Please visit our sponsor!

Bookmark and Share
In This Edition

Norman Solomon says, "Bernie 2020 Campaign Has Corporate Democrats Running Scared."

Greg Palast reports, "In Venezuela, White Supremacy Is Key Driver Of The Coup."

Glen Ford considers, "Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, Trump And The State Of Imperial Decline."

Jim Hightower asks, "What's Behind This Photo Of Corporate Groundbreaking?"

David Swanson says, "Dear Humanity, I Think We Should Just Be Friends."

John Nichols explains why, "Reactionaries Call The Green New Deal 'Radical,' Like That's A Bad Thing."

James Donahue wonders, "Are Plants Aware?"

William Rivers Pitt declares, "The Problem Is Not "Fake News." It's The Noise That Drowns Out The News."

Heather Digby Parton says tongue-in-cheek, "She Seems Nice."

David Suzuki concludes, "Winter Weather Doesn't Disprove Global Warming."

Charles P. Pierce reports, "Ilhan Omar Was a Target for Sincere Criticism. Also, Opportunistic Hypocrites."

Juan Cole finds, "Australian Judge Strikes Down Coal Mine In Part Because Of Its Carbon ."

Jane Stillwater teaches, "Comparative Religion 101: USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar."

Senator John Barrasso R/Wy, wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich concludes, "Trump Wants Socialism For The Rich, Harsh Capitalism For The Rest."

Chris Hedges reviews, "Peter Jackson's Cartoon War."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "John Bolton Insists Iran Likely Harboring Dangerous Terrorist Osama Bin Laden," but first Uncle Ernie sez, "It's All About The Benjamins Baby."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Daryl Cagle, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling, Mr. Fish, Sean Rayford, Joy Real, Alex Wong, Jonathan Ernst, Alex Edelman, Mario Tama, Gali Tibbon, NUR Photo,, Unsplash, 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."

Bookmark and Share

Visit me on Face Book

It's All About The Benjamins Baby
By Ernest Stewart

"It's All About The Benjamins Baby" ~~~ Puff Daddy & The Family

"When will our country stop wasting money on global warming and so many other truly "STUPID" things and begin to focus on lower taxes?" ~~~ Donald tRump ~ 2014

"His economic program is working. We're not going back to socialism." ~~~ Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin

You're lovin' gives me a thrill
But you're lovin' don't pay my bills
Now give me money
That's what I want
That's what I want, yeah
That's what I want
Money ~~~ The Beatles

Normally I can find something on the internet, no matter how obscure in under a minute. I searched for over an hour trying to find what Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) tweeted about Israel and AIPAC. Apparently the tweet doesn't exist? I found a thousand pro and con tweets about it, but not one single example of the tweet itself. It was titled "It's All About The Benjamins Baby!"

Omar apologized on Monday for comments the previous day suggesting that U.S. support for the Jewish state is the result of money flowing from the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), an influential pro-Israel lobbying group. In her apology she said her "intention is never to offend my constituents or Jewish Americans as a whole."

"I reaffirm the problematic role of lobbyists in our politics, whether it be AIPAC, the NRA or the fossil fuel industry,
" she wrote. "It's gone on too long and we must be willing to address it."

Yes, how dare she tell the truth about the Zionazi's in Israel. As you know the House and Senate in both parties are full of Israeli fifth columnists, i.e., traitors. I wonder if 30 pieces of silver is still the going rate to buy an American Con-gressmen or women? She must know that she committed political suicide, AIPAC will see to that as they have on so many other occasions in the past. Ask Cynthia McKinney former U.S. Congresswomen and Issues & Alibis columnist how criticizing Israel worked out for her!

In Other News

As you may have seen during Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar's 2020 announcement speech in the midst of a snowstorm in Minneapolis Sunday, President Donald Trump tweeted out a jab toward the senator's statements on global warming.
Of course, tRump has used this song and dance, many times during his time in office, suggesting that cold weather somehow disproves the scientific evidence that the planet is warming. But it doesn't quite work that way. In case you haven't noticed Donnie it's winter. The climate has gone up a couple of degrees fahrenheit so global warming won't be ending winter anytime soon, so Minneapolis is going to get cold weather in February.

What global warming may do is add many feet of extra snow, as global warming puts more moisture in the air in all four seasons except in drought areas. Of course, the Donald does believe in global warming as he keeps building sea walls to protect his property from what?... Wait for it ... that's right ... "GLOBAL WARMING!" tRump that lying sack of...

And Finally

As tRump said in his SOTU speech:

"Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country. America was founded on liberty and independence --- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."

Yes, the Donald is full of it, all the way up to his wig! Of course, America is a socialist country and has been since Teddy Roosevelt made the scene.

In fact, unless you are rich like tRump, I dare say you couldn't make it without socialism! Shall I list some of the socialist programs that we all rely upon? Here's a few:
The obvious ones like Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, all of which tRump wants to get rid of in his new budget. Let's not forget the highway system, and all those bridges that go along with it. Public education from Kindergarden to College. Public libraries, the Post Office, the electrical grid, the sewer systems, the water systems, the police and fire departments. The Army, Navy, Air Force, The Marines and Coast Guard. The airports and train systems. WIC, SNAP, SSDI, student loans, public parks, USDA, FDA, NASA, OSHA, Courts, jails and prisons, every one of them a socialist program! I could go on but life is short and I'm sure you get the picture.
They are, if anything, what makes America great!

Keepin' On

Nothing's changed folks, the time has come and gone, and so some of our arthors and artists won't be available to us. We turned up $1160 short of paying our bills for this year. That's the first time in the magazines history since our beginning in 2000 that we failed to raise the "rent."

For once I'm at a loss for words, imagine that! That's the trouble with being a sooth sayer. When people ask me what is it that I do, I have been known to say, "I piss people off." You'd be amazed how mad you can make some people by just telling the truth, saying the sooth! The Matrix, I hear, is very warm and comfortable, and over the years while we did unplug this, or that person, we found ourselves, mainly, just preaching to the choir! C'est la guerre!"

We'll keep fighting the good fight until the rest of the money runs out. 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 saying the sooth!


10-27-43 ~ 02-09-2019
Thanks for the film!

09-08-22 ~ 02-12-2019
Thanks for the laughs!


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

****** We've Moved The Forum Back *******

For late breaking news and views visit The Forum. Find all the news you'll otherwise miss. We publish three times the amount of material there than what is in the magazine. Look for the latest Activist Alerts. Updated constantly, please feel free to post an article we may have missed.


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) 2019 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.

U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) addresses the crowd during the annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day at the Dome event on January 21, 2019 in Columbia, South Carolina.

Bernie 2020 Campaign Has Corporate Democrats Running Scared
The overarching fear that defenders of oligarchy have about Sanders is not that he's out of step with most Americans-it's that he's in step with them.
By Norman Solomon

With a launch of the Bernie Sanders 2020 campaign on the near horizon, efforts to block his trajectory to the Democratic presidential nomination are intensifying. The lines of attack are already aggressive-and often contradictory.

One media meme says that Bernie has made so much headway in moving the Democratic Party leftward that he's no longer anything special. We're supposed to believe that candidates who've adjusted their sails to the latest political wind are just as good as the candidate who generated the wind in the first place.

Bloomberg News supplied the typical spin in a Feb. 8 article headlined "Sanders Risks Getting Crowded Out in 2020 Field of Progressives." The piece laid out the narrative: "Sanders may find himself a victim of his own success in driving the party to the left with his 2016 run. The field of Democratic presidential hopefuls includes at least a half-dozen candidates who've adopted in whole or in part the platform that helped Sanders build a loyal following . . ."

: Yet Bernie is also being targeted as too marginal. The same Bloomberg article quoted Howard Dean, a long-ago liberal favorite who has become a hawkish lobbyist and corporate mouthpiece: "There will be hardcore, hard left progressives who will have nobody but Bernie, but there won't be many."

" So, is Bernie now too much like other Democratic presidential candidates, or is he too much of an outlier? In the mass media, both seem to be true. In the real world, neither are true.

Last week, Business Insider reported on new polling about Bernie's proposal "to increase the estate tax, the tax paid by heirs on assets passed down by the deceased. Sanders' idea would lower the threshold to qualify for the tax to $3.5 million in assets, down from the current $11 million. The plan would also introduce a graduating scale of tax rates for the estates of wealthier Americans, eventually reaching a 77 percent marginal rate for assets over $1 billion."

Here are the poll results: "When presented with the details of the proposal, 37 percent of respondents supported Sanders' policy while 26 percent opposed, according to Insider's survey."(The rest had no opinion.)

That kind of response from the public is a far cry from claims that Sanders is somehow fringe. In fact, the ferocity of media attacks on him often indicates that corporate power brokers are afraid his strong progressive populism is giving effective voice to majority views of the public.

A vast range of grassroots organizing-outside and inside of electoral arenas-has created the current leftward momentum. "As a progressive, it is heartening to see so many other candidates voice support for Senator Sanders' policies," said Alan Minsky, executive director at Progressive Democrats of America. "However, I've been around the block enough times to know that politicians who adopt positions in tune with the fashion of the moment are not as trustworthy as those rare few, like Bernie Sanders, who have held firm to a powerful social justice vision through his entire long career."

I also asked for a comment from Pia Gallegos, former chair of the Adelante Progressive Caucus of the New Mexico Democratic Party. "Bernie's competitors lack his track record on economic security for all American workers, Medicare for All, free public college education, taxing the rich and opposing bloated military budgets," she said. "Those are long-standing positions that-more than ever-resonate with grassroots activists and voters. Other Democratic presidential candidates will try to imitate this populist agenda, but only Bernie can speak with the vision, clarity and moral authority that the Democratic Party's presidential candidate needs to defeat the incumbent."

The overarching fear that defenders of oligarchy have about Bernie Sanders is not that he's out of step with most Americans-it's that he's in step with them. For corporate elites determined to retain undemocratic power, a successful Bernie 2020 campaign would be the worst possible outcome of the election.

(c) 2019 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."

Juan Guaido engages supporters in Caracas, Venezuela, on February 2, 2019.

In Venezuela, White Supremacy Is Key Driver Of The Coup
By Greg Palast

Note: Palast covered Venezuela during the Chavez presidency for BBC Television Newsnight and the Guardian. You may download, for free, the film of Palast's BBC reports, The Assassination of Hugo Chavez. This article incorporates additional reporting by William Camacaro in Caracas.

On January 23, right after a phone call from Donald Trump, Juan Guaido, former speaker of Venezuela's National Assembly, declared himself president. No voting. When you have official recognition from The Donald, who needs elections?

