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KN4M 12-17-03

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  • robalini@aol.com
    Please send as far and wide as possible. Thanks, Robert Sterling Editor, The Konformist http://www.konformist.com Barry Chamish chamish@netvision.net.il For
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 17, 2003
      Please send as far and wide as possible.

      Robert Sterling
      Editor, The Konformist

      Barry Chamish

      For those wonderful people who sent me $20 a book to distribute them
      free to influential Israelis, last week's recipients include Rabbi
      Herbst of Har Nof, Rabin's aide for 14 years, now a real estate agent
      in Modiin and a group of Petch Tikve film students. They now are
      producing a film about the Rabin murder to be presented at several
      student film festivals this Hannuka. Watch how your contributions
      spread the truth throughout the land in the upcoming holiday.

      And what could possibly be a more memorable Hannuka or Christmas
      present than a gift package of my books, signed each one to your
      friends or family?

      I have to request $25 for Save Israel because it's 384 pages in
      length and that costs me a ton to print and ship. But thanks to a
      wonderful printer, Israel Cohen, who agreed to reprint my other three
      books for cost, I can offer all of them for $25.

      Wouldn't the books:

      Who Murdered Yitzhak Rabin
      The Last Days Of Israel - Israeli Edition
      Israel Betrayed

      be an unforgettable holiday gift?

      If you want to order them, e-mail me at chamish@... And
      to get those books donated to the skeptics of Israel:

      Barry Chamish
      Nakhal Zohar 40/2
      Modiin 71700 Israel

      And do remind your Hebrew reading friends to visit:


      Turkeys on the Moon
      By Michael Moore, MichaelMoore.com
      December 8, 2003

      Dear Mr. Bush:

      Well, it's going on two weeks now since your surprise visit to one of
      the two countries you now run and, I have to say, I'm still warmed by
      the gesture. Man, take me along next time! I understand only 13
      members of the media went with you - and it turns out only ONE of
      them was an actual reporter for a newspaper. But you did take along
      FIVE photographers (hey, I get it, screw the words, it's all about
      the pictures), a couple wire service guys, and a crew from the Fox
      News Channel (fair and balanced!).

      Then, I read in the paper this weekend that that big turkey you were
      holding in Baghdad (you know, the picture that's supposed to replace
      the now-embarrassing footage of you on that aircraft carrier with the
      sign "Mission Accomplished") - well, it turns out that big, beautiful
      turkey of yours was never eaten by the troops! It wasn't eaten by
      anyone! That's because it wasn't real! It was a stunt turkey, brought
      in to look like a real edible turkey for all those great camera

      Now I know some people will say you are into props (like the one in
      the lower extremities of your flyboy suit), but hey, I get it, this
      is theater! So what if it was a bogus turkey? The whole trip was
      bogus; all staged to look like "news." The fake honey glaze on that
      bird wasn't much different from the fake honey glaze that covers this
      war. And the fake stuffing in the fake bird was just the right symbol
      for our country during these times. America loves fake honey glaze,
      it loves to be stuffed, and, dammit, YOU knew that - that's what
      makes you so in touch with the people you lead!

      It was also a good idea that you made the "press" on that trip to
      Baghdad pull the shades down on the plane. No one in the media
      entourage complained. They like the shades pulled and they like to be
      kept in the dark. It's more fun that way. And, when you made them
      take the batteries out of their cell phones so they wouldn't be able
      to call anyone, and they dutifully complied - that was genius! I
      think if you had told them to put their hands on their heads and
      touch their noses with their tongues, they would have done that, too!
      That's how much they like you. You could have played "Simon Says" the
      whole way over there. It wouldn't have been that much different
      from "Karl Says," a game they love to play every day with Mr. Rove.

      Well, if you're planning any surprises for Christmas, don't forget to
      include me. When I heard last week that you wanted to send a man back
      to the moon, I thought, get the fake goose ready - that's where ol'
      George is going for the holidays! I don't blame you, what with nearly
      3 million jobs disappeared, and a $281 billion surplus disappeared,
      and the USA stuck in a war that will never end - who wouldn't want to
      go to the moon! This time, take ALL the media with you! Embed them on
      the moon! They'll love it there! It looks just like Crawford! You can
      golf on the moon, too. You'll have so much fun up there; you might
      not want to come back. Better take Cheney with you, too. Pretend it's
      a medical experiment or something. "That's one small step for man,
      one giant leap for every American who's sick and tired of all this

      Michael Moore is an Academy award-winning filmmaker and author
      of "Dude, Where's My Country".


      Baker Takes the Loaf
      By Greg Palast, AlterNet
      December 9, 2003

      Well, ho ho ho! It's an early Christmas for James Baker III.

