Issues & Alibis

Please visit our sponsor!

In This Edition

Matthew Rothschild examines, "Glenn Beck And The Yearning For Fascism."

Uri Avnery imagines, "Damage Control."

Robert Scheer finds, "It's The Mortgages, Stupid."

Randall Amster wonders, "As Goes Arizona, Whither Goes The Nation?."

Jim Hightower considers, "Labor Day And The Work We Have To Do."

David Sirota says, "Despite All The Fuss, The War In Iraq Isn't Over."

James Donahue discovers that, "Aspartame Cover-up Reaches Into High Places."

Joel S. Hirschhorn explains, "Why Americans Elect Awful Presidents."

Chris Floyd explores, "Mad Men."

Ted Rall demands that, "If I Die In Afghanistan."

Paul Krugman sees, "1938 In 2010."

Chris Hedges returns with, "They Kill Alex."

David Michael Green warns, "Our Long National Nightmare Isn't Over, It's Just Beginning."

Arizona Governor Jan Brewer wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Amy Goodman declares, "September 11: A Day Without War."

Bill Quigley analyzes, "The United States Of Fear."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Landover Baptist Church reports, "Landover Baptist Pastors Reunite & Reconcile At Glen Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally!" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "They No Longer Hate Us."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Chip Bok, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Brian McFadden, Derf City, Destonio, Ted Rall, Mike Lester, Jerry Holbert, Rex F. May, Seeds Of Doubt.Com, Vincent Pinto and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

