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In This Edition

Norman Solomon considers, "The Energizer Bernie And The Power Behind Him."

Ralph Nader returns with, "Pelosi's Choice."

Glen Ford with a must read, "'Progressive' Dems Ought To Divorce The Duopoly, Not Badger Greens."

Jim Hightower asks, "What's The Weirdest Species Of All?"

William Rivers Pitt says, "John Bolton Is A Shark, And There's Blood In The Water."

John Nichols asks, "How Much Did Chesa Boudin's Election Matter? He Just Eliminated Cash Bail."

James Donahue with a must read, "Slave System Enhanced By World Trade Deals."

David Swanson reports, "CNN: Sanders Is The Most Electable."

David Suzuki warns, "Ecological Crises Deserve Better Media Coverage."

Charles P. Pierce concludes, "It's A Bull Market For Bashing the Press. Under Conservative Governments, It Often Has Been."

Juan Cole finds, "Palestinians See Trump-Netanyahu Apartheid Plan As End of Oslo Peace Process And 'Steal Of The Century.'"

The Grammy's new CEO Harvey Mason Jr wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich reveals, "The Biggest Political Party In America You've Never Heard Of."

Jane Stillwater returns with, "America's Pyramid Ponzi Scheme."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Trump Defense Team Scrambling To Find Example Of Law Trump Did Not Break," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "And With John Bolton It Hits The Fan!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Benson, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Tom Tomorrow, Jeff Chiu, David Suzuki Foundation, Andrew Harrer, Wally McNamee, Marvin Recinos, U.S. Embassy Tel Aviv, 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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And With John Bolton It Hits The Fan!
By Ernest Stewart

"The firsthand account of the link between the aid and investigations, which is based on meetings and conversations Mr. Bolton had with Mr. Trump, undercuts a key component of the president's impeachment defense: that the decision to freeze the aid was independent from his requests that Ukraine announce politically motivated investigations into former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. and his son Hunter." ~~~ Noah Weiland

"I don't want to be on the late path, but the question is which paths are going to be open to us. I think nobody can play out all the chess moves on this issue. It is so complicated." ~~~ David Fahey ~ director of the Chemical Sciences Division of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory

Nigga run, nigga run
Go back where you come from
Nigga run, nigga run
Go back where you come from
This Land ~~~ Gary Clark Jr.

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

A draft of a forthcoming book from former national security adviser John Bolton alleges that President Trump told him in August that he wanted to keep aid to Ukraine frozen until the country aided investigations into Democrats, including former Vice President Joe Biden and his son. Well Midnight Mitch and his carefully plan of acquitting Lying Donald may have just gone down the tubes!

Johnny Moustache's claim, which was reported by the New York Times and confirmed by a lawyer for Mr. Bolton, goes to the heart of Democrats' impeachment inquiry and contradicts the White House's argument that the decision to hold up $391 million in aid to Ukraine wasn't related to the president's push for investigations there. Democrats have said the president abused his power by leveraging aid approved by Congress to get a foreign leader to undertake actions that would benefit him politically.

This of course was followed by a tweet storm of epic proportions, here's just a few:

Moscow's Mitch dilemma is to allow, or not allow, Johnny to testify. My guess is that he will as he may not have the votes to block it. Could this be the down fall of Lying Donald? Probably not until next November, however, if you're in to mythology the bible in Revelations say's he'll be gone in July!

Besides, America, Alan Dershowitz has said, "If a president does something which he believes will help him get elected is in the public interest, that cannot be the kind of quid pro quo that results in an impeachment." Can I get an "heil Trump" America?

In Other News

I see where the top climate change scientist for NOAA said he has received $4 million from Congress and permission from his agency to study two emergency-and controversial-methods to cool the Earth if the U.S. and other nations fail to reduce global greenhouse gas emissions.

David Fahey, director of the Chemical Sciences Division of NOAA's Earth System Research Laboratory, told his staff that the federal government is ready to examine the science behind "geoengineering"-or what he dubbed a "Plan B" for climate change.

Fahey said he has received backing to explore two approaches.

One is to "inject sulfur dioxide or a similar aerosol into the stratosphere to help shade the Earth from more intense sunlight. It is patterned after a natural solution: volcanic eruptions, which have been found to cool the Earth by emitting huge clouds of sulfur dioxide."

Do ya'll remember the "Year Without a Summer?" When the volcano Mount Tambora exploded in Indonesia causing severe climate abnormalities that caused average global temperatures to decrease by 0.4-0.7 degrees C. This resulted in major food shortages across the Northern Hemisphere, i.e., millions starved to death! On the bright side it was so cold in Europe that in June a group of young partiers, Lord Byron, the poet Percy Shelley, and the 18-year-old daughter of Mary Wollstonecraft and William Godwin couldn't go outdoors.

It was cold and foggy in Switzerland. So much so that the friends gathered at Villa Diodati spent three days straight indoors, trying to find ways to entertain each other. It was Percy Shelley who suggested they have a contest to see who could write the best ghost story.

So they did and it was out of this challenge that young Mary Godwin (soon to be Mary Shelley, following her marriage to Percy) wrote a story that became one of the most influential works in the history of literature, Frankenstein! While Frankenstein was great novel it wasn't worth the price that less rich people paid!

The second approach would use an aerosol of sea salt particles to improve the ability of low-lying clouds over the ocean to act as shade.

This technique is borrowed from "ship tracks"-or long clouds left by the passage of ocean freighters that are seen by satellites as reflective pathways. They could be widened by injections of vapor from seawater by specialized ships to create shading effects.

Even then, the results likely wouldn't be immediate. Fahey showed slides and graphics that noted that a Plan B might take until the next century to complete the cooling.

There would be drawbacks, he noted, after being asked by a researcher whether injections of sulfur dioxide into the atmosphere might reduce seafood by acidifying the oceans.

"When you put aerosols up into the atmosphere, it does a lot of things," Fahey, a physicist, responded. "That opens up this whole menu of things that you'd have to worry about."

He said other aerosols such as calcite or titania "might have less impact, but nobody knows. We want to look at them in the laboratory."

Several smaller nations have complained that the use of aircraft to inject aerosols into the atmosphere might alter the weather or destroy the ozone layer, which protects humans from some of the more harmful radiation from sunlight.

"We have to use atmospheric observations to find out what we're doing," he added. Imagine that, hope you're stocked up on cases of SPF 1000 or be prepared to burn like a vampire if you don't!

Fortunately, the government has no planned experiments and NOAA's authority does not extend into the stratosphere. But there is a bill in Congress called the "Climate Intervention Research Act" that would broaden its jurisdiction, by adding $100 million to the kitty!

With current science it's dammed if we do, and damned if we don't! Or we could just stop injecting poisons into the atmosphere by giving up oil and switch to solar, wind, and wave power which doesn't pollute. Sounds like a plan to me, unless you believe Lying Donalds, "windmills cause cancer," bullsh*t?

And Finally

Then there were the Grammy's. To tell the truth I've never cared for them. As you know I was a DJ for 30 years and music and musicians are very dear to me. In fact, I can only recall the one time that I agreed with them was when Jethro Tull won the best hardrock/metal band award over Metallica in 1989!

I should also mention that I'm a big fan of Gary Clark Jr. who gave one hell of a performance for the audience with his hit, "This Land" but the folks back home missed great chunks of the sound, not to mention the songs meaning because of the censors. At a mere glance you can see what Deborah Dugan was on about! To see his video go here!