Say what?

I can explain what's going on in Venezuela in photos.

First, we have Juan Guaido, self-proclaimed (and Trump-proclaimed) president of the nation, with his wife and child, a photo prominently placed in The New York Times. And here, the class photo of Guaido's party members in the National Assembly. They appear, overwhelmingly light-skinned - especially when compared to their political opposites in the third photo, the congress members who support the elected President Nicolas Maduro.

This is the story of Venezuela in black and white, the story not told in The New York Times or the rest of our establishment media. This year's so-called popular uprising is, at its heart, a furious backlash of the whiter (and wealthier) Venezuelans against their replacement by the larger Mestizo (mixed-race) poor. (Forty-four percent of the population that answered the 2014 census listed themselves as "white.") Four centuries of white supremacy in Venezuela by those who identify their ancestors as European came to an end with the 1998 election of Hugo Chavez, who won with the overwhelming support of the Mestizo majority. This turn away from white supremacy continues under Maduro, Chavez's chosen successor.

In my interviews with Chavez for BBC beginning in 2002, he talked with humor about the fury of a white ruling class finding itself displaced by a man who embraced his own Indigenous and African heritage.

In Venezuela, as in the USA, poverty and race are locked together. Why did so many Mestizo, poor Venezuelans love Chavez? As even the CIA's surprisingly honest Fact Book states:

"Social investment in Venezuela during the Chavez administration reduced poverty from nearly 50% in 1999 to about 27% in 2011, increased school enrollment, substantially decreased infant and child mortality, and improved access to potable water and sanitation through social investment."
But, just as Maduro took office, the price of oil began its collapse, and the vast social programs that oil had paid for were now supported by borrowing money and printing it, causing wild inflation. The economic slide is now made impossibly worse by what the UN rapporteur for Venezuela compared to "medieval sieges." The Trump administration cut off Venezuela from the oil sale proceeds from its biggest customer, the US.

Everyone has been hurt economically, but the privileged class's bank accounts have become nearly worthless. So, knowing that the Mestizo majority would not elect their Great White Hope Guaido, they simply took to the streets - often armed. (And yes, both sides are armed.)

I've seen this movie before. When I look at today's news reports of massive demonstrations against the so-called "dictatorship" of Venezuela's left government, it looks awfully like 2002, when I was first in Caracas reporting for BBC Television. Then, The New York Times, NPR and other mainstream outlets in the US reported on marches against the Chavez government, describing the tens of thousands of Venezuelans calling for Chavez's removal. The light-skinned protesters were overwhelmingly wealthy - and they wanted you to know it. Many of the women marched in high heels, the men peacocking in business suits, proudly displayed in the uniforms of their privileged class. The Chavistas wore patriotic yellow, blue and red T-shirts, sneakers, jeans.

To anti-Chavista protesters, race was an issue as much as class economics. I heard these opposition demonstrators shout "Chavez, Monkey!" and worse.

Many in the US have never heard this story of race war in Venezuela (and war is what it is), as the US press does not recognize its own racial bias. In 2002, as today, the massive demonstrations of the whiter Venezuelans were reported as evidence that Chavez was wildly unpopular. Yet, the day after each anti-Chavez march, I would witness and film the pro-Chavez demonstrations that flooded Caracas with an ocean of nearly half a million marchers, largely the Mestizo poor, that received little or no coverage in the US press.

The bias continues. The New York Times did not run a photo of this past week's pro-Maduro demonstrations. But in hard-to-find photos and reports from my colleagues on the ground, the Chavista demonstrations are bigger, involving mass turnouts in several cities, not just wealthy neighborhoods in Caracas.

Why do the poor march for Maduro? Even though the Mestizo majority suffers today, they will not turn back to the pre-Chavez days of de facto apartheid.

And we must remember this is not the first time the US government has tried to overthrow the elected government in Venezuela.

In 2002, George W. Bush's State Department cheer-led the coup. The plotters kidnapped Chavez and held him hostage. The coup was led by an oil industry leader and head of the Chamber of Commerce, Pedro Carmona, who had seized the nation's White House, and, like Guaido today, declared himself president. Carmona told me proudly about the fancy inaugural ball held by the nation's elite and attended by Bush's ambassador.

But the Bush/Carmona coup collapsed when a million mostly Mestizo, Indigenous and Black Venezuelans flooded the capital and forced the plotters to return their hero, the supposedly unpopular Chavez, to Miraflores, the presidential palace. "Presidente" Carmona fled.

Today, Guaido's supporters, like Carmona's, know they can't win an election given the overwhelming fact of the newly empowered Mestizo majority. So Guaido has skipped the idea of an election altogether, simply replacing running for office with the "recognition" from Trump and allies which Guaido can't get from Venezuelans.

When I see the images and hear the chants of the anti-Chavista demonstrators now, I'm also reminded of what I saw at a Trump rally in Macon, Georgia, this past November. The president slid out of Air Force One to tell the crowd - heavily weighted with white supremacists - that they needed to take back their country from those "invading" the border. Trump told them to fear gubernatorial candidate Stacey Abrams, who is Black, saying she would "turn Georgia into Venezuela."

I don't think Trump was talking about Abrams's program to bring universal health care to Georgia, as Chavez did for Venezuela.

Some of the US press is quick to condemn the racial hatred on display at Trump rallies. But I have yet to hear or read in the US press what our eyes can see in the three photos from Venezuela: an uprising of white or light-skinned people wanting to "take back their country."

The putsch in Venezuela is run by the wealthy, internationally connected minority operating by a regime-change plan designed by neocon retread John Bolton, Trump's national security adviser - a plan to control Venezuela and its oil, as Bolton openly proclaims.

Ah, yes, the oil. It's always the oil. And Venezuela has plenty to seize: the world's largest reserves.

We'll get to that in Part II.

(c) 2019 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.

Ocasio-Cortez, Sanders, Trump And The State Of Imperial Decline
By Glen Ford

Bernie Sanders' anticipated second run for the presidency is the 6-ton elephant in the Democratic boardroom. But the rich owners of the Party would rather lose to Trump again than win with Sanders For the entirety of the 21st century the Lords of Capital have offered nothing but deepening austerity and endless war to the "home" populace of the imperial countries. The Great Meltdown of 2008 brought the global capitalist system to the very brink of collapse, impoverishing tens of millions and imprinting a profound sense of dread and insecurity on a new generation. Were it not for the strength of China's command economy and the $19 trillion Federal Reserve bailout of U.S. and European banks, the global capitalist system might have come totally undone. Instead, the system's concentration of wealth mechanisms were put on overdrive. No wonder, then, that polls show 18 to 29 year-old Americans favor socialism (51%) over capitalism (45%), and that Black Americans are even more socialist-minded than that. And no wonder a U.S. president felt compelled to exorcise the demons of socialism in his State of the Union Address:

"Here, in the United States, we are alarmed by new calls to adopt socialism in our country," Donald Trump told the imperial Congress. "America was founded on liberty and independence --- not government coercion, domination, and control. We are born free, and we will stay free. Tonight, we renew our resolve that America will never be a socialist country."

In truth, there are no organizations of socialists even remotely positioned to threaten the rule of the Lords of Capital in the U.S. However, super-majorities of the U.S. public favor single payer health care, free college tuition, a living minimum wage, and other New Deal-type programs pushed by self-styled "democratic" socialists like Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. And the leftish Democrats' "Green New Deal" proposals for a massive renewable energy makeover of infrastructure combined with jobs guarantees are "strongly" or "somewhat" supported by a whopping 81 percent of all registered voters (including 40 percent of Republicans) and 92 percent of Democrats.

This is what passes for "socialism" in the U.S., and although such programs are not designed to overthrow the rule of capital, they are forbidden political territory for the leadership of both corporate parties in the age of endless austerity and war. Of the 535 House and Senate members gathered in the Capitol building for the annual presidential address, only 78 belong to the Medicare for All Caucus, all of them House Democrats. That means only one-third of the 235 Democratic House members have endorsed a measure that enjoys 85 percent support among Democratic voters and 70 percent among Americans as a whole, including 52 percent of Republicans.

The Lords of Capital, not the voters, control both political parties, and the Lords decree austerity. Donald Trump, the billionaire arch racist, nevertheless styles himself as a "populist," and littered his remarks with vague references to repairing "crumbling infrastructure," lowering the cost of prescription drugs, and a promise to sign a bill for nationwide paid parental leave after childbirth. But that's just hot air for the occasion. Trump's proposed budget for 2019, like the previous year, slashes deeply at the threadbare safety net, gutting Medicare, Medicaid and food stamps - a vicious austerity.

Trump bragged about his gargantuan military budgets -- $700 billion for 2018, $716 for this year - that blew deficits through the roof, providing a rationale for more cuts to social programs the next go-round. "War as an enemy of the poor," as Dr. Martin Luther King described it. Under late stage capitalism, war and austerity are twin policies, and the only items on the menu of either corporate party.

Democratic leadership is just as wedded to war and austerity as Trump and his Republicans. The Democrats recruited Georgia's Stacey Abrams, the Democrat who was defeated by blatant racial vote-stealing in her bid for governor, to show how important the Black vote is to the party. But House Speaker Nancy Pelosi didn't authorize Abrams to offer any programs of substance that would upset the austerity regime. Instead, Abrams spoke of her own history and the trials and tribulations of the civil rights and women's movements, demanded that everyone be held "accountable for racist words and deeds," called for defense of an LGBTQ community that "remains under attack," and insisted that Donald Trump "tell the truth, and to respect his duties and the extraordinary diversity that defines America."

The truth is, the Democrats are running on a "we are not Trump" platform, the same as Hillary Clinton did the last time around. Clinton and her corporate handlers believed that Trump set the bar so low and was so personally repulsive, that he would be easily beaten without the Democrats having to make any promises to relieve the suffering of their working class base. The austerity regime would be safe in such a contest. Black and brown voters would rally around the Democrats in panic at the prospect of a Trump presidency, as would "non-deplorable" whites. But it turned out that most whites are deplorables and stuck with the Republican Party, as they have ever since it became the party of white supremacy in 1968 -- many with renewed passion, in the belief that they finally had one of their own at the helm.

Polls showed that Bernie Sanders, the "democratic socialist" insurgent, would likely have beaten Trump in 2016 - an outcome the Lords of Capital feared far more than Trump's ascent to the Oval Office, since his outstanding primary showing represented the strongest electoral challenge to austerity of the century. The "leftish" sentiments of voters and Democratic activists have hardened and intensified in the Trump years. Sanders' anticipated second run is the 6-ton elephant in the Democratic boardroom. The corporate overseers of the Party would rather lose to Trump again than win with Sanders, whose victory might spell the end of the austerity half of the late stage capitalist regime (although U.S. endless war policy would likely remain in effect.)

