Issues & Alibis

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In This Edition

Keith Olbermann concludes, "Gibbs Frustration Understandable But Misguided."

Uri Avnery discovers, " The Elders Of Anti-Zion."

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

Randall Amster reports on, "Homeless On The Range."

Jim Hightower shows, "Yet Another BP Outrage."

David Sirota visits the mistake-on-the-lake for, "The Stadium-Mob Mentality"

James Donahue with an Orwellian horror story, "Monsanto Has Patented A Pig."

Joel S. Hirschhorn dreams the impossible dream in, "Rachel Maddow Misses Journalistic Opportunity."

Chris Floyd experiences, "The Ricorso."

Ray McGovern is, "Lancing The Boil."

Paul Krugman exposes, "The Flimflam Man."

Chris Hedges minces no words in, "The Tears Of Gaza Must Be Our Tears."

David Michael Green asks, "What Is To Be Done?"

Con-gressman Paul Ryan R/Wisconsin wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Johann Hari returns with, "And Now For Some Good News."

Mary Pitt considers, "The White Hot Urgency Of Now."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Landover Baptist Church with breaking news, "Landover Baptist Sin Posse Seizes Fugitive Pastor, Deacon Fred Smith, After Bloody Assault in Remote Mountains of Canada!" but first Uncle Ernie has, "A Case For Mulder And Scully?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Pat Bagley, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Derf City, Micah Wright, Dees Illustration, Eugene Delacroix, Rock, Glynn Wilson, Stilton Jarlsberg, Google Videos, The Landover Baptist Church, U.S. Army, Change.Org, John Lennon, MSNBC, Vincent Pinto and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

A Case For Mulder And Scully?
By Ernest Stewart

Things are getting strange, I'm starting to worry.
This could be a case for Mulder and Scully?
Mulder and Scully ~ Catatonia

"They came first for the Communists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Communist.
Then they came for the trade unionists,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a trade unionist.
Then they came for the Jews,
and I didn't speak up because I wasn't a Jew.
Then they came for me
and by that time no one was left to speak up."
Martin Niemšller ~ January 6, 1946

"They will be satisfied when we have Canadian healthcare and we've eliminated the Pentagon. That's not reality. They wouldn't be satisfied if Dennis Kucinich was president."~~~ Robert Gibbs

Well so much for that "Do No Evil" Bull Sh*t, huh Google? Yep, the same folks that turned a bunch of Chinese who used their search engine to look for democracy, into body parts, at a Chinese body parts farm after Google ratted them out are now set to destroy the Internet with their partners in crime Verizon.

Verizon the same folks that turned all your private phone conversations, walky-talky and text messages over to "Smirky the wonder Chimp" and ole "Dead-eye Dick" Chaney have partnered up to take over the internet and rule the universe!

I can see why Verizon did it. It was after all just about going out of business and was desperately grasping at straws to stay afloat due to it's Mickey Mouse operating system and people dropping them like flies when they found out of Verizon's betrayal of them to Big Brother. While Verizon should have been tried for treason and the like they were spared when Obama rallied the Senate and passed a retroactive bill in the Senate to keep them, AT&T and rest from punishments under the 4th amendment violations as well as others broken federal laws. It was acts like this that foretold Obama's corpo-rat stance and ownership long before he conned America in 2008 to the keys to the White House! You may recall that he said back in 2006:

The Internet today is an open platform where the demand for websites and services dictates success. You've got barriers to entry that are low and equal for all comers. And it's because the Internet is a neutral platform that I can put on this podcast and transmit it over the Internet without having to go through some corporate media middleman. I can say what I want without censorship. I don't have to pay a special charge. But the big telephone and cable companies want to change the Internet, as we know it. They say they want to create high-speed lanes on the Internet and strike exclusive contractual arrangements with Internet content-providers for access to those high-speed lanes. Those of us who can't pony up the cash for these high-speed connections will be relegated to the slow lanes ... We can't have a situation in which the corporate duopoly dictates the future of the internet and that's why I'm supporting what is called net neutrality.

Of course, since those days Barry has changed his mind to the point where there wasn't even a squeak from the White House about this latest catastrophe!

What the mystery to me is why did Google stick it's neck out? Their reputation is bad enough without pissing off the entire country. When the truth filters down to the Sheeple's tiny brains and they realize what these two criminal enterprises are up to that will certainly hasten the end of both of them. Any ISP who decides to avoid the rush to a two-tiered system will certainly clean up and Verizon and Google will disappear from the scene. So why make a power grab that is bound to lose? Here's what Google said. Here's their wish list for Congress.

If the Internet falls, America, to these criminals then we can kiss our few remaining freedoms good bye! Without access to real news and the world then TV, Radio, and the News Papers will be our only source and since they are all owned and operated as propaganda arms of the ruling elite there will be no escape. You will only know what they want you to know. If this is allowed to proceed the usual suspects AT&T, Comcast, Sprint, etcetera, will crawl out from under their rocks and join the bandwagon and a total fascist state will emerge and we'll all go down behind an Iron Curtain! Speak up now, America, or forever hold your peace!

In Other News

Good news for all you equal rights fans. A U.S. District Court Judge, Vaughn Walker first nominated by Ronald Reagan and then appointed under George H.W. Bush, has struck down California's Prop 8, which added an amendment to the state constitution banning same-sex marriage equality and has ruled to lift the ban on same-sex marriages, effective August 18th. A fascist judge doing the right thing, imagine that! Isn't that the breaking of the first seal?

You may recall Proposition 8 was an evil law born deep in the dark heart of the Church of LDS in Salt Lake City's "Temple of Doom" and those child molesters in Rome fostered upon the brain deads of California in attempt to keep the class system going in these here United Snakes, is now, no more. In purely a religious move, supported from the pulpits of both white and black churches by the followers of Yahweh and his obviously homosexual son Jesus was certainly a mystery to me. When I asked white fiends who were against it I got a lot of sheepish replies as to why gays shouldn't have the same rights as straights. However when I asked black friends the same question there was no sheepishness what-so-ever! And when I ask them if it was okay to discriminate against gays would it be okay then to discriminate against blacks too, I was told in no uncertain terms that was a different case. Sorry, but I can't see the difference! I wonder what Martin would say? Hmmm?

Even if it eventually passes all the tests that the Morons er Mormons and the Panzer Pope put it through, married gays will still be discriminated against, thanks to Slick Willie Clinton. Remember that "Defense of Marriage Act" turkey that Bill signed?

Here it is in its entirety...

H.R.3396 -- Defense of Marriage Act (Enrolled Bill [Final as Passed Both House and Senate] - ENR)


One Hundred Fourth Congress of the United States of America


Begun and held at the City of Washington on Wednesday, the third day of January, one thousand nine hundred and ninety-six

An Act

To define and protect the institution of marriage.

Be it enacted by the Senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled,


This Act may be cited as the `Defense of Marriage Act'.


(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by adding after section 1738B the following:

`Sec. 1738C. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof `No State, territory, or possession of the United States, or Indian tribe, shall be required to give effect to any public act, record, or judicial proceeding of any other State, territory, possession, or tribe respecting a relationship between persons of the same sex that is treated as a marriage under the laws of such other State, territory, possession, or tribe, or a right or claim arising from such relationship.'.

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 115 of title 28, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 1738B the following new item:

`1738C. Certain acts, records, and proceedings and the effect thereof.'.


(a) IN GENERAL- Chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by adding at the end the following:

(b) `Sec. 7. Definition of `marriage' and `spouse'

`In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word `marriage' means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word `spouse' refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.'.

(b) CLERICAL AMENDMENT- The table of sections at the beginning of chapter 1 of title 1, United States Code, is amended by inserting after the item relating to section 6 the following new item:

`7. Definition of `marriage' and `spouse'.

Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Vice President of the United States and
President of the Senate.

For those of you who say what about the 14th Amendment? Well what about it? Here's the first bit, the part that applies:

Amendment XIV

Section 1. All persons born or naturalized in the United States, and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the state wherein they reside. No state shall make or enforce any law, which shall abridge the privileges or immunities of citizens of the United States; nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.

Do you see the problem? It says that no state can do it, not the feds and the Defense of Marriage Act is a federal law so the 14th doesn't apply!

While gays will get some benefits by being married they'll still lose out on most of the 1400 benefits that straight people receive! A small battle may have been won but the war goes on for equal rights for everybody. Remember if they can screw some folks out of their rights then they can screw the rest of us out of our rights too, and will!

And Finally

Just when you thought the White House couldn't do anything more to piss off the left along comes White House mouthpiece Robert Gibbs making you feel nostalgic for Ari Fleischer!

Robert got his panties in a bunch the other day bemoaning the fact that most leftists aren't singing Obama's praises and are in fact comparing him to Bush the younger!

I hear these people saying he's like George Bush. Those people ought to be drug tested, I mean, it's crazy.
Yes indeed someone one is differently tripping their brains out alright but it's you Robert. Remember Bob LSD isn't for everyone!

Obama at his unscheduled appearance a few weeks ago at the NetRoots Nation convention in Las Vegas said:

"I hope you take a moment to consider all we've accomplished so far," Telling the impatient audience, "We're not done."

Oh yes you are Barry. Who is going to vote for you? Your Rethuglican pals that you've sold us out to on every bill? Is that what you think? If so let me state it again, LSD isn't for everybody! Or the left that Robert is bringing together in opposition to you, nope we're voting Green or not voting? You haven't thrown the people a single bone. You have sold us out to the banksters and the insurance goons. You have upped the ante in Afghanistan and Pakistan and are preparing to invade Iran when we elected you to end the wars and bring the Crime Family Bush and their corpo-rat pals and their hand pick Pentagoons to justice, none of which you did or even tried to do! Since all you did was sell us out to your corpo-rat masters with a couple of exceptions that were done to try and mollify the growing criticism and secure a few votes in Novembers election do tell why should we sing your praises? And like Al Gore did after winning the election in 2000 all you're going to do is hand us over in 2012 to Sarah Palin or one from that crowd, hardly worthy of our support!

Still, Mr. President, if you could have Robert make a few more speeches you could do the country a big favor by bringing the left together in a fight to overthrow the corpo-rats and bring back the old republic!

Oh And One More Thing

Dear Readers,

You may have noticed that the Poll/Quiz is missing. I was forced to delete it a couple of weeks early as Bravenet wanted to bill our credit card early and we can't afford to pay for another year. We've had the Poll/Quiz going on for eight years and several thousand of you took it each week but none of you could afford to send us any money to keep it going. Oh well. If each of you had sent in just a dollar, just one time, we could have kept it up for 40 years. C'est la vie!

In about a month's time the magazine will follow the poll/quiz if we don't receive substantial funds and quickly. Those 16 reports, opinions, and the various departments, videos, music, quotes etc will vanish and the fascists will have won and there will be one more nail in the American coffin, one more liberal voice silenced! A lot of folks in the magazine you'll only find here, for example to my knowledge, as Cynthia has told me, we're the only one that will still publish Cynthia McKinney, the Zionazis have not only removed her from Congress but have all but silenced her beautiful, liberal spirit and voice! When the magazine's gone, everything that's attached to it will be gone as well, as without the magazine, the folks who are giving us the space and hence paying half of our bills, will cease to sponsor the rest, too. Including my literary site Uncle Ernie's Place, the "Happy Camps" section, the magazine's Forum, the US Documents section, our free advertising and links pages Friends of the Revolution and The Archives. Seems a shame to throw 9 1/2 years work down the drain but since this country is going down the drain, maybe it's just par for the course!

Issues & Alibis needs your help so that we can keep on, keeping on. It takes a lot of effort to stay abreast of the latest, greatest plans for your demise. To get to the truth in a mountain of BS! We've cut our costs to the bone and no one is paid anything for their help. In 9 1/2 years, I've never made a dime at this but we do have expenses to pay every year to keep fighting the good fight! In order to continue we need your support!

The good folks who have been supporting us for so many years are, like a growing number of Americans, out of work and can no longer afford to help us. Someone has to step up and take their places. We thank them for their help and hope they come through this in one piece! We've done everything in our power to see that they do. All of those years of weekly "how to" project articles are still in the archives, from how to live off the grid to creating electricity and clean water on the cheap! What to do if it hits the fan!

And thank you for those of you who are stepping up for the first time. Welcome to the good fight, brothers and sisters!

In order to keep overhead low we can only accept, checks, money orders and cash.

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

Ernest Stewart
Issues & Alibis magazine


12-13-1947 ~ 08-03-2010
Thanks for the revolution!

