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In This Edition

Chris Hedges says, "Forget Red Vs. Blue."

Uri Avnery wonders if Obama will be another Israeli stooge in, "Yes, You Can!"

Ted Rall wants to know, "Will Obama Wuss Out On Gitmo?"

Jim Hightower tells it like it is in, "Real Change Depends On Us."

Fred Baer and his, "Bicycle Wheel Windmill."

Alexandra Alter explains, "How To Quench The World's Thirst."

Paul Craig Roberts reports that we've been, Conned Again."

Chris Floyd sings, "The Beat Goes On."

Joel Hirschhorn concludes "The Anti-Incumbency Movement Is Dead."

Mike Folkerth covers, "The Big-3 And Mr. Obama."

Anjali Kamat asks if it's really, "Change We Can Believe In?"

Maj. William B. Fox and Capt. Eric H. May wonder is it, "Bush's False Flag Finale?"

The once honorable Joe Scarborough wins the coveted "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Glenn Greenwald finds, "Joe Scarborough: Hoisted On His Own Sacntimonious Petard."

Gore Vidal with, "Gore Vidal Blasts Racism Claim."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz returns with, "Palin Hoping To Be Named Ambassador To Africa" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "Meet The New Boss."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Rick McKee with additional cartoons and photos from Married To The Sea.Com, Cindy for Congress, The Peoples Cube.Com, CAM, Freaking News.Com, Ted Baer, MSNBC, The Lone Star Iconoclast, Issues & Alibis.Org and Pink & Blue Films.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Meet The New Boss
By Ernest Stewart

"Obviously he will influence the president to be pro-Israel. Why wouldn't he be? What is he, an Arab? He's not going to clean the floors of the White House."
~~~ Benjamin Emanuel, father of Rahm Emanuel ~~~

"To maintain the ascendancy of the Constitution over the lawmaking majority is the great and essential point on which the success of the [American] system must depend; unless that ascendancy can be preserved, the necessary consequence must be that the laws will supersede the Constitution; and, finally, the will of the Executive, by influence of its patronage, will supersede the laws." ~~~ Vice President John C. Calhoun

Armistice Day has become Veterans' Day. Armistice Day was sacred. Veterans' Day is not.
~~~ Breakfast of Champions ~ Kurt Vonnegut ~~~

As that great American sage, Yogi Berra, once said, "This is like deja vu all over again." Do you have that feeling, too, America? You know that I surely do!

You may recall when Barry won, or bought, the Demoncratic nomination the very first thing he did was to run directly to AIPAC and genuflect before his masters with solemn promises:

"I will ensure Israel can defend itself from any threat. I will safeguard Israel's security at any cost!"

After the election the very first person he appoints to his cabinet, to the highest position in his cabinet is Mossad spy and spymaster, Rahm Israel Emanuel, the former Illinois Con-gressman and now Barry's White House Chief of Staff. I'm having that déjà vu thingie again but this time I'm flashing on Martin Bormann, how about you?

Rahm Emanuel is the son of Benjamin Emanuel, the well-known mass murderer, war criminal and terrorist. He was a member of the Irgun terrorist group which blew up a lot of things, including the King David Hotel. Irgun's various terrorist bombing throughout the middle east left thousands of innocent dead in their wake! Like his daddy, Rahm joined another well-known terrorist group, the Israeli army, and went off to blow things up for the Mossad in Papa Smirk's first Gulf War in 1991.

Rahm, like so many members of the current Junta, has duel US/Israeli citizenship. Just like Homeland Security Chief Michael Chertoff. Chertoff, like Rahm, is an Israeli 5th columnist. How's that for yet another déjà vu? Come meet the new boss, same as the old boss! As it stands the list of almost all of Obama's picks for his transition team and cabinet reads like a "Who's Who of the Bush and Clinton administrations. Change, my ass!

In Other News

You may recall in "Animal House" Dean Vernon Wermer, when reminded that the Deltas were already on probation, said, "Well, as of this moment, they're on "DOUBLE SECRET PROBATION!" We all had a good laugh but I have something here from the Junta that, while similar, isn't funny at all!

I'm taking about the double secret, "Al Qaeda Network Executive Order" which gives a presidential OK for acts of war and war crimes. This order permits the invasion of countries with which we are not at war with at the whim of our military. This war crime was issued in 2004 by the Smirkster and Rummy. In addition it was issued after the Bush administration had already granted America's intelligence agencies sweeping power to secretly detain and interrogate terrorism suspects in overseas prisons and to conduct warrantless eavesdropping on telephone and electronic communications. While at face value it sounds alright, you have to remember that "Al Qaeda" or "The Method" was a CIA invention and Osama was, or maybe still is, a CIA agent? All this does in reality is allow the CIA to use the US Army and other military forces to do their dirty work! Also, do recall that the CIA is owned and operated by the Crime Family Bush, amongst a few other crime families and has been since it's inception! The CIA's original charter says its reason for being is to protect American business interests, not American interests, mind you, but American business interests, around the world.

This order goes on to identify 20 countries, including Syria, Pakistan, Yemen, Somalia and Saudi Arabia "where Qaeda militants were believed to be operating or to have sought sanctuary," a senior administration official said. Iran, however, isn't on that list. It is covered by another executive order! So all the invasions, kid-napping and murdering we've done in Iran is covered by another act of treason! This is treason pure and simple. The president cannot do what Bush has been doing without a congressional declaration of war. These are sovereign nations. I should add, that it is treason for Congress to let him get away with it! Like it was treason for Pelosi to take impeachment off the table. She is required by law to impeach Bush with the oath of office that she took swearing to "support and defend" the Constitution.

Dozens of examples have been given of various commando raids from Pakistan to Africa as well as missile strikes, invasions and AC-130 gunship attacks. Most of these acts of war and mass murder have apparently been directed against schools, hospitals and wedding parties because it seems that is all that they ever hit! If Osama ever goes to a wedding reception, he's toast! The recent mass murders in Pakistan and Afghanistan committed by bored "Predator" pilots sitting halfway around the world in Nevada and that act of war invasion in Syria are just the tip of the iceberg but are typical examples. Hundreds of other acts of war are still classified as "double secret" operations. One can only imagine the horrors that we, the American people, are responsible for by allowing the Junta to stay in power! Every day we find out about a brand new horror. I wonder what's next, America, don't you?

And Finally

So how did you celebrate Armistice Day? You may recall that old Woody Wilson first declared Armistice Day for November 12, 1919 and seven years later on June 4, 1926, Con-gress passed a concurrent resolution requesting the President issue another proclamation to observe November 11 with appropriate ceremonies. On May 13, 1938, almost 20 years after the fact, an Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U. S. Code, Sec. 87a) was approved making November 11th a legal holiday. A holiday that was not for the celebration of our warriors but rather "a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated and known as 'Armistice Day'."

I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs...

"A Day to Celebrate PEACE,"

imagine that if you can. So what happened to the peace day I hear you cry. I bet you can guess!

What happened was what happens to things noble and pure in this country; it was taken over by the "Military Industrial Complex" and used for their own perversions! The Emporia Kansas Chamber of Commerce and their stooge US Con-gressman Ed Rees R/Kansas wrote "a bill for the holiday that was pushed through Congress." The Ikester then signed it into law on May 26, 1954. Congress amended this act on November 8, 1954, replacing the word "Armistice" with "Veterans" and it has been known as Veterans Day ever since.

Even then they hadn't completely destroyed it. The November 11 date in place but the folks who brought you "In god we trust" on all of are money weren't done with this day of peace. It was 14 years later in a wartime frenzy that along came "The Uniform Monday Holiday Act," (Pub.L. 90-363) an act of Congress that amended the federal holiday provisions of the United States Code to establish the observance of certain holidays on Mondays. The Act was signed into law on June 28, 1968 and took effect on January 1, 1971, making the celebration fall on the fourth Monday in October! Of course, with your tax dollars at work this date wasn't quite right either so they changed it back to November 11th effective 1978. By then it was safe to do so as everybody had forgotten it was supposed to be a day of peace and not a day to honor our shock troops and their crimes!

So how did you celebrate Armistice Day, America?

Oh and by-the-way, in case you're wondering, I'm a U.S. Army veteran!


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

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

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

Ernest & Victoria Stewart


03-04-1932 ~ 11-09-2008
R.I.P. sweetie

07-09-1947 ~ 11-12-2008
There are many here among us who feel that life is but a joke.


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


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


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

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

Forget Red Vs. Blue
It's the Educated vs. People Easily Fooled by Propaganda

By Chris Hedges

We live in two Americas. One America, now the minority, functions in a print-based, literate world. It can cope with complexity and has the intellectual tools to separate illusion from truth. The other America, which constitutes the majority, exists in a non-reality-based belief system. This America, dependent on skillfully manipulated images for information, has severed itself from the literate, print-based culture. It cannot differentiate between lies and truth. It is informed by simplistic, childish narratives and cliches. It is thrown into confusion by ambiguity, nuance and self-reflection. This divide, more than race, class or gender, more than rural or urban, believer or nonbeliever, red state or blue state, has split the country into radically distinct, unbridgeable and antagonistic entities.

There are over 42 million American adults, 20 percent of whom hold high school diplomas, who cannot read, as well as the 50 million who read at a fourth- or fifth-grade level. Nearly a third of the nation's population is illiterate or barely literate. And their numbers are growing by an estimated 2 million a year. But even those who are supposedly literate retreat in huge numbers into this image-based existence. A third of high school graduates, along with 42 percent of college graduates, never read a book after they finish school. Eighty percent of the families in the United States last year did not buy a book.

The illiterate rarely vote, and when they do vote they do so without the ability to make decisions based on textual information. American political campaigns, which have learned to speak in the comforting epistemology of images, eschew real ideas and policy for cheap slogans and reassuring personal narratives. Political propaganda now masquerades as ideology. Political campaigns have become an experience. They do not require cognitive or self-critical skills. They are designed to ignite pseudo-religious feelings of euphoria, empowerment and collective salvation. Campaigns that succeed are carefully constructed psychological instruments that manipulate fickle public moods, emotions and impulses, many of which are subliminal. They create a public ecstasy that annuls individuality and fosters a state of mindlessness. They thrust us into an eternal present. They cater to a nation that now lives in a state of permanent amnesia. It is style and story, not content or history or reality, which inform our politics and our lives. We prefer happy illusions. And it works because so much of the American electorate, including those who should know better, blindly cast ballots for slogans, smiles, the cheerful family tableaux, narratives and the perceived sincerity and the attractiveness of candidates. We confuse how we feel with knowledge.

