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In This Edition

Ray McGovern examines why, "Petraeus's CIA Provides Grist for Iran Murder Plot."

Uri Avnery looks forward to, "The Second Herzl."

David Michael Green with yet, another, absolute must read, "We Are Not Your Human Resources."

Randall Amster goes from, "From Occupation To Liberation."

Jim Hightower reports, "Knee Jerks Defend Wall Street."

Helen Thomas says it's, "Time For U.S. Women To Keep The Peace."

James Donahue wants to, "Reduce Federal Budget - Cut Space Program."

Robert Reich observes, "The Rise Of The Regressive Right And The Reawakening Of America."

David Swanson weighs, "Obama vs. Jobs; Hope vs. Reality."

Ralph Nader sings, "Let Our Farmers Grow."

Paul Krugman sees Wall Street, "Losing Their Immunity."

Chris Floyd returns with, "Changing Of The Guards."

Joel S. Hirschhorn takes a trip, "Occupy Wall Street Visited."

Herman Cain wins the coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

John Nichols explains, "Why Cornel West Was Arrested In Memory Of Martin Luther King Jr., In Support Of Occupy Movement."

Sam Harris explores, "The Mystery Of Consciousness."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Landover Baptist Church returns with, "Mitt Romney's Crazy Religious Beliefs!" but first Uncle Ernie asks, "Got A Revolution?"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Matt Bors, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Derf City, Jeff Danziger, Lalo Alcaraz, Clay Bennett, Jen Sorensen, Motifake.Com, Richard Uzzell, Alice Popkorn, The Landover Baptist Church, Parker Brothers, Paramont Pictures, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Got A Revolution?
By Ernest Stewart

Look what's happening out in the streets!
Got a revolution?
Got to revolution!

Hey I'm dancing down the streets
Got a revolution?
Got to revolution!

Ain't it amazing all the people I meet.
Got a revolution?
Got to revolution!

One generation got old!
One generation got sold!
This generation got no destination to hold!
Volunteers ~~~ Jefferson Airplane

We can change the world
Re-arrange the world
It's dying ... to get better
Chicago ~~~ Crosy, Stills, Nash & Young