It's not that they didn't know the lyrics to the song before hand, it had after all won best song, perhaps it was about Lying Donald and his hatred of black folks, which of course, was the whole point of the song and why the censors butchered it? Be that as it may "The Grammy's" new CEO Harvey Mason Jr wins 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!


02-12-1966 ~ 01-21-2020
Thanks for the Music!

05-27-1971 ~ 01-24-2020
Thanks for the Music!

07-07-1984 ~ 01-24-2020
Thanks for the Music!

03-02-1923 ~ 01-28-2020
Thanks for the screen plays!

02-20-1936 ~ 01-28-2020
Thanks for the film!

00-13-1937 ~ 01-30-2020
Thanks for the film!


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.

The Energizer Bernie And The Power Behind Him
By Norman Solomon

To corporate media, Bernie Sanders is incorrigible. He won't stop defying the standard assumptions about what's possible in national politics. His 2020 campaign -- with feet on the ground and eyes on visionary horizons -- is a danger to corporate capitalism's "natural" order that enables wealth to dominate the political process.

When the New York Times published its dual endorsement of Amy Klobuchar and Elizabeth Warren on Sunday night, the newspaper patted Sanders on the head before disparaging him. "He boasts that compromise is anathema to him," the editorial complained. "Only his prescriptions can be the right ones, even though most are overly rigid, untested and divisive."

Such complaints have been common for centuries, hurled at all the great movements for human rights -- and their leaders. The basic concept of abolishing slavery was "rigid, untested and divisive." When one of the leading abolitionists, William Lloyd Garrison, was cautioned to cool it because he seemed on fire, Garrison replied: "I have need to be all on fire, for there are mountains of ice around me to melt."

Bernie Sanders has ample reasons to be all on fire, and so do the social movements that are propelling his campaign for president. They refuse to accept the go-slow advice from the liberal establishment about fighting against systemic cruelties and disasters -- healthcare injustice, vast economic inequality, mass incarceration, institutional racism, the climate emergency, perpetual war and so much more.

The Bernie 2020 campaign is a crucible of broader activism from the grassroots that can spark uprisings of heat and light. To the extent that passivity and fatalism melt away, possibilities for gaining power become more tangible.

Martin Luther King Jr. readily acknowledged that "power without love is reckless and abusive" -- but he emphasized that "love without power is sentimental and anemic." So, where does that leave us in relation to seeking power?

"Power, properly understood, is the ability to achieve purpose," Dr. King wrote. "It is the strength required to bring about social, political or economic changes. In this sense power is not only desirable but necessary in order to implement the demands of love and justice."

That's what the Bernie 2020 campaign is about -- the necessity of gaining power "in order to implement the demands of love and justice." And that helps to explain why the campaign is so profoundly compelling at the grassroots. It is oriented to meshing electoral work with social movements -- however difficult that might be at times -- to generate political power from the ground up. And that's where genuine progressive change really comes from.

"The parties and candidates are not the agents of change," a former chair of the California Democratic Party's Progressive Caucus, Karen Bernal, said a few days ago at a pro-Sanders forum in San Rafael. "It's the other way around. They respond to the outside forces of movements."

Bernal was elected as co-chair of California's Sanders delegation to the 2016 Democratic National Convention, and she is strongly supporting the Bernie 2020 campaign. While remaining intensely engaged with elections, Bernal keeps her eyes on the prize. "We don't want to turn this into a cult of personalities," she said. "It's about the movement."

Much of the energy behind the Sanders campaign is generated by what corporate media outlets often criticize or mock -- Bernie's consistency as he keeps denouncing massive income inequality and corporate power. In the process, he confronts head-on the system that enables huge profiteering by such enterprises as the healthcare industry, fossil-fuel companies, private prisons and the military-industrial complex.

By remaining part of social movements, Bernie has made himself especially antithetical to the elite sensibilities of corporate media. Elites rarely appreciate any movement that is challenging their unjust power.

The electoral strength of the Bernie Sanders campaign is enmeshed with intensities of feeling and resolve for progressive change that pollsters and editorial writers are ill-equipped to measure or comprehend. The potential has sometimes been called "the power of the people." Whatever you call it, such power is usually subjugated. But when it breaks free, there's no telling what might happen.

(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."

Pelosi's Choice
Enough for Trump's Impeachment but not going All Out for Removal
By Ralph Nader

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has her reasons for limiting her impeachment articles to offenses stemming from the abuses and violations related to Ukraine. Unfortunately, she declined to pursue a broader impeachment approach that recognizes multiple provable, serious violations of the Constitution. Speaker Pelosi overruled Chairs of Committees, including the Judiciary Committee, and other senior lawmakers who wanted to forward to the Senate a broader array of impeachable offenses.

Having lost four of the last five House elections to the worst Republican Party in history, Speaker Pelosi remains cautious. She is overly worried about the conservative Democrats who won congressional seats in 2018 in Republican, pro-Trump districts. Endangering their seats might, Pelosi fears, lead to the loss of the House in 2020 and, more immediately, risk not having the votes in the House to pass additional impeachable offenses.

Other knowledgeable House members think she is too reticent and guarded. They think Trump has huge downsides. It is no secret that Pelosi has called Trump "a crook, a thief, a liar," and that "he should be in prison"- just for starters.

In addition, there is her well-known general distaste for the impeachment power, because she believes it divides the country. In 2007, Pelosi took off the table impeachment of the war criminals George W. Bush and Dick Cheney. Regardless of her feelings on impeachment, Trump has been a belligerent, monarchical President with a history of constitutional violations and inciting violence. To our Republic's founders, Trump's dictatorial, flagrant behavior would only strengthen the necessity of impeachment and conviction.

Speaker Pelosi also believes turbulence of further impeachment proceedings in the House would spill over into the presidential primary elections, embroiling the Democratic candidates and distracting them from their chosen agendas and campaigns. The Speaker is very attentive to the polls, telling people that the Democrats went against Nixon when the polls were 60% against him - A CNN poll recently found that 51% of respondents want Trump removed from office. By contrast, in 1998 the Republicans impeached Bill Clinton with only 24% support in the polls.

Unfortunately for the country, the House sending the Senate narrow charges instead of 'throwing the book' at Trump assures, barring some "black swan" event, that the ditto-headed Republican Senators under "Moscow Mitch" McConnell will vote to acquit him. This is likely even if witnesses are called to make an airtight case even stronger. Trump has cleverly tethered the political future of the GOP to his re-election telling anyone straying to be ready for massive public intimidation.

Trump is lucky that he avoided being charged both with "bribery" and across the board defiance of Congressional subpoenas of witnesses and documents by other House Committees. Donald will gloat that those two additional articles, which are Nancy's publicly expressed beliefs, were not presented and passed because they're all "lies, fake," and that he didn't do "anything wrong." Before large crowds of Trumpsters he will say the same about other serious, continuing impeachable offenses that are stripping Congress of its major, exclusive authorities under the Constitution. See the statement submitted by me and constitutional law experts Bruce Fein and Louis Fisher in the Congressional Record (December 18, 2019, page H 12197).

You can't get more basic, lawless behavior than an imperial president who flouts the Congressional "power of the purse" by spending money not authorized by Congress and threatening and making war as if he is a King. Trump is defiantly and corruptly refusing to faithfully execute the laws, and is abusing "the public trust." As Alexander Hamilton said, this is the very definition of "high crimes and misdemeanors." Trump is violating criminal statutes such as the Antideficiency Act, the campaign finance laws, and the anti-snooping law requiring judicial approvals.