The illiterate and semi-literate, once the campaigns are over, remain powerless. They still cannot protect their children from dysfunctional public schools. They still cannot understand predatory loan deals, the intricacies of mortgage papers, credit card agreements and equity lines of credit that drive them into foreclosures and bankruptcies. They still struggle with the most basic chores of daily life from reading instructions on medicine bottles to filling out bank forms, car loan documents and unemployment benefit and insurance papers. They watch helplessly and without comprehension as hundreds of thousands of jobs are shed. They are hostages to brands. Brands come with images and slogans. Images and slogans are all they understand. Many eat at fast food restaurants not only because it is cheap but because they can order from pictures rather than menus. And those who serve them, also semi-literate or illiterate, punch in orders on cash registers whose keys are marked with symbols and pictures. This is our brave new world.

Political leaders in our post-literate society no longer need to be competent, sincere or honest. They only need to appear to have these qualities. Most of all they need a story, a narrative. The reality of the narrative is irrelevant. It can be completely at odds with the facts. The consistency and emotional appeal of the story are paramount. The most essential skill in political theater and the consumer culture is artifice. Those who are best at artifice succeed. Those who have not mastered the art of artifice fail. In an age of images and entertainment, in an age of instant emotional gratification, we do not seek or want honesty. We ask to be indulged and entertained by clichs, stereotypes and mythic narratives that tell us we can be whomever we want to be, that we live in the greatest country on Earth, that we are endowed with superior moral and physical qualities and that our glorious future is preordained, either because of our attributes as Americans or because we are blessed by God or both.

The ability to magnify these simple and childish lies, to repeat them and have surrogates repeat them in endless loops of news cycles, gives these lies the aura of an uncontested truth. We are repeatedly fed words or phrases like yes we can, maverick, change, pro-life, hope or war on terror. It feels good not to think. All we have to do is visualize what we want, believe in ourselves and summon those hidden inner resources, whether divine or national, that make the world conform to our desires. Reality is never an impediment to our advancement.

The Princeton Review analyzed the transcripts of the Gore-Bush debates, the Clinton-Bush-Perot debates of 1992, the Kennedy-Nixon debates of 1960 and the Lincoln-Douglas debates of 1858. It reviewed these transcripts using a standard vocabulary test that indicates the minimum educational standard needed for a reader to grasp the text. During the 2000 debates George W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.7) and Al Gore at a seventh-grade level (7.6). In the 1992 debates Bill Clinton spoke at a seventh-grade level (7.6), while George H.W. Bush spoke at a sixth-grade level (6.8), as did H. Ross Perot (6.3). In the debates between John F. Kennedy and Richard Nixon the candidates spoke in language used by 10th-graders. In the debates of Abraham Lincoln and Stephen A. Douglas the scores were respectively 11.2 and 12.0. In short, today's political rhetoric is designed to be comprehensible to a 10-year-old child or an adult with a sixth-grade reading level. It is fitted to this level of comprehension because most Americans speak, think and are entertained at this level. This is why serious film and theater and other serious artistic expression, as well as newspapers and books, are being pushed to the margins of American society. Voltaire was the most famous man of the 18th century. Today the most famous "person" is Mickey Mouse.

In our post-literate world, because ideas are inaccessible, there is a need for constant stimulus. News, political debate, theater, art and books are judged not on the power of their ideas but on their ability to entertain. Cultural products that force us to examine ourselves and our society are condemned as elitist and impenetrable. Hannah Arendt warned that the marketization of culture leads to its degradation, that this marketization creates a new celebrity class of intellectuals who, although well read and informed themselves, see their role in society as persuading the masses that "Hamlet" can be as entertaining as "The Lion King" and perhaps as educational. "Culture," she wrote, "is being destroyed in order to yield entertainment." "There are many great authors of the past who have survived centuries of oblivion and neglect," Arendt wrote, "but it is still an open question whether they will be able to survive an entertaining version of what they have to say."

The change from a print-based to an image-based society has transformed our nation. Huge segments of our population, especially those who live in the embrace of the Christian right and the consumer culture, are completely unmoored from reality. They lack the capacity to search for truth and cope rationally with our mounting social and economic ills. They seek clarity, entertainment and order. They are willing to use force to impose this clarity on others, especially those who do not speak as they speak and think as they think. All the traditional tools of democracies, including dispassionate scientific and historical truth, facts, news and rational debate, are useless instruments in a world that lacks the capacity to use them.

As we descend into a devastating economic crisis, one that Barack Obama cannot halt, there will be tens of millions of Americans who will be ruthlessly thrust aside. As their houses are foreclosed, as their jobs are lost, as they are forced to declare bankruptcy and watch their communities collapse, they will retreat even further into irrational fantasy. They will be led toward glittering and self-destructive illusions by our modern Pied Pipers--our corporate advertisers, our charlatan preachers, our television news celebrities, our self-help gurus, our entertainment industry and our political demagogues -- who will offer increasingly absurd forms of escapism.

The core values of our open society, the ability to think for oneself, to draw independent conclusions, to express dissent when judgment and common sense indicate something is wrong, to be self-critical, to challenge authority, to understand historical facts, to separate truth from lies, to advocate for change and to acknowledge that there are other views, different ways of being, that are morally and socially acceptable, are dying. Obama used hundreds of millions of dollars in campaign funds to appeal to and manipulate this illiteracy and irrationalism to his advantage, but these forces will prove to be his most deadly nemesis once they collide with the awful reality that awaits us.
(c) 2008 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning. His latest book is Collateral Damage: America's War Against Iraqi Civilians.

Yes, You Can!
By Uri Avnery

IN JULY 2004, the convention of the Democratic Party was about to nominate John Kerry as its candidate for President. The organizing committee had to decide who would deliver the keynote speech. In the American tradition, that speech sets the tone for the whole convention.

"Perhaps we should have a black speaker this time?" someone suggested.

"Good idea," the chairman responded. "But who?"

Then someone, in a hesitant voice, said that he had met a young guy with a funny name in Chicago. He is black and an excellent orator. "Maybe we could try him?"

I don't know whether such a conversation did take place. If it did, that someone made history.

"GIVE ME marshals who have luck!" Napoleon once exclaimed.

There are people who are lucky because they know how to grab luck with their two hands and run with it. It is a matter of talent. Barack Obama is such a person.

His speech at that convention, only four years ago, was a sensation. It inspired his afflicted party and all of America. He brought an uplifting message, a message of hope, and, most of all, a unifying message. His main motif was: Let's unify America again!

It appeared that from the hundreds of possible messages, this was the one that touched the heart of the torn American nation. Between speaker and audience a contact was established - the mystic contact that every orator strives for, and only a few achieve. It is the connection with the mysterious thing that the German philosopher called the Zeitgeist, the spirit of the age.

Obama sensed that he had connected with the American psyche. From that moment on, he did not let go of that message. He stuck to it throughout the long election campaign. It brought him victory.

THAT WAS not easy. As somebody who has managed several Infinitely smaller election campaigns, I know how difficult it is to fix a central theme - and even more difficult to stick to it yourself.

In the course of an election campaign there are countless temptations to divert from the central message in order to react to stuff that happens, seize passing opportunities, respond to the opponent's attacks. It is hard to rein oneself in, to stay the course.

This week, many people extolled Obama's campaign. I am not sure that all of them quite understood how right they are. He remained cool when he could have got angry, could have responded sharply to defamation and insults and paid back in the same coin. He didn't. He remained solid as a rock to the end. John McCain, on the other hand, did not stick to his chosen persona - that of war hero, nice guy, symbol of decency. Several times he stooped to defamation. He brought with him that vulgar purveyor of invective, Sarah Palin. At the very last moment he allowed his followers in Florida to publish a preposterous ad that accused Obama of being a friend of Fidel Castro and of conspiring to turn the US into a second Cuba. For that alone he deserved to lose, and lose he did.

Obama did not pursue luck. Luck pursued him. The Palin phenomenon, a quite extraordinary act of folly by his opponent, brought him the votes of women. The economic collapse that occurred at the height of the campaign assured him of victory. All components of American society were crying out for an uplifting message, a message of salvation.

IN HUNDREDS of places around the world, rejoicing crowds poured into the streets to express their delight at the election results. In those moments, the contact of the US with the world, which had been cut by the clumsy hand of Bush, was renewed.

In Tel-Aviv, no such celebration took place. Throughout Israel, there was a mood of apprehension. Official Israel was seriously worried about the new man.

If there had been a celebration in the central square of Tel-Aviv, I would certainly have taken part. But my joy would not have been unalloyed, because I would have remembered what happened in the same square some nine years earlier. That was when our Barak, Ehud, won the elections. The country heaved a sigh of relief, much as the US did this week. It felt like a day of deliverance. Binyamin Netanyahu's term in office had been an unmitigated disaster, a nightmare of corruption, polarization and utter failure. Barak would be our savior. A hundred thousand jubilant people streamed into Rabin Square, without waiting to be called. They danced, sang, rejoiced and listened attentively to the speech of Barak the Redeemer.

Everybody knows what happened next. Within a few months the public came to loathe Barak, he failed in all respects and buried all that had been built by Yitzhak Rabin. The public turned away from him and passed the crown to Ariel Sharon. The whole episode lasted less than two years.

I hope with all my heart that nothing like that will happen to the American Barack. But this week, many people here will remember that chapter. Today, in a few hours, many people will stream again into the square - the same square - in order to take part in the annual memorial meeting for Yitzhak Rabin, the Prime Minister who was assassinated in this square, which now bears his name. The main speaker is - you may not believe it - Ehud Barak.

IN THREE months time, general elections will take place in Israel. No Barack Obama of ours will be standing.

Obama is a great politician. According to my definition, a great politician is a politician who does not look like a politician. Like Abe Lincoln, like Mahatma Gandhi, like Franklin Delano Roosevelt, like David Ben-Gurion, all of them great players of the political game, politicians from head to foot. But they did not look it. I think Obama is like that, too.

In Israel, the man who hopes to win, Binyamin Netanyahu, is the very opposite. He oozes sleazy politics from every pore. In his last term as Prime Minister, he was an utter failure. If he wins, nothing will change for the better.

