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In This Edition

Chris Walker returns with, "Iowa Republican Authors Bill Demanding Cameras In Every Classroom In State."

William Rivers Pitt returns with, "Having Learned Nothing From 900,000 Deaths, Governors Lift Mask Mandates."

Margaret Kimberley examines, "The U.S. Black Political Class And War."

Jim Hightower exposes, "The Chicken Sh*t Lobby For Corporate Health Care."

Elie Mystal joins us with, "No Attack On Voting Rights Is Too Racist For This Supreme Court."

John Nichols says, "Mark Pocan Is So Pro-Union He's Helping His Own Employees Organize."

James Donahue recalls, "The Dark History Of Valentine's Day."

David Swanson reports, "The Warmongers Miscalculated."

David Suzuki says, "Anthropocene Means We Hold The Key To Our Future."

Charles P. Pierce warns, "We Sent Some American Crazy Up To Canada. You Better Believe It's Going To Rebound."

Juan Cole wonders, "Did The Pegasus Spyware Netanyahu Used Against Palestinians And Gave To Saudis Bring Him Down?"

Robert Reich finds, "The Federal Reserve Is About To Give US Workers The Shaft."

Thom Hartmann demands, "America Must Outlaw Nixon's No-Knock Warrants."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Biden Meets With Senate Democrats To Discuss Breaking Up Supreme Court Nominee And Confirming Her In Parts," but first, Uncle Ernie explains, "Why Global Warming Is Causing Major Snow Storms."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Pat Byrnes, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Ruben Bolling, Anadolu Agency, Guy Tsror, Lev Radin, Pacific Press, Nicholas Kamm, J. Scott Applewhite, Gerd Altmann, 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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To End On A Happy Note -
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Why Global Warming Is Causing Major Snow Storms
Global warming strikes again!
By Ernest Stewart

"The blizzard that buried Boston under nearly 2 feet of snow in January 2022 was historic, but not a surprise. Over a century of reliable weather records show many of the Northeast's heaviest snowfalls have occurred since 1990 - including seven of the top 10 in both Boston and New York." ~~~ Michael Rawlins

You may recall that 7 years ago that great brain dead Senator James Inhofe (R-Okla.), chair of the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, appeared with a snowball on the Senate floor to demonstrate, once and for all, that global warming is a hoax.

"You know what this is?" asked Inhofe, the author of The Greatest Hoax: How the Global Warming Conspiracy Threatens Your Future. "It's a snowball, from outside here. So it's very, very cold out. Very unseasonable." Was Inhofe that stupid, perhaps, but like most Rethuglicans he had been bought and paid for by the folks that brought on global warming, i.e, just another shill doing his masters wishes.

"Climate models project places like the Northeast can expect heavy snowstorms to continue to occur through at least the mid-century," said Michael Rawlins, associate director of the UMass Amherst Climate System Research Center.

"It's not surprising to scientists who understand climate dynamics and atmospheric physics that we're seeing heavier snowstorms and more intense snowstorms occasionally in this region," Rawlins said.

The scientist explained that as the climate warms, the atmosphere can hold more moisture. As a result, storms that approach the Northeast are capable of holding more moisture - and dumping a whole bunch of heavy snow.

Whenever a massive snowstorm hits, Rawlins noted that some people will question whether the climate is warming.

"We often hear folks question the warming climate and climate change whenever we get extreme cold and snow," Rawlins said. "It's important that scientists communicate to the public, regarding what types of extreme events are expected as the climate warms. That's an obligation I take very seriously."

Yes global warming means heavier snowfall, remember it's only gone up just a couple of degrees fahrenheit, so yes winter will still exist and with more water in the air you'll get heaveier snow. It's really a simple concept, easy to grasp, if you want to!


04-08-1942 ~ 02-07-2022
Thanks for the special effects and direction!

02-14-1931 ~ 02-07-2022
Thanks for the film!

07-26-1944 ~ 02-09-2022
Thanks for the music!

06-25-1946 ~ 02-09-2022
Thanks for the music!


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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.

Security camera in classroom

Iowa Republican Authors Bill Demanding Cameras In Every Classroom In State
By Chris Walker

A Republican lawmaker in Iowa has proposed a bill that would require school districts in the state to install cameras in virtually every public school classroom.

The bill, sponsored by state Rep. Norlin Mommsen (R), has been criticized by teachers groups and union leaders for being an invasion of students' and teachers' privacy. The legislation represents yet another attempt by far right lawmakers to ban lessons on race, LGBTQ identities and social justice in schools - this time by monitoring teachers who may be engaging in discussions on such topics with their students.

The bill would require cameras in all classrooms except physical education or special education classes. Recordings would be livestreamed and available for parents or guardians to watch on the internet at any time.

The bill mandates that only parents or guardians can access the livestreams - but it doesn't contain language restricting parents from sharing the links with others, and does not impose punishments on parents if they choose to do so.

However, the legislation would dole out punishments for teachers or administrators who don't install the video hardware, or who otherwise impede parents from monitoring their children's classroom at any moment. School employees who don't comply with the measure would be fined, facing a deduction from their paycheck of up to 5 percent for each week that they don't abide by the rule.

Conservative lawmakers throughout the U.S. have been introducing similar proposals in their own states. Earlier this year, a bill was proposed in Florida that would allow each district in the state to decide whether they wanted to install cameras in classrooms. The bill would allow parents to access the video at any time, so that they could investigate for themselves vaguely defined "incidents" involving teachers.

Right-wing parent groups in Nevada have pushed for similar surveillance measures in schools, even proposing that teachers be forced to wear body cameras in classrooms. Last year, Missouri state Sen. Cindy O'Laughlin (R) also suggested that teachers should be recorded, claiming that cameras could serve as a tool to ensure that critical race theory isn't being taught in classrooms.

Iowa State Education Association President Mike Beranek said that the bill is "completely outrageous and dangerous." In an email to NBC News, Becky Pringle, president of the National Education Association, similarly blasted the bill as being intrusive:

Some politicians around the country want to limit not only what history our kids can learn about and what books they can read, censor the truth of our history in some cases, and, now in Iowa, they want to install classroom cameras for live monitoring of teachers. Instead of wasting public funds on monitoring equipment, we should employ additional qualified professionals, reduce class sizes, and provide more programming that helps students acquire the skills they need.
Educators also weighed in on the proposal on social media.

"Cameras don't belong in classrooms and it has little to do with teachers, but everything to do with the privacy of children," said Jess Piper, a literature teacher in Missouri and a Democratic candidate for the state legislature. "No one has the right to hear my child's thoughts or view her face or body while she is trying to learn in a public classroom."

The Modest Teacher, a Twitter account that focuses on education issues, also weighed in on the privacy rights of students.

"Imagine a student with anxiety sitting in a classroom with cameras, knowing that at any given moment a parent at home could [sic] watching and listening to their every move," the account said.

Meanwhile, a teacher in California threatened to leave her job if a similar proposal was enacted in her state.

"Just putting this out there, if classroom cameras come to California, I quit," that teacher said.

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

A crowd of people form a line stretching more than five blocks around a distribution
center in Brooklyn, New York, to get free COVID-19 test kits distributed by the city.

