Home To The World's Best Liberal Thought And Humor

Over Six Billion Served

Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Chris Hedges foresees, "A War Of Self-Destruction."

Uri Avnery explains a, "Hollow Time."

Victoria Stewart demands, "One Voice, One Vote."

Jim Hightower watches as, "Again, Congress Surrenders Its Constitutional Powers."

Mel Bartholomew sets up, "Wheelchair Gardening."

Judy Troftgruben with, "Drying Foods: Part Five."

Edward Cody reports, "Defiant Chinese Harassed, Jailed Before Olympics."

Chris Floyd has, "Road Visions."

Jim Efstathiou Jr. announces, "Hydrogen-Fuel Discovery May Spawn Solar Power, MIT Study Says."

Mike Folkerth considers, "America's Greatest Problem."

Captain Eric H. May returns with, "Anthrax Attacks -- Assassin Nation."

Mark Morford insists that you, "Buy Yourself A Life."

Sinator Lindsey Graham wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald explores, "Journalists, Their Lying Sources, And The Anthrax Investigation."

Amy Goodman says, "'It's A Global Election'."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department 'The Landover Baptist Church' presents, "A List Of Questions About Obama From America's Children" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Don't Be Facetious."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joe Heller with additional cartoons and photos from Tom Tomorrow, Mike Wrathell, John Cole, P. Jamiol, Lucas Gardner, Wizard of Whimsy, Dees Illustration.Com, Freaking News.Com, Bill Day, Square Foot Gardening, University of Illinois/Urbana-Champaign, Donna Coveney, Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Issues & Alibis and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Don't Be Facetious
By Ernest Stewart

Don't be facetious! ~ Dorothy Lamour
Oh, keep politics out of this! ~ Bob Hope
Road To Utopia

"Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe." ~~~ Albert Einstein

There are no stupid questions. Just stupid people. ~~~ Mr. Garrison

The smirked one has escaped from his handlers again and is out and about on Air Force One, this time off to embarrass us in Asia.

The Fuhrer's first stop was at Eielson Air Force Base, Alaska where he posed for photos with airmen and soldiers and worked the crowd, at one point lifting a baby in the air, reminding the troops if they didn't vote for McCain in November they'd soon find themselves in the front lines of our next war with Iran!

Then Smirkus flew off to South Korea where tens of thousands of Bush protesters were met by tens of thousands of South Korean troops armed with water cannons to keep them from tearing our west Texas porch monkey into tiny bits. Bush met with fellow fascist Lee Myung-bak to explain why we slaughtered fellow Korean fascists and refugees by the tens of thousands during the Korean War when US commanders ordered the bombing, napalming and machine-gunning of families fleeing the fighting because there might have been a commie amongst them. Bush also explained that Lee must buy and the Koreans must consume US mad cow meat if they want to sell their cars in America.

Next our national embarrassment was off to Thailand on a fact-finding tour of Bangkok's large population of preteen prostitutes. Bush promised to "get to the bottom" of this tragedy, with a "hands on" approach. The he'll be inspecting Thai products from spicy food to "golden triangle" heroin before stumbling into the palace to meet with the King whom Bush thinks is Yul Brenner!

Then it's off to Peking for some duck, plum sauce and the Olympics. Bush will meet with President Hu Jintao whom he calls "Huge Gin and Tonic." They're to discuss how the newly US supplied surveillance equipment has made it easier than before to round up hundreds of thousands of protestors, dissidents, farmers and healthy youngsters for trips to the "body parts farms" just so the Commies can look good on TV and not upset the sponsors during the games. Games which may be occasionally seen through the dense smog that blankets Beijing! There Bush will remain for a series of photo ops, which will no doubt remind many of the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

In Other News

I see where Defense Secretary Robert Gates crawled out from under his rock to defended the new "National Defense Strategy" that recommends making fighting al Qaeda and other militant groups the top military priority in coming decades and all but ignores threats from China and Russia. Gates says it's an attempt to incorporate the lessons learned from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. I'm guessing for the coming war with Iran?

"The danger is not that modernization will be sacrificed to fund asymmetric capabilities, but rather that in the future we will again neglect the latter," Gates told reporters.

The endless war for American and other corpo-rats will continue regardless of other threats! Will continue even though there is no political constituency supporting the new requirements for irregular and asymmetric warfare!

The strategy paper notes that China is expanding its conventional military capabilities and that Russia's "retreat from openness and democracy could have significant security implications for the United States." No kidding?

"I don't see either nation as a threat to the United States at this point, but they both are investing in modernization programs that are of concern," Gates said.

The paper said Russia was leveraging its oil wealth, asserting claims in the Arctic, and continues "to bully its neighbors, all of which are cause for concern."

It also pointed to Russia's resumption of long-range bomber flights, withdrawal from arms control and force reduction treaties, threats to target countries that host US missile defense bases and an increased reliance on nuclear weapons as a foundation of its security.

"All of these actions suggest a Russia exploring renewed influence, and seeking a greater international role," it said.

But Gates said the strategic environment the United States faces for the foreseeable future "will be defined by a global struggle against a violent extremist ideology that seeks to overturn the international state system. At the same time we will continue to improve and refine our capabilities to respond to China if necessary."

By all means let's ignore those nations that could wipe us out in an instant and concentrate on fulfilling our Corpo-rat and Zionist masters dreams of a Greater Middle-Eastern Co-Prosperity Sphere and the financial destruction of America!

And Finally

I'm sure you've heard by now our beloved Fuhrer's proud boast vis-a-vis Iraq...

"This has been a month of encouraging news from Iraq. Violence is down to its lowest level since the spring of 2004, and we're now in our third consecutive month with reduced violence levels holding steady. General Petraeus and Ambassador Crocker caution that the progress is still reversible, but they report that there now appears to be a "degree of durability" to the gains we have made.

A significant reason for this sustained progress is the success of the surge. Another is the increasing capability of the Iraqi forces. Iraqi forces now have 192 combat battalions in the fight --- and more than 110 of these battalions are taking the lead in combat operations against terrorists and extremists."

Then old "Tail-gunner Joe" Lieberman and his sycophant Lindsey Graham held a news conference with Lieberman saying...

"That's why Senator Graham and I are introducing a resolution recognizing the strategic success that the surge has achieved in a central front - the central front of the war on terror against the enemies who attacked America on 9/11/01, and expressing our thanks to our troops who've made that success possible."

Considering that Iraq had nothing to do with the Fuhrer's false flag attack on 911 I wrote Graham a letter since he's one of the Sinators from South Carolina where I currently hang my hat. The other Sinator being James DeMint who, not surprisingly, is our current Vidkun Quisling Award winner, proving methinks, that bad brains think a like where treason is concerned! Here's what I wrote to Lindsey...

"Senator Graham,

I see that you're joining the traitor and Israeli 5th columnist "Tail gunner Joe" Lieberman to introduce a resolution a.k.a. lie into the Senate record accusing Iraq of being behind the CIA/Saudi Arabian attack that the Bush Junta allowed to happen on the WTC, in an attempt to cover up America's WAR CRIMES and CRIMES AGAINST HUMANITY in Iraq!

Other than yourself, whom do you think you are fooling with this lie Lindsey? Why would you join with the Judas Lieberman? Are you an Israeli 5th columnist too?

Such a lie is an act of treason, is it not? America doesn't need any more lies, the seven years of lies and thousands of acts of treason by the Junta are more than enough! They've all but destroyed forever the America which we once knew and loved and replaced it with a 21st century version of Nazi Germany.

If you wonder why the people give Con-gress a 9% approval rating just look in the mirror, if you dare!

Sincerely yours,
Ernest Stewart
Managing editor
Issues & Alibis magazine
PS. You are this week's winner of the Vidkun Quisling Award!"

I requested a reply so I'll share it with you when it comes.


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

This week we lose the Poll as I don't have the funds to keep it going passed it's expiration date of August 13. It's come down to it again, bills are due and we haven't the funds to cover them. Unless you give us a hand we'll be forced to float a loan, something we cannot afford to do, to keep the magazine going. If you haven't spent all of your refund check yet please consider sending us what you can. For those of you who are as broke as we are don't send money but do tell all of your friends about the magazine and our cause. Consider staging a fundraiser with your friends and groups. One good topless car wash would straighten up our finances for the rest of the year!

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

Ernest & Victoria Stewart


12-11-1918 ~ 08-03-2008
Dasvedanya Tovarich!


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


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


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

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

A War Of Self-Destruction
By Chris Hedges

An attack on Iran, which Israeli and Bush administration officials appear set to carry out if Iranian uranium enrichment is not halted, would ignite a regional war in the Middle East and lead to economic collapse and political upheaval in the United States.

"In short and simple terms, we would be plunged into a depression that would make the Great Depression of the 1930s in which I spent my childhood look like boom times," said William R. Polk, former professor of history at the University of Chicago and a member of the Policy Planning Council under President Kennedy. "Industries would fail, banks would collapse, government revenues would dry up, universities would have to close, health care, even as limited as it now is for roughly 75 million Americans, would virtually cease. In short, something like [what] the South suffered at the end of the Civil War would plague the country."

The passage of vast amounts of oil and liquefied gas through the Persian Gulf would be disrupted. Iranian attacks, carried out with rocket- and bomb-equipped speedboats and submarines, would be deadly and effective. A classified Pentagon war game in 2002 simulated these swarming attacks by Iranian speedboats packed with explosives in the gulf; the Navy lost 16 major warships, according to a report in The New York Times. Iranian oil, which makes up 8 percent of the world's energy supply, would instantly be taken off the market. And oil would jump to over $500 a barrel and perhaps, as the conflict dragged on, to over $750 a barrel. Our petroleum-based economy would come to a halt.

Israel would be hit by Iranian Shahab-3 ballistic missiles. Hezbollah, with its new store of Iranian-supplied rockets that allegedly can reach any part of Israel, including Israel's nuclear plant at Dimona, would enter the conflict. Israel would lash back. Terrorist attacks on U.S. targets would become frequent. U.S. casualties in Iraq would mount as the Iranians rained missiles down on U.S. bases and installations, including our imperial city, the Green Zone. Chaos and mayhem would grip the Middle East. The world financial markets would go haywire.

"Even at today's price, as you know, 14 airlines have gone out of business while others are hovering on the brink of bankruptcy and most have curtailed service and laid off personnel," said Polk, one of the country's leading scholars of the Arab world. "At double or triple today's price, none could fly unless nationalized. A whole range of other industries would be quickly drawn into the quicksand. Ironically, war would push America into a form of socialist economy."

The U.S. economy is already tottering. We recently witnessed the second-largest bank failure in U.S. history, and there are fears that as many as 150 banks could fail over the next 12 to 18 months. There will be 6.5 million foreclosures over the next five years, according to Wall Street analysts. The government is furiously pumping billions of taxpayer dollars into private corporations to keep them afloat. The Congress bailed out the shareholders of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac. These bizarre "government-sponsored enterprises" own or guarantee half the mortgages in the country-some $5.1 trillion. The Federal Reserve evoked rarely used emergency powers to put billions of taxpayer dollars at risk to stop the meltdown of a non-bank, Bear Stearns, which it never regulated. More than $300 billion has been written down so far. Losses, by the time we are done, could exceed $1 trillion.

The already staggering debt generated by the war in Iraq would mushroom with an attack on Iran. Fighting wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and Iran, we would soon be struggling to pay off a debt of at least two or three times the present amount. This is a weight the U.S. economy cannot bear, especially as the dollar tumbles against the euro and other major currencies. The government has borrowed abroad roughly a quarter of our annual national income in order to pay for the Iraq debacle. We have been told for the first time by a sovereign fund (South Korean, one of the world's largest) that it will no longer buy U.S. Treasury bonds. Nobel laureate Joseph Stiglitz estimates that the final cost of the war in Iraq, once all the hidden costs are added up, could be as high as $7 trillion.

