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In This Edition

Robert F. Kennedy Jr. sees treason and sedition in the, "Alaskan Independence Party."

Uri Avnery tells, "A Fairy Tale."

Victoria Stewart interviews presidential candidate Bruce W. Cain in the latest, "Volunteers For America."

Jim Hightower concludes, "McCain, The Anti-Maverick."

Phil Fear designs a, "Non-Violent, Wind-Powered Gopher Repeller."

Patty Donovan finds, "Ginseng Reverses Lung Damage In Asthma."

Mark Morford serves up, "More Booze And Cake!."

Chris Floyd explains, "The God That Failed."

Cindy Sheehan considers, "Arrogant, Small Tyrants."

Mike Folkerth explores, "The Blob; A True Horror Flick."

Chris Hedges follows, "America's Political Cannibalism."

Mary Pitt gives a, "View Of The Debate From The Great Flyover."

George McGovern wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald reports, "The Goldberg Theorem."

Paul Krugman says, "Gordon Does Good."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department 'The Landover Baptist Church exclaims, "Sight Of Horrifying Halloween Costume Causes 7 Children to Gouge Their Eyes Out!" but first Uncle Ernie wonders, "Reverse Psychology, Child Psychology?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Mike Luckovich with additional cartoons and photos from Tom The Dancing Bug, Abell Smith, Wizard Of Whimsy, Joe Heller, Fumigator In Chief, Issues & Alibis.Org and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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









Reverse Psychology, Child Psychology?
By Ernest Stewart

"And I was a physical education major with a child psychology minor at Temple, which means if you ask me a question about a child's behavior, I will advise you to tell the child to take a lap." ~~~ Bill Cosby

"My government is my worst enemy. I'm going to fight them with any means at hand." ~~~ Joe Vogler - founder Alaska Independence Party

Meet the new boss
Same as the old boss
Won't Get Fooled Again ~~~ The Who

Frankly, I don't get it. The center right is in love with Barry, the far right hates him and we over on the left are amused by it all. If there were ever a black man that the far right could embrace as one of their own, it's Barry.

First off, he's only partially black so, as blacks go, he's almost tolerable. He could be the offspring of Jesse Helms! Secondly, as his voting record proves, he's one of them, voting for more fascist causes than old "wet start" ever did. He's taken the Sheeple by storm and could use his popularity with the war protesters in the center right to jam through more fascist bills than could Johnny or even Sarah! Hell, even Johnny wouldn't vote for FISA!

Of course, the right knows all this and is using it to get Barry elected. They post a lot of articles that are obviously false even to the Sheeple and, hence, make the Sheeple want Barry even more. An example of this was an article posted in the magazines group the other day, i.e., "Illuminati Conspiracy: Barack Obama's 'Hail Satan'" by Henry Makow PhD. The PhD must stand for Pinheaded Dope as Hank states that the sign language sign that Obama sometimes flashes , which is "I Love You," is actually the heavy metal symbol. Hank then states that it means hail Satan. Wrong! As Ronnie James Dio, who started the fad, has explained on many occasions, it's a sign to ward off evil that he got from his Italian grandmother, not a salute to a mythological figure. Of course, any head banger knows this and so can see through the good doctor's bullshit! My thought is the good doctor knows this and wrote it accordingly. You may recall the controversy that was caused when George and Laura used the sign; their meaning was the University of Texas Longhorns sign, which is identical so there is little doubt that the doc knew what he was doing.

Meanwhile the Sheeple are convinced that Obama, despite his voting record, is one of them and will, no doubt, turn out in mass to vote for him November 4th. That is if the Hillary supporters get him disqualified beforehand for not being a citizen. It just keeps getting funnier and funnier!

In Other News

These daze one can't speak of sedition and treason without mentioning Alaskan governor Sarah and first husband, Todd Palin. While Sarah has never been a member, as Todd has, she has given many rousing speeches before the Alaskan Independence Party including one this year before she became McCain's choice to succeed him. Since then, of course, there's been a spin machine disavowing any knowledge of this group of seditious traitors who desire to secede from the union.

Imagine, if you will, what would have been said if Michelle Obama had been a member of a similar group and wanted to remove Illinois from the union? Michelle made the mistake of saying that as a black "For the First Time in My Adult Lifetime, I'm Really Proud of My Country," and the Rethuglican spin machine had a field day. I'm surprised that she's even proud of the country now. I'm certainly not!

Still, it could have been worse. She could have the Cynthia and Rosa treatment from the press, which is zero coverage. Not a mention anywhere in the mainstream media.

The reason for this is clear as a bell. Unlike Barry and Johnny, Cynthia is about real change. Cynthia is about ending the wars and bringing peace to the world. Cynthia is about taking care of the people's needs, not some trillionaire corpo-rat goons' needs. Cynthia is about giving the people a voice in "Foggy Bottom." Cynthia is about bringing all the war criminals like Barry, W, Johnny, Joe, Nancy, Harry, Kinda-sleazy and the rest, to trial their crimes. Cynthia is about restoring our Republic and all the laws that once protected us from our corpo-rat masters. Ergo there is no coverage, lest the people find out the truth and clear house and take names. No, the corpo-rat owned media will never let the truth be known. That would mean their names added to the growing list of real American traitors and they, too, would face punishment when the people demand justice for all!

And Finally

I see where Christopher Buckley, son of William F. Buckley Jr. the late, great, stand-up comic, has come out in favor of Barry! So why am I not surprised? They are, after all, fellow corpo-rat travelers. He gave this as his reasons for supporting Obama:

"I have realized that in Obama we have a first class temperament wedded to first class mind. That's it. Respect for intelligence and character has always been the best thing about authentic conservatism. They, the authentic conservatives, have always been the real elitists."

So there you have it in a nut-shell, straight from the horse's mouth! Christopher supports Barry because he is both an elitist and a conservative! Well duh. If there was ever an elitist and fascist it was Christopher's father William F. so there is no doubt that Christopher recognizes one when he see one! I'm glad there is finally a knowledgeable Obama supporter that has the cajones to tell the truth, something that I've been saying from day one.

Ya'll vote for whomever you care to, but do be careful what you wish for as you may get it. And when you do, don't be whining about how you got taken in, about how he isn't doing what you thought he would. And be prepared to spend the next four years defending everything he does, no matter how atrocious, criminal or treasonous the act. You won't be fooled again, huh?

*****

This week we'd like to thank "B" from Nebraska for your kind donation and for hitting on Victoria!

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

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

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Ernest & Victoria Stewart



*****


04-18-1927 ~ 10-15-2008
Tell Ernie I said hi!


*****

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

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

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












Alaskan Independence Party
The Last Refuge of a Scoundrel
By Robert F. Kennedy Jr.

In 2004, America's malleable mainstream media allowed itself to be manipulated by artful Republican operatives into devoting weeks of broadcast attention and drums of ink to unfairly desecrating John Kerry's genuine Vietnam heroics while obligingly muzzling serious discussion of George W. Bush's shameful wartime record of evasion and cowardice.

Last week found the American media once again boarding Republican swift boats against this season's Democratic candidate armed with unfair and hypocritical attacks artfully designed by GOP strategists to distract attention from the cataclysmic outcomes of Republican governance. Vice Presidential hopeful Sarah Palin has taken to faulting Senator Barack Obama for his casual acquaintance with a respected Illinois educator Bill Ayers, who forty years ago was a member of the Weathermen, a movement active when Obama was eight and which he has denounced as "detestable." Palin argues that the relationship proves that Obama sees "America as being so imperfect that he is palling around with terrorists who would target their own country."

The Times dedicated a page one article to Obama's relations with Ayers and CNN's Anderson Cooper obliged Palin by rewarding her reckless accusations about Obama's patriotism with a major investigative report. Fox, meanwhile, is still riveting its audience with wall to wall coverage of this pressing irrelevancy.

But if McCarthy-era guilt-by-association is once again a valid political consideration, Palin, it would seem, has more to lose than Obama. Palin, it could be argued, following her own logic, thinks so little of America's perfection that she continues to "pal around" with a man--her husband, actually--who only recently terminated his seven-year membership in the Alaskan Independence Party. Putting plunder above patriotism, the members of this treasonous cabal aim to break our country into pieces and walk away with Alaska's rich federal oil fields and one-fifth of America's land base--an area three-fourths the size of the Civil War Confederacy.

AIP's charter commits the party "to the ultimate independence of Alaska," from the United States which it refers to as "the colonial bureaucracy in Washington." It proclaims Alaska's 1959 induction as a state "as illegal and in violation of the United Nations charter and international law."

AIP's creation was inspired by the rabidly violent anti-Americanism of its founding father Joe Vogler, "I'm an Alaskan, not an American," reads a favorite Vogler quote on AIP's current website, "I've got no use for America or her damned institutions." According to Vogler AIP's central purpose was to drive Alaska's secession from the United States. Alaska, says current Chairwoman Lynette Clark, "should be an independent nation."

Vogler was murdered in 1993 during an illegal sale of plastic explosives that went bad. The prior year, he had renounced his allegiance to the United States explaining that, "The fires of hell are frozen glaciers compared to my hatred for the American government." He cursed the stars and stripes, promising, "I won't be buried under their damned flag...when Alaska is an independent nation they can bring my bones home." Palin has never denounced Vogler or his detestable anti-Americanism.

Palin's husband Todd remained an AIP party member from 1995 to 2002. Sarah can be described in McCarthy-era palaver as a "fellow traveler." While retaining her Republican registration, she attended the AIP's 1994 convention where the party called for a draft constitution to secede from the United States and create an independent nation of Alaska. The McCain Campaign has reluctantly acknowledged that she also attended AIP's 2000 Convention. She apparently found the experience so inspiring that she agreed to give a keynote address at the AIP's 2006 convention and she recorded a video greeting for this year's 2008 convention. In other words, this is not something that happened when she was eight!

So when Palin accuses Barack of "not seeing the same America as you and me," maybe she is referring to an America without Alaska. In any case, isn't it time the media start giving equal time to Palin's buddy list of anti-American bombers and other radical associates?
(c) 2008 Robert F. Kennedy Jr. is credited with leading the fight to protect New York City's water supply, but his reputation as a resolute defender of the environment stems from a litany of successful legal actions. The list includes winning numerous settlements for Riverkeeper, prosecuting governments and companies for polluting the Hudson River and Long Island Sound, arguing cases to expand citizen access to the shoreline, and suing treatment plants to force compliance with the Clean Water Act.

Mr. Kennedy acts as Chief Prosecuting Attorney for Riverkeeper. He also serves as Senior Attorney for the Natural Resources Defense Council and as President of the Waterkeeper Alliance. At Pace University School of Law, he is a Clinical Professor and Supervising Attorney at the Environmental Litigation Clinic in White Plains, New York. Earlier in his career Mr. Kennedy served as Assistant District Attorney in New York City.





A Fairy Tale
By Uri Avnery

"If you want, it is no fairy tale!"
Theodor Herzl, founder of Zionism

"You don't want? Forget it!"
Hebrew graffiti with Herzl's picture in Tel Aviv

SEPTEMBER 10, 2015.

It has happened.

In a solemn ceremony, on a stage bedecked with Israeli and Palestinian flags, the peace treaty between Israel and Palestine has been signed.

