Issues & Alibis

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In This Edition

Wayne Madsen with an absolute must read, "All In The Company."

Uri Avnery wonders what you mean, "When You Say No."

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

Sam Harris with a simple solution, "Silence Is Not Moderation."

Jim Hightower exposes, "Republican Lawmakers Gone Wild."

David Sirota cautions of, "Repeating Our Mistakes."

James Donahue examines, "The Insanity Of Owning Everything."

Barbara Ehrenreich warns of, "The Corpo-Obama-Geithner-Petraeus State."

Chris Floyd considers, "The Laureate And The Leaker."

Ted Rall from Afghanistan explores, "Islamo-Gangsterism."

Paul Krugman says, "Now That's Rich."

Robert Jensen tells it like it is, "There Are No Heroes In Illegal And Immoral Wars."

David Michael Green explains, "The Tiger Woods Of Nations."

9th Circuit Court of Appeals Judge Diarmuid F. O'Scannlain wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald finds, "Charges Against Julian Assange Withdrawn, Unfounded."

Greg Palast calls for a, "Separation Of Church And Hate."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Hollywood Rangers To Manage Overpopulation Problem By Killing Off 1,200 Celebrities" but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Oh Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Nate Beeler, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Married To The Sea, Kirk Anderson, Ann Telnaes, Steve Sack, John Baynham, The Onion, Matt Bors, Wayne Madsen, Motivated Photos.Com, Reuters, Linda Nylind, Vincent Pinto and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Oh Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye!
By Ernest Stewart

Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run, hurroo, hurroo
Where are your legs that used to run
When you went for to carry a gun
Indeed your dancing days are done
Oh Johnny, I hardly knew ye.
Oh Johnny, I Hardly Knew Ye ~~~ Old Irish Ballad

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized." ~~~ Amendment Four ~ U.S. Constitution

"On September 11th, 2010, from 6pm - 9pm, we will burn the Koran on the property of Dove World Outreach Center in Gainesville, FL in remembrance of the fallen victims of 9/11 and to stand against the evil of Islam. Islam is of the devil!" ~~~ Fran Ingram

All the rainbows in the sky
Start to weep, then say goodbye
You won't be seeing rainbows any more.

Setting suns before they fall,
Echo to you that's all that's all
But you'll see lonely sunsets after all.

It's over. It's over. It's over. It's over!
It's Over ~~~ Roy Orbinson

I guess you've heard by now that all of our combat troops have left the building, except of course for a few brigades of Green Berets that they're hoping to kill off or send to Afghanistan as they seldom let those psychos back on the streets. It's an old army tradition going back to WWI.

What I'm wondering is what are those 50,000 non-combat troops that we left behind doing in Iraq? When I was in the army everyone was considered a combat troop. Of the millions who went to Vietnam, 90% never saw a minute's combat. However, they all could have put down their baker's tins, typewriters or Dewey decimal cards, picked up an M-14 and kicked ass and took names. Of course, today our troops don't bake, or run libraries or even type for that matter. We have civilian contractors to run the mess halls and such so who are these dudes?

Are they wusses or what? Are they all doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs? Sure there are 150,000 soldiers of"contractors" running around murdering people, mostly for kicks but handling security of sorts. They're the ones guarding the bases, the oil docks and the politicians, something apparently that the Marines are no longer capable of doing? Because if the Marines are capable then why aren't they doing it? Why is doing those jobs at 10 times the cost?

Actually, of course, there are still combat troops in Iraq and they're going nowhere! Knowing how America likes to use euphemisms to hide the truth from the Sheeple, they've just changed their name; as old Willie Shakespeare said in Romeo and Juliet, "A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." Or "combat brigades by any other name would be as deadly!" For example, the much ballyhooed 4th Stryker brigade crossed into Kuwait, while the 2nd Stryker Brigade Combat Team of the 25th Infantry Division are deployed in Iraq as members of an "Advise and Assist Brigade." We advise and assist, you consent or we kill you! Plus there are several National Guard combat units that aren't going anywhere soon! Hey they're not in "the Army!" As the US Army Times said, "Combat brigades in Iraq under different name." And like the National Guard the Air Force has a couple of combat brigades that aren't going anywhere either!

Officially 4140 US troops were killed in Iraq, about 5% of the real total, 32,000 seriously wounded with about half of them with incapacitating head-wounds. Total wounded well over 100,000. Thousands more of our kids have returned then taken their lives and thousand more will continue to do so! Some kill their families and friends and complete strangers, too! Who knows what the final human toll will be?

The Iraqi toll is staggering. 1,100,000 dead, another 100,000 missing (blown into tiny bits that couldn't be identified), 500,000 plus wounded and 4 million on the lam, forced to flee for their lives from our "ethnic" cleansing. About 100,000 of those were Iraqi women and girls who were trafficked into sexual slavery in Jordan and Syria! All so our oil companies could make the biggest profits in the history of the world. So that the military/industrial/media complex could make staggering profits as well and we could build permanent bases to control all that lovely gas and oil until it runs out.

You don't really think we built those multi billion dollar bases out in the wilderness to turn them over to the Iraqis in a year or two, did you? We're going nowhere until the oil runs out. Ask the Germans, Japanese and the Italians how that works. They are our allies, they're all democracies and yet we have dozens of bases in their countries 65 years after WWII ended. In fact we still have us bases in England. Hell, ask the Cubans how Guantanamo is working out for them since we saved them from Spain in 1898. Imagine foreign bases all over America! If it keep going as it's going pretty soon you won't have to imagine!

In Other News

I see where those crazy knuckleheads over on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit, have ruled that only the rich have 4th Amendment rights. Apparently if you don't live in a walled, gated house the government can "legally" sneak in and put trackers on your car and follow you everywhere! This decision is based upon a case began in 2007, when DEA agents decided to monitor Juan Pineda-Moreno, an Oregon resident they suspected was growing marijuana. They snuck onto his property, without a warrant, in the middle of the night and found his Jeep in his driveway a few feet from his trailer home. Then they attached a GPS tracking device to the vehicle's underside.

After Pineda-Moreno challenged the DEA's actions, a three-judge panel of the Ninth Circuit ruled in January that it was all perfectly legal. More disturbingly, a larger group of judges on the circuit, who were subsequently asked to reconsider the ruling, decided this month to let it stand.

This was, of course, illegal as the government violated Pineda-Moreno's privacy rights in two different ways. First, the invasion of his driveway was illegal. The courts have long held that people have a reasonable expectation of privacy in their homes and in the "curtilage," a legal term for the area around the home. The government's intrusion on property just a few feet away was clearly in this zone of privacy and hence illegal. The court went on to make a second terrible decision about privacy: that once a GPS device has been planted, the government is free to use it to track people without getting a warrant. More warrant-less searches, are you having a deja vu too? That background noise you maybe hearing is George Orwell saying, "I told you so!"

The judges added insult to injury when they explained why Pineda-Moreno's driveway was not private. It was "open to strangers," they said,"such as delivery people and neighborhood children, who could wander across it uninvited." So much for all those trespassing laws. I guess those laws don't apply to the government, huh?

Chief Judge Alex Kozinski, who dissented from this decision, pointed out whose homes are not open to strangers: the elites! "The court's ruling," he said, "means that people who protect their homes with electric gates, fences and security booths have a large protected zone of privacy around their homes. People who cannot afford such barriers don't" and are subject to the government's and the court's dirty tricks! And the wealthy whine about class wars! Alex, went on, saying, "1984 may have come a bit later than predicted, but it's here at last. Some day, soon, we may wake up and find we're living in Oceania!"

One ray of hope is that the influential U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit recently ruled that "tracking for an extended period of time with GPS is an invasion of privacy that requires a warrant." Unfortunately, the issue is likely to end up in the Supreme Court and we all know how John "the enforcer" Roberts' court will rule, don't we?

And Finally

The American Talibanners are at it again. Rush, Bill and the usual suspects are whipping up the rabble, and Rat-wing lunatics are responding from their pulpits filling their audiences with hate and treason. Our masters must be having multiple orgasms on this lead up to 911. They set it up and we'll kill one another over it!

A euphemistic pastor, Dr. Terry Jones, (No it's not our author and former Python Terry Jones but after reading this you might think so!) at the "DOVE" World Outreach Center of Gainesville Florida wants to really piss off American Muslims by burning a Koran on 911. Is burning the Koran something that Jesus would do? Especially since the Muslims worship the same god as the Christians and Jews? Wasn't there something about "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself?" Not insult him and taunt him and really piss him off! I wonder what Yahweh would say about Dr. Terry and his mission? Now Dr. Terry and his band of merry pranksters are not burning books like the Nazis did, well actually they are, but that's not what Terry says:

Christians are called to live and speak the truth, and to tear down the strongholds of the kingdom of darkness. Islam is of the devil and the Koran is a lie. Millions of people all over the world, Moslem and non-Moslem, are held captive by these lies. The world needs a beacon of warning and of hope. Like the Christians in Acts 19, we are publicly burning a book that is demonic. We are not, like the Nazis, stealing books, destroying properties or harming any people. ~~~ Dr. Terry Jones

In fact Terry has ten reasons why this is a good and a righteous thing. Even though the church can't get a burning permit from the City of Gainesville they're going ahead any way as they don't have to obey man's laws when they're following God's laws. By all means try explaining that to the prosecutor next time you're in court!

Yeah, I know...

Wait for it.

Wait for it...

I wrote Terry a letter...

Hey Terry,

What you said about Muslims is true but could also be said of Jews and Christians as well. Of all the 2500 gods that we've created I do believe that the followers of Yahweh, the Bronze Age god of wandering, barbarian, syphilitic sheepherders are the worst of the lot. Let's see if I got the Christian thing right?

The belief that a cosmic Jewish Zombie who was his own father can make you live forever if you symbolically eat his flesh, drink his blood and telepathically tell him you accept him as your master, so that he can remove an evil force from your soul that is present in humanity because a woman made from a rib was convinced by a talking snake to eat some fruit from a magical tree...?

Makes perfect sense to me... NOT! Sounds more like the ravings of end stage syphilis! Do explain your talking snake theory, please!

Oh and good luck with your book burning pastor Hitler but don't be surprised if some Muslims stop by and burn your church down when ya'll are inside as they don't like their mythological book burned anymore than you'd like your mythological book thrown on a bonfire!

Your Atheist pal,
PS: Remember what the prophet George Carlin said: "Anytime a bunch of holy people wanna kill each other, I'm a happy guy."

So far, I haven't gotten a reply, imagine that! However, if you have some thoughts that you'd like to share with Terry, Fran and gang down at the "Dove" World Outreach Center of Gainesville Florida here's the info. Oh, and tell'em Uncle Ernie sent ya!

Dr. Terry Jones Senior Pastor of
Dove World Outreach Center of Gainesville Florida
5805 NW 37th St
Gainesville, FL 32653
Phone: 352-371-2487
Fax: 352-371-6511

It's Over

Dear Readers,

I got my walking papers the other day! She wants me G.O.N.E. A.S.A.P.. Trouble is, I done spent all my money financing this magazine and I'm flat broke. I desperately need $1,000 to get me and my stuff back to Detroit and set up housekeeping, before it and I end up on the street walking the 700 miles back to Detroit, and with COPD I don't imagine I'll get very far. If you can help me please do so today. To say that I'm desperate is a vast understatement! HELP! Contact me at:

PS. Thanks to Bob from St. Petersburg, Fla and thanks to Ernie from Ontario I'm 25% of the way to getting out of here with my life and my stuff. If just another six of you would do the same this could have a happy ending! Time is fast running out!


04-15-1950 ~ 08-19-2010
Thanks for the Jams!

06-11-1938 ~ 08-20-2010
Just Keep Looking Up!

06-24-1916 ~ 08-24-2010
Thanks for getting rid of "The Trick!"


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


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

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

All In The Company
The Story of Obama
By Wayne Madsen

WMR has discovered CIA files that document the agency's connections to institutions and individuals figuring prominently in the lives of Barack Obama and his mother, father, grandmother, and stepfather.

President Obama's own work in 1983 for Business International Corporation, a CIA front that conducted seminars with the world's most powerful leaders and used journalists as agents abroad, dovetails with CIA espionage activities conducted by his mother, Stanley Ann Dunham in 1960s post-coup Indonesia on behalf of a number of CIA front operations, including the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii, the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), and the Ford Foundation. Dunham met and married Lolo Soetoro, Obama's stepfather, at the East-West Center in 1965. Soetoro was recalled to Indonesia in 1965 to serve as a senior army officer and assist General Suharto and the CIA in the bloody overthrow of President Sukarno.

Barack Obama, Sr., who met Dunham in 1959 in a Russian language class at the University of Hawaii, had been part of what was described as an airlift of 280 East African students to the United States to attend various colleges - merely "aided" by a grant from the Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation, according to a September 12, 1960, Reuters report from London. The airlift was a CIA operation to train and indoctrinate future agents of influence in Africa, which was becoming a battleground between the United States and the Soviet Union and China for influence among newly-independent and soon-to-be independent countries on the continent.

The airlift was condemned by the deputy leader of the opposition Kenyan African Democratic Union (KADU) as favoring certain tribes - the majority Kikuyus and minority Luos - over other tribes to favor the Kenyan African National Union (KANU), whose leader was Tom Mboya, the Kenyan nationalist and labor leader who selected Obama, Sr. for a scholarship at the University of Hawaii. Obama, Sr., who was already married with an infant son and pregnant wife in Kenya, married Dunham on Maui on February 2, 1961 and was also the university's first African student. Dunham was three month's pregnant with Barack Obama, Jr. at the time of her marriage to Obama, Sr.

KADU deputy leader Masinda Muliro, according to Reuters, said KADU would send a delegation to the United States to investigate Kenyan students who received "gifts" from the Americans and "ensure that further gifts to Kenyan students are administered by people genuinely interested in Kenya's development.'"

Mboya received a $100,000 grant for the airlift from the Kennedy Foundation after he turned down the same offer from the U.S. State Department, obviously concerned that direct U.S. assistance would look suspicious to pro-Communist Kenyan politicians who suspected Mboya of having CIA ties. The Airlift Africa project was underwritten by the Kennedy Foundation and the African-American Students Foundation. Obama, Sr. was not on the first airlift but a subsequent one. The airlift, organized by Mboya in 1959, included students from Kenya, Uganda, Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia, and Nyasaland

Reuters also reported that Muliro charged that Africans were "disturbed and embittered" by the airlift of the selected students. Muliro "stated that preferences were shown to two major tribes [Kikuyu and Luo] and many U.S.-bound students had failed preliminary and common entrance examinations, while some of those left behind held first-class certificates."

Obama, Sr. was a friend of Mboya and a fellow Luo. After Mboya was assassinated in 1969, Obama, Sr. testified at the trial of his alleged assassin. Obama, Sr. claimed he was the target of a hit-and-run assassination attempt after his testimony.

Obama, Sr., who left Hawaii for Harvard in 1962, divorced Dunham in 1964. Obama, Sr. married a fellow Harvard student, Ruth Niedesand, a Jewish-American woman, who moved with him to Kenya and had two sons. They were later divorced. Obama, Sr. worked for the Kenyan Finance and Transport ministries as well as an oil firm. Obama, Sr. died in a 1982 car crash and his funeral was attended by leading Kenyan politicians, including future Foreign Minister Robert Ouko, who was murdered in 1990.