"A large amount of protesters entered our branch at 555 La Guardia Place around 2:00 PM today. They were very disruptive and refused to leave after being repeatedly asked, causing our staff to call 911. The Police asked the branch staff to close the branch until the protesters could be removed. Only one person asked to close an account and was accommodated."
~~~ A Citibank spokes-weasel ~~~

So when you see your neighbor carryin' somethin'
Help him with his load
And don't go mistaking Paradise
For that home across the road.
The Ballad Of Frankie Lee And Judas Priest ~~~ Bob Dylan

Every time I look at the news lately I have a flashback. No, it's not the "free trip" we were all promised back in the day that we never got, BUMMER! No, it's beginning to look like the 1960s all over again. The pundits are saying it sorta resembles the 60s, but not really; actually, it looks a whole lot like the 60s in many ways. For example, there's a criminal Demoncrat in the White House, with an even worse Rethuglican on deck!

The OWS crowd is demonstrating like the blacks and war protesters did. That is to say, they want something for themselves, and if everyone benefits by it, so much the better; but basically, like all things American, it's really just about them! They can't find a job, they owe a lot of money, they're wasting their lives away! Welcome to my world, Ya'll!

The blacks wanted their freedom, I can dig that; but what about freedom for gays; for everybody? Nope, in fact, given the opportunity to hold gays down, just like they were held down, they did! Fuck' em, we got what we wanted; besides, it's the American way! Very true; it is the American way! But isn't it time we changed?

The war protestors for the most part weren't really against the war so much as they were against getting drafted for the war. When the draft ended, so did their protests. Not only that, but they soon cut their hair off, put on the Armani suit and became their father and never again ventured into a protest for other peoples' rights! Of course, not all people were like that; some really cared about helping everybody; some gave their lives for that principle! As Alexandre Dumas put it in his, "Les Trois Mousquetaires:" "All for one, one for all!" And that's exactly how it should be!

Ergo, I hope the kids currently fighting the good fight keep on keeping on, even after they get a good-paying job. The trouble with having no OWS leadership for the elite is that they have no one to bribe and make it all stop and go away. I hope these folks are better people than we were; I hope they've learned a lesson that we didn't. I hope that they are truly the "greatest generation." We desperately need nothing less!

In Other News

I was talking to Issues & Alibis friend and author David Green the other day comparing his latest effort to what Arsenio and I felt after watching "Living Colour" do "The Cult Of Personality" on Arsenio's show. If you recall, Arsenio rushed up on the stage at the song's end, bowing to the band shouting, "YES, YES, YES!" I know exactly how he felt--both then and now! David has written yet another absolute must-read article, and see if you don't feel the same way about it that I do.

I finished my note to David with this postscript:
"I don't suppose you'd be up for a "Green for President" run in 2012?"

David wrote back:

Meanwhile, I’ll run for president if you run my campaign. Deal? Keep fighting the good fight!

I, of course, took it one step further and wrote David back:

Done and done. Could you get behind being the "Green Party" candidate? I know a few people including their last candidate Cynthia. I know that they have drawbacks, but they are on our side, and have an evolved structure. All we need now is a billion for TV and such. Hmmm, who owes me favors? I have no doubt that the OWS crowd would go for you in a big way! A brilliant, articulate truth-sayer and soothsayer who's photogenic as a bitch and not a politician -- a real man of the people -- sounds like a winning scenario to me! The key is to introduce you to the OWS folks and watch you go viral!

Dave added a postscript:

Does this mean I have to cut off my pony tail?

To which I replied:

No leave the hair alone, we'll get you a complete selection of Colonial Tri-corner hats in various colors with feathers to match!

And hence, the point of this evening's symposium is that:, i.e., "The power and the glory (as it were) of the rebellion of we the people, currently going down in lower Manhattan could be used to do great things, good things for all of us!" Could David Green be our political savior? That's up to you and David! The potential of this rebellion by the 99% is really breathtaking in its worldwide scope. As a true democracy, we the people will finally have the chance to make America what it should've been from the beginning. What they promised us, but never delivered on. If you want that America, get up off your couches and get out into the streets and scream at them "I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it any more!" Join the rebellion, join the third American revolution, and make the world a better place for you and your kids and for everybody's kids too!

And Finally

I see that a more blatant attempt to rob us is now underway with America's Banksters. Not content with adding a dizzying array of new charges to keep their billion dollar salaries intact, they're starting to lock out; and with the help of the local Gestapo, lock up their customers for wanting to take their business elsewhere. As Bob Seger once sang in "Lookin' Back," "When the war comes the cops will be on their side!"

One of the leading groups of criminals over at Bank of America are beginning to lock out their customers when they come to end their accounts and then calling in the local SQUAT team er, SWAT team (sorry I get those two confused) when their customers insist on getting their money. When caught on film or on all those Smart Phones they continue to deny their actions, saying that it was all a big mistake; it never happened!

That was back in August; last Saturday in New York, the Citibank not only refused to give the people their money but kidnapped the people, holding them against their will as if what they did was robbing the bank. Not only that outrage, but they sent their rent-a-goons outside the bank and pulled in people who had nothing to do with anything until the white-shirted goons and their troopers from New York's finest group of criminals arrived and had them all placed under arrest and placed in paddy wagons. Am I the only one that sees a several billion dollar lawsuit springing from this? No, I'm pretty sure that shysters across the country are licking their chops and having orgasms in anticipation about the chance to fill their bank accounts with the Banksters loot!

I'm just surprised they didn't hang the lot of the people who were demanding their money as bank robbers, or have Barry put the fix in for them by labeling all the folks as terrorist bank robbers and do a drone strike on lower Manhattan! While Citibank made a fool of itself, down the road at Chase Bank, a similar group at the very same time had no problem closing their accounts with Chase! No cops, no kidnapping, no muss, no fuss!

Keepin' On

Life's a bitch, no doubt about it, as lately I am reminded almost everywhere I go on the Net. For example, Common Dreams is having another fundraiser. This time, they need to raise $50g's; they're about halfway there. CounterPunch needs to raise $75g's by month's end; good luck with that, guys! Truthout has raised about 14% of the $50g's they need. BartCop seems about to go under, too, for lack of funds! Go to any leftist site; it's all the same, we're all starving. Now go to any fascist site, and they have money to burn, thanks to the Koch brothers and the like. Now compare and contrast! Funny thing that, huh?

I have to raise $250 dollars or stop eating so much. As I've often said, you get a whole lot more bang for your buck with us, and I need to raise $11,000 every year to keep going. Fortunately, half of that is picked up by our sponsors, blessed be their names. We've raised all but $250 of that $11,000 which was overdue, so I took a loan to pay the creditors off so we could keep publishing without losing anything.

Therefore, a little help Ya'll! Hey, "big John," you got $250, don't ya? Wouldn't that be cheap at twice the price, just to get me to shut up about money for a couple of months? Wouldn't it? Go ahead and make my year, John, I dare ya! I double dare ya!


05-25-1946 ~ 10-16-2011
Thanks for the justice!

06-07-1942 ~ 10-20-2011
Burn Baby Burn!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2011 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 10 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Face Book. Follow me on Twitter.

Petraeus's CIA Provides Grist for Iran Murder Plot
By Ray McGovern

Washington Post columnist David Ignatius, in his accustomed role as unofficial surrogate CIA spokesman, has thrown light on how the CIA under its new director, David Petraeus, helped craft the screenplay for this week's White House spy feature: the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the U.S.

In Thursday's column, Ignatius notes that, initially, White House and Justice Department officials found the story "implausible." It was.

But the Petraeus team soon leapt to the rescue, reflecting the four-star-general-turned-intelligence-chief's record of pandering to those determined to blacken Iran, no matter how flimsy the "evidence." Not that much better was to be expected from Petraeus - given his disingenuous record in Iraq and Afghanistan. Nonetheless, given his new perch (not to mention his sainted status in Official Washington and in the Fawning Corporate Media), this is very bad news indeed.

Before Ignatius's article, I had seen no one allude to the fact that much suggesting that important evidence about this crime-stopper tale had come from the CIA. In public, the FBI had taken the lead role, presumably because the key informant inside a Mexican drug cartel worked for U.S. law enforcement via the Drug Enforcement Administration.

Petraeus ex Machina

However, according to Ignatius, "One big reason [top U.S. officials became convinced the plot was real] is that CIA and other intelligence agencies gathered information corroborating the informant's juicy allegations and showing that the plot had support from the top leadership of the elite Quds Force of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, the covert action arm of the Iranian government."

Ignatius adds that, "It was this intelligence collected in Iran" that turned the "implausible" into plausible, but he offers no example of what that intelligence was. He only mentions a recorded telephone call on Oct. 4 between Iranian-American cars salesman Mansour Arbabsiar and his supposed contact in Iran, Gholam Shakuri, allegedly an official in Iran's Quds spy agency.

The call is recounted in the FBI affidavit submitted in support of the criminal charges against Arbabsiar, who is now in U.S. custody, and Shakuri, who is not. But the snippets of that conversation are unclear, discussing what on the surface appears to be a "Chevrolet" car purchase, but which the FBI asserts is code for killing the Saudi ambassador.

Without explaining what other evidence the CIA might have, Ignatius tries to further strengthen the case by knocking down some of the obvious problems with the allegations, such as "why the Iranians would undertake such a risky operation, and with such embarrassingly poor tradecraft."

"But why the use of Mexican drug cartels?" asks Ignatius rhetorically, before adding dutifully: "U.S. officials say that isn't as implausible as it sounds."

But it IS as implausible as it sounds, says every professional intelligence officer I have talked with since the "plot" was somberly announced on Tuesday.

The Old CIA Pros There used to be real professionals in the CIA's operations directorate. One - Ray Close, a longtime CIA Arab specialist and former Chief of Station in Saudi Arabia - told me on Wednesday that we ought to ask ourselves a very simple question:

"If you were an Iranian undercover operative who was under instructions to hire a killer to assassinate the Saudi Arabian ambassador in Washington, D.C., why in HELL would you consider it necessary to explain to a presumed Mexican [expletive deleted] that this murder was planned and would be paid for by a secret organization in Iran?

"Whoever concocted this tale wanted the 'plot' exposed ... to precipitate a major crisis in relations between Iran and the United States. Which other government in the Middle East would like nothing better than to see those relations take a big step toward military confrontation?"

If you hesitate in answering, you have not been paying attention. Many have addressed this issue. My last stab at throwing light on the Israel/Iran/U.S. nexus appeared on October 3 in "Israel's Window to Bomb Iran."

Another point on the implausibility meter is: What are the odds that Iran's Quds force would plan an unprecedented attack in the United States, that this crack intelligence agency would trust the operation to a used-car salesman with little or no training in spy craft, that he would turn to his one contact in a Mexican drug cartel who happens to be a DEA informant, and that upon capture the car salesman would immediately confess and implicate senior Iranian officials?

Wouldn't it make more sense to suspect that Arbabsiar might be a double-agent, recruited by some third-party intelligence agency to arrange some shady business deal regarding black-market automobiles, get some ambiguous comments over the phone from an Iranian operative, and then hand the plot to the U.S. government on a silver platter -as a way to heighten tensions between Washington and Teheran?

That said, there are times when even professional spy agencies behave like amateurs. And there's no doubt that the Iranians -like the Israelis, the Saudis and the Americans -can and do carry out assassinations and kidnappings in this brave new world of ours.

Remember, for instance, the case of Islamic cleric Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, also known as Abu Omar, who was abducted off the streets of Milan, Italy, on Feb. 17, 2003, and then flown from a U.S. air base to Egypt where he was imprisoned and tortured for a year.

In 2009, Italian prosecutors convicted 23 Americans, mostly CIA operatives, in absentia for the kidnapping after reconstructing the disappearance through their unencrypted cell phone records and their credit card bills at luxury hotels in Milan.

Then, there was the suspected Mossad assassination of Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Mabhouh at a hotel in Dubai on Jan. 19, 2010, with the hit men seen on hotel video cameras strolling around in tennis outfits and creating an international furor over their use of forged Irish, British, German and French passports.

So one cannot completely rule out that there may be some substance to the alleged Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador.

And beyond the regional animosities between Saudi Arabia and Iran, there could be a motive -although it has been generally absent from American press accounts -i.e. retaliation for the assassinations of senior Iranian nuclear scientists and generals over the last couple of years within Iran itself.

But there has been close to zero persuasive evidence coming from the main source of information - officials of the Justice Department, which like the rest of the U.S. government has long since forfeited much claim to credibility. The experience of the last decade has done irreparable harm to the reputation of U.S. officials regarding telling the truth.

Even the New York Times, always eager to support Israel and blacken Iran, has taken a skeptical stance in reporting and commenting on this latest caper. It will be interesting to watch, in the days ahead, whether that well warranted skepticism erodes or disappears, as the always-anonymous U.S. officials peddle what evidence they have. Am I being maudlin, or hopelessly nostalgic, to recall the days when Americans could assume that Washington was telling the truth and only the "bad guys" lie?

Petraeus's 'Intelligence' on Iran

The public record also shows that former Gen. Petraeus has long been eager to please the neoconservatives in Washington and their friends in Israel by creating "intelligence" to portray Iran and other target countries in the worst light.

One strange but instructive example comes to mind, a studied, if disingenuous, effort to blame all the troubles in southern Iraq on the "malignant" influence of Iran.

On April 25, 2008, Joint Chiefs Chairman, Adm. Mike Mullen, told reporters that Gen. Petraeus in Baghdad would give a briefing "in the next couple of weeks" providing detailed evidence of "just how far Iran is reaching into Iraq to foment instability." Petraeus's staff alerted U.S. media to a major news event in which captured Iranian arms in Karbala would be displayed and then destroyed.

Oops. Small problem. When American munitions experts went to Karbala to inspect the alleged cache of Iranian weapons, they found nothing that could be credibly linked to Iran.

At that point, adding insult to injury, the Iraqis announced that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki had formed his own Cabinet committee to investigate the U.S. claims and attempt to "find tangible information and not information based on speculation." Ouch!

The Teflon-clad Petraeus escaped embarrassment, as the David Ignatiuses of the Fawning Corporate Media (FCM) conveniently forgot all about the promised-then-canceled briefing. U.S. media suppression of this telling episode is just one example of how difficult it is to get unbiased, accurate information on touchy subjects like Iraq - or Iran - into the FCM.

Obama, Holder, Clinton: Giving Hypocrisy a Bad Name

