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In This Edition

Chris Walker reports, "Schumer Says Senate Could Vote On Filibuster Changes Later This Month."

Ralph Nader asks, "What Are Torts? They're Everywhere!"

Jesse Jackson returns with, "Congress Must Defend Democracy Against Those Who Are Trying To Destroy It."

Jim Hightower tells of, "A Curse, A Blessing, And A Good Food Movement."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Happy New Year."

John Nichols concludes, "2022 Should Be Seen As The Year For Democracy."

James Donahue wonders, "Can We Escape Doomsday?"

David Swanson reports, "Magistrate Takes U.S. Navy To Task For Its Jets, Lies, And Secrecy."

Lisa Friedman returns with, "Biden 'Overpromised And Underdelivered' On Climate. Now, Trouble Looms In 2022."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Bobby Rush Was Never Supposed To Be in Congress. He Was Supposed To Be Dead In 1969."

Juan Cole reports, "Iranian Hackers Deface Jerusalem Post With Missile Threat On Anniversary Of Trump-Netanyahu Assassination Of Gen. Soleimani."

Robert Reich says, "Want An Answer To Trumpism? Rewatch 'It's A Wonderful Life.'"

Thom Hartmann says, "Make No Mistake, Fascism Is On The Ballot In 2022."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Waterford Whispers News reports, "Glaciers Made Of Nothing These Days, Study Finds," but first, Uncle Ernie explores, "The Woman Who Discovered Global Warming."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Lalo Alcaraz, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Chip Somodevilla, Ayo Walker, Ralf-Finn Hestoft, Joshua Lott, Erik McGregor, LightRocket, Drew Angerer, Stan Grossfeld, Erin Schaff, The New York Times, The Boston Globe, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

The Quotable Quote -
The Cartoon Corner -
To End On A Happy Note -
Have You Seen This -
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Welcome one and all to "Uncle Ernie's Issues & Alibis."

Eunice Foote

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The Woman Who Discovered Global Warming
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"Eunice Foote was disadvantaged not only by this lack of an academic community in America and poor communication with Europe, but by two further factors: her gender and her amateur status." ~~~ Roland Jackson

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Help ~~~ The Beatles

I see where a woman named Eunice Foote discovered climate change 5 years before the man who gets credit for it.

I'm betting that you've never heard of Eunice Foote, but she was the first person to document climate change.

Foote's experiment, which was documented in a brief scientific paper in 1856 noted that "the highest effect of the sun's rays, I have found to be in carbonic acid gas [carbon dioxide]."

This discovery laid the groundwork for the modern understanding of the 'greenhouse gas effect' but the recognition was given to an Irish scientist named John Tyndall in 1861.

Eunice Foote was 37 years old when she made her climate breakthrough. Brought up on a farm in Connecticut, in her late teens she attended the Troy Female Seminary (later the Emma Willard School) - the first women's prep school in America.

Based in Troy, New York, it was the first school to offer young women an education that was comparable to a man's, with subjects including advanced maths and science.

One of her teachers was Amos Eaton, who co-founded the nearby Rensselaer School for boys and changed the way that science was taught in America.

It may have also helped that her father shared a name with one of the founding fathers of science - Isaac Newton.

Alongside her interest in science, Foote was also an active women's rights advocate and was on the editorial board of the 1848 Seneca Falls Convention, the first woman's rights conference, organised by prominent suffragist Elizabeth Candy Stanton.

Foote's scientific paper 'On the heat in the sun's rays' was published in the American Journal of Science and Arts in November 1856.

The experiment that she conducted involved two glass cylinders, two thermometers and an air pump. She pumped carbon dioxide into one of the cylinders and air into the other, and then placed them out in the sun.

"The receiver containing the gas became itself much heated - very sensibly more so than the other - and on being removed, it was many times as long in cooling," she says in her paper.

The higher temperature in the carbon dioxide cylinder showed Foote that carbon dioxide traps the most heat. She performed the experiment on a range of different gases including hydrogen and oxygen.

"On comparing the sun's heat in different gases, I found it to be in hydrogen gas, 108 degrees; in common air, 106 degrees; in oxygen gas, 108 degrees; and in carbonic acid gas, 125 degrees."

This finding led Foote to conclude that, "An atmosphere of that gas would give to our earth a high temperature; and if as some suppose, at one period of its history the air had mixed with it a larger proportion than at present, an increased temperature from its own action as well as from increased weight must have necessarily resulted."

This was the first scientific acknowledgement that CO2 had the power to change the temperature of the Earth.

So, you may be asking yourself why did John Tyndall get the credit?

John Tyndall was an Irish physicist, who was already well known within the scientific community for his work on magnetism and polarity when Foote published her findings.

In fact, Tyndall had published a paper on colour blindness in the same edition of The American Journal of Science and Arts as Foote had published her carbon dioxide experiment.

Then in 1861, John Tyndall demonstrated the absorptive nature of gases, including oxygen, water vapour and carbon dioxide. Using a ratio spectrophotometer of his own design, he measured the infrared absorption of these gases in what would later become known as the "greenhouse effect."

There is some debate as to whether Tyndall stole Foote's research, though perhaps it is fairer to say that reading it influenced his future discoveries - though he did not reference her in his findings.

Either way, the result is the same - Tyndall was commemorated as one of the founding fathers of climate change science, while Foote was forgotten until the early 21st century.

Tyndall remained a prominent scientist until his wife accidentally killed him in 1893 by giving him a fatal dose of chloral hydrate, which he took to treat his insomnia.

The 19th century was a key turning point in climate science and the use of fossil fuels. In 1800 the world population reached one billion for the first time and the industrial revolution began to take hold - fuelled by the development of James Watt's steam engine in the late 18th century.

By the 1880s, coal was being used to generate electricity for factories, while the first automobile, Karl Benz's 'Motorwagen' heralded the age of mass private transport.

By 1927, carbon emissions from fossil fuels and industry hit one billion tons per year. Just for context, in 2019 fossil fuel use hit 36.7 billion tons.

These massive societal changes were not fully understood at first, and Swedish chemist Svante Arrhenius believed in 1896 that the greenhouse effect and subsequent temperature rise from burning coal - which he correctly predicted would be a few degrees - might actually be beneficial for humanity.

In fact, the greenhouse effect and its cataclysmic consequences wouldn't begin to be taken seriously until the mid 20th century, after US scientist Wallace Broecker coined the term "global warming."


01-17-1922 ~ 12-31-2021
Thanks for the film!

03-12-1933 ~ 01-01-2022
Thanks for the film!

06-01-1922 ~ 01-04-2022
Thanks for the film!

07-30-1939 ~ 01-06-2022
Thanks for the direction!

02-20-1927 ~ 01-06-2022
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2022 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand -up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Senate Majority Leader Charles Schumer talks to reporters following the weekly Senate
Democratic policy luncheon at the U.S. Capitol on December 14, 2021, in Washington, D.C.

Schumer Says Senate Could Vote On Filibuster Changes Later This Month
It was, indeed, a disastrous year, but we do have some reasons to cheer
By Chris Walker

Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-New York) has promised to set up a vote on changing the filibuster later this month if Republicans in the Senate continue to block voting rights legislation.

This isn't the first time Schumer has suggested changing filibuster rules as a means to subvert Republicans. In September, he hinted that Democrats could potentially change the filibuster rule after the For the People Act was blocked; a more moderate compromise bill offered by conservative Democrat Joe Manchin (West Virginia) was eventually blocked by a GOP filibuster too.

Schumer made a similar promise to change filibuster rules in early November, after Republicans blocked voting rights legislation for the fourth time in less than a year - that time, it was the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which would have allowed federal oversight on state election laws to prevent racial discrimination at the ballot box.

This time, Schumer's promise appears to hold more weight, as he's selected a day for Democrats to vote on changing the filibuster.

In a "Dear Colleague" letter on January 3, Schumer wrote about the anniversary of the January 6 Capitol attack, noting that the U.S. had faced numerous threats to its democracy since the 2020 presidential election - including the onslaught of Republican-backed voter suppression bills across the country.

"Much like the violent insurrectionists who stormed the US Capitol nearly one year ago, Republican officials in states across the country have seized on the former president's Big Lie about widespread voter fraud to enact anti-democratic legislation and seize control of typically non-partisan election administration functions," Schumer wrote. "While these actions all proceed under the guise of so-called 'election integrity,' the true aim couldn't be more clear. They want to unwind the progress of our Union, restrict access to the ballot, silence the voices of millions of voters, and undermine free and fair elections."