CIA files indicate that Mboya was an important agent-of-influence for the CIA, not only in Kenya but in all of Africa. A formerly Secret CIA "Current Intelligence Weekly Summary," dated November 19, 1959, states that Mboya served as a check on extremists at the second All-African People's Conference (AAPC) in Tunis. The report states that "serious friction developed between Ghana's Prime Minister Kwame NNkrumah and Kenyan nationalist Tom Mboya who cooperated effectively [emphasis added] last December to check extremists at the AAPC's first meeting in Accra." The term "cooperated effectively" appears to indicate that Mboya was cooperating with the CIA, which filed the report from field operatives in Accra and Tunis. While "cooperating" with the CIA in Accra and Tunis, Mboya selected the father of the president of the United States to receive a scholarship and be airlifted to the University of Hawaii where he met and married President Obama's mother.

An earlier CIA Current Intelligence Weekly Summary, Secret, and dated April 3, 1958, states that Mboya "still appears to be the most promising of the African leaders." Another CIA weekly summary, Secret and dated December 18, 1958, calls Mboya the Kenyan nationalist an "able and dynamic young chairman" of the People's Convention party who was viewed as an opponent of "extremists" like Nkrumah, supported by "Sino-Soviet representatives."

In a formerly Secret CIA report on the All-Africa Peoples Conference in 1961, dated November 1, 1961, Mboya's conservatism, along with that of Taleb Slim of Tunisia, are contrasted to the leftist policies of Nkrumah and others. Pro-communists who were elected to the AAPC's steering committee at the March 1961 Cairo conference, attended by Mboya, are identified in the report as Abdoulaye Diallo, AAPC Secretary General, of Senegal; Ahmed Bourmendjel of Algeria; Mario de Andrade of Angola; Ntau Mokhele of Basutoland; Kingue Abel of Cameroun; Antoine Kiwewa of Congo (Leopoldville); Kojo Botsio of Ghana; Ismail Toure of Guinea; T. O. Dosomu Johnson of Liberia; Modibo Diallo of Mali; Mahjoub Ben Seddik of Morocco; Djibo Bakari of Niger; Tunji Otegbeya of Nigeria; Kanyama Chiume of Nyasaland; Ali Abdullahi of Somalia; Tennyson Makiwane of South Africa, and Mohamed Fouad Galal of the United Arab Republic.

The only attendees in Cairo who were given a clean bill of health by the CIA were Mboya, who appears to have been a snitch for the agency, and Joshua Nkomo of Southern Rhodesia, B. Munanka of Tanganyika, Abdel Magid Shaker of Tunisia, and John Kakonge of Uganda.

Nkrumah would eventually be overthrown in a 1966 CIA-backed coup while he was on a state visit to China and North Vietnam. The CIA overthrow of Nkrumah followed by one year the agency's overthrow of Sukarno, another coup that was connected to President Obama's family on his mother's side. There are suspicions that Mboya was assassinated in 1969 by Chinese agents working with anti-Mboya factions in the government of Kenyan President Jomo Kenyatta in order to eliminate a pro-U.S. leading political leader in Africa. Upon Mboya's death, every embassy in Nairobi flew its flag at half-mast except for one, the embassy of the People's Republic of China.

Mboya's influence in the Kenyatta government would continue long after his death and while Obama, Sr. was still alive. In 1975, after the assassination of KANU politician Josiah Kariuki, a socialist who helped start KANU, along with Mboya and Obama, Sr., Kenyatta dismissed three rebellious cabinet ministers who "all had personal ties to either Kariuki or Tom Mboya." This information is contained in CIA Staff Notes on the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia, formerly Top Secret Umbra, Handle via COMINT Channels, dated June 24, 1975. The intelligence in the report, based on its classification, indicate the information was derived from National Security Agency intercepts in Kenya. No one was ever charged in the assassination of Kariuki.

The intercepts of Mboya's and Kariuki's associates are an indication that the NSA and CIA also maintain intercepts on Barack Obama, Sr., who, as a non-U.S. person, would have been lawfully subject at the time to intercepts carried out by NSA and Britain's Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ).

Part II

East-West Center, University of Hawaii, and CIA coup against Sukarno

Ann Dunham met Soetoro at the East-West Center at the University of Hawaii. The center had long been affiliated with CIA activities in the Asia-Pacific region. In 1965, the year that Dunham met and married Soetoro, the center saw a new chancellor take over. He was Howard P. Jones who served a record seven years, from 1958 to 1965, as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia. Jones was present in Jakarta as Suharto and his CIA-backed military officers planned the 1965 overthrow of Sukarno, who was seen, along with the Indonesian Communist Party (PKI), as allies of China.

When Jones was chancellor of the East-West Center, he wrote an article for the Washington Post, dated October 10, 1965, in which he defended Suharto's overthrow of Sukarno. Jones was "invited" by the Post to comment on the Suharto coup, described as a "counter-coup" against the Communists. Jones charged that Suharto was merely responding to an earlier attempted Communist-led coup against Sukarno launched by Lt. Col. Untung, "a relatively unknown battalion commander in the palace guard."

Jones's article, which mirrored CIA situation reports from the U.S. embassy in Jakarta, continued by stating that the alleged leftist coup on September 30 "came within an inch of succeeding through the assassination of six of the top military command. It might well have succeeded had not Defense Minister Nasution and a number of other senior generals also marked for assassination acted fast in a dramatic counter-coup." Of course, what Jones did not inform the Post's readers was that the Suharto "counter-coup" had been assisted with the strong help of the CIA.

Sukarno never blamed the Communists for the assassination of the army generals nor did the Indonesian Cabinet, where the second= and third-ranking leaders of the PKI were present. The possibility that the assassination of the generals was a CIA/Suharto "false flag" operation to affix blame on the PKI cannot be ruled out. Two days after Suharto's coup, a CIA "rent-a-mob" burned down the PKI headquarters in Jakarta. As they marched past the U.S. Embassy, which was also the site of the CIA station, they yelled out, "Long live America!"

Untung later said that when he became aware that Suharto and the CIA were planning a coup on October 5, 1965 - Indonesian Armed Forces Day - forces loyal to him and Sukarno moved first. Jones described this as "typical Communist propaganda." Suharto moved against Sukarno on October 1. Jones iterated that "there was not an iota of truth . . . in the accusation that the CIA was working against Sukarno." History has proven otherwise. Jones accused the Communists of taking advantage of Sukarno's failing health to beat out the other candidates to succeed him. The goal, according to Jones, was to have PKI boss D.N. Aidit succeed Sukarno. Sukarno did not die until 1970, while under house arrest.

A CIA paper, formerly classified Secret and undated, states "Sukarno would like to return to the status quo ante-coup. He has refused to condemn the PKI or the 30th September Movement [of Lt. Col. Untung]; instead, he calls for unity of Indonesia and asks that no vengeance be taken by one group against the other. But, he has not succeeded in forcing the Army to abandon its anti-PKI activities and, on the other hand, he has bowed to their demand by appointing its single candidate General Suharto as head of the Army." Suharto and Barry Obama Soetoro's stepfather Lolo Soetoro would ignore Sukarno's call for no vengeance, as hundreds of thousands of Indonesians would soon discover.

The mass murder by Suharto of Indonesian Chinese is seen in the CIA paper's description of the Baperki Party: "the leftist Baperki Party, with its major strength in rural areas, is largely Chinese-Indonesian in membership." A CIA Intelligence Memorandum, dated October 6, 1966 and formerly classified Secret, shows the extent of the CIA's monitoring of the anti-Sukarno coup from various CIA agents assigned as liaisons to Suharto's army units surrounding the Presidential Palace in Bogor and at various diplomatic posts around the country, including the U.S. Consulate in Medan, which was keeping track of leftists in that Sumatran city and, which, in an October 2, 1965, Intelligence Memo, reported to the CIA that the "Soviet consul-general in Medan has a plane standing by that could be used for evacuation of Soviet citizens from Sumatra." The October 6 memo also warns against allowing Untung from developing a following in Central Java.

A CIA formerly Secret "Weekly Summary Special Report" on Indonesia, dated August 11, 1967, and titled "The New Order in Indonesia," reports that in 1966, Indonesia re-aligned its economy in order to receive International Monetary Fund (IMF) assistance. The CIA reports it is happy with the new triumvirate ruling Indonesia in 1967: Suharto, Foreign Minister Adam Malik, and the Sultan of Jogjakarta, who served as minister for economics and finance. The report also rejoices in the outlawing of the PKI, but states it "retains a significant following in East and Central Java," where Ann Dunham Soetoro would largely concentrate her later efforts on behalf of USAID, the World Bank, and the Ford Foundation, all front activities for the CIA to "win the hearts and minds" of the Javanese farmers and artisans.

A CIA Intelligence Memorandum, formerly Secret and dated July 23, 1966, clearly sees the Muslim Nahdatul Ulama party {NU), the largest party in Indonesia and Muslim, as a natural ally of the United States and the Suharto regime. The report states that helped Suharto put down the Communists in the post-coup time frame, especially where the NU was strongest: East Java, where Obama's mother would concentrate her activities, and North Sumatra and parts of Borneo. An April 29, 1966, formerly Secret CIA Intelligence Memorandum on the PKI states: "Moslem extremists in many instances outdid the army in hunting down and murdering members of the party [PKI] and its front groups."

Dunham and Barry Soetoro in Jakarta and USAID front activities

Dunham dropped out of the University of Hawaii in 1960 while pregnant with Barack Obama. Barack Obama Sr. left Hawaii in 1962 to study at Harvard. Dunham and Obama divorced in 1964. In the fall of 1961, Dunham enrolled at the University of Washington while caring for her infant son. Dunham was re-enrolled at the University of Hawaii from 1963 to 1966. Lolo Soetoro, who Dunham married in March 1965, departed Hawaii for Indonesia on July 20, 1965, some three months prior to the CIA's coup against Sukarno. Soetoro, who served Suharto as an Army colonel, was clearly called back from the CIA-connected East-West Center to assist in the coup against Sukarno, one that would eventually cost the lives of some one million Indonesian citizens. It is a history that President Obama would like the press to ignore, which it certainly did during the 2008 primary and general election.

In 1967, after arriving in Indonesia with Obama, Jr., Dunham began teaching English at the American embassy in Jakarta, which also housed one of the largest CIA stations in Asia and had significant satellite stations in Surabaya in eastern Java and Medan on Sumatra. Jones left as East-West Center chancellor in 1968.

In fact, Obama's mother was teaching English for the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), which was a major cover for CIA activities in Indonesia and throughout Southeast Asia, especially in Laos, South Vietnam, and Thailand. The USAID program was known as Lembaga Pendidikan Pembinaan Manajemen. Obama's mother, painted as a free spirit and a "sixties child" by President Obama and people who claimed they knew her in Hawaii and Indonesia, had a curriculum vitae in Indonesia that contradicts the perception that Ann Dunham Soetoro was a "hippy."

Dunham Soetoro's Russian language training at the University of Hawaii may have been useful to the CIA in Indonesia. An August 2, 1966, formerly Secret memorandum from the National Security Council's Executive Secretary Bromley Smith states that, in addition to Japan, Western Europe, Australia, New Zealand, Malaysia, and the Philippines, the Suharto coup was welcomed by the Soviet Union and its Eastern European allies because its created a non-aligned Indonesia that "represents an Asian counterweight to Communist China." Records indicate that a number of CIA agents posted in Jakarta before and after the 1965 coup were, like Dunham Soetoro, conversant in Russian.

Dunham Soetoro worked for the elitist Ford Foundation, World Bank, Asian Development Bank, Bank Rakyat (the majority government-owned People's Bank of Indonesia), and the CIA-linked USAID while she lived in Indonesia and later, Pakistan.

USAID was involved in a number of CIA covert operations in Southeast Asia. The February 9, 1971, Washington Star reported that USAID officials in Laos were aware that rice supplied to the Laotian Army by USAID was being re-sold to North Vietnamese army divisions in the country. The report stated that the U.S. tolerated the USAID rice sales to the North Vietnamese since the Laotian Army units that sold the rice found themselves protected from Communist Pathet Lao and North Vietnamese attack. USAID and the CIA also used the supply of rice to force Laotian Meo tribesmen to support the United States in the war against the Communists. USAID funds programmed for civilians injured in the war in Laos and public health care were actually diverted for military purposes.

In 1971, the USAID-funded Center for Vietnamese Studies at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale was accused of being a CIA front. USAID-funded projects through the Midwest Universities Consortium for International Activities (MUCIA) - comprising the Universities of Illinois, Wisconsin, Minnesota, Indiana and Michigan State - were accused of being CIA front projects, including those for "agricultural education" in Indonesia, as well as other "projects" in Afghanistan, Mali, Nepal, Nigeria, Thailand, and South Vietnam. The charge was made in 1971, the same year that Ann Dunham was working for USAID in the country.

In a July 10, 1971, New York Times report, USAID and the CIA were accused of "losing" $1.7 billion appropriated for the Civil Operations and Revolutionary Development Support (CORDS) program in South Vietnam. CORDS was part of the CIA's Operation Phoenix program, which involved CIA assassination and torture of South Vietnamese village elders and Buddhist clerics. USAID money was also directed to the CIA's proprietary airline in Southeast Asia, Air America. In Thailand, USAID funds for the Accelerated Rural Development Program in Thailand were actually masking a CIA anti-Communist counter-insurgency operation. USAID funds programmed for public works projects in East Pakistan in 1971 were used for East Pakistan's military fortifications on its border with India, in the months before the outbreak of war with India, in contravention of U.S. law that prohibited USAID money for military purposes.

In 1972, USAID administrator Dr. John Hannah admitted to Metromedia News that USAID was being used as a cover for CIA covert operations in Laos. Hannah only admitted to Laos as a USAID cover for the CIA. However, it was also reported that USAID was being used by the CIA in Indonesia, Philippines, South Vietnam, Thailand, and South Korea. USAID projects in Southeast Asia had to be approved by the Southeast Asian Development Advisory Group (SEADAG), an Asia Society group that was, in fact, answerable to the CIA.

The U.S. Food for Peace program, jointly administered by USAID and the Department of Agriculture, was found in 1972 to be used for military purposes in Cambodia, South Korea, Turkey, South Vietnam, Spain, Taiwan, and Greece. In 1972, USAID funneled aid money only to the southern part of North Yemen, in order to aid North Yemeni forces against the government of South Yemen, then ruled by a socialist government opposed to U.S. hegemony in the region.

One of the entities affiliated with the USAID work in Indonesia was the Asia Foundation, a 1950s creation formed with the help of the CIA to oppose the expansion of communism in Asia. The East-West Center guesthouse in Hawaii was funded by the Asia Foundation. The guesthouse is also where Barack Obama Sr. first stayed after his airlift from Kenya to Hawaii, arranged by the one of the CIA's major agents of influence in Africa, Mboya.

Dunham would also travel to Ghana, Nepal, Bangladesh, India, and Thailand working on micro-financing projects. In 1965, Barack Obama Sr. returned to Kenya from Harvard, with another American wife. The senior Obama linked up with his old friend and the CIA's "golden boy" Mboya and other fellow Luo politicians. The CIA station chief in Nairobi from 1964 to 1967 was Philip Cherry. In 1975, Cherry was the CIA station chief in Dacca, Bangladesh. Cherry was linked by the then-U.S. ambassador to Bangladesh, Eugene Booster, to the 1975 assassination of Bangladesh's first president, Sheikh Mujibur Rahman, and members of his family. The hit on "Sheikh Mujib" and his family was reportedly ordered by then-Secretary of State Henry Kissinger. Bangladesh was also on the micro- and macro-financing travel itinerary of CIA-linked Ann Dunham.

