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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Don't Let President Biden 'Make Us The Dupes Of Our Hopes.'"

Ralph Nader wonders, "Will Trump's Grand Finale Be Conviction By The US Senate?"

Glen Ford sees, "Trump As Othello In A Corporate Theater."

Jim Hightower explains, "What America Can Learn From The Animal Kingdom."

William Rivers Pitt reports, "A Nation Wracked With Illness And Strife Says Good Riddance To Trump Presidency."

John Nichols concludes it's, "Time For Biden To Dial Down The Lincoln And Dial Up The FDR."

James Donahue asks, "Are Science Fiction Writers Prophets - Or Idea Generators?"

David Swanson is, "(Re-)Joining the World."

David Suzuki says, "U.S. Crisis Shows Need To Speak Truth To Power."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "The President* Is Too Petty To Help Washington State With Disaster Relief."

Juan Cole reports, "Israel Was Designated An Apartheid State By B'Tselem. What Martin Luther King Jr. Would Have Thought Of That."

Robert Reich explains why, "Why Biden Can't Govern From The Center."

Greg Palast reports, "Insider: White House Was Warned March Was Illegal."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports,"Major Spray-Tan Corporations Break Ties with Trump," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "We Need To Do So Much More To Save Us From The Coming Climate Disaster!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Benson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Olivier Douliery, Tasos Katopodis, Jabin Botsford, Brendan Smialowski, Mandel Ngan, Stephen F. Somerstein, Mark Dixon, Carlos Barria, The Washington Post, Robert Reich, 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-
Parting Shots-

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














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We Need T0 Do So Much More To Save Us From The Coming Climate Disaster!
By Ernest Stewart

"Climate change is real. It is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively together and stop procrastinating." ~~~ Leonardo Di Caprio

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


One of Joe Biden's top priority's is to rejoin the Paris climate agreement which is a good thing as far as it goes, trouble is, it doesn't go anywhere near what the world needs to do. Even with the covid lock downs and La Nina cooling things down, according to NASA, 2020 tied with 2016 as the hotest year on record!

Very few of the countries that signed on to the Paris agreement are any where near what they promised to do, with the United States still the top polluter on the planet. We are nearing the point of no return on climate control when no matter what we do it will just keep getting worse year after year after year!

World leaders and businesses are not putting enough money into adapting to dangerous changes in the climate and must; according to a report published Thursday by the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP), "urgently step up action."

Last years disasters struck every continent. Smoke-belching wildfires burned through communities from Australia to the Arctic. Extreme storms battered coastal cities from the Philippines to Nicaragua, while floods put a third of Bangladesh underwater and covered entire villages in Nigeria.

Extreme weather and climate-related disasters have killed more than 410,000 people in the past 10 years, almost all of them in poorer countries, according to the International Federation of the Red Cross and Crescent.

"The hard truth is that climate change is upon us," said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen, in the foreword to the report. "Its impacts will intensify, even if we limit global warming. We cannot afford to lose the race to adaptation."

The Adaptation Gap Report, now in its 5th year, finds "huge gaps" between what world leaders agreed to do under the 2015 Paris Agreement and what they need to do to keep their citizens safe from climate change.

A review by the Global Adaptation Mapping Initiative of almost 1,700 examples of climate adaptation found that a third were in the early stages of implementation -and only 3% had reached the point of reducing risks.

Disasters like storms and droughts have grown stronger than they should be because people have warmed the planet by burning fossil fuels and chopping down rainforests. The world has heated by more than 1.1 degrees Celsius since the Industrial Revolution and is on track to warm by about 3 degrees C by the end of the century.

If world leaders deliver on recent pledges to bring emissions to net-zero by the middle of the century, they could almost limit warming to 2 degree C. The target of the Paris Agreement, however, is to reach a target well below that - ideally 1.5 degrees C.

There are two ways, scientists say, to lessen the pain that warming will bring: mitigating climate change by cutting carbon pollution and adapting to the hotter, less stable world it brings. Trouble is, you can only adapt so far. Beyond this point you have to move or die!

About three-quarters of the world's countries have national plans to adapt to climate change, according to the report, but most lack the regulations, incentives and funding to make them work.

More than a decade ago, rich countries most responsible for climate change pledged to mobilize $100 billion a year by 2020 in climate finance for poorer countries. UNEP says it is "impossible to answer" whether that goal has been met, while an OECD study published in November found that between 2013 and 2018, the target sum had not once been achieved. Even in 2018, which recorded the highest level of contributions, rich countries were still $20 billion short.

The yearly adaptation costs for developing countries alone are estimated at $70 billion. This figure is expected to at least double by the end of the decade as temperatures rise, and will hit $280-500 billion by 2050, according to the report.

But failing to adapt is even more expensive.

When powerful storms like cyclones Fani and Bulbul struck South Asia, early-warning systems allowed governments to move millions of people out of danger at short notice. Storms of similar strength that have hit East Africa, like cyclones Idai and Kenneth, have proved more deadly because fewer people were evacuated before disaster struck.

The Global Commission on Adaptation estimated in 2019 that a $1.8 trillion investment in early warning systems, buildings, agriculture, mangroves and water resources could reap $7.1 trillion in benefits from economic activity and avoided costs when disasters strike.

As it stands now by 2050, coastal floods that used to hit once a century will strike many cities every year, according to a 2019 report on oceans by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), the gold standard on climate science. This could force dense cities on low-lying coasts to build higher and higher sea walls, like in New York City and Miami or evacuate entire communities from sinking islands, like in Fiji. You can expect for example all of Manhattan and most of Long Island to go beneath the waves and the bottom two thirds of Florida to disappear!

*****


10-16-1928 ~ 01-15-2021
Thanks for the music and film!


06-15-1950 ~ 01-15-2021
Thanks for the animation!


12-26-1939 ~ 01-16-2021
Thanks for the music, not so much for the murder!



*****

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*****

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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 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.




If past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, we should not expect Biden to be a deserter
from the class war that he has helped to wage, from the top down, throughout his political career.



Don't Let President Biden 'Make Us The Dupes Of Our Hopes'
By Norman Solomon

At inauguration time, journalist I. F. Stone wrote, incoming presidents "make us the dupes of our hopes." That insight is worth pondering as Joe Biden ascends to the presidency. After four years of the real-life Trump nightmare, hope is overdue -- but it's hazardous.

Stone astutely warned against taking heart from the lofty words that President Richard Nixon had just deployed in his inaugural address on January 20, 1969. With the Vietnam War raging, Stone pointed out: "It's easier to make war when you talk peace."

That's true of military war. And class war.

In 2021, class war is the elephant -- and the donkey -- in the national living room. Rhetoric aside, present-day Republican politicians are shameless warriors for wealthy privilege and undemocratic power that afflicts the non-rich. Democratic Party leaders aren't nearly as bad, but that's an extremely low bar; relatively few are truly champions of the working class, while most routinely run interference for corporate America, Wall Street and the military-industrial complex.

Rarely illuminated with clarity by corporate media, class war rages 24/7/365 in the real world. Every day and night, countless people are suffering and dying. Needlessly. From lack of social equity. From the absence of economic justice. From the greed and elite prerogatives cemented into the structures of politics and a wide range of institutions. From oligarchy that has gotten so extreme that three people in the United States (Jeff Bezos, Bill Gates and Warren Buffett) now possess more wealth than the entire bottom half of the population.

Yes, there are some encouraging signs about where the Biden presidency is headed. The intertwined economic crisis and horrific pandemic -- combined with growing grassroots progressive pressure on the Democratic Party -- have already caused Biden to move leftward on a range of crucial matters. The climate emergency and festering racial injustice also require responses. We can expect important steps via presidential executive orders before the end of this month.

