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States That Have Criminalized Abortion

Wednesday, August 22nd, 2012

Here’s a list of a dozen states where abortion is virtually illegal, thus endangering women’s health and freedom.

Alabama: Although many antichoice organizations and leaders have promised that recriminalizing abortion would not result in the prosecution and imprisonment of women, the claim that human eggs, embryos and fetuses have separate legal rights has provided the basis for the arrest of about 60 women. They’ve been prosecuted under a 2006 state law that was designed to provide special penalties for people who bring children into meth labs.

Idaho: The number of abortion providers fell from seven in 2005 to four in 2011. The first arrest wasn’t a doctor but a mother of three who was charged with “unlawful abortion” for ingesting pills to induce a miscarriage because of the state’s recent ban on post-20-week abortions. The woman believed she was only 14 weeks pregnant.

Iowa: Having accidentally fallen down some stairs, a pregnant woman went to a hospital. After mentioning to a nurse that she had briefly considered abortion early in her pregnancy, the nurse called the cops, claiming the mishap was attempted selfabortion. The accident victim was arrested.

Utah: A 17-year-old—living without electricity or running water in a rural area—was impregnated by an older man who is now facing charges of using her in child pornography. The girl paid another man $150 to beat her in the stomach. It didn’t work, but she was charged with criminal solicitation for murder. (It’s worth noting that at the time, there were only seven abortion providers in the entire state.)

Louisiana: This state has a law allowing abortion clinics to be shut down for any violation of any regulation no matter how minor. Not surprisingly, there are a whole bunch of edicts that apply solely to abortion providers. So far, a clinic in New Orleans has been forced to close.

Kansas: When Dr. George Tiller was assassinated in 2009, a family physician offered to continue performing abortions at his Wichita clinic. She was barraged with threats and harassment. The U.S. Department of Justice tried to get a restraining order on one antichoice extremist who threatened to kill her, but a federal judge denied the request. Kansas now has only one licensed abortion clinic, in Highland Park.

Virginia: This state uses legal harassment to run abortion providers out of business. In addition, antichoice zealots have been trying to interfere with the U.S. Department of Health’s decision to allow abortion clinics to operate. If the antichoice advocates succeed, at least 17 of 22 clinics will have to shut their doors.

Mississippi: This state has only one abortion clinic and Governor Phil Bryant recently signed a bill that would effectively shut it down. Meanwhile, Rennie Gibbs—a 15-year-old who gave birth to a stillborn baby—is now facing the possibility of life in prison. When prosecutors learned of her cocaine habit, they charged Gibbs with the “depravedheart murder” of her child.

Indiana: A woman who was abandoned by her boyfriend had two mental breakdowns then tried to commit suicide while pregnant. She later gave birth to a baby that survived only four days. The mother was charged with murder— an attempt not only to criminalize abortion but also to set the legal groundwork for prosecuting women for murder if they terminate their pregnancies.

Arizona: The ACLU’s Reproductive Freedom Project has called this state’s antiabortion law the “most extreme bill of its kind.” That’s because it cuts the time period for a legal abortion to 18 weeks since the government considers life to begin from the last day of the woman’s menstrual cycle. Not only does it defy science, but such an early cutoff date precludes the detection of any fetal abnormalities that might suggest an abortion is advisable. The bill also specifies a mandatory ultrasound—requiring insertion of a vaginal probe!—for anyone seeking an abortion. In addition, her doctor is obligated to show the ultrasound to the pregnant woman and provide her with a photo of the unborn baby.

Ohio: Legislation that would ban voluntarily terminating any pregnancy when the fetus has a heartbeat has passed the House and is pending in the Senate, but if the bill becomes law, it could essentially criminalize all abortions in this state. In many pregnancies, there’s a detectable heartbeat before a woman notices that her period is late.

South Dakota: In 2011, Republican Governor Dennis Daugaard signed a law requiring a three-day waiting period as well as consultation with a registered antichoice pregnancy help center before a woman can have an abortion. Since there aren’t any antichoice centers willing to counsel abortion patients, the law in effect bans abortion. Planned Parenthood, which runs the only abortion clinic in the state, has been seeking an injunction to prevent the law from being enforced while its lawsuit is pending.

Meanwhile, nearly 36% of patients at Fargo, North Dakota’s only abortion clinic come from out of state, mostly South Dakota. And to avoid the hassle in Ohio, women have been traveling to clinics in Detroit. When it comes to getting a safe abortion, the name of the game is Musical States.


Aborting Freedom

Monday, August 20th, 2012

WHAT HAPPENS WHEN POLITICS ENTERS THE WOMB

by Paul Krassner

The Dinosaur Follies—better known as the 2012 Republican Presidential primaries—sucked so badly that the candidates finally turned themselves inside out. Most disgusting was the way they all pandered to their fanatical, antichoice constituents. Ironically, those same puritan politicians supposedly promoting small government also thought it was just fine to force new laws into countless unwilling vaginas.

My Campaign Pandering Award goes to Mitt Romney. He wants to overturn Roe v. Wade, the landmark 1973 Supreme Court decision that deemed abortion a woman’s fundamental right under the Constitution. And yet in 1994, when Romney was running for the U.S. Senate, he came out in favor of choice for women. Freelance journalist Suzan Mazur revealed he’d admitted to Mormon feminist Judith Dushku that “the brethren” in Salt Lake City told him he could take a pro-choice position and that, in fact, he probably had to in order to win an election in a liberal state like Massachusetts.

While Romney now believes that life begins at conception, Rick Santorum believes that life begins at foreplay. He has gone way beyond taking a fanatical stand against a woman’s right to abortion. Santorum is also against contraception even though that would prevent the need for an abortion. And he vows to “ban all pornography”—or as I call it, “masturbation helper”—despite the fact that porn would negate the need for contraception. Basically, Santorum is against pleasure itself, but he is for thought control.

When abortion was illegal in this country, women had no option but to seek out back-alley butchers to perform the procedure. If there was a botched surgery, and the patient had to be hospitalized, the police were called; they wouldn’t allow a doctor to provide a painkiller until the woman divulged the information they sought.

In 1962, a Look magazine article stated, “There is no such thing as a ‘good’ abortionist. All of them are in business strictly for money.” But in my own magazine, the Realist, I published an anonymous interview with Dr. Robert Spencer, a humane abortionist who was known as “The Saint.” Patients from around the country came to his office in Ashland, Pennsylvania. Dr. Spencer had been performing abortions for 40 years, originally charging five dollars and never charging more than a hundred. He rarely used the word pregnant. Rather, he would say,“She was that way, and she came to me for help.” He talked about “the voice of the uterus.”

Lugging my gigantic Webcor tape recorder, I took a five-hour bus trip from New York City to Ashland. It was a small town, and Dr. Spencer’s work was not merely tolerated, but the community also depended on it. The hotel, the restaurant, the dress shop all thrived on the extra business that came from his out-of-town patients.

At his clinic, Dr. Spencer built facilities for African-American patients who weren’t allowed to obtain overnight lodging elsewhere in Ashland. A sign on the ceiling over his operating table said “Keep Calm.” After my interview with Dr. Spencer was published in the Realist, I began to get phone calls from scared, desperate women. They all were in search of a safe abortionist. It was preposterous that they felt compelled to contact the editor of a satirical magazine, but they simply didn’t know where else to turn.

