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In This Edition

Chris Hedges says, "We Are All Aboard the Pequod."

Uri Avnery sees, "A Human Spring."

Glen Ford explores, "Surveillance In The Service Of Corporate Rule."

Adam Keller considers "The Arab Spring And Us."

Jim Hightower finds that, "A "People's Filibuster" In Texas Awakens A Movement."

Norman Solomon concludes, "Denouncing NSA Surveillance Isn't Enough-We Need The Power To Stop It."

James Donahue looks at, "Using Crystals To Bend Time."

John Nichols reveals, "America's Most Dynamic (Yet Under-Covered) Movement: Overturning 'Citizens United.'"

Robert Scheer uncovers, "A Gift From The United States To Mideast Zealots."

Glenn Greenwald covers, "The Snowden Video Sequel And Brazil Fallout."

Paul Krugman is, "Defining Prosperity Down."

David Sirota exclaims, "Pay No Attention To My Anti-Gay Bigoted Past!"

David Swanson charts a, "Wartime U.S. Travelogue."

North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "Why Republicans Want To Tax Students And Not Polluters."

Daniel Ellsberg thinks, "Snowden Made The Right Call When He Fled The U.S.."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Berlusconi Mulls New York Race" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Murphy's Law Strikes Again."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mr. Fish, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Brian McFadden, Dorothea Lange, Hartmut Haffner, Pete Simon, Bobby Yip, Hassan Ammar, Larry Downing, Anne R. Carey, War Is A Lie, Reuters, UN Gallery, Mad Magazine, Black Agenda Report, 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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Murphy's Law Strikes Again
By Ernest Stewart

"The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans' interests is low. The outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker." ~~~ Nobel award winning economist Joseph Stiglitz

Those plexi-plastic 'copters, they're your special friends
they see you every night
Well they call themselves protection
but you know it's no game
You're never out of their sight.
1984 ~~~ Spirit

"I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there's no reason for that." --- Virginia Foxx Rep/NC

We who are young, should now take a stand
Don't run from the burdens of women and men
Continue to give, continue to live
For what you know is right
Keep on Keeping On ~~~ Curtis Mayfield

Well, here we go again, folks. You'll remember Slick Willie and his give-a-way to the 1% called NAFTA? You may remember that it all but destroyed American industry. In what could be even worse than NAFTA, a group of European officials gathered in Washington Tuesday for the second day of negotiations over the Transatlantic Free Trade Agreement (TAFTA). And guess what? We've already heard talk of corporate gifts, i.e., "dangerous deregulation" of the corpo-rats, and really bad news for the average guy on both sides of the big ditch.

So what are these corpo-rat puppets discussing? Various trade and tariff barriers? Nope, they're already less the 3% in most cases. No, what they're talking about is the elimination of regulatory barriers. And therein lies the rub!

As Nobel-winning economist Joseph Stiglit writes, "The [US Trade Representative's] office, representing corporate interests, will almost surely push for the lowest common standard." I'd like to add to that statement, well, DUH! You may recall those other talks going on, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, same thing, different ocean; and, along with NAFTA, the three resemble the dreaded and terrible partnership we fought against with everything we had. You'll recall the Greater East Asia Co-Prosperity Sphere; and you thought it was about Pearl Harbor, huh? It's the very same thing -- corporations taking over the world, instead of single countries. As Stiglit continued, "US tactics are take no prisoners," and, he notes, that during negotiations "arms will be twisted, and there is a real risk that an agreement will sacrifice basic values to commercial interests." Again, well, DUH! He then adds, "The likelihood that what emerges from the coming talks will serve ordinary Americans' interests is low. The outlook for ordinary citizens in other countries is even bleaker."

Oh, and did I mention these TAFTA talks are going on behind closed doors? I wonder what secrets are being discussed, don't you? That's the scariest part; today they will commit treason and sedition openly, and then brag about it, and dare you to do something about it; so what they're hiding must be monumental! It's just your family's future they hold in their dirty hands! As Douglas Adams asked in "The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy," his five-book "trilogy," perhaps they have the answer to "The Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything;" and I hate to disappoint you, but the answer isn't "42!"

All those wonderful laws in Europe keeping GMO foods out of the food chain and those labeling laws will certainly go down the drain as the point of the conference is to find the lowest common denominator and make that the laws for everyone! It's all about deregulation from food to chemicals and the end results will no doubt be record profits for the 1% and death and destruction for everyone else!

As Friends of the Earth trade policy analyst Bill Waren said, "The stakes couldn't be higher. The Trans-Atlantic free trade agreement would give chemical companies and other multinational companies an effective weapon to roll back progress made over the last decade. It could result in dangerous deregulation."

You may recall one of Murphy's laws that says that, "Anything that can go wrong, will go wrong." With this group of corpo-rat clowns in charge, you can count on it!

In Other News

It was pointed out to me this week that Orwellian policies and Double Speak are still as alive and well in the good old United Snakes today under Obama as they ever were under Dubya or Nixon; and that, my friends, is a very scary thing. If you've been there, and done that, then you know, this to be true!

Have you heard the strange tale of "Clayton Seymour, a 36-year-old IT specialist, Navy veteran, Obama voter and generally law-abiding citizen" from Ohio? What with all the NSA scams being revealed as of late, he was curious about what they might have on him, so he sent a FOIA request to the NSA. Here's their reply to him and to others as well.

"To the extent that your request seeks any metadata/call detail records on you...we cannot acknowledge the existence or non-existence of such metadata records...Any positive or negative response (would) allow our adversaries to accumulate information and draw conclusions about NSA's technical capabilities, sources and methods (which) would reasonably be expected to cause exceptionally grave damage to the national security."

I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs... they said...


Yes, that did sound like a Firesign Theatre sketch, didn't it? Something from "I Think We're All Bozos On This Bus" when Clem is playing head games with Dr. Memory... I'm making/not making the doctor anything... It's your department of redundancy department!

Is it just me, or does it seem to you, too, that it just keeps getting stranger and scarier, day after day, year after year; or is it just me?

And Finally

Oh, those Rethuglicans and their bags of dirty tricks! North Carolina Congresswoman Virginia Foxx wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award for her crusade to raise tax rates on student loans, hoping to keep as many from college as possible, especially those Darkies, Mexicans, Chinks and anyone who isn't blonde-haired, blue-eyed and votes Republican. Of course, you won't hear her say that; to her it's all about balancing the budget on the backs of the poor! She spins it this way...

"I went through school; I worked my way through; it took me seven years; I never borrowed a dime of money. He borrowed a little bit, because we both were totally on our own when we went to college, totally. [...] I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt, because there's no reason for that. We live in an opportunity society, and people are forgetting that. I remind folks all the time that the Declaration of Independence says "life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness." You don't have it dumped in your lap."

To which talk Rep. Joe Courtney (D-Conn.) responded to her comments on Monday afternoon from the house floor.

"Incredibly, the chair of the Subcommittee for Higher Education spoke last week in North Carolina and said, 'I have very little tolerance for people who tell me they graduate with $200,000 in debt or even $80,000 of debt.' Really?

"It is a sad statement when today's Republican party turns its back on a program that helps millions of Americans fulfill their dreams, and that is named after a Republican Senator, Robert Stafford of Vermont," Courtney said.
To which Foxx's spokesweasel said:

"Congresswoman Foxx is concerned about rising college costs and the burdensome effect a large sum of debt can have on a student's future. She believes the focus should be on making college more affordable and providing students and parents with the information necessary to make informed decisions about college and understand the cost and the implications of those personal decisions."

Which is why she wants to make student loans so high that only the 1% can afford them, but don't need them, as college fees are merely chump change for them. After all, we need whole new generations that are dumb enough to become their slaves and a never-ending source of cannon fodder; ergo, Virginia wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

As it stands now, next week's magazine may well be our last; we are still $600 short of paying this month's bill, and it don't look good. That's the trouble of catering to the working poor and all those former middle class folks that are now the un-working poor. People as broke as that have little money to give even to a good cause! I know how they feel as I'm in the same sinking boat!

I've often been told that I write pretty good sci-fi/fantasy, so why don't I turn Issues & Alibis into a right wing magazine. If I were to, I'd have no doubt that I'd be fully-funded for years to come; and I could start paying our authors and cartoonists -- not to mention myself a nice salary. Wouldn't it be nice, except that I'm a dyed-in-the-wool radical, and wouldn't feel right wearing reactionary jackboots, no matter how nicely they fit. I've been a radical all of my life; and I'll be a radical when they put me into my pyramid -- well, the potter's field more like.

Ergo, if you appreciate the things that we do for you and yours, please visit our donations page and follow the instructions therein. Please help us keep on, keeping on, for ya'll!


05-05-1922 ~ 07-09-2013
Thanks for the Activism!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2013 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 12 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Visit the Magazine's page on Facebook and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

"Moby Dick" book cover illustration.

We Are All Aboard the Pequod
By Chris Hedges

The most prescient portrait of the American character and our ultimate fate as a species is found in Herman Melville's "Moby Dick." Melville makes our murderous obsessions, our hubris, violent impulses, moral weakness and inevitable self-destruction visible in his chronicle of a whaling voyage. He is our foremost oracle. He is to us what William Shakespeare was to Elizabethan England or Fyodor Dostoyevsky to czarist Russia.