"Financial capitalism is crashing," wrote independent presidential candidate Ralph Nader. "So the lights are on late in Washington's Federal Reserve, SEC and Treasury Department trying to figure out how socialism (your tax dollars and credits) can once again bail out these big time gamblers with our money. ... Reckless, self-enriching capitalists get on your knees and thank the rescuing Washington socialists, for without them, you would surely be in chains."

A war with Iran would also have grave political consequences. The specter of millions of Americans driven out of their homes, no longer able to afford basic necessities, out of work and enraged, would, as it has throughout history, embolden messianic right-wing and proto-fascist movements. Given the potential for social unrest, basic freedoms would be curtailed and in some cases abolished in the name of order and national security. The radical fringes of the Christian right could rise up with a vengeance. They would happily ally themselves with an assortment of oddballs, lunatics and corporate behemoths from Blackwater mercenaries to frightened capitalists at Halliburton. It was economic collapse, along with a climate of fear and instability, that was used to build the fascist and communist movements that plagued Germany, Italy and the Soviet Union during the last century. These same forces led to the collapse of the former Yugoslavia. We are not immune to these distortions.

But maybe those who advocate a war with Iran know all this. Maybe this is what they want. Maybe they understand that a war with Iran would finally kill off our weakened and anemic democracy. Maybe they see this as the dawn of a new era, an era when the last impediments to a global totalitarian capitalism can finally be removed and we can all be ground under the corporate jack boot, from Shanghai to New Delhi to Ohio. There are huge corporations that make obscene profits from human misery. They run our health care industry. They run our oil and gas companies. They run our bloated weapons industry. They run Wall Street and the major investment firms. They run our manufacturing firms. They also, ominously, run our government.
(c) 2008 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.

Hollow Time
By Uri Avnery

EHUD OLMERT'S resignation speech reached us on our way back from a demonstration.

We were protesting the death of Ahmad Moussa, aged 10, who was murdered during a demonstration against the Separation Fence at Na'ilin village - the fence that robs the village of most of its land in order to give it to the nearby settlement. A soldier aimed and shot the child with live ammunition at close range.

The protesters stood under the windows of the Minister of Defense's apartment in the luxurious Akirov Towers in Tel-Aviv and shouted: "Ehud Barak, Minister of Defense / How many children have you murdered so far?"

A short while later, Olmert spoke about his strenuous efforts to achieve peace, and promised to continue them until his last day in office.

The two events - the demonstration and the speech - are bound together. Together they provide an accurate picture of the era: peace speeches in the air and atrocities on the ground.

I AM not about to join the choir of retrospective heroes, who are now falling upon Olmert's political corpse and tearing it to pieces.

Not an attractive sight. I have seen this happen several times in my life, and every time it disgusts me.

This phenomenon is not particular to Israel. It can be found in the history and literature of many times and places: "The Rise and Fall of..."

It's an old story. People grovel in the dust at the feet of their hero. The ambitious and avaricious prance around him. Court-poets and court-jesters sing his praises, and their modern successors - the media people - extol his virtues. And then, one day, he falls from his pedestal and they trample all over him without mercy and without shame.

This is the mob that idolized Moshe Dayan after the Six-day War, and then smashed his statue into pieces after the Yom-Kippur war. The mob that kicked David Ben-Gurion viciously after years of boundless flattery. That toppled Golda Meir after following her blindly. I certainly struggled against all three of them when they were at the height of their power, but the rush of the political mob to trample upon their bodies after they had fallen was simply loathsome.

Now this is happening again. I have never been captivated by the charms of Ehud Olmert. I have followed his career from the moment he appeared on the stage to the moment he announced his resignation. I saw nothing to arouse my admiration. But now, when I see and hear the outpouring of abuse upon him by those who exalted him to high heavens only yesterday, I feel like averting my eyes. The right to criticize him is reserved for those who have struggled against him over the years.

HE IS a total politician, and nothing else. Not a statesman. Not a leader. Not a man with a vision. Only a political technician. Intelligent. A very smooth speaker. I friend among friends. A politician for whom power is the aim, not a means to achieve an aim.

The first time I came across him was almost 40 years ago. He was then an assistant of Shmuel Tamir, in the most concrete sense: he assisted him in carrying his bags.

Before this, something had happened that was to characterize the whole career of this ambitious man. Tamir, then a young Knesset member for the Herut party (today's Likud), thought he had an opportunity to topple Menachem Begin and take over the party. He tried to push him out during the party convention, and for a moment it seemed that he would succeed. Begin, then 53, seemed totally worn-out after suffering six consecutive election defeats. Olmert, then 21, jumped onto the rebels' bandwagon and made a passionate speech against the legendary leader.

But his calculations were faulty. Begin sprang into action and delivered a death blow to the conspirators. They were thrown out of the party in disgrace. Olmert remained with the tiny faction around Tamir, which presented itself as a moderate party, attuned to the peace-seeking mood of the country at the time, mocking the nationalistic stance of Herut ("Both sides of the Jordan belong to us"). But then the Six-day War changed the public mood completely, the weathercock turned and Tamir coined the popular slogan "Liberated Territory shall not be Returned!" Without batting an eyelid, Olmert the moderate turned into Olmert the extremist.

But in that small faction there were too many chiefs and not enough Injuns. The road to advancement was blocked. Before long, Olmert engineered a split in order to become the No. 2 in an even smaller faction. He later split that one too and pushed out its veteran leader, Eliezer Shostak. The proceedings bordered on farce: Olmert ran off with the faction's rubber stamp.

After the 1973 elections, Olmert return to the Likud at long last and became candidate No. 24 on the party's election list. Before that he had not been idle: he finished law school and flourished financially, using his connections in the Knesset and the corridors of power for his clients' benefit. That's when he perfected the method of exploiting the connections between power and money, a method that he practiced ever since and that eventually caused his downfall.

In the Knesset, the young member was looking for a way to attract attention. At the time, the media invented "organized crime", long before it came into being. (A wag jested: "In Israel, nothing is organized. So how come crime is suddenly organized?") Olmert smelled a horse he could ride on. He made rousing speeches, waved papers in the style of Joe McCarthy, presented himself as a valiant fighter against the criminals and reaped a lot of publicity. It was an empty performance: even the police chiefs confirmed that it did not contribute anything to the struggle against crime. But it was a good example of what later came to be known as "spin."

IN 1977, Menachem Begin came to power. But he had not the least intention of promoting the man who, 11 years earlier, had tried to stick a knife in his back. Among his other strengths, Begin had a good memory. When Olmert saw that his career in the Knesset was going nowhere, he decided in 1993 to make an Olympic jump: he declared his candidacy for the office of Mayor of Jerusalem.

Mayor Teddy Kollek was popular, but old and tired. Olmert won. Today there is general agreement about his tenure: he was a bad mayor. The city deteriorated, poverty increased, young people left for other places and the Arab neighborhoods were criminally neglected. In 1996, he pushed Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu into opening a tunnel leading from the Western Wall to the Muslim quarter, causing a conflagration that killed 17 Israeli soldiers and almost 100 Palestinians. He never expressed any remorse.

He also pushed for the creation of the Har Homa settlement between Jerusalem and Bethlehem, which has caused unending friction with the Palestinian community. All the recent attacks in Jerusalem were carried out by youngsters who grew up in the Arab neighborhoods adjacent to Har Homa. Olmert presented himself as the Judaizer of Jerusalem and as a fearless national fighter.

But when he ran for Likud chairman in 1999, he was easily beaten by Ariel Sharon. He got only the 32nd place on the Likud election list (out of 38 who won Knesset seats). His rational reaction was to get on Sharon's wagon and push him into leaving the Likud and creating a new party, Kadima.

That was a successful bet, testifying to his sharp political senses. Under Sharon he became the de facto No. 2 of the new party and Sharon's official "Deputy Prime Minister" (as a consolation prize, after Sharon could not give him the Treasury but only the far less important Ministry of Industry and Trade). At the time it looked like an empty title, but when Sharon suffered a stroke, Olmert adroitly took over his job. The long and meandering road had finally led to the summit.

SHARON'S SUCCESSOR was his opposite in almost every respect. Sharon was a rather maladroit politician and a poor speaker, but a determined leader with a clear political vision. He had an aim and strove towards it consistently. Olmert is a politician, soul and body, a complete opportunist and a smooth speaker, but lacks charisma and has no vision. He is satisfied with the routine mantra of a democratic, Jewish state.

After coming to power through the accident of Sharon's stroke, he tried at first to look as if he was following the same path. Sharon wanted to turn Israel into a strong, compact state by annexing the settlement blocs and leaving the Arab enclaves to a weak "Palestinian state." For this purpose he carried out the Gaza "separation". Olmert promised to do the same in the West Bank, but gave up the idea almost immediately. Throughout his term of office he invented grandiose schemes at a dizzying rate, with each of them doing little more than providing fuel to his spin-machine.

His incompetence as a leader and commander soon revealed itself. Lebanon War II was a disastrous scandal. The media, which had applauded enthusiastically at the beginning of the war, attacked him after the event for its "faulty execution," but ignored the main failure: the very decision to go to war without a clear and realistic aim and without a political and military strategy.

His incompetence as statesman and strategist was equaled by his competence as politician and survival artist. The fact that he held on for an additional two years after such a monumental failure testifies to his political acumen, but also to the degeneration of the Israeli political system.

After the war he was desperately in need of a new horse to ride. He chose the "political process" - negotiations with the Palestinians, and later on also with the Syrians.

This choice is significant: his sensitive political nose smelled that this is now the really popular thing: not Greater Israel, not the settlements, but peace negotiations and "two states for two peoples" - the more so as this was already popular with the US and Europe.

This week, Arab leaders complained that now "the political process will begin again from Square One." That is a complete misunderstanding: the "process" has never left Square One. It was wholly without content, wholly "spin." The "process" has become a substitute for peace, the idea of a "shelf agreement" a substitute for a real peace agreement. There was never any possibility that Olmert would dare to provoke the settlers.

The final summing-up of the Olmert era: not the smallest real step toward peace has been taken. The historic peace initiative of the Arab League has been buried. The secular, peace-seeking Palestinian leadership has been almost destroyed, paving the way for the Hamas takeover in the Gaza strip, and perhaps also in the West Bank. Not one single hut in a settlement was dismantled, and the settlements have been enlarged everywhere.

In one respect, Olmert resembled Sharon: they both loved money almost as much as power (as do Netanyahu and Barak). They both cultivated close relations with billionaires. They both trailed behind them a cloud of corruption wherever they went.

This did not hurt Sharon. He radiated leadership, and the scandals did not really harm him. He was robust enough to carry them on his back. Olmert, being much more fragile, was crushed by them.

In the end, he has fallen: not because of the criminal war, not because of his lack of seriousness in pursuing peace, not because of the appointment of a Minister of Justice whose aim is to destroy the judicial system, but because of cash in envelopes and free trips abroad.

WHEN FUTURE historians look for a way to characterize this chapter in the annals of the state, one word will readily present itself, the one the writer David Grossman applied in a similar context: hollow.

It was a hollow era. A hole in time. A meaningless period, devoid of content (though not for those who paid the price with their lives, destruction and ruins.)

And that is also the suitable title for Olmert himself. A hollow politician, devoid of vision.

Anyone researching the headlines of these two years will find a lot of drama there. A lot of initiatives. A lot of slogans. A lot of spin. A lot of hot air. And the sum of all this: nothing.

A hollow leader of a hollow party pursuing hollow policies in a hollow political system.
(c) 2008 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

One Voice, One Vote
By Victoria Stewart

In the decades before George W. Bush stole an election, overthrew the Constitution, plunged this country into an abyss of state-condoned torture, and supported and promoted a doctrine of terrorism and greed, in those bygone, halcyon days when Ronald Reagan was not a hero to Democratic presidential candidates and lip service was still paid to the causes of equality and justice, ordinary people went about the work of helping others. Child abuse, rape, domestic violence, education, reproductive rights, access to birth control and health care, poverty, institutional racism, homelessness and AIDS awareness were all issues that gained national attention. Even as Bill Clinton subverted commitment to the rights and wellbeing of American workers and the poor, ordinary Americans continued to work for important social and economic causes. Today we hardly hear about child abuse until someone's children are hideously murdered. Statistics on homelessness don't make the evening news. The work that millions of Americans do every day to stem the tide of misery and make the world a better, safer place is overlooked and ignored by those who control the news and thus, our national perception.