Sanders has for the past two years gone on Facebook Live and other social media to respond to Trump's State of the Union addresses. However, the corporate Democrats have rolled out their candidates early, with Black Senators Kamala Harris and Cory Booker out front in the race to protect the interests of the Lords of Capital. As BAR columnist Danny Haiphong has said, Democratic leadership wants to bury the dreaded Sanders candidacy in a sea of safe, pseudo-progressive faces, many of them Black and brown. Democratic operatives attacked Sanders for trying to "step on" the performance of official Democratic designated responder, Stacey Abrams.

Shamefully, Temple University professor Mark Lamont Hill, who was fired by CNN for defending Palestinian human rights, showed his true colors as kiss-ass to Democratic corporate leadership. A Sanders response to Trump's State of the Union" is a bad move," said Hill, "especially assuming he's going to run. It only reinforces the idea that Bernie is not serious about representing the interests of the Democratic Party. It also reads as racially tone deaf, as Stacey Abrams becomes the first Black woman to deliver the response."

Sanders dutifully waited for Abrams' soulful yet substance-starved presentation to end, then slammed into Trump's fantasy world like a growling gray bulldozer. The economy is "not booming" for the roughly 80% of Americans living "paycheck to paycheck," said Sanders. Americans need Medicare for All because they "can't afford to go to the doctor when they're sick" and "cannot afford to buy the prescription drugs." The U.S. has the "highest rate of childhood poverty in the developed world"; Americans are "working longer and longer hours for lower wages;" and "cannot afford a decent place in which to live" or "feed their families" - conditions that can be alleviated by living wage laws and a restructured economy. Sanders quoted Dr. Martin Luther King, the self-described "democratic socialist.": "This country has socialism for the rich and rugged individualism for the poor."

After the Address, Congresswoman Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez told MSNBC that Trump is "losing on the issues" and that is why he made an "ad hominem" attack on socialism. She pointed out that her proposal to tax the super-rich at 70 percent is supported by 60 percent of the public. Howevever, Ocasio-Cortez, a "socialist" of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA) variety, cannot escape the stupiifying grip of imperial ideology. Her "socialism" goes no farther than New Deal programs to save capitalism, and is absent any solidarity with those resisting imperialism's efforts to destroy the very idea of "socialism" and national sovereignty everywhere in the formerly Third World. Solidarity is not part of Sanders and "AOC's" political makeup, except with those purported "socialists" that have made peace with capitalism in western Europe and now struggle to preserve their welfare state structures under the NATO imperial umbrella - a battle they are so far losing -- while their governments act as junior partners in Washington's endless wars.

Ocasio-Cortez was questioned on MSNBC about Trump's attack on socialism in general, and on the socialist government in Venezuela that the U.S. has been attempting to overthrow for the past 20 years. "We stand with the Venezuelan people in their noble quest for freedom," said the Orange Aggressor, who last week recognized a U.S.-groomed pretender to the Venezuelan presidency and gave him the keys to billions in assets stolen by Washington. "And we condemn the brutality of the Maduro regime, whose socialist policies have turned that nation from being the wealthiest in South America into a state of abject poverty and despair."

AOC said Trump was trying to "confuse the public. I think he sees himself losing on the issues, he sees himself losing on the wall in the southern border, and he needs to grasp at an ad hominem attack and this is his way of doing it." But she did not object to Trump and two previous U.S. presidents' attempted coups, devastating sanctions and constant subversion of a government whose electoral process were described by former president Jimmy Carter as the "best in the world." Instead, she spoke as a loyal American imperialist, for whom the sovereignty of other nations and peoples is dependent on the whims of the global hegemon, the government of which she is now a part. According to Ocasio-Cortez, the issue in Venezuela is not socialism, even if the president that ordered it says so, and neither is there a problem of violations of international law by the U.S. Rather, "What we need to realize is happening is this is an issue of authoritarian regime versus democracy. In order for [Trump] to try to dissuade or throw people off the scent of the trail, he has to really confuse the public. And I think that that's exactly what he's trying to do."

If AOC meant that the U.S. is an authoritarian regime that systematically violates international law, she would be correct. But instead, she was speaking of the government in Venezuela, and blaming the victim of the aggression. Ocasio-Cortez is thus complicit in the crime. As is Sanders, whose statement on the unfolding U.S coup in Venezuela provided a political rationale for overthrowing Nicolas Maduro's government, followed by a weak objection to Trump's actually doing it. The terms "wishy-washy" and worthless were coined for just such imperial leftists (properly called "social imperialists," not socialists.)

Only three Democratic members of the House, California Rep. Ro Khanna, Minnesota Rep. Ilhan Omar and Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, have condemned the U.S. actions against Venezuela, and much of the phony left has found common cause with Trump in the crime.

It is possible that AOC will grow an internationalist consciousness, without which one is no socialist. But it's way too late for 77 year-old Bernie Sanders. His historical mission is to run for president once again, on a platform opposed to endless austerity, and hopefully generate such momentum that Democratic leaders will be forced by their corporate masters to sabotage Sander's campaign in the full light of day, provoking a significant exodus of lefties from the Party.

The corporate duopoly cannot buck the Lords of Capital, whose only vision for the planet is endless austerity and war, with themselves forever on top. The real resistance can only be nurtured outside the Party. Bernie Sanders' job, although certainly not his intention, is to explode the Democrats by running on a platform that supermajorities of people support - and to be publicly crucified for it.

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

What's Behind This Photo Of Corporate Groundbreaking?
By Jim Hightower

A newspaper photograph last June portrayed three guys in suits and ties shoveling dirt. They were Donald Trump, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, and the chairman of Foxconn, the Taiwanese electronics conglomerate.

They were doing a PR groundbreaking for Foxconn's new plant that supposedly would hire thousands of blue-collar workers in Wisconsin to make flat-screen televisions. All three hailed the event as the start of a Made-in-the-USA manufacturing renaissance, but it was actually a corporate scam. Walker, who was up for re-election, was giving away a whopping $4 billion from his state's taxpayers to lure Foxconn. Still, Trump hailed the deal as "the eighth wonder of the world."

Less than a year later, though - oops - it turns out the three had been shoveling BS. In January, Foxconn quietly backed away from its promise of all those factory jobs, declaring that "the global market environment... has changed.... In terms of TV, we have no place in the US." Having already pocketed much of Walker's bribe money, Foxconn was downsizing its project from a mass-production blue-collar factory to some sort of high-tech R&D operation.

It turns out that the Taiwanese giant has a history of reneging on its grandiose schemes, including failing to deliver on a Pennsylvania factory it promised in 2013. Still, Foxconn is right that the environment had changed - Walker was defeated in November, Wisconsinites are in an uproar over both his extravagant giveaway and the corporation's backaway, the new Democratic governor is asking pointed questions, and Trump's slaphappy zigzags on tariffs has roiled the whole high-tech market.

So, beware: When you see a picture of politicians shoveling the people's tax dollars into corporate coffers, the only sure thing is that the people are being played for suckers.

(c) 2019 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

Dear Humanity, I Think We Should Just Be Friends
By David Swanson

Friends, fellow inhabitants of planet Earth, I'm not breaking up with you. I just think maybe we ought to see other species for a while. You like dogs, right?

I've spent so many years trying to talk with you, and you haven't heard anything. So, we have the same conversation over and over and over. Let's just take a little amicable break, OK?

What do I mean? Well, you say you're mad at some scandal or party or personality, or you're upset at something that costs millions of dollars. I say you could get tens of thousands of times that by cutting a few percent out of the criminal, destructive, unaudited military bonanza, or out of corporations that pay negative taxes, or out of the billionaires who tell you what to think. You say but without any military, an evil crazy group would "get you." I say, how about cutting the U.S. military back to no more than four times the next most expensive one. You say, but think of the jobs. I say, there'd be more jobs, not fewer, but I wasn't thinking of them because I'm not a sociopath. You say, so Hitler should have killed all the Jews? I say the United States government refused to accept them and gave not a single flying fuck who Hitler killed except that it very much wanted him to kill more Russians. You exhibit no ability to hear that remark and go back to the millions of dollars or some other bullshit.

I don't mind this. Of course you don't allow me to say it on U.S. television anymore, only foreign-owned networks. But I say it to large gatherings. And people claim they've heard it. I write books to give people a basic understanding, as far as I'm able, of war and peace and the lies that are told about them, so that each new lie can be rejected. And people claim they've read the books. And sometimes it seems that people are catching on. Other times, well . . .

Lately, it's gotten much worse. Smart, courageous, educated people tell me that Donald Trump's every move is ordered by Vladimir Putin, including things that have not actually happened, such as the U.S. withdrawal from NATO that people tell me occurred some time back, and including things Russia adamantly opposes, such as a coup in Venezuela, ripping up the INF Treaty, leaving the Iran agreement, sending weapons into Ukraine, sending troops and missiles into Eastern Europe, staging war rehearsals in Scandinavia, imposing sanctions on Russia, expanding NATO, demanding that NATO members buy more weapons, fighting several wars at once and building more bases, refusing to ban weapons in space, refusing to ban cyber attacks, building more nukes, etc.

People tell me that a pristine U.S. election system only slightly flawed by its total lack of verifiability, a communications system rotten to the core, bribery legalized, ballot and debate access severely restricted, blatantly racist removal of voters from the rolls, open intimidation of voters by a victorious presidential candidate, an electoral college that gives victories to losers, grotesque gerrymandering, enormous incumbent advantages, etc., has been sullied by some weird unrelated Facebook ads from a foreign nation whose former ruler Boris Yeltsin was properly installed for the good of humanity by then-U.S. President Bill Clinton.

Do they believe it? I'm afraid they struggle to believe their own horse manure, that they may in fact need a war in order to properly do so, and that we may not survive that war. If I believed that Vladimir Putin had secretly made Trump president, and that the Democratic Party screwing its strongest candidate out of the nomination was just a lucky coincidence for the Evil Master Mind in the Kremlin, I'd be protesting at the Russian Embassy every day. I'd go to Moscow and protest there. What are Russiagate believers doing? They're waiting for the U.S. government to investigate itself. How many times has that worked?

But, then, when do you, humanity, ever act on your supposed beliefs? If I believed that life was infinitesimally short and meaningless in comparison with an infinite and joyful magical life after death, I'd damn well be signing up to clear land mines, while demanding that governments lay more of them. What are you doing? You're strategizing to add minutes to your actual life through a diet of any sort of food, no matter how revolting.

