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In This Edition

Chalmers Johnson explores our greatest shame in Iraq, "Looking Back At Five Years Of Bush's Wreckage In Iraq."

Uri Avnery shines, "The Devil's Hoof."

Victoria Stewart remembers, August 26.

Jim Hightower totals, "The Price Of Imported Shrimp."

Mel Bartholomew covers, "Dogs And Cats."

Jessica Hunt on, "Nanosolar's Breakthrough - Solar Now Cheaper Than Coal."

Cynthia McKinney with, "Remarks."

Chris Floyd recalls, "Past Imperfect."

Cindy Sheehan is, "Bugged In Denver."

Mike Folkerth exclaims, "Conform; Or Else!"

Captain Eric May and friends return with a, "Mid-Summer Alert Update."

Ted Rall reviews, "13 Days In August."

Interior Secretary Dirk Kempthorne wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald watches treason unfold as, "AT&T Thanks The Blue Dog Democrats With A Lavish Party."

Chris Hedges reports, "Pouring Gas On The Afghanistan Bonfire."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department 'The Landover Baptist Church' with a, "WARNING: Satan Is Using Olympics Volleyball To Get Young Boys To Masturbate!" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "And The Truth Is, There Is Something Terribly Wrong With This Country."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Etta Hulme with additional cartoons and photos from Married To The Sea, MoPaul, Dees Illustraion.Com, J. LaFrangau, Nano Solar, R.J. Matson, Buck Fush.Com, The Landover Baptist Church, Silver Pictures, Issues & Alibis and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

"And The Truth Is, There Is Something Terribly Wrong With This Country."*
By Ernest Stewart

"Ask the cop on the corner;
Ask the cop in the store;
Ask the cop on the rooftop;
Ask the cop in the woodpile;
Ask the cop that's knock, knock, knockin' at your back door. (Knock knock)..."
How Can You Be In Two Places At Once When You're Not Anywhere At All? ~~~ Firesign Theatre

"Whereas nothing in this resolution shall be construed as an authorization of the use of force against Iran." ~~~ H. Con. Res. 362

Knockin' on your door
Will you let it come
Will you let it run your life?"
1984 ~~~ Spirit

Ze papers, show me ze papers! A line from every bad WWII movie that you've ever seen and, with the coming of Bush and "Fatherland Insecurity," a common everyday occurrence in the these here United Snakes. Zeus help you if you don't have a National ID Card or Passport on your person! Now, add to that "Put ze iPod down and stand away from it. PUT IT DOWN NOW!" This is becoming a common scene at the border for American tourists coming back to the country from such exotic and dangerous locales as Mexico and Canada!

"Federal agents may take a traveler's laptop computer or other electronic device to an off-site location for an unspecified period of time without any suspicion of wrongdoing, as part of border search policies" the Department of Homeland Security recently disclosed!

Also, officials may share copies of the laptop's contents with other agencies and private entities for language translation, data decryption or other reasons, according to the policies, dated July 16 and issued by two DHS agencies, U.S. Customs and Border Protection and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

"The policies are truly alarming," said Sen. Russell Feingold (D-Wis.), who is probing the government's border search practices. He said he intends to introduce legislation soon that would require reasonable suspicion for border searches, as well as prohibit profiling on race, religion or national origin. However searches because of sex, politics or expensive equipment the agent always wanted would be allowed, one can only assume.

DHS officials said the newly disclosed policies, which apply to anyone entering the country, including U.S. citizens, are reasonable and necessary to prevent terrorism. Officials also said such procedures have long been in place but were only disclosed last month because of public interest in the matter.

An increasing number of international travelers have reported for months that their laptops, cell phones and other digital devices had been taken and their contents examined.

The policies state that officers may "detain laptops or other devices for a reasonable period of time to review and analyze information." (download all your hot porn.) This may take place "absent individualized suspicion."(If they don't like your hair cut or your t-shirt says something critical of Bush)

The policies cover "any device capable of storing information in digital or analog form, including hard drives, flash drives, cellphones, iPods, pagers, beepers, and video and audio tapes." They also cover "all papers and other written documentation, including books, pamphlets and "written materials commonly referred to as 'pocket trash' or 'pocket litter.'"

My only question is, if you were lucky enough to get out of the country to begin with, why would you come back in?

In Other News

Are you wondering how were going to go to war with Iran even though to do so would be in violations of many laws and treaties to which this U.S. is signatory? You may recall how the Demoncrats swore that Iraq would never happen again after the Junta lied and lied and lied and lied us into the Iraq quagmire and how during the run up to the last election they swore that they'd impeach Smirky on January 20, 2007 if given the power? Ya'll recall?

So would you be surprised to learn that those loveable anti-war knuckleheads are giving Bush just the thing he needs to start WWIII? I'm not surprised in the least. In fact, I expected it as there really is no difference between the two parties. A case in point is H. Con. Res. 362, introduced by Representative Gary Ackerman, you guessed it, a Demoncrat from New York, and co-sponsored, so far, by 261 members of Congress, many of whom are Democrats. This bipartisan resolution of treason is just what Bush has wanted as an excuse to blockade Iran.

It begins by asserting as fact that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and intimates that it would share its nuclear material and technology with terrorists and "rogue states." The reality is that as of the end of July 2008, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had conducted over 3,000 man-days of scrupulous inspections, including nine visits that were unannounced.

In a report to the IAEA Board of Governors dated May 26, 2008, Dr. Mohamed ElBaradei said, "The Agency has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear materials in Iran. Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and has provided the required nuclear material accountancy reports in connection with declared nuclear material and activities." The National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) corroborates the IAEA's findings. "We judge with high confidence that in fall 2003, Tehran halted its nuclear weapons program.... We assess with moderate confidence Tehran has not restarted its nuclear weapons program as of mid-2007"

Ergo credible evidence exists to refute H. Con. Res. 362's claim that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons and engaged in "illicit nuclear activities," the premise upon which this resolution builds its argument for sanctions and a blockade. Since the members of Congress already know that this is BS, H. Con. Res. 362 raises many questions about their intent and motivation in sponsoring a resolution that fabricates a "threat" posed to stability in the Middle East and, more importantly, to the survival of Israel by Iran.

Then it demands that Iran "verifiably suspend its nuclear enrichment activities." Which ignores the critical legal distinction between enriching uranium for weapons production and enriching uranium for peaceful purposes which is Iran's sovereign right under Article IV of the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty of which it is a signatory!

Finally, H. Con. Res. 362 demands that Bush immediately impose "stringent inspection requirements on all persons, vehicles, ships, planes, trains, and cargo entering or departing Iran." Such a land, sea and air blockade, with no mention of seeking a Security Council Resolution, is more than mere provocation; it constitutes An Act Of War. In fact, the International Criminal Court will include blockade in its list of acts of war in 2009. Which means if Russian or Chinese ships refuse to be boarded and we attack one we will have in a matter of moments WWIII! So much for ending the wars, Demoncrats. You, like your Rethuglican allies and your Corpo-rat masters, won't be happy until six billion of us go bye-bye, leaving the elite and their few million slaves! Remember that America was based upon the Roman Empire. In the city of Rome there were 1 million citizens and 3 million slaves! We're almost there, America! If you survive, which one do you think you'll be?

And Finally

Thank Zeus; it's the convention season at last. This, of course, means that we're only two months away from the end of this cycle of political campaigns, mind numbing lies and minutia and we get a 3 month respite until the next cycle for the 2010 election begins!

The Demoncratic convention got off to a good start when the DNC tried to bug Cindy Sheehan's Denver hotel room and got caught at it. See Cindy's article in this week's Issues & Alibis. The Denver police, being the good little Jack Booted thugs that they are, were soon busting heads of little old ladies and other peaceful protesters like I warned about last week. The 1st amendment doesn't apply in the Mile High city unless you do it behind barbed wire where the cops can't get at you.

Inside the "Pepsi Center" everything was love and brotherhood as Hilary gave a tongue-in-cheek speech about unity while planning her run against McCain in the 2012 election while outside in the streets the real liberal Demoncrats of "P.U.M.A." or "Party Unity My Ass" begged to differ with the corpo-rat controlled DNC. Speaking of which, over at the "Mile High Station" various traitors from the Democratic Party, the so-called "Blue Dogs" led by Obama and American industry, attended a party in honor of their treason thrown by their masters at AT&T for their bought votes on the F.I.S.A. bill which let AT&T, themselves and Smirky off the hook for their 4th Amendment crimes against America. That sound some of you may perceive as background noise is actually the founding fathers spinning in their graves!

Meanwhile at a rally to Stop the War, something the Demoncrats pledged to do but didn't during the last election cycle, Cynthia McKinney gave a speech to a cheering crowd that wasn't mentioned anywhere by the corpo-rat owned and controlled, so called, "Main Stream Media" which was gleefully listening to a plagiarized speech by Joe Biden. You can, however, read Cynthia's speech in her article in this week's Issues & Alibis. In other words, same ole, same ole. A zero change, corpo-rat controlled song and dance to dazzle the Sheeple and keep this "moving paper fantasy" alive and on track for Armageddon! I can hardly wait for the Rethuglican convention to end!


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

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

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

Ernest & Victoria Stewart

* Quote from "V For Vendetta."


04-28-1940 ~ 08-20-2008
Shor got da Blues!


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


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


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

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

Looking Back At Five Years Of Bush's Wreckage In Iraq
By Chalmers Johnson

On April 11, 12, 13, and 14, 2003, the United States Army and United States Marine Corps disgraced themselves and the country they represent in Baghdad, Iraq's capital city. Having invaded Iraq and accepted the status of a military occupying power, they sat in their tanks and Humvees, watching as unarmed civilians looted the Iraqi National Museum and burned down the Iraqi National Library and Archives as well as the Library of Korans of the Ministry of Religious Endowments. Their behavior was in violation of their orders, international law, and the civilized values of the United States. Far from apologizing for these atrocities or attempting to make amends, the United States government has in the past five years added insult to injury.

Donald Rumsfeld, then secretary of defense and the official responsible for the actions of the troops, repeatedly attempted to trivialize what had occurred with inane public statements like "democracy is messy" and "stuff happens."

On December 2, 2004, President Bush awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation's highest civilian award, to General Tommy Franks, the overall military commander in Iraq at that time, for his meritorious service to the country. (He gave the same award to L. Paul Bremer III, the highest ranking civilian official in Iraq, and to George Tenet, director of the Central Intelligence Agency, which had provided false information about Saddam Hussein and Iraq to Congress and the people.)

In the five years since the initial looting and pillaging of the Iraqi capital, thieves have stolen at least 32,000 items from some 12,000 archaeological sites across Iraq with no interference whatsoever from the occupying power. No funds have been appropriated by the American or Iraqi governments to protect the most valuable and vulnerable historical sites on Earth, even though experience has shown that just a daily helicopter overflight usually scares off looters. In 2006, the World Monuments Fund took the unprecedented step of putting the entire country of Iraq on its list of the most endangered sites. All of this occurred on George W. Bush's watch and impugned any moral authority he might have claimed.

