Please visit our sponsor!

Bookmark and Share
In This Edition

Randall Amster returns with, "The Beloved Community."

Uri Avnery demands, "Once And For All!"

Glen Ford spotlights, "A Second Wave Of Genocide Looms In Congo, With Susan Rice On Point."

Robert Reich asks, "Will Tim Geithner Lead Us Over Or Around The Fiscal Cliff?"

Jim Hightower discovers, "Election Weirdness."

Robert Kuttner finds, "Simpler Is Better."

James Donahue reports, "Stanford Professor: People Are Losing Intelligence."

John Nichols says, "A Mandate To Raise Taxes On The Rich? Election Numbers Say 'Yes.'"

Chris Floyd explores the, "Gag Rule On Gaza."

Glenn Greenwald with a must read, "Obama: A GOP President Should Have Rules Limiting The Kill List."

Paul Krugman is, "Fighting Fiscal Phantoms."

David Swanson hears, "Howard Zinn's Echoes."

Chris Hedges warns, "Stand Still For The Apocalypse."

Northside Independent School District Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods wins the coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Bill McKibben demands we, "Leave The Carbon In The Ground."

Amy Goodman concludes, "Burning All the Carbon Will Burn Us All."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz tells us, "How To Tell If You're Involved In The Petraeus Scandal" but first Uncle Ernie sez, "There's More Bad News For Bio-Tech!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of John Darkow, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Derf City, Bert van Dijk, Jackson Free Press, Twitter, A4DS.Org, Howard Zinn.Org, 350.Org, NASA, Lucasfilm, Reuters, Maricopa Sheriff's Department, A.P., You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

Bookmark and Share
There's More Bad News For Bio-Tech!
By Ernest Stewart

"The perception that everything is totally straightforward and safe is utterly naive. I don't think we fully understand the dimensions of what we're getting into." ~~~ Professor Philip James

"To invite for-profit prison guards to conduct law enforcement actions in a high school is perhaps the most direct expression of the 'schools-to-prison pipeline' I've ever seen," ~~~ Caroline Isaacs, American Friends Service Committee (AFSC)

Those plexi-plastic 'copters, they're your special friends
they see you every night
Well they call themselves protection
but you know it's no game
You're never out of their sight.
1984 ~~~ Spirit

"Round up the usual suspects." ~~~ Captain Renault

Is that a crack I see in the armor of GMOs and other chemical poisons that make up America's food supply? It has been a rather bad week for the corpo-rat food goons as the truth starts to filter out about their various attempts to murder us!

The first crack this week comes from a group of scientists in Europe where most countries ban GMO poisons. These scientists found that "countries that mix high-fructose corn syrup into processed foods and soft drinks have higher rates of diabetes than countries that don't use the sweetener," imagine that!

In a study published in the journal Global Health:

"Researchers compared the average availability of high-fructose corn syrup to rates of diabetes in 43 countries.

About half the countries in the study had little or no high-fructose corn syrup in their food supply. In the other 20 countries, high-fructose corn syrup in foods ranged from about a pound a year per person in Germany to about 55 pounds each year per person in the United States.

The researchers found that countries using high-fructose corn syrup had rates of diabetes that were about 20% higher than countries that didn't mix the sweetener into foods. Those differences remained even after researchers took into account data for differences in body size, population, and wealth."

Of course, Barry and the FDA, especially former Monsanto executive-turned Deputy Commissioner for Foods at the FDA Michael R. Taylor, will ignore that, unlike the folks in Russia which just banned US corn products, as most all of our corn (over 80%) is GMO! If you want to eat corn, only eat Indian corn, or certified organic corn.

In Peru, they just passed a 10 year ban on any GMO crops. Did I mention that there have been zero trials of GMO foods by the manufacturers or the US Government that went beyond 90 days. In fact, the government doesn't even bother testing, but takes the manufacturer's so-called tests at face value! The reason being if you study the effects for, say, 4 months, things begin to pop up! I wonder how many new cases of cancer and a hundred different, immune diseases will spring from this ignorance 20 years from now?

The really bad news for Big Agra came from one of the insurance giants. The largest managed healthcare provider in the United States is now publicly speaking out against GMOs. In a recent newsletter, the Kaiser Permanente company discussed the numerous dangers of GMOs and how to avoid them.

Explaining how GM0 ingredients have been linked to tumors and organ damage in rats in the only lifelong rat study available, the newsletter highlighted how the only real long-term research indicates that GMOs are a serious health danger. The newsletter, which you can view here, states:

"Despite what the biotech industry might say, there is little research on the long-term effects of GMOs on human health. Independent research has found several varieties of GMO corn caused organ damage in rats. Other studies have found that GMOs may lead to an inability in animals to reproduce."

Even a bunch of corpo-rat goons like Kaiser Permanente, home of the original death panels have broken ranks because GMOs are starting to effect their bottomline, why else? The newsletter goes on to recommend that their clients eat only organic foods, yeah no sh*t! Explaining:

Products labeled '100% organic' - These items are made with 100% organic ingredients and are the highest quality organic products you can purchase. No GMOs are allowed.

Labeled 'organic' - These products are to contain at least 95% organic ingredients, overall. Still, no GMOs are allowed.

Made with 'organic ingredients' - This is the lowest form of organic content. This label is only required to contain 70% organic ingredients, meaning that the remaining 30% can be conventional. The conventional items, however, are not allowed to contain GMOs. These products don't qualify for the USDA seal, whereas the previous two do.

There is something that you can do to identify GMO raw products. Those little labels you find on tomatoes and such have a code number on them. Four numbers mean that food is grown using regular seed in a regular way. Five numbers starting with a 9 means organic, five numbers starting with an 8 means GMO poison -- eat at your own risk. Until all food gets labeled suchlike -- which should end GMOs as a food source, unless you are blind -- you might want to consider growing your own! Not only for healthy food, provided you start with the right non-GMO seeds; but if this moving paper fantasy collapses, or if we have another endless heatwave come next growing season and the farmers can't feed themselves, it might be handy to have something to eat that doesn't come out of a can and won't poison you!

In Other News

In this New World Order, there is a definite trend to go after children -- scare them and beat them down, and turn them into good little robots, good little shoppers, good little slaves. It's easier with kids than adults who know better. Start when they're young by teaching them nothing about how to think (which is exactly what they should be taught), just enough to be able to make the masters things, and not understand that this isn't the only way -- that there is a better life, a better way, but just be happy you have a job that won't keep a lot of food on the table, if you have a table and a roof over your head, but just enough to get by on to show up to work after sleeping the night under a bridge in your Wal-mart tent!

This is going on all over the country, but mostly in the red states. Arizona is good example. You are aware, no doubt, of all the changes as of late in Arizona schools, well, at least in schools that aren't all white.

However, a new twist has been added that doesn't just affect the students, but all of us all over the country. Arizona has gotten rid of most of their state-run prisons and some jails, and replaced them with private, for-profit prisons with the Corrections Corporation of America. What could go wrong with that, I wonder? Besides running what are now turning into concentration camps, they are using the guards from these camps in schools, and pretending they're real policemen, and are doing so in violation of Arizona law. Yes, the cops and school systems are knowingly breaking the law and putting the kids in harm's way, but more importantly turning law enforcement over to private firms, who have no rights under the law to do so. Whose going to arrest the arresters?

The plan, of course, is to get rid of highly-trained and highly-paid officers and replace them with rent-a-cops with no training and who will work for a third of what the professionals want and no per diem, too. A fine sensible business solution; I wonder what could go wrong with this? In this case, using for-profit prison guards to illegally arrest students and send off to those privately-owned for profit prisons -- talk about a pipeline from schools to prisons and from profit to mega-profits!

They've cut out the middle man! What's next, corpo-rat judges and prosecutors, too? Perhaps corpo-rat defense lawyers and corpo-rat executioners? Anyone else see a problem with this, or is it just me who does? For another example of the Republicans' war against children, see the article below!

And Finally

I'm sure you've heard by now about high school student Andrea Hernandez, and the Northside Independent School District (NISD) of San Antonio, Texas. Andrea rebelled by not wearing her microchip like a good little robot; she was the first of the 4,200 students in John Jay High School and Anson Jones Middle School, but not the last, to openly rebel about having their every movement tracked by Big Brother by being forced to wear microchipped student-picture IDs -- worn like necklaces.

If they can get the kids to knuckle under, then it will then cover another 100,000 students, and soon throughout the state of Texas, and who knows, all of these United Snakes, too!

NISD started its "Student Locator Project" in August. School documents show the total upfront implementation price for just those two buildings is $552,350. NISD wants to eventually force all 100K students in the sprawling district's 112 school buildings to wear the chipped badges. Did we mention that this was supposed to go before the voters in November, but when they saw it wouldn't stand a snowball's chance in hell, they pulled it and voted to force it upon the students and their parents by imperial fiat!

So you know what I did, don't you? I wrote the schools Superintendent Dr. Brian Woods a brief note:

Hey Brian,

Boy, did you fuck up, huh? Tell me, Doctor, when did Texas become Nazi Germany? Whose bright idea was it to become Big Brother? What's next, death camps? Fascism becomes Texas; I am not surprised. Can I get a sieg heil, Doc? While I think you should be arrested and put on trial for treason for your crimes against the Bill of Rights, I do have to admit, that I admire your shiny-new Jack Boots and that corpo-rat armband is to die for, quite literally. Just one question, now that your career in education is over, what next? Perhaps running for office? Governor Woods, Senator Woods, Warden Woods?


Ernest Stewart
Managing editor
Issues & Alibis Magazine
PS Thanks for writing this week's editorial for me!

Doctor Woods wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award! If you'd like to give the good doctor your thoughts, do it here and tell him Uncle Ernie sent you!,%20Brian.

Keepin' On

I don't know? Maybe, it's just me? However, taking in the fact that I've been studying political science and history since I was twelve years old, I'm pretty sure my conclusions are correct; and it's getting ready to hit the fan, and before we're through, Nazi Germany will seem like a "Swiss Picnic" by comparison! Ergo, it might be handy to know in advance of what is coming and when, would it not? That's where we come in!

Issues & Alibis was started after "Bush the Lesser's," judicial coup d'etat of 12-12-2000. After realizing that all of the mainstream media had been bought and paid for while I had buried my head in music and making people happy by playing it, I was still reading many books on the subject, but wasn't paying attention to it -- on purpose, just as most Americans do. I dropped out of school, rather than face the facts that we're soooooo screwed; and there's nothing short of violent revolution that's going to change a thing. I put myself through school, partly by being a reporter/jack-of-all-trades for a couple of local chains of weekly newspapers. So, as a writer who got his initial chops in as a reporter and wallah, Issues & Alibis Magazine was born! Remember that even highly-educated slave owners like old Tom Jefferson and George Washington won't set their slaves free, even when they know it's a bad thing; you have to forced them to see the light. Sorry, ya'll, but we are, after all, the product of the weapon, i.e., the weapon invented us, not the other way around -- which explains why there's been a war going on everyday, somewhere on the planet for the last 8,000 years of recorded history, and, no doubt, for 3 or 400,000 years before that! Trouble is, we're to the point now, where the next war may be our last -- as old Uncle Albert once said: "I don't know what weapons will be used in world war three, but in world war four people will use sticks and stones."

So, if you'd like to help us save as many as we can, do send us what you can, whenever you can. Rumor has it that one of those glorious bastards, a member of our "The Usual Suspects" group has sent in some help. Folks, we've raised all of our goal this year, except for four hundred dollars -- pocket change to some, but what we need to keep our creditors off our back for another year, so a little help, if you please!


09-21-1931 ~ 11-23-2012
Thanks for the film!

11-02-1937 ~ 11-25-2012
Thanks for the Doo Wop!

10-15-1925 ~ 11-27-2012
Thanks for the Blues!

03-22-1940 ~ 11-28-2012
Thanks for the Visions!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!
(c) 2012 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and for the last 11 years managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Face Book. Follow me on Twitter.

