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In This Edition

James Zogby joins us with, "The Shameful Attack That Backfired."

Medea Benjamin reports, "How US Sanctions Are Hurting Iran: A Firsthand Report."

Glen Ford examines, "The Black Stake In The Green New Deal."

Jim Hightower explores, "Trump's One-Word Re-election Campaign."

David Swanson orates, "High School Students And Peace Making."

John Nichols concludes, "Let Teens Who March For The Planet Vote To Save It."

James Donahue says, "Antigravity Engine Powered UFO Type Aircraft."

William Rivers Pitt discovers, "White Supremacists Are Infiltrating The GOP From The Ground Up."

Heather Digby Parton says of Trump, "He Just Wants To Be Loved By The Media."

David Suzuki finds, "Carbon, Climate And Corruption Coalesce In Concrete."

Charles P. Pierce says, "Trump's ICE Uses Medical Quarantine To Strip People Of Their Rights."

Ralph Nader asks, "Who Will Displace the Omniciders?"

Jane Stillwater considers, "DC's Sleazy [Bomb] Shell Game."

Israeli stooge Juan Vargas D/CA wins this week's coveted, "Vidkun Quisling Award!"

Robert Reich concludes, "Warren Is Correct About Busting Up Big Tech."

Chris Hedges with an absolute must read, "Israel's Stranglehold On American Politics."

And finally in the 'Parting Shots' department Andy Borowitz reports, "Obama Demands To See Trump's Elementary-School Diploma" but first Uncle Ernie examines, "Trump's Budget Disaster."

This week we spotlight the cartoons of Jeff Darcy, with additional cartoons, photos and videos from, Tom Tomorrow, Ruben Bolling, Mr. Fish, Medea Benjamin, Susan Walsh, Mark Makela, Scott Olson, Minale Tattersfield, Arizona Department of Transportation, Unsplash, Shutterstock, Reuters, Flickr, AP, Getty Images, Black Agenda Report, You Tube, and Issues & Alibis.Org.

Plus we have all of your favorite Departments-

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

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

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Trump's Budget Disaster
It's the U.S government's largest budget ever
By Ernest Stewart

"If they would rather die, they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population." ~~~ Ebenezer Scrooge

"Love is like a tornado. It picks you up off your feet, and then it takes your house!" ~~~ Uncle Ernie

"The weapon of choice utilized by Omar's opponents was to demonize her as an anti-Semite. Her "sin," it appears, was her continued umbrage over the double-standard that exists in American policy toward Israel and its treatment of Palestinians." ~~~ James Zogby

"Everything is connected to everything else." ~~~ Barry Commoner

The House Democrats certainly will have their hands full when that disaster called the 2019 budget comes their way. Not only will they have to rewrite 90% of it, but they'll have to get it by Mitch the Bitch, who thinks that it's the poor, sick, and elderly are all at fault for tRumps deficit problems, and not the $trillion and half dollar tax gift to the uber-wealthy that the Donald & Mitch gave them, is the problem! So getting old Turtle Boy to approve a budget that doesn't give tRump everything that he wants, is going to take some doing! I predict a whole string of governmental shut downs, which by itself could destroy the economy and bring on a depression!

So, what does tRump want? He wants to cut $1.1 trillion from Medicaid and from Medicare. Also, on the chopping block are food stamps, and wants to cut $26 billion out of Social Security. In fact, any social program that helps Americans is up for destruction. Of course, he wants to add another 5% to the military budget that the Pentagon didn't even ask for. Not to mention, there's about $9 billion for his wall, you know, the one that he swore Mexico was going to pay for! Oh, and since global warming is just a Chinese scheme the Environmental Protection Agency, which tRump once promised he would reduce to "little tidbits," his budget proposes cutting the E.P.A.'s funding by 31%. Significant reductions are also requested at other agencies responsible for the United States' energy and environmental policies, including a 70% cut in renewable energy research and the elimination of climate science programs across an array of agencies.

It goes on and on, but you get the picture, America. Aren't you glad that you voted for this monster? Or that you didn't even bother to vote, half of all eligible Americans never do. I wonder how many millions of needless American deaths will occur, before he is just an unpleasant memory. It's time for you couch potatoes, to get up off your fat American asses, get out in the streets, and raise a little righteous Hell! Or, just sit there until they come around and take you and your family off to a Happy Camp for disposal! The choice is yours to make!

In Other News

Tis tornado season, America!

In seven days this March we've had 50 plus tornadoes in the south. The average for March, over a ten year period is 87 for the entire month. The worst day in March was back in 2012 when we had 81 tornadoes in a single day. The death toll from Sunday March 3rd (23) is also the largest number from tornadoes in a single day since the Moore, Oklahoma, EF5 tornado killed 24 people on May 20, 2013.

Deadliest single tornado in US history is the Tri-State Tornado of March 18, 1925 which killed 695 people in Missouri (11), Illinois (613), and Indiana (71). The outbreak it occurred with was also the deadliest known tornado outbreak, with a combined death toll of 747 across the Mississippi River Valley. Yes, March can be a real bitch for tornados. Of course, with todays early warning systems that same Tri-State Tornado would have killed maybe 10% of it's grisly total. On April 26, 1989 in Bangladesh a large tornado took at least 1,300 lives. The US in 2017 had a total of 1418 tornados, and 991 tornados in 2018. We've had at least 86 tornados so far this year.

Of course, not all tornados are bad, ones. For example, after the British had burnt Washington D.C., on their way back to their ships, they were struck by several tornados that all but wiped them out, and the hurricane that spawned those tornados, also put out the fires in Washington.

So my advice, America, is just to stay downstairs in the man-cave until tornado season is over!

And Finally

The Donald isn't the only political numskull who likes to tweet. Juan Vargas who is a Democratic Con-gressman from California, and who, in his spare time is an Israeli 5th columnist stooge, and like the Donald likes to tweet and lie too.
It doesn't bother Juan that he helps perpetuate the lies against Omar as long as those big Israeli checks keep on coming in. Therefore, Juan wins this week's Vidkun Quisling Award!

Keepin' On

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

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

We'll keep fighting the good fight until the rest of the money runs out. If you think that what we do is important and would like to see us keep on, keeping on, please send us whatever you can, whenever you can, and we'll keep saying the sooth!


07-10-1934 ~ 03-08-2019
Thanks for the laughs!

02-05-1929 ~ 03-11-2019
Thanks for the music!


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


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

Until the next time, Peace!

(c) 2019 Ernest Stewart a.k.a. Uncle Ernie is an unabashed radical, author, stand-up comic, DJ, actor, political pundit and managing editor and publisher of Issues & Alibis magazine. Visit me on Facebook. and like us when you do. Follow me on Twitter.

Representative Omar is owed an apology. False charges and a manufactured crisis have sullied her name and put her at risk.

The Shameful Attack That Backfired
It is clear that Omar's courage has helped to open a door enabling a discussion of Israeli policy and the US-Israel relationship
By James Zogby

What happened to Congresswoman Ilhan Omar was troubling. On the one hand, because she dared to challenge the way supporters of Israel have worked to silence debate on US policy toward the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, she became a victim of incitement, and the target of legislation meant to shame her. At the same time, however, the heavy-handed tactics employed against her by some pro-Israel members of Congress backfired, exposing new fault lines in the US-Israel relationship.

The weapon of choice utilized by Omar's opponents was to demonize her as an anti-Semite. Her "sin," it appears, was her continued umbrage over the double-standard that exists in American policy toward Israel and its treatment of Palestinians.

During Israel's assault on Gaza, for example, she criticized the failure of the US media to pierce through Israeli propaganda and see what was actually happening to Palestinians in that impoverished strip of land. Once in Congress, she was deemed to have "sinned" again when she challenged the power of AIPAC to intimidate politicians and silence debate on Israel/Palestine.

New to Washington and the "acceptable language" one should use to discuss these issues, she admitted that her word choices had been unfortunate and apologized for the pain she may have caused.

Despite her apology, she remained a target. Because she is a hijab-wearing Muslim, who was critical of Israel, the GOP sought to exploit her in their continuing effort to drive a wedge between the Jewish community and Democrats. For their part, some Democrats reacted with hyperventilated outrage. Extreme language was used to denounce Omar. Her words were described as "bigoted," "vile," and, of course, "anti-Semitic slurs."

Never, in all this time, was there a critical examination of what she actually said. In fact, she never accused the Jewish community of controlling the media (unless one assumes that Israel's ability to dominate media coverage of events occurring in the occupation can be attributed to the Jewish community). Nor did she accuse the Jewish community of using money to buy influence in Washington (unless one suggests that AIPAC speaks for and acts on behalf of the entire Jewish community). It didn't matter, her opponents continued to call her an "anti-Semite," and did so with such frequency that the term stuck, putting her at risk to threats of violence from bigots.

The entire affair came to a head when, at a town hall last week, Omar attempted to explain herself. Asked to address the controversy that had erupted over her advocacy of Palestinian rights, Omar's colleague, Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib, spoke first noting that to her the question of Palestine is personal - her grandmother still lives in the West Bank and Congresswoman Tlaib desires that she receive equal justice and recognition of her rights to live in dignity. Reacting to what she had just heard, Omar said that she couldn't agree with those who fight for human rights and dignity for others and yet exclude Palestinian rights and dignity. For her part, she said, the focus should be universal ­- leaving no one out. She then chided those in Congress who have pressed her to reject her commitment to call out Israeli abuses and ignore Palestinians rights. Because she is a Muslim, Omar said, her criticism of Israel has been automatically seen as anti-Semitic in order to silence her. Even more troubling she noted was that, as a result of the manufactured controversy over her words, the discussion became whether or not she was an anti-Semite, while ignoring "the broader debate about what is happening in Palestine."

At that point, Omar said that she resented those who are pushing her to demonstrate allegiance to Israel. She concluded by saying that she wanted to have this conversation about "the political influence in this country that says it's okay to push for allegiance to a foreign country."

The reaction to this newest "sin" was near hysteria. Without ever listening to what she actually said, some members of Congress accused her of saying that the Jews had dual-loyalty - despite the fact that she had said no such thing. They demanded that Omar be censured or removed from her committee posts. And the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee proposed a resolution that would have denounced anti-Semitism in a way that was clearly directed at the congresswoman.

What was disturbing about this proposed resolution was that none of "Whereas" clauses included had anything to do with what Omar actually said. She never accused Jews of "dual loyalty because they support Israel"; nor did she display "prejudicial attitudes" towards Jews; nor did she ever make "mendacious, dehumanizing, demonizing, or stereotypical allegations about Jews".

What she did do was: challenge official American, and in particular, Congressional silence on the suffering of the Palestinians; the efforts by pro-Israel groups to silence debate on this issue; and the way that some have sought to create a virtual identity being pro-Israel and American interests.

Despite the obvious falseness of their claims, Omar's opponents in Congress plowed ahead with their proposed bill in order "to teach her a lesson." In their remarks rebuking Omar, they unwittingly made her point. One congressman said, "Questioning support for the US-Israel relationship is unacceptable." Another said, "there are many reasons to support Israel, but there is no reason to oppose Israel." While still another said that Democrats and Republicans, alike, are committed to insuring that the "United States and Israel stand as one."

It is exactly this attitude to which Omar objected when she wrote, "I am told everyday that I am anti-American if I am not pro-Israel...I know what it means to be an American and no one will ever tell me otherwise...I have not said anything about the loyalty of others, but spoke about the loyalty expected of me."

Because Omar has touched what some have come to say is "the third rail of American politics" she was being exploited by some Republicans and hung out to dry by some Democrats. They put a target on her back. And haters were quick to respond with frightening death threats and shameful bigoted assaults on her as a Muslim woman. There is no question that these threats against Omar were the byproduct of the sustained campaign of incitement.

It's important to note, however, that outside of the halls of Congress a different reality was unfolding. The attacks on Congresswoman Omar were rejected by many Democrats, including progressive Jewish groups, and a debate was sparked by the issues she raised and the over-reaction to them by Congress.