Our country is given shape in the form of the ship, the Pequod, named after the Indian tribe exterminated in 1638 by the Puritans and their Native American allies. The ship's 30-man crew-there were 30 states in the Union when Melville wrote the novel-is a mixture of races and creeds. The object of the hunt is a massive white whale, Moby Dick, which, in a previous encounter, maimed the ship's captain, Ahab, by biting off one of his legs. The self-destructive fury of the quest, much like that of the one we are on, assures the Pequod's destruction. And those on the ship, on some level, know they are doomed-just as many of us know that a consumer culture based on corporate profit, limitless exploitation and the continued extraction of fossil fuels is doomed.

"If I had been downright honest with myself," Ishmael admits, "I would have seen very plainly in my heart that I did but half fancy being committed this way to so long a voyage, without once laying my eyes on the man who was to be the absolute dictator of it, so soon as the ship sailed out upon the open sea. But when a man suspects any wrong, it sometimes happens that if he be already involved in the matter, he insensibly strives to cover up his suspicions even from himself. And much this way it was with me. I said nothing, and tried to think nothing."

We, like Ahab and his crew, rationalize madness. All calls for prudence, for halting the march toward environmental catastrophe, for sane limits on carbon emissions, are ignored or ridiculed. Even with the flashing red lights before us, the increased droughts, rapid melting of glaciers and Arctic ice, monster tornadoes, vast hurricanes, crop failures, floods, raging wildfires and soaring temperatures, we bow slavishly before hedonism and greed and the enticing illusion of limitless power, intelligence and prowess. We believe in the eternal wellspring of material progress. We are our own idols. Nothing will halt our voyage; it seems to us to have been decreed by natural law. "The path to my fixed purpose is laid with iron rails, whereon my soul is grooved to run," Ahab declares. We have surrendered our lives to corporate forces that ultimately serve systems of death. Microbes will inherit the earth.

In our decline, hatred becomes our primary lust, our highest form of patriotism and a form of eroticism. We are made supine by hatred and fear. We deploy vast resources to hunt down jihadists and terrorists, real and phantom. We destroy our civil society in the name of a war on terror. We persecute those, from Julian Assange to Bradley Manning to Edward Snowden, who expose the dark machinations of power. We believe, because we have externalized evil, that we can purify the earth. We are blind to the evil within us. Melville's description of Ahab is a description of the bankers, corporate boards, politicians, television personalities and generals who through the power of propaganda fill our heads with seductive images of glory and lust for wealth and power. We are consumed with self-induced obsessions that spur us toward self-annihilation.

After the attacks of 9/11, Edward Said saw the parallel with "Moby Dick" and wrote in the London newspaper The Observer:

Osama bin Laden's name and face have become so numbingly familiar to Americans as in effect to obliterate any history he and his shadowy followers might have had before they became stock symbols of everything loathsome and hateful to the collective imagination. Inevitably, then, collective passions are being funneled into a drive for war that uncannily resembles Captain Ahab in pursuit of Moby Dick, rather than what is going on, an imperial power injured for the first time, pursuing its interests systematically in what has become a suddenly reconfigured geography of conflict.

Ahab, as the historian Richard Slotkin points out in his book "Regeneration Through Violence," is "the true American hero, worthy to be captain of a ship whose 'wood could only be American.'" Melville offers us a vision, one that D.H. Lawrence later understood, of the inevitable fatality of white civilization brought about by our ceaseless lust for material progress, imperial expansion, white supremacy and exploitation of nature.

Melville, who had been a sailor on clipper ships and whalers, was keenly aware that the wealth of industrialized societies came from the exploited of the earth. L"Yes; all these brave houses and flowery gardens came from the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans," Ishmael says of New England's prosperity. "One and all, they were harpooned and dragged up hither from the bottom of the sea." All the authority figures on the ship are white men-Ahab, Starbuck, Flask and Stubb. The hard, dirty work, from harpooning to gutting the carcasses of the whales, is the task of the poor, mostly men of color.

Ahab, when he first appears on the quarterdeck after being in his cabin for the first few days of the voyage, holds up a doubloon, an extravagant gold coin, and promises it to the crew member who first spots the white whale. He knows that "the permanent constitutional condition of the manufactured man ... is sordidness." And he plays to this sordidness. The whale becomes a commodity, a source of personal profit. A murderous greed, one that Starbuck denounces as "blasphemous," grips the crew. Ahab's obsession infects the ship.

"I see in him [Moby Dick] outrageous strength, with an inscrutable malice sinewing it," Ahab tells Starbuck. "That inscrutable thing is chiefly what I hate; and be the white whale agent, or be the white whale principal, I will wreak that hate upon him. Talk not to me of blasphemy, man; I'd strike the sun if it insulted me."

Ahab conducts a dark Mass, a Eucharist of violence and blood, on the deck with the crew. He orders the men to circle around him. He makes them drink from a flagon that is passed from man to man, filled with draughts "hot as Satan's hoof." Ahab tells the harpooners to cross their lances before him. The captain grasps the harpoons and anoints the ships' harpooners-Queequeg, Tashtego and Daggoo-his "three pagan kinsmen." He orders them to detach the iron sections of their harpoons and fills the sockets "with the fiery waters from the pewter." "Drink, ye harpooneers! Drink and swear, ye men that man the deathful whaleboat's bow-Death to Moby Dick! God hunt us all, if we do not hunt Moby Dick to his death!" And with the crew bonded to him in his infernal quest he knows that Starbuck is helpless "amid the general hurricane." "Starbuck now is mine," Ahab says, "cannot oppose me now, without rebellion." "The honest eye of Starbuck," Melville writes, "fell downright."

The ship, described by Melville as a hearse, was painted black. It was adorned with gruesome trophies of the hunt, festooned with the huge teeth and bones of sperm whales. It was, Melville writes, a "cannibal of a craft, tricking herself forth in the chased bones of her enemies." The fires used to melt the whale blubber at night turned the Pequod into a "red hell." Our own raging fires, leaping up from our oil refineries and the explosions of our ordinance across the Middle East, bespeak our Stygian heart. And in our mad pursuit we ignore the suffering of others, just as Ahab does when he refuses to help the captain of a passing ship who is frantically searching for his son who has fallen overboard.

Ahab is described by Melville's biographer Andrew Delbanco as "a suicidal charismatic who denounced as a blasphemer anyone who would deflect him from his purpose-an invention that shows no sign of becoming obsolete anytime soon." Ahab has not only the heated rhetoric of persuasion; he is master of a terrifying internal security force on the ship, the five "dusky phantoms that seemed fresh formed out of air." Ahab's secret, private whale boat crew, which has a feral lust for blood, keeps the rest of the ship in abject submission. The art of propaganda and the use of brutal coercion, the mark of tyranny, define our lives just as they mark those on Melville's ship. C.L.R. James, for this reason, describes "Moby Dick" as "the biography of the last days of Adolf Hitler."

And yet Ahab is no simple tyrant. Melville toward the end of the novel gives us two glimpses into the internal battle between Ahab's maniacal hubris and his humanity. Ahab, too, has a yearning for love. He harbors regrets over his deformed life. The black cabin boy Pip is the only crew member who evokes any tenderness in the captain. Ahab is aware of this tenderness. He fears its power. Pip functions as the Fool did in Shakespeare's "King Lear." Ahab warns Pip of Ahab. "Lad, lad," says Ahab, "I tell thee thou must not follow Ahab now. The hour is coming when Ahab would not scare thee from him, yet would not have thee by him. There is that in thee, poor lad, which I feel too curing to my malady. Like cures like; and for this hunt, my malady becomes my most desired health. ... If thou speakest thus to me much more, Ahab's purpose keels up in him. I tell thee no; it cannot be." A few pages later, "untottering Ahab stood forth in the clearness of the morn; lifting his splintered helmet of a brow to the fair girl's forehead of heaven. ... From beneath his slouched hat Ahab dropped a tear into the sea; nor did all the Pacific contain such wealth as that one wee drop." Starbuck approaches him. Ahab, for the only time in the book, is vulnerable. He speaks to Starbuck of his "forty years on the pitiless sea! ... the desolation of solitude it has been. ... Why this strife of the chase? why weary, and palsy the arm at the oar, and the iron, and the lance? How the richer or better is Ahab now?" He thinks of his young wife-"I widowed that poor girl when I married her, Starbuck"-and of his little boy: "About this time-yes, it is his noon nap now-the boy vivaciously wakes; sits up in bed; and his mother tells him of me, of cannibal old me; how I am abroad upon the deep, but will yet come back to dance him again."

Ahab's thirst for dominance, vengeance and destruction, however, overpowers these faint regrets of lost love and thwarted compassion. Hatred wins. "What is it," Ahab finally asks, "what nameless, inscrutable, unearthly thing is it; what cozening, hidden lord and master, and cruel, remorseless emperor commands me; that against all natural lovings and longings, I so keep pushing, and crowding, and jamming myself on all the time. ..."

Melville knew that physical courage and moral courage are distinct. One can be brave on a whaling ship or a battlefield, yet a coward when called on to stand up to human evil. Starbuck elucidates this peculiar division. The first mate is tormented by his complicity in what he foresees as Ahab's "impious end." Starbuck, "while generally abiding firm in the conflict with seas, or winds, or whales, or any of the ordinary irrational horrors of the world, yet cannot withstand those more terrific, because spiritual terrors, which sometimes menace you from the concentrating brow of an enraged and mighty man."