Having Learned Nothing From 900,000 Deaths, Governors Lift Mask Mandates
By William Rivers Pitt

We've been here before, you and I, right here at the fulcrum between controlling COVID-19 and letting it run wild. Here we are again, swaddled in the dented surety that doing the same thing over and over will bring about a different conclusion, just because we really really want it to... wait, strike that: Just because capitalism really, really wants it to. The rest of that "we" is most of us, baggage stacked down in the dripping darkness of steerage, waiting for the next viral iceberg to smack this gilded, hollow ship in half, again.

In March 2020, then-President Trump declared a national state of emergency over the pandemic, and an avalanche of states went under some version of a lockdown. Almost immediately, Trump began hectoring his own scientific experts to downplay the dangers of COVID-19 as he pushed to "reopen" the economy as soon as possible. It was a hard sell: Even as the jobless numbers swelled into the millions and businesses began closing all over, a clear majority of the country believed in the science of masking, cloistering and social distancing. Some 25,000 people had died from COVID by then, a number that, in our innocence, many of us found almost too appalling to contemplate.

"Around two weeks ago," I wrote in that late March 2020, "when the first wave of closures - the schools, the ballgames, the bars - began to roll across the country, a clock began ticking in my head. How long will it be, I wondered, before some rich person goes on TV and starts quacking about 'getting the country going again,' because they're losing money? Flash-forward to this past Sunday morning, and wouldn't you know it, some self-satisfied capitalist was on one of the cable networks arguing that 'low-risk,' low-wage workers (who are the economy even as they seldom benefit from the economy) should go back to work and just let the virus 'burn through' their ranks."

That quacking reached a crescendo the following spring, and various state and local governments chose to let their collective guard down in the name of making money for our financial overlords. The result: A massive surge of COVID obliterated our hopes and drove us back indoors again. The winter of 2020-2021 was upon us, and the red death held sway over all.

The following spring brought widely available vaccines, actual vaccines that actually work. Millions lined up to get their shots, although millions also flatly refused to give the vaccines a second thought because doing so became tied to fealty to Trump and his doomed attempt to overthrow the election he'd lost in November. The efficacy of the vaccines was blunted, and when President Biden promised new hope that summer, he and the rest of us were confronted with the one-two punch of the Delta and Omicron variants. Down into the darkness we went again, with a death toll today totaling over 900,000 souls at a clip of about 2,500 per day.

Over all those days, weeks, months and now - God help us - years, I sounded warning after warning after warning: Capitalism cannot be allowed to drive the bus when it comes to dealing with this, or any pandemic. "We've tried it their way for going on two years now," I wrote this past November, "and all we have is close to a million people dead to show for it. The very corporations clamoring to rush people back into infected work spaces are the ones funding Republicans who rally their people to resist the vaccines. They have no interest in public health. Their goal is private wealth, and as far as they are concerned, wealth must be extracted at all costs."

It is therefore with a despair verging on the inexpressible that I observe the nation's leaders now lining up to displace science with profit, for the third time since this nightmare hamster wheel got to spinning. Only this time, it is not the Abbotts of Texas or the DeSantises of Florida leading the march; that would merely be common on this trainwreck of a timeline. No, this time it's New York, New Jersey, California, Maryland, Connecticut, Delaware and Oregon - Blue states all - for openers, and with more sure to follow.

Disabled and immunocompromised people will be hit hardest by this new dismissal of effective public safety measures.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have made it clear that it is far too soon after Delta and Omicron to begin dickering around with masking, one of the most effective basic prophylactics against random infection. As for the Biden administration, well, this charge toward ersatz normalcy came after the president pointedly said last week that decisions like these would be made by the states, and not the federal government... and it's an election year.

"The moves highlight how even local officials who installed sweeping safety measures early in the pandemic are now preparing to live permanently with the virus," reports The New York Times. Watch for that phrasing - "live permanently with the virus" - as it will be everywhere soon. Sounds all stiff-upper-lip, right? Loosely translated, it means, "This is the course that promises the most profit, and must be adhered to without question."

In other words, the capitalists are sick of your bullshit, it's time to give up. They're mightily weary of fighting for ground they thought was secure. Yes, you may die horribly at the hands of such twisted, profit-driven priorities. So long as you die coughing with a dollar in your hand while reaching, reaching for something to buy, you will have done a proper turn of service to your society as this third COVID winter plays incubator for the future.

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

Democratic representative from Georgia, John Lewis, speaks as the Congressional Black Caucus announced its endorsement for Hillary Clinton during the 2016 US election.

The U.S. Black Political Class And War
By Margaret Kimberley

What passes for leadership is always a joke played upon Black people. The high water mark of the CBC being the "conscience of the congress" is long gone. No one can look to them on the issue of Ukraine or anything else. The people must restore the historical Black radical consensus as a matter of survival.

What should Black people think about the United States manufactured crisis in Ukraine? There are many details worth knowing. The most important being that Ukraine's current troubles began with a U.S. regime change operation in 2014. The Barack Obama administration and NATO overthrew the elected president and sided with right wing neo-Nazi groups such as the Azov Battalion and the Right Sector. Of course destabilizing Russia was always the goal and should be immediately suspected whenever former Soviet republics experience any upheaval. As important as these facts are to understanding the current situation, there is more basic information which explains any and all international events that are designated as crises by this country.

The United States is determined to have hegemony, full spectrum dominance, over the entire world. This simple fact means that U.S. hands are never clean and Ukraine is no exception. There is no reason to expect a Russian invasion of Ukraine. The threat is as real as Saddam Hussein's weapons of mass destruction. If nothing else, memories must be long enough to recall the war propaganda used in the past. To sum up, Black people should know that the U.S. has instigated this entire affair and any statements made by Joe Biden, his spokespeople, or his foreign policy team must be disregarded.

Joe Biden has quite literally created this supposed threat out of whole cloth. Any photos purporting to show Russian troop movements should be thought of in the same vein as Colin Powell's dog and pony show at the United Nations in 2003. Powell said that ordinary trucks were chemical weapons laboratories yet the resulting invasion turned up nothing that George W. Bush claimed to be a legitimate pretext for war.

We must also know that members of the Black political class can never be counted on to work for the benefit of the people they are supposed to represent. Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) member Gregory Meeks of New York is the current chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. Of course he wouldn't get that position unless he was willing to go along with the war party consensus. Meeks recently traveled to Ukraine with a bipartisan delegation of House members and his comments were all in keeping with pro-war groupthink.

Meeks prattled on endlessly with time worn cliches which amounted to nothing more than demonizing Russian president Vladimir Putin: "Putin wins if he can divide us. He would love to divide some of our NATO allies, some of our EU allies and Ukrainians - divide us on this issue. [That] - would be a victory for him. So we can't allow that to happen."

Who is the "we" that Meeks refers to? Putting Black people in the first person with colonizers and imperialists is a sure sign of Black political class handiwork. He couldn't possibly have meant the neo-Nazi Ukrainians put in power by the U.S. He went further though with even more fallacious reasoning and a disgraceful analogy:
What I would say to - will say to my constituency is democracy's at stake, that if we allow Vladimir Putin to come into a sovereign territory and threaten its democracy or take its democracy, then we are allowing others to do the same, which, in turn, reverberates on us. There was a saying that - by Dr. King. Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.