By week's end, the entire effort appeared to backfire. Instead of being the "slam dunk" they expected, the proposed resolution ran into blocks. Some members objected to singling out of anti-Semitism, without also denouncing racism, sexism, xenophobia, Islamophobia, etc. Others protested that Omar was being singled out and put at risk. And a few of the more prominent Democratic presidential hopefuls (Senators Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kamala Harris) insisted that charges of anti-Semitism should not be used to silence debate on Israeli policy.

By week's end, Congress passed a resolution denouncing all forms of hate or intolerance against any religious, ethnic, or religious community. Since it made no mention of Ilhan, it was clearly a loss for those who began the push to shame or punish her.

Two final points must be made:

Firstly, Representative Omar is owed an apology. False charges and a manufactured crisis have sullied her name and put her at risk.

And secondly, it is clear that Omar's courage has helped to open a door enabling a discussion of Israeli policy and the US-Israel relationship. While her opponents attempted to slam it shut, it seems that their behavior and incitement against her backfired stirring a debate that has helped to pry the door even further open.

(c) 2019 Dr. James J. Zogby is the author of Arab Voices (Palgrave Macmillan, October 2010) and the founder and president of the Arab American Institute (AAI), a Washington, D.C.-based organization which serves as the political and policy research arm of the Arab American community. Since 1985, Dr. Zogby and AAI have led Arab American efforts to secure political empowerment in the U.S. Through voter registration, education and mobilization, AAI has moved Arab Americans into the political mainstream.

With the author kneeling in the lower right, an international peace delegation outside Iran's Tehran Peace Museum.

How US Sanctions Are Hurting Iran: A Firsthand Report
Trump's economic strangulation is having devastating people on the Iranian people
By Medea Benjamin

On a recent delegation to Iran, we experienced first-hand the legendary Iranian hospitality. Iranians are particularly thrilled to meet Americans, but as we discovered, our government's policies are hurting the very people who want to be our friends.

As our 28-person delegation traveled through the country wearing messages on our jackets proclaiming "Peace with Iran" in English and Farsi, we were surrounded by people-from schoolchildren to storekeepers-who wanted to practice their English and talk to us. Their eyes lit up when they heard we were from America. We were constantly posing for photos and exchanging Instagram accounts. We were offered endless cups of sweet tea and showered with more gifts than we could fit in our suitcases.

A frequent refrain we heard was, "Americans good, Trump bad." We did meet a few Trump supporters. At one roadside shop outside Tehran, we were shocked to find an entire collection of Donald Trump's books for sale, in Farsi. One book buyer said Trump was good because would help get rid of the awful clerics who were running Iran. Most people, however, whether they liked or hated their own government, complained that US policies were not hurting the government or the wealthy, but the middle class and the poor.

In May 2018, President Trump's unilaterally withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement, followed by an imposition of draconian sanctions that not only prohibit U.S. companies from doing business in Iran, but threaten all foreign companies and international banks that trade with Iran. The sanctions also severely limit Iran's ability to sell its major source of revenue: oil.

The U.S. sanctions, along with mismanagement and corruption, has decimated the value of the rial and sent the prices of consumer goods soaring. As one of our guides told us, "Our bank savings have been wiped out, rents go up every month, and the price of food increases every single day, while most salaries stay the same." At a roadside stop outside the Tomb of Cyrus the Great, the wife of the tea vendor told us how her family's standard of living has plummeted in the past year. "We used to be able to afford a car, now we can't even afford a refrigerator," she lamented. Visiting a school for poor children in the southern part of Tehran, we learned that the number of street children has increased, particularly in households headed by single women.

Sanctions are suffocating people's life choices. A young woman who had been accepted to college in London with a full scholarship had to decline the offer because her family could no longer even afford her plane ticket. "I had so many hopes and dreams," she said. "Now I have nothing." A young man told us he cancelled his plans to get married because the couple can't afford the wedding costs. He is not alone. "The families of many girls can't afford a decent dowry, which is our custom here," he explained, "while many young men feel their salaries are no longer sufficient to provide for a family."

The US government says medicines are exempt from sanctions but with banks, shipping and insurance companies unwilling to risk doing business with Iran, certain life-saving drugs have become scarce. Our interpreter teared up when an elderly man in the marketplace told us his wife has cancer and he can no longer find the interferon she desperately needs. A man with diabetes said he can't find the medicine to lower his glucose levels and now must undergo painful dialysis treatments to stay alive.

"If Trump thinks he is hurting our government, he is wrong. Rouhani can eat meat every day and so can the clerics," a father of three told me. "I'm lucky if I can give my children a decent meal once a week. It is one thing for governments to have differences, but why impose hardships on innocent people?"

The Trump administration's gamble that tough sanctions will either topple the government or force it to change its regional policies is not working. It certainly seems like the Islamic government, which just celebrated 40 years in power, is not about to fall. Caught between a well-oiled repressive apparatus and fear of a Syria-type upheaval, most people we met preferred reforms within the present system to an abrupt regime change that might plunge the country into chaos-and they certainly did not want a US-military intervention.

Trump's policies, however, are putting the reformers under siege. When our group met with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif on February 25, the day before his short-lived resignation, he made it clear that he was under intense pressure to show positive results from his outreach to the West. Trump's economic strangulation is hurting all those who, like Zarif, staked their reputations on negotiations and it is shoring up hardliners who always insisted that talks with the West were futile. With new parliamentary elections coming up on 2020, these hardliners may well take power. U.S. warhawks like John Bolton, and Trump's Israeli and Saudi allies, could use their return to power as a reason to push for a U.S. military attack on Iran.

Rejoining the Iran nuclear agreement, lifting sanctions, and developing normal trade and diplomatic relations with Iran would empower the reformists and engage Iran in solving the conflicts that continue to plague the region. It would also ease the hardships affecting the extraordinarily gracious people who welcomed us with such open arms.

(c) 2019 Medea Benjamin, co-founder of Global Exchange and CODEPINK: Women for Peace, is the author of the new book, Kingdom of the Unjust: Behind the U.S.-Saudi Connection. Her previous books include: Drone Warfare: Killing by Remote Control; Don't Be Afraid Gringo: A Honduran Woman Speaks from the Heart, and (with Jodie Evans) Stop the Next War Now (Inner Ocean Action Guide). Follow her on Twitter: @medeabenjamin

The Black Stake In The Green New Deal
By Glen Ford

Black people should see the Green New Deal as an arena of self-determination, communal repair, and justice-creation.

The debate over some form of Green New Deal is destined to dominate political discourse in the coming decade, as the clock ticks toward a United Nations panel's 2030 deadline to avoid climate catastrophe by holding global warming to 1.5 degrees centigrade. A Green New Deal bill --actually, a non-binding resolution -- submitted last month by New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Massachusetts Sen. Ed Markey, so far has 89 co-sponsors in the House and 11 in the Senate including endorsements from Democratic presidential hopefuls Kirsten Gillibrand, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, Amy Klobuchar and Kamala Harris. Bernie Sanders backs the resolution and promises to develop his own Green New Deal plan.

With 80 percent of registered voters generally in favor (92 percent of Democrats, 64 percent of Republicans), the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey Green New Deal is at least as popular as Sanders' signature proposals on Medicare for All and free public college tuition. But the oligarchic .01% beats super-majorities every time under the two-corporate-party electoral system, and the oligarchy demands that there be no retreat from austerity and eternal warfare. The Democratic presidential contest sets the stage for an empire-shaking confrontation between popular forces demanding protection from the terrifying insecurity and unfairness of madhouse capitalism versus the political servants of the rich. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi was caught red-handed plotting with insurance companies to sabotage Sanders' Medicare for All bill (see BAR, Feb 13), and is sure to treat every austerity-threatening measure as a poison pill, no matter how popular in the polls. But Pelosi's billionaire bosses will be driven apoplectic by the Green New Deal, the drumbeat for which will grow louder and louder as humanity approaches the next of many climatic points of no return.

Of all the supermajority-backed proposals on offer, the Green New Deal has the potential to mobilize the broadest and deepest popular forces to challenge the political hegemony of the Lords of Capital. In its broad outlines, the Green New Deal is a transformative program that calls for democratic reconstruction of U.S. society in defense of the global homeland: the biosphere. Derived from the Green Party's New Deal plan and its "Economic Bill of Rights," first put forward in 2006, the Ocasio-Cortez/Markey resolution calls for achieving "global reductions in greenhouse gas emissions from human sources of 40 to 60 percent from 2010 levels by 2030...and net-zero global emissions by 2050" by overhauling the industrial and agricultural structures and habitats of the nation, at breakneck speed, while simultaneously redressing the injustices inflicted on "frontline and vulnerable communities" (mainly people of color) in the course of U.S. history.

Specifically, the GND aims to "promote justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression of indigenous peoples, communities of color, migrant communities, deindustrialized communities, depopulated rural communities, the poor, low-income workers, women, the elderly, the unhoused, people with disabilities, and youth."

The GND's authors recognize that Franklin Roosevelt's New Deal actually strengthened the racial caste system by favoring whites, as did the post-war GI Bill and the federally subsidized suburbanization of the nation -- the greatest makeover in U.S., and possibly world, history. This time around, the repair and upgrading of the infrastructure and housing stock of the nation and the provision of "high-quality education, including higher education" for all, is to be accomplished "with a focus on frontline and vulnerable communities" as "full and equal participants in the Green New Deal mobilization."

The Resolution promises to direct economic development investments in ways that "build wealth and community ownership, while prioritizing high-quality job creation and economic, social, and environmental benefits in frontline and vulnerable communities, and deindustrialized communities." High-quality retraining and education will be accomplished with "community-defined projects and strategies."

The goal is restorative justice that addresses past crimes against communities that were repeatedly destabilized and made into sacrifice zones for the benefit of capitalists and to satisfy the demands of white privilege. The GND is committed to "ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes that are inclusive of and led by frontline and vulnerable communities and workers to plan, implement, and administer the Green New Deal mobilization at the local level."

The plan envisions creation of 20 million new jobs at living wages while "strengthening and protecting the right of all workers to organize, unionize, and collectively bargain free of coercion, intimidation, and harassment."

The Green New Deal is not designed to be a plaything of the oligarchs, but will ensure "a commercial environment where every businessperson is free from unfair competition and domination by domestic or international monopolies." And care will be taken that "the public receives appropriate ownership stakes and returns on investment."

This is fine language, but even if the words survive the congressional process they mean nothing unless the "frontline and vulnerable communities" - communities that have been abused by U.S. capitalism during booms and busts, through periods of industrialization and de-industrialization, suburbanization and urban disinvestment, and now gentrification and mass Black expulsion -- aggressively engage the Green New Deal process and assert their human rights, including the right to self-determination.

The Green New Deal was clearly conceived as a "nation-building" as well as biosphere-saving project. Black people should see it as an arena of self-determination, communal repair, and justice-creation. The best available guideline for waging that struggle is the National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination put forward by the Black Is Back Coalition after two years of development and ratification by community participants in cities across the nation. Many of the Agenda's 19 Points have immediate and critical relevance to the national makeover project, particularly Point Number 11:

"Halt Gentrification through the empowerment, stabilization and restoration of traditional Black neighborhoods. Black people have the right to develop, plan and preserve our own communities. No project shall be considered 'development' that does not serve the interests of the impacted population, nor should any people-displacing or otherwise disruptive project be allowed to proceed without the permission of that population. Peoples that have been displaced from our communities by public or private development schemes have the Right to Return to our communities, from New Orleans to Harlem."
If the GND is to fulfill its mission while "promoting "justice and equity by stopping current, preventing future, and repairing historic oppression" then it must respect the self-determinist rights of the "frontline and vulnerable communities" -- mainly people of color, who must be the principal planners in the new ecological order. And since the Green New Deal does not envision a transition to socialism as inherent in the project, the Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination's Point Number 12 is highly relevant:
"Black Business must be nurtured by public development banks and protected from strangulation by corporate chains and monopolies. Black community planning agencies must protect and give preferential access to local entrepreneurs and cooperatives willing to operate in harmony with the community's developmental plans, with a special emphasis on agriculture. Accordingly, we demand immediate Reparations for Black Farmers and an end to the land theft and discriminatory laws and practices used against Black farmers in the U.S."
Ocasio-Cortez and Markey's Green New Deal mandates that high-quality retraining and education will be accomplished with "community-defined projects and strategies." Black communities will likely consider that a green light for community control of such institutions of learning, as is their self-determinationist, democratic right.

