Issues & Alibis

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In This Edition

Nick Davies and David Leigh look over the, "Afghanistan War Logs."

Uri Avnery sees the new, "Rosemary's Baby."

Cynthia McKinney is on the road in a, "Bike4Peace Update."

Randall Amster warns, "Hello, America? This is Your Wakeup Call."

Jim Hightower asks, "Why Are Wall Street Bankers Grinning?"

Terry Jones concludes, "Real BP Gulf Oil disaster Is Still To Come."

James Donahue analyzes, "The Horrors Of Climate Change."

Harvey Wasserman explains, "Why Stewart Brand Is Wrong On Nukes - And Is Losing."

Chris Floyd reports, "Anglo-American Political Philosophy 101: The Poor Must Die."

Case Wagenvoord explores, "Numbing Narratives."

Mike Folkerth returns with, "The End."

Ray McGovern examines, "Afghan War Leaks Expose Costly, Deceitful March Of Folly."

David Michael Green compares, "Our Impoverished Politics."

Sinator Ben Nelson D/Ne wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Jacques Billeaud finds, "Arizona Law Comes After Years Of Mounting Anger."

John Sauven says, "Greenpeace Activists Tell BP: End The Oil Age Early."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz looks into the future, "Next Week's News: Sarah Palin Edition" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Timeo Americanos Et Dona Ferentes!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Robert Ariail, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Married To The Sea, Tom Tomorrow, John Darkow, Steve Sack, Monte Wolverton, Ed Stein, Mario Pirperni.Com, Max Whittaker/Corbis, Dave Martin/AP, Vincent Pinto and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Timeo Americanos Et Dona Ferentes!
I fear the Americans even if they bring gifts
By Ernest Stewart

"I fear the Greeks even if they bring gifts"
Aeneis ~~~ Virgil

When you're wounded and left on Afghanistan's plains,
And the women come out to cut up what remains,
Jest roll to your rifle and blow out your brains
An' go to your Gawd like a soldier.
The Young British Soldier ~~~ Rudyard Kipling

To require all persons in the United States between the ages of 18 and 42 to perform national service, either as a member of the uniformed services or in civilian service in furtherance of the national defense and homeland security, to authorize the induction of persons in the uniformed services during wartime to meet end-strength requirements of the uniformed services, and for other purposes. ~~~ H. R. 5741

I see that Wikileaks has let the cat out of the bag! So much for that "Nation Building" nonsense, huh? This, of course, has set the White House and the Pentagoons into a flurry of denials and caused a classified information tizzy that is likely to go on for weeks. Here's a modest example:

"We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organizations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."

Of course, as far as I can tell there isn't a lot of new information in this release. However, all of that information is in one place, making it easier to understand. Foggy Bottom is howling that it will put our soldiers lives in jeopardy as if the folks who all these war crimes were committed against weren't hip to them or who was committing them. Hardly! They knew from day one! The only ones who weren't hip to them were the American Sheeple, which are the folks the politicians are afraid of. It's their own worthless lives they're afraid of losing, not the troops!

Also I'm sure that by now Barry has put out a hit on Wikileaks founder Julian Assange, much like the hits Julian exposed by "a secret 'black' unit of special forces hunting down Taliban leaders for 'kill or capture' without trial," in his daring expose! The Wikileaks leaker, Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, is currently undergoing a "debriefing" in a torture cell in Kuwait where he has been since June. He was originally picked up for leaking the gunship video of the two bored Army pilots murdering a bunch of folks including reporters in Iraq.

Wikileaks lays bare some 92,000 examples of our own and our allies' war crimes. From Britain to France to Poland, mass"collateral damage errors." From our own "death from above" drone attacks on civilians in Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to Polish troops mortaring a village of innocents in a revenge attack, killing a wedding party that included a pregnant woman. The French machine gunning of a school bus full of children, wounding eight, and our attacks on buses in general, in one incident killing 15 innocents. Many examples of our troops machine gunning people on bikes, motorcycles and in cars because those soldiers were afraid the civilians might be terrorist, even though those folks hadn't done anything to make our children think that. "Shoot first and make excuses later" seems to be the official policy! As the former commander in Afghanistan, General Stanley A. McChrystal, said, "We have shot an amazing number of people, but to my knowledge, none has ever proven to be a threat!"

I found interesting that the Taliban now has surface to air missiles that they've been using to knock down our helicopters and such, which may explain why their IED's are starting to kill a lot more of our troops and civilians as well. If you can't fly troops in because you'll liable to get knocked down, you have to drive them in. Surface-to-air missiles just like the ones that we gave to the Mujahideen and Osama when the USSR was losing it's empire in Afghanistan. You don't suppose Putin is returning the favor, do you?

In their defense the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Dubya, commenting: "It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009." Ergo, it only covered a single year of Obama's mismanagement so don't pay attention to the man behind the curtain; it was mostly Bush's fault!

Wikileaks has been off the air most of the day today either because their servers not being able to handle the demand or we've been blocking the site? If I were Julian I'd find a real good place to hide for a while, somewhere underground where the satellite surveillance can't track you and the Predator and Reaper drones can't reach!

In Other News

I guess we must be swimming in money, huh? We must have all the money we need for Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid and Food Stamps? There must be plenty of money to replace bridges, dams, highways and various other bits of our crumbling infrastructure. Plenty of money to build new schools, complete with state of the art computer and science labs. Money for college loans for everyone who qualifies and wants to attend and all those who need to retrain. Extra money for new Post Offices and libraries. Enough money to hire all the teachers, police and firemen that we need. All the money for our veterans, their families and hospitals that is needed. All the money that we need for scientific research into new methods for clean power and a new green economy? Do we have the money for all of that and more?

If we don't have that money, would someone please explain to me why we have $60 billion dollars to waste for new war crimes and crimes against humanity in Afghanistan? That's on top of the largest military budget in the history of the world. A budget so vast that all of the other countries in world combined spend less than we do! How is that possible?

Why has it taken us nearly three times as long as it took to fight and end World War II to fight to a draw against a bunch of second rate, poorly armed, bare foot, underfed guerillas? How many more millions of innocents will be maimed or murdered for our blood lust in Afghanistan and elsewhere? How many more decades and administrations will we have to endure before we pull out and what will have happened to America when we finally do? How long will we have to wait until one of our fearless leaders finally tells us what "winning" actually means?

The fascists in Congress want to end Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid and take that money that you paid into those programs and spend it on more wars. Will you let them do it, America?

And Finally

I see where one of New York City's favorite bigots and crooks is at it again. Charles (Kill the Crackers) Rangel has taken time out from his criminal defense to insert yet another attempt to reinstate the draft. Charlie's been at this for the last five years and, fortunately, it's never made it out of committee.

House bill H.R. 5741 would draft not only men but women as well, into two years of service either in the military or a civilian service like Fatherland, oops, Homeland Security for everyone between the ages of 18 and 42. Charlie keeps submitting this one because he thinks that whitey isn't doing enough of the fighting and wants to assure that we have the same resistance and mayhem to these unwars as we did during the Vietnam unwar.

While it might give us some better music, a la the 60s and early 70's, and get American youth off their lazy asses and back into the streets where they belong, the down side would take several large volumes to state. However, in a nutshell, forced mandatory national service is involuntary slavery, pure and simple. No matter whether you're murdering innocents abroad for Wall Street or doing the same thing at home by rounding up Ma, Pa and baby sister for a trip to a "Happy Camp!"

Charlie's bills have never made it out of committee and neither will this one because the US military doesn't want it. The idea of a military draft is anathema to most Americans and the resulting draft riots would make the 60's riots look like a Swiss Picnic by comparison. Obama doesn't want it and no one hoping to be reelected will vote for it. This is just Charlie's way of saying "F*ck You America" on his way out of Congress via a forced retirement due to his lack of ethics! Have no doubt that Charlie will be back, no doubt hustling as a lobbyist for the military/industrial complex!

Oh And One More Thing

We'd like to thank Mike from Sterling Heights for his generous donation, thanks Mike!

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If enough of you care we'll continue our fight to get our Republic back and protect you from the coming madness! We're running on empty, running out of time!

Ernest Stewart
Issues & Alibis magazine


08-31-1916 ~ 07-23-2010
Thanks for the news!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2010 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 9 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine.

The war logs reveal civilian killings by coalition forces, secret efforts to eliminate Taliban and
al-Qaida leaders, and discuss the involvement of Iran and Pakistan in supporting insurgents.

Afghanistan War Logs
Massive leak of secret files exposes truth of occupation
By Nick Davies and David Leigh

* Hundreds of civilians killed by coalition troops
* Covert unit hunts leaders for 'kill or capture'
* Steep rise in Taliban bomb attacks on Nato
* Read the Guardian's full war logs investigation

A huge cache of secret US military files today provides a devastating portrait of the failing war in Afghanistan, revealing how coalition forces have killed hundreds of civilians in unreported incidents, Taliban attacks have soared and Nato commanders fear neighbouring Pakistan and Iran are fuelling the insurgency.

The disclosures come from more than 90,000 records of incidents and intelligence reports about the conflict obtained by the whistleblowers' website Wikileaks in one of the biggest leaks in US military history. The files, which were made available to the Guardian, the New York Times and the German weekly Der Spiegel, give a blow-by-blow account of the fighting over the last six years, which has so far cost the lives of more than 320 British and more than 1,000 US troops.

Their publication comes amid mounting concern that Barack Obama's "surge" strategy is failing and as coalition troops hunt for two US naval personnel captured by the Taliban south of Kabul on Friday.

The war logs also detail:

* How a secret "black" unit of special forces hunts down Taliban leaders for "kill or capture" without trial.

* How the US covered up evidence that the Taliban have acquired deadly surface-to-air missiles.

* How the coalition is increasingly using deadly Reaper drones to hunt and kill Taliban targets by remote control from a base in Nevada.

* How the Taliban have caused growing carnage with a massive escalation of their roadside bombing campaign, which has killed more than 2,000 civilians to date.

In a statement, the White House said the chaotic picture painted by the logs was the result of "under-resourcing" under Obama's predecessor, saying: "It is important to note that the time period reflected in the documents is January 2004 to December 2009."

The White House also criticised the publication of the files by Wikileaks: "We strongly condemn the disclosure of classified information by individuals and organisations, which puts the lives of the US and partner service members at risk and threatens our national security. Wikileaks made no effort to contact the US government about these documents, which may contain information that endanger the lives of Americans, our partners, and local populations who co-operate with us."

The logs detail, in sometimes harrowing vignettes, the toll on civilians exacted by coalition forces: events termed "blue on white" in military jargon. The logs reveal 144 such incidents.

Some of these casualties come from the controversial air strikes that have led to Afghan government protests, but a large number of previously unknown incidents also appear to be the result of troops shooting unarmed drivers or motorcyclists out of a determination to protect themselves from suicide bombers.

At least 195 civilians are admitted to have been killed and 174 wounded in total, but this is likely to be an underestimate as many disputed incidents are omitted from the daily snapshots reported by troops on the ground and then collated, sometimes erratically, by military intelligence analysts.

Bloody errors at civilians' expense, as recorded in the logs, include the day French troops strafed a bus full of children in 2008, wounding eight. A US patrol similarly machine-gunned a bus, wounding or killing 15 of its passengers, and in 2007 Polish troops mortared a village, killing a wedding party including a pregnant woman, in an apparent revenge attack.

Questionable shootings of civilians by UK troops also figure. The US compilers detail an unusual cluster of four British shootings in Kabul in the space of barely a month, in October/November 2007, culminating in the death of the son of an Afghan general. Of one shooting, they wrote: "Investigation controlled by the British. We are not able to get [sic] complete story."

A second cluster of similar shootings, all involving Royal Marine commandos in Helmand province, took place in a six-month period at the end of 2008, according to the log entries. Asked by the Guardian about these allegations, the Ministry of Defence said: "We have been unable to corroborate these claims in the short time available and it would be inappropriate to speculate on specific cases without further verification of the alleged actions."

