Issues & Alibis

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In This Edition

Naomi Klein considers, "Capitalism, Sarah Palin-Style."

Uri Avnery writes, "A Jeremiad."

Joe Conason wonders, "What Are The Birthers Really After?"

Jim Hightower finds, "Cato's Wonks Get Wonky On Health Care."

Robert Scheer keeps score as the, "Banking Bandits Get Their Reward."

Dr. Joseph Mercola with an absolute must read, "Squalene: The Swine Flu Vaccine's Dirty Little Secret Exposed."

Paul Krugman warns of, "Rewarding Bad Actors."

Chris Floyd sees, "Symbol For Sale: Obama Cashes Cronies' Chips."

Case Wagenvoord explains how to cure the heath care crisis, "Duh!"

Mike Folkerth says you should, "Lighten Your Load."

Chris Hedges concludes, "So Much For The Promised Land."

Barbara Peterson returns with an absolute must read, "Billions Of People Expected To Die Under Current Codex Alimentarius Guidelines."

United States Northern Commander General Victor Eugene Renuart, Jr. wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald covers, "More Detainee Victories And What A Majority Of Congress Tried To Do."

Mary Pitt calls on Barry in, "Of Elephants And Blue Dogs."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department 'The Onion' reports, "Recent Rise In International Disputes Traced Back To Cute U.N. Tour Guide" but first Uncle Ernie explains, "Where It's At!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeffrey Booth, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Ruben Bolling, Dees Illustration.Com, Jim Day, Mike Luckovich, R.J. Matson, Republican-Elephant.Com, A.P., Rob Lowell, Issues & Alibis.Org and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Where It's At!
By Ernest Stewart

"All you cats the same, man. You don't know where it is. There's nobody to tell you where it's at.
And you come up here, try to find out where it's at... but you got to be up here, man, to find out what's happening."
Fritz The Cat ~~~ Duke