Indeed, the 19 Points of the National Black Political Agenda for Self-Determination are critical to "ensuring the use of democratic and participatory processes" in all interactions between Black America and an historically hostile United States.

The oligarch-owned Democratic leadership and corporate media (the same folks that brought us Russiagate) will wage relentless, dirty war against the Green New Deal and the other super-majority-supported healthcare, education and living wage measures, likely resulting in the breakup of the Democratic Party - a welcome and necessary outcome. The rupture could be set in motion this election cycle if the Lords of Capital instruct their media and party operatives to treat the Sanders/Ocasio-Cortez agenda as an existential threat. Every passing day, however, more Americans awaken to the reality that the rule of the rich must end, so that the Earth can live. The current system is rigged for mass extinction. We need a whole new deck of cards. Black folks would like to get free before the lights of the world go out.

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

Trump's One-Word Re-election Campaign
By Jim Hightower

"Socialism," snarled The Donald at a recent pep rally of far-right Republicans. And the obedient crowd of Trumpistas snarled back in unison: So-sh'll-izz-ummm!

There you have the entire intellectual content of the GOP's 2020 re-election strategy under Generalissimo Trump - slap Democrats with a scurrilous campaign branding them as Lenin-Trotsky-Stalin re-incarnate. It's not just Trump hissing out the socialist label in a frantic McCarthyesque attempt to make it stick by mindless repetition, but also Republican lawmakers.

Unfortunately for them, they're overplaying a weak hand and bumbling over their own ignorance. Texas Senator John Cornyn, for example, compared Democrats who support ideas like Medicare-for-All to Mussolini. Apparently, Cornyn is unaware that the brutish Italian dictator was no socialist, but a fascist! Mussolini's ideology of ultranationalism, masculine authoritarianism, suppression of democratic rights, and rule by wealthy elites is the opposite of the Democratic agenda. Indeed, it describes the policies of - guess who? - Trump and his acolytes, including Cornyn!

The real problem for the GOP, however, is not merely that squawking "socialism" makes them sound like nutty old fuddy-duddies, but that the Democratic policies they're attacking are enormously popular with America's workaday majority. Government-backed health care for all? Sure, why should CEOs and congress critters be the only ones to get this? Affordable higher education? Of course, for that helps all of America. A wealth tax on corporate giants and the superrich? Long overdue. Restore the rights of labor and restrain the rise of monopolies? Yes!

Far from socialism, this is democratic populism, an honest, popular rebellion against the corporate plutocracy promoted by Trump and Cornyn. Which side are you on?

(c) 2019 Jim Hightower's latest book, "If The Gods Had Meant Us To Vote They Would Have Given Us Candidates,"is available in a fully revised and updated paperback edition. Jim writes The Hightower Lowdown, a monthly newsletter chronicling the ongoing fights by America's ordinary people against rule by plutocratic elites. Sign up at

High School Students And Peace Making
By David Swanson

Remarks at Student Peace Awards of Fairfax County, Va., March 10, 2019

Thank you for inviting me here. I'm honored. And I'm reminded of lots of happy memories of Herndon High School, class of 87. If there was encouragement back then to take on the sort of projects that our honorees today have taken on, I missed it. I suspect that some improvements have been made in high school education since my day. Yet I did manage to learn a lot at Herndon, and also by participating in a trip abroad with one of my teachers, and from spending a year abroad as an exchange student following graduation prior to beginning college. Seeing the world through a new culture and language helped me to question things I hadn't. I believe we need a lot more questioning, including of things familiar and comfortable. The students being honored today have all been willing to push themselves beyond what was comfortable. You all don't need me to tell you the benefits of having done that. The benefits, as you know, are much more than an award.

Reading the summaries of what these students have done, I see a lot of work opposing bigotry, recognizing humanity in those who are different, and helping others to do the same. I see a lot of opposing cruelty and violence and advocating nonviolent solutions and kindness. I think of all of these steps as part of building a culture of peace. By peace I mean, not exclusively, but first and foremost, the absence of war. Prejudice is a wonderful tool in marketing wars. Human understanding is a wonderful impediment. But we have to avoid allowing our concerns to be used against, avoid accepting that the only way to solve some alleged crime is to commit the larger crime of war. And we have to figure out how to persuade governments to behave as peacefully on a large scale as we try to on a smaller one, so that we aren't welcoming refugees while our government causes more people to flee their homes, so that we aren't sending aid to places while our government sends missiles and guns.

I recently did a couple of public debates with a professor from the U.S. Army's West Point Academy. The question was whether war can ever be justified. He argued yes. I argued no. Like many people who argue his side, he spent a fair amount of time talking not about wars but about finding yourself confronted in a dark alleyway, the idea being that everyone must simply agree that they would be violent if confronted in a dark alleyway, and therefore war is justifiable. I responded by asking him not to change the subject, and by claiming that what one person does in a dark alleyway, whether violent or not, has very little in common with the collective enterprise of constructing massive equipment and preparing massive forces and making the calm and deliberate choice to drop explosives on distant people's homes rather than negotiate or cooperate or make use of courts or arbitration or aid or disarmament agreements.

But if you've read this excellent book that's being given to these outstanding students today, Sweet Fruit from a Bitter Tree, then you know that it simply is not true that a person alone in a dark alleyway never has any better option than violence. For some people in some cases in dark alleyways and other similar locations, violence could prove the best option, a fact that would tell us nothing about the institution of war. But in this book we read numerous stories - and there are many, no doubt millions, more just like them - of people who chose a different course.

It sounds not just uncomfortable but ridiculous to the dominant culture we live in to suggest starting a conversation with a would-be rapist, making friends with burglars, asking an attacker about his troubles or inviting him to dinner. How can such an approach, documented to have worked over and over again in practice ever be made to work in theory? (If anyone here is planning to attend college, you can expect to encounter just that question quite often.)

Well, here's a different theory. Very often, not always, but very often people have a need for respect and friendship that is much stronger than their desire to inflict pain. A friend of mine named David Hartsough was part of a nonviolent action in Arlington trying to integrate a segregated lunch counter, and an angry man put a knife up to him and threatened to kill him. David calmly looked him in the eye and said words to the effect of "You do what you have to do, my brother, and I am going to love you anyway." The hand holding the knife began to shake, and then the knife fell to the floor.

Also, the lunch counter was integrated.

Humans are a very peculiar species. We don't actually need a knife to the throat to feel uncomfortable. I may say things in a speech like this one that don't threaten anyone in any way, but nonetheless make some people pretty darn uncomfortable. I wish they didn't, but I think they have to be said even if they do.

A little over a year ago there was a mass shooting at a high school in Florida. Many people have, quite rightly I think, asked the people just up the street here at the NRA to consider what role their corruption of government may play in the endless epidemic of gun violence in the United States. Thank you to Congressman Connolly for having voted for background checks, by the way. But almost nobody mentions that our tax dollars paid to train that young man in Florida to kill, trained him right in the cafeteria of the high school where he did it, and that he was wearing a t-shirt advertising that training program when he murdered his classmates. Why wouldn't that upset us? Why wouldn't we all feel some responsibility? Why would we avoid the subject?

One possible explanation is that we've been taught that when the U.S. Army trains people to shoot guns it's for a good purpose, not murder, but some other kind of shooting people, and that a t-shirt from a JROTC program is an admirable, patriotic, and noble badge of honor that we shouldn't disgrace by mentioning it in conjunction with a mass murder of people who matter. After all, Fairfax County has the JROTC too and hasn't experienced the same result as Parkland, Florida - yet. Questioning the wisdom of such programs would be vaguely unpatriotic, perhaps even treasonous. It's more comfortable just to keep quiet.

Now, let me say something even more uncomfortable. Mass shooters in the United States very disproportionately have been trained by the U.S. military. That is to say, veterans are proportionately more likely to be mass shooters than are a random group of men of the same age. The facts in this regard are not in dispute, only the acceptability of mentioning them. It's all right to point out that mass shooters are almost all male. It's all right to point out how many suffer from mental illness. But not how many were trained by one of the biggest public programs the world has ever seen.

Needless to say, or rather I wish it were needless to say, one doesn't mention mental illness in order to encourage cruelty to the mentally ill, or veterans in order to condone anyone being mean to veterans. I mention the suffering of veterans and the suffering that some of them sometimes inflict on others in order to open up a conversation about whether we ought to stop creating more veterans going forward.

In Fairfax County, as much as anywhere in this country, questioning militarism is questioning an existing economy of military contractors. Studies have found that if you moved money from military spending to education or infrastructure or green energy or even tax cuts for working people you'd have so many more jobs and better-paying jobs at that, that you could in fact divert sufficient funds into aiding anyone who needed help in transitioning from military to non-military work. But in our current culture, people think of the enterprise of mass killing as a jobs program, and investment in it as normal.

When the Guantanamo base in Cuba became known for having tortured people to death, someone asked Starbucks why they chose to have a coffee shop at Guantanamo. The response was that choosing not to have one there would have been a political statement, whereas having one there was simply normal.

In Congressman Gerry Connolly's last campaign, the political action committees of at least nine weapons companies chipped in $10,000 each.

In Charlottesville, we've just asked our city council to adopt a policy of no longer investing in weapons or fossil fuels. A quick glance at a few websites shows me that Fairfax County, too, invests retirement funds, for example, in such life-threatening enterprises as ExxonMobil and in State of Virginia investments in funds that invest heavily in weapons. I think of some of the wonderful teachers I had at Herndon and wonder whether they would have appreciated someone making their retirement dependent on the flourishing of the war business and the destruction of the earth's climate. I also wonder whether anyone asked them. Or rather I'm certain nobody did.

But does anyone ever ask us the most important questions that we need to simply go ahead and answer anyway?

I remember history classes in school - this may have changed, but this is what I remember - focusing very heavily on U.S. history. The United States, I learned, was very special in a great many ways. It took me quite a while to figure out that in most of those ways, the United States was not actually very special. Before I learned that - and it may be that it was necessary that this come first - I learned to identify myself with humanity. I generally think of myself as a member of lots of different small groups, including the residents of Charlottesville and the Herndon High School Class of 1987, among many others, but most importantly I think of myself as a member of humanity - whether humanity likes it or not! So, I'm proud of us when the U.S. government or some U.S. resident does something good and also when any other government or person does anything good. And I'm ashamed by failures everywhere equally. The net result of identifying as a world citizen is often quite positive, by the way.

Thinking in those terms may make it easier, not only to examine ways in which the United States is not so special, such as its lack of a health coverage system to measure up to what other countries have got working in practice even if our professors deny its ability to work in theory, but also easier to examine ways in which the United States is indeed a very special outlier.

Some weeks from now, when the University of Virginia men's basketball team wins the NCAA championship, viewers will hear the announcers thank their troops for watching from 175 countries. You'll not hear anything of the sort anywhere else on earth. The United States has some 800 to 1,000 major military bases in some 80 countries that are not the United States. The rest of the world's nations combined have a couple of dozen bases outside their borders. The United States spends almost as much each year on war and preparations for war as the rest of the world combined, and much of the rest of the world is U.S. allies, and much of the spending is on U.S.-made weapons, which are not infrequently found on both sides of wars. U.S. military spending, across numerous government departments, is some 60% of the spending that Congress decides on each year. U.S. weapons exports are number one in the world. The U.S. government arms the vast majority of the world's dictatorships by its own definition. When people are outraged that Donald Trump speaks with a North Korean dictator, I'm actually relieved, because the typical relationship is to arm and train the forces of dictators. Very few people in the United States can name all the countries their country has bombed in the current year, and this has been true for many years. In a presidential primary debate last time around, a moderator asked a candidate if he would be willing to kill hundreds and thousands of innocent children as part of his basic presidential duties. I don't think you'll find a similar question in an electoral debate in any other country. I think it suggests a normalization of something that never should have been accepted even in rare circumstances.