Rachel Reid, who investigates civilian casualty incidents in Afghanistan for Human Rights Watch, said: "These files bring to light what's been a consistent trend by US and Nato forces: the concealment of civilian casualties. Despite numerous tactical directives ordering transparent investigations when civilians are killed, there have been incidents I've investigated in recent months where this is still not happening.

Accountability is not just something you do when you are caught. It should be part of the way the US and Nato do business in Afghanistan every time they kill or harm civilians." The reports, many of which the Guardian is publishing in full online, present an unvarnished and often compelling account of the reality of modern war.

Most of the material, though classified "secret" at the time, is no longer militarily sensitive. A small amount of information has been withheld from publication because it might endanger local informants or give away genuine military secrets. Wikileaks, whose founder, Julian Assange, obtained the material in circumstances he will not discuss, said it would redact harmful material before posting the bulk of the data on its "uncensorable" servers.

Wikileaks published in April this year a previously suppressed classified video of US Apache helicopters killing two Reuters cameramen on the streets of Baghdad, which gained international attention. A 22-year-old intelligence analyst, Bradley Manning, was arrested in Iraq and charged with leaking the video, but not with leaking the latest material. The Pentagon's criminal investigations department continues to try to trace the leaks and recently unsuccessfully asked Assange, he says, to meet them outside the US to help them. Assange allowed the Guardian to examine the logs at our request. No fee was involved and Wikileaks was not involved in the preparation of the Guardian's articles.
(c) 2010 Nick Davies is the bestselling author of Flat Earth News, on falsehood and distortion in the media, and a former Journalist of the Year.
David Leigh is the Guardian's investigations executive editor, whose work was behind the jailing of Jonathan Aitken and the exposure of secret payments by arms company BAE.

Rosemary's Baby
By Uri Avnery

SINCE I witnessed the rise of the Nazis during my childhood in Germany, my nose always tickles when it smells something fascist, even when the odor is still faint.

When the debate about the "one-state solution" began, my nose tickled.

Have you gone mad, I told my nose, this time you are dead wrong. This is a plan of the Left. It is being put forward by leftists of undoubted credentials, the greatest idealists in Israel and abroad, even certified Marxists.

But my nose insisted. It continued to tickle.

Now it appears that the nose was right, after all.

THIS IS not the first time that a kosher leftist plan leads towards extreme rightist consequences.

That happened, for example, to the ugliest symbol of the occupation: the Separation Wall. It was invented by the Left.

When the "terrorist" attacks multiplied, leftist politicians, headed by Haim Ramon, offered a miracle-solution to the problem: an impassable obstacle between Israel and the occupied territories. They argued that it would stop the attacks without recourse to brutal actions in the West Bank.

The Right opposed the idea vehemently. To them it was a conspiracy to fix the borders of the state and promote the two-state solution, which they saw (and still see) as an existential threat to their designs.

But suddenly the Right changed its tune. They realized that the wall offered a wonderful opportunity to annex large tracts of West Bank land and turn them over to the settlers. And that is what happened: the wall/fence was not put up along the Green Line, but cuts deep into the West Bank. It takes away large areas of land from the Palestinian villages.

Nowadays leftists are demonstrating every week against the wall, the right is sending soldiers to shoot at them, and the two-state solution has been set back.

NOW THE rightists have discovered the one-state solution. My nose is tickling.

One of the first was Moshe Arens, former Minister of Defense. Arens is an extreme rightist, a fanatical Likud member. He started to talk about one state from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River, in which the Palestinians would be granted full rights, including citizenship and the vote.

I rubbed my eyes. Is this the same Arens? What has happened to him? But this apparent mystery has a simple solution.

Arens and his companions are faced with a mathematical problem that seems insoluble: turning the triangle into a circle.

Their aim has three sides: (a) a Jewish state, (b) the whole of Eretz Israel, and (c) democracy. How to combine these three sides into one harmonious circle?

Between the sea and the river there now live about 5.6 million Jews and 3.9 million Palestinians - a proportion of 59% Jews to 41% Palestinians (including the inhabitants of the West Bank, the Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem and the Arab citizens of Israel.) This number does not include, of course, the millions of Palestinian refugees who are living outside the country.)

Several "experts" have tried to dispute these numbers, but respected statisticians, including Israelis, accept them with tiny changes here and there.

The proportion, alas, is rapidly changing in favor of the Palestinians. The Palestinian population is doubling every 18 years. Even taking into account the natural increase of the Jewish population in Israel and the potential immigration in the foreseeable future, one can predict with almost mathematical precision when the Palestinians will constitute the majority between the Jordan and the sea. It's a matter of years rather than decades.

The inescapable conclusion: one can reconcile between any two of the three aspirations, but not all three at once: (a) a Jewish state in the entire country cannot be democratic, (b) a democratic state in the entire country cannot be Jewish, and (c) a Jewish and democratic state cannot include the entire Eretz Israel.

Simple. Logical. One does not have to be Moshe Arens, an engineer by profession, to see this. Therefore the Right is looking for another logic that would allow the creation of a Jewish and democratic state in the entire country.

LAST WEEK Haaretz published a stunning sensation: prominent personalities of the extreme Right - indeed, some of the most extreme - accept the solution of one-state from the sea to the river. They speak about a state in which the Palestinians will be full citizens.

The rightists quoted in Noam Sheizaf's article do not hide their reasons for adopting this line: they want to obstruct the setting up of a Palestinian state alongside Israel, which would mean the end of the settlement enterprise and the evacuation of scores of settlements and outposts throughout the West Bank. They also want to put an end to the growing international pressure for the two-state solution.

Among some leftists in the world, who advocate the one-state solution, the news was greeted with great joy. They pour scorn on the Israeli peace camp (leftists enjoy nothing more than deriding other leftists) and heap praise on the Israeli Right. What magnanimity! What readiness to break out of the box and adopt their opponents' ideals! Only the Right will make peace!

But if these good people would read the texts, they would discover that it ain't necessarily so. To be precise, it's the very opposite.

ALL OF the six rightists quoted in the article are united on a number of points which deserve consideration.

First: all of them exclude the Gaza Strip from the proposed solution. Gaza will no longer be a part of the country. Thus, the number of Palestinians will be reduced by 1.5 million, improving the menacing demographic balance. (True, in the Oslo agreement, Israel recognized the West Bank and the Gaza Strip as one integral territory, but the rightists consider the Oslo agreement anyhow as the tainted product of leftist traitors.)

Second: the one state will, of course, be a Jewish state.

Third: the annexation of the West Bank will take place at once, so that the building of settlements can go on undisturbed. In a Greater Israel, the settlement enterprise cannot be limited.

Fourth: There is no way to grant citizenship to all Palestinian forthwith.

The author of the article summarizes their positions thus: "a process that will take from about a decade to a generation, and at its conclusion the Palestinians will enjoy full personal rights, but the state will remain, in its symbols and spirit, Jewish...This is not a vision of 'a state belonging to all its citizens' and not 'Isratine' with a flag combining the crescent and the Star of David. The one state still means Jewish sovereignty."

IT IS worthwhile to listen well to the explanations provided by the initiators themselves (emphasis added by me):

Uri Elitsur, former director general of the Judea and Samaria Council (the leadership of the settlers, known as "Yesha"): "I speak of a Jewish state which is the state of the Jewish people, and in which there will exist an Arab minority."

Hanan Porat, a founder of Gush Emunim (the religious settlers' leadership, and the man who called upon the Jews to rejoice after the Baruch Goldstein massacre in Hebron): "I am against the automatic citizenship proposed by Uri Elitsur, which is na•ve and could lead to grievous consequences. I propose the application of Israeli law to the territories in stages, first in the areas in which there is (already) a Jewish majority, and within a time-span of a decade to a generation in all the territories."

Porat proposes dividing the Palestinians into three categories: (a) Those who want an Arab state and are ready to realize this by terrorism and struggle against the state - they have no place in Eretz Israel. Meaning: they will be expelled. (b) Those resigned to their place and to Jewish sovereignty, but not ready to take part in the state and fulfill all their obligations towards it - they will have full human rights, but no political representation in the institutions of the state. (c) Those who declare that they will be loyal to the state and swear allegiance to it - they will be granted full citizenship. (They will, of course, be a small minority.)

Tzipi Hutubeli, a Member of Parliament on the extreme fringe of Likud: "On the political horizon there must be citizenship for the Palestinians in Judea and Samaria...That will happen gradually ...This process must take place over a long time, perhaps even a generation, in the course of which the situation on the ground will be stabilized and the symbols of the Jewish state and its character will be anchored in law...The question mark hovering over Judea and Samaria will be removed...First comes my deep belief in our right over Eretz Israel. Shiloh and Bet-El (in the West Bank) are for me the land of our ancestors in the full meaning of the term...At this moment we speak about conferring citizenship in Judea and Samaria, not in Gaza. Let it be clear: I do not recognize political rights of Palestinians over Eretz Israel...Between the sea and the Jordan there is room for one state, a Jewish state."

Moshe Arens: "The integration of the Arab population (inside Israel) into Israeli society is a prior condition, and only afterwards can one speak about citizenship for Palestinians in the territories." Meaning: Arens proposes focusing on the integration of the Arab citizens of Israel - something that has not happened in the last 62 years - and only afterwards thinking about the question of citizenship for the West Bank population.

Emily Amrussi, a settler who organizes meetings between the settlers and the Palestinians of the neighboring villages: "Don't describe me as one pushing for the 'one state'. In the end we may arrive there, but we are still very far from there. Let's talk first about one country...We don't talk about citizenship, but in terms like relations between neighbors... First let them become my good neighbors, and then we shall give them rights...In the far future, it will be necessary to move towards citizenship for everybody."

Reuven Rivlin, Speaker of the Knesset: "The country cannot be divided...I oppose the idea of a state belonging to all its citizens or a bi-national state and am thinking about arrangements of joint sovereignty in Judea and Samaria under the Jewish state, even a regime of two parliaments, Jewish and Arab...Judea and Samaria will be a co-dominion, held jointly...But these are things that take time...Stop waving demography in my face."

THE REGIME described here is not an apartheid state, but something much worse: a Jewish state in which the Jewish majority will decide if at all, and when, to confer citizenship on some of the Arabs. The words that come up again and again - "perhaps within a generation" - are by nature very imprecise, and not by accident.

But most important: there is a thunderous silence about the mother of all questions: what will happen when the Palestinians become the majority in the One State? That is not a question of "if", but of "when": there is not the slightest doubt that this will happen, not "within a generation", but long before.

This thunderous silence speaks for itself. People who do not know Israel may believe that the rightists are ready to accept such a situation. Only a very naive person can expect a repetition of what happened in South Africa, when the whites (a small minority) handed power over to the blacks (the large majority) without bloodshed.

We said above that it is impossible to "turn the triangle into a circle." But the truth is that there is one way: ethnic cleansing. The Jewish state can fill all the space between the sea and the Jordan and still be democratic - if there are no Palestinians there.

Ethnic cleansing can be carried out dramatically (as in this country in 1948 and in Kosovo in 1998) or in a quiet and systematic way, by dozens of sophisticated methods, as is happening now in East Jerusalem. But there cannot be the slightest doubt that this is the final stage of the one-state vision of the rightists. The first stage will be an effort to fill the entire country with settlements, and to demolish any chance of implementing the two-state solution, which is the only realistic basis for peace.

In Roman Polanski's movie "Rosemary's Baby," a nice young woman gives birth to a nice baby, which turns out to be the son of Satan. The attractive leftist vision of the one-state solution may grow up into a rightist monster.
(c) 2010 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Bike4Peace Update
Malik Rahim Needs Hosts
By Cynthia McKinney

Bike 4 Peace is still in need of hosts for potlucks and warm showers, and also sag vehicles by state because I'm the one who's sagging behind the rest of the bikers--yesterday, by one hour and a half!!! We're available for radio interviews--especially me--because I'm definitely a better talker!!!

Malik Rahim, who is riding up solo from New Orleans to meet up with us on September 22 in Washington, DC needs hosts on the route outlined below. He is especially interested right now in Mississippi and Alabama hosts. Malik can be contacted at 504-252-3743.