The United States government seems never to have understood that, when it began the occupation of Iraq on March 19, 2003, it became legally responsible for what happened to the country's cultural inheritance. After all, the only legal justification for its presence in Iraq is U.N. Security Council Resolution 1483 of May 22, 2003. Both the United States and the United Kingdom voted for this resolution in which they formally acknowledged their status and obligations as occupying powers in Iraq. Among those obligations, specified in the Preamble to the resolution, was: "The need for respect for the archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious heritage of Iraq, and for the continued protection of archaeological, historical, cultural, and religious sites, museums, libraries, and monuments." Every politically sentient observer on Earth is aware of the Bush administration's contempt for international law and its routine scofflaw behavior since it came to power, but this clause remains an ironclad obligation that will stand up in an international or a domestic U.S. court. On this issue, the United States is an outlaw, waiting to be brought to justice.

In 1258 AD the Mongols descended on Baghdad and pillaged its magnificent libraries. A well-known adage states that the Tigris River ran black from the ink of the countless texts the Mongols trashed, while the streets ran red with the blood of the city's slaughtered inhabitants. The world has never forgotten that medieval act of barbarism, just as it will never forget what the U.S. military unleashed on the defenseless city in 2003 and in subsequent years. There is simply no excuse for what has happened in Baghdad at the hands of the Americans. Chalmers Johnson, August, 2008

The Smash of Civilizations

In the months before he ordered the invasion of Iraq, George Bush and his senior officials spoke of preserving Iraq's "patrimony" for the Iraqi people. At a time when talking about Iraqi oil was taboo, what he meant by patrimony was exactly that -- Iraqi oil. In their "joint statement on Iraq's future" of April 8, 2003, George Bush and Tony Blair declared, "We reaffirm our commitment to protect Iraq's natural resources, as the patrimony of the people of Iraq, which should be used only for their benefit."[1] In this they were true to their word. Among the few places American soldiers actually did guard during and in the wake of their invasion were oil fields and the Oil Ministry in Baghdad. But the real Iraqi patrimony, that invaluable human inheritance of thousands of years, was another matter. At a time when American pundits were warning of a future "clash of civilizations," our occupation forces were letting perhaps the greatest of all human patrimonies be looted and smashed.

There have been many dispiriting sights on TV since George Bush launched his ill-starred war on Iraq -- the pictures from Abu Ghraib, Fallujah laid waste, American soldiers kicking down the doors of private homes and pointing assault rifles at women and children. But few have reverberated historically like the looting of Baghdad's museum -- or been forgotten more quickly in this country.

Teaching the Iraqis about the Untidiness of History

In archaeological circles, Iraq is known as "the cradle of civilization," with a record of culture going back more than 7,000 years. William R. Polk, the founder of the Center for Middle Eastern Studies at the University of Chicago, says, "It was there, in what the Greeks called Mesopotamia, that life as we know it today began: there people first began to speculate on philosophy and religion, developed concepts of international trade, made ideas of beauty into tangible forms, and, above all developed the skill of writing."[2] No other places in the Bible except for Israel have more history and prophecy associated with them than Babylonia, Shinar (Sumer), and Mesopotamia -- different names for the territory that the British around the time of World War I began to call "Iraq," using the old Arab term for the lands of the former Turkish enclave of Mesopotamia (in Greek: "between the [Tigris and Euphrates] rivers").[3] Most of the early books of Genesis are set in Iraq (see, for instance, Genesis 10:10, 11:31; also Daniel 1-4; II Kings 24).

The best-known of the civilizations that make up Iraq's cultural heritage are the Sumerians, Akkadians, Babylonians, Assyrians, Chaldeans, Persians, Greeks, Romans, Parthians, Sassanids, and Muslims. On April 10, 2003, in a television address, President Bush acknowledged that the Iraqi people are "the heirs of a great civilization that contributes to all humanity."[4.] Only two days later, under the complacent eyes of the U.S. Army, the Iraqis would begin to lose that heritage in a swirl of looting and burning.

In September 2004, in one of the few self-critical reports to come out of Donald Rumsfeld's Department of Defense, the Defense Science Board Task Force on Strategic Communication wrote: "The larger goals of U.S. strategy depend on separating the vast majority of non-violent Muslims from the radical-militant Islamist-Jihadists. But American efforts have not only failed in this respect: they may also have achieved the opposite of what they intended."[5] Nowhere was this failure more apparent than in the indifference -- even the glee -- shown by Rumsfeld and his generals toward the looting on April 11 and 12, 2003, of the National Museum in Baghdad and the burning on April 14, 2003, of the National Library and Archives as well as the Library of Korans at the Ministry of Religious Endowments. These events were, according to Paul Zimansky, a Boston University archaeologist, "the greatest cultural disaster of the last 500 years." Eleanor Robson of All Souls College, Oxford, said, "You'd have to go back centuries, to the Mongol invasion of Baghdad in 1258, to find looting on this scale."[6] Yet Secretary Rumsfeld compared the looting to the aftermath of a soccer game and shrugged it off with the comment that "Freedom's untidy. . . . Free people are free to make mistakes and commit crimes." [7]

The Baghdad archaeological museum has long been regarded as perhaps the richest of all such institutions in the Middle East. It is difficult to say with precision what was lost there in those catastrophic April days in 2003 because up-to-date inventories of its holdings, many never even described in archaeological journals, were also destroyed by the looters or were incomplete thanks to conditions in Baghdad after the Gulf War of 1991. One of the best records, however partial, of its holdings is the catalog of items the museum lent in 1988 to an exhibition held in Japan's ancient capital of Nara entitled Silk Road Civilizations. But, as one museum official said to John Burns of the New York Times after the looting, "All gone, all gone. All gone in two days."[8]

A single, beautifully illustrated, indispensable book edited by Milbry Polk and Angela M.H. Schuster, The Looting of the Iraq Museum, Baghdad: The Lost Legacy of Ancient Mesopotamia (New York: Harry N. Abrams, 2005), represents the heartbreaking attempt of over a dozen archaeological specialists on ancient Iraq to specify what was in the museum before the catastrophe, where those objects had been excavated, and the condition of those few thousand items that have been recovered. The editors and authors have dedicated a portion of the royalties from this book to the Iraqi State Board of Antiquities and Heritage.

At a conference on art crimes held in London a year after the disaster, the British Museum's John Curtis reported that at least half of the forty most important stolen objects had not been retrieved and that of some 15,000 items looted from the museum's showcases and storerooms about 8,000 had yet to be traced. Its entire collection of 5,800 cylinder seals and clay tablets, many containing cuneiform writing and other inscriptions some of which go back to the earliest discoveries of writing itself, was stolen.[9] Since then, as a result of an amnesty for looters, about 4,000 of the artifacts have been recovered in Iraq, and over 1,000 have been confiscated in the United States.[10] Curtis noted that random checks of Western soldiers leaving Iraq had led to the discovery of several in illegal possession of ancient objects. Customs agents in the U.S. then found more. Officials in Jordan have impounded about 2,000 pieces smuggled in from Iraq; in France, 500 pieces; in Italy, 300; in Syria, 300; and in Switzerland, 250. Lesser numbers have been seized in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and Turkey. None of these objects has as yet been sent back to Baghdad.

The 616 pieces that form the famous collection of "Nimrud gold," excavated by the Iraqis in the late 1980s from the tombs of the Assyrian queens at Nimrud, a few miles southeast of Mosul, were saved, but only because the museum had secretly moved them to the subterranean vaults of the Central Bank of Iraq at the time of the first Gulf War. By the time the Americans got around to protecting the bank in 2003, its building was a burnt-out shell filled with twisted metal beams from the collapse of the roof and all nine floors under it. Nonetheless, the underground compartments and their contents survived undamaged. On July 3, 2003, a small portion of the Nimrud holdings was put on display for a few hours, allowing a handful of Iraqi officials to see them for the first time since 1990.[11]

The torching of books and manuscripts in the Library of Korans and the National Library was in itself a historical disaster of the first order. Most of the Ottoman imperial documents and the old royal archives concerning the creation of Iraq were reduced to ashes. According to Humberto Mrquez, the Venezuelan writer and author of Historia Universal de La Destruccin de Los Libros (2004), about a million books and ten million documents were destroyed by the fires of April 14, 2003.[12] Robert Fisk, the veteran Middle East correspondent of the Independent of London, was in Baghdad the day of the fires. He rushed to the offices of the U.S. Marines' Civil Affairs Bureau and gave the officer on duty precise map locations for the two archives and their names in Arabic and English, and pointed out that the smoke could be seen from three miles away. The officer shouted to a colleague, "This guy says some biblical library is on fire," but the Americans did nothing to try to put out the flames.[13]

The Burger King of Ur

Given the black market value of ancient art objects, U.S. military leaders had been warned that the looting of all thirteen national museums throughout the country would be a particularly grave danger in the days after they captured Baghdad and took control of Iraq. In the chaos that followed the Gulf War of 1991, vandals had stolen about 4,000 objects from nine different regional museums. In monetary terms, the illegal trade in antiquities is the third most lucrative form of international trade globally, exceeded only by drug smuggling and arms sales.[14] Given the richness of Iraq's past, there are also over 10,000 significant archaeological sites scattered across the country, only some 1,500 of which have been studied. Following the Gulf War, a number of them were illegally excavated and their artifacts sold to unscrupulous international collectors in Western countries and Japan. All this was known to American commanders.

In January 2003, on the eve of the invasion of Iraq, an American delegation of scholars, museum directors, art collectors, and antiquities dealers met with officials at the Pentagon to discuss the forthcoming invasion. They specifically warned that Baghdad's National Museum was the single most important site in the country. McGuire Gibson of the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute said, "I thought I was given assurances that sites and museums would be protected."[15] Gibson went back to the Pentagon twice to discuss the dangers, and he and his colleagues sent several e-mail reminders to military officers in the weeks before the war began. However, a more ominous indicator of things to come was reported in the April 14, 2003, London Guardian: Rich American collectors with connections to the White House were busy "persuading the Pentagon to relax legislation that protects Iraq's heritage by prevention of sales abroad." On January 24, 2003, some sixty New York-based collectors and dealers organized themselves into a new group called the American Council for Cultural Policy and met with Bush administration and Pentagon officials to argue that a post-Saddam Iraq should have relaxed antiquities laws.[16] Opening up private trade in Iraqi artifacts, they suggested, would offer such items better security than they could receive in Iraq.

The main international legal safeguard for historically and humanistically important institutions and sites is the Hague Convention for the Protection of Cultural Property in the Event of Armed Conflict, signed on May 14, 1954. The U.S. is not a party to that convention, primarily because, during the Cold War, it feared that the treaty might restrict its freedom to engage in nuclear war; but during the 1991 Gulf War the elder Bush's administration accepted the convention's rules and abided by a "no-fire target list" of places where valuable cultural items were known to exist.[17] UNESCO and other guardians of cultural artifacts expected the younger Bush's administration to follow the same procedures in the 2003 war.

