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In This Edition

Cynthia McKinney gives, "My Acceptance Speech."

Uri Avnery observes, "Different Planets."

Victoria Stewart reviews, "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

Jim Hightower explains, "Golfing For Dollars."

Mel Bartholomew exclaims, "Hydroponics? Yes!!"

Judy Troftgruben with, "Drying Food Part Three."

Nick Madigan reports, "Spying Uncovered."

Chris Floyd considers, "Renunciation And Escalation."

Captain Eric May returns with a, "Midsummer Alert."

Mike Folkerth says, "It's Time To Act."

Bob Herbert reviews our, "Madness And Shame."

Mark Morford writes, "John McCain, Please Log On."

Greenwich Connecticut 1st selectman Peter Tesei wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald follows, "Leaders Of The Free World."

Amy Goodman warns, "Don't Drink The Nuclear Kool-Aid."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst considers the, "Talking Veepstakes" but first Uncle Ernie sings, "You're So Pusillanimous...."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Walt Handelsman with additional cartoons and photos from Abell Smith, John Sherffius, Dan Wasserman, Approaching Entropy Blogspot.Com, Don Nelson, Pat Bagley, Green Party, Polygram Films, Issues & Alibis and Pink & Blue Films.

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...
Zeitgeist The Movie...

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

You're So Pusillanimous...
By Ernest Stewart

You're so pusillanimous, oh yeah. Nature's calling and I must go there.
Another Day ~~~ The Rutles

The Government has carried its burden of showing, by a preponderance of the evidence,
that the accused [Salim Hamdan] is an alien unlawful enemy combatant.
~~~ U.S. Navy Captain Keith Allred ~~~

"There shall be equality of treatment and opportunity for all persons in the armed services without regard to race, color, religion or national origin." ~~~ Harry S Truman

Programs, get your programs. You can't tell the candidate's flip - flops without a program!

Yes, I know, we're talking about politicians, lying, two-faced, double dealing, backstabbing, say anything for a vote, politicians. You may recall my definition of politics...

"The word Politics, comes from the Latin, 'Poli' meaning 'Many' and from the English 'Tics' meaning 'Blood Sucking Creatures,' Poli -Tics."


Here are some of the M.P.C. or Major Party Candidates flip-flops. I could go on and on with these but life is short so instead of listing hundreds I'll just list 20.

From Obama...

Special Interests: In January, the Obama campaign described union contributions to the campaigns of Clinton and John Edwards as "special interest" money. Obama changed his tune as he began gathering his own union endorsements. He now refers respectfully to unions as the representatives of "working people" and says he is "thrilled" by their support. (Source: Washington Post)

Public Financing: Obama replied "yes" in September 2007 when asked if he would agree to public financing of the presidential election if his GOP opponent did the same. Obama has now attached several conditions to such an agreement, including regulating spending by outside groups. His spokesman says the candidate never committed himself on the matter. (Source: Washington Post)

The Cuba Embargo: In January 2004, Obama said it was time "to end the embargo with Cuba" because it had "utterly failed in the effort to overthrow Castro." Speaking to a Cuban American audience in Miami in August 2007, he said he would not "take off the embargo" as president because it is "an important inducement for change." (Source: Washington Post)

Illegal Immigration: In a March 2004 questionnaire, Obama was asked if the government should "crack down on businesses that hire illegal immigrants." He replied "Oppose." In a Jan. 31, 2008, televised debate, he said that "we do have to crack down on those employers that are taking advantage of the situation." (Source: Washington Post)

Decriminalization of Marijuana: While running for the U.S. Senate in January 2004, Obama told Illinois college students that he supported eliminating criminal penalties for marijuana use. In the Oct. 30, 2007, presidential debate, he joined other Democratic candidates in opposing the decriminalization of marijuana. (Source: Washington Post)

Running for President or Vice President of the United States: On the January 22nd edition of "Meet the Press," Tim Russert and Obama had the following exchange:Russert: "When we talked back in November of '04 after your election, I said, 'There's been enormous speculation about your political future. Will you serve your six-year term as United States senator from Illinois?"

Obama: "I will serve out my full six-year term. You know, Tim, if you get asked enough, sooner or later you get weary and you start looking for new ways of saying things. But my thinking has not changed."

Russert: "So you will not run for president or vice president in 2008?"

Obama: "I will not." (Source: Meet The Press)

Single-Payer Healthcare: On January 22nd, the Hillary Clinton Campaign released a video that proves that Obama lied about his position on "single-payer healthcare." The video compared statements Obama made during the January 21st Democratic debate with those he made to an AFL-CIO conference in June 2003 while campaigning for the Senate. Contradicting what Obama said at the debate, the old footage showed the senator saying, "I happen to be a proponent of single-payer universal healthcare coverage. That's what I'd like to see." At the debate, Obama stated: "I never said that we should try to go ahead and get single-payer (healthcare)." Single-payer healthcare is an euphemism for socialized medicine. (Source: Audacity of Hypocrisy)

NAFTA: On February 29th, the Obama campaign told Canadian Television (CTV) that no message was passed to the Canadian government suggesting that Obama did not mean what he said about opting out of NAFTA if it is not renegotiated. However, the Obama camp did not respond to repeated questions from CTV on reports that a conversation on this matter was held between Obama's senior economic adviser, Austin Goolsbee, and the Canadian Consulate General in Chicago. Earlier that day, the Obama campaign insisted that no conversations had taken place with any of its senior ranks and representatives of the Canadian government on the NAFTA issue. Later in the evening, CTV spoke with Goolsbee, but he refused to say whether he had such a conversation with the Canadian government office in Chicago. He also said he has been told to direct any questions to the campaign headquarters. CTV didn't stop there. They announced that their sources, at the "highest levels of the Canadian government," reconfirmed the story to CTV and one of their primary sources provided a timeline of the discussion to CTV. (Source:CTV)

Donations from Lobbyists and Special Interest PACS: Obama say he doesn't take money from DC lobbyists and special interest PACS. This is the type of double-talk "politics of the past" rhetoric Obama rails against. While his claim is technically true, what he does do is take money from state lobbyists and other big money contributors who have substantial lobbyist machines in DC, like law firms and corporations. In April 2007, the LA Times quoted the Campaign Finance Institute's Stephen Weissman as pointing out that the distinction Obama makes on lobbyist money is meaningless: "He gets an asterisk that says he is trying to be different. But overall, the same wealthy interests are funding his campaign as are funding other candidates, whether or not they are lobbyists." The Capital Eye reported that "[a]ccording to the Center for Responsive Politics, 14 of Obama's top 20 contributors employed lobbyists this year, spending a total of $16.2 million to influence the federal government in the first six months of 2007." (Source: The Washington Post)

Rev. Jeremiah Wright: Barack Obama repudiated what he called "inflammatory and appalling remarks" made by his Chicago pastor. Obama said he had not been present during the sermons in question. Obama told MSNBC, "Had I heard them in church I would have expressed that concern directly to Rev. Wright." Please note, he says that he would have expressed concern, not repudiate, the words. (Source: Audacity of Hypocrisy) Previously Obama had said "I can no more disown him than I can disown the black community. I can no more disown him than I can my white grandmother - a woman who helped raise me, a woman who sacrificed again and again for me, a woman who loves me as much as she loves anything in this world, but a woman who once confessed her fear of black men who passed by her on the street, and who on more than one occasion has uttered racial or ethnic stereotypes that made me cringe." (Source: The Hill's Pundits Blog)

Jerusalem: "Jerusalem will remain the capital of Israel, and it must remain undivided," Obama declared to rousing applause from the 7,000-plus attendees at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee policy conference. But a campaign adviser clarified later that Obama believes "Jerusalem is a final status issue, which means it has to be negotiated between the two parties" as part of "an agreement that they both can live with." (Source: Jerusalem Post)

Meeting with Foreign Leaders: Obama now claims that he will only meet with foreign leaders at a time of his choosing if it will advance U.S. interests, but previously said he would meet with rogue leaders his first year in office ithout preconditions: in his remarks to the AIPAC Conference, Obama claimed that he would only meet with the "appropriate Iranian leaders at a time and place" of his choosing. Obama: "Contrary to the claims of some, I have no interest in sitting down with our adversaries just for the sake of talking. But as President of the United States, I would be willing to lead tough and principled diplomacy with the appropriate Iranian leaders at a time and place of my choosing - if, and only if - it can advance the interests of the United States." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At The Annual AIPAC Policy Conference, Arlington, VA, 6/4/08) But at a July 2007 debate, Obama said he would meet with hostile leaders during his first year in office. Question: "[W]ould you be willing to meet separately, without precondition, during the first year of your administration, in Washington or anywhere else, with the leaders of Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea, in order to bridge the gap that divides our countries?"...Obama: "I would. And the reason is this, that the notion that somehow not talking to countries is punishment to them - which has been the guiding diplomatic principle of this administration - is ridiculous." (CNN/YouTube Democrat Presidential Candidate Debate, Charleston, SC, 7/23/07) At a September 2007 press conference, Obama confirmed that he Would meet specifically with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Question: "Senator, you've said before that you'd meet with President Ahmadinejad..." Obama: "Uh huh." Question: "Would you still meet with him today?" Obama: "Yeah, nothing's changed with respect to my belief that strong countries and strong presidents talk to their enemies and talk to their adversaries. I find many of President Ahmadinejad's statements odious and I've said that repeatedly. And I think that we have to recognize that there are a lot of rogue nations in the world that don't have American interests at heart. But what I also believe is that, as John F. Kennedy said, we should never negotiate out of fear but we should never fear to negotiate." (Sen. Barack Obama, Press Conference, New York, NY, 9/24/07) (Source: New York Times)

Legislation Labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard A Terrorist Organization: Obama has been inconsistent in his views on labeling Iran's Revolutionary Guard a terrorist organization. "Obama's campaign suddenly discovered that their man -despite having spent the last nine months campaigning on his opposition to Kyl-Lieberman 'has consistently urged that Iran's Revolutionary Guard be labeled what it is: a terrorist organization.' Well, not that consistently. Senator Obama has been scrupulously careful not to call explicitly for designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization. Now, however, with the Democratic nomination almost in hand, Obama feels comfortable telling a pro-Israel audience what it wants to hear."(Danielle Pletka, "Obama's Pander Pivot," Weekly Standard, 6/4/08) "[T]he Audience At AIPAC Might Ask Why Senator Obama Has Pivoted From Opposition To 'Lieberman-Kyl' To Support For The IRGC Designation His Audience Demands. Is This Really Change They Can Believe In?" (Danielle Pletka, "Obama's Pander Pivot," Weekly Standard, 6/4/08) "Which Barack Obama Will Be The Democratic Standard-Bearer: The One Who Vowed To 'Eliminate' The Iranian Nuclear Threat Two Days Ago, Or The One Who Opposed Designating The Revolutionary Guards A Terrorist Organization?" (Editorial, "Obama And Iran," The Washington Times, 6/6/08) (Source New York Times)

Palestinian Elections In 2006: Obama says that he opposed palestinian elections in 2006. Obama: "There is no room at the negotiating table for terrorist organizations. That is why I opposed holding elections in 2006 with Hamas on the ballot. The Israelis and the Palestinian Authority warned us at the time against holding these elections, but this administration pressed ahead. And the result is a Gaza controlled by Hamas, with rockets raining down on Israel." (Sen. Barack Obama, Remarks At The Annual AIPAC Policy Conference, Arlington, VA, 6/4/08) But During His 2006 Trip To The Middle East, Obama Met With Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas And Said The Election Represented An "Opportunity...To Consolidate Behind A Single Government." Illinois Senator Barack Obama's 2006 journey to the Middle East took him to the West Bank for a meeting with the man elected to replace Yasser Arafat. ... There was only the clatter of cameras as the then-newly elected president of the Palestinian authority, Mahmoud Abbas, met with Illinois Senator Barack Obama. At a meeting with Palestinian students, Obama said the U.S. will never recognize winning Hamas candidates unless the group renounces its fundamental mission to eliminate Israel, and Obama told ABC 7 he delivered that message to the Palestinian president. "Part of the opportunity here with this upcoming election is to consolidate behind a single government with a single authority that can then negotiate as a reliable partner with Israel," said Obama." (Chuck Goudie, "Obama Meets With Arafat's Successor," ABC 7 News, http://obama.senate.gov, 1/12/06) The Palestinian news agency WAFA reported that Obama was supportive of the Palestinian elections being held at their scheduled time. "President Mahmoud Abbas met Thursday with the U.S. Senator Barack Obama (D-IL), in the Presidential HQ in Ramallah...President briefed the U.S. Senator about the latest developments in the Palestinian territories including the preparations for the legislative elections.... Abbas and Obama discussed the means of underpinning the American-Palestinian economic relations...Obama asserted the US supports and eager that the Palestinian legislative elections on its proposed time (January 25)." ("President Meets U.S. Senator And Armenian Delegation," WAFA, http://english.wafa.ps, 1/12/06) (Source: Fox Business)

Iraq War: "At a time when American casualties are down, at a time when the violence is down, particularly affecting the Iraqi population, is that the right time to try and set time tables for withdrawing all American troops? I mean you talked about... the end of 2009," Kroft remarked. "Yeah, absolutely. I think now is precisely the time. I think that it is very important for us to send a clear signal to the Iraqis that we are not gonna be here permanently. We're not gonna set up permanent bases. That they are going to have to resolve their differences and get their country functioning," Obama said. "And you pull out according to that time table, regardless of the situation? Even if there's serious sectarian violence?" Kroft asked. "No, I always reserve as commander in chief, the right to assess the situation," Obama replied.(Source: 60 Minutes)

The Threat of Iran: Obama's comments in Oregon: "I mean think about it. Iran, Cuba, Venezuela, these countries are tiny compared to the Soviet Union. They don't pose a serious threat to us the way the Soviet Union posed a threat to us....You know, Iran, they spend one-one hundredth of what we spend on the military. If Iran ever tried to pose a serious threat to us, they wouldn't stand a chance. And we should use that position of strength that we have to be bold enough to go ahead and listen. That doesn't mean we agree with them on everything. We might not compromise on any issues, but at least we should find out other areas of potential common interest, and we can reduce some of the tensions that has caused us so many problems around the world. Today in Montana, Obama changed his tune: Iran is a grave threat. It has an illicit nuclear program. It supports terrorism across the region and militias in Iraq. It threatens Israel's existence. It denies the Holocaust..." (Source: Weekly Standard)

North Korea: U.S. Democratic presidential frontrunner Senator Barack Obama...indicated he no longer opposes the removal of North Korea from a U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism. Obama in January 2005 came out against the removal of the Stalinist nation from the list until it gives an account of the kidnapping and death in the North of the Rev. Kim Dong-shik in 2000. (Source: ROK Drop)

PATRIOT Act: "Giving law enforcement the tools they need to investigate suspicious activity is the right thing, and the Senate showed earlier this year that it can be done with the oversight of our judicial system so we do not jeopardize the rights of all Americans and the ideals America stands for. We should not let the PATRIOT Act expire at the end of this year, but instead extend the current law for three months so that we can come to an agreement on these critical issues in Congress." (Source: Obama's Senate site) On the Issues FactCheck: Promised to repeal Patriot Act, then voted for it. (Source: On the Issues)

Coal: Obama, whose support for coal-to-liquid has been widely criticized by environmentalists, sent out a press release clarifying his position on liquid coal: Senator Obama supports research into all technologies to help solve our climate change and energy dependence problems, including shifting our energy use to renewable fuels and investing in technology that could make coal a clean-burning source of energy...However, unless and until this technology is perfected, Senator Obama will not support the development of any coal-to-liquid fuels unless they emit at least 20% less life-cycle carbon than conventional fuels. This "clarification" is an important step for the Obama campaign in trying to gain support from environmental organizations and voters. However, the LA Times notes that his position change on this issue is even more significant because it symbolizes "there's a race to the top among the Democratic candidates for the strongest position on how to solve the climate crisis."(Source: Carbon Coalition)

PAYGO: Obama promised to "restore a law that was in place during the Clinton presidency-called Paygo-that prohibits money from leaving the treasury without some way of compensating for the lost revenue." but now Obama says he's not going to sacrifice his domestic priorities for deficit reduction. Universal health care, renewable energy, and all the rest won't be sacrificed on the altar of PAYGO. (Source: Q & O)

From McCain...

McCain thought Bush's warrantless wiretap program circumvented the law; now he believes the opposite. (Source: Newsweek)

McCain insisted that everyone, even "terrible killers," "the worst kind of scum of humanity," and detainees at Guantanamo Bay, "deserve to have some adjudication of their cases," even if that means "releasing some of them." McCain now believes the opposite. (Source: The Carpetbagger Report)

He opposed indefinite detention of terrorist suspects. When the Supreme Court reached the same conclusion, he called it "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country." (Source: The Detroit News)

In February, McCain reversed course on prohibiting waterboarding. (Source: The Huffington Post)

McCain favored closing the detention facility at Guantanamo Bay before he was against it. (Source: AZ Congress Watch)

McCain supported moving "toward normalization of relations" with Cuba. Now he believes the opposite. (Source: The New York Times)

McCain believed the United States should engage in diplomacy with Hamas. Now he believes the opposite. (Source: The Carptetbagger Reort)

McCain believed the United States should engage in diplomacy with Syria. Now he believes the opposite. (Source: The New York Times)

McCain recently claimed that he was the "greatest critic" of Rumsfeld's failed Iraq policy. In December 2003, McCain praised the same strategy as "a mission accomplished." In March 2004, he said, "I'm confident we're on the right course." In December 2005, he said, "Overall, I think a year from now, we will have made a fair amount of progress if we stay the course." (Source: Think Progress.Org)

McCain wanted to change the Republican Party platform to protect abortion rights in cases of rape and incest. Now he doesn't. (Source: The Huffington Post)

In 1998, he championed raising cigarette taxes to fund programs to cut underage smoking, insisting that it would prevent illnesses and provide resources for public health programs. Now, McCain opposes a $0.61-per-pack tax increase, won't commit to supporting a regulation bill he's co-sponsoring, and has hired Philip Morris' former lobbyist as his senior campaign adviser. (Source: The Detroit News)

McCain went from saying gay marriage should be allowed, to saying gay marriage shouldn't be allowed. (Source: Vanity Fair)

John McCain initially argued that economics is not an area of expertise for him, saying, "I'm going to be honest: I know a lot less about economics than I do about military and foreign policy issues; I still need to be educated," and "The issue of economics is not something I've understood as well as I should." He now falsely denies ever having made these remarks and insists that he has a "very strong" understanding of economics. (Source: Newsweek)

McCain said in 2005 that he opposed the tax cuts because they were "too tilted to the wealthy." By 2007, he denied ever having said this, and falsely argued that he opposed the cuts because of increased government spending. (Source: New York Times)

On immigration policy in general, McCain announced in February 2008 that he would vote against his own bill. (Source: The New Yorker)

In April, McCain promised voters that he would secure the borders "before proceeding to other reform measures." Two months later, he abandoned his public pledge, pretended that he'd never made the promise in the first place, and vowed that a comprehensive immigration reform policy has always been, and would always be, his "top priority." (Source: The Huffington Post)

McCain believes the telecoms should be forced to explain their role in the administration's warrantless surveillance program as a condition for retroactive immunity. He used to believe the opposite. (Source: The Washington Post)

McCain went from saying he would not support repeal of Roe v. Wade to saying the exact opposite. (Source: Media Matters)

McCain supported his own lobbying-reform legislation from 1997. Now he doesn't. (Source: The Huffington Post)

In 2006, McCain sponsored legislation to require grassroots lobbying coalitions to reveal their financial donors. In 2007, after receiving "feedback" on the proposal, McCain told far-right activist groups that he opposes his own measure. (Source: The New York Times)

So let me close with that old "chestnut" which is as true today as it ever was...

(Q) How can you tell when politicians are lying?

(A) Their lips move!

In Other News

Well our Kangaroo court is open down in Gitmo. Captain Keith Allred, Bush's hand picked stooge, presided over this joke. The poor schmuck chosen was a former motor pool driver who had the unfortunate job of driving for Bush family friend Osama Bin Laden. For the most part, though, he drove a troop truck or supply vehicle. In US custody since November 2001, Salim Hamdan was tortured in various black concentration camps from Afghanistan to Gitmo and plead not guilty to charges of conspiracy and providing material support for terrorism.

He came before Captain Allred and a five member military tribunal of his peers, oops, a hand picked tribunal of yes men oops, of yes sir men because a jury of his peers, like habeas corpus and the rule of law have been replaced with Von Rumsfeld's ramblings. Our government won't allow Salim any of the rights we once hung the Germans for denying prisoners, his confessions given under torture are to be allowed, according to Allred. Makes you proud to be an American, don't it?

Gitmo, Von Rumsfeld has said, was for "the worst of the worst" but in reality it hasn't worked out that way. Funny thing is that about 97% of the people brought there and held, on average, for three years under constant torture were eventually let go without any charges what-so-ever. I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs...

We've been torturing and murdering innocent men, women and children by the thousands so that the Junta can get a hard on!

Most all were picked up by bounty hunters and local warlords and sold to us. Most were teachers, shopkeepers, taxi drivers who had no power or had pissed off the local warlord. We've included a few children as well and are going to bring a Canadian child to trial who was held in Gitmo for years after being seriously wounded in Afghanistan where his father took him and happened to find himself under attack by US forces. Apparently not everybody there just laid down and died; someone fought back and killed a Marine. The badly wounded child was the only one still alive so he was charged with killing the Marine, denied treatment for his wounds and tortured for years. His trial is coming up soon.

I wonder how many real terrorists we've created around the world, how many enemies in high places, for absolutely nothing? Let me end by saying I'm all for trying the worst of the worst but only by the rule of law, the law that we're told applies to everybody yet seems to apply fairly to none. If real evidence exists then a US court of law will find these bad guys guilty-unless, of course, they're US politicians in which case they'll never go to trial, ever!

An interesting tidbit has come from the trial. According to Reuters:

"...prosecutor Timothy Stone told the six-member jury of U.S. military officers who will decide Hamdan's guilt or innocence that Hamdan had inside knowledge of the 2001 attacks on the United States because he overheard a conversation between bin Laden and his deputy, Ayman al-Zawahiri.

"If they hadn't shot down the fourth plane it would've hit the dome," Stone, a Navy officer, said in his opening remarks.

The tribunal's chief prosecutor, Col. Lawrence Morris, later explained that Stone was quoting Hamdan in evidence that will be presented at trial. Morris declined to say if the "dome" was a reference to the U.S. Capitol."

You may recall that we reported that the flight was shot down and left a debris field some eight miles wide across Pennsylvania back in 2001. There were dozens of witnesses to the shoot down and the "Let's Roll" bullshit was just that, bullshit. You may also recall another slip-of-the-tongue, when Von Rumsfeld told reporters that flight 93 was shot down. Perhaps some water boarding (which is not torture unless it happens to you; so says the A.G.) would make Donnie tell us some more of the truth about 911 and other acts of treason?

The pack of lies and house of cards which is the official version of 911 is beginning to fall and crumble into dust, the Junta may yet hang for their crimes!

And Finally

The old marching cadence of... "I don't know but I've heard rumors" pretty much sums up my service to America back when I was a "Bravo Trooper." Once upon a time, I was one "strike" individual way back when the service had barely been integrated for 20 years.

On July 26, the services "celebrated" being integrated for 60 years as President Truman signed a presidential order to do just that on July 26, 1948. There were black soldiers, both men and women, serving their country since the Revolutionary War but always in black only companies and regiments almost always led by white officers. Like the Nisei or Japanese American, soldiers who, too, served in their own outfits, the blacks had a sterling battle record and that probably more that anything else, opened America's eyes to the bigotry and racism in America.

When I went in, I met a black kid from Detroit named Carl. Although we had lived barely ten miles apart we were from two different worlds. I had never known a black before since I came from all white Dearborn, a Detroit suburb perhaps the most racist city on the planet and as bad as any southern town and then some. Strange thing was we became best friends, much to the consternation of both blacks and whites amongst our "roommates!" Although half of the cadre was black as well, including one Lieutenant in our battalion, the service was still quite racist, it being the 60's and all.

This is back when Colon Powell was making his "Field Grade" status by covering up the My Lai massacre and John McCain was trying to sink the USS Forrestal. However, within a few months we were all together hating LBJ and Robert McNamara as one. Thanks to Carl and the integrated Army, my whole outlook on America changed from one of believing "Fairy Tales" to one of reality. Oh, I had known the truth before but it was only after the service that I could face it and do something about it. Thanks Carl, I owe you buddy!

Now Ya'll sing along...

I don't know but I've heard rumors...
Bush and Cheney are awearin' bloomers!
Am I right or wrong?
Am I right or wrong?
Sound off...
One two...
Sound off...
Three four.
Bring her on down...
One two three four
One two ... three four!

At ease! Smoke'em if ya got'em!


"The era of manufacturing consent has given way to the era of manufacturing news.
Soon media newsrooms will drop the pretense, and start hiring theater directors instead of journalists."
~~~ Arundhati Roy ~~~

