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In This Edition

Norman Solomon returns with a must read, "The United States To Russia: Do as We Say, Not As We Do."

Jesse Jackson says it's, "Time For The DOJ To Get Much More Aggressive On Voting Rights."

Margaret Kimberley considers, "Ukraine And U.S. War Propaganda."

Jim Hightower exclaims, "Save The Whales! Save Polar Bears! Save Political Cartoonists!"

Bernie Sanders says, "No More Backroom Deals-Let The American People See Who Is Willing To Fight For Them."

John Nichols says, "Ron Johnson Crashes The Clown Car."

James Donahue tells a, "Shocking Prophecy For America."

David Swanson wonders, "Can We Learn Anything From Russian-Canadian Pacifists?"

David Suzuki considers, "Wildlife Corridors: From Divide And Conquer To Connect And Restore."

Charles P. Pierce says, "We Thought We Were Lucky The American Fascists Were Incompetent. But Even They Came Close."

Juan Cole reports, "Apartheid 2.0: Amnesty International Joins Chorus Condemning Israeli Rule Over Stateless Palestinians."

Robert Reich explains, "Share The Profits! Why US Businesses Must Return To Rewarding Workers Properly."

Thom Hartmann reports, "As The GOP Drowns Deeper In Factional Racism & Sexism, America Is Sinking, Too."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports,"Kavanaugh Fears Biden's Supreme Court Pick Will 'Hog the Keg,'" but first, Uncle Ernie finds, "Thawing Arctic Permafrost Is Fueling Global Warming."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Breen, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Hannibal Hanschke, Jim Watson, J.C. Duffy, Chip Somodevilla, Vladimir Gubanov, Mario Tama, Suresh Ramamoorthy, Andrei Stanescu, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments -

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

Arctic Permafrost

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Thawing Arctic Permafrost Is Fueling Global Warming
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"It seems clear that in a warming world (for whatever reason), methane will be released in increasing quantities, e.g. from warming permafrost, thus augmenting global warming. Disturbances on the sea bed may also cause the decomposition of methane-hydrate. It is known that drilling into methane hydrate poses a hazard to oil prospecting operations, and it is also thought that decomposition of methane hydrate with an eruption of methane could trigger a tsunami." ~~~ Professor Chris Rhodes

I see where thawing permafrost in the Arctic could be emitting greenhouse gases from previously unaccounted-for carbon stocks, fuelling global warming. That is the result of a study conducted by a team of geologists led by Professor Dr Janet Rethemeyer at the University of Cologne's Institute of Geology and Mineralogy, together with colleagues from the University of Hamburg and the Helmholtz Centre Potsdam - GFZ German Research Centre for Geosciences. In the Siberian Arctic, the research team determined the origin of carbon dioxide released from permafrost that is thousands of years old. This research endeavour is part of the German-Russian research endeavour 'Kopf - Kohlenstoff im Permafrost', funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF). The paper 'Sources of CO2 Produced in Freshly Thawed Pleistocene-Age Yedoma Permafrost' has now appeared in Frontiers in Earth Science.

Global warming is causing temperatures to rise sharply, especially in the Arctic. Among other things, higher temperatures are causing more and more permafrost soils, which have been frozen for thousands of years, to thaw. Particularly affected is so-called 'yedoma' permafrost, which is widespread in areas that were not covered by ice sheets during the last ice age. Yedoma contains up to 80 per cent ice and is therefore also called ice complex. The ground ice can thaw very abruptly, causing the bedrock to collapse and erode. Such processes, known as thermokarst, make carbon previously stored in the frozen ground accessible to microorganisms, which break it down and release it as carbon dioxide and methane. The greenhouse gas release amplifies global warming, which is known as permafrost-carbon feedback.

So far, there are still many uncertainties about the amount of future greenhouse gas release. Among other things, it is not clear how well the ancient carbon that has been frozen in permafrost for thousands of years can be degraded. To find out, the research team took carbon dioxide samples at the Siberian investigation site on the Lena River using specially designed equipment in which carbon dioxide can be stored airtight and transported manner for long periods of time. This is necessary due to the long transport to Germany. Back in Cologne, the researchers then determined the age of the carbon dioxide using the radiocarbon method. In addition, they analysed the non-radioactive carbon isotopes. Both parameters were then used to calculate how much old and young as well as organic and inorganic carbon had been decomposed in the thawing permafrost.

A large proportion of the carbon - up to 80 per cent - comes from ancient organic matter that was freeze-locked into the sediments more than 30,000 years ago. This means that vegetation remains that died thousands of years ago have been very well 'preserved' in the frozen sediment, making them an attractive food source for microorganisms in the thawing permafrost.

In addition, the team found out for the first time that up to 18 per cent of carbon dioxide comes from inorganic sources. 'We did not expect that this previously unnoticed carbon source would account for such a high proportion of the total amount of greenhouse gases released,' said first author of the study Jan Melchert from the University of Cologne. For more precise climate predictions, it would be necessary to take this source into account. Future research will have to clarify where exactly the inorganic carbon in the yedoma comes from and through which processes it is released.

That's the trouble with global warming, it's simply not this thing nor that thing but thousands of things that have to be put together to understand the process in order to stop it. And to stop it you have to want to stop it, and most American politicians are being paid not to want to stop it.


02-17-1938 ~ 01-29-2022
Thanks for the laughs!

02-27-1940 ~ 01-29-2022
Thanks for the laughs!

07-10-1926 ~ 01-31-2022
Thanks for the film!


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


Until the next time, Peace!

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

Protesters calling for "No War" outside the Russian embassy gate on January 30, 2022 in Berlin, Germany.

The United States To Russia: Do as We Say, Not As We Do
Imagine if a powerful Russian-led military alliance were asserting the right to be joined by its ally Mexico-and in the meantime was shipping big batches of weapons to that country-can you imagine the response from Washington?
By Norman Solomon

Hidden in plain sight, the extreme hypocrisy of the U.S. position on NATO and Ukraine cries out for journalistic coverage and open debate in the USA's major media outlets. But those outlets, with rare exceptions, have gone into virtually Orwellian mode, only allowing elaboration on the theme of America good, Russia bad.

Aiding and abetting a potentially catastrophic-and I do mean catastrophic-confrontation between the world's two nuclear superpowers are lawmakers on Capitol Hill. Like the media they echo and vice versa, members of Congress, including highly touted progressives, can scarcely manage more than vague comments that they want diplomacy rather than war.

Mainstream U.S. news outlets have no use for history or documentation that might interfere with the current frenzy presenting NATO's expansion to the Russian border as an unalloyed good.

Imagine if a powerful Russian-led military alliance were asserting the right to be joined by its ally Mexico-and in the meantime was shipping big batches of weapons to that country-can you imagine the response from Washington? Yet we're supposed to believe that it's fine for the U.S.-led NATO alliance to assert that it has the prerogative to grant membership to Ukraine-and in the meantime is now shipping large quantities of weaponry to that country.

"It is worth recalling how much the alliance has weakened world security since the end of the Cold War, by inflaming relations with Russia," historian David Gibbs said last week. "It is often forgotten that the cause of the current conflict arose from a 1990 U.S. promise that NATO would never be expanded into the former communist states of Eastern Europe. Not 'one inch to the East,' Russian leaders were promised by the U.S. Secretary of State at the time, James Baker. Despite this promise, NATO soon expanded into Eastern Europe, eventually placing the alliance up against Russia's borders. The present-day U.S.-Russian conflict is the direct result of this expansion."