Moreover, on March 26, 2003, the Pentagon's Office of Reconstruction and Humanitarian Assistance (ORHA), headed by Lt. Gen. (ret.) Jay Garner -- the civil authority the U.S. had set up for the moment hostilities ceased -- sent to all senior U.S. commanders a list of sixteen institutions that

"merit securing as soon as possible to prevent further damage, destruction, and/or pilferage of records and assets." The five-page memo dispatched two weeks before the fall of Baghdad also said, "Coalition forces must secure these facilities in order to prevent looting and the resulting irreparable loss of cultural treasures" and that "looters should be arrested/detained." First on Gen. Garner's list of places to protect was the Iraqi Central Bank, which is now a ruin; second was the Museum of Antiquities. Sixteenth was the Oil Ministry, the only place that U.S. forces occupying Baghdad actually defended. Martin Sullivan, chair of the President's Advisory Committee on Cultural Property for the previous eight years, and Gary Vikan, director of the Walters Art Museum in Baltimore and a member of the committee, both resigned to protest the failure of CENTCOM to obey orders. Sullivan said it was "inexcusable" that the museum should not have had the same priority as the Oil Ministry.[18]

As we now know, the American forces made no effort to prevent the looting of the great cultural institutions of Iraq, its soldiers simply watching vandals enter and torch the buildings. Said Arjomand, an editor of the journal Studies on Persianate Societies and a professor of sociology at the State University of New York at Stony Brook, wrote, "Our troops, who have been proudly guarding the Oil Ministry, where no window is broken, deliberately condoned these horrendous events."[19] American commanders claim that, to the contrary, they were too busy fighting and had too few troops to protect the museum and libraries. However, this seems to be an unlikely explanation. During the battle for Baghdad, the U.S. military was perfectly willing to dispatch some 2,000 troops to secure northern Iraq's oilfields, and their record on antiquities did not improve when the fighting subsided. At the 6,000-year-old Sumerian city of Ur with its massive ziggurat, or stepped temple-tower (built in the period 2112 - 2095 B.C. and restored by Nebuchadnezzar II in the sixth century B.C.), the Marines spray-painted their motto, "Semper Fi" (semper fidelis, always faithful) onto its walls.[20] The military then made the monument "off limits" to everyone in order to disguise the desecration that had occurred there, including the looting by U.S. soldiers of clay bricks used in the construction of the ancient buildings.

Until April 2003, the area around Ur, in the environs of Nasiriyah, was remote and sacrosanct. However, the U.S. military chose the land immediately adjacent to the ziggurat to build its huge Tallil Air Base with two runways measuring 12,000 and 9,700 feet respectively and four satellite camps. In the process, military engineers moved more than 9,500 truckloads of dirt in order to build 350,000 square feet of hangars and other facilities for aircraft and Predator unmanned drones. They completely ruined the area, the literal heartland of human civilization, for any further archaeological research or future tourism. On October 24, 2003, according to the Global Security Organization, the Army and Air Force built its own modern ziggurat. It "opened its second Burger King at Tallil. The new facility, co-located with [a].... Pizza Hut, provides another Burger King restaurant so that more service men and women serving in Iraq can, if only for a moment, forget about the task at hand in the desert and get a whiff of that familiar scent that takes them back home."[21]

The great British archaeologist, Sir Max Mallowan (husband of Agatha Christie), who pioneered the excavations at Ur, Nineveh, and Nimrud, quotes some classical advice that the Americans might have been wise to heed: "There was danger in disturbing ancient monuments.... It was both wise and historically important to reverence the legacies of ancient times. Ur was a city infested with ghosts of the past and it was prudent to appease them."[22]

The American record elsewhere in Iraq is no better. At Babylon, American and Polish forces built a military depot, despite objections from archaeologists. John Curtis, the British Museum's authority on Iraq's many archaeological sites, reported on a visit in December 2004 that he saw "cracks and gaps where somebody had tried to gouge out the decorated bricks forming the famous dragons of the Ishtar Gate" and a "2,600-year-old brick pavement crushed by military vehicles."[23] Other observers say that the dust stirred up by U.S. helicopters has sandblasted the fragile brick faade of the palace of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon from 605 to 562 B.C.[24] The archaeologist Zainab Bahrani reports, "Between May and August 2004, the wall of the Temple of Nabu and the roof of the Temple of Ninmah, both of the sixth century B.C., collapsed as a result of the movement of helicopters. Nearby, heavy machines and vehicles stand parked on the remains of a Greek theater from the era of Alexander of Macedon [Alexander the Great]."[25]

And none of this even begins to deal with the massive, ongoing looting of historical sites across Iraq by freelance grave and antiquities robbers, preparing to stock the living rooms of western collectors. The unceasing chaos and lack of security brought to Iraq in the wake of our invasion have meant that a future peaceful Iraq may hardly have a patrimony to display. It is no small accomplishment of the Bush administration to have plunged the cradle of the human past into the same sort of chaos and lack of security as the Iraqi present. If amnesia is bliss, then the fate of Iraq's antiquities represents a kind of modern paradise.

President Bush's supporters have talked endlessly about his global war on terrorism as a "clash of civilizations." But the civilization we are in the process of destroying in Iraq is part of our own heritage. It is also part of the world's patrimony. Before our invasion of Afghanistan, we condemned the Taliban for their dynamiting of the monumental third century A.D. Buddhist statues at Bamiyan in March, 2001. Those were two gigantic statues of remarkable historical value and the barbarism involved in their destruction blazed in headlines and horrified commentaries in our country. Today, our own government is guilty of far greater crimes when it comes to the destruction of a whole universe of antiquity, and few here, when they consider Iraqi attitudes toward the American occupation, even take that into consideration. But what we do not care to remember, others may recall all too well.
(c) 2008 Chalmers Johnson is the author of Blowback, The Sorrows of Empire, and most recently, Nemesis: The Last Days of the American Republic.

The Devil's Hoof
By Uri Avnery

I WAS shocked when I read the headline in Haaretz. It quoted Sari Nusseibeh as saying "There is no Room for Two," meaning two states between the Mediterranean Sea and the Jordan.

What? Has Nusseibeh abandoned his support for a solution based on coexistence between the State of Israel and the State of Palestine?

I read his long interview with Akiva Eldar and calmed down. Calmed down and immediately got angry. Because the heading was a gross distortion. It had no bearing on what was said in the interview. And since many people read only the heading and do not bother to study the text underneath, this is a deception.

How do such things happen? In Haaretz, as in most other newspapers, the rule is that the headings are not composed by the writers, but by the page editor. This may lead to utterly misleading headings - either through ignorance, negligence, or malice.

This time the matter and the person are too important to pass over in silence.

FAIR DISCLOSURE: I like Sari Nusseibeh very much. We once walked arm in arm at the head of a demonstration in the Old City of Jerusalem. We shared a peace prize in Germany (the Lev Kopelev Prize of 2003, named after the exiled Russian human rights activist.)

I knew his father, Anwar Nusseibeh, a true Palestinian aristocrat, who served during the Jordanian occupation as a Jordanian Minister of Defense and ambassador to the Court of St. James. Soon after the start of the Israeli occupation, I asked him in confidence whether he would prefer to go back to Jordanian rule or have an independent Palestinian state. He told me in no uncertain terms that he preferred the latter.

Sari enjoyed a British education along with the Palestinian. Some people see him as aloof, even overbearing, but I know him as a sensitive, modest person. He is very courageous, both morally and physically, frequently voicing very unpopular views. As a result he has been beaten up several times.

Five years ago, in cooperation with the Israeli Admiral (and current minister without portfolio) Ami Ayalon, he published an unambiguous peace plan, envisioning the establishment of a Palestinian state side by side with Israel, with the border based on the Green Line and with Jerusalem as the capital of both states. The plan was not very different from the earlier Gush Shalom peace plan or the later Geneva Initiative.

Therefore I was shocked when I saw the headline. Could it be that Nusseibeh has forsaken the central plank of his outlook?

IN THE interview, Nusseibeh says something entirely different. Not only does he not say that "there is no room for two," but on the contrary: he lauds the Two-State Solution as the best practical solution. However, he adds a warning to the Israelis: because of the rapid expansion of the settlements, time for the realization of this solution is running out. He even fixes a time limit: the end of 2008.

This amounts to an ultimatum: If the Israelis miss this opportunity, which is still there, and if they continue to accelerate the settlement activity in East Jerusalem and the West Bank, the Palestinians will turn their backs on this solution. Instead, they will accept the annexation of the occupied Palestinian territories to Israel, i.e. Israeli rule over the entire country between the sea and the river, and struggle for equal civil rights within this state. He calls this a "default alternative."

Nusseibeh is holding the demographic pistol against the temple of the Israeli public. He is telling them, in effect: the Palestinians will be a large minority in such a state. Their struggle for equality will compel Israel, in the end, to accord them full citizenship. Within a few years the Arab citizens will constitute the majority. Exit the Zionist dream. Exit the Jewish State. (Tzipi Livni, by the way, is saying much the same thing.)

Nusseibeh knows the Israelis well. He knows that the demographic obsession drives them mad. The demographic demon pursues them in their dreams. The frantic discussion of this subject dominates the Israeli discourse. He believes, therefore, that this threat will compel the Israelis to hurry and agree to the Two-State Solution. That is the main objective of the interview.

WITH ALL due respect and friendship for Nusseibeh, I believe that this tactic of his is unwise. Very unwise.

In his eyes, and in the eyes of some intellectuals on both sides, there are only two possibilities: the "Two-State Solution" or the "One-State Solution." A Palestinian state alongside Israel or a bi-national State, where equality between all the citizens, Jews and Arabs, is assured.

That is a dangerous misconception.

The "One-State Solution" is an oxymoron, a contradiction in terms. The One-State idea is not a solution, but an anti-solution. It is a recipe for an ongoing bloody conflict. Not a dream, but a nightmare.

There is no chance at all that the Jewish public will agree, in this generation or the next, to live as a minority in a state dominated by an Arab majority. 99.99% of the Jewish population will fight against this tooth and nail. The demography will not stop haunting them, but on the contrary, it will push them to do things which are unthinkable today. Ethnic cleansing will become a practical agenda. Even moderate Israelis will be driven into the arms of the fascist right-wing. All means of oppression will become acceptable when the Jewish majority adopts the aim of causing the Arabs to leave the country before they have a chance of becoming the majority.

True believers in the bi-national state idea will say: OK, let it be. We shall have one or two generations of bloodshed, of a state of civil war, but in the end we shall persuade or compel the Jews to accord the Palestinians citizenship and equality. But what normal people would take such a risk?

The real choice is, therefore: the "Two-State Solution" or the "Ethnic Cleansing Solution."

In the best case, the bi-national state is impractical. I assume that Nusseibeh, too, knows this. In his eyes, the threat is a tactical move. He goes even further and suggests carrying out the threat at once in Jerusalem.

The Arab residents of East Jerusalem are not Israeli citizens and cannot take part in Knesset elections. However, they have the right to vote in municipal elections. Until now they have boycotted these elections, because participating would imply recognition of Israeli sovereignty over East Jerusalem.