An unexpected consequence of the illegal and immoral government of George W. Bush and the current Congress has been the growing awareness of the American public. Despite the slash and burn tactics of economic oppression and jingoistic war rhetoric, the American consciousness is expanding. Witness the single digit approval rating given to this Congress. Americans want change. We want to believe we have the ability to change, to hope, to create a better life on this planet. We want to believe we are the people we thought we were.

The stories that most grab the American imagination are those of "right overcoming might," of unlikely heroines and modest heroes. The national myth is the triumph of ordinary people over the forces of evil. It is apparent in the movies that we make, the books we read and the champions we choose. For all the criticism heaped upon the American public-and I've done my share-we are still a people capable of amazing resourcefulness and generosity.

The campaigns of John McCain and Barack Obama do not reflect the nature and heart of the American people. All but the most rabid of their supporters know these candidates do not really represent the people and do not support the common good. The social problems and the daily tragedies that affect millions of American families are not part of the conversations these men have. The work of protecting children from abuse, providing health care and decent living conditions for the poor, championing the rights of the disenfranchised, caring for those "least among us"-all the work that is done every day by dedicated and honest Americans-does not register on the political radar.

We-we the people--are told by the media and the pundits and our "leaders" that our vote is the most important tool we possess in this republic known as the United States. It is, so the story goes, the way to express our views, to bring about change, to protect the democratic process and ensure the rule of law. We are also cautioned against "throwing away" that precious vote by casting it for someone who has no chance of winning-the ill-conceived and ill-fated third party candidate. And I confess, I have believed that in the past-particularly in the instance of Ralph Nader's Green Party candidacy. This time around, however, I believe that way of thinking is not only wrong but dangerously so.

We have plenty of people telling us what is wrong with this country and offering no solutions. We have a ravening horde of politicians offering vague plans and empty promises. We have battalions of bland-faced, corporate-owned media celebrities telling us what future to fear and what future to want. We have a well-organized machine insisting we have only two choices.

But they lie.

Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente represent the undiluted essence of positive change. If you want hope, if you want change, if you want to feel like you are being heard, read the Ten Key Values of the Green Party. Listen to the speeches of both Clemente and McKinney. Think about your life and your family and your community. Think about what your vote has meant in the past. Ask yourself when, exactly, a politician listened to you or had even a glimmer of an idea what your life was like.

And then...

raise your voice about what is right with America. Raise your voice for the values that are important to you. Bring the power of that national myth, the belief in the common good, the determination to overcome tyranny and injustice, the privilege and the duty to stand for freedom and justice, into the national consciousness and into the voting booth.

In this election my vote will not be thrown away. It will not be cast for the lesser of two evils and it will not be given in support of the corruption that has brought our country to its knees. Those of us who have spent our lives working for the rights of children, women, minorities, the poor, the homeless, the millions of forgotten and discarded humans, finally have candidates we can believe in and candidates who believe in us.
(c) 2008 Victoria Stewart is the editor of Issues & Alibis magazine.

Again, Congress Surrenders Its Constitutional Powers

Don't you wish now that your parents had named you Fannie or Freddie? Sure, these are old-fashioned names, but maybe you could have parlayed your moniker into a piece of the massive bailout that Washington has arranged for the two mortgage financiers, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac.

Both the Bush White House and the Democratic leaders of Congress have insisted that this bailout of private investors is essential, because our country's financial structure is tied into the shaky mortgages that Fannie and Freddie hold. Whether you buy that or not, however, one thing Congress definitely should not have bought is the Bushites' pernicious blueprint for the bailout.

The plan is yet another fumble by a meek and easily-panicked Congress that's all too willing to abdicate its own responsibilities, carelessly handing over its constitutional powers to the always-grasping Bush White House. As pointed out by economic scholar Martin Mayer, the bailout scheme puts two of Congress's designated constitutional powers into the hands of the treasury secretary.

First, the new law turns congressional control of our national purse over to the secretary. He is empowered - at his own discretion - to dole out unlimited billions of our federal dollars to Fannie and Freddie. Never mind that the Constitution explicitly says that only congress can appropriate public monies. Second, the secretary is given authority to use the credit of the United States to raise money to loan to these two mortgage giants - yet, the Constitution says that only congress can borrow on our national credit.

Mayer notes that the Exchange Stabilization Fund, which has been on the books since FDR set it up in1934, could have handled any financial support that Fannie and Freddie needed, without subverting congressional authority. So why, he asks, did congress set up a risky, unconstitutional, executive scheme to bail out the two corporations? Good question.
(c) 2008 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Wheelchair Gardening
By Mel Bartholomew

Square Foot Gardening is the ONLY method of gardening available to someone in a wheelchair. They cannot do single row, wide row, French intensive, raised bed, lasagna layers, or any other gardening method know to man.

The reason is that all of those other methods require a lot of space and must be located on the ground. Square Foot Gardening is the ONLY method that uses so little space (only 20% of a single row garden) and it can be done in a box raised to sitting height. A 3' x 5' long box with a plywood bottom can be set on any table and a wheelchair can be rolled right up to it from all sides. Reaching into the first or second square is a snap and with a plywood bottom, the box or the entire table, is very portable and can be moved about.

Knowing the soil dries out quicker in an exposed box, I would use 1" x 8" pine or redwood lumber for the sides making the soil about 7" deep. Assemble with deck screws, add a 1/2" thick plywood bottom with 1/4" drainage holes drilled one per square foot plus one extra per corner. Attach with deck screws from the bottom.

If you fill your box with Mel's mix (see "How to" rule #5 " GRID - Make a permanent square foot grid for the top of each box. A MUST!"), your garden soil will be so loose and friable, you don't need any tools beyond a pencil (for poking seed holes) and an inexpensive trowel. Don't buy the $6 heavy-duty imported from Germany trowels -- get the $1 variety. You see Square Foot Gardening even saves you money. Don't plant an entire $1.89 package of seeds each time, just a pinch (about 2 cents worth) in each hole. There you are, more money saved (see our "How to" rule #8 "PLANT - Conserve seeds. Plant only a pinch (2 or 3 seeds) per hole. Place transplants in a slight saucer-shaped depression.).

I've learned from talking to people confined to a wheelchair, both temporarily and permanently, that they go through a very demoralizing period. They realize they're no longer independent in taking care of themselves but now, and possibly forever, will have to rely on someone else to help them complete even the simplest of chores or events like answering the door, or going out to get the mail or reaching for things on the floor or up on a shelf. Just picture our traditional homes and apartments. Everything is built or located on the ground of up high, all based on someone that can bend, reach and walk about easily.

It must be a frightening world. I don't know how I would react. Can you picture yourself in that situation? I used to kid my daughter, Gail (before she passed away in October of 2000) who always told me "I'll take care of you Dad when you get old and feeble" that it would be a pleasure just to lay in bed all day with nothing to do but read, think, talk on the phone and ring my little bell constantly for attention. Guess how quickly that bell would have gotten "misplaced?"

But seriously folks, we have no idea what it would be like to become incapacitated or challenged in such a busy, complicated, frightening world. A little garden could bring such peace and tranquility to so many people - and it's up to us to see that they get it.
(c) 2008 Mel Bartholomew is an inventor, author, and founder of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

Drying Food Part #5
Drying Meat
By Judy Troftgruben

Drying, smoking, and salting were the only methods of preserving meat for thousands of years. Early American settlers dried much of their meat because they could not carry a fresh supply when traveling across the country. Today, dried meat, more commonly known as jerky, is usually prepared in an oven instead of being dried in the sun as it was years ago.

Jerky is a popular snack. It is sold almost anywhere that carries snack foods - from grocery stores to gas stations. It is a favorite with campers, hikers, and hunters because it is compact, lightweight, and keeps a long time.

Drying meat is considered "playing with food" by some people because, thanks to today's modern food industry, fresh meat is almost always available. But jerky has value as a convenient backpacking food and as a nutritious snack food. Besides, jerky is fun to make at home, and it costs only about half as much as an equal weight of commercially made jerky.


Any lean meat can be dried. Beef and venison are especially good; fish and poultry dry well, too. Be sure to use fresh, lean meat and cut off all fat and connective tissue. Fat becomes rancid easily and will spoil the dried meat.

Partly freezing the meat before cutting makes it easy to slice. Slice with the grain into long, thin, even strips. Slice with the grain instead of crosswise makes the jerky chewy and less brittle. The strips should be about 1/8 to 1/4 inch thick, 1 to 1-l/2 inches wide, and 4 to 12 inches long. Thin slices of meat will dry faster than thick ones. Any wild game meat should be frozen for at least 30 days to lower the chances of trichinosis infection by killing parasite larvae.

Meat may be dried as is, or it may be seasoned to suit your own taste. Salt and pepper are the basic ingredients. In the drying method, however, salt is used only as a seasoning, not as a preservative. It is crucial, therefore, that the oven temperature be maintained above 140 degrees F. to prevent spoilage during the drying process. Keep in mind that too much seasoning will overpower the meat flavor.

Place seasoned meat in a crockery, plastic, glass, or stainless steel bowl or pan, and cover. Marinate the meat overnight or for about 12 hours in the refrigerator at 40 F. (4 C.).

The marinade recipe on the following page makes delicious jerky.

Marinade Recipe

5 lbs. lean meat
1/2 cup soy sauce
2 tbsp. Worchestershire sauce
1/2 tsp. each pepper, garlic powder, ground ginger
2 tsp. hickory smoke-flavored salt (optional)

Mix marinade ingredients in a bowl. Add strips of meat and stir to coat all surfaces. Cover and refrigerate overnight. Remove strips, blot off excess moisture.

The flavor of jerky can be varied by marinating the strips in mixtures such as teriyaki sauce, sweet and sour sauce, hot chili sauce, or your own favorite marinade. Or you may simply coat the meat with the marinade. The marinade should not contain oil because oil will become rancid and spoil the meat. For full flavor allow enough time for the seasoning to be absorbed into the meat (about 12 hours).


Oven Drying

Arrange the seasoned strips of meat on cake racks or directly on oven racks. The edges of the strips may touch, but they should not overlap. Leave space at the edges of the racks so that air can circulate around the meat as it dries. Set the oven on the lowest possible temperature and maintain at about 140 degrees to 150 F. (60 to 65 C.). Use an oven thermometer to check the temperature. To prevent the meat from sticking to the racks, turn the strips over every hour or so.

Keep the oven door slightly ajar to allow the moist air to escape and to control the oven temperature. An electric fan placed in front of the oven door will help the air circulate and shorten the drying time. When drying marinated meat, you may need to line the bottom of the oven with aluminum foil to catch the drippings. Oven drying takes from 10 to 12 hours.

Drying in a Food Dryer

You can also use a food dryer for making jerky. Place the slices of meat on the racks. Put a piece of aluminum foil below the bottom rack if necessary to catch the drippings. Leave l inches of space around the foil to allow hot air to rise from the heating unit. Turn the strips of meat over occasionally to keep them from sticking to the rack.

Do not dry seasoned meat at the same time you are drying other foods in the dryer because the meat will give a strong odor to the other foods. This is also true if you are drying meat in the oven. Making jerky in the food dryer will take a little longer than in the oven because the temperature is usually slightly lower.

Smokehouse Drying

If you have a smokehouse, you can use it for making jerky. Lay seasoned strips of meat on racks or hang them from the ceiling of the smokehouse. Starting temperature should be 80 degrees F. (27 C.), then it should be increased gradually to 120 F. (49 C.). Smoke the jerky until it is the desired texture (24 to 48 hours).

Use any hardwood such as hickory or oak for smoking. Do not use pine, fir, or conifers because the resin (sap) bums and creates an undesirable smoke. Put aluminum foil or a metal tray under the meat to catch the drippings. If you don't do this the drippings will bum and produce smoke that gives the meat an unpleasant flavor.

