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In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us. Their Clash Underscores The Need For Grassroots Wisdom."

Glenn Greenwald returns with, "Bolsonaro, Under Fire, Dismisses His Culture Minister for Giving a Nazi Speech, but It Is Still Representative Of Brazil's Governing Ethos."

Glen Ford examines, "Shaky Joe Biden, Billionaire Bloomberg, And The Global Race To The Bottom."

Jim Hightower explains, "How Do The Rich Become Uber-Rich?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "Biden Says His Vote For War Wasn't Really A Vote for War. He's Still Lying."

John Nichols explains how, "The 'New York Times' 'Endorsement' Fails Us All."

James Donahue wonders, "Did Corruption Destroy An Early Attempt At A One World Government?"

David Swanson says, "#CNNisTrash."

David Suzuki finds, "Conservation And Climate Action Go Together."

Charles P. Pierce says, "I Don't Understand Why There Aren't Thousands Of People Protesting The Senate Trial."

Juan Cole reports, "Despite Trump Vows, Coal Industry Falling As Wind Power Surges In US And Worldwide."

The Nation Archives and it's executive director, Christopher Eck wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich asks, "Should Facebook And Twitter Stop Trump's Lies?"

Michael Winship joins us with, "The Imperative Of Pulling Together To Beat The Trump Who Would Be King."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Waterford Whispers News joins us with, "Putin Calls Meeting To Tell Russian Government They've All Resigned," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "Midnight Mitch Strikes Again!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Nate Beeler, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Scott Olson, Deutsche Welle, Axel Schmidt, K8, Unsplash, The New York Times, The Washington Post, Robyn Beck, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, 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 Vidkun Quisling Award-
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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Midnight Mitch Strikes Again!
By Ernest Stewart

"This is the most important moment for the Republican Party since the censure of Joe McCarthy and the impeachment and resignation of Richard Nixon in which Republicans became great heroes and patriots. Now we're looking at Midnight Mitch and the so-called world's greatest deliberative body, really embracing a cover-up that is there for all to see." ~~~ Carl Bernstein

"2019 was the second-hottest year on record, continuing a global warming trend." ~~~ Emma Newburger

"We will immediately begin a 'thorough review' of our policies and procedures for exhibits so that this does not happen again." ~~~ The National Archives

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

Carl Bernstein got it absolutely right when he gave Turtle Boy a.k.a. Moscow Mitch his new epithet of Midnight Mitch. As Carl predicted the impeachment trial went well beyond midnight on the first day of the trial.

Yes late-night rancor erupted at Lying Donald's impeachment trial on a first day of formal arguments that previewed a divisive and fact-bending showdown that epitomizes the nature of his presidency and will cause years of aftershocks.

Democrats forced 100 senators sitting as Lying Donalds's jurors to endure repeated and futile votes to over witnesses testimony and evidence, stretching well into the early hours of Wednesday morning and driving home their view that Republicans are thwarting a fair trial that would dig up the truth about the Ukraine scandal.

"Yeah, we're making it hard for you, we're making it hard for you to say no," lead House impeachment manager Rep. Adam Schiff told senators who became increasingly tired and restless as the night wore on.

"We making it hard for you to say 'I don't want to hear from these people, I don't want to see the documents,' ... Our job is to make it hard to deprive the American people of a fair trial," Schiff said.

Eventually, Chief Justice John (the enforcer) Roberts was forced to intervene to cool ugly exchanges between the rival legal teams.

"I think it is appropriate for me to admonish both the house managers and the president's counsel in equal terms to remember that they are addressing the world's greatest deliberative body," Roberts said. "One reason it has earned that title is because its members avoid speaking in a manner and using language that is not conducive to civil discourse."

None of the bitter exchanges in the well of the chamber on Tuesday are likely to change the reality that there's no two-thirds majority in the Republican-led chamber to convict the President and throw him out of office. Yes folks the fix is in, was there ever any doubts of the outcome?

And any dim hopes that the trial could stir a moment of national catharsis and a path out of the most bitter political crisis in decades are already dead after a single rancorous day. The debate stretched long past midnight into Wednesday morning. Way to go Midnight Mitch. Stay tuned for the obvious outcome, America!

In Other News

I see where scientists are saying that 2019 Was the second hottest year globally on record, and ocean temperatures are hotter than ever!

Scientists announced Wednesday that 2019 now ranks as the second hottest year globally. It comes in second to 2016 by less than 0.75 degrees F (or about 0.04 degrees C). Five of the warmest years in recorded history have occurred since 2015.

Global average temperatures in 2019 were 1.71 degrees F (0.95 degrees C) above the 20th century average, according to a new study by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) and NASA. Several months throughout the year saw their highest global temperatures in recorded history, including June, when many European countries recorded record-breaking heat. The year was also the hottest on record for Alaska, where wildfires burned throughout the state over the summer.

Scientists also announced Monday that ocean temperatures are hotter than they've ever been. "We are heating the oceans today by the equivalent heat of five Hiroshima bombs every second, day and night, 365 days a year," says John Abraham, professor of thermal sciences at the University of St. Thomas, who co-authored the study on oceanic temperature rise.

"Temperatures will continue to increase and break records for decades to come-until global emissions reach net zero CO2," says Piers Forster, professor of climate physics at the Priestley International Centre for Climate at the University of Leeds. "So we need to make sure our infrastructure and our food systems can live with this new normal."

2019 was Alaska's hottest year on record. Brian Brettschneider, post doctoral fellow at the International Arctic Research Center at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, says he wasn't surprised 2019 was the state's hottest year on record.

"We had a good idea that it was gonna happen based on where we were at through the month of November," he said. "We knew that December in Alaska would have to be nearly historic cold for the entire month for it to not be the warmest year on record."

While the global temperature overall increased, the arctic region experienced much higher temperatures than average. Over the summer, the state saw record-low levels of sea ice and more than 2.5 million acres of wildfire burned, diminishing air quality.

"Somebody's gotta be the warmest bullseye," says Brettschneider.

"That was us this year. We just had a little bit of bad luck on top of the overall trend in warming."

Alaska is warming more rapidly than most of the rest of the world, according to Deke Arndt, climate monitoring chief at the NOAA's National Centers for Environmental Information. So if you think it's bad here in the lower 49 it twice as bad in Alaska. Fron their massive wild fires, to their "drucken" forests and collapsing inter-structure to the lack of sea ice global warming is making the Alaskan paradise into hell on earth!

And Finally

I see where the National Archives got caught rewriting history! Initially when that happened they tried to disguise their treason:

Archives spokesweasel Miriam Kleiman said, "As a non-partisan, non-political federal agency, we blurred references to the President's name on some posters, so as not to engage in current political controversy, Our mission is to safeguard and provide access to the nation's most important federal records, and our exhibits are one way in which we connect the American people to those records. Modifying the image was an attempt on our part to keep the focus on the records."

Then, as you can imagine, it hit the fan!

For example signs that originally read "God Hates Trump" and "Trump & GOP - Hands Off Women" were both blurred to obscure the word "Trump" in the museum's version. A sign that read "If my vagina could shoot bullets, it'd be less REGULATED" was blurred to obscure the word "vagina," and another that read "This Pussy Grabs Back" obscured the word "pussy."

Apparently like most Rethuglicans the museum is afraid of lady parts!

The National Archives has apologized for altering a photo of the 2017 Women's March, including blurring out protest signs criticizing President Trump, to promote an exhibit honoring the women's suffrage movement.

Though initially saying the photo was altered to avoid "political controversy,"" the museum acknowledged in a statement Saturday that it "made a mistake."

Did I mention the whole point of The National Archives is to keep and protect the truth for future generations, not sugar coat it, not to pick a side. Congress established the National Archives in 1934 to preserve and care for the records of the U.S. Government. Ergo, The Nation Archives and it's executive director, Christopher Eck win this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep telling you the truth!


09-02-1937 ~ 01-17-2020
Thanks for the film!

10-14-1930 ~ 01-19-2020
Thanks for the music!

02-01-1942 ~ 01-21-2020
Thanks for the film!

05-19-1934 ~ 01-23-2020
Thanks for the news!


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


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) 2020 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, 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.

Not Bernie, Us. Not Warren, Us. Their Clash Underscores The Need For Grassroots Wisdom
By Norman Solomon

The dismal conflict that erupted this week between Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren should never have happened. But now that it has, supporters must provide grassroots leadership to mitigate the dangerous mess.

The argument that broke out between Warren and Sanders last weekend and escalated in recent days is already history that threatens to foreshadow tragedy. Progressives cannot afford to give any more aid and comfort to the forces behind corporate contenders Joe Biden and Pete Buttigieg, or the plutocratic $54 billion man Michael Bloomberg waiting in the wings.