With Dr. Spencer’s permission, I referred them to him. At first, there were only a few calls each week, then several every day. I had never intended to become an underground abortion referral service, but I wasn’t going to stop just because the next issue of the Realist would be containing an interview with somebody else.

A few years later, Pennsylvania state police raided Dr. Spencer’s clinic and arrested him. He remained out of jail only by the grace of politi- cal pressure from those he’d helped. Dr. Spencer was finally forced to retire from his practice, but I continued mine, referring callers to other physicians he’d recommended.

From time to time, I’d be offered money by a woman seeking an abortion, but I never accepted it. And whenever a doctor offered a kickback, I refused. But I’d insist that he give a discount for the same amount to those patients referred by me.

Eventually I was subpoenaed by district attorneys in two cities to appear before grand juries investigating abortion providers. On both occasions, I refused to testify, and each time the D.A. tried to frighten me into cooperating with the threat of arrest.

In Liberty, New York, my name had been extorted from an abortion patient by threatening her with arrest. That’s why one morning at around six o’clock, there was a knock on my door. With reluctance, I was soon being driven a hundred miles to Liberty’s district attorney by the subpoena-waving man who’d awakened me. I was delivered to the D.A., who told me that the doctor had confessed everything on tape. He then gave me until two o’clock that afternoon to change my mind about testifying or else the police would come to take me away.

“I’d better call my lawyer,” I said. I went outside to a public phone and called not a lawyer but the doctor. “That never happened,” he said. I returned to the D.A.’s office and told him that my lawyer said to continue being uncooperative. Then I just sat there waiting for the cops. “They’re on their way,” the D.A. kept warning me. But at two o’clock he simply said, “Okay, you can go home now.”

Bronx District Attorney Burton Roberts took a different approach. In September 1969, he told me that his staff had found an abortionist’s financial records that showed all the money I had received. Roberts went on to say that if I cooperated with the grand jury, he’d grant me immunity from prosecution.

The D.A. extended his hand. “That’s not true,” I said, refusing to shake hands with him. If I had ever accepted any money, I’d have no way of knowing that he was bluffing. Roberts was angry, but he finally had to let me go.

On my behalf, attorney Gerald Lefcourt filed a suit challenging the constitutionality of New York State’s abortion law. Lefcourt pointed out that the district attorney had no power to investigate the violation of an unconstitutional law, and therefore he could not force me to testify. In 1970, I became the only plaintiff in the first lawsuit to declare New York State’s abortion laws unconstitutional. “Later, various women’s groups joined the suit,” Lefcourt recalls, “and ultimately the New York legislature repealed the criminal sanctions against abortion prior to the Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade.”

Dr. Spencer never knew about that. He had died in 1969. An obituary in the New York Times acknowledged the existence of his abortion clinic. The obituary in Ashland’s local paper did not. When I interviewed Dr. Spencer, I asked, “Do you have any idea about how many actual abortions you’ve performed during all these years?”

“To be accurate,” he replied, “it’s 27,006.” The figure, he added, included many women who had been impregnated by police and priests alike.

I never kept records of how many referrals I made, but I’d estimate at least a thousand. At one point I thought the FBI might be listening to my phone calls, and I spoke with a telephone operator to see if there was a way I could find out. She asked me why I thought my line was being tapped, and I said, “Because I refer women to doctors who perform abortions.”

It turned out that the operator was pregnant and didn’t want to be. I was glad to help her out. No wonder my religion is Coincidence.

—————————–

Paul Krassner edited his satirical magazine the Realist from 1958 to 2001. When People magazine called him “father of the underground press,” he immediately demanded a paternity test. Krassner, who was a cofounder of the Yippies (Youth International Party) and a fellow traveler of Ken Kesey and the Merry Pranksters, has authored several books. Recently, the writers’ organization PEN honored him with its Lifetime Achievement Award. Krassner also publishes the infamous Disneyland Memorial Orgy poster available at PaulKrassner.com.


Is Ben Quayle a Pornographer?

Friday, August 17th, 2012

According to Politico, Ben Quayle — the son of George H. W. Bush’s former Vice President Dan Quayle — has a connection to the adult themed website TheDirty.com. Why is this relevant? It seems that Ben is running for the U.S. Congress in the Arizona primary, waving the tried and true “Family Values” banner. However, back in 2007, when the site was called DirtyScottsdale.com, it’s believed that Quayle wrote a column for them under the name of Brock Landers. At first Quayle, the younger, denied the claim. More recently he has begun to back peddle. If the accusation is true, then Ben Quayle is even dumber than his dad. True or not, we don’t want to see another Quayle holding political office.

FOR THE FULL STORY: http://www.verumserum.com/?p=16483


Inside the Koch Brother’s War Room

Sunday, June 3rd, 2012

by Brad Friedman

A thank-you card seems like the appropriate response for having reaped a cool $18 billion under the administration of President Barack Obama, especially during the worst economy in nearly a century. But that’s not the Koch brothers’ style. Because Obama, no matter how Republican he acts, is actually a Democrat. And, dammit, being two of the richest people in the entire nation just isn’t rich enough for either of the far-right Republican Koch boys.

Instead, the brothers—worth $25 billion each, tying them for fourth place on the latest Forbes list of the 400 wealthiest Americans— want more. And they’re declaring “war” to get it—not just any war but the “Mother of All Wars,” states Charles Koch, co-owner with brother David of Koch Industries, the massive oil and chemical conglomerate they inherited from their daddy.

You can hear his declaration yourself thanks to covert audiotapes, which I obtained from a source, that recorded the brothers’ secret political-strategy and fundraising powwow held last summer at a ritzy resort near Vail, Colorado. The Kochs—corporate funders of the fake “grassroots” Tea Party and Republican front groups like Americans for Prosperity—have been convening these biannual, ultraexclusive, ultraconfidential soirees for years. You and I aren’t invited. Neither are the workingclass chumps and suckers they’ve hoaxed into calling themselves members of the Tea Party. Those patsies are just doing the dirty work for the very dirty Koch Industries—this country’s second-largest private company, a major polluter and (surprise!) a leading climate change denier.

Over the years, the Kochs have been forced to pay some $400 million in fines, penalties, settlements and judgments; have stolen nearly 2 million barrels of oil from native Americans, according to former Koch Industries officials; and have allegedly bribed their way into at least half a dozen foreign countries.

One is Iran, where the company’s German subsidiary made millions in petrochemical sales despite a long-standing U.S. trade ban. The Kochs are not patriots. They are profiteers. So who exactly was invited to the Kochs’ conclave? Folks like Rush Limbaugh and Glenn Beck, all manner of elected officials with Rs after their names—like Governor Rick Perry (R-Texas), Governor Chris Christie (R-New Jersey), Governor John Kasich (R-Ohio), Representative Paul Ryan (R-Minnesota)—and even a pair of U.S. Supreme Court justices, namely Antonin Scalia and Clarence Thomas.

