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In This Edition

Matt Taibbi says, "Milo Yiannopoulos Isn't Going Away."

Uri Avnery overlooks, "The Great Rift."

Glen Ford explores, "Keith Ellison: Sheep-dogging Through Trumpland."

Bernie Sanders orates, "On Anti-Semitism, Israel, And The Palestinians."

Jim Hightower explains, "Why Paul Ryan Should Sit Down And Be Very Quiet."

Glenn Greenwald asks a, "Key Question About DNC Race: Why Did Obama White House Recruit Perez to Run Against Ellison?"

David Suzuki finds, "Marvelous Monarchs Move Minister McKenna."

John Nichols remembers, "Ed Garvey Was the Progressive Populist Who Inspired Bernie Sanders and Paul Wellstone."

Chris Hedges with a must read, "The Return of American Race Laws."

Normon Solomon warns, "Trump Can Prove He's Not a Putin Puppet by Blowing Up the World."

Jane Stillwater wonders, "What If Every Car In The World Stopped Running Today?"

David Swanson examines, "100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War."

Randall Amster sees, "Contrived Chaos And States Of Confusion."

Rick Perry wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich gives, "Trump's 10 Steps For Turning Lies Into Half-Truths."

Jon Schwarz decides, "The Only Concrete Takeaway From Trump's Speech: Medicaid Is Doomed."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Will Durst concludes, "Donald Trump Loves His Invisible People" but first Uncle Ernie sez "Those Who Cannot Remember...."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Steve Sack, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from Tom Tomorrow, Mr. Fish, Jane Stillwater, Natasha MIlisevic, Maxwell Hamilton, Dina Litovsky, Timothy Fadek, Redux, World Beyond War.Org, A.P., Salon, Black Agenda Report, You Tube.Com and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments...

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

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

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Those Who Cannot Remember...
By Ernest Stewart

"Real leaders don't spread derision and division. Real leaders strengthen. They unify... and they offer real solutions instead of ultimatums and blame." ~~~ Steve Beshear ~ former Kentucky Governor

"I can't imagine anything more important than air, water, soil, energy and biodiversity. These are the things that keep us alive." ~~~ David Suzuki

"My belief is that guns are too easy to get in America. My belief is that the NRA has bought much of our congress, to the point that guns are actually the only unregulated consumer product in America. Think about that. It's stunning. ~~~ Elayne Boosler

"We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give." ~~~ Winston Churchill

As George Santayana once said, "Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

Anyone remember a character called Adolph Hitler? You may recall that Hitler issued an endless stream of slogans to win potential supporters over. He would make Germany great again. He would give Germans work once more. He would put Germany first. He would revive the nation's rusting industries, laid to waste by the economic depression. He would crush the alien ideologies - socialism, liberalism, communism - that were undermining the nation's will to survive and destroying its core values. Ring any bells, America?

How about his speeches. Seemingly spontaneous, they were in fact calculated. Full of base allegations and vile stereotypes, they were precisely designed to gain maximum attention from the media and maximum reaction from the crowds he addressed. When he declared that fines were of no use against those he called Jewish criminals, his listeners interrupted him with chants of "Beatings! Hangings!" How ya fixed for deja vu's now?

Meanwhile down in foggy bottom, in his first speech to Con-gress our Fuhrer has promised a "renewal of the American spirit." He continued with, "a new surge of optimism is placing impossible dreams firmly within our grasp," opening a "new chapter of American greatness." Amerika uber allies!

He'll open this "new chapter of American greatness" by first getting rid of Obama Care throwing tens of millions of people off the insurance with no plan to replace it in place.

In his address to Con-gress, Trump talked tough on immigration saying: "By finally enforcing our immigration laws, we will raise wages, help the unemployed, save billions of dollars, and make our communities safer for everyone."

First they came for the Mexicans...
Then they came for the news reporters...
Then they came for the Muslims...

You know how this is going to end up, right? If not, see American Happy Camps.

In Other News

As you know I've been reporting about the current 17 year long drought in the southwest and how it affects the Colorado River, the most important waterway in the American Southwest. Scientists say that Global Warming could reduce the flow by more than a third by the end of the century.

"The river's volume has dropped more than 19 percent during a drought gripping the region since 2000, and a shortage of rain and snow can account for only about two-thirds of that decline," according to hydrology researchers Brad Udall of Colorado State University and Jonathan Overpeck of the University of Arizona.

In a study published last week in the journal Water Resources Research, they concluded that the rest of the decline is due to a warming atmosphere induced by climate change, which is drawing more moisture out of the Colorado River Basin's waterways, snowbanks, plants and soil by evaporation and other means.

Their projections could signal big problems for cities and farmers across the 246,000-square-mile basin, which spans parts of seven states and Mexico. The river supplies water to about 40 million people and 6,300 square miles of farmland.

These researchers wrote, "Fifteen years into the 21st century, the emerging reality is that climate change is already depleting the Colorado River water supplies at the upper end of the range suggested by previously published projections. Record-setting temperatures are an important and underappreciated component of the flow reductions now being observed.

"The Colorado River and its two major reservoirs, Lake Mead and Lake Powell, are already overtaxed. Water storage at Mead was at 42 percent of capacity Wednesday, and Powell was at 46 percent."

Water managers have said that Mead could drop low enough to trigger cuts next year in water deliveries to Arizona and Nevada, which would be the first states affected by shortages under the multistate agreements and rules governing the system. Only Las Vegas which as spent some 3 billion dollars on a new system that draws water from Lake Mead, some 100 feet deeper will have water.

"But heavy snow in the West this winter may keep the cuts at bay. Snowpack in the Wyoming and Colorado mountains that provide much of the Colorado River's water ranged from 120 to 216 percent of normal Thursday," they said.

For their study, Udall and Overpeck analyzed temperature, precipitation and water volume in the basin from 2000 to 2014 and compared it with historical data, including a 1953-1967 drought. Temperature and precipitation records date to 1896 and river flow records to 1906. You may recall much of the Colorado river use to flow to the sea, but that hasn't happen since the early 1930s.

With Global Warming temperatures in the 2000-2014 period were a record 1.6 degrees Fahrenheit above the historical average, while precipitation was about 4.6 percent below, so it's not likely to improve; so for the 40 million people who live off of the Colorado river may have to soon move, or suffer the consequences!

And Finally

According to the Gun Violence Archive in the first two months of 2017, we've had:

2,465 gun deaths
4,763 gun injuries
334 unintentional shootings
97 children (age 0-11) killed or injured by gun violence
500 teenagers (age 12-17) killed or injured by guns violence
58 mass shootings
It further breaks down to:

Officer Involved Incident 2
Officer Shot or Killed 39
Officer Involved Incident 2
Subject-Suspect Shot or Killed 376
Home Invasion 449
Defensive Use 364
Unintentional Shooting 335

Or about one person getting killed by guns in this country every six hours, night and day, 24/7, 365!

According to the Congressional Research Service there are well over 300 million guns in the US, 300 million guns that are known about, how many more are out there hidden? There are at least one gun for every man, woman, and child in America. It used to be that most of these guns were used for sport shooting or hunting but shooting Bambi from a tree blind with a 44 magnum has somehow fallen out of favor. So today's guns are for protection from our neighbors, or, protection from the government. Trouble is, your MK-47 or AR-15 is basically useless against the government. They won't stop an M1A2 Abrams or an F-22 or a drone flying ten miles high lobbing hell-fire missiles. So you're only kidding yourselves, and they are incredibly dangerous with children around.

Lots of folks blame the NRA but without our Con-gressmen taking their bribes they'd be just a bunch of men with tiny penises talking sh*t!

Keepin' On

Thank almighty Zeus that two members of "The Usual Suspects" stood tall and sent us two nice checks to keep us going forward. Richard from New York, and Barry from Ontario have our deep felt thanks for your help! Thank you brothers!

As you know I've been by, and on your side for 17 years now, bringing you the facts, "just the facts ma'am," so you can deal with them. We don't tell you what you should think, or who you should vote for; you already know that, and can deal with it if only you know the truth, what the facts are, and what they might mean for you and yours!

As we enter the year that some say might end the Republic and begin WWIII, it's incredibly important to know what's going down and how you might prevent the nightmares that may be just around the corner. I've spent the last 17 years working around the clock for you, and as a result, brought a financial disaster upon myself, so I can't keep doing this without your help. If you feel that a reliable, honest, news service is important in this day and age of Breitbart News, then please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep fighting the good fight for you and yours! Thanks to donations and advertising we still need to raise $5600 this year to keep publishing. That's not $56,000 for the quarter but $5600 for the entire year, our advertising picks up about $6000 of that $12,000 bill, what a bargain, what a deal! Please help us if you can!


03-17-1980 ~ 02-25-2017
Thanks for the film!

12-18-1980 ~ 02-25-2017
Thanks for the film!


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 10 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) 2017 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.

Milo Yiannopoulos was disinvited from CPAC this weekend after a controversial recording of him surfaced.

Milo Yiannopoulos Isn't Going Away
Alt-Right troll's latest scandal looks like a career-ending gaffe - but don't be so sure
By Matt Taibbi

Milo Yiannopoulos, the revolting bete noire of the Alt-Right, a person who is such a reactionary American that he's British, seems to have made a critical mistake. Surely, conventional wisdom holds, even Republicans will balk at being asked to equate liberty with child molestation?

As onetime conservative talk show host Charlie Sykes put it, "Anti-Semitism, ok. Racism, ok. Alt-right, ok. Advocacy of pedophilia? Is THAT the bridge too far?"

Along with longtime Breitbart cohort Steve Bannon, the foppish Yiannopoulos - the co-author of the Alt-Right's unofficial manifesto - has until now been extremely successful in selling the various intellectual justifications for Trumpism.

In particular, he's been one of the main voices pushing the idea that Donald Trump's most lurid and offensive behaviors are "conservative," because they represent a front in the war against speech limits and political correctness.

"He'd rather grab a pussy than be one," was Milo's pithy take on then candidate Trump's Access Hollywood scandal.

Not all traditional conservatives bought these clunky rhetorical gymnastics, which were designed to give Fox viewers permission to vote a Bible-averse, model-humping New Yorker into the White House. But enough did to win Trump the presidency.

Still, there has been a lingering unwillingness among the National Review/Weekly Standard crew of Reagan Republicans to embrace Yiannopoulos and all he represents. That unwillingness spilled into open conflict when the loathsome campus agitator was named a keynote speaker at this week's Conservative Political Action Conference.

A blog called the Reagan Battalion re-circulated excerpts of a year-old interview of Milo by the Drunken Peasants podcast, in which he clearly endorses sex between men and underage boys.

Yiannopoulos talked about how "we get hung up on this kind of child abuse stuff," dismissing what he calls the "oppressive idea of consent."

"In the homosexual world particularly," said Yiannopoulos, who is gay, "some of those relationships between younger boys and older men [are] sort of coming-of-age relationships ... in which those older men have helped those young boys to discover who they are."

When one of the podcast co-hosts suggested that it sounded like he was talking about Catholic priest molestation, Yiannopoulous quickly co-signed, claiming personal experience in that area.

"You know what?" he shouted. "I'm grateful for Father Michael. I wouldn't give nearly such good head if it wasn't for him."

When challenged that he seemed to be endorsing pedophilia, Yiannopoulos then retreated to a semantic argument.

"You're misunderstanding what pedophilia means," he said. "Pedophilia is not a sexual attraction to somebody 13 years old, who is sexually mature. Pedophilia is attraction to children who have not reached puberty."

After a scandal blew up over these words, Yiannopoulos used a technique that Donald Trump has used often in the past two years: He simply claimed he didn't say what he said.

Blaming "sloppy editing" for the controversy, Yiannopoulos insisted on his Facebook page, "I was talking about my own relationship when I was 17 with a man who was 29." He added, "The age of consent in the UK is 16. That was a mistake."

This was despite the fact that Yiannopoulos explicitly talked about "sexually mature" 13-year-olds in the context of who can and cannot be a consenting adult. He has made similar remarks before - he revels in them, in fact. When he appeared on the Joe Rogan podcast last summer, for instance, he couldn't help himself when Rogan brought up the "semen warrior" culture in Papua New Guinea.