Ehud Barak is another antithesis of the American Barack. Like Netanyahu and Tzipi Livni, he belongs to the "white" Ashkenazi elite. He has no emotional or other connection with the minorities. He is a militarist through and through. He exploited, for example, the night of Obama's election, when the attention of the whole world was riveted there, to violate the cease-fire and carry out a provocative military action in the Gaza Strip.

There remains Tzipi Livni. Has some of the stardust of Obama become attached to her? Hard to say. She is not a great orator. She is no orator at all in fact, which many people hold to her credit. But she promised "new politics." She has not been connected with corruption scandals, like the incumbent Prime Minister and both Netanyahu and Barak. She has no military aura. Her term as Foreign Minister has given her some credibility as a diplomat.

The one thing that unites almost all Israelis is the importance of maintaining good relations with the US. Everybody knows that the present Israeli policy is possible only as long as there is unstinting American support. Among the three candidates, Tzipi Livni looks like the one most likely to be able to work with the new President. The election of Obama can help her own election, if she knows how to utilize it.

THE QUESTION is: what policy will Obama adopt vis-à-vis Israel?

Jerusalem is worried, but the spokesmen comfort themselves - and the public - by saying (as the Hebrew expression goes) that "the demon is not so terrible.".The new Congress is different from the last one as far as the balance of power is concerned, but its fear of the pro-Israel lobby will be unabated. True, the influence of the Zionist Evangelicals will be much diminished, but AIPAC is alive and kicking, and its kicks will be as painful as ever.

Whoever will be the new Secretary of State and the other ministers, the Israeli Prime Minister will have direct access to the Oval Room. The new doorkeeper, who bears the ringing Israeli name Rahm Immanuel (Rahm means high, Immanuel means God with Us), is the son of an Irgun underground veteran. Rahm grew up in a Jewish home, speaks Hebrew and rushed to the aid of the Israeli army during the first Gulf War. I don't know his views on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, but he certainly will not block the path of the Israeli Prime Minister to the President.

If there is a change, it will probably be slow and gradual. But that doesn't mean it won't be significant.

There is no chance for progress towards Israeli-Palestinian peace without American pressure on the Israeli government. That has been true for decades, and that remains true today.

All the American Presidents after Dwight Eisenhower have been afraid of exerting such pressure. Those who tried, like Richard Nixon at the beginning of his term, quickly drew back. The only exception was Bush the Father, or rather his Secretary of State James Baker, but that pressure (on the pocket) did not last long.

To be effective, American pressure does not need to be brutal. It should be gentle, but firm and consistent. This may suit Obama's temperament.

If the new American administration decides to reassess the American national interest in the Middle East and comes to the conclusion that Israeli-Arab peace is an essential requirement of the American post-Bush policy, then the new President must inform our new Prime Minister of this fact and ask politely but unequivocally for a freeze on the settlements and a start of new negotiations - this time not just to fill time, but to attain final agreement in 2009.

Many Israelis would thank him for that. Quite possibly, our next Prime Minister would also thank him in the hidden recesses of his (or her) heart.

Will the new American President do so? Is Barack Obama able to do so?

There is only one possible answer: Yes, you can!
(c) 2008 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Will Obama Wuss Out On Gitmo?
Prez-Elect May Ratify Bush's Torture Trials
By Ted Rall

NEW YORK--The accused terrorist appeared before the military tribunal, charged with conspiracy in a plot against national security. Because state secrets were involved and because harsh interrogation techniques were used to extract information, the defendant was deprived of a look at the evidence. Also denied were the defendant's traditional right to a lawyer, to face accusers, even to see the judges--they wore hoods.

No, this wasn't at Gitmo. This "court" met in the military dictatorship of Peru. And the defendant wasn't an Afghan or Arab turned over to U.S. troops by a warlord out for the $10,000 bounty. She was Lori Berenson, a 31-year-old American citizen accused of aiding the Túpac Amaru Revolutionary Movement, members of whom she befriended.

The Washington Post and New York Times condemned Berenson's 1996 trial, calling the tribunal and the brutal circumstances of her detention a mockery of justice. In the U.S., most American liberals agreed.

Now President-Elect Barack Obama--a self-identified liberal Democrat who campaigned as a champion of human rights--wants to use the same kind of kangaroo court to try victims of the notorious Guantánamo torture camp.

Obama's advisers confirm that the incoming president wants to close Gitmo. It's long overdue. But they deny that they've made a final decision about what to do with the detainees. (There's no word about the secret prisons, Navy prison ships or CIA black sites where thousands of Muslim men kidnapped by the U.S. have been "disappeared.") However, there's troubling evidence that Obama is reneging on his promise to do the right thing by the long-suffering detainees.

Insiders say that Obama is leaning toward the creation of "national security courts"--secret military tribunals where detainees would be tried without basic due process rights. They wouldn't get the right to review evidence against them, cross-examine prosecution witnesses, or-obviously, at this point--a speedy trial. Moreover, Obama hasn't ruled out subjecting future detainees to "preventive detention"--i.e., holding them without charges, like Bush.

"The legal team advising Mr. Obama on Guantánamo believes that prosecuting the 'high value' terror suspects such as [Khalid Sheikh] Mohammed--a group of about 30--will require the creation of a court designed to handle highly sensitive intelligence material, a cross between a military tribunal and a federal court," reports The Times of London.

"What a national security court is designed for is to hide the use of torture and allow the consideration of evidence that is not reliable," says J. Wells Dixon of the Center for Constitutional Rights, which represents some of the detainees.

Of the 255 prisoners, about 60 have been cleared for release but remain at the base because their home countries, including China, view them as political enemies and might execute them. Of the remaining 195, the Pentagon admits that there's no evidence whatsoever against 135. Obama's team doesn't know what to do about these 195 misérables.

That leaves 80 men, including the 30 "stars" like KSM, the alleged 9/11 mastermind. "If Obama wanted to move as swiftly as possible to close Guantánamo," reports Time magazine, "the strongest step he could take as president would be to simply shutter the camp by executive order and transfer all of the detainees to prison sites inside the U.S. At that point, in theory, the detainees would face four possible fates: being charged with offenses that could be tried in federal courts; court-marshaled according to the Uniform Code of Military Justice; turned over to the governments of their native countries; or simply released."

Courts-marshal of the detainees, who were dumped in Gitmo's supposed legal limbo specifically in order to deny them POW status and Geneva Conventions rights, would be bizarre. As discussed above, many can't go home. Moreover most, if not all, of the high-profile detainees were tortured--a fact that would almost certainly destroy any chance of obtaining a conviction in a fair trial.

You can't hold a fair trial after holding a suspect for years while depriving them of access to a lawyer, family visits, or the ability to prepare for trial. The Founding Fathers understood this fact, which is why they ratified the Sixth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. "In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial," reads the Sixth. A secret "national security court" held six years after "arrest" doesn't come anywhere close to satisfying this requirement.

Municipalities' interpretation of the Sixth Amendment varies. In New York City, cops have to bring you before a judge for arraignment within 24 hours of your arrest, or let you go. Other places allow a few days. Six years? Not even in Texas.

There's only one valid legal and moral option for rectifying the human rights nightmare at Guantánamo. On January 20, President Obama should fly to Gitmo, address its inmates and personally apologize to each one for the abuses and indignities they have suffered, and which have brought shame and contempt upon the United States.

The detainees should be set free. They should be paid enough money that they should never want for anything again, then offered the right to fly home or, if they prefer, anywhere in the U.S. Finally, Obama should walk out the camp's main entrance to Palma Point, where he should sign over control of the base to Cuban President Raoul Castro.
(c) 2008 Ted Rall is the author of the new book "Silk Road to Ruin: Is Central Asia the New Middle East?" an in-depth prose and graphic novel analysis of America's next big foreign policy challenge.)

Real Change Depends On Us

Obama elected! Job done, right?

Uh... not quite. If last week's sweeping vote for change is to mean anything substantive, We The People have stay alert and on the move. And the job begins now.

Like fresh-poured concrete, the shape of Obama's presidency is going to set up quickly, and we can't be lulled into thinking that casting a ballot is all that democracy requires of us. Now is not the time to crank back in our La-Z-Boys, trusting Obama to do the heavy lifting for us. Wall Street, the war machine, Republican Congress critters, weak-kneed Democrats, and other powerful forces of business-as-usual policies will be all over him. These insiders intend to shape him in their mold.

We have to be the counter force - an aggressive and vociferous Loyal Opposition pushing insistently and persistently from the outside. We must stand up and speak out on every move the insiders make; we must propose and propel progressive ideas and ideals; and we certainly must expose and vigorously oppose any capitulations that he'll be pressured to make to the corporate powers. If his presidency is to be worthy of the deep potential of this political moment in our history, you and I have to step up.

It's real change we're after, a fundamental shift in national direction and policy: Get our troops and our national reputation out of Iraq, provide good health care for all, end "tinkle down" economics, reign in corporate greedheads, reinvest in America's infrastructure, deal with global warming, no more torture, get serious about green energy, restore our stolen liberties - and generally reinstate the Common Good as our nation's governing ethic.

Obama himself has often said that he is not the change, we are. Through him, we opened the White House door to the possibility of change last Tuesday. Now, we must see it through.
(c) 2008 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition.

Bicycle Wheel Windmill
By Ted Baer

I have created a series of small windmills designed for third world use over a period of three decades. This first in the series has evolved in simplicity and power. The aluminum vanes are constructed from a building flashing roll utilizing the pre-existing bend of the roll in construction. Two 16 " sections are riveted together to make one vane. The vanes clip on the spokes of the bicycle wheel using a "bent nail" and a bend in the vane. Detailed pictures will be provided shortly. The generator is a surplus permanent magnet motor and the uv resistant endless belting is purchased to length from online sources.

Output is a respectable 2 amps at 12 mph (18-20 volts) providing a cost effective alternative to a solar photovoltaic panels (if wind is available). The total cost of the windmill was less than $80 purchasing most items new (off-the-shelf). The two most expensive items were the permanent magnet motor (around $30) and the uv resistant round belting typically used in food processing plants to drive conveyors ($3 to $5 per foot).

The windmill does have a tail (see photo above). The frame is made from PVC pipe. It is important to use only a 24 to 27 inch rear solid axle bicycle wheel. The wheel is mounted to a PVC end cap via a hole drilled in the middle of the end cap.

