Please visit our sponsor!

Bookmark and Share
In This Edition

Noam Chomsky returns with, "Israel's West Bank Plans Will Leave Palestinians Very Little."

Uri Avnery sees, "A New Guinness Record."

Glen Ford reports, "Expect 'Massive Resistance' To Stop-And-Frisk Ruling."

Norman Solomon sends, "'You Failed To Break The Spirit Of Bradley Manning': An Open Letter To President Obama."

Jim Hightower finds, "Corporate Powers Steamroll Florida Voters."

David Swanson gives an, "Apology To Canada From Your Southern Neighbor."

James Donahue warns of, "Living On The Edge; America's Cockeyed Monetary Oil Standard."

John Nichols says, "It Really Should Not Matter That Ted Cruz Is Canadian."

Chris Hedges examines, "Murdering The Wretched Of The Earth."

Glenn Greenwald rails, "Detaining My Partner Was A Failed Attempt At Intimidation."

Paul Krugman discovers, "One Reform, Indivisible."

David Sirota gives, "A Civics Lesson From America's Education Debate."

Joel S. Hirschhorn exclaims, "Highly Respected Conservative Embraces Article V Convention Option!"

GMO Answers wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich explains, "Why Congress's Gridlock Doesn't Paralyze Government But Gridlocks Democracy."

Vincent L. Guarisco concludes, "Regardless Of Screeching Media Banter, Whistleblowers Are Our Bravest Heroes."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department George Carlin asks, "Who Owns This Country?" but first, Uncle Ernie sez, "Beware, The 'Final Solution' For Journalism Is Fast Approaching."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Joe Heller, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Brian McFadden, Max Papeschi, Bill Day, Janine Gibson, J. Scott Applewhite, In Your Face Radio.Net, Jay Ward Productions, Sunday Times, Op-ed News.Com, AP, Black Agenda Report, You Tube.Com 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."

Bookmark and Share

Beware, The 'Final Solution' For Journalism Is Fast Approaching
By Ernest Stewart

"In times like these people have to watch what they say, and watch what they do." ~~~ Ari Fleischer

"...sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society." ~~~ Bradley Manning

"Before they reach the market, crops from GM seeds are studied extensively to make sure they are safe for people, animals and the environment. Today's GM products are the most researched and tested agricultural products in history." ~~~ GMO Answers

If it's somethin' weird an' it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?
Ghostbusters ~~~ Ray Parker Jr.

It really hit the fan in England the other day, when David Cameron ordered the kidnapping of Glenn Greenwald's partner, David Miranda, when his plane touched down in London on its way to Rio. He was held incommunicado for 9 hours as David sent a message to all journalists that the free press is no longer free in England. I'm just surprised by all the folks that were shocked by this, considering England's long history of murder, mayhem and stealing everything that wasn't nailed down, and some things that were nailed down, too! It really must tear them up with that glorious record of crimes against humanity and all to have to play second fiddle to the US!

Here's what The Guardian said about the incident...

The National Union of Journalists described the detention "as a gross misuse of the law" and raised questions about the guarantees journalists could now give their sources. "Journalists no longer feel safe exchanging even encrypted messages by email and now it seems they are not safe when they resort to face-to-face meetings," said the NUJ secretary general, Michelle Stanistreet.

Bob Satchwell, the executive director of the Society of Editors, which represents national and regional newspapers, said it was "another case of disproportionate reaction by authorities" using "an important piece of legislation for a purpose for which it was neither intended nor designed".

He said: "Journalism may be embarrassing and annoying for governments, but it is not terrorism." Satchwell said it was difficult to avoid the conclusion that "the detention of a journalist's partner is anything other than an attempt to intimidate a journalist and his news organization that is simply informing the public of what is being done by authorities in their name".

"It is another example of a dangerous tendency that the initial reaction of authorities is to assume that journalists are bad, when in fact they play an important part in any democracy."

David Miranda told reporters that his detention came under a British anti-terrorism law in which he was refused access to a lawyer, a language interpreter, or a phone call and was threatened constantly with imprisonment or worse.

Miranda said in a phone interview with The Guardian's Jonathan Watts.

They were threatening me all the time and saying I would be put in jail if I didn't co-operate. They treated me like I was a criminal or someone about to attack the UK ... It was exhausting and frustrating, but I knew I wasn't doing anything wrong."

They got me to tell them the passwords for my computer and mobile phone. They said I was obliged to answer all their questions and used the words 'prison' and 'station' all the time."

I was in a different country with different laws, in a room with seven agents coming and going who kept asking me questions. I thought anything could happen. I thought I might be detained for a very long time."

More from the Guardian...

[Miranda] was on his way back from Berlin, where he was ferrying materials between Greenwald and Laura Poitras, the US film-maker who has also been working on stories related to the NSA files released by US whistle-blower Edward Snowden.

Miranda was seized almost as soon as his British Airways flight touched down on Sunday morning. "There was an announcement on the plane that everyone had to show their passports. The minute I stepped out of the plane they took me away to a small room with four chairs and a machine for taking fingerprints," he recalled.

His carry-on bags were searched and, he says, police confiscated a computer, two pen drives, an external hard drive and several other electronic items, including a games console, as well two newly-bought watches and phones that were packaged and boxed in his stowed luggage.

The accusation that Miranda's detention was intended to intimidate journalists working on stories related to US and UK national security agencies was at least partially affirmed when "one U.S. security official" told Reuters on Monday that "one of the main purposes of the British government's detention and questioning of Miranda was to send a message to recipients of Snowden's materials, including the Guardian, that the British government was serious about trying to shut down the leaks."

Also late Monday, the Guardian's editor, Alan Rusbridger had this to say...

"A little over two months ago I was contacted by a very senior government official claiming to represent the views of the prime minister. There followed two meetings in which he demanded the return or destruction of all the material we were working on. The tone was steely, if cordial, but there was an implicit threat that others within government and Whitehall favoured a far more draconian approach.

The mood toughened just over a month ago, when I received a phone call from the centre of government telling me: "You've had your fun. Now we want the stuff back." There followed further meetings with shadowy Whitehall figures. The demand was the same: hand the Snowden material back or destroy it. I explained that we could not research and report on this subject if we complied with this request. The man from Whitehall looked mystified. "You've had your debate. There's no need to write any more.

One of the more bizarre moments in the Guardian's long history occurred when a pair of GCHQ agents oversaw the "the destruction of hard drives in the Guardian's basement" which contained portions of the Snowden documents.

Though he said that the "seizure of Miranda's laptop, phones, hard drives and camera" will have no impact on the newspaper's ability to continue its reporting on the Snowden documents, he said theses recent events all go to prove that the state that is building such a formidable apparatus of surveillance will do its best to prevent journalists from reporting on it.

Trouble is, this has been happening in America for years, just a bit more open about it in England as the British still have a working press of sorts. Still, you have to wonder for just how much longer, with overt acts like this one? Oh, and a piece of advice for Glenn & David: if I were you, I'd keep a sharp ear peeled for the sound of an approaching drone, as Barry has the "final solution" for all these pesky truth tellers! He's making a new list every Tuesday; and he's checking it twice!

In Other News

I just sent Barry another letter; unfortunately, I forgot to copy it before I sent it as I had to wrestle with the captcha I few dozen times until I could decipher what it was -- making me madder than I already was, and hit the send button before thinking.

In a nutshell, I asked Barry if he had plans on giving the American Hero Bradley Manning a full pardon, the Congressional Medal of Honor and say $50,000,000 for his time, trouble and service to his country? I asked for a reply; I can't wait to see what it says; and, yes, I'll keep a lookout for black helicopters and drones whenever I leave the bunker!

Bradley, being the true hero he is, took his 35 year sentence in stride. Here is his statement...

This is a transcript of the statement made by Pfc. Bradley Manning as read by David Coombs at a press conference on Wednesday:

The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life.

I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country. It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized in our efforts to meet this risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability.

In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically-based intentions [unclear], it is usually an American soldier that is ordered to carry out some ill-conceived mission.

Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy-the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, the Japanese-American internment camps-to name a few. I am confident that many of our actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light.

As the late Howard Zinn once said, "There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people."

I understand that my actions violated the law, and I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intention to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others.

If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal.
There is not a lot to add to that, except Bradley for telling the truth and exposing all the crimes done in our name gets 35 years in a military hell while the murderers and torturers who he exposed got protected for their war crimes and promoted for following ze orders! Barry sent a loud and clear message today as he did with Greenwald's boyfriend the other day, either follow ze orders and shut up, or pay ze consequences! Jawohl?

And Finally

I came across some 1% propaganda recently. Yes, just as the Pentagoons have unleashed a tide of propaganda against us, so do their puppets masters in Big Agra. This criminal enterprise is desperately trying to cover their tracks with some bullshit and a song and a dance about their GMO poisons and various types of their Frankenfoods! One method of this is a website called GMO Answers. It's a "go to" site to find all the various and sundry bits of lies about their FDA-approved garbage. If you want to have some fun, go and ask them a straight question and find out all about the joys of GMO foods and how it's here to save the world, etc. After you get through rolling about on the floor laughing your ass off and regain composure, consider whose backing this site and others have with all this misinformation! Here it is from their own site:

Founding Members

GMO Answers is funded by the members of The Council for Biotechnology Information, which includes BASF, Bayer CropScience, Dow AgroSciences, DuPont, Monsanto Company and Syngenta. Our members are dedicated to the responsible development and application of plant biotechnology.

Supporting Partners

Supporting partners are organizations, companies and others who are committed to the five core principles of GMO Answers and have added their support to this initiative. To date those partners include the American Farm Bureau Federation, American Seed Trade Association, American Soybean Association, National Corn Growers Association, and National Cotton Council.

After each section, they ask you to tell them how they are doing, so guess what I did? Ya'll read me like a book, don't ya?

As for how you are doing, you're sucking big time! For what you have done you should ALL be nailed to GMO trees, or even worse, be forced fed your Frankenfood! Does that sound like you're succeeding in pulling the wool over our eyes in regards to your GMO poisons that you're trying to murder us with? Well, does it?

If you'd like to give them a piece of your mind, then just go to GMO Answers.Com. Oh, and tell'em Uncle Ernie sent you!

Ergo GMO Answers and the criminal enterprises behind it win this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

Zero Ducats in the bucket this week. We still need to raise $1300 by the first week in November and as you can see on any calendar, time is running out. We need your help if we are to keep on keeping on for you and yours. I emptied my retirement fund years ago keeping things going; so, unless you step up, we're gone like the wind. If I put my whole SS check in to pay the bills I'd end up about $2000 short.