In a sense, this moment calls for Sanders and Warren supporters to be better than their candidates, who've descended into an avoidably harsh conflict that hugely benefits corporate power and corporate Democrats -- and will do so even more to the extent that it doesn't subside.

So much is at stake that Sanders and Warren must be called upon to look beyond their own anger, no matter how justified. A demolition derby between the two -- or their supporters -- won't resolve who's right. But it will help the right wing.

No matter how decent, candidates and their campaigns make mistakes, for a range of reasons. The Sanders campaign made one when its talking points for volunteers in Iowa included saying that Warren "is bringing no new bases into the Democratic Party." It was a breach of a de facto nonaggression pact between the two campaigns -- a tactical and political error, setting off retaliation from Warren that quickly became asymmetrical.

Warren responded by publicly saying on Sunday: "I was disappointed to hear that Bernie is sending his volunteers out to trash me."

On the same day, Sanders responded: "We have hundreds of employees. Elizabeth Warren has hundreds of employees. And people sometimes say things that they shouldn't." And: "Elizabeth Warren is a very good friend of mine. No one is going to trash Elizabeth Warren."

The clash could have de-escalated at that point, and for a short time it seemed that it might. But then came the anonymously sourced CNN story that Sanders had told Warren at a December 2018 private meeting that a woman couldn't be elected president. Sanders quickly and categorically denied saying that.

It should have ended there. Warren could have simply said that it was a private meeting and there may have been a misunderstanding. Instead she threw a political grenade at Sanders, stating that he had said a woman could not be elected president.

And then, whether or not she knew that microphones would pick up her words, Warren further escalated the conflict after the debate Tuesday night by walking over to Sanders, refusing to shake his hand (moments after shaking Biden's hand) and saying: "I think you called me a liar on national TV."

When CNN, predictably, released the audio on Wednesday night, the situation blew up worse than ever.

As an active Sanders supporter, I had been heartened by the nonaggression pact and frequent mutual support on many substantive issues between Warren and Sanders. While I'm much more aligned with Bernie's political worldview, I have held Warren in high regard. Not so high now.

But here's the overarching point: Whatever Sanders and Warren supporters think of each other's candidate now, there is no plausible pathway forward to the 2020 presidential nomination for either if the conflict festers.

Lost in a volcano of anger from many Bernie supporters is the reality that a tactical coalition with Warren is vital for blocking the nomination of the likes of Biden, Buttigieg and Bloomberg. That's why BBB are surely elated at what has happened between Warren and Sanders in recent days -- and why BBB surely hope that a lot of Sanders supporters declare political war on Warren and vice versa. The sounds of that clash in the weeks ahead would be music to the ears of corporate Democrats.

It's easier -- and maybe more emotionally satisfying -- for anger to spin out of control. But this is a tactical situation. If you want Bernie to win, it makes no sense to try to escalate the conflict with Warren.

As the strong Bernie supporter Ilhan Omar wisely tweeted on Wednesday, "Trump wants progressives pitted against each other. Corporate media want progressives pitted against each other. Billionaires want progressives pitted against each other. Pitting progressives against each other weeks before the Iowa Caucus hurts ALL of us."

And, from Justice Democrats, Waleed Shahid tweeted: "Both a Sanders or Warren presidency would be historic. Progressives should focus on making a case against Biden and Buttigieg in the coming weeks."

For the sake of humanity and the planet, we need a tactical alliance between the Sanders and Warren campaigns. Defeating corporate Democrats and Donald Trump will require no less.

(c) 2020 Norman Solomon is co-founder of 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."

Bolsonaro, Under Fire, Dismisses His Culture Minister for Giving a Nazi Speech, but It Is Still Representative Of Brazil's Governing Ethos
By Glenn Greenwald

Editors Note: This just in, Glenn Greenwald has been charged with cybercrimes by Bolsonaro's Brazilian government.

BRAZILIAN PRESIDENT Jair Bolsonaro, under severe pressure from multiple corners, on Friday fired his culture minister, Roberto Alvim, for recording and publishing what can only be described - with no hyperbole - as a Nazi speech about Brazilian art. Indeed, the speech, published by Alvim on Thursday, plagiarized Adolf Hitler's Minister of Culture and Communications Joseph Goebbels and deliberately copied his style and aesthetic when decreeing what Brazilian art must be in the years to come:

"The Brazilian art of the next decade will be heroic and national. It will be endowed with a great capacity for emotional involvement and will be equally imperative, since it is deeply linked to the urgent aspirations of our people, or else it will be nothing" - Roberto Alvin, Brazil's culture minister, January 15, 2020.

"The German art of the next decade will be heroic, romantic, objective, and free of sentimentality, national with great pathos and equally imperative and binding, or nothing" - Joseph Goebbels, Nazi culture minister, October 8, 1933.

The Nazi content, style, and aesthetics of the six-minute speech, set to the score of a Wagnerian opera, are impossible to overstate or even adequately describe in words. It has to be seen to be believed. For that reason, The Intercept has translated the speech into English and is publishing a video of it because it should be seen by everyone:

Brazil's O Globo newspaper featured this surreal headline on its front page: "Bolsonaro fires Culture Minister after he copies Nazi speech." The German paper Deutsche Welle featured the photo of the 1933 speech of Goebbels that Alvim copied next to the one delivered by the Brazilian culture minister to juxtapose how similar it was on all levels, beyond just the words.

The content of Thursday's speech was nothing new for Alvim, once a respected theater director who reinvented himself as a far-right religious fanatic. In his short stint as Bolsonaro's culture minister and in the months leading up to his appointment by the Brazilian president, he has issued a series of similarly shocking comments - just not quite as shocking as blatantly and deliberately mimicking the speech, style, and mannerisms of Hitler's most notorious propagandist.

On social media, he has declared himself fighting a "cultural war" in favor of "conservative artists"; denounced one of Brazil's most beloved actresses, the 90-year-old Fernanda Montenegro, as a "dirty liar" for whom he harbors "contempt"; and attacked the Brazilian filmmaker Petra Costa, whose documentary "Edge of Democracy" was just nominated for an Academy Award, as a leftist propagandist disseminating lies.

Notably, Alvim was fired only after the embassies of Germany and - far more importantly to Bolsonaro - Israel issued condemnations containing harsh language rare for diplomatic communications. The Israeli Confederation of Brazil said,"Such a person cannot command the culture of our country and must be removed from office immediately." The German Embassy in Brazil said, "The period of National Socialism is the darkest chapter in German history, bringing infinite suffering to humanity. ...We oppose any attempt to trivialize or even glorify the era of National Socialism." The center-right presidents of the Brazilian Senate and House also demanded Alvim's firing, leaving Bolsonaro with little choice. When announcing the firing, Bolsonaro called the speech "an unfortunate pronouncement."

But it is difficult to believe that absent those reactions, Bolsonaro would have fired his culture minister, whom he has repeatedly defended and praised, including in a Facebook Live chat immediately prior to the instantly notorious Nazi speech, hailing him as representative of "the real culture." Sitting with Alvim prior to his speech, the Brazilian president said, "Beside me, here, Roberto Alvim, our culture secretary. Now we do have a real culture secretary that serves the interest of the majority of the Brazilian population, conservative and Christian population."

Whatever else is true, Alvim's speech, though more stylistically extreme and indelicate in how crassly it copied pure Nazism, is consistent in content with the posture of the Bolsonaro government toward artistic expression and cultural norms generally. Bolsonaro - though currently on his third wife while still claiming to be devoutly Catholic - has also adopted a form of evangelic fanaticism, a rapidly growing political force in the country, as part of his public identity and ideology (his current wife is evangelical).

Bolsonaro, somewhat ironically in light of the current controversy, has also made unyielding devotion to Israel critical to his political and religious identity (he has traveled to Israel repeatedly, offered unstinting support for the Netanyahu government against Palestinians, and was baptized in 2016 in the Jordan River while the Brazilian Senate voted to impeach the center-left President Dilma Rousseff).

While all of this has caused many of Brazil's small Jewish communities in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro to support him, it has little to do with affection for Jews. Like many evangelicals, Bolsonaro appears to believe in some form of the Rapture (which, in its crudest form, holds that Israel must be united in order for Jesus to return and send all nonbelievers - including Jews - to hell), and like many authoritarians, adores Israel's capacity of military and intelligence superiority and its animus toward Muslims, and wants as much of its surveillance technology as he can get for domestic purposes. As is true of many far-right leaders, Bolsonaro worships Israel but not necessarily Jews.