As for Attorney General Eric Holder and President Barack Obama, some adult adviser should tell them to quit giving hypocrisy a bad name with their self-righteous indignation over the thought that no civilized nation would conduct cross-border assassinations.

The Obama administration, like its predecessor, has been dispatching armed drones to distant corners of the globe to kill Islamic militants, including recently the U.S. citizen Anwar al-Awlaki for the alleged crime of encouraging violence against Americans.

Holder and Obama have refused to release the Justice Department's legal justification for the targeted murder of al-Awlaki whose "due process" amounted to the President it was okay to put al-Awlaki's name on a secret "kill-or-capture" list. (The "capture" part seems to have become "quaint" and "obsolete." Some will remember that those were the adjectives used by Alberto Gonzales, one of Holder's predecessors, to describe provisions of the Geneva Conventions.)

Holder and Obama have also refused to take meaningful action to hold officials of the Bush administration accountable for war crimes even though President George W. Bush has publicly acknowledged authorizing waterboarding and other brutal techniques long regarded as acts of torture.

Who can take at face value the sanctimonious words of an attorney general like Holder who has acquiesced in condoning egregious violations of the Bill of Rights, the U.S. criminal code, and international law - like the International Convention Against Torture? Were shame not in such short supply in Official Washington these days, one would be amazed that Holder could keep a straight face, accusing these alleged Iranian perpetrators of "violating an international convention."

America's Founders would hold in contempt the Holders of this world and the faux-legal types doing his bidding. The behavior of the past two administrations has been more reminiscent of George III and his sycophants than of James Madison, George Mason, John Jay and George Washington, who gave us the rich legacy of a Constitution, which created a system based on laws not men.

That Constitution and its Bill of Rights have become endangered species at the hands of the craven poachers at "Justice." No less craven are the functionaries leading today's CIA.

What to Watch For

If Petraeus finds it useful politically to conjure up more "evidence" of nefarious Iranian behavior in Iraq and/or Afghanistan, Lebanon or Syria, he will. And if he claims to see signs of ominous Iranian intentions regarding nuclear weapons, watch out.

Honest CIA analysts, like the ones who concluded in late 2007 that Iran had stopped working on a nuclear weapon in 2003 and had not resumed that work, are in short supply. And most have families to support and mortgages to pay.

Petraeus is quite capable of marginalizing them, or even forcing them to quit. I have watched this happen to a number of intelligence officials under a few of Petraeus's politics-prone predecessors. As a CIA analyst from 1963 to 1990, I worked under nine CIA directors, most of whom - with the notable exceptions of Bill Casey and his protege Bobby Gates - resisted pressure to conjure up "evidence" to support White House policy. Sadly, more recent CIA directors have made that exception the rule.

Malleable careerists can be found in any organization, and promoted, so long as they are willing to tell more ominous - if disingenuous - stories like the latest tale one about the Iranian-American-used-car-salesman-Mexican-drug-cartel-Saudi-ambassador plot. One is initially inclined to laugh all this off. But the situation with respect to Iran can get very dangerous in a hurry.

Israel's leaders would require but the flimsiest nihil obstat to encourage them to provoke hostilities with Iran. Netanyahu and his colleagues would expect the Obamas, Holders, Petraeuses (and the Hillary "obliterate-Iran" Clintons) of this world to "fix the intelligence and facts" (a la Iraq) in order to "justify" swift "retaliation" against Iran, should it rise to the bait of some Israeli-inspired provocation.

There is little sign that these Ivy-League geniuses have the remotest idea of what war with Iran would look like. There is ample evidence - and a long trail of past precedent - to suggest that nothing would suit Israel's increasingly isolated and beleaguered leaders better than getting the U.S. embroiled in hostilities with Iran.

The strategic trend, particularly since the Arab spring, has been decidedly negative of Israel. And Netanyahu and his hard-Right colleagues might well have an inflated idea regarding the U.S. capability, after more Iranian "provocation," to move swiftly enough to stem inevitably damaging retaliation.

Many observers have come to see Israel's leaders as increasingly desperate. They may well adopt an attitude of What's to Lose? - so long as America is on their side. If this is the case, the Israeli government may not hesitate for much longer to risk sucking the United States into the kind of conflict that, short of a massive commitment of resources and/or a few tactical nuclear weapons, the U.S. and Israel could almost surely not win.

It would be the kind of war that would make Iraq and Afghanistan look like minor skirmishes.
(c) 2011 Ray McGovern served as a CIA analyst for 27 years -- from the administration of John F. Kennedy to that of George H. W. Bush. During the early 1980s, he was one of the writers/editors of the President's Daily Brief and briefed it one-on-one to the president's most senior advisers. He also chaired National Intelligence Estimates. In January 2003, he and four former colleagues founded Veteran Intelligence Professionals for Sanity.

The Second Herzl
By Uri Avnery

ON YOM KIPPUR eve last week, when real Jews were praying for their lives, I sat on the seashore of Tel Aviv, thinking.

It was my first Yom Kippur without Rachel, and the dark water reflected my mood.

I was thinking about our state, the State of Israel, in which I have, so to speak, a founder's share.

Will it endure? Will it be here in another 100 years? Or is it a passing episode, a historic fluke?

When asked for his assessment of the French Revolution, Zhou Enlai famously replied: "It's too early to tell."

The Zionist Revolution - and that's what it was - started more than a hundred years after the French one. It is certainly much too early to tell.

ONCE, IN a more cheerful mood, I told my friends: "Perhaps we are all wrong. Perhaps Israel is not really the final shape of the Zionist enterprise. Like the planners of every great project, the Zionists decided first to build a 'pilot', a prototype, in order to test their scheme. Actually, we Israelis are only guinea pigs. Sooner or later another Theodor Herzl will come by and, after analyzing the faults and mistakes of this experiment, will draw up the blueprint of the real state, which will be far superior."

Herzl 2 will start by asking: where did Herzl 1 go wrong?

Herzl 1 visited Palestine only once, and that only for the express purpose of meeting the German emperor, whom he wanted to enlist for his enterprise. The Kaiser insisted on seeing him at the gate of Jerusalem, listened patiently to what he had to say and then purportedly commented to his aides: "It's a grand idea, but you can't do it with Jews!"

He meant the Jews he knew - the members of a world-wide religious-ethnic community. Herzl intended to turn these into a modern-style nation, like the other modern nations of Europe.

Herzl was not a profound thinker, he was a journalist and dramatist. He - and his successors - saw the necessary transformation as basically a question of logistics. Get the Jews to Palestine, and everything will fall into place automatically. The Jews will become a normal people, a people ("Volk") like other peoples. A nation among nations.

BUT THE Jews of his day were neither a people nor a nation. They were something rather different.

Whilst anomalous in 19th century Europe, the Jewish Diaspora was quite normal 2000 years earlier. The large-scale social structure of that time was a network of Diasporas - autonomous religious-ethnic entities dispersed throughout the "civilized" (Mediterranean) world. The ruling empires - Persian, Alexandrine, Roman, Byzantine, Ottoman - recognized them as the natural fabric of society.

Nations in the modern territorial sense were then inconceivable. A Jew in Jerusalem did not belong to the same society as a Hellenist in Caesarea, only a hundred miles away. A Christian man in Alexandria could not marry the Jewish girl next door, but she could marry a Jewish man in far-away Antiochia.

Since then, Europe has changed many times, until the emergence of the modern nations. The Jews did not change. When Herzl looked for a solution to the "Jewish problem", they were still the same ethnic-religious Diaspora.

No problem, he thought, once I get them to Palestine, they will change.

BUT AN ethnic-religious community, living for millennia as a persecuted minority in a hostile environment, acquires a mentality of its own. It fears the "Goyish" government, the source of unending evil edicts. It sees everyone outside the community as a potential enemy, unless proven otherwise (and even then). It develops an intense sense of solidarity with members of its own community, even a thousand miles away, supporting them through thick and thin, whatever they do. In their helpless situation, the persecuted dream of a day of revenge, when they can do unto others as others have done unto them.

All this pervades their world-view, their religion and their traditions, transmitted from generation to generation. Jews have prayed to God for centuries, year after year, on Pesach eve: "Pour your wrath upon the Goyim..."

When the Zionists started to arrive and founded the new community, called the "Yishuv" (settlement), it seemed that Herzl had been right. They started to behave like the embryo of a real nation. They discarded religion and despised the Diaspora. To be called "exile Jew" was the worst possible insult. They saw themselves as "Hebrew", rather then Jewish. They started to build a new society and a new culture.

And then the awful thing happened: the Holocaust.

It brought all the old Jewish convictions back with a vengeance. Not only the Germans were the guilty, but all the nations who looked on and did not lift a finger to save the victims. So all the old beliefs were true after all: the whole world is against the Jews, we must defend ourselves whatever it takes, we can only rely on ourselves. The attitude of the Yishuv towards Jewishness and the Diaspora was a terrible mistake, we must repent and embrace everything we despised only yesterday: Jewish religion, Jewish traditions, the Jewish Shtetl.

The late Professor Yeshayahu Leibowitz, an observant Jew, maintained that the Jewish religion had died 200 years ago, and that the one thing that linked the Jews all over the world was the Holocaust.

Right from its founding, the State of Israel became the Holocaust-state. But we are not a helpless ghetto anymore - we have powerful armed forces, we can indeed do unto others as others have done unto us.

The old existential fears, mistrusts, suspicions, hatreds, prejudices, stereotypes, sense of victimhood, dreams of revenge, that were born in the Diaspora, have superimposed themselves on the state, creating a very dangerous mixture of power and victimhood, brutality and masochism, militarism and the conviction that the whole world is against us. A ghetto with nuclear weapons.

CAN SUCH a state survive and flourish in the modern world?

European nation-states have fought many wars. But they never forgot that after a war comes peace, that today's enemy may well be tomorrow's ally. Nation-states remain, but they are becoming more and more interdependent, joining regional structures, giving up huge chunks of their sovereignty.

Israel cannot do that. Public opinion polls show that the vast majority of Israelis believe that there will never be peace. Not tomorrow, not in a hundred years. They are convinced that "the Arabs" are out to throw us into the sea. They see mighty Israel as the victim surrounded by enemies, while our "friends" are liable to stick a knife in our back any time. They see the eternal occupation of Palestinian territories and the setting up of belligerent settlements all over Palestine as a result of Arab intransigence, not as its cause. They are supported in blind solidarity by most of the Jews around the world.

Almost all Israeli parties, including the main opposition, insist that Israel be recognized as the "nation-state of the Jewish people". This means that Israel does not belong to the Israelis (the very concept of an "Israeli nation" is officially rejected by our government) but to the worldwide ethnic-religious Jewish Diaspora, who have never been asked whether they agree to Israel representing them. It is the very negation of a real nation-state that can live in peace with its neighbors and join a regional union.

I HAVE never labored under any illusions about the magnitude of the task my friends and I set ourselves decades ago. It is not to change this or that aspect of Israel, but to change the fundamental nature of the state Itself.

It is far more than a matter of politics, to substitute one party for another. It is even far more than making peace with the Palestinian people, ending the occupation, evacuating the settlements. It is to effect a basic change of [or "in"] the national consciousness, the consciousness of every Israeli man and woman.

It has been said that "you can get the Jews out of the ghetto, but you can't get the ghetto out of the Jews." But that is exactly what needs to be done.

Can it be done? I think so. I certainly hope so.

Perhaps we need a shock - either a positive or a negative one. The appearance here of Anwar Sadat in 1977 can serve as an example of a positive shock: by coming to Jerusalem while a state of war was still in effect, he produced an overnight change in the consciousness of Israelis. So did the Rabin-Arafat handshake on the White House lawn in 1993. So did, in a negative way, the Yom Kippur war, exactly 38 years ago, which shook Israel to the core. But these were minor, brief shocks compared to what is needed.

A Second Herzl could, perhaps, effect such a miracle, against the odds. In the words of the first Herzl: "If you want it, It is not a fairy tale."

(c) 2011 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

We Are Not Your Human Resources
By David Michael Green

I was talking with a friend of mine the other day about Occupy Wall Street. She said to me "This is what I've been waiting for my whole life." I told her I feel exactly the same way.

The only difference is that she's in her early twenties, and I'm in my early fifties.

I'm not sure which is better. She's had an entire lifetime full of nothing but the downsizing of her country, and the theft of her future. The only two presidents a person her age could have had any mature appreciation of were George W. Bush, the thief and liar, and Barack Obama, another thief and liar. She has never known an America that wasn't reeling under the assault of Wall Street plutocrats and the kleptocrats they hire to do their bidding in Washington.

On the other hand, people her age could at most have suffered with the pain of being under this siege for a mere five years or so, unless they happen to have been astonishingly attentive and precocious preteens. My generation, on the other hand, has been living this nightmare for three solid decades now, through Republican abominations and - in many ways, worse - Democratic as well. We have known indisputably throughout this era that a better country is not just a pretty aspiration or a theoretical proposition. We know that because we once lived there. I'm glad I had that experience. But, that said, carrying around the heartache of observing our national suicide by greed for more than thirty years' time has also been a painful, soul-numbing burden I wouldn't wish on anyone.

I don't know what will come of Occupy Wall Street, and its brother an sister movements in cities across the world. On the one hand, this is the most hopeful development I've seen since the dark finale to the year 1980 gave us Ronald Reagan and took away John Lennon. On the other, I've learned through ugly experience and hard-won (and, the more cynical amongst us might say, belated) wisdom not to expect too very much from purported agents of sweeping change. Consider the last two of note. Egyptians rose up and threw off their own violent kleptocracy through mass action. Less than a year later, the military rules the country and is repressing dissent using the same bloody tactics of the prior regime. Closer to home, we've got a Wall Street occupation of a rather different sort than the one in Zuccotti Park. The guy who - when he wanted something from us 99 percenters - spoke passionately of change and hope and the fierce urgency of now, has instead allowed Wall Street to occupy our White House, and has delivered to millions of hurting Americans a substitute program of no change, crushed hope, and the tepid lethargy of whenever.

So hope is not always a good bet. Who therefore knows what will happen on the streets of Manhattan in the coming weeks and months? At some point, The Man may decide he's had just about enough of this truth-telling shit, thank you very much, and sweep the place clean. Don't want to be giving the ordinary folks watching at home too many ideas, y'know? If that happens, other possibilities immediately arise. Maybe the folks on the street resist. Maybe if they do, lots and lots of people come running to their side to stand up both for what they're protesting and for their very right to protest. Maybe a police sweep could be the best thing that could happen, causing the movement to metastasize in a swelling of national support. It could all get very interesting, very quickly. Or not.