Negotiations did not take long. The essential elements of the treaty had been known for a long time. The document held no real surprises.

Israel agreed to recognize the State of Palestine. The border between the two states was based on the so-called Green Line (the pre-1967 line), but both parties agreed on a limited exchange of territory. About 5% of the West Bank, including several "settlement blocs", were joined to Israel, in exchange for an equivalent area alongside the Gaza Strip. Both sides expressed the wish to keep the border open for the movement of people and goods.

In Jerusalem, the Arab neighborhoods, including al-Haram al-Sharif (the Temple Mount) became part of Palestine, while Jewish neighborhoods and the Western Wall stayed in Israel. The two halves of Jerusalem remained physically united under a joint municipal authority, with equal representation.

Israel agreed to remove all settlements from the territory of Palestine.

On the refugee problem, a complex solution was found. A Committee of Truth and Reconciliation (CTR) was set up to investigate the events of 1948 and 1967 which led to the displacement of the refugees. Both sides agreed to abide by its findings. The CTR was composed of respected Israeli, Palestinian and international historians.

Israel recognized in principle the Right of Return, but both sides agreed that only a limited and mutually agreed-upon number would be enabled to return to Israeli territory, while all the others would be compensated and settled in the State of Palestine or elsewhere, according to their wishes, with international assistance.

Another committee was appointed to see to a just distribution of the water resources, and especially to the large-scale desalination of sea water, with international help, for the benefit of both sides.

After the Presidents of Israel and Palestine shook hands, all present shared in a minute of silence, in memory of all those who died in the generations-old conflict.

The secretary of the Arab League declared the treaty to be in conformity with the Arab Peace Initiative of 2002, and confirmed that all member states of the League would establish normal relations with Israel.

THE HISTORIC event was preceded by far-reaching changes on both sides.

After a long and painful rift, the new Palestinian President had succeeded in uniting the warring Palestinian factions in a rejuvenated PLO and a Provisional Government of Palestine. After some recriminations, both Hamas and Fatah supported the treaty.

In Israel, a charismatic new leader, who enjoyed much public respect, had succeeded in alerting public opinion to the dangers of the ongoing state of war in a region full of missiles and weapons of mass destruction. His new party, which attracted not only leaders and members from all the discredited old parties, but also a whole generation of young people who entered politics to bring about a change, had won a resounding election victory. The peace movement, which had long been dormant, played a major role in this upheaval.

When the two new Presidents shook hands, the whole world heaved a sigh of relief.

BUT THE signing of the document by the politicians was only the beginning of the struggle. As everybody knew, a decisive confrontation between the Israeli government and the settlers was looming.

The settlers and their allies had spent years preparing for this test. Supported by major elements of the army and the various ministries, they had access to large resources of arms and money. Many of them were determined to wage a civil war, if it came to it.

However, when the clash came, it was much less dramatic than had been feared. As agreed with the Palestinians, the settlers were allowed a year to leave voluntarily in return for very generous compensation. After initial hesitation, about half of the settlers accepted the offer and actually left the occupied territories. The rest were demoralized by the solid support of the great majority of the Israeli public for the peace treaty.

In the end, actual fighting was sporadic. In the hour of crisis, Israeli democracy stood the test and the army remained solidly loyal to the government, despite the efforts the settlers had been making for years to infiltrate the officers' corps.

THE COMPARATIVE ease with which both governments overcame the often violent opposition in their respective countries was also due to the active support of the international community.

Many commentators doubted whether the peace treaty would have been possible without the profound change of US policy in the Middle East. After the 2012 elections, the President announced that America's basic interests demanded an even-handed approach in order to overcome the hatred millions of Muslims felt for America. "We shall support both Israel and Palestine in their valiant quest for peace," he declared. The pro-Israel lobby did not dare oppose this, sensing the fundamental change in American public opinion and fearing an anti-Semitic backlash.

Europe followed suit, as always.

IN ISRAEL, the public was quick to realize the practical benefits of peace. New joint Israeli-Arab ventures attracted large foreign investments. Following the earlier peace treaty with Syria, Israeli entrepreneurs were already busy in Damascus, making lucrative deals in a Syrian economy that was springing to new life. The Syrians, by the way, allowed the Israeli wine industry on the Golan Heights to continue operating. "Let's go and eat Hummus in Damascus" became an Israeli slogan. And indeed, Israelis crowded the famous bazaars of that ancient city, turning the trip to the Syrian capital into an exciting experience.

While Arab businessmen were filling the hotels in Tel Aviv, looking for joint ventures, their Israeli counterparts were flocking to Riyadh, Baghdad, Doha and Dubai. Stories of their successes filled the television news programs and eclipsed the sight of settlers trying to repeat the scenes of the Gaza "disengagement" ten years earlier.

Owing to their position between Israel and the Arab world, Palestinians became sought-after middlemen. Former inmates of Israeli prisons, speaking excellent Hebrew, were especially successful in creating business connections. So were Arab citizens of Israel, with their intimate knowledge of Israeli political and economic processes. Their standard of living rose steeply to about that of Jewish Israelis. Their birthrate fell, as is usual with increased prosperity.

In this atmosphere, the return of several thousand Palestinian refugees to Israel passed almost without comment. Since the rapid growth of the Israeli economy had attracted many Jews from abroad, the "demographic balance" hardly changed.

Politicians and economists on both sides started to raise the idea of a "Middle Eastern Union," a political, economic and security organization on the lines of the European Union. Others were talking of a confederation of Israel, Palestine and Jordan, perhaps also including Lebanon, where Hizbullah was by now a well established government party.

THE ISRAELI army remained a powerful instrument for protecting the state. But as in the US and Western Europe, the best and the brightest were drawn to high-tech, science and business. Soon the old conflict was seen as a thing of the past.

In the end, the old adage that "peace is not made between governments but between peoples" was prove once more. Human relations, economic interests and the passage of time completed the process that started with the formal peace treaty.
(c) 2008 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom






Volunteers For America
Bruce W. Cain
By Victoria Stewart

Mornings are lovely, full of promise and young light. Unfortunately, mornings come at a very uncivilized time of day. Which is why I often seek the refuge of the porch when my husband is listening to the new crop of videos that come in overnight. A few days ago, however, Bruce Cain's video "Don't Vote For Traitors Obama or McCain" pulled me, coffee in hand, to a seat by the computer.

After listening, we asked Bruce for an interview and he graciously agreed. What followed was an email interview which we have printed here.

After I received Bruce's responses to my questions, I spoke with him by phone. During our conversation we touched on topics as diverse as the Dark Ages and Buddhism but always coming back to the plight and the fate of our country and the world. Bruce Cain is a compelling speaker and, while you might not agree with all of his ideas, he presents a more responsive and realistic political platform than the "other" candidates. As is evidenced by his answers, he has actually thought about and researched the issues he addresses.

Perhaps the most significant insight I gained was from his discussion of a "social safety net" or "Cain's Law" of exponential social support. This idea, which he talks about in the interview, provides a big missing piece in the puzzle of creating social and economic change. Thinking people across the political spectrum have lamented the inertia of the American public. I believe it is fear not inertia that keeps us immobilized and that fear comes from not seeing a way into a new paradigm-to use that overused word. Cain offers a starting point, a place to begin the conversation about the methods to provide a measure of safety and structure as we move into the new world around us.

Toward the end of our conversation Bruce said, "We're truly approaching a crossroads in our county and, with the electronic cage being built around us, a time may come when we won't be able to change the direction of this new world order."

That time, however, is not here yet and Bruce Cain is another voice raised for the cause of freedom.

[VS]: Over the past 18 months or so we have tried to feature "ordinary" people who have been compelled by the events occurring in this country to speak out, to become activists or advocates, to step up in some way to stop the destruction they see all around them. I know from looking at your website and reading some of your articles that you have been an activist for quite some time but you have broadened your scope over the past few years to include more social and economic issues. It would be helpful if you could give me a quick bio--some info on your print magazine, how/why you became so vocal in your support of the reform of marijuana laws and how that led to your current presidential bid. People have been stripped of personal power and indoctrinated into a culture of inaction and fear and so it is important to demonstrate that we--the citizens of this country--can and should effect change. I think this is particularly important now. The climate after the bail-out is one of intense frustration and growing political awareness. Millions of people called in to protest the plan and were ignored--just as they were ignored after the 2006 election. Providing a real context for protest and activism is essential. (Not that I feel strongly about this, you understand!) Anyway, that's the purpose of the bio.

[BC]: My magazine "New Age Patriot: Quarterly Newsmagazine for Drug, Environmental and Social Reform Activists" was published between 1989 and 1997. It was distributed throughout the United States and Canada to Borders and numerous large and small magazine distributors. Although it focused on drug policy issues it was drastically different from magazines such as "High Times" which I don't believe to be honest brokers of change regarding Marijuana Legalization.

"New Age Patriot" was never unclear about supporting the outright Re-Legalization throughout the United States and the rest of the world. In 1992 I began organizing an event, known as "International Drug Policy Day" (IDPD), through my magazine. IDPD preceded Dana Beal's "Global Marijuana March" (GMM) which began in 1999. The GMM is currently celebrated in over 500 locations throughout the world on the first Saturday in May. For those that want to get involved in the 11th Annual GMM event (2009) I would recommend that you access the following link.

IDPD was celebrated for 6 years, between 1992 and 1997. At its peak we had over 40 simultaneous events going on throughout the world, including locations in Russian and South America. Both IDPD and GMM have the primary focus of Re-Legalizing Marijuana throughout the planet.

Both the magazine and IDPD grew out of my growing frustration over the growing "Drug War." I had always been philosophically opposed to Marijuana Prohibition because it posed no real danger to society and was nearly always a consensual act. I was also quite aware that such prohibitions were likely to spawn policies that violated our privacy rights because consensual crimes are the most difficult and unnecessary crimes for law enforcement to enforce. Those concerns became realities when President Reagan instituted the "Zero Tolerance" policy in 1985, which heralded in the beginnings of "workplace drug testing." This immediately struck me as a violation of our protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and pushed me towards becoming involved in the Drug Reform Movement. As the Information Systems Specialist at Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit, I was also becoming acutely aware of the upsurge in spinal cord injuries due to territorial "drive by shootings" by growing numbers of drug gangs. One of my main duties was the assembly of the annual Mortality and Morbidity report for Henry Ford Hospital.

Then in 1988, I met "Hemp Activist" Jack Herer for the first time at the "Hash Bash" in Ann Arbor. By then I had come to the conclusion that drugs were not the real problem. The real problem was Drug Prohibition itself. By then it was crystal clear that Drug Prohibition was about as effective at stopping drug related violence as throwing gasoline on a fire. In 1989 I had published the first issue of "New Age Patriot" and began speaking at the "Hash Bash," and doing television interviews to articulate my arguments for "taking the profit out of the illicit drug market" by calling for an immediate legalization of Marijuana for Adults. So here we are today, some 70 years since Marijuana Prohibition began and unfortunately it only gets worse. Last year a record 870,000 Americans got busted for possessing Marijuana: nearly a threefold increase since I began my advocacy for Re-Legalizing Marijuana. So I suppose you could accuse me as being ineffective at this point in time.