Would you believe your beliefs if yet another war accompanied them? Quite possibly. Do you think so many of you have clung to Iraq war lies or Libya war lies or any other war lies just because you have found them so convincing? Of course not. It's because without them, your beloved government, which you despise except when it's waging war, would have committed mass murder for no good reason.

Does anyone really currently believe that secret cells of Hezbollah in Venezuela are plotting to overthrow the U.S. government and restrict your freedoms? Or that the U.S. government is trying to provide aid to Venezuela while simultaneously imposing brutal sanctions on Venezuela? Or that when John Bolton blurts out that it's all about oil, he's just being sarcastic to make fun of all those marginalized commentators who harbor a twisted obsession with actual facts? Yet, once a war comes, you know that yall will do your best to believe all this garbage and more.

Your problem, if I may be so bold, is part nationalism, part partisanship, part militarism, and part just plain simplemindedness. This doesn't mean that I'm some sort of genius who never has to correct his blunders. It just means that I notice in you, humanity, a fanatical devotion to oversimplifying anything you can. If I say a bad word about Russiagate, I'm supposed to deny that Trump has attempted to make corrupt financial deals in every corner of the globe including Russia. If I say a bad word against Trump, I'm supposed to love NATO and the wars on Syria and Afghanistan. If I say a good word about Trump, I'm supposed to love fascist demagoguery and border walls.

Life is complicated, people. It's more complicated than I grasp, I'll readily admit. But I don't devote my energies to actively trying to pretend the world is as simple as a cartoon or a Fox News broadcast for fucksake. Sometimes you have to recognize that something is only partly true. Sometimes you have to agree with lunatics. "You can't help people being right for the wrong reasons," said Arthur Koestler. "This fear of finding oneself in bad company is not an expression of political purity. It is an expression of a lack of self confidence." Let's work on our confidence, humanity. Let's meet for coffee in a year or ten, if we're still here, and if coffee is still here. I do love you.

(c) 2019 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.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and Senator Ed Markey (D-MA) hold a news conference for
their proposed "Green New Deal" at the US Capitol in Washington, DC, on February 7, 2019.

Reactionaries Call The Green New Deal 'Radical,' Like That's A Bad Thing
Supporters of action on climate change must borrow a page from FDR by laughing off critics-recognizing that there are times when we must indeed be radical.
By John Nichols

Republicans in Congress say the Green New Deal is "radical." Excellent!

Even before a historic congressional resolution to address climate change and create jobs was introduced last week-in the House by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez with backing from Congressional Progressive Caucus co-chairs Mark Pocan and Pramila Jayapal and in the Senate by Ed Markey with backing from Democratic presidential prospects such as Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, Kirsten Gillibrand, and Jeff Merkley-the Republicans pounced.

The reactionaries who represent the nation's fossil-fuel industries griped that the Green New Deal would negatively impact their paymasters.

"As Democrats take a hard left turn, this radical proposal would take our growing economy off the cliff and our nation into bankruptcy," cried Senate Environment and Public Works Committee chair John Barrasso (R-WY). "It's the first step down a dark path to socialism." Illinois Republican John Shimkus, the ranking member on the Environment and Climate Change Subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, decried "radical policies like the Green New Deal."

"The climate crisis is a problem of epic proportions that requires a level of ambition just as big." -League of Conservation Voters

Thank you, Senator Barasso. Thank you, Congressman Shimkus. Thanks to all the reactionary Republicans and docile Democrats who are doing their best to portray the Green New Deal as "radical." Please, please keep it up.

Climate change represents a stark threat to the planet and the people who inhabit it. When Pocan says "we can't afford to wait any longer and need to take action on climate change," he's right. The United Nations Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warns that dramatic action will be required over the next 12 years to avert environmental and economic disaster.

"The climate crisis is a problem of epic proportions that requires a level of ambition just as big," explains League of Conservation Voters president Gene Karpinski. "This is an all hands-on-deck moment, and now is the time to challenge ourselves as never before."

Denial won't cut it anymore. Nor will the half-steps of those who acknowledge the crisis but refuse to respond in sufficient measure. "Even the solutions that we have considered big and bold are nowhere near the scale of the actual problem that climate change presents to us, to our country, to the world," explains Ocasio-Cortez.

So a radical solution is called for. No one should make apologies for recognizing this necessity. Radical change goes to the root of the problem and addresses it. The details of the Green New Deal are up for debate, as were the details of the original New Deal. FDR taught us that responses to historic challenges develop as an understanding of crises evolves and a real sense of urgency takes hold.

Wisconsin State Representative Greta Neubauer, who worked as a fellow with and as director of the Fossil Fuel Divestment Student Network before her election, says that what matters now is an understanding of the need to advance an ambitious program "that provides living wage jobs and protects our environment."

Those who seek to divide us against one another say this is impossible. Don't believe them.

FDR's New Deal proposals to address the economic crisis that extended from the Great Depression were attacked as radical too-even before he and his brain trust had developed specific programs. Why? Because entrenched special interests are always frightened by the prospect that government might get focused on addressing serious problems with serious proposals.

Senator Markey has the right attitude. Arguing that climate change deniers "are threatened by [the] Green New Deal because our FDR New Deal-inspired plan threatens their corporate polluter pals' bottom lines," he says: "Good." Like FDR, Markey invites Americans to "Judge me by the enemies I have made." That's a reference to an argument Roosevelt made when he was bidding for the presidency in 1932. Facing criticism from business executives and their amen corner in the media for proposing to regulate utilities and to crack down on the overcharging consumers, the Democratic presidential nominee declared:

To the people of the country I have but one answer on this subject: Judge me by the enemies I have made. Judge me by the selfish purposes of these utility leaders who have talked of radicalism while they were [defrauding] the people and using our schools to deceive the coming generation.

My friends, my policy is as radical as the Constitution of the United States.

I promise you this: Never shall the federal government part with its sovereignty or with its control of its power resources while I'm President of the United States.

When critics called FDR radical, he embraced the term. "There is no question in my mind that it is time for the country to become fairly radical for at least one generation," he explained in the early 1930s.

In 1936, when he was bidding for a second term as president, Roosevelt addressed those who attacked him as too radical by saying of his first term: "We had to struggle with the old enemies of peace-business and financial monopoly, speculation, reckless banking, class antagonism, sectionalism, war profiteering," he told a mass rally in New York at the close of the campaign. "They had begun to consider the Government of the United States as a mere appendage to their own affairs. We know now that Government by organized money is just as dangerous as Government by organized mob. Never before in all our history have these forces been so united against one candidate as they stand today. They are unanimous in their hate for me-and I welcome their hatred."

Supporters of a Green New Deal should borrow a page from FDR by laughing off the critics and by recognizing that there are times when the United States must, indeed, become fairly radical.

(c) 2019 John Nichols John Nichols is associate editor of The Capital Times. Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Are Plants Aware?
By James Donahue

An article in the Christian Science Monitor reported on research by scientists in "the evolving paradigm of plant intelligence."

The story by Patrik Jonsson noted that some scientists believe plants are capable of carefully considering their environment, speculating on the future, conquering territory and enemies, "and are often capable of forethought - revelations that could affect everyone from gardeners to philosophers."

Jonsson added that the research has opened "a sprouting debate over the nature of intelligence itself."

Examples of findings by the research included the discovery that the parasitic plant strangleweed "can sense the presence of friends, foes and food, and make adroit decisions on how to approach them."

Also the ground-hugging mayapple "plans its growth two years into the future, based on computations of weather patterns."

Plant geneticists are finding that plants can communicate with each other as well as with insects by coded gas exhalations. "They can perform Euclidean geometry calculations through cellular computations and, like a peeved boss, remember the tiniest transgression for months."

These findings support belief by some that the Earth is a living sentient being and that everything on the planet is not only alive, but part of a vast universal information system.

My late wife Doris appeared to understand this long before I did. She kept a variety of house plants that thrived under her care. She once said it was important how the plants were placed because some did not like living next to each other. She said they also responded well when she talked to them.

I had my first realization of how plants respond to human involvement in their environment when I began cutting firewood to heat our home. My father and I would drive back into the wooded area of the family farm every Saturday to cut down a few trees, saw them into sections, and load them on the back of a pickup for delivery to the back yard. Thinking of conservation even in those years, we used to seek out the fallen or diseased trees in the forest, or take older trees that were crowding out the smaller ones. We never dreamed that what we were doing was exciting the forest, however.

One day I read about an experiment by some Russian biologists with a few cabbage plants growing in a greenhouse type of environment. A row of about six cabbage plants were attached to a sensitive instrument that measured various electronic waves transmitted by the living plants. The device worked somewhat like an electroencephalograph attached to the human brain.

During the experiment a man entered the room each day at a certain time to water and add nourishment to the soil in each of the pots in which the cabbages were growing. The signals were recorded. There was a reaction to this activity each day. Then one day a new person entered the room carrying an ax. This man walked up to one of the cabbage plants and chopped it to pieces. The response on the recorders was immediate. There was a wild increase in electronic activity. It was clear that the other cabbage plants not only were aware of this terrible event, they expressed a strong response to what just happened.

From that time on, the mere entrance of the room by the man who had wielded the ax caused the same kind of electronic reaction among the surviving cabbage plants. They were retaining vivid memories of the ax killing of one of their kind.

The conclusion among the scientists conducting the study is that the cabbage plants not only are aware of their surroundings, they communicate with one another, and respond to events that affect them.

After this, I found it difficult to enter the forest and cut down trees. I realized that the trees not only were communicating, but they may have feared my approach. Eventually we sold that home and moved into a smaller house that had a gas fired furnace.

(c) 2019 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.

Migrants view a live televised speech by President Donald Trump on border security at a shelter for migrants on January 8, 2019, in Tijuana, Mexico.

The Problem Is Not "Fake News." It's The Noise That Drowns Out The News.
By William Rivers Pitt

I put my head in a blender quite completely by accident on Thursday morning, and I'm still trying to get my legs back under me. It started just after 6:00 a.m. when I made the enormous unforced error of turning on MSNBC's "Morning Joe." Co-host Joe Scarborough and Washington Post columnist Jonathan Capehart were discussing the ongoing debacle in Virginia, so I thought, "What the hell. Let's see what the Hot TV Take is today."

Bad mistake.