It's come down to it again, bills are due and we haven't the funds to cover them. Unless you give us a hand we'll be forced to float a loan, something we cannot afford to do, to keep the magazine going. If you haven't spent all of your refund check yet please consider sending us what you can. For those of you who are as broke as we are don't send money but do tell all of your friends about the magazine and our cause. Consider staging a fundraiser with your friends and groups. One good topless car wash would straighten up our finances for the rest of the year!

To contribute to the cause and help us keep fighting for you just visit our donations page and follow the instructions there. Thank you!

Ernest & Victoria Stewart


07-25-1923 ~ 07-22-2008
R.I.P. Sweetie


The "W" theatre trailers are up along with the new movie poster and screen shots from the film. They are all available at the all-new "W" movie site: http://wthemovie.com. Both trailers are on site and may be downloaded; the new trailer can be seen with Flash on site. You can download in either PC or Mac formats. I'm in the new trailer as myself but don't blink or you'll miss me! The trailers are also available on YouTube along with a short scene from the film.


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


So how do you like the 2nd coup d'etat so far?
And more importantly, what are you planning on doing about it?

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2008 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 7 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. In his spare time he is an actor, writer and an associate producer for the new motion picture "W The Movie."

My Acceptance Speech
Cynthia McKinney_Acceptance Remarks_Green Party Convention_Chicago, Illinois_July 12, 2008
By Cynthia McKinney

Let me introduce to you my family and your Power to the People Committee!

My mother and father, Billy and Leola McKinney.

My son, Coy, who just graduated from college in Canada!

I want you to know that there is no way I could do this without their love and support.

Your Power to the People Committee members who are with us today:

You've all shared e-mails with her and heard her lovely voice on the telephone: Lucy Grider-Bradley, the campaign manager of my 2004 comeback campaign and FEC Compliance team leader for the Power to the People Committee!

I've known him all of my political life. You've known him for years if you're a Green party member. Hugh Esco, website man with the Power to the People Committee!

In two long road trips from Georgia to Maine, one trip through California, Oregon, and Washington, and by way of numerous e-mails, you all have come to know my friend, personal assistant, proud Haitian-American activist, et aussi, l'homme avec qui je pratique mon français, David Josué, standing firm against the occupation of Haiti.

John Judge is my friend. He shared U.S. government COINTELPRO documents with me that few except researchers have ever seen. John Judge is an expert on the murders of Malcolm X, John Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr., Bobby Kennedy, COINTELPRO, other government covert operations directed at certain U.S. citizens, and what really happened on 9/11. Maybe John can tell me how our military and intelligence infrastructures failed four times in one day after the taxpayers invested trillions of dollars in them.

Janet Young, proud accountant for the Power to the People Committee! Learned the true meaning of politics when she saw what happened to me after I put impeachment on the table.

I am also joined on the platform by members of the Reconstruction Movement who have come into the Green Party to support our Power to the People campaign! The Reconstruction Movement came into being as a result of dissatisfaction around government failures and unmet needs of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors and the many communities across our country in need of reconstruction.

The RunCynthiaRun visionaries from California who are responsible for bringing me to the Party's Presidential process!

All of the Green Party candidates who are running for election in 2008!

And Rosa Clemente, your Vice Presidential nominee!

Thank you all for being here and standing with me today.

In 1851, in Akron, Ohio a former slave woman, abolitionist, and woman's rights activist by the name of Sojourner Truth gave a speech now known as "Ain't I a Woman." Sojourner Truth began her remarks, "Well children, where there is so much racket, there must be something out of kilter." She then went on to say that even though she was a woman, no one had ever helped her out of carriages or lifted her over ditches or given her a seat of honor in any place. Instead, she acknowledged, that as a former slave and as a black woman, she had had to bear the lash as well as any man; and that she had borne "thirteen children, and seen most all sold off to slavery, and when I cried out with my mother's grief, none but Jesus heard me! And Ain't I a woman?" Finally, Sojourner Truth says, "If the first woman God ever made was strong enough to turn the world upside down all alone, these women together ought to be able to turn it back, and get it right side up again!"

As it was in 1851, so too it is in 2008. There is so much racket that we, too, know something is out of kilter. In 1851, the racket was about a woman's right to vote. In 1848, just a few years before Sojourner uttered those now famous words, "Ain't I a Woman?" suffragists met in Seneca Falls, New York and issued a declaration.

