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In This Edition

Norman Solomon returns with, "Rahm Emanuel Is In The Running For A Top Ambassador Post. The Prospect Is Appalling."

Ralph Nader reports, "Reporters' Alert: Launching a New Website."

Jesse Jackson returns with, "Violence Towards Asian Americans Has Skyrocketed."

Jim Hightower tells, "What The Texas Deep Freeze Revealed."

William Rivers Pitt says, "Reckless Governors Are Lobbing A Hand Grenade Into Biden's COVID Plan."

John Nichols with a must read, "Democrats Refusing To Fight For $15 Are the Best Allies Republicans Have."

James Donahue explores, "Our Eroding Bill Of Rights In America."

David Swanson gives, "John Mueller's Strange Take On 'The Stupidity Of War.'"

Amy Norton concludes, "Global Warming Could Make Survival In Tropics Impossible."

Charles P. Pierce finds, "Trump's Vandalism At The Department Of Agriculture Was Classic Conservative Governance."

Juan Cole examines, "Typical Republican: The Racism and Anti-Science behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbot's Lifting of Covid Restrictions."

Robert Reich considers, "Joe Biden, LBJ, And Voting Rights."

Greg Palast returns with, "Pizza Outlawed In Georgia."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department The Onion reports, "Parliamentarian Cuts Minimum Wage From Stimulus Due To Obscure Rule Requiring Poor Citizens To Needlessly Suffer," but first Uncle Ernie wonders, "Are We Causing Another 'Great Dying?'"

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Darcy, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Montinique Monroe, Lynda M. Gonzale, Tom Williams, Jordan Freeman, Kerem Yucel, Zach D. Roberts, Palast Investigative Fund, Robert Reich, Jim Hightower, Pexels, AFP, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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Are We Causing Another 'Great Dying'?
Are we heading for another Permian-Triassic extinction event?
By Ernest Stewart

"The very same things that caused the Great Dying are happening right now in our ocean today as a result of human activities, not to the same degree, but in the same direction." ~~~ Curtis Deutsch ~ University of Washington

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

As millions of Americans shivered through the catastrophic winter storms of early 2021, the national conversation turned like clockwork toward global warming.

This time the question that always arises with extreme weather-what does this have to do with global warming?-was dwarfed by concerns over deadly failures in the electric grid and whether fossil fuels or renewables played a bigger a role in the crisis. The science suggesting that loopier winds from a warming Arctic push icy storms southward nevertheless remained in the news coverage during and after the storms. But according to researchers, the cold weather itself may matter more than the science for getting people talking about global warming.

Heavy snow and extreme cold sparked significant chatter about climate change on Twitter-far more than either heat waves or drought.

Offering clues, one study from 2016 examined more than 10,000 tweets from across the United States before and during localized climate-connected events. It found that heavy snow and extreme cold sparked significant chatter about global warming on Twitter-far more than either heat waves or drought. But the authors could not confirm whether these messages expressed concern or skepticism about climate change, partly because it's hard to discern sarcasm online. It may be that experiencing cold temperatures, snow, and ice draws ardent global warming skeptics out of the woodwork and out from under their rocks.

In fact, other studies have confirmed that people who are suspicious of global warming often remain stubbornly unmoved by firsthand experience with extreme weather. That may be for two overlapping reasons. First, there's the myth that any kind of cold weather is incompatible with the overwhelming scientific consensus that current global warming is real and caused by people. The frigid snowstorms gripped Texas and the eastern U.S. about six years to the day when U.S. Sinator Jim Inhofe brought a snowball onto the Senate floor as proof against the reality of global warming. Of course, Jim was being bribed for his little song and dance by big oil and coal. Each year since then, the U.S. has suffered at least ten billion-dollar or more climate catastrophes, with a record-setting twenty-two such events in 2020 alone!

Are Americans really that dumb to be fooled by Jim's little joke? You betcha they are. We have lying politicians like Jim and Lying Donald to thank for that and a national press that goes along for a ride for the same bribes. So you end up with a genuine degree of public confusion about a direct link between climate change and extreme cold may be well-founded. The science linking carbon emissions to more intense snowstorms in the eastern U.S. remains tenuous compared with, say, the clear connections to increased wildfires in California or hurricanes in the Caribbean Sea. That means there's more than one way to think about "extreme cold" when icy storms kill and hospitalize hundreds of Texans while leaving millions of others in dire need of heat and water. People already inclined to doubt the reality of global warming can emphasize cold as confirmation of their viewpoint. Simultaneously, those already concerned about global warming can place more emphasis on extreme as proof of a changing climate. All this nightmare weather is caused by a jump in temperature of just under 2 degrees fahrenheit. So yes, it's still going to snow and get cold in this latitude. Meanwhile, north of here it's warming up at twice our rate and that warm air is pushing the polar vortex south. Eventually they will stabilize and our winters will disappear. This year in Michigan we had three weeks of really cold weather, we used to get 4 months of it back when I was a child!

You may recall that there was a time when life on Earth almost blinked out. The "Great Dying," the biggest extinction the planet has ever seen, happened some 250 million years ago and was largely caused by greenhouse gases in the atmosphere spewing from hundreds of volcanoes. Now scientists are beginning to see alarming similarities between the Great Dying and what's currently happening to our atmosphere.

"I'm a photosynthesis chauvinist. The whole ecosystem is based on photosynthesis. And because life, from toadstools to tyrannosaurs, is connected from the bottom up, the whole fabric can disintegrate when something big happens to the Earth. And that happened due to global warming," says Scott Wing - a curator at the Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History in Washington, D.C.

Scott explained that about "250 million years ago or so, an enormous volcanic field erupted in what is now Siberia. It spewed lava that burned though limestone and coal beds and filled the atmosphere with carbon dioxide and pollution, possibly for millions of years. That in turn warmed the planet, made the oceans acidic and robbed them of oxygen. More than 90% of species in the oceans died out as did two-thirds of those on land."

We've managed to do about the same thing in about 200 years. Give us another hundred years at our current rate of pollution and we'll be there again. The oceans are already dying out and a dozen species are dying every day. Are you having a deja vu yet, America?



02-09-1928 ~ 03-09-2021
Thanks for the news!

06-25-1942 ~ 03-11-2021
Thanks for the film!


We get by with a little help from our friends!
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Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2021 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, philosopher, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Rahm gives the corporate salute!

Rahm Emanuel Is In The Running For A Top Ambassador Post. The Prospect Is Appalling.
By Norman Solomon

Rahm Emanuel has never been associated with the word "diplomatic," but news reports say that President Biden is seriously considering him for a top position as U.S. ambassador to Japan or China. Naming Emanuel to such a post would be an affront to many of the constituencies that got Biden elected. The saga of Emanuel's three decades in politics is an epic tale of methodical contempt for progressive values.

One thing Emanuel can't be accused of is inconsistency. During his political career, he has steadily served elite corporate interests, and rarely the interests of the broad public or the causes of racial justice or peace.

Emanuel rose to prominence as the finance director for Bill Clinton's 1992 presidential campaign. He excelled at pulling in large checks from super-wealthy individuals. As a high-level Clinton administration aide, he played a major role -- and bragged about it -- in the passage of the disastrous NAFTA trade bill, which was strongly opposed by unions, environmentalists and most Democrats in Congress. He also was a sparkplug for passage of the mass incarceration-oriented 1994 Crime Bill, with prison term-lengthening provisions like "three strikes."

In 1996, Emanuel boasted to a Washington Post reporter of the administration's "tough" policies on "wedge issues -- crime, welfare, and recently immigration." In a memo that year, he urged Clinton to move rightward on immigration policy by working to "claim and achieve record deportations of criminal aliens." The next year, Emanuel's approach was explained by a senior staffer at the Immigration and Naturalization Service who worked closely with him: "As long as we dealt with illegal immigration, we could be to the right of Atilla the Hun. Rahm felt that Americans believed too many people were coming into this country, too many foreigners, so he wanted to show the administration returning people, deporting them, putting up bigger fences, sending them back."

In July 1996, the Republican-controlled Congress pushed through its punitive "welfare reform" bill that ended the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, added work requirements and gave states the power to slash support. In the intense White House debate over whether to sign the bill, Emanuel was one of the strongest voices urging Bill Clinton not to veto the bill, as the president had done with earlier GOP welfare bills. Clinton signed the "Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Act of 1996," prompting an outcry from anti-poverty activists and high-level administration resignations. After leaving the Clinton administration in 1998, Emanuel made a quick $18 million in two and a half years as managing director of the Wall Street investment bank Wasserstein Perella, working out of its Chicago office.

Elected to Congress in November 2002, Emanuel supported George W. Bush's disastrous Iraq invasion, and defended the war after most Democrats in Congress and most of the public had turned against it. As head of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee in 2006, Emanuel seemed oblivious to the change in public opinion. While he took credit for Democrats regaining the House majority, his selection of right-leaning candidates, including Iraq war supporters like himself and former Republicans, ultimately led to GOP gains.

While serving as President Obama's chief of staff in 2009 and 2010, Emanuel argued for mollifying healthcare reform opponents by significantly weakening Obamacare. (He acknowledged years later it was a good thing Obama didn't listen to him.) In a 2010 meeting with liberal leaders who planned to publicly pressure the Democratic Party's conservative wing into supporting healthcare reform, Emanuel famously called them "fucking retarded."