They No Longer Hate Us
By Ernest Stewart

"They hate what they see right here in this chamber: a democratically elected government. Their leaders are self-appointed. They hate our freedoms: our freedom of religion, our freedom of speech, our freedom to vote and assemble and disagree with each other."
~~~ pResident George W. Bush ~~~

I want the truth! ~~~ Tom Cruise
You can't handle the truth! ~~~ Jack Nicholson
A Few Good Men

Oh, workers can you stand it?
Oh, tell me how you can.
Will you be a lousy scab,
Or will you be a man ?

Don't scab for the bosses,
Don't listen to their lies.
Us poor folks haven't got a chance,
Unless we organize.
Which Side Are You On? ~~~ Florence Reese

Well I'm going down
Down, down, down, down, down
I'm going down
Down, down, down, down, down
I've got my head out the window
And my big feet on the ground

She's gone
Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone
She's gone
Gone, gone, gone, gone, gone
I've got my head out the window
And my big feet on the ground
Going Down ~~~ Jeff Beck

I'm curious America, how are you going to celebrate 911 this year? With a family picnic, full of watermelon, fried chicken, softball, Frisbee and three legged races?

Will you do a backyard barbeque and invite the Muslim family down the block for some hotdogs and apple pie? After all, they no longer hate us, right? We no longer have all those "Freedoms" that Dubya outlined to Congress as the reasons that Muslims hate us instead of the real reasons, that we'd been murdering and stealing from them for 100 years! 911 was the reason Congress used as an excuse to destroy the Constitution and Bill of Rights! And since this is America, founded upon religious freedom for all, we can all come together and remember those terrorists that planned and executed the 911 attacks and see that they're punished for their crimes! You know who I mean, right?

I mean the members of PNAC who planned 911, i.e., Elliott Abrams, Gary Bauer, William J. Bennett, John Ellis "Jeb" Bush, Richard B. Cheney, Eliot A. Cohen, Midge Decter, Paula Dobriansky, Steve Forbes, Aaron Friedberg, Francis Fukuyama, Frank Gaffney, Fred C. Ikle[, Donald Kagan, Zalmay Khalilzad, I. Lewis "Scooter" Libby, Norman Podhoretz, J. Danforth Quayle, Peter W. Rodman, Stephen P. Rosen, Henry S. Rowen, Donald Rumsfeld, Vin Weber, George Weigel, Paul Wolfowitz. A rogues' gallery of American traitors par excellence! Along with the RNC and the rest of the Crime Family Bush and their bumbling lap dogs the CIA! You'll recall they were looking for another Pearl Harbor and they got one just like Pearl Harbor, i.e., an inside job, setting up the Muslims instead of the Japanese for a false flag attack.

It's nine years down the road and nobody is calling for their heads on a spike. In fact our current Fuhrer says we need to forget about them as that's all in the past and look forward and concentrate on killing more Muslims in Afghanistan, Pakistan and Iran! And is America outraged over that? Are they demanding a trial for these traitors? Nope, they want, instead, to outlaw Islam. They want to deny Muslims their rights under the US Constitution. They want to ban Mosques and they want to burn the Koran all under the guise of being patriots, instead of the traitors that they are. Mostly, they want them rounded up and put into "Happy Camps(tm)," like we did to the Germans and Japanese Americans during WWII. Innocent, patriotic, American citizens, men, women and children who hadn't committed any crime lost everything. They lost their homes, their cars and businesses and were held in some cases until 1948 behind barbed wire and machine gun towers, without trial or being charged with any crime. Many died or never got over their treatment. Of course, we were so efficient because we had hundreds of years of practice doing the same thing, only worse, to the Indians! You'll remember that one of the first Happy Camps(tm) was called Oklahoma! Oh, and lets not forget that slavery thing; ask a black person how that worked out for them! Now the fascists are looking for some new scapegoats to blame for the acts of politicians and their elite puppet masters! Hey, it's traditional; it's the American way. So do what you do best, America! Roll over and go back to sleep and pretend nothings wrong!

Happy 911 Ya'll!

In Other News

I keep hearing about how the fascists with the help of the teabaggers are going to retake Congress just two years after causing the worst 8 years in our history. We're told this by fascist controlled polls and TV talking heads, surprise! Not to mention all the help the Demoncrats have given the far right since taking power. It's not a done deal, at least not yet, but since Barry has done nothing but play into the RNCs hands since taking office who is to say that all the fascist lies won't turn out to be the truth?

A lot of liberals pooh-pooh the teabaggers, laughing about the name itself. It is, after all, the name for a homosexual act, i.e., of placing one's scrotum into the willing mouth of another, like dunking a Tea Bag into a cup of warm water. While heterosexuals also do the same, it's the homosexual connotation that liberals snicker about.

Sure, a large percentage of Rethuglicans are gay. Yes there are the ones that are out of the closet, openly gay "the Log Cabin Republicans" who took their name from Abe Lincoln, our first bi-sexual president and first Republican. Just a coincidence? I think not. While the Log Cabin boys are out, none of them have been elected to high office. All the Republicans that have won and are gay are deep in the closet. They preach self hate until they're busted and then they change their tune, most recently Ken Mehlman, President Bush's campaign manager in 2004 and a former chairman of the Republican National Committee came out of the closet but so far hasn't spoken to the question of his bosses' i.e., George W's. obvious bi-sexuality. Or did you think that gay male prostitute Jeff Gannon made those 100 plus late night visits to the White House to talk strategy with Bush? I suspect they were teabagging one another, don't you?

This so called grassroots movement has been financed from the very beginning by the billionaire Koch brothers, Charles and David (who have yet to come out of the closet), through their political unit "Americans for Prosperity." What do you think that the rank and file members of the Teabaggers, those mostly middle class, white, straight couples would make of their movement if they knew what it was really all about?

Don't you think if they knew it was all about getting rid of our last few rights and giving complete control over us to the elites like the Kochs, whose dear old dad, Fred Koch, by-the-way, was a founder of the ultra fascist John Birch Society. For the true believers, i.e., the Sheeple, the Kochs would be the twin anti-Christs but, being the Sheeple that they are, none of this, even if they knew it would mean anything as even faced with inflatable truth they will ignore it, because like Jack said to Tom in "A Few Good Men," they can't handle it! Because to face the truth they'd have to face the facts that most everything they believe in is a lie, ergo denial and ignoring is their only escape from reality.

So liberals enjoy a good laugh, until the election, after which I don't think it will be as funny as it is now!

And Finally

Did you join your union brothers and sisters on Labor Day for a union picnic? When I was a lad that was a certainty. My family went to two big picnics every summer. The 4th of July with friends and family and Labor Day with my father's U.A.W. brothers and sisters.

Labor Day, you'll recall, came out of the various strikes and mass murders by private, federal and state National Guard troops in the 1870s and 1880s. Begun in 1882 in New York City, by 1894 it had become a national holiday. Only a bare bone, thrown to the workers but none-the-less, a start. Corpo-rat America would spend the next 50 years fighting tooth and nail against the workers and the unions.

Henry Ford went so far as to hire black men to try and bust Ford's fledgling union. It wasn't done out of kindness by Ford but for greed. It didn't break the union and Ford ended up with unions and blacks something that must have blown his mind!

By the time I came on the scene some 5 years later the unions were growing by leaps and bounds and America was beginning to build a real middle class and for 30 years or so America prospered, as did the workers and surprise, surprise, the bosses, too. Four out of ten working Americans belonged to a union and one person could work one job and make enough money so mom could stay home and raise a family if she so desired.

Today it's about one in eight who belong to unions. While 50+ million Americans don't have health insurance 97% of union members do. Union members still make enough to support their families while non member families often have both mom and dad working and in many cases multiple jobs and are still just holding their heads above water. And as goes the unions, so goes the middle class. United we stand America, divided we fall!

I dreamed I saw Joe Hill last night, alive as you and me!

It's Over

Dear Readers,

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

PS. Good old Ernie from Ontario, Canada has sent in another nice check, thanks brother. Did I mention that Ernie has donated more than three times the money sent in by Americans all by his lonesome? Did I mention that Ernie is on social security? So I'm wondering why my America readers who are still working 9 to 5 can't lend me a hand in this emergency. If you're as broke as I, don't feel bad, I understand that but if you've been reading us for free for the last nine years isn't it about time you gave us a helping hand? I've gotten slightly less than half the money that I need to move. Time is running out!

Oh, and even more "good" news. The computer that I thought I had access to, I don't, which means I now have to raise another $1200 for a computer and software. Or the magazine will be closed until about the first of March, instead of for a week, as I'm going to be broke until I start getting social security checks in December. So as I write this I need about $2000. Anyone who can help in any way, i.e., transport, cash, a computer, please email me at once! Thanks Ya'll!


06-27-1924 ~ 09-04-2010
Thanks for the political cartoons!

09-01-1942 ~ 09-05-2010
Thanks for the courage!

01-21-1926 ~ 09-06-2010
Thanks for the movies!

04-15-1952 ~ 09-07-2010
Thanks for the laughs!


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


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

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

Glenn Beck And The Yearning For Fascism
By Matthew Rothschild

Glenn Beck's got me worried again about fascism in America.

His so-called restoring honor rally last weekend assumed that somehow America has been dishonored, and that is a classic trope of fascists.

Nor was I comforted by all talk from Beck about "America today begins to turn back to God."

Nor was I comforted by the full-throated and repeated chants of "USA, USA."

Nor by Sarah Palin having the gall to claim "we feel the spirit of Dr. Martin Luther King," this just 10 days after she told Dr. Laura to "reload," after the talk show host said the N word 11 times in five minutes.

As if the rally wasn't enough, Beck continued on his crusade during the week. Check this comment out: Beck said, "There are a lot of universities that are as dangerous with the indoctrination of the children as terrorists are in Iran or North Korea."

The irony is that Ahmadinejad has actually denounced the universities in Iran with similar disdain. One year into his first term, he asked scornfully "why liberal and secular university lecturers are present in the universities." He and Beck see eye to eye on that one.

Beck made a fool of himself also when he said, later in the week, that a flock of geese that appeared in the sky "was God's flyover," taking the place of an Air Force flyover he was not able to arrange. All of Beck's references to "divine providence" and doing the work of God reminded me of a quote from W. S. Merwin, our new poet laureate, who once wrote: "The president of lies quotes the voices of God."

I've been taking seriously the warnings of Noam Chomsky, who says he senses "the dark clouds of fascism" gathering here at home. I also take seriously the writings of Chris Hedges, the former New York Times reporter and author of several great books, including "War Is a Force that Gives Us Meaning." A couple years ago, Hedges wrote another book called "American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War On America."

And back in March, Hedges elaborated on the theme:

"The language of violence always presages violence. When someone like Palin posts a map with cross hairs on the districts of Democrats, when she says "Don't Retreat, Instead-RELOAD!" there are desperate people cleaning their weapons who listen. When Christian fascists stand in the pulpits of megachurches and denounce Barack Obama as the Antichrist, there are messianic believers who listen. . . .These movements are not yet full-blown fascist movements. They do not openly call for the extermination of ethnic or religious groups. They do not openly advocate violence. But, as I was told by Fritz Stern, a scholar of fascism who has written about the origins of Nazism, 'In Germany there was a yearning for fascism before fascism was invented.' It is the yearning that we now see, and it is dangerous. If we do not immediately reincorporate the unemployed and the poor back into the economy, giving them jobs and relief from crippling debt, then the nascent racism and violence that are leaping up around the edges of American society will become a full-blown conflagration. Left unchecked, the hatred for radical Islam will transform itself into a hatred for Muslims. The hatred for undocumented workers will become a hatred for Mexicans and Central Americans. The hatred for those not defined by this largely white movement as American patriots will become a hatred for African-Americans. The hatred for liberals will morph into a hatred for all democratic institutions, from universities to government agencies to the press."

Hedges was prescient here, anticipating the anti-immigrant wave and the anti-Muslim wave-and even Beck's swipe at the universities.

Hedges also talked about the urgent need to give people jobs lest more people succumb to the lure of fascism.

Another intellectual I greatly admire, Walden Bello, just echoed Hedges's warning about the economic crisis feeding into fascism. In his article "Can You Say, Fascism? The Political Consequences of Stagnation," Bellow writes:

"The common failure of both market fundamentalists and technocratic Keynesians so far to address the fears of the unemployed, the about-to-be unemployed, and the vast numbers of economically insecure people will most likely produce social forces that would tackle their fears and problems head-on. A failure of the left to innovatively fill this space will inevitably spawn a reinvigorated right with fewer apprehensions about state intervention, one that could combine technocratic Keynesian initiatives with a populist but reactionary social and cultural program. There is a term for such a regime: fascist. . . . Fascism in the United States? It's not as far-fetched as you might think."

Consider yourself forewarned.
(c)2010 Matthew Rothschild is the editor of The Progressive magazine.

Damage Control
By Uri Avnery

A DUTCH journalist asked me last Wednesday to try and divine the thoughts of Binyamin Netanyahu on his way to Washington.

It seems that she was satisfied with the results, because she asked me to divine the thoughts of Mahmoud Abbas, too.

She must have liked that as well, because then she asked me to do the same for Barack Obama.

Here, then, is what I told her:

NETANYAHU'S THOUGHTS on the way to Washington:

The main thing is to minimize the damage.

Just now, someone asked me how I see our situation in four years time. Four years! I am thinking about what is going to happen in four weeks, when the settlement freeze is due to come to an end!

I feel like an officer on the bridge of the Titanic, who sees the awful iceberg looming up.

These settlers (yes, yes, I know I should call them "inhabitants of Judea and Samaria") cannot be trifled with. Impossible to reason with them and convince them to keep silent while we look for ways to get around the freeze.

Arik [Sharon] tried. When he planned the separation, he told the settlers: let's sacrifice a dozen small settlements in order to save the hundreds of others. Let's amputate a little finger in order to save the entire body. It didn't help. The settlers decided to fight for every single settlement.