Nusseibeh raises the possibility of the Arab residents ending the boycott and putting up an election list of their own. They amount to roughly a third of the city's population, and the Jewish majority is divided between the orthodox and the secular, so the Arabs would be able to decide who would be the next mayor. Nusseibeh does not reject the idea of running for the job himself. He believes that this would frighten the Jews out of their wits.

THE REAL danger inherent in this tactic is not that it would convert people into accepting the bi-national state idea. The danger is far greater and much more immediate.

The main danger is this: If the whole country is about to become a bi-national state anyway, there is no further reason to restrict Jewish settlement anywhere at all.

Nusseibeh argues that time for the Two-State Solution is running out because of Jewish settlement activity in the West Bank, and especially in East Jerusalem. But it is precisely the One-State idea that opens the floodgates to unrestricted Jewish settlement. In theory, it also allows the Palestinians to adopt this option - but even mentioning this possibility reveals its absurdity.

The real struggle today is about the settlements. It is being waged all over the country, for every settlement, every "outpost," every by-pass road, every housing project. It is a titanic struggle that is being fought out everywhere, from the "Har Homa" settlement in Jerusalem to the "Separation Wall' (which is nothing but a means for enlarging the settlements, as even the Israeli Supreme Court now admits.)

The Nusseibeh tactic pulls the rug out from under all those of us who fight against the land grab and settlements - from the courageous activists who are daily demonstrating and being injured in the struggle against the Wall, to our friends abroad, who address public opinion in their own countries.

The "vision" of the bi-national state belongs to the far future, but the immediate result of campaigning for it is to remove all obstacles to the settlement effort.

THIS IS also the objective which Ehud Olmert, with his devious maneuvering, has in mind. He proclaims loudly that he is in favor of the Two-State Solution, but only a fool would take him seriously, considering what he is doing on the ground.

Two weeks ago, his people leaked the peace plan which he is submitting to the Palestinian Authority. An innocent, even positive plan.

Its main ingredients: Israel will return all the occupied territories to the Palestinian state, except 7% of the area, where the settlement blocs are located. In return, Israel will turn over to the Palestinians areas of Israel proper, equal to 5.5% of the West Bank. In addition, Israel will allow the Palestinians the use of a passage to be opened between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank. That will make up for the difference between the areas of the land swap.

So where is the sting? The devil, as the saying goes, is hiding in the small details. The accord would be a "shelf agreement." It will be implemented in the future. When? Ah, well...

The occupied territories in the West Bank will be returned to the Palestinians when the Palestinian Authority proves that it is able to control them. Who will decide? We, of course.

The Israeli areas that are to be turned over to the Palestinians, in return for the areas which will be annexed to Israel, are located alongside the Gaza Strip. When will they be turned over? After the Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip has been overthrown and the Palestinian Authority asserts itself there. The same applies to the Gaza-West Bank passage. When will that happen? As the ancient Romans said: "ad calendas graecas," on the Greek Calends. (In the Roman calendar, the Calends were the first days of the month - the Greek calendar had no Calends.)

The real sting became apparent when Olmert's "confidants" explained that immediately after the acceptance of the "shelf agreement" by the Palestinians, Israel will start to accelerate the settlement activities, since - according to the agreement - the settlement blocs will in any case become part of Israel. Even the Americans could not object to that, after the Palestinians themselves have agreed to the annexation of these areas to Israel.

Simply put: all these agreements are empty words, and only one thing is practical and immediate: the settlements will be ceaselessly expanded.

IN CHRISTIAN mythology, the devil has a cloven hoof. Sometimes this hoof shows under his long robe, giving him away.

Our devil's hoof is the settlements. While scrutinizing any idea or plan, one should lift the hem of the robe and see what it is standing on.
(c) 2008 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

August 26
By Victoria Stewart

"The suffragist Anne Martin bitterly remarked that women in politics were 'exactly where men political leaders wanted them: bound, gagged, divided and delivered to the Republican and Democratic Parties.'" ~~~ Susan Faludi

"Remember the dignity of your womanhood. Take courage, join hands, stand beside us, fight with us." ~~~ Christabel Pankhurst

"Keeping the light on is probably the best contribution that we can make where there is now Stygian darkness." ~~~ Florence Kelley

The anniversary of the passage of the 19th amendment occurred in the middle of the Democratic convention in one of the most troubled times in American history. Hillary Clinton gave her convention speech that night, a move so stunningly contrived only a consummate politician could pull it off. With the smallest of nods to women's suffrage (except Native American women, of course, who were not "granted" the right to vote until 1947), Senator Clinton stood up in Denver and thanked the big boys for letting her-and by extension us-into the game. Even as the elite of the political power structure attempted to paint her candidacy as a victory for women, we knew she had become the latest symbol of disempowerment. It was not a proud moment for the Democratic Party, our country or women.

I didn't like Hillary Clinton but I dislike even more the misogyny her run for the presidency revealed.

There were no celebrations of August 26. The League of Women Voters did not kick off a voter registration drive. There were no prime time specials on the suffragists. No politician mentioned the tremendous social changes ranging from child labor reform to health care those women also brought about. No correlations were drawn between the power and tenacity of true American heroines and the national leaders we have today. No one at the Democratic convention made a speech about the monumental effort it took to force our country to allow women-again with the exception Native American women- to vote.

And while our politicians and power brokers forgot, women across the country remembered. Some women flew pirate flags from their cars. Librarians posted flyers and displayed books on women's history and the suffragists. Emails circulated. Conversations took place. And as this important date was marginalized and co-opted by the power elite, a new determination was ignited.

We will be the women our great-grandmothers dreamed.
(c) 2008 Victoria Stewart is the associate editor of Issues & Alibis magazine.

The Price Of Imported Shrimp

"Giant shrimp" is said to be an oxymoron, but it's also moronic that we've let shrimp become a giant problem in our world.

Welcome to the costly consequences of a globalized food supply. Shrimp is the most popular seafood in the U.S., and we have both top-quality shrimp and excellent shrimpers in America's coastal waters. Yet, unbeknownst to average consumers, 80 percent of the shrimp we buy is imported, mostly from Asian nations.

The rational of the import industry (including such big marketers as Wal-Mart) is that it is much cheaper to get the product from Asia. Of course, as shoppers know, shrimp is not cheap at the retail level. Middlemen are skimming off the savings.

But there are other costs that the industry doesn't mention. Start with the excessive carbon footprint created by shipping these crustaceans in refrigerated containers 8,000 miles or more to our shores. Add in the devastating losses suffered by local fishing communities when the Wal-Marts abandon American producers.

Nor is our surge in imports a boon to Asian people. A recent report on workers in Southeast Asian shrimp processing factories uncovers child labor, sexual abuse, debt bondage, forced overtime, and nonpayment of wages, describing some of the factories as "little short of medieval."

Then there's what we consumers get in the way of quality. As seafood imports have soared, Washington has refused to update and adequately fund the government's antiquated inspection system. Less than one percent of the tons of shrimp entering our ports are even looked at, and only about a fifth of those are inspected. When a batch is tested, one of the common findings is that it's contaminated with veterinary drugs, including cancer-causing nitrofurans.

Globalized food, you see, is a long way from being "cheap." In fact, it's quite costly.
(c) 2008 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Brr -- This is why we left
Buffalo and moved to Calif.

Dogs And Cats
By Mel Bartholomew

First, let me tell you I am basically a cat lover. We have always had cats in my family, but dogs have played an important part too. My first dog was a Doberman Pincher puppy that was a Christmas gift when I was only twelve years old living in Southern California. My parents gave in to my request to allow "Buttons and me" to race around the backyard for just that first week until he became adjusted. That was a big mistake! We have both been non-conformists ever since and I never become adjusted.

The next dog was not until I was forty-two, but was at my choosing. After I sold my engineering business in New Jersey and retired, we moved to a large wooded waterside location on Long Island, New York. This is the place to have a dog, I thought. I had always wanted to have a pet that would follow me around and help tramp through the woods and out in the water on hikes and outings. Well, we found the perfect dog at the local pound - a young Golden Retriever. She became our "Molly." We did tramp the woods, and we had many outings on the water, and Molly was a perfect companion.

One thing though - I've never liked the idea of cleaning up the yard after a dog. That's one reason I appreciate cats. They always hide their business - so I trained Molly to use a portion of the woods we wouldn't use out behind the garage. Whenever we let her out to go, I would encourage her to keep moving along to the proper area by saying, "Hurry up Molly." It then became a call to Molly to "Go do your hurry-up." As most dog owners well know, a dog will only go as far as when you become out of sight. I guess they don't realize you're going to know by the evidence just how far they went. She was especially cunning in winter when it was cold and the ground was covered with snow. Since we didn't follow her out the back door and around the garage to watch, I guess she thought she could do the same. It was a constant battle, but I must say she put up with a lot having me as her master.

Molly Smooching with the TV Crew

Molly loved to be on the set whenever the video crew came to tape our television show. She would have much preferred hanging out with the crew because they all patted her and had no demands for her. Can you see her in this photo smooching with the TV Director? On the other hand, when she was with me and in a scene, I was constantly "directing her," yet she seemed to also like to perform and learned quickly when, where and how to walk around the set or to be in that scene. The one thing I learned was that when you have raised sides on your garden boxes, dogs learn very quickly to walk around and not step in the growing soil.

It's almost as if they read Rule #6 (See our "How To" page). Now cats are a different animal. Either they can't read, don't listen, or are just independent enough that they are going to do whatever they darn well please. Of course when I explain that Mel's Mix (See Rule #4) is so soft, loose and friable you won't have any trouble digging in it, they suddenly perk up their ears and think you just told them it's a great litter box you've built just for them. And if you plant the herb, catnip, in one of your squares (4 plants per square foot), well then you might just as well put their name on that garden box.

Keeps Cats Out (squirrels too)

However, the good news is that while you can easily train dogs to stay out of your Square Foot Garden, there is a way you can protect the same garden from a cat. If any of you have seen our classic video series (see our product page), you'll see the scene where my granddaughter, Casey, helps me protect a children's 3-foot x 3-foot sandbox from cats (using it as a litter box) with a portable wire cage. Now, guess what that young child is going to want their sandbox converted to as soon as they get a little older, and they've been watching mommy and daddy gardening right next to them. They're gonna want their own garden of course and how do you convert it? Very simply - just replace the sand with Mel's Mix, lay down a grid, and let them start planting. So you can see that a Square Foot Garden is a great family project not only for adults but also for all the kids, dogs and cats as well.

This next photo is of Suzy's dog "Duzy" helping me learn how
to snowshoe in Sun Valley, Idaho when we can't garden.

The last is my daughter Gail's dog "Sadie" in Maine
where it's tough to garden with all those rocks.

(c) 2008 Mel Bartholomew is an inventor, author, and founder of the Square Foot Gardening Foundation.