Emanuel was known in D.C. for hyper-combativeness (earning him the nickname "Rahmbo") and his ability to gain positive spin from corporate media: "He is on a first-name basis with every political reporter in Washington," a Washington Post columnist asserted.

After being elected mayor of Chicago in 2011, Emanuel's administration faced a series of scandals that included concerted warfare against the teachers' union and the closing of 49 public schools, many in black neighborhoods.

In his 2015 bid for re-election, he was forced into a runoff by progressive challenger Jesus "Chuy" Garcia, a contest that would be decided largely by African American voters. Emanuel very likely would have lost the election except for the fact that for 13 months, through the duration of the campaign, his administration suppressed a horrific dashcam video showing the death of 17-year-old Laquan McDonald, an African American who'd been shot 16 times by a police officer as he walked away from the officer. (The city had paid $5 million to McDonald's family without a lawsuit having been filed.)

Soon after a judge ordered the city of Chicago to release the video, polls found that only 17 percent of Chicagoans believed Emanuel when he said he'd never seen the video and that most city residents wanted him to resign as mayor.

When it was reported last November that Biden was considering him for a cabinet post, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tweeted: "Rahm Emanuel helped cover up the murder of Laquan McDonald. Covering up a murder is disqualifying for public leadership." Then-Congressman-elect Mondaire Jones added: "That he's being considered for a cabinet position is completely outrageous and, honestly, very hurtful."

Emanuel's 30-year campaign against pro-working-class policy reforms is unending. Asked last August how he would advise the Biden administration, he told CNBC: "Two things I would say if I was advising an administration. One is there's no new Green Deal, there's no Medicare for All."

If Rahm Emanuel becomes the ambassador to China or Japan -- countries with the world's second- and third-largest economies -- he will gain new leverage in a region bristling with ethnic and military tensions. Everything about his record indicates that such power would be vested in the wrong hands.

Days after Biden's election, AOC told the New York Times that Emanuel's inclusion in the Biden administration "would signal, I think, a hostile approach to the grassroots and the progressive wing of the party."

We'll soon find out whether Biden is willing to send such a signal.

(c) 2021 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."

Reporters' Alert: Launching a New Website
By Ralph Nader

Reporters at major newspapers and magazines are hard to reach by telephone. Today it is increasingly hard to converse with them about timely scoops, leads, gaps in coverage, and corrections to published articles. Their voicemail messages often tell you how rarely they check their calls and urge reaching them by email. Good luck getting through the email clutter, filters, and voluminous commercial pitches, etc. More importantly, email exchanges can't compare with the quick back and forth of personal exchanges on the phone.

There are some fine reporters, like David Fahrenthold of the Washington Post, Charlie Savage of the New York Times, and David Brancaccio of NPR, who do pick up their phones or promptly return calls. When I asked Fahrenthold why he responds to calls he replied that that was how he gets stories. Years ago, that would have been such an obvious explanation, as not to be uttered.

Citizen groups constantly have ideas and industry documents and materials they have obtained through the Freedom of Information Act that they are willing to share with reporters. But they too often cannot easily get through to key reporters. Some stop trying. They wonder why today's media mavens do not replicate the reporting of their predecessors in the 1960s and 1970s. Their newsworthy reporting and editorializing helped mightily in the success with Congress by the emerging consumer, environmental, civil rights, and other reform groups. A better, safer country resulted from solid reporting on the drives for justice waged by citizen groups.

While hoping for more introspection by editors, TV producers, their reporters, and columnists, we are starting an online Reporters' Alert. From time to time we will use Reporter's Alert to present suggestions for important reporting on topics that are either not covered or not covered thoroughly. Just nibbling on the periphery won't attract public attention or be noticed by decision-makers. Here are the first entries:

Massive billing fraud by profiteering businesses rips off of tens of millions of consumers and public insurers such as Medicare and Medicaid. Leading expert, Professor Malcolm Sparrow at Harvard University estimates some $350 billion a year is drained away just in the health care industry. Sarah Kliff of the New York Times is exposing the gouging of a few people but has not addressed the systematic, aggregate treatment this little prosecuted mega heist requires.

The Federal Reserve's boastful near-zero interest rate policy is taking tens of billions of dollars a year from tens of millions of small savers with money in savings banks and money markets because these funds earn virtually nothing. This saps consumer demand, endangers pension funds requiring a reasonable rate of return to be solvent, and increases the inequality of incomes. It also does nothing to induce lenders to lower staggering interest charges on credit cards, payday, auto, and student loans.

You read about the federal government imposing sanctions seemingly everywhere around the world, on governments, on government officials, on any one group we don't like. Broad sanctions in Russia, Iran, Syria, and North Korea don't bother the plutocrats and oligarchs in these countries. They do, however, impose horrific costs and deprivations on innocent civilians. Just what are these sanctions, who enforces them (private banks?), and who evades or corruptly profits from them? Are they all legally authorized by Congress and when are they illegal under international law? Do the sanctions include medicines, water disinfectants, medical devices, food, and the fuel used by millions of ordinary people? Without detailed reporting on sanctions, readers, viewers, and listeners get endless general repetitions about sanctions. Citizens in a democracy need more and better information.

In these Covid-19 times, the auto and health insurance companies are making out like bandits. Traffic is down; so are collisions. People are postponing going to doctors and hospitals for customary treatment due to the heavy load of the Covid-19 pandemic. Where are the refunds, rebates, and lower premiums? There were some refunds last spring by auto insurance companies, but state regulators have largely been passive. Billions of consumer dollars are at stake that could be helping people make ends meet.

How about some attention on the corporate law firms that figure out the ways for their big-business clients to escape the law, advance weak enforcement, get sweetheart settlements, and write those fine-print contracts that plague the marketplace? The special role of a Philadelphia corporate lawyer in undermining consumer rights deserves media coverage. Law firms that increase the number of helpless consumer serfs should stop all but the most clueless reporters from describing such lawyers and their law firms as "prestigious."

Where in the world did the all-too-regular three-day a week Congress come from? Congressional "recesses" already provide our Senators and Representatives plenty of time to handle matters in their home states. Small wonder members of Congress don't have time to hold many Congressional oversight hearings. They don't work on Monday and Friday and spend too much time in between at nearby private offices, furiously dialing for campaign dollars. Members of Congress are well paid for full-time work. How about our elected officials start working as hard as the average American workers work back home? The solons of Congress need to spend more time working for the taxpayers who pay their salaries.

We hear that there are hundreds of billions of dollars from previous Covid-19 stimulus-relief laws that are still unspent. Break it down: What is unspent; why, and who should be receiving these monies? Also, how much is there to claw back from entities and persons who were not entitled to their checks in 2020?

Check out how Jeff Bezos has enriched Amazon's Board of Directors. It's mostly public information. The Directors' wealth is stunning. How can this small Board be independent with self-gifts of stock options and other remunerations, benefits, and expenses? Reporters need to look for other similar examples of corporate board members controlled by management tricks and treats.

Public Citizen tracks the rise and fall of imposed corporate fines by the federal government. This is fresh information. Their reports are released with little coverage in a period marked by a corporate crime wave, puny prosecutorial and other enforcement budgets, and enabling politicians. According to experts, there are fines which are not paid at all.

More than random references to the deliberately starved IRS budget, mostly by Congressional Republicans aiding and abetting tax evasion over the past decade, are needed for the public's right to know. The beleaguered IRS estimates that it cannot collect between $400 billion and $600 billion a year, over 80% of which is uncollected corporate taxes - real money that is not spent on people's needs, infrastructure, or reducing deficits. What's the problem with Democratic House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-MA)?

Visit for future updates. There is much more to come. Members of the media should let us know what they think.

(c) 2021 Ralph Nader is a consumer advocate, lawyer, and author. His latest book is The Seventeen Solutions: Bold Ideas for Our American Future. Other recent books include, The Seventeen Traditions: Lessons from an American Childhood, Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism: Build It Together to Win, and "Only The Super-Rich Can Save Us" (a novel).

Protestors hold signs that read "hate is a virus" and "stop Asian hate" at the End The Violence Towards Asians rally
in Washington Square Park on February 20, 2021 in New York City. Since the start of the coronavirus pandemic, violence
towards Asian Americans has increased at a much higher rate than previous years. The New York City Police Department
(NYPD) reported a 1,900% increase in anti-Asian hate crimes in 2020.

Violence Towards Asian Americans Has Skyrocketed
The scapegoating of Asian Americans is taking an ugly, violent turn.
By Jesse Jackson

A new wave of anti-Asian racial violence is sweeping the country. Sadly, racial violence, bigotry and hatred directed at Asian Americans has scarred their history in this country.

Nothing is more dehumanizing. Asian Americans come from many countries and many cultures. They have played a remarkable role in building this country. And yet, the violence erases their humanity, identifies them as the other, and ignores their contributions.

I remember in May of 1983, I met with Lily Chin and Asian American leaders at San Francisco Chinatown's Cameron House. A year earlier, her son Vincent was chased down in the streets of Detroit by two unemployed white auto workers, who beat him to death with baseball bats.