By sending earlier a broad array of impeachable offenses to the Senate, including articles of impeachment that address Trump's corrupt repeal of health, safety, and consumer protections of the American people, Pelosi could give the public a stake in impeachment. A broader number of articles or counts of impeachment would also give citizens an informed sense of what Trump has done to harm people and would increase public support for impeachment. Important constituencies-women, patients, workers, minorities, environmental advocates, and protectors of defenseless children will understand why impeachment affects them directly. Despite the importance of the Ukraine extortion/bribery scandal, most people do not perceive themselves as having a personal stake there.

Speaker Pelosi missed known opportunities to throw the Republicans on the defensive in the Senate and tie them up in knots. Let Mitch McConnell's gang try to defend, before tens of millions of television viewers, the crooked serial sexual predator, bigot/racist, chronic liar, and inciter of lawlessness. The raging, foul-mouthed, egomaniacal outlaw in the White House will only make it harder for the Republicans with his daily torrent of terrorizing tweets.

It looks like, as has been the case from his long, bankrupt-ridden business career to the Presidency, Donald Trump will again escape the rule of law.

Nancy Pelosi did just the minimum to impeach Trump in the House, but nowhere near enough for enlarging the public demand to remove him from office by the Senate. Maybe that was the limit of her expectation from the get go.

Surely, Speaker Pelosi at least wants to diminish Trump's gloating that additional articles of impeachment were not presented to the Senate because these charges against him were "fake and lies." There is still time for Pelosi to instruct her colleagues to immediately publicize the other ways Trump has shattered our Constitution and warn him that a second round of impeachments could be around the corner. For certain, Trump, showing no remorse or apologies, will continue to commit more constitutional outlawry to fuel a second coming of overdue Constitutional justice.

After all, he operates daily under his own self-impeachable declaration that, "I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President."

(c) 2020 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).

"Progressive' Dems Ought To Divorce The Duopoly, Not Badger Greens
By Glen Ford

The signers reveal themselves to be as fearful for the fate of the duopoly as the corporate shills they claim to oppose.

The recent open letter urging the Green Party to bow out of the 2020 race in every state that matters in deference to whoever the corporate Democrats nominate, shows that the "progressive" signers value the Party over the human species and the planet. It is essentially an "anybody blue will do" appeal - an arrogant and insulting demand that all politics be limited to that which is harmless to the two-corporate-party rich man's arrangement.

In their haste to demobilize the Greens, or anybody that might be considering going Green, the signers reveal themselves to be as fearful for the fate of the duopoly as the corporate shills they claim to oppose. The general election is still nine months away and not a single primary vote has been cast. We have not yet witnessed the full fury of corporate capital, which will deploy every dirty device that money can buy -- and that its henchmen in the national security state can provide -- to maintain the Democratic Party as the main firewall blocking popular mobilization against austerity (the Global Race to the Bottom) and endless war. Yet the letter-writers are already pointing demonizing fingers to their left, blaming Jill Stein's Greens for Donald Trump's election in 2016 and George Bush's win in 2000. They haven't yet won a single victory over the all-but-hegemonic corporate forces in the Democratic Party, but are already scapegoating Greens as dupes of Trump.

The folks that claim to be the progressive opposition to corporate dominance of the Democratic Party are sounding just like corporate hacks, kissing cousins of the Clintons. Indeed, their argument against the Greens as objective agents of Trump, is essentially the same as Hillary Clinton's indictment of Sanders.

Clinton wrote this whole script back in 2016, with Donald Trump as the starring character. As revealed by Wikileaks, the Clinton-run Democratic National Committee was urging its operatives and friendly media to encourage and abet Trump's bid for the Republican nomination and leadership of the GOP. Not only was Clinton convinced that Trump was the easiest Republican to beat, she thought they could defeat him without promising voters anything that might upset the austerity regime or Obama's military offensives around the world. She was eager to run against Trump as the personification of the old, bad, racist America, allowing the Democrats to (falsely) position themselves as the new, diverse, forward-looking America, while resisting every substantive proposal to lift the 40-year austerity regime and end the forever wars, to which the Lords of Capital are unalterably committed.

Clinton got what she wished for - and so did Trump, who won with $6 billion in free media, thanks to the Clinton strategy. Trump trounced the established, dog-whistling Republican leadership and solidified a majority of whites in the re-energized White Man's Party, thus further imprisoning the Black vote in the corporate Democrats' stultifying embrace.

Clinton's corporate comrades are still wedded to the same strategy, and super-plutocrat Michael Bloomberg has committed a billion dollars to ensuring that the Party does not deviate from the corporate, warmongering "center." Bloomberg's dollar-drenched entrance signals that the oligarchs will not allow the other half of the ruling duopoly to be captured by non-corporate forces. If they can't salvage the Party as an instrument of the Lords of Capital, they are preparing to engineer and finance a split, rather than allow the Democratic Party to become an incubator of popular, anti-corporate power.

That's fine with me. Whether the split comes from the Right or from legions of leftish Democrats furious at corporate dirty tricks to deny Bernie Sanders the nomination, there is no possibility of electoral solutions to the multitudinous crises of late stage capitalism and the global warming this system has set in motion, unless voters have a non-corporate institution to support. There would be no Green New Deal on the Democratic presidential menu without the Green Party (it still does not exist as an action item of the corporate Democratic leadership). Human civilization, and all of our dreams of creating a just global society, can only be salvaged by wresting control of the commanding heights of the global economy from the corporations that have poisoned it - and quickly! The urgency of the climate emergency cannot accommodate the "progressive" letter-writers' incrementalist agenda.

The letter-writers could at least have waited to see if the Democratic Party's corporate overlords would tolerate a Bernie Sanders capture of the presidential nomination before demanding that the Greens commit institutional suicide. Their haste in blaming the Greens for the corporate Democrats' sins is quite revelatory: they have made defeat of Trump, by anybody with a Democratic imprimatur, the all-encompassing priority. Drop everything, abandon the movement for social justice and planetary survival, but save the Democrats, no matter how corporate-bought. These guys don't want a Green New Deal, they want to suck the Greens into their deal with the corporate Democrats. They can't live without the duopoly; they just want to occupy a little corner of the corporate edifice.

Black folks want protection from the wild white hordes, but they won't get it from the corporate Democrats that passed preventive detention without trial (Obama); allowed the FBI to re-fashion COINTELPRO with its "Black Identity Extremist" category (under Obama); oversaw the loss of half of (already miniscule) Black household wealth (Obama); saved the multinational banking dictatorship with free money for the oligarchs (Obama), allowing parasites like Bloomberg and Bezos to become capitalist super-predators (and Democrats) whose class is cleansing urban America of its Black and brown populations (both parties, but mostly Democrats); and set in motion a New Cold War regime that censors left publications (like Black Agenda Report) and surveils everyone under an alphabet soup of spies and assassins joined politically at the hip with... Democrats.

But, purported progressives say the Green Party is a mortal danger because: Trump. It is true that Trump is a fascist of the white settler state variety, a product of the world's first totally racially-regimented society, which served as a model for the fascisms of 20th century Europe. Multinational, late stage capitalism has produced another form of fascism that has learned to wear the garments of "diversity" at home while simultaneously erecting the most thoroughgoing police/mass incarceration state in human history, filled mainly with Black and brown prisoners, all the while murdering millions of non-whites in the imperial killing fields, abroad.