So the question is, is what we do for you worth your support? Only you can answer that question. Most of our readers would like to help out, but are as broke as we are. No one makes a penny off their work for the magazine, never have, never will. We are all in this because we have to be; we all realize what is going down and what it means. It means we are sooooo screwed; and, unless we do something about it, our end is near!

Therefore, if you think the truth is worth the price, then please send us as much as you can, as often as you can; and we'll keep hipping you to the truth, just like we have, week after week, year after year, decade after decade! We're your source for what's really happening and what it means to you and your family. Who ya gonna call?


02-01-1984 ~ 08-19-2013
Thanks for the film!

10-11-1925 ~ 08-20-2013
Thanks for the read!

03-31-1918 ~ 08-20-2013
Thanks for the film!

08-12-1918 ~ 08-21-2013
Thanks for bringing them over!


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) 2013 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 12 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. Visit the Magazine's page on Facebook and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Israel's West Bank Plans Will Leave Palestinians Very Little
By Noam Chomsky

The Israeli-Palestinian peace talks beginning in Jerusalem proceed within a framework of assumptions that merit careful thought.

One prevailing assumption is that there are two options: either a two-state settlement will be reached, or there will be a "shift to a nearly inevitable outcome of the one remaining reality -- a state 'from the sea to the river'," an outcome posing "an immediate existential threat of the erasure of the identity of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state" because of what is termed "the demographic problem," a future Palestinian majority in the single state.

This particular formulation is by former Israeli Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) chief Yuval Diskin, but the basic assumptions are near universal in political commentary and scholarship. They are, however, crucially incomplete. There is a third option, the most realistic one: Israel will carry forward its current policies with full U.S. economic, military, and diplomatic support, sprinkled with some mild phrases of disapproval.

The policies are quite clear. Their roots go back to the 1967 war and they have been pursued with particular dedication since the Oslo Accords of September 1993.

The Accords determined that Gaza and the West Bank are an indivisible territorial entity. Israel and the U.S. moved at once to separate them, which means that any autonomy Palestinians might gain in the West Bank will have no direct access to the outside world.

A second step was to carry forward the creation of a vastly expanded Greater Jerusalem, incorporating it within Israel, as its capital. This is in direct violation of Security Council orders and is a serious blow to any hope for a viable Palestinian entity. A corridor to the east of the new Greater Jerusalem incorporates the settler town of Ma'aleh Adumim, established in the 1970s but built primarily after the Oslo Accords, virtually bisecting the West Bank.

Corridors to the north including other settler towns divide what is to remain under some degree of Palestinian control -- "Bantustans," as they were called by one of the main architects of the policy, Ariel Sharon, in a reference to the territory set aside for black South Africans during the apartheid era.

Meanwhile Israel is incorporating the territory on the Israeli side of the "separation wall" cutting through the West Bank, taking arable land and water resources and Palestinian villages.

Included are the settlement blocs that "will remain part of Israel in any possible future peace agreement," as stated by Israeli government spokesman Mark Regev as the current negotiations were announced.

The International Court of Justice ruled that all of this is illegal, and the Security Council had already ruled that all of the settlements are illegal. The U.S. joined the world in accepting that conclusion in the early years of the occupation. But under Ronald Reagan, the position was changed to "harmful to peace," and Barack Obama has weakened it further to "not helpful to peace."

Israel has also been clearing the Jordan Valley of Palestinians while establishing Jewish settlements, sinking wells, and otherwise preparing for eventual integration of the region within Israel.

That will complete the isolation of any West Bank Palestinian entity. Meanwhile huge infrastructure projects throughout the West Bank, from which Palestinians are barred, carry forward the integration to Israel, and presumably eventual annexation.

The areas that Israel is taking over will be virtually free of Arabs. There will be no new "demographic problem" or civil rights or anti-apartheid struggle, contrary to what many advocates of Palestinian rights anticipate in a single state.

There remain open questions. Notably, pre-Obama, U.S. presidents have prevented Israel from building settlements on the E1 site -- a controversial area in the West Bank that Israel hopes to develop -- which would complete the separation of Greater Jerusalem from Palestinian-controlled area. What will happen here is uncertain.

As the negotiations opened, Israel made its intentions clear by announcing new construction in East Jerusalem and scattered settlements, while also extending its "national priority list" of settlements that receive special subsidies to encourage building and inducements for Jewish settlers.

Obama made his intentions clear by appointing as chief negotiator Martin Indyk, whose background is in the Israeli lobby, a close associate of negotiator and presidential adviser Dennis Ross, whose guiding principle has been that Israel has "needs," which plainly overcome mere Palestinian wants.

These developments bring to the fore a second common assumption: that Palestinians have been hindering the peace process by imposing preconditions. In reality, the U.S. and Israel impose crucial preconditions. One is that the process must be in the hands of the United States, which is an active participant in the conflict on Israel's side, not an "honest broker." A second is that the illegal Israel settlement activities must be allowed to continue.

There is an overwhelming international consensus in support of a two-state settlement on the internationally recognized border, perhaps with "minor and mutual adjustments" of this 1949 cease-fire line, in the wording of much earlier U.S. policy. The consensus includes the Arab states and the Organization of Islamic States (including Iran). It has been blocked by the U.S. and Israel since 1976, when the U.S. vetoed a resolution to this effect brought by Egypt, Jordan, and Syria.

The rejectionist record continues to the present. Washington's most recent veto of a Security Council resolution on Palestinian territory was in February 2011, a resolution calling for implementation of official U.S. policy -- an end to expansion of Israel's illegal settlements. And the rejectionist record goes far beyond the Security Council.

Also misleading is the question whether the hawkish Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu would accept a "Palestinian state." In fact, his administration was the first to countenance this possibility when it came into office in 1996, following Yitzhak Rabin and Shimon Peres, who rejected this outcome. Netanyahu's associate David bar-Illan explained that some areas would be left to Palestinians, and if they wanted to call them "a state," Israel would not object -- or they could call them "fried chicken."

His response reflects the operative attitude of the U.S.-Israel coalition to Palestinian rights.

In the region, there is great skepticism about Washington's current revival of the "peace process." It is not hard to see why.
(c) 2013 Noam Chomsky is emeritus professor of linguistics and philosophy at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and is co-author, with Gilbert Achcar, of Perilous Power: The Middle East & U.S. Foreign Policy: Dialogues on Terror, Democracy, War, and Justice. His most recent book is Power Systems: Conversations on Global Democratic Uprisings and the New Challenges to U.S. Empire.

A New Guinness Record
By Uru Avnery

I DON'T know if the Guinness Book of World Records has a special section for Chutzpah.

If it does not, it should. That's the one competition where we might take home a few gold medals.

The first one would surely go to Binyamin Netanyahu.

THIS WEEK, on the eve of the first round of serious negotiations between the Israeli Government and the Palestinian Authority, Netanyahu did two interesting things: he announced plans for several large new settlement projects and he accused the Palestinians of grievous incitement against Israel.

Let's take the settlements first. As explained by Israeli diplomats to their American colleagues, and repeated by all the Israeli media, poor Netanyahu had no choice. John Kerry compelled him to release 104 Palestinian prisoners as a "confidence building measure". After such a momentous concession, he had to pacify his extremist colleagues in the Likud and in the cabinet. A thousand new housing units in the occupied territories (including East Jerusalem) was the very minimum.

The agreement to release prisoners let loose a veritable Witches' Sabbath. All the newspapers and TV news programs were awash with blood – the blood on the hands of the Palestinian murderers. "Murderers" was the de rigeur appellation. Not "fighters", not "militants", not even "terrorists". Just plain "murderers".

All the prisoners to be released were convicted before the Oslo agreement was signed, meaning that they have been in prison for at least 20 years. The probability that they would take part in future bloody activity must be minimal.

Some of the victims' families carried out staged stormy protests, with bloody hands and blood-smeared flags. The media vied with each other in publishing pictures of weeping mothers (TV loves weeping women) waving photos of their killed sons and blood-curdling descriptions of the attacks in which they died. (Some of which were indeed atrocious.)

However, not so long ago, Netanyahu had agreed to release more than a thousand prisoners in return for one captured Israeli soldier. This means that one single soldier is ten times more precious than the chances of peace.

The actual release bordered on the grotesque. In order to avoid photos in the morning papers of the rapturous reception of the prisoners by their families, the actual release of the first 26 prisoners took place after midnight, in a shroud of mystery. Which reminds one of the Biblical passage, in which David mourned for Saul, slain in battle with the Philistines: "Tell it not in Gath, publish it not in the streets of Askelon (both Philistine towns), lest the daughters of the Philistines rejoice, lest the daughters of the uncircumcised triumph." (II Samuel 1)

Does all this testify to an atmosphere of peace on the eve of peacemaking? Wait, there is more to come.

THE DAY the new settlement projects were announced, Netanyahu fired off to John Kerry a furious protest against the ongoing Palestinian "incitement" against Israel. This missive could interest the adjudicators of the Guinness record for Chutzpah.

The main evidence for Mahmoud Abbas' perfidy, in Netanyahu's letter, is a text in which a minor Palestinian official called for a Palestinian state "from Rosh Hanikra to Eilat." Rosh Hanikra (Ras Naqura in Arabic) is on the Lebanese border, so this state would include all of Israel. Also, during a soccer event in Ramallah, anti-Israeli shouts were heard.

Awful, just awful. Kerry should spring from his seat in fury. Were it not for the fact that almost all leading Likud members proclaim that the whole of historical Palestine belongs to Israel, and Naftali Bennett, a pillar of Netanyahu's government coalition, just announced that the Palestinians "can forget about" a Palestinian state.

Not to mention a certain Daniel Seaman, the former director of the Ministry of Explaining (that's its real name. I didn't make it up. Israelis don't do propaganda, God forbid. Seaman has just been appointed to Netanyahu's own office, in charge of "explaining" on the internet. This week he posted a message on facebook addressed to Saeb Erekat, the chief of he Palestinian delegation to the peace talks, telling him to "go and f**k himself". To the theological declaration by the Church of Scotland that the Jews have no special claim to Palestine he posted the reply: "We don't give a [obscenity] for what you say."

This genius of public relations is now setting up a clandestine group of Israeli university students, who will be paid to flood the international social media with government "explaining" material.

As for soccer fans, the Betar stadium, which is linked to the Likud, resounds at every match with shouts of "Death to the Arabs!"'

So, for what the bell tolls? Nor for peace, it seems.

ONE OF the problems is that absolutely nobody knows what Netanyahu really wants. Perhaps not even he.

The Prime Minister is now the loneliest person in Israel. He has no friends. He trusts nobody, and nobody around him trusts him.