Meeks' constituents are a racial and ethnic mix, but half of them are working class Black people in his Queens, New York district. They don't live in a democracy. They overwhelmingly voted for Joe Biden who couldn't even keep his promise to get them a $2,000 stimulus payment. They depend on the child tax credit which has disappeared. If they are in the mythical American middle class it is because their families worked to send them to college but like most Black people they are saddled with student loan debt that Biden said he would relieve yet he has refused to do so.They live under decidedly undemocratic rule.

It isn't clear how Dr. Martin Luther King became part of the Meeks fairy tale. King opposed the U.S. war machine and interference in the affairs of other countries. Yet his name is sullied by cynical politicians like Meeks to make the case for the kind of actions that King condemned.

Meeks introduced a House version of a Senate bill, Defending Ukraine Sovereignty Act of 2022. The bill calls for sanctions against Russia and explicitly states that a key Russian demand be rejected, "...the United States is committed to a strong and unified NATO and will not cede to the demands of the Government of the Russian Federation regarding NATO membership." Gregory Meeks was always a CBC lesser light, but what of the members who were once reliably progressive? Barbara Lee of California is well known for being the only member of congress to vote against the invasion and occupation of Afghanistan. She is now a shell of her former self, unable to speak out even mildly against the U.S. threat to peace.

Lee and Progressive Caucus Chairwoman Pramila Jayapal created a joint word salad on the topic of Ukraine: "We continue to watch Russia's threatening behavior towards Ukraine with alarm. There is no military solution out of this crisis - diplomacy needs to be the focus. We support the Biden Administration's efforts to extend and deepen the dialogue, allowing for robust negotiations and compromise."

If one is generous, Lee and Jayapal could be credited with calling for negotiations and compromise. But they couldn't resist the "Russia-as-aggressor" trope, and in effect go along with Biden, whose dialogues with Russia have only worsened matters. "Russia's strategy is to inflame tensions; the United States and NATO must not play into this strategy." The only inflaming has come from Washington. Even progressives fail the people when they need them most.

In 2003, only 4 of 40 CBC members voted in favor of the authorization for use of force against Iraq. Nearly 20 years later, after going along with Obama's invasion of Libya and now protecting another democratic president, the traditional anti-war consensus of Black people has been whittled down to nothing. Meeks' chairing of the Foreign Relations Committee is proof of the degradation. Leadership among the democrats is a sign of failing the people. No one gets a position like that unless they are reliably imperialist.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is reportedly pushing through a bill which would provide Ukraine with $500 million in case of a Russian invasion. Of course, the provocations are on the U.S. side, and that means any proof of invasion is guaranteed to be spurious. When in doubt, remember the non-existent WMDs.

Colin Powell was the most prominent Black face in a high place before Obama was elected president. As Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and later as Secretary of State he was a key player in the first Iraq war, the invasion of Panama, the kidnapping of Haitian president Aristide, and of course making the case for a war of aggression against Iraq.

What passes for leadership is always a joke played upon Black people. The high water mark of the CBC being the "conscience of the congress" is long gone. No one can look to them on the issue of Ukraine or anything else. The people only have themselves to depend upon and must restore the historical Black radical consensus as a matter of survival. Unless that happens, WMDs and nonexistent invasions will always be used to make the case for terrible wrongdoing and that never benefits the masses of Black people.

(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.

The Chicken Sh*t Lobby For Corporate Health Care

By Jim Hightower

As Lyndon Johnson used to say about special interests trying to get his support to pass some blatantly self-serving legislation: "They can't make chicken salad out of chicken sh*t."

Yet, chicken sh*t is all that the corporate health complex has to work with as it frantically tries to defend its current system of mass malpractice, known as corporate health care. After all, as most Americans have learned the hard way, the corporatized care of profiteering insurance giants, Big Pharma, and hospital chains grossly overcharge us while constantly trying to shortchange or outright deny care to millions of our families.

So, unable to win public support on their own merit, the corporatists and their hired political hacks are going all out to continue their gouging and keep control of America's dysfunctional system. They're now running a multimillion-dollar PR and lobbying campaign of lies to trash and kill all reforms that would deliver quality, comprehensive care to everyone, at far less cost than they can deliver.

Masquerading as a Partnership for America's Health Care Future, the profiteers warn ominously that such reforms as "Medicare for All" or a "public option" for health insurance would take away people's "choice" and our "control" over health care.

Hello... we presently have no choice or control. Our "care" is managed by a handful of insurance, drug and hospital monopolists whose primary objective is not improving our health, but feathering their own cushy nests. And the undeniable, ugly truth is that they can only continue ripping us off by killing real reform.

That's one reason the American Medical Association and others are dropping out of the Partnership's political front. Honest health care practitioners no longer believe it's in their best interest - or the public's - to be part of its chicken sh*t PR campaign.

(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

The Supreme Court Building at sunset in Washington.

No Attack On Voting Rights Is Too Racist For This Supreme Court
The court's decision to let Alabama's new redistricting map remain in place opens the door to a season of racist gerrymandering.
By Elie Mystal

I honestly do not know what kind of attack a state would have to launch against the voting rights of its Black citizens to make the current Supreme Court step in and stop it. I do not know what form of voter-suppression law, intimidation tactic, or redistricting map would be so racist that this court would strike it down. We are back to the Jim Crow era, not just in terms of the laws that states are passing against the franchise but also in how the Supreme Court refuses to enforce the constitutional amendments prohibiting apartheid. We have literally been here before, when the Supreme Court remained inert as the 14th and 15th Amendments were violated with impunity by any state with enough aggrieved whites to do so. All that's missing is the violent enforcement of these racist voting rules... but we'll see what happens when Black people still try to vote this fall.

The latest blow from the neo-Confederate Supreme Court came yesterday in the case of Merrill v. Milligan. At issue was the state of Alabama's racist congressional maps, freshly gerrymandered to decrease the representation of Black voters. A district court ruled that the state of Alabama engaged in impermissible racial gerrymandering and invalidated the new map. But the Supreme Court decided, 5-4, to reinstate the racist maps, pending a full hearing, likely next fall. That means that the 2022 congressional elections in Alabama will take place under the new, racist maps.

Five of the conservatives voted to reinstate Alabama's racist maps. (Chief Justice John Roberts voted with the liberals but indicated that he'd go back to the conservative side once he got into the merits of the case.) Only alleged attempted rapist Brett Kavanaugh, joined by Gorsuch, bothered to explain his reasoning for reinstating the racist maps.

It would have been better if he hadn't. It would have been better if he had just decided that Alabama's maps were not racist and overturned the district court directly. Instead, Kavanaugh's warped logic goes further and essentially cuts off any challenges to any racially gerrymandered maps through at least the 2022 midterms. That's because he ruled that we are too close to an election to stop racist maps.