"I am hopeful that before too long, we can have a comprehensive food safety bill on President Obama's desk."
~~~ Con-gressman Henry Waxman ~~~

"Our citizens may be deceived for awhile, and have been deceived; but as long as the presses can be protected,
we may trust to them for light." ~~~ Thomas Jefferson to Archibald Stuart. 1799.

I've noticed a lot of sincere confusion by some of our readers lately about yours-truly's political outlook. A lot of you seem to think I've drifted to the right. Let me assure you nothing could be further from the truth! I'm still the same old radical hippie I was when I got out of the army and joined the S.D.S..

Sure, I started out like most of my peers as a fascist. Fascism was very big in my neighborhood when I was a lad during those fabulous fifties. An epic era set in rhinestones and chrome and puppeteered by the old general and various Nazi congressional committees. One of my favorites was The House Committee on Un-American Activities One did what one was told if one didn't want to lose their job end up in security prison. I goose stepped along with my fellows until just after my 12th birthday when JFK came along and broke the spell and I began to see what I had been told and programmed with for what they were. Lies! It was about this time that I got new "babysitters" a family of radical, communist, beatnik, Jews (talk about a rarity today, huh?). So by the time JFK was hit and I no longer needed looking after I was a dyed in the wool Democrat. Viet Nam and the US Army would change even that.

I escaped the government's clutches without having to murder anyone and not being blown into tiny bits myself; not only did I wave a new "Freak Flag" but a radical one at that! Ergo, soon I was on a college campus studying Poli-Sci and a member of the S.D.S.. I joined the S.D.S. because they were as angry and as radical as I and all the really fine hippie chicks were members! To quote Bobby D, in "Subterranean Homesick Blues" "You don't need a weather man. To know which way the wind blows."

And that's where I've been, day in day out since 1968. My point of view hasn't changed. Trouble is, a lot of you have been making assumptions, i.e., we continued attacking foggy bottom and didn't genuflect before the new boss, who, as Pete Townshend said, is the "same as the old boss."

A lot of you thought since Obama was a "Marxist" and our first black president that I would join the "Cult of Personality" bandwagon. Well guess what? Obama isn't a Marxist but just another dyed-in-the-wool Capitalist and if Obama is so black why is his white side in control? Folks, I didn't like it when Rethuglican fascists controlled the Con-gress and the White House nor do I like it when Demoncratic fascists are in control. Simple, huh? You'd think so. I mean most of you get me but to those who don't, that's all that there is to it. To my right-wing brothers and sisters I don't like Barry either, but it's not because he is blackish but because he is Bush Lite. Because he defends and won't prosecute The Crime Family Bush and their pals for thousands of acts of treason, sedition and war crimes, amongst other things. Of course, you can't blame him for that as his hand is covered in blood too, for his support of our criminal wars of imperialism. In fact, Red State America, if you really got to know Barry, I'm sure you'd like him! Here's a further clue. From where I sit I really can't see any real difference between the two parties. I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on Drugs!

There's Not A Dimes Worth Of Difference Between Them!!!

As Gore Vidal rather neatly explained, "It makes no difference who you vote for - the two parties are really one party representing four percent of the people." My guess is, Mr. & Mrs. America, that you're not in that 4% of the population and neither am I! You will never achieve a thing being a Rethuglican or a Demoncrat. That's the way it's set up, to stymie the people, keeping us divided into groups, fighting amongst ourselves while they go to the bank, meanwhile keeping all the power to themselves. So you can plainly see that it really doesn't matter who wins the election, the fix is in! The only real winners will be our corpo-rat masters!

In Other News

Boy, they're gonna get us whether we're coming or going! If the vaccines don't kill you than the poisonous food will. Moreover, if "foggy bottom" doesn't get you the United Nations and World Health Organization will! Have you thanked your Con-gressperson lately? Me neither! You might ask why are they trying to kill us? What did we ever do to them? Maybe we voted for the other person? Are you beginning to understand how the Brown Shirts felt when the SS came for them, Middle America? If not, you will, and soon too!

Those genius in the House passed HR 2749, a bill that is the beginning of the end for the family farm and who knows the end of your backyard garden as well? Not only that but HR 2749 could be used to end organic farming, leaving you to eat the various poisons and toxins supply by big Agra. It could lead to only chemical fertilizers being used, only GMO plants and animals created, bought and sold. No farmers markets or roadside stands. And over seeing all this the Great Satan" of Washington D.C. the FDA. A group that has been controlled (since it's inception) by the corpo-rats for more than 140 years. Yippie!

Sure, the safe food will go underground, you'll be able to "score up" an oz of garlic or mayhaps a kilo of potatoes if you have the right "connections" but for everybody else it will be Soylent Green. Dig in! Here's a little known fact, somewhere around 90% of all soybeans are GMO (genetically modified organism) and that's today, not some distant future. How yummy! So, with a lot of money and the right connections you might get by or if you're living so far back in the boonies your garden might be overlooked for a while. If not, then pass another cube of Uncle Sol!

OK but what about the Swine Flu "vaccine" which soon maybe mandatory if you want to get out of the ghetto where non-compliers will be kept until the ride to the Happy Camps!(tm) I won't go into all the horror details as there is an excellent article in this weeks magazine by Dr. Joseph Mercola about what these shots (you'll need three) will do to you and it isn't pretty! So, do you think you and your family, especially your children, can dodge this land mine as well?

Better be on your toes America, because if these two don't do you in consider that the "Codex Alimentarius" probably will. Yes, by now you're probably singing "It's Good News Week!" See the article below by Barbara Peterson for the horrid details. The bottom line is, it's about to hit the fan and you and your family had better be prepared when it does! If you were wondering, how they were going to get rid of about 6 billion of us, i.e., the Holocaust of Holocausts, well wonder no more brothers and sisters. The Codex Alimentarius was conceived by the war criminal Hermann Schmitz who had been the head I.G. Farben during WWII. While doing prison time for his war crimes Herman got this bright idea, which he sold to the United Nations when he got out of prison and is now administered by the World Health Organization. When passed in Con-gress and passed it will be, the Codex Alimentarius will supercede all US food laws. A conservative number of human beings who will be killed by Codex Alimentarius is put at 2 billion. What will remain, if they get their way is a couple of million of the elite and half a billion slaves to see to their every need. Maybe being dead wouldn't be such a bad thing, huh?

And Finally

We would like to thank all of you who have sent in whatever you could afford to keep us going. In particular we'd like to thank Robert from St. Petersburg, Gary from Toronto and Mary Lou from Ann Arbor for their righteous contributions this week. Thanks to you, we just passed the halfway mark in our fund raising.

Trouble is, time is running out with our second payment due in under three weeks and the third and final payment due in about 6 weeks. So anything you could send would be more than appreciated to keep us up and running for another year. We have limited ourselves to one group of ads, which pay for most of our costs so you won't be bothered by excessive advertising and we won't lose our editorial integrity.

Ergo, if you still have a job and appreciate what we do for you please send in whatever you can. Every little bit helps. Everyone who works for Issues and Alibis, does so without pay and we depend on your support. I didn't set out to make money doing this but it gets harder and harder to just pay the basic bills. Issues and Alibis has been up and running for free for 8 1/2 years and we always try to tell you the truth, no matter how unpopular it is. Can you think of anyone else who does that? Maybe we can't save the world, but we might be able to save each other. Help us out if you can! Fight the good fight, America!


We don't sell our readers new cars, fancy homes or designer clothes. We don't advocate consumerism nor do we offer facile solutions to serious problems. We do, however, bring together every week writers and activists who are not afraid to speak the truth about our country and our world. The articles we print are not for the faint of heart.

As access to accurate information becomes more difficult and free speech and the exchange of ideas becomes more restricted and controlled, small publications and alternative presses disappear. Issues and Alibis may soon join that list.

We aren't asking for much-not thousands of dollars a month, not tens of thousands a year. What we need is simply enough money to cover expenses for the magazine. A few thousand dollars a year. A few hundred dollars a month. We cannot continue to go into debt to publish Issues and Alibis but at the same time we cannot, in good conscience, go quietly about our daily lives, remaining silent in face of the injustices perpetrated by our leaders and our government. So we need your help. We need your spare change. A dollar, five dollars, whatever you can contribute. Every penny makes a difference.

Ernest & Victoria Stewart


01-25-1933 ~~~ 08-01-2009
R.I.P. Sweetie

02-18-1950 ~~~ 08-06-2009
Tell Uncle Buck I said Hi!


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


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2009 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 8 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. In his spare time he is an actor, writer and an associate producer for the new motion picture "W The Movie."

Capitalism, Sarah Palin-Style
By Naomi Klein

[Adapted from a speech on May 2, 2009 at The Progressive's 100th anniversary conference and originally printed in The Progressive magazine, August 2009 issue]

We are in a progressive moment, a moment when the ground is shifting beneath our feet, and anything is possible. What we considered unimaginable about what could be said and hoped for a year ago is now possible. At a time like this, it is absolutely critical that we be as clear as we possibly can be about what it is that we want because we might just get it.

So the stakes are high.

I usually talk about the bailout in speeches these days. We all need to understand it because it is a robbery in progress, the greatest heist in monetary history. But today I'd like to take a different approach: What if the bailout actually works, what if the financial sector is saved and the economy returns to the course it was on before the crisis struck? Is that what we want? And what would that world look like?

The answer is that it would look like Sarah Palin. Hear me out, this is not a joke. I don't think we have given sufficient consideration to the meaning of the Palin moment. Think about it: Sarah Palin stepped onto the world stage as Vice Presidential candidate on August 29 at a McCain campaign rally, to much fanfare. Exactly two weeks later, on September 14, Lehman Brothers collapsed, triggering the global financial meltdown.

So in a way, Palin was the last clear expression of capitalism-as-usual before everything went south. That's quite helpful because she showed us-in that plainspoken, down-homey way of hers-the trajectory the U.S. economy was on before its current meltdown. By offering us this glimpse of a future, one narrowly avoided, Palin provides us with an opportunity to ask a core question: Do we want to go there? Do we want to save that pre-crisis system, get it back to where it was last September? Or do we want to use this crisis, and the electoral mandate for serious change delivered by the last election, to radically transform that system? We need to get clear on our answer now because we haven't had the potent combination of a serious crisis and a clear progressive democratic mandate for change since the 1930s. We use this opportunity, or we lose it.

So what was Sarah Palin telling us about capitalism-as-usual before she was so rudely interrupted by the meltdown? Let's first recall that before she came along, the U.S. public, at long last, was starting to come to grips with the urgency of the climate crisis, with the fact that our economic activity is at war with the planet, that radical change is needed immediately. We were actually having that conversation: Polar bears were on the cover of Newsweek magazine. And then in walked Sarah Palin. The core of her message was this: Those environmentalists, those liberals, those do-gooders are all wrong. You don't have to change anything. You don't have to rethink anything. Keep driving your gas-guzzling car, keep going to Wal-Mart and shop all you want. The reason for that is a magical place called Alaska. Just come up here and take all you want. "Americans," she said at the Republican National Convention, "we need to produce more of our own oil and gas. Take it from a gal who knows the North Slope of Alaska, we've got lots of both."

And the crowd at the convention responded by chanting and chanting: "Drill, baby, drill."

Watching that scene on television, with that weird creepy mixture of sex and oil and jingoism, I remember thinking: "Wow, the RNC has turned into a rally in favor of screwing Planet Earth." Literally.

But what Palin was saying is what is built into the very DNA of capitalism: the idea that the world has no limits. She was saying that there is no such thing as consequences, or real-world deficits. Because there will always be another frontier, another Alaska, another bubble. Just move on and discover it. Tomorrow will never come.

This is the most comforting and dangerous lie that there is: the lie that perpetual, unending growth is possible on our finite planet. And we have to remember that this message was incredibly popular in those first two weeks, before Lehman collapsed. Despite Bush's record, Palin and McCain were pulling ahead. And if it weren't for the financial crisis, and for the fact that Obama started connecting with working class voters by putting deregulation and trickle-down economics on trial, they might have actually won.

The President tells us he wants to look forward, not backwards. But in order to confront the lie of perpetual growth and limitless abundance that is at the center of both the ecological and financial crises, we have to look backwards. And we have to look way backwards, not just to the past eight years of Bush and Cheney, but to the very founding of this country, to the whole idea of the settler state.

Modern capitalism was born with the so-called discovery of the Americas. It was the pillage of the incredible natural resources of the Americas that generated the excess capital that made the Industrial Revolution possible. Early explorers spoke of this land as a New Jerusalem, a land of such bottomless abundance, there for the taking, so vast that the pillage would never have to end. This mythology is in our biblical stories-of floods and fresh starts, of raptures and rescues-and it is at the center of the American Dream of constant reinvention. What this myth tells us is that we don't have to live with our pasts, with the consequences of our actions. We can always escape, start over.

These stories were always dangerous, of course, to the people who were already living on the "discovered" lands, to the people who worked them through forced labor. But now the planet itself is telling us that we cannot afford these stories of endless new beginnings anymore. That is why it is so significant that at the very moment when some kind of human survival instinct kicked in, and we seemed finally to be coming to grips with the Earth's natural limits, along came Palin, the new and shiny incarnation of the colonial frontierswoman, saying: Come on up to Alaska. There is always more. Don't think, just take.

This is not about Sarah Palin. It's about the meaning of that myth of constant "discovery," and what it tells us about the economic system that they're spending trillions of dollars to save. What it tells us is that capitalism, left to its own devices, will push us past the point from which the climate can recover. And capitalism will avoid a serious accounting-whether of its financial debts or its ecological debts-at all costs. Because there's always more. A new quick fix. A new frontier.

That message was selling, as it always does. It was only when the stock market crashed that people said, "Maybe Sarah Palin isn't a great idea this time around. Let's go with the smart guy to ride out the crisis."

I almost feel like we've been given a last chance, some kind of a reprieve. I try not to be apocalyptic, but the global warming science I read is scary. This economic crisis, as awful as it is, pulled us back from that ecological precipice that we were about to drive over with Sarah Palin and gave us a tiny bit of time and space to change course. And I think it's significant that when the crisis hit, there was almost a sense of relief, as if people knew they were living beyond their means and had gotten caught. We suddenly had permission to do things together other than shop, and that spoke to something deep.

But we are not free from the myth. The willful blindness to consequences that Sarah Palin represents so well is embedded in the way Washington is responding to the financial crisis. There is just an absolute refusal to look at how bad it is. Washington would prefer to throw trillions of dollars into a black hole rather than find out how deep the hole actually is. That's how willful the desire is not to know.