And so we plunge forward in our doomed quest to master the forces that will finally smite us. Those who see where we are going lack the fortitude to rebel. Mutiny was the only salvation for the Pequod's crew. It is our only salvation. But moral cowardice turns us into hostages.

Moby Dick rams and sinks the Pequod. The waves swallow up Ahab and all who followed him, except one. A vortex formed by the ship's descent collapses, "and the great shroud of the sea rolled on as it rolled five thousand years ago."
(c) 2013 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, ""Death Of The Liberal Class."

A Human Spring
By Uri Avnery

LET ME come back to the story about Zhou Enlai, the Chinese Communist leader. When asked what he thought about the French Revolution, he famously answered: "It's too early to say."

This was considered a typical piece of ancient Chinese wisdom -until somebody pointed out that Zhou did not mean the revolution of 1789, but the events of May 1968, which happened not long before the interview in question.

Even now it may be too early to judge that upheaval, when students tore up the cobblestones of Paris, confronted the brutal police and proclaimed a new era. It was an early forerunner of what is happening today all over the world.

QUESTIONS ABOUND. Why? Why now? Why in so many totally different countries? Why in Brazil, Turkey and Egypt at the same time?

We know how it started. In the souk of Tunis, of all places. I have been there many times, when Yasser Arafat was staying in that city. The market always struck me as a happy place, full of noise, eager shopkeepers, haggling tourists and local men with jasmine flowers behind their ears.

It was there that a policewoman confronted a fruit vendor and overturned his cart. He was mortally insulted, set himself on fire and set in motion a process that now involves many millions of people around the world.

The Tunis example was taken up by the Egyptian masses, who assembled in Tahrir Square and eventually overturned their dictator. Then it was our turn, and almost half a million Israelis went out into the streets to protest the price of cottage cheese. Then there were upheavals in Syria, Yemen, Bahrain and other Arab states, collectively known as the Arab Spring. In the US, the Occupy Wall Street movement staged its own Tahrir Square in New York. And now millions are demonstrating in Turkey and Brazil, and Egypt is aflame again. One may add Iran and other places.

How did this come about? How does it work? What is the hidden mechanism?

And especially: why at this point in time?

I CAN think of two interrelated phenomena in contemporary life that make the uprisings possible and probable: television and the social media.

Television informs viewers in Kamchatka about events in Timbuktu within minutes. The huge demonstrations in Istanbul's Taksim Square could be followed in real time by people in Rio de Janeiro.

Once upon a time, it took weeks for people in Piccadilly Circus in London to hear about events in the Place de la Concorde in Paris. After the battle of Waterloo, the Rothschilds made their killing by using messenger pigeons. In 1848, when revolution spread from Paris throughout Europe, it took its time, too.

Not any more. Brazilian youngsters saw what was happening in Gezi Park, Istanbul, and asked themselves: why not here? They saw that determined young men and women could withstand water cannon, tear gas and batons, and felt that they could do it, too.

The other instrument is facebook, Twitter and the other "social media". Five young men sitting in a Cairo cafe and talking about the situation could decide to launch an online petition for the removal of the incumbent president, and within a few days tens of millions of citizens signed. Never before in history was such a thing possible, or even imaginable.

This is a new form of direct democracy. People don't have to wait anymore for the next elections, which may be years away. They can act immediately, and when the groundswell is powerful enough, it can develop into a tsunami.

HOWEVER, REVOLUTIONS are not made by technologies, but by people. What is it that arouses so many different people in so many different cultures to do the same thing at the same time?

For example, the rise of religious fundamentalism. In recent decades, this has happened in several countries and with several religions. Jewish fundamentalism is setting up settlements in the Occupied West Bank and threatening Israeli democracy. All over the Arab world and many other Muslim countries, Islamic fundamentalism raises its head, causing havoc. In the US, evangelical fundamentalism has created the Tea Party and is dragging the Republican Party to the extreme right, much against its own interest.

I don't know about other religions, but there are news stories about Buddhists attacking Muslims in several countries. Buddhists? I always though that this was an exceptionally peaceful creed!

How to explain these simultaneous and parallel symptoms? Commentators use the German philosophical expression, Zeitgeist ("spirit of the times"). This explains everything and nothing. Like that other great human invention, God.

So is the Zeitgeist behind the upheavals now? Don't ask me.

THERE ARE many curious similarities between the mass revolts in different countries.

They are all made by young people of the so-called middle class. Not by the poor, not by the rich. Poor people do not make revolutions -they are too busy trying to feed their children. The Bolshevik revolution of 1917 was not made by the workers and peasants. It was made by disaffected intellectuals, many of them Jewish.

When you see a group of demonstrators in a newspaper picture, you do not know at first glance whether they are Egyptians, Israelis, Turks, Iranians or Americans. They all belong to the same social class. Young people alienated by a heartless globalization, confronted by a labor market that no longer offers the bright prospects they expect, university students for whose skills there is little demand. People with jobs, but who find it hard to "finish the month"' as we say in Hebrew.

The immediate causes are varied. Israelis demonstrated against the price of cottage cheese and new apartments. Turks protest against the plan to turn a popular Istanbul park into a commercial project. Brazilians rise up against a small increase in bus fares. Egyptians are now protesting against the efforts of politicized religion to take over the state.

But at root, all these protests express a common disgust with politics and politicians, with a power elite that is seen as remote from ordinary people, with the immense power of a tiny group of the ultra-rich, with a barely understood globalization.

THE SAME mechanism that makes these revolutions possible also produces their outstanding weakness.

The model was already apparent in the Paris events of May 1968. These started with a student protest which was joined by millions of workers. There was no organization, no common ideology, no plan, no overall leadership. Activists gathered in a theater, debated endlessly, giving voice to all sorts of possible and impossible ideas. In the end there were no concrete results.

There was a certain spirit. Claude Lanzmann, the writer and director of the monumental film Shoah, once described it to me this way: The students were burning cars. So every evening I spent a lot of time finding a secure place for my car. Until I suddenly said to myself: What the hell! What do I need a car for? Let them burn it!

This spirit lingered for some time. But life went on, and the great event was soon just a memory.

This may happen again now. Again the same thing is happening everywhere: No organization, no leadership, no program, no ideology.

The very fact that everyone has a voice on facebook seems to make it easier to agree on "against" than on "for". The young protesters are anarchist by nature. They abhor leaders, organizations, political parties, hierarchies, programs, ideologies.

You can call a demonstration on facebook, but you cannot hammer out a joint ideology that way. But, as Lenin once remarked, without a political ideology there is no political action. And he was an expert on the art of revolution.

There is a great danger that all these huge demonstrations will fade away some day -Zeitgeist again -without leaving anything behind, except some memories.

This has already happened in Israel. The mass demonstrations had some influence on this year's elections, but the new parties are indistinguishable from the old ones. New politicians have taken the place of old politicians. But nothing real has changed. Neither on the national nor on the social level.

IN ANY democracy, real change can only take place through new political parties which enter parliament and make new laws. For this you need political leaders -now, in the era of TV, more than ever. It is not enough to generate a lot of steam -you need an engine to make the steam do useful work.

The tragedy in Egypt - a country I love -demonstrates this perfectly. The revolution overthrew the dictatorship, but in the elections that followed, the revolutionaries were unable to unite, create a joint political force, elect leaders. Victory was snatched by the Muslim Brotherhood, who were well organized with a solid leadership.

The brotherhood has failed. Power, after decades of persecution, went to their heads. They threw away caution. Instead of building a new state on moderation, compromise and inclusion, they could not wait. So they may lose all.

The democratic revolutionaries have yet to prove that they are able to lead a country -in Egypt or anywhere else. They may yet launch a world-wide Human Spring. Or they may leave nothing behind, except a vague longing.

It's up to them.
(c) 2013 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Surveillance In The Service Of Corporate Rule
By Glen Ford

The logic of imperialism is that, ultimately, the Empire enters a state of war with everyone in the world, without regard to nationality, social system or reasonable possibilities of threat. Every capitalist yearns to achieve monopoly, to corner all markets, all the time. The capitalist imperial state is the political expression of the monopoly capitalist class, whose ambition is to dominate and profit from every aspect of human existence. Far from thriving on competition, the greatest fear of the capitalist is a world in which the game is not rigged in his favor. The state's job is to ensure that the fix is always in. Governments controlled by capitalists are obligated to subvert, literally, the entirety of the rest of the planet.

Therefore, it should surprise no one that the United States spies on the citizens, governments and businesses of every nation on earth, including the home population, which is potentially the most dangerous population of all, if for no other reason than proximity.

The U.S. corporate media narrative, which is identical to the narrative of the corporate state, is that 9/11 was a kind of crack in time, the beginning and end of things, the equivalent of the divide between BC and AD. But the advent of al-Qaida did not give rise to the U.S. surveillance regime. The opposite is true. The international jihadist network was given birth by the Americans and their minions in Saudi Arabia and Pakistan, at the turn of the Eighties. If U.S. rulers really believed Muslim jihadists posed a serious threat to American empire, Washington would not be in its fourth decade of arming and financing the jihadists, who serve as both foot soldiers and pretexts for U.S. militarism and fascism.