At the same time, if past behavior is the best predictor of future behavior, we should not expect Biden to be a deserter from the class war that he has helped to wage, from the top down, throughout his political career -- including via NAFTA, welfare "reform," the bankruptcy bill and financial-sector deregulation.

How far Biden can be pushed in better directions will depend on how well progressives and others who want humanistic change can organize. In effect, most of mass media will encourage us merely to hope -- plaintively and passively -- holding onto the sort of optimism that has long been silly putty in the hands of presidents and their strategists.

Hope is a human need, and recent Democratic presidents have been whizzes at catering to it. Bill Clinton marketed himself as "the man from Hope" (the name of his first hometown). Barack Obama authored the bestseller "The Audacity of Hope" that appeared two years before he won the White House. But projecting our hopes onto carefully scripted Rorschach oratory, on Inauguration Day or any day, is usually a surrender to images over realities.

The standard Democratic Party storyline is now telling us that greatness will be in reach for the Biden administration if only Republican obstacles can be overcome. Yet what has led to so much upheaval in recent years is mostly grounded in class war. And the positive aspects of Biden's initiatives should not delude progressives into assuming that Biden is some kind of a class-war ally. For the most part, he has been the opposite.

"Progressives are not going to get anything from the new administration unless they are willing to publicly pressure the new administration," David Sirota and Andrew Perez wrote days ago. "That means progressive lawmakers are going to have to be willing to fight and it means progressive advocacy groups in Washington are going to have to be willing to prioritize results rather than White House access."

The kind of access that progressives need most of all is access to our own capacities to realistically organize and gain power. It's a constant need -- hidden in plain sight, all too often camouflaged by easier hopes.

More than being a time of hope -- or fatalism -- the inauguration of President Joe Biden should be a time of skeptical realism and determination.

The best way to not become disillusioned is to not have illusions in the first place. And the best way to win economic and social justice is to keep organizing and keep pushing. What can happen during the Biden presidency is up for grabs.

(c) 2021 Norman Solomon is co-founder of RootsAction.org and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death"and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."




President Donald Trump delivering the speech that spurred a mob to
overrun the U.S. Capitol at a rally on January 6, 2021 in Washington, D.C.



Will Trump's Grand Finale Be Conviction By The US Senate?
Congressional Republicans have aided and abetted, for four years, Trump's assertion that "With Article II, I can do whatever I want as president." Dangerous Donald did just that.
By Ralph Nader

Texas Congressman Joaquin Castro, a graduate of Harvard Law School, asked his colleagues: "If inciting a deadly insurrection is not enough to get a president impeached, then what is?" Ten Republicans voted for Impeachment, but 197 House Republicans disagreed. Trump incited the crowd in person on the Mall. He lied to his supporters saying, "I'll be with you" on the march to the Capitol. Trump then refused to call the crowd back when it turned into a mob that violently stormed into the Capitol. Trump scurried back to the White House to gleefully watch on TV his "special people" rampage through the Congress with destructive intent.

Why should the GOP obeisance to Trump, the Mobster in Chief, this recidivist criminal, a violator of many provisions of the Constitution, obstructor of justice "as a daily way of life" according to his former national security advisor John Bolton, and hourly lying sociopath, surprise anyone?

Congressional Republicans have aided and abetted, for four years, Trump's assertion that "With Article II, I can do whatever I want as president." Dangerous Donald did just that. He finally incited a massive, homicidal street crime against the very Congress that let him get away with everything, day after day, as if there were no laws and no Constitution to be observed whatsoever.

The GOP speakers who defended Trump in the House Impeachment debate will go down in history as unsurpassed political cowards and lying bloviators, led by Trump clone, belligerent Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio. Trump's Congressional protectors, however, failed. The House of Representatives voted for Articles of Impeachment that are on their way to the Senate for a certain trial. The Senate should convict treacherous unrepentant Trump and ban him from ever seeking federal office again.

In the days before the trial, more incriminating evidence will emerge.

Already, a GAO investigation is underway into Republican lawmakers suspected of being complicit in aiding the mob's objective of physically overturning the results of the presidential election. Evidence of early facilitation both before and during the armed invasion is reaching investigators, including the involvement by some Capitol Police and other police officers in plain clothes.

Trump's business allies and supporters are not waiting for any verdicts. Major corporations such as Disney, Coca-Cola, and J.P. Morgan Chase have suspended campaign contributions to the GOP. Last week, the powerful National Association of Manufacturers demanded that Trump be removed from office under the 25th Amendment. Trump's banks, to whom he owes hundreds of millions of dollars, are distancing themselves from their insatiable borrower. New York City has canceled its contract with the Trump corporation. More cancellations of deals with TRUMP, Inc. will come.

Though verbally defiant, admitting no mistakes, and as usual taking no responsibility, Trump is a broken man, assailing his most loyal subjects including total toady Vice President Mike Pence. Deprived of his Twitter machine and other Internet platforms, Trump will soon be a besieged debtor, a manyfold investigated and sued defendant abandoned by the likes of Mitch McConnell.

The calculus of political survival for the just re-elected McConnell's Congressional Republicans has changed. In the minority, no longer will Republicans be able to confirm corporatist judges or pass Trump-like corporate tax cuts for the super-rich, or dismantle health and safety regulations.

But out on the MAGA hustings, Trump may be a huge tormentor, raising money and wanting to run again. Such a prospect is intolerable to McConnell. That is why he is turning against Trump by declining to oppose Impeachment and signalling that he may unleash his Republican Senators to convict Trump, if only for their own political survival. The GOP polls are slipping and will slip more as the toxic stench of what occurred before and during the January 6th attack increases.

McConnell does not want Trump either to run or threaten to run again in 2024. The only way that yoke can be lifted is to free 17 or more Republican Senators to vote for conviction followed by a simple majority vote banning Trump from future federal office.

Out of office and prohibited from regaining office, Trump will be increasingly defined by his more violent, hardcore Trumpsters. Trump being Trump, will not oppose their street actions. He will want to continue to address and exhort his followers to remain a political force.

This entanglement is already underway. While Washington, D.C. is brimming with thousands of soldiers, police, and surveillance technology, the Trump militants are unfazed. They are planning more protests.

According to Pentagon officials, reported in the New York Times, "Some 16 groups - some of them saying they will be armed and most of them made up of hardline supporters of Mr. Trump - have registered to stage protests." This cannot be good political news for the Congressional Republicans left behind after the Trump family departs the White House.

What are the probabilities that a conviction in the Senate will be achieved? Better than 50/50, given the survival instincts of the politicians wanting the felonious Trump off their backs.

As for Trump, what he has left until noon on January 20th, barring some last-gasp grotesque eruption, is the pardon power for his closest allies like Rudy Giuliani, his family, and himself. He could enlarge the range of pardons by declaring a Day of Forgiveness on January 19th with general pardons of deserving, elderly prisoners, political prisoners, and nonviolent drug offenders in the federal prisons.

However, such a vision is inconsistent with narcissism. We'll see.

(c) 2021 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).







Trump As Othello In A Corporate Theater
By Glen Ford

Trump the straw man has finally been knocked down, giving the Democrats a victory that costs their corporate masters nothing.

Donald Trump has slunk off the national stage for the time being, but we must remember who made him a contender for president in the first place: the Democrats and their corporate media. As Wikileaks revealed, the Clinton campaign encouraged friendly media to boost Trump's Republican primary prospects, hoping to set up a straw man that could easily be knocked down in November, 2016. By Election Day, the corporate press had lavished $5 billion in free media on Trump - more than Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders and all of Trump's Republican presidential competitors, combined. If you are desperate to flush the stink of four years of Trump out of your brain, remember who put it there, through constant, daily repetition.