His colleagues in the Likud leadership quite openly despise him, regarding him as a man of no principles, without a backbone, giving in to every pressure. This seems to have been the opinion of his late father, who once declared that Binyamin would make a good foreign minister, but certainly not a prime minister.

In the government he is quite alone. Previous prime ministers had a close group of ministers to consult with. Golda Meir had a "kitchen cabinet". Netanyahu has no one. He does not consult with anyone. He announces his decisions, and that's that.

In his previous terms he had at least a group of confidants in his office. These officials have been driven out one by one by Sarah, his wife.

So, as one commentator this week reminded us, this lonely man, unaided by any group of trusted advisors, experts or confidants, is called upon to decide, quite by himself, the fate of Israel for generations to come.

THIS WOULD not have been so dangerous if Netanyahu had been a Charles de Gaulle. Unfortunately, he isn't.

De Gaulle was one of the towering figures of the 20th century. Cold, aloof, overbearing, intensely disliked by the rest of the world's leaders, this extreme right-wing general took the historic decision to give up the huge country of Algeria, four times as big as metropolitan France.

Algeria, it must be remembered, was officially not a colony, not an occupied territory, but a part of France proper. It had been under French rule for more than a century. More than a million settlers saw it as their homeland. Yet de Gaulle made the lonely decision to give it up, putting his own life in grave danger.

Since then, Israeli leftists have yearned for "an Israeli de Gaulle", who would do their job for them, according to the old Hebrew adage that "the work of the righteous is done by others" – others meaning, one assumes, people who are not quite so righteous.

There is, of course, one important difference. De Gaulle was supported by his conservative allies, the tycoons of the French economy. These sober-minded capitalists saw how the Germans were taking over the economy of Europe, which was in the process of uniting, while France was wasting its resources on an expensive, totally useless colonial war in North Africa. They wanted to get rid of it as quickly as possible, and de Gaulle was their man.

Netanyahu is as close to the Israeli tycoons as de Gaulle was to his, but our tycoons don't give a damn about peace. This attitude may change, if ever the de-legitimization of Israel becomes a serious economic burden.

In this context; the boycott imposed by the European Union against the products of the settlements may be a harbinger of things to come.

By the way, the petition submitted by me and Gush Shalom in the Supreme Court, against the new law to penalize advocates of a boycott of the settlements, will be heard only next February. The court is obviously shrinking back from handling this hot potato. But it paid us a unique compliment: "Avnery v. the Knesset" will be heard by nine supreme judges, almost the full membership of the court.

SO IS this "peace process" serious? What does Netanyahu want?

Does he want to enter the history books as the "Israeli de Gaulle", the wise Zionist leader who put an end to 120 years of conflict?

Or is he just another smart guy who is making a tactical move to avoid a tussle with the US and stop the de-legitimization process at least for a while?

As it looks now, de Gaulle in his heaven can relax. No competitor in sight.

There is not the slightest indication of any peace orientation. Quite the contrary. Our government is using the new "peace process" as a smoke screen behind which the settlement bulldozer is working full time.

The government condemns the EU boycott resolution because it "harms the peace process". It rejects all demands for freezing the settlements because this would "obstruct the peace process". Investing hundreds of millions in settlements which under any imaginable peace agreement will have to be evacuated is, it seems, favorable for peace.

So is there hope? Time to quote again the Yiddish saying: "If God wills, even a broomstick can shoot!"
(c) 2013 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Expect "Massive Resistance" To Stop-And-Frisk Ruling
By Glen Ford

On February 4, 1999, four plainclothes New York City police officers summarily executed Amadou Diallo in a barrage of 41 bullets, setting in motion a legal battle that challenged the constitutionality of the city's stop-and-frisk policies. Last week, federal judge Shira Scheindlin ruled in favor of the Black and Latino plaintiffs in a class action suit, declaring that New York's stop-and-frisk policies amount to racially selective violations of the Constitution's prohibitions against unreasonable searches. In her 195-page decision, Scheindlin noted that more Blacks and Latinos have been accosted by police on the streets of New York since 2004 than actually live in city. Stop-and-frisk, as practiced by the NYPD, is designed to "instill fear" in the targeted groups, said the judge, and "there is a sufficient basis for inferring discriminatory intent." Scheindlin ordered that:

* an independent monitor, accountable to the courts, oversee stop-and-frisk activities;

* police supervisors cease enforcing a "quota" system that compels officers to make unwarranted stops;

* cops in selected precincts wear video cameras, to record their actual behavior in confronting citizens on the street; and,

* establishment of a Joint Remedial Process, in which community residents in high-volume-stops neighborhoods would make their opinions and proposals known.

It should be expected that the ruling will be met with massive resistance reminiscent of the official southern white reaction to the 1954 U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision. Mayor Michael Bloomberg greeted the ruling with defiance equal to that of Alabama Governor George Wallace's threats to stand in the schoolhouse door. "You're not going to see any change in tactics overnight," said the billionaire politician, whose term ends next year. Bloomberg will immediately appeal the ruling, which could then be put on hold pending the outcome.

Bloomberg and his police commissioner, Ray Kelly, have comported themselves with such brazen racial arrogance as to welcome a grand confrontation with the court - in much the same manner as white officialdom behaved in Dixie in the Fifties and early Sixties. Back in June, amidst voluminous court testimony on wildly disproportionate police stops of young Black and brown men, the mayor told listeners to his weekly radio show: "I think we disproportionately stop whites too much and minorities too little. It's exactly the reverse of what they say."

The dignity of whites, who make up only nine percent of those stopped, is precious, while the rights of Blacks are of no consequence to the mayor. Commissioner Kelly has been Bloomberg's enforcer of race-based law during the whole period scrutinized by Judge Scheindlin. Kelly admitted to a Black state senator and retired police captain that the purpose of stop-and-frisk was to "instill fear" among Black and Latino men that they would be stopped and frisked whenever they left their homes - a quote cited by the judge.

Bloomberg and Kelly have good reason to relish a throw-down, since the ideological foundations of their policing positions are shared by most whites (60 percent of white New Yorkers support stop-and-frisk) and by federal law enforcement - albeit in stealth fashion, under President Obama and Attorney General Eric Holder. Kelly, whose reputation is inextricably entwined with stop-and-frisk, was under serious consideration as the next head of Homeland Security. "I think Ray Kelly is one of the best there is," said President Obama, "so he's been an outstanding leader in New York."

Eric Holder, whose sins of mass Black incarceration are legion, claims to welcome the appointment of a federal monitor over the NYPD. Fortunately, the monitor would be answerable to the court, not Holder's office. The nation's first Black top law enforcement officer has allowed his U.S. attorney in Indianapolis to conduct selective enforcement of gun laws limited to five "hot zones" - neighborhoods that just happen to include much of the city's Black population. This goes to the actual, geographic and racial heart of stop-and-frisk, which is not directed against individual Black and brown men, but against their racial groups and, primarily, the neighborhoods they live in. Holder allows the U.S. attorney in Indianapolis to redline whole Black neighborhoods for selective federal gun law enforcement - he explicitly promised to confine the practice to the designated "hot zones" - because that is consistent with Obama administration policy. Remember that Obama, in his post-Zimmerman acquittal reminiscences of his days as a profiled Black youth, attempted to frame Trayvon Martin's killing as essentially a "gun crime." The administration wishes to convert Black rage at the summary execution of African Americans by law enforcement and various vigilantes into acceptance of racially selective "gun control" - a stance that is entirely consistent with Bloomberg and Kelly's rationale for stop-and-frisk as a gun control practice (despite the fact that only two percent of NYPD stops uncover weapons of any kind).

A key part of Judge Scheindlin's ruling deals directly with the issue of the geography of policing. In rejecting the city's argument that disproportionate stop-and-frisks are necessary because Blacks and Latinos commit disproportionate numbers of crimes, the judge applied the principles of the Constitution's 4th and 14th Amendments. Police need to provide "individualized proof" that a given person on a given street at a given time, exhibiting specific and reasonably understood behaviors, should be stopped and frisked. Arithmetic on the gross number of crimes in an area won't do.

"The administration wishes to convert Black rage at the summary execution of African Americans by law enforcement and various vigilantes into acceptance of racially selective 'gun control.'"

"There is no basis for assuming," wrote Scheindlin, "that an innocent population shares the same characteristics as the criminal suspect population in the same area. Instead, I conclude that the benchmark used by plaintiffs' expert - a combination of local population demographics and local crime rates (to account for police deployment)-is the most sensible."

That means no stops in "hot zones" or "designated drug zones" or "high crime neighborhoods" without "individualized proof" - although crime statistics can and should be used in terms of the deployment of police. There are to be no "Constitution-free zones."

Neither Bloomberg nor Obama are willing to live within the bounds of the law, as interpreted by Scheindlin. Effectively, they are allied in maintaining a hyper-surveillance regime for Blacks, the foundation of mass Black incarceration. (Obama, of course, has much larger plans in progress, for the whole nation and planet.)

The Center for Constitutional Rights must be applauded for waging such a critical legal battle all these years. The NAACP Legal Defense Fund is also to be commended for its suit against horrific police abuse of public housing tenants, which goes to trial in October. However, legal strategies are highly vulnerable to determined institutional resistance, and the passage of time. The white South's massive resistance to school desegregation was, for a time, successful in holding the color line - until Blacks physically challenged American apartheid, bringing the crisis to a head. The so-called New Jim Crow (Judge Scheindlin cited the book), which has imposed its dominion of mass Black surveillance and incarceration over the course of two generations, is national in scope, bipartisan in nature, and supported by majorities of whites. It will not be defeated in a courtroom.

Carl Dix, of Stop Stop-and-Frisk, who, along with activist academic Dr. Cornel West launched a direct action campaign to confront the NYPD, asks: "Why should we expect a federal monitor to end the way Blacks and Latinos are mistreated by the NYPD, when the Department of Justice is fighting people sentenced under the 100-1 sentencing disparity for crack cocaine possession who are trying to get those sentences reduced?"

Only a grassroots people's movement can defend African American rights to live as dignified, self-determining human beings. Bloomberg can't appeal the verdict of the streets.
(c) 2013 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

'You Failed To Break The Spirit Of Bradley Manning': An Open Letter To President Obama
By Norman Solomon

Dear President Obama:

As commander in chief, you've been responsible for the treatment of the most high-profile whistleblower in the history of the U.S. armed forces. Under your command, the United States military tried - and failed - to crush the spirit of Bradley Manning.

Your failure became evident after the sentencing on Wednesday, when a statement from Bradley Manning was read aloud to the world. The statement began:

"The decisions that I made in 2010 were made out of a concern for my country and the world that we live in. Since the tragic events of 9/11, our country has been at war. We've been at war with an enemy that chooses not to meet us on any traditional battlefield, and due to this fact we've had to alter our methods of combating the risks posed to us and our way of life. I initially agreed with these methods and chose to volunteer to help defend my country."