Here's my update by day. Very brief updates will come as telephone and internet allow:

Day One: Whoopee!!! I'm on my bike and it feels so free!!!

OK, Friday night, July 23rd, we had a wonderful sendoff at the House of Common Sense. Minister J.R. and the young people are to be commended for organizing the event and the San Francisco Bay View and KPFA must be thanked for the publicity. Thanks also to the folks who came to the House of Common Sense and to the Green Party members for the consistent support they have given, Sandra Decker organized the potluck. I want to thank the riders who rode with us on the morning of the 24th and escorted us out of Oakland! Thanks to the 25 or so bikers who met us in Martinez and rode us into Sacramento. John and Peter stayed with us and John's wife and Dave (a friend of theirs) rescued us at about Davis because--especially me--we were biked out!!

Day Two: Rhythm of the Revolution--The Revolution will not be motorized!

Ron Toppi, one of Bike 4 Peace's co-founders was my gear whisperer today. Telling me when to shift gears, and teaching me how to shift them!! From Sacramento to Folsom Prison. Then, I had to call it quits. That's when the beauty of a sag vehicle became crystal clear to me. Rich rescued me just in front of Folsom Prison, hosted us with warm showers and a potluck for well-wishers, and Ruth and Natasha Hull-Richter presented me with a prize for being the most courageous elected official--even though I was actually UNelected--for 2009. We told them I can't carry the very beautiful trophy with me on y bike! Climbing, climbing, climbing, I was consistently reminded of the rhythm of the spin, spin, spin: for me, that became the Rhythm of the Revolution. Imagine, the bikers and hosts and sag vehicle volunteers and those who attend the potlucks are all participating in the Rhythm of the Revolution. By biking, we are demonstrating personal transformations, personal revolutions, can take place and they, like individual acts of justice that Bobby Kennedy spoke of, can wash down the mightiest walls of resistance. The participants of this Bike4Peace experience will forever be transformed and certainly will serve as inspiration for me, and I hope for everyone reading these words. The Revolution will not be televised and it won't be motorized--even though I need a sag vehicle!!!

Day Three: Raw Hide!!

Oh my goodness, why didn't anyone tell me what a bike seat will do to your body: OUCH! And all the bikers could say to me was: "Keep them doggies rollin'!!! RAWHIDE!!! Thank goodness I brought my shea butter with me!!! Thanks to Peter Rathman (?) for riding with us up to Carson Pass--elevation 8,573 feet. I made it to about 4900 feet; Yaney made it to 5500 feet, and Peter, Annie, YaYo, and Scott made it all the way. Vernon was tail rider with me--that meant the ace rider of the group, who has done this cross-country Bike4Peace effort twice before didn't get a chance to really ride because I was so far behind and eventually had to stop. Once the sag vehicle picked me up (that was Marie of Code Pink who lives in Woodfords, CA--yea!!), Vernon was free to really get his ride in. Last night, I pitched a tent, rolled out my therm-a-rest and sleeping bag and camped at Silver Lake camping park in the Sierra Nevada mountains. This is beautiful country. This community is seriously exploring energy independence and self-sustainability and ways to ensure clean drinking water and clean rivers.

Day Four: Rest and Communication Day at Starlight Lodge! Whoopee!! Rest day for me. After rawhide, I need some time to recover. I washed my clothes and hung them out on the line to dry. We'll stock up on food, but the closest store is 20 miles away!! We are being hosted by Diana at Kyle's Cabin and Starlight Lodge. Bike4Peace thanks Diana for allowing us to have some really comfortable down time. I'm making calls to enlist some volunteer help so that I can complete this effort. And now the other bikers are expressing their desire to have the security of sag vehicles or one rented vehicle accompany us in case of emergency. Annie, who is as big as a hummingbird and also as fast as one, is a nurse practitioner and since we're traveling across treacherous mountains, unforgiving deserts, and endless prairies, wants us to have the security of a vehicle, too.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Here are the states we need vehicular support through. We will also need hosts with space for potluck receptions, etc. that can also provide maybe shower opportunities, too. That would be real nice. Our internet and cell connectivity is spotty especially through the mountains and we anticipate, through the deserts.

If you know of volunteer hosts or drivers or want to help us with a vehicle, please let me know as soon as possible--today I have internet access, but no cell. I can be reached by cell when we have service at 404-643-2375 or 404-281-0805. Here are the states we need help with:

District of Columbia

And here's the map.


Silence is the deadliest weapon of mass destruction.
(c) 2010 Cynthia McKinney is a former U.S. Congresswoman, Green Party presidential candidate, and an outspoken advocate for human rights and social justice. The first African-American woman to represent the state of Georgia, McKinney served six terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, from 1993-2003, and from 2005-2007.

Hello, America? This is Your Wakeup Call
By Randall Amster

There are cracks in the earth and holes in our hearts. The gusher in the Gulf has dramatized in gut-wrenching fashion a set of values and outcomes that comprise the underlying foundation of our lives. This is no "reality TV" episode, even though the already-diluted news coverage increasingly makes everything appear that way. No, this is "real reality" -- an edgy, in-your-face, unexpurgated reminder of what we have relentlessly wrought on the planet and ourselves. The question now is whether it will be enough of a wakeup call to prompt us to shake out the cobwebs, roll up our collective sleeves, and steer the entire enterprise away from the precipice.

Early returns are not favorable, both for stopping the oil gusher (it is not a spill, dammit!) and for Americans snapping out of their doldrums and getting off the petro-sauce. Drilling into Mother Earth at all is sinful in some cultural frameworks, but doing so a mile beneath the ocean with no mitigation plan on hand is simply stupid. Trying to then improvise various "kills" (aptly named though they might be) after the inevitable disaster occurs has the now-realized potential to further exacerbate the problem -- all based on the innately flawed logic of "more meddling will solve our misguided meddling."

Yet this logic effectively summarizes a baseline tenet of American society, namely that more of the same will somehow remedy the problems created in the first place. When a dictatorial president takes us to ill-begotten wars, the solution becomes simply to find a better president -- as if the problem were one of leadership rather than an underlying structural impetus to make war. When those wars go badly, both in fact and perception, we announce a "surge" that will escalate an already-lost conflict in an attempt to somehow "win" it. Better technology is the answer to too much technology. A new pill can cure the ailments produced by the pills we've been taking. Weeds and pests become resistant to our biocides, so let's make them even stronger -- and the same logic goes for our antibiotics. The economy crashes and consumes vast resources, so we'll prop it up with an infusion of even more resources. And on and on.

Indeed, this is the story of civilization itself, a process that continually requires deeper interventions in order to sustain lifestyles dependent upon initial interventions. It is fundamentally unsustainable, since we cannot keep up with the consequences of our incessant machinations. This is the gambler's paradox, attempting to "double down" over and over again on a bad bet, hoping to someday get level but merely digging a deeper hole each time out. Now, one of those deep holes threatens to prove itself incapable of being made level, exposing the harsh realities of our cavalier logic and raising the prospect of an apocalyptic scenario in which, ironically, we could drown in oil while thirsting for water.

This is a bona fide moment of truth for Americans, and perhaps further for humankind as a whole. We either wake up and smell the methane, or continue sleepwalking down a path to seemingly inevitable self-destruction. Shall we live as servile cogs in obeisance to Moloch as we stoke the perverse machines that maintain the apartheid apparatuses of Petropolis? Or will we choose a new path and refuse to serve our soulless masters, instead demanding that they account for their misdeeds and dismantle the hardware of devastation and despair? It is a clear choice ahead, a societal fork in the road: continue on toward the madness of mutually-assured destruction, or take a real chance on an unknown journey toward self-discovery and collective innovation.

We cannot afford to hit the snooze button and go back to sleep, no matter what the final outcome of the Gulf oil disaster turns out to be. Maybe an ingenious solution will emerge that snatches business-as-usual from the jaws of imminent annihilation. More likely, it will be an inexorable and ambiguous seepage that has innumerable ruinous effects on the habitat, only some of which will legally be traceable back to the oiligarchy, swirling together with various other incipient atrocities to hasten our societal demise like some oblivious frogs in a planet-sized vat of slowly boiling water. Humankind, marinated in oil, literally stewing itself to death in an ultimate act of self-fulfilling consumption.

Will we double down again, or cut our losses and walk away? Sometimes, not playing the game at all is a winning streak unto itself. Either way, the first step is to wake up and answer the opening bell. Destiny is calling, and one way or another we will have to account for our recent whereabouts. That time is now.
(c) 2010 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Why Are Wall Street Bankers Grinning?

Banker greed is like ugly on a toad - it can't simply be rinsed off, no matter how much regulatory soap you use.

Congress has now enacted new rules to govern America's huge banks, thus completing Washington's response to the unbridled Wall Street greed that crashed the financial system and crushed our economy. The regulatory reforms were hailed by Democrats as possessing powerful cleansing power, while Republicans wailed that the new rules were overly caustic, imposing such a heavy-handed governmental scrub that the delicate layers of Wall Street innovation and profitability will be rubbed away.

Meanwhile, big bankers are grinning from ear to ear, for the bill requires no restructuring and decentralizing of the monopolistic grip that these giants have on America's credit system. Thus, they still retain the power to rip off consumers, gamble with depositors' money, haul in exorbitant profits, and pay themselves ungodly bonuses - all while remaining "too big to fail."

Yes, the banking barons now have to adjust to stricter regulations, many of which are good and long overdue. But these guys are experts at slipping out of governmental leashes. JPMorgan Chase, for example, had 90 "project teams" plotting end runs around the regulations even before they were passed. Take electronic derivative trades, the casino game that caused the Wall Street implosion. Rather than outright banning them as an intolerable threat to our economy, Congress' bill attaches a bunch of strings to the game, hoping to tie it down. But JPMorgan alone has long had more than 100 of its derivative traders and other casino technicians scheming to untie the strings - so you can bet they'll keep their game going.

They won't stop gaming the system until we fundamentally restructure Wall Street. The way you'll know that real reform has come is that the bankers will have those grins wiped off their faces.
(c) 2010 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.

BP is yet to predict the worst-case scenario over the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico.

Real BP Gulf Oil disaster Is Still To Come
Hurricane season could bring petroleum-filled storms - but what if oil is belched out for another hundred years?
By Terry Jones

Despite BP fighting valiantly to keep reporters and photographers away from the affected areas, the oil is still erupting out of the sea bed, making the waters of the Gulf of Mexico heavy with petroleum and smearing the coastline with black goo.

So what is going to happen now the hurricane season has arrived? The National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration claims there won't be any oil droplets in any hurricane's precipitation. But Jeff Masters, the founder of Weather Underground, from the University of Michigan, disagrees. In fact, he claims that the oil droplets in the hurricane-force winds might actually cause "explosive deepening" of hurricanes in the Gulf.

What will happen when an oil-powered hurricane hits New Orleans and splatters its streets and buildings with crude oil? What will happen when it's not just pelicans and turtles that are plastered in black stuff but people? What about when rice and sugarcane are covered in oil? How will BP keep the reporters and photographers out of it then?

But BP is aware of the possibility of impending disaster a hurricane might bring. On the BP oil leak response website, Mike Utsler, the BP incident commander, based in Houma, tells us: "It's an area that we've put tremendous planning and preparation, from everything in terms of how we would respond to moving people, first and foremost, to safety, but how we would also protect and manage the equipment that's so vital to our operations ..."

So that's all right then. BP is going to move everybody out of the way of any carcinogenic, petroleum-filled storms that hit the mainland.

But wait a minute! Mike Utsler isn't talking about the people of Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and Florida. He's only talking about the people and equipment involved in the cleanup. "How do we do and manage our people," he says "in such a way that their safety is paramount."

In fact, BP apparently has a weather team working in conjunction with "the area command weather experts, as well as of course the hurricane centre, and our NOAA colleagues" so when a hurricane hits New Orleans and plasters the streets and buildings with crude oil, at least BP will have predicted it.

But what it's not predicting, at the moment, is the worst-case scenario.