      All year the elves at his law firm, Baker Botts of Texas, have been
      working day and night to prevent the families of the victims of the
      September 11 attack from seeking information from Saudi Arabia on the
      Kingdom's funding of Al Qaeda fronts.

      It's tough work, but this week came the payoff when President Bush
      appointed Baker Botts' senior partner to "restructure" the debts of
      the nation of Iraq.

      And who will net the big bucks under Jim Baker's plan? Answer: his
      client, Saudi Arabia, which claims $30.7 billion due from Iraq (plus
      $12 billion in "reparations" from the First Gulf war).

      Puppet Strings

      Let's ponder what's going on here.

      We are talking about something called 'sovereign debt.' And unless
      George Bush has finally named himself Pasha of Iraq, he is not their
      sovereign. Mr. Bush has no authority to seize control of that
      nation's assets nor its debts.

      But our President isn't going to let something as meaningless as
      international law stand in the way of a quick buck for Mr. Baker. To
      get around the wee issue that Bush has no legal authority to mess
      with Iraq's debt, the White House has crafted a neat little
      subterfuge. The President, says the official press release, has not
      appointed Baker, rather Mr. Bush is, "responding to a request from
      the Iraqi Governing Council." That is, Bush is acting on the
      authority of the puppet government he imposed on Iraqis at gunpoint.

      (I will grant the Iraqi 'government' has some knowledge of
      international finance. Its key member, Ahmed Chalabi, is a convicted
      bank swindler.)

      The Bush team must see the other advantage in having the rump
      government of Iraq make the choice of Mr. Baker. The US Senate will
      not have to review or confirm the appointment.

      If you remember, Henry Kissinger ran away from the September 11
      commission, with his consulting firm tucked between his legs, after
      the Senate demanded he reveal his client list. In the case of Jim
      Baker, who will be acting as a de facto Treasury secretary for
      international affairs, our elected Congress will have no chance to
      ask him who is paying his firm nor even require him to get off
      conflicting payrolls.

      For the Bush administration, this marks a new low in their Conflicts-
      R-Us appointments process. Or maybe there's no conflict at all. If
      you see Jim Baker's new job as working not to protect a new Iraqi
      democracy but to protect the old theocracy of Saudi Arabia, the
      conflict disappears.

      Iraq owes something on the order of $120 billion to $150 billion,
      depending on who's counting. And who's counting is very important.

      Much of the so-called debt to Saudi Arabia was given to Saddam
      Hussein to fight a proxy war for the Saudis against their hated foe,
      the Shi'ia of Iran. And as disclosed by a former Saudi diplomat, the
      kingdom's sheiks handed about $7 billion to Saddam under the table in
      the 1980's to build an "Islamic bomb."

      Should Iraqis today and those not yet born have to be put in a
      debtor's prison to pay off the secret payouts to Saddam?

      James Wolfensohn says 'No!' Wolfensohn, president of the World Bank,
      has never been on my Christmas card list, but in this case, he's got
      it right: Iraq should simply cancel $120 billion in debt.

      Normally, the World Bank is in charge of post-war debt restructuring.
      That's why the official name of the World Bank is "International Bank
      for Reconstruction and Development." This is the Bank's expertise.
      Bush has rushed Baker in to pre-empt the debt write-off the World
      Bank would have certainly promoted.

      "I Fixed Florida"

      Why is our President so concerned with the wishes of Mr. Baker's
      clientele? What does Bush owe Baker? Let me count the ways, beginning
      with the 2000 election.

      Just last week Baker said, "I fixed the election in Florida for
      George Bush." That was the gravamen of his remarks to an audience of
      Russian big wigs as reported to me by my somewhat astonished
      colleagues with BBC television.

      It was Baker, as consiglieri to the Bush family, who came up with the
      strategy of maneuvering the 2000 Florida vote count into a Supreme
      Court packed with politicos.

      Baker's claim to have fixed the election was not a confession, it was
      a boast. He meant to dazzle current and potential clients in the
      former Soviet states about his big In with the Big Boy in the White
      House. Baker's firm is already a top player in the Great Game of
      seizing Caspian Sea oil. (An executive of Exxon-Mobil, one of Baker
      Botts's clients, has been charged with evading taxes on bribes paid
      in Kazakhstan.)

      All in the Family

      Over the years, Jim Baker has taken responsibility for putting bread
      on the Bush family table. As Senior Counsel to Carlyle, the arms-
      dealing investment group, Baker arranged for the firm to hire both
      President Bush 41 after he was booted from the White House and
      President Bush 43 while his daddy was still in office.