From the outset, your administration set out to destroy Bradley Manning. As his biographer Chase Madar wrote in The Nation, "Upon his arrest in May 2010, he was locked up in punitive isolation for two months in Iraq and Kuwait, then nine more months at the Marine Corps brig in Quantico, Virginia. Prohibited from lying down during the day or exercising, he was forced to respond every five of his waking minutes to a guard's question: 'Are you OK?' In his final weeks of isolation, Manning was deprived of all clothing beyond a tear-proof smock and forced to stand at attention every night in the nude."

More than nine months after Manning's arrest, at a news conference you defended this treatment - which the State Department's chief spokesman, P.J. Crowley, had just lambasted as "ridiculous, counterproductive and stupid." (Crowley swiftly lost his job.) Later, the UN special rapporteur on torture issued a report on the treatment of Manning: "at a minimum cruel, inhuman and degrading."

At a fundraiser on April 21, 2011, when asked about Manning, you flatly said: "He broke the law." His trial would not begin for two more years.

Bradley Manning's statement after sentencing on Wednesday said:

"It was not until I was in Iraq and reading secret military reports on a daily basis that I started to question the morality of what we were doing. It was at this time I realized that (in) our efforts to meet the risk posed to us by the enemy, we have forgotten our humanity. We consciously elected to devalue human life both in Iraq and Afghanistan. When we engaged those that we perceived were the enemy, we sometimes killed innocent civilians. Whenever we killed innocent civilians, instead of accepting responsibility for our conduct, we elected to hide behind the veil of national security and classified information in order to avoid any public accountability."

Public accountability is essential to democracy. We can't have meaningful "consent of the governed" without informed consent. We can't have moral responsibility without challenging official hypocrisies and atrocities.

Bradley Manning clearly understood that. He didn't just follow orders or turn his head at the sight of unconscionable policies of the U.S. government. Finding himself in a situation where he could shatter the numbed complacency that is the foundation of war, he cared - and he took action as a whistleblower.

After being sentenced to many years in prison, Manning conveyed to the American public an acute understanding of our present historic moment:

"In our zeal to kill the enemy, we internally debated the definition of torture. We held individuals at Guantanamo for years without due process. We inexplicably turned a blind eye to torture and executions by the Iraqi government. And we stomached countless other acts in the name of our war on terror.

"Patriotism is often the cry extolled when morally questionable acts are advocated by those in power. When these cries of patriotism drown out any logically based dissension, it is usually the American soldier that is given the order to carry out some ill-conceived mission."

Clearly, Mr. President, you have sought to make an example of Bradley Manning with categorical condemnation and harsh punishment. You seem not to grasp that he has indeed become an example - an inspiring example of stellar courage and idealism, which millions of Americans now want to emulate.

From the White House, we continue to get puffed-up sugar-coated versions of history, past and present. In sharp contrast, Bradley Manning offers profound insights in his post-sentencing statement:

"Our nation has had similar dark moments for the virtues of democracy - the Trail of Tears, the Dred Scott decision, McCarthyism, and the Japanese-American internment camps - to mention a few. I am confident that many of the actions since 9/11 will one day be viewed in a similar light. As the late Howard Zinn once said, 'There is not a flag large enough to cover the shame of killing innocent people.'"

Imagine. After more than three years in prison, undergoing methodical abuse and then the ordeal of a long military trial followed by the pronouncement of a 35-year prison sentence, Bradley Manning has emerged with his solid humanistic voice not only intact, but actually stronger than ever!

He acknowledged,

"I understand that my actions violated the law; I regret if my actions hurt anyone or harmed the United States. It was never my intent to hurt anyone. I only wanted to help people. When I chose to disclose classified information, I did so out of a love for my country and a sense of duty to others."

And then Bradley Manning concluded his statement by addressing you directly as president of the United States:

"If you deny my request for a pardon, I will serve my time knowing that sometimes you have to pay a heavy price to live in a free society. I will gladly pay that price if it means we could have a country that is truly conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all women and men are created equal."

You failed to break the spirit of Bradley Manning. And that spirit will continue to inspire.

(c) 2013 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Rick Scott in happier times

Corporate Powers Steamroll Florida Voters

"The voters, damn them, have got to be subverted."

You won't find that autocratic principle taught in any civics class, but it's one that America's corporate powers openly embrace when local democracy offends them. Just ask the voters of Orlando, Florida, who recently felt the sting of such arrogance.

A grassroots coalition called Organize Now had collected 50,000 signatures last year to put an earned sick time referendum on their county's November ballot. It was to be a citizen's vote on whether employers should let workers earn a few days each year of paid leave to be used if they fall ill or must care for a sick family member.

"Whoa!" shouted the bosses of Disney World, Olive Garden, Red Lobster, and other super-wealthy, low-wage corporations in Orlando that provide minimal or no benefits – "we can't allow that." So they leaned on the county commissioners to knock the referendum off the ballot. However, the scrappy Organize Now bunch took 'em to court – and won. The people's victory was too late for last year's election, though, so the court ordered that the referendum be put on the 2014 ballot.

So, all set, right? Not so fast, shouted the corporate powers, as they scuttled off to Tallahassee, demanding that the GOP governor and state legislative leaders deliver a "Kill Shot" to those pesky voters back in Orlando. Sure enough, the obsequious, corporate-hugging politicos obliged in June by enacting a brutish, democracy-smashing law called "state preemption." It autocratically usurps the right of local governments (and local voters) to enact paid sick leave benefits.

Still, it's not over, for the corporate subversion of The People is not real popular, and maybe not legal. Organize Now is pushing back and pushing ahead. Keep up with them at
(c) 2013 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.

Apology To Canada From Your Southern Neighbor
By David Swanson

Secession first he would put down
Wholly and forever,
And afterwards from Britain's crown
He Canada would sever.
Yankee Doodle, keep it up,
Yankee Doodle dandy.
Mind the music and the step
and with the girls be handy!

I don't speak for the United States or harbor any affection for nationalism. I'd break this country into several manageable pieces if I could. But I think someone owes you an apology, Canada -- and, much as our political leaders are accused of making apologies (as if that were a bad thing) I don't expect any of them to get it remotely right any time soon. So, here goes.

As a Virginian, let me begin by apologizing for the fact that, six-years after the British landing at Jamestown, with the settlers struggling to survive and hardly managing to get their own local genocide underway, these new Virginians hired mercenaries to attack Acadia and drive the French out of what they considered their continent (even if they failed). I'm sorry, also, that this idea never went away, that the Virginia-based U.S. military still thinks as the Jamestown settlers thought, centuries of cultural progress having passed it by.

I'm sorry that the colonies that would become the United States decided to take over Canada in 1690 (and failed, again). I'm sorry that they got the British to help them in 1711 (and failed, yet again). I'm sorry that General Braddock and Colonel Washington tried again in 1755 (and still failed). I'm sorry for the ethnic cleansing perpetrated and the driving out of the Acadians and the Native Americans.

I'm sorry for the British and U.S. attacks of 1758 that took away your fort, renamed it Pittsburgh, and eventually built a giant stadium across the river dedicated to the glorification of ketchup. It wasn't your land any more than it was U.S. land, but I'm sorry for the aggression against you by the future-U.S. and by Britain. I'm sorry that in 1760 you were conquered by Britain. I'm more sorry for everything that came next.

I'm sorry that George Washington sent troops led by Benedict Arnold to attack Canada yet again in 1775, and that -- unlike his future desertion -- this action by Arnold was considered righteous and admirable. I'm sorry that these imbeciles talked of liberation and expected to be welcomed with gratitude. I'm sorry their descendants have suffered from the same delusions with regard to every new country invaded for centuries. I'm sorry that the 13 colonies sought to impose the status of "14th colony" on you by force. I'm sorry that an early draft of the U.S. Constitution provided for the inclusion of Canada, despite Canada's lack of interest in being included.

I'm sorry that Benjamin Franklin asked the British to hand you over during negotiations for the Treaty of Paris in 1783. I'm sorry that Britain, in fact, handed a large chunk of you over: Michigan, Wisconsin, Illinois, Ohio, Indiana. If it makes you feel any better, 60 years later Mexico would catch it even worse. I'm sorry to the Native American residents of the land handed over from Canada to the United States, as if land were ownable, and as if that land were uninhabited.

I'm sorry for the Louisiana Purchase. I'm sorry for the War of 1812, and for the idiots who've been celebrating its bicentennial. I'm sorry that Thomas Jefferson, whose house I see out my window, declared that you would be conquered purely by marching in and being welcomed. I'm sorry that when Tecumseh tricked a U.S. general into believing he had many more troops than he had, the U.S. "intelligence" "community" was effectively born. I'm sorry that, at the end of the war, the British agreed to betray you again, handing over territory. I'm sorry that the drive to annex more never vanished. I'm sorry that the U.S. got Oregon and Washington by the same means -- negotiating with Britain, not you.

I'm sorry that, by the 1840s, with the take-over of half of Mexico underway, the strategy for the take-over of Canada began to focus more on the imposition of "free" trade agreements. I'm sorry for the Reciprocity Treaty of 1854. I'm sorry for the U.S. bribery of your politicians that put it through.

I'm sorry for the U.S. support for an Irish attack on you in 1866. I'm sorry for the 1867 U.S. purchase of Alaska from Russia, which was aimed at reducing you and weakening you. I'm sorry that the U.S. Congress condemned your formation as a nation. I'm sorry that the drive to annex you continued. I'm sorry for the trade agreement of 1935, and the ever-growing push for "freer" trade agreements ever since, right up through the FTA, NAFTA, and the TPP. I'm sorry that despite its greater wealth, the United States keeps dragging your social standards downward.

I'm sorry for all the assaults on your nation by the U.S. military, U.S. industry, U.S. labor unions, and the CIA. I'm sorry that your military has been made a subsidiary of the U.S. military. I'm sorry for so much U.S. interference in your elections. I'm grateful for the refuge you've offered deserting U.S. soldiers. I'm sorry that when your prime minister ever so slightly questioned U.S. genocide in Vietnam, President Lyndon Johnson picked him up by the neck, screaming "You pissed on my rug," and that your prime minister then wrote to Johnson thanking him for speaking so frankly. I'm sorry you've progressed from there to greater subservience.

I applaud you for pushing through the land mine ban despite U.S. interference.