"It's because of you mother-(expletive)s we're out of work!" shouted one of his attackers. They thought Vincent was Japanese. This was the 1980s when U.S. auto plants were shutting down during the Reagan recession, and blame was wrongfully placed on competition from Japanese auto imports, setting off a wave of anti-Japanese/anti-Asian hysteria.

I was struck then by the way Lily Chin stood up and fought against this injustice, and how leaders like Norman Fong, Mabel Teng and Helen Zia organized marches and resistance in the Asian American communities from Los Angeles to New York.

They rose up to organize against anti-Asian racial violence. They found common ground with African Americans, Latinos and others, and forged alliances with people and organizations that have long been targets of racial violence. The fight against racial violence became a key pillar of my 1984 presidential campaign, and Asian Americans became an integral part of our Rainbow Coalition from its very start.

Today, violence targeting Asian Americans is becoming an alarming weekly, if not daily, occurrence. It is stoked to no small degree by more than a year of Trump obsessively describing the coronavirus as the "China Virus" and "Kung Flu." Fueling his base of white nationalism, Trump resurrected a "Yellow Peril" scare.

Trump combined this vitriol with a big lie, blaming our loss of jobs to China. The reality is that American corporations took our jobs to China, seeking to take advantage of low-wage labor with few rights and few environmental protections. It was U.S. policy that failed to protect our jobs. Now Trump and others blame China when it was our leaders who were at fault.

Words matter. The scapegoating of Asian Americans is taking an ugly, violent turn: On Jan. 28, 2021, 84-year-old Vicha Ratanapakdee was out for a morning walk in San Francisco when he was violently assaulted. Days later, he died.

On Feb. 3 in Manhattan, Noel Quintana, 61, was riding the subway when his assaulter slashed his face.

Last year, an Asian woman in Brooklyn had acid thrown in her face as she took out the garbage. A Burmese man and his two children were slashed by a knife-wielding attacker while shopping in Midland, Texas.

On street corners and in shopping malls, "Asian Americans Have Been Attacked, Spat On, and Cursed Out," as reported by Slate. Stop AAPI Hate received reports of more than 3,000 incidents of anti-Asian violence in 2020.

It's reminiscent of the post-9/11 hysteria that targeted Muslims, as well as Sikhs and other South Asians living in the U.S.

For Chinese Americans, Lunar New Year in the month of February is usually a time for firecrackers, lion dances and celebration in Asian communities. This year, community leaders marked the occasion by confronting this inglorious rise of racial violence.

From progressive Asian community activists to Hollywood actors, business leaders and athletes, Asian communities are rising up and confronting this new wave of racial violence. Community activists are organizing self-patrols and community escorts for the elderly. They want these anti-Asian attacks to be prosecuted as hate crimes.

In the best tradition of the civil and human rights movement, they are holding marches and rallies to defend their communities against violence, and building alliances with African Americans, Latinos and other communities fighting against racial injustice.

NBA basketball player Jeremy Lin said, "It would be hypocritical of me to say I'm anti-racism if I only stand up for people who look like me. There is definitely power in unification and solidarity. ... We as minorities also have to collaborate, unify and use our voices and stand up for each other."

President Biden has weighed in, issuing an executive memorandum saying the "inflammatory and xenophobic rhetoric has put Asian American and Pacific Islander persons, families, communities and businesses at risk." Special task forces are being organized by local police departments. Local elected leaders have taken to the media to call for unity with the Chinese and Asian communities and decry the violence and harassment.

Some of the most shameful chapters of our history involve racial prejudice against Asian Americans. In 1882, the Chinese Exclusion Act (extended to all Asians in 1924) made it illegal for Chinese to immigrate to the U.S. In the Rock Springs Massacre of 1885, white mobs in Wyoming murdered 28 Chinese coal miners and burned Chinatown to the ground. World War II witnessed the internment of 120,000 Japanese Americans in U.S. concentration camps, even as many of their sons fought loyally in the U.S. Armed Forces.

Asian communities are suffering, even as they are summoning the courage of Lily Chin, turning their pain into power, determined to stop the violence and never surrender. At Rainbow PUSH, we stand with them, and call on all citizens of conscience to join them in their drive to confront the hatred and stop the violence.

(c) 2021 Jesse Jackson is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to form Rainbow/PUSH.

What The Texas Deep Freeze Revealed
By Jim Hightower

I don't know if Nero really fiddled while Rome burned, but it certainly is true that Texas Senator Ted Cruz fiddled around while his state froze.

While Ted fled Texas for the warmth of the Ritz-Carlton resort in Cancun, Mexico, dozens of his constituents died in the 5-day deep freeze, and millions more suffered physically and financially. This disaster was not the result of a polar vortex, but of a small-minded vortex of right-wing political hokem that puts the interests of a few energy profiteers over the well-being of the people.

Among Texans now paying the price of the GOP's fealty to corporate interests is a hard-hit group that gets little media notice: Small, local farmers. I've had the privilege of working with these hardy, innovative people since my days as Texas Agriculture Commissioner. They are America's most productive, most ecologically-conscious, and most community-spirited ag producers - yet state and national farm policies serve industrial farm giants.

For example, tens of billions of our tax dollars are paid out each year in crop insurance, but the program is not geared to the realities and needs of small, local, diversified farms, few of which get any assistance. Indeed, the bulk of payments go to those least in need - the big-acreage, multimillion-dollar agribusiness operators, including Wall Street syndicates.

So, in my area of Central Texas, such efficient, enterprising farms as Boggy Creek, Eden East, and Hat and Heart lost row after row of veggies to the killer storm. That means they lost the money invested to produce those crops, lost the money they would've gotten by selling them, and will have to find money from somewhere to put in a new crop. None of them will get a dime from the federal program.

Not only must we replace our corporate-controlled electric grid, but also our corporate-controlled ag policy - and our corporate-controlled public officials.

(c) 2021 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

A COVID-19 restriction signs hang outside of H-E-B supermarket on March 3, 2021, in Austin, Texas. The popular
Texas supermarket chain will not require customers to wear masks when the statewide mask mandate ends on March 10, 2021

Reckless Governors Are Lobbing A Hand Grenade Into Biden's COVID Plan
By William Rivers Pitt

To "step on a rake" is a euphemism for inflicting pain and damage upon yourself. The imagery is straightforward: You're walking through a yard, accidentally step on the head of a rake, and the handle whips up and smacks you on the bean. Sideshow Bob of The Simpsons perfected the art.

This week, a number of Republican officials across the country abruptly decided COVID was done, in defiance of all present evidence, and set about tap-dancing on a whole pile of rakes. It would be funny in a sad clown kind of way, but for this: When people like that step on rakes like these, COVID swoops in and kills thousands. It has happened already this year, and if these fellows get their way, it is about to happen again.

"I just announced Texas is OPEN 100%," Texas Gov. Gregg Abbott tweeted out of the clear blue sky of Tuesday afternoon. "EVERYTHING. I also ended the statewide mask mandate."

Mississippi Gov. Tate Reeves, the Costello to Abbott's Abbott, immediately followed suit. "Starting tomorrow, we are lifting all of our county mask mandates and businesses will be able to operate at full capacity without any state-imposed rules," Reeves tweeted. "Our hospitalizations and case numbers have plummeted, and the vaccine is being rapidly distributed. It is time!"

This folly is not simply a regional affair. Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker, whose state was one of the first and worst COVID hotspots at the outset of the pandemic, is looking to step on his own chowdah-flavored rake. Starting on Monday, Massachusetts will allow significant capacity increases in restaurants and bars, theaters, indoor concert halls and stadiums.

Baker's decision is not being greeted with the resounding cheers he was hoping for. "I'd say, 'Charlie, you're making a big mistake,'" Robert Horsburgh, a Boston University professor of epidemiology, told The Boston Globe. "Opening up these restaurants is going to prolong the epidemic, and increase the number of Massachusetts residents that die."

The timing of this sudden outburst of COVID tommyrot could not be worse. A robust national vaccination program is well underway, but is only a fraction completed, and is currently in a footrace with several COVID variants that have proven far more infective than the original. The longer this virus is allowed to fester and spread, the more likely new variants will rise that could weaken the effectiveness of the vaccines. Any actions taken that might cause this must be avoided at all costs.

While the nation has certainly moved past the gruesome winter explosion of new cases that saw the death toll surpass half a million people, we are far from being free and clear. The U.S. saw 65,000 cases a day each day last week, a still-horrific number that shows the pandemic is nowhere near under control.

Last week, new cases in Texas rose 27 percent. New cases in Mississippi rose by 62 percent in the same time frame. The daily average of new cases increased in eight other states last week besides Texas and Mississippi. In Europe, a six-week decline in new cases came to an abrupt end with a 9 percent increase, and World Health Organization (WHO) officials fear another spike may be underway.

Back in April 2020, Governor Abbott got out over his skis and announced a lethally early reopening of Texas. "Every recommendation, every action by the governor will be informed and based on hard data and the expertise of our chief medical advisers," Abbott adviser James Huffines told the press at the time. Thousands upon thousands of Texans died.