"These men who take these young boys," said Rogan, "and inseminate them, and put cum in their mouths and their asses to make them grow..."

"Sounds like homosexuality," Yiannoploulos quipped. "Sounds great."

The furor currently raging over Yiannopoulos's comments is exactly the sort of thing this professional button-pusher relishes. Like Trump, his shtick is to say crazy things to get attention, and then manipulate ears and eyeballs to his advantage mid-furor.

A favored tactic is to direct his audiences toward some overemotional sap who has made the mistake of calling for him to be banned, at which point he triumphantly declares himself a champion of liberty, and his enemies censors and authoritarians.

Milo Yiannopoulos speaking at a Cleveland Trump rally last July.

In his Alt-Right manifesto, Milo self-consciously celebrates the trolling phenomenon as something inspired, meaningful and "undeniably hysterical." And like all trolls, Yiannopoulos thinks his provocations are brilliant, when actually he's just a goof with an accent and a C-minus mind who says witlessly obnoxious things and through sheer accident of historical circumstance gets rewarded for it.

He seems genuinely to believe that he's one of the first people ever to notice that you can make a good living through lying and the unscrupulous use of hate speech. With the confidence of a person who hasn't yet discovered the depth of his own unoriginality, he leans into controversies instead of recoiling from them, sure he can always spin things in a pinch.

One of his main affectations is a flaunting of duplicity as a revolutionary virtue. For instance, it was predictable that this longtime critic of "victimhood culture" would cling to his own victimhood in a crisis.

"I am a gay man, and a child abuse victim," he wrote, cloaking himself in multiple layers of the very identity politics he claims to despise. He even used AIDS patients as a human shield, which was a bit excessive even for him, but not out of character:

"If I choose to deal in an edgy way on an Internet livestream with a crime I was the victim of that's my prerogative. It's no different to gallows humor from Aids [sic] sufferers."
The "oppressive idea of consent" rant seems to have created problems for Yiannopoulos. Staffers at Breitbart, where he is a senior editor, are threatening to walk out unless he's fired. Moreover, he's been disinvited from CPAC, a development he will no doubt portray as an overreaction by a defeated and humorless Republican establishment.

Milo's obvious play will be to use all of this coverage as free PR, seeking to come out the other side with his rebel credentials burnished. He'll recreate himself as a Republican martyr, unfairly maligned by a corrupt priesthood that fears the true movement.

On the outside, this looks like a mistake. The Bannonite Alt-Right crew Milo represents imagines itself a brilliant group of intellectual danger-seekers, but trying to sell boy-buggering to the American Conservative Union sure seems more stupid than daring (and it's plenty daring).

After all, the success of the Trump movement depends upon a nervous coalition of aging religious conservatives and young, race-baiting, Internet-addicted morons - the people GOP consultant Rick Wilson once called "childless single men who masturbate to anime."

The link between these two groups has always been tenuous at best. Really, it's an absurd semantic misunderstanding, a classic Americanism, confusing the words "liberty" and "libertine."

There's a big difference between believing in limited government, and completely rejecting all behavioral and sexual morality. But people like Yiannopoulos and Trump have been successful at blurring these lines, because we're not a very bright people. Also, we're inexperienced when it comes to this kind of high-level political con artistry.

A dynamic that all good swindlers understand is that once you've gotten a person to make one embarrassing decision, it's easier to get him to make the next one. A person who loses 10 grand trying to buy the Brooklyn Bridge is a good bet to spend 20 more chasing the loss. Con artists call this "reloading."

The Trump phenomenon has been like this. Megachurch moms and dads across the country grit their teeth when the "grab them by the pussy" tape came out, quietly convincing themselves that "locker-room talk" was less horrifying than a Hillary Clinton presidency.

When they cast their votes weeks later, it was like a secret transgression that bound them to the new leader. This counter-intuitive brand of politics is very effective. It's why no one should be too quick to put this week's seeming fiasco with CPAC in the Republicans' loss column.

One would think the last thing you'd want to do if your intent was to hold a fragile Republican coalition together is pitch Milo Yiannopoulos as a defender of family values. Why would the Mike Pence crowd ever rally behind a Brit with frosted hair who brags about getting blowjobs from priests? It seems preposterous.

But watch it work. A week from now, the same conservatives who are beating their breasts about Yiannopoulos now will go crawling back into the Trump camp to fight the hated liberals on a dozen other issues. They will look weak and indecisive, and privately will be demoralized, while the Trump/Bannon/Milo crew will look like poker players who won a bluff. It's always about the next news cycle with these people.

Trolling doesn't take brains. But it works, and it will keep working, until we learn to see through the provocations in real time.

Until he joined Trump's team, Steve Bannon ran a news site that stoked hatred of everyone from women on birth control to President Obama. Watch here.

(c) 2017 Matt Taibbi is Rolling Stone's chief political reporter, Matt Taibbi's predecessors include the likes of journalistic giants Hunter S. Thompson and P.J. O'Rourke. Taibbi's 2004 campaign journal Spanking the Donkey cemented his status as an incisive, irreverent, zero-bullshit reporter. His books include Griftopia: A Story of Bankers, Politicians, and the Most Audacious Power Grab in American History, The Great Derangement: A Terrifying True Story of War, Politics, and Religion, Smells Like Dead Elephants: Dispatches from a Rotting Empire. .

The Great Rift
By Uri Avnery

I BELIEVE I was the first to recommend that the soldier Elor Azaria, the killer of Hebron, be granted a pardon.

But this recommendation was conditional on several requirements: first, that the soldier openly and unconditionally confess his crime, that he apologize and that he be sentenced to many years in prison.

Without these conditions, any request for a pardon by the soldier would mean an approval of his act and an invitation for more war crimes.

Sergeant Azaria, a medic in a combat unit, appeared on the scene after an incident in the center of the Jewish enclave in the ancient town of Hebron. Two young Palestinians had attacked an army control point with knives and been shot. We don't know how the first one died, but the second was filmed by a camera provided to the locals by the wonderful Israeli anti-occupation organization B'Tselem.

The camera shows the assailant lying on the ground, heavily wounded, motionless and bleeding. Then, some 12 minutes later, Azaria, who had not been present, appears on the screen. He stands less than a meter from the wounded Arab and shoots him point-blank in the head, killing him outright.

The photographic evidence, made public at once on Israeli TV (a fact not to be forgotten), left the army no choice. Killing a helpless enemy is a crime in any civilized military. Azaria was accused of manslaughter - not murder.

All over the right wing, he at once became a national hero. Politicians, including Binyamin Netanyahu and the present Minister of Defense, Avigdor Lieberman, hastened to adopt him.

Azaria was found guilty. In a sharply worded judgment, the military court stated that his testimony consisted of sheer lies.

The judgment aroused a storm of protest all over the right wing. The court was cursed and became the real accused. Facing this storm, the court buckled and this week sentenced Azaria to a ridiculous prison term of 18 months, the usual penalty for an Arab juvenile stone-thrower who has not hit anybody.

Azaria has not apologized. Far from it.

Instead, he, his family and his admirers stood up in the courtroom and broke into the national anthem.

THIS COURTROOM scene became the picture of the day. It was clearly a demonstration against the military court, against the high command of the Israeli army and against the entire democratic structure of the state.

But for me it was much, much more.

It was the Declaration of Independence of another Israeli people. It was the breaking up of Israeli society into two parts, the tensions between which have been growing more acute from year to year.

The two parts have less and less in common. They have entirely different attitudes toward the state, its moral foundations, its ideology, its structure. But until now, it was accepted that at least one almost sacred institution stood above the fray, beyond any controversy: the Israeli army.

The Azaria affair demonstrates that this last bond of unity has now been broken.

WHO ARE these camps? What is the most profound element of this division?

There is no way around it: it is the ethnic factor.

Everybody tries to evade this fact. Mountains of euphemism have been erected to hide it. Everybody is fearful, even frightened, of the consequence of it. Hypocrisy is an essential defense mechanism.

There are now two Jewish-Israeli peoples. They dislike each other intensely.

One is called Ashkenazi, a derivative of an old Hebrew term for Germany. It encompasses all Israelis of European and American origin, who adhere or pretend to adhere to Western values.

The other is called Mizrahi ("eastern"), They used to be called - erroneously - Sephardim ("Spaniards"), but only a small fraction of them are actually the descendants of the Jews expelled from Spain some 700 years ago. The great majority of these expellees chose to go to Muslim countries, instead of Europe.

The Mizrahi community encompasses all the Israelis whose families came from countries extending from Morocco to Iran.

Historically, Jews were often mistreated in Europe, and rarely so in Islamic countries. But Ashkenazim are proud of their European heritage, while in fact growing more and more estranged from it, while for the Mizrahim there is no greater insult than comparing them to Arabs.

How did the rift start? The Zionist movement was created mainly by Ashkenazim, who constituted the overwhelming majority of the world's Jews before the Holocaust. Naturally, they were also the main contributors to the new Zionist community in Palestine, though there were also some outstanding Mizrahi figures.

The deep division started right after the 1948 war. As I have often mentioned, I was one of the first who saw it coming. As a squad-leader in the war, I commanded a group of volunteers from Morocco and other Mediterranean countries (who, by the way, saved my life when I was wounded). I witnessed the beginning of the split and warned the country in a series of articles, dating from 1949.

Who was to blame? Both sides. But since the Ashkenazim controlled all aspects of life, their share of the guilt is surely larger.

Coming from two great but very different civilizations, it was perhaps inevitable for the two communities to differ on many aspects of life. But at the time everybody was befuddled by the Zionist world of myths, and nothing was done to avoid the disaster.

Nowadays, the Mizrahim see themselves as "the people", the real (Jewish) Israelis, despising the Ashkenazim as the "elites". They also believe that they are the great majority.

This is quite wrong. It is more or less an even split, with Russian immigrants, ultra-orthodox Jews and Arab citizens constituting separate entities.

An intriguing question concerns intermarriages. There are a lot, and once I believed that they would automatically heal the rift. That did not happen. Rather, every pair joins one or other of the two communities.

The lines are not drawn clearly. There are many Mizrahi professors, medical doctors, architects and artists who have joined the "elites" and feel part of them. There are many Ashkenazi politicians (especially in the Likud) who behave as if they belonged to "the people", hoping to attract votes.

The Likud ("unification") party is a phenomenon by itself. The preponderant mass of its members and voters are Mizrahim. Indeed, it is the Mizrahi party per excellence. But almost all its leaders are Ashkenazim. Netanyahu pretends to be both.

BACK TO Azaria.

Public opinion polls tell us that for the large majority of Mizrahim, killing a seriously wounded "terrorist" is the right thing to do. After the singing in court, his father kissed him and cried out: "You are a hero!" For many Ashkenazim, it was a despicably cowardly act.

One casualty of the affair is the Chief-of-Staff, Gadi Eizenkot. Until recently, he was the most popular person in the country. Now he is cursed by the Mizrahim as a contemptible lackey of the Ashkenazi "elites". Yet, in spite of his German-sounding name, Eizenkot is of Moroccan descent.

(A personal note. In the 1948 war, I saw with my own eyes many acts of real heroism: soldiers who sacrificed their lives to save a comrade or who fought on in desperate situations. I remember the deed of Natan Elbaz, a full-fledged Mizrahi, who threw himself on an activated hand-grenade to save the lives of his comrades. I feel insulted when a soldier is crowned with this title after cold-bloodedly shooting a wounded enemy.)

For more than 40 years now, the army has not fought a real war against a real military. It has deteriorated into a colonial police force, the instrument of a system of oppression of another people. In the performance of this role, many acts of brutality are committed every day.

Quite recently, an innocent Arab teacher, a Bedouin citizen of Israel, got involved by accident in an incident, when policemen clashed with the local population. They shot the teacher, in the erroneous belief that he was about to run them over.

The man was severely wounded and bleeding, with policemen all around him. They did not call the medics. He slowly bled to death. It took 20 minutes.

Only a soldier of the highest human quality, who grew up in a sound human family, can withstand this brutalizing effect. Fortunately, there are many.

I BELIEVE that it is there that the solution lies. We must get rid of the occupation, by all available means, the quicker the better.

Every true friend of Israel around the world must help.

Only then can we devote our mental and social resources to mending the Great Rift and become the people many of us would like to be.