You can go to BradBlog.com for the transcripts and audio recorded inside the Kochs’ 2011 Summer Seminar at the Ritz- Carlton Beaver Creek Resort in Bachelor Gulch, Colorado. As usual, the brothers went to extraordinary measures to keep the affair private, going so far as to mount huge speakers to blast static “pink noise” into the surrounding mountains to keep outsiders from listening to their plans.

One theme came up, time and again, by speaker after speaker: the need to collect enough money to fund “the Mother of All Wars we’ve got in the next 18 months,” as Charles Koch explained in his opening remarks, “for the life or death of this country.” He even seemed to compare the President of the United States to the former dictator of Iraq. “We’ve got Saddam Hussein,” Charles Koch proclaimed to the 300 or so corporate barons and political bigwigs in attendance. It was his warm-up for what would be the first of many pleas for still more “war” money over the three-day conference.

After I broke the story, Koch Industries— which refused to respond to my request for an explanation beforehand— claimed Charles wasn’t comparing President Obama to Saddam Hussein. His remarks, according to a statement issued in haste by Koch spokesman Philip Ellender after the story came out, were just “taken out of context” by “far-left groups.”

“Far-left groups” like myself, an independent citizen, journalist and blogger, I guess. For the record, here’s the context: After taking the mic before the first night’s dinner, Charles Koch made a quick joke about Koch Industries leaving him, the CEO, to do the “dirty work that needs to be done.” He then offered the following thoughts: “But we’ve been talking about—we have Saddam Hussein,” Charles said. “This is the Mother of All Wars we’ve got in the next 18 months for the life or death of this country. So I’m not going to do this to put any pressure on anyone here, mind you. This is not pressure. But if this makes your heart feel glad, and you want to be more forthcoming, then so be it.”

Charles then announced he wanted to “recognize not all of our great partners but those partners who have given more than a billion—a mill-, no, billion.” The crowd went wild with hoots and applause at his gaffe. He meant “a million,” but when you’re personally worth $25 billion, it’s an easy mistake to make. That was the context.

What did he mean in his reference to Saddam Hussein? In his ass-covering statement, Ellender struggled to justify it: “To be clear, Mr. Koch was not referring to President Obama in his remarks. The ‘Mother of All Wars’ is a common phrase frequently attributed to Saddam Hussein on the eve of the first Gulf War. Amid record U.S. unemployment, continued economic decline and loss of liberty, the U.S. has been plunged into its own ‘Mother of All Wars.’”

As for the “record U.S. unemployment” Ellender mentioned, let’s not forget to thank the Koch brothers for that as well. Even as their personal fortunes exploded by 40% over the past three years of Obama’s “tyrannical” and “antibusiness” rule, Koch Industries managed to lay off thousands of its own workers.

During his closing remarks, Charles would once again repeat the words of the Iraqi dictator. “We’ve had a lot of tough battles,” he stated. “We’ve lost a lot over the years, and we’ve won some recently. Set the stage for, as I’ve said, the mother of all battles coming up a year from [last] November.” Those remarks are also posted verbatim at BradBlog.com. Nothing is “taken out of context.”

Regarding “some” victories, Charles is most likely referring to the U.S. Supreme Court’s infamous 2010 Citizens United decision allowing for unlimited, secret spending on political campaigns by guys like Charles and David Koch, who have already spent some $100 million in support of their political causes. These include, among other things, buying Republican lawmakers ($11 million since 1989), creating an imaginary uprising after 2008 called the “Tea Party” (since “Sore Loser Party” doesn’t sound as good) and funding right-wing think tanks (Cato Institute, Americans for Prosperity, FreedomWorks) to the tune of $200 million since 1998.

They also spent $33 million just in 2008 and 2009 on studies and front groups to create the impression that thousands of climate scientists who all agree about global warming don’t actually know anything about the phenomenon. (The University of Massachusetts dubbed Koch Industries the tenth-worst U.S. corporate air polluter.)

It wasn’t only the Kochs who spoke of the “war…for the life or death of this country.” The opening-night keynote speaker, Chris Christie (who kept the trip a complete secret from the press and his constituents alike), offered similar ideas. “Under this administration,” the New Jersey governor explained during his stemwinder of a speech, the future of this country “is at greater risk than it has been in my lifetime.” “Their ideas are wrong, and our ideas are right,” Christie declared.

“If we’re going to win this fight, it’s the people in this room that are gonna win it,” he went on to tell the collected billionaires. “It’s the people in this room who have enjoyed all the greatness that America gives us the opportunity to enjoy. They’re going to be the 21st-century patriots who are going to preserve liberty and freedom and opportunity for the next generation. … We’ve got to stand up and fight for the country we’ve inherited.”

Christie continued, “That’s why I’m here tonight. I’m here because it will be you, the people in this room, that are the modern-day patriots who will save this country or let it go by the wayside. It’s up to us. … We cannot let our children down. We cannot let our country down. We cannot let the world down.” After a Q&A session, the tough-talking Jersey governor finished with similar thoughts: “This is a huge moment of crisis and opportunity for our country. All of you are the people who are going to lead us back to American greatness— if you care enough to do it. I can tell you, if you do, you’ve got a friend in that fight.”

To be clear, Christie and the other speakers were warning that those in that room—many of them among the 400 richest Americans, with more combined wealth than the poorest 140 million citizens of this nation—need to take back control of the country in order to save it. These folks are not big believers in democracy— unless they can buy it away from all us poor saps who thought “one man, one vote” actually still applied in the good old U.S. of A.

The closing night’s featured speaker, Judge Andrew Napolitano of Fox News, rallied the assemblage with more of the same ideas but brought them up a notch. He explained how the Second Amendment had been adopted to ensure “the right to shoot at the government.” Really? That might be news to the Secret Service.

“If anybody tells you the Second Amendment is here to protect hunters,” the former federal judge instructed, “they are intentionally distorting history. It was written to let us attack tyrants!” A disturbing suggestion, given all of the rhetoric characterizing the Obama Administration as “tyrannical.”

Napolitano went on to let the “poor” billionaires and millionaires on hand know that they’d really be up against it if the dastardly Barack Obama continued his ways. (Ya know, his ways of extending the Bush tax cuts for the rich, continuing to allow record expansion of oil drilling, not to mention watching as corporate profits reached all-time historic highs while folks like the Kochs laid off thousands of American workers at the very same time.)

“So what do we do?” Napolitano asked. “We do what you’re doing here. We wage a lawful battle against the government. We amass the wealth that is necessary to take the government on.” In other words, the wealth necessary to flood the airwaves with right-wing propaganda.

“What does the government fear the most?” Napolitano said near the end of his speech, ratcheting up the fear and loathing to its scariest crescendo. “I think the government fears fear. I’m afraid the government is going to take the property and the freedom of everybody in this room.”

The titans fell silent. Not that! Not our property and freedom! Of course, for these people, “freedom” is the license to keep ripping off workingclass Americans with tax loopholes nobody else gets, offshore banking, outsourced jobs and Wall Street “capitalism” (privatize the profits and socialize the losses by making us bail them out).

“The government should fear that we will take its power away from it and put it into the hands of worthy custodians of our freedom,” Napolitano added as he finished with a quote by antisocialist John Basil Barnhill—one often misattributed to Thomas Jefferson, as the ex-judge once again did that night. (Hey, he works at Fox “News”; accuracy isn’t a high priority there!)