Air Drying

Meat strips can be air dried, but this requires very hot, dry weather. Place strips on the grill of an outdoor barbecue. Or string them on heavy string or fishing line and hang outside in a sunny, airy place for several days. Bring the meat indoors at night so that it doesn't absorb moisture.

Air drying is not as satisfactory as oven drying or smoking because the temperature cannot be controlled. Also, the meat may be exposed to unsanitary conditions from dirt in the air. Outdoor drying may invite unwanted guests such as dogs, cats, wild animals, and insects. If practical, cover the meat loosely with cheesecloth to prevent contamination.


Don't let the meat get too hard and dry for your taste. If the jerky is not dry enough, though, it will spoil. The finished product is dark brown or almost black and feels hard and dry. Test a piece by bending it. It should break like a green twig -not snap clean like a dry stick. Be sure to let the jerky cool before testing, because when it is warm, it will still be pliable no matter how dry it is. The final product will be about a fourth of the original weight.


As soon as the meat is sufficiently dried, remove the racks from the oven or dryer and pat off any beads of melted fat that may have formed. Let the jerky cool first, then take it off the racks. Store in clean, airtight plastic, glass, crockery, or metal containers with tightfitting lids. Pack tightly to remove as much air as possible, but do not crush. Store in a cool, dry place such as the pantry, basement, or kitchen cupboards.

Although jerky will last almost indefinitely, it starts to lose its flavor-after a few months.
(c) 1984/2008 Judy Troftgruben, Extension Specialist, Foods and Nutrition and revised by Mary Keith, Assistant Professor, Foods and Nutrition, and Extension Specialist, Foods, Cooperative Extension Service, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Defiant Chinese Harassed, Jailed Before Olympics
Crackdown defies vow Beijing made to be host.
By Edward Cody

Zhengding, China - Behind the gray walls and barbed wire of the prison here, eight Chinese farmers with a grievance against the government have been consigned to Olympic limbo.

Their indefinite detainment, relatives and neighbors said, is the price they are paying for stirring up trouble as China prepares to host the Beijing Games. Trouble, the Communist Party has made clear, will not be permitted.

"My bet is the authorities won't let them out until after the Olympics," said Wang Xiahua, a veteran anti-government agitator from this farm town 180 miles southwest of Beijing and a supporter of the imprisoned farmers.

The Olympic Games have become the occasion for a broad crackdown against dissidents, gadflies and malcontents this summer. Although human rights activists say they have no accurate estimate of how many people have been imprisoned, they believe the figure to be in the thousands.

The crackdown comes seven years after the secretary general of the Beijing Olympic Bid Committee declared that staging the Games in the Chinese capital would "not only promote our economy but also enhance all social conditions, including education, health and human rights."

Now, human rights have been set back rather than enhanced, activists say.

"The Olympics have reversed the clock," said Nicholas Bequelin, a Hong Kong-based specialist for Human Rights in China.

Another foreign human rights advocacy group, Amnesty International, came to a similar conclusion in a report issued Monday titled "The Olympics Countdown - Broken Promises."

"By continuing to persecute and punish those who speak out for human rights, the Chinese authorities have lost sight of the promises they made when they were granted the Games seven years ago," said Roseann Rife, Amnesty's Asia-Pacific deputy director. "The Chinese authorities are tarnishing the legacy of the Games."

The repressive atmosphere has intensified in part because senior Communist Party officials seem to be just as determined to prevent embarrassing protests - which could be televised - as they are to avert terrorist attacks during the Olympics. In exhortations to security forces, Public Security Ministry commanders and Xi Jinping, the senior Communist Party leader in charge of Olympic preparations, repeatedly have said that police must block any attempt to damage China's image.

Despite these concerns, President Bush and many other world leaders have accepted China's invitation to attend the Olympic opening ceremony on Friday. After saying for months that the Games should be viewed only as a sporting event, Bush met with Chinese rights activists Tuesday and said he would use the opportunity to remind President Hu Jintao of U.S. support for human rights. The Foreign Ministry criticized his gesture, calling it interference in China's internal affairs. But his decision to attend was still being interpreted as endorsement of China's contention that the Olympic Games are not an appropriate stage for human rights appeals.

Bequelin, the researcher at Human Rights in China, said the opportunity for foreign governments to use the Olympics to pressure China on human rights has passed in any case, because world leaders are likely to be reluctant to embarrass Hu and other party leaders with strong stands during China's moment in the sun.

"It is a new low for the international community to see all these state leaders going to Beijing without saying anything about the repressive environment in which the Games are being held," he added.

The Olympics were far from the minds of the Zhengding farmers when they took on authorities a little more than a year ago. As is frequently the case in China, their problem was a decision by local authorities to seize their land to make way for economic development, specifically an expansion of the airport for the nearby city of Shijiazhuang. The land was taken, they said, but the full compensation never made its way into their pockets.

After a series of protests, 10 of the disgruntled farmers were arrested in June 2007. They were tried in a local court and convicted in November of illegal gatherings and disrupting social stability. But in January, relatives said, an appeals court in Shijiazhuang overturned the convictions, citing lack of evidence, and they were released pending a retrial.

In releasing them, police also warned that the protests had to stop, particularly during the Olympic period. When they refused to back down - and after a Beijing reporter inquired about their fate - the 10 were arrested again last month.

One took sick and had to be hospitalized, neighbors said, and another was released after convincing authorities he would be quiet. The other eight were confined to the Zhengding Detainment Center on the edge of town, where a notice posted at the entrance says that during the Olympic period, their families cannot visit or bring gifts, "except cash."

Human rights activists said many of those imprisoned during the Olympic crackdown are being held for short periods without formal legal proceedings.

"Thousands of people, including petitioners who have gone to Beijing seeking justice from the government, have been swept up in efforts to clean up the city before the games," Amnesty International said in its report issued Monday.

Traveling to Beijing to complain has a long history in China, dating from imperial times and carried on since the Communist Party took over in 1949. Chinese upset with their local party and government leaders almost invariably express belief that national leaders would solve the problem if only they were aware of it.

With increasing urgency, however, the central government has urged local party officials to solve such problems on the spot to reduce the number of people showing up in Beijing.

As a result, party officials in Zhengding and other such towns have organized a series of meetings recently to receive citizen complaints. But the other side of the coin has been reinforced determination by security forces to prevent travel by dissidents determined to visit the capital anyway.

Li Zijing, a 46-year-old surgeon who complained that a hospital in Jiangxi province botched his kidney treatment, said he went to Beijing in March for the second time to petition for redress. But Jiangxi officials took him into custody and made him return, he said, and since the beginning of July four or five people guard his house lest he try again.

"No matter where we go, they follow us," he said. "They said they were hired by the hospital, and surveillance will last for the next four months. It is said the Olympics are approaching so they worry about us petitioners."

Security forces seem determined to prevent those and other dissidents from finding an echo in the media, human rights activists said, particularly the foreign media that have been reinforced in China during the Olympic period. To do so, they said, authorities have devised a panoply of measures ranging from warnings, intimidation, surveillance, travel restrictions and house arrest to outright detention.

A well-known human rights activist in Beijing, for instance, sent this cellphone message Wednesday afternoon: "The police come to my place, waiting outside, and I do not know what they want to do with me." The activist was detained for 18 days last month on suspicion of planning protests during the Olympics. This time, she said, the police went away after she refused to leave home.

Similarly, Yuan Weijing, the wife of imprisoned activist Chen Guangcheng, said the number of guards watching her home in the Shangdong province town of Linyi has risen from 10 to more than 40. "Because of the Olympics approaching, people like me - nothing more than a rights defender's wife - are being specially protected by the government," she said in a statement disseminated by Human Rights in China.

Two longtime activists were put under detention last week in what amounted to unexplained extensions of earlier terms.

Du Daobin, a dissident Internet writer, was ordered back to jail July 24 after a court revoked an earlier suspended sentence just as the probationary period was about to end. Authorities said he had violated terms of the probation by posting comments on the Internet and receiving unauthorized visitors at his Hebei province home.

Ye Guozhu, a housing rights activist in Beijing, was detained last Saturday on suspicion of disturbing public order just as he was scheduled to be released after serving an earlier jail term connected to his anti-government agitation.

Ye's brother, Ye Guoqiang, told Human Rights in China that authorities notified the family on the day of his scheduled release.

"Ye's brother said authorities refused to explain how Ye Guozhu could gather a crowd to disturb public order while in prison," the rights group reported. "Ye Guoqiang believes they intend to block possible foreign media contact with his brother and will keep him in custody at least until after the Beijing Olympic Games have ended."
(c) 2008 Edward Cody

Road Visions
Adventures in the Poison Factory
By Chris Floyd

I'm on the road right now, will be back in a few days, with only sporadic contact with the virtual world of the blogosphere-- and the hallucinated world of "higher politics."

However, I do note, in just the briefest dip into the digital waters, that Cheney and the gang have been up to their old Hitlerian "let's fake a casus belli" tricks in regard to a war on Iran, while the American corporate media continues to cover up -- eagerly, slavishly -- what Glenn Greenwald rightly calls one of the most important and astounding stories of our time: how the Bush Administration completely concocted false evidence pointing to Saddam Hussein's involvement in the post-9/11 anthrax terrorism, then fed these lies to the aforementioned eager, slavish corporate media hacks at ABC. As Greenwald notes, the hacks know exactly who feed them these lies -- which were instrumental in fomenting war fever for the act of aggression against Iraq -- but they refuse to give up these conniving, traitorous wretches.

Still think you're living in a free country, with a free press? We've said it before and we'll say it again: at this point, anyone in public office who acknowledges the Bush Faction as being in any way a legitimate government -- instead of a pack of criminals in need of immediate and relentless prosecution -- is in fact complicit in the Faction's crimes.

As I wrote here awhile back:

Tomorrow is here. The game is over. The crisis has passed -- and the patient is dead. Whatever dream you had about what America is, it isn't that anymore. It's gone. And not just in some abstract sense, some metaphorical or mythological sense, but down in the nitty-gritty, in the concrete realities of institutional structures and legal frameworks, of policy and process, even down to the physical nature of the landscape and the way that people live.

The Republic you wanted -- and at one time might have had the power to take back -- is finished. You no longer have the power to keep it; it's not there. It was kidnapped in December 2000, raped by the primed and ready exploiters of 9/11, whored by the war pimps of the 2003 aggression, gut-knifed by the corrupters of the 2004 vote, and raped again by its "rescuers" after the 2006 election. Beaten, abused, diseased and abandoned, it finally died. We are living in its grave....

"How does it become a man to behave toward this American government to-day? I answer that he cannot without disgrace be associated with it." - Thoreau

.....The time has passed for ordinary political opposition, "within the system." The system itself has been perverted and converted into something else; it is now impossible to "work within the system" in the old understanding of that term, because that old system is gone. To work within the current system is to collaborate with evil, to give it legitimacy.

Thoreau's answer should be taken up by every person in public life, beginning with the Senators and Representatives in Congress, and radiating outward to all other elected officials in the 50 states, and to civil servants and other government employees, law enforcement agencies, judges, universities, contractors, banks, and on and on, throughout the vast, intricate web that binds the lives of so many people directly to the federal government. There should be non-compliance, non-recognition of this illegitimate authority, disassociation from taking part in its workings.

But we must also recognize that the kind of civil disobedience that Thoreau preached - and practiced - is immensely more difficult today, because the power of the state is so much greater, far more pervasive, more invasive...and much more implacable, more inhuman. No one would have dared put Thoreau in "indefinite detention" without charges, or torture him, or delegate some underling in intelligence apparatus (which didn't exist then) to kill him as a "suspected terrorist." Of course there were many egregious suspensions of Constitutional liberties and draconian measures during the Civil War; but these occasioned fierce fights in Congress, investigations, lawsuits, and outraged protests on the streets - the worst, by far, in American history, dwarfing the urban riots and war protests of the Sixties. But only the most ignorant fool - or devious liar - could compare these short-lived, ad hoc, inconsistently applied, frequently reversed and much-disputed depredations, carried out in the midst of a massive insurrection by fully-fledged armies on American soil, with today's thorough-going, systematic creation of an authoritarian state, on the basis of a zealous ideology of an unrestricted "unitary executive," operating in a nebulous, self-declared "state of war" that we are told will last for generations.