That declaration began:

"We hold these truths to be self-evident: that all men and women are created equal; that they are endowed by their Creator with certain inalienable rights; that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness; that to secure these rights governments are instituted, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. Whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it, and to insist upon the institution of a new government . . . But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute despotism, it is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security. Such has been the patient sufferance of the women under this government, and such is now the necessity which constrains them to demand the equal station to which they are entitled."

Two hundred sixty women and forty men gathered in Seneca Falls, NY and declared their independence from the politics of their present and embarked upon a struggle to create a politics for the future. That bold move by a handful of people in one relatively small room laid the groundwork and is the precedent for what we do today. The Seneca Falls Declaration represented a clean break from the past: Freedom, at last, from mental slavery. The Seneca Falls Declaration and the Akron, Ohio meeting inaugurated 72 years of struggle that ended with the passage of the 19th Amendment in August of 1920, granting women the right to vote. And 88 years later, with the Green Party as its conductor, the History Train is rolling down the tracks.

The Green Party is making history today. According to one source, 45 women have run for President in primary elections in the United States in the 20th Century; 22 have made it on the ballot in at least one state in November. Thank you, Green Party, for pulling this history train from the station.

But we make history today only because we must. In 2008, after two stolen Presidential elections and eight years of George W. Bush, and at least two years of Democratic Party complicity, the racket is about war crimes, torture, crimes against the peace; the racket is about crimes against the Constitution, crimes against the American people, and crimes against the global community. The racket is even about values that we thought were long settled as reasonable to pursue, like liberty and justice, and economic opportunity, for all. Yes, Sojourner, there's a lot out of kilter now, but these two women, Rosa and me, joined by all the men and women in this room, are going to do our best to turn this country right side up again.

And just like the women and men at the Seneca Falls Convention in 1848 who declared their independence from the Old Order, I celebrated my birthday last year by doing something I had done a dozen times in my head, but had never done publicly: I declared my independence from every bomb dropped, every threat leveled, every civil liberties rollback, every child killed, every veteran maimed, every man tortured, and the national leadership that let this happen. At that pro-peace rally in front of the Pentagon, I noted that nowhere on the Democratic Party's Congressional Agenda for their first 100 days in the majority was any mention at all of a livable wage, the right of return for Katrina survivors, repealing the Patriot Acts, the Secret Evidence Act, the Military Commissions Act, or bringing our troops home now. Nowhere on the Congressional Democrats' agenda was an investigation into the Pentagon's "loss" of $2.3 trillion that Rumsfeld admitted to just before September 11th. And nowhere was there any plan to get that money back for jobs, health care, education, and for veterans. Not even repeal of the Bush tax cuts that have helped to usher in, according to some, levels of income inequality not experienced in this country since the Great Depression. And instead of Articles of Impeachment to hold the criminals accountable, impeachment was taken "off the table."

And so, taking these words directly from our own Declaration of Independence, and from the Seneca Falls document "it is the right of those who suffer from it to refuse allegiance to it."

There is no doubt that the people of this country and in the global community are suffering from Washington, D.C.'s policies today.

Even as the ice in the Arctic Ocean reportedly was melting, the United States was obstructing an international discussion of climate change goals-setting for 2020 at the recently-concluded G-8 Summit. Even while George Bush has made himself an international climate change villain by not signing onto the Kyoto Protocol, his own scientists at the U.S. Climate Change Science Program have predicted more heat waves, intense rains, increased drought, and stronger hurricanes to affect the U.S. due to the worsening effects of climate change.

Public policy can be our friend or it can be our foe in understanding and working through the immense changes our planet is undergoing. We the voters, the activists, the policy wonks, the candidates, and the elected officials all have a role to play in making public policy. As I have said so many times during this campaign for the Green Party nomination, politics is not a beauty contest; it is not a fashion show; it is not a horse race. Politics is the authoritative allocation of values in a society. Politics is about values being reflected in public policy. It is about having power over public policy. And we engage in the political process because we want our values reflected in public policy.

Had the Green Party's values been reflected in public policy since the beginnings of the Green Party in this country, the United States would have long ago implemented a livable wage; there would be no civil liberties erosion; diversity would be respected, appreciated and welcomed; education would be interesting and relevant to students' lives and no student would graduate from college $100,000 in debt in a Green Party USA because education, not incarceration and militarization, would be subsidized by the state. In a Green Party USA, health care would be provided for everyone here through a single payer, Medicare-for-all type health care system. We would have no homeless men and women sleeping on our streets and everyone who could work would have work. Rebuilding our infrastructure, manufacturing green technology, retooling our economy so that those who protect us, train us, heal us and prepare us for tomorrow are compensated in what is their true value to our culture and our society, based on their contribution to our civilization. Vietnam War-era veterans would be our last war veterans because we would never have been engaged in war and occupation against Afghanistan and Iraq. We would forego imperial designs on our neighbors to the north and south, never building any wall of division, not ever encroaching on their geographic or cultural sovereignty. In fact, if Green Party values were now reflected in U.S. public policy, our country not only would not be engaged in war and occupation, there would be peace in the Middle East based on self-determination, respect for human rights, and justice. We would strive to perfect our democracy at home through election integrity and no one would be denied their rightful place in our Union due to discrimination. Our neighbors in the global community would look up to us for our cultural and technological accomplishments. We would have apologized for genocide against the indigenous peoples of this land and the abomination of chattel slavery. Our country would have dignity on the world stage and in every international forum, and no one in this country would be made to live in fear.

Oh, if it could be true: that the values of the Green Party were reflected in the Federal Government's public policy. Let me wake up and snap out of my reverie. Yes, today's reality is harsh. Abu Ghraib, torture, rendition, lying, spying, war, stolen elections, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, New Orleans, poverty, racial profiling, Sean Bell, the San Francisco 8, Benton Harbor's Reverend Pinkney, the Holy Land Foundation, 9/11/01.

Embargo, blockade, friendly fire, depleted uranium, white phosphorus, cluster bombs, bunker busters, shock and awe.

Predatory lending, mortgage crisis, foreclosures, a country $53 trillion in debt. And while Bear Stearns gets a bailout, you and I sink or swim.

Harsh? Today's reality is harsh. But what's even harder for many to accept and admit is that our quality of life today is the making of the Democratic and Republican Parties.

What our country has become through their public policy is reflective of their values.

We will never get a United States that is reflective of different values if we continue to do the same thing. Those who delivered us into this mess cannot be trusted to get us out of it.

That's why I signed up to do something I've never done before so I can have something I've never had before: My country, made in the likeness of the values of the Green Party.

When my father first started out in the world of politics in Georgia, he began as a Republican, because Georgia Democrats would not allow blacks to vote in their primaries. Some of my father's closest friends today are still Republicans because of that history.

My father served 30 years in the Georgia Legislature as a Democrat. Because of him, I served 4 years in the Georgia Legislature, where we were the country's only father daughter legislative team. And then I went to Congress and served 12 years working with the Democratic Party and its current leadership representing the State of Georgia.

My son grew up playing on the Floor underneath my desk in the Chamber of the Georgia House of Representatives. His buddies were the legislators down there, under the Gold Dome, who were my and my father's colleagues.

My mother is the genteel Southern lady who keeps our family glued together. A nurse by profession, a nurturer by instinct, she could patch over all the times I had a political disagreements with my Dad and it ended up being discussed, not only at the family dinner table, but also on the evening news.

My father and I stumped for candidates, and helped keep Georgia in the Democratic Party fold, until on my election night in 2002, I was forced to admit that the Republicans wanted to beat me more than the Democrats wanted to keep me. Both my father and I were put out of office after being targeted by a convergence of special interests operating in both the Democratic and Republican parties. In November of 2002, after the Primary Election losses of my father and me, Georgia went Republican: the first time since Reconstruction. With all kinds of certainty, I can say that my father and I-we McKinneys-we know too well how both the Republican and Democratic Parties operate.

And that's why I know we need an opposition party in this country. With 200 elected officials already, the Green Party can become this country's premier opposition Party. One thing is clear, Democratic and Republican values are not Green Party values. And honestly, I believe, Green Party values are the values held by the majority in this country. And through our vigorous Power to the People campaign, we will proclaim our presence to every nook and cranny of this country. We are needed now, more than ever and here's an example of why.

It is hard to not hear the warning signs of a new war: a war against Iran. Dick Cheney told us to expect war for the next generation. The Republicans launched this war economy and their presumptive nominee said that we could stay in Iraq for the next 100 years and even sang a song for the bombing of Iran. The Democratic majority in Congress just voted to fund the war into 2009 and has 200 sponsors on a bill that declares war on Iran by calling for a naval blockade. A naval blockade is a declaration of war. The Democratic presumptive nominee wants to increase the size of the overused military and the budget for an already-bloated and wasteful Pentagon. I am the only candidate who has consistently voted against the Pentagon budget, voted against the war in Iraq, and I voted against the bills that funded it. The Green Party was against the war when it started, is against the war now, and is against any military action against Iran that might take place tomorrow. The Green Party is a peace party. A Green vote is a peace vote.

Not a word has been mentioned in this political season about the disparities that exist within our country with the recognition that public policy can erase them. And even though for the first time a woman and an African-American were being taken seriously in national primaries, a real discussion of race and gender has been studiously avoided on all sides. At a time when the United States is under review, itself, by the United Nations for its poor record on domestic respect for human rights, particularly in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, a real discussion of race and gender is needed now more than ever. On some indices, according to United for a Fair Economy, the racial disparities that exist today are worse than at the time of the murder of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Right here in Chicago, Hull House reported that it would take 200 years, without a public policy intervention from elected leadership, for the quality of life experienced by black Chicagoans to equal that of white Chicagoans.

Women are still the overwhelming profile of the minimum wage worker in this country. 65% of all minimum wage workers are women, according to 2005 statistics. Despite the law, women still go to work every day, performing the same tasks as men, yet bring home less pay than their male counterparts. Asian-American and Pacific Island women make 88 cents for every dollar earned by men, but African-American women earn only 72 cents and my Latina sisters earn only 60 cents for every dollar earned by men. Overall, according to 2007 statistics, women with similar education, skills, and experience are paid 77 cents for every dollar a man makes. Equal pay for equal work is not yet a reality for working women in this country. And the glass ceiling is all too real.

I'm very proud of my second cousin, Shonté, whose mother, a divorcée, raised her pretty much as a single mother. Shonté's mother, Shara, understood the value of her child getting a good education and helped her as much as she could with university tuition. The rest Shonté was able to secure by working on campus and in student loans. Shonté graduated from college, and then took a one-year Master's program in Social Work, and now wants to get her Ph.D. But she's already over $90,000 in debt. It doesn't have to be this way and we don't have to accept it. In other countries around the world, higher education is valued and is made affordable to all who want it. Only a sick government would place a banker in-between a student and her teacher.

An insurance lobbyist in-between a patient and his doctor.

Lying and spying before 9/11 Truth and the Constitution.

Only a sick government would place a wealthy family and their huge corporation and its genetically-modified frankenfood peddled by force in-between us and the organic food that's healthy for us to eat and that farmers would prefer to grow.

Only a sick government would do this.

And I am no longer willing to trust the ones who are responsible for getting us into this mess to provide the solution to get us out of it.

The Green Party long ago took a stand for racial justice: against profiling, against police brutality, against discrimination of any sort, and for reparations stemming from the trans-Atlantic slave trade.

The Green Party long ago took a stand for gender equity.

The Green Party long ago took a stand against all discrimination.

The Green Party is a justice party. A Green vote is a justice vote.

And the day after the election, if voters have been disfranchised and don't believe the announced election results, it will be the Green Party that will be there, as it was in 2004, to demand election integrity.

It is for all these reasons and more that I redeclare my goals in the language of my sisters who convened at Seneca Falls, NY 160 years ago. They wrote:

"It is their duty to throw off such government, and to provide new guards for their future security."_That declaration not only avoids the politics of the past, it contains a kernel for the future. How can those new guards for the future be won?

Here's how:

When I was first running for Congress and it was the year of the woman, women all over the country were saying, "We want our seat at the table." And when I got to Washington, I saw that policy was really made in a room, at a table. There were real seats at the table. Well, imagine what has happened to public policy making now.

There is a real room, with a window and a door and there's two seats at the table. The window is for us to look through while our representatives make policy for us so we can see what they're doing. At the table, one seat is for the Democrats and one seat is for the Republicans. Now, we don't know who did it, but one of them put a lock on the door and slipped a key to the corporate lobbyists who can come and go at will and whisper what they want to the Democrats, and then whisper what they want to the Republicans, and the result is that we the people, who pay for those seats and determine who sits in them, want one thing, but because the corporate lobbyists can come and go at will, our values get overridden and our representatives give us something else.

That's how we end up with everyone saying they're against the war and occupation, but war and occupation still gets funding.

That's how we end up with everyone saying they're against illegal spying on innocent people, yet end up with a telecom immunity bill being signed into law.

That's how we end up with everyone saying they're in favor of universal access to health care and no one implementing what the physicians, nurses, and health care providers support, and that's a single payer health care system in this country.

That's why my cousin and so many other students in this country face staggering personal debt just to get an education, yet our elected representatives keep voting to spend 720 million dollars a day on war and occupation, war crimes, and crimes against the peace.

Now, if we can entice people who have stopped voting because they see the system as rigged, to become active again, and to vote Green . . .

If we can convince those first-time voters from the previous two Presidential elections, though they might be discouraged because they saw their vote obstructed and then not counted while neither of the big parties fought to protect them, if we can convince them to vote Green . . .

If we can convince those who see two parties, but only one political agenda, to vote Green, then it is possible for the Green Party to get 5% of the national vote.

5% of the vote makes the Green Party, not a minor party in the eyes of the federal government, but a major party.

5% confers on the Green Party major party status. And with that 5%, we can pull up another chair at the table of public policy making. It only takes 5% of those who vote, including the near majority who don't vote, to come out for a Green Party President and then we will have an official third party in this country, and public policy that truly reflects our values._Now, I'm known for taking bold positions, based on my own research, that have put me ahead of the curve. I was there on private militaries hired by the Pentagon and our State Department long before Blackwater began patrolling the streets of New Orleans in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina.

I was there on corporate accountability and military contracting scandals before Iraq and Afghanistan.

I was there on enlisted members' and veterans' rights and health issues, like forced vaccinations and conscientious objection.

I was there on Hurricanes Katrina and Rita recovery and detoxification, restoration, and return issues.

I was there on 9/11 foreknowledge.

And I put impeachment "on the table."

I'm not afraid to address the issues that no one else will dare to talk about.

I'm not afraid to speak truth to empower.

Let me close with this.

Don't expect me to keep a count of the major party flip flops from now to November. I'm sure there will be many. But, in the end, that's not the important issue to understand. What is more fundamental to understand is this: the other political parties find themselves in this flip-flop predicament because they have to appear to share our values while they serve someone else's.

The Green Party doesn't have to engage in shapeshifting because the Green Party is funded by and belongs to you.