And we see lots of other signs of the old logic returning. Wall Street salaries are almost back to 2007 levels. There's a certain kind of electricity in the claims that the stock market is rebounding. "Can we stop feeling guilty yet?" you can practically hear the cable commentators asking. "Is the bubble back yet?"

And they may well be right. This crisis isn't going to kill capitalism or even change it substantively. Without huge popular pressure for structural reform, the crisis will prove to have been nothing more than a very wrenching adjustment. The result will be even greater inequality than before the crisis. Because the millions of people losing their jobs and their homes aren't all going to be getting them back, not by a long shot. And manufacturing capacity is very difficult to rebuild once it's auctioned off.

It's appropriate that we call this a "bailout." Financial markets are being bailed out to keep the ship of finance capitalism from sinking, but what is being scooped out is not water. It's people. It's people who are being thrown overboard in the name of "stabilization." The result will be a vessel that is leaner and meaner. Much meaner. Because great inequality-the super rich living side by side with the economically desperate-requires a hardening of the hearts. We need to believe ourselves superior to those who are excluded in order to get through the day. So this is the system that is being saved: the same old one, only meaner.

And the question that we face is: Should our job be to bail out this ship, the biggest pirate ship that ever was, or to sink it and replace it with a sturdier vessel, one with space for everyone? One that doesn't require these ritual purges, during which we throw our friends and our neighbors overboard to save the people in first class. One that understands that the Earth doesn't have the capacity for all of us to live better and better.

But it does have the capacity, as Bolivian President Evo Morales said recently at the U.N., "for all of us to live well."

Because make no mistake: Capitalism will be back. And the same message will return, though there may be someone new selling that message: You don't need to change. Keep consuming all you want. There's plenty more. Drill, baby, drill. Maybe there will be some technological fix that will make all our problems disappear.

And that is why we need to be absolutely clear right now.

Capitalism can survive this crisis. But the world can't survive another capitalist comeback.
(c) 2009 Naomi Klein is the author of, "The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism."

A Jeremiad
By Uri Avnery


I have received the distressing letter that you recently sent to a limited number of friends. You paint the Israeli reality in dark - but true - colors, and end by cutting your ties with it.

"Therefore I, a 95 year old Sabra (native born Israeli Jew), who has plowed its fields, planted trees, built a house and fathered sons, grandsons and great-grandsons, and also shed his blood in the battle for the founding of the State of Israel,

"Declare herewith that I renounce my belief in the Zionism which has failed, that I shall not be loyal to the Jewish fascist state and its mad visions, that I shall not sing anymore its nationalist anthem, that I shall stand at attention only on the days of mourning for those fallen on both sides in the wars, and that I look with a broken heart at an Israel that is committing suicide and at the three generations of offspring that I have bred and raised in it."

SINCE I first met you, Dov, some fifty years ago, I have always considered you the salt of the earth. You were born in a village, the son of a farmer, were a fighter in the 1948 war and later a Colonel in the army, a modest man, a moral person in every fiber.

In the first Lebanon War, you exposed the atrocities committed against the Palestinian refugees in the Tyre-Sidon area, and your courageous report shocked me no less than those of the Sabra and Shatila massacre. You did not hesitate to break the silence, as the "Breaking the Silence" youngsters are doing now, knowing full well that your peers in the officers' corps would excommunicate you.

You are a man of my heart, Dov. That is why your words distress me so much.

I think it important to share the statement of a man of your caliber with those in our camp who spend sleepless nights worrying about the situation of our state.

YOU START your letter by mentioning the founders of the Zionist movement.

"If Herzl could come to life again and see what those who claim to carry the flag of Zionism are doing, he would flee at once, miserable and shocked, back to his grave. So would Chaim Weizmann and most of the pioneers, the fathers and mothers of my generation. They were people of conscience and morality, who held to the axiom that human beings are decent and honest."

Most of your fierce accusations concern Israel's treatment of the Palestinians. "And thus, for 42 years, Israel turned what should have been Palestine into a giant detention camp, and is holding a whole people captive under an oppressive and cruel regime, with the sole aim of taking away their country, come what may!!!

"The IDF eagerly suppresses their efforts at rebellion, with the active assistance of the settlement thugs, by the brutal means of a sophisticated Apartheid and a choking blockade, inhuman harassment of the sick and of women in labor, the destruction of their economy and the theft of their best land and water.

"Over all this there is waving the black flag of the frightening contempt for the life and blood of the Palestinians. Israel will never be forgiven for the terrible toll of blood spilt, and especially the blood of children, in hair-raising quantities."

But I believe that the abysmal despair echoed in your words has other roots, too. It is a feeling that troubles the heart of many of your and my generation, the feeling that "they have stolen our state," that there is no resemblance between the state which we dreamed of and fought for and the thing that has taken its place.

WHEN I think of our youth, yours and mine, one scene is never far from my mind: the 1947 Dalia festival.

Tens of thousands of young men and women were sitting on the slope of a hill in the natural amphitheater near Kibbutz Dalia on Mount Carmel. Ostensibly it was a festival of folk dancing, but in reality it was much more - a great celebration of the new Hebrew culture which we were then creating in the country, in which folk dancing played an important role. The dancing groups came mainly from the kibbutzim and the youth movements, and the dances were original Hebrew creations, interwoven with Russian, Polish, Yemenite and Hassidic ones. A group of Arabs danced the Debka in ecstasy, dancing and dancing and dancing on.

In the middle of the event, the loudspeakers announced that members of the UN Commission of Inquiry, which had been sent by the international organization to decide upon the future of the country, were joining us. When we saw them entering the amphitheater, the tens of thousands spontaneously rose to their feet and started to sing the "Hatikva," the national anthem, with a holy fervor that reverberated from the surrounding mountains.

We did not know then that within half a year the great Hebrew-Arab war would break out - our War of Independence and their Naqba. I believe that most of the 6000 young people who fell in the war on our side, as well as the thousands that were wounded - like you and me - were present at that moment in Dalia, seeing each other and singing together.

What state did we think of then? What state did we set out to create?

What has happened to the Hebrew society, the Hebrew culture, the Hebrew morality that we were so proud of then?

YES, WE did create a state. As the old song goes: "On the battlefield, a town is now standing." We have brought millions of people to this country. From a Hebrew community of 650 thousand we have grown into a population of 7.5 million. A fourth and fifth generation speaks Hebrew as their mother tongue. Our economy is large and solid, even in these times of crisis. In several fields we are in the first rank of human endeavor.

But is this the society, is this the state, which we saw in our mind's eye on the day it was set up? Is this the army that you and I swore allegiance to on the day it was founded?

Did we dream of this corrupt society, a society without compassion, where a handful of the very rich live off the fat of the land, with a large band of politicians and media people and other lackeys groveling in the dust at their feet?

Did we dream of a state that is an isolated and shunned ghetto in the region, lording it over an oppressed Palestinian ghetto-within-a-ghetto?

There were days when we could stand up anywhere in the world and proudly declare "I am an Israeli." No one can do that now. The name of Israel has become mud. Since the Gaza War, in which our army poured molten lead onto men, women and children, many Israelis avoid speaking Hebrew in the streets of foreign cities and the IDF has ordered the faces of some of its officers - those whose rank equals yours - be obscured in pictures published in the media.

WHY DID this happen? When did this happen?

My aim is not to start a discussion with you about the fundamentals of Zionism, both positive and negative. We might not agree. Nor shall I enter into the question of whether everything really started in 1967, with the intoxicating and corruptive victory, or whether the seeds of disaster were sown earlier. On one thing I agree with you entirely: that the fatal step was taken then, on the morrow of that war, when we had the choice between the shining gold of peace and the base metal of annexation, and stretched our hands out towards the latter.

My personal conscience is clean. I am proud that I was one of the few in the country, and the sole voice in the Knesset, who proposed even during the war to turn over the occupied territories to the Palestinian people, so as to enable them to set up their state. This unique opportunity was missed, as you point out in your letter, because of the greed of the founders of the settlement movement, the champions of a Greater Israel.

From there things rolled on, as in a Greek tragedy, to where we are now, with an assorted crew of settlers, racists, nationalists, messianic zealots and ordinary fascists in charge of the state, turning the Knesset into a circus, undermining the Supreme Court, perverting the army, imposing obscurantist religious laws, handing the public treasury to unbridled tycoons, polluting the education system with a primitive nationalist indoctrination, persecuting poor asylum seekers, oppressing the national minority and planning military attacks that will wreak death and destruction on civilian populations.

This is the state that you detest. I have no quarrel with you about that.

This is the state that you despair of. About that I do have a dispute with you.

YOU BEAR the name of the prophet who is nearest to my heart, Yirmiyahu, the prophet of anger who called out: "Woe is me, my mother, that thou hast borne me a man of strife and a man of contention to the whole world ... every one doth curse me!" (Jer. 15:10)

But Jeremiah was not only an accuser, he was also a healer: "to root out, and to pull down, and to destroy, and to throw down - to build and to plant." (Jer. 1:10)

You, Dov, have invested in this state much too much to turn your back on it in a gesture of anger and despair. The most hackneyed and worn-out slogan in Israel is also true: "We don't have another state!"

Other states in the world have sunk to the depths of depravity and committed unspeakable crimes, far beyond our worst sins, and still brought themselves back to the family of nations and redeemed their souls.

We and all the members of our generation, who were among those who created this state, bear a heavy responsibility for it. A responsibility to our offspring, to those oppressed by this state, to the entire world. From this responsibility we cannot escape.

Even at your respectable age, and precisely because of it and because of what you represent, you must be a compass for the young and tell them: This state belongs to you, you can change it, don't allow the nationalist wreckers to steal it from you! True, 61 years ago we had another state in mind. Now, after our state has tumbled to where it is today, we must remember that other state, and remind everybody, every day, what the state should have been like, what it can be like, and not allow our vision to disappear like a dream. Let's lend our shoulders to every effort to repair and heal!

You have voiced the message of Jeremiah, the prophet of anger. I beg you, give voice also to Jeremiah, the prophet of hope!
(c) 2009 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

What Are The Birthers Really After?
By Joe Conason

On Aug. 4, President Barack Obama celebrated the anniversary of his birth, an event that occurred 48 years ago in the state of Hawaii. This is an indisputable fact, as sane critics on the right, such as the editors of the National Review and the veteran pundit Patrick Buchanan, acknowledge. And yet there is a significant minority, especially within the Republican Party, that fervently insists otherwise.

Why this obsession over Obama's birthplace persists is a question that evokes disturbing answers.

It was probably inevitable that the election of the first African-American president, a man of mixed racial heritage whose father was Kenyan and whose middle name is Hussein, would stir resentments among the farthest right-wing fringe of American society. There are still people, often clustered in groups that falsely claim to be "conservative" and "patriotic," who have never accepted the social advances that we have made in the years since Obama's birth-which occurred in an era when the marriage of his white mother and black father remained illegal in some states.

But if the Obama presidency provokes a certain kind of old bigot, it is also true that the spinning of conspiracy theories, outlandish myths and paranoid fantasies is nothing new in presidential politics. Not long after the Clintons entered the White House in 1993, they became the targets of a stream of poisonous lies, emanating from many of the same sources that are defaming the Obamas today.

The same "news sites," notably and WorldNetDaily, and the same right-wing radio personalities, from Rush Limbaugh downward, sought to convince the public that the Clintons were serial killers, drug kingpins, traitors and communists, bent on dissolving American sovereignty into a socialist world government. Those wild accusations were part of a broader right-wing strategy to discredit and curtail Bill Clinton's presidency.

If not a "vast right-wing conspiracy," as Hillary Clinton famously called it, the network behind this effort was indeed very large and extremely determined, and seems to have inflicted permanent damage on our political discourse as well as the mental health of the conservative movement.

Consider the flight from reality of the so-called birthers, who claim that Mr. Obama was actually born in Kenya. To believe that canard, they must also believe that Mr. Obama's mother and grandparents conspired to publish notices of his birth in not one but two Honolulu newspapers in August 1961; that the current Republican governor of Hawaii, Linda Lingle, a dedicated partisan and strong supporter of her party's nominee, John McCain, conspired last year and is conspiring now to conceal the truth about Mr. Obama's birth certificate, along with a host of Hawaii state officials; and that one of several obviously forged "Kenyan" documents is the true Obama birth certificate.

Even Buchanan, who has spent a lifetime agitating white fear, admits that's nutty. But the mealy-mouthed spokesmen for the Republican Party, on Capitol Hill and in states across the country, dare not say so. They cower before the talk jocks and kooks who have seized the leadership of the right. Much of this madness is just cynical posturing, designed to increase ratings and hits, to sell silly books and fleece the rubes of their money. To understand the phoniness behind the hysteria, recall that anti-Obama propagandists Christopher Ruddy and Richard Mellon Scaife, the owners of Newsmax, used to traffic in all of the Clinton conspiracy nonsense-until they sought a reconciliation with the Clintons over the past few years and admitted that their old accusations were utterly wrong. Why would anyone trust their accusations against the president now?

Most Americans never will. But the clear purpose of birther propaganda is not to win a majority by democratic means, but to drive a minority of a minority into turmoil and even violence-as indicated by their behavior at this month's Congressional town hall meetings. Should we experience another tragedy like the Oklahoma City bombing, the blood and the ruin will be on their conscience.
(c) 2009 Joe Conason writes for The New York Observer. You may reach Joe via email at: Joe Conason

Cato's Wonks Get Wonky On Health Care

There's nothing particularly distinctive about the Cato Institute, one of several corporate-funded holding tanks for right-wing policy wonks - except that its wonks have gone totally wonky.

Apparently, Cato's covey of anti-government ideologues have been driven over the edge by Barack Obama's efforts to reform America's high-cost, low-quality, uncaring health-care system that's run by profiteering insurance corporations. It seems that this is just the sort of laissez-fairyland system that the Catoers like, so, to protect the status quo, they've launched a national media assault on Obama's plan. Only... the plan they attack is not Obama's.

Unhinged from reality, Cato is running a goofy, 1950ish, propaganda blitz that features a menacing caricature of Uncle Sam dressed as a physician. "Your New Doctor?" asks the ominous headline of an ad fraught with warnings of "socialized medicine." You can almost hear the canned shrieks of horror as the ad talks of "a government take over."

Then the Cato ad burst into a bellicose demand for freedom. "Freedom to choose your doctor and health plan" is "uniquely American," cries the ad, as though the devilish Obama is out to strip this choice from us.

How bizarre. And dishonest. Under the president's plan, you can choose any doctor you want, which is a better deal than most insurance policies offer. Indeed, Obama's plan dramatically expands choice by providing a new public insurance alternative to the restrictive health plans foisted on us by the corporate insurers.