Chapter 51 of Sweet Fruit from the Bitter Tree describes a U.S. military operation in Iraq that managed to avoid violence on a particular day. What is not mentioned is that this advanced a catastrophic occupation that devastated a nation and led to the development of groups like ISIS. On page 212, the U.S. military commander recounting the incident remarks how horrible it is to kill another human being at close range. "I would shoot all the artillery," he writes, "drop all the Air Force's bombs and strafe the enemy with the division's attack helicopters before I would see one of my young soldiers in a street fight with the enemy at close quarters." This sounds like kindness, like humaneness. He wants to spare his young soldiers the horror and the moral injury of killing at close range.

But here's the catch. Aerial attacks usually kill and injure and traumatize and render homeless overwhelmingly civilians, by which I do not mean to accept the killing of the non-civilian so-called enemy - and they do so in much larger numbers than ground attacks. The more the United States wages its wars from the air, the more people die, the more the dying is one-sided, and the less any of it makes it into U.S. news reports. Perhaps those facts are not all-decisive for everyone, but their absence from such accounts is best explained, I think, by the accepted idea that some lives matter and some lives do not matter, or certainly matter much less.

The case that we make at an organization I work for called World BEYOND War is that if everybody matters, war can never be justified at all. Three percent of U.S. military spending could end starvation on earth. A slightly bigger slice could put up an undreamed of attempt to slow down climate collapse - to which militarism is an unheralded major contributor. War kills most, not with any weapon, but through the diversion of funding away from where it's needed. War kills and injures directly on a major scale, erodes our liberties in the name of freedom, risks nuclear apocalypse for reasons that make any arguments my friends and I had in high school seem mature and practically saintly by comparison, poisons our culture with xenophobia and racism, and militarizes our police and our entertainment and our history books and our minds. If some future war could be plausibly marketed as likely to do more good than harm (which it cannot) it would also have to do enough good to outweigh all the harm of keeping the institution of war around, plus all the harm of all the various wars thereby generated.

Ending militarism could be done by stages, but even getting people to the point of working on it usually requires getting past the number one topic of U.S. history and entertainment, answering a question that we can probably all recite in unison. It's just three words: "What . . . about . . . Hitler?"

A few months ago, I spoke at a high school in D.C. As I often do, I told them I'd perform a magic trick. I only know one, but I know it will almost always work with no skill required. I scribbled on a piece of paper and folded it up. I asked someone to name a war that was justified. They of course said "World War II" and I opened up the paper, which read "World War II." Magic!

I could do a second part with equal reliability. I ask "Why?" They say "the Holocaust."

I could do a third part, as well. I ask "What does Evian mean?" They say "No idea" or "bottled water."

Of the many times I've done this, only once that I recall did someone say something other than "World War II." And only once did someone know what Evian meant. Otherwise it has never failed. You can try this at home and be a magician without learning any sleight of hand.

Evian was the location of the biggest, most famous of the conferences at which the nations of the world decided not to accept Jews from Germany. This is not secret knowledge. This is history that has been out in the open from the day it occurred, massively covered by the major world media at the time, discussed in endless papers and books since the time.

When I ask why the nations of the world refused Jewish refugees, the blank stares continue. I have to actually explain that they refused to accept them for openly racist, anti-Semitic reasons expressed without shame or embarrassment, that no World War II posters read "Uncle Sam Wants You to Save the Jews!" If there had been a day on which the U.S. government decided to save the Jews it would be one of the biggest holidays on the calendar. But it never happened. Preventing the horror of the camps did not become a justification for the war until after the war. The U.S. and British governments right through the war refused all demands to evacuate those threatened on the grounds that they were too busy fighting the war - a war that killed many more people than were killed in the camps.

There are, of course, more fact-based defenses of World War II, and I could do my best to reply to each one if I had another several weeks and didn't need to wrap this up. But isn't it odd that one of the main public projects of the U.S. government is almost always defended by reference to an example of its use 75 years ago in a world with radically different systems of law, with no nuclear weapons, with brutal colonization by European powers, and with little understanding of the techniques of nonviolent action? Is there anything else we do that we justify by reference to the 1940s? If we modeled our high schools on those of the 1940s we'd be considered backward indeed. Why should our foreign policy not have the same standards?

In 1973 Congress created a means for any Congress Member to force a vote on ending a war. Last December, the Senate used it for the first time to vote to end U.S. participation in the war on Yemen. Earlier this year, the House did the same, but added in some unrelated language that the Senate refused to vote on. So, now both houses have to vote again. If they do - and we should all insist that they do - what's to stop them from ending another war and another and another? That's something to work for.

Thank you.


(c) 2019 David Swanson is an author, activist, journalist, and radio host. He is director of and campaign coordinator for Swanson's books include War Is A Lie. He blogs at and He hosts Talk Nation Radio. He is a 2015 and 2016 Nobel Peace Prize Nominee. Follow him on Twitter: @davidcnswanson and FaceBook.

U.S. Rep. Ayanna Pressley, shown here at a recent congressional hearing, proposed last week that the voting age be lowered from 18 to 16 years old.
Although her effort failed, she made a compelling argument that won the support of 126 House members for her proposed amendment to H.R. 1,
the sweeping elections and ethics reform measure that passed the House on Friday.

Let Teens Who March For The Planet Vote To Save It
By John Nichols

Thousands of high school students and their allies will be marching Friday, in Madison and cities around the world, demanding action on the issue that will define their future: climate change. While older Americans continue to drag their heels - or, in the case of the president, simply deny reality - young people are organizing, rallying and marching for a Green New Deal and necessary action to save the planet.

The rising generation of young Americans is politically engaged, and politically mature. These teenagers hold out the promise of a more just and equitable United States, not to mention the survival of the planet. "From gun violence, to immigration reform, to climate change, to the future of work - our young people are organizing, mobilizing and calling us to action," said Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, who argued: "They are at the forefront of social and legislative movements and have earned inclusion in our democracy."

To that end, the Massachusetts Democrat last week proposed to lower the federal election voting age from 18 to 16 years old.

"Some have questioned the maturity of our youth. I don't," the congresswoman told the House, explaining, "A 16-year-old in 2019 possesses a wisdom and a maturity that comes from 2019 challenges, hardships, and threats. A 16-year-old will bring with them the 2019 fears that their father's insulin will run out before the next paycheck. A 17-year-old will bring with them the 2019 hopes to be the first in their family to earn a college degree. A 16-year-old will bring with them the 2019 lessons they learned picking up shifts waiting tables to support their family while their mother was deployed. A 17-year-old will bring with them a 2019 solemn vow to honor the lives of their classmates stolen by a gunman. And now is the time for us to demonstrate 2019 courage that matches the challenges of the modern-day 16- and 17-year-old."

Pressley made a compelling argument that won the support of 126 House members for her proposed amendment to H.R. 1, the sweeping elections and ethics reform measure that passed the House on Friday. Pressley's amendment failed, but the proposal to lower the voting age won the support of the chamber's most visionary members, including Congressman Mark Pocan, D-town of Vermont.

The fight to lower the voting age to 16 may seem like something of a new frontier in the long struggle to expand voting rights in the United States. But this is an idea based in common sense and honest observation.

Noting that high school students have "far better BS detectors" than adults, constitutional scholar Lawrence Tribe asked last year, as the Parkland students reframed the gun debate, "Wouldn't it be great if the voting age were lowered to 16?"

It would be great. And it ought to be on the agenda of progressives going forward.

There's nothing radical about extending the franchise to people aged 16 and 17. Argentina, Austria, Brazil, Cuba, Ecuador and Nicaragua allow voting at 16, as did Scotland during its historic 2014 independence election.

So, too, do the German states of Brandenburg, Bremen, and Hamburg; the Swiss canton of Glarus; and the United Kingdom semi-autonomous territories of the Isle of Man, Jersey, and Guernsey. British billionaire Richard Branson began arguing after Britain's 2016 #Brexit vote (which younger voters overwhelmingly opposed) for lowering the voting age to 16, because young people are more "interested, motivated and informed" than ever before, and often "on the right side of history."

In the United States, where it has been argued that a lower voting age might well have influenced the results of primary contests for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination and fall voting for the presidency itself, the movement to lower the voting age to 16 has taken off in recent years. Berkeley gave 70 percent support to a youth-voting initiative in November 2016, and other communities have already proven that the idea can work. In 2013 Takoma Park, Maryland, became the first municipality in the United States to extend voting rights to 16- and 17-year-olds - for local elections - and Hyattsville, Maryland, followed suit in 2015.

"Empirical evidence suggests that the earlier in life a voter casts their first ballot, the more likely they are to develop voting as a habit," explains the election reform group FairVote. "While one's first reaction might be to question the ability of young voters to cast a meaningful vote, research shows that 16- and 17-year-olds are as informed and engaged in political issues as older voters. It is time that they are empowered to put that knowledge to good use at the polls, and make voting a habit in their formative years. These young citizens are old enough to drive, work without restrictions on their hours, and pay taxes - they should also have a voice in their local government."

Yes, young citizens should be able to vote in local elections. But their participation should not stop there. As the climate march illustrates, young people are more than ready to make their voices heard with regard to federal policy and global concerns. They should have their votes counted as well.

Expanding voting rights requires a big change - it took a 1971 constitutional amendment to lower the voting age from 21 to 18 - but the case for voting at 16 has been made. It's time, as Congresswoman Pressley said, to "(ensure) that those who have a stake in our democracy will also have a say in our democracy."

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

Antigravity Engine Powered UFO Type Aircraft
By James Donahue

When he was 14, a very bright young English boy named John Roy Robert Searl, who had an interest in electronics, was attempting to design a new type of generator. He built a device made of several metal plates and 12 magnetic rollers.

When finished, Searl was astounded when the oval plates began to turn, apparently without any outside influence. They soon were spinning faster and faster, until the device developed a field around itself then rose up from the table and struck the ceiling. When Searl took the device outside, it rose so high it disappeared in the clouds and was never seen again.

John Searl

Searl became fascinated by his invention, which he called a levity disk. He made more of them. His goal was to find a way to control the disk so that once it took flight, he could bring it back to Earth. It took about 40 tries before he accomplished this.

His experiments were going on, incidentally, in 1944, during the last days of World War II. Searl made several attempts to introduce his invention to the world, even offering to give it to the Queen of England, but nobody was interested. His anti-gravity device, now called a Searl Effect Generator (SEG), was treated more like a novelty than an important scientific discovery.

A few years later, Russian scientist Eugene Podkletnov was testing a super conducting ceramic disk by rotating it above some powerful electromagnets. As the disk turned, Podkletnov noticed that small objects above the disk seemed to lose weight. He discovered that they seemed shielded from the pull of Earth's gravity. The weight reduction was small, only about two percent, but the discovery was so dynamic it launched the Russian into a new field of research.

By 1966, Podkletnov was about to publish an article on his findings in the British Journal of Physics-D, in which he claimed that gravity could be negated. Before the article appeared, however, a London newspaper found out about it, published Podkletnov's conclusions, and the skeptics went wild.

Podkletnov fell under such a severe rain of public ridicule he withdrew the article. The university where he worked evicted him. He went into self-produced exile.

Both of these scientists understood that anti-gravity devices could have a profound impact on our lives. They could lead to new and non-toxic methods of travel both on the planet and through space. Not only could we move about without burning costly fossil fuels, but we could stop polluting our world.

Both scientists claim, however, that they were confronted by great resistance from the power brokers with the financial means to use their discoveries and develop machines that might have changed the way the world does business.

Another great mind of that period, inventor Nicholi Tesla, is also believed to have developed a negative gravity device, as did researchers from Hitler's labs in Nazi Germany. What they discovered has also remained locked in secrecy.

The reason was mostly financial. The coal and oil companies, automobile manufacturers and other special interests resisted this kind of change because there was too much money to be made by remaining on the course we were on.

But there might have been a second, more covert reason. Our military may already have had this information and was experimenting with it to develop new weapons of control and destruction.

Journalist Nick Cook recently published a book, "The Hunt for Zero Point," in which he claims that the United States has been seriously working on anti-gravity "electrogravitics" technology since the 1950s. The rash of UFO sightings that began in those years may well have been our own experimental aircraft. Such engines should lift and propel vehicles without the need for wings or thrust.

"I feel intuitively that some vehicle has been developed, particularly given that there is this wealth of scientific data out there, and the Americans have never been slow to pick up on this sort of science," Cook said in an interview with Reuters.

