Friday, June 27, 2008



Fifth in our Series chronicling the 2008 Flood.

(June 27, Des Moines, IA) In light of all the federal resources available to corn and bean farmers, for some reason major networks and media outlets such as the Associated Press, The New York Times, among other publications, continue to perpetuate falsehoods, myths and inaccurate information regarding the plight of the Iowa farmer post-flood. The real story, the tragic human interest component of this massive flood exists in the lives of the regular citizen, your average home owner, renter, small business; people already paying the price of the greed of their farming brethren.

Long before the first sings that a flood of epic proportions was heading this way, Iowans were paying, as are all Americans, increasing costs for groceries largely due to the shift in agriculture away from food products and into renewable fuels such as Ethanol. The prices of gasoline continue to rise as well. What relief does the home owner flooded out have? Where does the McDonald’s employee whose workplace was destroyed in the swift moving sea of muddy water go? What do average people do to try to carry on and rebuild their lives? Who knows?

However, what is widely known but not spoken aloud is that farmers, good weather, bad weather, bumper crop, no crop, especially the big operators such as the one mentioned in an Associated Press article today who farms 9000 acres, will always do just fine. The Farm Bill and all its outrageous subsidies, programs and payouts arrive in Iowa farmer’s mailboxes hell or high water. Crop insurance and now, additional disaster relief funds and who knows what else will go to these greedy welfare takers. That is a side of their story never told, never mentioned and certainly never really examined by the mainstream press.

Since the Environmental Working Group (EWG) began to publish the names of farm subsidy payouts along with how much federal tax payer money they have received, there has been a little more scrutiny of the Farm Bill. A cursory glance through the subsidies paid top farms in just two of Iowa’s 99 counties exposes the waste, outright fraud and abuse inherent in this terribly flawed program. Two of the counties receiving the largest shares of farm subsidies are Benton and Johnson County. Floyd Rucker, an Iowa based attorney-activist, familiar with this part of the state, was quick to point out some of the wealthiest people, business owners, trusts and a few deceased folks who annually collect hundreds of thousands of dollars. “Money goes to money. The bigger you are, the bigger your operation, the more you will get from these programs. The original intent of this legislation is in no way, shape or form evident in the Farm Bill of recent years, especially this one just passed last week for $307 billion. That was a disgrace”, Rucker commented.

The Brooding Cynyx are painfully aware of how many people out here we are giving apoplexy. Our correspondents continue to face harassment, threats, vandalism, and an isolated fire-bombing. We will persist in our efforts to continue to press these issues, to expose, for all Americans to see, precisely what has become of “farming” in this country, predominantly here in the “Corn Belt”. This is one belt that definitely needs some tightening but, weaning these corn and bean farmers off the government teat, off the steady flow of federal dollars will be extremely difficult.

For more information, please visit: The Environmental Working Group

Ira Shlomo Goldenberg, Special Correspondant, writing for TBC from Iowa City.

Copyright TBC 2008 © All Rights Reserved

Monday, June 23, 2008


GOP Hack Speaks Truth Without Intending To

(June 23, Arlington, VA) The top political operative employed by the John McCain campaign, Charlie Black, told Fortune Magazine that his candidate would benefit from another terrorist attack on United States soil. The addled Senator from Arizona, GOP presidential candidate John McCain, was quick to distance himself from this outrageous statement. However, given the GOP’s history of utilizing fear as a political tactic, many Washington insiders expressed doubt that Mr. Black’s comments were any other than intentional.

Charlie Black, a Texan with rotting teeth and slicked back hair, is a political operative who has long worked for the GOP, some of their more bombastic candidates and is closely affiliated with the Bush family. He was involved in the campaign of George H. W. Bush as well as that of his son, our current occupant of the White House, George W. Bush.

Black cut his teeth in dirty, smear campaign tactics under the tutelage of Lee Atwater, one of the principal architects of "the politics of personal destruction". The very fact that John McCain employs this bastard is undeniable proof of the fallacy at the heart of McCain’s quest for the presidency.

McCain, a product of Washington DC, a long time Senator well versed in the subtle maneuvers that define our legislative process, is now claiming to be “an agent of change.” The 71 year old has served long enough in the Senate that his attempt to position himself as capable of “change “ or “reform” of any kind is ludicrous. McCain is so closely aligned with and to the policies of George W. Bush, the war in Iraq and all the associated failures that he must be counting on the voting public being as senile as he is.