Kavanaugh cited Purcell v. Gonzales, a 2006 case that stands for the principle that courts should not change the rules of an election close to the election. Conservatives fell in love with Purcell in 2020, when they used it again and again to prevent states from making their elections more safe and more accessible during Covid outbreaks. But even those cases dealt with states' trying to strap on Covid protections in August and September for elections slated to happen in November. We are in February. A person could get pregnant and, if they live in Texas, be forced to have a baby against their will between now and the general elections. For Kavanaugh to cite an impending election this far away from the election is ludicrous.

But the logic gets even worse than that. The Census was in 2020; Alabama wrangled out the new maps over the course of 2021 and released its new district maps on October 25, 2021-"earlier than expected," according to some reports. The state was sued almost immediately, on November 15, 2021. There was no way to challenge Alabama's racist maps faster than they were challenged in this case. When Kavanaugh says that the challenge is too close to the election, he means that literally any challenge to any new, racist state districting map cannot be heard until at least one election cycle has taken place under the racist maps.

Put another way: Every single state now gets one purely racist districting map, free of any 14th or 15th Amendment concerns (or any worries about the 19th Amendment's grant of suffrage to women or the 24th Amendment's abolition of poll taxes), because any challenge to those unconstitutional maps will be deemed as too close to the elections they rig.

And that logic could be extended to literally any voter suppression law conservatives would like to cook up. If we are now in the penumbra of the 2022 elections, literally any racist law already on the books will be allowed to go forward by this Supreme Court.

It's possible that not all of the conservatives agree with Kavanaugh or will apply his logic in the future. After all, Kavanaugh is bad at understanding how laws work, a point Justice Elena Kagan made to his face in her dissent. (She starts off a four-paragraph footnote with "Because Justice Kavanaugh" and then educates him.) But remember the alternatives here. Conservatives have lots of theories flying around for why racist disenfranchisement of Black voters is okay. Roberts (in Rucho v. Common Cause) ruled that political gerrymanders are always OK, and he could easily recast Alabama's racism as a political map. Samuel Alito (in Brnovich v. DNC) ruled that a little bit of racism is OK when suppressing voting rights, and gave no limiting principle on that racism other than his personal tolerance for bigotry (which appears to be quite high). In the end, it doesn't really matter why conservatives think that racist voter suppression is OK; it just matters that they do.

So, when I say that the conservatives on this court have now aligned themselves with the very worst courts that have propped up white supremacy throughout American history, this is why. I cannot name a map too racist for conservatives on the Supreme Court, because it has effectively said it will do nothing to stop any maps, no matter how racist they might be. I cannot name a voter suppression tactic too racist for conservatives, because they just determined that we are too close to an election for anything to be done.

This is not "like" Jim Crow-this is what courts in the Jim Crow era did. The Supreme Court between 1877 (when Rutherford B. Hayes ended Reconstruction) to 1954 (when Brown v. Board of Education was decided) did not have to come up with racist laws or racist interpretations of laws; it just had to prevent the federal Constitution from protecting Black people from the racist laws imposed by the states. That's all it takes. Nobody has to instruct Alabama on how to be racist; all courts have to do is refuse to apply the 15th Amendment to Alabama, and it will figure out all on its own how to disenfranchise the Black people living there.

The court has decided that Black people do not get to participate fully in the midterms. That's a wrap now. Good luck, white folks. Let us know what kind of country y'all decide to have. I'll still be waiting on line to vote while white people bemoan the lack of Black turnout on TV.

(c) 2022 Elie Mystal is a justice correspondent-covering the courts, the criminal justice system, and politics. He is also an Alfred Knobler Fellow at the Type Media Center. He can be followed @ElieNYC.

Mark Pocan Is So Pro-Union He's Helping His Own Employees Organize
By John Nichols

U.S. Rep. Mark Pocan wants his employees on Capitol Hill in Washington, and back home in Wisconsin, to be able to organize a union to represent their interests. While many bosses are resistant to union organizing and collective bargaining by their employees, Pocan is an enthusiastic backer of the newly formed Congressional Workers Union.

Last week, staffers announced a drive to "unionize the personal offices and committees" of members of Congress. Many Capitol Hill workers are already unionized - including Capitol Police officers and employees of the Library of Congress and the Government Accountability Office. But congressional staffers are not because provisions of the Provisions in the Congressional Accountability Act of 1995, which would have cleared the way for organizing drives, were never implemented.

The Congressional Workers Union, and its allies, want to do something about that.

"After more than a year of organizing as a volunteer group of congressional staff, we are proud to publicly announce our efforts to unionize the personal offices and committees of Congress, in solidarity with our fellow workers across the United States and around the world," union organizers announced last week. "While not all offices and committees face the same working conditions, we strongly believe that to better serve our constituents will require meaningful changes to improve retention, equity, diversity, and inclusion on Capitol Hill. We call on all congressional staff to join in the effort to unionize, and look forward to meeting management at the table."

U.S. Rep. Andy Levin, D-Michigan, a former union organizer who is a member of the House Committee on Education and Labor, announced that, at the request of the new union, he will take steps to activate the necessary provisions of the Congressional Accountability Act so that the organizing drive can go forward. Pocan's immediate response was, "As a card carrying union member myself, consider me on board!"

Pocan's embrace of the union comes as no surprise to Wisconsinites who have followed his many years of service as a Dane County Board member, state legislator and member of the U.S. House.

There is a solid case to be made that Pocan is the most pro-union member of Congress - though, thankfully, he's got competition for the title from allies such as Levin and U.S. Rep. Chuy Garcia, D-Illinois.

A union printer who is a long-time member of the International Union of Painters and Allied Trades, Pocan was a champion of public employees when former Gov. Scott Walker attacked worker rights in 2011. His aggressive advocacy for unions during that struggle was seen on the floor of the state Assembly, at rallies outside the Capitol and on national television programs. Pocan even dropped a banner from his second-floor office protesting Walker's anti-worker positions.

Since his election to the U.S. House in 2012, Pocan has emerged as a leading figure in the struggle to raise wages, make workplaces safer and expand collective bargaining rights.

In the fall of 2020, Pocan and New Jersey Rep. Donald Norcross, a longtime member of the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers, announced that they were forming a congressional Labor Caucus in order to "advance the needs of the labor movement, combat the issues facing working families, and connect legislators directly with unions and union leaders. The new caucus will be organized by union members of Congress."

At the time, Pocan said, "President-elect Joe Biden's new administration gives the Democratic Party the opportunity to reprioritize working families at the center of our legislative agenda. Under Donald Trump, we've seen the erosion of labor rights, rise in union-busting, and the prioritization of corporate profits over working people's livelihoods and safety. In the 117th Congress, we must reaffirm our dedication to strengthening unions and helping workers by urgently passing legislation like the PRO Act and the Raise the Wage Act. It's time for working people to have a voice in Congress again."

There's been progress on labor rights. Biden has issued executive orders that protect the interests of workers, and the House has approved the Protecting the Right to Organize (PRO) Act. But the Senate has failed to take the measure up, and there's plenty more work to be done. Some of that work is internal, as the Congressional Workers Union explains.