04-04-1944 ~ 08-06-2010
Thanks for the P-Funk!

01-20-1926 ~ 08-08-2010
Thanks for the films!

11-18-1923 ~ 08-09-2010
Burn Baby Burn!

01-02-1928 ~ 08-11-2010
Burn Baby Burn!


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


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

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

Gibbs Frustration Understandable But Misguided
Blame belongs with the 'professional right' and foolish compromise
By Keith Olbermann

And now a Special Comment from what I suppose is the Professional Left. It is hard to say for sure. Mr. Gibbs referenced watching too much cable. I'm on cable. I suppose I'm part of the problem from his perspective. In any event this will serve to both give a little background, and to correct a fundamental flaw in the viewpoint of the White House.

The heart of this, I think, is the fact that this administration is still amazed that each day does not begin with a round of applause for its intervention on the economy. Of the first five accomplishments Mr. Gibbs listed in his walkback this afternoon, three were variations of, in essence, "we prevented a depression." His frustration is entirely understandable.

It's not just that what the Administration did has been morphed by the far right into an insurrectionist attempt to install Barack Obama as the teller in your bank, the tax-collector at your door, the pick-pocket at your wallet. It's also not just that a full appreciation of what the President has done requires the proving of a negative - you know, "see this alternate universe over here in which we have 19 percent unemployment and the entire auto industry collapsed under President McCain?"

It's that the last President was completely lionized - his eight-year scamming of America - was swallowed whole because he somehow proved a negative, every day, this nonsense that he and he alone had prevented another terrorist attack.

One President prevents a financial meltdown, gets tepid thanks. The other President doesn't prevent a terrorist attack, gets worship and blind allegiance because he didn't allow another one.

Whatever the dark lesson in that sick truth, however - the frustration over it should not be directed at the Professional Left. The Professional Right is far more deserving.

It is profound and noble to see this President take so seriously the premise that he is just as much "President Of People Who Didn't Vote For Him," as of "People Who Did." But this is ridiculous. The President has shown a willingness to give the Professional Right not just "seats at the table" as we try to restore this country to where it was before Bush and Cheney got a hold of it, not just to give it half the seats at the table, but often - far too often -to give it all the seats, the table, and the damn carpet.

The Professional Left didn't start the Health Care Negotiations by moving to the right of the Single Payer and then the Public Option, the Administration did. The Professional Left didn't try to grease some skids with the minority by taxing union benefits, the Administration did.

The Professional Left didn't fire Shirley Sherrod and congratulate itself on quick exaction to avoid a media circus in this environment, the Administration did. The Professional Left didn't begin this presidency by handing everybody who broke the law and subverted the constitution a Get-Out-Of-Jail-Free-Card and a virtual set of instructions on how to get away with all of it next time, too, the Administration did.

Mr. President, you will not get disagreement from the Professional Left, that compromise is the essence of practical politics. But you have gotten, you are getting, you always will get, that disagreement from the Professional Right.

They do not want compromise, they want everything- everything from more profits for insurance companies, to you admitting you're not really president, and that you've decided to endorse Tea Party candidates at the mid-terms.

Why on earth do you start every negotiation just left-of-center? Anybody on this planet, haggling, always asks for far more than they expect to get. Start at Single Payer and maybe you get Public Option. Start at Indightments for Torture and maybe you get a Truth And Reconciliation Commission. But I'm veering off fully into policy and straying from your Mr. Gibbs heckling the audience and Mr. Burton saying you agree with him doing so.

Sir. You need to get past the premise that the Left differs from the Right in terms of ideology. In this America, they differ in terms of the hard-wiring of the brain. The Right wants not leadership - it wants lockstep. The Right wants not nuanced thought from its adherents - it wants salutes and sworn fealty. The Right wants not critical analysis from its media - it wants propaganda.

If, Mr. President, you have fallen into the trap of equating "The Professional Left" and "The Professional Right" of the false equivalency of msnbc and Fox News - you are going to spend the rest of the time in the White House curled up in a churlish ball in the corner wondering what happened to your encore.

If indeed I am part of the "Professional Left" I am here to applaud good policy and good leadership and good statesmanship, and to boo bad policy and bad leadership and bad statesmanship. I'm sorry, Sir; I'm sorry, Mr. Gibbs, we are not the Right. We think over here. And we fight for what we believe in.

And we recognize that the only time you're going to get something out of a Mitch McConnell when he says he has no interest in doing anything left-of-center, is when you drag him in that direction by using a pair of figurative pliers.

I really don't know if I'm part of the Professional Left. I really would rather not be. But the sad truth also is, that these kinds of roles don't tend to be sought or achieved. They tend to fall on you, when others don't do their job. Because if I' the Professional Left, it's only because the White House has been more like the Amateur Left.
(c) 2010 Keith Olbermann ~~~ MSNBC Countdown

The Elders Of Anti-Zion
By Uri Avnery

I WAS shaking with fear.

A well-groomed gentleman appeared on TV. He was identified as the chief of an association called Re'uth ("Sight"), whose aim is to monitor the groups which deny the legitimacy of the State of Israel.

What they have uncovered is indeed frightful. The enemies of Israel, we were told, no longer believe that they can destroy Israel by force of arms. Instead, they have adopted a new strategy: to bring about the collapse of Israel by denying its very legitimacy.

The initiatives of small local groups in various countries are not what they appear to be. Far from it! They are part of a world-wide, organized and coordinated conspiracy, which uses every means to achieve their nefarious aim. Unlike the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion", the forged document that was produced a hundred years ago, this is a genuine plot, something like the "Protocols of the Elders of Anti-Zion".

Only one detail was missing in the disclosure: where is the secret headquarters of this international conspiracy?

Happily, I am in a position to provide the missing information. Shocking as it may sound, the headquarters of the Elders of Anti-Zion is located in Jerusalem.

THE RE'UTH organization is a group of amateurs and only deals with superficial symptoms. Unlike them, I have undertaken to conduct an in-depth investigation.

Who are the secret agents of the conspiracy that is now threatening the legitimacy of Israel? Who are the people who supply all the anti-Israel groups throughout the world with deadly ammunition against us?

Here is a preliminary list of the most dangerous conspirators:

At the head of the list there appears, of course, Avigdor Ivett Lieberman, who used his cunning to attain the position of Foreign Minister of Israel.

In less than a year and a half, Lieberman has managed to undermine the legitimacy of Israel beyond repair in many countries.

His success in getting appointed as foreign minister is, by itself, a staggering achievement for someone with his background. He is perceived throughout the world as an unbridled racist, compared to whom France's Jean-Marie le Pen and Austria's Joerg Haider look like pious democrats. Since being appointed to his position, many of his international colleagues refuse to be seen in his company. They avoid him like the plague.

Since then, Lieberman has succeeded in getting Israel hated in many countries. He has called the Swedes and the Norwegians anti-Semites. He has insulted the Turks, when his obedient deputy publicly humiliated the Turkish ambassador by seating him at a lower level than himself. He has told the President of Egypt to "go to hell." It seems that he sits in his office every morning, spinning the globe and asking himself: "Which new country can I insult today?"

Now there is hardly any country in the world prepared to receive him, except under duress. His activity as Foreign Minister is limited mostly to the four countries connected with his origins: Moldova, Belarus. Ukraine and Kazakhstan. No Israeli foreign minister could possibly have done more to damage the legitimacy of his country.

BUT LIEBERMAN is up against a very serious contender: the Minister of Defense, Ehud Barak.

During the last few days he has achieved the impossible: turning the Lebanese army, too, into an enemy.

To appreciate the magnitude of this achievement, one has to remember that only four years ago, Israel practically issued an ultimatum demanding that the Lebanese army be deployed on the border with Israel. It was one of Israel's conditions for ending Lebanon War II. Only the Lebanese army, the master strategists in Jerusalem decreed, could ensure quiet on the border. They treated the UN force, UNIFIL, with thinly veiled contempt.

This week, the Lebanese army opened fire on Israeli troops, killing a battalion commander. How could this happen? In several places there are tiny enclaves between the Israeli border fence and the recognized international border. As far as sovereignty is concerned, these enclaves belong to Israel. The land itself, however, is worked by Lebanese villagers. The Israeli army decided to "trim" the trees in these areas in order to facilitate observation.

The Lebanese announced in advance that they were opposed. UNIFIL asked Israel to wait for the return of its commander from abroad, so as to enable him to mediate. The Israeli army refused to wait and sent a bulldozer. When the arm of the monster reached over the fence, and after warning shouts, the Lebanese soldiers opened fire.

Would a normal person have endangered his relations with the Lebanese army for some branches of a tree? Certainly not. What better proof that Barak is acting under the orders of the Elders of anti-Zion?

But this is only the latest instance. It is overshadowed by the Gaza War ("Cast Lead"). There is no need to reiterate the details of that operation: the wholesale killing of civilians, including hundreds of women and children; the demolition of buildings, including schools and mosques; the use of cruel weapons, such as white phosphorus; the denial of medical aid to the wounded; the blocking of escape routes; and so on and so forth.

"Cast Lead" caused a world-wide shock. In many countries, anti-Israeli groups sprang up like mushrooms after the rain. Far-away Gaza became the center of world attention.

For Barak that was not enough. He persuaded the government to boycott the inquiry commission appointed by the UN, headed by a Zionist Jewish judge. The commission did its work nevertheless, and its findings detailed accusations of Israeli war crimes. Instead of investigating, admitting, apologizing and paying compensation, Barak started a campaign of personal defamation against the judge, which only magnified the damage to Israel. Belatedly, the Israeli army started investigations of its own, which recently confirmed the main findings of the Goldstone report. What does this say about Barak?

But even this was not enough for him. It was the Gaza flotilla incident which revealed his full capacity for delegitimizing Israel. If the ships had been allowed to deliver their small, symbolic cargo to Gaza, the matter would have been forgotten in a day or two. Barak's military operation achieved the opposite: for months now the world has been in uproar, the Gaza blockade has remained at the center of world attention, our important relationship with Turkey has been irreparably damaged.

When the UN requested Israel to cooperate with an international investigation, Barak reacted with contempt. And instead of appointing at least a State Board of Inquiry with full powers, the Israeli government announced a powerless commission, lacking any credibility and without serious terms of reference. And after all the damage had already been caused, the Israeli government agreed this week to cooperate with the UN commission after all. It's the classic story of the servant who brought his master rotten fish from the market. When told to choose between eating the fish himself, being flogged or being banished from the town, he chose eating the fish, but could not finish them. When he was being soundly flogged, he could not bear it anymore and therefore chose banishment. So he ate the rotten fish, was flogged and was banished.

Without a doubt, the Elders of anti-Zion should confer on Barak the title of "hero of delegitimization."

THE THIRD place on the list is certainly due to the Minister of the Interior, Eli Yishai.

Everybody knows that Israel is the State of the Holocaust Survivors, a state that embodies the basic values of the Jewish people. That is the centerpiece of our Hasbarah (literally "Explaining" - in reality propaganda).

The eminent proof for this pretension should have been our attitude towards pitiful refugees, the survivors of massacres who have reached our country and ask for asylum,

If so, why does the Minister of the Interior do everything in his power to prove the very opposite?

For years now, the ministry has been mistreating the refugees from Africa and other places. The Darfur survivors, who risk their lives to reach Israel through the Sinai desert, are caught in the streets by special manhunt-squads of the ministry, thrown into prison and then deported.

This week, the government decided to expel 400 refugee children who were born in Israel, speak Hebrew and have never known any other homeland. This evokes tragic memories of the 1930s, when Jewish refugees from Germany could find no asylum anywhere and were returned to the Nazi hell.

True, Israel is not the only country in the world that ill-treats "illegal immigrants". Many countries, from the US to France, do the same. But Israel claims to be The Jewish State, and mistreatment of refugee children is a mortal blow to the basis of its legitimacy.

THE LIST is long.

The other central pillar of the legitimacy of Israel is the claim that we are "The Only Democracy in the Middle East."

If so, what can we say about the Jerusalem judge who condemned a man whose new Israeli lady "friend" willingly had sex with him after a few minutes' acquaintance, and found him guilty of rape only because he had hidden from her that he was - God forbid! - an Arab?

What can we say about the Minister of Police who is loudly supporting a policeman who put his revolver to the head of a thief and shot him at point-blank range, while the man was sitting in his car and trying to escape, because he was an Arab?

All these doings - and many more - are contributing every day to the worldwide conspiracy that is aiming at the delegitimization of the State of Israel. But who is the head of the plotters?