Schumer vowed that the Senate would "take strong action to stop this antidemocratic march" by passing voting rights protection bills. But Democrats must change filibuster rules to prevent Republicans from blocking such legislation, he added.

"We must ask ourselves: if the right to vote is the cornerstone of our democracy, then how can we in good conscience allow for a situation in which the Republican Party can debate and pass voter suppression laws at the State level with only a simple majority vote, but not allow the United States Senate to do the same?" Schumer said.

The Senate "must evolve, like it has many times before," to address the assault on democratic rights, Schumer went on. He said that a vote on changing the filibuster was scheduled for January 17 - Martin Luther King Jr. Day - "to protect the foundation of our democracy: free and fair elections."

Of course, it will be difficult for Democrats to persuade Republicans to allow the passage of voting rights legislation or to vote for altering the filibuster - and several moderates in the Democratic caucus have also expressed opposition to such a move, most notably Senators Joe Manchin of West Virginia and Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona. However, other moderates in the caucus, including Angus King (I-Maine), Tim Kaine (D-Virginia) and Jon Tester (D-Montana), have been negotiating with Manchin and Sinema since before the holidays to discuss amending the filibuster rule. Possible amendments to the rule could include returning to a standing or talking filibuster in order to block legislation.

Schumer's letter didn't specify whether he wanted to make small changes to the filibuster or end the rule completely.

Polling from March of last year indicated that most Americans are in favor of ending the filibuster completely if it would enable the passage of meaningful voting rights protections. In a Data for Progress/Vox survey, 52 percent of respondents said they would support altering the archaic Senate rule if it meant the For the People Act would get passed, while only 37 percent said they would be against it.

(c) 2022 Chris Walker is based out of Madison, Wisconsin. Focusing on both national and local topics since the early 2000s, he has produced thousands of articles analysing the issues of the day and their impact on the American people.

What Are Torts? They're Everywhere!
By Ralph Nader

What exposed the Tobacco industry's carcinogenic cover-up? The lethal asbestos industry cover-up? The General Motors' deadly ignition switch defect cover-up? The Catholic Church's pedophile scandal? All kinds of toxic waste poisonings?

Not the state legislatures of our country. Not Congress. Not the regulatory agencies of our federal or state governments. These abuses and other wrongs were exposed by lawsuits brought by individuals or groups of afflicted plaintiffs using the venerable American law of torts.

Almost every day, the media reports on stories of injured parties using our legal system to seek justice for wrongful injuries. Unfortunately, the media almost never mentions that the lawsuits were filed under the law of torts.

Regularly, the media reports someone filing a civil rights lawsuit or a civil liberties lawsuit. When was the last time you read, heard, or saw a journalist start their report by saying..."so and so today filed a tort lawsuit against a reckless manufacturer or a sexual predator, or against the wrongdoers who exposed the people of a town like Flint, Michigan to harmful levels of lead in drinking water? Or lawsuits against Donald Trump for ugly defamations or sexual assaults"?

I was recently discussing this strange omission with Richard Newman, former executive director of the American Museum of Tort Law and a former leading trial attorney in Connecticut. He too was intrigued. He told me that when high school students tour the Museum, their accompanying teachers often admit that they themselves never heard of tort law!

Last fall, a progressive talk show host, who has had many victims of wrongful injuries on her show, visited the museum. While walking through the door, she too declared that she didn't know what tort law was. She certainly did after spending an hour touring the museum. (See

Public ignorance about tort law should have been taken care of in our high schools. Sadly even some lawyers advised us not to use the word "tort" in the Museum's name because nobody would know what it meant.

"Tort" comes from the French word for "a wrongful injury." Millions of torts involving people and property occur every year. Bullies in schools, assaults, negligent drivers, hazardous medicines, defective motor vehicles, toxic chemicals, hospital and medical malpractices, and occupational diseases, and more can all be the sources of a tort claim.

Yes, crimes are almost always torts as well. When police officers use wildly excessive force and innocent people die, families can sue the police department under tort law and have recovered compensation for "wrongful deaths."

American law runs on the notion that "for every wrong, there should be a remedy." When Americans get into trouble with the law, they are told by judges that "ignorance of the law is no excuse" and that "you are presumed to know the law." In that case, why then don't we teach the rudiments of tort law (or fine print contract law for that matter) in high schools?

After all, youngsters are not exempt from wrongful injuries in their daily street and school lives. Just recently, scores of schools' drinking water fountains were found to contain dangerous levels of lead. That is a detectable, preventable condition and would be deemed gross negligence invoking tort law.

Most remarkably, the insurance industry has spent billions of dollars over the past fifty years on advertising and demanding "tort reform", meaning restricting the rights of claimants who go to court and capping the compensation available to injured patients no matter how serious their disability. Still the public's curiosity was never quickened to learn more about tort law and trial by jury. The right to trial by jury is older than the American Revolution, is protected by the seventh amendment to our Constitution and is available to be used by injured parties to help defend against or deter those who would expose people and their property to wrongful harm or damage.

One way to educate people is to do what a physician friend of mine did at a conference of Ear, Nose, and Throat (ENT) specialists. He walked in wearing a Tort Museum T-Shirt, raising eyebrows and provoking discussion.

There are, of course, more systematic ways to inform Americans about tort law. Bring the high school curriculums down to earth and educate students about this great pillar of American freedom. Devote one of the 600 cable channels in America to teaching citizens about the law, and how to use it to improve levels of justice in our country.

From social media to traditional media, the law of torts needs to be illustrated with actual case studies showing its great contribution and even greater potential to provide compensation for or deterrence to all kinds of preventable violence.

Artists and musicians should use their talents to convey many of these David vs. Goliath battles in our courts of law. Oh, for a great song on the delights of having a jury bring a wrongdoer to justice.

The powerless can hold the powerful accountable, with a contingent fee attorney. Tort law remains vastly underutilized-though it is before us in plain sight. The plutocrats must be happy that so few people know about or use the remedies available through tort law.

Hear this practicing plaintiff lawyers-wherever you are: You number 60,000 strong in the U.S. If you each speak to small groups-classes, clubs, reunions, etc.-totaling some 1,000 people a year, that is 60 million people receiving knowledge central to their quality of life and security. Every year! Fascinating human interest stories full of courage, persistence, and vindication of critical rights will captivate and inspire your audiences. What say you, "officers of the court"?

Watch "Litigation and Advocacy to Confront and Survive the Climate Crisis", a panel discussion presented by the American Museum of Tort Law.

(c) 2022 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super -Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Activists rallying for voting rights and D.C. statehood block traffic on Pennsylvania Avenue in the U.S. capital on December 7, 2021.

Congress Must Defend Democracy Against Those Who Are Trying To Destroy It
This is no time for petty politics. It is time for Congress to act to defend free elections and the right to vote before it is too late.
By Jesse Jackson

Jan. 6, 2022 marks one year since the deadly riot at the U.S. Capitol, incited by a president voted out of office by the vast majority of the American people. What is now clear is that Donald Trump and his zealous aides and complicit right-wing legislators were deadly serious about overturning the results of that vote and keeping Trump in office. They failed but have since launched a systematic campaign in states across the country to make it possible to succeed the next time.

A minority party-grounded in the white South-is intent on taking and keeping power, despite the will of the majority-even if democracy itself is destroyed in the process.

Trump's bumbling gang of the incompetent, the craven, the corrupt and the certifiable are often difficult to take seriously. That is a mistake. Over the past year, Republican officials have taken up the cause and moved steadily to rig the rules in their favor.

The overwhelming majority of Republicans now believe Trump's Big Lie that the 2020 election was stolen, despite it being rejected by the courts, by Trump's own attorney general, by professional Republican election officials and even by the partisan audits that Republicans have wasted millions on. Craven Republican legislators repeat the Big Lie, too fearful of Trump's wrath to tell the truth.

That Big Lie has been used to justify a systematic attempt to rig the rules against the majority. Republican state legislators have introduced hundreds of bills to make it more difficult to vote, particularly for minorities and the young. In states like Wisconsin and North Carolina and Texas, partisan gerrymandering draws districts designed to enable the minority party to win a majority of the seats in the state legislatures and congressional districts.