Cook, an aerospace consultant for Jane's Defense Weekly, said he uncovered evidence that German scientists during the war years, working under Hitler, had this information and were experimenting with anti-gravity devices. The Germans either heard about Searl's work, or pulled the information out of the collective consciousness, and began their own research.

Most recently, a company known as Transdimensional Technologies, claims to have patented and produced a device called Power 3 that defies gravity. The process is described as a rotor within a vacuum that creates a shift between bound ions and conduction electrons while in a particular medium. When operated under these conditions, the device floats due to what the company calls "a propellant-less propulsion system."

Not all of the flying disk-shaped objects in the world skies may be of Earth origin. There are now thousands of reports of sightings of circular-shaped space craft seen in the skies. While many may be of military origin, there is a strong theory that they come here from other worlds. Another idea is that may be time machines from the future.

It is interesting to think that these strange disk-shaped craft that have captured the imaginations of people all over the world for the last 50 years are glimpses of vehicles from the future. Perhaps like the old Jetson television cartoon character, we may all be scurrying around someday in private disks that defy gravity.

If it wasn't for the greed of big industry, and possibly the military's insistence on secrecy, we might already have these machines serving us. And we might not be faced with living on a dying planet.

(c) 2019 James L. Donahue is a retired newspaper reporter, editor and columnist with more than 40 years of experience in professional writing. He is the published author of five books, all dealing with Michigan history, and several magazine articles.

A defaced recruiting flyer for Identity Evropa hangs near Trump Tower on July 6, 2016 in Chicago, Illinois.
The flyer which read "Let's Become Great Again" was part of a 17-city recruitment effort by the white nationalist organization.

White Supremacists Are Infiltrating The GOP From The Ground Up
By William Rivers Pitt

"I don't want to belong to any club that will accept people like me as a member." ~~~ Groucho Marx

After it was over, Department of Homeland Security Secretary (DHS) Kirstjen Nielsen got most of the attention for the astonishing barge of deceptive nonsense she piloted into the Homeland Security Committee's immigration hearing last Thursday, and justly so. Leave it to a Trump appointee to refuse to acknowledge that children who are clearly being housed in cages at the southern border are actually being housed in cages at the southern border.

Rep. Clay Higgins (R-Louisiana) very nearly upstaged the DHS secretary, however, when he delivered a truly antic braincramp analogy to the assemblage. "Perhaps the most famous invasion in the history of the world - D-Day - 73,000 American troops landed in the D-Day invasion," intoned Higgins. "We have 76,103, according to my numbers, apprehensions along our southern border last month. We have D-Day every month on our southern border."

Yes, because men, women, and children undertaking a long and perilous journey to flee economic chaos and unchecked violence in search of a better life with little more than the clothes on their backs are exactly like thousands of soldiers running headlong into a wall of flying steel in order to defeat Nazis. Thank you for your input, Representative Higgins. If you listen very closely, you can hear the souls interred at Colleville-sur-Mer whirling in their graves.

Representative Higgins does not have to reach all the way to the U.S.-Mexico border to find a metaphor related to Nazis. According to a disturbing report by Splinter News, overt Nazis (or their close cousins) may be more present than we realized in Higgins's own caucus. Members of the far-right white nationalist organization Identity Evropa (IE) are laboring to make the Republican Party an even better home for white supremacists.

"More than 235,000 logs on the chat platform Discord show users claiming to be members of the group Identity Evropa openly discussing their desire to infiltrate and take over the GOP," reports Erin Corbett for Splinter News. "The group, now led by Patrick Casey (who has been a member of the group since its early days and previously used the name Reinhard Wolff), currently focuses its efforts on recruiting white college-aged men through campus flyering campaigns and banner drops, and specifically chooses to brand itself as a pro-white, 'identitarian' organization."

The leaked Discord chat logs provide a harrowing glimpse of the goals of white nationalist organizing. "What are our long range goals? Other than taking over the GOP and spreading white identity?" asks "@Steven Bennet," an apparent pseudonym for Casey, in a Discord post from October 2018. One telling reply reads, "We have 6 years until he [Donald Trump] is out of office - 6 years that shouldn't go to waste. 6 years we should all spend on taking over our local GOP in every locality we can." Another reads, "Not that I'd ever advocate for something underhanded. But seriously: remove the old fossil GOPe [sic], insert America First."

There can be no doubt that Trump was a vivid inspiration for white nationalists, white supremacists and fascists even before the violent calamity in Charlottesville, Virginia. Within white nationalist circles, however, the consequences stemming from that far-right protest have served to separate the wheat from the chaff, so to speak.

Faced with arrests, lawsuits and loss of employment after their involvement in Charlottesville was publicly exposed, some white supremacist groups scattered to the four winds. Jeff Schoep, former leader of a neo-Nazi organization called the National Socialist Movement (NSM), was so overwhelmed by the bad press and legal consequences of the Charlottesville rally that he signed control of the group over to a Black attorney named James Hart Stern just to get out from under. Beautifully, Stern intends to convert the NSM's website into a Holocaust memorial.

Identity Evropa and groups like it, on the other hand, have chosen to take a different tack. While initially inspired to act by Trump's dog-whistle racism, the shine came off the apple after the president was defeated and humiliated in his quest to build a wall at the border. No longer looking to their Oval Office savior, Identity Evropa has begun bending its efforts toward recruiting new members on college campuses. Perhaps more ominously, the group intends to move covertly into the Republican Party by disguising their intentions beneath strategic silence and some MAGA gear.

Even the laziest white supremacist can make a difference by joining the GOP. "Today I decided to get involved with my county's Republican party," reads another "Bennet" post from October of 2017. "Everyone can do this without fear of getting doxed. The GOP is essentially the White man's party at this point (it gets Whiter every election cycle), so it makes far more sense for us to subvert it than to create our own party. If we're going to win this, it's going to take time, effort and sacrifice. If you're unable to do activism for various reasons, I'd like to encourage you to join your local Republican party. Present as a Trump supporter/nationalist. No need to broadcast your radical views."

Translation: Even the laziest white supremacist can make a difference by joining the GOP. "It's actually quite easy to run for and win local offices," concludes "Bennet." "Let's make this happen!"

To be fair, a number of local Republican organizations have been confronted with overt white nationalists who have boll-weeviled their way into the party, and have summarily bounced them. "One person involved with both IE and College Republicans had relative >uccess making his way through the ranks of his county GOP," reports Splinter News, "though he was promptly ejected." A white nationalist YouTube personality named James Allsup managed to get himself elected as a precinct committee officer for the Whitman County GOP in Washington State before he also was discovered and ejected.

"Nonetheless," continues the Splinter News report, "Allsup set a precedent for other members of IE. As one member of the Discord server said in an October 2018 conversation: 'Once I graduate I plan to infiltrate my local GOP Allsup style.'" While Republican organizations may be credited for purging these people from their ranks, it is easy to believe that more than a few fish have slipped the nets. Indeed, one look at men like Stephen Miller, Sebastian Gorka and Steve Bannon leaves you wondering if that infiltration has not already reached the highest levels of government. Plenty of ripe examples of vocal, overt racists can already be found in Congress. Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) has made a career out of being a bog-standard white nationalist, and makes no bones about his leanings. Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) has made his own form of brazen racism into a kind of performance art. On Thursday, 23 House Republicans voted against a resolution condemning racism because it contained language denouncing anti-Muslim hatred. Included in that list were two of the three top House Republican leaders, Committee Chairwoman Liz Cheney and House Minority Whip Steve Scalise.

The Republican Party has itself a problem here, and it isn't going away. As that Discord poster correctly noted, the GOP is becoming whiter with every election cycle. It is also becoming older and more out of touch with the actual mainstream in the U.S. the party incorrectly believes it represents. Meanwhile, propaganda efforts and infiltration attempts by the fascist right have increased exponentially under Trump even as the GOP finds itself slowly but steadily running out of voters.

It would be political suicide for the GOP to publicly embrace these people, not to mention morally repugnant. However, if the slow bleed the Republican Party is enduring continues, which it will according to every available data point, they may well entertain the idea of a surreptitious merger with the far right, assuming they haven't done so already.

The demographic numbers are self-evident, and the party has already shown itself to be almost comically bumbling in its attempts at rebranding. Hard times make for hard choices, and the fascists already have their MAGA hats. It's a match made in Hell.

I've never been a Republican staring political extinction in the face, so my perspective may be skewed. All I'm saying is this: If someone tipped me off about a bunch of online white nationalists who were planning to sneak into my house because they thought I wouldn't notice, I would burn the house down and leave town, asking myself some hard questions as I poured the gasoline about what made my home attractive to them in the first place. Take a memo, GOP: Groucho Marx was right.

(c) 2019 William Rivers Pitt is a senior editor and lead columnist at Truthout. He is also a New York Times and internationally bestselling author of three books: War on Iraq: What Team Bush Doesn't Want You to Know, The Greatest Sedition Is Silence and House of Ill Repute: Reflections on War, Lies, and America's Ravaged Reputation. His fourth book, The Mass Destruction of Iraq: Why It Is Happening, and Who Is Responsible, co_written with Dahr Jamail, is available now on Amazon. He lives and works in New Hampshire.

Alec Baldwin

He Just Wants To Be Loved By The Media
By Heather Digby Parton

He always has:

Even as Trump wages almost daily attacks on individual reporters and news organizations, and often seems bent on undermining the very idea of independent news media, behind the scenes, he arguably has the most frequent, most informal, and most sustained personal interactions with reporters and commentators of any president since the days of Kennedy and Bradlee (as well Joseph Alsop, Charles Bartlett and other journalists of that era who enjoyed special access to JFK).

The media figures Trump talks to informally go beyond his well-documented phone calls with sympathetic commentators like Hannity and Lou Dobbs. His media roster includes regular, if less-publicized engagement with beat reporters and executives at the New York Times, the Washington Post and, on occasion, POLITICO.

Phone calls or Oval Office mind-melds in this White House do not happen only as the result of longstanding and sporadically granted interview requests-that is the norm among recent presidents-but also on a more impromptu basis, sometimes initiated by Trump rather than reporters. In some cases, Trump has known journalists-like Maggie Haberman of the New York Times-for many years, giving a natural ease to their relationship, but in several other cases Trump has established a rapport with reporters, such as the Washington Post's Josh Dawsey or Bloomberg's Jennifer Jacobs, he has only come to know after following their work as candidate or president.

Some reporters, in background accounts, describe being called by Trump at bars and cable television studios.

These interactions, according to people with firsthand or close secondhand knowledge of them, reflect a keen awareness by Trump of individual personalities in the sea of beat reporters covering him, and a fixation on key figures at powerful news organizations. He's quizzed some reporters on their romantic lives. He knows what book projects are underway by various Washington reporters, is participating in several of them and soaks up intelligence of what the books are likely to say. (He gave an interview to POLITICO's Jake Sherman and Anna Palmer for a book to be released this spring, and another to POLITICO's Tim Alberta for one to be released in the summer.) While Trump has kept his distance from the Washington social scene-he rarely goes out except to dinner at his own nearby hotel-he is often current on the gossip that flows in these settings.

The main theme of presidential conversations, of course, is not social frivolities but the same subject that animates Trump on Twitter and in public remarks: what a great job he believes he is doing, and his conviction that he is not getting enough credit.

In all these conversations, Trump toggles back and forth between on-the-record, on-background, and off-the-record-betraying a fluency with reportorial rules of engagement that is more typically found in operatives than in principals. Those who cover the White House say they often perceive that Trump-if he could-would shed the restraining influences of schedulers and handlers and do even more direct outreach with journalists. This is a president, after all, who not that long ago used to call reporters at the Page Six gossip column several times a week to share tips or try to shape items, according to veterans of the New York Post.

There do not seem to be examples of beat news reporters having the kind of sustained engagement with Trump enjoyed by ideological fellow travelers like Hannity. At the same time, there is much more regular connection between this group than most readers and viewers assume with a president who regularly says journalists are "the enemy of the people."

This is really rather pathetic. He calls them fake news and his followers spit on the "enemies of the people" but in private he grovels for their attention, deperately trying to get them to love him so he'll get good press.