Nanosolar's Breakthrough - Solar Now Cheaper Than Coal
By Jessica Hunt

Their mission: to deliver cost-efficient solar electricity. The Nanosolar company was founded in 2002 and is working to build the world's largest solar cell factory in California and the world's largest panel-assembly factory in Germany. They have successfully created a solar coating that is the most cost-efficient solar energy source ever. Their PowerSheet cells contrast the current solar technology systems by reducing the cost of production from $3 a watt to a mere 30 cents per watt. This makes, for the first time in history, solar power cheaper than burning coal. These coatings are as thin as a layer of paint and can transfer sunlight to power at amazing efficiency. Although the underlying technology has been around for years, Nanosolar has created the actual technology to manufacture and mass produce the solar sheets. The Nanosolar plant in San Jose, once in full production in 2008, will be capable of producing 430 megawatts per year. This is more than the combined total of every other solar manufacturer in the U.S.

Nano Particles

Nanosolar, Inc. prides themselves on being the "Third Wave" of solar technology. The "First Wave" began over three decades ago with the introduction of silicon wafer based solar cells. This technology bore high material and production costs with poor capital efficiency. Silicon does not absorb light very well and therefore, the silicon wafers must be very thick. Also, the wafers are extremely fragile. Their need for intricate handling complicates processing all the way up to the final panel product. The "Second Wave" came about a decade ago with the first "thin-film" solar cells. This established that a cell 100 times thinner than the solar wafers can work just as well. However, this process also has its setbacks. First, the cells semiconductor was deposited using slow and expensive high-vacuum based processes. Secondly, the thin films were deposited directly on glass as a substrate. This eliminated the possibilities of:

Using a conductive substrate directly as electrode (The Nanosolar cells work on a metal foil substrate, or semiconductor, instead of the stainless steel or glass substrate. The metal foil semiconductor creates an increase in yield of 20%);

Achieving a low-cost top electrode of high performance (An electrode is a conductor through which electricity flows.);

Employing the yield and performance advantages of individual cell matching & sorting (The effect of electrical mismatch per cell leads to greater losses per panel as a result, and panel yield and efficiency distribution suffer: A bad cell results in a bad panel with thin-film-on-glass technology; but with a cell-sorting technology, only that cell will be a loss);

Employing high-yield continuous roll-to-roll processing (Roll-to-roll processing allows large quantities of material to be processed with equipment that leaves a small footprint);

Developing high-power high-current panels with lower balance-of-system cost {Nanosolar.com}. To put it simply, the production cost was still too high and the product did not yield a high enough output of energy.

Nanosolar, however, brings together the entire conjunction of all seven areas of innovation which delivers a dramatic improvement in cost efficiency, yield and throughput of the production of much thinner cells than ever before.

Nanosolar offers a 25 year warranty on its products. They test their products in much harsher conditions than the official certification standards. They expose the cells to intense UV light as well as intense humidity. This in depth testing allows for Nanosolar to produce a quality product with efficient output in all environments.
(c) 2008 Jessica Hunt

DNC Stop the War Protest
By Cynthia McKinney

Our country has been hijacked and the Democrats have proven themselves to have been in on the plan. When it came to the Constitution, the Democratic leadership showed us that aiding and abetting illegal spying on us was more important to them than protecting our civil liberties.

When it came to war and occupation, the Democratic leadership showed us that financing an illegal and immoral war, based on lies, was more important to them than the people's desire for peace.

And when the people, hurting from the financial mismanagement of this country, called for accountability for the crimes that have been committed against the people here, against the global community, against nature, itself, the Democratic leadership took impeachment off the table!

Grassroots Democratic Party activists want a livable wage! A "Medicare-for-all" type of health care system, repeal of the Bush tax cuts that have ushered in the greatest income inequality in this country since the Great Depression. But the Democratic Party has shown itself to be incapable of providing even a semblance of the values even of its own activists.

The Democratic Party's national leadership didn't even mention Hurricanes Katrina and Rita survivors in their Congressional agenda for the first 100 days.

The Democratic Party's national leadership gave us the Iran Naval Blockade bill, the Violent Radicalization and Homegrown Terrorism Prevention Act, and telecom immunity. They continue to fund war and occupation to the tune of $720 million a day while our children graduate from college tens--or even hundreds--of thousands of dollars in debt. Entire cities are going into receivership while the Democratic leadership in Congress gives the Pentagon one half trillion dollars annually with no accountability, no strings attached. That's over and above spending for war.

Abu Ghraib and Guantanamo are the hallmarks of the new U.S. gulag Democrats are helping to create.

They want us to believe that China and Russia are our enemies, in addition to the 60 countries on Dick Cheney's list. They want us to believe that workers, who come to this country to support their families after Democratic leadership in the country saddled workers with NAFTA, are our enemies. But we are here today to declare that we know who the real enemies are, those false patriots that George Washington warned us of, who wrap themselves in the flag while betraying our values.

We are the true patriots!

We know that the strength of this country lies in the way it countenances dissent. And we are here to dissent. We are not deterred by reports of sleek, new detention facilities or recently-acquired taser guns that kill. For we come to dissent in peace. Indeed, we dissent for peace.

Today, we declare our independence from conformity and "go-along-to-get-along" politics. We declare our willingness to be radical in pursuit of peace and in our hunger for justice. We can see clearly now who the real stickup artists are and that's why we're in Denver!

Our actions here this week begin the disarming of the hijackers. We no longer are afraid. And we won't be deceived. We know that a vote for the Democrats is a vote for more war in Afghanistan and other parts of the world.

But today, we are now free.

Free to stand on the four pillars guiding our political engagement: environmental wisdom, peace, grassroots democracy, and social justice. And finally, we know our power. We know the power of the people. We know that true power rests in the hands of the people. People who are willing to take a stand. We need look no further than Haiti, Côte d'Ivoire, Spain, and India to see the power of the people at the ballot box. No further than Brazil, Venezuela, Chile, Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and Paraguay to know that if they can do it, so can we.

Provided our elections are fair!

And if the Democrats cave in, in the face of fraud, disfranchisement, and theft, then we will be there to demand election integrity!

All over this country, the signs are there. People from New York to Florida, Washington State to California, Colorado to Texas are liberating themselves. We must not stop! Our country is worth it! Let's take our country back! Power to the People!
(c) 2008 Cynthia McKinney

Past Imperfect
Prophet Margin
By Chris Floyd

Transcript, "Rush Limbo Hour," NBC Radio, Jan. 17, 1943

Announcer: Good evening, America! Welcome to the Rush Limbo Hour -- brought to you by Bush-Walker! OK girls, take it away!

Chorus: Who put the armor on Hitler's Panzer tanks? Bush-Walker! Bush-Walker! Who helped the Nazis hide their assets in our banks? Bush-Walker! Bush-Walker! And who kept helping Hitler while he was killing Yanks? Bush-Walker! Bush-Walker!

Announcer: Yes, folks, that's Bush-Walker -- purveyors of the finest international investments. Now here's our host, a man who always talks out of the Right side of his mouth: Rush Limbo!

Limbo: Ha ha, thanks, Johnny! Hello out there in radioland! My friends, we've got a special show for you tonight. We're honored to welcome one of our very own sponsors: a great man, a great American -- Prescott Bush! Come on out, Pres, and say howdy to the folks!

Bush: Howdy, folks.

Limbo: Har har! You know, Press, that advertising jingle that always leads our show - it really says it all, doesn't it?"

Bush: You're so right, Rush. We at Brown Brothers Harriman -- that's the chief vehicle for the Bush-Walker fortunes -- we're just gosh-darn proud of the way we've always stood up to the "political correctness" crowd, those silly-billies bleating about "ethical investments" and what have you. Gosh darn it, Rush, there's only one kind of ethical investment -- one that makes money for you and your business partners. Everything else is just, well, flapdoodle, if I can say that on the radio.

Limbo: Hee hee, sure you can! I said it just yesterday, talking about this war profiteering witchhunt in Congress. I said it was pure flapdoodle, the way Senator Harry Truman and his gang are blackening the name of good American tycoons just trying to make a buck or two in wartime.

Bush: It is a darn shame, Rush. Just look at our situation. Now, it just so happens that some of our German business partners are major backers of Hitler and major players in arming his war machine. So what? We were operating in Germany long before Herr Hitler came onto the scene. We'll be operating there after he's gone. That's what we do: We operate. The nature of the regime doesn't matter: king, communist, Nazi, sheik, warlord, poobah, it all comes down to this: Are they open for business? If they are, then we have a duty -- yes, a moral duty -- to ourselves and to our stockholders to maximize our profits anywhere we can, in any way we can.

Some nervous nellies said we should have divested ourselves of our German interests after the Nazis took power. And let someone else make all that money? No way, Jose! That would be a betrayal of everything we stand for.

You know, I always look to the example of my good friend William Farish at Standard Oil. He signed a deal with the Nazis on secret patents for synthesizing rubber. Hitler couldn't have gone to war without it. And after Roosevelt and his pinko cabal led us into this war, good old Bill stood by his Nazi partners and refused to share these precious trade secrets with the U.S. government, despite the American military's dire need for rubber. Now that's honor and integrity for you, Rush! And that's the ethos that we in the Bush family try to pass on to our children. It's just a gosh-darn doodley-doo shame that Bill had his knuckles rapped with those conspiracy charges after that little haberdasher Truman put the heat on.

Thank goodness we pulled enough strings to keep my name out of the papers when they seized our Nazi assets under the Trading With the Enemy Act last year! But things have reached a sorry pass in this country when decent businessmen are forced to give up profits and betray their foreign partners just because of some ridiculous law. I mean, come on! The law is for regulating the behavior of the lower orders; it was never meant to apply to people like us!

You know, I'm starting to think that government is just too darn important to be left to the whims of the so-called electorate and their childish notions about law and justice and morality. I might have to get into politics one day and straighten things out. Because I have a dream, Rush.

Limbo: Say on, brother!

Bush: I dream of a world where no tycoon need ever lose a dime of profit just because it came from the blood of innocent people. I dream of a world where the rabble keep their mouths shut and the well-born can exercise their God-given privileges in any way they see fit. I see a world where votes go uncounted and judges take orders, where bribes flow and kickbacks abound, where public service and private enrichment are joined in one great, golden revolving door. I see a world where war, corruption and deceit are exalted, where stupidity is rewarded and arrogance enthroned in power.

And if I can't get us there, if I fall along the way, then maybe my son or my grandson will pick up the banner and lead us to that promised land. But I believe we'll make it there somehow, Rush. We'll leave this rickety old constitutional republic behind and see our great country submit at last to the natural order, ordained by God and confirmed by history: the rule of elites, backed by brute power, gorging on the toil and blood of others.

Rush: Amen, Pres! My friends, you can forget about Comrade Roosevelt's "freedom from want, freedom from fear" jazz -- this is the true voice of American leadership. All hail the Natural Order!
(c) 2008 Chris Floyd

Bugged In Denver
By Cindy Sheehan

As I walked toward my room, I noticed that the door was opened with the security bolt blocking the complete closing of the door. I knew immediately that I had not left the door open, and I double checked to make sure it was the right room because, as a frequent traveler, I have been known to forget my room number, but it was the right room.