The Big Lie has been used to terrorize election officials and to replace professionals with partisans committed to a certain outcome, not a fair election count.

Even worse, in states like Georgia, Republicans in state legislatures have given themselves the power to reject election results if they don't like the outcome.

This legislative offensive is bolstered by the threat and presence of violence. Election officials who tell the truth have their lives and families threatened. A staggering one-third of Republicans say that violence may be necessary to achieve their political ends.

This assault on democracy is fueled by a racial backlash against the growing electoral power of people of color. This isn't the first time that democracy has been assaulted. After the Civil War freed the slaves, the 15th Amendment was passed to prohibit discrimination in the right to vote. When coalitions of Black and white people emerged to threaten the privilege and power of the plantation South, the reaction was fierce. Armed bands-the Ku Klux Klan and others-terrorized Black people and their allies. Laws were passed and enforced to make it virtually impossible for Black people to register and vote. When Union troops were removed from the South, a form of apartheid called segregation became the law of the land. It took another 100 years before the civil rights movement succeeded with Lyndon Johnson's leadership to end segregation and pass the Voting Rights Act to limit the suppression of the vote.

Now, as Congress reconvenes this January, it must act to protect the right to vote-to protect the democracy-against the seditious reaction that now threatens it. Bipartisan support is desirable but unlikely, with few Republican legislators willing to stand up against the Big Lie or to protect our democracy.

Democrats must act-and act immediately against this threat. That will require ruling that protection of the right to vote is too important to allow it to be sabotaged by a minority wielding the filibuster. Democrats should unite to pass the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act, which revives the Voting Rights Act. It should pass the Freedom to Vote Act-endorsed by the conservative Democrat Sen. Joe Manchin-that would end partisan gerrymandering, create automatic voter registration, guarantee 15 days of early voting, make Election Day a holiday so working people will find it easier to get to the polls, limit dark money in politics and facilitate voting by mail. At least in federal elections, the two bills would go a long way to making certain that elections are free and fair.

No one should be deluded. A minority party-grounded in the white South-is intent on taking and keeping power, despite the will of the majority-even if democracy itself is destroyed in the process. This is no time for petty politics. It is time for Congress to act to defend free elections and the right to vote before it is too late.

(c) 2022 Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

A Curse, A Blessing, And A Good Food Movement

By Jim Hightower

In 1972, I was part of a nationwide campaign that came close to getting the US Senate to reject Earl Butz, Richard Nixon's choice for secretary of agriculture.

A coalition of grassroots farmers, consumers, and public interest organizations teamed up with progressive senators to undertake the almost impossible challenge of defeating the cabinet nominee.

The 51 to 44 Senate vote was so close, because we were able to expose Butz as... well, as butt-ugly. We brought the abusive power of corporate agribusiness into the public consciousness for the first time. We had won a moral victory, but it turned out to be a curse and a blessing.

First, the curse. Butz had risen to prominence in the world of agriculture by devoting himself to the corporate takeover of the global food economy. He openly promoted the preeminence of middleman food manufacturers over family farmers.

"Agriculture is no longer a way of life," he barked, "it's a business." He instructed farmers to "Get big or get out" - and proceeded to shove tens of thousands of them out by promoting an export-based, corporate-run food economy. "Adapt," he warned, "or die." The ruination of farms and rural communities, Butz added, "releases people to do something useful in our society."

The curse of Butz, however, spun off a blessing. Small farmers and food artisans practically threw up at the resulting Twinkieization of America's food. They were sickened that nature's own contribution to human culture was being turned into another plasticized product of corporate profiteers. They threw themselves into creating and sustaining a viable alternative. Linking locally with consumers, environmentalists, community activists, marketers, and others, the Good Food rebellion has since sprouted, spread, and blossomed from coast to coast.

To find farmers markets and other expressions of this movement right where you live, go to

(c) 2022 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

Happy New Year!
A Reflection on 20 Years at Truthout
By William Rivers Pitt

The New Year's holiday is a time for memories, for an accounting of the span you've just passed, for an assessment of where you are now, and for looking down the road and making wild-ass guesses about where you'll be a year from now.

This New Year's Eve is particularly poignant for me, as January 2022 marks 20 years I've been writing and working for Truthout. Trying to wrap my mind around it is a challenge, to say the least... 20 years! When I started this, I was a 30-year-old writer and teacher with almost no gray hair, a manageable waistline and a strangely sunny disposition given the circumstances. September 11 had just happened, the Afghanistan War was barely underway, and the serial horrors of the Iraq War were yet to come.

Now? Let's just say that sunny disposition has a few dings and scuffs in it. I've been riffling through memories as this anniversary has approached, and each has left me more gobsmacked than the last.

There was the upstate New York hotel I overnighted in to give a book lecture at some college up there in late spring of 2003, after the Iraq invasion was well underway. Donald Rumsfeld and his pack of wreckers had been working overtime to convince the American people that Iraq was bristling with weapons of mass destruction (WMD), and that an attack was imminent. I happened past the hotel manager's office, and what do you know? A whole pile of plastic sheeting and duct tape was piled up on the floor awaiting installation, in case Saddam Hussein decided to gas New Paltz.

There were all the times George W. Bush lied and got away with it, thanks in no small part to a co-opted, timid, post-9/11 "news" media. There was the time Dick Cheney refused to give his official papers to the National Archives because, he argued, the vice president's office was not part of the executive branch. There was also the time he shot a guy in the face, and the guy wound up apologizing to him. The time when Barack Obama blew off Abu Ghraib and the horror of CIA black sites with a blithe, "We tortured some folks." The time when Donald Trump was actually president for four years. The time when President Biden (!) had his domestic agenda sabotaged by fellow Democrats.

The time... God save us all, the time...

In the very first article I wrote for Truthout 20 years ago, I concluded with the following paragraph: "It is one thing to coddle and court a corrupt energy company for political and financial gain. It is quite another to coddle and court a murderous terrorist-supporting regime, hindering anti-terrorism investigations in the process, for the purpose of exploiting valuable natural resources. The former cost a number of people their retirement funds. The latter has cost thousands of people their lives. One is criminal. The other is abominable. George W. Bush is deeply implicated in both. There will be hell to pay."

That's the thing, though: There wasn't, hasn't been, and probably never will be any hell paid whatsoever. If you told me 20 years ago that things would be worse today, I'd have found it hard to believe. Yet here we stand, mired in a lethal global pandemic with no end in sight. Mothership capitalism, always bad, is worse. Because of this, the climate is demonstrably worse and now poses an existential threat. The practice of politics is also worse, and the money in politics is worse by an order of magnitude. Gun violence is worse. The Republican Party's hard right turn toward overt fascism is worse. The Democrats' ossified leadership and its talent for dropping bombs on its own boats is worse, though the newly muscular Congressional Progressive Caucus may have words about that ere long.

I got into this to try and make things better. I stuck with Truthout because we are a union shop devoted to that same cause, and because we are beholden to none but our reader-donors and to ourselves. No hedge fund scumbag is going to wake up tomorrow and decide to sell Truthout for parts.

You cannot imagine what that means for a writer of politics in such an untethered time: I am able, because of the freedom provided by our generous readership, to be entirely myself in every word. After 20 years, I can say with joy in my heart that I never, not once, sold out my principles or beliefs in print to mollify a pissy stockholder or a nervous advertiser. None of us here have. Not once, not ever.

Enough for now. If I could make any wish, it would be to get another 20 years to do this, if only for the chance to sit here two decades hence and talk about all the good shit that went down after we cured COVID, kept Trump out of office, vanquished fascism, found a way to turn CO2 and methane into marijuana fertilizer, and shot all that sea-bound plastic into space.

Likely as not, though, I'll be back here in 20 years talking about the day we lost Boston and New York to the Atlantic Ocean. Or maybe not. That's the thing about tomorrow: It's only a rumor. The rest is up to us.

Happy New Year, all. Thanks from my heart for the 20, and God help us, here's to 20 more. Stout hearts.

(c) 2022 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

A participant holding a sign at a march celebrating the defeat of President Donald Trump in Manhattan on November 7, 2020.