"Last month, a survey distributed by the Congressional Progressive Staff Association found that 91 percent of staff want more protections to give them a voice at work," explained the union. "Democrats have historically stood up for workers' rights to organize. Now, in the midst of this historic resurgence of the labor movement, and on the heels of Speaker Nancy Pelosi's commitment to 'fully support' any organizing efforts by Congressional staff, it is time for Democrats to lead by example."

Pocan's doing just that, as are several dozen other Democratic members of the House and Senate who have signaled their support for efforts to unionize their offices and committees. Noting that, "on Capitol Hill, interns are often unpaid, many staffers don't make a living wage, and lack of work protections can pave the way for unhealthy environments," Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez says the Capitol "sounds like a perfect place for a union."

And the candidate AOC and Pocan backed for president in 2020, Sen. Bernie Sanders, says, "We must make it easier, not harder, for all workers to form a union. That includes Congressional Staff. I stand in solidarity with Congressional staff working to form a union."

(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.

The Dark History Of Valentine's Day
By James Donahue

Valentine's Day is another one of those ancient holidays dating so far back in history that no one knows for sure just how it had its start. February 14 has been established as a special day of reaching out to our loved ones with flowers, cards and perhaps gifts of candy wrapped in heart-shaped boxes. It is a day to express love . . . something the world needs more of.

The ancient documented history of this special day, however, isn't quite as bright and full of good will as we might have thought.

The Roman Catholic Church established February 14 as a date to honor Valentinus, a declared saint who was beheaded on this date in the year 280 for refusing to deny Christ before the Roman Emperor Claudius. Before he died, Valentinus was said to have performed two miracles. He restored the sight and hearing to the daughter of his jailer.

Pope Gelasius I established February 14 as the Feast of St. Valentine in the year 496, thus marking that date for all Christendom. The concept of "Valentine's Day," however, wasn't propelled to its contemporary appearance until English author Geoffrey Chaucer described it as an old tradition in his work Parliament of Foules and Shakespeare helped romanticize the day in his writings.

Historians believe Gelasius mixed the Christian holiday with a more ancient Roman celebration called the Feast of Lupercalia. This is something the Catholic Church was fond of doing as a way of drawing the natives of various parts of the world into its web.

During Lupercalia, which occurred from February 13 to 15, the men sacrificed a goat and a dog, then used the animal hides to whip women. During this wild drunken orgy, the men were said to run naked in the street while young women actually lined up waiting for the men to hit them. The women shared a belief that the act made them fertile.

Lupercalia also included a matchmaking lottery. The men drew the names of the young girls from a jar and the couples pared off for sexual orgy that lasted the duration of the festival. It was a time of fertility; a much different expression of "love" than exists today.

Another ancient mid-winter celebration was Galatin's Day, held in February by the Normans. The word Galatin meant "lover of women" and was obviously another form of fertility celebration. Some believe this holiday also got mixed in the pudding that evolved into contemporary Valentine's Day.

The St. Valentine's Day massacre in Chicago, in 1929, marred the holiday with the most notorious gangster killing of the Prohibition era. Seven members of the Bugsy Moran gang were gunned down by members of Al Capone's gang, dressed in police uniforms, in a Chicago garage.

Thus this holiday has had some bloody roots.

When the tradition made its way into America, Hallmark Cards of Kansas City, Mo. invented the mass production of valentine cards. And that set the stage for the vast commercialization of yet another American holiday.

It doesn't take flowers, cards or boxes of candy to express our personal love for our spouses or friends. Acts of love and kindness should be happening every day. It is amazing what this can do to a neighborhood on a dreary February day.

But then, the flowers are always appreciated.

(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.

The Warmongers Miscalculated
By David Swanson

Video from the White House on Saturday here.

Video from webinar on Saturday here.

The people inside the White House sometimes believe they can sell us what we don't want to buy. They've got a recipe for mixing up irresistible poisons. They do polling. They test out phrases on focus groups. They turn entire foreign governments into a single person and that person into Adolf Hitler. They say defense, democracy, and appeasement a lot. They re-stage group photos bravely screening the murder of distant enemies.

But sometimes they miscalculate. Sometimes it's the cumulative result of decades of spin from numerous administrations, when even a good corporate reporter who wants to believe everything just can't stomach any longer the recycled lies that he's fallen for too many times before.

And so, they tell us that Russia's going to start a war in Nazi fashion, with a false flag excuse - albeit against a U.S.-backed coup government with Nazi elements. And they tell us Russia did this 8 years ago and there was no coup. And everyone accepts that, of course. I mean, who can remember anything from 8 years ago? We merely have recordings of them plotting the coup and photos of them handing out pastries to the protesters.

Have they ever once brought you any pastries?

But they seem to have misjudged their own approved journalists in claiming that Russia is about to act, because one of them - like Oliver Twist in the orphanage humbly asking for a bit of food - actually spoke up and said "Sir, could we have just the slightest bit of evidence for your claims please?" And the very concept of evidence seemed incomprehensible to them. And that seemed odd, even to people who believe Trump is Putin's slave and NATO is a charitable philanthropy.

What if they're wrong about more than the ability to sail through without evidence? What if people aren't impressed by the photos of arm-chair killers watching families blown up? What if they're wrong, not about the U.S. public wanting war with Russia. They know the U.S. public doesn't want war with Russia - at least not a war in which any people deemed to matter (that is U.S. people) die.

But what if they're also wrong that we want or will tolerate the reckless macho blustering and threatening that risks a war - a war that risks a nuclear war - a nuclear war that risks ending all life on Earth? What if they only consulted the same geniuses who told them to value the filibuster and bipartisan harmony over the lives of struggling people?

What if we agree with them on the need to stand up strong and stop appeasing evil forces, but understand the evil forces that most need resistance not to be based in Moscow, but rather to be running Lockheed Martin, Boeing, Northrop Grumman, Fox News, CNN, MSNBC, and the Washington Post, and toiling away in the U.S. government, dealing weapons around the globe, pushing for more and more bases and missiles, and insisting on the Eurasia Pivot away from small time terrorists to demonizable governments that are better for business.

We need a Department for defense against the war mongers. In its absence we'll have to do the job ourselves.


A little NATO music from Ben Grosscup here.

(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.

Happily, in response to our negative impacts, many humans are engaged in repairing historical and ongoing ecological damage.

Anthropocene Means We Hold The Key To Our Future
By David Suzuki

Geologists have classified most epochs in Earth's history according to fossils, radiometric dating and composition of the strata. The widely endorsed label for our current era, the Anthropocene, describes the extent to which our collective human footprint is changing the planet. It's a proposed "geological epoch dating from the commencement of significant human impact on Earth's geology and ecosystems."

It's not a surprise to hear that humanity's impact is negative overall, as evidenced by global climate change, biodiversity loss and species extinction. Although life on Earth has undergone vast changes over millions of years, never before has one species been the cause.

Happily, in response to our negative impacts, many humans are engaged in repairing historical and ongoing ecological damage. Alongside our long list of negative impacts, examples of positive effects abound.

Actions that degrade and repair the planet's ecosystems do not amount to a zero-sum game, though. At any moment places are being destroyed and restored, but they're not the same places, and the actions don't happen in equal measure. We haven't repaired nearly as much as we've degraded and destroyed. (In fact, most restoration initiatives are pet projects of the very industries damaging the land.)

