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In This Edition

Norman Solomon concludes, "With Establishment Knives Out For Bernie, Iowa Fiasco Just A Taste Of What's Coming."

Ralph Nader watches as, "The Vengeful, Lawless, Corporate Toady Trump Explodes."

Glen Ford says, "Free All Political Prisoners -- Including Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning."

Jim Hightower asks, "What's The Charitable Thing To Do About Inequality?"

William Rivers Pitt reports, "The Establishment Now Has Three Horses In the Race - And None Won New Hampshire."

John Nichols finds, "Sanders Surged In Iowa On A Wave Of New Voters."

James Donahue considers, "The Valentine's Day Card Exchange."

David Swanson explains, "Why This Election Is Different."

David Suzuki wonders, "What Do We Do When Our Home Is On Fire?"

Charles P. Pierce returns with, "Senate Republicans Star In The Chickening Amid Trump's Retribution."

Juan Cole concludes, "Israeli Blocking of Palestinian Exports To Jordan Shows Reality Of Apartheid That the Kushner Plan Would Only Cement."

Montana state con-gressman Rep. Rodney Garcia Rep/Billings wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich gives, "5 Ways Donald Trump Has Not Drained The Swamp."

Jane Stillwater examines, "Art Of Concealing The Real Deal."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Waterford Whisper News reports, "Statue Of Liberty Last Seen Walking Back To France," but first Uncle Ernie exclaims, "That's Two In A Row For Bernie!"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Breen, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Brian McFadden, Tom Tomorrow, Chip Somodevilla, Scott Eisen, Stringer/Anadolu Agency, Justin Sullivan, Matt Howard, Michael Brochstein, Unsplash, Kobi Gideon, Jane Stillwater, Jim Hightower, AFP, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

The Quotable Quote-
The Vidkun Quisling Award-
The Cartoon Corner-
To End On A Happy Note-
Have You Seen This-
Parting Shots-

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

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That's Two In A Row For Bernie!
By Ernest Stewart

"Tonight New Hampshire sent a message that working people are ready for a political revolution in this country. This is what it will take to defeat Donald Trump. This victory isn't about me; it's about us. Tonight is about what our supporters, volunteers and grassroots donors built in New Hampshire." ~~~ Bernie Sanders ~ after his victory in New Hampshire

"It's among the fastest-warming regions of the planet. We hear a lot about the Arctic, but this particular part of the Antarctic peninsula is warming very quickly. Over the past 50 years it's warmed almost 3 degrees C. It increased at least six-fold between 1979 and 2017." ~~~ Clare Nullis ~ World Meteorological Organization

"So actually in the Constitution of the United States, [if you] are found guilty of being a socialist member you either go to prison or are shot." ~~~ Rep. Rodney Garcia, a state lawmaker in Montana

Help me if you can, I'm feeling down
And I do appreciate you being round
Help me get my feet back on the ground
Won't you please, please help me
Help ~~~ The Beatles

Sen. Bernie Sanders was declared the winner of the presidential Democratic primary in New Hampshire on Tuesday night less than three hours after polls closed. After winning the popular vote in the disaster plauged Iowa caucuses. That's two in a row for Bernie!

Meanwhile Lizzie and Wall Street Joe fell further and further behind as they placed a distant 4th and 5th in New Hampshire!

Bernie's win came despite all that the corporate wing of the Democrats could do to stop him. Obama and Clinton, both Bill and Hilary, were out and about spewing hatred for Bernie lest the people elect a man of the people and not as they'd prefer a corporate puppet like Biden and Warren. Still the great corporate hope, Michael Bloomberg is waiting in the wings to buy this election for his corporate class friends!

The second place winner in New Hampshire was Pete Buttigieg, the former South Bend, Indiana mayor, who, like Bloomberg, doesn't like black and brown folks. Ergo Pete should be running as a Rethuglican and Michael who for 90% of his political life was a Rethuglican who only changed to being a Democrat to win as mayor of New York City. Having a deja vu yet?

As Bernie said, "Our victory tonight is the beginning of the end for Donald Trump. Not just about defeating Trump, but transforming this country." Bernie is the one candidate that can not only beat Trump but do it so not even the electoral college can steal another Democratic popular vote victory and hand it to Lying Donald! Get out and get registered to vote, America! If you are already registered, make sure that you haven't been removed from the poles by some form of Rethuglican sedition!

In Other News

I see where fresh fears of accelerating damage to the planet's ice sheets and sea level rise have been fuelled by confirmation from the United Nation's weather agency that the Antarctic likely saw a new temperature record of more than 18.3 degrees C or 65 degrees F last Thursday.

I'm going to repeat that again for those of you on drugs!

It was warmer in the Antarctic than it was in LA.

Speaking to journalists in Geneva, spokesperson Clare Nullis from the World Meteorological Organization (WMO), said that the record reading taken in the north of the continent, would be considered unusual, even during the current warmer summer months.

"The Argentine research base, which is called Esperanza, it's on the northern tip of the Antarctic peninsula; it set a new record temperature yesterday: 18.3 degrees C, which is not a figure you would normally associate with Antarctica even in summertime. This beat the former record of 17.5 degrees C or 63.5 degrees F, which was set back in 2015."

Experts at WMO will now verify whether the temperature extreme is a new record for the Antarctic continent, which is defined as the main continental landmass.

What does this mean for all the folks living on the sea shore or inland a bit from the ocean? It begs the question, "How long can you tread water, Miami, NYC, Rio, San Diego, Tokyo etc.?" How long!!!

And Finally

Then there is Rep. Rodney Garcia, a state lawmaker from Billings Montana, who told a gathering of Rethuglicans he believes the U.S. Constitution says socialists can be jailed or shot simply for being socialists. Garcia initially made the statement at an election event, then he repeated it to a Billings Gazette reporter.

Garcia's inflammatory assertion first came last Friday night, after former interior secretary Ryan Zinke gave a speech at a bund rally in Helena. According to reporting from the Gazette, Garcia said he was concerned there were socialists "everywhere" in Billings, which he represents in House District 52.

Garcia told the Billings Gazette that based on Facebook advertising he has seen, he believes there is an influx of socialism in Montana that is "very dangerous."

"They're teaching that to kids. Thank God my grandkids know it's wrong because I teach them. And it's a very dangerous situation."

So who can guess who wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award? That's right, it's Michael Bloomberg! No, my bad, it's Rodney Garcia!

Keepin' On

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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2020 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Supporters of Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) prepare to caucus
for him in the gymnasium at Roosevelt High School February 03, 2020 in Des Moines, Iowa. Iowa is the
first contest in the 2020 presidential nominating process with the candidates then moving on to New Hampshire.

With Establishment Knives Out For Bernie, Iowa Fiasco Just A Taste Of What's Coming
The glaring subtext of what's now occurring is the frantic effort to find some candidate who can prevent Sanders from becoming the party's nominee at the national convention in July. Progressives must fight back-not succumb to fatalism.
By Norman Solomon

As a center of elite power, the Democratic National Committee is now floundering. Every reform it has implemented since 2016 was the result of progressive grassroots pressure. But there are limits to what DNC Chair Tom Perez is willing to accept without a knock-down, drag-out fight. And in recent weeks, he has begun to do heavy lifting for corporate Democrats-throwing roadblocks in the way of the Bernie 2020 campaign as it continues to gain momentum.

The fiasco in Iowa, despite its importance, is a sideshow compared to what is foreshadowed by recent moves from Perez. For one thing, he appointed avowedly anti-Bernie corporate operatives to key positions on powerful DNC committees. The flagrant conflicts of interest have included entrenching paid staffers for Michael Bloomberg's presidential campaign on rules committees for the DNC and the upcoming Democratic National Convention.

Perez soon followed up by abruptly changing the official rules to allow Bloomberg to participate in the debate scheduled for three days before the Feb. 22 Nevada caucuses. The egregious decision to waive the requirement for large numbers of individual donors rolled out the blue carpet for Bloomberg to the debate stage.