CIA banking and Hawaii

Meanwhile, Dunham Soetoro's mother, Madelyn Dunham, who raised young Obama when he returned to Hawaii in 1971 while his mother stayed in Indonesia, was the first female vice president at the Bank of Hawaii in Honolulu. Various CIA front entities used the bank. Madelyn Dunham handled escrow accounts used to make CIA payments to U.S.-supported Asian dictators like Philippines President Ferdinand Marcos, South Vietnamese President Nguyen van Thieu, and President Suharto in Indonesia. In effect, the bank was engaged in money laundering for the CIA to covertly prop up its favored leaders in the Asia-Pacific region.

One of the CIA's major money laundering fronts in Honolulu was the firm of Bishop, Baldwin, Rewald, Dillingham & Wong (BBRDW). After the CIA allowed the firm to collapse in 1983 amid charges that BBRDW was merely a Ponzi scheme, Senator Daniel Inouye of the US Senate Intelligence Committee said the CIA's role in the firm "wasn't significant." It would later be revealed that Inouye, who was one of the late Alaska Senator Ted Stevens's best friends in the Senate, was lying. In fact, BBRDW was involved heavily in funding covert CIA programs throughout Asia, including economic espionage against Japan, providing arms for Afghan mujaheddin guerrillas in their war against the Soviets and covertly supplying weapons to Taiwan. One of BBRDW's principals was John C. "Jack" Kindschi, who, before he retired in 1981, was the CIA station chief in Honolulu. BBRDW's chairman Ron Rewald had a counterfeit college degree certificate provided for the wall of his office by the CIA's forgery experts and his name was inserted in university records as an alumnus.

A false history for BBRDW was concocted by the CIA claiming the firm had operated in Hawaii since it was a territory. President Obama is currently plagued by allegations that he has fake college and university transcripts, a phony social security number issued in Connecticut, and other padded resume items. Did Hawaii's fake BBRDW documents portend today's questions about Obama's past?

BBRDW conducted its business in the heart of Honolulu's business district, where the Bank of Hawaii was located and where Obama grandmother Madelyn Dunham ran the escrow accounts. The bank would handle much of BBRDW's covert financial transactions.

Manchurian Candidate?

Obama/Soetoro and the "years of living dangerously" in Jakarta

It is clear that Dunham Soetoro and her Indonesian husband, President Obama's step-father, were closely involved in the CIA's operations to steer Indonesia away from the Sino-Soviet orbit during the "years of living dangerously" after the overthrow of Sukarno. WMR has discovered that some of the CIA's top case officers were assigned to various official and non-official cover assignments in Indonesia during this time frame, including under the cover of USAID, the Peace Corps, and the U.S. Information Agency (USIA).

One of the closest CIA contacts for Suharto was former CIA Jakarta embassy officer Kent B. Crane. Crane was so close to Suharto after "retiring" from the CIA, he was reportedly one of the only "private" businessmen given an Indonesian diplomatic passport by Suharto's government. Crane's company, the Crane Group, was involved in supplying small arms to the military forces of the United States, Indonesia, and other nations. A foreign policy adviser to Vice President Spiro Agnew, Crane was later nominated as U.S. ambassador to Indonesia by President Ronald Reagan but the nomination was dead-on-arrival because of Crane's dubious links to Suharto. The ambassadorship would instead go to John Holdridge, a close colleague of Kissinger. Holdridge was succeeded in Jakarta by Paul Wolfowitz.

Suharto's cronies, who included Mochtar and James Riady of the Lippo Group, would later stand accused of funneling over $1 million of illegal foreign contributions to Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign.

President Obama has twice postponed official state visits to Indonesia, perhaps fearful of the attention such a trip would bring to the CIA connections of his mother and Indonesian step-father.

In the 1970s and 80s, Dunham was active in micro-loan projects for the Ford Foundation, the CIA-linked East-West Center, and USAID in Indonesia. One of the individuals assigned to the U.S. embassy and helped barricade the compound during a violent anti-U.S. student demonstration during the 1965 Suharto coup against Sukarno was Dr. Gordon Donald, Jr. Assigned to the embassy's Economic Section, Donald was responsible for USAID micro-financing for Indonesian farmers, the same project that Dunham Soetoro would work on for USAID in the 1970s, after her USAID job of teaching English in Indonesia. In a 1968 book, "Who's Who in the CIA," published in West Berlin, Donald is identified as a CIA officer who was also assigned to Lahore, Pakistan, where Dunham would eventually live for five years in the Hilton International Hotel while working on microfinancing for the Asian Development Bank.

Another "Who's Who in the CIA" Jakarta alumnus is Robert F. Grealy, who later became the director for international relations for the Asia-Pacific for J P Morgan Chase and a director for the American-Indonesian Chamber of Commerce. J P Morgan Chase's CEO Jamie Dimon is being mentioned as a potential replacement for Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, whose father, Peter Geithner, was the Ford Foundation's Asia grant-selector who funneled the money to Ann Dunham's Indonesian projects.

CIA Black Projects and Hawaii

While in Pakistan, Dunham's son Barack visited her in 1980 and 1981. Obama visited Karachi, Lahore, and Hyderabad, India during his south Asia visits. It was during the time period that the CIA was beefing up its anti-Soviet operations in Afghanistan from Pakistan.

A January 31, 1958, heavily-redacted formerly Secret NOFORN [no foreign dissemination] memorandum for CIA Director Allen Dulles from the Deputy Assistant Director of the CIA for Research and Reports [name redacted] reports on a fact-finding mission to the Far East, Southeast Asia, and the Middle East from November 17 through December 21, 1957.

The CIA Office of Research and Reports (ORR) chief reports a meeting with the staff of retired Army General Jesmond Balmer, a senior CIA official in Hawaii, about requests by the Commander-in-Chief Pacific (CINCPAC) for "a number of detailed, time-consuming research studies." The ORR chief then reports about a CIA "survey of students at the University of Hawaii who have both Chinese language and research ability." The ORR chief also reports that at a South-East Asia Treaty Organization (SEATO) Counter Subversion Seminar at Baguio, Philippines held from November 26-29, 1957, the Economic Subcommittee discussed an "economic development fund" to combat "Sino-Soviet Bloc subversive activities in the area and a consideration of possible counter-measures which might be employed."

The Thailand and Philippines delegations were pushing hard for U.S. funding for an economic development fund, which may have provided the impetus for later USAID projects in the region, including those with which Peter Geithner and Obama's mother were intimately involved.

Although CIA geo-political covert operations at the University of Hawaii are well-documented, the agency's darker side of research and MK-UKTRA type operations has not generally been associated with the University of Hawaii. A series of formerly Confidential CIA memoranda, dated May 15, 1972, points to the involvement of both the Defense Department's Advanced Research Projects Agency (ARPA), the CIA, and the University of Hawaii in the CIA's behavioral science program. The memos are signed by then-Deputy Director of the CIA Bronson Tweedy, the chief of the Intelligence Community's Program Review Group (PRG) [name redacted], and CIA Director Richard Helms. The subject of the memos is "ARPA Supported Research Relating to Intelligence Product," The memo from the PRG chief discusses a conference held on May 11, 1972, attended by Lt. Col. Austin Kibler, ARPA's Director of Behavioral Research. Kibler was the chief for ARPA research into behavior modification and remote viewing. Others mentioned in the PRG chief's memo include CIA Deputy Director for Intelligence Edward Proctor, the CIA Deputy Director for Science and Technology Carl Duckett, and Director of the Office of National Estimates John Huizenga.

In 1973, after CIA Director James Schlesinger ordered a review of all CIA programs, the CIA developed a set of documents on various CIA programs collectively called the "Family Jewels." Most of these documents were released in 2007 but it was also revealed that Dr. Sidney Gottlieb, the CIA's director of MKULTRA, the agency's behavior modification, brainwashing, and drug testing component, had been ordered by Helms, before he resigned as CIA director, to be destroyed. Duckett, in one memo from Ben Evans of the CIA to CIA Director William Colby, dated May 8, 1973, conveys that he "thinks the Director would be ill-advised to say he is acquainted with this program," meaning Gottlieb's drug testing program under MKULKTRA.

Senior Gerald Ford administration officials, including Chief of Staff Dick Cheney and Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, ensured that after the production of the "Family Jewels" documents, no CIA revelations were made about CIA psychological behavior-altering programs, including MKULTRA and Project ARTICHOKE.

The May 15, 1972, set of memos appears to be related to the CIA's initial research, code named SCANATE, in 1972 into psychic warfare, including the use of psychics for purposes of remote viewing espionage and mind control. The memo discussed Kibler from ARPA and "his contractor," which was later discovered to be Stanford Research Institute (SRI) in Menlo Park, California.

In a memo from CIA Director Helms to, among others, Duckett, Huizenga, Proctor, and the Director of the Defense Intelligence Agency, which later inherited reote viewing from the CIA under the code name GRILL FLAME, Helms insists that ARPA had been supporting research into behavioral science and its potential for intelligence production "for a number of years" at "M.I.T., Yale, the University of Michigan, U.C.L.A., and University of Hawaii and other institutions as well as in corporate research facilities."

The role of the University of Hawaii in CIA psych-war operations continues to this day. The chief of research for DIA's Defense Counterintelligence and Human Intelligence Center (DCHC) Behavioral Sciences Program, Dr. Susan Brandon, who was reportedly involved in a covert program run by the American Psychological Association (APA), Rand Corporation, and the CIA to employ "enhanced interrogation" techniques, including sleep and sensory deprivation, intense pain, and extreme isolation on prisoners held at Bagram airbase in Afghanistan and other "black prisons," received her PhD in Psychology from the University of Hawaii. Brandon also served as assistant director of Social, Behavioral, and Educational Sciences for the Office of Science and Technology Policy in the George W. Bush White House.

The CIA's close connections to the University of Hawaii continued to the late 1970s, when the former President of the University of Hawaii from 1969 to 1974, Harlan Cleveland, was a special invited speaker at CIA headquarters on May 10, 1977. Cleveland served as Assistant Secretary of State for International Organization Affairs from 1961 to 1965 and Lyndon Johnson's ambassador to NATO from 1965 to 1969 before taking up his position at the University of Hawaii. A CIA Director of Training memo dated May 21, 1971, reports on the active recruitment of a U.S. Marine officer who was entering graduate school at the University of Hawaii.

The Family of Obama and the CIA

There are volumes of written material on the CIA backgrounds of George H. W. Bush and CIA-related activities by his father and children, including former President George W. Bush. Barack Obama, on the other hand, cleverly masked his own CIA connections as well as those of his mother, father, step-father, and grandmother (there is very little known about Obama's grandfather, Stanley Armour Dunham, who was supposedly in the furniture business in Hawaii after serving in Europe during World War II). Presidents and vice presidents do not require security background checks, unlike other members of the federal government, to hold office. That job is left up to the press. In 2008, the press failed miserably in its duty to vet the man who would win the White House. With the ties of Obama's parents to the University of Hawaii and its links to MKULTRA and ARTICHOKE, a nagging question remains: Is Barack Obama a real-life "Manchurian Candidate?"

Part 111

What is officially known about Stanley Armour Dunham is that he served with the 9th Air Force in Britain and France prior to and after the D-Day invasion. After the war, Dunham and his wife, Madelyn and his daughter Stanley Ann - Obama's mother - moved to Berkeley, California; El Dorado, Kansas; Seattle; and Honolulu. Armour Dunham is said to have worked for a series of furniture stores.

Obama maintains that his mother and father first met in a Russian-language class at the University of Hawaii in 1959. However, a photograph has emerged of Stanley Armour welcoming Barack Obama, Sr., complete with traditional Hawaiian welcoming leis, from Kenya. Obama, Sr. was the only Kenyan student airlifted to Hawaii as part of the CIA-inspired Airlift Africa project that saw Obama and 279 other students from British eastern and southern African colonies brought to the United States for college degrees prior to their homelands gaining independence from Britain. The students were selected by Kenyan nationalist leader Tom Mboya who would later conduct surveillance for the CIA at pan-African nationalist meetings. Mboya was particularly focused on two African leaders who were seen as too close to the Sino-Soviet bloc, Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana and Sekout Toure of Guinea.

Stanley Armour Dunham with Barack Obama, Sr. at welcoming ceremony to Hawaii. The presence of two US Navy personnel indicates the plane may have landed at Hickam Air Force Base, an indication of the U.S. government's and CIA's role in the Airlift Africa project.

The photograph of Armour Dunham with Barack Obama, Sr., indicates that the "furniture salesman" in Hawaii was, in fact, working with a CIA-funded project to rapidly educate aspiring politicians to serve in post-independence African governments to counter Soviet- and Chinese-backed political leaders in the region.

There is a strong reason to believe that Armour Dunham worked in the 1950s for the CIA in the Middle East. An FBI file on Armour Dunham existed but the bureau claimed it destroyed the file on May 1, 1997. Considering the sour relations between the FBI and CIA during the Cold War, it is likely that Armour Dunham was being monitored by FBI director J. Edgar Hoover in the same manner as a number of other CIA officials and agents were being surveiled. Similarly, the pre-1968 passport records of Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, were destroyed by the State Department.

There is a photographic clue that the Dunhams may have been assigned by the CIA to Beirut, Lebanon in the early 1950s. A photograph of Obama's mother and grandparents has emerged that shows Stanley Ann Dunham wearing what may be a school uniform with the insignia of "NdJ," which stands for the College Notre-Dame de Jamhour, a private Jesuit Catholic French language school in Beirut, Lebanon. Graduates of the school include three former presidents of Lebanon, Amine Gemayel, Bashir Gemayel, and Charles Helou, all of whom maintained close relations with Washington. Did Stanley Ann go to a private school in Lebanon in the early 1950s while her father [middle] worked for the CIA in Beirut? There is also the curious nature of President Obama's Social Security Number, issued in Connecticut, a state where there is no other evidence of his ever being a resident. Adding to the mystery is a New York City address for a "male" named Stanley Ann Dunham, 235 E. 40th St Apt 8F, New York NY 10016-1747. The address is a few blocks away from the address of the Ford Foundation. Ann Dunham did work briefly in New York for the Ford Foundation.

On August 9, 2010, WMR reported, "In a December 19, 1971, article in the Boston Globe by Dan Pinck, [a historian and former OSS officer] titled 'Is everyone in the CIA?' it is alleged that identifying US Agency for International Development (USAID) officers as CIA agents was a 'reasonably accurate accounting of certain leading operatives and associates of the CIA.' President Obama's mother, Stanley Ann Dunham Soetoro worked for USAID in rural Java in Indonesia. Pinck's article was a review of a 1968 book, 'Who's Who in the CIA' published in Berlin."

WMR has obtained a rare copy of "Who's Who in the CIA," from England. The book, published in West Berlin in 1968, lists some 3,000 CIA agents and agents-of-influence around the world.

The book also contains a reference to one CIA operative whose area of primary place of operation was Mercer Island, Washington. He was retired Air Force General Don Zabriskie Zimmermann, who was the Chief Engineer for the Boeing Company in Seattle. Before retiring from the Air Force, Zimmermann was the Air Force Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Development in Foreign Countries. Ann Stanley Dunham reportedly graduated from Mercer Island High School in 1960 and met Obama later that year in a Russian language class after her parents moved to Hawaii. Stanley Ann's mother, Madelyn Dunham, worked at a Boeing plant in Wichita, Kansas during World War II.