This time, Abbott isn't even bothering: Three of his four official COVID experts were not consulted before this reopening decision was made.

"I don't think this is the right time," said Abbott COVID adviser Mark McClellan, one of the three who was not consulted. "Texas has been making some real progress, but it's too soon for full reopening and to stop masking around others."

McClellan is not alone in his concerns. "Some of Texas' top doctors warned Wednesday that Gov. Greg Abbott's sudden decision to ditch the mask mandate and lift coronavirus restrictions could result in a new surge of Covid-19 infections and deaths," reports NBC News. "And while they now have enough masks, ventilators and emergency room space to treat a new wave of patients, they say there is an acute shortage of staffers who aren't already stressed out and exhausted from battling the pandemic for more than a year."

The problem, of course, is that what happens in Texas doesn't stay in Texas. Neighboring New Mexico, a favorite vacation destination for many Texans, has spent months struggling to deal with Texas tourists who flout COVID safety rules because freedom, or something. Now, with pandemic matters finally beginning to come under some semblance of control, the idea of pulling back on COVID restrictions is terrifyingly irresponsible.

The editorial board of The Santa Fe New Mexican made a particularly barbed point on Tuesday: "Texas still is digging out of the crisis that erupted when the state's energy grid crashed during a spell of frigid weather. Some cities still are having problems with their water supplies - news website Vox reported Monday that 390,000 Texans still lack drinking water. Surely, Texas doesn't need another coronavirus outbreak on top of what state residents have named 'SNOVID.' One crisis at a time, please."

At the federal level of government, "concerns" are being raised by Republicans about the size of President Biden's latest stimulus package. Things aren't that bad anymore, they argue, so let's give the people less. As with all things COVID, however, the formula holds true: If you think you have a lid on this thing, wait a week.

Only when a significant majority of the population has been vaccinated will there be any kind of true daylight, and we may wind up having to endure one more winter of masks and social distancing before that happy moment comes to pass. The stimulus is merely adequate to the task, and much more remains to be done.

The United States has handled COVID about as poorly as anything could be handled over the last year, and more than half a million people are dead because of it. With the final scourging of Trumpism from the White House, an effective fight against the pandemic is finally underway. Now, reckless governors are lobbing a hand grenade into that clockwork.

I pray the good people of Texas, Mississippi, Massachusetts and, well, everywhere take stock of what they have sacrificed over this long year, and choose to ignore their state and local leaders when they are invited to fling themselves off a cliff.

We are not out of this yet, and every greedy capitalism-driven push to pretend otherwise only serves to extend the timeline and prolong the agony. It sucks. The alternative is worse.

(c) 2021 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Senator Joe Manchin (D-W.V.) listens to Republican Senator Lamar Alexander.

Democrats Refusing To Fight For $15 Are the Best Allies Republicans Have
When eight members of the Senate Democratic Caucus blocked a wage hike, they endangered Democratic prospects in 2022.
By John Nichols

The Republican Party is in chaos. Defeated former President Donald Trump remains the dominant figure in the party he remade in his own image, despite the fact that polls show 68 percent of Americans don't want him to remain a major figure in American politics. Worse yet, Trump is threatening to use his popularity with the GOP base to punish Republican members of Congress and state officials who refuse to go along with his Big Lie claims about the 2020 election. So, all in all, these should be the best of times for Democrats.

Yet, even as President Biden and his congressional allies secured passage of the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Act last week, they couldn't deliver on the party's historic promise to guarantee a living wage for working Americans. Why? Because eight members of the Senate Democratic Caucus sided with Republicans in opposition to an amendment by Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders to raise the federal minimum wage from $7.25 an hour-the below-the-poverty-line figure at which it has been stuck since 2009-to $15 an hour.

The Sanders proposal wasn't radical. It was what Democrats ran and won on in 2020, and what Biden proposed in his initial rendering of the stimulus package. But seven Democrats-West Virginia's Joe Manchin, Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema, Montana's Jon Tester, New Hampshire's Jeanne Shaheen, New Hampshire's Maggie Hassan, Delaware's Chris Coons, and Delaware's Tom Carper-voted with the Republicans to block the Sanders amendment. So, too, did an independent who caucuses with the Democrats, Maine Senator Angus King.

Several of the rebels also moved to peg the weekly unemployment benefit at $300 a week, rather than the $400 a week Biden had proposed. They were also among the advocates for strict means-testing direct payments of $1,400 to Americans, in a move that has denied direct payments to roughly 10 million Americans who got checks under earlier stimulus plans and reduced the amount that goes to millions more.

As the compromises piled up, Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman (D-N.J.) observed, "This trend is outrageous." Pointing to the moves to block the fight for $15, reduce benefits, and limit direct payments, she asked, "What are we doing here?" and added, "I'm frankly disgusted with some of my colleagues."

"Raising the wage isn't just good policy-it's popular too!" Congressional Progressive Caucus chair Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.) pointed out. "A $15 minimum wage is supported by 61 percent of voters. Why Senators are voting against giving their constituents a raise is beyond me."

Manchin, Sinema, and the others offered plenty of excuses, none of which were credible-especially in the case of Sinema, who was once an ardent advocate of wage hikes. Backing an effort to raise the federal minimum wage in 2014, Sinema tweeted, "A full-time minimum-wage earner makes less than $16k a year. This one's a no-brainer. Tell Congress to #RaiseTheWage!"

Grassroots Democrats, who have been fighting for $15 for the better part of a decade saw the hypocrisy and asked, "What are these senators thinking?"

The answer is that the Democratic opponents of a $15-an-hour federal minimum wage aren't thinking about aiding their president or their party. They're defaulting to the politics of compromise and concession that invariably costs congressional Democrats hard-earned majorities and leaves Democratic presidents without the ability to effectively govern. If they keep doing this, they will hand Republicans an undeserved opening in 2022.

Whether Manchin, Sinema, and the inequality caucus are motivated by thoughts of campaign donations from corporate interests, deficit-hawk fantasies, or lust for the attention the media invariably lavishes on "centrists," they are making the mistake that Democrats regularly make at the start of a new administration. Even if last week's reluctant senators represented only a minority in a party that overwhelmingly favors a wage hike and bold action, they created an image of the Democrats as a status-quo institution that is unprepared to deliver for working people.

Compromise Is a Loser's Game

This a dangerous game, and Democrats always lose. It's also a rejection of their party's best legacy of fighting economic inequality.

President Franklin Roosevelt-whose New Deal administration established the federal minimum wage-was the last Democratic president to make a virtue of rejecting compromise. When he was condemned by Wall Street interests, FDR announced, "I welcome their hatred." He discarded the cautious language of centrism, especially when he was talking about wages for workers. "In my Inaugural I laid down the simple proposition that nobody is going to starve in this country," he explained in 1933. "It seems to me to be equally plain that no business which depends for existence on paying less than living wages to its workers has any right to continue in this country. By 'business' I mean the whole of commerce as well as the whole of industry; by workers I mean all workers, the white collar class as well as the men in overalls; and by living wages I mean more than a bare subsistence level-I mean the wages of decent living."

That blunt language had immense political appeal. FDR defeated an incumbent Republican president in 1932 and was reelected-on progressively more liberal platforms-in 1936, 1940, and 1944. Democrats won the House and the Senate in the midterm elections of 1934, 1938, and 1942. Roosevelt's best vice president, Henry Wallace, told the 1944 Democratic National Convention,

The future belongs to those who go down the line unswervingly for the liberal principles of both political democracy and economic democracy regardless of race, color or religion. In a political, educational and economic sense there must be no inferior races. The poll tax must go. Equal educational opportunities must come. The future must bring equal wages for equal work regardless of sex or race. Roosevelt stands for all this. That is why certain people hate him so. That also is one of the outstanding reasons why Roosevelt will be elected for a fourth time.
Wallace was right. Unfortunately, Democrats did not renominate the Roosevelt-Wallace ticket in 1944. They made a more cautious Democrat, Harry Truman, FDR's running mate. After FDR died in April 1945, Truman moved the administration and the party in a centrist direction. In 1946, Democrats lost the House and the Senate.

A new pattern took hold.

Fighting for $15 Is Politically Necessary

After FDR, no Democratic president would win reelection until Bill Clinton in the 1990s. But Clinton governed cautiously, with too much deference to Wall Street and social conservatives. He lost his governing majorities in the House and Senate in 1994 and never got them back. Similarly, Barack Obama assumed the presidency with overwhelming Democratic majorities in both chambers of Congress but lost the House in 2010 and the Senate in 2014.

Democratic presidents get a brief opening to govern boldly at the beginning of their tenures. If they do not do so, either because of their own caution or because of the reluctance of congressional Democrats, those presidents lose their ability to act decisively. Roosevelt and the New Deal Democrats saw their opening and seized it. So, too, did the old New Dealer Lyndon Johnson, when he assumed the presidency after the assassination of President John Kennedy in 1963.

But, since Johnson, Democrats have too frequently erred on the side of caution. And they have been punished for it.

Now, Manchin, Sinema, and their allies have raised the prospect of similar punishment in 2022. Democrats, in the home states of the senators who have refused to fight for $15 and in Washington, have to push back against concessionary politics. Fighting for $15 and for a broader economic justice agenda is not just morally right and economically wise. It is politically necessary.