"Now suddenly a guy comes in who does not campaign one bit in Iowa, New Hampshire, he's not on the ballot I guess in Nevada or South Carolina, but he's worth $55 billion," Sanders said Thursday when asked about the rules change. "I guess if you're worth $55 billion you can get the rules changed for a debate. So, to answer your question: I think that is an absolute outrage and really unfair."

Inconvenient facts-such as the reality that Bloomberg fervently endorsed President George W. Bush for re-election in 2004 (in a speech to the Republican National Convention, no less) or that as mayor of New York he championed racist stop-and-frisk police policies-are less important to party chieftains than the humongous dollar signs that self-financing Bloomberg is bringing to the table.

The mayors of San Francisco, Washington, Anchorage and Albany, among others, have already succumbed to Bloomberg's wealthy blandishments and endorsed him, as has former Black Panther and longtime disappointment Congressman Bobby Rush. To corporate elites, the moral of the sordid Bloomberg story is that most people can be bought, and Bloomberg might be the deus ex machina to lift them out of an impending tragedy of Sanders as nominee.

The glaring subtext of all this is the now-frantic effort to find some candidate who can prevent Sanders from becoming the party's nominee at the national convention in July. Early corporate favorites like Beto O'Rourke, Cory Booker and Kamala Harris fizzled and flamed out. Joe Biden appears to be sinking. Amy Klobuchar staked her hopes on Iowa without success. That appears to leave Pete Buttigieg and Bloomberg as the strongest corporate contenders to prevent the corporate Democrats' worst nightmare-the nomination of an authentic progressive populist.

A traditional claim by corporate Democrats-the assumption that grassroots progressive campaigns are doomed-is oddly matched by the assumptions of right-wing media and some on the left that the DNC can successfully rig just about anything it wants to. Fox News has been feasting on the Iowa meltdown, pleased to occasionally invite leftists on the air to denounce the DNC, immediately followed by routine denunciations of Democrats in general and Sanders in particular as diabolical socialists eager to destroy any and all American freedoms with a collectivist goal of tyranny.

Meanwhile, some progressives have such an inflated view of the DNC's power that they propagate the idea that all is lost and Bernie is sure to be crushed. It's the kind of defeatism that's surely appreciated by right-wingers and corporate Democrats alike.

Perhaps needless to say, if Bernie Sanders had such a fatalistic view of electoral politics, he never would have run for president in the first place. People on the left who say the DNC's elite power can't be overcome with grassroots organizing are mirroring the traditional scorn from corporate Democrats-who insist that the left can never dislodge them from dominance of the party, let alone end corporate dominance of the nation.

Like millions of other progressives who support Bernie 2020, I realize that the forces arrayed against us are tremendously powerful. That's the nature of the corporate beast. The only way to overcome it is to organize and fight back. That's what the movements behind the Sanders campaign are doing right now.

In the words of a Latin American graffiti writer, "Let's save pessimism for better times."

(c) 2020 Norman Solomon is co-founder of and founding director of the Institute for Public Accuracy. His books include "War Made Easy: How Presidents and Pundits Keep Spinning Us to Death" and "Made Love, Got War: Close Encounters with America's Warfare State."

Tightening his dictatorial grip on the U.S. government, Trump pledged to destroy his opponents-from
Nancy Pelosi to Adam Schiff to the 'radical, socialist Democrats.' These shameful threats cannot be taken lightly.

The Vengeful, Lawless, Corporate Toady Trump Explodes
The egomaniacal Trump is inebriated with his disgraceful acquittal, convinced of his own innocence, despite the clear evidence of his guilt.
By Ralph Nader

The day after his acquittal by the Republican Party in a trial that banned witnesses, the unhinged Donald Trump gloated for over an hour on all the television networks. Trump flattered his courtiers, one by one, and fulminated against his Congressional adversaries, Hillary Clinton and ex-FBI chief James Comey.

Donald Trump's speech degraded his office for the ages. Trump lied about himself and others and received applause from the assembled sycophants. The morning of his speech, Trump attended a prayer breakfast. Trump never goes to church to atone for his habitual, career-long violations of seven of the Ten Commandments. His hypocrisy has no bounds.

Tightening his dictatorial grip on the U.S. government, Trump pledged to destroy his opponents- from Nancy Pelosi to Adam Schiff to the "radical, socialist Democrats." These shameful threats cannot be taken lightly. Never forget Trump saying "I have an Article II, where I have the right to do whatever I want as President."

The egomaniacal Trump is inebriated with his disgraceful acquittal, convinced of his own innocence, despite the clear evidence of his guilt. No apologies, no remorse, since he never does "anything wrong." Trump's petulant actions could make him an object of abject pity were he not in a position to start wars, shred the Constitution, repeal life-saving regulations, and turn the U.S. government over to avaricious giant corporations. In politics, the tactical question between the contestants is who is on the offensive and who is on the defensive. Trump knows this in his gut.

How do the Democrats regroup? Nancy Pelosi did not send a broad array of impeachable offenses to the Senate - some with clear 'kitchen table' appeal. Sending just the articles dealing with abuse of power and obstruction of Congress stemming from the Ukraine extortion assured a Republican kangaroo court acquittal. Early polls don't indicate the imperfect trial diminishing his public support. What Democrats have going for them is the certainty that Trump will continue to commit daily impeachable offenses, including defying Congressional subpoenas. Despite these daily offenses, Trump continues to mock the Democrats. He is practically begging them to pursue a second round of impeachment charges. They should do so just to defend the critical checks and balances required by the Constitution.

Trump's actions are a departure from those of Bill Clinton. After his Senate acquittal, Clinton spoke for only two minutes on television and he used his time to express regret and apologize. Trump exploded with rage, vindictiveness, and plans for revenge. His unseemly outburst at the annual National Prayer Breakfast smashed all precedent.

After acquittal, Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank wrote: "He described his political opponents as 'bad,' 'dirty,' 'horrible,' 'evil,' 'sick,' 'corrupt,' 'scum,' 'leakers,' 'liars,' 'vicious,' 'mean,' 'lowlife,' 'non-people,' 'stone-cold crazy,' and 'The crookedest, most dishonest, dirtiest people I've ever seen.'" Mostly, the exact description of the person he sees in the mirror. Conservative columnist Michael Gerson warned further: "...we are reaching a very dangerous moment in our national life. The president is seized by rage and resentment...for all to see and hear. He now feels unchecked and uncheckable. And he has a position of tremendous power. That is what happens when a sociopath gets away with something."

Another columnist, Catherine Rampell, lists past vengeful uses of his power to twist procurement contracts and antitrust enforcement decision against his enemies. She calls it "weaponizing the presidency."

For example, Trump doesn't like CNN so he ordered the Justice Department to challenge the AT&T merger with Time Warner in court (unsuccessfully).

The White House has refused to give Congress documents that could reveal whether Trump intervened for personal political advantage. Congress is the only institution that has the authority given to it by the Founders to thwart a fast-emerging monarch.

Defying Congressional subpoenas is a slam dunk impeachable offense. No resort to the courts is required. Congress has plenary power to enforce its subpoenas. When Trump ignores Congress's constitutional authority, all other powers of Congress are debilitated. These include the powers to spend, tax, declare war, confirm nominees and, of course, to check a runaway executive branch under a dictatorial, seriously unstable, chronically lying President.

Under "Moscow Mitch" McConnell, the Senate has been shut down. The only time the Senate takes any action is when it acts like Trump's lapdog. Senator McConnell is sitting on over 300 bills passed by the House, including legislation that would protect our elections from foreign interference. (For more information see, That leaves the House of Representatives, which Trump promises to punish. What Speaker Nancy Pelosi must now do is to assemble her more than willing Committee Chairs and collect all the existing disregarded House subpoenas and continue their existing investigations which, stonewalled by Trump, will require more subpoenas.