I was upset at first thinking that housekeeping had made a mistake and left my room open and I was worried that something might be missing. So I walked into my room and bigger than life, there was a man standing by my desk holding the room phone with a screwdriver in his hand!

I immediately said; What the hell are you doing? Are you putting a bug on my phone? He looked like he got caught with his hand in the cookie jar and stammered out: "N--no, we are having problems with the phone." I told him to get out of my room because my phone was fine and I called the front desk and the person at the front desk stammered something out about "problems" with some of the phones.

This room was reserved soon after we got to Denver last night because the room we had was inadequate for 3 people. The room was reserved under my campaign manager's name with a CFC debit card. By the time we left for the march, it could have very well been ascertained that I was the one in this room, and the room we did reserve could be bugged, also. I am confident that that's what was happening when I walked in on the "maintenance" man.

You don't come in the room with a screwdriver if there are problems with the hotel phones. You do it electronically, through the system or you hook up a new phone. She said to me, How many hotel rooms have I been in the past four years? It was so obvious.


As to the campaign

So many people are waking up and starting to realize that there is very little difference in the leadership of the two parties. Working for an alternative third party or independent is one way to bring about real change. _

So many people with Obama shirts and pins have come up to me and told me that they're 100% on my side and they're very distressed with the right turn of the Obama campaign and the democratic party and they're hoping that demonstrations that we were at earlier, and that will be happening all week, will bring their party to where they think it should be.

I believe the momentum is definitely on our side, especially the last couple weeks, with our signature drive.

_The department of elections started to mess with our signatures and say that so many were in-valid, when we knew for a fact that they were valid, because I was checking them myself, on the computer. That really motivated people to help us-- to come to the office to help us or sign the petition or whatever, that said that they had been meaning to help and that this was something that got them of the fence and got them to actually come into the office and volunteer. We've had ten of thousands of dollars come into the campaign since then and we really have a comfortable amount of money to get our message out-- the message that our country is in deep trouble and Nancy is definitely not the solution. She's part of the problem. And we're going to educate the people of San Francisco about this using alternative forms of media and convince them that I am the alternative-- that I will work to be the voice of the people of San Francisco. And that's something that she has not ever been. I think there is a lot of positive excitement and momentum.

The campaign's going great.
(c) 2008 Cindy Sheehan

Conform; Or Else!
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning America, your King of Simple News is on the air.

I've never cared about money. Oh sure, when I haven't had any at all it became a little tense, but I've never been obsessed with hoarding dollars as an exchange for freedom. Some would argue that money can buy you freedom, but I don't agree.

Perhaps I'm somewhat atypical in this respect, but if I had been offered a million dollars to stay in the Navy for four more years, I would have declined the offer. I didn't want to be in the Navy. I don't trade money for life.

Too many Americans would trade their souls for money, which is why we have adopted unchecked capitalism as our economic basis. But what about those who will come after us, arriving on a burnt out planet? We threw their souls into the bargain and they didn't even get to vote!

As I watch our government leaders stray further and further off the sustainable path, an important question comes to mind. If our economic policies are so superior and if unchecked capitalism works so well; why is it failing?

The answer is of course, that it was designed to fail. Nothing can grow infinitely in a finite environment.

So here is the bigger question; how can we insist that the remainder of the world adopt our form of government and our capitalistic ways when we are failing? "If you don't want to be like us and cast yourself into a hopeless scheme of growth and debt, that's fine; we'll just come over there and kill you."

The U.S. has been insistent that everyone join our party. You know, shop till you drop. We weren't even smart enough to see that if everyone did what we do, it would severely shorten the economic façade that we live under. Unfortunately, China and India took us up on the deal and now we are incensed that they are consuming massive resources. Well duh!

The U.S. has clearly overstepped our bounds. We see ourselves as being right and anyone who wants to argue about it can talk to Sgt. Rock of Easy Company. "We're peaceful people, but don't provoke us by not accepting our standards."

Not all people of the world want the same thing and not all Americans want the same thing. I had an excellent licensed real estate assistant at one point that I paid a salary plus a percentage of my commissions and 50% of everything that she listed and sold on her own.

After a year or so I began to note that if I dropped the salary and raised her commissions that she would be making considerably more money. She would also be assuming more risk. No commissions, no pay. I thought that I was doing the right thing by offering her what had already proven to be a better deal. She was horrified at the prospect. There were no guarantees. She declined the offer.

I would have jumped at the chance; but that didn't make her wrong. She simply wanted a guarantee; I'm a risk taker.

America can't assume that one size fits all and that we are the standard that the world should subscribe to. After all, if they do, they too will spiral hopelessly into debt while attempting to redefine the principals of physics.

Wake up America, the insane are running the asylum.
(c) 2008 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