(c) 2021 John Nichols writes about politics for The Capitol Times. His book on protests and politics, Uprising: How Wisconsin Renewed the Politics of Protest, from Madison to Wall Street, is published by Nation Books. Follow John Nichols on Twitter @NicholsUprising.

Our Eroding Bill Of Rights In America
By James Donahue

The document we refer to as the Bill of Rights is, in effect, published as the first ten amendments to the U. S. Constitution.

This document, which assures individual rights, was created early in the history of our nation, back when states were still living under the promises of the Declaration of Independence that assured state sovereignty as countries within themselves. The constitution, framed in a national convention in 1787, was perceived as a contract among the states to provide a central headquarters to deal with such common issues as national defense, common currency and a federal judicial system.

The goal, at least in the minds of many of the men who framed those first documents, was to maintain strong state governments, and allow for a central government that had little power. The central government, established in the District of Columbia, a small territory located outside the jurisdiction of the 13 original states or colonies, did not collect taxes directly from the people. Its operating money was provided for, and the members of the senate were delegated by state legislators. Only members of the House of Representatives were elected by the public at large.

Thus our first presidents, from George Washington to Abraham Lincoln, while they are portrayed as larger than life in our history books, were no more than token leaders operating a government that took its powers at the discretion of the individual states.

After the invention of the printing press and establishment of newspapers, people throughout the states became more and more informed about the issues of the nation. Among the hotly debated issues of the early Nineteenth Century was that of slavery. The issue led to pressure from the northern states on the southern states to prohibit slavery. Rather than submit to demands of the north, and reflected through the central government, the southern states rebelled, declared their own independence, and formed the Confederate Union.

Under the rules of the Declaration of Independence, the south had the right to succeed. But the central government under Abraham Lincoln, waged war on the south and thus crushed any further actions by states to withdraw from the union. In effect, our own Declaration of Independence, while considered a hallowed document throughout American history, would be considered a terrorist creed if drafted by any group of individuals within the nation today.

All of this involved months and years of political maneuvering by early leaders who clearly had differences of opinion as to just how to forge a government to run this nation.

A recent article by J. B. Campbell claims that the Masons, who comprised many of the men involved in writing our Constitution, sabotaged the promises written in the Declaration of Independence. They fought reference to "enumerated rights" arguing that the people should trust their government to preserve these rights.

But patriots like Patrick Henry and George Mason saw the Constitution as a blueprint for empire building and they fought it. Their efforts led to the addition of the Bill of Rights as the first ten amendments to the Constitution, the Campbell article said.

The Masons, who operated their own organization through a strong central system of leadership, used their own system as a pattern for framing the United States government. They wanted a strong national government, Campbell wrote.

During the Constitutional Convention of 1787, the two ideologies clashed in open debate, and the concept of federalism was established, although at the time it was weak.

Since the Civil War, the federal government has grown in power, while state powers have been slowly eroding.

When states approved the Seventeenth Amendment in 1913, providing for the direct election of Senators, the state governments lost their representation in Washington. Campbell argued that this amendment, alone, rendered the Constitution null and void, and that the United States has been "a sham government ever since.

"The Constitution is a fraud on the people and should be abandoned. It has not protected us from civil or foreign wars, from inflation and federal corruption. It is in fact the engine of all these crimes, authorizing such racketeering as the private Federal Reserve Corporation and its collection agency, the IRS," Campbell wrote.

He noted that the adoption of the Fourteenth Amendment after the Civil War declares that all people born in the United States are citizens of the country. It also establishes the federal government's right to establish debt, and denies the right of individuals to question it.

He continues to say that the Bill of Rights is now being eroded, mostly through rulings by the federal judges who "protect the Constitution" but do not protect the Bill of Rights.

These key Amendments, and what has happened to them in recent years are as follows:

Amendment I
"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

There are efforts underway, even at the time of this writing, to control free expression in printed form, in public statements and on the Internet. The proponents of such control are listing such things as pornography, terrorism and spam, or the flooding of e-mail with unsolicited advertising, as reasons for these controls. Also people have been fined and jailed in recent months for making "inappropriate statements" in public places.

Amendment II
"A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed."

This amendment has all but been declared void by legislative and court actions that prohibit the carrying of concealed and unlicensed weapons, make certain firearms illegal to own and use, and prohibit the establishment of local militias. A movement has been threatened, and furiously defended, that would remove the individual's rights to bear arms of any kind.

Amendment III
"No soldier shall, in time of peace be quartered in any house, without the consent of the owner, nor in time of war, but in a manner to be prescribed by law."

Amendment IV
"The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized."

Under the rules of the Patriot Act, adopted after the 9-11 attacks, authorities were given the right to enter and search homes, seize personal items and even make arrests without probable cause. The searches, upheld by the courts, are being conducted under the cloak of anti-terrorism and anti-drug laws. Legislators have since amended but not erased this phase of the Patriot Act despite extreme controversy.

Amendment V
"No person shall be held to answer for a capital, or otherwise infamous crime, unless on a presentment or indictment of a grand jury, except in cases arising in the land or naval forces, or in the militia, when in actual service in time of war or public danger; nor shall any person be subject for the same offense to be twice put in jeopardy of life or limb; nor shall be compelled in any criminal case to be a witness against himself, nor be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; nor shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation."

The arrest and jailing of alleged "terrorists" have been conducted under the Patriot Act and by military forces, not only in the United States, but overseas. Many were not given due process of law until after President Barack Obama came into power. There are rumors that so-called "illegal aliens" also have been detained by police and government forces on American soil without due process.

Amendment VI
"In all criminal prosecutions, the accused shall enjoy the right to a speedy and public trial, by an impartial jury of the state and district wherein the crime shall have been committed, which district shall have been previously ascertained by law, and to be informed of the nature and cause of the accusation; to be confronted with the witnesses against him; to have compulsory process for obtaining witnesses in his favor, and to have the assistance of counsel for his defense."

Again, the Patriot Act has overridden this amendment under the guise of a war on terrorism. Also the "War On Drugs" launched under the Nixon Administration, has clogged U.S. Courts and filled American prisons and jails so that there no longer is such a thing as a "speedy and public trial" for the accused.

Amendment VII
"In suits at common law, where the value in controversy shall exceed twenty dollars, the right of trial by jury shall be preserved, and no fact tried by a jury, shall be otherwise reexamined in any court of the United States, than according to the rules of the common law."

Due to inflation, this rule has been violated constantly. Traffic fines far exceed this $20 limit, set at a time when twenty dollars was considered a considerable sum of money. Most courts will still allow for a trial upon request by the accused, although it is discouraged due to the press of work by the courts. Instead, prosecutors use a plea-bargain system to rush cases through the courts, encouraging defendants to plead guilty to reduced charges rather than take the chance of being found guilty of the more serious crime.

Amendment VIII
"Excessive bail shall not be required, nor excessive fines imposed, nor cruel and unusual punishments inflicted."

Overloaded courts have slowed the process of criminal prosecution to such a crawl that there can be no such thing as a speedy trial. Courts set bail according to the nature of the offense. Bail can often be set at thousands of dollars, although in many cases the accused is allowed to post a portion, usually 10 percent of the amount which is furnished by a loan from a bondsman at high interest. Sentencing follows guidelines set by law.

Amendment IX
"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

This might be the "equality" amendment. And it is obvious that minorities in America have not been and continue to be denied equal and fair treatment on jobs, in the courts, and by society in general. Sometimes the disparage is subtle, but it exists.

Amendment X
"The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the states, are reserved to the states respectively, or to the people."

The final two amendments, designed to retain a portion of states powers, appear to be ignored by the courts and the U.S. Congress.

(c) 2021 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

John Mueller's Strange Take On 'The Stupidity Of War'
By David Swanson

How can you not love a book called The Stupidity of War? I'm tempted to count the ways. John Mueller's new book is an odd one, for which I hope there is a perfect audience out there - though I'm not sure who it is.

The book is virtually free of any contemplation of how it might be wiser to settle disputes nonviolently, of any analysis of the rising power and success of nonviolent action, of any discussion of the growth and potential of international institutions and laws, of any criticism of corrupt profit motives behind wars and war propaganda, of any rumination on how utterly dumb it is to improve the world by dropping bombs on people in mostly one-sided mass-slaughters of mostly civilians, of any thought that weapons dealing by the United States and other wealthy countries has put the same weapons on both sides of most wars and put most wars in places that manufacture no weapons, of any mention of the damage done to transparent self-governance or morality or the natural environment by war, and has only the barest acknowledgement of the financial tradeoffs available through conversion to peace. Also missing is any serious placing of militarist calculations in the context of the coming environmental and climate collapse.

Instead, this is a book driven by the (admirable, and obviously true) idea that war is a cultural choice that can be impacted by shifts in public opinion, combined with the (sort of weird but partly right) idea that wars and military buildups - while generally sensible and well-intentioned - have probably not been needed and are probably not needed now on remotely the scale of current U.S. militarism because the threats that Mueller thinks are actually feared by war planners and that I think are concocted by skilled propagandists are wildly overblown if extant.