BP doesn't actually know how big the oil field they drilled into is. They're drilling into lower tertiary (Paleogene) rock that was laid down at the same time mammals and birds were coming into being: 65-23m years ago. It is one of the deepest wells ever drilled by the oil and gas industry, so as you can imagine, they're feeling their way in all this.

Appearing before a House subcommittee in Washington, Tony Hayward, the CEO of BP, estimated that there might be a modest 2bn gallons down there, which could mean it could go on belching out oil for another four years. On the other hand, when BP originally announced their discovery of the "giant" find at its Tiber Prospect, experts estimated the size at 42bn gallons. And since they were talking about "recoverable oil" (which could be only 20% of the actual oil in the site) it would mean the site may hold as much as 210bn gallons. In other words, it could go on belching out oil for another hundred years.

Could that be enough time for the oil slick to reach the Mediterranean? Or, heaven forbid, Brighton?

But we shouldn't blame poor old BP. After all BP didn't know the Deepwater Horizon was going to explode, otherwise there would be 11 oil workers who would still be alive today. And it didn't know (apparently) that it was unsafe to replace the heavy drilling mud in the pipes with lighter seawater, as the rig's chief driller advised them.

And of course once it happened, BP didn't know how to stop the oil coming out.

But then they've got more important things to think about, such as the return to their shareholders. And if the Gulf oil spill goes on for another hundred years, polluting the world's entire ocean system, and the company going into liquidation as a result, that really is something to worry about.
(c) 2010 Terry Jones is a writer, film director, actor and Python.

The Horrors Of Climate Change
By James Donahue

Extreme heat with record setting temperatures soaring at over 100 degrees Fahrenheit along the eastern coast and mid-section of the United States and throughout Europe, the influx of the tropical mosquito borne disease dungy fever in Florida, severe storms bearing tornadoes marching across America's Midwest, and flash floods all over the world. Like it or not, global warming - alias climate change is upon us.

We have seen all of this in past years, but never all of it at the same time. Can anyone still deny that global warming/climate change is not something we should be concerned about? Can there be any real scientists willing to stand up and publicly scoff at the fact that the temperature of Planet Earth has been rising steadily since 1970.

The planet has warmed 0.09 degrees Celsius since 1880, according to NASA's Goddard Institute for Space Science, with .05 degrees of warming occurring since 1980, according to researcher James Hansen.

The National Climatic Data Center in Asheville, North Carolina, reports that the Earth's temperature from January to March, 2009, was the eighth warmest on record, with a global temperature of 55.04 degrees. This marks almost a full degree over the Twentieth Century average of 54.1 degrees.

This may not sound very significant, but in the overall average, an increase of only one or two degrees has more of an impact on our world, its weather, and the way we live than you might think.

Hansen said the planet is within one degree Celsius of the maximum temperature experienced on Earth in the past million years. "That means that further global warming of one degree Celsius defines a critical level," he said.

If the warming rises to two or three degrees Celsius, the Earth will become a very different planet than the one we have known. The warmer temperatures already are forcing an odd migration of plants and animals from the tropics north and southward toward the poles, and the warming of the seas is setting the stage for extreme cyclonic storms that will be buffeting the coastlines of the continents.

The weather changes are bringing extreme rains in some areas, and causing terrible droughts in other regions. While the media has been strangely silent about it, extreme flash flooding has been occurring in nearly every country in the world this year. Millions of people are losing their homes and many are dying in disasters stretching from Peru north to Mexico, the United States and Canada, and around the world to Europe, India, and China.
(c) 2010 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

Why Stewart Brand Is Wrong On Nukes - And Is Losing
By Harvey Wasserman

Stewart Brand has become a poster boy for a "nuclear renaissance" that has just suffered a quiet but stunning defeat. Despite $645 million spent in lobbying over the past decade, the reactor industry has thus far failed to gouge out major new taxpayer funding for new commercial reactors.

In an exceedingly complex series of twists and turns, no legislation now pending in Congress contains firm commitments to the tens of billions reactor builders have been demanding. They could still come by the end of the session. But the radioactive cake walk many expected the industry to take through the budget process has thus far failed to happen.

The full story is excruciatingly complicated. But the core reasons are simple: atomic power can't compete, and makes global warming worse.

In support of this failed 20th Century technology, the industry has enlisted a 20th Century retro-hero, Stewart Brand. Back in the 1960s Brand published the Whole Earth Catalog. Four decades later, that cachet has brought him media access for his advocacy of corporate technologies like genetically modified foods and geo-engineering.....and, of course, nuclear energy.

In response to a cover interview in Marin County's Pacific Sun, I wrote the following to explain why Stewart is wrong, wrong, wrong:

Stewart Brand now seems to equate "science" with a tragic and dangerous corporate agenda. The technologies for which he argues--nuclear power, "clean" coal, genetically modified crops, etc.--can be very profitable for big corporations, but carry huge risks for the rest of us. In too many instances, tangible damage has already been done, and more is clearly threatened.

If there is a warning light for what Stewart advocates, it is the Deepwater Horizon disaster, which much of the oil industry said (like Three Mile Island and Chernobyl) was "impossible." Then it happened. The $75 million liability limit protecting BP should be ample warning that any technology with a legal liability limit (like nuclear power) cannot be tolerated.

Thankfully, there is good news: We have true green alternatives to these failed 20th-century ideas. They're cheaper, safer, cleaner, more reliable and more job-producing than the old ways Stewart advocates.

Stewart and I have never met. But we have debated on the radio and online. Thank you, Pacific Sun, for bringing us to print.

Stewart's advocacy does fit a pattern. He appears to have become a paladin for large-scale corporate technologies that may be highly profitable to CEOs and shareholders, but are beyond the control of the average citizen, and work to our detriment. Because he makes so many simple but costly errors, let's try a laundry list:

1. Like other reactor advocates, Stewart cavalierly dismisses the nuclear waste problem by advocating, among other things, the stuff be simply dumped down a deep hole. This is a terribly dangerous idea and will not happen. Suffice it to say that after a half-century of promises (the first commercial reactor opened in Pennsylvania in 1957) the solution now being offered by government and industry is...a committee!!! Meanwhile, more than 60,000 tons of uniquely lethal spent fuel rods sit at some 65 sites in 31 states with nowhere to go. Like the reactors themselves, they are vulnerable to cooling failure, terror attack, water shortages, overheating of lakes, rivers and oceans, flooding, earthquakes, tornadoes and hurricanes, and much more. This is no legacy to leave our children.

2. Equally disturbing is the industry's inability to get meaningful private liability insurance. The current federally imposed limit is $11 billion, which would disappear in a meltdown even faster than BP's $75 million in the Gulf. According to the latest compendium of studies, issued this spring by the New York Annals of Science, Chernobyl has killed some 985,000 people, and is by no means finished. It has done at least a half-trillion dollars in damage. The uninsured death toll and financial costs of a similar-scaled accident in the U.S. are incalculable, but would clearly kill millions and bankrupt our nation for the foreseeable future.

3. Stewart points out that there are also risks with wind and solar power. But clearly none that begin to compare with nukes, coal or deep-water drilling. If reactor owners were forced to find reasonable liability insurance, all would shut. A similar demand for renewables and efficiency would leave them unaffected.

4. Renewable/efficiency technologies today are cheaper, faster to deploy and more job-creating than nukes. It takes a minimum of five years to license and build a new reactor. The one being done by AREVA in Finland is hugely over budget and behind schedule. There is no reason to expect anything better here. Among other things, the long lead time ties up for too many years the critical social capital that could otherwise go to technology that can quickly let the planet heal.

5. Like others who doubt the possibility of a green-powered Earth, Stewart posits the straw man of reliance on a deployment of solar panels that would blanket the desert and do ecological harm. In fact, the National Renewable Energy Lab estimates 100 percent of the nation's electricity could come from an area 90 miles on a side, or a relatively modest box of 8,100 square miles. But as we all know, that's not how it will be done. Solar panels belong on rooftops, where there is ample area throughout the nation, and an end to transmission costs. Likewise, wind farms do not "cover" endless acres of prairie, their tower bases take up tiny spots that remain surrounded by productive farmland. In this case, currently available wind turbines spinning between the Mississippi and the Rockies could generate 300 percent of the nation's electricity. There's sufficient potential in North Dakota, Kansas and Texas alone to do 100 percent. Cost and installation times put nukes to shame. The liability is nil, as is the bird kill, which primarily affects obsolete, badly sited fast-spinning machines in places like Altamont Pass. Those must come down, and there will certainly be other surprises along the way. No technology is perfect, and we need to be careful even with those that are green-based. But as we have seen, further threats on the scale of Chernobyl and the Deepwater Horizon cannot be sustained.

6. As for GMO crops, Darwin was right. Plants evolve to avoid herbicides just as bugs work their way around pesticides (which Stewart correctly decries). Now we see that "super-weeds" are outsmarting the carefully engineered herbicides meant to justify the whole GMO scheme, bringing a disastrous reversion to horrific, lethal old sprays. Chemical farming may be good for corporate profits, but it can kill global sustainability. In the long run, only organics can sustain us.

7. Stewart mentions that he is paid only for speeches. But a single such fee can outstrip an entire year's pay for a grassroots organizer or volunteer. What's remarkable is that the nuclear power industry spent some $645 million lobbying for its "renaissance" over the past decade--more than $64 million/year. It has bought an army of corporate lobbyists and legislators. Yet only a handful of folks with rear guard environmental credentials has stepped forward to fight for the old fossil/nuclear/GMO technologies.

Stewart is certainly welcome to his own opinions. But not to his own facts. Pushing for a nuclear "renaissance" concedes that it's a Dark Age technology, defined by unsustainable costs, inefficiencies, danger, eco-destruction, radiation releases, lack of insurance, uncertain decommissioning costs, vulnerability to terrorism and much more.

That the industry must desperately seek taxpayer help, and cannot find insurance for even this "newer, safer" generation, is the ultimate testimony to its failure. By contrast, renewables and efficiency are booming, and are a practical solution to our energy needs, which the corporate clunkers of the previous century simply cannot provide.

It's been a long time since the Whole Earth Catalog was published. Its hallowed founder should wake up to the booming holistic green technologies that are poised to save the Earth. They are ready to roll over the obsolete corporate boondoggles that are killing Her. Chernobyl, Three Mile Island, the disasters in the coal mines and the Gulf remind us we need to make that green-powered transition as fast as we possibly can.
(c) 2010 Harvey Wasserman's SOLARTOPIA! OUR GREEN-POWERED EARTH, A.D. 2030, is at He is senior advisor to Greenpeace USA and the Nuclear Information & Resource Service, and writes regularly for

Anglo-American Political Philosophy 101: The Poor Must Die
By Chris Floyd

News from Blighty: the disparity in death rates between the well-off and the poor in the UK is now greater than at any time since 1921. The London Review of Books points to a new study by the British Medical Journal that shows that by 2007, "for every 100 people under the age of 65 dying in the best-off areas, 199 were dying in the poorest tenth of areas."

The Journal study said that the data suggest "it was only prolonged and enthusiastic state intervention" that kept the disparity from being greater. On the other hand, the elite-coddling market jihadism of the Clintonian-Obamaish "New Labour" government (or as the BMJ more politely puts it, "the prolonged state disengagement in promoting equality in outcome") helped stretch the yawning gap even further.

In other words, the few spare pence that the war criminals of the Labour government threw at the poor kept them from dying quite as fast as they would have done otherwise under the system of voracious corporate rapine that Labour entrenched and expanded after inheriting it from the Thatcherite Tories in 1997.

Now, even those few pence are being stripped away -- gleefully -- by what many say is the most extremist government Britain has ever seen, outstripping even Margaret Thatcher in the scope of its draconian cuts and the fervor of its market fundamentalism. The savage cutbacks and vast, churning upheavals being pushed through, at breakneck speed, by the new Conservative government (and its truly pathetic coalition "partner," the lapdog Lib Dems) will sends millions of people tumbling down into a permanent underclass -- and finally, after 60 years of trying, gut the national health service with a stealth "Americanization" that will turn the operation of local doctors' offices over to private firms (many of them from the US) and privatize public hospitals, allowing them to "fail" -- and close -- if they don't produce enough cash for their elite shareholders. Meanwhile, the schools are now in the hands of the arch-neocon Michael Gove, who is plotting with revisionist historian Niall Ferguson to impose a pro-Empire, pro-elite "national greatness" ideology on the young. Gove is also using "emergency" legislative procedures to strip public schools away from the oversight of democratically elected local government and put them into the hands of unaccountable corporations, religious groups and wealthy elites.