Aggressive and harsh public morality is a central prong of Bolsonaro's political appeal. He featured as part of his 2018 campaign cultural themes similar to Alvim's speech - including a false but highly effective warning that elementary school teachers were using something he calls "gay kits" to convert young children in order to allow homosexuals to recruit them as sex partners - and generally has waged a war on any art or artists who diverge from Bolsonaro's vision of what pure nationalist art is. One of Alvim's predecessors as culture minister resigned after the Bolsonaro government cut funding specifically to LGBT-themed art.

Earlier this week, Academy Award nominations were unveiled and one of the five contenders for Best Documentary was a Netflix film by the Brazilian director Petra Costa called "Edge of Democracy," which warns of the dangers faced by Brazilian democracy. Though the film principally focuses not on Bolsonaro but on the impeachment of Dilma and imprisonment and election-barring of Lula, it has become a target of contempt by the Brazilian Right. After it received its Oscar nod, both Alvim and Bolsonaro publicly denounced the film as leftist agitprop "fiction" (though Bolsonaro, when asked, acknowledged he never saw it).

A far graver assault on artistic expression occurred on Christmas Eve when a member of the right-wing party to which Bolsonaro belonged until recently threw a Molotov cocktail at the building that houses Porta das Fundos, the production company responsible for a Netflix film that features a gay Jesus with a boyfriend. Bolsonaro's Congressman-son had inveighed against the film as "trash." Last week, a Bolsonaro-linked right-wing judge stunned the country, and Netflix, by issuing a censorship order forcing Netflix to remove the film from its streaming platform, a ruling overturned by a Justice of the Supreme Court.

Nazi-style nationalism and crude public assaults have been repeatedly featured by Bolsonaro in his remarks to journalists. On Thursady, addressing a new book critical of his government by a Brazilian reporter of Japanese descent, Thaís Oyama, Bolsonaro said he does not know what she is doing in Brazil, adding: "This journalist ... In Japan she was going to starve to death."

Last month, in response to a reporter's question about the still-unfolding scandal involving his Senator-son's corruption and the family's links to violent paramilitary militias, the president said "you have a terribly gay face," and told another reporter to "ask your mother about your father." When questioned earlier this week about a scandal involving his Communications Minister who has private contracts with the same television outlets whose public budget he is responsible for determining, the president responded: "are you talking about your mother?"

A report issued earlier this week by a press freedom group documented that Bolsonaro is directly responsible for the majority of the attacks on journalists and media outlets. It cited, among other things, Bolsonaro's repeated public incitements against journalists as well as his public threats that I might be imprisoned for the series of exposes published this year by the Intercept about his Justice Minister and his accusations that my marriage to a Brazilian Congressman and adoption of Brazilian children was a fraud.

Earlier this month, Bolsonaro pronounced that books in schools have too much content and need to be made "softer" and warned that "beginning in 2021, all the books will be ours," proclaiming that they will have the Brazilian flag and national anthem on their cover. He added that "they will be made for us. The country will vibrate.... There will be the Brazilian flag on the cover, there will be the national anthem there." He claimed that the "idiots" who have been in charge of Brazilian education have been propagandizing children with the "gender of ideology" that "encourages boys to wear skirts" and "other things that I don't want to talk about here." On Thursday, he said leftists "do not deserve to be treated like normal people."

In sum, Bolsonaro has spent years spouting classically fascist ideology. The manifestation of undisguised Nazism by his Culture Minister was just a slightly more crass and naked expression of his ideology and mentality. Many Brazilian elites who supported Bolsonaro largely because of their admiration for his Chicago-trained, austerity-loving Economics Minister Paulo Gedes and his corrupt law-and-order Justice Minister Sergio Moro (the subject of the 2019 Intercept's exposes) are now feigning shock and outrage. But Alvim's speech simply shined a light on the true face of the Bolsonaro movement - one which all to many political and media elites decided to ignore, or pretend was just a game, because they were eager for the parts of Bolsonaro's ideology that served their interests.

(c) 2020 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Shaky Joe Biden, Billionaire Bloomberg, And The Global Race To The Bottom
By Glen Ford

Bloomberg has put himself and his fortune into the contest to rally his (ruling) classmates to the task of shoring up corporate control of the Party if Sanders seizes the top spot.

U.S. oligarchs have begun to panic at the prospect that they will lose control of the other half of the American electoral duopoly. With the GOP in Donald Trump's unreliable hands, the Democrats four years ago became the de facto ruling class party, and thus the favored brand of the national security state and most of the corporate media. Although there is not even one genuine anti-imperialist among congressional Democrats - certainly not Bernie Sanders or Elizabeth Warren -- the party's popular base is in revolt against a 40-year domestic austerity regime that offers nothing but ever-declining real wages, non-existent job security and a visibly decaying nation-scape. It has finally dawned on most Americans that they have been conscripted into a Global Race to the Bottom, and they want out of the downward spiral.

Sanders and Warren are running for president on austerity-busting issues supported by super-majorities of Democrats (and up to half of Republicans). In previous eras, the corporate rulers would embrace milder versions of reform in health care, wages, job security, educational costs, and environmental protection, in order to blunt demands for more transformative measures. But those days are over. The Lords of Capital are committed to the Race to the Bottom - locked in by the nature of capitalism-in-decline.

Despite their vice-grip on media and corporate donor control of the Democratic Party machinery, all the oligarchs' eggs are in Joe Biden's basket this election year. The numbers show that, were it not for all-consuming fears of Trump among older Black voters, who cling to the notion of Biden's "electability," Sanders and Warren would collectively sweep the primaries. The corporate consensus on austerity - and, therefore, the shape of capitalism, at home and globally -- is in dire peril. That's why Michael Bloomberg has thrown his $55 billion hat into the ring - not because he has any prospect of winning the nomination (his presence in fact helps the anti-austerity candidates), but as the first stage in what Bloomberg is determined will be an epic battle to preserve the austerity regime and its hold on the Democratic Party machinery - the favored party of the ruling class as long as Trump runs the GOP.

Bloomberg is signaling to his fellow oligarchs, through his blaring commitment of up to a billion dollars, that they must become deadly serious about containing the economic populist wave among the Democrats, or face collapse of the austerity regime. The fate and fortunes of the oligarchy cannot be allowed to depend on Old Shaky Joe. Bloomberg has put himself and his fortune into the contest to rally his (ruling) classmates to the task of shoring up corporate control of the Party if Sanders, or some Sanders-Warren combination, seizes the top spots on the ticket.

Winning the nomination, or even the presidency, doesn't automatically get you control of the party. But the Democratic Party is a political organism with an institutional life. Although probably only 20 House members, and less than a handful of senators, can at this moment be counted on to support Sanders' full agenda, that cohort would immediately swell if Sanders wins the nomination in Milwaukee -- and will explode if he is elected president in November. Former New York mayor Bloomberg, the most electorally-attuned of the oligarchs, knows this. He understands that Democratic politicians will only remain fully dependable corporate servants if they are provided with an assured source of funds, through reliable structures. Bloomberg's gambit is to enlist his ruling class fellows in an all-out push to further consolidate their dollar-dominance of the institutional Democratic Party - the only electoral vehicle left to preserve austerity capitalism with a racially "diverse" face. Although Bloomberg cannot expect to win a decisive number of delegates, he is conducting a "demonstration-effect" campaign to fully engage his uber-class fellows in the fight to maintain the corporate nature of the Democratic Party.

But Shaky Joe Biden remains the first line of corporate defense. If he does poorly in New Hampshire and Iowa, his aura of "electability" will be shattered. Black voters are not ideologically wedded to Biden. If they voted their economic agenda, Blacks would be overwhelmingly for Sanders. Only the existential threat of a Trump re-election keeps older Blacks in Biden's corner. That will change in a flash if Biden does not win strong approval from whites in the first two contests - the corporate nightmare that terrifies and energizes Bloomberg. Biden's long career as a gladiator for austerity has now moved to center stage, as he defends his role in Barack Obama's attempt at an across-the-board slash in entitlements "Grand Bargain" with the Republicans, a betrayal of the Democratic base that ended -- blessedly -- in gridlock at the end of Obama's first term. Sanders will have to be careful in his condemnation of Biden, to avoid indicting The First Black President.

The best outcome in 2020 would be a break-up of the Democratic Party, creating space for a genuine political debate in the belly of the imperial beast. It now appears that such a rupture is at least as likely to come from the Right, from Bloomberg-organized billionaires, as from the Left, through a mass defection by Sanders supporters infuriated by yet another round of the Party's dirty tricks. I believe Bloomberg is preparing to launch a kind of "Third Way" party structure to shore up corporate Democrats, and isolate and deny endorsement to Sanders should the Vermont senator win the nomination - leaving Sanders with only the rump of a party behind him.