I mean, it's not hard to believe that the press corps would fall for it. They often do. It's a testament to how odious and corrupt he is that it doesn't work.

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

Reducing dependence on private automobiles could help curtail construction of the widespread infrastructure required to support them.

Carbon, Climate And Corruption Coalesce In Concrete
By David Suzuki

Most of us rarely think about concrete, but it's the foundation of modern society - from roads, buildings and bridges to the economy, political power and crime. We use more of it than anything except water.

Concrete has been a great driver of human progress. It's allowed us to build up instead of out, made transportation and trade easier, protected us from the elements and even disease, and spurred economic growth and job creation - as well as population growth.

But it's one of many innovations we adopted wholesale without fully understanding the consequences. Producing and transporting it emits enormous amounts of greenhouse gases. It also destroys natural ecosystems - including carbon sinks like forests and wetlands - and consumes huge amounts of water and other resources. Even global sand supplies are dwindling, thanks to its use in concrete. And it doesn't always do as good a job as nature at protecting us from natural forces. Massive barriers sometimes offer less protection against tsunamis and flooding than the coastal mangrove swamps they displaced.

Even the recent scandal facing Canada's government has concrete at its base. As one of Canada's largest engineering and construction companies - employing 50,000 people through offices in over 50 countries and operations in more than 160 countries - SNC-Lavalin uses a lot of concrete. Infrastructure projects are important to industry and governments. They provide employment, keep GDP and the economy growing and offer "concrete" proof that progress is being made. But, as the Guardian points out, "As well as being the primary vehicle for super-charged national building, the construction industry is also the widest channel for bribes. In many countries, the correlation is so strong, people see it as an index: the more concrete, the more corruption."

SNC-Lavalin, which has already been sanctioned by the World Bank for bribery and corruption, faces similar charges at home. But as a major Quebec-based employer with its hand in some of the country's largest infrastructure projects, it's seen by provincial and federal governments as too important to fail.

One problem is that we're basing economic decisions and government policy on economic systems that were designed when natural resources were abundant and built infrastructure was lacking. The opposite is now true, but to satisfy an appetite for continuous, rapid economic growth, we construct more roads, bridges, parking lots, dams and buildings without considering alternatives for progress and building materials.

To a large extent, it's about maintaining our fossil-fuelled car culture. And it could get worse as developing nations scramble to catch up, building their own massive infrastructure projects and facilitating increased automobile use.

The Carbon Disclosure Project estimates that cement production produces six per cent of global emissions, slightly behind steel production. Concrete, made from cement, is second only to coal, oil and gas for emissions. According to a Guardian article, "Its wider effects are even more problematic, as the built environment accounts for more than a third of the world's carbon emissions." Shipping the heavy product also emits greenhouse gases, and the industry accounts for 10 per cent of global industrial water use.

With urbanization, population growth and economic development rapidly increasing concrete use, ecosystem destruction and greenhouse gas emissions will continue to rise. A Carbon Disclosure Project report, "Building Pressure", concluded, "Cement companies urgently need to more than double their emissions reductions or risk missing climate goals."

It noted that regulation and technological innovation are key, not just to reduce emissions but also to find ways to capture and sequester them.

Although the report notes that carbon capture and storage "is an important technology for creating low-carbon cement," progress has been limited, in part because the technologies haven't yet proven to be viable. Carbon pricing and regulation, along with use of alternative fuels sourced from organic waste collection, are showing greater benefits.

We also have to find alternatives to massive concrete-based infrastructure projects and the economic systems that drive them. Reducing dependence on private automobiles could help curtail construction of the widespread infrastructure required to support them. Using renewable materials like wood for some construction is a step but comes with its own problems. Better concrete recycling and diversifying energy sources to reduce emissions from production and transport are also important.

It's time for concrete solutions.

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

Trump's ICE Uses Medical Quarantine To Strip People Of Their Rights
These detention centers are epidemics waiting to happen. That's a direct result of the administration*'s policies.
By Charles P. Pierce

The administration*'s border policy is a staggering vista of unpleasant outcomes and unintended-or very intended-consequences. From Reuters:

In early January, a mumps outbreak at the privately run Pine Prairie U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) Processing Center put Mejia and hundreds of other detainees on lockdown. "When there is just one person who is sick, everybody pays," Mejia, 19, said in a phone interview from the Pine Prairie center describing weeks without visits and access to the library and dining hall. His attorney was not allowed in, but his immigration court case continued anyway - over a video conference line. On Feb. 12, the judge ordered Mejia deported back to Honduras. The number of people amassed in immigration detention under the Trump administration has reached record highs, raising concerns among migrant advocates about disease outbreaks and resulting quarantines that limit access to legal services.
This is just beautiful. Using a medical quarantine to double-talk a sick man out of his right to appeal for asylum. And that's not even to mention the fact that, apparently, the detention facilities are epidemics waiting to happen.
Internal emails reviewed by Reuters reveal the complications of managing outbreaks like the one at Pine Prairie, since immigrant detainees often are transferred around the country and infected people do not necessarily show symptoms of viral diseases even when they are contagious. ICE health officials have been notified of 236 confirmed or probable cases of mumps among detainees in 51 facilities in the past 12 months, compared to no cases detected between January 2016 and February 2018. Last year, 423 detainees were determined to have influenza and 461 to have chicken pox. All three diseases are largely preventable by vaccine. As of March 7, a total of 2,287 detainees were quarantined around the country, ICE spokesman Brendan Raedy told Reuters.

These facilities, it should be noted, are run by private companies who profit from their continued operation, not that anyone in the administration* gives a damn about that.

At Pine Prairie, staff members were at times at odds with the warden about how to manage the mumps outbreak, internal emails show. The warden decided not to quarantine 40 new arrivals from Tallahatchie in February despite concerns raised by the medical staff, one email showed. The warden, Indalecio Ramos, who referred questions about the outbreak to ICE and the GEO Group, argued that quarantining the transfers would keep them from attending their court hearings, the facility's health service administrator wrote in a Feb. 7 email.

In a Feb. 21 email, ICE requested that medical staff members at Pine Prairie clear a detainee quarantined for chicken pox and mumps for travel, calling him a "high-profile removal scheduled for deport." In an email to staff later that day, warden Ramos wrote that medical staff had wanted to exclude the detainee from transfer but "ICE wants him to travel out of the country anyway ... Please ensure he leaves."

Mumps in adults is serious business. (It isn't a barrel of laughs for kids, either.) Predictably, of course, the administration* is using these statistics to gin up fears of hordes of diseased furr'i'ners swamping the southern border.
On Tuesday, U.S. Customs and Border Protection Commissioner Kevin McAleenan told reporters that changing demographics on the southwest border, with more immigrants from Central America traveling long distances, overwhelmed border officials and raised health concerns. "We are seeing migrants arrive with illnesses and medical conditions in unprecedented numbers," McAleenan said at a press conference.
However, vaccination rates in the countries of El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras are above 90 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. ICE detainees come from countries all over the world, with varying degrees of vaccination coverage.
However this situation developed, ICE would seem to be the last agency to call on to manage even the smallest outbreak of epidemic disease. In addition to its recently developed reputation for thuggery and deceit, ICE's job is to arrest people, throw them into detention, and then ship them home. And, under this president*, ICE has been freed to do all of these things as crudely and roughly as possible in order to deter other migrants from coming here. This is an organization ill-equipped to deal with the sick. And private detention facilities are generally a nightmare as far as health-care goes. Sooner or later, however, there's going to be an outbreak of something more serious than the chicken pox. Nobody's ready for that.

(c) 2019 Charles P. Pierce has been a working journalist since 1976. He is the author of four books, most recently 'Idiot America.' He lives near Boston with his wife but no longer his three children.

The Quotable Quote-

"We Americans are not usually thought to be a submissive people, but of course we are. Why else would we allow our country to be destroyed? Why else would we be rewarding its destroyers? Why else would we all - by proxies we have given to greedy corporations and corrupt politicians - be participating in its destruction? Most of us are still too sane to piss in our own cistern, but we allow others to do so and we reward them for it. We reward them so well, in fact, that those who piss in our cistern are wealthier than the rest of us.

How do we submit? By not being radical enough. Or by not being thorough enough, which is the same thing." ~~~ Wendell Berry

100 corporations (e.g. ExxonMobil, Shell, and state entities) continue to be the source of 71% of total global carbon dioxide emissions.

Who Will Displace the Omniciders?
The only reason Congress has been an oil, gas, and coal toady, instead of an efficient, renewable energy force, is because we have sat on the sidelines watching ExxonMobil be Congress' quarterback
Ralph Nader

Citizens challenging the towering threat of climate crisis should never underestimate the consequences of our dependence on fossil fuel corporations. Real engagement with the worsening climate disruption means spending more of our leisure hours on civic action. The fate of future generations and our planet depends on the intensity of these actions.

This was my impression after interviewing Dahr Jamail, author of the gripping new book, The End of Ice, on my Radio Hour. Jamail, wrote books and prize-winning articles, as the leading freelance journalist covering the Bush/Cheney Iraq war and its devastating aftermath. For his latest book, Jamail went to the visible global warming hot spots to get firsthand accounts from victims of climate disruption. His gripping reporting is bolstered by facts from life-long specialists working in the regions he visited.

Readers of The End of Ice are taken on a journey to see what is happening in Alaska, the mountain forests of California, the coral reefs of Australia, the heavily populated lowlands of South Florida, the critical Amazon forest, and other areas threatened by our corporate-driven climate crisis.

Jamail, an accomplished mountaineer, precisely illustrates the late great environmentalist, Barry Commoner's first law of ecology. Namely, that "everything is connected to everything else." Jamail makes the connection between the rising sea levels and the untold catastrophes engulfing forests, mountains, and the wildlife on land and in the sea. Jamail is not relying on computer models. What he is seeing, photographing, and experiencing is often worse than what the models show in terms of accelerating sea level rises and the melting ice of the glaciers.

Jamail's trenchant conversations with bona fide experts who have spent a lifetime seeing what mankind has done to the natural world, presents a compelling case of the threat the climate crisis poses to human survival.

Jamail, near the end of his narrative, writes: "Disrespect for nature is leading to our own destruction... This is the direct result of our inability to understand our part in the natural world. We live in a world where we are acidifying the oceans, where there will be few places cold enough to support year-round ice, where all the current coastlines will be underwater, and where droughts, wildfires, floods, storms, and extreme weather are already becoming the new normal."

If you don't know that melting ice and permafrost is a big tragedy, then that is all the more reason to read this book and immerse yourself in its vivid prose.

His chapter on south Florida and its millions of residents is probably the one scenario that will bring the alarming message home to people in coastal communities worldwide. South Florida could be underwater in fifty years or less. Many of the houses, buildings and infrastructures are located only a few feet or yards above sea level. Engineers and some city officials see Miami Beach as doomed and say Floridians must prepare for evacuations.

There are other more approaching, intermediate dangers. As Jamail writes: "One major source of concern is the Florida aquifer. Once that water is contaminated by saltwater, it is over."

Already, some banks will not provide 30 year home mortgages for vulnerably located houses. Some home values along the ocean are starting to be adversely affected. Insurance companies are reluctant to publicize their projections but their actuarial tables are not, shall we say, consumer friendly.MO<> Then there are the lethal-storm surges during major hurricanes as sea levels and high tides rise relentlessly.

Most businesses, people, and municipalities are looking the other way. Two-term Governor Rick Scott (a corporate crook) even prohibited state employees from uttering or writing the words "climate change" in any state documents. It is admittedly hard to face such catastrophe while the sun is shining and most normal life continues. In 2017, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission gave Florida Power and Light, the go-ahead to build two new nuclear power plants (they're too expensive and won't be built) to join its aging plants on the beach. Shades of the Fukushima disaster in Japan 8 years ago.

None of these warnings are recent. Climate scientists warned President Lyndon Johnson about the dangers associated with carbon release in the atmosphere in 1965. President Bill Clinton and Vice President Al Gore released a detailed, urgent, report, with pictures and graphs, about climate disruption in 1993 to demonstrate that the clock was ticking. Unfortunately, in the following seven years, they mostly did what the auto industry wanted them to do-nothing.