All over the world, Green Party members are working as elected leaders in government to make public policy reflect our Green values. Wangari Mathai, former Parliamentarian from Kenya, Nobel Peace Prize Laureate. Green Party member. Ingrid Betancourt, recently released hostage in Colombia, former Senator and Presidential candidate. Green Party member. Green Party members make public policy at the national level on every Continent, but not yet in our country.

Twenty years ago, Green party activists saw through this two-party box that voters have been put into in this country and started the Green Party here. And what we have to remember is this: whatever it is that we want in the realm of public policy, we can get if we have the right elected officials in office. Nothing for us is impossible. Politics is about shared values being reflected in public policy. And these Green party candidates standing with me are the right kind of people who will implement the right kind of public policy that reflects our shared values.

Voters in this country are scared into not voting their hopes, their dreams, their aspirations. But in Bolivia and Ecuador and Argentina and Chile and Nicaragua and Spain, and India and Cote d'Ivoire and Haiti, voters were not afraid to vote their hopes and dreams and guess, what. Their dreams came true. Ours can, too.

Every one of you in this room today and each of the individuals I've met and communicated with online across our country has made a difference in my life. And moreover, the 5% who will vote for us, will help us make a positive difference in the lives of people around the world. Who we are makes a difference. What we do makes a difference.

We are in this to build a movement. We are willing to struggle for as long as it takes to have our values prevail in public policy. A vote for the Green Party is a vote for the movement that will turn this country right side up again.

I want to invite everyone who shares our values to join our Power to the People campaign. C-Span viewers can learn more about us at www.runcynthiarun.org. I want to work with the nominees of the other small political parties so we can form a united front. I'm asking for your vote because in reality the only "wasted" vote is a vote against conscience, a vote against our dreams. Vote your dreams, Vote your conscience. Vote our future. Vote Green.

Thank you, Green Party, for granting Rosa and me this supreme honor. Now let's go out there and get busier. We've got a lot of work to do.

Power to the People!
(c) 2008 Cynthia McKinney

Different Planets
By Uri Avnery

I SPENT the whole day flipping between the Israeli channels and Aljazeera.

It was an eerie experience: in a fraction of a second I could switch between two worlds, but all the channels reported on exactly the same occasion. In one section of the breaking news, the events happened at a distance of a few dozen meters from each other, but they could just as well have happened on two different planets.

Never before have I experienced the tragic conflict in such a stunning immediacy as last Wednesday, the day of the prisoner swap between the State of Israel and the Hezbollah organization.

THE MAN who stood at the center of the event personifies the abyss that separates the two worlds, the Israeli and the Arab: Samir al-Kuntar.

All Israeli media call him "Murderer Kuntar," as if that were his first name. For the Arab media, he is "Hero Samir al-Kuntar."

29 years ago, before Hezbollah had become a significant factor, he landed with his comrades on the beach of Nahariya and carried out an attack that has imprinted itself on the Israeli national memory with its cruelty. In the course of it, a four year-old girl was murdered, and a mother accidentally suffocated her small child while trying to keep it from giving away their hiding place. Kuntar was then 16 years old - not a Palestinian, nor a Shiite, but a Lebanese Druze and a communist. The action was set in motion by a small Palestinian fraction.

Years ago I had an argument with my friend Issam al-Sartawi about a similar incident. Sartawi was a Palestinian hero, a pioneer of peace with Israel, who was later assassinated because of his contacts with Israelis. In 1978 a group of Palestinian fighters ("terrorists" in Israeli parlance) landed on the shore south of Haifa in order to capture Israelis for a prisoner swap. On the beach they came across a photographer who was innocently strolling around and killed her. After that they intercepted a bus full of passengers, and in the end all of them were killed.

I knew the photographer. She was a gentle young woman, a good soul, who liked taking pictures of flowers in nature. I remonstrated with Sartawi about this despicable act. He told me: "You don't understand. These are youngsters, almost kids, untrained and inexperienced, who are operating behind the lines of a dreaded enemy. They are scared to death. They cannot act with cool logic."

That was one of the few instances where we did not agree - though both of us were, each within his own people, on the fringe of the fringe.

This Wednesday, the difference between the two worlds was apparent in its most extreme form. In the morning, the "Murderer Kuntar" woke up in an Israeli prison, in the evening the "Hero al-Kuntar" stood in front of a hundred thousand cheering Lebanese from all communities and parties. It took him but a few minutes to cross from Israeli territory to the tiny UN enclave at Ras-al-Naqura and from there to Lebanese territory, from the realm of Israeli TV to the realm of Lebanese TV - and the distance was greater than that transversed by Neil Armstrong on the way to the moon.

By talking endlessly about the "Bloodstained Murderer" who will never be freed, whatever happens, Israel has turned him from just another prisoner into a pan-Arab hero.

Nowadays it is already a banality to say that one person's terrorist is another's freedom fighter. This week, a slight movement of the finger on the TV remote control was enough to experience this first-hand.

EMOTIONS RAN high on both sides.

The Israeli public was immersed in a sea of sorrow and mourning for the two soldiers, whose death was confirmed only minutes before the return of their bodies. For hours on end, all the Israeli channels devoted their broadcasts to the feelings of the two families, who the media had spent the last two years transforming into national symbols (as well as rating-boosting instruments).

No need to mention that not a single voice in Israel said even one word about the 190 families, the bodies of whose sons were returned to Lebanon on the same day.

In this whirlpool of self-pity and mourning ceremonies, the Israeli public had no energy and interest left for trying to understand what was happening on the other side. On the contrary: the reception accorded to the Murderer and the victory speech of the Mastermind of Murder only added fuel to the flames of fury, hatred and humiliation.

But it would have been really worthwhile for Israelis to follow the happenings there, because they will have a lot of impact on our situation.

IT WAS, of course, Hassan Nasrallah's big day. In the eyes of tens of millions of Arabs, he has won a huge victory. A small organization in a small country has brought Israel, the regional power, to its knees, while the leaders of all the Arab countries are bending the knee before Israel.

Nasrallah promised to bring Kuntar back. For that purpose he captured the two soldiers. After two years and one war, the newly freed prisoner stood on the tribune in Beirut, dressed in a Hezbollah uniform, and Nasrallah himself, endangering his personal safety, came out and embraced him in front of the TV cameras, as a cheering crowd went wild with enthusiasm.

Faced with this demonstration of personal courage and self-confidence, its dramatic flair so characteristic of the man, the Israeli army reacted with the inane statement: "We would not advise Nasrallah to leave his bunker!"

Aljazeera brought all this live, hour after hour, to millions of homes from Morocco to Iraq and the Muslim world beyond. It was impossible for Arab viewers not to be swept along on the waves of emotion. For a young person in Riyadh, Cairo, Amman or Baghdad, there was only one possible reaction: Here is the man! Here is the man who is restoring Arab honor after decades of defeats and humiliation! Here is the man, compared to whom all the leaders of the Arab world are dwarfs! And when Nasrallah announced that "As from this moment, the era of Arab defeats has come to an end!" he captured the spirit of the day.

I suspect that there were also quite a number of Israelis who made unflattering comparisons between this man and our own cabinet ministers, the champions of empty, boastful verbiage. Compared to them, Nasrallah looks responsible, credible, logical and determined, without spin and hollow words.

On the eve of the huge rally, he addressed the public and forbade firing into the air, as is common in Arab celebrations. "Anyone who shoots, shoots at my breast, my head, my robe!" he declared. Not a single shot was fired.

FOR LEBANON it was a historic day. Something like this has never happened before: all the country's political elite, without exception, turned out at Beirut airport to welcome Kuntar, and at the same time to salute Nasrallah. Some of them were gnashing their teeth, of course, but the understood very well the way the wind is blowing.

They were all there: the President of Lebanon, the Prime Minister, all the members of the new cabinet, the leaders of all the parties, all the communities and all the religions, all living past presidents and prime ministers. The Sunni Saad Hariri, who has accused Hezbollah of involvement in the assassination of his father; the Druze Walid Jumblat, who has demanded the liquidation of Hezbollah more than once; and the Maronite Christian Samir Geagea, who bears the responsibility for the Sabra and Shatila massacre; together with many others who but yesterday were showering Hezbollah with every possible obscenity.

In his speech, the new President praised all those who took part in freeing Kuntar, thus conferring national legitimacy not only on the Hezbollah action that precipitated the war, but also on the military function of Hezbollah in defending Lebanon. Since the President was until recently the commander of the army, this means that the Lebanese army, too, embraces Hezbollah.

On Wednesday, Nasrallah became the most important and powerful person in Lebanon. Three months after the crisis that almost caused a civil war, when Prime Minister Fuad Siniora demanded that Hezbollah turn over its private communication network, Lebanon has become a unified country. Demands like the disarming of Hezbollah have become a pipe dream. Lebanon is also united in the demand for the liberation of the Shebaa farms and for the delivery by Israel of the maps of minefields and the deadly cluster bombs left by our army after the second Lebanon war.

Those who remember Lebanon as a doormat in the region, and the Shiites as a doormat in Lebanon, can appreciate the immensity of the change.

IN ISRAEL, some people blame the prisoner swap for the dizzying ascent of Nasrallah and the whole national-religious camp in the Arab world. But Israel's responsibility for these trends started long before Ehud Olmert's attempts to distract attention from his diverse corruption affairs.

All those are to blame who supported the stupid and destructive Second Lebanon War, which was enthusiastically hailed on the first day by all the media, the "Zionist" parties and the leading men of letters. The bodies of the two captured soldiers could have been retrieved by negotiations before the war much in the same way this has been done now. This is what I wrote at the time.

But one can trace the blame even further back, to Ariel Sharon's First Lebanon War. Then, too, all the media, the parties and the leading intellectuals deliriously welcomed the war on the first day. Before that disastrous war, the Shiite community was our good and quiet neighbor. Sharon is responsible for the ascent of Hezbollah; and the Israeli army, which assassinated Nasrallah's predecessor, gave Nasrallah the opportunity to become what he now is.

Neither should one forget Shimon Peres, who created the disastrous "Security Zone" in South Lebanon, instead of getting out in good time. And David Ben-Gurion and Moshe Dayan, who, in 1955, proposed installing "a Christian major" as dictator of Lebanon, who would then sign a peace treaty with Israel.

The deadly mixture of arrogance and ignorance that is typical of all Israeli dealings with the Arab world is also responsible for what happened on Wednesday. It would be wonderful if this taught our leaders some modesty and consideration for the feelings of others, as well as the ability to read the map of reality, instead of living in a bubble of national autism. But I am afraid that the opposite will happen: a strengthening of the feelings of anger, insult, sanctimoniousness and hatred.

All the Israeli governments bear responsibility for the national-religious wave in the Arab world, which is much more dangerous for Israel than the secular nationalism of leaders like Yasser Arafat and Bashar al-Assad.

THIS WEEK, another important thing happened: in one great leap, the Syrian president jumped from American-imposed isolation into global stardom at a grandiose international show in Paris. The pathetic attempts by Olmert, Tzipi Livni and a band of Israeli reporters to shake the hand of Assad, or at least a minister, a low official or a bodyguard, were pure slapstick.

And still more happened this week: the No. 3 in the US Department of State officially met with Iranian delegates. And it became clear that the negotiations with Hamas over the next prisoner swap are still in deep freeze.

The new situation harbors many dangers, but also a host of opportunities. The new status of Nasrallah as a central player in the Lebanese political game imposes on him responsibility and caution. A strengthened Assad may be a better partner for peace, if we are ready to take the opportunity. The American negotiations with Iran may avert a destructive war, which would be a disaster for us, too. The legitimization of Hamas by the negotiations, when they are resumed, may lead to Palestinian unity, like the unity achieved now in Lebanon. Any peace agreement we signed with them would really have legs to stand on.

In two months Israel may have a new government. If it wants to, it could start a new initiative for peace with Palestine, Lebanon and Syria.
(c) 2008 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

The Biggest Lie Ever Believed
By Victoria Stewart

"The greatest gifts you can give your children are the roots of responsibility and the wings of independence. " ~~~ Denis Waitley

"Independence is happiness." ~~~ Susan B. Anthony

"I do this real moron thing, it's called thinking, and I'm not a very good American because I like to form my own opinions." ~~~ George Carlin

In Sonya Johnson's brilliant political work, Wildfire, she suggested women reassess their lives with the understanding that everything they've been taught is either a lie or wrong. I don't know if Michael Folkerth ever read Johnson but he has certainly applied her advice to the world of economics and capitalism.

I put off reading Folkerth's "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed" because I just didn't want to read another end-of-the-world-and-all-good-things diatribe. I have no patience with writers who demand the return of the American middle class, less than no patience with those who express a voyeuristic glee at anticipated suffering and experience a very un-Zen rage when I read yet another privileged professional exhorting the "workers" to change the system. I just didn't want to read this book.

Imagine my surprise then, to discover that the book was not anything like the other books and articles I had forced myself to read. Not only was Folkerth witty and funny, he was smart and-most importantly-he was saying exactly what I believe to be true: The old days are gone. We have to change the way we live.

And unlike most, maybe all, proponents of economic change, Folkerth presents practical, reasonable, sound and doable solutions.

"The Biggest Lie Ever Believed" is an interesting mix of history, personal observations and common sense, well seasoned with a wry and irreverent humor. The sacred myths of ever-expanding growth and the American Dream are deftly revealed as the scams they are.

Presidents, economists and the intellectual elite all come under Folkerth's scrutiny and none of them fare well as he cuts through the self-serving rhetoric that has passed for financial policy. And he makes it funny--in a gallows humor sort of way.

"It was late in the summer of 1992 while having coffee at the ranch of friend, Gary Swanson, that the question occurred to me. 'Gary, why do Bill Clinton and George Bush both agree with the need for NAFTA?' Gary pondered the question for a moment and admitted that he wasn't sure, but now that I had brought it up, it did seem curiously strange....Bill Clinton and George Bush (George senior) didn't agree on whether it gets dark at night, let alone the subject of international trade policy....Figuring that Mr. Bush and Mr. Clinton had to be up to something of interest, I continued to ask the same question of my other friends and business acquaintances, all of whom responded that they didn't know, and frankly didn't care, as long as it didn't affect football season. Early one quiet morning it came to me what it was that George and Bill were equally concerned about. America's economic engine was making one of those knocking sounds that your mechanic love to hear. But more importantly, this was an economic engine that neither Mr. Clinton nor Mr. Bush wanted to be responsible for when it blew up."

Folkerth gives his readers a comprehensive and comprehensible analysis of national and world economics. He explains where we are, how and why we got here and who brought us-and he does it with flair. On NAFTA and the WTO he writes:

"At about the same point our illustrious government officials realized the average annual income in Mexico wouldn't cover breakfast at Denny's and a one-night stay at Motel 6, they also realized 'open borders' meant...open borders.