If that happens, we at Black Agenda Report will celebrate the end of duopoly, and a new scenario of struggle.

(c) 2019 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

How Do The Rich Become Uber-Rich?
By Jim Hightower

As Ray Charles wailed in a song of true-life blues: "Them that's got is them that gets/And I ain't got nothin' yet."

" While the workaday majority of Americans continue to be mired in our low-wage economy, the precious few at the tippy-top soared out of sight in 2019. They started the year wallowing in wealth - but by year's end, the 500 richest people saw their total haul increase by an average of $2.4-billion each! Indeed, some needed bulldozers to bank their increased wealth. Mark Zuckerberg of Facebook, for example, piled up an extra $27-billion last year; Bill Gates of Microsoft added $22-billion to his stash; and even though Amazon czar Jeff Bezos dropped $9-billion last year in a divorce settlement, his fortune multiplied so much that he's still the world's richest person.

Bear in mind that none of these moneyed elites did anything to earn these extraordinary bonanzas. They didn't work any harder, didn't get smarter, didn't add anything of value to society. They simply reclined in luxury and let their money make money. That's a dirty little secret of our rigged economic system - unfettered inequality begets ever-expanding inequality.

Another dirty little secret is that billionaire-ism is hereditary. Right-wing media baron Rupert Murdoch, for example, doled out $10-billion to his six children last year. So - voila! - thus were born six brand-spanking-new baby billionaires, who did nothing to reach the top of the world's financial heap, except please daddy.

Not only are the rich different from you and me, but the filthy rich are also different from the merely rich. It can take hard work, creativity, perseverance, and luck to become a millionaire, but in today's skewed wealth system, multibillionaires don't need any of that - their money does all the work to lift them above everyone else.

(c) 2020 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

Former Vice President Joe Biden delivers his closing statement during the Democratic
presidential primary debate at Drake University on January 14, 2020, in Des Moines, Iowa.

Biden Says His Vote For War Wasn't Really A Vote for War. He's Still Lying
By William Rivers Pitt

I found myself tumbling through a time warp during the opening segment of Tuesday night's debate in Iowa. I was sitting there attentively, listening to the six candidates discuss their various stances on the Iraq War ... when all of a sudden, I flashed back to October 25, 2002.

I was in a car with fellow activists on the way to a massive antiwar protest in Washington D.C., when my very first cell phone burred in my pocket. I answered, and even through the poor connection I could hear the emotion-choked words of a friend telling me that Sen. Paul Wellstone, a true progressive champion and one of the few congressional voices raised against war, was dead in a plane crash.

When I returned to the present, I was trembling. I began listening to the candidates as they spoke, not just sifting for plumb bits to write about, but fully absorbing the strange, galling surreal truth of the moment. All these antiwar candidates! They all sound like Bernie Sanders, two decades late! Wellstone and Sanders were cut from the same bolt of cloth. They knew the Iraq War would be a disaster then, and alas, only one of the two remains with us today to speak the hard truth of it.

That phone call, and that protest, took place almost 18 years ago. It was in that long-ago October of 2002 when I joined so many others in gearing up opposition to the invasion and occupation of Iraq. The war was still months off, and it still seemed possible to derail it. I had spent the summer researching and writing a book arguing there were no weapons of mass destruction in Iraq and no damn reason to go to war there.

The book was published that month, there were boxes of them in the trunk of the car, and I went to that protest and so many others to give it away for free to as many people as would take it, because the war had to be stopped.

"The Gordian knot was broken with a sword," I wrote in that book. "By using the sword to undo the knot of Iraq, the Bush administration will become ruler of nothing but chaos. The potential for global conflagration lies in the actions Bush and his people are presently undertaking."

At about the same time, a page on the Bush administration's White House website appeared. It claimed Iraq had 26,000 liters of anthrax, 38,000 liters of botulinum toxin, 500 tons of sarin, mustard and nerve agents, 30,000 munitions for the stuff, mobile biological weapons labs, and uranium from Niger for an "advanced" nuclear weapons program. For the record, 500 tons is 1,000,000 pounds.

These were the lies they peddled that led us to war, disgrace and infamy, and that page remained on the White House's official website until the day they left office. I still have it memorized.

Of course, not one bit of it was found, but George W. Bush managed to carve out some time to make a video in which he pretended to look for those weapons in the Oval Office. It was a joke for the Correspondent's Dinner, and they laughed. They laughed. They laughed.

So there I sat on Tuesday night, almost two decades after that terrible October day when we learned that one of the most important voices against the war was gone. An ocean of blood has been shed since, trillions of dollars squandered. That war spawned more wars and still may yet lead us to war in Iran. And I sat there on Tuesday night listening to six candidates trying to outdo each other on who was more against it all. It was the apotheosis of closing the barn door 18 years after the horse went down the road.

Not one bit of this had to happen, and look where we are now. The opening topic for the most important debate so far was what a calamity that war was, and what the one candidate on that stage who voted for it and supported it had to say for himself.

Bernie Sanders was right all along, Pete Buttigieg was 20 years old when the Iraq war vote happened, the other three were not in Congress, and Joe Biden stood there with his bare face hanging out vigorously apologizing - while simultaneously trying to argue that his vote for war wasn't really a vote for war. I wanted to scream, and would have if my daughter hadn't been asleep down the hall.

We were right, Mr. Bush, Mr. Cheney, Mr. Rumsfeld, Mr. Biden, all of you who pushed for this war and prospered from it. The evidence against your belligerent lies was clear and unequivocal, and yet the war happened anyway, because war is capitalism and capitalism is war, and profit is all for the fortunate few.

The dead and the damaged from that ongoing and ever-growing war are all around us, and it did not have to happen. They poured our future into the sand, butchered untold thousands along the way, and got rich doing it. It's nice that everyone's against it now, and if we had ham, we could have ham and eggs, if we had eggs.

Now, upon the precipice of yet another war, whoever is chosen to run against Donald Trump must have real plans to end them all - to truly prioritize that ending, now and in the future. Whoever is chosen must be committed to slashing the $700 billion Pentagon budget. Saying "end the endless wars" on a debate stage where such language has become politically advantageous is one thing, but 18 years later, Trump's challenger must be more than merely not Trump, and must take definitive action against the rampant militarism that is the ruthless order of the day.

In the name of Paul Wellstone and everything we have lost, let us hope they do.

(c) 2020 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.

Elizabeth Warren (left) and Amy Klobuchar (right)

The 'New York Times' 'Endorsement' Fails Us All
The editorial board's split endorsement of two candidates-Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar-serves to confuse, not clarify, the 2020 race.
By John Nichols

The New York Times' much-anticipated endorsement for the Democratic presidential nomination violated the first rule of editorial endorsements. When a newspaper makes an endorsement, it is suggesting how voters who respect the opinion of the newspaper might make their choice. To do this, the paper's editorial board must necessarily make a choice of its own. In backing both Elizabeth Warren, the progressive senator from Massachusetts, and Amy Klobuchar, the more centrist senator from Minnesota, it failed to do just that.

The Times editorial board acknowledged in its editorial, which appears in Monday's paper, that there is a fight going on for the soul of the Democratic Party-a struggle they suggest pits a "radical" vision for taking on President Trump and the challenges facing the nation against a "realist" one.

If they got out of New York a bit more, they would also recognize that what they imagine to be radical is realistic-and necessary. That's not where the Times is at, however; indeed, the board's longing for "a single, powerful moderate voice" is palpable in the editorial.

The problem is that the moderate the paper has settled on, Klobuchar, has run an uninspired campaign that still struggles to get out of the low single digits in national polls and trails miserably in surveys of key primary and caucus states. Even if the editors had gone with their instinct for the failed centrism of the past and endorsed Klobuchar alone, it would have been better for the discourse than where they ended up, which was on both sides of the one question they needed to answer.

"Both the radical and the realist models warrant serious consideration. If there were ever a time to be open to new ideas, it is now. If there were ever a time to seek stability, now is it," the editorial muses. "That's why we're endorsing the most effective advocates for each approach. They are Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar."

Say what?

That's not an editorial endorsement. That's a rumination on a competition between progressivism and centrism-or, if we are required to employ the starkly revealing language of the Times, between "the radical and the realist models"-that imagines voters can pick a favorite candidate from each category. But voters can't avoid what the paper correctly identifies as an "essential debate...between two visions that may define the future of the party and perhaps the nation."