How long will the Orange Menace stay gone? Not long; soon either Trump will make a comeback or the corporate media will inflate another racist straw man to run against. The only way the corporate Democrats can mobilize their base to eek out slim national victories while keeping Joe Biden's promise to the rich that "nothing would fundamentally change," is to position themselves as the sole defense against the racist hordes. That's how Bill Clinton succeeded in completing Ronald Reagan's quest to "end welfare as we know it," while vastly expanding the structures of mass Black incarceration (Sen. Joe Biden proudly "wrote the bill"), gutting safeguards against bankers blowing up the economy, and facilitating the exodus of good jobs to sweatshops overseas. Newt Gingrich and his Contract with America confederacy stampeded Blacks and "progressives" into the corporate Democratic corral, where they were politically neutered. The Democratic Party remained a safe vehicle for corporate agendas for the next 20 years - until an Orange Demon was conjured to scare the Democratic base back into the party's corporate bosom, in 2016.

The corporate Democrat/racist Republican symbiosis is simple, obvious and naked - yet it works every time, as the Democratic Party's base - with Blacks at the core -- allows its own aspirations to be sacrificed in the interest of turning back the threat from the White Man's Party (GOP).

If I have repeated myself over the years in these pages, it is because the oligarchy keeps using the same formula to defeat every popular revolt against the corporate Race to the Bottom and endless imperial wars. The dictatorship of the rich grows deeper, even as last summer saw the greatest popular mobilization in the history of the United States, under the Black Lives Matter banner. What should have been a re-emergence of an independent, people's mass street politics outside the corporate kill-zone of the Democratic Party, was once again devoured by the duopoly.

All such victories are pyrrhic, meaning "won at too great a cost to have been worthwhile for the victor." When Blacks and progressives rallied behind Bill Clinton to defeat Gingrich, the corporate rulers were enabled to plunge the society into a great leap backward that wiped out the last vestiges of the New Deal, condemned another generation of Black youth to the Gulag, and set the stage for two economic catastrophes that rivaled the Great Depression, while the U.S. military vastly intensified its rampages around the world, the national security state penetrated every digital device on the planet, and huge corporations perfected the tools of public self-surveillance.

Joe Biden's call for "unity" is even emptier than Barack Obama's "hope and change." In response to the Trump-instigated racial hooliganism at the U.S. Capitol, we are expected to unify behind a 9/11-type expansion of the police state whose main mission has always been to repress non-whites and the left, while forgoing creation of a truly public health system and any respite from the accelerating Race to the Bottom - all because "Joe," the Great Incarcerator, corporate stooge and warmonger, "saved" us from Trump. Too late for Hillary Clinton, but just in time for the equally loathsome Joe Biden, Trump the straw man has finally been knocked down, giving the Democrats a victory that costs their corporate masters nothing

The assent and subsequent dismantling of Trump, largely engineered at all stages by corporate Democrats and their media, created an alternative, artificial and mainly "fake" political landscape, in which "the Russians" teamed up with white nationalists to undermine "America" at home and abroad, only to be thwarted by an aroused electorate, with Black voters at the phalanx. In reality, Black voters have saved the corporate duopoly that has nullified and coopted every popular movement of the past three generations. And it couldn't have happened absent the ineffable vileness of Trump.

Like some weird, orange Othello, Donald Trump can truly say: "I have done the [corporate] state some service, and they know it."

(c) 2020 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at Glen.Ford@BlackAgendaReport.com







What America Can Learn From The Animal Kingdom
By Jim Hightower

Are we back to the jungle, an animalistic society with roaming packs of foam-at-the-mouth beasts howling for the enthronement of their king?

As witnessed in the ugly collapse of Donald Trump's presidency, his furious animalism was unleashed on America, revealing a soulless selfishness that he had written about years earlier in a book on corporate deal making. In a "great deal," he explained, winning is not enough - "You crush the opponent."

But wait, that's not fair to animals! In the real animal kingdom, the species that are the most successful survivors are not the beastliest, but the ones that work together in a sharing society. From ants to elephants, animals in the wild organize to hunt together, build homes, nurture and teach their young, spread their available food throughout the community, mourn lost ones, etc.

They even vote! The real "king of the jungle" is the group, as has been found in communal societies as varied as meerkats, baboons, and bees. Whether primates or insects, such decisions as where to live and which direction to go forage are made by democratic consensus reached in a sort of caucus system. When several thousand honeybees, for example, split from a hive to form a new colony, they dispatch a few hundred scouts to find a new home. One by one, the scouts report back, doing unique waggle dances that describe what each found. Gradually, scouts decide what bee's site is best and synchronize their waggles accordingly. Once the scouts are doing the same dance, the whole swarm flies off together and settles into their new hive.

America has more to learn from bees than from Trump and his lifelong enthusiasm for a social order based on corporate power plays. The great hope for our society is not domination by the strong, but cooperation by all.

(c) 2021 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 HightowerLowdown.org.




President Trump stops to talk to reporters as he walks to board Marine One and depart
from the South Lawn at the White House on January 12, 2021, in Washington, D.C.




A Nation Wracked With Illness And Strife Says Good Riddance To Trump Presidency
By William Rivers Pitt

High noon today marks one more day, the final day, the last 24 hours we must slog through to reach the constitutional conclusion of this majestically wretched interlude. At noon plus one second tomorrow, by law, Donald Trump will join the ranks of the ex-presidents. A motley crew, to be sure, made absurd tomorrow by the introduction of one who has as much business being on that list as an alligator does on an Amtrak train. Ticket, sir? OH MY GOD MY ARM'S OFF. Yeah, like that.

Joe Biden will spend his last pre-presidential day attending a memorial for the nearly 400,000 who have lost their lives to COVID-19. Trump will spend his day ignoring those who have died, again, while mulling pardons for the brigands within and without his family who made this nightmare administration not only possible, but practically untouchable.

Will he pardon himself? Will he pardon the Capitol wreckers? If we have learned anything, it is that Trump may do the worst possible thing at the most exquisitely damaging moment. "With devotion's visage and pious action, we do sugar o'er the devil himself," said Shakespeare's Polonius in Hamlet. I strongly suspect a fair gluttony of sugar will be deployed via the pardon pen before the morrow drops the curtain on this rumbling farce of a presidency.

Trump cannot use Twitter, and the national blood pressure has plummeted since he got the banhammer. According to one study, mass disinformation about the "stolen" 2020 election dropped 73 percent since that platform gave him the hook. We can partly blame QAnon, Fox News and Breitbart for the dented state of national fact cohesion, but at the end of the day, the greatest purveyor of lies about the president was the president himself.

Speaking of the Capitol raid, the woman who stole Nancy Pelosi's laptop two weeks ago turned herself in to authorities and has been arrested. Riley June Williams was filmed nabbing the computer on Riot Day, and brought it home intending to sell it to SVR, the Russian intelligence service. Why? May as well ask why thousands of people slathered social media with selfies and vids of themselves committing federal crimes. One is put in mind of the bullies from The Simpsons careening through town in a stolen police scooter holding a camcorder and declaring, "Videotaping this crime spree is the best idea we've ever had!"

"Sources familiar with the planning tell ABC News he wants to have a military-style sendoff from Joint Base Andrews Wednesday morning," reports Jordyn Phelps regarding Trump's departure plans, "complete with a military band and a red-carpet walk flanked by troops as he boards Air Force One for the last time, and even possibly a flyover by Air Force fighter jets."