In the June 27 issue of Counterpunch, indispensable political thinker William Blum republished parts of an essay he wrote in the year 2000. Titled "The Inalienable Right to Snoop? Eavesdropping on the Planet," the piece reminds us that PRISM, the National Security Agency's omnivorous mechanism for worldwide data mining and the mapping of human social networks, is a direct descendant of the pre-911 NSA system called ECHELON, launched in the 1970s. By the late Nineties, it had become clear to the Europeans that ECHELON was largely preoccupied with stealing trade secrets from European companies, and passing them on to favored American enterprises. German wind power technology wound up under patent to American rivals. French Airbus lost big contracts to U.S. outfits. A 1998 report of the European Parliament found that the U.S. was using its control of encryption software for wholesale industrial espionage against its purported allies. French military intelligence concluded that Bill Gates' Microsoft was virtually created by U.S. intelligence agencies. 9/11 was still years away, but the U.S. was already treating the whole planet as if it were occupied by enemy peoples.

In this light, it should have always been obvious that U.S. complaints of Chinese industrial espionage were simply a diversion from America's own criminal behavior. The global surveillance regime is a creature of a moribund empire that not only cannot compete, but refuses to countenance the very idea of fair competition and the rule of law. Osama bin Laden was always a sideshow on the road to American global dictatorship.
(c) 2013 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

The Arab Spring And Us
By Adam Keller

The term "Arab Spring" was inspired by the historic 1848 events known as the "Spring of Nations." When it became known throughout Europe that in Paris the monarchy was overthrown and a republic established, the masses in many different countries took to the streets to make their own revolutions. Some were oppressed peoples suffering under foreign rule, others lived under Kings and tyrannical rulers of their own nationality. In some places there were relatively peaceful revolutions, others burst into bloody civil wars and the intervention of foreign powers.

Most of the 1848 revolutions in Europe ended in failure and frustration. In some cases the former rulers were able to maintain their rule by force. In other places, where the people got to choose their representatives, manifestly unfit people got to power and brought their countries low. But despite all, in historical perspective there is no doubt that these revolutions sowed the seed of present day democratic Europe.

The chain of events known as the Arab Spring began with a young Tunisian named Mohammed Boazizi, who set himself on fire to protest a personal act of injustice. He did not live to see that how his death sparked protests which led to the overthrow of tyranny in his native Tunisia and quickly spread to other countries.

The fall of the regime in Tunis did not arouse too much of an interest in Israel. Most Israelis never heard of the dictator Ben Ali until the day he boarded a plane and fled. Egypt was quite another matter. The demonstrations in Tahrir Square two years ago made headlines in the Israeli press, displacing our own politics. Israelis watched the developing drama with bated breath and a clear and evident sympathy, up to the overthrow of Hosni Mubarak.

Egyptian bloggers were amazed to hear how deeply many Israelis were interested in and sympathetic to their struggle. The struggle in the city squares of Cairo also affected directly the social protest movement that arose a few months later in the streets of Israeli cities. In the protest tent encampment on Rothschild Boulevard, there were signs and stickers such as "From Kiryat Shmona to Cairo - The People Demand Social Justice" "Corner of Rothschild and Tahrir" and "With Prices Going Sky-High, We Will Struggle Like in Egypt" (this rhymes in Hebrew).

But the honeymoon did not last long. With the increasing signs that free elections in Egypt would be won by Islamist parties and factions, Israeli enthusiasm for democracy in Egypt noticeably cooled. Writer Amos Oz seems to have been the first to utter the phrase "It's not an Arab Spring, but an Islamist Winter" which at record speed became the most outworn of the cliches used by Israeli commentators and editorial writers.

Meanwhile, Libya got to the headlines for a time. In general Israelis tended to support the decision of the NATO countries to intervene in the war and provide the Libyan rebels with air support, and eventually topple Moammar Gadhafi from the heights of power to a despicable death in a sewer pipe. On the other hand, there was very little interest over here in the brutal suppression of the democratic protest movement focused on Bahrain' Pearl Intersection, a suppression carried out with the tacit consent of the same NATO countries. To the extent that Bahrain got any mention, the Israeli branded Bahrain Shiite protesters as "pro-Iranian", which by definition made their swift suppression into an Israeli interest.

Attention quickly moved to Syria and the brutal war which developed there. To begin with, many Israelis naturally sympathized with the protesters in the squares of the Syrian cities, who encountered very brutal repression. Netanyahu and his government soon seized their chance and rushed to very loudly condemn the repression in Syria - and note with satisfaction that the Syrian army's murderous violence against the citizens of its own country was much worse than the acts of the Israeli Defense Forces in the Palestinian territories. When international Human Rights activists sought to reach the shores of besieged Gaza, each and every one of them got in their detention cells a copy of a personal letter from the Prime Minister of Israel, which directed them to turn to Syria and forget about Israeli settlements or the siege on Gaza.

Gradually, as the weight of global Jihad activists among the Syrian rebels increased, sympathy for the rebels was replaced by regarding them as a threat to Israel, one of the many threats for which we must remain ever vigilant, and the right-wingers triumphantly reiterated the argument "how good that we did not make peace with Syria and give back the Golan Heights." And when news websites published items of Syrian civil war horrors, anonymous commentators used the talkback section to comment: "Let them go on killing each other."

The spread of the Arab Spring from one country to another revived among a certain section of political right-wing the old hope that a fall of the Hashemite Dynasty in Jordan would provide the Palestinians with a substitute statehood, so that Israel could retain the Palestinian territories west of the Jordan River. But amidst the regional turbulence the throne of King Abdullah II in Amman seemed to shake much less than those of other rulers. Moreover, such challenges to his rule which did appear came especially from non-Palestinian Jordanians. Nevertheless, right-wing circles in Israel have not lost hope for a Jordanian Spring taking up the slogan "Jordan is Palestine", and not a week goes by without an article expressing such hopes appearing in one of their publications.

In the meantime – back to Egypt. The elections resulted in the fulfillment of what had been presented as the nightmare scenario: Mursi became Egypt's first democratically elected President and the Muslim Brotherhood became the ruling party. To the surprise of many here, the sky did not really fall. The peace treaty with Israel was not canceled, and President Morsi played a key role in achieving a cease-fire an Gaza in November 2012, ending the fighting after the number of those killed reached "only" one-tenth of the number killed in the January 2009 round. This was followed by President Morsi making an effort to help maintain the ceasefire on the Gaza border and authorizing the Egyptian army to take energetic action against the smuggling tunnels at Rafah - more than it did in the time of Mubarak. All of which did not add to the popularity of Morsi in Egypt itself, and in the militant demonstrations his photo was integrated into a huge Israeli flag, appearing right in the center of the Star of David. Yet in Israel he never gained any real popularity.

For a long time, we have not heard so much about happenings in Egypt. Israeli media did report Morsi's decision last year to dissolve the ruling military council and of the momentary support given to this move by the liberal and secular opposition. But then the media seemed to lose interest in the nuances and complexities of Egyptian politics - the belligerent steps increasingly adopted by Morsi to consolidate his rule and the increasing opposition to that rule and the escalating crisis in the Egyptian economy and the Muslim Brotherhood's failure to implement campaign promises to their voters (in which, it must be noted in fairness, they were far from the only ones among the world's elected governments).

Until last week, when Egypt was once in the focus. It seemed a replay of the scenario of two years ago – once again the huge demonstrations in Tahrir Square capturing the Israeli headlines and driving out our local news, once again expressions of joy at the fall of another Egyptian President. And at the weekly demonstration by social protest activists outside the home of the Minister of Finance appeared a big sign: "Morsi, Bibi, Lapid – the Same Revolution!"

Most Israeli commentators felt no more than a slight unease at the fact that a President elected in free elections had been ousted by the Egyptian army. The respected Hemi Shalev on the pages of Haaretz actually questioned whether democracy should always be the preferred system of government, and the well-known Ben Kaspit went into a paroxysm of joy at the thought that "The Islamists with their galabiya robes had been thrown into the trash can." But according to the most recent news coming out of Egypt, they are not in the trash but out in the streets. They seem far from resigned to being ousted from the power to which they had been elected, and the death toll continues to rise.

So how will our media report on the following installments of the Egyptian saga?
(c) 2013 Adam Keller is an Israeli peace activist who was among the founders of Gush Shalom.

A "People's Filibuster" In Texas Awakens A Movement

A few years ago, during consideration of a bill being pushed by a Republican elder in the Texas Senate, first-term Sen. Wendy Davis asked him a question about it. Rather than respond to this Democrat, this woman, the old bull replied dismissively: "I have trouble hearing women's voices."

No more. Even a stone-deaf old bull would've been jerked to attention by the clarity of Sen. Davis' voice on June 25. For more than 11 grueling hours, she literally stood tall, filibustering a mean and demeaning attempt by extremist Republican leaders to put the state government in charge of the most personal right of women: Controlling decisions about their own bodies.

Davis' principled stand - in Texas no less - rallied over 2,000 mothers, grandmothers, girls, and others to come to the capital from all over the state, packing the gallery in quiet witness. Quiet until 10:04 pm, that is when GOP leaders tried to silence her by unilaterally ruling her filibuster over.