The book lists the number of CIA agents in countries during the 1950s and 60s where Obama's father, mother, step-father Lolo Soetori, and allegedly, his grandmother and grandfather worked:

Jakarta 64
Surabaya 12
Medan 8
Hollandia 1
Nairobi 19
Mombassa 2
Beirut 61
(including one agent also assigned to Jakarta, Lahore, and Karachi and another assigned to Lahore)
Honolulu 6
(one agent also assigned to Canton Island and another was fluent in French, Stanley Ann Dunham spoke French, Urdu, Bahasa Indonesian, and she studied Javanese at the University of Hawaii, in addition to Russian).
(c) 2010 Wayne Madsen is a Washington, DC-based investigative journalist, author and syndicated columnist. He has written for several renowned papers and blogs.

Madsen is a regular contributor on Russia Today. He has been a frequent political and national security commentator on Fox News and has also appeared on ABC, NBC, CBS, PBS, CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and MS-NBC. Madsen has taken on Bill O'Reilly and Sean Hannity on their television shows. He has been invited to testify as a witness before the US House of Representatives, the UN Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda, and an terrorism investigation panel of the French government.

As a U.S. Naval Officer, he managed one of the first computer security programs for the U.S. Navy. He subsequently worked for the National Security Agency, the Naval Data Automation Command, Department of State, RCA Corporation, and Computer Sciences Corporation.

When You Say No
Or: Poisonous Mushrooms
By Uri Avnery

BEFORE THE victory of feminism, there was a popular Israeli song in which the boy asks the girl: "When you say No, what do you mean?"

This question has already been answered. Now I am more and more tempted to ask: "When you say Zionism, what do you mean?"

That is also my answer when asked whether I am a Zionist.

When you say Zionist, what do you mean?

LATELY, ASSOCIATIONS for the defense of Zionism have been springing up like mushrooms after rain. Poisonous mushrooms.

All kinds of American Jewish multi-millionaires - many of them Casino kings, brothel moguls, money launderers and tax evaders - are financing "patriotic" Israeli groups in Israel, to fight the holy war for "Zionism".

The assault takes place along all the fronts. Jewish organizations aim at cleansing the universities of post-Zionists. They threaten to induce other donors to withhold their donations, they terrorize presidents and rectors and frighten professors and students.

Americans may be reminded of the sinister era of Senator Joseph McCarthy, who blighted the life of thousands of intellectuals and artists, pushing many of them into exile or suicide. Europeans might be reminded of the days when "Aryan" professors informed on their treasonous colleagues, and students in brown shirts threw their Jewish colleagues out of the windows.

This is only one sector of the broad offensive. One group has proudly announced that it is teaching hundreds of professional Zionists how to cleanse Wikipedia, the on-line encyclopedia, of post-Zionist items and plant Zionist ones in their stead.

THE TERM "post-Zionism" is starring in the propaganda of all the dozens - and perhaps hundreds - of the associations financed by the Las Vegas multi-millionaires and their likes in the United States in order to restore the Zionist glory of old.

Why this term, of all others? They mean the leftists, but those who attack the "leftists" are liable to be called "rightists". However, the members of the extreme right want to be seen as belonging to the patriotic center. Nor is it nice or enlightened to speak out against "liberal" or "progressive" professors. "Post-Zionists" is the Israeli equivalent of the "Reds" of Senator McCarthy or the "Jews" of his predecessors in Germany.

BUT WHAT is "post-Zionism"? Why not simply "anti-Zionism"?

As far as I know, I was the first to use this term. That was in 1976. I was testifying in a libel case that my friends and I had lodged against a publication that had accused the "Israeli Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace", that we had just founded, of being "anti-Zionist". In trying to explain my view to the judge, I said that Zionism was a historic movement, with both light and shadow, which had fulfilled its role with the establishment of the State of Israel. From then on, Israeli patriotism has taken its place. "Post-Zionism" means that with the founding of the state, a new historic era began. A "post-Zionist" can admire the achievements of Zionism or criticize them. He is not by definition an anti-Zionist.

The judge accepted my arguments and found in our favor. She awarded us handsome compensation. Now I am the only living Israeli who has a judicial confirmation that he is not an anti-Zionist - much as only a person released from a psychiatric hospital has an official confirmation that he is sane.

Since then, the term "post-Zionist" has acquired wide currency in academic circles. It has also acquired many shades of meaning, according to the people who use it.

But in the mouths of our new mini-McCarthys, it has become a simple denunciation. A post-Zionist is a traitor, an Arab-lover, a lackey of the enemy, an agent of the sinister world-wide conspiracy to destroy the Jewish State.

SHLOMO AVINERI, a respected professor of philosophy, recently published an article in which he fervently argued that Israel is a Jewish state and must remain so. The article has already stirred up a vivid debate.

I have received some protests from people who mistakenly thought that it was I who wrote the piece. That happens from time to time. Years ago the respected British weekly, The Economist, printed my name instead of his, and next week published "an apology to both".

But the difference is considerable. Avineri is an eminent professor, a student of Hegel, an expert on Zionist history, a former Director General of the Israeli Foreign Office, and a devout Zionist. I, as is well-known, am not a professor, I never even finished elementary school, I never was a government spokesman and my attitude towards Zionism is very complex.

In his article, Avineri argued passionately that Israel is a Jewish state "as Poland is a Polish state and Greece is a Greek state". He was responding to a Palestinian citizen of Israel, Salman Masalha, who had asserted that there cannot be a "Jewish state", much as - he says - there cannot be a "Muslim state" or a "Catholic state".

How can one compare, Avineri cried out. After all, the Jews are a people! Israel belongs to the Jewish people, whose religion is Judaism.

Logical, isn't it?

BY NO means. The analogy does not fit.

If Poland belongs to the Poles and Greece to the Greeks, Israel belongs to the Israelis. But the Israeli government does not recognize the existence of an Israeli nation. (The courts have not yet decided upon the petition by some of us to be recognized as belonging to the Israeli nation.)

If Avineri had demanded the recognition that Israel belongs to the Israelis as Poland belongs to the Poles, I would have applauded. But he argues that Israel belongs to the Jews. This immediately raises some basic questions.

For example: Which Jews? Those who are Israeli citizens? Clearly, this is not what he means. He means the "Jewish people" dispersed all over the world, a people whose members belong to the American, French, Argentine nations - and, yes, also to the Polish and Greek nations.

How does a person become an American? By acquiring American citizenship. How does a person become French? By becoming a citizen of the French republic. How does a person become a Jew?

Ah, there's the rub. According to the law of the State of Israel, a Jew is somebody whose mother is Jewish, or who has converted to the Jewish religion and not adopted any other religion. Ergo: the definition is purely religious, like that of a Muslim or a Catholic. Not at all like that of a Pole or a Greek. (In Jewish religion, it's only the mother, not the father, who counts in this respect. Perhaps because one cannot be quite sure who the father is.)

There are in Israel hundreds of thousands of people who have immigrated from the former Soviet Union with their Jewish relatives, but are not Jewish according to the religious definition. They consider themselves Israelis in every respect, speak Hebrew, pay taxes, serve in the army. But they are not recognized as belonging to the Jewish people, to which, according to Avineri, the state belongs. Like the million and a half Israeli citizens who are Palestinian Arabs. The state does not belong to them, even though they enjoy - at least formally - full civil rights.

Simply put: the state belongs, according to Avineri, to millions of people who do not live here and who belong to other nations, but does not belong to millions of people who live here and vote for the Knesset.

WHO HAS decided that this is a Jewish state? Avineri and many others assert that the character of the state was decided upon by the resolution of the General Assembly of the United Nations of November 29th, 1947, which partitioned the country between a "Jewish state" and an "Arab state".

Not true.

The UN did not decide upon a state which belongs to all the Jews in the world, any more than upon a state that belongs to all the Arabs in the world. The UN commission which investigated the conflict between the Jews and the Arabs in the country then called Palestine decided (very sensibly) that the only possible solution was to allot to each of the two national communities a state of its own. Nothing more.

In short: the words "Jewish" and "Arab" in the UN resolution have nothing to do with the character of the two states, but only define the two communities in the country that were to establish their states. They have no other meaning.

BUT A professor who comes to this conclusion would be hounded as a "post-Zionist" who must be expelled from his university. According to our little McCarthys, even the debate is absolutely verboten. Verboten to think. Verboten to write. Strictly verboten to speak. In every university there would be Zionist overseers to receive reports about the lectures of professors, check their publications, report what they hear from students who inform on other students, and safeguard ideological purity. Much like the "politruks" - political commissars - in the Soviet Union. Much like the cadres of the "cultural revolution" in China, when thousands of professors and other intellectuals were sent to labor camps or remote villages.

But the results of their labors may be very different from what they expect. Instead of making the term "post-Zionism" a synonym for treason, they may make the term "Zionism" a synonym for fascism, gladdening the hearts of all those around the world who preach a boycott of the "Jewish state". When the Israeli universities are cleansed of non-conformist thinkers, it will indeed be easy to boycott them.

When you say Zionism, do you mean the humanist vision of Theodor Herzl or Avigdor Lieberman's Jewish fascism?
(c) 2010 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Bike4Peace Update
Days Twenty-Four thru Twenty-Nine: When push comes to shove
By Cynthia McKinney

The song that keeps going around in my head for this week is by Gil Scott Heron and it goes like this:

" This ain't really life, ain't really life, ain't really . . . nothin' but a movie." Because we went from extraordinary to surreal in just a matter of hours.

Gil Scott Heron also sings "Push come to shove--you find exactly what you're made of" and that also seems appropriate for this week.

I've spent so much time being rather graphic about my aches and pains in certain places, and so I thought I'd focus this week on the mental battle that each rider overcomes in order to, day in and day out, ride as much as 85 and 90 miles, starting out at dawn each morning. You can imagine the kind of mental fortitude that takes. In my last ride, I did only 21 miles and into the 3rd mile I felt my shoes too tight, my seat too hard, my bun too hurt, my brain on the fry as the sun's heat sizzled inside my helmet. My arms and my legs soak up the sun's rays and turn as black as my gloves. And then, turn brown again a few hours later. But, amazingly, not once on this ride have I felt my legs too sore and give out. Clearly, for the core riders who are in much better shape than me, this is a game of wits: how to stay on the case minute after minute, rotation after rotation, spin after spin, and remain alert--because the cars are unforgiving--and reach the goal of the next city.

YeYo collects plants. He's surely an expert on what is edible and what is medicinal and what we'd better stay away from. He picked something called "ephedra" and told us it was used to make "Mormon Tea." Well, I did start reading the book of Mormon, but I stayed away from the tea!

Annie listens to her iPod. Now, for me, that takes skill. Because the cars and the trucks and the SUV's and the RV's are treacherous sometimes. Too many drivers just haven't figured out yet that it's OK to be nice and share the road with bicyclists.

Scott is a serious rider, but he takes the time to appreciate the scenery. And wow! What scenery!

Vernon, Bike4Peace's co-founder, is truly an enthusiast. Having done this cross-country bicycling twice before, he now is interested in taking Bike4Peace international and has even roughed out a map to take a group of cyclists throughout the world's war-torn zones, including India-occupied Kashmir, which has been in the news recently.

I've given Yaney the title of Director of Logistics. Because she has done an incredible job of keeping us sheltered and fed on every stop along the trip.

I've canonized Vernon and Yaney; Vernon, because he is so patient with me when I'm riding and because he's the leader, he rides last. So, with me--he's waaaaaaaay last! Yaney, because she's figured out a way to split riding time with me so that I get to ride some, even though she could ride more. And when I get back, I will show them just how much I appreciate what they have done to teach me how to be a better rider!

When I get back, you say? Yes, and here's how Gil Scott Heron became the singer of the week:

Day Twenty-Five - It was mostly downhill after Monarch Pass at 11,000+ feet! So, after sleeping in a wonderful little motel in Poncha Springs, Colorado, it was time to anticipate crossing into Kansas. I was looking forward to Kansas because it was reputed to be so flat, even the bicycle maps had no elevation at all for the entire state. I figured that that was my kind of riding. I've learned to abhor hills, let alone climbing mountains on my bicycle. But then, Vernon told me that I could use a better set of gears, especially low gears. He says that nothing is wrong with the gears I have if all I'm going to do is tool around the neighborhood. But for the kind of riding out there on the byways of America, I need a bit more. So, we made our way from Poncha Springs into camping at Westcliffe.

Day Twenty-Six - We're off to see the wizard . . . Yaney rode 26 miles today! And we're headed toward Pueblo! I put in 21 miles before calling for Yaney to come and get me with the sag vehicle. Afterwards, realized I only had 5 miles more to go before arriving at our destination in Pueblo, a Mexican Restaurant, where Bob Kinsey (Green Party U.S. Senate candidate) and our host, Celestia, meet us!!! We have a host in Pueblo, a rest day, AND a potluck scheduled, so we're all very happy. After reaching Pueblo, I had real chorizo for lunch so I was especially happy. My aunt Hazel and I LOVED to make chorizo and eggs for breakfast and invite Nick and Dedon and her children over to eat with us! Celestia took us to her home where we camped in her front yard--I chose the hammock and swang under a full moon and a clear night sky.

Day Twenty-Seven - Today is our rest day and the day of the potluck. Man, it was so good to be in a real home. Celestia surprised us last night with dinner and then this morning with breakfast. Time to go to the potluck. We get dressed. Some of the bikers ride in; Scott went to visit a friend he hadn't seen in a long time and arrives just in time to accompany Celestia, Annie, and me to the potluck. We all proceed to Celestia's car, only to discover that her window has been smashed in and she doesn't have a clue who could have done such a thing. We call the police and make a report. I tell Celestia that she can always come and stay with me in Georgia--she is such a wonderful person!

Day Twenty-Eight - I think everyone is sad because we have to leave Celestia. She introduced her entire family to us. And has treated us royally. Yaney wants to spend more time at Celestia's and do some more logistics before leaving Pueblo to support the riders and search for lodging in Haswell, our last city/town in Colorado. I pack my things and get ready, wait for Yaney, and decide to go online to clear my inbox so I don't get so many bounces. Despite it being gmail, I've managed to fill my inbox! Among the first e-mails I read is a message from my neighbor, my house has been broken into--what do I want her to do. I try to respond to her but my box is full. I try to call her from my two cell phones and neither of them works, although they both worked at Celestia's home earlier. Finally, I borrow Celestia's phone and return the call. I exit my e-mail account and go into another account and send my neighbor a message: CALL THE POLICE! I finally talk to my neighbor, Daveed, and my mother. They all converge at my house and oh, what a mess. Instead of going to Haswell with the bikers, Yaney drops me at the Pueblo airport and I head back to Georgia . . .

Day Twenty-Nine - Bike4Peace makes it to a new time zone: from Pacific to Mountain to Central. Bike4Peace is now in Kansas--without me. Meanwhile, at home, I conclude that my burglars are either super stupid (leaving some items behind that one would think high on a burglar's list) or super shrewd (very selective about exactly what was taken).

"Push come to shove you find exactly what you're made of."

* Click here ( to have a listen to Vic Sadot's latest: "Trouble in the Rubble" about the strange white-hot debris that burned the recovery dogs and first responders at the World Trade Center Towers in the aftermath of September 11. I'll be in NYC on 9/11/2010 to remember the First Responders that Congress and others certainly forgot. And then back to Bike4Peace in Kentucky!

* Click here to view the Josh Blakeney 7-part documentary of STS (Splitting the Sky) who tried to serve George Bush a people's warrant for torture, war crimes, and crimes against humanity and who, instead, found himself being tried for the crime of obstruction of police officers doing their duty (protecting Bush from justice)! And I'm in it starting in Part 4! *****

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

Silence Is Not Moderation
By Sam Harris

In a recent Wall Street Journal article, terrorism analyst Evan Kohlmann said that anti-Muslim rhetoric in America is bad news for anti-terrorism efforts: "We are handing al Qaeda a propaganda coup, an absolute propaganda coup."