The argument that the two parties should represent opposed ideals and policies, one, perhaps, of the Right and the other of the Left, is a foolish idea acceptable only to doctrinaire and academic thinkers. Instead, the two parties should be almost identical, so that the American people can "throw the rascals out" at any election without leading to any profound or extensive shifts in policy.
~~~ Carroll Quigley, Tragedy and Hope: A History of the World in our Time

Mid-Summer Alert Update
- 08/08/08 to 8/28/2008 -
BY Lt. Col. Guy S. Razer
Maj. William B. Fox
Dr. James H. Fetzer
Capt. Eric H. May
SFC Donald S. Buswell

Lt.Col. Guy Razer

Very Strange Timing for Little Georgia to Attack the Big Bear.

In our July 18 Mid-Summer Alert 1 we warned about military exercises with the potential to go "live" in the form of a false flag event in the late July/early August time frame. We described "Immediate Response 2008," which ran for three weeks beginning in mid-July and involved a thousand American troops training in the nation of Georgia.

We believe that part of this exercise actually went "live." According to the Aug. 15-17 Wayne Madsen Report, "United States and British signals intelligence (SIGINT) intercepts of Caucasus region communications...reveal that Georgia was involved in a sneak attack on the evening of August 8th against South Ossetia and its Russian peacekeepers." Georgia opened up with indiscriminate rocket salvos against civilians inside the Russian protectorate of Ossetia, followed by invasion troops on the same day that Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin and U.S President Bush attended the opening of the Chinese Olympics.

Maj. William Fox

The Israeli Connection In the Anti-Iranian "Great Game."

According to the Wayne Madsen Report (Aug. 8), George Soros' Open Society Institute (OSI), which sponsored a themed "Rose Revolution" for control of Georgia in 2003, has also worked for years to stir up problems in South Ossetia. Regarding Iran, "Israel warned Russia that it would do `everything possible' to prevent Russia supplying S-300 anti-aircraft/missile equipment to Iran."

Significantly, Israel has not only been a major supplier of weapons and advisors to Georgia, but also has numerous high level connections. For example, the Georgian Defense Minister David Kezerashvili lived in Israel as a boy and speaks fluent Hebrew. Late Georgian Prime Minister, Zarab Zhvania, who died in 2005, was Jewish and a close friend of the current president of Georgia, Mikheil Saakashvili. Georgia has so many other close ties with both Israel and the U.S. that both countries probably blessed the invasion as part of a broader geopolitical strategy to intimidate Russia out of its support for Iran in contemplation of a coming attack on Iran.

In "Leave It Alone, George," 2 William S. Lind notes bellicose rhetoric from Bush that reinforces worst fears. The 11 Aug Cleveland Plain Dealer reported that "President Bush called the violence unacceptable and Vice President Dick Cheney . . . said Russia's actions in Georgia `must not go unanswered.'" Lind states, "If . . . Washington provoked the conflict, [this] would be as great a crime as the Bush administration lying us into war with Iraq . . . It beggars the imagination to think that America could find itself in a nuclear confrontation with a post-Soviet Russia. But if the White House acts in accordance with its rhetoric, the next few weeks or even days may witness just such a strategic catastrophe."

Capt. Eric H. May

Continued U.S. Naval Maximum Muscle Flex.

DEBKAfile reported 12 August 3 that the arrival of three new American flotillas raises to five the number of U.S. strike forces in Middle Eastern waters, an unprecedented build-up since the crisis erupted over Iran's nuclear program. Its military sources postulated the following objectives for this Armada:

1. The US, aided also by France, Britain and Canada, is finalizing preparations for a partial naval blockade to deny Iran imports of benzene and other refined oil products. This action would indicate that the Bush administration had thrown in the towel on stiff United Nations sanctions and decided to take matters in its own hands.
2. Iran, which imports 40 percent of its refined fuel products from Gulf neighbors, will retaliate for the embargo by shutting the Strait of Hormuz oil route chokepoint, in which case the US naval and air force stand ready to reopen the Strait and fight back any Iranian attempt to break through the blockade.
3. Washington is deploying forces as back-up for a possible Israeli military attack on Iran 's nuclear installations.
4. A potential rush of events in which a US-led blockade, Israeli attack and Iranian reprisals pile up in a very short time and precipitate a major military crisis.
5. While a massive deployment of this nature calls for long planning, its occurrence at this time cannot be divorced from the flare-up of the Caucasian war between Russia and Georgia. While Russia has strengthened its stake in Caspian oil resources by its overwhelming military intervention against Georgia , the Americans are investing might in defending the primary Persian Gulf oil sources of the West and the Far East.

From Aug. 11-22, the U.S. has also been running one of the largest multinational naval training exercises in the world near Central America involving more than 30 ships called "Panamax '08." According to officials, the scenario involves a hypothetical insurgent enemy in Central America with access to non-conventional weapons and perhaps even a nuclear device.

Whenever we hear the word "nuclear device" for any military exercise, we are reminded of Vice President Cheney's prediction last summer that the next terror strike on America may inflict more casualties than all of America's prior wars put together, which could come to over a million.

Dr. James Fetzer Continuing Corruption and Intrigue in the Greater Houston Terror Target Area.

Prior articles in the Iconoclast, such as "Texas Terror, Code Blue!" 4 explain why the greater Houston area has been primary on the false flag terror target list. Recent events continue to reinforce this view, particularly in regard to the case of CIA Operative Roland "Tony" Carnaby. Talk show host Hal Turner claimed that according to one of his sources, Carnaby was alerted to a Mossad scheme to import a mini-nuke before his assassination.

The Aug. 8-10 Wayne Madsen Report stated that a county grand jury has declined to prosecute a police sergeant and officer who shot Carnaby to death after his car ran out of gas on April 29, and that "Carnaby was contracted to the Port of Houston, as well as the two Houston area international airports, to provide security consultative services" and that furthermore "An Israeli firm, Orsus, is currently installing an integrated security monitoring system that will link video surveillance, visitor control, and police dispatch systems to a 24-hour Port Coordination Center."

George Soros is behind Orsus in addition to other Jewish/Israeli interests. In addition, Soros has used his staggering wealth to buy up media related to Texas affairs as well as media involving former Soviet republics. Madsen notes that, "Soros managed to derail any effort by the so-called `progressive media' sites he funds to properly investigate the shooting death of Carnaby."

SFC Don Buswell
Behind the Occult Eight Ball

"Our enemies are innovative and resourceful, and so are we . . . They never stop thinking about new ways to harm our country and our people, and neither do we." George W. Bush, 5 Aug 2004

As strange as it may sound, there are reasons to believe that a numerological code might underlie the choice of dates for terroristic operations, especially when they just happen to be politically useful in relation to specific events behind these dates.

The Peking Olympics started at 8:08 PM (and 8 seconds) on 8-8-08. According to Wikipedia, "The number 8 is associated with prosperity and confidence in Chinese culture"

The U.S. also played the "8's." It opened its new embassy in Peking at 8:08 AM that morning. The Georgian aggression started in the 8-8-08 evening. There is also an interesting numeric "echo" pattern to consider. The 3-30-2004 British Petroleum explosion in Texas City (which came within a day of the 3-31-2004 date predicted by Captain Eric May) was "echoed" by another explosion on 3-23-2005. The London terror bombing of 7-7-2005 was "echoed" by Captain May's prediction date of 7-27-2005 for the greater Houston area, which turned out to be one day off the actual 7-28-2005 explosion at the British Petroleum refinery in Texas City. Hence, the digit "2" may have been inserted between each initial pair of repeated numbers to comprise the terror date code for the follow on event. For more explanation, please see "The Terror Date Code - Beware the Odds of March!"

Therefore, the 8-8-08 Georgia attack might be echoed with an 8-28-08 incident. Aug. 28 happens to fall on the last day of the upcoming Democratic Convention, when certain Bush Republicans would no doubt love to pull the rug out from underneath any winner's acceptance speech that might generate significant campaign momentum.

Again, we are not saying that we ourselves actually believe in terror date code numerology, or that we ever want to see our alerts actually go live (our ultimate purpose is deterrence), it is just that we believe that they believe in numeric esoterica - that is, "they" meaning spoiled rich kid Skull & Bonesmen, certain CIA-Mossad operatives, and other power elite neo-con neo-Kabbalists behind prospective Bush cabal false flag terror.

* * * * * * * * *

Lt. Col. Guy S. Razer is a retired U.S. Air Force Command fighter pilot. Dr. James H. Fetzer and Major William B. Fox are former U.S. Marine Corps officers. Captain Eric H. May and Sergeant First Class Donald Buswell are former members of Army intelligence. For more articles about false flag terror, refer to the archives of Capt. May, Maj. Fox, and Dr. Fetzer at www.americafirstbooks.com.
(c) 2008 Captain May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His political and military analyses have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle, Military Intelligence Magazine and is the intelligence correspondent for Issues & Alibis magazine. For his homepage and schedule of upcoming interviews, refer to his homesite.

13 Days In August
The Polish Missile Crisis: Bush's Last War?
By Ted Rall

NEW YORK--"The Cold War is over," Condi Rice said last week. This may be true. She and her lame duck boss seem to be starting up a hot one instead.

Imagine Russian or Chinese military bases in Tijuana or Ciudad Juárez, across the Mexican border from El Paso. Add some more in Toronto and Vancouver. Now imagine that Russia managed to persuade Canada and Mexico to join it in some weird new Eastern bloc military alliance whose purpose was to "contain" the U.S., and then placed a battery of long-range missiles in one or both countries. How long would it take before we went to war?

Of course, you don't need an imagination. The U.S. didn't tolerate Soviet missiles in Cuba, and is still trying to overthrow its government.

Given America's refusal to accept an unfriendly regime in its neighborhood--remember Grenada?--you'd think it would know enough to stay out of Russia's hair. You'd be wrong.

Driven by its twin original sins of greed and arrogance, the United States began nibbling at Russia's edges soon after the breakup of the Soviet Union. The Clinton Administration wooed oil-rich ex-Soviet states such as Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan. It's as if Florida were to declare independence, and crawled into bed with Iran.

Efforts to de-Russify the old Soviet sphere of influence accelerated under Bush, who used 9/11 and the "war on terror" as a pretext to establish permanent military bases in the Central Asian republics of Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Afghanistan. Bush's CIA even funded a coup d'état in Kyrgyzstan, which overthrew Central Asia's only democratically elected president.

Central Asia, under Russia's sphere of influence for more than 150 years, began playing host to CIA "black sites" and other U.S. torture facilities.

The U.S. invited ex-Soviet bloc states--the Czech Republic, Hungary, Poland, Bulgaria, Romania, the Baltic states--to join NATO, the Cold War-era anti-Russian military alliance. Recently, it even encouraged the former Soviet republics of Ukraine and Georgia to apply for membership, emboldening Georgia in its recent conflict with Russia.

Now the Bush Administration has convinced Poland to base ten RIM-161 Standard Interceptor Missiles (SM-3) along Russia's western border.

Republics that were once part of or fell under the influence of the Soviet Union are sovereign states. They are legally and morally permitted to form alliances with any other nation they choose, including the U.S. Still, you have to wonder: Don't these guys own a map? Doesn't it make more sense to suck up to the superpower next door than the one an ocean away?

From our perspective: Why would the U.S. think provoking Russia by encroaching on its traditional sphere of influence is a good idea?

For Russia, using newfound oil wealth to rebuild its military, the Polish-American missile deal is the line in the sand. Annual defense budget increases of 20 percent or more, which should bring at least half of its hardware up to modern standards by 2015, have transformed the dying dog of Yeltsin-era "shock economics" back into a growling bear.

"Poland, by deploying [U.S. missiles] is exposing itself to a [nuclear] strike--100 percent," says top Russian general Anatoly Nogovitsyn. The Russian government stood by his threat.

The U.S. claims the Russians have nothing to fear. "It [the missile system] is not aimed in any way at Russia," says Condi. Indeed, interceptor missiles are designed to shoot down other missiles, not launch attacks. But the Russians don't want to see their ability to strike first--a right also reserved by the U.S.--degraded by an anti-missile system. They also worry about the slippery slope: what new weapons will the U.S. place in Eastern Europe later on?

Russia's concerns are no different than ours would be if they were the ones arming Canada against us. But Condi's reassurances are too cute by half.

Shortly before signing the missile deal with Poland, she commented: "This will help us to deal with the new threats of the 21st century, of long-range missile threats from countries like Iran or from North Korea." Sounds reasonable--except for geography.

Nearly 2000 miles separates Iran and Poland. North Korea is nearly 5000 miles away from Poland. But Iran's longest-range missile, the Shahab-3, can only go 1200 miles--about the same as North Korea's equivalent. When you factor in the fact that America's Poland-based SM-3s only travel about 300 miles, it is mathematically impossible for them to intercept anything launched by Iran or North Korea.

The U.S. is occupying two of the largest nations bordering Iran--Afghanistan and Iraq. Wouldn't building a missile shield there make a zillion times more sense? As for North Korea, well, we have a base in Okinawa, not to mention 25,000 troops in South Korea.

Are the Bushies trying to create a "national emergency" pretext for canceling the presidential election? Are they crazy Christians lusting for the end times? Or are they just nuts? No one knows their motives. But it's hard to escape the conclusion that, after lying us into two losing wars, Cheney & Co. are using their closing months to try to provoke the mother of them all
(c) 2008 Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?" an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy challenge.)

The Dead Letter Office...

Dirk recites his favorite fried Bald Eagle recipe.

Heil Bush,

Dear Interieur Bundesaußenminister Kempthorne,

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

Without your lock-step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your support of our two coup d'etats, your willingness to gut the Endangered Species Act so we can steal a few more billions, Iraq and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Junta Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class with emerald clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Bush at a gala celebration at "der Wolf's Lair," formally "Rancho de Bimbo," on 08-30-2008. We salute you Herr Kempthorne, Sieg Heil!

Vice Fuhrer Cheney

Heil Bush

AT&T Thanks The Blue Dog Democrats With A Lavish Party
By Glenn Greenwald

Last night in Denver, at the Mile High Station -- next to Invesco Stadium, where Barack Obama will address a crowd of 30,000 people on Thursday night -- AT&T threw a lavish, private party for Blue Dog House Democrats, virtually all of whom blindly support whatever legislation the telecom industry demands and who also, specifically, led the way this July in immunizing AT&T and other telecoms from the consequences for their illegal participation in the Bush administration's warrantless spying program. Matt Stoller has one of the listings for the party here.