However, Mueller largely measures public support for wars in the United States based on polling on whether people want the U.S. government to engage with the world at all. As it is possible to engage with the world through peaceful treaties, international bodies, actual aid, and cooperation on numerous projects that have nothing to do with war, this question doesn't actually tell us anything about public support for militarism. This is the old "isolationist" or militarist choice that Mueller seems to know is nonsense but still uses, rather than looking at polling on moving money from militarism to human and environmental needs, or polling on whether wars ought to have been fought, or polling on whether presidents should get to start wars or whether the public should get to have a veto via referendum. Mueller actually proposes "appeasement" and "complacency" rather than energetic peaceful engagement with the world.

Mueller wants to scale back U.S. militarism dramatically, and argues that it probably should have been done at the end of World War II, and that various achievements attributed to militarism since World War II would probably have been better achieved without it. Yet he wants to keep alive various powerful propaganda points in favor of out-of-control militarism, including the need to contain non-U.S. governments and the fear of future "Hitlers" despite the virtual end of colonialism and conquest, and despite the impossibility of the original Hitler having done what he did without the Treaty of Versailles, Western governments' support, Western corporations' support, U.S. eugenics and race theory, U.S. segregationist law, or Western governments' anti-Semitism.

If people who agree in general with Mueller and read this book are somehow convinced to scale back U.S. militarism by three quarters, that would work very well for me. The resulting reverse arms race would make the case for continued reduction and elimination much easier.

Mueller's case for a lack of enemies of the U.S. government is part a comparison of investments and capacities, part an examination of intentions, and part a recognition that war doesn't succeed on its own terms - neither large-scale war, nor the small-scale violence known as "terrorism" so often used to justify the larger scale violence called "war." The book covers the stupidity of terrorism as well as the stupidity of war. On the ridiculously overblown foreign threats, Mueller is right - and I hope he's listened to. He makes numerous excellent points regarding the certainty with which people predicted a third world war, a second 9-11, etc., and comparing the fear of Japan's economy a few decades back with the fear of China's now.

But the stumbling blocks thrown in the reader's path include a prologue falsely claiming that war has almost disappeared. Some readers may wonder why they should then worry about it. Others may - as presumably Mueller intends - find the near-nonexistence of war to be a good reason to get rid of it. And yet others may struggle with what to believe in a book that unnecessarily loads up the prologue with factual errors.

A graph on page 3 shows "Imperial and colonial wars" ceasing to exist in the early 1970s, "International wars" around 2003, "Civil wars with little or no outside intervention" constituting the bulk of the acknowledged wars but shrinking to about 3 currently happening, and "Civil wars with outside intervention" making up another 3.

If you define wars as armed conflicts with more than 1,000 deaths per year, then you get 17 countries with wars underway. Mueller does not tell us which 6 he counts as wars or why. Of those 17, one is a war in Afghanistan the current stage of which was initiated in 2001 by the United States which subsequently dragged 41 other countries into it (of which 34 still have troops on the ground). Another is a war on Yemen led by Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and the United States (which claims to be partially ceasing). Also on the list: Iraq, Syria, Ukraine (where Mueller tells the story of the coup with the coup missing), Libya, Pakistan, Somalia, etc. Apparently, these wars either do not exist or are "civil wars" with three of them involving "outside intervention" (albeit 100% of them with U.S.-made weapons). Mueller goes on to declare that there have been some "policing wars," which seem to count as "international wars," but to claim that the only recent ones have been the wars on Iraq and Afghanistan. One of these apparently existed from about 2002 to 2002, and the other not at all, according to the graph. He later tells us that Libya, Syria, and Yemen are "civil wars."

Mueller's whole book is packed with, not just this sort of war-is-over pinkerism, but all the absurdly low casualty estimates, absurdly generous interpretation of (U.S.) intentions, and blinkered analysis of history (mixed in with some excellent analysis of history too!) that one expects of a supporter of increased militarism. Yet Mueller (tentatively and with all sorts of warnings) proposes dramatically decreased militarism. We should hope that there is an audience that reads this as 100% right on and comes around to the reduction if not the abolitionist cause.

Then maybe we can inform them that the Kellogg Briand Pact did not ban or even mention "aggression" but rather war, that world leaders did not do everything they could to avoid WWII, that the U.S. didn't show up in Korea only after the war started, that the Korean War was not "worth carrying out," that troubles between Iran and the United States did not "all begin in 1979," that John Kerry was not an antiwar candidate for president, that Saudi Arabia was complicit in 9-11, that Russia didn't "seize" Crimea, that Putin and Xi Jinping do not resemble Hitler, that war lies about nukes causing horrible wars in places like Iraq is not a logical reason to keep nukes around, that the reason to get rid of nukes is not that they've already destroyed us and not that they've come close but that the risk is in no way justified, that NATO is not a benevolent force for controlling its other members but a means of facilitating foreign wars and generating weapons sales, and that the reason not to have more "policing wars" is not only that they are politically unpopular but also that murdering people is evil.

(c) 2021 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.

Global Warming Could Make Survival In Tropics Impossible
By Amy Norton

Limiting global warming to targets proposed in the Paris Agreement could keep tropical regions from reaching temperatures that are beyond human tolerability, a new study projects.

Researchers estimate that if countries are able to cap warming at 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels, the tropics will be spared temperatures that surpass the 'survival limit.' But life in the world's hottest latitudes could become intolerable if those controls aren't met.

The study focused on a measure called wet-bulb temperature, which accounts for heat and humidity, and is similar to what weather watchers know as the heat index.

"The general idea is, the body doesn't just respond to temperature, it responds to humidity," said Kristina Dahl, a climate scientist who was not involved in the study.

The body cools itself primarily through sweating and the evaporation of sweat from the skin, Dahl explained. At a certain heat-humidity point, she said, it becomes "thermodynamically difficult" for that to happen.

Scientists believe that a wet-bulb temperature of 35 degrees C is the upper limit of human tolerance. It's akin to a heat index of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.

People vary in how much heat they can stand. But at a wet-bulb temperature of 35 degrees C, anyone lingering outdoors would be in trouble.

The body normally maintains a fairly stable internal temperature of 37 degrees C (98.6 degrees F). Skin temperature has to be a little lower, to allow core heat to flow to the skin. If it's not, a person's internal temperature could quickly rise, explained Yi Zhang, the lead researcher on the new study.

"High core temperatures are dangerous or even lethal," said Zhang, a graduate student in atmospheric and oceanic sciences at Princeton University in New Jersey.

For their study, Zhang and her colleagues made projections as to how global warming could affect wet-bulb temperatures in the tropics (between 20 degrees north and south of the equator). That includes the Amazon rain forest, a large share of Africa, the Indian peninsula and parts of Southeast Asia.

The researchers started with the theory that fairly simple atmospheric dynamics control local wet-bulb temperatures across that tropical region. Then they used decades' worth of weather-station data to confirm that was the case.

From there, they were able to project that if global warming is limited to 1.5 degrees Celsius, that will prevent "most of the tropics" from reaching intolerable wet-bulb temperatures.

The findings were published March 8 in the journal Nature Geoscience.

Under the Paris Agreement, an international treaty on climate change, the target is to limit global warming to "well below" 2 degrees Celsius, and preferably 1.5 degrees, versus pre-industrial levels.

These latest projections underscore the importance of that, said Dahl, a senior climate scientist with the nonprofit Union of Concerned Scientists.

The findings translate a policy target into a potential real-world impact, Dahl said.

Averting intolerable wet-bulb temperatures does not, however, mean the planet is out of the woods. Human health can certainly suffer under less-extreme heat, she noted.

Heat waves routinely cause sometimes fatal heat illness. Warming also contributes to air pollution, which can exacerbate chronic health conditions like heart and lung disease, Dahl added.

A group of medical organizations called the Medical Society Consortium on Climate and Health has highlighted a range of health effects related to global warming. It can feed insect-borne infections like Lyme disease and Zika, for example, or contaminate food and water supplies by causing rising sea levels, heavy rains and flooding.

Zhang said more research is needed to understand the full health effects of wet-bulb temperatures below the "survival limit" of 35 degrees C. She also noted that the study looked only at countries between certain latitudes, and the findings do not necessarily apply to other regions.

What's needed to cap global warming? The short answer, according to Dahl, is less reliance on fossil fuels (oil, coal and natural gas) and greater use of cleaner energy sources like solar and wind.

Human-generated emissions-chiefly carbon dioxide, as well as nitrous oxide and methane-are blamed for the rise in global temperatures since the 1950s. In the United States, most of those emissions come from burning fossil fuels for energy use, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration.

(c) 2021 Amy Norton has been a medical journalist since 1999. She was a staff writer and editor for Physician's Weekly, Medical Tribune and Reuters Health, and has written on health and medicine for MSNBC, The Scientist, Prevention and other publications. When she's not writing, she is teaching yoga or dancing.