“Jefferson articulated this,” Napolitano uttered to the hushed room, “when he said, ‘When the people fear the government, there is tyranny. When the government fears the people, there is liberty.’” The crowd at the Beaver Creek Resort went wild. It was still abuzz as Charles Koch retook the stage to rally the troops for the final time, once again reminding them of the “Mother of All Wars” ahead. “We’re overwhelmed in a number of areas,” he said, “and one of those areas, of course, is the media—and we’re overwhelmed. The media’s 90- plus percent against us.”

Of course, many of these billionaires own the media, if not outright, then certainly through their ability to withhold advertising dollars.

Reminding his listeners what all of this is really about, Charles Koch asked them one last time to open their wallets. “I’ve pledged to all of you who’ve stepped forward and are partnering with us that we are absolutely going to do our utmost to invest this money wisely and get the best possible payoff for you in the future of our country.”

It may be war, but it’s all about the payoff. Theirs, not ours. As far as they’re concerned, you and I, the working class of this country—who’ve experienced the real pain over the past decade, who’ve died in the real shooting wars (as opposed to the Kochs’ pretend wars), who’ve seen our homes illegally foreclosed, our pensions wiped out, our jobs outsourced—can go straight to hell. Meanwhile, the very men in that pavilion at Bachelor Gulch have seen their own fortunes skyrocket to all-time historic highs.

But then again, as it’s said, war is hell. For us, not them. They just play toy soldier—at least when they think the rest of us aren’t actually aware of what they are up to. Brad Friedman is a Los Angeles-based investigative journalist and political commentator. Besides cohosting radio’s nationally syndicated Green News Report, he is the executive editor and publisher of The Brad Blog (BradBlog.com).


Cannabinomics – Just What the Doctor Ordered

Thursday, April 26th, 2012

By Christopher Glenn Fichtner, M.D.

CannabinomicsON JUNE 16, 2011, the 40th anniversary of President Richard Nixon’s declaration of “war on drugs,” the New York Times published an op-ed titled “Call Off the Global Drug War.” It was written by none other than former President Jimmy Carter, who cited the “courageous and profoundly important recommendations” of the recent Global Commission on Drug Policy.

These recommendations harkened back to Carter’s own message to Congress on August 2, 1977: “Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself. Nowhere is this more clear than in the laws against possession of marijuana for personal use. The National Commission on Marijuana…concluded years ago that marijuana use should be decriminalized, and I believe it is time to implement those basic recommendations.”

More than three decades and millions of marijuana arrests later, roughly one-third of the states have passed laws reflecting consumer demand for access to herbal cannabis as medicine. There has been a resurgence of interest in marijuana decriminalization, and media coverage of Mexico’s drug-war violence has exploded. At an early 2009 Presidential town hall meeting, one of the most frequently submitted online questions was whether marijuana legalization might provide a valuable stimulus for economic growth.

I suggest in my book Cannabinomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point that we can now observe an intersection of three policy trajectories: the growing consumer demand for herbal cannabis as medicine; the growing recognition of the drug war itself as a public health problem; and an economic crisis that places a premium on optimizing America’s management of its resources.

In 2005, the Colorado SAFER campaign organized and passed by majority vote a Denver initiative to decriminalize possession of up to an ounce of marijuana, arguing that cannabis is safer than alcohol. In November 2006, the SAFER campaign took its public health message statewide in Colorado, where it garnered 41% of the vote. That same election day, a South Dakota medical marijuana initiative mustered 48% approval, while 44% of Nevada voters weighed in favorably on an initiative to tax and regulate the herb. Nevada voters put the question of frank legalization on the ballot long before California’s Proposition 19 to tax and control cannabis came up short at 46% in 2010.

Michigan voters came on board with approval of a medical marijuana law in November 2008, while Massachusetts decriminalized possession with an impressive 65% majority. And only weeks before Proposition 19 failed, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger signed a bill decriminalizing possession of less than an ounce. Late in 2011, a Gallup poll found 50% nationwide support for marijuana legalization, with only 46% opposed.

While serving as state mental health director for Illinois, noting similarities and overlap between jail and public psychiatric hospital populations, I reviewed 2003 data from the Illinois Criminal Justice Information Authority. It showed more arrests statewide for marijuana possession than for all other controlled substances combined. This was not far from the national norm. At the same time, I heard testimonials of patients and advocates fighting to pass a medical marijuana law in Illinois.

Julie, a bright and articulate woman in her early 40s who had suffered with multiple scle- rosis (MS) for over 20 years, schooled me on language. She would not talk about marijuana. In the first place, Julie was not a pot smoker, and more importantly, she refused to accept the hostile projections loaded into a term popularized during the Reefer Madness era and built upon racial tensions. Julie ingested herbal cannabis in the form of three small brownies a day, finding that she could then eliminate prescription muscle relaxants that had left her bedridden with sedation, not to mention keep her use of opiate narcotic pain relievers to a minimum.

In addition, Julie had been prescribed antidepressants— MS often induces mood disturbance through its effects on the brain—but tolerated them poorly due to side effects. Cannabis improved her mood without mental impairment. Julie repeatedly testified before Illinois legislative committees and was viewed by all as a clear-headed spokesperson and patient advocate. From Julie, I learned to reframe “marijuana policy debates” as public conversations on society’s management of cannabis—which I later termed cannabinomics.

Space will not accommodate all the stories of cannabis consumers chronicled in my book, but they include: Seth, who turned to cannabis to control his epileptic seizures when prescribed medicines didn’t work and whose doctor proposed brain surgery while refusing to discuss any possible benefits of marijuana; Jason, who used cannabis to ease phantom limb pain following the amputation of a leg; Mary, whose poststroke rehabilitation included cannabis for chronic pain in an alternative treatment approach that helped her get off prescription medications with uncomfortable side effects; Stuart, who completed his master’s degree despite the obstacle of being quadriplegic from cerebral palsy and who relied upon cannabis to relieve his muscle spasticity and improve his mood; plus the AIDS, cancer and hepatitis patients who use cannabis to relieve pain or chemotherapyinduced nausea or to stimulate appetite in wasting syndromes.

The case of Garry, a Southern California medical cannabis patient, illustrates the hazards of the drug war and its economic impact—and the intersection of both with healthcare. In 2006, when county law enforcement officials opposing the state’s medical cannabis law paid Garry an early-morning visit with the help of federal agents, he jumped out of bed in response to loud knocking. As he opened his front door, he was greeted by a battering ram and a physical takedown maneuver that left him with a dislocated left shoulder, right hand fractures, blunt head trauma and a back injury that aggravated the arthritis for which he grew cannabis in his garage. Before the raid, Garry earned a high six-figure income in his family-owned business installing custom window treatments. He now collects Social Security disability. Many physicians writing medical cannabis recommendations believe that the safety and side effects profile of herbal cannabis favor its availability over the counter rather than on a strict prescription basis, but with an age restriction because it is psychoactive. The “agerestricted, over-the-counter” idea begins to break down the distinction between medicinal and personal use. As a physician and psychiatrist, I would not hold that “all use is medicinal,” but I would offer the guiding principle that “all use should be therapeutic.” Cannabis use need not be pigeonholed into either the palliative care of dying patients, on one hand, or “substance abuse” on the other.