And sing our national anthem with a clear conscience.
(c) 2017 Uri Avnery ~~~ Gush Shalom

Keith Ellison: Sheep-dogging Through Trumpland
By Glen Ford

The Russian Conspiracy theorists have not yet toppled Donald Trump, but they have neutered much of the Sandernista wing of the Democratic Party. Keith Ellison lost the chairmanship of the Democratic National Committee to another warmonger, and quickly joined in ganging up on Russians.

Keith Ellison, the Black congressman from a two-thirds white district in Minnesota, took his defeat for Democratic National Committee chairman with equanimity. "I trust Tom Perez," he said, referring to the Obama-Clinton favorite who swamped him on the second ballot, in Atlanta, this weekend. Ellison decreed that his supporters, comprised mainly of Bernie Sanders campaign veterans, should accept the futility of resistance to the party's new and browner version of the old guard. "If they trust me, they have to trust Tom Perez. There's a lot of action but it has to be channeled into the Democratic Party."

Ellison accepted Perez's offer of the DNC's number two job, vice-chairman, and the two exchanged campaign buttons to seal the deal. Ellison's bloc, which had angrily erupted in chants of "Party for the people, not big money!" when their losing votes were tallied, soon quieted down. The Democratic and corporate media hackery expressed great relief that there had not been a "replay" of the bitter left-right primary elections split in the party. But in fact, the DNC contest scenario was politically identical to last year's presidential primary race, with Keith Ellison taking up the role of Bernie Sanders' sheepdog, herding the pretend-Left of the party into a harmless gaggle and then eagerly embracing corporate leadership at the conclusion of the charade.

This time, it was even easier than last summer because, in the interim, many of the pseudo-insurgents had swallowed the poisoned pill of neo-McCarthyism, draining their "movement" of all moral authority. After all, if one believes the Big Lie that "the Russians" and their suborned collaborators at Wikileaks were the evil, outside force that had fatally weakened Hillary Clinton year's long campaign, then the Bernie phenomenon was tainted, too. If Donald Trump's presidency is mainly the product of a Russian disinformation and destabilization operation, rather than voter rejection of the corporate status quo, then it is the duty of every patriotic Democrat to avoid further rancor within the party, and to unite against the common foe in the Kremlin and his "puppet" in the White House. Which is precisely what Keith Ellis did, in Atlanta, joining with Tom Perez in calling for an investigation of the Trump campaign's alleged dealings with Russians.

John Podesta, Clinton's campaign chairman, has been absolved. Wikileaks documents showed Podesta had early in the campaign urged Democratic operatives and cooperative media to boost Donald Trump's candidacy, in the belief that far-right Republicans would be easier to beat. Logically, Trump owes Podesta for at least a portion of the $2 billion in free media publicity he received at the start of his quest -- gifts from the same media corporations that ignored Bernie Sanders' campaign as long as they could, and would later blame Vladimir Putin for Trump's success. It now appears that the bulk of Bernie's supporters have now also bought into the Russian Conspiracy Theory, rendering their intra-party insurgency moot.

"We're all going to continue to be united in our values," said Perez, crediting the party's "big tent" for his victory. Under Clinton, the "big tent" swelled to bursting with corporate establishment Republicans and virtually the entirety of the national security (deep) state, who saw Trump as a clear and present danger to "free trade" (global corporate dominance), U.S. regime change strategies ("humanitarian" military intervention) and standing up to the Russians (encirclement and constant provocations to war). Although it was never clear that Trump would actually oppose any of these aspects of U.S. "exceptionalism" (imperialism), he had strung enough suggestive words together, often enough, to cause a panicked realignment -- more like a destabilization -- of the U.S. ruling class. The goal was to make mere contact with Russians grounds for suspicion of treason.

The game plan may yet bring Trump down. It has surely blunted whatever inclinations he may have had towards lessening tensions with the other nuclear superpower. But, the now full-blown McCarthyism that was birthed in Hillary's big nasty tent has scored an easy victory over the phony Left in the U.S., which has neutered its (never-vigorous) self.

Keith Ellison is right. If the Sanders folks trust him ("There's a lot of action but it has to be channeled into the Democratic Party"), they should trust Perez, and Clinton, and Obama -- and the CIA, the NSA and the FBI.
(c) 2017 Glen Ford is the Black Agenda Report executive editor. He can be contacted at

Sen. Bernie Sanders delivers a speech during J Streets 2017 National Conference at the Washington Convention Center, on February 27, 2017 in Washington, DC.

On Anti-Semitism, Israel, and the Palestinians
Speech to this year's J Street conference
By Bernie Sanders

Thank you for inviting me to address you here today. It's a pleasure to be here with J Street, which has been such a strong voice for saner, more progressive foreign policy ideas. And I am delighted to be in the company of friends from the Middle East and all over the world who I know will continue the struggle for a world of peace, justice and environmental sanity.

Let me begin by noting that in the last several months, since Donald Trump's victory in the presidential race, there has been a significant outbreak of anti-Semitism here in our country. I am very alarmed by the desecration of Jewish cemeteries, with Jewish Community Centers being threatened around the country, and with the headquarters of the Anti-Defamation League receiving a bomb threat last week.

When we see violent and verbal racist attacks against minorities - whether they are African-Americans, Jews, Muslims in this country, immigrants in this country, or the LGBT community, these attacks must be condemned at the highest levels of our government.

It was rather extraordinary that in the White House's Holocaust Remembrance Day statement, the murder of 6 million Jews was not mentioned by the Trump administration. I hope very much that Pres. Trump and his political advisor Mr. Bannon understand that the world is watching: it is imperative that their voices be loud and clear in condemning anti-Semitism, violent attacks against immigrants in this country, including the murder of two young men from India, and all forms of bigotry here and around the world. This country has struggled too long against racism, sexism, xenophobia, and homophobia. We will not go back. We are going to go forward and fight discrimination of all forms.

I must say that I also found it very troubling that, at a recent press conference, when President Trump was given an opportunity to condemn the bigotry and anti-Semitism that has arisen in the wake of his election, he chose to respond by bragging - incorrectly, by the way - about the size of his Electoral College victory. Our society is still riven by tensions from the campaign, and Americans need a president who will try to bring us together, rather than boast about his political victory.

Let me take this opportunity to thank J Street for the bold voice that they've provided in support of American leadership in the Middle East and efforts towards peace between Israelis and Palestinians. I understand that, given the political climate in this capital, that has not always been easy. I also applaud them for being part of a broad coalition of groups that successfully fought for the historic nuclear agreement between the U.S. and its partners and Iran.

That agreement demonstrated that real American leadership, real American power, is not shown by our ability to blow things up, but by our ability to bring parties together, to forge international consensus around shared problems, and then to mobilize that consensus to address those problems.

For many years, leaders across the world, especially Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, had sounded the alarm about the possibility of an Iranian nuclear weapon. What the Obama administration was able to do, with the support of groups like J Street and others, was to get an agreement that froze and dismantled large parts of that nuclear program, put it under the most intensive inspections regime in history, and removed the prospect of an Iranian nuclear weapon from the list of global threats.

As a member of the United States Senate, I hear a whole lot of speechifying. I hear from many of my colleagues how "tough" the United States has got to be, and how, at the end of the day, military force is what matters.

Well, I say to those colleagues, 'It's easy to give speeches in the safety of the floor of the Senate or the House. It's a little bit harder to experience war and live through the devastation of war. I recall vividly all of the rhetoric that came from the Bush administration, that came from my Republican colleagues, and some Democrats, about why going to war in Iraq was the right thing to do. Well, it wasn't. In fact, it is one of the great tragedies of modern world history.

Today it is now broadly acknowledged that the war in Iraq, which I opposed, was a foreign policy blunder of enormous magnitude. The war in Iraq led to the deaths of some 4,400 U.S. troops and the wounding, physical and emotional, of tens of thousands of others-not to mention the pain inflicted on wives and children and parents. The war in Iraq led to, conservatively speaking, the deaths of over 100,000 Iraqi civilians and the wounding and displacement of many more. It created a cascade of instability around the region that we are still dealing with today in Syria and elsewhere, and will be for many years to come. And, by the way, that war in Iraq cost trillions of dollars-money that should have been spent on health care, education, infrastructure, and environmental protection.

The Iraq war, like many other military conflicts, had unintended consequences. It ended up making us less safe, not more safe.

In contrast, the Iran nuclear deal helped the security of the U.S. and its partners - yes, it helped the security of Israel, as many Israeli security experts have acknowledged - and it did this at a tiny fraction of the cost in blood and treasure of the Iraq war. This is the power of diplomacy. This is real leadership.

Some who opposed this nuclear deal have attacked its supporters, including J Street, for being part of a so-called "echo chamber." The truth is that Washington has for many years had a very loud and powerful echo chamber for war. It's about time we had an echo chamber for peace. So thank you J Street.

Now, as many of you know, I have a connection to the State of Israel going back many years. In 1963, I lived on a kibbutz near Haifa. It was there that I saw and experienced for myself many of the progressive values upon which the State of Israel was founded. I think it is very important for everyone, but particularly for progressives, to acknowledge the enormous achievement of establishing a democratic homeland for the Jewish people after centuries of displacement and persecution, and particularly after the horror of the Holocaust.

But as you all know, there was another side to the story of Israel's creation, a more painful side. Like our own country, the founding of Israel involved the displacement of hundreds of thousands of people already living there, the Palestinian people. Over 700,000 people were made refugees.

To acknowledge this painful historical fact does not "delegitimize" Israel, any more than acknowledging the Trail of Tears delegitimizes the United States of America.

But I didn't come here today simply to revisit history, or to say one historical narrative is wrong and one is right. My question here today is: OK, what now? Where do Israelis and Palestinians go from here? What should be U.S. policy to end this conflict, to end this fifty-year long occupation, and enable a better, more secure and prosperous future for Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians alike?

This decades-long conflict has taken so much from so many. Nobody gains when Israel spends an enormous part of its budget on the military. Nobody gains when Gaza is obliterated and thousands are killed, wounded, or made homeless. Nobody gains when children are trained to be suicide bombers. Nobody gains when year after year, decade after decade, the talk is about war and hatred rather than peace and development. Think of the incredible potential that is being lost when Israelis and Palestinians are not coming together effectively to address the environmental and economic challenges of the region. Our vision, a vision we must never lose sight of, is creating a Middle East where people come together in peace and democracy to create a region in which all people have a decent life. I understand that, given the realities of today, that vision appears distant and maybe even far-fetched. But it is a vision and a dream that we cannot afford to give up on.

So what should we as progressives - American progressives, Israeli progressives and progressives globally -- demand of our governments in bringing this future about

Let's take a moment to talk about values.

It's often said that the U.S.-Israel relationship is based on "shared values." I think this is correct, but then we also have to ask: What do we mean by this? What values are we talking about?

As progressives, here are the values we share: We believe in democracy. We believe in equality. We believe in pluralism. We are strongly opposed to xenophobia. We respect and we will protect the rights of minorities.

These are values that are shared by progressives in this country and across the globe. These values are based upon the very simple notion that we share a common humanity. Whether we are Israelis or Palestinians or Americans, whether we are Jews, Christians, Muslims, or of another religion, we all want our children to grow up healthy, to have a good education, have decent jobs, drink clean water and breathe clean air, and to live in peace.

That's what being human is about. And our job is to do everything that we can to oppose all of the political forces, no matter what side they may be on, who try to tear us apart.

Earlier this month, at a White House press conference with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, President Trump was asked whether he supported a two-state solution. His answer was, "I'm looking at two-state and one-state, and I like the one that both parties like." As if someone asked him whether he preferred Coke to Pepsi.

We should be clear: The two-state solution, which involves the establishment of a Palestinian state in the territories occupied in 1967, has been bipartisan U.S. policy for many years. It is also supported by an overwhelming international consensus, which was reaffirmed in December by the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2334. While I understand that they've walked that statement back, the casual manner in which President Trump appeared to abandon that policy was extremely concerning, but also unfortunately typical of the carelessness with which he has managed American foreign policy thus far.

The president said that he supports a peace deal, but this doesn't mean much. The real question is: Peace on what terms, and under what arrangement? Does "peace" mean that Palestinians will be forced to live under perpetual Israeli rule, in a series of disconnected communities in the West Bank and Gaza? That's not tolerable, and that's not peace.