It's unrealistic to imagine that human lives, coupled with our many wants and needs, could ever be benign for the planet. But no one is arguing for this. Ecologists around the world are making the case for societies to change the systems that oversee development and resource extraction so that ecosystem functionality - which supports all life - can be maintained or restored.

Figuring out and upholding thresholds to ensure ecosystem health is not easy. Much thought has gone into determining goals to tip the scales in nature's favour, so that initiatives to heal the planet will outweigh activities that further degrade it, and ecosystem health can be restored where it's been lost.

Some scientists have argued that "nature needs half" - that half the planet's natural areas should be protected to maintain the processes that support human and non-human well-being. Considering we're just one of around 10 million animal species, and many areas we grudgingly yield are covered with rock, ice and snow, that's not a lot.

Last year, a group of international conservationists released a paper that advanced benchmarks to achieve a "nature positive" world. The goals are to reach zero net loss of nature after 2020, damage less than we repair by 2030 (become "net positive") and achieve "full recovery" by 2050.

Full recovery could mean many things. The Convention on Biological Diversity links it to ecosystem services maintenance: "By 2050, biodiversity is valued, conserved, restored and wisely used, maintaining ecosystem services, sustaining a healthy planet and delivering benefits essential for all people."

Our federal government is responsive to these targets and has made commitments to achieve them. However, it has not come up with a plan that outlines how these goals will be assessed and reported, nor defined what full recovery would look like in the Canadian context.

But there's wind in the sails; the UN has even declared this the "decade on restoration."

Our marks on the planet don't have to be permanent. They were put down by us and can be taken up or out by us too. We can apply the same ingenuity we used to construct the infrastructure we've imposed on the world around us to reconfigure it. Roads that fragment wildlife can be pulled out and replanted with vegetation; dams that block fish can be torn down.

As the editors of the essay collection Arts of Living on a Damaged Planet write, acts of restoration give us an opportunity to explore the question, "How can we repurpose the tools of modernity against the terrors of Progress to make visible the other worlds it has ignored and damaged?"

Our impacts on the planet are ongoing. One way of looking at the Anthropocene is to recognize that we are continually shaping the world with every development and restoration plan. Restoration initiatives give us the chance to hold the ground, literally, until, as Barry Lopez wrote in his book Horizon, "industrial expansion ends and begins to show signs of drawdown" and the scales tip back toward the health of lands and waters and the life they support.

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

We Sent Some American Crazy Up To Canada. You Better Believe It's Going To Rebound.
This is coming to a nightly newscast near you.
By Charles P. Pierce

It's worth paying the closest attention now to the events in Ottawa, the capital of Canada. The city and its residents continue to be besieged by an unruly conglomeration of truckers. The situation has become so critical and unmanageable that Jim Watson, the mayor of Ottawa, declared a state of emergency on Monday. From the CBC:

"We're in the midst of a serious emergency, the most serious emergency our city has ever faced, and we need to cut the red tape to get these supplies available to our police officers and to our public works staff." Earlier in the afternoon, Ottawa police announced they would ramp up enforcement on protesters in the city's downtown core, handing out tickets and announcing that anyone looking to bring "material aid," such as fuel, to protesters could be arrested. Ottawa Police issued a statement late Sunday saying that seven people had been arrested and more than 100 tickets had been issued. The force said 60 criminal investigations were underway, mostly for mischief, theft, hate crimes and property damage.
And, as far as wingnut uprisings go, when you've lost Doug Ford...
The state of emergency and increased police action represent significant changes in the response to the chaotic situation in Ottawa - where demonstrators have become entrenched in the city's downtown core. Amid increasing resident anger, police said on Saturday that they lack the resources to end the protest, now in its 10th day.

Politicians have also increasingly denounced the protest over COVID-19 public health restrictions, with Ontario Premier Doug Ford and others calling it an "occupation" and the head of the Ottawa Police Services Board referring to it as an "insurrection."

Later on Monday, a judge issued an injunction forbidding the honking of truck horns in the center of Ottawa.

The reason we should pay it the closest attention is because the usual flock of buzzards already seems to be circling in anticipation down here. You could hear them crying their wounded cries when GoFundMe cut off American donations to the Ottawa hooligans. Tailgunner Ted Cruz wants an investigation into GFM's decision. From Politico:

Politicians from former President Donald Trump to Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) [Ed. Note: This is not a great distance.] have championed the nationwide protests in Canada, which began in response to Ottawa's vaccine mandate for truckers entering Canada. It has quickly escalated into a global movement incorporating a loose set of anti-establishment causes, coordinated on social media and encrypted messaging groups.

Since late January, the likes of Glenn Beck and Mike Huckabee have used their large online followings to spread the word about the truckers' convoy, garnering tens of thousands of engagements including likes, shares and comments on social media posts in favor of the protests, based on data from Crowdtangle, a social media analytics firm owned by Meta, Facebook's parent company.

This is coming to a nightly newscast near you. It's not like this country lacks for coal-rolling, cosplaying minutemen-on-wheels, and it's not like we lack for vandalistic billionaires to fund them. And it's not like the Republican Party has the will or desire to control them. Unless I'm wrong about all the symptoms of the prion disease that I've observed over the past four decades, it's going to be impossible for the GOP to resist using this kind of thing during the 2022 midterms. It's got everything going for it: white working-class male rage, COVID exhaustion, fossil fuels, and really big trucks going toot-toot-toot. If you're making a revolution based on a third-grade tantrum, you have everything you need, and every other midterm election since 2008 has been a third-grade tantrum. If you can't envision, say, a blockade of trucks around the offices of various secretaries of state, or blaring past polling places in "certain" neighborhoods, you haven't been paying attention. That's a big 10-4 on elections, good buddy.

(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 -

"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

Did The Pegasus Spyware Netanyahu Used Against Palestinians And Gave To Saudis Bring Him Down?
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - The Pegasus spyware made by the Israeli NSO company and backed by the Israeli state has been used extensively against Palestinians to keep them stateless, and former Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu used access to the software as an incentive for Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates to improve relations with Israel.

It turns out, however, that Netanyahu has himself been given the Pegasus treatment, with his downfall due in part to Israeli police deploying the software against a witness who turned state's evidence in the disgraced politician's corruption trial. The Israeli newspaper Arab 48 reports that last Friday, the Jerusalem central court issued an order to the prosecution, demanding an explanation after reports surfaced that police had extracted information from the smart phone of a witness in the corruption trial without the witness's knowledge. The prosecution has until Tuesday to reply.

The judge rejected a request by Netanyahu's attorney that the court take up the issue on Monday. The trial will continue as usual until the prosecutor clears up the question about phone surveillance. Prosecutor Yehudit Tirosh said Thursday that a thorough investigation was being carried out.

Netanyahu's lawyers asked the court to order the prosecution to disclose all the material gathered by the police via the Pegasus program and any other spyware in the course of their investigation of Netanyahu. Despite making the request two weeks ago, the defense still has not received a response.