Before he resigned, Nixon was about to be impeached, in part, for defying one subpoena. Trump's holds the presidential record tearing up subpoenas for witnesses and documents.

He has raised the stakes as to whether the Congress as the central institution of our government will survive his executive branch shredding of the Constitution.

Given what they said, wrote, and placed into the Constitution, the number one concern of Thomas Jefferson, James Madison, George Mason, Benjamin Franklin and George Washington, was to prevent another King George III - a monarch in practice if not in name. They implemented this priority by placing the most powerful authorities by far in the Congress.

Trump is daring the House of Representatives to challenge his outlawry and abdicate the constitutional obligation to impose "checks and balances" on the Executive branch. An article of impeachment regarding mass subpoena defiance needs no witnesses, is clear-cut, and can be approved in less than a day and sent to the Senate. Then the people can see whether McConnell will say that the people need volumes of information about Trump corruptly destroying their health, safety and economic protections and turning our government over to Wall Street.

Kitchen table issues are everywhere behind those subpoenas by ongoing House Committee investigations. The spreading "Ditch Mitch" movement in Kentucky will be watching Senator McConnell.

(c) 2020 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Free All Political Prisoners -- Including Julian Assange and Chelsea Manning
By Glen Ford

Julian Assange and his proteges have made common cause with Black revolutionaries in their zeal to lay bare the dictatorial nature of the omni-pervasive national security state and the sheer, racist barbarity of the U.S. imperial project.

All of our fates are entwined with that of Julian Assange, a political prisoner of the global imperial state. Assange, an Australian currently held in solitary confinement in Britain's Belmarsh prison, faces 175 years behind bars if extradited to the United States, the imperial power whose international crimes and domestic machinations have been severely compromised by Wikileaks, the journalism operation Assange founded.

The United States has many political prisoners, most of them elderly former members of the Black Panther Party whose willingness to resist racist police violence made them supreme enemies of the U.S. state, never to the forgiven. But Assange, and his proteges Edward Snowden, now living in exile in Moscow, and Chelsea Manning (ne Bradley Edward Manning), currently imprisoned for refusal to testify against Assange before a grand jury, are cousins in struggle with Jalil Muntaqim, repeatedly denied parole in the 1971 death of two New York City cops, and Sundiata Acoli, comrade-in-arms with exiled Assata Shakur, who will next be eligible for parole in 2032 when he will be 94 years old.

In a racist society, it is the ferocity of the state's pursuit and prosecution of dissidents that is the best measure of their contribution to the struggle against oppression. Although, in white supremacist societies, punishment of Black resisters to state power is always more swift and barbaric than for whites, it is the intent and impact of the blows inflicted on the oppressor that should be the basis of solidarity. From that perspective, Julian Assange and his proteges have made common cause with Black revolutionaries in their zeal to lay bare the dictatorial nature of the omni-pervasive national security state and the sheer, racist barbarity of the U.S. imperial project.

Charles Sims Africa was this week released from a Pennsylvania prison, the youngest of the Move 9 members convicted in the death of a Philadelphia cop in 1978. Two Move family members, Merle and Phil Africa, mysteriously died in prison. In 1985, eleven Move men, women and children were incinerated by helicopter-borne police, along with 62 houses in the block, on orders of the city's Black mayor. It is inconceivable that white Americans would be subjected to such bestial, unrelenting punishment by the U.S. state - lynching and ceremonial burning is reserved mainly for Black people. But the Move family's politics is as much environmentalist as it is Black liberationist, and members early on warned that the ever-encroaching electronic political weaponry of the State was designed to subdue and imprison all of society. Similarly, the Black Panther Party made common cause with all peoples that resist U.S. imperial subjugation, and called for a global order of socialism and peace.

Nearly a score of Black Panthers were extra-judicially executed in 1969, when FBI director J. Edgar Hoover labeled the Party the number one internal threat to national security - among them, Illinois Panther leaders Fred Hampton and Mark Clark. The Party had been severely weakened and disrupted by a "total war" of surveillance, infiltration and demonization, with the eager collaboration of the corporate media.

Today, the "brother" chosen to succeed Fred Hampton as leader of the Chicago chapter, Bobby Rush, is a U.S. congressman who supports the presidential campaign of Michael Bloomberg, the nation's champion stop-and-frisker and world's 8th richest capitalist pig (oligarch, in polite terms). Black Congresswoman Maxine Waters, who not so long ago blasted the CIA for implanting the crack cocaine trade in Los Angeles to fund the illegal war in Nicaragua, now hails the CIA and the FBI as bastions of "resistance" against fascism, in the person of Donald Trump. Three-quarters of the Congressional Black Caucus have voted to make the police a "protected class" and assault on cops a federal hate crime, while fully eighty percent of the Black Caucus supported the Pentagon program that funnels billions in military gear to local police departments. A new and even more maniacal Cold War, birthed in the bowels of the CIA in 2016, now smears all dissent as Russian-inspired.

Desperate to reclaim the political "narrative," the corporate Democratic Party works hand-in-glove with the national security state and social media moguls to rig internet algorithms and censor all critique of capitalism and its imperial guard dog. At this stage of conflict - when the national memory of past struggles, and the capacity to commit events and thoughts to collective memory, is at stake -- Assange, Manning, Snowden and other targeted, mostly white dissidents are at the vanguard of resistance to corporate enslavement.

It was Manning, through Wikileaks, who shocked the world with chilling video and audio of U.S. helicopter troops gleefully murdering journalists, children and bystanders in Baghdad. Wikileaks released millions of documents from U.S. embassies that revealed what the Empire really thinks of the "lesser" peoples of the world, and who among the locals was collaborating with the imperialists. And, in the revelation that may have set off the new Cold War, Wikileaks showed that, not only was the Hillary Clinton campaign monumentally corrupt, but the top Democrat was urging all of her forces to encourage the Republicans to nominate Donald Trump, believing he was easy to beat.

Wikileaks, along with Edward Snowden's revelations, has been fantastically disruptive of U.S. imperial and domestic corporate governance. But the national security state's counter-strike - "Russiagate," and the new Cold War - combined with the global American military offensive that began in 2011 with the attack on Libya, has pushed the world to the edge of the precipice. Domestically, but also across national boundaries, a new kind of hi-tech-enabled fascism looms - indeed, it is partially in place.

Late stage capitalism is finding out just how late it really is. The oligarchs are afraid, which is why they are taking to the electoral field with their own money, to defend their dictatorship. In desperation and monumental hubris, they make huge mistakes that need to be captured and displayed. Outside the imperial homeland, they widen their wars with sanctions as well as bombs and bullets, attempting to terrorize the planet, but instead quicken the processes of their own decline.

We need to shine billions of spotlights on these fat rats as they scurry from crime to crime. The world's people are wired, from Harlem to Kenya to Mumbai and Sao Paulo. A huge struggle must be launched to claim the means human expression, so that we can seize the means of production and establish security and sustenance for all, on a livable planet. Otherwise, a squat in the dungeons is reserved for all of us, at the whim of the oligarchy.

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

What's The Charitable Thing To Do About Inequality?
By Jim Hightower

Our society has coined expressions like "philanthropist" to encourage and hail people's charitable spirit.

Look on the flip side of that shiny coin of generosity, however, and you'll find that its base substance is societal selfishness. After all, the need for charity only exists because we're tolerating intentional injustices and widespread inequality created by power elites.

A society as supremely wealthy as ours ought not be relegating needy families and essential components of the common good to the whims of a few rich philanthropists. Yes, corporate and individual donations can help at the margins, but they don't fix anything. Thus, food banks, health clinics, etc. must constantly scrounge for more charity, while big donors have their "charitable spirit" subsidized with tax breaks that siphon money from our public treasury.