If Palestinians in the occupied territories are to be denied self-determination in a state of their own, will they receive full citizenship and equal rights in a single state, potentially meaning the end of a Jewish majority state? These are very serious questions with significant implications for America's broader regional partnerships and goals.

Friends, the United States and the State of Israel have a strong bond, going back to the moment of Israel's founding. There is no question that we should be, and will be Israel's strong friend and ally in the years to come. At the same time, we must recognize that Israel's continued occupation of Palestinian territories and its daily restrictions on the political and civil liberties of the Palestinian people runs contrary to fundamental American values.

As former Secretary of State John Kerry rightly said in his speech in December, 'Friends need to tell each other the hard truths.' And the hard truth is that the continued occupation and the growth of Israeli settlements that the occupation sustains, undermines the possibility of peace. It contributes to suffering and violence.

As the United Nations Security Council reaffirmed on December 23, the settlements also constitute a flagrant violation of international law. I applaud the Obama administration's decision to abstain from vetoing UN Security Council Resolution 2334. Those of us who really support Israel have got to tell the truth about policies are hurting chances of reaching a peaceful resolution.

I recognize that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is one of the most emotionally fraught issues in U.S. politics, involving as it does the legitimate historical claims, identities and security of two peoples in the same region.

So let me be very clear: to oppose the policies of a right-wing government in Israel does not make one anti-Israel or an anti-Semite. We can oppose the policies of President Trump without being anti-American. We can oppose the policies of Netanyahu without being anti-Israel. We can oppose the policies of Islamic extremism without being anti-Muslim.

As I said during my presidential campaign, peace means security not only for every Israeli, but also for every Palestinian. It means supporting self-determination, civil rights, and economic well-being for both peoples.

These ideas are based in the very same shared values that impel us to condemn anti-Semitic bigotry, condemn anti-Muslim bigotry, and to make our own society better. These are the ideas that should guide us. The values of inclusiveness, security, democracy, and justice should inform not only America's engagement with Israel and Palestine, but with the region and the world.

The United States will continue its unwavering commitment to the safety of the State of Israel, but we must also be clear that peacefully resolving this conflict is the best way to ensure the long-term safety of both peoples, and for making America more secure.

To my Israeli friends here with us today: we share many of the same challenges. In both our countries we see the rise of a politics of bigotry and intolerance and resentment. We must meet these challenges together. As you struggle to make your society better, more just, more egalitarian, I want to say to you: Your fight is our fight.
(c) 2017 Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) was elected to the U.S. Senate in 2006 after serving 16 years in the House of Representatives. He is the longest serving independent member of Congress in American history. Elected Mayor of Burlington, Vt., by 10 votes in 1981, he served four terms. Before his 1990 election as Vermont's at-large member in Congress, Sanders lectured at the John F. Kennedy School of Government at Harvard and at Hamilton College in upstate New York. Read more at his website. Follow him on Twitter: @SenSanders or @BernieSanders

Why Paul Ryan Should Sit Down And Be Very Quiet
By Jim Hightower

For nearly half a century now, America's middle-class working families have been pummeled by corporate greedmeisters and their political henchmen. Indeed, in just the last decade, the typical median-income family has lost 60 percent of their wealth. Haven't they been punished enough?

No, says House Speaker Paul Ryan. Along with other top Republican leaders of Congress, he intends to slash the Social Security money that middle-class and low-income workers depend on, and he ultimately is out to kill it altogether. Dependence on such public "entitlements," he preaches, weakens our nation's morality.

Entitlements? Social Security isn't a welfare program - regular working people pay a 12 percent tax on every dime of their wages into the this public pension fund year after year. They earn their retirement!

Morality? Social Security embodies America's core moral value of fairness and our society's commitment to the common good. And it works - before it was enacted, half of all Americans spent their "golden years" in poverty. Social Security has saved the great majority of us from old-age penury. Where is the morality in taking this earned retirement and modicum of dignity from millions?

Besides, a sermon on the morality of entitlements should never come from a congress critter's mouth. Speaker Ryan himself wallows in a mud pit of congressional entitlements that working stiffs couldn't imagine getting: A $223,500 annual paycheck, free limousine and chauffeur, a maximum-coverage health plan, a tax-paid PR agent, lavish expense account, free travel... and, of course, a platinum-level congressional retirement program funded by the very taxpayers whose Social Security he's out to kill.

Yet Ryan wonders why Congress' public approval rating is plummeting toward single digits.
(c) 2017 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.

U.S. Rep. Keith Ellison during a press conference at the Farview Recreation Center in Minneapolis, Minn., Nov. 30, 2015.

Key Question About DNC Race: Why Did Obama White House Recruit Perez to Run Against Ellison?
By Glenn Greenwald

Members of the Democratic National Committee will meet on Saturday to choose their new chair, replacing the disgraced interim chair Donna Brazile, who replaced the disgraced five-year chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz. Even though the outcome is extremely unlikely to change the (failed) fundamentals of the party, the race has become something of an impassioned proxy war replicating the 2016 primary fight: between the Clinton/Obama establishment wing (which largely backs Obama Labor Secretary Tom Perez, who vehemently supported Clinton) and the insurgent Sanders wing (which backs Keith Ellison, the first Muslim ever elected to the U.S. Congress, who was an early Sanders supporter).

The New Republic's Clio Chang has a great, detailed analysis of the contest. She asks the key question about Perez's candidacy that has long hovered and yet has never been answered. As Chang correctly notes, supporters of Perez insist, not unreasonably, that he is materially indistinguishable from Ellison in terms of ideology (despite his support for TPP, seemingly grounded in loyalty to Obama). This, she argues, is "why the case for Tom Perez makes no sense": After all, "if Perez is like Ellison - in both his politics and ideology - why bother fielding him in the first place?"

The timeline here is critical. Ellison announced his candidacy on November 15, armed with endorsements that spanned the range of the party: Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, Raul Grijalva, and various unions on the left, along with establishment stalwarts such as Chuck Schumer, Amy Klobuchar, and Harry Reid. He looked to be the clear frontrunner.

But as Ellison's momentum built, the Obama White House worked to recruit Perez to run against Ellison. They succeeded, and Perez announced his candidacy on December 15 - a full month after Ellison announced. Why did the White House work to recruit someone to sink Ellison? If Perez and Ellison are so ideologically indistinguishable, why was it so important to the Obama circle - and the Clinton circle - to find someone capable of preventing Ellison's election? What's the rationale? None has ever been provided.

I can't recommend Chang's analysis highly enough on one key aspect of what motivated the recruitment of Perez: to ensure that the Democratic establishment maintains its fatal grip on the party and, in particular, to prevent Sanders followers from having any say in the party's direction and identity:

There is one real difference between the two: Ellison has captured the support of the left wing. ... It appears that the underlying reason some Democrats prefer Perez over Ellison has nothing to do with ideology, but rather his loyalty to the Obama wing. As the head of the DNC, Perez would allow that wing to retain more control, even if Obama-ites are loath to admit it. ...

And it's not just Obama- and Clinton-ites that could see some power slip away with an Ellison-headed DNC. Paid DNC consultants also have a vested interest in maintaining the DNC status quo. Nomiki Konst, who has extensively covered the nuts and bolts of the DNC race, asked Perez how he felt about conflicts of interest within the committee - specifically, DNC members who also have contracts with the committee. Perez dodged the issue, advocating for a "big tent." In contrast, in a forum last month, Ellison firmly stated, "We are battling the consultant-ocracy."

In other words, Perez, despite his progressive credentials, is viewed - with good reason - as a reliable functionary and trustworthy loyalist by those who have controlled the party and run it into the ground, whereas Ellison is viewed as an outsider who may not be as controllable and, worse, may lead the Sanders contingent to perceive that they have been integrated into and empowered within the party.

But there's an uglier and tawdrier aspect to this. Just over two weeks after Ellison announced, the largest single funder of both the Democratic Party and the Clinton campaign - the Israeli-American billionaire Haim Saban - launched an incredibly toxic attack on Ellison, designed to signal his veto. "He is clearly an anti-Semite and anti-Israel individual," pronounced Saban about the African-American Muslim congressman, adding: "Keith Ellison would be a disaster for the relationship between the Jewish community and the Democratic Party." Saban has a long history not only of fanatical support for Israel - "I'm a one-issue guy, and my issue is Israel," he told the New York Times in 2004 about himself - but also an ugly track record of animus toward Muslims. As The Forward gently put it, he is prone to "a bit of anti-Muslim bigotry," including when he said Muslims deserve "more scrutiny" and "also called for profiling and broader surveillance." In 2014, he teamed up with right-wing billionaire Sheldon Adelson to push a pro-Israel agenda. In that notorious NYT profile, he attacked the ACLU for opposing Bush/Cheney civil liberties assaults and said: "On the issues of security and terrorism I am a total hawk."

There's no evidence that Saban's attack on Ellison is what motivated the White House to recruit an opponent. But one would have to be indescribably naive about the ways of Washington to believe that such a vicious denunciation by one of the party's most influential billionaire funders had no effect at all.

The DNC headquarters was built with Saban's largesse: He donated $7 million to build that building, and he previously served as chairman of the party's capital-expenditure campaign. Here's how Mother Jones's Andy Kroll, in a November profile, described the influence Saban wields within elite Democratic circles:

No single political patron has done more for the Clintons over the span of their careers. In the past 20 years, Saban and his wife have donated $2.4 million to the Clintons' various campaigns and at least $15 million to the Clinton Foundation, where Cheryl Saban serves as a board member. Haim Saban prides himself on his top-giver status: "If I'm not No. 1, I'm going to cut my balls off," he once remarked on the eve of a Hillary fundraiser. The Sabans have given more than $10 million to Priorities USA, making them among the largest funders of the pro-Hillary super-PAC. In the lead-up to the 2016 presidential campaign, he vowed to spend "whatever it takes" to elect her. ...

The ties go beyond money. The Clintons have flown on the Sabans' private jet, stayed at their LA home, and vacationed at their Acapulco estate. The two families watched the 2004 election results together at the Clintons' home, and Bill Clinton gave the final toast at one of Cheryl Saban's birthday parties. Haim Saban is chummy enough with Hillary that he felt comfortable telling her that she sounded too shrill on the stump. "Why are you shouting all the time?" he says he told her. "It's drilling a hole in my head." Clinton campaign emails released by WikiLeaks in October contain dozens of messages to, from, and referencing Saban. And they show that he has no qualms about pressing Clinton and her aides on her position toward Israel. "She needs to differentiate herself from Obama on Israel," he wrote in June 2015 to Clinton's top aides.

When Clinton, during the campaign, denounced the boycott movement devoted to defeating Israeli occupation, she did it in the form of public letter to Saban. To believe that Democrats assign no weight to Saban's adamantly stated veto of Ellison is to believe in the tooth fairy.

Saban's attack predictably spawned media reports that Jewish groups had grown "uncomfortable" with Ellison's candidacy (the ADL pronounced his past criticisms of Israel "disqualifying"), while whispers arose that the last thing the Democratic Party needed to win back Rust Belt voters was a black Muslim as the face of the party (even though the Detroit-born Ellison himself is from the Rust Belt).

As both Chang and Vox's Jeff Stein have argued, the fact that DNC chair is a largely functionary position, with little real power over party policy or messaging, is all the more reason to throw Sanders supporters a symbolic bone. If Democrats were smart, this would be the perfect opportunity to capture that energized left-wing movement without having to make any real concessions on what matters most to them: loyalty to their corporate donor base.

But it's hard to conclude that a party that has navigated itself into such collapse, which deliberately and knowingly chose the weakest candidate, who managed to lose to Donald J. Trump, is one that is thinking wisely and strategically. As Chang persuasively argues, it seems Democratic leaders prioritize ensuring that the left has no influence in their party over strengthening itself to beat the Trump-led Republicans:

The same could be said of today's battle over the DNC and the push to install a loyal technocrat like Perez. This reluctance to cede control comes despite the fact that Democrats have lost over 1,000 state legislature seats since 2009. There is no case for Perez that cannot be made for Ellison, while Ellison is able to energize progressives in ways that Perez cannot. The question that will be answered on Saturday is whether Democrats have more urgent priorities than denying power to the left.
That view, one must grant, is deeply cynical of Democratic leaders. But - besides fearing the wrath of Saban - what else can explain why they were so eager to recruit someone to block Keith Ellison?