Last year, when we started to discuss the freeze, I fought like a lion to limit it to ten months, instead of a year, as Obama had demanded. We both understood the difference: the ten months come to an end at the height of the American election campaign. A year would have finished after the elections. I thought that if the freeze came to an end in September, Obama wouldn't dare to press me to extend the moratorium. Jewish votes and Jewish money would make the difference.

I grew up in the States. I know how things work. AIPAC rules Congress. The politicians are afraid of us all the time, and even more so at election time. They know very well that if they don't support Israel, they will be kicked out.

But now we have a mess. Obama wants at all costs to do something that can be presented to the voters as a great achievement. But Abu Mazen [Mahmoud Abbas] refuses to negotiate if we restart building in the settlements. So Obama pressures me to continue with the moratorium. If I agree, my coalition will break up. I have not forgotten that last time, in 1999, it was not the left that toppled my government, but my rightist partners.

For sure, Obama and his people will come up with all sorts of compromise solutions. A "symbolic" freeze that will not really prevent us from building. Or a "symbolic" lifting of the moratorium, that will really prevent building. Or something on the lines of the Meridor proposal. That's a trial balloon I asked Dan to float in his name. [Minister without portfolio Dan Meridor proposed building only in the large settlement blocs that the government intends to annex to Israel.] But the settlers don't agree to that either.

So what to do? I don't know. I must rely on my talent for improvisation and get round this obstacle. But even if I succeed in postponing this matter until after September 26, it may blow up then. The main thing is to make sure the blame falls on Abu Mazen.

And peace? Don't make me laugh. I have no time for such foolishness. Clearly, the maximum I can offer does not even come close to the minimum they can accept. What, I should partition Jerusalem? I should dismantle the hundreds of settlements and outposts? I should give up the Jordan valley? I should agree to the return of even one refugee? Even if I wanted to - and I most decidedly do not! - I would be unable to do it. What, to break up the good coalition I have now and be dependent on that dreadful woman?

I shall not say so, of course. On the contrary, I shall shower them with highfalutin' words. I shall tell Abu Mazen that he is my partner. I shall talk about painful concessions. I shall sell myself as the New Netanyahu. (My God, how many times must I become the New Netanyahu?)

The main thing is to get safely out of this mess and preserve the status quo. The status quo is the best of all worlds.

ABBAS' THOUGHTS on the way to Washington:

The main thing is to minimize the damage.

Nothing good can come out of this. That's clear. But the blame must not fall on us.

I am sure that Abu Amar [Yasser Arafat] thought the same, when in 2000 he was dragged to Camp David. He knew that Ehud Barak and Bill Clinton would form a nutcracker, with him as the nut to be cracked.

OK, Obama is no Clinton. I trust him. He does indeed want to make peace. But can he? Until now, every time he tried, he gave in to Netanyahu in the end. Now he must compel Netanyahu to extend the settlement freeze. Can he do it?

I can't retreat from this demand. Hamas, may Allah punish them, is breathing down my neck. They are already cursing me for going to Washington at all (as if I had a choice). It would be ridiculous to negotiate while the settlements are being enlarged. As that young fellow, Michael Tarazi, so aptly put it: "It's like talking about dividing a pizza while they [the Israelis] are eating the pizza."

Hamas is trying to undercut me in every possible way. The killing of the four settlers near al-Khalil [Hebron] was designed to hurt the negotiations. It's really amazing how Hamas and the settlers are cooperating in trying to stop the peace process. But the incident also has a good side: the entire world has now seen what can be expected if I fail.

Hamas says that I serve the Americans. What do they propose as an alternative? To renew the armed struggle? They are even afraid to launch their Qassams! The attacks have achieved nothing. International public opinion cannot be relied on, either. Our only option is to rely on Obama. When they understand in Washington that the conflict hurts their own national interests, as this what's-his-name general [David Petraeus] has said, they will impose peace on the Israelis.

Abu Amar fixed the parameters, and no one among us can accept less: a Palestinian state with East Jerusalem as its capital, the June 4, 1967 borders, limited 1:1 swaps of territory, the removal of all settlements from our territory, an agreed solution of the refugee problem with a symbolic return of some tens of thousands. I am ready to accept an international force on our land, but definitely not an Israeli armed presence. If I get such an agreement, Hamas will have no alternative but to go along with it. Palestinian public opinion will force them to.

They, too, have read the results of Dr. Nabil Kukali's poll this week: an unequivocal 2:1 majority of Palestinians support the two-state solution.

Can one rely on Obama? They say that after the elections in November he will be free of Jewish pressure. But then he will already start to think about the presidential election in two years' time. Only if he is reelected - and I am not at all sure that this will happen - will he be able to act without fear of AIPAC.

In the meantime, we must hold on. That is the main thing: to hold on and wait for time to do its work.

OBAMA'S THOUGHTS on the eve of the conference:

The main thing is to minimize the damage.

Before my election, I believed that one could influence people with logic. After all, peace is essential for the Israelis as much as for the Palestinians. What chance has Israel, if within a few years the entire Arab world falls into the hands of the extreme Islamists? And what chance will moderate Palestinians have? Don't they understand this? They drive me crazy.

[Henry] Kissinger said that Israel has no foreign policy, only domestic policy. That is true also for the Palestinians, and - alas - for us Americans, too. Domestic politics is dominant everywhere.

The economy is in a mess. The situation in Afghanistan is as bad as possible. (What the hell got into me during the election campaign, when I promised to go on with this war?!) The crackpots of the Tea Party are gathering momentum. I suspect that the Jewish lobby is secretly helping them. Who is running the campaign about me not having been born in the United States? A Jewish Israeli woman. And the campaign about me being a Muslim? Another Jewish woman. They want to bring me down. And why? Because I want to make peace, which is in Israel's best interest!

Now the main thing is to get through the elections in November without too heavy losses. As I told Rahm [Emanuel], at this point in time we must suck up to the Jews. That's why I appeased again and again that repugnant guy, Netanyahu. Now we must find some compromise about the settlement moratorium.

My God, here we are, leaders who are responsible for the fate of nations, busy with nonsense like the freeze, instead of concentrating on forging a peace that will save the lives of thousands and tens of thousands!

The main thing is to get September 26 behind us, when the moratorium comes to an end, and then the November 2 elections. After that, God knows. Perhaps I shall succeed, after all, in creating a situation which will allow me to present my own peace plan and impose it on them. Ever so softly, of course.

What the hell, aren't I the goddam President of the United States of America?

(c) 2010 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

It's The Mortgages, Stupid
By Robert Scheer

This week's proposals by the Obama administration to deal with the persistent economic crisis will be, as with previous plans that involved trillions of taxpayer dollars, little more than salt in the wounds. Once again the strategy is to stimulate the economy by funding projects and tax cuts while ignoring the root cause of the problem: a housing foreclosure meltdown that has chilled the spending of a majority of American consumers.

With 11 million homeowners underwater on their mortgages and 3 million more already foreclosed, we have to assume, given the average household size, that some 40 million Americans are feeling mighty strapped. The numbers grow to an overwhelming majority when you take into account the distress of all homeowners, who have watched the value of the family nest egg dwindle even if they substantially paid down or paid off their mortgage debt. And this very widespread feeling of being suddenly much poorer is a nationwide scourge that has dramatically cut the appetite for consumption that drives the economy.

That fact is recognized even by the very business people who are supposed to be inspired to new investment and hiring by Barack Obama's proposal on Wednesday of an accelerated tax break on business investments. As William Dunkelberg, chief economist for the National Federation of Independent Business, told The Wall Street Journal, "If you give a small business guy $20,000 he'll say, 'I could buy a delivery truck but I have nobody to deliver to.' " Although Dunkelberg's members would be happy with a tax cut, he said the most important help would be to "finally address the most important person in the economy-the consumer."

The anger of wannabe consumers who no longer feel they have the wherewithal to feed that most important of American passions is what is fueling the widespread rage against elected officials. The Democrats, being the party in power, are the most popular target, but they are in deep denial when they blame their pending electoral plight on the demagoguery of their Republican opponents.

Of course the Republicans and their deep-pocket sponsors are being outrageous hypocrites when they blame others for the horrid consequences of their decades of lobbying for radical financial deregulation. Ever since the "Reagan Revolution," their mantra has been "get government off the back of big business," and once that was accomplished and Wall Street crumbled under the weight of its own greed, they supported George W. Bush in bailing out the knaves.

But the fault is clearly bipartisan. It was Bill Clinton who signed off on the radical deregulation legislation, and it is Obama who continued Bush's practice of bailing out the bankers while ignoring the anguish their toxic mortgage packages caused the rest of us. That is why the Fed has gifted the banks with interest-free money to finance their new acquisitions while making them whole again by purchasing more than $2 trillion in toxic mortgage-backed securities and other dubious assets. Not surprisingly, the bankers pocketed that enormous gift from the taxpayers but did precious little in return by way of lending and investment that would bring down unemployment.

Which brings us to the current disastrous moment. The president who inherited a deep recession that began 13 months before he took office is now viewed as a big "socialist" spender because he followed in Bush's footsteps, blackmailed by the notion that the entire system would go kaput if the bankers were not accommodated. The amount of money now available for him to spend without freaking everyone out about an increase in the debt is paltry. The commitment of $50 billion to a national infrastructure program to be phased in over the next decade would prove to be too little too late. It is chump change compared with the $350 billion in loans and guarantees to one bank alone, Citigroup, which still cannot stand steadily on its own feet.

There is only one course left for Obama, and it is to do now what he should have done at the start of his term: abandon the hope that banks will voluntarily aid desperate homeowners and instead push for new government regulations and changes in the bankruptcy law to force the banks to make deals to keep people in their homes. There is precious little else to talk about, for if the housing market-the bedrock of not only the American dream but, more important, the financial security of a nation of consumers-is not restored, we are in for one long, dreary period of economic stagnation at best, or a severe downturn and a society in dangerous turmoil.
(c) 2010 Robert Scheer is the editor of Truthdig. A journalist with over 30 years experience, Scheer has built his reputation on the strength of his social and political writing. His columns have appeared in newspapers across the country, and his in-depth interviews have made headlines. He is the author, most recently, of "The Pornography of Power: How Defense Hawks Hijacked 9/11 and Weakened America," published by Twelve Books.

As Goes Arizona, Whither Goes The Nation?
By Randall Amster

We are now fully through the looking glass here in the state that has become synonymous with reactionary fear-mongering and institutionalized intolerance. To wit: Our sitting governor gets stumped during the "introductions" portion of a televised deba

te, winds up righting herself with the glorious phrase, "I have did everything I could do," and then proceeds to storm out of a post-debate media session when the questions get too hard. The federal government has sued our swaggering Sheriff Joe Arpaio for failing to comply with information requests pertinent to a wider investigation over his Kafkaesque policies and practices. And State Sen. Russell Pearce, sponsor of the infamous SB 1070, continues to prattle on about "anchor babies" and the need to abolish the 14th Amendment to save the republic.

This might all be funny if it wasn't indicative of a pattern that is being emulated in other states.

Even after her gut-wrenching and now legendary "pregnant pause" during the debate, Jan Brewer still leads her Democratic rival Terry Goddard by double-digits in the polls largely due to the mere fact that she signed SB 1070 into law. No wonder candidates for high office from Florida to California (both states with significant Hispanic populations) are parroting this strategy and explicitly running on an anti-immigrant platform. From the Eastern Seaboard to the Rust Belt, states are looking to imitate Arizona's "zero tolerance" approach to immigration (an apt phrasing if ever there was one). Even on a popular train route across the northern U.S., which doesn't cross any borders, passengers are subjected to routine "where are your papers?" inquiries based largely on their outward appearance.

The truly remarkable thing about this metastasizing xenophobia is that it is based entirely on empirical falsehoods, by most respectable accounts.

Illegal immigration in the U.S. has been sharply declining over the past decade. Violence on the U.S. side of the border with Mexico has likewise been steadily dropping. Crime rates among immigrant communities are on par with or lower than those with similar demographics. Immigrants (legal and illegal alike) put more into the public coffers than they take out through social services. Obviously we can play these sorts of "lies, damn lies, and statistics" games indefinitely, going back and forth citing studies and sources to support divergent positions. But this type of "battle of the experts" bantering gets us nowhere productive, and misses the larger points that most need our attention.

Before speaking to some of those "bigger picture" issues, a few more salient lessons from the desert are in order before they wash up on your local shores.

It turns out that the governor's inner circle of advisors includes a number with various personal and professional stakes in the prison-expanding revenues likely to be generated by the influx of immigrant detainees yielded by SB 1070. The governor is guided by lobbyists and close operatives of the Corrections Corporation of America, which capitalizes to the tune of millions per month on warehousing transferred undocumented individuals. While the racialized nature of "breathing while brown" laws is obvious, equally so is the financially interlocking character of the legislative parties involved and their pecuniary interests. It is likely that similarly dubious connections exist whenever race-baiting politicians fan the flames of ignorance and persecution.

Another intriguing wrinkle from the annals of Arizona is the blatant hijacking of the Green Party ballot line, ostensibly by Republican operatives with a stake in siphoning votes from Democrats in contested districts and generally gumming up the electoral works with more platforms for their narrow ideology. Under a quirk in Arizona law that allows individuals to appear on the general ballot if they receive even a single vote (their own, perhaps) in an open primary without an official minor party nominee, Republicans managed to place stealth candidates on the roster in a number of contests around the state. Knowing that some left-leaning voters will choose the Green candidate without further inspecting their actual views and values, this could be sufficient to tip the balance in close races toward the Republicans. And under the state's Clean Elections law, these calculating efforts even wind up being funded by the taxpayers.