The red carpet is what makes this art. Sure, why not? Hand him a bust of Pallas while you're at it and tell him it's an award statue for being such a great leader. Fart some tepid confetti into the wind as the fighters howl by. You like me, you really like me! Never mind the raven above his chamber door. Never mind, and nevermore.

There's a "Green Zone" in Washington D.C thanks to Trump and his friends like Laptop Riley. As in Baghdad, this domestic Green Zone exists to thwart violent attacks by the locals, except these locals are not from Fallujah or Tikrit. They are from Nashville, and Pittsburgh, and Orange County, and Sioux City. Trump has militarized a substantial portion of the population against the idea of democracy itself, and after many long years of diligent work by groups like the NRA, the country is swimming in war weapons. When Biden takes the oath tomorrow, he will be surrounded by more troops than are currently deployed in Iraq and Afghanistan.

This is not for show. All the troops in the capital won't help if Trump's extremists follow through on their threats to attack state capitals across the country either on Inauguration Day, or the day after, or someday, maybe. People feared large crowds after 9/11 because they make juicy targets for foreign terrorists. Now, I fear them again because of my neighbors, and because of the president of the United States.

On this last day, behold the shabby sort of country we are, and have always been. Trump is not an accident of history, but the predictable result of a nation born in plunder and slaughter. Turn away if you wish, but there is no obscuring the fact that this man is the perfect avatar for what the Republican Party is about once you scrape away the bunting and the self-serving advertising. This has been a great four years for the worst actors and aspects within this society, and it was all as inevitable as the tides. Mission accomplished.

(c) 2021 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.




President-elect Joe Biden




Time For Biden To Dial Down The Lincoln And Dial Up The FDR
Inaugural appeals to unity and "better angels" are nice. But this is the moment to rally America to chase money changers and fascists from the temples of power.
By John Nichols

Joe Biden has been on the campaign trail for more than 50 years. Now, after decades of speculation, several false starts, and three formal bids for the presidency, he will finally assume the nation's highest office. To a greater extent than anyone on the American political stage, he has anticipated and prepared for the job he will take up on Wednesday. As such, Biden understands that the address he delivers after being sworn in as the 46th president must be not just the best of his career but one of the best in the 232 years since the first inauguration.

The challenge Biden faces is profound: He must bury the legacy of a predecessor who incited a fascist riot to overturn the results of the 2020 electi0n. And he must outline a bold agenda for addressing a pandemic, mass unemployment, a climate crisis, systemic racism, and the broken priorities of a federal government that consistently overfunds the military-industrial complex and underfunds the human needs of a society overwhelmed by hunger and homelessness.

Few newly elected presidents have faced a circumstance so fraught as the one Biden must address Wednesday. It's been just two weeks since Donald Trump incited insurrection. It's just one week since the outgoing president was impeached. Trump's Senate trial is being organized as armed troops guard the Capitol, where Biden is to be sworn in. Yet, already, Republicans in Congress and pundits on cable television are encouraging the president-elect to focus his address on "healing" and "unity." To that end, the next Democratic president is being prodded to channel Abraham Lincoln, the Republican who assumed office on the cusp of the Civil War.

"Abraham Lincoln is America's better angel-Joe Biden must draw on his spirit," urges a Guardian headline. Over at Fox News, the message is, "How can Biden unite America? Renew Abraham Lincoln's call to 'bind up the nation's wounds,'" with this observation: "Lincoln knew that all Americans are brothers and sisters." These calls will appeal to Biden, a veteran Washington insider who bid for the presidency in 2020 as a candidate preaching comity and reconciliation. What could be better, in so conflicted a moment, than a reprise of the 16th president's inaugural poetry? Why not speak of how "the mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land" might "yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature"?

The answer is more complicated than it might seem on the surface.

Biden will, undoubtedly, make an call for national unity-as new presidents, with the exception of Donald "American Carnage" Trump, invariably do. But it is insufficient to simply recollect-however sincerely-the tortured plea for reconciliation that Lincoln made in his 1861 inaugural address: "We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection." While a poetic appeal for amity would, undoubtedly, get high marks from newspaper editorial pages and a nod from Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell, it won't be enough to rally the great mass of Americans to take up the necessary burden of forging transformative change.

For that, Biden's presidential reference point should not be Lincoln but Franklin Delano Roosevelt. The 32nd president also took office in a time of crisis, when the country was ravaged by economic depression, mass unemployment, dislocation, and a deep sense of uncertainty about whether anything could prevent further impoverishment and disarray. FDR knew the country needed more than healing. "The withered leaves of industrial enterprise lie on every side; farmers find no markets for their produce; the savings of many years in thousands of families are gone," he acknowledged on March 4, 1933. "More important, a host of unemployed citizens face the grim problem of existence, and an equally great number toil with little return. Only a foolish optimist can deny the dark realities of the moment."

Instead of feelgood talk of unification, FDR called out the Wall Street speculators, the bankers, and their conservative apologists. The nation was in crisis, he said, "because the rulers of the exchange of mankind's goods have failed, through their own stubbornness and their own incompetence." He warned against compromise with those who defended the old order, reminding his audience:

Stripped of the lure of profit by which to induce our people to follow their false leadership, they have resorted to exhortations, pleading tearfully for restored confidence. They know only the rules of a generation of self-seekers. They have no vision, and when there is no vision the people perish.

The money changers have fled from their high seats in the temple of our civilization. We may now restore that temple to the ancient truths. The measure of the restoration lies in the extent to which we apply social values more noble than mere monetary profit.

Roosevelt drew the battle lines "against a return of the evils of the old order" and outlined a plan for "strict supervision of all banking," "an end to speculation," and the dramatic expansion of the role of government to provide relief for the unemployed, for farmers facing bankruptcy, and for homeowners facing foreclosure. FDR did not mince words. He proposed an agenda for "treating the task as we would treat the emergency of a war." The agenda would come to be known as the New Deal. It proved to be so popular that Roosevelt's Democratic Party expanded its congressional majorities in the 1934 midterm elections, and FDR was reelected in 1936 with 61 percent of the vote-carrying all but two states.

As he bid for that second of his four terms, Roosevelt declared:

We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace-business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering. They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred.
Franklin Roosevelt recognized that while appeals to unity have their place, there are times when what is needed is a call to action. He delivered one in 1933, and it defined his presidency. Joe Biden would be wise to do the same in 2021.

(c) 2021 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.








Are Science Fiction Writers Prophets - Or Idea Generators?
By James Donahue

When French author Jules Verne wrote about men traveling to the moon in 1866, few would have dreamed that his story would become reality only 100 years later.

I recall when Cartoonist Chester Gould gave his popular detective character Dick Tracy a two-way wrist radio communication device. That was back in the late 1940 and early 1950s, before the Walkman, the cellular telephone or a portable computer that fits in the pocket was ever thought possible.

Now, obviously influenced by the popular television Star Trek series, scientists are working on such concepts as teleportation of goods and people, and cloaking devices for hiding ships and aircraft from the view of the enemy.

While teleportation is calculated to be possible, the quantum physicists say there is one major problem. They conceive of the movement of objects through space as a scan of the original, and then manufacturing a perfect replica of it at the other end of the spectrum. And that seems to mean that the original must be destroyed to make it occur. Thus the teleportation of living humans and creatures is not something anybody wishes to try.

Two UK scientists found that, at least mathematically, the concept of building a cloaking device also is possible. In a published paper, Nicolae Nicorovici and Graeme Milton propose that placing certain objects close to a material called a super-lens will make them appear to vanish.

