 Rachel Carson caught Monsanto off guard and thus gained an audience. Today she would not get the same attention. Ready and waiting psyops would go into operation to discredit her. I just read an article by an economist who wrote that economists have decided that environmentalism is a religion, in other words, an unscientific belief system that preaches "religious values." This demonstrates what little importance economists attribute to external costs and the ability of externalized costs to destroy the productive power of the planet. Thus, the question, "silent spring for us?" is not merely rhetorical. It is real.
(c) 2012 Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and professor of economics in six universities. He is coauthor of "The Tyranny of Good Intentions," co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House. Dr. Roberts' latest book is "Economies in Collapse: The Failure of Globalism," published in Europe, June, 2012. Seller information will be made available as soon as possible. He can be reached at:

Dimon In The Rough
How Wall Street Aims to Keep U.S. Regulators Out of Its Global Betting Parlor
By Robert Reich

The Commodity Futures Trading Commission, the main regular of derivatives (bets on bets), wants to extend Dodd-Frank regulations to the foreign branches and subsidiaries of Wall Street banks.

Horror of horrors, say the banks.

"If JPMorgan overseas operates under different rules than our foreign competitors," warned Jamie Dimon, chair and CEO of JP Morgan, Wall Street would lose financial business to the banks of nations with fewer regulations, allowing "Deutsche Bank to make the better deal."

This is the same Jamie Dimon who chose London as the place to make highly-risky derivatives trades that have lost the firm upwards of $2 billion so far - and could leave American taxpayers holding the bag if JPMorgan's exposure to tottering European banks gets much worse.

Dimon's foreign affair is itself proof that unless the overseas operations of Wall Street banks are covered by U.S. regulations, giant banks like JPMorgan will just move more of their betting abroad - hiding their wildly-risky bets overseas so U.S. regulators can't control them. Even now no one knows how badly JPMorgan or any other Wall Street bank will be shaken if major banks in Spain or elsewhere in Europe go down.

Call it the Dimon loophole.

This is the same Jamie Dimon, by the way, who at a financial conference a year ago told Fed chief Ben Bernanke there was no longer any reason to crack down on Wall Street. "Most of the bad actors are gone," he said. "[O]ff-balance-sheet businesses are virtually obliterated, ... money market funds are far more transparent" and "most very exotic derivatives are gone."

One advantage of being a huge Wall Street bank is you get bailed out by the federal government when you make dumb bets. Another is you can choose where around the world to make the dumb bets, thereby dodging U.S. regulations. It's a win-win.

Wall Street would like to keep it that way.

For two years now, squadrons of Wall Street lawyers and lobbyists have been pressing the Treasury, Comptroller of the Currency, Commodity Futures Trading Commission, SEC, and the Fed to go easier on the Street for fear that if regulations are too tight, the big banks will be less competitive internationally.

Translated: They'll move more of their business to London and Frankfurt, where regulations are looser.

Meanwhile, the Street has been warning Europeans that if their financial regulations are too tight, the big banks will move more of their business to the US, where regulations will (they hope) be looser.

After the Basel Committee on Banking Supervision (a global financial regulatory oversight body) came up with a new set of rules to toughen bank capital and liquidity requirements, European officials threatened to get even tougher. They approved a new system of European regulatory bodies with added powers to ban certain financial products or activities in times of market stress.

This prompted Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, to issue - in the words of the Financial Times - "a clear warning that the bank could shift its operations around the world if the regulatory crackdown becomes too tough."

Blankfein told a European financial conference that while Europe remains of vital importance to Goldman, with less than half of the bank's business now generated in the U.S., the introduction of "mismatched regulation" across different regions (that is, tougher regulations in Europe than in the U.S.) would tempt banks to search out the cheapest and least intrusive jurisdiction in which to operate.

"Operations can be moved globally and capital can be accessed globally," he warned.

Someone should remind Dimon and Blankfein that a few years ago they and their colleagues on the Street almost eviscerated the American economy, and that of much of the rest of the world. The Street's antics required a giant taxpayer-funded bailout. Most Americans are still living with the results, as are millions of Europeans.

Wall Street can't have it both ways - too big to fail, and also able to make wild bets anywhere around the world.

If Wall Street banks demand a free rein overseas, the least we should demand is they be broken up here.
(c) 2012 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

The Dead Letter Office...

John gives the corpo-rat salute!

Heil Obama,

Dear Oberster Bundesrichter Roberts,

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 Antonin (Tony light-fingers) Scalia.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your over ruling states rights and approving Obamacare, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords, and Diamonds, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 07-04-2012. We salute you Herr Roberts, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Supreme Court Extends Power Of Corporations To Buy Elections
By John Nichols

The U.S. Supreme Court may still retain some familiarity with the Constitution when it comes to deciding the nuances of cases involving immigration policy and lifetime incarceration. But when it comes to handing off control of American democracy to corporations, the court continue to reject the intents of the founders and more than a century of case law to assure that CEOs are in charge.