I know you always had your own major problems. I know the United States has given you good as well as bad. But you resisted destructive domination mightily for many years. Other nations curious about the U.S. and its spreading array of military bases should ask its nearest neighbors for references. Your successful resistance, for so long, is an example to the world, and to your current self. You overcame internal divisions to unite and survive. Perhaps the rest of the world can follow suit.
(c) 2013 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

Living On The Edge; America's Cockeyed Monetary Oil Standard
By James Donahue

You can thank Henry Kissinger, the late President Richard M. Nixon and the economic advisors for the Nixon Administration for resetting America's monetary standard and leading us into almost constant warfare in the Middle East. They also awarded us a growing financial crisis that may mean the downfall of the United States as we once knew it.

Kissinger led the nation into this wild plan to quit the former gold standard for establishing the value of the dollar, and replaced it with an "oil standard." That's something economics professors and high school history books don't talk much about and few people are even aware of it. That's probably because it is a very complicated scheme and difficult to understand.

Generally, the value of the American dollar is now based on the amount of oil the United States controls or has in reserve. It no longer has anything to do with the gold held in reserve at Fort Knox or under the Federal Reserve building in New York.

And this may explain why we have been so quick to send troops into Iraq, Afghanistan and the other oil rich Middle Eastern countries. The objective has always been about the oil. It also may explain why the United States has been reluctant to support alternative energy sources even though they are readily available and researchers have warned that we hit "peak oil" in the world in sometime in the last decade.

The whole financial picture is a complex maze of political wheeling and dealing that has been going on in the back rooms of various kingdoms and governments for years. We suspect the entire monetary system has been designed like this as a way of keeping the general public confused and ignorant about the world power plays that have been going on.

There was a deal toward the end of World War II, when delegates from 44 nations gathered at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire and established the U. S. dollar as an international currency. This critical gathering known as the United Nations Monetary and Financial Conference, agreed that the dollar was the most stable currency. At the time every dollar was valued at one-thirty-fifth of an ounce of gold, and the gold was held by the U. S. Treasury.

That was then, when America was just emerging from a world war as the most powerful nation on earth. We were sitting pretty with $30 billion in gold locked away at Fort Knox. Most world nations were happily trading in exchange for the U.S. dollar.

Then came the Korean conflict followed by the Vietnam War. Wars cost a lot of money. The Vietnam War alone was estimated to have cost about $500 billion. And when President Lyndon B. Johnson came into power in the 1960s, his administration not only escalated the Vietnam conflict, but declared a second "war on poverty" and established his "Great Society" program. The treasury began printing more money to meet the financial demand, and the US quickly exceeded the value of the gold being held in reserve. Washington knew for years that the old "value in gold" had become unsustainable. What was to be done?

Nixon, led on by Kissinger, established what is remembered as the "Nixon Shock." What they did was sever the Bretton Woods agreement for a gold standard and turn the US dollar into a floating currency as the Treasury continued to print more and more paper money. Thus there developed an artificial value of the dollar. Nixon's plan was to replace the gold standard with something else of equal value . . . oil.

At that time Saudi Arabia was the world's largest supplier of crude oil. In his meetings with the Saudi royal family, Kissinger sold them on a proposal. The United States agreed to provide the Saudis with weapons and also protection from Israel. In exchange, the Saudis agreed to price all of their oil in U.S. dollars only.

The strategy here was interesting, and it worked. With the largest oil producing nation in the world committed to selling oil only in U. S. dollars, the value of the dollar on the world market rose to new heights. It created a global demand for the dollar. Soon most of the other oil producing nations joined Saudi Arabia, and were pricing their oil in dollars in exchange for arms and protection from Israel. Thus the world "Petrodollar" monetary system was born.

The United States, the European nations and many other countries using the petrodollar system have consequently switched from gold to fiat money, which is a primary reason there is a growing economic crisis brewing. Fiat money is money that gets its value from government regulation. Throughout history, any country that attempted to use fiat money always fell to economic ruin.

As a rule, the more popular the world's reserve currency is relative to other currencies, the higher its exchange rate and the less competititve domestic exporting industries become. This in turn creates a trade deficit. The United States is now running the largest current account deficit in the world. This means that there are more imports of overseas goods than there are exports. In recent years, as conditions became worse, the Federal Reserve was forced to print more money to buy our own debt. This is called monetizing the debt. It is the cause of runaway inflation and the problem is compounding itself with each passing day.

Meanwhile, gold has been increasing in value. Gold has been a major part of international currency exchange for thousands of years. It has been a stable commodity and thus the most successful foundation for establishing a stable value of money. Voltaire warned that paper money "eventually returns to its intrinsic value - zero."

Thanks to Nixon and Kissinger, the United States now finds itself struggling against a growing financial crisis that may be impossible to solve. Richared Mills, president of Northern Venture Group, in a recent article for Resource Investor, noted that this is the first time in history that all financial currencies are fiat. "The US dollar used to be gold backed and it was the rock to which all of the world's currencies were anchored. When the US dollar became fiat, all the worlds currencies became fiat."

Mills warned that "the history of fiat money has always been one of failure." He said "Most paper money economies downfall can be linked directly to the cost of financing out of control military growth and its wars."

If Mills is right, Americans should be very worried. It appears that our political leadership has been leading us on a road to financial disaster. It all began with Nixon and our government has not chosen to change its course ever since.
(c) 2013 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

Senator Ted Cruz during the Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on what lawmakers
should do to curb gun violence on January 30, 2013, on Capitol Hill in Washington.

It Really Should Not Matter That Ted Cruz Is Canadian
By John Nichols

"He's a Canadian."

So says Toronto lawyer Stephen Green, the past chairman of the Canadian Bar Association's Citizenship and Immigration Section, of Texas Senator Ted Cruz.

Cruz, the in-a-very-big-hurry Republican who started making noises about running for president before the ink on his Senate stationery had dried, was born in Canada.

He has a Canadian birth certificate.

He spent his formative years in Canada.

But he says it never occurred to him that he was a Canadian until The Dallas Morning News reported that the senator is indeed a true son of America's neighbor to the north.

"If a child was born in the territory, he is Canadian, period," France Houle, a law professor at the University of Montreal, told the Texas paper. "He can ask for a passport. He can vote."

Indeed, since the requirements to gain election to the Canadian House of Commons hold that the candidate be a citizen and of voting age, and since prime ministers are invariably parliamentarians, Cruz could be excused for imagining himself not just as a potential US presidential prospect but a potential prime minister of Canada. (Former Canadian Prime Minister John Turner was born in Britain and arrived in Canada at the age of 3.)

Cruz is not just Canadian. He is also American. His mother was a US citizen outside the country at the time of his birth, and that makes her son a dual citizen.

So the Tea Party favorite should be able to run for president-a prospect that unsettles Republican strategists but rather delights Democrats.

Just to assure that there are no questions about his loyalties, however, Cruz says he'll renounce his Canadian citizenship. As he puts it, "I believe I should be only an American."

That's cool.

The whole "Canadian Ted" thing is tiresome.

In fact, the whole discussion about candidate citizenship and birth certificates and the Americanism of potential presidents is tiresome.

It should be put to rest.

The US Constitution should be amended to remove the section that reads, "No person except a natural born citizen, or a citizen of the United States, at the time of the adoption of this Constitution, shall be eligible to the office of President."

Anyone who is a citizen and who meets the other requirements for seeking and holding the presidency should be able to lead the country. The "natural-born citizen" language does not merely limit the ability of otherwise qualified candidates to seek the presidency or vice-presidency-former Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm, who was born in Canada, or former Vermont Governor Madeleine Kunin, who was born in Switzerland. It also limits the ability of voters to choose from candidates who would be credible contenders except for an accident of birth.

A decade ago, when there was a brief enthusiasm among Republicans for a presidential run by Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Austrian-born movie star who had recently been elected governor of California, one of the leading Republican members of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Utah's Orrin Hatch, proposed "The Equal Opportunity to Govern Amendment." The measure would have repealed the "natural-born citizen" clause and allowed anyone who has been a US citizen for twenty years to seek the presidency or vice-presidency. The language Hatch wanted to add to the Constitution declared, "A person who is a citizen of the United States, who has been for 20 years a citizen of the United States, and who is otherwise eligible to the Office of President, is not ineligible to that Office by reason of not being a native born citizen of the United States."

Hatch's amendment did not get very far after its introduction in 2003. A Judiciary Committee hearing was held in 2004, but the full Senate never took up the proposal. It should now-not for the sake of Ted Cruz or any other candidate but for the sake of the American experiment in democracy.

Despite the fact that seven of the thirty-nine men who signed the US Constitution in 1787 did not meet the "natural-born citizen" standard, there was just enough fear at the time that a foreign-born monarch would take charge of the newly formed United States to cause the clause to be added.

The line's inclusion was at odds with the Enlightenment vision of the best of the founders (including British-born Thomas Paine) and, as constitutional scholar Akhil Reed Amar noted at the 2004 Judiciary Committee hearing, the rest of the Constitution "repudiated this [English] tradition across the board, opening the House, Senate, Cabinet and federal judiciary to naturalized and native alike."

It is time to get over the fears of 226 years ago and embrace the Enlightenment vision, recognizing that Amar was right when he told the Judiciary Committee that "modern Americans can best honor the Founders' generally egalitarian vision by repealing the specific natural-born rule that has outlived its original purpose."
(c) 2013 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Murdering The Wretched Of The Earth
By Chris Hedges

Radical Islam is the last refuge of the Muslim poor. The mandated five prayers a day give the only real structure to the lives of impoverished believers. The careful rituals of washing before prayers in the mosque, the strict moral code, along with the understanding that life has an ultimate purpose and meaning, keep hundreds of millions of destitute Muslims from despair. The fundamentalist ideology that rises from oppression is rigid and unforgiving. It radically splits the world into black and white, good and evil, apostates and believers. It is bigoted and cruel to women, Jews, Christians and secularists, along with gays and lesbians. But at the same time it offers to those on the very bottom of society a final refuge and hope. The massacres of hundreds of believers in the streets of Cairo signal not only an assault against a religious ideology, not only a return to the brutal police state of Hosni Mubarak, but the start of a holy war that will turn Egypt and other poor regions of the globe into a caldron of blood and suffering.

The only way to break the hold of radical Islam is to give its followers a stake in the wider economy, the possibility of a life where the future is not dominated by grinding poverty, repression and hopelessness. If you live in the sprawling slums of Cairo or the refugee camps in Gaza or the concrete hovels in New Delhi, every avenue of escape is closed. You cannot get an education. You cannot get a job. You do not have the resources to marry. You cannot challenge the domination of the economy by the oligarchs and the generals. The only way left for you to affirm yourself is to become a martyr, or shahid. Then you will get what you cannot get in life-a brief moment of fame and glory. And while what will take place in Egypt will be defined as a religious war, and the acts of violence by the insurgents who will rise from the bloodied squares of Cairo will be defined as terrorism, the engine for this chaos is not religion but the collapsing economy of a world where the wretched of the earth are to be subjugated and starved or shot. The lines of battle are being drawn in Egypt and across the globe. Adli Mansour, the titular president appointed by the military dictator of Egypt, Gen. Abdul-Fattah el-Sisi, has imposed a military-led government, a curfew and a state of emergency. They will not be lifted soon.