If the plan to sink Ellison succeeds, the message that will be heard - fairly or not - is that the Democratic Party continues to venerate loyalty to its oligarchical donors above all else, and that preventing left-wing influence is a critical goal. In other words, the message will be that the party - which to date has refused to engage in any form of self-reckoning - is steadfastly committed to following exactly the same course, led by the same factions, that has ushered in such disaster.
(c) 2017 Glenn Greenwald. was previously a constitutional law and civil rights litigator in New York. His most recent book is, With Liberty and Justice for Some: How the Law Is Used to Destroy Equality and Protect the Powerful. He is the author of the New York Times Bestselling book "How Would a Patriot Act?," a critique of the Bush administration's use of executive power, released in May 2006. His second book, "A Tragic Legacy," examines the Bush legacy. He is the recipient of the first annual I.F. Stone Award for Independent Journalism.

Marvelous Monarchs Move Minister McKenna
By David Suzuki with contributions from David Suzuki Foundation communications strategist Jode Roberts.

Federal Environment and Climate Change Minister Catherine McKenna had her mind blown recently. Remarkably, it had nothing to do with the political gong show south of the border. McKenna was visiting the hilltop monarch butterfly reserves in rural Mexico. There she saw millions of monarchs clinging to oyamel fir trees in mind-bogglingly dense clusters, surprisingly well-camouflaged for such colourful critters. She then wrote a heartfelt article calling on people in Canada to act before monarchs go the way of passenger pigeons and buffalo.

Those monarchs travel thousands of kilometres, many from summer breeding grounds in Canada that once stretched from southern Saskatchewan to the Maritimes. As a child growing up in southwestern Ontario, I collected insects. Monarchs were abundant everywhere. The mass exodus through Point Pelee at summer's end was mesmerizing.

That's changed. Since the 1990s, the eastern monarch population has declined by about 90 per cent. More than a billion monarchs once made the journey to Mexico. In winter 2013, that dropped to 35 million. Modest increases since then have largely been erased. An intense late-winter storm wiped out more than six million monarchs last March and unfavourable weather conditions during critical breeding periods caused a 27 per cent reduction over the past year.

Much of the overall decline has been pinned on the eradication of milkweed through widespread use of the herbicide glyphosate (known as Roundup) in the U.S. Midwest and southern Canada. Milkweed is a host plant and the only food source for monarch caterpillars. Extreme weather conditions - including extended droughts during critical breeding periods and severe winter storms in Mexico that topple trees and cause mudslides in forests where monarchs overwinter - have exacerbated the decline.

In 2016, scientists estimated the monarch population has up to a 57 per cent chance of "quasi-extinction" over the next 20 years. That means the population could hit levels so low recovery is impossible. Others suggest the migration into Canada could end. In November, scientists overseeing at-risk species in Canada said the government should list the monarch butterfly population as endangered.

So, what's happening? The minister's own assessment is telling. In her article, she cites only a fledgling citizen science project as the most notable progress here since leaders of Canada, the U.S. and Mexico began seriously contemplating action in 2014. I would add dozens of great local programs, like the David Suzuki Foundation's Homegrown National Park Project and Got Milkweed campaign, which have inspired people to plant thousands of milkweed and other pollinator-friendly wildflowers. Municipalities like the City of Markham have taken the lead, committing to become more monarch-friendly by planting milkweed on public lands. Exciting new programs like the Butterflyway Project will spur neighbourhood-scale butterfly- and bee-friendly corridors in five cities this year.

But municipal and citizen-led programs are not enough. Pre-eminent monarch advocate Chip Taylor estimates that more than a billion milkweed will need to be planted throughout the range if the population is to recover. That would require unprecedented co-operation and collaboration by agencies, groups and scientists throughout the monarch's 5,000-kilometre migratory route, especially in the northern end of the range where 44 per cent of the population originates, according to University of Guelph scientists.

In the U.S., plans have taken flight over the past few years. Federal and state agencies collaborated to develop an ambitious 10-year plan to increase the monarch population, providing more than $10 million for research and conservation efforts. Former president Barack Obama helped launch a plan to establish one million bee- and butterfly-friendly gardens across the continent, including butterfly gardens on the White House grounds.

In Mexico, government agencies, international organizations and local groups like Alternare are working diligently to protect the forests where monarchs overwinter.

What's missing is action from Canada's government. The good news is that the person with the most power to influence the plight of this imperilled species is Minister McKenna. Whether Canada legally protects monarchs, as recommended in November by federal scientists, is up to her. Whether funds flow to monarch and pollinator research and conservation programs is largely her ministry's responsibility. That's why her newfound love of monarchs renews my hope.

If Canada is serious about saving the monarchs, the federal government needs to start now.
(c) Dr. David Suzuki is a scientist, broadcaster, author, and co-founder of the David Suzuki Foundation.

In this Sept. 8, 1998, file photo, Ed Garvey, center, Democratic nominee for Wisconsin governor, receives congratulations from School Board President Leon Todd,
left, Pamela Malone, a campaign volunteer, and Garvey's wife, Betty, after addressing his supporters and the media in Milwaukee. Garvey, the lawyer who led
the National Football League Players Association through strikes in 1974 and 1982, has died at age 76.

Ed Garvey Was the Progressive Populist Who Inspired Bernie Sanders and Paul Wellstone
Sanders hails the civil-rights activist, union leader, progressive candidate, and crusader as a hero who forged a new politics.
By John Nichols

When Bernie Sanders was barnstorming across Wisconsin in the spring of 2016, just days before the state's critical presidential primary vote, his schedule was packed with policy addresses, rallies and media interviews.

But he took one afternoon off and went to the Madison home of Ed Garvey to spend time with the man Sanders and the Rev. Jesse Jackson and the late Sen. Paul Wellstone hailed as an ally and an inspiration for their progressive political campaigns.

"Ed was one of the smartest, funniest and most decent people I have ever known," recalled Sanders, when he learned Wednesday that Garvey had died at age 76.

Garvey never held elective office. But his bids for the U.S. Senate and the governorship in Wisconsin framed out a new vision of politics that erased the barriers between grass-roots activism and electoral politics - and envisioned a day when elected officials would spring from movements and make it their missions to implement the programs of those movements.

Garvey was a movement man - a civil rights campaigner who went south in the early 1960s with the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC); a student activist who served as president of the National Student Association in the turbulent 1960s; a labor activist who was the first executive director of the National Football League Players Association; a courtroom activist who as a lawyer and legal strategist organized the long struggle to apply antitrust laws to the NFL and won major concessions from the owners, crusaded for environmental protection as a deputy attorney general of Wisconsin, and then represented labor unions in their battles with multinational corporations.

In 1986, his bid for a United States Senate seat representing Wisconsin drew national attention as Garvey built a rainbow coalition campaign - like the presidential bids of his friend and longtime collaborator on progressive causes, the Rev. Jesse Jackson. Linking labor and environmental groups, urban workers and farmers, women's rights campaigners and the LGBTQ community into a mass-movement campaign, he secured the Democratic nomination. Mimicking the populist approach that his friend Jim Hightower used to win election as Texas agriculture commissioner in 1982, Garvey appeared to be headed for the U.S. Senate when his opponent, Republican Sen. Bob Kasten, launched a heavily funded smear campaign that lied about Garvey's background. Kasten, who was supported by millionaire campaign donors and special-interest groups from across the country, narrowly prevailed with what at the time was characterized as one of the bitterest campaigns in modern American history. Only later, when faced with a libel suit, did Kasten concede that the free-spending attack-ad campaign was false.

Ed Garvey's reaction to his setback was to start organizing against the big money that paid for attacks ads - and the warping of American political campaigns by wealthy donors and candidates. His groundbreaking articles for The Progressive still turn up in textbooks on politics. And they still inspire progressive activists and campaigners.

Garvey made his last bid for public office in 1998, securing the Democratic nomination for governor of Wisconsin with a bid that accepted only contributions of $100 or less. With another campaign-finance reformer as his running mate for lieutenant governor, Garvey outlined a democracy program that inspired a new generation of activists in the state. He also drew enthusiastic support from Wellstone, who campaigned at Garvey's side in small towns and cities across Wisconsin. Jackson showed up as well, touring African-American churches in Milwaukee with the man who had been one of the most ardent supporters of the civil rights advocate's 1988 president bid.

Garvey did not win, but he increased the Democratic share of the vote by almost 10 points and played a critical role in helping Russ Feingold get re-elected to the U.S. Senate and boosting a young ally, Tammy Baldwin, in her bid for a U.S. House seat.

Baldwin mourned Garvey's passing by recalling something that was especially true, and especially important, about the man:

"Ed understood how important it was to pass on to the next generation our proud progressive tradition in Wisconsin."
(c) 2017 John Nichols writes about politics for The Nation magazine as its Washington correspondent. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

The Return of American Race Laws
By Chris Hedges

The warmup act for a full-blown American fascism and orchestrated race war is taking place in immigrant and marginal communities across the United States: Racial profiling. Random police stops. Raids at homes and businesses. People of color pulled from vehicles at checkpoints. Seizures of individuals with no criminal records or who never committed a serious crime. Imprisonment without trial. Expedited deportation hearings and removal proceedings that violate human rights. The arrest of a beneficiary of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, Daniel Ramirez Medina, 23, who along with the program's other 750,000 successful applicants had revealed all personal history to the government in applying for DACA status. Parents separated, perhaps forever, from their children. The hunted going underground. The end of the rule of law. The abandonment of the common good. The obliteration of a social state in which institutions and assistance programs-from public education to Social Security and welfare-make justice, equality and dignity possible.

White Europeans who are undocumented are not being targeted. The executive orders of President Trump are directed against people of color. They begin from the premise that white Americans are the true victims of neoliberalism, deindustrialization and falling living standards. The Trump orders are written not to make America great again but to make America white. They are an updated version of the Nazis' Nuremberg race laws, the Jim Crow laws, the Chinese Exclusion Act and the Naturalization Act of 1870. They are intended to institutionalize an overt racial hierarchy in the United States, one already advanced by the miniature police states in which marginal communities of color find themselves. In these impoverished enclaves there is no right to trial or due process. Militarized police kill with impunity, and the courts lock people away often for life. Rights are treated as privileges that can instantly be revoked. The poor, especially poor people of color, have been exempted from moral consideration. They are viewed as impediments to social cohesion. And these impediments must be eliminated. This is the template for what will come. Jews will be targeted, as recent bomb threats to a number of Jewish community centers and desecration of graveyards have made clear. American fascism will be cemented into place by uniformed and heavily armed paramilitary squads clutching the flag and the cross and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance and the Lord's Prayer.

"Little or no prospect of rescue from individual indolence or impotence can be expected to arrive from a political state that is not, and refuses to be, a social state," the sociologist Zygmunt Bauman warned in "Collateral Damage: Social Inequalities in a Global Age.""Without social rights for all, a large and in all probability growing number of people will find their political rights of little use and unworthy of their attention. If political rights are necessary to set social rights in place, social rights are indispensable to make political rights 'real' and keep them in operation. The two rights need each other for their survival; that survival can only be their joint achievement."

Presidential chief strategist Stephen Bannon, in his public comments and his films such as "Generation Zero," has embraced a historical determinism worthy of Karl Marx. He posits that Western culture has been contaminated and is being destroyed by darker races and barbaric religions and belief systems. His conspiratorial view of history and society sees a global war between the white race and the lesser breeds of the earth as not only inevitable but one that will reinvigorate and purify America.

Racists and conspiracy theorists such as Bannon, Michael Anton, Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka constitute Trump's ideological brain trust. Gorka goes so far as to argue that the failure to understand the evil of radical Islam stems from a "systematic subversion of the national security establishment under the banner of inclusivity, cultural awareness and political correctness."

In a 2014 speech, Bannon said, "I believe we've come partly off-track in the years since the fall of the Soviet Union and we're starting now in the 21st century, which I believe, strongly, is a crisis both of our church, a crisis of our faith, a crisis of the West, a crisis of capitalism." (He delivered the talk via Skype to a group of other right-wing Catholics gathered in the Vatican. For a transcript posted by BuzzFeed, click here.)