The voters have to do what the editors of the Times refuse to do: choose.

For Warren or Klobuchar, a strong, clear New York Times endorsement would have been highly beneficial. Of course, newspaper endorsements do not elect presidents. If they did, Hillary Clinton would be finishing her first term in the Oval Office.

But as someone who has written hundreds of newspaper endorsements over dozens of years, however, I know they can matter. The keyword, of course, is "can." There are right ways and wrong ways to endorse. Unfortunately for Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar, The New York Times just got it wrong.

A co-endorsement does little to help either of them. Instead of providing clarity with a robust embrace of one candidacy-even Klobuchar's unlikely bid-this editorial reads more as a rejection of a pair of "moderate voices" who are running way ahead of Klobuchar in the polls. Former vice president Joe Biden and former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg are obviously acceptable to the Times editorial board members. But the flaws exhibited by these contenders are judged to be just a bit more glaring than those exhibited by the Minnesotan-even while the editorial grudgingly acknowledges that "reports of how Senator Klobuchar treats her staff give us pause. They raise serious questions about her ability to attract and hire talented people."

The one clear statement that the Times editors make is in regard to Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. It's fair to say they do not like him. Yes, the editors admit, he has done much to open up the debate and seed it with "compelling ideas." In a nice turn of phrase, they note that "a career spent adjacent to the Democratic Party but not a part of it has allowed him to level trenchant criticism of a political party that often caters more to rich donors than to the middle class."

And they remind us that many of his ideas that were once labeled radical-like paid family leave, a higher minimum wage, universal health care and limits on military intervention-are now mainstream, and may attract voters who helped elect Mr. Trump in 2016.
Yet the Times damns Sanders in the crudest terms, concluding, "Three years into the Trump administration, we see little advantage to exchanging one over-promising, divisive figure in Washington for another."

Amazingly, the paper of record does not recognize the contradiction in arguing that Sanders is associated with "now mainstream" ideas that "may attract voters who helped elect Mr. Trump in 2016," while at the same time dismissing him as too "divisive."

The editorial is unfair to Sanders. But the Times was always going to reject the Vermonter. It simply needed a way to do that without rejecting all those "compelling ideas." The senator from Massachusetts provided a needed alternative for the paper. "Good news, then, that Elizabeth Warren has emerged as a standard-bearer for the Democratic left," the editorial chirps.

Good news for the Times, but not for Warren. She is, by any realistic measure, a more serious national contender than Klobuchar. Yet Warren finishes the day with only half an endorsement.

The Times concludes its editorial saying, "May the best woman win." But the Times let Warren down by failing to make a real endorsement, just as it let Klobuchar down. Just as it let Democratic voters down.

(c) 2020 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.

Did Corruption Destroy An Early Attempt At A One World Government?
By James Donahue

Bible scholars have puzzled over the strange Tower of Babel story told in Chapter 11 in the Book of Genesis because it doesn't seem to make any sense. The story reads:

Then they said, "Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth. And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech. So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the earth." - Genesis 11.
These verses appear to be an attempt to explain why humans were spread all over the world, and emerged with so many different cultures, languages and races after springing from the same root.

The story leaves us with more questions than answers. For example, what would make a people believe they could build a tower that would reach Heaven and put men in direct contact with their maker? And why would this god become so angered by such a tower that as punishment, the people would be scattered all over the earth and given such a variety of skin colors, bodily appearances and languages? That humans have found themselves so varied has led to bigotry, mistrust and war and obstructed our natural evolution.

This event occurred in the heart of Mesopotamia, and according to the text, was at or very near the great City of Babylon not far from Baghdad, Iraq. The ruins of that ancient place can still be found there today. And in the midst of the ruins archaeologists have located what they say appears to be the foundation of a tower. It is a square of earthen embankments measuring about three hundred feet on each side.

But there wasn't just one tower. As the area developed and other cities founded, they too contained towers, or stepped pyramids called ziggurats. To date the remains of nearly 30 of these structures have been uncovered. They are found in various sizes with bases ranging from 20 meters on a side to over 90 meters. Some cities had two ziggurats, and the City of Kish was found to have three of them.

The very oldest ziggurat is not the one in Babylon, but rather at Eridu. This ruin is estimated to have been started at its earliest time between 4,300 and 3,500 BCE. Ziggurats were on-going projects, or staged towers, with new levels added as the years passed. Thus they were built in steps, or terraces. It is believed that each level was a temple, or shrine, built on top of the ruins of the last.

The ziggurat at Babylon is believed to have been the largest structure in the region. Since Marduk, either Nimrod or the son, was the god of the people, some historians suggest that the towers were built to honor or worship him. Yet the final work on this tower is believed to have been ordered by King Nebuchadnezzar II, in around 600 BC. It was said to have stood 295 feet high, and was constructed of baked brick enameled in brilliant blue. The terraces may have been planted with flowers and even trees.

Obviously, the archaeological evidence does not support the Genesis story of the Tower of Babel. So was that just a story or was it a myth based upon a real event?

That people gathered at one place and established a city is true. The tower then was constructed because the people wanted to "make a name for ourselves." This is a natural thing for humans to do. Many great cities stand today with unique structures that mark them as a special place in the world. The Eiffel Tower in Paris, the Empire State Building in New York, and the Gateway Arch in St. Louis, Mo. are examples.

Yet we sense here that there was something unique and special about this particular tower. It went beyond pride of the citizenry and making the City of Babel a showplace of the known world.

Also there is a final part to this verse that seems to reflect a warning. "Let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." Was this a real fear that some kind of judgment awaited? And what kind of god would make this kind threat? Is it just a fabricated story?

And lo-and-behold, according to the story, this god did just what the people feared. He came down to see what they were building and said: "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them."

This sounds very much like the same lament this god had after Adam and Eve ate of the fruit of the Tree of Knowledge. He said "behold, the man is become as one of us, to know good and evil." At this time man was expelled from the Garden. Now, after building a city and a tower to heaven, the punishment was to be scattered all over the world and the language confused in a variety of tongues.

Something obviously astounding occurred at Babel, but the Genesis story only gives us a twisted version of the real event. In doing some research on ley and grid lines, I ran into some information that may shed some light on what was happening there and perhaps all over the Earth in those ancient times.

John Michell, in his book The View Over Atlantis, looks at the complex system of giant stones, pyramids, pillars, mounds, earthworks, underground tunnels, circles of erect pillars and lines of enormous blocks of stone that all form alignments. Michell believes they were built on what are called ley lines, or ancient lines of energy that circled the planet.

Rene Noorbergen, in his book: Secrets of the Lost Races, carries Michell's idea farther. He writes: "...just as local sections of the ley lines had a specific center or even several modes where the energies converged, so it is likely that the single authority operated from a world center where the energies of the entire global line were gathered."

Could this have been the purpose of the Tower of Babel? The great tower at Babel was located in the center of the known world at that time. Could it have been a point where the energy of the world ley line system linked not to the stars, but to the core of the Earth?

Noorbergen believes "the system appears to have operated for a period of time, but then something happened, something significant enough to mark a break in world conditions and to bring the world line system to an end. Before the event, the construction of the system had necessitated a unified world. At some specific point in time that unity was decisively broken. The single directing authority lost its power, and its world center ceased to operate.

"Following the event, new conditions prevailed, and the people of the world were fragmented into factions, making unity of effort and the coordinated working of the ley lines no longer possible," Noorbergen wrote.

Michell adds: "All we can suppose is that some overwhelming disaster, whether or not of natural origin, destroyed a system whose maintenance depended upon its control of certain natural forces across the entire earth."

What is astounding is that Noorbergen also suggests that the City of Babel and its great tower was a mighty political center in its day for a world government. He wrote that the tower, "intended to be a great structure reaching to the skies, may have represented something even more significant."

He suggests that the tower was a type of receiving station for the ley line currents of the earth. "By their possession of such a center of the world's energies, the ruling authorities at Babel literally controlled the world, for everyone who desired to benefit from the ley line system would have had to serve the rulers of Babel."

And in this we see where the very seeds of corruption may have been planted. Remember that in spite of the existing spiritual and occult knowledge of that day, the dark powers are always waiting in the wings for a chance to disrupt the path mankind is on.

Also, Noorbergen writes that the post flood ley line system may well have been a reconstruction of a system used before the flood. "The antediluvians thus developed a sophisticated form of technology that incorporated the use of both material and occult energies as its power base, and the ley line system was simply a further extension of this occult technology."