The lifeblood of radical movements is martyrdom. The Egyptian military has provided an ample supply. The faces and the names of the sanctified dead will be used by enraged clerics to call for holy vengeance. And as violence grows and the lists of martyrs expand, a war will be ignited that will tear Egypt apart. Police, Coptic Christians, secularists, Westerners, businesses, banks, the tourism industry and the military will become targets. Those radical Islamists who were persuaded by the Muslim Brotherhood that electoral politics could work and brought into the system will go back underground, and many of the rank and file of the Muslim Brotherhood will join them. Crude bombs will be set off. Random attacks and assassinations by gunmen will puncture daily life in Egypt as they did in the 1990s when I was in Cairo for The New York Times, although this time the attacks will be wider and more fierce, far harder to control or ultimately crush.

What is happening in Egypt is a precursor to a wider global war between the world's elites and the world's poor, a war caused by diminishing resources, chronic unemployment and underemployment, overpopulation, declining crop yields caused by climate change, and rising food prices. Thirty-three percent of Egypt's 80 million people are 14 or younger, and millions live under or just above the poverty line, which the World Bank sets at a daily income of $2 in that nation. The poor in Egypt spend more than half their income on food-often food that has little nutritional value. An estimated 13.7 million Egyptians, or 17 percent of the population, suffered from food insecurity in 2011, compared with 14 percent in 2009, according to a report by the U.N. World Food Program and the Egyptian Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics (CAPMAS). Malnutrition is endemic among poor children, with 31 percent under 5 years old stunted in growth. Illiteracy runs at more than 70 percent.

In "Les Miserables" Victor Hugo described war with the poor as one between the "egoists" and the "outcasts." The egoists, Hugo wrote, had "the bemusement of prosperity, which blunts the sense, the fear of suffering which is some cases goes so far as to hate all sufferers, and unshakable complacency, the ego so inflated that is stifles the soul." The outcasts, who were ignored until their persecution and deprivation morphed into violence, had "greed and envy, resentment at the happiness of others, the turmoil of the human element in search of personal fulfillment, hearts filled with fog, misery, needs, and fatalism, and simple, impure ignorance."

The belief systems the oppressed embrace can be intolerant, but these belief systems are a response to the injustice, state violence and cruelty inflicted on them by the global elites. Our enemy is not radical Islam. It is global capitalism. It is a world where the wretched of the earth are forced to bow before the dictates of the marketplace, where children go hungry as global corporate elites siphon away the world's wealth and natural resources and where our troops and U.S.-backed militaries carry out massacres on city streets. Egypt offers a window into the coming dystopia. The wars of survival will mark the final stage of human habitation of the planet. And if you want to know what they will look like, visit any city morgue in Cairo.
(c) 2013 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, ""Death Of The Liberal Class."

Glenn Greenwald (right) and his partner David Miranda, who was held by UK authorities at Heathrow airport.

Detaining My Partner Was A Failed Attempt At Intimidation
The detention of my partner, David Miranda, by UK authorities will have the opposite effect of the one intended
By Glenn Greenwald

At 6:30 am this morning my time - 5:30 am on the East Coast of the US - I received a telephone call from someone who identified himself as a "security official at Heathrow airport." He told me that my partner, David Miranda, had been "detained" at the London airport "under Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act of 2000."

David had spent the last week in Berlin, where he stayed with Laura Poitras, the US filmmaker who has worked with me extensively on the NSA stories. A Brazilian citizen, he was returning to our home in Rio de Janeiro this morning on British Airways, flying first to London and then on to Rio. When he arrived in London this morning, he was detained.

At the time the "security official" called me, David had been detained for 3 hours. The security official told me that they had the right to detain him for up to 9 hours in order to question him, at which point they could either arrest and charge him or ask a court to extend the question time. The official - who refused to give his name but would only identify himself by his number: 203654 - said David was not allowed to have a lawyer present, nor would they allow me to talk to him.

I immediately contacted the Guardian, which sent lawyers to the airport, as well various Brazilian officials I know. Within the hour, several senior Brazilian officials were engaged and expressing indignation over what was being done. The Guardian has the full story here.

Despite all that, five more hours went by and neither the Guardian's lawyers nor Brazilian officials, including the Ambassador to the UK in London, were able to obtain any information about David. We spent most of that time contemplating the charges he would likely face once the 9-hour period elapsed.

According to a document published by the UK government about Schedule 7 of the Terrorism Act, "fewer than 3 people in every 10,000 are examined as they pass through UK borders" (David was not entering the UK but only transiting through to Rio). Moreover, "most examinations, over 97%, last under an hour." An appendix to that document states that only .06% of all people detained are kept for more than 6 hours.

The stated purpose of this law, as the name suggests, is to question people about terrorism. The detention power, claims the UK government, is used "to determine whether that person is or has been involved in the commission, preparation or instigation of acts of terrorism."

But they obviously had zero suspicion that David was associated with a terrorist organization or involved in any terrorist plot. Instead, they spent their time interrogating him about the NSA reporting which Laura Poitras, the Guardian and I are doing, as well the content of the electronic products he was carrying. They completely abused their own terrorism law for reasons having nothing whatsoever to do with terrorism: a potent reminder of how often governments lie when they claim that they need powers to stop "the terrorists", and how dangerous it is to vest unchecked power with political officials in its name.

Worse, they kept David detained right up until the last minute: for the full 9 hours, something they very rarely do. Only at the last minute did they finally release him. We spent all day - as every hour passed - worried that he would be arrested and charged under a terrorism statute. This was obviously designed to send a message of intimidation to those of us working journalistically on reporting on the NSA and its British counterpart, the GCHQ.

Before letting him go, they seized numerous possessions of his, including his laptop, his cellphone, various video game consoles, DVDs, USB sticks, and other materials. They did not say when they would return any of it, or if they would.

This is obviously a rather profound escalation of their attacks on the news-gathering process and journalism. It's bad enough to prosecute and imprison sources. It's worse still to imprison journalists who report the truth. But to start detaining the family members and loved ones of journalists is simply despotic. Even the Mafia had ethical rules against targeting the family members of people they felt threatened by. But the UK puppets and their owners in the US national security state obviously are unconstrained by even those minimal scruples.

If the UK and US governments believe that tactics like this are going to deter or intimidate us in any way from continuing to report aggressively on what these documents reveal, they are beyond deluded. If anything, it will have only the opposite effect: to embolden us even further. Beyond that, every time the US and UK governments show their true character to the world - when they prevent the Bolivian President's plane from flying safely home, when they threaten journalists with prosecution, when they engage in behavior like what they did today - all they do is helpfully underscore why it's so dangerous to allow them to exercise vast, unchecked spying power in the dark.

David was unable to call me because his phone and laptop are now with UK authorities. So I don't yet know what they told him. But the Guardian's lawyer was able to speak with him immediately upon his release, and told me that, while a bit distressed from the ordeal, he was in very good spirits and quite defiant, and he asked the lawyer to convey that defiance to me. I already share it, as I'm certain US and UK authorities will soon see.
(c) 2013 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

One Reform, Indivisible
By Paul Krugman

Recent political reporting suggests that Republican leaders are in a state of high anxiety, trapped between an angry base that still views Obamacare as the moral equivalent of slavery and the reality that health reform is the law of the land and is going to happen.

But those leaders don't deserve any sympathy. For one thing, that irrational base is a Frankenstein monster of their own creation. Beyond that, everything I've seen indicates that members of the Republican elite still don't get the basics of health reform - and that this lack of understanding is in the process of turning into a major political liability.

On the unstoppability of Obamacare: We have this system in which Congress passes laws, the president signs them, and then they go into effect. The Affordable Care Act went through this process, and there is no legitimate way for Republicans to stop it.

Is there an illegitimate way? Well, the G.O.P. can try blackmail, either by threatening to shut down the government or, an even more extreme tactic, threatening not to raise the debt limit, which would force the United States government into default and risk financial chaos. And Republicans did somewhat successfully blackmail President Obama back in 2011.

However, that was then. They faced a president on the ropes after a stinging defeat in the midterm election, not a president triumphantly re-elected. Furthermore, even in 2011 Mr. Obama wouldn't give ground on the essentials of health care reform, the signature achievement of his presidency. There's no way he would undermine the reform at this late date.

Republican leaders seem to get this, even if the base doesn't. What they don't seem to get, however, is the integral nature of the reform. So let me help out by explaining, one more time, why Obamacare looks the way it does.

Start with the goal that almost everyone at least pretends to support: giving Americans with pre-existing medical conditions access to health insurance. Governments can, if they choose, require that insurance companies issue policies without regard to an individual's medical history, "community rating," and some states, including New York, have done just that. But we know what happens next: many healthy people don't buy insurance, leaving a relatively bad risk pool, leading to high premiums that drive out even more healthy people.

To avoid this downward spiral, you need to induce healthy Americans to buy in; hence, the individual mandate, with a penalty for those who don't purchase insurance. Finally, since buying insurance could be a hardship for lower-income Americans, you need subsidies to make insurance affordable for all.

So there you have it: health reform is a three-legged stool resting on community rating, individual mandates and subsidies. It requires all three legs.

But wait - hasn't the administration delayed the employer mandate, which requires that large firms provide insurance to their employees? Yes, it has, and Republicans are trying to make it sound as if the employer mandate and the individual mandate are comparable. Some of them even seem to think that they can bully Mr. Obama into delaying the individual mandate too. But the individual mandate is an essential piece of the reform, which can't and won't be bargained away, while the employer mandate is a fairly minor add-on that arguably shouldn't have been in the law to begin with.

I guess that after all the years of vilification it was predictable that Republican leaders would still fail to understand the principles behind health reform and that this would hamper their ability to craft an effective political response as the reform's implementation draws near. But their rudest shock is yet to come. You see, this thing isn't going to be the often-predicted "train wreck." On the contrary, it's going to work.

Oh, there will be problems, especially in states where Republican governors and legislators are doing all they can to sabotage the implementation. But the basic thrust of Obamacare is, as I've just explained, coherent and even fairly simple. Moreover, all the early indications are that the law will, in fact, give millions of Americans who currently lack access to health insurance the coverage they need, while giving millions more a big break in their health care costs. And because so many people will see clear benefits, health reform will prove irreversible.