These two manifestations of fascism interact and contradict, but they both serve white supremacy and Capital. In 2020, one of them is headquartered in the overwhelmingly white Republican Party, and the other in the largely Black and brown Democratic Party - both of which are instruments of Capital. The political battle is to isolate the racists of the GOP and force them to choose between dwindling white material and "psychological" privilege and the health and welfare benefits of a socially just society and peaceful, breathable world.

No such choice is presented by the corporate duopoly to the white "deplorables" of the GOP, or to the minority of whites and the great bulk of Blacks, Latinos and Asians in the Democratic Party. The Lords of Capital maintain their monopoly over electoral politics in the United States -- except for the Greens.

And now a gaggle of purported progressives want the Greens to promise to bow out in November and throw away their hard-won ballot presence. This would doubtless be very comforting to the corporate Democrats, who could continue to serve their masters without worry about defections from the monopoly brand. Corporate Democrats would continue to define what "Green" means, while the clock ticks faster and faster to irreversible Hot House Earth.

For the record: This writer is not a member of the Green Party. I voted for Jesse Jackson in 1984 and '88, and for Greens in 2000 and every succeeding presidential year - but never for a corporate Democrat, since that party is the hands-on, most immediate instrument of rich white men's rule over Black America and a tag-team partner with the GOP in imperialist crimes.

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

What's The Weirdest Species Of All?
By Jim Hightower

I love those nature shows that probe the behavior and intelligence of birds, elephants, and other fellow creatures.

However, there's one exotic critter the shows have ignored, and it's crying out for analysis: Humanoid super-richinoids. While some in this rare species seem like normal homo sapiens, as a group the super-richinoids exhibit aberrant, destructive tendencies. In particular, an insatiable desire to accumulate boundless personal wealth, as if one's net worth is one's true worth. They view life as a primal competition to be No. 1, the richest of all!

Robert Frank, an analyst of plutocracy, points to the insane competitive zealotry of Larry Ellison, the multibillionaire co-founder of Oracle. Frank writes that when Ellison learned that a rival billionaire was having a 400-foot yacht built (a boat one-third bigger than a football field!), Ellison rushed out to get a 450-foot yacht.

Toys are one thing, but the ueberrich tend to feel entitled to exploit rank and file workers, crush smaller competitors, pay no taxes, rip-off consumers, defraud investors, contaminate our environment, buy elections, monopolize markets - and demand to be publicly celebrated and idolized.

But when poked, these wannabe demigods turn into wimps! Now that their freakish greed is being denounced by the American majority and politicians of both parties, the royals are squealing like pigs stuck in a fence. Their hubris is being openly mocked - and I suspect that their whimpering is due to their finally realizing that their bloated net worth can't buy respect... and they can't handle that reality.

We've got to quit celebrating and catering to these flighty corporate profiteers, and get back to building a real economy based on the productivity and true genius of America's grassroots entrepreneurs and workers.

(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

Senate Republicans now face a brutal Hobson's Choice: Allow Bolton's testimony or ignore him at their own peril.

John Bolton Is A Shark, And There's Blood In The Water
By William Rivers Pitt

Sharks patrol these waters
Sharks patrol these waters
Don't let your fingers dangle in the water
And don't you worry about the Day-Glo orange life preserver
It won't save you
It won't save you
Swim for the shore just as fast as you're able...
Sharks ~~~ Morphine
After national security adviser John Bolton was chopped down in humiliating fashion by Donald Trump last September, I told my wife, "They better watch their backs in the White House. Bolton is a damn shark. He won't take this lying down." Hearing this, my 6-year-old daughter began to sing, "Bolton Shark, doo-doo-doo-doo-doo-doo," because of course she did.

The Bolton Shark - hungry and deadly, white-mustache dorsal fin cutting the water like a scythe - is loose in the Senate's impeachment fish tank now, and God have mercy on those who are dangling their fingers in the water.

John Bolton is many things: lawyer, neoconservative hawk, unabashed war criminal, fanatic. Clearly, Bolton also understands patience, as evidenced by the exquisitely timed leak of the passage in his forthcoming book, The Room Where It Happened: A White House Memoir, that says, bluntly, Trump knew the Ukraine aid was tied to a Biden investigation because that's exactly what Trump wanted.

Bolton heard Trump explicitly say this, according to the book, which directly ties Trump, Attorney General William Barr, Trump lawyer Rudy Giuliani and acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney to the scheme to upend U.S. foreign policy by asking a foreign government to meddle with the 2020 presidential election.

Bolton is a seasoned Washington, D.C., infighter who knows where, when and how to sink the dagger. Trump's defenders in the Senate had just wrapped up their Sunday presentation by saying no evidence of the Democrats' claims existed, and that's when the leak landed like a thousand tons of bad news. It was no accident.

This was a hand grenade lobbed into the middle of what was, at that point, a sham proceeding nearing completion. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell probably had enough votes to keep witnesses from being called. Now? Nobody really knows. As of this writing, a number of (snicker) "moderate" GOP senators are allegedly leaning toward voting with Democrats to allow witnesses, and are getting extreme pushback because of it. Only four Republican votes are needed to call witnesses at the trial (provided no Democrat breaks ranks, a suddenly looming possibility). None of these wavering Republican senators are to be trusted, but the pressure on them has become extreme.

Bolton's book is scheduled to come out in March. Trump likely will try to stop its publication, along with any testimony Bolton may offer to the Senate, by invoking executive privilege. That ship, however, may very well have sailed out of the harbor and right over the edge of the world.

After Bolton's bombshell went off this past weekend, Trump took to Twitter to denounce Bolton as a liar who was only out to sell some books. That accusation, according to legal scholars, probably blew any claims of executive privilege to smithereens.

"Trump's tweets directly denying the substance of Bolton's reported allegations waive any privilege that might have protected them from public disclosure," writes Barbara McQuade for The Washington Post. "Privilege is meant to keep a president's secrets confidential. If the president reveals those secrets or publicly discusses the conversations himself, there is no longer any need to protect them from disclosure."

Trump's attacks on Bolton continued into early Wednesday morning. "Why didn't John Bolton complain about this 'nonsense' a long time ago," he mused on Twitter at seven minutes past midnight, "when he was very publicly terminated. He said, not that it matters, NOTHING!" One wonders if his hands were shaking as he typed.

The sudden appearance of Bolton's eyewitness information has demonstrably rattled Trump and his allies down to their DNA. The poor folks at Fox News, where Bolton was a serial guest, are tying themselves in knots trying to tear down their erstwhile ally. On Monday and Tuesday, Trump's impeachment trial lawyers proceeded as if the stench of Bolton's Sunday revelations wasn't hanging in the air like an elevator fart. Sen. Lindsey Graham, Trump's most obsequious defender, attempted an end run around the revelations by proposing a classified viewing of the book as an alternative to calling Bolton as a witness.

It won't matter. Thanks to Bolton, Senate Republicans now face a brutal Hobson's Choice: They can vote to allow Bolton's testimony, thus guaranteeing weeks of damaging testimony in a proceeding they hoped would be over before the State of the Union address next month. If Senate Republicans thwart Bolton's testimony, the revelations will continue to come out drip by excruciating drip, and every senator who votes to acquit will have to absorb these body blows day after day, until the reckoning in November.

As the week began, the Bolton eruption appeared to have tilted the direction of the trial toward actually hearing from witnesses. After a closed-door meeting between Senate Republicans in the Strom Thurmond Room, "Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told colleagues he doesn't have the votes to block witnesses," according to The Washington Post. Those GOP Senators seeking a quick end to the proceedings, however, kept their brave faces on. "The consensus is: That we've heard enough," said John Barrasso, the Senate GOP's No. 3 leader. "And it's time to go to a final judgment vote." Short version: At present, this thing could break either way.