I suspect that some of these tales may resonate with themes prevalent in your area. Or soon will.

The tack of "blaming the victim" and passing the scapegoating buck down to the lower rungs of the social ladder is a tried-and-true political ploy. In a time when powerful interests have been consolidating their reign through various forms of legal chicanery and open financial thievery, we are likely to see (and have in fact seen) a rise in overt xenophobia to deflect our outrage from the robber barons to the huddled masses. Sociologists sometimes call this a "moral panic" when it reaches widespread levels of knee-jerk persecution of "the other" - but it might more aptly be called an "immoral panic" since its architects are happy to advance their entrepreneurial interests at the expense of vulnerable segments of the populations. Most horrifyingly, this tack sometimes comes with bloodshed, hate crimes, and other forms of victimization in its wake.

You may be tempted to buy into the notion that "illegal immigrants" and other "undesirables" are the source of all our social ills and economic woes. Perhaps your fear in these uncertain times motivates a subtle embrace of such notions. The sensationalization of crimes by people of color - while the crimes of the well-to-do go far less reported - contributes to an air of demonization. The power elite are largely hidden from view and immune from direct contestation, whereas the poor migrant worker or "welfare queen" in our midst can be slurred in polite company without much fear of societal repercussions. Political uncertainty and (in particular) economic anxiety need an outlet, and the construction of the dangerous "other" as a lightning rod for these purposes is part and parcel of the Machiavellian playbook.

In this light, it can plausibly be argued that Arizona has stepped to the national fore of the immigration debate precisely because it is also within hailing distance of ground zero for the financial meltdown. Rampant foreclosures, major property devaluations, teeming unemployment, the erosion of public healthcare, a race-to-the-bottom education system, firewall tax increases of last resort - and only the prisons as a tangible growth industry. This, then, is the "Arizona Model" of imposed austerity, public sphere evisceration, scapegoating, and prison profiteering. Is this a trial balloon, on a statewide scale, for a rightwing power grab par excellence? Not to trespass upon another state's image, but: if they can make it here, can they make it anywhere?

Take heed friends, lest you find that as goes Arizona, so goes the rest of the nation.
(c) 2010 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Labor Day And The Work We Have To Do

Let's see where we are: 14.6 million people are officially out of work - 7.3 million of them for more than half a year. In the past two years, 55 percent of Americans have directly felt the sting of our country's ongoing Jobs Depression - 32 percent of this majority have lost jobs, 28 percent have had their hours involuntarily reduced, 23 percent have been forced to take pay cuts, and 11 percent have had their jobs converted from full-time to part-time.

Happy Labor Day!

The worst news is not in today's deplorable jobs numbers, but in the fact the moneyed elites intend to make such numbers the "new normal" - an economy of planned insecurity for all but the rich, featuring long periods of joblessness for most workers, permanently-low wages, the barest of benefits, and a tattered safety net.

Meanwhile, the White House and Congress are laying down on the job. Democrats and Republicans alike coolly cash their generous monthly paychecks, while not lifting a finger to cope with the creeping joblessness that literally is devouring America's middle class. In the face of this deepening economic crisis, our policy makers hem and haw, stall and dodge.

The perfidious right-wing Republicans in Congress are pathetic, even blaming the unemployed for their unemployment. Yet Obama and a cadre of pusillanimous Democrats are unwilling to challenge the GOP's perfidy. They could and should rally the American public around a national mission to restore the middle class with a bold program of infrastructure repair and construction of a new, green economy. But, in a disgraceful failure of leadership, they refuse to try.

As in the past, working folks must organize to build their own middle-class recovery. For information and grassroots action, connect with the National Jobs For All Coalition:
(c) 2010 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Despite All The Fuss, The War In Iraq Isn't Over
By David Sirota

Something about 21st-century warfare brings out Washington's lust for historical comparison. The moment the combat starts, lawmakers and the national press corps inevitably portray every explosion, invasion, frontline dispatch, political machination and wartime icon as momentous replicas of the past's big moments and Great Men.

So 9/11 was Pearl Harbor. Colin Powell's Iraq presentation at the United Nations was Adlai Stevenson's Cuban Missile Crisis confrontation. Embedded journalists in Afghanistan strutted around like the intrepid Walter Cronkite on a foreign battlefield. George W. Bush was a Rooseveltian "war president." The Iraq invasion was D-Day.

A byproduct of reporters' narcissism, politicians' vanity and the Beltway's lockstep devotion to militarism, this present-tense hagiography ascribes the positive attributes of sanitized history to current events. And whether or not the analogies are appropriate, they inevitably help sell contemporary actions -- no matter how ill-advised. As just one example: If 9/11 was Pearl Harbor, as television so often suggested, then American couch potatoes were bound to see "shock and awe" in Baghdad as a rational reprise of the atomic bomb in Hiroshima.

Of course, after we were told seven years ago that "major combat operations in Iraq have ended," and after a historically unique conflict that has lasted longer than almost any other, you might think the media would start questioning the government's martial stagecraft. You might also think all the comparisons to the past would stop. Instead, D.C. journalists and lawmakers are now celebrating the supposed withdrawal from Iraq, implicitly presenting the White House's August announcement as the second coming of V-J Day.

The trouble is that the announcement is anything but, because the war isn't even close to over. And we know that because the military is quietly acknowledging as much.

Just beyond pundits' soaring paeans and President Barack Obama's history-referencing declaration of victory, the Pentagon admits "nothing will change." That isn't a paraphrase -- it's a direct quote from the Army's chief spokesman in Iraq. It came just before a Colorado Springs Gazette dispatch quoted another military official saying "our mission has not changed." The article then went on to point out that "current and scheduled deployments will resume as planned," as 50,000 soldiers remain stationed in Iraq.

"American troops in Iraq will still go into harm's way," notes the Brookings Institution's Kenneth Pollack. "American pilots will still fly combat missions in support of Iraqi ground forces, and American special forces will still face off against Iraqi terrorist groups in high-intensity operations ... (The United States) will probably face casualties there in the years to come, regardless of how we label our mission there."

The truth, in short, is clear: Despite Washington's portraying this month's Iraq announcement as another big happy event created by Great Men, the only history that's truly germane to this moment is the kind that may portend future misfortune.

Notice that the White House has taken to saying that the remaining American troops are merely serving with the Iraqi army in an "advise-and-assist" role. Notice, too, that these same officials are now touting the Iraqification of that nation's security.

Considering this, if historical allegory must infuse America's foreign policy discourse, shouldn't reporters be pondering how our government deceptively employed the same military adviser moniker in the disastrous Vietnam buildup? And shouldn't elected officials remember that "Vietnamization" was the seemingly pro-withdrawal panacea floated four blood-soaked years before U.S. forces finally left Southeast Asia?

Sure they should -- but they don't because it's easier to pretend this is just another gauzy snippet in a saccharine History Channel documentary. And it's not just easier -- as with most present-tense hagiography, pretending the Iraq conflict has concluded serves a deliberate purpose: to make America forget the altogether unglamorous consequences of permanent war.
(c) 2010 David Sirota is the author of the best-selling books "Hostile Takeover" and "The Uprising." He hosts the morning show on AM760 in Colorado and blogs at E-mail him at or follow him on Twitter @davidsirota. David is a former spokesperson for the House Appropriations Committee.

Aspartame Cover-up Reaches Into High Places
By James Donahue

When the R. G. Searle Co. put Aspartame on the market as the artificial sweetener NutraSweet in the 1970s, records indicate that company officials and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) already knew it was an unsafe neurotoxin that triggered tumors, seizures and a variety of other brain disorders.

A published paper by Dr. Joseph Mercola, to be found on, notes that Aspartame was once on a Pentagon list of bio-warfare chemicals submitted to Congress. It was listed as a chemical weapon designed to impact large populations.

It contains three synthetic amino acids, phenylalanine, aspartic acid and methanol, all poisonous neurotoxins.

Phenylalanine is known to cause seizures and it degrades into DKP, a tumor causing agent. Aspartic acid has been found to cause holes in the brains of mice in test labs. And Methanol, or wood alcohol, is a cumulative toxin that destroys the optic nerve, causes blindness, and kills fetal tissue. Methanol in the body breaks down into formaldehyde (embalming fluid) and formic acid which has the chemical composition of ant poison. Formic acid is used commercially as a paint stripper.

Aspartame is currently banned in all children's products in the European Common Market, but it is found in almost everything produced and sold in the United States and Canada, including the medicine we are prescribed or buy over the counter.

So how did such an ingredient get in the commercially produced products we all consume?

A paper by Dr. Betty Martini notes that tests on monkeys and hamsters clearly showed severe problems with the product. FDA toxicologists Adrian Gross and Jacqueline Verrett strongly objected to its approval for public consumption. The FDA withheld approval of the product for 16 years.

Yet it was eventually marketed anyway, making its way into soft drinks and a wide variety of other prepared foods and promoted as a safe alternative to sucrose and sugar. While public awareness of this dangerous substance has grown, Aspartame can still be found in many of the prepared foods we buy.

Since it went on the market there has been a massive increase in brain disorders in both children and adults throughout not only the United States but also in many other countries where Aspartame or American-made products containing Aspartame are sold. These disorders range from Alzheimer's and Parkinson's Diseases and Multiple Sclerosis in adults to Attention Deficit Disorder, other learning and behavior problems and severe depression sometimes leading to suicide in children.

New reports now indicate that Aspartame also interacts with most drugs, causing them to be ineffective or changing their properties.

Author Dr. James Bowen wrote: "Because aspartame in the processes of digestion and metabolism, forms about ten other known severe poisonings, and intermediate metabolites, its potential for drug related interactions is immeasurable. To top that off, the aspartame molecule is so heinously poisonous in different ways that it never passed a single FDA standard toxicity test."

Instead of taking Aspartame off the market, the pharmaceutical industry, with the FDA's approval, has marketed a spate of powerful and costly drugs, including putting children on the controversial mind bending narcotic Ritalin, to control behavior.

How could this happen in the United States where we always thought the FDA was keeping close watch over the safety of the products we consume?

The blame appears to lay on the cunning of Donald Rumsfeld, the man that served under Presidents Ford and George W. Bush as our Secretary of Defense and who was the CEO of Searle Co. at the time Aspartame was finally put on the open market.

Bowen was quoted in Martini's paper as charging that Rumsfeld was apparently hired by Searle as a way of using political power to get Aspartame approved. Rumsfeld's authority reached all of the way into the White House, where newly elected President Ronald Reagan took "direct executive measures to paralyze (the) FDA from further action against Aspartame," Bowen wrote.

He continued: "Our FDA has never been the same since. Deadly chemicals now being blessed by FDA are marketed as wholesome pharmaceuticals, are just the tip of the iceberg, and the result of Rumsfeld's damage."

The agency now, instead of being a watchdog for the public, appears to be controlled by the pharmaceutical and chemical cartel in America. In a sense, it is linked to a form of organized crime involved in a massive rip-off of the public pocket book.

Bowen wrote that Aspartame also is found to be a "destroyer of DNA," attacking the mitochondrial and leading to birth defects that can be passed on to all future generations. Not only that, but the sweetener is found to be a "virulent brain carcinogen. No other chemical causes the brain cancer rate to jump as much," Bowen said.

Stephen Lester, a spokesperson for The Citizens Clearinghouse for Hazardous Waste, wrote that the FDA now recalls drugs that are found to interact with Aspartame, and leaves the toxic sweetener on the market.

One example of this was the decision to pull Ephedra, or Chinese MaHaung, from the market after an athlete died that was also using Diet Coke with Aspartame. Lester noted that Dr. John Olney reviewed the FDA records on Ephedra and found it to be safe. Yet nobody thought to look at Aspartame and its interaction with Ephedra as the possible cause of the athlete's sudden death.

The bottom line to all of this appears to be a willingness by the big drug and chemical companies to break the rules for more and more profits at the expense of the general public. And if profit isn't the motive, do we dare to suggest that the public is being poisoned by design?

You might be interested to know that the R. G. Searle Company sold the production rights of Aspartame to Monsanto Corp., another company with a nefarious reputation. But the bad publicity has apparently made Aspartame too hot for even Monsanto to handle. The current manufacturer is the Ajinomoto Group of Japan.
(c) 2010 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

Why Americans Elect Awful Presidents
By Joel S. Hirschhorn

For years I muttered mentally to myself about the insanity of Americans electing George W. Bush president. Now I go through the same agony about the craziness of the nation electing Barack Obama president. As much as I thought Bush was a manipulated second-rate politician that carried out the terribly destructive policies pushed by Cheney and other conservative corporate shills, now I feel equally angry that so many voters fell for the slick rhetoric and lies of Obama. Disgust produces public thirst for change and Obama was wickedly brilliant at selling change. When voters are so easily victimized what does democracy amount to?

All this tells me that any nation that can elect such inept people president can also elect other people that appear to have no right or chance to be president of the United States just as Bush and Obama once appeared before they were sold to the public. That is what is so frightening about the future of this nation. The two-party plutocracy with its stranglehold on the American political system has the power to elect presidents that are an insult to the great ones that once served the nation with pride and competence.

I keep searching for explanations why millions of American voters make such bad electoral decisions. Are they just so stupid, uninformed and distracted that they fall for endless political lies? Have Americans become so easily manipulated and fooled by advertising and brilliant political campaigns that they can be sold terrible presidents as easily as unneeded, low quality and unhealthy products?