Herbal cannabis contains an array of chemical compounds—some psychoactive, or mind-altering— and others not. The best-studied of these cannabinoid compounds known to be primarily responsible for the mood-elevating or euphoric effects of marijuana (the “high”) is delta-(9)-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC), ironically available as medicine in the United States since 1985. THC is used to alleviate nausea and vomiting from chemotherapy, for stimulation of appetite in AIDS wasting and sometimes for pain relief.

Science tells us that built-in chemical receptors in the human body recognize these cannabinoid molecules. The receptors belong to a natural chemical messenger system that includes the bodily substance anandamide, which produces weak marijuanalike effects. (Ananda is the Sanskrit word for “bliss.”) With the discovery of this endocannabinoid system, numerous cannabinoid compounds other than THC are now being studied, with growing evidence of potential medicinal applications.

For example, cannabidiol (CBD) is a molecule chemically related to THC but is nonpsychoactive, meaning it won’t get you high. Emerging research suggests that CBD may be a better muscle relaxant and anticonvulsant than THC. In addition, CBD appears to have antianxiety effects (as does THC, at modest doses, for some individuals) and may even help alleviate symptoms of psychosis seen in cases of schizophrenia.

But what about reports that use of marijuana may lead to mental illness—especially schizophrenia? The best research to date on the weak statistical association between marijuana use and schizophrenia suggests that cause-and-effect may run in both directions. While research suggests that some people with schizophrenia are genetically vulnerable to adverse effects from marijuana, other research finds a subset whose cannabis use may be associated with improved cognitive functioning.

Academic contributors to the “marijuana and psychosis” research literature often cite the Yale University study that infused volunteer subjects intravenously with THC, only to find that some of them became paranoid and had perceptual disturbances. They ignore the University of Cologne study that compared CBD headto- head with an approved antipsychotic medication in patients diagnosed with schizophrenia. This German study found that CBD was equally effective in decreasing psychotic symptoms with fewer side effects.

Individuals genetically vulnerable to schizophrenia may self-medicate with cannabis early in their illness for symptom relief. The failure of psychiatric researchers to consider this possibility results in a bias toward viewing marijuana use as the cause of later mental illness.

Until recently, California was the only state that did not discriminate against persons with mental illness in its medical cannabis law, which allows physicians to recommend herbal cannabis for debilitating mental health symptoms. But in 2009, New Mexico added post-traumatic stress disorder to its list of conditions for which a physician (or nurse practitioner) could recommend cannabis as medicine. As a psychiatrist with extensive experience prescribing FDA-approved medications to target trauma-related mental health symptoms in combat veterans and others, I consider the New Mexico decision to be an important step forward in making therapeutic alternatives available to those patients.

Regulatory labeling informing consumers about THC and CBD concentrations would better serve those with mental health issues and would do more for public health generally than the current, criminalizing federal policy of strict prohibition. California’s medicinal cannabis producers are beginning to label and standardize their products—which include liquid whole herbal cannabis extracts—in terms of THC and CBD concentrations. This evolving interest in product measurement, standardization and quality control helps build the case for commercial integration or full legalization within a tax-and-regulate framework. In October 2011, the California Medical Association announced its support for policy change in this direction.

Current economic circumstances invite comparisons with the Great Depression. Weary of the bloodshed stemming from illegal booze and the public health hazards of nonregulation, the America that embraced President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal also repealed alcohol prohibition. The realities of our time prompt us to acknowledge that drug criminalization, which never really works anyway, is unaffordable. Cannabis is the low-hanging fruit of drug-policy reform; and medical marijuana is so ripe, it’s falling off the trees in front of us.
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Christopher Glenn Fichtner, M.D., is a board-certified psychiatrist with practices in California and Illinois. His book Cannabinomics: The Marijuana Policy Tipping Point (Well Mind Books, 2010) is available at Cannabinomics.com.

DISCLAIMER: The ideas expressed in this article are those of the author, are for informational and entertainment purposes only, and do not constitute medical advice of any kind.


Fukushima Updated: What They Won’t Tell You

Thursday, April 19th, 2012

by Karl Grossman for HUSTLER Magazine

The “whole world” is being “exposed to the radiation from Fukushima,” explains nuclear physicist Dr. Michio Kaku, professor of physics at the City University of New York. The still-ongoing catastrophe at the sixreactor Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan has caused radioactivity to be “circulating around the entire Earth.”

Major health impacts can be expected in Japan, of course, but also wherever the Fukushima radioactivity has fallen or will fall, including in the United States, say toxicologist Janette D. Sherman, M.D., and epidemiologist Joseph Mangano of the Radiation and Public Health Project. Already, they’ve discovered that infant mortality in parts of the United States has increased substantially as a result of Fukushima fallout.

Dr. Sherman and Mangano cross-checked data on infant mortality from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention with records of fallout from the EPA and found that infant mortality had spiked by an average of 35% in eight cities west of the Rocky Mountains and by 48% in Philadelphia during a tenweek span immediately following the March 11, 2011, Fukushima accident. While Philadelphia and cities in Washington (Seattle), Oregon (Portland), Idaho (Boise) and northern California (Sacramento, San Francisco, Santa Cruz, San Jose and Berkeley) reported drastic increases, infant mortality nationwide in this period rose 2.3%. Infant mortality—defined as the death of children from birth to one year old—is considered an early measure of radiation effects because there is rapid growth and cell division at this stage, increasing the impacts of radioactivity.

Cancer is a consequence of radiation that often takes years to manifest. “A global increase in cancer can be expected from the Fukushima discharges,” Dr. Sherman predicts. The radioactive iodine released will produce thyroid cancer, she notes, and “thyroid irregularities” have already been found in children evacuated from the Fukushima area. Cesium-137—another poison discharged in large quantities from Fukushima—will cause cancer in “soft tissues in the body, notably the breast tissue and the pancreas.” And strontium-90, yet another poison released in large amounts, “goes to the bone to cause leukemia.”

Dr. Sherman, an adviser to the National Cancer Institute, has been studying the impact of radiation since working for the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission in the 1950s. Her books include Life’s Delicate Balance: Causes and Prevention of Breast Cancer. She was also editor of Chernobyl: Consequences of the Catastrophe for People and the Environment, published by the New York Academy of Sciences in 2009.

Authored by a team of European scientists, it determined from available medical data that the Chernobyl release caused some 985,000 people to die between 1986—the year of the nuclear power plant accident—and 2004.

“The Fukushima disaster will be worse than Chernobyl,” Dr. Sherman emphasizes. “No question. This is because it is continuing. They have not stopped the releases of radioactivity—God knows if they ever will.” Moreover, the area in that part of Japan is “far more populated” than the region around Chernobyl, about 60 miles from Kiev, Ukraine’s capital.

The lead author of the Chernobyl study, Russian biologist Dr. Alexey Yablokov, agrees. “We are seeing something that has never happened— a multiple reactor catastrophe…happening within 200 kilometers [125 miles] of a metropolis [Tokyo] of 30 million people.”