"There is a major war brewing, a war that's already global," Bannon said. "It's going global in scale, and today's technology, today's media, today's access to weapons of mass destruction, it's going to lead to a global conflict that I believe has to be confronted today. Every day that we refuse to look at this as what it is, and the scale of it, and really the viciousness of it, will be a day where you will rue that we didn't act."

Bannon, as Micah L. Sifry points out in The Nation, is a proponent of the theory popularized by authors William Strauss and Neil Howe in their books "Generations: The History of America's Future, 1584 to 2069" (1991) and "The Fourth Turning: An American Prophecy-What the Cycles of History Tell Us About America's Next Rendezvous With Destiny" (1997). This theory holds that roughly every 80 years, roughly an average human life span, the country goes through a cataclysmic crisis. This crisis unleashes genocide and other killing that last a decade or more. In its aftermath the social order is rejuvenated. Strauss and Howe highlight the American Revolution of 1775-83, the Civil War, the Great Depression and World War II as examples of how the cycle works.

"Inside each 80-year saeculum, Howe and Strauss argue, there are four turnings, each a generation long, and each as inevitable as the coming of the seasons," Sifry writes. "In the first turning, for the generation that survives the prior catastrophe, the newly restored society reaches a collective apex of social order and economic power. Think of America in the post-war boom of 1945 to 1965. Then comes the awakening, as the first new generation of post-catastrophe children enter adulthood and, unlike their traumatized parents, let loose with their emotions and take risks that their forebears would never have imagined. Hello to the long 1960s. Then comes the unraveling, as the once robust order starts to fall apart, people question the eternal verities and institutions weaken. The fourth turning is kicked off and punctuated by ongoing crises, out of which a whole new order is born." Pseudo-intellectuals such as Strauss and Howe play the role that Paul de Lagarde, Julius Langbehn, Arthur Moeller van den Bruck and Alfred Rosenberg played for the Nazi Party. They give an intellectual veneer to racist conspiracy theories, a virulent nationalism, a hatred for culture and the lust for domination through violence.

I share Bannon's distaste for globalization, free trade agreements, the failure to put Wall Street bankers in jail, the bank bailouts and crony capitalism and would even concede that Americans wallow in the moral swamp of a culture of narcissism. He is right when he attacks the two major political parties as the one "party of Davos." But his solution to the purported crisis-total war by the white race to regain its ascendancy-is insane, as are the causes he cites: a New Deal that turned citizens into whining dependents; the permissiveness of the 1960s; white guilt that made the country cater irresponsibly to African-Americans by giving them social service programs and undeserved mortgages that led to the 2008 financial meltdown; an intellectual and a liberal class composed essentially of traitors; and the "new barbarity" of "Jihadist Islamic fascism."

Racism, misogyny, the inherent cruelty of capitalism and the crimes of empire, from Wounded Knee to Vietnam and Iraq, simply do not exist in Bannon's mystical nationalist worldview. He insists that the white male aristocratic elites who formed a republic that enslaved African-Americans, exterminated Native Americans and denied the vote to women and white men without property created "a church and a civilization that really is the flower of mankind." This is what he wants to recover.

Fritz Stern, in his book "The Politics of Cultural Despair: A Study in the Rise of the Germanic Ideology," wrote of the early fascists in Germany, "The movement did embody a paradox: its followers sought to destroy the despised present in order to recapture an idealized past in an imaginary future. They were disinherited conservatives, who had nothing to conserve, because the spiritual values of the past had largely been buried and the material remnants of conservative power did not interest them. They sought a breakthrough to the past, and they longed for a new community in which old ideas and institutions would once again command universal allegiance."

Bannon shares these fascist yearnings. He excoriates leftist and liberal elites for supposedly poisoning the minds of young people, a point he luridly makes in his film "Occupy Unmasked" (2012). A new generation, he says, has been brainwashed to see America as evil and the status quo as repressive. His mythical past will return through a crusade both domestic and international. All forms of coercion, from torture to murder, are justified. Any suffering along the way is the price that has to be paid for this white, Christian paradise.

The central tenet of fascism is always that war cleanses society and that the "virtues" that war inculcates in its combatants and survivors provide a new moral vigor. Bannon knows no more about war's reality, which I endured for two decades covering conflicts in Central America, the Middle East, Africa and the Balkans, than he sees in Hollywood movies. But war for him, which will come in a confrontation with the Islamic world and perhaps China, cannot arrive too soon.

This clash of civilizations will be prosecuted in the homeland, too. Within the United States it will spawn the darkness endemic to all wars-sadism, hypermasculinity, blind obedience to authority, a belief in the efficacy of unrestrained violence, racism, hate crimes and the use of the organs of internal security and wholesale surveillance to crush all dissent and eradicate groups seen as opponents of authority. Those who orchestrate such crusades ultimately sacrifice themselves and their nations on the altars of the idols they worship. The conflict desired by Bannon and those around him could mean the extinction of the human race.

The paramilitary forces of Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which will hire 10,000 more agents, and the Border Patrol, which will hire 5,000 more agents, along with the Homeland Security Investigations unit of the Department of Homeland Security, have deputized local and state police to function as their auxiliaries. These paramilitary forces will not disband once they have finished terrorizing and deporting some of the 11 million undocumented immigrants in the U.S. They will turn on their next victims-Muslims, African-Americans, Asians and dissidents.

The paramilitaries relish their power to kick down doors while wearing body armor and pointing weapons at terrified women and children. They are not warriors, as they imagine, but goons. They have few actual skills. And they intend to remain steadily employed by the state. The for-profit prisons, reopened for business by Attorney General Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III, a man named not for one Confederate traitor but two, intend to remain full. The state will make America and the global community inhospitable for people of color and all those who attempt to stand with them.

Trump is stoking the darkest and most destructive strains of the American psyche. Congress, controlled by the Republicans, is unlikely to use impeachment powers to stop him. The courts are spineless subsidiaries of the corporate and security and surveillance state. The elites will not save us. If we fail to build mass protest movements, ones that cripple the ability to govern, we will be enslaved.

Sebastian Haffner (1907-1999) in his book "Defying Hitler" describes being a law clerk at the Prussian Supreme Court. The courthouse was raided in March 1933 by Nazi thugs. They grabbed the Jewish judges and lawyers and hauled them outside; never would the jurists return to their posts. A Jewish attorney, a former army captain who had been wounded five times and lost an eye fighting in World War I, resisted. He was beaten. "It had probably been his misfortune that he still remembered the tone to use with mutineers," Haffner wrote.

"I put my head down over my work," Haffner went on. "I read a few sentences mechanically: 'The defendant's claim that ... is untrue, but irrelevant. ...' Just take no notice!"

A brown shirt approached him and asked: "Are you Aryan?

Haffner shot back, "Yes."

"A moment too late I felt the shame, the defeat," he wrote. "I had said 'Yes! Well, in God's name, I was indeed an 'Aryan.' I had not lied, I had allowed something much worse to happen. What a humiliation, to have answered the unjustified question as to whether I was 'Aryan' so easily, even if the fact was of no importance to me! What a disgrace to buy, with a reply, the right to stay with my documents in peace! I had been caught unawares, even now. I had failed my very first test."

Haffner left the Kammergericht, Prussia's highest state court, and stood outside.

"There was nothing to show that, as an institution, it has just collapsed," he wrote. "There was also nothing about my appearance to show that I had just suffered a terrible reverse, a defeat that would be almost impossible to make good. A well-dressed young man walked down Potsdamer Street. There was nothing untoward about the scene. Business as usual, but in the air the approaching thunder of events to come."
(c) 2017 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

Trump Can Prove He's Not a Putin Puppet by Blowing Up the World
By Norman Solomon

Four weeks into Donald Trump's presidency, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman wrote that "nothing he has done since the inauguration allays fears that he is in effect a Putin puppet." The liberal pundit concluded with a matter-of-fact reference to "the Trump-Putin axis."

Such lines of attack have become routine, citing and stoking fears that the president of the United States is a Kremlin stooge. The meme is on the march-and where it will end, nobody knows.

Actually, it could end with a global nuclear holocaust.

The incessant goading and denunciations of Trump as a Kremlin flunky are escalating massive pressure on him to prove otherwise. Exculpatory behavior would involve setting aside possibilities for detente and, instead, confronting Russia-rhetorically and militarily.

Hostile behavior toward Russia is what much of the U.S. media and political establishment have been fervently seeking. It's also the kind of behavior that could drag us all over the brink into thermonuclear destruction.

But c'mon, why worry about that?

For countless media commentators and partisan Democrats including many avowed progressives-as well as for some Republican hawks aligned with the likes of Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham-the benefits of tarring Trump as a Russian tool are just too alluring to resist.

To be clear: For a vast number of reasons, the Trump administration is repugnant. And the new president's flagrant violations of the U.S. Constitution's foreign and domestic emoluments clauses are solid grounds for impeaching him. I'm glad to be involved with a nationwide petition campaign-which already has 890,000 signers-urging Congress to begin impeachment proceedings. We should go after Trump for well-grounded reasons based on solid facts.

At the same time, we should refuse to be stampeded by the nonstop drumbeats from partisan talking points and mainline media outlets-as well as "the intelligence community." It wasn't mere happenstance when the Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, openly lied at a Senate committee hearing in early 2013, replying "No sir" to a pivotal question from Sen. Ron Wyden: "Does the NSA collect any type of data at all on millions or hundreds of millions of Americans?" The lie was exposed three months later when Edward Snowden made possible the release of key NSA documents.

Yet now we're supposed to assume straight-arrow authoritative honesty can be found in a flimsy 25-page report "assessing Russian activities and intentions," issued in early January under the logo of Clapper's Office of the Director of National Intelligence. That report has been critiqued and demolished by one astute analyst after another.

As investigative journalist Gareth Porter noted, "In fact, the intelligence community had not even obtained evidence that Russia was behind the publication by WikiLeaks of the e-mails [of the] Democratic National Committee, much less that it had done so with the intention of electing Trump. Clapper had testified before Congress in mid-November and again in December that the intelligence community did not know who had provided the e-mails to WikiLeaks and when they were provided."

More broadly and profoundly, many cogent analyses have emerged to assess the proliferating anti-Russia meme and its poisonous effects. For instance: "Why We Must Oppose the Kremlin-Baiting Against Trump" by Stephen F. Cohen at The Nation; "The Increasingly Unhinged Russia Rhetoric Comes From a Long-Standing U.S. Playbook" by Glenn Greenwald at The Intercept; and "The Did-You-Talk-to-Russians Witch Hunt" by Robert Parry at ConsortiumNews.

The frenzy to vilify Russia and put the kibosh on the potential for detente is now undermining open democratic discourse about U.S. foreign policy-while defaming advocates of better U.S.-Russia relations in ways that would have made Joe McCarthy proud. So, President Trump's expressions of interest in improving relations with Russia-among his few lucid and constructive statements about anything-are routinely spun and smeared as corroborations of the meme that he's in cahoots with the Russian government.

Many organizations that call themselves progressive are culpable. One of the largest, MoveOn, blasted out an email alert on February 10 with a one-sentence petition calling for a congressional investigation of Trump-flatly declaring that he has "ties to the Russian government."

Consider these words from President Trump at his February 16 news conference:

* "Look, it would be much easier for me to be tough on Russia, but then we're not going to make a deal. Now, I don't know that we're going to make a deal. I don't know. We might. We might not. But it would be much easier for me to be so tough-the tougher I am on Russia, the better. But you know what? I want to do the right thing for the American people. And to be honest, secondarily, I want to do the right thing for the world."

* "They're a very powerful nuclear country and so are we. If we have a good relationship with Russia, believe me, that's a good thing, not a bad thing."

* "By the way, it would be great if we could get along with Russia, just so you understand that. Now tomorrow, you'll say 'Donald Trump wants to get along with Russia, this is terrible.' It's not terrible. It's good."

Rather than being applauded and supported, such talk from Trump is routinely depicted as further indication that-in Krugman's words-Trump "is in effect a Putin puppet."

And how could President Trump effectively allay fears and accusations that he's a Kremlin flunky? How could he win cheers from mainstream newsrooms and big-megaphone pundits and CIA headquarters? He could get in a groove of decisively denouncing Russian President Vladimir Putin. He could move U.S. military forces into more confrontational stances and menacing maneuvers toward Russia.