The journalists revved up as bloviating nationalists on the USA's TV networks and in other media outlets have no use for any such understanding. Why consider how anything in the world might look to Russians? Why bother to provide anything like a broad range of perspectives about a conflict that could escalate into incinerating the world with thermonuclear weapons? Jingoistic conformity is a much more prudent career course.

Out of step with that kind of conformity is Andrei Tsygankov, professor of international relations at San Francisco State University, whose books include Russia and America: The Asymmetric Rivalry. "Russia views its actions as a purely defensive response to increasingly offensive military preparations by NATO and Ukraine (according to Russia's foreign ministry, half of Ukraine's army, or about 125,000 troops, are stationed near the border)," he wrote days ago. "Instead of pressuring Ukraine to de-escalate and comply with the Minsk Protocol, however, Western nations continue to provide the Ukrainian army with lethal weapons and other supplies."

Tsygankov points out that Russian President Vladimir Putin "has two decades of experience of trying to persuade Western leaders to take Russia's interests into consideration. During these years, Russia has unsuccessfully opposed the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty and build a new missile defense system in Romania, expand NATO, invade Iraq and Libya, and support Kyiv's anti-Russian policies-all in vain."

The professor nails a key reality: "Whatever plans Russia may have with respect to Ukraine and NATO, conflict resolution greatly depends on the West. A major war is avoidable if Western leaders gather confidence and the will to abandon the counter-productive language of threats and engage Russia in reasoned dialogue. If diplomacy is given a fair chance, the European continent may arrive at a new security system that will reflect, among others, Russia's interests and participation."

In the midst of all this, what about progressives in Congress? As we face the most dangerous crisis in decades that risks pushing the world into nuclear war, very few are doing anything more than mouth safe platitudes.

Are they bowing to public opinion? Not really. It's much more like they're cowering to avoid being attacked by hawkish media and militaristic political forces.

On Friday, the American Prospect reported: "A new Data for Progress poll shared exclusively with the Prospect finds that the majority of Americans favor diplomacy with Russia over sanctions or going to war for Ukrainian sovereignty. Most Americans are not particularly animated about the escalating conflict in Eastern Europe, the poll shows, despite round-the-clock media coverage. When asked, 71 percent of Democrats and 46 percent of Republicans said they support the U.S. striking a diplomatic deal with Russia. They agreed that in the effort to de-escalate tensions and avoid war, the U.S. should be prepared to make concessions."

The magazine's reporting provides a portrait of leading congressional progressives who can't bring themselves to directly challenge fellow Democrat Joe Biden's escalation of the current highly dangerous conflict, as he sends still more large shipments of weaponry to Ukraine with a new batch worth $200 million while deploying 8,500 U.S. troops to Eastern Europe. Asked about the issue of prospective Ukraine membership in NATO sometime in the future, Rep. Ro Khanna treated the situation as a test of superpower wills or game of chicken, saying: "I would not be blackmailed by Putin in this situation."

Overall, the American Prospect ferreted out routine refusal of progressive icons in Congress to impede the spiraling crisis:

"The 41 co-sponsors of a sanctions package moving through the Senate include progressive heavyweights like Ed Markey of Massachusetts and Jeff Merkley of Oregon. In a press release on the bill, Markey said the legislation was designed to 'work in concert with the actions the Biden administration has already taken to demonstrate that we will continue to support Ukraine and its sovereignty.'"

"Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA), chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, put out a statement on Wednesday with Rep. Barbara Lee (D-CA). 'Russia's strategy is to inflame tensions; the United States and NATO must not play into this strategy,' the representatives said. The statement raises concerns over 'sweeping and indiscriminate sanctions.' But pressed on what, exactly, the United States should be prepared to offer in diplomatic talks, a spokesperson for Lee did not respond."

"Reached by the Prospect, spokespeople for leading progressives, including Sens. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), declined to comment on questions including whether the U.S. should commit not to bring Ukraine into NATO and whether it should provide direct military aid to Ukraine. Sanders declined to weigh in. In a statement, Warren said, 'The United States must use appropriate economic, diplomatic, and political tools to de-escalate this situation.'"

"Spokespeople for Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley, and Rashida Tlaib, who have previously criticized American interventionism in the Middle East, did not respond to questions from the Prospect, including ones on sanctions policy and NATO commitments."

Progressives in Congress have yet to say that Biden should stop escalating the Ukraine conflict between the two nuclear superpowers. Instead, we hear easy pleas for diplomacy and, at best, mildly worded "significant concerns" about the president's new batch of arms shipments and troop deployments to the region. The evasive rhetoric amounts to pretending that the president isn't doing what he's actually doing as he ratchets up the tensions and the horrendous risks.

All this can be summed up in five words: Extremely. Irresponsible. And. Extremely. Dangerous.

(c) 2022 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."

Demonstrators demanding passage of voting rights legislation protest in front of the White House in Washington, D.C. on November 17, 2021.

Time For The DOJ To Get Much More Aggressive On Voting Rights
The DOJ must use its authority to challenge discriminatory reforms immediately, before the election. The new obstacles must be exposed as the insult that they are, and used to motivate even more people to vote.
By Jesse Jackson

The right to vote is under attack in states across the country. A Republican filibuster has blocked legislation that would protect that right. President Biden can still act right now to help defend that right, by ramping up the Justice Department's efforts to challenge those measures designed to suppress the vote.

These systematic efforts to suppress the vote, to rig the rules so a minority can capture a majority of legislative seats, are testament to how important voting is in a democracy.

The right to vote is the essence of a democracy. Yet, every expansion of the right to vote in this country has required struggle. And every step forward has always been contested by reaction.

Today, we witness the second great disenfranchisement effort in American history. The first came after victory in the Civil War freed the slaves and extended the right to vote to African Americans. That sparked the reaction across the South that included suppressing the right to vote for more than 100 years.

Now after the civil rights movement once more expanded the right to vote, another wave of reaction has begun. In states across the country, Republican officials-acting from cynicism, opportunism and cravenness-have passed measures to make it harder to vote, particularly for those in urban areas, and have pushed partisan redistricting schemes often aimed at discriminating against minorities.

The fight against restrictive voting laws and partisan gerrymandering is, as President Biden said, "the most significant test of our democracy since the Civil War." The question is what can be done about it.

Biden belatedly came out strongly for two measures that passed the House to protect the right to vote: the John Lewis Voting Rights Advancement Act-to revive the Voting Rights Act that was weakened by the conservative Supreme Court-and the For the People Act, which would provide minimum standards for federal elections, curb the role of secret money in elections, and limit partisan gerrymandering. A Republican filibuster in the Senate blocked passage of these laws, with Democrats Joe Manchin and Kyrsten Sinema joining the Republicans.

Now it is up to the Biden administration, and specifically the Justice Department, to step up and use the full range of their powers to roll back the efforts to suppress the vote.

Use the DOJ's authority

The DOJ has taken the first steps. It has issued guidance documents that lay out its authority to act under the Constitution and the Voting Rights Ac, putting states on notice.

In June, Attorney General Merrick Garland launched a task force to investigate and prosecute criminal threats to election officials. The DOJ filed its first major voting rights lawsuit against Georgia for its passage of a massive voter suppression bill. In December, the DOJ sued Texas for its discriminatory redistricting plans. These were merely the first of what must be a series of lawsuits and challenges to new disenfranchisement efforts.

The DOJ is limited because five right-wing Supreme Court justices gutted the pre-clearance section of the Voting Rights Act which gave the DOJ the right to clear election law changes and challenge those that were discriminatory before they went into effect. The DOJ still can sue on discriminatory effect, but that would come after the election. The DOJ must use its authority to challenge discriminatory reforms immediately, before the election, showing discriminatory intent and obvious effect if they are allowed to stand.