The Beloved Community
Strengthening the Ties that Bind in an Era of Alienation
By Randall Amster and Windy Cooler

As we move into the winter of 2012, the days are getting shorter and the sociopolitical realities put before us seem, in some ways, to be darkening by the minute. How is it that we do not know how to live in the world, in those ways that have sustained and advanced the human experiment for eons? Today we have reactionary, regressive policies masking as "progress," replacing the reciprocal bonds of authentic community with the wafer-thin ties of social networking and, in the process, turning our alienation and dysfunction into a nouveau spectacle. During the recent Israeli assault on Gaza, for example, a reporter for the Jerusalem Post actually asked residents in fear for their children's lives if anyone could give an interview about how the shrieking sirens were affecting pets. It is so taboo to speak of what really matters with the people who matter that we have to be encouraged to do so.

Let us not be timid about this, nor idealistic about the prospects of reinvigoration: it is going to take an unprecedented effort of critical thinking and constructive action to save us from ourselves. The dominant culture possesses a mass-suicidal tendency that pits sustenance against sustainability, success against society, and wealth against wellbeing - and it must be resisted at every turn if we are to survive. And perhaps the surest path to doing so lies in restoring the overarching human tendency toward solidarity.

We want to put forward the suggestion that solidarity, taken as the "just communion" of humanity, is best served not by an emphasis on analysis and strategy, but by a prioritization of what was once the traditional work of women, work that can and should be shared by all people. This is the work of homemaking, parenting, physical and emotional care of an extended family, mentorship, unconditional acceptance, fair conflict resolution, comfort, moral guidance, empathy, education - all shared, within a community of caregivers. These are at once ephemeral values and learned skills, the development of which requires dedication, time, and both personal and community patience. Solidarity has been a traditional ideal of the Left, which is a hard-to-define political community except for its emphasis on the principle of solidarity. Can we forge a union between the political ideal of solidarity and a traditional domestic vision? This represents a planned departure from alienation in the work of activists, creating supportive relationships inside activist communities where burnout has been a powerful, destructive force both personally and politically.

We have seen examples of this in the occupy movement. What was more powerful in the camps of last fall and winter than the communal kitchens, our libraries, the childcare we created for one another? What is more powerful today than the home occupations? Let us take this a step further, or a step backward, as the case may be.

Relationships are the key to forging new communities and, ultimately, a new world. Though (as people writing for a blog) the irony does not escape us, when we replace the interpersonal with the internet, and the communal with the commercial, we tend to diminish our capacities to meet one another from a place of authentic care and mutual aid. The "mile wide" aspects of social networking allow us to broaden our notions of solidarity and community in one sense, but in another (and perhaps more powerful) manner they serve to stretch them so far as to be almost nonsensical. If you had an actual emergency - say your house was on fire - would you post something to Facebook and Twitter, or would you call on actual neighbors living in proximity? The latter is more apropos, but it assumes that we still even know our neighbors - a scenario that is less likely as we spend more time in either virtual or professional communion than in search of the proverbial "beloved community." The central question of our era seems to be whether we can locate it in time.

The issue of how to proceed to the beloved community is not merely an academic or historical one. "Community" is often invoked as a desirable end even by those antagonistic to it, and it can be a static, limiting trope when it emphasizes a narrow parochialism as against an expansive solidarity. Stripping away the fallacious constructs, we find that our raison d'etre is solidarity. The tactic is solidarity and the goal of the tactic is solidarity. It is in our nature. But what is solidarity? In brief:

* Solidarity is motivated by love

* Solidarity is restorative

* Solidarity respects what a human being is

* Solidarity is communal

* Solidarity must be political and it must be personal

As Martin Luther King, Jr. said in 1957: "Love is creative and redemptive. Love builds up and unites; hate tears down and destroys. The aftermath of the 'fight with fire' method bitterness and chaos, the aftermath of the love method is reconciliation and creation of the beloved community." In this sense, we see the beloved community as the nexus of solidarity and empathy, the union of shared interests based on a common humanity and emotional bonds based on feelings of compassion and understanding. No one suggests that these are easy to practice, nor that they are quick fixes for a society wracked by alienation and outward signs of despair - but it is incumbent upon us to try. Again, King: "Our goal is to create a beloved community and this will require a qualitative change in our souls as well as a quantitative change in our lives."

We note the feminist underpinnings of these concepts, connecting the personal and the political, as well as the penchant for loving, respectful, and restorative relationships within the working definition. In a recent interview on Democracy Now!, long-time activist and radical feminist Selma James said: "We are civilized by this work [of caretaking], we women ...we need men to be civilized by this work ...we don't want them working for capitalism.... I'm talking about our working to care for others, to be with others." Our task, then, is to reemphasize the essential role of relationships, and to reprioritize the work of being caretakers of ourselves, one another, and the world.

In the end, we recognize that the road ahead will be arduous and that the beloved community will remain a work in progress. Yet in this, it is equally apparent that the beloved community is a means to its own end, and that it is our shared capacity to be nurturers that simultaneously enables us to feel nurtured. It is the interdependence of our existence that defines us, the sense of mutual destiny and common humanity that will allow us to move from dominators to liberators. As our friend Aurora Levins Morales once said, "Our liberation is bound up with that of every other being on the planet." The beloved community is our highest expression of this ideal; reclaiming it as a living principle can strengthen our ties to each other and to the balance of life in our midst. We can choose to embrace this in celebration, or consume ourselves and the world in desperation. The time to decide is now. It has always been now...
(c) 2012 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., teaches peace studies at Prescott College and serves as the executive director of the Peace & Justice Studies Association. Amonsg his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009). Windy Cooler is a Contributing Author for New Clear Vision. A long-time organizer and former teenage-mother-welfare-queen, she writes about the emotional lives of homemakers and activists. She has two sons and lives in suburban DC. She blogs at, and can be reached at WindyCooler(at)

Once And For All!
By Uri Avnery

THE MANTRA of this round was Once And For All.

"We must put an end to this (the rockets, Hamas, the Palestinians, the Arabs?) Once and For All!" - this cry from the heart was heard dozens of times daily on TV from the harassed inhabitants of Israel's battered towns and villages in the South.

It has displaced the slogan which dominated several decades: "Bang And Finish!"

It did not quite work.

THE BIG winner emerging from the cloud is Hamas.

Until this round, Hamas had a powerful presence in the Gaza Strip, but practically no international standing. The international face of the Palestinian people was Mahmoud Abbas' Palestinian National Authority.

No more.

Operation Pillar of Cloud has given the Hamas mini-state in Gaza wide international recognition. (Pillar of Cloud is the official Hebrew name, though the army spokesman decreed that the English name, for foreign consumption, should be Pillar of Defense.) Heads of state and droves of other foreign dignitaries made their pilgrimage to the Strip.

First was the powerful and immensely rich Emir of Qatar, owner of Aljazeera. He was the first head of state ever to enter the Gaza strip. Then came the Egyptian prime minister, the Tunisian foreign minister, the secretary of the Arab League and the collected Arab foreign ministers (except the one from Ramallah.)

In all diplomatic deliberations, Gaza was treated as a de facto state, with a de facto government (Hamas). The Israeli media were no exception. It was clear to Israelis that any deal, to be effective, must be concluded with Hamas.

Within the Palestinian people, the standing of Hamas shot sky-high. The Gaza Strip alone, smaller than an average American county, has stood up to the mighty Israeli war machine, one of the largest and most efficient in the world. It has not succumbed. The military outcome will be at best a draw.

A draw between tiny Gaza and the powerful Israel means a victory for Gaza.

Who remembers now Ehud Barak's proud declaration in the middle of the war: "We shall not stop until Hamas gets on its knees and begs for a cease-fire!"

WHERE DOES that leave Mahmoud Abbas? Actually, nowhere.

For a simple Palestinian, whether in Nablus, Gaza or Beirut, the contrast is glaring. Hamas is courageous, proud, upright, while Fatah is helpless, submissive and despised. Pride and honor play a central role in Arab culture.

After more than half a century of humiliation, any Palestinian who stands up against the occupation is the hero of the Arab masses, in and outside the country. Abbas is identified only with the close cooperation of his security forces with the hated Israeli occupation army. And the most important fact: Abbas has nothing to show for it.

If Abbas could at least show a major political achievement for his pains, the situation might be different. The Palestinians are a sensible people, and if Abbas had come even one step closer to Palestinian statehood, most Palestinians would probably have said: he may not be glamorous, but he delivers the goods. But the opposite is happening. The violent Hamas is achieving results, the non-violent Abbas is not. As a Palestinian told me: "He (Abbas) has given them (the Israelis) everything, quiet and security, and what did [or "does"] he get in return? They spit in his face!"

This round will only reinforce a basic Palestinian conviction: "Israelis understand only the language of force!" (Israelis, of course, say exactly the same about the Palestinians.)

If at least the US had allowed Abbas to achieve a UN resolution recognizing Palestine as a non-member state, he might have held his own against Hamas. But the Israeli government is determined to prevent this by all available means. Barack Obama's decision, even after re-election, to block the Palestinian effort is a direct support for Hamas and a slap in the face of the "moderates". Hillary Clinton's perfunctory visit to Ramallah this week was seen in this context.

Looked at from the outside, this looks like sheer lunacy. Why undermine the "moderates" who want and are able to make peace? Why elevate the "extremists", who are opposed to peace?

The answer is openly expressed by Avigdor Lieberman, now Netanyahu's official political No. 2: he wants to destroy Abbas in order to annex the West Bank and clear the way for the settlers.

AFTER HAMAS, the big winner is Mohamed Morsi.

This is an almost incredible tale. When Morsi was elected as the president of Egypt, official Israel was in hysteria. How terrible! The Islamist extremists have taken over the most important Arab country! Our peace treaty with our largest neighbor is going down the drain!

US reactions were almost the same.

And now - less than four months later - we hang on every word Morsi utters. He is the man who has put an end to the mutual killing and destruction! He is the great peacemaker! He is the only person who can mediate between Israel and Hamas! He must guarantee the cease-fire agreement!

Can it be? Can this be the same Morsi? The same Muslim Brotherhood?

The 61 year old Morsi (the full name is Mohamed Morsi Isa al-Ayyad. Isa being the Arab form of Jesus, who is regarded in Islam as a prophet) is a complete novice on the world stage. Yet at this moment, all the world's leaders rely on him.

When I wholeheartedly welcomed the Arab Spring, I had people like him in mind. Now almost all the Israeli commentators, ex-generals and politicians, who uttered dire warnings at the time, are lauding his success in achieving a cease-fire.

THROUGHOUT THE operation I did what I always do in such situations: I switched constantly between Israeli TV and Aljazeera. Sometimes, when my thoughts wander, I am unsure for a moment which of the two I am looking at.

Women weeping, wounded being carried away, homes in shambles, children's shoes strewn around, families packing and fleeing. Here and there. Mirror images. Though, of course, Palestinian casualties were 30 times higher than the Israeli ones - partly because of the incredible success of the Iron Dome interception missiles and home shelters, while the Palestinians were practically defenseless.

On Wednesday I was invited to air my views on Israel's Channel 2, the most popular (and patriotic) Israeli outlet. The invitation was of course withdrawn at the last moment. Had I been on air, I would have posed to my compatriots one simple question:

Was It Worthwhile?

All the suffering, the killed, the injured, the destruction, the hours and days of terror, the children in trauma?

And, I might add, the endless TV coverage around the clock, with legions of ex-generals appearing on the screen and declaiming the message sheet of the prime minister's office. And the blood-curdling threats of politicians and other nincompoops, including the son of Ariel Sharon, who proposed flattening neighborhoods in Gaza City, or even better, the whole Strip.

Now that it is over, we are almost exactly where we were before. The operation, commonly referred to in Israel as "another round", was indeed round - leading nowhere than to where it started.

Hamas will be firmly in control of the Gaza Strip, if not more firmly. The Gazans will hate Israel even more than before. Many of the inhabitants of the West Bank, who throughout the war came out in their thousands in demonstrations for Hamas, will vote in even greater numbers for Hamas in the next elections. Israeli voters will vote in two months as they intended to vote anyhow, before the whole thing started.

Each of the two sides is now celebrating its great victory. If they organized just one joint celebration, a lot of money could be saved.

WHAT ARE the political conclusions?

The most obvious one is: talk with Hamas. Directly. Face to face.