Supposing Michell and Noorbergen are offering a correct version of ancient events. After all, the man-made stone structures exist and it has been established that they follow some form of grid or energy lines once held sacred to indigenous people who practiced the ancient occult crafts.

It would mean that the people, themselves, were the cause of the downfall of the Tower of Babel and the breakup of the one-world government system. I would suggest a misuse of power, a revolution, and a complete breakdown of the existing government. It was a major disaster and may even have involved the use of nuclear weapons. It had to have been a war of such magnitude that the perfect system in Babel was wrecked forever.

What remained was a fragmentized world filled with small clusters of people that went their own way, eventually developing their own cultures and governments, and becoming societies unto themselves.

A lot can happen over a period of thousands of years.

It is believed by many that both demons and angels can possess humans, portraying themselves as gods and establishing religions. That Nimrod and his wife Semiramis declared themselves gods, with Semiramis making herself the first "mother of god," suggests that the spiritual deception began even from the start of the Mesopotamian Empire.

Suppose such powers really existed and that they, whether demonic or just powerful men, wanted to prevent mankind from evolving for personal reasons. Thus they arranged to make the world a more difficult place for humans to live. The one-world government and one-world language concept had to be replaced by something more complex. It had to be something that would keep humans so busy fighting among themselves and surviving they had little chance to grow mentally and spiritually.

And suppose they did it by spiritual possession. Just as they are doing today, they entered the bodies of men in possessions of wealth and leadership, and caused them to make bad decisions.

The people submitted to authority even then, and followed these demonic-driven men into a world of chaos. We seem to still be dealing with this problem today.

And if this is true, perhaps modern attempts to establish a one-world government will be doomed to failure for the same reasons.

(c) 2020 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.

By David Swanson

Why has the hash tag #CNNisTrash been popular since this week's presidential primary debate? There was nothing new about the corporate, militarist, anti-progressive slant of the debate "moderation." What was new was the level of blatant bias so extreme that even viewers who knew nothing about the issues couldn't miss it, plus the amount of time CNN focused on expressing its hostility toward a single candidate, Bernie Sanders.

First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they attack you, then you win . . . or so the saying goes. The Bernie Sanders campaign is well into stage 3 out of 4.

Here's a petition where people are asking CNN to apologize for its performance.

Remarkably, CNN began Tuesday's debate with a focus on endless U.S. wars in the Middle East, and with questions aimed at criticizing those who had supported the launching of some of those wars many years ago - support that various politicians and even media outlets like the New York Times (but not CNN) have long since been compelled to apologize for.

Yet the CNN moderator began by noting how close the United States had just come to war with Iran and then asking Bernie Sanders why he would be the best commander in chief, not why he would be the best president for making peace. Next, CNN falsely claimed that Sanders had only recently admitted that his vote for war on Afghanistan was wrong, and equated that vote with Joe Biden's vote for and promotion of war on Iraq, as well as Biden's blatant lying about his record.

A bit later, this was part of a question to Sanders: "Iran's Ayatollah Khamenei has again called for all U.S. troops to be pulled out of the Middle East, something you've called for, as well. Yet when American troops last left Iraq, ISIS emerged and spread terror across the Middle East and, indeed, around the world." This clumsy propaganda equates opposition to war with a demonized enemy, and blames blowback on a withdrawal rather than on the invasion that created it.

With each new topic, the bias grew in Tuesday's debate. What can be read in the debate transcript was compounded by the titles CNN displayed on the lower part of the television screen during each segment. For example: "Sanders' proposals would double federal spending over a decade; how will he avoid bankrupting the country?"

CNN, which added right-wing journalists to its panels of questioners at all four of its Republican primary debates in 2016, has adamantly refused to add progressive journalists to its panels at Democratic debates.

CNN presented candidates supporting a NAFTA-like trade deal as reasonable Tuesday night, and accused Sanders of unwillingness to compromise. When Sanders' cited environmentalist opposition to that trade deal, he was reprimanded for straying off topic.

Then CNN turned to a story that it had reported on just prior to the debate, alleging that Sanders had told Senator Elizabeth Warren that he did not believe a woman could be elected U.S. president. The CNN moderator ignored Sanders' assertions that he had a public record going back decades of stating that a woman could be elected president, that he had stayed out of the race in 2015 until Warren decided not to run, and that in fact he had told Warren no such thing. Then came this exchange:

CNN: So Senator Sanders - Senator Sanders, I do want to be clear here, you're saying that you never told Senator Warren that a woman could not win the election?

SANDERS: That is correct.

CNN: Senator Warren, what did you think when Senator Sanders told you a woman could not win the election?

You don't have to know that you'd be better off with free college and Medicare for All than with yet another war to recognize the bias here.

Many viewers recognized the slant. Many even began to notice the strange double standard in never mentioning the cost of any of the wars, but pounding away on the misleading assertions that healthcare and other human needs cost too much. Here's a question asked by CNN on Tuesday:

"Vice President Biden, does Senator Sanders owe voters a price tag on his health care plan?"

There was even time for this old stand-by bit of name-calling: "Senator Sanders, you call yourself a Democratic Socialist. But more than two-thirds of voters say they are not enthusiastic about voting for a socialist. Doesn't that put your chances of beating Donald Trump at risk?"

So say the people who did so much to elect Donald Trump.

(c) 2020 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.

As landscapes and our approaches to conserving them shift, so too must
our social systems. Climate justice and social justice are intricately linked.

Conservation And Climate Action Go Together
By David Suzuki

We live on a changing planet. Unnaturally rapid global warming is altering everything, including lands and waters. Evidence shows we've already emitted enough greenhouse gases to alter the structure of ecosystems and interactions within them. Because many gases, such as carbon dioxide, remain in the atmosphere for hundreds of years, impacts to the planet will continue even if we stop all atmospheric emissions tomorrow.

Approaches to conservation are also changing in response to climate disruption. Protected areas were initially established primarily for the benefit of people - to preserve breeding grounds for game that hunters prefer or to optimize areas for human recreation. Over several decades, efforts have shifted toward prioritizing ecological integrity for Canada's parks and recognizing the role of Indigenous leadership in conservation and stewardship.

Protected areas can be excellent climate mitigation tools. Mature forests, peatlands, oceans and marshes house significant carbon stores, while disturbing these ecosystems releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere.

Evidence shows Earth is heating at an accelerating rate, outpacing the capacity of numerous plant and animal species to adapt. To safeguard biodiversity, protected area planning has had to evolve to address the habitat changes brought by climate disruption.

This planning isn't new. Twenty years ago, the World Wildlife Fund produced "Buying Time: A User's Manual for Building Resistance and Resilience to Climate Change in Natural Systems," based on the premise that strategic conservation measures could give nature breathing room until the transition away from fossil fuels to renewable energy was complete.

"Climate change is happening now and nature is experiencing its impacts first," the report says. "Whether one looks at coral reefs, mangroves, arctic areas or montane regions, climate change poses a complex and bewildering array of problems for ecosystems. The key question is, what can be done - in addition to the rapid reduction of CO2 emissions now - to increase the resiliency of these ecosystems to climate change?"

The WWF team developed three broad approaches: protect adequate and appropriate space, limit all non-climate stresses and practise adaptive management and strategy-testing. Maintaining functional ecosystems and keystone species must be taken into consideration. Other stresses like chemical pollutants, fragmentation by roads and industrial activities must be reduced. Conservation method outcomes must be regularly assessed and recalibrated.

More recently, an article in the journal Environmental Research Letters explored "climate-wise connectivity," natural area connection "that specifically facilitates animal and plant movement in response to climate change."

Climate-wise connectivity looks at a number of strategies for conservation planning amid the climate crisis, as emergent ecosystems appear. These include increasing the amount of habitat conserved throughout the landscape, adding corridors between protected areas, creating small "stepping stones" of habitat, taking into account the pace of habitat change in different areas so that rapidly changing areas can be buffered by those changing at a slower velocity, and maintaining biologically rich hot spots.

Connectivity corridors that link conservation areas are, at heart, efforts to provide wildlife with pathways on their journeys to continued survival. The article notes that "geophysical features that create a diversity of microclimates are important to focus on as they can buffer the effects of climate change, giving species more opportunities and time to track the changing climate."

As landscapes and our approaches to conserving them shift, so too must our social systems. Climate justice and social justice are intricately linked. The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change has noted climate change is and will continue to disproportionately affect the poor and most vulnerable - internationally and within Canada.

Humans are part of nature. We form what some social scientists call a "social-ecological system." We must also build resilience in our own lives and support others less fortunate than ourselves, as human resilience is shaped by many factors: where we live, our relationships with the land, at-hand government support systems and our personal economic and social resources.