I dunno. Here's what I do know, however, and why I allow myself to once again risk being hopeful: This is the first time in a very long time that we've had any honest content to our national political discourse. All else follows from there, and thus this is the crucial first step, the sine qua non for any chance whatsoever of righting the badly listing ship of state. If we cannot identify our true maladies, we cannot possibly hope to treat them.

And we have been doing neither for a very long time. The most astonishing and depressing aspect of our era is (or, perhaps, has been) the fact that, at the very time when conditions are such that one could almost not possibly write a script more favorable to the rise of a robust politics of the left in America, precisely the opposite has been happening. What left there is left in the country has been moribund, its heartbeat barely detectable. Meanwhile, what is described as the left, operating under the banner of the Democratic Party, has shown itself every bit as capable of whoring for capital as the other party, though it swims even deeper in the cesspool of treason by pretending it is still the party of the people. And then there's right, which has absolutely gone insane by increments over these last three decades. I don't know if my young friend quite believes me when I tell her that the rhetoric and policies of a Cheney or a Bachmann or even a Romney would have been inconceivable (except, by definition, as fringe lunacy) in Gerry Ford's 1970s. But they would indeed have been just that. We have traveled very far from that world.

In any case, think about it. Suppose you were asked to play 'Sim America' and create from whole cloth the conditions you thought most likely to produce a vibrant political left, rising up to reform the country, as it did during the 1930s and 1960s. What factors might you include in your blueprint? How about a nation riddled with economic insecurity at best and widespread real suffering at worst? Check. Rampant and unremitting unemployment? Check. A rapacious class of financial predators and wealthy plutocrats who have taken every penny of economic growth for themselves over the last three decades, leaving only stagnation for the rest of us? Check. A distribution of wealth so skewed toward the rich that it would embarrass Zimbabwe? Check. A political class completely unresponsive to the needs of the people and devoted instead to serving the gluttonous pigs whose money puts them in office? Check. A massively broken health care system devoted to profits instead of health? Check. Endless government spending of taxpayer money to bail out the disastrous bets of sociopathic Wall Street nihilists and their destruction machines, combined with zero support for ordinary citizens struggling with ballooning debt and underwater mortgages? Check. A generation of downsized middle-aged workers who know they will never again be able to restore the basic economic stability they once enjoyed? Check. A generation of young people looking ahead to lives of lousy jobs (when any at all can be found), lousy pay, massive debt, massive taxes to pay for previous borrowing, epic environmental destruction, endless wars, and living at home with their parents rather than starting families of their own? Check. A discredited far-right previous government whose crony capitalist policies made profound and direct contributions to all of the above? Check.

And, if none of those items seem alone sufficient to generate a vibrant progressive response, how about all of them (and lots more), all at once? Check, check, double-check, and checkmate. Here is the check for a lovely meal of greed, theft, war and planetary destruction held in your honor. Or at least at your expense. What, you don't want the bill?

I can hardly think of better conditions for the rise of a New New Left. But what do we get, instead? The freaking Tea Party!! Like I said, this is the single most depressing characteristic of our time (and because of the deep and broad array of repugnant choices for that loathsome title, that's saying a lot). It's like, even when you win you still lose.

But maybe, at long last, things are finally turning around with the advent of the Occupy movement, and people will at last get it. And maybe they'll figure out who the real enemy is, and act accordingly. Unfortunately, however, even that prospect involves a longer term solution. Consider that the best case scenario for January 2013 is that the hopelessly hapless Barack Inc. Obama will once again be inaugurated as president. And that even if he can't get Larry Summers and Timothy Geithner and Robert Gates to be in his administration because they're all too busy making money, he will most assuredly be getting people like that. Don't expect to see a Paul Krugman or a Joseph Stiglitz or a Paul Volcker on Obama's team any more than he appointed Elizabeth Warren to run the Consumer Protection Bureau or went for the public option in his health care obombination. And that's the 'best' case scenario. Far more likely will be a Scary Perry or a Ken-Doll Romney taking the oath that day.

There actually is one better scenario, and this is again why the Occupy movement represents a breath of genuine hope (as opposed to the merchandised, fast-expiring kind Obama peddled in 15-second TV spots in 2008). Our solutions no longer reside, if they ever did, in the ballot box. The Republicans are a sheer criminal enterprise, whose entire function is to redistribute wealth from the rest of us to already wealthy elites. But the Democrats are actually worse, because they do exactly the same thing, while trading on the party's past reputation for representing the public interest. For my money (which, along with yours, is precisely what is at stake), Obama and Clinton and their ilk in Congress have betrayed me and the country more than, say, any of the Dicks - Cheney, Armey or Nixon. You expect the asshole kid on the playground to live up to his reputation. It hurts a lot more when your best friend is the one sticking in the knife.

No, while there will still be elections and presidents and a new Congress, no matter who those people are in 2013, they will all be cut from the same cloth, and I guarantee you that you can't afford that frock. This country is going to have pretty much go all Egypt on the ruling class to have any hope of changing what fundamentally ails us. That doesn't mean the Constitution has to be shredded and new institutions of government created. It just means that, at the end of the day, the people in government must be responsive to the public interest, not the oligarchy's.

That's a hugely tall order in many ways. But, on the other hand, context is everything. People are fed-up now, and growing increasingly sick of being subjected to a steady diet of bogus wars, gay-bashing or empty platitudes in the place of real solutions to real problems. There is a giant vacuum today in American politics, which will only grow dramatically in scale about two years or so into a Republican administration's term. But political nature abhors a vacuum, and the opportunity today for a genuine set of people-first politics to attract votes (whether as a third party or through a hijacking of the Democratic Party) has not been greater in decades. More and more, Americans are coming to the realization that the choice between Democrats and Republicans is the political equivalent to the choice between Goldman Sachs and Citibank. That is to say, none at all. And more and more they will demand a real alternative, if only from sheer desperation.

I don't think the American political class will see such a development coming, any more than they did in Egypt, and any more than they are able to grapple with Occupy Wall Street. It's been alternately amazing, amusing, sickening and predictable to observe the reaction that these demonstrations have engendered among our ruling class and their stable of media bots, including the obligatory condescending tropes about dirty hippies and clueless youth occupying the park. That's fine with me. I hope the powers-that-be continue to stand by, establishing a record for themselves of befuddlement and contempt, so that there's no ambiguity whatsoever about which side they were on when the chips were down, and so that they can all the more rapidly and definitively be transformed into the powers-that-were.

Their critiques have been fast and furious, so much so that, golly, it almost seems like the establishment needed to find something for which to criticize the movement, even if they had to invent it. I'm sure the Eric Cantors and New York Timeses of this world would never be so nefarious and disingenuous as to do something like that, of course. But it sure seemed that way, especially as you hear the ubiquitous critique that the folks in Zuccotti Park "don't have a message."

Gee, you think? I mean, if ten thousand people march around the Pentagon, what do you think that could mean? That they want an increase in Social Security benefits? A longer baseball season, perhaps? If thousands of blacks march on Selma, what do you suppose is their demand? Deregulation of derivative trading? A ban on cloning? And if thousands decide to occupy Wall Street, what ever might one imagine is the reason they are there in particular? Because lower Manhattan has the best falafel stands?

Still can't figure it out, Masters of the Universe and talking head plastic media arbiters of American culture? How about this for a hint: The protesters keep chanting, "We are the 99 percent! We are the 99 percent!" What could that possibly mean? Yes, it's true that there are no leaders for you to coopt, jail or ridicule, and we know that makes you, er, uneasy. Yes, there is a manifest absence of manifestoes with forty-seven point plans full of tax reform schemes and new educational testing initiatives. But even you pompous blow-dried blow-hards in your gated communities should be able to get the general gist of what we're saying, that we in the 99 percent are sick and tired of being exploited and thrashed for the sake of satiating the pathological greed of the one percent.

Even if you have no brains inside your immaculately coifed heads, you should still be able to decipher that no-brainer. Unless, of course, the problem is that you just don't want to. Take for example the fine specimen of a regressive columnist Mark Steyn, who writes for the Orange County Register (of course), and just recently scribbled this dribble: "My colleague Rich Lowry correctly notes that many of the beleaguered families testifying on the "We are the 99%" websites have real problems. However, the "Occupy" movement has no real solutions, except more government, more spending, more regulation, more bureaucracy, more unsustainable lethargic pseudo-university with no return on investment, more more more of what got us into this hole. Indeed, for all their youthful mien, the protesters are as mired in America's post-war moment as their grandparents: One of their demands is for a trillion dollars in "environmental restoration." Hey, why not? It's only a trillion."

What Mr. Steyn doesn't want you to notice (among many other things), and what most of his readers won't in fact notice, is the basic lie at the heart of his dismissive assertion. What got us "into this hole" is precisely the opposite of what he suggests. It wasn't some liberal Frankenstein experiment gone shatteringly awry that wrecked the country, but, quite to the contrary, it was in fact the dismantlement of the liberal experiment of the mid-twentieth century, a program that had been so successful that it created a massive and wealthy middle class in America far beyond anything that had ever existed anywhere in the world prior to that time. But regressives decided to take it apart, and over the last thirty years they've won every policy battle on every question of political economy, from taxes to trade to labor relations to regulation to privatization to deficits and beyond.

Thus, what Mr. Steyn and his ill ilk are desperate for you not to know is that what wrecked the country and the planet is their conservatism (or so-called conservatism - it's really regressivism). That's why they want you to forget who was in the White House when the shit hit the fan. And that the last two Democratic presidents have created White House economic teams comprised of Wall Street executives. And that taxes are far lower than they used to be, and regulation of bankers nearly nonexistent, and social programs dismantled, and job-exporting trade deals signed, and unions crushed, and on and on and on. These people appear to "not get" Occupy Wall Street because they're desperate for it to disappear. In truth, they get it thoroughly and entirely (and, deep down, they can't believe it's taken this long for it to arrive), and they know it for precisely the existential threat to their sickeningly indulgent lives of infantile greed that it absolutely is.

But just in case I'm being unduly harsh to a class of boardroom rapists and murderers and the media and political marionettes who enable their predatory agenda, let me see if I can be helpful to them and simplify the message. It's just this: "We are not your human resources." We. Are. Not. Your. Human. Resources.

The truth is, the one percent in this country sees the rest of us - not as equals, or even as human beings - but as commodities put on this earth to serve them, no different from machines or infrastructure, computers or chemicals. We are their resources, who just happen to have bodies and minds somewhat similar to their own (though of an entirely different class, of course!). Which means we're a pain in the ass because, unlike machines, we have an annoying tendency to want a moderately decent salary and time off to spend with our families, not to mention bathroom breaks on the job. What a drag, eh Thurston?! To them, we're not human beings entitled to human rights and empathetic respect. We are, instead, the frustratingly-expensive remaining elements of a wealth-production machine that cannot (yet) be replaced by computers, robots or Asian peasants.

This is - in the minds of the one percent - a pure relationship of sheer exploitation. In truth, it fundamentally differs little from slavery or patriarchy or environmental destruction. What all these systems have in common is the age-old notion of one class of people living large at the expense of other creatures' misery.

And rarely in the last century have the oligarchs and plutocrats been as successful at doing just that as they are today. Moreover, under the generous leadership of an entire political class ranging from Barack Obama to Scott Walker, they are at this moment still relentlessly attempting to destroy what little is left of American middle class prosperity in the name of unquenchable elite greed. And why not? Since when were three yachts ever enough?

What frightens these people about Occupy Wall Street - and, make no mistake, their attempts at ridicule are the purest possible expressions of their fear - is the idea that the public might actually be on to their game at last.

That a critical mass might have reached critical mass.

That we might no longer be susceptible to diversion by means of ethnic or lifestyle divisions pitting us against one another, or by foreign bogeymen and the endless national security 'crises' they are said to represent.

That we might remember that things were once better here, before we abandoned our humanity and wisdom in the name of greed and expediency and oligarchy.

That we might realize how weak the one percent actually are - just as our Egyptian brothers and sisters found out about their own kleptocracy - and that we might discover how easily toppled corrupt regimes are once exposed for what they are.

That we might demand a modest but fair share of the national wealth, and a political system in which people, not just special interest campaign contributors, actually have a voice in policy decisions.

That we might insist on a decent quality of life for ourselves, and a real future for our children.

And that we understand ourselves to be real people, with real rights, real needs and real aspirations, rather than as tools placed here for the realization of their pathologically bloated obsessive greed.

Because - Mr. Steyn, Mr. Walker, Mr. Cantor, Mr. Murdoch and, yes, Mr. Obama - however much you might stamp your feet, hold your breath, and insist otherwise:

We are not your human resources.
(c) 2011 David Michael Green is a professor of political science at Hofstra University in New York. He is delighted to receive readers' reactions to his articles, but regrets that time constraints do not always allow him to respond. More of his work can be found at his website,

From Occupation To Liberation
By Randall Amster

Words matter, especially in our mediated world where the resonance of language is greatly amplified. In this spirit, among some sectors that are otherwise sympathetic with and supportive of the overall aims of the Occupy Movement, there has been an important critique advanced about the nature of "occupation" as an operative premise, oftentimes seeking to deconstruct the racialized character of the concept as it applies to the legacy of occupiers and the makeup of the movement in its present form.

This critical perspective highlights the fact that Wall Street has always been "occupied territory," tracing to its earliest days when an actual wall was erected, and even further back when the entire continent itself was taken by an occupying force that failed to recognize the humanity and validity of the original inhabitants. Most of us comprehend this reality -- namely that we largely exist on thoroughly occupied land -- even as we sometimes forget that for many of us working to "Occupy" the centers of power, we ourselves are the beneficiaries of an ongoing and unremediated occupation.