"Silence up to now has bought Bolton the Litigator something very valuable," writes Graeme Wood for The Atlantic. "He has now listened as others present 'in the room' - including his deputies, such as Fiona Hill - have recorded their versions of events. He has heard Republicans, including Trump, lay out an impeachment defense - not only a version of events, but also a theory of innocence. By speaking last, he can present testimony precisely calculated to hurt those he most wants to embarrass.... Bolton is strategic, and it would be unlike him to make a bold claim without a plan to counter Trump's denial. More likely, he will dole out the details and evidence methodically, thwarting his critics like steers in a cutting horse competition."

The damage will be extreme no matter what transpires. So what, exactly, is Bolton's game here? I can hazard a few guesses, beginning with one vital caveat: John Bolton is not your friend. He is not in this to help Democrats, or because he has suddenly seen the light.

Bolton isn't doing this to see Trump convicted. Only a miracle can make that happen, and miracles are in short supply nowadays. Instead, Bolton wants Trump and all his people weakened, so that foreign policy can be put back in the hands of Bolton's neoconservative pals. Trump has proven to be an impediment to that, but Trump bared his throat to Bolton when he messed with foreign policy for political gain while Bolton was in the room. This takeover would be a terrible outcome, but Bolton stands many long miles away from seeing that dream realized.

In the meantime, Bolton surely also wants revenge for the way Trump treated him last September, and like Yeats's rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem, his hour has come round at last.

The Bolton Shark is patrolling these waters. Senate Republicans bared their throats, too, by embracing Trump's absurd reality-bending defense: Everything Bolton bore witness to never happened, and if it did, there was nothing wrong with it. If these senators have any remaining wits about them, they will swim for the shore just as fast as they're able by cutting their losses and voting to allow the testimony. Trump can't save them anymore, not after this. According to reports, even he expects witnesses, including Bolton, will be called.

Bolton's testimony will in all likelihood be deeply damaging, but senators who approve the testimony will at least be able to say they voted for a "proper proceeding," and didn't participate in the all-out bag job this impeachment trial was shaping up to be before Bolton's fin broke the surface. It will hurt, but not as much as if Bolton is allowed to drag his revelations out for the next eight months, which he almost certainly will if he is denied a hearing. It's the classic Band-Aid dilemma writ large: A quick rip or a slow peel?

Bad choices all around. Maybe Senate Republicans should make better friends next time.

(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.

San Francisco District Attorney Chesa Boudin during his swearing in ceremony in San Francisco, January 8, 2020.

How Much Did Chesa Boudin's Election Matter? He Just Eliminated Cash Bail.
The move proves that revolutionary change is possible.
By John Nichols

The simple fact that Chesa Boudin got elected San Francisco's district attorney last November confirmed that political revolutions are possible.

A political outsider preaching a gospel of criminal justice reform, Boudin upended the electoral establishment in House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's hometown, beating the favored contender of the insiders to win one of the most high-profile law enforcement posts in the country.

He did so as the son of Weather Underground radicals who were jailed during his childhood-using his own experience to remind voters that "more than half of Americans have a family member behind bars" and to argue, "I know our system is broken. I'm running for district attorney because I know how to fix it."

But could he actually fix it? Could the election of a new district attorney usher in a new way of responding to the challenges posed by a criminal justice system that has failed so frequently to deliver on the promise of equal justice for all?

The answer has come two weeks after Boudin was sworn in as San Francisco's 30th district attorney on January 8. The day he was inaugurated, Boudin stated, "I think there are some changes that I'll be making." Some of those changes have come quickly, including a reorganization of the office that saw the removal of managing attorneys in the criminal division.

But the biggest structural change so far came Wednesday when Boudin announced that his office would end the practice of requiring cash bail as a condition for the pretrial release of defendants from jail.

States across the country and many local jurisdictions have in recent years acted to reform the existing cash bail system and to eliminate its worst abuses. Boudin recognized that in his inaugural address, in which he said, "I want to be clear-this vision, these ideas-they are not novel. We did not win because we pioneered this vision. We won because we amplified the voices that for decades have resisted mass incarceration. Finally, our city, and so much of our country is ready to leave the racist, inhumane, ineffective 'tough on crime' policies in the past."

With that said, the newly inaugurated San Francisco district attorney has moved with speed and striking clarity-especially when it comes to eliminating cash bail.

"For years I've been fighting to end this discriminatory and unsafe approach to pretrial detention," Boudin said Wednesday. "From this point forward, pretrial detention will be based on public safety, not on wealth."

This reform has long been a goal of criminal justice reformers, for reasons that Boudin's office explained on Wednesday: "U.S. taxpayers spend $38 million daily to jail people who are awaiting trial. Upholding the money bail also comes at high societal cost: pretrial detention, and the disruption that causes to a person's life, can lead to a 32.2 percent increase in the likelihood of future felony charges and has an immediate impact on an individual's ability to maintain an income and housing."

The DA's message was echoed by Human Rights Watch senior researcher John Raphling, who said, "For too long, prosecutors have used money bail and pretrial incarceration as leverage to pressure people to plead guilty regardless of actual guilt. Boudin's policy favoring pretrial release is a welcome change and will build the credibility of our courts."

(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.

Slave System Enhanced By World Trade Deals
By James Donahue

There was a time during the early period of the industrial revolution when most operating factories were sweat shops where people of all ages, even children, slaved for 12-hour days for low wages in extreme heat and unhealthy environments.

It took a century or more of worker rebellion, sit-down strikes, violent clashes with police and other events before workers in the United States won the right to collectively bargain for improved working conditions, better wages, paid vacations, paid health insurance and in doing so, create what has become known as the American middle class.

The first major hurtle was crossed in June, 1938, when President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed into law the Fair Standards Act. The act affected plants with a combined employment of only about one-fifth of the nation's labor force but it was a start. It banned oppressive child labor and set a minimum hourly wage at 25 cents. The maximum work week was set at 44 hours.

It seems incredible today to realize that blood was spilled by a lot of American workers to get a meager law like that on the books. It was fought by industry, by the judicial system and by members of congress who, even then, were obviously in the pockets of the nation's industrialists. It was said that Roosevelt waited until Congress adjourned for a summer break before signing the act into law just to avoid the chance of pocket vetoes designed to weaken the bill.

World War II brought a lot of changes to the nation's industrial system. While the men went off to war, the women took their places on the assembly lines. Instead of manufacturing automobiles, trucks and garments for fashion, they made tanks, jeeps, bombers, naval ships, bombs, bullets and military clothing. By the end of the war the United States emerged as the most powerful nation in the world and the nation's labor unions were in power to force better and better contract agreements for workers. It was a brief time of prosperity for everyone in the country.

Those were the years when the things manufactured in the United States were shielded from competition by overseas companies by tariffs, or taxes that raised the cost of the product to keep American made products, produced in union shops, competitive with foreign non-union made products.

But talks were underway even then to work out international trade agreements so that goods could be moved between nations without tariffs. The General Agreement on Tariffs and Trade (GATT) was signed by several nations in 1946 and it remained the main force until 1995 when the World Trade Organization (WTO) was created.