Biden can act to rebuild the capacity of DOJ's Civil Rights Division, and to make clear that he wants the department to use the full scope of its powers. He needs to light a fire under a DOJ that has yet to meet the challenges we face. He can also push once more to overcome the Republican filibuster, and to make clear who is standing in the way.

In the end, voting rights will be defended only by those who are the targets of efforts to suppress the vote. The new obstacles must be exposed as the insult that they are, and used to motivate even more people to vote.

These systematic efforts to suppress the vote, to rig the rules so a minority can capture a majority of legislative seats, are testament to how important voting is in a democracy. The forces of reaction are mobilized and relentless. Now those on the side of democracy-the White House, the Justice Department, the citizens whose right to vote is being challenged-must demonstrate that they are even more mobilized and even more relentless.

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

Anti-Putin Propaganda

Ukraine And U.S. War Propaganda
By Margaret Kimberley

The 2014 U.S. sponsored coup against the elected government of Ukraine must be the starting point for any discussion of the current crisis. That crisis has been manufactured by Joe Biden, who was the Obama administration point person in using Ukraine as a means of destabilizing Russia.

The corporate media always carry water for the state, and they are never more dangerous than when the nation is on a war footing. Right now the United States government is sending weapons to Ukraine. One wouldn't know that because of constant references to "lethal aid." The euphemisms and subterfuge are necessary for a very simple reason. Everyone except the Washington war party knows that provoking war with Russia is extremely dangerous.

Joe Biden is picking up where he left off, as Barack Obama's Ukraine viceroy. He and his incompetent foreign policy team have spun a tale about a pending Russian attack on Ukraine. In reality, it is the U.S. that is ginning up war by provoking the Ukrainians to start a fight that they can't win. In 2014 a U.S. backed coup put a far-right clique in power. The people of the Donbass region in the east, largely ethnic Russians, wanted no part of the new anti-Russian government and sought autonomy. The resulting war has killed some 30,000 people.

Now the Biden team who publicly insulted the Chinese government and withdrew from Afghanistan without even being able to secure a major airport, have moved on to opening the proverbial can of whoopass with the world's other major nuclear power. They are using Ukraine in an ill-advised effort to instigate what could lead to disaster.

The 2014 coup against an elected Ukrainian president took place in part because the Russians underestimated the extent of U.S. and NATO determination. They roused themselves quickly however and Crimeans, who are mostly of Russian origin, voted to rejoin the nation they had been a part of until 1954. The U.S./NATO regime change effort came at a steep price for Ukraine. Thanks to Atlanticist meddling it is now the poorest country in Europe that won't get the NATO and EU membership it was promised. It remains a pawn between two powerful countries.

The U.S. is pulling all the hybrid warfare schemes out of the tool box. For months they claimed that Russian troops were massed on the border, ready to invade. They have engaged in diplomacy but only to try and get their way. Russia has held firm on a guarantee of no further NATO encroachment and the removal of missiles from their border. The French and Germans are feckless and do what Washington wants. They should be pressuring Ukraine to live up to the Minsk II Agreement which requires talks with the breakaway Donbass region.

None of this information is conveyed to the American people who live in ignorance orchestrated by republicans, democrats, and their friends in corporate media. Republican senators who want to run for president outdo one another with nonsense about stopping the Nord Stream II gas pipeline that Germany, a U.S. ally, asked the Russians to build. Winter is coming, quite literally, and Europe needs Russia's gas. But unless they stop following Uncle Sam's bullying they will end up with nothing.

Now Washington is pulling the same ploy they attempted in Ethiopia. They have declared that the Russians are coming and have even announced an evacuation of embassy personnel families from the capital city of Kyiv. Vassal states Australia and the United Kingdom have followed suit, but a European Union official demurred, "We are not going to do the same thing because we don't know any specific reasons." The Ukrainian government, a de facto U.S. colony, wasn't happy and called the evacuations "premature."

If the right hand doesn't know what the left is doing, then one can only conclude that big lies are being told. The U.S. has been hoisted on its own petard and now has little more than dangerous bluster to get its own allies in line.

Biden himself is a part of this problem of his own making. In a recent press conference he declared that Russia was on the verge of invading but then said a little invasion wouldn't be so bad after all. It isn't clear if he was speaking from his usual state of confusion or if he really meant what he said.

The Russians certainly mean what they say. As Secretary of State Antony Blinken rushes from Moscow to Berlin to London to Moscow, seemingly making things up as he goes along, the Russians dig in their heels and make clear that their days of being pushovers are in the past. The most committed puppet states like the U.K. go along with whatever Washington wants. They can be counted on to repeat an unsourced story of a Russian plan to overthrow the Ukrainian government or something else equally nonsensical. The people most likely to use a false flag event to justify going to war, instead claim that the other side will do so. The result is a situation that could go badly over the slightest provocation or even a perceived provocation.

The American people should just say no. The Biden administration is sorely mistaken if they think the public are in a mood for war with another nuclear power. They can call ammunition "lethal aid" if they want, but when the match is lit they can expect no support. Then again, the ginned-up conflict may be taking place for that very reason. Biden has failed in almost every respect and is facing electoral defeat for his party in November. Perhaps he thinks that he would be supported by people who have no faith in his ability or willingness to do anything on their behalf.

If hostilities are averted it will be because of forces outside of the U.S. Biden's team of blood thirsty incompetents spent most of last year predicting a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. It isn't clear if they grew bored or saw an easier opening in Ukraine.

No one should be fooled by these people. Russia and China are very close, "better than allies," as Xi Jinping said. Why shouldn't they be? Both countries want to protect themselves from American aggression. People in this country had better hope for Russian and Chinese wisdom and experience. If the U.S. is allowed to do what it wants then the whole world is at risk. That statement is not hyperbole. The U.S. has withdrawn from decades old nuclear weapons agreements and now pushes the world toward the precipice.

The New York Times and Washington Post will play the role they did in 2003 when the U.S. invaded Iraq. They will repeat what spokespeople tell them to say and be a party to warfare. If ever there was a moment to break free from media disinformation this is it. They have nothing to offer except war propaganda and possibly war itself.

(c) 2022 Margaret Kimberley's Freedom Rider column appears weekly in BAR. Ms. Kimberley lives in New York City, and can be reached via e -mail at Margaret.Kimberley@BlackAgendaReport.Com.

Save The Whales! Save Polar Bears! Save Political Cartoonists!

By Jim Hightower

I never dreamed of growing up to be a political activist/commentator, but here I am, and it's worked out pretty well for me. I've been lucky enough to have a voice in public matters and eke out a modest living running my mouth as an independent populist agitator. Still, I have to confess to the sin of Job Envy. Not in the sense of being resentful, but regretful about my own inability to lift the trade of journalistic commentary to the heights attained by a small, feisty collection of unique public opinionators: Political cartoonists.

In framing issues and rallying people to think and act, these journalists have an unfair advantage over us mere word crafters. They can literally draw a picture to make their point! They reach masses viscerally as well as cerebrally. And visceral usually outpunches cerebral. Editorial cartooning is a profession made up largely of progressive mavericks who enter the social-political-cultural fray with an abundance of anti-establishment audacity, an eye for irony, a fondness for the underdog, an ability to laugh at artistic talent.

Because cartooning is an expression of the human spirit that has been irrepressible since cave drawings, generation after generation of pen-and-ink champions of democracy blossomed. The general public's appreciation and demand for the cartoonist's unblinking honesty and satire have never flagged, even increasing whenever the artists come under public assault by autocrats, plutocrats, screwballs, and assorted other censors.