In 1996 I made my first attempt at political office by running against John Dingle for his Congressional seat. You can actually watch my Public Television speech at the following link.

In 1997, the last issue of "New Age Patriot" was published and I took a 2 year hiatus. In 2000 I began the "New Age Citizen" website which pursued a much wider range of social policy. In 2008, I was endorsed by the US Marijuana Party as their "write-in" Presidential Candidate. My plan is to keep on running until the 2012 election and, during that time, to lecture on various issues to as many people as I can possibly reach. And, of course, the main focus of these lectures will be the larger platform that I call the "New Agenda for America." Provided that the Internet is not gutted, over the next 4 years, I actually do believe that a viral presidential write-in campaign can succeed. And that will only be more likely should we have to put up with the same caliber of representatives that currently control our US Congress. Of course, my larger concern is whether there will even be a United States in 4 more years.

[VS]: In your video "Don't Vote for Traitors Obama or McCain" you talk about the signal it would send to the government if millions of people wrote in alternative candidates on their ballots rather than voting for one of the two major candidates. This should be very appealing to people who have been planning not to vote. It's a very active form of protest and has a perverse sort of appeal. A movement like this is viable because of the internet. One of your 10 Preliminary Planks is support of net neutrality. Tell me a little bit about why you included that in your platform.

[BC]: I have always been an advocate for the free exercise of social discourse and, more importantly, the sharing of ideas. And nowhere has this taken such a quantum leap as on the Internet. To me the Internet has become our modern day Library of Alexandria, as well as our modern day Guttenberg Press. The late Timothy Leary, in "Chaos and Cyber Culture," was really one of the earliest thinkers to understand the social transformation potential of the Internet. And today we are really beginning to see that potential of the internet to organize groups and disseminate information.

In this light I see it of paramount importance that the internet continues to allow cheap communication, uncensored content and an evolving set of tools (e.g., YouTube) to expand our options for communication. Net Neutrality is the buzzword for just such an internet. But to be more specific I think that all of the services on the Internet should become increasingly inexpensive and increasingly universal. Net Neutrality will be increasingly important as we begin to map out the next socio-economic paradigm. Presently it has also had such an impact on the "corporate news" dynasty that they are increasingly referred to as "old media" today. We are the "new media."

[VS]: The first item in your New Agenda for America is universal health care. Obviously, everyone outside of the insurance and pharmaceutical industries wants universal health care. How do you see this coming about?

[BC]: I worked as an Information System Specialist at Henry Ford Hospital, in Detroit, (1980 - 1991). Unfortunately what is going to bring it (universal healthcare) about is the current economic meltdown which is truly the result of an economic Ponzi scam that has no more fuel left to burn. Of course, it will be up to us to make sure we move in the right direction which I believe to be a Single Payer system: an extension of Medicare. This is the only way that everyone can be covered (Legal American Citizens only) as the various HMOs, PPOs etc. are skimming off nearly 35% of the Health Care dollar. I t is also why we need a much more extensive safety net as many of the coming transformations will destroy millions of jobs: in this case Health Care jobs at places like BCBS etc. Richard Cook has offered a system of "social credit" where the people would receive a monthly dividend from our government. The required changes to come are going to go a lot smoother if people don't feel like they are going to become homeless as these social changes are implemented. Moore's Law of exponential technological growth requires Cain's Law of exponential social support in order to avoid social disintegration.

[VS]: You propose a 20-year moratorium on all immigration and, I believe, the expulsion or deportation of all illegal immigrants and those with expired visas. How did you arrive at that figure? What do you see happening in those twenty years if we have no immigration? Also, illegal immigrants have become very important to the bottom line of a lot of businesses. Would you impose stiffer penalties on companies that employ illegals?

[BC]: We need the 20 years to assess the damage done by year of unbridled immigration and give the American Working Class an opportunity to regain a sustainable income. I am a staunch Anti-Globalist in that sense. I also have great faith in the abilities of American Workers. Corporatism also breaks one of my primary values, the Golden Rule, in the sense that the elite is profiting by driving down wages and benefits through excessive immigration. They would never accept the same practices being levied against themselves. I would immediately send out the 12 million "no match" letters that would send at least 10 million Illegal Immigrants and Visa overstays back home. Then I would require universal use of the E-Verify system so that ONLY real American Citizens could work in the United States. All those deported would first be "biometrically" identified so that they could be identified if they came back uninvited. And those re-entering would face years of hard labor. The reality is that everything I have just described could be implemented tomorrow. The only thing standing in the way is a Congress and an administration that are obviously disinterested in stopping the flow of Illegal Aliens into the United States.

[VS]: A lot of the conversation around immigration has become very hateful and ugly. I live in a southern state with a growing Hispanic/Latino population and I see a lot of resentment and hostility toward that population. How would you diffuse that sort of ethnic-focused anger while instituting the moratorium?

[BC]: I should first make clear that I have nothing against immigrants per se. But we have been indoctrinated with workplace "diversity" programs that insist diverse cultures can co-exist and sing "Kum By Ya" together. Unfortunately nothing could be further from the truth. This was made quite clear in my hippie days through books like "On Aggression" and "The Territorial Imperative." Just look at the Islamification of Europe that has taken place over the last 20 years to see what "diversity" brings. It is important to understand that the corporate promotion of "diversity" is but an excuse to bring in cheaper foreign labor into the United States in order to drive down wages and benefits.

I'm sure a lot of Illegal Immigrants don't like me because I would send them home. But my insistence on the "Separation of Church and State" would certainly help moderate Muslims when they went back home, should their home countries adopt such measures. And my insistence on Legalizing Marijuana would destroy the Narcocracy in Mexico, which is a primary vector in the violence that many Mexicans are trying to escape. And, of course, the end of NAFTA would result in a rise in Mexican wages. So while they might not like my support for the rule of law, I really do have concerns for their welfare as well.

[VS]: You also propose "no further ownership of US Assets...by foreign governments or individuals." Do you think we should take steps to "repossess" (my term) assets currently owned by foreign governments and individuals?

[BC]: The nationalization of foreign owned businesses, in the United States, is definitely a possibility. And, after all, just about everything else has been nationalized in lieu of the "Trillion Dollar Corporate Bailout" of Treasury Secretary Paulson (10/03/2008). Of course, there are many intermediary measures that could be taken such as applying an additional "foreign business" tax to these foreign owned entities. In any case, such measures would require much further study by objective experts.

On the other hand, I have always felt that the first thing you should do, when you have dug yourself into a deep hole, is to stop digging. I would immediately stop any further foreign ownership by voiding all future CFIUS agreements, EB-5 Visas and other such programs that allow additional ownership of US land, businesses and real estate.

[VS]: You pledge to work toward energy independence and self-sufficiency. How do you feel about the nationalization of oil and gas companies?

[BC]: Once again, that (e.g., nationalization) would require further study as there are philosophical, political and practical problems to consider. But I would certainly impose incentives and tax relief for research and implementation of "soft" renewable alternative energy sources such as solar, wind, geothermal and tide-based technologies. Other technologies such as evolving cellulose/ethanol, natural gas, etc., would also be incentivized and analyzed for efficacy. Nuclear would be reconsidered though my research indicates that this has far more economic and environmental drawbacks than most are willing to admit. And, once again, I would assemble a committee of objective, diverse energy experts to develop a comprehensive energy model to determine the best mix of alternative energy technologies.

T. Boone Pickens has gained notoriety for his wind/natural gas proposal, which certainly deserves more consideration. But as a believer in decentralized authority (e.g., getting everyone "off the grid") I am actually more enthused by the high efficiency, electric vehicles that might be "fueled" by you solar powered homes energy. Only careful analysis will determine which mix of technologies is best suited to our current situation. The following article addresses both of these options:

How T. Boone Pickens' Energy Plan Just Got Killed by David Morris, AlterNet. Posted October 9, 2008.

Of course, one largely undiscussed aspect of energy independence is the need to stop or reduce further population growth patterns. This appears to be a "third rail" issue in the corporate media today and one that questions the environmental ideas of both Obama and McCain. Because both of these candidates are insisting on Amnesty for 12-30 million Illegal Aliens they are implicitly destroying our chances for energy independence while simultaneously making it certain that we will continue to be dependant on Middle East Oil. And not only does this deter our chances at energy independence: it also fuels the expansion of Islamic Theocracy which puts all efforts toward free societies in jeopardy. The bottom line is that "population" is a direct, or indirect vector, in virtually all important policy decisions. Yet, it conspicuously remains verboten in the discussion of all policies where population growth is a significant negative factor.

[VS]: The Green Party, which is represented in the election by candidates Cynthia McKinney and Rosa Clemente, has a platform that, while different from your New Agenda for America, has some similarities, particularly in it's populist approach. Alternative parties are becoming more popular and visible. I know you supported Ron Paul at one point and your platform seems to combine some key elements of the Libertarian party. All of these parties seem to address real concerns and problems of particularly working class voters--arguably the largest voting group in the country. Do you think it is possible to tap into these groups to promote your write-in campaign--not just for your candidacy but for the principle it represents?

[BC]: I actually ran as a Libertarian against US Congressman Dingle in 1996 and received the highest voting percentage of any Libertarian candidate in the state (1.8%). And for only spending $20 dollars I felt that was pretty damn good. But in 2008 a spokesperson for the Libertarian Party told me they would not allow me to run as a Libertarian because I supported a Single Payer Health Care Model. I still like my Libertarians but have always felt that they are far too myopically focused on their own ideology. For example, I recall getting into a very heated argument with the 1996 Libertarian Presidential Candidate after picking up his card that talked about "charitizing welfare" (e.g., making it based on individual charity). Given the increasing effects of technological job dislocations, I basically told him he was nuts.

But I really do have to laugh when I see much of my "New Agenda for America" being embraced by so many First and Third parties. For example, the Green Party has recently endorsed the idea of taking over control of the Federal Reserve. And they are also moving ever so slowly closer to my MERP Model for Marijuana Re-Legalization.

The MERP Project The Marijuana Re-Legalization Policy (MRP) Project http://www.newagecitizen.com/ReLegalization01.htm
http://www.newagecitizen.com/editorial_on_the_marijuana_re.htm

Just consider the planks of the "New Agenda for America" and you will see that many of these "planks" are finding increasing support across the apolitical and political spectrum:

NEW AGENDA FOR AMERICA: Preliminary Planks

[Video: http://www.newagecitizen.com/NAA.htm]

(1) Universal Health Care for All American Citizens
(2) A 20-year moratorium on all immigration into the United States
(3) Legal Marijuana for all Adults and Medical Patients
(4) An immediate reversal to the Offshoring and Inshoring of American Jobs
(5) A strict enforcement on issues of Separation of Church and State
(6) An immediate move from so-called Free Trade Agreements to Bilateral Trade agreements
(7) A major R&D project to bring energy independence to the United States and the World through recycling, reuse, ending hyper-consumerism and investing in the development of sustainable energy sources (e.g., solar, photovoltaic, wind, geothermal)
(8) No further ownership of US Assets (businesses, homes, ports, stock exchanges) by foreign governments or individuals!
(9) Replace the Federal Reserve with a People's Reserve which allows public oversight
(10) Absolute support for Net Neutrality

==========================================

Your readers can further familiarize themselves with my rational for many of the "planks" by watching some of the YouTube videos I have recently produced:

Videos from Bruce W. Cain on the 2008 Presidency

================================================

* Don't Vote for Traitors Obama or McCain

* Where is the Bailout for the American Working Class

* The "New Agenda for America"

* Why Lou Dobbs Should Demand A Stop To Legal Immigration

* Why Lou Dobbs should support Re-Legalizing Marijuana

[VS]: The American public has been subjected to intensive and prolonged propaganda about a number of issues. You take two of them on in your platform--the legalization of marijuana and the separation of Church and State. Both of these are incendiary topics and would certainly not be touched by mainstream candidates or, I suspect, by most third party candidates. How do you counter the fear and misinformation around both of those topics, particularly marijuana? And how do you think other political candidates who might agree with you but have not taken a public stand supporting the legalization of marijuana should proceed on that issue? And companies, particularly local and state governments, spend an enormous amount of money on drug testing--marijuana being the main drug for which they test. Do you think the economic conditions (assuming you aren't elected) open the door to curtail this ineffective and wasteful program?