American industrial leaders, being somewhat brighter than government officials, realized that while they couldn't sell America-made products to the Mexicans, they could certainly move their American-made manufacturing plants to Mexico. Cheaper wages, no fringe benefits, fewer work rules, modest environmental concerns and no OSHA inspectors at all: sounds like corporate utopia to me."

From diminishing resources and the imploding housing market to Social Security and Medicare, Folkerth turns his acerbic wit and biting criticism toward all the crucial issues. He doesn't sugar coat, he doesn't exaggerate and he doesn't advocate panic.

There are many differences between Mike Folkerth and everyone else who is writing or pontificating about the economy. He doesn't condescend. He isn't an "expert" instructing the great unwashed. He understands the daily struggles of ordinary people because they have been his struggles. He recognizes that we might have some responsibility to our children and grandchildren. And he believes that we, that Americans, might actually be able to change, to fix this mess we are in. And he has some advice for doing it.


Folkerth's recommendations are age specific. His advice for young families is not the same as that for those coming up on retirement but he does have one theme that runs throughout and that is the overriding importance of happiness. How often have you heard the economy and happiness discussed together?

If you are worried about the future, if you are unhappy and unfulfilled and living today on the promise of tomorrow, read Mike Folkerth's book. Pass it on to your kids. Recommend it to your friends. Mike Folkerth can help you see that not only is there a way out, you have the power to get out.
(c) 2008 Victoria Stewart is the editor of Issues & Alibis magazine.

Golfing For Dollars

America might be mired in a Gulf War, but it's golf that seems to be on the minds of the Bushites. Here's the three-part story.

First comes George W himself. A reporter, noting that Bush hasn't been golfing recently, asked if this important presidential development was related to Iraq. "Yes," he solemnly declared. Furrowing his brow and working up his most sincere tone, he explained: "I don't want some mom whose son may have recently died to see the commander-in-chief playing golf... I think playing golf during a war just sends the wrong signal."

Well, that's not much presidential solidarity with military families who're having to make the ultimate sacrifice, and it's certainly not on par with, say, having a president's own family members enlist in Daddy's war - but, hey, it's a gesture.

Second, here comes Bush's secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, shouting, "Fore!" On July 4th, Condi teed it up for 18 holes at the Congressional Country Club, and she gaily told the Golf Channel that, "I've been playing and playing a lot." But wait, Condi, what about sending the wrong signal? Oh, posh, she breezily responded, "Cabinet secretaries and the president can all do exactly what they wish." No sacrifice for her.

Third, look out, it's George W again! Mr. Sincere just recently joined his parents and brother Jeb at the family compound in Kennebunkport for - guess what? - a golf outing. Apparently, though, this one passes Bush's ethical test because it's not just for play - it's business. Indeed, for $5,000 a pop, Republican high rollers can enjoy a round of golf on Bush's home course, with the money going to support John McCain's presidential run.

So, children, what have we learned here? The lesson is that golfing by the commander in chief is disrespectful to our troops - unless its done for purposes of political fundraising.
(c) 2008 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.

Hydroponics? Yes!!
Gardening Hydroponically the 'Square Foot' way is here
By Mel Bartholomew

(Another innovative idea from Mel's fertile mind!)

While filming one of our PBS-TV Shows at Disney World in Orlando , Florida , we were invited to tour and subsequently film several shows at the Land Pavilion where they were exhibiting several new methods of growing vegetables - some even suited for the moon! One demonstration was the standard hydroponic method where plants are grown, not in dirt or soil, but in water.

Another method (but this is for another time) was airoponics where the roots hung down in a closed, lightless area where they were sprayed with a fine water spray and the plant top grew up a string in the sunlight - very similar to our SFG vertical method.

But - back at the ranch. At the hydroponic display, they had large shallow pools of water with 4'x8' sheets of Styrofoam floating on the surface. The actual plants were started in little cups filled with a soil mix much like Mel's Mix. Holes were drilled at uniform spacing in the Styrofoam and the cups fit tightly into those holes. When the seeds sprouted the roots grew down right into the water.

Apparently a plant can have two kinds of roots - normal air roots for growing in soil and also water roots. Remember, the SFG book tells you how the roots do not actually grow in the soil particles, but meander their way through the air spaces between those particles. In addition, a plant has the ability to grow a slightly different type of root that will grow in nothing but water. The water roots can take up the oxygen and nutrients in the water solution and, believe it or not, provide the plant with all the energy it needs. Liquid fertilizer was being added to the water which was continuously circulated to keep it fresh and moving. The top of the plant had plenty of room to spread out on the Styrofoam surface just as if it were planted in a garden. If it was a vine crop and hanging support strings were provided, the plant would just climb up the string or could be attached to it very easily by gently twisting it around the string once or twice a week.

I was so amazed and enthralled with this method, that when we came home I decided to see if we could make Square Foot Gardening do the hydroponic thing. After all, the only thing needed is a pool of water which could be provided with our standard 6 inch deep 4 ft by 4 ft box with a plywood bottom and lined with heavy duty six-mil plastic so the box doesn't leak. It would be just like a square 6-inch deep wading pool. The box could sit on the ground in the garden, patio, or even the deck. Or it could be raised up to sit on a tabletop, sawhorses or even on legs made out of wood or stacks of cement blocks. There is no end to the location and setting. And for the surface, I thought, why not cut out twelve inch by twelve inch pieces of half to one inch thick Styrofoam and cut holes at either the one, four, nine, or sixteen spacing, the standard spacing for Square Foot Gardening. After building a sample box, I set it on sawhorses out in the yard to get maximum sunlight. Having it up higher meant no bending over to garden.

The 4 ft by 4 ft box with a plywood bottom,
no holes for drainage, set up on two saw horses.
Notice the vertical pipe legs which will become
the vertical frame for the vine crops to grow on.

Next, I added the plastic liner, filled it with water, let the sun warm the water and then added the Square Foot Styrofoam pieces. It looked great - so far so good!

Notice the clear plastic has been
installed as a lining and the box filled
with water. Rather than using thin sheets
of 12 inch by 12 inch Styrofoam I started
by floating standard commercial seed starter
boxes in the water. This worked so well as
the plant roots grew down into the water
that I later started using the square foot
Styrofoam as explained in the above article.

I first experimented with standard commercial Styrofoam seedling boxes I had which were a no-work start to the experiment. They just floated in the water and the seeds were planted in the individual cells which I filled with Mel's Mix. That stuff works everywhere and for every purpose. (Make sure you have some extra mix around for other purposes later after you make the mix for your regular Square Foot Garden .

Later, I had obtained some standard small cups at the deli and made sure the cups fit tightly in the holes I cut in the flat Styrofoam 12"x12" squares. Then I planted some seeds and some transplanted seedlings. I planted each square foot with a different crop until the entire 4x4 was filled with a variety of lettuces, beets, Swiss chard, scallions, peppers, radishes, and spinach. I located the other trial hydroponic box in a patio space out in full sun so it made a very interesting addition. As I sat there watching the plants grow, I thought of all the different possibilities.

One idea I thought of was to leave one or two of the Styrofoam squares empty and to plant water lilies in that square. They are usually grown in a clay flower pot in soil and then just set down in the water so everything except the leaves are below the water surface. Of course, another idea would be to put in a water fountain that would create a miniature garden landscape. Disney never thought of these things. Their ideas were to try out ways that would be adaptable in many locations around the world and perhaps even in space.

Now one problem came to mind. If we had an open-water surface out in the garden, what would be sure to find it? Mosquitoes lay their eggs in water and the nymph grows in that water. Surely mosquitoes would find this pool of water and find it a charming place to lay their eggs (which, by the way, look like little black rafts - the eggs are glued together turned straight up). Once they hatch, the larvae go to the bottom of the water to look for food. As they develop and grow larger they then turn into the next stage of development where they must wiggle to the surface and poke their tubes through the water surface to breathe air.

The well-known treatment for standing water is to cover the surface with a very thin film of oil that makes the surface tension so tough that the larvae cannot poke through it; thus they suffocate by not being able to breathe any air. However, there is another unique way to get rid of the mosquito larvae and that is to introduce something that will eat them. That would be - a little drum roll please - FISH. So, I could have cute little tropical fish swimming around beneath my plants, eating all the mosquito larvae and getting large enough to go into my indoor aquarium for the winter. What do you think of that idea?

But how would the SFG plants get their nutrients? Fertilizers come in both organic and chemical forms as well as dry powders or liquids and for this operation it was easiest to add a liquid to the 4x4 box of water. This could be done, perhaps, on a weekly basis, but as I experimented more and more I found that unless you were after very vigorous and rapid growth, the plants seemed to do quite well in just plain water. Hence we could have an Organic Hydroponic Garden . Who else on your block could say that?

Another idea was to attach a SFG vertical frame and grow vine crops. It was very easy to install the typical SFG vertical frame as described in my book. I made it out of the same electrical metal conduit but instead of driving steel rods into the ground to hold up the pipe legs, I used metal clamps that held the legs tightly to the outside of the box yet in an upright position as seen in the first photo. Or, four legs could even be placed, one in each inside corner of the box resting on the inside bottom. I could envision an entire arbor placed over the hydroponic box and planting vine crops all around the outer 4 sides with shade crops in the interior squares.

The next idea would be to take this whole contraption indoors and grow under lights in the basement or on an enclosed porch all winter. If necessary, we could add an aquarium tank water heater because it was obvious the plants would grow quicker and better the warmer the water was up to a point of about 80 ° F. That worked also, so there seemed to be no limit to this idea, only the imagination of the grower. Did we grow more this way than in a conventional SFG outside? No! Could we grow things that we could not grow in a regular SFG? No! Did we have a lot of fun? Yes!

In fact, this would make a particularly challenging science project for a student of any age. I hope you'll give it a try and send us pictures and share your experiences.

You might ask what made me think of all this hydroponic growing and experimenting I did 20 years ago. I was recently screening all of our original PBS-TV shows in order to reproduce them and issue DVD's of some of the most interesting and still pertinent episodes.

There were several trips we made to Florida and Disney World was in several of them. We also did segments on their behind-the-scenes planting, growing and shearing of all their hanging baskets, topiary figures, as well as several parts of the Land pavilion. Another interesting area we filmed was a tour through all the different country's gardens at the Epcot Center . (Watch our catalog page to see when we have those DVDs as products you can order.)

Next question - are we going to design, build and sell a SFG Hydroponic kit with all the parts I mentioned above? Yes, if we get enough interest. Let us know with an e-mail - or just go build one yourself and give it a try. It's a lot of fun. And, don't forget those guppies and swordtails.
(c) 2008 Mel Bartholomew is an inventor, author, and founder of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

Drying Food Part #3
Drying Vegetables
By Judy Troftgruben


You may be surprised to learn that a great ma vegetables can be dried successfully at home. Be sure start with fresh, mature produce. Harvest or buy on the amount you can dry at one time - 4 to 6 pounds you plan to use your oven. Wash all dirt off the vegetables and cut out any bad spots.

Cut the vegetables into pieces of a suitable size. Keep in mind that thin pieces will dry faster than thick one. For example, French-cut green beans take less time dry than cross-cut beans.


Almost all vegetables need to be blanched (scalded in boiling water a short time before drying. Blanching stops the enzyme action, which drying cannot stop. If vegetables are not blanched, enzymes will destroy the color and flavor during drying and storage. A few vegetables such as mushrooms, okra, and onions do n need to be blanched before drying.

Blanching also protects certain nutrients and bel reduce the drying time somewhat. Some nutrient however, are lost during blanching in boiling water b cause they dissolve into the water. Steam blanching takes more time, but fewer water-soluble nutrients a lost. To minimize the loss of nutrients, blanch only f the required length of time. But don't underblanch; the enzymes will not be inactivated, and the quality of the dried vegetables will be inferior.

Blanch the cut pieces of vegetables in a large amount of water. Follow the blanching times for freezing vegetable. Chill in ice water or in cold running water the same length of time recommended for blanching. Drain well and blot the pieces dry on paper towelling to remove excess moisture. Save the water. It will add flavor and valuable nutrients to your soups, stews, and gravies.


Spread the prepared vegetables in thin layers on the drying trays. Then stack the trays in the oven or dryer. Make sure to leave at least 1 inches between the trays so that the air can circulate freely around them. If the trays are too close together, drying will take longer.

If you are using an oven, keep the door open slightly and use an electric fan. A food dryer is equipped with a fan for ventilation, so close the door. Keep the oven temperature at 140 degrees F. (60 C.). Stir the pieces of vegetables about every half hour so that all surfaces are exposed to the air. Also, shift the trays around on the racks periodically because the temperature inside the oven varies somewhat from top to bottom and from front to back.

Vegetables take from 4 to 12 hours to dry. The length of time depends on the kind and amount of food being dried, the method you use (oven or food dryer), and the drying temperature. When sufficiently dry, the vegetables will be hard and brittle. You can test them by hitting a piece with a hammer; the piece should shatter.


Mature beans, peas, and soybeans may be fully or partly dried on the vine.

Carrots, turnips, parsnips, rutabagas, and potatoes are better stored fresh than dried. They can be kept for several months in a cellar or basement.

Broccoli and asparagus are better frozen than dried because freezing helps preserve their fresh flavor and texture.

Combinations of vegetables can be dried at the same time. just remember that vegetables have different drying times, so some will be dry before others.

Vegetables with a strong odor should not be dried at the same time as other vegetables because those with a mild flavor may absorb the strong odor.

Salad seasoning ingredients should be dried separately, then mixed and stored together for delightful blends. A good mix for salads might include tiny bits of carrots, tomatoes, celery, onion, spinach, green peppers, and parsley.

Soup vegetables should always be dried separately. Then you can combine them in different ways so that you will have a vast variety of gourmet soups at your fingertips. You can blend the flavors to suit your own taste; just let your imagination be your guide. These home-prepared combinations will be much cheaper than those available commercially.


You don't need to soak dried vegetables before cooking them, but soaking will shorten the cooking time. Reconstitute by soaking I cup of dried vegetables in 2 cups of water for about 2 hours. Add more water if necessary. Vegetables will return to almost their original size and shape. Reconstituted vegetables are tasty additions to stews, casseroles, and soups. The water you use for soaking and cooking contains valuable nutrients, so use it in sauces and gravies.

Vegetable mixes for seasoning salads should not be soaked. Simply combine the dried vegetables with the other salad ingredients and add your favorite dressing.
(c) 1984/2008 Judy Troftgruben, Extension Specialist, Foods and Nutrition and revised by Mary Keith, Assistant Professor, Foods and Nutrition, and Extension Specialist, Foods, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Spying Uncovered
Documents show state police monitored peace and anti-death penalty groups
By Nick Madigan

Undercover Maryland State Police officers repeatedly spied on peace activists and anti-death penalty groups in recent years and entered the names of some in a law-enforcement database of people thought to be terrorists or drug traffickers, newly released documents show.