Scarborough, who has molted more times than a Screech Owl (right-wing lawyer to right-wing House Rep. to right-wing TV star to self-decreed martyred saint for "real" Republicans in the era of Trump), was attempting to wrap his mind around the phenomenon of blackface to the visible bemusement of Capehart, who is Black. "I've lived in the Florida panhandle, they call it the Redneck Riviera," said Scarborough. "I've lived in Meridian, Mississippi. I've lived in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. I never had a friend, I never had an acquaintance, I never knew anyone who wore blackface. Is this a Virginia thing, or was I sheltered?"

Capehart favored Scarborough with a long Pelosi Pity Clap Look before responding, "You were sheltered." There I was, first thing in the morning, listening to a man like Scarborough - who in his time has defended the assassin of abortion doctor David Gunn, sought to privatize the Departments of Education and HUD, voted to strip $270 billion from Medicare and voted to impeach President Clinton before changing careers in order to carry corporate water for a profoundly conflicted media outlet - sit there and whitesplain his ignorance of blackface and institutional Southern racism to an award-winning Black journalist. The experience is difficult to quantify, but it left me feeling a deep need to bathe.

This was merely the appetizer, however. The National Prayer Breakfast was taking place at 8:30 a.m. that morning, and Donald Trump was scheduled to speak. When he addressed this gathering in 2017, Trump vowed to "get rid and totally destroy the Johnson Amendment." This amendment, a provision of the tax code that prohibits churches and other non-profit institutions from endorsing or opposing political candidates, is probably the most oft-defied law in the country, but this was red meat for the audience. Thinking he might pull a similar number this year, I felt duty-bound to watch.

Bad mistake #2.

Trump did not run wild, gnaw on the podium or declare the Ten Commandments to be the new constitution. As there were rabbis and imams in attendance along with the cream of the right-wing evangelical crop, it is entirely likely that Stephen Miller warned the president not to let his true colors shine too brightly, and he seemed to heed that advice.

It was not, however, a great day in the annals of communication. Unlike the State of the Union address, Trump had no teleprompter during Thursday morning's Prayer Breakfast to guide him through the briar patch of his own thoughts, and the result was a bewildering word cloud that left even God in a state of despairing confusion.

This, a small portion of Trump's remarks I transcribed myself, is best read out loud:

On Tuesday, it was my profound honor to address the nation from the House chamber of the state of the union, and our union, as you heard me say, is very very strong. As I said in my address, there is no limit to what we can achieve if we follow the path of cooperation, compromise and common good. America's potential is unlimited because our extraordinary people are just something that is number one, no matter where you go, we have people, they love our country, and they love their faith.

We are graced by those extraordinary heroes from Tuesday night, the SWAT officer, Timothy Matson, who graced and raced through a very very bullet-filled doorway, he was shot many many times, he's been operated on many times and unfortunately he's going back for more. But he was really stopped from having something as bad as it was, the Tree of Life Synagogue, was a horrible horrible (long pause) event, and he really did do a job, he made it so much better, it was so good to see him, I saw him at the hospital and he was suffering, and he is still suffering, but he told me the other night he is so proud to have been a part, he was just a great great gentleman, we introduced him the other night.

Not long after this linguistic adventure came another little gem: "Since the founding of our nation, many of our greatest strides - from gaining our independence to abolition of civil rights to extending the vote for women - have been led by people of faith."

Not only would Trump and his party oppose two of those three actions today (and given their authoritarian bent, we can perhaps include their opposition to independence as well), but boy howdy, talk about a big chunk of truth offered by mistake. "Abolition of civil rights" indeed. Kris Kobach, your table is ready.

The hardest part is knowing where to put the commas and periods. Perhaps never in all of human history has anyone come so far in life while communicating entirely in sentence fragments. It's like being trapped inside someone else's headache, or listening to a record on a turntable with a busted needle. A friend noted that he used to have to stick a matchbook under the 8-track tape to make it play right in the deck. We have no such luxury here.

All this, of course, is nothing new. It wasn't even unique to the week. On CNBC the day before, Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin was on defending Donald Trump's State of the Union message. "His economic program is working," said Mnuchin. We're not going back to socialism."

Immediately, my mind split in two and began talking over itself. "Socialism?" the right side asked in astonishment. "How do we go back to socialism? Oh, wait, you guys think Obama was a socialist. That's pretty funny." The left side of my brain, however, rose in high dudgeon. "Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, the interstate highway system, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the Hoover Dam, the G.I. Bill, the police, the fire department, public libraries, the post office, farm subsidies, WIC, SNAP, SSDI, student loans, public parks, and let's not forget top-of-the-line health benefits for public servants like the Treasury Secretary, all paid for with public money!" it shouted. "Back to socialism? We've been wallowing in highly effective socialism for almost 100 years, you mortgage pirate."

Someday, if we survive the mess we've made of the planet, someone will compile a detailed sociological examination of how this constant torrent of mind bombs came to affect the population. For many, I fear, the ultimate result is inaction due to confusion, consternation and livid frustration.

No, I do not believe it is an accident of mass media saturation. We are deliberately polluted by a sewage spigot of cognitive dissonance and rank nonsense pouring into our minds on a daily basis. It's not "fake news," because "fake news" is almost always real news the president doesn't want you to know. This is bad noise aimed with purpose and intent. Half the country ingests this swill and then, for example, abandons their right to vote because the pursuit of finding the point to it all requires hip waders and a stronger stomach than most possess. It's the Gish Gallop deployed nationally, and it has proven to be brutally effective.

So there I was, with the triple-threat of the Treasury Secretary, a widely watched television personality and the president of the United States banging around inside my head like maddened parakeets in a flaming cage... and then I remembered the television came with an "Off" button factory-installed. It worked exactly as it was supposed to, and I knew peace. Try it, and tell a friend.

(c) 2019 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.

She Seems Nice
By Heather Digby Parton

Kellyanne Conway got in some serious boot-licking this morning with her derisive, verbal assaults on the Democratic candidates for the the entertainment of her audience of one. I'm sure he had a very satisfying "executive time" listening to it:

"That guy [Beto O'Rourke] ... apparently wants to reward his loss of a Senate seat, his loss to Ted Cruz in Texas, with running for president," Conway said. "Let's just bring that to the whole country now, being a loser."

[Recall that her boss was a failed businessman who went bankrupt four times before he ran for office.]

She also took aim at Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.), who announced her presidential candidacy over the weekend during a snowstorm in her home state.

"I don't think that was a very impressive rollout," Conway said. "It's a lot of sing-songy happy talk from these folks, or it's virulently anti-Donald Trump at all times. They're so obsessed with him."

Conway also referenced recent unflattering news reports about how Klobuchar treats her staff.

"Amy Klobuchar, who seems to be a very nice person, I guess, unless you're on her staff - she's had some terrible articles about how she treats them," Conway said.

Conway also worked in a jab at Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), who formally announced her 2020 bid over the weekend amid continuing controversy over having identified as a Native American.

"Elizabeth Warren spent decades, folks, decades appropriating somebody else's heritage and ethnicity, and she's been lying about it," Conway said.

Conway knocked Sen. Kamala D. Harris (D-Calif.), another 2020 hopeful, for signing onto the "Green New Deal," a lofty vision to eliminate all U.S. carbon emissions that critics have said is costly and unrealistic.

Without prompting, she then turned to an episode over the weekend involving Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), who is exploring a 2020 bid and made a visit to a soul food restaurant in Columbia, S.C.

When a plate of fried chicken arrived, Gillibrand started eating it with a fork before noticing that her tablemates were using their fingers.

"Kirsten Gillibrand, this weekend in her 50s, apparently it was the first time she had ever eaten fried chicken, and she waited for the cameras to roll," Conway relayed.

Toward the end of the segment, Conway found something nice to say about two other potential 2020 candidates, former Starbucks chief executive Howard Schultz and former New York mayor and businessman Michael Bloomberg.

Schultz is eyeing an independent bid while Bloomberg is mulling running as a Democrat. Both are billionaires.

"These are two guys who started businesses out of nothing, and they have successfully been job creators and have operated within the private insurance system for decades," Conway said, apparently seeking to contrast them with Democrats who are advocating for single-payer health-care plans.

This is what Trump likes about her. She's unable to hide her smirk as she's trolling which makes her all the more popular with his nasty base.

(c) 2019 Heather Digby Parton, also known as "Digby," is a contributing writer to Salon. She was the winner of the 2014 Hillman Prize for Opinion and Analysis Journalism.

Parts of the eastern U.S. and Canada are experiencing record cold temperatures as a result of global warming.

Winter Weather Doesn't Disprove Global Warming
By David Suzuki

Weather and climate aren't the same. It's one thing for people who spend little or no time learning about global warming to confuse the two, but when those we elect to represent us don't know the difference, we're in trouble.

For a U.S. president to tweet about what he referred to as "Global Waming" because parts of the country are experiencing severe winter conditions displays a profound ignorance that would be embarrassing for an ordinary citizen, let alone the leader of a world power.

To understand the distinction, it's important to know the difference between "global warming" and "climate change." Although the terms are often used interchangeably, there's a subtle difference. Current global warming refers to the overall phenomenon whereby global average temperatures are steadily increasing more rapidly than can be explained by natural factors. Much of the climate change we're already seeing - from increasing extreme weather events to floods and drought to altered ocean currents - is a result of global warming.

That's leading to a range of impacts, "including rising sea levels; shrinking mountain glaciers; accelerating ice melt in Greenland, Antarctica and the Arctic; and shifts in flower/plant blooming times," according to NASA. That, in turn, affects everything from the food we grow and eat to water availability to human migration.

Both "global warming" and "climate change" refer to average long-term phenomena and effects, whereas "weather" refers to local changes in climate "on short timescales from minutes to hours to days to weeks," such as "rain, snow, clouds, winds, thunderstorms, heat waves and floods," NASA says. So, what about those record cold temperatures in parts of the eastern U.S. and Canada? To start, global warming is global; it doesn't refer to one specific place. While parts of North America are experiencing record cold, places like Australia are seeing record-breaking heat. Globally, the past four years have been the hottest on record, and the warmest 20 have occurred over the past 22 years.

Several studies show global warming is causing an increasing number of cold-weather events in eastern North America. "Warm temperatures in the Arctic cause the jet stream to take these wild swings, and when it swings farther south, that causes cold air to reach farther south. These swings tend to hang around for awhile, so the weather we have in the eastern United States, whether it's cold or warm, tends to stay with us longer," said Jennifer Francis, research professor of marine and coastal sciences in Rutgers' School of Environmental and Biological Sciences, who co-authored one study published in Nature Communications.

This, according to National Geographic, also means "floods last longer and droughts become more persistent."