Especially offensive to me is the common grandiose assertion by fat cat donors that charity is their way of "giving back" to society. Hello - if they can give so much it's probably because they've been taking too much! As business columnist Andrew Ross Sorkin points out, "All too often, charitable gifts are used... to make up for the failure of companies to pay people a living wage and treat their workers with dignity."

It's not just the unemployed who rely on food banks, but janitors, nannies, Uber drivers, checkout clerks, and others who work full time, but are so poorly paid they can't make ends meet. That's not a sad charity case, but a matter of criminal exploitation by wealthy elites - and the charitable thing to do is to outlaw it and require a living wage for all.

As Sorkin puts it, "The aim should be to create a society where we don't need places like food banks... We should be trying to put the food banks out of business."

(c) 2020 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates," is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

The Establishment Now Has Three Horses In the Race - And None Won New Hampshire
By William Rivers Pitt

Keene, New Hampshire - On Tuesday night, Bernie Sanders took another step toward securing the Democratic nomination for president, the establishment wing of the party went three ways at once, and the state of New Hampshire put on an exhibition of electoral competence that made the doomstruck Iowa Caucus look like the sorry contest it was.

With most precincts having reported, Sanders pulled down 25.7 percent of the vote, followed by Pete Buttigieg's strong showing of 24.4 percent. Amy Klobuchar roared into relevance again, landing in third place with 19.8 percent. Elizabeth Warren placed a disappointing fourth with 9.3 percent, but gave every indication she intends to remain in the race.

Andrew Yang and Michael Bennet had the writing on the wall rubbed in their faces, and dropped out of the race before New Hampshire's winner was declared. Tulsi Gabbard, Tom Steyer and Deval Patrick brought up the rear with a combined total of 8.2 percent, and Patrick will reportedly be "talking with his family" before continuing with a campaign that most had forgotten existed.

The big story of the night, beyond Sanders's victory, was the inglorious collapse of Joe Biden's effort in New Hampshire. Biden spent the run-up to the vote making his usual optimistically shouty noises, but the vultures were circling before the weekend was out. The "mainstream" press started reporting on his campaign in the past tense - "What Went Wrong?" - and one Washington Post headline on Tuesday morning went so far as to describe the atmosphere within his campaign as "surreal."

The weird rumblings began on Tuesday afternoon, hours before the polls closed. It was difficult to believe, and then there it was on film: Joe Biden, boarding a plane to South Carolina long before the deal went down. The erstwhile frontrunner, vessel of establishment Democratic hopes and dreams, was fleeing New Hampshire like a rabbit trying to out-hop a prairie fire.

Biden's supporters here in New Hampshire were aghast, their sense of betrayal written on their faces, and the result was predictable. Buttigieg and Klobuchar should send Joe some flowers and a thank you note, as their vote totals were both infused with Biden backers who would be damned if they were going to cast a ballot for the guy who didn't even stick around for the after-party.

The success in New Hampshire of Buttigieg and Klobuchar was due to some shrewd campaign moves made as Biden's already-tepid momentum was visibly deflating. Buttigieg's strong showing in Iowa and Klobuchar's very solid performance during Friday's debate put them in position to go big here in the run-up, which they did.

South Carolina, 17 very long days away, is now the Biden campaign's Alamo, and the establishment wing of the Democratic Party has cracked into three distinct pieces. The Nevada Caucus is next up in 10 days, but election officials there are scrambling to shore up the process in the aftermath of Iowa, and none of the top campaigns are putting many eggs in that basket. Klobuchar's weakness with Latinx voters and Buttigieg's ongoing struggle to collect Black support make the next two contests perilous for the pair.

All of this, every last square inch of it, is a boon to Bernie Sanders. It was amusing to witness the "Oh God, not Bernie" crowd here trying to pick their way through three conservative-lite choices. In the end, their strength was spent in the split, while Sanders - whose supporters never wavered and whose vast donor base is built for the long haul - watched the pile-up in his rearview mirror.

Sanders, like the others, faces a stout test in South Carolina. Mainstream critics often assert that he lacks the support of Black voters needed to secure the nomination - ignoring the many Black organizers who have helped to build his 2020 campaign. Sanders's current lead in California and other diverse states strongly suggests these critics may be stuck in 2016, erasing the many activists of color who've played integral roles in the Sanders effort.

Sanders's path to the nomination is becoming clearer by the day. In 2016, people who did not vote nearly outnumbered Clinton and Trump voters combined. Those are some of the voters Sanders can expect to bring in, especially the younger voters who found the choices in 2016 too unpalatable to participate. If the same people who voted Democratic in 2016 turn out again this November (or, put another way, if "Vote Blue No Matter Who" means Bernie, too) their support in combination with voters who stayed home last time - plus new voters, including young people voting for the first time - would likely prove to be a winning coalition.

The elephant in the room (pun intended) is billionaire Mike Bloomberg, whose ersatz conversion to the Democratic Party after his 2004 endorsement of George W. Bush matters less to establishment Democrats than his potential ability to thwart a Sanders nomination in Wisconsin.

The increasingly desperate-sounding network pundits claim Biden-skeptical Black voters in South Carolina are giving Bloomberg a hard look. Even if this were true, one wonders how long it might last now that the dam has burst on Bloomberg's wildly racist stop-and-frisk policy in New York City, which predominantly affected communities of color and which Bloomberg bragged about in 2015. The cameras in the back work, Mike. Make a note of it.

Sanders has the Democratic Party scared witless, in no small part because too many party officials still think it's 1992. If (when) Biden collapses, and if Buttigieg and Klobuchar lack the horses to match Sanders down the stretch, the Democratic establishment may try to hand the nomination to a racist gadfly billionaire because they're afraid Donald Trump will call Sanders a "socialist."

This campaign has shown in Technicolor that Sanders is not just some passing trend; he is a canny, deeply vetted, battle-tested politician who beats Trump like a tin drum in the polls that match the two in a general election. This was true in 2016, too, but I digress.

My guess? Trump is going to have insults for whomever emerges as the nominee, and "socialist" is not the bugaboo word it used to be.

Tuesday's primary was historic for a number of reasons, the foremost being that it may be the last time we see Iowa and New Hampshire lead the way during presidential elections.

The argument for having them go first has merit: They are two sparsely populated, mostly rural states that serve as an early organizational test for campaigns. If you can't organize well enough to handle Des Moines and Manchester, Los Angeles will eat you alive, and you have no business being in the race.

True as that may be, the still-ongoing debacle in Iowa combined with the overwhelming whiteness of both states is a bad look for a party that would cease to exist without the support of voters of color. I expect there will be conversations about this at DNC headquarters long after November, but in the end, all signs point to a seismic shift in the way Democrats begin the process of picking their nominee.

As it stands, the race is wide open. Buttigieg holds a slim one-delegate lead over Sanders, Nevada and South Carolina will round out the month, and Super Tuesday's 29 contests loom on March 3. This thing has only just begun.

(c) 2020 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Democratic presidential candidate spoke at a press conference at his New Hampshire campaign quarters on February 6, 2020.

Sanders Surged In Iowa On A Wave Of New Voters
Sanders closed the gap with votes from college campuses, mosques, and union halls, where newly organized and energized voters had his back
By John Nichols

At the Hoover Elementary School in Cedar Rapids, Iowans caucused Monday night in English. And French. And Spanish. And Nepali. And Swahili. And Kinyarwanda, Kirundi, and Lingala.

When the votes from the "satellite caucus" that was packed with newcomers to the process were counted, however, they spoke in one language. As the local paper announced, "Nearly all at multilingual Iowa caucus site in Cedar Rapids pick Bernie Sanders."