What Obama is offering is freedom from being shut out, overcharged, denied treatment, and otherwise gouged by today's insurance giants. And that's why the vast majority of Americans support his reforms - no matter how wonky Cato's corporate apologists get. For more information on the reality of Obama's plan, check out
(c) 2009 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.

Banking Bandits Get Their Reward
By Robert Scheer

By now everybody must know that the top banking executives responsible for our economic meltdown have no shame. Otherwise they would not have dared give themselves such hefty bonuses as a deeply perverse reward for actions that caused millions of Americans to lose their jobs and homes. The $33 billion that the executives of the nine banks bailed out with taxpayer funds paid themselves in 2008 is all one needs to know about the depth of their amorality.

But it also speaks volumes about the inefficiency of a system of rewards that has nothing to do with performance. "No Rhyme or Reason: the 'Heads I Win, Tails You Lose' Bank Bonus Culture" is the title of the report by New York's Attorney Gen. Andrew M. Cuomo unmasking this scandal. It concludes: " ... compensation for bank employees has become unmoored from the banks' financial performance."

That would not be of public concern if bank executives and their stockholders would bear the full price of such folly. But not one of those top nine banks that distributed bonuses of at least $1 million to each of 5,000 top executives faced the consequences on their own. Instead, taxpayers were called upon to pony up what will eventually be trillions of dollars to save the banks and the nation from this disaster. As the Cuomo report notes:

"Two firms, Citigroup and Merrill Lynch suffered massive loses of more than $27 billion at each firm. Nevertheless, Citigroup paid out $5.33 billion, in bonuses, and Merrill paid $3.6 billion in bonuses. Together, they lost $54 billion, paid out nearly $9 billion in bonuses and then received TARP bailouts totaling $55 billion. For three other firms-Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, and J.P. Morgan Chase-2008 bonus payments were substantially greater than the banks' net income."

In each instance, those bonuses on average more than doubled earnings and were in turn more than doubled by the government bailout in TARP funds. Those funds, and the nonrefundable tens of billions passed on through the AIG bailout and other government programs, come from the very taxpayers already reeling from a banking collapse brought on by reckless lending practices.

Yet the $306 billion in toxic assets that Citigroup-a leader in the irresponsible practices that created such "assets"-managed to pile up are also now guaranteed by taxpayer funds. And being on the public dole didn't prevent Citigroup CEO Vikram Pandit from "earning" $38 million last year.

The Merrill Lynch bonuses were paid as the company was about to collapse. It was saved at the last minute by being purchased for $50 billion by Bank of America in a deal engineered by the federal government and facilitated by $45 billion in bailout funds to BofA. On Monday, Bank of America agreed to pay $33 million in penalties to the Securities and Exchange Commission to settle an SEC complaint that BofA had deceived shareholders about those billions in bonuses.

One of those handsomely rewarded was Thomas Montag, now with BofA, who received a $39.4 million bonus for his work at Merrill Lynch, a reward for his performance as Merrill's trading and sales chief, a position in which he presided over the billions in mortgage acquisitions that fueled the company's downfall.

The banks, considered "too big to fail," were quickly showered with enormous amounts of money, contributing to a U.S. deficit expected to grow to $1.86 trillion this year. But homeowners are not too big to fail, and they were left to the tender mercies of the very bankers who swindled them with flaky mortgages.

On Tuesday, the Treasury Department criticized the major banks for their abysmally weak effort to aid distressed homeowners who are more than 60 days delinquent on their mortgages. Only 9 percent of those who qualify for assistance under President Obama's foreclosure prevention plan have been entered into trial programs to determine whether their mortgages will be modified. BofA, one of the major holders of distressed mortgages, has entered only a scant 4 percent of its eligible mortgage holders in the program.

Citigroup has managed to begin the process with 15 percent of those eligible, while Wells Fargo has begun with only 6 percent of its eligible borrowers. Compare that snail speed in helping folks keep their homes with the alacrity with which the federal government responded in bailing out the banks when they got into trouble.

The choice from the beginning of this debacle has been: Do we bail out the banks that caused the problem in the hopes that they will help ordinary folks or do we start with government relief for distressed mortgage holders? The decision to aid the bankers first was based on the assumption that for the first time in their lives they would do the honorable thing and surrender space in the lifeboats to those most vulnerable.
(c) 2009 Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig. A journalist with over 30 years experience, Scheer has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He is the author, most recently, of "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America," published by Twelve Books.

Squalene: The Swine Flu Vaccine's Dirty Little Secret Exposed
By Dr. Joseph Mercola

According to Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, your children should be the first target for mass swine flu vaccinations when school starts this fall.

This is a ridiculous assumption for many reasons, not to mention extremely high risk.

In Australia, where the winter season has begun, Federal Health Minister Nicola Roxon is reassuring parents the swine flu is no more dangerous than regular seasonal flu. "Most people, including children, will experience very mild symptoms and recover without any medical intervention," she said.

Sydney-based immunization specialist Robert Booy predicts swine flu might be fatal to about twice as many children in the coming year as regular influenza. Booy estimates 10-12 children could die from the H1N1 virus, compared with the five or six regular flu deaths seen among children in an average year in Australia.

"Cure the Disease, Kill the Patient"

Less than 100 children in the U.S. die each year from seasonal flu viruses. If we use Australia's math, a very rough estimate would be another 100 children could potentially die of swine flu in the United States in the coming year.

If children are the first target group in the U.S. per Sebelius, that means we're about to inject around 75 million children with a fast tracked vaccine containing novel adjuvants, including dangerous squalene, to prevent perhaps 100 deaths.

I'm not overlooking the tragedy of the loss of even one child to an illness like the H1N1 flu virus. But there can be no argument that unnecessary mass injection of millions of children with a vaccine containing an adjuvant known to cause a host of debilitating autoimmune diseases is a reckless, dangerous plan.

Why are Vaccinations Dangerous?

The presumed intent of a vaccination is to help you build immunity to potentially harmful organisms that cause illness and disease. However, your body's immune system is already designed to do this in response to organisms which invade your body naturally.

Most disease-causing organisms enter your body through the mucous membranes of your nose, mouth, pulmonary system or your digestive tract - not through an injection.

These mucous membranes have their own immune system, called the IgA immune system. It is a different system from the one activated when a vaccine is injected into your body.

Your IgA immune system is your body's first line of defense. Its job is to fight off invading organisms at their entry points, reducing or even eliminating the need for activation of your body's immune system.

When a virus is injected into your body in a vaccine, and especially when combined with an immune adjuvant like squalene, your IgA immune system is bypassed and your body's immune system kicks into high gear in response to the vaccination.

Injecting organisms into your body to provoke immunity is contrary to nature, and vaccination carries enormous potential to do serious damage to your health.

And as if Vaccines Weren't Dangerous Enough on Their Own... imagine them Turbocharged.

The main ingredient in a vaccine is either killed viruses or live ones that have been attenuated (weakened and made less harmful).

Flu vaccines can also contain a number of chemical toxins, including ethylene glycol (antifreeze), formaldehyde, phenol (carbolic acid) and even antibiotics like Neomycin and streptomycin.

In addition to the viruses and other additives, many vaccines also contain immune adjuvants like aluminum and squalene.

The purpose of an immune adjuvant added to a vaccine is to enhance (turbo charge) your immune response to the vaccination. Adjuvants cause your immune system to overreact to the introduction of the organism you're being vaccinated against.

Adjuvants are supposed to get the job done faster (but certainly not more safely), which reduces the amount of vaccine required per dose, and the number of doses given per individual.

Less vaccine required per person means more individual doses available for mass vaccination campaigns. Coincidentally, this is exactly the goal of government and the pharmaceutical companies who stand to make millions from their vaccines.

Will There Be Immune Adjuvants in Swine Flu Vaccines?

The U.S. government has contracts with several drug companies to develop and produce swine flu vaccines. At least two of those companies, Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline, are using an adjuvant in their H1N1 vaccines.

The adjuvant? Squalene.

According to Meryl Nass, M.D., an authority on the anthrax vaccine, "A novel feature of the two H1N1 vaccines being developed by companies Novartis and GlaxoSmithKline is the addition of squalene-containing adjuvants to boost immunogenicity and dramatically reduce the amount of viral antigen needed. This translates to much faster production of desired vaccine quantities."

Novartis's proprietary squalene adjuvant for their H1N1 vaccine is MF59. Glaxo's is ASO3. MF59 has yet to be approved by the FDA for use in any U.S. vaccine, despite its history of use in other countries.

Per Dr. Nass, there are only three vaccines in existence using an approved squalene adjuvant. None of the three are approved for use in the U.S.

What Squalene Does to Rats Oil-based vaccination adjuvants like squalene have been proved to generate concentrated, unremitting immune responses over long periods of time.

A 2000 study published in the American Journal of Pathology demonstrated a single injection of the adjuvant squalene into rats triggered "chronic, immune-mediated joint-specific inflammation," also known as rheumatoid arthritis.

The researchers concluded the study raised questions about the role of adjuvants in chronic inflammatory diseases.

What Squalene Does to Humans

Your immune system recognizes squalene as an oil molecule native to your body. It is found throughout your nervous system and brain. In fact, you can consume squalene in olive oil and not only will your immune system recognize it, you will also reap the benefits of its antioxidant properties.

The difference between "good" and "bad" squalene is the route by which it enters your body. Injection is an abnormal route of entry which incites your immune system to attack all the squalene in your body, not just the vaccine adjuvant.

Your immune system will attempt to destroy the molecule wherever it finds it, including in places where it occurs naturally, and where it is vital to the health of your nervous system.

Gulf War veterans with Gulf War Syndrome (GWS) received anthrax vaccines which contained squalene. MF59 (the Novartis squalene adjuvant) was an unapproved ingredient in experimental anthrax vaccines and has since been linked to the devastating autoimmune diseases suffered by countless Gulf War vets.

The Department of Defense made every attempt to deny that squalene was indeed an added contaminant in the anthrax vaccine administered to Persian Gulf war military personnel - deployed and non-deployed - as well as participants in the more recent Anthrax Vaccine Immunization Program (AVIP).

However, the FDA discovered the presence of squalene in certain lots of AVIP product. A test was developed to detect anti-squalene antibodies in GWS patients, and a clear link was established between the contaminated product and all the GWS sufferers who had been injected with the vaccine containing squalene.

A study conducted at Tulane Medical School and published in the February 2000 issue of Experimental Molecular Pathology included these stunning statistics:

" ... the substantial majority (95%) of overtly ill deployed GWS patients had antibodies to squalene. All (100%) GWS patients immunized for service in Desert Shield/Desert Storm who did not deploy, but had the same signs and symptoms as those who did deploy, had antibodies to squalene.

In contrast, none (0%) of the deployed Persian Gulf veterans not showing signs and symptoms of GWS have antibodies to squalene. Neither patients with idiopathic autoimmune disease nor healthy controls had detectable serum antibodies to squalene. The majority of symptomatic GWS patients had serum antibodies to squalene."

According to Dr. Viera Scheibner, Ph.D., a former principle research scientist for the government of Australia:

"... this adjuvant [squalene] contributed to the cascade of reactions called "Gulf War Syndrome," documented in the soldiers involved in the Gulf War. The symptoms they developed included arthritis, fibromyalgia, lymphadenopathy, rashes, photosensitive rashes, malar rashes, chronic fatigue, chronic headaches, abnormal body hair loss, non-healing skin lesions, aphthous ulcers, dizziness, weakness, memory loss, seizures, mood changes, neuropsychiatric problems, anti-thyroid effects, anaemia, elevated ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate), systemic lupus erythematosus, multiple sclerosis, ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), Raynaud's phenomenon, Sjorgren's syndrome, chronic diarrhoea, night sweats and low-grade fevers."

Post Vaccination Follow-Up Might as Well Be Non-Existent

There is virtually no science to support the safety of vaccine injections on your long-term health or the health of your children. Follow-up studies last on average about two weeks, and look only for glaring injuries and illnesses.

Autoimmune disorders like those seen in Gulf War Syndrome frequently take years to diagnose due to the vagueness of early symptoms. Complaints like headaches, fatigue and chronic aches and pains are symptoms of many different illnesses and diseases.

Don't hold your breath waiting for vaccine purveyors and proponents to look seriously at the long-term health consequences of their vaccination campaigns.

What You Can Do to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Visit the National Vaccination Information Center (NVIC) site and join in the fight against mandatory swine flu vaccinations.

Educate yourself about influenza strains, vaccination risks, and the public health laws in your state that may require you or your children to undergo either mandatory vaccination or quarantine.

Take care of your health to reduce or eliminate your risk of contracting the flu. The key is to keep your immune system strong by following these guidelines:

* Eliminate sugar and processed foods from your diet. Sugar consumption has an immediate, debilitating effect on your immune system.

* Take a high quality source of animal-based omega 3 fats like Krill Oil.

* Exercise. Your immune system needs good circulation in order to perform at its best for you.

* Optimize your vitamin D levels. Vitamin D deficiency is the likely cause of seasonal flu viruses. Getting an optimal level of vitamin D will help you fight infections of all kinds.

* Get plenty of good quality sleep.

* Deal with stress effectively. If you feel overwhelmed by stress, your body will not have the reserves it needs to fight infection.

* Wash your hands. But not with an antibacterial soap. Use a pure, chemical-free soap.
(c) 2009 Dr. Joseph Mercola

Rewarding Bad Actors
By Paul Krugman

Americans are angry at Wall Street, and rightly so. First the financial industry plunged us into economic crisis, then it was bailed out at taxpayer expense. And now, with the economy still deeply depressed, the industry is paying itself gigantic bonuses. If you aren't outraged, you haven't been paying attention.

But crashing the economy and fleecing the taxpayer aren't Wall Street's only sins. Even before the crisis and the bailouts, many financial-industry high-fliers made fortunes through activities that were worthless if not destructive from a social point of view.

And they're still at it. Consider two recent news stories.

One involves the rise of high-speed trading: some institutions, including Goldman Sachs, have been using superfast computers to get the jump on other investors, buying or selling stocks a tiny fraction of a second before anyone else can react. Profits from high-frequency trading are one reason Goldman is earning record profits and likely to pay record bonuses.

On a seemingly different front, Sunday's Times reported on the case of Andrew J. Hall, who leads an arm of Citigroup that speculates on oil and other commodities. His operation has made a lot of money recently, and according to his contract Mr. Hall is owed $100 million.

What do these stories have in common?

The politically salient answer, for now at least, is that in both cases we're looking at huge payouts by firms that were major recipients of federal aid. Citi has received around $45 billion from taxpayers; Goldman has repaid the $10 billion it received in direct aid, but it has benefited enormously both from federal guarantees and from bailouts of other financial institutions. What are taxpayers supposed to think when these welfare cases cut nine-figure paychecks?

But suppose we grant that both Goldman and Mr. Hall are very good at what they do, and might have earned huge profits even without all that aid. Even so, what they do is bad for America.