By many accounts, the man who could blunt the power of that coup is Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf, the religious leader behind the planned Islamic Center near Ground Zero. The imam has been surprisingly mum on the issue while he travels in the Middle East. What message of faith could he offer to Muslims and non-Muslims alike that could turn this moment of division into a time of healing?

As many have pointed out, the controversy over the "ground zero mosque" is a false one. The project is legal to build, and it should remain legal. That does not mean, however, that any concern about building a mosque so close to ground zero is synonymous with bigotry. The true scandal here is that Muslim moderates have been so abysmally lacking in candor about the nature of their faith and so slow to disavow its genuine (and growing) pathologies--leading perfectly sane and tolerant people to worry whether Muslim moderation even exists.

Despite his past equivocations on this issue, Imam Feisal Abdul Rauf could dispel these fears in a single paragraph:

"Like all decent people, I am horrified by much that goes on in the name of 'Islam,' and I consider it a duty of all moderate Muslims to recognize that many of the doctrines espoused in the Qur'an and hadith present some unique liabilities at this moment in history. Our traditional ideas about martyrdom, jihad, blasphemy, apostasy, and the status of women must be abandoned, as they are proving disastrous in the 21st century. Many of Islam's critics have fully justified concerns about the state of discourse in parts of the Muslim world--where it is a tissue of conspiracy theories, genocidal ravings regarding the Jews, and the most abject, triumphalist fantasies about conquering the world for the glory of Allah. While the scriptures of Judaism and Christianity also contain terrible passages, it has been many centuries since they truly informed the mainstream faith. Hence, we do not tend to see vast numbers of Jews and Christians calling for the murder of apostates today. This is not true of Islam, and there is simply no honest way of denying this shocking disparity. We are members of a faith community that appears more concerned about harmless cartoons than about the daily atrocities committed in its name--and no one suffers from this stupidity and barbarism more than our fellow Muslims. Islam must grow up. And Muslim moderates like ourselves must be the first to defend the rights of novelists, cartoonists, and public intellectuals to criticize all religious faiths, including our own."

These are the sorts of sentiments that should be the litmus test for Muslim moderation. Find an imam who will speak this way, and gather followers who think this way, and I'll volunteer to cut the ribbon on his mosque in lower Manhattan.
(c) 2010 Sam Harris is the author of "The End Of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" and "Letter to a Christian Nation" and is the co-founder of The Reason Project, which promotes scientific knowledge and secular values.

Republican Lawmakers Gone Wild

"Knock it off," he barked to the rowdy and randy bunch of boys under his charge.

Unfortunately for John Boehner, he was not trying to straighten up the raucous behavior of some college boys acting out their "Animal House" fantasies. Instead, these were Republican members of the U.S. House of Representatives, and Boehner is their congressional leader. It seems the leader has been struggling for a year and a half now to get a group of frisky GOP solons to please stop getting drunk with pretty female lobbyists. Bad image, Boehner scolds. Especially in an election year.

One of the scoldees is Rep. Lee Terry of Omaha, Nebraska, a fellow who brags back home about his 100-percent pro-family voting record, as rated by the Christian Coalition. He recently had a cozy tte--tte with a comely lobbyist in the Capitol Hill Club. They did not appear to be discussing the nuances of banking reform. "Why did you get me so drunk?" Terry was overheard asking the giggling lady lobbyist.

The one who overheard this pro-family man's revealing bar talk was a New York Post reporter. Unlucky break. Asked later, in the light of day, about the escapade, Terry's spokeswoman said curtly, "The congressman has no idea what you are talking about."

Among the other flirtatious Republican rascals is Sam Graves of rural Missouri. He was photographed at a good-time DC bar with a striking blond lobbyist who works for banks, utilities, oil companies, and the like. Asked about the after-hours meet-up, Grave's office refused to comment.

How ironic that Boehner is now scolding others about the appearance of impropriety between lawmakers and lobbyists. He is notorious for being in bed with the special interests, openly and routinely offering to deliver legislative favors for Wall Street and corporate lobbyists in exchange for them giving campaign money for Republican Congressional candidates.
(c) 2010 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Repeating Our Mistakes
Insanity is deja vu over and over again
By David Sirota

Out of all the famous quotations, few better describe this eerily familiar time than those attributed to George Santayana and Yogi Berra. The former, a philosopher, warned that "those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." The latter, a baseball player, stumbled into prophecy by declaring, "It's dj vu all over again."

As movies give us bad remakes of already bad productions (hello, "Predators"), television resuscitates ancient clowns (howdy, Dee Snider) and music revives pure schlock (I'm looking at you, Devo), we are now surrounded by the obvious mistakes of yesteryear. And it might be funny -- it might be downright hilarious -- if only this cycle didn't infect the deadly serious stuff.

Vietnam showed us the perils of occupation, then the Iraq war showed us the same thing -- and yet now, we are somehow doing it all over again in Afghanistan. The Great Depression underscored the downsides of laissez-faire economics, the Great Recession highlighted the same danger -- and yet the new financial "reform" bill leaves that laissez-faire attitude largely intact. Ronald Reagan proved the failure of trickle-down tax cuts to spread prosperity before George W. Bush proved the same thing -- and yet now, in a recession, Congress is considering more tax cuts all over again.

These are but a few examples of mistakes being repeated ad infinitum. In a Yogi Berra country, the jarring lessons of history are remembered as mere flickers of deja vu -- if they are remembered at all. Most often, we forget completely, seeing in George Santayana's refrain not a dark warning, but a cheery celebration. And the logical question is: Why? Why have we become so dismissive of history's lessons and therefore so willing to repeat history's mistakes?

Some of it is the modern information miasma. Though the Internet makes eons of history instantly available, the 24-7, moment-to-moment typhoon of cable screamfests, blogs, tweets, e-mail alerts and "breaking news" graphics makes last week's news feel old, and last month's news feel positively paleolithic. Add to this reportage that is increasingly presented with zero context, and it's clear that journalism is sowing mass senility.

Politicians also make significant contributions to the problem. With the age of the permanent campaign intensifying and the era of the long-term electoral majority ending, both parties deliberately focus only on the very recent past -- and obscure the larger historical record. From the national debt, to poverty to the downsides of American empire, Republicans tell us it's all the fault of Democrats' two-year-old rein, while Democrats blame it on Bush's eight-year presidency. This, even though these emergencies developed over decades.

And then, of course, there is ideology.

With the present so radically departing from our past, history has become a damning package of inconvenient truths -- and those truths are often shunned because they threaten today's most powerful ideological interests.

This is why in the debates over war, economics and taxes, we aren't urged to consider past conflicts; we aren't encouraged to remember that America experienced its most storied growth under the New Deal's aggressive financial regulation; and we aren't told that wages and job growth expanded in the mid-20th century with a top income tax bracket above 70 percent. We aren't reminded of these facts because they threaten the defense industry, Wall Street and high-income taxpayers, respectively -- and those forces exert enormous influence over our political discourse, whether through media sponsorship, political campaign contributions or lobbying.

No matter the issue, this axiom is the same: When money has a vested interest in burying history, history is inevitably buried, ultimately leading us from Santayana and Berra's aphorisms to Albert Einstein's definition of "Insanity: doing the same things over and over again and somehow expecting different results."
(c) 2010 David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota. David is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee.

The Insanity Of Owning Everything
By James Donahue

Before the Europeans arrived on the American continents the inhabitants already occupying the land appear to have understood the concept of territory, but the ownership of the land did not make sense to them. They perceived the Earth, the Sun, the Moon, the water and all living creatures around them as gifts from the Creator. The Mother Earth provided for their every need. They hunted for only the meat, and cut trees and branches for only what they needed for food, shelter and tools, and took no more.

The Europeans came as invaders, taking the land, claiming possession of it, and then divided portions off for personal ownership. The concept of surveying, to legally establish boundaries for land ownership, must have bewildered the aboriginal people. The invaders seized the land, sometimes by treaty and sometimes by merely claiming it the property of a foreign power. They slowly drove the native people like cattle unto reservations of "government land" as if they were, themselves livestock.

Then there was the introduction of owned livestock. The settlers freely slaughtered the buffalo, the elk, the deer and the other creatures that were once hunted by the natives for their daily sustenance. Ironically the practice of hunting and killing wild game is considered a sport today. States require hunters to purchase a license that gives them the right to kill wild animals and fish.

The concept of ownership was something that most contemporary people have grown up to know and understand, and we accept it as part of the capitalist system that dominates our lives. We were sent to school as children to learn all of the skills necessary to get jobs when we became adults so we could earn the money we needed to buy the things we believed would make us happy.

The "American Dream" was to own a home, fill it with fine things, have a shiny car in the driveway, and be part of a family that lived in the home. If we hoped to own all of these things we were expected to work hard all of our lives, strive for advancement, and if we were clever enough, and perhaps lucky enough, we would achieve some degree of wealth so we could climb in social status. The more things we owned and the more money we gathered measured our success in life.

This capitalistic system never really worked as well as the people were led to believe. The problem has always been greed and corruption among those few clever folks who found ways to amass more wealth than the others, and then use it to manipulate and control those workers below them. They became the corporate owners, the bosses for whom the mass of laborers worked. And because of greed, those corporate owners, or shareholders, forced workers to hard labor for long hours without paying them enough to give them the life style they also sought.

The workers rebelled, and after long, hard-fought and sometimes bloody battles in the streets, won the right to form unions. The unions became a collective force, representing the workers, and for a while, won better working conditions, eight-hour work days, better wages, health insurance benefits, paid vacation time, paid sick time, and other benefits that improved life for just about everybody that had a job. For a few years, right after World War II, there was a better distribution of the wealth and many Americans actually lived the American Dream.

But something sinister has happened. It has been a long slow process, but the Republicans, beginning with President Ronald Reagan's "voodoo economic" policies, have succeeded in breaking the backs of the unions, allowing American manufacturing plants to move overseas to take advantage of low cost and non-union labor and ship their products to big American department store chains without paying embargo costs. The capitalistic system that we thought we liked has been spoiled once again by those clever greedy power brokers that once more are in control of the wealth.

The passage of the Financial Services Modernization Act in 1999 during the Clinton Administration amounted to a recall of the Glass-Steagall Act. This allowed the big banks and lending institutions to gamble with the people's money and set the stage for a financial collapse that some say eclipses The Great Depression. Millions are out of work, the price of property has fallen, and the power and big money has moved back into the hands of a very few.

In recent months we have been seeing something new occurring that boggles the mind. Instead of seeing a stabilization of prices and a renovation of jobs in America, just the opposite has happened. Investors have discovered that they can use hedge funds, or a coalition of wealthy investors, to buy agricultural commodities and force the price of food through the roof. They began with cocoa and now we are seeing the price of wheat, soybeans, rice and corn get so high it is seriously affecting the price of food in our grocery stores.

Farmers not only in America but around the world have been overwhelmed by the introduction of genetically developed seeds, legally owned by big corporations like Monsanto. This company is using the power of its wealth and a bank of lawyers to force farmers to buy its product and to pay for pollinated crops grown in nearby fields. The latest example of greed and insanity has been the creation of RightHaven, a "patent troll" by Steve Gibson of Las Vegas. This guy is now buying the copyrights of newspaper content, then scanning the Internet for blog and websites that post the content of the stories or even link to the newspaper story on line. It is a blatant misuse of the copyright laws to extort money from Internet bloggers that haven't the means to legally defend themselves.

We must wonder what new insanities are about to befall us? Who can imagine a corporation of wealthy men owning all of the food and all of the seeds? Who can imagine a greedy man in Los Vegas owning the content of a news story? This all makes about as much sense to us, I suppose, as owning land did to the Indians.

The big power figures have almost accomplished ownership of everything the Native Americans once believed was the Mother Earth's gift to all mankind. Many people are even forced to buy fresh water. About the only free thing left is the air and that is getting so polluted we may all be buying air purification systems or oxygen tanks in the near future.

How could we have allowed ourselves to fall into such a pit of insanity?
(c) 2010 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

The Corpo-Obama-Geithner-Petraeus State
By Barbara Ehrenreich

The government, as Alterman convincingly describes it, is not only expensive, "bloated" and all the rest. It has become a handmaid to corporate power-a hiring hall from which compliant officials are selected for vastly more lucrative private-sector jobs, as well as an emergency cash reserve for companies that fall on hard times. No wonder so many Americans unthinkingly conflate "big government" and "big corporations." This is not the kind of government that hires unemployed people to paint murals on post office walls. And, as everyone knows, when the bank decides to repossess your home, it's a public employee who will kick in the door.

All that should be enough to sour liberals' trust in government as a tool for progressive social change. But the situation is much worse than Alterman acknowledges. In the years since government-state and local as well as federal-has shed its role as a kindly change agent, it has assumed a new one as ber-cop: building more penitentiaries, snapping up stoners, harassing blacks and Latino-looking people on the streets. Nonviolent protests have dwindled, not only because of activists' lingering deference toward Obama but because the police response to any outdoor gathering so resembles the assault on Falluja.

Even the more helpful government programs have become agents of an increasingly repressive state. Food stamp offices, public housing complexes and homeless shelters are the sites of "warrant searches" used to gather up people who might have missed a court date concerning an unpaid debt. Public housing residents are subjected to drug tests; in many states, the process of applying for what remains of welfare (Temporary Assistance to Needy Families) parallels that of being booked by the police, complete with mug shots and fingerprints. Although you won't find them out campaigning against ICE raids and urban stop-and-frisk programs, some of the Tea Partyers seem to dimly understand this, with one handmade poster at last year's 9/12 demonstration in Washington saying, for example, GOVERNMENT HEALTH CARE = PEE IN A CUP.

And what is a liberal to make of the city of Maywood, California, which more or less disbanded itself in June, outsourcing all municipal functions-sounds like a liberal nightmare, right? Until you read that the now-defunct police department was found by the state in 2009 to be "permeated with sexual innuendo, harassment, vulgarity...and a lack of cultural, racial and ethnic sensitivity and respect.''

Alterman acknowledges the problem only tentatively, observing that "one might argue that this [Democratic] faith in government's ability to improve people's lives is misplaced." You betcha. The role of the left should not be to uphold or defend the government, meaning, for now, the corpo-Obama-Geithner-Petraeus state, but to change it, drastically and from the ground up. That may sound overly radical to Alterman, who seems to want "progressives who think of themselves as left of liberal" to abandon even that tiny distinction. But as the Tea Partyers keep reminding us in their nasty and demented ways, these are revolutionary times.
(c) 2009 Barbara Ehrenreich is the author of seventeen books, including the New York Times bestseller Nickel and Dimed. Her seventeenth book, Bright-Sided: How the Relentless Promotion of Positive Thinking Has Undermined America (Metropolitan Books), has just been published.

The Laureate And The Leaker
Swedish Warrant a Salvo in Team Obama's War on Wikileaks
By Chris Floyd

Here it comes: with the bizarre "rape-no rape" charges against Julian Assange, the War Machine's assault against Wikileaks has now begun in earnest.

These days, the powers-that-be don't go straight to the shiv in the back or the poison in the drink or the faked suicide or the tragic car accident on a dark road; no, today we are a bit more circumspect in taking down high-profile irritants of empire. The modern way is to begin the takedown with a smear campaign -- preferably some sort of ""moral turpitude" to sully their public image and discredit their entire cause.