Neither Thoreau - nor any Northern opponent of the Civil War - confronted anything like this. (In fact, neither did the insurrectionists of the South, who were treated as lawful prisoners-of-war when captured - or often simply allowed to return to their homes on parole, in exchange for a simple statement that they would fight no more. No Southerner was ever subjected to indefinite detention, none were tortured, none were liquidated by secret agents.) The technology available to the government today amplifies the scope of repression immeasurably, both in the pinpoint, surreptitious targeting of individuals and in larger-scale operations.

In a land crawling with armed - and armored - SWAT teams, with operatives from innumerable federal agencies packing heat and happy to use it, a land where more than 2 million people languish in prison (many of them captives of an endless "war on drugs" that has done nothing to curb substance abuse but has greatly augmented the power of the state and the criminal gangs whose laundered money enriches Establishment elites), a land where almost every transaction is wired up to some national grid, where national ID cards are now being imposed - a land where you literally cannot exist without placing your liberty, your privacy, your very life at the mercy of a government apparatus besotted with violence, coercion and intrusion, there is no place left for the kind of action that Thoreau advocated. His way - and that of Gandhi and King, who took so much from him - envisions a state opponent which one could hope to shame into honorable action by the superior moral force of principled civil disobedience. But the very hallmark of the present regime is its shamelessness, its utter lack of any sense of honor or principle, its bestial addiction to raw power.

It is pointless - and counterproductive - to simply throw yourself under the wheels of such a monstrous machine in futile spasms of rage and despair. The machine doesn't care. It will gladly chew up your life and move on. For the action of the ordinary individual to have an effect, it must be amplified by a larger social movement. And it is difficult to imagine such a movement arising in America today, in a society atomized by the engines of profiteering, its communities gutted or abandoned by elites seeking greener pastures - and cheaper labor - elsewhere, its citizens isolated from one another, locked in their own bubbles of electronic diversion, and their own struggles to keep their jobs (unprotected by unions, subject to the arbitrary whim of local bosses, or faceless corporate masters, or predatory hedge funds, etc.), hang on to their health insurance (if they've got it), and stay out of the hell created by the bipartisan Bankruptcy Bill for the benefit of the credit card companies.

And despite the deep unpopularity of the regime, there is still a widespread reluctance to recognize its true nature, and what it will require to restore our constitutional republic. And truth to tell, there are a great many people uninterested in doing so. As long as the diversions keep pouring through the latest gadgetry, the monthly paycheck manages to cover the bills, and their own bodies are not subjected to the tyrant's evil, many people are happy to accept the authoritarian system. (This is not unique to Americans, of course; it is a constant in human history.) But even where there is an interest in discerning the reality of our times, and a yearning for change, again there is no broader movement to leverage an individual's dissent into a form large enough to thwart the tyrannical machine. And there is no American Sakharov on the horizon, someone to arise from the very center of the machine to denounce its workings and call for genuine liberty, genuine democracy, genuine economic and social justice.

So whatever we can do, we must do it ourselves. If we have no power or influence, if we cannot take large actions, then we must take small ones. Every word or action raised against the overthrow of the Republic will find an echo somewhere, from one person to another to another to the next -- each isolated, individual voice slowly finding its way into a swelling chorus of dissent.

It might be too late. It might not work. But failure - and much more horror -- is guaranteed if we don't even try.

As Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn once wrote - in a context that is growing less dissimilar all the time: -- it is impossible that evil should not come into the world; but take care that it does not enter through you.

"What is the price-current of an honest man and patriot today? They hesitate, and they regret, and sometimes they petition; but they do nothing in earnest and with effect. They will wait, well disposed, for others to remedy the evil, that they may no longer have it to regret." -Thoreau.

Anyway, we'll be off the road in a few days. But do keep checking in. You never know when something new might turn up.
(c) 2008 Chris Floyd

Daniel Nocera, an energy professor at
the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
works in a laboratory on campus in
Cambridge, Massachusetts, on July 18, 2008.

Hydrogen-Fuel Discovery May Spawn Solar Power, MIT Study Says
By Jim Efstathiou Jr.

A new, cheaper way to store electricity to run air conditioners or vehicles promises to make solar power competitive with traditional generation, Massachusetts Institute of Technology researchers said.

The discovery might shatter the biggest barrier to widespread use of solar, namely that it's unavailable after dark, said Daniel Nocera, an MIT energy professor. The process uses non-toxic natural materials to convert sunlight into gases, as described in a paper today in the online version of Science.

Electricity produced from sun rays by photovoltaic cells costs about four times as much as power from conventional coal-fired generators. The higher expense of storing solar power in batteries has undercut its acceptance as a dependable source of renewable energy.

Cheaply storing energy from sun rays would mean "you've answered everything," said Kevin Book, senior energy analyst for Friedman, Billings, Ramsey & Co., before the study was published. For solar power, "It's the difference between being on the sidelines and being the quarterback," he said in an interview.

The breakthrough uses a relatively simple way to use electricity to produce oxygen and hydrogen from water, said Nocera, senior author of the paper. When the two gases later are recombined in a fuel cell they cause a chemical reaction that spins off electrons that are forced through a circuit, reproducing the electricity.

MIT's process might be integrated directly into solar panels used today at homes and businesses, provided more improvements are made, Nocera said.

Efficient Fuel Cells

Fuel cells first need to be made more efficient, and engineering problems must be resolved, before the new process can be commercially combined with solar devices, Nocera said.

"The reason photovoltaics have never penetrated the market is you can't store any energy from them," Nocera said in an interview. "This is a basic science discovery. People are going to run with this because anybody can do it." Within 10 years, homes could be powered in daylight using solar cells, and at night by using fuel cells running on hydrogen and oxygen produced from surplus solar energy, Nocera said. The energy source eventually could eliminate the need for electricity to be supplied by power plants and delivered to homes over transmission lines, he predicted.

"This is a major discovery with enormous implications for the future," James Barber, the Ernst Chain Professor of Biochemistry at Imperial College London, said in a statement from MIT. "It opens up the door for developing new technologies for energy production."

Colbalt and Phosphate

Today's paper describes a way to release oxygen from water using a new catalyst of cobalt metal, phosphate and an electrode placed in water. When electricity is passed through the electrode, the cobalt and phosphate form a thin film on the electrode, and oxygen is produced.

The process mimics a plant's ability to turn light energy into chemical energy, Nocera said. The main difference is that plants produce a solid form of hydrogen and use most of the energy they manufacture to survive.

In performing what amounts to artificial photosynthesis, all the potential energy of water can be captured in the form of a fuel, like gasoline or natural gas, Nocera said. Fuels store energy more efficiently than do traditional batteries.

"Sunlight is the only renewable and carbon-neutral energy source of sufficient scale to replace fossil fuels and meet rising global energy demand," according to the paper. "Of the possible storage methods, nature provides the blueprint for storing sunlight in the form of chemical fuels."

Much of the project was funded by the Chesonis Family Foundation, which gave MIT $10 million in April to begin an initiative for large-scale deployment of solar energy within 10 years. Funding also came from the National Science Foundation.

"The hard part of this was getting the oxygen out" of water, Nocera said. "We were doing it in high school, but we weren't doing it efficiently, and we weren't doing it cheaply."
(c) 2008 Jim Efstathiou Jr.

America's Greatest Problem
The misunderstanding of exponential growth
By Mike Folkerth

Exponential growth (or geometric growth) is growth by a fixed rate, such as 5% per year. This is opposed to linear growth which is growth by a fixed number. For example, if a family consumes a loaf of bread every week, they would consume 52 loaves of bread per year, year in and year out. While over time, the consumption of the family would grow linearly, or on a cumulative basis, their annual consumption would remain constant.

The first year our family would consume 52 loaves, the second year 52 loaves, for a cumulative total of 104 loaves and then 156 in the third year and so on. This is much different than the U.S. economic system of exponential growth, which grows geometrically or in proportion to it current size.

Should we have applied exponential growth to our loaves of bread and factored a growth rate of just 4% per year, after 17.5 years the family would be using 2 loaves of bread per day. In another 17.5 years, 4 loaves of bread per day and so on to a point that over a given period of time there would not be enough bread in the world to fill the demand.

After reading the above example, how many of you thought, "Seventeen and half years is a long time to double?" It is my belief that the total and complete disconnect from time is the culprit that allows us to base our economy on an impossible mathematical foundation; that of exponential growth. Any exponential growth calculation, when applied to a tangible resource in a finite environment, is a model only valid for a temporary period of time.

The other possibility for our mystifying acceptance of the impossibility of exponential growth (other than misunderstanding the element of time), would be that we view the time that the growth scheme will work as being sufficient to last through our personal life span.

Could it be that as a whole, we simply don't care what happens to those who will come after us? And that we justify our greed and inaction under the thin veil of "they" will find a way? I'll leave that for you to decide.

Our system of economics in the U.S. is in fact based on exponential growth. Every politician from small town mayor to the president of the United States promises growth. Not linear growth, but exponential growth.

When our government bean counters say that the economy is growing by 4% annually, they are referring to 4% of the current economy. Or, that our overall economy is now 104% of what is was last year. This promised growth will continue only until such time that it reaches an impenetrable barrier such as 100% depletion of a given critical resource, for instance...oil. Or, the inability of resources such as farm land to produce sufficient food for the exponentially growing population of the world.

We won't slowly run out of resources; we will suddenly run out of resources. Technology has allowed us to harvest and consume resources in an exponential manner to keep pace with our exponential growth. Technology may well continue to advance, however, the resources that technology is applied to will continue to decline. You can write that on the wall.

As an example, modern underground coal miners by using the "advancing long wall system" can mine more coal in one shift, than the same number of old time miners could mine in one year! We are apparently in a hurry to reach the end. Once more, pack light, it's gonna be a short trip.

Our system of "compounding debt capitalism" by its very design, insures both constant inflation of the money supply, constant population growth and exponential consumption of finite resources; all of which are mathematically and physically impossible in a finite world. And that is a very bad thing for those whose future is based on "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed," the lie that "exponential growth is good."
(c) 2008 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