Make no mistake, this is not a "free speech" or "freedom of association" stance by the court's Republican majority. That majority is narrowing the range of debate. It is picking winners. To turn a phrase from the old union song, this court majority has decided which side it is on.

The same court that in January, 2010, ruled with the Citizens United decision that corporations can spend freely in federal elections -- enjoying the same avenues of expression as human beings -- on Monday ruled that states no longer have the ability to guard against what historically has been seen as political corruption and the buying of elections.

The court's 5-4 decision in the Montana case of American Tradition Partnership v. Bullock significantly expands the scope and reach of the Citizens United ruling by striking down state limits on corporate spending in state and local elections. "The question presented in this case is whether the holding of Citizens United applies to the Montana state law," the majority wrote. "There can be no serious doubt that it does."

Translation: If Exxon Mobil wants to spend $10 million to support a favored candidate in a state legislative or city council race that might decide whether the corporation is regulated, or whether it gets new drilling rights, it can. But why stop at $10 million? If it costs $100 million to shout down the opposition, the court says that is fine. If if costs $1 billion, that's fine, too.

And what of the opposition. Can groups that represent the public interest push back? Can labor unions take a stand in favor of taxing corporations like Exxon Mobil?

Not with the same freedom or flexibility that they had from the 1930s until this year. Last Thursday, the court erected elaborate new barriers to participation in elections by public-sector unions -- requiring that they get affirmative approval from members before making special dues assessments to fund campaigns countering corporations.

How might it work? If Wal-Mart wanted to support candidates who promised to eliminate all taxes for Wal-Mart, the corporation could spend unlimited amounts of money. It would not need to gain stockholder approval. It can just go for it.

But if AFSCME wants to counter Wal-Mart argument, saying that eliminating taxes on out-of-state retailers will save consumers very little but will ultimate undermine funding for schools and public services, the union will have to go through the laborious process of gaining permission from tens of thousands, perhaps hundreds of thousands of members. And, even then, it will face additional reporting and structural barriers imposed by the court.

Campaign finance reformers had held out some hope that states might be able to apply some restrictions on corporate spending, as Montana did with its one-hundred year old law barring direct corporate contributions to political parties and candidates. That law, developed to control against the outright buying of elections by "copper kings" and "robber barons," was repeatedly upheld. Until now.

Now, says Marc Elias, one of the nation's top experts in election law, "To the extent that there was any doubt from the original Citizens United decision broadly applies to state and local laws, that doubt is now gone," said Marc Elias, a Democratic campaign lawyer. "To whatever extent that door was open a crack, that door is now closed."

There may still be a few legislative avenues left for countering the "money power" of the new "copper kings" and "robber barons." But they are rapidly being closed off by a partisan high court majority.

That's why U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, the Vermont independent who has emerged as a leading proponent of moves to amend the U.S. Constitution to restore the rule of law in elections, says: "The U.S. Supreme Court's absurd 5-4 ruling two years ago in Citizens United was a major blow to American democratic traditions. Sadly, despite all of the evidence that Americans see every day, the court continues to believe that its decision makes sense."

When billionaires can "spend hundreds of millions of dollars to buy this election for candidates who support the super-wealthy," argues Sanders, "this is not democracy. This is plutocracy. And that is why we must overturn Citizens United if we are serious about maintaining the foundations of American democracy."

Sanders says he will step up his efforts to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn not just the Citizens United ruling but the democratically disastrous rulings that extend from it.

"In his famous speech at Gettysburg during the Civil War, Abraham Lincoln talked about America as a country 'of the people, by the people and for the people.' Today, as a result of the Supreme Court's refusal to reconsider its decision in Citizens United, we are rapidly moving toward a nation of the super-rich, by the super-rich and for the super-rich," explains Sanders. "That is not what America is supposed to be about. This Supreme Court decision must be overturned."
(c) 2012 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been publshed by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Euro Is A Big Success - No Kidding
By Greg Palast

The idea that the euro has "failed" is dangerously naive. The euro is doing exactly what its progenitor - and the wealthy 1%-ers who adopted it - predicted and planned for it to do.

That progenitor is former University of Chicago economist Robert Mundell. The architect of "supply-side economics" is now a professor at Columbia University, but I knew him through his connection to my Chicago professor, Milton Friedman, back before Mundell's research on currencies and exchange rates had produced the blueprint for European monetary union and a common European currency.

Mundell, then, was more concerned with his bathroom arrangements. Professor Mundell, who has both a Nobel Prize and an ancient villa in Tuscany, told me, incensed: "They won't even let me have a toilet. They've got rules that tell me I can't have a toilet in this room! Can you imagine?"