[BC]: As a Systems Analyst I have always taken a multi-disciplinary approach to my problem solving. And throughout my career the solutions I have authored have always stood the test in the sense that they were all not just theoretically correct, but were actually successfully implemented. And that is, after all, the final test.

Marijuana Re-Legalization is a no-brainer. The real impediments to this are economic and political. Obama and McCain are both strung, like marionettes, by the Lawyers Guild, Police and the larger Prison Industrial Complex. That is the real reason Marijuana Re-Legalization has not been allowed to move forward. Re-Legalization would destroy both local and global drug gangs and would also act as a "Gatekeeper" drug by insulating Marijuana users from the very groups that also sell and distribute harder drugs such as Methamphetamines, Heroin and Cocaine. So, if they had the political will, there are plenty of good arguments in support of Re-Legalization.

Separation of Church and State is certainly one of the most progressive and important aspects of the US Constitution. But it has been politicized by "Faith Based" initiatives because so many churches stand to benefit from the promulgation of programs which attempt to dissolve this separation. I'm also quite certain that Saudi-financed Islamic PACs are also trying to marginalize people like myself who insist on an "air-tight" separation between Church and State. And that is because they definitely want to inject Sharia-based laws that violate this "sacred" separation. The bottom line is that these groups, which insist on dissolving this separation, are inadvertently pushing us back to a time predating the Renaissance, the Enlightenment and the Reformation. This is not only stupid, it is down right dangerous to a society that fosters free thought and free discourse.

Thinking about this issue has me recalling the lyrics to "And You and I" by the music group "Yes."

"Sad preacher nailed upon the colored door of time;
Insane teacher be there reminded of the rhyme.
There'll be no mutant enemy we shall certify;
Political ends, as sad remains, will die.
Reach out as forward tastes begin to enter you."

Of course, the lyrics of "Yes" reflect the Gnostic philosophy whose only real belief was the quest for objective knowledge and the belief that societies could evolve in a positive way. The intellectual hippies of the 60's understood this quite well though it was always obscured in the media. My interpretation of these lyrics is that the preacher is finally deposed for his certification of mutant enemies and his endorsement of political ends. He gets "nailed" to the door of false literalist beliefs. The teacher prevails because his knowledge (e.g., Gnosticism) allows us to move beyond the literalist doctrine and we move forward.

But our Founding fathers would have appreciated these lyrics because they were mainly Deists that saw god, if they even believed in a god, as the "watchmaker" of the Universe. And they were universally disposed to search for God through scientific method rather than by listening to some politically driven priest. Of course, they also knew too well the disaster that would certainly materialize if they gave theocracies any air to breath. And that is why they insisted on Separation between Church and State. And the US Constitution was the first charter to insist - and insist wisely - on this separation.

[VS]: Music is part of any revolution worth its salt and you are a musician as well as an activist. In fact, you feature a David Byrne and Dizzee Rascal video at the beginning of your October 4 posting about the approval of the Paulson plan as a kind of antidote for the depressing news you were presenting. Why did you choose that video?

[BC]: I used to be a musician but now only play infrequently. My present hobby is to complete my "Gnostic" music project which attempts to stuff as much mystic symbolism into a CD as is possible. Of course, the project will probably never get done and the Beatles have already done this better than anyone I can think of. A "raw" version of some of the selections is currently available because, like I just said, I doubt the final version will ever be completed.

You can actually listen to the instrumental "Rainbow Farm" at the following link.

"Rainbow Farm" is dedicated to Tom Crosslin. who was murdered at Rainbow Farm a week before 9/11 (09/11/2001). Rainbow Farm was at the forefront of the Marijuana Re-Legalization movement at the time and I am of the opinion that the Bush Administration was directly involved in Tom and Rollie's murder.

Other out takes from "Gnostic Raw" can be accessed from this link:

Gnostic Music Project

You will also find a selection from my "Classical Guitar Live" CD which consists of a live performance I did many, many years ago. This was the final requirement for my first degree in Music which I receive from Wayne State University in 1979. To this day this has to be one of my greatest accomplishments. Playing an hour of Classical Guitar compositions before an audience of 400, without the aid of sheet music, is not something that can be faked and the performance was nearly flawless. I don't think I will ever accomplish anything that required that much discipline and self-confidence during my remaining time on this planet.

As for the David Byrne "Toe Jam" video: I included that to counter the depressing nature of the "bailout" and the general negative news of our declining economy. There's nothing like a roomful of naked happy people to take you mind off the more serious things.

[VS]: And finally, if you have one message you want to convey, what would it be?

[BC]: There has never been a time when it is more important for the American People to stand up for themselves. The exponential system we know as "Lassie Fair" Capitalism has reached its limits and is attempting to live on at our expense. We have to transition to a sustainable economic paradigm and badly need to construct a massive social safety net in order to make this transition without destroying the very fabric of our society.

As I speak nearly 8,000 American families are being evicted from there homes, every single passing day, because of Corporate policies that have outsourced our jobs, offshored our factories and which continue to insist on bringing in more Legal and Illegal Immigrants. These are the true vectors behind our current economic problems: it has little to do with "sub-prime" mortgages and Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM's). The damage that these policies have already done to the American People is already beyond estimate. They must be stopped immediately. I have elaborated on this recently in the YouTube video Don't Vote for Traitors Obama or McCain. (Please see this video in this week's Issues and Alibis.)

I am calling for an immediate (e.g., in the next few weeks) moratorium on all evictions from homes and apartments throughout the United States. I also encourage voters to write in "Bruce W. Cain" or some other third party candidate when they go to the voting booth on November 4th. We need to immediately institute a system of "social credit" that has been well articulated by Richard Cook and others. We can no longer afford to give legitimacy to the currently political system. People need to organize demonstrations against Globalism, the Corporate Bailout and for a major "Bailout for the American Working Class." Major investigation need to go forward to investigate "911," the Banking fraud and other crimes committed by the Bush Administration with the full complicity of Congress.

The stakes are too high to continue to vote for the lesser of two evils when, in fact, they are both unacceptable choices. Our survival as a free society has never been in such peril. The time to get involved is now. You can find more information on my "Presidential Campaign" at the following link.

Information on groups working for various "alternative future" paradigms can be found at the homepage and archive pages of my website.

Thanks for taking the time to interview me!

Talking with Bruce Cain I was reminded once again of the difference between professional politicians and patriots. Politicians risk their countries to further their own aims. Patriots risk themselves to preserve their countries. We at Issues and Alibis are greatly appreciative that Bruce Cain was willing to become part of "Volunteers for America."
(c) 2008 Victoria Stewart is the editor of Issues & Alibis magazine.







McCain, The Anti-Maverick

John McCain keeps calling himself "a maverick" and is even calling the McCain-Palin ticket, "Maverick Squared."

Puh-leeze. It's been my privilege to know some genuine mavericks, and I can tell you that McCain is not one of them. A 26-year Washington insider, the senator is now running as the trusted candidate of America's corporate establishment. He's such a reliable conformist to the corporate agenda that, at last count, 177 lobbyists for Big Oil, Wall Street banks, telecommunications giants, and other industries form the very core of his campaign, including every position from campaign manager to fundraising chairman.

Meet the original maverick. An early Texas land baron and political leader, Samuel Augustus Maverick was an independent-minded rancher who refused to brand his cattle. As a result, any unbranded steer wandering the range became known as a "maverick" - a term that soon entered the vernacular to describe people who wore no one's brand - rebels, iconoclasts, non-conformists, and dissenters.

A grandson of the old rancher took this proud independent streak into politics during the Great Depression. Maury Maverick defeated the moneyed establishment of San Antonio to become a two-term member of Congress, then became the city's mayor, using both offices to battle the entrenched corporate powers on behalf of regular folks. His son, Maury Junior, carried the feisty spirit forward, battling the oil and gas barons as a state representative, then spending four decades as a brilliant ACLU lawyer. He represented - often for free - such outsiders and freethinkers as civil rights protesters, labor activists, McCarthyite victims, atheists, and conscientious objectors.

That, Mr. McCain, is a maverick. And you - being hoisted toward the presidency on the beefy shoulders of corporate lobbyists - are the exact opposite.
(c) 2008 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.








Non-Violent, Wind-Powered Gopher Repeller
By Phil Fear

I live on a 10-acre farm. It is mostly orchards of fruit trees. Gophers are everywhere. My small garden was constantly under attack at first. And I counter-attacked, killing two gophers and one mole with rose-baited traps (trick I learnt from my father). But I didn't like killing the cute little guys and I only got'em after they had already damaged something. It would be better to just make them avoid the garden. I did this the old-fashioned way by making a whirl-a-gig.

The theory is that gophers like quiet, still gardens. Whirl-a-gigs send vibrations down into the ground as the blades turn. The rodents can't stand it and leave.

I have two in my garden. I made them both out of scrap material. I cut coffee cans into propellers by using tin snips to cut three blades down the sides, bending them outwards, and punching a nail in the center of the can's bottom. I twisted the blades into about a 30 degree angle. Hammer the nail into the nose of a stick, leaving room for the blade to rotate. Hold it up and blow on it. It should turn freely. Attach a tail fin. I used another coffee can, cut open and smoothed out, to nail onto it. Balance the assembly on your finger tip to find the balance point. I use a power drill and a 3/16 bit to get a nice straight hole. Then put a nail through it to your post. It should track the wind easily and turn in a breeze. The more noises, squeeks, and rattles, the better. Feel the post to check the vibrations it sends down into the ground. Each whirl-a-gig is different, with it's own noises and personality.

This simple design will work for a few months, but constant motion will eventually make it crack up. I improved it after every repair. First, I added washers to every axis. Then I used a bolt for the propeller shaft as the nails kept getting sawed through by the coffee can blade assembly. Then I used a steel vegetable can instead of an aluminum coffee can for the blades.

No gophers have entered my garden since I installed these, although they have several mounds nearby.
(c) 2008 Phil Fear







Ginseng Reverses Lung Damage In Asthma
By Patty Donovan

Asthma is a disease of the airways and lungs where airflow both in and out of the lungs is restricted. It is characterized by shortness of breath, wheezing and coughing. Most asthmatics have intermittent "attacks" and are symptom free at other times. Some asthmatics however, are never symptom free. Over time, there is damage to the tissues of the lungs and until now, this damage was thought to be irreversible.