      Come to think of it, maybe I'm being a bit too dismissive of the
      Iraqi make-believe government. After all, it's not as if George Bush
      were elected by the voters either. It would be more accurate to say
      that two puppet governments have agreed on letting the man who has
      always pulled the strings come out from behind the curtain, take a
      bow, take charge, take the money, and run.

      Greg Palast is the author of the New York Times bestseller "The Best
      Democracy Money Can Buy."


      Tear Down That Wal-Mart
      By Mickey Z., AlterNet
      December 2, 2003

      If any of you have connections to the folks who produce "The
      Simpsons," I have an idea for a great opening sequence. Marge hears
      that the local discount store is offering DVD players for $29 so she
      gets on line with a zillion others to wait for the store to open at
      6:00 a.m. In fact, she's first in line. When the siren blares, Marge
      is trampled by the frenzied bargain-hunters behind her and is found
      lying unconscious on top of a DVD player. Marge is airlifted to the
      local hospital where, after she recovers from a seizure, she's told
      that the owner of the discount store has offered to put a DVD player
      on hold for her.

      All right...so I didn't just make that scenario up. It actually
      happened to Patricia VanLester at an Orange City, Florida Wal-Mart
      SuperCenter on November 28, 2003.

      "She got pushed down, and they walked over her like a herd of
      elephants," said VanLester's sister, Linda Ellzey. "I told them,
      `Stop stepping on my sister! She's on the ground!' All they cared
      about was a stupid DVD player."

      Apparently, VanLester and her sister also cared enough about those
      stupid DVD players to be on line at 6:00 a.m. to buy one.

      Wal-Mart is America's largest employer. General Motors used to be
      America's largest employer but GM is too busy being Mexico's largest
      employer now...so it's up Wal-Mart to keep consumerism alive and

      Wal-Mart was founded by the late Sam Walton. Forget John-boy, these
      are the real Waltons and their story is a far more accurate
      illustration of the real American Dream. The Bentonville, Arkansas-
      based behemoth claims that more than 93 million Americans shop in at
      least one of its over 4,400 discount stores in the US. Those tens of
      millions have helped make Wal-Mart the single largest seller of pop
      music in America but you won't find anyone trampled during a sale of
      rap music with "explicit" lyrics because Wal-Mart doesn't sell that
      kind of CD. Rifles, knives, handcuffs, or handgun ammunition? No

      With roughly half of their employees - I mean, "associates" -
      eligible for food stamps, the Waltons remain steadfastly anti-union.
      As an internal Wal-Mart document explained: "Wal-Mart is opposed to
      the unionization of its associates. Any suggestion that the company
      is neutral on the subject or that it encourages associates to join
      labor organizations is not true." To drive this policy home, Wal-Mart
      has become the world's largest importer of Chinese-made products and
      the subsequent sweatshop-level prices have been known to cause a
      stampede or two.

      "We are very disappointed this happened," Wal-Mart spokeswoman Karen
      Burk said after the VanLester incident. "We want her to come back as
      a shopper."

      Ms. Burk needn't worry. As Louis Uchitelle explains in The New York
      Times ("Why Americans Must Keep Spending," December 1, 2003), despite
      a tough economy, "Consumers will keep spending anyway, going deeper
      into debt to do so if they must. They have too many needs, some that
      were luxuries only yesterday." Doing his part to promote holiday
      shopping (and predatory capitalism), Uchitelle says, "Consumers in
      America spend because they feel they must spend."

      Mickey Z. is the author of The Murdering of My Years: Artists and
      Activists Making Ends Meet. He can be reached at: mzx2@....



      A Civilization In Denial -
      We Are Running Out Of Oil
      The Bottom Of The Barrel
      By George Monbiot
      The Guardian - UK

      The oil industry is buzzing. On Thursday, the government approved the
      development of the biggest deposit discovered in British territory
      for at least 10 years. Everywhere we are told that this is a "huge"
      find, which dispels the idea that North Sea oil is in terminal
      decline. You begin to recognise how serious the human predicament has
      become when you discover that this "huge" new field will supply the
      world with oil for five and a quarter days.

      Every generation has its taboo, and ours is this: that the resource
      upon which our lives have been built is running out. We don't talk
      about it because we cannot imagine it. This is a civilisation in

      Oil itself won't disappear, but extracting what remains is becoming
      ever more difficult and expensive. The discovery of new reserves
      peaked in the 1960s. Every year we use four times as much oil as we
      find. All the big strikes appear to have been made long ago: the 400m
      barrels in the new North Sea field would have been considered
      piffling in the 1970s. Our future supplies depend on the discovery of
      small new deposits and the better exploitation of big old ones. No
      one with expertise in the field is in any doubt that the global
      production of oil will peak before long.