Beyond popularity, though, these graphic editorial artists matter. Again and again, the pointed ink pens of generations of political cartoonists have roused the public to rise up and put down corporate and political scoundrels, incrementally advancing our nation's democratic possibilities. As in the natural world though, even the most beneficial creatures can be driven to extinction.

Check your own local newspaper - are your favorite cartoonists still there?

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

US Senator Bernie Sanders gestures as he speaks to striking Kellogg's workers in downtown Battle Creek, Michigan, on December 17, 2021.

No More Backroom Deals-Let The American People See Who Is Willing To Fight For Them
It's time for lawmakers from both parties to show-with their actions not empty promises-whether or not they are the side of this country's working people.
By Bernie Sanders

The following is based on an email sent to supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Wednesday, January 26, 2022:

Here is the political dilemma that we face.

This year we have brought forth, through the Build Back Better Act, an agenda that in an unprecedented way addresses the long-neglected needs of the working families of our country who are struggling through the worst public health crisis in 100 years. And this is an agenda which is enormously popular.

Yes. The American people want to lower the outrageously high cost of prescription drugs, significantly improve home health care, expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision needs, lower the rate of childhood poverty, provide affordable child care and build the affordable housing we desperately need.

Yes. The American people want us to save the planet for future generations and create hundreds of thousands of good paying jobs by transforming our energy system away from fossil fuels and into energy efficiency and sustainable energy.

Yes. The American people want us to reform a regressive tax system which, at a time of massive income and wealth inequality, enables some of the wealthiest people and most profitable corporations in the country to pay nothing in federal income taxes.

Yes. That's what the American people want. That's what the U.S. House of Representatives want. That's what 48 members of the U.S. Senate Democratic Caucus want.

But that's not what any Republican Senator wants. That's not what two Democratic Senators, Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema, want.

After six months of "negotiating" behind closed doors with these two conservative Democratic Senators there is widespread understanding that this strategy has failed not only from a policy point of view, but politically as well. The base of the Democratic Party is now demoralized and, according to many polls, Republicans stand a strong chance of winning the House and the Senate in the 2022 elections.

We need a new direction, a new approach. We need to show the American people that we are prepared to stand up and fight for the working families of this country. We need to take on the powerful special interests and their lobbyists who oppose every major initiative that threatens their wealth and power. We need to demand that every Republican and every Democrat in the Senate finally cast votes on the most important issues facing our country. No more backroom negotiations. No more endless conversations. Let the American people know where their Senators stand and who is prepared to fight for their interests. And that's not just Senator Manchin and Senator Sinema.

As the recent outcome on the Voting Rights bill clearly shows, today's Republican Party has become an anti-democracy party doing all it can to make it harder for American citizens to vote and participate in the political process. But that's not all. Republicans have also become an extremely reactionary party focused on tax breaks for billionaires, ignoring the reality of climate change, working overtime to keep the cost of prescription drugs high and denying people the health care they need during the middle of a global pandemic.

So yes, we must continue to work to pass the Build Back Better agenda.

"As the recent outcome on the Voting Rights bill clearly shows, today's Republican Party has become an anti-democracy party doing all it can to make it harder for American citizens to vote and participate in the political process."

But we must also bring important pieces of legislation that improve life for working families on to the floor of the Senate, and if Republicans (and a few Democrats) want to vote against them, that is their right. They will then have to explain their votes to their constituents. That's called democracy.

Let the American people see that not one single Republican will vote to permanently expand the $300 per child direct monthly payments for working families that reduced the childhood poverty rate by 40% but expired on December 15.

Let the American people see that not one single Republican will vote to create millions of good paying jobs to combat the existential threat of climate change.

Let the American people see that not one single Republican will vote to raise the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

Let the American people see that not one single Republican will vote to lower prescription drug costs by empowering Medicare to negotiate with the pharmaceutical industry.

Let the American people see that not one single Republican will vote to expand Medicare to cover dental, hearing and vision.

Let the American people see not one single Republican will vote to expand home health care, repeal the Trump tax cuts, pass paid family and medical leave, universal Pre-K and the right to organize.

Let the American people see what is happening.

Let the American people know there is a stark and clear choice between the parties.

And then let the American people vote.

We are at a crossroads in the coming election. We can either continue down the current course and face likely defeat in November. Or we can stand up, fight for working families and show the country how reactionary and out-of-touch the Republican Party is.

(c) 2022 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. Sanders ran to become the Democratic Party presidential nominee in both 2016 and 2020 and remains the longest-serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vermont in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his website. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders and @BernieSanders

Ron Johnson Crashes The Clown Car
By John Nichols

Sen. Ron Johnson, the most notorious conspiracy theorist in the U.S. Senate, finally got something right.

The Republican from Oshkosh interrupted a panel discussion he'd organized Monday to amplify messages from vaccine skeptics with an announcement: "We've all been accused of spreading disinformation, and misinformation."

Truer words have never been spoken by the senator.

He has been accused of spreading disinformation and misinformation. And the accusations have stuck. Fact-checking sites have catalogued the corrections of his false statements about the coronavirus pandemic, and about the proper responses to it. In my new book, "Coronavirus Criminals and Pandemic Profiteers" (Verso), I devote a chapter to Johnson, who emerged during the initial stages of the pandemic as such a steadily unreliable source of information that U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan, D-Town of Vermont, complained that "it is embarrassing to have American's most clueless Senator."

But there's a line where cluelessness gives way to deliberately dangerous political posturing, and Johnson crossed it last week when he crashed a clown car full of quacks into the public health debate. The crash site was a Capitol Hill hearing room where the senator presided over what the Committee to Protect Health Care aptly described as "a high-profile platform to perpetuate falsehoods about vaccines, unproven cures and evidence-based safety measures."

When Republicans lost control of the U.S. Senate after the 2020 election, Johnson had to surrender the chairmanship of the Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee - which he had made a go-to venue for fringe theorists of varying stripes. But losing the gavel has not stopped the Wisconsinite - who was recently called out by Listerine for suggesting that "standard gargle, mouthwash, has been proven to kill the coronavirus" - from peddling political snake oil.

Last week's hearing featured a parade of dismissed and discredited "experts" who frequently interrupted and contradicted one another, producing a cacophony of ranting and raving about "fraudulent data," "manipulated data" and "vaccine-enhanced diseases." Johnson added to the absurdity by reading an anecdote from southeast Asia into the record and then admitting, "I guess this isn't evidence that a death might be related to the vaccine ..."

At one point, the senator called on a witness who announced that people were "a thousand times more likely to die from a bicycle than from COVID," and concluded, "so I think it would be appropriate that the federal government ban all bicycles because they're certainly more likely to kill you than COVID."

At another point, when the discussion descended into chaos, Johnson threw his hands up in the air and announced, "It's difficult for the general public to understand because I don't know exactly."

What's really difficult to understand is why this charlatan is still in the United States Senate.

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

Shocking Prophecy For America
By James Donahue

A blind woman that lived in a mountain community of Bulgaria who was known for her accurate prophetic messages once predicted that America's forty-fourth president would be a black man and that he would be "the last one."

Barack Obama was the nation's forty-fourth president. Donald Trump who followed Mr. Obama was not a real president. He was a liar and a thief who caused so much damage it appears he may have destroyed the nation as we once knew it.

It was said that Baba Vanga, who lived from 1911 to 1996, was about 80 percent accurate with her many visions of the future. Among her visions was the 9-11 attack on the United States and the sinking of the Russian submarine Kursk.

It was in 1989 that Vanga's message was: <>"Horror, horror! The American brethren will fall after being attacked by the steel birds. The wolves will be howling in a bush and innocent blood will be gushing."