2022 Should Be Seen As The Year For Democracy
We are, surely, in a fight over whether the will of the people will be the law of the land. It was brutal in 2021, and it is likely to get uglier in 2022.
By John Nichols

One hundred and fifteen years ago, on Jan. 1, 1907, the German poet Rainer Maria Rilke wrote to his wife, Clara:

"And now, let us believe in a long year that is given to us, new, untouched, full of things that have never been, full of work that has never been done, full of tasks, claims, and demands; and let us see that we learn to take it without letting fall too much of what it has to bestow upon those who demand of it necessary, serious, and great things."
Rilke was a delicious wordsmith, and these are some of his finest phrases. But we ought not imagine that his call for a deep embrace of the new year as a moment of hope and opportunity was merely a romantic notion.

We should begin each new year with a faith in its possibility. That's especially necessary in the year that is just now beginning.

The year that passed on Dec. 31, 2021, was weighted down with compromise, concession, cynicism and, of course, a coup attempt. Add on the lingering threat posed by COVID, and the new threat of inflation, and 2021 can easily be recalled as one big disappointment.

Until we remember that the coup was averted, and a new president and Congress turned the ship of state back in the direction of responsible governance.

The turn was, to be sure, clumsy and incomplete. Yet it holds out the prospect that we might ultimately achieve the promise of economic, social and racial justice, sustainability and peace.

Those may seem like distant goals at this point, when the wreckers of democracy are busy gerrymandering maps, implementing voter suppression schemes and proposing to have partisans override the rules for conducting free and fair elections. We are, surely, in a fight over whether the will of the people will be the law of the land. It was brutal in 2021, and it is likely to get uglier in 2022.

So why be hopeful?

Because the opponents of democracy would not be fighting as hard as they have been if they thought that the future belonged to them. The truth is that they are desperate. They know that they are losing.

In 2020, for the first time since 2008, Democrats won the presidency and control of Congress. Joe Biden's popular ballot margin over Donald Trump exceeded 7 million votes, and the Democrat who proposed a new New Deal won five states that had gone to Trump just four years earlier.

One of those states, Wisconsin, has over the past four years seen progressive Democrats win not just the presidential balloting but races for governor, lieutenant governor, attorney general, secretary of state, state treasurer and a U.S. Senate seat. In addition, progressives have won two statewide contests for the Supreme Court-including one that upended a right-wing incumbent.

The elite proponents of gerrymandering and voter suppression know they can't win honest elections, and that fact horrifies them. They fear a politics they can no longer control on behalf of their own selfish and narrow interests. They are terrified that democracy might deliver a more just and equitable future. But that is the future we should fight for, with hope and determination in 2022-the future when we can demand, and achieve, necessary, serious and great things.

(c) 2022 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Can We Escape Doomsday?
By James Donahue

A news report recently suggested that public belief in a looming apocalypse is one of the reasons people are flashing their credit cards so freely, workers are walking off their jobs and the stock market is acting erratically.

Largely thanks to the Christian church, which is steeped in prophecy of a doomsday event in "the end times," millions if not billions of people all over the world have been expecting something terrible to happen ever since our calendar hit the 2000 mark.

Television documentaries are laced with doomsday scenarios that suggest this event may range from a collision with a stray asteroid to a planetary polar shift. The programs examine the effects of global warming, the possibility of another ice age caused by increased volcanic action, or perhaps a nuclear war.

A lot of would-be soothsayers predicted the return of Jesus on or about New Year's Day, 2000. Small cult groups flocked to Jerusalem and literally set up housekeeping, awaiting the appearance of their messiah. Naturally, the Israeli government found them to be a nuisance and did all it could to discourage them from making public spectacles of themselves.

When Y2K passed and Jesus failed to make his appearance, I suspect some thought the apocalyptic date would happen on January 1, 2001. Purists, of course, saw this as the official start of the 21st Century. But that date also passed without a showing by a savior and a promised rapture of the chosen. In the meantime, the world has been plunging rapidly toward some kind of cataclysmic event, as seen by the increased solar flares, the melting ice caps, the super storms, burning forests and onset of killer diseases.

Then there was the 2012 theory. This was based on the ancient Mayan calendar uncovered in the jungles of Central America. This amazing calendar, which recognized 365 days in each year plus one extra leap-year day every fourth year, reached an abrupt end on Dec. 22, 2012.

Armed with this piece of information, many doomsday prophets said they believed this calendar marked the day the world would end. I found a web site that claimed that the Mayans were given special knowledge by the Annunaki, an alien race of beings that allegedly invaded the Earth thousands of years ago. The site suggested that a pole shift was going to occur on or about this date, causing mass death and destruction of most, if not all life.

It is obvious that the doomsday prophet who developed that particular web site didn't consider the Jesus factor a valid piece of the futuristic puzzle. That might be the only area where I might agree.

Actually, scholars who study the Mayan culture, find the calendar to be a complex and highly accurate record of not only the Earth's yearly cycles, but also movements of the planets and even certain star clusters. The Mayan calendar measures thirteen 144,000-day Earth cycles, with its final cycle, or "baktun," ending on the day of the winter solstice in 2012.

But the conclusion of the Mayan calendar did not mark the end of the world, or the beginning of a new cycle. It appears that the people who carved the calendar on the rock just ran out of room for a larger calendar. And this begs the question: could there not be a new beginning for those of us fortunate enough to survive the deadly obstacle course we seem to be preparing for ourselves in the years to come?

There were reasons for the keen interest in the year 2012. People who study the astrological charts noticed something very interesting about the year 2012. It was a year filled with perfect alignments involving the Sun, Moon, Venus and the Earth. Two solar eclipses occurred. The first was astrologically in conjunct with the star cluster Pleiades, which was of special interest to the Mayans. This star cluster was somehow linked to the Mayan belief in the serpent, which also is an important symbol to contemporary mystics. The second eclipse brought the sun and moon in alignment with the constellation Serpens, recognized by the Mayans as the head of the serpent.

The serpent, or kundalini, is recognized among many native tribes as a phallus. In reality it represents the energy transmitted along the human spine. It is the electrical force that links the body's chakras. And it may be the channel through which we find our escape from the doomsday scenario developing in the old reality we have known in the third dimension. I think the Mayans understood this distinction.

The winter solstice of 2012 was the last in a series of solstices that have the Sun aligned with the equator of our own Galaxy, or the Milky Way.

So did we shift dimensions in 2012 without noticing the change? People who can look into the future believe that something important was about to happen, and this particular moment had all of the elements of being an especially magical event.

I personally believe that some humans . . . at least those who are awake and aware of the fantastic changes occurring all around them . . . have already passed through an important evolutionary process.

I say this because contemporary sooth-sayers and remote viewers have snatched glimpses of humans in the future. They say there is something very different about these people. They appear superior both mentally and physically to contemporary humans.

The secret to this evolutionary process may lie in our own laboratories, where contemporary scientists are even now discovering the very secrets of a long and healthy life through stem cell and genetic engineering. But it may be something else. The key to our next evolutionary step may lie deep within our own memories. Could it be that we just stepped from the third dimension into the fourth?

And if this happened . . . or is about to happen soon . . . can we still find a way out of the looming apocalypse being brought upon us by global warming?

(c) 2022 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Magistrate Takes U.S. Navy To Task For Its Jets, Lies, And Secrecy
By David Swanson

World BEYOND War has long supported efforts to stop noisy, polluting Navy jet flights over state parks in Washington State.

Now a report by Chief United States Magistrate Justice J. Richard Creatura has got the Seattle Times editorial board proposing some sort of "compromise."

Some choice excerpts:

"Here, despite a gargantuan administrative record, covering nearly 200,000 pages of studies, reports, comments, and the like, the Navy selected methods of evaluating the data that supported its goal of increasing Growler operations. The Navy did this at the expense of the public and the environment, turning a blind eye to data that would not support this intended result. Or, to borrow the words of noted sports analyst Vin Scully, the Navy appears to have used certain statistics 'much like a drunk uses a lamppost: for support, not illumination.'

"When reporting on the environmental impact of Growler fuel emissions, the Navy underreported the true amount of Growler fuel emissions and failed to disclose that it was not including any emissions for flights above 3,000 feet. Even after receiving a comment on the issue, the Navy failed to disclose its underreporting and dismissed the issue with broad generalities.