The generator is a 24 volt DC permanent magnet motor. This one was surplus and used in old main frame disk drive units. DC permanent magnet motors are available through Internet surplus resources, but getting scarce. Here is a link that gives you more detail on sources and the types to look for.

The generator is mounted using a simple L bracket. Should be sturdy (not the typical shelf bracket) and both the motor and the bracket are secured with radiator hose clamps.

The windmill pole is electrical conduit that 1.5 inch PVC slides over. A short segment of PVC pipe is screwed into the metal conduit to create a bearing that the windmill pivots on (PVC to PVC).

The tail has to be counterweighted to balance the unit. I used a bunch of pennies and got it balanced perfectly. What else are they good for? :-)

Step 1 Testing

The test rig is a Windstar van with top rack and platform. The tripod is a roof TV antenna mount. Windspeed, volts and amps are taken and recorded with a digital camera.

Step 2 Vane attachment

The vanes attach by folding the aluminum flashing over one spoke and hooking a bent nail around a second spoke, The bent nail is inserted through a drilled hole in the vane.

Step 3 Blade attachment detail

This shows how the blade is attached. The bend is made by hand, simply bending the aluminum flashing over a metal rod about 1/8th inch in diameter. The metal flashing we used (years ago) was thicker than currently available. You will have to laminate (rivet or use two-sided tape) two thicknesses together to obtain a blade that is stiff enough. But you can also make blades out of wood (1/8 inch plywood or door skins) or plastic.

Step 4 Generator belt detail

This just gives a bit more detailed view of the generator, pulley and endless belting.

Step 5

There were many variations of the windmill. Here is the most successful in terms of output. It uses two wheels and two generators. Let your imagination run wild. Our mantra is/was: "how much can you do with how little".

Step 6

Here is a variation with only one generator. On both two wheel models the horizontal PVC must be strengthened with rigid metal electrical conduit or water pipe. The balance on this model was improved by having the generator closer to the pivot point. Want more power...add more wheels or start a mini windmill farm. Our concept all along has been the windmill equivalent of a solar panel...modular, friendly and cheap to build.

Step 7

Note the specialty outdoor furniture PVC connectors. Two such connectors were used...a five way connector and one way slip connector. The connectors were secured by screws so they could be disassembled. The five way connector is the one used in the back supporting the horizontal cross piece and the tail. The horizontal bar has a metal pipe in the center to provide the needed rigidity. The top PVC connector supporting the generator is a three way connector cut so that it forms a cradle and the generator is mounted to it with radiator clamps. All the pulleys used the models are hardware store grade. The special fittings can be ordered over the internet at: Little Green House.
(c)2008 Ted Baer

And then there's Maude

How To Quench The World's Thirst
The U.N.'s new water adviser talks about privatization, policy and the issue of 'virtual water'
By Alexandra Alter

Water has become a booming $500 billion industry, by some estimates. Economists and investors call it "the new oil" and "blue gold."

Texas oilman T. Boone Pickens, who has bought water rights for a chunk of the Ogallala aquifer in Texas and owns more water than any individual in the United States, has said the natural resource should be treated like any other commodity -- bought and sold for a profit.

In the U.S., companies such as Nestlé, which owns Poland Spring, extract hundreds of millions of gallons of groundwater a year. The companies often pay little to nothing for the water that they bottle and sell.

But where some see profits, others see peril. The world is running out of fresh H20, which accounts for just 3% of the earth's water. Recent moves by multinational corporations to privatize water sources could spell disaster for poor countries and residents with no means to pay.

In Bolivia, price spikes following water privatization led to riots in 2000; eventually, Bolivia expelled Bechtel, the engineering company that the government had contracted to take over management of the municipal water supply in the city of Cochabamba. Similar clashes over privatization and price hikes have broken out in Argentina, Uruguay, South Africa and Mali.

Geopolitical experts warn that water scarcity poses not just a public health risk, but a threat to global security. Currently, some 1.1 billion people, one-sixth of the world population, lack safe drinking water. Global water consumption is growing at unsustainable rates, doubling every 20 years, according to a March 2008 report by Goldman Sachs. A study by International Alert, a London-based conflict-resolution group, listed 46 countries with a combined population of 2.7 billion that have a "high risk" for violent conflict over water in the next two decades.

Maude Barlow, a Canadian water activist who has opposed privatization for more than 20 years, was recently appointed as the United Nation's first senior adviser on water issues. Her position, which is unpaid, was created by the Rev. Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann, president of the United Nations General Assembly. Here are highlights from her conversation with the Wall Street Journal.

WSJ: You've been an outspoken critic of the U.N.'s and the World Bank's water policies, saying that both have aided the "corporate takeover of the world's water." Were you surprised to be offered an advisory role at the U.N.?

Maude Barlow: I don't think I would have been offered a role there by anyone but someone like Father Miguel. He cares deeply about the poor. He's a liberation theology priest from Nicaragua.

I've been critical and will continue to be critical of the overly close relationship of the U.N. to big water corporations. At a time when the need was growing so much, they said, 'Well, the private companies will pay for it,' and they didn't. No one has the right to appropriate water for profit while other people are dying.

WSJ: What will you try to change about the U.N.'s water policies?

Maude Barlow: I would like to see it shift from reliance on water companies and privatization, what I call the hard path, to the soft path -- watershed protection, rain harvesting and watershed restoration. You can't have the human right to water if there's no water. Studies show that as we remove water from aquifers, we dry up the land. The rain won't come if there's no vegetation.

WSJ: Some economists argue that privatization will reduce water consumption and waste, the way oil prices have spurred efforts toward more efficient energy use. Wouldn't putting a price on water actually help to reduce waste?

Maude Barlow: To me, the issue isn't whether you price or not, it's the conditions. There are three important conditions to putting a price on water. The first is that no one should be denied access because they can't pay. The second is that water is maintained by the public sector, so it's like a tax, not a fee. The third is, you're paying for the service, you don't own the water. It's very important that we say water is not a commodity.

WSJ: Do you see any role for the private sector?

Maude Barlow: In the building of infrastructure and pipes. There's an important place for the private sector in water cleanup technology. There's no place for the private sector in water delivery. It should be delivered by the public sector on a not-for-profit basis.

WSJ: The U.N.'s Millennium Development Goals to reduce global poverty include the objective of cutting the number of people without access to clean water in half by 2015. You have said that at the rate they're going, it will take much longer. What steps will you recommend to speed things up?

Maude Barlow: The twin pillars of a water secure future for the world are on the one hand, conservation and protection, and on the other hand, the human right to water.

One of my criticisms of the U.N. Millennium Development Goals about water has been the disconnect between those who are working on the environmental side and those who are working on the human-rights side. I don't think there's been nearly enough attention paid to protecting source water. Seventy-five to 80% of surface water in India, China or Russia is too polluted to bathe in, drink or fish in.

The U.N. bought into the World Bank's solution, which is, bring in water companies and let them provide these huge projects, and if you're wealthy you can pay for water. They don't see it as their responsibility to provide water for the poor. I've been in communities with prepaid water meters. There's water, but they can't afford to turn the tap on, so they go to the river, where there are cholera warning signs.

WSJ: In your latest book, "Blue Covenant," you write about virtual water -- the water that is used to produce commodities like cars and computer chips -- as a big source of water consumption.

Maude Barlow: I think we're going to hear a lot more about that in the next few years. The U.S. is exporting a third of its water in the form of virtual water exports through commodities. Britain and Japan import most of their virtual water.

Europe grows its roses in Africa around Lake Naivasha in Kenya. The lake is so damaged now that these companies are looking for new lakes in Uganda. It's not just looking at our water footprint in our own country and community and household. It's where your water footprint is coming from.

WSJ: Has the financial crisis slowed the pace of global investments in water indexes?

Maude Barlow: What worries me is the opposite. It's the one area where people are still going to invest. It's not going to fluctuate the way other commodities do, because we're a species running out of clean water.

The other thing I'm worried about from the credit crisis is that cash-strapped municipalities and states may sell off water treatment plants to the private sector.

WSJ: You've criticized the Bush administration for "gutting the Clean Water Act." and have noted that funding for water research in the U.S. has been stagnant for 30 years. Do you expect to see changes under an Obama administration?

Maude Barlow: I'm sure hoping. I think this is a much more environmentally conscious president coming in, as the issues around food, water and energy are becoming more prominent. I do think that we may have an opportunity with a more open administration and a more aware public to really start to move these issues forward. But if it doesn't happen, the U.S. is going to be one big Atlanta .

WSJ: Which countries would you hold up as models in terms of sustainable water management?

Maude Barlow: None. Europe is way ahead in terms of how it cares for its water. However, Europe imports the bulk of its water footprint, so the way it protects its own water is to use and abuse other countries' water.
(c) 2008 Alexandra Alter

Conned Again
By Paul Craig Roberts

If the change President-elect Obama has promised includes a halt to America's wars of aggression and an end to the rip-off of taxpayers by powerful financial interests, what explains Obama's choice of foreign and economic policy advisors? Indeed, Obama's selection of Rahm Israel Emanuel as White House chief of staff is a signal that change ended with Obama's election. The only thing different about the new administration will be the faces.

Rahm Israel Emanuel is a supporter of Bush's invasion of Iraq. Emanuel rose to prominence in the Democratic Party as a result of his fundraising connections to AIPAC. A strong supporter of the American Israeli Public Affairs Committee, he comes from a terrorist family. His father was a member of Irgun, a Jewish terrorist organization that used violence to drive the British and Palestinians out of Palestine in order to create the Jewish state. During the 1991 Gulf War, Rahm Israel Emanuel volunteered to serve in the Israel Defense Forces. He was a member of the Freddie Mac board of directors and received $231,655 in directors fees in 2001. According to Wikipedia, "during the time Emanuel spent on the board, Freddie Mac was plagued with scandals involving campaign contributions and accounting irregularities."

In "Hail to the Chief of Staff," Alexander Cockburn describes Emanuel as "a super-Likudnik hawk," who as chairman of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006 "made great efforts to knock out antiwar Democratic candidates."

My despondent friends in the Israeli peace movement ask, "What is this man doing in Obama's administration?"