Suddenly, the ruling solons were startled by a high-decibel reprimand from their subjects - the gallery erupted in citizen outrage, causing chaos on the floor. Then, when the "leaders" tried to force a vote, the "followers" took charge, with jeers so loud that senators couldn't hear themselves. With the session set to expire at midnight, panicky leaders tried to push the clock back, which led to deafening chants of "shame, shame, shame," ultimately blocking the GOP's brutish ploy.

Texas Republicans have already re-rigged the rules so they can get their way on another day, but they can't escape the huge significance of this defeat. As Sen. Davis rightfully noted, while she was the one standing on the floor, "It was the "people's filibuster' that stopped [the bill]," and that has awakened a new movement in Texas that won't be stopped.
(c) 2013 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Denouncing NSA Surveillance Isn't Enough-We Need The Power To Stop It
By Norman Solomon

For more than a month, outrage has been profuse in response to news about NSA surveillance and other evidence that all three branches of the U.S. government are turning Uncle Sam into Big Brother.

Now what?

Continuing to expose and denounce the assaults on civil liberties is essential. So is supporting Bradley Manning, Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers-past, present and future. But those vital efforts are far from sufficient.

For a moment, walk a mile in the iron-heeled shoes of the military-industrial-digital complex. Its leaders don't like clarity about what they're doing, and they certainly don't like being exposed or denounced-but right now the surveillance state is in no danger of losing what it needs to keep going: power.

The huge digi-tech firms and the government have become mutual tools for gaining humungous profits and tightening political control. The partnerships are deeply enmeshed in military and surveillance realms, whether cruise missiles and drones or vast metadata records and capacities to squirrel away trillions of emails.

At the core of the surveillance state is the hollowness of its democratic pretenses. Only with authentic democracy can we save ourselves from devastating evisceration of the First, Fourth and Fifth Amendments.

The enormous corporate leverage over government policies doesn't change the fact that the nexus of the surveillance state-and the only organization with enough potential torque to reverse its anti-democratic trajectory-is government itself.

The necessity is to subdue the corporate-military forces that have so extensively hijacked the government. To do that, we'll need to accomplish what progressives are currently ill-positioned for: democratic mobilization to challenge the surveillance state's hold on power.

These days, progressives are way too deferential and nice to elected Democrats who should be confronted for their active or passive complicity with abysmal policies of the Obama White House. An example is Al Franken, senator from Minnesota, who declared his support for the NSA surveillance program last month: "I can assure you, this is not about spying on the American people."

The right-wing Tea Party types realized years ago what progressive activists and groups are much less likely to face-that namby-pamby "lobbying" gets much weaker results than identifying crucial issues and making clear a willingness to mount primary challenges.

Progressives should be turning up the heat and building electoral capacities. But right now, many Democrats in Congress are cakewalking toward re-election in progressive districts where they should be on the defensive for their anemic "opposition" to-or outright support for-NSA surveillance.

Meanwhile, such officials with national profiles should encounter progressive pushback wherever they go. A step in that direction will happen just north of the Golden Gate Bridge this weekend, when House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi appears as guest of honor to raise money for the party (up to $32,400 per couple) at a Marin County reception. There will also be a different kind of reception that Pelosi hadn't been counting on-a picket line challenging her steadfast support for NSA surveillance.

In the first days of this week, upwards of 20,000 people responded to a action alert by sending their senators and representative an email urging an end to the "Insider Threat Program"-the creepily Orwellian concoction that, as McClatchy news service revealed last month, "requires federal employees to keep closer tabs on their co-workers and exhorts managers to punish those who fail to report their suspicions."

Messages to Congress members, vocal protests and many other forms of public outcry are important-but they should lay the groundwork for much stronger actions to wrest control of the government away from the military-industrial-digital complex. That may seem impossible, but it's certainly imperative: if we're going to prevent the destruction of civil liberties. In the long run, denunciations of the surveillance state will mean little unless we can build the political capacity to end it.
(c) 2013 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Physicists plan to create a "time crystal" - a theoretical object that moves in a repeating pattern without using energy - inside a device called an ion trap.

Using Crystals To Bend Time
By James Donahue

Of all the substances of the earth, crystals are among the strangest. While they look like rocks, crystals do strange things like ... for instance ... change color and if watched closely over time, and under certain conditions, they grow. Yet most scientists refuse to consider that they are living creatures.

Now Nobel Prize-winning physicist Frank Wilczek, in his intense study of the atomic structure of crystals, has made a discovery that he believes may make perpetual motion possible, and consequently challenge all theories of everything we think we know and understand about time.

As Wilczek explained: "I was thinking about the classification of crystals, and then it just occurred to me that it's natural to think about space and time together. So if you think about crystals in space, it's very natural also to think about the classification of crystalline behavior in time."

When matter crystallizes, its atoms organize themselves into the rows, columns and stacks of a three-dimensional lattice. Each atom occupies a "lattice point" but the balance of forces between the atoms prevents them from moving into the space in between.

But crystals do not behave like other matter. Wilczek noted that they "break the spatial symmetry of nature" and for them, "the usual role that all places in space are equivalent" does not seem to apply. Thus he said "crystals derive their movement not from stored energy but from a break in the symmetry of time, enabling a special form of perpetual motion."

While working on this problem, Wilczek came up with mathematical equations that indicate that all atoms could form a regularly repeating lattice in time, breaking time symmetry for brief moments before returning to their initial place.

Now a team of scientists has joined Wilczek in designing and building a "perpetuum mobile," or "time crystal" that will test the idea by generating an endless supply of energy. If it works, they will not only have created a perpetual motion machine, but perhaps achieved a better understanding of time. The physicists working on this, led by Xiang Zhang, a nanoengineer at Berkeley and Tongcang Li, a physicist and postdoctoral researcher under Zhang, are attempting to create a time crystal in the form of a constantly rotating ring of charged atoms, or ions. They are calling it an "ion trap." It is expected to take the team at least three years or longer to complete this project.

A story by Natalie Wolchover for Simons Science News gives us some insight into the intricacies of this project, and what the team is attempting to accomplish. She wrote:

"Electric fields will be used to corral calcium ions into a 100-micron-wide ‘trap,' where they will form a crystalline ring. The scientists believe a static magnetic field will cause the ring to rotate."

> Understanding just how tiny this device will be is explained by noting that the trap, at just 100-microns, is about the width of a human hair. Within this field, the team "must precisely calibrate the electrodes to smooth out the field. Because like charges repel, the ions will space themselves evenly around the outer edge of the trap, forming a crystalline ring," Wolchover wrote. "At first, the ions will vibrate in an excited state, but diode lasers like those found in DVD players will be used to gradually scatter away their extra kinetic energy. According to the group's calculations, the ion ring should settle into its ground state when the ions are laser-cooled to around one-billionth of a degree above absolute zero. The technology for accomplishing this has only recently become available.

Once this is accomplished, Wolchover said researchers will switch on a static magnetic field within the trap. If their hypothesis is correct, this should "induce the ions to start rotating (and continue doing so indefinitely.)" Writer Jacob Sloan, in a review for Disinformation, wrote: "The hope is that time crystals will push physics beyond the precise but seemingly imperfect laws of quantum mechanics and lead the way to a grander theory. If time crystals are able to break time symmetry in the same way that conventional crystals break space symmetry, it tells you that in nature those two quantities seem to have similar properties, and that ultimately should reflect itself in a theory."
(c) 2013 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site

America's Most Dynamic (Yet Under-Covered) Movement: Overturning 'Citizens United'
By John Nichols

The most under-covered political movement in the United States-and there are a lot of under-covered political movements in the United States-is the broad-based national campaign to enact a constitutional amendment to overturn the Supreme Court rulings that ushered in a new era of big-money politics.

On the eve of the nation's Fourth of July celebrations, Oregon became the sixteenth state to formally call for an amendment. With bipartisan support, the state House and Senate requested that Congress take necessary steps to re-establish the basic American premise that "money is property and not speech, and [that] the Congress of the United States, state legislatures and local legislative bodies should have the authority to regulate political contributions and expenditures..."

Oregon is the fifth state to make the call for corporate accountability in three months, making 2013 a banner year for a movement that began with little attention and little in the way of institutional support after the US Supreme Court's 2010 ruling, in the case of Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, that corporations could spend as freely as they like to buy favorable election results.

Support for an amendment now stretches from coast to coast, with backing (in the form of legislative resolutions or statewide referendum results) from California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Illinois, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Montana New Jersey, New Mexico, Oregon, Rhode Island, Vermont and West Virginia. The District of Columbia is also supportive of the move to amend, as are roughly 500 municipalities, from Liberty, Maine, to Los Angeles, California-where 77 percent of voters backed a May referendum instructing elected representatives to seek an amendment establishing that "there should be limits on political campaign spending and that corporations should not have the constitutional rights of human beings."

"Why does it matter how many states call for an amendment? Ultimately, an amendment will have to be ratified by three-fourths of the states. That's thirty-eight. Four more and we're halfway there," says Rob Weissman, the president of Public Citizen, which is working with a burgeoning Corporate Reform Coalition of more than seventy groups nationwide. "But before that, an amendment must be passed by a two-thirds vote in both chambers of the US Congress. And one of the most effective ways to show a state's representatives and senators in Washington, DC, that there is popular demand for an amendment is to pass a resolution back home."