"With respect to the impact of this increased operation on childhood learning, the Navy acknowledged numerous studies that concluded that aircraft noise would measurably impact learning but then arbitrarily concluded that because it could not quantify exactly how the increased operations would interfere with childhood learning, no further analysis was necessary.

"As to the impact of increased jet noise on various bird species, the Navy repeatedly stated that increased noise would have species-specific impacts on the many bird species in the affected area but then failed to conduct a species-specific analysis to determine if some species would be more affected than others. Instead, the Navy simply concluded that certain species were not adversely affected and then extrapolated that all the other species would not be affected, either.

"Regarding evaluating reasonable alternatives to the Growler expansion at NASWI, which the Navy was required to do, the Navy rejected moving the Growler operations to El Centro, California out of hand, summarily concluding that such a move would cost too much and that moving the operation to that location would have its own environmental challenges. The Navy's cursory rationale was arbitrary and capricious and does not provide a valid basis to reject the El Centro alternative.

"For these reasons, the Court recommends that the District Court find the FEIS violated the NEPA and grant all summary judgment motions in part and deny them in part. Dkts. 87, 88, 92. Also, the Court grants plaintiffs leave to submit extra record evidence to address certain issues. Dkt. 85. Assuming the District Court follows this recommendation, it should order supplemental briefing regarding the appropriate remedy for the NEPA violations described herein."

Does this seem like a case where local Congressman and top weapons corporation lackey Adam Smith should step in and solve matters, as the Seattle Times suggests? Or does it seem more like a rare opportunity when a member of the U.S. judicial establishment has refused to bow before the God of War and blurted out "He has no clothes!" Might this not be a chance for courts to actually uphold human rights against an institution that is constantly bombing distant places in the name of human rights?

The local newspaper, the South Whidbey Record, very much wants ear-splitting, child-brain-damaging jets to keep up the sound of freedom, but local activist Tom Ewell sent them this unpublished letter:

"I generally agree with the 12/15 News-Times editorial, 'Lawsuit against Navy not a referendum on Growlers.' But neither is it just a referendum on noting the inadequacies of the impact study the lawsuit addresses. The most important finding in the magistrate's report is rather to support what the critics of the Growlers have been trying to say for years now: the Navy simply feels entitled to make its own decisions, based on its self-serving data and information, with consistent disregard for the health, safety, and well-being of the people the Growler noise impacts. The magistrate's report finally names the arrogance and irresponsible tactics the Navy has historically used to avoid and deny the damage of the excessive noise. As the report states, after thousands of pages and studies on the various negative impacts on health, children, the economy, and the environment, the Navy concludes all this doesn't matter if it doesn't suit their interests. And to emphasize their arrogance about the harm of the noise, they have proposed to make it worse by adding some thirty new jets to their fleet that will only increase the damage the noise creates.

"The central issue has long been a disagreement about how to measure the onsite noise. Consistent with the magistrate's condemning the Navy's presumed right to use only information that serves their interests, the Navy has consistently held that they have only one acceptable noise standard they will recognize. They steadfastly choose to ignore the immediate noise impact people experience directly under the jets - often for hours at a time - and instead average out the offensive data by dividing it by the days of the year. Thus they are able to establish their preferential measurement that is far from the actual on-site noise level. Taken at face value, one can conclude that the Navy's noise measurement policy is not only self serving but, to be honest, it is dishonorable.

"The 12/18 So. Whidbey Record reprinted the editorial from the Everett Herald that suggests the magistrate's report is an opportunity for negotiation. After so many years of defiance and refusal from the Navy to even consider the voices of those impacted by the Growlers without being forced to do so - and even then ignoring the data created - I am concerned about why people would now expect and trust the Navy to engage in good faith negotiations."

(c) 2022 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

President Joe Biden at COP26, the United Nations Climate Change Conference, in Glasgow on Nov. 2, 2021.

Biden 'Overpromised And Underdelivered' On Climate. Now, Trouble Looms In 2022
By Lisa Friedman

WASHINGTON - As the new year opens, President Joe Biden faces an increasingly narrow path to fulfill his ambitious goal of slashing the greenhouse gases generated by the United States that are helping to warm the planet to dangerous levels.

His Build Back Better Act, which contains $555 billion in proposed climate action, is in limbo on Capitol Hill. The Supreme Court is set to hear a pivotal case in February that could significantly restrict his authority to regulate the carbon dioxide that spews from power plants and is driving climate change. And the midterm elections loom in November, threatening his party's control of Congress. Since Republicans have shown little appetite for climate action, a Republican takeover of one or both chambers could freeze movement for years.

The mounting challenges make the next few months critical to secure the safety of the planet as well as Biden's climate legacy, analysts said.

"If they can't pull this off, then we failed; the country has failed the climate test," said John Podesta, a former senior counselor to President Barack Obama and founder of the Center for American Progress, a left-leaning think tank.

Podesta praised the Biden administration for making global warming a priority, creating a White House office of domestic climate policy, appointing an international climate envoy to reassert U.S. leadership on the global stage, moving forward a handful of regulations and proposing major investments in clean energy.

But he also noted that the physics of climate change is unforgiving.

The planet has already warmed an average of about 1.1 degrees Celsius compared with temperatures before the Industrial Revolution. If temperatures continue to rise past 1.5 degrees Celsius, the likelihood of increasingly deadly wildfires, floods, heat waves and other disasters becomes unavoidable, scientists have warned. Countries must immediately and drastically reduce greenhouse gases caused by burning oil, gas and coal if the world is to avert the most catastrophic effects, experts have said.

At international climate talks in Glasgow, Scotland, last year, Biden pledged that the United States, the world's biggest polluter in historical terms, would cut its emissions at least 50% below 2005 levels by the end of this decade. He urged other countries to take similar steps. But that will be a hard sell if the United States fails to act by the time countries gather for the next climate talks in Egypt in November.

"If you can't meet the goal, you've lost credibility internationally," Podesta said, adding that he would grade Biden's first year on climate policy as "an incomplete."

When he entered the White House, Biden identified climate change as one of four priorities, along with battling the coronavirus pandemic, strengthening the economy and addressing racial inequity.

It was a dramatic reversal after the tenure of President Donald Trump, who frequently mocked climate science, sought to expand oil and gas drilling and loosened a raft of environmental regulations, including those governing greenhouse gas emissions.

"The most important thing he did was to draw a sharp contrast with his predecessor within the first days of his presidency," said Sen. Chris Coons, D-Del., who has close ties to Biden.

Biden immediately rejoined the 2015 Paris climate agreement, in which nearly 200 countries pledged to try to hold temperature rise "well below" 2 degrees Celsius. He canceled permits for the Keystone XL pipeline, which would have run 1,209 miles from the Canadian oil sands to Nebraska. He paused new leases for oil and gas drilling on public lands and in federal waters, and called for increasing renewable energy production, with the goal of doubling offshore wind power by 2030.

Biden installed longtime climate advocates in key positions and made tackling the climate crisis a priority across the federal government. The early flurry of efforts culminated in a virtual summit in April at which Biden corralled world leaders to make new pledges to cut carbon dioxide emissions.

On Capitol Hill, Biden led passage of a $1 trillion bipartisan infrastructure bill that included billions for clean energy research and making communities more resilient to disasters, although it will do little to reduce emissions.

But cracks in Biden's agenda quickly appeared.

In June, a federal judge in Louisiana sided with Republican attorneys general from 13 states who argued that Biden lacked the legal authority to pause new oil and gas leases. As gasoline prices surged in the summer and fall, the White House sought to increase oil production, even as Biden implored world leaders to stop burning fossil fuels.

Just days after the Glasgow climate talks, the administration auctioned off nearly 80 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico, a record for that location, for offshore drilling, despite a campaign promise by Biden that he would end drilling on federal lands and waters.

White House officials said they were legally compelled to hold the lease sale, which the Interior Department said had the potential to yield 1.12 billion barrels of oil and 4.4 trillion cubic feet of natural gas over the life of the 50-year leases. But environmental groups, joined by several Democratic lawmakers, argue that the administration could have done more to prevent the sale and are suing the administration to stop it.

Most notably, Biden failed to persuade the single Democratic holdout, Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia, to vote for his $1.7 billion Build Back Better bill, placing its future in jeopardy in an evenly split Senate. The House passed the package in November.