Obama's election was necessary as the only means Americans had to hold the Republicans accountable for their crimes against the Constitution and human rights, for their violations of US and international laws, for their lies and deceptions, and for their financial chicanery. As an editorial in Pravda put it, "Only Satan would have been worse than the Bush regime. Therefore it could be argued that the new administration in the USA could never be worse than the one which divorced the hearts and minds of Americans from their brothers in the international community, which appalled the rest of the world with shock and awe tactics that included concentration camps, torture, mass murder and utter disrespect for international law."

But Obama's advisers are drawn from the same gang of Washington thugs and Wall Street banksters as Bush's. Richard Holbrooke, son of Russian and German Jews, was an assistant secretary of state and ambassador in the Clinton administration. He implemented the policy to enlarge NATO and to place the military alliance on Russia's border in contravention of Reagan's promise to Gorbachev. Holbrooke is also associated with the Clinton administration's illegal bombing of Serbia, a war crime that killed civilians and Chinese diplomats. If not a neocon himself, Holbrooke is closely allied with them.

According to Wikipedia, Madeline Albright was born Marie Jana Korbelova in Prague to Jewish parents who had converted to Catholicism in order to escape persecution. She is the Clinton era secretary of state who told Leslie Stahl (60 Minutes) that the US policy of Iraq sanctions, which resulted in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of Iraqi children, had goals important enough to justify the children's deaths. Albright's infamous words: "we think the price is worth it." Wikipedia reports that this immoralist served on the board of directors of the New York Stock Exchange at the time of Dick Grasso's $187.5 million compensation scandal.

Dennis Ross has long associations with the Israeli-Palestinian "peace negotiations." A member of his Clinton era team, Aaron David Miller, wrote that during 1999-2000 the US negotiating team led by Ross acted as Israel's lawyer: "we had to run everything by Israel first." This "stripped our policy of the independence and flexibility required for serious peacemaking. If we couldn't put proposals on the table without checking with the Israelis first, and refused to push back when they said no, how effective could our mediation be?" According to Wikipedia, Ross is "chairman of a new Jerusalem-based think tank, the Jewish People Policy Planning Institute, funded and founded by the Jewish Agency."

Clearly, this is not a group of advisors that is going to halt America's wars against Israel's enemies or force the Israeli government to accept the necessary conditions for a real peace in the Middle East.

Ralph Nader predicted as much. In his "Open Letter to Barack Obama" (November 3, 2008), Nader pointed out to Obama that his "transformation from an articulate defender of Palestinian rights . . . to a dittoman for the hard-line AIPAC lobby" puts Obama at odds with "a majority of Jewish-Americans" and "64% of Israelis." Nader quotes the Israeli writer and peace advocate Uri Avnery's description of Obama's appearance before AIPAC as an appearance that "broke all records for obsequiousness and fawning." Nader damns Obama for his "utter lack of political courage [for] surrendering to demands of the hard-liners to prohibit former president Jimmy Carter from speaking at the Democratic National Convention." Carter, who achieved the only meaningful peace agreement between Israel and the Arabs, has been demonized by the powerful AIPAC lobby for criticizing Israel's policy of apartheid toward the Palestinians whose territory Israel forcibly occupies.

Obama's economic team is just as bad. Its star is Robert Rubin, the bankster who was secretary of the treasury in the Clinton administration. Rubin has responsibility for the repeal of the Glass-Steagall Act and, thereby, responsibility for the current financial crisis. In his letter to Obama, Nader points out that Obama received unprecedented campaign contributions from corporate and Wall Street interests. "Never before has a Democratic nominee for President achieved this supremacy over his Republican counterpart."

Obama's victory speech was magnificent. The TV cameras scanning faces in the audience showed the hope and belief that propelled Obama into the presidency. But Obama cannot bring change to Washington. There is no one in the Washington crowd that he can appoint who is capable of bringing change. If Obama were to reach outside the usual crowd, anyone suspected of being a bringer of change could not get confirmed by the Senate. Powerful interest groups--AIPAC, the military-security complex, Wall Street--use their political influence to block unacceptable appointments.

As Alexander Cockburn put it in his column, "Obama, the first-rate Republican," "never has the dead hand of the past had a 'reform' candidate so firmly by the windpipe." Obama confirmed Cockburn's verdict in his first press conference as president-elect. Disregarding the unanimous US National Intelligence Estimate, which concluded that Iran stopped working on nuclear weapons five years ago, and ignoring the continued certification by the International Atomic Energy Agency that none of the nuclear material for Iran's civilian nuclear reactor has been diverted to weapons use, Obama sallied forth with the Israel Lobby's propaganda and accused Iran of "development of a nuclear weapon" and vowing "to prevent that from happening."

The change that is coming to America has nothing to do with Obama. Change is coming from the financial crisis brought on by Wall Street greed and irresponsibility, from the eroding role of the US dollar as reserve currency, from countless mortgage foreclosures, from the offshoring of millions of America's best jobs, from a deepening recession, from pillars of American manufacturing--Ford and GM--begging the government for taxpayers' money to stay alive, and from budget and trade deficits that are too large to be closed by normal means.

Traditionally, the government relies on monetary and fiscal policy to lift the economy out of recession. But easy money is not working. Interest rates are already low and monetary growth is already high, yet unemployment is rising. The budget deficit is already huge--a world record--and the red ink is not stimulating the economy. Can even lower interest rates and even higher budget deficits help an economy that has moved offshore, leaving behind jobless consumers overburdened with debt?

How much more can the government borrow? America's foreign creditors are asking this question. An official organ of the Chinese ruling party recently called for Asian and European countries to "banish the US dollar from their direct trade relations, relying only on their own currencies."

"Why," asks another Chinese publication, "should China help the US to issue debt without end in the belief that the national credit of the US can expand without limit?"

The world has tired of American hegemony and had its fill of American arrogance. America's reputation is in tatters: the financial debacle, endless red ink, Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, rendition, torture, illegal wars based on lies and deception, disrespect for the sovereignty of other countries, war crimes, disregard for international law and the Geneva Conventions, the assault on habeas corpus and the separation of powers, a domestic police state, constant interference in the internal affairs of other countries, boundless hypocrisy.

The change that is coming is the end of American empire. The hegemon has run out of money and influence. Obama as "America's First Black President" will lift hopes and, thus, allow the act to be carried on a little longer. But the New American Century is already over.
(c) 2008 Paul Craig Roberts was Assistant Secretary of the Treasury and is coauthor of "The Tyranny of Good Intentions," co-authored with Lawrence Stratton, a documented account of how Americans lost the protection of law, was published by Random House in March, 2008.

The Beat Goes On
More Atrocity as Afghanistan Braces for Obama Surge
By Chris Floyd

While America continues its giddy, self-congratulatory celebration of "change," Afghans find themselves mired in the tragically familiar: yet another round of mourning for yet another massacre of innocent civilians in yet another blind, bludgeoning air strike by American forces.

This time almost 40 people, including 10 women and 23 children, were ripped to shreds of bone and viscera when an American missile struck a wedding party in the remote village of Wech Bakhtu, according to Washington's own hand-picked native satrap, President Hamid Karzai. As the Guardian and National Post report:

The bombing on Monday of Wech Baghtu in the southern province of Kandahar destroyed an Afghan housing complex where women and children had gathered to celebrate. Body parts littered the wreckage and farm animals lay dead.

Abdul Jalil, a 37-year-old grape farmer whose niece was getting married, said at the scene of the bombing that US troops and Taliban fighters had been fighting about half a mile from his home.

A short while later fighter planes bombed the complex, killing 23 children, 10 women and four men, he claimed.

"In the bombing, mostly women and children were killed," said villager Hyat Ullah. "Some lost their head. Some lost their hand. They were in very bad condition."

Such mass slaughters of civilians are now a regular occurrence in the occupied land. At last 18 people -- three women and 15 children -- were killed by an allied air strike in Helmand in mid-October. Some 90 civilians, mostly women and children, were killed in a night raid on the village of Azizabad in September -- an atrocity that the Pentagon at first tried, My Lai-like, to cover up completely, but was eventually forced to partially acknowledge, admitting "only" 33 civilian deaths in a report that contradicted the eyewitness evidence gathered by the Afghan government, NGOs and UN investigators who detailed the much larger true death toll. In July, Americans bombed yet another wedding party in Nangahar, killing 47 civilians -- including the bride, as the NY Times notes.

In deploring the new slaughter at Wech Bakhtu, Karzai pleaded with the incoming U.S. president, Barack Obama, to "end civilian casualties in Afghanistan" after he takes over the American war machine in January. But there is little chance of that happening. Obama has pledged to send even more U.S. troops to Afghanistan.

Obama took a great deal of heat during the campaign for brief remarks last year that actually acknowledged the carnage being wrought by U.S. strikes:

"We've got to get the job done there and that requires us to have enough troops so that we're not just air-raiding villages and killing civilians, which is causing enormous pressure over there."

His opponents, including that great "progressive," Hillary Clinton, somehow turned this into an indication of Obama's "weakness" on "defense" -- although it was in fact a forthright commitment to more war. But far more noteworthy than Obama's acknowledgment of the obvious, however, was his idea that increasing the number of American troops in Afghanistan will somehow reduce the number of bombing runs and missile strikes that are taking such a horrific toll on civilians. Because of course the opposite is true. More U.S. troops on the ground will mean more "close air support" to back them up, and bail them out, when they are under fire.

This is precisely what happened Monday at Wech Bakhtu, as the NY Times reports:

Zalmay Ayoby, a spokesman for the governor of Kandahar, said the strike on Monday took place when Taliban and American-led forces were engaged in a firefight near the village of Wech Bakhtu. He said that an air strike was called in after the Taliban opened fire on a coalition unit, and that a missile struck a compound where a wedding party was being held.

Most of the civilian slaughters by American and allied air power have occurred while in support of ground forces. It is inevitable that more ground troops will draw more fire, necessitating more air support. This in turn guarantees an increase in civilian casualties; for despite the modern myths about "precision bombing" and "smart weapons," bombs and missiles are indiscriminate killers, targeting is an inexact science -- and the lives of an occupied people are always cheap.

This is not hard to figure out. And Obama, who is, as we are constantly told -- correctly, I think -- one of the most intelligent men ever elected president, must know it. He must know that putting more troops into Afghanistan will mean "more air-raiding [of] villages and killing civilians." Perhaps he is counting on the bipartisan backing of this "good war" in the American political and media establishments (including most of the "progressosphere") to circumvent the "enormous pressures" that will inevitably be caused by his planned "surge."