The successful work by national groups such as Public Citizen, Common Cause, Free Speech for People and Move to Amend, in conjunction with grassroots coalitions that are now active from northern Alaska to the tip of the Florida Keys, is far more dramatic than most of the initiatives you'll see from the Democratic or Republican parties-which don't do much but fund-raise-and various and sundry groupings on the right and left. Yet, for the most part, news of reform victories are afforded scant attention even from supposedly sympathetic media.

As such, the fantasy that says reform is impossible persists.

Just imagine if the movement to amend big money out of politics got as much attention, say, as the wrangling over IRS "targeting"-a classic money-in-politics controversy.

Just imagine if all Americans knew that calls for an amendment are coming not just from traditional progressive reformers but from Republican legislators and honest conservatives at the state and national levels.

Free Speech for People highlights the dozens of Republican legislators who have backed calls for an amendment to overturn not just the Citizens United ruling but other barriers to the regulation of money in politics. With backing from third-party and independent legislators, as well, the passage of the state resolutions highlights what the group refers to as "a growing trans-partisan movement...calling for the US Supreme Court's misguided decision in Citizens United v. FEC (2010) to be overturned, through one or more amendments to the US Constitution."

North Carolina Congressman Walter Jones Jr., who maintains one of the most conservative voting records in the House has signed on as a co-sponsor of one of several proposed amendments. Why?

"If we want to change Washington and return power to the citizens of this nation, we have to change the way campaigns are financed," says the congressman. "The status quo is dominated by deep-pocketed special interests, and that's simply unacceptable to the American people."

Congressman Jones is noting something that too many DC insiders, be they members of Congress or pundits commenting on Congress, fail to recognize: millions of Americans are already engaged on this issue. They are organizing for, marching for, writing letters for, sending e-mails for, testifying for and voting for the fundamental reform that is an essential building block in any movement to restore faith in the political process and renew American democracy: a constitutional amendment declaring, as the Oregon legislature just did, that "based on the American value of fair play, leveling the playing field and ensuring that all citizens, regardless of wealth, have an opportunity to have their political views heard, there is a valid rationale for regulating political spending."
(c) 2013 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Both supporters and opponents of ousted Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi
have criticized meddling by the United States in Egypt's internal politics.

A Gift From The United States To Mideast Zealots
By Robert Scheer

The U.S. government has long been a hypocritical champion of democratic governance, claiming to honor free elections but historically attempting to subvert their outcomes when the result is not to our liking. But the rank betrayals of our commitment to the principles of representative democracy, from Guatemala to Iran to South Vietnam, among the scores of nations where we undermined duly elected leaders, reached a nadir with the coup by a U.S.-financed military in Egypt against that country's first democratically elected government.

Embarrassingly, our law professor president refuses to label the arrest of Egypt's freely elected president by the military a coup because that would trigger an end to the $1.5 billion in U.S. aid as a matter of law. It remained for Sen. John McCain to set the president straight. "Reluctantly, I believe that we have to suspend aid until such time as there is a new constitution and a free and fair election," McCain said Sunday on CBS' "Face the Nation." Stating the obvious, he noted that "It was a coup and it was the second time in two-and-a-half years that we have seen the military step in. It is a strong indicator of a lack of American leadership and influence."

The Egyptian military would not have acted without at least the tacit approval of the U.S. government, and evidence is mounting that Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Adviser Susan E. Rice were in on the plotting before President Mohamed Morsi was arrested. The bloodshed that has followed is on their hands, and lots of luck ever convincing Islamists anywhere of the value of free elections as opposed to violence as an enabler of change.

The coup restored the corrupt military/bureaucratic class that has denied Egypt a modern government for half a century. It was accompanied by the spectacle of Morsi's failed rivals in the last election rushing to offer their services as "democratic" replacements. They included the leaders of the Al Nour party, the one Islamic group that sided with the coup and that makes the Muslim Brotherhood seem quite moderate in comparison.

As for Nobel Peace Prize winner Mohamed ElBaradei and the others who claim to be human rights advocates, they stand condemned by their silence in the face of the president's arrest, the shutting down of an elected parliament, and the banning of media that might be the slightest bit critical of the military's seizure of power.

After the bloody Monday morning massacre of civilians at prayer by the heavily armed Egyptian military, interim Prime Minister ElBaradei disgraced himself by equating the violence of the armed with the resistance of the unarmed: "Violence begets violence and should be strongly condemned," he tweeted. "Independent investigation is a must." Not a word from this celebrated liberal concerning the military's stifling control over any avenue of investigation by the media or government.

The same charade of objectivity was on display in the response of U.S. State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki, who, like ElBaradei, blithely equated the military's deadly excessive force with the rocks that soldiers claimed some of the demonstrators were throwing. "This is a situation where it's very volatile on the ground," she told reporters at a briefing Monday. "There are lots of parties contributing to that volatility."

The true victors of the coup are Mideast zealots who shun the ballot box as a rigged Western secular game, along with their sponsors in the bizarre theocracy of Saudi Arabia, the first country to welcome the downfall of Egypt's only serious attempt at representative governance. For all of the fanatical blather concerning Islam that has emanated from the oil floated theocracy of Saudi Arabia, the spawning ground for Osama bin Laden and 15 of the 19 Sept. 11 hijackers, it is the peaceful electoral campaigns of the populist-based Muslim Brotherhood that the Saudi royalty finds most threatening.

Now it is the turn of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, both of which denied aid to Morsi's government, to reassert their influence over Egypt by rallying around the country's military. As The Wall Street Journal reported Monday, "Saudi Arabia and the U.A.E. are signaling they are prepared to start showering Egypt's new government with significant funding as it transitions away from Mr. Morsi and his Islamist movement."

So much for the promise of the Arab Spring; it will now be marketed as a franchise of the Saudi government. In the end, the argument was not secular versus religious, but rather whether power would reside in the ballot box or the barrel of the gun. The United States, and too many of Egypt's self-proclaimed secular democrats, ended up on the wrong side of that choice.
(c) 2013 Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig. A journalist with over 30 years experience, Scheer has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He is the author, most recently, of "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America," published by Twelve Books.

UN Women

The Snowden Video Sequel And Brazil Fallout
The worldwide debate over US surveillance which the NSA whistleblower was eager to provoke is clearly emerging
By Glenn Greenwald

Whistleblowers are typically rendered incommunicado, either because they're in hiding, or advised by their lawyers to stay silent, or imprisoned. As a result, the public hears only about them, but never from them, which makes their demonization virtually inevitable. With that fact in mind, we published - almost a month ago - a 10-minute video interview with Edward Snowden to enable people to hear directly from him about what he did, why he did it, and what he hoped to achieve.

For the last two weeks, Snowden has been unable to speak publicly as he attempts to secure asylum. During that time, all sorts of accusations, innuendo, and other demonization campaigns have been directed at him by political officials and various members of the US media.

Today, we published below another video of new excerpts from the interview which Laura Poitras and I conducted with Snowden, this one 7-minutes long. It was filmed in Hong Kong on June 6. The video is taken from the extensive footage Poitras filmed as part of the documentary she has been making on the surveillance state. The new excerpts can be seen here.

In these new excerpts, Snowden addresses directly many of the questions that have been raised and much of what has been said about him. Whatever one's views are on NSA surveillance and these disclosures, assessments should be formed based on all of the evidence, including Snowden's words, rather than exclusively on unverified government assertions.

In the Washington Post today, the greatest whistleblowing hero of the prior generation, Daniel Ellsberg, has a truly superb Op-Ed arguing that, in light of radical changes in the US since his leak, Snowden was absolutely right to leave the US. He also writes:

Snowden believes that he has done nothing wrong. I agree wholeheartedly. More than 40 years after my unauthorized disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, such leaks remain the lifeblood of a free press and our republic. One lesson of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden's leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just as power corrupts.

I encourage everyone to read Ellsberg's entire argument, as few people have greater authority than he to speak about courageous whistleblowing. Relatedly, NYU Journalism professor Jay Rosen and Charles Pierce have both written about what they call "the Snowden effect": the tidal wave of revelations about US surveillance policy stemming not only from the documents he enabled us to report, but also the resulting unprecedented focus on the Surveillance State. Writes Pierce: "Whether he likes it or not, this is the 'national conversation' that the president said he wanted. Edward Snowden, world traveler, international man of luggage, made it impossible to avoid."

As for the revelations I wrote about yesterday regarding mass, indiscriminate NSA surveillance of millions of Brazilian citizens, the fallout in Brazil is substantial and growing. The New York Times this morning has a good summary of the rising anger among the citizenry and political class over these revelations. The most influential television program in the country, Fantastico, did an excellent investigative segment last night really highlighting why this is such a significant scandal; it includes the country's Communications Minister conveying that President Dilma Rousseff reacted with "indignation" to the story and vowing criminal investigations (the segment can be seen here). Senators are scheduling formal investigative hearings and calling for international action.

In the first video we published, Snowden indicated that his primary motive was to shine light on the ubiquitous global surveillance apparatus being secretly constructed by the US and its allies in order to prompt a meaningful worldwide debate. It's hard to contest that substantial progress has been made in fulfilling this objective.
(c) 2013 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Defining Prosperity Down
By Paul Krugman

Friday's employment report wasn't bad. But given how depressed our economy remains, we really should be adding more than 300,000 jobs a month, not fewer than 200,000. As the Economic Policy Institute points out, we would need more than five years of job growth at this rate to get back to the level of unemployment that prevailed before the Great Recession. Full recovery still looks a very long way off. And I'm beginning to worry that it may never happen.