All the evidence points in one direction: the man who appointed all these agents to their positions, where they are doing irreparable damage: Binyamin Netanyahu. A master conspirator who hides behind the faŤade of an incompetent politician.

AS IS well-known, the "Protocols of the Elders of Zion" were concocted by the secret police of the Russian Czar, based on a 19th century tract originally written against Napoleon III.

The "Protocols of the Elders of Anti-Zion" are being composed these days by Binyamin Netanyahu and his cronies.
(c) 2010 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Bike4Peace Update
Biking in the Key of F: Days Twelve Thru Eighteen
By Cynthia McKinney

Well, it was in Milford, Utah that our fellow bike traveler, Paul Stutzman, left us. It was a particularly sad moment for me because Paul and I are carrying with us the memories of lost loved ones: for him, it's his wife, died of cancer--misdiagnosed and caught too late to save her; for me it's my father. Paul has a unique story that can be found on his blog ( and in his book of the same name, "Hiking Through." So devastated by what happened to his wife, Paul went for a hike--literally, that lasted three years. Paul quit his job (he describes himself as a successful businessman) and went hiking--hiking through his pain and the devastation accompanying the loss of a loving wife of more than 30 years. After hiking, then Paul decided to cross the United States from Washington State to Florida.

Now, how I happened on Paul was this. I saw a man on a bike going UP Carson's Pass in the direction opposite of Bike4Peace. Now, this would have stuck out in my mind because I've got so many people telling me that I'm crazy to even attempt to do something like this--and there I saw on the side of the road on a slow roll, a man making an incredible bicycle climb. Carson's Pass (8,653 feet) is part of the annual race known as the "Death Ride," consisting of three mountain passes. When we ran into him again, I invited him to join us and volunteered to "sag" for him since he had a load--not as much as ours, but still, he was carrying a lot for such a long ride. It was in Middlegate, Nevada that Paul told me his story. In Baker, our last stop in Nevada, he told me to cry as much as I need to in order to deal with own my grief. I've taken him up on that. According to his blog, Paul landed in Blanding, Utah this morning and our riders will arrive in Blanding this afternoon!!!! It would really do my soul good to visit with him again. Two grieving souls connected by the back roads of America.

You can read how Paul describes his encounter with Bike4Peace on his blog here:

Paul left Bike4Peace in Milford, Utah, but from Baker, Nevada on the way there, we met a couple--practically newlyweds--riding horseback across the country!!!! The wife was from Connecticut and the husband was there, right along with her and the mule and the horses and the hay, helping his wife fulfill her dream of crossing the country on horseback for charity. They are raising money along their way for the HeartsUpRanch (/ as they stop and tell their story in the small towns that dot across our country. Our good deed for the day was to provide water for the horses because it was hot out there in that Nevada/Utah desert!!! So, we went and got the water and then placed it in ten-mile intervals so the horses could get watered as they approached town. We also made sure that the water purifier that they had ordered was put on top of the hay outside the City/County building!

Well, I was still smarting from my fall and saddle issues and then decided that the best role for me under the circumstances was to provide support for the serious riders who were averaging 85-90 mile days!!!! So, Yaney and I do that now, primarily, and then we ride when we can. I got back on the bike too soon before my "saddle" issues were resolved and re-injured myself!!!! So, I'm learning the hard way on that! I do appreciate the suggestions on that. Bottom Line: I can't wait to get back on the bike to do as much as I can do without re-injuring myself, but I'm not going to rush it. Yaney and I rode a wonderful bike path in Cedar City, Utah that took us up to the big mountain. That's when I re-injured myself; so I sit now in Blanding, our last stop in Utah, on the path toward healing!

Yaney and I stopped in Panguitch, Utah at the pharmacy because I was so uncomforable after our Cedar City ride. I bought "Chamois Butter," "Butt Paste," Polysporin, Ibuprofen, and acetominophen!!!! Fortunately for me, the pharmacist himself had the same issue!!!!!! He had taken some Boy Scouts on a 15 mile ride and he said he had the exact same terrible experience. To which I responded, "I didn't think that happened to men." To which he responded, "Oh boy!!" Somehow, I felt better that this particular affliction wasn't just for me!!! We both laughed as he rang up my purchases and he wished me good luck as I walked away. I'm just about out of Polysporin now, but I do feel sooooooooo much better!!!

Yaney and I narrowed my problem down to a pair of ill-fitting bike pants and she thinks I should also adjust my bike seat just a tad more. So, I'll let Vernon or one of the bikers do that on tomorrow, which is a rest day for everyone. In Blanding.

Day Twelve - Milford, UT - We ate Chinese tonight. Amazing. Authentic Chinese food can be had in all of these small towns!!!

Day Thirteen - Cedar City, UT - We rented a cabin at the Kampground of America and IT WAS FULL!!! There are so many RV's! Vernon says that bikers have to beware the RV drivers because the vehicles are so big, but only a regular driver's license in required. And you know how much respect drivers give to bicyclists!! Good thing these back roads are not the ones well-traveled by car!

Day Fourteen - We stayed in Cedar City for a rest day and Annie selected a movie for us to watch: Get Smart! Funny!

Day Fifteen - Tropic, Utah - The pure, natural beauty of Utah is becoming very apparent. If you've only seen Salt Lake City, you've not seen Utah. If you've visited Sundance--as I did when the documentary American Blackout debuted--then you've not really seen Utah. The splendor of nature erupts before you in splashes of a color wheel as the earth changes color from deep, deep ochre to brown to sand to purple! Truly amazing.

Day Sixteen - Hanksville, UT - We camped out and had fun.

Day Seventeen - Hite, UT - We camped out at Glen Canyon. Ohhhhhh. This is an absolute must for everyone. Gosh, it kinda reinforces the idea that the earth always wins--in the end, despite all the damage that humans have done to her, in all her splendor, I have no doubt that the earth will win this one. I also learned the importance of Thermarest. Our campspot was very rocky, but sleeping on the Thermarest was like sleeping on my aunt's Tempurpedic mattress!!! Well, almost!!!

Day Eighteen - Blanding, UT - I set my alarm for 3:30 this morning because the bikers are putting in a 74-mile day and they wanted to leave early. I've become the DJ of sorts. While in Glen Canyon, I hooked up my dad's iPhone (iPod), opened the car doors, and let the music blast! What a way to party!!! I played Marvin Gaye, "What's Going On" to remind us all of why we're out here in the first place and then ended with Michael Jackson's "Earth Song" and "Man in the Mirror." Then, it was YeYo's turn and he played some really great conscious rap songs. I invited Annie to let us hook up her iPod, but she preferred to listen to our music. The bikers finally made it off at about 5:00 this morning. While they prepared for their departure, I played James Brown and the J.B.'s. Brown calls out to the J.B.'s to play in the key of F--and tell him what that means. One of the J.B.'s shouts back: FREEDOM! And with that, Day Eighteen of Bike4Peace begins.

I'm about to double back in the car and check on the bikers. It's hot out there and there are no services for the entire 74 miles of their ride. Yaney and I have stocked up on water for them and food. Because Blanding is "dry," we bought a six-pack of beer for them, especially YeYo who HAS to have a beer after every ride! Yaney likes them, too!

So, there you have it. Grief; Healing; Pain; A Shared Glance, Common Experience, and a Laugh; A Good Deed; Utah the Beautiful; Glen Canyon; Thermarest; and James Brown: That's what it means to Bike in the Key of F: FREEDOM!

I thank the Peace Tree Juice Cafe for allowing me to spend hours on their computer so that I could send this message out to you today.

Also, here's the press release that went out earlier from Vernon. If you are so inclined to help us, please go to the Bike4Peace website and make a donation. We really need your help. This experience is way more expensive than any of us expected--even as we pare expenses, share everything, and live modestly. I hope you will send us what you can on the bike4peace donate page:

Here's Vernon's message:
(P.S. we just learned that Malik has suffered a death in the family and is not on the road at the moment.)

For Immediate Release:
Wednesday, 11 August 2010
Hite, Utah
Vernon Huffman, Co-Founder Bike4Peace

Bike4Peace 2010 to Converge at U.S. Capitol

"I am riding my bike for the good of the planet and it turns out to be good for me!"

She spent twelve years in the US Congress and a week in an Israeli jail. Now she's spending two months on a bicycle trip across North America. Cynthia McKinney, the Green Party's 2008 nominee for President, is riding with Bike4Peace 2010 to demonstrate the bicycle as a solution to Climate Change, Oil Wars, the Health Crisis, and Economic Malaise. "This is really hard and it's really expensive, but I'm so proud of these young people who volunteered for Bike4Peace because they want to be a part of the solution, rather than sit back and merely complain about the problems," said McKinney.

Malik Rahim, the 62-year-old former Black Panther and Veteran for Peace, who helped to create Common Ground Relief in response to the post-Katrina disasters in New Orleans, is also riding his bicycle to demonstrate his commitment to a way of life that respects our common need for a healthy environment. Rahim adds, "Healthy communities depend on a healthy environment." You can reach Malik on his cell at: 504-252-3743

Cynthia and Malik plan to meet with other cyclists from all parts to celebrate World Car-Free Day in Washington, DC, on Wed-22-Sept. They will rally on their bicycles in front of the US Capitol at 10:00 AM. While rides from several parts of the country have been planned for this convergence, many cyclists are expected to arrive by train and bus with their bicycles to join this celebration.

Bike4Peace 2010 began at The House of Common Sense in Oakland, CA, on Sat-24-July and has already involved some seventy bicyclists. Some have ridden across their town, some across their state, and others are committed to crossing the continent. The ride builds upon Bike4Peace experiences from previous years since it began in 2005. Riders have ranged in age from 18-mo-old twins Grace and Willow Darr-Hipp, who rode 4500 miles in a bicycle trailer, to Ethyl MacDonald, who at 72 years cycled across the continental divide in Montana.

Bike4Peace cyclists stress that local hosts are as vital a part of Bike4Peace as the bikers. "When a community comes together for a potluck to share with the bike riders," says organizer Vernon Huffman, "it builds our hope for national recovery through responsible choices. We've been excited to see how many communities are building sustainable alternatives to corporate disasters."

Aurelio Garcia, one of the Bike4Peace cross-continent riders added, "I am riding my bike for the good of the planet and it turns out to be good for me!"

As of this writing, Ms. McKinney is crossing southern Utah, while Mr. Rahim is in Georgia and planning to visit each state capitol on his ride to DC. As they look forward to their great convergence, they are also excited to meet and share with people in every small town through which they pass.

A press conference has been scheduled for September 22, 2010 at 6:00 pm at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. There, journalists and supporters will be able to meet, talk to, and hear the experiences and adventures of this incredible Bike4Peace contingent.

Annie Ebiner, one of the cross-country Bike4Peace riders added, "Please support Bike4Peace because this is an incredible organization whose mission we all agree with--and we're not just talking, we're doing!"

Bike4Peace requests donations in order to maintain its roll. Donations can be made through PayPal at and will be used to defray the costs of travel for those cycling across the continent. Your support is greatly needed and appreciated.

More information is at and Questions may be directed to Vernon Huffman 541-829-9034, one of the cyclists and co-founder of Bike4Peace. Please use his voice mail.


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

Homeless On The Range
Wedge Issues and Tent Slashings in Grand Junction
By Randall Amster

You might not be familiar with Grand Junction, Colorado, but many of the issues recently being experienced there will likely ring a bell. Like many "boomtowns," particularly in the West, Grand Junction (or just GJ) has experienced rapid growth and a creeping gentrification that often results in tensions with homeless residents. And in fact, those tensions have bubbled over of late, leading to classic confrontations over public space utilization and dramatic police officer dismissals for what are ostensibly "hate crimes" against the homeless. The NIMBY forces have indeed been at work in GJ.

The present cycle of homeless persecution began about a year ago, when the city council attempted to adopt two "emergency ordinances" (bypassing normal legislative procedures) aimed at banning solicitation in public places. Following a hearing in which homeless community members and advocates packed the council chambers in opposition, a revised bill was passed in October 2009 that banned "soliciting in medians" and further prohibited being in a median for any reason at all. But there was a problem, and it would soon become - quite literally - a serious "wedge issue" for the city and its residents.

In central GJ there's a small triangular patch of grass bounded by busy roads on all sides; it's called Colorado West Park but is better known to locals as "the wedge," and it's a place where the homeless have publicly congregated. Suddenly and surreptitiously, the park sign, picnic bench and trash can were all removed, and voila! - the park suddenly became a median. The implications were immediately clear: in a city with dwindling public spaces, one of the few remaining islands for the homeless was suddenly turned into a regulated space where their activities would now be criminalized.