The vision has been interpreted as a description of the aircraft striking the World Trade Center towers and people literally falling from the towers and on the battlefield because the buildings burned. The phrase "wolves will be howling in a bush and innocent blood will be gushing" is a view of the unnecessary wars launched by President Bush following the attack. Hundreds of thousands of innocent people in both countries are still dying not only from the attacks but from the wars that continue to this day.

The Vanga prediction that a black president would be the nation's "last one" brings a chilling possibility to the table in light of the strange presidential campaign that divided the country.

In that particular message Vanga warned that at the time of this black president coming to power the country would be struck by a terrible economic crisis. This, she said, would be followed by conflicts between the north and the south that would escalate and eventually bring the country down. These things have come to pass. The crude campaign conducted by Republican candidate Trump succeeded in splitting the nation on political, sexual and racial levels.

Whatever is going to happen to the United States, it may not be all bad, if the Vanga predictions are going to come true. In her visions, as they were recorded, she appeared to see current events as a stepping stone to lead in one of two directions. One is nuclear war and world destruction. The other, she said, is "a miracle and the whole world would win."

If we can avoid a third world war, Vanga saw the appearance of a new world leader that will be known as the "peacemaker" who takes the world by storm. If this happens she said: "Expect changes for the better, religions will unite, peace will be established on earth."

She said the latter event will lead people to "understand the existence of a spiritual world."

In the negative future, Venga perceived a nuclear disaster causing death and destruction of most life in the Northern Hemisphere. She said Europe will become isolated and people all over the world will suffer from some kind of skin disease. Note that the Fukishima disaster in 2011 has launched a world-wide radiation poisoning that is slowly attacking all living things from the air, the sea and the land, mostly in the Northern Hemisphere of the world. To this date, radiation experts in Japan have been unable to stop the spill after three electric generating plants went into meltdown from an earthquake and tsunami that destroyed the generating complex.

Vanga also saw the global ice caps melting and the sea levels rising. But she said she also envisioned a new energy source developed "out of nothing" and amazing achievements in the field of medicine. She said a time will come when new bodies will replace the worn out ones. Eventually humans will turn themselves into living robots.

Among her other future predictions: China will become a predominant world power, humans will begin an exploration and settlement on the planets and moons in our solar system, and there will be an actual human settlement established on Mars.

She said an artificial sun also will be created which will light up the dark side of the Earth.

All of these things are being considered or developed by contemporary researchers.

Vanga also said humanity will establish a colony under the sea where there can be an abundance of food. She also perceives an eventual mixing of the races until one mixed race of man will predominate the world.

In our quest to find extraterrestrial life "humanity comes into contact with what is something terrible. Spacecraft forgotten to Earth terrible new disease," she warned.

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

Can We Learn Anything From Russian-Canadian Pacifists?
By David Swanson

Tolstoy said the Doukhobors belonged to the 25th century. He was talking about a group of people who have traditions of refusing to take part in war, refusing to eat or harm animals or put animals to work, engaging in communal sharing of resources and communal approaches to work, gender equality, and letting deeds speak in place of words - not to mention using nudity as a form of nonviolent protest.

You can see how such people might have run into trouble in a Russian empire or the great nation of Canada. One of their most important historical events is the Burning of Arms which happened in 1895 in Georgia. With roots in Ukraine and Russia, with members living in those countries and throughout Eastern Europe, as well as Canada, the Doukhobors might draw attention in this moment of war fever more than the Mennonites, Amish, Quakers, or any of the other communities of people who have struggled to fit into a war-extraction-exploitation-mad society.

Like any other group, the Doukhobors are made up of individuals, who have differed from each other, done heroic things, and done shameful things. Their way of life may have little to offer in the way of sustainability that surpasses the way of life of the people who were displaced in Canada to make room for the Europeans. But there's little question we'd have a better chance of seeing a 25th century with human life on Earth if we sought more wisdom from 25th century people who've been living among us for many years.

Tolstoy was inspired by and inspired the Doukhobors. He sought to live out a life of love and kindness without major systemic contradictions. He saw this in the Doukhobors and helped fund their emigration to Canada. Here's a new book of biographies of Doukhobors that I was just sent. Here's an excerpt from a chapter by Ashleigh Androsoff:

"Historically, Doukhobors have made important calls for peace. We value our ancestors participation in the great Burning of Arms event for good reason: this was a definitive moment in Doukhobor history, and a dramatic testament to the participants' pacifist convictions. Some of our grandparents had opportunities to show similar resolve during the First and Second World Wars by refusing to register for military service, even if it meant working at Alternative Service or facing imprisonment for failure to report. In the 1960s some Doukhobors participated in a series of 'peace manifestations' at military installations in Alberta and Saskatchewan. I believe that twenty-first century Doukhobors have much more work to do as peacebuilders. I believe we should not only be participating more actively in peacebuilding, but that we should become more visible as leaders in the peace movement."
Hear! hear!

Well, I think that EVERYONE should be a bigger part of the peace movement.

And here's what I think we should do. Invite both NATO and Russia into the Donbas with all of their weapons, to be dumped onto a massive pile.

Burn, baby, burn.

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

Black Bison on brown grass field.

Wildlife Corridors: From Divide And Conquer To Connect And Restore
By David Suzuki

Wildlife Corridors: From Divide And Conquer To Connect And Restore By David Suzuki with contributions from Boreal Project Manager Rachel Plotkin Black Bison on brown grass field. In the U.S. and Canada, the Y2Y project aims to restore ecological connectivity from Yellowstone to Yukon. (Photo: Suresh Ramamoorthy via Unsplash) Robert Frost began his poem "Mending Wall" with the line, "Something there is that doesn't love a wall." He could have been speaking for wildlife. Walls and fences fragment their habitat, limit travel for food and mating, block migration routes and cause death. (As do roads.) A 2011 study found "the fence along the U.S.-Mexico border blocks 16 key species from about 75 percent of their habitat." Research in Utah and Colorado showed, "every year one ungulate is tangled for every 2.5 miles of fence."

Fences and walls can also decrease genetic diversity, as wildlife inbreed when they're no longer able to safely travel to find mates outside of their gene pools. According to the Economist, "Millions of kilometres of fences wrap the world, outstripping the collective length of its roads by something like a factor of ten." Although wildlife-friendly fences can be constructed, they're not the norm.

Animals aren't constrained by human notions of private land or the geopolitical lines we draw to separate ourselves from each other. According to the environmental journal Yale 360, "one Eurasian brown bear, dubbed Ivo, was tracked by satellite collar as he roamed for 21 months from Slovakia, to Hungary, to Poland, to Ukraine, crossing international borders 63 times."

While fences, walls and roads are devastating for individual creatures and whole populations, antidotes are available: bridges, tunnels and corridors. Habitat loss and fragmentation are the primary drivers of species' decline. Reconnecting fragmented pieces of land is critical to wildlife survival and recovery. Connectivity must be maintained or restored between borders, too, as fences to separate people have broader ecological impacts.

As we journey through the UN-declared "decade on restoration," connectivity initiatives are growing worldwide, sometimes in surprising places. In the U.S. and Canada, the Y2Y project aims to restore ecological connectivity from Yellowstone to Yukon. Corridors under that umbrella don't comprise just undisturbed lands; they include private lands where landowners agree to let animals move through in peace.

In Africa, numerous multi-jurisdictional wildlife conservation areas have been established under the banner of "Peace Parks." In India, some communities were established in elephant travel corridors, which led to human-elephant conflict. Now, they've voluntarily agreed to relocate to create the Thirunelli-Kudrakote corridor, which will connect elephant habitat between two conservation areas and service the world's largest Asian elephant population.