Natael Bandel at Haaretz explains that Netanyahu is being tried on three counts of corruption. One of the cases, #4000, alleges that when he was prime minister, Netanyahu offered regulatory concessions to Bezeq Communications if they would make sure to give the prime minister favorable coverage at their Walla news site, which Bezeq then owned. It is the second largest news site in Israel. It is in this case that the issue of cyber-spying on a prosecution witness arose.

The witness whose phone was spied on is Shlomo Filber, whom Netanyahu had appointed director of the Ministry of Communications. He says that Netanyahu's regulatory favors to Bezeq, which included fast-tracking a big merger, were worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

Filber abruptly resigned last spring and agreed to testify against Netanyahu. It is not clear if the ability of the police to turn Filber and have him testify for the prosecution had anything to do with their surveillance of his phone, on which they could have found incriminating evidence they used to pressure him.

Some observers are wondering if the cyber-espionage against Filber could derail the trial of Netanyahu and get him off the hook. He had earlier been said to have accepted a plea deal that would ban him from politics for several years.

i24 from two weeks ago: "Netanyahu said to give go-ahead for plea bargain"

The Biden administration has banned Pegasus in the United States and Apple is suing NSO for hacking iPhones. The company may go bankrupt as a result of these measures.

Netanyahu had provided Saudi Arabia with the Pegasus program, which allowed the government of Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman to hack the cell phone of Washington Post columnist and dissident Jamal Khashoggi, which led to his murder in the Saudi consulate in Istanbul in 2018. Business Insider reported this week that after a personal call from Bin Salman, Netanyahu reinstated the Saudi license to the software, after the Israeli Ministry of Defense had cut Riyadh off for using it on Khashoggi. So, murdering dissidents was no bar to Israel peddling the dangerous program to the most oppressive dictatorships.

Israeli intelligence used Pegasus against Palestinian human rights groups.

So after Netanyahu had deployed this nasty cyber-espionage tool against stateless Palestinians and used it to curry favor with Mr. Bone Saw in Riyadh, someone else used it to gather intelligence on his extensive corruption.

He who lives by spyware dies by spyware.

(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.

Federal Reserve Building in Washington, D.C.

The Federal Reserve Is About To Give US Workers The Shaft
The last thing average working people need is for the Fed to raise interest rates and slow the economy further. The problem most people face isn't inflation. It's a lack of good jobs.
By Robert Reich

The January jobs report from the Labor Department is heightening fears that a so-called "tight" labor market is fueling inflation, and therefore the Fed must put on the brakes by raising interest rates.

This line of reasoning is totally wrong.

Higher interest rates will harm millions of workers who will be involuntarily drafted into the inflation fight by losing jobs or long-overdue pay raises.

Among the biggest job gains in January were workers who are normally temporary and paid low wages (leisure and hospitality, retail, transport and warehousing). This January employers cut fewer of these low-wage temp workers than in most years, because of rising customer demand and the difficulties of hiring during Omicron. Due to the Bureau of Labor Statistics's "seasonal adjustment," cutting fewer workers than usual for this time of year appears as "adding lots of jobs."

Fed policymakers are poised to raise interest rates at their March meeting and then continue raising them, in order to slow the economy. They fear that a labor shortage is pushing up wages, which in turn are pushing up prices-and that this wage-price spiral could get out of control.

It's a huge mistake. Higher interest rates will harm millions of workers who will be involuntarily drafted into the inflation fight by losing jobs or long-overdue pay raises. There's no "labor shortage" pushing up wages. There's a shortage of good jobs paying adequate wages to support working families. Raising interest rates will worsen this shortage.

There's no "wage-price spiral," either (even though Fed chief Jerome Powell has expressed concern about wage hikes pushing up prices). To the contrary, workers' real wages have dropped because of inflation. Even though overall wages have climbed, they've failed to keep up with price increases - making most workers worse off in terms of the purchasing power of their dollars.

Wage-price spirals used to be a problem. Remember when John F. Kennedy "jawboned" steel executives and the United Steel Workers to keep a lid on wages and prices? But such spirals are no longer a problem. That's because the typical worker today has little or no bargaining power.

Only 6 percent of private-sector workers are now unionized. A half-century ago, more than a third were. Today, corporations can increase output by outsourcing just about anything anywhere because capital is global. A half-century ago, corporations needing more output had to bargain with their own workers to get it.

These changes have shifted power from labor to capital-increasing the share of the economic pie going to profits and shrinking the share going to wages. This power shift ended wage-price spirals.

Slowing the economy won't remedy either of the two real causes of today's inflation - continuing worldwide bottlenecks in the supply of goods, and the ease with which big corporations (with record profits) are passing these costs to customers in higher prices.

Supply bottlenecks are all around us. (Just take a look at all the ships with billions of dollars of cargo idling outside the Ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, through which 40 percent of all U.S. seaborne imports flow.)

Big corporations have no incentive to absorb the rising costs of such supplies-even with profit margins at their highest level in 70 years. They have enough market power to pass these costs on to consumers, sometimes using inflation to justify even bigger price hikes. "A little bit of inflation is always good in our business," the CEO of Kroger said last June. "What we are very good at is pricing," the CEO of Colgate-Palmolive added in October.

In fact, the Fed's plan to slow the economy is the opposite of what's needed now or in the foreseeable future. COVID is still with us. Even in its wake, we'll be dealing with its damaging consequences for years-everything from long-term COVID, to school children months or years behind.

The January jobs report shows that the U.S. economy is still 2.9 million jobs below what it had in February 2020. Given the growth of the US population, it's 4.5 million short of what it would have by now had there been no pandemic.

Consumers are almost tapped out. Not only are real (inflation-adjusted) incomes down, but pandemic assistance has ended. Extra jobless benefits are gone. Child tax credits have expired. Rent moratoriums are over. Small wonder consumer spending fell 0.6 percent in December, the first decrease since last February.

Many people are understandably gloomy about the future. The University of Michigan consumer sentiment survey plummeted in January to its lowest level since late 2011, back when the economy was trying to recover from the global financial crisis. The Conference Board's index of confidence also dropped in January.

Given all this, the last thing average working people need is for the Fed to raise interest rates and slow the economy further. The problem most people face isn't inflation. It's a lack of good jobs.

(c) 2022 Robert B. Reich is the Chancellor's Professor of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley, and a senior fellow at the Blum Center for Developing Economies. He 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 Must Outlaw Nixon's No-Knock Warrants
Nixon's "War on Drugs" continues to terrorize Americans; it's time to drive a stake through this 50-year-old legal Frankenstein's monster that has killed so many Americans for no good reason
By Thom Hartmann

Another day, another dead civilian from a no-knock police raid, this time 22-year-old Amir Locke in Minneapolis. It's Breonna Taylor all over again.

All because Republican president and criminal Richard Nixon decided to create a phony national "moral panic" that would win him the 1972 election (it worked, by the way).

Binge-watch some cop shows from the 1950s till the early 1970s and you'll see something very different from today's SWAT teams executing an estimated 70,000 no-knock warrants every year. Back then, cops would knock on a door, the guy inside would say, "Do you have a warrant?" and the cops would either produce it or leave.

For those too young to remember, Nixon's racist "War on Drugs" campaign strategy was the turning point when today's abomination started. Prior to that neither SWAT teams nor no-knock warrants even existed in any meaningful way.