This Revolution of the Rich is being justified by a carefully crafted, constantly stoked panic about budget deficits, pointing to the example of the perpetually weak government and economy of Greece as a horror story to be avoided at all costs. Yet even if the Greek situation was as dire as the fearmongers make out, the fact remains that the cuts which the Tory-LapDog coalition is making in the much stronger, much more stable UK are actually far in excess than those being imposed upon Greece. As with the fearmongering about "Iraqi WMDs," the "dangers of the deficit" are being exaggerated -- and manufactured -- in order to put into place a pre-existing (and transatlantic) ideological agenda: neo-feudal oligarchism.

But in almost all of these measures, the Tory-LapDog government is only entrenching and expanding the "market-led reforms" imposed by New Labour. And "New Labour" was of course a close copy of the "New Democrats" of Bill Clinton and his clique of "triangulating" bagmen for Big Money -- scarcely distinguishable from the Reagan-Bush faction that preceded them, and then succeeded them in the Bush dynasty's second turn in the White House. And we all know that "continuity" is the byword of the Obama administration, which is chock-a-block with holdovers not only from strangulating triangulators of the Clinton era but also the imperial militarists from the two Bush reigns.

Thus for more than 30 years, the world-dominating Anglo-American alliance has been under the sway of factions which, for all their internal squabbling and hair-splitting, are strongly united in their steadfast, unshakeable adherence to the perpetuation -- and expansion -- of elite power and privilege. They have shown themselves willing -- eager -- to degrade their own societies (and destroy many others) in the service of this brutal, barbaric, inhuman faith. The poor have no place in this system, which is a retrograde, hi-tech, rhetorically sugarcoated revival of the laissez-faire fantasies of the past, as Jeremy Seabrook notes:

"Pauperism" long ago took on the colour of culpability. The distinction between the idle and improvident poor and the "deserving" goes back at least to the Elizabethan poor law. It took on a new force in the early industrial era, which saw an unprecedented growth in pauperism. The enthusiasts of laissez-faire concluded that the evil was compounded by efforts to relieve it, and helping the poor only increased their number. Everything indicated that "natural" processes should be allowed to take their course. .... In this version of the world, the market mechanism is as flawless a creation as the earth, and should remain untouched by the hand of meddlers, whose only effect is to upset its power to enrich us all. It is remarkable that the establishment of laissez-faire itself in the early 19th century required an enormous amount of government intervention and regulation ...

And so it is today. The "regulation" of the health care industry introduced by the Obama Administration is actually a gargantuan transfer of wealth, by force, from working people and the poor to a few huge corporations. The financial "regulation" signed into law is yet another sham that will leave the rapacious fools and fraudsters who brought down the global economy -- and triggered the convenient "deficit crisis" by demanding massive bailouts of public money for their private businesses -- at large and in charge of the world's finances. Meanwhile, more and more government regulations restrict the right of ordinary citizens to challenge the rich and powerful in court, or to register a public protest (herding them instead into the truly hideous "free speech zones") -- even as the state grants corporations extraordinary privileges to interfere with the political process with their vast resources and protects their leaders from personal accountability for the ravages they commit. The government "intervention and regulation" on behalf of the industries and elites who service the endlessly expanding symbiosis of corporate, military and 'security' power -- stretching even to the countenancing and cover-up of torture and murder -- is one of the defining elements of our age.

And as Glenn Ford notes, Obama is preparing to "regulate" the last tattered fragments of the social welfare system -- already decimated by the progressive's favorite good old boy, Bill Cinton -- right out of existence:

In April of this year, Obama once again reminded everyone that everything is and has always been "on the table," as far as he's concerned, including Social Security. His so-called "deficit commission" is stacked with rich sociopaths sharpening their knives to carve up, sell off or otherwise doom Social Security. It is a battle that safety net defenders thought they had won against George Bush. Barack Obama has picked up Bush's marbles and put them back into play. He is the right wing's most potent weapon, the one before which liberal Democrats throw up their hands in surrender without the dignity of a fight. Obama, working in plain sight over the past 18 months, has constructed and rigged a deficit commission to render a kind of death sentence to the foundational program of Roosevelt's New Deal.

This is the system -- the creed, the extremist faith -- that all "serious" players in all the "major" power faction on both sides of the Atlantic adhere to. Their god of greed demands human sacrifices: and so the poor must die. And to keep the system going, more and more people must be made poor: first those in the "outer darkness" of faraway lands, then finally those in the sacred "Homelands" themselves. We have been watching the latter process play out slowly in the past few decades -- but it is accelerating now at dizzying speed.

As I once noted of some our representative elites:

Perhaps if they could obtain these same privileges as easily by other, less horrific means, they would. As it is, they take the world as they find it, and go about their business without fretting over the consequences -- the dead, the ruined, the spreading hate, the poisoned planet. Why should they care? As the maggot cannot see beyond the meat, so too these [people] of greed-stunted understanding can see nothing of worth outside their own bottomless appetites.

(c) 2010 Chris Floyd

Numbing Narratives
By Case Wagenvoord

"Narrative" is one of those buzz words that bounces around the Progressive blogosphere. It is usually uttered wishfully as in, "Progressives need to develop a coherent narrative on (fill in the blank)." Tragically, the wish for a narrative rarely produces one as Progressives continue to play fallback in the face of a strong and powerful narrative from the Right, which is why you rarely hear the Right speaking of the need for a narrative.

"Narrative" is word that signifies nothing. Rather, it is the product of a causal fallacy, i.e. the assumption that a "narrative" can shape or change reality. Ira Chernus in a thought-provoking article on Progressive Patriotism argues that, "[I]t is entirely possible to transform the meaning of patriotism in just about any way we like." Here, Chernus bumps into the flaw that has hobbled Progressives since they turned their backs on the working class in the sixties: that all we need do to change a narrative is to change its language and the world will fall into step behind it. This line of thought assumes that culture is a machine, a static noun, and all we need do is change a battery or tighten a screw and it will dance to our tune. The truth is that culture is an ever changing verb that is constantly shifting beneath our feet even as we dot the "i's" and cross the "t's" in our carefully crafted narratives. It is this very fetish with top-down narratives that gave rise to the politically correct language that is anathema to the working class.

Chernus argues for a patriotic Progressive narrative grounded in empathy. Empathy is an empty abstraction whose soft vowels and consonants dull the senses while its meaning remains vague. What we should be striving for is a "decent" society. Here is a word that has a bite to it. The word implies not only the building of a decent society, but the treating of all segments of society with decency, regardless of our feelings towards them. Don't forget that five simple words, "Have you no decency, sir?" brought down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

The word empathy has the same problem as does "Christian love." Both words have a touchy-feely quality that evokes images of a maiden clad in a diaphanous white gown skipping through La-Lad Land with a beatific smile on her face. In truth, both require a descent into the deepest pit of Hell coupled with a willingness to love every low-life son of a bitch one finds down there even though one's knee-jerk reaction is to tear their freaking throats out. Both empathy and Christian love are mindsets, which is why people rarely understand their meaning, and that is what makes them problematic as rallying cries.

Also, to create this Progressive patriotic narrative would be to impose another top-down ideology that would be likely to fall on deaf ears. The success of the Left in Latin America is due to their ability to tap into an indigenous populism. Progressives could learn much from the Tea Party when it comes to welding an indigenous populism to an ideology instead of attacking it, which only increases its appeal. The success of the Right is that instead of obsessing on top-down narratives, it has tapped into the fears and frustrations of the working class to create a bottom-up narrative that is highly effective. Speaking of the Left, Jean Baudrillard argues that, "[B]y investing in the moral order, it [the Left] can only watch the repressed political energy crystallize elsewhere and against it. And the Left can only feed evil by embodying the reign of virtue, which is also the greatest hypocrisy."

What is repressed in Progressive narratives is political passion, and the bottom line is that politics demands passion. Without this passion politics becomes so much political pablum that induces apathy instead of action. Progressives will never mount a successful movement until their every utterance sends the Rightwing noise machine into spasms of apoplectic rage.

There is a rallying cry that would resonate with the electorate, and that would be a loud and passionate argument that three running sores are befouling Liberty's face-Wall Street, the Beltway and the Pentagon, and that by the Pentagon we don't mean the troops who are doing the heavy lifting, but the policy wonks and generals who have put them in harm's way by sending them out to fight unnecessary wars. And we must fight to staunch those sores and to return to the one value all Americans both share and strive for, an unblemished liberty.

The Right has been able to conflate liberty and security in the mistaken belief that liberty is only possible in an atmosphere completely devoid of danger and risk. The truth is that security is only achieved when liberty is sacrificed on security's altar. Liberty requires courage, the willingness to accept that life involves an element of risk and that security is only possible within the precincts of a police state that would turn America into a gated community. Anyone willing to surrender their liberty to be protected from the "terrorists" would do well to don a flame retardant suit and a crash helmet before getting behind the wheel because the probability of being wacked in an automobile accident is far greater than being wacked in a terrorist attack.

A decent society is grounded on four moral absolutes; do not kill; do not steal; do not lie and do not exploit. Obviously, corporatism and decency are mutually exclusive. For what is fouling democracy's waters in the twenty-first century is not capitalism but corporatism. Capitalism was a product of owners who exploited their workers. Capitalism has morphed into a corporatism in which employees who think they are owners exploit the workers. Capitalist owners walked the factory floor; corporatist employees are sequestered in glass towers which makes it easier for them to ramp up their exploitation of their workers.

Our wars are corporate wars, waged to expand markets and secure natural resources. Corporatism's attempt to equate itself with freedom is bogus. It offers freedom only to those at the apex of the pyramid, a freedom that is bought at the expense of the pyramid's base. This is the peg upon which Progressives could hang liberty's lantern. We must be willing to demonize corporatism , especially the finance corporatism that has raped pension funds, turned people out of their homes and shipped jobs overseas.

Such demonizing requires passion. We've got to be pissed off and we've got to be willing to piss the public off. We must be willing to listen to the impassioned member of the Tea Party and to respond to their fears and frustrations and to construct not a platform out of them but a raging bond fire. This does not mean we join forces with the Tea Party. Rather, this means we steal their thunder with an even louder rallying cry that would tap into the indigenous populism that is part of the American tradition. And we won't do this by trying to create bland, reasonable narrative. It's time to start handing out pitchforks and torches.
(c) 2010 Case Wagenvoord. Some years ago, Case Wagenvoord turned off the tube and picked up a book. He's been trouble ever since. His articles have been posted at The Smirking Chimp, Countercurrents and Issues & Alibis. When he's not writing or brooding, he is carving hardwood bowls that have been displayed in galleries and shows across the country. He lives in New Jersey with his wife and two cats. His book, Open Letters to George W. Bush is available at

The End!
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning all of you bright minds out there in the real world; your King of Simple News is on the air.

Having some down time in the beauty of the high Colorado Mountains where cell phone signals never travel, I've been able to arrive at some important conclusions. While these are certainly my own collection of thoughts, they do represent the culmination of five years of near constant study.

It would have been great to have been able to write the end at the beginning without all of the hours of study and writing; but taking the trip was necessary to accurately report the road conditions.

I suppose the most important of my conclusions is that there was never another way that our short upward spiraling economic trip could have ended other than our present trip back down the same course. Humans are irrational, delusional, and are mentally rewarded by instant gratification. These are not traits that can be used in the same sentence with "sustainable."

I do feel some relief in realizing that there was nothing that I or anyone else could have ever done to change the course of human events on a macro scale. The overwhelming desire for power and money was always in charge, always has been, and always will be.

But can't we change? No.