The files, made public yesterday by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maryland, depict a pattern of infiltration of the activists' organizations in 2005 and 2006. The activists contend that the authorities were trying to determine whether they posed a security threat to the United States. But none of the 43 pages of summaries and computer logs - some with agents' names and whole paragraphs blacked out - mention criminal or even potentially criminal acts, the legal standard for initiating such surveillance.

State police officials said they did not curtail the protesters' freedoms.

The spying, detailed in logs of at least 288 hours of surveillance over a 14-month period, recalls similar infiltration by FBI agents of civil rights and anti-war groups decades ago, particularly under the administration of President Richard M. Nixon.

David Rocah, a staff attorney for the ACLU in Baltimore, said at a news conference yesterday that he found it "stupefying" that more than 30 years later, the government is still targeting people who do nothing more than express dissent.

"Everything noted in these logs is a lawful, First Amendment activity," Rocah said. "For undercover police officers to spend hundreds of hours entering information about lawful political protest activities into a criminal database is an unconscionable waste of taxpayer dollars and does nothing to make us safer from actual terrorists or drug dealers."

The ACLU obtained the documents from the state attorney general's office through a Maryland Public Information Act lawsuit.

Col. Terrence B. Sheridan, superintendent of the Maryland State Police, said in a statement yesterday that the department "does not inappropriately curtail the expression or demonstration of the civil liberties of protesters or organizations acting lawfully."

"No illegal actions by state police have ever been taken against any citizens or groups who have exercised their right to free speech and assembly in a lawful manner," Sheridan said. "Only when information regarding criminal activity is alleged will police continue to investigate leads to ensure the public safety."

Nothing in the documents indicates criminal activity or intent on the part of the protesters, ACLU officials said.

Nonetheless, the state police's Homeland Security and Intelligence Division sent covert agents to infiltrate the Baltimore Pledge of Resistance, a peace group; the Baltimore Coalition Against the Death Penalty; and the Committee to Save Vernon Evans, a death row inmate.

Using a fake e-mail address and an alias, an undercover agent joined the e-mail list of the death penalty group, the documents say. Agents also monitored the group's organizational meetings, public forums and events in churches, as well as rallies on Lawyers Mall in Annapolis and in Baltimore outside the Maryland Correctional Adjustment Center, known as "SuperMax."

Most of the spies' reports were innocuous. After an Aug. 24, 2005, gathering of the Evans group, an undercover officer wrote in a log: "The meeting concluded with members talking about trying to get the man running for Baltimore County State's Attorney to commit to his plans regarding the death penalty in the county."

Baltimore County was responsible for more capital punishment cases than any other Maryland jurisdiction at the time.

Another entry about the Evans group revealed that agents had spent 50 hours of "investigative time" shadowing its members in March, April and May 2005. The entry mentioned that a May 25, 2005, meeting of the group was attended by Max Obuszewski, a former Peace Corps member and longtime activist who moved to Baltimore in 1983, and Terry Fitzgerald, who heads the anti-death penalty coalition and established the Evans group.

Both attended yesterday's news conference.

State police appeared to have been specifically tracking Obuszewski's activities. His name, the documents show, was entered into the Washington/Baltimore High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area database, even though there was "not a scintilla of evidence" that he deserved to be listed, said Rocah, the ACLU attorney.

"Mr. Obuszewski has devoted his entire life to peace," Rocah said. "If there is anyone in the world who is further from a terrorist, it is hard for me to imagine."

Obuszewski agreed. "You cannot get more insulting than to call me a terrorist," he said. Besides, he went on, the groups he belongs to hold open meetings and publicize their schedules. "Why would someone come to those meetings and pretend to be someone else? Why are government agencies targeting pacifists?"

One reason, he theorized, is that local police agencies need funds from the federal government, and surveillance of supposed "terrorists" might be a good way to keep getting the money. No matter the reason, the news that the Bush administration keeps about 1 million names on a terrorist watch-list is disheartening, Obuszewski said, since so many people cannot possibly warrant inclusion.

In February 2006, the national ACLU and its affiliates filed multiple federal Freedom of Information requests seeking records of Pentagon surveillance of anti-war groups around the country. Using information from a secret Pentagon database, NBC News reported that a unit of the Department of Defense had been accumulating intelligence about domestic organizations and their protest activities as part of a mission to track "potential terrorist threats."

"It serves no security purpose to infiltrate peaceful groups," said Michael German, a former FBI agent who specialized in counter-terrorism and who joined the ACLU two years ago as policy counsel in its Washington legislative office. "It completely misuses law enforcement resources."

Since the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, German said, the government has "actively encouraged" local police agencies to become intelligence gatherers and to compile information that does not necessarily have a connection to criminal activity.

Despite the fact that the Maryland infiltrators' reports consistently said the activists acted lawfully, agents continued to recommend that the spying continue. Reports of the surveillance were sent to at least seven federal, state and local law enforcement agencies, including the National Security Agency, the police departments of Baltimore, Baltimore County, Annapolis and Anne Arundel County, and the state General Services police.

The documents released yesterday show the kind of information they were trading. Among other things, Obuszewski and fellow activists arranged a meeting with then-Rep. Benjamin L. Cardin in 2005 in which they asked him to support a timetable for withdrawal from Iraq.

Susan Goering, executive director of the ACLU of Maryland, said she feared that the documents released so far "may be only the tip of the proverbial iceberg."

In a letter sent yesterday to Gov. Martin O'Malley, Goering wrote that the state police had "recorded extensive information about specific individuals and groups, including describing their political outlook, whether they were articulate, what political activities they are engaged in, and attended private planning meetings in a covert capacity."

The only potentially unlawful activity mentioned anywhere in the documents, she said, were two instances of nonviolent civil disobedience. In one, activists refused to leave a guard station during a protest at the National Security Agency after bringing cookies and drinks for the guards, and in the other, they hatched a plan to place photographs of soldiers who died in Iraq on the fence surrounding the White House.

"Maryland residents should feel free to join a peaceful protest without fear that their names will wind up in police files," Goering wrote. "They should feel free to engage in nonviolent dissent without fear of being branded as 'terrorists' or 'security threat groups' in shared law-enforcement databases."
(c)2008 Nick Madigan

Renunciation And Escalation
Conflicting Tides in the Terror War
By Chris Floyd

As we noted here last year, "an important development has been taking place in the real "war" on terror -- not the profit-making, fear-and-domination machine of the Bush Administration's devising, but the genuine struggle to quell the violence of Islamist extremism. Yet despite the great potential of this breakthrough, an overwhelming majority of Americans have never heard of it. Certainly it has not been featured -- or even mentioned -- by the corporate press and government PR engines in the United States. And why not? Because it is a breakthrough toward peace -- and peace, as we all know, is not boffo box office."

Britta Sandberg has a new article on this topic at Salon.com, updating the developments since the spark for last year's story: the stunning renunciation of violence by one of the co-founders of al-Qaeda, the Egyptian doctor Sayyid Imam al-Sharif. Sandberg focuses on a former Libyan terrorist, Noman Benotman, as an example of the trend, and also notes the fatwa against violence issued this spring by the hardline Deoband faction:

In late May, India's influential Deoband religious movement issued a fatwa against terrorism. In a joint proclamation at a meeting in New Delhi attended by representatives of the country's leading Islamic organizations, the groups stated: "It is the goal and purpose of Islam to extinguish all forms of terrorism and to disseminate the message of global peace. Those who use the Koran and the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad to justify terror are merely upholding a lie."

The supreme mufti of the Deobandis and three envoys signed the document. "In terms of its theological significance, this is roughly the equivalent of a ruling by the Supreme Court in Washington," activist Javed Anand later said. The Deobandis, whose name is derived from a small city in the Indian state of Uttar Pradesh, once inspired and offered religious instruction to fighters in the Islamic world. Militant Pakistani groups, jihadists in Iraq and even the Taliban invoked the Deobandis for many years. But those days are now gone.

Sandberg also notes the founding of UK-based group, the Quilliam Foundation, set up by former militants. But this group is more problematic than Sandberg allows in her story. It is now heavily backed by the UK government, and some of its members have simply converted their Islamic extremism into anti-Islamic extremism. Recently, its most high-profile adherent, Ed Hussain, who wrote a best-selling book about his turn from extremism, was instrumental in sabotoging an important UK conference examining "the diversity of Muslim art and culture" in Britain and drawing moderate, mainstream Muslim forces into a greater political and social engagement, as Seamus Milne notes in the Guardian:

The political debates brought together a broad range of voices - from the US Nixon Centre's Robert Leiken to Rached al-Ghannouchi, who played a key role in reconciling mainstream Islamism with democratic principles in the 1990s - as well as many more women than attend most mainstream British political events.

But plans for government ministers to take part were scuttled by attacks from Hussain and the Tory party and press, who claimed that some of the event's organizers "had had links with Hamas or the Muslim Brotherhood, though the details are contested," as Milne reports:

Note that there is no suggestion of involvement in current terrorism in this controversy, in Britain or Israel. The issue is the government's growing hostility to dealing with anyone connected with the highly diverse movement that is Islamism. This is a political trend that has violent and non-violent, theocratic and democratic, reactionary and progressive strands, stretching from Turkey's pro-western ruling Justice and Development party through to the wildest shores of takfiri jihadism. But it's largely on the basis of this blinkered opposition that the government is now funding Husain's Quilliam Foundation, promoting other marginal groups...

The British government, which is taking part in the military occupation of two Muslim countries, is hardly in a position to throw up its hands in horror at sympathy with political violence abroad. But blurring the lines between support for those fighting foreign occupation and backing for violent attacks on civilians at home helps get the government off the hook of its own responsibility for the terror threat...

This is also the key to official policy towards Muslim organisations in Britain. The groups currently regarded as beyond the pale - such as the organisers of IslamExpo - are those keenest to promote Muslim involvement in British society and politics. But they are also the most actively opposed to western policy in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine - an important point of common ground, incidentally, with most non-Muslim Britons. The organisations the government backs, on the other hand, are those who keep quiet about the wars the US and Britain are fighting in the Muslim world. If the priority is really community integration and prevention of terror attacks, this sponsorship of clients and stooges is going to have to stop.

But "sponsorship of clients and stooges" is the lifeblood of Anglo-American policy, and has been for decades. British and American leaders have never been interested in genuine engagement with other political or cultural viewpoints; they want acquiesence, obedience - or else. And as wholesale purveyors of political violence, they much prefer dealing with violent extremists - either by supporting them or fighting them (or, as in Iraq, doing both at the same time) - than coming to terms with more moderate forces who seek peaceful accomodation of diverse interests within society. That's too much like hard work.

Still, the fact that the Terror Warriors in Washington and London are inevitably trying to turn Islamist renunciations of terrorism into another prop to justify their own violence does not lessen the development's importance in the real world. To be sure, this renunciation trend is in no danger of turning into a movement of satyagraha. Most of the Islamists renouncing terrorism against civilians still support the idea of open armed conflict against those "directly attacking Muslims." And as we noted last year:

The sentiments and strictures of the "corrected" Islamists remain repugnant -- as are all blinkered, self-righteous fundamentalisms, of whatever religious or secular character. But the repugnance of a set of beliefs -- or our fierce disagreement with the believer's ultimate dreams and ambitions -- are not, in the end, as important as the methods that believers adopt to achieve those ends. For example, if the neo-cons had stayed cozily nuzzling on the teats of rightwing cash cows, dreaming their dreamy dreams of "national greatness," "full spectrum dominance" and what have you -- and not sought to impose their extremist ideology on the world by state terrorism on a near-genocidal scale -- then who could object to what those consenting adults got up to in the privacy of their own think-tanks? Let them -- and the Islamists -- and any and all groupthinkers ply their music as they will, make their cases, proselytize, publicize, peddle their wares in the marketplace of ideas. But when an ideology arms itself, when blood is its argument and force and fear are its methods, then it becomes a crime against humanity.

For years now, the world has been suffering from a nasty gang war between two such criminal factions -- the Islamists and the Bushists. Both are tiny, radical minorities within the wider polities they falsely claim to represent. The fact that some major figures in one of these factions are now renouncing the use of "killing operations" to advance their odious ideas is surely a welcome development. If it saves only one innocent life from destruction, that is cause enough for rejoicing.

But not, as noted above, among the Terror Warriors. Again, last year's observations still hold true:

Yet this process -- which began in some quarters years before 9/11, and now involves hundreds of jihadist leaders and activists -- is being ignored by the very people who, ostensibly, have the greatest reason to trumpet it. But of course, such a development is actually bad news for the fanatical militarists of the Bushist faction. They ignore, reject or twist anything that undercuts their cartoonish myth of a vast, monolithic "Islamofascism" bent on world conquest at any cost -- and capable of carrying it out, unless stopped by multitrillion-dollar American war machine ranging over every continent.

That's why they will never declare "victory" in the "War on Terror." The "Terror" part of their PR slogan has never mattered in the slightest to the Bushists; this is evident in the fact that all expert analysts -- including America's own intelligence services -- say clearly that the Bushists' policies have actually increased terrorism around the world. It is the "War" in the "War on Terror" that the Bushists are concerned with. If bin Laden himself came down from the mountain (or, more likely, got up from his grave) and denounced terrorism as an abomination in the eyes of Allah; if every Sunni militant and Shiite militiaman in Iraq laid down their weapons and embraced Gandhian non-violence; if every jihadi training camp locked its gates, dismantled its bombs and turned its suicide belts into swaddling clothes, the Bushist "War on Terror" would go on. Some other suitable terrorism would be provoked, fomented or manufactured to justify their militarist, authoritarian agenda.

Of course, the emphasis on the "Bush Faction" in the preceeding passage is a bit misleading. Because the "War on Terror" is not simply a Bushist operation; on the contrary, it is enthusiastically embraced by the entire bipartisan Washington establishment. For example, Barack Obama has made it a linchpin of his national security strategy, especially with his intention to escalate the conflict in Afghanistan, which he calls a "war we have to win": words that should chill the blood of everyone who recognizes the implications of such an open-ended commitment. For if we "have" to "win" in Afghanistan - if defeat is not an option (just as Bush and McCain say of Iraq) - then what won't we do to secure that victory? After all, Obama has pledged himself to what has become the most sacred, bipartisan principle of American foreign policy: no president should ever take any option "off the table." [For more on this, see Arthur Silber's devastating essay, Songs of Death.]

What a strange pass we have come to: a founder of al Qaeda has taken extremist Islam's most potent weapon "off the table" - while the would-be heirs of Jefferson and Madison adamantly refuse to forego anything -- even the threat of nuclear terror -- in an endless global war that has already killed hundreds of thousands of innocent people.
(c) 2008 Chris Floyd

Midsummer Alert
Noble Resolve and Diablo Bravo
By Lt. Col. Guy S. Razer
Maj. William B. Fox
Dr. James H. Fetzer
Capt. Eric H. May
SFC Donald S. Buswell

Neo-cons and their allies are pounding the drums of war against Iran. Just after his White House meeting on June 4, Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert announced that war with Iran was a done deal: "George Bush understands the severity of the Iranian threat and the need to vanquish it, and intends to act on that matter before the end of his term in the White House."