We ought not dismiss the movement because of these problematic linguistics. Still, we should inquire whether some allies -- especially people of color, who have suffered disproportionately from colonialism and occupation -- are being perceptually discouraged from participating fully in this emerging mobilization. I won't attempt to speak for them, but would instead suggest that we consider whether there are other ways of expressing the visceral sense of "taking back space" that is driving the effort. In fact, doing so can help foster the development of a deeper critique that subsumes not only obvious targets such as corporations and politicians, but also mores and values in themselves -- including those internal to the movement.

As the colonialist history plainly indicates, one can occupy without liberating. Occupied places can become loci of control, authoritarianism, and hierarchical power. As such, they are susceptible to being regulated and policed by those seeking to reestablish their control, as we've seen in Zuccotti Park and other Occupied sites. On the other hand, liberated spaces -- ones which have been wrested from external authorities and likewise freed from the baggage of patriarchy, racialization, classism, and other forms of creeping normativity -- cannot be so easily circumscribed, since they are only partially dependent on their address. The liberated space of a decolonized mind moves with us wherever we go, and is the most powerful form of resistance.

Challenges into Opportunities

Considering that a big part of the movement is to set up public encampments for their symbolic impact, we can already glimpse the seeds of the liberation of space rather than merely the occupation of place. While the physical location of these occupations matters, the impetus is rapidly becoming more about the desire to reframe the sociopolitical dialogue and create nodes for effective (and interlinked) organizing in communities across the nation and world. These are struggles over space, in that they address the material and cultural realms alike, and bear a resemblance to precursors such as the Hoovervilles that arose during the Great Depression -- even as we comprehend that most Occupiers do have other alternatives for actual habitation.

The movement is often branded as lacking a coherent message, but on some level the liberation of space is the message. Mass mobilizations of people defying law and authority to create autonomous zones for local assemblies, participatory democracy, consensus processes, and expressions of political solidarity are all embedded in the practice of liberated space. Likewise, a powerful statement is being made against the forces of privatization and authoritarianism, which have sought to exercise control intended to eviscerate the capacity of people to address the issues that fundamentally define their lives. A liberated space can be either public or private in its underlying legal fabric, celebrating and expanding the former while defying the latter.

The challenges posed by critiques from the left (occupation is colonialist) and the right (occupation is incoherent) are actually profound opportunities for the movement to sharpen its articulations. "Occupy Wall Street" is a fabulous catchphrase that has captured peoples' imaginations around the world. Yet now it is equally crucial to speak with more clarity about what's implicit in the slogan: decolonization, liberation, democratization, autonomy, community, dignity, and more. The effort is about reclaiming the commons, rejecting the culture of commodification of peoples and places, linking issues into a paradigmatic engagement with entrenched power, reactivating the vox populi, and creating buoyancy within the shell of a rapidly sinking ship. All of this is bound up with the inherent spatiality of the movement and its unique capacity to exist simultaneously in discontinuous yet interwoven locales.

Why This Movement Will Succeed

The combined effect of solidarity and decentralization bodes well for the success of the Occupy Movement. Of course, myriad provocateurs and party operatives are already sniffing around opportunistically to either control or decimate its potential. Pay them little mind -- their laughable attempts are the last gasps of a dying ideology that has threatened to take us all down with it. The cell-like quality of the movement mitigates against widespread infiltration and cooptation, and the staunchly leaderless posture in evidence empowers people to think and act for themselves, in concert with others, rather than being lulled into obedience or manipulated into malleability.

This movement will succeed because it has learned the lessons of history and isn't consumed with asking for concessions or fitting within the four corners of the "vast wasteland" that is the domain of demagogues and talking (corporate) heads. This movement will succeed because it is global in scope, essentially coming to encapsulate an Occupy Earth mobilization, and it taps into the conjoined interests of everyone who is not part of the international elite class that has rigged the game on every continent. This movement will succeed because people are tired of being told that they are little more than commodities to be bought and sold, molded and discarded, and stripped of rights without recourse.

Ultimately, this movement will succeed because we have no other choice but to make it so. Time is not on our side, but history might be -- every empire eventually crumbles, and exploitation is a self-defeating enterprise in the end. The urgency of the moment is palpable, and there is a strong sense that this may well be our last, best opportunity before the window of inevitability is slammed shut in our faces. The course we've been on as a culture is inherently (and intentionally) unsustainable, both socially and ecologically. Science and intuition alike tell us that the critical juncture is imminent, and that the task cannot be passed down to our descendants if we have hopes of there actually being any.

The Powers-That-Become

Thus we arrive to meet the moment, fully aware of the implications. We've cut our teeth on anti-globalization actions, anti-war demonstrations, and anti-austerity efforts. Now, it all comes together under the amorphous but palpable rubric of Occupation, and its innate sense of liberating the material and ideological spaces of our lives. Indeed, the process of liberation in itself may well be the goal, in the sense of supplanting the stagnant, deadening nature of entrenched authority. The self-anointed powers-that-be will yield to a new sense of becoming, as people elect to exercise power in their own communities rather than ceding it to remote officials with only chambers of commerce in their hearts.

We are the people, and now is the time. Words matter, and deeds even more so. We are the occupied and occupiers alike; we have been mostly preoccupied but are now reoccupying the places and spaces of our lives. We have been striving to be somebody but are steadily recognizing that this only works if we create a world in which everybody can become the person of their full potential. The power to make this happen is coming into focus, and seeing is truly believing. Our collective liberation -- and with it our capacity to help liberate one another and the balance of life around us -- eagerly awaits.
(c) 2011 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. His most recent book is the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

Herman wants to chop up Wall Street protestors and place them on Pizzas

Knee Jerks Defend Wall Street

If you had any doubt about the seriousness of the "Occupy Wall Street" movement that is springing up from America's grassroots like hardy wildflowers, just note the frantic fulminations against it by assorted Wall Street toadies.

The corporate cheerleaders on CNBC, for example, reached back to the nasty days of McCarthyism to smear the youthful protesters as "aligned with Lenin." Little Eric Cantor, the House Majority Leader who loyally serves the banksters as their Washington lapdog, yapped in alarm about "the growing mobs occupying Wall Street." Then came Mitt Romney, himself a former Wall Streeter, to warn darkly against the protesting rabble: "I think it's dangerous – this class warfare."

Even more clueless is Herman Cain. Previously the CEO of Godfather's Pizza chain who's now running for president, he can't stop foaming at the mouth about the Wall Street occupation. "Anti-American," he labeled the protesters, later blasting them as losers who're "jealous" of successful people: "Don't blame Wall Street," he lectured. "If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself."

To put the icing on his half-baked cupcake of ignorance, Cain then expressed his deep understanding of economics: "To protest Wall Street and the bankers is basically saying you're anti-capitalism," he expounded – a plutocratic theory that America's millions of conservative, small-business capitalists would consider perverse. But, wait, there were more Cainisms: "These demonstrations," he complained, "I honestly don't understand, what are they looking for?

Gosh, godfather, if you have to ask a question like that, you're way too out of touch to be president. What we're looking for are such old-fashioned American fundamentals as economic fairness, social justice, and equal opportunities for all.
(c) 2011 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.

Time For U.S. Women To Keep The Peace
By Helen Thomas

Three women from Africa and the Middle East have won the 2011 Nobel Peace Prize. We are still in two major wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and additionally have military involvement in Pakistan and Yemen. So where are the American female peacemakers? Shouldn't we be leading in the struggle for peace, especially considering our losses in the violence of war?

There is one woman who stands out - Medea Benjamin, the co-founder of Code Pink: Women for Peace. Code Pink describes itself as "a women-initiated grassroots peace and social justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green jobs and other life-affirming activities."

Medea herself is a strong peace advocate. After being pepper sprayed during a recent protest against the War in Afghanistan, Medea reminded us that pepper spray is nothing compared to what innocent civilians face when drones rain bombs down on their communities. Currently she is with the Wall Street protesters - leading her pals in the fight for our piece of the pie to pay for schools, housing and healthcare instead of funding wars.

The three women who shared the Nobel Peace Prize - braving the all-male tradition in their country in order to break the chains of centuries-old customs of second class citizenship that relegated women to their kitchens - are Liberian President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf, Liberian activist Leymah Gbowee, and Yemeni opposition leader Tawakkol Karman, who protested for freedom long before the Arab Awakening.

One might say the American suffragists broke away from male dominance in 1920 after they won the right to vote after a 70-year struggle. As much as they achieved, we still have a way to go with regard to women's equality in the workplace and in politics.

Unfortunately at this time, two of the most prominent women in American politics are Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota - who is still in the race for the GOP Presidential nomination, and Sarah Palin who is not running. Both Republican women are reactionary conservatives. These women don't seem to understand that they would never have been in competition for the highest office in our land, had it not been for liberal women who defied the rules to demand equality and their rights.

It took too long, but the manifestation of female progress in regressive societies is the doling of the great honor of the Nobel Peace Prize to three women in underdeveloped countries.

President Sirleaf is best known as the first woman to be elected president of an African country. Harvard educated, she served as finance minister, and worked at the World Bank and the U.N. Development Program. Although Sirleaf has made progress for Liberia's economy, she is criticized for not doing enough for the crippling poverty and 50 percent unemployment rate.

Gbowee organized Muslim and Christian women to demonstrate for peace. The Washington Post quoted her as saying, "I'm shocked, I'm numb, I'm still really feeling like it's all a dream to me." She continued, "There is no way we can negotiate peace and security if we leave out the women of the world." Gbowee called the peace prize an acknowledgement now, and said "we can only succeed."

Karman called the award "a victory for our revolution, for our methods, for our struggle, for all Yemeni youth, and all the youth in the Arab world - in Tunisia, in Egypt, everywhere." She added, "This will give the people more strength, and to recognize that peace is the only way, that making a new Yemen must come without violence."

Women in these so-called backward countries are still behind the fights for jobs and other social needs, including health and education. They are pointing the way, and they have been ignored for too long. The spirit of freedom is contagious and these Nobel women laureates have shown us the way. While American women know there is still work to be done to achieve a more just society, why have we retreated?

Where are the Eleanor Roosevelts, the Betty Friedans, the Bella Abzugs, and so many other women leaders who stood their ground to advance the causes that created a better and more peaceful country? Of course we have Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, but she has turned out to be one of the boys.
(c) 2011 Helen Thomas is a columnist for the Falls Church News-Press. Among other books she is the author of Front Row At The White House: My Life and Times.

Reduce Federal Budget - Cut Space Program
By James Donahue

I have been a strong advocate of the U. S. space program ever since the Russian launch of Sputnik prompted President John F. Kennedy to challenge Americans to send men to the moon. Those were the best of times in America, when the cost of such a mission was something that fit within the national budget, when people had good jobs and were willing to pay the cost of such an adventure.

And let's face it, we were convinced in those days that Russia and the Communist world was our enemy and we could not allow them to get any kind of jump on us. And conquering space was an important military objective for both Russia and the United States.

We accomplished our goal. We successfully sent men to and from the Moon, launched some amazing satellite technology including a super telescope that peers far out into the galaxies, and sent missions to do close-up studies of every planet in our solar system. And we can say without question that the space program technology has changed our everyday life in ways a lot of people now take for granted. Everything from the invention of a powdered drink called Tang to the modern cell phone and trans-communication systems and the GPS devices that guide aircraft, ships and our personal cars, all stem from this technology. Indeed, we can present a lot of strong arguments for maintaining our space program. But in these hard economic times, with the bandits running off with all of the cash from the federal vault, is it practical to carry on any longer? Is this not something we can sacrifice in the interest of feeding, housing and clothing the nation's poor? Which do we count as more important . . . a new and faster operating computer on that office desk or giving aid and comfort to our neighbors in desperate need?

Times have really changed in America since those wonderful years when President Kennedy promoted so much pride in everybody. His murder was the beginning of a slide down a slippery slope that has brought us to the place we are today. We cannot pretend that we have the resources to continue thinking about sending men into space.

The very sheen behind our space adventures got dull after we committed ourselves to a cooperative construction of a multi-billion dollars manned international space station in 1998. We have been committed to this program ever since. We have literally worn out our shuttles servicing it. While various scientific experiments have been conducted on the station, and we have succeeded in keeping it manned even as construction continues, the payback is largely an unknown.

Much of the research on the space platform has been to prepare NASA for future ventures back to the Moon, on to Mars and possibly beyond. But under the changing circumstances, is that something we really want to invest our tax dollars in?

NASA moved long ago from a public agency to a military-controlled government operation. Everything planned, constructed and used by NASA and the military space program is handled by private contractors and have multi-billion dollar price tags. And everything ends up "over budget." Thus we can be sure that the cost of just returning to the Moon will be something we no longer can afford.

Why would we want to go to the Moon or Mars? True, there is a military advantage to getting back to the Moon before China or some other country does. We have the technology now to literally destroy portions of Earth with advanced new weaponry fired from the Moon. We also have the technology to destroy the world by planting enough explosives on the Moon to blow it up. The next team to get there with that technology could hold the world hostage by mere threat.

That kind of thinking involves world military conquest. It is sick. It offers a black doomsday scenario that should not be our future. There is nothing to be gained by it for anybody.

The only other reason we are interested in sending humans off to other planets is to determine if we have a place to escape to if and when our planet no longer can sustain life. And that, coupled with science fiction shows like Star Trek, is giving us a false sense of security. We already know that we will not find a habitable planet to live on in this solar system unless it is artificially constructed. Such a venture, however, does not seem feasible. Imagine the cost of building such a space colony at today's prices!