When the United States signed a special free trade agreement with Israel in 1985, it received little media attention. But when the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico followed in 1994, there was public alarm. The labor leaders claimed it would break the back of American industry. Supporters of NAFTA argued that the agreement opened the door for even more and better business opportunities for everybody. Since NAFTA the United States has been busy signing free trade agreements with Jordan, Australia, Chile, Singapore, Bahrain, Morocco, Oman, Peru, the Central American nations, Panama, Colombia and South Korea. Even more are in the works.

The effect was a disastrous strike against established labor agreements in the United States. American factories were quick to move plants to Mexico, Indonesia, India, China and anyplace where there existed a vast supply of workers glad to have the opportunity to work in the American sweat shops for meager wages and without the protection of labor contracts.

While the political issue in the United States has been the loss of jobs, and the vast unemployment rolls that are now drawing heavily on federal assistance programs, established after the Great Depression, Americans are benefiting from a supply of inexpensive imported products being sold in chain stores everywhere.

It is the old war between the corporations and workers over money, but now expanded to a global scale.

There is irony in all of this. The workers in China, Indonesia, India and Mexico began using the money they earned to buy the products they were making, which included the new I-pads, desktop computers and other communication devices. They quickly joined the world conversation via the World Wide Web, and discovered that servitude is not something they must accept without question.

Unlike the surfs who broke their backs laboring for the monarchs and rulers of kingdoms of old, these workers are beginning to rebel. We are hearing stories of mass suicides by Chinese workers at the Foxconn factories that manufacture Apple computer products, workers walking off their jobs at Pizza Hut and KFC restaurants in Kathmandu, labor unrest in an automobile plant in India and strikes by workers at a clothing manufacturing plant in Bangladesh.

Then there is that massive resistance movement in Hong Kong in protest to a planned Chinese takeover of their island community and the little reported worker protests occurring in countries all over the world.

The power figures are beginning to resist the growing resistance. In Johannesburg, South Africa, police recently shot into a mob of striking platinum mine workers, leaving more than 30 miners dead. And workers at a General Motors plant in Colombia have sewn their mouths shut in a hunger strike to protest backbreaking labor conditions.

It looks like a repeat of history, only instead of taking a few centuries this new labor movement is operating at high speed. The belief by some anthropologists that the human race has evolved to a higher mental and spiritual level appears to be proving itself out. The poor may be willing to grasp at straws at first to climb out of poverty, but once they have a chance, they are totally unwilling to be slaves to the masters.

It is only going to be a matter of a short time before a balance is achieved throughout the world. The end result must be a new one-world system of cooperation and a sharing of the remaining world wealth. The alternative is the annihilation of the human race. No matter how hard they try to convince us otherwise, the power figures of today must fall. It is time for unity and equality for all.

This was the dream Thomas Jefferson had in mind when he penned the Declaration of American Independence. What a shame that so many greedy bastards got in the way of reaching that great goal for all these years.

(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.

CNN: Sanders Is The Most Electable
By David Swanson

Remember CNN's attack-debate last week? CNN did what it could to end Bernie Sanders' campaign for president.

Well, just after that, CNN conducted a poll to measure its success. According to its own report on its own poll, CNN failed miserably.

Among "Democrats/Democratic-leaning independents who are registered to vote" the leading candidate is Bernie Sanders, up 7 percentage points since the previous CNN poll, with Biden and Warren each down 2.

Also, when asked which candidate they would be "enthusiastic" about, the highest percentage went to Bernie.

Drat! Curses! CNN shrieks and tries the slice and dice. However . . .

Among men the winner is Bernie.
Among women the winner is Bernie.
Among whites the winner is Bernie.
Among non-whites the winner is Bernie.
Among registered voters the winner is Bernie.
Among those paid less than $50k the winner is Bernie.
Among those paid more than $50k the winner is Bernie.
Among non-college graduates the winner is Bernie.
Among college graduates the winner is Bernie.
Among non-white college graduates the winner is Bernie.
Among 18-49 year olds the winner is Bernie.
Among independents the winner is Bernie.
Among liberals the winner is Bernie.
Among those with their minds made up the winner is Bernie.
Among those without their minds made up the winner is Bernie.

Foiled again!

Yet, CNN has this to cling to:

Among white college graduates the winner is Biden.
Among those 45 years old and up the winner is Biden.
Among Democrats the winner is Biden.
Among moderates the winner is Biden.

That's a slim thread to cling to, but CNN has another trick up its sleeve. It asks people to choose which is more important: "That the Democratic Party nominate a presidential candidate with a strong chance of beating Donald Trump," or "That the Democratic Party nominate a presidential candidate who shares your positions on major issues." The purpose of this question is of course to establish the nonsensical. The candidate whom the most people support *IS* the candidate with the strongest chance of beating Trump.

CNN asked people which candidate "Agrees with you on the issues that matter most to you," and the winner was Bernie.

CNN asked people which candidate "Best understands the problems facing people like you," and the winner was Bernie.

CNN also asked which candidate "Has the best chance of uniting the Democratic Party." Why ask that? The answer is already known. The candidate with the most support has the best chance of uniting the Democratic Party. He or she has already united the most people, and has the most enthusiasm. There's an assumption built in here that a losing candidate whom fewer people support may be less offensive to other people than the candidate whom the most people support. There is no reason to believe this. Joe Biden is highly offensive to huge numbers of people.

Why, then, does CNN report Biden winning in this category, as well as in the categories of "Has the best chance to beat Donald Trump in the 2020 presidential election" and "Has the best chance of uniting the country"? I think it's because people have been told to believe this nonsense over and over and over again very effectively.

The good news is that what CNN tells people is becoming the opposite of effective. If CNN and its fellow corporate media outlets can convince people to vote against their own interests and to imagine that they came up with that idea themselves, Bernie Sanders is done. But if word leaks out that it's CNN telling people to vote the way CNN wants, then CNN is done, and Bernie Sanders is headed to the White House.

The most electable candidate is the candidate with the most support. Only if this simple fact can be successfully hidden, can CNN continue its role as overseer of elections.

(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.

We've frittered away two of the 12 years we have to halve our greenhouse
gas emissions. Where is the daily discussion about concrete ways to reduce them?

Ecological Crises Deserve Better Media Coverage
By David Suzuki

I was 14 when North Korea invaded South Korea in 1950. As an adolescent, I was more preoccupied with puberty-related personal issues than politics. But when Canada sent military personnel as part of a UN effort, I religiously followed the battle lines. Every day the local paper's front page reported how troops were doing, with a map showing enemy and allied movements.

Now we face an even greater challenge, but it's not always reflected in headlines.

In October 2018, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change released a terrifying report on humanity's impact on the chemistry of the atmosphere - the source of air, weather, climate and seasons. Our emissions have increased average global temperatures by at least 1 C since pre-industrial times, causing ice sheets and glaciers to melt, and wildfires, hurricanes, floods and droughts to become more widespread and intense.

At the 2015 Paris climate conference, all nations committed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions so temperatures wouldn't rise by more than 2 C by 2100. The IPCC report concluded a rise above 1.5 C will cause climate chaos. We're on a trajectory to reach 3 C or more! The report gave a glimmer of hope that we could escape catastrophic climatic consequences by reducing emissions by 45 per cent by 2030 and completely by 2050.

The IPCC study didn't garner the same kinds of headlines or urgent stories as the Korean War. Soon after its release, Canada legalized cannabis, which pushed everything else to the media sidelines. The IPCC target of cutting emissions in half within a decade and completely in three decades is a narrow window, with enormous ecological, economic and political repercussions, yet the urgent call to action was a one-day, low-key media event.