And so on late Friday we had the announcement that Swedish authorities had issued an arrest warrant for Wikileaks founder Julian Assange on charges of rape and molestation. This was followed a few hours later -- after Wikileaks mounted a ferocious defense against the charges, and promised to carry on with its work regardless -- by a sudden decision to withdraw the warrant, with officials now saying the rape charge was unfounded -- although they said nothing about the lesser charge of molestation, leaving that vague but turpitudishly resonant charge hanging in the air for the moment.

This rigmarole is about as blatant a smear as can be imagined, coming as it does just after the Obama Administration has been caught out in an outright lie about Wikileaks attempts to redact its next release of classified war documents to ensure that no Afghans named in the papers will be put at risk. Not only has the Peace Laureate's minions been lying about Wikileaks' earnest efforts in the regard, but this deceit has been actively abetted by the New York Times, whose own reporter passed along Wikileaks' offer to the Pentagon -- then publicly dismissed the claim that Wikileaks had made the good-faith offer. (Glenn Greenwald has the story on this egregious -- if depressingly standard -- malefaction by the imperial servitors in the media.)

Wikileaks made the offer to ward off the criticism it received after the last release; i.e., that it had "blood on its hands" because Afghan insurgents would strike at any Afghans named in the documents as cooperating with the occupation forces. This "blood libel" was trumpeted all over the media by Obama officials -- while their own hands were absolutely pouring with the blood of innocent Afghans murdered at their command. The fact is, of course, that not a single case of such retribution has been reported; and the charge itself is based on the ludicrous assumption that the Taliban does not already know who is cooperating with the occupation forces. (In any case, many if not most Afghans cooperating with Americans do it quite openly, as part of the Afghan government, for example, or in liaising with military commanders in their region, or working for the occupation's vast base-building projects, distribution networks and reconstruction programs, etc.)

But this initial blood libel -- belched forth by such longtime butchers as Obama's favorite Bush Family factotum, Bob Gates -- did not really take hold. The revelations continued to pour forth from the 92,000 documents unveiled by Wikileaks last month -- such as this remarkable story by Pratap Chatterjee at TomDispatch, detailing the operations of the American death squad, Task Force 373, whose existence was revealed in the Wikileaks trove. These professional assassins are a key element of the Peace Laureate's strategy in Afghanistan -- and an example of a large-scale trend in the War Machine's ever-evolving "philosophy" of Terror War.

Indeed, many of the proponents of Obama's "surge" in assassination liken it -- favorably! -- to the murderous Phoenix Program in Vietnam directed by the CIA, which killed at least 20,000 people, by the Agency's own admission. (Other, more independent examinations put the the true death count of those slaughtered in these non-combat, "extrajudicial killings" at in the range of 40,000 to 70,000. For more on the Phoenix Program, and on Obama's grand "continuity" with imperial atrocities past, see here.) As Chatterjee notes:

President Obama has, by all accounts, expanded military intelligence gathering and "capture/kill" programs globally in tandem with an escalation of drone-strike operations by the CIA.

There are quite a few outspoken supporters of the "capture/kill" doctrine. Columbia University Professor Austin Long is one academic who has jumped on the F3EA bandwagon. Noting its similarity to the Phoenix assassination program, responsible for tens of thousands of deaths during the U.S. war in Vietnam (which he defends), he has called for a shrinking of the U.S. military "footprint" in Afghanistan to 13,000 Special Forces troops who would focus exclusively on counter-terrorism, particularly assassination operations. "Phoenix suggests that intelligence coordination and the integration of intelligence with an action arm can have a powerful effect on even extremely large and capable armed groups," he and his co-author William Rosenau wrote in a July 2009 Rand Institute monograph entitled" "The Phoenix Program and Contemporary Counterinsurgency."

Others are even more aggressively inclined. Lieutenant George Crawford, who retired from the position of "lead strategist" for the Special Forces Command to go work for Archimedes Global, Inc., a Washington consulting firm, has suggested that F3EA be replaced by one term: "Manhunting." In a monograph published by the Joint Special Operations University in September 2009, "Manhunting: Counter-Network Organization for Irregular Warfare," Crawford spells out "how to best address the responsibility to develop manhunting as a capability for American national security."

This then is where we are. We have the President of the United States -- who has already openly proclaimed his "right" to assassinate anyone on earth, including American citizens, without the slightest due process of law, simply at his arbitrary command -- now feverishly expanding the use of death squads, whose stealthy night raids on sleeping villages have already killed a vast number of innocent civilians in Afghanistan (as the Wikileaks documents show). This same administration is now running "black ops," secret armies, proxy wars and other covert activities in more than 75 countries around the world. That is to say, the Obama Administration is now murdering people in their beds, fomenting bloody ethnic conflict, supporting and/or carrying out acts of terrorism, spreading corruption, assisting dictators, arming warlords, spreading hate and suffering all over the world -- and doing it knowingly, proudly. ("Evil in broad daylight" indeed, as Arthur Silber details here.)

And these are the moral paragons who have now turned their machinery of lies and smears against Wikileaks. For make no mistake; although the rape charges were manufactured in Sweden -- which, incidentally, is where some of Wikileaks' servers are located -- they emanate from the proud deathlords in Washington. Indeed, didn't we hear just a few weeks ago that the Peace Laureate's people had launched a campaign of pressuring foreign governments to put fetters on Assange and his organization? Now Sweden's center-right government -- no, Rush, Sweden is no longer the super-socialist fairyland of your nightmares -- has obviously hearkened to the master's voice.

But although this first foray has been rebuffed, it is certain that what we are seeing is the beginning of a concerted effort to destroy Assange as a public figure and thereby discredit the work of Wikileaks -- and by extension, the truth of its revelations.

And smearing, of course, is just the first step. If that doesn't work ... well, the avowed and openly proclaimed proponents of assassination certainly have other, more "prejudicial" methods at their disposal, nicht war?


John Pilger, writing before this latest assault, speaks strongly about the need to defend and support Wikileaks' mission. Of course, no one has spoken more eloquently, insightfully and to the point on this issue than Arthur Silber, whose multi-part series on the manifold implications of Wikileaks' efforts is absolutely essential reading. (See also here and here.)

I'd like to take this chance to say that I now believe that my initial response to Wikileaks' Afghan Papers release (see here) was almost entirely wrong. I fell into the all-too-common trap of discussing the issue in the terms that power itself had set: i.e, how the revelations could be spun by the War Machine for its advantage, instead of standing back and seeing the larger picture of just what such an act of defiance -- unstoppable due to its invisible dissemination via the internet -- really meant. Yet Silber wisely pointed out a salient fact of our time: that our warlords will use anything and everything -- and nothing at all -- to advance their agenda. The substance of any given story doesn't matter to them: they will spin it into a reason to continue the Terror War and the agenda of domination. But this basic truth somehow escaped me.

I seized upon the very first stories in the mainstream press about the leaks, noting -- with righteous fury -- that they told us nothing we had not already heard before. I was writing literally within a couple of hours of the first look at a gargantuan storehouse of 92,000 documents -- yet I was certain that I knew just what the trove contained, and what it meant. I downplayed their significance, tossing off the "savvy" observation that these were "no Pentagon Papers." But scant hours after this confident proclamation, there was the man behind the Pentagon Papers himself, Daniel Ellsberg, making precisely that comparison.

With a hasty, thoughtless rush to judgment -- and with a focus far too fixed on the "media narrative," and on the need to get my uniformed opinion out there -- I did what I now feel was a great disservice to an event that was in fact a significant blow against the empire; a significance confirmed by the empire's panicked reaction to it.

It is easy to sit on the sidelines and pontificate. Over the years, I've spoken out as forthrightly as I know how, but I'm no activist, I haven't risked much; all it has cost me is a few journalism gigs. But the people at Wikileaks are putting their liberties -- and their lives -- on the line, to take practical action to try to bring some of the horrors of the Terror War to an end. It's not a question of romanticizing any one organization, or any one man, seeing them as paragons whose every action or statement is sacrosanct; nobody needs that, and it never accomplishes anything. It just gets in the way of the task at hand.

But when people are putting everything on the line to stand up against the ravages of power -- against war, against aggression, against assassination and atrocity -- then I want to stand with those people, and stand by those people. As the old gospel song says, "I want to be there in that number."
(c) 2010 Chris Floyd

In a Deteriorating Afghanistan, a New Breed of Terror
By Ted Rall

KABUL -- "In squads of roaring dirt bikes and armed to the teeth," Joshua Partlow reports in The Washington Post, "Taliban fighters are spreading like a brush fire into remote and defenseless villages across northern Afghanistan."

Two other cartoonists and I were a day away from heading to Faryab--a remote, rural, Uzbek-dominated province in the northwest known for its brutally entertaining matches of buzkashi--when Partlow's piece appeared. He described a phenomenon that deploys novel tactics out of a bizarre 1970s action flick.

It was years after the 2001 U.S. invasion before the Afghan national police began to take control of the country's major highways. Now there are government-run gun nests every few kilometers.

Insurgents have responded to government control of the highways by basing themselves in rugged villages far away from the freshly-paved asphalt. Riding Pamir motorcycles supplied by Pakistani intelligence--thus paid for by American taxpayers--Taliban bike gangs swoop across the desert, taking one village after another.

"They move constantly on unmarked dirt roads outside the cities to ambush Afghan police and soldiers and to kidnap residents. They execute those affiliated with the government and shut down reconstruction projects," wrote Partlow.

They now control every district in Faryab province, a vast region that borders Turkmenistan. But Afghan sources across the country say their reach is far broader. Talibikers control the center of the country in a north-south axis that begins with Faryab and Baghlis and runs all the way down to Helmand and Nimruz.

Their checkpoints and raids along the three main east-west traffic arteries have effectively bifurcated the country. Whether it's government officials, members of NGOs or the media, you have to fly if you want to get from Kabul to Herat or vice versa.

Partlow's article, and his personal feedback, prompted us to cancel our plan to travel to Herat via Faryab. We left Mazar-i-Sharif for Kabul. Now we're looking for a driver willing to take us via the Central Route to Herat: a scenic, bucolic, previously calm stretch of unpaved road that begins at Bamiyan, site of the ruined Buddha statues, and runs west via Ghor province. So far, no luck.

"I wouldn't take you there for $10,000," is a typical response. "Why do you want to die?" runs second.

The average Afghan earns $40 a month.

South of Mazar we noticed our driver nervously scanning the desert. Several recently charred trucks testified to the presence of the Taliban. "The Taliban," our driver said, "here they come on motorcycles."

I asked: Even during the day?

"Even during the day," he confirmed.

Like "Mad Max."

What's really worrisome is the behavior of these self-described Talibs. Like the Taliban regime that ran Afghanistan from 1996 to 2001, they enforce an extreme form of Sharia law. In village after village, they have been stoning people accused of adultery and shooting those accused of working for the Karzai puppet regime. But the similarity stops there.

The first-gen Taliban led by Mullah Omar practiced what they preached. They were scrupulously honest. Living ascetic lives, they didn't tolerate corruption or dishonesty among their own ranks.

The so-called neo-Taliban were the second generation: the madrassa kids, many of them orphans, who grew up in the refugee camps in Pakistan during the war. Less worldly and completely uneducated, this coarse bunch came to dominate the anti-U.S. resistance from 2003 to 2009.

Here comes Taliban Mark 3: the Taliban biker gangs from hell. They're still radical Islamists. But they're also gangsters, brazen thieves who have adopted the thuggish behavior of the warlord class during the so-called "mujahedeen nights" of the early 1990s.

These aren't your father's Taliban. They don't follow the rules: certainly not the Koran.

Like the "moojs," Talibikers set up checkpoints and ambush points to catch motorists. They're yanked out of their cars, robbed at gunpoint, and sent on their way--if the victims are lucky. Many have been shot to death.

"Taliban" and "bandit"--once mutually exclusive, even opposite terms--are now used interchangeably.

Everyone expects the Taliban to control most, if not all, of Afghanistan by next year. Whether it happens then or it takes longer the question is, which Taliban? As the U.S. presence wanes and influence of the Karzai regime fades even further, I foresee a clash, perhaps even a civil war, between the "real Taliban" (sales pitch: we're tough but honest) and these self-branded Talib-cum-robbers (motto: shut up and pay up).

In the meantime, this new breed of fanatically religious desperadoes goes to prove something Afghans have always known. As bad as things seem, they can always get worse.
(c) 2010 Ted Rall is the author of the upcoming "The Anti-American Manifesto," to be published in September by Seven Stories Press.

Now That's Rich
By Paul Krugman

We need to pinch pennies these days. Don't you know we have a budget deficit? For months that has been the word from Republicans and conservative Democrats, who have rejected every suggestion that we do more to avoid deep cuts in public services and help the ailing economy.

But these same politicians are eager to cut checks averaging $3 million each to the richest 120,000 people in the country.

What - you haven't heard about this proposal? Actually, you have: I'm talking about demands that we make all of the Bush tax cuts, not just those for the middle class, permanent.

Some background: Back in 2001, when the first set of Bush tax cuts was rammed through Congress, the legislation was written with a peculiar provision - namely, that the whole thing would expire, with tax rates reverting to 2000 levels, on the last day of 2010.

Why the cutoff date? In part, it was used to disguise the fiscal irresponsibility of the tax cuts: lopping off that last year reduced the headline cost of the cuts, because such costs are normally calculated over a 10-year period. It also allowed the Bush administration to pass the tax cuts using reconciliation - yes, the same procedure that Republicans denounced when it was used to enact health reform - while sidestepping rules designed to prevent the use of that procedure to increase long-run budget deficits.

Obviously, the idea was to go back at a later date and make those tax cuts permanent. But things didn't go according to plan. And now the witching hour is upon us.

So what's the choice now? The Obama administration wants to preserve those parts of the original tax cuts that mainly benefit the middle class - which is an expensive proposition in its own right - but to let those provisions benefiting only people with very high incomes expire on schedule. Republicans, with support from some conservative Democrats, want to keep the whole thing.

And there's a real chance that Republicans will get what they want. That's a demonstration, if anyone needed one, that our political culture has become not just dysfunctional but deeply corrupt.

What's at stake here? According to the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center, making all of the Bush tax cuts permanent, as opposed to following the Obama proposal, would cost the federal government $680 billion in revenue over the next 10 years. For the sake of comparison, it took months of hard negotiations to get Congressional approval for a mere $26 billion in desperately needed aid to state and local governments.

And where would this $680 billion go? Nearly all of it would go to the richest 1 percent of Americans, people with incomes of more than $500,000 a year. But that's the least of it: the policy center's estimates say that the majority of the tax cuts would go to the richest one-tenth of 1 percent. Take a group of 1,000 randomly selected Americans, and pick the one with the highest income; he's going to get the majority of that group's tax break. And the average tax break for those lucky few - the poorest members of the group have annual incomes of more than $2 million, and the average member makes more than $7 million a year - would be $3 million over the course of the next decade.

How can this kind of giveaway be justified at a time when politicians claim to care about budget deficits? Well, history is repeating itself. The original campaign for the Bush tax cuts relied on deception and dishonesty. In fact, my first suspicions that we were being misled into invading Iraq were based on the resemblance between the campaign for war and the campaign for tax cuts the previous year. And sure enough, that same trademark deception and dishonesty is being deployed on behalf of tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans.

So, for example, we're told that it's all about helping small business; but only a tiny fraction of small-business owners would receive any tax break at all. And how many small-business owners do you know making several million a year?

Or we're told that it's about helping the economy recover. But it's hard to think of a less cost-effective way to help the economy than giving money to people who already have plenty, and aren't likely to spend a windfall.