This did not sit well with GJ commentators such as those at independent local news outlet The Red Pill:

"It's vindictive. The ordinance lost, then they came back with a watered down ordinance that banned people from being in medians, and then they get rid of an entire city park just to keep a few people from 'flying a sign' on one corner. This is just a little battle in a war the city has been waging to push the poor and homeless out of sight and out of the city."

Yet this was only the beginning of the city's nascent "war" on the homeless.

In May 2010, the local NBC affiliate reported that a homeless camp near the Colorado River had been vandalized, with "up to a dozen tents slashed, as well as several bike tires cut." Ryan Loper, who used to work on the oils rigs and had been living by the river, said that "everything was in disarray, tarps torn down." The police department promised to conduct an investigation, and ultimately wound up providing eleven new tents to homeless residents.

But this implicit admission that its officers were guilty of targeted vandalism against a vulnerable group raised more questions than it answered, as noted in an editorial from The Daily Sentinel: "If they're that destructive of a transient encampment, we might infer they're just as indifferent to the owner's rights of more traditional forms of private property, such as houses and vehicles." Advocates continued to push for accountability, and in a startling turn of events, three officers were fired for what the police chief called "mean-spirited" and "retaliatory" behavior toward the homeless. Yet this begged another question: retaliation for what? The answer might lie back at "the wedge."

While the stark drama of police vandalism was playing out, the homeless and their advocates had been stepping up their "battle" with the city over the loss of public space and the criminalization of homelessness. Community members held protests in an effort to "reclaim the wedge," and continued to challenge the legitimacy of changing the designation of the space from a park to a median. "It just became a non-park. With no public accountability, no public process, no public notice," said Jacob Richards, a homeless advocate with Housing First! No More Deaths!

Was the police vandalism done in retaliation for the homeless community mobilizing and asserting its rights? If so, it failed to dissuade local organizers like Richards. He recently told me that "the wedge" is still being used as a park and that no one is being cited for being there, despite the fact that the city still calls it a median. A week after the officers were fired, Richards met with the police chief and "pitched a restorative justice program for indigent and houseless offenders of certain municipal offenses" which was received positively and is working its way toward possible approval. In the aftermath of the police vandalism, another local organization called AngelLight started a homeless garden" program for people to learn skills and procure food.

Still, despite the positive signs, there's a battle brewing on the range. Richards notes that some of the more hard-line conservatives in the area have been "calling for basically genocide of the houseless," including specifically "calling for burning the [homeless] camps" near the river that sparked so much recent controversy. Advocates plan to thwart this effort by invoking a little-used "camping permit" process in the city code and distributing permits to homeless residents. This may well help the homeless continue to exist and assert their voices in the community, even as it further inflames the reactionary animus of some segments that would just as soon see them eliminated altogether.

Stay tuned.
(c) 2010 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Illegal aliens are given clean up jobs as well as prisoners.

Yet Another BP Outrage

With BP's well capped and CEO Tony Hayward exiled to Russia, perhaps you thought that the BP horror story is coming to a close, that surely there will be no additional revelations to enrage you. But now comes this: Prison labor.

In its national PR blitz to buff up its image, the oil giant has loudly boasted that it has been hiring devastated, out-of-work local people to handle the clean-up. Many have been hired, but not nearly enough, according to the people themselves. The Nation magazine now reports a big reason for the shortfall. BP has been using inmates - literally a captive workforce - to do much of the shoveling and scooping to remove oil from Louisiana beaches. What a deal for BP! It gets very cheap workers who're guaranteed to show up on time, do what they're told, and keep their mouths shut.

In the early days of the clean-up, crews suddenly appeared on beaches wearing scarlet pants and white t-shirts with bold red letters spelling out, "Inmate Labor." Investigative reporter Abe Louise Young writes that the sight of prison laborers outraged the local community, so they were removed.

Not the inmates, the uniforms! Now they wear BP shirts, jeans, and rubber boots with no prison markings, and they are moved to and from the job in unmarked white vans. How many are there? No officials with BP, the feds, or the State of Louisiana could or would tell Young. How much are the prisoners paid? A local sheriff's official told Young, "They're not getting paid, it's part of their sentence."

However, BP is getting paid for this labor. By you and me. Under a little known tax provision passed during the Bush regime, corporations can get a "work opportunity tax credit" of $2,400 for every work release inmate they hire. To see Young's full article, go to
(c) 2010 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

The Stadium-Mob Mentality
By David Sirota

One thing you can confidently say about 21st-century America is this: Our icons of seemingly frivolous spectacle often embody deeply significant and disturbing truths. What was Balloon Boy but a deadly serious commentary on national gullibility and misplaced priorities? What was Joe the Plumber but a fun-house reflection of our destructive deification of ignorance? And what was Matt Bellamy last week other than proof that much of our country could care less about its Constitution?

The instantly famous image of police removing the 29-year-old from Cleveland's Progressive Field was largely presented by the media as hilarious and justified -- and the predictable applause, blog comments, talk-radio calls and Facebook posts embraced that portrayal. Bellamy, the logic went, deserved to be tossed because he was wearing LeBron James' new Miami Heat jersey in the city that James deserted. And not only was Bellamy wearing the jersey, he dared to flaunt it by pointing at it, prompting boos from fans and physical assault via projectile foodstuffs. In response, police say they ejected Bellamy for his own safety.

Before you chime in with a fist-pumping "good riddance!" remember that Progressive Field is not some private club -- the taxpayer subsidies that built the stadium effectively make it a public space, ostensibly subjecting it to the Constitution. Also remember that police officers, as taxpayer-funded instruments of state power, are sworn to uphold that Constitution -- and specifically, the First Amendment's requirement that the state refrain from "abridging the freedom of speech." And remember, too, that Bellamy's jersey didn't run afoul of the few court-authorized exemptions from the First Amendment -- it didn't, say, violate obscenity statutes or endorse violence.

So while Bellamy was undoubtedly being provocative, that's his constitutional prerogative -- one that police were obligated to protect. Instead, they removed him to wild applause, making this event perfectly illustrative of a nation that, for all its pro-Constitution rhetoric, increasingly ignores its founding document.

The First Amendment, after all, doesn't say you only have the freedom to say things that others approve of (or, in this case, wear jerseys that the hometown crowd likes). Nor does it say that, despite your right to free speech, fellow citizens have an equal right to physically assault you if they don't like what you are saying. It doesn't say these things because the framers knew that if government restricts speech on the basis of content, freedom ceases to exist. They also knew that freedom of speech can only survive when government intervenes to defend -- rather than silence -- speech.

But in an America that has largely succumbed to the stadium-mob mentality, those are apparently outdated notions -- even beyond the ballpark walls. This is a country that didn't flinch when the Bush government's spokesperson warned citizens to "watch what they say" -- just as we didn't flinch when the Obama government's mouthpiece menacingly told Americans to be "exceedingly careful" with their speech. During the 2004 election season, few noticed USA Today's report that "dozens of people" were "banished from or arrested at Bush political rallies," many "simply for holding signs or wearing clothing that expressed opposition to the war and administration policies." In most election campaigns since, just as few citizens seem to care that authorities now confine party convention protestors to "free speech zones" -- the implication being that there is no First Amendment outside the police-designated cage.

Simply put, we are a country that no longer expresses the outrage that Bellamy rightly voiced after he was ejected from the game.

"I don't understand the reason why they kicked us out," he told reporters. "We paid like everybody (and) they kicked us out for me wearing what I want to wear." His anger is warranted. Our silence and cheers speak volumes.
(c) 2010 David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota. David is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee.

Monsanto Has Patented A Pig
By James Donahue

The Monsanto Corporation, the evil empire that helped produce Agent Orange and has since cornered the market on world seed crops through genetic modification technology, has now entered the meat and medical industry. Corporate engineers have applied for a patent on the pig.

A recently published report states that Monsanto has applied for patents on methods of breeding, the actual breeding of pigs and the offspring that result. The patent applications, made in some 150 countries, appear general in terminology and may not involve genetic altered types of the animal. The implications are that any genetic modifications of the pigs produced by Monsanto would be the sole property of Monsanto. But the patent applications may be even broader than this.

Is it possible that a corporation can actually own patents on common farm animals?

During the time scientists from around the world were involved in the Human Genome Project and discovering the blueprint of the human DNA, no one expected big medical corporations to patent the discoveries as fast as they were being made. While the research has opened the door to amazing new medical breakthroughs, someone already owns the patent to every possible one of them. This consequently closes the door to using the discoveries for improving the health and wellbeing of anyone other than the very wealthy. How can one corporation own the genetic make-up of the human body? In today's strangely insane and materialistic world, it is happening right before our eyes. Some pig growers worry that if the patents are granted, Monsanto will legally prevent hog farmers from breeding pigs with characteristics described in the patents, or force these farmers to pay Monsanto for the right to do so.

"It's a first step toward the same kind of corporate control of an animal line that Monsanto is aggressively pursuing with various grain and vegetable lines," one observer wrote.

Even more disconcerting is the fact that pigs are being used in genetic research laboratories for growing and repairing the human body. The pig is found to be perfect animals for such medical technology because their bodies closely resemble the structural make-up of the human body. Heart valves, bladder tissue and other parts from pigs have been successfully used as temporary fixes in humans. Also a powdered extracellular matrix from pigs has been found to be a trigger for healing damaged body parts. It is already being used to treat ulcers by closing holes in stomach tissue and treating injured soldiers in the battlefield.
(c) 2010 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

Rachel Maddow Misses Journalistic Opportunity
By Joel S. Hirschhhorn

On her August 9 show on MSNBC Rachel Maddow went for an easy attack on those seeking government reforms through constitutional amendments but also missed a big opportunity to inform and educate her audience and millions more Americans.

She ridiculed those, especially Republican candidates and congressmen, making a big point of using constitutional amendments as a way to build public support for themselves. Her basic point was that amending the constitution is really, really hard. It is so difficult that the public should not take this political rhetoric very seriously as a practical way to change law.

It is certainly true that getting amendments proposed by Congress and then ratified by three-quarters of the states is a very difficult process, especially for amendments that would directly attack the many ways our government is made corrupt and dysfunctional. Congress and the many special interests on the right and left want to preserve the current system that they have learned to manipulate so well.

Where Maddow went wrong and showed her intellectual and journalistic laziness was failing to inform her audience that the Constitution provides another path to obtaining constitutional amendments. The Founders anticipated the day when the American public might lose trust and confidence in the federal government. With only 11 percent of people having confidence in Congress that day has certainly arrived. Included in Article V of the Constitution is the option of a convention of state delegates that would have the same constitutional power to propose amendments that would also have to be ratified by the states.

The only requirement for a convention is that two-thirds of the states ask for one. What Maddow obviously does not know it that there have been over 700 state applications from all 50 states and that Congress has for a long time ignored them. They can be examined on the website of Friends of the Article V Convention, the national, nonpartisan group working to get the first convention. Known for her ability to articulate so well her rage about what ails the nation, Maddow missed a huge opportunity to point out that the rule of law has been abused by Congress because they fear constitutional amendments that would truly reform the government system.

There is of course no reason to be against amending the Constitution. The Founders correctly anticipated the need to amend it. Those Americans that profess love and respect for the Constitution but then argue against amending it or against using the Article V convention option are nothing less than constitutional hypocrites.

To regain her journalistic integrity, Maddow should do another segment that focuses on the Article V convention option and how so many special interests have fought hard against using it. It is, after all, a form of direct democracy that Americans have a constitutional right to use to get reforms that our corrupt Congress will never take seriously. What she made a laughing matter of should be taken much more seriously. The issue should not be about specific amendments but about the process of considering and obtaining them. Journalistic integrity demands that Maddow do some homework and correct the situation, otherwise she is no better than so many other pundits that routinely present false and misleading information on their shows. If she learns the history of the convention option she will discover that some of the most respected people in American history favored use of the convention option. Serious consideration of constitutional amendments should not be a partisan issue, but rather what good citizenship is all about.

Get to work Rachel.
(c) 2010 Joel S. Hirschhorn observed our corrupt federal government firsthand as a senior official with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association and is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. To discuss issues write the author. The author has a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering and was formerly a full professor of metallurgical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The Ricorso
By Chris Floyd

Back to the world again, after 10 days of total media de-tox: no internet, no television, no radio, no newspapers, nothing but those quaint cubical constructions of paper and ink known as books.