Ask yourself the hard question: What, exactly, will bring us back to full employment?

We certainly can't count on fiscal policy. The austerity gang may have experienced a stunning defeat in the intellectual debate, but stimulus is still a dirty word, and no deliberate job-creation program is likely soon, or ever.

Aggressive monetary action by the Federal Reserve, something like what the Bank of Japan is now trying, might do the trick. But far from becoming more aggressive, the Fed is talking about "tapering" its efforts. This talk has already done real damage; more on that in a minute.

Still, even if we don't and won't have a job-creation policy, can't we count on the natural recuperative powers of the private sector? Maybe not.

It's true that after a protracted slump, the private sector usually does find reasons to start spending again. Investment in equipment and software is already well above pre-recession levels, basically because technology marches on, and businesses must spend to keep up. After six years during which hardly any new homes were built in America, housing is trying to stage a comeback. So yes, the economy is showing some signs of healing itself.

But that healing process won't go very far if policy makers stomp on it, in particular by raising interest rates. That's not an idle worry. A Fed chairman famously declared that his job was to take away the punch bowl just as the party was really warming up; unfortunately, history offers many examples of central bankers pulling away the punch bowl before the party even starts.

And financial markets are, in effect, betting that the Fed is going to offer another such example. Long-term interest rates, which mainly reflect expectations about future short-term rates, shot up after Friday's job report - a report that, to repeat, was at best just O.K. Housing may be trying to bounce back, but that bounce now has to contend with sharply rising financing costs: 30-year mortgage rates have risen by a third since the Fed started talking about relaxing its efforts about two months ago.

Why is this happening? Part of the reason is that the Fed is constantly under pressure from monetary hawks, who always want to see tighter money and higher interest rates. These hawks spent years warning that soaring inflation was just around the corner. They were wrong, of course, but rather than change their position they have simply invented new reasons - financial stability, whatever - to advocate higher rates. At this point it's clear that monetary hawkery is mainly a form of Puritanism in H. L. Mencken's sense - "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy." But it remains dangerously influential.

Unfortunately, there's also a technical issue that plays into the prejudices of the monetary hawks. The statistical techniques policy makers often use to estimate the economy's "potential" - the maximum level of output and employment it can achieve without inflationary overheating - turn out to be badly flawed: they interpret any sustained economic slump as a decline in potential, so that the hawks can point to charts and spreadsheets supposedly showing that there's not much room for growth.

In short, there's a real risk that bad policy will choke off our already inadequate recovery.

But won't voters eventually demand more? Well, that's where I get especially pessimistic.

You might think that a persistently poor economy - an economy in which millions of people who could and should be productively employed are jobless, and in many cases have been without work for a very long time - would eventually spark public outrage. But the political science evidence on economics and elections is unambiguous: what matters is the rate of change, not the level.

Put it this way: If unemployment rises from 6 to 7 percent during an election year, the incumbent will probably lose. But if it stays flat at 8 percent through the incumbent's whole term, he or she will probably be returned to power. And this means that there's remarkably little political pressure to end our continuing, if low-grade, depression.