Just to be clear: financial speculation can serve a useful purpose. It's good, for example, that futures markets provide an incentive to stockpile heating oil before the weather gets cold and stockpile gasoline ahead of the summer driving season.

But speculation based on information not available to the public at large is a very different matter. As the U.C.L.A. economist Jack Hirshleifer showed back in 1971, such speculation often combines "private profitability" with "social uselessness."

It's hard to imagine a better illustration than high-frequency trading. The stock market is supposed to allocate capital to its most productive uses, for example by helping companies with good ideas raise money. But it's hard to see how traders who place their orders one-thirtieth of a second faster than anyone else do anything to improve that social function.

What about Mr. Hall? The Times report suggests that he makes money mainly by outsmarting other investors, rather than by directing resources to where they're needed. Again, it's hard to see the social value of what he does.

And there's a good case that such activities are actually harmful. For example, high-frequency trading probably degrades the stock market's function, because it's a kind of tax on investors who lack access to those superfast computers - which means that the money Goldman spends on those computers has a negative effect on national wealth. As the great Stanford economist Kenneth Arrow put it in 1973, speculation based on private information imposes a "double social loss": it uses up resources and undermines markets.

Now, you might be tempted to dismiss destructive speculation as a minor issue - and 30 years ago you would have been right. Since then, however, high finance - securities and commodity trading, as opposed to run-of-the-mill banking - has become a vastly more important part of our economy, increasing its share of G.D.P. by a factor of six. And soaring incomes in the financial industry have played a large role in sharply rising income inequality.

What should be done? Last week the House passed a bill setting rules for pay packages at a wide range of financial institutions. That would be a step in the right direction. But it really should be accompanied by much broader regulation of financial practices - and, I would argue, by higher tax rates on supersized incomes.

Unfortunately, the House measure is opposed by the Obama administration, which still seems to operate on the principle that what's good for Wall Street is good for America.

Neither the administration, nor our political system in general, is ready to face up to the fact that we've become a society in which the big bucks go to bad actors, a society that lavishly rewards those who make us poorer.
(c) 2009 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

Symbol For Sale: Obama Cashes Cronies' Chips
By Chris Floyd

The only difference, the only real change, that Barack Obama brings to the White House is the color of his skin. As I've said before, this racial factor does have symbolic significance (see below); but in substance, there is no real difference between Obama and any of the other run-of-the-mill greasy pole-climbers seeking temporary management of the imperial machinery, with all of the fleeting power -- and lifelong perks -- that comes with it. As Carl Ginsburg aptly notes in Counterpunch:

There is absolutely no doubt that soon after the conclusion of his presidency, Mr. Obama, like Bill Clinton, will have a hundred million bucks in the bank as a result of books, lectures and related appearances on the subject of responsibility. That's what's called the spoils of "today's winner-take-all economy," a quote from Audacity of Hope, here taken way out of context, I suppose. "Fill up the old coffers," is the way George Bush put it, in his twisted but somehow unambiguous way.

Like the rest of the pole-climbers, Obama has come in to reward his cronies and backers, and protect the interests of a small, rapacious elite. And like his predecessors, he seems far more concerned with preserving and expanding the encroachments of executive power than with husbanding the liberties of the common people. Of course, anyone who looked beyond his skin color to the actual policies he was proposing during the campaign -- and especially at who his advisers, aides, and chief backers were -- will have seen all this long ago, and will not be surprised or "betrayed" by his conduct in office.

Still, in an age where the media whirlwind tears away at the facts and makes them harder and harder to retain, it is always salutary to be reminded of the grubby reality of our gilded Potomac geese. Scott Horton at Harper's shows yet another small but telling example of Obama's wretched "continuity" with his illustrious Oval Office forbears: his selling of ambassadorships. Indeed, as Horton notes, Obama is already outstripping the Texas Twerp in this regard:

As the Los Angeles Times noted in a recent editorial, the United States is the only major country that regularly hands out choice ambassadorships as a favor for campaign funding bundlers. The process cheapens our diplomatic relations and sends a bad message to the states to which these ambassadors are sent. And it's getting cruder and greedier. A cynic studying the latest batch of nominees might conclude that the price of an ambassadorship has soared from roughly $200,000 under the Rovian regime to $500,000 under Rahm Emanuel.

Under Barack Obama, the process of political payoff through ambassadorial appointments has matched and appears poised to exceed the already extremely abusive system that Karl Rove put in place under the Bush Administration. In his first six months, Obama has forwarded 58 ambassadorial nominees to the Senate for confirmation. Retired career diplomat Dennis Jett reports in the Daily Beast that 32 of these nominees-55% of the total-are political appointees.

Political appointees are not per se objectionable. In fact, some of the most distinguished ambassadorial appointees in recent decades have been political appointees-not career diplomats... But the Obama political appointees are of a different caliber. What distinguishes them is not a career in public service or finance, much less foreign relations or foreign area expertise, but rather something far grubbier: raising substantial sums of money for the Obama campaign.

A prominent example is Louis Susman, named as Obama's ambassador to the Court of St. James. Susman was John Kerry's campaign fundraising chair in 2004, heading an effort that yielded $247 million for Democratic coffers; he was among the earliest fundraisers for Obama, and his zeal continued after the election, when he pulled together $300,000 for the inaugural festivities. (Susman thus dwarfs the fundraising power of Bush's ambassador in London, California auto dealer Robert Tuttle, who raised a measly $100,000 for the 2004 campaign and $100,000 for the inauguration.) When queried on Susman's qualifications for the post, a White House spokesman quipped that "he speaks the local language."

Ha, ha, isn't that funny? But it is inadvertently revealing. For Susman most definitely "speaks the local language" -- the language of the imperial Potomac court, that is: money. That's the only speech that matters in those exalted precincts, the only language that will get you a seat at the table and a piece of the action.

But Obama's pick for Germany was even more insulting. (See if you can guess which sliver of the rapacious elite this appointee comes from.):

Another is Phil Murphy, a Goldman Sachs executive who served as the Democratic Party's national finance chairman, tapped to represent the United States in Berlin. The Murphy appointment so troubled German leaders that they held up agreement-the diplomatic process under which the receiving nation agrees to accept the ambassadorial designee-so that Chancellor Angela Merkel could press the case for a career diplomat or serious political figure. Merkel made her appeal at the G-8 meeting at L'Aquila, but Obama was unswayed. The Germans finally relented and grudgingly accepted the appointment.

For more on the constructive role that Goldman Sachs has played in American affairs, see the now-famous article by my old Moscow Times colleague, Matt Taibbi: "Inside the Great American Bubble Machine."

Again, none of this base venality is really news -- except, of course, to those millions who depend on "The News" (i.e., the corporate media) to tell them what's going on.


Regarding the abovementioned symbolic significance of Obama's election, here are some excerpts from a post I wrote after the 2008 vote, which itself excerpts a post I wrote following Obama's nomination:

As I write this at nearly 3 a.m. in England, it seems very likely that Barack Obama will be the next U.S. president. I have no great words of considered wisdom to offer on this development at the moment. However, having looked briefly at the right-wing reaction to the vote, I will venture one quick observation:

The outpouring of open, virulent racism that many feared would arise during the campaign -- and in the secrecy of the voting booth -- never really manifested itself. But I think that it will emerge much more strongly now, in the aftermath, as part of a carefully cultivated dolchstosslegende even now being perpetrated by the rightwing media machine. Fox News and Karl Rove are already pushing stories about "Black Panthers" intimidating voters and widespread vote fraud among the worthless darkies whose votes have propelled Obama to victory. (These would be the same worthless darkies whom the rightwingers also blame for the global economic catastrophe.) There will be much, much more of this in the days and weeks to come.

It will not hurt Obama, of course; he will have the power he has sought, and the upsurge of ugly, unrepentant racism on the Right will only make his "progressive" allies far less willing to criticize his actions -- especially those mysterious "highly unpopular policies" that Joe Biden has promised Obama will adopt in the face of a guaranteed foreign policy crisis sometime next year. (Not to mention the promised escalation of the quagmire in Afghanistan.] But ordinary African-Americans will bear the painful brunt of this pouring of old hatreds into new wineskins. As always, black people will be blamed for all the nation's ills by the overclass that actually controls the machinery of power, and has been grinding its bootheel on the neck of black Americans for centuries.

[From the nomination piece:] The symbolic significance of Obama Barack's nomination victory is not insubstantial. In a land where, not so long ago, having the slightest drop of "Negro blood" in your genetic inheritance was enough to bar you -- legally and formally -- from many jobs, educational opportunities, places of residence, medical care, full participation in society, etc. (and where these obstacles still persist, in practice if not in law, for many people), it is striking to see a man whose father was not only black but also a "full-blooded African" (cue the psychosexual "Mandingo" anxieties of generations of trembly white folk) on the doorstep of the White House. At the very least -- until the novelty wears off (and novelty wears off very, very quickly in America)-- if Obama wins the presidency, there will be some aesthetic relief in seeing a different kind of face on the tee-vee mouthing various pieties, refusing to take any options off the table, etc., in place of the long procession of pasty white males of Northern European descent.

As for the substantial significance of Obama's nomination win, there is none. The only thing that really matters is what the human being named Barack Obama will do with power (if he gets it), and not his skin color. Or to put it another way: What difference did Colin Powell's status as a non-white person in the highest cabinet office make when the question of aggressive war was on the line? None. He was later replaced not only by another non-white person, but by a non-white female, Condi Rice. What difference did Rice's ethnicity and gender make to her collusion with the Bush faction's brutal policies of aggressive war, torture, rendition, state terror, etc.? None.

....Will Obama -- in the White House or on the campaign trail -- denounce the "War on Terror" for what it really is: a war of state terror, waged almost entirely against civilian populations? He has not done so; indeed, on his website he calls for fighting the War on Terror in a "smarter way". (There will be no inefficient, cluttery state terrorism when Obama is on the job!) He wants an even bigger, more powerful, more "stealthy" military...

So here is the significance of Obama's nomination: More Terror War. More murder -- directly, by proxy, by remote control. More manufactured enemies. A continued military presence in Iraq (all "combat troops" withdrawn, eventually, maybe, but other troops left there to "target al Qaeda in Iraq"). No reparations. A bigger, faster, more far-reaching military wrapping the globe. No options taken off the table -- ever.

Hey, you know what? The novelty is wearing off already.
(c) 2009 Chris Floyd

By Case Wagenvoord

It's a simple word-five letters, one syllable. It has multiple meanings, but the one we're concerned with, here, is "the formation or articulation of words." It is characterized by compression and evocative imagery.

The word is so simple.

I mean, what part of "frame" don't Democrats and Progressives understand?

The Right has mastered the art. They've had to out of necessity. When your ideology is an exercise in regressive emptiness, you have no choice but to make things up.

Let's take an example-the debate over health insurance. Seventy percent of Americans want a single payer plan similar to Medicare. But, it's not going to happen because the Right has reduced the argument to a simple question: "Do you want a government bureaucrat between you and your doctor?"

"Gosh no!" the public responds. "Better to have no coverage or go bankrupt buying it on the free market than having a government bureaucrat telling me what I can or can't do."

One of the reasons the Right's framing is so successful is that it is usually so blatantly wrong that the Left assumes that the public will see through it, so it's really unnecessary to respond.


What was it Goebbels said about repeating a lie over and over?

Now, if the Left had a lick of sense, they would shove this "government bureaucrat" nonsense up the Right's ass by saying:

Hello Mr. and Mrs. America, and all the ships at sea. Guess what! A corporate bureaucrat is already standing between you and your doctor. A corporate bureaucrat is already telling you what you can or can't do.

Let's go to the videotape and compare the two!

A corporate bureaucrat can deny you coverage; a government bureaucrat can't.

A corporate bureaucrat tells you which doctor you must see; a government bureaucrat can't

A corporate bureaucrat can rescind your coverage when you file a claim; a government bureaucrat can't.

A corporate bureaucrat can refuse a procedure; a government bureaucrat can't.

A corporate bureaucrat can cancel your coverage; a government bureaucrat can't.

It's so simple, so obvious, and so elemental that one wonders why the Left hasn't figured it out.

Unless they already have!
(c) 2009 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

Lighten Your Load
It's All Up Hill From Here
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning all of you hard working brain cells out there in the free world; your King of Simple News is on the air.

I'm probably going to step on some toes here and get myself in trouble; but who the heck invented combat shopping and mall-cruising as a national pastime?

What must be the annual cost of this non-explainable habit of shopping for non-essentials? The TV is full of "shopping channels," the papers come loaded with 5 pounds of inserted advertisement for luring us to buy more "stuff," and the radio now has greater commercial segments than programming time.

I should probably mention that men and women view shopping much differently. If most men were asked if they would like to go shopping for the day or have a root canal without benefit a numbing agent, they would probably have to think about it for a while and then ask, "What time is my dentist appointment?"

That being said, note the above mention of shopping for non-essentials. So how do I know folks are shopping for non-essentials? When I ask some members of my family (who will remain nameless to avoid unnecessary strife in my life) what they going to do with their friends for the day, the answer is often, "We're going shopping."

"Oh Geez," I think silently, after which I stupidly ask, "Shopping for what?"

"We need some new thread for our quilt project, so we're going to Grand Junction and just shop around," comes the casual reply. "Do you need anything?"

"Heavens no," I quickly reply in a noticeably panicked voice. "You mean you're going to drive 100 miles round trip for thread?"

At this point there is no answer... only "The Look." After which I drag myself back to my computer and complain to you.

I'm assuming that I'm not alone in this quest for determining why people go shopping without a clue of what they are shopping for; as 75% of America's economy is based on consumer spending, a nice term for shopping.

If a person is attempting to heed my personal goal of living simply and living well in these times of economic turmoil, non-essential shopping is probably something that deserves a litmus test.

How many other things do we spend money on that are totally frivolous? The following link is one of the best that I have read on that subject.

I'm doing my best to change my own lifestyle. I canceled our current subscription to satellite TV yesterday and will combine a "basic package" ($19.95) with my internet and telephone service, which will save some $60.00 per month.

I also have two vehicles and a trailer that I use occasionally for work (little and big dump trucks and a large equipment trailer) that I will attempt to sell along with my backhoe that has seen little use in the past year. That means no insurance, no license plates, no SME tax, and no maintenance. What a savings for something that I may or may not use!

I also do a lot of volunteering to help others and they volunteer to help me. I'm not bartering mind you, because that's taxable. What are you doing to lighten the load these days?
(c) 2009 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

"America will never be destroyed from the outside. If we falter and lose our freedoms, it will be because we destroyed ourselves."
~~~ Abraham Lincoln