Current asthma therapies such as inhaled steroids are effective in reducing inflammation but do nothing to heal the tissues of the airways. These drugs also have serious side effects such as cataracts, osteoporosis and decreased immune response. New therapeutic options that have fewer side effects and reverse chronic changes in the lungs are essential. This study aimed to determine if oral administration of ginseng would reverse lung histopathology (cell damage).

Mice bred to be prone to chronic asthma were divided into four groups: control, placebo, ginseng, and dexamethasone (a steroid). All mice except those in the control group were sensitized and challenged with ovalbumin. Then, mice in the ginseng group were given 2 gr per kg per day of ginseng and mice in the dexamethasone group received 1 mg/kg per day of dexamethasone for 1 week.

Lung histopathology was evaluated by using light and electron microscopy in all groups. All of the chronic changes of airways in the ginseng group were significantly improved when compared with the placebo group. When compared with the dexamethasone group, the ginseng group had significantly lower numbers of mast cell count. Mast cells are a type of cell which plays a significant role in the inflammatory response of the immune system. Thicknesses of basement membrane, epithelium, and subepithelial smooth muscle were not statistically different between the ginseng and dexamethasone groups. Goblet cell (mucous secreting cells) numbers were much more reduced in the dexamethasone group. The study concluded that ginseng is effective in resolving the established chronic histopathological changes of the lungs in the murine model of asthma.
(c) 2008 Patty Donovan was in a wheelchair and could only walk around her house with a cane. She was on over 20 medications. When told to "take the morphine, get in the wheelchair and learn to live with it" by a neurosurgeon, she knew her life had to change. She is now almost a fanatic when it comes to healing through the use of "whole foods" and and natural remedies. Since that time, she has spent countless hours researching nutrtion and alternative health. After spending 30 years in the allopathic health care industry in both pharmacy and as an RN, she brings a unique perspective to Natural News readers. Since committing to this new life style, she no longer uses even a cane, has gotten off over 20 medications, lost over 50lbs and returned to work.
(c) 2008 Patty Donovan






More Booze And Cake!
Cruel recession got you down? Buck up, pal. Good news abounds!
By Mark Morford

What's the matter, patriot? Don't enjoy seeing your stock portfolio slashed in half for greed-obsessed reasons beyond your control? None too pleased with how much of your 401(k) account has burned to a crisp, like John McCain's ethical boundaries? Home worth a fraction of what you paid and the neighbors have all moved away as squads of homeless people now squat in the 350K tract-McMansion next door, staring a mite too hungrily at your dog?

Housewives! Have you taken to the online message boards recently, posting bleak, depressing notes of fear and uncertainty after your husband lost his job of 20 years and the kids are asking uncomfortable questions? Or maybe you're one of the super-wealthy, quaking in your Upper East Side Gucci riding boots over the collapse of your family fortune and self-esteem and who, pray who, will polish the fleet of Aston Martins? Or perhaps you're none of these, and you're just a sweet young thing, still in your what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-the-world phase, with no real idea what the hell a "portfolio" or "recession" or "hedge fund manager" actually are, but it doesn't really matter because you're still stuck with this sinking feeling that Something Is Deeply Wrong.

Do you know this feeling? The sense that the bumbling, squinty-faced dude in the White House is about to step down, and this wrecked economy, this decimated nation, this toxic sickness will be his final parting gift, like some sort of nasty STD he and his cronies passed on to you, while you didn't even realize you were getting royally screwed?

Well, enough whining. It's time to buck up and hunker down and tighten your belts and employ all those other metaphors that indicate frugality, squeezing, smallness, bitterness and frustration and Zoloft and mom 'n' dad sighing heavily at the kitchen counter, staring at a stack of bills and then over at their kids' evaporated college fund and saying, well, I guess community college won't be that bad.

Yes, despite how our most powerful leaders and supposedly rock-solid institutions have failed us completely, just remember, there is still good news to be had. No matter which side of the political aisle you're stuck to, this historic recession has its bright spots, its upside.

Well, sort of.

Liberals get to be happy about the meltdown because, at the very least, it means no new wars. Hell, right now we couldn't afford to invade Kentucky, much less Iran. Turns out the Bush Doctrine ("Bomb First, Ask Questions Never") is just wildly expensive. Who knew?

As Obama blearily points out, right now we're headed toward a trillion for Iraq and $700 billion in bailouts and $10 trillion in overall deficit, thanks to Bush's historic ineptitude. Whipping out the checkbook to nail Pakistan to the wall? Out of the question.

(Side note to China: Those secret plans to invade America? Now is the time. We're totally helpless. You own most of our debt anyway. Can you bring extra iPods and some decent dim sum? Thank you.)

As for Republicans, well, they have good reason to smile, too, even if it's one of those creepy sidelong sneers akin to Dick Cheney eating a live cobra.

For one thing, the global production slowdown means oil prices are suddenly half of what they were just a few months ago. Translation: Gas prices are back to around 3 bucks a gallon for perhaps the final time in your lifetime, cheap enough that you can load up the Avalanche one last time and take the rugrats on one last cross-country hunting trip this holiday season because, well, it's not like you can afford any Christmas shopping anyway.

Another small victory for peevish Repubs who are about to lose the White House and go down in history as the most failed leadership in decades? Global warming. Turns out we can't afford that right now, either. Or rather, we can't afford to pass any costly, enviro-friendly legislation that might destabilize energy prices, because no one wants to be caught trying to save the planet when many Americans can't afford hot water. Isn't that nice?

Even the evangelicals get a piece of the recession action. Because you know who's back? God! Church attendance is up right now, I hear. Nothing like fear of losing it all to make the wary masses and the banking CEOs stagger back to the church and drop to their knees and offer up their firstborn in exchange for a serious uptick in GM stock prices.

And finally, we have the universal panacea, the Great Equalizer. Can you guess? The single cheap, friendly cure-all everyone turns to in time of need and fiscal downturn, even more than God and porn and basic cable? You got it: Booze. Watch for a nice surge in alcoholism rates and sales of giant gallon drums of vodka from Costco. By the way, now might be the perfect time to open that dive bar you've always dreamed of. Numbness is in. Especially for you doubly decimated Republicans.

(Oh yes, the cake thing. Let me just say, the Safeway Bake Shop must be making a mint right now, what with all the meager farewell parties going on at downsizing companies nationwide. The Chronicle alone has been veritable cake factory this past month, following the paper's latest miserable round of buyouts and layoffs. There you have it: Booze and cake, America's true economic indicators).

What, too bleak? Probably. But really, when it comes to the economy, it's tough not to be just a little bitter right now, to wallow in a bit of morbid humor.

To be honest, there really are some genuine upsides of a recession. We use less. We become more aware. We drive less, walk more, produce less crap we don't actually need, churn out fewer pollutants, become highly attuned to waste and excess, dial into opportunity, travel locally, skip vacuous trends, become less fickle, appreciate bargain wines, breathe cleaner air, save, appreciate, savor.

Then again, recessions are also playgrounds for the paranoid, Slip n' Slides of undue fear. Fear of losing it all. Fear that maybe you shouldn't be quite so generous anymore. Fear that now is not the time to be interesting or atypical or bold. The kind of fear that leads to constriction, constipation, Dick Cheney. You can cling and clench instead of breathe, shrug, move though.

Which I suppose is the gist of it all, right there. It can't be all bad, if you think about it. At least we still have a choice. Don't we?
(c) 2008 Mark Morford's Notes & Errata column appears every Wednesday and Friday on SF Gate and in the Datebook section of the San Francisco Chronicle. To get on the e-mail list for this column, please click here and remove one article of clothing!







The God That Failed
The 30-Year Lie of the Market Cult
By Chris Floyd

Perhaps the most striking fact revealed by the global financial crash -- or rather, by the reaction to it -- is the staggering, astonishing, gargantuan amount of money that the governments of the world have at their command.

In just a matter of days, we have seen literally trillions of dollars offered to the financial services sector by national treasuries and central banks across the globe. Britain alone has put $1 trillion at the disposal of the bankers, traders, lenders and speculators; and this has been surpassed by the total package of public money that Washington is shoveling into the financial furnaces of Wall Street and the banks. These radical efforts are being replicated on a slightly smaller scale in France, Germany, Italy, Russia and many other countries.

The effectiveness of this unprecedented transfer of wealth from ordinary citizens to the top tiers of the business world remains to be seen. It will certainly insulate the very rich from the consequences of their own greed and folly and fraud; but it is not at all clear how much these measures will shield the vast majority of people from the catastrophe that has been visited upon them by the elite.

But putting aside for a moment the actual intent, details and results of the global bailout offers, it is their very extent that shocks, and shows -- in a stark, harsh, all-revealing light -- the brutal disdain with which the national governments of the world's "leading democracies" have treated their own citizens for decades.

Beginning with Margaret Thatcher's election in 1979, government after government -- and party after party -- fell to the onslaught of an extremist faith: the narrow, blinkered fundamentalism of the "Chicago School." Epitomized by its patron saint, Milton Friedman, the rigid doctrine held that an unregulated market would always "correct" itself, because its workings are based on entirely rational and quantifiable principles. This was of course an absurdly reductive and savagely ignorant view of history, money and human nature; but because it flattered the rich and powerful, offering an "intellectual" justification for rapacious greed and ever-widening economic and social inequality, it was adopted as holy writ by the elite and promulgated as public policy.

This radical cult -- a kind of Bolshevism from above -- took its strongest hold in the United States and Britain, and was then imposed on many weaker nations through the IMF-led "Washington Consensus" (more aptly named by Naomi Klein as the "Shock Doctrine"), with devastating and deadly results. (As in Yeltsin's Russia, for example, where life expectancy dropped precipitously and millions of people died premature deaths from poverty, illness, and despair.)

According to the cult, not only were markets to be freed from the constraints placed on them after the world-shattering effects of the Great Depression, but all public spending was to be slashed ruthlessly to the bone. (Although exceptions were always made for the Pentagon war machine.) After all, every dollar spent by a public entity on public services and amenities was a dollar taken away from the private wheeler-dealers who could more usefully employ it in increasing the wealth of the elite -- who would then allow some of their vast profits to "trickle down" to the lower orders.

This was the cult that captured the governments of the United States and Britain (among others), as well as the Republican and Democratic parties, and the Conservative and Labour parties as well. And for almost thirty years, its ruthless doctrines have been put into practice. Regulation and oversight of financial markets were systematically stripped away or rendered toothless. Essential public services were sold off, for chump change, to corporate interests. Public spending on anything other than making war, threatening war and profiting from war was pared back or eliminated. Such public spending that did remain was forever under threat and derided, like the remnants of some pagan faith surviving in isolated backwaters.

Year after year, the ordinary citizens were told by their governments: we have no money to spend on your needs, on your communities, on your infrastructure, on your health, on your children, on your environment, on your quality of life. We can't do those kinds of things any more.

Of course, when talking amongst themselves, or with the believers in the think tanks, boardrooms -- and editorial offices -- the cultists would speak more plainly: we don't do those things anymore because we shouldn't do them, we don't want to do them, they are wrong, they are evil, they are outside the faith. But for the hoi polloi, the line was usually something like this: Budgets are tight, we must balance them (for a "balanced budget" is a core doctrine of the cult), we just can't afford all these luxuries, sorry about that.