The Obama campaign came out forcefully and swiftly with a highly critical assessment regarding Charlie Black’s inappropriate statement. One top advisor to the Obama camp, speaking anonymously commented, “We know this is the way they will go. The republican’s think they have a lock on national security issues and that by trying to scare the American people, they will be able to claim George W’s third term. We will do everything in our power to not let that happen; we will educate the American voters about the truth and facts. Senator McCain did nothing in his very long Senate career to curtail terrorism. In fact, for the most part, he was negligent in his oversight responsibilities on the Armed Services Committee. We welcome a vigorous debate with him”.

So outrageous were the comments of Mr. Black that even members of his own party, some, long time friends, were quick to criticize him. Obese, habitual gamblers, fellow Texan and Bush family crony, Bill Bennett said, “Charlie Black has not been himself for a long time. I’m not surprised he put his foot in his mouth. I am, however, surprised that he was able to get his head out of his ass long enough to do so”. Texas republican senator John Cornyn, a buffoon of epic proportions even for the US Senate told reporters , “Charlie was right...I mean he...ah..he is right in that we...he...Obama would speak to terrorists. My good friend John McCain would rather bomb the tar outta them instead of sit down and talk”.

In his attempt to divorce himself from Charlie Black’s unintentional disclosure about his campaign's hope, Senator McCain said, “ I have worked tirelessly since 9 11 to prevent another attack”. When reporters pressed him to detail some of his anti-terrorism efforts in the Senate, he quickly changed the subject.

Each passing week seems to reveal another gaffe, blunder or bone-headed error from the McCain campaign. His top economic advisor, former Texas Senator Phill Gramm crafted legislation while in office that paved the way for the recent “mortgage meltdown”. Even such conservative luminaries like Rush Limbaugh, Ted Nugent and Oliver North have all commented on the fact that Mr. McCain, by having a staff of “retreaded, has-beens, morons, idiots and out of touch bozos” completely dispels the concepts as stated in his new campaign slogan, “Reform. Prosperity. Peace.”

The latest national polls show Senator Obama with a significant lead over McCain in all regions and demographic groups except “wealthy, golf-playing, corporate CEO’s married to much, much younger women”.

Copyright 2008 TBC © All Rights Reserved



Fourth in a Series chronicling the 2008 Flood and related developments

(June 23, Iowa City, IA) In what has become a great American past time, the blame game has begun as the flood waters have moved south from this university town. Americans, particularly our elected officials, have become grand masters in the art and practice of reaction. We react; we are not prone to act or, be pro-active. That would require too much effort, energy, time and would seriously distract us from our beloved recreational and leisure time. We have too many TV shows to follow, too many movies to watch, too many gizmos and gadgets to pass our time with. Our collective focus has become so narrow, so myopic that we seem unable to see anything beyond the tight confines of our own families and lives. This, of course, is not a bad trait however we have taken it beyond what other societies and cultures have; we have dramatically altered it within our lifetimes. Our parents and grandparents were not like us; we are nothing like them. The concepts of prolonged hardship, sacrifice, shared responsibility, common courtesy and respect have gone the way of bottled milk, cloth diapers and leaded gasoline. Our disposal society has disposed of the values that made us who we are as a people, as a nation. We have not done our heritage proud.

There was a time in our not too distant history when we were very different indeed. We had leaders who led, who thought, acted and inspired. Perhaps the most vivid, potent example of what and who we were was our defining moment prior to the midpoint of the last century. World War II defined America and Americans to ourselves and the world.

We are now quite adept at closing the barn after our horses have fled, proclaiming, explaining and detailing what should have been done before a specific event, crisis or catastrophe. We seem extraordinarily able to ignore our vulnerabilities yet function in blissful ignorance until something goes wrong, something happens that threatens are sense of safety, security and superiority. We are Americans, after all, crap like that doesn’t happen here.

Oh, but if does; does it ever and crap will be happening more and more frequently as we begin to pay the prices for our ignorance, our greedy, self serving elected officials dereliction of duty and for apathy – our new national epidemic. The drift from who we were to what we’ve become was inexorably subtle initially. It took on vaster dimensions, picked up speed and began to color our perception in the 1960’s. Throughout the 70’s, and 80’s our drift evolved into tectonic movement. Our culture was being reshaped, some participated, some watched but, virtually everyone allowed it. By the 1990’s we were as distant from who we’d been as Mars is from Earth. We were now an in-your-face, aggressive, violent, callous, selfish society of victims, blamers, fools and dopes. We were actually proud of it and began to celebrate our collective stupidity in our media - entertainment - public forums.