The effect is called "anomalous localized resonance." The very name suggests the use of something somewhat occult and utilizing sound frequencies. But Nicorovici and Milton say this resonance would utilize light waves instead of sound waves.

The idea is to put up a screen of material that would become a super-lens that causes light to behave in an unusual way, thus scattering light at frequencies that induce a different resonance, thus hiding the object located behind it. The concept sounds relatively simple, but it is not.

The two scientists say the concept is at such a primitive stage they are talking only of being able to cloak dust particles, and certainly not spaceships.

And there is another problem. The cloaking effect appears to work only with certain frequencies of light. Some objects placed behind the cloak might still be partially visible.

While military scientists are seriously working on this issue, the best techniques to date involve the use of organic dyes, rare earth materials and fluorescent pigments. These are all costly and can fail under variations in the environment.

Naturally the U.S. Army Research Laboratory (ARL) has taken an interest in the concept of using a super-lens plus recent research by the University of Missouri into crafting cloak-like structures that can steer mechanical wave energy around objects, protecting them from blasts, shockwaves, earthquakes or vibration. The structures aren't merely deflectors like armor. Instead, they have the potential to make a component, a submarine, or a bridge effectively invisible to mechanical energy.

Either science must devise a better lens or work out these bugs with the super-lens they now have before Captain James T. Kirk and his Enterprise team can expect to hide the Spaceship Enterprise from the evil Romulans and Klingons.

(c) 2021 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.







.



(Re-)Joining the World
By David Swanson

One of the many things we must rightly demand of the incoming U.S. government is the abandonment of rogue status, the serious participation in treaties, a cooperative and productive relationship with the rest of the world.

We've all heard about the Iran agreement, which ought to be re-joined and made into a treaty - and sanctions ought to be ended. Biden can do this alone, except for the ending sanctions part.

We've all heard about the Paris climate agreement, which ought to be re-joined and made into a treaty - and military pollution included. Biden can do this alone on Day 1.

But what about the others? What about the treaties that Trump has illegally withdrawn from (illegally because treaties require Congress, and because these treaties have built-in procedures for addressing the alleged problems Trump used as excuses to withdraw)? Biden can rejoin them at will. Does he have the will?

He may have it for disastrous corporate trade agreements, but what about for disarmament treaties that increase humanity's chances of survival? We're talking about the Intermediate Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, and the Open Skies Treaty, which need to be rejoined, plus the New START Treaty that needs to be renewed. Will the madness of Russiagate win out over the saneness of disarmament and the (usually righteous) reversal of Trump? Trump also took the U.S. out of the UN Human Rights Council, and out of UNESCO, both of which need to be rejoined. Trump sanctioned the top officials of the International Criminal Court. That needs to be undone and the court joined.

The United States' rogue status didn't begin with Trump. Of the United Nations' 18 major human rights treaties, the United States is party to 5, fewer than any other nation on earth, except Bhutan (4), and tied with Malaysia, Myanmar, and South Sudan, a country torn by warfare since its creation in 2011. The United States is the only nation on earth that has not ratified the Convention on the Rights of the Child. It is by many measures a top destroyer of the natural environment, yet has been a leader in sabotaging climate protection negotiations for decades and has never ratified the UN Framework Convention on Climate Control (UNFCCC) and the Kyoto Protocol. The U.S. government has never ratified the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty and withdrew from the Anti-Ballistic Missile (ABM) Treaty in 2001 It has never signed the Mine Ban Treaty or the Convention on Cluster Munitions.

The United States leads opposition to democratization of the United Nations and easily holds the record for use of the veto in the Security Council during the past 50 years, having vetoed U.N. condemnation of South African apartheid, Israel's wars and occupations, chemical and biological weapons, nuclear weapons proliferation and first use and use against non-nuclear nations, U.S. wars in Nicaragua and Grenada and Panama, the U.S. embargo on Cuba, Rwandan genocide, the deployment of weapons in outerspace, etc.

Contrary to popular opinion, the United States is not a leading provider of aid to the suffering of the world, not as a percentage of gross national income or per capita or even as an absolute number of dollars. Unlike other countries, the United States counts as 40 percent of its so-called aid, weapons for foreign militaries. Its aid as a whole is directed around its military goals, and its immigration policies have long been shaped around skin color, and lately around religion, not around human need - except perhaps inversely, focusing on locking up and building walls to punish the most desperate. Biden could end the Muslim ban and the horrendous immigration and citizenship policies. He could end several wars, halt numerous weapons sales, close numerous bases.

Yet, virtually absent from discussions of what's most needed at this moment of governmental transition - in part because so damn much is needed, but in part because of shortcomings in U.S. culture - is any discussion of compelling the new U.S. government to become a good global citizen.

*Thanks to Alice Slater for much useful information.

(c) 2021 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of WorldBeyondWar.org and campaign coordinator for RootsAction.org. Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at DavidSwanson.org and WarIsACrime.org. He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.




As was demonstrated in the U.S. last week, many who are motivated by fear and ignorance are feeling emboldened.




U.S. Crisis Shows Need To Speak Truth To Power
By David Suzuki

As was demonstrated in the U.S. last week, many who are motivated by fear and ignorance are feeling emboldened - and desperate. It's not just in the United States. Irrational, authoritarian, anti-science rhetoric and action has been heating up from Brazil to India to Hungary, and is fully entrenched in places like Russia and China.

With the growing realization that current economic and power structures are at best threatening our health and well-being and at worst the very survival of humanity, many people are calling for rapid change. Those who benefit from today's systems, or who have been convinced they do even as their own economic conditions worsen, are pushing back, fearful of losing their real or imagined privilege.

There was a time when the changes needed to avoid the worst of global heating, biodiversity loss and even increasing disease outbreaks could have been gradual, with minimal societal disruption. When, more than 30 years ago, NASA scientist James Hansen warned the U.S. Senate about climate disruption, shortly before I hosted a CBC radio special about it, there was still time for a smoother "transition."

For the most part, those warnings weren't heeded, but people in politics and industry continue to say we can't change overnight and must ease away from fossil fuels and destructive industrial and agricultural practices that degrade and destroy the natural systems on which our health and survival depend.

The COVID-19 pandemic has hit the world hard, but it's also showing we can and must change our ways quickly if we want live well on this small blue planet.

Going back to "normal" means increasing consumerism, car culture, industrialization and destruction for the sake of a relatively recent economic system developed to shift the wartime economy to one based on consumption, with little understanding of or regard for the consequences.

Consumerism provides a false sense of purpose and meaning. It doesn't bring happiness or well-being. Its benefits increasingly accrue to those who perpetuate the system to enrich themselves, while those who have been convinced to grasp for crumbs fall further behind. During the pandemic alone, the world's 500 richest people grew their wealth by almost US $2 trillion, while so many others suffered. The world's wealthiest one per cent now owns half the global wealth.

In perpetuating false notions about the need to continually consume more to keep the economy going, to keep GDP rising, those in power have engendered a failure to remember what really brings meaning and happiness to our lives: community, connections to each other and the wider world, appreciation of nature. Of course, we need economic systems to coordinate labour, production and distribution for the basic necessities of food, water, shelter and clothing. But our current systems are failing even in that regard.

As the old saying goes, the rich are getting richer while the poor are getting poorer. Those at the top are also responsible for a massively disproportionate share of global consumption and greenhouse gas emissions. That richest one per cent? They account for more than double the global emissions of the poorest 50 per cent!