The race was a bit closer at a traditional caucus 75 miles away in the Loras College Alumni Center in Dubuque, where teenagers helped put Sanders over the top. Different locations. Different types of caucuses. But one thing was clear across Iowa: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders benefited tremendously from an effort to mobilize new and diverse groups of voters in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

That fact was obscured by the fiasco that occurred Monday night when the Iowa Democratic Party's tabulation of results melted down because of a poorly test app, an overwhelmed hotline, and a general failure to prepare for the night when the whole world was waiting to see whom Iowans would boost in the Democratic presidential race. After the party finally started releasing results Tuesday, there were lots of headlines announcing that former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg-who had declared on caucus night that "by all indications, we are going on to New Hampshire victorious"-was leading.

By Thursday, however, Sanders's numbers had ticked up dramatically with the addition of votes from satellite caucuses and some of the urban centers where his campaign had poured energy into expanding the electorate to include historically underrepresented communities. Thursday concluded with a Des Moines Register headline that announced: "With 100% of caucus results in, Pete Buttigieg and Bernie Sanders are in a near tie in state delegates." The Associated Press reported, "Amid irregularities, AP unable to declare winner in Iowa." And NBC explained that the caucus results were "rife with potential errors and inconsistencies that could affect the outcome, according to a review by the NBC News Decision Desk." Ominously, the network added: "The apparent mistakes-spotted in at least dozens of the state's 1,711 precincts-call into question the accuracy of the outcome of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucus, which was held on Monday night. In some individual precincts, it may be possible to fix the errors; in other precincts, it will probably be impossible to determine how voters truly made their choices."

But we actually do know a lot about how voters made their choices. One arcane measure of Iowa's success pointed to a close finish, but two clearer measures favored Sanders. The close measure was in the race for so-called "state delegate equivalents," which had Buttigieg at 564, or 26.2 percent, and Sanders at 562, or 26.1 percent. Trailing were Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren at 387, or 18 percent, and former vice president Joe Biden at 341, or 15.8 percent.

Measures of popular voting provided clarity, however. In the first round of caucus voting (the rough equivalent of a primary), Sanders was at 43,671, while Buttigieg was at 37,557. In this measure, Sanders was more than 6,000 votes ahead of Buttigieg, more than 11,000 votes ahead of Warren, and more 17,000 votes ahead of Biden. Sanders was also comfortably ahead in the count of second-round votes (where backers of candidates who fell short of the threshold for viability in the first round can align with most popular contenders).

"I got 6,000 more votes," Sanders said at the news conference Thursday in New Hampshire, where the first Democratic primary will be held Tuesday. "Where I come from, when you get 6,000 more votes, that's generally considered a win." The senator was not alone in declaring the win. "Our @SunriseIowa team persuaded 7,000 Iowan youth to pledge to caucus for a (Green New Deal) candidate," declared the Sunrise Movement, the organization of young climate crisis activists that has endorsed Sanders. "We think it's safe to say our generation helped push Bernie to victory."

Definitions of victory remain up for grabs, as the Sanders and Buttigieg camps highlight their best measures. Indeed, circumstances in Iowa remain so muddled that Democratic National Committee chair Tom Perez has made an appropriate call for a recanvass of the results. A final sorting out of the mess will take time.

For the moment, however, it is worth noting that Sanders ran so well in Iowa-even Buttigieg says the senator "clearly had a great night, too"-because of a strategy that focused resources and grassroots energy on turning out immigrants and members of diverse faith communities that were expected to attend satellite caucuses. That strategy also focused on mobilizing the young people who have formed a solid core of Sanders supporters since his 2016 presidential bid. The campaign "invested in communities who have been left out of the political process," explained Sanders campaign state director Misty Rebik, who told supporters, "We set out to transform politics in Iowa and across the country. You should be proud because we have done that."

Campaigns always put the best spin on their efforts. But, in this case, the numbers back Rebik up. An entry poll conducted Monday evening found that of the 37 percent of caucus-goers who identified themselves as first-time participants in the process, Sanders was the favorite-winning roughly a third of first-timers. Overall turnout was up roughly 5,000 from 2016. But the portion of voters under age 30 spiked-from 18 percent of the caucus turnout in 2016 to 24 percent this year-and 48 percent of those surveyed said they backed Sanders. The next closest contender for the votes of younger caucus-goers, Buttigieg, was at 19 percent. Among the people of color who made up 9 percent of the electorate surveyed for the entry poll, 43 percent backed Sanders, while Buttigieg was at 15 percent and other candidates trailed behind.

"The enthusiasm for Sanders, especially at the multilingual, multiracial satellite caucuses, shows great promise for the future of his campaign," said Natalia Salgado, the political director at the Center for Popular Democracy Action. "Sanders's deep investment in grassroots organizing and partnership with movement organizations delivered for him in Iowa."

Aimee Allison, the founder and president of She the People, the national network that advocates for increased attention to mobilizing and empowering women of color, noted the importance of organizing to bring new voters into the process. "In #Iowa, even in this state of mostly white voters, victory for @BernieSanders hinges on organizing with immigrant and Latinx voters. Most women," she tweeted. "We've been saying this for a year now-you can't win without us. This model will be THE path to victory."

The most striking numbers for Sanders came from the 87 satellite caucuses-mostly in Iowa, but also for Iowans living outside the state. The Des Moines Register reported that the Iowa satellites "included 14 in workplace-related locations, 24 on college campuses, 29 designed to accommodate accessibility needs, 11 for people needing language or cultural accommodations and nine for Iowans who spend the winters in other states." It's notable that Warren ran well in a number of the satellites for Iowans living outside the state, topping caucus votes in Paris and Washington, DC, among other locations.

While the Buttigieg campaign was reportedly griping about how state delegate equivalents from the satellite caucuses were allocated, the Sanders camp was celebrating a victory for a mobilization strategy that could have meaning far beyond Iowa.

The Sanders campaign worked hard to get first-time voters to satellites. In Des Moines, where Muslim voters caucused at mosques, US Representative Ilhan Omar, a Minnesota Democrat who is one of two Muslim women in Congress and who has emerged as an important Sanders surrogate, urged members of the Islamic community to recognize that "it's not about somebody else. This election cycle is about us. This election cycle is about your daughters who are in schools who are dealing with xenophobia, with racism, with Islamophobia."

On Monday night, at the Muslim Community Organization caucus site in Des Moines, 120 votes were cast for various Democratic contenders. Sanders took 115 in the initial round, 119 in the second round, and all the state delegate equivalents.

At the United Food and Commercial Workers Local 230 union hall in Ottumwa, where a satellite caucus was held for second-shift workers at a nearby pork processing plant, 14 of 15 votes were cast for Sanders and he won all the delegate equivalents. Sanders supporters canvassed between midnight and 2 am at the plant where many of the workers are immigrants from Latin America and Africa. The majority of those who attended in Ottumwa were first-time caucus participants, including a group of Ethiopian immigrants holding Sanders signs.

Sanders also posted remarkable figures in traditional caucuses where young people were well-represented. I attended the caucus at Loras College, which drew a crowd of almost 250 students and residents of surrounding neighborhoods. Sanders dominated the first and second alignments and won the largest number of delegate equivalents. In the Sanders section, his backers announced their ages: 18, 19, 19, 20, 18, 18, and so on. "I like that he criticizes the corporations," said Danielle Montocchio, an 18-year-old Loras student. Next to her, 20-year-old student Brock Parker said, "Bernie stands up to the bullies in politics, and to the corporate bullies. Now we're standing up for him."

The Sunrise Movement's Stephen O'Hanlon thinks they will keep standing up for him. "This is a sign of what's to come," says O'Hanlon. "If this many young people participated in the notoriously time-intensive Iowa caucuses, we can expect even higher youth turnout in New Hampshire and on Super Tuesday. Which is another way of saying Joe Biden should be worried."

(c) 2020 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Valentine's Day Card Exchange
By James Donahue

Valentine's Day generates strange memories to me. I have little appreciation for Valentine's Day cards and other false seasonal messages of good will that come in the mail. Let me explain.