Some critics argue corridors often provide quick fixes alongside status quo habitat degradation. Ecologist Dan Simberloff says, "the corridor bandwagon ... perpetuates the notion that we can somehow have conservation on the cheap by providing a technological solution to the problem of habitat destruction and fragmentation. It's seductive, but unlikely to work in many cases. Unfortunately to conserve biodiversity we have to conserve habitat."

Success stories abound, though. According to Canadian Geographic, "Though many biologists and citizens were skeptical of the wildlife bridges when they were first built, the six overpasses and 38 underpasses that criss-cross the Trans-Canada are today considered a worldwide conservation success story, reducing wildlife collisions by 80 per cent and buoying Banff biologists to rock-star status in the realm of transportation ecology." In Wyoming, a 240-kilometre corridor, called Red Desert to Hoback, was created for mule deer migration. It spans many types of land, including privately held. The state worked with landowners to adapt and remove fences and built a number of wildlife crossings over roads.

Florida legislation commits that state to spend up to $400 million to buy land to increase connectivity pathways for the endangered panther. According to the New Yorker, "As envisioned, the corridor could ultimately encompass eighteen million acres, about half of Florida's total area. Roughly ten million acres are currently conserved in one form or another." The project includes successful collaboration with numerous cattle ranchers who once opposed conservation initiatives.

Connectivity can advance opportunities to address social justice restoration, too, if the role of Indigenous leadership is recognized. In fact, the U.S. Wildlife Corridors Conservation Act, passed this summer, includes a Tribal Wildlife Corridors Act to support Indigenous tribes in nominating, restoring and managing corridors on tribal lands.

Ultimately, participation in connectivity projects has the potential to connect far more than patches of land and restore the life processes of wildlife. It can also connect us to the animals we work to recover, and to each other.

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

We Thought We Were Lucky The American Fascists Were Incompetent. But Even They Came Close
Is the United States of America capable of defending itself against an ongoing and determined campaign of internal subversion at the highest level, in which one of our two political parties is complicit?
By Charles P. Pierce

They don't make it easy to recuperate, I'll give them that, all the former employees of Camp Runamuck, now d.b.a. The House of Usher. Just over the past two days, we got a good look at the far frontiers of political lunacy to which the republic was nearly dragged, anesthetized, never to return. Once, these places seemed as remote as the regions of the starlight brought to Earth by space telescopes. Now, we discover to our horror that they are as close as the thin edge of Mike Pence's conscience. Politics is all folded space now, shot through with wormholes, all connected to other times, other places, other realities. From the New York Times:

Mr. Trump pressed Mr. Giuliani to make that inquiry after rejecting a separate effort by his outside advisers to have the Pentagon take control of the machines. And the outreach to the Department of Homeland Security came not long after Mr. Trump, in an Oval Office meeting with Attorney General William P. Barr, raised the possibility of whether the Justice Department could seize the machines, a previously undisclosed suggestion that Mr. Barr immediately shot down.

The new accounts show that Mr. Trump was more directly involved than previously known in exploring proposals to use his national security agencies to seize voting machines as he grasped unsuccessfully for evidence of fraud that would help him reverse his defeat in the 2020 election, according to people familiar with the episodes.

Imagine the scenes. Homeland Security officers and assorted other Feds, fanning out all over the country, showing up at polling places in Philadelphia and Atlanta. National Guardsmen rolling up on local election offices in Pima County in Arizona and Clark County in Nevada, confronting clerks and state police, and facing off against nervous local cops. Surreal emergency sessions of state legislatures that dissolve into scenes out of the Turkish parliament. All of them on television, with logos and theme music, and thumb-sucking pundits wondering why both sides can't work together the way the Founders intended. Imagine the scenes. Imagine the nausea.
The new accounts provide fresh insight into how the former president considered and to some degree pushed the plans, which would have taken the United States into uncharted territory by using federal authority to seize control of the voting systems run by states on baseless grounds of widespread voting fraud. The people familiar with the matter were briefed on the events by participants or had firsthand knowledge of them.

The accounts about the voting machines emerged after a weekend when Mr. Trump declared at a rally in Texas that he might pardon people charged in connection with the storming of the Capitol last Jan. 6 if he were re-elected. In a statement issued after the rally, Mr. Trump also suggested that his vice president, Mike Pence, could have personally "overturned the election" by refusing to count delegates to the Electoral College who had vowed to cast their votes for Joseph R. Biden Jr.

And the schemes ran from the grand opera to opera bouffe, with a short side trip to a seventh-grade lunchroom somewhere in America. From the Washington Post: Former president Donald Trump was known inside the White House for his unusual and potentially unlawful habit of tearing presidential records into shreds and tossing them on the floor - creating a headache for records management analysts who meticulously used Scotch tape to piece together fragments of paper that were sometimes as small as confetti, as Politico reported in 2018.
But despite the Presidential Records Act - which requires the preservation of memos, letters, notes, emails, faxes and other written communications related to a president's official duties - the former president's infrangible shredding practices apparently continued well into the latter stages of his presidency.

The National Archives on Monday took the unusual step of confirming the habit, saying in a statement that records turned over from the Trump White House "included paper records that had been torn up by former President Trump." The statement came in response to a question from The Washington Post about whether some Jan. 6-related records had been ripped up and taped back together. Some of the documents turned over by the White House had not been reconstructed at all, according to the Archives.

A bag of rags is all that administration* ever was-oil-soaked rags atop a malfunctioning space heater in a corner of the basement where nobody ever goes.

This is the most serious question, which needs answering as fast and as accurately as possible: Is the United States of America capable of defending itself against an ongoing and determined campaign of internal subversion at the highest level, in which one of our two political parties is deeply, irretrievably complicit? The basic constitutional immune system has broken down entirely. The courts have been captured by the forces of complicity. The national legislature is paralyzed. The media still seems largely incapable of calling the threat by its true name. If we are the system, then those are our primary tools for its self-defense, and they're all dull, and rusty, and all the powder is wet.

For four years, whistling entire operas past a vast and ever-expanding graveyard, we all reassured ourselves that the former president*'s bone-deep incompetence would save us all, and we all whispered prayers of thanksgiving that we had been gifted with incompetent native fascists.

But dammit, even they came so very close, and many of their primary entry points were the loopholes and defects in a 200-year-old document that is badly in need of shoring up and renovation. The only reason that it all came down to Mike Pence's conscience is that we still maintain the absurdity that is the Electoral College. The Constitution is now merely its own alternative reality, another light from a deep and distant time.

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

The Quotable Quote -

"Let us wage a moral and political war against the billionaires and corporate leaders, on Wall Street and elsewhere, whose policies and greed are destroying the middle class of America."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Apartheid 2.0: Amnesty International Joins Chorus Condemning Israeli Rule Over Stateless Palestinians
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - The Israeli state has won the trifecta of condemnation by major human rights organizations, as, on Tuesday, Amnesty International joined with Human Rights Watch and B'Tselem in calling Israeli rule over the 5 million Palestinians of the Occupied Palestinian Territories a form of Apartheid.

Amnesty carried out its investigation and analysis for four years, from 2017 until the end of 2021, so they did not exactly jump to conclusions. Amnesty carefully defines the crime with which it is charging the Israeli authorities. Apartheid, they say, is committed "when any inhuman or inhumane act (essentially a serious human rights violation) is perpetrated in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over another, with the intention to maintain that system." AI adds, "A regime of oppression and domination can best be understood as the systematic, prolonged and cruel discriminatory treatment by one racial group of members of another with the intention to control the second racial group."

Amnesty notes that the Israeli government's policies aim at empowering Jews and denying basic rights to Palestinians. After the Israeli military seized the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza in 1967, this was the policy pursued by military governors: "Today, all territories controlled by Israel continue to be administered with the purpose of benefiting Jewish Israelis to the detriment of Palestinians, while Palestinian refugees continue to be excluded."