Someday, I suppose, something will turn up that finally gets us back to full employment. But I can't help recalling that the last time we were in this kind of situation, the thing that eventually turned up was World War II.
(c) 2013 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy."
~~~ James Madison

Pay no attention to my anti-gay bigoted past!

Pay No Attention To My Anti-Gay Bigoted Past!
George W. Bush demonized gay people and divided us with pointless amendments. Kinder words today don't change that
By David Sirota

Over the weekend, former President George W. Bush publicly derided those who demonize LGBT Americans. As ABC News reports, he "cautioned against criticizing gay couples," saying that "it's very important for people not to be overly critical of someone else until you've examined your own heart." The statement followed Bush telling a reporter in Zambia that "I shouldn't be taking a speck out of someone else's eye when I have a log in my own."

It sounds great, and the principle Bush is now espousing is certainly laudable. But the former president's platitudes shouldn't wipe the historical record clean of his record doing exactly the opposite of what he now preaches.

In the midst of the 2004 election, Bush announced his support for a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage. That year, Bush presided over a Republican Party whose get-out-the-bigot-vote effort included putting anti-gay ballot measures in 11 states.

After the election, it was much the same thing. Bush's top strategist, Karl Rove, publicly bragged that the GOP's anti-gay crusade "was part and parcel of a broader fabric where this year moral values ranked higher than they traditionally do." Consequently, Bush had his administration publicly reiterate his commitment to constitutionally banning same-sex marriage.

So, in sum, 1) Bush was one of the most publicly anti-gay presidents in American history, 2) he made anti-gay demagoguery a more integral part of his electoral strategy than any president before him and 3) all of his anti-gay initiatives were fundamentally based on being "overly critical" of same-sex couples - so critical, in fact, that the initiatives championed official legislative restrictions on LGBT Americans' basic rights.

In recent years, of course, we've seen a number of those who engineered Bush's anti-gay crusade disavow this record of extremism. For instance, Ken Mehlman, who ran Bush's 2004 reelection, is now a supporter of legalizing same-sex marriage. Likewise, despite his integral role in Bush's campaign in 2004 and despite his bragging about the political success of demonizing same-sex couples, Rove now insists with a straight face that he actually had nothing to do with any of it.

Now, there's Bush himself appearing on a Sunday television show to re-image himself as a preacher of tolerance (and there's ABC reporter Jonathan Karl somehow not bothering to ask the former president about his actual record). Sure, Bush didn't renounce his opposition to same-sex marriage, but he most definitely is trying to portray himself as a tolerant guy on the issue of equality.

Put it all together, and it looks like a loosely coordinated GOP effort to blur the nation's memory of the hideous bigotry that defined the country's politics only a few years ago.

Now, sure, at one level, there's a "better late than never" quality to it, and it's certainly better that Bush is now preaching tolerance rather than simply digging in and endorsing the kind of hate that helped get him reelected in 2004.

But while that turnaround - or, perhaps "evolution" - on equal rights is better than the opposite, it shouldn't make us forget the history, nor should it distract from what America must demand from a public figure who implies he's had a change of heart.

But we shouldn't accept it at face value unless there's at least some sort of contrition. Bush could, for instance, simply follow Bill Clinton, who published a March Op-Ed in the Washington Post expressing regret (though, granted, not fully apologizing) for signing the Defense of Marriage Act. Bush could do the same thing, only for the even worse act of mounting a public campaign against same-sex couples - a campaign that harmed lives and caused widespread pain.

Without such contrition, Bush's new live-and-let-live platitudes are nothing more than a self-serving attempt at historical revisionism - the kind that encourages us to forget the actual history, and therefore makes it more likely for history to repeat itself in the future.
(c) 2013 David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee. Follow him on Twitter @davidsirota .

Wartime U.S. Travelogue
By David Swanson

In Washington Dulles airport I noticed a large advertisement. I'd seen it before and not paid attention. (No doubt that's why they saturate public space with the things.) It showed a woman's face with the words: "A car crash in California almost took her leg. A bomb blast in Iraq helped save it." It directed one to a website:

I'm against car crashes in California. I'm in favor of saving Dominique's leg. But at the website what we find is a claim that her leg was saved because her orthopaedic surgeon had experience in Iraq. And I don't mean in the Iraqi hospitals that existed before we destroyed that country. I mean he had experience in the destruction process.

"Thank you, Dr. Paul Girard. How lucky was I to have an orthopaedic surgeon with wartime experience and special insights on how to treat an injury like mine?" Thus writes Dominique, whose partner James comments on the doctor: "His experience as a wartime orthopaedic surgeon in Iraq gave him a special familiarity with traumatic limb injuries." How would James know this? Presumably the doctor, whose own comments don't mention the war, told him. Or someone ghost wrote the website.

The website was created by three societies of orthopaedic surgeons that clearly know which side of the mutilated troop their bread is buttered on. (Orthopaedic comes through French from the Greek for boneheaded.)

Surely a few people walk through U.S. airports while simultaneously living in reality, the reality in which the United States destroyed the nation of Iraq, slaughtered 1.4 million people, created 4.5 million refugees, destroyed the health and education and energy infrastructures, created epidemics of disease and birth defects, traumatized millions of children, and left behind a ruined violent anarchic state cursed with deep divisions previously unknown.

Surely some of those reality-based people are aware that a majority of Americans believes the war benefitted Iraq, and a plurality believes Iraqis are grateful. To read, on top of that perversity, the claim that a bomb blast in Iraq saved Dominique's leg is sickening. A doctor saved her leg. He found a silver lining in a genocide. The bomb blasts didn't fucking save people. The bomb blasts killed people. And very few of the killers or their funders or their voters seem to care.

In St. Paul, Minnesota, the state capitol is surrounded by war memorials. No evidence of opposition to war is apparent to the casual visitor. Militarism, as anywhere else in the United States, is everywhere visible. The sports arena flashes a giant electronic ad for the National Guard. But the ad flashes on Kellogg Boulevard. Almost no one knows what Kellogg Boulevard was named for. But local son Frank Kellogg won the Nobel Peace Prize for organizing the major nations of the world to ban war, and did so prior to all the wars honored on the grounds of the state capitol. This of course proves that Kellogg's war opposition should be forgotten since the wars so stupidly and barbarically fought in violation of the law since his day have brought us such a wealth of benefits. For example ... medical miracle jackasses capable of surgery but not moral reflection.

Local activists plan to revive memory of Kellogg's Peace Pact this August. Stay tuned.

Wisconsin: I remember when it was alive with protest, as North Carolina is now, when the activists joined with the Democrats and therefore labor. I remember the pizzas ordered for Wisconsin from Cairo and vice versa. Egypt's fate is far from clear. But this we know. Egypt has set an example of independent, partisan-free, uncompromising populism that shows no signs of fading away. Egypt threw out a corrupt leader and then threw out his corrupt replacement. We let a corrupt leader rule the United States for 8 years and then bowed down before his corrupt successor.

This country is far far too big, and the population of the Washington, D.C., metropolitan area far too uncomprehending for us to walk like an Egyptian. Clearly the people of any state you care to visit could run a respectable country if it weren't for the other 49.

I know you don't want to hear the word secession. But what about the word shame? Would that be too much to ask for?
(c) 2013 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

The Dead Letter Office...

Rethuglican clown Foxx

Heil Obama,

Dear Unterfuhrer Foxx,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your attempt to keep poor students from attending college by taxing them out of school while pledging not to tax polluters, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-02-2013. We salute you Frau Foxx, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Con-gresswoman Foxx

Why Republicans Want To Tax Students And Not Polluters
By Robert Reich

A basic economic principle is government ought to tax what we want to discourage, and not tax what we want to encourage.

For example, if we want less carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, we should tax carbon polluters. On the other hand, if we want more students from lower-income families to be able to afford college, we shouldn't put a tax on student loans.

Sounds pretty simple, doesn't it? Unfortunately, congressional Republicans are intent on doing exactly the opposite.

Earlier this year the Republican-led House passed a bill pegging student-loan interest rates to the yield on the 10-year Treasury note, plus 2.5 percentage points. "I have very little tolerance for people who tell me that they graduate with $200,000 of debt or even $80,000 of debt because there's no reason for that," Rep. Virginia Foxx (R-NC), the co-sponsor of the GOP bill, said.

Republicans estimate this will bring in around $3.7 billion of extra revenue, which will help pay down the federal debt.

In other words, it's a tax - and one that hits lower-income students and their families. Which is why several leading Democrats, including Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin, oppose it. "Let's make sure we don't charge so much in interest that the students are actually paying a tax to reduce the deficit," he argues.

(Republicans claim the President's plan is almost the same as their own. Not true. Obama's plan would lead to lower rates, limit repayments to 10 percent of a borrower's discretionary income, and fix the rate for the life of the loan.)

Meanwhile, a growing number of Republicans have signed a pledge - sponsored by the multi-billionaire Koch brothers - to oppose any climate-change legislation that might raise government revenues by taxing polluters.

Officially known as the "No Climate Tax Pledge," its signers promise to "oppose any legislation relating to climate change that includes a net increase in government revenue."

By now 411 current office holders nationwide have signed on, including the entire GOP House leadership, a third of the members of the House as a whole, and a quarter of U.S. senators.

The New Yorker's Jane Mayer reports that two successive efforts to control greenhouse-gas emissions by implementing cap-and-trade energy bills have died in the Senate, the latter specifically targeted by A.F.P.'s pledge

Why are Republicans willing to impose a tax on students and not on polluters? Don't look for high principle.

Big private banks stand to make a bundle on student loans if rates on government loans are raised. They have thrown their money at both parties but been particularly generous to the GOP. A 2012 report by the nonpartisan Public Campaign shows that since 2000, the student loan industry has spent more than $50 million on lobbying.

Meanwhile, the Koch brothers - whose companies are among America's 20 worst air-polluters -have long been intent on blocking a carbon tax or a cap-and-trade system. And they, too, have been donating generously to Republicans to do their bidding.

We should be taxing polluters and not taxing students. The GOP has it backwards because its patrons want it that way.
(c) 2013 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His "Marketplace

Snowden Made The Right Call When He Fled The U.S.
By Daniel Ellsberg

Many people compare Edward Snowden to me unfavorably for leaving the country and seeking asylum, rather than facing trial as I did. I don't agree. The country I stayed in was a different America, a long time ago.

After the New York Times had been enjoined from publishing the Pentagon Papers - on June 15, 1971, the first prior restraint on a newspaper in U.S. history - and I had given another copy to The Post (which would also be enjoined), I went underground with my wife, Patricia, for 13 days. My purpose (quite like Snowden's in flying to Hong Kong) was to elude surveillance while I was arranging - with the crucial help of a number of others, still unknown to the FBI - to distribute the Pentagon Papers sequentially to 17 other newspapers, in the face of two more injunctions. The last three days of that period was in defiance of an arrest order: I was, like Snowden now, a "fugitive from justice."

Yet when I surrendered to arrest in Boston, having given out my last copies of the papers the night before, I was released on personal recognizance bond the same day. Later, when my charges were increased from the original three counts to 12, carrying a possible 115-year sentence, my bond was increased to $50,000. But for the whole two years I was under indictment, I was free to speak to the media and at rallies and public lectures. I was, after all, part of a movement against an ongoing war. Helping to end that war was my preeminent concern. I couldn't have done that abroad, and leaving the country never entered my mind.

There is no chance that experience could be reproduced today, let alone that a trial could be terminated by the revelation of White House actions against a defendant that were clearly criminal in Richard Nixon's era - and figured in his resignation in the face of impeachment - but are today all regarded as legal (including an attempt to "incapacitate me totally").

I hope Snowden's revelations will spark a movement to rescue our democracy, but he could not be part of that movement had he stayed here. There is zero chance that he would be allowed out on bail if he returned now and close to no chance that, had he not left the country, he would have been granted bail. Instead, he would be in a prison cell like Bradley Manning, incommunicado.

He would almost certainly be confined in total isolation, even longer than the more than eight months Manning suffered during his three years of imprisonment before his trial began recently. The United Nations Special Rapporteur for Torture described Manning's conditions as "cruel, inhuman and degrading." (That realistic prospect, by itself, is grounds for most countries granting Snowden asylum, if they could withstand bullying and bribery from the United States.)

Snowden believes that he has done nothing wrong. I agree wholeheartedly. More than 40 years after my unauthorized disclosure of the Pentagon Papers, such leaks remain the lifeblood of a free press and our republic. One lesson of the Pentagon Papers and Snowden's leaks is simple: secrecy corrupts, just as power corrupts.

In my case, my authorized access in the Pentagon and the Rand Corp. to top-secret documents - which became known as the Pentagon Papers after I disclosed them - taught me that Congress and the American people had been lied to by successive presidentsand dragged into a hopelessly stalemated war that was illegitimate from the start.

Snowden's dismay came through access to even more highly classified documents - some of which he has now selected to make public - originating in the National Security Agency (NSA). He found that he was working for a surveillance organization whose all-consuming intent, he told the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald, was "on making every conversation and every form of behavior in the world known to them."

It was, in effect, a global expansion of the Stasi, the Ministry for State Security in the Stalinist "German Democratic Republic," whose goal was "to know everything." But the cellphones, fiber-optic cables, personal computers and Internet traffic the NSA accesses did not exist in the Stasi's heyday.

As Snowden told the Guardian, "This country is worth dying for." And, if necessary, going to prison for - for life. But Snowden's contribution to the noble cause of restoring the First, Fourth and Fifth amendments to the Constitution is in his documents. It depends in no way on his reputation or estimates of his character or motives - still less, on his presence in a courtroom arguing the current charges, or his living the rest of his life in prison. Nothing worthwhile would be served, in my opinion, by Snowden voluntarily surrendering to U.S. authorities given the current state of the law.

I hope that he finds a haven, as safe as possible from kidnapping or assassination by U.S. Special Operations forces, preferably where he can speak freely.

What he has given us is our best chance - if we respond to his information and his challenge - to rescue ourselves from out-of-control surveillance that shifts all practical power to the executive branch and its intelligence agencies: a United Stasi of America.
(c) 2013 Daniel Ellsberg was put on trial in 1973 for leaking the Pentagon Papers, but the case was dismissed after four months because of government misconduct. He is the author of "Secrets: A Memoir of Vietnam and the Pentagon Papers."

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Mr. Fish ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Berlusconi Mulls New York Race
By Andy Borowitz

NEW YORK (The Borowitz Report)-In a stunning bid for a political comeback, former Italian Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi said today that he was considering running for office in New York City.

Mr. Berlusconi announced his intentions after several local polls showed him with a higher approval rating than the candidates currently on offer in the city.

For the disgraced former Prime Minister, the chance to start over again in New York is "like a dream come true."

"In Italy, you make one little mistake, they throw you in jail seven years," he said. "New Yorkers are much more forgiving."

Mr. Berlusconi said that he had not yet decided what office to run for, but was leaning toward public advocate.

"Once they see how good Silvio does at that, they make him mayor or governor, no?" he said, with a booming laugh.

Mr. Berlusconi said that he was unconcerned by rumors of a possible bid for office in New York by another former European politician, Dominique Strauss-Kahn.

"Just let him try," he said. "Do I look worried? I am not worried. I walk down street, people tell me thumbs up. New York loves Silvio."
(c) 2013 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 13 # 25 (c) 07/12/2013

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