I would highly recommend one of those cubes to anyone interested in elucidating the cultural, political, social, spiritual, and psychological bedevilments that inform our bruising and battering age: The Master and the Emissary: The Divided Brain and the Making of the Western World, by Iain McGilchrist.

For me personally, the book has been not only a richly fecund field of new insights and connections, but also, in many ways, a ricorso, a thunderclap of return to some deeply-felt intimations and understandings of Being that had once -- in their rough, inchoate, unrefined early forms -- seemed to be moving me in the direction of a deeper, more holistic engagement with life, if I may put it that way. I lost most of these intimations along the way somewhere, wandering away from the deep, swift, churning river down many dismal, swampy by-paths, pushing through murk, tangled in vines, anxious, fearful, diminished. It's strange to have stumbled suddenly out of the undergrowth to catch a glimpse of the old river, still there (though not the same water, of course; never the same water), still surging, still alive.

Whether I can hew my way down to the water again is another question, of course; the vines are still thick, the murk is heavy, and the spirit and flesh much weaker than before. But I can hear the river again, for now; I can feel and scent its vibrant air. I might just make it yet.

In the light of these revelations and returnings, I might be writing in a somewhat different vein in the future, at least at times. I think that in many ways I've come to -- or am coming toward -- the end of what I can say about these hideous and harrowing times of ours. Or rather, I have a great deal I can say; I just don't know how much I can fruitfully add.

I started this blog for two main reasons. One was the fact that I knew my weekly Moscow Times column wouldn't last forever, and I wanted to have an arena where I could still spout my opinions -- and, less glibly, where I could work out what I really thought and felt about the issues of the day. I've always had to write things out in order to know my own mind. That was one reason.

The other was one that I've mentioned frequently over the years: the burning desire -- or rather the compulsive need -- to bear witness to the monstrous horrors and murderous hypocrisies of the age, most especially those being committed by the rampaging empire into which I was born. I just wanted to make it known that I had seen these evils and had not stayed silent, had not acquiesced, but had spoken out against them, in public, for the record, in my own name.

Well, I've borne that witness, in print and on-line, through wars and atrocities and changes of power among imperial factions, for the last decade. No one who cares to know could be in any doubt as to where I stand. But I feel more and more that I have reached some kind of limit with the analytical approach that I have taken for these many years. I think that I have made clear all that I can make clear, all that is clear in my own mind, at this point in my life experience and my learning. I think I need to experience more and learn more (learn much, much more), open myself up to new perspectives -- and regain some old perspectives. So, as Boris Pasternak once put it at a somewhat similar point in his life, I may be writing badly for a time -- clumsily, searchingly, groping for a new way, starting over.

That's not to say that I won't continue to catalogue the atrocities of the age. I think, deep down, that I can't not do that, even if I tried. But I also hope to be thinking through and writing through to some different understandings. Anyway, we'll see.
(c) 2010 Chris Floyd

Lancing The Boil
Remarks given August 8 at the rally for Bradley Manning in Quantico, Virginia
By Ray McGovern

We are living in a liminal time, that is to say we live on the threshold. So much that we have taken for granted is passing.

In times like this we must be careful to keep our bearings, lest we come to love the chaos that passes for reality.

This is why we need to honor our brother Bradley Manning. He was not afraid to face the unknown; not afraid to resist the seduction of conformity; not afraid to follow his conscience, AND not afraid to give us the wherewithal to distinguish truth from lies so that we, too, can follow our conscience.

The principalities and the powers, including the Fawning Corporate Media, have no hold on citizens like Private Manning, who refuse to live in a moral vacuum.

Bradley Manning dared to mock the falsity parading as reality after our country had a nervous breakdown as a result of 9/11 and the efforts of those who would use 9/11 to stoke our fear.

THAT false "reality" has lost its power, because it cannot live in the light of truth.

"You shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free." THAT is the rock-solid truth.

I noticed that this Bible verse was chiseled into the marble wall of CIA Headquarters when I began working as an analyst there in April 1963. That was the same month that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. penned a Letter From the Birmingham City Jail, including graphic, earthy words in describing our duty to expose deceit and injustice:

"Like a boil that can never be cured as long as it is covered up, but must be opened with all its pus-flowing ugliness to the natural medicines of air and light, injustice must likewise be exposed, with all of the tension its exposing creates, to the light of human conscience and the air of national opinion before it can be cured."

What Private Manning is alleged to have done with the help of Wikileaks is to puncture that boil of injustice and deceit.

Our defense secretary and joint chiefs chairman do not mind the blood on their hands -- yes, on THEIR hands -- not the hands of Manning or Wikileaks. The Pentagon chiefs are but cogs in an imperial system; large-diameter cogs, but cogs nonetheless.

They have made their peace with the crimson red on their hands. What they do mind is the pus. Pus stinks -- it stinks to high heaven and is more quickly smelled and pungent than blood.

We have no problem with marines and soldiers who are taught to believe they must surrender their conscience to some kind of noble enterprise. We do have a BIG PROBLEM with those who send them off on missions that make the Charge of the Light Brigade look like a model of military planning.

Worse still, the gun-barrel video that Wikileaks posted and titled "Collateral Murder" shows the degree to which our own soldiers have been brutalized by so-called Rules of Engagement that authorize them to brutalize others. Our Secretary of Defense had not one word of regret about the dozen human beings, including two employees of Reuters, murdered on that fateful day in July 2007 -- or about the now-fatherless children who were seriously wounded.

It is THAT kind of thing that needs to be exposed. And it is that video that Private Manning is accused of giving to Wikileaks.

The more recent Wikileaks disclosures expose much more. Did most Americans know, for example, that Washington is giving one billion dollars a year of our tax money to Pakistan; and that Pakistan turns around and uses some of that money to train, equip, and lead those who are killing our marines and soldiers in Afghanistan? Do Americans understand that, as far as our supposed "ally" Pakistan is concerned, the main game is about keeping the Taliban strong, in order to ensure that India does not regain predominant influence in Afghanistan?

What Wikileaks has released is documentary evidence of what is really going on -- otherwise known as the truth. Pentagon and press protest the "granularity" of the documentary evidence. The appropriate word here is not "granularity" -- the appropriate words are blood, fecklessness, and the absence of any common sense, including moral sense, in the Pentagon and, sadly, in the White House.

We are here today to help Private Manning lance the boil and to do what we can to help the pus flow freely. We are here to give him encouragement to keep living humanly, as we are trying to do, among the fallen powers. We are here to say thank you and to tell Bradley Manning, loud and clear, "You are not alone. You are not alone."
(c) 2010 Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years -- from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. During the early 1980s, he was one of the writers/editors of the President's Daily Brief and briefed it one-on-one to the president's most senior advisers. He also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In January 2003, he and four former colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

The Flimflam Man
By Paul Krugman

One depressing aspect of American politics is the susceptibility of the political and media establishment to charlatans. You might have thought, given past experience, that D.C. insiders would be on their guard against conservatives with grandiose plans. But no: as long as someone on the right claims to have bold new proposals, he's hailed as an innovative thinker. And nobody checks his arithmetic.

Which brings me to the innovative thinker du jour: Representative Paul Ryan of Wisconsin.

Mr. Ryan has become the Republican Party's poster child for new ideas thanks to his "Roadmap for America's Future," a plan for a major overhaul of federal spending and taxes. News media coverage has been overwhelmingly favorable; on Monday, The Washington Post put a glowing profile of Mr. Ryan on its front page, portraying him as the G.O.P.'s fiscal conscience. He's often described with phrases like "intellectually audacious."

But it's the audacity of dopes. Mr. Ryan isn't offering fresh food for thought; he's serving up leftovers from the 1990s, drenched in flimflam sauce.

Mr. Ryan's plan calls for steep cuts in both spending and taxes. He'd have you believe that the combined effect would be much lower budget deficits, and, according to that Washington Post report, he speaks about deficits "in apocalyptic terms." And The Post also tells us that his plan would, indeed, sharply reduce the flow of red ink: "The Congressional Budget Office has estimated that Rep. Paul Ryan's plan would cut the budget deficit in half by 2020."

But the budget office has done no such thing. At Mr. Ryan's request, it produced an estimate of the budget effects of his proposed spending cuts - period. It didn't address the revenue losses from his tax cuts.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has, however, stepped into the breach. Its numbers indicate that the Ryan plan would reduce revenue by almost $4 trillion over the next decade. If you add these revenue losses to the numbers The Post cites, you get a much larger deficit in 2020, roughly $1.3 trillion.

And that's about the same as the budget office's estimate of the 2020 deficit under the Obama administration's plans. That is, Mr. Ryan may speak about the deficit in apocalyptic terms, but even if you believe that his proposed spending cuts are feasible - which you shouldn't - the Roadmap wouldn't reduce the deficit. All it would do is cut benefits for the middle class while slashing taxes on the rich.

And I do mean slash. The Tax Policy Center finds that the Ryan plan would cut taxes on the richest 1 percent of the population in half, giving them 117 percent of the plan's total tax cuts. That's not a misprint. Even as it slashed taxes at the top, the plan would raise taxes for 95 percent of the population.

Finally, let's talk about those spending cuts. In its first decade, most of the alleged savings in the Ryan plan come from assuming zero dollar growth in domestic discretionary spending, which includes everything from energy policy to education to the court system. This would amount to a 25 percent cut once you adjust for inflation and population growth. How would such a severe cut be achieved? What specific programs would be slashed? Mr. Ryan doesn't say.

After 2020, the main alleged saving would come from sharp cuts in Medicare, achieved by dismantling Medicare as we know it, and instead giving seniors vouchers and telling them to buy their own insurance. Does this sound familiar? It should. It's the same plan Newt Gingrich tried to sell in 1995.

And we already know, from experience with the Medicare Advantage program, that a voucher system would have higher, not lower, costs than our current system. The only way the Ryan plan could save money would be by making those vouchers too small to pay for adequate coverage. Wealthy older Americans would be able to supplement their vouchers, and get the care they need; everyone else would be out in the cold.

In practice, that probably wouldn't happen: older Americans would be outraged - and they vote. But this means that the supposed budget savings from the Ryan plan are a sham.

So why have so many in Washington, especially in the news media, been taken in by this flimflam? It's not just inability to do the math, although that's part of it. There's also the unwillingness of self-styled centrists to face up to the realities of the modern Republican Party; they want to pretend, in the teeth of overwhelming evidence, that there are still people in the G.O.P. making sense. And last but not least, there's deference to power - the G.O.P. is a resurgent political force, so one mustn't point out that its intellectual heroes have no clothes.