The embracing of authoritarianism, of anti-science and anti-democratic beliefs, especially among those who stand to be hurt most by it - as illustrated by the people whose pathetic attempts to overthrow the U.S government last week failed miserably but nonetheless led to at least five deaths and a crisis in American democracy - shows the importance of standing up for what is right and just.

It's no longer good enough to wring our hands and fret about the multiple crises we face. We must become informed, speak out, vote, hold our politicians to account, join forces. We must demonstrate the power of compassion and love, of hope and courage, over the forces that are trying to keep us on a suicidal road that benefits a minority at the expense not just of most of humanity, but of all the living beings that share this fragile planet.

We have to recognize that we are interconnected with each other, with nature, even with the rocks and waters that form our home. Those of us who care outnumber the short-sighted, profit-driven and careless, and those who heed them out of fear and ignorance. We must make ourselves heard.

(c) 2021 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.









The President* Is Too Petty To Help Washington State With Disaster Relief
Disaster relief always has been something on which partisan extortion was considered to be at least mainly out of bounds, until recently, anyway.
By Charles P. Pierce

One more day, people. But you can't say he hasn't been filling up his last days with activities that exemplify everything that El Caudillo Del Mar-a-Lago has brought to the office of president of the United States. Selling off the Arctic piecemeal. Trying to put uranium mines in national parks. A whopping list of pardons that promises an equal mix of hilarity and obstruction of justice. And, as the Spokane Spokesman-Review reports, the exercise of his apparently limitless reservoir of pettiness and spite.

In September, a wildfire tore through Whitman County in Washington state, as well as through other parts of the region. Governor Jay Inslee, a Democrat, requested money from the federal government to help the state recover and rebuild after the disaster. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers, an influential member of the Republican minority in the House of Representatives, also put in a request. The president* has not acted on these requests yet, and if an anonymous aide to Rodgers is to be believed, the reason is that Inslee has not been nice enough to the president*. From the S-R:

"The holdup now is the relationship between the president and Gov. Inslee," said the Spokane Republican's aide, who requested anonymity to speak candidly. Trump has approved 21 major disaster declaration requests since the Babb Fire destroyed approximately 80% of homes in the Whitman County towns on Sept. 7, including a request for wildfires in Oregon that was approved in just two days. Other declarations sent aid in the wake of wildfires in California, a winter storm in Oklahoma and hurricanes in several eastern states. On Dec. 31, McMorris Rodgers sent a letter to Trump, whose term ends Wednesday, bashing Inslee for attacking the president while asking for federal aid to be approved. "Unfortunately, for the past four years, Governor Inslee has chosen to repeatedly attack you and your Administration, putting his personal political disagreements with you ahead of the people he is supposed to represent," McMorris Rodgers wrote in the letter, which has not previously been made public.
Note that this letter makes Rodgers look like a complete tool, which has been par for the course for the Republican congressional caucus over the past four years. Inslee certainly noticed.
The governor's office said the state's appeals to the federal government were "based on the facts of the matter." Inslee questioned why McMorris Rodgers' letter takes more aim at Inslee than Trump, who is the one holding up the aid. "It's hard to overstate what a distortive, inappropriate and pathetic letter that is," the governor's office said in a statement. "It is beneath the integrity of her office. This is not a request for aid; it is an appeal to the president's ego."
I have no illusions about American presidents and their use of their office to help out members of their respective parties. But disaster relief always has been something on which partisan extortion was considered to be at least mainly out of bounds, until recently, anyway. (Remember the heat Chris Christie took for thanking Barack Obama for helping New Jersey after Sandy had blown when half of the state off to the Azores? That was something of a turning point.) The classic example in history is Lyndon Johnson's 1965 visit to Louisiana, a state that had not voted for him in the previous year's election, after Hurricane Betsy had killed 75 people. In New Orleans, he visited a shelter in which a number of Black citizens had taken refuge against the storm. There was no electricity. This did not matter. LBJ put a flashlight under his chin, and bellowed through a megaphone.
"My name is Lyndon Baines Johnson. I am your president. I am here to make sure you have the help you need!"
Later, informed that the city's water supply had been compromised, LBJ improvised.
"I've asked the mayor to call Coca-Cola, 7Up, Orange Crush people, everybody they could to try and get them out there this evening because they have no water. And that's one thing you can do without any fear of contamination."
For a president* to slow-play help to fire victims because a governor was mean to him is just one more dereliction in what can be rightfully called a derelict presidency*. Damnit, it's the easiest part of being a president. There's almost no way to do it badly, although the last two Republican presidents have sorely tested that proposition. Of course, if you're incapable of even feigning empathy, it's the hardest part of being president.

One. More. Day.

(c) 2021 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-



"If there is anything we must learn from this horrific pandemic, it is that we are all in this together. We have got to stand up to the pharmaceutical industry and say that during a global health emergency, people's lives are more important than patent monopolies and obscene profits. We cannot allow rich countries to buy up the vast majority of the world's vaccines, while most of the world, living in poorer countries, has to wait in line for years.

It is time to reclaim America's moral leadership by supporting the effort at the World Trade Organization to allow safe, effective, generic vaccines and treatments to be produced cheaply and immediately, and distributed as urgently as possible to all - as a matter of justice." ~~~ Bernie Sanders





Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. speaking before crowd of 25,000 Selma To Montgomery, Alabama civil rights
marchers, in front of Montgomery, Alabama state capital building. On March 25, 1965 in Montgomery, Alabama.




Israel Was Designated An Apartheid State By B'Tselem. What Martin Luther King Jr. Would Have Thought Of That.
Those who argue that Dr. King would have had no problem with Israel's policies in the Occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank after 1967 are being illogical.
By Juan Cole

The Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr., whose activism we honor today, took stands far beyond Selma and Montgomery, and called on other capitals than Washington, D.C., to ensure a dignified life for human beings. Dr. King was an early and vigorous opponent of the white South African Apartheid (segregationist) government.

This international dimension of his thought is all the more urgent given that the respected Israeli human rights group B'Tselem has just declared Israel an Apartheid state.

He wrote former ambassador Chester Bowles in 1957 on behalf of a rally in New York on Human Rights Day, Dec. 10, organized by the National Committee of the American Committee on Africa, where Eleanor Roosevelt was to speak. He said,

"We have watched with great concern the relentless pursuit of official racism (apartheid) by the South African Government. It has defied the most elemental considerations of human decency in its treatment of African and Asian citizens, loosely called non-whites. Our concern has turned to horror as we have learned of the brutal treatment of these non-white South Africans and the extension of totalitarian control into almost every area of human life. What has been almost as shocking is the callous disregard of this tragedy by the free peoples of the world."
King was throughout his life a warm supporter of security for Israel. Only late in his life, in 1967, did he cancel a trip to Israel over its preemptive Six Day War against Egypt and Tel Aviv's unilateral occupation of Jerusalem, of which, reading between the lines, he disapproved.

An FBI wiretap of a conference call between Dr.King and Andrew Young and others in July of 1967 recorded Dr. King's reasons for declining, in the end, the invitation of the Israeli prime minister's office:

"I'd run into the situation where I'm damned if I say this and I'm damned if I say that no matter what I'd say, and I've already faced enough criticism including pro-Arab. I just think that if I go, the Arab world, and of course Africa and Asia for that matter, would interpret this as endorsing everything that Israel has done, and I do have questions of doubt... Most of it [the pilgrimage] would be Jerusalem and they [the Israelis] have annexed Jerusalem, and any way you say it they don't plan to give it up... I frankly have to admit that my instincts - and when I follow my instincts so to speak I'm usually right - I just think that this would be a great mistake. I don't think I could come out unscathed"
A careful reading of this text shows that Dr. King was not just concerned about criticism from "pro-Arab" African-American leaders of a Black Nationalist bent, or from African and Arab governments. He took plenty of criticism throughout his life. What he was afraid of was looking like he intended to endorse something he did not. "I do have questions of doubt," he said, about Israel's annexation of all of Jerusalem through an aggressive war.