LeAlan Jones speaks in D.C.

So Much For The Promised Land
By Chris Hedges

LeAlan Jones, the 30-year-old Green Party candidate for Barack Obama's old Senate seat in Illinois, is as angry at injustice as he is at the African-American intellectual and political class that accommodates it. He does not buy Obama's "post-racial" ideology or have much patience with African-American leaders who, hungry for prestige, power and money, have, in his eyes, forgotten the people they are supposed to represent. They have confused a personal ability to be heard and earn a comfortable living with justice.

"The selflessness of leaders like Malcolm X, Dr. Martin Luther King, Harold Washington and Medgar Evers has produced selfishness within the elite African-American leadership," Jones told me by phone from Chicago.

"This is the only thing I can do to have peace of mind," he said when I asked him why he was running for office. "I am looking at a community that is suffering because of a lack of genuine concern from their leaders. This isn't about a contract. This isn't about a grant. This isn't about who gets to stand behind the political elite at a press conference. This is about who is going to stand behind the people. What these leaders talk about and what needs to happen in the community is disjointed."

Jones began his career as a boy making radio documentaries about life in Chicago's public housing projects on the South Side, including the acclaimed "Ghetto Life 101." He knows the world of which he speaks. He lives in the troubled Chicago neighborhood of Englewood, where he works as a freelance journalist and a high school football coach. He is the legal guardian of a 16-year-old nephew. And he often echoes the denunciations of black leaders by the historian Houston A. Baker Jr., who wrote "Betrayal: How Black Intellectuals Have Abandoned the Ideals of the Civil Rights Era."

Baker excoriates leading public intellectuals including Michael Eric Dyson, Henry Louis Gates Jr., Shelby Steele, Yale law professor Stephen Carter and Manhattan Institute fellow John McWhorter, saying they pander to the powerful. He argues they have lost touch with the reality of most African-Americans. Professor Gates' statement after his July 16 arrest that "what it made me realize was how vulnerable all black men are, how vulnerable are all poor people to capricious forces like a rogue policemen" was a stunning example of how distant from black reality many successful African-American figures like Gates have become. These elite African-American figures, Baker argues, long ago placed personal gain and career advancement over the interests of the black majority. They espouse positions that are palatable to a white audience, positions which ignore the radicalism and structural critiques of inequality by W.E.B. Du Bois, Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X. And in a time when, as the poet Yusef Komunyakaa has said, "the cell block has replaced the auction block," they do not express the rage, frustration and despair of the black underclass.

The conditions for black men and women in America are sliding backward, with huge numbers of impoverished and unemployed removed from society and locked up. Baker acidly calls this "the disappearing" of blacks. The unemployment rate in most inner cities is in the double digits, and segregation, especially in city schools and wealthy states like New Jersey, is the norm. African-American communities are more likely to be red-lined by banks and preyed upon by unscrupulous mortgage lenders, which is why such a high percentage of foreclosures are in blighted, urban neighborhoods. The Village Voice's recent exposť that detailed brutal and sometimes fatal beatings of black and Hispanic prisoners by guards at New York's Rikers Island was a window into a daily reality usually not seen or acknowledged by the white mainstream.

"I have three people within my immediate family that are men that have come home within the last 24 to 36 months from being incarcerated," Jones said. "They are tired of going to jail. They don't want to go to jail anymore. But there are no jobs. What service can they provide? My belief is those individuals coming home, these ex-felons, have more credibility to stop the violence in the inner city than the police do. It is their sons and nephews and their immediate families that are being the provocateurs of that violence. But if we are asking them to stop crime, what incentive are we providing them to do that?"

"How much money did the American economy lose because of the derivatives and the credit default swaps?" he asked. "There have been only two men prosecuted for that level of crime, Bernard Madoff and Allen Stanford. How much is the drug industry worth in the United States? It is not worth $45 trillion. How many African-American and Hispanic men are incarcerated for being the same kind of capitalist? If we swap dope for derivatives there wouldn't be a Wall Street because they would be behind bars. If we prosecute derivatives the same way you prosecute dope, which is not different in how it undermines a family, Wall Street wouldn't exist."

"A bunch of guys on Wall Street have done more to devastate the white community than any black man ever could," he added. "I would have bailed out the pension funds, retirement funds, 401(k)s and funds attached to everyday people. If Wall Street and the banks couldn't survive, they couldn't survive, but the people's money would not have been impacted. If you would have killed personal wealth you would have killed personal wealth. They took the pension funds of state, city and local governments and misappropriated that capital. How can you reward them on the front end when they messed up the people's money on the front end?"

"The only difference between the world of high finance and drug dealers are the commodities they deal," he added. "The mentality is the same."

The most prominent faces of color, such as Obama and his attorney general, Eric Holder, mask an insidious new racism that, in essence, tells blacks they have enough, that progress has been made and that it is up to them to take advantage of what society offers them. And black politicians and intellectuals, including Obama and Gates, are the delivery systems for the message. We blame the victims, those for whom jobs and opportunities do not exist, while we orchestrate the largest transfer of wealth upward in American history. We sustain with taxpayer dollars a power elite and oligarchy that is responsible for dismantling the manufacturing base and social service programs which once gave workers and their families hope. Apologists for the system call their demands for black personal responsibility "tough love." But the stance, music to the ears of the white elite, is to Baker and Jones morally indefensible. It ignores the harsh reality visited on the poor by the cruelty of unfettered capitalism. It ignores the institutional racism that makes sure the poor remain poor.

"The most published and publicized blacks on the American public scene today are well-dressed, comfortably educated, sagaciously articulate, avowedly new age, and resolutely middle class ... , " Baker wrote. "The evolution of their relationship to the black majority during the past three decades can be summed up in a single word: good-bye!"

"Things are deteriorating," Jones said of the inner city. "There are no natural relationships because of the decentralization of the street gangs. You don't have a leadership structure that can be talked to by members of the community to bring peace. You have basically guerrilla warfare going on in the inner city of Chicago. There is no structure or hierarchy where you can go talk to one person in the neighborhood that can then go down the pecking order to bring peace. You have different groups that have different motivations, and that factionalism is at the base of the violence. But there is no alternative when you don't have jobs, when you have an educational system that has failed and bad home environments."

Jones said Obama's silence was illustrated during a recent fundraising trip to Chicago. The president called Chicago White Sox pitcher Mark Buehrle to congratulate him for pitching a perfect game. Obama made no comment, however, about the shooting of nine people in Chicago, including a 9-year-old girl, a few days earlier.

"When Barack Obama does not speak to these issues, it is almost a double devastation to a certain degree," he said. "It is different if President Bush doesn't say anything or Bill Clinton doesn't say anything. But when Barack Obama can't say the obvious, it does a double devastation to those young men who wanted to hope and wanted to believe in the system to redress these issues."

August Wilson wrote his last play, "Radio Golf," about the black elite that sold out the African-American community in exchange for personal power and wealth. He portrayed them as tools and puppets of the white mainstream. It was the final salvo from one of the country's most courageous playwrights on behalf of the forgotten. The show, despite being named best American play by the New York Drama Critics Circle and earning a Tony nomination for best play, was one of the least attended shows on Broadway and closed after less than two months. There are African-American leaders and writers with Wilson's integrity who have refused to accommodate an economic and political system that increasingly punishes the poor, especially the poor of color, but you do not see them on CNN or writing Op-Ed pieces in The New York Times. Dick Gregory, James Cone of Union Theological Seminary, Thulani Davis, Komunyakaa, Angela Davis, Baker and Ishmael Reed still harbor the radical fire of our greatest civil rights leaders.

And, of course, there is Harry Belafonte, whose invitation to speak at the funeral of Coretta Scott King was withdrawn so President George W. Bush, whom Belafonte had called a "terrorist," would not be offended when he spoke there. This last slight illustrates how craven many in the black elite, including some of Dr. King's children, have become and how hard it is to hear the anguished cries of those being beaten down in the age of Obama.

Courtiers come in different colors in America but their function is the same. They are hedonists of power. They are invited into the inner circles of the elite, including the White House and Harvard University, as long as they faithfully serve the system. They are offered comfort and privilege, but they pay with their souls.

"Loose and easy language about equality, resonant resolutions about brotherhood fall pleasantly on the ear," Dr. Martin Luther King once said, "but for the Negro, there is a credibility gap he cannot overlook. He remembers that with each modest advance, the white population promptly raises the argument that the Negro has come far enough. Each step forward accents an ever-present tendency to backlash."

(c) 2009 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

Billions Of People Expected To Die Under Current Codex Alimentarius Guidelines
By Barbara Peterson

Your right to eat healthy food and use supplements of your choice is rapidly vanishing, but every effort has been made to keep you in the dark about the coming nutricide. Codex Alimentarius is scheduled for full global implementation on December 31, 2009, and not a word has been spoken in main stream media about this threat to humanity. Yet, according to the projections of the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), a minimum of 3 billion people will die from the Codex mandated vitamin and mineral guideline alone. As the clock ticks toward this irrevocable deadline, the Natural Solutions Foundation (NSF) and its medical director, Dr. Rima Laibow, are feverishly working to change Codex guidelines. They need your help.

Forner Nazi Hermann Schmitz looked for an alternative to brute force for controlling people and realized that people could be controlled through their food supply.

Codex is the enemy of everyone except those who will profit from it, according to Dr. Laibow. She points to its association with those who committed crimes during the Nazi regime. At the end of World War II, the Nuremberg tribunal judged Nazis who had committed horrendous crimes against humanity and sentenced them to prison terms. One of those found guilty was the president of the megalithic corporation I.G. Farben, Hermann Schmitz. His company was the largest chemical manufacturing enterprise in the world, and had extraordinary political and economic power and influence with the Hitlerian Nazi state. Farben produced the gas used in the Nazi gas chambers, and the steel for the railroads built to transport people to their deaths.

While serving his prison term, Schmitz looked for an alternative to brute force for controlling people and realized that people could be controlled through their food supply. When he got out of prison, he went to his friends at the United Nations (UN) and laid out a plan to take over the control of food worldwide. A trade commission called Codex Alimentarius (Latin for food code) was re-created under the guise of it being a consumer protection commission. But Codex was never in the business of protecting people. It has always been about money and profits at the expense of people.

In 1962, the timetable was set for Codex to be fully implemented on a global level by December 31, 2009. Under Codex, committees were established to create guidelines on such topics as fish and fisheries, fats and oils, fruits and vegetables, ground nuts, nutrition, food for specialized uses, and vitamins and minerals. There were 27 committees in all, creating a huge bureaucracy. Under Codex there are over 4,000 guidelines and regulations on everything that can be put into your mouth with the exception of pharmaceuticals which are not regulated by Codex.

Codex is a weapon being used to reduce the level of nutrition worldwide.

Codex is an industry dominated regulation setting organization, and as such has no legal standing. Participation in Codex is said to be voluntary. But Codex has risen to the level of de facto legal standing because Codex is administered by the WHO and FAO. They fund it and run it at the request of the UN. Since the WHO and FAO are supposed to be about health, there is conflict of interest. The committees of Codex work up guidelines, rules and regulations, and present them to a Codex commission for ratification. Once they are ratified and approved by consensus, they become mandatory for any country that is a member of the WHO.

Codex was accepted when the WTO was formed in 1994 as a means of harmonizing food standards globally for easy trade between countries. As a result, countries must harmonize with Codex if they want to have any standing in a trade dispute. When disputes arise and countries are pulled in to WTO, the one that is Codex compliant automatically wins, regardless of the merits of its case.

Dr. Laiblow sees codex as a weapon to make every nation scurry to become compliant to the decline in nutritional standards. She points out that compliance in the U.S. will mark the end of its consumer protection laws. Codex will not serve consumers. Codex will serve the interests of the medical, pharmaceutical, biotechnology, chemical, and big agricultural industries.

Under Codex, nutrients are classified as poisons.

The Dietary Substances Health and Education Act (DSHEA), was signed into law in 1994 for the purpose of ensuring that safe and appropriately labeled products would remain available to those who wanted to use them. In the findings associated with this law, Congress stated that there may be a positive relationship between sound dietary practice and good health, and a connection between dietary supplement use, reduced health-care expenses, and disease prevention. Under DSHEA, nutrients and herbs are classified as food. There is no upper limit set, and access is freely given. Americans are allowed to have any nutrients they want, because under English common law, anything that is not expressly forbidden is permitted.