This achievement will represent a huge defeat for the conservative agenda of weakening the safety net. And Republicans who deluded their supporters into believing that none of this would happen will probably pay a large personal price. But as I said, they have nobody but themselves to blame.
(c) 2013 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things."
~~~ Arthur Schopenhauer

Tony in mid scam

A Civics Lesson From America's Education Debate
By David Sirota

Paradoxes come in all different forms, but here's one that perfectly fits this Gilded Age: The most significant lesson from the ongoing debate about American education has little to do with schools and everything to do with money. This lesson comes from a series of recent scandals that expose the financial motives of the leaders of the so-called education "reform" movement - the one that is trying to privatize public schools.

The first set of scandals engulfed Tony Bennett, the former Indiana school superintendent and much-vaunted poster boy for the privatization push. After voters in that state responded to his radical agenda by throwing him out of office, he was quickly hired to lead Florida's education system. At the same time, his wife not-so-coincidentally landed a gig with the Florida-based Charter Schools USA - a for-profit company that not only has a obvious interest in Bennett privatizing Florida schools, but that also was previously awarded lucrative contracts by Bennett in Indiana.

Grotesque as it is to shroud such self-enriching graft in the veneer of helping children, the self-dealing controversy wasn't Bennett's most revealing scandal. That distinction goes to recent news that Bennett changed the grades of privately run charter schools on behalf of his financial backers. Indeed, as the Associated Press reported, "When it appeared an Indianapolis charter school run by a prominent Republican donor might receive a poor grade, Bennett's education team frantically overhauled his signature 'A-F' school grading system to improve the school's marks." Yet, the Associated Press also reported that just a year before, Bennett "declined to give two Indianapolis public schools (the) same flexibility."

In response, the American Federation of Teachers is asking Indiana to release emails between Bennett and the education foundation run by former Gov. Jeb Bush, R-Fla., - another prominent face of the "reform" movement. The union is requesting this correspondence because of another scandal - this one publicized by the Washington Post.

Under the headline "E-mails link Bush foundation, corporations and education officials," the newspaper earlier this year reported on correspondence showing the foundation carefully shaping its education "reform" agenda not around policies that would most help children, but around legislation that would most quickly expand the profit margins of its donors in the for-profit education industry.

Before all of these controversies, of course, there were plenty of ways to see that something other than concern for kids has been driving "reformers'" push to privatize public schools.

You could, for example, contrast privatizers' pro-charter-school propaganda with Stanford University's study showing that most charter schools perform no better - and often worse - than traditional public schools.

You could juxtapose the Reuters story screaming "Private firms eyeing profits from U.S. public schools" next to the New York Times headline blaring "Hedge Funds' Leaders Rally for Charter Schools."

You could consider that the most prolific fundraiser in the education "reform" movement is not someone with a stellar record of education policy success, but instead Michelle Rhee, the former Washington, D.C. schools chief whose tenure was defined by a massive cheating scandal.

But maybe the best way to see that profit is the motive of the education "reform" movement is to note that no matter how many kids they harm or how many scandals they create, Bennett, Bush, Rhee and other privatizers continue getting jobs, continue being touted as education "experts" and continue raising huge money for their cause.

Thanks to that dynamic, education politics is spotlighting a fact that should be taught in every civics class. It is a fact that contradicts the pervasive rhetoric about meritocracy, but it is, alas, a fact: If you are backed by enough money, you will almost always retain your status in America - no matter how wrong you are and how many lives you ruin.
(c) 2013 David Sirota is a nationally syndicated newspaper columnist, magazine journalist and the best-selling author of "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at David Sirota is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee. Follow him on Twitter @davidsirota .

Highly Respected Conservative Embraces Article V Convention Option!
By Joel S. Hirschhorn

No matter what else he has done, what conservative radio host and author Mark Levin does in his new book The Liberty Amendments has made him a hero for me. For many years I have been writing articles on the wisdom of using something in the US Constitution that I believe offers the only constitutional path to urgently needed reforms of the political system. I also co-founded the national nonpartisan group Friends of the Article V Convention. Mark Levin has become the most notable, highly visible person to also come out loudly, advocating the first time use of the Article V convention option.

The good news is that someone who commands significant media attention has recognized both the wisdom and need for using what the Founders had the good sense to give us. He forcefully makes the case for a convention of state delegates that would have the same constitutional authority as Congress has for proposing constitutional amendments. And just like all the amendments that now exist and which originated with Congress, those coming from a convention would still have to be ratified by three-quarters of the states. Levin recognizes that this high hurdle pretty much rules out truly nutty amendments, from either a conservative or liberal perspective, from ever becoming a reality. Nor can a convention totally rewrite our Constitution.

Most importantly, as I and others have repeatedly said for years, Levin has come to the conclusion that rather fear an amendment convention Americans should more fear sticking with the current corrupt, dysfunctional government system that has brought the US down into what I called a delusional democracy. Levin like so many others sees no hope to fundamentally fix our system by voting either for Republicans or Democrats, because of what I call a two-party plutocracy ruled by rich, powerful and corporate elites dedicated to maintaining the status quo.

Elections now are the instrument for sustaining the status quo, not reforming the system itself. People need to understand that there have been many years when one of the two major parties controlled both the presidency and both houses of Congress, including two years under President Obama, four years under President George W. Bush, two years under President Clinton, and four years under President Carter, for example. Even with such dominance, neither party truly reformed the system or loosened the grip of rich and powerful elites, nor did Supreme Court decisions. Politicians keep lying and breaking promises. More than 40 percent of political campaign contributions now come from the top 0.01 percent, the super-rich. For nearly all Americans the choice is not between elections and an amendment convention. The choice is between continuing to make stupid decisions or use what the Founders gave us. Mark Levin has seen the light and now we need many millions of Americans to also get smart.

Now for the bad news. Levin's new book presents the case for a large number of specific constitutional amendments. History has shown that many earlier attempts to use the convention option that were based on advocacy for specific amendments all failed. I happened to like most of Levin's amendments. But the sad fact is that no matter how sensible any specific amendment may appear to most people, there will always be many people and groups willing to fight against it. The historic result has been that the process of using the convention option has gone down to failure because of opposition to specific amendments. In other words, the key to success is placing far more emphasis on the process offered by the Constitution to get systemic, core reforms through the states, recognizing that Congress will never propose true, fundamental reforms.

Moreover, Levin has not paid much needed attention to the ugly reality that there has already been a sufficient number of state applications to Congress for a convention (two-thirds of states), but Congress has intentionally violated the Constitution by not calling for the first convention, as Article V requires. Friends of the Article V Convention has presented a wealth of data, analysis and information on this reality. Someone with so much celebrity as Levin needs to forcefully inform the public and his many supporters that Congress has long stood in the way of using the convention option, obviously because it fears sharing the power to propose amendments. This holds for both Republican and Democratic members of Congress.

The battle for fixing and, indeed, saving the US, in other words, requires fighting on two fronts. First, convince many millions of Americans that the convention strategy is now what is needed. Second, also convince the public that Congress must be made to honor and obey the Constitution, and the individual oaths of office all members take. For too long Congress has ignored the states, not even creating an official mechanism for counting state applications for a convention.

Like so many others, David Limbaugh had written against using the convention option, but now he admits: "Like Mark, I was originally skeptical of the idea that we should support the calling of a constitutional convention in an effort to rein in the federal government and restore the power of the states and our individual liberties. But that's because I hadn't fully explored what that process would entail." We need many more people on the right and left to rethink their positions.

But already, soon after initial attention to Levin's new book, many people are posting very negative and poorly informed positions against using the convention option on websites. If these people have any critical thinking skills, then they should realize that rather than fearing a convention, they should fear the status quo and continued national decline because of the awful two-party plutocracy that feeds the thirst for power among both Democrats and Republicans. There has been an incredible amount of brain washing from the right and left against using the convention option. Look at what we have now: a truly delusional democracy with each branch of the federal government failing, robbing citizens of their money, liberty and hope.
(c) 2013 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 Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear GMO Propaganda,

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, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your constant spreading of misinformation and outright lies, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Corpo-rat whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 09-02-2013. We salute you Herr Grant, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Why Congress's Gridlock Doesn't Paralyze Government But Gridlocks Democracy
By Robert Reich

CONGRESS began its summer recess last week and won't reconvene until after Labor Day. You'd be forgiven for not noticing a difference. With just 15 bills signed into law so far this year, the 113th Congress is on pace to be the most unproductive since at least the 1940s.

But just because the legislature has ceased to function doesn't mean our government has. Political decision making has moved to peripheral public entities, where power is exercised less transparently and accountability to voters is less direct. What we're losing in the process isn't government - it's democracy.

Take the Federal Reserve. Absent any Congressional legislation to speak of - no short-term spending to increase job growth, no long-term plan to reduce the budget deficit - the nation's central bank has been forced to do all the heavy lifting with the economy. The $85 billion of bonds it buys each month is now the main form of government stimulus to the economy as well as the linchpin of continued job growth. Congress's inability to pass effective fiscal policy means that the Fed's monetary policy, to keep long-term interest rates as low as possible, has become the only game in town for boosting private spending and investment.

But the strategy also poses serious risks: asset bubbles, if borrowers use the cheap money to speculate; bond collapses, if the Fed slows its bond buying too quickly and spooks the market; and inflation, if low interest rates cause buyers and sellers to expect prices to rise. It could also increase income inequality, by giving wealthy investors a cheap source of funds to expand their portfolios. Forcing the Fed to become the sole decision maker on the economy is also why the selection of a new Fed chairman has become so important - even more important than it ought to be.

Congress's paralysis has also encouraged the Supreme Court to enter the political fray. Normally the judicial activism of recent years might be checked by Congressional action in response. But not now. Justice Anthony M. Kennedy's opinion for the majority in the 2010 “Citizens United” case, which struck down limits on corporate campaign contributions, rested partly on the presumption that Congress would require corporations to disclose their political expenditures. But no bill requiring full disclosure has stood a chance of making it through the quagmire.

The court's decision this summer in “Shelby County v. Holder” handed Congress the task of coming up with a new, updated formula for deciding which states and localities need permission from the Justice Department, under the Voting Rights Act, to make changes to their election processes. But legislative paralysis makes the passage of any new formula highly unlikely. Seen in this light, Chief Justice John G. Roberts Jr.'s deciding vote last year to uphold the Affordable Care Act probably reflected his reasonable fear that the court would otherwise be viewed, not unfairly, as just another political battleground.