In his July 14 article "Amber Alert! Get Ready for War" Justin Raimondo states "The Israelis have already been using U.S. bases in Iraq to train for the coming attack... [Bush] is more determined than ever to leave his lasting mark on the Middle East and the world."

In his July 15 article "A Phony Crisis - And A Real One" Pat Buchanan writes: "Israel and its Fifth Column ...seek to stampede us into war with Iran."

In his article, "9/11 and the Neo-Con Agenda" Dr. James H. Fetzer explained why the Bush Administration needs another (self-inflicted) "false flag" attack to expand the failing war in the Middle East.

In "False Flag Prospects, 2008" Captain Eric H. May proved the connection between official terror drills and the U.S. 9/11/2001 and UK 7/7/2005 terror attacks.

As experienced military professionals, it is our mission of conscience to publish alerts to the American people whenever the danger of a false flag attack is high. We face that danger now with several suspicious military exercises just ahead of us.

On July 22 Virginia will run a Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD) scenario at the Richmond International Airport. For two weeks we have tried to gather particulars on the terror drill from the Virginia National Guard. The command has been evasive, refusing us access to personnel involved in the WMD-related activities.

July 28-August 1, a wide array of U.S. military, police, and disaster agencies will be running multiple terror and catastrophe drills. The two main terror drills are "Noble Resolve" and "Diablo Bravo."

The National Guard Bureau informed us that during Noble Resolve '08, Virginia will run scenarios involving a rail incident and a terrorist attack. Both Indiana and Oregon will simulate earthquakes. In "Marine Corps Martial Law?-An Indy Alert Update" we described recent terror drills that brought 2,300 Marines to the Indianapolis area last month. Two weeks ago, Capt. Stephen Bomar, public affairs officer for the Oregon National Guard, told us that a "surprise inject" for Noble Resolve 2008 could include a WMD anywhere in the state.

Texas will also be prepared for surprise injects-including nuclear devices. Exercise officials refused to provide details, saying that they did not want to spoil the surprise for exercise participants. In "Texas Terror, Code Blue!" Capt. May detailed official evasions about recent terror drills in the Houston area, which have led notable intelligence writers to settle on Houston as the most likely target for a false flag attack. He included the suspicious gunning down of CIA operative Roland Carnaby, who may have been involved in a terror plot, by Houston police.

Diablo Bravo, like Noble Resolve, is a national-level exercise. It involves Department of Energy-controlled nukes in the state of Washington. According to local officials, on July 28, "the public may see a puff of smoke with a bang at the exercise start and observe some increase in vehicular traffic" near the U.S. Strategic Weapons Facility in Bremerton. Diablo Bravo will have 500 participants from a wide range of local, state, and federal agencies across America.

In addition to Noble Resolve and Diablo Bravo, there are two other noteworthy concurrent exercises. "Immediate Response 2008," running for three weeks beginning in mid-July, involves a thousand American troops training in the nation of Georgia. The Bush administration is pressuring east Russia, probably in preparation for an attack on Iran in Russia's south. "JTFEX 08-4, Operation Brimstone," running from July 21-31, involves 15,000 military personnel in amphibious exercises along the U.S. southeast coast, probably simulating the Iranian coastline.

We believe that since 9/11 the American people have already thwarted false flag attempts with well-timed Internet alerts. The Internet can effectively interdict treasonous intentions. Shining just a little light can cause the cockroaches of conspiracy to scurry. Accordingly, we urge you to pass this alert along to first responders, elected officials, media -and all other American citizens. The future of our nation may depend upon your action.

* * * * * * * * *

Lt. Col. Guy S. Razer is a retired U.S. Air Force Command fighter pilot. Dr. James H. Fetzer and Major William B. Fox are former U.S. Marine Corps officers. Captain Eric H. May and Sergeant First Class Donald Buswell are former members of Army intelligence. For more articles about false flag terror, refer to the archives of Capt. May, Maj. Fox, and Dr. Fetzer at www.americafirstbooks.com.
(c) 2008 Captain May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His political and military analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Military Intelligence Magazine and is the intelligence correspondent for Issues & Alibis magazine. For his homepage and schedule of upcoming interviews, refer to his homesite.

It's Time To Act
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning Middle America, your King of Simple News is on the air.

Most of you will remember my prediction that this downturn would eventually reach the white collar gang. I predicted early on that educated workers would be handed their hat. GM is getting ready for another round of cuts and guess where they are looking?

The German company Siemens recently laid off some 18,000 workers world wide; most were management. After all, you can't lay off old Joe, he's making the product. Bill is indispensable because he keeps the machinery running, Angela processes the orders...so who can we lay off to lean up the payroll a bit?

In a capitalistic society such as our own, management gets to determine who gets laid off. Management is of course close to others in management. Furloughing one of your peers seems too close to home. "Let's not get an idea started here that could come back to haunt me," is the thought process.

If the blue collar workers were allowed to choose those who would be laid off, the cleaners who do white collar laundry would go out of business in short order.

But there comes a time when hard realistic choices have to be made and we need to talk about that. I wish I could say that everyone could remain working, but that wouldn't be true. The layoffs in the auto, RV plants and other shrinking sectors or our economy will prove to be permanent for many.

If you find yourself working in a dying business or industry, "don't wait around for things to turn around," get out there and find something different as soon as possible. Those who believe that the election will turn things around could be right. It may get so bad so quickly that it will make the current times appear as a virtual bonanza.

Seek out opportunities in critical services and critical manufacturing. Think, food, energy, medical, transportation, communications, sewer and water...all the things that we must have. There will be a boom in alternative energy fields...at least there better be.

New auto companies will make breakthroughs, but it won't Ford or GM. Like the wagon manufacturers before them, they are stuck in time and it was their undoing.

I know this one is difficult, but if you are living in an area that has been hit very hard by the turn down in manufacturing, you may well have to move. Once more, don't think that a recovery is right around the corner; it isn't.

The conversation in every corner of our county is the economy. Join in that conversation in a positive way. It is what it is, and the time for complaining has past, we all need to take personal action to best deal with the reality of a recession and perhaps a depression.

No one is alone in this mess, be the person who brings up the fact that it's time to change things around the neighborhood. Now is the time to talk to family, friends and neighbors... government isn't coming to the rescue and that's a natural fact.

Consider barter in lieu of cash. I'm going out today and dig a service line for a friend with my backhoe. He has a large home shop (including a machine shop) to help me with some vehicle and trailer repairs.

Regardless of whether there will eventually be a "full recovery:" it won't be soon. Assess your situation, talk about it, make a plan, talk about it, write it down, talk about it, and let's make some lemonade out of this lemon.
(c) 2008 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