Dr. King was an anti-war pacifist who had begun speaking out against the American war against Vietnam. He did not approve of wars of choice. Moreover, it was clear to him that the Israelis, having conquered East Jerusalem from Jordan and the Palestinians by force of arms, would never relinquish it. He seems to have felt a foreboding that Israel had just become a colonial occupier of the sort he had spent his life condemning.

Dr. King did not want to look as though, by going to Israel in the summer of 1967, he was signalling approval of what Tel Aviv had done.

(Israeli propaganda is so effective that it has convinced a lot of people that 1967 was a war of defense. It was not. It was a preemptive war of choice. Israel fired the first shot, and Egyptian leaders have admitted that despite Abdel Nasser's big talk, Egypt was then bogged down in the Yemen Civil War and was in no position to launch a war against Israel in June of 1967. Moreover, Egypt's superpower patron, the Soviet Union, told Cairo that if the Egyptian army fired the first shot, it was on its own and the Soviets would not offer any help. As for Gaza and the West Bank, the Palestinians there were civilians and did not play a role in the war, which was Israel's war on Egypt, Jordan and Syria, and there was no defensive justification at all for occupying the Palestinians.)

There is a further consideration. Jerusalem is a Christian holy city, and Dr. King was a Christian clergyman thinking of taking a Christian group of pilgrims there. The UN General Assembly partition plan for British Mandate Palestine of fall, 1947, never had the force of law, since only the UN Security Council could so have endowed it, and they declined to do it. But even it avoided awarding Jerusalem to Israel. There is no warrant in international law for Israel to annex all of Jerusalem, and Dr. King was keenly aware of it.

We thus see there at the end of his life the beginning of a change in Dr. King's thinking about Israel. Earlier, like many on the Left, he had seen Israel as a postcolonial state that freed itself from British colonialism, just as had Ghana and Kenya. Before 1967, most Palestinians were under caretaker rule, Egypt in Gaza and Jordan in the West Bank. Israel itself was 20% Palestinian, but it was largely Jewish and many Israelis were from the families of Holocaust survivors. Israeli governments were socialist. Even an anti-colonial, Communist man of the left such as Jean-Paul Sartre was pro-Israel under those circumstances. The international Left, moreover, coded the Arab leaders as feudal or as fascist (in the case of Abdel Nasser, who persecuted Egyptian Communists).

The big difference between Sartre and Dr. King is that Sartre wholeheartedly supported Israel in 1967, but Dr. King could not. He had "questions of doubt."

Those who have argued that Dr. King was pro-Israel are correct. He was also a major champion of American Jews against hateful bigotry and anti-Semitism.

But those who argue that Dr. King would have had no problem with Israel's policies in the Occupied Palestinian territories of Gaza and the West Bank after 1967 are being illogical. Israeli policies toward occupied Palestinians are if anything much worse than South African Apartheid. And we know exactly what Dr. King thought about Apartheid.

He slammed brutality. He slammed segregation. He slammed totalitarian control. What would he have thought of the Israeli checkpoints Palestinians have to go through to get from one town in Palestine to another (and even sometimes just to get to the hospital)? It deeply resembles the Apartheid pass system for black Africans.

In 1960, Dr. King telegraphed President Eisenhower to protest South Africa's Sharpeville massacre:

"We are grateful that our state department has protested the mass killings of our south african brothers and we are pleased that the un security council will meet march 29th to consider that outrage.2 we urge that before march 29th our government issue a statement placing the administration firmly on the side of negroes in the southern states in their present struggle for their constitutional rights, since they are subjected to intimidation, threats and violence when they claim these rights."
Here is what the site South African History says about that massacre:
Early on the 21st the local PAC [Pan-Africanist Congress] leaders first gathered in a field not far from the Sharpeville police station, when a sizable crowd of people had joined them they proceeded to the police station - chanting freedom songs and calling out the campaign slogans "Izwe lethu" (Our land); "Awaphele amapasti" (Down with passes); "Sobukwe Sikhokhele" (Lead us Sobukwe); "Forward to Independence,Tomorrow the United States of Africa...

According to the police, protesters began to stone them and, without any warning, one of the policemen on the top of an armoured car panicked and opened fire. His colleagues followed suit and opened fire. The firing lasted for approximately two minutes, leaving 69 people dead and, according to the official inquest, 180 people seriously wounded. The policemen were apparently jittery after a recent event in Durban where nine policemen were shot. Unlike elsewhere on the East Rand where police used baton when charging at resisters, the police at Sharpeville used live ammunition."

What would Dr. King have said about the Israeli army on the Gaza border shooting fish in a barrel with live ammunition: or as the UN says, "In 2019, 33 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during the GMR protests and 11,523 were injured, bringing the total to 212 fatalities and 36,134 injuries since the demonstrations began" (in spring 2018). The Palestinians in Gaza have shouted slogans similar to those of the PAC at Sharpeville. They have staged weekly the Great March of Return, insisting that the land is their land (70% of Gaza families were ethnically cleansed from what is now Israel by Zionist militias, who then stole their houses and land).

What difference is there between the Sharpville Massacre of 1960 and the Gaza Massacre of 2018 - 2020, except the enormously greater scale of Israeli army brutality? You really think Dr. King would be all right with this?

Dr. King would be emailing President Biden, just as he telegraphed President Eisenhower. How far America has fallen is demonstrated by Eisenhower's concern over Sharpeville and Washington's decades-long insouciance toward Israeli Apartheid toward the Palestinians.

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole 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.







Joe gives the corporate salute


Why Biden Can't Govern From The Center
By Robert Reich

I keep hearing that Joe Biden will govern from the "center." He has no choice, they say, because he'll have razor-thin majorities in Congress and the Republican party has moved to the right.

Rubbish. I've served several Democratic presidents who have needed Republican votes. But the Republicans now in Congress are nothing like those I've dealt with. Most of today's GOP live in a parallel universe. There's no "center" between the reality-based world and theirs.

Last Wednesday, fully 95% of House Republicans voted against impeaching Trump for inciting insurrection, even after his attempted coup threatened their very lives.

The week before, immediately following the raid on the Capitol, more than 100 House Republicans and several Republican senators objected to the certification of Biden electors in two states on the basis of Trump's lies about widespread fraud.

Prior to the raid, several Republican members of Congress repeated those lies on television and Twitter and at "Stop the Steal" events.

Trump has remade the Republican party into a white supremacist cult living within a counter-factual wonderland of lies and conspiracies.

According to various surveys, more than half of Republican voters - almost 40 million people - believe Trump won the 2020 race or aren't sure who won; 45% support the storming of the Capitol; 57% say he should be the Republican candidate in 2024.

In this hermetically sealed cosmos, most Republicans believe Black Lives Matter protesters are violent, immigrants are dangerous and climate change doesn't pose a threat. A growing fringe openly talks of redressing grievances through violence, including QAnon conspiracy theorists, of whom two are newly elected to Congress, who think Democrats are running a global child sex-trafficking operation.

How can Biden possibly be a "centrist" in this new political world?

There is no middle ground between lies and facts. There is no halfway point between civil discourse and violence. There is no midrange between democracy and fascism.

Biden must boldly and unreservedly speak truth, refuse to compromise with violent Trumpism and ceaselessly fight for democracy and inclusion.