Such brinkmanship would occur while each country has upward of 4,000 nuclear warheads deployed or stockpiled for potential use. Some are attached to missiles on "hair-trigger alert"-which, the Union of Concerned Scientists explains, "is a U.S. military policy that enables the rapid launch of nuclear weapons. Missiles on hair-trigger alert are maintained in a ready-for-launch status, staffed by around-the-clock launch crews, and can be airborne in as few as 10 minutes."

Those who keep goading and baiting President Trump as a puppet of Russia's government are making nuclear war more likely. If tensions with the Kremlin keep escalating, what is the foreseeable endgame? Do we really want to push the U.S. government into potentially catastrophic brinkmanship with the world's other nuclear superpower?
(c) 2017 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."

What If Every Car In The World Stopped Running Today?
By Jane Stillwater

What would happen if every single car in the world suddenly stopped running? What would you do? You'd have to walk to the nearest farm for your produce. Or start growing it yourself in your own back yard. "I could probably do the farming gig okay, but what about stuff like iPhones and toilet paper?" you might ask. "Where could we get that?" Living without toilet paper might become our next greatest fear -- but at least we'd have clean air.

What would happen if the Federal Reserve was suddenly eliminated? All those dollar bills that say "Federal Reserve" on them in big block letters would suddenly become obsolete. But at least we wouldn't have trillions of dollars in digital pretend-money zooming around cyberspace and then crash-landing into the world's largest banks instead of into our own pockets where they belong.

Immigrants are now and always have been the fresh lifeblood of America's work force. The Prez should be banning the Federal Reserve instead of immigrants.

What if no one could procreate any more, starting with the very next time that anyone had sex? Yikes! No more babies? That would be hard. The innocence and joy of a baby is the best gift in the world. But at least the children we still have now would be cherished, there wouldn't be so many throw-away children any more and we would think twice before dropping bombs on babies in the Middle East and starving all those little kids in Africa. Perhaps we would actually start treasuring the children we have now -- more carefully than gold.

What if there suddenly wasn't any government any more? Apparently President Trump is picking his new cabinet based almost solely on the criteria that each Secretary he picks positively hates the agency or department that he or she is now in control of? No more schools, post offices, affordable housing, paper money, infrastructure, workers' rights, national parks, justice, healthcare, whatever. Good luck with that one.

What if, suddenly, there are no more worries about climate change -- because it has already arrived and human beings are already dying by the millions? I have a friend in Alaska. She said, "Winter in Alaska isn't any fun any more. All the snow is melted and we only have slush." Really? All of it has melted? In Alaska, formerly known as America's icebox? "Well, there isn't a whole lot of it left." And it's clearly going to go downhill from there.

And what if, suddenly, there isn't any more [so-called] war? No more nuclear weapons, drones, tanks, sarin gas, napalm, ICBMs, F-16s, assault rifles, DU blasters or cluster bombs for us to spend our money on. "Jane, now you are just being silly. The weapons industry is the only industry we've got left these days. Think of all those people without jobs!"

"Hey, maybe they could grow vegetables? Work in a toilet-paper factory?" That would be nice.

PS: Here are some URL links with regard to why we need to stop all of America's "wars" and also stop all that shrill propaganda we constantly get bombarded with, trying to drive us into so-called wars like we were just so many cattle that could be prodded into their pens and slaughterhouses. For instance, who knew that an ISIS propaganda film, "The White Helmets," would be nominated for an Oscar?
(c) 2017 Jane Stillwater. Stop Wall Street and War Street from destroying our world. And while you're at it, please buy my books!

The Quotable Quote...