We are not the alternative; we are the imperative.
~~~ Rosa A. Clemente ~ Green Party V.P. Candidate ~~~

Anthrax Attacks -- Assassin Nation
By Captain Eric H. May

Military Correspondent

Bush League Bioterror

After 9/11 and before the passage of the Patriot Act a month later, our great national terror was the anthrax attacks waged against the mainstream media and Congress. Democratic Senators Daschle and Leahy, both targeted, had been well positioned to oppose the Patriot Act on constitutional grounds, and perhaps lead their party to do the same. The anthrax attacks changed all that, putting Bush and Cheney in total control.

As with so many things under the Bush administration, the political reality of what had happened was transparent, but the political reporting remained vague. The writing was already on the wall for members of the power elite, and folks were starting to hide from their duty behind the Voltaire phrase that it was a dangerous thing to be right when your country was wrong.

Accordingly, the mainstream media pretended not to notice that the worthies who should have impeded the unconstitutional Bush League power grab had been threatened with the kind of diseased death that befell several of their staffers. Congress itself was closed for a week and its offices were taken over by federal forces in hazmat suits. When staffers finally returned, they supposed that their sensitive files had been gone over by the FBI, and that whatever could be used to harm them was now in the possession of the "unitary executive," as Bush Leaguers began to call their boy George.

Later the same mainstream media didn't report much or investigate at all when the official story began to fall apart. It turned out that all the various anthrax spores used in all the various anthrax attacks had originated from the same batch -- at the Defense Department's biowarfare facility in Fort Dietrich, Maryland. Nor did hesitant reporters pay much attention when it turned out that the "Muslim terrorists" said to have sent the poisoned letters -- promising death to America, death to Israel and praise to Allah -- were a fabrication by Christians or Jews, a Neocon "false flag" operation to help the Bush League expand its newfangled "Global War on Terror."

The mainstream media refused to report all the damning details; the FBI political police refused to answer questions about them; and our Congress refused to ask questions, beginning a long slide by all these parties from doing their duty that continues to this very day, with the sudden appearance of an FBI solution of the anthrax attacks.

Friday FBI officials somehow kept straight faces as they announced that Dr. Bruce E. Ivins, an award-winning employee at Fort Dietrich, had become the focus of their seven-year do-nothing investigation. He was very near to being formally charged with the crime, they averred. Alas, they added after a pause, Dr. Ivins had committed suicide rather than face prosecution. That was too bad, because they really had wanted to tell us the truth of the anthrax attacks between 9/11 and the Patriot Act -- attacks that had just happened to help the Bush administration achieve its political goals.


I have always thought that nonmilitary folks were being a bit too cute with their pronouncements that military intelligence is an oxymoron. Though the American officer corps has not frequently profited from the kind of first-rate minds so prominent in European and especially ancient history, we are no dummies. The first thing we learned in military intelligence is the last thing I forget: trust no one.

Using this wise dictum to trust no one, a couple of decades ago I became an Army specialist in the erstwhile USSR, absorbing its history, language and literature. I did it all from an abundance of patriotism and through the generosity of the American taxpayer. Although I loved the Russian people, generally speaking, I didn't believe a word of the crap the Russian government was telling its citizens through its official media.

Time has made me older, wiser and sadder. Nowadays I take the same view of our current government and its official media that I once took of the Soviet Union's nomenklatura and their vicious apparatchiki -- which is that they are a self-serving elite who feel free to misinform or murder others to achieve their political purpose. If there is any truth to be had in contemporary America, then it must be found in the samizdat of the Internet.

Those who wish to understand human affairs and national history -- no matter who the person or what the country -- would do well to look at them with my jaded perspective. Granted, skepticism and cynicism are dark lenses through which to perceive the world, but when we wear them, we won't be stunned and stupefied by the brilliance of official bullshit.

The word for the wise: the FBI attempt to make Bruce E. Ivins the Lee Harvey Oswald of the anthrax attacks is obscurantism. Rather than swallowing a shallow "mad scientist" story, consider another: The Bush League has decided that, in these waning days of his reign, their King George needs to clean up his mess of dirty operations, and all the king's men in the FBI are simply wiping up the mess by wiping out a patsy, then you pronouncing the case closed.

In this day of the Internet, the inquisitive reader can find many parallels to Dr. Ivins. Below is a list of the "top 10 hits" that I have observed and written about, often after being contacted by the victims' families. They are listed according to the date of their assassinations and can be found in my archives:

Senator Paul Wellstone, October 25, 2002
Rachel Corrie, March 16, 2003
Dr. David Kelly, July 17, 2003
Specialist Alyssa Peterson, September 15, 2003
Margie Schroedinger, September 22, 2003
Specialist Pat Tillman, April 22, 2004
Colonel Ted Westhusing, June 5, 2005
David Rosenbaum, January 6, 2006
General William Odom, May 30, 2008
Tim Russert, June 13, 2008
(c) 2008 Captain May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His political and military analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Military Intelligence Magazine and is the intelligence correspondent for Issues & Alibis magazine. For his homepage and schedule of upcoming interviews, refer to his homesite.

Buy Yourself A Life
Pause TV show, order that actor's shoes, car, breasts. It's retail nirvana!
By Mark Morford

This is my dream. It is but a humble vision, completely reasonable, also very, very American in its blatant love of large amounts of unnecessary crap combined with a screaming disregard for anything resembling tact or humility or the simple act of, let's say, tasteful restraint.

It unfolds thusly: I stroll the city streets, enter humbly into a cafe, or maybe a bookstore, boutique, log cabin, museum, dog kennel, crematorium. It does not matter, for wherever I happen to be, I will surely see something I want.

Perhaps it is that shirt you're wearing, or your shoes. Perhaps it is that nice ring, or your coffee mug, or your haircut or your contact lenses or your nipple implants or your charming effervescent smile, your small intestine, that painting, the bathroom tile or that used syringe right there on the floor.

What the thing is, of course, does not matter. All that matters is that I like it. And, as a devout American consumer, if I like it, of course that means I want it. If I want it, of course that means I must have it. And if I must have it, well, I must have it right now. What, you're gonna make me wait? The hell you are. Then the terrorists win.

Here is where it gets all dreamy: All I do now is reach out and touch the object in question, feel its must-havedness shoot through my sweaty, desirous fingertips.

Immediately I feel a vibration deep in my loins as a small bolt of electricity is pumped straight into my cerebral cortex, igniting a short-lived but totally delicious boost in serotonin, right along with another small hole in my credit rating. In other words, I feel really good, but only for a second.

The tingle, of course, is caused by the iPhone in my pocket, which has not only registered the presence of the desired object, but has, though the wonders of infrared microchip nanotech credit-card wonderdazzle, already tracked down and ordered that item for me online, and is having it delivered straight to my hovel where it will appear on my doorstep in roughly 48 seconds, or in three to five weeks, depending on availability.

Apocalypse? Utopia? Science fiction? All of the above? You guessed it. But here's the wonderful/frightening news: Such a scenario is closer than ever. I know, what a shock. But it's true.

Witness, won't you, the next tiny but fascinating step in the total commodification of life. Because now the people who make the wondrous TiVo sloth machine and the people over at Earth's biggest nonexistent store, Amazon, have teamed up. What, you might wonder, could be their nefarious spawn? Why, the ability to stop any TV program you happen to be watching in mid-scene, and place an instant order for any item you see on the screen, right from your remote.

That's right. No more actual shopping. No more burning up all that energy to make an actual phone call or even to get off the couch and go search online. Just flip on your fave show, and have your remote ready. Like that kicky little miniskirt Lauren whatshername is wearing on that episode of "The Hills"? Pause. Click. Order. Worship Rachael Ray so much you want to buy that pink lip gloss right off her ultraperky face? Pause, click, done. Diggin' David Caruso's manly mirrored shades from "CSI: Miami"? You know what to do.

Does it not make perfect sense? It is not the next logical step in thoroughly invasive retail? Did you somehow imagine, in the era of tacky QVC and flagrant product placement and instant-everything Netdom, that there is simply no way we could narrow the gap between brutal consumerism and passive entertainment any further? How silly you are.

So here is my question: Why stop there? Why limit ourselves to mere goods and services, books and CDs? In other words, to hell with Oprah's favorite things - which for some reason, never seem to involve tattoos, leather, tarragon-infused vodka, or soft moaning deep into the night. Let's make this interesting.

Let's say I am, for some unknowable reason, enduring CNN, or Fox News, or Megachurch Scandal Roundup on the porn channel. I note that another homophobic preacher/Republican senator has been busted for meth/pedophilia/gay sex in an airport restroom/church confessional/Fox News parking lot.

Right then, I would like to pause the newscast and make a nice donation to GLAAD, order a new strap-on harness, and post a comment to the Panasonic camera forum asking if the hot new LX3 digicam can capture decent low-light video in sticky church confessionals. Can I do that yet, genius TiVo-Amazon slutmonkeys? Get on it.

Wait, that's still not good enough. Perhaps we can probe deeper. Perhaps some deep emotional chord has been struck in me by a particularly touching episode of, say, "Dog Whisperer." Can I order that? Can I have a box of psychologically rich moments that trigger in me much sighing and longing, stirring sweet childhood notions of innocence and love and memories of my old black Labrador, Shadow? FedEx overnight, please.

You see that actor? You see her perfect skin? His amazing teeth? That fine ass? Order me a case of that. No, I don't mean an appointment with a plastic surgeon. I want her exact skin, wrapped around me like a goddamn blanket. Do you understand me? Do not dare tell me I can't have it. Do not deny my pleasure. You see that gun? See that ultraviolence right there? Don't make me order up a gritty can of whup-ass right now, straight from "The Shield." Understand?

How about Mary Louise-Parker? I would very much like to order her huge, succulent brown eyes, her warm breath on my neck, that cute spark of sexy hotness she pours all over "Weeds." Can you wrap it up in David Duchovny's perfect leather jacket from "Californication?" Thanks.

Which reminds me, I'd also like a year's supply of witty banter, some sharp repartee, a dozen perfect comeback lines, 10 irresistible come-ons and a riveting cliffhanger situation in which I might or might not be abducted, pregnant, dead, married, gay or transported into the body of a 12-year-old Amish farm girl in 1947. No gift wrapping.

What do you mean, I can't quite do that yet, oh great lords of Amazon-TiVo? Why the hell not? This is, after all, the next reasonable step in total retail whoredom. Get on it, you wonderful, poisonous marketing meatwads of doom.
(c) 2008 Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. To get on the e-mail list for this column, please click here and remove one article of clothing!

The Dead Letter Office...

Lindsey comes out of the closet

Heil Bush,

Dear Uber Gruppenfuhrer Graham,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, Ralph Nader, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Anthony (Fat Tony) Kennedy.

Without your lock-step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your support of our two coup d'etats, your constant defense of our war crimes and crimes against humanity, Iraq and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class with diamond clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Bush at a gala celebration at "der Wolf's Lair," formally "Rancho de Bimbo," on 08-23-2008. We salute you Herr Graham, Sieg Heil!

Vice Fuhrer Cheney

Heil Bush

Journalists, Their Lying Sources, And The Anthrax Investigation
By Glenn Greenwald

The death of government scientist Bruce Ivins has generated far more questions about the anthrax attacks than it has answered. I want to return to the role the establishment media played in obfuscating the anthrax investigation for so long and, at times, aiding in what was clearly the deliberate deceit on the part of Government sources. This is yet another case where the establishment media possesses -- yet steadfastly conceals -- some of the most critical facts about what the Government has done, and insists on protecting the wrongdoers. Obtaining these answers from these media outlets is as important as obtaining them from the Government. Writing about ABC's dissemination of the false Iraq/anthrax story, The New Republic's Dayo Olopade wrote: "Pressure on ABC to out their sources should be swift and sustained."

The Washington Monthly's Kevin Drum argued yesterday that despite the need for journalists to use confidential sources, "the profession -- and the rest of us -- [are] better off if sources know that they run the risk of being unmasked if their mendacity is egregious enough to become newsworthy in its own right." Drum added: "I'd say that part of [Ross'] re-reporting ought to include a full explanation of exactly who was peddling the bentonite lie in the first place, and why they were doing it." Nonetheless, Drum said: "In practice, most journalists refuse to identify their sources under any circumstances at all, even when it's clear that those sources deliberately lied to them."