The study found, "severe winter weather is two to four times more likely in the eastern United States when the Arctic is abnormally warm than when the Arctic is abnormally cold." Winters are also colder in northern Europe and Asia when the Arctic is warm. The opposite is true in western North America, where severe winter weather is more likely "when the Arctic is colder than normal." The effects are more pronounced when Arctic warming reaches beyond the surface, causing disruptions in the stratospheric polar vortex.

Warmer temperatures can also lead to increased precipitation, which falls as snow when temperatures drop below freezing. As a Scientific American article notes, warmer temperatures in winter 2006 prevented Lake Erie from freezing for the first time in history, which "led to increased snowfalls because more evaporating water from the lake was available for precipitation."

Melting ice in the Arctic, Antarctic and on glaciers exposes land or sea, creating feedback loops, as dark surfaces absorb more solar heat than ice and snow, which reflect it. This accelerates warming.

So, no, a cold day where you live isn't evidence that global warming is a "hoax." Scientists worldwide agree: As humans continue to burn fossil fuels and destroy areas that absorb carbon dioxide, like forests and wetlands, the planet's average temperature will keep rising, with undeniable consequences for human health and survival, as well as for the biodiverse life on which we rely.

A study in Science Advances predicts extreme weather events could increase by 50 per cent this century if we don't bring emissions under control. It's time to take this seriously.

(c) 2019 Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co_founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

Ilhan Omar Was a Target for Sincere Criticism. Also, Opportunistic Hypocrites.
What a Monday it's been. Say, what's Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu up to?
By Charles P. Pierce

By the end of business Monday, Rep. Ilhan Omar, Democrat of Minnesota, had apologized for sending out Tweets that were thought to be anti-Semitic both by sincerely offended people, and by opportunistic ratfcking hypocrites who realize the power of performative outrage. Omar's tweets earlier had been condemned by the entire Democratic leadership team in the House. By the end of business Monday, an out-and-out racist was still president*, and an out-and-out racist was still representing the Fourth Congressional District in Iowa, and more than a few people were doing the same thing that Omar did with AIPAC, except in relation to George Soros.

Which reminds me, in Israel, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is preparing to meet again with his good friend, Viktor Orban, the authoritarian PM of Hungary. Orban is a true delight, as this analysis in The Atlantic explained.

From using anti-Semitic tropes to demonize George Soros to praising Miklos Horthy-the regent who presided over the murder of Jews during World War II-to seeking to honor the notorious World War II-era anti-Semite Balint H0oman, Orban, the self-styled defender of Christian Europe, has shown himself willing to tap into this hatred to score political points. The Figyelo cover, an attack on a prominent figure in the Hungarian Jewish community, appears to be a bold escalation by the leader whose Fidesz Party won a landslide victory earlier this year. Far from paying a political price for exploiting anti-Semitism, Orban is thriving...

The cover controversy comes at a time when the Jewish community is at loggerheads with the government over the building of a new Holocaust Museum, known as the House of Fates. Its designer, Maria Schmidt, is both an associate of Orban's and a Holocaust distorter. Schmidt has been accused of defending current and historical Hungarian anti-Semites, minimizing the importance of the Holocaust, and vigorously asserting that the World War II-era government of Hungary had little or nothing to do with the mass murder of the majority of the country's Jewish population. Until very recently, she owned Figyelo . But Bibi is an honorable man.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu

I wish Omar had not tweeted what she did. There is a discussion to be had about the relationship between the United States and Israel, but it appears to be almost impossible to start one without the sky falling on you from all sides. The Democratic Party once again is getting Pundit Points for disciplining one of its own, and someone, someday, is going to have to show me how that's ever translated into success at the polls. And if they boot her off the Foreign Affairs committee, as is being demanded by (among others) Louie Gohmert, Padishah Emperor of the Crazy People, then they've truly been scared off the trolley again.

(And, not for nothing, but the flying monkeys also are after Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan. Gee, two Muslim women have attracted their attention. What were the odds?)

To be sure, Omar blundered into a controversy neither she nor her party needed, and she apparently hasn't been around long enough to know that the leadership of her party is as likely to bail on her as not. Right now, on this issue, there is a serious bipartisan effort going on to choke off a specific form of perfectly constitutional political protest. You have to read the room.