Meanwhile, innocent Afghans will continue to die at the hands of their "liberators" -- even as these "liberators" blame the survivors for the attacks on their families. As the Guardian notes:

Jalil said US forces came into his village after the bombing run. "The Americans came and told us 'you are sheltering the Taliban', and I told the Americans 'come inside and see for yourself, you are killing women and children'," Jalil said.

And the National Post reports:

This latest reported attack, after a series of incidents which have killed innocent Afghans, drew anger from villagers.

"Now you can see how the Americans are coming and bombing women, children, everyone ... all innocent people," said Mohamed Asim. "I want to ask the Americans, did you come to stabilize and bring peace to our country, or have you come to destabilize and destroy our country?"

Come January, how will Barack Obama answer that question? We can only look to his own words on the campaign trail. As we noted here last month:

The Democratic candidate's stated polices on the conflict dovetail exactly with those of Rove, Bush and McCain: Thousands of more troops. More military hardware. More drone missile strikes, not only in Afghanistan but in Pakistan as well. Obama has also pledged to pressure the Europeans to send more troops and hardware of their own to Afghanistan, with "fewer restrictions" on their combat operations.

In other words, he will answer it with steel, fire and blood.
(c) 2008 Chris Floyd

The Anti-Incumbency Movement Is Dead
By Joel S. Hirschhorn

Voting out congressional incumbents failed this year, showing the anti-incumbency movement to be a clear letdown. For some years many groups and their websites have been advocating voting out congressional incumbents as an effective means to reform government and make it work better. Two of the better ones are Vote Out Incumbents Democracy and Tenure Corrupts.

Congress' average seat retention rate since 1855 is 95.4 percent. There was a 3.6 percent decrease in seat retention in Congress from 99.2 percent in 2004 to 95.6 percent in 2006. But this modest improvement was aimed mostly at Republican incumbents, when what is really needed is a bipartisan approach.

Considering the totally awful public approval of Congress you would think that 2008 would be an historic year for voting out congressional incumbents, especially because it is so easy to blame both Democrats and Republicans for the nation's woes. Moreover, public interest in politics and this year's general election were higher than in a long time. And the Internet is awash with passionate statements against incumbents of both parties. So, how have Americans just behaved? How did congressional incumbents do this year?

This year the retention rate was typical at 95.6 percent overall (and unlikely to change significantly when some unsettled races get resolved). Likewise, though most incumbent Republicans were reelected, out of just 20 incumbent seats lost, only one was for a Democrat. Need proof of just how little political competition there is? Consider uncontested House seats that incumbents did not even have to defend, including 32 Democrats and 12 Republicans that did not face a two-party challenger.

As usual, no third-party congressional candidate was elected, with just a few able to hit around 20 percent, mostly when there was only a Democrat to run against, while in the vast majority of cases they stayed in low single digits. In the presidential vote category it looks like just 1.6 million people voted for third-party candidates, compared to 1.2 million in 2004 - not much of an improvement.

In other words, we have once again witnessed the pendulum-effect, where voters may feel strong anti-incumbency sentiments but in only a few cases express them as voting in candidates of the "other" party. So power shifts, but the corrupt status quo two-party system remains.

While I have agreed with the motivations of those leading the anti-incumbency movement I have concluded that there is something so rotten about our political system that there will never be a sufficiently large anti-incumbency vote to have any real impact. This year proves my point.

In the larger picture, the anti-incumbency movement merely serves as a distraction from more sensible approaches for reforming and revitalizing American democracy. It is just another of a seemingly endless array of ineffective and marginalized political reform movements. Until American patriots and dissidents unite behind something a lot more powerful the two-party plutocracy will remain in power.

The core problem is that the public has been thoroughly brainwashed to believe in the two-party system. One major consequence is that they refuse to vote for third-party candidates, so that even when they see what is tragic about our politicians they think the solution as voting for a challenger from the "other" major party. This happens despite the high fraction of voters registered as independents.

The anti-incumbency movement could only be successful if it was truly bipartisan so that voters rejected not only ALL incumbent Democrats and Republicans, but also refused to elect new members to Congress from BOTH major parties. Merely shifting control of Congress from one of the major parties to the other has never worked effectively. Why? Simple, both major parties have been corrupted by the same corporate and other special interests that pervert public policies to serve them rather than the general public.

The problem is that we still do not effective political competition in a nation that prides itself about competition. The two-party duopoly and plutocracy has worked hard to block true political competition. When it comes to congressional elections, gerrymandering has been used as a potent weapon. Gerrymandering of districts by both major parties when they have the power to accomplish it has not only protected incumbents, it has also made it nearly impossible for third party congressional candidates that are on a huge number of ballots to be successful.

Nelson Lee Walker of Tenure Corrupts recently made these sage observations: "I'm coming around to the idea that the bulk of the American people are basically stupid, stupid, stupid! Why? How else can we explain how Congress, which has a 9% approval rating, gets reelected about 95% of the time? Do we ever "throw the bums out"? Listen to these stats: Senate: As of 2008, of 100 Senators, 39 (39%) reelected for 18 yrs or more, 4 over 40 years! House: As of 2008, of 435 members, 143 (33%) reelected for 14 yrs or more, 5 over 36 years! And the longer these guys are in office, the more of them will run unopposed in future elections, since nobody will bother to challenge them. Unopposed races have doubled in the last 20 years, from 40 to 80 seats. And who is responsible for this sad state of affairs? YOU!!! Not your dumb neighbor. Not the media. Not the crooked political system. Just YOU, the typical stupid American! The guy who complains how those crooked politicians are ripping off the country and sending us all down the tubes, and then reelects them!"

In this of all years these critical views are hard to dispute. After all, could it be any clearer that the anti-incumbency movement is a failure? I urge those who have put so much time and energy into the anti-incumbency movement to call it quits and devote themselves to strategies that may be more effective. One option is to work hard to form a new national third party. Another is to support the relatively new nonpartisan attempt by Friends of the Article V Convention at www.foavc.org to compel Congress to give Americans what they have a constitutional right to have and what has been requested by the required number of states, and what the Founders believed we would need when the public lost trust and confidence in the federal government: an Article V convention that could consider proposals for constitutional amendments, a number of which could truly reform the structure of our dysfunctional political system.

For too long Congress has refused to obey the Constitution and we "dumb" Americans have let them get away with it, in large part because both Democrats and Republicans have feared (and instilled fear about) such a convention. The same people that keep getting elected to Congress! How's that for symmetrical infamy?
(c) 2008 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 Big-3 And Mr. Obama
By Mike Folkerth

Good Morning America, your week-end addition of the King of Simple News is on the air.

First things first, the news yesterday that 240,000 additional American's lost their jobs was bad. However, what was not widely reported were the additional jobs lost in August and September that were revised to show that 179,000 more jobs were sidelined than originally estimated.

I have written many times that U.S. birth rates combined with legal immigration, requires the addition of some 150,000+ jobs per month just to remain even! The official report is that more than 10 MILLION people are now unemployed. That 10 million figure is very, very conservative.

The Big-3 aren't too big to fail, they already failed. The question is, are they too big to bail out? The short answer is yes. They need to file bankruptcy. That's what companies do when their business plan was written in Fantasyland and their income is now less than their outgo.

This is America, you have the right to succeed and you have the right to fail and no one should stand in the way of either. To bail out the Big-3 would reward some of the worst business decisions ever made by any company on earth.

The workers would continue to require a $75 per hour loaded rate and the executives would continue to reap fortunes while living a life of implausible privilege, all financed by your tax dollars.

Bankruptcy would allow these behemoths to be restructured in concert with the reality of our current times. Fewer models, better economy, and affordability would be a good place to start.

In my neck of the woods, as with many areas of our country, building has slowed to a snails pace. One of my tenants is a roof truss plant that operated in two locations. They are currently pulling all of the machinery out of my building and retreating to one operation.

This truss plant used to operate two shifts at both locations and now operates one shift at one location and has been forced to lay off many of their workers. So why not bail them out? They didn't make bad management decisions like the Big-3; they are simply victims of the economic times. So far, Nancy Pelosi has not shown up with a bailout plan.

Why not bail my wife and I out? Perhaps government will pay the lost rent that we count on for our retirement. My wife and I planned well, we worked hard and invested in our retirement, so why should we suffer any consequences?

Who draws the line as to gets bailed out and who goes under? It certainly is not a job that our inefficient government is qualified for. After all, they have yet to declare that we are in recession!

Mr. Obama told those folks in Detroit that he would bring the jobs back if they simply made him president. That he wouldn't let the auto industry fail if it took every dime that your great, great grandchildren will ever earn to do so.

Mr. Obama is either totally out to lunch regarding why Detroit is flat on its back, or he is exceptionally good at keeping a secret.

Until such time that government comes clean and addresses the actual cause of our economic downturn, rather than treat the symptoms, the situation will only worsen.

But then, we don't have to take the governments lead do we? Simplify, there is great world out here.
(c) 2008 Mike Folkerth is not your run-of-the-mill author of economics. Nor does he write in boring lecture style. Not even close. The former real estate broker, developer, private real estate fund manager, auctioneer, Alaskan bush pilot, restaurateur, U.S. Navy veteran, heavy equipment operator, taxi cab driver, fishing guide, horse packer...(I won't go on, it's embarrassing) writes from experience and plain common sense. He is the author of "The Biggest Lie Ever Believed."

The Quotable Quote...