Or consider climate change. It's a public debate the nation briefly embarked on in the 2008 presidential race, when John McCain and Barack Obama presented different plans for cap-and-trade systems. Naturally, gridlock in Congress put an end to it. After the election, Mr. McCain backed off any cap-and-trade plan, and the two parties have been at loggerheads over the environment ever since.

The issue ultimately lost the spotlight to a debate over Mr. Obama's choice for administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, Gina McCarthy, who is expected to use the E.P.A.'s authority under the Clean Air Act to regulate the carbon emissions of power plants; and to a Congressional showdown, motivated in part by Mr. Obama's E.P.A. appointment, over the use of the filibuster on presidential nominees.

Mr. Obama won the skirmish and got his administrator, but don't expect much public deliberation over carbon emissions from here on. The E.P.A. will handle the issue through regulatory rule making, mostly unseen by Congress and the public.

A final displacement of national politics has been onto state governments, now grappling with everything from undocumented immigrants and gun control to gay marriage and abortion. While many political matters should be left to the states, these cry out for federal standards because of the relative ease with which undocumented immigrants, gun sellers, gay couples and women seeking abortions can transport themselves to more accommodating jurisdictions - depending, of course, on their pocketbooks.

What's more, these institutions - the Fed, the Supreme Court, giant regulatory agencies like the EPA, and the states - aren't even understood by the public to be making political decisions with national implications. Media coverage tends to be narrowly drawn for insiders - macroeconomists, constitutional scholars, E.P.A. watchers, the residents of a particular state - or trivialized for outsiders: Should the next Fed chief be female? Are Justices Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas too openly partisan? Is Ms. McCarthy too much of a firebrand? Are “red” states diverging from “blue” states?

The Republican right - mostly new House members who are supported by the Tea Party and who are in open rebellion against the rest of the right - are probably pleased with the gridlock in Congress. They would like nothing better than to stop the federal government from functioning. But they may not fully grasp that their efforts have only shifted power elsewhere in the system.

Some of the institutions gaining power may be making decisions consistent with conservative values: the Supreme Court and some state governments, for instance. But hardly all (the Fed and the E.P.A.).

In any event, it's bizarre that a self-styled populist insurrection would end up making our government less accountable to the people. But that's exactly what it's done. What's really gridlocked now is democracy.
(c) 2013 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, "Beyond Outrage," is now out in paperback. He is also a founding editor of the American Prospect magazine and chairman of Common Cause. His new film, “Inequality for All," will be out September 27.

Regardless Of Screeching Media Banter, Whistleblowers Are Our Bravest Heroes
By Vincent L. Guarisco

"The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action." ~~~ John Dewey

Earlier this month, I published an article about Edward Snowden, an NSA whistleblower who bravely spilled the beans about how the NSA and their affiliates are wiretapping the planet. Snowden is a wise man who made the right decision in not trusting the U.S. Justice system, who recently was granted temporary asylum in Russia. However, I want to focus on a different unique individual and give credit to whistleblowers in general.

Many of us will never truly understand the significance of giving oneself for a worthy cause... the selfless act of becoming a "whistleblower." To sacrifice everything you hold dear -- loved ones, freedom and sometimes... even your life -- in order to shed truth to a public that routinely is accustomed to wrongfully believing the unbelievable at face value.

It takes a brave soul (with thick skin) to step forward and selflessly expose a wrongdoing or in some cases, expose many layers of corruption on a grand scale -- at the highest level -- often delivering shocking revelations that sometimes has the potential to pierce the national and/or international psyche with truth that no one can deny. Like many whistleblowers before him, such is the case with "Bradley Manning."

Bradley Manning provided more than 700,000 documents, battle videos and diplomatic cables to WikiLeaks, a pro-transparency website that hurled both Manning and its founder Julian Assange, into the world spotlight. And he did so at great risk for his own personal well-being. Thus, let's be honest here, I am shocked! He should be afforded a front row seat in patriotic parades sitting directly next to Gold-star-Mothers who have lost their children in the shameful carnage of wars based on lies. But that's not how the story goes...

Currently, Bradley Manning is being thoroughly ostracized in the mainstream media that is working overtime to demonize him as a confused, abused nut-job with conflicting gender identity issues. Never mind the fact that he's an honorable U.S. soldier (with a conscience) who blew-the-whistle and exposed U.S. hypocrisy.

Forget the fact that he should be protected under the wing of whistleblower status. Instead, just the opposite has happened; he was thrown to the wolves and wrongfully convicted in a mock military court and now -- in taking advice from his attorney and possible hushed demands of the state department -- he's saying exactly what they want him to say, because he is facing a 90-year prison sentence from Judge Colonel Denise Lind.

Robert Parry, editor at Consortium News, recently offered his take on Bradley Manning in "America's Upside-Down Morality." Parry writes...

"Having covered the U.S. government for nearly 36 years, I am not so naïve as to expect perfection or even anything close. But there are times when the immoral dimensions of Official Washington stand out in the starkest shades, not in variations of gray but in black and white.

"Such was the gut-wrenching moment on Wednesday when Pvt. Bradley Manning, who exposed U.S. government war crimes and other wrongdoing, made a groveling apology for doing the right thing -- when there has been next to no accountability for the officials and their media collaborators who did innumerable wrong things."

I totally agree with Parry. Unfortunately, the record stands fully erect. Under Obama's tenure, more whistleblowers have been wrongly convicted (dicked) than under any other president in U.S. history. So much for "transparency"! In fact, it's becoming more apparent with each passing day; Obama is nothing more than an eight-year extension of Bush/Cheney.

Please take a moment and sign these two petitions here and here.

Sadly, as we peel away the ominous layers of U.S. injustice while hearing the media banter screeching in our ear, we discover Bradley's true motive and it simply comes down to this: Bradley did what he did for the sole purpose of exposing the wrongdoings of U.S. foreign policy as they apply to our "Wars of Choice." Thus, by dropping the dime, he hoped it would help end what he rightfully describes as our "illegal" wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. Two bogus back-to-back wars that wounded, killed, maimed and displaced countless millions of innocent people who committed NO crime; including tens of thousands of his own fellow soldiers who have been -- continue to be -- callously sacrificed at the alter of U.S. imperialism.

Right about now, I'm sure some of you may be wondering, hmmm, how is this "illegal?"

Well, that's a legitimate question. However, if you paid attention... you would already know that we invaded and occupied these countries under false pretenses. In Afghanistan, the Bush Administration used 9/11 as their bogus excuse; a big lie that was later proven erroneous. In Iraq, they lied again and told us Saddam Hussein had WMD. Wrong again.

But one thing holds true, we always seem to make full circle when it comes to divvying-up the spoils: be it building an extensive oil pipeline through Afghanistan from the Caspian Reserves to the Mediterranean Sea... or stealing sweet crude in Iraq. I guess we can all assume that a profitable spoil is akin to harvesting poppies directly under the watchful eye of the "coalition of the willing." Go ahead, insert hoodwink here: To this day, 90% of the world's illegal heroin and medical morphine is produced and exported from Afghanistan. Amazing...

Well, not everybody is willing to idly sit back and do nothing while other nations get raped, pillaged and destroyed. This isn't how any honorable country is supposed to conduct business. You don't take what you want with a cash register sitting your lap. If you want or need something, you form legitimate trade agreements. This is how capitalism in free market society is supposed to operate.

So please don't convict the messenger. They are the brave ones who spread truth in the face of adversity. It is written that "oppression can only survive through silence." Please do the right thing. Don't be silent. Support them. God bless all whistleblowers everywhere. We need them!
(c) 2013 Vincent L. Guarisco is a freelance writer from Arizona, a contributing writer for many web sites, and a lifetime founding member of the Alliance of Atomic Veterans. The 21st century, once so full of shining promise, now threatens to force countless millions of us at home and abroad into a dark abyss of languishing poverty and silent servitude; a lowly prodigy of painful struggle and suffering that could stream for generations to come. I'm wishing for a miracle, before it is too late, the masses will figure it out and will stand as one and roar. So, pass the word =its past time to take back what is ours ==the American Dream where the pursuit of happiness, the ability to live in a free and peaceful nation is a reality. We bought it, and we paid for it. It's time to take it back. For replies, contact:

The Cartoon Corner...

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

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Who Owns This Country?
By George Carlin

There's a reason... There's a reason education sucks, and it's the same reason that it will never, ever, ever be fixed.

It's never gonna get any better, don't look for it, be happy with what you got, because the owners of this country don't want that, I'm talking about the real owners now, the REAL OWNERS, the big wealthy business interests that control things & make all the important decisions.

Forget the politicians, Politicians are put there to give you the idea that you have freedom of choice. You don't. You have no choice, you have owners, they own you.

They own everything, they own all the important land, they own & control the corporations, they've long since bought & paid for the Senate, the Congress, the State Houses, the City Halls, they've got the judges in their back pockets, & they own all of the big media companies so they control just about all the information you get to hear.

They've got you by the balls. They spend billions of dollars every year lobbying to get what they want. Well we know what they want - they want more for themselves & less for everybody else.

But I'll tell you what they don't want...they don't want a population of citizens capable of critical thinking...they don't want well-informed, well-educated people, capable of critical thinking, they're not interested in that, that doesn't help them, that's against their interests, that's right. They don't want people who are smart enough to sit around a kitchen table figuring out how badly they're getting fucked by a system that threw them overboard 30 fucking years ago. They don't want that.

You know what they want? They want obedient workers, obedient workers, people who are just smart enough to run the machines and do the paperwork, and just dumb enough to passively accept all these increasingly shittier jobs, with the lower pay, the longer hours, the reduced benefits, the end of overtime, and the vanishing pension that disappears the minute you go to collect it.

And now they're coming for your Social Security money. They want your fucking retirement money, they want it back, so they can give it to their criminal friends on Wall St, and you know something? They'll get it. They'll get it all from you sooner or later. Cause they own this fucking's a big club, and you ain't in it. You & I are not in the Big Club...and btw it's the same big club they use to beat you over the head with all day long when they tell you what to believe, all day long beating you over the head in their media, telling you what to believe, what to think, & what to buy.

The table is tilted, folks, the game is rigged, and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care. Good honest hard-working people, white collar, blue collar, doessn't matter what color shirt you have on, good honest hard-working people, these are people of modest means, continue to elect these rich cock-suckers who don't give a fuck about they...they don't give a fuck about you, they don't GIVE a fuck about you, they don't CARE about you, at all, at all, at all...and nobody seems to notice, nobody seems to care.

That's what the owners count on, the fact that Americans will probably remain willfully ignorant of the big red white & blue dick that's being jammed up their assholes every day. Because the owners of this country know the truth...It's called the American Dream, because you have to be asleep to believe it.
(c) 2013 George Carlin

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

View my page on

Issues & Alibis Vol 13 # 32 (c) 08/23/2013

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

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

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

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

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