Nixon, elected in 1968 after sabotaging LBJ's efforts to end the Vietnam War, intended to run for re-election in 1972. Yet by 1971 he and his war were increasingly unpopular, so he huddled with his top advisors Haldemann and Ehrlichman to come up with a strategy to win the upcoming election.

The product of those planning sessions burst into public view on June 17, 1971 when Nixon officially rolled out his brand-spanking-new "War on Drugs."

Telling Americans that drug abuse both in Vietnam and here at home had "assumed the dimensions of a national emergency," Nixon started a brand new agency called the Special Action Office of Drug Abuse Prevention.

As the Nixon Foundation notes at their website, Nixon:

"...declared drug abuse 'public enemy number one.' 'In order to fight and defeat this enemy,' he continued, 'it is necessary to wage a new, all-out offensive.' With that statement, the 'war on drugs' began."
And, indeed, it took on the dimensions of a war, only this time a war against both the Constitution and the American people. Literally, as Nixon's top advisor would later tell us.

The Constitution guarantees us a right to privacy and restates what had, in British common law, been historically called the "Castle Doctrine."

Sir Edward Coke, in The Institutes of the Laws of England, laid it out in 1628: "For a man's house is his castle, et domus sua cuique est tutissimum refugium [and each man's home is his safest refuge]." As I note in The Hidden History of Big Brother, Coke was citing a law ratified in 1275 by England's King Edward III.

This idea goes way back. The Framers of the Constitution wrote it this way in the Fourth Amendment:

"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."
But, taking a cue from Nixon, the early 1970s were filled with news stories, movies and TV dramas about police trying to arrest "drug dealers" who avoided prosecution by flushing their drugs down the toilet "just in the nick of time" when the police knocked on the door and announced themselves.

As a result, police departments started to imitate the "tough guy" cops in some of the shows by organizing SWAT teams and simply kicking in doors, a practice that was finally legalized by the Supreme Court in 1995.

And, predictably, as Nixon's drug war moral panic kicked into high gear with massive media support, deaths of both drug users, cops, and innocent people began to mount up.

Just two years after Nixon's proclamation, Andrew Malcolm wrote a 1973 article titled Violent Drug Raids Against the Innocent Found Widespread for The New York Times:

"WASHINGTON, June 24-Innocent Americans around the country have been subjected to dozens of mistaken, violent and often illegal police raids by local, state and Federal narcotics agents in search of illicit drugs and their dealers. ...

"Such incidents have resulted in at least four deaths, including one policeman slain when a terror-stricken innocent woman shot through her bedroom door as it burst open. In California one innocent father was shot through the head as he sat in a living room cradling his infant son. ...

"In Los Angeles a veteran police officer says mistaken raids occur once or twice a month. In Miami complaints of police harassment on drug searches are so frequent that the Legal Services of Greater Miami can no longer handle the caseload. ...

"The incidents also underline what some view as an inherent danger in 'no-knock' narcotics raids, which were authorized for Federal agents by Congress in 1970."

The Christian Science Monitor reported in 2006 that, "The number of no-knock raids has increased from 3,000 in 1981 to more than 50,000 last year." Today the number is estimated to be well north of that number, at least 70,000 a year, although nobody is officially compiling the statistics.

No-knock warrants are an abomination.

They violate a 1000-year-old Anglo-American legal tradition of the right to be safe in your own home, they produce lifelong trauma in the innocent people who're frequently the victims of them, and they put officers in unnecessary danger. And, of course, they lead to the deaths of innocent people like Breonna Taylor and Amir Locke.

To make it even worse, they're 100% the result of a political scam run by Richard Nixon. As Nixon's right hand man, John Ehrlichman, told reporter Dan Baum:

"You want to know what this was really all about? The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and Black people. Do you understand what I'm saying?

"We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or Black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and Blacks with heroin and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities.

"We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news.

"Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

And it worked:

Source: adapted from Wikipedia on US Incarceration rates

More than half of all people killed during the execution of no-knock warrants are minorities, and Nixon's drug war - carried on by every president since - birthed the modern-day for-profit prison system that lobbies for harsher laws and has destroyed so many lives.

Minneapolis has now, after this most recent violation of common standards of law and decency, banned no-knock warrants. As have three states as disparate as Oregon, Florida and Virginia, with none experiencing a sudden surge of crime.

After Nixon's drug war went into hyperdrive, the Supreme Court put their stamp of approval on no-knock warrants. The first time was in 1995, when Clarence Thomas wrote the Wilson v Arkansas opinion saying explicitly that there is no 4th Amendment protection to be safe from police in your own home.

The Court doubled down in 1997s Richard v Wisconsin, although that decision slightly narrowed police powers by saying they must be limited to situations "where officers believe that evidence would be destroyed if advance notice were given."

Thirteen states have now put this brutal policing tactic into law or their constitutions.

Because of these precedents, having woven Nixon's drug war's no-knock warrants into the legal fabric of our nation, the only solution now is for Congress to step up and ban them at the federal level.

Americans should feel safe in their own homes again and, particularly with more guns than people in this country, no-knock warrants unnecessarily put both cops and civilians in danger.

It's 2022 and Nixon's "War on Drugs" campaign strategy continues to terrorize Americans; it's time to drive a stake through this 50-year-old legal Frankenstein's monster that continues to kill both civilians and cops and has been particularly brutal against minorities.

Oregon recently decriminalized all drugs, and marijuana is quickly being legalized state-by-state. As America winds down the legal, moral and political menace that was the Nixon campaign's "War on Drugs," we need to end its peripheral parts including for-profit imprisonment and no-knock warrants.

It's time to end the police-state tactics and return to sanity. Congress must act and put into place a national ban on no-knock warrants.

(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
~~~ Pat Byrnes ~~~

To End On A Happy Note -

Have You Seen This -

Parting Shots -

Biden Meets With Senate Democrats To Discuss Breaking Up Supreme Court Nominee And Confirming Her In Parts
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In a closed-door meeting to discuss strategies to fill the recently vacated court seat, President Biden reportedly met with Senate Democrats Thursday to discuss breaking up his Supreme Court nominee and confirming her in parts.

"Many moderate members of the caucus fear that we're inviting backlash by trying to push through the entire justice's body at once, and we'd be far better served with a piecemeal method of getting her limbs and vital organs onto the court one by one," said a moderate senator familiar with the discussions, adding that given the procedural hurdles in their way, the best chance Democrats had at filling Justice Breyer's former seat involved voting for one of the justice's shoulders and then perhaps a lung or two.

"We already have a lot of agreement within the caucus that one of her hands would logically be approved immediately-so that it can hold a gavel, obviously. Moving on from there, getting to her torso would be a cherry on top. If we're ambitious, we might actually get through her entire circulatory system. That'd be a huge win for progressives and moderates alike. But let's cross that bridge when we get to it."

Senate moderates also pointed out the precedent of Republicans putting Justice Sandra Day O'Connor's floating head onto the Supreme Court in 1981.

(c) 2022 The Onion


Issues & Alibis Vol 22 # 06 (c) 02/11/2022

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