Some of the most poignant passages in Jamail's book are the informed cries and worries of the onsite specialists he interviewed. People you have never heard of, but who should be heard all the time. One of them, Dr. Rita Mesquita, a biologist with the largest research institute in Brazil for the Amazon forest says, "We are not telling the general public what is really going on." While the general public is spending more time in virtual reality and, with growing urbanization, becoming estranged from nature, this ominous disconnect is widening.

The new president of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, has openly vowed to bolster more commercial development in the Amazon and on indigenous tribal land.

How will India's billion plus people get their water if its rivers dry up because the glaciers in the Himalayas have melted? How do you relocate 30 million people from Mumbai from rising sea levels? How do you head off spreading diseases due to habitat destruction? Meanwhile, 100 corporations (e.g. ExxonMobil, Shell, and state entities) continue to be the source of 71% of total global carbon dioxide emissions.

There are 600 cable channels in the U.S. transmitting largely junk programs. How about one percent of them (six) being dedicated to the global stories and urgencies of climate catastrophes, and to how movements like Drawdown (of greenhouse gases) are succeeding in cutting these menaces (see Drawdown by Paul Hawken) around the world?

Think about what we should be doing with some of our time for our descendants so as not to have them curse us for being oblivious, narcissistic ancestors!

We can start with instructing our Congress to deploy its transformative leverage over the economy. The only reason Congress has been an oil, gas, and coal toady, instead of an efficient, renewable energy force, is because we have sat on the sidelines watching ExxonMobil be Congress' quarterback.

(c) 2019 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).

DC's Sleazy [Bomb] Shell Game
Bad guys get the money but we get the debt
By Jane Stillwater

What would you do if some felonious bad guy stole your credit card and used it to buy a bazooka, an AR-15 and 20,000 rounds of ammo? Would you be pissed off? My guess would be yes -- especially when you were driven into bankruptcy as a result.

Now imagine that something like this happens to a country instead of to you -- perhaps a country named America. "But that can't possibly happen here," you might say. Wrong answer. It already has. Sleazy bad guys up on Wall Street and down in DC have already stolen our credit cards and hit up our ATMs. And then with our precious life-savings grasped firmly in their hot little hands, they ran out and bought twenty-one (21) trillion dollars worth of RPGs, F-16s, border Walls, drones and atomic bombs. "No they didn't." Oh yes they did.

And when America goes bankrupt? Will it be the sleazy bad guys who suffer? Not at all. It will be me and you. The bad guys will have armies to protect themselves -- armies weaponized by you and me. And we will have nothing to show for our lives but the shirts on our backs, if that. It's a shell game. We've been conned.

''But they are trying to keep us safe!" you might say. No they're not. "But do I even get a BB gun and a few large rocks of my own out of this?" No.

So what can you and I do change our sorry fate regarding this lame and dangerous situation? Let's evict all those creeps in Washington from power. Let's vote them all out before it's too late -- if it's not too late already, that is.

According to Forbes Magazine, the Denver Post recently "confirmed that the Department of Homeland Security has issued an open purchase order for 1.6 billion rounds of ammunition. As reported elsewhere, some of this purchase order is for hollow-point rounds, forbidden by international law for use in war, along with a frightening amount specialized for snipers. Also reported elsewhere, at the height of the Iraq War the Army was expending less than 6 million rounds a month. Therefore 1.6 billion rounds would be enough to sustain a hot war for 20+ years. In America."

"But how do we even know who to vote against?" you might ask next. That's easy. Stop voting for politicians who have low self-esteem. Why? Because people with low self-esteem always go for instant gratification for themselves instead of for long-term benefits (to the American people).

"But how can we tell if someone has high self-esteem?" That's easy too. According to psychologist David J. Lieberman, someone with high self-esteem tends to be moral, to treat both themselves and others with kindness and dignity, and isn't afraid to tell the truth. Only folks with very low self-esteem go around blowing other people up!

PS: I'll be going to Washington DC on March 22 in order to attend a conference focusing on AIPAC's effect on America's foreign policy. And you just know that AIPAC's members have low self-esteem -- by the way they treat Palestinians, American democracy and also our elected representative Ilhan Omar. Good grief, I wish that she would be speaking at the conference. I'd stand up on my chair and cheer!

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

The Dead Letter Office-

Juan tries to explain why he is an Israeli 5th columnist stooge

Heil Trump,

Dear Unterfuhrer Vargas,

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

Without your lock step calling for the repeal of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights, your attempts to cover up Israeli atrocities, Yemen, Syria, Iran and those many other profitable oil wars to come would have been impossible! With the help of our mutual friends, the other "Demoncratic Whores" you have made it possible for all of us to goose-step off to a brave new bank account!

Along with this award you will be given the Knight's Cross of the Iron Cross, with Golden Oak Leaves, Swords and Diamonds presented by our glorious Fuhrer, Herr Trump at a gala celebration at "der Fuhrer Bunker," formally the "White House," on 04-01-2019. We salute you herr Vargas, Sieg Heil!

Signed by,
Vice Fuhrer Pence

Heil Trump

Warren Is Correct About Busting Up Big Tech
By Robert Reich

Presidential hopeful Senator Elizabeth Warren announced Friday she wants to bust up giants like Facebook, Google, and Amazon.

America's first Gilded Age began in the late nineteenth century with a raft of innovations - railroads, steel production, oil extraction - but culminated in mammoth trusts run by "robber barons" like JP Morgan, John D. Rockefeller, and William H.("the public be damned") Vanderbilt.

The answer then was to bust up the railroad, oil, and steel monopolies.

We're now in a second Gilded Age - ushered in by semiconductors, software and the internet - which has spawned a handful of hi-tech behemoths and a new set of barons like Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, Amazon's Jeff Bezos, and Google's Sergey Brin and Larry Page.

The answer now is the same: Bust up the monopolies.

The current move is bipartisan. At a Senate hearing I testified at last week, arch-conservative Republican Josh Hawley asked me, rhetorically, "Is there really any wonder that there is increased pressure for antitrust enforcement activity, for privacy activity when these companies behave in the way that they do?"

Hawley added, "Every day brings some creepy new revelation about these companies' behaviors. Of course the public is going to want there to be action to defend their rights. It's only natural."

Natural indeed. Nearly 90 percent of all internet searches now go through Google. Facebook and Google together account for 58 percent of all digital ads (where most ad money goes these days).

They're also the first stops for many Americans seeking news (93 percent of Americans receive news online). Amazon is now the first stop for a third of all American consumers seeking to buy anything.

With such size comes the power to stifle innovation. Amazon won't let any business that sells through it to sell any item at a lower price anywhere else. It's even using its control over book sales to give books published by Amazon priority over rival publishers.

Google uses the world's most widely used search engine to promote its own services and Google-generated content over those of competitors, like Yelp. Facebook's purchases of WhatsApp and Instagram killed off two potential rivals.

Contrary to the conventional view of America as a hotbed of entrepreneurship, the rate new job-creating businesses have formed in the United States has been halved since 2004, according to the Census Bureau. Part of the reason: gargantuan entry barriers put up by Big Tech.

Such size also confers political power to get whatever these companies and their top executives want.

Amazon - the richest corporation in America - paid nothing in federal taxes last year. Meanwhile, it's holding an auction to extort billions from states and cities eager to have its second headquarters.

It also forced Seattle, it's home headquarters, to back down on a plan to tax big corporations like itself to pay for homeless shelters for a growing population that can't afford the sky-high rents caused in part by Amazon.

Facebook withheld evidence of Russian activity on its platform far longer than previously disclosed. When the news came to light, it employed a political opposition research firm to discredit critics.

Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg, who holds the world's speed record for falling from one of the most admired to the most reviled people on the planet, just unveiled a plan to "encrypt" personal information from all his platforms.

The new plan is likely to give Facebook even more comprehensive data about everyone. If you believe it will better guard privacy, you don't remember Zuckerberg's last seven promises to protect privacy.

Google forced the New America Foundation, an influential think tank it helped fund, to fire researchers who were urging antitrust officials to take on Google.

And it's been quietly financed hundreds of university professors to write research papers justifying Google's market dominance.

What to do? Some argue the tech mammoths should be regulated like utilities or common carriers, but this would put government into the impossible position of policing content and overseeing new products and services.

A better alternative is to break them up. That way, information would be distributed through a large number of independent channels without a centralized platform giving all content apparent legitimacy and extraordinary reach. And more startups could flourish.

Like the robber barons of the first Gilded Age, those of the second have amassed fortunes because of their monopolies - fortunes that give them unparalleled leverage over politicians and the economy.

The combined wealth of Zuckerberg ($62.3 billion), Bezos ($131 billion), Brin ($49.8 billion) and Page ($50.8 billion) is larger than the combined wealth of the bottom half of the American population.

A wealth tax (also proposed by Warren) would help.

Some of the robber barons of the first Gilded Age were generous philanthropists, as are today's. That didn't excuse the damage they did to America.

Let's be clear: Monopolies aren't good for anyone except for the monopolists.

In this new Gilded Age, we need to respond to them as forcefully as we did the first time around. Warren's ideas are a good start.

(c) 2019 Robert B. Reich has served in three national administrations, most recently as secretary of labor under President Bill Clinton. His latest book is "Saving Capitalism: For the Many, Not the Few." His web site is

Israel's Stranglehold On American Politics
By Chris Hedges

The Israel lobby's buying off of nearly every senior politician in the United States, facilitated by our system of legalized bribery, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The lobby's campaign of vicious character assassination, smearing and blacklisting against those who defend Palestinian rights-including the Jewish historian Norman Finkelstein and university students, many of them Jewish, in organizations such as Students for Justice in Palestine-is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. Twenty-four state governments' passage of Israel lobby-backed legislation requiring their workers and contractors, under threat of dismissal, to sign a pro-Israel oath and promise not to support the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions movement is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The shameless decision in 2014 by all 100 U.S. senators, including Bernie Sanders, to pass a Soviet-style plebiscite proposed by the Israel lobby to affirm Israel's "right to defend itself" during the 51 days it bombed and shelled homes, water treatment plants, power stations, hospitals and U.N. schools in Gaza, killing 2,251 Palestinians, including 551 children, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The U.S. refusal, including in the United Nations and other international bodies, to criticize Israel's apartheid state and routine violation of international law is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. The well-funded campaigns by the Israel lobby, which works closely with Israel's Ministry of Strategic Affairs, to discredit any American politician or academic who even slightly deviates from Israeli policy is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact. (One infamous example of a U.S. politician kowtowing was the unconstitutional invitation by then-House Speaker John Boehner to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress in 2015 to denounce President Barack Obama's Iranian nuclear agreement.) The massive interference in our internal affairs by Israel and the Israel lobby, far exceeding that of any other country, including Russia or China, is not an anti-Semitic trope. It is a fact.

Israel's lackeys in the political class, along with bankrupt courtiers in the U.S. press, including former American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) employee Wolf Blitzer, are making a serious mistake, however, in refusing to acknowledge Israel's outsized, transparent and often illegal meddling in the American political system and Israel's brutal oppression of Palestinians. It is too obvious and too egregious to hide. The longer the ruling elites ignore this reality and censor and attack those such as Rep. Ilhan Omar who have the temerity to name this interference and the human rights abuses perpetrated by Israel, the more it gives credence to the racists, bigots, conspiracy theorists and white hate groups, many rooted in the Christian right, who are the real anti-Semites. Israel and its lobby, rather than protecting Israel and Jews, are steadily nullifying their moral and ultimately political force.

Criticism of Israel and the ideology of Zionism is not anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel's influence and control over U.S. foreign policy, and of Israeli efforts to silence those who champion Palestinian rights, is not anti-Semitic. Criticism of Israel's oppression of the Palestinians or its dangerous campaign to orchestrate a war with Iran is not anti-Semitic. The more Israel and the Israel lobby abuse the charge of anti-Semitism, a charge the Israel lobby has leveled against British Labour Party leader Jeremy Corbyn, among many others, the more they lose their effectiveness against the dangerous anti-Semites whose ranks are growing within the far right and across the Muslim world.