Yes, all this seems too true. Delusional voters have produced our delusional democracy which strongly favors corporate, wealthy and elitist interests over ordinary Americans. This explains frightening economic inequality and the demise of the middle class. In the late 1970s, the richest 1 percent of American families took in about 9 percent of the nation's total income; by 2007, the top 1 percent took in 23.5 percent of total income (less than 5 million people). Two-thirds of the nation's total income gains from 2002 to 2007 flowed to this sliver of households, which saw a rise of 62 percent, compared to 4 percent for the bottom 90 percent of households. Today, the median male worker earns less, adjusted for inflation, than he did 30 years ago. A corrupt bipartisan system gave us this. Is this the change you were waiting for?

Considering Bush and Obama from a right-left perspective misses their several critical commonalities. Both have wasted the nation's wealth and lives on two ludicrous, unnecessary wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Both turned out to be pretty good communicators during their presidential campaigns but quite lousy after they became president. The more intelligent and articulate Obama is particularly striking in being totally lackluster when it comes to addressing major issues and crises and building public support for his policies, which now explains his very low approval ratings.

Both pursued public policies and government programs that preferentially benefit corporate and other special interests, especially the financial sector. This is no surprise because both depended on huge amounts of corporate money to get elected. They both have responsibility for the economic meltdown that still exists for a large fraction of the nation. A large majority of Americans correctly see the nation on the wrong track, but more importantly it is hurtling down the wrong track, which President Obama ignores, because he lacks solutions.

What may turn out to be the most disturbing similarity is that Obama may get elected for a second term just like Bush accomplished despite uninspiring performance. If there is anything more disturbing than electing awful politicians with no real record of accomplishments it is reelecting them for a second term! More than anything else this demonstrates the absence of true, effective political competition and the ability to brainwash and manipulate voters.

For years I hoped that some third party presidential candidate would emerge, capture public confidence and offer a true reform program to repair our nation. But sadly the political system has been so corrupted that no third party presidential candidate stands a chance against the two-party plutocracy. The biggest nonsense is that the US is the greatest democracy on Earth. There are many other democracies where multiple political parties give citizens far more choices than Americans have. It pays to remember that no nation ever copied the government structure of the US. Instead, other democracies where citizens also have freedom use parliamentary structures with far more political choices and even the ability to more easily get rid of rotten leaders. Here we suffer with disappointing presidents for far too many years.

The most fascinating aspect of our constitutional republic is that one constitutional path to get true, deep reforms of our government and political system has never been used. This proves how powerful, entrenched interests on the right and left have maintained a corrupt, dysfunctional and costly system. Very, very few Americans know anything about the option in Article V of the Constitution for a convention of state delegates that could propose constitutional amendments. You can learn the facts at the Friends of the Article V Convention website. The one and only requirement for a convention has long been met but Congress refuses to obey the Constitution. They fear it. We need it more than ever.

A constitutional scholar such as President Obama could make history by openly demanding that Congress convene the first Article V convention. But that would require dropping the constitutional hypocrisy that he and so many others have. The rule of law is a farce when an important part of the beloved Constitution is ignored.
(c) 2010 Joel S. Hirschhorn observed our corrupt federal government firsthand as a senior official with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association and is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. To discuss issues write the author. The author has a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering and was formerly a full professor of metallurgical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

Mad Men
The Psychopaths of Power Play the Insanity Card
By Chris Floyd

For your consideration: two stories, from opposite sides of the world, concerning the attitude of Power toward those who would question its wisdom:

GI's mental health questioned in WikiLeaks case (AP)

China accused of holding woman in mental hospital for challenging officials (Guardian)

The GI in question is, of course, Bradley Manning, the young soldier charged with leaking the video of American gunships killing civilians in Iraq, and suspected of involvement in passing thousands of war-related secret documents to Wikileaks.

Manning has been quoted by friends (and the false friend who betrayed him to the authorities) about his motives for his actions. He has said quite plainly that he wanted to show the American people the true nature of the hideous Terror War operations being carried out around the world by their government -- "incredible things, awful things." One of his genuine friends said: "He wanted to do the right thing." Concerning the video of the gunship atrocity, the friend, who had been in contact with Manning, said: "He didn't want to do this just to cause a stir.... He wanted people held accountable and wanted to see this didn't happen again."

These motives are entirely clear, understandable, and imminently sane. In fact, Manning's actions reflect a mind far more healthy and stable than the diseased brains in charge of the War Machine, who compulsively, continually distort reality to an extreme, pathological degree in order to justify -- to others and, presumably, to themselves -- their own murderous, brutal depravity.

Yet it is Bradley Manning who must be examined to see if he is mentally "unstable." Yes, of course, that's it: he must be crazy. Why else would anyone -- especially an American (and a real American, not one of those with, you know, funny names or dark skin), especially a soldier -- want to challenge the authority and embarrass the benevolent leaders who protect us and care for us? To those pathetic wretches afflicted with the pathologies of power, Manning's actions -- courageous, noble, humane -- literally make no sense. Therefore, he must be mentally diseased.

There are also some practical considerations at play here, of course. If Manning were to be declared criminally insane, he could be locked up indefinitely, right away -- no need for a messy trial that might cause more embarrassments for our imperial minders.

In any case, it's good for the prosecutors -- or shall we say, the persecutors -- of Bradley Manning to have the "nuthouse option" in hand among the vast array of "legal" weaponry they are bringing to bear against the young man. And even if the matter proceeds to trial, these stories about Manning's "shaky mental health" will help immunize any unseemly testimony he might give in the dock. Official shoulders will merely shrug at new revelations: "Well, what do you expect? He's crazy, isn't he? He'll say anything." And the corporate media will doubtless shrug along with them.

As the Guardian notes, the Chinese elite -- following the model of the old Soviet Union in its later years -- take the same approach to troublemakers:

They snatched Liao Meizhi on her birthday, dragging her off the street and into a dirty blue van as others held back her husband.

It was only two months later, when a stranger knocked on the door, that her family learned where she had been taken. The man said he had just been discharged from a nearby mental hospital - and that Liao was being held there against her will. Her husband insists she has no psychiatric problems ...

Researchers believe she is among a growing number of people wrongly detained in psychiatric institutions after clashing with local officials. One activist has compiled a database of more than 500 such cases.

Some victims have been held for a decade. Those freed describe being forcibly treated - with electro-convulsive therapy and powerful anti-psychotic drugs - for health problems they never had.

"In the last few years you have been seeing more and more cases involving petitioners and whistle blowers - 'the awkward squad' - [often when] the authorities have tried other punishments or sanctions to make them stop and nothing else has worked," said Robin Munro, author of China's Psychiatric Inquisition and a research associate at SOAS law school. "Finally they really try to scare them to hell by putting them in mental hospitals."

Well, it worked for Jose Padilla, the American citizen snatched, without charges, on American soil, and held, without charges, for years, while being subjected to mind-breaking tortures for his alleged terrorist activities. The charges against him began with dramatically broadcast claims of nuclear terrorism aimed at the US and ended with the broken man's conviction on lesser charges of aiding foreign groups involved in foreign conflicts, far from American shores. Yet even here, the judge in the case declared that "there was no evidence linking [Padilla] to specific acts of terrorism anywhere or that their actions had resulted in death or injury to anyone" -- even as she handed the torture victim a 17-year prison sentence, as Winter Patriot reports.

Manning will perhaps escape the extremities of torture doled out to Padilla; he has at least been formally charged and has access to legal counsel -- something denied to Padilla for years during this torment. But make no mistake: the depraved minds in charge of our morally insane empire seek to break him, one way or another -- as an example to us all.
(c) 2010 Chris Floyd

If I Die In Afghanistan
Please Spare Me the Hypocritical Obituaries
By Ted Rall

SOMEWHERE IN NORTHERN AFGHANISTAN--I am researching a book, a follow-up to "To Afghanistan and Back," which in 2002 became the first book published about the U.S. invasion. Accompanied by fellow cartoonists Matt Bors and Steven Cloud, I am traveling from Kunduz to Heart via Mazar-i-Sharif and Mainana. By the time you read this, I should be about to turn south toward Zaranj, on the Iranian border.

Nimruz province is a challenging August vacation destination: lows in the 100s, highs in the 130s, scorpions and sporadic insurgent attacks at no extra cost. But political commentators have a duty to check things out for themselves. Sadly the U.S. doesn't invade places like France and Italy anymore.

I could die.

I probably won't. Thousands of Americans and other Westerners go to Afghanistan every year. Only a few get killed. But it is a dangerous place. The roads are awful. There are bandits. Everyone has guns. I've been shot at. Turn on a satellite phone, and you become a target for Predator drones. Did I mention scorpions?

The possibility of death is something you have to consider when you go to Afghanistan, especially when you leave Kabul. Last time around, three of my colleagues came back in coffins.

Yes, I'll probably be fine. But if I die, I would like to ask my colleagues in the media--those assigned to write my obituary, should I be deemed to rate one--to spare me hypocritical bullshit praise.

I'm not talking about the hundreds of publications and broadcast outlets who have been kind to me over the years. I am amazed and humbled that anyone likes my stuff; I am still humbled when I see my name in print. I'm talking about the outlets that have always snubbed me.

Which is their right. Go ahead, snub like the wind! But don't pretend you're sad when I croak.

I don't believe in an afterlife. Still, whatever remains of my spirit would be incredibly annoyed if The New York Times were to give me the Howard Zinn treatment. Zinn, the brilliant leftist historian who wrote "The People's History of the United States," was lauded both in a Times obit and an op-ed column by Bob Herbert.

When Zinn was still alive, however, you'd never know it by reading the Times. The Paper of Record repeatedly ran comments on political events from mainstream dullards, discredited neoconservatives and admitted plagiarists. They never ran Zinn. If they got reviewed at all, his books got short shrift. He was correct about most things, and thus too far left for the Times.

This is typical. Whenever an artist or writer tries to challenge the status quo, the establishment media boycotts his or her work. After they die (c.f. Lenny Bruce, George Carlin, Mickey Siporin) they get lionized.

As bad as it is for edgy cultural figures to be a victim of economic censorship, it sucks more to be dead. If they had any decency, the minions of the mainstream press would resist the temptation to steal your reflected (now safe in the grave) glory.

During the 1990s I was the most frequently reprinted political cartoonist in The New York Times. They ran my op-eds. Then 9/11 happened. Editors got scared. Publishers started sucking up to Bush and his right-wing supporters. I vanished from the print edition. Amusingly and Orwellianly, for several years, a black square appeared at where my cartoons used to run.

I'm not whining. It's their paper. If they want to publish the worst political cartoons in the country (every Sunday in the Week in Review), they can.

But, Times editors, please don't sing my praises in the obituaries. Don't talk about how I was once the youngest syndicated cartoonist in the country, how I won a bunch of awards, how I helped revolutionize an art form, how my work was controversial and widely discussed, how cool it was that I went to Afghanistan and Central Asia. If you really thought I was great, you would have run my stuff. You didn't. You thought I sucked. Or you didn't have the guts to deal with angry readers.

Either way: shut the @#$% up.

This also goes for USA Today, which wallows in cartoon crapitude day after day. You never ran one of my cartoons. I've done more than 4,000 of them. Not one ever appeared in USA Today. Not one in 20 years. If you mention my death, please include an explanation of why I'm worth mentioning but not worth publishing.

If your explanation somehow involves peanut butter that would be cool.

Newsweek deserves special mention as well. Their weekly cartoon round-up is highly influential. Also, it sucks. Newsweek publishes the worst cartoons by the worst cartoonists. If I die in Afghanistan, one advantage of being dead will be that I never have to lay eyes on that p.o.s. again. They ran me one time. Once! And it was a terrible cartoon: as all political cartoonists know, a guy watching the news on TV is a lazy cliche.

Attention Newsweek editors: If you print an obit, and it says nice things about my work, I am totally going to haunt your lame asses.

Special you-ignored-me-my-entire-career-so-don't-suck-up-after-I-die shoutouts also go to The Washington Post, which canceled me in response to a write-in campaign by right-wing extremists, and The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, and every newspaper in my home state of Ohio. When I shed my mortal coil and shuffle off to the great open bar full of funny cartoonists and loose women in the sky, whenever that happens, I beg you to do me one last favor: say that I suck. Or, better yet, don't mention me at all.
(c) 2010 Ted Rall is in Afghanistan to cover the war and research a book. He is the author of the upcoming "The Anti-American Manifesto," to be published in September by Seven Stories Press.

1938 In 2010
By Paul Krugman

Here's the situation: The U.S. economy has been crippled by a financial crisis. The president's policies have limited the damage, but they were too cautious, and unemployment remains disastrously high. More action is clearly needed. Yet the public has soured on government activism, and seems poised to deal Democrats a severe defeat in the midterm elections.

The president in question is Franklin Delano Roosevelt; the year is 1938. Within a few years, of course, the Great Depression was over. But it's both instructive and discouraging to look at the state of America circa 1938 - instructive because the nature of the recovery that followed refutes the arguments dominating today's public debate, discouraging because it's hard to see anything like the miracle of the 1940s happening again.

Now, we weren't supposed to find ourselves replaying the late 1930s. President Obama's economists promised not to repeat the mistakes of 1937, when F.D.R. pulled back fiscal stimulus too soon. But by making his program too small and too short-lived, Mr. Obama did just that: the stimulus raised growth while it lasted, but it made only a small dent in unemployment - and now it's fading out.