      The only question is how long. The most optimistic projections are
      the ones produced by the US department of energy, which claims that
      this will not take place until 2037. But the US energy information
      agency has admitted that the government's figures have been fudged:
      it has based its projections for oil supply on the projections for
      oil demand, perhaps in order not to sow panic in the financial

      Other analysts are less sanguine. The petroleum geologist Colin
      Campbell calculates that global extraction will peak before 2010. In
      August, the geophysicist Kenneth Deffeyes told New Scientist that he
      was "99% confident" that the date of maximum global production will
      be 2004. Even if the optimists are correct, we will be scraping the
      oil barrel within the lifetimes of most of those who are middle-aged

      The supply of oil will decline, but global demand will not. Today we
      will burn 76m barrels; by 2020 we will be using 112m barrels a day,
      after which projected demand accelerates. If supply declines and
      demand grows, we soon encounter something with which the people of
      the advanced industrial economies are unfamiliar: shortage. The price
      of oil will go through the roof.

      As the price rises, the sectors which are now almost wholly dependent
      on crude oil - principally transport and farming - will be forced to
      contract. Given that climate change caused by burning oil is cooking
      the planet, this might appear to be a good thing. The problem is that
      our lives have become hard-wired to the oil economy. Our sprawling
      suburbs are impossible to service without cars. High oil prices mean
      high food prices: much of the world's growing population will go
      hungry. These problems will be exacerbated by the direct connection
      between the price of oil and the rate of unemployment. The last five
      recessions in the US were all preceded by a rise in the oil price.

      Oil, of course, is not the only fuel on which vehicles can run. There
      are plenty of possible substitutes, but none of them is likely to be
      anywhere near as cheap as crude is today. Petroleum can be extracted
      from tar sands and oil shale, but in most cases the process uses
      almost as much energy as it liberates, while creating great mountains
      and lakes of toxic waste. Natural gas is a better option, but
      switching from oil to gas propulsion would require a vast and
      staggeringly expensive new fuel infrastructure. Gas, of course, is
      subject to the same constraints as oil: at current rates of use, the
      world has about 50 years' supply, but if gas were to take the place
      of oil its life would be much shorter.

      Vehicles could be run from fuel cells powered by hydrogen, which is
      produced by the electrolysis of water. But the electricity which
      produces the hydrogen has to come from somewhere. To fill all the
      cars in the US would require four times the current capacity of the
      national grid. Coal burning is filthy, nuclear energy is expensive
      and lethal. Running the world's cars from wind or solar power would
      require a greater investment than any civilisation has ever made
      before. New studies suggest that leaking hydrogen could damage the
      ozone layer and exacerbate global warming.

      Turning crops into diesel or methanol is just about viable in terms
      of recoverable energy, but it means using the land on which food is
      now grown for fuel. My rough calculations suggest that running the
      United Kingdom's cars on rapeseed oil would require an area of arable
      fields the size of England.

      There is one possible solution which no one writing about the
      impending oil crisis seems to have noticed: a technique with which
      the British and Australian governments are currently experimenting,
      called underground coal gasification. This is a fancy term for
      setting light to coal seams which are too deep or too expensive to
      mine, and catching the gas which emerges. It's a hideous prospect, as
      it means that several trillion tonnes of carbon which was otherwise
      impossible to exploit becomes available, with the likely result that
      global warming will eliminate life on Earth.

      We seem, in other words, to be in trouble. Either we lay hands on
      every available source of fossil fuel, in which case we fry the
      planet and civilisation collapses, or we run out, and civilisation

      The only rational response to both the impending end of the oil age
      and the menace of global warming is to redesign our cities, our
      farming and our lives. But this cannot happen without massive
      political pressure, and our problem is that no one ever rioted for
      austerity. People tend to take to the streets because they want to
      consume more, not less. Given a choice between a new set of matching
      tableware and the survival of humanity, I suspect that most people
      would choose the tableware.

      In view of all this, the notion that the war with Iraq had nothing to
      do with oil is simply preposterous. The US attacked Iraq (which
      appears to have had no weapons of mass destruction and was not
      threatening other nations), rather than North Korea (which is
      actively developing a nuclear weapons programme and boasting of its
      intentions to blow everyone else to kingdom come) because Iraq had
      something it wanted. In one respect alone, Bush and Blair have been
      making plans for the day when oil production peaks, by seeking to
      secure the reserves of other nations.

      I refuse to believe that there is not a better means of averting
      disaster than this. I refuse to believe that human beings are
      collectively incapable of making rational decisions. But I am
      beginning to wonder what the basis of my belief might be.

      - The sources for this and all George Monbiot's recent articles can
      be found at www.monbiot.com.
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