Yitzhak Rabin once told me how he came to the conclusion that he must talk with the PLO: after years of opposing it, he realized that they were the only force that counted. "So it was ridiculous to talk with them through intermediaries."

The same is now true for Hamas. They are there. They will not go away. It is ridiculous for the Israeli negotiators to sit in one room at the Egyptian intelligence service HQ near Cairo, while the Hamas negotiators sit in another room, just a few meters away, with the courteous Egyptians going to and fro.

Concurrently, activate the effort towards peace. Seriously.

Save Abbas. As of now, he has no replacement. Give him an immediate victory to balance the Hamas achievements. Vote for the Palestinian application for statehood in the UN General Assembly.

Move towards peace with the entire Palestinian people, including Fatah and Hamas - so we can really put an end to the violence,

(c) 2012 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

A Second Wave Of Genocide Looms In Congo, With Susan Rice On Point
By Glen Ford

Susan Rice is a woman of ghastly accomplishments: suppressor of the facts on genocide in Congo, and chief U.S. warmonger in Africa. Yet African American politicians rush to her defense, as a role model for young Blacks, especially women.

The invasion of the Democratic Republic of Congo by U.S. allies Rwanda and Uganda, in 1996, set in motion a genocide that left six million Congolese dead. Another wave of mass killings now looms with this month's capture of Goma, an eastern Congolese city of one million, by "rebels" under Rwandan and Ugandan control. "People need to be clear who we are fighting in the Congo," said Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo. "We are fighting western powers, the United States and the United Kingdom, who are arming, training and equipping the Rwandan and Ugandan militaries." The main player in suppressing information on Congo's neighbors' role in the ongoing genocide, is U.S. ambassador to the UN Susan Rice.

Rice has fought a two-front battle to protect Washington's murderous clients, delaying publication of a UN Group of Experts report on Washington's clients' depredations in Congo, and at the same time subverting efforts within the State Department to rein in Uganda and Rwanda. Last week, Rice blocked the UN Security Council from explicitly demanding that Rwanda immediately cease providing support to M23 rebels who vowed to march all the way to Kinshasa, the Congolese capital.

Susan Rice has abetted the Congo genocide for much of her political career. Appointed to President Bill Clinton's National Security Council in 1993, at age 28, she rose to assistant secretary of state for African affairs in 1997 as Rwanda and Uganda were swarming across the eastern Congo, seizing control of mineral resources amid a sea of blood. She is known to be personally close to Rwanda's minority Tutsi leadership, including President Paul Kagame, a ruthless soldier trained at the U.S. Army's Command and General Staff College at Fort Leavenworth, Kansas, and mentored by Ugandan strongman (and Reagan administration favorite) Yoweri Museveni, who is believed to have pioneered the use of child soldiers in modern African conflicts.

On the outside during the Bush years, Rice became a fierce advocate of "humanitarian" military intervention in Africa, urging air and sea attacks on Sudan and championing the U.S.-backed Ethiopian invasion of Somalia, in 2006. A senior foreign policy advisor on Barack Obama's 2008 campaign team, Rice made it no secret she hoped to be named secretary of state. As UN ambassador, she is the administration's top gun on Africa, the focus of her outsized aggressions. Rice is widely credited with convincing Obama to launch NATO's bombing campaign for regime change in Libya. She parroted false media reports that Muammar Gaddafi's troops were raping Libyan women with the aid of massive gulps of Viagra, refusing to back down even when U.S. military and intelligence officials told NBC news "there is no evidence that Libyan military forces have been given Viagra and engaging in systematic rape against women in rebel areas." Yet, Rice said not a word about ethnic cleansing and racial pogroms against black Libyans and sub-Saharan African migrant workers, including the well-documented erasure of the black city of Tawergha.

Susan Rice's "humanitarian" instincts, like her boss's, are highly selective - so much so, that a genocide equal to or greater than the Nazi's liquidation of European Jewry is invisible to her. More accurately, Rice labors mightily to render the genocide in Congo invisible to the world, suppressing release or discussion of reports on Rwanda and Uganda's crimes.

The first document, a "Mapping Report," described human rights violations in the Democratic Republic of Congo from 1993 through 2003. Finally published by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights in October of 2010, after long delays, the document specifically charges Rwandan troops with engaging in mass killings "that might be classified as crimes of genocide." The more recent report by a UN Group of Experts concludes that M23, the Congolese "rebel" group that captured Goma, is actually "a Rwandan creation," embedded with Rwandan soldiers that take their orders from Paul Kagame's military. Uganda also supports M23.

Susan Rice, as an energetic protector and facilitator of genocide, should be imprisoned for life (given that the death penalty is no longer internationally sanctioned). But of course, the same applies to her superiors, Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama. One would think that the Congressional Black Caucus would be concerned with the threat of a second wave of mass killings in Congo. Not so. A Google search fails to reveal a word of complaint from the Black lawmakers about genocide in Congo or suppression of documentation of genocide - or much of anything at all about Africa since the death of New Jersey Rep. Donald Payne, ranking member of the House Subcommittee on African Affairs, in March of this year.

Instead, incoming Congressional Black Caucus chair Marcia Fudge, of Cleveland, held a press conference with female Caucus members to defend Rice, "a person who has served this country with distinction," from Republican criticism of her handling of the killing of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya. "We will not allow a brilliant public servant's record to be mugged to cut off her consideration to be secretary of state," said Fudge.

In the Congressional Black Caucus' estimation, Rice's "record" as chief warmonger in Africa and principal suppressor of the facts on genocide in Congo makes her a role model for African Americans, especially young Black women.

Her relationship to the women of Congo is more problematic. Said Kambale Musavuli, of Friends of Congo, which works tireless on behalf of victims of mass rape in eastern Congo: "Why should you want to help a Congolese woman who is raped, when your tax money is supporting the ones that are doing the raping? That's a contradiction"

: In the Age of Obama, the Black American relationship to Africa is suffocating from such contradictions.
(c) 2012 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Will Tim Geithner Lead Us Over Or Around The Fiscal Cliff?
By Robert Reich

I'm trying to remain optimistic that the President and congressional Democrats will hold their ground over the next month as we approach the so-called "fiscal cliff."

But leading those negotiations for the White House is outgoing Secretary of Treasury Tim Geithner, whom Monday's Wall Street Journal described as a "pragmatic deal maker" because of "his long relationship with former Treasury Secretary Robert Rubin, for whom balancing the budget was a priority over other Democratic touchstones."

Geithner is indeed a protege of Bob Rubin, for whom he worked when Rubin was Treasury Secretary in the Clinton administration. Rubin then helped arranged for Geithner to become president of the New York Fed, and then pushed for him to become Obama's Treasury Secretary.

Both Rubin and Geithner are hardworking and decent. But both see the world through the eyes of Wall Street rather than Main Street.

I battled Rubin for years in the Clinton administration because of his hawkishness on the budget deficit and his narrow Wall Street view of the world.

During his tenure as Treasury Secretary, Geithner has followed in Rubin's path - engineering a no-strings Wall Street bailout that didn't require the Street to help stranded homeowners, didn't demand the Street agree to a resurrection of the Glass-Steagall Act, and didn't seek to cap the size of the biggest bank, which in the wake of the bailout have become much bigger.

In an interview with the Journal, Geithner repeats the President's stated principle that tax rates must rise on the wealthy, but doesn't rule out changes to Social Security or Medicare. And he notes that in the president's budget (drawn up before the election), spending on non-defense discretionary items - mostly programs for the poor, and investments in education and infrastructure - are "very low as a share of the economy relative to Clinton."

If "pragmatic deal maker," as the Journal describes Geithner, means someone who believes any deal with Republicans is better than no deal, and deficit reduction is more important than job creation, we could be in for a difficult December.
(c) 2012 Robert Reich is Professor of Public Policy at the University of California at Berkeley. He has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. He has written twelve books, including The Work of Nations, Locked in the Cabinet, and his most recent book, Supercapitalism. His "Marketplace" commentaries can be found on and iTunes.

Republican women gone wild!

Election Weirdness

Politics bring out people's best and worst... and the deeply weird.

For example, the 2012 prize for "Stupidest Thing Said About Women" was in the bag for those two GOP senate candidates who flashed voters with gross displays of their masculine boorishness and ignorance on the topic of rape. But then, out of far right field, came Janis Lane to snatch the prize from the men. President of the Central Mississippi tea party, Ms. Lane blurted to a reporter that the worst change in American politics was letting women vote. "There is nothing worse than a bunch of mean, hateful women," she explained. "They are diabolical… double-minded, you can never trust them." Janis added that she always preferred to have a male boss.

Speaking of which, take Donnie Trump - please! On election night, he surpassed his own world record in the egomaniacal high jump by sending tweets complaining that Obama was being declared president, even though he'd lost the popular vote. "Revolution!" tweeted the twit - "Let's fight like hell and stop this great and disgusting injustice." Only… Obama had won the popular vote, leaving the Penthouse Revolutionary looking even more ridiculous than usual.

Maybe Holly Solomon has the only effective solution for shutting down The Donald's irritating ego explosions. A Romney backer from suburban Phoenix, she was not only distraught that Obama had been re-elected, but also infuriated that her hubby, Daniel, had failed to vote - as though, he had personally caused Romney's loss. Finally, her fury erupted in a parking lot, where he'd gotten out of the car as she was yelling at him for his civic inadequacy. Fury turned into bedlam, for Holly chased him in the car, still yelling, and ran him down, leaving poor Daniel pinned under the vehicle in critical condition.

Be careful - it's weird out there.
(c) 2012 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.

Simpler Is Better
By Robert Kuttner

When it comes to government regulations, public is better, simpler, and more efficient.

On Saturday, The Wall Street Journal ran one of its trademark editorials making fun of government red tape-the massive regulations required to implement the Affordable Care Act; the 398 different rulemakings necessary to carry out the Dodd-Frank Act, and a great deal more.

I seldom agree with the Journal's editorial page, but it makes an unintentional point: Government regulations have become so complex that they can't do their job. Or at best, the sheer complexity makes the government sitting ducks for the mischief of industry lobbyists looking to further complicate the rules with loopholes.

But where does the complexity come from? It comes from the metastasized abuses of the private sector and the success of the business elite in getting government to pass laws with plenty of room for industry to maneuver.

The Glass-Steagall Act of 1933, by contrast, was simplicity itself. It ran just a few pages and didn't need 398 different rulemakings to carry it out. The act provided that you could either be a government-insured commercial banker or a risk-taking investment banker. Full stop. It drew a nice, simple bright line. The trouble crept in when industry lobbying succeeded in blurring the line.

And nations fortunate enough to have single-payer, universal health insurance don't have libraries full of regulations to keep private insurers from fleecing doctors and patients alike-middlemen for the most part don't exist. Simpler is better.

By the same token, the Home Owners Loan Corporation of the Roosevelt era, which refinanced one mortgage in five and saved a million homes from foreclosure, did not require the Byzantine rule book of the Obama mortgage-relief programs channeled through the private sector. The HOLC used the Treasury's borrowing rate and made direct loans to homeowners. No securitization, no Wall Street middlemen, no scandals, no reams of regulations. End of story.

Pop quiz: Which part of America's pension system is a complete mess, unraveling as large corporations like American Airlines abuse the bankruptcy system to walk away from pension obligations? Which part requires endless regulation that never seems to be sufficient to prevent the latest corporate scam? That would be the private part.

And which part is simple, elegant, scandal-free, and reliable? That would be Social Security.

Where are the gross abuses in student loans? In the private, government-guaranteed part of the system, of course. Where is the system simpler, fairer, and more cost-effective? In the direct-loan part.P<> Does there seem to be a theme here? It's not just that simpler is better. It's that public is better, and public is usually simpler and more efficient.

So the next time you read a Wall Street Journal editorial decrying all that government red tape, ask where the complex abuses came from that required all those rules. The answer is pretty simple.
(c) 2012 Robert Kuttner is co-founder and co-editor of The American Prospect magazine, as well as a Distinguished Senior Fellow of the think tank Demos. He was a longtime columnist for Business Week, and continues to write columns in the Boston Globe and Huffington Post. He is the author of A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future, Obama's Challenge, and other books.