And just as some of us feared, the inadequacy of the administration's initial economic plan has landed it - and the nation - in a political trap. More stimulus is desperately needed, but in the public's eyes the failure of the initial program to deliver a convincing recovery has discredited government action to create jobs.

In short, welcome to 1938.

The story of 1937, of F.D.R.'s disastrous decision to heed those who said that it was time to slash the deficit, is well known. What's less well known is the extent to which the public drew the wrong conclusions from the recession that followed: far from calling for a resumption of New Deal programs, voters lost faith in fiscal expansion.

Consider Gallup polling from March 1938. Asked whether government spending should be increased to fight the slump, 63 percent of those polled said no. Asked whether it would be better to increase spending or to cut business taxes, only 15 percent favored spending; 63 percent favored tax cuts. And the 1938 election was a disaster for the Democrats, who lost 70 seats in the House and seven in the Senate.

Then came the war.

From an economic point of view World War II was, above all, a burst of deficit-financed government spending, on a scale that would never have been approved otherwise. Over the course of the war the federal government borrowed an amount equal to roughly twice the value of G.D.P. in 1940 - the equivalent of roughly $30 trillion today.

Had anyone proposed spending even a fraction that much before the war, people would have said the same things they're saying today. They would have warned about crushing debt and runaway inflation. They would also have said, rightly, that the Depression was in large part caused by excess debt - and then have declared that it was impossible to fix this problem by issuing even more debt.

But guess what? Deficit spending created an economic boom - and the boom laid the foundation for long-run prosperity. Overall debt in the economy - public plus private - actually fell as a percentage of G.D.P., thanks to economic growth and, yes, some inflation, which reduced the real value of outstanding debts. And after the war, thanks to the improved financial position of the private sector, the economy was able to thrive without continuing deficits.

The economic moral is clear: when the economy is deeply depressed, the usual rules don't apply. Austerity is self-defeating: when everyone tries to pay down debt at the same time, the result is depression and deflation, and debt problems grow even worse. And conversely, it is possible - indeed, necessary - for the nation as a whole to spend its way out of debt: a temporary surge of deficit spending, on a sufficient scale, can cure problems brought on by past excesses.

But the story of 1938 also shows how hard it is to apply these insights. Even under F.D.R., there was never the political will to do what was needed to end the Great Depression; its eventual resolution came essentially by accident.

I had hoped that we would do better this time. But it turns out that politicians and economists alike have spent decades unlearning the lessons of the 1930s, and are determined to repeat all the old mistakes. And it's slightly sickening to realize that the big winners in the midterm elections are likely to be the very people who first got us into this mess, then did everything in their power to block action to get us out.

But always remember: this slump can be cured. All it will take is a little bit of intellectual clarity, and a lot of political will. Here's hoping we find those virtues in the not too distant future.
(c) 2010 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor."
--- Desmond Tutu ~~~

'They Kill Alex'
By Chris Hedges

Carlos Arredondo, a native Costa Rican, stands in a parking lot of a Holiday Inn in Portland, Maine, next to his green Nissan pickup truck. The truck, its tailgate folded down, carries a flag-draped coffin and is adorned with pictures of his son, Lance Cpl. Alexander S. Arredondo, 20, a Marine killed in Iraq in 2004. The truck and a trailer he pulls with it have become a mobile shrine to his boy. He drives around the country, with the aid of donations, evoking a mixture of sympathy and hostility. There are white crosses with the names of other boys killed in the war. Combat boots are nailed to the side of the display. There is a wheelchair, covered in colored ribbons, fixed to the roof of the cab. There is Alex's military uniform and boots, poster-size pictures of the young Marine shown on the streets of Najaf, in his formal Marine portrait, and then lying, his hands folded in white gloves, in his coffin. A metal sign on the back of the truck bears a gold star and reads: "USMC L/CPL ALEXANDER S. ARREDONDO."

"This is what happens every week to some family in America," says Carlos. "This is what war does. And this is the grief and pain the government does not want people to see."

Alex, from a working-class immigrant family, was lured into the military a month before Sept. 11, 2001. The Marine recruiters made the usual appeals to patriotism, promised that he would be trained for a career, go to college and become a man. They included a $10,000 sign-on bonus. Alex was in the Marine units that invaded Iraq. His father, chained to the news reports, listening to the radio and two televisions at the same time, was increasingly distraught. "I hear nothing about my son for days and days," he says. "It was too much, too much, too much for parents."

Alex, in August 2004, was back in Iraq for a second tour. In one of his last phone calls, Alex told him: "Dad, I call you because, to say, you know, we've been fighting for many, many days already, and I want to tell you that I love you and I don't want you to forget me." His father answered: "Of course I love you, and I don't want-I never forget you." The last message the family received was an e-mail around that time which read: "Watch the news online. Check the news, and tell everyone that I love them."

Twenty days later, on Aug. 25, a U.S. government van pulled up in front of Carlos' home in Hollywood, Fla. It was Carlos' 44th birthday and he was expecting a birthday call from Alex. "I saw the van and thought maybe Alex had come home to surprise me for my birthday or maybe they were coming to recruit my other son, Brian," he says. Three Marine officers climbed out of the van. One asked, "Are you Carlos Arredondo?" He answered "yes."

"I'm sorry, we're here to notify you about the death of Lance Cpl. Arredondo," one of the officers told him. Alex was the 968th soldier or Marine to be killed in the Iraq war.

"I tried to process this in my head," Carlos says. "I never hear that. I remember how my body felt. I got a rush of blood to my body. I felt like it's the worst thing in my life. It is my worst fear. I could not believe what they were telling me."

Carlos turned and ran into the house to find his mother, who was in the kitchen making him a birthday cake. "I cried, 'Mama! Mama! They are telling me Alex got killed! Alex got killed! They kill Alex! They kill Alex! They kill Alex!" His mother crumbled in grief. Carlos went to the large picture of his son in the living room and held it. Carlos asked the Marines to leave several times over the next 20 minutes, but the Marines refused, saying they had to wait for his wife. "I did this because I was in denial. I think if they leave none of this will happen." Crazed and distraught with grief, the father went into his garage and took out five gallons of gasoline and a propane torch. He walked past the three Marines in their dress blues and began to smash the windows of the government van with a hammer.

"I went into the van," he says. "I poured gasoline on the seats. I pour gasoline on the floor and in the gas tank. I was, like, looking for my son. I was screaming and yelling for him. I remember that one day he left in a van and now he's not there. I destroy everything. The pain I feel is the pain of what I learned from war. I was wearing only socks and no shoes. I was wearing shorts. The fumes were powerful and I could not breathe no more, even though I broke the windows."

As Carlos stepped out of the van, he ignited the propane torch inside the vehicle. It started a fire that "threw me from the driver's seat backwards onto the ground." His clothes caught fire. It felt "like thousands of needles stabbing into my body." He ran across the street and fell onto the grass. His mother followed him and pulled off his shirt and socks, which were on fire, as he screamed "Mama! Mama! My feet are burning! My feet are burning!" The Marines dragged him away and he remembers one of them saying, "The van is going to blow! The van is going to blow!" The van erupted in a fireball and the rush of hot air, he says, swept over him. The Marines called a fire truck and an ambulance. Carlos sustained second- and third-degree burns over 26 percent of his body. As I talk to him in the Portland parking lot he shows me the burn scars on his legs. The government chose not to prosecute him.

"I wake up in the hospital two days later and I was tied with tubes in my mouth," he says. "When they take the tubes out I say, 'I want to be with my son. I want to be with my son.' Somebody was telling me my son had died. I get very emotional. I kept saying 'I want to be with my son' and they think I want to commit suicide."

He had no health insurance. His medical bills soon climbed to $55,000. On Sept. 2, 2004, Carlos, transported in a stretcher, attended his son's wake at the Rodgers Funeral Home in Jamaica Plain, Mass. He lifted himself, with the help of those around him, from his stretcher, and when he reached his son's open casket he kissed his child. "I held his head and when I put my hands in the back of his head I felt the huge hole where the sniper bullet had come out," he says. "I climbed into the casket. I lay on top of my son. I apologized to him because I did not do enough to avoid this."

Arredondo began to collect items that memorialized his son's life. He tacked them to his truck. A funeral home in Boston donated a casket to the display. He began to attend anti-war events, at times flying the American flag upside down to signal distress. He has taken his shrine to the Mall in Washington, D.C., and Times Square in New York City. He has traveled throughout the country presenting to the public a visual expression of death and grief. He has placed some of his son's favorite childhood toys and belongings in the coffin, including a soccer ball, a pair of shoes, a baseball and a Winnie the Pooh. The power of his images, which force onlookers to confront the fact that the essence of war is death, has angered some who prefer to keep war sanitized and wrapped in the patriotic slogans of glory, honor and heroism. Three years ago vandals defaced his son's gravestone.

"I don't speak," he says. "I show people war. I show them the caskets they are not allowed to see. If people don't see what war does they don't feel it. If they don't feel it they don't care."

Military recruiters, who often have offices in high schools, prey on young men like Alex, who was first approached when he was 16. They cater to their insecurities, their dreams and their economic deprivation. They promise them what the larger society denies them. Those of Latino descent and from divorced families, as Alex was, are especially vulnerable. Alex's brother Brian was approached by the military, which suggested that if he enlisted he could receive $60,000 in signing bonuses and more than $27,000 in payments for higher education. The proposed Development, Relief and Education for Alien Minors Act, or DREAM Act, is designed to give undocumented young people a chance at citizenship provided they attend college-not usually an option for poor, often poorly educated and undocumented Latino youths who are prohibited from receiving Pell grants-for at least two years, or enlist and serve in the military. The military helped author the pending act and is lobbying for it. Twelve percent of Army enlistees are Hispanic, and this percentage is expected to double by 2020 if the current rate of recruitment continues. And once they are recruited, these young men and women are trained to be killers, sent to wars that should never be fought and returned back to their families often traumatized and broken and sometimes dead.

Alex told Carlos in their last conversation there was heavy fighting in Najaf. Alex usually asked his father not to "forget" him, but now, increasingly in the final days of his life, another word was taking the place of forget. It was forgive. He felt his father should not forgive him for what he was doing in Iraq. He told his father, "Dad, I hope you are proud of what I'm doing. Don't forgive me, Dad." The sentence bewildered his father. "Oh my God, how can I forgive you? ... I love you, you're my son, very proud, you're my son."

"I thought, when he died, my God, he has killed somebody," Carlos says quietly as he readied for an anti-war march organized by Veterans for Peace. "He feels guilty. If he returned home his mind would be destroyed. His heart would be torn apart. It is not normal to kill. How can they do this? How can they take our children?"

(c) 2010 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, "Empire of Illusion: The End of Literacy and the Triumph of Spectacle."

Our Long National Nightmare Isn't Over, It's Just Beginning
By David Michael Green

In the 1930s, the only thing we had to fear was fear, itself.

Today, the main thing we have to fear is us, ourselves.

Looking out over the horizon, I'm starting to wonder just how many shades of dark there are on the pallette. Lately, I get the feeling that we're about to find out.

I wish I could say that this society did our best to fight our demons, but that the odds were simply insurmountable. You know. Like we were just sitting there by ourselves on our remote little Pacific island, a thousand years before telephones and radar when - bang - the tsunami hit, no fault of our own. And we bravely struggled heroically, doing our mightiest to save as many lives as we could.

I mean, if you've got to crash and burn, better to go down with a little dignity and honor, eh?

But, no, not for me, apparently. I'm an American. I live in a country - nay, an empire! - that insists on destroying itself. I'm part of the generation of decline. My people are the fools who perfected the fine art of committing suicide by stupidity.

It's an astonishing act, and one of wide participation.

The nightmare of the right in America edges increasingly close to dragging the country past the point of no return, over the cliff of violent implosion. At this point, there is already little that is missing save the jackboots and broken glass.

The Republican Party was once a moderately conservative, pro-business outfit, until it was highjacked by the oligarchy and turned into a full-on predatory machine, hiding behind the facade of hate mobilizing issues like bogus overseas threats abroad and uppity brown people and demanding women at home. Basically, any way that middle class white males could be distracted from their sinking economic status - through the diversion of a sense of superiority over others, or the supposed threat to that superior status - was employed to cover for a party whose true agenda was to quietly produce the greatest transfer of wealth in all of human history.

Having succeeded dramatically, they are back at it again. It is now transparent, for anyone who cares to look, that the ugly tea party movement in America is an invention of the Koch brothers, Rupert Murdoch, Dick Armey and their sick ilk, once again mobilizing a boatload of fools who are angry, but too stupid to know quite why. This explains their endless rhetoric about the evils of the federal government, and their simultaneous desire to keep their Social Security and Medicare benies. It also explains their unmatched idiocy in serving as tools for their own destruction. If they succeed, they fail. If they get their champions elected, they lose their government-provided (Shhhh!) goodies. Brilliant.

In any case, the takeover of the GOP by Serious Money is now well into its second stage. Just when you thought it couldn't get any worse, it is. Seriously, what is the next step after this one fails to provide any long-term solutions to what ails America, as most assuredly will be the case? For a decade or three now, regressives in America have been showing that they are capable of anything. Which more or less answers that question, doesn't it? If you're willing to savage military icons like John McCain, Max Cleland and John Kerry in order to win elections - and especially after you get away with it every time - you're willing to do anything. If you're willing to mock the 9/11 widows as scheming opportunists, you're willing to do anything. If you're willing to don a tuxedo and joke about missing WMD at a press banquet in Washington, just as you're telling the American military's adversaries in Iraq to "bring it on", you're willing to do anything.