Codex, on the other hand, is based on Napoleonic law under which anything not expressly permitted is forbidden. Therefore, only what is expressly allowed under Codex will be permitted, and everything else is forbidden. In 1994, the same year DSHEA was signed, Codex had nutrients declared to be toxic and poisonous. And as poisons, they claimed people must be protected from them through the use of toxicology and risk assessment, under which scientists test small doses on animals until they are able to discern an impact. They then take the first sign of the most minimal impact and divide this amount by 100 to establish a safety margin required from these poisons. This means that the largest dose of any nutrient allowed under Codex is 1/100th of the amount shown to produce the first discernable impact.

Nutrients allowed under codex are limited to those on the positive list, expected to contain only 18 nutrients, one of them being fluoride. Dr. Laibow points out that although fluoride has no biological benefit whatsoever, it does make people complacent.

The codex proponents now have several bills before Congress designed to overturn and get rid of DSHEA. Once this is accomplished, the U.S. will have been harmonized with the vitamin and mineral guidelines of codex. High potency, therapeutically effective, significant nutrients will then be illegal in the way that heroin is illegal. They will not even be available by prescription.

Codex supports toxic food additives, pesticides and GM foods.

Codex poses a significant threat to the food supply, according to Dr. Robert Verkerk, founder and director of the Alliance for Natural Health. About 300 dangerous food additives that are mainly synthetic will be allowed under Codex, including aspartame, BHA, BHT, potassium bromate, tartrazine, and more. Dr. Verkerk is particularly concerned that no consideration has been given to potential risks associated with long-term exposure to mixtures of additives.

Codex sets limits for the dangerous industrial chemicals that can be used in food, but they are incredibly high, and the list of chemicals that can be used is long. In 2001, 176 countries including the U.S. got together and decided that 12 highly toxic organic chemicals, known as persistent organic pollutants (POPS) were so bad that they had to be banned. There are many more than 12 toxic chemicals used on food, but these 12 were unanimously declared to be the worst. Of these, 9 are pesticides.

Under Codex, 7 of the 9 forbidden POPS will again be allowed in the production of food. All together, Codex allows over 3,275 different pesticides, including those that are suspected carcinogens or endocrine disrupters. There is no consideration of the long-term effects of exposure to mixtures of pesticide residues in food.

Organic food governance will be dumbed down to suit the interests of large food producers. Various synthetic chemical additives and processing aids will be allowed, and food labeled as organic may be irradiated. Labeling will permit the use of hidden, non-organic ingredients.

Monsanto, a member of Codex, will benefit greatly as production of genetically modified (GM) foods are stepped up and more GM plants are given the green light. Terminator seeds will be approved for international trade. GM food animals will also be on the way.

Under Codex, every dairy animal can be treated with growth hormone, and all animals in the food chain will be treated with sub-clinical levels of antibiotics, according to Dr. Laibow. She claims that Codex will lead to the required irradiation of all foods with the exception of those grown locally and sold raw.

Dr. Laiblow sees Codex as "food regulations that are in fact the legalization of mandated toxicity and under-nutrition." According to her, the WHO and FAO estimate that of the 3 billion people initially expected to die as the result of the Codex vitamin and mineral guidelines, 2 billion of them will die from the preventable diseases that result from under-nutrition, such as cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and many others. Those who will live will be the wealthy elites who are able to somehow provide themselves with sources of clean food and other nutrients.

Codex is legalized genocide

Dr. Gregory Damato, Ph.D., writing for Natural News, has characterized Codex as "population control for money." He sees Codex as run by the U.S. and controlled by the big pharmaceutical corporations and the likes of Monsanto with the purpose of reducing the population of the world to a level considered sustainable by those promulgating the New World Order. This would mean a reduction of approximately 93 percent of the current world population.

Once Codex standards are adopted there will be no turning back. When Codex compliance is instigated in any area, as long as the country remains a member of the WTO, those standards cannot be repealed, or altered in any way.

Natural Solutions Foundation is working to revamp Codex guidelines worldwide

Some hope remains. Over the years, the WTO has accepted Codex standards as presumptive evidence of the rules of trade between countries. However, several times in history, the WTO has refused to make Codex the single and only standard to be used in trade disputes. Under Codex's own statutes, their guidelines are claimed to be "advisory," and nations are able to set up their own guidelines.

Since compliance with Codex standards is simply presumptive evidence, and not finally determinative, a nation can opt out of the guidelines in an effort to protect its traditional foods and remedies. The Codex Two Step is a legal strategy that the Natural Solutions Foundation has developed to help nations wanting to do this. Under Step One, the country develops its own food and health guidelines that may be at variance with Codex guidelines. For example, it may be much stricter on the issues of toxins in the food supply or on the issue of genetically modified foods. It may require, for example, that companies using GM ingredients be required to indicate them on food labels. In countries that refuse to use GM foods, this can be indicated on their label too, so that people can make informed choices.

So, the first step is for a country to set up its guidelines. The Second Step is to adopt a national law that implements those guidelines on a sound scientific basis. The NSF is preparing models to be used for doing this that are available to any country. There is a model vitamin and mineral guideline, and a model of a food and health statute to implement that guideline.

Normally, in a trade dispute before the WTO, the country that has adopted Codex guidelines will be the winner of that dispute based on those guidelines being presumptive evidence. However, when countries have gone through the two step process to create their own guidelines, there is no such presumption, and the WTO will look at the science behind the guidelines.

In the U.S. the door is open to Codex.

In 1995, the FDA issued a policy statement saying that international standards such as Codex would supersede U.S. laws governing all food. Under the Central American Free Trade Agreement, which is illegal under current U.S. law, but is legal under international law, the U.S. is required to conform to Codex as it stands on December 31, 2009.

This is why NSF needs your help. Because the current pro-Codex stance of the U.S. is in violation of current laws, NSF has created a Citizen's Petition in which they are asking the U.S. government to amend its Codex position according to the Two Step plan that Codex allows. This petition is a ground-breaking legal approach to compel the government to hold public hearings and move from a pro-illness Codex position to a pro-health position. If the government does not respond in an appropriate manner, the next step in the process is to take them to court.

A Citizen's Petition is a legal means to focus a government agency's attention on an issue of concern to citizens. Once a Citizen's Petition has been entered, a docket to debate it is opened and public comment is accepted. A Citizen's Petition does have one thing in common with the more familiar types of petitions. Any number of people can add their names to it and become co-petitioners.

So far, over 30,000 people have joined this petition, and three members of Congress have written a Congressional Letter in support of it. NSF needs you to read and sign this petition by going to On this site you will also find a letter that can be sent to the U.S. Codex Manager, Dr. Edwin Scarbrough, and Dr. Barbara Schneeman, Head of the FDA's Office of Nutritional Products.

Dr. Liabow is encouraging people to pass the word about Codex to everyone they know or with whom they come in contact. As a reader of Natural News, you are in the forefront of knowledge regarding health standards and the need to safeguard them. You are probably someone who others look to for advice on health matters. As such, you are in a special position to help this petition move forward. The new guidelines created by NSF have mandated biochemically individual determination of optimal health. These guidelines need to be adopted by Congress and also by other countries who value their traditional foods and remedies.

When Dr. Laibow was recently working in Washington D.C. to inform the members of Congress about Codex, she found that very few of them knew anything about it all. As they have become informed, some have come out against Codex. This makes writing to your congressmen on this issue critically important. Tell they about the threat of Codex. Suggest that they need a congressional briefing on the issue and suggest that they contact Dr. Rima Laibow. Remember, any negative part of Codex can be overturned by a guideline that is positive.
(c) 2009 Barbara H. Peterson lives on a small ranch in Oregon with her husband, where they raise geese, chickens, Navajo Churro sheep, Oggie Dog, a variety of cats, and an opinionated Macaw named Rita. She believes that self-sufficiency and localization of food sources is necessary to survive the coming depression. To this end, she hopes that sharing information with others of like mind will lead to a brighter future where people reach out to each other and form small communities in which food is grown locally, and trade is established between neighbors.
Editors Note: In the "Have You Seen This" section of the magazine there is a video by Dr. Laibow. It's only part one, make sure you watch all 5 parts.

The Dead Letter Office...

General Renuart

Heil Obama,

Dear Feldherr Renuart,

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, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Clarence (slappy) Thomas.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your demand to commit treason by using illegal Northern Command troops on US soil in violation of several federal laws gives us just what we need for a Martial Law crackdown, Afghanistan, Pakistan and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Military Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 08-29-2009. We salute you Herr Renuart, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

More Detainee Victories And What A Majority Of Congress Tried To Do
By Glenn Greenwald

This week, two more Guantanamo detainees -- Khaled Al-Mutairi from Kuwait and Mohamed Jawad of Afghanistan -- were ordered released by federal judges on the ground that there was insufficient evidence to justify their detention. The Washington Independent's Daphne Eviatar notes this amazing fact: "In 28 of 33 Gitmo detainee cases heard so far, federal judges have found insufficient evidence to support keeping them in prison." Virtually all of those detainees were held for many years without charges and with no opportunity for judicial review. Once they finally got into a court, federal judges (including Bush-43 appointed judges) in the vast majority of cases concluded there was virtually no credible evidence ever to justify their detention. Just consider what that fact, standing alone, means about what our Government has been doing.

The case of Jawad is particularly striking because he was a young teenager -- possibly as young as 12 -- when he was shipped to Guantanamo in 2002; unquestionably tortured; never accused of being a member of either Al Qaeda or the Taliban; barely saved after a suicide attempt in 2003; and then kept in a cage for seven years and counting with no charges. I wrote at length about Jawad's case here, and Scott Horton summarizes some of the miserable lowlights of his case today here. As Andy Worthington reports, so unpersuasive was the case against Jawad -- particularly once the "confession" he gave after being threatened with his own death and his family's death were, over the objections of the Obama DOJ, excluded -- that the federal judge excoriated the Obama DOJ with an unusually strident and hostile tone for attempting to continue his detention. Adam Serwer considers the implications of Jawad's habeas victory, as well as the fact that the Obama DOJ may try now to indict him on actual criminal charges in order still to prevent his release even in light of the judge's ruling.

I'm going to have a podcast interview posted here later this afternoon tomorrow morning with Jawad's lawyer, the ACLU's Jonathan Hafetz, but for now, I want to emphasize one point. When Congress passed the Military Commissions Act in 2006, they explicitly denied the right of habeas corpus for Guantanamo detainees. In other words, they tried to bar these detainees from having the very judicial hearings which are resulting in findings that there was no evidence to justify the accusations against them. The only reason why these hearings are even taking place is because, in June, 2008, the Supreme Court -- by a 5-4 vote in Boumediene -- struck down the MCA's denial of habeas corpus as unconstitutional and held that detainees are entitled to a hearing before a federal judge to contest the validity of their accusations. John McCain called that decision "one of the worst decisions in the history of this country."

If the members of Congress who voted for the MCA had their way -- and that includes all GOP (except Chafee) plus 12 Democratic Senators, as well as all GOP House members (except 7) and 34 Democratic House members -- then all of these detainees against whom there is virtually no evidence (including Jawad) would still be sitting in a cage, possibly forever, with no mechanism to secure their release. One should be hesitant to attribute bad motives to someone based on political disagreements, but some positions are so morally depraved and just plain tyrannical that a rational person has no choice but to do so. Voting to empower the President to imprison people for life with no charges and no judicial review -- particularly where the individuals were not captured on any "battlefield," thus ensuring a very high risk of error and/or abuse -- falls squarely into that category.

Every time a federal judge orders another Guantanamo detainee released on the grounds of insufficient evidence (and that does not mean "insufficient evidence to convict"; it merely means: "insufficient evidence even to justify their detention"), just remember that the vast majority of the current members of Congress voted to deny those detainees any opportunity to have a court review their imprisonment, the most basic and defining right of Western justice. Put simply, they knowingly voted to deny innocent people the right to have a court review their indefinite imprisonment. If that isn't morally depraved, what is?