Not so long ago in this very nation, it was acceptable to own another human being. Not long before that, a church elder could pronounce a person of their choosing to be a witch and the good citizens would cheerfully burn that so-called witch at the stake. Trust me, if we didn't change all that much in 4,000 years, we haven't done so in the last twenty.

We wear a thin veneer of justification and diversion that we refer to as "civilized culture," but remember; "After three days without food, the most civilized among us becomes a barbarian."

Our human plan is single minded and laser focused; live off the finite resources of our planet until it is no longer possible, after which "They" will come up with a new plan. Unfortunately there is no "They," and there is no plan "B."

It is the lack of control over our own conscious brains that makes this loony voyage to the inevitable end possible. Our subconscious brain simply reinvents our personal vision of reality to a palatable scenario on a daily basis. Don't think so? Try explaining to the average person that compounding interest in a finite world is a mathematically impossible theorem. Good luck and take your lunch.

Try explaining that all things on a finite planet have physical limits. Or, that there is no such thing as 110 % of any physical asset. Los Angeles, New York, Chicago, Denver, Dallas, Phoenix... cannot be built again; the physical assets to do so simply don't exist. Yet, the SOLE plan is to continually expand those cities by "growing the economy," into the next millennium.

Few people live with stark reality on a daily basis and those who do (I'm not making this up) are classified as "clinically depressed." There is nothing quite as depressing as getting up every morning and realizing that most of the people surrounding you are crazy as hell.

What we as a species consider as "smart," is our ability to borrow against the future in comparison to the lower animals that are forced to live in the here and now. We can totally deplete resources in a 50 year period that took millions of years to materialize, while a coyote's resource chain is subject to the rabbits that materialize in a given year. The coyote's numbers are held in check...ours are not.

Our unique ability to borrow against the future will someday be printed in the history books of the survivors as mans greatest defect. It will be seen as ludicrous as the old world belief that the world was flat.

It is important to understand that our resource base won't slowly run out, but will instead quickly be depleted as the supply diminishes, population increases, and our ability to harvest those resources has been amplified through technology. Our decline will necessarily be a mirror image of our exponential incline; steep and swift.

Most believe that "They" has a last name of Technology. I, on the other hand, believe that technology is the fuel that has propelled us to warp speed on our certain collision course with physical reality.

So what does a person do with the above information? Most will simply allow their subconscious to rearrange their personal version of reality and will dismiss any negative connotations as pure poppycock as they turn on the nightly news and listen to the pundits explain how we are going to reproduce Los Angles, Chicago, Detroit, and New York City. Let the good times roll.

But how does a rational, clinically depressed individual process such a gloomy scenario? I would suggest seeking out compatibility and surrounding yourself with those who can deal with the truth. You can't fly with the eagles and roost with the turkeys.

Adopt a live simple, live free, and live well philosophy on your own terms. Reduce your consumption immediately. Become as self sufficient as possible. Lose the big house, big car, big credit card, big payments and big head program and enjoy the free and simple pleasures that were always there for the taking. In the end, that's about all I can offer

As I sign off, I want to once again thank all of my wonderful readers and commenters who have stuck with me over these last years. I have gained much more than I have given.

The site will remain up for the time being and please consider printing off my Show-Stoppers from the button at the top of this blog. I also have some left over books for anyone who wants a bargain. Just e-mail me from the "Contact" button for details.

This world can be a wonderful place for those who understand it. That said, I'm off to the mountains again where cell phone signals never travel.
(c) 2010 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."

Editors Note: Mike is terminating his site but will continue to write articles for Issues & Alibis. We welcome Mike's readership to the magazine and thank Mike for his insight, wit and wisdom and remind him that the key to the bar is under the mat!

The Quotable Quote...