Last May, the UN released a major global biodiversity study showing humanity has caused species loss comparable to mega-extinctions in which up to 90 per cent of plants and animals disappeared. It's not just whales, tigers and penguins that are endangered; insects, the most abundant, diverse and important animals, have been devastated by decades of poisons pumped into air, water and soil.

Now, up to a million plant and animal species are in imminent danger of vanishing! As Earth's top predator, we depend on nature's productivity and services - exchanging carbon dioxide with oxygen, filtering water in the hydrologic cycle, creating soil, capturing sunlight, renewing protoplasm, etc. Climate change and large-scale extinction are intimately related consequences of human activity with enormous repercussions for us, yet when Prince Harry and Meghan had a baby in May, media coverage of species extinction disappeared.

Our great evolutionary advantage - intelligence - has served us well. But we've become such a powerful presence that our collective impact is driving changes in the physical, chemical and biological properties of the planet on a geological scale - leading some to call this the Anthropocene epoch.

Confronting climate and extinction challenges with the urgency they deserve must dominate our thoughts and priorities. Every day, media report on Dow Jones averages, the S&P index, the value of the loonie, the price of a barrel of oil, the current status of companies like Google, Amazon, Apple, Exxon and Toyota, and celebrity and sports news.

But what about the real things that matter to us? How many tonnes of pesticides were spread around the globe or plastic into the ocean? How many species have vanished? How many plastic microbeads, hormone mimics and carcinogens have we consumed? How many hectares of land have become desert? How much carbon dioxide have we added to the air? How many tonnes must be reduced to keep temperature from rising above 1.5 C? So many numbers are of far greater importance for our species' future than stock market values, yet media often ignore them.

We've frittered away two of the 12 years we have to halve our greenhouse gas emissions. Where is the daily discussion about concrete ways to reduce them? What about job opportunities acting on ecological crises will create?

It's said that Nero fiddled while Rome burned. What are we doing while the planet is burning? So blinded by our success as a species, we're preoccupied by our own amusement, comfort, hyper-consumption, businesses and politics.

We proceed down this path at our peril.

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

Ronald Reagan Giving Campaign Speech

It's A Bull Market For Bashing the Press. Under Conservative Governments, It Often Has Been
New information on a Reagan-era episode tells us a lot about the present.
By Charles P. Pierce

WASHINGTON-It's once again a bull market for intimidating the press, thanks to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who got the tables turned on him by NPR's Mary Louise Kelly. Pompeo proceeded to lie about the conditions under which their interview was held and also saddle up the old conservative hobby-horse about the evil monsters that stalk public broadcasting, an exercise that El Caudillo del Mar-a-Lago eagerly joined.

As it happens, there was another story that broke over the weekend that demonstrates a) that conservative American governments have a long history of (effectively) sniping at inconvenient journalists and b) that, when they do that, generally, they're lying and attempting to cover up something very bad. From Reuters:

Juan Rafael Bustillo, a former commander of the Air Force, told a court the elite Atlacatl Battalion carried out the El Mozote massacre in eastern El Salvador in which unarmed villagers, most of them women and children, were slaughtered. According to a U.N. report, soldiers tortured and executed over 1,000 residents of El Mozote and surrounding hamlets in the Morazan department, 180 km (110 miles) northeast of San Salvador, as they searched for guerrillas in December 1981. At a court hearing in the eastern town of San Francisco Gotera in Morazan, Bustillo testified he had had no part in the operation which he said was conducted at the behest of Colonel Domingo Monterrosa, commander of the feared Atlacatl Battalion.

"War sometimes gives rise to something in the minds of people that attaches no value to the lives of others. I think it was on his initiative (Monterrosa's)," Bustillo said.

El Mozote was one of the first, and one of the worst, consequences of the Reagan administration's policy of hotting up the violence in Central America on the pretense of rolling back the international Communist threat, wha-dee-doo-dah.

A man and a young girl visit the monument to the victims of El Mozote massacre.

The point man for a lot of that was one Elliott Abrams, and when the news that an American-trained and -armed military unit had carried out the slaughter in El Mozote began trickling back to this country, the Reagan administration really went to town on two reporters, Raymond Bonner of The New York Times and Alma Guillermoprieto of the Washington Post. From the Columbia Journalism Review:
The administration's belittling of the news accounts soon led to a right-wing campaign against the reporters, especially Bonner. In an editorial, the Wall Street Journal, citing as evidence the paragraph that the Post editors had inserted in Guillermoprieto's story, said that Bonner had clearly taken part in "a propaganda exercise" and "there is such a thing as being overly credulous." The presence of the "propaganda" paragraph in the Post story deflected the attack from Guillermoprieto, and the Journal did not criticize her directly. But that did not mean it believed her account. Much of the American press in El Salvador, according to the Journal, was following a Vietnam War-style of reporting "in which Communist sources were given greater credence than either the U.S. government or the government it was supporting." But Bonner seemed the main culprit. The editorial accused Times editors and reporters who had defended Bonner of closing "ranks behind a reporter out on a limb."
And the pressure worked. In one way or another, both reporters were pulled off the story of the barbarism that was being done in Central America on the American taxpayer's dime. True vindication did not come until 1993, when a UN-sponsored Truth Commission in El Salvador concluded that there had been a massacre in El Mozote in which upwards of 1,000 people had been butchered. (The commission found the remains of 146 bodies in the village church.) Now, 27 years later, we have a Salvadoran general copping to it as well. The bloody circle is complete.

The cautionary tales from this episode for today's politics are thick on the ground. One can only hope that the lessons are learned this time around, because the time for learning them is not limitless.

(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-

"What being a socialist means is... that you hold out... a vision of society where poverty is absolutely unnecessary, where international relations are not based on greed... but on cooperation... where human beings can own the means of production and work together rather than having to work as semi-slaves to other people who can hire and fire."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Netanyahu has pledged that there will be no Palestinian state as long as he is prime minister.

Palestinians See Trump-Netanyahu Apartheid Plan As End of Oslo Peace Process And 'Steal Of The Century'
Palestinians are under Israeli military rule and are being deprived of basic human rights, including the right to have citizenship in a state.
By Juan Cole

The Palestinian leadership has entirely rejected what is known of the Trump plan for Israel and Palestine, and warned that they see it as destroying the Oslo Peace accords. The Trump administration did not consult the Palestinians in drawing up the plan, which gives away East Jerusalem and 30% of the Palestinian West Bank to Israel. The Palestinians may as well, Palestine foreign minister Saeb Erekat said, just withdraw from the 1995 Interim Agreement on Oslo.

Trump appears to have decided to unveil the Israel-Palestine plan on Tuesday to take the pressure off from his Senate impeachment trial and to shore up his support from the Jewish and evangelical communities. A majority of Americans in polls say they want Trump impeached and removed from office.

Trump's plan may also bolster beleaguered Israeli prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu, who has been indicted for corruption and is fighting for his political life as Israel's third election in a year approaches. Rushing the details of an important policy like Israel and Palestine for the sake of politics, however, could backfire big time.

Erekat also warned that the plan virtually assures that Israel will ultimately have to absorb the Palestinians, and give them the vote inside Israel. Mr. Erekat may, however, be overly optimistic, since it is much more likely that the Palestinians will be kept in a Warsaw Ghetto type of situation and simply denied a meaningful vote entirely.

Al-Quds al-`Arabi reports that Donald Trump attempted to call Palestine president Mahmoud Abbas during the past few days and that Mr. Abbas refused to take the call.