Activism is one way to foster resilience. It can help overcome despair. As people living in Canada, we must help shift social and economic structures to advance climate and ecological resilience. This includes advocating for the establishment of protected areas as tools to maintain carbon, supporting Indigenous-led conservation initiatives and demanding justice for those displaced and impoverished by climate change, within our borders and without.

(c) 2020 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

The Woman's March

I Don't Understand Why There Aren't Thousands Of People Protesting The Senate Trial
The American public has now proved that it will tolerate just about anything except sign-stealing in baseball and a bad decision on The Bachelor.
By Charles P. Pierce

WASHINGTON-To borrow a phrase from the late Laura Nyro, Colleen Boland has a lot of patience, and that's a lot of patience to lose. Every day for the past month or so, she has gathered with another group of people in the lobby of the Hart Senate Office Building as part of Swarm The Senate, an act of moral witness and a general lobbying force in favor of removing El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago from office. Boland also has joined with Jane Fonda in her weekly Friday climate protests up the street in front of the Capitol. Colleen Boland has been arrested three times in as many weeks, which is not something one might expect from a master sergeant in the United States Air Force who retired after 17 years in the service.

"When you have exhausted all other avenues to find the voice of reason within our government, it's a time-honored tradition and effective tool," she said. "Not everyone can do it, and I know I come to it from a place of privilege of being able to do it. But for those who are called to it, it's not only empowering for me at a time of great frustration and personal fear, it allows me to feel like I'm doing something."

Frankly, I don't understand why there aren't a few thousand of Colleen Boland in Washington this week. Frankly, I don't know what it's going to take to get an anesthetized citizenry off its ass and realize what a threat the country is facing in having a criminal idiot as a chief executive, a guy who has put every part of the republic up for sale, and for cheap. (The latest? In the middle of a trade war with China, the president*'s business operation was teaming up with a state-owned Chinese company to build a golf course.)

The D.C. Women's March on January 18 was more like it.

I, myself, have run out of patience with people who can abide this dangerous foolishness-whether those people are elected Republican senators, timid Democratic politicians, wishy-washy journalists, or the great, massed, unmoving American public, which now has proved that it will tolerate just about anything except sign-stealing in baseball and a bad decision on The Bachelor. Last week, senators took an oath-and signed for it-that many of them have no intention of keeping. Colleen Boland understands oaths. She had to take one in order to do her former job.

"I can speak to what my oath means now," she says. "I understand those words much more seriously now that we have to defend against all enemies foreign and domestic. Many of my friends never dreamed a day when we would have to come home and employ that domestic piece. One could never imagine the time when we would. I never gave it a second thought. I mean, I got the foreign piece. But domestic enemies?

"We're still talking to senators. My call to them is that Trump is a national security threat. He's a global security threat. When I was in the military, I was posted to 30 countries so I saw first-hand what violence can do, what scarcity of water can do, what scarcity of food can do. He is endangering all of that in huge ways."

And so the retired master sergeant rejoined the corporal's guard in the lobby of the Hart Building, hoping to get a word with the senators who were hustling across the street to play their part in what was rapidly being rendered a charade for the entertainment of a republic sleepwalking toward a fathomless abyss.

(c) 2020 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-

"When I ran for the Senate the first time, I ran against the wealthiest guy in the state of Vermont. He spent a lot on advertising - very ugly stuff. He kept attacking me as a liberal. He didn't use the word 'socialist' at all because everybody in the state knows that I am that."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Drastically reducing our energy use and implementing vast amounts of wind and solar are the best hopes for stopping coal.

Despite Trump Vows, Coal Industry Falling As Wind Power Surges In US And Worldwide
Trump is one of a handful of significant trans-generational genocidal maniacs whose policies will kill millions in the future.
By Juan Cole

Coal is the dirtiest fossil fuel, and humanity needs to ban it yesterday if we are to keep the earth from becoming a hellhole. Among all the horrible things Trump has done, trying to stand in the way of a rapid transition to green energy is probably the most consequential for future generations. Trump is one of a handful of significant trans-generational genocidal maniacs whose policies will kill millions in the future.

Drastically reducing our energy use and implementing vast amounts of wind and solar are the best hopes for stopping coal. In 2019, investors put $138.2 billion into wind power, slightly more than was invested in solar. Investments were up 6% over 2017. Of course, many times that sum needs to be put into wind power annually to keep the earth from becoming a hellhole, but any progress is good.

Wind now constitutes 14% of electricity generation in the European Union, and the EU wants it to be 50% by 2050. To that end, Brussels is putting $1.2 trillion into green energy investments over the next ten years. Wind is expected to be the backbone of the European Green New Deal. Europe is also putting $120 billion into helping workers transition to the new electric economy in areas that traditionally produced coal, according to

The Netherlands has one of the more ambitious wind power goals in Europe, and is letting new bids for huge offshore projects:, each of which nearly equals a small nuclear plant. Moreover, the price of wind electricity generation keeps falling every time they do a new bid. By 2030, ten years from now, the Dutch want 60% of their energy to come from renewables, and they are phasing out coal entirely by 2028 (Trump's America, supposedly the greatest country on earth, has no comparable such plans). In 2014, only 5% of Dutch electricity was from renewables.

As for the U.S., almost all new energy generation in 2020 will be from wind, solar, hydro and energy storage. Despite Trump's championing that dirtiest form of energy, coal will again decline and no new coal plants are planned in the US. (They shouldn't be planned anywhere on the planet- that stuff will kill you.)

We can also see this process at work in Texas, where wind is now almost 20% of the energy mix, exactly rivaling coal. In 2007, wind was only 3% of the Texas energy mix. Coal has fallen from 32% back then to only a fifth. Although Houston Public Media attributes the reduction of coal by 12% solely to the increase in natural gas, that is an illogical argument and frankly a form of misdirection from the fossil fuel industry. If wind came up by 17%, it means it was responsible for the 12% reduction in coal and in addition took 5% away from gas.

India is greening its rail network. It is putting solar panels on the top of the rail cars, and also putting in solar farms to generate electricity for the rails. Some 200 MW of wind energy is also planned. I'm old enough to remember when Americans condescendingly looked down on India. But now it has solar and wind powered trains and the United States just has the dirty old fossil fuel variety.

(c) 2020 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.

The Dead Letter Office-

Heil Trump,

Dear Geschaftsfuhrer Eck,

Congratulations, you have just been awarded the "Vidkun Quisling Award!" Your name will now live throughout history with such past award winners as Marcus Junius Brutus, Judas Iscariot, Benedict Arnold, George Stephanopoulos, George W. Bush, George H.W. Bush, Prescott Bush, Sam Bush, Fredo Bush, Kate Bush, Kyle Busch, Anheuser Busch, Vidkun Quisling, and last year's winner Volksjudge John (the enforcer) Roberts.

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your scheme to cover up America's hatred of Lying Donald, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 01-25-2020. We salute you Herr Eck, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Should Facebook And Twitter Stop Trump's Lies?
From Boeing to Whole Foods, companies are touting social responsibility as profits soar. Don't believe a word of it.
By Robert Reich

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg says he'll run political ads even if false. Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey says he'll stop running political ads.

Dorsey has the correct approach, but this entire debate about ads skirts the bigger question: Who's responsible for protecting democracy from big, dangerous lies?

Donald Trump lies like most people breathe, and his lies have grown more vicious and dangerous as he's been cornered - conjuring up conspiracies, spewing hate, and saying established facts are lies, and lies are truths.

This would be hard enough for a democracy to handle, but Zuckerberg's Facebook sends Trump's unfiltered lies to 43 percent of Americans, for whom Facebook is a source of news. And Dorsey's Twitter sends them to 67 million Twitter users every day.

A major characteristic of the Internet goes by the fancy term "disintermediation." Put simply, it means sellers are linked directly to customers with no need for middlemen.

Amazon eliminates the need for retailers. Online investing eliminates the need for stock brokers. Travel agents and real estate brokers have become obsolete as consumers get all the information they need at a keystroke.

But democracy cannot be disintermediated. We're not just buyers and sellers. We're also citizens who need to know what's happening around us in order to exercise our right to, and responsibility for, self-government.

If a president and his enablers are peddling vicious and dangerous lies, we need reliable intermediaries that help us see that they're lies.

Intermediating between the powerful and the people was once the job of publishers and journalists - hence the term "media." This role was understood to be so critical to democracy that the Constitution enshrined it in the First Amendment's guarantee of freedom of the press.

With that freedom came a public responsibility to be a bulwark against powerful lies.