No, this has nothing to do with sound economic policy. Instead, as I said, it's about a dysfunctional and corrupt political culture, in which Congress won't take action to revive the economy, pleads poverty when it comes to protecting the jobs of schoolteachers and firefighters, but declares cost no object when it comes to sparing the already wealthy even the slightest financial inconvenience.

So far, the Obama administration is standing firm against this outrage. Let's hope that it prevails in its fight. Otherwise, it will be hard not to lose all faith in America's future.
(c) 2010 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"The direct use of force is such a poor solution to any problem, it is generally employed only by small children and large nations."
~~~ David Friedman

There Are No Heroes In Illegal And Immoral Wars
by Robert Jensen

When the 4th Stryker Brigade, 2nd Infantry Division rolled out of Iraq last week, the colonel commanding the brigade told a reporter that his soldiers were "leaving as heroes."

While we can understand the pride of professional soldiers and the emotion behind that statement, it's time for Americans -- military and civilian -- to face a difficult reality: In seven years of the deceptively named "Operation Iraqi Freedom" and nine years of "Operation Enduring Freedom" in Afghanistan, no member of the U.S. has been a hero.

This is not an attack on soldiers, sailors, and Marines. Military personnel may act heroically in specific situations, showing courage and compassion, but for them to be heroes in the truest sense they must be engaged in a legal and morally justifiable conflict. That is not the case with the U.S. invasions and occupations of Iraq or Afghanistan, and the social pressure on us to use the language of heroism -- or risk being labeled callous or traitors -- undermines our ability to evaluate the politics and ethics of wars in a historical framework.

The legal case is straightforward: Neither invasion had the necessary approval of the United Nations Security Council, and neither was a response to an imminent attack. In both cases, U.S. officials pretended to engage in diplomacy but demanded war. Under international law and the U.S. Constitution (Article 6 is clear that "all Treaties made," such as the UN Charter, are "the supreme Law of the Land"), both invasions were illegal.

The moral case is also clear: U.S. officials' claims that the invasions were necessary to protect us from terrorism or locate weapons of mass destruction were never plausible and have been exposed as lies. The world is a more dangerous place today than it was in 2001, when sensible changes in U.S. foreign policy and vigorous law enforcement in collaboration with other nations could have made us safer.

The people who bear the greatest legal and moral responsibility for these crimes are the politicians who send the military to war and the generals who plan the actions, and it may seem unfair to deny the front-line service personnel the label of "hero" when they did their duty as they understood it. But this talk of heroism is part of the way we avoid politics and deny the unpleasant fact that these are imperial wars. U.S. military forces are in the Middle East and Central Asia not to bring freedom but to extend and deepen U.S. power in a region home to the world's most important energy resources. The nation exercising control there increases its influence over the global economy, and despite all the U.S. propaganda, the world realizes we have tens of thousands of troops on the ground because of those oil and gas reserves.

Individuals can act with courage and compassion serving in imperial armies. There no doubt were soldiers among the British forces in colonial India who acted heroically, and Soviet soldiers stationed in Eastern Europe were capable of bravery. But they were serving in imperial armies engaged in indefensible attempts to dominate and control. They were fighting not for freedom but to advance the interests of elites in their home countries.

I recognize the complexity of the choices the men and women serving in our military face. I am aware that economic realities and the false promises of recruiters lure many of them into service. I am not judging or condemning them. Judgments and condemnations should be aimed at the powerful, who typically avoid their responsibility. For example, a journalist recently asked Ryan Crocker, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, to reflect on U.S. culpability for the current state of Iraqi politics. Crocker was reluctant to go there, and then refused even to consider the United States' moral responsibility: "You can ask the question, was the whole bloody thing a mistake?" he said. "I don't spend a lot of time on that."

It's not surprising U.S. policymakers don't want to reflect on the invasions, but the public must. Until we can tell the truth about U.S. foreign policy, and how the military is used to advance that policy in illegal and immoral ways, we will remain easy marks for the politicians and their propagandists.

Part of that propaganda campaign is suggesting that critics of the war don't support the troops, don't recognize their sacrifices, don't appreciate their heroism. We escape the propaganda by not playing that game, by telling the truth even when it is painful.
(c) 2010 Robert Jensen is a journalism professor at the University of Texas at Austin and board member of the Third Coast Activist Resource Center in Austin. He is the author of All My Bones Shake: Seeking a Progressive Path to the Prophetic Voice, (Soft Skull Press, 2009); Getting Off: Pornography and the End of Masculinity (South End Press, 2007); and other books. Jensen is also co-producer of the documentary film "Abe Osheroff: One Foot in the Grave, the Other Still Dancing," which chronicles the life and philosophy of the longtime radical activist. Information about the film, distributed by the Media Education Foundation, and an extended interview Jensen conducted with Osheroff are online at

The Tiger Woods Of Nations
By David Michael Green

We are the Tiger Woods of nations.

We've been very good at a couple of things for some time now. Things like commerce and belligerence. Or, best yet, commerce backed by belligerence. Things that involve a bit of testosterone.

For the better part of a century now, America has stood head and shoulders above its nearest competitors when it comes to the size of our military and the enormity of our economy.

We have also run (although generally far more poorly than our arrogance would allow most of us to recognize) an endless succession of wars over the past half-century, once again far more than has whatever country might be number two on the list. Think of it this way: We were at war for four years in Korea (and have had a huge number of soldiers there since, as well as in Japan and Germany), twenty years (depending on how you count) in Vietnam, nine years now in Afghanistan, eight years in Iraq, and throw in another couple for all the lesser affairs like, Panama, the first Iraq war, Somalia, the Balkans, Lebanon, Grenada, et cetera and et cetera. Even if we leave aside the constant military and covert interventions in Latin American and most of the rest of the world, nor the forty-five years of 'cold' war with the Soviets, by my count that leaves the US with roughly forty-three 'war-years' out of the last sixty-five since World War II (itself, of course, the granddaddy of them all).

In other words, this country has been at war for basically two of every three years since 1945. Ouch. Of course, there could be a plausible explanation for that. I'm sure that if you ask the likes of Charles Krauthammer or George Will, they would give you some nauseating line of dogma singing the praises of America, the indispensable power, the policeman to the world, the valiant protector of peace and freedom who steps up to the plate when all others cower and free-ride.

That may even have some truth to it when comes to Korea or the first Gulf War, though both of these are far more mixed cases than most Americans are aware. In any case, it is certainly a ludicrous proposition when it applied to the bulk of these wars, not least including our biggest disasters, Vietnam and Iraq (which were of course far bigger disasters for the folks living in those countries). In any case, add it all up and you get the inescapable reality of a country that loves war, its emphatic protestations to the contrary notwithstanding. Like the guy at the local bar who's always getting into fights, there may be a means by which to explain it away the first couple of times, but after awhile the truth is plain for all who will see it. Typically that will mean everyone but members of his own family. Likewise, most of the rest of the world sees who America is, even if we by and large cannot. Similarly, most other folks get that bravado and belligerence are ultimately signs of insecurity, not courage and confidence, even if we delude ourselves otherwise.

But that's been us, and - like Tiger Woods - we were pretty good at these exhibitions of brute strength for quite some time. And, also like Woods, we wrapped ourselves up in the clothes of the morally pious. America could never fancy itself as yet another great power, just like all the others, crassly seeking the promotion of its own commercial interests throughout the world, constantly willing to subjugate the interests and often the lives of people at home and especially abroad to satisfy that thirsty quest. Similarly, Woods was supposed to be the paragon of the great family man, upstanding and moral, clean and marketable - the perfect image of the wholesome America right out of the 1950s, even if the marketing guys privately lamented what a shame it was that he had to be half black (damn!).

The perfect image, as well, to sell a whole bunch of shit to people. Woods became little more than a marketing machine, a conglomerate of product-pushing, money-metastasizing, steroid-infused ka-ching ka-ching advertising for everything from expensive too-hip watches, to management consulting for fools, to all things Nike. This represents a third parallel between the golfer and the United States. Maybe once Woods was all about the art and prowess of golf. I'm at a bit of a loss as to why spectacular facility at knocking little white balls into faraway holes in the ground merits anywhere near the attention and rewards lavished upon it by our society, but hey, millions of weekend hacks out there love the game, so who am I to say what's worthy of our attention and what isn't? Moreover, you don't have to have a particular jones for golf to appreciate unparalleled skill at any particular endeavor, especially when it is the product of long hours and years of dedicated effort to master one's craft.

But Woods seems to have become far more the ubiquitous and hollow money machine of late than the dedicated duffer out on the links. Do you think he was some sort of expert on quality timepieces? Nah, me neither. But his face managed to move a whole boatload of Tag Heuers, I'm sure. Do you think he could spot an excellent business consulting firm as well as he could whack a drive off the tee? I sure doubt it. But I can hardly even remember a time when walking through an airport didn't mean seeing every other billboard there sporting a picture of Woods flacking for Accenture, an outfit which describes itself as "a global management consulting, technology services and outsourcing company ... Combining unparalleled experience, comprehensive capabilities across all industries and business functions, and extensive research on the world's most successful companies, Accenture collaborates with clients to help them become high-performance businesses and governments." Ick. Just reading that makes me feel like I need a bath. That smells a whole lot like the folks who help really rich people to get even richer, by turning first-world middle class SOBs into poor folk, and helping third-world governments keep the locals pacified while selling off the country to mansion-dwellers thousands of miles away, in London or New York.

In any case, doesn't this just seem like America's story as well? Once, we made stuff. Now, a massive chunk of our economy consists of nothing more than trading shares in things - or worse, lately, bizarre and incomprehensible schemes involving shares in things - an endeavor which creates nothing, which adds little if anything to our national wealth and quality of life on a good day, and which destroys people's lives and standard of living on bad days (like all the ones we've been having for two solid years now). William Blake said, "When nations grow old, the arts grow cold and commerce settles on every tree". How true of America. We seem to have scarce ambition and less ability at realizing what little ambition we do have these days. Whatever national spirit there once was has turned narrow, ugly and self-aggrandizing today, to the extent that presidents don't even dare call on us to do anything as a people anymore, even after a cathartic event like 9/11.

Raising taxes in absolutely unthinkable, even for Democrats. Compulsory national service might as well be a project from the Crusades era, as proximate as it is to contemporary consciousness (not that we've figured out how to jam a nation of fried chicken inhaling and soda pop swimming grossly obese kids into uniforms, anyhow). Even the slightest notion of sacrifice denting our bloated consumerist 'standard of living' (which bears an uncomfortably strong resemblance to what you might get if you sat down and tried to design a standard of dying) cannot be considered, even for the purpose of mitigating the effects of the global warming crisis.

Unless, of course, it can be profitized. Ya wanna know when we'll really get serious about global warming? When some Wall Street weenie figures out a way to license to your government a carbon reduction gizmo, funded at taxpayer (that is, your) expense. That's when. Meanwhile, I guess people are just waiting for a proper crisis before they'll be willing to get up off their sofas and sacrifice even the slightest creature comfort. You know, a challenge far more dire than just the wrecking of the entire planet. (Which also just happens to be the only one we've got, by the way.) After all, it's only the lives of our kids and grandkids that are at stake...

This country has raised the killing off of golden egg laying geese to a high art form. Once we were the economic powerhouse of the world. But then the rich figured out that they could become super-rich if they had their taxes slashed, if they exported work performed by expensive American middle class workers to Thailand, China and India, and if they smashed organized labor. So they went out and bought themselves some Republican politicians like Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush to do the job, and when that wasn't enough they bought themselves some Democrats too, like Bill Clinton and Barack Obama. Then they bought off a stupid and greedy and frightened public as well, with bitty (and faux) tax cuts for the middle class, feel-good (until they didn't) wars against hapless brown people ten thousand miles away, and a whole out-group's worth of beat-up queers here at home.

Meanwhile, with the combination of massive tax cuts for the wealthy, a complete pig-out on government funds by special interests, military spending beyond the imagination of Curtis LeMay's angry kid brother, and huge new spending programs designed to benefit corporate bank accounts, the predictable thing has happened: We are broke and rapidly approaching a fiscal nightmare status that would qualify us for an IMF rejection letter. Accordingly, we have a physical infrastructure that is crumbling from neglect, a public political acumen of similar stature (a poll this week shows that two-thirds of Americans don't know what religion Barack Obama practices, and one-fifth believe he is a Muslim), and a set of national priorities that explain both. Today we're being told that we have to cut Medicare and Social Security spending, though there seems to be no limit to what we can drop on building the biggest killing machine that has ever existed on the planet. As we speak right now, schools - which we decades ago started funding with state-run lotteries (and if that doesn't say everything about our national character, I don't know what could) - have gone from slashing spending on music and arts to now literally just shutting down for part of the week. And when I say literally, I mean literally. Hawaii has just adopted "Furlough Fridays" as the centerpiece of its curriculum. Welcome back to the nineteenth century, folks. Maybe we can even do it better this time, since we had once before to practice. On the other hand, given the political spirit of our time, we'd be more likely to actually do it worse.

What a surprise it must be, then, to find that this country has slipped in ranked percentage of college graduates, from first in the world to twelfth, all in the space of one generation. Which is, coincidentally, the same amount of time that the US has been under the rule of regressive politicians and their radically destructive policies. Forty percent of young Americans have some sort of college degree today, as opposed to fifty-six percent in Russia, for example, meaning that we could all be forgiven for wondering who really won the Cold War. It goes on and on from there. Everything about this country fairly screams out "Decline!!"

And that collapse has been precipitous as well, which is the final respect with which we resemble the Tiger Woods saga. One minute you're ruling the planet, and the next minute some tawdry car crash scene in your neighborhood begins a process of unraveling your elaborately-crafted facade, revealing the lies beneath. One day you're unstoppable, and the next you're knocking over trees and fire hydrants with your Cadillac SUV, while every bimbo pop-tart from here to Kamchatka is claiming to be your mistress, and has phone message tapes to prove it. Your lawyers in Britain are going to court seeking an injunction to block publication of any sexually-themed photos of you (or even public discussion of what the injunction is about), while at the same time you're claiming not to know that any such photos exist. Your sponsors make clear that - all of yesterday's happy bearhugs and lovely yacht cruises notwithstanding - that they were only ever in it for the money. And since you're not money anymore, they are trampling each other in a stampede for the exit door. By the time it's all over, you can't even sink a two-foot putt anymore.

So it is with America. In 1945 this country was literally half of global combined GDP. Today we just create global recessions. Yesterday we had the biggest surpluses in our history. Now we are creating staggering sums of debt. We used to arrogantly control governments and peoples across the world, not least in 'our backyard' of Latin America. Now they blow us off at every opportunity to do deals with China, which has just topped Japan as the second largest economy in the world, and is rising with a bullet, likely to beat the US a mere twenty years from now. Yesterday we held moral standing in the world as a (flawed yet still appealing) beacon for democracy and human rights. Today we're the folks who do Abu Ghraib, Guantnamo, renditioning, torture and anti-gay marriage ballot initiatives.

Our national fire hydrant moment, of course, was the Bush administration. It was conceived in the shameful stain of a judicial coup, performed by the highest court in the land. But that only turned out to be the high point of the affair. It all went downhill from there, as the Cheneybots wrecked everything of decency they could get their hands on, which ultimately came to include our national reputation. Massive debt, botched wars based on lies, drowned cities, total unpreparedness (at best) for a massive terrorist attack, torture, treaty shredding, civil liberties trampling, and the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression - hey, what's not to like about all that?