I remember the teachers in the elementary school I attended making a big thing out of Valentine's Day. We were all given a list of the names of all of the children in our class and instructed to go home and prepare valentine cards for everyone.

The idea was exciting at first. My mother bought a package of low-cost little valentine cards with various greetings of love and affection. I carefully went through the list of names, preparing cards for everyone. When it worked the way it was intended, every child received an equal volume of love notes from all of the other children.

As we passed from grade to grade, and the personalities of various students became known, we stopped following the rules. We developed favorites. Thus some children were "accidentally" missed when we wrote out the cards. The less popular students sometimes didn't receive many, if any cards at all. I began to dislike Valentine's Day because it became a time of subtle bullying. It was a reverse form of expressing love for those around us. The students collectively used their refusal to send valentine cards to certain students as a way of letting them know that they didn't have any love for them.

I remember a distinct feeling of sadness when I saw what was happening. I found myself sensing the extreme disappointment expressed by the few that received almost no valentines. I began to fear that one year, I would be the subject of this same brutal attack by my classmates. And that was when I stopped enjoying the celebration of Valentine's Day.

That experience may have been the beginning of my lifelong dislike of all card sharing. I determined that even the sending of birthday, Christmas, Easter and even get-well cards was always a poor substitute for expressing well-wishes in person.

The rising cost of buying these cards and then paying postage has only supported my disdain for card mailings.

Believe it or not, the negative Valentine's Day cards pictured here reflect a time when people actually used this special day to mail hateful cards to people they disliked.

(c) 2020 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

Why This Election Is Different
By David Swanson

Elections, I think most of us can agree, usually bring out the idiocy, superficiality, and illogic in everyone who can muster any. Imagine supporting, as many did, Sanders and then Trump because they were both "outsiders." On Tuesday, I heard somebody on CNN announce that Sanders and Klobuchar were both "change candidates" (because you'd have to change every bit of the platform of one of them to match that of the other?). Tokenism no longer embarrasses voters or even the candidates who openly campaign on it. When voters are asked on television how they choose a candidate, they talk about temperament, personality, debating skills, and intelligence.

U.S. presidents 43, 44, and 45 have been, respectively, a nitwit, a smart guy, and a dumbfuck. The policies have been variations on the theme of rolling catastrophe regardless. Climate collapse is ever nearer, and nuclear apocalypse is more likely than ever before (according to the Doomsday Clock). By the time we work our way through horrible presidents of every sex, race, sexual orientation, and ethnicity, the idea of humanity surviving on earth will be a sadder joke than Rachel Maddow's latest Russian revelation. We can elect the very best prom king or queen, the person we'd like to have a beer with, the "outsider," the "change candidate," or some other vacuous label, but none of that will steer the world away from the cliff it's rushing toward.

If representative government is supposed to approximate democracy, then we have to figure out what we want and who will come closest to representing it. Do we want a civilized healthcare system like the rest of the wealthy nations of the world have long had? Or do we want to spend more money for less health but keep our beloved insurance companies or our pathetic union contract privileges? Do we want to put up a serious struggle to stop destroying the earth's habitability? Or do we want to avoid any radical changes to a planned and consciously pursued disaster? Do we want to make college part of public education as other countries do with great success? Or do we want to stay ignorant and broke enough to never quite become aware of what imbeciles we're being? Do we want to go on subsidizing fossil fuels, enriching multi-billionaires, and dumping $1.25 trillion a year into wars and preparations for more wars, or do we want to try a wiser approach tested and proven for decades by societies around the world?

The United States is a freak global outlier in its enrichment of the rich, its acceptance of poverty, its military spending, and it's shunning of basic human rights to housing, education, and healthcare. Bernie Sanders is a moderate candidate promoting popular programs that have been used more and with more success than the policies that he proposes abandoning.

Most people will tell you that voting for a third-party candidate in the United States is a lifestyle choice, an act of purity, the enactment of a worldview. Similarly, donning a clothespin and voting for a lesser-evil two-party candidate is supposedly the outcome of a particular inclination toward reform instead of revolution, or a rational choice based on the short-term options available. The same ideas are widely held about protesting versus lobbying.

But what if you actually want something of a government? What if you actually act as a member of the informed public that a government is supposed to represent? Then, wouldn't you lobby when something decent was under consideration, but protest when nothing was? Wouldn't you vote for a third-party candidate when the two parties were clearly headed toward apocalypse, but back a two-party candidate if one appeared who was less enough evil? You can grade the world on a curve only if you have no independent standards, such as sustainability for your species.

That's the difference in this election. Bernie Sanders is a million miles from perfect. But he is radically superior to who he was four years ago, to the other Democratic candidates, and to the past 45 presidents. A greatly enlarged movement will need to move him and the Congress and the whole society in the right direction, but such a movement will be in a far better place with him than with any of the other candidates. If we must be tokenists, let's just declare it time to elect a Jew. But if we care about the earth, let's declare it time to stop being morons.

Why would anyone elect another same-old schmuck? Why is this even a question? A billionaire who buys his way in and lies about his racially targeted sadism? A slimy small-town mayor who backs what billionaires tell him to back? A senator who seems to think Hillary's only mistake was being too inspiring? A senile former vice president whose bloody fingerprints are on every act of cruelty to come out of Washington for generations? Are you kidding me?

Turn off your televisions! Avoid debates! Read the candidates' websites. They tell you what they are proposing to do. It's not secret information. But here's an important secret that I'll let you in on. The candidate who excites you and others is, for that very reason, the candidate most likely to win. The idea that the candidate who's not offering anything people give two damns for is the "electable" candidate is an insidious creation of the corporate media, the people who assured you Trump would never win, the people who swore that Afghanistan and Iraq and Libya and Pakistan and Somalia and Yemen and Syria would be improved by bombing, the people who are now claiming that Bernie has "flat lined in first place" while the "serious" candidates are "surging" into second and third and fourth place.

The revolution will not be televised.

(c) 2020 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

As a heating planet causes more forests to burn, the fires release even more carbon into the atmosphere, creating feedback loops that accelerate warming.

What Do We Do When Our Home Is On Fire?
By David Suzuki

Successive Australian governments have denied or downplayed the existence and risks of human-caused climate disruption. There, coal is king. In our outdated economic systems, short-term jobs and financial indicators mean more to politicians than keeping the planet habitable for human life!

The worst bushfires in Australia's history have consumed more than 11 million hectares, killing dozens of people and more than a billion animals, displacing many more, and destroying thousands of homes. While the fires rage on, smoke chokes the air and coral reefs bleach and die, Australia's leaders are touting development of yet another huge coal mine, the Adani Carmichael mega-mine in Queensland, designed to produce 2.3 billion tonnes over 60 years of mostly low-quality, high-ash coal.

Australia's fires cover an area 15 times larger than those in the Amazon, which are also bad. More than 30 years ago, my wife Tara and I, along with others, worked with the Kayapo in Brazil to help protect their traditional territory in the rainforest from development. Together, we convinced the World Bank to pull funding for a massive dam system, which put the project on hold.

As Brazil's economy improved and World Bank money was no longer needed, the project went ahead under a new name. Flooding is just one threat to this precious forest. Clearing and burning to make way for agriculture and industrial development are also fuelling rapid destruction.

Some call the Amazon the "lungs of the world," because the rainforest breathes in carbon and exhales oxygen. Canada is home to what some call the "northern lungs" - the boreal forest stretching from Yukon to Newfoundland and Labrador, covering 55 per cent of Canada's land mass. The amount of oxygen forests produce is difficult to calculate and often exaggerated, but there's no doubt forests are important for human survival.

The boreal is also under threat from rapid development and global heating. As with recent massive wildfires elsewhere, climate change is increasing the boreal fire season and fuelling intense burning over larger areas than ever - regardless of whether fires are set by lightning, arsonists or sparks from machinery or a train wheel. Warmer winters have also facilitated the spread of tree-destroying insects like mountain pine beetles that cold winters once kept in check.