"Those who make peaceful revolution impossible, will make violent revolution inevitable.
~~~ John F. Kennedy

100 Years of Using War to Try to End All War
By David Swanson

This April 4th will be 100 years since the U.S. Senate voted to declare war on Germany and 50 since Martin Luther King Jr. spoke out against the war on Vietnam (49 since he was killed on that speech's first anniversary). Events are being planned to help us try to finally learn some lessons, to move beyond, not just Vietnam, but war.

That declaration of war on Germany was not for the war that makes up the single most common theme of U.S. entertainment and history. It was for the war that came before that one. This was the Great War, the war to end all wars, the war without which the conditions for the next war would not have existed.

As well recounted in Michael Kazin's War Against War: The American Fight for Peace 1914-1918, a major peace movement had the support of a great deal of the United States. When the war finally ended (after the U.S. had actually been in it for about 5% the length of the war on Afghanistan thus far) just about everybody regretted it. The losses in life, limb, sanity, property, civil liberties, democracy, and health were incredible. Death, devastation, a flu epidemic, prohibition, a permanent military and the taxes to go with it, plus predictions of World War II: these were the results, and a lot of people remembered that they had been warned, as well as that the ending of all war had been promised.

The peace activists had warned the U.S. government to stay out of the war (not out of foreign relations, just out of mass-murdering foreign relations). And they had been right. The regret was intense and lasting. It lasted right up until the worst result of World War I came along in the form of World War II. At that point, regret was replaced with forgetting. World War I was erased from popular history, and its child on steroids was celebrated rather than mourned, and has been celebrated with growing reverence ever since.

The massive peace movement that outlawed war in 1928, had been widespread, mainstream, and aggressive before 1917 as well. Antiwar Congress members had entered into the Congressional Record a sample of the flood of letters and petitions they had received urging that the U.S. stay out of war. Peace groups had held marches and rallies, sent delegations to Europe, met with the president, and pushed to require a popular vote before the launching of any war, believing that the public would vote war down. We'll never know, because the vote was never taken. Instead, the United States jumped into the war, thereby preventing a negotiated settlement and creating a total victory followed by vicious punishment of the losing side - the very fuel for Nazism, as well as for Italian fascism, Japanese imperialism, and the Sykes-Picot carving up of the Middle East so beloved by that region's residents to this day.

An antiwar exhibit that toured the U.S. in 1916 included a life-sized model stegosaurus that represented the fatal consequences of having heavy armor but no brains. The idea of preparing for war in order to achieve peace, which today is simple commonsense, was widely found to be a great source of humor, as Washington cynically pursued "preparedness." Morris Hillquit, an eloquent socialist - something of a Bernie Sanders without the 21st-century militarism - asked why European nations, having fully armed themselves to avoid war, hadn't avoided it. "Their antiwar insurance turned out to be a bad case of over-insurance," he said. You prepare for war, and you get war - remarkably enough.

Woodrow Wilson won reelection on an antiwar platform, and could not have won it otherwise. After he opted for war, he was unable to raise an army to fight his war without a draft. And he was unable to sustain a draft without imprisoning people who spoke against it. He saw to it that conscientious objectors were brutally tortured (or, as we would say today, interrogated). Yet people refused, deserted, evaded, and violently fought recruiters by the thousands. The wisdom to reject war was not lacking. It just wasn't followed by those in power.

The understanding that war should be ended, which reached its peak perhaps in the 1920s and 1930s, saw something of a comeback during what the Vietnamese call the American War. Martin Luther King did not propose a different war or a better war, but leaving behind the entire war system. That awareness has grown even as the Vietnam Syndrome has faded and war been normalized. Now, the U.S. popular mind is a mass of contradictions.

In a recent poll, 66% of people in the United States are worried that the U.S. will become engaged in a major war in the next four years. However, the U.S. is engaged in a number of wars right now that must seem pretty major to the people living through them, wars that have created the greatest refugee crisis so far on the planet and threatened to break similar records for starvation. In addition, 80% of the U.S. public in the very same poll say they support NATO. There's a 50/50 split on whether to build yet more nukes. A slim majority favors banning refugees who are fleeing the wars. And over three-quarters of Democrats believe, for partisan rather than empirical reasons, that Russia is unfriendly or an enemy. Despite the warnings of the wise for over a century, people are still imagining they can use war preparations to avoid war.

One thing that could help keep us out of more wars is the Trump face now placed on the wars. People who will hate Russia because they hate Trump may at some point oppose Trump's wars because they hate Trump. And those getting active to support refugees may also want to help end the crimes that create the refugees.

Meanwhile, German tanks are again rolling toward the Russian border, and instead of soliciting denunciations from groups like the Anne Frank Center, as recently done to combat Donald Trump's anti-Semitism, U.S. liberals are generally applauding or avoiding any awareness.

One thing is certain: we will not survive another 100 years of this. Long before then, we will have to try something else. We will have to move beyond war to nonviolent conflict resolution, aid, diplomacy, disarmament, cooperation, and the rule of law.

World Beyond War is planning events everywhere, including these:

Remembering Past Wars . . . and Preventing the Next

April 3rd at NYU, New York, NY. (details TBA)
Speakers: Joanne Sheehan, Glen Ford, Alice Slater, Maria Santelli, David Swanson.

April 4, 6-8 p.m. Busboys and Poets, 5th and K Streets NW, Washington, D.C.
Speakers: Michael Kazin, Eugene Puryear, Medea Benjamin, David Swanson, Maria Santelli.

May 25, 6-8 p.m., Koret Auditorium, San Francisco Public Library, 100 Larkin St, San Francisco, CA.
Speakers: Jackie Cabasso, Daniel Ellsberg, David Hartsough, Adam Hochschild.
(c) 2017 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.

Izzy Berdan (center) of Boston wears an American flag as he raises his arm and chants slogans with other
demonstrators during a rally in Boston on Sunday against an executive order from President Donald Trump.

Contrived Chaos And States Of Confusion
By Randall Amster

There has been a lot of analysis suggesting that the executive-level politics we're seeing play out right now are about incompetence or irrationality. The psychology of the President himself has been called into question, with bizarre public performances and blatant falsities being propagated, mirroring that of others in the Administration. To those accustomed to the presidency (irrespective of ideology) requiring certain levels of comportment, decency, and accountability, this moment can be dizzying and even terrifying.

To reach the conclusion that this is the product of ineptitude or insanity, however, would also require us to conclude that the past two years of campaigning and governing have been equally accidental or the result of someone being unhinged (not to mention the years spent on television). A far more plausible conclusion is that this actually is being done by design, in the sense that the immediate goal itself is to stimulate chaos to induce fear in some and admiration in others. Indeed, Dr. Allen Frances (who helped write the DSM) cautioned against following this red herring: "Trump represents a political challenge to the American democracy. To attribute this to his psychological quirks is to underestimate the danger."

This is distinct from supposing that the contrived nature of the turmoil and ineptitude we seem to be experiencing is a kind of diversion or subterfuge meant to keep us from following the real moves being made or to throw us off the trail of potentially damaging storylines. It might be even simpler, in that chaos is the lifeblood of this Administration, the essential quality that animates their personalities and that has made them seemingly impervious to rational discourse, bad publicity, lampooning, or even fact-checking.

If chaos itself is both their method and goal, then the principal mistake they could make would be to seem reflective or repentant at any point. Instead, the premium is on being outrageous, unvarnished, off-the-cuff, impolitic, even shocking. In this view, the value is in appearing "unhinged," taunting the media and others with ridiculous "alternative facts," tweeting out misspelled rants at all hours of the day, asserting bald-faced lies, and acting in bizarre ways that give new meaning to the "bully" facet of the bully pulpit.

Taking it one step further, one can see the potential appeal of this modus operandi in some sectors-particularly those in the support base who are tired of politicians being all talk and no action. This contingent is more accustomed to the personality types found on "reality TV," which is popular for a reason. The President not only garnered support through those channels, but did so by accentuating a persona that is natural in its brashness-and that doesn't overestimate the refinement of the public.

Still, it leaves one to wonder where all of this may lead. Chaos for its own sake may be the order of the day, but surely there must be a long game at work in all this. Consider the posturing of an Administration whose support hinges on an intention to dismantle bureaucracies and "drain the swamp," to roll in and restore that which has been lost through years of capitulating to career politicians who have sold out our values, jobs, and security. This has been the mantra for a long time now, as was noted back in 2015:

"And while it may seem like a lurching, chaotic campaign, Trump is, for the most part, a disciplined and methodical candidate, according to a Washington Post review of the businessman's speeches, interviews and thousands of tweets and retweets over the past six months. Trump delivers scores of promises, diatribes and insults at breakneck speed. He attacks a regular cast of villains including undocumented immigrants, Muslims, Democratic front-runner Hillary Clinton, his GOP rivals and the media. He keeps the narrative arc of each controversy alive with an endless stream of statements, an unwillingness to back down even when he has misstated the facts-and a string of attacks against those who criticize him. All the while, his supporters see a truth-talking problem solver unlike the traditional politicians who have let them down."
That was written over a year ago, in an article titled: "It's not chaos. It's Trump's campaign strategy." The phrase "disciplined and methodical" stands out, as in sticking to the game plan and being calculated-further suggesting that all of this isn't happening by accident or due to irrational behavior, but instead represents a form of contrived chaos. As such, Steve Bannon recently stated that the aim is nothing less than the "deconstruction of the administrative state," and previously had reportedly said that "Lenin wanted to destroy the state, and that's my goal, too. I want to bring everything crashing down." Which brings us back to the question: to what end? The inducement of dizzying chaos may be a brilliant strategy and even a short-term goal in itself, but if it actually succeeds in bringing "everything crashing down," then what? And who or what is the "everything" in that equation? We might surmise that this could mean "everything that potentially stands in the way of our agenda," or perhaps simply that which is deemed superfluous or redundant in an attempt to streamline operations and consolidate power.

Following this arc, David Brooks recently characterized his fear about this Administration as "not that it's incipient fascism, it's that it's anarchy." Brooks is making a common mistake here in his conflation of anarchy with chaos, and moreover with his assessment of the Administration's possible intentions. One clue is the nod to Lenin as a paragon of "destroying the state," since what he replaced it with scarcely resembled anything like anarchism, instead moving toward an even more centralized apparatus. An even stronger prompt is Bannon's description of the aim as implementing "an economic nationalist agenda."

The contrast returns us to the question of what ensues in the emptiness created should the "chaos first" strategy succeed in crashing the system. History cautions that inducing such a vacuum by itself will more likely lead to authoritarianism, totalitarianism, dictatorship, fascism, or other similarly troubling variants. These repressive outcomes entail the replacement of the preexisting state with deeper forms of autocratic power (even when cloaked in populist rhetoric), often vested in an "inner party" circle or a single person.

Anarchism is actually the opposite of this. While the impetus to break down oppressive structures may be overlapping, it is equally the case that anarchism seeks to foster wider forms of participation in the process. As such, it is constructive in its attempt to "prefigure" this future through action in the present, seeking not primarily to create a vacuum (which could serve as an invitation to tyranny) as much as it strives to cultivate more egalitarian relationships and greater capacities for self-organization in the process.

As the German anarchist Gustav Landauer observed: "The State is a condition, a certain relationship between human beings, a mode of behavior; we destroy it by contracting other relationships, by behaving differently toward one another.... We are the State and we shall continue to be the State until we have created the institutions that form a real community." Landauer articulates a more evolutionary perspective that sometimes contrasts with anarchism's revolutionary spirit, but the shared impetus is constructive.

At this juncture, the current Administration has not articulated a coherent worldview that provides any confidence that its penchant for destruction and chaos is anything other than an attempt to consolidate power. Indeed, the methods utilized (promulgating alternative facts, false populism, bullying and strong-arming, profiteering through governance, and the like) align much more closely with the hallmarks of despotic regimes, and bear no semblance to anarchism beyond a superficial equation with disarray.

Today we find ourselves at the horns of an ostensible conflict between "order" and "chaos," with the apparatuses of the "deep state" seemingly at loggerheads with this Administration's desire for "deconstruction." Where it will lead is hard to say, and we still haven't factored a third pole into the dynamic: the people, a large number of whom are awakened and mobilized right now. It is entirely possible that this era represents an opportunity for another framework to emerge, one that isn't defined in either reactionary or stationary terms. Perhaps out of the confusion will ultimately emerge evolution.
(c) 2017 Randall Amster J.D., Ph.D., is Director of the Program on Justice and Peace at Georgetown University. Among his most recent books are Anarchism Today (Praeger, 2012) and the co-edited volume "Building Cultures of Peace: Transdisciplinary Voices of Hope and Action" (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2009).

The Dead Letter Office...

Rick gives the corporate salute!

Heil Trump,

Dear Deputy Fuhrer Perry,

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 pledge to destroy renewable energy sources, Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan, 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 "Republican whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 03-15-2017. We salute you Herr Perry, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Trump's 10 Steps For Turning Lies Into Half-Truths
By Robert Reich

Earlier this year the Wall Street Journal's editor-in-chief insisted that the Wall Street Journal wouldn't label Trump's false statements as "lies." Lying, said the editor, requires a deliberate intention to mislead, which couldn't be proven in Trump's case.

But Donald Trump is the most lying president we've ever had, and he seems to get away with it. Here's his 10-step plan for turning lies into near truths:

Step 1: He lies.

Step 2: Experts contradict him, saying his claim is baseless and false. The media report that the claim is false.

Step 3: Trump blasts the experts and condemns the media for being "dishonest."

Step 4: Trump repeats the lie in tweets and speeches. And asserts that "many people" say he's right.

Step 5: The mainstream media start to describe the lie as a "disputed fact."

Step 6: Trump repeats the lie in tweets, interviews, and speeches. His surrogates repeat it on TV and in the right-wing blogosphere.

Step 7: The mainstream media begin to describe Trump's lie as a "controversy."

Step 8: Polls show a growing number of Americans (including most Republicans) believing Trump's lie to be true.

Step 9: The media start describing Trump's lie as "a claim that reflects a partisan divide in America," and is "found to be true by many."

Step 10: The public is confused and disoriented about what the facts are. Trump wins.

Don't let Trump's lies become near truths. Be vigilant. Know the truth, and spread it. The media should stop mincing words. Report Trump's lies as lies.
(c) 2017 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 website is

President Donald J. Trump delivers his first address to a joint session of
Congress from the floor of the House of Representatives in Washington on Feb. 28, 2017.

The Only Concrete Takeaway From Trump's Speech: Medicaid Is Doomed
By Jon Schwarz

Most of Donald Trump's speech to Congress Tuesday night can safely be ignored. Almost all the government policy he advocated is either strenuously opposed by House and Senate Republicans (driving down the cost of drugs, paid family leave, promoting clean air and water), is not going to happen whether or not they oppose it ("American footprints on distant worlds"), or was so vague that Trump might as well have said, "I support good things."

However, Trump did call for something specific that Republicans desperately want and that is completely feasible: brutal cuts to Medicaid.

Of course, Trump didn't put it like that. Instead, he said, "We should give our great state governors the resources and flexibility they need with Medicaid to make sure no one is left out."

That sounds nice, but is standard Republican code for attacks on Medicaid. In fact, it's lifted almost word for word from Paul Ryan's "A Better Way" plan for Medicaid, which states that "we believe states and individuals should have better tools, resources, and flexibility to find solutions that fit their unique needs." Moreover, both during the campaign and afterward Trump has endorsed the standard GOP plans for Medicaid.

What this would mean in practice is two-fold.

First, the federal government would significantly reduce spending on Medicaid. Medicaid is run by individuals states, but currently the federal government pays a fixed share of each state's costs - which rise during recessions or due to any number of unforeseeable events. Republicans have long wanted to change the funding mechanism to one in which the federal government pays only a fixed amount per Medicaid beneficiary (called a per capita cap) or a fixed amount per state (called a block grant), with states responsible for paying anything past that.

This would result in larger and larger cuts over time. Most GOP plans would permanently fix federal spending on Medicaid based on a future year, and then only increase the fixed amount annually at the rate of inflation, even though medical costs consistently rise faster than inflation.

But even more importantly, Medicaid is not just healthcare for the poor. It also pays the bills for over 60 percent of nursing home residents, and 40 percent of all national long-term care costs. And the number of Americans who need nursing home care is going to rise significantly over the next several decades as the baby boom ages into their eighties and nineties. Cutting Medicaid over this period is a recipe for people literally dying in the streets (or for luckier ones, on the foldout couch in their kid's living room).

Second, if Trump gets his way, states will receive waivers to change Medicaid in various ways that would be both cruel and require nightmarish bureaucracies to enforce. Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker wants to drug test Medicaid recipients. In Kentucky, Governor Matt Bevin hopes to make beneficiaries without dependents work and pay premiums. Worst of all, states such as Arizona are attempting to enact lifetime five-year limits on Medicaid coverage, which could be a death sentence for people with diseases like cancer.

Trump has spent his life making preposterous claims about what he can do for you, making promises he could never keep, But this is one case where he may well keep his word. As he said in his speech, "Above all, we will keep our promises to the American people." When it comes to Medicaid the American people should take him seriously.
(c) 2017 Jon Schwarz before joining First Look, Jon Schwarz worked for Michael Moore's Dog Eat Dog Films and was Research Producer for Moore's Capitalism: A Love Story. He's contributed to many publications, including The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, Mother Jones and Slate, as well as NPR and "Saturday Night Live." In 2003 he collected on a $1,000 bet that Iraq would have no weapons of mass destruction.

The Cartoon Corner...

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

To End On A Happy Note...

Have You Seen This...

Parting Shots...

Donald Trump Loves His Invisible People
By Will Durst

Donald Trump is the political reincarnation of Tina Turner; like her, he doesn't do anything nice and easy. Also, they're both Type A personalities who expend a lot of energy but hardly move at all. And famous for high-maintenance hair.

Since his January coronation, the New-York-City-real-estate-developer-turned-Leader-of-the-Free-World has partied like it's 1939, issuing polarizing edict after polarizing edict. The surprising thing is Fox News hasn't started to refer to him as Chancellor Trump. Or Gropenfuhrer. Yet.

Traditionally, a newly elected, first-time president hits the ground running with hand outstretched in a gesture of sociability, solidarity and camaraderie. Not Donny John. He hit the ground whining, with a fistful of disdain for everyone he slapped upside the head: Democrats, Republicans, the media, Iran, Mexico, Australia, Great Britain, the media, his own Cabinet appointments, refugees, the media, the NSC, TSA, and National Park Service. And don't forget the media.

Experts theorized the weight of the White House would settle him down but alas, no such luck. He's still up till all hours tweeting out a barrage of alternative facts, choosy truths, questionable veracities and marginal actualities that reflect a reality only he can see. As fluid and murky as the Potomac River.

What little presidential honeymoon he enjoyed ended long before the cake was cut. The groom ditched the bride and boogied across the floor alone performing a solo victory dance in front of a mirror. As graceful as an angry anvil.

You could describe his movements since as jerky, spasmodic and frenzied, like when he obsessed over the election being stolen. Ignoring the fact that he won. Even 45's own staff is having problems negotiating his tricky hairpins turns. Not only does the emperor have no clothes, his skin is really thin and kind of blotchy.

According to the most aerodynamically coiffed president in history, 3 to 5 million undocumented aliens illegally cast ballots for Hillary Clinton causing him to lose the popular vote. It's the only possible answer. Because how could Donald Trump not be associated with whatever was most popular? It's unthinkable and "unpresidented."

President Trump loves his invisible people. And there's tons of them. The invisible people who cast fraudulent ballots - totally different than the invisible people who came to Washington to be part of the largest crowd ever to witness an Inauguration, but conveniently vanished when aerial photographs were taken. Maybe they're shy.

And neither of those two groups of invisible people should be confused with the thousands of invisible people who celebrated in New Jersey after the World Trade Center came down. Which only he saw. Maybe it's a Sixth Sense sort of thing; "I see non-existent people." No wonder Bruce Willis supported him.

During the rest of his first term, we can expect an expansion of Trump's hallucination theme. Much time will be spent discussing ghosts and leprechauns and sprites and phantoms and pixies and the vast legions of his invisible enemies.

Turns out Donald Trump doesn't just have a vision for this country, he has an X-ray vision for this country. He's like Clark Kent only less buff and way blonder. It was bound to happen: America finally has its first super hero President. Erratic-Man.
(c) 2017 Will Durst is an award- winning, nationally acclaimed columnist, comedian and former bus boy at Dante's Sea Catch on Pier 39 in San Francisco, California. For a calendar of personal appearances, please visit Follow Will Durst on Twitter:

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Issues & Alibis Vol 17 # 09 (c) 03/03/2017

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