Stanford Professor: People Are Losing Intelligence
By James Donahue

A new book by Stanford University geneticist Dr. Gerald Crabtree tends to support something a lot of us have been thinking for a while now . . . the human race is falling into a pit of general stupidity.

In his book, Trends in Genetics, Crabtree suggests that we are losing our intelligence because our environment and contemporary life style no longer demands constant acts of survival. Without being forced to meet such daily challenges, the complex web of genes that comprise our brains have become susceptible to dumbing down mutations, Crabtree theorizes.

Perhaps we can go even farther down the causes for a growing level of human stupidity than Dr. Crabtree dares to go in his book. Because we no longer must deal with the old rules of survival of the strongest and smarter members of our species, we have allowed the purity of the genetic makeup of our brains to degrade.

Our medical community, perhaps driven by a religious conviction that all life is sacred, has found ways to capture and save the lives of human babies born with defects that used to prevent them from growing to maturity. Thus these genetic defects have been added to the human gene pool.

That nations seem unable to avoid warfare is another factor. We send our best breeding stock . . . our strongest and best young men and women off to battle. Consequently we are killing the best of human genetic capability. Left to carry on the species are the genetically damaged members of society . . . the ones rejected by the military as incapable of fighting to win.

Adding to these factors is the strange breakdown of the public education system in the United States. The days when an eighth grade education gave most children the basic tools to get a job and earn a good living are over. College graduates are showing in inability to spell, write a complete sentence or make proper change in a financial transaction. French historian David McCullough, in a recent 60-Minutes interview with Morley Safer, told how shocked he was to realize how historically illiterate American children have become.

"I ran into some students on university campuses who were bright and attractive and likeable. And I was just stunned by how much they didn't know. One young woman at a university in the Midwest came up to me after one of my talks and said that until she heard me speak that morning she'd never understood that the original 13 colonies were all on the East Coast," McCullough said.

"I thought, 'What are we doing that's so wrong, so pathetic?' I tried it again at several other places, colleges and universities. Same thing," he said.

McCullough has pointed out something that should be of serious concern to the United States. Perhaps we can blame a lot of it on the eight years of the Bush "No Child Left Behind" federal plan for education that forced teachers to concentrate on having students pass government prepared exams instead of spending time actually teaching.
(c) 2012 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles. He currently produces daily articles for this web site

A Mandate To Raise Taxes On The Rich? Election Numbers Say 'Yes'
By John Nichols

Joe Scarborough asks in his latest comment on the politics of the fiscal cliff: "Mandate? What mandate?"

The former Republican congressman turned able MSNBC host poses the question in order to examine whether rational Republicans might feel "bound by the same mandate Barack Obama presumes he owns" on tax issues.

Fair question.

Did Barack Obama win the minimal mandate that would be required to raise marginal tax rates on the very rich to 39.6 percent? That's a minor initiative, as the 39.6 percent rate would simply return the United States to the level ofd taxation for the wealthy that was in place when the economy was a good deal more vibrant than it has been since George W. Bush and Dick Cheney made the political-not economic-decision to slash the rate.

The answer to the question is clear if we put the 2012 results into any sort of perspective.

As the November 6 election approached, there was a general sense that the race was very close, and that either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney could win. Even as the results came in, there was a tendency on the part of commentators to suggest that the numbers showed, in the words of former Republican National Committee chairman Haley Barbour, "pretty close to a tie." Even a week after the voting was done, the failed Republican nominee for vice president was claiming that the finish was "very close."

But it was not close.

America counts ballots slowly. Our inefficient electoral systems-starved of resources, deliberately disorganized and little noted once a winner is declared based on exit polls and early returns-keep plodding along through November. Millions of ballots have been counted since Karl Rove was melting down on Fox's election evening fiasco.

Those votes have expanded Obama's total, and his margin over Romney is now dramatically broader than it was on election night or the following morning-when most of the "analysis" of Obama's win was done.

Today, with many votes still to be counted, Obama has roughly 64,500,000 votes, and his total continues to rise. He has already received more votes than were ever cast for an incumbent president seeking re-election and the second-highest total ever cast for a presidential candidate (behind only his 2008 total).

Mitt Romney has won roughly 60,300,000.

That means that Obama has a 4.2 million popular vote lead over Romney, for a 50.79 percent to 47.48 percent margin. The margin is likely to grow over the next several weeks. But, already, Romney had fallen below the 47.5 level, meaning that there is now every likelihood that his total will forever be rounded to 47 percent.

Yes, Mitt Romney, the candidate of the 47 percent.

Obama's popular vote margin is dramatically larger than John Kennedy's in 1960, Richard Nixon's in 1968, Jimmy Carter's in 1976 or George W. Bush's in 2000 (when he actually lost the popular vote) and 2004 (when he claimed a mandate).

Obama has won the 2012 election with a higher percentage of the vote than twenty-two presidents secured in their elections or re-elections.

Using figures from the University of California at Santa Barbara's American Presidency Project, Obama's percentage of the popular vote is higher than that accorded George W. Bush in either of his elections, higher than Bill Clinton's in 1992 or 1996 and higher than Ronald Reagan's in 1980.

Yes, let's repeat that last fact: Barack Obama did not just receive a higher raw vote total than Reagan-as is to be expected with an expanding electorate. Barack Obama has earned a higher percentage of the vote than Reagan-50.79 for Obama this year to 50.75 for Reagan in 1980.

Add on the fact that Obama will win the Electoral College by 332-206, an overwhelming margin, and that he carried all but one of the swing states identified by both parties, and that his party picked up two seats in the Senate and that it continues to displace Tea Party Republicans (such as Florida's Allen West) in the House, and the question of whether Obama won the minimal mandate to tinker with tax rates for the very wealthy should be settled.

Yes, if George Bush had any kind of mandate in 2004, if Bill Clinton had any kind of mandate in 1996, if Ronald Reagan had any kind of mandate in 1980, then Barack Obama has some kind of mandate in 2012. And anyone who paid attention to the messages of the 2012 campaign-from Obama's explicit declarations that he would ask the rich to "pay a little bit more" to Romney and Ryan's "makers versus takers" meme-knows that a referendum was held on whether to hike taxes for millionaires and billionaires. And a lot more voters said "yes" than said "no."

The final popular vote numbers are just now coming in, thanks to states like Arizona that took over two weeks to count ballots. Find out why, here.
(c) 2012 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His new book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, has just been published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Gag Rule On Gaza
A 'Grand Bargain' With Brutal Power
By Chris Floyd

David Atkins, co-writer with Digby at Hullaballoo, responds -- indirectly -- to my recent post ("Blogging and Nothingness") on the silence of leading progressive bloggers about the ongoing, Obama-supported slaughter in Gaza. Below is his response in full, followed by my reply.

David Atkins:

There has been some annoyance in some quarters at the lack of comprehensive coverage of the events in Gaza by the much of the most widely read parts of the progressive blogosphere. I agree that the coverage has been limited. But there are three good reasons for that:

1) Incoherent, hateful backlash. The fact is that it's impossible to say anything substantive about the Israel-Palestine conflict without being called a hateful anti-Semite, or a hateful bloodthirsty imperialist. Most hilarious is the notion that silence on the issue is caused by defense of the Administration, as if most of the progressive blogosphere had been somehow aggressive against the Bush Administration for failure to be concerned about the Palestinian people. If one examines the archives, one will see that most of the big sites from Atrios to DailyKos to TPM to Hullabaloo and the rest have largely refrained from commenting too much on the issue for years, long before Obama took office. That's in large part because nothing can be said about it without eliciting a horrifying deluge of asinine commentary that no other issue seems to generate. Especially for unpaid bloggers more concerned with climate change, the predations of the financial sector, the ongoing assault against the middle class and women's rights, etc., it's often not worth the headache of being called a vicious anti-semitic terrorist enabler and/or imperialist apartheid murderer--often for the exact same post.

2) There are no good guys here. Bibi Netanyahu is a horrible person, and Likud is filled with horrible people. They're basically the Israeli version of Dick Cheney and John Bolton, but with a religious belief in their right to steal land that belongs to others.

Hamas, meanwhile, is a murderous organization of cutthroats who refuse to recognize Israel's right to exist and want to drive every Jew out of the land they believe their God owes them.

Israeli policy pretends to want to keep control of illegal settlements that continue to incur into Palestinian lands while secretly encouraging it. Whatever goes for Palestinian authority pretends to want peace and self-determination while doing next to nothing to prevent rockets from being fired at Israeli civilians. Hamas knows that there can be no peace without recognizing Israel's fundamental right to exist, but they can't even bring themselves to put those words down on a negotiating contract. Israel knows that there can be no pressure on Hamas to negotiate fairly as long as Palestine remains an Apartheid-style lockdown zone with continued encroachment from settlement.

So we get the usual cycle of violence with no end in sight.

3) There's nothing we can do about it. It makes sense to blog about things that we can theoretically do something about. The Gaza situation is frankly hopeless at the moment. America is not going to abandon its commitment to protect the only functioning democracy in the region and the only dependable national refuge for the Jewish people. The American people can and should eschew support for Netanyahu and Likud, but it's not as if relations between President Obama and Prime Minister Netanyahu aren't already frosty. Netanyahu quite obviously wanted Romney to win, and there can be little doubt that Obama would prefer to deal with someone from Labour/Kadima. Defunding Israel isn't an option, particularly given the hostility of other Middle Eastern powers to Israel's very existence.

So that leaves bloggers advocating for cooler heads and changes in leadership on both sides of a dispute over which American activists have very little control, and in which there are no clear-cut good guys. Syria is less complicated, frankly, with much greater suffering and bloodshed--and it's not exactly been a huge topic of debate in the progressive blogosphere, either.

So don't expect a lot of coverage of the issue. Most of us don't want to take a lot of stupid abuse from nutty people for speaking powerlessly over an issue in which both sides deserve plenty of scorn.

My reply:

Taking these justifications point by point, here, as I understand it, is the essential argument for progressives remaining silent on the slaughter in Gaza.

1) We are scared. People might call us bad names, and that would be unpleasant. And it would also, somehow, interfere with our ability to support other causes. Do you want us to be like that fool Martin Luther King Jr., who didn't stick to his niche issue of civil rights but also took on murderous American militarism and economic injustice? That's not savvy, that's not how to get things done. Anyway, look what happened to him when he stuck his neck out too far.

2) We are childish. There are no "good guys" we can root for in a comic-book version of good vs. evil. [How about rooting for the innocent people being slaughtered? Are they not "good" enough?] Also, we are too uninterested to read of any context or history beyond the day's headlines, so we have no idea about the many efforts made by Hamas and others, including Israelis, to "prevent rockets from being fired at Israeli civilians." We also have nothing to say about Israel's endless provocations -- killing children, blockades, assassinations, etc. -- that produce the missiles fired in retaliation. In short, because the institutional leaders on both sides are morally compromised individuals instead of clearly marked good guys and bad guys, we have nothing at all to say about innocent people being killed -- in our name, with American weaponry, American money and the full support of the president we have just worked so hard to re-elect.

3) We are helpless. You should only blog about things you can "theoretically" do something about. So apparently there is nothing anyone can ever do -- even "theoretically" -- to prevent the United States government from giving its full and unstinting support to the ongoing operation in Gaza. Even though George W. Bush himself condemned Israeli "extrajudicial assassinations," even though Ronald Reagan condemned the Israeli strike on Iraq's nuclear plant (and actually suspended arms shipments to Israel in protest), it is now completely impossible for anyone, anywhere, to put the slightest pressure on Barack Obama to voice even the mildest criticism of Israel's actions. So what's the point of using one's public platform to register even the smallest complaint about one's government using its money, weapons and full political muscle to support the slaughter of innocent people?

However, it must be theoretically possible to, say, convince Barack Obama not to sign a "grand bargain" that will gut social programs and entrench brutal economic and social injustice for generations. And how does one do that? By writing about it, agitating about it, talking about it, protesting against it, and so on -- as our leading progressives do every day. And even though the record of the past four years shows that Barack Obama does not pay the slightest attention to these efforts -- and has recently reiterated that the $4 trillion economy-wrecking, society-degrading "deal" he offered Republicans earlier is "still on the table" -- it is at least theoretically possible that strenuous protest and pressure might cause some alteration of policy.