In negotiations with the White House, Manchin insisted that the Biden administration strip out the most muscular part of the bill, a clean electricity program that would have rewarded electric utilities that stopped burning fossil fuels in favor of wind, solar and other clean energy, and penalized those that did not. Manchin also scuttled a provision that would have prohibited most offshore oil drilling.

The legislation still contains about $555 billion for other climate provisions, including $320 billion in tax incentives for producers and purchasers of wind, solar and nuclear power, inducements intended to speed up a transition away from oil, gas and coal. Analysts say it would help the United States to get at least halfway to Biden's climate goals. The future of the legislation remains uncertain, although Senate Democrats said Tuesday that they were determined to see some version of it pass this year.

"Objectively, he overpromised and underdelivered," said Kevin Book, managing director of ClearView Energy Partners, a Washington-based research firm.

Still, Book said that while the administration did not do as much as Biden promised, it has taken significant first steps.

"The world without Build Back Better may not be as green as Biden campaigned on, but it's likely to be greener still than anyone expected," he said.

White House officials said they were proud of their accomplishments. The administration finalized a rule to tighten vehicle tailpipe pollution for vehicles in the model year 2023, set regulations to phase out hydrofluorocarbons, planet-warming chemicals used in air conditioning and refrigeration; and imposed new rules to reduce the federal government's carbon footprint.

The administration also has started work on other regulations governing emissions of methane, another powerful greenhouse gas, and new requirements that publicly traded companies disclose climate-related financial risks. At the summit in Glasgow, the United States persuaded other countries to agree to intensify their efforts to fight climate change.

Gina McCarthy, Biden's climate change adviser, said in a statement that the administration's climate efforts were "just getting started."

"After a year of overseeing a whole-of-government effort to put our country on a path to tackle the climate crisis, I have never been more optimistic, more hopeful or more confident that our country is leading the charge," McCarthy said.

But many activists said they were disenchanted with the president.

"Joe Biden started strong with the executive actions back in January, and since then he has really been a disappointment," said Ellen Sciales, a spokesperson for the Sunrise Movement, a youth-led environmental group that helped spur a jump in young voters concerned about climate in 2020. She said she feared it would be difficult to turn out those voters again in November.

"He made a lot of promises on cutting emissions, and we question whether or not that's on track," she said, adding that it "was a slap in the face" to environmentalists when Biden went to Glasgow to declare the United States a climate leader only to quickly lease millions of acres in the Gulf to oil and gas companies for drilling.

Meanwhile, the administration has been slow to make progress on major new environmental regulations, in part because agencies were hollowed out during the Trump administration, leaving a crush of work to fewer people. The Biden administration also has intentionally slowed some regulatory action so as not to antagonize industry or lawmakers from fossil fuel states before a vote is held on the Build Back Better Act, according to three people close to the administration. The Environmental Protection Agency said it was working on tough new tailpipe emissions rules that would affect vehicles in the model year 2027 and was also designing new regulations for electric utilities. Rules that had been expected regarding limits on mercury emissions from power plants and regulations around wastewater from coal plants are also still in progress.

"While it's important to do things quickly, it's also important to do a good job," said Richard Revesz, a professor of environmental law at New York University. He noted that the Trump administration moved rapidly to undo Obama's policies, and most of those efforts were considered rushed and sloppy, leading to a high rate of decisions being overturned by courts.

But Revesz noted that the process of writing regulations is time-consuming, and rules that are not finalized early in a presidential term can be more easily undone by a future administration. "If they haven't moved by the end of next year, the administration will have missed a significant opportunity," he said.

Legal experts also warn that the administration cannot count on regulatory efforts. Early this year, the Supreme Court will hear a case brought by Republican-led states and coal companies to limit the EPA's ability to cut emissions.

"I think this Supreme Court case is going to establish really firmly the limits of EPA's authority," said Jeffrey Holmstead, a lawyer at Bracewell LLP who served in the EPA during both Bush administrations.

Manish Bapna, president of the Natural Resources Defense Council, an environmental group, said he saw 2022 as a make-or-break year.

"Most of the hard work remains ahead of us," Bapna said.

(c) 2022 Lisa Friedman

Illinois us Congressman Bobby Rush speaks to the crowd at a rally for Illinois governor
Pat Quinn at the Chicago state university convocation center on the south side of Chicago.

Bobby Rush Was Never Supposed To Be in Congress. He Was Supposed To Be Dead In 1969
The Illinois congressman and former Black Panther has announced his retirement.
By Charles P. Pierce

Illinois Congressman Bobby Rush announced on Tuesday that he would not be seeking another term after serving for 30 years in the House of Representatives. It was not supposed to happen, because Bobby Rush was not supposed to be in Congress, because Bobby Rush was not supposed to run for Congress, because Bobby Rush was supposed to be cold and dead since 1969.

On December 4 of that year, elements of the Chicago Police Department converged on an apartment at 2337 W. Monroe Street on Chicago's West Side. They kicked down the door and opened fire. Some of them shot through the windows from the sidewalk. Some 90-odd rounds riddled the apartment. Four men inside the apartment were wounded. Two were dead, including Fred Hampton, the charismatic leader of the Chicago chapter of the Black Panther Party.

Bobby Rush, who'd co-founded the chapter with Hampton, was supposed to be the third Panther leader assassinated that dark morning, but he chose to spend the night somewhere else. Afterwards, he contacted the Reverend Jesse Jackson and told him he wanted to surrender to the police onstage at Jackson's Operation Breadbasket headquarters. He thought it would be safer that way. These were the days when the U.S. government killed people like Bobby Rush, and largely got away with it.

Rush marches with Jesse Jackson in 2015.

Years ago, in the employ of another magazine, I sat with Rush in his office and listened in amazement at the equanimity with which he told the story of that night in December of 1969, and how he was supposed to be dead, too, and not run for Congress, let alone get elected and serve for 30 years. He was not supposed to be the only Democrat ever to defeat Barack Obama in an election. (Obama primaried Rush in 2000). He was not supposed to fight as hard as he did to unravel the conspiracy and cover-up behind the carnage he'd so narrowly avoided on West Monroe Street. Once some activists boosted the COINTELPRO files from an FBI office in Pennsylvania, the cover-up unraveled over several years. Hampton was set up by the FBI to be murdered by the Chicago police. So was Bobby Rush.

So, he was not supposed to be up there Tuesday announcing his retirement in the church where Emmett Till had had his open-casket funeral in 1955. Rush left the Panthers when the organization fell into disarray and a sort of nihilistic violence. Rush's Christianity was offended by what he called the "glorification of thuggery and drugs." But he never turned his coat. I asked him about leaving the Panthers during our long conversation, and he replied, in a phrase that has popped to mind on a number of occasions over the years:

"We had a saying. 'Spontaneity is the art of fools.'"

(c) 2022 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote -

"We have more income and wealth inequality in America today than at any time in history. The corporate elite basically own many parts of the Congress. If you think Reconstruction is ancient history and its lessons are not relevant to today, you are missing a very important point."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Iranian Hackers Deface Jerusalem Post With Missile Threat On Anniversary Of Trump-Netanyahu Assassination Of Gen. Soleimani
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - On Monday morning, according to Iran International, Iranian hackers defaced the front page of the Israeli newspaper the Jerusalem Post and the Twitter feed of the Hebrew-language daily Maariv [Evening]. They posted an image, which stayed up a couple of hours, of a missile aimed at the Shimon Peres Negev Nuclear Research Center near the city of Dimona, according to Jon Gambrell at AP.

The hacking commemorated the murder of Gen Qasem Soleimani. On January 3, 2020, Trump assassinated Soleimani, the head of the special ops Jerusalem Brigade of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, with a missile strike on the Baghdad International Airport. The strike also killed several Iraqis who had met Soleimani as he came through the arrivals gate on regular passenger plane on a diplomatic passport. Among them was an Iraqi general, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the leader of the Brigades of the Party of God, a Shiite militia. The Iraqi prime minister said Soleimani had come to Baghdad in a bid to negotiate better relations with Saudi Arabia.

Jack Murphy and Zach Dorfman at Yahoo News revealed that the Israelis had intel on all three cell phones that Soleimani used. While he attempted to avoid surveillance by switching off one phone and turning on another, it did him no good since the Israelis could follow the newly switched-on phone, as well. It is not clear if they used Pegasus software for this purpose, a program now banned in the United States and the maker of which is being sued by Apple. It was the Israelis who helped the US track Soleimani on his flight from Damascus to Baghdad.