It seems much more reasonable to consider shutting down the entire space program and focusing the money, instead, on green technology that will be Earth friendly. Why not spend the $11.1 billion earmarked for the current space program to save our planet? It makes more sense than trying to find new ways to blow up our planet or escape from it.
(c) 2011 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site.

The Rise Of The Regressive Right And The Reawakening Of America
By Robert Reich

A fundamental war has been waged in this nation since its founding, between progressive forces pushing us forward and regressive forces pulling us backward.

We are going to battle once again.

Progressives believe in openness, equal opportunity, and tolerance. Progressives assume we're all in it together: We all benefit from public investments in schools and health care and infrastructure. And we all do better with strong safety nets, reasonable constraints on Wall Street and big business, and a truly progressive tax system. Progressives worry when the rich and privileged become powerful enough to undermine democracy.

Regressives take the opposite positions.

Eric Cantor, Paul Ryan, Rick Perry, Michele Bachmann and the other tribunes of today's Republican right aren't really conservatives. Their goal isn't to conserve what we have. It's to take us backwards.

They'd like to return to the 1920s -before Social Security, unemployment insurance, labor laws, the minimum wage, Medicare and Medicaid, worker safety laws, the Environmental Protection Act, the Glass-Steagall Act, the Securities and Exchange Act, and the Voting Rights Act.

In the 1920s Wall Street was unfettered, the rich grew far richer and everyone else went deep into debt, and the nation closed its doors to immigrants.

Rather than conserve the economy, these regressives want to resurrect the classical economics of the 1920s - the view that economic downturns are best addressed by doing nothing until the "rot" is purged out of the system (as Andrew Mellon, Herbert Hoover's Treasury Secretary, so decorously put it).

In truth, if they had their way we'd be back in the late nineteenth century -before the federal income tax, antitrust laws, the pure food and drug act, and the Federal Reserve. A time when robber barons -railroad, financial, and oil titans -ran the country. A time of wrenching squalor for the many and mind-numbing wealth for the few.

Listen carefully to today's Republican right and you hear the same Social Darwinism Americans were fed more than a century ago to justify the brazen inequality of the Gilded Age: Survival of the fittest. Don't help the poor or unemployed or anyone who's fallen on bad times, they say, because this only encourages laziness. America will be strong only if we reward the rich and punish the needy.

The regressive right has slowly consolidated power over the last three decades as income and wealth have concentrated at the top. In the late 1970s the richest 1 percent of Americans received 9 percent of total income and held 18 percent of the nation's wealth; by 2007, they had more than 23 percent of total income and 35 percent of America's wealth. CEOs of the 1970s were paid 40 times the average worker's wage; now CEOs receive 300 times the typical workers' wage.

This concentration of income and wealth has generated the political heft to deregulate Wall Street and halve top tax rates. It has bankrolled the so-called Tea Party movement, and captured the House of Representatives and many state governments. Through a sequence of presidential appointments it has also overtaken the Supreme Court.

Scalia, Alito, Thomas, and Roberts (and, all too often, Kennedy) claim they're conservative jurists. But they're judicial activists bent on overturning seventy-five years of jurisprudence by resurrecting states' rights, treating the 2nd Amendment as if America still relied on local militias, narrowing the Commerce Clause, and calling money speech and corporations people.

Yet the great arc of American history reveals an unmistakable pattern. Whenever privilege and power conspire to pull us backward, the nation eventually rallies and moves forward. Sometimes it takes an economic shock like the bursting of a giant speculative bubble; sometimes we just reach a tipping point where the frustrations of average Americans turn into action.

Look at the Progressive reforms between 1900 and 1916; the New Deal of the 1930s; the Civil Rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s; the widening opportunities for women, minorities, people with disabilities, and gays; and the environmental reforms of the 1970s.

In each of these eras, regressive forces reignited the progressive ideals on which America is built. The result was fundamental reform.

Perhaps this is what's beginning to happen again across America.
© 2011 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

Obama vs. Jobs; Hope vs. Reality
By David Swanson

Last week, President Obama racked up several more broken campaign promises as he pushed through Congress three new job-killing corporate trade agreements. The Senate Finance Committee was quite open about the fact that these agreements will kill off more jobs and eager to mitigate the damage with band aids attached to the treaties. Some of us who were in the hearing room felt an obligation to speak up and ask why in the world the senators -- with perfect bipartisan harmony -- insisted on causing the damage in the first place. And for that we were thrown in jail.

Imagine the denunciations of human rights abuses in Colombia if the plan for that country this week were war rather than corporate exploitation to produce impoverishment to produce drug crops to produce war. Imagine the denunciations of human rights abuses in Iran having continued as usual if U.S. cops weren't cracking skulls in New York, Boston, Denver, and San Diego. Maybe we wouldn't have needed the Tale of the Moronic Mexican Iranian Assassins at all.

Also last week, President Obama pretended to try to pass a weak gesture in the way of lessening the damage of his policies with separate legislation known as a "jobs bill." But he made no serious effort to get it passed and according to many observers wanted it to fail. It was blocked by Democrats as well as Republicans in a Democratic Senate. Nonetheless, the purpose was apparently to create a campaign ad for what the same president will supposedly try to do in 2013 if reelected, and if tens of millions of us are still obediently filling out job applications.

Dutiful union members and party activists last week rallied for a bill the President did not whip for. In other words, they took part in a theatrical advertisement for a reelection campaign.

"The president has learned that a loss can be a win," said an unnamed source whom Politico calls a "senior Democratic strategist who supports Obama." And I can confirm that this is not only real but typical. "We've done everything to win legislatively, to scrape through," this loyal partisan said. "Now we're determined to keep the high ground on a set of issues where we have the overwhelming support of the American people." If you doubt the intention to shift all energy into a presidential reelection campaign, watch Tom Hayden's interview about Occupy Wall Street on Keith Olbermann's show.

Here are the problems with this picture:

First, the same president is killing off jobs on a large scale with corporate trade pacts and military spending. Military spending produces fewer jobs than tax cuts for non-billionaires, much less useful spending on infrastructure, green energy, or education.

Second, the same president's jobs bill, had it passed, would have barely touched the problem of wealth inequality, joblessness, and imbalance of power.

Third, Obama made no serious effort to pass the bill, despite having demonstrated in the past the ability to compel any Democrat to vote for any bill, including war-funding supplementals and godawful corporate health-insurance schemes.

Fourth, the bill was blocked by Democrats who have a majority in the Senate.

Fifth, the Majority Leader Harry Reid recently lowered the bar for moving bills forward from 60 to 51 votes, despite years of feigned helplessness in the face of the unreachability of the 60-vote mark. Reid is no more serious in his efforts than Obama.

Sixth, campaign promises from people who have broken hundreds of campaign promises would be useless even if the pretenses of attempting decent governance were not so transparent.

If Obama or Reid or the Democratic Party or or anybody else thinks the people occupying the streets of our cities in protest are going to fall for this, they've got a very rude awakening coming. The Occupation movement is one that brings policy demands to the government, not partisan pretense to a pseudo-combat with the goal of bipartisanship or the election of either flavor of crypto-fascist corporate servants.

The question is not whether we want to risk electing a racist buffoon to the imperial throne. The question is whether we want to join those who are making major sacrifices to occupy our city squares and move our entire culture and our entire government toward peace and justice instead of plutocracy and planetary collapse. Do we want to avoid a war on Iran before it happens or turn against it once we have a Republican president? Do we want to halt global warming or lament its advances later? Do we want to overthrow our financial oligarchy or hope it changes the appearance of the curtains behind which it works?

The genius of the 99% movement is that it brings people's demands to the government. Nobody is asking a political party what to demand, whom to confront, and whose crimes to grant immunity. We're uniting as a people to insist on representation in our government. The notion that we already have it from either half of our government is so ludicrous as to reveal those who make that claim to be engaging in fraud.

We now have a majority supporting the nonviolent occupations. And we have 99% of that majority sitting on its rear ends.

If you object to being played for a bunch of fools, get in the streets!

If you resent people stripping away jobs while pretending to create them, get in the streets!

If you'd rather have a decent place to live in which your children and grandchildren will be able to live as well, instead of bailouts for bankers and new wars started every few months, get in the streets!

If you'd rather see majority opinion obeyed just once on any issue than have a congressional caucus dutifully represent the interests of unmanned drones, get in the streets!

The conversation is changing.

The mortgage fraud non-settlement is in trouble.

Wall Street is scared.

There are bills in Congress to eliminate the Super Committee and to end the Federal Reserve.

There is music in the cafes at night and revolution in the air.

Don't just sit there nodding.
(c) 2011 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

Let Our Farmers Grow
By Ralph Nader

Congressman Ron Paul introduced H.R. 1831, the "Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2011" on May 11th of this year. It is a simple bill at just two pages in length, and it would legalize the growing of industrial hemp in the United States.

Currently farmers can grow industrial hemp only if they have received a permit from the DEA - a prospect that the agency has made all but impossible for decades. Otherwise, it is illegal to grow.

Although Rep. Paul has introduced several bills like this one in the past, there are several reasons that this bill should be passed now. Hemp has an amazing number of uses. Its fiber can be used in carpeting, home furnishings, construction materials, auto parts, textiles, and paper. Its seeds can be used in food, industrial oils, cosmetics, and pharmaceuticals. There are assertions, reported by The Guardian and in Biodiesel Magazine that using industrial hemp in biofuels instead of crops like corn and other feedstock provide greater environmental benefits. The expansion of industrial hemp as a feedstock for biofuels could also help to reduce oil imports.

Not only does hemp have a wide range of uses, but its cultivation in the United States could help to spur our lagging economy. Since the cultivation of hemp is outlawed in the United States, the U.S. market for hemp and hemp-based products is entirely dependent upon imports. A 2010 Congressional Research Service report cited an estimate that the U.S. market for hemp-based products may exceed $350 million annually.

A ban on the agricultural production of hemp simply doesn't make sense. Farmers in places like Iowa could benefit greatly from the production of industrial hemp. In a crippling recession, unemployed Americans could receive a boost from such an emerging industry, from farm to value-added businesses. And many firms here in the United States that sell hem--based products would reap the benefits.

Currently they import their hemp from places like Canada, China, or France, which can increase their costs from 10 to 15 percent or more. As the only remaining developed nation in which the production of industrial hemp is not permitted, the United States is not only missing out on a large - and growing - global market, but limiting the livelihoods of farmers, processors and fabricators.

Industrial hemp could benefit our environment greatly. A range of studies have shown the benefits: hemp can thrive with minimal - or even without - herbicides, it reinvigorates the soil, and it requires less water than crops like cotton. Furthermore, it could prevent the deforestation of large portions of the U.S. landscape and presents significant benefits compared with wood in the production of paper. Industrial hemp matures in three to four months. It takes years for trees to grow. It can also yield four times as much paper per acre as trees.

Critics of industrial hemp may point to its relation to marijuana in order to claim that if one smokes industrial hemp, they can become high. Although industrial hemp and marijuana share the same species, cannabis sativa, industrial hemp is genetically and chemically different. Industrial hemp, at most, contains one third of 1 percent THC, the drug that produces a psychoactive effect in marijuana. However, marijuana is often between 10 and 30 percent THC. Smoking industrial hemp will not make an individual high.

The DEA will claim that growing industrial hemp next to marijuana may serve to impede law enforcement against the latter. However, countries that have legal cultivation of industrial hemp do not have similar problems. Furthermore, since industrial hemp has such little THC, growing it next to marijuana would only serve to dilute by cross pollinations the illegal marijuana plants - something no marijuana grower wants.

Industrial hemp has a distinguished history in this country dating before the revolution and its founding. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper and George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew industrial hemp on their farms. During World War II, hemp was used to make very strong rope and the Department of Agriculture made a film, "Hemp for Victory" to encourage its cultivation.

Despite the importance of this issue, we rarely see it discussed in the headlines or by political candidates. Farmers in Iowa could benefit greatly from the cultivation of industrial hemp. Citizens in Iowa, who have the ear of presidential hopefuls, have an opportunity to move this issue back into the spotlight during the December 10th Republican Presidential Primary debate.

Let's hope Congressman Paul and his fellow candidates agree that it is time to allow farmers in Iowa and other states to once again start growing industrial hemp.

Jeff Musto of CSRL contributed to this article.
(c) 2011 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His most recent book - and first novel - is, Only The Super Wealthy Can Save Us. His most recent work of non-fiction is The Seventeen Traditions.

Losing Their Immunity
By Paul Krugman

As the Occupy Wall Street movement continues to grow, the response from the movement's targets has gradually changed: contemptuous dismissal has been replaced by whining. (A reader of my blog suggests that we start calling our ruling class the "kvetchocracy.") The modern lords of finance look at the protesters and ask, Don't they understand what we've done for the U.S. economy?

The answer is: yes, many of the protesters do understand what Wall Street and more generally the nation's economic elite have done for us. And that's why they're protesting.

On Saturday The Times reported what people in the financial industry are saying privately about the protests. My favorite quote came from an unnamed money manager who declared, "Financial services are one of the last things we do in this country and do it well. Let's embrace it."

This is deeply unfair to American workers, who are good at lots of things, and could be even better if we made adequate investments in education and infrastructure. But to the extent that America has lagged in everything except financial services, shouldn't the question be why, and whether it's a trend we want to continue?

For the financialization of America wasn't dictated by the invisible hand of the market. What caused the financial industry to grow much faster than the rest of the economy starting around 1980 was a series of deliberate policy choices, in particular a process of deregulation that continued right up to the eve of the 2008 crisis. Not coincidentally, the era of an ever-growing financial industry was also an era of ever-growing inequality of income and wealth. Wall Street made a large direct contribution to economic polarization, because soaring incomes in finance accounted for a significant fraction of the rising share of the top 1 percent (and the top 0.1 percent, which accounts for most of the top 1 percent's gains) in the nation's income. More broadly, the same political forces that promoted financial deregulation fostered overall inequality in a variety of ways, undermining organized labor, doing away with the "outrage constraint" that used to limit executive paychecks, and more.