(As an aside, America lost one of the most astute cultural observers and commentators yesterday: george Carlin. Known as a ‘comedian” he chronicled our metamorphosis over the course of his long career. he was more than a comedian; his eye and ear was keenly aware and well tuned to comment on us and make us all laugh because we recognized ourselves, certain truths, in his words.)

Sociologists and others can bicker, dicker and speculate on how we’ve arrived at this point. That’s is what they do. Perhaps, though, each of us needs to put a few minutes into thinking about all of this.

Maybe it all began when we realized our government could, would and had lied to us. They had lied to us on so many fronts that cynicism and skepticism accelerated our drift. They lied about Viet Nam, LSD experiments, military and civilian exposures to all sorts of chemicals, toxins, radiation and our lethal materials that helped vault us to the top of the industrialized worlds heap. They lied about the food we ate, the medications we took, they lied when they did not even have to. Lying became so accepted, common and easy we had stopped noticing it. We had come to the point that we expected to be lied to; we thought we were being lied to even when we may not have been. Conspiracy theories, antigovernment slag of every variety fueled our apathy, doubt and confusion forcing us to shrink our worlds into ever tighter little circles. Screw everybody except me and mine was our national anthem. Screw your neighbor, screw a stranger, don’t worry about anyone.

We lost faith in our government, our institutions and, ultimately, in ourselves. They years flew by and we hadn’t even realized how far from familiar shores we were. With ever increasing frequency, “things’ began to happen that may have begun to shake some of us from our hi-tech, easy living, screw you slumber. Our leaders had traded arms for hostages, financed illegal wars, abandoned any effort at oversight, allowed our Marines to be murdered in beirut, terrorists to murder thousands of us on our own soil and still we were so self absorbed as to buy the lies that have us in Iraq fighting a war of choice based on fallacies, fabrication while be waged with our blood and treasure. We noticed as our government left a major American city and its poor inhabitants to fend for themselves as shoddily constructed levees, designed and paid for by our government collapsed. Now once again the US Army Corps of Engineers is under scrutiny. Apparently the new Orleans disaster was not sufficient to prompt some real action of the part of our government. Now that lily-white middle-America is awash in floodwaters, heads will roll. Or will they?


So, here we are. from this vantage point the waters are receding, roads are beginning to open but, everyone here knows that to the south, small hamlets in Missouri, Illinois and beyond are now neck deep in waters that came from here. The Army Corps of Engineers has admitted to being “unable” to certify (whatever that means) some of the levees that line the banks of the Mississippi from its point of origin, through the heartland and downstream to its Gulf of Mexico terminus. Apparently, they have known this for years. They were not alone in their knowledge.

Richard Leopold, the Director of the Iowa Department of Natural Resources told reporters from the AP, Washington Post, new York Times and other wire services that he, personally, was aware of the dubious integrity of many of the levees here in Iowa. A political appointee who jumped through all the requisite hoops is now, suddenly, after the fact, seriously concerned about flood control. He probably is. A little too little, a little too late.

Our infrastructure from coast to coast, from north to south is aged, inadequate and, in many cases, potentially lethal. bridges collapse, electrical grids are antiquated and fail, our roads, tunnels, schools, public hospitals; our very skeleton has a case of osteoporosis that will prove to take lives. It already has.

Oddly, the current administration, in power for the last 7 plus years, has the funding to rebuild Iraq, a country we destroyed but, cannot locate funding, the will or sense of responsibility to invest in our own decrepit infrastructure. That is who we are; that is who we have become.


Soon we will see if, as a nation, we have begun to come to our senses. We will elect a new president and the choices could not be starker or more vividly drawn. But, that is a tale for another day. Soon we will discuss that with you.

Until then; wipe the crusty flakes of complacency from your eyes, and, if you were born in the 1950’s or early 60’s, think of your parents and grandparents, think of our collective innocence vanquished. Time, the “rapacious creditor” will have its way and maybe, before we all regain full consciousness, it will be too late.

This commentary is the product of a collaborative effort including technical, scientific and other sound contributions from ASSPAC, the MRW1 Group and our dedicated, intrepid Cynyx on the ground or, in the water, from Iowa to Mississippi.

Copyright 2008 TBC © All Rights Reserved
Copyright 2008 © All Rights Reserved