I think this is true. And I think it's an effort worth making, however slight its chance of success. But why does this not also apply to Obama's policy toward Israel and the Middle East? Instead of the gritty realism, savvy tactics and nuanced analyses we see on the Grand Bargain, on Gaza all we get are childish, cartoonish exaggerations: the idea that even criticising Israeli actions -- as George Bush did, as Ronald Reagan did -- is somehow equivalent to "abandoning Israel" and the Jewish people. This is puerile nonsense. (It is also an example of the aforementioned "incoherent, hateful backlash" in action, albeit in more muted, tasteful form. But it carries the same implication: "What, do you want us to abandon the Jewish people, drive them from their only refuge? What are you, some kind of Nazi?")


Look, people can concentrate on whatever issues they want. I do it; everyone who writes does it. I just found it remarkable -- and still do -- that several prominent liberal bloggers dedicated to analyzing American policy and politics had nothing at all to say about innocent people being slaughtered with the full support -- physical, financial and political -- of the American political establishment, which is the focus of their blogs. Not a single word on the subject -- positive, negative, even in passing -- nothing at all, day after day, death after death.

However, during the last major assault on Gaza, in the last days of the Bush administration, there were several mentions of Gaza on Hullaballoo, including a post from Digby on the horror of watching the slaughter on CNN. On Kos, there were no fewer than 29 "front-paged diary" entries that mentioned Gaza in December 2008-January 2009, including long columns of analysis, and pieces mocking George Bush for his claims to seek Middle East peace ("just ask the people of Gaza"), mocking Joe the Plumber for his "reporting" from the Israeli side of the attack, and so on.

All of this, I might add, was mixed in with other issues of the day: the economy, the predations of the financial sector, women's rights, etc. Apparently, when George Bush was still in office, it "made sense" to blog about Gaza, to criticize the Israeli actions AND the American support for them, and still continue to advocate for one's other concerns.

But now we are told that it is not even theoretically possible to influence American policy on this issue. It is pointless -- "frankly hopeless" -- to even try. So let the children die, with American lead shredding their flesh and American money loading the guns and American politicians -- including the Democrats our progressives worked so hard for -- officially recording their full support of these atrocities.

Again, people should write what they like. If an issue doesn't interest you, or if it's too complicated for you, or if it scares you, then by all means ignore it. But it seems strange to me that those who are publicly dedicated to building a better, more just society and a more ethical, morally responsible government would simply shrug their shoulders, give up hope and keep quiet when their government -- led by a man they themselves fought to elect -- gives its total support to such murderous deeds.

It makes one think that they have made their own "Grand Bargain": countenancing crime and murder (the drone wars, Obama's death squads, indefinite detention, support for state terror in Gaza, etc., etc.) in exchange for the hope -- the "theoretical possibility" -- that their support for such a system will be rewarded with a few crumbs and gestures on the domestic front. As I said before, this kind of "progressivism" seems to me to be a most paltry, curdled and complicit thing. It has lashed itself to the machine of power, and it will, in the end, go wherever power takes it.
(c) 2012 Chris Floyd

Benevolent Leader gives the corpo-rat salute!

Obama: A GOP President Should Have Rules Limiting The Kill List
The president's flattering view of himself reflects the political sentiments in his party and the citizenry generally
By Glenn Greenwald

For the last four years, Barack Obama has not only asserted, but aggressively exercised, the power to target for execution anyone he wants, including US citizens, anywhere in the world. He has vigorously resisted not only legal limits on this assassination power, but even efforts to bring some minimal transparency to the execution orders he issues.

This claimed power has resulted in four straight years of air bombings in multiple Muslim countries in which no war has been declared - using drones, cruise missiles and cluster bombs - ending the lives of more than 2,500 people, almost always far away from any actual battlefield. They are typically targeted while riding in cars, at work, at home, and while even rescuing or attending funerals for others whom Obama has targeted. A substantial portion of those whom he has killed - at the very least - have been civilians, including dozens of children.

Worse still, his administration has worked to ensure that this power is subject to the fewest constraints possible. This was accomplished first by advocating the vague, sweeping Bush/Cheney interpretation of the 2001 Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) - whereby the President can target not only the groups which perpetrated the 9/11 attack (as the AUMF provides) but also those he claims are "associated" which such groups, and can target not only members of such groups (as the AUMF states) but also individuals he claims provide "substantial support" to those groups. Obama then entrenched these broad theories by signing into law the 2011 National Defense Authorization Act, which permanently codified those Bush/Cheney interpretation of these war powers.

From the start, Obama officials have also ensured that these powers have no physical limits, as they unequivocally embraced what was once the core and highly controversial precept of Bush/Cheney radicalism: that the US is fighting a "global war" in which the "whole world is a battlefield", which means there are no geographical constraints to the president's war powers. In sum, we have had four straight years of a president who has wielded what is literally the most extreme and tyrannical power a government can claim - to execute anyone the leader wants, even his own citizens, in total secrecy and without a whiff of due process - and who has resisted all efforts to impose a framework of limits or even transparency.

But finally, according to a new article on Sunday by The New York Times' Scott Shane, President Obama was recently convinced that some limits and a real legal framework might be needed to govern the exercise of this assassination power. What was it that prompted Obama finally to reach this conclusion? It was the fear that he might lose the election, which meant that a Big, Bad Republican would wield these powers, rather than a benevolent, trustworthy, noble Democrat - i.e., himself [emphasis added]:

"Facing the possibility that President Obama might not win a second term, his administration accelerated work in the weeks before the election to develop explicit rules for the targeted killing of terrorists by unmanned drones, so that a new president would inherit clear standards and procedures, according to two administration officials. . . .

"The matter may have lost some urgency after Nov. 6. But . . . Mr. Obama and his advisers are still debating whether remote-control killing should be a measure of last resort against imminent threats to the United States, or a more flexible tool, available to help allied governments attack their enemies or to prevent militants from controlling territory. . . .

"For years before the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks, the United States routinely condemned targeted killings of suspected terrorists by Israel, and most countries still object to such measures.

"But since the first targeted killing by the United States in 2002, two administrations have taken the position that the United States is at war with Al Qaeda and its allies and can legally defend itself by striking its enemies wherever they are found.

"Partly because United Nations officials know that the United States is setting a legal and ethical precedent for other countries developing armed drones, the U.N. plans to open a unit in Geneva early next year to investigate American drone strikes. . . .

"The attempt to write a formal rule book for targeted killing began last summer after news reports on the drone program, started under President George W. Bush and expanded by Mr. Obama, revealed some details of the president's role in the shifting procedures for compiling 'kill lists' and approving strikes. Though national security officials insist that the process is meticulous and lawful, the president and top aides believe it should be institutionalized, a course of action that seemed particularly urgent when it appeared that Mitt Romney might win the presidency.

"'There was concern that the levers might no longer be in our hands,' said one official, speaking on condition of anonymity. With a continuing debate about the proper limits of drone strikes, Mr. Obama did not want to leave an 'amorphous' program to his successor, the official said. The effort, which would have been rushed to completion by January had Mr. Romney won, will now be finished at a more leisurely pace, the official said."

Now that Obama rather than Romney won, such rules will be developed "at a more leisurely pace". Despite Obama's suggestion that it might be good if even he had some legal framework in which to operate, he's been in no rush to subject himself to any such rules in four full years of killing thousands of people. This makes it safe to assume that by "a more leisurely pace", this anonymous Obama official means: "never".

There are many important points raised by this report: Kevin Gosztola and Marcy Wheeler, among others, have done their typically excellent job of discussing some of them, while this Guardian article from Sunday reports on the reaction of the ACLU and others to the typical Obama manipulation of secrecy powers on display here (as usual, these matters are too secret to permit any FOIA disclosure or judicial scrutiny, but Obama officials are free to selectively leak what they want us to know to the front page of the New York Times). I want to focus on one key point highlighted by all of this:

Democratic Party benevolence

The hubris and self-regard driving this is stunning - but also quite typical of Democratic thinking generally in the Obama era. The premise here is as self-evident as it is repellent:

I'm a Good Democrat and a benevolent leader; therefore, no limits, oversight, checks and balances, legal or Constitutional constraints, transparency or due process are necessary for me to exercise even the most awesome powers, such as ordering people executed. Because of my inherent Goodness and proven progressive wisdom, I can be trusted to wield these unlimited powers unilaterally and in the dark.

Things like checks, oversight and due process are desperately needed only for Republicans, because - unlike me - those people are malevolent and therefore might abuse these powers and thus shouldn't be trusted with absolute, unchecked authority. They - but not I - urgently need restrictions on their powers.

This mentality is not only the animating belief of President Obama, but also the sizable portion of American Democrats which adores him.

There are many reasons why so many self-identified progressives in the US have so radically changed their posture on these issues when Barack Obama replaced George W. Bush. Those include (a) the subordination of all ostensible beliefs to their hunger for partisan power; (b) they never actually believed these claimed principles in the first place but only advocated them for partisan opportunism, i.e., as a way to discredit the GOP President; and (c) they are now convinced that these abuses will only be used against Muslims and, consumed by self-interest, they concluded that these abuses are not worth caring about because it only affects Others (this is the non-Muslim privilege enjoyed by most US progressives, which shields them from ever being targeted, so they simply do not care; the more honest ones of this type even admit this motivation).

But the primary reason for this fundamental change in posture is that they genuinely share the self-glorifying worldview driving Obama here. The core premise is that the political world is shaped by a clean battle of Good v. Evil. The side of Good is the Democratic Party; the side of Evil is the GOP. All political truths are ascertainable through this Manichean prism.

This is the simplistic, self-flattering morality narrative that gets reinforced for them over and over as they sit for hours every day having their assumptions flattered and validated (and never questioned or challenged) by watching MSNBC, reading pro-Obama blogs that regularly churn out paeans to his greatness, and drinking up the hundreds of millions of dollars of expertly crafted election-year propaganda from the Party that peddles this Justice League cartoon.

The result is that, for so many, it is genuinely inconceivable that a leader as noble, kind and wise as Barack Obama would abuse his assassination and detention powers. It isn't just rank partisan opportunism or privilege that leads them not to object to Obama's embrace of these radical powers and the dangerous theories that shield those powers from checks or scrutiny. It's that they sincerely admire him as a leader and a man so much that they believe in their heart (like Obama himself obviously believes) that due process, checks and transparency are not necessary when he wields these powers. Unlike when a GOP villain is empowered, Obama's Goodness and his wisdom are the only safeguards we need.

Thus, when Obama orders someone killed, no due process is necessary and we don't need to see any evidence of their guilt; we can (and do) just assume that the targeted person is a Terrorist and deserves death because Obama has decreed this to be so. When Obama orders a person to remain indefinitely in a cage without any charges or any opportunity to contest the validity of the imprisonment, that's unobjectionable because the person must be a Terrorist or otherwise dangerous - or else Obama wouldn't order him imprisoned. We don't need proof, or disclosed evidence, or due process to determine the validity of these accusations; that it is Obama making these decisions is all the assurance we need because we trust him.

Similar sentiments shaping the Bush era

This mindset is so recognizable because it is also what drove Bush followers for years as they defended his seizures of unchecked authority and secrecy powers. Those who spent years arguing against the Bush/Cheney seizure of extremist powers always confronted this mentality at bottom, once the pseudo-intellectual justifications were debunked: George Bush is a Good man and a noble leader who can be trusted to exercise these powers in secret and with no checks, because he only wants to keep us safe and will only target the Terrorists.

Molded by exactly the same species of drooling presidential hagiography now so prevalent in progressive circles - compare this from the Bush era to things like this and this - conservatives believed that Bush was a good man and a great leader and thus needed no safeguards or transparency. If Bush wanted to eavesdrop on someone, or wanted to imprison someone, then - solely by virtue of his decree - we could and should assume the person was a Terrorist, or at least there was ample evidence to believe he was.