"I'm not saying I wish that I were black, but there are times when I wish that I wasn't white."

~~~ Frank Zappa ~~~

Afghan War Leaks Expose Costly, Deceitful March Of Folly
By Ray McGovern

The brutality and fecklessness of the U.S.-led war in Afghanistan have been laid bare in an indisputable way just days before the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on whether to throw $33.5 billion more into the Afghan quagmire, when that money is badly needed at home.

On Sunday, the Web site Wikileaks posted 75,000 reports written mostly by U.S. forces in Afghanistan during a six-year period from January 2004 to December 2009. The authenticity of the material - published under the title "Afghan War Diaries" - is not in doubt.

The New York Times, which received an embargoed version of the documents from Wikileaks, devoted six pages of its Monday editions to several articles on the disclosures, which reveal how the Afghan War slid into its current morass while the Bush administration concentrated U.S. military efforts on Iraq.

Wikileaks also gave advanced copies to the British newspaper, The Guardian, and the German newsmagazine, Der Spiegel, thus guaranteeing that the U.S. Fawning Corporate Media could not ignore these classified cables the way it did five years ago with the "Downing Street Memo," a leaked British document which described how intelligence was "fixed" around President George W. Bush's determination to invade Iraq.

The Washington Post also led its Monday editions with a lengthy article about the Wikileaks' disclosure of the Afghan War reports.

Still, it remains to be seen whether the new evidence of a foundering war in Afghanistan will lead to a public groundswell of opposition to expending more billions of dollars there when the money is so critically needed to help people to keep their jobs, their homes and their personal dignity in the United States.

But there may be new hope that the House of Representatives will find the collective courage to deny further funding for feckless bloodshed in Afghanistan that seems more designed to protect political flanks in Washington than the military perimeters of U.S. bases over there.

Assange on Pentagon Papers

Wikileaks leader Julian Assange compared the release of "The Afghan War Diaries" to Daniel Ellsberg's release in 1971 of the Pentagon Papers. Those classified documents revealed the duplicitous arguments used to justify the Vietnam War and played an important role in eventually getting Congress to cut off funding.

Ellsberg's courageous act was the subject of a recent Oscar-nominated documentary, entitled "The Most Dangerous Man in America," named after one of the less profane sobriquets thrown Ellsberg's way by then-national security adviser Henry Kissinger.

I imagine Dan is happy at this point to cede that particular honorific to the Wikileaks' leaker, who is suspected of being Pfc. Bradley Manning, a young intelligence specialist in Iraq who was recently detained and charged with leaking classified material to Wikileaks.

An earlier Wikileaks' disclosure - also reportedly from Manning - revealed video of a U.S. helicopter crew cavalierly gunning down about a dozen Iraqi men, including two Reuters journalists, as they walked along a Baghdad street.

Wikileaks declined to say whether Manning was the source of the material. However, possibly to counter accusations that the leaker (allegedly Manning) acted recklessly in releasing thousands of secret military records, Wikileaks said it was still withholding 15,000 reports "as part of a harm minimization process demanded by our source."

After Ellsberg was identified as the Pentagon Papers leaker in 1971, he was indicted and faced a long prison sentence if convicted. However, a federal judge threw out the charges following disclosures of the Nixon administration's own abuses, such as a break-in at the office of Ellsberg's psychiatrist.

In public speeches over the past several years, Ellsberg has been vigorously pressing for someone to do what he did, this time on the misbegotten wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Ellsberg also has praised Assange for providing a means for the documents to reach the public.

Ellsberg and other members of The Truth Telling Coalition established on Sept. 9, 2004, have been appealing to government officials who encounter "deception and cover-up" on vital issues to opt for "unauthorized truth telling."

Emphasizing that "citizens cannot make informed choices if they do not have the facts," the Truth Telling Coalition challenged officials to give primary allegiance to the Constitution, and noted the readiness of groups like the ACLU and The Project on Government Oversight (POGO) to offer advice and support.

What's New?

In a taped interview, Assange noted in his understated way that, with the Internet, the "situation is markedly different" from Pentagon Papers days. "More material can be pushed to bigger audiences, and much sooner."

Also, the flow of information can evade the obstructions of traditional news gatekeepers who failed so miserably to inform the American people about the Bush administration's deceptions before the Iraq War.

People all over the world can get "the whole wad at once" and put the various reports into context, which "is not something that has previously occurred; that is something that can only be brought about as a result of the Internet," Assange said.

However, Assange also recognized the value of involving the traditional news media to ensure that the reports got maximum attention. So, he took a page from Ellsberg's experience by creating some competitive pressure among major news outlets, giving the 75,000 reports to the New York Times, the Guardian and Der Spiegel. Beginning Sunday afternoon, all three posted articles about the huge dump of information.

Assange noted that the classified material includes many heart-rending incidents that fit into the mosaic of a larger human catastrophe. These include one depicted in Der Spiegel's reportage of accidental killings on June 17, 2007, when U.S. Special Forces fired five rockets at a Koran school in which a prominent al-Qaeda functionary was believed to be hiding.

When the smoke cleared, the Special Forces found no terrorist, but rather six dead children in the rubble of the school and another who died shortly after.

Role of Pakistan

Perhaps the most explosive revelations disclose the double game being played by the Pakistani Directorate for Inter-Service Intelligence (ISI). Der Spiegel reported: "The documents clearly show that this Pakistani intelligence agency is the most important accomplice the Taliban has outside of Afghanistan."

The documents also show ISI envoys not only are present when insurgent commanders hold war councils, but also give specific orders to carry out assassinations - including, according to one report, an attempt on the life of Afghan President Hamid Karzai in August 2008.

Former Pakistani intelligence chief, Gen. Hamid Gul, is depicted as an important source of aid to the Taliban, and even, in another report, as a "leader" of the insurgents. The reports show Gul ordering suicide attacks, and describe him as one of the most important suppliers of weaponry to the Talban.

Though the Pakistani government has angrily denied U.S. government complaints about Gul and the ISI regarding secret ties to the Taliban and even to al-Qaeda, the new evidence must raise questions about what the Pakistanis have been doing with the billions of dollars that Washington has given them.

Two Ex-Generals Got It Right

We have another patriotic truth-teller to thank for leaking the texts of cables that Ambassador (and former Lt. Gen.) Karl Eikenberry sent to Washington on Nov. 6 and 9, 2009, several weeks before President Barack Obama made his fateful decision to send 30,000 more troops to Afghanistan.

In a somewhat condescending tone, Eikenberry described the request from Gen. Stanley McChrystal, then commander of allied forces in Afghanistan, for more troops as "logical and compelling within his narrow mandate to define the needs" of the military campaign.

But then Eikenberry warned repeatedly about "unaddressed variables" like militants' "sanctuaries" in Pakistan. For example, the ambassador wrote:

"More troops won't end the insurgency as long as Pakistan sanctuaries remain ... and Pakistan views its strategic interests as best served by a weak neighbor."
In Eikenberry's final try at informing the White House discussion (in his cable of Nov. 9), the ambassador warned pointedly of the risk that "we will become more deeply engaged here with no way to extricate ourselves."

At the time, it seemed that Eikenberry's message was getting through to the White House. On Nov. 7, Der Spiegel published an interview with National Security Adviser (former Marine General) James Jones, who was asked whether he agreed with Gen. McChrystal that a substantial troop increase was needed. Jones replied:

"Generals always ask for more troops; I believe we will not solve the problem with more troops alone. You can keep on putting troops in, and you could have 200,000 troops there and Afghanistan will swallow them up as it has done in the past."

However, McChrystal and his boss, then-Central Command chief Gen. David Petraeus pressed the case for more troops, a position that had strong support from Defense Secretary Robert Gates, former Vice President Dick Cheney, key hawks in Congress and Washington's neoconservative-dominated opinion circles.

After months of internal debate, President Obama finally caved in and gave McChrystal nearly all the troops that he had requested. (McChrystal has since been replaced by Petraeus as commander of forces in Afghanistan.)

Despite the fact that the Wikileaks disclosures offer fresh support for the doubters on the Afghan War escalation, Jones acted as the good soldier on Sunday, decrying the unauthorized release of classified information, calling Wikileaks >O?"irresponsible."

Jones also lectured the Pakistanis:

"Pakistan's military and intelligence services must continue their strategic shift against insurgent groups. The balance must shift decisively against al-Qaeda and its extremist allies. U.S. support for Pakistan will continue to be focused on building Pakistani capacity to root out violent extremist groups."

[Note: Okay; he's a general. But the grammatical mood is just a shade short of imperative. And the tone is imperial/colonial through and through. I'll bet the Pakistanis are as much swayed by that approach as they have been by Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's admonitions not to be concerned about India - just terrorists.]

And regarding "progress" in Afghanistan? Jones added that "the U.S. and its allies have scored several significant blows against the insurgency."

However, that's not the positive spin that Joint Chiefs Chairman Adm. Mike Mullen was offering just four weeks ago. On his way to Kabul, again, Mullen spoke of "recent setbacks in the Afghan campaign."

"We underestimated some of the challenges" in Marja, the rural area of Helmand province that was cleared in March by U.S. Marines, only to have Taliban fighters return. "They're coming back at night; the intimidation is still there,"

Of the much more ambitious (and repeatedly delayed) campaign to stabilize the Taliban stronghold of Kandahar, Mullen said: "It's going to take until the end of the year to know where we are there."

Would you say yes to an additional $33.5 billion for this fool's errand?
(c) 2010 Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years -- from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. During the early 1980s, he was one of the writers/editors of the President's Daily Brief and briefed it one-on-one to the president's most senior advisers. He also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In January 2003, he and four former colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

Our Impoverished Politics
By David Michael Green

The other day I went looking for a quote from a civil rights speech that John Kennedy had given during a critical moment of American history, as the National Guard was called out to escort two black students enrolling at the University of Alabama. I found the passage I wanted and then went ahead and read the entire speech. It was fairly stunning.

Consider some of the following excerpts:

I hope that every American, regardless of where he lives, will stop and examine his conscience about this and other related incidents.

We are confronted primarily with a moral issue. It is as old as the scriptures and is as clear as the American Constitution.

If an American, because his skin is dark, cannot eat lunch in a restaurant open to the public, if he cannot send his children to the best public school available, if he cannot vote for the public officials who will represent him, if, in short, he cannot enjoy the full and free life which all of us want, then who among us would be content to have the color of his skin changed and stand in his place? Who among us would then be content with the counsels of patience and delay?

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

We face, therefore, a moral crisis as a country and as a people. It cannot be met by repressive police action. It cannot be left to increased demonstrations in the streets. It cannot be quieted by token moves or talk. It is time to act in the Congress, in your State and local legislative body and, above all, in all of our daily lives.

It is not enough to pin the blame on others, to say this is a problem of one section of the country or another, or deplore the fact that we face. A great change is at hand, and our task, our obligation, is to make that revolution, that change, peaceful and constructive for all.

Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality.

The first thing that's striking about this rhetoric - and a fact which makes the second observation all the more notable - is that it comes from a president who was just barely decent on civil rights issues. Kennedy was young, handsome, eloquent, witty, martyred and canonized by his camp after his assassination, and Americans therefore remember him as a much more successful president than he actually was. More importantly, we give him more credit than is due for his moral courage on issues like civil rights, perhaps the single most important domestic question of the era. (In this respect, it must also be said that two other less-than altruistic motivations leap off the page as you read this speech: the national elite's concern, in the context of the Cold War, about how racism was hurting American efforts to win over hearts and minds in the Third World; and white America's palpable fear of black violence boiling over in response to unyielding racism.)

Kennedy was in fact behind the curve of history in many respects. Brown versus the Board and the Montgomery bus strike had already occurred seven years before his inauguration. And yet he was reluctant to move anywhere on this issue much past where events on the ground pushed him. This is understandable in crass political terms, given that the Solid (white, racist) South at that time was still a huge chunk of the Democratic Party's coalition, and given that Kennedy had won election in 1960 by the barest of margins (in fact, it took the generosity of a whole lot of people in Illinois - who, despite being dead, nevertheless voted for him - to put him over the top).

But that's just it - Kennedy's reticence on civil rights is understandable in crass political terms, but only in those terms. Nobody in our political class likes to hear blunt truth, especially on matters of character, but let's boil this one down to just that: JFK was, in his political calculus, balancing the prospect of a second presidential term for one very privileged single American, on the one hand, versus the equality, aspirations and dignity of one-tenth of the country's population, plus the moral and Constitutional integrity of the entire nation, on the other. And, by and large, he was too often choosing to put his own interests over the country's.

All that said, look again at his words. The second reason they are striking - and my real point here - has to do with the moral power and eloquent clarity of his call to Americans to form a more perfect union. Yes, Kennedy was a flawed president (which, of course, makes him part of a mighty big club), and yes his deeds frequently failed to match the power of his words. But that in fact underscores my argument even more emphatically: Back in the day, even weak presidents could articulate a national vision that was vastly larger and more appealing than anything we remotely aspire to today.

Think about it. Since Jimmy Carter was in the White House, America has been a captive of regressive politics, including that of Democratic presidents and congressional majorities. The only passionate rhetoric you are ever likely to hear in our political discourse nowadays is some bald-faced lies about the urgent need to go to war or to slash taxes on the wealthy. When was the last time anyone spoke out with a moral vision about the environment, civil rights, the American addiction to war, economic justice, or the due process of civil liberties?

It happens, but it is rare in our rhetoric generally, and even more rare amongst our political class. Remember when Robert Byrd denounced the Iraq invasion in passionate moral terms? That episode sticks out precisely because it was such an unusual act. And even that was not done by a president, congressional leader, cabinet member or senior statesman. The speaker was just a senator. Not that senators aren't prominent figures in American politics, of course. But at any given time there are a hundred of them. And that just covers one half of one branch, constituting one-third of the American government.

The truth is that American political discourse in our time has been dumbed down, cheapened, emasculated and impoverished. It is Exhibit A in the case arguing that, if America was ever once a great country, it is not now. We are instead, today, a crouched and fearful giant. We don't lead in the world, other than to lead the regressive opposition (along with countries like Somalia and Libya) to virtually every form of international law and morality. At home, we have two political factions: those who emphatically and aggressively seek to turn the clock back on every form of progress achieved these last decades, centuries and even millennia, and those who sheepishly and timidly defend the status quo, or perhaps favor regressing a bit more slowly. You can see this clearly in the contrast between take-no-prisoner presidents of our time like Reagan and Lil' Bush, versus the hopelessly cowardly Clinton or Obama. You can see it on the Supreme Court. The regressive faction is bold and aggressive. The others on the Court are milquetoast moderates, merely trying to hold the line on existing policy. And, despite all the bullshit rhetoric about balance and fairness and yadda-yadda, Neither Bill Clinton nor Barack Obama would dare nominate a true Warren Court-style progressive to the bench, giving the Court even a single liberal, up against five reactionaries.

No wonder our politics are so bereft of stirring moral rhetoric. We are consumed with the smallest politics of the most narrow self-interest. Our electorate hasn't had a generous tendency in ages, and our political class is populated by careerists, on a good day.

Elena Kagan is a good example. So is Barack Obama, or John Edwards or Harry Reid or Dick Gephardt (now a leading lobbyist) and so many others. (I don't even bother to mention figures from the right, including those like John McCain, once dolled-up by the media and his own campaign rhetoric as some sort of patriot who places country before self.) Look across the political landscape and see if you can spot a Daniel Ellsberg or a Paul Wellstone or even a Lyndon Johnson anywhere on the horizon of our political class - somebody who (even with the enormous other flaws in the latter's case) takes a principled stand on any great issue of our time, and who is willing to risk something of personal value to do so. You won't. It's as rare today as the Catholic Church doing the right thing about pedophilia.

What's perhaps most astonishing about all this is we live in a moment where even self-interest could simultaneously be both the right thing to pursue and politically popular. Even if politicians can't transcend their own bloated cravings for money, power and attention to stand up for repressed gays or shrinking glaciers, couldn't they find it within themselves to look out for the interests of tens of millions of Americans (who just happen also to be voters) suffering under tremendous economic anxiety and worse? What the hell is wrong with Barack Obama - as a politician and as a person - that he doesn't savagely excoriate the sickening monsters of the GOP who oppose extending unemployment rights to "lazy" Americans living on the very edge of survival, and thereby along the way also earn some much-needed moral and political credit for doing so?