But now, as the emptiness and falsity of the Chicago cargo cult stands nakedly revealed, even to some of its most faithful and fanatical adherents, we can see that this 30-year mantra by our governments has been a deliberate and outright lie. The money was there -- billions and billions and billions of dollars of it, trillions of dollars of it. We can see it before our very eyes today -- being whisked away from our public treasuries and showered upon the banks and the brokerages.

Let's say it again: The money was there all along.

Money to build and generously equip thousands and thousands of new schools, with well-paid, exquisitely trained teachers, small teacher-pupil ratios, a full range of enriching and inspiring programs.

Money to revitalize the nation's crumbling inner cities, making them safe and vibrant places for businesses and families and communities to grow.

Money to provide decent, affordable and accessible health care to every citizen, to provide dignity and comfort to the elderly, and protection and humane treatment for the mentally ill.

Money to provide affordable higher education to everyone who wanted it and could qualify for it. Money to help establish and sustain local businesses and family farms, centered in and on the local community, driven by the needs and knowledge of the people in the area, and not by the dictates of distant corporations.

Money to strengthen crumbling infrastructure, to repair bridges, shore up levies, maintain roads and electric grids and sewage systems.

Money for affordable, workable public transport systems, for the pursuit of alternative sources of energy, for sustainable, sensible development, for environmental restoration.

Money to support free inquiry in science, technology, health and other areas -- research unfettered from the war machine and the drive for corporate profit, and instead devoted to the betterment of human life.

Money to support culture, learning, continuing education, libraries, theater, music and the endless manifestations of the human quest to gain more meaning, more understanding, more enlightenment, a deeper, spiritually richer life.

The money for all of this -- and much, much more -- was there, all along. When they said we couldn't have these things, they were lying -- or else allowing themselves to be profitably duped by the high priests of the market cult. When they wanted a trillion dollars -- or three trillion dollars -- to wage a war of aggression in Iraq, they found it. Now, when they want trillions of dollars to save the speculators, fraudsters and profiteers of greed in the global market, they suddenly have it.

Who then can believe that these governments could not have found the money for good schools, health care, and all the rest, that they could not have enhanced the well-being and livelihood of millions of ordinary citizens, and helped create a more just and equitable and stable world -- if they had wanted to?

This is one of the main facts that ordinary citizens around the world should take away from this crisis: the money to maintain, secure and improve the lives of their families and communities was always there -- but their governments, and their political parties, made a deliberate, unforced choice not to use it for the common good. Instead, they subjugated the well-being of the world to the dictates of an extremist cult. A cult of greed and privilege, that preached iron discipline to the poor and the middle-class, but released the rich and powerful from all restrictions, and all responsibility for their actions.

This should be a constant -- and galvanizing -- thought in the minds of the public in the months and years to come. Remember what you could have had, and how it was denied you by the lies and delusions of a powerful elite and their bought-off factotums in government. Remember the trillions of dollars that suddenly appeared when the wheeler-dealers needed money to cover their own greed and stupidity.

Let these thoughts guide you as you weigh the promises and actions of politicians and candidates, and as you assess the "expert analysis" on economic and domestic policy offered by the corporate media and the corporate-bankrolled think tanks and academics.

And above all, let these thoughts be foremost in your mind when you hear -- as you certainly will hear, when (and if) the markets are finally stabilized (at whatever gigantic cost in human suffering) -- the adherents of the market cult emerge once more and call for "deregulation" and "untying the hands of business" and all the other ritual incantations of their false and savage fundamentalist faith.

For although the market cult has suffered a cataclysmic defeat in the last few weeks, it is by no means dead. It has 30 years of entrenchment in power to fall back on. And the leader of every major political party in the West has spent their entire political career within the cult's confines. It has been the atmosphere they breathed, it has been the sole ladder by which they have climbed to prominence. They will be loath to abandon it, once the immediate crisis is past; most will not be able to.

So remember well the lessons of this new October crash: The money to make a better life, to serve the common good, has always been there. But it has been kept from you by deceit, by dogma, by greed, and by the ambition of those who have sold their souls, and betrayed their brothers and sisters, their fellow human creatures, for the sake of privilege and power.
(c) 2008 Chris Floyd







Arrogant, Small Tyrants
Nancy Pelosi is STILL afraid of US!
By Cindy Sheehan

"Experience hath shewn, that even under the best forms of government those entrusted with power have, in time, and by slow operations, perverted it into tyranny." ~~~ Thomas Jefferson

Has it occurred to anyone else that almost 100% of our elected officials have turned into tyrants? From George Bush, Senator Harry Reid (D-Nv) to Nancy Pelosi and their Congressional minions, they are ignoring the will of the people and are, in fact, collaborating with the banksters to undermine the safety, prosperity and lives of We the People. Many economists are predicting a long and terrible depression and Congress's bankster bailout has only hastened and worsened the crisis.

Many of our supporters called Pelosi's office yesterday to demand that she come off of her arrogant perch and descend to the street level here in San Francisco to debate Cindy Sheehan and the other two challengers to her seat. Every one who called reported getting the notorious Pelosi run around that she made infamous by her "off the table" politics.

We know that Pelosi and her ilk care more about their bank accounts and political party affiliation than they do about this country and humanity but we will continue to press on and demand that she defend her indefensible positions and explain her inexplicable policies.

Why did she abdicate her power of the purse string to fund George's wars of aggression?
Why did she allow the ban on offshore drilling to expire?
Why did she grant immunity to the administration and telecom companies for warrantless wiretapping?
Why is she trying to gentrify the last bastion of diversity in San Francisco, Bayview/Hunter's Point?
Why does she support privatization of national parks and energy?
Why did she support BushCo's policy of torture?
Why did she take the important Constitutional remedy of impeachment "off the table?"
Why did she allow the Homegrown Terrorism Act to pass Congress and why did she not stop George's tyrannical Presidential Directive 51?
Why did she give Goldman-Sachs' former CEO (Treasurey Secretary, Henry Paulson) 700 billion dollars to bail out the unregulated Wall Street financial pirates?

The other evening when CFC supporters were being verbally attacked by her staffers, Pelosi's Chief of Staff yelled out, at one point, "Did you all vote for George Bush?" Is irony dead?

Cindy Sheehan has been standing up to the "man" since her son was murdered by the Bush regime in April 2004. Nancy Pelosi has been standing up for the "man" since she became Speaker of the House. She has not denied George Bush one thing and CFC has a library of pictures of Pelosi fawning over George Bush.

We need to overthrow this government and we need to start here in California's 8th district by overthrowing George Bush's best friend, Nancy Pelosi.
(c) 2008 Cindy Sheehan







The Blob; A True Horror Flick:
By Mike Folkerth

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

I have received the same e-mail no less than six times that reveals detailed plan which suggests that government should have taken the $85 Billion that was used to bailout AIG and instead to have distributed equally to all American families.

On about line three of the plan, it states that there are approximately 200 Million households in the U.S., each of which would received $425,000. The plan then goes on to list all of the benefits of such a division. People could pay off their credit cards, pay off their homes, send their kids to college, and so on. The end results would be that all of our problems would be fixed in on slick move.

I only read to line three of the plan before I realized that the author had made a 1000% error in his math. In reality, each family would have received $425.00. When numbers get into the billions and trillions, it's hard to keep track of the decimal points and our government is depending on that. But then, using the simplified discipline of Mikemathics, it gets much easier to decipher.

The real point I'm trying to make with the above example, is that if one sets out with a flawed plan, regardless of the intention, the results will not only be flawed, but terribly disappointing. America has a flawed plan.

The collapse of the world monetary system was not a random event caused by pitiable U.S. home lending practices; it was the predicable results of a mathematically defective man-made monetary system that promised something for nothing.

Stop and think for just a moment about what I just said. Do you personally believe that lax mortgage lending standards in the U.S. was capable of bringing down the world economy? If you do, you probably also believe that you can divide 85 billion by 200 million and come up with 425,000.

"So then, if mortgage lending didn't bring down the world, what did?" I'm so happy that you asked. I was dying to tell you.

I know that you get weary of seeing the word "exponential growth" in my writing, so I'll change it for just today to "geometric growth." Remember the old horror movie, "The Blob?" For those who don't, the Blob came to earth from outer-space and looked like a small piece of gooey liver.

The little Blob began eating everything in sight including people and continued to grow larger and larger. Nothing could stop the Blob and it was poised to eat up the whole world as it grew geometrically every day.

Finally, the hero of the show determined that they could freeze the big sucker and put him out of action. As I remember, they flew the frozen Blob to Antarctica where it is un-thawing today due to global warming. Coming soon; BLOB-2.

I'm pretty sure that the writer who invented "The Blog" got his idea from the FED. The FED (or our central banking system) was created in 1913 along with the IRS and they have been consuming everything in sight since that date...including people.

In 1971, the FED-IRS BLOB couldn't find enough to engulf under the feeding restrictions posed under the existing gold standard, so the Blob handlers (Congress) turned him loose on the world by closing the gold window forever. The un-tethered "FED-IRS Blob" was set free to consume the entire planet; which he did.

Money, by virtue of compounding interest, grows geometrically, like the Blob. Interest is earned and money to pay the interest is then created by the FED and then taken away from us by the IRS.

The newly created interest is then reinvested along with the original principal, and it too earns interest, at which point more money must be created to pay the interest on the former interest. The IRS then taxes the interest and the interest that was earned on the interest. This cycle continues and the necessary geometric growth of the money supply becomes larger and larger and larger...yeah, just like the Blob, with no end in sight. Bad plan.

"So then, why can't the money supply just continue to grow like our leadership is proposing?" It could if we lived on a planet that grew at the same rate. Ya see, money has to be pegged to something from the real world, such as gold, iron ore, wheat, trees, water and yep, houses.

Once the FED-IRS Blob had eaten everything on the planet by way of encumbering the physical world to a level of 100% of current value, there was nothing more to loan against (symptom of bad plan).

Yet, due to the designed growth of compounding interest, the FED-IRS Blob continued unabated which necessitated three things; loaning MORE THAN 100%, continue to print more money, and increase the number of people to eat.

"So what's the solution?" Interestingly enough, freezing Congress, the IRS, and the FED and shipping them to Antarctica would be a great start. Really!

No problem can be effectively solved that does not involve changing the fundamentals that created the original dilemma. Our culture of money has a flawed mathematical basis. That basis must be revisited and totally revamped or the entire planet will, with mathematical certainty, pitch into depression. And I might add; that our government's plan comes complete with your reserved front row seat ticket for admission to that depression.

Now, when someone tells you that housing has thrown the world into crisis, you can just smile and say, "No it didn't, 'The Blob' did."
(c) 2008 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."





The Quotable Quote...