Other scientists and medical experts concur that Fukushima will have far greater consequences than Chernobyl. Professor Chris Busby of the School of Biomedical Sciences of the University of Ulster in Northern Ireland says, “Chernobyl went up in one go.” But large amounts of radioactivity have been streaming from Fukushima since March 11 and spreading worldwide. “Fukushima is worse,” Busby adds. He projects more than a million deaths worldwide.

Radioactivity has been found in livestock, crops and other produce many miles from the Fukushima complex—including in beef, milk, leafy vegetables and most recently in rice, which constitutes a major part of the Japanese diet. Radioactive fallout has also been spreading to the United States, contaminating water, soil and farm-grown food products. Across the nation, radioactive iodine and cesium have been detected in milk linked to cows eating radioactive grass. In California—one of the few states conducting any kind of testing for radiation in food— strawberries, kale, spinach, arugula, wild-harvested mushrooms and other vegetables have tested positive for radioactive chemicals.

Dr. Helen Caldicott, president emeritus of Physicians for Social Responsibility, says that based on the radioactive releases from Fukushima, she expects fatalities from the catastrophe will end up being “two to five times the million who have died because of Chernobyl.” Many of those deaths will be in Japan, but no place on Earth will escape this grim reality.

Besides blowing in the wind, the poisons from Fukushima are being spread through sea currents and through food, although some nations have restricted certain food imports from Japan. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration has banned the importation of milk, dairy products, fresh vegetables and fruit originating in areas closest to the Fukushima complex—the prefectures of Fukushima, Ibaraki, Tochigi and Gunma. (Japan is divided into 47 local governing units known as prefectures.) Also, the FDA has announced that it is screening for radiation in other foods imported from Japan, including fish. Epidemiologist Mangano comments: “Despite these efforts, many Americans are and should be concerned about the potential risks of importation of food into the U.S from Japan in general.” According to the U.S.

Department of Agriculture, about 2% of the seafood consumed in this country comes from Japan. Scallops are the largest seafood import from Japan, with some 3,300 metric tons (valued at $64 million) shipped to the United States in 2010. Tuna has been the second-biggest Japanese seafood import. Japan provided an estimated 350 metric tons of tuna (worth $4 million) in 2010.

The sea along the Fukushima site provides a vast pathway for spreading radioactivity. The amount of radioactive iodine in seawater near the power plant has been measured as thousands of times over what the government of Japan considers permissible. Fish caught 50 miles off the coast have been found to contain large amounts of radiation. Further, when radioactive poison gets into the marine environment, a “concentration factor” kicks in as the radiation moves up the food chain. Small fish eat radiation-contaminated seaweed, and medium-size fish eat the small fish. Then big fish eat the medium-size fish, and radioactivity becomes increasingly concentrated. Some of the fish affected by the Fukushima radi- ation are migratory, so it’s not just sushi in Tokyo that’s impacted but also fish consumed globally. Ken Buesseler, a senior scientist with the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, led a research expedition off the northeast coast of Japan to assess the impact of the Fukushima disaster. Buesseler, a recognized expert in the study of radioisotope geochemistry, reported, “When we saw the numbers—hundreds of millions of becquerels [a measure of radioactivity]—we knew this was the largest delivery of radiation into the ocean ever seen.”

Response to the massive Fukushima radioactive discharges has been a massive cover-up and outright denial. The Nuclear Energy Institute—an influential nuclear industry trade group—claims, “No health effects are expected among the Japanese people as a result of the events at Fukushima.” The American Nuclear Society proclaims on its Web site that “no public ill effects are expected from the Fukushima incident.” Mainstream media have become tired of covering the disaster even though radioactivity continues to stream from the Fukushima reactors. Mangano says that “the absurd belief that no one will be harmed by Fukushima is perhaps the strongest evidence of the pattern of deception and denial by nuclear officials in industry and government.”

And it’s not just a PR effort. There have been systematic moves to prevent scientists from getting the data to connect Fukushima radioactivity to illness and death. On May 3, 2011, after weekly monitoring of radioactivity provided the data that Dr. Sherman and Mangano linked to infant mortality, the EPA announced it would only gather readings every three months. Mangano’s opinion? “Outrageous!”

Jeff Ruch, executive director of Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility, said that with the Fukushima “situation still out of control and expected to continue that way for months, and with elevated radioactivity continuing to show up in the U.S., it is inexplicable that the EPA would shut down its radiation monitoring effort.”

Inexplicable, but in line with the nuclear industry’s traditional PR spin, according to Dr. Jeffrey Patterson, immediate past president of Physicians for Social Responsibility. “There has been a coverup, a minimization of the effects of radioactivity,” Patterson points out, “since the development of nuclear weapons and nuclear technology.” Will the nuclear establishment be able to get away with what would be one of the most outrageous Big Lies of all time—that no one has died because of Fukushima?

“I can’t believe this is going on,” said Professor Frank Daulton, who teaches economics and linguistics at Ryukoku University in Kyoto, Japan, about the Fukushima catastrophe. “This is a nightmare. I’m just afraid this has dealt a nearfatal blow to Japan.”

And the consequences for the rest of the world? Thanks to the clout of the nuclear industry and its chokehold on our politicians, it’s doubtful we will ever get the truth about Fukushima. Of course, that could change if our citizens rise up and demand transparency. But how likely is that?
——————

Karl Grossman is an investigative reporter, board member of BeyondNuclear.org and professor of journalism at the State University of New York’s The College at Old Westbury. His six books include Cover Up: What You Are Not Supposed to Know About Nuclear Power. Grossman, the longtime host of the nationally aired TV program Enviro Close-Up, has also written and narrated Three Mile Island Revisited, The Push to Revive Nuclear Power, Chernobyl: A Million Casualties and other documentaries.


Corporate Tax Dodging

Monday, March 12th, 2012

CEOs Get Paid More Than Uncle Sam

By Kimberly Cheng for HUSTLER Magazine

CEOs nationwide are reaping lavish rewards for their aggressive tax dodging. Of America’s 100 corporations with the highest-paid CEOs, 25 paid their top executives more in compensation than they did in 2010 federal income taxes. These 25 CEOs averaged a salary of $16.7 million.

The most profitable of all the firms? General Electric. In 2010, GE alone received tax refunds of $3.3 billion despite a whopping $5.1 billion in U.S. pre-tax profits. CEO Jeff Immelt’s 2009 compensation nearly doubled in 2010 as he raked in $15.2 million. Meanwhile, GE shut down 31 factories, reduced its workforce by 19,000 and cut pay and benefits for employees. GE also surpassed all other corporations in lobbying and political campaign spending. Its total investment in swaying politics to their advantage: $41.8 million.