Intact forests produce oxygen and provide many other services beneficial to humans. They sequester carbon, which helps regulate global temperatures. They prevent runoff, slides and flooding. They maintain and filter water. They provide food and other necessities for people, and habitat for plants and animals.

In the midst of its fires, Australia has been hit by extreme weather events, including terrifying massive dust storms, battering hail and flood-producing torrential rains. Smoke from the fires is also a potent greenhouse gas. So, as a heating planet causes more forests to burn, the fires release even more carbon into the atmosphere, creating feedback loops that accelerate warming.

What will it take for politicians and others to listen? As Greta Thunberg warns, our home is on fire. It will get worse if we fail to change our ways, quickly. But politicians and industry keep expanding fossil fuel development, trying to cash in before markets fall in the face of better alternatives and climate chaos. Our economic systems still run on endless growth and consumerism, creating unconscionable waste and devastation. We judge how well the economy is performing in part by how quickly we are tearing up the world.

It makes no sense.

Why is Australia going ahead with a massive coal mine? Why is Canada considering approving a 24,000-hectare open-pit oilsands mine, the Teck Frontier project in Northern Alberta? Why is the U.S. reversing environmental protections and facilitating fossil fuel expansion? Haven't they heard we're facing a global crisis the likes of which we've never experienced? Or do they just not care? Are money and power really more important to them than the health and well-being of citizens and the future of our children and grandchildren?

We're not being held back by a lack of solutions - there are plenty existing and more being developed. We're hostage to a lack of political will and imagination. Wake up humanity! All that money and power won't mean anything if we destroy our only home.

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

Senators Walk to the Impeachment Trial in Washington

Senate Republicans Star In The Chickening Amid Trump's Retribution Frenzy
Some went to bat for Gordon Sondland, a big-money donor, over Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vindman, a career public servant.
By Charles P. Pierce

MANCHESTER, NEW HAMPSHIRE-You can get so tangled up in a campaign-or, as I've learned, in impeachment hearings, even ones with all the democratic unpredictability of North Korean elections-that really amazing stories can get by you without your noticing them. Like this one in The New York Times, a story I like to call, Chicken Run: The Chickening.

The senators were concerned that it would look bad for Mr. Trump to dismiss Mr. Sondland and argued that it was unnecessary, since the ambassador was already talking with senior officials about leaving after the Senate trial, the people said. The senators told White House officials that Mr. Sondland should be allowed to depart on his own terms, which would have reduced any political backlash.

But Mr. Trump evidently was not interested in a quiet departure, choosing instead to make a point by forcing Mr. Sondland out before the ambassador was ready to go. When State Department officials called Mr. Sondland on Friday to tell him that he had to resign that day, he resisted, saying that he did not want to be included in what seemed like a larger purge of impeachment witnesses, according to the people informed about the matter.

Mr. Sondland conveyed to the State Department officials that if they wanted him gone that day, they would have to fire him. And so the president did, ordering the ambassador recalled from his post effective immediately.

Now, you may wonder who these brave souls were, and why they stuck their necks out for Sondland, who'd donated a million bucks to the president*'s inauguration and got an ambassadorship out of it. They did not do the same for, say, Alexander Vindman, the war hero and NSA staffer who got frog-marched out of the White House because he went before Congress and told the truth. Silly you.
Among the Republicans who warned the White House was Senator Susan Collins of Maine, who after voting to acquit Mr. Trump said she thought he had learned a lesson. Others included Senators Thom Tillis of North Carolina, Martha McSally of Arizona and Ron Johnson of Wisconsin. The White House did not respond to requests for comment on Saturday but a senior administration official confirmed the senators' outreach on behalf of Mr. Sondland, a donor to Mr. Tillis and other Republicans.
What a sorry lot of house pets they are. Members of the United States Senate "warning" a president* who sees them for the invertebrates that he is not to do something because it will look bad. When was the last time this president* cared about how he, or any action he's taken, looked to the great wide world? The only constituency he cares about is the one he sees in the mirror in the morning, right before they bring over the firehose that applies the spray-tan.
Ms. Collins said Saturday that her lesson comment had been misinterpreted and that she had earlier noted that she did not support retribution. "The lesson that I hoped the president had learned was that he should not enlist the help of a foreign government in investigating a political rival," she said in a statement to The New York Times. "It had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not he should fire people who testified in a way that he perceived as harmful to him."

The senators did not express the same concern about Colonel Vindman, who is viewed less sympathetically by the president's allies. Republicans considered some of Colonel Vindman's comments during his testimony overtly political and, in any case, believed it was untenable for him to remain on the staff of a president with whom he broke so publicly.

Susan Collins regularly exchanges her congressional salary for a bag of magic beans. I have the receipts. Jesus, these people...

(c) 2020 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"We need leadership in this country, which will improve the lives of working families, the children, the elderly, the sick and the poor. We need leadership which brings our people together and makes us stronger."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

The Kushner Apartheid Plan would not end any of these abuses but would cement them forever in place.

Israeli Blocking of Palestinian Exports To Jordan Shows Reality Of Apartheid That the Kushner Plan Would Only Cement
hat Israel can stop Palestinian-Jordanian trade demonstrates conclusively that Palestine is not a free agent but is rather an Occupied territory, and that all the power rests in the hands of the Occupation military.
By Juan Cole

The Israeli government blockade on Palestinian agricultural exports through Jordan on Sunday illustrates the Apartheid character of Israeli rule over the Palestinians. Palestinian trucks loaded with produce were stopped by quickly-erected Israeli blast walls and forbidden to head into Jordan.

The Palestine-Jordan trade in commodities such as vegetables, fruits, olives, olive oil, and dates is worth some $100 million a year.

The step was ordered by Israeli minister of defense Naftali Bennett, who in that capacity is the chief of the Occupation Army ruling Palestine. His rationale is that the Palestinians on Feb. 2 ceased importing goods from Israel, so this measure is payback.

The argument fails on a number of grounds, however. Most important, the Palestinian West Bank is under Israeli military occupation, and therefore is governed by the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 and the Hague Regulations of 1907.

Here is what Geneva says, and although the situations envisaged are not exactly the same we are facing today, the sort of thing being prohibited is clear:

Art. 51:

"Every such person shall, so far as possible, be kept in his usual place of employment. Workers shall be paid a fair wage and the work shall be proportionate to their physical and intellectual capacities. The legislation in force in the occupied country concerning working conditions, and safeguards as regards, in particular, such matters as wages, hours of work, equipment, preliminary training and compensation for occupational accidents and diseases, shall be applicable to the protected persons assigned to the work referred to in this Article."
Art. 52:
"All measures aiming at creating unemployment or at restricting the opportunities offered to workers in an occupied territory, in order to induce them to work for the Occupying Power, are prohibited."
Art. 53:
"Any destruction by the Occupying Power of real or personal property belonging individually or collectively to private persons, or to the State, or to other public authorities, or to social or cooperative organizations, is prohibited, except where such destruction is rendered absolutely necessary by military operations."
By blockading Palestinian exports through Jordan, Bennett as the Occupying authority is preventing the occupied population from earning a fair wage and creating unemployment for the purpose of coercing occupied civilians into doing his political will. Inasmuch as the produce will rot if not exported, he is also destroying their personal property.

These are all violations of international law, and since the International Criminal Court is now looking into whether Israeli officials are guilty of war crimes, Apartheid and other crimes specified in the 2002 Rome statute, the ICC should definitely look into Bennett.

In fact, the Rome Statute (8.2.a) defines as a war crime the grave violation of the Geneva Conventions.