We were graced with a leader we could trust to exercise unlimited war powers in the dark. This is precisely the same mentality applied by Democrats (and by Obama himself) to the current President, except it not only justifies due-process-free eavesdropping and detention but also execution.

Faith v. reason and evidence

It is, for several reasons, extraordinary that so many citizens have been successfully trained to so venerate their Party's leaders that they literally believe no checks or transparency are necessary, even as those leaders wield the most extremist powers: executing people, bombing multiple countries, imprisoning people with no charges, mass monitoring and surveilling of entire communities.

For one, there is ample evidence that virtually every leader of both major parties over the last century systematically abused these powers because they were able to exercise them in the dark. It was this discovery by the Church Committee that led to the reforms of the mid-1970s - reforms grounded in the premise that virtually all leaders, by virtue of human nature, will inevitably abuse these powers, exercise them for ignoble ends, if they operate without serious restraints and oversight. One has to ignore all of this historic evidence in order to place trust in any particular leader to exercise these powers without checks.

Then there is all the specific evidence of all the post-9/11 abuses. Over the last decade, the US government - under both parties - has repeatedly accused people of being Terrorists and punished them as Terrorists who were nothing of the sort. Whether due to gross error or more corrupt motives, the Executive Branch and its various intelligence and military agencies have proven beyond any reasonable doubt that their mere accusation that someone is a Terrorist - unproven with evidence and untested by any independent tribunal - is definitively unreliable.

Even beyond that, it is well-documented that the US government, under Obama, often targets people for death when they don't even know the identity of the person they're trying to kill. From the Sunday New York Times article:

"Then there is the matter of strikes against people whose identities are unknown. In an online video chat in January, Mr. Obama spoke of the strikes in Pakistan as 'a targeted, focused effort at people who are on a list of active terrorists.' But for several years, first in Pakistan and later in Yemen, in addition to 'personality strikes' against named terrorists, the CIA and the military have carried out 'signature strikes' against groups of suspected, unknown militants.

"Originally that term was used to suggest the specific 'signature' of a known high-level terrorist, such as his vehicle parked at a meeting place. But the word evolved to mean the 'signature' of militants in general - for instance, young men toting arms in an area controlled by extremist groups. Such strikes have prompted the greatest conflict inside the Obama administration, with some officials questioning whether killing unidentified fighters is legally justified or worth the local backlash."

It is truly staggering to watch citizens assert that their government is killing "Terrorists" when those citizens have no clue who is being killed. But that becomes even more astounding when one realizes that not even the US government knows who they're killing: they're just killing anyone whose behavior they think generally tracks the profile of a Terrorist ("young men toting arms in an area controlled by extremist groups"). And, of course, the Obama administration has re-defined "militant" to mean "all military-age males in a strike zone" - reflecting their propagandistic sloganeering that they are killing Terrorists even when they, in fact, have no idea who they are killing.

In light of all this evidence, to continue to blindly assume that unproven government accusations of "Terrorist" are tantamount to proof of those accusations is to embrace the type of faith-based trust that lies at the core of religious allegiance and faith in a god, not rational citizenship. Yet over and over, one encounters some form of this dialogue whenever this issue arises:

ARGUMENT: The US government shouldn't imprison/kill/surveil people without providing evidence of their guilt.

GOVERNMENT-DEFENDING RESPONSE: But these are Terrorists, and they have to be stopped.

OBVIOUS QUESTION: How do you know they're Terrorists if no evidence of their guilt has been presented and no due process accorded?

Ultimately, the only possible answer to that question - the only explanation for why this definitively authoritarian mentality persists - is because people have been so indoctrinated with the core Goodness of their particular party leader that they disregard all empirical evidence, and their own rational faculties, in order to place their blind faith in the leader they have grown to love and admire (if my leader says someone is a Terrorist, then I believe they are, and I don't need to see evidence of that). One can reasonably debate the extent to which democracy requires that some degree of trust be vested in the capabilities and judgment of whichever political leaders one supports. But however far that trust should extend, surely it must stop well before the vesting of the power to imprison and kill in total secrecy, far from any battlefield and without any checks or due process.

Core principles disregarded in lieu of leader-love

The Times article describes the view of Obama that some "drone rules" would be needed to be developed in light of the possibility of Romney's victory. But at least some such rules already exist: they're found in these things called "the Constitution" and "the Bill of Rights", the Fifth Amendment to which provides:

"No person shall be . . . deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law;"

Yet all of that has been tossed aside in lieu of a deeply disturbing and unhealthy faith-based belief that our leader can make these determinations without the need for any such bothersome impediments.

To me, this comment, left in response to a Gawker post from Sunday on the new NYT article, perfectly conveys the sentiment I heard for years in right-wing circles to justify everything Bush did in secret, and is now just as miserably common in progressive circles to justify Obama's wielding of the same and even greater powers:

"The fact of the matter is that the complexities of security and war go far beyond what those interested in appearing morally superior are willing to concede. It just so happens that a lot of liberals are most interested in the appearance of moral superiority. . . .

"I used to be the exact same way, but then I actually genuinely considered how I would feel if I held the weight of the presidency and these decisions. I have no doubt that most liberals, when presented with that, would act just as Obama has. . . .

"I'm liberal, I'm no fan of war, I'm no fan of Republican fanaticism and thumping America-is-the-best nonsense across the globe. But I can understand why drone strikes might be the most expedient option in a war. Or, perhaps more precisely, can understand just how incapable I am of understanding. And instead of supposing myself worthy of understanding the complexity and therefore offering criticism, I trust those more intelligent than myself. But a lot of my fellow liberals don't believe there are people more intelligent than themselves. I have no self-loathing of liberals. Its just like a moderate Republican finding the right wing of their party crazy even if they believe in most of the same stuff."

That's the Platonic form of authoritarian leader-faith:

I don't need to know anything; my leader doesn't need to prove the truth of his accusations; he should punish whomever he wants in total secrecy and without safeguards, and I will assume that he is right to do so (as long as I and others like me are not the ones targeted) because he is superior to me and I place my faith in Him.

Anyone who thinks the leader (when he's of my party) should have to show proof before killing someone, or allow them due process, is being a childish purist. I used to be like that - until Obama got in office, and now I see how vital it is to trust him and not bother him with all this "due process" fanaticism. That's what being an adult citizen means: trusting one's leader the way children trust their parent.

This is the only sentiment that can explain the comfort with allowing Obama (and, before him, Bush) to exercise these extreme powers without checks or transparency. This is exactly the sentiment any Obama critic confronts constantly, even if expressed a bit more subtly and with a bit more dignity. Ultimately, what is most extraordinary about all of this - most confounding to me - is how violently contrary this mentality is to the ethos with which all Americans are instilled: namely, that the first and most inviolable rule of government is that leaders must not be trusted to exercise powers without constant restraints - without what we're all taught in elementary school are called "checks and balances". Here is how Thomas Jefferson expressed this warning in the Kentucky Resolutions of 1798:

"In questions of power...let no more be heard of confidence in man, but bind him down from mischief by the chains of the Constitution."

And here is what John Adams said in his 1772 Journal:

"There is danger from all men. The only maxim of a free government ought to be to trust no man living with power to endanger the public liberty".

It is literally impossible to conceive of any mindset more at odds with these basic principles than the one that urges that Barack Obama - unlike George Bush or Mitt Romney or whoever the scary GOP villain of the day is - can be trusted to unilaterally and secretly kill or imprison or surveil anyone he wants because he is a Good man and a trustworthy leader and therefore his unproven accusations should be assumed true. But this is, overwhelmingly, the warped and authoritarian sentiment that now prevails in the bulk of the Democratic Party and its self-identified "progressive" faction, just as it did in the GOP and its conservative wing for eight years.

Ultimately, this unhealthy and dangerous trust in one's own leader - beyond just the normal human desire to follow - is the by-product of over-identifying with the brand-marketed personality of politicians. Many East and West Coast progressives (which is overwhelmingly what Democratic Party opinion leaders are) have been trained to see themselves and the personality traits to which they aspire in Obama (the urbane, sophisticated, erudite Harvard-educated lawyer and devoted father and husband), just as religious conservatives and other types of Republicans were trained to see Bush in that way (the devout evangelical Christian, the brush-clearing, patriotic swaggering cowboy, and devoted father and husband).

Politicians are thus perceived like contestants in a reality TV show: viewers decide who they like personally and who they dislike - but the difference is that these images are bolstered with hundreds of millions of dollars of relentless, sophisticated, highly manipulative propaganda campaigns (there's a reason the Obama 2008 campaign won multiple branding awards from the advertising and marketing industry). When one is taught to relate to a politician based on a fictitious personal relationship, one comes to place excessive trust in those with whom one identifies (the way one comes to trust, say, a close family member or loved one), and to harbor excessive contempt for those one is trained to see as the villain character. In sum, citizens are being trained to view politicians exactly the way Jefferson warned was so dangerous: "In questions of power...let no more be heard of confidence in man."

There's one final irony worth noting in all of this. Political leaders and political movements convinced of their own Goodness are usually those who need greater, not fewer, constraints in the exercise of power. That's because - like religious True Believers - those who are convinced of their inherent moral superiority can find all manner to justify even the most corrupted acts on the ground that they are justified by the noble ends to which they are put, or are cleansed by the nobility of those perpetrating those acts.

Political factions driven by self-flattering convictions of their own moral superiority - along with their leaders - are the ones most likely to abuse power. Anyone who ever listened to Bush era conservatives knows that this conviction drove them at their core ("you are with us or with the Terrorists"), and it is just as true of Obama-era progressives who genuinely see the political landscape as an overarching battle between forces of Good (Democrats: i.e., themselves) and forces of Evil (Republicans).

Thus should it be completely unsurprising that Obama (and his most ardent followers) genuinely believe that rules are urgently necessary to constrain Republicans from killing whoever they want, but that such urgency ceases to exist when that power rests in the hands of the current benevolent leader. Such a dangerous and perverse mindset is incredibly pervasive in the citizenry, and goes a long way toward explaining why and how the US government has been able to seize the powers it has wielded over the last decade with so little resistance, and with no end in sight.
(c) 2012 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.

Fighting Fiscal Phantoms
By Paul Krugman

These are difficult times for the deficit scolds who have dominated policy discussion for almost three years. One could almost feel sorry for them, if it weren't for their role in diverting attention from the ongoing problem of inadequate recovery, and thereby helping to perpetuate catastrophically high unemployment.

What has changed? For one thing, the crisis they predicted keeps not happening. Far from fleeing U.S. debt, investors have continued to pile in, driving interest rates to historical lows. Beyond that, suddenly the clear and present danger to the American economy isn't that we'll fail to reduce the deficit enough; it is, instead, that we'll reduce the deficit too much. For that's what the "fiscal cliff" - better described as the austerity bomb - is all about: the tax hikes and spending cuts scheduled to kick in at the end of this year are precisely not what we want to see happen in a still-depressed economy.

Given these realities, the deficit-scold movement has lost some of its clout. That movement, by the way, is a hydra-headed beast, comprising many organizations that turn out, on inspection, to be financed and run by more or less the same people; dig down into many of these groups' back stories and you will, in particular, find Peter Peterson, the private-equity billionaire, playing a key role.

But the deficit scolds aren't giving up. Now yet another organization, Fix the Debt, is campaigning for cuts to Social Security and Medicare, even while making lower tax rates a "core principle." That last part makes no sense in terms of the group's ostensible mission, but makes perfect sense if you look at the array of big corporations, from Goldman Sachs to the UnitedHealth Group, that are involved in the effort and would benefit from tax cuts. Hey, sacrifice is for the little people.

So should we take this latest push seriously? No - and not just because these people, aside from exhibiting a lot of hypocrisy, have been wrong about everything so far. The truth is that at a fundamental level the crisis story they're trying to sell doesn't make sense.

You've heard the story many times: Supposedly, any day now investors will lose faith in America's ability to come to grips with its budget failures. When they do, there will be a run on Treasury bonds, interest rates will spike, and the U.S. economy will plunge back into recession.

This sounds plausible to many people, because it's roughly speaking what happened to Greece. But we're not Greece, and it's almost impossible to see how this could actually happen to a country in our situation.