Trump's Vandalism At The Department Of Agriculture Was Classic Conservative Governance
With the agency damaged, farmers have started to look elsewhere for information. Which was, of course, the point.
By Charles P. Pierce

Of all the dumbass performative political gestures undertaken by the last administration*, one of the more useless was moving much of the Department of Agriculture out of Washington in 2019 in order to be closer to the land or some such nonsense. Because a great number of the department's employees were neither prepared nor willing to move to the heartland, it suffered a brain drain of considerable proportions and, as we say in the ag biz, the chickens are coming home to roost. From the AP:

The decision to move the Economic Research Service and the National Institute of Food and Agriculture in September 2019 was pitched as putting them closer to farmers in the nation's breadbasket, though much of their work involves advising members of Congress back in Washington. After the relocation was announced, President Donald Trump's chief of staff at the time, Mick Mulvaney, joked that moving the jobs to Kansas City was also "a wonderful way to streamline government."

Tom Vilsack inherited a demoralized workforce at the two agencies when he took over as secretary of agriculture under President Joe Biden. With 235 vacancies between them, the agencies continued to hire during the pandemic and administration change, but they are putting out work that is smaller in scope and less frequent, causing some farmers to look elsewhere for data they rely on to run their operations.

Which, of course, was the whole point.
"Here, when we need really good, hard information, you are really starting to question groups like USDA, which before that had a sterling reputation," Ehmke said recently. "But out in the country, people are worried about how good the information is now because those groups are operating at half capacity."
This is classic conservative governance made even worse by the ignorance and sloth that were the hallmarks of the previous administration*.
In October 2016 - before Trump's first year in office - ERS had 318 permanent employees, according to USDA data. By October 2019 - just a month after the move - its workforce had shrunk to 164. As of late January 2021, it had 219 employees, including 67 still based in Washington. The same trend played out at NIFA, which had 320 employees in October 2016. In October 2019, it was down to 112 workers, though it rebounded somewhat to 218 by late January, including 16 based in Washington.

"Best I can tell, they were putting out information that Trump really did not like hearing, like global climate change and things like that," Ehmke said. "And here in the United States, what we do with groups like that - we can't send them to Siberia, so we send them to Kansas City."

Better BBQ, but I take his point.