This week saw the ignominy of the Shirley Sherrod case, in which regressive hitman Andrew Breitbart blasted across the media a doctored up video of a speech the black former director of the Agriculture Department's Georgia state office gave, decades ago, talking about how she transcended her own impulses to discriminate on the basis of race. Transcended, I say again. But that was the part that got edited out. It was as if you lost your job because you said publicly that "I am not a terrorist", but some right-wing freak (whose parents evidently neglected him as an infant and we're all paying for it still to this day) took out the third word of the sentence and gave the rest to your boss and wife and kids and everyone else, and now you've lost your marriage and family and home and job and no one will talk to you anymore. All because maybe you voted Democratic or something.

What this illustrates for the umpteenth time (as if the Brooks Brothers Riot, or what Saxby Chambliss did to Vietnam vet Max Cleland, or the character assassination of the Swiftboat thugs didn't make this crystal clear already) is that the scum that is today the American right will absolutely say and do anything in order to score political points, while so-called progressives say and do nothing even to stop their crimes, let alone to advance a positive agenda. They do nothing, that is, unless crumpling up like frightened kittens in a thunderstorm counts as doing something.

The distance traveled from Lyndon Johnson and Martin Luther King (or even John Kennedy) to Barack Obama represents a stunning collapse of empire. Once a powerful country that could, with partial justification, boast of leadership in the moral sphere, we have today shrunken, literally and figuratively, to a nation of Newts looking for some kind of cheap Rush.

For better and, unfortunately, sometimes for worse, this is a country that used to have big aspirations. Now we're like a two-bit drunken banana republic, thrashing about in the gutter of history as we implode from the toxic combination of greed, stupidity, indolence and hubris.

We once used to conduct a war on poverty. Now we just incarcerate the impoverished. In privately-owned, for-profit, jails, no less.

We once used to take care of our aged and elderly. Now our big social programs legislation does little more than redirect huge masses of taxpayer funds to corporations.

We once cared about promoting equality. Now when Oliver Stone makes the movie Wall Street in order to offer a cautionary tale about the perils of greed, a hundred thousand new stock trader careers are launched instead, in proud emulation of Gordon Gekko.

We used to be serious about protecting the air we breath, the water we drink and the land we live on from the ravages of pollution. Now we standby and watch with our hands in our pockets as we toast an entire planet to a lethal crisp.

We once used to explore the boundaries of what civil liberties could be sustained in sprawling industrialized democracy. Now we race to legislate them away as fast as we can, while the state ignores "guaranteed" protections of privacy or due process whenever it wants to, anyhow.

We once used to race to the moon, pushing ourselves to do the impossible. Now we just stick dynastic disasters of DNA dice like George W. Bush before a podium to haplessly call for a yawn-inducing, focus-group scripted, mission to Mars.

We once used to care about how we were perceived internationally, even as we nevertheless too often displayed the belligerence of our power. Now we don't even bother with the former, while we've raised the latter to a high art.

We once used to come together as a whole country to address threats and shared national concerns, all of us making enormous sacrifices toward a common purpose. Today, our presidents encourage us to go shopping.

Is it any wonder that our political rhetoric is so uninspired today? It's the perfect representation of our impoverished moral spirit.

And it's likely to bite us hard in the not-too-distant future, if it isn't doing so already.

It's been nearly half a century since JFK so aptly reminded us, "Those who do nothing are inviting shame as well as violence. Those who act boldly are recognizing right as well as reality."

And yet we remain well ensconced in the first category.
(c) 2010 David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website,

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Uberfuhrer Nelson,

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, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Fredo Bush, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Sonia (get whitey) Sotomayor.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and your refusal to renew unemployment benifits, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class with Diamond clusters, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-05-2010. We salute you Herr Nelson, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Arizona Law Comes After Years Of Mounting Anger
By Jacques Billeaud

As the days tick down until the Arizona immigration law takes effect, the state stands as a monument to the anger over illegal immigration that is present in so many places.

The anger has been simmering for years, and erupted into a full-blown fury with the murder of a prominent rancher on the border earlier this year. The killing became a powerful rallying cry for immigration reform, but it does not tell the whole story about how Arizona got to this point.

Turn on the evening news in Arizona and some report reflecting the state's battle with illegal immigration will likely flash across the screen.

A drop house crammed with illegal border-crossers smack in the middle of a suburban neighborhood. Traffic patrols and workplace raids that net the arrest of dozens of illegal immigrants, often in heavily Hispanic communities. Politicians speaking venomously about border violence and the leech of immigration costs on the state treasury.

Along the streets, Arizonans see day laborers near Wal-Mart and Home Depot parking lots, waiting for work. In some Phoenix-area neighborhoods, Spanish is so predominant both in spoken word and signage that residents complain they feel like they're in a foreign country.

Then rancher Robert Krentz was gunned down in March while checking water lines on his property near the border. Authorities believe -- but have never produced substantive proof -- that an illegal immigrant, likely a scout for drug smugglers, was to blame.

Almost immediately Krentz came to symbolize what's at stake with illegal immigration. Politicians quickly connected the dots, but everyday folks also spoke with anger and fear about the rancher's death.

"You can't ignore the damage and the costs to the taxpayers and the disrespect that comes with it and those who think they have a right to break our laws," says Russell Pearce, the fiery state senator who wrote the law that is set to take effect Thursday, barring any last-minute legal action.

Pearce, in fact, is the godfather of anti-illegal immigration sentiment in Arizona and author of many of the tough laws.

He regularly depicts illegal immigration as an "invasion." He can tick off the names of police officers killed or wounded by criminals in the country illegally.

One of those names is that of his son, Maricopa County Sheriff's Deputy Sean Pearce, who survived a gunshot wound to the abdomen from an illegal immigrant in 2004 while serving a search warrant in a homicide case.

That might explain Pearce's indefatigable effort against those entering the country illegally, but he says he held tough views before his son was shot. He insists that his frustration centers more broadly on the crime that immigrant smugglers bring into the country and the financial stress that illegal border-crossers put on communities.

Between 40 percent and 50 percent of all immigrant arrests each year on the U.S.-Mexico border are made in Arizona, according to the U.S. Border Patrol.

And the annual costs? About $600 million for educating illegal immigrants at K-12 schools, more than $120 million for jailing illegal immigrants convicted of state crimes and as much as $50 million that hospitals have to eat for treating illegal border-crossers, according to figures provided by Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Horne, Gov. Jan Brewer's office and the Arizona Hospital and Healthcare Association.

At Copper Queen Community Hospital, 4 miles north of the border in Bisbee, the emergency room sees one or two illegal immigrants every shift. Dr. Daniel Roe, the emergency-room medical director, says many come in with broken bones from jumping the 15-foot-tall border fence, others suffer from walking for days in the desert with little to no water, and others have been involved in car accidents.

"It's very much part of our normal flow," he says. "But it demands resources. So it affects the operating budget."

Immigrant medical costs led the hospital to shutter a skilled nursing facility and its maternity ward several years ago, according to the hospital's top administrator.

John Leopard, who camped out with Minuteman Project volunteers during a 2005 patrol north of the border, says he's not as irritated by seeing day laborers lining street corners as he is the federal government's inactions and the Justice Department's lawsuit against Arizona's new immigration law.

The law requires police who are enforcing other laws to check a person's immigration status if officers reasonably suspect the person is in the country illegally. It also requires that people carry and produce their immigration papers, while making it a crime for illegal immigrants to solicit work in a public place.

"We have policies that are injurious to our well-being," says Leopard, a retired computer scientist whose housekeeper was in the country illegally before she was able to obtain U.S. citizenship.

Don Sorchych, editor and publisher of a small local newspaper called the Sonoran News, says over the past 20 years his quaint Phoenix-area town of Cave Creek has seen illegal immigrants set up "villages" made of scrap lumber and canvas.

"I think people confuse racial profiling and being a racist," Sorchych says. "I'm not saying you should, but if you could profile, you'd be right 95 percent of the time. They wear a certain uniform, certain shoes, gloves in their back pockets, clothes from Goodwill."

Sorchych got so fired up about illegal immigration that he took photos of people who picked up day laborers and published them.

"I am not so sure it's the media and politicians who are whipping this up as much as the public," said Rick Van Schoik, director of Arizona State University's North American Center for Transborder Studies. "In election years, people who tend toward either extreme want to find passions that their cause would win the election."

The immigration anger has led the state to pass at least seven laws cracking down on illegal immigration in as many years. Those laws made English the state's official language, denied bail to illegal immigrants charged with serious crimes and prohibited them from being awarded punitive damages in civil cases.

Opponents of the law say illegal immigrants are being scapegoated and wrongly characterized as freeloaders, pointing out that they pay sales taxes and put money into Social Security that they will never be able to take out.

They say the state's rapid growth over the last decade couldn't have happened without immigrant labor, that housing prices have been kept reasonable by those who did work that U.S. citizens wouldn't -- like roofing a new subdivision in Arizona's 110-degree summer heat.

As Joy Williams of Tucson sees it, immigrants add to the melting pot that is Arizona and are doing jobs Americans don't want.

Williams, who works as a research clerk in the Pima County Legal Defender's Office, is also angry -- but about what she says is the open racism she's seen and heard in recent months.

"What is so shocking is people can be so openly verbal about it now and not even flinch," she says.

Since Arizona passed its new immigration law, immigrant rights groups say Hispanics are seeing more open hostility.

Lydia Guzman, president of the Phoenix-based Hispanic civil rights group Somos America, says community members are reporting racial slurs like never before. She says she experienced it herself in May while waiting in line at a grocery store, when one woman looked at Guzman's cart and whispered to another, "I wonder how much this is going to cost us?'"

Another group, Puente, said its calls complaining of racial incidents have jumped from about two calls a week to five to six a week.

Lilia Ramos, a 46-year-old illegal immigrant from Acapulco, called Puenute to lodge a complaint against the Arizona Humane Society in a dispute involving a dog found on her property.

Ramos says that when she called the Humane Society to report that the dog didn't belong to her family, the woman on the other end of the line became angry when Ramos asked if she could speak to someone in Spanish.

"She said, 'There's no one. Are you an American citizen?'" Ramos said in Spanish. "I said no, and then she asked if I had a green card, and 'if you don't cooperate, we'll arrest you.' I was quiet and it really scared me."

Ramos wonders what her papers had to do with an animal seizure and feels the incident wouldn't have happened if not for Arizona's new law.

"I like the United States, but I don't like Arizona anymore," she says.
(c) 2010 Jacques Billeaud

Greenpeace Activists Tell BP: End The Oil Age Early
The Gulf oil spill should spur BP to leave Canada's tar sands alone, and focus their energy on renewable power
By John Sauven

Today has been a momentous day for BP. The company announced the largest corporate loss in UK history and revealed the identity of a new CEO whose job it will be to turn the company around. As the details broke this morning, teams of Greenpeace volunteers in electric and hybrid vehicles fanned out across London to close all the BP garages in the city.

Some people might see this as kicking a man when he's down - BP has seen its reputation dive over the Gulf spill while the company faces huge financial losses. But the men who run BP are yet to take the right lessons from the disaster. The Gulf spill is far from an isolated incident, and while BP continues to pursue a business model that focuses on drilling in harder-to-reach locations, in an effort to squeeze out the very last drops of oil, the greater the chances are of more catastrophic spills occurring.

In the Arctic, where BP is investing, pollution has far more serious consequences than in warm waters like the Gulf of Mexico. Meanwhile the company's proposed increased exploitation of Canada's tar sands would see billions bumped into an operation that devastates both the local environment and the global climate (greenhouse gas emissions from tar sands exploitation are three times as great per barrel as from conventional crude). BP's interest in these high-risk areas reveals the cynical dishonesty behind its "beyond petroleum" branding.

But we believe everyone has the potential to reform, to become part of the solution instead of part of the problem, and it's hard to imagine a better time for BP to do just that. The new chief executive needs to learn from Tony Hayward's mistakes and turn his back on deepwater drilling as well as even more risky projects in the untouched Arctic wilderness and the tar sands. Greenpeace is urging Bob Dudley, the company's new CEO - who once worked at BP's solar and wind business - to take the company in a new direction after his predecessor's concentration on high risk, environmentally reckless sources of oil.

We're not asking BP to make any sacrifices here - the biggest financial loss in UK corporate history, the huge drop in BP's share price and the associated pension fund problems weren't caused by reckless investments in untried renewable technology, but by what we're campaigning against - the blind rush to prospect for oil from unconventional sources, increasing pollution and the risk of disaster.

For the last two years, global investment in renewables has outstripped fossil fuels, and new energy capacity coming from renewable sources in Europe and the US last year also topped that coming from fossil fuels and nuclear for the second year running. Renewable capacity worldwide is expected to top fossil fuel and nuclear again next year, and in China, of the 178GW of power generation capacity under construction at the end of 2009, more than 96GW were renewable.

Meanwhile, BP intended to spend 19 times its clean energy budget on expanding in the increasingly limited oil and gas sector in 2010. Climate change means we can't afford to wait for the last few drops of expensive, inaccessible, unconventional oil to run out. We need to end the oil age early and move to a clean energy future as quickly as possible, and despite their myopic short-termism, we're trying to encourage BP's directors to take a slice of that future.
(c) 2010 John Sauven is director of Greenpeace.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Robert Ariail ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

And Justice For All
By Metallica

Halls of justice painted green
Money talking
Power wolves beset your door
Hear them stalking
Soon you'll please their appetite
They devour
Hammer of justice crushes you

The ultimate in vanity
Exploiting their supremacy
I can't believe the things you say
I can't believe, I can't believe the price you pay
Nothing can save you

Justice is lost
Justice is raped
Justice is gone
Pulling your strings
Justice is done
Seeking no truth
Winning is all
Find it so grim
So true
So real

Apathy their stepping stone
So unfeeling
Hidden deep animosity
So deceiving
Through your eyes their light burns
Hoping to find
Inquisition sinking you
With prying minds

The ultimate in vanity
Exploiting their supremacy
I can't believe the things you say
I can't believe, I can't believe the price you pay
Nothing can save you

Justice is lost
Justice is raped
Justice is gone
Pulling your strings
Justice is done
Seeking no truth
Winning is all
Find it so grim
So true
So real

Lady Justice has been raped
Truth assassin
Rolls of red tape seal your lips
Now you're done in
Their money tips her scales again
Make your deal
Just what is truth? I cannot tell
Cannot feel

The ultimate in vanity
Exploiting their supremacy
I can't believe the things you say
I can't believe, I can't believe the price we pay
Nothing can save us

Justice is lost
Justice is raped
Justice is gone
Pulling your strings
Justice is done
Seeking no truth
Winning is all
Find it so grim
So true
So real

Seeking no truth
Winning is all
Find it so grim
So true
So real
(c) 1989/2010 Metallica

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Watch the full episode. See more Need To Know.

Next Week's News: Sarah Palin Edition
By Andy Borowitz

This week we're peering a little further into the future: to 2012.

If the presidential election were held today, Sarah Palin would defeat Barack Obama.

That's according to a new poll published in Mayan Prophecy Weekly.

Here's what you need to know about a Palin presidency. Her first official act will be to cancel the agreement between nouns and verbs. Next, she'll replace the English language with Palinese: a language known only to her. Even her husband Todd doesn't speak it -- although, to be fair, no one has ever heard him speak. We got a little taste of this strange new language last week on her twitter page when she used the word "refudiate."

Now, when she uses a word like "refudiate," she may seem incoherent. But in 2012, we're all going to be talking like this, so we better start learning Palinese now. I figure if we learn three words a day, in two years we might have a shot at understanding her State of the Union address. So let's begin our lesson in basic Palinese.

Word number one: "mitteracy."

"Mitteracy" means the ability to read off one's hand.

Word number two: "rignorance."

"Rignorance" means advocating deep-water drilling in the aftermath of an ecological disaster that killed thousands of pelicans.

And finally, "mooseacre."

"Mooseacre" means a really fun day in the great outdoors.

That's our lesson in Palinese for today. Now, you may be wondering: Where does Sarah Palin find all these new words of hers? In a little book called the fictionary.
(c) 2010 Andy Borowitz

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Issues & Alibis Vol 10 # 31 (c) 07/30/2010

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