But they don't. The Ryan plan is a fraud that makes no useful contribution to the debate over America's fiscal future.
(c) 2010 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"Mass murders occur, which is what war is, because people are split and don't think ... when the government does not serve the people, then it doesn't deserve to be obeyed. ... To be patriotic, you may have to be against your government."
~~~ Howard Zinn

The Tears Of Gaza Must Be Our Tears
By Chris Hedges

Chris Hedges made these remarks Thursday night in New York City at a fundraiser for sponsoring a U.S. boat to break the blockade of Gaza. More information can be found at

When I lived in Jerusalem I had a friend who confided in me that as a college student in the United States she attended events like these, wrote up reports and submitted them to the Israel consulate for money. It would be naive to assume this Israeli practice has ended. So, I want first tonight to address that person, or those persons, who may have come to this event for the purpose of reporting on it to the Israeli government.

I would like to remind them that it is they who hide in darkness. It is we who stand in the light. It is they who deceive. It is we who openly proclaim our compassion and demand justice for those who suffer in Gaza. We are not afraid to name our names. We are not afraid to name our beliefs. And we know something you perhaps sense with a kind of dread. As Martin Luther King said, the arc of the moral universe is long but it bends toward justice, and that arc is descending with a righteous fury that is thundering down upon the Israeli government.

You may have the bulldozers, planes and helicopters that smash houses to rubble, the commandos who descend from ropes on ships and kill unarmed civilians on the high seas as well as in Gaza, the vast power of the state behind you. We have only our hands and our hearts and our voices. But note this. Note this well. It is you who are afraid of us. We are not afraid of you. We will keep working and praying, keep protesting and denouncing, keep pushing up against your navy and your army, with nothing but our bodies, until we prove that the force of morality and justice is greater than hate and violence. And then, when there is freedom in Gaza, we will forgive ... you. We will ask you to break bread with us. We will bless your children even if you did not find it in your heart to bless the children of those you occupied. And maybe it is this forgiveness, maybe it is the final, insurmountable power of love, which unsettles you the most.

And so tonight, a night when some seek to name names and others seek to hide names, let me do some naming. Let me call things by their proper names. Let me cut through the jargon, the euphemisms we use to mask human suffering and war crimes. "Closures" mean heavily armed soldiers who ring Palestinian ghettos, deny those trapped inside food or basic amenities-including toys, razors, chocolate, fishing rods and musical instruments-and carry out a brutal policy of collective punishment, which is a crime under international law. "Disputed land" means land stolen from the Palestinians. "Clashes" mean, almost always, the killing or wounding of unarmed Palestinians, including children. "Jewish neighborhoods in the West Bank" mean fortress-like compounds that serve as military outposts in the campaign of ethnic cleansing of the Palestinians. "Targeted assassinations" mean extrajudicial murder. "Air strikes on militant bomb-making posts" mean the dropping of huge iron fragmentation bombs from fighter jets on densely crowded neighborhoods that always leaves scores of dead and wounded, whose only contact with a bomb was the one manufactured in the United States and given to the Israeli Air Force as part of our complicity in the occupation. "The peace process" means the cynical, one-way route to the crushing of the Palestinians as a people.

These are some names. There are others. Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish in the late afternoon of Jan. 16, 2009, had a pair of Israeli tank shells rip through a bedroom in his Gaza apartment, killing three of his daughters-Bessan, Mayar and Aya-along with a niece, Noor.

"I have the right to feel angry," says Abuelaish. "But I ask, 'Is this the right way?' So many people were expecting me to hate. My answer to them is I shall not hate."

"Whom to hate?" asks the 55-year-old gynecologist, who was born a Palestinian refugee and raised in poverty. "My Israeli friends? My Israeli colleagues? The Israeli babies I have delivered?"

The Palestinian poet Taha Muhammad Ali wrote this in his poem "Revenge":

At times ... I wish
I could meet in a duel
the man who killed my father
and razed our home,
expelling me
a narrow country.
And if he killed me,
I'd rest at last,
and if I were ready-
I would take my revenge!


But if it came to light,
when my rival appeared,
that he had a mother
waiting for him,
or a father who'd put
his right hand over
the heart's place in his chest
whenever his son was late
even by just a quarter-hour
for a meeting they'd set-
then I would not kill him,
even if I could.


Likewise ... I
would not murder him
if it were soon made clear
that he had a brother or sisters
who loved him and constantly longed to see him.
Or if he had a wife to greet him
and children who
couldn't bear his absence
and whom his gifts would thrill.
Or if he had
friends or companions,
neighbors he knew
or allies from prison
or a hospital room,
or classmates from his school ...
asking about him
and sending him regards.


But if he turned
out to be on his own-
cut off like a branch from a tree-
without a mother or father,
with neither a brother nor sister,
wifeless, without a child,
and without kin or neighbors or friends,
colleagues or companions,
then I'd add not a thing to his pain
within that aloneness-
not the torment of death,
and not the sorrow of passing away.
Instead I'd be content
to ignore him when I passed him by
on the street-as I
convinced myself
that paying him no attention
in itself was a kind of revenge.

And if these words are what it means to be a Muslim, and I believe it does, name me too a Muslim, a follower of the prophet, peace be upon him.

The boat to Gaza will be named "The Audacity of Hope." But these are not Barack Obama's words. These are the words of my friend the Rev. Jeremiah Wright. They are borrowed words. And Jerry Wright is not afraid to speak the truth, not afraid to tell us to stop confusing God with America. "We bombed Hiroshima, we bombed Nagasaki, and we nuked far more than the thousands [killed] in New York and the Pentagon, and we never batted an eye," Rev. Wright said. "We have supported state terrorism against the Palestinians and black South Africans, and now we are indignant because the stuff we have done overseas is now brought right back into our own front yards. America's chickens are coming home to roost."

Or the words of Edward Said:

Nothing in my view is more reprehensible than those habits of mind in the intellectual that induce avoidance, that characteristic turning away from a difficult and principled position which you know to be the right one, but which you decide not to take. You do not want to appear too political; you are afraid of seeming controversial; you want to keep a reputation for being balanced, objective, moderate; your hope is to be asked back, to consult, to be on a board or prestigious committee, and so to remain within the responsible mainstream; someday you hope to get an honorary degree, a big prize, perhaps even an ambassadorship.

For an intellectual these habits of mind are corrupting par excellence. If anything can denature, neutralize, and finally kill a passionate intellectual life it is the internalization of such habits. Personally I have encountered them in one of the toughest of all contemporary issues, Palestine, where fear of speaking out about one of the greatest injustices in modern history has hobbled, blinkered, muzzled many who know the truth and are in a position to serve it. For despite the abuse and vilification that any outspoken supporter of Palestinian rights and self-determination earns for him or herself, the truth deserves to be spoken, represented by an unafraid and compassionate intellectual.

And some of the last words of Rachel Corrie to her parents:

I'm witnessing this chronic, insidious genocide and I'm really scared, and questioning my fundamental belief in the goodness of human nature. This has to stop. I think it is a good idea for us all to drop everything and devote our lives to making this stop. I don't think it's an extremist thing to do anymore. I still really want to dance around to Pat Benatar and have boyfriends and make comics for my coworkers. But I also want this to stop. Disbelief and horror is what I feel. Disappointment. I am disappointed that this is the base reality of our world and that we, in fact, participate in it. This is not at all what I asked for when I came into this world. This is not at all what the people here asked for when they came into this world. This is not the world you and Dad wanted me to come into when you decided to have me. This is not what I meant when I looked at Capital Lake and said: "This is the wide world and I'm coming to it." I did not mean that I was coming into a world where I could live a comfortable life and possibly, with no effort at all, exist in complete unawareness of my participation in genocide. More big explosions somewhere in the distance outside. When I come back from Palestine, I probably will have nightmares and constantly feel guilty for not being here, but I can channel that into more work. Coming here is one of the better things I've ever done. So when I sound crazy, or if the Israeli military should break with their racist tendency not to injure white people, please pin the reason squarely on the fact that I am in the midst of a genocide which I am also indirectly supporting, and for which my government is largely responsible.

And if this is what it means to be a Christian, and I believe it does, to speak in the voice of Jeremiah Wright, Edward Said or Rachel Corrie, to remember and take upon us the pain and injustice of others, then name me a Christian, a follower of Jesus Christ.

And what of the long line of Jewish prophets that run from Jeremiah, Isaiah and Amos to Hannah Arendt, who reminded the world when the state of Israel was founded that the injustice meted out to the Jews could not be rectified by an injustice meted out to the Palestinians, what of our own prophets, Noam Chomsky or Norman Finkelstein, outcasts like all prophets, what of Uri Avnery or the Israeli poet Aharon Shabtai, who writes in his poem "Rypin," the Polish town his father escaped from during the Holocaust, these words:

These creatures in helmets and khakis,
I say to myself, aren't Jews,
In the truest sense of the word. A Jew
Doesn't dress himself up with weapons like jewelry,
Doesn't believe in the barrel of a gun aimed at a target,
But in the thumb of the child who was shot at-
In the house through which he comes and goes,
Not in the charge that blows it apart.
The coarse soul and iron first
He scorns by nature.
He lifts his eyes not to the officer, or the soldier
With his finger on the trigger-but to justice,
And he cries out for compassion.
Therefore, he won't steal land from its people
And will not starve them in camps.
The voice calling for expulsion
Is heard from the hoarse throat of the oppressor-
A sure sign that the Jew has entered a foreign country
And, like Umberto Saba, gone into hiding within his own city.
Because of voices like these, father
At age sixteen, with your family, you fled Rypin;
Now here Rypin is your son.

And if to be Jew means this, and I believe it does, name me a Jew. Name us all Muslims and Christians and Jews. Name us as human beings who believe that when one of us suffers all of us suffer, that we never have to ask for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for us all, that the tears of the mother in Gaza are our tears, that the wails of the bloodied children in Al Shifa Hospital are the wails of our own children.

Let me close tonight with one last name. Let me name those who send these tanks and fighter jets to bomb the concrete hovels in Gaza with families crouching, helpless, inside, let me name those who deny children the right to a childhood and the sick a right to care, those who torture, those who carry out assassinations in hotel rooms in Dubai and on the streets of Gaza City, those who deny the hungry food, the oppressed justice and foul the truth with official propaganda and state lies. Let me call them, not by their honorific titles and positions of power, but by the name they have earned for themselves by draining the blood of the innocent into the sands of Gaza. Let me name them for who they are: terrorists.
(c) 2010 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

What Is To Be Done?
By David Michael Green

I often receive email from readers which goes something along these lines: "Thank you for your article identifying the problems with American politics and government. But what are the solutions?"

I am flattered that anyone would expect me to be able to solve that mystery, while being simultaneously chagrined that I don't think I have very much in the way of good answers. In part that may be because I'm not smart or creative enough to solve that problem, anymore than I'm equipped to cure cancer or discover a unified field theory of physics. But in part it is also because the problem itself (like curing cancer or theorizing physics) is very difficult. The evidence for that is that no other progressive that I'm aware of is offering a serious solution. It's not like we on the left are spending our time these days debating the merits of multiple proposals on the table. Or even one...

Consider the magnitude of the problem, to start with. American society and government is, it seems to me, in the worst shape its been in since at least 1932. Unparalleled and unmitigated greed of astonishing proportions has turned the federal government into a feeding trough for special interests, on an epic scale. This has produced what is essentially an economic war on non-elites for the last three decades, which has succeeded in dramatically redistributing wealth upward, so that the US now resembles any good banana republic or feudal society in this regard. More or less all policy decisions during this era have been oriented toward that one goal, certainly including those concerning taxes, subsidies, trade and labor relations, not to mention our uncontrolled military spending and wars. Even so-called welfare state program expansions like Bush's prescription drug plan or Obama's health care initiative are really massive feedbag redistributions of public wealth to corporate actors, dressed up with enough trinkets for the hoi polloi so as to appear that their purpose is to improve the health of real Americans.

Moreover, all the traditional bulwarks against this natural tendency for power and wealth concentration to occur have been effectively neutralized, starting with the hijacking of the Democratic Party. Bill Clinton is one of the worst criminals of our time (and yet many stupid, gaga, celebrity-inebriated Democrats still worship him), in many respects far more guilty of far greater sins than Reagan or Wee Bush. We expect Republicans to lie and to represent the interests of Wall Street and the Chamber of Commerce. Clinton, on the other hand, bears more responsibility than anyone for turning the Democratic Party into a more smiley version of just the same thing. Obama is following suit. He is as corporate as it gets. You'll find his constituents in mansions and boardrooms, not in two-bedroom houses across middle America.

The upshot is that there is no political party in Washington anymore advocating for the needs and interests of real working people. That was not always the case. From the 1930s through the 1970s, the Democratic Party was a (very imperfect) vehicle for the representation of hundreds of millions of ordinary Americans, and the (very imperfect) policies they put through reflected that. Even Republicans largely went along for the ride back in those days, never seriously seeking to dismantle such programs or radically reorient such policies.

The same might be said of the media and other institutions of or related to American governance, such as the courts and universities and even corporate America, in those days a far less pernicious actor than today. The long and short of it is that the political mountain to climb today seems so much larger than in the past. Anyone paying attention to what is happening should have a strong sense of the walls closing in around us, faster and faster. The downsizing of the American middle class may be happening with greater rapidity these last two years, as jobs become scarce and employees are forced to work longer and get paid less, but it is only an acceleration of a process that has been going on full bore for three decades now. And there is no one in Washington today to hear your screams of agony. Why would they? They're the ones who have been doing the torturing.