(c) 2021 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"Trust me, trust this will not be the last vote on minimum wage. There will be many votes. This minimum wage bill is going to pass."
~~~ Bernie Sanders

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott.

Typical Republican: The Racism and Anti-Science behind Texas Gov. Greg Abbot's Lifting of Covid Restrictions
Abbott's policy is in accord with the general Conservative principle that property is more important than human life.
By Juan Cole

Ann Arbor (Informed Comment) - Texas Gov. Greg Abbott this week lifted the Texas mask mandate and allowed businesses freely to open. Roughly half the deaths and severe illness owing to Covid-19 are among minorities, including African-Americans and Latinos, even though those two groups make up less than a third of Americans. State Sen. Borris Miles, D-Houston, tweeted, "Black people are being disproportionately killed by COVID, there's a lack of vaccine in communities of color... and now the Governor has lifted the mask mandate. He has signed the death warrants of communities of color.. Today he made it clear Black lives don't matter. #txlege"

Abbott is pretty obviously trying to please retailers and restaurateurs at the expense of vulnerable populations in his state. This policy is in accord with the general Conservative principle that property is more important than human life. Moreover, in today's Republican Party, property has race, and White Property is very definitely held by them to be more important than Black and Brown lives. Mind you, half of Covid-19 deaths are whites, so the party is willing to off its own constituents for the corporations.

Ironically, his lifting of the mask mandate hurts small restaurants and retailers because they will have to try to impose a masking policy on their premises without the benefit of state backing. Some have faced violence from customers, and Asian proprietors are especially worried.

Texas has 153 dead from Covid-19 for every 100,000 people in the state. Hawaii's rate is 31 per 100k, and Oregon's is 53. The death rates per state have little to do with the political party in charge, and since the novel coronavirus hits the elderly and minorities harder, the proportion of these groups in the population helps shape the infection and death rate. Still, public policy is clearly consequential, and when states have mandated lock downs and masks their infection rate has fallen. What Hawaii and Oregon do show is that 45,000 Texans did not have to die in the past year.

President Biden has swung into action and the US is now vaccinating 2 million Americans a day. He has made arrangements to much increase the production of the Johnson and Johnson vaccine and hopes to have 300 million Americans vaccinated by June. That would produce herd immunity. Abbott keeps asking when would be the right time. June. June would be the right time. Though some situations may continue to call for masking.

Only 10 percent of Texans have been inoculated, which is not enough to prevent the spread of the disease, especially as new variants circulate.

President Biden described the rush in some of the red states to remove state-mandated pandemic mitigation measures as "Neanderthal." I've used similar language and was told by one reader that I had been unfair to the Neanderthals.

Abbott, stung by the criticism (in which he was not personally named), struck back by accusing the Biden administration of releasing infected immigrants from detention centers into Texas and even of busing them to other states, spreading the virus around.

Nothing more need be said about Abbott's character than to report that he actually, in 2021, made these racist and bigoted comments, which have the added vice of being untrue. So, a liar and a white supremacist.

I wonder to which party he belongs?

KXAN reports, "As many as 100 asylum seekers are being released in Brownsville, in South Texas, each day, but they are tested for coronavirus in Mexico by the United Nations and, again, once they arrive in Brownsville. The asylum seekers, who were previously waiting in Mexico under the Trump administration's 'remain in Mexico' policy, cannot enter the United States without a negative coronavirus test."

These asylum seekers will go before an immigration judge and if their plea is rejected they will be deported. Biden is not "releasing" plague-infested immigrants en masse into the US, and Abbott knows these facts very well.

The only stricken migrants are among the 100 individuals belonging to families that had been separated and are now being reunited. They are offered quarantine accommodations. In any case, their numbers rather pall in the face of the 29 million Texans whom Abbott has unleashed, maskless, upon the strip malls and bars of the Lone Star state.

Abbott took these radical steps just as the US faces a possible Fourth Wave of covid-19 infections and deaths, which will be driven by deadlier forms of the virus such as the British B.1.1.7 variant.

Abbott did not bother to consult with 3 of the 4 members of his medical advisory team, and one of them, Mark McClellan, vehemently disagreed with the governor's actions. He is a former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration and director of the Duke-Margolis Center for Health Policy at Duke University. Abbott? Abbott is an attorney.

The British coronavirus variant is taking off. More transmissible and deadlier than the version 1.0 that is now widespread in the United States is likely to become the dominant variant in the United States in the coming months. It is already 25% of new cases in Florida, and its spread will be facilitated by Republican governor Rick DeSantis's similar lifting of restrictions and his encouragement of spring breakers.

As with Abbott's promotion of planet-wrecking fossil fuels and denial of human-caused climate change, he has taken a stand against science that harms the American people, in order to promote narrow business interests.

Unfortunately, this stance is increasingly just the platform of the Republican Party.

(c) 2021 Juan R.I. Cole is the Richard P. Mitchell Collegiate Professor of History at the University of Michigan. He has written extensively on modern Islamic movements in Egypt, the Persian Gulf and South Asia and has given numerous media interviews on the war on terrorism and the Iraq War. He lived in various parts of the Muslim world for nearly 10 years and continues to travel widely there. He speaks Arabic, Farsi and Urdu.

Joe Biden, LBJ, And Voting Rights
By Robert Reich

In 1963, when the newly sworn-in Lyndon Baines Johnson was advised against using his limited political capital on the controversial issue of civil and voting rights for Black Americans, he responded: "Well, what the hell's the presidency for?" America is again approaching a crucial decision-point on the most fundamental right of all in a democracy - the right to vote. The result will either be the biggest advance since LBJ's landmark Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts of 1964 and 1965, or the biggest setback since the end of Reconstruction and start of Jim Crow in the 1870s.

The decisive factor will be President Joe Biden.

On one side are Republican lawmakers who now control most state legislatures and are using false claims of election fraud to enact an avalanche of voting restrictions on everything from early voting and voting by mail to voter IDs. They also plan to gerrymander their way back to a House majority.

After losing the Senate and the presidency, they're determined to win back power by rigging the rules againstlikely Democrats, disproportionately Black and brown voters. As a lawyer for the Arizona Republican party put it baldly before the Supreme Court, without such restrictions Republicans are "at a competitive disadvantage relative to Democrats."

On the other side are congressional Democrats advancing the most significant democracy reform legislation since Lyndon Johnson's civil rights and voting rights laws - a sprawling 791-page "For the People Act" establishing national standards for federal elections.

The proposed law mandates automatic registration of new voters, voting by mail, and at least 15 days of early voting. It bans restrictive voter ID laws and purges of voter rolls - changes that studies suggest would increase voter participation, especially by racial minorities. It also requires that congressional redistricting be done by independent commissions and creates a system of public financing for congressional campaigns.

The legislation sailed through the House last week on a party-line vote. The showdown will occur in the U.S. Senate, where Republicans are determined to kill it. Although Democrats now possess a razor-thin majority, the bill doesn't stand a chance unless Democrats can overcome two big obstacles.

The first is the filibuster, requiring 60 votes to pass regular legislation. Notably, the filibuster is not in the Constitution and not even in law. It's a rule that has historically been used against civil rights and voting rights bills, as it was in the 1960s when LBJ narrowly overcame it.

Democrats can - and must - finally end it now, with their 51-vote majority.

But if they try, they face a second obstacle. Two Democratic senators - West Virginia's Joe Manchin and Arizona's Kyrsten Sinema - have said they won't vote to end the filibuster, presumably because they want to preserve their centrist image and appeal to Republican voters in their states. A few other Democratic senators are lukewarm to the idea.

Well, I'm sorry. The stakes are too high. If Democrats fail to enact the "For the People Act," Republicans will send voting rights into retreat for decades. There's no excuse for Manchin and Sinema or any other Senate Democrat letting Republicans pull America backwards towards Jim Crow.

And no reason Biden should let them. It's time for him to assert the kind of leadership LBJ asserted more than a half-century ago on civil and voting rights.

Johnson used every tool at his disposal, described by journalist Mary McGrory as "an incredible, potent mixture of persuasion, badgering, flattery, threats, reminders of past favors and future advantages."

He warned Georgia Senator Richard Russell, a dedicated segregationist, "Dick, I love you and I owe you. But....I'm going to run over you if you challenge me on this civil-rights bill." He demanded his allies join him in pressuring holdouts. Senator Hubert Humphrey later recalled "the president grabbed me by my shoulder and damn near broke my arm." Historians say Johnson's importuning, bribing, and threatening may have shifted the votes of close to a dozen senators, breaking the longest filibuster in Senate history and clearing the way for passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Voting Rights Act of 1965.

We are once again at a crucial juncture for civil rights and voting rights that could shape America for the next half century or more. Joe Biden is not LBJ, and the times are different from the mid-1960s. But the stakes are as high.

Biden must wield the power of the presidency to make senators fall in line with the larger goals of the nation. Otherwise, as LBJ asked, "What the hell's the presidency for?"

(c) 2021 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Investigative Reporter Greg Palast confronts illegal pizza pusher at Georgia polling station.

Pizza Outlawed In Georgia
To Suppress the Vote
by Greg Palast

I can't make this up. The state of Georgia passed a law this week, HB 531, that outlaws handing out pizza slices and water to voters waiting for hours to vote.

But Georgia's Republican Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger objected to the law because, he said, his office had already ruled that pizza at the polls is a crime. Before the Georgia US Senate run-offs, Raffensperger threatened groups, stating that:

"Offering food, drinks, or other items of value to voters waiting in line or those who have already voted is forbidden under Georgia law (OCGA & 21-2-570)."
Anyone handing pizza to a voter, according to Raffensperger, "shall be guilty of a felony." No kidding.

I took my team to Georgia to investigate - and indeed, I found a whole gang of vote-manipulating criminals in Cobb County, an Atlanta suburb. They brazenly wore their gang colors, hats marked "Papa John's." I caught them, on camera, handing out calzones and water to voters standing in long lines in the Georgia sun.

(Calzones, a kind of pocket pizza, are as illegal at Georgia polls as heroin or crack, and, I can tell you, after tasting the evidence, just as addictive.)

As you can see in this film, I confronted the pizza pirates. "Are you trying to bribe voters?"

Their lame alibi? "Well, people gotta eat." Sure.

I tried to get the number of their "Papa," but they claimed they didn't know how to reach Mr. John, the El Chapo of melted mozzarella.

I was curious: Why were the lines so long? Was it some scheme by the pizza pushers to hook more addicts?

Turns out, the Republican-controlled elections board of Cobb County had shut down six of the eleven early voting stations. Coincidentally, all six of the voting stations closed were in African-American neighborhoods.

But voting rights lawyer Barbara Arnwine didn't think it was a coincidence. Observing the growing line of voters there in Cobb County, Arnwine told me, "This is vote suppression!" meant to dissuade Black voters who would now have to drive up to 20 miles to cast a ballot.

Voting Rights Attorney Barbara Arnwine in front of Cobb County, GA lines for early voting.

Rev. Jesse Jackson says Arnwine, founder of the Transformative Justice Coalition, is the nation's top voting rights attorney. But, I feared, she could be just a front for the Papa John's calzone cartel.

Arnwine complained that the Republicans reduced polling stations for the US Senate run-offs to five, "Knowing that during the general election they had three hour lines with eleven voting places." And she added, "They didn't cut one white polling site."

Arnwine said that closing the early voting locations - a pattern seen across the state - caused voters of color to jam the lines at the remaining polling stations, leading to waits of up to several hours - tempting some to turn to the crime of drinking bottled water.

Our team investigated her claim, visiting one of the closed stations. And indeed, we found a voter there, Bradley Grayson, surprised his poll was shuttered. Nevertheless, despite the obvious preference of GOP officials, this African-American stubbornly insisted he would vote.

Bradley Grayson, Georgia voter at his polling station which he found closed.

Two years ago, we encountered one voter, Christine Jordan, then 92 years old, after she'd waited in line to vote in Georgia. Jordan, Martin Luther King's cousin, was refused a ballot because she'd been purged from the rolls by then Sec. of State Brian Kemp. My question was, if Mrs. Jordan had waited in line for two hours and accepted a bottle of water, or worse, a calzone, would she have been an accessory to this felony crime?

I called the Office of the Secretary of State to ask him if they wanted our evidence of "Papa" John's crimes? So, far, no response.

Outlawing Democracy

It's not just punishing voters with thirst and starvation. Altogether, the dozens of changes to the law passed by the Republican-controlled legislature this week seems aimed at making voting all but illegal for Georgia's citizens of color. Some low-lights of the bill:

Outlaws voting on all but one Sunday, knowing that African-Americans and Hispanics have long organized to vote after Sunday church in "Souls to the Polls" events.

Requires a verified excuse to receive an absentee ballot - outlawing most mail-in balloting, the vote method used this year principally by Democrats.

Eliminates mobile voting stations and even curtails ballot dropboxes.

Requires submitting ID with a mail-in ballot - despite finding not one case of voter identity theft in mail-in ballots.

Gerald A Griggs, Attorney for Black Voters Matter and the NAACP calls Raffensperger the, "Vote Suppressor-in-Chief." And now we can add, "Pizza Suppressor."

Black Voters Matter v. Georgia

Griggs, who represents both the Palast Investigative Fund and Black Voters Matter, is leading an all-star team of voting rights lawyers, including Arnwine, CK Hoffler, Jeanne Mirer and Fred Gray (famed for defending Rosa Parks) in suing the Secretary of State of Georgia to return 198,000 voters to the rolls whom Secretaries Brian Kemp and Raffensperger wrongly removed from the voter rolls.

A federal court has ordered the state to turn over to plaintiffs Black Voters Matter and others the secret files that targeted these voters, a list suspiciously overweighted with minority and young voters, the Jim Crow purge system that blocked Mrs. Jordan and others from voting.

The purge was critical to Kemp's win over Stacey Abrams in the gubernatorial race in 2018. But in 2020, a campaign by Black Voters Matter, Transformative Justice Coalition and others to contact purged voters identified by data uncovered by the Palast Investigations Team, helped preserve the voters' choice in Georgia's 2020 presidential election and US Senate run-offs.

Sec. of State Raffensperger is resisting returning voters to the rolls, even when these voting rights groups have identified, name by name, citizens wrongly targeted. The Sec. of State's office falsely expunged citizens' voting rights on grounds they'd moved their residences when, in fact, nearly 200,000 had not moved.

The Palast team interviewed several of these voters at the homes from which they'd supposedly moved.

All parties are aware that the Court halting the voter roll purges and restoring these voters' rights will have a profound impact on the upcoming 2022 gubernatorial race in which Stacey Abrams is expected to run and the simultaneous re-run of the US Senate race for the seat just won by Senator Rev. Raphael Warnock.

(c) 2021 Greg Palast is author of the New York Times bestseller, Billionaires & Ballot Bandits: How to Steal an Election in 9 Easy Steps, The Best Democracy Money Can Buy, Armed Madhouse and the highly acclaimed Vultures' Picnic, named Book of the Year 2012 on BBC Newsnight Review.

The Cartoon Corner-

This edition we're proud to showcase the cartoons of
~~~ Jeff Darcy ~~~

To End On A Happy Note-

Have You Seen This-

Parting Shots-

Parliamentarian Cuts Minimum Wage From Stimulus Due To Obscure Rule Requiring Poor Citizens To Needlessly Suffer
By The Onion

WASHINGTON-Citing the long-standing practice of maintaining boundaries between the classes, Senate Parliamentarian Elizabeth MacDonough asked Democrats to cut a minimum wage increase from their stimulus package Friday due to an obscure rule requiring poor citizens to needlessly suffer.

"Raising the minimum wage would violate an 1834 statue put in place to inflict arbitrary pain on the nation's most vulnerable groups," said MacDonough, explaining that the rule was used as precedent to stop the 95th Congress from increasing the minimum wage to $2.50 in 1977.

"There's only one interpretation of this rule as it clearly states that providing relief for impoverished Americans is not to be included in any budgetary legislation. These policies exist for a reason. Punishing the lower class is a non-partisan issue. There's no need to be frustrated with either party-take up your gripes with the Andrew Jackson administration and the 23rd United States Congress."

At press time, the stimulus package was in limbo while the Senate Parliamentarian determined if it was within the country's purview to help the unemployed.

(c) 2021 The Onion

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Issues & Alibis Vol 21 # 11 (c) 03/12/2021

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