Oh, and taxes on the wealthy were, of course, sharply reduced.

All of this was supposed to be justified by results: the paychecks of the wizards of Wall Street were appropriate, we were told, because of the wonderful things they did. Somehow, however, that wonderfulness failed to trickle down to the rest of the nation - and that was true even before the crisis. Median family income, adjusted for inflation, grew only about a fifth as much between 1980 and 2007 as it did in the generation following World War II, even though the postwar economy was marked both by strict financial regulation and by much higher tax rates on the wealthy than anything currently under political discussion.

Then came the crisis, which proved that all those claims about how modern finance had reduced risk and made the system more stable were utter nonsense. Government bailouts were all that saved us from a financial meltdown as bad as or worse than the one that caused the Great Depression.

And what about the current situation? Wall Street pay has rebounded even as ordinary workers continue to suffer from high unemployment and falling real wages. Yet it's harder than ever to see what, if anything, financiers are doing to earn that money.

Why, then, does Wall Street expect anyone to take its whining seriously? That money manager claiming that finance is the only thing America does well also complained that New York's two Democratic senators aren't on his side, declaring that "They need to understand who their constituency is." Actually, they surely know very well who their constituency is - and even in New York, 16 out of 17 workers are employed by nonfinancial industries.

But he wasn't really talking about voters, of course. He was talking about the one thing Wall Street still has plenty of thanks to those bailouts, despite its total loss of credibility: money.

Money talks in American politics, and what the financial industry's money has been saying lately is that it will punish any politician who dares to criticize that industry's behavior, no matter how gently - as evidenced by the way Wall Street money has now abandoned President Obama in favor of Mitt Romney. And this explains the industry's shock over recent events.

You see, until a few weeks ago it seemed as if Wall Street had effectively bribed and bullied our political system into forgetting about that whole drawing lavish paychecks while destroying the world economy thing. Then, all of a sudden, some people insisted on bringing the subject up again.

And their outrage has found resonance with millions of Americans. No wonder Wall Street is whining.
(c) 2011 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"'s real hard to be free when you are bought and sold in the marketplace. Of course, don't ever tell anybody that they're not free, 'cause then they're gonna get real busy killin' and maimin' to prove to you that they are. Oh, yeah, they're gonna talk to you, and talk to you, and talk to you about individual freedom. But they see a free individual, it's gonna scare'em."
Easy Rider ~~~ Jack Nicholson

Changing Of The Guards
The New Road of the Occupation Movement
By Chris Floyd

Bob Dylan, when a young man, knew the enemy: the "masters of war," the profiteers and bureaucrats of death and domination, who wring money and power from bloodshed, torment and fear. He knew too that these wretches of lamed humanity were not confined to a single country or culture or political structure or time.

Beyond this, though, he also knew that conventional politics was not the answer to the evils that beset -- and tempt -- us. Instead, he saw that the answer was "blowing in the wind" -- which is to say that there is no answer, there are only the questions: how many roads, how many times, how many years, how many deaths will it take to shatter the hardened heart, to break down the walls that seal us up in lies, in hate, in fear, in greed, in ignorance, in pain?

These chiming questions are really calls to the endless task of enlightenment: to keep asking them over and over and over -- in every age, in every situation, in every confrontation with reality -- is a way to form your understanding of the world, and your individual morality. It's not an answer but a discipline, a way of being, and becoming. (For as the young man also said: He not busy being born is busy dying.)

It is an ancient quest, taking on a multiplicity of forms through the ages, young Dylan's lightning flash of insight being but one expression. And while it is laid upon each individual in every age, it can, at times, erupt on a wider plane, unlooked for, in a sudden upsurge, like a subterranean stream breaking into the sunlight and flooding the land. "Kairotic moments," Tillich called them. Not magical, miraculous transformations of human nature or the entirety of human culture, but outbursts of heightened consciousness, of creative engagement and exploration, experimentation. And no matter how much these moments are later diluted, dimmed, beaten back, twisted or lost, they leave behind new soil to build upon, new insights to draw upon, new fragments to shore against our ruins.

There's nothing mystical about it. These eruptions are brought into being by a coalescence of unimaginably vast and varied elements, on every level of human life in the natural world. And they aren't clearly defined, like cut glass, but amorphous, shifting, mixed, volatile, like a chemical reaction -- a process, an elan vital, not a fixed property or party platform.

They are, invariably, a movement of the young, although naturally they can spread to touch the lives of all those in the bright penumbra of the moment. But they grow out of and belong to the young, to generations suffocating beneath the silt of the past, the betrayals and failures and deep-rutted inertia of those who came before them. They belong to the young, who can see the world fresh, who haven't "learned" the false lessons of cynicism and conformity and fear, who have nothing to lose and the wide, beguiling expanse of the future to gain. The young, alive with possibility, charged with sexual energy, with the churning, forging fires of chaos and discovery, who have not yet the breath of mortality shiver through their bones. Generations who, for a myriad of reasons, wake up and realize that the world is theirs, to grapple with and shape and push in new directions.

The Occupation movement, which has erupted across the world this year -- and is now spreading through the United States from the epicenter of Wall Street -- is not the Sixties come again. It might, in small part, build upon some of the fragments left by that now long-dimmed eruption -- and others that came before it in history. After all, as the Preacher says, there is nothing new under the sun. But of course to the young, everything is authentically, genuinely, thrillingly new: a leap into the unknown, exhilarating, bewildering, vivid.

Yet whatever it antecedents, the Occupation movement is in essence, and in practice, very much its own thing, its own moment, its own upsurging through the silt into the open air. It will make its own breakthroughs, its own spectacular mistakes, its own many permutations, all formed by the younger generation's unique experiencing of the world -- which older generations can never fully know, having been formed in a different time, under different conditions.

Today, due to the intolerable pressures from the heaped-up follies and failures of the past, the times have been torn open in a special way, and there is now a chance for new energies, new approaches and understandings to pour in. It's time for us, the older generations, to give way to this new energy -- supporting and helping it as far as we are able, but with the realization that it is not ours to direct or shape or scold or instruct. (Young Dylan understood this as well: "Your old road is rapidly fading; please get out of the new one if you can't lend your hand.")

We have had our future, but it's over; we have used it up, and, in so many ways, botched and wasted it; the future now belongs to the young. The kairotic moment of the Occupation movement is theirs, to make of it what they can. It won't be easy -- it may be more difficult, even more horrific than anyone can envision, as the powers that be strike back with growing force against this unexpected, leaderless, shape-shifting challenge to the dead hand of their corrupt dominion. The dangers are great; but this moment -- this opening, this rip in time -- is alive with rare promise. A slightly older Dylan presciently limned today's situation well:

"Gentlemen," he said,
"I don't need your organization. I've shined your shoes,
I've moved your mountains and marked your cards.
But Eden is burning: either get ready for elimination,
Or else your hearts must have the courage
For the changing of the guards."

Let's have the courage. Let's lend a hand, stand with the young, and not let them face the dangers alone. Let's go with them down their new road.
(c) 2011 Chris Floyd


Occupy Wall Street Visited
By Joel S. Hirschhorn

Last Saturday while in New York City I went downtown to visit the Occupy Wall Street group and also ended up walking in their protest march around big bank buildings. A terrific experience with a huge group chanting things like "Banks got bailed out, we got sold out!"

My first impression was absolute amazement at how many police surrounded Zuccotti Park, as massive a police presence as any I had ever seen in countless news accounts of protests in other countries, including those trying to overturn awful regimes. No wonder that New York City has spent over $3 million so far on policing the Occupy events.

As I slowly walked through all the groups at the park seeing how things were organized, how people were living and having occasional conversations I became increasingly impressed. The park is really very small. So there is very little space to walk around and some people are sleeping under various kinds of coverings. Most exceptional of the high quality of place is that it is like a small village with a medical center, food serving area, library, makeshift clothing store, including someone with a sewing machine tailoring clothes, and even two people offering haircuts.

Overwhelmingly, the whole park area was exceptionally clean, and there was a large set of cleaning utensils and I saw one person going around sweeping a small amount of litter. None of the flower beds were destroyed.

The choice of foods and their quality were exceptional, especially considering that the city outlaws any open flame cooking or heating equipment.

From my conversations and what I listened to demonstrated that the protestors were highly informed and totally committed to their Occupy goals. Something that does not get enough attention is that a good fraction of the protestors are not very young people, many are in the sixties or seventies. A large number of people in the park were busy working on their laptops. I saw no evidence of alcohol or drug use. And protestors were well dressed, always courteous and very friendly.

Many of the group's serious discussions and votes are held in offsite locations.

There were a very large number of media people around and inside the park; they also followed the marchers.

Much of the information about the Occupy movement in downtown Manhattan is seriously misleading. Most ludicrous are criticisms by many politicians and media pundits that specific policy proposals are missing. The clear success of the Occupy movement as evidenced by an explosion of similar groups in countless US and foreign cities is a testament to its success, not to mention endless media coverage.

The central and correct focus of the Occupy movement is on the failures of the banking and finance sector that has provided insane money rewards to those that have raped the US and global economy and caused great harm to the 99%. Economic inequality and injustice that come from both a corrupt political and economic system owned by the rich and powerful corporate elites are what I and many others have been writing about for years. To get bogged down in very specific policy actions would not serve a useful purpose, especially because the Occupy movement sees nothing positive about the two-party plutocracy running and ruining the US political system. I sensed no faith whatsoever in Democrats, including President Obama, and Republicans and their Tea Party supporters.

If the Democrats or Obama try to convert the Occupy movement into something that serves their political ambitions it would be a shame, especially if it succeeded to any extent.

Even without conventional "leaders" the Occupy movement is succeeding at being a direct democracy and its organizational capabilities are outstanding. They have been receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations and also huge quantities of boxes of donated materials stored somewhere, much of which have not even been opened yet. I think mainly because of too little space in the park. Clearly, as some polls have shown, there is massive public support for the Occupy movement. It has what it takes to last for a long time.

The big question is how true and deep reforms in our political and economic system needed to fight economic inequality and injustice harming most Americans will be achieved. In this regard, one of my hopes is that the Occupy movement in the US will get behind the effort by Dylan Ratigan at to get a constitutional amendment that would get money out of politics. This is the only way to directly fight the corruption of government by rich and powerful interests. The path to getting such an amendment, however, is through the use of the Article V convention option in the Constitution, not by relying on Congress for proposing something to reform it. Supporting use of the convention option is something I hope the Occupy movement will also support. I now have more hope that the much needed Second American Revolution may happen.
(c) 2011 Joel S. Hirschhorn observed our corrupt federal government firsthand as a senior official with the Congressional Office of Technology Assessment and the National Governors Association and is the author of Delusional Democracy - Fixing the Republic Without Overthrowing the Government. To discuss issues write the author. The author has a Ph.D. in Materials Engineering and was formerly a full professor of metallurgical engineering at the University of Wisconsin, Madison.

The Dead Letter Office...

Herman gives the Corpo-rat Salute!

Heil Obama,

Dear Pizzen kochen Cain,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling and last year's winner Volksjudge Elena (Butch) Kagan.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your telling the Wall Street protestors, "If you don't have a job and you're not rich, blame yourself," Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross, first class, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 10-31-2011. We salute you herr Cain, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

Dr. Cornel West, at a rally on the steps of the U.S. Supreme Court
organized by October 2011/Stop the Machine Sunday, Oct. 16, 2011.
West and 18 others were arrested.

Why Cornel West Was Arrested In Memory Of Martin Luther King Jr., In Support Of Occupy Movement
By John Nichols

On the day that President Obama and others celebrated the memory of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. at the dedication of Washington's King memorial, Dr. Cornel West was a few blocks away—celebrating King with activism on behalf of economic justice and the "Occupy" movement.

After attending the dedication of the King memorial, West joined a "Stop the Machine! Create a New World!" protest march.

On the steps of the US Supreme Court, with fellow activists, he called out the High Court for making decisions that allow corporations to dominate the economic life and the politics of the nation.

"We want to bear witness today that we know the relation between corporate greed and what goes on too often in the Supreme Court decisions," West declared. "We want to send a lesson to ourselves, to our loved ones, our families, our communities, our nation and the world, that out of deep love for working and poor people that we are willing to put whatever it takes (on the line)—even if we get arrested today—and say we will not allow this day of Martin Luther King Jr.'s memorial to go by without somebody going to jail. Because Martin King would be here right with us, willing to throw down out of deep love."

Then, the author of Race Matters, Democracy Matters and other groundbreaking books written in the King tradition sat down on the steps of the court with at least eighteen protesters.

"We are here to bear witness, in solidarity with the Occupy movement all around the world because we love poor people, we love working people, and we want Martin Luther King Jr. to smile from the grave that we haven't forgotten," said West.

Moments later, West was cuffed by the police and led into the court building as a crowd chanted: "We're with you, Dr. West!" and "We won't forget!"

(c) 2011 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. He is a contributing writer for The Progressive and In These Times and the associate editor of the Capital Times, the daily newspaper in Madison, Wisconsin. His articles have appeared in the New York Times, Chicago Tribune and dozens of other newspapers.

The Mystery Of Consciousness
By Sam Harris

You are not aware of the electrochemical events occurring at each of the trillion synapses in your brain at this moment. But you are aware, however dimly, of sights, sounds, sensations, thoughts, and moods. At the level of your experience, you are not a body of cells, organelles, and atoms; you are consciousness and its ever-changing contents, passing through various stages of wakefulness and sleep, and from cradle to grave.