Click image to enlarge.
CEO Profits


High Treason

Monday, January 16th, 2012

HOW OUR COUNTRY WAS BETRAYED BY THREE PRESIDENTS

by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman for HUSTLER Magazine

Presidential TreasonThe not-so-slow death of our nation by betrayal, bankruptcy and despair has not happened by accident. Three treasonous backstabs by Republicans Richard Nixon, Ronald Reagan (in cahoots with George H.W. Bush) and George W. Bush have poisoned our body politic and bled us into chaos. The first act of treason came in 1968 as the Vietnam War reached a critical turning point. Democratic President Lyndon Baines Johnson was desperate for a truce between North and South Vietnam. His Vice President, Hubert Humphrey, was in a tight Presidential race against Richard Nixon. With demonstrators in the streets, Humphrey needed a cease-fire to get himself into the White House.

Johnson had it all but wrapped up. With a combination of gentle and iron-fisted persuasion, he forced the leaders of South Vietnam into an all-but-final agreement with the North. A truce was imminent, and Humphrey’s election seemed assured. But at the last minute the South Vietnamese pulled out.

In his 1983 book The Price of Power, Seymour Hersh revealed that Henry Kissinger—then LBJ’s adviser on Vietnam peace talks—secretly alerted Nixon’s staff that a cease-fire was looming. According to Hersh, Nixon “was able to get a series of messages to the [President Nguyen Van] Thieu government, making it clear that a Nixon presidency would have different [more favorable] views on the peace negotiations,” hence South Vietnam’s abrupt withdrawal from the Paris peace talks.

Johnson was livid. He even called the Republican Senate Minority Leader, Everett Dirksen, to complain that “they oughtn’t be doing this. This is treason.” “I know,” Dirksen feebly replied.

Johnson blasted Nixon about this on November 3, 1968, just prior to Election Day. As Robert Parry of ConsortiumNews.com has written, “When Johnson confronted Nixon with evidence of the peace-talk sabotage, Nixon insisted on his innocence but acknowledged that he knew what was at stake.”

Said Nixon: “I would never do anything to encourage…Saigon not to come to the table. … Good God, we’ve got to get them to Paris or you can’t have peace.”

With the war still raging, Nixon claimed a narrow victory over Humphrey. He then named Kissinger as his National Security Advisor.

During Nixon’s first term, more than 20,000 U.S. troops died in Vietnam. More than 100,000 were wounded. More than a million Vietnamese were killed. But in 1973, Kissinger was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for negotiating the same settlement in 1972 he’d helped sabotage four years earlier.

According to Parry, Johnson wanted to go public in 1968 with Nixon’s treason. But Clark Clifford, an architect of the CIA and a pillar of the Washington establishment, dissuaded him. In particular, Clifford told LBJ (in a taped conversation) that “some elements of the story are so shocking in their nature that I’m wondering whether it would be good for the country to disclose the story and then possibly have a certain individual [Nixon] elected. It could cast his whole administration under such doubt that I think it would be inimical to our country’s interests.”

In other words, Clifford told LBJ that the country couldn’t handle the reality that its President was a certifiable traitor eligible for the death penalty. Fittingly, Clifford’s upper-crust career ended in disgrace thanks to his entanglement with the crooked Bank of Credit and Commerce, which financed the terrorist group al-Qaeda.

Tormented by the disastrous war that destroyed his Presidency, Johnson died just four years after leaving the White House. Nixon was reelected in 1972, again with a host of dirty dealings, then became the first U.S. President to resign in disgrace. But along the way, Nixon trained a new generation of dirty tricksters that included Dick Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, Karl Rove, William Casey and George H.W. Bush.

It was this Bush who engineered a second act of treason that put Ronald Reagan into the Oval Office with him as Vice President. What became known as “the October surprise” began in 1979 when Iranian revolutionaries seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and took 52 American hostages, holding them deep into this country’s 1980 Presidential campaign. As Election Day neared, incumbent President Jimmy Carter announced he had a deal to bring them home.

Suddenly, however, the deal evaporated. The 52 Americans remained in Iran, and Reagan overcame unfavorable preelection polls to win a landslide victory. “Coincidentally” the hostages were released on January 20, 1981, as Reagan was being sworn in.

Very quickly a wide range of credible sources claimed the GOP had pulled off another game-changing act of treason. Gary Sick, a member of the National Security Council under Presidents Ford and Carter, wrote in the New York Times that the Reagan campaign had illegally interfered with Carter’s negotiations to bring the hostages home.

Sick’s devastating allegations were confirmed by Abholhassan Bani-Sadr, who was elected president of Iran during the hostage crisis. In his book My Turn to Speak: Iran, the Revolution and Secret Deals With the U.S., Bani-Sadr said ex-CIA Director George H.W. Bush and future CIA Director William Casey conspired with Iranian leaders to sabotage President Carter’s attempts to free the hostages.

According to what Bani-Sadr told author Barbara Honegger— a former Reagan-Bush campaign staffer and GOP White House a n a l y s t — t h e Iranians “made a deal with Reagan that the hostages should not be released until after Reagan became President. So then, in return, Reagan would give them arms. We have published documents which show that U.S. arms were shipped, via Israel, in March [1981], about two months after Reagan became President.”

Sergei V. Stepashin, a high-ranking Russian official, made the same claims and—according to reporter Robert Parry—released corroborating files to the U.S. Congress documenting the treason. (It was Parry who broke the Iran-Contra story for Newsweek and the AP.)

Arms dealer and CIA contract employee Richard Brenneke testified that he had flown Reagan’s campaign director, William Casey, to Paris for a series of secret meetings with the Iranians while Carter was also negotiating with them. Brenneke said Casey did the deal to keep the hostages captive until Reagan was sworn in.

Brenneke’s assertions were tested in court when he was found not guilty after being charged with perjury. Jury foreman Mark Kristoff said in an interview, “We were convinced that, yes, there was a meeting, and he [Brenneke] was there, and the other people listed in the indictment were there. … There never was a guilty vote. … It was 100%.”

Ari Ben-Menashe, purportedly an Israeli intelligence agent, swore under oath before Congress that he saw Bush in Paris over the weekend of October 18-19, 1980. Ben- Menashe told Congress that Bush and Casey were in a hotel and headed into negotiations with radical Iranian cleric Mehdi Karroubi. Parry points out in his book Trick or Treason that the late Yasser Arafat—head of the Palestine Liberation Organization—disclosed to President Carter that Republicans seeking help in arranging the logistics of the October surprise arms-for-hostages deal had contacted the PLO in 1980. Alexandre de Marenches, former chief of French intelligence, confided to his biographer that the French secret service had aided Casey in meeting with the Iranians in Paris in 1980.

It is legally treasonous for private citizens to interfere with official negotiations between the U.S. government and a foreign power. Thus, Reagan’s sabotage of Carter’s attempts to bring the embassy hostages home from Tehran—like Nixon’s sabotage of LBJ’s Vietnam peace talks—clearly qualifies as a capital crime.

George W. Bush threw his hat in the ring of “aiding and abetting the enemy” by illegally outing a covert CIA agent in 2003. The felony came as part of the cover-up of the lies he’d employed to suck America into an illegal war.

In the wake of the terror attacks of September 11, 2001, Bush declared he would bring al-Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden to justice. Not long after that, however, Bush all but abandoned the search for Bin Laden. Instead, he told the American public, war was needed to rid Iraq’s U.S.-sponsored dictator, Saddam Hussein, of “weapons of mass destruction.”