As it happens, I can't. But I don't have an Italian villa, so I can't imagine the frustrations of bylaws governing commode placement.

But Mundell, a can-do Canadian-American, intended to do something about it: come up with a weapon that would blow away government rules and labor regulations. (He really hated the union plumbers who charged a bundle to move his throne.)

"It's very hard to fire workers in Europe," he complained. His answer: the euro.

The euro would really do its work when crises hit, Mundell explained. Removing a government's control over currency would prevent nasty little elected officials from using Keynesian monetary and fiscal juice to pull a nation out of recession.

"It puts monetary policy out of the reach of politicians," he said. "[And] without fiscal policy, the only way nations can keep jobs is by the competitive reduction of rules on business.

He cited labor laws, environmental regulations and, of course, taxes. All would be flushed away by the euro. Democracy would not be allowed to interfere with the marketplace - or the plumbing.

As another Nobelist, Paul Krugman, notes, the creation of the eurozone violated the basic economic rule known as "optimum currency area". This was a rule devised by Bob Mundell

That doesn't bother Mundell. For him, the euro wasn't about turning Europe into a powerful, unified economic unit. It was about Reagan and Thatcher.

"Ronald Reagan would not have been elected president without Mundell's influence," once wrote Jude Wanniski in the Wall Street Journal. The supply-side economics pioneered by Mundell became the theoretical template for Reaganomics - or as George Bush the Elder called it, "voodoo economics": the magical belief in free-market nostrums that also inspired the policies of Mrs. Thatcher.

Mundell explained to me that, in fact, the euro is of a piece with Reaganomics:

"Monetary discipline forces fiscal discipline on the politicians as well."

And when crises arise, economically disarmed nations have little to do but wipe away government regulations wholesale, privatize state industries en masse, slash taxes and send the European welfare state down the drain.

Thus, we see that (unelected) Prime Minister Mario Monti is demanding labor law "reform" in Italy to make it easier for employers like Mundell to fire those Tuscan plumbers. Mario Draghi, the (unelected) head of the European Central Bank, is calling for "structural reforms" - a euphemism for worker-crushing schemes. They cite the nebulous theory that this "internal devaluation" of each nation will make them all more competitive.

Monti and Draghi cannot credibly explain how, if every country in the Continent cheapens its workforce, any can gain a competitive advantage. 
But they don't have to explain their policies; they just have to let the markets go to work on each nation's bonds. Hence, currency union is class war by other means.

The crisis in Europe and the flames of Greece have produced the warming glow of what the supply-siders' philosopher-king Joseph Schumpeter called "creative destruction". Schumpeter acolyte and free-market apologist Thomas Friedman flew to Athens to visit the "impromptu shrine" of the burnt-out bank where three people died after it was fire-bombed by anarchist protesters, and used the occasion to deliver a homily on globalization and Greek "irresponsibility".

The flames, the mass unemployment, the fire-sale of national assets, would bring about what Friedman called a "regeneration" of Greece and, ultimately, the entire eurozone. So that Mundell and those others with villas can put their toilets wherever they damn well want to.

Far from failing, the euro, which was Mundell's baby, has succeeded probably beyond its progenitor's wildest dreams.
(c) 2012 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." His investigations for BBC TV and Democracy Now! can be seen by subscribing to Palast's reports at. Greg will be providing investigative reports for

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Kevin Siers ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Egyptians Dismayed To Learn They Imported Democracy From Florida
In Cairo, Mounting Calls of Return to Sender
By Andy Borowitz

CAIRO (The Borowitz Report) - Just days after they savored their chance to vote in their first-ever democratic election, Egyptians awoke today to the brutal realization that their long-awaited democracy had been imported from Florida.

"When the United States started exporting democracy to the Middle East, we were naturally very excited," said University of Cairo political science professor Amgad Nasrallah. "I guess we should have checked to see exactly which part of the United States our democracy was exported from."

Dr. Nasrallah said that when the voting in Egypt was over and no clear winner was declared, "I began to fear the worst: that our democracy had come from Florida."

"Both sides started claiming victory, and then the government said it wasn't ready to announce a final result," he said. "If we find out that this thing is going to the Supreme Court, to borrow an American phrase, we're fucked."

In Cairo today, protesters filled Tahrir Square, demanding that Egypt's new democracy be returned to sender.

But in Florida, Governor Rick Scott requested that the Coast Guard create a naval blockade around the state to prevent the Egyptians from returning its democracy to its place of origin.<> "We exported democracy to Egypt because we wanted less of it in Florida, not more," Gov. Scott. "I'll be damned if we're going to take democracy back. Not on my watch. Not on my watch."
(c) 2012 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

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Issues & Alibis Vol 12 # 26 (c) 06/29/2012

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