The term "consciousness" is notoriously difficult to define. Consequently, many a debate about its character has been waged without the participants' finding even a common topic as common ground. By "consciousness," I mean simply "sentience," in the most unadorned sense. To use the philosopher Thomas Nagel's construction: A creature is conscious if there is "something that it is like" to be this creature; an event is consciously perceived if there is "something that it is like" to perceive it. ⁠Whatever else consciousness may or may not be in physical terms, the difference between it and unconsciousness is first and foremost a matter of subjective experience. Either the lights are on, or they are not.[1]

To say that a creature is conscious, therefore, is not to say anything about its behavior; no screams need be heard, or wincing seen, for a person to be in pain. Behavior and verbal report are fully separable from the fact of consciousness: We can find examples of both without consciousness (a primitive robot) and consciousness without either (a person suffering "locked-in syndrome").⁠[2]

It is surely a sign of our intellectual progress that a discussion of consciousness no longer has to begin with a debate about its existence. To say that consciousness may only seem to exist is to admit its existence in full-for if things seem any way at all, that is consciousness. Even if I happen to be a brain in a vat at this moment-all my memories are false; all my perceptions are of a world that does not exist-the fact that I am having an experience is indisputable (to me, at least). This is all that is required for me (or any other conscious being) to fully establish the reality of consciousness. Consciousness is the one thing in this universe that cannot be an illusion.⁠[3]

As our understanding of the physical world has evolved, our notion of what counts as "physical" has broadened considerably. A world teeming with fields and forces, vacuum fluctuations, and the other gossamer spawn of modern physics is not the physical world of common sense. In fact, our common sense seems to be stuck somewhere in the 16th century. We have also generally forgotten that many of the patriarchs of physics in the first half of the 20th century regularly impugned the "physicality" of the universe. Nonreductive views like those of Eddington, Jeans, Pauli, Heisenberg, and Schrodinger seem to have had no lasting impact.[4] In some ways we can be thankful for this, for a fair amount of mumbo jumbo was in the air. Wolfgang Pauli, for instance, though one of the titans of modern physics, was also a devotee of Carl Jung, who apparently analyzed no fewer than 1,300 of the great man's dreams.[5] Pauli's thoughts about the irreducibility of mind seem to have had as much to do with Jung's least credible ideas as with quantum mechanics.

Such numinous influences eventually subsided. And once physicists got down to the serious business of building bombs, we were apparently returned to a universe of objects-and to a style of discourse, across all branches of science and philosophy, that made the mind seem ripe for reduction to the "physical" world.

The problem, however, is that no evidence for consciousness exists in the physical world.⁠[6] Physical events are simply mute as to whether it is "like something" to be what they are. The only thing in this universe that attests to the existence of consciousness is consciousness itself; the only clue to subjectivity, as such, is subjectivity. Absolutely nothing about a brain, when surveyed as a physical system, suggests that it is a locus of experience. Were we not already brimming with consciousness ourselves, we would find no evidence of it in the physical universe-nor would we have any notion of the many experiential states that it gives rise to. The painfulness of pain, for instance, puts in an appearance only in consciousness. And no description of C-fibers or pain-avoiding behavior will bring the subjective reality into view.

If we look for consciousness in the physical world, all we find are increasingly complex systems giving rise to increasingly complex behavior-which may or may not be attended by consciousness. The fact that the behavior of our fellow human beings persuades us that they are (more or less) conscious does not get us any closer to linking consciousness to physical events. Is a starfish conscious? A scientific account of the emergence of consciousness would answer this question. And it seems clear that we will not make any progress by drawing analogies between starfish behavior and our own. It is only in the presence of animals sufficiently like ourselves that our intuitions about (and attributions of) consciousness begin to crystallize. Is there "something that it is like" to be a cocker spaniel? Does it feel its pains and pleasures? Surely it must. How do we know? Behavior, analogy, parsimony.⁠[7]

Most scientists are confident that consciousness emerges from unconscious complexity. We have compelling reasons for believing this, because the only signs of consciousness we see in the universe are found in evolved organisms like ourselves. Nevertheless, this notion of emergence strikes me as nothing more than a restatement of a miracle. To say that consciousness emerged at some point in the evolution of life doesn't give us an inkling of how it could emerge from unconscious processes, even in principle.

I believe that this notion of emergence is incomprehensible-rather like a naive conception of the big bang. The idea that everything (matter, space-time, their antecedent causes, and the very laws that govern their emergence) simply sprang into being out of nothing seems worse than a paradox. "Nothing," after all, is precisely that which cannot give rise to "anything," let alone "everything." Many physicists realize this, of course. Fred Hoyle, who coined "big bang" as a term of derogation, is famous for opposing this creation myth on philosophical grounds, because such an event seems to require a "preexisting space and time." In a similar vein, Stephen Hawking has said that the notion that the universe had a beginning is incoherent, because something can begin only with reference to time, and here we are talking about the beginning of space-time itself. He pictures space-time as a four-dimensional closed manifold, without beginning or end-much like the surface of a sphere.

Naturally, it all depends on how one defines "nothing." The physicist Lawrence Krauss has written a wonderful book arguing that the universe does indeed emerge from nothing. But in the present context, I am imagining a nothing that is emptier still-a condition without antecedent laws of physics or anything else. It might still be true that the laws of physics themselves sprang out of nothing in this sense, and the universe along with them-and Krauss says as much. Perhaps that is precisely what happened. I am simply claiming that this is not an explanation of how the universe came into being. To say "Everything came out of nothing" is to assert a brute fact that defies our most basic intuitions of cause and effect-a miracle, in other words.

Likewise, the idea that consciousness is identical to (or emerged from) unconscious physical events is, I would argue, impossible to properly conceive-which is to say that we can think we are thinking it, but we are mistaken. We can say the right words, of course-"consciousness emerges from unconscious information processing." We can also say "Some squares are as round as circles" and "2 plus 2 equals 7." But are we really thinking these things all the way through? I don't think so.

Consciousness-the sheer fact that this universe is illuminated by sentience-is precisely what unconsciousness is not. And I believe that no description of unconscious complexity will fully account for it. It seems to me that just as "something" and "nothing," however juxtaposed, can do no explanatory work, an analysis of purely physical processes will never yield a picture of consciousness. However, this is not to say that some other thesis about consciousness must be true. Consciousness may very well be the lawful product of unconscious information processing. But I don't know what that sentence means-and I don't think anyone else does either.

It's true that some philosophers and neuroscientists will want to pull the brakes right here. Daniel Dennett, with whom I agree about so many things, tells me that if I can't imagine the falsehood of the above statement, I'm not trying hard enough. However, on a question as rudimentary as the ontology of consciousness, the debate often comes down to irreconcilable intuitions. At a certain point one has to admit that one cannot understand what one's opponents are talking about.↩

It is possible that some robots are conscious. If consciousness is the sort of thing that comes into being purely by virtue of information processing, then even our cellphones and coffeemakers may be conscious. But few of us imagine that there is "something that it is like" to be even the most advanced computer. Whatever its relationship to information processing, consciousness is an internal reality that cannot necessarily be appreciated from the outside and need not be associated with behavior or responsiveness to stimuli. If you doubt this, you must read The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, Jean Dominique-Bauby's astonishing and heartbreaking account of his own "locked-in syndrome"-which he dictated by signing to a nurse with his left eyelid-and then try to imagine what his predicament would have been if even this degree of motor control had been denied him.↩

While Descartes is probably the first Western philosopher to make this point, others have continued to emphasize it-notably the philosophers John Searle and David Chalmers. I do not agree with Descartes's dualism, or with some of what Searle and Chalmers have said about the nature of consciousness, but I agree that its subjective reality is both primary and indisputable. Of course, this does not rule out the possibility that consciousness is, in fact, identical to certain brain processes.

And, again, I should say that philosophers like Daniel Dennett and Paul Churchland just don't buy this. But I do not understand why. My not seeing how consciousness can possibly be an illusion entails my not understanding how they (or anyone else) can think that it might be one. I agree, of course, that we may be profoundly mistaken about consciousness-about how it arises, about its connection to matter, about precisely what we are conscious of and when, etc. But this is not the same as saying that consciousness itself may be entirely illusory. The state of being utterly confused about the nature of consciousness is itself a demonstration of consciousness.↩

The stuff of the world is mind-stuff. (Eddington, The Nature of the Physical World)

The old dualism of mind and matter...seems likely to disappear ...through substantial matter resolving itself into a creation and manifestation of mind. (Jeans, The Mysterious Universe)

The only acceptable point of view appears to be the one that recognizes both sides of reality-the quantitative and the qualitative, the physical and the psychical-as compatible with each other, and can embrace them simultaneously. (Pauli, Writings on Physics and Philosophy)

The conception of the objective reality of the elementary particles has thus evaporated not into the cloud of some obscure new reality concept, but into the transparent clarity of a mathematics that represents no longer the behavior of the particle but rather our knowledge of this behavior. (Heisenberg, The Representation of Nature in Contemporary Physics)

[W]e simply cannot see how material events can be transformed into sensation and thought, however many textbooks...go on talking nonsense on the subject. (Schrödinger, My View of the World)

↩ Dyson, F. (2002). The Conscience of Physics. Nature, 420(12 December), 607-608.↩

Leibniz was perhaps the first to make this point explicit, in his analogy of the mill:

Moreover, it must be confessed that perception and that which depends upon it are inexplicable on mechanical grounds, that is to say, by means of figures and motions. And supposing there were a machine, so constructed as to think, feel, and have perception, it might be conceived as increased in size, while keeping the same proportions, so that one might go into it as into a mill. That being so, we should, on examining its interior, find only parts which work one upon another, and never anything by which to explain a perception. Thus it is in a simple substance, and not in a compound or in a machine, that perception must be sought for. Further, nothing but this (namely, perceptions and their changes) can be found in a simple substance. It is also in this alone that all the internal activities of simple substances can consist. (The Monadology and Other Philosophical Writings, para. 17)

↩ Some scientists and philosophers have formed the mistaken impression that it is always more parsimonious to deny consciousness in animals than to attribute it to them. I have argued elsewhere that this is not the case (The End of Faith, pp. 276-277). To deny consciousness in chimpanzees, for instance, is to assume the burden of explaining why their genetic, neuroanatomical, and behavioral similarity to us is an insufficient basis for consciousness (good luck).↩
(c) 2011 Sam Harris is the author of "The End Of Faith: Religion, Terror, and the Future of Reason" and "Letter to a Christian Nation" and is the co-founder of The Reason Project, which promotes scientific knowledge and secular values. Follow Sam Harris on Twitter.

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Matt Bors ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Mitt Romney's Crazy Religious Beliefs!


Freehold, Iowa - Friends, I never thought I'd live to see the day when a Mormon cult member would be running for President of this Christian country. Then again, I said the same thing about that Mary Worshipping jackass, John F. Kennedy, and by golly - every uneducated colored fellow and unchurched low class liberal who thought Catholics were Christians voted that hell bound nin-com-poop into office! Cleaning up that mess was a little more complicated than loading up a plane full of deacons to Florida to take out some trash! I believe we can avoid anything like the Kennedy fiasco this time around by making sure we put a stop to letting kooky religious nuts run for any public office!

Like everyone in the other 49 states we've had our share of busting a gut over how silly the Mormons are. We even take to calling them the "Morons," in our Religious Cult Studies courses at Landover Baptist University. My message about Mormons today is actually more for the folks out there using the internets. I want to assure this congregation that I am doing everything in my power to prevent even the stupidest Mexican who can vote from being fooled by this fruit-cake, Mitt Romney.

You see, the Mormon religion is absolutely, hands down, one of the most hilarious made-up religions Satan ever boiled up in the Lake of Fire! But all tomfoolery aside, Mormonism should always be reckoned with as a dangerous cult -- because whenever you design a cult to appeal to stupid people, you are going to wind up with a lot of members!

I want to start by stating the obvious. I will list it out here for you:

What Does Presidential Candidate Mitt Romney Really Believe?

He believes that Jesus Christ is Satan's brother.
He believes that God lives near a planet called "Kolob."
He believes in baptizing dead people.
He believes that Jesus is married to a goddess wife.
He believes that The Garden of Eden was in Missouri.
He believes that it was impossible for Negroes to go to Heaven before 1978.
He believes that Jesus has children from his wife or wives.
He believes that he is going to become a god.
He believes he will own his own personal planet after he dies.
He believes the real Christian God is not eternal but rather that He was once a man on some other planet besides Earth!
He believes he needs to wear magical underwear created by Mormons and he is never to take it off unless he is bathing.
He believes it is a sin to drink anything containing caffeine. And that even includes True American™ drinks like Coca-Cola!
He believes children between the ages of 18-21 should wear name badges, ride bicycles and always smile.

I'll let you take a breath for a minute, because I know you are laughing harder than the time I was up here trying to explain how the Scientologists arrived on Earth in a space ship piloted by talking, lava-dwelling sea clams.

Friends, Mitt Romney follows the Book of Mormon to the letter! He believes it has more authority than the Bible. If you don't know what's in the book of Mormon, we've included the Sunday School training video below:

Folks, I'll wait a minute for you to calm down. I know if Joseph Smith were alive today he wouldn't even be able to sell this story as a mini-series to the Sci-Fi Channel, and those folks buy anything!

I know in my heart of hearts that I speak for all True Christians™ when I say that the idea of Mitt Romney sitting in the Oval Office sends a shiver down my spine, and a cold trickle of perspiration down the small of my back! Let's take a stand and send this lunatic and all his pairs of magic underwear back to Utah where they belong. We need to act now, lest the Republican party goes down in history as the party for stupid American idiots who elect crazy morons to the office of President!

Mitt Romney With Mormon Flag

For More Information About The Crazy Mormons:

(YouTube) - Watch a T-Bagger Go Nuts When She Finds Out Mitt is a Mormon!

(You Tube) Watch Pastor Deacon Fred's Video About the Mormon Cult.

(c) 2011The Landover Babtist Church

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Issues & Alibis Vol 11 # 41 (c) 10/21/2011

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