Similarly, the road ahead is difficult because the tactics of resistance employed with mixed success in the past seem almost completely spent today. Does your congresswoman remotely notice when you send a letter about an issue you care about? Yeah, if you're BP or Goldman Sachs. Otherwise, you're about as likely to get their attention as either of those outfits are to be responsible for the damage they've done. How about a march on Washington? Does anyone even notice those anymore? In the 1950s and 1960s they were relatively fresh and drew attention accordingly. Today, you can have the biggest worldwide collection of protest rallies ever, and it will not change a thing. We know that because that is exactly what happened in the run up to the Iraq invasion of 2003. I could be wrong about this, but something tells me that George W. Bush wasn't paying a lot of attention to our raised voices back then. Heck, people don't even notice anymore when gunmen shoot up their workplace and then kill themselves, something that happens with alarming regularity. Why would they notice yet another protest march, especially when they're worrying about keeping a roof over their heads?

The sad truth is, it seems to me, that breaking through the wall of indifference today requires either a volume we aren't organized enough to generate, a desperation we haven't gotten to yet, or a creativity that largely eludes us.

But, maybe focusing on tactics is part of the problem. Tactics should ideally serve strategy, strategy should in turn serve objectives, objectives should be a product of problem analysis, and analysis should be rooted in theory. It seems to me that we progressives are decent when it comes to identifying objectives - though even here there will certainly be disagreement - but not much else. We can probably agree on such policy propositions as living wage requirements, regulating corporations in the public interest, ending wars or addressing global warming. But discovering the strategy or tactics to make those things happen eludes us, as does perhaps a theory of the deeper nature of our condition.

I don't have answers to these questions or solutions to fill in these blanks. But perhaps I can advance the conversation a bit by suggesting that we ought to think first about the nature of the situation we face, certainly before we begin trying to identify problems, or specifying strategies and tactics to address those.

It seems to me that there are three major possibilities here, each with its own implications about how to proceed toward fixing the country and what ails us. Each successive possibility implies a greater depth of despair with respect to the condition we're in, and therefore a more radical solution necessary to address that situation. But, that said, none are easy fixes.

The first analysis of our national malaise, the one invoking the least pervasive depth of the problem, goes to the question of policy. Here, one could argue that we simply have lousy policymakers making lousy policies. The obvious solution, therefore, is to replace them. Equally obvious, meanwhile, is that the Republican Party is completely hopeless. A best case scenario is that they will continue to represent the aspirations of plutocrats and frightened, stupid, racist, homophobic, ancient middle and working class crackers of the Bible Belt, until that lovely generation becomes irrelevant and disappears. We know that parties can change, especially since the GOP began life as an abolitionist vehicle for the likes of Abraham Lincoln. But we also know that parties can die, as did the Whigs. In the case of the Republicans, the latter is a more likely and probably better outcome.

That leaves basically two choices going forward. One would be to launch a viable third party that stood for progressive principles. As noted, third parties do come to power in the United States, so this is clearly not impossible. But the last time it happened was 150 years ago, so it is just as clearly not probable. All the institutional arrangements in American government and politics - most especially our district (often erroneously described as the "first past the post" model) electoral system - are conveniently arrayed to prevent any third party from arising. I've seen (and participated in) numerous attempts in my lifetime to go down this path, including the current Green Party. None have come remotely close to cracking open the system. As evidence of that, consider this: of the 535 people who are now (and, I'm pretty sure, throughout my lifetime) members of Congress, not a single one comes from a third party. Not even one. And not for want of trying either. This record of astonishingly complete failure is a product of a system designed (quite effectively, we must acknowledge) to shut out real choice at all costs. And it works.

The other remaining remedy for this first analysis of what ails the country is to take over the Democratic Party. That's a long hard job, but I think it is one that is possible to accomplish. We've seen this happen constantly throughout history, with different cohorts and factions grabbing control of either party, typically by out-hustling their rivals, and with parties morphing in character over time. The Republican Eisenhower/Ford moderates who had owned the party in the post-war years lost control over the last generation or so to the Reagan/Bush corporate hacks masquerading as radical conservatives. The tea party movement is an effort to complete that movement. Pretty much the same thing has happened to the Democratic Party, where Clinton/Obama-style corporate hacks masquerading as New Democrat/Third Way moderates have taken over that party from the Kennedy/Johnson/Mondale-type old school liberals. In short, it can be done. If we think that the problem with America is simply that the wrong people are making the wrong policy choices, then this is, in my judgement, the best remedy to address that condition, and possibly the only one.

But what if the problem lies deeper? What if the reason that the wrong people are making the wrong policy decisions is rooted in the corruption of our institutional framework, which is set up to produce precisely those people and precisely those policy decisions? In short, what if the country's campaign finance system is the problem, designed quite purposively to insure that the special interests of the overclass are attended to, and the rest of us ignored or at best placated? What if, therefore, political parties become virtually irrelevant, because each one is as bought-off as the next?

There is, of course, massive evidence that this is precisely the case. In the old days, railroad and other robber-barons would simply drop a paper bag full of cash on a congressman's desk and instruct him on how he would be voting. Today, the process is slightly more subtle, but the effect is absolutely the same. Money completely rules American politics, and policy choices are made almost entirely to serve the plutocracy. Those folks invest thousands, in exchange for which they get back billions. Meanwhile, politicians get elected, and later, rich as well. Everybody wins. Except, er, the public, of course.

If this is what we judge to be the core problem, then the requisite solution takes the form of campaign finance reform. That is no easy mountain to climb, either, not least because there are quite real freedom of speech issues to be grappled with, along with the entirely bogus ones that would be instantly generated by the Scalia bloc (AKA the deeply regressive majority) of the US Supreme Court to utterly destroy any attempt by Congress at getting money out of politics. Oh, and best of luck getting the people who owe their jobs and perks and riches to the current system to change it in the first place. The solution here is pretty clear - publically financed campaigns - but it would probably necessitate a constitutional amendment to pull it off and make it stick. With the clout and moral authority Obama had in early 2009 he might have been able to do this if he had effectively used the bully pulpit to vociferously make his case to the public, moving them to demand that Congress act and the states ratify. It would have been enormously difficult, but the benefits would be gigantic. Of course, though, he didn't even raise the topic. And the opportunity to do this again is probably lost for another generation or more.

But what if the problem of American politics and governance runs even deeper still than the systemic corruption of a campaign finance system that purchases government on the cheap for the wealthiest among us? What if there is an oligarchy that (as James Douglass asserts, regarding JFK) will physically destroy anyone who remotely challenges its authority and its profits? What if any sort of replacement of officials or systemic fix would be entirely superficial and wholly irrelevant to the question of actual governance? What if Eisenhower's warning about the extremely dangerous influence of the military-industrial complex was as prescient as it was ignored?

Then, of course, we're into something much deeper altogether. And any sort of contemplated solution becomes a much heavier proposition, likely involving mass public action of some sort and a serious reconfiguration of the country's power structure and system of governance. That's probably a fancy way of saying 'revolution', though there are possibilities of serious change which imply less freighted repercussions than are typically associated with that term. Wholesale reform doesn't necessarily require guillotines or mob violence. Look at the 'velvet revolutions' of Eastern Europe as examples, among others. Another possibility would entail finding ways of splitting the governing class into factions and encouraging them to destroy one another in a civil war - a progressive divide and conquer strategy. Or a perhaps non-violent Gandhian civil disobedience approach for confronting power. There are other conceivable strategies as well, all of which involve wholesale - essentially revolutionary - change, addressing the key question of who governs.

So which of these three scenarios of escalating pathology is the correct one? How bad is it? And what, therefore, is required?

Many on the left opt for the third analysis, and are indeed contemptuous of anyone whose own assessment comes in anywhere short of that. I am partially sympathetic to that conclusion, but also somewhat dubious because of the simple empirical reality of American history. Conditions were horrid for most Americans prior to the 1930s, and women and gays and minorities were subjected to every form of assault. Then it got a lot better (and in some ways - gay rights, notably - even continues to do so now). A broad and robust middle class was even created where one had not existed before. The distribution of wealth was dramatically changed in a favorable way. Civil rights were pushed substantially forward. Civil liberties were expanded. Environmentalism was born in American politics and in the consciousness of the public. Attitudes changed, policies changed, and the lives of hundreds of millions of us were enormously improved.

These are all huge developments that would require utter fictionalized historical revisionism to deny (so, I say, let's not). And, they were the product of politics, leading to better policy. In the last thirty years, moreover, we've been watching a steady reversal of these gains on every front. Again, this is happening because of politics and resulting policy choices. The upshot is that it is hard for me, in the light of these plain historical facts, to see the political system immutable and fixed. To reach that conclusion, one would have to argue either that change never happened, or that it was once possible but no longer is. I don't reject the latter notion out of hand, but neither have I seen evidence for such an argument.

My own sense is that the system may be amenable to meaningful reform efforts short of something so dramatic as 1789. It also may not, but it strikes me as worth trying the lesser tumult to see if that works. Revolutions, among other untoward and unwanted consequences, tend to have an unhappy unpredictability to them. The one in Russia in 1917, for example, led pretty directly to Stalin. China's gave the country Mao, the Great Leap Forward and the Cultural Revolution, all in the name of serving the people. Not that you can exactly make revolutions happen on demand, anyhow.

In any case, any attempt to seriously divorce money and monied interests from governing choices will be a monumentally uphill battle in its own right, and one which will be fought fiercely. It would also have the unfortunate potential, as similar attempts have shown in recent decades, to simply rearrange the landscape without changing the country's essential power structure. As others have noted before, money in politics is like water rolling downhill. You may be able to block it one place, but it will try very hard to find another way down the mountain, and it will typically succeed.

But if I am asked what is my prescription for the reform of American politics, I guess this would be my starting point. Campaign finance reform seems, on the one hand, a mind-numbingly technocratic solution to a fundamentally moral problem, and on the other a wholly inadequate response to our current situation. It may be both.

Yet it may be the single key to solving ninety percent of our problems, and also, subsequently, to changing our attitudes and the fundamental relationship we have with our own system of governance. It is also, in its own way, a profoundly moral response to the sickness of our time. It calls for nothing short of public policymaking in the national interest, rather than to satisfy the bottomless greed of special interests.

It might, therefore, radically change this country for the better.

And though it also might not, it certainly seems to me a worthy starting point toward that end.

What is to be done? That is my final answer, Regis.

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

The Dead Letter Office...

Paul gives the corpo-rat salute

Heil Obama,

Dear Unterfuhrer Ryan,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, Ralph Nader, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Fredo Bush, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Sonia (get whitey) Sotomayor.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and your plan to keep funding the wars by eliminating Medicare, raising taxes on the middle class while cutting taxes for the ultra rich, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

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

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

And Now For Some Good News
We'll never know the names of all the people who paid with their limbs, their lungs or their lives for the goodies in my home and yours
By Johann Hari

At first, this isn't going to sound like a good news story, never mind one of the most inspiring stories in the world today. But trust me: it is. Yan Li spent his life tweaking tiny bolts, on a production line, for the gadgets that make our lives zing and bling. He might have pushed a crucial component of the laptop I am writing this article on, or the mobile phone that will interrupt your reading of it. He was a typical 27-year-old worker at the gigantic Foxconn factory in Shenzen, Southern China, which manufactures i-Pads and Playstations and mobile-phone batteries.

Li was known to the company by his ID number: F3839667. He stood at a whirring line all day, every day, making the same tiny mechanical motion with his wrist, for 20p an hour. According to his family, sometimes his shifts lasted for 24 hours; sometimes they stretched to 35. If he had tried to form a free trade union to change these practices, he would have been imprisoned for 12 years. On the night of 27 May, after yet another marathon-shift, Li dropped dead.

Deaths from overwork are so common in Chinese factories that they have a word for it: guolaosi. China Daily estimates that 600,000 people are killed this way every year, mostly making goods for us. Li had never experienced any health problems, his family says, until he started this work schedule; Foxconn say he died of asthma and his death had nothing to do with them. The night Li died, yet another Foxconn worker committed suicide -- the tenth this year.

For two decades now, you and I have shopped until Chinese workers dropped. Business has bragged about the joys of the China Price. They have been less keen for us to see the Human Price. KYE Systems Corp run a typical factory in Donguan in southern mainland China, and one of their biggest clients is Microsoft -- so in 2009 the US National Labour Committee sent Chinese investigators undercover there. On the first day a teenage worker whispered to them: "We are like prisoners here."