Armed with full-scale Convention press credentials issued by the DNC, I went -- along with Firedoglake's Jane Hamsher, John Amato, Stoller and others -- in order to cover the event, interview the attendees, and videotape the festivities. There was a wall of private security deployed around the building, and after asking where the press entrance was, we were told by the security officials, after they consulted with event organizers, that the press was barred from the event, and that only those with invitations could enter -- notwithstanding the fact that what was taking place in side was a meeting between one of the nation's largest corporations and the numerous members of the most influential elected faction in Congress. As a result, we stood in front of the entrance and began videotaping and trying to interview the parade of Blue Dog Representatives, AT&T executives, assorted lobbyists and delegates who pulled up in rented limousines, chauffeured cars, and SUVs in order to find out who was attending and why AT&T would be throwing such a lavish party for the Blue Dog members of Congress.

Amazingly, not a single one of the 25-30 people we tried to interview would speak to us about who they were, how they got invited, what the party's purpose was, why they were attending, etc. One attendee said he was with an "energy company," and the other confessed she was affiliated with a "trade association," but that was the full extent of their willingness to describe themselves or this event. It was as though they knew they're part of a filthy and deeply corrupt process and were ashamed of -- or at least eager to conceal -- their involvement in it. After just a few minutes, the private security teams demanded that we leave, and when we refused and continued to stand in front trying to interview the reticent attendees, the Denver Police forced us to move further and further away until finally we were unable to approach any more of the arriving guests.

It was really the perfect symbol for how the Beltway political system functions -- those who dictate the nation's laws (the largest corporations and their lobbyists) cavorting in total secrecy with those who are elected to write those laws (members of Congress), while completely prohibiting the public from having any access to and knowledge of -- let alone involvement in -- what they are doing. And all of this was arranged by the corporation -- AT&T -- that is paying for a substantial part of the Democratic National Convention with millions upon millions of dollars, which just received an extraordinary gift of retroactive amnesty from the Congress controlled by that party, whose logo is splattered throughout the city wherever the DNC logo appears -- virtually attached to it -- all taking place next to the stadium where the Democratic presidential nominee, claiming he will cleanse the Beltway of corporate and lobbying influences, will accept the nomination on Thursday night.

The only other media which even attempted to cover the AT&T/Blue Dog event was Democracy Now -- they were also barred from entering. I was on Democracy Now with Amy Goodman this morning to discuss what happened. They put together a 5-minute video montage, including our efforts to enter the event and interview the guests, which they broadcast before my segment. The video and my segment can be seen and/or heard here -- it begins at the 1:00 mark. A transcript will be posted shortly.

Jane Hamsher also filmed some of what transpired, and Salon has created our own video of last night, including the efforts by the private security teams and Denver Police to prevent us from standing on public property to interview the arriving members of Congress and AT&T executives and lobbyists. That will be posted shortly. There's nothing unusual about this event -- other than that it was more forcibly private than most and just a tad more brazenly sleazy. The democracy-themed stagecraft inside the Convention is for public television consumption, but secret little events of this sort are why people are really here. Just as is true in Washington, this is where -- and how and by whom -- the business of our Government is conducted.__
(c) 2008 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.

Pouring Gas On The Afghanistan Bonfire
By Chris Hedges

The wars in Iraq and Afghanistan grind forward with their terrible human toll, even as the press and many Americans play who gets thrown off the island with Barack Obama. Coalition forces carried out an airstrike that killed up to 95 Afghan civilians in western Afghanistan on Friday, 50 of them children, President Hamid Karzai said. And the mounting bombing raids and widespread detentions of Afghans are rapidly turning Afghanistan into the mirror image of Iraq. But these very real events, which will have devastating consequences over the next few months and years, are largely ignored by us. We prefer to waste our time on the trivia and gossip that swallow up air time and do nothing to advance our understanding of either the campaign or the wars fought in our name.

As the conflict in Afghanistan has intensified, so has the indiscriminate use of airstrikes, including Friday's, which took place in the Azizabad area of Shindand district in Herat province. The airstrike was carried out after Afghan and coalition soldiers were ambushed by insurgents while on a patrol targeting a known Taliban commander in Herat, the U.S. military said. Hundreds of Afghans, shouting anti-U.S. slogans, staged angry street protests on Saturday in Azizabad to protest the killings, and Karzai condemned the airstrike.

The United Nations estimates that 255 of the almost 700 civilian deaths in fighting in Afghanistan this year have been caused by Afghan and international troops. The number of civilians killed in fighting between insurgents and security forces in Afghanistan has soared by two-thirds in the first half of this year.

Ghulam Azrat, the director of the middle school in Azizabad, said he collected 60 bodies after the bombing.

"We put the bodies in the main mosque,'' he told the Associated Press by phone, sometimes pausing to collect himself as he wept. "Most of these dead bodies were children and women. It took all morning to collect them."

Azrat said villagers on Saturday threw stones at Afghan soldiers who arrived and tried to give out food and clothes. He said the soldiers fired into the crowd and wounded eight people, including one child.

"The people were very angry," he said. "They told the soldiers, 'We don't need your food, we don't need your clothes. We want our children. We want our relatives. Can you give [them] to us? You cannot, so go away.' "

We are in trouble in Afghanistan. Sending more soldiers and Marines to fight the Taliban is only dumping gasoline on the bonfire. The Taliban assaults, funded largely by the expanded opium trade, are increasingly sophisticated and well coordinated. And the Taliban is exacting a rising toll on coalition troops. Soldiers and Marines are now dying at a faster rate in Afghanistan than Iraq. In an Aug. 18 attack, only 30 miles from the capital, Kabul, the French army lost 10 and had 21 wounded. The next day, hundreds of militants, aided by six suicide bombers, attacked one of the largest U.S. bases in the country. A week before that, insurgents killed three foreign aid workers and their Afghan driver, prompting international aid missions to talk about withdrawing from a country where they already have very limited access.

Barack Obama, like John McCain, speaks about Afghanistan in words that look as if they were penned by the Bush White House. Obama may call for withdrawing some U.S. troops from Iraq, but he does not want to send them all home. He wants to send them to Afghanistan, or to what he obliquely terms "the right battlefield." Obama said he would deploy an additional 10,000 troops to Afghanistan once he took office.

The seven-year war in Afghanistan has not gone well. An additional 3,200 Marines were deployed there in January. Karzai's puppet government in Kabul controls little territory outside the capital. And our attempt to buy off tribes with money and even weapons has collapsed, with most tribal groups slipping back into the arms of the Taliban insurgents.

Do the cheerleaders for an expanded war in Afghanistan know any history? Have they studied what happened to the Soviets, who lost 15,000 Red Army soldiers between 1979 and 1988, or even the British in the 19th century? Do they remember why we went into Afghanistan? It was, we were told, to hunt down Osama bin Laden, who is now apparently in Pakistan. Has anyone asked what our end goal is in Afghanistan? Is it nation-building? Or is this simply the forever war on terror?

Al-Qaida, which we have also inadvertently resurrected, is alive and well. It still finds plenty of recruits. It still runs training facilities. It still caries out attacks in London, Madrid, Iraq and now Afghanistan, which did not experience suicide bombings until December 2005. Al-Qaida has moved on. But we remain stuck, confused and lashing about wildly like a wounded and lumbering beast.

We do not have the power or the knowledge, nor do we have the right under international law, to occupy Iraq and Afghanistan. We are vainly trying to transplant to these countries a modern system of politics invented in Europe. This system is characterized by, among other things, the division of the Earth into independent secular states based on national citizenship. The belief in a secular civil government is to most Afghans and Iraqis an alien creed. It will never work.

We have blundered into nations we know little about. We are caught between bitter rivalries among competing ethnic and religious groups. We have embarked on an occupation in Iraq and Afghanistan that is as damaging to our souls as it is to our prestige and power and security. And we believe, falsely, that because we have the capacity to wage war we have the right to wage war.

We divert ourselves in our dotage and decline with images and slogans that perpetuate fantasies about our own invulnerability, our own might, our own goodness. We are preoccupied by national trivia games that pass for news, even as the wolf pants at our door. These illusions blind us. We cannot see ourselves as others see us. We do not know who we are.

"We had fed the heart on fantasies," William Butler Yeats wrote, "the heart's grown brutal from the fare."

We are propelled forward not by logic or compassion or understanding but by fear. We have created and live in a world where violence is the primary form of communication. We have become the company we keep. Much of the world-certainly the Muslim world, one-fifth of the world's population, most of whom are not Arab-sees us through the prism of Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine. We are igniting the dispossessed, the majority of humanity who live on less than two dollars a day. And whoever takes the White House next January seems hellbent on fueling our self-immolation.
(c) 2008 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Etta Hulme ~~~

W the Movie Official Trailer

To End On A Happy Note...

I'm The Resister
By Carl Klang

Did you think your plans were secret,
When you left your office last night,
And you closed the door behind you?
Were you walkin' in your sleep,
Or were you just to tired to notice,
All the watchful eyes upon you?
There's the man who does the maintenance
And the maid who cleans the carpets in the hall
And the guard down in the lobby
Through a hidden T.V. camera saw it all

I've observed your nervous habits
And your random acts and patterns
And I've learned you're not a nice guy
And your phony faced deception
Is your secret silent weapon
And your modus operandi
This little birdie told me
Who was talkin' to a fly upon the wall
So when you think nobody's lookin'
I'm the eye that passes by ya
When you think nobody's listenin' I'm the listener...
I'm the Resister

I could be your next door neighbor
Who drops by to ask a favor
Who pretends to be your brother
Or a member of The Order
Who's a secret Sunday soldier
From an underground militia
I might even be your butler or your chauffeur
Who just opened your car door
I'm the butcher, I'm the baker, I'm your future trouble maker
I'm the guy that used to date your little sister
I'm The Resister

You can spin your little stories
'Till nobody will believe you any more
You can plot your deadly schemes
And say it isn't what it seems
But let me tell you what this means...
This means war!

I can be a midnight raider
Or a cyberspace invader
Who impersonates a female
Or another crazed commuter
On the information highway
Who just crashed inside your e-mail
When I was in your part of town
I strolled around and slipped this note under your door
So when ya think nobody's lookin'
I'm the eye that passes by ya
When ya think nobody's listenin' I'm the listener...
I'm The Resister
Signed The Resister
(c) 2008 Carl Klang

Have You Seen This...

Ray Mcgovern and Cynthia McKinney Discussion

Parting Shots...

WARNING: Satan Is Using Olympics Volleyball To Get Young Boys To Masturbate!

International Emergency Christian (Republican) Family Action Alert:

Freehold, Iowa - Behind the locked doors of America's Christian bedrooms, young boys are getting swept up in a disturbing trend. "I had a frantic mother come to me the other day in tears," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "She told me that her son, Timothy, invited several of his friends over into his bedroom for private prayer and devotional scripture studies. What she told me next is enough to send shivers down the spine of every God fearing mother and father in our Christian Nation! Satan is in our midst, my friends! The Devil is using Olympics volleyball to lure young men into shedding their clothes, flopping around and falling off off their beds with him into the pit of iniquity. Lucifer is turning innocent afternoon gatherings of imprecatory prayer into frenzied young Masturbating Baptist Boys' Clubs!"

When Mrs. Huxton put her ear to the door, she told Pastor that she "heard not the sacred sounds of scripture readings accompanied by soft sweet whispers to our Heavenly Father, but rather a noisy television set spewing Chinese gibberish, tuned to an Olympic volleyball match." When she listened closer, she heard the slapping sounds of flesh-on-flesh accompanied by the grunts and moans of little Christian boys!

When she opened the door, Mrs. Huxton reported seeing a pile naked young men, including her own son. "Timothy's head was peeking out from under the pimpled rump of his prayer leader," she said. "They were all on the bedroom floor covered in sweat, their stiffened purple tallywhackers pointing in every direction." Before Mrs. Huxton fainted in the doorway, she noticed the Tivo paused on the scantily clad knee of an Olympic volleyball player from the corner of her tearing eye.

"When church security officers arrived on the scene the boys had dressed themselves and were seated quietly in the living room, each with an open Bible on their lap," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "But the Devil didn't clean up his mess in the bedroom! No sir! His tell-tale hoof-prints were everywhere! There were empty bottles of secular lubricant, four pairs of silk panties stained with the after-lust of Lucifer's business, and what appeared to be a horse harness stuffed into Timothy's closet along with a case of Red Bull. In addition, security officers reported the boys had been playing with superhero toys," Pastor continued. "Anything related to superheroes except for Jesus is forbidden in this church! Officer Wilkins told me he found a Tantus ball toy and Titanmen training tools under Timothy's bed, and we're looking into it because there are bound to be some some Tantus & Titanmen comic books hidden around somewhere too! The sticky giant gold rings found under Timothy's dresser are also suspect because the boy is probably into the fantasy book series, the Lord of the Rings, and we'll have none of that! There is also the possibility the boys were worshipping an idol because officer Wilkins found a sinister looking black silicone graven image with a bulbous head and nylon straps had been thrown out of Timothy's window. I'm told the tip of the idol smelled like poopy! No doubt the family dog had gotten hold of it."

"I have no doubt in my mind that all across America, Christian families are coming across scenes exactly like this!" Pastor Deacon Fred told parishioners on Sunday morning. "We won't stand for it in this church! From this day forward any member of our congregation caught watching Olympic volleyball or even mentioning Olympic volleyball will be asked to pack their belongings and find a place to live where your filthy, sinful, disgusting, depraved masturbation lifestyle is accepted!"

Timothy Huxton, Nathan DeAngelino, Alfred Fillmore, and Rufus Washington have each been sent to the Landover Baptist Creation Science Research Facility where they remain isolated from television and one another in the pre-marital mastrubatorial re-conditioning ward until further notice.
(c) 2008 The Landover Baptist Church


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Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 8 # 34 (c) 08/29/2008

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