"When you're taking flak, you must be over the target."
~~~ Jim Robinson









America's Political Cannibalism
By Chris Hedges

It is no longer our economy but our democracy that is in peril. It was the economic meltdown of Yugoslavia that gave us Slobodan Milosevic. It was the collapse of the Weimar Republic that vomited up Adolf Hitler. And it was the breakdown in czarist Russia that opened the door for Vladimir Lenin and the Bolsheviks. Financial collapses lead to political extremism. The rage bubbling up from our impoverished and disenfranchised working class, glimpsed at John McCain rallies, presages a looming and dangerous right-wing backlash.

As the public begins to grasp the depth of the betrayal and abuse by our ruling class, as the Democratic and Republican parties are exposed as craven tools of our corporate state, as savings accounts, college funds and retirement plans become worthless, as unemployment skyrockets and as home values go up in smoke, we must prepare for the political resurgence of a reinvigorated radical Christian right. The engine of this mass movement-as is true for all radical movements-is personal and economic despair. And despair, in an age of increasing shortages, poverty and hopelessness, will be one of our few surplus commodities.

Karl Polanyi in his book "The Great Transformation," written in 1944, laid out the devastating consequences-the depressions, wars and totalitarianism-that grow out of a so-called self-regulated free market. He grasped that "fascism, like socialism, was rooted in a market society that refused to function." He warned that a financial system always devolved, without heavy government control, into a Mafia capitalism-and a Mafia political system-which is a good description of the American government under George W. Bush. Polanyi wrote that a self-regulating market, the kind bequeathed to us since Ronald Reagan, turned human beings and the natural environment into commodities, a situation that ensures the destruction of both society and the natural environment. He decried the free market's belief that nature and human beings are objects whose worth is determined by the market. He reminded us that a society that no longer recognizes that nature and human life have a sacred dimension, an intrinsic worth beyond monetary value, ultimately commits collective suicide. Such societies cannibalize themselves until they die. Speculative excesses and growing inequality, he wrote, always destroy the foundation for a continued prosperity.

We face an environmental meltdown as well as an economic meltdown. This would not have surprised Polanyi, who fled fascist Europe in 1933 and eventually taught at Columbia University. Russia's northern coastline has begun producing huge qualities of toxic methane gas. Scientists with the International Siberian Shelf Study 2008 describe what they saw along the coastline recently as "methane chimneys" reaching from the sea floor to the ocean's surface. Methane, locked in the permafrost of Arctic landmasses, is being released at an alarming rate as average Arctic temperatures rise. Methane is a greenhouse gas 25 times more powerful than carbon dioxide. The release of millions of tons of it will dramatically accelerate the rate of global warming.

Those who run our corporate state have fought environmental regulation as tenaciously as they have fought financial regulation. They are responsible, as Polanyi predicted, for our personal impoverishment and the impoverishment of our ecosystem. We remain addicted, courtesy of the oil, gas and automobile industries and a corporate-controlled government, to fossil fuels. Species are vanishing. Fish stocks are depleted. The great human migration from coastlines and deserts has begun. And as temperatures continue to rise, huge parts of the globe will become uninhabitable. The continued release of large quantities of methane, some scientists have warned, could actually asphyxiate the human species.

The corporate con artists and criminals who have hijacked our state and rigged our financial system still speak to us in the obscure and incomprehensible language coined by specialists at elite business schools. They use terms like securitization, deleveraging, structured investment vehicles and credit default swaps. The reality, once you throw out their obnoxious jargon, is not hard to grasp. Banks lent too much money to people and financial institutions that could not pay it back. These banks are now going broke. The government is frantically giving taxpayer dollars to banks so they can be solvent and again lend money. It is not working. Bank lending remains frozen. There are ominous signs that the government may not be able to hand over enough of our money because the losses incurred by these speculators are too massive. If credit markets remain in a deep freeze, corporations such as AT&T, Ford and General Motors might go bankrupt. The downward spiral could spread like a tidal wave across the country, especially since our corporate elite, including Barack Obama, seem to have no real intention of bailing out families who can no longer pay their mortgages or credit card debts.

Lenin said that the best way to destroy the capitalist system was to debauch its currency. If our financial disaster continues there will be a widespread loss of faith in the mechanisms that regulate society. If our money becomes worthless, so does our government. All traditional standards and beliefs are shattered in a severe economic crisis. The moral order is turned upside down. The honest and industrious are wiped out while the gangsters, profiteers and speculators amass millions. Look at Lehman Brothers CEO Richard Fuld. He walks away from his bankrupt investment house after pocketing $485 million. His investors are wiped out. An economic collapse does not only mean the degradation of trade and commerce, food shortages, bankruptcies and unemployment; it means the systematic dynamiting of the foundations of a society. I watched this happen in Yugoslavia. I fear I am watching it happen here in the United States.

The Patriot Act, the FISA Reform Act, the suspension of habeas corpus, the open use of torture in our offshore penal colonies, the stationing of a combat brigade on American soil, the seas of surveillance cameras, the brutal assaults against activists in Denver and St. Paul are converging to determine our future. Those dark forces arrayed against American democracy are waiting for a moment to strike, a national crisis that will allow them in the name of national security and moral renewal to shred the Constitution. They have the tools. They will use fear, chaos, the hatred for the ruling elites and the specter of left-wing dissent and terrorism to impose draconian controls to extinguish our democracy. And while they do it they will be waving the American flag, singing patriotic slogans and clutching the Christian cross. Fuld, I expect, will be one of many corporatists happy to contribute to the cause.

This is a defining moment in American history. The next few weeks and months will see us stabilize and weather this crisis or descend into a terrifying dystopia. I place no hope in Obama or the Democratic Party. The Democratic Party is a pathetic example of liberal, bourgeois impotence, hypocrisy and complacency. It has been bought off. I will vote, if only as a form of protest against our corporate state and an homage to Polanyi's brilliance, for Ralph Nader. I would like to offer hope, but it is more important to be a realist. No ethic or act of resistance is worth anything if it is not based on the real. And the real, I am afraid, does not look good.
(c) 2008 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America.







View Of The Debate From The Great Flyover
By Mary Pitt

I was watching the candidates as they deplaned for the debate. First, Obama skipped down the steps alone and galloped over to shake the hands of the flight crew. When the McCains arrived, Cindy walked down the steps first. Only the polite thing to do but something looked different. She walked slowly with her back against him and her hands braced on the rails as if to prevent his pitching forward. Once on the ground, she fell back to walk behind him but she walked very closely with her hand behind his back as if to steady him These little "tells" may not be noticeable to just everyone but, since I so recently was responsible for an elderly, unsteady man, it appeared obvious to me that this campaign has taken a toll on John's strength and they are being very careful to hide that fact from the public. I think you can sometimes tell more about a man's physical health by the solicitude or lack thereof on the part of his wife and the actions of Cindy McCain, millionairess or not, tells me that he is not well.

During the entire debate, the whole performance of McCain was a bit off and off-putting. He behaved like nothing but a churlish old man, insisting that his way is the only way and you young whipper-snappers had better accept his wisdom, based on his vast experiences from fifty years ago. He has been there and he knows what he is doing, whether you like it or not! Strutting around on-stage, flapping his arms like an aquarium seal and giving a performance that brought to mind a frenetic wind-up Mini-Me on Meth. From his "new idea" of buying the risky loans from the financial companies and re-writing them so that owners can afford their mortgage payments (haven't we heard that somewhere before?) to having a "secret plan" to defeat Al Qaeda but he's not gonna tell us, we oldsters could only harken back to Richard Nixon's "secret plan" to end the Vietnam War (By the way, that really worked, didn't it?).

When we add to this his assessment of the reasons for the growth of terrorism coming out of Afghanistan, he was simply from outer space, He said that, after the Afghan Freedom Fighters had defeated Russian forces and forced them out of the country, we abandoned that nation and they did resent that. In fact he was almost half right. He neglected to recognize that, for all those grueling years, the Taliban were the Freedom Fighters who kicked Russia from their country but he is right that they resented our abandonment of their country. At the time, our concern was not the nation of Afghanistan but their strategic physical position relative to our struggle against Russia. We trained and helped to fund the Al Qaeda troops from Saudi Arabia and sent them in to help the Afghan forces. When they succeeded in the tasks to which we had assigned them, they were discarded like used Kleenex. I wonder why they hate us with such intensity?

On the other hand, the attitude of Obama was all but dismissive. He would lounge atop his stool and smile indulgently as McCain spouted his almost-inane opinions and grandiose proposals, an act of which we all have been guilty when a beloved, belligerent old uncle invokes the Good Ole Days when he was in his prime. All the while boring the socks of the youngsters in the room whose reluctant brains are unable to comprehend the society in which the old man insists on living. This assessment may not be so far off the mark, however. Just when I had almost convinced myself that the signs that I had seen of possible physical debilitation or fatigue had possibly led me to an erroneous assumption, the debate ended. Barack and Michelle Obama waded into the audience, shaking hands and posing for candid photos as if that were what they really came to do and the debate was only a delay in the beginning of the festivities.

Cindy McCain collected her husband from the stage and they quietly left the building. How sad that nobody seemed to miss them. It reminded me in a painful way of the quote by General MacArthur, "old soldiers never die, they just fade away." I mourn the fading into irrelevance of all the old soldiers, sailors, and other heroes of my day and the loss of their influence on our lives, political, social, and personal, and especially the little old ladies sitting in the corner and smiling at the antics of the youngsters as they fumble, fail, and eventually find their own new ways of life. If only the old men could develop such an attitude!
(c) 2008 Mary Pitt is a very "with-it" old lady who aspires to bring a bit of truth, justice, and common sense to a nation that has lost touch with its humanity in the search for societal "perfection." Huzzahs and whiney complaints may be sent to mpitt@cox.net





The Dead Letter Office...



George gives the Republican salute

Heil Bush,

Dear Uberfuhrer McGovern,

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

Without your lock-step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your support of our two coup d'etats, your anti-union speeches and commercials for our corpo-rat masters, Iraq and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Democratic Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class with emerald clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Bush at a gala celebration at "der Wolf's Lair," formally "Rancho de Bimbo," on 10-31-2008. We salute you Herr McGovern, Sieg Heil!

Signed,
Vice Fuhrer Cheney

Heil Bush






The Goldberg Theorem
Dow skyrockets due to likely Obama victory
By Glenn Greenwald

Last Thursday, when the Dow was dropping to roughly 8,600, various right-wing polemicists claimed that the stock market was plummeting because investors were realizing that Obama would likely win and his policies would be bad for the economy. The Right's leading intellectual historian, Jonah Goldberg, wrote a post he entitled "The Obama Discount," and printed this email:

When are people going to start talking about the REAL reason the markets are down - Obama up in polls. If I was McCain, I'd start telling people, "If you want to lose more money, vote Obama."

Though Jonah said he had "no idea whatsoever if there's merit to this, and if there is how much merit," he nonetheless noted that he was receiving "lots of email like this" - presumably from other geniuses who write emails sharing their economic theories with Jonah Goldberg.

Two days earlier, when the Dow was falling to roughly 9, 500, James Pethokoukis at U.S. News & World Report wrote a piece entitled: "After the Bailout: Is Obama Depressing the Market?" He began the column by conceding that "it would be an absolute cheap shot to blame the falling stock market on Wall Street's sudden realization that Barack Obama will very likely be the 44th president of the United States," but he then proceeded to do exactly that, rhetorically asking: "is fear of a potential Obama presidency playing any role at all in the weakness," and then quoted a conservative economist who claims that Obama's economic policies will hurt the economy.