Looking at the rhetoric the right throws in the direction of our president these days, questioning his very nationality (oh, did I mention that he's black?), it's easy to see that they've gone completely over the line. But what's really out of control is what lies underneath this insanity generated for the consumption of an ignorant hoi polloi. And what that is - what you see when you move the slime-infested rock away - is an unfathomably monstrous greed. Watching these folks in action, you could easily get the impression that they had been impoverished their whole lives. That they had been denied everything, right down to food and water. That they had been deprived through poverty especially of their dignity. You know, like the real poor people of this world, the forty or fifty percent of the Earth's population that survives on less than two dollars per day. Those folks.

Instead, we are talking about people who are already fantastically rich. And who, despite this, are absolutely hell-bent on getting richer, even if that means depriving hundreds of millions of people in the American middle class of their middle classness, and in many cases, ultimately of their lives. How do we explain people like this? Are they not essentially sociopathic? Are they not made of essentially the same stuff as those who can kill without guilt or remorse? Especially when you consider that even the greediest among us reach a limit beyond which one can effectively make use of the next dollar and the one beyond that, so that pushing others into poverty is no longer even for purposes of your own benefit, but instead for some kind of sick sport? Aren't these the characters whose essential sickness preachers and philosophers and shrinks have been trying to sort out for millennia?

Whatever the explanation for such illness, the effects of their efforts are certainly plain to see. We're talking here about a class of Americans who have been essentially offended by the diminishment of inequality produced in America during the middle part of the twentieth century, due to the national policies ranging from the New Deal to the Great Society, Republican administrations included. America's socio-economic structure changed dramatically during that time, and almost entirely for the better. A huge middle class that had never existed before came into being. Anti-poverty programs took the worst sting out of living conditions for the poor. And America became the greatest economic dynamo since the Roman Empire. Meanwhile, by the way, the rich remained very, very rich.

But that was not enough. So they have made a concerted effort over the last generation or so to revert the country back to the bad old days of Herbert Hoover and Calvin Coolidge. Think about that for a second. What sort of elevated sickness, what sort parental deprivation in childhood, what sort of total absence of conscience and consciousness is required to produce a group of people with that mentality?

I wish I knew. But I do know that their plan worked. As Robert Kuttner notes in The American Prospect:

"For more than three decades, the wages of American workers have been close to flat while economic insecurity has risen massively. Although the productivity of the U.S. economy has doubled in a generation, most of those gains have not been captured by workers. And in the decade that began in 2001, inflation-adjusted wages have fallen for all but the most affluent 3 percent of the population.

"This pattern of deepening inequality was well entrenched before the financial collapse - which only made things worse. In 2006, economists at Goldman Sachs, sounding almost Marxian, reported that 'the most important contributor to higher profit margins over the past five years has been a decline in labor's share of national income.' By 2006, wages as a percentage of gross domestic product were already at their lowest share - 45 percent - since government began keeping statistics in 1947. In the past three years, the decline in worker earnings has only intensified, as worker bargaining power has been undermined by very high unemployment. As the economy has stumbled toward a feeble recovery, corporate profits and executive bonuses have rebounded smartly, but salaries and wages have not.

"In the 1940s, 1950s, and 1960s, wages and productivity moved upward in lockstep. Beginning in the 1970s, as government regulation of labor conditions faltered, trade with nations that exploited their own workers increased, and corporations declared open war on unions, the lines diverged. Productivity kept increasing, while median wages were nearly flat."

This is the successful agenda of the right in America, though it has been cleverly masked by the politics of resentment. This has been the real 'class warfare' in the United States these last decades - not, as pouncing regressives instantly scream out in an effort to silence truth, the very occasional and even more feeble attempts by the odd Democratic politician who slips up and mentions what has actually happened. And, as Warren Buffett is honest enough to point out, the war is over and his side won. As Robert Reich noted in a recent New York Times op-ed, the richest one percent of Americans have gone from taking in nine percent of the total national income right before the Reagan era began, to nearly one-fourth of it today. As Reich also reminds us, the last time this happened was in 1928. I would rush to say, "Hey, remember how that one turned out?", but it's pretty unnecessary to crack the history books for that reference, since we're now living it. As just about the stupidest society that ever was, we've decided to get together to explore the fun and exciting question, "What would happen if America had a devastating economic downturn once again, boys and girls?!?!"

There is one big difference between today and the 1930s, however. Once there was a political party in America - the one that did the New Deal and the Great Society - that stood up a bit for the middle class and the poor. But Bill Clinton and Barack Obama have led the Democrats down a different path. Now the party stands for a slightly weaker version of the GOP's plutocracy protection service. And, seemingly, for getting its face bitch-slapped bright red at every possible juncture. Both aspects of the New Democrats are a puzzle, but particularly the latter. What sort of psychology of the self-loathing explains how a Clinton or an Obama can be so passive, even when getting handed their heads by the most scurrilous of creeps on the political landscape, pieces of (allegedly) human garbage who could be destroyed with the slightest show of self-defense, let alone a wee assertion of political courage?

The current White House is such a failure that I am sometimes left scratching my head in understanding why that is the case. The puzzle becomes especially acute if one considers how transparently intelligent Barack Obama is, and how strategically clever they were in running their presidential campaign. It's true, of course, that there are different kinds of smart. Jimmy Carter understood nuclear physics, but not the presidency. George W. Bush understood the presidency, but was otherwise as intellectually vacuous as a mud pie. Still, Obama has shown serious evidence that he has keen political smarts. Until he became president, that is.

One obvious explanation for this puzzle is that the guy, like Clinton before him, is just another flavor of corporate tool. Ya got yer Republican Wall Street marionettes, see, and ya got yer Democratic Wall Street marionettes... That much is clear, but it still doesn't explain why this White House has been as inept as it has. Another claim that some people make is that he just wants one term, and will take the money and prestige and run. The problem with that theory is that he already had the money. And, quite arguably, he could have done better financially by simply writing a third book than by sitting in the Oval Office earning a mere half mil per year. What is absolutely clear, unless there is some radical and nearly unimaginable change of course, is that he will leave the presidency as one of history's great losers, which again suggests to me that he would have been better off just sitting it out. Not to mention all the stress and ever-present death threats he could avoid by just hanging on the sidelines.

Whatever the explanation, the effect could not be clearer. Obama came into his presidency with more wind in his sails than perhaps anyone since Johnson in 1964, and this for a black man with an Islamic name, no less. He then blew it, utterly and completely. The indications of this are everywhere, starting with all the subsequent by-elections which he has turned into 'bye' elections for candidates from his party. Meanwhile, there are Democrats running for Congress today who are literally running TV ads dissing Barack Obama and Nancy Pelosi. And even those who are not mostly don't want the president showing up in their districts before this election.

Now the latest polls are showing Republicans with a ten percent lead in generic congressional ballots. This is the biggest they've ever had in the 68 year history of polling. Meanwhile, half of Republican voters are enthusiastic about voting this November, while only one-fourth of Democrats are. On top of everything else, Republicans are doing this well despite offering nothing in terms of a plan for solving the problems that are upsetting voters. They will cut taxes on the rich. That's it. The entirety of the rest of what they stand for is simply "NO!!!" to all things Demon Obama.

Now, think about this for a second, and bear in mind that when it comes to the GOP we are talking about a political party that the very same polls show voters still hating. How astonishingly inept do you have to be to turn the world upside down on its axis and hand not only resurrection but in fact control of Congress to such thugs, and hugely despised ones at that? What kind of a full-blown multiple-car crash of a politician do you have to be to make the party of Bush, Cheney, Boehner and McConnell seem preferable to the public, by a wide margin?

Wait. Don't answer yet. It gets worse from there. In 2003, the ratio of Democratic to Republican identifying/leaning voters was about 50 to 40 among young voters, known as the Millennial generation. By 2008, via a combination of the effects of both George W. Bush and (candidate) Barack Obama, that ratio had moved an astonishing distance to provide a whopping gap of 62 to 30. Now, less than two years into the rule of Mr. We Are The Ones We've Been Waiting For, it is back to 54 to 40. These are incredible swings in identities that are usually far more stable. And they are incredibly important, because there is good evidence to suggest that voters who select a given party over a series of elections in the early part of their lives wind up keeping that party ID for life. In other words, Democrats had an opportunity here to lock in with an entire generation of voters a hugely disproportionate preference to continue voting for them. Imagine the difference this would have made in elections for the next seventy(!) years, especially over time as these Millennials replaced older, more conservative, voters in the electorate, and as they themselves came to turn out in larger proportion each election cycle, as every generation does when it ages. Democrats could have come close to locking up control of American government for the coming half-century, just as they essentially did after 1932. Instead, the party's leaders have alienated this generation so much that they have returned the identification numbers to the period when George Bush and his party were highly popular. That's a real achievement, folks.

Dan Pfeiffer, Obama's communications director, recently averred that "The public is rightly frustrated and angry with the economy". So far so good, Dan. Very perceptive for a guy in the Obama White House. You should have stopped there, though. Instead, Dan went on to say that, "There is no small tactical shift we could have made at any point that would have solved that problem". You know, I don't really know who Dan Pfeiffer is, but I would say that anyone making this claim should be removed from office, and fast. Indeed, right now I would say that anyone who has the title of Obama's communications director should probably just be taken out back and shot, on account of gross incompetence and lethal negligence. I'm sorry, but these fools are so clueless. This could have turned out so differently, and, moreover, that was obvious in January of 2009 to anyone who had paid attention to American politics for the last thirty years. This White House was not praiseworthy for seeking to be bipartisan. Rather, it was embarrassing for not even knowing who its enemies were.

The worst, though, is what is to come. Obama and the Democrats will get slaughtered in November. This will happen not so much because of the socialist crimes they are alleged by the right to have committed - which are of course utter nonsense - but simply because of what they have not done, which is to solve the country's problems. Yet, because of the socialist, big-spending, freedom-crushing narrative that regressives have successfully fomented and that the administration (including - Hello! - paging COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR DAN PFEIFFER!!) has been completely inept about countering, and because the other post-election option of actually getting it right would appear to be (and would be vociferously made to appear to be, by Republicans) an act of spiteful spitting in the public's eye, the administration will have no option after the election but to tack yet further to the right in the ensuing two years.

That will be disastrous for Obama, for Democrats and for the country. (I could care less about the first two, who deserve it, and frankly I'm leaning that same way for number three on the list as well.) Like Clinton before him, Obama will try to placate voters and Republican monsters with their sponsoring oligarchy by moving to the right. Of course, there is absolutely nothing there except tax cuts for the wealthy (he is already proposing tax cuts for the bottom 98 percent). The Republicans have no other solutions for the economy (or anything else, for that matter), though these dam-busting boondoggles for the fiscally obese are, of course, no solution either. And, like Clinton before him, Obama will be relentlessly hounded by congressional investigations into every manner of bogus scandal that the fevered minds of the closeted perverts on the right can dream up to keep the administration reeling.

Unlike Clinton, however, there will be one big difference. I often said, back in the day, that the only thing that kept the American public from immolating Wild Bill, and the only thing that kept the Senate from convicting him in his impeachment trial, was that the economy was jumping at the time and Americans were therefore fat, dumb and happy. Today, however, they're merely fat and dumb, and even the fat part isn't a good thing in this case. The public could not possibly be more surly - apart that is, from how surly they'll be in a year or two. Obama has been as idiotic a president as could be created if you sat down with the intention of making one, and they will be happy to watch him get savaged him when they have a chance. By bringing timidity and compromise with criminals to bear against multiple severe crises, and by refusing to fight for anything, he has launched a vicious cycle that is sucking him inexorably down, and us with him: He fails to solve the problems, the public gets angry and frustrated, his party loses elections, the right accuses him of everything from being a socialist to a fascist, he says nothing in response, the public gets angrier and more frustrated, his party loses more elections, they are then even more unable to govern than before, the public is about to explode in anger and frustration, he moves to the right and thereby offers even less of a solution to these crises than the non-solutions already on display, and ... so on. And so on, again. Rinse and repeat.

Obama and the rest of the cowardly and corrupt members of his party have guaranteed their own destruction, that's for sure, but that is likely the least unkind thing that history will say about them. If we think about where this all goes next, it becomes clear what these shallow punks are trading away for their pathetic self-interest and unwillingness to fight against treasonous criminals. Democrats will be smashed in the next two elections, and the right will gain full control of the government and full responsibility for the state of the country. At that point, Republicans will have to put up or shut up. Since they will have no remotely viable way to solve the problems people face - since, indeed, their real mission is to make those problems worse, because that is necessary to further enrich their sponsors - they will reach for ever greater means of distraction to keep the public's attention elsewhere. All I can say is, "Watch out, third world countries everywhere".