The report observes that in Israeli law, Jews are privileged. Anyone of Jewish heritage can immigrate into Israel. The families of Israelis of Palestinian heritage who live abroad do not have that right. "Arab-Israelis" are not allowed to serve in the Israeli army, save for the small Druze and (non-Arab) Circassian communities. AI points out that for the first 18 years of Israel's existence, Israeli citizens of Palestinian heritage were kept under military rule. After the seizure of the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza in 1967, many of the techniques of control developed via martial law for "Arab Israelis" were deployed against the occupied Palestinians.

The use of the Israeli army is an essential tool of control against the Palestinians, who are frequently thrown in the brig and court-martialed even though they are civilians. AI writes,>{?>I>} "Since 1967, the Israeli authorities have arrested over 800,000 Palestinian men, women and children in the West Bank, including East Jerusalem, and Gaza Strip, bringing many of them before military courts that systematically fail to meet international standards of fair trial, and where the vast majority of cases end in conviction."

800,000 arrested. There are only 5 million Occupied Palestinians, so on the order of 16 percent have been incarcerated at one time or another.

But you will say hundreds of thousands of Jews live in the Occupied West Bank, including in Jerusalem and its environs. You would be right, but they live under a different, non-military system. AI points out,

"By contrast, Jewish settlers have been exempted from the military orders governing Palestinians since the late 1970s after Israel extraterritorially extended its civil law over Israeli citizens residing in or travelling through the OPT. Jewish settlers in the occupied West Bank are therefore brought before Israeli civilian courts."

AI covers other elements of Apartheid, including the statelessness of Palestinians in the Israeli- Occupied Territories, obstacles to family unification, and obstacles to travel both locally and abroad. None of these policies affect Israeli Jews. Then there is the matter of Palestinian property not really belonging to them, since the Israeli state can steal it from them at will. Amnesty says,

"In 1948, Jewish individuals and institutions owned around 6.5% of mandate Palestine, while Palestinians owned about 90% of the privately owned land there. Within just over 70 years the situation has been reversed."

Israeli propaganda is so wide-ranging that it even wants to dispute this plain fact, which is summarized in the famous map:

The Amnesty case is devastating. The report has of course attracted the ire of the Israeli propaganda establishment and its backers in the US Israel lobbies. Those lobbies have so far managed to marginalize anyone who points out what is actually going on over there. They have somehow managed to keep Palestine news off American television. It is becoming harder and harder, however, for the propagandists to hide the elephant of Apartheid in the Israeli room, as US civil libertarians begin being more vocal and calling the Israeli treatment of Palestinians by its name.

It needs to be underlined that although Apartheid was the term used in the Dutch-derived Afrikaans language for systematic government segregation policies in twentieth-century South Africa through the early 1990s, using the term for Israel-Palestine does not imply that the Mideast situation is like South Africa's in every respect. Rather, the crime of Apartheid, starting off from the South Africa example, has become a key part of international law.

I have explained:

Article II of the International Convention on the Suppression and Punishment of the Crime of Apartheid (1973) defines it this way:

"The term "the crime of apartheid", which shall include similar policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practiced in southern Africa, shall apply to... inhuman acts committed for the purpose of establishing and maintaining domination by one racial group of persons over any other racial group of persons and systematically oppressing them."

The 2002 Rome Statute, which has 123 signatories among the nations of the world, and which established the International Criminal Court, contained a definition of Apartheid.

'The crime of apartheid' means inhumane acts . . . committed in the context of an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by one racial group over any other racial group or groups and committed with the intention of maintaining that regime...

Apartheid is one of the listed "crimes against humanity" along with enslavement, torture, war rape, and forcible deportation. A crime against humanity is the systematic and continuous commission of war crimes.

Because of these international law instruments (the Rome Statute is a multilateral treaty), Apartheid now refers to a generalized crime, not just the policy of the old South African government.

As a result, the Court can under some circumstances charge individual politicians with the crime of Apartheid. Those circumstances are that 1) the country has signed the Rome Statute or 2) that the UN Security Council has forwarded the case of a war criminal to the ICC. Neither of these circumstances fits Israel, since it is not a signatory and the US would veto any attempt to charge a major Israeli politician at the International Criminal Court. This inability to bring Israeli officials to the Hague, however, is merely procedural. As a matter of law, Israel can still be guilty of Apartheid practices.

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

Amazon used to give out stock to employees but stopped in 2018.

Share The Profits! Why US Businesses Must Return To Rewarding Workers Properly
The economy is booming and corporate profits are huge, but American wages still stagnate. History provides the answer
By Robert Reich

According to this week's release from the commerce department, the US economy has been growing at its fastest pace in almost 40 years. Corporate profits are their highest in 70 years. And the stock market, although gyrating wildly of late, is still scoring record gains.

So why do most Americans remain gloomy about the economy? Mainly because their real (inflation-adjusted) wages continue to go nowhere.

Steeply rising profits, economic growth and stock market highs - coupled with near-stagnant wages - has been the story of the American economy for decades. Most economic gains have gone to the top.

So why not share the profits?

Profit-sharing was tried with great success in the early decades of the 20th century but is now all but forgotten. In 1916, Sears, Roebuck & Co, then one of America's largest corporations with more than 30,000 employees, announced it would begin to share profits with its employees, giving workers shares of stock and thereby making them part-owners.

The idea caught on. Other companies that joined the profit-sharing bandwagon included Procter & Gamble, Pillsbury, Kodak and US Steel.

The Bureau of Labor Statistics suggested profit-sharing as a means of reducing "frequent and often violent disputes" between employers and workers. Profit-sharing gave workers an incentive to be more productive, since the success of the company meant higher profits would be shared. It also reduced the need for layoffs during recessions because payroll costs dropped as profits did.

By the 1950s, Sears workers had accumulated enough stock that they owned a quarter of the company. And by 1968, the typical Sears salesperson could retire with a nest egg worth well over $1m, in today's dollars.

The downside was that when profits went down, workers' paychecks would shrink. And if a company went bankrupt, workers would lose all their investments in it. The best profit-sharing plans took the form of cash bonuses that employees could invest however they wish, on top of predictable wages.

But profit-sharing with regular employees all but disappeared in large US corporations. Ever since the early 1980s when corporate "raiders" (now private-equity managers) began demanding high returns, corporations stopped granting employees shares of stock, presumably because they didn't want to dilute share prices. Sears phased out its profit-sharing plan in the 1970s.

Yet, just as profit-sharing with regular employees disappeared, profit-sharing with top executives took off, as big Wall Street banks, hedge funds, private equity funds and high-tech companies began doling out huge wads of stock and stock options to their MVPs.

The result? Share prices and chief executive pay (composed increasingly of shares of stock and options to buy stock) have gone into the stratosphere, while the wages of the typical worker have barely risen.

Researchers have found that before the 1980s, almost all the increases in share prices on the US stock market could be accounted for by overall economic growth. But since then, a large portion of the increases have come out of what used to go into wages.

Jeff Bezos, who now owns about 10% of Amazon's shares, is worth $170.4bn. Other top Amazon executives hold hundreds of millions of dollars of shares. But most of Amazon's employees, such as warehouse workers, haven't shared in the bounty.

Amazon used to give out stock to hundreds of thousands of its employees. But in 2018 it stopped the practice and instead raised its minimum hourly wage to $15. The wage raise got headlines and was good PR - Amazon is still touting it - but the decision to end stock awards was more significant. It hurt employees far more than the increased minimum helped them.