Speaking truth means responding to the world as it is and denouncing the poisonous deceptions engulfing the right. It means repudiating false equivalences and "both sidesism" that gives equal weight to trumpery and truth. It means protecting and advancing science, standing on the side of logic, calling out deceit and impugning baseless conspiracy theories and those who abet them.

Refusing to compromise with violent Trumpism means renouncing the lawlessness of Trump and his enablers and punishing all who looted the public trust. It means convicting Trump of impeachable offenses and ensuring he can never again hold public office - not as a "distraction" from Biden's agenda but as a central means of reestablishing civility, which must be a cornerstone of that agenda.

Strengthening democracy means getting big money out of politics, strengthening voting rights and fighting voter suppression in all its forms.

It means boldly advancing the needs of average people over the plutocrats and oligarchs, of the white working class as well as Black and Latino people. It means embracing the ongoing struggle for racial justice and the struggle of blue-collar workers whose fortunes have been declining for decades.

The moment calls for public investment on a scale far greater than necessary for Covid relief or "stimulus" - large enough to begin the restructuring of the economy. America needs to create a vast number of new jobs leading to higher wages, reversing racial exclusion as well as the downward trajectory of Americans whose anger and resentment Trump cynically exploited.

This would include universal early childhood education, universal access to the internet, world-class schools and public universities accessible to all. Converting to solar and wind energy and making America's entire stock of housing and commercial buildings carbon neutral. Investing in basic research - the gateway to the technologies of the future as well as national security - along with public health and universal healthcare.

It is not a question of affordability. Such an agenda won't burden future generations. It will reduce the burden on future generations.

It is a question of political will. It requires a recognition that there is no longer a "center" but a future based either on lies, violence and authoritarianism or on unyielding truth, unshakeable civility and radical inclusion. And it requires a passionate, uncompromising commitment to the latter.

(c) 2021 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 www.robertreich.org.










Insider: White House Was Warned March Was Illegal
Trump's Call to March Broke Organizer's Promise to DC Police
by Greg Palast

Before Donald Trump exhorted the Jan. 6 rally to march on the Capitol, the White House had been warned by the rally sponsor that there was no permit for a march, that DC Metro Police were promised there would be no march, and that such an unplanned march was dangerous.

As a result, the Metro police were stunned, undermanned and unprepared for Trump's surprise launch of thousands of his enraged Trump supporters, some armed, on the Capitol.

"I mean, it was shocking. It's something we advocated against doing for exactly the reasons that ended up playing themselves out," said a high-level source inside Women for America First, the organization that held the permit for the rally. They spoke to this reporter on condition of anonymity.

Even more damning, the march Trump set in motion was led and promoted by ultra-right, violence-threatening extremist Ali Alexander, head of Stop the Steal. The Palast Investigative Team filmed Alexander, only weeks before the riot, exhorting a crowd:

"Either they take Trump ...[or] we'll light the whole sh*t on fire!"
The White House had been warned about Alexander and his dangerous plan to move on the Capitol. The leaders of Woman for America First sent several frantic, angry text messages to the White House warning that such a march was both illegal and dangerous. "When Ali was putting up things about the Capitol on the sixth, [we were] screen-shotting that, sending it to people both at Parks and at the White House, a couple of times, like 'WTF'!," an organizer source said.

One series of texts between the sponsors apparently sent two days before the rally reads, "Did you see that Ali's website says we are marching at 1." The reply: "We've just had to up our numbers with the NPS [National Park Service] and we can't say anyone is marching."

Women for America First founders Amy and Kylie Jane Kremer, who have had a well-reported feud with Alexander and Alex Jones, the far-right radio host with whom Alexander had teamed to lead the march. It is credible that the Kremers would have tried to prevent their sworn enemy from using their rally to launch a march which would leave the group on the hook for violation of their permit.

The permit issued by the U.S. Interior Department, which has jurisdiction over federal parkland, says: "Women for America First will not conduct an organized march from the Ellipse at the conclusion of the rally."

The Kremers have been feted by the president, and so has Alexander. That gave Alexander access to the front of the rally where Trump would speak. "Ali was running amok in the VIP section-it was disgusting-saying we're going to go to the Capitol. What the f*ck! We're not doing a march to the Capitol! What a terrible idea to try to move that number of people all the way to the Capitol," the source said.

The insider claims that Woman for America First was quite worried that they had no marshals to keep the crowd in line. "We did advocate against [the march] for all kinds of reasons. So, excuse me, it's not a big stretch to say when you have a bunch of people heading that way, it's going to be a problem."

Trump said he's walking!

The first news that there would be, despite warnings, an illegal, uncontrolled march was at 12:15 pm when Trump himself surprised the protest organizers with his announcement. The charge on the Capitol was set in motion when the President announced he himself would join it. "The announcement that he was going to go was news to us," the insider said. "But then [Trump] said he's walking! It caught our team by surprise and unprepared."

Alex Jones stated on his podcast that he and Alexander were called by the White House just before the president's speech and were told to prepare to lead the crowd on a march. "We had a legitimate deal with the White House," Jones said in an InfoWars show filmed with Alexander after the riot. "'Hey Jones and Ali,' literally, with Alexander, we were supposed to lead a peaceful deal."

The White House has not denied the duo's extraordinary claim, a claim consistent with events.

Alexander has been filmed cavorting with the white power group Proud Boys and yucking it up with a Nazi displaying a giant swastika flag in an online forum. Alexander has had a well-known fan in Trump who, more than once, reportedly referenced with approval Alexander's uncanny resemblance to the late entertainer Sammy Davis Jr.

Washington DC's anti-Covid laws required a complex separation of the crowd into groups of no more than 50 which would have been impossible to maintain.

Attorney James Lafferty has spent decades defending protests. Reached in Los Angeles, he said if Trump had launched the march knowing it was unplanned, dangerous and led to this mayhem, that would make Trump culpable of "high crimes and misdemeanors," that is, grounds for impeachment. Trump was impeached on Wednesday by the House of Representatives for "inciting" an "insurrection."

"It doesn't matter that he didn't call for or know the details of the damage that would follow," according to Lafferty who hosts a radio show on legal rights. "He is guilty of the consequences." The Senate will presumably examine this issue when it tries Trump.

GOP Teams up with DC Provocateur Alexander

As Palast Investigations reported on Jan. 8, the team's Zach D. Roberts had discovered that both the Republican Party of Georgia and the National Republican Senate Committee had sponsored Alexander to lead the GOP's get-out-the-vote operation in suburban Atlanta in Jan. 5's run-off for two U.S. Senate seats.

The Republican state and national officials sponsored the event promoting Alexander while he was calling for an illegal march -and weeks after our reports of Alexander's violence-threatening screed.

The GOP officials who sponsored Alexander have not returned calls to explain their reason for teaming up with the Alt-right provocateur.

Alexander is, as of this writing, in hiding.

(c) 2021 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.



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Major Spray-Tan Corporations Break Ties with Trump
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-In yet another rebuke to the disgraced President, the nation's major manufacturers of spray tan have cut ties with Donald J. Trump.

In a statement by the National Association of Spray Tan Manufacturers, the corporations that have reliably supplied Trump with his unique orange coating said that they would no longer do so.

With this move, the color of Trump's head once he leaves office faces an uncertain future, experts say.

The statement by the spray-tan corporations was stark in its repudiation of their most loyal customer.

"Since the election, Donald J. Trump's face has emitted a series of dangerous and malevolent lies," the statement read. "We no longer want our product sprayed on the surface of that face."

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz


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Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 04 (c) 01/22/2021


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