Drum is right that it is unusual for journalists to out their "sources" even when they are exploiting the confidentiality pledge to disseminate lies to the public, but such outing is by no means unprecedented. Last year, when I first wrote about ABC's broadcasting of this false Saddam/anthrax story, I spoke with numerous experts in "journalistic ethics," such as they are, and all of them -- journalists, Journalism Professors, and media critics alike -- agreed that while the obligation of source confidentiality is close to absolute, it does not extend to a source who deliberately exploits confidentiality to disseminate lies to the public. Under those circumstances, it's axiomatic in journalistic ethics that a reporter is not only permitted, but required, to disclose the identity of the source who purposely used the reporter to spread lies.

There are examples where even large media outlets have followed that principle. Back in 1987, Oliver North was justifying his having lied to Congress about the Iran-contra program by complaining that Congress couldn't be trusted with National Security secrets. When asked at a Senate hearing for an example, North cited what he claimed were Congressional leaks to Newsweek about key details of a U.S. military operation to intercept an Egyptian plane carrying the men believed to be the hijackers of the Achille Lauro cruise ship.

But North was lying. It was North himself -- not Congress -- who had leaked details of that operation to Newsweek. And Newsweek, knowing that North was blatantly lying to the public by blaming Congress for leaks for which North himself was actually responsible, outed North as its source. As this 1987 New York Times article reported: In its latest issue, Newsweek noted that Colonel North testified at the Iran-contra hearings that "a number of members of Congress" made revelations about the Achille Lauro operation "that very seriously compromised our intelligence activities." "But the colonel did not mention," the Newsweek article continued, "that details of the interception, first published in a Newsweek cover story, were leaked by none other than Colonel North himself."

The Newsweek reporter who outed North was Jonathan Alter, who at the time was that magazine's media critic. Here is what Alter wrote, in 2003, about why he did so:

The year was 1987 and Oliver North was testifying before a congressional committee investigating the Iran-contra affair. As I sat listening to him in the Senate Caucus Room, I couldn't believe my ears. North was talking about the 1985 apprehension of Arab terrorists who had tossed an elderly Jewish man in a wheelchair, Leon Klinghoffer, over the side of the cruise ship Achille Lauro. The already famous Marine colonel was accusing members of Congress of being untrustworthy because they revealed the military details of that capture. I knew that North was shamelessly accusing other people of leaking something that he, in fact, had leaked himself -- not to me, but to other reporters. He was using confidentiality as a weapon. I decided to blow the whistle in NEWSWEEK and identify him as the source. This didn't exactly make me Mr. Popularity with my colleagues or with North, who threatened to sue. But I would do it all over again.

Alter added: "The whole game of reporters and their confidential sources has gone so far in Washington that too many of us have forgotten our first obligation. It's not to the Oliver Norths of the world and the reporters protecting them. It's to readers and viewers and, yes, to the truth."

About that incident, Alter emphasized to me this morning in an email that he was not outing his own source, but another Newsweek reporter's source, but nonetheless told me: "Many other reporters were mad at me but some commentators rightly pointed out that some values -- the obligation of reporters to their readers -- superseded the reporter-source relationship, and that if you used that relationship as a cover for lying, you broke the implicit contract." That is exactly what ABC News' "bentonite" sources did in the anthrax case -- "used that relationship as a cover for lying" and thus "broke the implicit contract." ABC News is not only permitted, but obligated, to reveal to the public who did that.

In a 1987 article ambivalently discussing Alter's actions, Time's Laurence Zuckerman wrote:

But the widespread practice of granting sources anonymity has dangers of its own. It allows officials to manipulate the press without being held accountable. North's charge that Congress was responsible for leaks about the Libyan raid and the Achille Lauro had serious policy implications. It was also wrong; most stories about both events, including TIME's cover just before the Libyan raid, were based on Administration sources. Says Michael Gartner, editor of the Louisville Courier-Journal: "In this instance, where the source publicly accuses someone else of leaking a story for devious purposes, it's incumbent upon you to set the record straight."

Everette Dennis, executive director of New York's Gannett Center for Media Studies, agrees. "The standard ought always to be the public interest," he says.

Whoever fed ABC News the false "bentonite" stories weren't "sources" in any meaningful sense; they used ABC to disseminate to the public highly significant, and very consequential, lies. What possible justification is there for ABC to continue to protect the identity of those who deliberately foisted on the public such a destructive fraud?

* * * * *

The North/Newsweek episode was 20 years ago. Does anyone doubt that the relationship between the establishment media and the Government has changed significantly, become far less adversarial and far more cooperative, so that the media now serves to advance the Government's interest far more than it checks or undermines it? That the media is now so frequently a tool used by Government wrongdoers, rather than a check against them, only heightens the need for the media to reveal the identity of those who use them to spread deliberate lies or to break the law.

There are certainly cases -- critically important cases -- where reporters protect the anonymity of sources who blow the whistle on Government wrongdoing -- those who told Dana Priest about the CIA's black sites, or who told Jim Risen and Eric Lichtblau about the illegal NSA spying program. With reporting of that kind, source confidentiality is indispensable, particularly in an age where so much of what our Government does is shrouded in total secrecy, Congress couldn't be more impotent in uncovering what has happened, and whistle-blowers who anonymously disclose Government wrongdoing to reporters have become one of our only means for uncovering serious Government misconduct.

But at least as frequently, if not more so, source confidentiality is used by reporters -- as it was in the Plame case, and in the ABC anthrax reporting -- to protect and conceal the identity of Government wrongdoers, not to uncover Government wrongdoing. I defy anyone to go and read basic accounts of what the Government and media jointly did to destroy Steven Hatfill's life and then argue that such corrupt and dangerous Government-media cooperation is entitled to protection from exposure. Here's a summary of what the Government and media did from a brief filed by Hatfill in his lawsuit (.pdf) against the Government:_

_All of that leaking was illegal, and it destroyed the life of a completely innocent man. What possible rationale is there for protecting that process, allowing reporters to protect the government lawbreakers who used them?

Hatfill's lawyer, Mark Grannis, obviously and understandably quite disillusioned by how the establishment media works in light of its eager dissemination of government lies about his client, followed by vigorous efforts to protect -- rather than expose -- the responsible government officials, wrote an Op-Ed in the Wall St. Journal inveighing against the proposed new federal shield law as follows:

How can the arguments and behavior of journalists in a case such as this be reconciled with the profession's self-image as the public watchdog, bringing accountability to government? The public officials who leaked investigative information to [USA Today reporter Toni] Locy broke the law, ruined an innocent man, and violated the public trust. Shouldn't our watchdog bark or something?

The leakers should be fired, prosecuted, or both -- and reporters who care about government accountability should be racing each other to tell us who these miscreants are. The fact that they shut their mouths tight and run the other way suggests that the image of reporter-as-watchdog does not reflect the current place of journalism in society, whatever may have been true in the past.

Third, if the law prevents courts from ordering reporters to identify anonymous sources, what will prevent government officials from using the private information they keep on us for personal or political score-settling? What will prevent them from simply lying? What will prevent reporters from inventing anonymous sources who don't actually exist?

Fourth, how is a senator who votes for a shield law to convince his constituents that it is anything but a special favor for an influential lobby? . . . .Similarly, when the Washington Post editorialized in favor of a shield law just days earlier, its readers heaped scorn on the idea. One wrote that "if a shield law is put in place, irresponsible journalists can print anything and get away with destroying lives. There has to be some sort of checks and balances here" . . . .

Ideally journalists would ask these questions themselves. But it's not an ideal world. That's why they occasionally need to be held accountable, too.

That is really the critical point here. Source confidentiality is premised on a model of journalism where the media is adversarial to the Government, and safeguarding the anonymity of sources is the only way to find out what the Government is doing. But these days, so frequently, the media serves as an arm of the Government -- the Government uses the establishment media to disseminate propaganda and outright lies to the public (Jessica Lynch, Pat Tillman, Saddam's aluminum tubes) or even uses leaks to the media to commit crimes (as it did in the Plame case). When the journalists who are used to spread these lies or commit these crimes then conceal who it is who has done such things, they are complicit in the Government wrongdoing, key enablers of it.

By endorsing the sanctity of that Government-media relationship through shield laws and the like (which I've always supported in the past), it's actually -- perversely -- bestowing the Government with yet another tool to shield its misconduct from the public. Because the establishment media so frequently now serves as a tool used by the Government to amplify its false claims and promote its agenda, rather than as a watchdog against it, increasing the Government and media's power to keep that relationship secret is to empower the Government even further -- the exact opposite of what source confidentiality is intended to achieve [and, indeed, proposed federal shield laws provide large exceptions for national security leaks, which means that such a law would still allow the Governments to try to invade, and courts to destroy, the good kind of confidentiality (e.g., the CIA black sites and NSA leaks) while protecting the bad kind (where the Government uses the media to spread lies and other disinformation)].

* * * * *

The unanswered questions in the anthrax case are literally too numerous to chronicle. It is so vital to emphasize that not a shred of evidence has yet been presented that the now-deceased Bruce Ivins played any role in the anthrax attacks, let alone that he was the sole or primary culprit. Nonetheless, just as they did with Steven Hatfill, the media (with some notable and important exceptions) are reporting this case as though the matter is resolved.

Given the significance of the anthrax attacks, it would be unconscionable for there to be anything other than a full-scale Congressional or independent investigation -- with a full airing of all the facts -- regarding everything that happened here. Those issues should include exploration of the following questions, many of which might well have perfectly reasonable and benign explanations, and some of which may not, but until there is a full airing, it will necessarily be the case -- and it should be the case -- that this episode will only serve to further erode whatever lingering trust there is in media and government institutions:

Why were White House aides given cipro weeks before the anthrax attacks, and why "on the night of the Sept. 11 attacks, [did] the White House Medical Office dispense[] Cipro to staff accompanying Vice President Dick Cheney as he was secreted off to the safety of Camp David"? [Washington Post, 10/23/2001];

Why, if Cheney was given cipro on the night of the 9/11 attacks, was he allegedly "convinced that he had been subjected to a lethal dose of anthrax" on October 18, and that this fear is what led him to seek refuge in "undisclosed locations" and thereafter support an array of hard-line tactics against suspected terrorists? [Jane Mayer, The Dark Side, 2008];

Which "high government official" told Richard Cohen to take cipro prior to the anthrax attacks (it wasn't a "source" who did so, since Cohen didn't write about it and apparently never intended to; it was just someone high up in Government passing along a helpful tip to a media friend) [Richard Cohen, Slate, March 18, 2008];

Did the FBI meaningfully investigate who sent an anonymous letter to the FBI after the anthrax letters were sent, but before they were made public, accusing a former Fort Detrick scientist -- the Arab-American Ayaad Assaad -- of being a "potential biological terrorist," after Assaad was forced out of Fort Detrick by a group of USAMRIID bioweapons researchers who had exhibited extreme anti-Arab animus? [Laura Rozen, Salon, 1/26/2002];

Why did the FBI gives its consent in October, 2001 for the remaining samples of the Ames anthrax strain to be destroyed, thereby losing crucial "genetic clues valuable to the criminal inquiry"? [San Fransisco Chronicle, 11/9/2001];

If -- as was publicly disclosed as early as 2004 -- Bruce Ivins' behavior in 2001 and 2002 in conducting unauthorized tests on anthrax residue was so suspicious, why was he allowed to remain with access to the nation's most dangerous toxins for many years after, and why wasn't he a top suspect much earlier? [USA Today, 10/13/2004];

If it's really the case -- as principal Ivins antagonist Jean Duley claims -- that Ivins, as far back as 2000, had "actually attempted to murder several other people, [including] through poisoning" and had threatened to kill his co-workers at his Fort Detrick lab, then why did he continue to maintain clearance to work on biological weapons, and why are his co-workers and friends, with virtual unanimity, insisting that he never displayed any behavior suggestive of being the anthrax attacker? [Washington Post, August 3, 2008];

What was John McCain referencing when he went on national television in October, 2001 and claimed "there is some indication, and I don't have the conclusions, but some of this anthrax may -- and I emphasize may -- have come from Iraq" [Late Show with David Letterman, 10/18/2001];