For we have our own currency - and almost all of our debt, both private and public, is denominated in dollars. So our government, unlike the Greek government, literally can't run out of money. After all, it can print the stuff. So there's almost no risk that America will default on its debt - I'd say no risk at all if it weren't for the possibility that Republicans would once again try to hold the nation hostage over the debt ceiling.

But if the U.S. government prints money to pay its bills, won't that lead to inflation? No, not if the economy is still depressed.

Now, it's true that investors might start to expect higher inflation some years down the road. They might also push down the value of the dollar. Both of these things, however, would actually help rather than hurt the U.S. economy right now: expected inflation would discourage corporations and families from sitting on cash, while a weaker dollar would make our exports more competitive.

Still, haven't crises like the one envisioned by deficit scolds happened in the past? Actually, no. As far as I can tell, every example supposedly illustrating the dangers of debt involves either a country that, like Greece today, lacked its own currency, or a country that, like Asian economies in the 1990s, had large debts in foreign currencies. Countries with large debts in their own currency, like France after World War I, have sometimes experienced big loss-of-confidence drops in the value of their currency - but nothing like the debt-induced recession we're being told to fear.

So let's step back for a minute, and consider what's going on here. For years, deficit scolds have held Washington in thrall with warnings of an imminent debt crisis, even though investors, who continue to buy U.S. bonds, clearly believe that such a crisis won't happen; economic analysis says that such a crisis can't happen; and the historical record shows no examples bearing any resemblance to our current situation in which such a crisis actually did happen.

If you ask me, it's time for Washington to stop worrying about this phantom menace - and to stop listening to the people who have been peddling this scare story in an attempt to get their way.
(c) 2012 Paul Krugman --- The New York Times

The Quotable Quote...