Barak Ravid, writing at Axios, revealed that that Trump felt used, having expected the Israelis to be more closely involved in the actual killing. Trump complained that the Israelis were "willing to fight Iran to the last American soldier." Trump told Ravid, "Israel did not do the right thing." He added, "I can't talk about this story. But I was very disappointed in Israel having to do with that event. ...People will be hearing about that at the right time."

The image posted by the Iranian hackers showed the missile flying from the ring on Soleimani's finger toward the Israeli nuclear research facility. Above the image, they wrote, "We are close to where you don't think about it."

I had long been puzzled by the alarm in Washington and Tel Aviv over Iran's ballistic missile program. Iran does not have unconventional weapons, and so couldn't put anything but an ordinary explosive in the nose of the missile. It would be crazy for it to fire such a missile at a nuclear power like Israel, which has some 200 nuclear warheads. But this poster tips me that the Israeli Dimona reactor and other nuclear facilities in its vicinity would become the equivalent of a dirty bomb if they were hit with a conventional missile. Even though it could not cause a nuclear detonation, it would throw up radioactive fallout with severe ill health effects for the surrounding population. The same thing is true, by the way, for any conventional strike on Iran's Natanz facility - it would devastate the major city of Isfahan (at 2 million, the size of Houston) with the effects of a dirty bomb.

So that seems to have been the hackers' threat.

Hundreds of Iraqis gathered on Monday to demonstrate in downtown Baghdad on the anniversary, demanding the complete withdrawal of US troops from the country. The Iraqi parliament had instructed the prime minister to find a way to expel all US troops after the assassination. The outgoing prime minister and the Biden administration reached a deal last fall for 2500 US troop to remain in country as trainers and advisers but with no active combat role. They are helping Baghdad with mop-up operations against the ISIL terrorist group, which still staged attacks occasionally in northern Iraq.

After the assassination of Jan. 3, 2020, Iran launched missiles at Iraqi bases housing US troops, giving some 100 US military personnel concussions, of which Trump made light. The precision of the Iranian missiles, which carefully avoided directly hitting the troops' barracks, astonished US intelligence at the time, since Iran had not earlier had that capability.

With the assassination, Trump took the US to the brink of another major war in the Middle East, this time with Iran. It was more the restraint of the Iranian response than anything Trump did that forestalled that catastrophe. Although Soleimani was successful in backing Shiite militias in Iraq, Syria and Lebanon, this policy was an Iranian national one, and has simply continued under his successor, Ismail Qaani, the current head of the Jerusalem Brigade. If anything, Qaani has gained power that Soleimani did not have, with the election in June of hard liner Ibrahim Raisi. The common US and Israeli conviction that killing leaders debilitates an organization has once again been shown to be flawed.

(c) 2022 Juan R.I. Cole is the founder and chief editor of Informed Comment. He is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Want An Answer To Trumpism? Rewatch "It's A Wonderful Life"
We must answer Trump's neofascism with hope
By Robert Reich

As I've considered the real lesson of January 6, I've been prompted to rewatch a movie that provides a hint of an answer - Frank Capra's "It's a Wonderful Life," which was released 75 years ago last month.

When I first saw the movie in the late 1960s, I thought it pure hokum. America was coming apart over Vietnam and the assassinations of Martin Luther King, Jr. and Robert F. Kennedy, and I remember thinking the movie could have been produced by some propaganda bureau of the government that had been told to create a white-washed (and white) version of the United States.

But in more recent years I've come around. As America has moved closer to being an oligarchy - with staggering inequalities of income, wealth, and power not seen in over a century - and closer to Trumpian neofascism (the two moves are connected), "It's a Wonderful Life" speaks to what's gone wrong and what must be done to make it right.

As you probably know (and if you don't, this weekend would be a good time to watch it), the movie's central conflict is between Mr. Potter (played by Lionel Barrymore) and George Bailey (Jimmy Stewart). Potter is a greedy and cruel banker. George is the generous and honorable head of Bedford Fall's building-and-loan - the one entity standing in the way of Potter's total domination of the town. When George accidentally loses some deposits that fall into the hands of Potter, Potter sees an opportunity to ruin George. This brings George to the bridge where he contemplates suicide, thinking his life has been worthless - before a guardian angel's counsel turns him homeward. It's two radically opposed versions of America. In Potter's social-Darwinist view, people compete with one another for resources. Those who succeed deserve to win because they've outrun everyone else in that competitive race. After the death of George's father, who founded the building-and-loan, Potter moves to dissolve it - claiming George's father "was not a businessman. He was a man of high ideals, so-called, but ideals without common sense can ruin a town." For Potter, common sense is not coddling the "discontented rabble."

In George's view, Bedford Falls is a community whose members help each other. He tells Potter that the so-called "rabble ... do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community." His father helped them build homes on credit so they could afford a decent life. "People were human beings to him," George tells Potter, "but to you, they're cattle."

When George contemplates ending it all, his guardian angel shows him how bleak Bedford Falls would be had George never lived - poor, fearful, and dependent on Potter. The movie ends when everyone George has helped (virtually the entire town) pitch in to bail out George and his building-and-loan.

It's a cartoon, of course - but a cartoon that's fast becoming a reality in America. Do we join together or let the Potters of America own and run everything?

Soon after "It's a Wonderful Life" was released, the FBI considered it evidence of Communist Party infiltration of the film industry. The FBI's Los Angeles field office - using a report by an ad-hoc group that included Fountainhead writer and future Trump pin-up girl Ayn Rand - warned that the movie represented "rather obvious attempts to discredit bankers by casting Lionel Barrymore as a 'scrooge-type' so that he would be the most hated man in the picture." The movie "deliberately maligned the upper class, attempting to show the people who had money were mean and despicable characters. This ... is a common trick used by Communists."

The FBI report compared "It's a Wonderful Life" to a Soviet film, and alleged that Frank Capra was "associated with left-wing groups" and that screenwriters Frances Goodrich and Albert Hackett were "very close to known Communists."

This was all rubbish, of course - and a prelude to the Red Scare led by Republican Senator Joe McCarthy of Wisconsin, who launched a series of highly publicized probes into alleged Communist penetration of Hollywood, the State Department, and even the US Army.

The movie was also prelude to modern Republican ideology. Since Ronald Reagan, Republicans have used Potter-like social Darwinism to justify everything tax cuts for the wealthy, union-busting, and cutbacks in social safety nets. Rand herself became a hero to many in the Trump administration.

Above all, Reagan Republicans, CEOs, and Trumpers have used the strategy of "divide-and-conquer" to generate division among Americans (a kind of political social-Darwinism). That way, Americans stay angry and suspicious of one another, and don't look upward to see where all the money and power have gone. And won't join together to claim it back.

What would Republicans say about "It's a Wonderful Life" if it were released today? They'd probably call it socialist rather than communist, but it would make them squirm all the same - especially given the eery similarity between Lionel Barrymore's Mr. Potter and you know who.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

A supporter of President Trump stands outside the Massachusetts State House on January 6, 2021, as Congress began the
ratification of the Electoral College votes to certify President-elect Joe Bidens electoral college victory.

Make No Mistake, Fascism Is On The Ballot In 2022
The biggest battle for the survival of American democracy is before us now.
By Thom Hartmann

When fascism reared its ugly head in Europe and Japan in the 1920s, it signaled a coming war. As a newer and slicker form of that despotism rises here in America, it may well bring the same type of crisis.

We stand on the threshold of momentous change in this nation. While it's rarely discussed in this frame, the next two elections will almost certainly determine what form of government we'll have for at least a generation.

Will America become more free and democratic, or will we devolve into a 21st century form of Trumpy fascism?

The Democratic Party is institutionally committed to America finally realizing a republican form of democracy, rejecting gerrymanders and voter suppression while embracing the kind of "maximum participation" ease of voting seen in every other advanced democracy in the world.

Three significant pieces of legislation to reverse the Supreme Court's gutting of the Voting Rights Act and protect the integrity of the vote have passed the House and if Democratic Leadership (looking at you, Biden and Schumer) can get them through the Senate there is a vastly improved chance for the survival of our form of government.