"The only place you and I disagree . . . is with regard to the bombing. You're so goddamned concerned about the civilians, and I (in contrast) don't give a damn. I don't care. . . I'd rather use the nuclear bomb. . . Does that bother you? I just want you to think big."
~~~ Richard Nixon to Sec. of State Kissinger ~ Watergate tapes

Change We Can Believe In?
By Anjali Kamat

It has been less than a week since Barack Hussein Obama's remarkable victory at the polls. Despite a vicious Republican campaign built on hate, ignorance, McCarthyite fear-mongering, and voter disenfranchisement efforts, the junior senator from Illinois won the election by more than 7.5 million votes. He overturned months of speculation about the "Bradley effect" and the projected disapproval of white working-class voters by winning swing states and turning even reliably red states like Indiana, Virginia, Colorado, and North Carolina blue for the first time in decades.

People across the country took to the streets in droves to celebrate President-elect Obama's victory on November 4th. The thousands of volunteers who devoted time and energy to promote his campaign and the millions who donated, many less than $200, are ecstatic. To all those for whom America has represented generations of racial injustice-slavery, lynching, the Ku Klux Klan, Jim Crow, Emmett Till, Amadou Diallo, Sean Bell, and the Jena Six-the election of America's first Black president marks the beginning of a new era. It's a moment of enormous possibility and the realization of a long-awaited dream that seemed unimaginable just a few years ago. And everyone fed up with the past eight years of the Bush-Cheney nightmare (and two elections stolen from under the noses of Gore and Kerry) is overjoyed at the long-overdue prospect of change.

But is this really "change we can believe in?" That depends on whether we're willing to settle for another version of the Clinton years or demand something more. Obama won the election primarily on economic issues but unless his millions-strong grassroots constituency holds his feet to the fire, the banks and the corporations will be the only remaining believers in this brand of change. Obama's support of the Treasury's bailout plan, his failure to call for a complete moratorium on foreclosures until just last month, and the fact that Clinton-era champions of deregulation (like Lawrence Summers and Robert Rubin) are among those getting the President-elect's ear on economic issues are not encouraging signs. Nor are Vice-President elect Joe Biden's close ties to the credit card industry.

Obama secured the support many progressives because he was the only Democratic Presidential candidate (besides Dennis Kucinich) who did not vote for the war in Iraq. But his ideas on how to end this trillion-dollar war remain ambiguous at best and his stated commitment to pursuing the "war on terror" in Afghanistan and extending it into Pakistan should be alarming to many. He has repeatedly called for increasing US troops inside Afghanistan and said he supports unilateral attacks on "Al Qaeda targets" inside Pakistan-with or without Pakistan's permission. On Iran, to his credit, he has said he would talk to the leadership but has also argued for increased pressure and tightened sanctions to halt Iran's nuclear program, "before Israel feels like its back is to the wall."

Israel may well be the Achilles heel of Obama's progressive pretensions. It's particularly disheartening given the respect he once held for reputed Palestinian intellectuals like Edward Said and Rashid Khalidi. A day after winning the Democratic nomination, Obama told AIPAC that Jerusalem should be Israel's undivided capital. Now, just two days after being elected President, he named the hawkish pro-Israeli Rahm Emmanuel as his chief of staff, crushing any hopes that the coming administration might have a fairer policy on the Palestinian question. In another questionable appointment, Obama just named Sonal Shah to his transition team. A co-founder of Indicorps, Shah was also, until 2001, the National Coordinator of the deeply sectarian Vishwa Hindu Parishad of America, tied to the Sangh Parivar in India.

On domestic issues of criminal justice and civil liberties, the Obama-Biden record is not very inspiring either. They both support the death penalty and Joe Biden is infamous for sponsoring some of the most punitive legislation in the war on drugs. Biden voted for the PATRIOT Act and Obama voted to reauthorize it. Equally shameful is the fact that Obama voted this July to cover up the Bush administration's illegal surveillance program. He supported Bush's expansion of warrantless wiretapping as well as retroactive immunity for telecom companies involved in the eavesdropping.

For eight years, people in the U.S. have endured an administration that has blatantly undermined the Constitution, rejected multilateralism and international law, launched illegal and inhumane wars, refused to believe in global warming, and engaged in unmatched lying, scheming, and corporate thieving. An Obama presidency will indeed be an improvement in many respects. But unless the inspired millions who brought him to power continue to believe their demands matter and insist on holding him accountable each step of the way, it will be Obama's corporate and hawkish friends who determine the domestic and foreign policies of the coming administration and our collective future.

"We will not be silent" became a popular slogan during the Bush years, signaling opposition to everything the Bush administration stood for. It is perhaps tempting to remain silent now, during this immediate after-glow of Obama's victory, to allow ourselves a moment of relief. While on the campaign trail Obama often quoted Dr. Martin Luther King to explain why he was running for President: because, he said, of the "fierce urgency of now," because "there is such a thing as being too late." Those words are from MLK's 1967 "Beyond Vietnam" speech, where Dr. King, unlike Obama, called for an unequivocal end to all American war-making and solidarity with people's struggles against injustice around the world. If we're serious about realizing the kind of change we actually do believe in, then it's worthwhile to remember the letter and spirit of MLK's words and speak up before its too late.
(c) 2008 Anjali Kamat is a producer at Democracy Now!

Bush's False Flag Finale?
A Vigilant Shield Alert Update
Maj. William B. Fox and Capt. Eric H. May

"The individual is handicapped by coming face-to-face with a conspiracy so monstrous he cannot believe it exists." ~~~ J. Edgar Hoover

In our 15 Oct "Vigilant Shield and Jokers Gone Wild!" article we issued a "Red Alert" for the 12-18 November Vigilant Shield exercise period, and a "High Alert" for the remainder of the Bush presidency until 20 Jan. We explained why false flag events tend to coincide with major exercises, and what major federal entities will be involved with this event.

California Quakin'

California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger chumming it up with George W. Bush

Golden Guardian 2008, integrated with the Vigilant Shield group of exercises, will be the largest emergency exercise in the history of the state of California, and the largest earthquake drill in U.S. history. Taking place from 13-18 Nov, it will involve an estimated 5 million Californians, or roughly a seventh of the entire state population. The scenario focuses on a 7.8 magnitude earthquake in the southern San Andreas fault, with the major impact on Los Angeles. _From the perspective of anticipating a potential false flag event, we are concerned about the following possible "indicators."

a) The play of the exercise includes "surprise injects" that can include a terrorist weapon of mass destruction (WMD) event. In fact, in certain years since Golden Guardian exercises began in 2004, the annual exercise has featured a man-made disaster. False flag operators can easily insert a real man-made disaster into any natural disaster scenario while still controlling the military and national media response.

b) California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger will spend a full day on 13 Nov in a command center actively "war gaming" this scenario. This could potentially replay the suspicious activity associated with "Cheney in the bunker" or Rudolf Giuliani in his WTC command post on 9/11.

c) A USNORTHCOM Situational Assessment Team (NSAT) of about 20 members will be sent to California from Ft. Monroe, VA. Their mission is to assess nuclear, biological, and chemical-related disasters. Ft. Monroe conducted a nuclear terrorist exercise in 28 July 2005 when an explosion rocked the British Petroleum refinery in Texas City, Texas on the same day. Captain Eric May reported a sham nuke atmospheric event probably involving HAARP.

d) Several countries will send observation teams to California, to include the Ukraine, Turkmenistan, Canada, Mexico, and Israel. In addition, Homeland Security Czar Michael Chertoff, the American-Israeli dual loyalist who released the "dancing Israelis" and "art students" back to Israel following 9-11, has been invited to attend this exercise. Anything involving Israelis, who could be working undercover for the Mossad, is suspicious.

e) Local police, firemen, and medical personnel will be heavily involved. In prior alerts we have discussed the trend towards the increasing federal control and militarization of local first responders in possible preparation for martial law, particularly in light of NSPD-51, the Bush Administration dictatorship directive still kept secret even from the U.S. Congress. In fact, in July 2007 the White House stonewalled questions by Oregon Rep Peter DeFazio when asked about NSPD-51, prompting DeFazio to say "Maybe the people who think there's a conspiracy out there are right."

Collective Conspiracy?

The Obama-Zionist connection: The more things change, the more they stay the same?

Outrageous conspiracies, just like the proverbial "Big Lie" technique, often stand a greater chance of success for their perpetrators than ordinary terrorist events. Sometimes when evil gets large enough, ordinary people can no longer comprehend it. In his works The Judas Goats and Final Judgment, Michael Collins Piper provides convincing evidence that the Oklahoma City bombing as well as a number of prior terror events and assassinations in America were in fact inside jobs perpetrated by a Mossad-CIA team that tried to use Arab terrorists, the American militia movement, and other "usual suspects" as patsies.

Mr. Piper's more recent writings, along with articles published in his flagship paper The American Free Press, provide convincing evidence that 9-11 was also a Mossad-CIA inside job. Articles making a similar case have also been published by The Lone Star Iconoclast. _The election of Barack Hussein Obama II would appear to present no obstacle to any planned false flag attack. He has just selected Zionist Rahm Emanuel as his White House Chief of Staff. This is most alarming foreshadowing, because this U.S.-Israeli dual loyalist served as a volunteer in the Israeli Army during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and his father was a member of the Irgun, a Jewish terrorist organization that blew up hotels and massacred Palestinian villagers.

Former Naval Intelligence Officer Wayne Madsen reported on 6 Nov that "Questions about Emanuel's links to the Israeli intelligence service, the Mossad, were allegedly so great that President Bill Clinton was forced to dismiss Emanuel from the White House staff in 1998...[the Wayne Madsen Report] has learned from U.S. intelligence sources that Emanuel was discovered to be part of a political intelligence and blackmail operation directed against Clinton by Israel's Likud Party and Binyamin Netanyahu to sink Clinton's proposed Middle East peace deal." With another false flag attack, likely again aided by Israel and its U.S. sympathizers, the Bush cabal would finally get what it has always wanted: a second 9-11. This would allow it to attack Iran, install martial law in America, and clamp down on its "domestic enemies"such as anti-Zionists and the 9/11 Truth Movement. This would also prevent war crime trials while reenergizing the global war abroad and the police state at home.

"Let us never tolerate outrageous conspiracy theories concerning the attacks of September 11th"
~~~ George W. Bush, speech to UN 10 Nov 2001 ~~~

(c) 2008Captain Eric H. May is a former Army military intelligence and public affairs officer, as well as a former NBC editorial writer. His essays have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, The Houston Chronicle and Military Intelligence Magazine. For his most recent articles and upcoming interviews, refer to his home site at: http://www.spiritone.com/~ghosttroop/Captain_Eric_H_May.html and his America First Books author archive site at: http://tinyurl.com/5f93lb. William B. Fox is a former Marine Corps Major with experience in logistics, public affairs, and military intelligence. He is an honors graduate of the Harvard Business School and the University of Southern California, and publisher of www.americafirstbooks.com and www.mikepiperreport.com.

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Bush,

Dear Propaganda Ansanger Scarborough,

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

Without your lock-step calling for the repeal of the Constitution, your support of our two coup d'etats, your cursing like a drunken sailor on the air about Obama, Iraq and these many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Republican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross 1st class with diamond clusters presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Bush at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally "The White House," on 11-29-2008. We salute you Herr Scarborough, Sieg Heil!