The plan, according to details leaked to the Israeli press, will propose a Palestinian statelet on 70% of the West Bank, to be established in four years. The hope is apparently that Mahmoud Abbas will no longer be president of Palestine in four years, and his successor will be more pliable.

This so-called state, however, will be demilitarized and will lack control over borders and airspace, and will be denied the authority to make treaties with other states. In other words, it will be a Bantustan of the sort the racist, Apartheid South African government created to denaturalize its Black African citizens.

Netanyahu has pledged that there will be no Palestinian state as long as he is prime minister.

Palestinians are under Israeli military rule and are being deprived of basic human rights, including the right to have citizenship in a state. They do not have passports but only laissez-passer certificates that are rejected for travel purposes by most states. Israeli squatters continually steal their land and property and water, and Palestinians have no recourse, being without a state to protect them.

(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 Aufnahmeakademie Mason,

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 protect der fuhrer from criticism, i.e., the truth, 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 03-15-2020. We salute you herr Mason, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

The Biggest Political Party In America You've Never Heard Of
By Robert Reich

If I asked you to name the biggest political party in the United States, what would be your answer? You probably have two guesses that come to mind: the Democratic party or the Republican party. Well, it's neither.

It's the party of Non-Voters.

Let's look at the last presidential election: 100 million Americans who were eligible to vote in 2016 DID NOT vote. That's a bigger number than the number who voted either for Donald Trump or for Hillary Clinton. In Michigan, for example, where the contest came down to roughly 10,000 votes, it's plausible to say that non-voters were the ones who decided the election.

Non-voters - those Americans eligible to vote but don't - are in effect America's biggest political party. Unless we work to reverse this trend, they could decide the next election.

So who are these missing voters? They are Americans who are most affected by decades of a broken political system, economic inequality, and laws designed to make it harder to vote. They are people of color, young people, and people with lower incomes.

At the same time, these missing voters tend to be more progressive than most voters. For example, non-voters are more likely to support higher taxes to pay for government services, a higher minimum wage, a federal jobs guarantee, and other progressive priorities.

There are also seven million young people of color who weren't old enough to vote in 2016 but will be 18 by the 2020 election. These voters will also be critical to mobilize.

All of which means that voter turnout will determine our future. These non-voters are potential voters, and recent elections with record turnout show that we're headed in the right direction.

The key question is how to get even more of them to the polls. Four steps:

1. Make it easier to vote, not harder. Some states have enacted laws to suppress the votes of people of color and young people, such as requiring an ID, reducing the number of polling places in Democratic districts, and purging voter rolls. These tactics must be ended. The Voting Rights Act, which for decades kept some of the worst practices in check until major provisions were struck down by the Supreme Court, must be restored.

And we need to make it easier to vote by making Election Day a federal holiday; enacting Automatic Voter Registration, for example when people turn 18; and voting by mail.

2. Mobilize young voters. They're a huge potential voting block. In the 2018 midterm elections, 36 percent of voters aged 18 to 29 cast ballots, shattering turnout records from the past quarter-century and contributing to major Democratic victories across the country

3. Inspire enthusiasm and grassroots energy around big ideas and bold policies, not milquetoast, consultant-driven half-measures. Look at Stacey Abrams's campaign in 2018. Even though she didn't win, Abrams ran a bold campaign and worked to turn out Democratic voters that had largely been ignored in the red state of Georgia. As a result, Abrams garnered more votes - 1.9 million - than any other Democrat running for any office in the history of the state, including Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, and Jimmy Carter.

4. Personally encourage others to vote. Make sure they know how to register, and when and where to vote. Tell them to be a voter.

Rebuilding America starts with the simple act of voting. If we can activate even a fraction of those 100 million non-voters, we can restore American democracy and make our economy and our democracy work for the many rather than the few.

This is why it's so important for you to vote - and urge everyone you know to vote, too.

(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

America's Pyramid Ponzi Scheme
Republi-Dems at the top, us at the bottom
By Jane Stillwater

In 1963, Hannah Arendt wrote a 368-page book called On Revolution. It is a hard slog to get through but basically boils down to one sentence. "It takes a village to raise a democracy."

And yet here we are, in America, almost 70 years later -- and only allowed to have our say once every four years, for perhaps 30 seconds spent in electronic voting booths that are rigged -- if we are even allowed to vote at all.

Professor Arendt, you were living in dreamland. In America today, our much-touted yeoman citizen-voice of freedom simply doesn't exist. Republicans tell us to vote for Ken dolls. Democrats tell us to vote for anyone who isn't Bernie, Elizabeth or Tulsi.

Instead, we gots numerous public relations firms, endless commercials and whole bunches of media-savvy billionaire pundits telling us how to vote and even what to think. "Vote for me," the guys at the top always tell us. "We will stop abortion, stop gay marriage, stop affirmative action." Seriously? Those three agenda items were Jesus's major concerns? Give me a break.

Meanwhile the guys at the top of the American pyramid scheme are stealing our money, our jobs and our values -- while laughing all the way to the bank as millions die in Yemen, Syria, Afghanistan, the slums of Mumbai and Brazil, and the homeless camps on the fringes of San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas and Washington DC.

You don't have to read Hannah Arendt to know which way the wind blows in America right now -- but her major premise is still spot-on even today. Democracy can only truly exist at the village level. We've been conned. Democracy in America hasn't existed in over a century.


Professor Arendt's ideal of the citizen-democrat might still be a possibility, even in this modern age of billionaire politicians, mega-corporate lobbyists and electoral pyramid schemes. We might still be able to demand "government by the people, of the people and for the people" -- governent by individual town-hall meetings like she advocated for, where everyone has his or her say and we aren't kicked around by power-mad leaders in a top-down Ponzi scheme where we at the bottom lose all.

But if that is ever going to happen, we gotta start organizing locally. Join a union. Join a town-hall meeting. Speak up. Participate. Join the freaking PTA!

And perhaps our town hall meetings could also be electronic. Don't laugh. Perhaps this new utopia could be called "FaceBook". Or "Twitter". If only. If only FaceBook and Twitter weren't part of the current top-down pyramid scheme too.

What do you think?

PS: Professor Arendt also went on to say that freedom is a really big deal -- even more important than food or shelter. And yet RepublDems tamper with our freedom even more than they tamper with our food and our shelter. Forget that. Why can't we have all three?

Some of us are sick and tired of being at the bottom of America's pyramid Ponzi schemes.

(c) 2020 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Steve Benson ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Jay Sekulow

Trump Defense Team Scrambling To Find Example Of Law Trump Did Not Break
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Desperately trying to change the narrative after a week of damaging presentations, Donald J. Trump's defense team is scrambling to find an example of one law that Trump did not break, sources confirmed on Friday.

In concert with two of Jeffrey Epstein's most prominent defenders, Alan Dershowitz and Kenneth Starr, Trump's personal attorney Jay Sekulow has been scouring federal, state, and municipal law books in the hopes of finding one statute that Trump, for whatever reason, did not violate.

"So far, no luck," a source close to the defense team said.

If the attorneys do manage to find a law that Trump did not break, that information will be "locked down" in a secure server to which Trump himself will not have access.

"They're trying to prevent the worst-case scenario, where Trump discovers there's a law he hasn't broken yet and immediately goes and breaks it," the source said.

As the pressure on the defense team mounts, Dershowitz has privately expressed regret that he got involved with Trump's case.

"O.J. was easier than this," he was overheard muttering.

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 05 (c) 01/31/2020

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