Further, 7.1.j and 7.2.h specify the crime of Apartheid as a "crime against humanity." 7.2.h defines it this way:

The "crime of apartheid" means inhumane acts of a character similar to those referred to in paragraph 1, 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...
Not letting Palestinians export their produce through Jordan is definitely an institutionalized regime of systematic oppression and domination by the Israelis over the Palestinians, and this blockade is being enacted with the intention of maintaining this regime.

Bennett has been among those outraged that anyone would boycott Israel for its human rights abuses, but now he is imposing a boycott on the Palestinians, forcibly preventing them from doing business with Jordan.

Which brings us to another issue. The Palestinians are within their rights not to buy from Israel. But Bennett is imposing a third party blockade on the Palestinians. This measure is not proportionate and it can only be implemented because Israel has all the power and the Palestinians are powerless and under Bennett's jackboot.

That Israel can at will stop Palestinian-Jordanian trade demonstrates conclusively that Palestine is not a free agent but is rather an Occupied territory, and that all the power rests in the hands of the Occupation military, which is to say in Bennett's hands.

Why, we might ask, were the Geneva Conventions adopted by the world community in 1949? They were aimed at prohibiting the excesses of the Axis during World War II.

For instance, during the German occupation of the Ukraine in WW II, 6 to 7 million persons died, mostly of hunger, because of German policy. Cormac O Grada writes, "brutal requisitioning in Nazi-occupied areas resulted in about 4 million deaths." About 3 million of these, he estimates, were in Ukraine alone, amounting to 8% of the Ukrainian population.

It is bad to contravene the Geneva Conventions because if all United Nations members did that, we'd be back to the German occupation of the Ukraine on a global scale. Israel is guilty of massive violations of international law in the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza, and this block on their exports is one more. The Kushner Apartheid Plan would not end any of these abuses but would cement them forever in place.

(c) 2020 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

The Dead Letter Office-

On weekends Rodney loves to put on his jack boots and
Rethuglican Armband and go goose-stepping around Billings!

Heil Trump,

Dear Montana unterfuhrer Garcia,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your statement that according to the US Constitution all Socialist should be shot or jailed, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Rethuglican Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 03-15-2020. We salute you herr Garcia, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

5 Ways Donald Trump Has Not Drained The Swamp
By Robert Reich

It seems like forever ago when Donald Trump promised to "Drain the Swamp" if elected president. Well, it turns out this was one of the biggest whoppers in modern American politics.

Here are five ways he's made the swamp even swampier.

1.He has packed his administration with former lobbyists and corporate executives. He has installed a former Boeing executive to run the Defense Department; a former pharmaceutical lobbyist to run the Department of Health and Human Services; a former coal lobbyist to run the Environmental Protection Agency, and a former oil lobbyist to run the Department of the Interior. In total, more than 300 lobbyists now work in the Trump administration - many in key positions overseeing the industries they used to lobby for.

2. He and his family are personally profiting from the presidency. Despite Trump's promise he'd sever all ties with his existing businesses and place all assets in a "blind" trust to eliminate any conflicts of interest, documents show Trump remains the sole beneficiary of his trust and still retains the legal power to revoke the trust at any time. Meanwhile, foreign dignitaries have flooded Trump's hotels, lining his pockets in clear violation of the Constitution. He even attempted to host the G-7 at his own luxury golf course until he was forced to back down.

3. He is catering to billionaires and corporations at the expense of the American people. In the fall of 2017, mega-donors shelled out more than $31 million in political contributions to Trump and Republicans. And in return, they got a massive $2 trillion tax cut. Not a bad return on investment. As Trump told his wealthy friends at Mar-a-Lago just days after the tax bill became law, "You all just got a lot richer."

4. He is using taxpayer dollars to subsidize his luxurious lifestyle. Since taking office, Trump's golf trips alone have cost taxpayers more than $110 million dollars. His children have also charged taxpayers for costs associated with business trips around the world that they've taken, including India and Uruguay. Taxpayers even footed the bill for Donald Trump Junior's hunting trip to Canada.

5. The Trump administration has been riddled with scandals and ethics violations. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross held on to investments and never divested despite pledging to avoid even the appearance of conflict of interest. Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao has tried to arrange meetings with Chinese officials for her family business. Ethics officials have found Kellyanne Conway broke laws that prohibit government workers from engaging in political activities. The list goes on, and on. This has been the most corrupt administration in American history.

Trump is exploiting everything that's vulnerable in our political system. But in order to truly stop the corruption of our democracy, we have to fix what's broken. We must get big money out of politics, end the flow of lobbyists in and out of government, and strengthen ethics laws.

Trump has enlarged and deepened the swamp, but the swamp was there before he got to Washington. One of the first tasks of the next president must be to drain the swamp once and for all.

(c) 2020 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Art Of Concealing The Real Deal
That Trump might not be healthy enough for a second term
By Jane Stillwater

So. What was your main take-away from this year's State of the Union speech? That the leader of the (theoretically) most enlightened and democratic country in the world is a liar, a bigot, a blasphemer and a war criminal? Or that Rep. Pelosi might have cajones after all? Well, sure, that too.

But for me, the most obvious thing drummed into my head that night, time after time in the space of two hours, was that our President is looking rather unhealthy.

Talking-head pundits keep trying to wrongly convince us that Bernie Sanders, the Energizer Bernie himself, might not be physically fit enough to serve out a four-year term in the White House. But. I'm totally willing to bet you a McDonald's cheeseburger with fries and a milkshake that, if elected, Donald Trump won't even make it to 2022 before his health fumbles -- let alone survive the whole nine yards.

And I don't make this prediction lightly.

Let's just look at the obvious. The man is obese. He appears to have high blood pressure. We know from his weird 3:00 am Tweets that he doesn't sleep well at night. He's famous for his sniffles and snorts. He's got a nasty temper. His health history for the past 50 years shows us that he didn't take care of himself all that well -- was a party animal, substance abuser, purveyor of prostitutes and close friend of Jeffry Epstein. And at the State of the Union event, Trump almost made even Rush Limbaugh look healthy.

What are the actual chances of this obviously-unwell septuagenarian lasting another four years? He could possibly drop dead of a stroke at any minute, bless his heart. What would an actuarial table tell us? "No deal."

So let's take these highly significant factors into consideration when casting our ballots next November. Do we really want the President of the United States of America to end up in a rest home or on life-support because of us? Let's just quietly retire him to Mar-a-Lago before it's too late and he suffers the Big One because of us.

PS: Perhaps what President Trump really needs is MediCare for All!

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

The Cartoon Corner-

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

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Statue Of Liberty Last Seen Walking Back To France
By Waterford Whisper News

EYE WITNESSES in New York described unbelievable scenes earlier today as the sound of creaking copper and crumbling concrete preceded the sight of the iconic Statue of Liberty disembarking its pedestal eastwards for its native France.

Tossing its iconic torch over its shadow and muttering loudly in French while looking angry and fed up, the statue was last heard saying "merde, mon dieu, va te faire foutre" before disappearing over the horizon out on the Atlanic ocean.

Shocked and confused Americans have now been left to speculate over what exactly could have prompted the statue, which famously symbolised America's history of a welcoming place for immigrants, to just up and leave.

"God, so many instances to choose from, right?" queried one New Yorker, "maybe it was the gradual attritional nature of all the horrible stuff, but jeez, this week alone you're talking what; the Iowa caucus, the State of the Union, Trump's impeachment acquittal...hmm what else, oh the kids are still in cages, right? People kinda forget that one amazingly."

While some Americans have been shocked by the sudden disappearance of the iconic landmark and used it as a moment for pause and a chance to think on the current lamentable state of much of the nation's political scandals, others have been more upbeat and positive.

"Good, send her ugly ass back. And hey, who says America even wants liberty? Is that even an American thing? Maybe we don't need it," confirmed one Washington DC resident with a holiday home in Florida.

(c) 2020 Waterford Whisper News

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 20 # 07 (c) 02/14/2020

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