Additionally, most federally elected Democrats support strengthening our democracy by ending the filibuster in the Senate and adding at least Washington, DC as a new state (with high support for Puerto Rico as well).

But do Democrats have the will and power to fight a battle against financially well-armed rightwing billionaires and their predatory and polluting industries?

Not to mention taking on today's GOP version of Mussolini's Blackshirts, the volunteer civilian "tough guy" militias that initially roamed around Italy beating up Jews and lefties?

The Republican Party, having openly given up on democracy, is trying through gerrymandering, voter suppression and election rigging to seize and hold control of our nation against the will of the majority of America's voters.

Calling it a "slow motion insurrection," the Associated Press reports how the GOP is taking over election systems across America with the explicit goal of refusing to certify elections that they lose in 2022 and 2024.

"Never in the country's modern history," the AP notes, "has a a major party sought to turn the administration of elections into an explicitly partisan act."
In the process, the Republican Party has put fascism on the ballot in 2022 and 2024.

Benito Mussolini pioneered this system back in the 1920s, synthesizing it out of the most corrupt eras of the declining Roman Empire, and named it after the fasces, the ancient symbol of that empire.

A single thin stick is easily broken. But when you bundle a dozen or more of them together and wrap them with a leather strap, they are collectively unbreakable without enormous effort.

When Mussolini put forward the fasces as the symbol for his new Italian movement, however, the bundle of sticks he had in mind weren't the people: they were Italian corporations and the wealthy elite who owned and ran them.

As the dictionary notes, the system of government Mussolini reinvented was called fascism and prescribed merging the interests of giant corporations and their leaders with the power of the state. It is, literally, "the merging of state and business leadership..."

Such a merger was explicitly rejected by the Founders of this nation and the Framers of the Constitution, who had just fought a war against Britain and its largest and most profitable corporation, the East India Company.

Thomas Paine said it best: we created government to serve We, The People first and foremost.

"[I]ndividuals themselves," he wrote in The Rights of Man in 1791, "entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist." [italics added]
As the Declaration of Independence says: "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed..."

But even in the early years of our republic those who'd accumulated great wealth tried to step in to take it over to promote their own interests.

Then-retired President Jefferson laid out in an 1816 letter to Samuel Kerchival what today would be considered a blistering attack on corporate power:

"Those seeking profits," he wrote, "were they given total freedom, would not be the ones to trust to keep government pure and our rights secure. Indeed, it has always been those seeking wealth who were the source of corruption in government. ...I am not among those who fear the people. They, and not the rich, are our dependence for continued freedom."
Corporate power has always been influential in America, but five "conservatives" on the Supreme Court elevated it to a near-Mussolini level in their Citizens United decision, opening the door for the GOP to embrace an Americanized version of Mussolini's idea:
The "conservatives" on the Court first ruled that billionaires buying politicians was "free speech" instead of "bribery" (Buckley 1976 and Citizens United 2010).

They then unleashed corporate power, ruling that corporations are "persons" with "rights" under the Bill of Rights, including the "free speech" and "assembly" rights to "petition the government" and financially support politicians (Bellotti 1978 and Citizens United 2010).

Yes, as Mitt Romney famously said, "Corporations are people, my friend." All because a handful of lifetime-appointed right-wingers on the Supreme Court decided it would help their wealthy patrons.

In Justice John Paul Stevens' dissent in Citizens United, he pointed out how absurd this reasoning was: corporations in their modern form didn't even exist when the Constitution was written in 1787.

"All general business corporation statutes appear to date from well after 1800," Stevens pointed out to his conservative colleagues on the Court. "The Framers thus took it as a given that corporations could be comprehensively regulated in the service of the public welfare. ...[T]hey are not themselves members of 'We the People' by whom and for whom our Constitution was established."
As if he were looking at today's corporations that daily tell Congress what to pass and what to block, Stevens added:
"Politicians who fear that a certain corporation can make or break their reelection chances may be cowed into silence about that corporation."
When Ronald Reagan came into office and began America's turn toward neoliberal oligarchy there wasn't a single billionaire in America because, in part, the top 74% income tax rate prevented that kind of wealth accumulation. Regardless of inflation since then, in 1980 nobody controlled a fortune on the order of American oligarchs like Bezos or Musk do today.

Instead, wealth flowed to working people, producing in the 1940-1980 era the richest and broadest middle class in world history.

Similarly, as Lee Drutman documents for The Atlantic, before the Supreme Court got into the act corporations generally avoided participating in politics beyond routine PR.

"[V]ery few companies had their own Washington lobbyists prior to the 1970s," he writes. "To the extent that businesses did lobby in the 1950s and 1960s (typically through associations), they were clumsy and ineffective."
Today lobbyists spend over $3 billion a year buying and selling votes and legislation, which has destroyed Americans' faith in government and brought us to this crisis.

Thanks to five "conservatives" on the Supreme Court, we are now well down the road to a final "merging of state and business leadership."

At the same time, as Chauncey DeVega brilliantly notes at Salon:

Domestic terrorism experts have also warned that right-wing extremists and paramilitary groups are organizing on the local and state level to intimidate, harass and target "liberals," Black and brown people, Muslims, Jews, immigrant communities and others deemed to be their enemies.

This is part of a nationwide campaign by Republican fascists and the larger white right to attack American democracy on the local and state level in order to facilitate Trump's return to power (or the "election" of his designated successor).

When the ever-cautious National Public Radio runs a headline that says: "Retired general warns the U.S. military could lead a coup after the 2024 election" you know we're in deep trouble.

The biggest battle for the survival of American democracy is before us now.

Authoritarian forces have seized control of the GOP and are committed to ending democracy in this country, replacing it with an Orban-like Hungary-style merger of corporate and state leadership.

January 6th is now openly viewed by Trump's followers as a rehearsal for 2024 as they fine-tune vote-counting systems and elect toadies who will bend to their will and change election outcomes the next time voters reject them.

John Hennen, professor emeritus of history at Kentucky's Morehead State University, nailed it when he said, "We must build a democratic resistance that amounts to a counter-fascist coup..."

Every American who cares about freedom, self-governance, and the ideal of democracy must now rise to the occasion. The upcoming elections will be political wars with stakes unlike those seen by any living citizens.

The good news is that, increasingly, both our media and elected Democrats (and former Republicans) are calling this out for what it is, a naked assault on our system of government itself.

But will it be enough? That will depend on Democratic turnout. Professor Hennen's colleague, Brian Clardy, a Murray State University history professor emeritus tells us straight up: "The Democrats have to remind people that next year and in 2024, democracy itself will be on trial."

And 21st century fascism will be there right beside it, under the "R" column on the ballot.

(c) 2022 Thom Hartmann is a talk-show host and the author of "The Hidden History of Monopolies: How Big Business Destroyed the American Dream" (2020); "The Hidden History of the Supreme Court and the Betrayal of America" (2019); and more than 25 other books in print.

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To End On A Happy Note -

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Parting Shots -

Glaciers Made Of Nothing These Days, Study Finds
By The Waterford Whispers News

NEWS that the world's widest glacier is facing the threat of collapse has confirmed what many people have long believed; that those icy bitches ain't shit no more.

Once considered a formidable force of nature capable of withstanding the harshest conditions on the earth, the sudden 'retreatment' of the Thwaites Glacier is just another example of how far glaciers have fallen from their heyday as the 'bad boys' of geographical phenomena.

Thwaites, which is roughly the size of the UK, is receding from all sides due to global climate change and its collapse is set to cause a rise in sea level that will affect millions of people worldwide if it doesn't buck itself up a bit.

"We're not asking much from a glacier. Inch along at a rate of a few inches per year, be cold, don't flood the fucking planet" said one senior glaciologist, who isn't mad at the Thwaites glacier, more disappointed.

"Alright, you've got manmade carbon emissions that are causing all of this, but any glacier worth their salts and minerals should be at least putting up a bit of a fight to hold itself together. What next? Icebergs that can't sink ocean liners? Green fields at the North Pole? The whole world needs to harden the fuck up a bit. We won't always be here to wipe its arse".

Meanwhile, the Thwaites glacier is said to be undergoing therapy to help it come to terms with the changes it's going through, leading to even more tutting from the emission-loving, old fashioned world.

(c) 2021 The Waterford Whispers News


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 01 (c) 01/07/2022

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