The media haven't always lived up to that responsibility. We had yellow journalism in the nineteenth century, and today endure shock radio, the National Enquirer, and Fox News.

But most publishers and journalists have recognized that duty. Think of the Pentagon Papers, the Watergate investigation, and, more recently, the exposure of Trump's withholding $400 million in security aid to Ukraine until it investigated Trump's major political rival, Joe Biden.

Zuckerberg and Dorsey insist they are not publishers or journalists. They say Facebook and Twitter are just "platforms" that convey everything and anything - facts, lies, conspiracies, vendettas - with none of the public responsibilities that come with being part of the press.

That is rubbish. They can't be the major carriers of the news on which most Americans rely while taking no responsibility for its content.

Advertising isn't the issue. It doesn't matter whether Trump pays Facebook or Twitter to post dishonest ads about Joe Biden and his son, or Trump and his enablers post the same lies on their Facebook and Twitter accounts. Or even if Russia and Iran repeat the lies in their own subversive postings on Facebook and Twitter.

The problem is we have an American president who will say anything to preserve his power, and we've got two giant entities that spread his lies uncritically, like global-sized bullhorns.

We can't do anything about Trump for now. But we can and should take action against the power of these two enablers.

If they are unwilling to protect the public against powerful lies, they shouldn't have so much power to spread them to begin with.

The reason 45 percent of Americans rely on Facebook for news and Trump's tweets reach 67 million Twitter users is because these platforms are near monopolies - dominating the information marketplace.

No television network, cable, or newspaper comes close. Fox News's viewership rarely exceeds 3 million. The New York Times has 4.9 million subscribers.

Facebook and Twitter aren't just participants in the information marketplace. They're quickly becoming the information marketplace.

Antitrust law was designed to check the power of giant commercial entities. Its purpose wasn't just to hold down consumer prices but also to protect democracy.

Antitrust should be used against Facebook and Twitter. They should be broken up. So instead of two mammoth megaphones trumpeting Trump's lies, or those of any similarly truth-challenged successor to Trump, the public will have more diverse sources of information, some of which will expose the lies.

A diverse information marketplace is no guarantee against tyranny, of course. But the system we now have - featuring a president who lies through his teeth and two giant uncritical conveyors of those lies - invites tyranny.

(c) 2020 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 member of the audience takes pictures of the Democratic presidential hopefuls during the
seventh Democratic primary debate of the 2020 presidential campaign season co-hosted by CNN
and the Des Moines Register at the Drake University campus in Des Moines, Iowa on January 14, 2020.

The Imperative Of Pulling Together To Beat The Trump Who Would Be King
Soon will come a time when fighting among Democrats must cease.
By Michael Winship

Hey, Sanders, hey, Warren, hey, Biden and the rest of you. Listen, I know from party divisiveness. As a very (very!) young man, I worked on the campaign staff of Democratic presidential candidate George McGovern. There now will be a slight pause as you imitate explosions and other sound effects from your favorite disaster movies.

That 1972 campaign to defeat Richard Nixon for reelection began with 15 hopefuls seeking the Democratic nod, including Shirley Chisolm, the first African-American woman to run for the nomination, and Rep. Patsy Mink, the first Asian-American.

There was much dissension within the ranks-some of it, we now know, fostered by dirty tricksters from the Nixon campaign-as well as honest disagreements on issues that roiled the primary season. When the dust had cleared, McGovern was the nominee-in part because reforms he helped engineer took a lot of the electioneering out of the backrooms and gave increased power to grassroots organizing.

But sadly, McGovern's success in '72 ended there. As the general election race against Nixon began, his campaign was wounded by the discovery that vice presidential pick Tom Eagleton had failed to let McGovern know he had received electroshock therapy for depression. He withdrew and was replaced by Sargent Shriver. What's more, many party regulars were resentful of the McGovern reformers; some even refused to endorse or vote for him.

In Connecticut, where I spent the fall campaign, there was a further complication-the last primary for local offices was only a few weeks before the November election and wounds remained raw. My job, with the nebulous title "field liaison," was to mediate and try to get everyone to work together and support the ticket.

We had some success, but nationwide, the results were catastrophic. McGovern won the District of Columbia and Massachusetts, then lost the other 49 states. The nation was divided, the Democrats were divided and Nixon won big. It was a dark and rainy drive back to Washington.

Debate always is essential and dissent healthy and democratic, but in the end, disunity can mean disaster. That's why one of the heartening moments of this week's Martin Luther King Day was seeing Democratic presidential candidates marching together, arm-in-arm, from the Zion Baptist Church to a rally at the statehouse in Columbia, South Carolina.

It was a reminder that despite all the disagreements on the issues, the feuds petty and large, the promise of social justice preached by King is universal among those candidates. It's still only a promise, and the infighting will doubtless continue, but first and foremost, our eyes must be on the prize: defeating Donald Trump and the enablers who have made his reign the national nightmare it has been to so many. For that to happen, to rid ourselves of the man the Sanders campaign described Tuesday as "the most dangerous president in American history," we'll need unity and commitment.

As Trump's US Senate trial on the charges for which he already has been impeached begins, no matter the outcome, no matter how many obstacles Majority Leader Mitch McConnell throws in its way, no matter how late into the hours of the morning he and the president's lawyers force the proceedings, keep in mind that this president erodes our rights and freedoms every single minute of the night and day.

This is true for all of us. As several have noted over the last couple of days, it was Dr. King who wrote, in his Letter from Birmingham Jail, "Whatever affects one directly, affects all indirectly. I can never be what I ought to be until you are what you ought to be. This is the interrelated structure of reality."

Commentator Frida Ghitis neatly summed up Trump's impeachment defense in a tweet: "A president can break the law, withhold foreign aid, pressure a country to smear his rival; ignore Congress and cheat to win re-election. The constitution allows it all and does not permit the people to stop him."

The coverup is calamitous, the damage to the republic wrought by this kangaroo court in the Senate approaching the irreparable. The harrumphing obfuscation from McConnell and the bloviating Trump defense team's hypocrisy and Orwellian illogic eat away at the body politic like flesh-eating bacteria. Thank goodness for the clarity and common sense of House intelligence committee chair Adam Schiff and the rest of his management squad as they nimbly rebut and put the lie to every argument of the defense.

But it's not enough yet, especially in the face of a Senate majority that cherishes its power, money and perqs above justice, that runs in fear of a mean tweet from Trump, the potential forfeiture of incumbency or perhaps worse, the loss of a juicy lobbying job when it's all over.

There's a reason we don't have a monarch in this country; the revolution was fought to overthrow a king who brooked no opposition. Try telling that to Trump or the Republican legislators who fall before him in unseemly obeisance.

Miracles aside, knowing that a Senate acquittal will soon be upon us, there's only one way out. Okay, two ways out-there's always the excellent chance that something so awful will be revealed that we'll impeach him again and maybe next time convict.

No, November 3 will be our best chance and no matter the Democratic candidate, we must band together as one to make it happen-the defeat of a man who, honest to God, reportedly tried to read aloud part of the Constitution and proclaimed, "It's like a foreign language."

(c) 2020 Michael Winship is the Schumann Senior Writing Fellow for Common Dreams. Previously, he was the Emmy Award-winning senior writer of Moyers & Company and, a past senior writing fellow at the policy and advocacy group Demos and former president of the Writers Guild of America East. Follow him on twitter:@MichaelWinship

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Nate Beeler ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Putin Calls Meeting To Tell Russian Government They've All Resigned
By Waterford Whispers News

ANNOUNCING his intention to live forever and rule over Russia well into the 25th century, President Vladimir Putin has confirmed that he called a meeting yesterday with Russian PM Dmitri Medvedev and his government to inform them that they had voluntarily resigned.

"We can confirm that we resigned willingly as part of a constitutional shake up which is in no way designed to allow President Putin to remain in power past mandated term limits," confirmed PM Medvedev.

"Furthermore, I am not a Putin puppet, it was my decision to accept that I had been told I had resigned," confirmed the Putin puppet.

What comes next is in unclear, but in the meantime Russia's shrinking circle of vocal Putin critics have been advised to avoid drinking tea and taking trips to Salisbury Cathedral for the time being.

Confirming that this is normal and everything is fine, Putin gave his annual state-of-the-nation address and had the following to say:

"I'll be honest, I was taken by complete surprise. I was shocked when the PM and parliament told me I had told them they would be resigning with immediate effect."

Putin's 'proposals' for a reform on how politicians are appointed to government would coincidentally see him switching back and forth between position of President to Prime Minister, whenever it suits him.

(c) 2020 Waterford Whisper News

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Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 04 (c) 01/24/2020

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