Of course, the Military Commissions Act, like the FISA Amendment Acts, was one of those many Bush-era laws which Democrats were oh-so-sad to see enacted, and they vowed so solemnly that once they were in the majority, I mean: once they won the White House, I mean: once they had 60 Senate seats, then they would be fixing it for sure. I'm sure that'll happen any minute now.

* * * * *

On an unrelated note: as is true for the U.S., Latin America -- to an even greater extent -- is witnessing, finally, a real debate over drug policy, based on a growing recognition that the "War on Drugs" is a profound failure and criminalization schemes only worsen the problem. As a result of that growing debate, the report I wrote on Portugal's success with drug decriminalization and which I presented in April at the Cato Institute continues to generate interest (this Time article on my report helped substantially in that regard).

There are several new efforts on the part of Latin American governments, both separately and jointly, to formulate new approaches to drug policy. Last week in Brazil, I spoke at a conference, sponsored by Viva Rio, among government officials and policy experts from that region. My presentation on Portugal's success was my first ever in Portuguese and so I was a bit anxious about it, but those interested (and Spanish-speakers should be able to understand much of it) can view excerpts of my presentation here. For those in or near Rio de Janeiro, there is a major drug policy conference on August 21, featuring former Brazilian President Fernando Henrique Cardoso (who declared the drug war a "failure"), and I'll be speaking there as well (I'll post details once I know them). In many ways, the abuses of the War on Drugs were a precursor to many of the abuses ushered in by the War on Terror; undermining the former can only help in undermining the latter.

UPDATE: On Twitter, Eviatar notes: "If the 85% success rate for Gtmo detainees holds up, that would mean govt lacks evidence to support holding about 195 of 229 detainees left." Remember, that's The Worst of the Worst -- so evil and threatening that the Democratic-led U.S. Congress has barred the Obama administration from accepting any of them into the U.S., including the ones found guilty of nothing, even as we try to persuade other countries to accept them. See also: this statement from Major David J. R. Frakt, who represents Mohamed Jawad, as well as this possible sign of progress from NPR.

UPDATE II: Never mind about NPR.

Meanwhile, according to a new international poll from The Economist, the U.S. population is as willing or more willing to tolerate torture when compared to citizens in countries such as Egypt, Iran, Russia, Indonesia and China (citizens of the latter two countries are substantially more anti-torture than Americans). Among Americans, roughly 52% say that "all torture should be prohibited" while 43% say that "some degree of torture should be allowed." Only in Nigeria, India, Turkey and South Korea is there a substantially higher pro-torture sentiment than in the U.S.
(c) 2009 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy.

Of Elephants And Blue Dogs
By Mary Pitt

While the Congressional "elephants" are straining at the gnat of Obama's health care plan, the Blue Dogs are busily gorging on the poisonous fat being spread before them by the voracious and monopolistic insurance and pharmaceutical companies, the citizens for whom they were chosen to protect are continuing to be victimized and destroyed. The handwriting is on the wall to tell us that nothing good is going to come of the enthusiasm with which the American people voted for the longed-for "change."

Neither of these mythical creatures sounded an alarm about the trillions of American dollars that were simply strewn to the wind in the misguided effort to "bring democracy to Iraq." There was then no outcry about the state of the national debt, no discussion of deficit financing, only great glee at the prospect of all the pork that would be rained upon their constituents and campaign donors. There was no mention of anything resembling a budget. It was all "off-budget appropriations" in the interest of "national security" Why? Because Bush, Cheney, and Company said it was necessary!

Now, the nation is mired deeply in the greatest depression of a hundred years. The major financial institutions have had to resort to government bailouts because of the greedy abandon with which they tried to corner markets and wring the last drop of lifeblood from the people. Oh yes, the people! Those mute bovines who toil their lives away and suffer painfully before being delivered by merciful death. One may feed them more or less, depending on the state of one's wallet and provide them medical care when one deems their services to be necessary to the cause of the enrichment of one's bank account. This is not an exaggeration but an exact assessment of the attitude of the super-rich to the working American.

The facts are that, sooner or later, everyone will become ill if for no other reason than the aging process. The human body is a fantastic machine and, with good care and simple maintenance will often last a long time. However, when given the wrong fuel, and lacking tune-ups, it may well sputter and die.

The purse lipped budgeteers will deny these poor creatures the benefit of health care under the pretext of giving them a "choice" when, in truth, the only choice they have is whether to lose their homes and neglect their families or to seek the care that is needed from a recalcitrant welfare system that is being methodically choked by the same pinch-penny politicians who have created the situation. "The poor should make better choices; stop smoking, lose weight, and then they will not become ill!" This mantra resounds through the hallowed halls of Congress and is repeated by the parrots of the mainstream media. In the extremely limited food allowance by the welfare system or food stamps, it is truly not possible to provide children with a diet of fresh fruits and vegetables and protein-rich meat and dairy products.

Rather, the normal diet for the poor will consist of macaroni and cheese, hot dogs, or cheap pizza. This is not very different from the food ingested by the generation of children of the last depression. In that instance, the meals largely consisted of beans, oatmeal, gravy, and whatever Daddy could fell with his shotgun. Pellagra ran rampant in most of the nation as the result of the lack of fresh vegetables in the winter. Now, of course, with most of the population confined to cities, the only "game" that Daddy can bag with his precious Second Amendment gun is only whatever valuables can be garnered from the victim of the moment.

Science has proven that the trend to obesity develops in the early years. As the diet changes to solid food, the inadequate and unbalanced choices will generate too many fat cells in the body, which will be with that child for a lifetime. As they grow up without the expensive amenities provided to the wealthy children; piano lessons, soccer practice, little league, poor children are more apt to be left with television sets for baby sitters until they are old enough to go to the streets for their continuing maturation. Some never have any medical care beyond free vaccinations until they must fight for their lives as the result of a gunshot wound. So much for "developing healthy habits."

With more layoffs, more foreclosures, and more hungry and homeless, there truly is a "national emergency" and, as such, it justifies a presidential declaration to that effect and Executive Orders to personnel in Health and Welfare. This could include loosening the eligibility standards on income for food stamps and Medicaid to reflect the true cost of living for the disabled, the unemployed, and uninsured. To that end, President Obama would be roundly applauded for telling the reluctant Congressmen to stop taxing their inadequate brains over a health care measure and, taking a page from the Bush playbook, with such a declaration, take these remedial steps in order to provide every American with the things that we and our forebears have worked, fought, and died for: a place to live in peace, an adequate diet, and health care.

Please, Mr. President, do something good to put in our history books.
(c) 2009 Mary Pitt is a very "with-it" old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for societal "perfection." Huzzahs and whiney complaints may be sent to

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jeffrey Booth ~~~

W The Movie Trailer

To End On A Happy Note...

By Leonard Cohen

It's coming through a hole in the air,
from those nights in Tiananmen Square.
It's coming from the feel
that this ain't exactly real,
or it's real, but it ain't exactly there.
From the wars against disorder,
from the sirens night and day,
from the fires of the homeless,
from the ashes of the gay:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming through a crack in the wall;
on a visionary flood of alcohol;
from the staggering account
of the Sermon on the Mount
which I don't pretend to understand at all.
It's coming from the silence
on the dock of the bay,
from the brave, the bold, the battered
heart of Chevrolet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the sorrow in the street,
the holy places where the races meet;
from the homicidal bitchin'
that goes down in every kitchen
to determine who will serve and who will eat.
From the wells of disappointment
where the women kneel to pray
for the grace of God in the desert here
and the desert far away:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on
O mighty Ship of State!
To the Shores of Need
Past the Reefs of Greed
Through the Squalls of Hate
Sail on, sail on, sail on, sail on.

It's coming to America first,
the cradle of the best and of the worst.
It's here they got the range
and the machinery for change
and it's here they got the spiritual thirst.
It's here the family's broken
and it's here the lonely say
that the heart has got to open
in a fundamental way:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

It's coming from the women and the men.
O baby, we'll be making love again.
We'll be going down so deep
the river's going to weep,
and the mountain's going to shout Amen!
It's coming like the tidal flood
beneath the lunar sway,
imperial, mysterious,
in amorous array:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.

Sail on, sail on ...

I'm sentimental, if you know what I mean
I love the country but I can't stand the scene.
And I'm neither left or right
I'm just staying home tonight,
getting lost in that hopeless little screen.
But I'm stubborn as those garbage bags
that Time cannot decay,
I'm junk but I'm still holding up
this little wild bouquet:
Democracy is coming to the U.S.A.
(c) 1992/2009 Leonard Cohen

Have You Seen This...

Codex Alimentarius P1

Parting Shots...

Rachel Proxmire, an attractive blonde with a nice smile, has caused an estimated six civil wars.

Recent Rise In International Disputes Traced Back To Cute U.N. Tour Guide

NEW YORK-A recent spate of diplomatic conflicts around the globe has been linked to the hiring of an attractive tour guide by the United Nations, sources at the international organization's headquarters reported Monday.

Distractions caused by the cute, perky guide, 23-year-old Northwestern University graduate Rachel Proxmire, have been blamed for escalating tensions between Turkey and Armenia, Israel and Jordan, and the United States and North Korea, as well as for civil unrest in Honduras, Iran, and China.

"It's embarrassing," Turkish diplomat Hamit Ozan said. "One minute, I'm calmly explaining to the General Assembly our position on the alleged Armenian genocide, and the next, I see Rachel come in with a tour group and I get all flustered trying to think of something to say to get her to notice me. Before I know it, I've inadvertently acknowledged crimes my country has been denying for decades, and it's all over the news."

Added Ozan, "God, she's so pretty."

In March of this year, when Proxmire began her employment with the U.N., officials at the organization immediately noticed a lightened mood in the assembly hall, with many delegates smiling more and humming contentedly to themselves. Within a few weeks, though, the number and intensity of geopolitical disputes began to increase.

"She," Saudi delegate Ahmad Khouri said. "The first time I saw her, I was in the middle of speaking out on the deplorable treatment of the Palestinian people, and suddenly she caught my eye. I just completely lost my train of thought. She has that creamy, smooth skin-and that laugh! It's like music."

Perhaps most significantly, North Korea's increasingly hostile global relations have been traced to the tour guide, who was wearing a skirt when the Security Council placed sanctions on the country for a nuclear test it carried out in May.

"The North Korean representative was so busy staring at her that he just nodded in agreement when the council condemned his nation's weapons program and voted to freeze its assets," Eritrean diplomat Berihu Alazar said. "Then the guys from South Korea and Japan started razzing him about it, trying to look cool in front of her. He turned bright red all of a sudden and threatened to wipe everybody off the face of the earth."

"Whatever. Like any of those losers have a chance with Rachel," Alazar continued.

Proxmire's influence on international policy has not been entirely negative. In April, when it came to light that she was concerned about global warming, seven separate resolutions to limit carbon emissions were passed by an overwhelming majority. And earlier this month, delegates from all nations strengthened their ties by working jointly on an initiative to surprise the spritely blonde with cupcakes on her birthday.

"I'm completely smitten," said U.S. delegate Tony Gilbertson, smiling as he turned his gaze toward Proxmire. "I'd do anything for her."

Gilbertson later missed a crucial vote on a resolution that would have allowed the U.S. military to pursue Taliban militants into Pakistan, because he was in his office practicing the song he wrote for Rachel on his acoustic guitar.

According to U.N. sources, no diplomat has spoken directly with Proxmire at any length. The closest contact reportedly occurred when the French delegate asked her if he could borrow a pen, then ran away before she could respond.

"This is preposterous," Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said. "The member nations of this organization send their representatives here to make the world a better, safer place. We can no longer endure the consequences of...oh God, there she is! How do I look? How do I look?"

At press time, Proxmire remained oblivious to the worldwide discord she was sowing.

"Everyone here is so nice," she said. "They may be too busy to talk, but they'll go out of their way to hold the door for me, even if they have to run across the room. And if someone on the tour has a question I can't answer, there are usually a few delegates tagging along who are eager to chime in."

"All my friends wish they had this job," Proxmire added. "Even my boyfriend's thinks it's cool, and he's a musician in this really awesome indie rock band."
(c) 2009 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

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Issues & Alibis Vol 9 # 30 (c) 08/07/2009

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