"It pays to make the U.S. school system a crock of shit because the dumber the people are that come out, the easier it is to draft them, make them into docile consumers, or, you know, mongo employees. There are plenty of yuppies out there with absolutely nothing upstairs. Graduate airheads with PhDs and everything but they don't know anything."
~~~ Frank Zappa

Madness And Shame
By Bob Herbert

You want a scary thought? Imagine a fanatic in the mold of Dick Cheney but without the vice president's sense of humor.

In her important new book, "The Dark Side: The Inside Story of How the War on Terror Turned Into a War on American Ideals," Jane Mayer of The New Yorker devotes a great deal of space to David Addington, Dick Cheney's main man and the lead architect of the Bush administration's legal strategy for the so-called war on terror.

She quotes a colleague as saying of Mr. Addington: "No one stood to his right." Colin Powell, a veteran of many bruising battles with Mr. Cheney, was reported to have summed up Mr. Addington as follows: "He doesn't believe in the Constitution."

Very few voters are aware of Mr. Addington's existence, much less what he stands for. But he was the legal linchpin of the administration's Marquis de Sade approach to battling terrorism. In the view of Mr. Addington and his acolytes, anything and everything that the president authorized in the fight against terror - regardless of what the Constitution or Congress or the Geneva Conventions might say - was all right. That included torture, rendition, warrantless wiretapping, the suspension of habeas corpus, you name it.

This is the mind-set that gave us Abu Ghraib, Guantánamo and the C.I.A.'s secret prisons, known as "black sites."

Ms. Mayer wrote: "The legal doctrine that Addington espoused - that the president, as commander in chief, had the authority to disregard virtually all previously known legal boundaries if national security demanded it - rested on a reading of the Constitution that few legal scholars shared."

When the constraints of the law are unlocked by the men and women in suits at the pinnacle of power, terrible things happen in the real world. You end up with detainees being physically and psychologically tormented day after day, month after month, until they beg to be allowed to commit suicide. You have prisoners beaten until they are on the verge of death, or hooked to overhead manacles like something out of the Inquisition, or forced to defecate on themselves, or sexually humiliated, or driven crazy by days on end of sleep deprivation and blinding lights and blaring noises, or water-boarded.

To get a sense of the heights of madness scaled in this anything-goes atmosphere, consider a brainstorming meeting held by military officials at Guantánamo. Ms. Mayer said the meeting was called to come up with ways to crack through the resistance of detainees.

"One source of ideas," she wrote, "was the popular television show '24.' On that show as Ms. Mayer noted, "torture always worked. It saved America on a weekly basis." I felt as if I was in Never-Never Land as I read: "In conversation with British human rights lawyer Philippe Sands, the top military lawyer in Guantánamo, Diane Beaver, said quite earnestly that Jack Bauer 'gave people lots of ideas' as they sought for interrogation models."

Donald Rumsfeld described the detainees at Guantánamo as "the worst of the worst." A more sober assessment has since been reached by many respected observers. Ms. Mayer mentioned a study conducted by attorneys and law students at the Seton Hall University Law School.

"After reviewing 517 of the Guantánamo detainees' cases in depth," she said, "they concluded that only 8 percent were alleged to have associated with Al Qaeda. Fifty-five percent were not alleged to have engaged in any hostile act against the United States at all, and the remainder were charged with dubious wrongdoing, including having tried to flee U.S. bombs. The overwhelming majority - all but 5 percent - had been captured by non-U.S. players, many of whom were bounty hunters."

The U.S. shamed itself on George W. Bush's and Dick Cheney's watch, and David Addington and others like him were willing to manipulate the law like Silly Putty to give them the legal cover they desired. Ms. Mayer noted that Arthur Schlesinger Jr., the late historian, believed that "the Bush administration's extralegal counterterrorism program presented the most dramatic, sustained and radical challenge to the rule of law in American history." After reflecting on major breakdowns of law that occurred in prior administrations, including the Watergate disaster, Mr. Schlesinger told Ms. Mayer: "No position taken has done more damage to the American reputation in the world - ever."

Americans still have not come to grips with this disastrous stain on the nation's soul. It's important that the whole truth eventually come out, and as many of the wrongs as possible be rectified.

Ms. Mayer, as much as anyone, is doing her part to pull back the curtain on the awful reality. "The Dark Side" is essential reading for those who think they can stand the truth.
(c) 2008 Bob Herbert ~~~ The New York Times

John McCain, Please Log On
The crusty ol' Repub says he has no clue how to use a computer. Isn't that cute?
By Mark Morford

Dear McCain presidential campaign:

You know what's funny and cute and just a little bit sad? Wacky old pre-industrial war-hungry guys admitting they don't know a computer from a microwave oven, a hyperlink from a heart med, can't turn on one of those newfangled PC things if his life depended on it and/or he wanted to see what his weird tattooed bi-curious grandson is posting on his MySpace home docking station whateveryoucallit. Adorable!

Cuter still is when said wisecrackin' curmudgeon admits he depends on the wife to show him how it all works, to log on and open a browser and check e-mail and describe what it all might mean out there in Interweb Cybertown, as you get the distinct feeling the old guy has no idea what makes it go and believes all this crazy gizmongery is for troublemakin' whippersnappers anyway, as he pines for the days of teletype machines and prop aeroplanes. Charming!

Or, you know, maybe not. Because you know what's depressing and just a bit beyond sad? A serious presidential candidate - that is to say, yours - who thinks it's harmless that he's actually one of those guys, who admits he's a complete Luddite when it comes to computers and, by extension, most every aspect of modern multimedia and technology, except perhaps the exact specs of the nuke required to annihilate Iran and/or take out a big pile of "gooks."

See, word has gotten out. Your boy John McCain says has no clue how to work a computer. He's an admitted tech illiterate, couldn't Google his way out of a DailyKos to save his Yahoo.

But here's the disturbing part: This confession of ignorance apparently bothers him and his campaign not at all, as they apparently believe any sort of tech know-how isn't really required to run our deeply busted-up ship of state, that you need no real firsthand experience with the most definitive technology of the past 100 years to make decisions that affect the entire planet. Go figure.

So then, the valid question: Is it a big deal? Should you care? Because McCain's I'm-just-a-clueless-old-guy comment has caused a bit a stir, with anyone with a functioning DSL line calling it a bit of an embarrassment, a bit like running for captain of the swim team while admitting all you know how to do is splash around in the bathtub. Gosh, Senator, don't you think you need just a passing understanding of the culture in which you live to qualify you to oversee the damnable place? Doesn't it help?

Maybe not. Maybe McCain's apologists are right, the POTUS really doesn't need to have a working knowledge of what hundreds of millions of people use every day to live, work, communicate, shop and blog and breed and porn and tube and book. Hell, just look at President Bush - still giggles every time Laura plugs in the air popcorn popper, has an Irish drinking song as a ringtone, enjoys a working grasp of the English language that borders on infantile. Really, who says a president has to be even modestly versed in the culture of his or her day? Or even passably competent?

But then, that's not really the point, is it? The point, of course, is about social interconnection. It's about understanding the basic workings of one of the most powerful, fundamental engines of modern society, its staggering impact and consequence and reach. To not use or comprehend computers and the Net in 2008 is to basically confess to your own cultural irrelevance.

Maybe a short lesson, then? Shall we offer a bit of help to McCain and his hapless crew? Couldn't hurt.

Look here, Senator, this is a link. You click it to take you somewhere else on the Web. Here's an example: When we click this link we see this page of - oh I'm sorry, this appears to be a big list of your most significant and appalling flip-flops, major issues you've reversed yourself on over weeks, months, years. Goodness, there sure are a lot of them. Well, let's scroll around a bit - scrolling is how you move up and down a large page to take it all in. As we move down here ... oh look, here's information about your famed McCain-Feingold bill on campaign finance reform. Except, oh dear, it appears you're no longer connected to the most high-profile legislation of your career. Heck, now that you're running for prez and need all the cash you can muster, who wants finance reform? I understand. What a maverick you are. Well, let's move on.

Here are nice video clips of you decrying the ugly forces of the religious right, and then later kissing Falwell's fat, nauseating ring. And here's you trashing Bush's useless tax cuts for the wealthy, then completely flopping over and supporting them. And whoops, gay marriage might be OK, then it's definitely not. Torture is absolutely wrong, then it's not. You say you're rather clueless about the economy and will need some lessons in basic finance, then here's you denying outright that you ever said that. Isn't technology amazing, Senator?

Wow, there sure is a lot of information about your bizarre inconsistency on just about every issue of note. Immigration, energy, health care reform, offshore drilling, Social Security, Roe v. Wade, and, oh my goodness, the Iraq war? You really are all over the place. One thing's for certain, though: your position on war and violence and America as ruthless pre-emptive aggressor, well, let's just say you can sometimes make Dick Cheney look like a peacenik. Scary.

Ah, but it's not all bad. To be fair, there is good amount of evidence of your past battles against Big Money, proof that you truly earned your maverick status in numerous contentious fights against special interests, lobbyists, Big Tobacco, ethanol subsidies (even Barack Obama won't touch that one), Big Sugar, et al. Your record is - or rather, was - impressive.

Not anymore. It's amazing what a taste of serious power will do to a man's values, no? Don't worry, it's happening to your rival Obama, too - albeit to a far lesser degree. Hell, it happens to them all. This is another mandatory lesson about the Web, Senator. While it can certainly be a bit unfair and extreme, it's also startlingly effective in how it tracks of the ugly erosion of your soul.

Maybe we should stop the lesson now. I think I'm beginning to see just why you don't want to know how to use these hateful little gizmos. Damn things have a painful ability to tell the truth, to keep a dynamic, revealing record of your general inability to understand not just what's really going on in the world, but what's going on in your own muddled, fuzzy, increasingly dangerous mind. Ah, modern technology. Ain't it a bitch?
(c) 2008 Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. To get on the e-mail list for this column, please click here and remove one article of clothing!

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Bush,

Dear Oberbürgermeister Tesei,

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, Ralph Nader, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Anthony (Fat Tony) Kennedy.

Without your lock-step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your support of our two coup d'etats, your show of power against local children for daring to clean up a vacant lot and using it to play baseball, Iraq and these 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 with ruby clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Bush at a gala celebration at "der Wolf's Lair," formally "Rancho de Bimbo," on 08-23-2008. We salute you Herr Tesei, Sieg Heil!

Vice Fuhrer Cheney

Heil Bush

Leaders Of The Free World
By Glenn Greenwald

In Britain, the Foreign Affairs Committee of the House of Commons has just issued its Human Rights Annual Report (.pdf). It concluded that America's word can no longer be trusted when it comes to claims about torture, rendition and human rights abuses. From The Guardian yesterday:

Britain can no longer believe what Americans tell us about torture, an MPs' report to be published today claims. . . .

In a damning criticism of US integrity, the House of Commons Foreign Affairs Committee said ministers should no longer take at face value statements from senior politicians, including George Bush, that America does not resort to torture in the light of the CIA admitting it used "waterboarding." The interrogation technique was unreservedly condemned by Foreign Secretary David Miliband, who said it amounted to torture.

A change in approach would have implications for extradition of prisoners to the US, especially in terror or security cases, as the UK has signed the UN convention which bars sending individuals to nations where they are at risk of being tortured. . . .

Today's committee report said there were "serious implications" of the striking inconsistencies between British ministers continuing to believe the Bush administration when it denies using torture. "The UK can no longer rely on US assurances that it does not use torture, and we recommend that the government does not rely on such assurances in the future," said the committee. "We also recommend that the government should immediately carry out an exhaustive analysis of current US interrogation techniques on the basis of such information as is publicly available or which can be supplied by the US."

The BBC noted that the report also concluded that the British Government must not trust the word of the U.S. Government in light of prior deceit with regard to rendition:

The MPs also challenged the government to check more actively that Britain had not been used by the Americans for so called "rendition" flights -- when detainees are taken to countries where bans on torture may not apply.

The UK had repeatedly accepted assurances that it had not, but it was discovered earlier this year that two rendition planes refuelled on the British territory of Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean.

Earlier this year, the British Government suffered substantial embarrassment as a result of this: Britain's denials that its territories have been used for "extraordinary rendition" were dramatically undermined last night after the United Nations claimed that Diego Garcia has been used as a detention centre to hold US suspects. . . .

The revelations raise fresh questions about the island's role in the process of extraordinary rendition -- moving suspects to interrogation centres in third-party countries where they are held outside the law -- and why the UK government was apparently unaware that its ally was operating a prison on Diego Garcia to house so-called "high-value detainees."

If Britain -- one of America's closest allies during the Bush era -- is openly proclaiming that it cannot trust the word of our government, then who can? Moreover, Britain has hardly been a standard-bearer of human rights itself over the last seven years. Indeed, while our political class in the U.S. is busy covering-up and immunizing our Government's lawbreaking and human rights abuses, members of both the British Left and Right are joining together to demand investigations into what appears to be compelling evidence that their own intelligence officials abducted British citizens and turned them over to Pakistani security services in order to be interrogated and tortured:

MPs are calling for an investigation into allegations that British intelligence has "outsourced" the torture of British citizens to Pakistani security agencies after hearing accounts of people being abducted and subjected to mistreatment and, in some cases, released without charge.

John McDonnell, the Labour member for Hayes and Harlington, and Andrew Tyrie, Conservative member for Chichester, say the allegations should be examined by the Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC), the Westminster body that oversees the Security Service, MI5, and the Intelligence Service, MI6. . . .

However, details of three new cases have raised concerns among MPs. McDonnell says he wants to know whether British officials colluded in the abuse of one of his constituents.

The man, a medical student, said he was abducted at gunpoint in August 2005 and held for two months at the offices of Pakistan's Intelligence Bureau opposite the British Deputy High Commission in Karachi. The student, who has not spoken out before, has described how he was whipped, beaten, deprived of sleep, threatened with execution and witnessed other inmates being tortured.

He was questioned about the suicide attacks on London's transport network in July of that year, and says that after being tortured by Pakistani agents he was questioned by British intelligence officers. He was released to his father, who says he received a personal apology from the director of the Intelligence Bureau.

For the British, of all countries, to conclude in a formal Report that the U.S. is essentially an untrustworthy rogue nation when it comes to human rights abuses -- "The committee's conclusions amount to saying we can no longer rely on assurances from a US administration that purports to uphold the civil and political standards of behaviour," as MP Andrew Tyrie put it -- is about as potent an indictment of how far we've fallen as one can imagine.

When I wrote over the weekend about Sunstein's remarks urging that Bush officials not be investigated or prosecuted for their crimes, I was relying on Ari Melber's (accurate) report in The Nation about Sunstein's Netroots Nation panel. As amazing as I found Sunstein's remarks based on Melber's summary, they're even more amazing when heard in their entirety, which one can listen to here (the whole Q-and-A session, beginning at 38:00, is what is so instructive -- John Dean is seated on the left and Sunstein is in the middle. The first several questions from the audience are superb and the answers from the panel, from Sunstein in particular, are . . . not superb).
(c) 2008 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. 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.

Don't Drink The Nuclear Kool-Aid
By Amy Goodman

While the presidential candidates trade barbs and accuse each other of flip-flopping, they agree with President Bush on their enthusiastic support for nuclear power.

Sen. John McCain has called for 100 new nuclear power plants. Sen. Barack Obama, in a July 2007 Democratic candidate debate, answered a pro-nuclear power audience member, "I actually think that we should explore nuclear power as part of the energy mix." Among Obama's top contributors are executives of Exelon Corp., a leading nuclear power operator in the nation. Just this week, Exelon released a new plan, called "Exelon 2020: A Low-Carbon Roadmap." The nuclear power industry sees global warming as a golden opportunity to sell its insanely expensive and dangerous power plants.

But nuclear power is not a solution to climate change-rather, it causes problems. Amory Lovins is the co-founder and chief scientist of Rocky Mountain Institute in Colorado. He makes simple, powerful points against nuclear: "The nuclear revival that we often hear about is not actually happening. It is a very carefully fabricated illusion ... there are no buyers. Wall Street is not putting a penny of private capital into the industry, despite 100-plus percent subsidies." He adds: "Basically, we can have as many nuclear plants as Congress can force the taxpayers to pay for. But you won't get any in a market economy."

Even if nuclear power were economically viable, Lovins continues, "the first issue to come up for me would be the spread of nuclear weapons, which it greatly facilitates. If you look at places like Iran and North Korea ... how do you think they're doing it? Iran claims to be making electricity vital to its development. ... The technology, materials, equipment, skills are applicable to both. ... The president is absolutely right in identifying the spread of nuclear weapons as the gravest threat to our security, so it's really puzzling to me that he's trying to accelerate that spread every way he can think of. ... It's just an awful idea unless you're really interested in making bombs. He's really triggered a new Mideast arms race by trying to push nuclear power within the region."

Along with proliferation, there are terrorist threats to existing nuclear reactors, like Entergy's controversial Indian Point nuclear plant just 24 miles north of New York City. Lovins calls these "about as fat a terrorist target as you can imagine. It is not necessary to fly a plane into a nuclear plant or storm a plant and take over a control room in order to cause that material to be largely released. You can often do it from outside the site boundary with things the terrorists would have readily available."

Then there is the waste: "It stays dangerous for a very long time. So you have to put it someplace that stays away from people and life and water for a very long time ... millions of years, most likely. ... So far, all the places we've looked turned out to be geologically unsuitable, including Yucca Mountain." Testifying at a congressional hearing this week, Energy Department official Edward Sproat said the price of a nuclear dump in Nevada's Yucca Mountain has climbed to $90 billion. Slated to go online a decade ago, its opening is now projected for the year 2020. And even that's optimistic. Rep. Jim Matheson, D-Utah, wants to block nuclear waste from passing through Utah entirely, and most Nevadans oppose the Yucca waste plan.

The presidential candidates are wrong on nuclear power. Wind, solar and microgeneration (generating electricity and heat at the same time, in smaller plants), on the other hand, are taking off globally, gaining billions of dollars in private investments. Lovins summarizes: "One of the big reasons we have an oil problem and a climate problem today is we spent our money on the wrong stuff. If we had spent it on efficiency and renewables, those problems would've gone away, and we would've made trillions of dollars' profit on the deal because it's so much cheaper to save energy than to supply it."

The answer is blowing in the wind.
2008 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 650 stations in North America.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Walt Handelsman ~~~

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To End On A Happy Note...

The Ballad Of Eddie Klepp
By Chuck Brodsky

The war had finally ended and America had changed
It had beaten back the Nazis but the Jim Crow laws remained
There was talk of staging marches & talk of civil rights
There was talk about a Negro playing baseball with the Whites

He walked into the clubhouse and the card players quit playing
Everybody stopped in the middle of whatever they were saying
It was just like when the sheriff walks into the saloon
He said, "My name is Eddie," as he looked around the room

"This man's here to play baseball," the manager said to the team
"We're all gonna have to live with this...aw, that's not what I mean...
You know what I mean" - and they all did...it went without saying
The card players looked at their hands and they went on with their playing

They ran him off the field before a game in Birmingham one night
Made him sit up in the grandstand in the section marked "For Whites"
In his Cleveland Buckeyes uniform, it was a new twist on the law
The marshalls kept their eyes on him and the hecklers ate him raw

Eddie Klepp, he should've run the bases in reverse
A White man in the Negro Leagues, that had to be a first
He could not ride the same busses, or stay in the same motels
He could not eat in the same restaurants, you couldn't have mixed clientele

So while Jackie played for Brooklyn and wore the Dodger Blue
Eddie crossed the color line, the one without a queue
A White man in the Negro Leagues, might as well have been a Jew
Now you mention the name of Eddie Klepp and most everyone says, "Who?"
(c) 1996/2008 Chuck Brodsky

Have You Seen This...

'True Lies' by Taalam Acey

Parting Shots...

Talking Veepstakes
By Will Durst

This seems like a good time to talk about the race for the vice presidency. Not because of the overwhelming excitement involved in what is essentially a backstage safari. And not because of the dazzling personalities being rigorously vetted. Because nothing else is going on. Right now, the Veepstakes is the only game in town. The presidential campaign has entered what can only be described as its dormant hibernation phase. The whole damn thing has stalled like John Goodman over the dessert table at a 4 star casino's Sunday Brunch on the Mississippi Coast. Think of an endlessly looping PBS pledge drive.

The candidates have abandoned the playing field and are sucking down Gatorade while the trainers search for additional wads of cash to stuff into the hollow portions of their uniforms. And the score at halftime finds Barack Obama leading John McCain by about 15 points. Which should excite Democrats. I mean the last time they had this kind of a lead, at this point in the race, was way, way back, 4 years ago when John Kerry enjoyed a similar lead over George Bush. Oh.

Meanwhile, welcome to silly season. To demonstrate their unity, former sworn mortal enemies, Senators Obama (Crips) and Clinton (Bloods) met up in a New Hampshire town named Unity where back in January, both received 107 votes. Get it? They're not at each other's throats anymore. They're in Unity. You can't make stuff up like this. And no, I have no idea if Truth or Consequences, New Mexico or Maggie's Nipples, Wyoming were considered as alternates in case the civic fathers of Unity proved truculent.

We should relish these two months of campaign down- time before the conventions begin, and where just like now, absolutely nothing will happen. The only difference is then, that nothing will be reported upon at such a great length, that grown men are developing rashes on the insides of their thighs just thinking about it.

Who will be number 2? Nobody knows. And we might not for a while. This time around the VP picks are undergoing prodigious scrutiny due to the peculiar vulnerability of each of the nominees. John McCain is old and could nod off at any time and Barack Obama is black and will have to campaign in America, a country more comfortable with guns than library cards. No word as to whether that whole library card thing is scheduled for any future Supreme Court docket.

Both secondary races are wide open and the speculation is so thick you can hide small clusters of cherry tomatoes in the smoke coming out of Chris Mathews' ears. You got your public short list and you got your private shorter list and then you got your slip of paper with Hillary Clinton and Mitt Romney's names on it, who only get the nod if every other politician in America co- incidentally trips and falls into an active lava tube.

Some people say that the Vice President doesn't affect the general election. Maybe not, but the choice of the Vice President does have an impact. Do the names Eagelton, Ferraro, and Quayle have any meaning here? How bout Admiral Stockdale, Ross Perots's running mate in 92. "Who am I? Why am I here?" A question never adequately answered. For him or for us. Or for our current presumptive nominees.
(c) 2008 Will Durst, is an actor, comic, writer, former radio talk show host and defense liability. His book, The All American Sport of Bipartisan Bashing, is available at Amazon and better bookstores all over this great land of ours. Better bookstores. Not Borders.


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Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 8 # 29 (c) 07/25/2008

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