"A Native American elder once described his own inner struggles in this manner: Inside of me there are two dogs. One of the dogs is mean and evil. The other dog is good. The mean dog fights the good dog all the time. When asked which dog wins, he reflected for a moment and replied, The one I feed the most."
~~~ George Bernard Shaw

Howard Zinn's Echoes
By David Swanson

We're approaching three years since Howard Zinn left us, and to my ear his voice sounds louder all the time. I expect that effect to continue for decades and centuries to come, because Zinn spoke to enduring needs. He taught lessons that must be relearned over and over, as the temptations weighing against them are so strong. And he taught those lessons better than anybody else.

We like to use the word "we," and to include in it everything the Constitution pretends to include in it, notably the government. But the government tends to act against our interests. Multi-billionaires, by definition, act against our interest. Zinn warned us endlessly of the danger of allowing those in power to use "we" to include us in actions we would otherwise oppose. It's a habit we carry over from sports to wars to economic policies, but the danger of a spectator claiming "we scored!" doesn't rise to the same level as millions of spectators claiming "we liberated Afghanistan."

We like to think of elections as a central, important part of civic life, and as a means of significantly impacting the future. Zinn not only warns against that misperception with incisive historical examples, and with awareness of the value of the struggle for black voting rights in the Southern United States, but he was a part of that struggle and warned against misplaced expectations at the time.

We like to think of history as shaped by important stand-out individuals. We like to think of war as a necessary tool of last resort, as demonstrated by our list of "good wars" which generally includes the U.S. war of independence, the U.S. civil war, and the second world war (debunked by Zinn as 'The Three Holy Wars'). We imagine that political parties are central to our efforts to shape the world, but that civil disobedience is not. We imagine that we often have no power to shape the world, that the forces pushing in other directions are too powerful to be reversed. If you listen to enough Howard Zinn, each of these beliefs ends up looking ludicrous -- even if, in some cases, tragic.

If you haven't had enough Howard Zinn lately (and who has?), there's a new book of his collected speeches just published, called Howard Zinn Speaks. Of course it's just a tiny sampling of his speeches, as he gave innumerable speeches over the years. With one exception, these have been transcribed from speeches given without pre-written remarks. Zinn doesn't have his footnotes in hand. He paraphrases people rather than quoting them. But he also says what he believes to be most needed, what he has thought about most deeply, what pours out of him in ever-changing variation on his one and only theme: *We can shape the future if, and only if, we make use of the past.*

The speeches collected here are themselves part of the past. There's one from the 1960s, two from the 70s, two from the 80s, four from the 90s, and over half the book from the Bush-Obama years. But the examples Zinn draws on, the stories he tells to make his points, go back for centuries into a past that most Americans only dimly recognize.

Zinn traces the roots of racism and wars through Columbus, slavery, colonialism, and current U.S. wars. "The abolition of war," he says, "is of course an enormous undertaking. But keep in mind that we in the antiwar movement have a powerful ally. Our ally is a truth which even governments addicted to war, profiting from war, must one of these days recognize: that wars are not practical ways of achieving their ends. More and more, in recent history, the most powerful nations find themselves unable to conquer much weaker nations."

Four years ago, Zinn warned: "It is dangerous to look just to Obama. This has been part of our culture, looking to saviors. Saviors will not do it. We cannot depend on the people on top to save us. I hope that people who supported Obama will not simply sit back and wait for him to save us but will understand that they have to do more than this. All of these are limited victories."

In April, 1963, Zinn spoke in similar terms -- if anything even more forthrightly -- of President Kennedy. "This is beyond the South," he said. "Our problem is not basically that Eastland is vicious, but that Kennedy is timid." Obama criticized Kennedy for his actions and inactions in 1961 and again in 1963 when the Senate had the opportunity, as it always does, at the beginning of each new session, to change its own rules and do away with the filibuster. Kennedy, Zinn had concluded, wanted to allow the racists to filibuster against civil rights. Echoes of Zinn should be amplified between now and January loudly enough for current senators, and the current president, to hear.>{? In May of 1971, Zinn said, "It's been a long time since we impeached a president. And it's time, time to impeach a president, and the vice president, and everybody else sitting in high office who carries on this war." In 2003, Zinn said, "There are people around the country calling for Bush's impeachment. Some people think this is a daring thing to say. No, it's in the Constitution. It provides for impeachment. . . . Congress was willing to impeach Nixon for breaking into a building, but they're not willing to impeach Bush for breaking into a country."

"It is true," Zinn says of our endless and perhaps permanent elections hang-up, "that Americans have been voting every few years for Congressmen and presidents. But it is also true that the most important social changes in the history of the United States -- independence from England, Black emancipation, the organization of labor, gains in sexual equality, the outlawing of racial segregation, the withdrawal of the United States from Vietnam -- have come about not through the ballot box but through the direct action of social struggle, through the organization of popular movements using a variety of extralegal and illegal tactics. The standard teaching of political science does not describe this reality."

Later (years later) Zinn says, without self-pity: "So if we don't have a press that informs us, we don't have an opposition party to help us, we are left on our own, which actually is a good thing to know. It's a good thing to know we're on our own. It's a good thing to know that you can't depend on people who are not dependable. But if you're on your own, it means you must learn some history, because without history you are lost. Without history, anybody in authority can get up before a microphone and say, 'We've got to go into this country for that reason and for this reason, for liberty, for democracy, the threat.' Anybody can get up before a microphone and tell you anything. And if you have no history, you have no way of checking up on that."

But if you do have history, Zinn says, then you gain the additional advantage of recognizing that "these concentrations of power, at certain points they fall apart. Suddenly, surprisingly. And you find that ultimately they're very fragile. And you find that governments that have said 'we will never do this' end up doing it. 'We will never cut and run.' They said this in Vietnam. We cut and ran in Vietnam. In the South, George Wallace, the racist governor of Alabama: 'Segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.' Enormous applause. Two years later, Blacks in Alabama had in the meantime begun to vote and Wallace was going around trying to get Black people to vote for him. The South said never, and things changed."

The more things change . . . the more we need to hear Howard Zinn.
(c) 2012 David Swanson is the author of "War Is A Lie."

Coal workers in Shizuishan

Stand Still For The Apocalypse
By Chris Hedges

Humans must immediately implement a series of radical measures to halt carbon emissions or prepare for the collapse of entire ecosystems and the displacement, suffering and death of hundreds of millions of the globe's inhabitants, according to a report commissioned by the World Bank. The continued failure to respond aggressively to climate change, the report warns, will mean that the planet will inevitably warm by at least 4 degrees Celsius (7.2 degrees Fahrenheit) by the end of the century, ushering in an apocalypse.

The 84-page document,"Turn Down the Heat: Why a 4 C Warmer World Must Be Avoided," was written for the World Bank by the Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research and Climate Analytics and published last week. The picture it paints of a world convulsed by rising temperatures is a mixture of mass chaos, systems collapse and medical suffering like that of the worst of the Black Plague, which in the 14th century killed 30 to 60 percent of Europe's population.

A planetwide temperature rise of 4 degrees C-and the report notes that the tepidness of the emission pledges and commitments of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change will make such an increase almost inevitable-will cause a precipitous drop in crop yields, along with the loss of many fish species, resulting in widespread hunger and starvation. Hundreds of millions of people will be forced to abandon their homes in coastal areas and on islands that will be submerged as the sea rises. There will be an explosion in diseases such as malaria, cholera and dengue fever. Devastating heat waves and droughts, as well as floods, especially in the tropics, will render parts of the Earth uninhabitable. The rain forest covering the Amazon basin will disappear. Coral reefs will vanish. Numerous animal and plant species, many of which are vital to sustaining human populations, will become extinct. Monstrous storms will eradicate biodiversity, along with whole cities and communities. And as these extreme events begin to occur simultaneously in different regions of the world, the report finds, there will be "unprecedented stresses on human systems." Global agricultural production will eventually not be able to compensate. Health and emergency systems, as well as institutions designed to maintain social cohesion and law and order, will crumble. The world's poor, at first, will suffer the most. But we all will succumb in the end to the folly and hubris of the Industrial Age. And yet, we do nothing.

"It is useful to recall that a global mean temperature increase of 4 C approaches the difference between temperatures today and those of the last ice age, when much of central Europe and the northern United States were covered with kilometers of ice and global mean temperatures were about 4.5 C to 7 C lower," the report reads. "And this magnitude of climate change-human induced-is occurring over a century, not millennia."

The political and corporate elites in the industrialized world continue, in spite of overwhelming scientific data, to place short-term corporate profit and expediency before the protection of human life and the ecosystem. The fossil fuel industry is permitted to determine our relationship to the natural world, dooming future generations. Carbon dioxide (CO2), the main greenhouse gas, increased from its pre-industrial concentration of about 278 parts per million (ppm) to more than 391 ppm in September 2012, with the rate of rise now at 1.8 ppm per year. We have already passed the tipping point of 350 ppm; above that level, life as we have known it cannot be sustained. The CO2 concentration is higher now than at any time in the last 15 million years. The emissions of CO2, currently about 35 billion metric tons per year, are projected to climb to 41 billion metric tons per year by 2020.

Because about 90 percent of the excess heat trapped by the greenhouse effect since 1955 is momentarily in the oceans, we have begun a process that, even if we halted all carbon emissions today, will ensure rising sea levels and major climate disruptions, including the continued melting of the Greenland and Antarctic ice sheets as well as the acidification of the oceans. The report estimates that if warming accelerates toward 4 degrees Celsius, sea levels will rise 0.5 to 1 meter, possibly more, by 2100. Sea levels will increase several meters more in the coming centuries. If warming can be keep to 2 degrees or below, sea levels will still rise, by about 20 centimeters by 2100, and probably will continue to rise between 1.5 and 4 meters above present-day levels by the year 2300. Sea-level rise, the report concludes, is likely to be below 2 meters only if warming is kept to well below 1.5 degrees. The rise in sea levels will not be uniform. Coastal areas in tropical regions will be inundated by sea-level rises that are up to 20 percent higher than those in higher latitudes.

"In particular, the melting of the ice sheets will reduce the gravitational pull on the ocean toward the ice sheets and, as a consequence, ocean water will tend to gravitate toward the Equator," the report reads. "Changes in wind and ocean currents due to global warming and other factors will also affect regional sea-level rise, as will patterns of ocean heat uptake and warming. Sea-level rise impacts are projected to be asymmetrical even within regions and countries. Of the impacts projected for 31 developing countries, only 10 cities account for two-thirds of the total exposure to extreme floods. Highly vulnerable cities are to be found in Mozambique, Madagascar, Mexico, Venezuela, India, Bangladesh, Indonesia, the Philippines, and Vietnam. For small island states and river delta regions, rising sea levels are likely to have far ranging adverse consequences, especially when combined with the projected increased intensity of tropical cyclones in many tropical regions, other extreme weather events, and climate change-induced effects on oceanic ecosystems (for example, loss of protective reefs due to temperature increases and ocean acidification)."

"By the time the concentration reaches around 550 ppm (corresponding to a warming of about 2.4 C in the 2060s), it is likely that coral reefs in many areas would start to dissolve," the report reads. "The combination of thermally induced bleaching events, ocean acidification, and sea-level rise threatens large fractions of coral reefs even at 1.5 C global warming. The regional extinction of entire coral reef eco-systems, which could occur well before 4 C is reached, would have profound consequences for their dependent species and for the people who depend on them for food, income, tourism, and shoreline protection." The report projects that the rates of change in ocean acidity over the next century will be "unparalleled in Earth's history."

The global production of maize and wheat has, because of rising temperatures, been in steady decline since the 1980s. But these crop declines will be vastly accelerated in the coming years, with rising temperatures resulting in widespread malnutrition and starvation. It will mean that the poor, and especially children, will endure chronic hunger and malnutrition. There will be an increase in a variety of deadly epidemic diseases. Persistent flooding will contaminate drinking water, spreading diarrheal and respiratory illnesses. The 2012 drought, which affected 80 percent of the agricultural land in the United States, will become the norm. Tropical South America, Central Africa and all tropical islands in the Pacific are, the report says, likely to regularly experience heat waves of unprecedented magnitude, making human life in these areas difficult if not impossible to sustain.

"In this new high-temperature climate regime, the coolest months are likely to be substantially warmer than the warmest months at the end of the 20th century," the report reads. "In regions such as the Mediterranean, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Tibetan plateau, almost all summer months are likely to be warmer than the most extreme heat waves presently experienced. For example, the warmest July in the Mediterranean region could be 9 C warmer than today's warmest July." It notes that these changes "potentially exceed the adaptive capacities of many societies and natural systems."

The stress and insecurity caused by the breakdown in the climate will, the report says, "have negative effects on psychological and mental health." It will lead to an increase in "levels of conflict and violence." These changes "will have ramifications for national identification and alter the dynamics of traditional cultures."

The report calls on the leaders of the industrial world to immediately institute radical steps-including a halt to the dependence on fossil fuels-to keep the global temperature rise below 2 degrees C, although the report concedes that even an increase of less than 2 degrees would result in serious damage to the environment and human populations. Without a massive investment in green infrastructure that can adapt to the heat and other new extreme weather, and in the building of efficient public transportation networks and renewable energy systems to minimize carbon emissions, we will succumb to our own stupidity.

A failure to respond will assure an ecological nightmare that will most probably be accompanied by an economic, social and political breakdown. The human species, the report says, will cross "critical social system thresholds," and "existing institutions that would have supported adaptation actions would likely become much less effective or even collapse." The "stresses on human health, such as heat waves, malnutrition, and decreasing quality of drinking water due to seawater intrusion, have the potential to overburden health-care systems to a point where adaptation is no longer possible, and dislocation is forced."

"There is also no certainty that adaptation to a 4 C world is possible. A 4 C world is likely to be one in which communities, cities and countries would experience severe disruptions, damage, and dislocation, with many of these risks spread unequally. It is likely that the poor will suffer most and the global community could become more fractured, and unequal than today. The projected 4 C warming simply must not be allowed to occur-the heat must be turned down."
(c) 2011 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. He is the author of War Is a Force That Gives Us Meaning and American Fascists: The Christian Right and the War on America. His latest book is, ""Death Of The Liberal Class."

The Dead Letter Office...

Heil Obama,

Dear Oberaufseher Woods,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your placing the mark of the beast on Texas children, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Libya, Syria and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Demoncratic whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Iron Cross, first class, presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Obama at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 12-31-2012. We salute you Herr Woods, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Biden

Heil Obama

"Now is the time to act for the future of humanity and Nature."

Leave The Carbon In The Ground
An Open Letter to Governments and Their Negotiators
By Bill McKibben and Nnimmo Bassey and Pablo Solon

To really address climate change UNFCCC-COP18 should decide to leave under the soil more than 2/3 of the fossil reserves

2012 saw the shocking melt of the Arctic, leading our greatest climatologist to declare a 'planetary emergency,' and it saw weather patterns wreck harvests around the world, raising food prices by 40% and causing family emergencies in poor households throughout the world.

That's what happens with 0.8C of global warming. If we are going to stop this situation from getting worse, an array of institutions have explained this year precisely what we need to do: leave most of the carbon we know about in the ground and stop looking for more.

If we want a 50-50 chance of staying below two degrees, we have to leave 2/3 of the known reserves of coal and oil and gas underground; if we want an 80% chance, we have to leave 80% of those reserves untouched. That's not "environmentalist math" or some radical interpretation--that's from the report of the International Energy Agency last month.

It means that--without dramatic global action to change our path--the end of the climate story is already written. There is no room for doubt--absent remarkable action, these fossil fuels will burn, and the temperature will climb creating a chain reaction of climate related natural disasters.

Negotiators should cease their face-saving, their endless bracketing and last minute cooking of texts and concentrate entirely on figuring out how to live within the carbon budget scientists set. We can't emit more than 565 more gigatons of carbon before 2050, but at the current pace we'll blow past that level in 15 years. If we want to have a chance to stick to this budget by 2020 we can't send to the atmosphere more than 200 gigatons.

Rich countries who have poured most of the carbon into the atmosphere (especially the planet's sole superpower) need to take the lead in emission reductions and the emerging economies have also to make commitments to reduce the exploitation of oil, coal and gas. The right to development should be understood as the obligation of the states to guarantee the basic needs of the population to enjoy a fulfilled and happy life, and not as a free ticket for a consumer and extractivist society that doesn't take into account the limits of the planet and the wellbeing of all humans.

There's no longer time for diplomatic delays. Most of the negotiators in the Eighteenth Conference of the Parties of the UNFCCC (United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change) know that these are the facts. Now is the time to act for the future of humanity and Nature.
(c) 2012 Bill McKibben is Schumann Distinguished Scholar at Middlebury College, co-founder of His most recent book is Eaarth: Making a Life on a Tough New Planet.

Burning All the Carbon Will Burn Us All
Our Climate Future and the Doha Summit
By Amy Goodman

The annual United Nations climate summit has convened, this year in Doha, the capital of the oil-rich emirate of Qatar, on the Arabian Peninsula. Dubbed "COP 18," an army of bureaucrats, business people and environmentalists are gathered ostensibly to limit global greenhouse-gas emissions to a level that scientists say will contain the global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius (3.8 degrees Fahrenheit), and perhaps stave off global climate catastrophe. If past meetings are any indication, national self-interest on the part of the world's largest polluters, paramount among them the United States, will trump global consensus.

"We want our children to live in an America ... that isn't threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet," President Barack Obama proclaimed in his victory speech on Nov. 6 this year, just over a week after Superstorm Sandy devastated New York City and much of New Jersey, killing more than 100 people. These are fine aspirations. The problem is, action is needed now to avert the very scenario that President Obama has said he wants to avoid. The United States, which remains the greatest polluter in world history, stands as one of the biggest impediments to a rational global program to stem global warming.

"There is no room for doubt-absent remarkable action, these fossil fuels will burn, and the temperature will climb, creating a chain reaction of climate related natural disasters." - Nnimmo Bassey, Bill McKibben, Pablo Solon

Latest findings suggest that the goal of limiting global temperature rise to 2 degrees Celsius may now be beyond reach, and that we may now be locked into a 4- to 6-degree temperature increase. "The only way to avoid the pessimistic scenarios will be radical transformations in the way the global economy currently functions: rapid uptake of renewable energy, sharp falls in fossil fuel use or massive deployment of CCS [carbon capture and storage], removal of industrial emissions and halting deforestation." These are not the words of some wild-eyed environmental activist, but from business advisers at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (PwC) in their November 2012 Low Carbon Economy Index.

The PwC advisers concur in many regards with a consortium of environmentalists who issued an open letter as COP 18 convened. Bill McKibben, founder of, Nigerian activist Nnimmo Bassey and Ambassador Pablo Solon, who formerly led climate negotiations for Bolivia, said in their letter to the COP 18 negotiators: "If we want a 50-50 chance of staying below two degrees, we have to leave 2/3 of the known reserves of coal and oil and gas underground. ... That's not 'environmentalist math' or some radical interpretation-that's from the report of the International Energy Agency last month. It means that-without dramatic global action to change our path-the end of the climate story is already written. There is no room for doubt-absent remarkable action, these fossil fuels will burn, and the temperature will climb, creating a chain reaction of climate related natural disasters."

The World Meteorological Organization released preliminary findings for 2012, highlighting extremes of drought, heat waves, floods, and snow and extreme cold, as well as above-average hurricane activity in the Atlantic basin for the third consecutive year. Also speaking at the COP 18's opening was Dr. R.K. Pachauri, chair of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, comprising more than 1,800 scientists from around the globe, which shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with Al Gore. In sober, scientific language, Dr. Pachauri, pointed out potential catastrophes unless action is taken, among them: "By 2020, between 75 and 250 million people [in Africa] are projected to be exposed to increased water stress due to climate change. ... As global average temperature increase exceeds 3.5 (degrees) C, model projections suggest significant extinctions ranging from 40 to 70 percent of species assessed around the globe."

President Obama loudly advocates for doing away with subsidies to the oil and gas corporations, but, as pointed out by Oil Change International, Greenpeace and other groups, he is "supporting skyrocketing export subsidies for dirty fossil fuels through the United States Export-Import Bank," with at least $10.2 billion in public financing for fossil-fuel projects in 2012 alone, dwarfing the $2.3 billion the State Department claims it has disbursed to developing countries to combat climate change.

Outside the air-conditioned plenary halls and corridors of the UN climate summit in Doha, in the emirate of Qatar-which, ironically, is the nation with the highest per capita carbon emissions of any nation on the planet-there will be protests. The newly formed Arab Youth Climate Movement, hundreds of grassroots activists from across the region, including many involved in the Arab Spring, are marching, calling for their nations to take the lead in reducing emissions.

The Arab Spring activists toppled dictators, but can they move the fossil-fuel corporations? With a growing global movement intent on doing just that, prepare for a hot summer, in more ways than one.
(c) 2012 Amy Goodman is the host of "Democracy Now!," a daily international TV/radio news hour airing on 750 stations in North America. She is the co-author of "Standing Up to the Madness: Ordinary Heroes in Extraordinary Times," recently released in paperback and "Breaking The Sound Barrier."

The Cartoon Corner...

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ John Darkow ~~~

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

How To Tell If You're Involved In The Petraeus Scandal
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In response to a high volume of panicked phone calls from the general public, the C.I.A. has published a new informational brochure entitled "How to Tell if You're Involved in the Petraeus Scandal."

The C.I.A. rushed to produce the brochure after it became clear that as many as one in three Americans may have some involvement in the Petraeus affair.

And with the scandal widening every day, "a lot of average folks out there are worried that they might somehow be involved in it without knowing," says Carol Foyler, director of the C.I.A.'s public-information office. "This booklet should clear up a lot misunderstandings."

The booklet includes a "simple, user-friendly checklist" that should help people determine whether they are at risk for being implicated in the scandal, she says.

"Have you ever met David Petraeus? Have you ever received and/or sent shirtless photos of an F.B.I. agent? Have you ever exchanged e-mails with Jill Kelley? Under five thousand pages of e-mails and you're probably O.K., but anywhere between ten thousand and fifteen thousand pages of e-mails could potentially mean you're involved in some way," she says.

Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said today that he expected the Petraeus scandal to wind down by early 2015 but would not commit to an official timetable.
(c) 2012 Andy Borowitz

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

View my page on

Issues & Alibis Vol 12 # 48 (c) 11/30/2012

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

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

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

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

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