(c) 2019 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-

"Liberals feel unworthy of their possessions. Conservatives feel they deserve everything they've stolen."
~~~ Mort Sahl

We're not going to make our best initial deadline of 2030 to go net carbon zero, but the closer we get to that goal, the less destructing the coming changes will be

Australian Judge Strikes Down Coal Mine In Part Because Of Its Carbon Emissions
The next phase will be suing companies like ExxonMobil, who knew they were destroying the earth but actively suppressed the evidence for it and funded vast campaigns of climate change denialism.
By Juan Cole

In what is likely to be the first of many such rulings, an Australian court has ruled against a coal mine in part on grounds of the environmental damage that burning coal does by contributing to the climate emergency. Burning coal releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, a powerful greenhouse gas that keeps the sun's heat from escaping into space once it has struck the earth.

Gloucester Resources, Ltd., had proposed an open-cut coal mine near the town of Gloucester, a 3-hour drive north of Sydney along Australia's east coast. The New South Wales ministry for planning had denied the request on more conventional grounds. Open-cut mines are environmental nightmares and eyesores, and thousands of residents had written in to complain about all that and also the possibility that the proposed mine would negatively affect other land use in the vicinity.

But then Gloucester Resources, Ltd., made the mistake of appealing the turn-down, and the case went to chief judge Brian Preston of the NSW Land and Environment Court. (Australia has courts for Land and Environment?)

Justice Preston upheld the denial of the permit by the ministry of planning. But he piled on reasons for so doing beyond the eyesore and land use arguments.

The environmental group Gloucester Landswell was allowed to present an amicus brief against the appeal, and they played up the climate emergency argument:

Gloucester Groundswell contended that the Rocky Hill Coal Project should be refused because the greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions from the Project would adversely impact upon measures to limit dangerous anthropogenic climate change. The effects of carbon in the atmosphere arising from activities in the Project site, and the burning of the coal extracted from the mine, are inconsistent with existing carbon budget and policy intentions to keep global temperature increases to below 1.5 to 2 Celsius (C) above pre-industrial levels and would have a cumulative effect on climate change effects in the long term. Gloucester Groundswell submitted, "in light of that substantial planning harm, and the critical importance of combatting climate change now, the Project should be refused." Gloucester Groundswell developed this argument as follows.
The Rocky Hill Coal Project will cause, directly and indirectly, emissions of greenhouse gases (GHGs). The most significant GHGs will be carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4). Different gases have different greenhouse warming effects (referred to as global warming potentials) and emission factors take into account the global warming potentials of the gases. The estimated emissions are referred to in terms of CO2 equivalent (CO2-e) emissions by applying the relevant global warming potential (Air Quality and Health Risk Assessment for the amended EIS, p 2A-158).

The environmentalists also entered into the proceedings Australia's having signed on the the Paris Agreement, which aims at limiting increased global surface heat to an extra 1.5 degrees C. to 2 degrees C. at worst (2 to three degrees extra in Fahrenheit), and the way in which increasing the number of open-cut coal mines would make it impossible for Australia to meet its treaty obligations, i.e. would exceed the country's carbon budget:

Australia is a party to both the Climate Change Convention and the Paris Agreement. Under the Paris Agreement, each party commits to make its contribution to keeping the global average temperature rise to the 1.5-2 C range by reducing their GHG emissions through their Nationally Determined Contributions (NDC). Australia's NDC is to reduce GHG emissions by 26-28% below 2005 levels by 2030. The NSW Government has endorsed the Paris Agreement and has set a more ambitious objective to achieve net zero emissions by 2050 (see NSW Climate Change Policy Framework, October 2016, pp 4, 5). A commonly used approach to determine whether the NDCs of the parties to the Paris Agreement cumulatively will be sufficient to meet the long term temperature goal of keeping the global temperature rise to between 1.5 C and 2 C is the carbon budget approach..
Justice Preston reviewed the arguments for and against coal mines on climate grounds and found that the argument for keeping fossil fuels in the ground has merit:
All of the direct and indirect GHG emissions of the Rocky Hill Coal Project will impact on the environment. All anthropogenic GHG emissions contribute to climate change. As the IPCC found, most of the observed increase in global average temperatures is due to the observed increase in anthropogenic GHG concentrations in the atmosphere. The increased GHG concentrations in the atmosphere have already affected, and will continue to affect, the climate system. The current and future impacts of climate change were summarised by Professor Steffen and have been set out earlier in the judgment.

The direct and indirect GHG emissions of the Rocky Hill Coal Project will contribute cumulatively to the global total GHG emissions... All emissions are important because cumulatively they constitute the global total of greenhouse gas emissions, which are destabilising the global climate system at a rapid rate. Just as many emitters are contributing to the problem, so many emission reduction activities are required to solve the problem" (Steffen report, [57]).

Many courts have recognised this point that climate change is caused by cumulative emissions from a myriad of individual sources, each proportionally small relative to the global total of GHG emissions, and will be solved by abatement of the GHG emissions from these myriad of individual sources.

Preston went further and I think may have set a crucial international precedent for common law countries (the UK, India, the US and the Commonwealth states). He pointed out that Gloucester Resources, Ltd., had neglected to provide any plan to offset the increased carbon emissions their mine would cause.

That is, if you are going to increase carbon emissions with a mine, you have to specify in detail how you plan to offset those emissions so that your project does not increase the cumulative amount of CO2 in the atmosphere:

The first reason GRL gave was that the increase in GHG emissions associated with the Project would not necessarily cause the carbon budget to be exceeded, because, as Dr Fisher had argued, reductions in GHG emissions by other sources (such as in the electricity generation and transport sectors) or increases in removals of GHGs by sinks (in the oceans or terrestrial vegetation or soils) could balance the increase in GHG emissions associated with the Project.

I do not accept this reason. It is speculative and hypothetical. There is no evidence before the Court of any specific and certain action to "net out" the GHG emissions of the Project.

And thus did Justice Preston enter the history books. His ruling will certainly be seen as a path-breaking one for climate activism.

The next phase will be suing companies like Exxon-Mobil, who knew they were destroying the earth but actively suppressed the evidence for it and funded vast campaigns of climate change denialism.

We're not going to make our best initial deadline of 2030 to go net carbon zero, but the closer we get to that goal, the less destructing the coming changes will be.

(c) 2019 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.

Comparative Religion 101: USA, Israel, Saudi Arabia, Myanmar
Evil snakes in the Garden of Eden?
By Jane Stillwater

Face it, guys, religions are basically just teaching tools. "So what exactly are they supposed to teach us?" you might ask. They are supposed to teach us how to be good.

But then we have rogue states who use religions to do bad.

Take America for instance. Who ever heard of a good Christian nation that would sanction torture, fight like the Devil himself for the freedom to slaughter as many civilians in the Middle East as humanly possible, advocate racism, steal from the poor in order to give to the rich and tear babies from their mothers just because said babies were brown instead of white? "America, America, God shed His grace on thee..." Er, no. God does not approve this message. Not at all.

Colin Kaepernick, even though he's only yesterday's news cycle (yawn), is probably one of the last true Christians in America today. Kaepernick was right to take a knee in the face of all this American barbarism. Jesus woulda taken a knee too! Bad, bad, bad.

And then we come to Myanmar. American hearts bleed for the poor Rohingya Muslims who are systematically being slaughtered there. And yet Myanmar is a Buddhist state. "Hey, Buddha, when did you ever teach that sort of stuff?" Er, uh, never. Yet another prime example of using a good religion to do bad.

Not to mention the notorious Zionist Israelis, busy giving Judaism a very bad name. Slaughter in Gaza. Injustice in the Occupied Territories. Prison camps, torture, propaganda. "Come visit lovely Jerusalem," the TV ads tell us -- unless you are Palestinian of course. Palestinians only have bad things happen to them there. No pretty girls on beaches for them.

Zionists get approximately eight billion dollars from the United States every year in order to protect Zionists from Palestinians. That means that each and every single live Palestinian is worth at least one-point-three million dollars to Zionists -- especially if said Palestinians dare to sass back. So why commit genocide against these Occupied geese who are laying such golden eggs?

Dontcha just wish that we too were worth one-point-three million bucks each to Congress (annually).

And here's another one of the worst offenders. Didn't Mohammad (PBUH) tell the Saudis to respect and protect other Muslims? The Prophet never, ever said anything about making an exception for Yemenis, Iranians, Syrians, Lebanese, Libyans, Iraqis -- or any Muslim who has the nerve to crave just a little bit of democracy in The Kingdom. Mohammad (PBUH) never, ever said, "Off with their heads!" Definitely breaking bad in Saudi Arabia these days.

Comparative religions 101? What have we learned? That many state religions can (and do) lead us down the garden path to corruption, sadism, greed and stupidity in God's name -- if we are not vigilant. And apparently nobody has been vigilant in America, Saudi Arabia, Israel or Myanmar for a very long time.

God must be very pissed off.

Assuming that there even actually is a God.

But if there really is one, then He is as guilty as the rest of us for not smiting down all this hypocrisy and all this other just plain evil stuff done in His name. The Golden Calf is clearly running the show these days.

But the story doesn't have to end here. We ourselves can simply ignore the bad guys who have seized our temples, mosques, synagogues, pulpits and pews. We can pray on our own freaking knees, take our own religions to heart and become good Christians, Jews, Muslims, Buddhists or whatever instead -- all by ourselves. Hell, we can even be atheists -- as long as we work to do what religions were invented to do.

"And what exactly is that?" you might ask again. Pay attention here! Religions are supposed to help us be good! Jeez.

(c) 2019 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Dead Letter Office-

John gives the corporate salute

Heil Trump,

Dear Uberfuhrer Barrasso

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your fight against a new Green Deal, 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 02-16-2019. We salute you herr Barrasso, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump Wants Socialism For The Rich, Harsh Capitalism For The Rest
By Robert Reich

"America will never be a socialist country," Donald Trump declared in his State of the Union address. Someone should alert Trump that America is now a hotbed of socialism. But it is socialism for the rich. Everyone else is treated to harsh capitalism.

In the conservative mind, socialism means getting something for doing nothing. That pretty much describes the $21 billion saved by the nation's largest banks last year thanks to Trump's tax cuts, some of which went into massive bonuses for bank executives. On the other hand, more than 4,000 lower-level bank employees got a big dose of harsh capitalism. They lost their jobs.

Banks that are too big to fail - courtesy of the 2008 bank bailout - enjoy a hidden subsidy of some $83 billion a year, because creditors facing less risk accept lower interest on deposits and loans. Last year, Wall Street's bonus pool was $31.4 billion. Take away the hidden subsidy and the bonus pool disappears.

Trump and his appointees at the Federal Reserve are easing bank requirements put in place after the bailout. They'll make sure the biggest banks remain too big to fail.

Trump is promoting socialism for the rich and harsh capitalism for everyone else in other ways. Since he was elected, GM has got more than $600 million in federal contracts plus $500 million in tax breaks. Some of this has gone into the pockets of GM executives. Chairman and CEO Mary Barra raked in almost $22m in total compensation in 2017 alone.

But GM employees are subject to harsh capitalism. GM is planning to lay off more than 14,000 workers and close three assembly plants and two component factories in North America by the end of 2019.

When he was in business, Trump perfected the art of using bankruptcy to shield himself from the consequences of bad decisions - socialism for the rich at its worst - while leaving employees twisting in the wind.

Now, all over America, executives who run their companies into the ground are getting gold-plated exit packages while their workers get pink slips.

Sears is doling out $25 million to the executives who stripped its remaining assets and drove it into bankruptcy, but has no money for the thousands of workers it laid off.

As Pacific Gas and Electric hurtles toward bankruptcy, the person who was in charge when the deadly infernos roared through northern California last year (caused in part by PG&E's faulty equipment) has departed with a cash severance package of $2.5 million. The PG&E executive in charge of gas operations when records were allegedly falsified left in 2018 with $6.9 million.

Under socialism for the rich, you can screw up big time and still reap big rewards. Equifax's Richard Smith retired in 2017 with an $18 million pension in the wake of a security breach that exposed the personal information of 145 million consumers to hackers.

Wells Fargo's Carrie Tolstedt departed with a $125 million exit package after being in charge of the unit that opened more than 2 million unauthorized customer accounts.

Around 60 percent of America's wealth is now inherited. Many of today's super rich have never done a day's work in their lives.

Trump's response has been to cut the estate tax to apply only to estates valued at over $22 million per couple. Mitch McConnell is now proposing that the estate tax be repealed altogether.

What about the capitalist principles that people earn what they're worth in the market, and that economic gains should go to those who deserve them?

America is on the cusp of the largest inter-generational wealth transfer in history. As rich boomers expire over the next three decades, an estimated $30 trillion will go to their children.

Those children will be able to live off of the income these assets generate, and then leave the bulk of them to their own heirs, tax-free. (Capital gains taxes don't apply to the soaring values of stocks, bonds, mansions and other assets of wealthy people who die before they're sold.)

After a few generations of this, almost all of the nation's wealth will be in the hands of a few thousand non-working families.

To the conservative mind, the specter of socialism conjures up a society in which no one is held accountable, and no one has to work for what they receive. Yet that's exactly the society Trump and the Republicans are promoting for the rich.

Meanwhile, most Americans are subject to an increasingly harsh and arbitrary capitalism in which they're working harder but getting nowhere, and have less security than ever.

They need thicker safety nets and deserve a bigger piece of the economic pie. If you want to call this socialism, fine. I call it fair.

(c) 2019 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

Peter Jackson's Cartoon War
By Chris Hedges