Hussein had nothing to do with the 9/11 attacks. In fact, he was Bin Laden’s sworn enemy. Former Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld has since confirmed that Bush knew full well Hussein had no such WMDs. In his recent autobiography, Rumsfeld reveals that Bush’s real reason for going after the Iraqi dictator was to settle a deep psychological score with his father, George H.W. Bush.

Among other things, the younger Bush ordered Secretary of State Colin Powell to lay out before the United Nations a series of blatant falsehoods meant to win support for a U.S. invasion of Iraq. The key lie was a fabricated scenario in which Hussein supposedly tried to obtain uranium for nuclear weapons from an African country. As Bush put it in his infamous 2003 State of the Union address: “The British government has learned that Saddam Hussein recently sought significant quantities of uranium from Africa.”

That White House lie led to a horrific war that has cost the lives of thousands of Americans and hundreds of thousands of Iraqis—not to mention a trillion or more U.S. dollars. The lie was accompanied by an impeachable felony—a blatantly illegal betrayal of a CIA agent.

On July 6, 2003—almost six months after Bush’s deceitful State of the Union address— former ambassador Joseph C. Wilson IV wrote a New York Times op-ed refuting Bush’s cover story for the Iraq War. In “What I Didn’t Find in Africa,” Wilson—who had been sent to Niger by the CIA to investigate the supposed British claims—said he had “little choice but to conclude that some of the intelligence related to Iraq’s nuclear weapons program was twisted to exaggerate the Iraqi threat.”

Wilson contradicted Bush’s claim that Hussein had obtained yellowcake uranium from Niger to build a radioactive weapon. As Wilson put it, “Selling uranium would require the approval of the minister of mines, the prime minister and probably the president. In short, there’s simply too much oversight over too small an industry for a sale to have transpired.” To cover the lie he had told to get the United States into war, Bush decided to discredit and destabilize Wilson—by putting the life of the diplomat’s wife, covert CIA officer Valerie Plame, in jeopardy. But as stipulated by the Intelligence Identities Protection Act of 1982 (passed while Bush’s father was Vice President), it is a felony to identify an undercover CIA agent.

The law reads in part that “whoever, having or having had authorized access to classified information that identifies a covert agent, intentionally discloses any information identifying such covert agent to any individual not authorized to receive classified information, knowing that the information disclosed so identifies such covert agent…shall be…imprisoned not more than ten years.” George H.W. Bush himself stated that any American revealing such info would be committing treason.

After Wilson’s op-ed appeared, senior White House adviser Karl Rove indirectly confirmed for syndicated Washington Post columnist Robert Novak that Plame was a CIA agent. On July 11, Rove did the same for Time magazine’s Matthew Cooper, according to the reporter’s subsequent grand jury testimony. Cooper had previously confirmed hearing about Plame from Vice President Dick Cheney’s chief of staff, I. Lewis “Scooter” Libby, but that Libby hadn’t mentioned her by name.

In his July 14, 2003, column titled “Mission to Niger,” Novak denounced Ambassador Wilson’s claim that the Bush Administration was manipulating data to sell an unjust war. Novak wrote: “Wilson never worked for the CIA, but his wife, Valerie Plame, is an Agency operative on weapons of mass destruction.”

Meanwhile, White House Press Secretary Scott McClellan denied that Rove was Novak’s anonymous source. Following an FBI investigation and a grand jury hearing, Libby was convicted of obstruction of justice, making false statements and two counts of perjury. Neither Libby nor Rove was ever indicted for disclosing Plame’s status as a covert CIA agent to Novak. Cheney later publicly excoriated Bush for not protecting Libby. And in 2008 McClellan toured the nation with his tell-all book What Happened , charging that Bush had authorized the unmasking of Plame’s identity. McClellan told CNN that Cheney should be forced to testify under oath about the Plame leak.

In his book Daybreak, David Swanson writes that Special Counsel Patrick Fitzgerald, who prosecuted Libby, had direct evidence—including a handwritten note by Cheney—that both the President and Vice President were involved in the Plame scandal. According to Swanson, Bush’s commutation of Libby’s sentence “directly interfered with the Special Counsel’s ongoing investigation of Plame’s ‘outing’ and therefore constituted obstruction of justice.”

In all, George W. Bush lied to America and the world about weapons of mass destruction he knew were nonexistent. He then feloniously outed a CIA agent, putting her life and the lives of other intelligence agents at risk, an impeachable crime. Next, he abused his Presidential power by covering it all up, another impeachable offense.

Does this constitute treason? If it doesn’t, what does?

Despite knowing about Richard M. Nixon’s 1968 act of treason, Lyndon B. Johnson chose to remain silent. Although the realities of 1980’s October surprise have been widely published, Jimmy Carter has said nothing, and Bill Clinton took no action while he was President. Now Barack Obama has refused to prosecute George W. Bush and his henchmen Cheney and Rove for Plamegate and their treasonous crimes in Iraq. Through it all the United States has been transformed from the world’s most prosperous country to the most debt-ridden. From a nation built on hopeful democratic ideals to one dominated by large corporations that care about nothing but power and profit.

What it will take to reverse the damage remains to be seen—if indeed it’s even possible. But a good start would be to charge those who committed the acts of treason that made this nightmare happen.

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Ohio-based investigative reporters Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman, who write columns for FreePress.org, have coauthored a number of books on the George W. Bush era and election theft. For more, visit Fitrakis.org and HarveyWasserman.com.


OCCUPY L.A. RAIDED BY LAPD

Thursday, December 1st, 2011

Report by Jordan David

November 30, 2011

Shortly after midnight a militarized police contingent, working with ruthless efficiency, evicted the occupants of the park around L.A.’s City Hall. The operation included approximately 1,800 members of the LAPD, plus officers from the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department. Defiant protesters, hoping for an influx of supporters to stand in opposition to this massive show of force, were stymied when police shut down streets and highway off-ramps. Over 200 protesters were arrested.

Occupy Los Angeles

While the mainstream media is largely reporting that the eviction was Peaceful, with the police acting in a restrained, professional manner, that was only true of the City Hall area, where the sectioned-off press
representatives were allowed to observe the takedown. Those brave enough to venture into the streets witnessed police swinging billy clubs at peaceful demonstrators simply because they refused to get onto the sidewalks.

The nationwide Occupy movement was launched in response to the growing income disparity between America’s rich and the working class. The protesters, who call themselves the 99%, recognize that the playing field is not level and that our politicians are owned by the 1%. It is a fact that the 400 wealthiest people in this country have more money then the bottom 150 million.

A complete report on the Occupy L.A. eviction, plus those in New York City and Denver, will appear in a future issue of HUSTLER Magazine.

Photo caption: Penned in press observe policeman arresting protester./Photo by Jordan David


Occupy Oakland

Tuesday, November 8th, 2011

Did the police provoke the peaceful crowd at Occupy Oakland? Watch the video and decide…

10/25/2011

“The police line prevented any movement of the marches further and then as you can see in the video the sudden unprovoked rush by the police into the crowd. This was at about 5pm on Tuesday 10/25/2011. This was the first use of force by the police on this infamous night. An hour or so later the use of tear gas and flash grenades was again used on broadway which severely injured the marine veteran.” – Occupier


larry flynt's book