We know what these people are capable of, though Cheneyism has only hinted at how bad it could ultimately get.

History will record - if there are historians left to record it - that this was a moment of monsters, cowards and indolents: those being the right, the supposed left, and the public, respectively.

It's the worst of all worlds, and the combination is likely to be catastrophic.

Given the magnitude of the crises we face and the ability of those who would govern us - and those who would be governed by them - to do anything whatsoever in pursuit of their own, narrow, short-term interest, it could well be far worse than catastrophic.

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

The Dead Letter Office...

Jan gives the corporate salute!

Heil Obama,

Dear Gouverneurin Brewer,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, the Bill of Rights and your attempts to bring Nazi Germany to Arizona, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 10-30-2010. We salute you Frau Brewer, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

September 11: A Day Without War
By Amy Goodman

The ninth anniversary of the Sept. 11 attacks on the United States should serve as a moment to reflect on tolerance. It should be a day of peace. Yet the rising anti-Muslim fervor here, together with the continuing U.S. military occupation of Iraq and the escalating war in Afghanistan (and Pakistan), all fuel the belief that the U.S. really is at war with Islam.

Sept. 11, 2001, united the world against terrorism. Everyone, it seemed, was with the United States, standing in solidarity with the victims, with the families who lost loved ones. The day will be remembered for generations to come, for the notorious act of coordinated mass murder. But that was not the first Sept. 11 to be associated with terror:

Sept. 11, 1973, Chile: Democratically elected President Salvadore Allende died in a CIA-backed military coup that ushered in a reign of terror under dictator Augusto Pinochet, in which thousands of Chileans were killed.

Sept. 11, 1977, South Africa: Anti-apartheid leader Stephen Biko was being beaten in a police van. He died the next day.

Sept. 11, 1990, Guatemala: Guatemalan anthropologist Myrna Mack was murdered by the U.S.-backed military.

Sept. 9-13, 1971, New York: The Attica prison uprising occurred, during which New York state troopers killed 39 prisoners and guards and wounded hundreds of others.

Sept. 11, 1988, Haiti: During a mass led by Father Jean-Bertrand Aristide at the St. Jean Bosco Church in Port-au-Prince, right-wing militiamen attacked, killing at least 13 worshippers and injuring at least 77. Aristide would later be twice elected president, only to be ousted in U.S.-supported coup d'etats.

If anything, Sept. 11 is a day to remember the victims of terror, all victims of terror, and to work for peace, like the group September 11th Families for Peaceful Tomorrows. Formed by those who lost loved ones on 9/11/2001, their mission could serve as a national call to action: "[T]o turn our grief into action for peace. By developing and advocating nonviolent options and actions in the pursuit of justice, we hope to break the cycles of violence engendered by war and terrorism. Acknowledging our common experience with all people affected by violence throughout the world, we work to create a safer and more peaceful world for everyone."

Our "Democracy Now!" news studio was blocks from the twin towers in New York City. We were broadcasting live as they fell. In the days that followed, thousands of fliers went up everywhere, picturing the missing, with phone numbers of family members to call if you recognized someone. These reminded me of the placards carried by the Mothers of the Plaza de Mayo in Argentina. Those are the women, wearing white headscarves, who courageously marched, week after week, carrying pictures of their missing children who disappeared during the military dictatorship there.

I am reminded, as well, by the steady stream of pictures of young people in the military killed in Iraq and in Afghanistan, and now, with increasing frequency (although pictured less in the news), who kill themselves after multiple combat deployments.

For each of the U.S. or NATO casualties, there are literally hundreds of victims in Iraq and Afghanistan whose pictures will never be shown, whose names we will never know.

While angry mobs continue attempts to thwart the building of an Islamic community center in lower Manhattan (in a vacant, long-ignored, damaged building more than two blocks away), an evangelical "minister" in Florida is organizing a Sept. 11 "International Burn the Koran Day." Gen. David Petraeus has stated that the burning, which has sparked protests around the globe, "could endanger troops." He is right. But so does blowing up innocent civilians and their homes.

As in Vietnam in the 1960s, Afghanistan has a dedicated, indigenous, armed resistance, and a deeply corrupt group in Kabul masquerading as a central government. The war is bleeding over into a neighboring country, Pakistan, just as the Vietnam War spread into Cambodia and Laos.

Right after Sept. 11, 2001, as thousands gathered in parks around New York City, holding impromptu candlelit vigils, a sticker appeared on signs, placards and benches. It read, "Our grief is not a cry for war."

This Sept. 11, that message is still-painfully, regrettably-timely.

Let's make Sept. 11 a day without war.
(c) 2010 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback.

The United States Of Fear
By Bill Quigley

Since September 11, 2001, fear has been the main engine of change in the United States. Who would have thought that across the US, where people boast that it is the home of the free and the land of the brave, people would gladly surrender their freedom and liberty because they so fear terrorism?

Who would have thought that the US would allow, much less pay for, the National Security Agency to intercept and store 1.7 billion emails, phone calls and other communications - every single day - and pay for 30,000 people to listen in on phone conversations in the name of fighting the fear of terrorism?

Who would have thought that people across New York City, where people are proud of their diversity, would fear construction of a mosque and community center downtown?

Who would have thought that people across the US, where people argue that they helped bring down the wall that separated East and West Germany, would so fear their neighbors to the South that they support construction of a wall of separation with Mexico?

Who would have thought that some of the highest lawyers in the land would write memos illegally authorizing the torture of people in the name of making the US safe?

Who would have thought that Democrats would compete with Republicans to try to keep the globally shameful Guantanamo prison open so that people inside the US would not have to fear having living near prisons with alleged terrorists in them?

Who would have thought that people in New York City, a place where people admire their own toughness, would fear having criminal trials of alleged terrorists in their city?

Who would have thought that in the US, where people take pride in the constitutional independence of the judiciary, those judges would turn down the case of Maher Arar, who was captured in the US and flown out to a Syrian prison to be tortured, because they fear that even looking at the case would interfere with national security?

Who would have thought that the people of the US would fear to have Uighurs, members of persecuted ethnic minority who struggled for their freedoms against China, allowed to live even temporarily in the US?

Who would have thought that the people of the US would so fear the possibility of the Taliban ruling Afghanistan and the false possibility of weapons of mass destruction in Iraq, that we would send our sons and daughters to die by the thousands in Iraq and Afghanistan?

Who would have thought that there once was a US president who said "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself - nameless, unreasoning, unjustified terror which paralyzes needed efforts to convert retreat into advance..."?

You tell me what happened to the land of the free and the home of the brave since September 11, 2001.
(c) 2010 Bill Quigley is a Katrina survivor and is legal director of the Center for Constitutional Rights and a law professor at Loyola University New Orleans. He can be contacted at

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Chip Bok ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Come To The USA
By Ray Stevens

If you thinkin' about illegal immigration,
Be careful when you're choosin' the nation
'Cause breakin' the law in some countries is frowned upon.
Imagine that.

Sneak into China and they'll call you a spy
And ship you to Mongolia till you die.
And in Sudan they'll hang you and the camel you rode in on.

Yeah, and don't go ahikin' and enter Iran,
Or you might never be heard from again.
And in Mexico, you might face a firing squad.

Yeah, and forget all about going to North Korea.
That's a great example of a bad idea,
So when it comes down to it, there's only one option you got.

Yeah, come to the USA.
There's no penalty to pay
Should you get caught illegally immigratin'

Come to the USA.
It will be your lucky day
'Cause when you get in there's lots of goodies waitin'

Like health care, welfare, free education,
Help with your voter registration
And drivers license and credit cards and license plates for your old car.

Lots of jobs for you to do
And employers who'll turn a blind eye, too.
Come to the USA!

No need to worry about the Constitution.
We'll help you start a house of prostitution
If that's the kind of work that you wanna do.

You see, those gringo infidels are crazy.
They'll give citizenship to your new baby.
So, you see, there's really only one choice for you.

Come to the USA.
There's no penalty to pay
Should you get caught illegally immigratin'

I said come to the USA.
It will be your lucky day
'Cause when you get in there's lots of goodies waitin'

Yeah, you get public housing and cable TV
And food stamps and even government cheese.
The borders are a swinging door.
Go home for a visit and come back for more.

There's sanctuary and amnesty.
Bring the whole famn damily eventually.
Yeah, come to the USA.
(c) 2010 Ray Stevens

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Landover Baptist Pastors Reunite & Reconcile At Glen Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally!

PRESS RELEASE - August 29, 2010

Washington, DC - Everyone who attended Glen Beck's "Restoring Honor" Rally on August 28 has their own personal story to share about how and where the Holy Ghost touched them privately on that historic American day - a day almost as significant to our country as July 4, 1776 and December 7, 1941.

There were two people in particular however, who were touched so deeply, and in such a powerful way by the Spirit of Caucasian Fellowship(tm) that their experience will affect millions of others for years to come!

Until the day of Glen Beck's Godly rally, Pastor Deacon Fred and Brother Harry Hardwick of the Landover Baptist Church in Freehold Iowa had not spoken a word to one another in over four months. The church had been in the midst of a schism since Pastor Deacon Fred was jailed by the Board of Deacons after a controversial sermon he delivered gave inspiration for a young boy to harm himself. After Pastor's imprisonment, Associate Pastor, Brother Harry Hardwick, who also happened to be a childhood friend of Pastor Deacon Fred, stepped in to assume a church leadership role.

In late June, Pastor Deacon Fred escaped from jail in Fort Madison County Iowa and was hiding in godless and cold Canada with several of his followers. He was captured again by a church Sin Posse (under direction of Brother Hardwick) in the remote mountains of Manitoba. On the journey back to Freehold, using the power of Christ in his heart and the cash in his shoe, Pastor turned his captors against Hardwick and claimed over a thousand of them as his own. They had crossed over the border into America on horseback and were already in North Dakota on their way to bust Deacon Fred's wife Macel and his secretary, Edna Denkins from a Facility where Deacon Fred was led to believe they were placed by Brother Hardwick.

Two days before the Glen Beck rally, Brother Hardwick sent a text message to Pastor Deacon Fred asking for a truce to be held on August 28th in honor of the Glen Beck rally. Brother Hardwick believed that August 28th would forever be known as one of the most important days in American history, and it would be foolish for Pastor and him not to put aside their differences in the Spirit of Caucasian Fellowship(tm) on this important day.

After Hardwick assured Pastor Deacon Fred that there would be plenty of publicity and media there, and that he would be able to make a grand showing, Deacon Fred agreed to be picked up in a helicopter and taken to the Landover Baptist Airport to fly to the Glen Beck rally with Brother Hardwick.

On the flight to Washington DC, Brother Hardwick and Pastor Deacon Fred prayed together and asked Jesus Christ to revive their souls and send the Holy Spirit swooping across America and into the hearts of Glen Beck and Sarah Palin. They asked Jesus to ask God to ask the Holy Spirit to see if their differences can be put aside in order to allow them to be vessels of His grace and power so they might stand as living testament to His glory.

Pastor Deacon Fred and Brother Hardwick were picked up Regan National Airport by Glen Beck's personal limousine and taken to his suite at the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC. They were able to meet with Glen Beck at his hotel suite for light cocktails and prayer. Pastor Deacon Fred and Brother Hardwick were given full access passes to the "Restoring Honor" rally and were inseparable during the entire event. They shared the Spirit of Caucasian Fellowship(tm) and secured tithes from conservative elites like Sarah Palin, Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter and Matt Drudge to name a few. Mrs. Betty Bowers was a no-show, stating, "I never appear in public without make-up or with Mormons."

After the rally, the two Pastors were absolutely convinced that all of their bickering needed to be put aside so they could re-focus their anointed energy on more important issues like the ones Glen Beck alluded to during his Fundamentalist Christian sermons. "We can't waste any more time!" Pastor told Hardwick. "Since I've been gone, Disney's sinister grip has closed tighter around the necks of America's children! Queers are teaching in our schools, Communists are running our country, and the Moose'limbs want to build a Satanic Mosque in Freehold! We also need to work together to see if we can't get Glen Beck out of the Mormon Cult. We don't want to see all these good folks running around out here in white robes next year! Trading wives and selling magic underwear! A-men?"

Brother Hardwick and Pastor Deacon Fred met for over 6-hours after the rally with the Board of Deacons in their suite at the Ritz Carlton in Washington DC and signed papers re-establishing Pastor Deacon Fred's role as head Pastor and CEO of Landover Baptist Church. In addition, the Board of Deacons returned the lease to Pastor's 200 acre Estate in Leviticus Acres and the rest of his properties, including his Mercedes collection. They also signed papers giving Glen Beck an honorary Doctorate and Pastorship from Landover Baptist University with the stipulation that he would publically renounce his Mormon faith.

Pastor Deacon Fred arrived back in Freehold, Iowa on Sunday, August 29 - as he says, "Just in time for Wicca Hunting Season! Glory!" Upon arriving at his estate, he was reunited with his wife, Macel Smith who had already been tidying up his home. He also was pleased to find that his secretary, Ms Edna Denkins was also on hand to greet him at his office that same evening.

Landover Baptist Church members were overjoyed to see Brother Hardwick and Pastor Deacon Fred exchange a warm embrace on the podium Sunday night. In a fitting "Welcome Home," Brother Hardwick gave up the pulpit for the first time in nearly 4-months to Pastor Deacon Fred. And a rousing sermon was heard by all.
(c) 2010 The Landover Baptist Church

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

View my page on

Issues & Alibis Vol 10 # 37 (c) 09/10/2010

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

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

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

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

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