Israel and its lobby do not care if its political allies, including those in the Christian right and the Trump White House, possess warped and racist attitudes about Jews. The Christian right and many of those in the White House, while embracing Zionism, are also anti-Semitic. President Donald Trump has called neo-Nazis "very fine people" and once tweeted an illustration of Hillary Clinton against a background of hundred-dollar bills and with the Star of David superimposed near her face. The sole criterion of Israel and the Israel lobby in determining who to support and who to demonize is identifying who backs the far-right agenda of the apartheid state of Israel and who does not. Genuine anti-Semitism is irrelevant. For Israel, the world is divided along the fault line of Palestinian rights. Stand up for the Palestinians and you are an anti-Semite. Cheer their marginalization, oppression and murder and you are a friend of the Jews. Have Jewish leaders forgotten their own history? Anti-Semitism is wrong and dangerous not only because it is bad for the Jews, but because the dark forces of ethnic and religious hatred, used by Israel and the lobby against critics, are bad for everyone, including the Jews and the Palestinians. You open this Pandora's box of evils at your peril.

The interference by Israel in the American political system is amply documented, including in the Al-Jazeera four-part series "The Lobby," which Israel and its supporters managed to block from being broadcast. In the film, a pirated copy of which can be watched on the website Electronic Intifada, the leaders of the Israel lobby are repeatedly captured on a reporter's hidden camera explaining how they, backed by the intelligence services within Israel, attack and silence American critics and use huge cash donations to control the American electoral process and political system. The Israel lobby, lacking any plausible deniability, has remained stunningly silent about the film. The corporate press, in the face of pressure by the lobby, has ignored the documentary.

The series exposes the various machinations of the Israel lobby.

"We made sure that there were people [agents of the lobby] in every single congressional district," M.J. Rosenberg, a former editor of the AIPAC policy journal Near East Report and now a critic of AIPAC, said in the film in an on-the-record interview with Al-Jazeera. "You call [politicians] and say, 'I'm calling from AIPAC in Washington.' I did these calls. 'We hear you're good friends with Congressman So and So.' 'Oh my God, yes, we've been friends with so and so.' 'Well, what does he think about Israel?' 'I never talked to him about Israel.' 'Well, can I come down and talk to you? And help you figure out a way to talk to him about Israel?' 'No, just tell me. What should I say? I'll just tell him.' "

Craig Holman, who campaigns for lobbying reform with Public Citizen, is another participant in the film who denounced the Israel lobby's fundraising practices.

"Right now our current [federal] contribution limit from any person to a candidate is $2,700," Holman says. "That's a lot of money. It can certainly buy ... some gratitude with a lawmaker. But if you really want to add punch to that type of buying of favors, what you do is you get 50 or 100 people together at an event like this, all chipping in $2,700 and then you bundle it all together and hand the total amount to the lawmaker. At that point, we're talking anywhere around a quarter-million dollars. So suddenly you've got a group of people with the same demand they want from the lawmaker, handing over a quarter of a million dollars. That buys a lawmaker."

One of the fundraising events captured in the film was for Anthony Brown, a Democrat who successfully ran for Congress in Maryland in 2016.

"You strategically pick the ones who are in close races and [whom you] want to build relationships with," David Ochs, the founder of HaLev and an activist for Israel, says in the documentary. "We want the Jewish community to go face to face in this small environment-50, 30, 40 people, and say, 'This is what's important to us.' "

"They're actually buying these officeholders," Public Citizen's Holman says in the documentary. Speaking from the lobby's point of view, he says "we're chipping in all this money so we can hand over $100,000 or $200,000 to the officeholder so we can buy them."

"What [the] group is doing to avoid that [federal] disclosure requirement is it isn't taking money and putting it in its own account and then handing it over to the officeholder," Holman says of the Israel lobby. "It's just collecting credit card information and turning that over directly to the candidate. Therefore, it's not violating the earmarking law and they're not reporting this. All we can see on the campaign finance reports are the individuals who contributed. But there are no records on those campaign finance reports that they weren't together in a bundling group who are all at this event. All we'd know is Person A gave $2,700; Person B gave $2,700. And we'd have no idea they're working in tandem with each other."

The Israel lobby also flies hundreds of members of Congress, often with their families, to Israel every year for lavish junkets at expensive resorts. These Congress members run up individual bills that frequently exceed $20,000. The Honest Leadership and Open Government Act of 2007 attempted to restrict lobbyists from offering paid trips lasting more than one day to members of Congress. But AIPAC, which has never been forced to register as a foreign agent, used its clout to insert a clause in the act to exclude so-called educational trips organized by charities that do not hire lobbyists. AIPAC is affiliated with such a charity, called the American Israel Education Foundation.

"It doesn't have an office," Holman says about the foundation. "It doesn't have any employees. It's just a tax form they [Israel lobby agents] file. Gives some dinners, gives some wonderful resorts to stay at, entertainment, all of which is packed up into one of these trips. It's a very, very effective tool at influence peddling."

The investment by Israel and is backers is worth it. The United States Congress in 2018 authorized a $38 billion defense aid package for Israel over the next decade and has spent over $5.6 trillion during the last 18 years fighting futile wars that Israel and its lobby pushed for in the Middle East.

"If you wander off the reservation and become critical of Israel, you not only will not get money, AIPAC will go to great lengths to find someone who will run against you," John Mearsheimer, professor of political science at the University of Chicago and co-author of "The Israel Lobby and U.S. Foreign Policy," says in the documentary. "And they support that person very generously. The end result is you're likely to lose your seat in Congress."

The film focuses in part on former Rep. Jim Moran, who was in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1991 to 2015 and who was an open critic of the Israel lobby.

"They have questionnaires," Moran says about AIPAC in the film. "Anyone running for Congress is [presented with a demand from AIPAC] to fill out a questionnaire. And they evaluate the depth of your commitment to Israel on the basis of that questionnaire. And then you have an interview with local people. If you get AIPAC support, then more often than not you're going to win."

"You are told that 'Israel continues to be under siege from hundreds of millions of its neighbors who are Muslims and they hate Israel and Jewish people,' " Moran says. "You're told, 'They have only survived because of the United States, because of American politicians like you who support us.' "

"You realize it's not just the money," he goes on. "A number of concerned activists will send out postcards, make phone calls, they'll organize. That's the democratic process. They understand the democratic process."

"They threaten," M.J. Rosenberg says of the Israel lobby leaders' response to elected officials who become critical of Israel. "They immediately threaten. Even if [politicians] know AIPAC can't defeat them, AIPAC can make their lives more difficult. They can make sure that their next town meeting or something, some members of the Jewish congregation jump up and say, 'But you're anti-Israel!' "

Moran was targeted by the Israel lobby because he raised questions about the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force Act, which authorized the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Moran told a Jewish constituent at a town hall meeting in his district that "if the Jewish community was opposed to the war, I think that would make a difference" in whether the United States would invade Iraq. He was immediately accused by the Israel lobby of being an anti-Semite and fostering the belief that there was a Jewish conspiracy to push America into war.

"There was a conservative rabbi in my district who was assigned to me, I assume, by AIPAC," Moran says. "He warned me that if I voiced my views about the Israeli lobby that my career would be over, and implied that it would be done through the [Washington] Post. Sure enough, The Washington Post editorialized brutally. Everyone ganged up."

The film shows a screen shot of a 2003 headline in The Washington Post: "Sorry, Mr. Moran, You're Not Fit For Public Office." In following years there were a number of other negative commentaries.

In the film, Eric Gallagher, then with The Israel Project, tells the undercover reporter that AIPAC has a close relationship with the Washington Post editorial board.

Moran says, "The principal editorial board of the Post itself has been a very effective instrument because they have been able to maintain their credibility. It's a great paper in every other way. Because they have such credibility, they're extremely effective."

"Both of my daughters married Jewish men," Moran says. "My grandchildren are Jewish. Anybody who considers me an anti-Semite is ignorant."

AIPAC, while it presents itself as an impartial supporter of Israel, has long been an arm of the Israeli right. It vehemently opposed the Oslo Accord and the peace process with the Palestinians engineered by Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. It poured money and resources into the 1992 Israeli election campaign to back Rabin's political opponents in the Likud party. Rabin did not invite the leaders of the Israel lobby to his inauguration and, according to an aide in his office, referred to the leaders of the Israel lobby as "scumbags." He repeatedly denounced the lobby as an impediment to Israel's security and democracy.

The Israeli newspaper Haaretz characterized Rabin's remarks to American Jewish leaders during a visit to the United States as "brutal." "You have hurt Israel," the newspaper quoted Rabin as saying. "I will not allow you to conduct my dealings with the [U.S.] administration."

Washington Jewish Week reported that Rabin told the AIPAC leadership, "You failed at everything. You waged lost battles. ... You caused damage to Israel. ... You're too negative. ... You create too much antagonism."

The Israel lobby, after Rabin's assassination in 1995 by a right-wing Jewish fanatic and the 1996 electoral victory by Likud under the leadership of Netanyahu, returned to the good graces of the Israeli government. The lobby, as Israel has lurched further and further to the right and adopted ever more overtly racist policies toward the Palestinians under Netanyahu, has become more intrusive in American political life. Israel's apartheid state, racism and murderous assaults on unarmed Palestinians increasingly alienate many of its traditional supporters, including young American Jews. Israel, unable to justify its human rights abuses and atrocities, has opted for harsher forms of control including censoring, spying on and attacking its critics. It has pressured the U.S. State Department to redefine anti-Semitism under a three-point test known as the Three Ds: the making of statements that "demonize" Israel; statements that apply "double standards" for Israel; statements that "delegitimize" the state of Israel. This definition is being pushed by the Israel lobby in state legislatures and on college campuses. It spreads the hate talk of Islamophobia, including by sponsoring the showing of the racist film "Unmasked Judeophobia" on college campuses on Holocaust Remembrance Day. The film argues that Muslims embrace a Nazi-like anti-Semitism and are seeking to carry out another holocaust against Jews. Nearly all American Muslims targeted by law enforcement since 9/11 were singled out for their outspokenness about Palestinian rights. Most of those arrested had no connection to al-Qaida, Hatem Bazian, lecturer in the department of Near Eastern studies at UC Berkeley, says in the film-"no relationship whatsoever to what is called transnational terrorism."

There are fractures in the Democratic Party, evidenced when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi faced a revolt by younger, more progressive members of the House over her proposal to pass an anti-Semitism resolution pushed by the Israel lobby and designed to shame Rep. Omar. A reworded resolution, one that did not please the lobby, was passed, condemning anti-Muslim bias and white supremacy and citing "African-Americans, Native Americans, and other people of color, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, immigrants and others" victimized by bigotry.

Israel's dominance of the Democratic Party is eroding. It is losing legitimacy in the eyes of the public. Israel's tactics, for this reason, will become more vicious and underhanded. Its interference in the democratic process will be characterized less by an attempt to persuade and more by the use of money to ensure fealty to its policies, censorship, the enforcement of legally binding oaths in favor of Israel to blunt the BDS movement, and the kind of racist hate talk it unleashed against Rep. Omar. The lobby, as Rabin understood, was never a true friend of Israel.

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

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Obama Demands To See Trump's Elementary-School Diploma
By Andy Borowitz

WASHINGTON (The Borowitz Report)-Former President Barack Obama ignited a firestorm of controversy on Wednesday by demanding to see President Donald Trump's elementary-school diploma.

Speaking to reporters in Washington, Obama called on Trump to prove "once and for all" that he had completed a K-through-five program.

"While the U.S. Constitution does not require the President to have graduated from fifth grade, it would still be nice to know that he had done so," Obama said.

By insisting on the release of Trump's diploma, Obama joined a growing movement of so-called schoolers, who contend that Trump never attended school.

Schoolers' demands to see documentation of Trump's elementary-school attendance have yet to sway the White House, which has released only a short version of Trump's second-grade report card, with the grades completely redacted.

Obama revealed that he had hired forensic detectives to study Trump's utterances and tweets to determine the extent of his verifiable schooling, but, so far, they had found "no proof" of a fifth-grade education.

"Donald Trump claims that he attended elementary school," Obama said. "All I'm asking is, where's the evidence?"

(c) 2019 Andy Borowitz

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