If Amazon's 1.2 million employees together owned the same proportion of Amazon's stock as Sears workers did in the 1950s - a quarter of the company - each Amazon worker would now own shares worth an average of more than $350,000.

America's trend toward higher profits, higher share prices, mounting executive pay but near stagnant wages is unsustainable, economically and politically.

Profit-sharing is one answer. But how can it be encouraged? Reduce corporate taxes on companies that share profits with all their workers, and increase taxes on those that do not.

Sharing profits with all workers is a logical and necessary step to making the system work for the many, not the few.

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

As The GOP Drowns Deeper In Factional Racism & Sexism, America Is Sinking, Too
Welcome to the racist, misogynous, anti-democracy faction that has seized control of today's GOP and their media cheerleaders: How long will they hold onto their power over the entire party?
By Thom Hartmann

The Republican Party has lost all its legitimacy because, in the past few decades, it has become a white supremacist version of what Father of the Constitution James Madison called a "faction."

Loosely, a "faction" is a "special interest" group of people who are willing to damage the interests of other people just to gain their own benefit.

And, as Madison warned us, factions destroy democracies.

Here's how it's playing out right now, as a Trump-inspired faction continues to consolidate their control over the larger Republican Party, dragging it deeper and deeper into the swamp of racism and misogyny.

Joy Reid laid out in painful detail - with clips from Republicans like Blackburn, Hawley, and McCarthy - how Dr. Martin Luther King's hope that people would someday "not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character" has become a near-mantra for conservatives.

Like most moral assertions by today's Republicans, this is another example of the hypocrisy of their party, in this case that being their enduring embrace of Nixon's and Reagan's appeal to white supremacy to win elections.

Nixon thought he could control the openly racist and misogynist faction he invited into the GOP with that "Southern Strategy." Instead, that faction is destroying the Party and threatening America.

That tactic of embracing white supremacists and their rhetoric while claiming a neutral and seemingly principled high ground has been used particularly successfully by Reagan and Trump, expanding the size of what was once a relatively small but openly white supremacist and misogynist faction to the point it could take over the entire Republican Party.

Absurdly, today's "conservatives" use King's quote to decry affirmative action or any efforts to achieve a racial balance within schools, colleges or the workplace that simply reflects racial proportions in American society.

It's their way of saying, "We're in charge and we like things the way they are: you need to stop bringing BIPOC people into the game."

It was the essence of the decision John Roberts wrote in the Shelby County v Holder decision that gutted the Voting Rights Act in 2013, paving the way for Red states to purge literally millions of mostly African American citizens from the voting rolls and shut down polling places in Black neighborhoods.

We had a Black president, after all, went the Supreme Court's logic: how could racism even still exist in America?

But it's not like Republicans are opposed to "affirmative action" to reach for support from a particular group of voters.

Reagan promised to put a woman on the Supreme Court and followed through with Sandra Day O'Connor.

Trump did the same, telling a rally in North Carolina shortly after Ruth Bader Ginsburg's death that his nominee "will be a woman, a very talented, very brilliant woman. I haven't chosen yet, but we have numerous women on the list."

But those, of course, were white women. Misogyny is up there in the hierarchy of this Republican faction's priorities, but nowhere near the top spot occupied by race.

Just look at who they recruit. Of the 56 Black members of the House of Representatives only two are Republicans, who both took office last year for the first time; the only Black Republican senator is Tim Scott, who was first appointed by another GOP outlier, an Indian-American governor.

Wednesday night Tucker Carlson, for example, complained to his elderly white audience about President Biden's promise to appoint a Black woman to the Supreme Court:

"It is possible we've all marinated for so long in a casual racism of affirmative action that it seems normal now to reduce human beings to their race. ... But imagine if this was happening to you. How would you feel?"
The multi-millionaire Swanson Frozen Foods-fortune heir ended his rant with the perpetual white supremacist's call to grievance:

"As long as we are giving up the spoils like carrot cake, where's my slice?"
Fox "News" personality Tomi Lahren weighted in the same evening, implying that you could tell a person's politics by the color of their skin and that Black people represent the most "radical" among us. She whined:
"We know that what Joe Biden does best is placate to the radical element and the radical progressive base of his party that he believes is the majority."
Right. All Black women are "radical progressives." Because of the color of their skin. Got it.

Nikki Haley, who has presidential aspirations, tweeted:

"Would be nice if Pres Biden chose a Supreme Court nominee who was best qualified without a race/gender litmus test," adding, rather paternalistically, that she'd done that when she "picked Tim Scott as Senator of South Carolina."
That would be the Tim Scott who couldn't even muster a vote for rebuilding America or voting rights.

The reality is that race and gender have been THE litmus test for appointments to the federal bench (and pretty much everything else) for 240 years in this country.

For almost our entire history, it's been a very simple mantra of "Blacks and women need not apply." And that went double for Black women.

The five Black women whose names are in the news as front-runners on Biden's list are all demonstrably more well qualified, both academically and experientially, than any of Trump's all-white nominees.

This shouldn't be surprising: Black people, and particularly Black women, are almost always judged by different (and higher) standards than their white counterparts, from business to politics to the law.

Particularly by white Republicans in leadership like the #2 Republican in the House of Representatives, minority whip Steve Scalise of Louisiana, who ran as "David Duke without the baggage."

The Republican Party, starting with Nixon but exponentially since the election of President Barack Obama in 2008, has contracted into a white supremacist variety of what James Madison called a "faction" in Federalist 10.

As Dan Sisson and I pointed out in The American Revolution of 1800, faction was something the Founders identified as representing the greatest danger of "violence" against our new Republic:

"By a faction," Madison wrote, "I understand a number of citizens, whether amounting to a majority or minority of the whole, who are united and actuated by some common impulse of passion, or of interest, adverse [harmful] to the rights of other citizens, or to the permanent and aggregate interests of the community."
The entirety of Federalist 10 is a warning that should our system of government or any of our political parties become dominated by a faction, it would represent a mortal threat to our republic:
"Men of factious tempers, of local prejudices, or of sinister designs, may by intrigue, by corruption, or by other means, first obtain the suffrages, and then betray the interests of the people."
Expect a virtual firehose of attacks from the racist Republican faction directed against whomever President Biden nominates.

The majority will come from the hard right, well-tinged with racist dog-whistle phrases implying "affirmative action" or "lazy" or "radical" to identify the candidate.

Welcome to the racist, misogynous, anti-democracy faction that has seized control of today's GOP, and their media cheerleaders.

The big question for the November election will be: Can this openly violence-embracing white supremacist faction continue to hold onto their power over the entire party?

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

The Cartoon Corner -

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

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Brett Kavanaugh attends a news conference with Senate G.O.P. leadership in the Capitol on May 22 2006.

Kavanaugh Fears Biden's Supreme Court Pick Will 'Hog the Keg'
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Justice Brett Kavanaugh has expressed concern that President Biden's nominee to the United States Supreme Court will, in the jurist's words, "hog the keg."

"Breyer was cool, because whenever we had a party at the courthouse he was good for one Solo cup-two, tops," Kavanaugh told reporters. "You never worried about Breyer draining the keg dry."

But, with a new Justice joining the court, Kavanaugh said, "You could wind up with someone who's a straight-up keg hog, and that would suck."

Drawing on his own experience, the Justice said, "I can remember one time during Beach Week, Tobin practically attached himself to the keg like he owned it. You'd go to get a refill, and the keg would be empty and all, and meanwhile Tobin managed to get good and polluted."

"The last thing the United States Supreme Court needs is a Tobin," Kavanaugh added ruefully.

(c) 2021 Andy Borowitz


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 05 (c) 02/04/2022

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