The staff work and live in giant factory-cities that they almost never leave. Each room sleeps 10 workers, and each dorm houses 5,000. There are no showers; they are given a sponge to clean themselves with. A typical shift begins at 7.45am and ends at 10.55pm. Workers must report to their stations 15 minutes ahead of schedule for a military-style drill: "Everybody, attention! Face left! Face right!" Once they begin, they are strictly forbidden from talking, listening to music, or going to the lavatory. Anybody who breaks this rule is screamed at and made to clean the lavatories as punishment. Then it's back to the dorm.

It's the human equivalent of battery farming. One worker said: "My job is to put rubber pads on the base of each computer mouse ... This is a mind-numbing job. I am basically repeating the same motion over and over for over 12 hours a day." At a nearby Meitai factory, which made keyboards for Microsoft, a worker said: "We're really livestock and shouldn't be called workers." They are even banned from making their own food, or having sex. They live off the gruel and slop they are required to buy from the canteen, except on Fridays, when they are given a small chicken leg and foot "to symbolize their improving life."

Even as their work has propelled China towards being a super-power, these workers got less and less. Wages as a proportion of GDP fell in China every single year from 1983 to 2005.

They can be treated this way because of a very specific kind of politics that has prevailed in China for two decades now. Very rich people are allowed to form into organisations -- corporations -- to ruthlessly advance their interests, but the rest of the population is forbidden by the secret police from banding together to create organisations to protect theirs. The political practices of Maoism were neatly transferred from communism to corporations: both regard human beings as dispensable instruments only there to serve economic ends.

We'll never know the names of all the people who paid with their limbs, their lungs, or their lives for the goodies in my home and yours. Here's just one: think of him as the Unknown Worker, standing for them all. Liu Pan was a 17-year-old operating a machine that made cards and cardboard that were sold on to big-name Western corporations. When he tried to clear its jammed machinery, he got pulled into it. His sister said: "When we got his body, his whole head was crushed. We couldn't even see his eyes."

So you might be thinking -- was it a cruel joke to bill this as a good news story? Not at all. An epic rebellion has now begun in China against this abuse -- and it is beginning to succeed. Across 126,000 Chinese factories, workers have refused to live like this any more. Wildcat unions have sprung up, organised by text message, demanding higher wages, a humane work environment, and the right to organise freely. Millions of young workers across the country are blockading their factories and chanting, "There are no human rights here!" and, "We want freedom!" The suicides were a rebellion of despair; this is a rebellion of hope.

Last year, the Chinese dictatorship was so panicked by the widespread uprisings that it prepared an extraordinary step forward. It drafted a new labour law that would allow workers to form and elect their own trade unions. It would plant seeds of democracy across China's workplaces. Western corporations lobbied very hard against it, saying it would create a "negative investment environment" -- by which they mean smaller profits. Western governments obediently backed the corporations and opposed freedom and democracy for Chinese workers. So the law was whittled down and democracy stripped out.

It wasn't enough. This year Chinese workers have risen even harder to demand a fair share of the prosperity they create. Now company after company is making massive concessions: pay rises of over 60 per cent are being conceded. Even more crucially, officials in Guandong province, the manufacturing heartland of the country, have announced that they are seriously considering allowing workers to elect their own representatives to carry out collective bargaining after all. Just like last time, Western corporations and governments are lobbying frantically against this -- and to keep the millions of Yan Lis stuck at their assembly lines into the 35th hour.

This isn't a distant struggle: you are at its heart, whether you like it or not. There is an electrical extension cord running from your laptop and mobile and games console to the people like Yan Li and Liu Pan dying to make them. So you have to make a choice. You can passively let the corporations and governments speak for you in trying to beat these people back into semi-servitude -- or you can side with the organisations here that support their cry for freedom, like No Sweat, or the TUC's international wing, by donating to them, or volunteering for their campaigns.

Yes, if this struggle succeeds, it will mean that we will have to pay a little more for some products, in exchange for the freedom and the lives of people like Yan Li and Liu Pan. But previous generations have made that choice. After slavery was abolished in 1833, Britain's GDP fell by 10 percent -- but they knew that cheap goods and fat profits made from flogging people until they broke were not worth having. Do we?

To join No Sweat's campaigns go to
(c) 2010 Johann Hari is a columnist for the London Independent. He has reported from Iraq, Israel/Palestine, the Congo, the Central African Republic, Venezuela, Peru and the US, and his journalism has appeared in publications all over the world. The youngest person to be nominated for the Orwell Prize for political writing, in 2003 he won the Press Gazette Young Journalist of the Year Award and in 2007 Amnesty International named him Newspaper Journalist of the Year. He is a contributing editor of Attitude magazine and published his first book, God Save the Queen?, in 2003.

The White Hot Urgency Of Now
By Mary Pitt

The time is running short for the Liberal movement who placed President Obama in the White House to get serious about the programs that are needed NOW, not next year or the year after or sometime in the future. The Republicans, the Party of HELL NO, have kicked the can down the road and will not rest until we are all in the ditch and they will not relent until we have journeyed all the way to that famous creek. We need to increase the pressure on Congress until they all cry, "Uncle." We must apply pressure in every way we can think of to get what the unemployed, the underemployed, and their families on the way back up to thinking about The American Dream.

What more can we do? We can generate a little enthusiasm on our part and take some actions that will make it very clear that the old policies of Bush that are still hanging on will not be tolerated. We don't have to travel to major cities and make fools of ourselves like the Tea Party but we can do many things from right here at home. We must not dither about, trying to think of possible presidential prospects for 2012. By that time, given the propensity of the Republicans for cutting taxes on the rich while creating more hungry children, they may have brought about a Hoover debacle. Here are a few things we can do and you can surely think of more:

Don't let them go home! Petition Congress in every way possible, with e-mails, phone calls, and any chance you get to speak to your representative in Congress. Tell them that there is a serious National Emergency and the president needs their help in the same way President Bush got the help he needed after 9/11. Let Leader Pelosi and Speaker Harry Reid know that there is too much work to do to allow extra time for running for re-election. If your Congressman, regardless of party, dares to show up at a public campaign effort, challenge them with the question, "Shouldn't you be on the job dealing with this emergency instead of out here hobnobbing with your donor buddies?" You will get thrown out but it will be worth the sacrifice.

Tell President Obama that there is another way! We all remember President Bush and all the things he did without Congressional approval. He had discovered the power of "interim appointments" and "Executive Orders" and refined them to an art. If President Obama chooses to do so, he could emulate George Bush and, by direction to the heads of the departments in his administration, reform the practices which allow other nations to victimize the American citizen. They could re-direct the rates of tariffs on imports and enlarge assistance to Americans in areas of the greatest need. If Congress doesn't like it, they can always hurry back to Washington and get back to work representing American citizens.

Stay out of Wal Mart! Unless you are already so poor that you need to squeeze every penny just to stay alive, find a locally-owned store to patronize. The reason Wal Mart prices are so low is because their products are produced by slave labor in China or Mexico. If we continue to patronize Wal Mart and the other price-cutting stores, in a year or two, the slave labor will be you! Certainly there are people who can get a little more food for their money at Wal Mart than they can at the local Mom and Pop but those of us who can pay a few cents more will not only be protesting the out-sourcing of our factories to foreign countries but will be helping Mom and Pop to continue making a living.

Buy American whenever possible! If you don't find a label in the clothing that indicates it is American-made. ask the manager where it came from. Ask your store manager, if necessary, where the produce was grown, where the meat was grown and processed. Once they find out that the imported stuff doesn't sell as well as the homegrown, you won't have to look as hard to find the fresh stuff that was produced by your fellow Americans. Patriotism is born in the super market.

Never say die! Sure, the progress that has been made by this administration has been slow and difficult but allowing the election of more Republicans would not help a bit. Senator Mitch McConnell may say that the gain of a few more seats by the Republicans will mean a more "balanced Congress" but, in fact, it will mean nothing more nor less than a total stalemate which will surely lead to a repeat of another Great Depression. We, as progressive Americans, must not allow the dream to die. We must ever be conscious that there are no timeouts when your child is hungry and there is no campaign season trip home when the nation is bleeding.

(c) 2010 Mary Pitt is eighty years old and has spent a half century working with handicapped and deprived people and advocating on their behalf while caring for her own working-class family. She spends her "Sunset Years" in writing and struggling with The System. Huzzahs and whiney complaints may be sent to

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Pat Bagley ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Stairway To Heaven
By Led Zeppelin

There's a lady who's sure
All that glitters is gold
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

When she gets there she knows
If the stores are all closed
With a word she can get what she came for

Ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh, ooh
And she's buying a stairway to heaven

There's a sign on the wall
But she wants to be sure
'Cause you know sometimes words have
Two meanings

In a tree by the brook
There's a songbird who sings
Sometimes all of our thoughts are

Ooh, it makes me wonder

Ooh, it makes me wonder

There's a feeling I get
When I look to the west
And my spirit is crying
For leaving

In my thoughts I have seen
Rings of smoke through the trees
And the voices of those
Who stand looking

Ooh, it makes me wonder

Ooh, it really makes me wonder

And it's whispered that soon
If we all call the tune
Then the piper will lead us to reason

And a new day will dawn
For those who stand long
And the forests will
Echo with laughter

Oh, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, ooh, whoa, oh

If there's a bustle in your hedgerow
Don't be alarmed now
It's just a spring clean
For the May queen

Yes, there are two paths you can go by
But in the long run
There's still time to change
The road you're on

And it makes me wonder

Aw, uh, oh

Your head is humming and it won't go
In case you don't know
The piper's calling you to join him

Dear lady, can you hear the wind blow?
And did you know
Your stairway lies on the whispering wind?


And as we wind on down the road
Our shadows taller than our soul
There walks a lady we all know
Who shines white light and wants to show
How everything still turns to gold
And if you listen very hard
The tune will come to you at last
When all are one and one is all
To be a rock and not to roll

And she's buying a stairway
To heaven...
(c) 1971/2010 Led Zeppelin

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...


Landover Baptist Sin Posse Seizes Fugitive Pastor, Deacon Fred Smith, After Bloody Assault in Remote Mountains of Canada!

Manitoba, Canada
August 8, 2010

AP Wire Services

Manitoba, Canada - International fugitive and estranged former Pastor of the Landover Baptist Church, Deacon Fred Smith, was captured and taken into custody in the remote mountains of Manitoba Canada on Saturday, August 7th at 5:27 P.M.

Deacon Fred, who was incarcerated in early May of this year for inducing a child to commit bodily harm after listening to one of his sermons, escaped from the Fort Madison County Iowa Jail on July 4th. With assistance from an unknown number of followers, Deacon Fred has since been a fugitive from justice, eluding authorities and concerned church officials by hiding in the remote wilderness of Manitoba, Canada.

At 11 PM, Friday, August 6th, a fully deputized Sin Posse of 3,000 Landover Baptist churchmen descended on Deacon Fred's location after a tip from Rev. Brother Harry Hardwick who had been monitoring an elusive GPS signal from the basement of his Leviticus Acres estate in Freehold, Iowa.

What Sin Posse deputies thought would be a speedy military engagement, turned into over 24-hours of heavy artillery combat.

The battle had all but ended late Saturday evening as most of Deacon Fred's followers had abandoned all hope and fled further into the mountains. Sin Posse Deputies rolled back a large stone covering the entrance of a cave where Deacon Fred had been hiding along with his peculiar dwarf companion, Tiny Harolson. The estranged Pastor surrendered without incident - other than slapping a young Sin Posse deputy across the face and exclaiming, "Shame on you! I know your daddy!

Initial reports indicate there were 134 church members lost along with an M1A2 Abrams tank donated by an anonymous Platinum Tither. The wives of churchmen were alerted to expect more casualties in addition to loss of expensive equipment and Tupperware care packages. Canadian Mounties are expected to arrive on horseback within the next 5-days - so Sin Posse deputies have been ordered by Rev. Harry Hardwick to leave the area as soon as possible but to "do their best" to stomp out the smoldering debris from the nearly 400 acres of forest they accidentally set on fire during the battle.

Landover Baptist Church officials are now working carefully to find any True Christian(tm) authorities hiding in the Canadian government who will accept a generous donation to enable safe border passage into America.

At the time of this press release, a caravan of Sin Posse churchmen are prayerfully beginning their long journey back to Freehold, Iowa with Deacon Fred safely confined in a caged wagon along with his dwarf companion, Tiny Harolson, who refused to leave his side or hop down off his shoulders.

Upon Deacon Fred's return, he will be questioned by the Landover Baptist Board of Deacons and sent to the Creation Science Research Center to undergo Preliminary Salvation Re-conditioning before being placed back behind bars.

Rev. Pastor Harry Hardwick, the chief Pastor of Landover Baptist Church and a dear friend of Deacon Fred dedicated the Sunday morning prayer to the brave members of the Landover Baptist Sin Posse who gave their lives in the Battle of Manitoba to capture Deacon Fred unharmed.

Hardwick ensured church members that Deacon Fred would be treated with the utmost care. "God willing, one day my old friend will understand that we all love him dearly and everything we do on his behalf is an outward manifestation of a genuine heartfelt concern for his Religious sanity."

Church members continue to pray for the safe passage of their brave Sin Posse brothers in Christ as they journey home across the Canadian wilderness with Deacon Fred in tow.
(c) 2010 The Landover Baptist Church

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Issues & Alibis Vol 10 # 33 (c) 08/13/2010

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