That column led Jonah to write another post - The Obama Discount Cont'd - in which he quoted Pethokoukis' column at length and then insightfully added: "that sounds reasonable to me." Goldberg then posted a bunch of pretty charts which "a reader sent him" that purported to show a correlation between the increasing Intrade percentage that Obama will be President and the declining Dow, and - after including some language questioning the theory - Jonah added: "I think Pethokoukis' point that Obama's success may make investors more pessimistic about the future has some plausibility to it."

Over the weekend, multiple new extremely pro-Obama polls were released - including from Newsweek ("Pulling Away") and The Washington Post ("the two presidential nominees appear to be on opposite trajectories, with Sen. Barack Obama gaining momentum and Sen. John McCain stalled or losing ground") - showing Obama with an expanding, double-digit lead. Other new polls show Obama now even leading in numerous states previously thought to be certain GOP victories - such as West Virginia and North Dakota - along with 2004 red states such as Missouri, Colorado, and Nevada. As a result of all of this, conventional wisdom solidified this weekend that an Obama victory looks more certain than ever, and even hard-core right-wing ideologues are publicly attacking the McCain campaign for its "pathetic" ineptitude.

Following those events increasing the likelihood of an Obama victory, this is what happened today: Wall Street explodes in historic one-day surge

Wall Street exploded in a historic rally Monday, snapping back from last week's devastating losses, with the Dow Jones industrial average chalking up its biggest-ever one-day point gain.

None of the people propounding the self-evidently moronic theory that the dropping Dow was due to Obama's rising poll numbers has mentioned any of this today. They're as intellectually dishonest as they are dumb.

I receive e-mails fairly commonly these days pointing out some bad policy or another that Obama is advocating and asking why I favor an Obama/Biden victory in light of that. Even if you don't see much difference between the two parties and dislike both presidential candidates, the need to rid ourselves of the people who do things like this - infecting our political discourse with abject idiocy and bottomless dishonesty, shaping their own realities to match their base desires - is reason enough to favor that outcome.

UPDATE: I'm no economist, and there may be other causes, and it's possible that it's just a coincidence, but I'm pretty convinced (and some people who emailed me agree!) that the reason the Dow exploded today is because Wall Street spent the last few days hearing the following pessimistic things about McCain's campaign - as compiled by the master video producer, Jed Lewison - and realized Obama would probably win and that the economy would therefore flourish:

Maybe someone can make some charts with pretty colors in them reflecting this sequence of events and email them to me, and then I'll post them as though they constitute proof of my theory of market causation - because, after all, economists use charts so if I do, too, then it means I'm making a serious economic argument.

UPDATE II: Very unsurprisingly, Goldberg's "market analysis" was echoed on Friday by Rush Limbaugh ("Fear of Obama Presidency Hurt Markets ... I think Wall Street's afraid of an Obama administration"). In fairness, though, as right-wing economic commentary goes, this observation makes Jonah's Theorem look Nobel-worthy.

UPDATE III: The renowned economics-blogger, Fumigator in Chief, has created a chart - complete with different colors and even an X and Y axis - reflecting the correlation between John McCain's behavior and the movement of the Dow. The graph strongly suggests that the market reacts poorly when McCain's fortunes increase and reacts very well when they decline. I'm not an expert, but "it sounds reasonable and plausible to me," especially now that there is a graph supporting it.
(c) 2008 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.







Gordon Does Good
By PAUL KRUGMAN

O.K., the question is premature - we still don't know the exact shape of the planned financial rescues in Europe or for that matter the United States, let alone whether they'll really work. What we do know, however, is that Mr. Brown and Alistair Darling, the chancellor of the Exchequer (equivalent to our Treasury secretary), have defined the character of the worldwide rescue effort, with other wealthy nations playing catch-up.

This is an unexpected turn of events. The British government is, after all, very much a junior partner when it comes to world economic affairs. It's true that London is one of the world's great financial centers, but the British economy is far smaller than the U.S. economy, and the Bank of England doesn't have anything like the influence either of the Federal Reserve or of the European Central Bank. So you don't expect to see Britain playing a leadership role.

But the Brown government has shown itself willing to think clearly about the financial crisis, and act quickly on its conclusions. And this combination of clarity and decisiveness hasn't been matched by any other Western government, least of all our own.

What is the nature of the crisis? The details can be insanely complex, but the basics are fairly simple. The bursting of the housing bubble has led to large losses for anyone who bought assets backed by mortgage payments; these losses have left many financial institutions with too much debt and too little capital to provide the credit the economy needs; troubled financial institutions have tried to meet their debts and increase their capital by selling assets, but this has driven asset prices down, reducing their capital even further.

What can be done to stem the crisis? Aid to homeowners, though desirable, can't prevent large losses on bad loans, and in any case will take effect too slowly to help in the current panic. The natural thing to do, then - and the solution adopted in many previous financial crises - is to deal with the problem of inadequate financial capital by having governments provide financial institutions with more capital in return for a share of ownership.

This sort of temporary part-nationalization, which is often referred to as an "equity injection," is the crisis solution advocated by many economists - and sources told The Times that it was also the solution privately favored by Ben Bernanke, the Federal Reserve chairman.

But when Henry Paulson, the U.S. Treasury secretary, announced his plan for a $700 billion financial bailout, he rejected this obvious path, saying, "That's what you do when you have failure." Instead, he called for government purchases of toxic mortgage-backed securities, based on the theory that ... actually, it never was clear what his theory was.

Meanwhile, the British government went straight to the heart of the problem - and moved to address it with stunning speed. On Wednesday, Mr. Brown's officials announced a plan for major equity injections into British banks, backed up by guarantees on bank debt that should get lending among banks, a crucial part of the financial mechanism, running again. And the first major commitment of funds will come on Monday - five days after the plan's announcement.

At a special European summit meeting on Sunday, the major economies of continental Europe in effect declared themselves ready to follow Britain's lead, injecting hundreds of billions of dollars into banks while guaranteeing their debts. And whaddya know, Mr. Paulson - after arguably wasting several precious weeks - has also reversed course, and now plans to buy equity stakes rather than bad mortgage securities (although he still seems to be moving with painful slowness).

As I said, we still don't know whether these moves will work. But policy is, finally, being driven by a clear view of what needs to be done. Which raises the question, why did that clear view have to come from London rather than Washington?

It's hard to avoid the sense that Mr. Paulson's initial response was distorted by ideology. Remember, he works for an administration whose philosophy of government can be summed up as "private good, public bad," which must have made it hard to face up to the need for partial government ownership of the financial sector.

I also wonder how much the Femafication of government under President Bush contributed to Mr. Paulson's fumble. All across the executive branch, knowledgeable professionals have been driven out; there may not have been anyone left at Treasury with the stature and background to tell Mr. Paulson that he wasn't making sense.

Luckily for the world economy, however, Gordon Brown and his officials are making sense. And they may have shown us the way through this crisis.
(c) 2008 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times
Editors Note: Paul Krugman Won the Nobel Economics Prize for 2008. Congratulations Paul!



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To End On A Happy Note...



Black Friday
By Steely Dan

When Black Friday comes
I'll stand down by the door
And catch the grey men when they
Dive from the fourteenth floor
When Black Friday comes
I'll collect everything I'm owed
And before my friends find out
I'll be on the road
When Black Friday falls you know it's got to be
Don't let it fall on me

When Black Friday comes
I'll fly down to Muswellbrook
Gonna strike all the big red words
From my little black book
Gonna do just what I please
Gonna wear no socks and shoes
With nothing to do but feed
All the kangaroos
When Black Friday comes I'll be on that hill
You know I will

When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna dig myself a hole
Gonna lay down in it 'til
I satisfy my soul
Gonna let the world pass by me
The Archbishop's gonna sanctify me
And if he don't come across
I'm gonna let it roll
When Black Friday comes
I'm gonna stake my claim
I'll guess I'll change my name
(c) 1975/2008 Steely Dan



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Sight Of Horrifying Halloween Costume Causes 7 Children to Gouge Their Eyes Out!

NATIONAL NEWS: LOCAL JUDGE DECLARES WEARING THIS COSTUME A FELONY!

Freehold, Iowa - Dozens of children are being treated for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and five, newly-blind youngsters remain in serious condition at the Landover Baptist Hospital for Folks Not Ready for Heaven Yet. Throughout the still traumatized community, children are suffering from severe psychological shock after an unexpected knock on the door last night at a Christian alternative Halloween party held by a local pastor. The uninvited guest was wearing a costume so grotesque, evil and disfigured, the children were convinced that they had unwittingly opened the front door to Satan himself.

"Only," said one of the children who had not ripped his eyes out rather than look upon such a hideous sight, "we never would have guessed that even the Devil would -- or could -- be, like, that totally ugly! I mean, how do you lure people to do anything when you look that nasty?"

Screams of "It's a monster!" and "Where did my eyeball roll to?" brought worried parents running up from the rumpus room downstairs. But it was too late. The hideous gargoyle was already making its way across the front lawn, leaving behind a room full of crying children and a deep-pile carpet wet with the ooze of little eyeballs, which had been popped and crushed in the stampede from the doorway.

"Our hearts go out to each family today," said Pastor Deacon Fred. "They remain in our prayers. But I have to say I am pretty darn proud of the newly blind children and the True Christian(tm) parents who raised them! They followed scripture instinctively and without, pardon the pun, batting an eye! Glory!"

"And if thy right eye offend thee, pluck it out, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and not that thy whole body should be cast into hell." ~~~ Jesus Christ, Matthew 5:29

Pastor Deacon Fred continued, "we cannot stress enough that Rev. Williamson, expresses heartfelt regret for wearing that particular costume this year. He tells us from his own hospital bed that he loves children, but the disfigured shape of the mask's face prevented the old man from wearing his glasses underneath. " "I knew the costume was creepy," said Rev. Williamson, "but, come on, how could anyone guess the final effect would be that horrible?"

Rev. Williamson remains in critical condition at the hospital after being chased across the lawn by angry parents, who, thinking he was a foppish vampire, wrestled him to the gravel driveway and attempted to drive a wooden stake through his heart using a croquet mallet Before a fatal blow could be struck, little Timmy Tomlin, using his Batman cape, hung himself from the Henderson's oak tree, distracting the furious parents long enough to allow Rev. Williamson to limp to safety behind Mrs. Henderson's hydrangeas.

"I think that if Rev. Williamson had shown the costume to someone, perhaps his wife, before he decided to sneak up on the kiddies, he would have thought twice," said Pastor. "Perhaps he would have taken that hideous ghoul costume and pitched the abhorrent abomination into a trash incinerator. I believe his wife would have fainted had she seen it and it would have saved dozens of families both bawling and Braille," he continued. "I get shivers down my spine and break into a cold sweat when I even think about that fiendish vampire costume! It is absolutely the most terrifying thing I have ever seen in all my years on this earth, and to put that thing on, run into a room full of children and scream, Boo! Oh, the horror those poor children must have felt at that moment! I'm going to post a picture of it up on our church web site to warn other folks about it, but treat that photo like a solar eclipse -- don't look directly into it or you will blinded for life!"
(c) 2008 The Landover Baptist Church



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Issues & Alibis Vol 8 # 40 (c) 10/17/2008


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