When director-producer Peter Jackson's World War I film, "They Shall Not Grow Old," which miraculously transforms grainy, choppy black-and-white archival footage from the war into a modern 3D color extravaganza, begins, he bombards us with the cliches used to ennoble war. Veterans, over background music, say things like "I wouldn't have missed it," "I would go through it all over again because I enjoyed the service life" and "It made me a man." It must have taken some effort after the war to find the tiny minority of veterans willing to utter this rubbish. Military life is a form of servitude, prolonged exposure to combat leaves you broken, scarred for life by trauma and often so numb you have difficulty connecting with others, and the last thing war does is make you a man.

Far more common was the experience of the actor Wilfrid Lawson, who was wounded in the war and as a result had a metal plate in his skull. He drank heavily to dull the incessant pain. In his memoirs "Inside Memory," Timothy Findley, who acted with him, recalled that Lawson "always went to bed sodden and all night long he would be dragged from one nightmare to another-often yelling-more often screaming-very often struggling physically to free himself of impeding bedclothes and threatening shapes in the shadows." He would pound the walls, shouting "Help! Help! Help!" The noise, my dear-and the people.

David Lloyd George, wartime prime minister of Britain, in his memoirs used language like this to describe the conflict:

... [I]nexhaustible vanity that will never admit a mistake ... individuals who would rather the million perish than that they as leaders should own-even to themselves-that they were blunderers ... the notoriety attained by a narrow and stubborn egotism, unsurpassed among the records of disaster wrought by human complacency ... a bad scheme badly handled ... impossible orders issued by Generals who had no idea what the execution of their commands really meant ... this insane enterprise ... this muddy and muddle-headed venture. ...
The British Imperial War Museum, which was behind the Jackson film, had no interest in portraying the dark reality of war. War may be savage, brutal and hard, but it is also, according to the myth, ennobling, heroic and selfless. You can believe this drivel only if you have never been in combat, which is what allows Jackson to modernize a cartoon version of war.

The poet Siegfried Sassoon in "The Hero" captured the callousness of war:

"Jack fell as he'd have wished," the Mother said,
And folded up the letter that she'd read.
"The Colonel writes so nicely." Something broke
In the tired voice that quavered to a choke.
She half looked up. "We mothers are so proud
Of our dead soldiers." Then her face was bowed.

Quietly the Brother Officer went out.
He'd told the poor old dear some gallant lies
That she would nourish all her days, no doubt.
For while he coughed and mumbled, her weak eyes
Had shone with gentle triumph, brimmed with joy,
Because he'd been so brave, her glorious boy.

He thought how "Jack," cold-footed, useless swine,
Had panicked down the trench that night the mine
Went up at Wicked Corner; how he'd tried
To get sent home; and how, at last, he died,
Blown to small bits. And no one seemed to care
Except that lonely woman with white hair.

Our own generals and politicians, who nearly two decades ago launched the greatest strategic blunder in American history and have wasted nearly $6 trillion on conflicts in the Middle East that we cannot win, are no less egotistical and incompetent. The images of our wars are as carefully controlled and censored as the images from World War I. While the futility and human carnage of our current conflicts are rarely acknowledged in public, one might hope that we could confront the suicidal idiocy of World War I a century later.

Leon Wolff, in his book "In Flanders Fields: The 1917 Campaign," writes of World War I:

It had meant nothing, solved nothing, and proved nothing; and in so doing had killed 8,538,315 men and variously wounded 21,219,452. Of 7,750,919 others taken prisoner or missing, well over a million were later presumed dead; thus the total deaths (not counting civilians) approach ten million. The moral and mental defects of the leaders of the human race had been demonstrated with some exactitude. One of them (Woodrow Wilson) later admitted that the war had been fought for business interests; another (David Lloyd George) had told a newspaperman: 'If people really knew, the war would be stopped tomorrow, but of course they don't-and can't know. The correspondents don't write and the censorship wouldn't pass the truth.'
There is no mention in the film of the colossal stupidity of the British general staff that sent hundreds of thousands of working-class Englishmen-they are seen grinning into the camera with their decayed teeth-in wave after wave, week after week, month after month, into the mouths of German machine guns to be killed or wounded. There is no serious exploration of the iron censorship that hid the realities of the war from the public and saw the press become a shill for warmongers. There is no investigation into how the war was used by the state, as it is today, as an excuse to eradicate civil liberties. There is no look at the immense wealth made by the arms manufacturers and contractors or how the war plunged Britain deep into debt with war-related costs totaling 70 percent of the gross national product. Yes, we see some pictures of gruesome wounds, digitalized into color, yes, we hear how rats ate corpses, but the war in the film is carefully choreographed, stripped of the deafening sounds, repugnant smells and most importantly the crippling fear and terror that make a battlefield a stygian nightmare. We glimpse dead bodies, but there are no long camera shots of the slow agony of those dying of horrific wounds. Sanitized images like these are war pornography. That they are no longer jerky and grainy and have been colorized in 3D merely gives old war porn a modern sheen.

"When the war was not very active, it was really rather fun to be in the front line," a veteran says in the film. "It was a sort of outdoor camp holiday with a slight spice of danger to make it interesting." Insipid comments like that defined the perception of the war at home. The clash between a civilian population that saw the war as "a sort of outdoor camp holiday" and those who experienced it led to profound estrangement. The poet Charles Sorley wrote: "I should like so much to kill whoever was primarily responsible for the war." And journalist and author Philip Gibbs noted that soldiers had a deep hatred of civilians who believed the lies. "They hated the smiling women in the streets. They loathed the old men. ... They desired that profiteers should die by poison-gas. They prayed to God to get the Germans to send Zeppelins to England-to make the people know what war meant."

Military studies have determined that after 60 days of continuous combat, 98 percent of those who survive will have become psychiatric casualties. The common trait among the 2 percent who were able to endure sustained combat was a predisposition toward "aggressive psychopathic personalities." Lt. Col. David Grossman wrote: "It is not too far from the mark to observe that there is something about continuous, inescapable combat which will drive 98 percent of all men insane, and the other 2 percent were crazy when they got there."

The military cliques in American society are as omnipotent as they were in World War I. The symbols of war and militarism, then and now, have a quasi-religious aura, especially in our failed democracy. Our incompetent generals-such as David Petraeus, whose surges only prolonged the Iraq War and raised the casualty figures and whose idea to arm "moderate" rebels in Syria was a debacle-are as lionized as the pig-headed and vainglorious Gen. Douglas Haig, the British commander in chief, who resisted innovations such as the tank, the airplane and the machine gun, which he called "a much overrated weapon." He believed the cavalry would play the decisive role in winning the war. Haig, in the Battle of the Somme, oversaw 60,000 casualties on the first day of the offensive, July 1, 1916. None of his military objectives were achieved. Twenty thousand lay dead between the lines. The wounded cried out for days. This did not dampen Haig's ardor to sacrifice his soldiers. Determined to make his plan of bursting through the German lines and unleashing his three divisions of cavalry on the fleeing enemy, he kept the waves of assaults going for four months until winter forced him to cease. By the time Haig was done, the army had suffered more than 400,000 casualties and accomplished nothing. Lt. Col. E.T.F. Sandys, who saw 500 of his soldiers killed or wounded on the first day at the Somme, wrote two months later, "I have never had a moment's peace since July 1st." He then shot himself to death in a London hotel room. Joe Sacco's illustrated book "The Great War," a 24-foot-long wordless panorama that depicts the first day of the Battle of Somme, reveals more truth about the horror of war than Jackson's elaborate restoration of old film.

The military historian B.H. Liddell Hart, who served in the war, wrote in his diary:

He [Haig] was a man of supreme egoism and utter lack of scruple-who, to his overweening ambition, sacrificed hundreds of thousands of men. A man who betrayed even his most devoted assistants as well as the Government which he served. A man who gained his ends by trickery of a kind that was not merely immoral but criminal.

The American attorney Harold Shapiro, following World War I, examined the medical records of the Army on behalf of a disabled veteran. He was appalled at the reality these records elucidated and the misperception of the war within the public. The medical descriptions, he wrote, rendered "all that I had read and heard previously as being either fiction, isolated reminiscence, vague generalization or deliberate propaganda." He published a book in 1937 titled "What Every Young Man Should Know About War." It was pulled from circulation when the United States entered World War II and never reissued. It was the model for my book "What Every Person Should Know About War."

Shapiro wrote in his chapter "Mental Reactions":

Q: What may happen to me after I bayonet my enemy in the face?

You may develop an hysterical tic-quick, sudden, convulsive spasms of twitching of your own facial muscles.

Q: What may happen to me after I bayonet my enemy in the abdomen?

You may be seized with abdominal contractions.

Q: What may happen to me following particularly horrible sights?

You may be seized with hysterical blindness.

Q: What may happen to me if I find the cries of the wounded unbearable?

You may develop hysterical deafness.

Q: What may happen to me should I be detailed to burial parties?

You may develop anosmia (loss of your sense of smell).

The German pacifist Ernst Friedrich collected 200 photographs of gruesome wounds, piles of corpses in mass graves, the hanging and executions of deserters-their families were told they had "died of wounds"-and battlefield atrocities censored from the public in his 1924 book, "WAR Against WAR!" He juxtaposed the images against the propaganda that romanticized the conflict. His 24 close-ups of soldiers with grotesquely disfiguring facial wounds remain difficult to view. Friedrich was arrested when the Nazis came to power in 1933, his book was banned and his Anti-War Museum closed. A picture of a nearly naked soldier dead in a trench in his book reads: "Mothers! This was the fate of your sons in the war; first murdered, then robbed to the skin and then left as grub for animals."

Honestly examining past wars gives us the ability to understand current wars. But this is a herculean struggle. The public is fed, and yearns for, the myth. It is empowering and ennobling. It celebrates supposed national virtues and military prowess. It allows an alienated population to feel part of a national collective engaged in a noble crusade. The celebration of the destructive force of our weaponry makes us feel personally empowered. All wars, past and present, are effectively shrouded in this myth. Those who decried the waste and carnage, such as Keir Hardie, the head of the Independent Labour Party, were jeered in the streets. Adam Hochschild's book "To End All Wars" details the struggle by pacifists and a handful of journalists and dissidents during the war to make the truth known and who were mocked, silenced and often jailed.

"Few of us can hold on to our real selves long enough to discover the momentous truths about ourselves and this whirling earth to which we cling," wrote J. Glenn Gary, a combat veteran of World War II, in "The Warriors: Reflections on Men in Battle." "This is especially true of men in war. The great god Mars tries to blind us when we enter his realm, and when we leave he gives us a generous cup of the waters of Lethe to drink."

Jackson closes the film with an army ditty about prostitution. "You might forget the gas and shell," the song goes, "but you'll nev'r forget the Mademoiselle! Hinky-dinky, parlez-vous?" Tens of thousands of girls and women, whose brothers, fathers, sons and husbands were dead or crippled, and whose homes often had been destroyed, became impoverished and often homeless. They were easy prey for the brothels, including the military-run brothels, and the pimps that serviced the soldiers. There is nothing amusing or cute about lying on a straw mat and being raped by as many as 60 men a day, unless you are the rapist.

"Give sorrow words," William Shakespeare reminded us, "The grief that does not speak whispers the o'erfraught heart and bids it break."

It is fortunate all the participants in the war are dead. They would find the film another example of the monstrous lie that denied their reality, ignored or minimized their suffering and never held the militarists, careerists, profiteers and imbeciles who prosecuted the war accountable. War is the raison d'ĂȘtre of technological society. It unleashes demons. And those who profit from these demons, then and now, work hard to keep them hidden.

(c) 2019 Chris Hedges, the former Middle East bureau chief for The New York Times, spent seven years in the Middle East. He was part of the paper's team of reporters who won the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for coverage of global terrorism. Keep up with Chris Hedges' latest columns, interviews, tour dates and more at

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Daryl Cagle ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

John Bolton Insists Iran Likely Harboring Dangerous Terrorist Osama Bin Laden
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-In an impassioned call for preemptive action against the Middle Eastern nation, United States national security advisor John Bolton insisted Thursday that Iran was likely harboring the dangerous terrorist Osama bin Laden.

"For the good of our nation, we must act immediately," said Bolton, citing several intelligence reports providing significant evidence that Iran is currently providing sanctuary to the Al-Qaeda leader and mastermind of the Sept. 11 attacks.

"We must never rest until this fugitive is brought to justice, and the only way to achieve that is through repeated and prolonged military strikes on Iran. We have reason to believe that he's living in a compound there where he's training a legion of bloodthirsty Iranian civilians to take up arms as the next generation of terrorists. It is our solemn duty as the international safeguard of freedom to prevent this at all costs."

At press time, Bolton had left the podium to follow up on an important tip that Iranian leaders had hired American nuclear physicist Otto Gunther Octavius.

(c) 2019 The Onion

The Gross National Debt

Iraq Deaths Estimator

The Animal Rescue Site

Issues & Alibis Vol 19 # 07 (c) 02/15/2019

Issues & Alibis is published in America every Friday. We are not affiliated with, nor do we accept funds from any political party. We are a non_profit group that is dedicated to the restoration of the American Republic. All views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily the views of Issues & Alibis.Org.

In regards to copying anything from this site remember that everything here is copyrighted. Issues & Alibis has been given permission to publish everything on this site. When this isn't possible we rely on the "Fair Use"copyright law provisions. If you copy anything from this site to reprint make sure that you do too. We ask that you get our permission to reprint anything from this site and that you provide a link back to us. Here is the "Fair Use" provision.

"Notwithstanding the provisions of sections 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

(1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes;
(2) the nature of the copyrighted work;
(3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole; and
(4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work. The fact that a work is unpublished shall not itself bar a finding of fair use if such finding is made upon consideration of all the above factors."