What was Joe Lieberman's basis for stating on national television, three days after McCain's Letterman appearance and in the midst of advocating a U.S. attack on Iraq, that the anthrax was so complex and potent that "there's either a significant amount of money behind this, or this is state-sponsored, or this is stuff that was stolen from the former Soviet program"? [Meet the Press, 10/21/2001];

What did Pat Leahy mean when he said the following in a September, 2007 interview:

Leahy: What I want to know -- I have a theory. But what I want to know is why me, why Tom Daschle, why Tom Brokaw?

VDB: Right. That all fits into the profile of a kind of hard-core and obviously insane ideologue on the far Right, somebody who would fixate on especially Tom Daschle, who at that point was the target of daily, vitriolic attacks on Right-wing talk radio.

Leahy: [Slowly, with a little shake of the head] I don't think it's somebody insane. I'd accept everything else you said. But I don't think it's somebody insane. And I think there are people within our government -- certainly from the source of it -- who know where it came from. [Taps the table to let that settle in] And these people may not have had anything to do with it, but they certainly know where it came from. [Vermont Daily Briefing, 9/5/2007];

Who were the "four separate and well-placed sources" who told ABC News, falsely, that tests conducted at Fort Detrick had found the presence of bentonite in the anthrax sent to Tom Daschle, causing ABC News to aggressively link the attacks to Iraq for five straight days in October, 2001? [Salon, 4/9/2007];

Who was responsible for the numerous leaks even before the ABC News bentonite reports linking the anthrax attacks to Iraq? [The Guardian; 10/14/2001; Wall St. Journal Editorial, 10/15/2001 ("Is Iraq unleashing biological weapons on America?"); CNN, 10/15/2001].

There are plenty of other similar questions. As I said, many of these events could have perfectly reasonable explanations, ranging from significant ineptitude in the FBI investigation to acute caution on the part of the White House in ordering cipro. But given the magnitude of this episode, the far-from-convincing case made against Ivins, and the way in which -- even by the most generous account -- the Government and media's conduct have been driven by extreme unreliability and chronic errors, who could argue against a very sweeping and serious Congressional investigation -- or a genuinely independent investigative body -- devoted to disclosing all of the facts here, along the lines of what the 9/11 Commission was charged with doing?

Congressman Rush Holt, whose Central New Jersey district contained the mail box where at least some of the anthrax letters were mailed, issued a statement on Friday pointing out that "[w]hat we learn will not change the fact that this has been a poorly-handled investigation that has lasted six years and already has resulted in a trail of embarrassment and personal tragedy." On the same day, Rep. Holt wrote to FBI Director Robert Mueller requesting that -- if the FBI closes the investigation -- then Mueller appear at a hearing before the House Committee on Appropriations' Select Intelligence Oversight Panel, which Holt chairs, in order to answer questions about the FBI's investigation.

Perhaps that is the appropriate venue for full-scale hearings into these questions. Any investigative body ought to be endowed with far-reaching subpoena power and should use it, and should further be committed to full public disclosure of all the facts. The anthrax attacks were the first biological attack on the United States. The attacker(s) sought falsely to link the anthrax to Muslim extremists, as did numerous "sources" who fed the media with such claims. The U.S. Government itself claims that the attacks came from a U.S. Army research facility, perpetrated by U.S. Government employees. Excluding (arguably) only the 9/11 attack itself, the consequences of the anthrax attacks were as significant as anything that has happened in this country in the last decade. Full disclosure of all key facts -- and we have nothing of the kind right now -- is indisputably vital.
(c) 2008 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.

'It's A Global Election'
By Amy Goodman

TALLINN, Estonia-When I arrived in Estonia last week-a former Soviet republic that lies just south of Finland-everyone had an opinion on Barack Obama's speech in Berlin. The headline of the British Daily Telegraph we picked up in Finland blared "New Walls Must Not Divide Us," with half-page photos of the American presidential candidate silhouetted against a sea of 200,000 people.

One of the first people I met in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, was Abdul Turay, the editor in chief of The Baltic Times, an English-language weekly that covers Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, the three Baltic nations. Granted, he's not a typical resident for this country of largely fair-haired, light-skinned people: Turay is a black Briton whose parents come from the West African nations of Liberia and Sierra Leone. And he is Muslim. While Estonia has no mosques, he notes with pride that the Quran has just been translated into Estonian, and to the publisher's surprise, it's been an instant best-seller here.

I asked Turay what Obama's candidacy means to him. "It'll open doors for me personally if he becomes president," he said. "It's a momentous thing to have a black president, given America's history. Some people say it's not a big deal, but it is a very big deal. The U.S. is a model for the world. If people see a black man can be president of the U.S., maybe they will see me differently. If he's special, I'm special."

As for Obama's politics, Turay says he doesn't actually think Obama's foreign policy will be that different from fellow presidential candidate John McCain's. He said he was surprised after reading Obama's first book, "Dreams From My Father:" "He's almost talking about black nationalism. He's very liberal. He's very much a black politician, whereas today he's a politician who happens to be black." I asked him to explain. "I think that's a question for Barack Obama, not me," he said.

Turay marvels at the importance of the U.S. elections here: "There's more interest in the American election than in the Lithuanian election, which is right next door. It's a global election."

Estonia may be a world away from the United States, but it is intimately tied to U.S. foreign policy. When the U.S. went looking for other countries to join the coalition to attack Iraq and Afghanistan, to give the occupations international legitimacy, Estonia was a charter member-along with numerous other former Soviet bloc countries of Eastern Europe. President Bush went to Estonia in 2006 to thank them. In 2004, none other than Sens. McCain and Hillary Clinton visited the Baltic nation together as part of a congressional delegation. The story goes that Clinton challenged McCain to a vodka-drinking contest, an Estonian tradition. McCain accepted. When a Clinton aide was asked about it, he replied, "What happens in Estonia, stays in Estonia."

Many feel the Baltic nations' participation in the occupations was quid pro quo for their membership in NATO. Estonia has paid a price, as its soldiers have lost their lives in both Iraq and Afghanistan-the latter a place where Estonian soldiers have died before, as conscripts of the Soviet army when it invaded Afghanistan in 1979.

A decade later, Estonia was the scene of a nonviolent revolution. Singing has long been a national pastime, and song festivals, in which thousands come together to sing, are a tradition. In April 1988, this gathering turned into a vehicle for mass mobilization. In the Estonian capital, with the country's banned blue, black and white flag unfurled on the back of a motorbike, hundreds of thousands began singing the forbidden national anthem. The movement gained momentum throughout the three Baltic nations. In August 1989, 2 million people joined hands in a Baltic chain spanning hundreds of miles, from Tallinn to Riga to Vilnius, the capitals of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, respectively. Estonia and its Baltic neighbors won their independence in 1991, as the Soviet Union collapsed.

Now, Turay observes, "Estonia looks to America." With Berlin's wall now gone, Turay hopes other walls will soon fall, too. "If the president of America is a black person, other countries will realize that we have people who look like the president who are doing something important. ... I think it will happen everywhere."
2008 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 650 stations in North America.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Joe Heller ~~~

"W The Movie" Trailer

To End On A Happy Note...

Both Sides Of The Gun
By Ben Harper

Living these days is making me nervous
Archaic doctrine no longer serve us
Now we're left as silent witnesses
We don't know quite what this is
Other than a war that can't be won

I feel like I'm crowded, i can't get out
World keeps on filling me up with doubt
When you're trapped you got no voice
Where you're born you got no choice
Other than to go and take you some

One dimensional fool
In a three dimensional world

Politics, it's a drag
They put one foot in the grave
And the other on the flag
Systems rotten to the core
Young and old deserve much more
Than struggling every day until you're done

Too much to mention
Living on both sides of the gun
(c) 2006/2008 Ben Harper

Have You Seen This...

Cynthia McKinney Press Conference on why she's running as a Green in New York

Parting Shots...

A List Of Questions About Obama From America's Children
By Pastor Deacon Fred

Freehold, Iowa - National Center for Concerned Christian Children - Landover Baptist receives countless letters from curious children every month. For the last few months, nearly 80% of their letters contain questions about so-called, U.S. Presidential candidate, Barack Hussein Obama. "It looks like Christian parents are still raising American children with traditional values," says Pastor Deacon Fred. "It's insightful to read how the little ears of Jesus interpret what they hear through Satanic secular media. It gives me great hope in our future! I thought it would be an absolute joy to print some of their questions here on our web site. I'll bet most of our readers have children asking the same questions! If your kids are asking questions like the ones you read below, it is a sure sign that you are raising your child in accordance with True Christian(tm) Biblical standards! Praise Jesus!"

"Does every Christian family move to Canada if Obama is elected, or is it just everyone on my Daddy's side?" - Henrietta Rutherford, Age 11, Lynchburg Christian Academy

"Is Obama really gonna make momma get an abortion? I wanted a little brother and she promised to make one for me!" - Mark Ingram, Age 5, Home Schooled

"How is my daddy going to get his money for retirement if Obama is going to take it all and give it to the Negroes?" - Jenny Yolinda, Age 10, Landover Baptist Christian Academy for the Saved

"Does Obama have an extra bone in his ankle that makes him jump higher when he plays basketball?" - Nancy Hodge, Age 11, Lynchburg Christian Academy

"My daddy made my sister move away cause said she is voting for Obama. Is she going to be okay? He hit her in the head with the Bible. I am not allowed to help her because Daddy said she is no better than a Mexican and there ain't no Mexicans in this Christian family." - Cheryl Longwood, Age 14, Lynchburg Christian Academy at Thomas Road Baptist Church

"What's a half-breeded nappity headed negroid comanist snoffabeach?" Gillian Thomas, Age 5, Home Schooled

"How comes a colored person is allowed to be a President?" - Sally Fisher, Age 17 Landover Baptist High School For the Saved

"What's a Vagina? My Creation Science Teacher, Edna Mae, says Obama will make her teach students about them and spray hers on everyone in class or else she might lose her credidations." - Willy Higgins, Age 7, Landover Baptist Junior Academy for the Saved

"If Obama gets elected, is he going to kill all the white people or make them slaveries?" - Henry Clark, Age 14, Lynchburg Christian Academy

"Will Obama make my Daddy pay Monique more money to clean my bedroom? And can I still boss her around my bathroom alot? She's so funny looking! I like it when she always says to me, "yes 'ma'am!" - Alison Hahan, Age 17, Landover Baptist Creation Research Academy

"If Obama gets elected, is there gonna be more Negroes everywhere? Even on my lacrosse team! And in my tree-fort!?" - Hank Funkhouser, Age 11, Freehold Iowa Christian Academy

"Momma says June Gordon is voting for Obama because he has a giant penis and she likes getting rapped by Negroes. Why is a hore like that beach still allowed in our church?" - Billy Spofford, Age 11, Landover Baptist Junior Academy for the Saved

"I'm so scared of Obama! Is that dirty dark monster still outside of my bathroom window, watching me tinkle? Is he going to bite my head off and feed it to the Puff Daddy Demon like Momma says?" - Jack Harper, Age 7, Landover Baptist Christian Academy for the Saved

"Does Obsama think my daddy makes too much money? Is Obsama gonna steal my college savings from Daddy and give it to Mr. Cecil so he can buy crack coca cains? What are food stamps? Why will good Christian white folks like grandpa have to wait in line for stuff with the new Obamsa Depressions?" - Nancy Hodge, Age 11, Lynchburg Christian Academy

"Dad's being saying this word lots when he reads about the Obama, so what's a Neeg rahr? It sounds scary! Is it like a lion?" - RAmy Coltin, Age 4, Landover Baptist Pre-School for the Saved.

"If Obama gets elected, will the coloreds move to our neighborhood?" - Timothy Jenkins, Age 9, Landover Baptist Elementary School for the Saved

"Is Rushian Limbargh gonna get Christians to stop Obama before he gets to the Whites Ony House and takes controls of the social securities?" - NTodd Brewer, Age 7, Lynchburg Christian Pre-School Academy

"Is Obama really going to send the blacks to rape my mom and kill my dad, like grandpa say if he gets erected to Presidunt? - Brian Wind, Age 10, Liberty University Advanced Children's Christian Center for Learning

"I'm saving myslef for maragie, Is Obama going to make me have sex with my girlfriend and smoke marniguana and cigarittes before I'm old enough? - Jonathan Westfalls, Age 45, Liberty University School of Life Long Learning

"Why does daddy cuss so much when Obama is on TV?" - Benjamin Talkins, Age 8, Lynchburg Christian Academy

"Are all the people who don't vote for John McCain really going to burn in hell and be sodim'isized by giant demons forever and ever? Grandma says it is absolutely true! She says that Pastor Lon Solomon, who is a messianical Jewish is just afraid to say it out loud because he'd lose his gold tithers. Grandma is the best Christian I ever knew! - Scott Prendergast Jr., Age 11, McLean Bible School, McLean Virginia
(c) 2008 The Landover Baptist Church


View my page on indieProducer.net

Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 8 # 31 (c) 08/08/2008

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non-profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use" copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use" provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."