Vice Fuhrer Cheney

Heil Bush

Joe Scarborough: Hoisted On His Own Sanctimonious Petard
By Glenn Greenwald

On his live MSNBC show this morning, Joe Scaroborough used the phrase "fuck you" when discussing Obama's appointment of Rahm Emanuel:

I personally couldn't care about that in the slightest. But Joe Scarborough, in the past, not only claimed to care about such things, but has been one of the most zealous crusaders against such awful filth on television.

Scarborough led the lynch mob over the 2004 Janet Jackson halftime show on CBS -- demanding that the FCC impose massive fines against CBS and MTV -- and has repeatedly railed against "rock stars" who use, as he used to call it, "the F word." Indeed, Scarborough repeatedly expressed outrage over the fact that the Government would even consider refraining from imposing massive fines on NBC when Bono, on a live awards show, used the "F word."

Here is Scarborough, from his February 2, 2004 show, lambasting the FCC for allowing indecency over the airwaves and demanding that Michael Powell slam CBS with massive fines or be fired:

But, first, the FCC is asleep at the wheel. And it is your family who's being hurt. . . .

Last night, as my boys and their friends sat around the TV set watching the Super Bowl, I spent the first half fielding questions about the 20 commercials for erectile dysfunction and the second half answering questions about Janet Jackson's striptease act.

But if Michael Powell and the FCC had been doing their jobs policing the airwaves over the past few years, the Jackson sideshow would have never occurred, because CBS, MTV, Viacom, and Janet Jackson would have gotten the message that polluting our airwaves comes with a price.

And they also would have easily lost lots of money. And it would have offset whatever free publicity these pathetic losers got because of Jackson's crass P.R. stunt. Just like the Reagan miniseries before it, the Janet Super Bowl proves once again that CBS just does not get it. And unless Michael Powell starts getting it soon by making CBS pay big time for their stunt, President Bush should fire the feckless FCC chairman immediately. . . .

But I have got to say, that's the problem, not just being exposed to Janet Jackson, but being exposed to the F-bomb several times from rock stars at award shows, from actresses at award shows. Unbelievable.

We are going to keep talking about this.

Two days later, Scarborough collected hordes of outraged emails from his angry viewers over Janet Jackson and flew them to Washington DC to deliver them to Trent Lott and other right-wing officials, demanding government punishment against CBS, Viacom, MTV, and even the NFL:

This year's Super Bowl halftime showed to the entire world that MTV is a cultural virus that infects our children daily. . . .

What is Capitol Hill doing to protect your family from stunts like Janet Jackson's? Well, I went to Washington to find out for you.

Now, you've, of course, sent us thousands of e-mails about the Super Bowl halftime show. And yesterday, I flew down to Washington to deliver them to the people who are going to get something done about it. Senator Trent Lott is one of them. And, of course, he's the chairman of the powerful Rules Committee. . . .

He was absolutely blown away by your response on this issue. And it sent him a strong message that you are angry. And he says something is going to happen. Of course, we've got the FCC hearing next week. . .

And we also met up with Congressman Tom Osborne, who is pushing for bigger fines for networks that broadcast indecency.

On October 27, 2003, Scarborough expressed extreme anger that the FCC refused to impose fines on NBC when Bono used "the 'F' word" during a live broadcast of the Golden Globe Awards:

The show was live, and unlike SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the "F" word was not bleeped out. Earlier this month, the FCC ruled that Bono's acceptance speech and his use of the word that began with an "F" was not a violation of indecency rules. . . ..

Robert, it was at 8:00. Kids were watching this. You've studied television and pop culture. What does it say about our FCC that we've come this far or you could say gone this far backward that somebody could say the "F" word on TV and get the federal government's approval?

Robert, I'm glad to hear that you don't use the words and you didn't use them growing up. All I'll say is, my mom put soap in my mouth more than once or twice.

On October 10, 2006, Scarborough hosted a whole segment mocking and attacking Barbra Streisand for using the same word during a concert when speaking about President Bush:

Also, Barbra Streisand gets into a four-letter fight with one of her fans. Her Bush-bashing schtick led to an angry F bomb. . . .And coming up: Barbra Streisand drops the F bomb on a fan who fights back after her Bush-bashing routine. We`ve got the star-studded reaction to the obscene outburst. . . .

Scarborough was elected to Congress in 1994, with the Gingrich-led Republican class that made family values one of its principal crusades. Using Scarborough's outraged crusades from the past, one would have to conclude that it insufficient that he merely apologize for what he said, and MSNBC must be severely fined for what Scarborough said -- heard during the morning when many of America's children could be watching. After all -- as he so eloquently put it -- "what does it say about our FCC that we've come this far or you could say gone this far backward that somebody could say the "F" word on TV and get the federal government's approval?"
(c) 2008 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy", examines the Bush legacy.

Andrew (Barney) Gumbel the Benny Hill of English Jounalism!

Gore Vidal Blasts Racism Claim
By Gore Vidal

I read with astonishment a piece by Andrew Gumbel, "Whose America Now? Not Gore Vidal's," which appeared in The Huffington Post recently. Mr. Gumbel, I am told, is a British journalist who, like so many before him, has immersed himself in our native tabloid culture, having been well-seasoned in the British variety. Not since Jonathan Swift have we heard such a voice out of those foggy islands.

Some time ago, Vanity Fair asked me to see an interviewer, as they were planning a Spanish edition and wanted an interview with me for some purpose. Imagine how shocked I was at the Republican-style lies that he spread about me for reasons hardly clear. I look forward to when I am in court with him, at which point I shall learn more about who and what were behind this weirdly venomous and libelous piece.

Usually when a hack journalist decides to invent an all-out attack on someone, attempts are made to sound like the one being libeled, but he apparently could not go to this trouble. Instead, he writes, I gave him "a look of pure contempt" when I allegedly said slaves have a hard time making poetry (this might have been a warning for him not to try poetry). I am told that multiple innocent readers of The Huffington Post sent in for copies, apparently in good faith that what was supposedly my part of the dialogue was indeed true.

Next he pretends that I am attacking Barack Obama, whom I have been supporting for some months now-in print, on radio and on television-and as I write he is the president-elect. Gumbel seems to know nothing about my political writing, as he babbles on: "Vidal, like many of his generation and social standing, clearly cannot fathom how the son of a single mother from Kansas and a Kenyan father could presume to occupy the Oval Office. And while he expressed his distaste with an extraordinary degree of frankness, not to mention racial venom, he is far from the only one."

Gumbel, in his confusion and malice, now lumps together as proto-racist Hillary Clinton, among others, with me. This is very fanciful. Then he goes in for some deep thoughts, in which the most superficial of Brits always like to indulge when they are flunking a grade. He also mentions as part of a "backlash" Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, who "are far from the first political figures to suggest that 'their America'-parts of the country that subscribe to their ideology and conform to their idea of how society should function-is the real America."

He then writes a rapid series of lies about me. "Vidal's reactionary bile is part of a clear historical [sic] pattern that has, at different times, condoned the slavery he alludes to; espoused open prejudice against immigrants, Jews, Catholics and the industrial working class; and embraces the notion that democracy is somehow too precious to be entrusted to more than a fraction of the people governed."

All of this is pure nonsense. I trust that when Mr. Gumbel is in court, he will explain to us where he found anywhere in my work a condoning of slavery or any other kind of "open prejudice" he counts among his primitive inventions about me. (Mr. Gumbel's gifts for fiction are less than he presumes.)

One of The Huffington Post's kindly readers writes in how he would like to think my "unfortunate quote was actually [my] japing on what a hypothetical blueblood might think, and not his own opinion." This is generous. But since this fairly lengthy libel is all untrue, I cannot take credit for being the P.G. Wodehouse de nos jours.
(c) 2008 Gore Vidal

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Rick McKee ~~~

Jesus And Her Gospel Of Yes Trailer

To End On A Happy Note...

Inside Job
By Don Henley

While you were sleeping
They came and took it all away
The lanes and the meadows
The places where you used to play

It was an inside job
By the well-connected
Your little protest
Summarily rejected

It was an inside job
Like it always is
Chalk it up to business as usual

While we are dreaming
This little island disappears
While you are looking the other way
They'll take your right to own your own ideas

And it's an inside job
Favors collected
Your trusted servants
Have left you unprotected

It was an inside job
Like it always is
Just chalk it up
To business as usual

You think that you're so smart
But you don't have a fucking clue
What those men up in the towers
Are doing to me and you

And they'll keep doin' it and doin' it
And doin' it and doin' it
And doin' it and doin' it
And doin' it and doin' it
Until we all wake up
Wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up

I know what I've done wrong
I am acquainted with the night
I know how hard it is
To always walk out in the light

And it's an inside job
To learn about forgiving
It's an inside job
To hang on to the joy of living

They know the road by which you came
They know your mothers maiden name
And what you had for breakfast
And what you've hidden in the mattress

Insect politics
Indifferent universe
Bang your head against the wall
But apathy is worse

It's an inside job
It's an inside job
It's an inside job
Yeah, yeah

It's an inside job
It's an inside job
It's an inside job
It's an inside job

It's an inside job
It's an inside job
(c) 2001/2008 Don Henley/Mike Campbell

Have You Seen This...

Obama Win Causes Obsessive Supporters To Realize How Empty Their Lives Are

Parting Shots...

Palin Hoping To Be Named Ambassador To Africa
'A Darned Important Country,' Says Guv
By Andy Borowitz

Sarah Palin of Alaska has reached out to President-elect Obama's transition team to indicate her interest in being named "ambassador to the nation of Africa," the governor confirmed today.

Gov. Palin said that although she had planned to continue in her position in Juneau, she was willing to leave the governorship "because Africa is just such a darned important country."

"I have always been very, very interested in the nation of Africa, partly because of it being located where it is," she said. "If you are standing in Africa and you look real close, you can see South Africa."

She added that she had received phone calls encouraging her to vie for the post, including one from French president Nicholas Sarkozy.

In other news from the Palin family, Bristol Palin's fiancé Levi Johnston said he was "totally stoked" about Tuesday night's election returns, calling the results "definitely a game-changer for me."

"The election of Barack Obama means different things to different people," he said. "To me, it means freedom, dude!"
(c) 2008 Andy Borowitz


The Gross National Debt

Zeitgeist The Movie...

Issues & Alibis Vol 8 # 44 (c) 11/14/2008

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