But, of course, our problems are a lot deeper still, remarkable as it is to imagine that eight years of Bush and Cheney are not even the worst thing that can happen to a once-great country. In many ways, the obamanation currently in the White House represents a greater depth of crisis for the national soul. Not just because the guy is so inept, and so completely ill-suited to his historical moment. And not just because his policies are so similar to George W. Bush's, right down the line. But, ultimately, because Obama and his party of whores represent a complete betrayal of the prospect for transcending our own national nightmare of self-inflicted stupidity. When the guy who runs on "hope" and "change" and "help is on the way" turns out to be absolutely just more of the same, where do you go next?

I don't know the answer to that question, but I know in my gut it ain't pretty. If you're not picking up an uncomfortably familiar whiff of Weimar Germany in America right now, you must have snorted way too much coke back in your wild youth and blasted out your olfactory senses. Obama's greatest crimes involve the destruction of viable solutions at a time of national crisis, and the betrayal of what remained of a well-intentioned national spirit when he came to office. It is, in many ways, the worst imaginable scenario - worse even than another four years of the Bush administration would have been. He has succeeded in discrediting progressive policy solutions by implementing regressive ones and allowing himself to be labeled as a liberal and a socialist, effectively defaming those ideologies. He has not only allowed, but in fact abetted the revival of the near-dead Republican Party and its policies of national annihilation. He has promised Americans a better country and a break from the destruction of the prior decade while delivering neither. He has mobilized a whole huge sector of the public - including, especially, hordes of young people - in Kennedyesque fashion, to believe in the power of renewal and the rejuvenation of the democratic process, only to deliver the comatose Eisenhower administration of gray business suits and diminished expectations, instead.

And so here we find ourselves, a country of the politically shallow, offered two choices in the voting booth: the downright satanic versus the ber-craven - both of whom ultimately play for the same owners anyhow. And we find ourselves with a total lack of serious solutions to be seen anywhere across the landscape of viable politics, despite the fact that they are so plain and so obvious. Like some sort of desperate death junkies, hopelessly addicted to regressive politics, every time a fresh hit propels us into the inevitable intoxication-driven disaster, we go looking for yet another to help us hide from the results of the last one. And it's only getting worse, as the Republican Party seemingly seeks to test just how far to the radical and destructive right American politics can go before imploding altogether, and the Democrats hang their sorry heads and waddle along behind, too weak and too bought to even consider pulling the other way, let alone throwing a punch at the bullying thieves from the Pre-Cambrian Era.

It's so especially disconcerting because our problems are so frequently of our own making, which means the solutions are so transparently obvious, and yet we seem to be quite obsessed as a society these last three decades with making the wrong choice at every possible juncture. Here we go again, about to turn the government back over to the control of the very same monsters who just got done a mere eighteen months ago driving it into a wall at 180 miles per hour. Are Americans really so stupid (don't answer, please) that they can't see what that means for the next two years? As crises pile high, absolutely nothing will get done in Washington other than endless congressional investigations of faux Obama administration scandals, one after the other. An already embarrassingly cowardly administration will invent new and shameful ways to tie itself into knots of inertia, constantly trying to play defense against every tawdry new allegation coming from the likes of Orly Taitz or Sharon Angle. What Vince Foster was to the decade of the 1990s, Barack's birth certificate will be to this one. They'll have this guy raping white women before they're done with him, mark my words. And as the gravity of our multiple crises rises precipitously, the pettiness of our national politics will dive to new lows in inverse proportion. The decadence of American politics circa 2010 will come to seem like the golden age by comparison.

Whatever else there is to be noted about this country here and now, history will surely soon apply to us that most withering of condemnations: We are not a serious people.

That would be just fine, thank you very much, if this were a game of golf - even a Master's tournament round. But it's not. People's lives are at stake. Millions of them. And more. Even great ideas like democracy and respect for human rights may be seriously jeopardized if the America we once knew - with all its flaws in these domains - is reduced to a regressive cesspool of unbridled greed, global aggression and the endless debasement from cheap daily politics as practiced by moral midgets. For all of this country's many great and growing flaws, I don't want to live in a world where the political system and human rights regime are based on a model under the leadership of an ascendant China, let alone the House of Saud or the Taliban.

More is at stake here than just (just!) the implosion of life opportunities for one or two generations of people living in one country who represent five percent of the world's population, and who arguably deserve to fully own the product of their own stupidity. If the lights go out on the ideas of democracy and human rights in the country that was in many ways their leading exponent in the world for two centuries now - and especially if this happens in the context of a rising authoritarian China and/or a revival of violent religious fundamentalisms - it is not too much to worry about another dark age descending upon the world for a thousand years, covering it like a suffocating wet blanket. As if the whole planet were being waterboarded. That's a very heavy price to pay for satisfying Newt Gingrich's personal insecurities, feeding Sarah Palin's lust for cash, or ameliorating Glenn Beck's dry drunkard demons. I mean, there's only about seven billion of us or so getting the sharp end of that stick.

On the other hand, maybe we'll be fortunate enough to be put out of our misery first, stomping ourselves to death with our own massive carbon footprint.

Either way, all will not be lost.

We'll still have gotten our $237 tax cuts.
(c) 2010 David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website,

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Richter O'Scannlain,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights especially the 4th amendment ruling that only rich people have 4th amendment rights, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Judicial 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 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 09-05-2010. We salute you Herr O'Scannlain, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Charges Against Julian Assange Withdrawn, Unfounded
By Glenn Greenwald

Every major media outlet blared overnight headlines that Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks, had been criminally charged with rape and molestation in Sweden and arrested in abstentia. This morning, however, we find this:

Sweden Rescinds Warrant for WikiLeaks Founder

STOCKHOLM (AP) -- Swedish prosecutors have withdrawn an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying the rape suspicions against him are unfounded.

In a brief statement Saturday, chief prosecutor Eva Finne says: ''I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape.''

An NBC News report states:

Swedish prosecutors on Saturday withdrew an arrest warrant for WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying a rape allegation it was based on is unfounded.

The accusation was labeled a dirty trick by Julian Assange and his group, who are preparing to release a fresh batch of classified U.S. documents from the Afghan war.

Swedish prosecutors had urged Assange -- a nomadic 39-year-old Australian whose whereabouts were unclear -- to turn himself in to police to face questioning in one case involving suspicions of rape and another based on an accusation of molestation.

"I don't think there is reason to suspect that he has committed rape," chief prosecutor Eva Finne said, in announcing the withdrawal of the warrant. . . Karin Rosander, a spokeswoman for the Swedish Prosecution Authority, told NBC News that the allegation of molestation remains. However, Rosander said that after a new prosecutor looked at the allegations, the arrest warrant was withdrawn because the severity of the case does not require an arrest at this stage.

There are a lot of lessons here, most of them obvious. In 2003, the ex-Marine and U.N. weapons inspector Scott Ritter -- who had become one of the most persuasive opponents of the attack on Iraq, repeatedly and presciently insisting that there was no evidence of WMD -- was the subject of a media smear campaign, accusing him of having engaged in criminal sex acts with adolescents. That led to commentary like this from the nation's sleaziest bottom-feeders:

A THEORY [Jonah Goldberg]

Maybe this has already been discussed. But it seems to me this Scott Ritter kiddie-sex bust might explain Ritter's sudden and inexplicable 180 on Iraq. Maybe they set him up in a sting? That sort of thing was standard op for the KGB. Just a thought.

an accusation is not proof of guilt. And the Swedish authorities who validated these charges and trumpeted them to the world -- only for them to be withdrawn less than 12 hours later -- ought to be investigated.

UPDATE: Speaking of unfounded smears, compare this, from Reuters, July 30

. . . . "Mr. Assange can say whatever he likes about the greater good he thinks he and his source are doing," [Adm. Mike] Mullen said. "But the truth is they might already have on their hands the blood of some young soldier or that of an Afghan family."

/blockquote> . . . . to this, from The Washington Post, August 11:

"We have yet to see any harm come to anyone in Afghanistan that we can directly tie to exposure in the WikiLeaks documents," [Pentagon spokesman Geoff] Morrell said.

And, for good meausre, add in this to the "blood on their hands" smear, from The New York Times, August 14

There is a "fair chance" that a NATO jet inadvertently killed five Afghan civilians during a shootout with Taliban fighters in a village in southern Afghanistan earlier this week, an American official said Saturday.

And from The Los Angeles Times, today:

Three Afghan policemen were killed in an apparently errant coalition airstrike in Jowzjan province, in Afghanistan's north, NATO's International Security Assistance Force said. In Farah province, in western Afghanistan, a woman and two children were killed in an airstrike that was aimed at insurgents, it said, and expressed regret over the civilian deaths.

On an unrelated note, the claim that Scott Ritter's legal troubles in 2010 somehow contradict anything I wrote here is false; see this description of events from 2003 to understand why that was a smear campaign; see also: my comment here.
(c) 2010 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy.

Separation Of Church And Hate
The Kate Mosque Solution
By Greg Palast

Since everyone seems to have an opinion about the mosque near Ground Zero (and President Obama has two), I'd like to ask you all a couple of questions:

Given that white Christian supremacist Tim McVeigh bombed the Oklahoma City Federal Building, shouldn't we ban white churches from Oklahoma?

As New York City's indigenous Lanape Natives died at Ground Zero by the thousands when overrun by Christian colonists, shouldn't we ban Christian churches from their sacred ground?

If a mosque near Ground Zero is bad, then why not ban all Muslims from downtown New York? For this to work, should we require all Muslims in the city to wear yellow crescents?

My office was in the WTC towers, which will now be rebuilt with all the upscale shops I remember. So, Mrs. Palin, are you saying it's OK for Muslims to shop at Ground Zero as long as they don't pray there?

The new tower will have the old one's Off-Track Betting windows and bars with after-work "happy hours." So here's a solution to make everyone happy: Why not camouflage the mosque as a place to gamble and get into your secretary's panties?

How about disguising it as a discount fashion shop: Kate Mosque? Or as a Disney retail outlet: Mickey Mosque?

Jamie Kilstein has suggested to me that we ban Burger Kings from Ground Zero in honor of the victims of heart disease. But Jamie, the BKs are memorials to remind us that in the eyes of God, all of us - no matter what religion - are just hamburger meat.

"O. Bin Laden" signed Glenn Beck's petition to ban mosques from Ground Zero. Al Qaeda sure as hell doesn't want Muslims and Christians worshipping in amicable proximity.

Several new Christian churches have been welcomed near Ground Zero ... in Hiroshima.

Am I being too kum-ba-yah by suggesting some of the money raised for the mosque go to building a synagogue in Saudi Arabia, rebuilding the Latin Church in Gaza burnt by Hamas kooks, rebuilding the Babri Masjid mosque burnt down by Hindi fascists, rebuild the Hindi temples destroyed by Sinhalese Buddhists, and for Christ's sake, build a bridge, not a wall, to share, not divide, Al-Aksa and the Dome of the Rock?

WWTJD? (What Would Thomas Jefferson Do?)

My own view? I don't want a mosque near Ground Zero; I want it right on top of Ground Zero, in the new tower, so when we go down again, we all go together.


Journalist Greg Palast was raised by Gil and Gladys Palast, two terror babies.

Collect the full set of Palast heresies at

Post your offended responses on my Facebook page

And one last question:

Why is the Right Wing so upset the President is a Black Muslim foreigner?

After all, the last bunch of Presidents, white Christians all, screwed things up so badly, why not try something different?
(c) 2010 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, "The Best Democracy Money Can Buy." His investigations for BBC TV and Democracy Now! can be seen by subscribing to Palast's reports at. Greg Palast investigated the Exxon Valdez disaster for the Chucagh Native villages of Alaska's Prince William Sound.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Nate Beeler ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Lucky Man
Emerson, Lake & Palmer

He had white Horses
And ladies by the score
All dressed in satin
And waiting by the door

Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was

White lace and feathers
They made up his bed
A gold covered mattress
On which he was laid

Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was

He went to fight wars
For his country and his king
Of his honor and his glory
The people would sing

Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was

A bullet had found him
His blood ran as he cried
No money could save him
So he laid down and he died

Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
Ooooh, what a lucky man he was
(c) 1970/2010 Emerson, Lake

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

A ranger attempts to neutralize a nearby Corbin Bernsen.

Hollywood Rangers To Manage Overpopulation Problem By Killing Off 1,200 Celebrities

HOLLYWOOD, CA-Calling current population levels "wildly unsustainable," rangers from the Federal Bureau of Celebrity Conservation announced this week their plan to eliminate some 1,200 celebrities from the Hollywood region.

While FBCC sources said the number of indigenous celebrities in the region has been increasing steadily since the 1950s, rangers said the past decade in particular has seen an alarming spike in the population due to the rampant spawning of celebrities via the Internet and reality television, leaving the agency no recourse but targeted exterminations.

"Despite our best efforts, Hollywood star levels have been pushed far beyond what is manageable," Head Ranger Art McWane told reporters at a Monday press conference. "Every day we see more and more of them cropping up, and our safest option at this point is a drastic policy aimed at culling their numbers."

"Population control is the only humane course of action," McWane added. "If we don't intervene now, we will soon be completely overrun by celebrities."

Crossbows and small assault weapons have also been approved for use by licensed celebrity hunters.

Under the terms of the program, a corps of rangers is patrolling a 30-mile radius centered on the Sunset Strip and has begun to find and eliminate celebrities. At press time, some 20 stars, including Paul Sorvino, Billy Crudup, American Idol winner David Cook, and Khlo Karadashian had been killed and placed in special disposal bins for incineration.

Rangers said they have attempted nonlethal methods of population containment in the past, but that their efforts met with little success.

"Unfortunately, the sterilization programs of a generation ago failed to prevent Miley Cyrus, Jaden Smith, and countless other second-generation stars, so we're left with no choice now," McWane said. "But rest assured, population-thinning will be quick and efficient, while primarily targeting the sick, elderly, and C-list."

McWane then ended the press conference by fatally shooting actor Beau Bridges with a .44 hunting rifle.

To assist the overburdened federal officials, Los Angeles County has begun offering permits that will allow city residents using registered weapons to kill any current SAG or AFTRA member, with a limit of 1,000 pounds of celebrity per license. However, special restrictions on the use of automatic weapons, as well as hunting in rehab facilities, will continue to apply under the rules of the Fair Chase code.

Many Hollywood locals have called the move long overdue.

"The way things have been, even an A-lister can wait 45 minutes for a table," said Tracey Spillane, manager of Spago Beverly Hills. "And from the table chatter we overhear, there just aren't enough projects in the pipeline for the glut of celebrities that exist right now. Believe me, this is a much more compassionate approach than leaving Anson Williams to root in the Dumpster for scraps."

Ranger Paul Cummings agreed, saying few of today's celebrities have any skills other than their notoriety and, left to their own devices, will often continue to breed in a desperate, last-ditch bid to live vicariously through the fame of offspring. Cummings called the federal action an attempt to succeed at managing the population where Hollywood's countless talent agencies and PR firms have failed.

Many hunters, including Willard Byrne of Lynwood, are excited about the opportunity to bag some prize specimens.

"There's nothing I enjoy more than a good hunt, so this is a dream come true for me," Byrne said while caping and field-dressing MAD TV's Aries Spears at the corner of La Cienega and Wilshire Boulevards. "What better way to teach my son about the cycle of life than to camp out on Sunset and pick off the cast of Grey's Anatomy one by one?"

Whether the program is useful in finally bringing the star population under control remains to be seen. In the meantime, Hollywood rangers are confident that their plan to reintroduce Charles Manson to the area this fall will help maintain the natural order for the foreseeable future.
(c) 2010 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 10 # 35 (c) 08/27/2010

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